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Eswynd Feast - Poetry in the Grotto

Join the Eswynds for a feast and relaxation in their private stone grotto! Guests are asked, but not required, to come with an original poem to share with the party. If your poem doesn't rhyme, prepare for Haakon to grumble about it.

(OOC: Guests are welcome regardless of social rank. Bonus points for use of formal poetry styles and for coming up with some IC origin story for the style - for example, the villanelle being French in origin might be the particular favored style of some place in the Oathlands and called something else; but no need to go to those lengths if you prefer not to. This scene has the potential for non-sexual nudity, players should have their characters in whatever level of dress makes them comfortable.)


June 9, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By



Thesbe Isabeau Raimon Cesare Vitalis Apollo Lianne Malcolm Samira



Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Eswyndol - Walled Courtyard

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Jerome, a bodyguard, Morgana, a proper secretary, 2 Valardin Knights, Bijou the Jewel, the Graypeak Mountain Dog, Elaine, an older courtier arrive, following Isabeau.

The way to the grotto is easily found, though several Eswynd servants are on hand to escort guests from the main hall and out to the grotto. The pathway is lined with lit torches - not necessary with the evening sun still high, though they help fend off some bugs. A small bar has been arranged at the side of the grotto and is staffed by a servant ready to pour wine, whiskey, juice, or pretty much any other drink one could wish for. There is a lamb roasting over an open fire and tables set up for dining that are laden with fruits and vegetables, bread and cheeses, olives and nuts, and assorted Lycene sweets. Medeia is standing ready to receive guests at a spot somewhat between the grotto and the food. "Good evening, welcome! An auspicious night for some poetry, hm?" Her voice is warm and bright, a welcoming smile on her face.

Cesare has joined the line.

Thesbe definitely wouldn't miss her patron's event and is eagerly walking into the grotto. She is wearing a whimsical tulle dress, her hair is let down and free flowing with brilliant wavy and natural curls. Along the blonde tresses are small bits and bobs of white lilies and baby's breath and to complete her fantasy look she is walking barefoot! Yes that's right, barefoot probably the only set of clothing this shy girl would be comfortable in taking off. Nonetheless she is here and strolls up to Medeia. "Lady Medeia, this is absolutely beautiful. I never would've known that there was a hot springs here. I've come prepared though! With a poem I've been inspired to write." she says softly.

Isabeau comes in, with her usual retinue of servants and guards, her steps taking her towards the hostess first as she offers Medeia a warm, seraphic smile, "Lady Medeia, good to see you. Before everything starts, I had something for you." The small duchess gestures aside to her secretary who produces a bottle of something clear and uncolored, "I've a bit more, but I thought it would be an interesting take on a hostess gift. Those are from Telmar's silver birches, and I will have more from the whites and from different areas in time. The first bit is... a bit fermented already, I've been told it starts fermenting after three or four days."

Raimon, for his own part, is -already in- the Hot Springs. Because: Mangata. -Is- Water. And is, also Air, Like Steam. So it's all just utterly perfect really. Raimon has his eyes closed. Blissfully.

Raimon has joined the large stone grotto.

The peak of summer is such that the heat doesn't let up even at night - not until a few hours before dawn. As such, Cesare is lightly dressed this evening, the mass of his hair coiled into a braid that hangs down his back. He doesn't head over to the hostess immediately; she'll be busy with other guests, and Cesare's going to stop to get a drink first; it's hot. Working voices need sustenance. A glass of whiskey and one of wine, a handful of grapes, and some nuts, which he manages to hold without looking like an overburdened seagull trying to steal someone's picnic, but just barely.

Vitalis enters, flanked by attache and guard, a bright-plumed bird on his wrist. He is not attired for bathing, but his attache carries a long satchel likely to contain a change of clothes or other accoutrements. As ever, the attache - an avuncular man in Scholar's robes - keeps a low, running stream of words flowing at Vitalis. Anyone wandering close enough can here that it's names and attitudes. 'Our hostess, Lady Medeia,' though Vitalis will have marked her by her voice, a smile directed her way. A murmur to his attache and the Clement lord heads towards Medeia. The parrot at his wrist eyes the assortment of grapes and nuts in Cesare's hand, pupils pinning and a low raspy warble beggining in golden chest.

Apollo arrives, escorting (as he often does) Lianne. He seems to be in a quietly good mood, murmuring something sidelong, eyes turning around the space, the fruit trees, berry bushes ringing the hot springs. Not much can be heard save for 'orchard' (that word having a particular shape in the mouth and a legibility in the context), but it's certainly an approving tone. He, too, holds off leading toward the hostess, lest she be throned; there'll be plenty of time. Instead, he glances toward the food, turns a brows-up look of inquiry on Lianne. A bite, first?

