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Embassy of the Scales Opening Gala

The Embassy of the Scales within the Lycene ward is finally complete. Tribune Petraea Livy invites all to come take a tour and get a little taste of Cardian hospitality in the process.

Date

June 5, 2021, 3 p.m.

Hosted By

Petraea

Participants

Gianna Deva Drake Leola Modi Katarina Evaristo Patrizio Sydney Rinel Thea Cristoph Graziella Raven Bhandn Mirk Berenice Cesare Amari Isabeau Bahiya Adalyn Massimiliano Tyche Viviana Natasha Apollo Romulius Jaenelle Zoey Hadrian Kenjay Monique Kiera Raimon Preston Ryhalt Noah Gael Nisaa Liara Carrick Kalakh Cambria Aconite Mia Alessia

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Embassy of the Scales - Cavaedium

Largesse Level

Legendary

Comments and Log


Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights, Elaine, an older courtier arrive, following Isabeau.

Cristoph has joined the Ambition Couch.

Tyche has joined the Ambition Couch.

Thea has joined the Pride Couch.

Patrizio has joined the Cunning Couch.

Modi has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Rurik, a prodigal assistant, Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound arrive, following Mirk.

Isabeau has joined the Ambition Couch.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat arrives, following Amari.

Katarina has joined the Ambition Couch.

Drake has joined the Pride Couch.

The gates to the Embassy finally open, allowing visitors to enter in through the Vestibulum and through to the Cavaedium, a large, enclosed garden area sheltered by an arching glass ceiling that allows for an excellent view of the stars. The servants are already circulating with drinks and food and the music gently swells within the garden to further emphasize the strange ambiance of this place. Familiar, yet also unmistakably foreign. The hostess herself is standing slightly off to the side, her hazel eyes drifting over those that enter with a rather satisfied smile curving that generous mouth.

1 Clement trained guards, Alphonse arrive, following Adalyn.

Natasha has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Romulius has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Gianna steps into the Cavaedium looking glorious in a ---- oh. Oh, wow. This place. The steel and glass dome, the lush greenery - what are those, she's never seen those before. Gianna drifts in, holding the skirt of her gown carefully and lacking her usual haughty demeanour because she's busy being enchanted by her surroundings. The statues, she marvels at. The fruit trees are similarly admired. She's not quite smiling - she is still Gianna, after all - but her eyes are alight and her lips slightly parted. This is beautiful. Also Gianna's dress is totally pretty and stuff, look at her nice dress, something something Bard's College, Nightingale.

Zoey has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Leola has joined the Dancing Area.

Deva jabs her assistant Jasper in the shoulder on the way in, glaring at him for something. The man snorts and gently turns her by the shoulders toward the alcohol. Before she charges forward, she passes a crumpled note back to him and strides on. She's dressed up more than usual and seems more resigned to it than comfortable. Before she can make too much of a spectacle of herself, she pauses before passing the hostess and offers a crisp bow. "Thank you." For what? There's no specificity. But she seems to mean it all the same, her tone solemn for that moment.

Drake likes a good party, and this one appears to be quite popular. He takes note of the dance floor when entering, his eyes sweeping then over the decor, the food and of course drink, and then starting to move about to see who at the party he recognizes. On his arm is the now Countess Thea, who he is happily escorting. "Shall we try to greet the hostess, or go straight for the drinks? It's quite the crowd today."

Leola has for once dressed for the occasion, though wild horses don't seem to have been able to pry the sash from her. She curtsies politely on entering, looking around in satisfaction as she takes the effort to manager her skirts and to remain standing, by the open area. Her sunburned face watches the others, a thoughtfulness spreading there as she fiddles with a gold ring worn over a steelsilk glove

There's a spring to Modi's step as he arrives through the Embassy doors. Wreathed in umbra, steelsilk, and studded with gemstones. He carries a sling under his arm, cradling it close to his chest. Every step forward is one foot directly in front of the other, a proper /strut/. His arms extend and he spins on his heel. Taking a deep breath and keeping his green eyes wide, he immerses himself in the atmosphere for a moment. His head tilts, staring upward at the glass ceiling and the sky beyond. Across his weathered features, a smile forms. Wide, sincere, and bursting with exuberance. Coming down off his sensory overload, his shoulders slump. "Ah. /Beautiful/."

It's easy to miss Princess Katarina Valardin. Not because she doesn't stand out, but because she doesn't stand tall. Fortunately, she has her bodyguard with her to avoid being accidentally stepped on by someone who is, in the words of many a Physician, 'at least six-foot-six.' Dressed in swirling layers of sheer aeterna and lace, the Eurusi royalty seeks out the company of fellow Oathlanders -- but her golden eyes do stray toward Petraea, as if trying to judge whether or not this is the moment to go pay respects, or if she will indeed be crushed in a crowd.

Bahiya arrives, following Kenjay.

They are a vision in shades of purple, the pair entering arm in arm. Evaristo wears the steelsilks he's had for quite awhile, a fitting fabric for the feast at the Scales Embassy. Together with that, duskweave in purple shades and jewelry with purple duskstones match the steelsilk's decorations. His violet eyes gleam with excitement, but rest often on the woman he is escorting, Princess Berenice Velenosa - proud to escort her, and clearly in awe by her. "Not only stunning," he tells her, "but /spectacular/." He lifts his gaze and takes the place in, eyes widening. "...gods, this is a damn good spot for a party."

Raimon has joined the Dancing Area.

Patrizio briefly turns his eyes to the monument as he's following the masses into the room, that drift of his jade eyes over it appreciatively... and then there's the smile that finds him as he's meandering along with the sextet of his centurions, as is his fashion. He's bereft of armour for the occasion - it does not, after all, seem befitting for him to be in such for a more diplomatic occasion - but there's the definite consideration of those about as he's lingering perhaps off to the side for a few moments as if to gather his bearings.

For a change, Sydney Waterfall has made an effort to show up to a party dressed for a party. The pugilist's hair is tightly braided and pinned up high on her head with a lustrous comb. A seasilk dress breaks the commoner's typical routine of arriving to venues in leather armor. What doesn't change is the fact that as soon as she arrives, she immediately flags down a server, and plucks up a glass of red wine and some sort of lemon-themed pastry, which she immediately tucks into, swigging it back with a healthy chug of wine. One can dress up a pugilist, but manners are not as easily earned.

Rinel ignores everything and makes a beeline for the plants, which she begins to examine as closely and in as much detail as she possibly can without touching them. There's a small sheaf of papers in her hands--where did that come from, exactly?--and she's sketching a narcissus flower while peering at it from a distance of mere inches.

Thea looks around, looking very impressed with well--everything. She leans against Drake, murmuring to him,"We can likely do both, yes,"clearly missing the dance floor. For now. Thea too looks for those she knows, which looks to be more than what she thought and she smiles for a moment.

With the doors open, Cristoph arrives not as soon as it opens with the initial crush but a few minutes after that. He's keeping company with Tyche, a not at all unusual sight in all of this. As they pass through into the new and unknown space, he leans over to murmur something to her, his expression curious as his eyes skim their surroundings. When he's done, there's a small nod of his head and he helps lead their path through the crowds of onlookers. They pass the statue and he slows his steps, taking time to look it over.

A lesson in duality, Princess Graziella Pravus arrives wearing a stunning steelsilk dress with decorative pauldrons that grant the silhouette an almost Oathlandic influence twisted into something like Lycene satire by the use of mirrorsilver. Her hair is expertly arranged atop her head in an elaborate updo fashioned to resemble a crown studded with a dozed different sized diamonds and flecks of amethyst. Dour blue eyes prone to listless gazes are painted in woad as if to compliment her ghoulish faded purple lip stain, barely there but haunting her lips with an otherworldly tint -- clearly, she ate too many candied violets. On her way into the room, the princess pauses long enough to offer a polite greeting to the Tribune Petraea, giving a curtsy and commenting on the decor with a softly spoken, "Truly stunning Embassy, so beautiful.. all of it." Her airy intonation trails off in an absent minded way as her gaze drifts around the room and her feet eventually follow. Graziella moves through the room after greeting the host and she goes to take a quiet seat near her cousin, once she is settled in a small needlepoint comes out of her handbag and she stitches at it with tiny methodical movements of her hand not intended to draw attention to the effort.

Raven slips in amoungst the throng of people, hair pinned up off her neck in an ornate fashion. Moonsilver isn't with her but rather perched on the glass peering downward mournfully at the promise of food she's prevented from pillaging due to the glass. Raven's verdant gaze sweeps the room and her eyebrows lift, a low, slow whistle escapes her as she's clearly favorably impressed, "I am incredibly jealous." She says to no one as she's come alone.

Sir Bhandn dressed up for the event, which is to say he finally found occasion to dress up in his aeterna and seatouched wool overcoat. He brought both swords with him and made quite a show of peacebonding them while everyone was waiting. Even the overly-already-bound greatsword got a little extra embellishment. Once the gates swung open and allowed the guests to enter, he took a deep breath and muttered "Here we go" to no one in particular. Bhandn was among those who stopped in consideration for the absolutely non-Arvani environment, and he takes in a deep breath to take stock of the incense and other scents in the air. But for the Knight of Solace he's beelining straight for Petraea Livy, to offer his own courtesy bow and pay respects. "I think people will be talking about this for quite some time, Lady Livy," his deep voice opines to the Tribune.

Graziella has joined the Pride Couch.

Graziella has left the Pride Couch.

Graziella has joined the Cunning Couch.

Mirk strides into the Cavaedium alone, without hi susual retinue of guards and guard hounds, his eyes drawn to the spectacle of it. Rather than awe, there's a distant thoughtfulness to it, as if judging the space that the Cardians had chosen to make their embassy into. Whatever his thoughts about that, he keeps them from his face, making his way deeper into the room with a nod of his head to the hostess as he passes her. He helps himself to a glass of Cardian wine, always quick to find a drink, and then watches the crowd for a moment. "At least it's not only Lycene. I suppose I'm not entirely out of place," he comments, seemingly mostly to himself.

Petraea is surveying all that she sees with a distinct expression of ownership on her face which Deva manages to startle away, however briefly the expression might last. Quickly, a smile replace that look of surprise and she inclines her head as she murmurs, "Always welcome. You must be Princess Deva Redrain. That hair is unmistakable. Do you like wine, your highness?" Without waiting for an answer, she is waving a servant over and reaching for a glass of a red wine so dark it is nearly black to offer to Deva. The approach of Graziella has the Tribune smiling once more as she says with sincerity, "Thank you. It took awhile and I learned much more about buildings and gardens than I ever thought I would, but I wanted everything to be perfect." Sir Bhandn's approach is met with a lifting of brows and a slow grin as she bows her head to the knight, "I certainly hope so, Sir Bhandn. Hopefully, you will be so kind as to save me a dance for later?"

Berenice steps into the garden on the arm of her protege Evaristo, clad in a stunning gown that seems to draw inspiration from what might be gleaned of Cardian fashion from their esteemed hostess and other Cardian visitors who have been in and out of the city these past few years. Her hair is arranged in an elaborate updo, pinned with star iron and dragonweep, and her steps are graceful, every motion shifting the silk on her figure. There is no hesitation with her in approaching Petraea, even where some others seem to give her space at first. Her smile is brilliant, and her gaze inevitably draws over the /true/ Cardian fashion that the woman has on display. "Tribune Livy, you look as stunning as your surroundings," she compliments her warmly. "It is such a pleasure to see you again. Might I present my remarkably talented protege, Captain Evaristo Arterius?"

Cesare and Apollo did /not/ match on purpose. There was no consulting whatsoever as to what outfits were to be worn. And truthfully, black isn't a hard color to match when it's the primary theme of an ensemble - still, it's a little impressive that they managed to accidentally color-coordinate so well. Or not.

Black, gold, and iridescent shades of purple are the order of the evening, though. The iridescent purple is pretty much entirely Cesare, between the eyes of the spider earrings he wears, the wash of color dashed across his eyelids, and the sandals, and that gold jacket of Apollo's is particularly prominent. Recently returned from Elsewhere, Lord Darkwater's sporting a bit of a beard-goatee-arrangement and a sun-burnished wash of color on his face and the backs of his hands. He's still not quite as brown as Cesare, though, who's picked up a bit of tan himself, and whose hair is twisted back into an elaborate, chrysanthemum-like knot secured by two hairpins topped in glittering sun-etched gems.

Hand tucked into Apollo's elbow, Cesare surveys the sea of bustling bodies and the interior of the Cavaedium, head tilting this way and that as he glances up to the sky-dome. He plucks a pair of drinks off a passing tray without even really looking, and passes one to Apollo. "Well, this is stunning, isn't it? Shall we go greet our hostess?"

Well, like most of the guests, Amari looks up and slows down the line a little bit before realizing she's making a slow moving obstacle of herself. She'll admire the dome when she's out of the way. Turning her gaze down to ground level, she notices Petraea standing nearby with that smile on, and dips her head politely, taking her for someone that probably should be nodded to. She'll stroll on without a fuss, absently turning the shimmering white dragon bracelet on her wrist as she clasps her hands behind her back. Off to find more familiar faces, then.

Even at her short stature, Isabeau stands out in her red brocade gown and rubies. Rubicund chainmail shines atop the cut of the fabric, and rubies glitter at throat, wrist, and in her hair. She steps off to the side, moving to keep company with Katarina, electing to stick near her cousin for the moment as she offers the woman a greeting smile.

Bahiya arrives on Kenjay's arm, the Eurusi Ambassador garbed in beautiful colors of sunset, her jewelry shimmering. Her head is tilted, she wears no ribbon over her eyes tonight, her sightless gaze gentle as it rests on nothing. She's listening to the Redrain prince at her side describe the room and its splendor, the many people that are attending, the sight of the ball and its throng. "What a lovely night," she breathes, hazel eyes warm and unseeing. "I hope one day we can throw such an event at the Eurusi Consulate. The Cardian Ambassador gives us such heights to soar to, how wonderful!" Sincerity in every syllable, Bahiya'al'mathali looks both impressed and excited.

Lifting a gloved hand of welcoming to Sydney, Leola gestures to her politely, remaining by the open area and letting the nobility take their seats. She picks up a glass of wine, studying and inhaling it with a practiced air, and ponders, studying and watching and taking in the fashion; herself, attired in gold, and so blending in ever so slightly to the decor. Leola can make gold retiring.

Massimiliano has joined the Magnificence Couch.

"Drinks first," says Drake, pushing through the crowds a little to get some wine. The Cardian wine is certainly something he'd be interested in trying. Fortunately it's not hard to secure a couple of glasses, and he offers one to Thea. He's not one to shy away from alcoholic drinks during this sort of event. "I thought Kiera was going to make it, but it is a lot of crowd."

Graziella has had Cardian wine before and when it is offered to her, she accepts a glass but sets it by untouched and leaves it right there -- where she can pick it up and hold it, giving the illusion of being polite without consuming the stuff

Curiosity has drawn Adalyn Clement to the new embassy, enthusiastic strides carrying her into the building. Although her garb might be on the casual side compared to the finery of some partygoers, she appears perfectly at ease, content to mill through the room in search of familiar faces. Spotting a few fellow Oathlanders among the crowd, she offers an enthusiastic wave to both Amari and Katarina.

Drifting through the crowd, Modi would eventually manage to float his way toward Sydney. His smile has not faded an ounce, remaining steadfast as ever. If a smile could somehow also be stoic, it would be the Modi-smile. "Hellooo." He greets the pugilist. "How are your hands? Nails chipped? Knuckles bruised? Because I've recently come into contact with someone who does fantastic grooming." He raises a hand to offer a wave toward Petraea. Far too many nobles for a prodial to be butting in, but nonetheless, a greeting given.

Gianna lets her skirts fall and makes her way toward Petraea, waiting for the woman's attention. Should she gain it, she says, "It's absolutely gorgeous there. Thank you for having me. I do have a question but it can certainly wait until later." She bows forward slightly and even dips down in something like a curtsy. "I love it."

There are no clear qualms on the part of Patrizio about consuming Cardian wine - he accepts a glass of it, and with gusto, though he's sipping mindfully rather than quaffing like he might with a great many of the beverages that he might be presented with, as he's lingering where he's having a good moment or three enjoying the decor. The familiar faces get an inclination of his head, as well as a smile for a few - his cousins, most notably, though there's a gentle encouraging beckoning to Raven as well to come join, lest she feel all alone in the crowd.

Whereas a fair many are filtering into the gala at the Embassy of the Scales, Massimiliano Buccheri seems to wander in not through the door but from across the garden where a particularly beautiful fig tree bears the ripest, sweetest fruit in the room, a pair of them in one hand as he weaves through the arriving guests and settles near the most magnificent of the couches, not quite sitting himself just yet but holding the territory while he breaks into a single fig to pilfer the insides, watchful of those coming and going.

Sydney finds a place to lean and work on her wine, bottle-green eyes neatly skimming the crowd as it filters in, moves, and gathers. She pauses when she sees Leola, and offers a cheeky little flash of her teeth that passes for a grin, and then goes back to devouring her confection for a moment, polishing it off in no time flat. Modi appearing forces her out of her silent watchfulness, and she holds up a gloved hand, "...No way of saying, is there? Why, I could have the most pristine hands you've ever seen under this fabric."

Not that she does. She doesn't.

Deva crinkles her nose, but it's accompanied by a twist of a smile. "It does tend to give me away," she confides to Petraea, followed by a respectful dip of her head. "Well, I--" Too late. She changes course, "--will try anything at least once. Or twice, just to be certain." Words punctuated by an awkward laugh, she accepts the glass of wine from the servant and raises it to the hostess. "I look forward to it. Thank you, Tribune." As others filter to greet the Cardians as well, she starts to slip a few steps backward and out of the way to make room. There's a nod to Amari, then the bracelet, and her expression lights up as she sees Kenjay and Bahiya. "Ambassador, Uncle," she greets fondly, still drifting out of the way and toward the seating arrangements.

Graziella, while idly working on her needlepoint, cuts a darkly amused look to her cousin when he starts drinking the wine and with a smirk she leans over to tell him about her time in Tor in whispers.

Fingers resting lightly in the crook of Cristoph's arm, Tyche joins the press of the crowds anxious to see, to be part of the spectacle of it all. With keen interest and a smile at her lips, she openly looks, no coyness to the way she appreciates the beauty of the embassy. Because it is beautiful, of that there is no doubt. When the Duke leans in to murmur something to her, she cranes her neck a touch to make the job easier for him, the smile twitching. And she will respond, eventually, but not yet. She's too taken with the same statue he has found interest in. Finally she lifts her chin to send words up to him, her dark eyes alive with amusement.

It's the question that disarms Sir Bhandn so utterly. For a moment, he looks utterly taken aback, and everyone that's watching can see him shift slightly and become physically flustered. "Ah. I'd be delighted," he manages to stammer out to Petraea, but his eyes shift slightly. That's all he manages to get out as others' introductions to Lady Livy lets him back off slightly and away from the woman before he betrays his sudden unease even further. Yes, he's blushing a little too, but he doesn't retreat from this particular social battle despite taking a wound (so to speak). He spends the time convalescening, trying to regain his composure and figure out what to say next that isn't completely awkward.

Oh, look, Viviana's there. She's doing what seems to be fashionable - dressed to the tens, leaning up against a bit of wall, and partaking of wine and top-tier people watching.

It is just as much curiosity as it is the desire to show her support for her cousin's endeavors regarding the embassy that brings her here, Natasha's dark eyes sweeping over the exotic greens and glass ceiling that allows starlight to pass through the panes and compete with the lanterns already present. Akin, already, to stepping in another world by her private accounting, immersing herself in the unique details as booted feet take her across the threshold in a swirl of well-stitched silks that hardly detracts from her preferred 'uniform' of a silhouette. Some concessions have been made to account for the sweltering weather, however; full coverage has been eschewed today to keep from expiring from heatstroke when the cut of them bares her shoulders and back, the silken expanse of the small of it dominated by the span of a sun-bronzed hand guiding her further within. She hasn't come alone - as tall as the woman is, even with her preferred footwear, her companion for the evening still manages to tower over her by a few inches, the shadow of the Sword of New Hope eclipsing pale features in both a protective and companionable guard. Head inclined sideways, lips part to murmur something to Romulius as they venture within, though there's a quick, but faint smile towards familiar faces.

Raven's gaze stops gawking at all the lovely things to see and starts seeking familiar faces. She spots a few but they seem otherwise occupied-ahhah. She spies Patrizio and Graziella, making her way towards the, both.

Who knows what Apollo was thinking, wearing that gold jacket. His eyes scan the surround, and he tips a little toward Cesare Whisper to - well. Not whisper, nor Whisper. Just murmur, "It smells fantastic in here. Yes, let's." He spots a series of people as they move - Leola, eyes dropping to her sash, a smile flashed. Evaristo, who gets a lift of a hand, a sort of dip of his head from a distance that might indicate he'll be over to say hello. And Sydney. His feet actually stop, when he spots Sydney, though his feet catch up under him after a moment. And then Deva, with the Tribune. He moves that way.

Raven has joined the Cunning Couch.

Katarina loops her arm in with Isabeau's as soon as the Telmar Duchess is close enough to be caught. The veiled heiress of a Dune Kingdom thus uses Isabeau as a friendly anchor, to keep herself from becoming lost in a sea of humanity. "It is good to see you again, Duchess. When there is an opportunity, I intend to try and claim a moment of the Tribune's attention -- but when there is an opportunity~." The veiled young woman offers greetings to those she sees and knows: Kenjay and Bahiya, Sydney, Cristoph, et cetera. To Adalyn, she makes a 'come over this way' wave, as if initiating some sort of Oathlander-women-strength-in-numbers movement.

Thea doesn't turn away the wine. Not even a little. In fact, she takes a sip and actually enjoys it before going to find a place to sit. "This is amazing in here,"Thea murmurs to Drake.

Romulius arrives looking much like he might have thought that the embassy's opening was some sort of usual, garbed in black silks and leathers that cut the typical austere silhouette of the Mourning Isles. His attitude seems to reflect the same, a too-serious expression softened only by the sweep of cerulean gaze that betrays at least *some* affect by the Cavaedium's splendor. His escort of the Thraxian princess in the way of Natasha demands attention put first towards that, however, and awe is set aside to lead towards one of the couches after offering a response to his companion's hushed words.

As Petraea is offering wine and dances, Berenice's approach is noted as she says with a dip of her head, "Princess Berenice, I was rather hoping not to have competition on being best dressed and here you come to show me up at my own party." Her tone is warm, without the venom that her words might suggest. She looks to Evaristo and offers him the same bow of her head, "Captain Arterius is a name I have heard often in the city. I shouldn't be surprised that such a famous man would be on your arm, your highness." Gianna does in fact manage to gain her attention and she chuckles a little as she eyes her dress with a shake of her head, "It seems as though Bard Gianna is well-dressed competition for the both of us, Princess." She raises her voice a little to offer back to Gianna, "Find me a little later. I would be delighted to speak with you." People drift close and away and Petraea offers nods and smiles for them all as if she is perfectly at ease in such a sea of people.

"Tribune Livy, can I tell you that the Cardians were much more easier to work with in the building of this Embassy than both of the others I had the pleasure of seeing to as well?" Jaenelle informs Petraea warmly as she moves through the entrance into the Cavaedium without an escort, covered in her usual spidersilk adornments. "Your home is beautiful, as I expected it would be, and I look forward to seeing more of it as we work together to ensure that the steps we have taken thus far remain strong and grow as time moves forward. Also, if anyone enters your home and treats you poorly this evening, know that I will glady remove thrm from the ward until such time that they apologies and you feel generous enough to accept. You are my guest in this ward, and I will not have any disrespect."

Winter, A Highhill Puppy arrives, following Kiera.

Drake, now with wine in hand, scans the room for a few fellow Champions. He gives an up-nod to Kenjay, one clearly not seen by the man's date, but Drake walks over with enough motion in his step to be heard. "Nice to learn about another culture, isn't it - is it nice not seeming like the outsiders for a change?"

Zoey is only a step behind Natasha as she follows her patron and her companion into the space, eyes alight with curiosity as she takes it all in. Examination of the space and what fills it leaves her too distracted to even greet familiar faces for the moment.

"Mmmm..." Modi has the look of a doubter. One who doubts quite a lot, actually, as his eyes drift from one covered hand to the next. His arms fold over his chest, leaving his sling to rest against his hip. "If you say so. Though I have to say, teeth and jawbones are going to take their toll eventually." Reaching around, he grabs a passing glass of wine from a servant. He's not going to drink it, but he is going to hold it, and look very dignified doing so. He falls into a watchfulness that imitates Sydney's just to her left.

Like many others, Hadrian and Cambria Mazetti are among those that make their way from the gates of the Embassy of the Scales, and up through to the vestibulum. Even before the threshold is crossed into the garden, Hadrian's gaze casually drifts over the greenery and other life ahead. His mouth bows, lingering somewhere between an expression of consideration and impressed by the design of the structure, along with what occupies it. As the wine begins to circulate, Hadrian's customary grin is soon to follow as a hand reaches out to take claim of a passing glass, along with a polite bow of his head in thanks to the passing staff. Duly armed with the glass of wine, it is promptly passed along to the Duchess, rather than kept for himself. For the moment the pair continue deeper into the garden until they've arrived at the queue forming to greet the hostess of the gathering. Upon finally stepping forward to the ready position, Hadrian offers a polite bow of his head toward Petraea, along with a smile that is as bright white as it is cheerful, "My lady," he offers with a casual gesture throughout the garden before he continues, "I am, like many others present I think, awestruck by the beauty of this embassy. It is truly superb".

Cesare murmurs a soft aside to Apollo as they drift - purposefully, but Cesare has that sort of gliding walk that means he's only ever drifting or sidling or something of that ilk.- toward Deva and the Tribune. He raises the hand holding his glass of wine to Graziella, giving a wiggle of fingers that will be familiar of her and probably a covert indication that he'll come say hello shortly. There are a lot of people he knows here, at least in passing, and each of them gets a look of recognition as he passes, and a little nod.

Evaristo nods to Gianna and mouths something to her, then fingerwiggles to Apollo and perks up seeing him. There's people here he knows, and he's greeting or waving, and just trying to do everything at once - but once he and Berenice reaches the hostess, he bows deeply to her. "Lady Livy - I am DEEPLY honored, and quite in awe, by you and this place!" He takes in her outfit, and there's a little amused smirk at it, combined with a surprisingly warm glitter in his gaze as he admires her. "You look truly /fiery/, my lady." He shifts to allow others to greet, glancing down at his patron, squeezing her arm a bit closer in a fond gesture for a second.

Sydney's attention veers over to Apollo at the sound of his voice, and she offers a gloved wave of her hand to the recently-minted Lord, brows briefly lifting as he falters in his step, head jaunting to the side as she calls out, "Take care not to stumble, Lord Darkwater! I know I'm quite the sight, but my eyes are up here!" A jest in two parts. She winks Katarina's way, and then leans over and deposits her elbow in Modi's ribs as he imitates her. "...You know as well as I do that the toll's already been taken. They are and shall forever be a mess. Therefore, gloves. Yes?"

Leola nods to Apollo in return, with just the faintest twitch of a polite curtsy and an impish smile flashed to the neonoble. Sydney, as well, gets a little upnod, before she reaches up to tuck her scattered tresses back behind her ears. Not a sip of the drink in her hand, but a careful thoughtfulness. Then she smiles to Evaristo, watching him interact and chatter with the nobility with a bright fascination

Amari covers her ears for some reason as she passes Gianna and after the pair have shared a few soft words. With a smile, she's off and away. It's a very large crowd to lose oneself in, and she does an exceptional job of it, even dressed predominantly in glaringly stark aeterna white.

Mirk sips at the wine speculatively, nods his head once in approval, and then continues drinking as he makes his way through the crowd. He catches Gianna's eye and says, "A pleasure to see you here, Gianna. I should have expected you'd be at an occasion like this." There's a wry tone near the end. "For all of their faults, the Cardians do know how to make an impression, don't they?"

"The Mockingbird is always the fiercest competition in matters of fashion /wherever/ she goes," Berenice tells Petraea, praising Gianna with easy and immediate warmth as she looks aside to her. "And tonight is /no/ exception, as always. But you flatter of me, of course," is added back to Petraea. "I hope I was able to capture some small inspiration of your home's fashions, as best as I was able to observe them from you and our other Cardian guests in the city. It was quite an enjoyable project, in truth." She looks to Jaenelle at her approach, offering her a warm and familiar smile and then stepping nearer to brush a pair of kisses to her cheeks in Lycene style. "Your grace, you look stunning as ever."

Graziella mutters, "... will make ... choices, I am ... ... ... influence you... just warn ... ... ... is ... potent ... us, you don't ... ... believe me. Keep drinking it.""

Kit, the grey fox, Primus, First of Monique's Assistants, 1 Greenmarch Guard, Tertius, Third of Monique's Assistants arrive, following Monique.

Balian, a Templar squire, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Preston.

"You shine as always, Lord Apollo," Deva tells the man, gesturing toward his jacket with the glass of wine in her hand. She hasn't sipped it yet, but it does make for a very fancy prop to gesticulate with. "Whisper Cesare," she adds, nodding toward both gentlemen with a small but fond smile. Overhearing Jaenelle, she flutters her fingers at the Archduchess before ducking back to find somewhere to settle for the moment.

Raven doesn't intrude upon Patrizio or Graziella but rather stands nearby, if there's such a thing as attentive loitering, Raven's doing it right now. Taking in the sights and sounds and standing within easy conversational distance of the Cunning Seating.

Patrizio might well be new to the matter of diplomatic affairs, but there /is/ a respectful inclination of his head to Petraea from where he's cloistered with Graziella and Raven, the newly-minted Voice of Pravus trying at least to do proper justice to his showing up to a fete such as this. Though he's laughing, clearly, at something Graziella's just said to him, even as the jade eyes turn to his wineglass again and, as if discarding a warning he's been given, takes another drink.

