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Parlor Pajama Party

Friends and family of House Malespero are invited to enjoy an indulgent evening of games, storytelling, way too many pillows, cookies and mulled wine by the fire. All guests will be required to wear appropriate sleepwear; shoes are to be left at the door. Facilities for changing will be provided to all guests who require such both before and after enjoying the festivities. Guests are most certainly invited to sleep over; breakfast will be provided.

Date

March 12, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Lianne Apollo

Participants

Michael Caprice Chiara Pasquale Drake Claudia Volya Rylan Thea Sorrel Alessia Iona Vitalis Mayir Sunaia Adalyn Veronique Ripley

Organizations

Malespero

Location

Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Malespero Tower - Grand Parlor

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards arrive, following Lailah.

2 Bisland pride guards, Lailah arrive, following Iona.

Iona arrives, following Michael.

Outside, the city is cold and wet and unwelcoming. Inside the parlor, the hearth is blazing bright and warm, the room utterly laden with pillows and cushions and blankets everywhere. The scent of wood smoke mixes with that of mulled wine and hot cocoa. Tables are laden with small treats. Staff are on hand to help with outerwear, to guide guests to changing rooms, to provide any essentials they might need. Later, they'll be just as glad to help people to private rooms, should they wish to stay the night rather than brave the winter weather. It's all magnificently inviting, just a hint of formality and care to an otherwise ridiculously casual event.

If only the marquessa looked equally as welcoming. At the moment, Lianne, though rather nicely dressed in a wintry silk robe trimmed in black velvet, looks frazzled. Like she's not the least little bit ready for this but is doing her best to be here and smiling anyway. If only she could get that smile thing right, but her lips are a bit too tight, her gaze too distracted. Nevermind the hint of dust hiding at her hairline. Maybe some mulled wine will help. At least, that's Fajra's thought as she shoves a mug at her marquessa encouragingly.

Yes, Fajra's here, too. In her pajamas. All plaid bottoms and oversized white tunic. Very tomboy cute. Nothing that says 'I Work Here' except the way she watches everything to see where she's most needed.

Earl Peckworthy Flappington the VII, a blue and gold macaw arrives, following Vitalis.

Bislands *three* have arrived at the Maelspero Tower. Which Michael absolutely knows how to get to, he has been here already. He has just been following Struttington who comes to this tower frequently to see his lady love. The three enter together, but Michael announces their presence with a mighty 'roar' of fake lionness. Because....thats what they are dressed up as. Three lions. In Lion Onesies.

1 Clement trained guards, Maggie, an energetic Mistward Labrador arrive, following Adalyn.

Caprice has come dressed - or appropriately underdressed? - for the party, arrival delayed only minimally by the need to shed a cloak. And slippers apparently, as 'barefoot' is part of the code. Clad in comfortably loose honeysilk, she pads into the parlor to give greetings and thanks to the hostess...or that's her intent, if Lianne's current state allows for it. No judgment if, say, nearby roaring distracts.

Apollo is also present; he looks a little more put together (and thoroughly bathed) in his pajama pants and robe - which might as well be called Wishful Thinking, the colors suggestive of snowdrops as winter breaks to spring. He's out front with bright, easy smiles and greetings, gesturing welcome to find comfortable places at tables, cushions, blankets all. "Come, relax, sprawl - forget anything like posture. Be easy with us, have some wine, enjoy yourselves - nobody here but folk in need of a nap."

Chiara is also dressed for the evening in an oversized, white shirt of rather good quality - and possibly oddly familiar to some - along with a pair of soft, well-worn, thickly-knitted hose in black. Perhaps she's going for 'maudlin poet' of some sort. Her cheerful grin belies that, however, as she sips from a large glass of mulled wine and peruses the food. Because food, of course.

Pasquale has taken up residence in a pile of floor cushions and come dressed in the same pajama/robe combinations that he assumes most others will have picked. He's paying attention to what is going on and trying to pretend he's comfortable.

Against the outdoor cold of the city, Drake is wearing a thick leather greatcoat when he arrives - typical for his deep winter uniform. He has less than notable boots, but immediately hands the heavy and slightly wet coat to an attendant before they can get properly undressed. He comes in with Thea, who is on his arm. As Drake is unbuttoning the coat to get properly dressed for the occasion, he is chatty, a little personal. "...These things are rarely that eventful," he says aside to Thea, "So, if you get tired of crowds it's not far to your place." He hands the coat off, then takes the necessary time to switch into nothing but silken pajama pants. Not a shirt. Shirts are for people afraid to show off. Scratch scars on his chest from some animal fight are mostly faded, though in winter, his usual tan is as well.

One benefit to living here? There's no need to go outside into the cold to arrive, so when she strolls into the parlor she's already dressed for the party in a pair of loose silk pants that are gathered at her ankles, and a loose silk top as well. Of course, bare feet, because why not? As soon as she arrives she makes sure that she grabs herself a glass of wine, and finds a rather nice perch to watch the arrivals for now.

Stefano, a studious man, 1 Malespero Guard leave, following Carissa.

"Does this look tight? It looks tight. You'd tell me if it looked tight, right?" Volya says, having been talking to one of the house attendants while in the midst of coming in. "Well, I don't know, this was kind of sudden notice. Like pajamas, when did I last wear one?" Pause. "What? I mean, I wear *something* to bed, just not...oh wait, you found it, thanks." He takes the offered smoking pipe from the attendant, finally entering in a deep burgundy robe with red trim. Maybe he has matching pants too, but the robe is practically floor length. And it's not tight, it's just in his head. "So this is what my adoptive family does while away from Nilanza."

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

Into the party wanders a man in rather free, more flowing attire than some. Rylan has a pair of loose pants on, cut from umbra and overlaid with royal blue brocade, a matching and equally relaxed robe over the top in the same colours and fabrics, loosely belted at the waist. He is barefoot already and seems in a good mood if his relaxed body language and cheerful smile is any indication, the Whisper apprentice moving to take up a mug of hot cocoa.

Rance, a rebellious swan that likes to headbutt, 3 House Mazetti Guardians, Sirra, a very quiet maid, an indeterminate number of cats arrive, following Alessia.

"I'm sure it will be fine,"Thea murmurs to Drake as she shrugs off her heavy cloak revealing silken pajama bottoms and top. Red of course. Finn trots in next to her like he owns the place, but then--he sort of knows where he's at. "Good evening,"she greets with a small smile on her lips. "I can't say I've ever well--attended one of these."

Pete, a Grayhope account manager arrives, following Mayir.

Caprice has joined the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

It's absolutely impossible to slip in quietly when Marquessa Pudding is excited about a party. The big fluffy white dog is panting and floofy and full of excitement as she bolts into the room while her mistress is changing into pajamas. She's large and goofy, full of snuffles as she looks for easy marks who might hand out people food to pudgy puppers, and she'll lick anyone in a friendly manner, tail wagging with glee. Moments later, Sorrel comes darting after her wearing loose silk pajamas. "PUDDIN'!" she calls. "You sit! You're not supposed to be partying, you silly dog."

Thea has joined the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

In her fiery night wear, Alessia drifts into the parlor with her maid in tow, and of course a couple of cats that have snuck in with her. "Lianne!" She greets with a warm smile, approaching the marquessa. Her eyes drift over to Adalyn, lifting her hand to wave as she passes, before she settles down on a cushion or another equally comfortable seat.

