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Grayson Fealty Dinner - Sept.

The next installment of the Grayson Fealty Dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, September 7! Vassals, friends, allies, and strangers interested in learning about the Grayson fealty are all welcome to attend this dinner. It's a great way to get together, foster new connections, and recruit for projects.


Sept. 7, 2021, 7 p.m.

Hosted By



Kathivor Saccharin Ian Cesare Raven Catalana Zoey Jerrica Liara Lore Titus Caprice Varan Aindre Jaenelle Symonesse



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Raven checks 'recovery check' at normal. Raven marginally fails.

Still not quite used to hosting the dinner's in her sister's stead, Lou is well ahead of her dinner guests and likely into her whiskey cups. She's seeing to a few last minute arrangements, which deal with the surprise pies. "Just make sure that they're all nice and mixed up so no one knows which one they are getting, assuming, of course, they are keen enough to try them. It's very important." So, so important. She mentioned the dinner would probably be boring, but she found a clever, clever way to make certain it would not be entirely so. Once she's sure everything is arranged just so on the table, she flops into a chair, waiting for the guests to arrive and sipping at her whiskey.

Frost, a Maelstrom Forest Cat, Brutus, a very muscular Good Boi, Carolina, an orphan from Bravura arrive, following Lore.

Ian comes in with Zoey, although even when walking with someone, he never REALLY looks like he's walking WITH them because of the way that he tends to focus on his own footsteps. A hint of something drawn about his face and some weariness is all (visibly) remains of the damage done to him in Bastion. He allows Zoey to pick their places at the table, and takes a seat where indicated.

Kathivor enters, followed by a queasy looking servant with strong arms and a deep wariness in his face, and accompanied by the Lady Saccharin. The Nox'Alfar ambassador is dressed finely, in a flared, embroidered vest of dark purple silk, a black coat with dramatic, metal edged tails that reach nearly to the ground, and black trousers embroidered with silver spiderwebs. The servant is carrying...a very large box of carved bone. It's large enough to require both arms to hold it, although it seems light enough that the man can hold it very straight, and very still. Something is...skittering. Inside the box. When it starts to get loud, Kathivor murmurs back at the servant, "Remember what we discussed." The man begins to the box. It falls mostly quiet. He offers a bow to Lou, in greeting, and his arm to Saccharin as they are shown to their seats.

The Softest Whisper is a busy man, but after his most recent meeting with the Pathfinder, it seemed prudent to be here tonight, and so, drifting in like a cool breeze of soothing blues, here he is, his gaze immediately drawn to Lou...and her whiskey. But the gaze flickers away momentarily as he moves to find a seat. At least until he spots the Nox'alfar ambassador and his assistant and some of his placidity and poise melts away as he sends an excited wave to the purple-clad lady.

Raven strides in. She's arrives without guard or plus one and while she was not stomped on by a Gargantuan she bears a muted weariness not unlike that which lingers about Ian. All the same she summons a smile when her gaze meets those of people she recognizes, respectfully bowing her head and finding a seat of her own to stand behind. Verdant gaze sweeps about the room noting the exitm, the occupants, and then the decorations in that order.

Catalana arrives with all the airs and graces of someone quite comfortable in the Grayson home. A warm smile is presented to Lou as she enters into the dining hall. A playful tick to her voice as she greets her friend. "Princess Lou. Thank you for hosting dinner. I have been looking forward to it all month." She takes a glass of wine from a passing servant and lingers to chat awhile, waiting to choose a seat.

6 Grayson House Guards, Marshal, a quiet archer and assistant arrive, following Varan.

Zoey finds seats for herself and Ian at the main table, and cannot help but go a bit wide-eyed at the vast array of pies on display. Her attention is of course drawn by the arrival of the ambassador and his box, her head tilting slightly when he sings to whatever creature is moving about inside of it. She does not stare long, as that would be rude, and she focuses on Lou before dipping into a quick curtsey.
"You have put on quite a dinner, Lou," she says, careful not to address her with that P-word. "It looks fantastic."

Jerrica bounds down the hallway and into the dining room. She intentionally slows her pace when she enters the dining room, but it takes a moment for her breathing to return to normal. She has missed many family dinners recently and wanted to be on time for this one. She wears a green brocade dress with deer embroidery and brown books. She waves at the Kennexes and Raven. She circulates making sure all the guests are comfortable.

Liara arrived ahead of time, and has furnished herself with some of the not-surprising food - she's boring like that. Seemingly in a quiet mood for this particular meal, she offers smiles to greet various people but not much by way of actual words are forthcoming. She casts a quizzical look over towards the carved bone box that's brought in, her eyebrows creeping up, but she passes no comment.

Lore arrives shortly after Raven, nudging the woman lightly and flashing a brief grin before turning and offering a quick bow towards Lou. Its towards the Kennexes that she moves, however, offering another bow towards them and murmuring something quietly before taking a seat nearby.

5 King's Own Guardsmen, Tulip, a small swarm of pearlescent spiders arrive, following Symonesse.

Symonesse arrives, following Aindre.

Tulip have been dismissed.

Frost, a Maelstrom Forest Cat have been dismissed.

Brutus, a very muscular Good Boi have been dismissed.

Lou rises from her seat to give a bow of her own, her motions as smooth as she can make them. "Ambassador Kathivor, do please be welcome to Grayson manse." Her eyes go curiously to the box, which widen ever so slightly when skittering can be heard, and then to the man who sings to it. After she observes the man holding the box for a few moments, she looks to Saccharin, and asks Kathivor. "I do not believe I've been introduced to your lovely escort before." She nods her head to Saccarin, "I am Princess Lou Grayson," she introduces herself. "Voice of House Grayson and Pathfinder to the Society of Explorers." She sees some other guests coming in from behind the Nox'alfar arrivals, and she waves them in, offering them mostly warm smiles. They have not been her normal warm since the night of Bastion's sacking.

Ian nods to Lore, or maybe nods a greeting at Lore. She'd just whispered to him or Zoey, so he could either be greeting her, or agreeing with whatever she said. Or just nodding to himself. His flat affect doesn't really give a lot of context clues as to what the gesture means.

Titus enters the grand dining room dressed in a southern martial uniform of deep crimson that's almost black, accentuating the tall pale figure's grim and too gaunt face. There's large box that's covered by black satin that's placed near the wall, out of the way. The blood red eyes sweep across the faces as he makes his way towards a seat.

Zoey dips again for Liara when the High Lady enters the hall, and flutters her fingers to Jerrica and Raven before settling into her seat beside Ian.

"Your Highness, thank you for your hospitality, and the kind invitation." Kathivor's smile is warm. "This is my assistant, the Lady Saccharin, of the Twilight Court." He gestures towards the box. "We have brought a gift, of course, but would not wish to interrupt dinner with it. Perhaps the servant could wait in a side room? Somewhere with good acoustics," he adds, a bit thoughtfully. "And nothing too shiny. They do get agitated."

"Well hello!" Saccharin follows her fellow ambassador into the room, barely sparing a moment before she's greeting everyone with the warmest of smiles. She seems overly protective of the box that the attendant following the carries, whispering things quietly to it. She takes a seat before she smiles toward Lou. "It's a pleasure to meet you, your highness. I must say you don't resemble Alarice a whole lot but like none of us look like our relatives so in a way it proves you are totally a descendant you know?"

In a sea of finery, one more drop shouldn't stand out too much. That suits Caprice just fine as she's come to listen - well, to eat and drink too, but mostly to keep to herself and keep her ears open. Deep curtseys here and there, less formal but quiet greetings for those she's more familiar with, and that is about all that is planned as far as Caprice's contribution to the evening overall.

Raven turns and bows unobtrustively to the princess, and then to the nobles on either side of her. Her eyebrows shoot up briefly at mention of Twilight Court and she sneaks a curious glance towards Kathivor and his personal assistant. She liiiifts an eyebrow at the mention of a gift and the clear indication whatever it is, is alive. Saccharin's comment draws yet another blink.

