Fidante Family Dinner II
Aug. 21, 2020, 9:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Fidante Villa - Ballroom
Comments and Log
(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The Fidante Ballroom is transformed into a spectacular Autumnal splendor. Torean Dawn roses cascade from various glass and cut crystal vases along the length of the impressive dining room table. The blooms are also woven into wreaths and garland that decorate the doors, walls, and chandeliers. The delicate scent of apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg dreamily waft around the room while a crackling fire dances in the hearth. A taste of Tor intermingles with the cooler temperatures of Arx for a one of a kind culinary experience.
The Fidante Family Dinner is so alluring that the decadent scents travel out from the kitchen, through the ballroom and out into the courtyard, singing their own version of a siren's song to those who arrive. The staff and the Duchess do hope all those who come this evening have showed up with empty bellies and full hearts.
Esme saunters in because she's on time. That's right. On. Time. Her own gown matches the colors of the autumn hued room and the lady pauses to take it all in. "I love autumn. I love all the colors. I love the nip in the air." She tosses her auburn hair as she comes in to see who's around the ballroom already. Her eyes sliding over the way to look for a certain Duchess.
Brigida has joined the an oak sofa upholstered in a rich burgundy silk.
It's not a long walk from the new DiFidante villa, just across the plaza, and there isn't even any snow yet to get in the way to slow down the marquis and marquessa. Lora and Dante make a less than grand arrival together, arm in arm, though it's Lora chiefly responsible for them stopping just a step or two over the threshold so she can close her eyes and breathe in the varied scents, floral and savory and full of promise. "Almost like home," she murmurs, probably to her husband, who she then releases so that she can go give various relatives familiar greetings, airy kisses almost to the cheek.
Technically speaking, Cristoph and Mabelle are not really Fidantes! But do they count as Fidante adjacent? Yes, maybe. No. Definitely, yes. Yes. The duke has managed to change into something that isn't just a nearly identical version of the same outfit he wears all the time and he enters the ballroom escorting his younger cousin. They're mid-conversation and it seems like he's listening to something that has him furrowing his eyebrows up thoughtfully. "Hm. No, I don't know. But I can check," he's answering. Then his eyes rest approvingly on the decor, "Oh, it's very nice here. Look at the roses."
Brigida has been here a while already, the venerable Archlector of Petrichor settled into a seat on the sofa and just basking in the presence of everything Tor. She is quiet for the most part, sipping her wine and people watching, her staff occupying the sofa beside her.
Orick is wearing his vest best tunic, which is to say the very same tunic he wears most days of the week, and his hair is styled into a messy mop of expressive brown pieces. He moves through the gathering with a stoop to his posture and a modest grin on his face as he greets family and friends with a polite inflection of the lower class. "M'lady, M'lord.." And such as he looks for a place to sit down and be his usual unassuming self.
Mabelle takes in the scent of apples, informing Cristoph, "Roses? I see one", she nods her head toward Calista and offers her a wide smile, "Cousin, what a lovely little feast you have here!". Airy kisses, yes yes. On her part Mabelle is wearing velvet, of course, high collared but a neckline plunge to cover for it. She wiggles her fingers to the familiar places she knows, before concentrating on the host.
"Just one?" Cristoph poses back to Mabelle as they move through the room, but then her quip becomes clear. A smile is offered to Calista along with a quick bow. "Cousin, good to see you again. I hope that you don't mind us dropping in on your dinner." After greetings are exchanged, he steps back and sweeps the room over with his eyes. A polite smile is offered for anyone even remotely familiar to the man. The Archlector is of course noted and from his position, he tips his head to Brigida.
