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Ashford and Friends Dinner

A dinner party at House Ashford for all Ashfords + 1, and the fealty chain. + Farshaws!

want to come but aren't sure you fit in? Hit up an Ashford and come along.

Dinner, dancing, and the usual fun. Maybe a contest if anyone wants to run one. But no promises on that front!

Date

Feb. 3, 2020, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Lisebet Harlan

Participants

Ryhalt Strozza Alessia Orelia Lethe Tabitha Kaia Sunaia Ashur

Organizations

Ashford Farshaw Grayson Leary Shepherd

Location

Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Ashford House - Forest Hall

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, Sirra, a very quiet maid, 3 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Alessia.

Nilanza, a fluffy white kitten with odd eyes, Portia, a tittering bashful handmaiden, Renato, an overconfident courier arrive, following Kaia.

Evening falls, and dinner time is coming up fast. The Forest Hall has been decorated in summery fashion, with tables set up for all the expected guests. Lisebet has made her way down a bit early, and has been making sure that all is set perfectly. Harlan it may be said is delayed a bit as he is looking after a certain set of twins for a few moments, even if they're not big enough yet to come to dinner. As the time moves forward, Lisebet pauses to twirl, and the small band that has been brought in for the event begins to play soft ambiance music. "I think we are definitely ready."

Ryhalt enters the hall with a smile, catching his sister in a private moment of twirling in happiness. He walks on over to give her a big, brotherly hug. "I had heard you got shot or something, but you seem you are all well."

Summery fashion, bright music, light surroundings? Cue the entry of a man clothed in umbra and brocade moving with a contrastingly bright red and white clad man at his side and a soft gray cat weaving between his feet. Halting soon on entry the dour faced man looks from point to point, as if looking for something but finding his surroundings lacking something that is causing confusion enough to stay further entry.

Striding into the hall not long after her cousin, who she'd tagged along with, Alessia's gaze scans the airy room as she approaches the table. "Duke, duchess." She greets the hosts with a gracious smile. "Thank you for having us." Then to the others. "My lord, my ladies."

Orelia saunters in a few minutes after the dinner is supposed to have started. She glances around. No sign of Sunaia or anyone else she recognizes for that matter. No matter! She puts on a smile and tries to listen in on conversation until she can find one she might insert herself into.

Lethe arrives with an eager smile on her face. She looks around and nods to those she knows. "I am so glad that I could make it."

Tabitha's just as summery as the forest hall, dressed in a light dress of golden linen that falls to the floor. As she breezes in, her little smile is bright and warm and perhaps fixed just a little too firmly to her face, but nonetheless the effect is one of careful cheer so as to avoid being a big party pooper. A small wave and a neat dip of a curtsy follows, both given to all present. Perfectly courteous, this neo-noble! One might imagine she'd been born to the nobility. With pleasantries taken care of, the artist retreats to a corner where she stops to fuss over some flowers; dainty sniffs inhale the fragrance of the petals, which she brushes with a light hand.

Lisebet returns Ryhalt's hug with a bit of a laugh, and then a hand goes to her left shoulder. There's barely any sign of it, but certainly a small scar. "I did indeed get shot, while over at the Lodge of Petrichor for the planting. All is well though."

"Hello all," Lisebet calls out. Alessia gets a merry nod at her greeting, as does Lethe. The sort of confusion on Strozza's face has Lisebet tilt ehr head a bit. "My lord, might I assist you with something?" she asks him, curiously.

Ryhalt narrows his eyes as he looks at the scar, but nods and smiles again. "Good! Am looking to a lovely evening with everyone." He lets her go greet everyone else, enjoying the music playing.

Not long after, Kaia makes her way into the Ashford's Manor with invitation in hand. Her gaze moving about in search of the pale haired beauty that is her friend Sunaia without avail - it seemed she was yet not here. Instead her gaze would set upon Lisebet and offer her a smile followed by a proper courtesy. "Duchess Ashford." She would say politely. "Thank you for hosting." She would tell her, and then, with another glance around and showing her invitation she would add. "I've been invited by the Lady Sunaia, but I see she has yet not arrived." She explains, and awaits, before moving further about to take a seat.

A familiar name if not a familiar face. She approaches Lisebet first. "Good evening, Duchess Ashford. I too was invited by Lady Sunaia. My name is Orelia Stonewood, and it is a pleasure to meet you."

Harlan enters from elsewhere, without children, but with house colors -- green and grey. He smiles as he sees a number of people and says, loud enough to be heard by everyone, "Welcome, everyone, to Ashford. Please, make yourselves comfortable, eat, and drink." Servants enter, led by the ever-present Cedric to make sure everything and everyone is taken care of.

