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Isabeau's Awesome Party

Come celebrate Duchess Isabeau Telmar's birthday! Food and drinks provided.


Aug. 28, 2021, 6 p.m.

Hosted By



Medeia Mattheu Ophne Yuri Quenia Cesare Saccharin Kiera Liara Corban



Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Mercier Tea Shop

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Medeia enters, all smiles, in her own Cloudspine velvet ensemble in green. "Dearest Duchess Telmar, you look splendid, as always!" Her Lycene accented voice is musical as she compliments the birthday 'girl'. "Happiest birthday to you, here, I've brought you a little something." The lady hands over a folded and sealed piece of parchment and a small pouch.

The cold of the outside drifts inside along with one Mattheu Rivenshari as if riding upon the winds... And possibly dressed as the wind, and jingling with a soft melodic chime in giving noise to the wind's entrance as well. He pushes the deep hood of the rose-hued cloak back and simply has a soft smile for Isabeau when he spots her colorful explosion of pink. "Duchess Isabeau, you are dressed as a sunset upon the sea!"

The weak winter light of evening falls through the crack of the ornate door leading into the tea shop. The peal of an overhead bell rings out, clean and crisp, and a woman garbed in dark leathers enters alone. She heads to the left, prowling the line of bookcases and studying the interior from the perimeter. Ophne is not dressed for the occassion, but present all the same; a nod is given to Isabeau and she makes her way to the table with the refreshments.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove arrive, following Cesare.

Yuri stepped through the door from the outside chill, grimacing lightly as the door was held open for the retinue of two. Bartolomeo made himself scarce as Yuri divested himself of his tweed cloak with little fanfare, rubbing his hands together absently to stave off whatever chill had crawled into them. A lonesome hand afterward combed through some mussed walnut strands before making for the table with refreshments. Soon after, his attentions sparked off to Isabeau with a cordial bow of his head and an accompanying smile, "A most happy birthday to you, Duchess Telmar. I was sad to have seen you depart the most recent stint of Salon symposiums. I fear my gift is rather lackluster but it is warmest wishes and an open hand in contact and friendship. Your next present will be a treat, for sure." His brow pulled up with a bit of mirth as he took a sip of wine.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira arrive, following Quenia.

Isabeau offers Medeia then Mattheu one of her warm, radiant smales as she dips her head in a gentle nod, "Thank you, my Lady. And I shall take that as a compliment. One should always wear what they enjoy, don't you think?" Her lips curve up at the corners as she gestures to the table, "Feel free to sit and enjoy and order whatever you'd like." She does tuck in to fill and dress a cup for yourself, "And truly, do not worry about gifts or not. Thank you, Lady Medeia though. Very kind of you."

It is by some stroke of luck that Quenia has managed to make her way from Domus Igniseri. Work work work and never fun seems to be what fills her days. However, her trusty assistant Aspira has reassured her that she has some free time this evening. And Io! She has arrived. She comes dressed in a bundle of furs, for the snow and cold of the winter is much too much for this Lycene woman. The furs are deposited at the door where Aspira sees to them so they can properly dry. She then goes off to partake with other assistants at the party. Quenia, for her part, meanders over to the birthday girl, offering Isabeau a warm smile. "Duchess, when I heard about your birthday I decided I simply couldn't miss it. It's been far too long since I've visited the Valardin district," the Lycene woman speaks as she draws close enough to offer the greeting. She does not invade the other woman's personal space, as that motion is only reserved for close family.

Cesare drifts in, or perhaps is blown in by the snowy wind from outside, covered in snow as most people who travel on foot around the city seem to be lately, and it's particularly evident today because he's wearing a black coat. He's still managing to seem somewhat unbuttered by the weather, and simply brushes himself off and knocks his boots (which are really beginning to seem as though they've seen better days) before coming inside to greet the Duchess and assembled guests with a bow. "Happy birthday, Duchess Isabeau! Mine is soon as well, though I really hope this snow will have passed by then."

With an absurdly large parasol in hand which she works to close once she's within the 'safety' of the tea shop, the Nox'alfar gives a grit of her teeth. "You can never be too careful, you know?" She doesn't seem perturbed by the actual cold though, her outfit definitely not in keeping with the season. "Hello all!" She gives vague waves around before her gaze lands on Isabeau for a long moment, her brows shooting up. "Cae--" She stops herself before shaking her head, once Quenia offers the birthday girl her greeting. "Nope, we have definitely never met. Happy birthday, Duchess Isabeau I gather." Then to Cesare, her eyes widen with pure joy. "Lovely to see you again."

