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Tournament of Thorns II

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"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred
battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the
enemy without fighting is the acme of skill."

Fights aren't always won with swords, and may in fact
not require any kind of physical combat at all.
Outsmarting your opponent can be just as effective.
We invite you to test your wits against one another
in fantastical feats of skill and awareness, to earn
the title of the Champion of Thorns.

In memory of Josephine Arcuri, who exemplified what it
means to fight without a blade.

Grand Prize:
A boon, offered by the Twilight Court. However, as this
is a test of wit and social skill, there is a stipulation.
If the boon requested is not amusing, you will instead be
granted a folly.

Second Place:
A custom-made steelsilk cloak, for the very fashionable-
yet-adventurous courtier.

Third Place:
An incredible pyreweave cloak, to keep your books from
catching fire.


Tournament of Thorns Committee

Anisha Whisper Princess Alarissa Thrax
Lord Dante DiFidante Archlector Etienne
Princess Sabella Grayson Lord Sebastian Pravus
Swift Grayhope Lady Monique Greenmarch

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March 21, 2020, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Monique Alarissa Anisha Dante Etienne Sabella Sebastian Swift


Waldemai Niklas Eirene Nina Juliana Appolonia Jaenelle Amari Ansel Lucrezia Quenia Lucita Bedivere Isabeau Malesh Dagon Brigida




Arx - Ward of the Crown - Whisper House - Elysian Ballroom

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Anisha has left the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

Anisha has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

Ansel has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

The Whisper House's Elysian ballroom has been decorated in metal this evening. There are shades of bronze and brass, neodymium and silver, praseodymium and copper, and gold and steel everywhere. The large tables set up in a square around the outside of the opulent ballroom represent each of these metals, and in the center of each table is etched a few lines of a poem. Around the tables, servants circulate with alcohol and food, and with small scraps of paper for the poem game to be held after the Tournament, while music plays softly in the background.

In the middle of the room a space has been cleared and it is dominated by a single ornate throne. That is where one might find Lady Monique Greenmarch, who wears tonight the mantle of the Queen of Aildorich, a resplendent bronze affair, greeting party-goers with a barely-reserved dignity that breaks into beatific, excited smiles every now and again. It can't be helped The Minx of the Marches sparkles in the jewels and handiwork of Josephine Arcuri this evening.

Anisha is in residence already, having taken a seat at the Neodymium table, as befits her Thorn. Her chair is turned to the side, the better to give a proper display of the sinful decadence of her dress, as well as the gleam of her slippers and the glint in the ring so proudly displayed on her hand. She watches the people keenly as they join in and gives a beatific smile to the evening's Monarch, Monique, settled upon her throne.

Waldemai takes a seat way up in the balcony, where the hoi polloi can't interrupt his drinking.

Despite his abysmal performance during the Path of the Puppetmaster, Prince Niklas Grayson still shows up with his wife, Princess Sabella, on his arm. Rather than hide away he's here with a smile on his face, decked from head to toe in the latest fashion out of the Crownlands, an ironwool outfit that shines like the stars in the countryside with a coronet to match. He gestures to his wife, leading her toward the silver table, as befits her thorn.

Eirene's not dressed for anything other than her everyday occasion. Umbra longcoat. Steelsilk bodice. Black and red leather of exotic war-like styling... Her braids of black and white hair are fancier though, which is -something- for her. The lanky woman raises her hand to Waldamai and goes to join him; high above the crowd and away from the glittering finalists and hostessess.

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

Eirene has joined the Balcony.

Though a commoner, Nina Autumndale has performed quite well in the tournament, showing a variety of skills befitting a well-trained courtier. When she arrives in the ballroom... it is perhaps immediately clear that not only did she come to play: she came to win. She is wearing an expensive, gold and green brocade gown of custom make, one that would be just as comfortably worn by a noblewoman in court, and delicate, velvet shoes. Her hair is long and flowing at her back, pinned in place with one delicate crown braid. The one out of place item is that she still has her simple instrument case with her, but she certainly has her head head high as she walks into the ball, and boldly approaches the throne.

Alarissa's not sitting, the Princess Consort of Thrax is moving around. Stiffly, but moving. Two black eyes and a broken nose, she wears what has been gifted to her as clothing with pride. Seemingly bare feet and all. She reaches out, touching a fork here and there, making sure they're as they should be, straight and proper on the table, nothing out of place. Not at all.

Seated at the Copper table, Swift is also resplendent in her metal of choice! The daring drape of the gown, the gleam of heeled sandals, the shine on the ring that she displays proudly. She even managed to get her hands on one of Evaristo's knotwork collars to pair with the outfit! Living up the luxury for the evening, a smile takes up permanent residence on her lips, showing off the most unusual piece of jewelry yet! Star iron has been fashioned into an upper incisor and canine and fitted into her mouth, both teeth sharp and flashing with winks of amethyst chips.

Juliana is running late and it's all Sebastian's fault.. which really isn't surprising is it? Not that she looks like she is, the Igniseri strides into the ballroom with an air of one that knows nothing is going to start without her. glancing around at the room and not spotting her brother, there is a slight snort before she moves toward the line of contestants.

Juliana has joined the line.

Niklas has joined the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Sabella has joined the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense have been dismissed.

Roland, the worst bard in Arvum have been dismissed.

Sebastian is not late. Or not late for the start of the contest, at any rate -- he may have been late for the setup by the committee -- his assistant Briar instead helpfully stepping in to provide an extra pair of hands. He's dressed in a mix of seasilk and umbra that's mostly steel colors with highlights of blue: perhaps no surprise, given they're the colors of House Pravus. He's secured himself a glass of something darkly red, but he hasn't settled yet -- instead leaning a forearm against the throne as he bends to whisper something to the Queen of Aildorich. When he straightens, his gaze sweeps across the contestants lined up, smiling brilliantly.

Appolonia comes in, her pins on display and a pair of glittering apple ruby earrings making her identity clear. She is wearing that verdigris gown that she's been getting a lot of mileage out of, but has been combed, scrubbed, and even powdered for the occasion. She air-kisses momentarily towards Nina as she comes in -

And she even has to turn back into the line, having naturally been inclined towards the side, where drinks might be! "Well, here we are," Appolonia murmurs to Nina. "In a sense we've already won, haven't we?" Her eyes then turn momentarily towars Alarissa and Swift, lips pursing in thought.

Jaenelle comes into the Whisper house and makes her way towards where those who have gathered to participate have congregated. Perhaps caught off guard by Alarissa's appearance, as she moves by Jae arches an eyebrow and makes a finger wiggling motion to silently ask what the hell without actually speaking. After, she moves towards Sabella, lowering her head to whisper something into her ear.

Niklas takes a small piece of paper out of his pocket, scratches something on it and passes it to his assistant Isabelle to carry across the room.

Amari arrives looking very subdued with a stiffer than usual gait, as if she's filled her aeterna slippers with glass. Given she's not leaving bloody footprints behind her, that must not be the case but behind her mild smile is the hint of a wince. With her, a cheeky little white goat that matches her mistress stark ensemble and of course, her big stinky bog dog. The latter held by a sturdy leather leash, the former a length of silk ribbon that's more a fashion statement than anything that might actually restrain her.

Alarissa catches the look from Jaenelle and a hand comes up as if to indicate 'later' and moves off to see to some other things before things really start moving.

Sabella beams at everyone as they come in, leaning into Niklas to murmur something cheerfully, then waving to Monique and gesturing to her dress with a brilliant smile. She pauses before she sits when Jaenelle approaches and whatever the other woman says has her grasping for Jaenelle's hands happily, "That's the best response I could ever have imagined would have happened! I'm so happy for you to be able to put that worry away."

Having also taken a seat at the Copper Table, Ansel has apparently dressed up for this event. Dark crimson trousers are offset by the sheer white of his tunic in a representation of the Telmar colors. The cloak that he wears has been drapped over one of his shoulders and he's sitting somewhat sideways in his seat, blue eyes taking in the others that have already arrived. There's no denying the smile on his lips and when his gaze comes to settle upon Monique, there's an incline of his head towards her, one that's held a moment before he finally lifts it.

Nina looks at Appolonia with a little nod, and a smile... just a slightly bit of nervousness breaking through her cooler exterior as she's addressed. She's trying to keep her eyes front, but she IS so impressed by all the spectacle here. "It's a honor just to be a finalist."

Lucrezia saunters into the room as if it were a bar, her feral stride full of graceful confidence. Proudly wearing her Captain of the Wanton coat, pants and boots she does not have the appearance of a serious competitor for the throne, but she still takes her place where they have gathered. There is a high flush in her face as if she is florid with drink or anger as it definitely cannot possibly be make-up. Ut oh!

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle arrives, following Quenia.

Monique's eyes drift over all those gathered, trying to remain regal. There's a wave to Sabella in return, a split second sucking in of breath at the beauty of the gown on the Princess. Then she's spying the other Committee members and her smile blossoms fully. She leans in to murmur something back to Sebastian, trying to summon back the Royal bearing and failing utterly as she surveys the contestants.

Quenia is a tad late, she knows, and looks like she's chastised herself for being late. But she gracefully hurries along, making sure not to look like she's hurrying along at the same time. She flushes a bit and then asks, "So, where am I supposed to go?"

Malesh has joined the line.

Having regarded the contestants and conferred with the 'queen', Sebastian's now descending from beside the throne, carrying his glass of red with him as he circles back towards the steel table, pausing there for a moment to chat to those that have gathered. He doesn't stay though, instead heading for the neodymium table to join the Whisper Anisha, oblivious to, or uncaring of the fact that he's outfitted for a different colored thorn.

Sebastian has left the Tournament of Thorns - a steel table.

Sebastian has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

Quenia has joined the line.

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

Micana, 1 Saik Guard arrive, following Lucita.

Niklas has joined the line.

Lucita quietly slips into the ballroom and glances around then simply climbs up to the balcony, such a good view from up there to people watch and see the contests.

Lucita has joined the Balcony.

Monique settles her gaze on the finalists after conferring with an assistant. "It seems as though we are missing a finalist this evening. The Path competitor here to take their place is Prince Niklas Grayson! Won't you join the competitors, Your Highness? And then we'll begin."

Sabella has left the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Niklas looks at first confused by Monique's request, then surprised and then, well, he hops up and hurries over to join the line. Not so fast as to look desperate, but definitely quickly enough that his ironwool might burst into flames.

"Nine exceptional claimants compete for the Throne of Aildorich, and each will have a chance to take the Crown. Step before me now, introduce yourself and your suit." Monique, as the Queen, gestures to the nine incredible finalists in the Tournament of Thorns, inviting them before her to present their case.

Turn in line: Nina

Although Sebastian is talking quietly with Anisha, his gaze continues to shift, mostly between the contestants, although now and then taking in the audience. He tracks Lucita's path across the room towards the balcony, a lift of his glass given her in silent salute should she happen to glance his way.

Nina checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 48 higher.

Anisha engages in conversation with Sebastian, idly twirling the stem of her wine-glass between her fingers. A smile on her lips as she takes in first the competitors, then the audience - and then surprise contestant Prince Niklas Grayson, who earns an incline of her head, and a raise of her glass as he hurries to the back of the line.

Nina seemed quite eager to begin this challenge.

Approaching the Queen for her introduction, she first looks Monique in the eyes, and smiles at her, directly. She understands the situation as one where both must play a part, and wonders how Monique will hold out under what is sure to be a great deal of social stunting. Then again, Monique has done this before, and Nina is quite new.

Gathering her courage again, Nina then reaches into the case she always carries at her side, and produces... her simple lute, one small object that seems to be a mismatch to her otherwise entirely regal demeanor.

But she has got to be crazy. Is she really going to pull out the music so fast, so soon? Perhaps it is best to make a strong first impression.

Nina strums a few notes on the instrument, creating pleasing chords.

Then, she sings a small tune:

"I have a feeling that life is beginning,"
"With stories to tell and to share,"
"I want to seek all the world and its wonders,"
"And run with the wind in my hair..."

"Making it this far is surely a dream,"
"And now with my lute I'll sing for the queeeeennn..."

Nina then does a little tight circle, her skirts and hair all flowing around, and sticks the landing with a deep bow.

"I'm Nina--"
"Your majesty--"
"A humble young girl from the Autumndale family--"
"Here to petition you, hopefully,"
"And as you may expect, with all humility..."