Lisebet nods to Orelia and Kaia, a bit of laughter. "Excellent. I am glad to see you both. Please do have something to drink, make yourselves comfortable. Dinner will begin shortly. A pleasure to meet you, m'lady Orelia, and Lady Kaia it is good to see you again." She grins at Ryhalt, offering to him, "Go see if Lady Tabitha could use a handsome escort for a bit." And then there's a Harlan making a grand entrance, and Lisebet turns a warm smile his way.

Ryhalt turns as he hears Harlan's voice and smiles at the welcome. Chuckling at his sister's request, he inclines his head and snags a drink from a passing servant on his way over to Tabitha. "A Lady need not hide herself in the corner for a party. Mind company or am I disturbing purposeful hiding?"

An amicable smile would be directed to Orelia, as she too let the Duchess know she had been invited by Sunaia as well. Her eyes once more returning to Lisebet. "Likewise, Lady Lisebet. Thank you. ~ " she would say in that innate mellow tone of hers. Gracefully turning to move about and take a seat. Another glance at Orelia before doing so. "You are also a friend of Sunaia Lady Stonewood?" she would ask, and then motion for her to walk alongside her. "Shall we sit together and converse while our friend graces us with her presence?" she asks her.

Her attention, then, shifting towards Harlan as he makes his entrance, and offers all a grand welcome. A courtesy directed his way. "Duke Ashford. Thank you for having us." She would say, just before finally taking a seat.

Orelia takes a seat next to Kaia. "Well, I've met her a couple of times, and her betrothed. I don't know that I've been back in the city long enough to make friends yet. I'm sorry but I didn't catch your name, m'lady."

Turning to face Ryhalt, a smile quickly given, Tabitha dips into another curtsy. "Hiding? Oh, no. I'm just waiting for everyone to settle in." She turns a glance around the room before noting, "Quite a lovely gathering, I must say." She shakes her head afterwards and folds her hands across her stomach in a relaxed-enough fashion. "You're not disturbing me at all, my Lord. How have you been?"

A blink when spoken to and Strozza looks back to Lisbet with one brow arching upwards. "Oh." dropping into a bow that melds to a genuflect that nearly takes him to the floor, but not quiet, before he rises again, "Duchess Ashford, I was looking for Sunaia, she had invited me. I apologize for the rudeness." head down now, "Admiral Strozza Mazetti. A pleasure, my lady." his tone low as he looks about and states in a distracted voice "It's a lovely home."

Lisebet arches a brow, and then she smiles. "Ah, my Lord Admiral, a pleasure to meet you. I've heard your name mentioned a time or two. Do pleae make yourself comfortable. Lady Sunaia is expected at any time. I'm surprised she's not already here." She shrugs delicately, Lisebet does, and then says, "We've a plethora of drinks and the food is about to begin coming, so I do hope you are hungry."

"Waiting?" Curious, Ryhalt lifts his eyebrows and takes a drink before saying, "Looking forward to something in particular in the meal? I have been well, other than the brutal heat, wondering if we're about to go to war, and concern about my wife's silence. Though should keep to the first so my sister doesn't get vexed with me by ruining her dinner. And, how are you?"

Harlan walks over towards Lisebet and leans down to kisss his wife lightly before he smiles towards those greeting him, "A pleasure, of course." He moves to stand by his diminuitive wife's side, obviously enjoying her company.

Lupin, a small wolf pup arrives, delivering a message to Harlan before departing.

"And I tagged along...." Alessia says with a light chuckle as she settles in, giving her cousin a curious glance. Either way, she doesn't hesitate to make herself comfortable.

There's a nod and a welcoming smile from Kaia's part to Orelia, as she explains. "Oh, yes, where are my manners?" she mutters with a little laugh. "Kaia Malvici nee Bisland. Childhood friend to the beforementioned lady. Lovely to make your acquaintance. ~" She offers, and then wonders. "You said to the Duchess you are a Stonewood. Are you by chance related to the Marquis Malesh Stonewood?" she wonders.

Waiting. Tabitha nods at that, then notes, "The meal generally; I'm quite hungry. Speaking of which, we should take a seat, I think?" She looks towards the table and then pulls a 'whoops' face, as if to apologize for not doing so sooner. Talk of war evokes a more serious nod, though. "Troubling times, certainly. And I do hope your wife is well." She adds, "As for me, I'm missing my husband. He's been occupied as of late, making preparations for what's to come."

