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Art is War: A Maelstrom Gala

In partnership with the Disciples of Jayus and the Crafter’s Guild, House Thrax will open the Fortress of Maelstrom to visitors from around the Compact.

Everyone is invited to take part in a multi-event festival that will showcase the culture of the Mourning Isles through a variety of mediums.

Kicking off festivities, is a gala to celebrate art, music, culture and costumes. Attendees are encouraged to dress to theme. The theme will be ‘War’. The more elaborate or outrageous the better! You are the art.

Transportation and accommodation is available for all those who want to attend.

Note: This is a festival and additional events will be scheduled over the course of a week or so.

Inquiries directed to: Denica


Nov. 27, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Denica Caprice


Vitalis Natasha Corban Rook Cesare Romulius Martino Thea Zoey Sira Samira Monique Angelo Martinique Yuri Oriana Olivando Jasher Tovell


Crafters Guild Disciples of Jayus Thrax


Outside Arx - Mourning Isles near Maelstrom - Fortress of Maelstrom

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The doors to the Fortress of Maelstrom are open to the Compact tonight. There is music in the background, a dramatic start to the evening. Servants move through the room, dressed in Mourning Isles fashion, but there are no dark colours tonight. Rather they are dressed in Thrax livery and everyone brings a touch of colour with their movements. The room smells tantalizing, with food and drinks being served. Guests are welcomed and directed to sit or stand where they link. Whispers of coming entertainment can be heard through the room. Next to the art gallery, a man with striking blonde hair tied back is waiting to take people on a tour. Princess Denica Thrax is standing in her sea serpentine gown wearing a crown of daggers. The young woman is welcoming people to the Fortress, once people settle in, she has that look foreboding a welcome speech.

Natasha takes an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

Zoey gets an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

Monique gets an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

Martinique gets an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

As co-host, Caprice must abandon her preferred post of quiet observer (and discreet candids painter) at this event. Taking up just enough space that the drape of her tapestry cloak can always remain on full display, she greets and mingles, easing in and out of hostess and guest roles - she's far from home, after all! - while working her way ever closer to Denica.

Oriana gets an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

Months of preparation have culminated to this; the impregnable Fortress of Maelstrom transformed to a more vibrant and welcoming place amidst black stones and high towers rising towards the heavens like jagged teeth. Not at all a place in which most people think of celebrating revels, the work that her cousin Denica has executed in the ancient stronghold's metamorphosis is nothing short of staggering, its more visible changes taken in with a pair of discerning dark eyes. Swathed in a creation of twilight-blue steelsilk to contrast the more resplendent and powerful figure of her husband clad in diamondplate striding next to her, Natasha strikes an almost diminutive figure when situated next to Romulius' side, his large shadow eclipsing her lithe frame and dwarfing her in breadth and stature in spite of her not-insignificant height. They grow them tall in Maelstrom, and its Eye is no exception, however determined to keep to her preference for austere and understated elegance even if the event encourages, and even demands, attention-snaring artistic displays in dress - her gown has its customary high-collar, and structured lines that enable her to look even taller than she actually is, though any hope of maintaining her rapier-sharp slenderness is summarily destroyed by the later stages of her pregnancy. The sling that has protected her left shoulder and arm from further aggravation due to a wound sustained in a recent battle has been carefully traded out for a steel pauldron, buffed to a high shine until it gleams a white-silver, secured to her person in black straps and embossed with the sea serpent sigil of her house. Overall, the image she presents is one of a traditional Islander female royal; clad with care for her protection, but otherwise divorced from the actual act of waging war.

Much like the rest of her, the rest of her finery is understated, with the silver cuff on her wrist bearing the blue-violet sheen of its lightning-glass crystal - ubiquitous to a place where Mangata's lances tend to strike sand to create it - and iridescite serpent earrings coiled around stygian harpoon heads being the set's only stand-outs. It is evident, however, that she has deliberately chosen to contrast her husband in his brilliant ensemble instead of choosing fashions to seamlessly match him; after all, as the theme of the night suggests, conflict, too, can be art, and marriage can also be war.

"Guildmaster Caprice." Corban appears at the co-host's side and touches her arm lightly, greeting the woman of the hour. He is far from home himself, and seems quite, if not ill-at-ease, then curious to be here at the home of the Thraxians. Of course, it is an occupational hazard given the relationship between the Thrax and the King's Own. "Congratulations on this gathering. It is tremendous. So many luminaries and such attention to detail."

Thea takes an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

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

Natasha checks 'recovery check' at normal. Natasha fails.

Martinique checks 'recovery check' at normal. Martinique is spectacularly successful.

Thea has joined the a roped off area with silk couches and a well stocked bar.

Martino has joined the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Jasher has joined the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Striding through the doors of the Fortress with an appreciative look around at both the fortress itself and the party's arrangements, Rook offers a warm smile towards the other partygoers as he works through the crowd, joined by Sira at his side. The pair make their way in and in rather deliberate fashion approach Princess Denica Thrax, waiting patiently for their turn to greet the hostess upon their arrival. When the time comes, Rook steps forward and bows his head to Denica, and for a brief moment the somewhat large and likely absurd white marble turret upon his head seems as if it will tumble off. But the craftsmanship is sufficient to keep it upon his head, and his introduction goes without any disaster. "Princess Denica Thrax, thank you for your welcome and invitation. It is my honor to join you for this occassion."

The Softest Whisper is alight in crimson tonight, a floor-length gown, meticulously micro-pleated, which is gathered and draped to resemble nothing so much as flowing liquid, the translucent silk fabric shifting to reveal glimpses of the skin beneath with each movement. Stygian and rubies adorn his neck, and a star ruby droplet falls from one ear, though it is sometimes hidden among the fall of ebon curls left loose and spilling along his back. "Guildmistress," he greets Caprice. "Your highness," to Denica. "You look absolutely stunning. Let us hope Mangata, Jayus, and Gild will all be pleased with our efforts this evening."

Standing (looming, really) near the far more lissome form of his wife, Romulius Thrax likely appears closer to one of the many guards that line the ballroom than a proper scion of the fortress it's in. Rather, he might if he were dressed in less ostentatious armor, a panoply of gleaming diamondplate making the prince a difficult sight to miss. Coupled with the inky-black scabbard strapped to his back by way of a baldric, it would be forgivable to assume that he dressed to the gala's theme. The truth of the matter is that his sense of protectiveness borders on the paranoid, and the armaments are meant to serve a practical purpose rather than a decorative one - even in what might be the most secure structure in all of Arvum. There's an effort to divide attention between other attendees, but cerulean invariably breaks from its periodic scans of the ballroom to fall back upon Natasha, the occasional hushed word shared with the princess in between exchanges with other revelers in the tent that they've situated themselves beneath.

Rook takes an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

Arriving through the doors of the Fortress of Maelstrom, the Duke Martino Malvici easily leads both he and the Lady Oriana Inverno in together. Her hand on his right elbow since his left forearm remains bandaged. The corners of his eyes crinkling to the Princess Denica, the Guildmistress Caprice, "Princess Denica, Guildmistress... truly our dearest thanks for hosting such a lovely event." Curling his lips as he is turning his head across the event, finding somewhere to quietly gather, "Shall we... by the bar Lady Oriana? It looks like they have made something of a unique dessert there."

"Sir Corban," Caprice's curiosity melts into delight with the curving of her mouth into a smile for the First Captain. "If I'd known it would take a boat ride to manage a chance meeting with you, I'd have been spending more time lurking around the docks. Lovely to see you," she chuckles softly, reaching to pat his arm in turn. "And thank you; the credit belongs with Princess Denica," the copper-haired couturier adds, turning her smile towards the Princess in question. "And Their Highnesses Natasha and Romulius...though I think they might be evading acknowledgement for their part in everything."

"Softest," a warm greeting offered to Cesare next. "You brighten the room as always."

Thea came as promised. Dressed in her typical leathers, she steps through the doors to find her friend. "Denica,"she calls, a smile appearing. Spotting her brother, she gives him a nod as well, as well as Oriana. "Messere Caprice. Hello."

As is her way in recent months, Zoey follows Natasha and Romulius into the event as her patron's faithful violet shadow. She takes in her surroundings as if seeing the place for the first time, an appreciative smile curling her lips as she takes it all in. She especially focuses on the incredible fashions being modeled, as she herself is dressed in comfort-focused violet silks that accommodate her growing belly.

Sira is at Rook's side, and when it is time to greet Denica she gives a less impressive bow than her patron. "Your Highness, thank you for the opportunity to visit your home." The woman seems eager to get out of the way of anyone else who may be waiting, and so steps toward wherever a drink might be. Caprice is given a nod of recognition along the way.

Finding herself far from home and in an entirely unfamiliar place, Samira exudes equal parts caution and wonderment, her watchful gaze serving both to catalogue any potential threats and to admire the finery which surrounds her. She has elected to wear something simple and familiar, suitable for the event due to its practicality. Recognizing a couple faces in particular among the crowd, she heads straight for the hosts of the evening to greet the pair with a grin that projects warmth despite its brevity. "Princess Denica, Caprice, thank you for hosting. Clearly a successful turnout and I can't wait to observe all the artwork on display."

Monique arrives in a gown of bright shades of red, tight of bodice, curves on full display. A set of peculiar metal goes from neck to below the belly in a straight row, broken chain links in gold. The top half of the gown might almost seem near austere, but that changes dramatically from the hips down where it explodes out in an abundance of shimmering silk, sewn in ruffled, flowing, moving wild crimson shades to match the tumble of her silken hair, loose and unfettered. It floats around her bare shoulders and an ethereal stygian spiderweb necklace as she enters the fortress ballroom. She pauses just as much for effect as to take in the surroundings, her ruby lips parting in awe, the lift of her arm flashing a golden bracelet of twelve chains as the Minx waves to someone familiar.

With an air of relative ease in his movements, Angelo makes his way in slowly but surely. He pauses near the entrance as sharp, gray-green eyes soak in what lays before him, a ghost of a smile flickering momentarily before a somber demeanor claims his symmetrical expression. Embarking further, Angelo first makes a point, waiting in line as everyone else. His attire is not so colorful, nonetheless an elegant, impeccable bow is produced for Denica, "Princess Denica....truly, it would be a lie if I said you could have done a better job. Thank you for allowing us this grand opportunity to live and experience the art, cultures and finer pleasures your people offer." Comes the words rolling off his tongue with ease in a baritone edging on a bassier side.

Martinique is a rare sight this evening, being alone and away from the Countess at a social event. Perhaps there is some plot afoot. What could Ember be scheming? Or maybe Marti just heard there'd be free food and booze and stopped listening after that. Either way, the soldier makes her way into the hall, though she isn't dressed in a very soldierly manner this evening--just a relatively simple blue dress with some minimal ornamentation. Something a soldier's budget can afford, and nothing that will start rumors or spark whispers in the city. Perhaps that is how she prefers matters. She doesn't know her hosts other than by reputation, but she will approach Denica and Caprice and give a curtsy, along with a "Thank you for the fine festival, your highness, guildmistress." Cesare is given a "Hey there, Messere," as she makes her way to swing by the bar tent long enough to get a drink and--no, tender, just give her the wine bottle, thank you.