She nods her eyes again, and then lowers the instrument. Clearly this was her opening gambit. "A pleasure."

Something fixed, Alarissa's easing back into the group, coming to a stand near Anisha and Sebastian, a faint smile on her face - antyhing more, hurts - and watches.

Eirene's drinking heavily, to the surprise of no-one. She motions to the floor below as she talks with Lucita and Waldemai. "Oh, here we go," she says aloud, gruff voice barely carrying over the crowds.

Waldemai cheers for the contestant.

Monique listens to Nina's suit and though she tries not to smile, tries to remain stately, it's impossible not to. She dips her chin to Nina. "We have heard your claim, Mistress Autumndale." And subsides. But the crowd? They cheer!

Turn in line: Appolonia

Lucita does indeed catch the glass lifted to her from her vantage point. In return she lifts her own once she manages to get one from a passing server and smiles charmingly. "Ohh, singing...!" She grins and lets her voice trail off. "Nicely done."

As Nina begins, Ansel is turning a little in his seat, letting his attention drift over towards her so that he can simply listen. There's a little grin on his lips for the tune and a somewhat approving nod of his head for the manner in which it's offered.

Appolonia checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 44 higher.

Alarissa has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

Sebastian still as Nina sings, watching her fixedly and with interest. He's apparently pleased enough with her showing that he sets his glass down to clap for the bard, nodding towards Alarissa as she joins them -- and pausing with a lift of brows. He murmurs something quietly at the table.

Nina has joined the line.

Appolonia watches over Nina from a pace behind her, pausing to glance at Niklas as he -- itches?

But then back ahead. Nina begins to play. The song is sweet, and Appolonia smiles, but it is less intense than her usual high sea-beam of a radiant smile. As she approaches, she places a hand to her collarbone with a jingle of jewelry.

"Your majesty, I am Appolonia of Seraceni, a house on your seaward marches. I bring to you the tidings of the far shores and the borderlands and I hope that our polish and our salt will bring savor to your court. For every place where the compact rests is as much your own to visit, as would be the garden of your very own home."

And with this she sinks down with a deep ripple of copper-green, rising up afterwards. NOW comes the beaming smile, even as she awaits the royal recognition.

There's a flurry of strange rumors about how a small group of people apparently foiled some sort of attack meant for the city of Granato. Details are sparse to non-existent, and most of those who hear it dismiss it as laughably exaggerated, particularly when they learn that many of those involved aren't even known for any kind of combat prowess. Even so, it's clear something happened out there, and Sir Corban Telmar, Dame Imi Deadfall, Lady Brianna Halfshav, Sir Austen Ferron, Princess Sorrel Thrax, Lady Eirene Malvici, Marquessa Mia Riven, Marquis Thesarin Riven, Princess Gwenna Redrain, and Duchess Delilah Shepherd are all credited with being a part of it in some way. It's likely the sheer weight of these names is what's driving all the talk.

The crowd is wild for this charm, this radiance, and it's obvious to see in their continued cheers, now for Appolonia. The 'Queen' weighs her solemnly, and then nods, just the once. "Be welcome, Appolonia. You are a contender, that much is certain."

Turn in line: Jaenelle

Jaenelle checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 80 higher. Jaenelle rolled a critical!

Appolonia has joined the line.

Eirene may have a reason for drinking heavily, according to the 'buzz' about the city trickling in.

"Strangers are only those people you have not had the pleasure of meeting yet," Jaenelle says as she approaches the throne once she is to introduce herself. "I am Archduchess Regent Jaenelle Velenosa. Archduchess Regent of Lenosia, Grand Duchess Regent of the Lyceum, Lord Sistermander of the King's Own, High Commander of the Mirrorguard. Voted most likely to not stab someone twice in a row and less likely to step on toes during dances. Once told by High Lord Victus that I was by far the luckiest among my family, High Lord Edain has said I was to diplomacy and courtly etiquette to what my sister is to the sword and knightly virtue."

A smile appears after, some shared secret between the 'Queen' and she, "you know what it is like to have the duty of leadership, and you know not all are capable of such. It would certainly be understandable if you sought to give the crown to someone who wears one already."

Nina turns and politely claps, if quietly, for Appolonia's bid as the other woman files back in line behind her.

It's the title that do it. This crowd? They love titles. And Jaenelle's are absolutely impressive to them, with chuckles for her charm in announcing them. Monique's eyes gleam as she works to suppress her laughter. "Mmm. Very impressive indeed, Archduchess Regent, and a worthy replacement. You are heard, and welcome."

Turn in line: Lucrezia

Jaenelle has joined the line.

Lucrezia checked charm + etiquette at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.

Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Isabeau.

When it is her turn, Lucrezia slinks gracefully from her place in line to stand boldly in front of Monique. As her clothes are not suited to carrying out a curtsy, so she bows with respect, but not *too* much respect. "I am Princess Lucrezia Pravus, wife of a hero of the lands, the Duke Hotness. I am Admiral of the Black Fleet and Captain of the Wanton. You have heard of me." But, it is debatable whether what was heard was liked! "I have not been your Champion yet and I would be so." She took what she wanted, so why not?

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, delivering a message to Quenia before departing.

Jaenelle dips into a majestic curtsy before Monique and takes a graceful step back to allow the next to slide forward.

2 Whitehawk Guards, Cabbit, a nub-tailed tabby cat arrive, following Bedivere.

With Cabbit riding on his right shoulder, Lord Bedivere Whitehawk sweeps in, waving to those he knows with his left/only hand since the right one is gone.

Isabeau gets Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

"There is always room for more Champions in this Kingdom," Monique tells Lucrezia gravely, nodding her chin, accepting the Pravus, the crowd subsiding some so they might hear her more serious words. And so they might fully appreciate Duke Hotness, too.

Eirene has a courier whispering something in her ear. She stands and nods bruskly to Lucretia and Waldemai. "Speaking of.. debrefing. Excuse me."

Turn in line: Amari

Bedivere gets Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

Eirene has left the Balcony.

Lucrezia nods and turns to her place in line.

Lucrezia has joined the line.

Amari checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.

There's a short burst of laughter from Sebastian at the neodymium table, but it appears to be in response to some exchange there rather than any of the presentations of the candidates, given he's not looking that way.

Quenia is watching everyone, waiting patiently in line, and probably working out what she intends to do and is going to say when she receives a message. The message seems to give her pause, and then of a sudden she looks very, very concerned. She steps out of the line then and approaches Monique. "My pardons, Lady Monique, it seems I am needed else where, right now, rather urgently."

Amari has joined the line.

Lucita looks toward Quenia and says softly. "You need me to come with you, Cousin?"

Amari says, "Your Highness, my name is Lady Amari and to be quite honest, I'm regretting this immensely." Amari begins as she's stepping forward out of the lineup, and when she squares herself, she offers a precise curtsey that she performs wonderfully, save for how tight and pained her expression grows. "However, despite feeling as though I've been stabbed in the heart repeatedly, then thrown down a flight of steps to be trampled at the bottom by a draft horse named Stomper, it was injury I'd suffer again without complaint for it was taken for a greater good and not for any selfish goal of my own. I think that I'm still standing and speaking to you, speaks to my fortitude and commitment at the very least. You can judge these things for yourself. You're a queen.""

"Your Highness, my name is Lady Amari and to be quite honest, I'm regretting this immensely." Amari begins as she's stepping forward out of the lineup, and when she squares herself, she offers a precise curtsey that she performs wonderfully, save for how tight and pained her expression grows. "However, despite feeling as though I've been stabbed in the heart repeatedly, then thrown down a flight of steps to be trampled at the bottom by a draft horse named Stomper, it was injury I'd suffer again without complaint for it was taken for a greater good and not for any selfish goal of my own. I think that I'm still standing and speaking to you, speaks to my fortitude and commitment at the very least. You can judge these things for yourself. You're a queen."

One would think that this event might be the last place one would expect to see Duchess Isabeau Telmar in attendance, but she arrives (albeit late) all the same. Admittedly, the former princess lingers somewhat on the outskirts of the grand ballroom, cobalt blue gaze fixed almost unblinking on the goings on.

Quenia glances over at Lucita and nods once, "Please." She stands taller, as though trying to fortify herself, and then starts to make her way to the exit.

Lucita has left the Balcony.

Monique stares at Quenia for a moment, and then nods. Simply that, and no more, before turning to listen to Amari's rhetoric. "It is a wise woman who knows her limits, and seeks to push them. Welcome, Lady Amari. I wish you luck here this evening."

Turn in line: Juliana

"Quenia?" Juliana looks as the Marquesa and Lucita start to go, waiting to see if she needs to follow"

Lucita nods a goodbye to Waldemai and heads over toward Quenia,linking arms with her and following her along.

Quenia glances over at Juliana, then shakes her head, adding, "I'll be back if I can and we can talk after you are done here." She gives her a smile, then leaves.

Micana, 1 Saik Guard leave, following Lucita.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Lucita leave, following Quenia.

Juliana checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 35 higher.

Juliana steps forward, her smile warm and radiant, the bronze stamped silk shimmering in the light. "Good evening." the Lady nows with grace then slowly glances around. "Of course you know me.. so the silliness that you don't we can dispense with, shall we? I am half of the Pravus Twins." At which point her gaze slides towards Sebastian, brows arching slowly. "And lets be honest.. everyone knows of the Pravus Twins and how what we want, we get. And how in getting one, you get two." with that Juliana wanders close to Sebastian's table to pick up his glass of wine and wander back with it as she takes a drink. "Besides your Majesty have you ever heard anyone tell us we can't have what we ask for?" brows arch a little then toasts before she turns back to head towards the line.

"Only the once," Monique replies to Juliana, lips quirking wryly, "but your conviction is strong and there's a good deal to be said for that." The crowd enjoys it too, cheering on both Juliana, and by extension, Sebastian, it would seem.

Turn in line: Malesh

Malesh checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher.

Malesh is again dressed in his fancy shiny parade armor that likely would do little on an actual battlefield, with his fancy eyepatch as possible proof of that. “Oh queen most glorious, most wise and most humorous, best eyes, and least tumorous…” Thus endeth Marquis Malesh's career (thankfully) short career as a poet. “I present myself as a your potential, knowing full well that you need not a partner to attempt to lead your great kingdom, but one who will persevere and support you as you carry on doing so with the skill and well-earned popularity that you have secured for yourself. One who shall be a wise student of your teachings, that your legacy may live on when your time comes.”
”I will not bore you with the long list of my accomplishments, as one so wise and well informed as yourself needs not be told the same tale twice, but to put it in succinct terms, I know that where the commoner may see a one-eye Marquis, you my enlightened queen, see a leader who does not give up, and who does not repeat mistakes, it they are made at all. Note that I last only the one eye, a mistake not repeated, and retain all of my fingers, toes, and other uh… appendages. Proof of mistakes not made.” He gets a little cheeky at the end but… it is all for fun yes?

Sebastian makes a brief noise of protest, but it's a token one indeed, as Juliana claims his glass, looking rather wry.

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

Isabeau has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

That gets a laugh from the room, and from Monique, too. "Welcome, Marquis Malesh, your compliments stand you in good stead here. I think it is well known I am a vain Queen." Her lips twitch, and she nods to him, accepting.

Turn in line: Niklas

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 51 higher.

"I am Prince Niklas Grayson," says Prince Niklas Grayson, "and I would offer a list of my titles and achievements, but I'm not one to tell people things they already know. You've read my works, seen my plays, heard me speak and been overcome by my song. Honestly, I was delighted to accept your invitation this evening, and I would be truly honored to do for the beautiful kingdom of Alidorich what I have already done for the Crownlands of Arvum." He touches a hand to his chest and offers a half bow. "And yes, your majesty, I would be only too happy to give you an autograph when this is over."

The 'Queen' listens carefully to Niklas, playing the part of abdicating Monarch to the hilt. Concern and curiosity etch her face in turns. "I'll take that autograph, but only if you win." And now that the last Crowned contestant has spoken, Monique invites of them all, "Tell me your plans for our Kingdom."

Malesh checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 38 higher.

Juliana checked intellect + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Amari checked intellect + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 11 higher.

Lucrezia checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher. Lucrezia rolled a critical!

Jaenelle checked intellect + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 22 higher.

