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The Mourning Isles Collection, a Fashion of the Fealties

Moving from the Northlands to the Mourning Isles, Talia Baseborn will present a collection of heirloom gowns for noble Houses of the sea to capture the intimidating, traditional elegance that draws people to the Mourning Isles every day. Featured Houses will be: Grimhall, Kennex, Tyde, Redreef and Eswynd.


Aug. 16, 2020, 5:56 p.m.

Hosted By



Haakon Fortunato Merek Archeron Zoey Azova Sanya Victus Sedna Sorrel Lethe Donella Sabella Gunther Niklas Ember Ian Ruby Alaric Nisaa


Grimhall Kennex Redreef Tyde


Arx - Ward of the Compact - Elegant Impressions - Showroom

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens arrives, following Ember.

Ugarte arrives, following Fortunato.

There is a science now, to the way Talia hosts these fashion shows. Servants have trays of wine and tea, as well as (the least messy as possible) finger foods, all hired for a single night on Talia’s coin. The shop is lit as brightly as possible from its multiple chandeliers, recently cleaned to shining. Dark navy mannequins have been arranged in a circle, spaced apart to allow people to walk entirely around them, as they hold the expensive, one-of-a-kind gowns. Nearby, a lithe female stands with a sharp gaze and a sharper sword, her scars marking her as the same hired for the last few of these. The seamstress herself is dressed in a simple wool gown of a dark navy that matches the mannequin. She’s not greeting anyone at the door, but rather standing at the back wall and reading over her pieces of paper that contain her speech.

Fortunato arrives. He's a small, slight man in umbra and gold and duskstones, and a very coppery copper belt that, while exquisite, exists more in contrast than in harmony with the rest of his clothing. He stays near the wall, his attention on Talia.

Merek makes a way into the place to observe, his dark attire on while he wears a scarf as well.

Archeron arrives in Tyde colours, from dark green boots to sea foam-coloured cloak. He takes one of the glasses of wine with a smile to the server and a bow of his head before turning to see who else from the Isles is turning out for this little soiree. That is before he realises Margot isn't here, and nor is Dagon, and so he moves across to Talia to offer a more formal bow of his head "Master Tailor, thank you for your diligent work and for including us, on behalf of House Tyde we are most grateful and eager to see what you have created."

Zoey arrives shortly before the event begins, her curiosity having gotten the better of her. She unwinds her scarf and hands it off to her aide. She smiles brightly as she goes to look at the gowns on display, of course making a bee-line for the one made for Kennex.

Azova has not actually attended one of these shows before, so when she steps in there is a pause to take in how everything is arranged. Time is taken just inside the door so that she isn't an obstacle, and once her observations have been made the Darkwater woman finds her way past the wine to procure a glass, and then a seat until the showing begins.

There's a look of anticipation crossing Sanya's features as she enters the showroom. Her eyes can the room, noting the Kennex woman, lifting a hand in polite greeting. When she passes Talia, a gracious smile touches her lips. "Thank you for your hard work, mistress Talia. I have been looking forward to this." She then turns to the mannequin to study the Gim-crosses gown with awe.

It's not often Victus is /early/ for things, yet the High Lord had been waiting outside the door for a time before others began to filter in. He's not wearing anything out of the usual for a fashion display. Just his snakeskin coat coupled with the ceremonial armor underneath, along with his coronet. His retinue of guards are also dressed rather blandly, remaining by the entrance while the Prince wanders further inside. Hands in his pockets as he takes stock of the dresses. He clicks his tongue. "My wife would love these."

Sedna offers a few polite words of gratitude to a passing server as she plucks a beverage from their tray. The Redreef lady doesn't immediately drink from it, instead using it as a prop with which to occupy her hands. She's dressed in the Thrax style in a garment that's fitted and black, with her long hair left whimsically free.

Haakon had shed arms and armor for the occasion.. mostly. Though dressed in an overtunic and trousers that are common by Arvani standards, the Prodigal lord still wears a common steel sword sheathed at his belt and an intricately painted round shield on his back. Such things are worn as much as status symbols than armaments. Narrowed blue eyes survey the opulence of the showroom, and the rich gowns on display. He glances aside as other family representatives offer elegant words of thanks to the hostess. He voices evenly, with a short dip of the head and shoulders, "Aye. Most impressive."

Talia's gaze slides to the mannequins, but she is quick to flush when Archeron offers her a bow. She drops into a lower curtsy in answer. "Lord Tyde, it was my pleasure. The collection was already sponsored by an anonymous benefactor, and it is really her that one should thank. Without her, I couldn't do any of these." She smiles to Sanya with another deep curtsy. "I am glad. I hope it-- lives up to whatever you anticipated."

"Your wife would love them," Sorrel agrees as she trails after Victus, looking over the gowns with interest. "Some of these are really spectacular. I keep meaning to talk to your wife about clothes, but then I get busy with training or research or the like." She crosses her arms across her chest.

Lethe arrives to the event with an eager smile. She's ready to see some fashion. She finds a quiet place to watch. She sees Archeron and goes toward him and Talia. She speaks to the tailor. "I'm sure whatever you've made is amazing. I do love your designs." She then speaks to Archeron. "I didn't know you liked fashion."

Donella is like the Assembly of Peers, her palette stays so neutral. She takes a place for herself, unabashedly forward in the crowd, and directs her elderly attendant's attention toward the notables, her aged foot stabbing out the embers of the pipe she has just dumped out on the cobbles outside. "Are they clothing? Yes, of course your wife would love them," Donella says to Victus Thrax. "Issa never met something expensive she didn't love to frost herself with."

"Oh, it's so beautiful." Sanya places a hand on her chest, as she takes in the design. "And it'd look so lovely on the duchess." She smiles warmly. "Thank you, it's exceeded what I anticipated. The rubies are a wonderful touch." She notes the other Thraxians in the room. "Your grace." She greets Victus with a curtsy. "Your highness." To Sorrel, as her her gaze looks over the other gowns in the room.

Sabella comes in with Niklas, nearly skipping she seems to excited, pulling on Nik's arm as she exclaims, "I can't wait to see them all! I meant to get Mistress Talia to give us some hints last night at dinner but it was so busy I never got the chance to get over to her, which is actually a good thing since now I'll be just as surprised as everyone else! Do you think the Kennex one will be violet? Or some shade of purple? Or maybe she'd just bypass something like that and go with something even more sublime and subtle? Though anything Mistress Talia creates is just the epitome for fashion--I think it might actually redefine it for the season each time! Look at the crowd!" she stops chattering long enough to beam a smile at everyone, "Princess Sorrel! Prince Victus!" she waves to them, dragging Niklas with her.