She'll spot Natasha and crew after that making their way to the food area, and this seems like a good strategic goal and so the blonde woman makes her way in that direction. "My ladies, my lord." She offers cheerfully. "Do you mind if I join you?"

"Well, the Crown asked me to be present as a representative of sorts, and I supposed given that it was your event, it would be a fine thing to be able to do," says Corban, warmly, to Caprice when they meet and exchange greetings. Monique's entrance catches his eye, but he shakes it off to greet the nearby Softest Whisper. "Softest. It is good to see you. I will need your advice on a Whisper to consult with soon. I have been asked to convene the next Assembly of Peers and I will need to work on my lines to ensure I do not embarrass myself or the King."

Denica is greeting people as they arrive, wearing an easy smile on her lips. It reaches her eyes and the icy blues light up to a vivid shade. Each person that says hello is met with a personal acknowledgement. There are fond smiles for those she is well acquainted with and then there are curious ones for those she hasn't met yet. "Thank you, thank you for coming," those words are repeated as she lets people settle in, eyes drifting about to find that right time to say a few words.

Yuri parted ways from one of the bar tents with a whiskey glass in his hand; mid-imbibe before he found the best way in which to take a hearty drink without ruining the 'warpaint' along his face. Every so often, his skylit blue eyes trailed off toward the silk tent serving cuisine and some of the servants doling out the fare of the Isles to the guests.

"Of course," Cesare says warmly to Corban. "I'm sure we can arrange that, although I'm afraid it's likely to be only me assisting with such a task, alas, many of my fellow Whispers are not as devoted to diplomacy as I. Nonetheless, what an honor, congratulations."

"Duke Malvici, Countess Wyvernheart," more familiar faces are offered formal greetings offset by informal smiles as Corban turns to Cesare, and Caprice shifts her focus back to the growing, milling crowd. "Messere," murmured to Sira, Martinique. "Samira!" Whoops. In spite of the outburst, Caprice only slips in a discreet extra wave for her fellow Disciple, glancing over the line for greeting Denica to make sure she hasn't missed anyone.

Oriana smiles to her escort and she looks daringly soft in her new cashmare daring wares. She holds onto Martino;s arm as she follows along his side. "Thank you for hosting" She says softly as she smiles and she follows alongside the Duke. "Yes...that looks like a great spot." she agrees

Straightening then, attention swiveling itself onto Caprice. Bombarded with a variety of voices, Angelo observes and simply waits until he has but a moment to offer - "I don't believe we have met, Guildsmaster Caprice, a brief introduction - Lord Angelo Difidante. but....My intuition tells me you were involved in setting all this up, and I simply must say, exemplary. Absolutely exemplary."

Making his way over towards Caprice next, as is fitting when a guest, Rook inclines his head to her in greeting. "Guildmistress, I see the touch of your artisty on display here. My compliments, and gratitude as well for your hosting." This time the turret hat seems a bit less precarious in its perch - either do to a measure of practice on Rook's part or the slightly lesser dip of the bow. "I have an idea to discuss with you at a later point, but for now want to let you know that based upon the extremely positive feedback of yourself and others, I am happy to advise that Sira has been elevated to serve as a Voice for the Silver Consortium." He offers a smile towards Sira.

Oriana has joined the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Denica Thrax takes confident steps towards the middle of the room, a blood-red wake of starlight silk widening behind her. The sound of drums beating grows louder, before it reaches a crescendo and the room goes silent. Denica welcomes Caprice to come stand with her. For a short and delicate woman, Denica does not need to project her voice. When she speaks it's loud and it fills the room.

"On behalf of House Thrax, I want to welcome you to Maelstrom. Art is War. It is a battle of colour and technique, a struggle to show people who they are. To bring truth to confusion and create chaos in the calm. Tonight is special for me," Denica admits, drawing in a slow breath as she continues. "A chance to bring colour to these halls. The opportunity to dance and sing and open our doors to everyone. This festival is meant to showcase to you, what the Mourning Isles is to all of us. Culture is about recognizing who we are and taking the best of the past and brightening it with hope for the future. A chance to be who are but to be who we want to become."

"I want to thank my co-host Guildmaster Caprice Artiglio and the Disciples of Jayus and the Crafter's Guild for co-sponsoring this event. My gratitude to all that have contributed to tonight's success. Princess Natasha, Princes Romulius and Jasher Thrax for their support. Duke Martino Malvici, Countess Thea Wyvernheart, Lord Yuri Tessere, Lord Ian and Lady Zoey Kennex, Lady Medeia Eswynd for food and libations. Samira Culler for her painting 'Personal Sacrifice' and Emporium of Curiosity, for the art titled 'Crashing Waves'. Please enjoy yourselves, we will have some entertainment shortly and then dancing. So. Eat, drink and be art."

Olivando's arrival is likely going to go more or less unnoticed. He hasn't made an effort to dress in theme, and is instead clad in a simple outfit of light twill and fine linen in shades of black and charcoal gray. He stands somewhere on the periphery, hands resting in the pockets of his breeches as he casually, almost lazily drifts his gaze here and there, noting the persons present. He'll probably get to mingling in time, when he can be bothered to rouse himself to sociability, but for now he's more than content to be just another face in the crowd.

Olivando also turns his gaze to Denica, because she's saying things now.

She may very well be doing what Caprice suggests to the others; Natasha looks perfectly content being halfway hidden by the umbral shade her husband's figure casts upon her, seated in a comfortable area within reaching distance of the food and flanked by her protege on the other side. Martinique's approach, however, lights up her pale visage in greeting and recognition. "General Barlinnie," she says. "Thank you for coming, and of course you may, if you would like. I wish to thank you for the assistance you rendered my lady Nimue recently - she was complimentary of your efforts."

Baron Brightmoon and his entourage arrive, the Baron bedecked in austere silk and wool, halfcape in deep purple thrown over a shoulder to reveal stark white lining. He surveys the room, lips pursed and finds a likely destination. His entourage melt into the milling throng and the Baron looks over his shoulder, "Sigeric," He spins fully in place, "Wh-"

Sigeric, it must be Sigeric, trails along behind the Baron. "Coming, coming." The younger man, strides in, expression blank, bleak. He looks around, falling in with his brighter companion. There doesn't seem to be any particular rapport between them save that they came together. Once abreast, the Baron moves to the tent, greeting those present.

Romulius turns from some quick aside delivered to Natasha and Zoey towards Martinique's approach, the woman offered a quick dip of head in greeting, vibrant gaze regarding studying her a moment before responding, "Of course not, Messere, though you might find less novelty in the fare than some of our guests." A glance towards the food being doled out by servants as if to emphasize the last before the prince makes to collect a pitcher of fragrant water, a momentary step away from his wife before returning to the couch she's taken a seat at. She and Zoey are each poured a glass, delivered with a nod of assurance before returning to his 'watch'. When Denica begins her announcements, there's an exasperated look at his cousin, but ultimately it's replaced by an expression somewhere between pride and gratitude.

Martinique has joined the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Yuri has joined the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Dipping his chin to a passing servant, the Duke Martino's gloved hand is taking a glass of offered rum before gesturing to the Lady Oriana beside. Lifting his glass on Denica's voice, his own Lycene tones rolling easily afterwards, "To eating, drinking and art." Something of a toast to the room before exhaling to his glass of rum. Taking back a good mouthful of it.

"Lord DiFidante," green gaze flitting to Angelo, Caprice favors him with her full attention as long as duty will oblige it. "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance; welcome, and thank you so much for joining us this evening!"

Stepping aside with a murmur for Angelo then, Caprice inclines her head towards Denica respectfully before turning to face the gathered, adding a few words in the wake of the Princess's welcome.

"I am honored to be here tonight on behalf of the Disciples of Jayus and the Crafters Guild, and to have been invited to take part in this celebration. I am grateful for the hospitality of House Thrax; if you're a fraction as excited about tonight as I am, I'm confident that you will all have a wonderful time. Enjoy the delights to your senses, and please consider expressing your appreciation to the many artists involved in creating this experience for you."

Caprice is overheard praising Thrax.

Caprice is overheard praising Crafters guild.

Caprice is overheard praising Disciples of jayus.

Jasher is home. It has been almost a year since he visited the fortress, so he takes his time navigating its austere halls, taking in the sights and smells, reliving memories since forgotten, buried beneath an accumulation of metaphorical dust and debris. It accounts for his being behind the time, the ballroom's doors having been thrown open ten minutes ago. He does not look himself tonight. What severity of countenance the prince dons is amplified tenfold by the stark white paint applied to the skin of his face to depict a pale skull featuring a fracture down the frontal bone; perhaps cleaved by a blade - one of many manners of death which can be encountered on the field of battle. If that is not a striking enough deviation, Jasher is also donning a crimson brocade doublet with gold threading and Artshall velvet sleeves that cuff at the wrists. Two colors that aren't his standard black, though of course his trousers and boots make up for the loss.

His imminent entry into the massive room comes at a time when the hostesses of the evening are addressing the guests, so he slips past quietly and joins his cousins and a few other familiar faces at the silk tent with absolutely no fanfare. "Good evening," he says, then eases himself into an unclaimed seat.

"Well, then, Softest, I hope I do not impose too much of your time to work on my remarks and my delivery with you," says Corban, warmly, to Cesare. "And of course will see you paid fairly for your time. This is, as you say, a great honor, and I wish to do it justice. I am afraid I have a bark for the training field, but I would also wish to have a baritone for the Assembly as well." He, of course, listens politely to the introductory remarks, clapping for the Guildmaster.

Corban is overheard praising Crafters guild.

Oriana smiles brightly, as she talks to Martino at the table of deserts. She looks over to Angelo's way and she waves slightly in his direction "My lord!" she calls out, "would you care to join me at my table?" she extends the offer, "Lord Martino has saved you a dessert for you here." she laughs.

While collecting a drink - some kind of smoky rum, Sira looks up sharply as she hears Rook say her name. "What'd I do? Oh, yes," She offers a small smile back to her patron and Caprice. "It's an honor and privilege to serve the Consortium as Voice." Then she's taking a deep sip of her rum. Very deep. Her eyes flick around the crowded space seeking out familiar people.

Spotting a particularly color-averse Thrax prince enter, Cesare bows his head to Corban. "You could never, Sir Corban. I'll be glad to meet with you. Only send me a missive and I'm sure we can find a time to meet before the aforementioned Assembly is upon us. If you'll excuse me, I have someone to goad about his fashion choices." He slips in the direction of the tent where all the Thraxes seem to have converged, looking totally innocent. Toooootally innocent.

Cesare has joined the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Thea spies her brother. And--company. Take her drink, the nee Malvivi sidles her way toward Martin with a smile. "Brother, how are you feeling,"she asks, looking to Oriana. "My Lady. How are you,"polite as always. Spying Jasher and Zoey, Thea gives them both a flutter of her fingers with her free hand. The one that is drinkless.

Thea has left the a roped off area with silk couches and a well stocked bar.