Bahiya has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Katarina's beckoning wave captures Adalyn's attention, rescuing her from having to scan the crowd and decide where to start. Decisive footsteps lead her toward the Valardin princess and her companion, a warm smile brightening her features as she joins them. "Beautiful here, isn't it? I'm glad to see you." The words are uttered with sincerity. Safety in Oathlander numbers, you see.

When a server passes by them with a tray, Cristoph plucks off two glasses and passes one of them over to Tyche. She's chosen this moment to respond to him and he dips his head just so to the right, his eyes on the statue but his attention directed toward listening to her. He's part-way through the hand off of the wine, his mouth pulling into a crooked smile before he replies to whatever she has to say. "We should dance this time," he remarks in a voice that's actually loud enough for anyone else to hear, clearly the tail end of their more discreet discussion. "But lets say hello to the host first, yes?" And with a small inclination of his head forward, he's once more directing their journey through the crowd. A polite, but clear expectation that the people he's intending to move through will move. When they reach Petraea, he offers a respectful nod of his head. "Good evening, Tribune Livy. Thank you for your opening your doors to us tonight. If you haven't met already, this is Marquessa Tyche Inverno of Caina." He spots a familiar face moving through the crowd as these introductions are offered, and he lifts his wine glass in quiet greeting to Amari from across the way.

Gianna collects a glass of wine, Cardian vintage, and turns toward Mirk. She glides his way, raising her glass in a sort of salute. "And a pleasure to see you as well, Lord Mirk. I was just saying how impressed I am. It's truly lovely here. Such splendor. It looks like everyone came to be seen. Excellent plumage. I hope you've been well?"

Bahiya has left the Magnificence Couch.

Thea flutters her fingers to Apollo, Leola, AND Sydney. She offers them a smile she grows comfortable as she can surrounded by all the people. "Shouldn't be surprised by this many people,"she says, clearing her throat. "Hey Prince Deva,"Thea greets with a grin. "It's a been a bit. We need to stop waiting so long to see eachother. How are you feeling?"

Bahiya has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Atreke, a severe-looking scribe leaves, following Rinel.

Graziella sends a waves to Cesare and smile to Raven when she approaches but the princess is content to keep her eyes downward despite all the beautiful decor, she's working on a needlepoint.. some somber ink colored thread against a white background. It is small and her methodical movements are barely noticeable past her table... unless someone is staring her down.

Not loathe to allow the claiming of her arm, Isabeau reciprocates it by hooking elbows with Katarina. She smiles aside at her cousin and gives a little nod even as she smiles over at Adalyn when her attention is caught and she can find who Katarina was gesturing to. She dips her head to Katarina and nudges, "We should go get in the greeting line so we don't have to worry about the timing." She smiles to Adalyn and speaks softly and warmly, with her rich contralto voice, "Lovely to see you again, my Lady."

The prodigal crumples when Sydney jabs at his wrist. It's far more performative than it is actual damage. "You wound me. Mortally." He covers his side, still holding his wine up at the... wine-holding position. "I understand very well." Modi lifts his own hand up toward the ceiling. Steelsilk that was open in part, displaying a hint of intricate tattoos underneath. Unfortunately, very prodigal. His fingers close to shield it from view. "Everyone hides some kind of blemish, no?" His eyes are scanning the crowd. So many influential faces among them, clearly he's impressed. "Cardia has a leg-up on Jadariel in making a spectacle. I hope the next embassy opening goes just as well."

For shame. Apollo's eyes never dropped below Sydney's braid, which - oh, you know what, fine, guilty as charged. He smiles a crooked, affectionate smile her way, then murmurs something sidelong to Cesare, warm toned. He offers Deva a bow. "And you need no gold to do the same, your highness," he says, as plainly warm. He turns attention to Petraea, offers a similar bow. "This is quite an accomplishment - so welcoming while being so distinctive. The effort must have been considerable, congratulations."

Drake gives a nod to Sydney, when Thea also greets her. "How are you liking the event so far?" He makes eye contact, and gives her a slight smile, raising his glass. "Can't believe I never had this before today. It's not half bad, is it?"

Kenjay escorts Bahiya, quiet for the most part. He offers Deva a smile and Katarina a nod, and there's a nod for Drake when the other Champion approaches. "We are outsiders here too," he offers to the other man with a smile. "It is just that here, so is almost everyone else." But for the most part, the Champion in his red and orange silks and few pieces of armour is part of the scenery. It's a skill.

There had been some time since Monique was seen by many people. Though, there were whispers the Minx was back in Arx over the last few days. Where did she go? Who knows, but she was here in the flesh now; wearing a beautiful crimson gown with diamonds that sat snug on her body. Her vivid red hair hung over her shoulders in wild, wavy curls fixed with a veil and those striking emerald hues took note of the people about at the Gala, giving a dip of her chin here and there. She seemed different though, always deep in thought but not. As if something was on her mind. Yet she wore a friendly and charming side smile to any whom would greet her.

Massimiliano has left the Magnificence Couch.

Kiera hurries to to try and find Drake and thea amidst the throng of attendees before really pausing to enjy the sights and sounds of the place

Raimon chats quietly with Leola as the throngs arrive.

Cristoph is a familiar face, and spying a lifted glass directed at her, Amari responds with a bright smile and graceful wiggle fingered wave. As he's headed for the host with Tyche, she doesn't impede them but meanders on until Adalyn is found. "There you are!" She quietly exclaims before greeting Katarina and Isabeau with a respectful dip of her head. "I wonder how many noble houses will build domes over their gardens after this."

"We should," comes the easy agreement from Tyche at Cristoph's suggestion of a dance. "And we will, but yes," she nods to his suggestion of greeting the hostess. "Let's." She takes the wine glass from him, sharing a quieter word, before allowing the mere presence of him to cut their path through the crowds. He's very useful that way, the Honey Duke. When they're upon the woman of the hour, she dips her head in greeting, "Tribune Livy. A pleasure to finally meet you. This," she sweeps her wineglass outward toward the room at large, "is stunning. As are you in that dress." Clear appreciation (with just a splash of envy). "To see years of diplomatic work come together in an embassy of this scale is impressive." Her lips twitch at her own pun, but she delivers it with the utmost sincerity.

Deva starts moving through the crowd, waving at Tyche and Cristoph with her glass as she does so. "Countess, hello-- doing, ah. I'm doing," she not-clarifies for Thea with a lopsided smile and lift of a shoulder. "I am not currently bleeding out on the ground somewhere, and I am grateful for it," she decides, chin lifting higher. "And how are you? Settling into the new house?" she wonders. While waiting for a response, she -now- sips the wine. Her expression is briefly distracted, as if trying to decide whether she likes it or not. To be determined, or so her face says. Apollo's compliment is met with a crinkle-eyed smile and a grateful bob of her head.

Evaristo bows towards Jaenelle, and smiles radiantly at her. He fingerwiggles at Leola and makes a thumbs up gesture and a 'wow', and looks around to see if he's missing anyone - it's hard even for a social butterfly to keep up here, but he loves it, clearly. He snags two glasses of wine, giving one to Berenice if she wants one, and takes a sip of his own; he perks up even more after that. "Lovely," he breathes. "Your Grace, what a breathtaking outfit," he compliments Jaenelle.

2 Farshaw trained guards, Suzette - a Westrock Aerie Page arrive, following Ryhalt.

Sydney draws in a contented breath after her fourth-or-so sip of wine and briefly sets her cheek into her palm, "...Whiskey shall forever be my dearest love, but when a drink is this good, it shardin' well makes my heart waver. Forgive me, Whiskey!" She smiles in return to Thea, and when Graziella passes by, she does a double-take, and calls, "Remember! Pace yourself, aye? 'Lest we find ourselves on another grand adventure."

The pugilist glances Modi's way, and lifts a shoulder, "...Aye, well. When they tire of flaunting it, leastwise." She perks up at Drake's greeting, "Hey, there's good booze and good food, and plenty of folk I recognize. It's plenty enough for me."

Amari has joined the Ambition Couch.

Raven accepts a glass of Cardian wine and studies it, gives it a curious sniff and then sip. She watches Tyche network attentively, as if making mental notes to brush up on her own social graces.

Adalyn has joined the Ambition Couch.

Stepping into the Cavaedium, Preston is soon glancing up at the night sky and the lanterns. A brow raises but he is soon moving into the room regardless - he has even come dressed for an occasion in silks rather than his clattering metal, albeit with Crusader still at his side with a small cord tying it to its scabbard. As he looks around the room, Preston spots a few familiar faces but one most of all and he meanders across towards Cirstoph "Duke Laurent!" Preston offers in greeting, an amused tone to his voice "How odd to see you outside of a pressing crisis, and most delightful too."

Raimon grins a bit at sometime Leola just said, nodding once and then shaking his head to one side.

Leola murmurs to Raimon, dipping briefly in a polite curtsy as she does, and chuckles a little at Evaristo's comment and gesture which brings a trace of a blush. Her fingers gesture back at him; head to heel and back down; and she flutters her fingers by her cheek to imitate a fan.

Zoey engages in quiet conversation with the pair she followed in as they move to one of the couches. The trio seems to pay particular attention to the statue as they go.

Katarina offers her other arm to Adalyn. This sadly leaves no more arms for Amari, unless Amari wants to hook an arm with Katarina's knee or something, and this really doesn't seem like that kind of party. The Princess's attention is caught for a moment by the sight of Monique moving through the party, and she seems lost in her thoughts for a second, before snapping back to reality: "A dome? Perhaps. But I think that in a place with as much rain as Arx it would be quite the opposite of relaxing to stand underneath it during a downpour." Even though she's wearing a veil, it's still obvious that she's smiling. "Duchess Isabeau wisely recommends we join the line to claim our precious seconds with the hostess -- shall we do so as a flock~?"

"Ah, good point," Drake says to Kenjay. "We're all just visiting in some other world right now. One I'm sure I'd visit again, mind." He sees Kiera out of the corner of his eye, and looks relieved. "Oh, so glad you made it. I knew you wanted to get a chance to meet the Tribune if you could."

As Jaenelle approaches, Petraea gives her a slightly deeper bow than all the others and says with a grin, "I appreciate your support. I think everyone will behave themselves tonight, though. I left the really potent wine in the cellar for just that reason." She laughs a little and accepts the other greetings with a welcoming and warm smile. Cristoph and Tyche get a bow of ehr head as well as she says, "I am delighted to see you here, Duke Laurent. I have been giving myself permission to actually enjoy this accomplishment of diplomacy rather than let myself get all wrapped up in the next step. I am so pleased to see how far we have come."

"I suppose I can't complain too much, under the circumstances," Mirk says with a wavering gesture of his free hand, the other still holding his glass of wine. "Still recovering from the war, largely." He lets that topic die down soon enough, though, taking another look around the room. "I knew the Lyceum would be here in force, since it's both a fancy party and a potential scandal to be seen socializing with foreigners, but I didn't expect how many from the rest of the Compact would be here. I remember some choice words when Cardia was hosted in the Academy for a Q&A."

Blue, a cantankerous western bluebird arrives, following Gael.

Raven blink-blinks and stops in the middle of lifting to her glass to her lips, blinking owlishly at something Graziella's said.

Seizing a glass of wine for his own, Bhandn will withdraw from the throng around Petraea and settle in to studying the embassy proper. While he does give a bow here and there to nobility that he recognizes, the lion's share is by far absent simply from the sheer number of people that are present. He'd spend the entire time bent over at this rate. So instead, he wanders from plant scent to plant scent, determined to sniff out each and every foreign element assaulting his nose. It's the teafiend at work here, expressing appreciation for fine blends of floral aromas.

6 Grayson House Guards, Jordan, apologetic Gentleman of the Chamber arrive, following Noah.

Deva has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Kiera nods "I do indeed. Have you already greeted her or do I get an introduction" She gives a smile to kenjay "We seem to keep running into each othe your highness"

Kalb, the chill bodyguard arrives, following Nisaa.

"Everyone likes a party?" Gianna ventures, letting a shoulder rise and fall in an elegant shrug as she replies to Mirk. "We should talk soon, I think. Now, where to sit?" She eyes the options over the rim of her glass as she takes a sip.

Ryhalt arrives somewhat late, but nevertheless smiling. With an eye for detail, he takes in the exotic architecture with interest.

Thea grins at Deva. "Try and keep it that way. But if you need me,"she says, her words trailing. "And yes, I'm settling in well enough. I have ideas everywhere,"Thea adds with a chuckle. Hearing Jaenelle, she gives her a wave as well. "Your Grace,"she greets. Kiera too gets a smile. Thea quietly murmrurs to her, telling her sister in law,"We weren't sure you were going to make it..."

Noah strides in as if he has already planted a flag in the Embassy and claimed it as his. This is also known as arrogant. Somehow even the way the man walks is smug and arrogant. A nice person may say confident. Noah is not smiling as he looks over the people. It is clear that the man is looking for someone and until that person is found; he steps out of the way of most of the party happening.

"Tribune Livy," Cesare says, tugging his hand out of Apollo's elbow so he can sweep into a deep bow. "Cesare Whisper. I absolutely /love/ the Cavaedium. I can't imagine the amount of effort and planning that must have gone into this event and the architecture and design of this room. These plants alone must take such a particular sort of care, and to import them all here - I applaud your efforts with all the strength these hands can muster. Or I would, if applauding in a crowd like this wouldn't be rude. On behalf of Whisper House - please do let me know if I can be of any assistance to the Embassy. I'm always eager to learn about the cultures and traditions of our allies, and based on what I see tonight, there's a great, wonderful deal to be learned."

He offers a brief but genuine grin to Deva, and turns, with a quick aside to Apollo, to offer a cheeky wave to Hadrian as he spots the Mazettis as well. This is what happens when you're a Whisper at a party. You know everyone.

Raimon takes advantage of whatever lull there might be after the initial flood of people to ask Leola a quiet question, brows quizzically furrowing just a tad...

Bahiya smiles brightly at Kenjay's words, nodding, her head turning as she catches a voice or three she recognizes. "Ah, so many here we know, as well! Our time in the city has been well spent, hasn't it? Come, do you see Princess Deva? You should greet her, as well as anyone else you recognize. I would like to praise the Cardian Ambassador herself if you see her, it would be rude to not acknowledge the creator of such a splendorous events, no?"

Surrounded in a wide, sheltering coat of changing hues of black, Gael filters within the Cavaedium, the shaft of sunlight spilling down from the glass ceiling above wicking unto the shadowy fabric of his ensemble as though swallowed, and refuted, failing to cling. This inky, moving, fizzing darkness looks for a corner upon which to brood in silence, leaning back, looming in it over the proceedings with hard, slanted eyes gazing out from underneath a frayed hat's hedge, waiting almost. For what?

A small, faintly amused smile crosses Cristoph's expression and he glances down and over to Tyche when she uses the phrase 'an embassy of this scale' as if he's trying to decide if it was an intentional pun or not and is now just a /tiny/ bit uncertain. But to the conversation at hand, he straightens up again and replies to Petraea, "I'm glad to hear that. I hope that you enjoy your evening as well as the wide variety of guests that you seem to have attracted." Speaking of wide variety, Preston is calling out his name. The voice is familiar and he turns to greet the Carnifex, an easy smile blooming. "Carnifex Preston, it's good to see you again. Have you met Marquessa Tyche personally yet?" he asks of the man, gesturing to his companion. Across the way, he spots Deva's greeting to them and he lifts his glass to wave it in recognition. He sees her!

Jaenelle accept the kisses when Berenice greets her, returning them in kind, "as do you, but that is to be expected. I heard your brother has been more social these past few weeks and is finding himself in all sorts of situations and experiences. I expect nothing less from both he and Baldessare," the amusement clear in her eyes as she too had two brothers and knows all too well the issues that comes from such. The finger wiggle from Deva is noted, and a kiss is blown in return before her attention turns towards Evaristo and she offers a dip of her head to his bow, "I feel as if it is a terrible thing that Berenice feels the need to steal and keep you for the evening, so should she turn her attention elsewhere long enough for you to slip away, I would love a dance." She casts a side look towards Berenice with a grin before she is once more being called, "Countess Thea, how are you? Ready to return home yet?" The question is left with another grin before she speaks to Petraea, "Ah part of me things that the next meeting you and I have will have to be in the cellar."

Raven tilts her head and chortles, "Well NOW you tell me. Interesting indeed." She flashes a lopsided grin to Patrizio, "Well, it promises to be an interesting day regardless, eh your highness?" She pauses to admire the glinting of her dragonweep signet from the sunlight overhead, "Gods, this place is amazing."

Adalyn slides her arm into Katarina's, effectively forming a trio of linked Oathlander women. She leans forward, peeking around Katarina to answer Isabeau. "A pleasure to see you as well, Duchess Isabeau. I'd been hoping our paths would cross again soon, and here we are." The easygoing smile that the Clement heir wears only broadens as she spots Amari's approach, her free hand lifting so that fingers may wiggle in a wave of greeting and invitation both. At least a few, I'd imagine, if only for the novelty of it." She tilts her head upwards, considering the structure. "I think it's an experience I wouldn't mind having at least once, standing under it during a downpour." But then, she's willing to try most things once, simply to say she has. On greeting the hostess: "Yes, let's! We can shower her with our Oathlander hospitality."

A few pleasantries are exchanged by the door, before Natasha drifts onward with her companions, exchanges delivered softly to Romulius and Zoey even as the trio pauses to catch a glimpse of the impressive commemorative sculpture that dominates the space's very heart. The Thraxian princess' silent half-gilded assessment roams over its details, brows lifting in faint surprise at the lady Kennex's whisper to her about it. Otherwise, they continue moving towards one of the couches, with a pale hand lifting in passing - to her cousin by marriage, Raimon, who she glimpses, and Apollo, whose presence visibly brightens the young princess' severe facade.

Leola stirs from Raimon's discussions with her, delicately stepping away and setting down her untouched glass. She bows her head respectfully, but makes no effort to close the distance again

Sydney reaches over and claps Modi on the shoulder, grinning in easy appreciation of the prodigal and leaning in to briefly crack a joke, then abandons her wallflower post in search of both a second glass of wine - which she finds in short order thanks to the abundance of servers milling about. She catches sight of Katarina, and swerves her trajectory now that she's in range to do more than throw a wink. "Kat!" She truncates, out of habit, "Been altogether too long. How are you keeping yourself? Gods, when was the last time we even saw one another?" She makes to rub the back of her head, but the braids stop her short. No. Bad. No messing up the braids.

Amari makes no attempt to hook an arm around, or sit on Katarina's knee, for the record. She seems content enough to stand on the opposite side of Adalyn. As for the course of action proposed by the veiled princess, she gives the impression of a shrug, with a tiny and brief lift and fall of her slim shoulders. She does not have a strong opinion either way, it would seem, but she does turn herself around and look back to the entrance of the garden, and the host of the party lingering there. She eventually says, "I suppose I could provide moral support and smile pleasantly in the background. I'm good at both."

Hadrian steps away from the cluster of people around Petraea, though when he does so he leaves the Mazetti's Duchess behind. A cheeky wave is noticed and Hadrian's harlequin eyes seem to dart to that movement, spying Cesare. Who is acknowledged with a simple nod in recognition of the Whisper. Another glass of wine is claimed, this time for himself. Onward Duke Hadrian goes, mingling a bit as he passes through the sea of guests to the Embassy of the Scales. For the moment he seems content to move through the garden, inspecting one plant or another, taking a whiff of this scent or that.

"Magnificence, Ferocity, Cunning, Pride, and Ambition," Mirk reads, observing the names of the seating areas with a raise of an eyebrow. "It certainly builds towards a theme, doesn't it? But in this case, I think there's one that has company I rather prefer. You're free to join me, if you'd like, but I know that mingling is important at a party." With that said, he starts to move towards the Magnificence couch, looking for a seat.

"I try, but yet I fail that all the time," Deva quips at Thea, giving the woman a 'what can you do?!' shrug of scarred shoulders. "I'd love to hear your ideas. If discussing them would help, that is! I'll even bring my little friend," she promises with a clasp of her hands. Eventually, her steps take her to Bahiya and Kenjay's side, in a small Redrain representative cluster. "Right here, Ambassador," she says warmly, fingers lifting to give Bahiya's unoccupied arm a quick squeeze as if to say 'hey, right here.' "I think I like the wine," she confides to the pair with a smile bordering on silly and surprised.

Modi finally lifts the Cardian vintage to his lips. Although he's only halfway through a sip before Sydney cracks wise in his ear, and he comes dangerously close to having a stained chin. Luckily he avoids it, though he's forced to chortle quietly lest he spit. He offers a wave as she drifts away.

"I haven't tried it yet." Drake says, giving Kiera a nod. He looks at the folks near Petraea, and back at Thea. "A small hello would be polite anyway." Back to Kenjay, he adds, "Might be a chance to discuss some Champions planning later. But definitely not in this big crowd. Too hard to hear." He then makes ready to push through to speak to the hostess of the event. He walks toward Petraea with Kiera and Thea nearby. "Good to see this all come together, Tribune Livy. It's a marvelous event. My sister, Lady Kiera," he says by way of introduction, "wanted to also express her gratitude."

Berenice takes the glass of wine Evaristo offers her, thanking him with a warm, familiar sort of smile. Her gaze catches on Cristoph and Tyche as they approach Petraea nearby, and there's a moment's curiosity in her dark eyes before she is smiling once more. "Duke Cristoph, Marquessa Tyche. I didn't even know you were acquainted. What a /pleasure/ to see both of you again." She leans in, brushing a pair of Lycene kisses to Tyche's cheeks now, murmuring a quiet word before easing back. To Jaenelle, she just laughs. "Oh, yes, Benedetto seems to have been entertaining himself of late. He seems to be making friends. But I suppose he's always been good at that, really."

Raimon bows and retreats to a spot closer the entry, having evidently exhausted the most interesting of the conversations to be had here.

An apologetic bow of his head if given to Petraea as apparently Preston totally missed her - no doubt she was on the other side of Cristoph as he approached, but still "And Tribune. My apologies for tardiness." Cristoph's query gets a polite shake of Preston's head "I don't think I have had the pleasure specifically - at least not outside of some sprawling thing. I fear war has kept me away from things - but I hope we might have a little respite. Even if that is a rather foolish hope." But with a wry resigned smile to Cristoph on that last point, Preston turns and bows his head to Tyche "Sir Preston, m'lady. Templar of the Faith."

Raven has left the Cunning Couch.

Graziella has left the Cunning Couch.

Tyche has left the Ambition Couch.

Isabeau has left the Ambition Couch.

Eyes bright with curiosity, Nisaa walks into the room. The size of the crowd is unsurprising, but it does cause her to take a slow deep breath to steel herself for it. Dressed in a silk-velvet dress in hues from black go blues, she is quite a bit more formal looking than her preferred Eurusi inspired wear. Her movement, as ever, is graceful and reflective of her background as a dancer. Her lips curl into a pleasant smile as she walks through, looking about and trying to find a place to observe the festivities.

Modi has left the Magnificence Couch.

Romulius has left the Ferocity Couch.

Patrizio has left the Cunning Couch.

Monique spent some time looking around the event, grabbing a glass of wine before making her way to Evaristo whom she spotted. "It's been awhile hasn't it." she says with a grin. There was a slight subtle wavering in her voice at the greeting towards the end but she held herself with an air of confidence nonetheless. She'd spot the glance from Katarina, before looking around afterwards.

Katarina has left the Ambition Couch.

Amari has left the Ambition Couch.

Deva has left the Magnificence Couch.

Petraea takes Cunning Couch.

Leola has left the Dancing Area.

Raimon has left the Dancing Area.

Raimon leaves, following Leola.

Adalyn has left the Ambition Couch.

Bahiya has left the Magnificence Couch.

Petraea takes Magnificence Couch.

Thea has left the Pride Couch.

Zoey has left the Ferocity Couch.

Cristoph has left the Ambition Couch.

Gianna has another sip before telling Mirk, "I think I'll mingle a little longer, but thank you. Ambition would likely be the best choice, going by name alone. Do have fun." An almost-smile for the Halfshav lord.

Natasha has left the Ferocity Couch.

Petraea takes Ferocity Couch.

Target acquired. Noah strides over to Jaenelle. One moment there is no Noah. The next he is near to her elbow. A slight smirk pulls at the corner of his lips to Berenice. For now, he's just silent though. His blue eyes moving over the area in consideration.

Petraea takes Ambition Couch.

Petraea takes Pride Couch.

"I can attempt to bribe her, so I can have that dance," Evaristo jokes charmingly, grinning at Jaenelle and lifting his glass in a toast to her before he takes another quite hearty gulp of the tasty liquid. He perks up as Michael and Tyche approaches, bowing to them both. "Duke Michael, Marquessa Tyche - what a pleasure." He asides to Berenice, but loud enough for everyone to hear; "I had the fortune of fighting side by side with Duke Michael. I can easily say I owe him my life."

Massimiliano drops Magnificence Couch.

Massimiliano drops Ferocity Couch.

Massimiliano drops Cunning Couch.

Massimiliano drops Pride Couch.

Massimiliano drops Ambition Couch.

Zoey has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Natasha has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Romulius has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Modi has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Graziella has joined the Cunning Couch.

Thea has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Thea has left the Ferocity Couch.

Thea has joined the Pride Couch.

The benefit to having the arm of such an effusively social sort - like Cesare Whisper, say - is that one can drift in their wake, offering greetings as guided by them. And while Apollo is ordinarily perfectly capable of being an effusive sort, it's nice not to have to. "Yes, pardon, Tribune Petraea. Lord Apollo Darkwater. I'll leave you to the many who'd like your ear." That, with a retreat, a dip of his head at Deva, already bowed-to, and a bow for Jaenelle, a murmur of, "Your grace." Cesare's greeting to Hadrian is followed with a brightening of his smile, a nod that direction, before he murmurs sidelong, "Let's go meet Sydney." And he drifts that direction.

Zoey has left the Ferocity Couch.

Gael emerges from his dim-lit enclosure as a servant moves by, tray in hand, frosty vintage atop it. Quick is his arm as it flails from this beyond, the hefty hand at its end seizing the neck of one bottle of many, lifting and dragging it back with him. He bites into the cork, yanks it free with a sizzle of its deleterious inner vapors, then spits it aside. He doesn't bother sniffing the contents themselves, plugging the bottle swiftly to chug mouthfuls away whilst surveying the crowd with an acutely severe look.

Zoey has joined the Ambition Couch.

Zoey has left the Ambition Couch.

Natasha has left the Ferocity Couch.

Mirk has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Zoey has joined the Ferocity Couch.

Isabeau raises her eyebrows a little as she looks between Adalyn, Katarina and Amari as the gaggle of Oathlander women, one Duchess looking very very Oathlander indeed in her nearly armored dress, begin moving towards Petraea at the small blonde's direction, "Did anyone bring tea? Or milk? Or maple syrup?" She offers, sotto voce, her eyes alight with amusement, "I always start my hospitality with tea, personally, but the other three could work." She laughs softly, giving her head a gentle shake as her group hopefully moves forward.

Patrizio has joined the Cunning Couch.

Petraea takes Dancing Area.

Massimiliano drops The Dance Floor.

Deva has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Isabeau has joined the Ambition Couch.

2 Farshaw trained guards, Suzette - a Westrock Aerie Page leave, following Ryhalt.

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Raven has joined the Cunning Couch.

Natasha has joined the The Dance Floor.

Massimiliano has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Tyche casts Cristoph a look, one that should confirm everything she does is intentional, and she is just about to be swept aside to meet Preston when Berenice stops her. "Princess Berenice," she smiles brilliantly at the woman, a hand moving to touch Cristoph's chest. "We actually became better acquainted at one of your masquerades. We were just reminiscing." When the woman leans in, Tyche performs the cheek-cheek kisses, a small sound of amusement escaping, and she doesn't bother to whisper her response, "As do I, your highness. Very much so." A smile for Evaristo, and then she's moved off toward Preston, and she greets, "Carnifex, I know you by reputation alone, of course, but it is a pleasure to finally meet. Do you enjoy such events?" So many people, so many smiles and waves, but Deva's presence is caught when Cristoph acknowledges her, and she lifts a hand to wave.

Raven has left the Cunning Couch.

Graziella only glances up from the needlepoint in her lap very occasionally and those sidelong glances tend to remain reserved for the people at her table, although she does follow Apollo and Cesare through the room at one point.

Natasha has left the The Dance Floor.

Bahiya feels the squeeze and hears the voice, turning her unseeing, hazel eyes towards Deva. "Ah, sweet Deva, hello! Wine?" She perks visibly, eyebrows arching just-so. "Did you bring me any?" the Ambassador wonders.

Bahiya has joined the The Dance Floor.

Raven's gaze returns to Tyche, still in watch and learn mode briefly until she starts a new conversation. Then her gaze roams about the room, her stained lips captured between white teeth and worried between her teeth restlessly.

Bahiya has left the The Dance Floor.

"Tut. We are in her Embassy. When she has opportunity to visit the Valardin Ward, we will show the Tribune the wonders of our own drinks -- for now, I believe we enjoy and respect hers~." Katarina flashes a grin toward Isabeau, and that grin remains when Sydney approaches. "Far too long. The last time was when we rode together on a mission, as I recall -- if you'd like to ride again, the mission now is to go and greet the Tribune. Strength in numbers, as they say~." Armed with one Isabeau, one Amari, one Adalyn, and possibly one Sydney, Katarina begins the walk toward Petraea, lifting her chin, straightening her back, assuming the sort of posture that one can attain when one has been trained to be a Queen since birth.

Evaristo turns to Monique with a happy smile. "Lady Monique! You are back!" he says, clearly chuffed to bits about it. "I have to get with you and hear ALL about what you have been up to," he babbles cheerfully. "I'll send you a message and we can arrange it?" He regards her intently for a moment, as if he too notices that something is off - but it's not something one blurts out in polite company. Well... most of the time, he wouldn't.

