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Valardin Fealty Dinner 2

Friends and allies are welcome to another banquet at the Valardin grounds, this time held outdoors to enjoy the nice weather. The dinner topic will be 'Mercy'.


Nov. 22, 2020, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Cristoph Alis Damiana Kael Zara


Derovai Philippe Rane Kastelon Regal Natalia Drake Rylan Neve Fiachra Kiera Gerrick Korka



Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Valardin Grounds

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

It's nearly summer now and with that comes warmth and fine weather. To celebrate that, this night's dinner is being held outside. Paper lamps have been strung across the grounds, casting a nice ambient glow across the tables and buffet line. Servants mingle among the seating, providing drinks to the guests as they pick their tables. Cristoph has been around this entire time, but he's been distracted taking care of little details that will likely only be important to himself. When people begin to arrive, he detatches from a conversation with some of the help and starts to move through the crowds. "Yes, hello. Good to see you again. Thank you for coming," he offers in a series of greetings. He's less of a host a more a facilitator, leaving the formal introductions and such to the Valardins that are billed on this dinner.

Neve checks dexterity and stealth at normal. Neve is marginally successful.

Derovai isn't exactly a Valardin, but he came anyway. He doesn't do much to draw attention to himself, at least not yet, but there are grins nonetheless, and he drops into a seat in a way that seems almost deliberately ungraceful. He's brought a small, well worn book, presumably for note-taking, but he doesn't actually do anything to suggest he's going to take notes. Such as produce a quill. Or ink. Or effort.

Alis is a swish of skirts attached to metal this evening when she arrives, and /with/ someone this time. Honestly, she might also have needed help staying balanced with all the fabric she's not used to wearing. So it may have been sheer serendipity that Fiachra returned to the city the evening prior. First, she seems out the familiar faces of family and Voices and makes note of where everyone is and the greeting of guests and then gestures and murmurs quietly to her husband where they might best be to greet people.

Philippe, who would never be late for dinner, makes his way to the early summer party. One of his attendants drops off a cask of wine as a donation from Chevalle. He does the usual receiving-line greetings before starting to move to one of his standard seats so to start drinking whiskey and dispensing homespun Blanchard wisdom to any newlywed who gets too close.

It was a very short walk from the modest Moore grounds. Rane made his arrival with his characteristic attempts of nodding politely and offering curt smiles when his gaze may have met another, like Cristoph! Otherwise, he made his way to where he'd be /out/ of the way.

Kastelon might well look somewhat out of place at the larger fealty get-togethers, but there's an air about the huntsman that he's taking the gathering quite seriously. Indeed, starting with the fact that his constant companion, Resolute, is not at his side is the clearest sign that he's making an effort to avail himself of the more interesting aspects of being in Arx, and not in the wilds, before he starts to make his rounds to seek out familiar faces.

There's Regal Sai. He's got a fancy platter in his hands, laden with mugs and cups of various beverages. He'd look right at home in the place if it weren't for the fact that House Valardin's serving staff is very likely in much finer dress than his fairly simple garb. His manners and serving skills are at least suitable, as he moves through the gathering of those guests of House Valardin with his little tray. He's all smiles though, without ever really offering comment or lingering too long near any individual or group. The arrival of Princess Alis results in his pausing to offer a brief bow in her direction, before he promptly returns to his serving duties. The smile's back on and he's back to work. At one point he primly and properly remarks to some individual or another, "The lamb is *quite* exquisite this evening. It comes *highly* recommended," and then he's off again.

It is likely no surprise that Kael is coming from the direction of the Keaton grounds. He moves at an easy stride, ensuring that he makes it in time and is not actually going to be late to an event that technically he might be one of the co-facilitators of. Just like Duke Laurent is maneuvering through the crowd and greeting people, he begins to do similar. He is familiar enough with most of the attendants. When the Highlord arrives his attention naturally shifts toward her and the man by her side catches his focus. Up goes Kael's brows and a rather pleased smile is offered to the couple. Should attention move toward him, he bows low and deep in greeting to Alis.

Damiana steps out of the front gate walking alongside lady Astraea as the duo make their way to the area past Cristoph who is greeting and where the outdoor feast is at. "Duke Laurent, it's a lovely dinner today. An excellent idea, having it outside and what a perfectly splendidly intimate idea having the little paper lamps. Well done." Off she heads towards more partygoers.

See, if you let one Whisper in, pretty soon there's two Whispers. Next dinner...well, somebody better put a stop to it. Natalia has Rylan's arm lightly, letting him lead the way into the area. There is a lift of her chin in greeting towards Cristoph, but she doesn't head his way, instead leading her companion in the direction of Alis and Fiachra, though she doesn't immediately swoop in, letting others offer their greetings for the time being.

