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Just A Few Miles More...

Some notables of the Arxian arts scene have been convinced to visit Artshall's new arts and culture district. The only trouble will be getting them there and making sure they have a good time. Volunteers will be needed to escort the group safely across Arvum and keep spirits high during the trip.

... But it's not going to be easy, there are some strong personalities in the group. The worst clashes will surely spring from The Art-Scholar Brother Joffrey Bellavoir being anywhere near Tatuli Moretta, a Lycene merchant princess who collects new and provactive works. He dislikes her immensely, and the feeling is mutual. While he condemns her for having tawdry and common tastes, she ridicules him for being an old fussy fuddy duddy. And that's when they're being polite to one another. It may be a very long trip for all involved.

<This is primarily for anyone involved with Plot 1075 'Cultural District'!>

Date

Sept. 20, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Amari

GM'd By

Amari

Participants

Mabelle Patrizio Isabeau Denica Grady Kiera

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Oathlands near Artshall - The Pig and Flute Inn

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Rance, a rebellious swan that likes to headbutt arrives, delivering a message to Isabeau before departing.

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

Denica checks composure at normal. Denica is successful.

Isabeau checks composure at normal. Isabeau is successful.

Grady checks composure at normal. Grady is successful.

Mabelle checks composure at normal. Mabelle is successful.

Patrizio checks composure at normal. Patrizio is successful.

Kiera checks composure at normal. Kiera is successful.

This has been something of an ordeal. Not the trip itself, that's been relatively smooth. The artists and other notables were packed onto a nice ship provided by the Moretta family, and sailed the coast all the way around to Southport and north upriver to Tor, where it becomes impossible to go much further for all the ice. Even then, the Great Road was clear of bandits and the snow didn't fall. Horses and wagons held up.

No, it wasn't the travel. It was the notables. Over the course of the voyage they've congealed into two camps that seem completely at odds with each other. One is led by the Art-Scholar, Brother Joffrey Bellavoir and his cadre of scholarly types and critics, while the other is headed by Tatuli Moretta. They've sniped at each other for days, and some of the party accompanying them have been caught in the crossfire already. Tensions are running high by the time they arrive at the Pig and Flute. It's late evening. People are exhausted and cranky.

This doesn't bode well... and this inn. It looks so sketch. There's already complaints coming from the Moretta carriage.

Mabelle descends from her own carriage, touching her temple subtly, "Goodness, traveling in winter. I much rather travel in-land. I think the sea makes people a tad ...", she refrains from saying crazy. Instead she straightens and stares at the Inn where they are to spend the night. "Well... I know what my next project is", she rolls her eyes a little and murmurs to the girl that accepts them, "I'll have a word with the owner in the morning".

There's something to be said for having been hither and yon throughout the city of Arx, to see the various taverns that exist in all corners. And as such, even with the quarrelling... well, a drink would be welcome, at least from the way Patrizio seems to look regarding the whole thing. HIs jade eyes give wary looks to /both/ camps, as they're moving within, and he's perhaps more mindful of where his purse is as they make their way in. Though there's a look thrown back to the others with whom he's more familiar, and there's a shake of his head. "There are worse places back closer to Arx," he voices more seriously when he hears Mabelle's comment. "Not that there can ever be too many inns or taverns."

Isabeau has been a little... distracted through the course of the trip. Somehow a trio of cats just seems to persist in following her, even when not allowed to ride whatever contraption she's been allotted for the journey. She seems more resigned to the perpetually stalking feline trio after a few days, doing her level best to ignore them. She looks over the tavern and plasters one of her radiant smiles as she regards the Inn, "It likely looks better on the inside." she says, cheerily. Is that false optimism or just wishful thinking?

A sketchy Inn? Conflict? People glaring at each other? Snips? Quips? This is Denica's perfect storm. The young woman seems to be amused and enjoying all the drama around her, and while she doesn't let it show, nor does she provoke either camp, she's probably revelling in it a little. Devious by nature, Denica takes any opportunity to scout out a challenging situation, and sit quietly in the background, sketching it. After all, that's when people show their best side! Though, for the most part, she does well to make almost polite conversation or sit and drink from her flask while losing herself in her art. Dressed for travel, and shrugging off any conventions from the Mourning Isles, she does remain well armed and poised for any danger, should she be lucky enough to find it. Otherwise, as they arrive, she looks around and a wicked smile crosses her face, "oh I like this. I expected something posh and polite, this looks fun," she says with a shrug of her shoulders.

There are a lot of things that don't tend to agree with Grady's stomach, and by the looks of things, travel is on that very long list. It might even be near the top. He's looked a little rough for a couple of days now, with the poor color sometimes called 'green around the gills'. It might have been sea sickness, except they haven't been at sea, and it's just getting worse; he's pretty much reliant on peppermint tea and candied ginger for quality of life, at this point, and he's not eating a whole lot.