"Oh, this truly is stunning," Zoey breathes as she takes in The Duchess of Gale-Defiant Ships gown. When she looks up again to join the conversation she says to Sanya, "So have I. I love Mistress Talia's work."

"I am not /good/ at fashion, that does not mean I dislike it. Admitedly the badgers and foxes of this world do not care for brocade against silk, but these are reasons we have as talented creators as the good Master Tailor." Archeron replies to Lethe with a smile, gesturing towards Talia before he gives the tailor another bow of his head "Well, we are greatful for the funding that lets you do your work of course, but recognise the great talent and work that goes into these things." Archeron smiles to Talia before he looks back to his twin "Lethe? Shall we go study the Tyde dress?"

Azova lifts a hand to greet those she's familiar with; Sorrel, and Zoey of course. Victus receives a very polite nod. And Sanya is the recipient of a warm smile since she's family. She will just admire these dresses from afar, her gaze settling on every one of them with an appreciative look.

Talia nods, ducking her head to Archeron's worded compliment. She slips quietly away as he asks Lethe to go study the dresses, moving across the room towards Fortunato. There, she murmurs something quietly to the Whisper.

The squat fellow that makes his way inside is wearing a Solace tabbard. No fashion statement here just squire clothing. He is cleaned up and maintains his twelve strand comb-over with spittle. The terribly short olf fella smiles warm and squints as he tries to brush up on his fashion sense (none).

The squat fellow that makes his way inside is wearing a Solace tabbard. No fashion statement here just squire clothing. He is cleaned up and maintains his twelve strand comb-over with spittle. The terribly short olf fella smiles warm and squints as he tries to brush up on his fashion sense (none). Gunther offers a soft, "hullo!" with warmth as he enters.

Niklas follows along sith, or rather is dragged along by, Sabella. "If the Kennex gown isn't a big boat I'm going to be disappointed, but still intrigued. If it _is_ a big boat then Mistress Talia gets extra ham at dinner next month. The good ham. From my personal ham supply." Niklas gives Sabella a very serious nod, then looks up when she goes to greet people. "Princess Sorrel! People are still coming up to me in the street to tell me how utterly fantastic you were as Tala Everfree. So I do hope you're getting a lot of free drinks." Victus gets a quick bow. "Your grace. I hope you've enjoyed your recent fiery flights across the night's sky. When I saw your star zip past I made a wish, so here's hoping."

Lethe nods to Archeron. "I suppose you are fashionable at times. I do like what you're wearing." She looks toward where the dresses are displayed. "Yes, let's go get a good look at it."

Zoey lifts a hand in reply to Azova before moving on to examine the next gown.

Haakon had been content to lapse into stoic silence and hope the other folk forgot he was there, until Gunther walked in with a cheerful hullo. Haakon's head goes to a curious angle a d the ghost of a smile bends his lip. "Where's the rest of you?" he wonders deadpan.

Donella says as she looks the garment's over, "Yes, they are lovely. Thrax women are their own ornaments, of course. It's the men that need a couturier's skill. I say that will love." She rests a hand on her hip and says, "When will we see a men's collection?"

"I think you could catch her at any moment, more than prepared to talk about clothes or anything else related to fashion." Victus mused toward Sorrel, his gaze already starting to wander around the room. So many people. So many familiar faces on top of that. For one, his cousin Donella. "Ah, Don. I think I can count the number of times I've seen you this year on one hand. How's motherhood in the frozen abyss of Arvum treating you?" A beat. "I can only imagine it's /swell/." Then onto Sanya, who he greets with an easy expression. "Lady Sanya, nice to see you. I heard you recently joined with the Liberators, for that you have my praise. If you find some free time, there's a project of mine I'm working on that could use someone of your talents." Then comes the entourage of Sabella and Niklas, in all their Grayson fury. "Princess Sabella, Prince Niklas. Been awhile. My ears are still ringing from the curtain call at Maelstrom. I'll try to keep your wish in mind, Prince Niklas. Though I fear that star isn't the /best/ at granting wishes on the fly."

Not wanting to crowd the displays, Sedna patiently steps to the side to let the others get a look first. That's not to say she doesn't rise up onto the balls of her feet to try and sneak a peak over a few shoulders and heads. She watches on with twinkling eyes.

Archeron leads Lethe across and, staying back and surveying the dresses, he heads towards The Duchess of Rising Waves dress, pointing "This one Lethe, I think. Given our sigil and the theme of the dress....and ah, building from tattered hem up to symbols of prosperity and wealth at the collar? Yes? I guess a nice summation of our previous decade." Archeron's eyes go across and he smirks "Looks like Victus is popular as ever, little sister. I do not know if when we first got back in the city either I or the High Lord would have been as comfortable at an event like this."

Talia flushes darkly red as Donella asks after a men's collection, and she clears her throat to say quietly in a way that might not carry enough for her, "I do make some men's clothing, but I find most of my inspiration for creativity in women's."

Ember is somewhere in the room. She's easy to spot, really. Look for her gaggle of ladies-in-waiting: the handful of them swarm around the baroness, in matching red gowns. Ember herself is in black umbra from head to toe, and she listens to her ladies' ooh-ing and aah-ing at the fashions and 'oh-- look, over there, it's Lord--' and 'I think I just accidentally caught eyes with Princess--' and so on, all whispered amongst themselves like secrets to be (badly) kept. When Ember moves, the group moves; she takes confident strides, and her ladies continue to huddle around her even while in motion. The Bloody Baroness has a look on her face like she might punch someone in the chin, but... well, if you know her...

"Cousin." Sanya greets Azova with a beaming smile on spotting her, waving her over should she wish to join them. "I think this might be the first time I've seen any of the heirloom gowns though." She responds to Zoey's comment. "And they are all so perfect for each house. You could simply tell by the design which they belong to." She nods at Victus' words. "I did, indeed. Word gets around fast." She muses. "I haven't done enough to deserve praise, just yet. But it's never too late to make amends for past actions." Her demeanor turns a little somber at this. "But I'll be glad to help out however I can. Perhaps we can discuss your project soon?"

Ian totally isn't late, and totally didn't completely forget that there was an event he promised his wife he would attend. Totally. (Except he is, and he did.) He comes into the room as unobtrusively as he can manage.