Cristoph is big enough to hide some people, surely! This definitely makes sense for Preston's delayed greetings. "Carnifex Preston has been steadfast ally in various military engagements in the Oathlands," he explains to Tyche. "And House Laurent is always grateful for the Templars assistance and we aim to support them as best we can in turn." The swirl of people around them is quite a lot, so he doesn't spot Berenice until she's nearly upon them in her own greetings. "Princess Berenice, it's good to see you again." Her remark on the appearance of the two of them together is met with a small nod of his head. "We're very well acquainted, yes. But I didn't realize that you two were acquainted so I suppose that leaves /me/ surprised as well." His wine is lifted to his lips and a quick sip of it taken.

It's probably a good thing Bahiya can't -see- Deva's face. She can probably hear the sudden nervousness in the princess' voice though. "Ahh, you see, I--" And there's a server passing right by. What splendid timing! Eagerly, she scoops a glass of wine off the tray before the man can even blink, and with a stilted laugh she hands the fresh glass to the Eurusi ambassador. "I did now," she confesses, words punctuated with a burst of a tired laugh.

Monique says, "Back and all in one piece." she says with one hand waving about, the other, wine glass in hand. "Of course, we can get together. I'm sure there is much I've missed as well. And I'd be delighted to hear more of what you've been up too then what I've been up too." she says with a slight furrow of her brow, not elaborating anymore or any less."

Sydney raises an arm over-eagerly, straight up in the air at Katarina's offer, "Ah! I'm just buzzed enough to join you on this mission, but sadly I'm without my mare. Probably eating herself stupid, again. We'll have to make d-- oh, like right now? Oh. Now, then. Okay." Rapid-fire blinking, she takes a long sip of her drink and walks along with Katarina and her intrepid band in their trajectory towards the host. This will, of course, make it more difficult for Apollo to properly flag her down for the moment.

Cesare turns to peer back over the milling crowd of people, finding the - frankly hard-to-miss - crown of red hair that indicates Sydney, before turning back to Apollo and offering another soft aside and a gentle hand on the shoulder. His eyes follow the various well-wishers who approach Petraea to offer their greetings, sipping at his wine in a definitively measured way.

Patrizio has left the Cunning Couch.

6 First Legion Centurions leaves, following Patrizio.

Conversations with the Lady Zoey and Lord Romulius continue somewhere by the ring of couches within direct line of sight from the commemorative statue, though Natasha halts at mid-word when a quiet messenger slips a piece of paper in her hand in passing. Reviewing the brief scrawl within, dark eyes narrow immediately before it's tucked in a pocket, a quick word dispensed to her small group. It doesn't take long for the trio to move, though she pauses in her steps once she falls within earshot of Jaenelle, a smile delivered to a beloved cousin before dropping a few low words. Noah Grayson's presence isn't missed by her elbow, however. "Your Grace, Your Highness."

A soft giggle is produced for Katarina, Isabeau points out with a seraphic smile, "Lady Adalyn mentioned that we should show her our hospitality. I was merely building on the idea." That lightness and ease with her cousin fades a little as postures change and the small blonde straightens just a little, composing her features into a demure smile, and holding herself with proper dignity and the elegance expected of a princess-turned duchess as their small group nears Petraea.

Bahiya feels her hand guided to the glass and her smile is bright with humor. "You came here bearing wine! You are very thoughtful, your highness," she says, and she means every word. Her other hand leaves Kenjay's arm and reaches out to cup Deva's cheek, finding it with a brush of fingers. "We must talk soon. I have some interesting news about our project."

Raven steps away from where she was hovering near Graziella and PAtrizio to go strolling about the room, ooogling the sights and flashing dimpled smiles here and there as she spies familiar faces.

Fairly late to the party, Liara arrives, a smile warming her features as she takes in the crowd. She proceeds farther inside at an unhurried stroll, gaze flitting over the people present, the architecture, and indeed the plants - precisely how exotic they are may be somewhat lost on the very much not an outdoors Grayson.

settles in as his seat, a glass of Cardian wine in hand. Spotting Deva, he says, "A pleasure to see you both, Cousin, Your Highness, Bahiya." There's a nod of his head to the trio. "I hope you don't mind a little company. There's few enough Northerners at this affair, I've noticed. Though if I'm interrupting, I can always leave you both to your own devices."

"She has expensive tastes as I am sure you know" Jaenelle says to Evaristo, "so I am quite impressed without even hearing the details of the bribery that you have even suggested such. You are a force to be reckoned with!" Turning as Apollo gets close enough to greet her, he is offered a dip of her head as well, whuch causes her to note Noah as he walks with purpose in her direction. In silence as he moves beside her, her hand slips easily enough within the crook of his arm without prompt or questioning. She doesn't even greet the man properly unless you consider passing him a glass of Cardian wine a greeting. "Natasha" she greets her cousin with a bright smile as she draws near, "Lady Zoey, Lord Romulius" she also greets the two should they have come with her.

"I shall have to hope my reputation is not too awful then, Marquessa." Preston answers, that warm smile of his curling his lips "And, I enjoy the company that events such as this can bring. And given the aid Tribune Petraea and her people gave, well. A wise being once said that it is important to honour your obligations and your debts. I was not sure if I could make it, but I am glad I was able - to support things such as this embassy." As Cristoph mentions the Templars and House Laurent, the blond knight shakes his head "No no. The Templars do their duty to support the Faithful, Duke Cristoph. That Laurent is so fine an example of the Oathlands and the Orthodoxy just makes it an additional pleasure. And you always seem to have enemies who are most deserving of smiting."

Graziella is left blissfully alone as her tablemates wander off to do other things and she keeps her gaze somewhere between her hands (the needlepoint she's working on just out of sight below the table) and the room at large without focusing on anyone in particular.

Bahiya catches Mirk's voice and smiles, her hand moving back to its customary place in Kenjay's elbow. "Lord Mirk of House Halfshav," she greets him brightly. "It has been quite some time. I do not see how we would mind your company, it has been many months since last I heard your voice."

Carrick enters the room with a broad smile and freezes So. Many. People. THe titles, the names, the etiquette... it all flew out of his mind. he swallowed, the big warrior scanning the room in desperation for a place to hide. his eyes alighted on Gael, and he smiled slightly. he skirted along outside of the room until he made his way close to the man. The smells of the room assaulted him, perfumes, foods, soaps and sweat. he slipped up close to Gael, careful to not interrupt whatever the man was doing

Kiera follows after her brother to greet the tribune but does turn breifly to greet the gaggle of oathlander women who are also approaching

Zoey dips into a a quick curtsey when Jaenelle addresses her and replies warmly with, "Your Grace."

Nisaa Spotting several people amongst the crowd that she knows ore recognizes, Nisaa raises her hand to greet them gently with a broad smile. She approaches Tyche, but stands off to the side, so as not to interrupt her conversation with Preston. For her, the Eurusi dancer lowers her head in greeting, then lifts a hand when spotting Hadrian across the room. Ah, there's Katarina! Nisaa, pleased to see her, smiles to her as well.

Adalyn laughs aloud at the exchange between Katarina and Isabeau, nodding agreeably. "Conversation over milk and honey next time then. We'll have to track down drinks after this for a taste of something new and delicious, no doubt." Her gaze sweeps across the surroundings, perhaps attempting to locate the refreshments which will likely be her next order of business. But first -- greeting the hostess. When Katarina begins her regal walk forward, Adalyn follows alongside her. While she likely lacks some of the refinement the others showcase, she moves easily and with an enthusiastic bounce in each step. As they navigate their way toward the hostess, she glances sidelong toward Sydney and flashes a grin. "Here's a face I've not seen in far too long!"

Apollo gives Jaenelle a smile. He murmurs something back to Cesare, then leaves off, giving him a faint sidelong /look/. A pat of his arm, and then he lets go Cesare's arm, moves toward Sydney. Which isn't at all difficult, as he was just leaving where she's going. A gentle catch of her arm - just so he can murmur in her ear - and then he steps back a step, looks at her face, obviously pleased.

The sharp cut of Natasha's strides see Romulius seeming to follow in her wake more than leading her in one direction or another. The address from Jaenelle sees a polite bow offered along with a "Your Grace," in an echo of Zoey before Noah is given a dip of head in greeting as well.

Gael often bevels forward his head, deepening down the frayed brim of his hat so that it better hovers its mildly concealing shade over his face, avoiding recognition or attention as familiar faces of passerbies move on by. There is a strange crinkle framing his eyes, and a hard, centered focus on them as he looks across the hall. A muscle works on the side of his head, a subtle movement, but continuous the more this survey prolongs. As Carrick lumbers on by, Gael's lips press left towards a quirky grin. He nods after -- a subtle, wordless greeting.

While leading a band of Oathlanders and Sydneys toward where the hostess is posted up, Katarina lifts a hand to wave Nisaa in to join the group. Apparently she plans to greet the Tribune with a glamorous army.

Noah glances down at Jaenelle as her arm is linked through his. He lowers his head to give a soft comment, probably of greeting. Then he nods to Natasha, "Princess." The title is rumbled in his chest a bit as he acknowledges her. Then a nod towards Zoey and the others near by. He gives an actual smile to Liara when he sees her. However, his eyes slide to Berenice a moment longer before looking back at those around.

Thea looks over to Jaenelle, actually chuckling. "Ask me when it gets colder, though you may want to ask them if they're ready to rid of ME." Spotting Noah, she nods her head in greeting. Not calling him anything just yet. MANNERS! She has them. "Hey Zoey,"Thea greets with a wave. "Lord Romulius."

"Onward!" Is all Amari says, making good on her promise to smile pleasantly in the background of this intrepid group of Oathlanders as they march towards the Tribune.

"I don't always succeed but I'm trying to be," Deva tells Bahiya, her voice faltering for a moment. She takes a moment to chug more of her glass, less ladylike and more 'oh gods I need a drink right now.' As her cheek is touched, she slides the other woman a thoughtful look and nods. "We must," she agrees readily, words punctuated by a sharp exhale. "Perhaps we can have that lunch in the augury. Do you like dogs?" As soon as the words slip from her mouth, she clarifies loudly just in case anyone is concerned, "The COMPANY of dogs, not eating them for lunch." Seeing Mirk, she smiles and waves a hand in his direction, "Good to see you, glad you have joined us. Please. What have you been up to as of late?" she wonders.

Raven spies Romulius and Zoey and takes a few steps then spies they have company of Consequence so she alters her course and ambles along, sipping her wine and scouting the crowd. There's an abrupt double-take as her gaze slides over Gael and then snaps back with a startled blinkity-blink.

Drake asides to Jaenelle, after Thea's comment: "I'm not letting her escape that easily."

"Mmm, I do know," Evaristo says, but his voice is filled with fondness, and Berenice's arm is given a squeeze again. He has finished his wine, and gets another glass, making sure his patron always has one as well. He shoots Noah a curious look as he joins arms with Jaenelle, his smile unfailingly charming and always with a hint of mischief.

Kenjay lurks quietly at Bahiya's side, with smiles for Drake and Deva and Mirk. "I am at your disposal," he says to Drake. "But yes, a time and place other than here would likely be best. I can barely hear myself think, let alone another's words."

Whatever she has to say to Jaenelle is lost in the din, but whenever Natasha eases back from her lean, that bright smile is returned by the luminosity of her own, and even dispenses the Lycene-style greeting that she has yet to get accustomed despite being a year active in the capital. Lips press delicately on the air of both of her cousin's cheeks, lingering close enough that warmth emanates upon her hovering. Jaenelle's return whisper broadens the tug of her smile. "I look forward to it, cousin," she murmurs. "Soon, yes? Before I'm called away again. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening. You as well, Highness," the last said to Noah. But with soft goodbyes imparted, she steps away and joins her small group, making for the door, her arm looping over Romulius' waiting own and resting her fingers on his sleeve as they pass.

Nisaa approaches Katarina and falls in step with her and the others she walks with. "Good day to you all," she says, her voice spiced with her accent. "I hope you are all enjoying the party?"

Carrick lowered his voice, which even then was likely louder than a good whisper. "ahm fine. ah didn expect to see so many people. ahm more scared of walking into that mess than boarding a pirate ship." he chuckled, crossing his arms and standing next to Gael with an affable look on his face.

"Really?" Berenice laughs with warm amusement as Cristoph expresses surprise. "I feel that most people would be less surprised by our acquaintance than yours. But the Marquessa and I have such similar tastes and sensibilities. It's a wonder we're not better friends." Her smile is so delightfully warm, the picture of perfection. It doesn't even dim when she finally notices Noah there with Jaenelle. "Your highness, how lovely to see you again."

Gianna has another sip of her wine and makes her way over to the cunning couch. She doesn't sit, she just leans over to murmur something to Graziella.

Liara offers a cheerful flutter of a wave to greet Noah. "The dome is magnificent, is it not? Quite a feat! Have you tried any of the food yet?" It's not really a comment to demand much of an answer, the princess' attention half on other things around her for now, in any case.

Hadrian has come to a halt near the statue within the garden, though a wave from across the way results in his hand rising up high and a bright smile cast back toward Nisaa as his fingers waggle a greeting across the distance. Eventually his attention turns back to the statue, eyes dancing across the height of it for a moment. Soon enough he turns away and begins to make his way again.

Gianna has joined the Cunning Couch.

Zoey smiles in Thea's direction and gives a brief flutter of her fingers. She spots Raven out of the corner of her eye and gives her a nod as well.

Cesare gives a /look/ right back , measure-for-measure. He slips through the crowd toward Evaristo and company, brandishing a fleeting but brilliant smile. "Pardon me for interrupting," he says, dipping into a bow. "Mockingbird Evaristo - I wanted to introduce myself in person, since we've brushed shoulders but haven't met properly yet. Cesare Whisper. Don't let me take up too much of your time, though, please." He extends a hand, flashing another smile that's here and gone again.

1 Thrax Elite Guards, 3 Thrax Guards, Torsney, an attentive high strung law clerk leave, following Natasha.

Gianna has left the Cunning Couch.

Gianna has joined the Cunning Couch.

Sydney is swept along in a sea of Oathlanders, all while putting a healthy dent in her second glass of wine. She does pause when Apollo and Cesare approach. She must, by necessity, when Apollo reaches out and takes her arm. She affords him a wide and genuine smile, and pauses for a moment to close the distance between them and encircle him in a brief but rib-aching hug before returning to her impromptu mission.

Romulius returns a warm smile to Thea's greeting, another quick bow offered to her. "Countess, always a pleasure." Drake is delivered a warm smile and bow as well, though his greeting doesn't find voice before his escort of Natasha demands a venture towards the exit alongside her protege.

Romulius has left the Ferocity Couch.

The crush of people doesn't seem to at all put Petraea off her game, so to speak. She is all smiles and warm words where she can. Cambria and Hadrian in particular get a lingering look and smiles as she murmurs to them, "Come speak to me later, Lady and Lord Mazetti, if you would be so kind." She greets Apollo and Cesare, offering the latter and bright spot of laughter as she says in a low, richly accented voice, "Some of those who helped in the building of the embassy might curse my perfectionism, but it turned out exactly as I envisioned and I am glad. I would be delighted to speak further with a representative of the Whisper House in the future." Drake is also met with a smile and a dip of her head, "I am so glad that you and your family are here to celebrate the opening of the embassy. Thank you so much." Preston is also given a smile and anod as she says, "A pleasure to see you as well, Sir Preston. A bit of a surprise even."

"I wish that all of my obligations and debts could be paid through galas and events such as this," Tyche grins, another fond look around the gathering. "But alas, this is a rarity in terms of responsibilities, so I think we should all enjoy it." When Preston and Cristoph begin to speak of knights and House Laurent, she allows her attention to drift, and easily spies Nisaa standing just there. "You look amazing, Nisaa. Enjoying your evening?" Berenice's words earn another laugh, as if everything the woman says amuses her greatly. "Indeed. A relationships forged by fire should be the strongest, and yet here we are. Curse time and responsibility for keeping us apart, your highness."

Possum, 6 House Mazetti Guardians arrive, following Cambria.

When Natasha and Romulius depart, Zoey follows.

Zoey has left the Ferocity Couch.

Octavian, a silken spaniel, Ruslana Stormshead, an aide in Kennex livery, 3 Kennex corsairs leave, following Zoey.

Gael reaches out with the rise of a left arm, it which delivers a weighty palm seeking to couch down on Carrick's shoulder. "Don't worry, there isn't too much mischief afoot," quietly, the Confessor assures. Then, with a subtle jut of a chin, he aligns a look - and motion - towards Monique's direction for the Axe of Stormward. "All seems well that way, too." Gael drags back his hand, fumbling it against his stomach with a ginger fold-over, his vision fading almost askance. "Too well, almost..." he hisses quietly.

Catching sight of Liara's arrival, Sir Bhandn offers the Grayson Highlady a bow and "Your Grace." He's made a circuit of the room, taking a casual stroll and making quite a show of studying each of the Cardian individuals present. Clearly, Bhandn is as interested in them as anything else, yet by the time he returns to his starting point, he is looking a touch more relieved and at ease than he was before starting. Despite that, though, he does give the occasional glance to the entry to the Cavaedium. All this while hardly touching the wine in his hand; he took maybe two sips of it the entire time.

Talu enters the room with neither grace nor any particular subtlety, but she's quiet, and there's nothing about her to really draw attention; plain if acceptable dress, entirely practical shoes, and a complete lack of any sort of jewelry. The woman pauses just at the threshold, staring intensely toward the occupants, the decorations, even the ceiling for a moment, and then strides into the crowd. She doesn't seem to have any particular direction though. Or a terribly good judgment on how to move through said crowd, as she bumps into several people.

Noah tips his head towards Jaenelle a bit before he pulls up to his full height. Then there is Berenice. For an extended moment, Noah just looks at her and then he offers. "I am surprised to see you, Princess. It is a sheer delight to see such a good friend out and about."

Drake gives a few small waves to those coming and going, and then gets a refill of his glass. Some people seem to be implying the wine is mysterious, but Drake isn't really afraid of it.

"Well, I once had someone tell me that I was frustratingly competent. I suppose that can be obnoxious in some circles," Cristoph replies to Preston's commentary on his family's enemies. The remark is accompanied by a smile that's just a touch tired at the corners, but it's well within the boundaries of professionally dignified for such public facing moments. "Hm," he begins to Berenice, just the smallest of thoughtful noises. "I suppose that I've just never heard either of you mention the other. But with a greater consideration of the Marquessa's origins, perhaps I should be less so. Clearly the wine is already getting to my head," he suggests, this last part surely being some sort of joke. He's barely had any of it to consume at all! But this just means now is the time for another careful sip. The smile that follows Tyche's laughter is somewhat more genuine and easy than the one before it.

"I keep getting asked that question," Mirk observes to Deva in a wry tone. "I'm starting to wonder if people expect me to be hiding something exciting up my sleeves." He chuckles and takes another sip of his wine. "But to answer your question, little of excitement. I've been writing a few jewelers in the city, but none that meet my particular requirements." Then he turns his attention to Bahiya. "I hope you've settled well into Redrain Ward since. I recall you being somewhat unfamiliar with the city when we first met."

"Ah, I do not believe we have met... Your Highness," Evaristo says, picking up the cue from Berenice, turning to Noah again. "Grayson? The signet ring, hard to miss," he says cheerfully. "What a splendid outfit! I am Mockingbird Evaristo Arterius, a pleasure to meet you." He bows deeply. As Cesare joins them, he perks up as the man introduces himself. "Cesare Whisper, I'm SO pleased to finally meet! I am thrilled you want to aid in the upcoming musical theatre - and play at my ship party too. Exciting times ahead."

Raven's lips purse gently and she drains her wine, head tilting back so she can pour the wine strait down her gullet. The glass is placed on a passing tray and she seems to get lose in the mingling throngs, lost from sight.

Liara flashes Bhandn an easy smile. "Sir Bhandn, a pleasure to see you. Fascinating place." She doesn't interrupt the knight's circuit beyond that, instead seeming content to continue with her own keen examination of the place as she makes her meandering way on through.

Moonsilver, the pale-feathered raven leaves, following Raven.

Massimiliano finishes with the fat, ripe fig he'd pilfered from one of the trees earlier in the evening and though it hasn't left his fingertips all that wet with the juices he still pulls out a kerchief and wipes them down carefully, methodically, before making it disappear from whence it came once more. That done, he departs from the most magnificent couch in the room and begins to slowly wander through the Cavaedium with an eye for the more night-blooming blossoms among them all, those just waking up for the evening, the man's hands clasped behind his back in an easy fashion.

The look given from Jaenelle to Noah and Berenice is one of long suffering. Is that a sigh? Yes, two. She distracts herself with Thea and Drake, her smile returning, "I am certain you would not, Count Drake. She is a gem and someone who shall bring stability to your budding lands. Should either of you need anything, you always have an ally within the Lyceum." As Liara speaks to Noah, there is a smile towards the woman, "Your Grace, I dont believe you visit our ward very much. I am delighted to see you have come to explore and hope you do more of it in the future."

Cambria smiles when Petraea speaks to both herself and Hadrian. She gives a slight inclination of her chin as she says, "The Duke and I would be delighted to have the opportunity to speak with you." Her gaze then shifts about, not merely taking in the embassy itself, but the many people that were then filling it. "A very respectable turn out, if I do say so myself. But-" Cambria smiles again. "I expect you shall be a very busy women for the next few hours."

Gianna speaks quietly with Graziella for a few moments, then straightens up and moves away from the couch.

Apollo shakes his head at whatever Sydney says, but it diminishes his warmth not even a little. He lets her go to greet the host, considering the greetings exchanged there a moment; then he turns, eyes scanning the room. They light for a moment on a number of people, but settle on distant Gael, murmuring with Carrick. Follow his motion towards Monique, his head tipping. A moment of thought, and then he moves, drifting toward Monique, plucking up a glass of wine on the way. When he nears, he offers a bow. "Lady Monique," he says. "It's been some time."

Modi seems content to watch the procession in peace. He's sorted through gazing at every little thing possible to scribble onto his memory. With a handful, no, /two/ handfuls of lemony confectionaries, he finds himself a seat upon the Couch of Magnificence. It seemed the most appropriate. Every now and then, he offers a wave to those he recognizes.

When Katarina at last arrives at Petraea's position, the demeanor of the young Eurusi Princess has shifted somewhat. Her coyness and playfulness have been dialed far, far back. Her posture and bearing is more monarchial and less feline. "Tribune Petraea Livy," Katarina says, dipping into a curtsy before the hostess. "I am Princess Katarina Valardin, born Princess Katarina al'Muraq-Sabbat, heir to the crown of the Dune Kingdom of Suj'abbat, the City of Veils~. It is my distinct honor to introduce to you my companions, each of whom I take immeasurable pride in standing alongside: Duchess Isabeau Telmar, ruler of the Telmarch; Lady Amari Keaton of Oakhaven, known as the White Heart of Keaton; Lady Adalyn Clement, the Sword of Duskshire; Whisper Nisaa, whose grace and beauty know few equals; and Sydney, who I assure you needs no flowery introduction, for to see her in action is to be more awed than any words or title could convey~." With that little speech finished, Katarina folds her hands in front of her lap and regards Petraea with golden eyes. "On behalf of the Oathlands, I thank you for your aid in the war effort against Skal'daja. Many good women and men are alive today thanks to your intervention, that may not have been otherwise. And I humbly come before you to ask an audience in the future, with regard to a subject of personal importance -- the reclamation of my birthright -- the throne of Suj'abbat." Just normal party chatter.

"Given events last I saw you, Tribune Petraea, I would say your presence is perhaps the greater surprise to me. Though a pleasant one. But I won't distract you from your many guests." Preston answers to Petraea, giving another polite bow of his head to the Cardian. As Cristoph's reply catches his ear, Preston gives the Duke another amused look "Mm. I would rather be competent in things than memorable, I think. It is a good compliment from your enemies. Thankfully mine never seem to pay me much heed, which is pleasant. I am, it seems, an entirely forgettable person. People simply remember the title, they never quite notice the person." Tyche's comment also gets a smile from Preston "And, Marquessa, I am sure there are some who would say galas and events are just as much a battlefield as any other - just one with far more complicated rules."

"Wonderful to hear, Princess Jaenelle- no doubt we may be in touch from time to time," Drake says. "Though right now, we're in a quiet phase, thank the Gods for that. All about building now." Drake gets Thea back on his arm for a moment, and looks over at her. "Ah, we've done the rounds, if there was anyone else you cared to meet."

"It'll be entirely my pleasure," Cesare answers, bowing his head. "I do hope we can meet and chat about your vision for the production soon! I'd love to pick your brain so I can imagine what sort of compositions to work on. It'll be the talk of all of Arx. All of Arvum, perhaps! The entire compact! Why settle for less than the greatest of dreams." The corners of his mouth quirk up. "I won't take up too much of your time, Evaristo. I have a great deal of Whisper-y hobnobbing to do, and you're in the middle of conversation."
%He nods graciously to those assembled - and then he's slipping through the crowd again, headed in Graziella's direction this time.

Cesare has joined the Cunning Couch.

Talu stops to quite literally smell the flowers. Her nostrils flare repeatedly as she runs a hand over leafy vines, and leans over to peer into the foliage. When she turns her attention from the plant-life, it's to stare narrowly at the prominent statue. Eventually, however, she looks from statue to Petraea, and for a few moments, at least, she seems content to simply observe the Tribune and those around her.

"The complicated rules are what make it fun, Carnifex," Tyche points out to Preston's suggestion that each part of the world's structure holds its own distaste. "Like playing a game where the pieces are constantly in motion," she muses as bodies drift past, chances to make connections come within her grasp and leave again because her attention is focused here. She catches a look from Cristoph, and after a moment quietly speaks to him. Whatever she's conveying is interrupted, however, as he looks off toward a new figure. Her gaze lifts, and she's forced to crane a bit (curse her shortness) to spy the grey haired woman who is now literally smelling the flowers.

Kiera nods to trake ' i'm going to take some air. i'll be just outside

Thea smiles at Jaenelle. "Thank you. And you as always, know I'm always available to help my forever first home." Looking over to Drake, she shakes her head. "I can't find everyone as it is. We should head back, as I have plans to discuss with you. This was---this is beautiful. I'm glad we came.."

Sydney's brows lift a touch in spite of herself when Katarina puts aside the effort to introduce her. A chuckle works its way up from the back of her throat, and she gently splays her fingers on the hand that isn't cradling her glass of wine, "There you have it, then. It is true enough that I need no flowery introduction. A pleasure, Lady Petraea. You've built something to be proud of, here."

Winter, A Highhill Puppy leaves, following Kiera.

Eventually, there is no more space to cross for the gaggle of women, and no more people to absorb into the group as they near Petraea. Isabeau lowers into a curtsey, fingers smoothing the brocade of her skirts and causing the trailing rubicund chains that adorn it to tinkle softly. For her part, the romantically beautiful Duchess adopts a serene, demure smile that is paired with a warmth in her rich tone as she greets the woman, "Tribune, thank you for your invitation. I offer regrets from Duke Ansel Telmar who was unable to attend."

"Sorry," Deva laughs lowly and apologetically at Mirk's reply. "No expectations. Just thought I'd ask. We don't always get a chance to share the things that spark us, you know?" Aside to Kenjay, she winces and nods, "A lot of faces I don't recognize. It's exciting and also a lot."

With a renewed smile, Liara greets Jaenelle, "I am glad that I have come, your grace. It is quite some time since I have made it to your Ward, indeed, although I have in the past had a certain fondness for the Black Fox."

"Yes, the same," Drake says to Thea. But he's willing to do a round of quick farewells before he circles back and out. He has to at least drain his glass, and offer it up to an attendant before he departs.

"We shall indeed have a gathering soon to plan the whole shindig out properly," Evaristo promises Cesare. "But I mean... how hard can it be, really?" he says quite cheerfully.

Thea has left the Pride Couch.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog leave, following Thea.

Thea leaves, following Drake.

"Really?" Berenice's brows sweep upwards at Noah's words before she takes a sip of her wine. "Why would you be surprised to see me at one of the social events of the season? The opening of a Cardian embassy is rather unprecedented, after all."

Gianna has left the Cunning Couch.

When Katarina introduces her to Petraea, Nisaa lowers her head and slips into a graceful, respectful curtsy. "It is truly a pleasure to be meeting you." There is no hiding her Eurusi accent as she speaks. Slowly, she rises again and mumrurs to Katarina, "you are far too kind, Princess."

As Cambria was not yet very far from the Tribune, she had the good pleasure of seeing Isabeau arrive, curtseying before Petraea. Once the greetings between the Cardian and Oathlander have been exchanged does Cambria come to stand beside the Telmar duchess, greeting her pleasantly. "Duchess Isabeau, darling, what a surprise to see you here. A surprise and a delight."

Gianna considers the room again, and makes her way toward Berenice, Evaristo, and company. She almost bumps into Talu and sighs softly. "My apologies," she tells the woman, starting to move away again.

Tyche looks up to Cristoph, something he says having her part her lips in a breath of surprise. She looks to the grey haired woman again, who is now nearer, and much taller than she had expected, and then her hand slips from the Duke's arm. She speaks a quick word with him, a clear directive, because she's stepping back as if to give him space for something. What? Who knows!

Noah is playing nice for the most part. His brows lower and he drops his voice to Jaenelle's ear. Then he looks towards Liara. "Liara, you are looking regal today." The man may be discomforted by the crowds of people. Evaristano is glanced at and then the smirk grows a bit more. "Aye, none better than Grayson." He holds out the hand with the signet ring. "It is good to meet you." He looks at Berenice at her words. It is almost like he's trying to form an answer or understand her words. Then he offers a rumble. "Is it not still light outside?"