Ophne pulls out and settles into a chair a good distance across from Isabeau, smiling oh-so-slightly. "Duchess Telmar, happy birthday." A pause, and then she adds, "You might not know me - I am Lady Ophne Archeron." Tucking her booted feet under the chair, the warden gives the room and its inhabitants a once-over. Fiddling with the edge of her tunic with one hand, she reaches with the other for a cup of comforting tea.

Medeia gives Mattheu a wiggle of fingers in greeting before looking at Ophne in surprise. "Lady Ophne! I haven't seen you in... Goodness, at least a year. How lovely to see you back in the city." A warm greeting is given to Quenia, as well, before a curious look is sent in Saccharin's direction. But she turns her attention back to Isabeau before getting some tea and cookies for herself. "I would never arrive to a celebration of one's life without a gift."

Quenia gets a rich burgandy vintage wine from the vineyards of Granato from a backpack full of armor.

Quenia deftly steps out of the way after giving her greeting, not wanting to bar anyone's access to the birthday girl. The woman with the parasol gets a curious look. Or, perhaps, it is the woman's gown that Quenia is staring at. Her eyes widen ever so slightly. "Pardon me," she says, flushing a bit. "I couldn't help but notice how exquisite your gown is," she offers in compliment. "Is that some of the spidersilk I see, that the Archduchess trades out to others from time to time?" The transcendent piece absolutely captivates her.

Practically glowing at the birthday wishes, Isabeau offers her hand to Quenia in greeting, smiling radiantly, "Darling Marquessa, I'm glad to give you a reason to escape responsibility. I will offer my profound apologies that I didn't choose a venue with alcohol readily available." She turns that warm expression to Cesare, "I will have to remember that and prepare a gift for you as well, dear Whisper. You honor my birthday with your presence."

Those brilliant blue eyes flick to Ophne at the introduction, "Ah, lovely to meet you, my Lady. Thank you for coming." Then her gaze finds Saccharin, her eyebrows raise very slightly at the greeting, but the smile remains on her lips, "I am, thank you for coming." She gives the slightest of tilts to her chin at something, then her shoulders raise as she answers Yuri, "It was running a bit long, unfortunately."

The young Rivenshari nods to Medeia with a smile, then has a soft blush as he looks towards Quenia, "Marquessa Quenia." Mattheu looks about to step closer to offer an aside, and as the Duchess calls out to her he stays put in his spot.

Yuri meandered off soon afterward toward a table that had been adorned with some tea-snacks and the like, looking for something a bit light to settle with his wine and, now, a fresh cup of tea. The lord settled off at a nearby sitting table, leaning backward in the chair to leisurely settle for a late afternoon meal. Shortly after the curious entrance of Saccharin, did Isabeau catch his attention and he leaned over to engage without yelling, "There's only so many times you can bring up a topic, I fear. And so many ways to say the same thing."

Yuri has joined the a round table draped in embroidered lace.

Ophne's eyes slide away from Isabeau and painstakingly count the number of heads within the room. Someone calls her name. Seemingly of its own accord her mouth opens, head swinging towards Medeia, lips formed into an 'o' of surprise. "Lady Medeia," she returns, settling back heavily in her chair. A genuine smile breaks free, and her lashes lower to the tea before her. "Thank you. Yes, it has been some time since I last saw you.. I've been away. Nice to see you again." To Isabeau she gives a sideways nod.

"Lady Saccharin!" Cesare enthuses, spotting the blonde Nox'alfar lady without much difficulty at all. "Oh, I keep meaning to write to you, I've been very hard at work on a song I'm writing. We still have to meet about that thing I mentioned to you but I've had - it's been, um." He leans in to say something quietly to her and then offers a hug, uncertain if that's a thing Nox'alfar do. It is a thing Cesare does. If it is not a thing Nox'alfar do, then they can pretend that standing with your arms slightly open is just a new fashionable greeting. And he offers a finger-waggle and a wink to Medeia, while he's at it. "It's the tenth day of the third month," he asides casually to Isabeau.

Quenia does manage to squeeze Isabeau's hand before she steps aside. "Well, I guess it is fortunate that I was able to whisk away a bottle of our raspberry wine before coming." She speaks this with a mischievous grin upon her lips. "Promised not to be poisoned I assure you. But should you like, I'll take a small portion first, in the Lycene way." Medeia's greeting is returned with a quieter one of her own, and then her attention is drawn to Mattheu when he speaks her name. She smiles warmly at the Rivenshari man. "Lord Mattheu," she greets in return, offering a light nod head. "A pleasure to see you again." She glances over at Ophne, a bit late to respond once she hears the other woman's greeting. "Good evening to you as well. I'm Marquessa Quenia Igniseri," she offers.