Last minute arrangements are made and servants are still flitting about lighting candles to make certain there is the -right- amount of illumination in the room. Calista had decided on a specific number. She chose the scent, the textiles for the table runner, even a change of the drapery had to be made in order to compliment the rest of the evening's decor. She's hired minstrels to play over in the corner for her guests. Sight, Smell, Touch, Auditory, and of course Taste are all accounted for. If one feels they have been gently seduced by the Duchess of Roses' approach to a family dinner, they would not be wrong. This was done so on purpose. Seasilks that move with her fluid steps cling in just the right place but never too obvious. The illusion is part of the game, naturally. Family and loved ones filter in and are greeted with flutes of Rose-Gold champagne. She moves to greet each of them, Esme first, then the DiFidantes starting with Lora, then Dante, and moving onto the Fidante-adjacent, Mabelle and Cristoph. "I need to have more family gatherings." She beams at all of them. "Please, find a seat anywhere you like, make yourselves comfortable. Thank you for coming. I was afraid I would have to eat all this food by myself." She teases. It would take an army to eat all this! Upon Orick's arrival, she moves to greet the man. "In the flesh, Master Orick, welcome. I am happy you could make it. I hope your time in Arx has been pleasant so far." And of course, how can she forget Brigida. "Auntie, you slipped in without noticing. You will have to teach me your stealthy ways."
Esme cants her head towards Orick for a moment with a vibrant smile. Her smile is always bright and sunny as she moves over towards Dante and Lora. There is an expectant look towards their arms as she's looking for a little person to be with them. Of course, all the others get a smile. "Oh, Duke... I suppose this means we have to have warm milk?" She's not bitter about being made to drink that. Not at all.
Brigida gives Cristoph a thin smile from her position on her sofa before given Calista another, warmer one "Ah... the truth of the matter is I told them not to announce me or to inform you I was here. They fretted a bit but realised it was in their best interest to do what I told them."
"Oh, yes, Duchess, how kind of you inquire about my time in Arx, its been simply splendid. I was recently asked to act as a Voice for the Apothecary College. So, settling in nicely, yes, and finding my stride." Orick nods politely and offers a wave to Esme, but saying to Calista, "It is wonderful to finally meet you and be able to see one of those beautiful gatherings first hand."
Mabelle's eyes find Dante and Lora, "Good evening Marquessa, Marquis. It has been far too long since I have last seen you and my heartfelt congratulations for the birth of your child", she smiles warmly, "I pray they bring you happiness and peace for years to come". Esme and Brigida gets an incline of her head, Orick a wink of familiarity, "Do you think they have bread here to check your theory?", she teases him before begining her search of cake. "I want cake", Cristoph is informed. As if that is supposed to shock him.
Having received an invitation, Amund makes his way into the Fidante Villa, albeit a little later than usual. His cloak is held in place by his Mendiluze pin, a token from a mission accomplished in the lands of Tor. His weapons are all peacebound with reinforced leather. The knight keeps to himself, offering bows of his head to the assembled nobility, and a deeper one to their hostess before he straightens and makes his way to the left corner of the table.
"I'm so surprised to hear you say that," Cristoph replies to Mabelle, his tone so dry that his surprise might be believable! If it weren't for the hint of a smile he produces at the end to soften it. When Esme speaks to him, his eyebrows raise slightly and that smile grows a bit wider. "No, no. I'd never come to another's house and insist that they provide anything other than they were absolutely comfortable with. But if you'd like warm milk, I'm sure I can have some delivered from the Valardin ward." He wouldn't... would he?
"You really ought to have more of them," Lora agrees with Calista before letting her go on to her guests. "Or else we'll be forced to, and it just don't be the same." Esme is the only one to get a hug, but who's counting? Even Brigida is likely to get a kiss very near her cheek, archlector's smacky-staff or no, whereas Cristoph is going to end up with a very formalish little bow of her head before she smiles at him, despite his milk drinking, and Mabelle. "We've happiness in abundance. Peace though? Mmm. I think it's liable to be years before we get any of that again, but that seems to be the nature of children. Gods bless good nannies." Orick and Amund too get careful little tilts of her head, and then she does finally take a seat.
Orick catches the quip from Mabelle on her way past and he belatedly calls out, "Yes? Lots of bread.." Adding in a softer more confused voice, seemingly for his own benefit, "Not really that sort of theory though.."
Mabelle offers a fleeting smile to Amund as he enters, passing it over to Lora before long, "Gods Bless them indeed". She does laugh when Orick mentions its not the same theory, keeping her upbeat demeanour, she informs him: "Then we shall have to create another". Off she goes to the dessert table.