Drake arrives at the grounds. Since it's an outdoor dinner, he brought the new puppy, who is enjoying the clear weather. He smiles as he sees Philippe here, despensing wisdom to everyone around. But he's also interested, of course, in the whiskey, wine, and food. Regal, Drake has not met, but seeing as the man is part of staff, he takes an offered drink with a nod.

Escorting Natalia as mentioned, Rylan accompanies the more senior Whisper with a polite smile for those they pass close to, a bow of the head where appropriate, but nothing to draw attention just yet. He seems content to be guided by her approach to things, keeping his eyes open and his mouth shut for now.

Maggie, a really fuzzy raccoon, Princess Fluffy Tube, a ferret, Lucky Wagglesworth Von Greathound, a mastiff pup arrive, following Gerrick.

A chorus of hi, hello, how are you's is standard fare and Alis has even learned how to smile through them. The more genuine ones are probably obvious though; a little wave to Derovai, and 'come rescue my poor spouse' gesture/wave to Kael. A bright smile for Natalia and Rylan as well. "Whisper Natalia, I'm glad to see you made it. I even managed the jewelry without incident. I didn't break /anything/." she promises, winking at the woman as her eye is caught by some gestures made elsewhere and she has to stifle a laugh.

A nod is given to Rane when he appears, "Baron Moore. Good to see you in the city again." Cristoph slowly moves through the crowd, passing Kael and squeezing the man's shoulder as he goes in silent greeting. A nod is offered to Natalia as well and eventually the duke is moving to the buffet line, grabbing a things off of his plate before seeking out a place to sit at one of the tables. As he goes, he does notice something interesting. His expression lights up, "Prince Fiachra! It's good to see you in the city again. It's been too long."

Neve is making her way out, then tucks the bottle of wine under an arm, the arm that also carries the plate of food. "Fia!" she calls out excitedly as she walks over to hug her family member "You should come see me sometime, after the dinner sometime. I'm taking mine to-go." Then..she's walking off towards the exit. Sneak..sneak..sneak.

Of course, having surprised his wife by arriving in Arx just the evening before, Fiachra had been in a bit of a rush to find something appropriate to wear to dinner. Luckily he found a formal shirt and trousers to wear. They aren't fancy, but the white and blue garb is at least suitable for the dinner. He walks along with Alis, murmuring back to her as they position themselves to receive their dinner guests. His own eyes scan for familiar faces, falling upon Kael and giving him a nod. He smiles at Neve and returns the hug one-armed. "Hello, cousin."

Regal flashes a bright smile toward Drake just after presenting the tray that the nobleman may select his own drink. Then onward he goes, stepping carefully around this individual or that, artfully sidestepping another servant traveling with their own tray of drinks. The pair give one another a brief glance, a flicker of confusion, and then they're on their way in opposite directions. Only long enough for the tray to be dropped off and a new tray, now laden with various morsels, to be acquired and carried back into the awaiting gathering.

Drake looks over to see who Cristoph is mentioning, then up nods, at the prince, who he also has not met. At least the general calls help him put a name to a face, there. "Hello there, Prince, good to meet you. Drake Wyvernheart-" And now that he he has a glass, he raises it - "Generally, here for the food. Must have been a lot to come back to."

"If there is anyone in specific you wish to meet, point them out; otherwise, I'm not working," Natalia tells Rylan quietly, her smile briefly playful. Alis's greeting has her attention jumping right that way, and she looks thoroughly pleased by the other woman's words. "Oh, good," she says. "It looks incredible. I hope you both have a good time, this evening." She does let go of Rylan's arm at this point, though when she moves to turn and start in Kael's direction, she does wait for the other Whisper.

Spirit, the Sleepy Brown Fox arrives, delivering a message to Gerrick before departing.

Kiera enters after her brothe, own canine companion in toe and moves toward the food and drink to get that necessity out of the way before the meeting starts in earnest, procuring water well others gravitate toward the booze and making modest selection of foodstuffs before making her way to count phillippe to say hello

Swiftly the red fox, 1 Greenmarch Guard leave, following Neve.

"If there's anyone specific I wish to meet, I'll introduce myself," Rylan assures Natalia with a slow smile in return. "Go and enjoy yourself." He releases her arm as she moves to let go, and then turns to bow towards Alis before drawing back from the Highlord and her husband, to look around the grounds and perhaps acquire some of the lamb he's heard being praised.

