In Vino Memorium - A Gathering
Jan. 17, 2022, 6 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Compact - The Golden Hart Social & Gaming House - Main Hall
Comments and Log
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The fireplaces in the Golden Hart roar to keep back the cold of deep Autumn. All the lighting is invitingly cozy, the furniture arranged to draw people into conversation with each other. The staff of the hall travel through the gathering, keeping glasses filled with Mercier wines of all kinds.=6430
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The fireplaces in the Golden Hart roar to keep back the cold of deep Autumn. All the lighting is invitingly cozy, the furniture arranged to draw people into conversation with each other. The staff of the hall travel through the gathering, keeping glasses filled with Mercier wines of all kinds.
"... won't be offended if I don't, ah. Well. Wine tastings are for sipping anyway, aren't they?" Grady sounds like he's trying to justify something (maybe him being here?) to his assistant Mortimer, who is looking profoundly skeptical, as the two of them come in, followed by Grady's bored-looking guards. The guards immediately detach and go off to do the gambling tables.
With the Golden Hart hosting a small gathering, the areas by the fire have been rearranged to allow people to come and go as they like, tell stories if they like, and drink as much as they like. Tonight, the establishment is serving Mercier wines of all vintages and kinds, from peppery reds to fruity whites and semi-dry rose and everything in between.
Over by a fireplace, the quiet figure of Elora sits. Blueberry coloured eyes watching those to pass by, and any who lingers is given a soft, warm smile. "Hello, Lord Deepwood," she murmurs to Grady, rising to give a polite curtsey. The blonde wears formal Mourning Blacks, but there's no lack of welcome to be found.
Lisebet simply comes in, the petite Ashford Duchess sans husband, though she does have her own share of guards who promptly become inobtrusive and off to the side, though Bigsby sticks closer to Lisebet. She heads over to the fireplace area, passing her cloak to Bigsby, and stopping to look over at Elora. There's a gentle smile, nod and greeting. "My Lady," she greets gently. "Thank you for hosting this."
There are members of the Pravus family who are eternally late to things, choosing to make what they think is a dramatic entrance. Patrizio Pravus is /not/ one of those, however, punctual to most things. Bereft for the moment of his almost-eternally-present leather folio, the prince lingers closer to the fire than most others, as if to help keep off the chill of autumn and the approaching Abyssal winter, while his soldiers are settled comfortably closer to - and out of the direct path of - the door where they can keep watch. Though there's a warm smile as he does move, as the event begins, so that he may properly greet Elora. "My lady, I don't know that we've had the pleasure," says he with an easy smile, and the faint sketch of a bow. "Patrizio Pravus. It's a lovely thing to do, in memory of those who cannot be here for just to enjoy their art." Briefly, in recognition, he does too dip his head to Grady. "My lord, it's good to see you again."
Grady bows in return to Elora. His thin features still have a warm cast to them, but in deference to the occasion, he's tempered his usual cheerfulness into a gentle sort of contentment. "You look well, Lady Elora. It would be, wouldn't it, terribly, ah, gauche, yes, for me to say that black suits you, I suppose. Terribly. Only... hmm. Inconvenient as the fact may be, it is true that it does." He gives Lisebet, and then Patrizio welcoming smiles, and bows to them both. "Duchess Lisebet. Prince Patrizio. So wonderful to see you both. It's quite warm in here with all these great fireplaces, yes? Even with winter coming on like it is."
It's unclear when Saccharin had arrived in the Golden Hart or how long she'd been there, but she emerges from the gardens once the memorium proper commences. She practically drifts across the room, so graceful are her movements, before settling near the gathering of humans. "So a memorium. I'm assuming this is what happens when they're definitely not coming back?"