Thea has joined the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Samira says, ";s penchant for meandering slows as Denica and Caprice stand front and center to address the gathering. Their words are met with an approving lift of the Culler artist's chin and a glance to her empty hands, as though she only now realizes the lack of drink in hand makes it impossible to toast the pair. She turns attention to perusing the variety of food and drinks on offer while also searching the crowd for any familiar faces to join."

Retreating into the crowd, Angelo roams, pausing to admire an instrument being played, thoughtfully drinking in a work of art, even captivated by dancers at various points. Living in the present, he appears content even if his somber demeanor almost never falters. Gray-green eyes swivel onto Oriana as he is addressed, blinking a couple times before a corner of his lip curls upwards into a roguishly charming half-smile, dimpled. "Oh, hello there. So many heads, it's a wonder you managed to spot me at all!..." Comes the words, rolling off his tongue with ease. "You had me at desert, how thoughtful of you, Lord Martino.

Olivando has joined the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Samira's penchant for meandering slows as Denica and Caprice stand front and center to address the gathering. Their words are met with an approving lift of the Culler artist's chin and a glance to her empty hands, as though she only now realizes the lack of drink in hand makes it impossible to toast the pair. She turns attention to perusing the variety of food and drinks on offer while also searching the crowd for any familiar faces to join.

Retreating into the crowd, Angelo roams, pausing to admire an instrument being played, thoughtfully drinking in a work of art, even captivated by dancers at various points. Living in the present, he appears content even if his somber demeanor almost never falters. Gray-green eyes swivel onto Oriana as he is addressed, blinking a couple times before a corner of his lip curls upwards into a roguishly charming half-smile, dimpled. "Oh, hello there. So many heads, it's a wonder you managed to spot me at all!..." Comes the words, rolling off his tongue with ease. "You had me at desert, how thoughtful of you, Lord Martino."

Olivando has left the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Olivando has joined the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Angelo has joined the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Caprice brings her hands together in brief and soft applause for the room at large as the introductory speeches are concluded; that seen to, the Guildmaster pivots carefully so as not to rumple silk-stitched Maelstrom on her cloak. Tears in our wake, never at our wake. "Messere," this to Rook, "I'm pleased to see you again, but how terribly wicked of you to float the promise of collaboration and give me no hints beyond it! Messere Sira, congratulations on your appointment - I'm certain the Consortium will benefit greatly from your involvement."

Zoey does notice Thea's distant greeting and quickly returns it in kind before focusing on two men that have approached the table where she sits with Martinique, Natasha, and Romulius.

"Moderate pain, feeling of guilt." Martino's answering Thea as she is approaching with a low murmur to his voice, "But it will pass, I am sure. How did the one we captured do in the end? He is in Southport for me?" Tilting his head, a crinkle of his sharp greens before turning his head to Oriana, "Oh and have you met Lady Oriana Inverno? Lady Oriana, my sister, Countess Thea Wyvernheart." As Angelo makes his way over, Martino raises his left hand and glass of rum to him, "Some of the most spectacular desserts around. Something I have had quite some... sampling around."

Laughing softly, Rook nods to Caprice. "My apologies, I just know that you are busy here tonight. A hint, perhaps, is that I would like to enlist your aid in sending folks all over the great city of Arx in search of fun, danger, and enlightenment." He flashes a wink to her, and then nods as she congratulates Sira. "She has done some tremendous work already for the Consortium, and as we are looking to expand our partnerships with the Crafters, I felt it only fitting that she stand as a Voice, given the importance of that relationship. She has earned every bit of it, even if only in helping to smooth out my prior mishaps." He flashes a grin towards Caprice. "As you well know."

Once people have settled in, Denica is back to making announcements. Servers kindly clear the dance floor for the entertainers. "I would like to welcome some special entertainment for you tonight. Keeping in theme, we are lucky to have the talents of Softest Whisper Cesare, Mistress Ilira Starling and Lady Monique Greenmarch, performing a very unique knife dance!" Denica moves out of the way, gesturing for the performers to come to the middle of the room.

Natasha is overheard praising Denica.

Natasha is overheard praising Caprice.

Oriana smiles to Martino, then her eyes look over to Thea, a little nod of her head is given. "Might I also introduce Lord Angelo DiFinate." she says quietly, "It dose look as if Martino has had a run in with some danger." she eyes his bandages. "Well met Countess." she says to Thea

Yuri has left the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Yuri has joined the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Cesare and Ilira appear from opposite sides of the stage, two figures, one draped in white and one in black, their contrasting clothing set further apart by the difference in their height. But despite the ways in which they are opposed, they are helplessly drawn to each other: quick, flurrying steps draw them both to the center of the stage with arms outstretched in longing, while their previous positions have been replaced by two masked figures, one in crimson and one in gold, watching from the shadows. Cesare and Ilira clasp hands center stage, forming an elegant archway as they raise their arms and then duck beneath them, repeating the maneuver several times so their arms describe an intricate shape with each fluid movement. Their eye contact never breaks. They straighten and Cesare draws Ilira close, twirling her to face the audience as she lifts one foot in an exquisite pirouette, her aeterna skirts rippling. She gazes outward, stars in her eyes and a lovelorn smile upon her lips, when a dagger whistles *just* over her partner's shoulder, shredding his umbra, and past her pointed ear. Startled, both lovers look up with wide eyes to the source of their assailant, the form in fiery red who watches malevolently from stage right as the golden goddess stage left plucks the soaring dagger neatly from midair.

Thea frowns a little at Martino's words. "Yes. I can--yeah,"her words trailing. "And he is. He's yours to do as you wish." Looking to Oriana, Thea looks to Oriana and smiles a moment. "It's a pleasure to meet you. And my brother did. It's a good thing his family has such good medics,"as her gaze falls to Angelo. "Lord Angelo. Good to see you again."

Cesare and Ilira's dance becomes faster, frantic - arms twine together, back and forth, as they bend their bodies to try and avoid the cunning blades flung their way. Always, the daggers fly close enough to whisper by the skin, sometimes through a gap in a lift, sometimes between the legs of a graceful jump. Every time, the gilded figure catches the blade, sometimes going so far as to intercept it just before it can plunge into one of the lovers. Desperation begins to color their expressions, and it is as if some unseen force is pulling them apart. They separate, inch by inch, until their fingertips barely brush, one pulled toward crimson and the other to gold. But suddenly, in a show of defiance, they run toward each other again, bodies pressed together in embrace, and Cesare lifts Ilira with hands around her waist, as if she weighs nothing, to sit upon his shoulder.

When Cesare peels off to mingle and to prepare for the performance, Sir Corban moves over to Caprice to touch her waist again lightly, politely, from behind. "Caprice," he murmurs softly. "I am afraid I do not know many here. Perhaps we might linger together and try to meet some. Or if you know anyone." He does, however, know the Minister of Coin. "Minister Rook. A good day. How do the Compact's riches treat you?"

Oriana is overheard praising Denica.

It seems a moment of triumph, Ilira lifted high and Cesare holding her up, but a final glittering dagger slices at them from the darkness and neither are quick enough. In a motion perfectly in time to the music, Ilira reaches down, too late to stop the point from piercing the heart of her lover. She grips the handle as it does and Cesare wavers beneath her, sinking to his knees with one arm still steadying her. She slips to hers in front of him, reaching to cup his face with shaking hands and a look of utter heartbreak on her lovely features. Cesare slumps in her arms, crimson pouring from the wound. Is it real? It certainly *looks* real. Ilira gazes at the audience a moment, lamenting her fallen partner, but slowly her expression shifts. The melody quickens as, with lithe celerity, she wraps her hand around the dagger hilt and withdraws the blade from Cesare's unmoving chest. She whips around to throw it in a high, deadly arc toward the fiery red figure who, stunned, sinks to the stage, hands around the hilt jutting out from her breast. When Ilira turns back to the audience, her eyes flash with defiance and just the barest hint of victory as she rises to join the glorious figure in gold and they depart together.

Angelo leans back as his desert quite literally bursts into flames, nose wrinkling a touch even though pearly white teeth poke out whilst lips curl back into a rare, brilliant smile complete with dimples momentarily, colorful gaze bright with entertainment. "Oh...what a lovely surprise. That's a new one I'll write off my list."

Inclining his head towards Corban, Rook favors him with a smile. "Sir Corban, I am well. And I must say, of late, they are treating my endeavors and I rather well. They helped raise a considerable sum for the Physicians last week." He nods his head towards Sira at this side. "Sir Corban, allow me to introduce you to Sira, an artisan beyond imagination and a savvy enough businesswoman to be named Voice for the Silver Consortium." Nodding toward Corban, he provides context for Sira, "Sir Corban is First Captain of the King's Own, and is one of the finest men in the city."

When the dance has come to an end, Denica is clapping her hands enthusiastically. "Incredible!," she exclaims for the performers. The young woman has watched the entire performance with avid curiosity as the blades glint and sail through the air. "Softest Whisper Cesare! Ilira Starling and Lady Monique Greenmarch! Splendid! Bravo!," she says, thanking the performers. Then...the hostess dashes off, as fast as one can in such a gown, a few servants rushing out after her. Surely she isn't going to dash out of her own party...

Jasher claps his hands for the violent and dramatic performance that took place on stage, and while the painted skull looks positively grim at a glance, a deeper inspection of the prince beneath may observe the way his lips are curled up into a wry smile.

With the first bite of his 'Flaming Ballistae', Angelo's colorful gaze swiftly shoots up at the server incredulously even, speaking only after gulping the food down. "That is a dessert that never gets old."

A reprieve in hostessing, the Guildmaster turns her full attention to the first performance. There's the vaguest curve of familiarity to the set of her mouth, something soft. Reminiscent. The drama and danger of the piece are not dulled for her, though - not at all! She joins in with the applause again, hers an enthusiastic staccato adding to the din. "Superlative!"

"Oh ho," Brilliant eyes flash brighter still as Caprice turns back towards Corban. "A social skirmish, you might say? Yes, let's. And our first comes to us," she remarks aside, as Rook introduces Corban and Sira. She asks of the Consortium companions, "We intend to have everyone's names before the end of the night. Are there any unfamiliar faces for you two in the crowd, yet? Maybe we can descend upon them en masse. Politely, of course. Artfully."

Sira's smile stays in place, small and pleasant, as Caprice says kind things about her and Rook introduces her to Corban. The knight is given a polite bow of her head and shoulders that sends her curls spilling over her shoulders. "That is an impressive title, Sir Corban. Good to meet you. I am also the newly appointed Minister of Coin for House DiFidante." Her rum glass - nearly empty - is lifted to Corban and Caprice. "Far too many unfamiliar faces, Guildmistress. We really should fix this."

It's uncouth, a bit rude even, but what better can one expect from a commoner? Martinique places two fingers of her left hand to her lips and lets out a loud whistle of appreciation for the performance; it was well done after all. Her right hand seems occupied with being used for balance, and thus she couldn't simply clap like a civilized person.