Petraea glances over the crowd, her eyes lingering here and there, before she looks to Cambria and says, "Indeed, but I think it is fine to enjoy the moment a touch before I start scheming again. I appreciate the support that I have been given by Duke Hadrian and yourself. As well as this lovely statue. I should dearly enjoy meeting the artist sometime. And perhaps have a further conversation about what allies can do for one another, no?" Katarina's approach steals the attention from the Mazettis as her hazel eyes fix on the shorter woman's face, listening to her intently. Her gaze moves to each of those that are introduced before they rest again on Katarina. If she seems taken aback by the princess' request, the Tribune doesn't betray it as she says in a low voice, "It is a pleasure to finally see you in person, your highness. Also, a pleasure to meet each of your delightful companions. I am certainly willing to take an audience with any who wish to speak and meet with the Scales. You are bold. I like that. But, I wonder, your highness, if you are -patient- as well. Still, send a letter to my clerks and we will arrange a time to meet and make a negotiation. I should like to hear how a Suj'abbati princess has been adopted in House Valardin regardless of all else." Her appraising expression softens a touch as she gives Isabeau a smile, murmuring, "If I had so lovely a representative of my House, perhaps I would stay home, too. It is a pleasure to meet you." Sydney and Nissa are both looked over in turn, "I have heard much of your prowess in a fight, Sydney Waterfall. And you, Whisper Nisaa, you are a reknowned dancer, are you not?"

Monique was lost in thought, as if the woman was there and then wasn't. Idly sipping at the wine glass, and emerald hues looking to the crowd. When Apollo approached it was a few seconds before Monique snapped up and was brought back to reality. "Oh I'm so sorry." she cleared her throat, that charming smile coming back to the forefront. Her eyes seemed slightly hesitant recognizing the man, "It has been some time for many things. I hope all is treating you well though. I've much to catch up on it seems."

"Don't apologize," Mirk says, waving off Deva's apologies with a one handed gesture. "It was a joke, not an accusation." He raises an eyebrow at Deva. "Though the way you phrase it makes me want to turn the question around on you. Something in mind that you've been working on?"

"Ah, Carnifex Preston. I certainly wouldn't call you forgettable, please." Cristoph is returning his attention to the people immediately surrounding him, enough so that he can continue to keep up with the beat of the conversation. Tyche's presence there next to him helps him to maintain that and when she speaks quietly to him, he smiles at whatever their conversation is about. His reply is quiet and gentle, with a glance away and then back again. When she slips her arm from him there's a degree of reluctance that passes across his frame, something holding him back in this place instead. But to the others they've been speaking with, "If you'll excuse me." In theory he's excused, because in reality, is anyone going to tackle him to the ground when he steps away. He takes circuitous route through the crowd of many, many, many, people until he arrives by some of the flowers and begins a conversation with one of the more quieter guests.

With Katarina kindly offering introductions, Adalyn waits until her own name is being announced and bows her head in a respectful manner. When it's her turn to speak, her remarks are made with a cheerful, pleasant demeanor. "A pleasure, Tribune Petraea. I imagine this was quite an undertaking, but it seems the effort and care have paid off. The embassy is beautiful, and the statue a fitting reminder of what has occurred."

Bhandn's grey eyes do take note of Talu, but his scrutiny lasts only a moment before passing on. He's still mostly taking in the sights, trying to memorize it all for later, but also still actively ogling the Cardians present in addition to the environs. After his roundabout of the Cavaedium he's lurking somewhat close by to where Petraea is continuing to mingle with the guests -- she did ask him to dance after all, and he's not going to HIDE... much -- but the bulk of his attention remains on those who distinctly hail from Cardia.

Amari's name is given by Katarina, and she adds nothing more to it but a respectful if slight dip of her head to Petraea and a brow raise when the princess voices her subject of personal importance. No comment from the White Heart. She adheres to her smiling pleasantly in the background plan after that, until the Tribune has made a reply to the bold proposition. With a small wrinkle of her nose, she rubs the back of her neck and says, "Indeed. You have a very large and ostentatious dome here. It's very impressive." Then more to her group, she says, "Well, my curiosity is well satisfied. Have fun!" She's leaving.

It is Cambria's words that cause the young Duchess to stir away from Katarina's side. She moves to greet the woman, offering her hands and replaying to the greeting, "Duchess Cambria, of course. I am pleased to see you as well, it's been ages." Isabeau smiles her warm, sweet smile to the other Duchess, "But really, I couldn't resist. I saw a crowd and followed." Her warm voice is laced with a hint of a tease at that.

"Do you think that I refuse to emerge when the sun is shining?" Berenice asks Noah, clearly trying to find /some/ thread of logic to him. Even if there is none.

"It is always right to enjoy the fruits of ones labor," Cambria says to Petraea. "As for the artist of the statue? Yes, you most definitely /should/ meet her. The woman is well-deserving of praise." Of course, when Katarina makes what is indeed a very bold request, the Lycene duchess regards her with an openly appreciative expression. Shortly thereafter, Cambria returns her attentions to Isabeau, and the other woman's words earn a laugh. "Well, I doubt you shall be disappointed in your choice. If nothing else? This is an occasion for our history books."

Carrick followed the man's eyes to Monique, brow raising slightly. "aye its gone well. seems like a fine lass. hard to believe the stories ye hear about 'er are true. then you speak to her and its not so hard to believe anymore" he glanced back to Gael, "ye sure ye aint lookin for a storm where none need be?"

"I am patient -- but I am also clear-eyed in where my goals rest~." Katarina sounds confident when she speaks to Petraea. Being sized up isn't going to rattle her. At least, not tonight. Plenty of other nights, sure. "With that said -- everything that my friends and allies speak is true. What you have accomplished here is wondrous. It is no small praise for me to say that I have not personally walked through such splendor since the palaces of my youth~." Katarina then falters for a moment. Lingers a second. Furrows her brows gently, looking up up up into Petraea's eyes. The Queenly put-on peels back a bit from her gaze. "And if, between now and when next we speak -- you are to hear word of Messere Velius, or to gain the opportunity to speak with her... To perhaps... let her know... that she is still thought of. Fondly."

Sydney raises a glass to her lips and takes a long drink until she's drained the entirety of her second glass. A long, bracing breath later and the recognition from Petraea clearly has the common pugilist puffing out her chest a touch, "...Prowess? You flatter me. Luckily, I'm far from immune to flattery." She splays a hand neatly to her collarbone in what could almost past for a dignified look, but she seems to have the attention span of a particularly hungry fish, for she all but immediately turns her head to observe the partygoers a second time as the dignitaries have their chat. Easily distracted, indeed. Probably looking for another server for her third glass.

"It seems," Apollo agrees with Monique, his eyes tightening and then relaxing. "I hope the same." He steps closer, leans in the murmur something to her, a gentle touch to her arm offered. And then he slips back, gives an apologetic smile; open to conversation, perhaps, but he's scanning the room.

Evaristo shakes Noah's hand, whether that was his intention or not - heartily and admiringly, but at least not lingering with it. Short and to the point. There's a look between him and Berenice, and he hides his expression behind the glass of wine, even if his eyes do dance with mirth. He looks around the place, taking in the groups and what is going on - as best as one can in this large crowd. The white-haired woman is given a curious look, perhaps because of her apparent youth not matching the hair color, or at least being rare enough to take notice of.

Talu tilts her head in Cristoph's vague direction; the Duke seems to have wandered close. Her lips move a little, and one hand lifts, brushes a nearby leaf, then drops to her side again.

Petraea's gaze lingers on Adalyn for a moment, a brief pause in her speaking, before she forces a smile and says, "It was a great deal of time and effort, but I am pleased with the embassy as it is. Thank you so much for coming." Amari's words pull her gaze away from Adalyn, a gaze that seems to want to linger on the young woman, as she says slowly, "It was nice to meet you too, Lady Amari." If she seems puzzled by the woman's rapid departure, it is just a brief moment before she gestures for a glass of wine. She looks at Katarina and says with true warmth, "Evadne is recently married. As of a month or so ago. She is now Evadne Tullus. She and my friend, Gaius Tullus, have been wed. It is quite a success for her. Gaius is a powerful man."

Cesare rises and slips away from the couch where Graziella sits. He snags a full glass from a passing server, presses it into Sydney's hand as he glides by, and moves in the direction of the flowers, near to where Talu and Cristoph are standing, but without being invasive about it. A sideways smile slants toward her, but mostly he's observing the exotic flora, bending forward to sniff, eyes closed as he inhales.

Gael leers a sharp, subtly outlined crescent of grinning teeth in Carrick's face. A flourish of mockery, no doubt, one lightly concealed underneath his hat's overhanging murk for he himself isn't hiding it. "Don't concern yourself with the things you've heard, Carrick," and Gael leans in, his ensuing words a coarse brush delivered portentously closer to his ear, "Think of the shit you ain't heard about, yet. Might be you never will." Gael clasps the Axe on the back, then straightens again, beaming with a mysterious air of smug complacency.

A grin touches Liara's features as she replies to Noah, "I like to think that I always look so, but thank you nonetheless." She flits a look across the bustling crowd then back to her cousin and she wonders, "Is this a dancing sort of function? I was not quite certain, although there is certainly the space for it."

Noah lowers his brows at Berenice for a few moments. He looks her up. He looks her down. It's as if he's studying everything about her and then he offers. "Surely, your beauty would blind the sun. If you were in the daylight, the sun would find itself jealous and refuse to shine. I feel everywhere you go, the rest of the world is a little bit dimmer." He looks at his hand being shaken and then released. One arm moves to wrap around Jaenelle's waist.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat leaves, following Amari.

"The statue," Hadrian remarks in answer to the subject of its creator, "is the result of collaboration between myself and Guildmaster Caprice Artiglio". Duke Mazetti eventually returns to stand aside Cambria, the Duchess of that same House, as he offers a polite dip of his chin toward Petraea, "She's truly remarkable and every instance that I've had to work with her has been a genuine pleasure". Hadrian's gaze shifts to the statue, then promptly back to not only Petraea, but all those gathered around the Cardian dignitary, "She helped to shape the vision that I had and made it a truly breathtaking acknowledgment of our mutual cooperation. I'm very pleased with the end result of the Guildmaster's efforts."

Hadrian is overheard praising Caprice: She's truly remarkable and every instance that I've had to work with her has been a genuine pleasure.

"Good, good. I'm still fumbling around with social banter. And mostly failing. That's what I get for being gone," Deva quips, tilting her head toward Mirk with a quiet laugh. "Oh, you know, a thing or two. Concerns, mostly. I don't mean to bring the party down with it though. I just-- you know. I think we have things to do," she gestures in a vagugely northern direction, eyes widening a fraction.

Cristoph gets a nod of thanks to Preston, but as the Duke goes off to deal with others Preston turns and picks out his next victim for casual chit chat. Spying someone else he knows, he meanders across towards Cambria and the little circle around her "Duchess!" Preston offers in greeting, beaming a broad smile "It has been quite some time since our last chat in person - Lady Alessia tells me that all is well, I hope that is right?" And a polite smile is given to Isabeau and the others around.

Gianna arrives by Berenice, Evaristo, Noah, and Liara. And whoever else is there, really, no rudeness intended. "Highlord," she greets Liara. "It's been some time. This is... Prince Noah?" She tilts her head, examining the man.

The gentle touch from Apollo eases Monique's preoccupied mind. The woman would subtlety nod towards there exchange. She leaned in to hear his murmur, took a quick glance in the way of the crowd and then sipped at her wine. After a few lingering moments, she'd nod. "I do. Now tell me what has changed in that world of yours. I feel as though I'm out of the loop and would appreciate the conversation. I've only just arrived so it's nice to see familiar faces." she chuckles, a wide grin following thereafter.

Sydney's jaw sets briefly as though in thought, but Cesare saves the day by topping off her drink. Whatever pensive look she was fostering melts into a grateful smile, and she calls after him, "Ah! Hey. Thank you, um." She awkwardly fails to produce his name, and instead points at him, and offers a grateful hand gesture. She drifts away from the part of Oathlanders, sipping neatly at her beverage and making her way towards the gardens and plonking down against the aptly named 'Magnificence' Couch.

Sydney has joined the Magnificence Couch.

Isabeau lowers her head in recognition of Cambria's words, "I don't suspect I will be disappointed, even if I did not quite finish what I was having made for it. Alas." She looks aside at Katarina, making to loop her arm with the woman's once more. She offers Preston a polite dip of her head in answer to the smile as the man approaches Cambria.

The news that Petraea delivers to Katarina makes the veiled Eurusi woman draw in a breath, such that her veil flattens against her features for a moment. She breathes out. "I am happy for her," Katarina says, and it at least comes across genuine. "I will not tire you with my thoughts -- we will save such a thing for a proper conversation. For now, Tribune Petraea, you have my gratitude and respect. I shall reach out to your staff swiftly." When the conversation ends, Katarina turns to the remaining members of her party: "I think I saw something about there being Cardian wine here -- let us find that, and pour it directly into my mouth until breathing becomes somewhat of an issue."

Near the plants, Cristoph's words are mostly quiet. He had been looking somewhat across the room, but now he turns back to actually look at the flora that's been carefully brought to life here. He touches one of the leaves carefully, just for a second and then withdraws his hand. "Good evening," he offers to Cesare as he drifts close by, lifting his wine glass in a polite enough greeting to the other guest.

Liara greets Gianna with a broad smile, "Nightingale, how do you do? This is indeed Prince Noah." Then, cheerfully, she goes on, "It has been some time indeed, and far too long since I have heard you sing. Perhaps I should contrive a reason to do so at some stage soon." Her gaze then turns to Noah, and she asks, "Have you ever heard Gianna sing? She has a tremendous voice."

Nisaa has a moment of inner turmoil when she is addressed by Petraea; that of her humble personality and her training as a diplomat to not argue needlessly. "I am fairly well known for my talents, yes. Was perhaps, even more so, in Petrioch." Her chin lifts with pride though a rose of color blooms upon her cheeks.

Evaristo can't help but to look a little impressed by Noah's reply, his head tilting to watch Berenice's reaction - he's clearly highly amused by their interaction. He beams a warm smile at Gianna. "Nightingale. Quite the party, is it not? And the wine! And this place, and... well, everything! Ah, Prince Grayson, this is our very own legendary singer and performer, and leader of the Bard's College; Gianna Delvecchio."

Sydney neatly jostles the couch when she leans up against it, nursing her drink and looking decidedly pleased. She's not quiet overlong. "So, how are folks finding themselves? Anyone not sufficiently watered? I can flag down some more drinks, I'm sure. That's half the fun of coming to these things, is it not? Overwhelming oneself with rich food and drink. Some more wine for those figs, perchance?" She asks, of Massimiliano.

Apollo's eye is caught, but he turns back to Monique, teeth touching, and murmurs something back - offering his arm to walk with him while he chats. "Well," he offers, "It's Lord Apollo, now which is something. I don't think if you told me a year ago that would happen I'd have believed you." He slows feet by Cesare, the lovely but foreign foliage. "Whisper Cesare, Lady Monique Greenmarch. A dear friend. Have you two met? It seems she's been a bit busy this last while."

Bahiya squeezes Kenjay's arm and tells those around her, "I daresay we should greet the hostess and praise her for this delightful event, yes?"

Tyche watches Cristoph navigate his way through the people to the woman, her hand now free of his arm smoothing over his dress. There's vested interest there, but she forces herself to turn back to the gathering, now without her escort but willingly diving into the next most intriguing conversation. Only occasionally does she look to Cristoph.

Petraea looks at the statue as Hadrian speaks of the artist and says as her gaze returns to the Duke once more, "Such high praise from you certainly seems warranted. You have an eye for talent. I regret the circumstances that led to its creation, but I am pleased to know that my fallen comrades are honored so beautifully with it." She watches how Katarina takes the news of the marriage with a sharp, discerning eye, but makes no comment as she says mildly, "I look forward to speaking with you again, your highness." Nisaa identifies herself as a former citizen of Petrioch and something kindles in the Tribune's gaze, "Indeed. I thought you looked a fair bit different than most Arvani I have met. I can see it now. And hear it. I imagine your story on how you ended up in the Compact would be just as interesting as the princess'."

Kit, the grey fox have been dismissed.

Primus, First of Monique's Assistants have been dismissed.

1 Greenmarch Guard have been dismissed.

Tertius, Third of Monique's Assistants have been dismissed.

Quite often, Adalyn views the world around her with observant curiosity, eager to make note of the details. This moment is certainly no different, except that the intensity of her full focus lands upon Petraea, her gold-flecked eyes widening ever so slightly as she studies the woman. She inhales a breath, pauses as though considering her words before speaking. "I'm sure you will have countless people requesting your time in the coming weeks, but if you manage to find the time, I'd be grateful for the opportunity to speak with you further." She blinks, glancing distractedly over her shoulder toward Amari's swift departure, brow furrowed in thought, but then turns back quickly to await the tribune's reply.

Carrick looked to Gael, brow quirking at the man's words. he thought about that.. about the mysteries that swirled around many of the people in here like angry wasps. he shivered slightly, suddenly very thankful for the simple life a warrior led. he looked to monique, then to gael, to back to monique. no.. no he wasnt that brave yet to venture into THAT fray. he took a few steps backs and allowed the man his concentration, simple listening for a time.

Kenjay pats Bahiya's hand on his arm. "When you are ready, Ambassador," he says. "I see her, and can guide you there." There's a nod for Mirk and Deva. "Would you care to join us, my lord, your Highness?"

"I am always pleased to see how many people find the Black Fox a home to come to to enjoy others, and take a moment's rest from the world. It is often where I too go to take a break from my office for a drink, if only to see another face" Jaenelle tells Liara with a nod of understanding. Noah's words to Berenice cause the barest hint of a smile to form, but she maintains a level of control, patting his hand when his arm moves around her. "There is dancing, Your Grace" she assures Liara, "and if you wish to borrow your cousin to do so, I will certainly understand."

Talu turns her attention from the foliage to Cesare, looking at him somewhat sidelong, focused with one eye more than the other. She inhales sharply, and can't quite seem to stop a small cough, but after that she turns to more fully face the Whisper. A quick glance toward Cristoph, and then she echoes, "Good evening." Something quiet is returned to Cristoph, but now, instead of looking at either of the two men, she looks back to Petraea, the faintest frown tugging at her lips.

"Carnifex," Cambria greets Preston, smiling cheerily. "All is indeed well, thank you for asking." She clasps her hands together before her, even as Hadrian returns to her side. "I trust the same can be said for yourself? I will say that it is a heartening thing to see someone of your station here, though, in truth, I would be glad to see any representative of the Faith."

There is a slight nod for when Isabeau steps towards Katarina, as if to silently indicate that if the other woman was to depart due to the natural ebb and flow of large crowds, then Cambria would understand. Then, reaching out to take Hadrian's arm, Cambria says, "I really do not know how you work the magic you do, but I am ever so glad you are able to do it." She offers Petraea a sly wink as she adds, "I haven't an artistic bone in my body."

"I should write you about those after the party," Mirk mentions with a thoughtful frown. "But that's not a topic for here and now. It is a party, after all." He raises an eyebrow at the invitation, then nods his head. "If I am not intruding," he replies to Kenjay smoothly, rising to his feet. "It would be my pleasure. Besides, it's time for me to find a second glass of wine somewhere."

Gael seems vaguely aware of Carrick's cowing against the corner, the notion inflicting an unease upon his ongoing engrossment to the gathering at hand. He'd set aside, thus, a brief look of sympathy for the warrior huddled to the wall. "Hey," Gael's head slants lightly, his voice's raspy inflection offering quiet solace, "I'm not keen to throw you to the wolves, but, if you're not going, you could at least get us a drink." The Confessor reveals out a limb from inside his coat, it brandishing an empty bottle of wine that he'd set to Carrick's chest. "Or four."

From her table, seemingly distracted by her own hands as she looks down mostly, Princess Graziella sends occasional sidelong glances to the interaction across the way... all the interactions, at least the ones she can glean from her perch at the Cunning table. Sidelong smirks and vacantly polite expressions dominate her visage as if she had her heads firmly in the clouds... far far away.

"Of course," Deva tells Bahiya and Kenjay, lifting her (now empty!) glass at the pair. "I have introduced myself to the Tribune-- or rather, I forgot to but she figured it out kindly anyway. Don't let me keep you," she cracks a smile, gesturing them onward toward Petraea. "Yes, we should trade notes or chat soon," she adds, voice lower to Mirk and traced with concern. "While you three introduce, I can bring more wine over," she suggests, already turning to look around for a target rich environment.

Gianna raises her glass in a sort of salute to Liara and Noah. "It has been too long, hasn't it? I will be performing in Evaristo's next work about the fall of Caer'alfar. I'm to portray Primeria." She has a sip of wine, nearly finished her glass. "I'm sure the production will be wonderful."

"If it is Cardian wine, how could I turn it down? The work of their vintners is very much a form of mastered art. They of course have competition in the wines produced around the Lyceum, but I've spent much of my life partaking in Lycene wine.", Massimiliano admits to Sydney in that thick Torean accent of his, having no glass at all in sight for himself yet. "A long-winded way of saying that I've found myself with a taste for the stuff since the first time it passed my lips." He has that one unbroken fig left still, and he underhands it to the pugilist like he's making a trade.

Monique would take Apollo's offered arm and stride over gracefully to Cesare. An eyebrow raised at there small talk whilst walking over, "Really now? I never would've thought. You'll have to tell me how you came about that. Either way I am happy for you." she smiles and then turn to look at Cesare. "I'm not sure we have. A pleasure nonetheless Whisper Cesare. You'll have to forgive me if we have met, I've a touch of forgetfulness is all. Or perhaps the heat in Arx is doing me in already." she chuckles. There was a cant of head as she glanced Carrick's way, a smile to him across the crowd and a look to Gael before returning her attention to Cesare and Apollo.

Adalyn's request pulls Petraea's gaze away from whatever had caught her attention, briefly, across the garden and she says with a nod, "Yes, I think it is probably time that you and I had a conversation. Soon." Cambria's wink distracts her and she glances in the direction of Talu. Something like a frown claims her lips for a few moments and she observes the woman carefully, as if trying to decide what to do. Unfortunately, the press of people around her is too much of a distraction for her to make a decision in the moment.

Cesare is already bent to smell the flowers; he bends a bit more at Cristoph's greeting, and then grins wryly, not immune to the absurdity of his own position, trying to bow while sniffing flowers. He straightens up. "Cesare Whisper," he says, to Cristoph and Tula. "May I get you a drink, my lady? And a pleasure to meet you, Lady Monique. Lord Apollo's ambitions and talents have led him on an ever-upward path, as one would imagine they eventually might."

"I sometimes make similar excursions to the Badger, although that has a very different atmosphere to the Black Fox," Liara comments to Jaenelle. "Perhaps worth a visit at some stage if only to sample the ambience." She casts a look across the place and adds, "I shall refrain from stealing anybody just yet."

There's a glimmer of excitement across Liara's features when Gianna mentions an upcoming work, and she asks, "Is that coming soon? I certainly have no doubt that it will be wonderful."

With a swift motion, Cristoph drains that glass of wine and offers the empty vessel to a passing server. His one hand goes to the wrist of the other arm and he undoes first one cufflink and then shifts to the other until both are in his hand. It's a small gesture and he considers them briefly before he offers them to the woman for consideration. "These were a gift from my sister, Lady Jael." He seems to prepared to hand them over for a more tactile inspection if she needs it. As this exchange plays out, he makes with a few more quiet words and a nod across the room. To Cesare he offers, "Duke Cristoph Laurent of Artshall."

"Indeed? The Scales seem to have admirable intentions - though of course intentions and realities can differ. But it would be churlish just to ignore them because they are different. In any case, the Most Holy says we should always allow an open hand to make friends, mm?" Preston answers to Cambria, bowing his head to the Lycene noblewoman and Hadrian as he returns "And I am quite well - only bruises from the battle at Pieros. And silly stories about trees coming alive and people glowing. Quite silly, mm? But! Soon we shall have to have you over to the Compound, it would be good to talk about progressing things now peace is here."

Bahiya smiles brightly again, even her sightless eyes lighting up with delight. "Please, if you think me suitable and presentable for her." Her head tilts in Kenjay's direction, so perfect and without error one might accuse her of seeing him as anyone else might. "My beloved. Do I look presentable?" she asks, her tone softer.

Noah looks over at Gianna when Liara introduces her. He just looks at her. Then he shakes his head. "I do not believe that we have met, I am sure that I would remember." He gives a slight grin but it is gone the next moment, as if not really there. "I am sure that you are very memorable though, Gianna was it?" He nods and then looks towards Liara. "I step on feet. I am not that graceful in a dance. If I look skilled, it is because of my partner."

A charming smile lights up Sydney's features at Massimiliano's answer, and she immediately thrusts her glass into his hand. It's already had a sip removed from it, but when's sharing a drink with someone ever hurt anyone? Besides, free fig! "Here you are, then. I'm more partial to Whiskey, myself, but I can't refute how strong it is. It's got a hell of a kick to it, and when most wine mewls like a kitten, I have to have respect for one that roars." She flags down a server at the next opportunity and plucks up a new drink for herself, holding onto that one. After all, it has slightly more beverage held within. "

Katarina loops her arm back in Isabeau's, a bit tighter than she had before. She doesn't wander too far -- after all, it would be rude to desert Adalyn. But the golden eyes of the veiled Princess are somewhere far away, lost in thought. Briefly, they again focus on Monique across the room, but whatever's going on there, Katarina doesn't seem ready to make the first step forward about it.

Evaristo is overheard praising Petraea: What an amazing place, and wonderful party!

Gianna inclines her head to Jaenelle as well, politely. They don't see each other very often. Not up close, anyway. "I love the dress. That's spidersilk? Marvelous. I'd love to get my hands on some." It's a bit distracting. But her attention goes back to Liara and Noah, with a glance in Evaristo's direction. "You would have to ask him how soon that is," she admits. Her lips quirk very slightly to the side as she informs Noah, "I am indeed very memorable." Also kind of arrogant maybe.

Apollo takes a moment to consider Talu and then Cesare, head tipped. "Very compelling flowers, it seems," he says, and gives Talu a dip of his head. One might presume that anyone here could be nobility simply unknown, after all. But there's also nobility known; when Cristoph greets Cesare, he gets a bow, too, a warm smile. "Duke Cristoph, it's so good to see you." He turns eyes back on Monique, lifts a shoulder just faintly. "Whisper Cesare seems to think ascent inevitable," he says, eyes flicking toward the Whisper and back. "Shall we find you a glass of cool water, Lady Monique? If it is the heat, I'd be glad to see you well." There's certainly a touch of concern, there.

Evaristo is overheard praising Berenice: Could not be prouder to escort my patron.

"It's a pleasure as always, Sir Preston," Hadrian acknowledges the named individual with a polite bow of the head and a warm smile. Though as talk turns to compounds and the like, the Duke offers a small nod, "We are very eager to discuss that with you, when time allows. We must take full advantage of the moment of stability that those who gave all provided us". Hadrian then goes quiet as his attention begins to drift over the gathering once more. It does, of course, return to Preston in good order. But he seems to be watching his fellow party-goers; not out of suspicion, but far more likely in search of other familiar names and faces to give a little greeting where applicable.

Talu's gaze jerks away from Petraea's as soon as she realizes the Tribune is looking her way, a thing which is not nearly as subtle as she'd probably prefer. The woman stands there for a moment, looking tense and uncertain, before she breathes out, and whatever was bothering her either passes, or disappears from her outward appearance as she looks toward the cufflinks Cristoph is offering up for inspection. She takes them, weighing them lightly in one hand, running fingers over them with the other. For a moment, just one, there's a certain hunger in her eyes, but she passes them back once it passes. "They're very beautiful." When Cristoph introduces himself to Cesare, she straightens, squares her shoulders, and says, "Talu." No titles or family name offered. Apollo also gets a nod, and a repeated, "Talu."

Katarina is overheard praising Petraea: May this be the start of interesting roads to travel.

"Wise words from the Dominus," Cambria says. "Though seeking and attaining widsom is rarely easy, it is something I do /strive/ for," Cambria says to Preston. Then, with yet another smile of delight she says, "I very much look forward to that, Carnifex, very much indeed. I shall be certain to write to you later this evening, so that we can arrange an appropriate time." Still with her arm linked through Hadrian's own, Cambria says to her Consort, "Come, darling, I've been taken by a whim to meet and mingle properly. We shouldn't seek to dominate our hosts time, it's rude." And with that, Cambria gives the Tribune and those surrounding her a winning smile before beginning to move away - towards Talu and the company she keeps. Of course, anyone Cambria had been speaking with would be welcome to join her if they so desire. Indeed, Hadrian was also free to /not/ follow her, and instead continue chatting with the small group that had formed near Petraea.

Glancing towards Katarina when Petraea mentions her, Nisaa then smiles to the Cardian Tribune. "Perhaps so. Thank you, Tribune, I shall leave way for others to greet you." She slips into another graceful curtsy before stepping away; walking back a few steps before she turns around.

Somehow, it doesn't seem to bother the sculptor that the glass of wine handed to him is one that's been breached prior. Massimiliano takes the offering with good humor and grace, a smile appearing on his lips that does much to add a little warmth to the cold color of his gray eyes. "You are not wrong, though I don't believe I've had the pleasure of your name? Cardian wine is like the Cardian people - at least what I know of them - strong and ambitious. Unsurprising. I understand ambition to be one of their virtues." Without fear, the artisan lifts the wine he's been given and tips a fair portion of it back, downing it in a swallow. Then he switches the glass to his other hand and reaches out to offer the puglist a handshake and an introduction, "Massimiliano Buccheri, out of Tor. I am the proprietor of the Solemn Rose, though I only open it by appointment."

Liara fangirls over Gianna, informing Noah with unbridled enthusiasm, "She most certainly is. If you have the chance to go to a production, I really do recommend it. There is no better singer in Arvum." More mildly, she finishes, "As for dancing, I always advise people to do it if they enjoy it, regardless of training or talent."