Appolonia checked intellect + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 5 lower.

Nina checked intellect + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.

Niklas checked intellect + diplomacy at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.

Turn in line: Nina

Appolonia checked intellect + manipulation at difficulty 30, rolling 38 higher.

It's Nina's turn again. She is forgoing the lute now, speaking plainly and clearly. "My plans for the kingdom are as follows: to establish academies for proper tuteleage of children, to invest heavily of course in the arts and in literature so as to properly elevate the population... and, this is hopefully not so controversial, but to treat commoners well and allow them to flourish, as arts, crafts, wisdom and of course music can come from any level of society and any walk of life."

"I would where-ever it is possible make an end to war, though slavery is also a great evil and should be abolished. These are my plans for the kingdom so far." Intellect and planning may not be her strongest suit compared to other things, but she made a reasonable-enough case and didn't entirely fail it. She curtseys.

Turn in line: Appolonia

Appolonia glances over her shoulder to look at Jaenelle momentarily, expressionless for a moment; then at the possible departure of the group; but there is something else to bring to the attention of the world. Her hands wring together lightly.

"I would bring the light of learning, the flame imperishable that is the one thing we can pass on through its delicate channel of word and letter, undimmed and unbowed, into the future," Appolonia says.

"I would bring a port to every river and stout sailors to ferry and portage, bringing wealth undreamt of to every corner of our land, as the breath of a man will invigorate his fading limbs."

"And," Appolonia says, "I would make two canals which would make our compact a single being, as it could never have been before." And then she remembers to smile, a little bit. "Twould be a mighty undertaking, of course, but the fruits would last forever and beyond."

Turn in line: Jaenelle

"Each place is different, each area and the people who reside within the Kingdom are different and one must always take that into consideration" Jaenelle begins, not staying where she is but moving a bit closer to where Monique sits to give the words she says a more intimate feel. "Listening to your people is one of the most important things you must do to see them grown and thrive. Put them before your self and shift your pride for the betterment of the land and the duty you possess. The Kingdom will get just what it needs and then more to see that it continues to flourish just as it has beneath your watchful gaze." Once her plan of action is shared, she puts space between them once more and steps back, she looks towards Niklas, "I forgot another title, Crown's Minister of Infrastructure."

Turn in line: Lucrezia

Plans? Boy does she have *the* plan! Grinning like a shark, Lucrezia comes forth to state what she would do in the catastrophic event that she wins. "First, I would order the raising of naked statues. Everywhere!

"Second, I would increase the navy, to make it the most fearsome and strongest in the world.

"Thirdly, I would surround myself with advisors for all the rest of the stuff. Everyone knows I'm helpless at it and don't care two fingers for it. If they lie to me or do poorly at their job..." Somehow that shark-like grin of hers becomes even more cruel and hungry, madness glittering in her eyes. "I will kill them and replace them." Thus ends her nturally prioritized list! Perhaps first hints that having her as Queen would be a very, very bad idea!

Turn in line: Amari

The Keaton lady looks as though she's quickly losing interest in the game, and was quite serious about regretting it, at least on some level. There's an impatience informed by pain at the edges of Amari's poise and determined expression. Plans for the kingdom? She steps forward and states them without any fancy preface to warm the crowd to what she presents, her tone forthright. She has two main planks in her platform: "Turnips for all and coffers overflowing with silver." She takes a quick, sharp breath and adds, "Wars when appropriate and just, a quern in every home, a shrine in every village-" She looks up, nostrils flaring as she takes an instant to compose herself anew, but she's lost the big finish. She improvises. "Justice for all, and a fancy coat or cape for each pygmy goat, according to their needs. If only because a land without humor would be absolutely intolerable and boring, filled with the type of people who I'd rather not govern nor be governed by." There she's done. She's nodding. "Thank you."

Turn in line: Juliana

Juliana has finishes her winer or rather Sebastians. We have established they are one in the same, yes? And slides forward. pausing to set the glass back by his hand before moving forward with a slow walk and thoughtful expression. "They are all lovely plans aren't they?" she starts, nodding to the others. "How hard it must be to hear the plans of others and know you aren't going to choose them?" smiling softly. "My plans you ask? Well my plans are to see the kingdom thrive. To rise it to new heights. That is what I do after all. We all know that. We are Pravus and Velenose. Through life and love and sin.. we make things grow."

Turn in line: Malesh

Malesh again takes his turn at convincing the queen that he should be chosen, presenting himself again by tapping the blunt end of his spear upon the ground thrice. “Traditional leadership tells us exactly how to handle almost any situation, to smite thy enemies and praise thy allies. In a book, this is a sound plan, and yes even in the tales of history circumstances may seem to be so simple. You know as well as I do wise queen, that balance and flexibility remain the true best response to all circumstances. The queen sits in absolute rule, decisions made with the backing of soundly chosen advisors, so that all that remains is to implement those divinely inspired decisions. The spear represents that balance…” This may start to sound a bit familiar, “With long safe end by which we can help pull up those who need a helping hand to accomplish the queen’s desires, and a pointed end by which to encourage those who do not accept so readily.” He ceases but for a moment, turning away just a little before turning back. “And there would also be lots of puppies, because puppies are adorable and everyone loves puppies.”

Turn in line: Niklas

"We live in a cold and increasingly menacing world, your majesty. The spectre of war looms on the horizon, the a darkness black enough for a dozen shadows can be found in all corners of the land and there are times where it seems there is naught that we can do about it. But that is wrong. That is what the darkness wishes us to believe, but no. The single greatest gift we can give the world, any of us, high and low, young and old, is art. We are the beauty in the world and it should be the duty of each and every one of us to bring color and light, noise and music, to every rim of the great bowl of our world." Because nobles believe the world is a bowl shape. "So that is what I would bring. Song and poetry, color and shape." How would he do that? His seventy-four point plan remains a mystery for now. He glances Jaenelle and gives her a grin. "I was found unfit to be a crown minister." He taps the side of his head and gives her a wink. "Too smart."

says niklas

There are nods. There is approval. There is the occasional twitch of a ruby-lipped smile, even. "I have heard much here today that could prosper the Kingdom of Aildorich. Many who would raise this Kingdom to its finest pinnacle." Monique looks to several competitors, the crowds cheering them on. "But I do not want everything to change," she adds, sobering. "What lessons would you take from my long and peaceful reign? Do keep in mind my considerable vanity," Monique adds, and then subsides with a flash of a wicked grin, not quite sitting on the spectacular throne, but resting against it.

Juliana checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 40, rolling 60 higher. Juliana rolled a critical!

Lucrezia checked perception + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 4 lower.

Nina checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 40, rolling 2 lower.

Amari checked perception + empathy at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.

Jaenelle checked perception + propaganda at difficulty 40, rolling 18 higher.

Malesh checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 40, rolling 22 lower.

Appolonia checked perception + seduction at difficulty 40, rolling 19 lower.

Niklas checked perception + manipulation at difficulty 40, rolling 14 higher. Niklas rolled a critical!

"...Oh, I do also love puppies," says Nina, looking over her shoulder as she considers, in passing, Malesh's proposal, which she apparently at least found uniquely persuasive.

She sighs. "The truth is, everyone here is very lovely." She does not seem to have much of a mean bone in her body. But then again, this is a competition; it could be a work. "They have all made some excellent cases. If I were in your position, I would find this quite challenging. Though... In the end, of course, you must understand the choice is yours alone to make." She smiles. "You must be quite used to hearing many honeyed words by now, hearing many voices petition you for this, or for that."

"But I see in your eyes a font of great wisdom. Surely you will make the right choice for everyone. If there is a lesson I would learn from you, it's simply that grace and wisdom will make us all prosper."

It wasn't all that convincing it seems, but it could've been worse.

Turn in line: Nina

Turn in line: Appolonia

"I would take the truth," Appolonia says as she slides forwards and takes her turn, "that it is quite possible to provide an image that everything is going swimmingly - and as long as it is not too easy to prove otherwise, and as long as you keep your weather eye on disruptions, and don't get too sluggardly to mind them - you can do /whatever/ it is you'd like, in your free time."

Appolonia attempts another smile again. They seem harder for her lately. Or at least, less reflexive. After a moment she turns to get back into line, murmuring to Nina, "Well, you're making better cases than I, I fear. Powerful blows against us, isn't it."

Turn in line: Jaenelle

Jaenelle sighs softly as she speaks to the Queen. "I wish I could say that nothing would change, but we both know that is an impossibility. If we hold on too tightly to the image we have, we will break and everything would shatter into pieces that could never be put back together again. The secret is to be flexible enough that the change does not affect who we are or what our Kingdom stands for. You have been the strength for your people for so long, they rely on you to be guardian. The change is that someone else will take your place. The flexibility will be that they will always have a guardian. The peace you fought for will never change, for the stability relies on that and I will be their rock. Change is not always terrifying to live through, it makes one stronger and more resilient, but the wisdom that I will take from you passing on your crown, which is change, is that change should always be of one's making and decision and not to allow others to make us change."

Turn in line: Lucrezia

The word 'lessons' sets such a brooding frown upon Lurcrezia's face it seems she might be ready to stomp away in disgust to pillage herself back to contentment, but she stays, tapping an impatient foot while waiting her turn. Then it is and she speaks blunt and bold, perhaps more for the ears of the audience than those of the Queen. "I wouldn't take any lessons at all if you want nothing to change." Not even to win what she wants will she hold back her thoughts. "A ruler who wishes no change will doom their land to statis and decline. You desire your heir to fail? Even if you don't like my plans and are so terribly vain, you can't want that. If you are wise." Her eyebrows lift in a challenge that implies her new doubt in that wisdom.

Turn in line: Amari

"Your Highness," Amari begins, looking to Queen Monique and letting a silence expand as her keen hazel eyes regard the other woman carefully, "A long and peaceful reign suggests a great concern over your legacy, and your people above all, and further suggests an incredible intuition that informs you when and how best to do away with anyone that threatens the longevity or peace of your rule. Not that I'm entirely suggesting there's a great pile of skeletons behind the castle with daggers stuck in their ribs or eye sockets, but you have, by your wits, intellect, will and keen senses, avoided murder by flattery, deceit, outright violence and pride. Your rivals and brainless would be heirs, should any survive currently, must loathe you with great intensity." She exhales slowly after that, winces into a smile and steps back with a wave of her hand as if she's suggested she could go on in that vein, but she's finished. The Queen can imagine the rest.

Juliana pauses watching all the others before she slowly walks forward her eyes on the Queen as she stops in front of her and smiles, one of those smiles that can stop a soul from breathing. "What have I learned? With the power comes the stress. With the decisions comes the longing for simplicity. With the wisdom comes the knowledge one does not have to choose only one choice." her gaze flickering then to Sebastion then back with a smile. "But no worries your Majesty. We have shared before. though never someone so beautiful." then just turns and walks back to her place.

Turn in line: Juliana

Turn in line: Malesh

Malesh is at least an adequate enough leader of his lands in reality, as evidenced by the fact that he is neither strung up by the peasantry nor face down in his bed with a blade in his back. Does such success translate to a game such as this, a question only judges may decide. He seems to be having a bit of fun with it all at least, and he really leans into that now. “My mind thinks of little else, oh great queen, than of your queenly veins. With such a pedigree of vein, vanity is to be expected! The greatest veins that have ever guided one’s prestigious blood back to the heart. A marvelous kingdom reflects those great veins, as the people poor their love back upon the bosom of their queen in honor of her majestic veins. Neither too blue, nor to red, the balance struck in that regard is reflected in the balanced kingdom as well, neither too heavy of hand nor light of touch. I would honor the queen’s legacy of veins by having built for each person a station with a seat and a mirror, that they might look upon themselves, and perhaps style their hair as they reflect on the marvelous veins of their queen. Such a place will be named in the honor of those veins, forever to be known as the vanity.”

Turn in line: Niklas

Having spent two years as the patron of the Nightingale Gianna Whisper and four years as the husband of Princess Sabella Grayson and now going on a year as a minister for Princess Liara Grayson, Niklas has appealing to the vanity of very pretty ladies down pat. "Your majesty, the beauty of Alidorich is only exceeded by that of its monarch. Its rolling hills. Its sinuous rivers. Wide open valleys and perfectly sized mountains. Truly, it is a sight to behold and always worth exploring." He pauses, then adds, "Good mangos, too."