Greetings given, lingering just a moment longer with Apollo to murmur, Caprice cuts her social round just a little short in order to swipe a drink and seating amongst pillows that -match- her. Meant to be, surely, and it gives her the perfect vantage point to watch others still coming in, delighted gaze taking in the differences in sleepwear. "I'd put money on most of these being new," she remarks aside, to Thea. "I can count on one hand the number of people I know whose nightclothes are appropriate for public consumption."

Apollo can't decide who to greet, in particular, a slight thread of distraction tugging at him. And so rather than try to do social triage, he greets the least plausibly socially high-up he possibly could, crouching to greet Pudding. "Pudding!" he says. "You haven't brought any pajamas, tsk. Very forward of you. I hope you'll behave properly." Dogs behave properly when pet; Apollo provides a good influence, as best he can, scritches behind the ears.

Lianne angles an appreciative look to Apollo as he steps out in front to play host while she's still getting her head together. That same warmth finds its way to Caprice, a little jangly around the edges but welcoming all the same. "Lovely to see you. I've made some progress on our song." Ah, focus, that helps. Vibrant eyes turn toward the Bislands as she notes, "A whole pride!" with a lift of her mug. Still risen, she toasts to, "Lady Thea," as well, though it's the pup... and then another pup! that her attention goes. Two! Two dogs! She starts off toward Pudding and the princess accompanying her, a murmur of, "I'm glad you could make it," to Sorrel before her attention is snagged at the call of her name. Before any pup-petting is done. "Alessia," comes with a brightening of her smile. Look, the marquessa appears steadier already. Everything's fine.

Michael splits from his family for the moment and rapidly discovers just how difficult it is to hold a tankard with big fluffy lion mittens and scowls about it before pushing them back to hang around his wrists. Now with tankard he can go find people to rawr at. Apollo seems perfect to do it to first, since they got wet together at some point. "Rawr." He'll declare stately to the man, lifting his tankard before continuing on to go find...Claudia. "Lady Claudia!" He'll call to her, to approach and again. Go "Rawr" all stately and regal-like.

Drake has Calluna at his heels, but it looks like the dog - no longer properly called a puppy, but still growing for a mastiff and not yet at her full size - knows at least how to heel properly. When dog training is part of what your house does... you learn how to train dogs. Nonetheless, with other dogs around, she's friendly enough to walk over and sniff at Pudding... while Drake is busy getting a mug of warm wine.

Chiara finally finishes nibbling her way along the refreshments and turns back towards the room, taking a bite of a pastry before sipping from her mulled wine. She swallows hastily as she spies the lion pride, grey-blue eyes dancing with humor, then grins. As Apollo leans down she gives him a curious look - at least until she notes the dog. Dogs, apparently, get all the attention, as she also gravitates towards the canine.

"Raaaawr!" another echo to the first (that of Michael's) as the mother of lions makes her way along with her definitely very grown up cubs. "Oh, this seems fun." she would say with a jovial laugh. A glance at Michael as he scurried away and then one at Lailah who was likely slightly hidden by her shadow. "Come now Lailah, dear.~ Let's be social! Hmn?"

Vitalis appears from the direction of the orangery in Malesporo, with Adalyn, the two are talking quietly as they come upon a pajama party throng in full swing! They're in matching robes and likewise freshly groomed, pleasantly warm, despite the chill without. A strange and momentous day! He hesitates a bit at the sound of so many people and leans into to Adalyn.

Conall, a huge, friendly sable Wolfhound with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes arrive, following Sunaia.

Standing back for a time, Volya is spending his time slowly meandering through the crowd, trying to pick out someone he might recognize and not getting a whole lot of luck for his troubles. The plight of being completely new and knowing literally nobody. So, for the time being, he has found himself somewhere near the vicinity of the fireplace, more about taking a scope of things rather just diving into things. Not yet anyways, at least. Oh, and he lights his pipe. Might as well own the look the part if he's going to wear an ankle length robe.

The sound of her name draws her attention from people watching the others arriving, and Claudia lifts her glass of wine upwards in greeting before she calls back, "Lord Michael! You are looking mighty fierce tonight. Are you on the prowl? Please tell me that you are, it'll fulfill all my wishes and dreams."

With his mug of hot chocolate in hand, Rylan casts an eye about, then approaches Volya with a warm smile. "A lovely evening for lounging around, don't you think?" he addresses the other man, gesturing to the people and the pillows and the hot drinks.

Pudding almost immediately goes for Apollo's face with her tongue, though she does sit when he scritches her behind the ears. Honestly, she is an enormous dog and probably could fit into pajamas meant for a person, but she wears none. All that fluff will have to do. Her tail wags at him when he scolds her on her choice of clothing, because she's a doggo who wants foods.

Sorrel, torn between greeting the hostess and rescuing Apollo from her dog, glances back and forth for a moment, then smiles broadly at Lianne, deciding that Apollo has Pudding in hand for the moment. "Marquessa, it is my pleasure to attend, I must say. I am looking forward to having a glass of wine with you," she offers.

Mayir Grayhope makes his way in in some soft pants and a cozy shirt. Not very much, but, well, sleep appropriate. Spying Chiara, he sidles up to her, kissing her cheek. "This must be the sleepover party, for the woman of my dreams is here," he flattere her with a wink. He angles for a drink.

"No - nope -- you cannot come in, you are not invited. Later, no, later. Conall. Ylva I am sorry." Sunaia starts to say as she takes a curious peer into the grand parlor. Her eyes widen, she dips her chin, and she addresses the dogs. "No - nope - retreat, retreat. Retreat for treats." And sheepish Ashford and leggy wolfhounds are right back out --

Conall, a huge, friendly sable Wolfhound with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes leave, following Sunaia.

Thea gives a slight flutter of her fingers at Lianne. "Marquessa Lianne. How are you,"watching as Finn ventures over to the woman, tongue lolling. Apollo too gets a wave. "Whisper Apollo, how are you? It's been a bit." Thea finds Alessia too, a smile for her friend. "Lessi. Hey---"

"You can bring the dogs Sunaia." Pasquale says from his corner. "In fact they would be welcome."

Pasquale has joined the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Apollo rises, gives Caprice a smile and an air-kiss as she floats past. Michael? Roaring at him? He gets a bow. "I see you've found some benefit to your sudden ascension," he says, seeming very amused, and then moves to greet the very next person to come through his orbit - a smile given to Chiara, an address for left for Drake instead. "Lord Drake, how nice to see you. Wearing... so much." There's a flicker of a smile, there, like this is somehow a private joke. "And Lady Thea - congratulations to the two of you!" He gives Sorrel's dog a continuous petting, through this; princesses must do their princessly duties, of course.

Adalyn loops her arm through Vitalis's, leaning in with lips poised close to his ear as she murmurs explanations about various details: the decor, where things are situated, and most importantly, who has gathered. "Shall we greet the hosts first?" she asks as she helps navigate their way through the crowd, on the lookout for familiar faces. Catching sight of Alessia's wave, she offers a smile and waggles her finger in answering wave to the Mazetti.

"Pretty sure any time is a good time to be lounging around. Y'know, except when your Marquessa starts glaring daggers at you, thinking you should be doing something important. Or relevant." Volya grins in greeting. "I haven't gotten that look just yet, but! Hope springs eternal, eh?" There's a puff on his pipe. It smells more like herbs than tobbacco. And not *that* kind of herb. *Herb* herb. "This is gonna sound real embarrassing, but I'm pretty sure I haven't met all of my adoptive family yet, here in the Isle of Misfit Nobles." He gives a barely proper nod. "Volya Malespero. How you be, friend."