Kenjay smiles to Bahiya, brushing a speck of dust from her shoulder. "You look perfect," he says to her when that's done, and then his smile fades back to sobriety. He offers Mirk a nod, then turns and escorts Bahiya through the press towards Petraea, offering a fluid Eurusi-style bow when he's noticed. "Lady Petraea, good evening, and thank you for a most splendid venue for a most splendid evening."

Petraea's response prompts a subtle shift in Adalyn's posture, a previously held breath now exhaled. "Soon then, yes. Thank you. I will look forward to our conversation." Her focused gaze finally shifts, torn away from the woman as she notes the press of the crowd all around them. Recognizing that many others in attendance are wishing for the opportunity to greet the tribune, she bows her head politely and steps away. Her expression is faintly distracted, carrying the quality of being lost in thought, as she turns back to her companions. "You made mention of Cardian wine, yes?" she asks of Katarina, once more looping her arm through the princess's.

Isabeau pats Katarina's arm gently as blue eyes look to her golden ones. In very little time, the duchess locates a passing tray of wine, collects a glass and presses it into the princess's hand with a smile that is parts reassuring. "Are we drinking under or over the veil? Because I think through the veil might make you more likely to be unable to breathe quicker." She quirks her lips upwards in a partially teasing smile and gives her elbow a little wiggle.

"Oh, towards the end of summer, perhaps beginning of the Fall. Haha," Evaristo says, making a terrible pun on the upcoming Fall of Caer'alfar production. He looks quite happy to stand there and chat with anyone coming by, but he turns a look over at Petraea to study the tribune in thoughtfulness for awhile, sipping wine.

Katarina lets out a little snort of laughter at Isabeau's comment. "I find that if I do enough under, eventually I begin attempting over," she jokes. The Princess looks over to Nisaa, silently inquiring whether or not she plans to join Katarina, Isabeau, and Adalyn in seeking out some wine. Of course, they won't have to go very far.

Deva is walking by Evaristo as he cracks his joke, and she chokes back a laugh as she passes. An up-nod follows as she searches for the Good Snacks. Wherever they are.

"Talu. A pleasure," Cesare says warmly. "Do you like jewelry? I can't say I have anything with craftsmanship on the level of the Duke's, I'm sure, but I enjoy anything with a certain level of attention paid to its artistic integrity." He smiles briefly. "Those /are/ beautiful cufflinks, Duke Cristoph. There are so many lovely materials out of Artshall."

"Lord Apollo, good to see you. I hope that Darkwater is treating you well?" Cristoph returns to the other man, accepting the cufflinks back when Talu hands them to him. It's met with a nod and he re-affixes them to where they belong. Still there's some small note of concern on his face before he manages to tuck it away. He's largely comfortable in such busy social settings and it's probably not entirely surprising that his attention occasional roams or that he offers what can be assumed to be some snippet of information about the crowd at hand to Talu in quieter tones now and again.

All the greenery and lush vegetation was indeed noteworthy, "All beautiful flowers here, even the people." she smiles before looking to Cristoph, "A pleasure Duke Laurent and you as well Whisper Cesare." there was a faraway gaze from Monique before looking back to Apollo, "When one strives the way you have, anything spectacular in the way of ambitions is possible." she chuckles, "Or maybe luck... I need more of that." she grins, waving a hand dismissively, "I appreciate the offer /Lord/ Apollo." a wink thereafter to the man, "But I'll be fine, really." she leans in a bit and murmurs something to the man.

"I shall look forward to it, Duchess Cambria. Duke Hadrian." And Preston bows to the pair as they depart. He moves to the side of the room as people mingle, determined to suss out these Cardian foods - one of which is picked up and given a rather suspicious sniff and a long moment of staring. As it doesn't stare back, Preston shrugs and consumes the delightful morsel, though his face quickly tenses as the unexpected spice hits and he just stares ahead before he swallows.

Sydney reaches out and clasps her gloved hand with Massimiliano's offered hand, her grip firm but not overbearing. "Sydney Waterfall. Been to Tor the one time, but I'm afraid I really only remember about half of the trip. All the same, I'm told I had a lovely time." A hiss of laughter there, and she murmurs, "...What manner of establishment is the 'Rose, if you don't mind my askin'?"

Noah arches his left brow over his eye to the arrogance from Gianna. "Are you?" The two words leave his lips even as Liara fangirls. He meets her eyes offers, "I don't always enjoy public performances. I suppose I will have to just take everyone's word on it." He takes another glass of wine. It is handed over to Jaenelle adn then he reaches another one for him.

"You're right, of course. A brief exchange and then continue on to mingle. It's the best practice," Hadrian answers with an agreeable bob of his head in response to Cambria's words. Soon enough he's tethered to her, arm-in-arm, as he prepares to set off to whatever direction Cambria may select. Meanwhile his hand rises up and two fingers unfurl from his wine glass to wiggle in the direction of Preston in an effort to bid the Carnifex a fond farewell.

Carrick laughed at the man's remark, "Ah hells. ye might as well call me ah damn coward Gael." he smirked, shaking his head. "oh ta think ah've jumped unto burning ships in little more than a loincloth but to scared to cross the damn floor" he snorted, "what ahm a comin to. Four drinks, coming up" he took the bottle of wine, and slipped into the crowd looking for the drinks. they weren't to hard to find, and shortly he returned, carrying a bottle and two glasses of wine. the servant whom he had relieved of his bottle seemed rather flustered, but made no great protest. he pressed the bottle toward Gael, and the glass. and then held the last glass to his nose, sniffing. he shrugged, took a sip offered a quiet "wish meh luck" and then began the slow, meandering walk toward monique

If wine is the question, Nisaa's answer is almost always 'yes'. At least for one glass. At the look from Katarina, Nisaa joins them once again.

Mirk strides over to the Tribune with Bahiya and Kenjay, standing a little apart from the pair. He doesn't bow, like Kenjay, though there's a deep inclination of his head to Petraea in respect. "Lady Petraea. It's been some time, but I'm glad to see that your endeavors have been flourishing under your care. You have my compliments as the hostess for such a successful opening gala." He looks aside at the pair that he walked with, and gestures in their direction. "Have you met Prince Kenjay or Bahiya yet?"

Gianna's lips curve up at the corner again. "That would be unfortunate," she informs Noah. She looks to Liara, then back. One shoulder rises and falls gently in a shrug. "I'm afraid I'm very particular about private performances as well." To Liara, she says, "You're too kind." She inclines her head to the Highlord, dipping down in a very slight curtsy.

Apollo's brows loft at Cesare, a sort of 'who, me?' look on his face. And he turns eyes back on the flowers. "They are," he says to Talu. "Perhaps you've got the right of it. Enjoying the effort and the beauty made here. It's easy to get caught up in a conversation that might have been had anywhere, mm? Pleased to meet you, Talu." He gives a soft smile to Cristoph. "Very well, thank you, that's kind." He leans in, attendant to Monique's murmur, and glances at her a moment, nods. "We should talk about that," he says, and flashes her a smile, like she's commented on one of his favorite books or something.

Alena Sparks, unamused first mate, Silk, the Seafaring Spider, Midnight Sea, an Ostrian gelding leave, following Evaristo.

Petraea gives Cambria a smile as the Duchess and her duke depart to make the rounds of the crowd. Adalyn is given a last, lingering look before the Tribune draws herself up to greet the Eurusi Ambassador and her companion, Kenjay. "My thanks to you both for attending. It is satisfying to see so much hard work finally pay off." The way her words fall heavily is some indication that she might not -just- be speaking about the construction of the building. She looks to Mirk and nods to him as well as she says, "I have not had the pleasure of an introduction yet, but Bahiya'al'mathali is a name that I have often seen in reports. It seems we occupy the same sort of role. It is always intriguing to meet another like you."

Approaching Cristoph, Cesare, Apollo, and Talu, Cambria says politely, "I hope you won't mind the extra additions." Her gaze first lands upon Cristoph, followed shortly thereafter by the Darkwater lord and the Whisper. "Duke Laurent, it is a pleasure, but the truth is, I happened to notice that there was a Whisper over here and I thought: now I simply must stop by." Blue eyes twinkling with mirth, Cambria at last says to Apollo, "And Lord Apollo, I hope you will accept my belated congratulation on your recent nuptials." And, finally, she introduces herself and Hadrian to Talu - duchess of Ostria, etcetera, etcetera. It was only the polite thing to do.

Liara brightens further at the information from Evaristo, "Not long at all. I look forwards to it!" She offers Gianna a cheerful smile at the curtsy and then, with an indicative gesture off towards some high-up point on the wall, she says to Noah, "You could see about one of the boxes well-removed from much of the crowd, if the venue chosen has them."

Gael isn't the kind to offer luck on words alone, extending his best of wishes instead with a hand that seeks Carrick's back, laying upon it a series of pats and encouraging thuds. "You're alright, lad. You're alright." But, never mind all that, Gael is quick and soon to pluck free bottle and glass from Carrick's proffering hands, upping both towards him thankfully under the lowly hiss of a quiet, inward laugh. The Confessor then pours himself a self-indulgent drink, the liquid skating precariously close to the rim, a finger's tip from overflowing. Nursing quietly at it in dissimulated sips, he resumes his silent survey of the room.

Bahiya arrives with Kenjay, and as he and Mirk open the way to introductions, Bahiya'al'mathali drops into a low Eurusi-styled bow in what she estimates to be the proper direction. "Lady Petraea Livy, I am quite pleased to meet you at last. This is quite the grand affair, the scents, the sounds ... a pleasure to experience." She chuckles softly as Petraea makes her observation. "Indeed, as yours has been read to me a thousand times since coming to the city. We speak on behalf of nations we are far from."

Benvolio, a beleaguered valet in search of a better job, 6 House Velenosa Guards leave, following Berenice.

"I like jewelry very much," says the woman wearing absolutely no jewelry whatsoever. Talu seems a little torn between standing straighter and easing back just a bit from the people turning their attention Cristoph's way, but she appears to settle for the former. Monique gets a nod. As she approaches, Cambria gets a nod as well. "Talu," she says again, though, this time, she seems to be considering something before the name is fully out. She adds nothing further, however, apart from a few quiet side remarks toward Cristoph.

"Unfortunately I made the decision for the safety of the spiders to keep the cloth from being widely available, so as of right now it can not be found in the market place and only a few have small supplies of it. Though shoud I visit the spiders again, I shall see about gathering more" Jaenelle tells Gianna regarding spidersilk. She accepts the glass of wine from Noah and takes a sip. She lowers her voice a moment to say something to Noah before watching others.

"Waterfall?", Massimiliano asks with a curious arch of his brow, the name clearly striking some measure of intrigue in him. "That is certainly a unique surname." He doesn't linger on that, however. "I might be biased, but Tor truly is one of the most beautiful cities on the continent. Should you get the chance, you really should visit the place with a mind for remembering more of it. There are a surprising amount of interesting secrets to be found there, should one know where to prod about for them." As for the matter of his establishment, he admits for Sydney, "The Rose? She is a place of imagination. A place of inspiration, brooding, achievement." Maybe that's too mysterious. He doesn't leave it that way. "I work with my hands. I'm a sculptor. The Solemn Rose is my sanctuary. People bring me their dreams and I make them immortal."

"Ah, Lady Monqiue," Cambria chimes, clearly pleased to see her. "It has been /ages/, but you are a vision, as ever." Cambria fluffs her hair and says, "Maybe I should try going red some day. What do you think?" There is a good-natured laugh. "Talu? That's a pretty name." She flutters her lashes. "And what woman doesn't like jewelry?" She looks to Monique for confirmation that this was a good and natural thing.

Deva slides over next to Jaenelle for a moment, casting a quick smile between her and Noah and the others in their conversational group. Her voice lowers to murmur something brief, but accompanied with a wider sort of grin.

"Duchess Cambria!" Cesare takes Cambria's hand and kisses the back of it lightly. "Cesare Whisper. I must say - I've imagined who could possibly keep up with Duke Hadrian's effervescent wit and prodigious charm, and nothing in my wildest dreams could have prepared me for what an utter vision you are." He removes one of his hairpins, which does in fact cause a few strands of hair to come unknotted, but, you know, all in service of conversation, and hands it to Talu for inspection. "They were a gift. They remind me of my home in Setarco. The sun over the sea."

Apollo turns as Cambria approaches, brows lofting at the greeting and congratulations. A smile follows. "Duchess Cambria, that's very kind. But I'm not married. Only elevated." A smile follows. "I appreciate the congratulations all the same." His eyes turn from Cambria to Monique, Cesare as he hands over a hairpin, and to Talu, who he offers a nod. "You're amongst like minds, I think."

As some point, Princess Graziella tucks the needlepoint she is working on back into her hand bag and moves to the gardens for a stroll without approaching any of the groups already chatting.. she pauses to smell some flowers. Her ghoulishly tinted purple lips blossom into a soft smile as she takes in their scent and her eyes close in the process.

Adalyn's gaze slides across the room, lingering somewhere in the crowd for a long moment before the conversation around her registers. She laughs, green eyes sliding back to Katarina and Isabeau. "I would assume perhaps drinking /through/ the veil is generally reserved for when one has had a few too many drinks?" she offers playfully.

Graziella has left the Cunning Couch.

Noah turns to look at Jaenelle when she lowers her voice. A nod of his head. Then back to Gianna. "Luckily, I'm a Grayson, that already makes me worthy of private performances. Unless, you are worried I might find it boring?"

"Lady Monique, nice to see you here in Arx once again," Cristoph offers to her politely and with a dip of his head. His arms link across his chest loosely, settling himself into a stance that seems largely comfortable while attending to conversation. When Cambria approaches, his smile blooms and somewhat lopsided, with good humor. "Of course, Duchess Cambria. I'm but a mere duke of the Oathlands, I can't hold a candle to the grace and wonder that is a fully trained member of House Whisper." He turns back to Talu, catching those words and then dipping his head once in acknowledgement before replying.

"And nations for whom not all might wish us to speak," Petraea adds with a little laugh, but still reaches her hands out to take Bahiya's in a gesture of warmth and solidarity. She briefly holds them before the releasing the Eurusi. "I have been receiving so many interesting requests regarding links to be made between Cardia and the kingdoms of Eurus. I should dearly like it if we could find time to discuss them more in depth."

Gianna nods to Jaenelle, seeming pleased. "Wonderful," she says. Is there someone passing by she can exchange her empty wine glass for a new one with? She does that, with a polite nod to the server. "Well, you certainly have the money," she tells Noah. "Though Princess Liara has the right of it - the College performances are free and the seating is very good. Wonderful acoustics in the performance hall. I'm very proud of it."

Monique says, "Ah Duchess Cambria, I'm sure you could sport anything you'd like. As beautiful as ever even if in red. It has been quite some time, as is with most. I'm glad to catch up though." she says giving her a warm smile and wink. "Talu, a pleasure. You'll have to excuse me if I've forgotten to greet anyone." she nods politely, eyes catching Apollo's with another pleasant smile. Despite, Monique's slight change in behavior all seems to be smile and pleasant nods from he woman. The occasional sly wink here and there. "Thank you Duke Laurent. I only just arrived the other day, and thought it was fitting to not only visit during this gorgeous event but to catch up on what I've missed.""

There is a full, rich laugh from Jaenelle at whatever Deva shares, which causes the woman to say, "Princess Deva Redrain Velenosa Redrain, I would like you to meet Prince Noah Grayson. Prince Noah, my cousin Princess Deva, who was once my mother in law too." That always amuses her greatly. "I think so" she adds as an answer that Deva's quieter words.

"Duke Laurent," Hadrian acknowledges with a bright grin and a nod. Apollo is regarded and a faint dip of the chin conveyed. Then onward to Monique, "Lady Monique, wonderful to see you again," he offers with warmth. Then to Talu his attention goes, though his head does tilt briefly aside. He's distracted away from Talu and toward Cesare though as a quiet chuckle erupts from Hadrian, "Not many are capable of the feat, I'll agree with that". Then Hadrian's attention turns back to Talu, his eyes cast aside to Cambria and he seems to offer up a light chuckle before his hand rises. He scoops the golden laurel from atop his cold black haired head, before holding it toward Talu, "Have it, Talu. Consider it a momento of another day of progress for Arvum."

Happening to be nearby, Liara gives a wiggle of her fingers to greet Deva. "My, what a fetching gown, and I just adore the choker! I had been seeking inspiration for something new. Perhaps I shall go with stars."

Liara then offers Noah some earnest encouragement after Gianna speaks, "It is definitely worth a visit, if you have the time."

Sydney's smile widens as Massimiliano critiques her name, and she lifts her shoulders in a casual shrug, "...Oh, I don't know about unique. I'm sure there have to be other 'Waterfall's running about here and there. It's a wide, wide world. But it's more a stage name than anything - or at least, that's how it started out. May as well be the one I was born with, at this point. The only one with any import, of that I can assure you."

She takes up a fighting pose, which looks by turns fierce, attractive, and absurd when wearing ones fanciest seasilk dress. "...Someone told me once that my fists were swift and strong as water pounding on the rocks below it, and I took a liking to that. The most flattering way I've yet heard my penchant for pugilism referred to." She aborts that combative stance and takes a long sip of her drink, "...I'd love to see your work some time."

Cambria seems to melt when Cesare takes her hand and presses a kiss to the back of it. Lifting one hand to her collarbone, Cambria sighs, "Ah, Cesare Whisper, you are too kind. It is less that I keep up with the Duke and more that I watch him shine from afar, much like how we gaze up at the stars." She grins brightly, still very clearly pleased that Cesare had acknowledged her.

Then, to Apollo Cambria says, "Forgive me, Lord Apollo - that was clumsy of me...but still, my congratulations are sincere, and I am glad you accepted them in the spirit that they were meant." Now it is to Cristoph that Cambria at last turns her attention, her grin returning.

"Indeed, yes, just a Duke of the Oathlands. And the very Vanguard of the West. The fabled /Honey Duke./ Really," Cambria sighs with a shake of her head. "It is more the fool I who has spent so little time in your company, while admiring your skills and leadership from afar."

With Monique's assurance that she would indeed look good in red, Cambria seems prepared to say something when...Hadrian is offering his laurels to Talu. She regards the exchange with open curiosity.

Bahiya inhales in pleasant surprise as Petraea's hands take hers, unseeing eyes widening, but the smile on her face only grows. "It would please me greatly to discuss such with you, Lady Ivy. I will write you and we shall arrange a time." She gives another deep bow of respect.

Katarina leads Isabeau, Adalyn, and Nisaa toward the nearest wine steward, and sets about ensuring that each of her companions has a glass. "To doing quite possibly the most scandalous thing I have done in public since the annulment of my marriage," Katarina says, lifting her glass in a cheerful-if-acerbic toast and then not so much savoring the wine as pounding it. She's deft about getting that glass under the veil and drinking it without making a fuss about having to pull the cloth out of the way with her other hand. She's had a lot of practice at this.

Talu responds with a small smile at Cambria's compliment on her name, though it's a slightly strange sort of expression, something darkly amused tucked within it. Or perhaps just darkly. It's interrupted when Cesare passes her the hairpin, however, as she takes it and then seems entirely lost on what to do with it. "A pleasure," she says toward Monique. And then, still apparently lost on the hairpin, she passes it right back. Only to receive a crown. She blinks several times. "Ahh..." Mouth close. This object, she does not hand back. She keeps holding it, however, rather than putting it on her head.

"That's a lot of names," Deva asides to Jaenelle with a lifted brow and a low laugh. "Are you trying to steal me back?" Her chin lifts and just as she's about to smile at Noah, her expression falters at Jaenelle. "...I hate when you bring that up," she crinkles her nose at the Archduchess with an overly dramatic sigh. "Nice to meet you, Prince Noah. I assure you the Archduchess is older than me." And then she ducks her head away, grinning brighter. "Princess Liara, hello-- thank you! That's an incredible compliment from you," she seems to burst with a little awkward pride, and holds a hand up to the base of her throat while bowing her head to the Princess of Bastion. "I think it's the first thing I found when I returned and had to, ah, rebuild my wardrobe. Can't go wrong with inspiration from the sky, right? I'm very partial to green myself," she adds, gesturing toward Liara's attire with enthusiasm.

Mirk remains silent, his hands clasped in front of him, though from his attention it's clear that he's following the exchange between the two foreign representatives. Instead, he occupies himself claiming another glass of Cardian wine from the server, abandoning his empty glass in the process.

Briar, the fleet and agile shrike, Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean arrive, following Aconite.

When Katarina lifts her glass to make a toast, Nisaa lifts hers as well. The toast itself though sees a look of confusion cross over her features, possibly not realizing what might have been scandalous. Still confused, she lifts her glass higher before taking a sip.

Graziella is a silent observer, casting sidelong glances at others between the foliage but never focusing on any one person for long.. she wanders and smiles with a perfectly performed confidence that could only be rehearsed... possibly in front of a mirror.

Liara offers up a broad smile to Deva. "I am glad that you found your inspiration there, and so I shall derive a measure of inspiration from you. As for the green, I find it helpful to wear House colours on certain occasions. My mind had strayed towards golds and browns lately, but perhaps some black or dark blue and silver is in order."

Monique looks between everyone and then Hadrian, "Tis a pleasure to see you again as well Duke Hadrian." she smiles warmly, before watching the exchange of the hairpins.

"Where are the best acoustics?" Noah offers towards Gianna. He glances at Deva. "Have we met?" He looks her over slowly and then his eyes move towards the door. Then he gives a half smile to Deva. "That can't be true. Jaenelle is timeless."

The Tribune bows her head once more and says with a slight smile, "I will be looking forward to it. Please, do enjoy the party." She gives Kenjay and Bahiya a warm smile, making an effort to transfer that warmth to her voice for Bahiya's benefit, then takes a step back. She murmurs a few words to a passing servant, which are met with a nod. Soon, the wine that is being offered seems just a touch stronger. She takes a glass for herself, drinking of it, as she observes the party for a moment. She drinks it down to the halfway mark to refresh herself before trying to decide where she should go next.

Modi from his perch on the couch lifts his glass alongside the others. One extra hand up in the background. He takes a very, very, /very/ conservative sip before settling back down.

"I heard that Marquessa Simone is back as well, though I haven't had the opportunity to say hello to her yet. Will you pass along my regards?" Cristoph asks of Monique when he turns back to the conversation at hand. "Duke Hadrian, good to see you." Cambria speaking some of his titles aloud earns a small huff of laughter from the man and he rocks back on his heels. "Well, there's nothing stopping yourself and your husband from enjoying my company. Please, write sometime. It's been awhile since I've hosted dinner and drinks. Perhaps we could do that? I've lost track of Marquess Inverno but she'd likely be in attendance. Really, you should come for her company alone." His eyes drop down, watching as various items are passed into Talu's hands while she passes them back again or does not.

Apollo gives a dip of his head at Hadrian's arrival. "Duke Hadrian," he greets. He watches the handoff of a hairpin and a small crown, head tipped just slightly, a curiosity present but well-enough contained. "Of course," he says to Cambria, as if it wouldn't know any other way to receive such words. Then he gives a gentle lift of his chin to Cesare, takes a step forward to lean in, murmur something quietly.

Sir Bhandn is content to be a wallflower watching proceedings. He's taken up roost near the crowd around Petraea with the same (first) glass of wine in his hand, absently swirling it around from time to time. The knight is playing with the drink more than consuming it, and still letting his grey eyes wander from person to person. He still hasn't gotten over his apparent fascination of the Cardians in residence in the embassy, as he continues watching their activities the most out of anyone here.

Graziella, it should be noted, is without a glass as she moves through the gardens just basking in their splendor very peacefully.

Kenjay offers Petraea another fluid Eurusi-style bow. "And may we also introduce Lord Mirk Halfshav," he says, gesturing to Mirk. "Voice of House Halfshav, and well-regarded for his skills."

Gianna half-turns to consider Deva's gown when Liara mentions it; she inclines her head to Deva before turning her attention back to Noah. "Everywhere. You could tuck yourself away in the farthest corner and the show would be just as good as someone in the front row. Voicewise, anyway."

Aconite steps through the door, a bit late but she soaks in the atmosphere of the room for a moment before spotting Graziella as she glides along the perimeter. Aco steps that direction looking for something familiar amongst the crowd. She does lift a gloved hand to greet Apollo as she passes nearby but once she gets to Grazi she smiles and whispers something quietly to the woman in greeting.

Noah shakes his head to Gianna. "No, I mean in the city."

With some measure of confidence to the statement, Massimiliano promises the puglist he's speaking with, "What's in a name? Everything, of course. Sometimes it is the names given to us later in life which are more important and meaningful than those we are saddled with before we're even born or just in the minutes after." The artisan manages to look amused as Sydney takes up her martial pose in that seasilk dress, the quietness of his laughter more at that than at the further revelation of her name. He downs the last of the Cardian wine left in his glass to wet his lips with the stuff and then he assures her, "That is a fierce stance, truly. So you work with your hands as well, then? In a manner of speaking. Water does have a way of taking a toll on stone, worked or otherwise. I take it you're ferocious in your art?". It's a question that almost feels rhetorical with how he asks it, but then he's setting his emptied wineglass to the side and offering his own hands out, palms-up, asking of her, "Might I see them?". Her hands, of course.

"Well," Cambria says, as the crown is exchanged. "I suppose this is what we are doing today." And with that, Cambria removes the necklace she wears, and extends that towards Talu, too. "It is meant to compliment the crown," she says of the necklace. Once it has been given, however, Cambria just as smoothly returns to the conversation with the others. Primarily Cristoph in that moment.

"You are right," she says with a nod. "We very much should get together soon. And yes, I have heard that Marquessa Simone was returned to Arx as well," more as commentary as to what had been mentioned than aught else.

Graziella does adore her Whisper friends and when Aconite approaches her ghoulish tinged violet lips spread into a more sincere smile, the short Princess has to stand on her tip toes some but she turns her head to the side, listening to the Whisper's whispers with a growing smirk. She giggles softly and pulls back to say, "My dear, keep it. It suits you, I prefer when people are suited to the things they wear. I swear, you exude Sunshine... if I didn't know better, I'd think I bought it for you. It was just sitting on my shelf waiting for the day."

"The performance hall at the Bard's College," Gianna tells Noah without a hint of hestitation. She has a sip of hear newly-acquired wine and adds, "That's why it's the Bard's College."

Adalyn lifts her glass as Nisaa does in response to Katarina's toast. "Scandal?" she questions of the Valardin princess, brows lofted curiously. "Nothing wrong with a dash of scandal now and then to keep things lively, don't you think?" Her smile grows impish, suggesting she has all sorts of mischief in mind although such thoughts remain unspoken. After a sip of her wine, the smile fades and her gaze slides first across the room, then toward the exit. "I'm afraid I need to be heading back home. Duties to tend to. But thank you all for your delightful company. This was such a pleasant way to enjoy the event."

Talu openly stares as Cambria also hands her a necklace, though the expression is less surprised and more wary, as if she's looking at both Mazettis with much more care. She rubs her thumb over both crown and choker. For a moment, just one - and then two - that hunger touches her eyes again, an intensity that seems to radiate toward the rest of her. But then she puts them on, first crown, then necklace. "...Thank you." It sounds just a little strained, if genuine.

Cesare tucks the pin back into his hair with a small smile, apparently entirely unperturbed. "So you say, Duchess Cambria. And yet, that's a finely-turned phrase - like looking up at the stars indeed. Do let me know if there's anything I can do for you on behalf of Whisper House, yes? I'd be honored if you ever need a performer at a party, a dramatic reading, anything of the sort. I've very much enjoyed Duke Hadrian's Salons so far. Just what we need here in the city." A nod to Cristoph. "And the same for you, my lord. I'd love to meet with you sometime to speak further, although I'm sure you're quite busy. We'd be happy to have you at Whisper House - any time.

He turns slightly aside as something is murmured quietly to him by the gentleman he's escorting this evening, and returns a few words equally softly, settling his empty glass of wine on a passing tray. "It's been a pleasure speaking with you all tonight. Talu, it was lovely to meet you. Sometime you should visit Master Ripley Thornburn, if you have a chance. He's a very talented jeweler." He dips a bow and then takes Apollo's arm, ready to scram. Politely.

"Ah, I know -that- feeling quite well. The other half of my wardrobe is red. I am nothing if not stereotypical," Deva quips, grinning at Liara in a fashion that crinkles her eyes with genuine mirth. "I know so little of fashion, so I might have to pick your brain for ideas? The longer I'm here, the more outfits I seem to need." She 'tsks' herself at this, head shaking. "Have we? I don't recall," she admits, squinting at Noah with a tilt of her head. That gesture turns into a polite nod and smile for Gianna.

"If my sister is to ask you, Lady Adalyn, how it was you came to be standing there as I petitioned a foreign power to meddle in another foreign power's affairs, I give you full permission to claim that you were not there, and it was some /other/ Lady Adalyn~." Katarina smiles to her friend, and reaches out to give her hand a squeeze. "Visit me soon," she says, as a fond farewell.

Monique says, "Oh yes, my sister in law is back and doing good. Settling in nicely." Monique perks up gradually. "I'll be sure to send her your regards at our family dinner tonight. And your always most welcome to visit. We've a wonderful Solarium with an inside forest perhaps could invite you over for some drinks. When your not busy of course." she nods at that with a humble sincerity to Cristoph. Before looking between the others of the group giving a slight and thankful squeeze to Apollo's arm, his presence there alleviating the woman's distant mood."

Apollo smiles, turning to Monique to murmur something gently, then turns to the rest in that small group. "My lords, my ladies - Talu. I think it's come time for me to depart. So good to see you all." He bows, and then takes Cesare's arm, and turns to go.

Sydney perches her wine glass precariously on the back of the couch, a touch over-familiar for a newly minted embassy, but she seems quite comfortable with her positioning of it. It frees up her hands for the moment, which is necessary. Another momentary flash of her teeth, "...We all work with our hands at some point or another. Even the greatest thinker turns the page of a book, and the loveliest singer has to wipe their own ass at some point."

Charming, Sydney.