A perfectly orchestrated choreography of servants bobbing and weaving in and out of the room happens in near perfect timing to the music that drifts into the air around the guests. Instead of individual plates served to each person, large platters and bowls are placed in the center of the large mahogany table. Grilled vegetables native to Tor and Arx are dressed in a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, topped with cracked pepper and sprinkled with a hint of sea salt. Baskets of fresh, warm bread are placed in various intervals along the table, between wooden bowls of leafy greens and herbs. A dressing of oil and lemon with salt is tossed into the greens and quartered vine tomatoes. The first course is being served.
As the platters make their way into the ballroom slash dining room, Calista gestures for her guests to find a seat. "I think I will have to do just that. Perhaps even themed dinners just for fun!" She agrees with Lora. The Duchess then welcomes Amund and offers the man a little squeeze of his arm. "I am so happy you were able to come after all. Eat, drink, be merry."
Perhaps it was later than he intended to arrive, but the marquis stepped foot into the ballroom to see roses and glass decorations everywhere. It turned an already impressive room into a magnificent one. Despite the bite of autumn's chill in the air, the silks he wore seemed to be made for warming climes. Even so, the black outfit he wore was one most were accustomed to seeing him in and the charming smile curled over lips was just as familiar.
And just in time for food! He wasn't late after all, but right on time! His first stop, before finding a seat was to Calista with a growing grin coming with each step. "Duchess Calista." He bowed, just a few steps from her before closing the distance once more and kissing each cheek in friendly greeting. "You look gorgeous, my lady. As does your estate." He turned away after a moment to look over the rest of the gathered and offered warm smiles to all in attendance he knew and polite nods for those he was soon to.
In response to Lora's formal bow of her head, Cristoph returns the exchange in a similar. "I apologize, I can't remember if we've met or not," he says to her with an apologetic note in his voice. "Duke Cristoph Laurent--" a vague gesture to Mabelle as she departs for the dessert table and then over to Calista. "Cousin to many. Apparently," he jokes, smile crooked.
Esme has no baby to take but oh there is a big hug for Lora and Dante if she can grapple him. However, THE DUKE is talking and Esme chokes. Her features go a bit green for a moment as she offers a smile to Cristoph. "You know, there is more than enough here. Perhaps next time." She slides over close to offer a small comment to the man. Then Gaspar is here. There is a wider smile for him, "Gasper, look at you. I feel as if it has been a million years."
Also, Cristoph smiles at Esme when she whispers to him. He simply shrugs his shoulders and affects an utterly innocent expression.
Brigida actually allowed the kiss to the cheek from Lora, not even twitching a hand for her staff. She does seem a might distracted however from the events, sipping her wine and rubbing her charm of Petrichor as she knits her brow in thought.
Mabelle pauses. We need to eat food -before- the dessert? That is unheard of. She bribes the server with something. It looks sparkly. Is that an amber? Doesnt matter. It gets her cake. She wiggles the fork to Gaspar, "Congratulations to you too!". Brief. Precises. Shortens waiting time for cake.
"Marquis Tessere!" Calista greets with a warm enthusiasm at Gaspar's arrival. "Welcome and many congratulations to you and Marquessa Sabine. It is good to see you. Grab a drink, make yourself comfortable. It looks as though we are about to begin eating." The Duchess claims a seat for herself and has her glass of Rose-Gold refilled. Bottles of wine aplenty and drinks of all kinds can be requested. "How is everyone doing? You all look well and healthy. I am so thankful for this seemingly quiet respite of time." Emerald eyes spy the Oathlanders a moment, her attention flitting between Cristoph and Mabelle. "I was told the Princess-Consort was not pleased at the former High Lord's departure."
Cupcake finds Mabelle in the middle of the cake. She knows better than to interrupt the cake. She mumbles something to Mabelle which makes her fork drop to the plate and round her eyes, "Fire?" then she looks at Cristoph, mumbling something to him in urgency. To Calista, she offers a balm, "Probably just an aching heart for a departing loved one".
"Thank you, my Lady," Amund's lips curl into a faint smile to Calista, bowing his head again to the Duchess, gratefully, after the squeeze of his arm and the words of welcome. "I will," he says as he straightens. True to his fame as a grim-faced, unsmiling man, that smile lasts a few moments before fading as he settles down, though his eyes follow Calista for a moment before he reaches for a goblet, looking at a servant standing nearby with a bottle of strong wine. As conversation shifts to Valardin affairs, he seems to opt to imbibe a little of the drink.