"On the prowl? No. That implies a great many things. Like I'm hunting. The only thing I am hunting for at the moment is something pastry shaped and pastry tasting." He'll look both ways before drinking from his tankard, paws flopping around his wrist. "My mother has returned to Arx. By the way. Shes over yonder. With my sister as well. We're the lions." As if that weren't obvious. "COME ALONG." It is demanded as Claudia's elbow is snagged and she is pulled towards wherever Iona and Lailah have gone to hide.

Drake looks at Apollo, and chuckles a bit. "Ah, well, I dress for the occasion," he says. But he seems to get the joke. "Or however the lady requests," he adds with a glance at Thea. "Then I just try to get it right and show up." A nod. "You look comfortable, but I suppose that is the idea. A little cheer is always good to spread this time of the year, and seems you've risen to it."

"I'd rather like that," Lianne tells Sorrel. "You've been--" The thought is interrupted by a dry cough, free hand curled into a fist and lifted to her mouth as she turns aside. Her smile flashes apologetically as she looks back to Sorrel. "I've been meaning to write." The thought feels incomplete, but her attention is turned toward Thea and Finn. She dips down to greet the dog more properly, wine cupped toward her body as her empty hand delivers scritches. Looking up at Thea, she answers honestly, "I expect I'll be a bit better once we're all settled." Apollo's congratulations inspire a look toward Drake, a nod toward the couple, "Congratulations indeed. A fine thing." But she hears a brother not too far off and begs, "If you'll excuse me." Nevermind that it seems mostly directed to the pup she has to stop petting to step away that she might approach Volya.

The sea merchant laughs at Mayir's greeting, kissing him on the cheek in return. "Flatterer," she teases him; as he goes looking for a drink, Chiara shifts her attention back to the pup, offering a hand to sniff before attempting an ear skritch.

Veronique's eyes widen slightly as she makes her way within the parlor. Certainly a bit surprised at the number of people that have gathered within. Her gaze begins to roam once the initial shock has passed, and she makes her way deeper within. Clasped hands nearly lost in the floof of her robe's edges.

"A pleasure to meet you," Rylan replies to Volya, his smile slanting towards amusement as the noble mentions important and relevant things. "I would think that your most important duty here is to relax, enjoy a warm drink, and participate in whatever activities have been arranged," he murmurs, then bows slightly as he introduces himself, the formal gesture slightly incongruous given he's wearing baggy pants and a loose robe. "Rylan Emory, apprenticed to Whisper House, protege of Her Grace." And speaking of! As he sees Lianne approaching Volya and himself, he turns to bow towards the Marquessa.

"I'm sure that you'd be able to mightily slay the pastry shaped and tasting things though, Lord Michael. Mightily." Claudia assures him before she starts to get drug off in the direction of his mother and sister. "The lion theme did sort of give me a solid hint at the fact they probably arrived with you." The glass in her hand gets quickly drained before she shoves it into some poor person's hands as they pass, all so that when they arrive at the two other Bisland her hands are free.

Mayir gets a glass of wine and then moves back to stand with Chiara, touching her arm lightly and taking a sip of his wine. "So how are you, my dear friend?" he asks her, even as she eyes the puppy. "A lovely party, isn't it?"

Lying back on the floor, resting her head on the cushion, Alessia studies the people in the room while idly stroking a striped cat beside her. "Oh, Mayir, I didn't expect to see you here." She grins, before her gaze shifts to Thea. "Malvici." She greets softly.

"My Marquessa does seem to know just about everyone, doesn't she?" Volya notes lightly, perhaps even impressed from the sound of his tone. "There's an analogue here somewhere, but it's just not coming to me. Something that invovles an analogue with a cat." he waves a hand. "It'll come to me later. But you're her protege, eh? Not really sure how any of that works. I'm still trying to sort myself here. Y'know, have a purpose beyond taking up space." Another puff, while he too sees Lianne approaching. "Well, hey there, Marquessa. Adoptive-Aunt. Or Sister. Cousin?" He asides over to Rylan. "Somewhere in there. I haven't quite figured that one out. How we're all related."

Apollo smiles brightly at Drake. "Well thank you, a bit of cheer is exactly where I was reaching." He turns around in place, watching everyone settle. "Guests and friends - well, you're all friends, aren't you? I hope you'll all get a bit of something to drink, a bit of something to eat if you're hungry - warm by the fire if you're chilled. We've a bit of a game to play shortly and I hope you'll indulge in a little fun, too."

This is too much not attending Pudding, who runs off.

Hide? They weren't hiding! The Lions do not hide. (Okay, so, maybe Lailah was somewhat hiding behind her. But, that's beside the point.) In fact, Iona was quite merrily moving about the room. Waving her paw mittens about and issuing quiet greetings. "Oh, hi! Hello there." Admiring and enjoying the ambience. Listening attentively to the names of the people around even if she had not introduced herself formally just yet. "Come Lailah, we should give our greetings to the hosts."

Vitalis nods at the notion of greeting the hosts and tips his head to see if he can discern where an unmistakeable voice is. He's wearing a gray silk robe, his marblewood cane hooked in the crook of his arm as they make their way to greet the hosts, waiting until there's a polite opening. "Marquessa Malespero," he smiles, "Apollo Whisper," a bow for them, "A nice diversion. And welcome. Thank you." He'll straighten and when Adalyn's made her greetings, "To the fireplace." Because that sounds lovely.

"Du....Lady Iona Bisland? Voice of Bisland." Its a question. Why is it a question. "Lady Lailah Bisland, Scholar Pre-eminient. No. Magister." Michael is introducing his family even while they aren't looking his way. A pull brings Claudia to the forefront. "Lady Claudia Malespero, a captain of some boats and someone I have taken under my wing to ensure they don't skewered very easily upon a sword."

Vitalis has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

Thea's gold-flecked green eyes flick between both Lianne and Apollo. "Thank you,"before looking over to Drake in amusment. "I don't think you need help with running about with no shirt. Or any sort of lack of clothing." Thea watches Alessia for a moment, before asking her,"How are you, Mazetti?"her tone a bit gentler.

Michael has joined the a large overstuffed pillow.

Iona has joined the a large overstuffed pillow.

"Lady Iona, Lady Lailah, such a pleasure to meet you both." Claudia greets the pair when she's introduced, barely managing to cover up the amusement at her descriptors. "Indeed, yes. A captain of some boats, and one that might not get skewered on a sword. There's a very bad result when skewered upon swords I've heard."

"Thank you," Drake says upon Lianne's words of congratulations... and he raises his glass. "And a fine party you've put together as well," he adds, knocking the glass back. Thea's comments gets another chuckle from him. "It doesn't pay to be shy, especially when a Lycene is hosting, eh?" Drake looks around, first of all, for his dog, and second of all, for a place to collapse, following Thea to comfy pillows in time.

Drake has joined the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Claudia has joined the a large overstuffed pillow.

Pudding is no longer being petted by Apollo, so she turns her full attention to Chiara, snuffling at her before licking her and letting her give her pets. Sorrel offers a little laugh and a wave to Lianne as the woman gets a bit distracted by hostessing, and then heads over towards Vitalis and Adalyn with a cheerful grin. "Hello! This is quite the full party, isn't it?"

Pasquale gets up, murmurs something to those closest to him in the pillow mountain, and then makes for the door.

Pasquale has left the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Alessia has joined the a circle of plush silk cushions.

Chiara seem pleased that Pudding appreciates ear skritchings and other attentions, not at all bothered by the licking. She glances up at Mayir as the man touches her arm, then grins. "Very lovely. Will you help me build a pillow fort at some point? Or at least a pile. We really should take advantage."