"Yeah, the Marquis is my cousin," Orelia answers. "So you were born a Bisland and married a Malvici..." Whatever Orelia says after that she says in a softer volume, just for Kaia to hear.

That he'd been spoken of looks to be of some startling note judging by his lips drawing in a line, but he bows, "I expect little good, but I assure you that the pleasure is mine, thank you." he motions to his aide and Kuhlai steps up, beaming brightly to lift up from a velvet pouch a bottle that is... just.. It's so RED liquid. "I did have my aide bring some of his punch for you. It's quite good." Strozza's lips quirk briefly before he starts for the table, approaching Kaia

"So what is actually -in- the punch?" Alessia asks, glancing at Kuhlai, probably for the benefit of the guests.

Marton Townsend, an explorer's quartermaster arrives, following Ashur.

Ashur arrives, following Sunaia.

Lisebet smiles to Alessia, nodding to her as well. With Kaiad and Orelia chatting, she turns back to Strozza. "Nothing bad at all," she says earnestly. "I cannot say that I've heard anything other than good things about you." And then there is Alessia's question and that too gets a grin. "A wonderful question - I too am quite curious."

Lisebet doesn't seem worried about Harlan's being nearby, easily standing beside him. There's a comfortablelness in their relationship it seems.

Harlan moves towards the table to take a seat, "Please, everyone. Be seated. To borrow an idea from Grayson, I would like us to, one at a time, talk about something interesting going on in our lives. Once you've shared something, you can then choose who shares next." He smiles and then says, "I...believe Lady Sunaia should start us off."

"Oh, wonderful! ~" would chime Kaia with a bright grin. "The Marquis and I are acquainted, naturally, with him serving as Finance Minister for Bisland." She notes. "A good man, even if..." she leans in to whisper the rest to Orelia, before letting out a soft laugh. Remaining there to hear out whatever it was the lady had to say. Another laugh let out at her words, before offering a nod and a smile. "Oh, darling, my cousin is a hard one to catch indeed." She admits, before adding. "-and, I'm glad you approve. I shall expect to see you then." She tells her with a grin, before her attention is pulled by the words of a familiar voice growing ever closer. A beaming smile directed towards Strozza. "Lord Mazetti! You are here too? What a pleasant sight you are. Come join us!" she insists, motioning for him to sit next to her. A gesture then towards Orelia. "Have you met the Lady Orelia Stonewood?"

Lupin, a small wolf pup arrives, delivering a message to Harlan before departing.

Blushing brightly and somewhat hanging on the arm of Lord Ashur Sanna, Sunaia enters Forest Hall - markedly late, and wearing an abashed smile and a pale-pink gown that contrasts markedly with the color of her flushed skin. She curtsies slightly and apologizes immediately, "I'm so sorry we're late - we were, um. Exploring." Her brightly-sparkling platinum eyes flit to Ashur and she smiles sheepishly, then glances to Marton, Ashur's retainer who is currently eyeing the pair sternly. Sunaia self-consciously sucks her lower lip and smiles anyway, leading Ashur in. "Does everyone know Lord Ashur? Everyone, this is Lord Ashur Sanna... my betrothed," the blushing Ashford grins again - then lifts a slender hand to straighten a lock of Ashur's hair.

Lethe sits down at the table and gives Sunaia a curious look to see what she will say. She nods as she looks to Ashur. "We have met. You were there too."

"Oh...!" Sunaia hears Harlan belatedly, "I'm getting married! To Ashur - and we have a kitten!" She grins immediately at Ashur and moves with unusual care take her seat beside him.

Sunaia nearly forgets the next part of the rules, and blushes again, a grin overtaking her face, "Um, Admiral Strozza, you're next. Please, and it's //good// to see you...!"

"I am curious then whom has spoken of me to you, Duchess, but it's good to hear that I'm remembered well to others." Kuhlai follows the duchess though to provide his, smiling, services to her.
"Lady Kaia, it's good to see you in continued good spirits. I hope you and your husband are well, also." taking the offered seat next to Kaia. There's a moment of consideration as he studies the woman for a moment, stormy eyes somewhere between curious and predatory. "I had not. No. But is a pleasure my Lady Stonewood. Pleased to meet you I..." he pauses when Sunaia's voice rings out, brows lifting slightly, looking to her then Ashur, "I'm next??" looking around a moment, "I."

Stro in headlights.

Ashur lifts his free hand in a sheepish wave to everyone, tips his hat, and sits by Sunaia. He is markedly quiet.