But maybe an advantage to EVERYTHING making you sick is that feeling sick isn't such a big deal anymore. Or that's how it seems, to look at Grady. He might be tired, but he hasn't lost any of his prattling cheer, flitting back and forth between the two factions without a care for the differences between them. "My! This does look rustic, doesn't it?" He's talking with some people in Tatuli Moretta's faction just at the moment, his light tenor picking up a soothing, pattering cadence that seems to be his trademark. "Like a storybook adventure! I wish beer agreed with me more than it does. I'm told out of the way places like this are THE place to try new brews. Do you think that could be true? Well, I shall have to live vicariously through you. Goodness, how cold it's getting."

Kiera has stayed with with bellivor's camp not because she has sided with hiim but because scholars are more her type endeavoring to keep them engaged in schlorly debate versus petty snipping

One of Tatuli's hangerson, Antony, a lanky weasel of a courtier who had aspirations to be a Whisper but mostly just drifts through the Arx scene now attaching himself to rich people, steps out of the carriage and inhales loudly through a wince. "This is despicable."

There's a titter of laughter as more of that party disgorges itself elegantly out into the winter cold. There's the young bubbly blonde courtier, Babs, then the Magpie with her dark hair piled high in curls, and finally, Tatuli Moretta herself. A woman of Lycene allure with dusky skin, dark eyes and a way of somehow bending nearly everyone to her will, while being incredibly awful in nearly every imaginable way when she's bored.

The other carriage empties with Brother Bellavoir first, the pinch faced, elderly Scholar Lemmon next, two identical twin scribes with names everyone routinely forgets and finally, the art collector and merchant, Verlane, a woman who could stare a hole through a stone wall if she was mad enough at it.

"For once, I think I concur." Bellavoir grumbles as he looks upon the 'rustic' and 'storybook' inn.

The Magpie crosses her arms. "We're not staying here."

A murmur of agreement goes through both camps.

Mabelle squirks her lips at Denica, shaking her head and mentions to Patrizio, "Indeed there cannot be. But perhaps the Duchess is correct", she nods toward Isabeau, smiling doubtfully and reminding Grady, "We're in the Oathlands". That being said, she almost scolds the camps but they are finally agreeing on something. After a short debate with herself, she makes her way toward the door after scoping the height of the snow and mentions in their direction, "Alright, I'll have them bring out tents", her guard opens the door for her.

Patrizio appears, for a moment, to be reminding himself that princes do not simply cut down people for being annoying and picky, as his hand rests a moment on the pommel of his sword, and then there's another breath that slides from him, clouding in the air before his features. A shoot of those jade eyes to the courtier who's deciding to be snide about it, the others joining in, and he's quiet a moment more, before he murmurs, "Consider this something perhaps to be an adventure that'll be fodder for dinner parties for some time to come."

Though the mention of tents from Mabelle does get a little bit of a frown from the southern Prince. "I think I'd rather actually risk the interior of the thing," he offers, even as there's a faint smile for Grady and.. teasingly, "I suspect that what they have here that passes for beer, my lord, is probably closer to things that shouldn't upset your stomach. Or, it could easily upset mine." Another glance at the establishment. "I think stayed at worse on campaign."

Kiera hms "Well we should perhaps assess the safety of the accomodations versus their appearance one logically more important."

As the two camps seem to agree on one thing, Denica doesn't loose sight of this, though she isn't one to be pulled into their comments, rather she seems content about the situation, and decides that showing it, is all the better. She seems to appreciate Patrizio's perspective and she adds her own take, "Yes, everyone loves a story about having suffered in the Oathlands," she suggests to the Lyceum with a shrug of her shoulders. Tents cause her brows to lift, everyone has their limits but she does consider the idea, though Denica seems rather keen on the sketchy Inn. "And give up the chance at watered down ale?," she says, with a little smile.

Isabeau's charm is the kind that comes from a general warmth of her personality, in the way her smile seems to single you out, and it's that expression the she casts at anyone around her. Reassuring, and bright as she steps towards the Inn, "You never know if you don't give it a chance, and it's better than snow. Maybe there will even be fire."

Mabelle checks composure and manipulation at normal. Critical Success! Mabelle is spectacularly successful.

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

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

Patrizio checks command and diplomacy at normal. Patrizio marginally fails.

Denica checks charm and manipulation at normal. Denica is successful.

"Come now." Grady smiles to Patrizio. "I prefer to be a little bit more optimistic than that. Let us hope for at least a colorful innkeeper with an eyepatch or a limp. Not that I would wish injury on anyone, of course." He links arms with Babs, giving her a smile bright enough to warm even the biting winter air. "Shall we brave it? I'm sure a true artist would laugh if I called it 'suffering for one's art', but I'm not afraid to be laughed at."

Brother Lemmon is so aged, when Mabelle tells them she's getting tents, his mind changes in an instant. He abandons the rest to trundle up towards the inn, keeping his head down and his cane tapping against the cold ground. His expression remains it's usual sour one. The twin scribes, Ivar and Iver follow as this place surely isn't the roughest place they've ever had to sleep. They're from Stormwall. Bellavoir then follows, not about to just stand there by himself looking silly. "You're right, Duchess."

Antony rakes his fingers through his artfully tousled shoulder length hair and looks incredibly put out. He sighs. He sighs so loudly. He's not going!