"Thesbe! Look at your hair! Lovely, just lovely." Medeia smiles brightly and clasps her hands together in excitement. "Oh, I'm so glad you were inspired, I can't wait to hear it. Please, make yourself comfortable wherever you like. Eat, drink, soak, as you please. Same to you, Duchess!" The Eswynd lady's eyes sparkle as she reaches out to accept the bottle from Isabeau's secretary. "Oh! Yes, perfect. You are a gem. A whole treasure, even. Thank you. My dear friend Venturo has carved out a space in his brewery so I can work on this here in the city - as opposed to sending it all down to Saikland. This is going to be wonderful." She had already greeted Raimon some time ago, and while she notes Cesare, she doesn't do more than give the man a nod of acknowledgment and welcoming smile. "Lord Vitalis! How unexpected a pleasure to have you here!" Her eyes linger on the bird, that feisty and beautiful creature that yelled at her wedding. "Hello to you, too. Lazslo? See to it that our feathered guest is well cared for. And, my lord, should the sailors strike up a song this evening, perhaps we shall have that dance?" One of the lady's guards moves over to join Vitalis and his attache - Laszlo. She lifts a hand to Apollo and Lianne, letting them grab some refreshments as they please.

Isabeau has joined the intricately carved wooden benches.

Lianne's mood proves muted on arrival, a bit more difficult to discern than her companion's, though whatever he's whispering about orchards undermines that illegibility, a smile both sly and bright rising up rather promptly. She's a question in return, something short and impish, before she nods and notes, "Someone has to save all that cheese from melting." Nothing but heroic intentions tonight. She turns a warm smile toward Medeia, head dipped in answer to that wave. When she considers the rest of those already gathered about the grotto, her mood threatens to go dim again, just a flicker of pensiveness before she catches it. Onward to cheese.

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

1 Culler Boatswain, 2 Culler Midshipman arrive, following Samira.

Vitalis leans close, a hand reached to clasp Medeia's kissing her cheeks briefly, a smile aslant, "Lady Eswynd, I was going to recall the dance to you." He stands back, straightening, chin tucked, "If it's in the pool, I could even lead." He squeezes her hand and smiles for mention of Peckworthy. "Thank you Laszlo. He's been partial to grapes recently. Shh shh shh," the latter for Peckworthy who flaps and grouses at a new perch moved under him. "There's a good Earl. Thank you." His attache, Feisel, also murmurs a polite greeting and they move off to find a place to change.

Thesbe was cheery indeed and decided to take a step towards the arrangements of finger foods after thanking Medeia about her hair. ~A little bit of fruit here, a little bit of cheese there.~ It was a small but healthy helping, the blonde woman going to find somewhere to sit down in moderate quietness, it seemed even though she was here for the occasion her shy nature got the best of her.

Malcolm's fairly nondescript. Save for the hat. Perhaps the sash. He has a glass of something that came out of a keg - and, knowing that much - he knows it's good. He toasts his hostess, Lady Medeia, then offers the same toast that's paired with sheepish smile toward Duchess Isabeau. After this, he promptly tromps down to a comfortable place beneath the fruit trees and sits on the ground in a sprawl, back against the trunk of an apple.

Malcolm has joined the intricately carved wooden benches.

Cesare lifts a hand laden with grapes in a salute to Medeia, casting a sidelong gaze to the macaw which says that one, he is not unfamiliar with birds trying to steal his food and two, if treats are desired, they must be asked for politely. And then he's turning to greet the other arrivals to the refreshment table with a bow, managing his gastronomical burdens with flair. "Lord Apollo, Marquessa Lianne. What a pleasure to see you both this evening." Then, eyebrows raising, he leans forward to direct a quieter inquiry to the pair, sipping from the glass of whiskey while somehow managing not to spill the wine glass held simultaneously in the same hand.

Drifting away from Medeia with a smile, obviously allowing for all the other guests to greet their hostess, Isabeau moves to settle onto a bench, ending up somewhere near Malcolm as she gives him a suspicious look over, "Duke Shepherd, why do you look like you've done something wrong?" She questions, a little suspicion in her rich, contralto voice.

Apollo is likewise inclined to sample cheese - and so he does, murmuring easily with Lianne after giving a proper incline of his head Medeia's way. The first selection is not his... er. Cup of cheese? So he moves on. Finds a handful of nuts to go with the next. Turns, when Cesare approaches, brows up - and looks like he might be likely to steal the glass of wine he's so cleverly not spilling. But no, he minds himself. "Whisper Cesare, very mutual. Did you write something?"

Half-shucked, Vitalis looks up at the names mentioned, head turned towards the trio of Lianne, Apollo, and Cesare, lingering there. His face is one of recognition, but curiosity. He blinks at the Whisper, murmuring to Feisel as they finishing the shucking and exchange of clothes to bathing attire. Feisel breaks off, headed towards refreshments with a purpose, and Vitalis makes his way towards the small trio, tapping along as he goes.

Having apparently decided to brave the social scene, Samira makes her unobtrusive entrance into the familiar Eswyndol courtyard. The heat has necessitated a switch from her usual secondhand leathers to simpler attire and her frizzy hair has been slicked into a braid. She seems inclined to keep to herself, sizing up the other party-goers before navigating the crowd. Noting Medeia, a small grin banishes her solemn expression and she lifts her hand in a wave of greeting, if she manages to catch the other's attention.