She eases one glove to her lips and chomps, tugging at the fabric until her hands ease into sight. Battered, bruised, scraped digits appear. Calloused knuckles. Swollen phalanges from altogether too much abuse with inadequate protection. She repeats the process on the other hand, "...I'll take ferocious, but I am hardly without peer. We all have our walls to overcome. There's always someone stronger, better, and more dedicated. To think otherwise is to be swiftly disillusioned."

Though she's evidently still paying the conversation between Noah and Gianna at least a half-measure of attention, Liara ventures no particular opinion on auditoriums or acoustics.

Liara answers Deva with a quick and ready smile. "You may of course. Might I also suggest engagement with my protege, Lady Mabelle? She has yet another new fabric coming soon, which I am greatly looking forwards to. A silvery complement to the gold of honeysilk."

Gianna does wipe her own ass, it's true.

"Timeless" Jaenelle repeats Noah's words with a look upward towards him, "that is a new one, I have never been called timeless before. I believe you have outdone yourself, Prince Noah." Her attention shifts back and forth between Noah and Gianna, "I dont actually believe I have ever gone to a performance within the Bard's College, we shall have to fix this."

Monique says, "Be well Lord Apollo, and thank you, I'll look forward to us catching up sometime." with his murmur she'd offer a nod before turning to the group."

Carrick winced as yet another person joined the ever growing circle around Monique. he cleared his throat and stepped forward, hand raised in greeting. he nearly knocked the poor servant over. he stumbled back, steadying the man with an apologetic smile. he glanced around, hoping none had noticed. he stepped slightly closer then, looking at the faces and trying to make note of the proper way of address for all of them. he mused how easy it would be if he could just call everyone lord and lady. titles titles.. always with the damned titles.

Petraea chuckles as she looks at Mirk. "Lord Mirk and I are acquainted, but it is always a pleasure to see him. I hope your family is well, Lord Mirk?" The Tribune glances sidelong at Bhandn where he lingers, watching the other Cardians in the crowd.

Aconite takes in a sloq breath and her eyes close a moment to fight off the darkening in her cheeks. The straight backed Courtier lifts a honeysilk and lace sheathed hand to hide a toothy smile and she murmurs, "Thank you, Your Highness." Her hand drops to fold in front of her as she allows herself for long moments to be absorbed in the movements of others, lashes half drooped before she wonders. "Have you already introduced yourself to the Tribune? I seem to arrived to late to see the person who said he would introduce us."

Eventually, Isabeau breaks off from the group and moves to settle down on one of the couches, sitting down neatly as she seems to fall into some deep thought.

Isabeau has left the Ambition Couch.

Isabeau has joined the Ambition Couch.

"Ah, Cesare Whisper, you really are a generous soul," Cambria says to him before he and Apollo prepare to depart. "I should very much look forward to that some time in the future, if you are not otherwise too heavily engaged. I am only too certain you find yourself - like all Whispers - highly sought after. And, if you happen to see Ilira Whisper later this evening? Do give her my regards." To Apollo, Cambria says, "It was a pleasure to spend a little time in your company, but I do hope that we can find the time to do so again, for a little longer, and a little sooner." She gives a respectful inclination of her chin, still smiling, and does not seek to further delay the two men.

Of course, Talu does distract her shortly thereafter...Cambria looks puzzled as she watches the woman don the gifted jewelry, but she does not question it.

"We're acquainted," Mirk assures Kenjay. "Though it has been quite some time. Last time we spoke, I don't believe I was yet named Voice. I think that Duchess Khanne had yet to inherit?" He cants his head, clearly thinking back for a moment, and then shakes his head briefly. "It doesn't matter, in the end. It's merely interesting how one loses track in this city. So much happens, and time slips away." To Petraea more directly, "They are well. We all came through the battles against Skal'daja, fortunately, though both Khanne and Brianna were wounded. Still, time and skilled attention is enough to heal most wounds, and we're all whole. And don't worry." His tone turns a touch wry. "I have no requests for your time tonight, whether now or in the days that follow. I'm sure you have more than enough of those, for the time being."

Hadrian's smile returns, really, growing into a grin as Talu seems to accept the delicate crown. He offers a lowering of his chin before he introduces himself, "Hadrian, Duke-Consort of House Mazetti. It is a pleasure". Though a comment by Cesare earns a glance and a renewal of that smile as the Duke comments, "And it has been a pleasure to have you present for those dicussions at the Salon, Cesare Whisper. Your contributions to the conversations have been very valuable and appreciated". Though he does, of course, wait his turn to make that addition without treading over the words of another.

Graziella steels her upbeat expression to make it stick and she nods readily, "I have, but if you'd like? I can escort you over for an introduction, I am sure the embassy will be pleased to have a few connections with Whisper House." Graziella inclines her head and then floats off in th direction of Petara, "Pardon me, Tribune? Lady Livy? I know I got the opportunity to steal a little of you time on my way in but, if it pleases, might I introduce a dear friend of mine?" Graziella gestures demurely to Aconite, "Whisper Aconite, the wonderful mind behind the recent rhythm festival that entralled Arx for several evenings."

Cesare has left the Cunning Couch.

Siri, an attentive apprentice, Paris, a charming mercenary, 4 Redoubt Buccaneers leave, following Apollo.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove, Apollo leave, following Cesare.

"Of course, Whisper Cesare. I'm always glad to host a member of your house in my home," Cristoph replies easily to the man, even as he continues to watch this exchange of jewelry. There's some measure of tension that pulls on the corners of his eyes, his mouth briefly pressing into a line but he doesn't remark upon it. Instead he shifts focus, his eyes moving to Monique. "I would be honored to be hosted at House Greenmarch, it's been a very long time since I've last been there."

Noah glances at Liara. "I'd be willing to help with the fabric. I'm not sure exactly how I could help, but if you needed it." He offers easily. Then he looks over Gianna for a longer moment. "Perhaps you would be willing to show me the acoustics?" He doesn't smile, smirk, or look like this is anymore than a curious question. He does glance towards Talu and those there, but back to the others. Deva is nodded to. "I am sure you would look good in spidersilk." It /almost/ seems like he was going to say or out of it. It's in the silence that lingers. Then he tightens his arm around Jaenelle to bring her closer to his side. She gets the full weight of his smile. Look, he can look handsome and charming. "Then I have no where to go but down." That does involve a lift and lowering of both brows, as he continues. "... in compliments."

Gael slopes a slow, inclining look upon the view of Petraea in the distance, viewing her and, in a strange method to the ascendance of his dark and slow gaze, not so. The Confessor then starts up, sweeping heavily across the polished floor towards the exit, the long and unraveled fringes of his coat flapping along until he's pushed past the exiting threshold, out of sight and soon-hopefully, out of mind.

Blue, a cantankerous western bluebird leaves, following Gael.

"Oh, yes. The Lady Adalyn Flement, that busybody, that's who it must have been," Adalyn quips with a wink toward Katarina. "I do hope you don't get into too much trouble with your sister over it." The princess's hand receives an answering squeeze, the Clement sending a fond smile toward the other woman. "I'll be sure to. Soon." With a waggle of her fingers in farewell, she heads toward the exit, glancing briefly over her shoulder -- first toward the group of Oathlander women whose company she so enjoyed and once briefly toward Petraea amidst the crowd. And then, she's gone, slipping out the door.

1 Clement trained guards, Alphonse leave, following Adalyn.

"Ah, Lady Mabelle! I was just talking to her about dogs. She showed up at the villa last night in quite the ballgown. She is very glamorous," Deva lights up as Liara speaks of the Laurent, and she nods a few brisk times. "That sounds lovely-- and hey, probably a perfect for a starry themed outfit?" She gestures toward the princess with an easy grin. "Thanks. I think." There is a squint at Noah, lips parting as if preparing to say something but deciding against it. Instead, she claims another glass of wine from a passing server to gulp in an unladylike fashion.

Kenjay bows again to Petraea, including Mirk this time. "My apologies," he says. "My lady, a pleasure. Lord Mirk." And then he's escorting Bahiya back into the crowds, acquiring another glass of wine for her as they go.

Petraea gives Mirk a long look. She almost looks amused and the smile that plucks at her lips is a humored one. "It seems that your family thrives and I am glad for it. I find, often, that one only loses track of something when one has lost interest in it or it has served its purpose. If only more were willing to admit to it, I think the world might thrive in the face of such honesty." She holds her gaze on Mirk for a momebt before she looks away as Graziella and Aconite approach, warmth and sincerity returning to her expression as she says, "I am always delighted to meet new potential friends." Her eyes fall on Aconite and she tilts her head, silent for just a moment before she says, "It is such a pleasure to finally meet you, Whisper Aconite. I have been wondering when you would finally find your way here."

"Do come by the College sometime," Gianna tells Noah with a nod. She glances toward the Tribune though, and tells Liara and the others, "Please do excuse me. I still have a question to ask." That done, she makes her way toward Petraea, slinking carefully through the crowd.

Noah is overheard praising Petraea: For the embassy event

Upon Apollo leaving, Monique caught glimpse of Carrick making his way towards the group. She offered a slight snicker under her breath towards his run in with the servant. "Ah Master Carrick." she says with a bright smile, pulling the man into the group and lacing her arm around his elbow. "Everyone this is Master Carrick, he is Swo- I mean Axe of House Ravenseye and truly wonderful man. And an aspiring blacksmith too, I hope." she nods at that, "This is Duke Cristoph Laurent, also known as the Honey Duke, The beautiful Duchess Cambria, Whisper Cesare, Talu..." she says trying to remember all the names, "Sorry if I've forgotten anyone." she then looks to address Cristoph, "We'd love to have you Duke Laurent. I shall send word when perhaps we can get together all of us. Or if you don't mind just my company, we could have an informal get together.. or even both. Which ever is more suited to your liking." she grins.

Noah is overheard praising Jaenelle: For being timeless

Aconite follows Graziella with a surprised expression but it's replaced quickly by a grateful smile the Pravus Princess. She watches as the other Whispers leave before her inky gaze turns back to the Tribune and the tall Whisper drops into a boneless curtsey to the Tribune and the Noblewoman with a small smile. Aconite's contralto voice is quiet and unassming. "Thank you, Your Highness." She murmurs Graziella's way before smiling towards Paetra. "It's a pleasure."

Carrick stiffened at the mention of his name. well there it was.. there was no escape now. like a whirlpool Monique drew him in. only thing to do was brace and take the dive. he stepped forward, smiling broadly, and hoping no one saw the slight beads of sweat on his brow. "Ah hello! its a pleasure to meet you! as Lady Greenmarch Says Ahm Carrick Squallborn. but please.. just Carrik is fine." he bowed to the many nobles, hoping that he wasn't accidently insulting someone.

Liara gives a smile to Deva and Noah both at the mentions of Mabelle, and agrees readily with the Redrain, "Absolutely - a splendid idea. Thank you." She offers a musing response to Noah, "If she hasn't already got everything in motion, I would certainly recommend writing to Lady Mabelle to indicate your interest, and if not for that, perhaps a future project. There is all sorts involved with it. For my part, I need only wear the fabric, once it is finished - it is one sure way to help to popularise something."

Liara offers Gianna a warm smile. "But of course. Always a pleasure!"

"Talu," the gray-haired woman says yet again. The tension about her seems to pass, mostly, a slight shiver that moves from head to shoulders, and she offers another smile, though it's small and doesn't seem to reach her eyes. "Your," she stumbles over the start of a word, before choosing, "gifts, are greatly appreciated."

"Master Carrick," Cambria says to the Axe of Ravenseye. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, allow me to introduce my Consort and Voice," said as she gestures to Hadrian. "Duke Hadrian Mazetti." To Talu, however, Cambria returns her attention, looking pleased as a cat in cream. "It was our delight to give them - unexpected, I confess - but a delight all the same." Where was Preston? He could eloquently explain how it was pleasing to Gild!

Graziella plays modest well and she folds her hands politely near her solar plexus, posture rigid as ever thank in large part to her corset. Grazi offers a silent inclination of her head in acknowledgement to Aconite's thanks and then she turns to Peteara as she explains softly, "New friends truly are the boon that keeps giving.. I can never have enough." Her airy speaking voice drifts along with a monotone perfection that belies the kindness manufactured in her gaze.

Petraea tilts her head and says softly, "I am glad that you made it. When you have an opportunity, I think we should speak in a more private setting. I think you might have questions. So do I. Questions... and an offer to make." She glances to Graziella and says with an almost sly smile, "Indeed they are. Knowing the right people at the right time can mean the difference between success and failure. Though, I sense that you might know more about that than even I, Princess."

Massimiliano's gray eyes dip to the puglist's hands as they're unveiled, one by one, a certain sort of overt interest to be found in his gaze. "You may be right to some extent.", he seems to agree with Sydney, "..though I stress the difference. Some of us work with our hands, others of us simply involve our hands in our work. Imagine how changed you would be were you to lose your hands. Someone else could wipe your ass, but you're not known or named for your ass wiping, are you?". He isn't awkward at all about taking one of the woman's hands into his own, which are far from smooth themselves due to a life of working with and shaping hard materials, callouses on more than a few curves and every pad, a strength that's entirely wasted on the gentle thoughtfulness with which he seems to examine her. "It's for the best that you're not peerless, don't you think? It's wise to know there is always someone better out there, but it's more than just wise. Nevermind missing your hands, that might be ruin. Where would we be without our challenges to overcome? That is how I see it as an artisan." Some people looks with their eyes, but the sculptor looks with his touch and there is perhaps not a rise or fall or patch of roughness nor the uniqueness of a once-broken bone that escapes his attention as he carefully, purposely works out the tales that've been left behind in every digit. "I'll say again, ferocious.", he seems to confirm in the midst of it. "These hands have certainly come up against challenges far from guaranteed to be surmountable."

Balian, a Templar squire have been dismissed.

1 Templar Knight guards have been dismissed.

"There's a third reason that one might lose track," Mirk says with a raise of an eyebrow at Petraea. "When one is pulled in too many different directions, those that don't demand immediate attention sometimes drift into the background. But that doesn't mean they're forgotten, or that they will remain in the background forever. After all, I always make an effort to balance the scales." If that last comment was intended as a joke, his tone is deadpan enough that it can be hard to tell. "Unfortunately, I should be retiring for the evening. My best to you and to the success of your gala."

Kenjay and Bahiya move quietly through the crowd, progressing slowly towards the door. Nothing hurried, nothing overt - but they've done whatever they came here to do, and one or both of them doesn't seem inclined to linger overlong.

Gianna moves over to Mirk's side and comes to a halt. She inclines her head to Petraea again and has a sip of her wine. To Mirk, she murmurs, "The wine is very good, don't you think?"

Graziella's smirk falls miles short of sly as it slips into something one might call naive when Petraea asks her about her friends, blinking a few times with a veneer of innocence as she muses, "Everyone is worth knowing, certainly... even the lowliest beggar, you can't tell how a book will aid you until you've had the chance to read it. Experience it fully, I find people are much the same and so I collect them as willingly as I do books."

"It just means that you have the chance to improve afterwards" Jaenelle assures Noah with a grin before finishing her glass of wine she had been sipping on. "Did you wish to dance?" she then asks her escort. "Though before that, I would like you to introduce you to my favorite Duchess and Duke of Ostria. They are the only Duchess and Duke of Ostria, so it was an easy decision to make them my favorite."

"So far as anyone is concerned, I am not." Sydney concedes, with a startled laugh as Massimiliano meets her jest tit for tat. "Still, I take your meaning." There's not even a passing discomfort as her hand is taken into that of the sculptor's. It's easy at a glance that she's used to her hands being something of a novelty, given their state of general disrepair.

"To be without peer is a dreadfully boring thing, indeed. Luckily for us both, we seem to know and respect our limitations. I shardin' well better, or I'd find myself sprawled on my face even more often than I do. Still, I won't refute that as fistfighters in this city go, I hold my own. False modesty past a point is grating indeed. Anyhow, y'ain't wrong, and I here I am. Battered, but not thoroughly, ah..." She pauses, "Surmounted."

"I hope you all enjoy the rest of the party," Deva tells Liara, Jaenelle, and Noah, once she has polished off most of her glass and summoned the rest of her power to socialize. She starts to drift toward Talu and Cristoph and the little gathering there, but she doesn't interrupt with anything more than a curious nod just yet.

With Isabeau having taken a breather, Katarina has helped herself to two more glasses of wine. She wanders back toward the prodigal member of her party: Sydney. "Messere Sydney, if I might interrupt," the Eurusi-accented Princess says, "I did have a question I would like to ask you. If this is a proper time for such a thing."

Noah slides his hand a bit lower to swing Jaenelle close to her. "I would be willing to dance, if you desire it." He glances around to see if anyone else is dancing or if she's going to make him be the first.

"I've been known to show up to the occasional informal gathering," Cristoph answers Monique, his smile twitching in evident amusement. "From time to time. Though I admit it might be a bit of a 'blink and you might miss it' thing." A small bit of tension seems to be easing out of the set of his shoulders and he once more rocks onto his heels, the motion of which allows him to notice Deva's approach to the area. He turns in her direction and asks with more of that good humor, "I heard that you've been telling people about my little dip in the pool at the Redrain Villa, Princess Redrain."

Sydney cants her head and turns her attention to Katarina even while her hand is still being fastidiously examined. Well, the one that isn't clutching her third glass of wine, which is beginning to look scant, itself. "...No need for formalities, Kat. We've ridden out and broken bread together. Ask away. So long as you don't want my other hand. I need it for the wine."

Carrick looked to Cambria and smiled broadly, his shock of red hair mostly combed and kept well, though the bump with the servant had ruffled it a bit. he brush a stray strand back and then bowed to Hadrian, "Its a pleasure to meet ye both. a great pleasure." he bobbed once more, then straightened smiling, glancing around at the others.

"One person. Maybe two. And you pushed me in first, Duke," Deva reminds Cristoph with an amused roll of her eyes and a grin over the rim of her glass. A questioning look follows, before she looks out to the others with a quick and pleasant smile, but no inquiry is voiced.

"You're very welcome," Hadrian answers back at Talu's thanks and the follow-up remark, which results in a quiet chuckle from the Duke, "gifts are always a wonderful thing, I agree. There's also a sort of pleasure to giving them, too. It's fun to be charitable when it's applicable". Hadrian's eyes dance over Talu's new crown and necklace, his chin is soon cupped in a palm, and he nods once or twice, "Now you just need a pinky ring and," his eyes dance about for a moment before he offers another nod, "a scepter," he says with a chuckle. Finally Hadrian's attention drifts away, toward Cristoph who Hadrian asks with a sudden tilt of his head, "Duke Laurent. Did you ever go on series of expeditions that I was also party to? Or, in simplest terms, did I ever give you a coin with an armored rooster on it?"

Aconite chuckles with Graziella's words and she murmurs to Grazi, "I couldn't agree more. I am at your disposal Lady Livy. I'm thrilled for the chance to talk more." Aco dips her head respectfully to Petraea. The honeycomb glad Courtier's eyes turn to the rest of the room. Once more getting lost in a moment at all the splendor.

Hadrian's attention snaps away from Carrick as a voice speaks in his direction. To Carrick do Hadrian's bright green eyes go, his eyebrows dance a little higher in enthusiastic surprise, followed by a nod and a casually spoken, "It's a pleasure to meet you as well," before his attention drifts back to Cristoph.

Liara replies cheerfully to Deva, "I certainly will. You too!" Then with Jaenelle and Noah off to dance, Liara turns to go for a little stroll on through the place herself, gaze picking over the crowd with a light, lingering smile.

For a moment, Katarina seems like she might balk at Sydney's call for a lack of formalities, in some sort of 'not in front of the /Cardians/' way, but she lets the moment pass with only a brief blink. "I am hopefully to be married soon. The woman who will be my wife is... given to martial pursuits far more than myself. If you are available, I would like to make myself... slightly less of an embarrassment in a physical confrontation, should I ever end up in one. I doubt that rolling around, scratching and pulling on hair will win me any contests, if it comes down to it."

Monique says, "I've been one to be there and then not, perhaps we are on the same wavelength Duke Laurent. Either way, you are most welcomed. Perhaps we'll have to install a pool as well just to get a glimpse of the Honey Duke. Especially if your keen on taking a dip at the Redrain Villa. We have a burbling brook, would that suffice to get a visit?" she grins deviously at Cristoph before looking to Carrick and patting his arm. "Master Carrick is also training to be a better axesman for his house. Lots of aspirations this one. Perhaps someone can give him a time or two in the Training Center." she nods towards the others with a sly smirk."

Mirk has left the Magnificence Couch.

Aegis, a large red Oakhaven bloodhound, Rurik, a prodigal assistant leave, following Mirk.

Petraea just gives Graziella a knowing smile and then nods to Aconite, "I am looking forward to it." Then, finally, she turns to look at Bhandn. Then at the dance floor. Then the knight again. "I haven't forgotten about our dance, Sir Bhandn." She reaches a hand out and lifts a brow, head tilting expectantly.

Talu stares at Deva as she approaches, before squaring her shoulders again. She doesn't offer a greeting, but she does murmur, apparently to herself, "Redrain." And then, "Redrain," the second utterance sounding as though she's answered a private question. Hadrian's remarks about a ring and a scepter are met with a small, brief expression of mild alarm, but she moves past that, and again there's the smile that seems more a response to expectations than one that comes from genuine pleasure. Her response to Cristoph, however, might be the most inexplicable, as she states, "Some flies bite. There are very large ones that you can find far south of here that might make you very sick if they--" She stops. "No, I should not say that. Sometimes h - your people die when wasps sting you, correct? I haven't seen it happen, but we don't like to dwell on it, it's embarrassing."

"Any fight you can walk away from, yes?", Massimiliano asks of Sydney, this in response to the thought that though she's been battered she's far from surmounted. Even if he's thorough in how the tips of his fingers allow the bruises and once-broken bones of her hands to tell him their tales, he isn't slow about it. "After a point, false modesty just becomes dishonesty. Your hands don't lie, however. Personally, the lack of modesty is one thing I find fascinating about the Cardian people and part of the reason I'm here this evening. Why shy away from achievement? There is something to be said for pride, if it is earned." As quickly as he'd taken the puglist's hand he's releasing it back to her again, this while someone else is approaching with questions. "I appreciate that you indulged my curiosity. It seems you have a potential student though." He gives Katarina a gracious smile just before he departs from the conversation, leaving Sydney with this: "Maybe it's no accident you ended up here tonight too. You seem to be comprised of at least a few of the Cardian virtues. I'm somehow sure I'll see you around again. It was a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Massimiliano has left the Magnificence Couch.

"I don't even have a scepter," Cambria remarks, as though now aware of a very great hole in her life. A life without a scepter in it...Was it a life worth living? Without letting such despondent thoughts run away with her, Cambria instead very companionably approaches Talu's side, and gestures towards all those gathered within the embassy. "It's rather amazing, isn't it. The variety of people gathered beneath one roof. If you had asked me even six months ago if I thought anyone would attend the opening of a Cardian embassy here in Arx in a manner that was not that of protest, I would have strongly doubted it. And yet...here we are." It is clear that the Ostrian duchess merely assumes Talu is Crownsworn, not unlike many others in attendance. "We have northmen," she gestures to Carrick. "We have princesses of all flavors," and here her hand sweeps the room. "Yes, sometimes people die when bitten or stung by certain creatures," Cambria then remarks casually. "Why it should be embarrassing?" She shrugs. "I suppose it could be, depending on how you view yourself in the world. For example, if you think you should die gloriously in battle, but instead get a certain disease and instead you shit yourself to death...Yeah, I can see how that's embarrassing.

Graziella watches Petraea walk away to the dancefloor, calling out a genuine, "You two have fun." And then in a /much/ softer aside to Aconite, "I detest cavorting in public... people seem to enjoy it though." She glances away from the dancefloor with a somber indifference as she wonders of Aconite, "Don't let me keep you, if the music calls.. I'm not sure how much longer I am going to linger.."

Sir Bhandn hasn't forgotten about that dance either. It's one of the reasons he's been lurking near Petraea and just casually watching proceedings. He looks at Petraea when he hears his name, then sees the hand, then it processes. There's a distinct swallow observable at Bhandn's throat, but he squares his shoulders and approaches the Tribune with the air of a man who just got asked to participate in a duel to the death. With everyone watching him and NO PRESSURE whatsoever. He takes Petraea's hand, mouth set in a half smile that's clearly glued on because if there's one thing that Sir Bhandn Yvar is not, it's a dancer.

He's also blushing as he extends his arm to escort Petraea to the floor.

"I don't believe so," Cristoph answers Hadrian with a swift shake of his head. "And no, I definitely don't have any coins with an armored rooster on it, I apologize." He seems to really have no idea of any expeditions, his expression full of a polite lack of knowledge. Deva's reply however is earning a quiet laugh along with a few quick nods of his head. "I have no regrets about the decisions I made that day. Sometimes the moment simply calls for you to drag your friend into the water." When Monique makes her offer, he gestures toward the Greenmarcher and states, "Or into a burbling brook. I'm sure that's a perfectly lovely source of water." And they're talking about flies, for which he has an utmost innocent expression for. "Yes, some people are more vulnerable to the stings of certain insects than others. For whatever reason." Cristoph doesn't know what those reasons are, he's not a doctor. Mystery!

Sydney's eyes light up at Katarina's line of questioning, and she covers her mouth with the back of the hand that's holding her wine glass to stifle a small spurt of laughter, "...I wouldn't say that. Rolling around, scratching, and pulling on hair will win you plenty of favor with most that I know who are of a mind to marry. Granted, I fear that may be a different sort of physical confrontation." Her grin all but reaches for her ears, and she nods her head, "...If that's your way of asking if you'd like to learn a thing or two, I'm told I'm getting better at passing my knowledge on. It only took a couple of years and someone sitting me down and going over lesson plans with me. I'd be happy to take you on as a student, if you're so inclined."

She splits her attention right back to Massimiliano, and she tilts her head, "...No one is ever anywhere by accident, Messere. I enjoy free drinks and lemon bars. But I take your meaning such as it's intended. I hope we bump into one another sooner rather than later."

Aconite's head tilts a little at the Tribune her eyes widening, the black sparkleing a bit before she look back to Grazi. "The music always calls, Princess." She says once more casting her gaze around the gathered. "Let's make a few more circuts then I shall see about escorting you at least as far as the Fox." Aconite does finally spot Katarina and she lifts her hand in greeting.

Preston has quietly been snarfling the party food - with sufficient gap between the spicy offerings to regret his life choices just long enough before thinking, well, maybe it wasn't so hot. One delicious chompful is paused mid chew however as Bhandn begins dancing with the host. An eyebrow slowly raises before he gives a thoughtful chew and swallows the food "The Most Holy did say open hands to make friends, though I admit he gave no specific direction as to feet movement I suppose."

Gianna watches Petraea and Bhandn move to the dance floor. She tilts her head to the side and turns to make a tour of the gardens, stopping to examine a plant every so often.

"A burbling brook sounds fun," Deva's eyes light up at Monique, curiosity evident all over her face. "Especially if you can float around it in a circle with a drink in your hand--" One can dream. As Talu stares, she realizes her own lack of introduction and straightens. "Umm. Yeah. How did you--? I didn't think we had met before." The woman gets a confused look, accompanied by a birdlike tilt of the redhead's neck. "I'm Deva," she adds abruptly, although her tone sounds uncertain, as if she's not sure that will actually clarify anything. Cristoph's words elicit a mild shake of her head and a strained smile. "I suppose so."

While Bhandn blushes and seems anxious over the prospect of dancing, Petraea walks with him to the dancing area with all her usual confidence, head held high as she gazes around and murmurs to him, "Don't worry, Sir Bhandn. It's just a dance. I won't even get angry and set you on fire if you step on my toes, if that makes you feel any better." Once in position, she reaches out, makes sure the Bhandn's hands are where they should be and then, very obviously, the Tribune starts to lead the Knight of Solace in a mid-paced dance like a waltz, except with a bit of flourish.

"Then I believe I desire it" Jaenelle grins upward towards Noah as she slips from his hold to once against take his arm to move in the direction of the dance floor. Upon hearing Petraea's promise to Bhandn, she turns to her own partner apologetically, "I do not make that same promise and I will light you on fire, though when you least expect it. One moment, no fire, the next, nothing but."

Noah doesn't even arch his brows to the threat of flames. "Is that how this is going to end in fire, not ice?" He nods his head a moment as if coming to terms with the fact he's about to be lit on fire. Then he leans in a bit. "That sounds hot." He smirks to himself a bit as he leads her to the dance floor.

Bhandn checks dexterity and performance at normal. Bhandn is successful.

"Shit yourself to death," Talu echoes, as both of her eyebrows jump upward. "Does that /happen/?" It takes her a moment to regain that bit of composure. "Yes, that would be very, very embarrassing I would think. But an old, armored warrior being felled by something so small, his compatriots wouldn't really enjoy speaking of it too much, unless they were making fun." To Deva, she tips her chin toward Cristoph, and says, "He called you Princess Redrain. I haven't met a Redrain," awkward pause, "in a long time. A pleasure. My name is Talu."

Bhandn checks composure at normal. Bhandn is successful.

"I think the woman who I hope to marry would either be greatly amused by my efforts in such a fashion, or deathly embarrassed. I hope I do not have to find out." Katarina looks to Massimiliano, somewhat apologetically, to let the man and Sydney speak a bit further -- it buys her a moment to look to Aconite and raise her hand in a return wave.

In his departure from the magnificence couch, Massimiliano finds for himself another glass of that ambitious Cardian wine from a passing servant skilfully wielding a tray of them as he returns to his thoughtful wandering of the Cavaedium and admiring the artwork of how the place has been arranged and nurtured. It's more than just the statues that catch the sculptor's eyes.

Winter, A Highhill Puppy arrives, following Kiera.

"Ah, my mistake then," Hadrian answers back at Cristoph, though he casually bats a hand at Duke Laurent, "and hardly any reason for you to apologize. A case of faulty memory, perhaps. Though now? Don't be surprised if you end up with a coin delivered to you an invitation some day," the Duke remarks with a chuckle and a smile to accompany it. Eventually he goes quiet as his attention returns to taking in those gathered around, along with Cambria and Talu's conversation.