Babs links arms with Grady, and giggles. She giggles a lot. No one's even sure if she has anything to do with art, per se, or why she's even along for the trip save to giggle at Tatuli's sharp quips. Speaking of, the 'queen' of that camp covers a yawn with the back of her hand. Will she demure with Magpie? It seems so at first, but with a roll of her eyes at Denica, she gathers her long gown up at a little at her hips so the hem doesn't drag through the snow, and strides gracefully for the inn. Magpie follows, and finally, so does Verlane. Those two look incredibly unhappy about this.

Mabelle looks over her shoulder to see most of the group moving toward the Inn. Not Antony though. She shrugs, three minutes in the snow and he will forget his insistance. She chuckles at the quips between Denica and Patrizio about beer and the Oathlands, "Come now, be respectful, we're nice people", she grins and disappears through the door.

Denica lets her tweed coat swing along with her as she follows the group into the Inn. Having eyes rolled at her, is hardly something the Thrax is unfamiliar with, or maybe she is use to doing the eye-rolling, at any rate, the Lyceum is met with a playful wink, but one that is laced with an equal dismissive nature. "In a place like this, the best drinks are kept in the cellar," she announces as though indicating her own desired journey. Denica laughs at Mabelle's comment, "oh my dear Lady, speak for your self!," she says on matters of being nice.

"Nice people, definitely, and hospitable," Patrizio agrees, with a look to Mabelle, and then to Denica as well, and a smile finds his lips. "There are times that the drinks to deserve a little teasing-for. But." There's a look back towards Antony, and the draw of a breath, the hiss of it from between parted lips. A shake of his head too, and then he's gesturing for the others to get a move on, and head into the tavern. "Coming?" He asks, looking back to the rest of the party, before disappearing inside.

"Well I, for one, believe in your beer." Grady beams a smile to Mabelle and loops around to Tatuli, herself. Since the beginning of the trip, he's been very careful not to pay attention to anyone in her faction without making sure to pay her at least equal attention before too much time has passed. Or maybe he just really can't stay away from her for long. That's what he's claiming, anyway: "Mistress Moretta, there you are. Do you know, I never seem to be able to stay away from you for long. I suppose you must be used to that, mustn't you? Would you like some candied ginger?"

Isabeau seems to focus her attention on the elderly Brother, focusing her radiant smile on him as she condescends to offer him her arm in assistance. "Here, good Brother. Take my arm, first ones in with the best smiles always get the nicest rooms." she assures him.

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

But guess what? The inn looks even worse on the inside! The dingy, well trampled rushes on the floor are old and muddy (hopefully that's just mud) and the place has a yeasty, spilled ale odor. The tables are vandalized with engraved bad words and crude images worked into the oak with dagger points. The ceiling rafters sag in unsettling ways, and cobwebs hang and slowly drift about where they're not so well moored any longer.

The lone patron is a shaggy grey dog lying near where a bald innkeeper with a porcine sort of nose and beady eyes is watching him gnaw on a pig's ear.

They both look surprised, but only the innkeeper speaks. "Welcome my lords and ladies... I must have nodded off. I didn't hear you arrive." Nervous laugh. "You've horses? I'll have the stable boy tend to them. BOY!"

"Fetch my bag, Antony?" Tatuli 'asks' the courtier and that's enough of an excuse for him to change his never-gonna-sleep-here stance. He still sighs about it though. She meanwhile humors Grady with a slow smile that doesn't quite touch her eyes. "I'd rather a soft bed in a respectable inn, Lord Deepwood. Could you secure one for me with your candied ginger?"

Brother Lemmon mutters after Denica, as he takes Isabeau's arm and enters the inn. He looks about, squinting hard against the gloom, "Thank you, Duchess. Yes, in the cellar. That's where we keep everything of value. Yes. We have a collection of misshapen skulls. I like those. Where is that Lady Kiera? We were going to discuss the brushwork of the great masters of the 900s."

Eventually all are inside, and just about all look varying degrees of disgusted. Bellavoir shrugs. Verlane scowls. The Magpie and Babs hover around Tatuli and Grady, with the latter giggling as if she's confused by all of this.

Mabelle's expression is one of despair when the situation is worse on the inside. Still, she gathers herself and flashes a small smile to the innkeeper. "Good evening", Mabelle looks at the place and wonders if he has been nodding off for three months or so. Before she speaks to him, she mutters to Denica, "Do you think it will be rude to ask where is the next closest Inn? I suppose it would be". Grimacing silently Mabelle then turns to the Innkeeper, "We will need some rooms for the night? If you can get me a few people here, staff, I will make sure they are kindly rewarded".

Denica loves everything. The mud, the crude carvings, the offensive words, the Inn Keeper and his dog. It's any wonder she doesn't just stop here, and pull out her sketch pad, but there is something else that catches her attention. Booze and skulls. Be still her beating heart. The brother gets her full attention, "really?," the young princess asks with obvious curiosity. "I did an art installation with a skull, it's vomiting colourful glass beads across a wall. Would you show me Brother?," she asks with excitement in her voice. "I'd love to see your collections, that does sound rather fascinating," Denica is that friend you probably don't want, and she locks the depth of her attentions on the man now. Her smile lights her up, oddly warm and inviting, for a Thrax. To Mabelle she grins, "they might try to stab us then, yes," she jests, or so she thinks.