"I'm sure that no spouse is ever pleased with the sudden departure of their partner," Cristoph offers with a practiced politeness on the subject. When Mabelle murmurs to him, he frowns. "Eadric did /what/?" That sounds less happy. An apologetic smile is offered to Calista, "Excuse us. Seems there's something that we need to take care of at the manse. But thank you for dinner, perhaps we'll return for another! And actually stay fo dessert." Then he's sweeping to his feet and depating! Mabelle in turn.
Cupcake, a cookie girl leaves, following Mabelle.
2 Valardin Knights, Mabelle leave, following Cristoph.
Esme smiles as she finds a place to recline in all her feline glory. She sort of watches the people move around her for now.
Nevermore, the sulking raven, 3 Fidante House Guards arrive, following Narcissa.
Gaspar found his seat and was quite ready to dig into the food being served. A chunk of bread was cut and taken for himself, still warmed and now-slathered in butter. There was little quite like fresh-baked bread. At the rapid departure of the Laurents, a depart wave was given to both Cristoph and Mabelle, followed by a soft chuckle. "Oathlanders." Wait, where did that inspiration come from? The marquis turned to Lora and smiled all the more warmly to her, followed by a quick wink, before looking back to the duchess. "All is well enough with the Tessere, duchess. We are ready for things to settle in the city and for the departure of the maelstrom, but other than that? No complaints."
The so-called family style dinner is maybe particularly appreciated and Lora picks out a bit of this and that, pairing it with Tor's famous sparkling wine, the glass of which she lifts in greeting to Gaspar when he slinks in. The toast is kept as the Laurents make their fire-fast departure though, which leaves her blinking for just a moment. Then! Then. "The maelstrom can leave any time. Though I suppose at this rate it'll be there until spring and then hopefully will melt away with the thaw, so commerce can finally resume the way it's meant to. Otherwise, far ports are going to soon see a swift uptick in trade, and maybe not for the best."
Better late than never, Narcissa shows up eventually to the dinner while wiping some ink from her fingers with a spare cloth. The reason for her tardiness is evident, the quill still stuck behind her ear as she beams a smile at them all. "Does any of the wine remain? Are we on dessert now?"
Brigida may have actually fallen asleep on the sofa, head bowed and still.
Brigida has left the an oak sofa upholstered in a rich burgundy silk.
Keski, a nervous disciple of Petrichor have been dismissed.
Aletta, an even more nervous disciple of Petrichor have been dismissed.
1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.
Oswald, the war pig have been dismissed.
a lively Ostrian gelding have been dismissed.
Daisy, the overly enthusiastic Keaton pygmy goat have been dismissed.
Esme stretches out a bit more as she rolls her shoulders. "So what good gossip does everyone have? New love lives? New break ups? New lands? New things that go bump in the night?" Her brilliantly emerald shaded eyes slide from one person to the other.
"Surprised people aren't sending caravans to Bastion," Amund remarks as he holds his goblet aloft, studying its contents. He knocks it back in a deep gulp, setting it on the table as he looks at Esme. "Haven't you heard about the attack in the House of Solace?"
Calista lifts her glass to Gaspar, then to Lora before welcoming Narcissa. "Welcome, welcome cousin. No, we are still on our first course!" Naturally, things are slower in the 'south' "We are taking it easy, enjoying ourselves. Apparently our Laurent cousins had to leave before finishing their meals. Something about a fire. Santino, remind me to follow up with Cristoph to make sure all is well." Then back to the darkest rose, "And gossiping a little." More plates and bowls are set, baked fish, pasta with different sauces, roasted chicken with tiny roasted red potatoes. "Esme inquires, my ears tingle. Sadly, I know nothing of things that go bump in the night, but I am thinking of becoming a noble matchmaker." Her smile deepens and her eyes crinkle with mischief.