Malcolm's eyebrows are suddenly surprised caterpillars, lifting immediately, with the corners of his mouth hitching upward. "Mm, me." Placidly, he confesses to his mischief: "I sent you a chest, Duchess Telmar. Hopefully, you know, you received it - otherwise, I'll think that Oskar has a sweetheart that needed the contents more."

Medeia happily returns the cheek kisses in greeting to Vitalis and gives his hand a light squeeze. "We shall see where the evening takes us, then." Asothers begin to move around and settle in, she gives a smile to Malcolm then accepts a glass of wine from a servant. Her murmured thanks is followed by a soft call to the duke and duchess of different duchies, "I apologize for my husband's current absence. It can't be helped." She gives a quick wave to Samira before addressing the gathering as a whole. "If you've come with poetry, wonderful! If you haven't... Well, I forgive you. I'll be calling the first poet in just a few moments."

A laugh is drawn from Isabeau's lips as she looks at Malcolm, "I did get it, my Lord. Thank you. I've just been considering what shoes I'll need made and jewelry beside that to properly appreciate the gifts." She gives her head a little shake of bemusement at Malcolm, "Which is the only reason I'm not wearing any of it yet."

Lianne finds some amusement in Apollo's reaction to his first selection from the cheeses, one she doesn't share herself, another piece snagged and paired with a bit of fig as they move on. Almost certainly, their quiet conversation has turned to cheese, easily abandoned with Cesare joins them. The marquessa dips her head, offers a warm smile and some quiet words, though she's clearly curious about his answer to Apollo's inquiry.

"Regrettably, I have," Cesare replies to Apollo, finishing off his grapes and snagging a folded piece of parchment out of his right sleeve cuff, brandishing it like a weapon, a temptation, or both. "But you'll just have to wait to see what I've decided to inflict on this ill-fated gathering." His eyes flash to Lianne and there's a momentary twitch of the corner of his mouth that's /almost/ a dimple, but not quite. A shadow in the cheek. "And you, my lord, my lady? Will you be regaling us with your lyrical accomplishments this balmy evening?" The wine glass floats /just/ within Apollo's reach, held precariously by a grip of two fingers. So easy to, in the parlance of one Lord Orland Amadeo, pickpocket, if one were so inclined.

"Mm, you're looking elegant in the gray - purple - silver thing that you're wearing. Less a cupcake. More, ah, like a star. Reminds me - you ever go and visit the Lasting Hope Observatory? You oughta. Pretty place in there." Malcolm rubs a hand against the back of his neck, scratching at his tunic collar, pausing awkwardly for a thought. "Are you going to poem, my lady? I ain't planning to, but I wanted to enjoy culture." To emphasize the last word, he drinks - because he plans to be very cultured this evening.

Do Apollo's eyes narrow at Lianne? At Cesare? He plucks that wine glass straight out of fingers, looking fairly peevish. It's all put on, smile doused in wine but evidenced by the shape of his mouth. "I'm not sure I'd know how to wrap that," he comments, apropos nothing perhaps, with a lift of his pilfered wine for both Cesare and Lianne, a theatric crunching of an almond or two. His eyes turn sidelong, catch Feisel, track back toward Vitalis, inbound. "Mm, I wrote a bit of something," he says. "I'm not sure I'll read it, though. I was /trying/ to write about something that happened out west, and didn't have the stomach - turned into, mm." His eyes turn back to the Whisper and Marquessa. "Another thing entirely."

A smile is cast to Malcolm as she gives a shake of her head, "I rarely indulge in poetry, I'm afraid. But I do enjoy listening to what others come up with. I haven't been to the Observatory, but I'll make a note to go that way soon." She hums in thought as she settles her hands in her lap, "Did you enjoy the Gauntlet?"

Turn in line: Thesbe

"I may or may not have come with poetry," Samira admits to Medeia as she drifts past the hostess. "But if I did, it's going to require some strong drinks first." That said, she turns to the business of locating the refreshments, a casual upnod of greeting and a small smile offered to the newly-ennobled Darkwater when her gaze falls upon Apollo.

"Why's poetry considered an indulgence when it's free to write --" the neo-noble blurts, eyebrows furrowing. The moment of gentle bewilderment passes, and Malcolm's clueless smile perks with way more confidence. "Sure did. Weren't too bad, my lady, and it were truly a pleasure to watch you organize and run it like a captain in the field I understand why --" the rest muttered from behind his cup, watching Isabeau.

After a bit more time mingling, and helping herself to some cheese - apparently the star of the evening! - Medeia has one of her guardsmen ring a bell to catch people's attention. "Alright, everyone! I promised you poetry, and poetry you shall have!" She scans the guests with a cheerful smile and reaches a hand out to Thesbe. "My dear protege, come join me? Does everyone know Mistress Thesbe Aryn? She's a seamstress and has given me the pleasure of being her patron. A fact I shall now exploit by having her recite first." She gives the blonde woman a wink. "Also, go buy clothes from her."