Quenia drops a rich burgandy vintage wine from the vineyards of Granato.

"I hear you enjoy cookies," Medeia says to Mattheu, holding out her plate in offering. Something Cesare says catches her attention. "Is that your birthday? A handful of days before mine. Perhaps we shall have a party together, dear?" She smiles bright as if plotting already, then looks to Saccharin. "Hello! Lady Medeia Eswynd. Patron to this one," She motions at Cesare. "A pleasure to meet you."

When Cesare offers the hug, Saccharin's blue eyes just widen and she slowly pats him on the back with a smile returning to her lips before she murmurs something to him quietly in response to something he asks. To Quenia's question, she glances down at her gown. "Oh! I didn't get this from Her Grace /but/ there's a silk merchant in the Court called Blogmoth who I tend to favor over the others. The silk came out of his butt." One can only assume she's referring to a spider.

Mattheu smiles to Medeia, "Cookies are enjoyable, though a stolen one..." His smile widens a little, "Is so much better than one freely offered." A small pause as he holds up a finger, "Though, I will not turn down an offered cookie, the stealing of a cookie is a family tradition. A test of how well we are at silencing our bells, among other things."

Ophne touches the rim of her teacup to her mouth, attention briefly alighting on the unfamiliar Nox'alfar in the room. Nothing untoward happens as she does so; she feels the muscles clenched at the small of her back relax fractionally. Distracted at once to openly confront Quenia's introduction, Ophne slips into an easy smile and blinks slowly. "Good evening, Marquessa Igniseri. I am Lady Ophne Archeron." She extends her free hand like a soldier. Northeners and their strange ways.

Her nose giving a little scrunch of consideration at Quenia's words, Isabeau considers the wine bottle with no lack of regret, "I hope it will not offend you if I don't drink, Marquessa." She smiles without further explanation even as she takes a few moments to select a cake as she watches those around with her bright eyes, "The si..." she begins to repeat after Saccharin, but swiftly shakes herself out of the thought with a shake of her head. "How fascinating." she opts for, instead.

Winter, A Highhill Puppy arrives, following Kiera.

The Marquessa if Igniseri visibly startles a moment when Saccharin mentions the silk came out of the butt of a merchant. It takes a few moments for the dawning realization to settle over her, and she smiles again in the woman's direction. "He sounds like a delightful fellow, very dedicated to his work!" she exclaims brightly. What else can one say when faced with such declarations. She turns back to Isabeau and says. "Oh, I don't mind if you don't drink it here. It's a gift, along with these." And, in a single motion, Quenia thrusts out her hand and opens it, revealing a pair of misty rains oathlands style hairpins ornamented with moonstone

Whatever Saccharin murmurs to Cesare causes him to nod very thoughtfully, perhaps in agreement. "I should have done it in bed," he agrees. "It would have been much more satisfying than mutual silence. Lady Medeia Eswynd, this is Lady Saccharin. We met by chance at Archduchess Jaenelle's feast, and I find her absolutely wonderful company. She is also a fantastic dancer, and I have heard she sings as well. I would only hope to have the pleasure of hearing her someday. What a charming name, Blogmoth. Is it the quality of the silk, or the quality of the merchant you favor? I really want to meet one of those big ones, someday! I read about them in the White Journals. Are they fuzzy, like some of the big Southern ones sometimes are?" Okay, Cesare, stop talking about spiders at someone's birthday party, this is getting weird. "I would just love to have a joint birthday party, Lady Medeia! Perhaps if we're very lucky, Lady Saccharin will attend." He beams at Saccharin. Very briefly, he's not a terribly smiley person, and that's probably good, because the charismatic force of his smile is, frankly, a little alarming.

Yuri blinked rather quickly at Saccharin's descriptions, shaking his head lightly with an amused smile as he parted a moment from idle listening to take a sip of his tea, glancing off toward Isabeau as she shared a similar reaction to his own.

"Hm," the youth says, her voice noncommittal. Turning away from the marquessa, the frown lines on her face looking deeper and more keen despite the dim of late afternoon, Ophne gazes at the liquid in her cup as if to forsee the future through tattered tea leaves. The conversation flows around her, drifting like her thoughts, but she is satisfied to remain silent for the time being.

Retrieving a miniature handbag from a slot in her garment, literally tiny doll sized. Saccharin someone retrieves large bolts of silk from this tiny bag, folded a little chaotically but nevertheless compact enough for her to just hand them over to the birthday girl. "Happy birthday. I hope you like it. Gifts! Big thing here. And you seem to really like them." As for the merchant. "Oh the quality. He's a little too chatty for my liking." She adds with a sigh.