"Duchess Ashford, good evening," Elora replies, all soft spoken and gentle mannered. "Please enjoy yourselves. The Hart has graciously consented to keeping glasses filled, and there are snacks to be had, I think..." She looks at one of the passing servers questioningly. When Patrizio gains her attention, she looks at the new face with a curiosity that might even be called childlike. "Oh, no, your Highness," she agrees with a shake of her head. "We have not met yet. I am Elora Whitehawk, welcome." Sadness finally colours that smile, a bittersweet twist. "My family would not have enjoyed being remembered through tears," she says quietly indeed. "They were masters of their art and passion, and part of a rich tradition that goes back to when grapes first were crushed. They'd have preferred this."
She was about to reply to Grady when Saccharin arrives. "Oh, hello." She blinks a couple of timess as if trying to place the impossibly pretty woman. "Well, they've returned to the Queen; hopefully they will return one day. We are remembering what they loved."
Medeia enters slowly and quietly, her warm eyes looking around at the others. She stops a server and murmurs a quiet request - anyone close enough may hear 'tea' come from her lips. Once that request is being seen to, she makes her way further into the gathering. "Prince Patrizio, always a pleasure to see you. A shame this is under mournful circumstances." Lisebet and Grady both get a nod. "Duchess, Lord Deepwood, hello." Her attention is caught by Saccharin, a small smile forming. "Correct, Lady Saccharin. Their souls have, hopefully, been returned to the care of the Queen... They are unlikely to remember these lives, so we remember while we can."
Elora gives Grady a little smile. "You're quite alright, my Lord."
"My lady." Patrizio's warm smile is turned to Medeia when she's greeting him, and he sketches a bow for her as well. "It's been a while since I've seen you, and I hope that you and yours are doing well." Lisebet, too, gets a respectful, if slight, bow and a smile to accompany, but the jade eyes turn back to Elora when she's speaking, with a chuckle when she, too, admits that they've not yet crossed paths. The mention of not wishing to be remembered through tears does get a mindful nod from the prince, as seems not how he'd want to be remembered either, but there's the mindful listening. "May their return from the Wheel be swift, and be a joy to all and sundry," he says, seriously, clearly a true believer.
"Oh yes, without the memories. Which is funny since I have a lot of empty gaps in my own memory but that happens regardless of my alive-state." Saccharin settles onto a couch, gazing into the fire as she speaks. She doesn't hesitate when one of the Mercier wines are offered to her, though she studies the liquid for a long moment before taking a sip. "These were very happy grapes in their final moments."
Grady touches Elora lightly on the arm, an understated, vaguely affectionate gesture, brief in duration, intended more to steady than to comfort. He bows to Medeia when she greets him. "It's good to see you, Lady Medeia. It's not so much, yes, the occasion for piffle as it might be, is it? Although I suppose an evening of wine might, in time, make for the occasion for a great many things, not all of them wise."
Lisebet inclines her head politely. "Prince Patrizio, good to see you again. Lady Medeia." She listens quietly to everyone speaking, acknowledging what is said to her. "It is somewhat interesting, though I'd not call it funny," she says softly. "Without their memories, that is."
'Lady Saccharin' is mouthed by Elora as if she's trying to commit it to memory, but the pronouncement earns a smile from the once-Mercier. "The vinyards are a happy place," she says, the words pulled out before she pauses to think about it in perspective. "Yes. They are." That having decided, she settles back with a glass of an almost purple red vintage. "I was hoping that we might tell stories tonight. I don't know if any of you met the Mercier vintners, but we've surely all had our lives touched by the presence of wine. Many times they are the mark of celebrations or the drink of our sorrows. Perhaps something comes to mind?" The volume never raises, but she has a sincere way of making eye contact that might make up for any auditory hush.
Briefly, Patrizio's attention shifts to Saccharine, and there's the faint furrowing of his brow as if he's trying to commit this figure to memory, even as he's moving to settle himself closer to the fire, a glass of a Mercier vintage in his hand. "And likewise, my lady," he answers to Lisebet, pausing only to take a brief inhalation from the wine, as if to sample its nose before he draws the glass to his lips for a taste. "Certainly a far different and more placid scene tonight, this," he voices softly. Though he has a dip of his head, and then falls silent while he's considering perhaps what it is that might be a good offering forward of where wine's entered into things.