Kiera smiles "Perhaps you can get our party something warm to drink to ease the chill" she sugges to the barman as if they've stepped into the sleepless knights in of the inn from the abyss "I'm looking forward to our conversation brother Lemmon" she says with a smile

"Alas, no." Grady's warm, sympathetic smile takes on a note of the apologetic as he speaks with Tatuli on the subject of the relative power of ginger. "But it might make suffering through this one slightly less terrible."

The look on Patrizio's face says that yes, it probably would be rude to ask after whether there's another inn within distance, but that he'd be almost inclined to ask, as it is. And a shake of his head while he's looking about, and weighing the various sounds around him, Grady's banter, and... Kiera's gentle nature definitely draws a smile, to at least diffuse some of the tension. "I'm concerned about the kind of staffing they would have here," he voices, as much to Mabelle as the others. "We might almost be better off bedding in the stables with the horses."

Isabeau's smile doesn't waiver as she directs that pure beaming radiance and seraphic energy onto the Innkeeper, allowing Denica and Kiera to occupy her 'charge' for the moment, "Yes, please. We'd love the extra help and comfort." she assures him in her sweetest voice, bats of russet lashes, "Your accommodations seem quite exceptional, Messere. But perhaps, my dear, you would indulge us in our requests."

Babs begins laughing at Lemmon, "You're a silly old man. Nobody keeps skulls in their cellar."

Brother Bellavoir turns on her snd snarls, "You are worse than silly. An empty skull has more brains-"

Magpie's curls dance and sway as she whirls on the Art-scholar, daring him with a glare to finish his insult as her fingers find the end of her hair pin as if she's going to start stabbing.

The camps reform. The scholars blob together to the right of the door, the courtiers to the left. Such animosity. Such tension.

The innkeeper gestures at them all to sit, "Come everyone. We have the finest Laurent mead, ale, whiskey. You'd like rooms? How many?" After a quick, greedy, headcount, he shouts again, "BOY!"

A stooped over giant of a lad comes ambling out of the back, bow-bobs through the crowd and goes outside, presumably to tend to the horses. He's so quick about it, despite being so hard to miss, it's almost sort of comical. Tatuli laughs.

Brother Lemmon peers at Denica, "Glass bead vomit..." He doesn't look to be sure how to feel about that, so just looks sour and slightly bewildered. Kiera is nodded to, "Yes, something to drink. No need to fight. I am silly. Everyone is silly at my age. You'll be silly too."

And the dog? Still chewing. He's right in the way, but ain't moving.

Oh no, they are at it again. Mabelle composes herself and smiles to the Innkeeper, "Laurent mead will be nice and some apple juice for the faint of heart. I'm Lady Mabelle Laurent, these are Duchess Isabeau Telmar, Prince Patrizio Pravus, Lord Grady Deepwood, Princess Denica Thrax and Lady Kiera Wyvernheart. As well as a group of our most ESTEEMED", she looks back at the group, "Artists, going to grace the new district. I'm thinking about two dozen rooms and all the food you can dish out as quickly as possible". The large 'boy' gets a look out of her and she looks over her shoulder a moment toward the door.

"Come now." Grady doesn't have to be exactly quick to redirect Babs and Magpie's collective attention, since he's right there next to them already. His smile is playful, a hint of golden mischief in his eyes. "Where would you keep your spare skulls, if not in the cellar? I certainly can't think of a better place. It isn't exactly a crypt, of course, but having one of those in one's house seems a touch macabre. I do hope you don't intend on getting blood on that lovely hairpin, Magpie. I'm sure dirty hairpins must have something to do with why my hair is such a lost cause." Dirty hairpins almost certainly have nothing to do with it, and the blatant ridiculousness of the suggestion is designed to make the whole situation feel a little more ridiculous and a little less life and death. "If I had curls like that, I shouldn't mistreat them. Wouldn't you agree, Mistress Moretta?"

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

Patrizio looks perhaps a little surprised at being named by name - even if invoking it might grease the wheels a little with getting some attention. "I somehow don't know that our hosts necessarily care who we are, my lady," he offers up to Mabelle, when his hand again rests on the pommel of his sword, as if he takes that duty of escorting their guests seriously. The purse of his lips as he's looking about - and a mindful look given for that 'boy' that's gone to take care of the horses. "They don't grow'em that big back in Arx," he says quietly, as if he's appraising things.

Isabeau raises her fingers to wiggle at the Innkeeper as she offers a smile after being introduced. Even if she weren't known as Duchess Isabeau, she is still a born-Valardin princess, cousin to the High Lady, a one-time voice to the entire Oathlands who had done several tours through the entirety of the land, and she obviously knows that her reputation should proceed her. She fixes those brilliant blues on the man and inquires , oh so sweetly, "So... some extra cleaning of the rooms? Some additional personel?"