To Medeia, the elf nods. "What am I attending? Is it dangerous?"

Mattheu is enjoying the offered cookie from Medeia and seeking a tea that will go along with it, or simply something to dip the cookie into, while mumbling. "...This would be made better with soft chocolates..." Then looking towards Saccharin, "From his butt?"

Medeia's eyes sparkle at the talk of Blogmoth the spider. "Oh! I'd love to... Yes." She's agreeing with Cesare. "One of the spiders t the Queen's shrine, I call her Maude - I hope she likes that name, she doesn't seem to mind it - is one I check in on often." She glances at Mattheu. "Yes, spider silk. The stuff their webs are spun from?" She pulls her plate of cookies back as she answers Saccharin. "I should hope not, just another birthday party."

Isabeau accepts the hairpins with a soft gasp of pleasure. Her hands raise them immediately to go into her hair, obviously making every evidence of showing them off, "Oh, how pretty! Thank you, Marquessa. Dame Ida's work, if I am not very much mistaken." She finds some delight in the familiar forging, evidently, even as it tucks back some of her dark golden curls. "A beautiful gift, thank you." It is the next thing that she is given that prompts a widening of the Duchess's eyes as she looks to Saccharin, "Oh, thank you. How very generous!"

"It could be dangerous," Cesare adds in quickly. "The sanctuary does have a very high wall next to it, with a steep drop. If we walk along it at night, blindfolded. Especially if we play tag." He is ... perhaps a little too excited at this idea. "Maybe a demon will come. Like the one that- oh." He silences himself abruptly, "That was just a metaphor, of course."

"Why, yes from his butt." Saccharin nods at Medeia's words with that smile in place. "Are the Archduchess' spiders different somehow. I -adore- Maude. She was so welcoming when I first came to the Shrine. And why yes, she does like the name. Naturally, my favorite one and it isn't /just/ because my last name is 'Maudlin'." She chuckles before her eyes light up studying Isabeau. "Aww, anything for an ol--- new, new friend who I just met." A little throat clearing and then to Cesare. "That sounds amazing." She seems absolutely giddy at the prospect of a steep drop and a game of tag. "Demons can be insanely tiring though. Never a fun party with them."

Ophne cuts a look to Mattheu at the mention of posteriors. An eyebrow arches briefly, but otherwise her painted scowl remains. The shadowed divots where her eyebrows intersect are trained into perfect formation from many frowns before, after all. But, wait. Another direction, another conversation, and she was listening with interest to Cesare speak of demonic entities.

Any hope Medeia had of not being completely drawn in by Saccharin in gone. Her eyes are wide, a look of joy brightening her expression - the elf has just given her an incredible gift and may not realize it. The reverie is briefly shaken. "What?" She looks at Cesare startled with worry. "Demons at the sanctuary?" She misheard something. Hopefully.

Kiera wanders in looking horribly embarassed for the fact and wonders over to Duchess Isabeau to give the woman a kiss on the check and hand over a box that is quite obviously a box of wyrmguard chocolates and a canister of drinking chocolate. "Happy Birthday duchess. Do pardon my tardiness" Medeia Cesare, Quenia, and Mattheu all get nods of recognition. Ophne getsa bit more "I saw you at the scholars meeting the other day and I'm afraid i failed to intoduce myself as excited as I was to confer with others, Lady Kier Wyvernheart, my sincerest apologies, with a small curtsey and another for saccharin whom she has not met

"No, no, no," Cesare shakes his head, and murmurs something softly to Medeia. "And anyway, we shouldn't take attention away from the lovely Duchess, on her birthday. How was the running of the Gauntlet the other day, my lady? Do you find that cold weather makes things more difficult for the competitors?"

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

A fingertip raising to tap at her chin, Isabeau regards Saccharin thoughtfully, "Well, I do wonder if you were at the masquerade earlier this season?" She wonders, humming in thought, "I was there." She smiles at the elven woman with composure. Her delight only grows at Kiera's appearance, "Oh, thank you for coming, cousin. And how did you know I wanted chocolate?" She answers the cheek kiss and raises up to even give Kiera a soft squeeze.

Blue eyes turn to Cesare, "One would think so, but they did brilliantly. Count Drake had one of the best showings I've seen in a while. Even Duke Ansel said he would not train on the Gauntlet until the memory of his run fades, but really everyone did well." She smiles and shakes her head, "No one managed the rope, though. As usual."