Sebastian's attention has been mostly on the conversation with his companions at the neodymium table, but he's watching closely now as the contestants to to determine what might satisfy the Minx of the Marches. Some earn more of a brief grimace than others, but Juliana's response earns a low laugh from her twin, glancing towards Monique, too, with an easy smile.

Mango's gets a laugh from Alarissa, very suddenly and then followed by a sharp sucking in of her breath and regret about laughing.

Nina seems to be whispering something to Appolonia about Niklas's approach. Appolonia whispers something back, and Nina then just cannot hide suddenly cracking up, though she tries to cover her mouth.

Monique watches Nina as she steps forward, presenting her case. It's certainly good for the 'Queen's' vanity, but the crowd doesn't seem entirely convinced, and Monique is distracted by their mood. "If everyone is lovely, then you have no greater claim, Nina. Not entirely convincing, though I do appreciate being thought a font of wisdom." Her lips quirk, and then she is turning to Appolonia.

The crowd? They are a fickle lot and their grumbles at the lack of obsequious flattering is telling. Monique simply offers, "Well, hopefully no one finds out the truth then, hm? You must try harder, Appolonia!" And is that a green-eyed wink? How un-Queenly! It just might be.

But it's hard to tell because then the Greenmarch focuses on Jaenelle, and this one wins cheers from the audience. It could be they're just remembering all her excellent titles. But it also could be that she boasts a well-thought amount of flattery, without being over the top. To the Archduchess-Regent, Monique offers, "Sage words. But I'm not entirely sure you're the right one to take my place. A history of losing vassals, no?"

The crowd's favor falls with Lucrezia's bold claims, and grumbles start in. Do Monique's lips twitch up? Surely not, for the words she utters are cutting. "Vain enough to realize that the peace we enjoy now may be broken with someone so callous in their regard for learning. Tch."

Thus dismissed, the 'Queen's' regard slides to Amari, whom the crowd quite enjoys. Murmurs of approval reach Monique's ears and she nods to them. "A rational approach, and one appreciated. Though the suggestion that I might have any skeletons behind my castle is one bordering on rebellion, wouldn't you say?" she challenges, turning next to listen to Juliana.

Juliana, who the crowd very visibly adores. Who Monique actually smiles at for a brief split second. And then she's struggling to hide it, to play the part of critical Monarch. "Mm. Yes, but are you so sure that I am willing to share, my lady and possible heir?"

Then it's Malesh's turn to be put on the spot before the monarch, and the crowd isn't entirely thrilled about being lumped in the same vain vein as their monarch. "You mock my vanity, Marquis? I'm not sure whether to order your head removed, or to fix my make up. Careful, now, or you may find vanity turn to rue. A spear can only save you from so much."

And finally, her emerald eyes fall upon Niklas, and the crowd cheers. Everyone loves an underdog story and everyone seems to love double entendre. Monique's lips twitch one more, though she struggles to fulfill her duty and think critically. "But is that all that you see, Prince Niklas? Can you see beyond? I'm not convinced. Not yet."

And she waits. Watching each contestant. Watching their reaction to her critical words.

Malesh checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 50, rolling 5 lower.

Nina checked composure + empathy at difficulty 50, rolling 3 higher.

Appolonia checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 50, rolling 5 lower.

Turn in line: Nina

Niklas checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 50, rolling 7 lower.

Jaenelle checked composure + performance at difficulty 50, rolling 11 higher.

Amari checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 50, rolling 16 lower.

Lucrezia checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 50, rolling 45 lower.

Juliana checked composure + performance at difficulty 50, rolling 8 higher.

Here Nina simply has to listen, and look attentive. She's quite good at that, actually. And she manages, it seems, to put on quite an impassive face as the Queen addresses her claim and critiques her words.

She's been critiqued before. She's a music student, and has had her works torn down and apart much worse than this. So she takes this with grace, and a flat expression, then puts a smile on her face. "I do suppose you are right, your majesty. As I did address your wisdom, I appreciate hearing more of it." A curtsey, and that is all.

Turn in line: Appolonia

Appolonia may be experiencing a tinge of flop sweat as she moves round. There are limits to what everyone can reach and though one must go where eagles dare, there is a reason why only eagles hang out there. Appolonia, not yet proven non-eagle, listens to the queen's critique, raises her hand to cover her lips, and giggles -

It's shrill and brittle, and she says, "Oh, yes - ha ha - yes, true - you can't be too brazen; brass is a very POWERFUL color, after all!" Oh by the gods, Appolonia thinks near-visibly afterwards, did I really just say that. She avoids actually saying 'wail! weep!' as she circles round behind Nina, at least.

Turn in line: Jaenelle

"No, your Majesty, not lost" Jaenelle says gently, head dipping towards the woman peacefully as her expression is motionless and soft. "Seeing them grow and prosper. Seeing them find their own place within the world. Much like a parent with a child, you expect them to find their feet, discover their voices, and do amazing things with what they have been given to work with and what opportunities they make for themselves. One does not lose when something they love wins. I am certain with all I am that you share these values as well."

Turn in line: Lucrezia

When the 'Queen' critizes her despise of learning, Lucrezia tosses her head back and laughs wildly. She is the reason why countless Pravus tudors have grey hairs, after all! When her laughter has died off to occasional giggles, she says, "*Peace* during a reign isn't necessarily because the ruler is a good one. Cowardice or just no one interested in bringing a fight, for instance. Or, bloody good advisors beneath them!" Safe to say she probably isn't gaining any favor here!

Turn in line: Amari

Amari presses her hands to her sides and closes her eyes, rather as if she's not listening at all but simply enduring the moment. Holding herself together through force of will and a little pressure alone, her breathing slows as she reaches a pleasant, serene state of not caring overly much. Her eyes pop open after a few moments of that, and she looks up to Monique to say, with a wan trace of a smile on her face, even if her tone is too crisp to be considered entirely polite, "It's a rebellion then? Do you mind if I sit for a little while first, Your Highness? I need to gather my strength for the struggles to come. I don't wish to join the skeleton pile behind the castle just yet as my goat and I have terrible plans for you and your kingdom. Perhaps if that prince up there that who shares you with his sister would be so kind as to lend a chair, I could better concentrate on complimenting your luscious mangos with the proper enthusiasm while planning the insurrection. You'd both have my gratitude."

Juliana's brows arch upwards as a slow smile, head tilting just a little as her blue eyes drift towards her twin then cut back. "Once you go Pravus.." wrinkling her nose with a smile and leaving it at that.

Turn in line: Juliana

Turn in line: Malesh

Malesh offers a deep bow, suggesting courteously as he can present, "Perhaps it is I who should fix my own makeup, my queen, so that it may at least be presentable on the pike of your choice if it pleases you.” There’s little more to say, though there is some scuttling back to his place.

Turn in line: Niklas

In a flash, Sebastian's standing, pushing his seat back, and then lifting it -- carrying it -- towards Amari. He sets it down just to her side, offers the Keaton a deliberate bow and a brief, wry smile, before he goes to claim a fresh glass of wine on the way back -- since Juliana stole his other.

Niklas might have an arrow in his quiver fitted for the wittiest response imaginable to her majesty's words, but then Lucrezia laughs like a mad woman and he is totally thrown off of whatever he was going to say. So he looks back to the Queen and says, "I mean, when what you see looks so good, do you really need to look further?" He looks over and calls out to his wife, "Love you!"

Amari dips her head politely to Sebastian, murmurs a heartfelt thanks and sits with all the grace she can muster, rather than collapse in the most undignified manner possible. She's got this, but maybe telling the queen she was planning a rebellion wasn't a well considered act. She'll surely remember that.

Monique ducks her crimson head to all the contenders, as if in mute apology of her criticism, and unable to continue that particular charade any longer. The smile that blossoms on her lips is beatific, and it moves down the line, settling on each of them. "You've done an exceptional job, all of you. It's no easy thing to present yourself before a crowd for judgement, to display your social skills to be assessed so openly. And each I would consider fit to rule this Kingdom with great wisdom and charm. My decision is most difficult." Monique pauses dramatically, resting her green eyes upon each candidate once more in turn. "Give me one final, powerful reason. Why should it be you Crowned Monarch of this land?"

Malesh checked wits + empathy at difficulty 60, rolling 24 lower.

Nina checked wits + seduction at difficulty 60, rolling 1 lower.

Juliana checked wits + diplomacy at difficulty 60, rolling 27 lower.

Amari checked wits + performance at difficulty 60, rolling 17 lower.

Lucrezia checked wits + seduction at difficulty 60, rolling 21 lower.

Jaenelle checked wits + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 32 lower.

Niklas checked wits + seduction at difficulty 60, rolling 2 lower.

Juliana checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 30, rolling 59 higher.

Appolonia checked wits + performance at difficulty 60, rolling 46 lower.

Appolonia checked wits + performance at difficulty 50, rolling 29 lower.

Amari checked wits + performance at difficulty 50, rolling 31 lower.

Malesh checked wits + empathy at difficulty 50, rolling 39 lower.

Nina checked wits + seduction at difficulty 50, rolling 13 higher.

Lucrezia checked wits + seduction at difficulty 50, rolling 89 higher. Lucrezia rolled a critical!

Jaenelle checked wits + leadership at difficulty 50, rolling 17 lower.

Juliana checked wits + diplomacy at difficulty 50, rolling 7 higher.

Niklas checked wits + seduction at difficulty 50, rolling 12 higher.

Turn in line: Nina

Nina reaches the front of the line again. Having been dressed down slightly, she seemed to weather it without losing her cool, and she's standing once again with her head held high. "You are right. I was too kind. That's no way to win a victory, so..."

Nina has to screw up her wits and do something daring and bold. It's her last, only chance.

She takes a few more steps forward, and then looks the Queen - that is to say, Monique - in the eyes.

Her eyes flicker a little.

And in that flicker there is the sense that she for a moment is taking her gloves off, and showing a little something she didn't show before, something less innocent and more worldly which Monique has simply seen a glimpse of. "My Queen. What the world needs. What the throne needs, is someone... with ambitions. And you may discover..." She bends over slightly, and takes one more step closer, her voice going lower. "You will find that in me." Her eyes go slightly dark, lower, and then look up, staring again. "More than I've shown. More than you know."

She turns slightly, and looks at Sebastian, making eye contact with him instead. She takes a step closer. "If that is not enough, then... by all means, listen to the pretenders. But you'll discover that the one with the ambitions... will rule, one way or another."

She bites her lip once. Then turns slowly, smoothly, on her heel.

Turn in line: Appolonia

Appolonia comes up.

The role she plays of the cheery lady is toyed with. It falls off of her. Niklas probably gets this. Appolonia's hands unclasp and slide down, loosely folded over the bottom of her ribcage, as she looks around. There is a silence. The smile from her face evaporates entirely.

"Because of what is out there," Appolonia says.

"Life has not been easy but it has had its charms, and there have been guards and gates, some of which we didn't really understand," Appolonia continues. "Some of those have ebbed like the tide ebbs, or like a person ages; some of them we have picked at; others have come to us in the course of parallel events; others are just changing, gradual and remorseless, and in the time and tide of life that change may birth monsters. We come from blood and other seeds; yet before us, do we not see something other than blood?"

Appolonia pauses.

"If we are lucky," Appolonia says, "we will prevail. If we are somewhat unlucky, our souls and our bodies will be clamped in immortal chains, as will our posterity. There is worse than that."

Another pause.

"I don't claim to know how to go," Appolonia concludes, her eyes turning round, "but I suppose at least I have seen the chart."

"That wasn't very charming, I suppose," Appolonia concludes. The smile comes back, and she adds, with a dip of the head, "Sorry."

Turn in line: Jaenelle

"Would you just like to get married, and co-rule? Ive been doing this single thing for awhile, and it can be exhausting" Jaenelle proposes. "That way all those things neither of us enjoy the other can do instead. Win-Win?"

Turn in line: Lucrezia

Sebastian pauses to regard Nina, with a brief, sincere smile as she regards him. There's a lift of his newly claimed glass of wine as if in silent toast to her, though when he does bring it to his lips, he drinks sparingly, if at all.

