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Deepwood Family Dinner Aug 1012 AR

Family dinner for House Deepwood and friends. If you want to join us, be welcome and be merry!


Jan. 30, 2020, 8:57 p.m.

Hosted By



Michael Orrin Jessa Kalani Peri Samantha Rymarr Orelia



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Deepwood Manor - Banquet Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Grady and Jessa are - dancing, oddly enough, to a complete lack of music. Grady grins at something Jessa whispers, and swirls her again and then they are somewhere in the vicinity of the seats at the table. "It's going to be a delightful evening full of family and friends," he says to her pleasantly. "I'll have it no other way in any case." The table seems to be set for a horde of people - will there be hordes showing up? Who knows? But it's set and ready and the smells are delicious and it somehow manages to be fancy food in a casual atmosphere. Family dinners, Deepwood style.

Michael arrives not in armor, seasilk for the end of the summer and it's heat. Upon his left, Lady Kalani Seliki's hand is settle upon his inner forearm. On his right, Lady Peri Seliki's hand is pressed to his inner forearm on that side. Except...Peri walks too fast, so they teeter and point to the left until Michael corrects it by walking faster and dragging Kalani along. "Slow down!" Is hissed....and then he is dragging Peri. Before the whole entrance is abandoned entirely.

Orrin arrives shortly /after/ those three (Michael, Peri, Kalani) - and forgive him if he is seen looking heavenward, muttering something to himself. Who, precisely, it is aimed at? Anyone's guess.

The tall oak of a woman, clad in armor, fully engages in a dance existing only between the two. Wistful, Jessa smiles as she's led into another twirl by the row of chairs and avoids any leg tumbles or bumps. "And I'll have it no other way lest I have to put my foot down. Considering what smells good from the kitchen, how could anyone remain fowl?"

Kalani does a reasonable job of not actually laughing... aloud, at least. She is, however, ever so faintly quivering with barely repressed laughter. "Walk faster, my lord," she murmurs to Michael so as to avoid either being dragged, or being the dragee, or maybe it's the dragger? A glance is sent over her shoulder to catch the most opportune moment of Orrin glancing heavenward.

"You must walk in step with us," Peri tells Michael at a near whisper. They stagger-step their way to the room. Peri's mouth is pursed in amusement. "Look, see Grady? He knows how to keep in step," She nods in the direction of the dancing siblings.

Michael mutters, "I ... ... TO WALK ... ... ..."

Samantha looks to have been addressing some sort of missives as she works a cloth at her hand even as she strides into the banquet hall alongside Rymarr. "It is nice to have something else to look forward to this evening rather than more work," she says to the Marquis at her side. The cloth is edged beneath her fingernails to wipe away the excess ink befores carefully folding it over setting it against her palm as she notes the already arrived. A smile spreads across her features as her dark eyes sweep over each. "Count Seliki, it seems you have come with some rather exuberant cohorts this of which is Lord Michael," she offers as her attention shifts to her 'brother'.

Grady and Jessa receive a warm smile. "Would there were actual music, perhaps we should consider such an event for when the heat has fully left the city. Good evening to you all and thank you to Lord Grady for bringing us together."

Grady laughs at Jessa's sally. "No idea, but if they do, the yolk is clearly on them." He looks over then as people start entering the dining room, and their dancing stops while they welcome people. "Lord Michael, Lady Peri, Lady Kalani, Count Orrin. Marquessa, I'm glad you could make it. Please, it seems the cook has outdone himself and the food is hot and waiting. Welcome all, and this is family dinner so family manners apply. Which is to say, please eat your fill and be welcome. Deepwood prides ourselves on being excellent hosts, after all." He bows in welcome and seats Jessa, waving people toward the table eagerly. Perhaps he's hungry.

Eh. He is the quiet one.

Orrin takes the opportunity to bow to Samantha. "Marquessa," he greets her, offering a fond smile when he straightens, and glances back over his shoulder. What to say about the cohorts. Hmm. "Yes, they - do say practice makes perfect." Light humor, offered with a smile. To Rymarr: "Marquis, well met," and a similar bow. And then, with a tip of his head. "Lord Grady, Lady Jessa - I haven't seen you in an age. How are you both? This looks lovely." An addendum with a gesture at the table, of course.