From the corner of her eye, Ophne pays considerable attention to the topic of demons. Her lips thin, forming a tight, white line. When Cesare deflects she blows out a breath she didn't know she had been holding. When someone speaks directly to her she flicks her eyes up and over to Kiera.

A small waggle of sheepish fingers. "Greetings, Lady Wyvernheart. I am Lady Ophne Archeron." She is still frowning, but hey, she's always frowning. It probably means she is smiling. Inside.

Quenia smiles openly at Isabeau. "I am glad you like them." She then turns to Ophne, having heard her greeting earlier. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Ophne. I do hope all is well in Aviaron's Peak?" she queries. There's something about her expression which suggests it might have been a thing she's been worried about. She tilts her head to something Mattheau says to her quietly, and gives him a keenly curious look. She quietly mentions something back to him before glancing over at Kiera. "Lady Kiera. A pleasure to see you again," she greets with warmth. Then something Saccharin says catches her attention and she lifts both brows, glancing curiously between she and Isabeau.

"Oh, I remember." Saccharin says to Isabeau with a warm smile on her lips. "We were disguised then, so. Not quite ourselves. I went as a marin'alfar. Hence the fish mask. Do they actually look like that? Beats me, I'm not a water person. I don't know what they look like now." She settles onto one of the seats with a smooth drift.

Medeia's eyes widen in surprise to what Cesare whispers to her, a soft "oh" coming from her before she can properly compose herself. "Right, of course." The lady turns her attention to Isabeau as she describes the performance of Drake on the gauntlet. "He has always been impressive when it comes to physical feats." Her attention flicks to Kiera, a warm smile given. "Hello, Lady Kiera." Then she asks Cesare, "Have you met Lady Ophne yet?"

Saccharin has joined the a round table draped in embroidered lace.

On crossing the threshold, Liara casts a searching look about the tea shop, offering little waves to various familiar faces, then, spotting Isabeau, she heads over to offer a few words, along with a quick, light smile. "A very happy birthday, duchess. I wish you an excellent year to come."

"Aviaron's Peak," she says to Quenia, voice strangling in her throat, "is doing well. I am glad to be gone from it." Her voice is clipped, and, coupled with her frown, a bit too abrupt. Time crawls for a stranded second or two, and then the lines of tension in the woman bleed out. "All is well." Another attempt, this one gentler.

"I can't say that I have," Cesare answers to Medeia. "Lady Ophne, I'm Cesare Whisper. A pleasure." He bows deeply to her, either heedless of, or more likely completely aware of the frown and tension and refusing to draw any undue attention. "You've come to the city almost in time for the beginning of Spring, I'm told. But this is my first winter here, so I wouldn't know." A small smile.

Mattheu appears to be really, really into the cookie that Medeia gave him and lost to the multiple people that have come in. He finds a seat, not at the table though at the card table and sips at his tea.

Mattheu has joined the an awesome card table.

Cesare checked dexterity + sewing at difficulty -7, rolling 19 higher.

Isabeau's hand raises to flutter to her chest, amusement in her voice as she says to Saccharin, "I came as one of the many versions of Dame Sugan in stories. Fake not-actually-a-mirror mirror, dragon statue and all. It was my first idea. It proved amusing at least" At Liara's approach, Isabeau raises up to her feet for a moment to offer The Grayson Princess a curtsey before she settles down comfortably again, "Thank you, your Grace. And thank you for coming. I believe they have some pastries somewhere, if I am not mistaken in your partiality to them with tea."

Quenia is momentarily distracted from Ophne's response, but did not miss it entirely, when the Grayson High Lord enters. She offers Liara a deep curtsey before going back to her partying business. There's no mistaking the drawing down of her brows at Ophne's response, as though she's not sure what to make of it. "I'm glad to hear it is well. I had received word some time ago that it might... well... that something dark might befall the area, is all. I had tried to speak to the Marquessa, but she never responded to my messages." That sometime ago was literally a long time ago, but Quenia decides to be relieved over the matter for now. "Though, perhaps I should try again, with everything coming to pass. . ." What she means, of course, is the recent attack, but she won't say that out loud.

Kiera hms "I don't recall meeting a member of House Acheron previously" she remarks to Ophne" before turning to Quenia to return the greeting "A pleasure to see you too marquessa" scomment to the room "Drake's performance at the gauntlet really was astonishing. Both surprised and proud" She curtseys as liara enters "your grace"

Ophne blinks and turns to Cesare. Her frown nearly smoothes out. Nearly. "Well met, Cesare." She shifts slightly in her seat, returning a nod to the dark-haired man. "I feel Aviaron's Peak is not so dissimilar from Arx at this time of year." A slight smirk. "Where are you originally from?" The warden looks to Medeira curiously, as if she thinks she might have something to add.