A perpetual mood weathercock, Lucrezia outright scowls as the 'Queen' apologizes mutely and declares all of them worthy. "You're more mad than I am." At first it might seem that that is her reason why the Queen should pass her throne to her, but she begins to pace back and forth in short, leashed strides which radiant her annoyance, but also exibit her undenable seductive grace. There is just something about her feral presence that commands the eye's attention. After a couple turns she speaks in short, quick sentences, "The length of my reign will surpass yours." It probably won't be peaceful, though! "I have superior connections.

"I am the best. And, I just want it." With that final sentence, she flashes a broad, hungry smile.

Turn in line: Amari

Sitting down seems to do some good for Amari, a little color returns to her cheeks and a trace of one of her normal smiles blooms anew. "Your Highness. I was planning a grand and entertaining monologue, but I don't think I can subject myself or others to that. I'll spare you all." So, options? She thinks for a moment, then improvises. She pantomimes pulling a very tiny invisible bow from her shoulder, nocking a tiny invisible bow from the equally invisible and tiny quiver at her hip, drawing and finally loosing the deadly projectile straight at Barf. He looks at her for about five seconds, then rolls onto his side like he's been murdered to death! It's horrible. Why would she even do that? Then Marigold promptly climbs up onto his ribs. He growls low at the indignity and starts to twist out from under her sharp hooves, only for her to leap nearly straight up and land on his head then kick off to run a frantic silly circle around Amari's chair, her little goat head whipping about, all the while bleating like a little maniac.

Amari closes her eyes, hugs her waist tightly and doesn't laugh. She's not laughing. She does, eventually, rise from the chair and retire from the competition with her last shred of remaining dignity. She opens her mouth as if she's going to excuse herself politely, but closes it and strolls away. The two animals follow; the goat cheeky, the giant bog dog sullen.

Turn in line: Juliana

Juliana blinks as Amari's situation pulls out out of her headspace that is the competiton just like that. Instead the Igniseri turns towards the Lady catching Amari's arm to keep her from moving to far. "I am sorry you Majesty but.. even in such beauty as your own. One must heed when duty calls. But then would you expect anything else?" already crossing towards the Lady Keaton. "Sebastian, send Bryne for my bag? I need Tyce and..." pauses to look into the crowd spoting Bedivere and pointing. "...Lord Grayson can you help? Lets move move the Lady somewhere where people aren't gawking?" there is an apologetic smile given towards Monique as she starts well ordering people around. "Bas? Where?"

Nina watches Amari. She looks... a little worried for her, her steel gaze breaking, but then she puts eyes front again.

Turn in line: Malesh

Malesh steps up a final time, and he leans in to the idea that he does not appear to be the best candidate at this time. “Oh wise and successful queen, you have before you a grand decision to make. Amongst us stand ready many eligible heirs, and yet the true issue at hand is not the heir to be, but your great legacy. You must consider what occurs if you choose the best candidate. The most clever of tongue and of mind, what then is your legacy? To choose the best candidate of the bunch? Any commoner assembled could do that my queen! Do you choose instead the worst candidate, to display for all your great leadership when you mold them into your heir and leave them ready and proud to replace you? That would be folly! The worst candidate may not have the raw material and girt to grow into a worthy replacement. No… the choice is clear, only the most mediocre candidate has the ability to be molded, while offering to even the casual observer the room to grow under your leadership that will make your legacy as infamous as your beauty and also your mercy when it comes to not beheading possible heirs. I humbly submit myself to you, great queen, as the most mediocre.”

Turn in line: Niklas

"Here," Sebastian murmurs as he discards his glass, walking towards Juliana and Amari, before cutting a path for them and whoever is helping through the crowd towards the bar at the back where there will be some modicum of privacy. He's glanced at his assistant, and she's off, at a fast walk through the crowd and likely a run once she's disappeared off through there.

"You do not need me to tell you the choice to make, your majesty. You surely must have come to the conclusion already. You know what you must do for the future of your kingdom and the way people will speak of your legacy for a thousand years." Niklas offers her a brief, half bow. "I am just honored to have been offered the chance to serve you, my queen." He then steps back and looks to the others, eyebrows raised.

Monique gets a dramatic sunrise cloak of pyran fireweave clasped with an onyx crown from Tournament of Thorns Supplies.

Monique gets a stunning steelsilk cloak clasped with a star iron crown from Tournament of Thorns Supplies.

Monique gets TWILIGHT COURT FAVOR-FOLLY from Tournament of Thorns Supplies.

Out of all the people to be chosen, Lady Jules picks the one-handed man, but he seems to be happy to join and assist with the briefest of smiles sent her way.

Alarissa smiles faintly from where she's still seated as people make their final pleadings/bribes and then rises, a murmur as she starts to circulate.

Alarissa has left the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

Lord Bedivere arrives near Lady Amari, offering her his left arm if she may be possibly keen on being helped. He lets her decide.

"Please, don't fuss." Amari tells Juliana as she finds herself the focus of her concern, but follows where she's led to all the same with Sebastian making the path to the bar. With an arm offered by Bedivere, she reaches out to rest a hand lightly on his forearm but she's fine. She's walking it off. "Oh, hello. This is no worse than the time..." She trails off, not seeming to be able to immediately remember a time, but then it comes to her, "...when Lord Bisland knocked me out of the saddle." Maybe she'll sit again though, if Juliana means to fuss regardless.

Monique listens to each and every speech as it is made, giving the competitor her full and undivided attention, as if they truly were going to rule a Kingdom after her. Appolonia and Nina elicit warm smiles. Jaenelle's proposition wins her a decidedly thoughtful look. Amari and Juliana prize a startled laugh from the Greenmarch with their antics. Lucrezia receives a nod of absolute agreement. Malesh and Niklas both fall under the intense scrutiny of the 'Queen' and come away with a bow of her crimson head in deep respect.

And then she stands back, and surveys them as a whole. "I have come to a decision and it was not easy. But three among you have shown fortitude, wit, and charm in your suit. For my third heir, in case something happens to the first two, I choose... Lady Juliana Pravus. And for my second heir, though do try not to kill my first... Archduchess-Regent Jaenelle Velenosa! And finally, the one to whom I give my crown, to whom I abdicate and leave in control..." There's a long and very dramatic pause. "... Princess Lucrezia Pravus!" The attendants with prizes are there on hand, doling out first pyreweave, then steelsilk, and then a deceptively simple voucher.

Juliana gives both Sebastian and Lord Grayson a fleeting smile as she turns her attetion to getting Amari to a place she can seat. Hearing her name called for one reason or another but not actually looking back instead helping the Keaton to a seat. "Well then it's absolutely silly for you to be standing here then isn't. You probably broke a rib." then they disappear behind the bar where Sebastion had directed them too.

Monique is overheard praising Whisper.

Nina puts her bright face back on, and applauds the winners. "Well, congratulations," she says, although it's clear she's a LITTLE sad she couldn't convince the judges. Her eyes wander over the voucher, but then she looks at Lucrezia, and immediately brightens.

Amari has joined the Semi-circular Bar.

"I have learnt, Lady Amari, it is futile to argue with my twin when she is in this mood. Just let it happen," Sebastian half-murmurs to Amari, albeit with a wry sort of smile. He acquires a chair from a nearby table, setting it up next to the bar for Amari to seat herself, leaning against the bar while he half-turns back towards the throne at the front. "Ju...les," he hisses, but other than that he doesn't try to pry her from her work: he knows better. It's Lucrezia's win that earns a drop of his jaw, and then a gleeful clapping from the Pravosi Prince. "To Her Majesty, the new Queen Lucrezia of Aildorich!" One definitely gets the sense he's enjoying this.

Sebastian has left the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

Sebastian has joined the Semi-circular Bar.

Juliana has joined the Semi-circular Bar.

Nina has joined the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Nina has left the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Sabella stands up and applauds for the winners, beaming at Niklas as she does so, "Amazing displays, everyone!"

To Amari, Bedivere nods. "If you do need anything, do let us know." Us must refer to not only himself but the cat Cabbit upon his right shoulder, too.

Waldemai applauds as well. "Huzzah! Huzzah!"

If she does a thing, she does not go halfway, but even Lucrezia is surprised to hear that she is chosen by the Queen. Stupefied, she accepts the voucher without even so much as a snarl at being called Princess. Shockingly enough, she has no qualms being called Queen, but she's a Queen of pirates, so she's probably used to that. The surprise doesn't last long for she bursts out in a very pleased smile at Monique. "Thank you! I will make you proud." And horrified in equal amounts!

Appolonia is silent as the winners are declared, blinking several times - but she says to Nina, even as Nina is drawn to the brightness of Lucrezia, "Well done," and then she claps her hands together and, with some effort, puts the beaming face back on. "Hurrah, Lucrezia!" she calls.

Niklas heads back over to his wife and extends a hand. "Ah well. I suppose there's always next year. And nothing stops me from just sending a note to Calithex asking directly. If one can intrigue a king one needn't necessarily have a boon."

Jaenelle looks quite pleased with her second place victory, turning towards those on the committee to bow towards them all. "Thank you for all you did to put this together. I am certain the first year left you almost never wishing to again and still you did for a second and it was masterfully done. All of your work has been noted and appreciated."

"Oh, you've won." Amari realizes, as Juliana's name is called and Sebastian hisses at her as well. "Go accept your prize. If it's a rib I'll just try not to laugh." Her applause is weak, but not sarcastic in the least. She remedies that by looking up to Bedivere and making a request, "Please, applaud extra hard for me, won't you? I'm doing a poor job of it."

After the prizes have been handed out, the new Queen crowned, Monique abdicates her place by the throne, stepping forth, echoing Jaenelle's sentiment, and then some. "My extreme gratitude to everyone for competing. This Tournament would not have been possible without your skill. And to the Committee who worked tirelessly to make this as successful as it was, you shone this evening, brighter than your metals. And finally, to Josephine Arcuri, who has inspired me in every way for this Tournament, know that this was an ode to her, and her sacrifice. Not all those who fight wield a sword. Thank you, all."

Waldemai has left the Balcony.

Juliana eyes Amari. "Sebastian is perfectly capable of accepting for me. He however is even a worse Physician than he is a patient. Now where's my..ahhh." turning to see her medical bag appearing with Sebastian's assistant behind Bedivere. "Very good.. now lets take a look, shall we?"

Being asked to applaud, there is an awkward moment there by Bedivere for Amari. Though, he decides to cheer the way he did for freedom versus the Empire at a scholarly event some time ago. He brings his left hand up in a fist to bang on his chest armor. Extra hard. He adds the nub of his right wrist to the banging on his chest action. "For you, Lady Amari!"

Of course, Cabbit and Bedivere move aside as a single unit to let those who wish to attend Amari to have room.

Sebastian gives a quiet laugh. "That... is true. But you shall have that pleasure when you're done, Jules," he assures. After he hands Amari a glass he moves back into his lean on the bar.

Niklas has left the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, 2 Grayson House Guards, Clark, an exasperated guard leave, following Sabella.

Sabella leaves, following Niklas.

Abandoning the throne, Monique begins to work her way around the room, paying a visit to each of the tables. But her feet take her first to the copper table, and some familiar faces.

Monique has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

Amari realizes her mistake, that Bedivere is short a hand which she hadn't apparently noticed, having been on his good side for the walk to the bar. She lowers her head and laughs softly, "I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to be funny or mean. Thank you for applauding on my behalf anyway." Then yes, she plays the good patient for Juliana, moving only to reach for the whiskey Sebastian pours for her. "And thank you."

Nina looks awkward for a moment, wondering if she should pack up and leave, but then she goes over to the bar. She probaly wants a drink, after all.

Nina has joined the Balcony.

Nina has left the Balcony.

Nina has joined the Semi-circular Bar.

Lord Bedivere simply smirks, "No worries, My Lady." He finds himself a place not far from the medical work but does not interfere, since he is no good at it.

Hearing Appolonia, Lucrezia smiles wide and sharp to her. "Thank you." She might not be the most popular Queen, but she'd be indelible. To Monique, she says, "Thank you, this was very fun! See, I didn't even embarrass my Cousin." She casts a smirking glance at Sebastian as if her 'good' behavior had been for his behalf.

Appolonia has joined the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Appolonia has left the Tournament of Thorns -a silver table.