Briar, a quiet young woman arrives, delivering a message to Vitalis before departing.

Dark lashes dip low as Lianne takes in that barest hint of a dimple, the shape of Cesare's smile. What curiosity she has for his potential piece is transferred to Apollo at his theft, at that peculiar description of what he, in turn, may or may not share himself. "I'm certain I can manage something," sounds both confident and entirely noncommital, until she adds, "to follow Lord Apollo." She pops a share of cheese past her lips, eyes flashing wide with unconvincing innocence. While she, too, might note others approaching, it's Malcolm's question which pulls her focus, which earns a warm smile turned toward him and Isabeau. She might even have a thought on its answer, but it's kept to herself, the question pleasant enough on its own, unresolved. With Medeia announcing the first of the poets, she murmurs to the pair close to her, "Shall we sit?"

Thesbe looked wide eyed like a deer in head light's as medeia called out her name. The willows woman would stroll to her patron, a nervous smile upon her lips before she'd recite her poem. She cleared her throat, "A pleasure everyone." a few moments and she would recite to the crowd. Her voice was soft and soothing, having a relative loudness to it as if to pronounciate to everyone.

Raimon closes his eyes and offers a (Silent) prayer for the Serenity of a fellow poet, now in the spotlight.

Thesbe says, "In the summer breeze"

After saying something quiet to Malcolm, Isabeau speaks a little louder in answer, "Spending time on anything that isn't a responsibility is an indulgence." She answers, before the poetry starts, for the benefit of anyone listening into the conversation.

Thesbe says, "In the summer breeze, there are cute little bumble bees, that fly around ... all the trees

And I always wondered.....thought and pondered...Where all the honey goes.

And now I watch real close...That most would think it just a ghost

But a great big bear.....Right there in that little eating all he pleases......with sweet honey, apples and cheeses.""

A messenger appears, as they are wont to do around the City, and makes an arc towards Vitalis. Feisel intercepts, skims the missive and thanks the quiet young woman, a murmured exchange and then makes his way to Vitalis, a bow for Lianne, Apollo, Cesare, their titles murmured as he knows them, smiles for both Lianne and Apollo, and politeness for Cesare, unknown. Vitalis knows the Whisper, though, by sound. "You-" he is smiling at Cesare, hazed eyes intent but unfocused, as Feisel hands over refreshments and fades back. "Did you dream of music that night? Or any subsequent?" He reaches for Lianne's hand, prelude to a greeting, when the call for poetry comes. His hand drops and he murmurs something quiet as Thesbe begins.

Apollo has joined the line.

Lianne has joined the line.

Turn in line: Cesare

Medeia gives a soft bit of applause for Thesbe once she's finished. "I know better than to join a bear, but a little one getting into the apples and cheeses couldn't be so bad, could it?" She smiles and gives the woman a soft squeeze of her arm. "Thank you for indulging me and going first. Now, how about... Cesare? You came to share, no?" Her gaze settles on the man expectantly.

Samira Culler is surely well accustomed to strong drinks, but the first swallow seems to go down the wrong way. She splutters, lifting an arm muffle the sounds of her abrupt coughing fit. Once she has recovered, se refrains from taking another sip just yet, her dark eyes settling intently upon Medeia's unfamiliar new protege who bravely provides the first poem of the evening. Once she has finished, the artist balances her drink in hand so that she may applaud politely.

Samira has joined the line.

Apollo sighs, like to say: very well then. He might... be draining that glass of wine rather quickly, though. "I can't be blamed," he murmurs to those around him. A quieter greeting follows for Vitalis, and he listens to Thesbe's poem, smiles with a strange tinge of relief afterward. "Very nice, Mistress Thesbe," he says. He waits for Cesare's performance; it's a thing to be waited for. He catches Samira's eye, the gesture of greeting, and lifts his chin, smiling warmly in the waiting time, and glances back to Lianne, nodding easily. "Yes, let's sit," he says, and gestures to the wooden benches just there.

Apollo has joined the intricately carved wooden benches.

Cesare purses his lips, considering Apollo. "You should," he agrees with Lianne. The 'because she said so' is unvoiced but obvious. The 'because I said so' is less obvious, but also implied. "Oh, hello!" he says to Vitalis as their little trio gains a fourth. "I realized we never exchanged names that night, but perhaps you overheard - I'm Cesare Whisper -"

The question about dreams of music goes unanswered, though, as Medeia calls his name, and his head whips around in her direction. He finishes the glass of whiskey in one fell swoop and hands it off to Apollo, stepping over to claim the attention of the event's attendees. Unfolding the piece of parchment, which is covered in elegant script, he disclaims: "I've said several times before in the company of at least a few of you wonderful people that I am first and foremost a singer, second a musician, and somewhere down the line of my many often-lauded talents falls my ability at lyricism. Nonetheless, Lady Medeia's events are such a joy that I did make an attempt. This poem is written in a style which will be familiar to those who are versed in the history of Setarcan poetry - fourteen lines, any number of rhyme schemes depending on which particular form you use, and I, of course, chose to bastardize it by adding a fifteenth line."