At the mention of her sister, Ophne deflates a little in front of Quenia. "She must be very busy. I have returned only recently and have also sent couriers her way.. but there is no response. This was only days ago." It was admittedly worrisome that Quenia had tried with the same negative outcome some time ago. "I initially arrived back in Arx as she was unresponsive from Avarion's Peak. It seems I am no closer to an answer than you are."

Liara turns a quick smile towards Quenia at the curtsey, then replies to Isabeau, "Do you indeed? How splendid. Already an excellent party, and one with a few unfamiliar faces, which I really must remedy." She offers a flutter of her fingers in response to Kiera. "Lady Kiera, how do you do?"

Quenia's words regarding the peak draw Cesare's attention for a moment, and he chews his lip before remembering something abruptly and retrieving a little paper tchotchke from his pocket to hand over to the birthday Duchess. "It's not much, but I've always favored handmade gifts," he murmurs, before leaving her again to her conversation with the High Lady.

"I'm from Setarco," he replies to Ophne. "Quite different, quite lovely. Have you ever been? I think everyone should go, sometime. But I am a bit biased. Do tell me, my lady, what do you hope to do in the city? And perhaps I should say... I think there are a few people aware of the, hm. Potential danger to the area, and that I believe a watchful eye is being kept. If it's not? I will reiterate to them. And have you met Lady Saccharin, Lady Ophne? Probably not, if you are newly arrived."

"I'm sure you'll meet up with her soon enough," Quenia offers in reassurance to Ophne. "I know I'm always bumping into people in Domus Igniseri when I least expect it. Or, she's buried under paperwork somewhere and needs rescue." She glances over at her assistant, Aspira, a moment. "I do not know what I'd do without my latest assistant. She makes sure I get out to have fun. I wasn't having any before," she confides.

Mattheu finishes his cookie, looks to be less flush in the face and gets up from the card table to come closer to the group, while looking to Medeia and where the plate of cookies are. His movement is significantly more quiet than normal. "Setarco? That's in the Southern isles. We've made port there a couple of times, shipping goods and the likes." He looks to Cesare briefly before taking another glance to the cookies.

Mattheu has left the an awesome card table.

At the edge of her vision, Cesare draws back Ophne's full attention. "I have not been," she replies thoughtfully, "But it sounds beautiful." A rare smile filters through her features, only to be consumed by her trademark scowl. "I initially returned to speak to my sister Rhea, the marquessa. Failing that, I would like to help out any way I can at Bastion. Protecting Aviaron's Peak would be necessary, of course, should the need arise." Lady Saccharin? Her eyes round out, looking toward the elf. "Is she..?" Her voice drops to a murmered whisper. Louder, then. "I cannot say I have."

She turns to Lady Saccharine and dips her head just as Quenia appears to whisper something her way - her spine noticeably stiffens like a board. Biting her lip and looking furious, Ophne's eyes narrow and she nods to Quenia. So it would be done.

Kiera smiles to Liara "I am quite well. Though keeping track of the latest news has been dizzying. there is both too much and not enough. I definitely want to note that brother oswyn had an informative meeting of the scholars. happy to collaborate with colleagues. it keeps me centered"

Medeia shuffles her plate slightly, nudging it away from the edge of the table as she greets Liara. "High Lady Liara, I somehow missed your arrival. My apologies. I'm happy to see you." To Kiera, she gives a nod. "You know? I think Lady Ophne is the only one I've met, myself." Her eyes scan the room, smiling at all the faces present. "What a beautiful gathering of people you've drawn out, Duchess Isabeau."

Liara gives a little duck of her chin to Kiera and offers some quiet but earnest words, "I have heard nothing but good things about Brother Oswyn, and I am glad that his meetings are going well." Then she gives a flutter of a wave to Medeia. "I shouldn't think that anyone need ever apologise for missing somebody's arrival to a party, my lady. I am happy to be here."

Quenia seems relieved that Ophne will do as she requests. That task complete she now goes to take a seat at one of the tables herself, after picking up a pastry or two. She makes sure to give Saccahrin a wide birth, not wanting to disturb the Nox'alfar after her own initial exclamation over Saccharin's dress. She even managed to procure herself a steaming mug of hot chocolate. It's not always wine with Quenia!

Quenia has joined the a blue rose table of fortunes.

