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Winter Wonderland at Laurent Gardens

Join the Laurents as they celebrate the thick of winter the only way they know: Hot chocolate, Ice skating, Snow sledging and throwing snow balls at each other. They will also likely make you earn your pride by a contest or two. Dress warm! Be prepared!

Date

Sept. 10, 2021, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Mabelle Cristoph

Participants

Grady Cesare Giorgio Romulius Deva Ryhalt Corban Jerrica Jasher Bianca Natasha Lucita Patrizio Alantir Caprice

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Laurent Manse - Gardens and Pool

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


2 House Deepwood Guards, Mortimer Ridgewattle the Third arrive, following Grady.

It is a glittery night at the Laurent Gardens as the winter festivities are in full effect. Children that have yet to find their beds are skating over the now frozen pool while others are still throwing snowballs at each other upon the mountain slopes. Wooden booths are scattered around the garden offering warm drinks and foods to the guests. The sleighs at the top of the mountain, the skates on the poolside and the barrel of very very long candy canes does not bode well for the guests. Or does it?

Mabelle is standing by the patio, trying to catch some warmth while dressed entirely in white with some sparkly snowflake decorations, almost blending with nature, "Welcome to the Laurent Winter Wonderland, come in, get something warm to drink".

Grady comes sweeping in, all bundled up in his winter wear, his cloak dusted with snow. His hazel eyes are wide as he admires the garden and the decorations. "Lady Mabelle! You look lovely. All of this looks lovely. Are all events in Arx like this? I may have to be cross with Marquessa Samantha for neglecting to mention. You - Do you know you have a snowflake on your eyelashes?"

Cesare Whisper is always up for a challenge. Almost always. Nearly almost always. And anyway, he was invited by the hostess herself! Although he's also considering that he should have changed clothes, peering at Mabelle's gorgeous excess of glimmering snowflakes, silvers, whites, and blues. "Lady Mabelle," he calls out in that honey-rich voice, gliding in. "I confess I have never ice-skated before but I am so eager to try. Do you promise me that if I sing you will make people hit each other with the candy canes?" He smiles, bows to the Laurent lady, and takes one of her hands to kiss the back of it. "I went through my folio of songs and found something I think will be appropriate for the evening."

Leila, the sullen Suspire arrives, delivering a message to Aella before departing.

Avalanche, a fluffy mountain pup, Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards, 1 Redrain Veteran Guards arrive, following Deva.

Grady gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

1 Saik Guard, Micana, an efficient assistant arrive, following Lucita.

3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, Lucita arrive, following Jasher.

Natasha takes Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

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

Giorgio makes his way into the Gardens of the Laurent Manor, his coat pulled tightly about him, the snow having accumulated upon the fabric during the walk over. Taking a moment to brush the snow from his shoulders, his gaze plays about the room, only to then settle upon Mabelle so that he can offer a dip of his head, along with a smile, "Lady Laurent. A wonderful setting and perfect time for a bit of relaxation and fun." Stepping off to the side, he's then moving over to find himself a drink.

In time, the bitter chill of winter will give way to a great thawing in the capital and throughout Arvum, heralding in a new spring. There are no doubt a great deal of lords and ladies who have fled south or else made their homes indoors by grand hearths, stubbornly awaiting the end of its tyranny. Romulius and Natasha Thrax are not amongst that number, the Islanders seeming to relish these final weeks of chill gales and crystalline landscapes. Deposited at the Laurent estate by a small platoon of guards wearing the livery of House Thrax, the pair appear as though they might have assumed the invitation was for some sort of wake rather than the celebration that Laurent seems to have intended - high collars and dark silks, leathers and furs shroud tall forms behind their layered vice, the image of austere regality. The princess, at least, dresses in less muted colors than the prince, who seems to allow anything but black and silver only in the way of a sharp cerulean gaze that serves as his bloodline's signature.

The strides that carry them into the iced-over gardens are cutting and direct, no motion wasted as the royal couple dispenses those greetings expected as they make their way towards familiar faces. The greatest diversion in attentions comes from an occasional glance by Romulius towards the children enjoying the snow, warm amusement softening an expression that might otherwise appear overly dour at sight of their frivolity. There's a hushed word offered to his wife as he spots Mabelle, though their course diverts in another direction so as not to overwhelm their hostess with well-wishers just yet. They end up somewhere near one of the erected booths, though the prince doesn't secure any of the hot drink for himself, favoring instead a flask retrieved from somewhere behind the thick overcoat draped over him.

Giorgio gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Romulius takes Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

6 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Jerrica.

Deva isn't going to be on her feet for very long tonight, obviously, but she's showing up the best she can. It even looks like she tried to look nice, with her hair pinned in loose curls, some fancy perfume, and a twilight hued gown that is probably a little cold to hang outside in. Northerners. With some assistance from Jasper, because of her less-than-optimally-mobile injured leg, she smiles and waves while also limping along somewhere to settle in for probably a long-haul of people watching. "It's beautiful, Mabelle," she calls out to the hostess.

Deva has joined the a cozy sofa nook.

Archimedes, the Grim Face of Owlish Judgement, Sir Alren, Scholar Duran, a perpetually put-upon assistant, 5 Templar Knight guards, Clementine arrive, following Bianca.

Reedy, a King's Own aide, Bianca arrive, following Corban.

Mabelle reaches over to clear her eyelash from the rouge snow and grins at Grady, "I'm glad you made it, Lord Deepwood, please find yourself something warm to drink", she indicates the booths, turning to Cesare, "Oh this? It wa a last minute thing", she smoothes her starlight silk dress, "But I do... intend... to make them smack each other with candy canes indeed. Make them earn their whiskey", she teases him. "Marquis Giorgio, welcome to the Laurent mansion, make yourself at home, but do not get too comfortable, I hope you participate in the games!" As she is notices the white dog, Mabelle's eyes look toward Deva, "Princess. Hello. I was going to heed your call, but I'm glad you are here, we'll care for it later", she points at her white dress worried to stain it.

Romulius and Natasha earn a finger wave from afar with a mouthing of "Hignesses"

"Princess Deva!" Cesare spots, delighted. "Oh, I haven't seen you in a while. Are you all right? Here, let's find you somewhere to sit and get you a drink." He likewise sees the Thrax royal couple coming in, and as soon as he's situated Deva with a glass of something warm and a pillow under her injured leg, he's flitting over to them. "I don't know if I'll be able to do my cocktail magic this evening, but it's lovely to see you nonetheless. Are you enjoying the winter, your highnesses? Ready for the balm of spring? I am, although I admit, for a southerner, I have found the winter quite charming. You both look well. I hope you are." His smile is small, but warm. And to Grady - "Lord Deepwood, you have made it! You're going to have to tell me what you've learnt in the course of your day, hmm?"

Havard, a battle-scarred gentle giant, Runa the clever, seafaring raven, Bryndis, another redheaded northern Prodigal leave, following Aella.

Ryhalt takes his time with a stroll before he arrives at the area with a squint at the snow "mountain". He joins the line waiting to greet the host and smiles warmly at Mabelle when it's his turn. "I was tempted to climb the mountain from the outside. You're lovely today."

Sir Corban Telmar, First Captain of the King's Own, enters with the Legate Bianca Wyrmguard on his arm, the latter politely holding the crook of his arm. It is all quite proper and so on. "Oh, how very nice," he remarks, to the lanterns that give the look of fireflies. "And then there are skates, as well. Why, I remember an early party when I arrived in Arx where I nearly ran into Marquessa Quenia!" He shakes his head slightly.

Corban gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Lucita gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Always open for trying new activities and being around people, Jerrica Grayson arrives. She looks around the party for familiar faces and acquires a drink. This is an Oathlands event after all.

There's a low chuckle in the back of Giorgio's throat at Mabelle's use of a title and he's giving a little shake of his head, "Only a Lord, now, Lady Mabelle. But that's a story for another time." A quick smile is given before he's moving to claim himself a drink, only to then make his way over towards the seating by the hearth. Catching sight of Cesare, there's an incline of his head in the direction of the Whisper before settling down into a seat.

Ryhalt gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Giorgio has joined the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

Jasher arrives to the Laurent gardens and pool with Baroness Lucita Saik upon his arm. They are both of them dusted with flakes of fresh fallen snowflakes that eddied across the landscape over the course of their casual, conversational stroll across the city. The grim black attire hugging his lean frame contrasts sharply with the wintry theme, though if he is aware of it, no hint of its effect shows upon his unaffected visage. Indeed, if the event is intended to inspire cheer, the prince is missing much of /that/, as well. At least he's warm. "A drink?" he clips in inquiry, left hand gesturing out to a stand laden with beverages alcoholic and otherwise.

Jerrica gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Deva's dog, Avalanche -- who is no longer a tiny puppy but very well into larger adolescence -- spies Mabelle and affectionately bumps the side of her leg with a fluffy white head. "Don't worry, Lady Mabelle, I'm not going anywhere fast. Because I can't. Ha..." She chokes back a quiet, awkward laugh that fades into something brighter as Cesare assists her. "Whisper Cesare, thank you! Great to see you too. Yeah, I've been a bit, ahh, cooped up since Bastion. My assistant insists it's easier to find me now, but I'm determined to make life more difficult for him as soon as I'm all back in shape. Thank you for your help," she beams, bowing her head gratefully as Cesare sets her up with a pillow. So plush! "I miss the snow all the time, so I'm always so thrilled to see it again." Shifting to sit up straighter while she sips her whiskey, the princess twists to casually regard other faces as they enter.