Varan strides into the dining room and gives a smile to family and a waggle of fingers to some familiar faces. His gaze catches sight of a few guests he doesn't recognize and a polite nod greets them before he goes in search of a drink. A hand slips into the pocket of his waistcoat as he finds his sister along the way. "Jerrica." That charming smile returns. "Been staying out of trouble?"

Catalana hearing Kathivor's guests introduction, she turns to give them a very curious look. She makes her way towards where they are sitting. "May I?" She gestures to the seat nearby as an indicator she'd like to join them. "I'm Lady Catalana Kennex, a voice of House Kennex and a minister of House Thrax." She offers a warm smile to Titus as he sits.

Saccharin has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Prince Aindre is a little later than usual, perhaps delayed by the weather outside and stopping just inside to stomp the snow from his boots and shake it out of his cloak and see it handed off to the servant taking warmer garments at the door. He helps Queen Symonesse with the same and by the time he reaches the dining room he has one arm out for her and he's murmuring something in a quieter tone. Whatever he's saying breaks away as the pair of them come into sight and he's able to sweep that one good eye of his around at all the faces both familiar and strange. "Goodness, what an unsual turnout for dinner. It must be a special occasion.", he says by way of greeting, curiously look over the newer Nox'alfar here as guests as he first busies himself with finding a seat for the queen and seeing that she's settled. In the midst of that, there's a distinct smile aimed in Lord Ian's direction, along with a small wave. "You're looking considerably better.", he mentions.

Titus has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 2

Catalana has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Kathivor has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 2

Cesare is /so/ intrigued, but given his none-too-secret fascination with things like bats and giant spiders, that is not at all surprising. He manages to nonetheless pay attention to the arrivals, bow at the correctly appointed time, and settles into a place at the table, looking with interest at the surprise pies. But also at more normal food like... fruit. Nonetheless, he picks one of the surprise pies and enthusiastically takes a bite.

Ian has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Zoey has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Raven has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

Lore has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 2

Cesare has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 1

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington arrive, following Jaenelle.

"Oh, goody! You're here!" Jerrica happily replies to Varan and gives him a hug. "I've been mostly good, but I mearly lost my head to a deer the other day." As she listens to Kathivor's request she again turns to her brother. "You would know where in the mansion the best acoustics are, wouldn't you?" She doesn't wait for an answer and is distracted by the surprise pies in whose direction she wanders off.

Jerrica has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 1

Varan has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 2

Caprice has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

"Lady Catalana Kennex," Kathivor murmurs in greeting. "A pleasure to make your acquainted. I am Kathivor, Ambassador of the Nox'Alfar to Arx. Please, do join us." He reaches for a tiny pie, unable to resist the temptation. He takes a bite. His expression goes...thoughtful. Quiet. "Hmm. Jellied stinging nettle with, ah, is that candied cricket for sweetness and crunch?" He takes another bite. "Excellent, really. Very unique." He cuts the pie in half and offers the untouched half to Saccharin. "Do try it." Please ignore the slight breathiness to his voice.

Cesare checks composure at hard. Cesare is successful.

Zoey spots Aindre just before he calls out Ian's way, and offers a wave and a bright smile for her cousin before rising to retrieve a slice of a mystery pie. She sets it down at her place before altering course to meet Kathivor as well. She dips her head. "Ambassadors," she greets the pair of Nox'alfar. "I am Lady Zoey Kennex nee Bisland, also Voice of Kennex and Minister of Coin. I saw you at the Assembly of Peers --" that last bit to Kathivor "-- and am glad to officially make your acquaintance."

Catalana happily takes a seat beside Kathivor, "Thank you. My husband and I are both very interested in your home and people. He has a dream of one day building a sort of ship to fly to your lands. I on the other hand am more interested in your histories." Looking at her pie, she takes a wary bite and relaxes, "Oh. Lamb and... garlic and rosemary I think. Delicious."

Cesare's expression, to his credit, does not change when he bites into the pie. However, what comes spilling out of it is not chocolate, but gritty, sandy mud. Sticky, deep brown, almost-black, tarry mud. It /looks/ almost like chocolate. It is most certainly not chocolate. However: Cesare eats the entire pie. He ends up looking as though he's wearing some very avant-garde brown lipstick, which he carefully dabs off with a napkin, and he beckons a servant over, gesturing for a LARGE glass of water and a LARGE glass of wine, the size of which are indicated with both his hands and a soft murmur.

Titus has a pie presented to him. The crust is a beautiful golden brown with smaller stars placed on top, oh so cute. But poking out of the crust stars are the wide-eyed heads of very small smoked fish as if they're standing out of the pie. Taking the fork and knife in hand he cuts into it, revealing delicious maple-glazed bacon, the tell-tale scent of hard-boiled eggs and a rather pungent mustard-laced custard. He chews it a few times quite thoughtfully before the whispered voice speaks from decayed lungs, "A stargazing pie.......a delightful nightmare."

Jaenelle is late, but sometimes such things are unavoidable. At least she is here though! She moves towards the table and sits in the chair that she has decided to claim as her very own, personal specific chair that can only fit a Jaenelle bottom within it. She leans over to the first servant to inform them, "unless otherwise stated, this is my chair now and place at this table whenever I am here and should anyone complain tell them that Liara said so." Liara did not say so. She then turns her attention towards those around the table and offers a bright smile, "forgive me for being late," then she pauses and loots towards the pies, "whats going on?"

Ian selects one of the mystery pies and cuts it open. He takes a moment to make sure there's nothing actively moving inside and, discovering that it's just some kind of spiced meat or vegetables or something, starts to eat it with an air of disinterest. He gives a deep nod to Aindre and Symonesse when they come in (the depth of the nod is probably because of Symonesse). "Not dead yet," he agrees to Aindre, stabbing his fork into something else. He examines the pepper on the tines of the fork and then eats that, too, without any particular reaction.

Symonesse is nothing but grateful as Aindre helps her shake the snow out of her cloak and provides an arm to balance with as she changes from sturdy boots to her more delicate spidersilk slippers. Once she is properly attired, Symonesse takes Aindre's and heads into the dining room with him. Whatever he says makes that already luminous smile brighten up by several degrees and she murmurs a few words in return before focusing her attention on the dining room and those within it. The ambassador and the assistant ambassador are offered bright smiles as she takes the chair that Aindre pulls out for her with another of those brilliant, grateful smiles. Her golden eyes glance over the pies, but she doesn't seem too keen on trying one for herself right away.

"This is so, damn... hmm I'm trying to find a very fancy word for sweet. Very sugary you know?" Saccharin says as she takes a bit from her pie. "If only there was a better term." And she takes another bite before turning to Kathivor. "Are you trying to poison me? Like I will eat it either way but gods... it's almost unlike you." Her eyes widen as she reaches over to take a spoonfull from the untouched half. "What an interesting mixture of flavors." She looks thoughtful. "I wonder if I could start to feed these creatures instead."

Varan leans a teensie bit closer to Jerrica and murmurs, "Did the Ambassador say 'candied cricket'?" And then a tiny pie is offered upon a silver tray, which merits another smile from the prince. "I'll try it. If it's vile? You'll have to find the room where the acoustics are best on your own..." he says with a wry smile to his sister. A bite of the pie is taken and he looks /pleased./ "I think it's cherry with a hint of-- cream cheese?" Squint. "No beetle wings that I can taste."

Lou inclines her head to Kathivor, "Certainly, one of the servants will show the way to such a proper room." There are lots of nooks and crannies in Grayson manse, especially since the addition of the new Bastion wing. The servant will find an easy place to settle Kathivor's person and box. "And you are quite welcome for the invitation," she dips her head politely. She smiles in Saccarin's direction. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Saccharin. Cesare has said many lovely things about you," she tells her. She's not quite sure how to react to Saccharin's greeting so she simply says, "Thank you!" She motions to the table, "In honor of your arrival, I had some special pies made. Surprise pies. Each contains a different flavor, sweet, savory or vile. I did warn Kathivor that I don't really host exciting parties, so I hope this will at least provide some excitement for the evening. Or, at least, a curiosity."