"No more SWELL," Donella says resting her fingers upon her waist as though to emphasize that she is out of maternity wear, "-than the constant SWELLS that seem to be coming up around Maelstrom. As usual, you would have to look down to notice me anyway." Ticktick. She glaances toward the shy response of the designer and says, "Understandable. Every artist must produce where they are called."

Lethe looks toward Victus and then back to Archeron. "I've always thought of him as fairly sociable, but we don't know each other well. It could be that I often still feel out of place among the fealty." She looks over the dress. "I like the colors, and I think it's a very fitting dress I especially like the red." She nods. "I approve of it. I do hope the Duchess likes it."

Talia, speaking in low tones to Fortunato, gestures towards the gowns. Then she steps away from her conversation towards the circle of gowns. A box is placed in the center of the gowns for the mouse-y tailor to step onto, already blushing a bit as she clears her throat quietly.

"Absolutely," Zoey agrees with Sanya. When Ian finally arrives, she makes her way back to the front door to join him. She says something quietly to him.

Fortunato straightens against the wall as Talia takes a presentation position. His head inclines toward her, gently anticipatory.

The doors open and through them steps a woman with blood red hair and skin as pale as crystal. There is a light that seems to dance just beneath her skin, and while her white-on-white eyes appear sightless, there is no fumbling or uncertainty in her steps. She slides in, her bearing that of royalty as she pauses, her face angling around the room. She moves through the crowd with ease, heading towards the mannequin bearing teh Duchess of Gale-Defiant Ships. "Mmmm. Now this has potential."

Haakon is lingering toward the back, as the initial press of admirers move forward toward the gowns. Ian's late arrival draws an even, "Sword." A second bemused glance toward the diminutive Gunther, before he mutters to himself, "Best wade in for a closer look.." as his steps resume toward the glittering gowns.

Zoey spots the strange woman admiring the Kennex gown and returns to join her. "Potential for what, may I ask?"

"Lady Sanya, it's lovely to see you." Azova lifts her glass in toast towards the Grimhall Lady with a bright smile. She appears to briefly consider standing up to join her. But, in the end gives a slight nod towards a nearby seat to welcome the other woman to sit nearby once things have started. She is always so loathe to interrupt a conversation in progress. Plus, there is a blink of startlement at the appearance of Ruby. Light beneath the skin is a look that she's not familiar with and she cannot help but do a double take before politely looking back towards the gowns.

Having just come inside, Ian automatically moves to hold open the door for the person coming in behind him. Once he gets a good look at said person, however, he does a little bit of a double take; his first instinct is to both withdraw.

"I mean, it is always a tad awkward, isn't it? The whole 'your whatever killed my whatever' that comes with fealties so recently in civil war." Archeron comments to Lethe, agreeing "But, we all place that behind us and find a new place....though, I should introduce you to ah.." Archeron lifts his glass towards Donella "Princess Donella...could I be terrible and steal you for a moment? I wanted to introduce you to my delightful little twin."

Talia's gaze catches for a moment on the appearance of the woman, but then she focuses at the task at hand. She glances down to the pieces of paper holding her speech in her hands. She clears her throat again, asking, "If I could please-- just have your attention for a, a-- moment. It's my-- tradition to introduce my collection-- explain my thoughts for it."

As eyes begin to turn toward Talia on her little box, Sedna weaves her way toward her cousin. She makes room for herself amongst Ember's entourage, using her excess of hips to demand it if it isn't immediately given up. She's not intimidated by ladies in waiting, even when they're in red.

Donella is pleased enough under the circumstances to back the heck up toward the knot of Archeron and Lethe. Her hair seems to have just the teensiest more volume just at the moment.

Ruby's face turns to Zoey as she approaches, and then slides her pale fingers along the fabric. "Oh, can you not feel it? The potential woven into the fabric and amplified by the inspiration that led to its make?" Talia speaks, and Ruby's face turns towards the Artist. She looks to the empty air a foot or two to her right and clucks her tongue. "It seems as though we are in for a speech. Come, lady. Sit with me." Ruby moves over to a chair nearby, assuming that Zoey will follow her.

Victus' attention is drawn toward the entrance at the appearance of a lady in red. He gives her a quick look over, then immediately turns his head to the side. Suddenly in the mood to ignore her existence, as whatever that is has been deemed 'nope'. Instead, he focuses on Donella. "There's always new problems at Maelstrom. But then again, the same is true of nearly everywhere else, eh?" He tilts his head toward Sanya then. "Of course. I think you'll like it."

Merek looks to the place in whole, observing, though seems to be keeping to himself, while he scratches his thick stubble in thought.

Zoey agrees with a quiet nod so as not to interrupt Talia, and takes a seat beside Ruby. Her eyes follow her, expression curious.

Sabella starts to reply to Victus, then notices Ruby admiring the dress, that crytal crown impossible to ignore even among the gorgeous dresses, and reaches out to grab Niklas' arm, eyes wide. She murmurs something to those around her and while her eyes flit to Talia, it's Ruby that has her attention for the moment.

Lethe takes another look at the dress. "I wouldn't say it's behind me. It's a part of me, but I mean I suppose you're right. I don't dwell on it." She looks to Donella with a smile. "Hello, have you enjoyed seeing all the gowns? You do have a good eye for fashion. I love your outfit and your hair."

Niklas watches as Ruby inspects the dress, eyebrows raising. "Ah, Evander's mother's friend. Lady ... Iridia's companion." He thinks for a second, then shrugs and leans in to hear his wife.

“When approaching the collection to represent the Mourning Isles, I knew that I wished, nothing more, than to capture the grounding traditions that they bring to the Compact, as well as the freedom of the seas and the way you represent the expanse of Mangata’s realms. I wanted to highlight the elegant austerity of your fashion and the power of oration entrusted in the women of the Mourning Isles,” Talia starts as the room grows quiet enough to allow it, this first bit of the speech memorized even as she shuffles through pieces of paper that carry the writing. “For Grimhall, I wanted to ensure that their beauty and daring, the influence of those who have married in, was paired with their intimidating core,” she gestures to Grim Crosses. “For Tyde, I wanted to ensure that their rising wealth and prosperity was captured, even while remembering a bloody, torn past,” she nods to Rising Waves. “For Kennex, I wanted to remember them as breakers of chains, the first, and as well for their tradition of instilling order on the Isles,” she tips her chin to Gale-Defiant Ships. “For Redreef, I wanted to celebrate their new femininity, as well as their armored resilience as they claim their place within the Isles,” she gestures with a wave towards the Stubborn Mermen. “And for Eswynd, I wanted to represent their merge from pirates to the clearer purpose of the Compact, bringing with them a fresh breath of air,” she nods to Heedless Winds.