Bianca arrives alongside Corban, silver eyes wide and awed at the lanterns, growing wider still when they fall on the snow mountain. "I should have brought my medic bag," is her murmur to the Telmar Knight at her side, tone slightly wry. "You won't mind if we need to tear your cloak for makeshift bandages, will you?" It's hard to tell if the Legate of Creation is teasing or not, her tone siding to neutrality despite the way her lips twitch. "First, we ought to find Lady Mabelle and offer the deepest of compliments. Do you see her?"

Funerary fashion might be all that dominates the Thraxian princess' wardrobe when even in the summers, Natasha can be glimpsed clad in her typical full-coverage silhouette no matter the season, perhaps ostensibly a subtle guise to end herself in the summer months when the threat of heatstroke is real. As Winter's bitter touch gives way to Spring's tenderer promises, however, she clearly indulges herself in the lingering chill that the seasonal limbo provides; what little color she wears finds fresh life upon ivory cheeks adorned with the sunset flush coaxed by it. Her tall, lissome frame - somehow still managing to be shorter than her husband despite heels tall and thin enough to puncture through a man's femoral with a merciless kick - is buttressed further by a high-collared, double-breasted coat trimmed with rabbit fur in the cuffs and hems, tailored to her narrow waist and split on either sides to make room for a long-legged gait. Romulius' whisper coaxes a head coiffed with dark curls that seem to stay arranged without assistance of jewels or combs tilts towards his hard, but handsome profile, listening to the words dispensed - whatever their contents, they seem to pull the spectral suggestion of a smile at the corners of her lips. Pale fingers lift when Mabelle is gestured to in an amiable wave of greeting towards the hostess of the evening. "My lady," she greets, words touched with the cadence of the Isles, however more subtly kissed than her husband's - it's always subtler, whenever in the mainland.

Steps do follow Romulius' wake, dark eyes turning away from the lovely Mabelle and her company towards the familiar sight of her cousin Jasher, surprise briefly flitting across her largely inscrutable veneer.

Mabelle quirks her lips at Ryhalt, "Duke Farshaw, I was surprised you didn't, perhaps next year I will leave you a rope", she looks quite entertained by the idea. "Princess Jerrica, good evening, Prince Jasher, Baroness Saik, a pleasure to see you all here". Giorgio makes her blush over her mistake, "I knew that. But indeed a conversation for a later time, forgive me". Avalanche gets a pet on her head while Deva gets a roll of her eyes. Spying Bianca and Corban, Mabelle moves a bit away from the mountain she is blending into, "Sir Corban, Legate Bianca, what a boon", she approaches the pair.

Eventually, she announces, "Those of you who are brave enough to get on the ice and get in a little candy cane duel, do alert the staff around you so they will equip you. No need to be efficient with the sword, its just candy!" (get in line) "Otherwise.. the best snowman of the evening will get a sparkly reward. Do will the sleigh who is less likely to ruin Duke Cristoph's flowers! But that's for later!"

Lucita lightly taps Jasher on the arm as she smiles up at him. "Of course. One needs a drink to help ward off this cold. Oh, look, there is Corban and Bianca, and oh, what is the use, so many I know here! If you do not know them, Prince Jasher, will have to see about mutual introductions, that is if you do not intend to duel. I admit, I'll do best as a spectator!"

Ryhalt scoffs at the idea of a rope. "It isn't *that* high." He makes his way over to where the duels are to be and gives his name to one of the staff, getting a cane in exchange. He chuckles and swings it about.

Ryhalt has joined the line.

"Well, it appears that we will not need to go to Lady Mabelle, Legate Bianca, for Lady Mabelle shall come to us!" says Corban with a smile as the hostess for the evening comes near by. Greeting her, Corban holds out a hand to take hers and give it a squeeze before allowing her to greet the priestess next to him.

"A candy-cane duel?" he asks. "Well, Legate, do you think I ought to join? I am, after all, a swordsman by trade."

Cesare has joined the line.

Cesare has already declaimed his intention to ice skate, regardless of his experience with it. And so he leaves his greeting duties and marches over as though he has any idea whatsoever what he's doing, retrieving skates and a candy cane, wielding it with great panache.

"Hardly anything to forgive," is what Giorgio calls out to Mabelle, a hand giving an idle little wave to further cement that statement. Looking over towards the 'duel' area, the Lord considers a moment before rising from his seat and moving over to give his name to the attending, retrieving his candy cane in the process. Looking to it, there's a low chuckle and a little shake of his head, "This is going to be way too interesting .. and perhaps more then a little embarassing."

The Grayson princess smiles and waves at Mabelle. "Thank you for hosting." Jerrica greets her. Everything is lovely as usual. Perhaps we should let the Duke demonstrate his climbing prowess." With this, she waves at Ryhalt. "I think I shall try to duel. At least the candy shouldn't injure me." Upon seeing Cesare in line, she walks next to him. "We can do this together. I think this is outside both of our normal activities."

"Lady Mabelle, this is surpassing even your legendary reputation," Bianca says to Mabelle as the hostess approaches. "I am in awe, and that is a *rare* thing. My gratitude for the invitation." Her regard slides fluidly to Corban. "Your own prowess is legendary, and I think it would be a tragedy if you didn't. But perhaps you'll indulge me? I plan to duel too, and you might give me a few candy-coated pointer, Sir Corban?"

The gesture from Mabelle is met with a quick nod and a familiar smile from Romulius - the prince, it seems, isn't the sort prone to waving. Some senseless fear of shattering the veneer of austerity, no doubt, instilled by the harsh upbringing that faces *every* child of the Mourning Isles. Mind isn't paid in that direction everlong, especially when the duties of hostess demand so much of the lady's attention, and vibrant blue gaze instead trails after Natasha's, towards the arrival of Jasher and Lucita. Before steps carry them in that direction, though, there's another hushed exchange with his wife, a half-shrug offered in response to something said there though it prompts the sickle-white curve of a grin before his actual answer.

It's only a few moments later that they are before the Thraxian prince and the Baroness of Saikland Greens, a polite nod offered along with a dip of shoulders from Romulius that *almost* might be called a bow. "Cousin, Baroness. I hope the evening finds you well enough?"

Corban has joined the line.

Bianca has joined the line.

Giorgio has joined the line.

6 First Legion Centurions arrives, following Patrizio.

Jerrica has joined the line.

Patrizio takes Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Bianca gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Marigold, a cheeky pygmy goat have been dismissed.

Barf, the Bog Dog have been dismissed.

Clerk Kant, a mild mannered assistant have been dismissed.

Mabelle winks to Corban amusedly for his assessment, "Have I? Legate?", she chuckles at Bianca, "Well I suppose setting up new bars for myself has become a bit of a habit", she shakes her head, "If you do not wish to duel you are more than welcome to show your artist side of CREATION by building a snowman. There are carrots and some scarves in the box by the mountain". Mabelle then admits to Jerrica, "Barring being on adventure , Duke Farshaw certainly likes to climb things, perhaps a sleigh race is in order". Eventually she excuses herself and walks over to Natasha and Romulius, "Hello to the Royal Pair, I appreciate your attendance. The servers are walking around with wonderful warm drinks and as for the whiskey, I suggest to drink it in safety", she winks.

Pale blue irises list toward the individuals specifically mentioned by Lucita, his neck craning so that he can better see around the individuals lining up to 'duel' on the ice. He is not among them, and politely communicates his disinterest with a discreet shake of his head in response to his companion's suggestion. "Indeed, I do know the Legate, though - unsurprisingly - it has been some time since we've spoken." A casual gait brings the pair to one of many drink carts, but he finds only...hot chocolate. And soup. The mask of contentment he dons falters somewhat, but does not remain longer than it takes his cousins to flank them utter greetings. Brows lift some with recognition as he replies, "Romulius, Natasha. Thank you, very well. You've met the baroness?" The prince takes a step back to give her the space to converse more freely.

"Well," says Corban to Bianca, a smile touching at his lips. "When it comes to a candy cane weapon, it is all in the wrist, Legate. You want to be deft and dexterous, rather than trying to //smash// the enemy with it, for then the candy will break off, and you will be quite sad to have no snack to eat."

That it's abyssally cold is /not/ keeping Patrizio Pravus from making an appearance. Though there's something to be said for the season, and he's still not quite dressed for it - one might wonder if the man simply has a wardrobe meant for at least slightly more temperate seasons, even after two winters in Arx. But, bundled in the warm cloak he's been wearing throughout the city, there's that warm smile on his lips as he arrives in proper homage to his cousin Sebastian - that's to say, 'fashionably late' - with his entourage, who are dispatched for once to go have fun while he's starting to make the rounds and greet those he recognizes.

Ryhalt chuckles at Jerrica. "This mountain is a test only for a toddler. Don't give her ideas for testing prowess, she'll put a sign on a hill someone can trip over and call it a mountain." He grins as she declares she'll join the duels. "Should be fun and lots of flying candy." He sounds more like he's looking forward to the flying candy part. He chuckles at Mabelle claiming he likes to climb things, but doesn't deny it! "I'll race in a sleigh for sure. Is Duke Cristoph peering from one of the windows with a bow ready for anyone that takes out his flowers this year?" Is planning to be prepared to dodge?

Grady is easily distrated, it seems, and after greeting Mabelle, he wandered off on his own to really appreciate her decorations. He only loops back now that it looks like there's soon to be entertainment to be had.

Bianca has joined the line.

Deva settles in with relative comfort. She's got a pillow, she's got a drink, and sure she can't dance or duel with a messed up leg but she sure can enjoy the excitement buzzing around. There's a small, thoughtful smile on her lips as she observes, and waves offered for familiar faces that she spies in turn-- Bianca first, then Patrizio, all with a friendly headbob of greeting across the way.

Cesare has joined the line.

Jerrica has joined the line.

Ryhalt has joined the line.

Alantir has joined the line.

Giorgio has joined the line.