Michael abandons the Seliki ladies both, they've been sneering meanness at him anyways. He'll step towards Samantha instead of the rest of them, a nod to Grady. Of course. The host. "Thank you, Lord Grady, for your kind welcome. I'd figure I'd come bother you and spare the Bisland Manor's chef from trying to get me to eat vegetables." Then whisper-whisper-whisper-whisper to Samantha.

Alongside Samantha comes Rymarr, a firm nod of his head given aside to the Marquessa at her observation, "There is a great deal of work ahead of us. It's sailing its way here now, from what I've heard. A little enjoyment beforehand seems a fine idea". Then Rymarr goes quiet again as he moves through the banquet hall, pauses when Samantha pauses to speak to another, and he offers Orrin a nod, "Count Seliki, good to see you here as always. All is well for you and your House?" Then Rymarr's attention shifts away to regard Grady for a moment, "I'm glad that I could make it too. The gossips love to read too far into an absence". Rymarr offers a small smile toward Grady before his attention drifts away once again.

Orelia follows her nose into the banquet hall from somewhere that could not have been too far away and peeks around the door. "Pardon the intrusion, but do you have a seat for a hungry traveler, newly returned to Arx?" she asks with a grin.

Kalani leans slightly forward, around Michael, "Maybe we should have practiced this in advance," is wondered to Peri, her tone of voice still holding that fine thread of amusement before she exhales a quiet laugh and, in the wake of Michael's departure, links arms with Peri instead.

Michael mutters, "... of mine, the ... have been ... ... all the carriages ... ... ... ... Deepwood Manor. Are ... ... a ... ... ... that a bit of excitement close to home wouldn't be unwelcome."

Oh the heaviest of sighs that follow when their music dies and Jessa leans to Grady's ear as he leads her to a seat. Delight at family's arrival, she boisterously greets, "Marquessa. Marquis. If you arrived earlier, we could have tested if Rymarr remains nimble at foot after all that trekking across the Compact. Glad to see you both." When Grady announces names to the other guests, she follows suit with title, name, and the welcoming smile that's a Deepwood brand. "Lettuce celebrate. Thank you for coming tonight."

"Mmmm," Grady comments to Rymarr with a nod and an easy smile as they all take their seats. "It seems trouble does sail our direction. Princess Liana has reached out to see if I'm willing to work with other diplomats at reaching out to the Abandoned who may remain in the way of the Eurusi navy, to see if they are interested in either joining the Compact for mutual protection, or at least so they are aware of what is coming and can prepare accordingly." He looks between the group assembled. "No doubt diplomats from Bisland and Seliki are also being contacted, but of course that also will have to be timed with the Grayson calling of the banners, no?" Grady, it seems, cuts straight to the heart of the matter.

"I wish you all the best with your practice, Count," Samantha says with her own depth of humor. A light chuckle creases the lines around her face as she looks to Rymarr when Jessa speaks of testing his nimble feet though it pauses when Michael whispers to her and she speaks back in a similar tone. She offers her arm to him and speaks aloud, "Come join us at the table. Lady Peri, Lady Kalani, welcome." She says and with a simple step forward will guide Michael to the table if he does not take the lead. "Lord Grady, we must set my husband to task soon enough. We will plan an event," she promises with a wink. The newest arrival however is given a glance over her shoulder, "There is enough to partake of, but forgive me I do not think I know you."

The twist of Orrin's mouth indicates a sort of approval; he's a good sport, can take as fair as he gives out. He comments to Rymarr - not quite conspiratorially, but almost - "Don't they just." Most of a decade spent mostly in Pearlspire, rather than plying the gladhanding trade in The City: gods, the inventive stuff they must have cooked up about Orrin. "But yes - all is well in the Seliki household. I ought to bring Sereia around. She'll like to meet you all. She won't say so yet, but - give her time, she's still figure out how to call her mum and dad." He settles down to the table, considers what Grady says; doesn't comment, instead glancing at Michael a moment.

Peri looks as though she wishes to smooth feathers when she replies to something Michael whispers. She makes a bow to Samantha and Rymarr before finding a seat near Kalani. Kalani whispers to her and she nods in agreement, eyes slightly wide with surprise.

"Of course, how rude of me! Lady Orelia Stonewood," she introduces herself with an easy smile and a flourish. "I've been gone a while, so I imagine I'll have introductions upon reintroductions to do over the next few days."