Kiera looks around for a cheer that will stay upright on which to sit "The arts district will be delightful I'm certain. What are you all look forward too?"

The Thrax doesn't miss the opportunity for a bit of light and twisted humour, "I keep my spare skull in my purse," she pats the bag she wears, it is a bit round, one can never be sure. The smile that lingers on her lips, is as radiant as any other. Her attention drifts to Mabelle, as she offers refreshment to the group, "that sounds lovely, Lady Mabelle," she says and then she watches as Patrizio puts a hand to his pummel, the young Thrax quirks a brow, but saddles up to the opposite direction from him, a hand touching the hilt of the dagger that matches her outfit. There is a look she gives the Prince, like silently communicating she's there to help. Denica also has a compact-wide reputation, but mostly for causing trouble.

"Well! That does it!" Grady turns the full force of his smile onto Denica, now. "First thing on my return to Arx, I shall have to have a skull purse made. Perhaps we can start a fashion."

The giant stable boy is nearly out the door when Antony breezes back with one of Tatuli's bags (the smallest, lightest one she brought with her). They nearly collide. The courtier sneers and with a roll of his eyes, deftly steps out of the way - but leaves his foot stuck out. The boy trips, sprawls and faceplants into the brown snow and slush. With supreme indifference, Antony then strolls in, complaining, "That turnip nearly walked into me. Did you see? Serves him right."

The innkeeper bows doubly hard, until his belly is in rolls, and misses the commotion at the door. Or would have, if Babs hadn't begun laughing so hard. "If he fell any harder he'd have ended up in the cellar too!"

Magpie primps her dark, lush curls as if that's all she'd intended, and happily begins to laugh at the downed giant. She checks to make sure Tatuli is amused first, and the sly smile on the merchant princess's face is permission enough for her to go off.

Brother Bellavoir squares his shoulders and indicates the door with a turn of his hand and a sweep of his arm. He is not amused. "This. Are we going to ignore this? Mistress Tatuli, are you not ashamed of your friends? Are you not ashamed of yourself by association? Do you think we haven't heard the way you've let them speak of my esteemed colleagues? Mistress Verlane does not waddle, by the way. Brother Lemmon doesn't creak. The Duchess does not dye her hair so. The Prince? He is not a coconut farmer. I'm not even sure what that means. Lady Mabelle? Lady Mabelle is more assuredly not 'sticky' either. Princess Denica was never a thrall. Lady Kiera? Well, I'll not repeat what you were saying about her. We've heard all the whispering, but this is one step too far!"

Ivar or Iver? One of them, pokes his head in, and asks, "What did they say about Lord Grady?"

His brother grabs him by the collar and yanks him back out of sight.

Isabeau checks composure at normal. Isabeau is successful.

Mabelle checks composure at hard. Mabelle is successful.

Kiera checks composure at normal. Kiera is successful.

Denica checks composure at normal. Denica is successful.

Mabelle checks composure at daunting. Botch! Mabelle fails completely.

Patrizio checks composure at normal. Patrizio is successful.

Patrizio may not be /fond/ of the people to whom they are currently sharing breath, but there's also something to the matter of the conduct of those with whom he's traveling. "Messere," pronounces he clearly, and firmly, towards Antony. And a glance towards the one for whom he's a hanger-on, those jade eyes briefly considering Tatuli, before he turns that full force of his countenance back to Antony. "I would ask if you are better than this, but clearly, you are not. And were you worthy of it, I would challenge you, but you are not." HE lets out a breath, and then dips his head, before raising his voice. "This courtier is now without my protection. I leave him to his own devices if any take umbrage at his conduct." And with that, there's a little bow, before he actually does take a few steps towards the bar, as if he's done with this matter, though perhaps there's more than a glance at those he knows better, to see how they respond.

Mabelle mentions quietly to Patrizio, "They should certainly care of those who cares for them in the lands, and if not me, the Duchess for certain", but then the whole commotion by the door and the laughing and the name and someone called her sticky and Mabelle forgets for a moment that she is a noble lady because she turns to the group, crystalline eyes narrowed and portraying a storm, "Enough! Is there any trace of Oathlands Hospitality in you? You!", she turns her eyes to Anton, "Go help him up and apologize this instant", she looks at turns to the Bellavoir, "You are not helping. I appreciate you are all talented people, but I can easily pull the commision rag out of all of you and bring other artists if you do not dignify the establishment, or the very least, those who came to protect you!". Wow. She's mad.

Denica is snarky, she's sarcastic and abbrasive at the best of times, but her tollerance for bullying is very low. When she watches Antony trip the stable boy, the young princess narrows her blue eyes. She doesn't act, but the look in them is pure ice, a threat that will linger for later. The fact that Patrizio speaks up, probably stops her from doing the same, but rather she steps up next to him, as though lending her dainty presences to give weight to his words. She's not impressed, and she is willing to show it. Yet, when she is called a Thrall, she bursts out laughing. Denica probably could keep her composure, but it's too good to pass up, "oh a woman in Maelstrom always feels like a Thrall," she smirks at that, amused. Denica probably doesn't care too much about her reputation.