Nodding, Ryhalt grins to Tabitha's comment about being hungry. "I think they said soon, but we may as well head over to the table. Thank you. She's bound to turn up any day and make me silly for worrying, but not liking her gone during this time. Too easy to hurt us when divided." As they talk he leads them over towards the table and helps with her seat when they get there. "Is he? I am sorry to hear that. I hope it only turns out to be business to ready for nothing." Then Harlan bids them be seated and he sits down beside Tabitha and nods to Harlan's suggestion. Expectant, he listens as Sunaia starts them off. "I have not. Duke Ryhalt Farshaw." He introduces himself to Ashur before they move on to Strozza.

Glancing up from the table when another Ashford enters the room, Alessia smiles warmly at the familiar faces. "I've met him. It's good to see you, Lady Sunaia. Ash." She turns to her cousin when it's his turn. "Yes, you've had quite the tumultuous few days haven't you?" An evil smile plays at her lips, before she takes a drink from a glass of wine.

"Yes, I'm sure it'll be fine. We just care for our spouses, so it's natural that we should worry. And thank you for your reassurance, Lord Ryhalt." With that she joins him in the seat next door to his, and smiles sweetly to the table. A quick grin of congratulations is sent Sunaia and Ashur's way, and if Tabitha notices their sheepishness, she says nothing of it!

Lisebet settles into her seat by her husband, and glances over to Sunaia as she starts, and then tags Strozza. That brings a smile to Lisebet's lips. "I do promise we none of us will bite," she offers gently. For Sunaia and Ashur, she manages to keep a straight face, but it's not easy.

Harlan is highly entertained by Sunaia, but does nothing but smile. He also smiles towards Lisebet and then turns his attention to Strozza, interested to see what he has going on. "Being an Admiral, of course, your near future is likely to be -quite- busy. But, other than that?"

Kaia checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Kaia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Sunaia and Ashur's entrance have, of course, pulled Kaia's attention from the introductions being made between the Stonewood and Mazetti. Icy blue eyes studying them carefully, and taking in on some details all too well known to her by experience. A light blush burning on her own cheeks before she expertly conceals it behind a covered hand. What can be indeed heard though is a low giggle from behind that hand, before she returns her gaze back to Strozza, now on the spotlight. "Oh, yes, what have you been up to Lord Strozza? Do tell.~ "

Ashur nods politely to Ryhalt, and smiles at Alessia. "Lessi," he states in greeting, and looks to Strozza very studiously.

Ryhalt smiles at Tabitha. "You're quite welcome." He chuckles to see Ashur and Sunaia's nervous happiness, perhaps remembering those days. He also turns to Strozza next and chuckles at the man's surprise. "I think we have all shocked him." He nods to Harlan.

Harlan grins and says, "Let's give the Admiral a bit to consider. How about .... Lady Mazetti?" He motions towards Alessia.

They're all looking at him now... A trap. Like the Mythical Humperdink he should have always expected a trap. There lay Strozza - victim to his own gloomy curiosity! "Always busy yes," said to Harlan, "now only expected to be busier." He halts again to Ryhalt's comment, "Shocked no, curiosity for the focus maybe. Truth be told though frankly I think I enjoy the sea more, so it should be an unexpected blessing..." Strozza shoots a look towards his cousin, briefly, before he continues, "Otherwise I have been working with members of the College on a project."

Lisebet laughs softly. "And who should go next, my lord Strozza?" she asks easily.

Harlan was too fast!

He was!

"Oh I should expect that The Duke had the right of it. Dear cousin?" Strozza looks back to Alessia.

"Oh! What kind of project, Admiral? Can you tell us?" Sunaia pipes up for Strozza, altogether happy and drawing her gaze with a flick away from Ashur's eyes.

Harlan merely smiles, letting people talk and get to know one another. He's happy in this, and has his wife with him. All is well!

"Nothing exciting. I've just been training." Alessia says with a laugh. "No betrothals, no projects besides the Watchtower project. But that's for the Lyceum as a whole." She takes a deeper drink. "Lady Kaia."

Ryhalt nods to Strozza's correction. "Very good! Can always appreciate someone with a love for the sea." Then he turns polite attention on to Alessia and chuckles at her 'just training'.

Lethe looks to Alessia. "That sounds like a good thing to do." She stands. "I'm glad to have stopped by, but I should be going."

As the conversation continues, the servants serve up the first course, a small cold soup, roasted vegetables and smelling incredibly lovely. There's a salad for those who opt to not have the soup.