Michael eases away as more actually talking and interacting with guests that aren't as important as Michael commences. Ohhhh....already to business talk. And his nose scrunches and his hand lifts to grasp at Samantha's hand to guide to his arm. Except not quick enough and they are /walking/. The theme for the evening, Michael being too slow. "I mean. I don't know if this is the right place to make the rather strange announcement about Eurusi..." He'll glance towards Count Orrin of all people for guidance on that matter.

Kalani murmurs to Peri before she echoes Peri's bow, though with a curtsy instead, and after a few more moments of quiet conversation she slips through the already gathering crowd of people and makes for the banquet table. She selects a plate and begins placing samples of this and that onto the plate until its well laden. Only then does she carry it back and slips it into place beside Peri and slides into the seat alongside, the plate positioned to share.

When Rymarr does finally take his seat, his attention turns aside to regard Grady while he speaks and gets right to business. He does spare a moment back toward Orrin along with a firm nod, "Layne's still young enough that he could provide some friendship to your own. We'd be happy to establish those ties of friendship early between our children". Then back to Grady the Marquis goes. He nods once or twice, but eventually he comments on the subject Lord Grady brings to the front, "That sounds like a great idea. Whether it wins us allies or at the very least provides some warning? Even that warning could bend them to seeing the Compact favorably in the future. A short term solution that may have greater long term rewards". Rymarr's attention drifts toward Michael, where the Marquis watches without a word or movement. His blue-eyed stare lingers for a time before eventually the Marquis' attention drifts back to the gathering as a whole, "House Bisland has called its banners, so we will be answering that call. We will be calling our own banners in preparation for a conflict. If we're lucky? Mind, I don't know how long a journey they have before them? But if we're lucky they'll show up just before winter. They can battle the elements as well as ourselves, if it comes to a fight."

Orrin gives Rymarr a smile for that. "Of course," he agrees. He would: it is no secret that he delights in children, a father in a sort of shadow-on-the-wall-of-a-cave way. He glances down the table at Michael, realizing that question (question?) is for him; blinks. There's an expansive gesture. "In honesty, why not," he says. "We are all of us allies, here, all set to a common purpose. And with luck, someone here will understand the matter better than I do."

"Yes, Eurusi, the topic of the hour," Samantha intones as Michael broaches the topic. "May be best to allow everyone to settle in before striking up that conversation," is all she offers before her gaze slips to Orelia. Releasing Michael she moves over towards the young woman and motions her over, "Welcome back then, Lady Orelia, join us. It seems conversation was going to become rather interesting." Her eyes sweep over Peri at the bow and a warm smile is offered to her as she attends to finding a seat beside Rymarr, pulling her chair back to slide into the seat. Rymmar attends the topic of banners so that she can ask for some chilled water. "Of course we are, and we will all need to be prepared. That being said if any need help, I am sure House Deepwood would be glad to offer what we can."

Grady nods once at Rymarr in agreement, then looks between Michael and Rymarr and then to Jessa. "That's definitely more you than me, Jessa. At least in the conversations of calling the banners and such. Not that I won't help, but you know I've no head for military strategy." He looks to Orelia. "Welcome, Lady Orelia. It's a pleasure to meet you."

"Well, at least with a representative of Stonewood at the table as well, everyone can hear the announcement." Michael settles into place and plucks a napkin to drop onto his lap like it is some theatrical production. "We know who the leader of the Eurusi is, their king of Emperor or whatever. Alaric The Third, thought lost at sea for which my father, Duke Gabriel, held regency after until Alaric the Fourth was of age to take the throne."

Peri's jaw drops. "What. the. mother."

Grady checked composure at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.

Jessa threads her fingers together, latched, elbows on the table, and plants her chin upon her hands while watching and listening. A rumble from the woman interjects, "Rymarr, my sword is yours. You only need to point to what direction. But what are or is there any plans for the security at home? If most of our armies march east, it leaves us exposed to the other two Crown guests. We saw how they acted when the Compact responded--" And her fork clatters on the plate, attention weighed on Michael as if ready to respond before choosing to sit back. He is Samantha's brother. Sisters get dibs.

Orelia had grabbed a plate and started to load it with food after Samantha's invitation, but upon that announcement she sets the plate down. "Well how is that for a plot twist."