"Yes. I was so tremendously pleased to hear from Lady Medeia that the necessary sums to assist the Bastion refugees appear to be within your grasp," says Sir Corban, to Rook, pleased at the mention of the fundraiser last week. "If there is more that I can do, please, I have a few more resources I can call upon." A dip of his head to the Minister when he is called one of the finest people in the Compact. "He is just impressed by the flashy armor," demurs the knight. "Truly, I have foibles equal to anyone else." "Yet it is a pleasure to meet you, Sira. May the Silver Consortium be guided to Guild's charity in all it does." To Caprice, he adds, "We should indeed. As co-hostess, it is your prerogative."

Jasher stands from his seat, exhales heavily, and departs from the silk tent. From there, he makes a bee-line toward Denica and exchanges a few words with her.

Rook inclines his head towards Caprice, agreeing with both Sira and Corban in turn. "I would say much the same. Certainly, if given the opportunity to bask in the radiance of two artists, who am I to object?" He reaches up a hand to adjust his turret hat for a moment, frowning slightly as it had shifted a bit off-center.

Jasher has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Oriana nods her head to Martino and she smiles at his whispered words "That would be nice." she agrees before she looks over to Angelo with a little wink. Her eyes are then drawn over to the others at the table and she smiles to them each in turn. "such a grand event." she says as she watches the dancers - her fork is then lifted to sample a flaming dessert.

Denica reappears wearing a completely different outfit. The Princess sees Jasher's approach and she winks at him. Taking Jasher's hand, she leads him to the middle of the dance floor. Denica lifts their arms, so she can get everyone's attention. Someone makes a loud cymbal crash to facilitate this. Wearing a dress made from the palest pink silk and chiffon, it has a fitted sleeveless top and an airy skirt that was made to bounce and flutter with movement. "Everyone. Put down your drinks. Finish your food. Get up and come over! We invite you all to learn and do a traditional dance with us called The Maelstrom Mairseail."

"Don't worry, we will teach you the steps if you don't know." Denica uses her other hand to wave everyone towards the dance floor. The Princess looks very insistent that everyone take part in the next activity. She even gives a specific look at Romulius, as she encourages. "It's really simple as stomp and twirl. That's all you need to remember. Stomp and twirl!," Denica says, trying to break it down as simple as she can.

Samira's eyes follow the attention-grabbing dance as the trio performs. A downward turn of her lips suggests a moment of feeling ill at ease, but whatever causes the emotion appears fleeting. She recovers quickly enough that by the time the performance comes to its dramatic end, the artist finds herself applauding enthusiastically for the group. Attention is turned to the important business of locating a drink. Once that has been accomplished, she begins to meander back toward Caprice and her companions, familiar and unfamiliar alike.

Thea pauses what she was doing and turns when she sees Denica and Jasher. She lifts a brow and grows curious. "I didn't know Jasher danced,"Thea murmurs to those at her table."

With a gentle applause as one performance ends, the Duke Malvici sips heavily upon his rum to warm through his body. Dressed Lycene, trapped in Thrax. Hearing Denica's voice command them up, Martino checks with a gaze across the table at who else was gathering to their feet, "Looks like we cannot avoid this dance too much." Fingertips offering out to Oriana's hand, "Shall we then?"

Oriana stands in her dangerously dusky cloud of soft fabric, and she reaches out for the Duke's hand "Alright then." she says as she follows him to stand. Her eyes snap onto Angelo "You owe me the next one." she grins before she heads off with the Malvici Lord.

Having invited Sira and Rook along with her and Corban for the grand introduction tour, she suggests to the three quietly, "Allow me to take up the rear, mm? Less chance of my being stepped on that way." House Blackshore's embroidered New Hope isn't too endangered, lower on the cloak but not close to the hem. May the blood of my enemy spill upon the shore.

At the call for dancing, she grins to her group and claps twice, quietly. "A detour first. Shall we? Samira! Come dance with us? Sir Corban, Minister Rook, Messere Sira - you've all met Samira? A master artist, incredibly talented, one of my co-Guildleaders and a fellow Disciple of Jayus."

Any pointed looks delivered by Denica to Romulius are met only with a severe one in return, reading very much like 'not now'. It's far from the sort of familial warmth one might be expended to the evening's hostess by her cousin, but the Sword's attention seems to be otherwise occupied with whatever conversation is taking place in the tent he currently occupies - and with his apparent chaperone of a pair of gravid Islanders, his wife one of them.

A soft sigh slips forth from Rook at Caprice's suggestion, as if he was otherwise planning to evade the dance. But, called out as such, Rook nods and makes his way along with her and the rest of the group, a hand nervously reaching up to steady his hat once more. "A pleasure to meet you, Samira," he offers, inclining his head politely to her, as he follows along with the group towards the mass of dancing.

Cesare loiters at the edge of the snack tent with a raised-eyebrows amused expression, awaiting a chance to see if anyone is brave enough to partner him in a dance after the intimidatingly complex and pointy performance he was just involved in. And also to watch the notoriously staid Prince Jasher do some sort of traditional dance.

Sira shrugs, agreeing to whatever it is Caprice wishes easily. Until dancing is mentioned. "Oh, uh..." She lifts her rum glass and empties it. "What an unfortunate turn of events, my glass seems to be empty and I should real-" Her words cut off as Samira is greeted, giving the woman a friendly upnod. "Good to see you again." A sigh finds the rum glass handed off to some passing server. "Dancing, then?" Resigned.

"It's turning and stomping," Caprice offers, somewhat sympathetically, to Rook and Sira. "If you happen to fall on your arse, we'll tout it as... Arx city flair."

"I do not think we have met," admits Sir Corban, as he inclines his head to Samira. "But it is a pleasure to meet you. Sir Corban Telmar, of the King's Own." A warm smile as he then turns to Caprice, offering his hand to her in a traditional Arxian invitation to dance. "Shall we?" he asks. "To get it out of the way." He is not much of a dancer.

Vitalis has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

A laugh slips forth from Rook as he moves to follow along with the dancing. "I am not worried about my body falling so much as I am about my tower," he explains, pointing up to the precariously attached headgear. "You know that tumbling towers are considered bad luck..."

Caprice has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Bite by bite, Angelo appears more concerned with demolishing his dessert than socializing with those at the desert bar, although if addressed, he responds easily enough.

Rook has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Sira has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Vitalis has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Jasher does not /dance/. At least not in the way most people imagine dancing should appear or feel. There is no artistry to his movements, no graceful sweeps, no affectation of emotion. However, his dexterous inclinations allow him to keep step in perfect time with the music, and, at the very least, remember the steps he was taught in his youth. It certainly helps that this traditional Mourning Isles dance does not demand a great deal of fluff. Stomping and spinning in a circle is no great feat; he does at least one of those two things more readily. The skull painted on his face certainly adds more gravitas to the otherwise jaunty, upbeat movements, which may or may not have been his intention.

When people begin to flood the dance floor, Jasher assists Denica with showing people the steps. Of course, he's focused more upon the leading half, showing those who would take better to the foot-stomping portion. "Start here, and when your partner twirls, step forward, wait, and stomp your foot," he says while performing it for the 'class'.

Mingling with crowds at fancy events is not one of Samira's best skills and so it is with some measure of relief that she accepts Caprice's invitation, flashing a quick grin in thanks for the rescue. Her dark eyes roam from face to face, a smile offered to each in turn as introductions are made. "Glad to see you again," she remarks to Sira before offering a casual upnod to the other less familiar faces. "Pleasure to meet you both. I promise never to speak of any potential mishaps if only you each promise to excuse any ungraceful missteps on my part." A faint smile accompanies the words as she gamely follows the group toward the dance floor.

Samira has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

As people gather on the dance floor, Denica leads Jasher to the middle. The princess is use to speaking in front of others and so she says so easily. "I want everyone to get into two lines. You don't need a partner, you will be matched as the dance unfolds." Denica points to one side of the room, "on this side are our stompers." Then she points to the other side, "this is where our twirlers will be." Looking at her cousin, she gives him the nod. "Prince Jasher and I will demonstrate and then once you feel comfortable, please join in!"

Denica takes a step back from Jasher, waiting for him to stop loudly. Denica twirls, a delicate and graceful movement, while she watches the man. Another stop, and she reaches for his hand and she twirls again before stepping back with a less overt stop of her own. This repeats three times, before she takes his hand and they both spin around with subdued stopping movements.

"Turning and stomping." There is a faint twitch in the corner of Martino's lips at Caprice's voice describing the dance while leading both himself and Oriana to the lines of the dance. "Sounds like military training again." A slight laugh escaping from his throat before arriving in his place opposite Oriana. Standing where he should, he starts with a few steps forward and stomps his foot in time. A glance towards Denica and Jasher, checking their own steps, before offering out fingertips to Oriana for the spin.

Corban has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Jasher has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Denica has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Thea is definitely NOT a dancer. Unlike Jasher, she's not being forced and she's content with that. WITH drink in hand. Instead, the Wyvernheart watches with a slight grin on her lips, taking sips here and there. It's like moving art right now. Sorta. Kinda.

Oriana dances with the Duke, her dress shifts over her leggings, flaring over her tall heels. She follows his lead, though she herself was not a dancer, she seemed to know how to make Martino look all the better while they dance and stomp. Her foot comes down onto his toes... "oh oh pardon me." she says between stomps

"Well, I can certainly stomp," offers Rook, as he detaches slightly from the group he had been gathered with, following the instructions to form into a line. He offers a parting wave to them as he slips away. "May you be blessed to find better stompers to be paired with." He glances skyward for a moment. Or perhaps just up at the turret.

Jasher checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Jasher is successful.

Denica checks dexterity and performance at easy. Critical Success! Denica is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.

Cesare is uncertain if he's a stomper or a twirler. Some people are gifted to be able to do both. He clasps his hands in front of himself and opts to watch instead, the better to mock Jasher mercilessly later. I mean. Definitely not that.

Rook checks dexterity and performance at easy. Rook is successful.

Fingertips tucking against Oriana's own, Martino's lifting their hands up as they twirl. The catching of his toes with Oriana's heels causing a slight seethe and suck through his teeth, "Mm wo-worry not." The brief passing brush of the two close before stepping back once more to return to the stomps and twirls.

Romulius has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Jasher manages to hold his own fairly well in spite of his rigid carriage. But for all his lacking elegancy, Denica picks up the slack. She could make a brick wall look like a half-way decent dance partner. They continue to teach the steps to everyone, showing them the pauses, the twirls, the audible foot-stomping that somehow manages to fit in with everything else in a way that perhaps only a Thrax dance could achieve.

Caprice accepts the escort, turning a quick grin to Corban as their group heads for the dance floor and the steps are explained for those unfamiliar with the mairseail. She's among them - and quick to vote herself into the twirling line - hefting her cloak up around her to hotfoot it across the way from some of her companions. Overhearing Martino, she asks him, "Is military training so very twirly, Duke Martino Malvici?" His name is said perhaps a touch louder, for the benefit of her cadre. "How does one... weaponize a pirouette?"

Having agreed to the group activity of dancing, Sira joins Caprice, Corban, Rook, and Sira. Certainly she can manage some stomping. Probably.