Lianne has joined the intricately carved wooden benches.

No, sorry, not to Apollo. Apollo has wine. Had wine? It's not Lianne's fault he makes such swift work of it. She's entirely without sympathy for his predicament as she intercept's Cesare's handoff of his second drink, the glass raised gratefully to Whisper, a sip taken. She considers Vitalis for a moment, but whatever answer she might have falls away, precluded by others' words, by poetry and motion. Settling, all her attention turns to Cesare.

Vitalis's smile falters at the lack of return from Lianne. He slips cane and wine into the crook of his arm, applauding for Thesbe's poem. "Medeia has Laszlo looking after him," called to Apollo as the Darkwater lord and Marquessa depart. Left to his own devices, Cesare gone to hold forth, he's come dressed to soak, so he does, flagging an attendant to help him with wine and refreshements into the warm pool, expression muted.

Turn in line: Apollo

Cesare's speaking voice is no match in terms of sheer arresting /quality/ for his singing voice, but it's rich and practiced nonetheless, diction and phrasing particular, volume effortless enough to carry across the entire gathering while sounding still somehow intimate. There's no gesticulating or drama, he's just steady and still, letting the words carry themselves:

Consider: What lies below,
Deep in the loamy ground, buried,
Squirming, crawling, lying dormant, a varied
Cornucopia we do not know,
And therefore think not of -
What could live without the kiss of light?
To reckon, our sun-drenched world is king; out of sight
Is out of mind. They below, we above -
Twisting, turning, pulsing veins, soft bodies;
Susurration through a touch - we beat time all the same,
The croon of creaking limbs, the yearn of root untamed,
Shouting a chorus of carols and threnodies.
Time's hoary fingers suffuse us one by one,
Send tendrils seeking cracks, grind us to dust, and when we're done
Build us all, anew.

While Cesare captures the attention of her guests, Medeia slips over to Samira to give her friend a proper greeting. "I'm glad you made it, don't let the drink kill you - that would be far too much Lyceum influence here this evening." After a wink and quick hug, she scans to be sure no one is being neglected by the staff before allowing herself to sit and sip her wine. A soft laugh passes her lips at the mention of bastardizing the poetic form. The poem, however, seems to impact the lady greatly, her breathing slowing as she listens. "My," She murmurs. "That... Messere, might you be so good as to provide me a copy of that for my collection?" She stands to offer applause to the Whisper before deciding who shall go next. "I believe I heard some deal being made? Lord Apollo, then Marquessa Lianne, yes?" Her smile warms for them both, dipping her chin to indicate Apollo may take the 'stage' before she wanders toward the grotto, slips off her shoes, and pulls her dress up enough so she can soak her feet in the water.

Apollo watches Vitalis' path diverge as he settles; blinking, he turns attention to the singer from Setarco. And oh, how it looks like he could use another glass or three. For whatever reason, there's a touch of color on his ears. "A dreadful thing to have to follow," he says, puffing a breath at Cesare, and rises to take the floor. "Apologies, my writing took a turn on me and insisted the original destination was rubbish. No particular form to this, it is what it wanted to be." Mutter mutter. He clears his throat, unfolding a piece of parchment from his pocket, and reads:

"This creeping honeysuckle vine
has wound around an arm of mine.
Summoned by a hummingbird,
a fleet enticement. Not one word.
And pulled me straight down to the dirt
but bless; so gently. Didn’t hurt.
Pressed my ear right to the ground;
to my surprise, I heard a sound.
An echoing in cave below
a steady dripping, torpid, slow.
And I, transported down to see
the cavern that enveloped me.
Unaccustomed to that place
I wandered lightly. Moved with grace.
But light steps echoed on the floor
melodious, and begged for more.
So swifter in the dark I danced
Heedless, by that song entranced.
Fell into a running stream.
A tumultuous end of dream.
A dreadful mess. Delight so strange.
The words resist. I can’t arrange.
And so just for simplicity:
the honeysuckle sang to me."

Cesare has joined the intricately carved wooden benches.

Turn in line: Lianne

Medeia has joined the large stone grotto.

A heavy exhalation of air produces a sardonic snort from Samira, although it's delivered with a small grin. "It would be. Besides, you'd have to claim my death was caused by something else entirely, just so I don't bring shame to my name," she notes to Medeia, her glass held aloft in a wordless toast. "Glad to be here, even more glad to see you." She leans in, voice approaching a whisper to deliver a quiet remark before the other woman wanders. Attention returns to the poetry, her expression displaying clear admiration for the others' crafting of words.

"You flatter me, Lady Medeia," Cesare replies. "Of course, I'd be happy to make a copy for you. Someone with better handwriting, perhaps." He ducks his head to Medeia, a wink to Samira, a quick flash of a grin to Apollo as they pass each other on their way. A detour to retrieve more liquid refreshments, and then settles next to Lianne. A quick aside to her, and he offers a fresh glass, before sitting back to listen.