With that set of responses, Orrin gives an open-palmed gesture to Michael, satisfied: it's as if to say, see? Other people also don't know what to do with that, I am temporarily absolved of idiocy. And he rises, and moves to fix a plate of food. A glance passes amongst those assembled, and - perhaps feeling that no particularly fruitful conversation about Alaric 3: Dune King will be had - he says to Jessa, in prompt: "When the Compact responded to what, Lady Jessa?" Though he is still watching for the Deepwood leadership reactions to that news, of course.

"Oh. Wait. I meant to do two lies and a truth...Um. I'm to marry Prince Aindre Grayosn, I've become a woman. And Alaric the Third is the emperor of Eurusi." Michael messed up. He meant to do it this way. But whichever. Since he has had plenty of time to absorb the information, he does not slow at all when he reaches for a roll and some wine.

Samantha is quiet for a moment or two as the information is just announced at the family gathering. Her expression is even at first before it begins to start to dip downward into a frown. "I see." It is the most diplomatic response she can give at that time. "This may have not been the best setting to afford the information with as shocking as it is." She takes the chilled water from the servant and sips from it, a thoughtful frown upon her face. The quick attempt at recovery through jest causes her brow to loft, only a faint tinge of a smile marring the other wise considerate expression. "The question then is does the once King remember who he is..or does he intend to do his son and his once Kingdom harm without care?"

"Well. That's quite the conversation starter. Or stopper. Or something. Lord Michael, I believe you win the Conversational Gambit Award of the evening." Grady looks around, and then there's a pregnant pause before he continues. "Eurusi is not a subject with which I'm terribly familiar - but we've had some fairly dire warnings and evils from Eurusi, have we not? And I suppose the next question is, if Alaric the Third is still alive, is the legitimacy of His Majesty Alarice the Fourth in question, or not?" He looks around. "Though if the Eurusi fleet is coming against us with such - vigor - then I for one am pleased to support the King who isn't trying to kill us all."

Peri is still hungry despite being flabbergasted. She eats some morsels off of the shared plate. The two share some words about the missing king. Michael gets an odd look. She thinks for a moment and nods at him, yes, that could be considered humor. She smiles weakly at him. "It will take a member of hte faith to help sort it out who owes what to whom, but I feel the same way, Lord Grady"

"I am assuming that since the faith had moved to coronate King Alaric the Fourth, it matters not about the Third being alive. Since. Also. He might be evil or duplicitious or the rest of it. As it stands, I'm not the one doing the thinking in this situation. I'll have diamondplate and rubicund, Alaricite in hand. For whatever is to come." Michael gnaws through his plush and soft roll as he chews in thought. Then talks through mouth of bread. "The banners called will be congregating in Arx proper, more or less. To defend the mouth of the Gray River and be in a good position to respond to wherever the Eurusi might miake land fall."

"I picked one hell of a time to return to Arx," Orelia comments with a shake of her head. She goes back to filling her plate. A lady needs to eat, especially if war is coming.

Kalani and Peri appear to have been murmuring together over this precise question, and Grady's remarks make the Seliki physician share another look with Peri. "Of the questions, and there are countless at the moment, but is it known whether or not the king is aware that his father is alive? Or, at the least, that the rumors of his demise are not as accurate as previously considered credible?"

"I mean. I assume. If they bothered to tell me, he should know." Michael says after some wine.

Orrin glances down the table at Michael, lips pressing a moment, as he resumes his seat. He sets to eating, having no extra information to either sharpen or dull any blade.

Peri says firmly, "We should maintain a presence on our eastern front in the Mourning Sea. House Helianthus has basically invited them there."

"The Great," comes a distracted response. A tick. Jessa watches Samantha before more fully turning her attention to Count Seliki. "The Great Road. Once we exposed our ass," distracted again by a look to Grady, then she recovers by a smile. "Our assets were exposed and one foreign nation played savior with abandoned tribes in the middle of the Oathlands."

"Our King is our King. His father, if what we are told is true, has taken on a new seat of power and shows that he is no friend of the Compact. Not any longer." Samantha adds, shaking her head before sipping from her chilled water with a sigh. "I still wish to know if the former King remembers or if something occurred when he was lost." She glances among the gathered but lets her attention settle on Jessa. A slow nod of her head given, the Marquessa remains observant of the others and their reactions to such information. "By now, most are likely to know."

Jessa rumbles, "House Helianthus is unlikely to be the only one who made such dealings. If the rumored number of their fleet can be believed, raising an army that size isn't quick. They've been planning a long time. So who else decided to kick it with the sands?"