Lucita eyes the hot chocolate and discretely lowers her voice. "Add a splash of the whiskey to it helps warm one up." Her vice retores to its normal yet softly melodic volume to speak to Maybelle when she is near. "A lovely gathering. You seem to outdo yourself each event I attend. Others with whom she is acquainted are spotted and she lifts a hand to give them a friendly wave.

"You speak as though you've dueled with candy canes before, Sir Corban." Bianca's eyes glimmer with amusement and she extracts her hand from his arm, holding a pretend candy cane in between bone white fingers, extending the imaginary cane out. "So, the wrist twists," the Legate demonstrates, all while raising her other hand to Deva, "and then you take a bite? Or is the idea to bite your opponents cane and leave them defenseless?"

Corban has joined the line.

Deva's head bob gets a returned one - and a smile - from Patrizio when he sees her attention. That there's the line forming for whatever the game is draws his jade eyes for a few moments as he's watching, and... no. No, indeed, the prince is moving to get himself something strong to drink, to fortify himself against the cold, before he's drawing over to where Mabelle is, and offers up a proper bow. "It looks as if you've outdone yourself with preparing for this," he murmurs, even as his attention shifts back to those preparing to do confectionary combat.

Whatever Romulius manages to retort to the princess threatens that bare suggestion of a smile to blossom more fully, but Natasha elects to forego any banter towards her husband in favor of addressing Jasher and Lucita. "I'm happy to see you out and about, before the lot of us inadvertently start any rumors about being social malcontents at best, and pariahs at worst," she says in a deadpanned, but easy quip. Dark eyes strafe across Jasher's familiar features on the way to Lucita's own. "Only by reputation, and sharing a room. Well met, Baroness Saik, how have you been? I didn't know that you and Jasher were acquainted." Curiosity lights up her eyes, setting them aglow like black coals, and while she waits for a response, Mabelle's singular figure makes her presence known in her periphery; a slight pivot enables her to face their hostess. "It's as if you make a game to outdo yourself with every event you arrange and host, my lady," she tells the Laurent, understated warmth suffusing her precise, mezzo-sopranic diction. "And you always succeed. Everything looks beautiful - as for the whiskey...I believe I see the Raconteur label. A new collaboratiobn with Messere Thayne?"

Mabelle edges over closer to the pool, "I'm going to announce the first pair. If you win, you get to go again until the last one is standing! Those of you who dare not, build a snowman! Laurent are high on their Artistic Endevours this year, restablishing the prowess of Arts Hall. So the best snowman will be presented on our grounds until the end of winter! And win a prize. There are gloves to those who are too cold for this! Alright! Duels!".

And still from the sidelines, fingers wiggle to Patrizio and a grin toward Natasha, "Yes, we found a sap on the outskirts of Artshall and it causes hallucinations. I thought.. ooo I should put that in a Whiskey!" and with that she leaves Natasha who is probably shocked from the Oathlander's demeanor to go host the duel. Not before she winks at her.

Natasha is overheard praising Mabelle.

Turn in line: Bianca

Turn in line: Cesare

"The rumors have long since started, I'm afraid." Jasher is given a smile that's only partially born of politeness before Romulius addresses Lucita more directly as Natasha introduces herself, "We've only met briefly, Baroness, and you would be easily excused for forgetting the encounter. I think that I might have said a word, or two. Romulius Thrax, and her Highness, Princess Natasha Thrax." It's likely more formal than the situation demands, but that's never been a deterrent for him. Gaze is soon drawn towards the evening's hostess at her approach - Mabelle thankfully manages to spare them any need to brave a greeting line to offer their gratitudes and well-wishes. "Lady Mabelle - always a pleasure. I hadn't known we were meant to camouflage ourselves. You'll need excuse our dress." It's mirthful, of course - even politesse would never allow the prince to genuinely apologize for his dark attire. "As for the whiskey, I'll be sure that her Highness does not overimbibe." There's a glance aside to Natasha with the barb, there, though affection hopefully dulls any of its sting.

Grady has picked up a cup of hot chocolate from somewhere, and now finds a place to linger where the duels will be easy to watch. There's a canine curiosity to the way that he angles his head, like a golden retriever when faced with a confusing new toy. He huddles a bit in his cloak; few people built as slightly as he is do well in the cold, at least not for very long.


*** Cesare has called for an opposing check with Bianca. ***
Cesare checks charm and performance at easy. Cesare is successful.
Bianca checks charm and performance at easy. Bianca is successful.
*** Bianca is the winner. ***

Cesare has been practicing skating around somewhat unsteadily on the ice, and he narrows his eyes as his opponent is announced. He wields his candycane decisively at Bianca. En garde! There's a wild flurry of movement, and within thirty seconds, Cesare falls on his butt onto the ice with a loud /oof,/ his candycane breaking right in half. Point to the Legate!

Mabelle collects a large candy cane from one of the servers and angles it in the direction of Deva, attempting to find a loop in her clothes to pull at her, just for fun, a she watches the festivities going, "Hello Prince Patrizio", she notices him belatedly and grins, "I'm glad you braved the cold".

Briefly, Patrizio pulls a face at watching Cesare fall, but the expression vanishes quickly enough into a smile once again, at least with the assurance that nothing - but pride - has been harmed. "I'd not have missed it, my lady," he says with warmth to Mabelle, and another dip of his head. Though there's a brief glance back to the ice. "Something other than skating this year, mmm?"

Deva is in the middle of writing some notes and sending them off with her assistant, all while smiling mischievously into her drink. If there is currently no trouble, make it, clearly. "Good show though, Whisper! And Legate!" she applauds vigorously for Cesare and Bianca after passing off the latest note.

As she is called up, Bianca claims a striped cane and faces off against the handsome Whisper. "Be prepared, Cesare Whisper! I have had expert wrist instruction and-" and then Cesare launches his wild attack and the Legate, a bastion of calm and thought, side steps, leaving that patch of ice open for the Whisper's feet. Down he goes, and she reaches out a free hand, offering to help him back up. "Do I get to claim the pieces of your weapon, my friend? They still look awfully tasty."

Grady winces when Cesare ends up on his butt on the ice, like someone who's got firsthand experience with what that feels like. Which might have something to do with why he isn't in line.

"Well done, Legate Bianca!" cheers Sir Corban for the leader of the Faith as she defeats Cesare in candy candy combat. "I knew you could do it! See? All in the wrist!" It is not clear that Bianca applied that particular chestnut from the knight, but he is going to claim credit nonetheless, as all good teachers do.

Deva also makes a surprised noise at Mabelle as she is tugged at! "Got me!" she laughs and wiggles her nearly empty cup at the hostess.

Mabelle mentions to Patrizio, "There are sleighs at the top of the mountain, snowball fights and and snowman building!", she chuckles at the man, "Pick your game". She cheers Bianca as she wins the duel, "Well done Legate! I am fearful for your next opponant", she sends someone to help Cesare off the ice, "Good run, Softest Whisper".

Watching the first pair face off against once another, Giorgio calls out, "Lets go, Cesare!" And then he's watching as the Whisper winds up falling down in the first thirty seconds and there's a quick laugh that falls past the Lord's lips as he gives a quick clap, "Good showing! And well done, Legate!"

Turn in line: Jerrica

Turn in line: Ryhalt

Turn in line: Alantir

"I was assured that my reputation as a social pariah is in no danger of being undermined by a singular appearance in public," Jasher replies to his cousins' quips with dryness equal to her own. After a moment's pause, the corners of his mouth twitch with the promise of a smile that never fully manifests. When introductions have been duly made, Lady Mabelle's emergence from the crowd is afforded the full weight of his attention, bright, sharp eyes focusing intently upon her features as he patiently waits for others in his party to air their compliments. He follows up with his own, though lacking the same measure of warmth the others managed to conjure. "Lady Mabelle, I hope you're well. You have a habit of outdoing yourself with each successive event. My compliments." Jasher relents and plucks up a mug of hot chocolate, then sips from the side. What foam tops the warm beverage clings to his mustache but for a moment, and then he has the good sense to lick it away discreetly. "There's whiskey?" he inquires, and then sets his sights upon the gift box.

Bianca has joined the line.

Cesare needs no help! He gets to his feat with a groan, one hand at his lower back, and thrusts his candy cane halves at Bianca, muttering something to her under his breath, although there's the hint of a grin hovering at the corner of his mouth as he glides to the edge of the ice pond and undoes his skates.

Lucita gives a graceful curtsy as the royal couple approach. An amicable smile is given to both. "I do recall we have met before and it is a pleasure to see you once again. Prince Jasher and I are friends of several years. Count Domonico and he and I used to practice our skills together in the Southport Taining Center along with whoever else might drop by. The Saiks and Malvici own that in partnership and the Saik Tower was a convenient location for drinks and cooling down after some lively spars.


*** Ryhalt has called for an opposing check with Alantir. ***
Ryhalt checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Ryhalt is successful.
Alantir checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Botch! Alantir fails badly.
*** Ryhalt is the winner. ***

Mabelle announces, "Next up, Duke Farshaw and Prince Valardin! Who will win and brave the wrath of Legate Bianca's candy cane?", she cannot help but laugh at that and then grin even wider in the face of the lack of warmth from Jasher, "Yes, a very special whiskey and I am very pleased you are here. Please be sure to collect one".

There's less shock, but there's certainly surprised, followed by no small degree of inquisitivity when Mabelle reveals the circumstances of the whiskey's birth. It's an interesting one; Natasha, however, finds herself denied from assuaging her curiosity at the hostess' leave, the wink spurring a faintly resigned, but amused look from the Thraxian princess. Next time, Lady Glow of Honey.