As most in the room, Sanya definitely notices the strange woman entering, frowning a little. Though whatever she sees doesn't seem to startle her enough for her gaze to linger and she turns back to the high lord. "I'm sure I will. Whenever you have the time then." She says with a smile. Then she's heading over to her cousin to take a seat next to her.

Ian eyes Zoey taking a seat next to Ruby and then gives Haakon a helpless sort of look, and goes over to join him instead. Stopping beside the prodigal, he turns his attention to Talia (mostly to Talia) and listens respectfully.

Archeron claps for Talia at her explanation, smiling warmly across at her "Most excellent ideas. Most excellent!" he says, his voice raising a little before he glances to Donella "Ah, Princess Donella, please let me introduce Lady Lethe, my twin sister. While I am a thick in the head forest boy, she is the true brains of the pair of us. And a healer of great skill and intuition, though she chooses to practice it with the Harlequins."

"Darkwater of course brought beauty, grace, and wit to Grimhall." Azova jokes, nudging Sanya lightly once her cousin has seated herself nearby. A playful smile stays on her lips at that, and she sips at the wine a moment before holding up the glass to look at it more carefully. "Not usually a fan of reds, but this is nice."

Fortunato hums to himself. "How well Talia distills an idea, a concept, into a gown. What clever pieces they are, with colors both beautiful and subtle."

Sedna need not worry: Ember's handmaidens part like the Redreef sea to allow the noblewoman access to the Baroness of Redreef Shores. Ember's gaze falls upon Sedna much like it falls upon everyone else: like she might pick Sedna up, one hand at Sedna's neck and the other at her hips, and then bodily hurl her. Fortunately, no such cousin-chucking occurs. Ember instead gives a stately nod, and leans in to murmur with family for a moment. Even as she does so, her eyes scan the room, and she hushes herself in time to listen to Talia's speech. The comment about 'new femininity' actually earns a bit of a smug, triumphant smirk from the Baroness, for those with keen enough eyes to spot it before it vanishes.

Haakon regards each of the gowns in turn, though he tends to watch Talia as she speaks.. a trick of his eye and ear struggling to divide attention. A brief smile twists his scarred lip as Talia mentions a merge from piracy. To the tailor he voices unhurried, "The Marquis's wife.. will adore it." He's briefly distracted aside by Ian, to whom he mutters something back.

Perhaps too provincial to know better, Sedna brings both hands up and claps at the mention of Redreef's femininity. Quickly realizing this isn't necessarily the time for applause, she stops short at just the one clap. "Oopsie," she states clearly.

Donella passes a hand over her eyes at the speech briefly, a muscle working in her jaw. "Absolutely enchanted to see you again, my lady," says Donella. "As always, Lord Archeron, your clever sister is buttering me up, though she knows perfectly well the only taste I have is in my mouth. Possibly not there, either. I seem to have lost my apetite."

Sabella glances to Victus and gives an uncertain nod, then seems startled by Sedna's applause, but sends a smile the other woman's way since she attracted the attention, "They're all absolutely beautiful, Mistress Talia! I always think that you must have reached the epitome of creativity and talent with each collection and yet you outdo yourself every time! These dresses will be absolutely treasured by their houses I'm quite sure!"

"I don't think my father would deny it." Sanya says to Azova with a light laugh. "Few can match my mother's grace. I learned so much from her." She takes a glass of wine from a retainer.

Ian is, hopefully to the surprise of nobody, not especially interested in the dresses. Or at all interested. He barely looks at them. He does know how to at least show a polite attentiveness as Talia talks, though, keeping his mutterings to Haakon for before and after she speaks.

Talia's gaze slips over the crowd, a hint of perhaps disappointment at not finding a face in the crowd. Instead, she manages to pick out Donella's reaction in the crowd. Her lower lip is captured in her teeth, her head ducking even as a hint of tears appears. She steps from the box with a curtsy and moves to the back of the shop again.

Ruby's face shifts away from that spot neat Talia and her focus lands on Fortunato with a particular intensity. "The instinct to protect is such a *funny* thing. So many end up revealing precisely what they do not *wish* to." She tsks softly. "Such a silly thing, instinct. But in this case, now I am curious." Who she is talking to is not clear at all.

Victus offers some light applause as well. It's muted, as the Prince doesn't seem to be putting forth too much energy into anything, really. He shares a look of appreciation and a nod with Talia, rather than raising his voice. "The only disappointment I have in this whole ensemble is that Baroness Ember didn't arrive actually covered in blood."

Fortunato checked composure at difficulty 25, rolling 17 lower.

"I should think he wouldn't, Lady Sanya." Still smiling, Azova joins the rest (or most of the rest) of the crowd in applauding Talia's creativity in design for the gowns. "They're all truly lovely aren't they?"

Zoey looks in whatever direction Ruby does, sees nothing, then looks back at her in slight confusion.

Zelda, the royal messenger, 13 King's Own Guardsmen arrive, following Alaric.

Lethe looks from Donella to Archeron. "We've met a few times. Also a drink would be nice." She looks around as if looking for someone. "I haven't met everyone here, but I've met many of them."

Fortunato's glance at Ruby is really rather idle, and comes after a similarly idle comment about, "Art is not about protection or instinct--" And then, seeing her, he startles, badly. A wince back against the wall.

Donella checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.

Clapping with the rest, Sanya's smile remains even as she speaks quietly to her cousin beside her. Her attention seems to shift now and again to Ruby, though it doesn't linger, and her mirth doesn't fade.

Sedna offers helpfully as Victus mentioned Ember being covered in blood, "We tried, your Grace, but House Redreef could not gain access to Prince Niklas's rumored ham collection in time for this evening's event." She shrugs and pouts.

"I don't think," Donella says steadily, "-that funny is quiet the word that I would use for the concept of self-betrayal."

"He's almost as protective of it as his coronets," Sabella nods solemnly to Sedna, nudging Nik with an elbow and giving him a smile.