The conversation occuring around the silk tent with all of the fine cuisine seems to have drawn to a close, with Natasha training a dark, steady gaze to the Dredcall-Brightmoon delegation that has just departed her proximity to head further into the gala. After another exchanged word with the rest of the party, the tall princess starts to rise from her seat, her hand held by her husband while he assists her to it and her attention moving, finally, away from the staunch Islander traditionalists and towards the dance floor, eyes lighting up in recognition of the Maelstrom Mairseail. How long has it been since she's seen it danced, or danced it herself? Her cutting, long-legged strides take her alongside her husband as they move to the fringes of the dance floor to at least watch, and lend their support towards their two cousins leading the dance.

Samira catches sight of Cesare watching from the outskirts of the crowd and gestures emphatically to her fellow Disciple. "After your performance, surely you can handle a little stomping or twirling," she calls teasingly. To the rest of the group that has made their way toward the dance floor, she makes note of her decision. "I think I'm more of a stomper than a twirler myself." Thus decided, she moves to the appropriate line to join in.

Natasha has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Cesare has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Cesare has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Corban checks dexterity and performance at easy. Corban is successful.

Sira checks dexterity and performance at easy. Critical Success! Sira is spectacularly successful.

Angelo snaps out of his food-induced daydream

Cesare checks dexterity and performance at easy. Cesare is successful.

Caprice checks dexterity and performance at easy. Caprice is successful.

When Caprice accepts his hand and he leads her out to the dance floor, he manages to step into the line easily enough. Stomp, stomp, clap. Turn, stomp, stomp. Stomp, stomp. Yes, he manages. He is no performer, but he is light on his feet. Perhaps it is all the sword work. But when Sira adds quite the flair to her stomps, well, he moves out of the way to give her space.

Oriana laughs a little as she stomps, and twirls she laughs a little and she breaks away from her dancing partner a small smile adorns her lips as she looks over to Angelo, "Come join!" she calls him out of his food coma to dance with herself and the Duke.

Cesare places a hand to his chest in dramatic affront at Samira's tease. The mere suggestion that he wouldn't be able to handle a bit of stomping and twirling is a grave offense; so of course he glides to the dance floor to join in the dancing along with the charmingly mixed group of high nobility and commonfolk all stomping and clapping together.

Positioned now at the perimeter of the dance floor, it doesn't appear as though Romulius has any intentions of leading his wife a step further to tread onto it, the pair seemingly content to observe from this far. Gaze alternates between scanning the ballroom at large, seemingly set on edge by *something*, and watching individual performers of the traditional dance, some more familiar than others. Something that catches his eye elicits a bit of amusement, and the sterner expression is replaced by the subtle flash of a sickled grin as he delivers a quick aside in a hushed tone to Natasha.

Jasher turns to summon Zoey to the dance floor.

Staring at the dancers for a minute, Angelo swiftly waves for a server, accepting the iced wine. "Ah..heh...Not enough liquid courage yet!" He says in protest to Oriana, raisinf his glass as emphasis and excuse!

Wry, a laugh escapes to Caprice in passing as Martino is stepping forward once more into Oriana's presence as they continue the dance, "Footwork-footwork-footwork. I was told. A pivot to deflect, a turn to strike back and counter." Wryly twitching his lips afar to Angelo, "Oh no excuse now."

Zoey whispers something to Martinique, and upon seeing Jasher beckon to her, she too joins the dance floor.

Zoey has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Zoey has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Oriana laughs a little as she dances around Martino, her dress shifts and she smiles wryly to him as she leans in to whisper to the Duke as she spins and stomps. Not caring where her feet land in theprocess. Though Martino seems to deflect her attempts at taking out his toes quite aptly

Samira checks dexterity and performance at easy. Samira marginally fails.

Upon Zoey's departure for the dancefloor, Olivando offers a casual wave, before turning back to Martinique with a flick of a smile on his face.

Angelo drains his glass of wine, gulping once and sort of just staring at the dance floor as if it was some rabid animal, ready to strike. Pressing a palm to the bars surface, Angelo rises painfully slow. "Alright, alright. Since two insist. I will say now, protect your feet."

Jasher makes sure that the newest additions to the group understand the steps before he falls back into the line, paying special attention to Zoey and ensuring she only moves within range of her comfort. Thankfully, the dance does not demand a great deal of exertion to participate in with ease. When the song reaches the height of its buoyancy, the prince finds himself at the end of the line, stops mid-step, pivots on his heel and closes his eyes. For a moment, there is nothing but shadow to be gleaned where black paint depicts hollowed eye sockets. He exhales a sigh of resignation, opens his eyes, and then gestures with his right hand toward Denica.

Angelo has left the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Samira is apparently too busy listening to Caprice's introductions and delighting in having successfully goaded Cesare onto the dance floor to pay proper attention to the steps. She's offbeat and a little uncoordinated, stomping when she should be pausing, pausing when she ought to be stepping. Her lack of attention very nearly sends her careening into whichever unfortunate dancer may be closest to her, the artist attempting to right herself with murmured apologies.

Yuri glanced off toward Angelo with a hearty chuckle, pointing toward him with whatever finger he had left around the glass of whiskey he was nursing, "That only works for so long, my lord! When the bottom of your glass nears, the time has come." He downed it rather quickly before he made his wary way toward the dance floor, careful to give Jasher and Denica a cautionary berth.

Zoey checks dexterity and performance at easy. Zoey is successful.

Angelo rolls his shoulders out, remarking a "Heh. The time is now, more than any." Towards Yuri, Angelo approaching the dance floor cautiously.

Angelo has joined the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Once people are dancing and comfortable with the traditional March, the crowd is instructed to split back into their two lines. Stomping and Twirling. At this time, Denica takes Jasher's hand winking at him. It's some secret-cousin-code. The smile that forms on the princess's lips is nothing short of devilish. And with that, she is does a short vigorous little dance with Jasher, before she lets him spin her out.

Denica continues to spin, twirling her flouncy skirt as she moves across the dance floor. There is grace to her movements, a natural ease, but more than that, excitement, energy and life. Denica is in her element. When she stops, she takes a moment to move her arms up and down and sway her hips in quick order, as though getting ready for something. Then she stops.

Her eyes on her cousin, they sparkle with mischief and then SUDDENLY she is running across the dance floor towards him. When Denica reaches Jasher she throws her arms up and she jumps as high as the princess can. This allows the man to grab her and hoist her above his head. Arms out, she sees the entire room and her expression lights up as she remains there for a few seconds in the air, a bright, dazzling smile on her face.

Pausing, Angelo opts not to step up onto the stage given Denica and Jashers display, eyebrows arching a smidgen in subdued admiration.

Head tilted a little while listening and watching the steps, Caprice mimics the leaders - tapping a foot to mark where the stomping happens, with a laugh and cheering for Corban across the way. The weight of ironwool was, perhaps, not entirely calculated out so her initial spin is a little wobbly. Darkwater's embroidered holdings swirl about, more visible as the cloak's hem lifts around her. Mercy is a virtue, daring is no vice. Higher up, as the garment billows, Grimhall's holdings catch a gleam of light against green and sandy silk threads. Fear is the guardian of hate. Caprice finds her anchor point and her twirls even out. "Fair enough, my Lord," she laughs to Martino, "and please excuse my ignorance. I believe I've only mastered the 'run and scream' and 'hide behind the ones with weapons' maneuvers, thus far."

Oriana is overheard praising Jasher.

Cesare is overheard praising Disciples of jayus.

Zoey keeps up with the dance easily enough, though her movements are a bit more careful given her present condition. When Denica and Jasher perform their show stopping choreography she smiles brightly and applauds them.

Cesare is overheard praising Thrax.

Cesare is overheard praising Crafters guild.

It's not clear, exactly, which of the performances that Romulius is more impressed by, but the man wears a broad grin either way. Denica's display of acrobatics would be an impressive thing, for a scion of any house, but that it comes from a Thrax perhaps makes it all the more unexpected. Jasher, though, is almost as staunchly opposed to displays of frivolity as the Sword - that he even *knew* to catch their cousin in such a manner belies a great deal of practice, no doubt. Either way, it prompts a break in his practiced austerity to deliver proper applause for the dancers as a whole.

Oriana is overheard praising Thrax: Best Party of the year.

"Ah you time yourself well Lord Angelo." Martino's twirling once more with Oriana before stepping back once more. His hand gesturing to the space at his feet, "Please, do take mine in the line. I should see a dear friend." With Martino's left forearm slipping beneath his torso, he is bowing smoothly to Oriana opposite, "My dear thanks and pleasure Lady Oriana."

Laughing easily in passing to Caprice, the Malvici Duke is making his way from dance floor to the fringes to approach on the Princess Natasha's left side. His right hand rolling free to her as his voice draws low, "Delight to see you here, Princess Natasha... been a while since we were in Maelstrom. I am right in thinking there is accomodation set up as well?"

Martino is overheard praising Denica.

Martino is overheard praising Caprice.

Cesare is overheard praising Denica: The Little Devil is a consummate hostess, and possibly some sort of deeply talented mistress of secrets and manipulation as well, considering she managed to convince her cousin to perform such an exuberant display of performance art. I would never suppose to ask her secrets. Some terrible things should remain unknown.

Martino is overheard praising Thrax.

Thea has left the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Martino is overheard praising Crafters guild.

Martino is overheard praising Disciples of jayus.

Oriana smiles a little as she gives a nod to Martino, "Thank you for the dance my friend, I hope to see you later." she winks her eyes to him before she turns to take Angelos hand. A daring smile his way as she stomps and turns and shifts in the dance, enjoying herself despite ill timed places of her feet.

Cesare is overheard praising Jasher: Now we all know why Prince Jasher does not dance more, nor wear color, and it is because the combined radiance of his personage when doing both is enough to blind an entire roomful.

Denica's dramatic leap may be more dizzying that Caprice's quick twirling. She gasps with delight after the Princess has swept past only to be suddenly visible overhead. Applause erupts around the Guildmaster, started by her. She eyes Corban, arching eyebrows in a question and pointing down to the front of the line as if to say, 'Want to try?'

She seems content to watch, perhaps to spare the crowd the sight of a maNatee being swung around by her husband in her home-isle's traditional couple's dance. Natasha has her dark-haired head tilted towards Romulius, expression softening at the boyish grin that removes a decade off his handsome countenance, however engrossed as she is in what seems to be serious discussion interspersed with the occasional hint of good humor. She disengages, but only briefly, when Duke Malvici arrives to greet her, warmth suffusing her porcelain veneer at the sight of him, his outstretched hand met with the light placement of her own. "There is, if you would like to converse. I wouldn't dare put you on a ship so quickly when I fully expect you to imbibe on the wine - and summer storms are frequent here. Better, I think, to make the voyage homeward during the day."

"If you insist." Angelo says with a reluctancy for the stage and exhaling heavily, posture visibly relaxing in turn. His eyes widen once his hand is grabbed and swiftly thrown into the dance. It is EVIDENTLY clear, he is no dancer, but it's also clear, he is a VERY quick learner. Mirroring Oriana's movements - no, complimenting them, he makes a point to avoid those feet as best he can, following the simple movements of stomping firmly with a step forward as she spins, catching and resuming the dance all over again.