Over by the bar, half-standing guard as he leans against the end of it, Sebastian returns his cousin's smirking glance with a wry look. "Messere Nina," he straighten as she approaches. "You held up well under Monique's criticism, as one would expect of a Setarcan courtier." He keeps his back to the work Juliana is doing with Amari, to give her the illusion of privacy, if not the reality of it.

"Thank you," Nina says. "I'm a little disappointed I didn't do a bit better at some of the challenges..." She tries to smile, but there's a bit of...

It's not disappointment exactly. She's ... mad. But trying to hide it, and is pretty good at that appatently. "But... being a leader seems pretty hard, and I guess I'm not much good at coming up with policies and that kind of thing. Still, I'm used to critique." She smiles a bit more softly. "You've been really nice to me."

Having been called over for some sort of business, Jaenelle manages to sooth the flames long enough that she can enjoy the after event event. Moving slowly throughout the room, pausing long enough to read the poem snippets, she glances towards Alarissa, "if I give you something will you tell me the answers?"

"Your steelsilk cloak." Alarissa quips back, just a little nasaly in tone. She comes to stand near Jaenelle, looking to the table that she's looking at. But clearly doesn't give Jaenelle the answers. Though mazene with her is gathering answers.

Dame Marra, a limping fennec fox, Disciple Ismay, 3 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Ailith.

"I suppose that depends on if there is steelsilk in the basket that the winner of this task gets to replace the steelsilk cloak that I would have to give for the answers" Jaenelle counters. "If I dont get my investment back on what I am willing to bribe you with, its hardly worth a bribe." She flashes her a grin after speaking, "I will simply have to do it all on my own."

Dame Marra, a limping fennec fox, Disciple Ismay, 3 Templar Knight guards leave, following Ailith.

Juliana smiles to Amari. "Sebastian has never disappointed me. Even when things don't go as planned." then pats her hand before the Igniseri Lady turns to Bedivere. "Lord Grayson, can I impose on you one more time and ask that you see that the Lady gets back to Keaton in one peice this evening?"

"Then you shall have to do it on your own." Alarissa offers a sympathetic look. "But I'm delighted in your placement in the game regardless." Whatever else she says, her voice drops down.

Sebastian, hooking an arm out for Nina, escorts the bard past a few of the tables. He pauses at each, but his destination is clear: he's looking for them to join Lucrezia, giving his cousin a brilliant smile when they get closer. "Your Majesty," he murmurs, amusement lighting his gaze as he does so, offering her a bow. "You know the bard, Messere Nina? My cousin, the lovely Queen Lucrezia. Well, really, she prefers Your Highness. And naked statues, it seems," is remarked with a half-laugh.

Nina looks at Lucrezia, and looks thrilled now to be face to face with her. "Oh, congratulations on your victory my Queen! I will admit I'm a little jealous but you are such a commanding presence! I'd ask what you want to wish for, but... I know you aren't supposed to tell your wishes, or they don't come true!" She puts a finger under her chin. She had a darker mood a second ago, when she didn't win, but she seems to be recovering, maybe with the help of wine. But she seems happy that Sebastian lead her.

Lucrezia grins widely at both Sebastian and Nina as they approach. "I do believe a perk of this job is getting to cut off the heads of those that don't please me?" Maybe this has all been a terrible mistake! Teasing, she says to Sebastian, "Actually I prefer to live thing to a statue, but I'll wait a few years into my reign before I start replacing statues with living art." She's *just mad, right? Laughing because she isn't *completely* serious. "I do get to ban the word Highness in all the land now. It'll be a wonderful day!" Did she *really* win just to do that? Possibly... She shakes her head that she has not met Nina yet. "I have not yet had the pleasure." She smiles again to Nina. "You made a respectable performance. Are you a professional singer? I know what I want to wish for, but it is serious. I will have to come up with something that is silly."

Amari finds her feet and though it's a bit gingerly, she doesn't seem about to collapse to the floor. She's small and stronk. "I should be just fine, if you'd rather linger, please." She tells Bedivere with a gesture to suggest he linger on at his leisure. She won't be offended. There's a small, but genuine smile for her physician as well, "Thank you again, Lady Juliana and congratulations. I think I'll go lie down now." Barf's leash is taken hold of, though he's rarely ever a step from her so it seems unnecessary. Marigold's ribbon, maybe. Before she's off with her animal friends accompanying, she lifts a hand to Alarissa in farewell.

Bedivere looks to Juliana and nods before looking back to Amari, "I can go for that walk there, if you would like. It is not that far from where I will be going to Whitehawk Manor, myself."

Sebastian squints a little at Lucrezia. "Sounds... about right," he concedes, with a wry laugh. "Well, they do they the first to go in a new reign are often the recalcitrant family members, so it's true to form, at least," he laughs, looking entirely unsurprised his cousin is planning to ban the word Highness. He glances at Nina, "She's Setarcan trained," he adds, with a generous smile. "Nina, if you want to see a leader in action... you should sail with Lu, some day. She's magnificent on the seas... and on land, it seems." The lift of his glass is a toast to her, sipping sparingly.

Arriving perhaps somewhat fashionably late, Duke Dagon Tyde manages to make it to this fun and entertaining event. Though he gives a bow after he enters to all present, he silently moves to one of the tables to witness the festivities, though it is highly likely that he may be stopped or outrightdistracted from his destination for greetings and socialization.

Juliana nods. "If the Marquessa has any questions on what I gave you, have her message me. Have a good evening Lady Keaton." handing her bag back to Sebastian's Byre and a smile to Bedivere, Jules steps out of behind the back to cross back towards the others. She of course will start with her cousin.. ohh well there is acouple of those, aren't there. "Lucrezia.. congradulations."

Juliana has left the Semi-circular Bar.

"Do they prefer silly wishes? I'll have to remember that," says Nina. She nods a few times. "Yes, that's my trade. Singing and songwriting, dance a bit too. Stringed instruments but I am still learning some of the necessary things to be a successful courtier among nobles." She nods. "Yes, Sebastian is right, I was trained in Setarco and I know many things, but I'm afraid I have NO knack for leadership! But you do know a bit about sea shanties, I'll bet! Those are some of my favorites. I'm happy to be aboard a ship!"

Amari has left the Semi-circular Bar.

Anisha is quiet, for the most part. And indeed, the converation at te Neodymium table seems to have died down as the contetanst draws the full and solid attention of the people there as well.

Isabeau has left the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

Amari waits for Bedivere to present an arm, holding her hand out for it, "Perfect. Time enough for you to tell me a funny story." She decides as if that's just what she expects from an escort. A steady arm and a funny anecdote. There's a nod to Juliana as well, a final look about and then she's ready. "Onward!"

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat, 2 Keaton Huntsmen, River, a happy Oakhaven bloodhound, Barf, the Bog Dog, Clerk Kant, a mild mannered assistant leave, following Amari.

"No wonder, I like her." Lucrezia nods to Sebastian's statement about Nina. "Continue to sing well and you'll live long and prosperous." As her cousin, Juliana, congratulates her, she grins widely. "Thank you and congratulations, too! Was fun competing with you both." She nods to include Nina. "Maybe not silly... 'amusing', so I suppose it could be serious but amusing. Or, I can court folly as always." She laughs as she would take either as they came and make them her own. "Do I know sea shanties? Are you kidding? Part of the fun is picking up new ones! My crew isn't one for making them up themselves, but I do make sure I collect new ones from them before they join."

Isabeau stands from her seat at the copper table, granting those still seated the slightest of curtsies before she is caught up by Ansel and the pair confer quietly together for a moment.

Maxene passes over the entries after looking at them, the lady in waiting having the answer, and two good hands. Of the entries though, she plucks up the one that's correct and passes it to Alarissa who turns and when someone adjacent clinks the glass to get attention, she waits for a dimming of noise and then loudly starts to recite the poem. "Eight thorns there are,
within the city,
each one of metal,
and very prickly.

To get each thorn,
you must endure,
a challenge or eight,
of that is sure.

But with each pass,
you gain just one,
a metallic ticket,
for unrivaled fun.

But if you fail,
to gain a piece,
no chance for you,
at a social feast.

A select few
will have a chance,
to share with Brigida,
a contested glance.

The Archlectors gaze,
ishard and strong,
you could her there,
all year long.

But if she breaks,
away her gaze,
a special gift,
is yours and praise.

The King or Queen,
of thorn you're called,
your social graces,
keep us enthralled." She looks to Ansel.

"Duke Telmar. You figured it out correctly. Silver, Gold, Praseodymium, Neodymium, Copper, Brass, Steel and Bronze. Congratulations. A bounty is yours."

"I can't picture you asking anything that's boring of /anyone/, Lu -- let alone of a Nox'alfar," Sebastian asserts with a twitch of lips. Juliana's approach earns a sidelong look and the offer of his glass to hers. "Oh, I know some good sea shanties, too. Perhaps we should have a shanty-off. That sounds like an excellent first social event for you, Your Majesty," he tells Lucrezia, more than half-serious. "Whoever tells terrible ones has to walk the plank of the Wanton and swim back to the docks."

Monique gets A basketful of luxurious fabrics from Tournament of Thorns Supplies.

With another winner picked, Anisha rises finally from her tablem and moves along, sketching a curtsey to Lucrezia and a smile to the others. "Our majesty. So good to be able to congratulate you with that." She assures, with a smile to the Queen of Thorns. "And a delight to have watched you all in contest. I do feel rather privileged to have been asked to sit on the committee this year. I did quite enjoy your songs, Messere Nina."

Anisha has left the Tournament of Thorns - a neodymium table.

"Sebastian only sings well when he is half drunk in the beach and just as clothed." Juliana comments about his shanties with a smile as she takes his glass and a sip. "Thank you" added to Lucrezia, handing Bas back his drink. "If you will excuse me." already heading towards a Duke at a table.. her brows arching slightly. "Jaenelle, are we letting Dagon to sneak into things these days?" her voice lifting as she crosses to the Duke of Tyde.

As the clink of a glass comes to sound through the room, Ansel is turning his attention over in that direction of Alarissa for a moment, only to then arch a brow a touch as it's announced that he won that particular contest. There's a gracious smile on his lips and he's offering an incline of his head in the direction of Alarissa, only to then follow that up with, "Thank you, Your Highness. It was truly an interesting poem to unravel."

Nina applauds as the winner of the other contest is announced. "Oh, congratulations! Make something lovely." She looks at Anisha now. "Thank you. It's my special talent but it takes many talents to be a courtier here. I know I have so much more to learn!"

As it is Ansel who is declared the winner of the poem puzzle, Isabeau take pause, waiting to see what the Duke will do or say before she rewards him herself with a small kiss pressed to his cheek... and then turns to make her way out of the ballroom, seemingly accompanied only by her faithful bodyguard.

Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.

Dagon turns his attention briefly to Juliana a small moment as he hears his name. "Lady Juliana." He gives a bow of his head to her in greeting with a bit of a smile. "How are you this day? And I do have a gift for sneaking into things, yet I apparently do NOT have the gift of remaining unnoticeable." He chuckles then.

Chiara, 4 Seraceni pirates leave, following Appolonia.

Turns briefly from those gathered near her as Alarissa recites the poem and announces the winner of the second contest for the day. She claps loudly for him. "Amazing patience, well done!" Back to Sebastian, she quirks a grin. "True! Oooo, a party on the Wanton. *AND* walking of the plank! YES!" The swimming back to the docks part does make her blink and pause, though. "Umm..." After a moment she brightens. "We'll be *way* out in the water, so the sharks will have plenty of chances." Somehow the Queen Lucrezia's parties might not be popular either!

As Anisha comes over, she continues to grin broadly, excitement of having people swim through shark water still glittering in her eyes. "Thank you! It was very fun and am glad we didn't make it boring for the committee. What did you do on it?"

Monique has left the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

"I'd like to go to that party," Nina says. "I'll perform and sing my very best sea shanties. Oh! And can I wear a pirate hat?" She slaps a hand on the table in excitement.

"Thank you," is what Ansel offers towards Nina at the congratulations. The kiss from Isabeua is taken and then the Duke is turning back towards Swift and Monique, smile dancing back to his lips, "Well! That done, shall we continue to enjoy ourselves?"