"Whatever they said, I'm sure it's all true." With these last airy words, Grady breaks away from Tatuli's group when the stableboy falls. There's genuine concern on his face, although whatever judgement he might feel about Antony for causing it to happen isn't in evidence. He offers the 'boy' his hand. "So terribly sorry. Are you alright?" He gives Brother Bellavoir a tired smile in passing; he's let the scholars and only the scholars see the full toll the trip has taken from him in these quick moments.

Mabelle checks command and intimidation at normal. Mabelle marginally fails.

Kiera hms " I care not one wit what is said regarding myself. I do care that that man is not injured and receives a proper apology. With that, she goes to the stable boy "Are you injured. I can tend you"

Isabeau folds her hands in front of her, radiating the soothing calm that she has been known for. Her hand brushes over her stomach for a few moments as she remains the still, sweet voice in the chaos of building agitation, aided by the fact she is a mother of a five year old. She turns her blue eyes onto Antony and Tatuli, "My dears, if you wish to know the name of my apothecary, you have but to ask. I can direct you to just a one that imitates the blessings Jayus gives me naturally." She smiles, still sweetly, "You should have just went with how pudgy I'm getting to be perfectly safe, or brought up my late father-in-law. Still a bit left to go in the trip." She laughs softly, no offense taken in that ever-calm demeanor of hers. While not commanding as a person, she oozes charm and perfect polite calm. "But really, Antony might apologize for being in the way and we can continue engaging our lovely host of an Innkeeper in setting up rooms. Or we can turn the carriages around and go back home."

"Brother, you would paint me with the same brush? I try so hard to elevate my friends, but this voyage has been so long and tiresome for all of us. Will you not forgive them their silly whispers?" Tatuli pouts as she strolls in and sits at one of the tables, "You know I'd never agree with them that you were dusty and moldy under your robe. I told them it was very disrespectful to even think it. You, the esteemed Art-Scholar, and all of you, my lords and ladies. I understand your annoyance, but have you no mercy? We're all just tired."

Brother Bellavoir bristles, especially when he's told he's not helping, and that they were saying he was all moldy. His face reddens, and a vein pops out at his temple. "Yes, I believe full apologies are in order. If not, we'll continue on to Artshall. I will not share an inn with you and your friends."

Antony gives a graceful bow and with a flourish of his hand, turns back for the door with a soft 'ugh - sorry'. Kiera and Grady have beaten him to it, so he sort of stands there and pretends like he's helping. He's not. The giant stable boy wriggles over onto his back and reaches out, unable to see for all the slush he just went head first into. At least he's not dead.

Can't these people just get along? That's probably what the innkeeper is thinking, and he's only just met everyone. Still, while they're here... he goes behind the bar and begins pouring drinks. Mead for everyone, whether they asked for it or not. "Please, sit, drink. You'll feel better. Don't worry about the boy, he's been kicked in the head three times or more."

Grady checks strength at normal. Grady fails.

Kiera checks perception and medicine at normal. Kiera fails.

Grady does make a genuine effort to help the stableboy up, but really. Look at him. He looks like a stiff wind might blow him over just in general, and lately the wind might not even be necessary by the looks of things. So it's a hopeless business, and he's left kneeling in the slush, instead. He studies the stableboy's features for a moment, then smiles again. "Even if you're not hurt you might fake a limp just for a moment so you can get a little of Lady Kiera's attention. She's ever so kind."

Isabeau checks intellect and empathy at normal. Isabeau is successful.

"Factually, Messere Tatuli... no. I have little mercy." Is Patrizio tired? Almost certainly. But, the likewise, he's also too tired to actually lie and try to put a veneer of nicety over the matter, when he's gesturing to the stable boy, even as the innkeeper's trying to be apologetic about it. "So /you'll/ understand that I won't rescind my word now." HIs expression remains serious, even as there's a breath and... the inclination of his head, respectfully, to the innkeeper who's offering to serve up drinks and the like. "I learned at an early age about showing at least /some/ decency for others. It's unbecoming to do otherwise. So." He shrugs slightly and there's a nod to Denica, as if he's appreciative of her having backed him up.

Mabelle check composure at normal

Mabelle checks composure at normal. Mabelle is successful.

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

Mabelle advises Antony of the little help, "Get him some water", so he contributes in a way but her eyes, they fall on that annoying Tatuli girl, "Usually when an apology is joined by a backhanded insult, it means you are not particularly tired to not having conjured that. My mercy runs very short when someone is plainly rude. You have managed to make me forget all the ladylike manners that the Duchess portrays. You are welcome to apologize, really apologize. You and him", she points at Antony, "If you do not apologize, you are welcome to leave". Result, Mabelle steps over to help Kiera with the boy to calm herself down by finger work.