Orrin glances at Jessa, at that, considering, and gathers a bit of food on his fork. "I see," he says. There is a pause, and - before eating - he offers: "One wonders how they managed to find the opportunity." That's - regarding the Great Road, mind, and foreign nations playing savior; the stuff about House Helianthus passes with a glance, but without comment. Samantha's words collect a consideration, a nod, as do Peri's.

"There are at least thirteen kingdoms in Eurus, we are but five," Peri says, "Our former king has been uniting them, who knows how many he has collected. They are likely to have raised a fleet on their own without any help from us. The Undying Empire would never join forces with them. It would not be like Cardia to do this."

Orelia finishes filling her plate and takes a seat beside Michael. She pours herself some wine and eats as she she listens.

"The Undying Empire wouldn't join forces I don't think, on account of them being connected to some evil, evil rumors. But are you sure Cardia would not do something like this? Are Eurus and Cardia at odds? Are we somehow all in the middle of some fight between powers we can't hope to compete with, smack in the middle from nothing more than geography?" Grady sounds - curious or aggreived, one.

Jessa taps her fork at the potatoes on her plate, then juts her chin at Orrin. Good veg. "When does an adversary not consider finding those opportunities? If you were Cardia or the Empire, knowing either nation wants control of us, wouldn't you flex your muscle to protect your claim? Would it be by whispered favor exchanges in dark rooms, ignore the Compact and stomp across us to fight Eurus, or," she nods at her husband for his offerings.

Michael settles back into his chair as he finishes what he'll deem as a stomach stretcher in his mind. To ready himself for whatever else will be coming soon. A sidewys lean towards Samantha. "Didn't mean to hijack the evening, but it was information that should be stated sooner rather than later."

"The Undying Empire - at least from my very cursory understanding - do at least worship as we do, the gods of the pantheon. And though they treat us with a good deal of... disregard, I think -" a glance to Peri there, as if Orrin would ask if he's getting this right, he says, "- it is neither with the sneering disdain for us that Cardia has, nor the darkness Eurus represents." He has a drink - surely there's water on the table? - then adds: "To be clear, I am no friend to any of the three; I simply don't find it particularly plausible that The Undying Empire would ally with either of the others. Cardia and Eurus - I haven't any idea." He turns to Jessa, and tips his head, setting down his fork to fold hands. "I don't find it peculiar that they wanted such an opportunity; I wonder that they found it. Do the Houses of the Oathlands not offer aid or succor to those who would join the Compact? Someone who would join The Undying Empire clearly isn't standing on some notion of autonomy."

Peri goes quiet and her face grows grim. "There is a canticle that fortells the coming of a war between three. I'll not speak of it here." A hand falls and she fingers a peaceknot made of threads of many colors.

"We are not exactly the strongest. As Jessa said the Great Road caused as many problems as its names. A great many and more so for some individual houses. It was a good time to strike also considering all else that has happened over the past several years. Eurus would be remiss in attempting to make their move in such a time," she points out. Samantha give Michael another look before she finally straightens in her seat to address the group as a whole. "Whatever their intention, whether to beat the others to the spoils the fact is that we must keep them from becoming successful. Lord Michael, you may want to consider calling not only the heads of each house together but also their military experts so that we might all speak together rather than a general gathering such as this. I have as many questions as everyone else but the main concern now is protecting the Compact from a possible threat. Even if it is in the form of our former King."

"Prince Aindre is leading forces to the isles to try and disrupt the docking attempts and what not of Duke Ivan? The marriages and what not, I have not been paying attention to. And Bisland needs someone with an eye for such thing to be doing so. But thats another evening." Michael leans forward and presses his forearms into the table. "The Graysons seem to think that Third," because that is what Michael is going to refer to that one as, "will actually try and hit a large enough target given what knowlege he may have, and his final aim. Which, we don't truly know. Seliki is a large enough naval force to give plenty of forewarning to where they will attempt to make land fall. Admiral Peri will be commanding Bisland's boats...." And before even a single Seliki narrowy-eyed glares at Mikey, he corrects. "Bisland's ships. Dealing with refugees and other such things is on the table. Lou is at the forefront of most of this. I expect Pears to keep the waters scouted."

"What do children do, Count Orrin, when offered a new toy? Foreign nations present ideals of gifts and powers that no other House in the Compact has. That's why it smells like a trap. If it's too much of a good thing, I'm looking to the Marquessa and Grady." Jessa tips her head in turn, then firmly takes a bite out of a seasoned fowl, chased down by a hearty gulp of ale. "Lord Michael, you could make up for the hijack by sharing a tale of adventure. Should we wind the talk from war planning that's reserved for later."