Lisebet tilts her head, and sayd, "Of course, if you must go, m'Lady, though you are most welcome to have something to eat first?"

Is there wine at the table? Probably. Orelia is enjoying a glass of it while other people get their names called. Oh, she was supposed to eat something too? Yeah, she'll get on that eventually.

Ashur looks to Alessia, attentive, and cants his head slightly. However, he asks no questions. When Lethe stands, he tips his hat towards her. (Because he sat at the dinner table without properly taking his hat off.) The hand next to Sunaia remains under the table. Once everyone begins to watch Kaia, he leans closer to the silvery Ashford lady and whispers.

Harlan smiles towards Lethe and says, "It's good to see you again, cousin. Be well."

The conversation continues, the first course is served, and now Tabitha takes dainty spoonfuls of her soup as she listens to everyone's news. She'll be silent for some time, perhaps, but when good news appears she smiles in polite and benevolent fashion.

3 Tyde Houseguard, 2 Redwood Initiates leave, following Lethe.

"Oh, do you have to go already, Lethe?" Sunaia asks with regret. She stands swiftly - perhaps a touch quickly, for she rather suddenly catches her breath and rests a hand on Ashur's shoulder to steady herself. The pale Ashford blushes again, but smiles to Lethe. "Be safe, Lethe; it was good to see you." She lowers in a small curtsy and draws her chair closer to Ashur's side, sits again and leans in to Ashur's ear, then smiles, nodding to the servants who are just now setting down the food. She turns to Ashur's ear and whispers quietly, smiling again before she sneaks (very obviously) a kiss upon his cheek.

There would be a calm smile over Kaia's features as the group conversed and shared on their latest happenings. She would be enjoying one of the drinks and setting the glass down just in time for Alessia to put her in the spotlight. "Oh, my turn, right." She'd say with a soft giggle. "Well, I too have been working on the watchtower project on Malvici's behalf." She explains, in continuity to Alessia's own news, and then go on. "We are to host a fundraiser soon or maybe an auction -who knows, maybe it's that tournament that lady Orelia was commenting to me a while back. We are unsure for the moment. Still, what I do know is that lady Thea has been kind enough to provide us with a rare piece of ivory and a black pearl as prizes." She explains, and then glances to Orelia, considering that it might be her turn; BUT, in the end, her eyes snap in the opposite direction to Ashur. "Lord Sanna, what have you to share? You seem like a man who has been busy. ~ " she would say with a slightly devious grin and a glance then given to Sunaia.

Strozza checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

How very Lycene... As Strozza is served his soup, the man in red topcoat steps up, drawing a small spoon from a pouch, touches it to his lips, waits a moment, then tastes the soup - waiting once again. A glass of that disturbingly red wine is poured for him next, sipped and presented to the lord.

His expression is cut marble now, brows raised at 'friendly normal' a polite perk at the corners of his mouth hold in place. He's fine to be quiet, and when there is a soft 'mao' at his side he tilts slightly to allow Night to leap up onto his shoulders to curl at his neck, purring.

Turning her amber gaze from Kaia, intrigued by the notion of an auction, Alessia settles it on Ashur when he's called. If she notes anything about his demeanor, she doesn't react, merely awaiting his response with a faint smile.

Harlan is taking his time with his meal, merely listening to the conversations with interest, eyeing each person in turn to see what they are sharing.

Orelia hears that little 'mao' from two seats over, leans her chair back, and reaches around Kaia's seat to put the cat.

Food? Yes, probably, very likely Sunaia should eat food. She opts for salad, which she spears and forgets to draw to her lips as she listens to Kaia and then Ashur's name is directed. The woman of moon-like eyes rests her gaze (rather happily) on Ashur's blue eyes and waits for him to speak. She already has... probably... four things prepared to add, should he need help.

A faint flush creeps to the tips of Ashur's ears at Sunaia's response to his whispered query, and he runs a hand over the back of his neck, looking to the bowl of roast vegetable soup. He conspicuously removes his hat and passes it to Marton, who lifts his gaze skyward.

Before the Sanna lord has a chance to begin eating, though, Kaia passes the sharing game to him. He clears his throat and straightens in the chair, looking up and down the table with an uncomfortably determined look in his eyes. "I am planning an expedition to find a lost artifact," he declares, with intensity that nobody called for. "The Aegis of Brass."

Then he gestures across the table and passes it on, "Lady Orelia Stonewood, if you please."

Alessia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Lisebet enjoys her food, eating slowly as well. She listens to the converaation, interjecting every so often. She gives Strozza a glance, watching him thoughtfully. Her gaze goes from person to person, as they continue the conversation. At Ashur's comment, Lisebet blinks. "Goodness, that sounds very exciting, my Lord. You may have to tell us more."