Kiera frowns uncertainly, unable to acurately asses the man's injuries which concerns "I can't determine how badly he's hurt. something is surely broken. i'd be careful about moving him. the rest of them can go wherever they like for the moment while she figures this out

A little known fact is that Denica is actually a diplomat, former Voice, former this and that. Sent to Arx to convince the world that Thrax weren't well, Thrax. The smile that forms is indicative that the young woman is about to give a speech, and if that doesn't strike fear, she's got a knife on either hip. "Why not? I mean, do you want another boring night, where everyone agrees with you? We are artists, we are creative, you cannot have art without both dark and light. All shadow and it's a black page, all light, and it's blank." Denica narrows her eyes slightly, "if we all got along, art would be boring." Denica gives her flourishing comments, and it's like she is about done, it would be a great place to stop, except Denica is Denica and so she follows it up by saying, "but if -anyone- wants to pick on someone weaker than them? They can pick on -me-." Denica crosses her arms over her chest, she's small but she is seems to love nothing more than to speak truth to power.

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

Isabeau steps over to Tatuli, leaning down to press a palm to the woman's shoulder. She leans down to murmur into the woman's ear for only her to hear, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, my dear. Unpleasantness might get his attention for a moment, but keeping yourself and your company to a high standard might get you a second look." She brushes off the woman's shoulder for a moment, offering one of her warm smiles and an all-too-knowing look, as she keeps her voice low enough that no one might hear and embarrass the woman with the information later. As an add-on, she murmurs, "But good taste."

Grady brushes slushy gravel off his knees after standing up again; he backs off, leaving the stable boy to Kiera and Mabelle's care. As he passes Antony arriving with the water, he gives the man a passing comment, his light tenor devoid of any inflection beyond a general trained pleasantness. "I'm afraid our porter might be out of commission. I'm sure you can handle the rest of the bags, yes? You seem like a strong, strapping fellow." And then on to Brother Bellavoir and the other scholars. "I know it sounds as though they must mean something by it, but I promise they don't. Not really." There's encouragement in that tired smile. "It's a sort of game of wits. Like 'Six degrees to Archscholar Py'. Did any of you play that as schoolchildren? I was never terribly good at it."

Ivar and Iver, who were fetching the baggage for the elder Godsworn both shuffle up to Kiera and the stable boy.

Ivar asks, "Is he dead?"

Iver tilts his head and peers. "No, just broken."

With Grady struggling to help him up, they each lend a hand, and between the three of then, they get the giant lad up onto his feet. His legs aren't broken, that's for sure. He's got a bloody nose and a fat lip though. Thick tongued, he assures the small group around him; "Mime malight."

The innkeeper doesn't run, but he's EVERYWHERE, distributing mugs full of mead probably in the hope that they all start drinking and stop fighting. These are probably the only customers he's seen in recent memory. Never mind that they're at each others throats, so long as they stay and spend. The stable boy isn't even a passing concern.

Verlane, Brother Lemmon just look tired. Babs and Magpie hover still around Tatuli, giving moral support by their presence. Antony is just doing everything as sarcastically as possible, including fetching some water for the guy he tripped and then wandering off to the carriages to do the worst job of portering imaginable.

Brother Bellavoir looks between the nobles and exhales. "Pardon me. It has been a long trip. Let's have dinner, I'm famished and quite through with games tonight. Your Highness, please. I'm sure no one would dream of picking on you."

Tatuli for her part relents, as whatever Isabeau says quietly to her prompts a small crack in her untroubled exterior. A smile is forced. "Thank you for the advice, Duchess." It's hard to say if she'll take it, but she did hear it, and there's no more needling for Bellavoir. She simply looks over at him with her dark eyes and then gestures for her minions to sit down. There's mead to drink!

Grady checks perception and artwork at normal. Grady fails.

Patrizio checks willpower at normal. Patrizio marginally fails.

Mabelle checks perception and artwork at normal. Mabelle marginally fails.

Patrizio checks perception and artwork at normal. Patrizio is successful.

Kiera checks intellect and medicine at normal. Kiera is successful.

Mabelle inclines her head a little when people are beginning to settle down. She considers dinner, but then notices the carvings on the tables and murmurs to Denica, "I'm weary from the travel and the handling of children", she whispers the last part, "I'm going to lay down, I do not want to eat". She is likely packing cakes, do not believe a word that woman says!!! "Call me if there is trouble?", she ask the keeper, "Can you show me to a room please?"

Denica checks willpower at normal. Denica is successful.

Denica checks perception and artwork at normal. Denica is successful.

Kiera wipes the blood of gently and then uses her fingers to set the boys nose. . Her entire focus has been on setting things right until she is satisfied

Grady is unfailingly polite, even to the innkeeper; his manners seem pretty well drilled into him. He asks for boiling water for tea; he's well past the point of being able to stomach alcohol. Or very much food, for that point, and so together with the tea, he asks just for some broth, and maybe a bit of bread, if it's nothing too heavy. Three guesses as to why he's so thin. While waiting for his 'food' and letting the teabag he removed from a leather folio he carries with him steep, he has a brief chat with the northerner twins about Stormwall; he has more than a passing familiarity with it and interest in it, thanks to the extensive time he put in helping to make the supplies and manpower for its rebuilding possible, something he's happy to let slip into the conversation. Once said 'food' arrives, however, he'll switch back over to spending time with the courtiers. Surprise, he has nothing of value to say about the, uh, art on the tables, but he's very interested in other opinions offered.