Anisha offers a bright little smile to Nina. "Well, the good news is, the Whispers do offer tutoring, and we have quite a fond relationship with the Bard's College." She assures. Giving Juliana and Jaenelle a small curtsey as well. Considering Sebastian at Juliana's comment, giving her fellow committee member a small smile, and then sketching a curtsey to Dagon as the Voice of Tyde engages the Lady. "Duke-Consort Dagon. Well met." She offers. Raising her glass towards Alarissa, and turning back to Lucrezia, she laughs. "Ah, I was the Neodymium thorn, I had the pleasure of working some with the Lady Monique, of offering my challenge of the mysterious origins, and I sat in judgement of the Path of the Puppetmaster, my queen."

"That's true," Sebastian concedes of Juliana's sharing of his requirement for singing. "Both of which seem to be amply served by being on a ship." Lucrezia's addition of sharks earns a bright laugh. "That'll make everyone sing better," he assures. When he takes his glass back, he watches Juliana make a beeline for Dagon with a brief furrow of his brow. When another Duke's name is called, he raises his glass, "Well done, Duke Ansel," he calls across to the man with a genuine smile. "If you have need of a designer to help you turn that beautiful fabric into beautiful outfits, my twin excels at that," he suggests with a smile.

Swift has left the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

Monique rises from the copper table, seeking to tuck Swift's arm into the crook of her elbow. And since one hand is occupied, she can't clap for Ansel. Instead, the Minx cheers boisterously, watching as servants come with a large chest filled with fabrics, to deposit with the Telmar Duke. "And a /beautiful/ poem by the Princess Alarissa!" she calls in warm praise for the committee member, dragging Swift in that direction, though her eyes light on Dagon with frank curiosity.

Monique holds out her other elbow to Ansel, offering him escort too.

Alarissa stiffly drops her head into a bow for the offered praise before finding a place to go sit.

Rising with Monique, Swift seems more than happy to wander the room under Monique's guidance, pausing only to cheer for Ansel's win. There's a broad and happy grin stretching her lips as she's lead across the room. She offers greetings and smiles to the people she knows, and to those she doesn't know!

"Hello there Imaginary Cousin.. it's been a long time since I have seen you sneak into anything." Juliana smiles, as draws near presses a kiss to the corner of Dagon's mouth before straightening to eye him for a moment. "You are looking well. I have missed our dinners since I moved to Igniseri."

Alarissa has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

Monique has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

With the chest of fabrics secure at the table, Ansel is then looping his arm through Monique's. There's a glance taken over in the direction of Sebastian, a warm smile coming to be offered to the Prince as he calls out, "Thank you! I shall certainly keep that in mind!" Then, he's dragged along by Monique to wherever she leads.

Swift has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider leave, following Jaenelle.

Monique leads them both to the praseodymium table, where she levels a concerned look upon Alarissa. "So. What happened?" the Minx invites, snagging a glass of whiskey from a passing server, and tugging Ansel and Swift down into chairs on either side of her. "You look like Victus beat you."

Listening to Anisha, Lucrezia nods. "Sounds like a fair amount of work goes on to host these. It is good it was worth it in the end." She nods to Sebastian saying the sharks will make the singers better. "That and I will have to acquire," a cruel edge enters her smile as she considers the prospects of doing that, and she doesn't mean with wealth!, "an enticing prize to draw out the very best. And, there will be gallons and gallons of rum!"

Dagon smiles kindly to Juliana and gives her a soft hug as she greets him with a kiss. "As are you, Imaginary Cousin." He winks at her playfully. "I've missed our dinners just as much, if not arguably moreso." He smirks ever so softly. "Perhaps that is something that we could remedy soon? How are you, my good lady?"

Ansel has left the Tournament of Thorns - a copper table.

Ansel has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

Anisha offers a little laugh at Sebastian's comment and gives a small nod to Lucrezia. "More than worth it. And I have a myriad of stories about where Anisha Whisper came from that will be thrilling to share." A small pause. "And it's always good to give one's respects, mm?" She assures, with a wink. "I just wanted, once more, to offer my respects to a worthy queen." She casts a glance over at the praseodymium table and the grouping there. Then back to Lucrezia. "May your sharks never be jerks, and your rum always be everflowing, your majesty."

Anisha is overheard praising Lucrezia: May Your Sharks Never Be Jerks, And Your Rum Be Everflowing, Your Majesty.

Alarissa is overheard praising Monique: Long may she reign, our Queen of Thorns.

Alarissa is overheard praising Anisha: No finer co-host

Alarissa is overheard praising Sebastian: No finer co-host

Alarissa is overheard praising Swift: No finer co-host

"See that -- even without the prize -- is sure to draw any Islander worth his or her salt, and I can say that, being half-Thraxian," Sebastian tells Lucrezia with a laugh. "And I know that look -- whatever you're planning, don't tell me until after." He regards Anisha with a wry smile. "I didn't hear all of them, but those I did were certainly interesting."

Alarissa is overheard praising Sabella: No finer co-host

Anisha is overheard praising Monique: A Worthy Queen of Thorns

Anisha is overheard praising Alarissa: An excellent co-host

Anisha is overheard praising Swift: An excellent co-host

Anisha is overheard praising Sebastian: An excellent co-host

Sebastian is overheard praising Lucrezia: A fearsome queen!

Sebastian is overheard praising Monique.

Sebastian is overheard praising Alarissa.

Sebastian is overheard praising Swift.

Sebastian is overheard praising Anisha.

"Perhaps one of them ought to be made into a sea-shanty." Everyone needed a good sea-shanty about them, right?! Lucrezia nods firmly as if this is well-known knowledge. Being told to wait until *after* makes her laugh loudly, but she shakes her head. "Nope, you'll learn in the middle like everyone else! Unless you don't come. Then I might arrange for a state on every surface of your room. Really was considering it last night."

"By all means, the swifter this heals, the happier I will be. My husband thanked me for at least not getting kidnapped myself. Lest he would have had to cleave through the oathlands to get me. Somehow, I doubt that the Eurusi or Duke Ivan would have deigned to pause things while he did. I have been doing the ice. This is just so very.... fresh." Alarissa looks to Monique. "You, my dear, are however not a Shav. You're a fine prodigal. One I tolerate if perhaps, quite enjoy. I have no doubt that there are some who do that same thing." Ansel's concerned look is waved away. "At least the Prodigal house had a skilled physician. They swear that it will heal straight. It had best heal straight."

Nina is overheard praising Lucrezia.

Nina is overheard praising Monique.

Nina is overheard praising Sebastian.

Anisha is overheard praising Juliana: A Worthy Contestant

Nina is overheard praising Anisha.

Nina is overheard praising Swift.

Anisha is overheard praising Nina: A Worthy Contestant

Nina is overheard praising Alarissa.

Ansel is overheard praising Monique.

Ansel is overheard praising Swift.

Ansel is overheard praising Alarissa.

Ansel is overheard praising Sebastian.

"Oh, I'm sure we can have a lot of fun with them. Which does remind me - I should speak to Lady Monique about the tales I've gathered." Anisha shoots a smile to the aforemenetioned lady, before giving Lucrezia an apologetic look - and a coy smile to Sebastian. "Well, sadly they were all fit for public consumption. The ones -I- heard, at least." She all but huffs. "But they -were- interesting, most certainly."

She returns her attention to Lucrezia, and sketches a small curtsey. "If you'll excuse me, oh majesty?"

Clack. Clack. Clack. The wooden staff of Brigida is heard as the Archlector makes herself known by walking straight into the main cluster of folks, her staff clearing her way with swipes to the ankles of those too slow to get out of the way. The Archlector makes her way towards Monique, jaw set and eyes narrowed.

"We will, you can come have dinner in Igniseri with me, tell me of all the things you have been up to in this last year... two?" Juliana grins. "Well it seems I have won fireweave cloak, so I am one cloak better than I was earlier this evening." Jules grins and glances towards the others. "You know Sebastian do you not? I really thought Jaenelle was around here still."

Monique gets Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

Swift takes Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

Alarissa takes Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

About when his cousin mentions /in the middle like everyone else/, Sebastian starts laughing and looking like he might regret this at the same time. It's an expression he's mastered well enough, it seems. "I'm not sure I like the sound of that," he admits. "Surely two is enough?" he begins, then stops, holding up a hand. "Nevermind. Don't answer that, Lu. Of course I'm coming along." Anisha's answer earns a brief chuckle. "Disappointing, especially given how many Lycene competed. Still, there's always next time -- you'll just have to help me convince Monique it's a great idea and not at all stressful in a year's time."

Juliana gets Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

Anisha takes Tournament of Thorns - a charm bracelet from Tournament of Thorns Favor Chest - One Per Person Please.

About to offer Alarissa a pithy response, there is a certain danger-sense in Monique that has allowed her to survive this long, and it pings at the moment. She glances up, alert all of a sudden. And her eyes fall on Brigida. She shifts slightly, trying to put Swift in front of her.

Lucrezia gets this look on her face like she's just discovered the down side of being a Queen when Anisha curtsies to her. "Please, do leave quickly!" Wow, blunt! She grins, though, showing she's teasing for the jab. To Sebastian not liking learning in the middle, she just cackles at him. "It'll be fun, I promise you'll *enjoy* it." If anything, Lucrezia *did* know how to have a good time!

"Blessed Brigida, I am ins erious desire of you not beating the sense out of my companion at the table. Who is comforting me at the moment and taking my mind off my phsyical state. Could perhaps, you do so another day?" The black eyed, broken nosed High Lords wife requests.

Brigida checked command + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Wait. There's a clacking noise. It causes Ansel to blink. Not once. Not twice. But three times. Then his gaze is /slowly/ sliding to the slide and when those blue eyes of his come to settle upon Brigida, there's a little frown that dances to his lips. Alarissa's comment is quickly followed by one from Ansel, in which he states, "If beatings need to be done, then I will take them."

Swift checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 9 higher.

Dagon aaaahhhs for a moment as Juliana explains that she has claimed a fireweave cloak. "A very fine and rare prize, if my understanding is correct." He chuckles. Though he does look at Sebastian for a brief moment as the fellow is introduced. "I believe I know of him, yes, but that is about all I'm afraid. Jaenelle? I did not know she was here tonight. How is she doing? Of course, should you wish to invite me to dinner, I wouldn't have the heart to say no."

"Well, I have certainly enjoyed it, and if it is a stressful burden, I shall see if we can't help our abdicating Monarch with her duties next year." Anisha offers to Sebastian, with a wink - she looks over to Lucrenzia, and the words combined with the expression earns a laugh from the softest. "Insult fighting ought to be part of your party, my queen. I'm sure it will go over swell, and you'd present a formidable opponent, no doubt." She offers, taking Lucrezia's hand in both of hers, giving her a gentle squeeze - and then curtseying one more for good measure as she moves towards the Praseodymium table, wiggling her fingers to Nina and Juliana and Dagon as she slips away.

"...Oh dear. Not disturbing, am I?" She inquires ever so politely, as she spots the stare-down between Brigida and Monique.

Anisha has joined the Tournament of Thorns - a praseodymium table.

Nodding to Alarissa, she offers a smile, "Of course, Your Highness. I'll have it sent over tonight. It works wonders and the aroma is very soothing, you should keep it in ice between uses and apply it perhaps half an hour before bed and the first half-hour in the morning, and then any time your face is feeling overly tender or puffy." Swift hears that sound. THAT SOUND. Its embedded into her blood now. And she's quickly shifting seats at the table until she's seated next to Alarissa and not got her back to Brigida as she approaches. Eyes wide and already mapping possible escape routes.

Alarissa checked composure + performance at difficulty 49, rolling 6 lower.

"That's what I'm afraid of," Sebastian tells Lucrezia with a quiet laugh. As Anisha gives her curtsey and departs, the Prince's gaze goes past her, towards Brigida. He touches Lucrezia's arm, murmurs something towards her, and leads her to where Juliana's standing with Dagon... away from the Archlector's swinging cane. "Cousin," he greets Dagon, with a nod. "It's been some time. Do you know Her Highness, the Princess Lucrezia Pravus?" he gestures to Lucrezia. "My cousin, the Duke-Consort Dagon Tyde."

Brigida gives Alarissa 'a look', annoyed to say the least at Alarissa's interjection. "I never beat the sense out of people. I beat it into them when needed." Her eyes shift back to Monique, pausing as she notices Sebastian and Swift and grante them both a quite narrowing of the eyes. "Monique. You have done a fairly impressive thing here. Josephine would have been proud of it." The praise comes out and is quickly followed by, "Now let us see if you can do something similar for the Lodge perhaps as the penance. As for punishment... I think I know what would particularly hurt you and teach you a lesson."