Liara flashes Zoey a smile in response, a small flutter of a wave offered, before she returns to her - boring, exceedingly sensible, but tasty - soup. She lifts her gaze curiously on hearing her name, then offers Jaenelle a smile and a brief explanation, "There are potentially surprising pies available to eat."

Selecting one of the pies littering the table, Lore seems to base her choice on whichever one appears to have the flakiest, most buttery crust. She pulls it in closer as others around her are discovering their own pies, sending her fork into the pie to bring a bite up for consumption. She chews, considering, a variety of expressions flitting across her features. Surprise, delight, then unfettered enjoyment of the tastes hidden within. "Mmmmmmm.. Is that... lamb? And the spices are -divine-... I can taste cardamom, ginger, tumeric... garlic... is that... cumin? Oh, and peas! Oh this is delightful!"

"I heard candied cricket, too." Jerrica replies to Varan. Her graceful hand hovers over the tray of pies of a moment as she hesitates. There is clearly a wild variety of pies to be had tonight. She plucks one and tastes it tentatively with a childlike nibble. "Mmm... Chocolate!" Now there is a normal sized bite. She waves to Liara and Jaenelle as she has been meaning to find time to meet with the Archduchess. "The pies are not all bad. Mine was lovely!"

"Lady Zoey, a pleasure," Kathivor responds to Zoey with a smile. He gives Saccharin an impish sort of smile at her. "I would never try to poison you, Lady Saccharin. Not at a dinner party, anyway. It's considered at least mildly rude. In this fealty, anyway. It's just an experience. I wish to share." He leans in and murmurs something to her, low.

As Symonesse arrives with Aindre, he inclines his head deeply to her, and offers a warm smile of his own. Then, to Lou, "There is nothing wrong with a boring party, I assure you. Sometimes parties can get far too exciting. This is just...the right amount of excitement." He points at the pie.

Cesare gives a muddy smile in Saccharin's direction, nodding, and then turns it on Lou momentarily, before his glass of water arrives and he is able to rinse most of the mud out of his teeth. "I did not tell her about your plans to wipe out an entire society of people using giant underwater invertebrates," he asides to Saccharin, clearly in jest. "Your sea slug ascension is safe."

Raven blinks at surprise pies and eyes the pie infront of her. Watching others dig in she follows suit, taking a far more dainty bite than the Blackheart is usually want to do but finding nothing objectional about her pie she relaxes a smidge. The ambassador and his assistant are watched carefully but she does not approach leaving nobles to meet and greet before she dares to do such. To Lore, "Oh, there was a spice in here I couldn't name, thank you, I was wondering what it was." She rises and bows when Symonesse an Aindre arrive and move to join.

There's a warm smile on Saccharin's lips when she sees the Queen, dipping her head to her and the prince who accompanies her. "Well as long as there are no Marin in the room, my plan will commence." Her eyes glitter Cesare's way. She looks positively shocked at Kathivor's words on parties and the possibility of too much excitement. Her lips part but she quickly glances down at her pie and digs in. Practicing self control.

Kathivor side-eyes Saccharin. "Sea slugs?" he murmurs, one eyebrow rising.

Zoey's smile brightens and she quips to Kathivor and Saccharin, "I have only seen a dinner guest poisoned once in this city, and... Well, it was not a Grayson dinner." She adds something a bit softer that is directed to Kathivor.

"Oh! The barkeep in the Hundred Cities inn has been doing this to me for..." Jaenelle takes a deep breath, clearly that long. "When I first came to the city he was a novice baker and would create various cakes and pies with different pairings to see what worked and didn't. More often than not, they were interesting but not overly good. Now, though he has experience now, every so often I will receive something new from him to try. They've gotten better and some pairings I never would have considered," Jaenelle tells Liara after she explains about the pies. A finger wiggle is given in Jerrica's direction, "I am glad to hear you've been lucky! Do you bake, Princess Jerrica?"

Zoey mutters, "... ... ... about ... ... ... sang ... May I speak with you some time after ... It is not ... ... I am ..."

"Oh, I went to a masquerade as one of the Marin'alfar and expressed fear for their utmost enemies. Sea slugs. I mean what else do they do with their time down there, let's be rea." Saccharin responds to Kathivor with a grit of her teeth.

Catalana agrees with Zoey, "Neither. I have heard of poison parties held by the Lycenes but yet to experience one myself." Her attention turns to Saccharin, "There's many legends of the Marin'alfar. My brother Evander has an extensive collection of their legends. He use to believe his mother was one when he was a small child."

Liara offers a flutter of her fingers in a wave to Jerrica, then gets back to what's left of her soup. She ventures in response to Jaenelle, "That sounds potentially delightful; I am not sure that he would intentionally include anything too unpalatable." Polishing off that spot of food in front of her, she settles back on her chair, listening to the conversation about.

Ian does his best impression of a lump while he sits there, munching on his pie. He peers at it again when he pulls out another pepper, then gives the filling a suspicious look. No particular reaction to eating it, still.

"That reminds me, I have more questions for you sometime about...watery beings," Cesare murmurs in Saccharin's general direction. "But you are a busy person lately. The number of letters you must be receiving! So many people told me they have written you. How can we blame them, you're so charming and witty." And you have been TELLING everyone how great she is, Cesare. He picks a plate of fruit which is more familiar to him, and eats it delicately, like a bird.

Lou checks composure at normal. Lou is successful.

Nodding to Raven, Lore flashes a quick smile, "You're welcome. How have you been, by the way? Been awhile since we last spoke." The talk of sea slugs has her looking towards Saccharin, "Is your army comprised solely of sea slugs, my lady? Have you given any thought to the umbrella octopus? Very small, very... adorable. Also quite clever. And no messy ink sacs!" Pausing to fork up another bite of her pie, she takes a few moments to simply enjoy the chatter going around the room.

"Ah. I see." Kathivor gives Saccharin a look. And then that look passed on to Cesare, accompanied with a single arched eyebrow. He takes another sample of the food as it passes by - this time, a 'boring' selection of lamb. He cuts it into delicate pieces. He glances at Lore, then back at Saccharin. "You've been busy, it seems."

"I hear that my cousin Noah holds regular poison parties... or, so the heralds would say when they make such announcements. They are done in the Velenosa distract, are they not, Archduchess?" Lou interjects lightly, with a light twinkle in her eye. "I admit, I have not found time to see whether or not he truly poisons anyone with anything other than liquor." She watches as everyone tries their pies, curious to see who gets what. She gives Cesare a consoling look, but nods to him appreciatively. She also selects a pie, as she settles back down into her seat. She carefully cuts into her pie and takes a bite, not daring to look at it. She chews it a moment, and chews, and chews, and chews. She really, really wants to make a face, which can be seen, but she does not. She must have gotten one of the vile pies. "I will have to commend the Chef's on their creativity this evening," she says after she finally manages to swallow the one bite. She pushes the rest aside to select some roasted chicken instead!

"I am afraid I do not bake, Your Grace." Jerrica replies to Jaenelle. "I spent far too much time in the woods as a child to learn how to do much in the kitchen. I was at the Hundred Cities in the other evening. Wonderful wine! How is the Archduke? Has he been behaving?" The princess listens to the conversations about sea slugs and other watery beings with concern. When she is on boats too long she gets wobbly... knowing these things exist may make her wobbly much sooner.

Catalana's words get Saccharin's attention and her brows rises up for a moment. "Your brother was named... Evander? Not a name I've encountered for a while." Her eyes drift off in far-away mode. "Perhaps she was marin'alfar. He should attempt to breathe underwater. Do all Marin kids manage that? I don't know. But it'd be fun to try." She turns to Lore and tilts her head. "Surrreee. We can say they have that kind of army. Honestly you'd have to ask the watery queen." She lifts her shoulder up as if to indicate she has no clue.