Cesare doesn't precisely pause in the twirling-and-stomping routine, but he /does/ applaud for the impressive routine, eyebrows high. Such hidden depths and talents in unexpected places, blah blah, don't get him started, it'll turn into some heartfelt speech about how Jayus sees promise in everyone. Someone hand him a drink. Oh look - a passing server!

:is lucky enough to draw the attention of a wandering server, and thus is afforded the lucky opportunity to pluck a glass of wine from the offered platter. He lifts the vessel to his lips, takes a drink of the vintage, then raises his eyebrows to convey a suggestion of approval as to the taste. With a raise of the glass to the server, who then departs, he focuses his attention entirely on Martinique, dipping his head in thoughtful nods as he digests her words. "That sounds strenuous," he notes regarding tehe many challenges presented to the Country. I'm sure Ember is greatly appreciative of your efforts." Then, "Do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you in any way at all. I'm always ready to lend aid to Redreef, as you know." As to the issue of the vines? A small, thoughtful frown indents a subtle line between the Scholar's eyebrows. "I'm afraid not. I should ask the Archscholar about that, actually. Are you?"

Martino has left the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

:is lucky enough to draw the attention of a wandering server, and thus is afforded the lucky opportunity to pluck a glass of wine from the offered platter. He lifts the vessel to his lips, takes a drink of the vintage, then raises his eyebrows to convey a suggestion of approval as to the taste. With a raise of the glass to the server, who then departs, he focuses his attention entirely on Martinique, dipping his head in thoughtful nods as he digests her words. "That sounds strenuous," he notes regarding tehe many challenges presented to the Country. "I'm sure Ember is greatly appreciative of your efforts." Then, "Do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you in any way at all. I'm always ready to lend aid to Redreef, as you know." As to the issue of the vines? A small, thoughtful frown indents a subtle line between the Scholar's eyebrows. "I'm afraid not. I should ask the Archscholar about that, actually. Are you?"

Owing entirely to his dexterity and his cousin's earnest pleading, Jasher helps realize Denica's artistic vision for the finale by lifting her at the end, ensuring neither lose their balance in the process, and then carefully placing her back on solid ground again. A strict bow follows, and then he very expediently retreats from the dance floor, perhaps to mingle beside Natasha and Romulius who have thus far eluded Denica's wiles. The server passing with drinks is accosted in the aftermath; he did not have nearly enough rum in advance of the show, which is to say he had none at all.

Oriana checks dexterity at easy. Oriana is successful.

Sira checked luck + sewing at difficulty 39, rolling 93 higher. Sira rolled a critical!

Angelo checks dexterity and performance at easy. Angelo is successful.

Once settled on her feet, Denica's typically paper-pale face is flushed from the excitement and exhilaration. At that moment she takes in a breath and she bows with her cousin. As the man makes a quick escape, she cannot blame him. The young woman leaves folks to their dancing, but she stops short of the dance floor before she makes a graceful curtsey to those gathered. "Thank you for indulging me!," she exclaims, nearly breathless. "Please, dance, enjoy yourself, part take in everything and just be all you are," she says with great appreciation. But, Denica Thrax is in need of a drink and so her eyes drift, perhaps looking for someone particular, or maybe it's just rum on the mind. Either way, she is taking confident strides towards on of the bars, leaving those who want to dance to continue. The smile still lingers on her lips.

Denica has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Oriana shifts a little and she smiles gently her eyes flicker to her companion and she leans in close to him, her bare shoulders brush his side before she leans away a bead of sweat on her forhead. She smiles softly to the Lord that has joined her and she breathes deeply. "I should step out I think... I am way to hot..." she pauses fanning herself a little .. "I really enjoyed meeting you here." she says as she gives her head a little tilt as she moves off the dance floor.

Denica has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Happiness, a bluebird arrives, delivering a message to Corban before departing.

Sir Corban seems a bit impressed by Denica's flash, indeed, a little more than impressed, and then laughs when Caprice asks if he wants to try. "Only if I am the one, I don't know, standing still. I am surely not that graceful, by any measure."

Calm and collected now, composure restored, Angelo appears to be -correcting- himself and honing his own ability as a dancer as the dance ensues up until Oriana takes her leave. A look of relief washes over his expression, offering a ghost of a smile towards Oriana, "You danced your heart out. Likewise, I love meeting people."

Romulius hasn't let the grin fade from his expression, and if anything it seems to grow as Jasher makes his approach following the Duke's departure. "Cousin, I wonder if perhaps I've done the Compact a disservice by recruiting you to the Order rather than sending you to join some theatre troupe." Predictable, that he couldn't name any in particular. Ribbing gives way to a more good-natured tone, though, an impressed dip of head offered to his fellow prince, "You performed admirably - I'm sure that Denica will memorialize the moment in suitably grand fashion before the month is out."

Step by step, Angelo descends from the dance floor, sharp gray-green eyes taking new stock of his surroundings.

Angelo has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Sira has danced as well as could be expected - better even! - and retreats quickly from the dance floor to ensure Denica and Jasher have all eyes on them. The seamstress tucks herself off to the side, and then is furtively trying to fix a bit of the fringe that came loose on her top.

Oriana has left the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

Zoey has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

She seems distracted, following Denica's wake when her flushed, diminutive cousin moves to greet the traditionalist delegation at the oyster bar; the fact that Romulius hasn't laid waste to it is miraculous in itself - it might be why she's watching it so intently? But her focus there eases away when Jasher joins them, her husband's teasing bringing forth a glimmer of mischief in Natasha's dark eyes. "I'll have to ask her how she convinced you - for science," she tells him with an air of such apparent solemnity that she *must* be teasing him, in turn.

Having made it through the initial rounds of dancing without his turret tower top tumbling terribly, Rook elects not to push his luck, and slips from the dance floor to head over towards the bar to obtain a drink.

Yuri approached forward toward Romulius as he lingered close to Jasher, giving the best round of applause he could with a glass in his hand, "Your Highnesses! That was insp--" He paused as he seemed to arrive mid-quip from Romulius and the lord's brow rose, looking to see what the anticipated response from Jasher would be. Though, the facepaint seemed to mask the all-out surprise of his expression. To Romulius, "Admirably? That was damned inspired, if I say so myself. I doubt I could perform so admirably, and with such gusto." Both men were offered a respectful bow of his head, followed with a salute of his glass.

Samira wears a sardonic smirk for her own missteps. Managing to get back on beat, she returns to stomping, but only long enough to stomp her way right out of the line before any further dance-related issues can occur. Spotting Zoey among the partygoers, she moves toward the Kennex lady to murmur a quick greeting on her way to locating another drink.

The dance over, Zoey steps off the floor in place of a seat where she can get off her feet. After a moment of consideration though, she quietly makes her way toward the exit. She stops in her tracks when Samira approaches though, smiling warmly to the artist.

"Some other time," Caprice suggests, letting Corban off the hook - at least for now! - as part of their group moves to leave the dancing area. "Hm. Refreshments before our next greeting round?"

Claiming a seat at a caviar tasting bar, Angelo appears a bit eager and curious.

Angelo has joined the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Micana, an efficient assistant arrives, delivering a message to Corban before departing.

Yuri's approach sees the distinct blue gaze that serves as Blackshore's signature turned in that direction, the barony's Sword-turned-prince offering the Tessere a warm smile. "My lord - always a pleasure, and you never lack for suitably artful words. You had a hand in the fare, yes?" It wouldn't be the first time that his culinary acumen was turned towards an event in the fortress, after all. There's a momentary distraction, though, as Romulius's eyes move past the smaller congregation he's found himself in and towards Caprice and Corban, the Guildmaster offered a warm smile and wordless greeting if he manages to catch her attention.

Sitting posture, the way he handles his silverware, even how he bites his food is impeccable, Angelo taking in food at a slow but steady rate, eating cleanly and not stuffing his face like a pig.

Cesare drifts away from the dance floor eventually and over to the fringes where the Thrax posse has reassembled. "You've been holding out on me," he asides to Jasher quietly, though unlike /some/ of Jasher's cousins, he leaves it simply at that. "It was a very nice performance. An evening for firsts, hmm? Very well done."

Sir Corban accepts the offer of refreshments, and moves off to take a small glass of rum -- when in Maelstrom, after all -- and then mingle with Caprice, noticing Romulius' approach to his companion. He steps aside so that she may greet him and exchange pleasantries and make introductions. All of the mingling things.

There is a brief, quiet exchange between Zoey and Samira before the Kennex lady continues on her way out.

"My lord Tessere, it's good to see you," Natasha says when Yuri greets them. "I should have known Denica would have recruited you for the culinary delights. I hope the summer storms didn't catch you on the way here?" An inquiring tilt of her head, there, but it isn't long until they're joined by Cesare, her head dipping in greeting and her smile becoming slightly more visible. "Softest, welcome back to Maelstrom." With Caprice and Corban leaving the dance floor, the guildmistress and the First Captain are given a wave of greeting, effusive warmth directed to Caprice, especially.

The cleaved skull swivels toward Romulius with only the top half of the visage visible from behind a rum glass held to painted bone-white teeth. Beryl eyes are thrown into sharp relief by the black circles wreathing them, and make the sharp, squinted set of eyelids all the more severe. His glass is lowered, rum swallowed, before he replies, "The two are not mutually exclusive," in a deadpan tone of voice, then shifts his gaze to Natasha. "She asked me for a favor prior to providing context. And she is family." The latter admittance carries the a kind of compliment that can be appropriated by those who share the same tie, such as the very two he is presently addressing. Lord Yuri's arrival and subsequent compliments demand that he turn to greet the man appropriately. "Good evening, my lord, and thank you. But I assure you, it would not have been so without Denica's guidance." This is aired in time for Cesare's benefit, as well. "I enjoyed it rather more than I expected to. Everyone picked it up quite quickly. It took me years to learn it as a child."

Zoey is overheard praising Thrax.

Caprice checks charm and etiquette at normal. Caprice is successful.

Zoey is overheard praising Crafters guild.

Zoey is overheard praising Disciples of jayus.

Zoey is overheard praising Denica.

Zoey is overheard praising Caprice.

Jasher is overheard praising Disciples of jayus.

Jasher is overheard praising Thrax.

Angelo appears to tire of his food selections at the caviar bar, a palm upon the surface propelling him up slowly.

Angelo has left the a driftwood caviar tasting bar.

Yuri offered back an equally warm smile to Romulius, brow canting high as he took a glance over to the particular tent where the cultured fare was being served, "I did indeed. I had a handful of my staff come for support if necessary." He would be remiss not to offer a cordial bow toward Natasha, giving her his full attention when addressed, "I extended the offer gladly and I doubt Princess Denica wished to deny the help. It seems to be a fine hit with some of the...liberties taken. But only just. I did not want to lose the flair of the Isles. Oh, surprisingly smooth, albeit for some of the staff having their first voyage. Weak sealegs and disgruntled bellies on the way over." His gaze took him to settle on Jasher with a smile, "The princess truly has the glory this evening. It is a wonderful affair, through and through. Ah, Messere Cesare. Good evening; having a fine time?"