Romulius' remarks about overindulging in whiskey prompts his wife to give him a long and level look. "I don't think you've ever seen me actually move past a glass a night," she tells him simply. "Though I don't know if I've imbibed *enough* to hear that from you when I'm never the one anyone has to be concerned with on the subject of overindulgence, not when I've seen just what you can do with three tiers of oysters." Barbs can be affectionate, by her accounting, and her husband's first shot of the evening is one parried with visible and audible relish, ochre-and-amber eyes gleaming from underneath long lashes. En guarde, Your Highness.

Jasher's sudden interest in the whiskey prompts Natasha to lift the bottle she has liberated, surreptitiously, from the gift box after having passed it by the entrance. "Messere Thayne gave me a tour of his distillery a few months ago, it doesn't surprise me at all that he would collaborate to create a label with more interesting properties. He introduced me during that same tour with a new liquor I've never tried before until then. Something called..." A pause, before she rolls the syllables carefully of a deft and deliberate tongue, her accent more pronounced in the effort: "....tequila."

Bianca accepts the crumbled candy cane weapon from Cesare with a deep nod of her shock-white head, whispering something to the Whisper in return, before making her way back to Corban's side. The knight is given a look, and a low word or two, paired with a curving of lips.

Patrizio seems to shudder at the suggestion of the various wintery activities, but there's an appreciative smile for Mabelle at the suggestion of it at least. And he eases back a few paces, the better for him to be watching what's afoot for a few moments and decide, factually, what appeals to him most. Even as he considers the statue of Lord Buzz...

Ryhalt chuckles at the duel between Bianca and Cesare, applauding her win. As his name is announced he steps onto the ice, twirling his cane about his finger. Someone's having entirely too much fun. He grins widely to Alantir as they line up. When it's time to duel, he starts hacking up and down with his cane like a crazy person. It might come to which cane breaks first.

Ryhalt has joined the line.

Alantir Valardin has no idea what to do with a candy cane. Truth be told, he wasn't one hundred percent confident what event he had opted to participate in before raising his hand and volunteering. The staggeringly embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ryhalt is one he will not soon psychologically recover from. Physically, though, he will be fine. Losing his balance and falling in platemail had, after all, become second nature to the knight. "Well played, Duke Farshaw. You're much quicker than I anticipated," the prince jests, offering a friendly smile and polite dip of gaze before retreating from the pool with a pronounced -- and likely exaggerated -- limp.

Mabelle admits to Natasha, "Master Venturo is very talented, its not my first collaboration with him, I think. I enjoy his word greatly". The way Ryhalt goes crazy with the cane makes her blink thrice, murmuring to whoever is in her viccinty, "Remind me not to irritate Duke Farshaw, goodness", her hand resting on her chest. It does not surprise her he managed to de-balance Alantir, such crazy will de-balance a mamoth. Still, she claps her hands, "Well done, well done!", she cheers them both and grins at Alantir, "I'm glad you could make it, I did not see you come in".

Turn in line: Giorgio

Turn in line: Corban

"Alan, YOU aren't supposed to break your leg TOO!" yells Deva from her seat, through cupped hands even though she really doesn't need to do that to make her voice heard. And yet, she's clearly embracing making a spectacle of it all. Poor Alantir. "Good show though!" she yells for both the Valardin and for Ryhalt with a laugh.

Mention of the late Count of Caer Morien draws out a wan smile, an apologetic dip of head given by Romulius to Lucita in response. "His passing was incredibly unfortunate, though I've every confidence that his legacy will be carried forth by Malvici and Magnotta alike. He was an impressive talent with a sword - I'm sure you're nearly as lethal." Less unpleasant topics arise, though, when the subject of libation is broached on whiskey and Venturo's many enterprises. Natasha's invocation of the unfamiliar spirit gets a quick nod, lips pursing in consideration before her husband continues, "I've not had the pleasure, since your first mention of it. You'll need to secure a bottle for the study." Or two, if the princess's comments on his own drinking habits are anything more than a riposte of verbal foil. It will be addressed in time. For now, though, a flask is retrieved from once more from a breast pocket, its cap undone before steel is turned skyward to take in a bit of rum. It's offered to Jasher, afterwards, "Rum, if you'd prefer." Attention shifts back to Natasha, vivid blue eyes seeking out hers to offer a bit of rebuke for the earlier barb, "As for your habits of excess, I recall a *very* important morning in Maelstrom where you awoke without all of your senses. I've at least the talent to hide my regrets, where libation is concerned."

Ryhalt looks surprised when Alantir falls, but covers it up quickly. Had he gone a bit *too* crazy? He chuckles at Alantir's jest, grinning widely. "It does seem to be a game about speed or luck. Thank you for the duel." He heads off to the side to watch the next pairings.

Jasher takes Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.


*** Corban has called for an opposing check with Giorgio. ***
Corban checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Critical Success! Corban is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.
Giorgio checks charm and performance at easy. Giorgio marginally fails.
*** Corban is the winner. ***

Bianca puts her hands together for the candy cane bout between the Duke Farshaw and Alantir. "A study in lethal prowess! My shivers have nothing to do with the cold, all of a sudden."

Corban has joined the line.

Lucita says, "Swords? No, I just use small weapons, daggers of choice, but other small weapons work well. Swordsmen need to know how to defend against small weapons as much as we need to know how to handle a swordsman attacking, so we practiced together. It was interesting and I lost every spar save one that lasted so long we counted it as a draw.""

Even more of the (admittedly very fine) whiskey isn't enough to get Patrizio to consider to take part in this dueling on the ice - that there are other activities doesn't seem to draw his attention either. He, instead, meanders over towards where others are settled and cheering things on, his voice playfully low to Deva when he's approaching. "Just how many people have broken their legs this evening? Seems that this got more exciting then than I'd thought."

Corban murmurs back and forth with his Legate date, touching her arm lightly at points, the whispers coming to an end when the Lady hosting the games, Mabelle, declares that he is up to duel with Giorgio. With some formality to it, the First Captain takes his weapon from the attendant and then raises it to the sky in a salute to his dueling partner, as he might at the training center. And then the signal is given to fight and ...

Wait, where did Giorgio's candy cane go? In one sharp motion, Corban brings his own, knocks it out of his hand and picks it up in his own, so that he is duel wielding. "A honor to face you," he says, bowing his head to his vanquished and perhaps puzzled foe.

Cesare snort laughs at the spectacle in front of him, rising up from his sitting position to stand again and wandering over to catch the very tail end of Romulius' mention of a certain Thrax princess rising without all of her senses. "I heard nothing," he says, motioning for Grady to come over and join them as well. He considers Jasher, blinking at the tall gentleman with curiosity. "And is this a Thrax I've yet to meet? Do you come out of the woodwork? I swear every week there's some new and important face I've somehow completely managed to never be introduced to." He bows, sweeping low at the waist. "Softest Whisper Cesare. Speaking of Master Thayne's many entrepreneurial ventures, I've just been recruited to perform at yet another one, opening soon."

"Oh, mine wasn't from tonight! Mine's been bad since Bastion," Deva confesses with a laugh and a reassuring wave of her hand for Patrizio. "No ice for me today. I'd be all about it if I could move around, it's exactly my type of fun, but... I guess I'd better sit here and drink instead," she smiles and lifts a shoulder in a casual shrug. "No slipping and sliding for you this evening, Prince Patrizio?"

Bianca is suddenly looking very wary as she nibbles on the broken pieces of Cesare's candy cane, watching Corban's bout with Giorgio. "... did anyone even see his hand move?" The Legate squints, but also applauds. Warily.

Caprice gets Funky, Wild Winter - A Raconteur and Laurent Whiskey from A Raconteur Gift Box of Alcohol.

Grady's eyes are still a little bit big from the violent sight of Alantir hitting the ice in all his armor when he makes his way over to Cesare. "Is it, ah, are these parties usually so violent?"

Stepping up when he's called to face off against Corban, Giorgio is dipping a nod of his head towards Corban, smile dancing to his lips, "Good look." Readying his weapon, he stands and when the call is given to start, the Proscipi Lord suddenly finds himself without a weapon, his tasty weapon no longer in his grasp. There's a blink and then a laugh when he realizes that Corban is now wielding it and he's giving a shake of his head, "Well played. It would seem that I didn't even have a chance." A dip of his head and he's moving off the field.

Mabelle laughs helplessly at Patrizio's commentary, that she totally caught with all the excitment, "You know after setting everyone on fire during the honey festival and making them stab themselves in the one festival before, I truly was trying to tone it down!", she shakes her head, gazing back at the 'ice rink' only to watch Corban not even leaving Giorgio a chance, "Oh goodness me. Well done Sir Corban, well done!", she claps her hands and gazes at Giorgio, "Good run, my lord". Grady's question makes her widen her eyes and look guilty, "Goodness no! Do you need medical attention Prince Alantis?"

"The only thing that has broken, Princess Redrain, is my ego," Alantir mutters, moving to take a seat at the redhead's side. He gives her frame a once-over before narrowing his gaze and gesturing toward the ring. If she weren't still recovering from her injuries, he would've hauled her into the center of the ring and dueled her himself. Now comfortable, he permits gaze to explore the gardens and festival's partygoers.

Turn in line: Bianca

Turn in line: Ryhalt

The smile on Patrizio's face does dim slightly at the mention of Bastion, but he does dip his head. "I hope you're healing up quickly then," he muses. And a chuckle. "I'm not much of a /winter/ person, I fear - it's why I'd not gone to Bastion initially, truth be told. But..." He considers this for a few moments, and then there's a shake of his head. "I'd enjoyed the skating last year, but I fear that snowballs and sledding aren't in my wheelhouse, as it were. The drinking, though, your highness..." He lifts his glass playfully. "That I'm happy to join in, in the frosty outdoors, with all other comers."