"We should never, ever, go into a potential conflict with pride. War doesn't call for pride, it calls for realism. It is likely that Eurus will field better equipped units in some regards, but I suspect," Rymarr pauses for a moment, sparing a momentary glance across the gathering as he finally breaks his silence, "that we'll face an even greater number of slaves or conscripts pressed into service. Poorly equipped, meant to wear us down. That's if a fight even happens". Rymarr goes quiet as he turns his attention to a few greens on his own plate. A fork prods at them for a moment before he glances off toward Jessa and his chin inclines ever so slightly, "I would like to speak with you in private at some point. So we can discuss your personal kit, as well as plans for your involvement in our banners. Basically what it is you wish to do with yourself in these times ahead of us". Then Rymarr's attention returns to the gathering before his focus turns to Michael and Rymarr adds, "Our few ships will remain as they have been under House Seliki's command. Consolidating our naval force to defend the coast. Or wherever people who like ships and water thinks the wisest course of action."

"House Seliki's forces will - aside from what is sent to join House Deepwood's, House Bisland's, and - likely House Grayson's, the banners - be set to the task of patrolling the coastline of the Crownlands north of Arx, which will not be suddenly free of need. The Compact is not the city alone." He smiles. "I am as always grateful for the faith House Deepwood and House Bisland place in us. But - yes, if we are to plan at a later date, and with what limited information we have now I do think that prudent - perhaps we might turn the conversation to lighter fare, and not commit ourselves to courses that turn out to have no relation to any map."

"House Seliki's forces will - aside from what is sent to join House Deepwood's, House Bisland's, and - likely House Grayson's, the banners - be set to the task of patrolling the coastline of the Crownlands north of Arx, which will not be suddenly free of need. The Compact is not the city alone." Orrin smiles. "I am as always grateful for the faith House Deepwood and House Bisland place in us. But - yes, if we are to plan at a later date, and with what limited information we have now I do think that prudent - perhaps we might turn the conversation to lighter fare, and not commit ourselves to courses that turn out to have no relation to any map."

Grady nods. "Jessa isn't wrong here," he says firmly. "It would be very easy for the Undying Empire - or any of them, really - to offer things we cannot at present. But we offer what the others could but do not - freedom. Freedom of choice, of a way to live our lives how we decide is best. It's not just a matter of pride, but of theology." He frowns. "I wonder, as it happens, how the Undying Empire handles the worship of the First Choice." He takes a sip of water. "Odd." Then he shakes his head. "I'm certain we will continue to make military plans with our allies and family," here he lifts a glass toward Orrin and Michael in turn, "but diplomatically, I hope that we can offer the Abandoned a bit of warning and perhaps a choice to ally with us rather than get swept under the darkness of what comes in our direction."

"We have ever had faith in House Seliki," Samantha affirms and glances between the more tactically minded figures. "The positioning of Deepwood forces will of course reside with the Marquis and whoever else he considers to be fit to aid him," she clarifies further before her gaze slips to Jessa with a nod about hijacking and then to Grady when he speaks of the first choice. The thin smile on her lips slips away and then holds up a hand to make a sweeping motion. "It could be simple enough to send an envoy to meet with Eurusi. And then offer a proclamation of what waits in the Compact for any that wish to leave their positions. It would if anything make them question what they do in favor of freedom. Hope is often the only thing one needs to break the chains of a master."

"That is ever the hope," Rymarr echoes of Grady's own diplomatic hopes, "I've reached a point in life where I won't shy from a fight, but I just don't see the need to go sniffing one out. They'll find us, more often than not". Rymarr's stern expression does not falter as he settles back into his seat. He considers the conversation for a time, but adds after a moment as an aside to the Deepwoods present, "I've been pondering a tournament. The rewards would be of a martial fashion, with the intention of arming skills champions - not Champion-champions, but just champions - with equipment that may otherwise be beyond their means". Rymarr glances down to his hand as though he were reviewing some list scrawled on his palm - there isn't one - before he glances up again, "There are a few more matters that we need to speak on, but those will be best reserved for a closed door meeting. We need to see to that meeting soon," Rymarr remarks with a look to Samantha, Grady, and Jessa. Then the Marquis' focus returns to the gathering at large, "As the Marquessa says: hope can be a powerful motivator. However, when it comes to being forced into servitude by chains forged from words? Those may be harder to break than with happy feelings and inspiration."