Petraea might say she's not going to set Bhandn on fire, but his face feels like she already has. He goes even redder, grey eyes shifting left and right as thought well aware there are eyes on him and the Tribune as they take up place on the floor. He might be completely flustered over the notion of dancing with the Tribune with an audience, but despite that he doesn't need told twice what to do as far as where his hands belong. Yet for all that he's clearly ill at ease with the dance he seems to at least not step on Petraea's feet. There's some success. And as the dancing continues, he even leans in closer to Petraea, mouth moving in quiet words as the two of them waltz across the floor.

Quiet and unobtrusively sat to the side, Isabeau remains at her couch, sipping and snacking at something procured as her blue eyes track the different inhabitants and groups at the ball. And perhaps eavesdrop on occasion.

Graziella smiles at Aconite's offer to walk as far as the Fox and agrees easily, "A little longer, I'll linger a little longer.." And so she wanders off to smell a few more flowers and people watch from the corner of her incidentally sinister gazes. Blame the woad and wide eyes.

Carrick felt the burning need to laugh at the Duchess Cambria's remark about warriors shitting them selves to death. his mouth opened, an anecdotal story about some related occurrence on his lips. fortunately, the man had the wherewithal to catch himself before he spoke. he cleared his throat and simply nodded to the woman. "Horrible way to go that.."

"I am glad you think so" Jaenelle tells Noah with another smile as she finds her way into the appropriate handhold in Noah's arms for the music being played. Her words become softer with the closer contact.

As Aco passes with Grazi she tilts her head toards Katarina's words and her smile grows. She mouths a quick contragulations on her way past before slipping off to make the rounds of dutiful mingling before she's off.

With Massimiliano's wandering, Sydney props a hand on her hip and returns her full attention to Katarina, clarifying, "No, I meant-" She clears her throat, and then waves a hand casually, "Nevermind it. The fact of the matter is that if folks don't appreciate watchin' their loved one tousle about and scratch backs and pull hair, they're hardly worth lovin', least as my tastes go."

She sips the last of her third glass and contemplates the bottom of the glass, "...Definitely feeling it. How much of this party do I want to recall, again?" She asks, rhetorically, then reaches out and lightly pokes Katarina while her attention is elsewhere. "...So? Is that your roundabout way of asking if I'm available to teach you the ropes, Kat?"

Katarina checks stamina at easy. Katarina is successful.

"A coin with an invitation? I'd be most honored, Duke Hadrian. My cousin, Lady Mabelle, is often on me about making friends. I'm convinced she thinks I don't get out enough." Whether or not Cristoph is in agreement with his cousin is up in the air, but there's a very clear degree of fondness there when he speaks of her. "Princess Deva Redrain is a Voice of House Redrain and also Prince Darren's twin sister," he recites to Talu with a nod of his head to Deva. "And a very good personal friend of mine. She's also a very skillful card player, if you ever find yourself in the mood to learn how to play a few games."

Briar, the fleet and agile shrike, Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean leave, following Aconite.

6 Ivory Shields leaves, following Graziella.

After joining Katarina's army of companions for a time, and others having split off, Nisaa walked around mingling, quietly. She's shared a smile with anyone who looked to her, stopped and chatted with those who wanted a word, and now finds her way to a couch to be seated and enjoy her wine. This provides her a great opportunity to watch everyone, though she still seems approachable.

Nisaa has joined the Pride Couch.

Monique clears her throat, "Well I'd love to stay to converse some more. But alas, my cousin has sent up a family dinner that I'm obligated to attend." she grins, with a roll of her eyes, "I'd hardly miss that but yes.. I do wish everyone a good evening, nonetheless." she says with a gentle bow of her head, "Carrick we can chat later, yes?" she nods at that before going to depart but waiting for a few moments for goodbyes incase.

"It can happen, yes," Cambria says. "Sometimes it as though we are impossibly weak, and others, survive things that seem unimaginable." She shrugs, giving Talu a sidelong glance. "Then there are those times when we can perform extraordinary feats, when we even doubt ourselves capable. For example, the mother that can brave unspeakable danger in order to save her child. Again, I suppose it all depends on how you look at life. I am one that chooses to see our short time here as endless opportunity. Can it be full of tragedy, grief, and even embarrassment? Of course. But it can also be full of wonder and glory."

Nodding her head to Carrick, she smiles, even though her reply is serious, "I understand the desire to die, sword in hand, rather than sick and weak. Of course...There's something to be said about just...going to bed, and slipping away peacefully in the night."

"Well I'm a bloody idiot," Deva realizes, laughing suddenly and sheepishly as Talu points out Cristoph and the obvious. "Of course. Sorry. I'm glad to be the first 'in a while.' Nice to meet you, Talu." She holds a hand to the base of her throat and dips into a quick but respectful bow of sorts. "Clearly it's time for me to take my leave to go drink more sense into myself." She laughs, but it's nervous like she's not really kidding. "I'll have to bring the cards next time. I hope you enjoy the rest of the party, everyone," she includes everyone gathered around in that, and reaches to hoist her skirts up an inch or two so she can more easily take her leave.

Gianna wends her way back to the exit and passes her empty wine glass off to someone or other. One last glance up through the dome at the sky, and the bard takes her leave.

"Am I allowed to think today, Poison?" Noah offers this so deadpan. "It is a party. Next you will tell me that I'm allowed to .." He trails off with a smile. For the moment, he's pretty captivated by the small 'Velenosa' woman. He nods his head, easy to let her lead if she wants.

"Then I will be pleased to send it, Duke Laurent. Friends are a great thing to have, even just acquaintances. We can all use more of them, which is, I think, part of why we're here right now isn't it?" Hadrian asks with a gesture, as though attempting to indicate the embassy itself. "Until that time though? I'll be in touch. Coins and invitations don't need to be exchanged to strike up friendships, right?" Hadrian's grin returns before he offers a bow toward Cristoph and soon enough Hadrian turns to make smalltalk with some guest or another, Arvani or Cardia, it doesn't seem to matter to the Duke of House Mazetti.

Whatever Petraea was just murmuring to Bhandn makes a very self-satisfied smile appear on the Tribune's lips. She matches the knight's skill, but is still leading because it would probably take a far different type to actually be the one to lead Petraea Livy anywhere. She offers a few more words to him, low pitched murmurs that could be flirting, could be threats, could just be offering dancing tips. Who even knows at this point?

Carrick looked to Monique, bowing to the woman with a broad smile, sea-green eyes never leaving her. "Ah look forward to it Lady Greenmarch" he straightened, looked to Cambria again "aye. as ye say.. ah can understand that.passing with those ye loved in comfort an peace... " he smiled, "may would take that offer. there is no shame in that"

Katarina recoils from the poke by Sydney. "Ow!" she says, revealing in an instant exactly how much work Sydney will have to do. She rubs the spot. "If you will have me, my friend: yes."

Kit, the grey fox, Primus, First of Monique's Assistants, 1 Greenmarch Guard, Tertius, Third of Monique's Assistants leave, following Monique.

Definitely flirting and threats, if Bhandn's expression is any indication. There are moments where he gives the faintest of hesitations, an instant where he just /might/ step on Petraea's foot, but then he steps just right so that he avoids the Tribune's. He certainly doesn't try to fight Petraea for control of the dance -- he knows when he has no business doing that. But he still meets her words with quiet ones of his own, a slightly twisted smile manifesting on his features as he speaks again with her while they continue to waltz across the floor.

"A pleasure to meet you, Princess Deva Redrain, Voice of House Redrain," Tavu says, seemingly bolstered by her own introduction. "Duke Laurent is a good man, it's interesting to meet his friends." To Cambria, she nods slowly. "We are very weak," she agrees. "So very small, and full of quick and ridiculous wars. Irritating, frequently. But..." and the next words come more slowly, "we can also be noble, surprisingly resilient, and capable of things unexpected and unlooked for."

Sydney's brows lift subtly at Katarina's reaction, and she lifts a hand to the back of her neck, a gentle laugh on her lips that seems decidedly more jovial than mocking, "...I'd be more than happy to. Whatever you need, so long as you don't need training with a weapon, I'm your gal." She sets aside her now-empty glass again, and props both hands on her hips, regarding the dance floor with some trepidation, but also no shortage of curiosity in watching Bhandn and Petraea.

Petraea occasionally smirks a little as she speaks with Bhandn. The dance winds to a close and the Tribune releases the Knight and takes a step back to offer the man a slight bow as she says with a challenging expression. "Just think about it, Sir Bhandn. Think about it and then give me your answer. I am patient. I can wait. Thank you for the dance." Another bow and she is sauntering off, reaching for a glass of wine as she walks away.

Katarina also spares Bhandn and Petraea a look while standing with Sydney, and then looks back to the brawler: "Then it is agreed. I will be in touch, my friend. For now -- I think I will go make sure that the Duchess Telmar is still with us~." And so, Katarina approaches Isabeau, to sit next to her.

"Not in the least," Cambria says, nodding her agreement with Carrick. Talu's careful assessment earns an encouraging nod from the Duchess. "Exactly!" She spies Isabeau, sitting off with some wine, and waves her over, if she's willing. Still speaking to Talu, she says, motioning to Petraea and Bhandn, "Consider those two, for example. A knight of Solace dancing with a Cardian Tribune. So different in every way - you can tell the knight is not comfortable dancing, so you might say...weak, and yet he does not lack for courage. He has taken the proverbial bull by the horns." Even if said 'bull' was leading...

Tinsel, 3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna, Feydin, a white-tailed eagle, Vigilance, a juvenile female Oakhaven Bloodhound, Berthold arrive, following Mia.

Cristoph is nodding to Hadrian as he makes with his words and turns to speak to some others, then a hand is lifted to wave off Monique as she too departs. He breathes out somewhat, but then holds it, pausing as he watches Deva begin to beat an escape. His eyebrows draw together but then he offers up a smile, rather than a protest, and says sincerely to her, "Thank you, it was good to see you tonight." He allows his hands to drop from his chest, fingers linking comfortably in front of him. His eyes slant in Talu's direction as she replies to Cambria, his expression composed in this. As the duchess goes on to speak further, his attention drifts to Petraea and Bhandn.

Noah moves through the steps with Jaenelle. He smiles easily and it's clear the two are in soft conversation. He does try to keep an eye on anyone that might come too close. He gives a shake of his head and lowers it to her ear to speak.

"I'll think about it," Bhandn promises Petraea, returning to normal volume as she does. "You're welcome for the dance," he adds in a slightly more mild tone, which his deep voice somehow manages to convey without changing much in pitch. He bows to Petraea, reminded suddenly that there were eyes on him and he quickly marches off the dance floor so that he can submerge into the crowd. Only after he's broken through the ring of watchers does he finally let out a very long, explosive breath out of his mouth, wiping his face as if it were drenched in sweat when instead he's blushing again.

Preston gives Bhandn the squint of mild suspicion from the food table. As one would give someone who claims they didn't have the last spicy finger food, and yet you saw them in the area of said finger food just before you found the empty tray. Preston of course is enjoying the Cardian finger food, which helps him say nothing. And instead he waves a arm over at Cristoph and points to the food before giving a thumbs up. Perhaps signifying it isn't poisoned. Or it is and Preston is both hardy and has an unknown grudge against Cristoph.

Cambria is overheard praising Bhandn: I need to ask that man to dance some day. Or maybe he'll come and ask me? A girl can dream.

A smile aside to Katarina, Isabeau is stirring into action at Cambria's motion. She looks at Katarina and asks, quietly, "Still holding up?" The small blond stands, with just the soft metallic tinkling of rubicund that accompanies each of her movements as she moves to take her cousin's hand and lead her this time, stepping over towards Cambria with a sweet smile, her snack and drink seeming to have pleasantly refreshed her.

Left for the first time in the evening to her own devices, Sydney does what's rational and casually plucks up another drink despite the subtle weave in her walk from her overindulgence to this point already. Her eyes return to scanning the crowd, clicking her tongue, "...A Waterfall wallflowering? How very noble of me." She murmurs to herself, still suspiciously eyeing the dance floor as though it were made from quicksand. Suspicious.

Talu's attention shifts toward Bhandn and Petraea - or, more accurately, toward Bhandn and back to Petraea - and inhales slowly. She holds the breath for a few beats before exhaling. "Yes," she says to Cambria. She's about to add something to it, but then merely repeats, "...Yes."

Cambria is overheard praising Preston: The Carnifex knows where to put his hands, and his feet.

When Mia arrives at the Embassy, it is completely and utterly unlike her usual arrival. Despite being several hours late, there's no quick step, no hurried pace, that has her kicking up the hems of her long skirts. No, she's moving slowly, her dark eyes focused more on the nature of her surroundings than on her reason for being there. Dark eyes sweep over the room, looking for familiar faces, maybe, but also for what must strike many of the Arvani as exotic and unusual about the place, the guests, the food.

Cambria is overheard praising Caprice: My appreciation for Caprice and her work grows by the day.

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

Very late entrance, Alessia doesn't take long to stride across the dance floor to tap her cousins. "Cambles." She says sounding just a little breathless, before nodding to Hadrian too. "Sorry I'm late."

Katarina remains seated next to Isabeau, and reaches out to set a hand on the Duchess's. "Still holding up. Today has proven..." She breathes in, making her veil flutter. "...emotional, in unexpected ways."

"Duchess Isabeau, allow me to introduce you to Talu," Cambria says when Isabeau joins them. "We have been having a lively discussion about the strengths, weaknesses, and resilience of humanity." Or, perhaps more accurately, Cambria has been prattling on and Talu has been politely humoring her. "Ah! Alessia, darling, good to see you could make it. No need to apologize. Talu, my cousin, Alessia." Introductions are only /polite/.

"Now, see here, the strengths of Isabeau and Alessia are quite apart, and yet I do not hesitate in saying that both of them are strong. Ah, but I suppose my point has been made." She regards Talu with a crooked grin.

"He is," Deva affirms, looking between Tavu and Cristoph with a warm smile. "If you ever need anything of House Redrain, please do let me know." There is a wave for Cristoph but she doesn't really make eye contact before ducking out and away into the crowds.

Deva has left the Magnificence Couch.

Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards leave, following Deva.

Petraea sips her wine and slowly walks around the edges of the crowd. She seems a bit disappointed when she can't spot the Nightingale anywhere, but she swiftly drowns her disappointment in a fresh swallow of Cardian wine as she comes to a stop at one of the couches and sinks down onto it, taking a moment to breathe.

The party is large enough to get lost in, and Tyche does for a while - she loses herself to this conversation or that, flitting and charming and leaving Cristoph to his thing, but eventually she'll find her way back to him, wherever he is. Her presence comes announcing with a touch of fingers against the Duke's arm, and then a smile. "Did I miss much?"

Talu brings her attention back to those around her as Alessia arrives. She regards the new woman with a slightly tilted gaze, lips pursing briefly. Her expression turns some strange combination of curious and distracted, though Cambria's words pull her back. "Duchess Isabeau," she says. "Alessia...Mazetti?" The question is tossed toward Cambria. "What is a duchess' cousin's title?"

And then? And then Mia enters, and she responds with a full bodied jolt, as if someone just touched her while wielding a particularly large amount of static electricity.

Modi has certainly been enjoying his time. Mostly, conversing with the other Cardians milling about. Pestering with questions of culture, language, and stories. Luckily he hasn't made himself a nuisance just yet. He's still on his first glass of wine, which has managed to go down about... two quarters of the way. That's /almost/ half!

Cristoph is watching Deva's exit from the part, even if she's not making eye contact with him. He cuts his teeth against his lower lip, uncertainty written across his features plainly for a fraction of a moment and then he shakes it off. There's a touch to his arm that's more familiar than most other people here would feel comfortable getting away with, so he's expression shifts to something easier and more relaxed. He unlinks his hands and moves to press his hand against Tyche's arm in return, "I've simply been volunteering you as a co-host in at least one dinner party. How was the rest of the crowd?" he wonders. Looking to Talu, he gestures between the pair of them. "Talu, this is Marquessa Tyche Inverno of Cain-" it's mid this introduction that Mia enters, and his expression turns alarms and he twists to catch the source of the surprise.

Carrick looked around at the cacophony in the room. it was obvious to the man.. that he was out of his depth. he smiled, bowing once more to the small group "Thank ye for indulging me in my conversation. it was my very great pleasure to meet you all." he took several steps back, before turning and heading to leave.

"Lady Alessia." The glaivedancer responds with the warmest of smiles, though the intensity of her expression indicates she did notice the way she was regarded. "It's a pleasure to meet..." And then she jolts, causing Alessia to turn wherever Cristoph is looking. "Are you alright, messere?"

Before arriving to visit with Cambria further, Isabeau murmurs to Katarina, and offers a warm smile, "Any time you need to talk, cousin. Just send me a message and I'll be there." She promises softly, before she does make her way to Cambria's side.

Once at Cambria's side, she offers Talu a warm, seraphic smile, and a greeting in her rich, contralto voice. "Nice to meet you, Talu. And that very much depends on the cousins. Most of my cousins are Princes and Princesses... but more of-" she trails off at the jolt, her own brilliant blue eyes trailing towards Mia and her brow giving the slightest of knits before looking to Talu questioningly.

"Lady, or Lord," Cambria supplies helpfully, although she regards Talu a bit oddly again when she reacts as she does. "I hope you weren't just bitten by one of those flies we were discussing." It is a /joke,/ obviously. "Now, there is some more mingling I must do before all is said and done. I do hope the rest of you will enjoy the time spent in one another's company. Hadrian? If I don't see you until later, then..." She gives him an air kiss, and then it is off she goes!

"How many exactly?" comes Tyche's amused reply to Cristoph, a brow arching. "I'm wondering how many new gifts you've agreed to buy with this commitment." The tease made, her gaze slides with a practiced ease toward Talu, when in reality her heartbeat quickens. "A pleasure to meet you, Talu. And the Duke meant Caina," she casts him a look, because she didn't notice Mia's entrance, or her jolt.

Sydney's wallflowering becomes a rather moodier thing as a certain Mazetti makes her approach. She folds one arm over herself and uses it to prop the elbow of the arm folding her drink, taking a rather stiff sip before offering a honeyed smile towards Alessia that in no way reaches her eyes, "...It's wonderful as always to see you out and about, and with nothing broken, Lady Alessia."

Winter, A Highhill Puppy leaves, following Kiera.

Possum, 6 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Cambria.

Even with all of the sudden staring in her direction, Mia seems... well, rather oblivious to all of it? On the contrary, she's turned her dark eyes skyward, staring up, up, up at the dome overhead and the view beyond it. For whatever reason, the simple existence of the thing seems to amuse her, the very faintest of smiles touching even her normally remote expression, as if someone has told her a very old, familiar joke.

Katarina smiles to Isabeau's words, but a moment later, once she's left unattended, the Princess gets to her feet and quietly makes her way for the door. She has much to consider, and really, in a place this staggeringly beautiful, imagine trying to consider anything but the splendor of the decor. It just doesn't work.

A dutiful Valardin aide, Juba'al'samara, a Suj'abbati royal guardsman, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Katarina.

"I will be along at some point," Hadrian comments after Cambria, though he makes certain to return that air kiss. Then he too is moving, venturing through the garden and the statue anew. The jolt out of Talu earns only a fleeting glance, before once again the Duke is carrying himself on to regard the statue. Just as he seems prepared to approach it, Hadrian's gaze drifts back around to regard Alessia and his smile returns, growing by the moment as he greets her, "Alessia," he says with warmth bubbling over into his tone, "my very favorite twin, always have been, always will be, probably. I'm glad you were able to make it," he says with a cheerfully bright smile.

Once he's had some time to not be in the public eye, Sir Bhandn regains his composure long enough to find and down a glass of the stronger wine. He's not a huge wine drinker, but after that dance there's been an executive order passed to get a good idea of just how fine House Livy's vintage is. A deep breath later, and then he turns and it seems the Knight of Solace is going to retire. There's a moment where he looks back at and finds where Petraea is getting some time to herself, but Bhandn apparently needs time for himself as well as he makes his way towards the exit to depart.

Talu exhales through her teeth this time. There's an energy about her, none of it particularly comforting, and an impression of holding something in, if only just. "No," she says to Alessia. "--Yes. Yes, fine. What's a m...I'm fine." A beat. "I'm fine, Lady Alessia Mazetti." And she is, indeed, very fine. So fine that she suddenly turns on her heel and moves very, very purposefully toward the currently distracted Mia.

Blinking when she's addressed, Alessia's lips curl, though there is not a shred of warmth in her expression as she regards Sydney. "And don't you look so -well- adorned." The tone is dripping with condescension. "How... eager you seem to blend." She gives Tyche a warm squeeze in greeting and to Hadrian a sad smile. "She will be missed but I suppose I'm the only half remaining."

Massimiliano finishes the second glass of Cardian wine he'd been working on as he wandered the Cavaedium, leaving it on the tray of a passing servant as easily as he'd snagged it from another earlier, this to leave his hands free as he returns from whatever thoughts he'd been having in his admiration of the cultivated flora here. Though it seems as if the Tribune is taking a moment to herself, he approaches nonetheless and in that approach the small touches become more obvious that the pair of them have dressed to match. "It seems as if you have had quite the evening, Tribune Livy.", he notes, stopping just short and not crowding her on the couch where she's taking sanctuary. "It's quite the evening you've put on, though."

As Talu moves off with far more purpose than she's exhibited most of this evening, Cristoph draws back from a hastily murmured conversation to stand straight. He watches, then forces himself to look at away and back to Tyche. In a tone that's meant to sound relaxed and composed, "Just the one so far. And I'm forever showering you with gifts." He slips his hand to her lower back, leaving just enough space for Alessia to get in her greeting to the woman. "Evening, Lady Alessia."

As he spies Alessia's entrance, Preston retrieves a few of the small cardian finger foods and heads across "Lady Alessia, two Templars here? The Cardians might think we are invading." But he does offer up some of the bounty of Cardian foods "They are spiced, but actually quite nice."

Sydney shifts her weight from one leg to the other, lifting at one edge of her dress, and then the other. Her smile remains, and she curtsies, "...Oh, no indeed. I would never claim to shine half so brilliantly as my betters, or you." She yawns, and takes another sip of her drink. "Regardless, I blend wheresoever I go. Have you /seen/ how many redheads there are in this city?"

Petraea quickly finishes most of the glass of wine in her hand and moves to rise to her feet, so, when Massimiliano approaches, she startles a bit and then laughs at her own flinch as she says, "You move silently as a ghost, Massimiliano. It has been quite an evening. I've almost accomplished everything I set out to do. And you? Have you enjoyed the event?" She remains standing, her hands clasped before her as she gazes at the older man and murmurs a few lower pitched words.

Noah directs Jaenelle from the dance floor. It looks as if the Grayson Prince is prepping to leave the whole of the embassy in fact.

There is really only so long that a person can not feel the weight of so many eyes upon them at once and it's quite likely that amount of time is shortened a very good deal when they're being strided -- stormed? -- at quite, like, well, that. So Mia eventually looks away from the dome overhead, turning once more to scan the room, to scan the crowd, when she catches sight of the woman headed her way. Both of her black brows lift, mild surprise etching itself on her face.

As Alessia comes to squeeze her, Tyche returns the gesture in kind, an easy smile for her friend. "You were late, or hiding somewhere in the shadows. I'm glad you're here." Talu gets clearly overwhelmed and heads off, the Marquessa watching her for a moment before she turns back to Cristoph. "So two gifts then for the one?" she decides for him, but there's a flash of something in her eyes akin to understanding - at least of his state, not the reason behind it. Her voice drops for him alone.

"I am not dressed for such a thing." Alessia muses at Preston's joke as she takes some of the finger food without hesitation. "I wouldn't want anything to get -broken-." The latter is said with a slanted gaze to Sydney. "I'm glad you're learning your place, though, Syd." Then to Cristoph, with a rapidly growing warmth. Almost unsettling how quickly her tone changes. "My lord, it's good to see you here. Both of you." To tyche as well.

Jaenelle brings Noah over towards Petraea, it seems both are leaving, "thank you for such a lovely event, but we must slip away for now. I hope the rest of the evening goes well for you, and you find peace at the ending of the night."

Striding, mostly. Probably. Talu isn't stomping, at least, though there's nothing discreet about her approach, and it's only when she gets close that it apparently occurs to her that /maybe/ she should at least make some attempt at it. A very bad attempt. But an attempt. She at least checks her speed and doesn't collide with the Marquessa, though as soon as she's close enough to do so, she says something low, and seemingly heated.

Having taken a time to the side with a glass of Cardian wine, which she sips at intermittently, Liara offers a cheerful wave towards Noah and Jaenelle by way of parting when she sees them about to go. Then she happens to spot Mia through the crowd, and lifts her glass in a light gesture of greeting to the Marquessa -- but doesn't do any sort of striding towards anybody.

Nisaa has left the Pride Couch.

Kalb, the chill bodyguard leaves, following Nisaa.

"Yes, two gifts for one. Or maybe three? Three gifts?" Cristoph responds to her, his attempt at humor not entirely reaching his eyes this time. "Four?" The number keeps going up, the levity used as an interlude while he glances from the group around him to the pair out across the room. Then he turns to Alessia, "Yes. It's good to see you. It's been too long since the three of us have run into one another at something like this. Isn't it?"

Something that Alessia says seems to rather abruptly draw Hadrian's attention. His jaw sets and his expression practically becomes blank. Then his gaze slips toward Preston, lingers, and then returns to Alessia. The expression dissipates swiftly as the Duke turns and begins to move away. One hand lowers to rest at the small of his back, while the other finally lifts to afford himself a sip from the deep, dark glass of red wine. Finally. He's been holding it for how long? He swirls the contents after that initial drink, his lips parting and closing three separate times while he savors the flavor of the wine. For the moment he simply seems to be wandering.

Sydney's grip tightens on the stem of her glass and her smile twitches at one corner in spite of her best efforts. "Your charm and wit remains as consistent as it always has, Lady Alessia." With that, she meanders over to one of the servers, and plucks up some additional finger foods for herself, so she can start eating and give herself an excuse to /not/ talk for a time.

Mia checks composure and diplomacy at normal. Mia is successful.

Whatever it is that Talu has said to her, Mia blinks once, then twice, then thrice. Her lashes are as dark as her hair, and it makes their fluttering very obvious -- but not the least bit coquettish. No, not coquettish. Decidedly confused. Her eyes dart from the woman to her laurel crown, then back to her face. Ohh. Ohh, dear. Fortunately enough, Liara's raised glass gives her a second to respond in kind, lifting slender but empty fingers in greeting as well. A moment to think. Yes, to think. "My apologies, madame. I am largely unfamiliar with Cardian customs and even less so with the Cardian language, save for a few stray phrases here or there, and I'm not entirely sure of how I ought to address you. Or answer your question. I suppose with 'yes', given the number of people that might refer to, but you'd have to be a touch more specific....?"

Noah is brought with Jaenelle over to the Tribute! His eyes slide over towards Liara and the door. It's clear that he's ready for a 'manners' break before all the jokes come out.

"And what /is/ a Glaivedancer's dress for battle, Lady Alessia? From those I've met, they are deadly enough out of armour." Preston queries, before he shakes his head "And no, it is a rather beautiful embassy." And Preston gestures up towards the glass ceiling "Very impractical for defense, of course. But I suspect the Cardians can hold their own in other ways." The exchange between Sydney and Alessia is met with a raised eyebrow towards Alessia but whatever query it holds goes unasked. Instead he gives Tyche a smile "And Marquessa. I hope your tour of the crowd was enjoyable? I can certainly recommend the food."

"Can I get a five?" Tyche laughs as Cristoph continues to push the number up up up. She'll take all the gifts, obviously. Always time for playfulness, but the more serious weighs on her still, and she speaks further in hushed tones, stealing what moments she can without being complete rude. Finally, she's looking up to Alessia again, who seems to be making quite the splash with Hadrian and others. "I think the beer festival was the last, yes?" Preston is there still, and she nods a few times, "Oh yes, Carnifex. I can always entertain myself in a crowd of people. I had little time for the food, I'm afraid." Her gaze darts toward the dishes. "Is there anything in particular you would recommend?"

Isabeau seems to be left without a conversation partner once more. She nips down on her lower lip, lingering and simply watching the exchange between Talu and Mia, with a slight raise to one manicured eyebrow. She attempts to make eye-contact with the latter, and if successful casts over a questioning look that seems to ask if she needs back-up.

6 Grayson House Guards, Jordan, apologetic Gentleman of the Chamber leave, following Noah.

"I understand silence is often golden.", Massimiliano says in defense of his quiet footsteps, he is after all a man who is much lighter on his feet than his physique and his age might lend some to believe. In answer to her other question, he tells her, "I'm an artisan of Tor. I am sustained by beautiful things. My evening here has been nourishing." with an unflinching sort of sincerity. He pauses to lean in a little at what is whispered to him and in kind he offers up a murmur in return before asking of her more audibly, "You have -almost- accomplished everything you set out to tonight? How do you feel about unfinished business?", in that rich, sing-song Lycene accent of his. He reaches out to tease both of her hands into his own and gives the dancing area a glance before he confesses, "At times, the circumstance demands these things. This is why we were given tomorrow.", that as he leads her in the direction of the area she hasn't been gone for long from, walking backwards as he does so. "If it's very important though, feel free to reduce me to cinder and ash, Tribune."

"Thank you." Alessia says before Sydney leaves, the words drawn out. "Why not just make it thirteen." She waggles her brows. "I mean the more the better, right?" She laughs before taking a bite. "You know I can sort of see the influences in Lycene cuisine." She nods approvingly. "And yes it was the beer festival. Colder days." Her eyes glitter. "Sir Preston, you know everything sounds ominous coming from you." Though she lightly elbows him with a grin.