Mabelle's quip does get another lift of the prince's glass to her as well. "Fire would be appreciated right now, though!" He calls out.

Winter, A Highhill Puppy arrives, following Kiera.

Caprice is late! Caprice is not going to blend in easily wearing fox fur red and Velenosa violet. But she takes her time enjoying the decorations, and studying the spread of refreshments, before drifting towards the crowd of those already enjoying festivities.

Mabelle points out the outdoor hearth to Patrizio.


*** Ryhalt has called for an opposing check with Bianca. ***
Ryhalt checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Ryhalt is successful.
Bianca checks charm and performance at easy. Bianca is successful.
*** Ryhalt is the winner. ***

"If only," Cesare asides cheerfully to Grady. "I set my own pants on fire while trying to perform some type of new dance, Lady Mabelle!" he calls. "I haven't forgotten!"

"Wow." Ryhalt blinks at Corban. "If I'm up against him, I better bring out the extra crazy, I don't think I'm *that* fast." Plotting, he taps his candy cane against his jaw. Seeing he's up against Bianca, he lets out a mock sigh of relief and hands back to the ice again. This time he jabs the curved end towards her candy cane like he's trying to hook her cane out of her hand. Maybe he thinks this is tug-o-war or something.

Solemnity, for a brief moment or two, is a visible presence on Natasha's pale expression at the mention of a recent death, though she adds very little to Romulius' own condolences - he is armed with enough eloquence to speak for the both of them when politesse demands it. As a familiar voice joins their party however, more warmth colors her barely-smiling veneer, dark eyes falling on Cesare as he approaches with an unfamiliar face. "I've only recently heard that you were recently named Softest Whisper. My congratulations," she tells the man as he ventures towards them. "As for hearing nothing, do try to take my husband's account with a grain of salt - he can't be said to be a credible witness when he wasn't there, unless, of course, he conspired with my captors and therefore knows *precisely* what my abduction was for, in which case he shouldn't count now that he's outed himself as an accomplice." Mischief toys with the amber constellations buried in her predominantly obsidian stare, like gold that has yet to be unearthed, before a pale hand gestures between the Whisper and her cousin. "May I present my cousin, Prince Jasher Thrax, recently returned to us from long campaigns at sea. Jasher, this is the Softest Whisper, Cesare."

"Oh, your ego will be just fine," scoffs Deva at Alantir with a knowing shake of her head as he settles in beside her. "I'll fight you when I'm up and about again. Don't worry. You can redeem yourself." She cracks a smile over the rim of her glass before she draws a long, necessary sip. "Quickly? Ahh... not so much. But healing, aye. It'll be a nice, nasty scar though. I don't see many showy skirts in my future," she laughs aside to Patrizio, shoulders bouncing higher. "You just need the practice. Southern lounging by the water wasn't -my- thing either, but I came to enjoy it after some time in the Lyceum. You should really see the mountains after they've just been dusted with a fresh coat. There's nothing like seeing a vast carpet of fresh snow, untouched, just ready for your boots to crunch a path." She sighs wistfully. "Alas, here we sit to drink through. Cheers," she raises her whiskey to toast Patrizio with an easy smile.

Patrizio briefly, almost petulantly, extends his tongue to Mabelle when she's pointing him to the fire, but it's all in good spirits as he smiles too about it, and sips as if that's to hep him warm from within instead. Deva's words get a chuckle, and the lift of one of those thin brows, before he murmurs, "One never know.s. It might be a thing to encourage tales of bravery and draw a coterie of admirers in the right environment. Though not out in the cold of winter, perhaps. And it might take me more than a few drinks to be thinking of enjoying the snowy north." Though he does lift his glass in return of her toast with one of his own. "To your health, highness."

"Ah, is that the challenge now? Very well." Bianca nods her head in assent when she sees Ryhalt's new approach, and switches her own candy cane around gamely. She slides around the ice, making him work for the win, sliding her own candy cane hook towards his and parying back. It's all in the wrist, that's what she was taught! But a wrist flick gone awry sees Bianca's weapon being snared from her and flung across the ice, impaling itself near a crowd of onlookers with all of Ryhalt's dangerous force. It leaves the Legate weaponless and bowing her head to the Duke. "I concede. Good luck." Poor, poor Ryhalt.

"Oh no!" declares Sir Corban from the sidelines when his date, Bianca, is vanquished by the Duke, shaking his head. "It is in the //wrist//," he repeats again, as if simply saying the same words, more slowly, would solve the problem of Bianca not winning her duel. "Regardless! You were a valiant fighter! Well done!"

Ryhalt has joined the line.

Jasher nods in agreement at the close of Baroness Lucita's succinct depiction of their history and relation to one another, though in the wake of Count Domonico's brief mention, the prince drops his gaze to the empty space at the heart of their loose gathering, and the muscles of his jawline contract with applied pressure. It takes a moment for him to collect his senses before he can utter a suitable response, which is made as his eyes lift and vacillate between Natasha, Romulius and Lucita. "To Count Domonico." The flask of rum offered by his cousin is accepted with an appreciative inclination of his head, then tilted back against his pursed lips for a healthy swig, no doubt in honor of his late friend taken too soon and in such a manner as to defy belief. The vessel is handed back to Romulius noticeably lighter than it was upon relinquishment. Whisper Cesare's arrival to the conversation is observed with an attentive shift of his body in his general direction, and when words of greeting are spoken directly to him, Jasher balks, listens to the fullness of his introduction, and replies with a respectful bend at the waist when Natasha takes the initiative to make his introduction for him. "Your name and reputation precede you, Softest Whisper, and I suspect by its widespread circulation that yours is the true face of importance. A pleasure."

Mabelle claps her hands toward the rink and cheers, Well done Duke Farshaw, Legate! I hope you use that wrist to give Sir Corban a good smack on the arm", she winks to her, "But not now, Duke Farshaw, stay on the ice! We are in the final battle for the evening! Who will be the CANDY CANE CHAPMION?", she hypes herself mostly. "Are there bets?", she does not wait for bets though and invites them to the rink.

Turn in line: Corban

Turn in line: Ryhalt

"At risk of offending, Baroness, I'd daresay a dagger is the last weapon I'd choose in a duel - that you managed to drag the Count to a standstill with one is a feat in itself." The nod of acknowledgment Romulius gives to Lucita at her explanation is one of deference and praise. When the flask is returned, it's lifted to echo Jasher's impromptu toast, "To Count Domonico." It's a moment later that eyes shift towards the approach of Cesare and Grady, the vessel returned to a pocket before he offers a greeting. "Master Whisper - I'm left to realize that since we've been properly introduced, I've failed to see a single performance, of yours." Gaze wanders somewhere past the two, though, towards a new arrival in the way of Caprice, the Guildmaster an easy mark to make in the distinct scarlets and purples. She's given a nod of greeting, though it could just as easily be lost in the crowd that's turned up for the Laurents' celebration, and attention soon returns to the group that he's found himself in. His wife, seemingly, has caught him in a verbal snare, and there isn't a soul in the world familiar with the both of them that would assume the prince to be capable of escaping it by guile alone. "Had there been a proper abduction, there'd have been far less blood in your eyes the next day and far more staining the deck." In some social circles, in the Mourning Isles, violence can pass for wit. He might not realize that the statement proves Natasha's accusation to be true, though.

Ryhalt laughs as he and Bianca end up sliding about the ice until he finally sends her cane flying. He watches it go. "Oh..er... watch out! Sorry about that..." He grins sheepishly before he looks back to Bianca with a smile. "A good match Legate Bianca, nearly had me with all the ice there."


*** Corban has called for an opposing check with Ryhalt. ***
Corban checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Corban is successful.
Ryhalt checks dexterity and athletics at easy. Ryhalt is successful.
*** Corban is the winner. ***

Mabelle has joined the a winter sleigh lined in warm furs.

Bianca passes Corban on her way to the sidelines, murmuring something low to the First Captain as she passes, and calling out to Mabelle's invitation for bets, "Not even the gods would dare predict the outcome of the fierce battle sure to come."

When Sir Corban is called back to the ice, he brandishes his two candy canes, his and the one he secured as a prize from Giorgio until the attendant tells him that is, in fact, only one candy cane per fighter, it just is not fair otherwise. And so it is that Corban repeats the salute to the Duke across from him before he begins to push in. The fight this time is fairer, full with sweet thrust and parry.

Mabelle laughs helplessly to Bianca, "I would not dare it either", she spies Grady somewhere in the crowd and begins to introduce him to some of those around, "Lord Grady Deepwood, have you met Prince Patrizio Pravus and Princess Deva Redrain?"

The true face of importance, having just recounted setting his pants on fire, lays his hand on Romulius's shoulder briefly. "The gods will judge you for your actions, your highness," he says, so seriously that he can only possibly be joking, particularly when paired with a wink. In case there has been too much rum for dry humor. "Princess Natasha, Prince Romulius, Prince Jasher, may I introduce Lord Grady Deepwood? New to the city, I understand. And I am supposed to perform tonight, although with short notice it will not be my most notable performance, I admit." He shakes his head, tucking his hair over his shoulder. "I haven't been abducted a single time in my time in the city. The most danger I've found myself in is at Prince Noah Grayson's awful parties, you know. Alas."

He glances at the fray occurring on the ice, as a winner seems to emerge. "And thank you for the kind congratulations on my promotion, Princess Natasha. Prince Jasher - how long have you been in the city and you've managed to avoid me, but heard all the doubtless saccharinely untrue things these liars have to say about me? Don't believe a word of it: I am a wastrel, and I sing like a mad chicken."

Watching as Corban tries to make use of his stolen weapon, Giorgio is giving a shake of his head, along with the hint of a laugh, "Gods. That would just make it even worse." Thankfully, the attendant makes him use a single weapon and there's a grin on his lips as he watches the match, only to then call out, "Good showing, both of you!"