Pimpernel, a primpy pied Pridehall peahen arrives, delivering a message to Samantha before departing.

Jessa drops her utensils with a clatter at her plate. Her chin lowers when she dramatically gestures to her ensemble of armor for the evening. And rallies up a broad toothy smile focused on Rymarr. "Here I dressed up for the occasion and didn't pass the mustard." She hands him the pot of mustard for his meat and vows, "I'll pass the next kit inspection," she winks. "And just point where for me to go," while she motions agreement for later. "Has House Grayson determined what guards will accompany the diplomats?"

"A tale of adventure? Do you think I go on those very often?" Michael lifts his eyebrows high towards Lady Jessa. Not quite ready to rise to the bait. "But this is dinner. And talk of impending war shouldn't fill our entire evening. A war meeting would be the best time to bring that all together...." Michael hmms and cants his head from side to side. "The Queen Symonesse now has a very lovely calf named Tulip, a steer, from Pridehall's trophy flock as a pet. She seems to love him dearly."

"I'm not entirely sure House Grayson has decided where the diplomats are going yet," Grady comments, "but once that's a certainty I'm sure we'll be talking guards." He looks over to Michael. "A calf named Tulip, is it? Interesting. I'd heard Her Majesty liked unicorns and tea. I had no idea she was interested in livestock as well."

"There may be ways," Orrin says. "I think it is likely that we who've been long at warfare of a certain sort might find ourselves having to learn very quickly how to do things differently." But oh yes, they're moving on. He smiles at Michael's commentary. "I saw her at that event you held, Lord Michael," he says. "I thought you determined to embarrass me in front of her." He doesn't actually seem annoyed.

Watching Michael as he suggests a war meeting, Samantha simply sips her water slowly and finally says. "A grand idea, a war meeting. I am sorry not to have thought of it," there is a layer of jest as she glances among the rest. Finally the Marquessa reaches out to begin to fill her plate now that the serious topic is starting to dislodge itself somewhat. Though it is hard to fully shake it. She leans in to speak with the Marquis, her head dipping down and to the side as she gives him a nod of her head and places a piece of fruit in her mouth.

Grady looks over at Orelia. "And now that talk is turning to gentler things, what has caught your interest since your return to Arx? Other than dark and dire warnings of this or that, Lady Orelia?" He smiles at her, determined to include her in a conversation that has not had much for her to contribute until now.

"Oh," Rymarr remarks with a sideward glance toward Jessa. Slowly a playful smile threatens at the far corners of his mouth before he asks, "That's your *battle* armor? I apologize. I thought that was your go-to-dinner-with-the-family armor". He considers it for a moment, his cold blue eyes squint for a moment before he offers a nod, "It's time for an upgrade, I think. We'll discuss that later, too". Then Rymarr's attention drifts back to the gathering and he takes up knife and fork, then begins carving away at a piece of meat. Some sort of meat. Before he can bring that up to his mouth, Rymarr adds with a glance around the table, "Speaking of armor. Met an armorer recently. Goes by the name of Dag. Told him that if I liked his armor, which I do, that I'd drop his name. So, there we go."

"Do not listen to him, the Marquis has a weapon and a set of armor for everything. I am sure he will comment on not being your 'walking about' armor one day," Samantha quips lightly and then watches Grady engage Orelia, a smile spreading slowly into place as the air lightens some more. She takes another bite of food and then settles back to rest in her chair, a thoughtful expression upon her face. "Lady Peri and Lady Kalani, what have your current endeavors been since last we saw you?" The Marquessa is glad to slip into the casual conversation that such a gathering provides.

"I have not even been back in Arx for a full day yet, much less had time for anything to catch my interest, I fear," Orelia answers Grady with a shake of her head and the same easy smile she walked in with. "I'm still catching up with old friends and acquaintances while I get the lay of the land. A lot has changed in the past year."

Grady nods seriously. "That it has, my Lady, that it most definitely has. But I am glad you have time to catch up with friends and family. Jessa and I have found ourselves doing much the same thing, as we traveled to Old Oak for a while most recently." He smiles at her now, that beaming smile most often denoting good humor, and relaxing back in his chair as he finishes his meal and leaves his napkin on his plate. "But I can't help the joy at returning to Arx, for even with all that's always going on, there are well-loved family and friends here too, to welcome us home." Now he turns that smile on Samantha and Rymarr. "Though I'm a little sad Joxur and Maddox couldn't make it tonight, but still."