Varan joins Jerrica in greeting Liara and Jaenelle. "Cousin, you look lovely. And, welcome, Archduchess. It's good to finally meet you." Noah may or may not have mentioned family and if he hasn't yet, a name is supplied for introduction. "Varan." A charming half-smile follows and he turns toward Jerrica. "Does Noah /ever/ behave?" A tease, that! And another smile follows, this one a touch wry for the jest.

"Oh, this was a Malvici dinner, a year or two back," Zoey explains to Catalana before returning to her seat and taking a bite of her pie at last. She listens to the conversation about Evander's parentage with a slight look of unease, but after the bite her expression brightens. "Ooh, berry preserve!"

Kathivor clears his throat. "For the record, the Twilight Court does not endorse any human attempting to breathe underwater. You may try it if you like, but I recommend against it, personally. For one, salt burns terribly in contact with soft tissues."

Raven smiles to Lore, "It has been too long." She agrees inbetween dainty bites of pie, "I'm been busy. I've assembled a handful of researchers to help me sort out various matters and ensure others have access to information they require for various duties they are attenting to." She still spots a sling though the arm no longer sports any obvious sign of injury, "Either reading, meeting, or training inbetween duties. What of you? You're looking well."

Saccharin looks at Kathivor and with widened eyes, gives a nod. "Yes there are dangers to your mortal bodies. Unfortunately. It's very unfortunate."

"I learned a bit about Queen Ayllish when I was trying to figure out the runes that were carved all over the the Stone Shield of Marin. A few of the mages in fact. I do often wonder what it might be like to live underwater, but I quite like to breathe air. It makes for better exploring." Lou remarks to Saccharin, but gets a far away look on her eyes a moment, "Though if someone could invent a way to breathe underwater, just think of all that could be explored below the waters!" Ever the explorer this one. "For now, I'll have to settle for travel to Foraiso to see the tunnels the dwarves dug for the druids." A trip she is very much looking forward to.

Raven can't help but to ask, perhaps speaking out of turn, "I am curious what activity the Twilight might endorse instead of a quick way to lightly drowning, ambassador?"

Cesare just smiles with improbable charm at Kathivor. "She has been tremendously helpful, Ambassador. It is not Lady Saccharin's fault that we share a terrible sense of humor." He squints at the suggestion regarding breathing underwater. Isn't that...common sense? Maybe it's not. But who knows. Cesare is just a street urchin in fancy clothes. Who knows what they are teaching the noble kids these days. Maybe 'don't breathe underwater' isn't one of them. "I went pearl diving recently and a fish squirted me in the eye and I /thought/ I saw a mermaid, but it was just a big clam. They would not let me sing to it to see if it would open up and a mermaid might come out. I think just a big pearl came out instead."

"He's not wrong," Ian agrees with Kathivor, on the subject of saltwater being inhaled.

Prince Aindre finds a smile for Saccharin as she dips her head to both he and Symonesse, this while he's seeking a chair for himself as well. As he gets settled in, he waves also to his cousin Zoey without interrupting her much from her conversation at hand and spends a long moment surveying the food - there's something skeptical in his look where it passes over the surprise pies - and he opts for something a little less likely to be stuffed with crickets or with mud. He turns to the side just a touch to let his gaze fall upon the queen and with a little lift of the brow over his eyepatch he asks of her, "Will you be trying to dangerous pies tonight?", in a way that's so polite it can't be anything but a dare.

Catalana twitches her lips on amusement at Kathivor and Succurinvs comments before shaking her head, "Unfortunately the proof was otherwise when it came to his mother. Plus, he catches a cold looking at water. I believe entering it may shorten his life dramatically." She plays with her pie a little, "How did you know an Evander, Ambassador? I fear I only have ever known my brother."

Titus has another bite of the horrid eggy fish pie and says "I think one of the chefs might have taken a recipe from the sea-folk." One of those standing anchovies stares at Titus with mouth open in silent gasp, he taps it with a knife. "I'm sure those that sleep at in the darkest of places in the seas would be happy for something to waken them from their slumber."

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Raven before departing.

Liara offers up a simple, "Thank you," in response to Varan, then, when someone brings up a (also very normal) salad for her, she digs into it, still listening to the conversation about.

"He has thrown one poison tasting party and yes, people were poisoned mildly. Healers were there to make sure no one died," Jaenelle informs Lou and there might be a slight shake of her head regarding the whole event. "It was enjoyable though, perhaps we can convince you to attend the next installment?" Jerrica's answer grants a nod of her head, "Noah has been well, I am sure he is disappointed to miss this dinner. He behaves as well as any other Archduke in the history of the fealty, I imagine. The title tends to come with some interesting characteristics, or so I have noticed." Moving from Jerrica to Varan then she smiles, "it is nice to meet you without a blindfold." She can't help but grin towards Kathivor, "Ambassador. What sound advice. Jelly though, I am certain is a better alternative to saltwater for attempting to breath within a liquid." When she spots Symonesse and Aindre, she offers both a dip of her head and a warm familiay smile, "Your Highnesses."

Kathivor glances at Raven, and offers a warm smile. "Ah, there are a lot of different activities that the Twilight Court favors. Most of them aren't really appropriate for most mortals. But I think there's a card game that's quite popular. And performing before the King's pig. He's said to have a keen eye for talent."

Symonesse catches a bit of what Saccharin, shares that look with Kathivor, and then adds, "The Marin'alfar are very busy taking back their city beneath the waves. They aren't anti-social at all! I have had several lovely conversation with the Marin'alfar ambassador when he was last here. I -do- hope they are alright down there..." A frown of concern steals away the brightness of the Queen's smile and she murmurs to herself, "Goodness, I should write to check in on them." Aindre's question distracts her and she says with a sparkling smile that doesn't quite hide her dare in return, "I will if you will. If you think you are brave enough for that much adventure tonight?" She gives Jaenelle a warm smile over Aindre's shoulder and a little wave before she looks back to Aindre with one slender, lily-white eyebrow arching.

Lou glances over at Jaenelle, "I'm not sure I'll be around for the next installment. At some point I'll be traveling to Foraiso, and another point I'll be helping to find the Grayson treasurer of Bastion to see if we can find the list of crypt items they kept, and compare it to what was taken from the crypt." Busy busy, this one. "And, I may be joining one of the scouting voyages back into the city. It all just depends on when we can get things planned and timed." She pauses a moment when Symonesse seems distressed. She's not the greatest at picking up social cues, given she spends much too much time in the woods usually. She looks to Kathivor. "You mentioned in your message that your gift may help with going back into Bastion?"

Zoey glances toward Symonesse. "Do you have some means of preserving the paper, your Highness?" she asks. "I have heard stories of the Marin'alfar carving messages onto stone tablets as an alternative. I can only imagine the plight of those messengers."

Ian looks between Aindre and Symonesse. "Last I heard, things down there were pretty rough. That was almost a..." He peers down at his fork when he spears another pepper and looks at the remains of his pie, almost completely consumed at this point. "Uh. Almost a year ago." After another brief contemplation of the pie, he seems to decide to go with it, and eats the pepper, still without any particular reaction.

"I mean I didn't know him super well personally but you know he /was/ the prince so it sort of sticks with you. But now he's Platinum so he probably totally forgot the name. I mean I have forgotten what my name stands for, so it'd be entirely fair." Saccharin responds to Catalana with an airy look before her attention snaps to Kathivor. "Oh, that would be interesting. This is a card game mortals can play, yes?"

Kathivor looks towards Lou with interest, and a small nod of approval. "Yes. Used carefully, the gift should help your people be able to get into or out of Bastion more safely. Not...safely, of course. It's quite dangerous. But the Lady Saccharin, well, she has raised a remarkable breed of spider. They're a bit colicky, so it's important that regular lullabies are sung to them. Otherwise they might, ah, EXPEL prematurely." He takes a bit of lamb, cheerfully.