Ryhalt blinks at Mabelle. "Stay...er.. what happened to Princess Jerrica?" He looks about and finds her trying to charm some animal. His face looks like this is a common accurate and he laughs, glancing over at Corban. "Maybe I'll be able to see the trick this time." doubtful. Putting up a playful guard he gets ready to face off with Corban. Seems it isn't as tricky this time, so he laughs as they go back and forth a few times until his candy cane shatters under the stress. "Nooo... not like this!" Chuckling, he flashes a grin at Corban. "Well fought!"

"I've had the pleasure - actually just before coming up here," Patrizio offers back to Mabelle when she inquires, and there's a dip of his head to Grady once more. "Not that I was of a mind to imitate you, my lord, but... I did think that support for our hostess was a good idea worth emulating." There's a turn of his head to Deva, before he offers, "Lord Grady and I were at the Queensrest, entertaining there a bit before the festival."

Lucita says, "To Count Domonico" She toasts with the drink she has. A little vague waving of the hand seems to discount her weaponry skills, lesser in comparison to larger blades but still useful enough. "Softest Whisper Cesare, congratulations indeed, you have deserved that long ago. And please, tell me it isn't so, that you have deprived these fine folks of your skills with dulcimer and clavichord, with your memorial voice." She glances at each of the others in the grouping that is indulging in conversation as she speaks. "Perhaps soon you will gift them with one of your songs, I can highly recommend you."

"Well fought!" declares Sir Corban, the CANDY CANE CHAMPION of the evening, to his defeated foe, bowing his head to the Duke Farshaw in good sport. "You almost had me there." But he then steps off the ice and makes his way back to Bianca, winking at her as he rejoins her side, leaning down to murmur something.

Mabelle mentions to Ryhalt, "Princess Jerrica went to hide after seeing you go insane on a candy cane", yes that rhymes. She grins at Corban as he triumphs the battle, "Well done Sir Corban, Champion of the candy cane war! Duke Farshaw, good battle".

Mabelle is overheard praising Corban: Champion of the Candy Cane

Mabelle is overheard praising Ryhalt: I would not get in his way!

Bianca brings her hands together for the Candy Cane Champion, Sir Corban. "The swiftest slayer of sweet the City of Arx has ever known! Congratulations, Sir Corban. Truly, this seems like it ought to be your weapon of choice from now on." The Legates words tease and she offers soft words back to the First Captain of the King's Own in return.

Deva snorts at some note she receives, shaking her head with some amused smile as she jots down a quick response. Her chin lifts to regard Patrizio first, face brightening with a grateful smile. "Thank you, your highness. And to yours as well." As Mabelle starts to make introductions, she straightens and smiles in a friendly fashion at Grady. "I don't think we have, no, pleased to meet you. You'll find I am stereotypical of my people in that the snow thrills me to no end. It could snow forever and I'd--" Then she ducks her head and smiles. "I'll stop before I get chased out of here." Her eyes widen, "Ah, I haven't been to the Queensrest in ages. I should fix that sometime." She then leans to murmur something to Alantir, gesturing with an upturned palm.

Ryhalt squints skeptically at how Mabelle tries to spin Jerrica's disappearance. "Start hacking away with a candy cane just one time and everyone thinks you're crazy." He shrugs, chuckling, and starts chewing up the end of his candy cane which remains. "Was a fun time, thank you, Lady Mabelle."

Perhaps because of all the cold, Grady is a little more muted than he's been in smaller, warmer settings. His expression is pleasant, just a trace of a smile touching his mouth and bringing some light to his eyes, but he's watchful, as well. Once drawn closer to groups of people, they, rather than the fight on the ice, have his attention. He brightens once addressed directly, however, and summons a truly brilliant smile to go with a well executed, if not especially graceful bow. "It's a pleasure to meet all of you. Ah! Prince Patrizio. How did I miss your arrival? I'm glad to see that you've braved the cold to join us." He looks from Patrizio to Deva, and his smile, somehow, finds a way to widen. He raises his eyebrows to the former, but speaks to Deva. "As long as you promise to complain about the heat this summer around our southern friends, I don't think anyone will fault you for enjoying the cold, now."

Mabelle reaches into her bag to collect a small velvet bag hosting a honey onyx and offers it to Corban, "Your sparkly prize, Lord Champion", she winks to him before eyeing Ryhalt, "You have a tendency to go crazy in events, I will have to bar your enterance". With others mingling, she leaves other activities aside and lets others just unwind. She ends up sitting inside one of the sleighs on the bottom of the mountain, resting with a chocolate mug in her hand, enjoying the view of her guests.

Giorgio checked dexterity + manipulation at difficulty 25, rolling 13 higher.

Cesare's dry wit is on par to her own, and Natasha can only direct appreciation to the newly-minted Softest Whisper at his flawless demonstration of a deadpan. So much, in fact, that the princess is *visibly* fighting the impulse of the shape of her mouth to curve even further, hoarding what a grin may look like upon her face to herself. With Grady's own introduction, however, curiosity flares anew in near-black eyes as she regards the lord - her attentiveness is unobtrusive, but incisive, her scrutiny sweeping over him in an automatic attempt to carve his likeness somewhere within very long and detailed memories. She prides herself for never forgetting a face, but it is a skill that takes constant practice. "Well met, my lord," she addresses Grady. "Arx can be chaotic and confusing, but it is one of the most interesting locales one might find, if not just for the people, alone." To Cesare again, she adds, "As for your lack of abductions, Softest, we'll see how long that holds once everyone else hears you sing."

Described as a wastrel that sings like a mad chicken, the princess turns serious eyes towards her cousin, a sober nod given. "It's true," she says, in that distressingly convincing way when she clads herself with all the gravitas of a Crown magistrate. "That's what I truly meant about an abduction, the moment he sings, one cannot help but be seized with the impulse to stuff this menace in a sack and take him far away across the ocean for the sake of the greater good." *She's helping, Cesare!* The words followed with a quick wink, an index finger lifts, to point in an exaggerated fashion towards Romulius, the deadpanned expression *utterly unchanging*. "Aha. A clue." He *did* know, unable to resist the lure he presents, though even in spite of her needling, she somehow manages to exude subtle affection. She has made her own gestures, here, but one hand remains tucked securely in the Sword of New Hope's elbow, enveloped by his broader shadow.

Alantir raises his gauntlets and joins the chorus of applause celebrating Corban's victory. He appears to be content simply observing the relative beauty of the grounds and eavesdropping on the conversations taking place amongst his peers. When Deva mutters something into his ear, he cants his head to the side and nods in affirmation. "I'd very nearly forgotten," the knight confesses, rising to his feet and offering the woman his palm immediately after. "You don't want to miss the messenger before they depart for the evening. If we take our leave now, you may be able to catch him."

When the honey onyx is presented to him, Corban bows his head and accepts it from Mabelle, giving her a broad smile. "Thank you so much, my lady. I am delighted to receive such a distinctly Laurent item for my victories." The gem is deposited in his pocket and he turns back to the Legate. "Shall we take a sled ride?" he suggests, gesturing to the top of the hill.

Mabelle has left the a winter sleigh lined in warm furs.

Playfully, Patrizio snorts when Grady's commenting so about the matter of complaining about the winter and the snows. "You forget that her highness lived a good while in the south, so she's not about to melt when the sun arrives, my good lord," he says, with a warm, friendly laugh for the Deepwood lord. "But no. It's perhaps time for me indeed to retire from the cold and go warm myself from without, since the from within might well have me falling /into/ a snowbank on my way back to my bed at the rate I'm going." There's a playful twinkle to his eye as he gives a bow to Deva and Mabelle. "Your highness, my lady, my good lord. If you'll all excuse me." And with a special smile to Mabelle for the moment. "Thank you for having me, by the way. Perhaps next time, if it permits, I'll take a turn on the ice once more."

Mabelle evacuates the sleigh in favor of Bianca and Corban and travels to the patio instead, where she encounters the departing Deva, Alantir and Patrizio, "I was just heading in your direction, but it is very cold tonight . Thank you all for attending, do not forget to take your whiskey! Deva, I will come find you in the morning", she promises as she settles down by the hearth.

Mabelle has joined the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

"This isn't NEARLY as hot as-- places," Deva's eyes are suddenly wide and she clears her throat with a tilt of her face into her own shoulder. Smoooooth. Real smooth. She summons an awkward smile and attempts to quickly smile and nod at Grady. "I'll only complain a little," she promises with a hand in the air. With another nod for Alantir, and some more focus smoothing over her features, she accepts the aid of his hand and starts to rise. Normally she'd do so on her own, but she's not one to refuse help where it's obviously needed to limp away. "Please, yes. Thank you. Enjoy the fun and the crisp air," she directs the latter bits to Patrizio and Grady with a bob of her head and then a wave for Mabelle. "Of course. Thank you as ever, Lady Mabelle. Enjoy your evening!"

Deva is overheard praising Mabelle.

Ryhalt smirks at Mabelle. "Look, the food throwing this time was not my fault." A beat. "Not entirely my fault. It was part of the game!" He gestures at the candy cane debris for evidence. "Try to bar me, I really will just climb in." He nods cheerfully and heads over to where the drinks are to get something warm.

Bianca extends her hand to Corban, a wordless assent, footsteps already turning in the direction of the sleds. Their hushed conversation continues along the way.

6 First Legion Centurions leaves, following Patrizio.

Lucita lowers her amber gaze and then lifts it as she follows along with the conversation. A refill of her warm drink complete with a splash of whiskey is attained and she looks aside to the Thrax royals to offer them a little wink. "And despite that my sister in law is his patron, those compliments are sincere. Softest Whisper and I played dulcimer duets for King Alaric back about this time of year in 1007. He taught me a lot about some of Arx society, when I was a newcomer to the city.