Talu's response to Mia is quiet, though, even from across the room, it doesn't seem particularly friendly. She seems tense down to her entire being, and entirely focused on the other woman.

"Six," Cristoph answers Tyche and then leans over to speak quietly to her while shaking his head, whatever the question is, he seems to be declining something. But he doesn't stay that way for very long, offering a pleasant smile to Alessia and Preston while the conversation moves along. "Yes, the beer festival. And we'd meant to meet again when the weather was warm and here we are, with summer almost entirely gone," he breathes out, a gesture given to the sky above through the glass. When his gaze drops again, it's back to the pair across the room, then to his immediate companions again.

Inevitably Hadrian's attention is drawn to the mounting sense of intensity within the garden. He looks away from the statue that he paused to consider, only to turn his attention toward Talu for a moment. He considers her for a moment, then the one that Talu seems to be in conversation with. Finally the Duke's attention drifts away, toward Petraea, and his hand lifts to casually brush a few strands of his cold black hair from his forehead. When his hand drops again, Hadrian's attention turns back to the statue.

"They have these little...mm. Like pastries? Very pleasant. A sweetness, but then the spice. Quite the delight." Preston offers by way of advice to Tyche before he turns his head to give Alessia an innocent look "Ominous? Mm. That is simply reputation, Lady Alessia. When I wish to be threatening, I tend to be direct. There is little reason to be guarded on such matters - people I think just take my sense of humour wrongly. Or they misunderstand a gentle warning as a threat."

Sydney lapses into silence for a time whilst she picks at her snacks. Whatever that little exchange was between herself and Alessia, it seems to have wrapped itself up organically, and with the help of spicy pastry appetizers, which she digs into with little hesitation and a staggering lack of restraint. Making use of free food is a gift.

Petraea is only momentarily distracted from Massimiliano to offer a farewell to the Archduchess and her companion, "Thank you for coming. I am sure we will have a great deal to talk about in the days to come." The Torean sculptor's offer of a dance is met with a clasping of the man's hands as she allows him to lead her toward the dance floor, answering his question in a low voice, "My entire life is unfinished business. I do not suppose adding a touch more to the pile will cause any undue harm. Besides," she adds as steps in closer once they have reached the dancing area, "maybe this -is- my unfinished business, hm?" With that, she slides one arm around Massimiliano's shoulders and clasps his hand with hers. "Show me a dance from Tor, will you?"

Whatever it is the two women are discussing, Mia's face has shifted from surprise to skepticism -- and skepticism she's either failed, or made no attempt, to hide. Dark eyes are scanning Talu again, but not her laurel crown. No, she seems to be inspecting the woman as if she suspects that the Cardian spends her spare time skulking in the bushes outside her window. A fleeting look to Isabaeu is accompanied by the very smallest of shrugs, made moreso by already slender shoulders.

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Sir Thad Quackington leave, following Jaenelle.

"We did plan that." Alessia's eyes are dancing at this, as she takes another bite of good. "How fortunate." She turns to Preston. "I mean, gentle warnings can escalate to threats. Though I am fully certain you didn't mean it in quite that way. Though if you told me I was impractical for defense, I'd assume I was about to be tackled." She laughs lightly.

"Six, then," Tyche holds up a hand to stop him. "Only six. I will not have you going broke for my greed." He speaks of summer and plans that were made, and she laughs, looking to Alessia in some conspiratorial comradery. "There's still time. Even if this becomes an autumn event." Preston's recommendation surprises her, and she lifts a brow, "I don't know why I am charmed by the fact that the Carnifex enjoys his sweets, but I most certainly am. I know just the gift to send you. Expect it soon."

For some inexplicable reason, despite Mia's scrutiny, and open skepticism, something in the conversation has Talu easing back just enough that her weight is more evenly distributed to her heels. She doesn't relax, per se - certainly not that - but she doesn't look nearly so wound. She's still carrying on with the conversation, however, lips still moving, voice too low to catch.

At Mia's shrug, Isabeau answers the shrug, and turns towads the entrance, beginning to make her way out of the Embassy, though at a leisurely pace.

"Autumn is more temperate here in than in some other parts of the Compact," Cristoph comments distractedly. But he does seem to be allowing himself to shift more fully to the conversation right in front of him, something easing off in his frame while they speak. "Just six then. Forever?" he prompts, teasing Tyche a little. "You never said how expensive the gifts needed to be. They could be /anything/." His tone is rather light, as if he's saying they could be inexpensive but also... no. He knows they're not going to be.

Isabeau has left the Ambition Couch.

Jerome, a bodyguard, Elaine, an older courtier, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.

After polishing off her wine, Liara hands off the empty glass to one of the embassy's staff and heads to depart.

12 Grayson House Guards leaves, following Liara.

Hadrian has joined the Magnificence Couch.

"It would be a curious sort of unfinished business, humoring an aging artisan with all of his silver to his name tied up in a workshop that's closed more than it is open.", Massimiliano suggests, but he seems to concede nonetheless, "I suppose it is important we see that you finish it. It's nice to feel accomplished, even when it is just the small things." He stops as he reaches the middle of the dancing area, pulling the Cardian Tribune closer to him and showing her just where to put her hands, lifting them and draping the both of them around the back of his neck. "In truth, the nobles of Tor do no small amount of dancing and the variety is plentiful and stunning to watch but I have spent the greater share of my life hard at work, not deep in entertainment. If I just crafted one here and now and called it Two Roses In the Summer Breeze, would you truly know the difference?". His expression is skeptical that she would, but it comes with a quiet, easy smile. "I am far from a rose, but I believe we can make due with just the one and a breeze."

Finally Hadrian turns away from the statue and begins to make his way toward one of the couches. Soon enough the Duke is settling down onto the couch, situated in between Sydney and Modi. He looks to one side at Sydney, then to his other side at Modi. At some point he mutters something quietly among the couch occupants, a faint smile tugging at the far corners of his mouth.

"The best romantic gift I'd gotten was a rose bush." Alessia confirms with a dreamy smile as she remembers, her gaze drifting toward the garden area as though it prompted the memory. "So it doesn't need to be expensive at all. The gesture speaks volumes." She takes a glass of cardian wine from a server. "Woah." She seems to be taking in the strength, though she clearly likes it since she goes in for more.

"It comes from a lifetime of drinking juices, Marquessa." Preston reveals "The downside to having spent my life on duty, as the guard to the Dominus for many years, and then as Grandmaster. It is rare that I feel in a place I can drink, that I can risk impairment. So a lot of juice." Preston does catch a little of the back and forth between Tyche and Cristoph and he lifts an eyebrow "Mm. Oathlands presents - 6 items does about cover a suit of armour, Duke Cristoph." Finally he smiles once more at Alessia "In this case, warnings only indicate someone is moving into harm. I very rarely do anyone harm. Outside of a battlefield. But no, I simply meant you are quite deadly in a suitably deceptive Lycene manner, Lady Alessia."

Sydney opens her mouth and then shuts it just as fast as she does so, resisting a further opportunity to send passive-aggressiveness in Alessia's general direction. Fortunately, Hadrian plonking down between herself and Modi serves as just the excuse the young woman needs to tilt her chin up and turn fully to regard the newest addition to the couch. "Mmph." She murmurs, chewing and then swallowing the rest of her pastry before offering a firm nod of her head.

Whatever passes between Mia and Talu, the latter suddenly just looks tired. Tired, but much more relaxed, and after a moment she sweeps a hand over her hair to remove the crown Hadrian gave her, holding it first in one hand, and then in both, though she doesn't actually look down at it.

"Lady Alessia," Tyche speaks the woman's name clearly as she tries to 'help.' "Do not put such ideas into his mind." She turns to Cristoph and says meaningfully, "You make those gifts as expensive as you think I deserve." The wicked glint is there, and she smiles, finally turning back to Alessia. "An apple tree. That was mine." Her fingers squeeze the Duke's arm. Preston's suggestion of armor has her laugh, "Don't, Carnifex, please. He would likely force me into diamondplate or something equally as heavy and I wouldn't be able to walk."

There's a short laugh at Preston's words and Alessia rests a hand on his arm. "Oh, deceptive is such an ugly word. I do try to be as honest as I can to follow the Sentinel's virtues. Like my fellow Lycene. But there's value in twisting perception to your advantage. I'm sure you do it all the time." She smiles at this, taking a drink.

Modi had been following Sydney's eyes. Apparently he was trying to discern what this secret, coded language was she seemed to be resisting. Although he does draw a line between Alessia and the pugilist with his finger, so he's at least got one connection down.

"Humoring. I have more silver than I or any of my descendents will ever know what to do with just by virtue of being born with the right name. I have no need to chase a man for his silver. As for aging, well, I'm not exactly a young thing fresh off my debutante season either, Master Buccheri. I think, if either of us were to be humoring the other, perhaps it is a talented and interesting man humoring a woman with too much power and too much money by makign her believe that, for the space of a dance, someone might find her other qualities just as fascinating." A smile tugs at the corners of the Tribune's generous mouth as she adds with a fair share of humor, "Even if it is a dance that he made up. Two Roses in the Summer Breeze sounds like poetry. Can you deliver poetry in the form of a dance?" She breathes out slowly and drapes her hands easily against the back of Massimiliano's neck, which necessitates standing closer now.

With Hadrian's arrival, Modi ceases all of that foolishness. Suddenly alight with mirth and etiquette.

"You walked quite well in that outfit you wore at the last Valardin party," Cristoph seems to think this is a perfectly fine example of Tyche wearing armor. "And parts of it were heavy. Like the top and the sleeve and the chainmail skirt," he goes on to explain, definitely liking Preston's idea the more he thinks about it! "A /full/ suit of armor," he states musingly. Is he serious? Only time will tell. But the mention of the apple tree softens his expression to something warm. His hand goes to his sword, his fingers lightly touching a purple silk ribbon. "Mine was a favor." He breathes in, then his eyes trail across the room and he squeezes Tyche's arm before stepping away. "Excuse me again." This is the second time tonight he's wandered off from Tyche AND Preston. Maybe Preston will poison is food. Maybe Tyche will. He drifts across the room at leisurely pace until he approaches Mia and Talu. The latter gets a feather light touch to the elbow. "Do you need to walk?" he asks, offering Mia a polite smile after he rudely interrupted. "Marquessa, I'm sorry. It's been a long time, hello."

As something like exhaustion passes over Talu's face, Mia says nothing. Ohhh, her lips were moving a moment earlier, and they move a moment later, with far, far too many words. At the end of which, she simply offers the Cardian her arm as if to escort her for the evening, or perhaps to give her something to discretely lean her weight on.

Talu doesn't seem any more energized by what Mia says, but she does stand up a little straighter, square her shoulders just a bit more than they'd been. The arm the other woman offers is regarded with brief confusion, but then she takes it, if a little awkwardly. Cristoph's touch has her turning her head in his direction, and she says something low to the both of them.

"I am full of ideas of questionable helpfulness, Marquessa. Though, the last gift I got from a Valardin was a diamondplate sword, so. There is that." Preston answers Tyche before gesturing to Alessia "The Lady Alessia is one of my Templars, she can probably bore you with many stories of my lack of nuance or subtlety. It is a wonder I don't drop the Most Holy in a political hullaballoo every week." Alessia's correction is agreed to with Preston lifting his hands in suggestion "You are most correct Lady Alessia. You are most skilled at twisting perception." He glances up at the glass ceiling "Though I think unfortunately I should think about returning to the compound"

Tyche watches Cristoph leave her, and she smiles back to Preston and Alessia, and the others gathered there. "If you'll all excuse me. I'm going to get some fresh air." And then she slips away, and out into the night.

Something about the way that Cristoph moves towards them, the way that he touches Talu's shoulder, makes the Riven Marquessa pause. Though her mouth turns upwards into a polite smile of greeting, though she offers a light, "It has been a very long time, yes, though there's no need at all to apologize for that....," she does also murmur something a touch quieter.

"Take care, Tyche." Alessia smile affectionately toward her friend as she leaves before nodding at Preston. "Don't you wish you imbibed right before sleep?" She chuckles as she sips from her glass.

1 Inverno Ensign, 1 Inverno Captain, Cornelius, a studious looking attendant, 4 First Legion Centurions leave, following Tyche.

Preston turns to look at Alessia, his brows furrowing for a moment before he looks across at Cristoph "The Duke might need your help soon Alessia. And no. I would rather know everything with a clear head. Much as the world often confuses me." He bows his head "But, do take care, M'lady."

Cristoph watches as Tyche leaves, his cheeks filling out briefly before he exhales. He withdraws his hand, looking between the two women as the conversations continues in lowered tones. He does reach up, this time it's to rake his fingers through dark hair and offer Mia a somewhat amused expression of his own.

"Will he?" Alessia asks with an arched brow as she glances Cristoph's way. A nod is given when he takes his leave though she looks just a little unsettled, draining the drink in hand.

At which point she does approach Cristoph as if wondering if he does in fact need her help.

"You know nothing of my talents, Tribune Livy.", Massimiliano points out, truthfully so, and in the wake of it he offers to her too, "If you are so rich and powerful as you claim though, I believe you will have little problem procuring an appointment with my workshop. There better than anywhere else are they quite literally put on display and presented for purchase. Or perhaps you have some dream in your imagination you would see shaped into existence instead? I can do it. You will have to reveal it to me, however. Not all are prepared for this." If there is truly a summer breeze to sweep along two roses it's there with them, the sculptor blowing across the dancefloor in a sway that carries them in one direction and then back in the other at a slow-going pace of movement. "Everything in Tor is poetry, in a way. That isn't just an observation of the commoner. The city herself is lyrical. The sunshine is warmer, the water is sweeter, every morning is a bright song you could almost feel bad for wanting to escape sooner if only because the night is a mystery with a riot of passionate people to be won if it can be solved. A dance, too, can be poetry. A conversation. A glance."

Balian, a Templar squire, 1 Templar Knight guards leave, following Preston.

Sydney puffs a breath from where she's seated on the couch, one leg moving to primly fold over the other, something she's clearly unused to whilst wearing a dress. It takes two attempts, and a muttered curse about the tailoring being a bit too close for her preference. She then draws her focus back to Hadrian and Modi, splitting her focus between the pair and the conversation transpiring on the dance floor, which prompts a low whistle from the young woman. Approval.

Whether Hadrian has wedged himself in between Sydney and Modi or not, the Duke seems to be chatting casually with the pair. A smile here, a chuckle there. From time to time his attention seems to rove across the garden and its occupants, but inevitably his attention returns to regard the conversation taking place between the trio.

Modi seems to be especially animated at the couches, gesturing between the pair and speaking with exuberance. He still manages some grace, but it's becoming thinner. The man is just too /excited/ to contain himself.

If there had been a lingering brightness to Petraea's smile, Massimiliano's refutation of her judgement of him as 'talented' dims is considerably and that smile takes on a touch of wavering distraction as she says softly, "Of course. I would be happy to pay you for your time. I understand it is valuable. My apologies, Master Buccheri. I have taken liberties. Forgive me for my assumptions." She fall silent and gives him as much space as he desires to speak, keep her own counsel as she is guided through the dance like so many petals on the breeze. Finally, she offers in response, "It seems to me that such a place would be very hard to ever leave. In Cardia, it is not poetry that is woven through our world, but greed and cunning. There is no end to hunger and desire in Cives Draconum. There is no accomplishment so great, no conquest so sweet, no piece of art so lovely that one cannot feel the need for 'more' and 'better'. Your world seems much more serene than mine."

Sydney quips casually from her spectator's seat, "...So, you're hungry for more and better serenity, then?" She leans back on the couch, a vaguely tipsy grin beginning to dominate her expression as she takes yet another sip of wine before loudly replying to Modi, "Yes, they seem to enjoy doing that. It can't be helped when they do so at full force."

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

Something going on in the quiet conversation between Talu, Mia, and Cristoph has Talu glancing over toward Petraea, expression distinctly guarded, if curious.

Sydney seems to be less on-edge, whether through a combination of strong drink, easy conversation, or the sudden absence of someone she doesn't get along famously with. "It's kinder to lose a few teeth than to become a bloody smear on the streets without a head attached, I find, in any case. One of the benefits of my brand of diplomacy. Typically, all that hurts is someone's pride or their smile, at the end of th'day." She yawns into the back of her hand for a moment, and then finishes off the rest of her glass. "...Any more than that, and I'll be truly regretting it come morning. Modi, you're hereby conscripted on the-- no, don't offer me your drink, that defeats the-- you're conscripted on the /extremely/ important mission of restricting me to snacks."

She turns a casual glance to Hadrian, and shrugs her shoulders, "...Sydney Waterfall, Voice and House Fist of House Waterfall."

Still not a thing.

She waves over a server in order to get some more snacks to even out the alcohol.

In the face of the Tribune's dimming smile, the Lycene artisan doesn't reinforce the notion that caused it. He leans into his smile a little more with a tone that's very much a 'There, there' for Petraea. "You mistake me. Or I mispoke? I became an artist because I am more interested in dreams than in silver." He laughs, not unkindly, and it's a warmer laugh than the cold gray of his eyes would give the impression he's capable of. "Perhaps it is different in Cardia and the creatives are rewarded with riches, but..". He pauses in his thought, if not in the swaying of his dance, this only momentarily. "..I will just say creation is fulfilling in ways the weight of a coin pouch cannot fill." There's a kind of thoughtfulness that takes over Massimiliano's expression again as he listens of Cardian life, this until he reaches some sort of conclusion and asks of Petraea, "I cannot help but see cunning as an admirable trait. I suppose it depends to which end it is bent. This way of your people, it reminds me of a man I once knew. He was a masterful merchant with more silver than he could ever use, much as you claim to have. I asked him once in conversation, Giacomo, what is the best deal you have ever struck? Without even thinking, he answered me: The next one." A little more quietly he adds, "There is no place in this world without complications, no matter how serene it may seem. The poet knows though, some places are closer to Elysia than others."

"Modi Blackpelt," Hadrian remarks with a glance toward Modi. "Sydney Waterfall, Voice and House Fist of House Waterfall," Hadrian says with a glance toward Sydney and something bordering on an incredulous expression. He nods after a moment, as though he's now committed both names and faces to memory for the remainder of his lifespan. "It was good meeting you both, but my feet are feeling the urge to walk again and thus I must answer their call," Hadrian offers a nod to the pair, one after the other. As he rises up Hadrian offers one last comment to both, "Thank you for humoring my interruption. Have a lovely evening."

Modi has a brow raised upon being conscripted for the honor House Waterfall. "I-- okay. I believe I can do that. Because I will certainly not be able to drag someone else with me out of here, my arms are delicate and lithe." They were not either of those things. Looking to Hadrian then, Modi dips into another deep bow. "Thank you very much for gracing us with your presence, Duke Hadrian. Please enjoy the rest of your evening, and be fantastic!"

Sydney's jest bring about a smirk and a look in her direction, as well as an arched brow in challenge. Yet, inexorably, her attention is drawn back to Massimiliano, her movements as easy and graceful as if she already knew this extemporaneous dance. Her words are much more difficult to find. "Some dreams are more dangerous to bring to life than others. Those that do so in Cardia, that take suchs risks as to bring dreams to life rather than just make pretty things for the rich to wear or adorn their houses with, are either richly rewarded or die in a burst of dragonflame. Sometimes both in due time." Her hazel eyes drift over the artist's shoulder to note the end of the conversation on the Magnificence couch and the way the crowd dwindles with the hour. "Your merchant sounds like a Cardian. One's greatest accomplishment is always the next one to be achieved. It leaves little time to enjoy what stands before you and what has already been done. As much as I might long for serenity, I am wise enough to know that I fit in better in a world without it than one ruled by poetry." She smiles then and finishes with, "Yet, I still think I can afford to visit every now and then, even if I cannot stay. Thank you for the dance, Master Buccheri."

Sydney is looking more sauced by the second, and eases slowly up to her feet, following in Hadrian's example, "...Actually. I release you from conscription, Modi. I'm in over my head, I think. Gonna head out."

Whatever it is that Talu, and Cristoph, and Mia are in conversation about, the Marquessa, slips her hand into one pocket -- because yes, she has them sewn into all of her dresses, thank you very much -- and withdraws a closed fist. Whatever she's holding, she offers it to Talu, something not quite... it isn't reluctance on her face, so much as apology, as if she's sorry for the contents.

Up and away he goes. Hadrian making his way from the vestibulum and onward.

Hadrian has left the Magnificence Couch.

Luigi, 3 House Mazetti Guardians leave, following Hadrian.

Sydney has left the Magnificence Couch.

As the dance wraps up, the unseen and unfelt summer breeze letting the two roses still once more, Massimiliano seems to agree with Petraea on at least one point and he does not shy away from it. "The best art is dangerous, Tribune Livy..", then also, "Imagine showing someone a truth so powerful they can do nothing but bathe you in dragonfire to try and wipe it away." Is that something rebellious in the gray of his eyes? Perhaps just a glimmer there for a moment, "I am sure a dragon's flame can reduce almost anything to ash. Not an idea, though. Not a truth." Before the pair of them split up, he offers to her, "I cannot promise a serene world should you choose to visit my workshop, as you say I do not think that is your dream. Still, you have my curiosity. I do prefer a challenge in my age. Bring me your dangerous dreams to sculpt and I may very well surprise you. Thank you for the dance as well, Tribune."

Whatever Mia is offering, Talu seems to find it it interesting enough that she looks at it for a long time, as if she has to study it carefully, before she reaches over and closes her hand around Mia's. She says something to the Marquessa then, quieter than before, if possible.

Petraea remains where she is, watching Massimiliano for a moment as if she would rather not leave his side if given her choice, before she looks toward where Talu, Mia, and Cristoph stand, hesitancy in her expression that goes deeper than merely not wanting to leave the presence of an intriguing dance partner.

Cristoph is over there going from reasonably calm expression to a grimace in a quick moment.

Massimiliano arches one brow in the quietest sort of way as the Tribune doesn't depart after their dance is finished. He chases the place where her eyes are going with his own, then steps in to murmur something else to the Cardian woman without concern on his expression, just that easy smile he's kept for most of their conversation and their dance together tonight.

"My apologies for distracting you from your friend, Duke Laurent. That wasn't at all my intention tonight," Mia murmurs, quietly. "Though I will send those scraps over for you to review, and to share with Her Grace. I don't believe I've ever met the High Lady, even during my tenure as the previous High Lord's protege. We mostly spoke of Prodigals and the Oathlands and territory claims, and the awkwardness that sometimes comes with the, ahhhh, Compact's diplomacy in certain situations?"

All of Talu's intensity - no, far more than before - returns. Whatever she's saying to Mia, her expression is deadly serious, and her words likely match. She looks toward Cristoph twice during it, though whatever the topic is, it appears to be so distracting that she doesn't react terribly much to his attempt to exit.

"Oh, no. It's not your fault at all, I'll find her. She's likely just outside or- well. I know where to find her." Of that Cristoph seems fairly confident, even if his expression remains very serious. "Thank you," he says of the papers to review. And then there is glancing his way. He weathers the first one completely fine, though the subject being spoken in his presence is one that doesn't seem to bring a tremendous amount of joy. Then there's the second? Mia is the only one who can hear it other than Talu. But that one seems to have him withdrawing into himself. "Enjoy the rest of your evening, both of you." And with /that/ he's making a quick exit of the embassy, a glance spared to Petraea on his way out, a short nod of his head. Into the night!

Whatever Massimiliano murmurs to her seems to give Petraea the wherewithal to slowly make her way across the garden to approach Talu, her expression wary as she offers the woman a bow and says softly, "Welcome to the embassy, my lady. I apologize for not coming to speak to you earlier."

Rupert, the Laurent Archivist, 2 Valardin Knights, 1 Laurent veteran guards leave, following Cristoph.

Talu's conversation with Mia seems to be easing at least a little bit, but it's still distracting enough that she doesn't notice Petraea until the woman has closed most of the distance between them, and at that point she looks, for an absolute split-second, not entirely unlike a cornered snake. "Tribune Livy," she says. The words are courteous, and, while strained, sound genuine. "Apologies aren't necessary, you were quite occupied with other visitors."

Massimiliano tucks a thumb into his leather breeches to hook it there and let his hand rest in that fashion as he follows along not quite in Tribune Livy's wake but a little to the side of her as well. There's a couple people he doesn't know here, so he shares that polite and easy smile of his with the both of them, Talu and Mia, but otherwise he keeps his silence for the moment. The better to listen. He is the watchful, aware sort and here he's no different.

"Indeed. It has been quite a night." Petraea takes in a breath and says quietly, "Your sister offers her regrets that she was not here to greet you personally. She would like to do so soon, though." Then, without missing a beat, the Tribune shifts her attention to Mia, unfailingly polite as she says, "Thank you for coming to the party as well. I am Tribune Petraea Livy. Please allow me to introduce Master Massimiliano Buccheri, an artisan from Tor." She gestures to the man and then offers, "Would either of you like more wine? More to eat? The cooks made enough to feed the entire city, I think."

Mia blinks at Petraea and Massimiliano's approach. Whatever it is that she was discussing with Talu, it seems she didn't even realize that the woman was... well, maybe not there, so much as *right* there. She blinks once, then again. "It seems that out of all of us, I ought to be the one laying claim to apologies, Tribune Livy. For monopolizing such a lovely guest's time, even after you were from the duties of so beautifully hosting the rest of yours. I do believe we've met once before, albeit very, very briefly -- at the lecture the Scholars were hosting on Cardia. Marquessa Mia Riven." She offers a small curtsy, a polite but not quite obsequious thing, given her role as an emissary, which is so much more deliciously undefined than the rules of rank and etiquette owed between Peers.

Talu maintains her strained politeness, even clasping her hands behind her back, but she doesn't seem terribly settled by what Petraea says. "I appreciate the gesture, but there is no real need for her to make the trip merely to see me. As you can see, I am well." Yes, so very, very well. She is very believable. "But I appreciate it if you would give her my regards, and well wishes." She shifts her gaze toward Massimiliano. "Master Buccheri, a pleasure. Wine...?" The woman casts a glance around the room. "I haven't-- ...yes, that would be fine. The wine, that is."

"Oh, no more wine for me. There is no lie in the strength to the drink which comes from the Livy vintners. A pair of glasses through the evening was enough for me.", Massimiliano declines, but politely and with compliment, "That is not to say I will not seek more another time. A truly memorable companion for an evening as fancy as this one was." It's easy to pin down the Lycene slant of his accent, a little sing-song as it is, distinct. He assures Talu as she accepts the offer of wine. "You will enjoy it. It is hard not to. The pleasure is mine, Mistress..?". There's a pointed sort of space at the end of that, the high-end of a question which leaves for itself room for an answer to be given so the introduction can be complete. Then he's settling his gray gaze on Mia, "A Marquessa? You must be truly dedicated to the art of the celebration to revel so late into the night when others have dwindled.", he supposes, dipping his head in a return greeting and assuring her, "I'm pleased to make your acquaintance, Marquessa Mia."

Petraea nods and gestures for the staff to approach with fresh glasses of wine, "Of course. I will be sure to give her your regards. And Marquessa Riven, I knew your face looked familiar. Forgive my forgetfulness. It's been a long night. Speaking of which, I think I am going to make another circuit of the room, but please, if either of you need anything, do not hesitate to ask." She smiles politely and then takes a step back, her eyes lingering on Talu before she turns to meander down another of the garden's paths.

"There's nothing to forgive, Tribune. I asked but one question, mostly to the Praetor's annoyance, and then spent the rest of the evening listening. With so many clamoring for your attention, there's no reason for me to have made an impression at all." She inclines her head in thanks for the wine, which she's yet to try, and acceptance of the hostess' excusing herself. But for Massimiliano? She chuckles. "Hardly. In truth, I spent most of the evening pinned down by business, and so I arrived extremely late to the whole affair. But since it was such a grand success, with so many in attendance, I think I would've gotten away with it unnoticed, if not for giving myself away just now. The Lycene generally find me dull, and with good reason."

Talu accepts the wine, and returns a very distracted, "Talu," to Massimiliano's question, but her attention remains on Petraea, and when the woman starts to go, she takes a few steps forward. "Tribune." A beat. "...It hasn't been such a long time, but it has felt...like a /very/ long time." A longer pause, this time. "...I think of her. Tell her that?"

Modi stirs on the couch once the Tribune breaks ranks. He doesn't say anything in her direction, though he does lift up a hand. Thumb and index closed, three fingers up. All is a-okay on this side of the party, apparently. Or maybe he's gesturing that he likes the party? It's hard to tell, but it's something positive in her general direction.

Hearing her title used stops her in her tracks. Petraea turns around and gives Talu a slight nod and a smile, murmuring, "Consider it done. I know that she thinks of you as well. Please, do enjoy the wine." The Tribune spots Modi's hand gesture and gives him a look as she stops near the couch as says something very softly to him, pausing only a moment before she is on her way, speaking to servants all along her path that begin to clean up from the party.

Massimiliano accepts the distracted answer from Talu with a warm smile and then leaves her to cast her attention where she needs it, calling over to the Cardian Tribune. That gaze of his remains on the Marquessa some moments longer as he continues the conversation, "As they say, late is better than never. There is something to be said for going without notice, yes?" A thoughtful moment after, he goes on to assure Mia, "Very few are dull. Quiet, perhaps. Full of thoughts or full of fears or feeling ill-fitted to the situation they are in. You hold in your hands at least the best cure for dullness, though I doubt you are. Another time? I would tug on this thread and know more. But..". He glances over to where Petraea has started to retreat down the pea gravel path into the gardens then looks back to Mia and offers a farewell with another, "It was a pleasure, Marquessa. Another time?", before he's moving to follow the Livy woman.

Talu watches Petraea for a while longer, some indefinable expression on her features, before she turns back to those still nearby. The sip she takes from her wine glass is very careful, and she stands there, tasting it, before she takes another, slightly less hesitant sip. "...Is this good wine?" she asides to Mia, not nearly as quiet as she should.



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