Truthfully, it's easy enough for a glass to find its way into Kastelon's hand as he's making the rounds, and with a drink it's easier certainly for him to have something to hide behind and be social all at once. The notables of the various houses are given a brief look, the faintest hint of a smile finding his features beneath his beard, though he's still somewhat keeping his distance for a bit, as if to watch the interactions between them. Observing and tracking are never far, perhaps, from his mind.

Gerrick wanders into the location and simply looks around for a moment, trying to keep Lucky and Maggie near by without them running off to greet the others. He is lucky that Maggie has taken perch on his shoulder. Though Lucky, he doesn't have a chance with the second Kiera enters the location he's off towards her. Which surprises Gerrick as he spots Kastelon about the same time, and heads towards the lord.

While Cristoph stands murmuring something in the direction of Alis and Fiachra, Rupert arrives and hands over a messenger to the duke. He looks amused and gestures for his man to hand him a pen so that he can scribble something onto the back of it. After that's done, he actually tries to find a place to sit down.

Cristoph has joined the a sturdy oakwood picnic table.

"And you too, Natalia! You look stunning as always." Alis calls after the departing Whisper, waiting as people come introduce themselves to Fiachra before she begins to gently steer them all towards the buffet. You do not want a Hangry Highlord. Food must be consumed. Inclining her head towards Rylan then as well, she makes several quick introductions for him. "Marquis Kael Keaton. Duke Cristoph Laurent. Princess Damiana Valardin. Derovai Voss." Each are gestured towards in turn. "And this, of course, is Prince Fiachra. Prince-Consort, Fiachra. That still takes getting used to, doesn't it."

Kael is of course offering a clasp of Cristoph's arm in turn, brief, firm, and absolutely sincere. The Laurent Duke is also the recipient of a grin. That said, he is not oblivious to the gesture from Alis and he does indeed start toward Fiachra when he is indicated. Neve intervening has him delaying momentarily however and that allows his focus to settle on Natalia and her companion. While she is the recipient of a smile, it really is the *pair* of them that is the recipient of a smile. Up until Rylan lets go of her arm. That has him tilt his head to the side vaguely but nevertheless he greets, "Natalia. A very good evening to you." When he is introduced, Kael dips his head politely.

"Prince Consort's a great title," Drake chimes in. "Less responsibility... just keep the High Lord happy. Eh?" He sips from his drink, grinning at it. "Though that's got to be a responsibility in and of itself."

1 Harlequin jongleur arrives, following Korka.

There was a tight, appreciative gesture at the greeting from Cristoph. "Thank you, my lord. There's a great deal to do and with Acorn Hill in good hands, I'm happy to be here."

Derovai responds to being introduced with a cheerful little wave, and no attempt to stand up. He does say, however, in a sincerely respectful tone that completely contradicts his body language, "Good to see you again, Prince Fiachra." And /then/ he straightens in his seat, and offers a nod, hand on heart.

Ellani, the palm sized spider arrives, delivering a message to Regal before departing.

Leaning in, Natalia murmurs a few quiet words to Kael. They're punctuated by a twist of her lips that's more a smirk than a smile, just for him -- by the time she turns her eyes back to the gathering at large, her smile is in place again. "I'm glad to see you," she tells the Keaton Marquis. "I should not be surprised at how many people are wearing armor. I do so enjoy this." Her tone for the words is all warm amusement.

After having sent away his messenger, he lifts his wien glass to his lips and takes a long sip of it. That glass is afterward lifted in the direction of Rylan as some introductions seem to be happening. "Well met." When Drake mentions that Fiachra's job is to keep Alis happy, he nearly chokes on his wine a little. But he manages to get it under control. Helpfully, "Prince Fiachra was also titled the Warden of the West by Prince Edain before his departure. He's been instrumental in keeping some semblance of order in the wilder parts of the Oathlands over the years. He's an excellent scout and woodsman."

Kastelon inclines his head when he's noticing that Gerrick's arrived, with his usual entourage in tow, and he briefly lifts his cup in salute to his old friend. "Wondered when you'd show up," he muses in a voice that's playful enough despite his serious demeanor. "Quite the spread here this evening, mmm?"

Unwinding his arm from Neve, Fiachra turns his head to Christoph and greets him with a smile. "It has," he returns as he reaches out one arm towards the man to shake his hand. "We'll have to catch up soon." The quieter muttering amongst them and Alis elicits a quiet laugh from the man. As he's introduced to Rylan, he smiles and dips his head his way before glancing to Alis. "It really does," he says to Alis off-hand while shifting his weight from one foot to the other. "It's a pleasure to meet you." Ticking his attention over to Drake, Fiachra gives the man a nod.