Cesare smiles faintly, raising his own glass. "The benefit of doing new things is that sometimes one /does/ enjoy them more than one expects," he says. "Also, you were a child, and far less coordinated than you are now, I imagine. Of course it took you longer to learn. It's too bad Duke Martino left already, I meant to mention to him that I've very much been enjoying the company of his - cousin, I believe it is, the newest resident of the Seawatch Sanctuary. Gio."

His smile widens a bit to Yuri. "Good evening, Lord Yuri. I'm having a lovely time, thank you for asking. I met the Sword of your House recently as well. It seems the city in its summer heat is drawing people in again. They'll find themselves fleeing in the winter, no doubt."

Angelo Entertaining his own curiousity, Angelo roams for a time, mostly keeping to himself. Polite traces of a smile, an easy and amiable greeting here and there until he chooses the oyster bar next, claiming a seat and inhaling once in anticipation whilst a corner of his lip curls upwards.

Angelo has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

"I'll need to keep you too occupied to entertain running off, then." Romulius can't match Jasher's deadpan so ably, but the more plain nature of his mirth at least makes it impossible to miss. "The food was beyond adequate, Lord Tessere, but I'm afraid you've committed a grave sin-" A flat look, "Our oysters aren't meant to be *cooked*." Maybe he can manage the deadpan? Or perhaps he takes actual offense. Either way, it's a quick thing before attention shifts to Cesare, "Softest. I can't pretend to be overly familiar with either, but they're fortunate to have as warm a reception to the capital as I'm sure you're capable of providing."

It's a distant sort of greeting so Corban isn't off escorting duty quite yet; both Romulius and Natasha earn respectful dips of her head, greetings at a fair remove. On to refreshments, light footsteps drawing along the heavy cloak, Caprice sees to a drink and is still looking over the food on offer when her attention shifts to Angelo.

"Lord DiFidante, are you enjoying yourself?" she floats the question to him, ideally before he has a mouthful of oyster. "I thought I might pass on the joy of our meeting to some friends of mine. Have you met Sir Corban Telmar, First Captain of the King's Own? Or Rook Champagne, the Crown Minister of Coin and leader of the Silver Consortium? That's Messere Sira there, Voice for the Consortium and a highly skilled crafter we're pleased to have as part of our Guild, and Master Samira Culler, Co-Guildmaster; it's not bias as her patron when I tell you she is an amazingly talented artist, blessed by Jayus." Hopefully nobody else had food or drink in -their- mouths, either.

"Gio diMalvici?" Natasha wonders, curiosity flitting over her pale expression. "I've heard of him mentioned once or twice by Duke Malvici, but I've never met him." Mention of the city in the summer, however, brings forth an air of faint resignation from the princess; she might be one of the few that tries to *escape* Arx during the hottest months of the year, prone to suffering under the humidity. Yuri's remarks on the food, however, and the respect he has attempted to deliver to the fare, draws further emotion from her general impassivity, inclining her head to murmur, in a softly conspiratorial fashion. "Between you and me, I was a fan of the crab legs, and I like the taste of the oysters grilled." There's a faintly challenging look at her husband flashed there, lashes lowering to throw more shadow over eyes like dark coals, and ignite the fiery motes within. Her smile is almost sly with the way it toys with the corners of the pliant coral line, but gone in a heartbeat that it could have been a trick of the light, or the imagination.

Corban gets an art palette with a matching embossed paintbrush from a collection of party favours.

There is a smile to Natasha as she passes by, noting the Thraxian Voice from the recent Assembly of Peers where he was on guard duty, but then turns back at the arrival of someone else he should meet. "Ah. Yes. It is good to meet you. As mentioned, Sir Corban of the Silver Swords. What a lovely event, isn't it?"

There's a startled moment where Sira hears her name again and looks up. "Oh! My lord, hello. Strangely, we haven't met, though I am the newly appointed Minister of Coin for your house. Marquis Dante has graciously offered me the opportunity to claim the Roseward as home. I look forward to getting to know you better and serving your family." She gives a polite bow to Angelo before making a soft excuse to Caprice, Corban, Samira, and Rook about needing air and slips away to wander the grounds.

Martinique has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Starting off with a glass of Siren's Song, Angelo continues his journey of the food and drinks offered, halting alltogether upon being addressed and shifting in his seat to better regard Caprice with a ghost of a smile, bordering on a warm one and a slow blink. As a pair of sharp, gray-green eyes swivel to meet Caprice's own, Angelo says in a baritone - "I cannot say I have, but now is as good a time as any. The festival has been absolutely delightful."

Olivando nods to Martinique, their conversation having concluded. With a smile, he offers his farewells, and then he's looking for a server so he can get his paws on some of the edible goodness beneath the tent.

"Oh, absolutely. Once the first biting chill comes along, any and all that have come to mingle in the city will scurry back on home where it is warmest. I will have to give Signore Forza my regards." Yuri remarked to Cesare, giving a gentle nod as his gaze settled over to Romulius with a fond smile, "Oh, why thank you, your Highness. I--oh, the oysters?" He winced a bit, curling his lip inward, "I...can respect the initial bite of the raw oyster but there was a temptation to perhaps give it a bit of--" He paused a moment as Natasha joined with her remark, his smile ever-present, "Smokiness. They are /different/, no, your Highness?" This was to Natasha as he continued, "But, if I am given an opportunity again, I will adhere to tradition. Prince Romulius does well to remind me but I was looking to be a bit adventurous. Introduce a bit of my own hallmark to the oysters. For spice." He shrugged innocently with a momentary cherubic smile plastered on his face.

Olivando has left the a silk tent serving Mourning Isles cuisine with seating area inside.

Nodding to Sira, Rook offers her a smile. "Let me know if you need anything," he says before looking back to Angelo. "A pleasure to meet you," he says, but any further statement is cut off as he has to rapidly adjust his stance, that nod nearly sending his castle from his head in the process.

"Lord DiFidante, pleasure to meet you," Samira offers, managing to keep her manners on full display. The polite words are offered with a nod of her head toward the lord as Caprice effortlessly provides introductions. "If ever you're in the mood to talk art or - well, anything really, feel free to swing by my shop, Urban Artistry. If I'm not there, I tend to be found at Rabble Art." For now, though, it seems she has decided she needs a bit of fresh air as a break from socializing and attempting to use proper manners. Excusing herself and murmuring farewells to Caprice, Rook, and Corban, she heads toward the exit.

Sira has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Romulius, for his part, shares his wife's preferences for the less stifling climates of their homelands. While New Hope is situated a good bit further south than Maelstrom, it is still far more temperate than the dreadful summers of the capital. "I'll be grateful for the excuse to remain here in Maelstrom a few days longer, at least." When Yuri and Natasha make their stance known against the very traditional method of consuming the oysters - that is, cracking the creatures open to devour their uncooked flesh, briny liquor and all.


"They're plenty fine cooked, my lord, but I'd hate to think how much time was spent in preparation when you'd have been served just as well with a platter of ice." A glance back, towards the entrance of the ballroom as he adds, "Besides, there are some who call the fortress home who might insist that one hasn't earned the right to an oyster without shucking it themself."

"Oh no, no, you don't /bite/ the oysters," Cesare says, horrified. "You let them sort of slide along your tongue and slip down your throat. Who taught you to /chew/ on oysters, my lord?" Train of thought totally derailed. Until - "Yes, your highness. The same. I find him exceptionally clever and with quite a talent for wordplay. I think he's a bit shy of large gatherings, but I've been dragging him out and about with me when I can."

Samira has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

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

"Captain," Natasha murmurs to Corban softly in greeting as he and Caprice pass, recognizing the man from her first Assembly, watching the knight interact with the guildmistress as they engage other guests in conversation. She doesn't interject herself there, however, content to watch the co-hostess of the festivities shine so effortlessly. It isn't long until her attention returns to her party at the talk of oysters, though Romulius' recalled anecdote prompts a near-grin from her pale countenance. "His Grace seems to believe this truly," she tells the rest. "Though his deadpan can rival Jasher's so thoroughly, I've yet to confirm whether it's actually a jest on his part watching me attempt to shuck oysters myself during a family dinner."

Jasher inclines his head in wordless agreement to Cesare's commentary. "One thing that has not changed since childhood is a general distaste for dancing, though the Mairseail is the most tolerable one I can recall learning." To Yuri, the prince says, "I am not sure we have formally met in person, Lord Yuri. Once back in Arx, intend to make good on that promise I penned to you last month. You'll receive a letter soon." With that matter touched upon, he turns back to Natasha and Romulius flanking him with a softened gesture nigh imperceptible behind all the paint, but it's the thought that counts. "I know you are incredibly worried, but there are very few things that can tempt me away from the Order's work, cousin. Dancing is not among them." Another long draw from his rum renders the glass completely empty, to the prince's displeasure. He lowers it from his mouth and glances around the immediate area, only to lay eyes upon Denica at the bar. He politely excuses himself to refill his drink and speak a word or two to her while there.

Gradually as he's introduced to more and more individuals, Angelo produces a rare, brilliant smile, he can't seem to help it. "Well, a felicitous event all in all, I am estatic to be meeting all of you here, right now. I couldn't have had better timing to return to the city. Now, seeing all of this, the joys to be had...I look forward to what the future holds, friends."

Jasher has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Jasher has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Having successfully kept his turret from tumbling, Rook turns his attention back towards Angelo. "Indeed, it is a good time to be here. All things considered." He inclines his head to the man. "Please let me know if there is anything that I can do to assist you."

Yuri chuckled lightly toward Cesare, noting the man's expression, "I did not mean to give you fright, Messere. My mother, though. If you wished for answer. Queen's rest to her; she used to shuck them herself, and create a concoction of butter sauce with a bit of encrusting atop. Mm. Fenomenale. The little things I miss. But the Prince's adherence to tradition and how things must be should be preserved when displaying the splendor of Isles. I simply was carried away. But, I see they are all gone. It must not have been /too/ unpalatable." His gaze settled on Romulius at the prospect of a shucking station, "I think that would have been better actually...damn. On the next, we keep the oyster station and allow folk to shuck their own oyster. To the shucker, go the spoils!" Jasher's address had Lord Tessere attentive then, placing his whiskey glass down soon after, "We have not, your Highness, but I am all the more glad we have. Absolutely. I look forward to it, and we can speak more of the prospect once settled." The mirth in his face lit at Natasha's quip, "Can you shuck with the best of them, Princess Natasha?"

"Your word is sworn bond now, Cousin. I'll hold you to the fact." Not that Romulius is at any risk of losing his newest knight to fancies of joining the theater - the sea will sooner swallow the island upon which they stand. Jasher's given a dip of head as he makes to head towards Denica, attention returning back to those who remain cloistered alongside him. "I don't know that His Grace manages deadpan so much as he's simply not as attached to some threats as others." Only half-mirth, like the man might actually believe it. He doesn't seem to have any comments to offer on the diMalvici, but he's more than content to resume his dutiful watch over the ballroom instead.