It takes a moment, but Medeia finally finds a chance to introduce herself to Elora after her words on the Merciers. "Lady Whitehawk, hello. I am Lady Medeia Eswynd. As a vintner myself, it was heartbreaking to hear what had happened and..." She frowns slightly, looking as though she is struggling with how to say whatever comes next. "Raphael Mercier was an uncle... Half-brother to my father. I am sorry for these losses." Then she carefully finds a seat near Saccharin, asking the elven woman, "You can tell that? I am curious - and perhaps worried - what you might learn from trying my wines." The server brings the lady her tea, and she settles into a quiet watchfulness.
"Lady Saccharin, I, ah. I would like to apologize, yes, for not having seen you out, the other night." Grady's voice develops the faintest hint of a quaver when he greets Saccharin, but it soon resolves itself back to his normal speaking voice. "I really don't know what came over me. But I would very much like to thank you for your excellent instruction, as it would seem, wouldn't it, that I hadn't the opportunity to do so that evening. I have been working on that essay, although I'm afraid the syntax may be, yes, a bit childish. I am rather proud of the thesis."
Elora's dark blue eyes lower briefly to land on her glass as Medeia speaks. "Thank you." Then she looks back up. "I didn't know that you were related to the Merciers, Lady Medeia. I'm sorry for your own loss." She then falls silent as conversation turns to essays. She seems curious.
Elora says, "Raphael was my cousin."
Resting one hand on her abdomen, Medeia shakes her head gently at Elora. "It is not a widely known thing, given the circumstances of... Parentage. And noble falls from grace." She clears her throat softly. "The ways in which connections exist can be strange. I regret not having made more of an effort to connect. My father finds the connection shameful." Her cheeks color at that, her eyes flicking up to meet Elora's in an attempt to show she doesn't necessarily agree.
Lisebet selects a glass of wine, and settles into a seat. She glances around once more, and then says, "I actually learned more about the Merciers from tea, believe it or not." She pauses there, and half shrugs. "But I can also truthfully say that wine is a delightful drink and I am quite pleased to have sampled a number of vintages during my time here in Arx." Her voice carries as she hopes to ease the conversation perhaps gently into stories of the Merciers. But if the conversation continues to other things, that too is a remembrance.
"Shame is a horrible thing, when it comes to family. We cannot help from whence we came, but we can take the best of it, and make something noble out of it, regardless of our standing in the world." This from Patrizio as he's taking a sip again of his wine, and there's a brief dip of his head. A glance of those jade eyes towards Grady, arching an eyebrow as he's hearing something about languages, perhaps, and... a smile when he hears Lisabet's connection. "That would have been my means for knowing of them, as well, from the famous shop in the Valardin ward, but..." He breathes out softly, and considers the glass in his hand, with a glance to Elora. "Wine is a mild thing, meant for sharing, with such a range as to be suitable for nearly all occasions. It is, like our compact, something that can bind us all together, and hopefully for good."
Oh, but that makes Elora's eyes twinkle. "Many would, Lady Medeia. We in House Whitehawk managed the association alright, but others Houses have other concerns." The words are comfortingly given, the woman's smile just as kind and warm as before. Lisebet gets a grin. "Sometimes I forget the blends," she confesses of Mercier teas. Still, she inhales after a few moments and remains silent.
"When the grapes were harvested, we used to go there to help. My father's land is near the vinyards, and my mother is from that line of the family, so we were there at harvest, there at crushing. They handled the rest, but I do remember the sharpness in the air when we stomped. A bright, incisive scene from the burst skins that permeated the air. It was always a party and the cousins splashed about as best they could. Perhaps wine has been in my life as tea has been in yours, Lady Lisebet. Do you remember a time you shared a glass with someone, Prince Patrizio?"