This, Alessia does react to. "Aegis of Brass? What is that?" She straightens in her seat suddenly. "One of his weapons?" She asks with a raised brow.

Strozza checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Orelia checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Tabitha's still slowly and daintily going at her soup when Night leaps up onto Strozza's shoulder. The artist pulls an 'awwww, precious!' face at that, smiling for a while until Ashur drops his Explorer-y thing. She looks over to him wide-eyed with curiosity, but says nothing as she has soup in her mouth.

Harlan definitelyu looks intrigued at AShur's comment, and nods in agreement. He smiles, "We shall talk about this."

Sunaia beams and lifts her pale fingertips to brush Ashur's //new//, scruffy beard as if to say, "Oh, and there's this new beard that makes him look just so dashing, doesn't it?" But, the pale, blushing Ashford doesn't say that, she just smiles at her betrothed and, with some difficulty, pulls her gaze from him to Alessia - and drops her jaw to answer... but halts. And bites her lower lip. And smiles, glancing back to Ashur... waiting. For him to decide.

Food. Right, food. Sunaia spears the salad again and pushes a forkful of salad between her pink lips.

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

Ryhalt eats and happily listens. He also looks curious at the artifact.

Ashur was starting in on the bowl of soup with his spoon. "Er..." He looks from Lisebet to Alessia to Harlan, and gets his beard brushed by Sunaia's fingers. "It is, ahem... a protective device... from..." Gulping, he shifts in his chair, appearing as put on the spot as Strozza did earlier. Then he lifts his spoon in a decisive gesture and states manfully, "Later." Nodding to Orelia, he looks back to his soup.

A blink, head turning slightly when Orelia reaches for his cat, unlike his cousin if there is some reaction to Ashur's comment he remains generally polite looking while others comment. A 'ts-ts-ts' sound is made and Night leans directly into the hand offered him, standing on the sailor's shoulder, pawing lightly at Orelia, "You've done it now, my lady." a half grin following as Night bunts his brow against Strozza's cheek and then begins the journey to try and walk across Kaia's shoulders to get to Orelia, tail flicking and giving another 'mao' before attempting to hop into her lap.

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

Kaia just like the rest would start to dig into the newly arrived food, soup for her, a dainty spoonful of it brought up to her lips as she continued to listen to the conversation. Oooh!~ A fancy sounding artifact. Yes, everyone wanted to know about it or so it seemed. A small smile taking place at the corners of her mouth as the lord's attempt to brush over the game backfired and brought him back into the spotlight. Lucky Orelia!

Orelia manages to lean her chair forward instead of falling backward when her name is called. She stands up, purring cat in her arms, and gives a smile and a wave. "Greetings, my Lords and Ladies. For those I haven't met yet, I am Lady Orelia Stonewood. I just got back into Arx less than a week ago after being away for a year, and I'm looking for trouble. If you have a mission in want of a song for the journey or a sword for the destination, the messengers know how to find me." She sits back down, looks around. "Um, how about you, my Lady?" she asks in Tabitha's direction.

A messenger arrives and delivers a note to Sunaia. Though she smiles faintly at the messenger, she looks over her shoulder for someone, ...then seems to realize. Thanking the messenger, she sends him away and returns her attention to the dinner - and to Ashur, who looks terribly uncomfortable. Sunaia interjects now in a poor attempt to deflect from him, "It's just brass; it's probably nothing... that... exciting. Not like ... um. Star iron? Or platinum?"

"In the Suthryn Reaches perhaps?" Alessia asks with a tilt of the head, before shifting once again as he appears to want to breeze past the subject. She gives Sunaia a strange look, before taking another drink from her glass, and turning to her plate. She does murmur something to her cousin before eating.

Lupin, a small wolf pup arrives, delivering a message to Harlan before departing.

Ashur gives Sunaia a grateful glance as she attempts to save him from his formal dinner faux pas. He issues a very slight shrug towards Alessia, and a significant lift of one eyebrow that could indicate a variety of things. Then he courteously consumes soup while listening to Orelia and, next, looking to Tabitha.

Lisebet nods at the comment about later. And soon enough, the serving staff starts bringing in the main course. "Perhaps I might step in a bit, and put myself in the way, before Lady Tabitha," she offers. "I have been working on learning some of the Elven languages and look forward to the times when I can use my new found knowledge. Also, I've been thinking we should have an Ashford presence at the Taste of Arx with the Graysons, and wondering if I might convince one of my relatives to lead such an endeavour."