Cesare murmurs something to Catalana, but then just gestures toward Saccharin when she elucidates further. "The King's pig?" he asks with interest, but then the mention of singing to spiders draws his attention instead. "Expel," he repeats. What a word. "I believe there will be plenty of singers of varied aptitudes part of these parties as well. I've agreed to lead the diplomatic portion of these missions."

Prince Aindre casts a quiet glance down the table toward Lord Ian and mentions to the man, "My understanding is things have not much improved since last we saw them. Then again, their enemies are numerous and fierce. Maybe one day we'll have enough breathing room up here to be of some assistance to them." It's not exactly dinner table conversation so that's all of it from out of the Grayson prince, and besides there's a Nox'alfar turning his own challenge upon him and that's.. distracting, to say the least. That one good stormsilver eye of his holds the briefest note of hesitation, but the dare of it doesn't seem to be something he can turn down. "Am I not always up for some adventure? It's a Grayson after all..". He reaches out just enough to nudge a pie in the Queen's direction until it's sitting before her, but does not miss the importance of Kathivor's warnings to which he asks, "What happens if they expel prematurely in the midst of a city ravaged by and crawling with things that likely want to kill us?".

Catalana goes quite pale with Cesare's whisper before turning a slight shade of red. "Interesting. Funny I never knew that before." Her voice quietens to listen to Aindre's question.

Raven ahhhs and bows her her head respectfully, "Thank you for indulging my curiosity, Ambassador. It is good to know there are perhaps some ways we might amuse such esteemed guest without them growing too bored should the occasion arise." Her attention swivels towards Symonesse and there's distinct curiosity at the Queen's concern for the Marin'alfar. She doesn't ask least she dampen the mood of the dinner but that tidbit get files away for later.

She draws in a deep breath and her expression pinches at the mention of Bastion, "I cannot speak for those who will be in command of such effort but given my recollection of the seige we could surely use any advantage that might be afforded. Returning is unlikely to be...recreactional." She liiiiiiiiiifts an eyebrow at Aindre and his comment on being up for adventure. It could be that there is a gap between what Raven considers 'adventure' and the current status of Bastion.

Lou raises both brows at Kathivor, and hms softly. She starts to ask a question, but Aindre beats her to it. So, instead of asking she politely waits for an anwser to his.

"Queen Ayllish is not called the Mother of Dolphins for nothing, as I am sure they are able to bring messages to the Marin'alfar," Jaenelle suggests with a shrug of her shoulders to Zoey. Then Saccharin speaks and Jae's smile faulters and disappears. It takes her a moment to find it again, hiding behind her glass of wine.

"Oh, I assume so. Young Fitz is apparently quite good at it," Kathivor tells Saccharin, before Prince Aindre's words catch his attention. He smiles at the man, pleasantly. "Why, that is when they SHOULD expel. Should those things find you. They will hide you from their sight. Briefly. Although I suppose it depends on how many eyes are involved. More than twenty or so, and you might need more than one. Especially if all twenty are on the same creature."

Ian says, "s brief pained expression probably has nothing to do with what's turning out to be an extremely, extremely spicy pie, since he's showed no real indication of noticing anything off about the pie. It probably, by its timing, has a lot more to do with the discussion about his cousin's name. Or maybe the state of the marin'alfar, based on the fact that what he says next is directed at Aindre: "I'd like that, someday.""

Ian's brief pained expression probably has nothing to do with what's turning out to be an extremely, extremely spicy pie, since he's showed no real indication of noticing anything off about the pie. It probably, by its timing, has a lot more to do with the discussion about his cousin's name. Or maybe the state of the marin'alfar, based on the fact that what he says next is directed at Aindre: "I'd like that, someday."

Symonesse has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 3

"Generally we use them for when we're caught unawares by the sun. You know sometimes you're up all night having a laugh and before you know it, sunrise. It's getting late. Super easy to lose track, especially on Nox mead. But their webs can protect us in an emergency!" Saccharin interjects helpfully with a smile. "And also for the crawling things his highness mentioned." A nod to Aindre.

"If you need a singer, particularly one accustomed to being around spiders, I can go," Zoey volunteers. "There are usually several in the Queen of Endings' shrine, and I have even grown fond of some of them."

Aindre has rolled 1 3-sided dice: 1

Ian's gaze snaps over to Zoey, and he opens his mouth as though to say something, then snaps it shut, and instead pours himself a glass of whiskey.

Raven chews her bottom lip and glances about the table curiously, her gaze lingers on Ian and then Aindre then swivels back to Kathivor, "Will it hide mortals or is it likely to hide any entity? What are the reasonable limits? The variable in question is the number of gazes not the number being hidden?"

Jerrica snags two glasses of wind and returns to Varan's side. "These dinners can go in so many directions," she says handing her brother one of the two glasses of wine. After raising her glass to him, she takes a large drink. "This will help. What have you been keeping yourself busy with these days?"

: A discreet messenger comes and whispers something briefly in Catalana's ear, the mumbled words of paint, explosion, nursery and Wash can be heard by those near her. She pinches her nose and rises, her pie only half eaten. "Please excuse me, there seems to be an issue that needs my attention at home." She gives apologetic head bows to those who need it before stepping away.

"Are their webs particularly strong?" Lou asks of Saccharin, unable to hide her curiosity. She glances over at Zoey, looks to Ian, then goes back to Zoey. "The part of Bastion we'd be going to is Grayhold, where the family crypts are located. That's if we can find the list of crypt items. Ot

"Are their webs particularly strong?" Lou asks of Saccharin, unable to hide her curiosity. She glances over at Zoey, looks to Ian, then goes back to Zoey. "The part of Bastion we'd be going to is Grayhold, where the family crypts are located. That's if we can find the list of crypt items. It's also the most dangerous part of the city to travel through."

Prince Aindre's tone remains business-like when it comes to the question he's asked of Kathivor and to the response he gives, despite the absurd nature of his words. "That's good to know, as someone likely to be returning to Bastion. What, would you say, is their favorite lullaby?". His good eye drifts between the pair of Ambassadors as he seriously considers the act of trying to keep spiders soothed with songs made for the night.

Symonesse gives Zoey a smile and says, "While I haven't used them for many years, I have means to write that wouldn't require paper. It's just energy that I haven't been able to spare in recent years." She tries to direct her own self away from that train of thought and, instead, focuses on the pie that Aindre oh-so-helpfully pushes before her. She eyes it warily and picks up a silver fork to take a bit. She tenatively takes a teeny, tiny bite. Then, smiles, takes a bigger one. After she swallows, she grins at Aindre and murmurs, "Sweet cherry and almond pie. Thank the gods." She hears the conversation about spiders and, for a moment, looks excited and says quietly, "I want to go tell them hello after we are done." She continues to eat more pie.

Kathivor takes a sip of wine, and grins at Raven. "So many questions! Isn't it more fun to just give it a chance and see what happens? There are six," he adds to Lou. "Whether you wish to use them at once or distribute them to the groups who might most need them is up to you, of course." He lights up at Aindre's question. "Oh, well. I don't know about THEIR favorite lullaby, but they do seem to quite like the Seventh Canticle of Jayus. I'm sure you're all familiar with it." It's also known, colloquially, as the 'exhausted parent's prayer', in that it quietly but fervently wishes for a baby or child to seek out dreamland and cease to cry and cry and cry and cry.

Kathivor turns to Symonesse, and says, "I think they would quite like that."

Cesare clears his throat softly. "Do they respond equally to singers of any talent?" he asks. "Or particularly to spellsingers, or... perhaps singers touched by that particular god?" His expression gives away nothing. As though half the people in this room don't already know what he's on about.