There are a few moments where, in the interest of peace, Patrizio's trying very hard not to be paying attention to Antony, lest he actually perhaps 'accidentally' poke him a few times with his sword. And as such, the prince takes a very healthy swallow of the mead that's before him, and there's a chuckle, the snake of his head with a smile on his features as he's looking at the coaster there before him... and a sigh escapes him. "There's one thing the Oathlands /does/ do correctly when it comes to potent potables," opines he, "and that's make mead."

Isabeau checks command and leadership at normal. Isabeau marginally fails.

Isabeau isn't done yet, but with Tatuli relenting and her henchmen heeled, she has to worry about her food and bed. And her tea. She's finicky, and pregnant and her feet hurt, based on the way she hobbles just a little. And she heads into the kitchen to start asking for tea to be made properly, for herself and for Grady, knowing the Lord's penchant for her favored beverage. "Ah, yes, excuse me. If I could get you to make some tea, I will provide the blends."

Denica gets a drink, someone no doubt hands it to her, or she just grabs it herself, and before she's at a table she's already downed all of it. Patrizio gets the blessings of her company, and she's next to the Pravus prince. But, it's not him that's caught her attention, it's something on the table, something that catches her eyes and she leans over it. Fearless, Denica goes so far to move the man's glass out of her way, she's studying one of the carvings and her lips curl into a delighted smile, "Look at this Pravus," she tells him, and she points to the carving, it's of a pig and a flute, except the pig is playing the flute out of it's posterior. "I guess pigs can't fly, but they can certainly make music with their...," Denica she taps her finger on the pig's backside. "I knew I liked this place." Clearly this is art that the Thrax can appreciate.

The big stable boy tears up but doesn't complain when his nose is put back straight by the helpful lady. Kiera is grinned to before he ambles off to go deal with the horses. Ivar and Iver both shrug to each other and go back to their tasks, and Antony continues being a useless ass, nominally doing the same.

The innkeep is probably regretting his lack of staff, but he does his best to make sure rooms are arranged, mead dished out, and water put to boil for tea. He's wearing all the hats. Sadly, he doesn't get Isabeau, nor Grady's teas quite right. One's too bitter, the other overly steeped. Oh well. HE TRIES.

As the night progresses, Brother Lemmon puts himself to bed. Verlane is not long after. Babs and Magpie go off together, arm in arm. Bellavoir is drawn instead to Patrizio's side, belatedly having a look at the funny carving of the pig standing on his front hooves playing a flute with his butt. He stares. Tatuli slinks up alongside and a broad smile grows upon her noticing the same.

"This is brilliant!" They both proclaim in unison, causing both to stare at each other with suspicion.

"Is it not?" Tatuli asks everyone.

"Who did this?" Brother Bellavoir wants to know.

One of the hardest to learn skills that a diplomat absolutely MUST know is when to get out of the damned way. This is one of those times. Grady sips his bitter peppermint tea without much protest; he's not drinking it for the flavor, anyway. He sips his tea, smiles, and keeps his fool mouth shut.

There's some amusement on the face of the prince when he's gesturing at it, but there's a look to both of the quarrelling parties there who've found something to agree upon. "It's clearly not me," Patrizio says, with a swing of his cup a bit, even as he's gesturing at the coaster. "I'm hardly an artist - that's Sebastian. But..." There's a gesture about the room, with his hand and not the cup, to indicate that it's clearly someone local, as he eases out from his seat to allow them to look more closely at it without him in the way. So he can drink in peace.

Denica steps aside so everyone can admire the butt-playing pig. It's time for another drink, or half a dozen. She's waving over someone, and asking for the stronger stuff. There is a small smile that crosses the princess's lips and the Thrax says to no one in particular, "Art is War, and War is Art."

Isabeau does send the tea back, just once, asking for hot water instead, and eating nothing that she didn't bring herself. She watches Tatuli and Bellavoir from a distance for a time, her chin tipped to the side as her blue eyes linger contemplatively. And her three cats? Just lurk at her feet, occasionally brushing past her legs as though to remind her they are there, watching.

The innkeep, resting against the kegs behind the bar leans forward as interest is taken in the graffiti, "That? The boy did that. Damned fool. I told him I-"

Tatuli shushes him with a dark look, insisting, "No, it's wonderful. That boy is an artist."

Bellavoir has to agree. "This should be on exhibit. This is... art!"

The rest of the night then is a bit of a blur. The mead is way too strong, and everyone tired from the trip. Weirdly, Brother Bellavoir and Mistress Moretta are last to bed (if anyone even notices), and in the morning they pointedly ignore each other. It's an improvement from the bickering, but very strange all the same.

Everyone will reach Artshall without any murders happening, and reviews will likely be favorable of the new cultural district. They seem impressed. The stable boy will be brought along, and feted as a rare genius.

THE END



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