"It is a sign of the times, I must say. In *my* day, dead things stayed dead." Ruby's tone is light, conversational, even if she appears to be having a one-sided conversation with... Fortunato? Her face is angled in his direction at least. "Well, that is not really true, more's the pity. But you would think after all this time..." Fortunato's reaction only has a wide smile curling Ruby's lips. "Oh, I don't know. I have seen many a work of art be used as protection over the course of my life."

Ian's demeanor as he watches the interplay of conversations in the room, is calm -- a real calm, not the flat nothing of someone hiding more intense emotions. He's alert, electric blue eyes always moving, but looks relaxed. Even serene.

Ember tuts at Sedna in a way that is so deadpan that it's quite possibly not even meant to be ironic. "If you wanted to see me slathered in the blood of swine, then you should have accompanied me on Lord Haakon's raid of those pirates," Ember says, and again, if she's joking, she doesn't sound like she's joking. Her eyes scan the room, and fix on Ruby for a moment -- her lips move like she was going to say something else, but it never quite makes it out, and if it's possible to trail off from silence, Ember achieves it.

Niklas nods in response to Sabella's approval of the gowns. "I do wish I'd thought to pay for Melaeris to be represented, though. Ah well. The gowns as they are are beautiful. I think I'd look smashing in any of them."

Haakon turns an eye aside toward Ember when he overhears a scrap of the Redreef's conversation. "A bloody day and a fair one," he adds to the Baroness' reminiscence.

Something briefly flashes in Victus' eyes when Ember speaks. A slight grin breaking out across his face. "There are no better pirates than those who become chum for the sharks." As quick as it came it vanishes, and he's back to being rather mellow. His attention resting between Niklas and Sabella. "You funded most of these, I gather?"

Fortunato is pale, certainly, but he's no longer in full wince. If no one would call him recovered. "I suppose if you speak in abstractions," he says to Ruby, "then certainly art can be a protection in many ways. A preservation of culture, a championing of ideals or their opposites. The art of armor is a protection quite completely. Yes, I will give you the point. Art may be protection." A wan smile. "Art may be many things."

Alaric inserts himself into the crowd as approval over the gowns ripples through the showroom. "These events are always the talk of the city, and I'm pleased to have been able to make it," he says in commentary to Sabella and Niklas as he draws near. "Was the Kennex gown everything you hoped it to be?"

Sedna politely averts her eyes at the mention of the actual bloodshed from Ember and Haakan's recent adventure, electing to take a dainty sip from her wine. She doesn't encourage it, but she doesn't exactly speak out against it.

Ember gives Haakon a deep nod, some kind of noble answer to a bro-ish fist-bump. Then her eyes drift to Ruby again, and her brow furrows: gears are visibly turning behind the Baroness's eyes. Only to be interrupted once more when her handmaidens begin to gasp and chatter quietly, to the tune of 'The King!' When Alaric draws near, Ember and her ladies curtsy in such perfect unison that it might well be a little bit alarming. She doesn't address the King aloud, of course -- that's more of a 'when spoken TO' occasion. And yet, she can't stop sneaking what are increasingly becoming glares over in Ruby's direction.

Niklas shakes his head at Victus. "I'm afraid not. I was going to do so for Kennex, but they got there before me. If I'd realized Melaeris and Darkwater hadn't participated I might have funded those, but what's passed is past." When the king arrives his eyes widen and he gives a quick glance around before giving the small army of silver swords a bright smile. "Your majesty. It was beautiful. Everything I could want in a house gown and more."

"I think Niklas is a bit sad that he won't be asked to model it himself," Sabella laughs in response to Alaric, giving him a deep nod and a bit of a curtsy considering the crowd, "Likewise, I would have loved to have sponsored some other houses! Perhaps for the next collection," she replies to Victus, looking over to Talia as if to confirm there will be another collection.

Ruby's attention shifts to the glass mannequin and the gown therein. "That would be *exactly* what I was seeing from afar. My, my." Ruby gets to her feet and begins moving towards the prismatic freedom gown. "I am assuming that you were behind this, then?" The words are spoken vaguely in Talia's direction. She looks the gown over and says, "It shines." Hearing the phrase 'your majesty', Ruby turns, her chin lifting slightly, though she finally recognizes Alaric's presence and her lips pull so very slightly to the side. Her crown of loose crystals float and shift in their tight orbit around her head, while the diamond solitare hovering over her brow simply shimmers in rainbow spectacle.

Alaric delivers a regal smile and accompanying raise of his glass of wine to the differential greetings tilted his way as his presence is inevitably discovered. "Such synchrony, Baroness Redreef, is to be admired," he compliments Ember on the flawless execution of line curtseying. "Do you think you could tell me your secrets? I have the idea to see if I can convince the Grayson children to do the same and perhaps unsettle Niklas," he looks to Niklas, feigning as though he hadn't been plotting against him again. "I'm pleased to hear it, though perhaps we'll be fortunate and Talia might consider adding a fetching ensemble for him. Maybe an honorary addition to the Grayson or Kennex legacy pieces?"

Talia doesn't answer Ruby. She does answer Sabella, tipping her chin and murmuring a quiet, "Crownlands, next. And then the Sword of the Faith and I have been talking about perhaps a collection for the Faith." She worries at a loose piece of skin on her lower lip, finally glancing towards Ruby and Forunato, and then towards the gown on the glass mannequin.

Now Sanya's attention does linger on the woman, when she approaches the prismatic freedom gown. She furrows her brows, curious.

Fortunato clasps his hands. His hands are, in fact, slightly shaking, but he clasps them. He glances at Alaric, and then bows, then straightens and glances at Talia. "I hope the Faith gowns will include one for each god. What an exquisite symbolic challenge that will be."

"Your majesty." The Grimhall adds, belatedly, noting the king's entrance. A flicker of a smile on her lips.

Ember is so busy glaring at Ruby -- or maybe Zoey? -- that Alaric speaking to her very nearly catches her off-guard. Her gaze doesn't soften at all when it sets upon the King. She still looks like she might try to bodyslam him. "Your words honor me, Your Majesty, but even moreso they honor my ladies. To be in Arx, to be in the presence of a King -- they work hard for that privilege. To have it recognized by His Majesty himself will be no doubt something their grandchildren will hear about." Ember's handmaidens suppress giggles, but Ember herself still seems to have no humor whatsoever. Her eyes fix on Sabella next, and she moves closer to say something quietly.

Niklas nods at Fortunato's words. "Sabella and I would be proud to help to donate to crafting a gown for Jayus, I think. Though after seeing what we've seen so far, I doubt the Faith will leave this project unfounded."