Medeia sits at the edge of the water, honeysilk pulled up and gathered on her lap so her feet and calves may soak. Before Apollo begins, she murmurs something to Vitalis and then tips her head to better hear the Darkwater's words. "Oh, that has quite the... Imagery. And feeling." She assumes everyone knows that Lianne is next, and goes about sitting and listening, a pensive look on her face.

Vitalis checks composure at normal. Vitalis fails.

Somewhere along the lines, Thesbe had dip her head in thanks to the compliments about her poem and quickly walked to sit back down. Now she had been eagerly waiting and listening to everyone else's. After each one she'd offer a small bit of applause in kind but remained quiet like a mouse.

Vitalis listens rapt to Cesare and applauds from the pool, ripples spreading away from him before subsides and then Apollo and Lianne are called in succession. He looks sympathetic: Cesare is a hard act to follow. Vitalis listens intently to Apollo's poem, face awash with a variety of expressions. Medeia's quiet query startling him somewhat, he'd not noted her approach, nor the rustle of her hem and dipped feet. Anger flickers briefly before being tucked away and he shakes his head, murmuring back.

Raimon has joined the line.

Medeia checks perception and empathy at normal. Medeia is successful.

The line has been dismissed by Medeia.

Apollo re-settles at his table, giving Medeia a momentary flash of a wry smile in thanks for her words. He ruffles his curls in mild agitation that points nowhere in particular, restlessness in the lee of performance.

Capt'n Waddles the small cock with a bell arrives, delivering a message to Cesare before departing.

Muted humor colors Lianne's features as she listens to Apollo's poem, considers the colors which creep up near his ears, drinks the whiskey which was maybe meant for him. Though she seems comfortable in Cesare's company, it isn't until after the Darkwater's recitation is complete that she answers the Whisper's soft-spoken words, her own delivered with a dip of her head which might be read as apologetic. She turns that same look to Apollo without any word as she rises, a brush of the back of her knuckles to his arm instead. To those gathered, she notes, "Something extemporaneous, yet rough around the edges and entirely untitled." And, what? Composed in her head? She has no notebook, and yet she recites--or composes--with quiet confidence:

"It is not Death
that watches us
with suspicion, yet
you invoke Her name
anyway, make of Her a boundary,
make of me an earthen intimacy.
There is no revelry in roots
no matter how deep they run,
only filth to fill a heart
with darkness, only bones
separated from their souls,
forsaken by the sun while
honey & all its suckling
wonder what lies below,
imagining such romance
in dark & dirty things
like me, naked yet
unseen, my secrets
my own to keep."

The marquessa's lips purse at the end, her gaze dipping for a moment before turning toward those gathered again. And, with that, she returns to her seat.

Cesare checks composure at normal. Cesare marginally fails.

"Ever seen a thing so beautiful that it just made no sense - yet, yeah, still there and looking at the damned thing like a fool? Uh, that was a poem like that. All of them are. Words that paint pictures. Right. Right." Blearily content with self and situation. "I, ah, think I might be in my cups. 'Cuse me. It was a pleasure, Marquessa an' Lord." Malcolm offers a broad smile to Isabeau, "Attending a poetry reading feels like more of an indulgence, Duchess." He picks himself up off the ground, leaving his empty cup with an attendant. Offering an empathetic wave for Medeia before departing.

Medeia hears 'Death' and pays close attention to Lianne's poem, her expression somber. It takes her a long moment, but she manages to lift her voice high enough to carry from the grotto to the others. "Thank you, Marquessa. That... Another I'd like for my collection, if you'd be willing." She catches sight of Malcolm's departure, offering a wave in return before saying, "I believe that gives us... Hm. Samira! And Prince Raimon to follow."

There's warm applause for Apollo's poem, and Cesare makes room for him as he returns to the bench, offering one of the fresh glasses of liquid courage, and leaning over to say something softly as Lianne rises and takes her place to recite. As she recites, he sips at his own drink, whiskey again, although somewhere in the middle something happens - he seems to inhale a bit of it, and has to turn to the side to muffle an awkward cough, covering his face with his hand.

Malcolm has left the intricately carved wooden benches.

Raimon has left the large stone grotto.

Samira appears not to realize she's been holding her breath until Lianne's poem ends. Her gaze lingers upon the marquessa, somber and contemplative, until Medeia's words draw her attention back to the present moment. She hesitates, downing the remainder of her glass's contents before stepping forward. "Alright. Words don't really come that easily to me, not like images do. But it's Deia's party, so I did my best." Clearing her throat, she closes her eyes and begins to recite from memory:

"Hunger, a perpetual ache
of needs left unfulfilled.
Empty belly, frozen nights,
A world gone cruel and still.

Yet even with such miseries soothed,
incessant pangs remain:
Not for sustenance or warmth,
but for knowledge not yet gained."