"Really?" Varan says to Jerrica. "Singing lullabies to spiders--" He looks between Kathivor and Saccharin with interest, and then over to Cesare when he, too, mentions singing. "I wonder why they're so colicky. Could be they just haven't heard the right lullabies?" The prince ponders this while accepting a new glass from Jerrica. "Hm?" He's drawn back into the moment when she asks him a question. "Oh, well-- I think we should talk about that later." A smile is hidden behind his glass as he takes a sip.

"I do not know but I'm sure you'll find out." Saccharin gives Lou a smile, nodding along with Kathivor's words. "Give it a try. You might have fun." She does not seem to fully absorb the concern of 'safety'. "Just don't waste it, is my only concern. Because if you do you might get disappointed later on when they don't expel on cue and then you'll get mad at us and then there will be objects thrown and..." She adds softly. "So please remember to sing. They are very high end spiders, they understand Arvani. Arvani canticles like that Ambassador suggested would be delightful and surely soothe them."

Zoey's expression dims a bit at Loud describes the mission. "I understand if I am not the ideal candidate for such a mission. If nothing else, I can help someone who is going learn to sing well enough before they go." She smiles warmly to Symonesse. "I concur with the Ambassador. Your visit would be most welcome."

Kathivor smiles at Varan. "I believe that's because of the ticks we feed them. Lady Saccharin has QUITE the collection. If you ask her nicely, she might even bring one to show you. It's a sight." He takes another delicate bite. To Cesare, he waves an idle hand. "I've noticed no particular difference. Really, not everything is about spellsongs or gods. Sometimes a grotesquely large baby spider just wants a gentle voice to make it feel better about being stuffed full of explosive webbing."

Titus says in a whispered voice over towards Lou, as he gives his leftover pie to a servant to take, "With Bastion, while my people are far away from this continent, we'd like to help in rebuilding the walls. There's particular talent the Red City has with impenetrable walls."

Cesare seems a bit relieved, considering he has enough on his plate with all his nine thousand other duties. "Very good," he says. "It is a sentiment with which I can sympathize." He glances at Lou thoughtfully, and nods, popping a slice of orange into his mouth.

Aindre watches the Queen carefully and with some trepidation as she digs into the pie he's slid before her, unsure of the outcome and realizing he's holding his breath. It isn't that he's not listening to Kathivor's response, but Symonesse is distracting even when she isn't breaking the crust on possibly dangerous and flaky crusts. That it's something sweet and not something vile doesn't seem to relieve the tension in his shoulders. Where she's delighted, he looks worried. "Oh no. I'm going to have to chase you off the ceiling of the manor with a broom." It's so serious that it can't be anything but a ruse and finally he does break into a bit of a smile, reaching for his own pie though not partaking quite yet as he calls across the table to the other Nox'alfar. "A canticle? We can do that. I'm glad they understand Arvani, at least. We'll do our best not to need them at all and return them to you safely, though we all know the best laid plans rarely survive contact with the enemy..".

"I'm not saying no," Lou says to Zoey, furrowing her brow at the other woman. "I just want you to understand the risks involved. To talk it over with Ian. I may have to rearrange who is going to help with that part of the mission a bit to fit in someone who can sing and keep the spiders calm." Which she's totally okay with doing, from her expression. "A willingness to teach as well is helpful, and I can certainly ask amongst those already going who might be willing to learn." So, either way, Zoey would have a chance to help.

Saccharin checks composure at hard. Saccharin marginally fails.

Green eyes slowly cut sideways to Varan. "I will hold you to that conversation," Jerrica says in a tone that might possibly be considered a threat." She sits back and listens to more on spiders. She has little to add on this.

Oh, speaking of spiders, Jaenelle holds out a package and directs it towards Symonesse. "While I was with my spiders a few weeks ago, it was suggested that you might like some. They wished to give you a gift, and how could I say no?" The delicately wrapped spidersilk is passed to the Queen from a helpful servant.

Raven snorts indelicately, "Indeed. I suppose we shall see. Would loathe for this jaunt to be boring" She claims her wine and drains it and sets the glass down, setting the fork down on her plate. She looks to Zoey, "Magic undoubtably draws attention unaided voice does not. I think I've encountered these things before, good to know what they are next time I encounter them." She exhales and adds, "I would not place many wagers on plans going to plan. The sheer..." She exhales and flounders for the word, "...scale of the problem seems considerable." She looks to Zoey, "My lady, You and I might ought to speak on this another time, before you commit to such plans."

Ian looks exactly as thrilled about his wife going to the most dangerous part of Bastion to sing to a spider as he could be expected to look. Which is not at all. He's looking at his glass of whiskey like it just personally insulted him.

The mention of ticks has Saccharin's spoon clattering against the plate and she stares ahead. "Oooooh boy." She says with a smile. "Yes ticks. Who have all been guarded well and safely. I am super sure." The forced grin suggests that she is entirely suppressing her true feelings here.

On the other end of the table, as she is munching her pie, Symonesse is listening intently to Kathivor's description of the spiders. When he says "grotesquely large baby spider', it is almost like one can see Symonesse's heart growing larger and her eyes widening, rather akin to whe humans have adorable puppies describing to them. She might even squee softly to herself. Apparently, Aindre's assessment of the effect of sugar on her isn't exactly wrong. Jaenelle's offer of a gift distracts her attention away from dressing up baby spiders and taking them for walks around the city so that she smiles and says with real warmth, "Please, thank them for me. Spidersilk is one of my favorite things." Then, she nudges Aindre in the ribs and points her fork at his pie, silently demanding that it is his turn to have a bite.

Lou looks back to Saccharin curiously when she mentions the spiders can understand Arvani. "You know, when I visited Brightshore, the animals there, I think, were translating for us to the people of Brightshore. I could swear they were. For, when we spoke, and they had not seen us for 200 years, they could understand us. But I was watching the animals and they were paying keen attention. Intelligent little tree mice they have!" By which, she means, lemurs, but that's the Arvani name they gave them. "Just, watch out for the Death Fat Ones," she says rather seriously, drawing her brow down. "They are huge, with huge teeth!"

Kathivor blinks. He turns his head, slowly, to look at Saccharin. "...all the ticks ARE accounted for, aren't they, Assistant Ambassador?" Somehow, although his tone of voice is very pleasant, the volume soft, there's a very significant impression left that all the ticks had BETTER be accounted for.

6 Grayson House Guards leaves, following Jerrica.

Zoey nods to Lou and Raven each before taking a sip of her wine and saying something in a soft voice to Ian beside her.

"Okay so like..." Saccharin gives a little laugh, a lovely melodic thing that denotes nothing but innocence. "I may have forgotten to secure some before I came here. I thiiink I was about to feed them and then just didn't..." Her eyes widen at this before she looks at Lou with confusion. "I'm not sure what Brightshore is but it sounds like a hoot."

Ian mutters something, probably to Zoey, but it looks for all the world like he's threatening his whiskey with death for whatever insult it delivered to him.

Kathivor checks composure at hard. Kathivor fails.

Cesare, who had been in the middle of murmuring enthusiastically to Saccharin about her spider husbandry, blinks. The ticks. Oh, the ticks. Wheels are turning in his brain so intensely they may be visible to those in the room with him, trying to predict the outcome and where he could possibly procure unusually large ticks in case they suddenly become necessary. Do they have those in - oh no.

Prince Aindre might spend a little longer being suspicious over his own pie if not for the fact that he has his own half of the challenge to finish. After all, Queen Symonesse dug into her own with such bravery. So, eye on the Nox'alfar he picks up his fork and breaks through the golden-browned crust to bring a bite up to his mouth without even looking at it. Not at all because he hopes against hope that it isn't mud even though something brown dribbles from the side of his utensil and and there's bit of green that could be anything poking out too. Cooly, he eats whatever is on his fork and spends too long of a moment attempting to decipher what's there and what he's slowly chewing on with an expression not dissimilar to the one he'll probably wear when walking back into Bastion again. Finally, with a deep exhale he says, "It's.. lamb. Lamb with mint.", as if he's just dodged an arrow. Then, "..really, truly remarkable lamb. Wow. I think it's even better because I feared it might be something awful. Maybe the Nox'alfar are onto something..".