Reclaiming himself another drink, Giorgio is watching as things begin to slow down and people are taking their leave and he's making his way back over towards the seating by the hearth, dipping a nod of his head towards Mabelle who has already settled there, "Again, Lady Mabelle, well done and thank you for the opportunity to embarass myself. Though I'm certain I didn't need an excuse to do so." A quick smile is given as he moves to settle himself down into one of the seats.

Giorgio has left the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

Giorgio has joined the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

"But surely, she could pretend," Grady protests to Patrizio with a hint of a cheerful whine to his voice, no real hard feelings here. "It was wonderful to meet you, Princess Deva. I shall look forward to those complaints in a few months time." He angles his head and fixes Natasha with the full wattage of his smile. "Do you know, your highness, I never would have thought to describe Arx as chaotic, confusing and interesting, but I don't think I could have encapsulated the city so concisely."

Deva has left the a cozy sofa nook.

Avalanche, a fluffy mountain pup, Jasper, an unflappable scoundrel, 2 Redrain Guards, 1 Redrain Veteran Guards leave, following Deva.

Mabelle rolls her eyes amusedly at Ryhalt, "You just enjoy the chaos. And I find people embarrasing themselves are the most enjoyable, memorable moments", she mentions to Giorgio, "Which is why I makde them set themselves on fire", perfect sense. She calls out to Lucita then, "I have no doubt your performance was a very memorable moment, as they all are, but a collaboration? I will have to see that sometime", she nods toward Cesare. She welcomes both Ryhalt and Grady toward the hearth, "Chaotic you say? See Ryhalt? You are scaring him and he just got here".

"Lord Deepwood, a pleasure." Romulius gives a polite smile to Grady at Cesare's introduction of the man, a muted nod given along with the expression. Abductions and wastrels earn a look of amusement, though it escapes further comment by the prince. He's offered the Softest Whisper plenty of praise, before - adding to it tonight will doubtlessly swell the Setarcan talent's head and interrupt for the performance that's allegedly impending. Brows flash to Natasha when she begins to arrange the pieces of whatever puzzle it is they've hinted at, though the look of affection is interrupted by a cleared throat and a bow from a courier wearing the livery expected of a servant of House Thrax. It's a rare thing, that these letters are delivered to him rather than the woman on his elbow, but the missive delivered is accepted with a wary look. Parchment is unfurled and looked over with a moment's consideration, lips pursing in apparent frustration before a quick aside is whispered to his wife. As the letter is stuffed somewhere into a breast pocket, there's an apologetic look delivered to the group that they've found themselves in. "You will need to forgive us, I'm afraid. Duty refuses to wait, even for a performance by the Softest Whisper." To the hostess, there's a more direct call, "Lady Mabelle - you'll need allow us to host *you*, soon. Thank you for the invitation, and for the evening."

It is a rather simple thing for Sir Corban to drag the sled up to the top of the hill, one hand on the tow rope and another in Legate Bianca's as they walk together and talk. Once the sled has reached the summit, he gestures for the priestess to get in first and then he settles in behind her, as befits the heavier member of their group.

"Shall we, Legate?" he asks, gesturing to the run before them.

Giorgio is giving a little laugh at Mabelle's comment, a quick nod coming to be offered in the process, "Fair enough and I really can't disagree with your logic on the matter." Lifting his drink to his lips, he's taking a small sip, savoring the taste of it before lowering it back down. His gaze plays over towards those that are taking their leave and he dips a nod of greeting to them.

Lord Grady Deepwood is treated to the very same bend at the waist in a respectful, albeit strict, bow of introduction. "Prince Jasher Thrax. Welcome, and a pleasure to meet you," Jasher murmurs, his blue irises maintaining focus upon the man's smiling face. They list to rest upon Whisper Cesare thereafter so that he can appropriately respond to probing inquiries. "Just these two months, but long enough, it seems. You are either far too modest or the masses are utterly deaf. I look forward to discovering the truth for myself in due course." The prince inclines his head politely toward the comely man of fashion. When his cousins announce their intention to depart, Jasher turns to face them. The angle of his gaze suggests he's noticed the missive and the subsequent reaction it elicited from Romulius. He does not remark upon it, and instead nods once in understanding. "Good evening to you both. Be well."

Caprice is there, at least long enough to enjoy a drink and a good round of distant clothes appreciation. But as it often goes, work sidles up to whisper about some professional emergency or another. Thrusting a half-finished beverage into the messenger's hand, Caprice points emphatically towards the snow before attempting an unobtrusive retreat.

Mabelle rises a moment to offer a bow of her head to Natasha and Romulius, "I'll look forward to it, thank you for joining tonight. I hope you enjoy the Whiskey. Keep away sharp objects", she suggests. In general. There is nothing dangerous about that Whiskey. No. Her smile is directed to Bianca and Corban as they climb the mountain when she notices the funny looking Snowman built by Giorgio, "Is that what you were doing there? Its hilarious! And its the only one so you win!", she laughs and goes through her bag.

"I enjoy the escape from the ledgers." Ryhalt shrugs to Mabelle. "You do? That does explain the candle game last time. Next you'll have a dress up a helpless victim contest or something. I might work harder to get myself barred from that one." Grinnning, he nods to that being a good event to avoid. He heads to the hearth after getting some food, lifting his eyebrows at the notion of him scaring someone. "Huh. It'll just get worse. This'll be a tame luxury we yearn to have." With that comment he settles at the hearth, leaning towards his page as she finds him and whispers into his ear.

Ryhalt has joined the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

Cesare checks charm and performance at normal. Cesare is successful.

Corban checks strength and ride at normal. Corban is successful.

"It's true." Grady is happy to play along with Mabelle, although without any real effort at being convincing when he does so. "I have a very delicate constitution. Easily terrified by sudden flashes of light and loud noises. You'll find me under the bed during the next thunderstorm." When bowed to by Jasher, he stops himself just short of bowing back and initiating some kind of awful bow-ception. "Will this be your first time hearing Softest Cesare perform, too? I've heard rumors of stones weeping at the beauty of his voice."

It's no easy task to climb a snow mountain in a brocade gown, but Bianca manages it with Corban's steadying hand. Her black-and-silver skirts take up a good deal of room in the sled, leaving the First Captain to wedge himself in behind her. "Oh, we shall. There must be someone down there who will stitch us back together when all goes awry, hm?"

Romulius is overheard praising Mabelle.

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

4 Thrax Guards, Natasha leave, following Romulius.

Aaaand away we go! Corban pushes off the sled with his hand, keeping a hand on the rope to make sure he is not sending the sharp blades on the bottom either rolling over or smashing into anyone. It's a tricky balance to strike, no doubt, but he manages it, easing the sled down the fast run into the bottom and to a stop well short of any of the other people or drinks or events at the party.

"Ta-da!" he declares for Bianca. "I told you we'd make it."

When Mabelle takes note of the snowman, Giorgio is glancing over in that direction, only to then look back over towards her, a quick chuckle coming to be offered as he gives a little nod of his head, "That is indeed one. I thought, perhaps, something funny would be a little more welcome in light of everything that is going on." A fingertip taps against his glass as he follows that with, "And I had thought there would have been more entries. But I'll certainly not turn down being the only and winning by default."

Everyone seems to be leaving, which naturally means it's the perfect time to perform. Not that there was a perfect time, with so many different opportunities going on at once, but Cesare has certainly picked one of the least opportune. He excuses himself, retrieves his lute, and settles down near the hearth to check the tuning. It doesn't really need to be tuned - he probably tuned it before he came, all told - but when one sings like a mad chicken, one does what one can. It is not one of /his/ songs, so it lacks somewhat in the particular complexity and contrast that his compositions ordinarily have, but nor is it your typical folk fare; instead, it's a tale of something lost, hidden deep under layers of frost, snow, and ice. The instrumentation is played on the lower strings of his lute, while the melody is thin and fine, showcasing the upper half of Cesare's range - like a thread of gold, weaving through the ponderous music.

Years and years pass. Whatever's hidden under the frozen mountain is forgotten by all but one. Generations are born and die, and no-one remembers anything was lost at all. Until one day, spring comes to the mountain with the strangest phenomenon: the rain falls from the sky warm as tears, and melts away the ice and snow, to reveal that the mountain was only a hill once, and in the hollow of the hill, a heart of the strangest crystal, still beating.

Jasher is overheard praising Mabelle: Lady Mabelle manages to make winter enjoyable.

Mabelle grins at Giorgio and hands him another little velvet bag, "Duke Farshaw is very welcoming and not at all scary, but do not worry, Lord Deepwood", she smiles to Grady, "He only whacks people with sticks that he likes", she chuckles. Mabelle then offers a clap of her hands to the only pair who braved the sleds and then promises Giorgio, "It wasnt by default. Well yes but actually no".
5rAs Cesare breaks into song, Mabelle's hand move to rest upon her chest and once its over, she applauds the man quite heartily, "Magnificent!", wiping a tear that threatens her cheek.

Lucita claps for Ceasare. "Oh, that was wonderful, just as nice as I remembered! You do so well."

For once, sledding down the hill, the Legate of Creation looks her age. Youth and beauty in bloom, excitement and joy, all of these things dance across her face as she flies through the snow at the expert guidance of Sir Corban. There's even *laughter*. There's even a blush on her albino cheeks as they come to a sliding halt at the bottom. "I should have known we would, with your steady strength. Well done, Sir Corban!" Quieter words are murmured after, a nod of Bianca's head given.

Lucita is overheard praising Cesare: Skillful entertainer.