Alis checks composure at normal. Alis is successful.

With a slight spring in her step, Korka Glynn makes her way onto the grounds. Her bright eyes take in the crowd and immediately she heads over to Cristoph, leaning in to kiss the man on the cheek with a warm familiarity, "Duke Cristoph, I see your dinners have drawn a crowd as always. I'd expect no less from the Honey Duke. Are bee puns welcome here or are those to be saved for Laurent dinners only?"

Gerrick laughs then reaches up to try to pet Maggie a little, trying to verify that she's still there mostly as he's just grown used to the weight otherwise. "It is a good spread, I should probably try to have some food first before any one seeks me out for information."

"A pleasure," Rylan agrees to Fiachra, curious about the Highlord's Prince-Consort - but then again, he's curious about pretty much everyone here. He meanders, making his way foodwards and scooping up a little bit of this and that, along with a glass of something soft - no alcohol for him today. Or at least, not this early in the proceedings. He drifts a bit further, observing the various Valardin nobles, vassals, friends of the family and so forth. There may even be a point where he stops to pet an animal or two given the number of them around.

Unlike many others present, Regal Sai's not in armor. In fact he's not even in the standard attire of a House Valardin servant. He continues passing out his tray of snacks and other wonderful morsels though. After serving the latest hand to reach for the tray, some courier or another arrives to speak quietly at Regal. He offers a cheerful smile and an enthusiastic bob of his head in answer, before handing the tray off to the messenger, giving a gesture this way and that, and then continues to make his way from the grounds.

"Or at least before they try to steal the food from you." Kastelon chuckles as he shakes his head at Gerrick, clasping his friend on the shoulder not occupied by Maggie, even as he's looking over towards the notables. "The benefit of being in our station is that we're afforded the chance to eat at these affairs, as opposed to formal ones where there're assigned seats and others make an effort to ensure those notables eat."

If Drake noticed Cristoph get a little surprised by his direct comment, Drake certainly didn't take notice of that, just chiming in with a friendly tone. "Ah, really. That's important work. I imagine you have no shortage of things to scout out in the Oathlands... with all that happens out that ways, and so much untamed wilderness." His eyes dart over for a second as the man who was handing out drinks heads off. Maybe he didn't work here. In which case maybe the drink is suspect. But Drake is casually holding that anyway.

Alis just... has no idea what to say for a moment, and blinks a few times before she clears her throat and maybe mouths a quiet 'thank you' towards Cristoph. "He's also staved off an assassination attempt made on both Edain and I several years ago." she supplies, her smile bright enough there to suggest she wishes it were a more toothy and dangerous smile. But, you roll with what you've got. Right? Whatever it is that Fia has just muttered in her ear completely ruins her irritation though, as she coughs back quite a laugh. "I think it's time to eat. Let's eat." Plate filled, she continues to hold a quiet conversation until they move somewhere to sit.

Damiana offers a smile towards the direction of Alis and Fiachra hearing her name called as she's making her way around and finds a spot to claim and perch at one of the many picnic tables. A wave is given which is incorrectly taken by a server as a signal to bring over a drink. Fortuitous.

Whatever almost made Cristoph choke on his wine is absolutely nothing compared to the look of total baffelement when Korka Glynn walks over and kisses him on the cheek. He stiffens up immediately, whether because of the person kissing him or the fact that someone! anyone! just randomly kissed him on the cheek. He totally freezes for a good five seconds before staring up at her with upraised eyebrows. "Thank you..." he replies slowly. "You can make been puns if you like."

Kiera grins widely as lucky bouns his way toward her and the smallealler mastiff pup and cautions the puppy "Now winter you behave yourself a friend is coming to say hello" The littleler dog yips happily at the prospect of playmate as kiera pats lucky's head, missing her brother's latest feat as a member of the open mouth insert foot club in its entirety

To whatever it is that Natalia just murmured to him, Kael's brows lift and he chuckles softly. "It is my understanding that armor is a relatively safe fashion choice," answers Kael to Natalia, easily enough, that warm amusement still present in his features. His focus moves to Rylan, assessing the man in brief, and thereafter he -- wait. Double-take. None too subtly Kael's focus is stolen by Cristoph and Korka. He tries to recover, to look onward as though he was just sweeping the grounds, but Kael's game face is a poor thing.