"Boooooooooring." Ruby chimes in the wake of Fortunato's suggested hope. "Come now, where is that daring spirit of innovation and spectacle? Why limit one's self to only one side of the cosmic equation." Ruby shakes her head and casts a vague look towards Fortunato. "I would have expected better."

Azova follows Sanya's gaze, lingering on the gown before tracking towards Alaric. "Your Majesty." Polite, and quiet. Mention of gowns for the Faith further brighten her already cheerful expression though, and she pipes up a bit more. "I would love to see a gown celebrating Lagoma. That would be quite incredible I think. I shall look forward to it."

When Ruby's crown does that flashing thing, Sabella stares at it with what is certainly not jealousy. Absolutely not! Her tiara might not rearrange itself and sparkle like that and be that amazing, but it's fine. It's fine! Also looking at that fantastic crown means looking at Ruby and she's trying very very hard to nonchalantly not do that in a way that is distressingly obvious, "Crownlands! Fantastic! Do let me know who is and is not participating if you have the inclination and I shall try to make sure everyone is represented! And while I'm sure the Faith will take care of it, if I can help sponsor a gown in favor of Jayus I'd be glad to!" When Ember steps over Sabella smiles. Smiling is great! She's just full of smiles. And nods to Ember, murmuring something in return.

"Ah, your majesty." Prince Victus greets the King with a stiff bow. "I'm so happy your jealousy does not weigh you down so much that you cannot leave the palace." His tone is cuttingly dry. "Don't look over there." The Prince made a vague gesture in Ruby's direction, though didn't elaborate further. Instead, he replies to Niklas. "Ah well. I'm happy for the houses that did manage to find themselves a spot. I don't know up from down when it comes from good fashion sense, but all of this is very..." His hand hovers in the air as his mind grinds for a proper title. "... Uhh... Pretty. It's very pretty."

Ian continues to stand beside Haakon, watching the proceedings in an alert, serene silence.

Haakon turns a look aside as thirteen knights enter the showroom around a crowned man. Idly, aside to Ian he muses, "So that's the King." Head canting to a curious angle in regard of the monarch.

Fortunato glances at Niklas. "Ah! Jayus will be difficult to represent, if I know Talia is up to the task if anyone is. He encompasses so much of color and form and -- experimentation." He does not quite look at Ruby as he appends, "The other side of the cosmic equation certainly has its artistic purpose. I have done a number of pieces myself. I prefer Talia's light, however. Not everyone is meant to scour themselves." There's a light undercurrent of pleading, there.

Since Ruby has moved on to look at the other gown, Zoey rises from her seat and goes to Ian's side. "Yes, that is his Majesty," she confirms to Haakon.

Ian slips an arm around Zoey's waist when she gets close enough for him to do so, and leaves it there, keeping her beside him.

"Yes," Sorrel echoes Victus thoughtfully. "It's all very very pretty. So many bright shiny things. So much shiny." She looks to Alaric and offers him a polite bow.

Talia's brows knit together, confused, as she looks to Fortunato. But she nods quietly, answering, "Yes, only the gods for now. I know-- so very little about the rest." She offers a hesitant smile towards Ruby, as she adds with a flush, "I do think a gown inspired by you would look beautiful."

With a lift of his glass, Alaric aims a charming smile toward Sanya. "Lady Sanya," he returns. "I trust you've been enjoying yourself? Perhaps you'll point me to where House --" And then Victus is imposing his dry commentary upon him, so he turns his head to just laugh at the man. "Jealousy? I promise, I would never be anything of the such." Ember's distracted air begets a curious look upon the source of her glaring. "Your words flatter me, my lady; however, I hope that all is well...?"

"Then perhaps in order to do the whole thing justice," Ruby says as she prowls around the glass mannequin holding the freedom gown, "You and the vessel should collaborate. You the dark, she the light. So kind to let her play safely. You do her a disservice though. Then again," Ruby's face angles back to that void space, her smile growing, "It is not as though she is the source of anything afterall." Ruby looks back to the freedom gown and nods, "I'll take it. You have my thanks." She makes a motion with one hand, an idle gesture nothing more, and the steelsilk gown vanishes from the mannequin before Ruby steps with deliberate purpose towards Alaric.

Archeron smirks a little as he catches a little of the discourse around Ruby "Mm. The other side of the cosmic balance....somehow I struggle to see cousin Reveka just strolling into port. Well. Actually I can see that, but I'm not as certain everyone would /like/ that. Come to say that, I am struggling to remember her in a dress from when I was a child."

Donella's mouth opens, her expression stunned.

Azova tries not to gawk, really she does. But ... "Did..." That really just happen? It really did.

Ian looks far, FAR less surprised than he ought do. He pushes a hand through his grey speckled hair and looks, just for a moment, very weary.

Sanya checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

a mannequin made of glass is now unlocked.

Sabella briefly touches Ember's arm as she says something, then takes her hand back quickly with an apologetic smile, "It could have been worse," she tells the other woman, "I'm usually a hugger!" But she does not actually move to hug Ember. Maybe because with Ruby headed this way she takes in a sharp breath and moves a bit closer to Niklas, eyes wide, the smile on her face a bit frozen.

Ruby takes prismatic freedom, a seraphim steelsilk gown from a mannequin made of glass.

Sedna lets out a brief and quiet scream, her hand going to her breasts as if to protect them from disappearing next.

Alaric checked composure + diplomacy at difficulty 40, rolling 5 higher.

Talia's lips part, tears springing to her eyes as she looks to the empty mannequin and back towards Ruby. "No, please--," she starts, but then stops herself.

Ember is looking away wen Ruby makes the gown disappear. So are all but one of her ladies, focused on something else for a moment, the Baroness herself locked in hushed, tense conversation with Sabella. It's only the one of her ladies who sees the gown vanish, and the color leaves her face when it happens. When Ember and the other handmaidens turn back toward the action, it's that one handmaiden who stammers in full 'g-g-g-g-g-ghost' voice, "She-- She-- She--"

"It's..." Sanya's about to gesture to the Grimhall gown /until/ she sees the woman somehow vanish the gown within its container. She manages to keep herself composed, though no more words leave her lips as she watches the Rex approach the king.

"Oh fuck all that." Victus murmurs aloud, reaching for the nearest glass of champagne and taking a /long/ swig. He takes a purposeful step to be beside the King. Not in front nor behind. Just right next to him. You know, as /friends/.