At Lianne's performance, Apollo watches, listens, mouth a considering shape. At some point his head bows, lifting at the end only to turn from her, consider Cesare, muffling a cough on his wine, and then on to a swirling server. Signalling for wine. Whiskey. A bottle. Either. A nod follows to Lianne as she resettles, murmured words.

Cesare manages to recover from having inhaled his beverage in time to drag his eyes up to Samira again. He's turned a lovely color. If you were looking to describe it to your interior decorator or your tailor, you might say: dusky damask rose. Not quite coral, not quite petal pink. Sending a smile to Samira at the conclusion of her poem, he lifts his hands to applause. Paying no heed to /either/ Apollo or Lianne, apparently, in favor of applauding his fellow Disciple.

Raimon, who has been -Listening- deeply to All of the Poems, re-opens his eyes, quarter - surfaces from Mangata's warm embrace, says simply: "For Lord Haakon, who Led us . . . " and begins:

Den Langen Drager

Dragon Islands
Drawn-out Chain
Bloody Beaches,
Blighted Reign

Shouting Forests:
Angry Shavs!
Spiteful Remnants,
Splintered Halves ...

Vengeful Rebels,
Victims Rent
Stalwart Shieldwall's
Valor Spent

Spearhafts Shattered,
Shackles Loosed
Captives Trammeled,
Traitors Noosed

The Fight concludes;
A Banner Felled
A Hewn-down Post's
Position held

Ivan's Remnant,
Routed, Flees
An Emptied Camp, nigh
Calm Grey Seas

Lianne dips a shallow nod to Medeia, noncommital but acknowledging, something for when her mood has settled post-performance. Catching Samira's look, that expression, the barest smile curls her lips, appreciative of that particular reception. When she settles, a hand curls upon Apollo's elbow, his soft words met without answer beyond a curious lift of her chin, a look that might read, 'Really?' She angles a curious look toward Cesare, but Samira's recitation earns most of her focus. Which lingers after it's over, thoughtful. It takes a moment after Raimon begins for her to look up, and even that is, first, in answer to delivery of a bottle of whiskey, glasses refilled. With a murmur of thanks, she looks to the current poet but keeps quiet, pensive.

Isabeau, at some point, slips off quietly.

Isabeau has left the intricately carved wooden benches.

Jerome, a bodyguard, Morgana, a proper secretary, 2 Valardin Knights, Bijou the Jewel, the Graypeak Mountain Dog, Elaine, an older courtier leave, following Isabeau.

No rustle of paper precedes Lianne's recitation, and Vitalis listens as intently as to the others, but with a faintly furrowed brow, applause at the conclusion of her verse, hestitant, the words as enigmatic as she is. He shakes his head again at Medeia. Pausing in answer to listen to Samira. "A pang I know well, Messere Samira," he smiles, adding his applause to the rest. And then a startled jerk at Raimon speaking from so close - that flicker of anger again, brow furrowing, expression schooled. He listens to the rose-cum-serpent, a rousing verse - applause to match. Vigorous.

Medeia sits with a hand pressed to her stomach after Samira's poem is read, the words speaking right to her - even if not meant to. She's pretty sure they were. Then Raimon is sharing a poem about something she /experienced/, and she lets out a little gasp of realization. "Oh, Your Highness. Thank you. Thank /all/ of you. I appreciate you all for coming and sharing in the food, drink, company, and craft. Do continue to enjoy those things, or soak in the spring. The night is young, yet." If she intends to share a poem, it isn't happening at the moment.

Apollo turns a smile on Samira, plucking up the wine - no, actually, he nods at whiskey. He'll have that. Plucking up the whiskey to lift her direction, until he's satisfied she knows of the lauding. Raimon's terse verse gets its own head-tip, a nod, brief lift, and he drinks. Under the table, on the bench, he stretches his legs, and to that look of query, his brows loft, an answer for the table.

Cesare has left the intricately carved wooden benches.

Thesbe looks around and smiles, watching the others converse. She was quietly petting her cat, Linx, as the other continued to share there poems. Once last nod of approval at the following poem before she looked about and said he goodbyes to Lady Medeia.

"Wonderful evening Lady Medeia. Thank you for letting me participate. I'd love to stay but I have to rise early tomorrow for more sewing work."

At the conclusion of Raimon's poem, Cesare rises, offering a bow to those assembled at the bench and wordlessly drifting over to greet their hostess at last. "Lady Medeia," he says, sitting beside her and removing his sandals to dip his own feet in the pool. "Thank you so much for this lovely event. I meant to thank you again for your advice regarding our mutual friend. I'm hopeful about the direction it's moving."

Cesare has joined the large stone grotto.

Raimon Salutes each of the poets with a bow, as deep and honorable as his mostly-immersed stance allows. All works were -good-, and some words were -rending- . . . Raimon soaks in the wake of the poems, absorbing their impact, breathing of mists.

Lianne watches Cesare go as she offers quiet reply to Apollo, a thread of curiosity in her regard for the Whisper. For the moment, though, she seems content to drink, to observe those gathered, the ambiance of the courtyard.