"Marquessa Malespero, Whisper Apollo, I'm sure this will shape up to be an enjoyable, cozy evening. I'm looking forward to it," Adalyn greets the pair with a warm smile. "The fireplace sounds like the perfect spot." This she asides to Vitalis before her eyes alight upon other party-goers, amusement threaded into her tone. "The Bislands came in lion onesies. They look quite comfy. Princess Sorrel, good evening! It is. Sure to be a fun diversion."

Adalyn has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

"Master Rylan," Lianne offers with a bow of her head. "Volya," on the other hand, comes with an arch of her brows in teasing warning, like daggers might be well on their way. They aren't. But that shift in her expression does potentially draw attention to a smudge of ash at her hairline, near her left temple. "Brother. That's how I describe you to others. Then they say they weren't aware I had any brothers, and I note that I have four, and not one of them is related to me by blood." With Vitalis and Adalyn moving by with their greetings, Lianne offers, "Lord Vitalis, Lady Adalyn, allow me to introduce my brother Volya Malespero and my protege Rylan Emory, apprentice Whisper. Please, enjoy yourselves." After all, there is a warm fire over there. Looking back to her brother, she asks, "Are there any introductions you'd like me to make? Your sister Claudia, perhaps?" Spying someone in green, she offers, "Or perhaps the enigmatic Veronique?"

Sorrel has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

Apollo turns to greet Vitalis and Adalyn with ad ip of his head and a smile as warm as the fireplace itself. "A little warmth seems perfect, doesn't it." The smile softens, and he nods. "Perhaps I'll join you after games," he says. A nod follows for Volya and Rylan, with "Lord Volya, a lovely robe - Whisper Rylan, what a glorious use of brocade, I hope you aren't itching your way out of it by evening's end."

"As well as can be hoped." Alessia says with flat expression. "It's been a difficult few weeks, needless to say." It seems she doesn't want to add much to that, before glancing upward to stare at the ceiling, still stroking her cat.

"Marquessa," Rylan greets Lianne in turn, his smile for her just as warm. He falls quiet as she speaks to Volya, then turns to bow again - this time to Vitalis and Adalyn - as Lianne makes those introductions. "My lord, my lady, a pleasure," he murmurs, his deep voice carrying a friendly lilt.

Apollo's arrival and comment on his attire draws a laugh from Rylan, and he grins broadly at the other Whisper. "Fortunately the brocade is on the outside. The umbra is comfy enough, as long as the room is warm," he murmurs. "My couturier was quite clever in that sense."

"Ah. Theeeeere it is. There's a look I'm probably going to have to get used to." Volya remarks with a laugh, as if memorizing the way his sister's facial expression changes based upon mood. But good, because that's a question I've been struggling with ever since coming here." Apollo is greeted with a little wave. "It's better than a vest, make no doubt. Correction, it's better than a vest in winter. I fully intend on making vests a big thing come summer." But it's Vitalis that drags his attention. "Well I'll be damned, now there's a face I've been looking forward to seeing. How the hell have you been."

"Ah, well met Lady Malespero! I'm sure the pleasure is ours," says Iona to Claudia. "Oh, I gather you are related to the Marquessa? We were just on our way to greet her."

Perhaps the mysterious woman in green feels the eyes upon her. Veronique's head turns, and seeing Lianne, dips her head and gives a small curve of a smile the Marquessa's way. She doesn't seem particularly eager to find a place to drop herself just yet. No, there's too much to take in from this level, for the moment.

"Ah. Lady Alessia. Do not think I am one for parties and sleeping? I'll have you know I sleep and party as most of my activities in a day." Mayir then turns to Chiara. "Absolutely I will make a pillow fort with you. And are you sleeping over tonight?" he asks.

Vitalis pauses before turning away to the fire's warmth, in the circle of introductions, he turns to listen to the new voice, attending sharply, though not with his eyes. "It's good to meet you, Messere Rylan," his attention slews sharply to Volya, though with a blink at the man being right very here. "I hoped you'd be here. There's more to tell than standing about while your sister is hosting." He gestures in the direction Adalyn had urged them, "Join us at the fireside?"

Thea looks over and lifts her glass a bit. "Lord Vitalis, Lady Adalyn. Lord Volya. Hello,"Thea greets with a glass tilt before taking a drink. She leans further into the cushions, practically almost hidden. "I may never move..."

Drake looks over at Thea as she leans in, and sees the people she's greeting. He waves at all of them. "Plenty of pillow room. We're not shy. But you know, I might be agreeing with her, at least until I need a refill." The Highhill dog Calluna comes wandering back to him, and sits behind his pillow with a flop she could've only learned from Drake.

Iona has left the a large overstuffed pillow.

Merril, an Assistant Page, 3 Bisland pride guards leave, following Lailah.

2 Bisland pride guards, Lailah leave, following Iona.

Maybe it's a scent she wears, or Adalyn murmured in his ear, but before he settles at the fire he bows, "Princess Thrax, good to see you. Tonight, maybe no dancing." And ... that's... Thea. "Evening Lady Thea. Congratulations in person on soon joining the-" he grins, broad and toothsome, "The finest fealty in Arvum."

Chiara finishes petting the dog, straightening after one last pat, then sips from her drink. Offering a smile to Alessia, she listens while Mayir addresses her; at that response to her question she grins. "That was my plan, yes. And yourself?" An impish look.

Lianne's green eyes flash wide at Volya as if to wonder what he could possibly mean, the whole expression rendered insincere. With his attention drifting understandably toward Vitalis, however, the marquessa moves toward the quiet lurker in green silk and fluffy feathers. "Veronique. I hope you're settling in well?" A question despite its shape. "I might recommend making the acquaintance of our charming Whisper here." She looks toward Rylan, flashing a small smile before looking on toward the crowd. "Captain Mayir Grayhope there with Chiara." Who gets a grin. The marquessa has noticed an entertaining detail. Onward, then. "Lady Claudia. There with the newly maded Duke Michael Bisland." Suggestions, though it looks like she could offer more. It's a beginning. "But we're about to start games, I believe. I might recommend snagging a cup of the mulled wine and finding someone comfortable to settle with."

Volya ducks his head at Lianne. "Excuse me, sister. Rylan. I have an old friend that I've been looking forward to catching up with. I promise, I'm going to play games have no fear. I plan to look very foolish, but hey, it's what I'm best at." Self-depreciating as always, he scoots off to follow Vitalis towards the fire. "You have got to tell me what you've been up to all this time. Heard you got married." Beat. "Wait. Did you get married or was that just a thing I heard that was actually something else? Like being married to your work. Or married to a certain brand of brandy, so on and so forth."

Volya has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

Marquessa Pudding has scored a lot of petting but no treats, so she wanders in Sorrel's direction to see if she can get anything good out of her companions, which include Vitalis, who may or may not appreciate the big white dog nudging his hand with her nose in an impatient sort of way.

"Lets go bother Adalyn. Your fellow protege." Michael says calmly and quietly to Claudia, takes a moment to peer about the place and realize its crowded. "Adalyn? /ADALYN?/ !ADALYN!" The man does his very best to announce his pursuit of Lady Adalyn Clement.

Taking his direction from Lianne's suggestion, Rylan turns his attention towards Veronique after murmuring his goodbyes to people who are retreating to piles of pillows. Of a mind to do the same himself, he smiles at Captain Rousse and motions to the nearby pile of plush silk cushions. "Shall we, my lady?" he enquires, settling down there just next to Alessia.

Rylan has joined the a circle of plush silk cushions.