Lisebet smiles, as she has fond memories of the tea blends and the wines, both. "Lemon Lavender," she murmurs softly, just that. Then she glances over to see how Patrizio answers, as she sips her wine. When done, she smiles to all. "My condolences for the losses, and also thanks for sharing the good memories. I must leave, but again, thank you for sharing." She politely inclines her head, and slowly makes her way out, guards and assistant in tow.
Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout leave, following Lisebet.
Medeia leans into the cushions of her seat, sipping her tea and listening with rapt attention as Elora speaks. She starts to get a faraway look, as if she can envision it perfectly. "I love that the experience of growing up in or near vineyards is one that seems the same regardless of the vineyard. The Saikland vineyards are my heart's home - or, were before my twins were born." She then looks up to Patrizio and Lisebet. "The Mercier tea shop is such a lovely place. Be well, Duchess." To the prince, she asks, "Have you had any of my teas? Or just my wines? It seems some things just extend through family lines..."
Patrizio shifts back in his seat, as if he's about to rock it back onto its rear legs, but he desists for the moment, while he's considering Elora's question, the glass lingering against his lower lip. "The thought that comes to mind most would be my cousin Bas' wedding to Adrienne," he says finally when there's been a few seconds of thought, and the jade eyes dart back to Elora as his lips crease into a broader smile. "Trite as it might be, but.. there's something indeed to be said about being reminded that you are loved by family, when you have just arrived in a new, strange place, the wine flowing and a celebration in full bloom." He grins a bit, and his head turns as he glances to Medeia. "Though I've had a lovely time at a release or two of your birth house's vintages as well. Wines to hopefully make more good memories with." Though that, again, brings a furrow to his brow. "I've not known that you were raising teas, my lady."
"It's never trite to celebrate family," Elora supposes after a moment's consideration. "To have the memories of celebrating things small and big is to have their love crystalized in your soul." She listens to Medeia and then offers a slightly sheepish smile. "I'm the youngest of four," she confesses, "and was allowed to pursue my own bents. I'm better with animals than grapes." A pause. "Infinitely better."
"I do," Medeia says to Patrizio, her smile warming a touch at being able to surprise him. "Medicinally, for the most part. It began as something I did for my mothers when I was just a midwife and continued as I became more sure in my work as an apothecary and physician." She lifts her cup of tea for another sip. "I keep a garden in the Uppers at Seawatch Sanctuary for making teas and medicines. You should both come by sometime, if you like. It is a little thin this late in autumn, but the ballroom is also something of a greenhouse." Elora earns a soft laugh. "People keep gifting me animals, and my cat recently had kittens, but I have little skill for doing more than spoiling them with treats."
Elora checked command + animal ken at difficulty 0, rolling 39 higher.
"I'm fortunate in that I don't deal much with animals. Save for my soldiers." Patrizio grins behind his glass, with a glance to his soldiers at their table, as they lift their glasses to their commander and he salutes them likewise. "But indeed. Family /is/ important. Family - by blood or made by other fashion - is the wellspring from which we come, and mostly likely those who will remember us best when we've returned to the Wheel." He makes a soft sound though - a lift of his eyebrows as well - when Medeia's mentioning medicinal teas. "I knew this not, and I ought make a business of knowing more about it. I should absolutely drop by, since it would do me good to broaden my horizons. I've not had much a touch with plants, I fear, but..." No, the prince clearly knows his wheelhouse, even so.
All of a sudden, the gentle warmth that is Elora becomes incandesent. "Oh?" she asks Medeia, fully alert now in an artlessly exuberant, childlike sort of way. "I'd be delighted to show you how to handle your animals, Lady Eswynd. Truly, it's the most wonderful thing in my life besides my children. Perhaps we can meet another time."
Patrizio gets a smile. "I've never met an animal that I haven't liked, your Highness," Elora replies with twinkling blueberry eyes. "Unfortunately, my memories of people are not so spotless. Animals are honest and forthright. They tell you what they mean, and you never have to guess what they mean once you know how to communicate with them. I train Hawkhold's war animals, particularly our raptors and hounds, and I might even choose them over most of your soldiers, I suppose. Due..." And she gestures to a large hunting dog dozing unobtrusively by the fire. "Due and I fought alongside each other at the Lodge of Petrichor, and he's as good a compatriot as I could ask for." There's such a light in her face, her happiness unmatched as she gets to talk 'shop' a bit.