Philippe has gotten a plate of lamb and potatoes, which is honestly what he'd eat every day if he could. The old count is stripping meat off bones with his dagger while intermittently taking a bite out of a potato. The whiskey in front of him is being slowly drained as an accent to the finely spiced meat. He may be conspiring to feed one of the dogs so to earn its trust, likely as part of a sophisticated scheme to cause his wife annoyance.

Briefly lifting his glass in Kael's direction at that assessing look, Rylan then moves towards Kiera, offering the woman a smile. "We meet again," he greets quietly, before crouching down to offer scratches to Winter - assuming she's still enough to receive such after Lucky bounds over. "My apologies for leaving the gallery event so quickly before."

Drake looks at Korka with a smile. Drake still has the Highhill puppy around at his feet... but, he doesn't linger long. He merely changes out his drink for a stronger one, as he heads over to also inspect the food. Eventually he ends up in the seat next to Philippe. The conspiracy to feed the dog... is well noticed. Especially by Calluna, who is sitting patiently waiting to be fed. She's been trained a little. As Drake sits, he watches his sister for a second... in sort of a protective brother way, little brother though he might be.

Eventually, Alis will try and seat herself and hopefully her spouse near Damiana - in part because it looks a good vantage point to watch what's going on with Korka there - and so that she can introduce her cousin. "I think Fia left for Sanctum just as you were arriving in Arx, cousin. Though I'm sure you met at the wedding. Fia, this is cousin Damiana."

Korka flashes Cristoph a winning smile as she picks up a glass of something to drink, "I think maybe I'll save them for next time," she gives him a wink, sipping from her glass while moving around the grounds looking for a place to sit, "Master Voss, how nice to see you surrounded by family and friends?" That should be a statement but she lifts the end in a mirthful question, dropping down to sit gracefully in a seat nearby.

"What?" Natalia glances over in the direction of Cristoph and Korka also, though only in time to see the look on his face. Her lips tug down a bit and she glances sidelong up at Kael, but since he seems to be trying to keep a straight face, her own smile returns. "It is a relatively safe fashion choice," she finally says, with emphasis on the 'is'. "In the Oathlands." She gives him an amused look, then adds, "I think I am going to go find myself a bit of food. And a drink."

Drake has joined the a sturdy oakwood picnic table.

Korka has joined the a small cherrywood picnic table.

"Yes," Derovai responds, as he lounges further into the chair and turns just enough to semi-face Korka. "Family and friends." A beat, and he makes a show of glancing up over the heads of nearby diners. "Well, no family, actually." Another beat. "Some friends. How are you?"

Derovai has joined the a small cherrywood picnic table.

Korka flashing Cristoph a winning smile only doubles down on his general confusion. He blinks a few times over and nods very slowly. "Oh, okay." Then she's winking at him. A flush creeps up his cheeks and he clears his throat, mildly uncertain by this turn of events. He grabs his fork off of the table and rings it against his glass to catch everyone's attention. "Good evening! Welcome to dinner! I hope you're enjoying ourselves. At our last one we picked a topic for the evening's discussion. Tonight's is MERCY." The word is said loud and clear. "Which I think is probably something interesting to consider when the events of the last two week are on our minds, and when we have war looming on the horizon. What does mercy mean to you? How do you enact it in your life? And do you see yourself offering it to others in the future?"

"Drake," Philippe says, nodding. He regards the dog. "What's her name?" And then a prompt is given to the group. Count Philippe takes a few moments to think on the question.

Knitting his brows together, Fiachra's smile stretches the corners of his lips in its vaguely predatory fashion and he chuckles at Drake. "I am glad that you approve. It's good to know the weeks in the wilderness have not all been for naught." He winks at the man before glancing at Cristoph and tilting his head to the side. His attention is once more captured by Alis and another, softer laugh escapes his parted lips before he murmurs to her quietly.

Kael, still looking to perfect his game face and failing quite miserably at it. Still, when that little teasing is offered forth from the Whisper, he snorts softly and shakes his head to her. "Good thing then that I am an Oathlander, yes?" he counters to her. When she indicates that she is going to find food and a drink, he inclines his head to her. "Of course," he says. "It was good to see you, Natalia." After all, the topic of the evening is being broached. Once Cristoph is speaking he draws the full of his focus to the man and he goes to find seating so that he can listen.

Gerrick breaks off from Kastelon with a small wink and heads to grab some food though is more distracted by spotting Lucky, and he's not responding to any calls. Thus Gerrick is heading over to Kiera to see if Lucky needs to be removed for a moment or if it is all fine. "Lady Kiera, I hope that Lucky is not causing any stress."