Adalyn's attention shifts as Lianne offers introductions, the Clement heir turning her cheery smile upon the two unfamiliar faces. "Ah, a Whisper apprentice," she notes to Rylan with a bow of her head. "And protege of the marquessa besides. We'll have to chat and get better acquainted. Pleasure to meet you." Her bright gaze slides curiously to Volya to note his exchange with her husband, curiosity alight in her eyes, although Apollo's remark steals her attention. "Please do come join us after. A warm fire, lovely company, I can't think of many better ways to pass the evening." Her smile reflects genuine pleasure at the thought, although that bellowing voice prompts her head to swivel. "DUKE Michael, hello!"

"Of course." Claudia replies, seeming to be perfectly fine with being drug hither and yon across the parlor to meet people. Although now that she's no longer walking into the clutches of a pride of lions, and plucks up another drink so that when Michael drags her off when the elusive Adalyn appears she's well armed.

Thea realizes there's a princess here. WHOOPS! "Princess Sorell, good evening,"proping herself to some sort of sitting position. So she can see. There's an a chuckle at Vitalis, at his words. "Thank you. Maybe you can help me get acclimated, though I mean--at the moment,"her eyes glowing impish. "For now, I'm afraid I have to disagree you know."

"Quite well, thanks to your hospitality, Marquessa," Veronique muses with that small curve of smile for Lianne. Her own green eyes following to those she's directed towards, one by one. "Mulled wine and a comfortable place to sit - with pleasant company, do sound lovely." And then, she's saved from having to go far for either. "Yes, if you please." But not before she does get some of that wine. Once that's done, she sinks down into the cushions with Rylan.

Veronique has joined the a circle of plush silk cushions.

"Ah! Lady Thea!" Sorrel says with a grin as she looks to the woman with a grin. "Please try not to trip over Pudding. Or imply that you'll feed her. Congratulations on your impending alliance with my cousin, though!"

Drake is not too embarassed to see Sorrel, since he did see her dog around earlier. He gives her a wave. "Hello there, cousin. You have another duel coming up, eh? Good luck with that... I'll try to be there." He smiles. "And thank you. We'll have a lot to talk about."

Perhaps noticing the Marquessa's regard, Chiara offers her and her companion a half-nod, half-bow. That grin on her part, however, is rewarded with a cheerful wink before she turns back to Mayir and Alessia.

Michael is here to bother Adalyn and drag Claudia by her arm to the Adalyn. "Lady Adalyn, this is Lady Claudia Malespero. Your fellow protege and I expect you to introduce her to the dirt as frequently as I do to you. After we find her the proper weapon to repel boarders with." A hand whips out to pat Adalyn's shoulder with a sturdy clap.

Rylan's voice snaps Alessia from her reverie and she sits up slowly to regard the two with a curious look. She gives Chiara a smile before nodding at Mayir. "I don't believe you, dear. I'm sure you work harder than you want people to know." She winks before her attention returns to those who've joined her. "Hello. Lady Alessia Mazetti, it's a pleasure."

Apollo glances toward Lianne, giving her a smile that re-warms, momentarily distracted by the movement of dogs; he might be regretting that he didn't bring his, but how well does 'skeptical dog' and 'honeysilk' seem to mix? Well. And hosting duties. Speaking of, he turns from that smile to lift his voice - and pluck up a glass on a tray, full of wine, watched by the attendants milling about. "Alright, all those for games, please listen just a moment. This is a game called The Bad Bard's Best Friend. If you look on the table or surface nearest your pile of comfiness, you'll find writing implements and a few pages with prompts and blanks. Take one, or take one of all four, or anything between. While you're writing, I'll explain what comes next.

Apollo glances toward Lianne, giving her a smile that re-warms, momentarily distracted by the movement of dogs; he might be regretting that he didn't bring his, but how well does 'skeptical dog' and 'honeysilk' seem to mix? Well. And hosting duties. Speaking of, he turns from that smile to lift his voice - and pluck up a glass on a tray, full of wine, watched by the attendants milling about. "Alright, all those for games, please listen just a moment. This is a game called The Bad Bard's Best Friend. If you look on the table or surface nearest your pile of comfiness, you'll find writing implements and a few pages with prompts and blanks. Take one, or take one of all four, or anything between. While you're writing, I'll explain what comes next."

Brows raising as Apollo mentions games, Rylan looks towards the nearby table, picking up papers and offering them to Veronique and Alessia, along with some writing tools. He gets to writing almost immediately, chortling to himself. Well, he's amused at least.

Drake leans in and finds a sheet. He looks at it, and then rather quickly dashing off the first things that come to mind. This diverts him from other conversation for a moment. But he does raise his brows at something Thea said nearby.

Lianne laughs quietly for that answer across the room from Chiara. A deep breath follows, in and then out. Everyone seems to have settled, and she has the barest moment to herself. That smile from Apollo doesn't hurt, readily returned with a thread of gratitude. For the first time since the evening began, she seems relaxed. Or on her way there. She listens to the Whisper, quite clearly her co-host, and looks toward the table nearest to her, perusing one of the pages. Then plucking it up. And the other three, too, on her way over to join Apollo where he stands. Does he have a cheat sheet? Is there a cheat sheet?

"Captain Veronique Rousse," the green-robed woman offers to Alessia. "Lovely to meet you." She's still a bit wide-eyed about the amount of activity going on, but is blessingly distracted by having paper and tools offered to her. Looking down, and giving a soft laugh. Oh yes, she has to roll up those billowy sleeves of hers for this, so that paper is not lost to their feathery depths.

"Fellow protege?" Adalyn repeats, brows arched as she glances from Michael to the Malespero noblewoman and back again. Her lips curve into another easy smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Claudia. It seems we share good taste in patrons, and I look forward to finding what other similarities we might find." Her focus slides toward Apollo as he begins to explain the game, her hand reaching out to snag a page and something with which to write. "This is sure to be entertaining."

Chiara gives Apollo an interested look as he mentions games, taking a sip from her mulled wine. Glancing towards a nearby table, she grins as she spies the promised paper and writing utensils, then nudges Mayir. Humming tunelessly, she sets her glass aside before she starts reading the page and scrawling words, expression entertained.

"Oh, yes," says Mayir warmly to Chiara. "That was the idea, at least. But I am afraid of the dark. Do you think you can keep me safe in our blanket fort?" he asks, looking at her with exaggerated wide, blinking eyes and a smile.

Cheat sheets! Why, that would imply Apollo was a /cheater/. Scoff. Apollo gives a smile that seems satisfied, vague - smug? Maybe a little. "I'll give everyone enough time to write what they will - and return them all to the nearest attendant. We'll assemble them all and - depending how many there are, read them, or read just some of the best, pass them around. Everyone gets to guess who wrote which one. Whoever's won the most points at the night's end gets a cozy robe made to their color tastes by yours truly."

"Rylan Emory, apprentice Whisper and protege of Marquessa Lianne," the courtier murmurs to Alessia and Veronique as he writes, seeming quite preoccupied by the game, and chuckling quietly to himself. Oh yes, quite amused he is. "A pleasure to meet you both."

Mayir the looks down at the sheets that Chiara presents him with, making an "oh" noise. Time to play the games!

"A pleasure, Lady Adalyn." Claudia replies with a smile, shaking her head at Michael, "Despite what the Duke asks, I'm going to just say that I do not look that great with dirt on my face, and I've got more cushion in my rear end, so if we're introducing me to the dirt, could we do it with my behind instead?" She pauses to glance towards Apollo, listening to the game rules before she grabs one of the pieces of paper to fill out, "Do you enjoy boats? Trade? Peafowls?"