Quiet farewells offered to those stepping out for air - and a long, thoughtful study of Rook's hat later - Caprice exhales a quiet chuckle for Angelo's observation. "Well spoken, my Lord. And I admit I'm among those who, if pressed to describe Thraxian culture, would likely have used words like 'dour' or 'humorless' and 'frustratingly stoic' to paint the picture." She's definitely not looking over at Romulius or Jasher, here. And perhaps her voice is notably lowered. "But I don't think anyone can leave here, having danced or tasted the food or enjoyed the sights, without allowing for a little more variety in their lexicon. Though on the subject of pictures... I've not had a chance to visit the gallery yet. Can we bring our drinks with us, do you think?"

"I should hope so," attempts Rook at an answer to Caprice's query. "Although I would dare say the art is likely worth abandoning a drink to take in." He turns his gaze towards the gallery, prepared to join Caprice as she heads that way.

Perhaps sensing value in an explanation as Caprice studies his hat, Rook points at the castle on his head, and then at himself, back and forth. "Eh, eh?" He says as if this should somehow make a connection.

Gaze upon the creeping dread overtaking Caprice's expression as the pun registers. The rum left in her glass quickly disappears with a long swallow and a vaguely pained hiss. A careful smile pairs with her nod for Rook. "..You deserve a pedestal in the gallery, Minister."

Remarks on her brother's own stoicism, and Romulius' astute observation there, kindles a silent laughter around Natasha's eyes. "Don't go spilling the family secrets *too* readily," she tells her husband; clearly a jest by the way her precise mezzo-sopranic diction lightens in the fringes and unfairly paired with her accent - *much* more pronounced within the halls of Maelstrom than the subtler shadow she uses in the mainland, especially when delivering verdicts in a courtroom. But then, Yuri's immersive charm ensnares her attention again - it's a question, after all, that needs answering: *Can* she shuck with the best of them?

She pivots at that and angles a lidded look along her shoulder at Yuri; it's a delicate change, from serious to mischievous, but the swing of her moods has always been spun from more gossamer stuff: "That's for me to know, and for the rest of you to wonder, my lord." Pause, beat, before a hint of a smile. "So I suppose you'll have to install those shucking stations to test the query after all."

A pale hand lifts, to gesture towards the gallery. "Speaking of stations, I ought to see what the gallery is about. Please enjoy your evening, my lord, Softest." She drops a quiet word to Romulius there.

Corban has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Denica is seated at the Oyster bar, a silk wrap covering her bare arms from view. The young woman seems to be on her third or forth shot of rum, seeming to be having a conversation with the contingent of Islanders. She wears an easy smile, looking relaxed and content to be having a drink and a snack after all that dancing. Her eyes a sparkling at mirth, seeming to appreciate a comment from one of the men. Her attention focused on the exchange, taking a break from the duties of hostess for the moment.

Natasha's admonishment is answered only with a flash of brow in challenge, perhaps in some small act of justice for her earlier remarks on the proper preparation of oysters. Whatever the case, he's silent on the matter of whether or not she's a particularly prodigious shucker of oysters. That is, until there's a hushed word offered, and he's making ready to lead towards the gallery. Whatever his wife had said prompts only an expression somewhere between incredulous and amused, but he's not a moment later turning her in the direction of the collected artwork. A last glance over his shoulder, though, to add, "She's inordinately talented, actually."

Seeing everyone at their shucking best here in the halls of Maelstrom's grand fortress paints an interesting picture; observing people returned to, if not their natural habitat, at least a significant one, a feast for a Whisper's catalogue of facts and musings. Cesare watches quietly for some time, his dark eyes observing all of the details, and then with a faint smile, he slips off for the evening.

Laughing gently, teeth flashing in that moment, "I should hope so as well, but I am afraid I will be taking my leave here likely. The food is catching up to me." Slowly beginning to rise, Angelo offers a bow once off his seat to both Jasher and Denica at the Oyster bow. "I will be sure to reach out, or perhaps even in passing one of these days for what I am sure will be nothing less than spectacular."

Angelo has left the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Laughing softly, Rook shakes his head. "I am no artisan, sadly." He offers Caprice a smile. "Just have a certain sense of humor about this, I would say."

Cesare has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

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

"I'll look forward to future encounters, my Lord," Caprice bids to Angelo, "around Arx if not at the regatta. Lovely to meet you." In spite of herself, Rook's comment earns a quiet laugh, "Mm, well- I have a broad measure for what counts for art. And wordplay is really just a story condensed, mm?"

"I suppose - then I shall rightfully claim my status as an artist, then, if you bestow it, as the authority." Rook grins at Caprice. "I feel I must somehow brag about this - can I interest you in a trip to the bar so you can repeat your pronouncement to the Princess?" He laughs heartily.

"Free exposure, you mean?" Caprice summarizes, amused. She gestures ahead of her, "Please, don't let me keep you. I might catch up, but first I'd like to visit the gallery." While risking another drink, it seems, as she accepts a refill on her rum.

Caprice has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Rook waggles a finger at Caprice. "Never going to let me live that one down, will you?" He grins at her and nods. "Certainly, but it would sound like less bragging if you did it instead." That said, he makes his way bar-ward.

Rook has left the a polished dance floor with small orchestra pit.

Caprice has joined the an open and airy art gallery 'join'.

Fashionably late. That's it. A delayed arrival is, perhaps, the most fashionable thing Tovell brings with him to the gala. Understated military greys; a feature piece, truly, but only if one specifically were to have sought after the most plain vestments possible. The stocky red-head doesn't appear to much mind the lack of finery worn; it's with a poised ease that he skirts the ballroom floor and makes way along the arranged bars and tents; but where to stop first?

Denica checks charm and diplomacy at hard. Critical Success! Denica is spectacularly successful.

Yuri took a quiet moment to polish off his second glass of wine, settling it upon the wandering tray of an attendant before meandering along toward the focal point of the evening; the artistry exhibits. Every so often, his gaze penned off to where Princess Denica, and soon after, Prince Jasher had wandered solemnly before taking some respite with the art.

Yuri has left the an seashell and driftwood dessert bar.

For the moment Rook hangs off to the side, not quite sure if it would be intruding upon sensitive discourse to join the group with Denica at the bar.

Rum in hand, cloak still carefully draped so all the island details are properly displayed, Caprice takes her time in the gallery - standing before each piece on display with little to distract between the stark white walls and the dark marble floors.

The Brightmoon Baron is taken aback, something resonant in what Denica said, how she said it, what she shared. Whatever it was, something shifts in Pelle, he tilts his head watching Denica speak. "You love the Isles as any bred here do. I can see that." Anyone who paid attention could, but he is perhaps seeing it all at once. "We are perhaps more alike than different. But-" he sets down his drink, "Chaos comes on the heels of change, Highness. I will protect my people. Sigeric," he looks at the man, deep in his cups. "Are you coming?"

Sigeric looks up, slurps several oysters in quick succession and gets up, weary, from the stool. "A very good spread, Highness. We thank you for your hospitality." He bows, hand over chest. Pelle follows suit. Sigeric's steps are very deliberate, his expression sagging as they leave. Quietly, though not quiet enough, he asides to Pelle on the way out, "It was worth it for the oysters. I was planning on losing your next missive, but maybe I won't."

Jasher does not formally bow at the waist, but elects to incline his head politely toward the Islanders. It is difficult to glean any emotion from the prince /without/ paint smothered all over his face, but now? Well, it's pretty much impossible. He looks every bit as ominous as the painted skull is intended to convey. "We were certainly exceptional, cousin, and so was this gala," he affirms, and then begins to imbibe from the rum pooling in his glass. He is neither a diplomat nor a great conversationalist, but he can, at the very least, provide a showing of unification for the benefit of their guests of significance. The prince falls silent and listens to what Baron Brightshore and Lord Dredcall have to say. Nothing registers upon his face until they have excused themselves and fully departed from the room. Then, only then, does Jasher tilt the remainder of his alcohol back and swallow.

Denica Thrax downs one last shot of rum. It's got to be her fourth or fifth in one seating, but Islanders don't count such things. When the man displays a shift, it is not lost on the short princess. It is what she is watching for and so she doesn't react. Rather she remains confident and warm. Hospitable. Her eyes seeks to meet Pelle's as he speaks, hers are like the sun breaking a storm. Determined and yet still full of hope. There is no need for speeches now, rather she leaves him with a few words. "Perhaps," she murmurs to Pelle, sharing with him a small smile that lacks the dazzle of a performer, but that makes it more personable, showing the depth of her resolve. As it broadens, she extends it to both men, "thank you for accepting my invitation." To Sigeric she says in aside, "you are most welcome-- I only wish to show all the things I am grateful for, of which there is many." Denica lets the men leave as they chose, she has has spent enough time talking their ears off, and so when they stands so does she. The young woman inclines her head to them in parting. "May your travels be safe ones."

When the Islander men leave, Denica is reaching for a bottle, deciding now it's time to really drink.

Lingering at the side until that conversation has concluded, and the Islanders departing, Rook finally makes his way over closer towards Denica, although he still remains at a polite distance to insure that he is not intruding on any private conversations if he were to join her at the bar. He watches her for any signs to either encourage or discourage his approach.

Jasher has left the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Denica has left the a nautical themed oyster bar.

The flutter of finery departing that oyster bar is enough to see Tovell turned from his perusing steps toward that same place: empty seats and available elbow room? A rarity. He's tilted eyes to weigh them between the Islander and those departing individuals, but of course no side-claims are lofted in to interrupt that moment. Quite unlike Rook, the Oathlander bulls right on ahead to steal himself ahead and onto one of those vacated seats; matters of invitation and privacy? ---Perhaps it's best that he's arrived late enough to catch only the coattails of the evening.

Tovell has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Denica does in fact see Rook and she invites him over to the bar, "Minister Champagne, have you had a chance to have some of the oysters? They are -amazing-!," Denica is still in high spirits, though she no doubt is met with some exhaustion. "Come sit, I just need to make one more announcement before the night is over!," she exclaims. She had watched the Islanders leave, her eyes on them, before she breathes out a sigh of relief.

Yuri glanced along toward the exchange between the Islanders et al, folding his arms over his chest as he took some vested interest in what the departing lords had to say. Though, mention of the oysters had him smirking a bit, sharing some glances with the short-order staff that he had traveled with behind the serving counters at the tents.

Accepting the invitation gracefully, Rook continues his approach and joins Denica at the bar. "I have not yet, although I am eager to do so!" He offers her a warm smile as he adopts a seat, his gaze seeking out the proimised oysters. "Of course."

Rook has joined the a nautical themed oyster bar.

Vitalis has left the a nautical themed oyster bar.

It's been quite the night and Denica is still smiling. The young woman back in her sea serpent gown and crown of daggers is there to give parting words to their guests. There is sincere appreciation in her vivid blue eyes. "Thank you all for coming. Tonight is a reminder of all the things we have that are worth fighting for." A smile forms on her face and there is threat of emotions, but mostly the little princess looks determined and ready for whatever shall come. Taking in a deep breath, "please enjoy your time in Maelstrom. I hope you will join us for the Regatta in the coming weeks." With the small reminder and a sincere 'thank you', the young woman finds her way towards hers to continue on with the night, no doubt until dawn.

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