Damiana was just about to enjoy an amazing cup of cooled tea but Alis and Fia arrive by her, heralded quietly by Astraea with a whisper in Damiana's ear about what's going on nearby. The cloudy eyes don't see Fiachra's predatory look, but she can hear him which is how she looks in his direction. "So nice to meet you. If distance, cost or ability wasn't an issue, what's the one thing you'd like to do with my cousin Alis that you aren't able to do now? A chariot ride pulled by four mighty pegasi to chase and capture the sun? Battle wits with great sphinx and gain access to their treasure?" It's an icebreaker tossed his way, and she's interested in what she'll hear from him as many conversations happen around them.

"Calluna is her name. Which she came with. Possibly Luna for short," Drake says... and the small dog perks up to hear her name, ears twitching. Drake takes pity on her at that point, and tosses her a chunk of lamb. "Dame Katryn showed me some of the basics of training. She's a miracle worker, eh?"

"She is exceptional," Philippe agrees with a nod. The dog has been fed, so Philippe feels more at peace. More whiskey: It always helps. He's got to answer the prompt but perhaps he intends to read the room.

Little winter is absolutely beside herself, pettings playments and secret treats, what is a pup to do. She looks helplessly at Kiera who shrugs and nods prompting the pup to take the offered food from phillipes hand as kiera addresses rylan "Nothing to apologize for Messere rylan. Nothing at all. It was a pleasure to meet you and is to see you again. Might I introduce my brother drake and Count Phillipe Blandchard. Gentleman. Apprentice whisper rylan emory, presenter of whimsical art

"Better than I've been in a long time," Korka replies to Derovai, giving him another one of those smiles as she leans back a bit more, "Are we the only non-nobles here? Oh, no, there's a Whisper over there I think. Even less claim to a family gathering than me," as Cristoph poses his question she pauses, lips pursing as she muses, "Mercy means a quick end, doesn't it?"

Kiera shakes her head as gerrick approaches "He fits right in

Alis plays at fanning herself with a napkin whenever Fiachra uses that predatory look, and an upgrade in station sure isn't going to change that. So, the napkin is fanned playfully while she laughs at a quiet comment. Damiana's question promptly catches for her attention and her imagination too, and she tries to listen intently to both that answer, and the question of what people see as merciful. And for that, at least, she seems to feel obliged to say *something*. "Being merciful on the field of battle can be as simple as allowing those who have thrown down their weapons to live. Or, as complicated as ensuring a swift and clean death for one who might not really deserve it." Her glass is tipped towards Korka, then, in partial agreement with her.

Straightening from fussing the pup, Rylan brushes a hand down over his robe before bowing appropriately to Philippe and then to Drake. "My lords, it is an honour," he murmurs quietly, before a smile crosses his lips at the way Kiera described him. "Whimsical art indeed. I don't know that a sock and slipper has ever been so highly regarded in a formal gallery setting. Well worth the silk and the mild indignation of the tailor."

"Or not giving an end at all," Derovai tacks on to Korka's remark. "Depending on circumstances and good sense." He didn't snag any food, but he does have a drink, and he reaches over for a sip. "Or simply releasing a person from banal torment."

"Mercy's certainly an apt theme for the evening," muses Kastelon to himself, though to whom or what he's referring might well be a bit of a mystery, though there's a glance at the fact that he's without his side-kick for the moment. Perhaps it's a mercy for the hound not to be underfoot while he's navigating the crowd with his drink and a plate, indeed.

The Moore was comfortably silent, listening to those nearby catching up and conversing. He gathered some things to put on his plate with his good hand and poured a cup of tea afterwards. The tea, it seemed, was more needed and Rane took a sip. The teacup was placed back down and the sling over shoulder was tightened to make for a better position while seated.

"Mmhmm," is Natalia's agreement that it's a good thing he's an Oathlander. No further words for the time being; she slips away and moves to collect herself a plate with a little bit of food, and a tumbler with a generous amount of whiskey in it. Priorities. She does not speak up to offer words for the topic of discussion, circling around with her plate and her glass to sit down with them beside Kael. There's a brief look over in Korka's direction when she hears 'Whisper', but just flashes a quick smile that way before turning to set to eating.

Kiera's introduction surprises Philippe. "Whimsical art?" Philippe asks of Rylan. "Whither your whimsy, sir? Our fealty has a tortured relationship with socks so I am glad you are making good use of them in these installations." He pauses to consider Alis' answer. He dips some lamb in some gravy.

"The pups will be war dogs. Probably a hundred-fifty pounds or so full grown. Don't let her cute face fool you," Drake says... and lifts his glass. But then he smiles. "But is that not all women?" Introduced to Rysen, he nods to the man. "Well met. Be kind to my sister, eh? I know that the Whispers tend to be flirts."