"The Duke. Ugh. Please stop." Michael murmurs as he looks between the two of them. "One more protege. Lady Lyra Byrne. After that I swear I'm done. Just you three ladies against the world." Michael takes up paper and an absolutely fabulous quill from his back onesie pocket to begin filling it out. "....what?" He'll blink at something. Then write.

Lianne tilts in toward Apollo, clearly not a cheater for his clear lack of cheat-sheets, and murmurs something softly to the Whisper, brows arched inquisitively.

Lianne mutters, "Have I mentioned yet how magnificent you are? Let's find ... to sit, ..."

Volya is leaning against the wall near the mantle using the mantle to write out on his parchment. "How dare a game go through the process of making me think." he states, puffing on his pipe idly. Then he glances over at Lianne, stifling a laugh. "Awwwwwww..."

Lifting the paper, Alessia's brows shoot up as she flips around to jot things down. "Likewise, messeres." She glances up with a smile. "An interesting venue too."

Veronique may very well be the sort that would cheat on tests. She briefly tries to slant a glance at Rylan's sheet, only to discover that he's working on a different one than she is. Shifting, so that she can use her thigh as a more stable table for her scrawling. It is much less elegant than the robe she's found herself in, tonight. "I did not know one could obtain so many floor cushions."

Apollo watches the relative hush fall, and smiles for it; even a scholar at the archives would be pleased with that quiet, punctuated as it is with a moment of laughter. "Well, we'll have a nap after, I believe that was promised implicitly." He warms, murmuring back to the Marquessa, then drifts toward the fireplace with her. "I'm going to settle for a bit, until it's time for guessing. I spy lemon cookies, and I need at least two."

Apollo has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

"Oh, a forced nap. Elevated to duke, a nap being scheduled for me. How quaint." Michael glances around for Vitalis at the moment. "Wheres your husband?" He'll say to Adalyn as he'll hmm. "We should find pillows before they're all taken."

Lianne has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

"Oh, bring the lemon cookies over here!" Sorrel says with enthusiasm, lifting a glass of mulled wine in a bit of a toast to silly party games. "I have filled out my notes and I am hopeful that they turn out quite clever."

"Quite a collection you're getting there." Claudia points out to Michael, but then she nods in agreement before starting to look around for a spot that might still be open for claiming. "How about over there?"

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

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

"We'll be sure to arrange that. I'm nothing if not accommodating," Adalyn remarks to Claudia with a wink. "Boats, ugh. I'm afraid I've had a few too many negative experiences on the water of late. I'd prefer to remain on dry land. Hm. Do you enjoy horse riding? Weaponry? Mischief-making?" She gestures closer to the fireplace. "Right here. Come, settle in by the fire."

Claudia has left the a large overstuffed pillow.

Michael hmms and winks towards Adalyn. "If you find your husband, I'll be wherever Claudia is. Hopefully napping." Michael offers his elbow to Claudia to be led towards an enormous pillow of pillows.

Claudia has joined the a cozy stone fireplace.

Claudia has left the a cozy stone fireplace.

Claudia has joined the a large overstuffed pillow.

Chiara laughs as she completes first one sheet, then another, then glances about as she sips from her rink. "Are you going to do all four?" she asks Mayir. "I am feeling a little dull. Clearly I need more wine." She nibbles thoughtfully on one end of the writing implement she's using, then starts on the third.

Thea shifts through the papers and snorts a bit. "This was too fun...."

"Horses? Afraid not, and I'd never partake in mischief-making, I'm entirely too serious." Claudia replies with a laugh, clearly lying about at least the mischief part. Then she accepts the elbow, leading Michael on towards pillows, pointing out, "If you're napping, then you'll miss the game, you realize. You have to artfully fake napping, but secretly be listening in to everything."

Apollo smiles, and settles down - says, "Please, finish anything you're writing - let the attendants have them quickly, so they can put them together for us. Guessing shortly." And then he murmurs to those at the fireplace a brief greeting, snags up some lemon cookies, and gestures with the tray of them to an attendant so they end up in Sorrel's orbit. Actually - maybe four, a couple set aside for the Marquessa - or pressed into her hand.

Lianne trails behind Apollo on the wake of whatever he's said and settles beside the Whisper once near the warmth of the fireplace. There's a smile for those present, but the marquessa is momentarily /distracted/ by filling out her pages. And finishing off that wine she's been carrying about. Indeed, there /are/ lemon cookies incoming. That, too, is distracting, enough so that mug--and completed papers, three of four--are set down so that she can snag a couple for herself before looking up and reassessing the room. And those closest to her. And quietly address something with an arch of her brows and some soft words.

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

Ondine, a red-breasted sparrowhawk arrives, delivering a message to Michael before departing.

Caprice is half-free of her chosen cushion, some last-minute conversation shared with those in the same fluff pile. There's all the signs that she means to depart the room entirely, but maybe the slow attempt at it has something to do with waiting for the results of the game.

Caprice has left the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Drake stays slack in the cushion, calling Calluna back over to pet her ears for a moment or two while he also seems curious about the game. He gives Caprice a small word of farewell as she gets up.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound arrives, following Ripley.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound leaves, following Ripley.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound arrives, following Ripley.

He's late. But that's because Ripley for once wanted to make sure that he doesn't smell like a a piece of hot steel. With hair far too long again and beard in need of trimming, a leather cow plush under his arm and a pair of knit fox and hedgehog slippers, Ripley's making his way in. Thin legs show under the off white sleepshirt and he stands just inside the door, craning his neck and looking around for someone.

Lianne's attention is just straying from those closest to her, smile a bit more muted than it had been, when Ripley makes his late entrance. Her expression brightens immediately, and she calls over, "I love your slippers!" all mismatched and fuzzy as they are. A little more softly, carrying over the fairly quiet crowd of pups on pillows and people in pajamas, "And there are cookies." A very important observation to make. She doesn't mention that they're lemon. Of /course/, they're lemon. Her gaze strays out over the others, checking the mood of the crowd while results of the party game are prepared for sharing.

Apollo is very distracted from the conversation at the fireplace, shoving cookies in his face and sorting out as attendants sort papers into four piles, once they're numbered and the names have been cut off. He makes a beckoning motion at one of them to bring some folders. Somehow, he's... cut holes in these things so he can just slip in a paper and read the responses.

He /giggles/, toward the end, and then smiles at the others at the fireplace, then pushes to his feet. "Alright, my friends. I'm not going to read /all/ of these, just a favorite from each story, so you know what the format is like. Then you can read them all, and put your votes on a page coming around with the folders of stories. Would you all like to hear ... a pirate story first?"

Drake says, loud enough to be heard from the pillows where he's seated, "Here here!" It's important to raise one's glass in these situations.

Caprice has reached the end of polite standing about so she starts for the exit - in time to meet Ripley somewhere near it, and to catch Apollo's announcement. She gives a tiny clap for her own answer to the Whisper's suggestion, having no drink to raise.

"Aye," doesn't have the enthusiasm it should to be properly piratical, but it's Lianne's agreement all the same, a bright smile angled up at Apollo. And then down to find a drink, her mug, all warm and steamy again, magically refilled at some point by attentive staff. She's too late to properly toast, but she drinks all the same.

Looking up from his mug of hot chocolate as the door opens, Rylan lifts a hand and makes a cheerful wave in Ripley's direction, then gestures down to the pillows, a silent invitation for the crafter to join the pile he's in, should he be so inclined. Then Apollo announces he's finished his collation, and he raises his voice to cheer, "Yarr!"