Peri answers Samantha, "After helping foment a slave rebellion I've been learning Eurusi. Many of the slaves we freed were Eurusi and I decided if I was going to involve myself in their lives I should be able to talk to them." She clears here throat. "The first few words I learned were 'yes', 'no', and 'free."

Peri says in Eurusi, "Yes, No, Free"

Michael is listening and nodding towards Peri. "That sounds like a very good activity. Especially since now you get to use the word 'foment' in casual conversation. Well done, Lady Peri!" His cup of wine lifts high to salute Peri.

"Mm, we've also got a good smith working with us - Aonghus is his name. I know particularly when there's a whisper of war, they all get busy." Orrin offers that, on the topic of armor, then lapses into silence, eating. He smiles down the table at Peri when she discusses their efforts in the Saffron Chain.

Focused on Peri as she answers, Samantha nods her head sets aside her water in favor of addressing the present information. "Always good to know that we have those working towards the free choice of others, well done," she compliments Peri for vastly different reasons thatn Michael. "Mmm I have always found an interest in the learning of other languages. Perhaps in time you might teach me as it seems to be becoming a rather important skill to have with the latest occurences. I would enjoy a full account of that from your view point, Lady Peri. When you have the time."

"I wouldn't mind tagging along on an adventure sometime soon," Orelia continues. "I need something new to write a song about."

Kalani seems to mull over how to answer that question, sharing a slow nod with Peri at the importance of learning key words, before she'll answer with: "I've been liaising with Yasmine Champagne who has some brilliant ideas regarding crop yields, more specifically developing hardier strains of what our farmers are already producing. It opens the dialog for agricultural diversity and respect for the land itself."

Jessa quips, "My go-to-dinner-with-the-family armor was outfitted for a horse. The children insisted on having a war steed for their adventurous rides. And my wake-my-brother-and-cousin armor will be used in the morning to greet them. Happily." The sound of Grady turns her tough smile to soft mutton. She fondly looks his way at the mention of Old Oak. "Seeing family again heartened ourselves and the children got to see where we grew up playing. Count Orrin, did your time in Pearlspire do the same? I heard of your cliffs and divers for pearls. I imagine Emily would jump at the chance to dive off them."

Kalani's answer is equally as interesting and Samantha's attention flows from one to the other. "Always a topic and venture to be commended. I believe that Deepwood may have need of such a thing given how Grayreeve has only just begun recovering. If the mistress would be interested in meeting with me, we might have the room available to look at putting some of her ideas into motion on Deepwood lands. We would benefit and I would be glad to consider helping fund the endeavor." The Marquessa offers a nod of her head in the direction of the lady before she listens to the talk of jumping off cliffs.

Jessa gifts some bait for Michael. "Do Pridehall calfs wear armor?"

Orrin glances up at Jessa, smiles. "This last time we got up to Pearlspire was to settle a lot of those refugees from the Isle al'Aswaq. Who - the many of them - thought we were quite mad for climbing so high and diving so deep." He grins crookedly, glances at his food. "But they won't doubt our house words anymore. Time before that was to launch the Tiga. I haven't had a bad visit in -" a pause, head tipping, thoughtful, until he can't manage it anymore: he smiles, shakes his head. "I've not had a bad visit home, my lady." Then: "Not in - a very long time."

"In a sense, Lady Jessa." Michael falls for an oblivious sort of manner. "Their fur is long and thick, and when they are young it curls to keep brambles from digging deep. And when they get older, it grows to a shag length. Good for keeping bugs and such off of them. As well as any predators."

"I'd be happy to reach out to her, my lady," Kalani replies with a smile and a measured nod to Samantha, "and see about arranging a time for such a meeting."

"I look forward to it, Lady Kalani. It sounds like a very interesting project you both are working on." Samantha leans forward to place a few more items on her plate, allowing conversation to lapse into something more relaxed.

And so the happy group whiled away a good deal of the evening, eating, drinking, being merry, and speaking of small animals with soft fur. And diving. And home. And... well. And definitely not discussing any thoughts of King Alaric the Third and what his return might mean for the Compact at large. Definitely not.

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