Grady bows to Ryhalt. "In that case, my lord, I shall endeavor to be as detestable as I can." He hasn't left! And for all his joking about weeping stones, he really does look like he wants to hear Cesare play. He falls silent once the song begins and that bright smile fades, taking with it some of the brilliance in his eyes, from his features while he watches and listens.

There is a nod to whatever Bianca says to him, and Corban then takes her hand and begins to lead her off towards the exit from the gardens, bowing his head to the hostess as they pass. "Lady Mabelle. Thank you for a wonderful evening. Truly!"

As a bag is passed over to him, Giorgio is accepting it from Mabelle, a grin tugging to his lips as he dips his head in her direction once again, "Yes, it was. I will freely admit that and take my win where I can. Especially after my defeat at the hands of Sir Corban." A little chuckle and then he's looking amongst those that have remained and when Corban announces their departure, he's lifting a hand to give a wave, "Again, Sir Corban, well done in disarming me."

Mabelle smiles warmly to Corban and Bianca as they depart, "Thank you for attending, Legate, Sir. Have a pleasant nice".

Mabelle chuckles aside at Giorgio, "We should all strive to take our wins where we can find them. And Lord Deepwood, you will find that very hard particularly if you enjoy coffee. The Farshaws are those in charge of it in the city". Her eyes drift to Jasher and Lucita, "I hope the City welcomes you to its embrace, my Prince? Baroness, I pray you have kept safe?"

"Good evening, Lady Mabelle. It was even more wonderful than I could have imagined. I do hope I might rope you into helping me with the Harvest festivals coming up? I'll corner you soon," the Legate promises with ominous good cheer before she follows Sir Corban away.

Archimedes, the Grim Face of Owlish Judgement, Sir Alren, Scholar Duran, a perpetually put-upon assistant, 5 Templar Knight guards, Clementine leave, following Bianca.

Reedy, a King's Own aide, Bianca leave, following Corban.

Ryhalt sends his page off running before he grins to Grady. "Endeavor to be detestable? I don't know that you need to go that far." He perks up at Mabelle mentioning coffee. "Yes, indeed, if you enjoy coffee, you definitely need to visit the Bold Espressions at least once!"

Lucita listens to some of the interactions between others and hides a grin behind her mug of hot drink. She glances over toward Jasher then back at Maybelle. "So far so good, worrisome times and a lot of travel even if it is winter and not the easiest time to trek places, but it's being managed as best we can."

Jasher folds his hands behind his back idly while taking up a position between Lord Grady and Baroness Lucita. His eyes follow Cesare as he mounts the stage and plays a lovely, dulcet song upon his lute, and his voice is very decidedly the opposite of a mad chicken, to the surprise of no one, especially Jasher. "No, this is the first," he replies in a hushed tone to Grady, all the while his azure eyes observe every pluck of the lute strings with rapt attention. "Should his voice ever bring me to tears, I will have to agree. Until such time, I am pleased to admit that his voice can be counted among the very best I've heard." Then, he turns to very directly acknowledge Luci beside him, gracing her with an inkling of a smile not quite realized, but perhaps felt just the same. Now, the hostess of the evening addresses the gathering. He turns back to reply, "Indeed, though as always, it takes time to readjust to life ashore. I haven't forgotten the dolphins. Just a few months' time." A nod punctuates this drawn-up memory.

"Exactly so, Lady Mabelle." A smile tugs to Giorgio's lips, masked a moment later by the lift of his cup to his lips so that he can drain the remaining contents from within. The cup lowers back down, it's so that he can then rise and dip his head in the direction of Mabelle once again, "I suppose I should make my way back the Estate and deal with some paperwork. Thank you, Lady Mabelle, for a rather enjoyable time." His gaze drifts to the others that remain and he offers a smile to them, "Enjoy the remainder of your time, everyone!"

Grady applauds once the song is done, although the sound is muted due to his gloves, which he isn't taking off in this cold. "Bravo!" He supplements the muted clapping with a verbal call, by way of making up for it. When he turns his attention from the performance back to the party, his smile is back, his hazel eyes glittering in the chill air as though lit from within. "I beg to differ, my lord," he says to Ryhalt. Few things are more disagreeable than a contrarian, after all, so he's as good as his word. "Having seen what you can do with a candy cane, I feel that I can't be too careful."

Cesare is neither pleased nor displeased with the outcome of the song, considering it neither exceptional nor an absolute disaster and therefore entirely unremarkable. He swings the lute onto his back and steps away from the fire again. "Perfectly timed so only a few of you had to witness my awful squawking," he intones. "We were just on a pearl diving trip near New Hope," he offers to Jasher. "Myself, some of the Eswynds, Lord Dycard - anyway, no dolphins, but it was lovely. I do miss the smell of the warm sea air nearly all the time. Lord Grady already heard me bemoaning this very thing, just this afternoon. But in the summer, I keep windows to my suite open over the Bay of Thrax, and it's absolutely delightful."

Lucita says, "Lord Deepwood, it is good to have a chance to speak with you. So much going on and so many people here, it is easy to miss seeing someone. For instance, I just noticed Duke Rhyalt over there." She gives a little wave and quickly tucks her hand back around the warm mug of her drink. "Isn't it fun watching all the others. I'm terrible when trying to keep footing on ice but do enjoy seeing the antics and fun."

Mabelle wiggles her fingers at the departing Bianca, "Certainly!", before turning toward Ryhalt, "Yes, be careful though, they charge for air", she winks to him. A smile is cast to Cesare, "Thank you for gracing us with your voice, softest Whisper", she bows her head to him. "Times are indeed not simple, but I pray you will remain safe, Baroness", she offers Lucita and then Jasher, "And you as well, at least until spring. Perhaps we will abscond with it and tell no one!", she winks to him.

As Giorgio departs, Mabelle bids him, "Thank you for coming and for the snowman, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself", a smile follows and a warning to Grady to tease Ryhalt, "Yes, yes, be careful. He's a dangerous man".

Grady bows to Lucita, then smiles to her. "I'll overlook your having missed my presence, my lady, if you're willing to overlook my having not caught your name."

Ryhalt chuckles at Grady and shrugs. "I guess it can't be helped. Never can expect when someone will start hacking away at you with a candy cane. We've had plenty of evidence that they are a vicious weapon." Hearing his name, he smiles and waves in return to Lucita. Back to the conversation with Grady and Mabelle, he says, "If someone finds a way to make candy canes less brittle we're all doomed." He says cheerfully at the improbable and sips his hot chocolate before it gets cold.

Giorgio has left the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

Mabelle introduces Grady to Lucita, "Baroness Lucita Saik and Prince Jasher Thrax", she introduces the pair and then "Lord Grady Deepwood". Looking tired, Mabelle smiles at Ryhalt, "If this war will be determined by candy, I promise you that we will win".

Ryhalt chuckles at Mabelle. "So, you'll just eat it all? I approve of this plan. So no sled race this time...? Or is it a ride if you want this time?" He glances at the snow mountain.

Jasher is ever the attentive listener, and so when Cesare describes his experiences with pearl diving, Jasher does not miss a single word of it. Indeed, he nods once, and the faintest hint of a smile ghosts across his visage so rapidly as to be easily missed, or perhaps mistaken for some other expression. "Dolphins are sighted more readily in the warmer months - spring, summer. If you're dedicated to it, you'll surely spy them from your window tailing the ships in the Bay." To Mabelle, the prince turns to reply with a slight furrow forming between his brows, "If that is your wish, but then I'll be forced to make two trips to accommodate." Is that a sigh of resignation that blows out from between his lips? Ah, but then there's that almost-smile again, undermining what exasperation might be perceived as genuine. Before much else can be said, Jasher leans in to murmur something privately to Lucita, and thereafter, the pair turn to address those around them. "I'm afraid we must depart for the evening. Thank you for the excellent evening, Lady Mabelle, it was a pleasure, as always. I hope our paths cross again, soon," he says to those new acquaintances he's just met.

"If I'm dedicated to it," Cesare echoes wryly. "By which you mean, If I spend enough time staring gormlessly out my window as we artistic types tend to do. Don't worry, Prince Jasher. I'll keep a dolphin tally for you, so that next time we meet you may be certain of precisely how many hours I've wasted looking for porpoises in entirely the wrong season." His own flash of a grin is less subtle. "Have a good night. It was delightful to meet you. Do let me know if Whisper House can assist with anything. Our doors are always open, and I am only a missive away."

He eyes Mabelle, as well as the small lingering crowd. "Goodness, it's getting late, and Lady Mabelle has been such a gracious host. Perhaps we should leave her to get some rest after this wonderful party she's put on. I know I have ... meetings tomorrow." So many meetings. So much business. So much Whispering.

"Ah, but were we to fight a such a war, the victory could truly be described as a sweet one," Grady points out to Ryhalt. "As could defeat, for that matter. Of course, there's the problem of ants invading the armory and carrying away all our arrows, but I'm sure someone will solve that before it becomes too much of an issue."

Lucita listens attentively to Jasher and gives a nod. "Indeed. It is the agreed time upon which we decided to depart, make sure I was back at the tower before my staff got worried something had happened to me. I appreciate Prince Jasher's thoughtfulness. " To the others she gives a warm smile. "It has been a pleasure, and another successful and fun event to attend. Thank you for hosting it."

Mabelle rises from her seat and smiles warmly to Lucita, Jasher and Cesare, "Thank you for coming, I'm pleased you have enjoyed yourself. As for the dolphins, I'm certain we will come to a suitable decision" she chuckles, "But do enjoy the rest of your evening". With regards to candy wars, Mabelle admits, "I was refering that if they use candy weapon, we can just.. eat it".

1 Saik Guard, Micana, an efficient assistant leave, following Lucita.

3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, Lucita leave, following Jasher.



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