"Alright," Apollo says, "my favorite of the pirate stories. I may have to award a special memento for the favorites - which I've selected without seeing whose they are." He clears his throat, and reads:

"Ye can always pretend to be a bloodthirsty outhouse digger, threatening everyone by waving yer cowbell in the air, but until ye learn to vest wearing ye'll never be truly accepted. So here's what ye do: Cleverly work into yer daily conversations mysterious phrases such as Ahoy there, fake, chucklefuck, and Shiver me leg hairs. Once ye have the lingo down pat, it helps to wear a three-cornered whetstone on yer head, stash a one left shoe in yer pants, and keep a/an rat perched atop yer right ear. Aye, now ye be a real outhouse digger!"

'Chucklefuck' is a word that just... rolls right off the tongue, for him.

Thea's glass is refiled, making her proper to cheer on the story. "Chucklefuck,"she repeats with a laugh. "I'm stealing that,"Thea says shamelessly. To someone. Whoever they are.

Veronique's own called out, "Aye!" does have the right ring for a pirate. There's a lift of her glass of mulled wine, before she turns her attention to Apollo and his reading. 'Shiver my leg hairs' is mouthed, silently.

Lianne tsks up at Apollo. "That wasn't a pirate story at all," she protests. She doesn't explain. It's easy enough to figure out. That was an outhouse digger story.

"Well, there's really nothing worse than having your left shoe stolen, is there?" Sorrel inquires generally, shaking her head slightly, laughing softly at Lianne's objection.

Drake listens, but just looks confused by the whole thing, as if he didn't quite get it.

"Well, *somebody* has got to dig them, right?" Volya offers from his spot leaning against the mantle, tapping burnt ash form his pipe into the fireplace. "It may not of been a pirate story, but it was as told by a pirate. Or maybe a pirate of outhouses. Do people steal those?"

Once she's managed to finish writing and turn her pages in, Chiara tops off her mulled wine and finds a likely pile of pillows. At the rate she's having wine, she may end up sleeping sooner rather than later, but when Apollo finally starts reading, she laughs brightly at the mishmash of words - particularly 'shiver my leg hairs.'

Ripley lobs the leather cow plushie toward the general area of the slumber party so he has two free arms to do what he always does with Caprice. Lift her, spin around with her and then place the slender woman back down and give her a kiss on the lips and smile. "I'll miss you! I'm going to go flop on top of Rylan. I'll come walk Coda tomorrow" He promises and after putting her gently back down, he's off with the steelsilk nightshirt swishing about his knee's and jogging over to Rylan's little nest of cushions. "Shiver me leg hairs indeed!" Ripley crows before flopping down beside Rylan, veronique and Alessa. "Hello!" He wiggles his slippers. "My brother made them and 'Rora made this!" Plucking at his nightshirt before settling down to listen.

Ripley has joined the a circle of plush silk cushions.

Thea has left the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant leave, following Thea.

Alright so maybe Caprice's exit is a little more dizzy than it began! But off she goes, mostly in a straight line, quietly leaving the rest to see to their three-cornered whetstones.

Apollo scowls down at Lianne, shaking his head, and grins - yes, he might be stealing 'shiver me leg hairs', too. "Then we have a story about the Inquisition Hall of Fame, which... is a bit of a contradiction. My favorite... playing to the judge, of course."

"The Inquisition Hall of Fame honors the brave spies of that secretive profession known as spying. Inductees include: Apollo — Famously known as Agent hideous, this spy was as handsome they were effective. Not only did they get the elbow every time, he always won the casket of the fiercest apothecary as well. Thea, aka f — Whether it was designing slinky spaulders or hiding a tiny poison vial inside a gold hat that a spy could wear, they were the go-to for sneaky craftsmanship. Michael the Spy was your typical feather next door. Peers of Arx considered him Most Likely to gallops. Who would have thought this Average Joe would be the Calithex of the spy world when he single-handedly took down an international ring of bat robbers?!"

"Mmm. Yes. I would be the one to gallop." Michael is nodding sagely from a corner. "And a spy should be the one you least expect!"

There's a low laugh from Rylan as Ripley plops down in that pile of pillows he's sharing with Alessia and Veronique. He elbows the other man lightly, then points to the nearby - within reach no less! - table with mugs of hot chocolate or mulled wine on. And probably some of the cookies Lianne mentioned also. Then he turns his attention back to Apollo, laughing aloud at the notion of the Whisper himself being a spy. Or an average Joe, for that matter.

Volya raises a hand. "Okay, so I have one question, what is a 'typical feather next door'? Asking for a friend."

"Most Likely to Gallop. Yes, that one is believable," Adalyn remarks aloud with an amused glance sent toward Michael.

Drake looks at Volya, and he also has a question. "...And what's a bat?"

Lianne can't help a quiet laugh at the mention of how handsome Agent Hideous is. That laughter only grows for Adalyn's quip toward Michael. Looking toward Drake, she answers, "They're like little rats with wings. Nocturnal. Favored by the Nox'alfar, if I recall correctly." Beat. "Which means they are certainly not ideal for stealing."

"Something that gets robbed?" Sorrel suggests to Drake with a little shrug, grinning broadly. "But that'd fit with being the Calithex of the spy world, right?" She glances to Lianne.

Cookies. He knows these cookies. More than a few tins have met their demise in the forge while deep in a crafting binge. Ripley shifts and reaches, one hand grabbing a hot chocolate and then the other is grabbing a fistful for the cookies. "What did I miss, beside Caprice?" Ripley asks, listening to the story being told with a very confused look on his face. "Bats?" But then Lianne's relaying. "I wonder if you can eat them..." Before stuffing a full cookie in his mouth.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant arrive, following Thea.

Thea has joined the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

"My only question," Veronique muses aloud, "Is are the bats doing the robbing, or being robbed? Burgled?" A shake of her head, and she finishes off her glass of wine, to reach for another. "Hello," she offers in return to Ripley, dipping her head, and looking him over. And looking, perhaps enviously, at that fox slipper.

Lianne lifts her mug to Sorrel as she laughs again, nodding in concession to that point. "Absolutely." Ripley's question gets a curious look, but before she can consider it too long, Veronique comes in with a Very Important Point. Another lift of her drink. And a quiet giggle as she imagines the bats as burglars now, rather than being burgled. It makes the follow-up sip difficult.

"Alright, let me read my last two favorites, then everyone can peek and vote." Apollo says, "Here's a Crafter story:"

"Whether chipping away at a wood statue or stitching a patchwork chair, crafting is always a labor of Don't die. But sometimes the most shallow part of producing art is deciding what to tolerate next! Luckily there's lots of inspiration in the city. Just head to Beach and you're likely to see people wearing exquisite with abrupt details. Or talk to Alessia - they're sure to have some advice about making cat. And if you're still stumped, just close your foot, visualize your dream man, and quickly sketch it on the nearest smooth. Soon, you'll have so many ideas the only challenge will be finding the mouse to complete them all!"

Apollo pauses, shuffles pages, and says, "And my favorite Scandal story is: "As some of you may have heard by now, Thea and Drake were recently caught telling owls together. While some people were very floppy about the whole affair, they justified their average actions by claiming they were performing an obscure ritual to honor Gloria."

"Telling owls?" Drake asks... pretending to be shocked but then finally indulging in a good laugh. "... I'm not sure what I'd tell them," he says. "But that WOULD be an obscure ritual." He looks at Alessia with a laugh in his eyes as she was mentioned in the previous story.

