Cesare & Medeia's Birthday Soiree
(OOC: This is a low risk public GM'd scene. All are welcome to attend! If you have concerns about the risk, speak with Isabeau. There will, of course, be an exclusive party favor for attendees.)
Sept. 18, 2021, 5 p.m.
Arx - Upper Boroughs - Seawatch Sanctuary - Conservatory Ballroom
Comments and Log
Winter yet clings to the city, enjoying its final weeks of cold and snow, but inside the conservatory of Seawatch Sanctuary it feels like spring. All four hearths are lit, and the flower beds are full and lush with plants that wouldn't normally be found in the cooler climate of the city. With the occasion of Medeia and Cesare having a shared birthday, and of course celebrating it in style, the room's original purpose as a ballrom is being put to use. A banquet table laden with cakes and other sweets is set near the bar so guests can get a drink and a treat. Servers mingle to get refills, clear plates, and generally keep the space clean. A string quartet plays music for dancing.
Medeia is standing between the bar and the dance floor, holding a glass of blush colored wine in one hand. She's draped in red velvet, champagne silver, and rubies with her hair twisted into a soft and romantic updo. "Cesare, I think we'll just pretend I'm a year younger and that you're actually my twin." The words come out teasingly, though she does start scanning the room. "Where did my husband wander off to?"
Haakon is near enough to mutter in a dry correction to the birthday girl, "Your triplet. Not twin. Congratulations on your new sisters," the reaver informs Cesare, deadpan. He's been making a visible effort to be sociable, this far.
Cesare, meanwhile, isn't even on his first glass of mine. He might be on his second. He might be on his fourth. Who could tell? There's just such an air of mystique around a Whisper, particularly the Softest, one would never know. If Medeia matches the season and the bold colors of the tropical blooms with her outfit, Cesare is embodying the lush greenery, from his gleaming gold-limned eyelids to the emerald dangling from his ear, to the green-gold of his shirt and the teal reflections off the rose leather of his trousers. "My dear, if I'm supposed to be the one keeping track of your husband now, I fear we are both in dire trouble."
Haakon. So sweet. "Thank you, my lord. I've never had siblings before. It's an honor." He lifts his glass of wine, glimmering. Always glimmering. "To another year on this crazy planet."
Evaristo said he would be here - and here he is. Snow is shook off before he strides inside the warmth of the conservatory, inhaling the scents as a broad smile spreads on his lips. He's carrying a couple of heavy box-like items under an arm, wrapped in simple white linen with a red band around one, and a pink around the other - so he can keep them apart, assumedly. "A touch of spring! Brilliant," he says and marches over, bowing deeply to the birthday lady and her husband, and giving Cesare a playful wink. "Dear GODS - that red!" he beams at Medeia. "I am wrong. It is not spring, it is the heat of summer. And you, Cesare - I... what even IS that amazing color?!" And finally, to Haakon; "...you look ready to SLAY, my lord." He thrusts out the gifts, one for them each - except Haakon, he doesn't get one. Sorry. Something rattles inside them. "Happy Birthday!"
"It's the perfect color," Cesare says, doing a spin and wiggling a bare shoulder suggestively at Evaristo. "You brought presents?!" He gives Evaristo a /big/ hug, wrapping him up in fancy fabric, bright colors, and lovely scents. In other words, the usual Cesare sort of thing. "Did you get a bottle of wine?" he asks, indicating the crate. "It's a rose, made just for us. You can add it to your collection, for special occasions."
A passing server stops, handing out beverages before moving to near Medeia, the young, mousy-brown haired server beginning to say something, but then she seems to trip over her own feet, drinks flying directly towards Medeia with Cesare right in the splash zone.
"Ah, but my twin is /not here/," Medeia motions to the party, "And thus I need a replacement. Though, yes, triplet would be acceptable." Her free hand reaches out to squeeze Haakon's hand before grinning at Cesare. "Well, I suppose I can make Loryk keep track of... You. And Klavdiya can track of me. Mykael is... Where is Mykael? I can have him keep track of Haakon. I should hire you a proper assistant, dear." Is she talking to Cesare or Haakon? Probably both. Evaristo gets a warm smile, then a twirl to show off the dress. "Messere, how lovely it is to see you. Presents? That was hardly necessary! You're too good to me." Klavdiya steps in to take Medeia's gift. "Forgive me, I'll open it later and send a proper thank you when there aren't so many people to speak to."