Fortunato steps forward. Toward Talia and toward the mannequin, without directly approaching Ruby. It's marginally protective. Not that he looks up to actually protecting anyone. Uh. Maybe from a small dog. "Sure. Fine. You want to commission, commission me, not her. Although I hope you want paint, because my tailoring skills are pretty much shit."

Zoey's eyes go wide in a look of amazement, but after a whispered word from Ian her expression grows worried.

Ian murmurs something in a low tone to Zoey and Haakon, with the slightest tightening of his grip on his wife's waist while he does so.

"Ah, that's really a gorgeous dress, isn't it?" Sorrel says to Ruby with a pleasant smile as the woman walks over to where she stands near Victus and Alaric, one hand resting on the hilt of a sword. Not in a threatening way. Just out of habit. "Red's my preferred color, though."

"Dumbest thing I've ever done," murmurs Niklas to himself before he steps in on the other side of Alaric, giving the king a smile and saying, "You never did tell me what the prince had to say about my book. We'll have to chat about that eventually."

Azova starts to look worried now, reaching out with her hand to grasp Sanya's sleeve and tug backwards protectively. Got to look out for family, right? For now all else she can do is watch and wait, though an expression full of empathy is directed towards Talia.

Ruby was totally heading for the King, but *something* seems to snag her attention sharply away. She looks down at her own arm and begins to laugh, a dark, rich thing. "Oh I am *nothing* like other silks. And I will see your vessel properly compensated. But have a care, I do not play with dead things. Cross me and I will harken back to my husband's gifts." With that, Ruby turns back to Alaric and waits, patiently.

After a hushed word exchanged with the royalty at his side, Alaric turns to provide a polite reception for Ruby's arrival. His expression presents a composed, regal smile, though even he isn't quite sure what to make of that momentary lapse of attention to carry a side conversation. "You know how to stir the room into quite a frenzy. A skill to be admired," he acknowledges mildly of Ruby. "Though I'm remiss that I'll never get a good look at that gown."

Backing away a little when Azova tugs at her sleeve, Sanya keeps close to her cousin, though her attention doesn't stray from the king.

Up close, Ruby's eyes are less blank voids and more faint circles of white on white on white, gleaming with a pearlescent hue and glowing just a little. The pointed tips of her ears are crystal tips among the seething waves of blood red hair that falls in perfect waves well past her shoulders. She squares off, facing the king fully, her carmine lips curved into a bow. "Oh, frenzy and I are long time partners, you see. But do not think that all I do is cause trouble. Sometimes I simply need a little beauty. A chance to rub elbows with the ... little people." There is a vague gesture around the room. "Trouble comes for you, little Alaric. The wind smells of smoke and blood and the ground rumbles, preparing for war." Her voice takes on a hollow, almost prophetic tone. "Take stock of your strengths and count your enemies. Choose your battles wisely. Spread yourself and your people too thin and lose everything." There is a pause, "Not that I care, honestly, one way or another. The squabbles of children have no bearing on me. One way or the other, the world and all within it are mine. Though... I suppose I do not like it when other people break *my* toys." She turns to look to Talia and says, "For the dress... I grant you an unprecedented three boons. Choose them wisely, choose them well. When you are ready, speak my name into a mirror in the thirteenth hour and I shall arrive."

Talia's eyes widen a little, a flicker of confusion and hesitation in her expression. She glances sidelong briefly to Fortunato, before she nods to Ruby with a low, deep curtsy.

Fortunato stands next to Talia. He trembles, slightly, and says nothing else. He's a poor shield, but here he is.

Sedna opts to recede partially behind Ember's wall of maids.

Ember's maids are all various degrees of speechless and cowering, but the Baroness herself is staring at Ruby unblinkingly like she's trying to read words written on the inside of Ruby's skull.

Something that Ruby says seems to surprise Sabella, enough that the frozen smile softens a bit into a real one. Though she still doesn't look overlong at Ruby herself. That crown though. She tears her gaze away from it and looks to Alaric instead, looking for as strange as it might seem, brightly inspired.

Lethe watches Ruby with some fascination in her eyes. She remains where she is and says something to those nearby.

Merek looks over to Ruby, with complete perplexion then lifts up his brow. He doesn't comment, not sure what all this is about, "What... This part of the... Thing?"

Archeron lifts an eyebrow at all that is going on and the oddly otherworldly attributes. He harumphs after a few moments and looks to Lethe and Donella "Dear Sister, your highness, I think I had better take my leave. Such things.....well. I always worry it will attract unwanted attention from my hunter. I wish you both a lovely evening."

"I think I'll be heading back to the longhouse. My head..." Sanya says to Azova, before heading for the exit.

3 Grimhall House Guards leaves, following Sanya.

As Ruby draws near and squares off against him, Alaric is unflinching in his calm regard of her. "You warning is heeded and taken to heart by us all," he asserts firmly, perhaps a trace of gratitude to his intonation, before his voice lowers to deliver a quiet word, seeming to catch that strangely inspired look Sabella sends his way, which is met with a pensive set of his brow.

Ian murmurs to Zoey: "We're due at Lady Cecilia's dinner." He guides her out the door, which he was never far from in the first place.

Ruslana, an aide in Kennex livery, 2 Kennex corsairs leave, following Zoey.

Zoey leaves, following Ian.

Azova gives Sanya's arm a squeeze, and nods. Letting go of that sleeve was not easy! But, now that her cousin has gone she feels better about making her quiet way towards the exit so she can be on time where she is due next.

Orion, a healer's surly Assistant, 2 Redoubt Buccaneers leave, following Azova.

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens leaves, following Ember.

Abruptly, Ruby's face turns unerringly towards Ember and she feints a lunge towards the staring baronness. "Come little one. Do you really wish to attempt violence among all this beauty?" Ruby arches a brow, her smile in place, leaning in briefly to hear Alaric's words. She returns the murmur and then nods. "Until next time..." And with that, Ruby makes to depart.

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens arrives, following Ember.

Niklas looks from Ruby to Talia and back, looking a little alarmed. Though when the woman speaks to Alaric alarm turns to a faint frown at her words, forehead creasing, but otherwise expression mostly kept in check. When he looks back at Sabella his eyes widen marginally at her expression, saying nothing. Alaric's acknowledgment gets a nod.

Merek checked composure at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 25, rolling 1 higher.