The lifted wine glass was returned to Lora with a grin. "We can only hope. There is already a great deal of trade diverted away and with the need for food supplies due to the winter? It will be interesting to see how things are adapted." A soft chuckle to Esme before nodding to Amund. "That was quite the thing, I heard. I went to see Lady Brigid and there was a great deal of carnage even two days after the attack." It was rare to see the man with a grave expression and perhaps he didn't have one yet, but it wasn't far from it. "The talk of /what/ exactly caused the attack seems to be more interesting to those hungry for intrigue."
"You seem to have a very certain thing in mind you are looking for, dear cousin." Narcissa intones to Esme with a flick of her golden eyes while she takes her seat. Her raven perches on the chair behind her, sulking as much as he ever does. "A fire? That is horrid. I do hope everyone is well.." Her words trail off as a frown threatens to darken the rare bloom of her smile. "A good distraction of gossip is welcome, though I have very little to contribute to such a thing. Esme, have you broken no hearts lately." A beat. "Oh, there was something about Lady Brianna in yet another challenge of a duel."
Esme coughs on her wine. It's hard to tell if it's Calista's comment or Narcissa's. Her cheeks flush with the coughing, not with her guilt. Her eyes are still clear of that. "I did hear about the Solace. I would love to hear the theories on what caused it." Her eyes move over those present. "I have broken no hearts as of late. Yet. Perhaps next dinner. What about you, Narcissa, any announcements to share or anything?" Then back towards Calista. "Who are you thinking of matchmaking?"
Calista looks over to Amund, curiosity in her gaze. "I think I heard of something but, I don't want to say for certain. What happened in the House of Solace?" Then of course Narcissa mentions duels. "Lady Brianna is a force, but she is not fighting. Who was being challenged? I could make arrangements to witness a duel. It's been a while. I remember when House Swords would fight duels but this was changed or rather perhaps it was never really a thing and Talen would fight duels because he didn't care really about his reputation. Plus, being Lycene and all. The air of rebellion and paving our own path was more important." Then she looks to Esme and smiles. Just. Smiles.
"It seems as if the assailant of the Nefer'khat Ambassador was there and was responsible for the carnage and the destruction. Honestly, I heard he fled town. We're better off with him gone, though he likely should be brought to justice, in time." Amund replies, to Calista, after being prompted on what happened. He tilts his goblet for a refill. "So what is the latest duel about?"
Gaspar's lips made to move but Amund had beat him to it. His gaze narrowed slightly, not out of aggravation at all, but discernment. Instead, he took a sip of his wine and and relaxed in his seat. "I believe a newly-arrived Grayson prince said something a little untoward about Lady Brianna."
"To bring that one to justice sounds as if it will cost many lives to bring him in - if they can." Narcissa observes, as required being the only Mirrormask present. The thought is silenced by a bite of her dinner, drowned further in a sip of wine. The dismal soundly perished, she continues, "That sounds like a duel worth attending. At the very least, it will get me out of the estate."
There's a lift of Calista's glass and a hint of laughter on her lips. "None Greater! Am I right?" clearly said in pure jest. She sips to her own toast but offers a nod to Amund as he mentions justice for the assailant. "Indeed. We could use a rousing trial. The people of Arx would devour him. Do we know who he is, where he is from? Foreigner? Local?" The Duchess opts now for some pasta and a bit of roast chicken. The sauce is a simple marinara that is robust with flavor and full of aromatic spices. "What else is floating about? Prince Niklas publicly threatening Ivan Helianthus?"
Esme looks at Calista for a long moment. A very long moment. Then she smiles as well. "I can't wait to hear your announcement of Narcissa's wedding. I'm sure you will arrange it well." Yeah, that's one chariot she's not diving under at this point. Then her eyes slide towards Amund. "Was it the werewolf? I heard that he violated the sanctuary. I haven't gotten a lot of details, but I also heard it did not end well for him." Her head cants to that as if she's thinking she will write to see if one is still alive or check to see. The thoughts play across her eyes before she looks at Gaspar. "I haven't heard one way or another. I'm usually completely late to the gossip. I've been locked away with occult books and if not there, sparring at the training center and trying not to tire myself out so much." Esme hmms. "I think I am over duels. Is that bad of me? It's just too many people."