"Rest well, Thesbe!" Medeia bids her protege a good night before taking a moment to consider Vitalis quietly, grateful for the moment that she can do so unseen. At Cesare's approach, she dips her chin. "Cesare, you're very welcome, of course. Your poem was exceptional." The mention of her advice has her lifting a hand dismissively. "No need to thank me. If it works out, I'll be pleased to have helped two people I care about. If it does not? I wish no blame for it." Her tone is teasing. Then, she turns back to Vitalis to catch his attention. "My lord, how about that dance?" Standing, she pulls her dress overhead to reveal a silk slip and shortpants to allow her to move fully into the water.

Linx, a beautiful Persian cat with a green collared bow leaves, following Thesbe.

Apollo's mood takes on a wistful note, watching Cesare move to the grotto. Severed from the urgency of whiskey, he lifts his glass again for the event benediction, but doesn't drink so much or so fast, after, few murmured words on his lips.

Samira has a smile for her fellow Disciple as she watches Cesare's path toward the water. Vitalis's remark brings her focus shifting toward him, her chin lowered into a small nod. "Not one easily lessened, huh?" Thesbe's departure catches her eye, the artist's expression unreadable for the time that her attention lingers, and then she's abruptly shifting to face the nearby benches where Apollo and Lianne linger. "You have a way with words, both of you."

"And no blame will find you," Cesare replies with a gracious nod for Medeia. "I only beg to differ on the subject of thanks. But I suppose the poem will have to serve as thanks enough." He settles, sipping from his drink and watching the lovely lady slip into the water with the ghost of a smile.

"Mmh. No, I think the name 'the Eater' is no happenstance," dark quip offered to Samira, what's an airy reference to Fable between friendly acquaintances?

Vitalis heard the light scrape of sandals to announce Cesare's approach, expression resolving again to recognition -- now with a name to accompany it. He inattends to Cesare and Medeia's greeting to offer agreement to Raimon's assessment. Good works indeed, all around. He settles back, turning attention to Medeia, Cesare, "Dreamer of Music, Cesare Whisper. Worming your way into our hearts," a grin with rakish edge. "What inspired you?" And, oh? A dance? He grins and pushes to his feet, warm waters to his belly, hands planed on the surface, moving idly forward, back, forward, back, eddies swirling away.

Lianne is considering those in the water, possibly debating joining them, a quiet conversation on-going with Apollo, when Samira approaches. Her smile flares wide, but softens for the praise, her head bowed in gracious acceptance. "I found yours quite compelling as well, though I wonder if your hunger is for any particular knowledge or more commentary on a broader whole."

Apollo has a series of little nods for Lianne; whatever she's said, it's been understood. His attention skims over to the water, eyes over his whiskey, but they turn on Samira, and he smiles at her. "Despite my drifting intention?" he wonders. But his eyes lid, and he gives a dip of his head. "Thank you," he says. Lianne's assessment gets an equal nod, curiosity - though his eyes fall, thoguhtful. "Are you still down at Rabble Art very often? I might come stop down. If they'll still let me in the Lowers." A little tiny smile, and he sips.

Cesare lifts a shoulder in an easy shrug, looking down into his glass. In response to Vitalis: "I can't remember who I had a conversation with recently, but someone mentioned, about roots. They remain unseen, we hardly think of them until they blossom. With all the destruction lately, all the struggle, the battles, I suppose I couldn't help but see some kind of connection there. The Queen of Endings will have us all eventually, glory, infamy, or mundanity regardless of it all."

"It is a fitting name," Medeia responds to Vitalis,a shiver running through her despite the warm water and hot air surrounding her. She allows one hand to find one of the Clement lord's. "You said you could lead in the water, yes?" Her voice lifts, calling out for music, which many around take up on drums and stringed instruments. The song is lively, in the style traditional to the Isles Prodigals who call Eswynd Rock home. If one closes their eyes, the notes may evoke images of battle and victory.

Raimon is overheard praising Medeia: ANOTHER awesome event !!!

Vitalis is overheard praising Medeia: A lovely event.

Vitalis is overheard praising Thesbe: Chilling poem for a Clement, chilling.

"You're right about that," Samira answers to Vitalis, dark features lending themselves to solemnity -- particularly with such subjects being addressed. The question of what knowledge she might speaks dispels just a bit of that seriousness, a wry grin appearing briefly. "Particular knowledge, yeah, although there are several topics I'm seeking all at once. Too much to learn and not enough time." A full grin appears, lopsided and amused as she focuses attention upon the former Guildmaster. "I've a shop outside of the Lowers too, but most of my time is spent at Rabble. If anyone gives you any trouble, you let me know. You've done plenty for the people. Shouldn't forget that just 'cause your title is different now."

Vitalis is overheard praising Lianne: An enigma to unravel, as ever.

Vitalis is overheard praising Cesare: A needed reminder.

Vitalis is overheard praising Apollo: Finding beauty in unexpected quarters.

Vitalis is overheard praising Raimon: Stark and stirring!

Vitalis is overheard praising Samira: Feed it!

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