Night is picked up. This is what is best in life. Sword swinging three quarter naked buff barbarians with thick accents don't know a damn thing about what's best in life. This is best. Purring happily, Night lifts his head trying to get it tucked under Orelia's chin, where the warmest part of the neck is.

Tabitha can't help but keep looking Ashur's way, waiting for him to continue his tale. You can't go and tell people about interesting stuff like that without provoking some interest, after all! It soon becomes clear that he and Sunaia want to brush over the topic, however, and so the artist carefully swallows her soup and then places down her spoon. "How fascinating! We should talk about this artifact later, we really should." Then with a smile she goes on to reply, "As for myself, perhaps something less adventurous, but something I'm proud to be a part of nonetheless. I'm to be painting the sets for a new play by my cousin, Lady Evonleigh Whitehawk. Some of you will know her," she says, then adds. "She's a marvelous talent, so I have no doubt the production will be a smashing success, especially given that Princess Sabella, Prince Niklas and the Nightingale herself, Gianna Whisper, will be among the actors starring in it."

Orelia happily cuddles with Night, both food and wine forgotten.

Lisebet's announcement draws Sunaia's immediate attention, her moonsilver eyes flicking to her cousin-in-law. The pale Ashford manages not to say anything, but her interest is as obvious as is her desire not to speak of it - YET. She glances to Tabitha and mentions as her plate of salad is exchanged for a plate of something altogether more substantial, "Oh, one of Petal's seamstresses said I should find an artist for a new corset she wants to make for me. With a tree at night painted on it - would you paint it for me, Tabitha?"

"Oh, eleven languages?" would ask Kaia, her gaze now on Lisebet. "How intriguing. I do enjoy linguistics and find the elven folk quite curious. Would you mind us meeting later for a little chat on that, Duchess?" she wonders, before finishing her cold soup, and moving on to the newly arrived main course.

Lisebet inclines her head to Kaia. "Certainly we can do that," she says. "Ryhalt, perhaps you would go next?"

"Oh, did you see the painting of the glaive of fire hung up in the reveler's refectory?" Alessia asks Strozza with a sudden smile, before nodding to Ashur. "That was a birthday gift from y lord. It's amazing. I didn't ask, did you paint it yourself, Ash?" She asks with curiosity, leaving the previous subject behind.

Tabitha might not have said anything after all, because her writer is suuuuper slow.

"You paint?" Sunaia turns, startled, to Ashur. "Gods, I ...didn't know you painted. Do //you// want to paint my corset? Or a skirt to go with it? Maybe a dress? A cloak? Boots??"

"If I am lucky enough to see the play, I will be able to appreciate the artist now." He smiles to Tabitha and nods to his sister. "I am working on a couple projects to expand ports and trade in Westrock." What else?! With a smile and light chuckle he says, "Working on a faster *Northern* route to Arx, perhaps. If we are clever enough." He glances around the table. "I believe that is everyone except Duke Harlan?"

Ashur is quiet now, simply eating. Upon that question, he gulps down the mouthful and uses a napkin to dab at his mouth. "Er, I am afraid that I do not paint." He sounds slightly apologetic, but smiles. "I commissioned the painting from Miss Emele Greenblood. She is an excellent source for gifts. I can always count on her quick and amazing work."

Suddenly, something seems to dawn on Sunaia - as evidenced by the growing expression of confusion on her face as she scans the table, then peers at Ryhalt. "Where... Where's Ciaran?? He was supposed to come, too." Very slightly, the pale woman frowns.

Harlan smiles, "For myself, I am investigating Ashford history, with a aim towards learning ab out if there is any Sylv'alfar roots in the trees, so to speak." He shrugs, "I may come up with nothing, but it's something that is intruiging me."

Lisebet is overheard praising Ashford.

Again, Sunaia's interest is piqued and she flicks her silvery eyes to Harlan. "I'll help you with that, of course; I got your message and meant to tell you. I'm following up with ...some other leads, too." She spears some vegetables and meat on her plate and munches.

Alessia looks thoughtful at this. "I'll be sure to reach out to her. I was thinking of gifting one of my friends with a painting." She turns to Harlan. "I wouldn't be surprised if there was." She nods.

Kaia is overheard praising Ashford: What a splendid dinner! So many joyous and interesting news!

Alessia is overheard praising Ashford.

Sunaia is overheard praising Ashford: I love my family.