"It is," Cesare agrees to Mattheu. To Ophne, he expounds, "It is built primarily of white marble, and the sea there is an impossible blue. In the summer it always smells of citrus and spice, and the whole city is built so that the breezes blowing through keep the air cool. And of course it's terribly dangerous as well, it's got a notorious criminal underworld. Pirates and mercenaries and black market trade aplenty." His mouth tucks up into a slight smirk. "Is she what, my lady?"

He waves a hand, finally pouring himself a cup of tea and settling in next to his patron, peering at whatever assortment of pastries Medeia has selected with some judgment. "Do let me know if Whisper House can assist in getting you settled in any way, Lady Ophne. I am not much one for martial abilities, but I'm something of a diplomat, and -" the airy gesture suggests, plenty of other things.

"It truly sounds lovely. Pirates and all." With deliberate care, Ophne gives an inelegant shrug to Cesare on the subject of Lady Saccharine. She is quiet for a long while, and twice she almost asks him again about Setarco, but instead she keeps her mouth shut, feeling the fluttering of her blood in her veins. "I would like to speak to you further, if you do not mind, at a later date. I will send you a courier. Thank you for the introduction and it was very good to meet you, sir. If you would excuse me.." A meaningful glance is thrown to Medeia and even Saccharine, a recognition of sorts.

The girl breaks away from the group with an unfashionably abrupt departure, saying nothing more. Steadfast, she beelines for Quenia's table and routes over to a chair there next to the brown-eyed woman. "Marquessa..." she trails, the rest lost to talk at the table.

Ophne has joined the a blue rose table of fortunes.

Isabeau gives a gentle dip of her head as her blue eyes flick around, "So it would seem," she remarks to Medeia as she refills her tea cup, dressing it and draining a little of its freshened contents as she moves to select another of the small iced tea cakes, "I know Duke Ansel was disappointed that he couldn't attend, but he will have to make it up to me later."

Quenia glances up from Ophne mid-sip from her hot chocolate, the kind where the cup is poised and she's about to swallow. A chocolate mustache becomes noticeable the moment she lowers her mug back down. "Lady Ophne..?" she does manage to query before the conversation draws to the quiet of the table. Her brow once more crinkles as concern washes anew across her features.

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, following Corban.

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, delivering a message to Quenia before departing.

Kiera hms at the mention of Duke Ansel with a nod "I have not yet had the pleasure to talk to duke ansel since his return, though I saw you both at the gauntlet of course" she says to Isabeau

Quenia is settled at the blue rose table with Ophne, holding a quiet conversation. Her brow is furrows ever so slightly. She pauses as a messenger stops at he table, "Tell him it was about the dream, from a year or more ago. The one about the Compact," she remarks to him out loud. She then gives a significant look to Ophne, then looks back to the woman.

"I rather think you can tell me yourself, Marquessa Quenia," says Sir Corban on the heels of his aide that he sent off to find the Lycene woman only to find her at his cousin's own birthday party. Speaking of whom. His eyes dart this way and that, looking for the birthday girl.

The shadow of Ophne's bangs falls across her cheeks. She sits in a stiff-necked fashion, hands resting lightly in her lap and back straight. Her mouth twists in discomfort as the messenger arrives, but curiousity quickly replaces that. She addresses Quenia again, but the conversation is confined to the table.

Medeia flicks a look to Cesare. "Have I chosen poorly?" She makes a gesture at her plate, a smile tinged with amusement on her lips. "I would hate for my selection of sweets to offend."

Quenia glances back up from the table where she's seated. "Sir Corban," she offers a warm smile in greeting, even if her features are otherwise solemn and serious; so much so that the Lycene woman might be accused of being a Valardin! "Would you care to join us?" she offers, motioning to the table.

Isabeau is sitting at one of the tables, basking in the adoration of all. Or just nibbling on a tea cake and drinking her tea. She flashes Corban a warm smile as he enters and starts looking around, a hand raising to wave at him. She is impossible to miss in her pretty pink.

Mattheu nods to Medeia, "If anyone is telling you that the cookies you've brought were a poor choice, then they should be dragged from their seat." He looks to her and the cookies, "They have been rather delightful."

"Oh, my darling Lady Medeia," Cesare sighs. "You know I don't care for sweets. I'm trying to decide which of those things would be most palatable for someone that is far more inclined to the tart side of the flavor spectrum. What are we going to do for our birthday party? I'm so excited now. Whatever it is, my only request is that there be plenty of alcohol on hand."

Someone shows up with a message for Liara, which she gives some cursory scrutiny, before quietly excusing herself and heading on out again.

"I should like that, Marquessa. But just one moment, please." Corban holds up a finger to Quenia before he makes his way off to the birthday girl of the hour and wraps his arms around her. "Happy birthday, my dear cousin," he says, kissing each cheek in turn. "I wish you health and happiness for all of your family in the coming year."