Ember wets her lips like she might respond to Ruby's taunt... but shows restraint that is not exactly part of her personal legend. She makes a noise like some kind of annoyed grunt, and then lifts her hand in a motion that her ladies understand -- 'we're leaving.' And so Ember turns and marches on out of Elegant Impressions. She does not look back. Her handmaidens do, and they're petrified.

Merek looks like he's about to leap between the two when Ruby feints towards Ember, then he realizes that she's not actually going to do anything. He then keeps back, looking utterly perplexed. He does not know what to make this all. "Who... Is that?" he asks. To whoever, when no answer to his earlier question came.

A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens leaves, following Ember.

Sedna presses her hand to her heart once again as Ember becomes Ruby's focus. Expression aghast, she shows absolutely no restraint and hurriedly accompanies her cousin out.

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

Talia repeats Merek's question, though she breathes it out with her held breath to Fortunato as she asks, "Who was that?"

Sabella watches Ruby go, taking a deep breath and turning to extend a hand to Niklas with a brilliant smile, apparently in a great mood now despite being pretty terrified for most of the evening, "We're supposed to go to Cecelia's dinner as well, but let's linger a moment or two." There's a look over to Talia, one that is a bit sympathetic, "Mistress Talia, as I'm sure Master Fortunato will warn you, please be very, very, very careful if you do ever decide to use what you've been given for that gown. Though I would not recommend using them at all."

Fortunato takes a deep breath. He seems to be better able to obtain oxygen with the woman gone. "Ruby, I believe. Usually calling her Red in a vain attempt not to get her attention. Well." He scrubs his face with a long hand. "Suppose you have her attention." He glances at Sabella. "It's difficult to leave such a thing in a chest forever. It's an open offer. A temptation. Like a scratch under your scalp."

Merek checked willpower at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.

Alaric is overheard praising Talia: A wonderful presentation of ingenuity and talent yet again.

"I try not to answer questions like that anymore," says Niklas in response to Talia. "But she came, did whatever she wanted and left without," he waves a hand, "liquifying anyone. So that's nice." He nods at Fortunato's words. "Nightingale Gianna will be so upset that someone stole it before she could."

"That Red?" Merek asks, seeming to restrain himself enough not to use Ruby. He then looks to Fortunato, seeming to wait for his answer, in thought. He knows of only one trio of gem names you wouldn't want to use that involves Ruby. He inhales, then he seems to tense.

Talia's lower lip catches between her teeth at Sabella's response. She moves to close the door to her shop to any newcomers, and effectively ending the fashion show. "I suppose, a lot like the gown left on that mannequin. Seraph Prism did warn me not to leave it unworn," she says quietly.

"Rather tragic. I'd have enjoyed wearing it, but I'm not the sort to just swipe things off of mannequins," Sorrel sighs, sounding a bit disappointed. "It was very lovely, though."

"I'm sure Talia can make such a wonderful gown again, but iterations on the same theme may not be her style." Fortunato exhales. Hard. He shakes his shoulders. "It's hard to leave a thing undone. Equivalent of seeing a door open and barricading yourself in a corner so as not to go out into the sun. No, I think Talia will have to use her boons. I hope she survives it." He clears his throat. He looks around the room. "I'm also glad no one died."

Sabella gives a brief nod to Merek to confirm what he said, "I think so. This is the third time I've seen her out and about and she's...very bold about not hiding who she is at all," there's another nod to Fortunato and a brief smile, "I likely would not be able to help myself, it's true. But Mistress Talia, do be very careful with your wording. Perhaps run it by Master Fortunato here before you do ask for anything so that he can help...lessen the consequences. For I think boons from a fractal are much like being invited to participate in a Nox'alfar folly. Perhaps even more dangerous."

"Having been commissioned by a Fractal, yes, I'd concur with Princess Sabella's advice," Sorrel says with a nod to Talia, wrinkling her nose slightly.

"You-- really think there's a possibility I wouldn't survive it?" Talia questions, eyes widening. She looks towards Sabella, before she nods. "I-- I will. Maybe Grayson will know, what is needed. Especially given--." She trails off, glancing towards Alaric with the echo of Ruby's warning to him in the silence of the shop.

Kalb, the chill bodyguard arrives, following Nisaa.

Alaric draws away from hushed conversations carried with lingering guests, then moves to make his departure. His empty wine glass is set aside on a table in passing. "You've the best advice from the most experienced of us, Talia. I believe you'll fare just fine. Take great care and heed the warnings you're given, for I intend to do the same," he intones with a touch of humor.

Talia curtsies low to the king (and her kin), inclining her chin.

Merek seems to be distant a moment, while he thinks to something, then he nods, while he takes a moment to offer his hat to Meeka, then he pulls a cloak about him. "Talia, you're a great Merchant, try not to worry a lot upon it." He then looks to people, while he sighs, then a look to Alaric. "Your Majesty, would love to see you on the snowball fighting fields again sometime." A little smile.

"Follies can only kill you. Fractals are not so easy. Still." Fortunato nods toward Talia. "We'll, uh, discuss it. Multiple times, most like."

Victus finishes off his drink. With a few more murmurs to those around him, he takes a step back. "Was a wonderful show. Very pretty. My compliments to the seamstress." Setting down the empty glass, Victus turns to give a stiff bow to Talia. With that, he makes for the exit.

Alaric tips a saluting wave toward Merek. "Until we meet again on the battle field of snows, Sir Black. It will be some time before winter is upon us, but I am in no rush to bring it in."

Nisaa enters the showroom with a bit of tinkling from the bells upon her clothing. When she sees those gathered, she immediately drops into a low curtsey before the King. "Your Majesty," she says loud enough for him to hear if he chooses, but soft enough to not interrupt conversation and seem rude. Once she straightens, she gives a small, sweeping bow to the rest of the nobility. "I am sorry I am late. I just wished to sneak a peek at the dresses before I was not being able." Her voice is thickly accented, but clear.

Talia nods to Fortunato, but then Nisaa enters and her attention is pulled. She smiles in soft apology, offering her, "I was just-- about to pack them up to send to their Houses. I am afraid the fashion show is over." She curtsies to the Whisper, before she moves to start taking the first gown off the mannequin, perhaps a little sadly.

Alaric inclines his head to Nisaa when her greeting toward him catches his attention. "Mistress Whisper," he acknowledges amiably. "I can say with confidence that you may be glad to have missed the most of the excitement and can enjoy viewing the collection peace. Enjoy yourself."

Zelda, the royal messenger, 13 King's Own Guardsmen leave, following Alaric.

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