As the conversation begins to move along around them, Cristoph lifts his wine glass to his lips and takes a longer swallow than before after he's done speaking his part. "I think in some intances, mercy can be mean that," he says to Korka. "It can also be... realizing that offering to help someone rather than punish them is a better path. But it depends on their crime."

There's a low chuckle from Rylan at Drake's comment. "Are we? Perhaps. But I try always to be kind, and if I do flirt, it is because I cannot help but enjoy the beauty around me," he tells the knight, before addressing Philippe's query. "A silk sock and slipper for the Malespero event at the g

There's a low chuckle from Rylan at Drake's comment. "Are we? Perhaps. But I try always to be kind, and if I do flirt, it is because I cannot help but enjoy the beauty around me," he tells the knight, before addressing Philippe's query. "A silk sock and slipper for the Malespero event at the Eidolon gallery a few nights ago. The theme was things that complement each other, and with the recent lifting of the fashion ban, I thought it topical. Doubtless I was trying to be too clever for my own good, but Lady Kiera and a few others found it amusing, so my work was not in vain."

Maggie, a really fuzzy raccoon have been dismissed.

Princess Fluffy Tube, a ferret have been dismissed.

Lucky Wagglesworth Von Greathound, a mastiff pup have been dismissed.

Something Drake says has Korka giving him an annoyed look that disappears a moment later when Alis sort of agrees with her via drink and then Cristoph is trying to bring it around to a larger point, "Of course. A kiss, a sword, a word, all these things can be a mercy. Or the opposite. Who should decide to grant that mercy, though? A singular person? Their liege? If the first, is that less than the second?"

The grin is turned to Alis pointedly then as she fans herself with a napkin. Fiachra wags his brows briefly and somewhat comically, but then he turns to food and drink. Verdant green eyes frequently glance up and around at those gathered around the tables, but he seems more content at the moment with observing. Still, he does have the occasional quiet word with Alis.

Kael tips his head to Natalia when she joins him. That said, he shifts his focus back and forth at the answers regarding the topic of the evening. So too is it obvious from the furrow of his brows and press of his lips thin that he is deliberating over his own thoughts on the matter. "Mercy means to me, even when just and fair in retribution, you manage to refrain from punishing in full force," and he chins toward Cristoph, "or even potentially aid them as Duke Laurent says. Typically I might be inclined toward mercy should there be greater potential, room for growth, or so forth."

Kiera considers the question the Cristoph cristoph have posed "Archlector avary made a wonderful observation on mercy that i shall not claim as my ownbut was so taken by I shall repeat. She spoke of the need to punish the deceiver and and have mercy on the deceived and to distinguish the face of true evil from those who are mislead. She grins at rylan "Flirting is not a crime in the oathands is it brother. If it were, you would be quite friendly with the valardin guards"

"As long as the lady enjoys the interaction, all is well," Philippe asides to Kiera, though it's also to Rylan. Then, more generally: "I thought much on mercy in my life. The long campaigns have taught me much. Perhaps I have been the beneficiary of mercy I cannot know."

"Mercy is also the difference between justice and vengeance. There is no mercy in vengeance. But in justice, there can be plenty. For both victim and perpetrator. The wisdom is in knowing which you are pursuing. Which, is far more difficult than people realize. No matter their rank or place in society." It's quietly spoken this time, but heartfelt from Alis. And something she's not been ashamed about struggling with, even visibly within the white journals.

Damiana waits for Fiachra's answer to her question. At the question of Cristoph and the reason they're there, she thinks on it. "Mercy. One of the many traits written upon the Measure by the first general as he made the code of chivalry as it's known throughout the Oathlands. It exemplifies the ideology of the gods in which we show self-control, restraint and tolerance on what otherwise would be an action showing a lack of compassion for others or pity. Without this restraint, we would plunge into a ruthless and cruel world where carnage and tyranny would reign supreme as the only answer to every problem. With mercy, we cultivate a society like a garden and temper the harshness of reality with a dream of a better world. Mercy requires strength of heart and ability to be practiced, as often in war of words or weapons it's easy to lose oneself in the heat of the moment with hearts kindling with passionate anger."

The baron looked up from his tea and spoke simply in a calm baritone. "Grace and mercy, while wonderful treats are complete opposites. Grace is getting that which you don't deserve. Mercy is not getting that which you do." Rane took another sip of tea then as he went back to a piece of biscuit and comfortable listening.