"A game where we were asked to submit words to prompts - like a noun, or the name of an attendee - and Apollo Whisper has stories they fit into," Rylan murmurs to Ripley by way of explanation, reaching out to steal a cookie from the metalcrafter in exchange for that nugget of wisdom. "They've been pretty funny!"

"Hmmm yes. The original cat-maker." Alessia can't help but laugh at the story, still sprawled on the floor.

Thea lifts an eyebrow at the last, and just---laughs. Catching herself, she feigns surprise. She gasps at Drake,"The nerve of us, the HOOT!"

"Well. If this event is responsible for a new city-wide trend of drawing one's dream man on various surfaces, I think it will have been quite a success," Adalyn notes, laughing. An amused glance is sent toward Drake and Thea to capture their reactions to the last story.

Lianne quips over to Alessia, "That /does/ explain where they all come from," with a bright smile which spills into laughter for Thea's *HOOT!*

Apollo grins at Adalyn, then lofts brows. "I already do that, don't you?" he asks, straight-faced... and returns to grinning immediately. "There are some really funny ones in there. And plenty to make my head hurt, gods above you all are /weird/."

Michael is making a gosh danged escape! Which is difficult to do in a onesie. Truly.

When Veronique stares at the slipper, Ripley's pulling it off while juggling drink and cookies, eventually sacrificing the drink to put down on the floor and pops the knit fox slipper off and offers it to the woman. "You can borrow it. My brother made them" Did he say that already? "I promise they're clean!" The explanation of the story makes sense now and he doesn't object to the pilfering of the cookie.

Vitalis laughs at the tales, sensicle and non-sensicle. "I think the word 'chucklefuck' is duly ensconced into the vernacular today-" he lifts his mug of mulled wine around, "And cheers to the one who shared that gem with us, mmh?"

Chiara has been laughing along with the stories while draining her wine, then sets the empty glass aside as she snuggles down into the pile of pillows she's claimed. Apparently the thought of puzzling out stories is a bit too much, however, as it seems she's drifted off to sleep. Hopefully nobody draws on her face.

Claudia's not making an escape, but is at least helping the lion make his escape by covering his retreat. Or something. Either way, she takes a glass of mulled wine with her as she heads for the door.

Alessia has left the a circle of plush silk cushions.

Rance, a rebellious swan that likes to headbutt, 3 House Mazetti Guardians, Sirra, a very quiet maid, an indeterminate number of cats leave, following Alessia.

Claudia has left the a large overstuffed pillow.

Michael has left the a large overstuffed pillow.

Bibi, a snowy white peahen, Michael leave, following Claudia.

Drake is overheard praising Lianne.

Drake is overheard praising Apollo.

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

Volya is overheard praising Apollo.

Volya is overheard praising Lianne.

Rylan is overheard praising Apollo.

Rylan is overheard praising Lianne.

Thea is overheard praising Apollo.

Thea is overheard praising Lianne.

Adalyn is overheard praising Apollo.

Adalyn is overheard praising Lianne.

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

"I expect to incorporate shiver me leg hairs into my daily vernacular," Lianne informs Vitalis sufficiently dryly that it almost, very nearly sounds believable. There's just a curl at the end to give her away, a hint of a smile. Almost certainly an intentional tell. Though the crowd starts to thin after the stories are read, she moves to go read through the rest, contentedly taking in all the strange stories others have somewhat accidentally composed.

In a shocking display of overindulgence, Rylan dips his lemon cookie into his still-half-full mug of hot chocolate. And then eats it with every sign of enjoyment, 'mm'ing contentedly. "Apparently, to be a real outhouse digger, you need to wave your cowbell in the air and keep a rat perched atop your ear," he asides to Ripley, referring to the one madlib story he missed.

Pete, a Grayhope account manager leaves, following Mayir.

When one is offered a fox slipper, one does not refuse. And so Veronique takes it, with a soft laugh. "I did not realize that coming to a gathering like this would effect my purse so," she offers. "Now I'm going to have to chase down the one that made his," a gesture of the slipper towards Rylan, "robe. And your slipper." She hikes the hem of her robe up a bit, and bends down to slide the slipper on the correct foot.

"I will have to, as a Confessor of the Inquisition, have to look into this matter of Thea and Drake speaking to owls and if there's anything unsavory afoot in this matter. It sounds quite important and I think an investigation will be needed." Volya says with a slow, sage-like nod. "And if it's not them, then I'll certainly have to find the particular chucklefucks who are."

Drake gives Volya a salute and a laugh. "I'll crack like a child under any interrogation, so you'd better start with her, to give yourself a little warm up challenge."

Thea grins over at Volya,"Feel free to send me an owl while you're at it." looking to Lianne and Apollo, she nods her head,"Thank you for this, it was fun." Though she snorts at Drake. "Brave of you to assume I snap under pressure."

Drake gets up from his spot, giving an empty mug to a passing server and offering Thea a hand. He's about off to get his coat. "Now, I was implying you'd hold out much longer than I would. But shall we reitre to the owl room?"

"I'm glad you were able to make it," Lianne offers to Thea. "Much luck with your owls, whatever you're telling them."

"That'd have to be a real fucking small rat." Ripley points out, but then he's being complimented on his attire. "Oh. Aurora Thornburn for the sleepshirt. She's my sister. Reid made the slippers, he's my brother. He knits really awesome stuff. Warm too. I forget why he gave them to me, but I can see if he'll make a set for you- Who are you?" Ripley asks, chugging the hot chocolate and looking over the folder with stories as it circulates. "Never gonna be an outhouse digger. Don't think I could handle that." Wrinkling his nose.

Thea has left the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Drake has left the a gathering of Moss and Honey pillows.

Calluna, A Young Highhill Mastiff leaves, following Drake.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Drake leave, following Thea.

Vitalis stretches like a cat, smiling, "Volya, if you find evidence of strigiformic skullduggery, do let me know." He tips his head as if listening - maybe for a particularly well-mannered-these-days avian companion, "Owls are fascinating creatures." He yawns, grinning, "Mmmh. Between the wine, and the fire, the day, and the accoutrements, I'm- just going to-" hmmmmmggggnngnghhh. He stretches and just... curls up right beside Adalyn. Mmmmmmnnnhhh...

"Oh, I like owls," Apollo says, approvingly. Distracted! Having shed some of his hosting duties for a bit, he was sneaking a pastry and some wine. Probably off of someone else's plate.

"Captain Veronique Rousse," the green-robed woman offers to Ripley, with a lift of her glass. "Currently a guest here. And I would absolutely love to get my feet in my own pair of such slippers." She wiggles the toes of the slippered foot, watching the foxface.

Lianne murmurs softly to Adalyn as Vitalis curls up, "There are rooms, too, if you two find the pillows out here not enough to get you through the night." It does seem meant as a sleepover, for any who wish to stay. Done with her perusal of the silly stories, she looks to those yet lingering, smiling at the slipper-admiration in progress, quietly coughing into the back of her hand once she's sitting again.

"Clearly I need to meet your brother to get in on this slipper goodness," Rylan affirms in kind with the other slipper-admirers, then glances sidelong to Veronique with a smile. "So you've had two good recommendations so far this evening. It's been a good one for fashion."

Apollo leans in, as an attendant comes back, having tallied and tabulated all the results. "Well," he says. "In a turn of events that will shock absolutely no-one... as it turns out, the one who knows the writing voice of everyone in attendance the best is... the host herself, Marquessa Lianne, having... thirteen of forty-one stories correctly identified. But in a very near race, as Lady Adalyn was just behind her with eleven. The rest can have your score from the attendants. Who's in for a sleep, then?"



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