A shake of his head was given to Esme. "Hardly. It seems there is a challenge every other week and usually over something trivial and not worth attending. But there have been some of substance, but even then...?" He just shook his head and took another small bite of bread. "If that is the only way to force an opinion or outlook, more the shame. Be more clever than that."
"Mm," Amund studies Esme, saying nothing else on the matter, instead studying the Fidante lady with his focused gaze. He angles his head, briefly, and sips from his wine, as the topic shifts to duels. "Duels are a fine way to work out grudges. Some issues are meant to be solved privately, though, rather than made a spectacle of. And not through performance fighting. That said, it entertains people, so why not?"
One meticulously manicured brow quirks ever so slightly as Narcissa murmurs something to Calista over her wine, behind that motion of lifting her pale hand and lowering it with glass in hand. A ghost of a smile tugs at her lips once more with whatever was said. "My wedding is hardly ever to take place and that requires courting beforehand." She swats away the thought as if it were a fly with her free hand. "The spectacle is a distraction some wish for though when danger looms at our doorstep. And yes, I believe it has something to do with a wolf of some variety...though there are many, many soldiers and men that don the wolf as their own personal sigil making it somewhat impossible to keep up who is merely playing at it and who is the real thing these days."
"Werewolves? Tell me more! I really do need to have more family gatherings. I am learning so much. Quite frankly, I am also interested in what makes a good duel. What say you all? What sort of duel would you prefer to bear witness?" Calista just glosses over the whole topic of marriages. She's moved on from that, for now. "Gaspar, try the saffron and thyme oil with your bread. It is divine." She goes about dipping some of the soft, fluffy center of her bread into a small dish of fragrant oil. "Even though I am here, present in the city, I feel my businesses have taken me so far away from the nitty gritty. I miss having my fingers in all pies."
"I meant like the wolfman thing that was in the Gray Forest. It didn't attack me." Esme pauses there. Almost like she was going to say something else and decided against it. "It sounds the same, but there are the First Children, I think that's what they are called. Those that have the blood of the beasts in their blood and they can shapeshift to them." Her head cants in thought. "I have read about some magical rites that allow it too, but.." The trail off is that they are not to do that without blowing up. "Duels?" She thinks for a moment. "I am not certain. I suppose those for entertainment value, but I've had my head buried in books to learn so much and I have a knowledge tutor that's... insightful. I fear I'm focusing in other areas that the path leads and the shadows whisper. I spent a day in the .. reflection room... at the shrine of the thirteenth. It was interesting." She moves to her feet as if she were always on them. "Sadly, I fear that time pulls me away, as do those books. I have found that in regards to wolves, that there are a few. There are the actual wolves in a large dire form, there are those that are... half man and half wolf for lack of a better tell and then there are the wolves of shadows. Those. Those are far trickier. If you will all excuse me, I hope that we find time to meet individually some time." Her eyes slide to Calista. "Not for any matchmaking though."
Esme is overheard praising Calista.
There was a long silence from the marquis after taking the duchess' direction of new bread fixings. He ate--enjoyably!--while listening to those gathered talk in much greater detail about the goings-on of the city. Something Calista said made him smile gently, but it was a neutral expression to most. He spoke up after a moment though, to the departing woman. "Be well, Lady Esme. I do hope to see you sooner rather than later."
Narcissa is overheard praising Calista.
Narcissa is overheard praising Baldessare.
All the werewolf information is quickly absorbed. While Esme speaks, Calista eats and drinks. Her attention rapt on the new details. However, she makes a murmuring comment. "I've known a wolfish man or two in my day." Teasing about serious situations is something she has always done. It would put grays in Leo's hair. Ah, memories. "Of course, Esme. And only about marriage if you wanted to. We do need a moment to catch up, I imagine. Thank you for coming this evening. Have a good night, my dear."
Calista is overheard praising Esme.
Calista is overheard praising Narcissa.
"At any rate I will not be hunting wolves or the ones that can potentially turn into men, or vice versa." Narcissa decrees as she polishes off her meat dish. "Esme, if you keep talking of such things they may hear you. There is learning and searching, and then there is baiting yourself." She flashes pearly whites before her golden eyes shift back to Calista. "Marriage need not be torture, and we have no desire to do that ti our cousins."
Joy, the advisor of roses leaves, following Esme.
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