"I might like that, Lady Whitehawk. Thank you." Medeia has finished her tea and rises cumbersomely from her seat. "If you will both excuse me? Awaiting the arrival of this child," A motion to her abdomen, "Is exhausting. Any day now. I will reach out to you once I have recovered, my lady." Her head dips to both. "Your Highness, at your leisure. It is an open invitation."
"It's not a matter of not liking animals, perhaps, as being less suited towards them as others are." Patrizio's smile lingers nonetheless, and he's taking another sip of his wine, contemplating Elora's comment. "I know a great many who have an affinity for such things, but I fear I'm not one of them. But indeed, of all the animals, I would wholeheartedly agree that humans are the only ones I've yet to meet who are going to dissemble for their own advantage." A sigh slips from them, and... there's a glance to Medeia, when she makes reference to her state, and rises respectfully from his place. "I look forward to hearing good tidings from Eswynd, my lady, and hope that the remainder of your carrying is as easy as it can be."
Elora's smile gentles again. "Thank you for coming, Lady Eswynd. Be well and be safe." The young widow looks back to Patrizio. "Oh, I apologise, Highness. That's what I meant; some are leaders of men and women, and I am not among them."
A laugh slides easily from Patrizio when he's shaking his head, and another sip of the lovely Mercier wine. "Please, my lady," he offers to Elora. "I'm of far thicker skin than to take offence easily at any such matter. But that's very well said, and the fact is, it would be boring if the gods made us all the same, no?" The jade eyes dance when he's contemplating her over it. And there's a tip of his glass, to boot. "Blessedly, the gods also gifted your kin with a knack for the vintner's art, and for that, may they be remembered and only for good."
Relief settles on the blonde's features. Perhaps she had been worried, but then Elora -only- just met Patrizio. "They were." She inhales slowly. "I'll be heading that way once Bastion has been retaken." A Crownlander's certainty, perhaps, but there's a smile afterwards. "Pravusi wines are excellent as well. I've enjoyed most of the ones I've had from Setarco, but I don't know much about them. Do you have a favourite?"
"But again, the beauty of the Compact, that we can enjoy such, and that we can have them to savour," points out the Pravusi prince with a warm smile, those eyes settling on Elora's features. "I had an argument the other night with Lady Bonnie Shepherd, about preferences between wines, and..." Patrizio laughs warmly as he's shrugging a little, not that the gesture is /as/ apparent when he's in his armour. "I'm a fan of a lovely Setarco Red, with just a hint of spice, though I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that I'm far more of a fan of hard liquors. However, such things pair not well with dinners. Something my cousin Belladonna has tried well to drill into my head, in my education." His head cocks slightly, before he offers in return, "What wine is your favourite, hands down?"
"The 1001 rose' reserve," Elora responds with a smile. "It was quite a good harvest that year, and the rose was one of my grandfather's last vintages before he returned to the Wheel." Just then, Elora's assistant steps up and hands her a message. "Forgive me, you Highness," she murmurs while unfolding the parchment. Silence as she reads, and silence as she returns it to the falconer's hand. "Indeed, I must ask your forgiveness, Highness, but I'm needed at the Manor to handle some House business. Thank you so much for coming... I think that the lady of the establishment will be here soon, though I hate to miss her."
Patrizio rises from his place as Elora does, and there's a smile that finds him. "I ought keep an eye out for that vintage, in that case, so that I might try to see what you enjoy of it, if I should be able to find one. But I do understand about the matter of business and the like, and... I hope that you find it passes quickly, whatever the trouble should be. And thank you for hosting this event."
The Hart's staff slowly drift back to see that those guests lingering are well cared for.
3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Patrizio.
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