Varan's brows rise after Kathivor mentions the ticks, which then causes the prince to pivot toward Saccharin with a hint of amusement in his eyes. "They sound troublesome." When Jerrica leaves his side, he gives her a nod in farewell before returning his focus to the conversation that surrounds him. "So, if the ticks escape and the spiders eat them while you're away--"

Lou might have laughed at Aindre in that moment if it hadn't been for Saccharin and Kathivor having a side conversation regarding ticks. "Are the ticks at the Embassy, or here, and just how large are these ticks....?" she wonders, glancing between the two of them. "Please tell me there will not be giant ticks terrirozing the Crown Ward. I can only imagine what Corban would be saying about this right now."

Saccharin looks at Lou with a smile that is just a little too strained. "There will not be giant ticks terrorizing the Crown Ward." It doesn't help that she follows this with. "That's what you wanted to hear.... right?"

The Queen "See, it wasn't that hard!" If Symonesse is disappointed that Aindre didn't get something weird, she doesn't show it. She is about to say something further to Jaenelle about ehr gift of spidersilk when the mention of the words 'tick' and 'escape' make her twitch and she turns to look at Saccharin and Kathivor as she says in a sweet and calm voice that is not at all panicking even a little bit. "Lady Saccharin, -where- are the ticks right now? Did you bring them in the house? Or did you leave them outside?"

Lou checks composure at normal. Lou fails.

"You know, there is still a month of winter left," Zoey points out to Saccharin. "Unless they are particularly resilient, they probably will not leave the building they were in due to the cold. It would kill them, would it not?"

"Which ones? The little ones or," and here Kathivor stops, and makes a gesture, outlining something about the size of a human head, "those ones. Tell me that it wasn't THOSE ones, Saccharin." It's a hiss that's a bit unbecoming of an ambassador, and the already pale Nox'Alfar has gone another shade paler.

There appear to be a dozen unusually large colicky ticks terrorizing the Crown Ward of Arx. Witnesses say they were seen leaving the Nox'alfar embassy.

Cesare checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Cesare fails.

Cesare checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Cesare is successful.

Ian looks between the various people at the table, as though it's gradually dawning on him that the tick situation might be serious enough to warrant him paying attention.

The partially traumatized Grayson princess's eyes pop out of her head a little bit at Saccharin. It'd probably quite the comical look, if she didn't look so stressed. "Uh. I might suggest that if you, ah.. wish them to survive? It might be prudent to collect them. People are still rather haunted about giant centipedes from Bastion, they might think the ticks are an attack."

"Mhm... okay so." Saccharin seems to awkwardly be brushing her fingers through her hair while she casually rises from her seat. "It's fine we have large spiders. They can probably handle them in a short amount of time." She glances between Symonesse and Kathivor. "Do... we want to unleash the spiders on the Crown Ward, I know humans aren't super used to them and *might* panic?"

Cesare rises from his seat and at first appears to be about to make some sort of grand, diplomatic gesture, from his posture, except then Kathivor makes that gesture the size of a human head, and giant spiders may be one thing, but giant ticks are entirely another. Cesare deflates a little. But he continues, only slightly less grand than before: "We have dealt with much greater threats to the city than a few exceptionally large ticks. The Iron Guard is well equipped to...capture them. Perhaps we could even give the spiders a lesson in hunting them! We can think of this all as an excellent way to prepare for the unexpected threats the Traitor will doubtless throw at us in Bastion, particularly as it gives us all a chance to get used to hunting for scurrying things. It is only a small mishap and we can doubtless handle it under the cover of darkness so as little panic is caused as possible."

There is a slow blink at the whole conversation of the missing ticks, and Jaenelle pinches the bridge of her nose. "Why?" is all that is asked. She isnt even quite sure what the answer is, or why to what, or...things. "I'll close off the bridge, and you can clean up the Crown Ward before it becomes an issue."

Raven's gaze snaps up from elsewhere and glance between Symonesse, Kathivor, and Saccharin. She presses her lips and shoots Ian a brief, flat look before her gaze sweeps across the others seated.

"No!" Kathivor's voice has the snap of authority. "Do not release the spiders. It really only takes one wayward child, and then we have an incident on our hands." He turns and offers a deep bow to Lou and Symonesse in turn. "My apologies, Your Majesty, Your Highness. I must beg our leave." He shakes his head at Cesare. "It will be fine. We just have to find them before someone kicks one. They have a nasty tendency to rupture, and it takes forever to clean up." He turns an icy eye on Saccharin. "Assistant Ambassador. Shall we go?"

Symonesse just -looks- at Kathivor. That expression of exasperation is not one ever seen on the Queen's face and is usually entirely absent... except when she is at the Twilight Court. Then, it just lives there. She draws in a breath and then backons one of her King's Own toward her, murmurs a few words, and sends the woman off in a hurry. "I will have the King's Own dispatched to secure the area around the embassy. I would rather the spiders not be harmed and the people of the Compact are reasonably cautious of large insects right about now."

Varan swigs the last of his drink and then sets down his empty glass on the table. He exhales a breath and starts to roll his sleeves down from his elbows to his wrists, pondering where he left his coat. His looks between Kathivor and Saccharin. "If you need help--" With singing. Lullabies. Whatever it takes to herd /ticks./

Wait, what? Caprice breaks character from 'attentive houseplant' as the swirling conversations appear to roll into one topic. Hers is a polite retreat, thanks left with a servant to convey to proper parties whenever the timing is more ideal, but while wherever she suddenly needs to be surely isn't as important as the ambassadors, Caprice is attending to it nearly as swiftly.

Titus is just a silent observer to the ticky task at hand.

Fiore, the elegantly long-limbed androgyne leaves, following Caprice.

Raven says, "IF the Iron Guard may be of service I can lend additional support monitoring the streets around the Embassy, Your majesty, Lord Ambassador."

Lou positively gapes at Sacchrin now when she talks about unleashing giant spiders into the Crown Ward as well. She closes her mouth, opens it again to say something else, and then just closes it, blink, blink, blinking at the woman as her face grows pale. Kathivor doesn't seem to help at all when he talks about incidents with children. Then Symonesse mentions the King's Own and relief floods her features. "Please mention we'd prefer them unharmed if possible." She's pretty sure that might not be possible.

"That will probably be best." Saccharin suggests as everyone seems especially alarmed about the ticks. "If it helps, this stuff happens a lot in the Twilight Court." She attempts to assure everyone in the room with a soothing smile before scooting outside when the Ambassador is ready.

Kathivor ducks his head, looking rather embarrassed at Symonesse's exasperation. He makes a brief, helpless gesture, mouths something that looks a lot like a sheepish 'I'm sorry', before reassuring everyone with a warm smile, "I assure you, the matter is well in hand. There will almost certainly not be any small animals found drained of blood in the morning. Do enjoy your dinner!" And then he strides after his assistant, muttering something that sounds suspiciously like, "Why me?"

There isn't much time for Prince Aindre to settle into the pleasure of that lamb and mint pie before talk turns toward escaped ticks and the Crown Ward and it just has a way of dimming his expression a touch. Not that it is ever bright in particular save for a rare few moments. "Well, that is going to make for an interesting evening. At least the Crown Ward is the best guarded ward in all of the city. Here's hoping the guard can round them up before the winter kills them. My understanding is that this is not the preferred season for ticks. At the very least, I rarely seem to.. encounter.. them when it's this cold.", nonetheless he pushes his pie away with a bit of a longing look cast in the direction of it and rises from his seat as Symonesse finishes dispatching a member of the King's Own. He offers a hand to her, "Perhaps we should see if we can be of assistance in some other way?"

Ian shifts in his chair, like there's some ingrained instinct to follow Aindre once it sounds like he's going to go get involved with the tick thing.