Nina rises from the table and gives a little curtsey again. "I have enjoyed this event, but I now must get some rest for my voice. Thank you all so much for this opportunity!"

Nina has left the Semi-circular Bar.

Alarissa's rising, likely her current condition getting the better of her. "Not here." Though it's said with far less confidance than she normally has. Brigida is an Archlector after all. "Not -here-" A pause. "Please." Those blue eyes in that sea of black eyes and swollen nose regards the Blessed.

Juliana laughs as she watches Sebastian sweep in and remind Dagon. "It's been some time, Dagon. Sebastian is my twin brother, Prince of Pravus? You remember?" then nods. "Jae is pushing herself to hard but that is a conversation for another time."

"It's fine," Monique murmurs to Alarissa, summoning a smile and rising. "Blessed Brigida, welcome, and thank you. I can only hope that her memory will live on even more so than it already does. What," a single brow rises, as she bows her head, "may I do to prove my regret?"

Anisha quirks a brow, looking from Princess-Consort to Archlector and back again. "I am certain," She offers, with a soft smile and without necessarily being certain at all. "That the Archlector's request for penance will be reasonable and welcomed by Lady Monique," She offers. "And I am hopeful that there won't be the need for any beatings of any sort in the Elysian Ballroom. I would, in fact, consider that a personal favour."

She smiles at Anisha, though she does grumble at the additional curtsey. While Lucrezia has heard the sound of weapon and glances over at the impeding fight, she doesn't seem concerned and certainly doesn't rush over to join. Back to Sebastian, she just laughs at his fear and whispers back to him as she nods to whatever he's said. Thus she joins him in introductions to Dagon. Making a face at being called Highness despite her 'ban', she forces a smile to Dagon. "Please, call me Lucerzia or Lu or anything except Highness or Princess or I'll go quite mad."

Dagon suddenly laughs boisterously. "Don't fret, Juliana. I was merely teasing to try and get the Prince's attention." he winks at her genuinely before he looks at Sebastian. "Its good to see you, cousin. How have you been? Its been...well, quite too long if you ask me." He offers a hand to Sebastian, attempting to give it a firm shake. He looks then to Lucrezia for a moment and he smiles. "Greetings your hig-" He is told her preference and he laughs. "Lu it is. I tend to prefer informality myself. After all, in the end we are men and women and so forth, and no more than that."

Now, Ansel is silent. His gaze flits to Alarissa, then to Swift and then Monique, regarding her a moment before he's looking back to Brigida, simply waiting to hear what's in store.

The sudden choke Sebastian gives must be due to something being stuck in his throat, to judge by the way he quickly takes a swallow from his glass of wine, and definitely not in response to whatever Lucrezia just whispered him. "Oh, you know," the Pravus artist clears his throat as he reaches to take Dagon's hand and return the handshake, no attempt to make his firm in response. Instead, Sebastian's smile widens, "Conquering the Saffron Chain and all. Keeps one busy. And you?"

"I am more than that. A lot more. You can ask any of my lovers. Sebastian can get you the list if you need it." Juliana protests to Dagon then reaches to take said brother's glass again, taking another sip.

Lucrezia is encouraged, if anything, but Sebastian's choke. *Just* the response she was looking for! Dagon acceding to her request makes her grin widely, looking happy. "A man with sense. A pleasure to meet you and thank you."

Brigida gives Anisha a sideglare at her comment, "Are we in the business of person favours between you and I now hmm?" she asks before settling her gaze on Monique. "The others will get their own punishment and penance later. For example Ansel will be getting a punishment that I know would be approved of by his late father. But that is beside the point. You. Minx. For punishment I believe you should not let even a drop of alcohol pass your lips for at /least/ a year. Perhaps that will help prevent any more foolishness from you."

"I don't know, Archlector. I've always considered you a friend," Anisha offers brightly, ignoring the sideglare as best she is able. "I certainly would hope that you would not feel out of place asking me a favour, if you were in need of one. I do pride myself on being approachable." She does not quite wince at Brigida's pronouncement, instead just letting her glance drift from the Archlector to Monique. And the glass, if any, before her.

Monique makes a sound that is the sound of a functional alcoholic dying inside. The Minx of the Marches stares at Brigida dumbly, as if she couldn't possibly have heard correctly, that strangled sound choking off into nothingness in her throat. She blinks. And then blinks again. "I..." There's a painful look to the glass of whiskey in her hand, and then her green eyes return to Brigida. A breath is sucked in, exhaled. "... if that is what it will take?" But she sounds entirely unsure.

"Six months." Alarissa counters to Brigida.

Alarissa checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Dagon gives a smile then to Juliana. "Thankfully, I don't quite need a list." He retorts easily enough, before seeming approving of Sebastian's firm handshake. "Understandably so. Let me know if you need any help with that, though with the current situations brewing, that help might be somewhat limited." Dagon frowns, but it is what it is. He does chuckle to Lucrezia though. "Common sense, mainly." he winks playfully. "The pleasure is all mine, Lu." To the trio at large. "I hope you three have been enjoying tonights festivities all in all?"

"I am not making a list," Sebastian tells Juliana firmly, giving her a look that might be for her taking his glass as any reproof. "Yes, we rather all seem to be faced with our own issues right now," he acknowledges to Dagon. He gives a sidelong look towards Lucrezia, about to comment, when some lull in the chatter of the room lets him here Brigida's pronouncement towards Monique. He looks legitimately stunned on her part, mouth parting briefly, and then clears his throat. To the small group of his family, he says, "I... need to step out for a moment. Jules," without explaining why he suddenly has to go, he grabs his twin's arm and practically pulls her towards the exit like something horrible's liable to come after him if he doesn't leave swiftly enough.

Juliana snorts. "Either way, I have children that I would like to see before the nurses put them to bed. And a husband that well... he can be in bed when I find him." she smiles and leans in to kiss Dagon's cheek again. "I will send an invitatio.... ohh. Well good night." as she is being dragged the first few feet before a few double steps to catch up with Sebastian's longer strides not even trying to ask where they were going.

Brigida checked command + intimidation at difficulty 37, rolling 39 higher.

When his punishment is named as something that his father approves of, Ansel is offering an incline of his head towards Brigida, "I willingly submit to whatever you deem necessary." Monique's punishment has him blinking a moment, only to then offer up, "And what about formal functions, Archlector, where wine is expected to be drunk? Such as it important dinners and other such things?"

Sebastian has left the Semi-circular Bar.

2 Pravus Honor Guard, Briar, a quiet young woman, Intruder, a juvenile Oakhaven bloodhound leave, following Sebastian.

Tyce the gruff and disapproving, 2 Scarlet Phoenix Guard leave, following Juliana.

As her cousins, Sebastian and Juliana, all but run for the door, leaving her behind she calls out after them, "So I get to do what I said?" Her timing is so perfect the door has slammed behind them. Lucrezia's taking that as a yes! Back to Dagon, she says, "Yes, very much. It has been entertaining to compete and watch the others' approach to the challenge."

Brigida doesn't answer Alarissa but does give her a look that screams 'butt out' before she clucks her tongue in thought. "At those formal events Monique can drink water and explain if needed why she will not be partaking of wine, whiskey or whatever." She looks at the drink before Monique and she says, "You can either have nine months without drink or... you can finish that drink there... and go without for a year."

Alarissa doesn't fold her arms across her chest, but she does regard Brigida silently, then to Monique, a faint cant of her head to the side. 9 months...

"Understandable. Tell the children I said hello, yes?" Dagon eventually smiles, though he does look at Sebastian for a moment, but before he can say anything, he watches as both of them start moving for the door with a bit of momentum in their step. "Ah...I forgot how sudden they were." Left with Lucrezia, Dagon chuckles. "I'm glad. It was entertaining to catch what I could of it when I first arrived. I think I would not be very good at this game at all, never was good with poems..thankfully Margot liked me anyway. Did you win anything?"

With the emergent threat of canings seemingly reduced, and Alarissa's plea granted at least a modicum of acknowledgement, Anisha draws a breath, and offers Monique a small, supportive smile. Dagon's comment has her glancing back at the freshly-crowned majesty, her smirk for Lucrezia mischievous.

Monique stares at Brigida. And then at the whiskey in her hand. Then at Brigida. And back to the whiskey. And she throws back the whiskey with the irrational mind of an alcoholic, savoring it as it burns its way down her throat. "Gods and spirits, that had better have been worth it." She replaces the empty glass on the table.

Scratching her head, Lucrezia makes even more mess of the spiky disarray of her hair. "Oh *that* entertainment. I guess it's fun watching people run around tables trying to figure out something. I'd prefer some danger involved, though. Like swords flying out from under the table or the like. But, I don't like poetry, so...umm I guess that would be too extreme for those who do." She sighs heavily. "Earlier I won the right to lop off heads and be the Champion of Thorns. It's the whole Queen thing they were going on about. You missed much entertainment earlier!"

When Monique actually drains the whiskey, Ansel can't help but give a shake of his head, "An extra three months worth it, Monique?" A curl of his lips to a faint smile and then he's looking back to Brigida, "Archlector, when you have a moment, might I have a word with you in private on matters relating to the topic of pennance?" He's still eyeing that cane and keeping himself out of it's range for the moment.

"One year then Monique. One year."

Brigida's voice is stern and resolute. "You can also see if you can organise something for the Lodge as well which will give you something to keep your mind busy." Her eyes track to Ansel before she nods, "Not now. But soon Duke Ansel. Feel free to send me a missive as regarding it. For now though I must get back home.:" She bobs her head to those gathered before waving a blessing out over them as she turns to leave, clacking her staff again.

"One year Monique. One year!"

Anisha sketches a curtsey to Brigida, then offers Monique a small smile. "Well, if it can be of help, I'm already planning a thing for the Lodge, and would appreciate your organisational genius," She suggests, with a supportive smile. Looking over at Alarissa, a nod of gratitude to her - and a small smile to Ansel as well. He tried, after all. "Thank you for your help, Archlector. I look forward to seeing you again. And please, if you ever do need a favour, do not hesitate to ask."

Dagon smirks a little bit. "Truth be told, I like a little bit of danger too. Nothing better than swords swinging and punches flying." he rubs the back of his neck. "Unfortunately though, I feel as if I missed so much. Maybe I shouldn't have come, though then I would miss the chance to try and get into the swing of things." He sighs exhasperatedly. Though he does notice Anisha looking his way, and he gives her a little wave in invitation to come over.

Wincing as Monique takes that last mouthful, Swift looks to Alarissa, then to Ansel, then back to Monique. She chews on her lower lip and sighs softly. And sends Monique a pitying glance. Leaning in, she murmurs something softly to Alarissa before starting to skirt her way back around the table. She pauses, looking to the departing Brigida and chewing her lower lip again. Finally, her gaze slide back to Monique and murmurs something to her as well.

"Of course, Archlector. I will send a missive as soon as I return to the Tower." There's an incline of the Duke's head towards Brigida before Ansel follows it up with, "Thank you." Then, he's simply watching her as she takes her leave, his gaze playing back to Monique so that he can lean in to murmur to Monique.

Rising up, Swift hurries towards the Archlector and asks, "May I walk with you, Archlector?"

Pale, Monique slides down into the chair at the table and stares at the empty glass as both Swift and Ansel murmur to her. One assumes the words are reassuring, but the Minx of the Marches has been well and truly taken down several notches and there's a hopeless look back to the empty whiskey glass. The tragedy of it all. She murmurs something back to Ansel, seeing Swift hurry off, and then nods palely to Anisha. "I would... yes. Certainly. Help."

"Fine. Just not too closely," is the response to Swift as the Archlector leaves, without waiting or slowing

Alarissa's sitting back down at the table, pursing her lips together.

Keski, a nervous disciple of Petrichor, Aletta, an even more nervous disciple of Petrichor, 1 Templar Knight guards, Oswald, the war pig, a lively Ostrian gelding, Daisy, the overly enthusiastic Keaton pygmy goat leave, following Brigida.

Anisha shoots Dagon a small, apologetic look, giving a small gesture to the table with Monique and Alarissa. Soon, her gaze promises. Turning to the Lady and the Princess-Consort. leaning in.

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