"If we are looking to boil it down, I could say that a case could be made for mercy being to give someone what they need, rather than what they deserve," Natalia suggests, in between bites of food and sips from her whiskey. "To be part of the effort of improving the lot for everyone."

Drake looks up at the comments, considering without much input. Damiana has his attention, then he nods for a second at Rane. "Right to the point."

Korka gives Rane an appraising look at his comment, lifting her glass his way, "A Whisper couldn't have put it better."

Philippe nods to Damiana. "Yes," he says. "Mercy is what separates us from the beasts. This is correct." And then he's off on a tear. "The capacity to know another as one's self is the root of mercy. You cannot be merciful if you cannot imagine yourself as another -- otherwise you are merely indulging in self-aggrandizing posturing. Showily sparing a life out of venal pride is not mercy but a different flavor of cruelty. Mercy is to genuinely extend kindness to others, to seek not their subjugation but their betterment, and the willingness to work to help a person find their way back to Gloria's arms even if such work is costly. To be merciful is to act correctly, to not merely behave but to *believe* in a right way. To do less is to center yourself over others."

Philippe pours himself a little more whiskey. "Mercy is faith made manifest. It is a belief that we can be better. When we set aside mercy, we lose that which is best in us."

"Well spoken, Count Blanchard. I can't think of a more fitting close to a discussion on Mercy." Alis raises her glass in a toast to the Count and his exceedingly wise words on the matter. "We have such eloquence here this evening, which is fortunate."

"Indeed," Natalia agrees with Korka's praise of Rane, lifting her own glass in his direction and offering an easy grin his way, then towards Korka. She takes another drink, goes back to her food. Nods her agreement quite solidly with Philippe's words -- she can't say anything, she just put a forkful of food into her mouth.

"I think that is an apt description," offers Kael to Natalia, nodding his head toward her as he grabs his glass of water. After he has had a sip, he continues on with, "What they need rather than what they want. I rather like that." His attention travels however, focus settling on Count Blanchard to listen to him with no small amount of interest. When the Highlord closes the discussion, his head bows low.

Damiana's question clearly takes Fiachra by surprise and he at first blinks owlishly at her. He is also in the process of sneaking a small decanter of whiskey back into his pocket. "Probably something far less interesting than all of that," he confesses with a smile. "Life is exciting enough at the moment that I don't have the urge to try to top it." He gives her a good-hearted chuckle before settling back into his seat. "I hope I'm not giving off the impression that I'm thinking of escaping this lovely dinner."

Glances were exchanged with Drake, Korka and Natalia, coupled with a polite nod and humbly pleased smiled for each of them. Rane looked around to those talking continued and was easily settled while conversation went out around him.

Damiana likes what she hears from Philippe and claps politely for him. Listening to Fiachra she smiles over to his direction. "An awfully safe answer to give on a hypothetical question. However, knowing what I know of our highlord I think I can agree that the whirlwind she is in the midst of could scarcely be topped by something even more stressful or demanding." Lifting her tea cup she says to the prince consort, "I hope the two of you can find that ultimate rarity where love can stop time in that perfect moment. I truly do. You can live a lifetime in a moment like that."

Drake looks at Philippe next... and nods thoughtfully at this, as well. "I confess. I prefer to show mercy whenever I can. I think it's what Gloria would ask of her knights... give people a second chance."

Philippe toasts Alis wordlessly. He will otherwise eat lamb and potatoes peacably. Applause is appreciated. It reminds the old man of jousts of his youth.

Kiera nods quite enthusiastically to phippe's speech, looking to the man with undisguised familial like fondness

Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide, 4 Valardin Knights arrive, following Zara.

Maggie, a really fuzzy raccoon have been dismissed.

Princess Fluffy Tube, a ferret have been dismissed.

Lucky Wagglesworth Von Greathound, a mastiff pup have been dismissed.

Elena, a solemn knight attache, Alette, a discreet lady's maid, Isabel, a calm diplomatic aide, 4 Valardin Knights leave, following Zara.

Kiera rises for a moment to draw herself nearer to damiana for a whispered word

As conversation begins to die down, Alis rises from her seat and holds up her glass to toast everyone who arrived. "From family and friends, to vassals and allies, we're so glad you could make it here to enjoy the evening with us. Feel free to remain as long as you like, enjoy the food and drinks, and each other's company. We won't keep you to guided conversation any longer." Which may well be a mercy, keeping with the night's theme.

Derovai has been engaged in some sort of quiet, if seemingly casual conversation at the table where he's sitting, but as Alis speaks, he lift's his glass in turn. His empty glass. He should probably fix that.

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