Lore may be burying her face in both hands in a blatant attempt to stifle laughter. A lot of it. She seems to be very much amused, first at the colicky ticks, then at the idea of unleashing giant spiders to get the ticks. "...there was an old woman who swallowed a fly..." the sing-song tone is not by any means a trained voice, especially choked as it is from the attempt to not release the laughter that so desperately wants to escape.

Symonesse nods a little and says with real feeling, "I think I need to check on my cow." She accepts the help to her feet and then, once she is standing, reaches for the abandoned pie as if intent to carry with her wherever they are going. She'll return the dish later.

Raven rises and bows when Symonesse and Aindre rise.

Lou is just staring after the backs of the Ambassadors, looking quite dumbfounded. It will take her a moment to get over being stunned at the entirely of the situation.

"It will all be fine," Cesare says, picking up an entire bottle of wine. "It will be perfectly fine."

Titus stands as the ambassadors and queen rise, and once those are heading out, he politely but silently ghosts.

Titus is overheard praising Lou: A dinner with surprise after surprise.

It takes a few long moment, but Lore finally manages, at great effort, to gain control of herself. Lifting a face still flushed with amusement and eyes dancing with the same, she looks to Lou. "This has been the best dinner, EVER. Thank you so very much for hosting, I can't -wait- for the next one!"

Raven is overheard praising Lore: Never a dull moment

6 Grayson House Guards, Marshal, a quiet archer and assistant leave, following Varan.

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

When it's clear that Aindre and Symonesse are concerned about the cow, not the Crown ward, Ian settles back into his seat and takes up his drink again.

Prince Aindre's brow arches ever so slightly as Queen Symonesse gathers up her sweet pie to tak with her, though he doesn't actually look at all surprised by that. "I'm sure Tulip will be fine. It's the people wandering the winter's night I worry for. I don't even like the small ticks..". The smallest little shudder trembles up his spine at the thought of even larger varieties of the blood-sucking arachnids. "We'll see to it.", he promises the Nox'alfar. He doesn't miss Raven's bow, and proffers one in kind for the woman before casting a last wave to both Ian and Zoey and giving his farewells to the rest of the gathered before departing.

"I'm not sure I'm hosting another one after this!" Lou exclaims, carefully getting out of her chair. She downs the rest of her whiskey too.

Zoey waves to Aindre and the distracted Symonesse. "Be safe," she bids them.

Raven seems to have a sudden thought as she watches people dispurse To Zoey, "My lady, we should speak soon I think, but I hope you will excuse me I just thought of something I ought to see to." She bows to Lou, "Oh, come now, surely this isn't a disaster. No one's died yet.. I'm sure everything's fine your highness."

Zoey is overheard praising Lou: One wild dinner party!

Symonesse is overheard praising Lou: That was certainly interesting...

5 King's Own Guardsmen, a small swarm of pearlescent spiders leave, following Symonesse.

Symonesse leaves, following Aindre.

"Right. Fine. Fine. I'll open the doors, and you can plan it," Lou exlaims to Raven. Tag, She's it! As Voice, she can decree this!

"Please do.. this was perfect, exactly the sort of thing that's been needed after so much... everything else." Lore rises up from her seat and offers a bow to Lou, then towards Symonesse and Aindre. "That said, I'm going to... go make sure that Frost hasn't escaped my room. She has her mother's temperament and I could absolutely see her trying to stalk and kill a giant tick."

Lou mutters, "... had ... ... alive so she ... come ... ... ... ... these ... dinners!"

Raven blink-blink-blinks, "Wait. What? I'm not Grayson I can't play hostess. Make Princess Jaelle or better, Prince Noah do it."

Ian takes a sip of his drink and looks over at Raven. "If you do it badly enough, you'll never have to do it again."

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington leave, following Jaenelle.

Zoey looks at Raven and nods before another sip of wine. "Well, now I definitely need to attend the next dinner!"

"You can't wiggle out of it, nope! It's decided," Lou's sure of this. Nodding her head. Yep. DECIDED. Probably not, but it could be! "As Voice of House Grayson I decree it so!"

Looking to Raven, Lore flashes a grin, "Lucky woman! You get to plan the next one! I'll look forward to it!" Nodding to both Ian and Zoey, she murmurs, "Glad to see you back on your feet, my lord. My lady, always a pleasure. We'll have to get together soon and have a nice chat. I'll bring the drinks." Then she's heading off to ensure her homicidal cat isn't trying to murder giant ticks in the Crown Ward.

Raven lifts an eyebrow at Ian drawls, "Excellent suggestion, my lord. You can help me with it." She retorts to Ian. Her gaze swivels to Lore, "IT's not even my fealty! I'm a Commoner! How's this nonsense supposed to work?!"

Ian shakes his head to Raven. "Fighting giants is one thing. I'm not doing any party planning."

"I'll help! Let me know when you want to do the planning and I can help getting things put together!" Lore calls back to Raven, ignoring the matter of fealty and status altogether.

"That is one of those things he relies on me for," Zoey points out to Raven. "Or you and Lore could work together! Much better plan."

Lou is about to say something else when she sobers a bit. She's just noticed a slip of paper that someone put into her hand before they left. She carefully opens it up and reads it over. Her shoulders sag a bit. She's drawn away from the earlier bit of fun with spiders and ticks and back into the real world. "Balls," is all she says, not looking happy at all.

Raven looks towards Zoey and there's a quiet appeal to Zoey in her gaze, "I'll talk to you later, Lore!" She looks then to Lou and frowns, "Something amiss, Your highness?"

Lou sends off a few quick messages and then looks to Raven. "Cesare finally passed me the written version of his vision. It's officially confirmed the ring had a black stone."

Ian studies Lou across the table. "Tell me that's not about the tick thing."

Zoey's look to Raven is a very innocent 'what?' sort of expression, but when Lou speaks of Cesare's vision she asks softly, "The one about the bat?"

Lou shakes her head over at Ian, and from the frown on her face it's worse than ticks. "It's not," she confirms. "It's worse," she adds. "Cesare had a vision about a flying rodent flying too close to the sun and bursting aflame, bats? I think they are called. A ring with an ominous black stone suspended from a chain with clasps like shackles, and the collective screams of thousands of half-bloods dying." She reaches up and pinches the bridge of her house. "It's only going to get worse before anything gets better, and Countess Aella wonders why I want to know how Copper kept hope for over a thousand years." She squeezes her eyes shut a moment, then opens them. "We think the ring is something called a Ring of Writs. Aleksei thinks it's bad and so does the Queen. I don't kno anything about it other than the Traitor may control it as one of the items taken. We're not sure though. Someone else had a vision about a sword, a brooch, and a ring. Either way, if it /is/ in his hands, as the vision suggests it might be, it's really, really bad. Aleksei said it has the potential to control people."

Raven frowns gently, "I'm unfamiliar with the significance of that, your highness." She grimaces and rubs her face, "Oh for f--..." She trails off curbing the salty language but "Knowing what I do of writs I can see why it could be bad but no doubt I am ignorance of the true depth of it's power or the matter."

Ian angles his head as Lou recounts the vision. "Huh," he says after a moment. Then: "Well that doesn't sound great."

"I am out of my depth on this one too," Lou notes for Raven's sake. As they talk, the servants have started cleaning up with is obviously the remains of the abandoned dinner in wake of giant ticks. Some of them are wondering what they are going to do with the surprise pies, and a few are issuing challenges to each other. She shakes her head at Ian. "No, no it doesn't, which makes finding out what the Traitor took even more important. We've got a few teams working on it now, so I'm sure we'll get something together. I just hope we commence the scouting before we find the treasurer we're looking for."

Carolina, an orphan from Bravura leaves, following Lore.

Raven bows to those gathered, "I better chase down researchers and give them this information. I'll speak with you soon, Lady Zoey.

Zoey nods to Raven. "I will have Ruslana put a kettle on," she tells Raven. On the subject of treasures and rings she looks thoughtful, but only sips her wine, apparently having nothing else to add.

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