A slow blink before Strozza finally pulls his attention from his cat to Lessi and then to the others, "I had not seen the painting. I admit I am inoften in that room, I spend much of my time in the gardens. The acoustics there are surprisingly enjoyable."

Ryhalt smiles assurance to Sunaia's worry. "I'm sure he's just gotten caught up in some book or found someone with an enticing secret and has quite forgotten about us." Listening to Harlan, he nods, thoughtful. "That should be interesting to find out, but even if not, probably will find something else interesting."

Sunaia is overheard praising Ashur: The very best of all possible choices I could ever make in my life was you.

Sunaia is overheard praising Harlan: The best duke.

Lisebet chuckles softly, and says, "We are quite a busy bunch, it seems. Very nicely done!" That said, as people finish up with their first courses, the next is brought in, all the way along to dessert.

There are some chocolate items, either from Westrock Reach or the nearby Farwatch. And ginger cake. And some delicacies created by local bakers in Arx, enough to tempt just about anyoneto decadence.

Tabitha is overheard praising Ashford: A wonderful dinner with wonderful people.

Kaia is overheard praising Lisebet: A most wonderful hostess!

Kaia is overheard praising Harlan: A most welcoming host!

Strozza is overheard praising Lisebet.

Strozza is overheard praising Harlan.

Orelia is overheard praising Lisebet.

Orelia is overheard praising Harlan.

Ashur is overheard praising Ashford: An excellent dinner.

Tabitha is overheard praising Lisebet: Always a delightful hostess! That ginger cake at dinner was to die for.

Ashur is overheard praising Sunaia.

Tabitha is overheard praising Harlan: A wonderful host!

Orelia is overheard praising Sunaia.

"I'll have to write to him; it's been months since we last talked," Sunaia replies to Ryhalt, then accepts ginger cake for dessert. "If you like ginger, Ashur, you should try it. It's the best - and Lissy's had them make it just like at her home," she advises her betrothed, her expression lifting again to a smile as soon as she sets her moonlight eyes upon him.R
If it wasn't obvious before now, Sunaia is VERY happy with her betrothed.

And so it is, somehow avoiding glutting herself on that divine ginger cake, Tabitha continues to eat her dinner, offering nods and smiles as the conversation continues. After the dinner is done, she'll go back to her room in good spirits, with a full stomach!

Laudine, a stern middle-aged maidservant leaves, following Tabitha.

Nallah, a buff-looking tortie cat with green eyes, Sirra, a very quiet maid, 3 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Alessia.

At Sunaia's urgings, Ashur also accepts some ginger cake, even though his plate is mostly cleared. He smiles at the silvery Ashford lady and murmurs a quiet word.

Orelia is eating chocolate with one hand and scratching Night under the chin with the other. Best. Dinner. Ever.

Of course Ryhalt loves the desert and after some more chit-chat, he says his good nights and heads off back home.

Lisebet keeps an eye on things, and gradually as dinner finishes, and the evening draws into night, things begin to wind down.

"So then, as we are continuing to eat sweets" except Strozza, he just enjoys port, if served, "I note that there are players, perhaps there are any songs of southern styling they might know, and perhaps southern step that any might be aware of?"

Night? He's curled up in laps, almost asleep, chin scratches. After a moment he actually bear traps her arm. No claws, no biting, Just hugging.

1 Farshaw trained guards leaves, following Ryhalt.

"Ooh!~ Desserts!" would chime Kaia happily. This was her favorite part of any dinner. She would egaerly begin to take a bit of this, a bit of that, a slice of that cake, and a little more of that other decadent thing over there. Yum!

Harlan motions for drinks to be served to everyone, and smiles towards Strozza, "Nothing wrong with sweets, in the right place." And yes, there are desserts.

Ashur smiles at Sunaia and looks to Lisebet and Harlan. "My thanks for the very fine dinner," he states to them. "It is a pleasure and an honor to be here."

Lisebet smiles, tilting her head a bit. "You are most welcome, my lord," she says easily. "I'm very glad that you could all come join us."

Sunaia smiles fondly at Ashur, clearly proud to have him here. "I'm glad you came..." Sunaia replies sincerely, then continues with quiet, halting affection. "I'm glad you're here. I'm... glad you chose me, Ashur - as glad as I am to have chosen you." The pale, poised woman smiles to Ashur, her cheeks already turning rosy.

Sunaia turns her gaze finally to Harlan, and then to Lisebet. "Thank you... both. Again. For agreeing to bring Ashur to our family."

Harlan smiles towards Sunaia, "I never want to stand in the way of family's happiness, after all."



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