Ophne shoots Isabeau a guilty glance; after all, it is her party and here Ophne is conferring with others. Lots to make up for. Sir Corban is given a more thorough, careful assessment as he approaches his cousin.

Isabeau raises an eyebrow at Corban as amusement curves her lips as she raises her hand to stifle a soft giggle. She raises an eyebrow at him as she wonders, "Isn't that like wishing yourself good health too?"

Saccharin rises from her seat and makes for the birthday girl, murmuring something in her ear. Then she's waggling her fingers to Cesare, Quenia and Medeia. "I'll catch you all soon, dears." Doesn't need to use her parasol since the sun has surely set by now.

"Me?" asks Corban with a shake of his head as he steps back from Isabeau. "Oh, no. I am no longer family, remember? There was a whole ceremony and I was released from vows and I'm the King's problem now. You are rid of me." He winks.

Saccharin has left the a round table draped in embroidered lace.

Quenia glances over at Saccharin as she's addressed, raising her brows slightly. "A pleasure to meet you again, Lady Saccharin," she tells the Nox'alfar. Or, tries to.

Kiera quirks a brow at Cesare's comment "Do you and Lady Eswynd have the same birthday?"

A 'hm' catches in Medeia's throat as she contemplates the cookies, selecting a simple shortbread dipped in bitter dark chocolate to hand him. "Well, we will certainly have to use the ballroom now that it is finished." A glance to Kiera. "Just five days apart!"

Cesare sighs in admiration as Saccharin sweeps out, a vision in scarlet, pale skin, and platinum hair. "Isn't she just /dreamy/?" he asks Medeia. Then he leans over to whisper something conspiratorially. To Kiera he shakes his head, but Medeia answers before he can, and so he takes the cookie and places it in his mouth instead, taking a bite and chewing with a deeply thoughtful expression.

Whatever Saccharin murmurs to Isabeau has her go stock still for a few moments, blinking several times, even as her brow knits in... confusion? Uncertainty. She takes a few moments to consider whatever it was before she looks up at Corban once more, "Oh, you'll always be our problem, Corban. Blood calls to blood and all." She murmurs softly.

Kiera hms "That's nice. Appropriate time for a joint celebration I should think. Speaking of which is should go spend some time with my nephew"

Quenia smiles a bit over at the interaction between Corban and Isabeau, not wanting to disturb them. She continues on with her talks with Ophne.

Mattheu finishes off another cookie that he's gotten. Looking to Isabeau, "It's been a lovely evening Duchess, I should be on my way. I know that I did show up empty handed though, I leave you with a thought that is better than a solid item. The hand of life is in the wind, while breath in the sunlight, with heart contained to those which wind and sunlight lead you to. May you enjoy your day." He gives Isabeau a loud bow as all the bells upon his person chime out at once.

Kiera gives her own nod and smile in departure "Have a lovely day Duchess I shall see you soon"

Winter, A Highhill Puppy leaves, following Kiera.

"Well, then. I look forward to being in your hair for many more years to come," says Sir Corban, leaning in to give Isabeau another hug and murmuring in her ear and waiting to hear any response before pulling away. "I ought to go say to the Marquessa."

Ophne looks away to Corban and Isabeau, discomfitted. Her skin feels too tight, as though she needs to stretch it out a bit, loosen it up and break it in. She shifts in her seat, turning around to glue her attention to Quenia once more.

Medeia gives Cesare /A Look/ at whatever he says to her quietly. It's some combination of surprise and confusion - and maybe a hint of jealousy. Maybe. "Dear, why don't we take this conversation to the sanctuary? I'd hate to continue to draw attention from the Duchess, and I'd like to be on the same side of the city as home if this snow keeps up." She stands and gives Isabeau a sweeping cutsy. "Duchess, thank you for having me. I hope that you are able to enjoy the test of your birthday. And might I suggest speaking with Mistres Cufre Harrow? She's quite the talent with the gift I gave you. I'll pay whatever fees she asks to turn them into something worthy of you." Mattheu's jingling catches her attention and makes her smile. "Oh, Lord Mattheu, those bells are delightful. Such a cheerful sound." As she heads toward the door, a quiet wave of farewell is sent to Quenia and Ophne.

Cesare rises to accompany his patron out the door. "Happy birthday, Duchess Isabeau! Thank you for a charming time, and I wish you many happy returns."

Klavdiya, who is definitely a handmaiden and not a reaver, 2 Eswynd shieldbearers, Loryk, a cocky but amiable reaver leave, following Medeia.

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