Haakon eyes Evaristo without a change in his flat expression. He must recognize 'slay' as a fashionable compliment, as he answers, utterly deadpan, "This old thing? Just threw on whatever I had lying about." A sharp sniff follows. His eye is pulled aside by the stumbling servant...
Cesare checks dexterity at normal. Cesare is successful.
Evaristo checks dexterity at normal. Evaristo is successful.
Medeia checks dexterity and dodge at easy. Medeia is successful.
Haakon checks dexterity and brawl at easy. Haakon is successful.
"Of course it wasn't necessary, but I wanted to," Evaristo says. He embraces Cesare in a (weakened) bear-hug, laughing, kissing his cheeks with a big smacking kiss. Of course, that's right when the servant stumbles - he whirls, allowing both him and Cesare to face the uncoming drinks, snatches a hand out in the air to try to save the drink - possibly getting some of the liquid on himself in the process. He's had worse. "Oh is it THIS kind of party?!" He sounds excited.
It's beautiful. It's like something out of a finely-planned performance. The second the small group of people spots the server tripping, they all smoothly roll into action as though it's happening in slow motion: Cesare is immediately plucking the drinks that Evaristo hadn't saved out of the air, while Medeia is dodging the splatter and Haakon is effortlessly catching her from landing on the hard floor. It's probably not actually effortless, it's the result of many years of specialized training each of them has had. But in that moment? It is darn impressive.
Evaristo gets Sussurante - a Saik exclusive blush wine from crate of Saikland wine.
Medeia's eyes widen as drinks slosh toward her velvet and she quickly sidesteps away and behind Haakon - he's a wonderful shield. "Oh!" Once she recovers from the brief excitement, she laughs softly. "I hadn't planned on it being this kind of party, but you're all here to save it, it seems. Are you alright?" She looks toward the server, checking the floor for anything she might have tripped over.
Cesare and Evaristo have caught those flying glasses before they can shatter against the ground, Medeia has avoided the spray and Haakon has caught the poor tripping worker.
The server with her mousy brown hair and now flushed cheeks stammers ineffectually as Haakon rights her, large brown eyes widening in horror at the scene as it unfolds and she begins backpedalling away from the group, still stammering, looking like her eyes are beginning to brim with tears. She completely and utterly abandons the tray and lingering half-full drinks. She seems too
She seems too shaken to properly answer, at the very present moment.
Haakon sets the mousy server back upright with a wary eye. As the poor girl stammers and backs away, the rough nobleman advises simply, "Mind your damn feet," before turning away and letting the girl retreat in peace.
Cesare checks charm and empathy at easy. Cesare is successful.
Evaristo's smile at the servant is warm, charming and rakish. "All is well! The party just got lively!" He takes a slurp from the drink he caught, and seem to be quite fine with all of this, as if nothing just happened. "Aha, the wine." He goes to collect a bottle. "I never understood this 'save it for a special occasion', or collecting and SAVING alcohol in general! I don't think I've kept any bottle for longer than max a year, and only cause it was furthest back in the cabinet and got forgotten."
Medeia murmurs something to Haakon as the server makes her flustered way off to where she can't be the center of attention. "That was a lovely, artful, and truly impressive display from all of you. Had I known you were /all/ so quick and nible, I'd have decided on a different sort of entertainment."
Cesare puts the glasses back on the tray, sets the tray aside, and takes a moment to gently reassure the server. Mistakes happen, one time he barfed onstage in front of a whole crowd of people, that kind of thing. Apprentice Whispers actually get very used to being the unseen presences at the back of parties during the early stages of their training, and as such Cesare has very literally been in that position before. Probably not having fallen over his own feet, but it'll all be okay.
He turns back to the group. "Oh, I drink the wine. It's excellent having a collection for when I'm entertaining. Especially now that I'm Softest, I find I am taking a lot of meetings. Radiant Anisha is having an office built, but for now, the sanctuary makes for an excellent office." He shakes his head at Medeia, wrinkling his nose. "Perhaps we should form a troupe."
Haakon nods with a wordless, "Mmm," to Medeia, before turning his eye to Evaristo. "Drink is for drinking, on that we agree." Cesare gets a dry query, "A troop of what." It's phrased as a question, but lavky a curious inflection.
Evaristo's eyes widen. "We COULD!" he exclaims, gesturing animatedly. "A performance of acrobatics! A display of agility and strength! Say, Lord Haakon - do you know how to juggle?" he asks. "Lady Medeia? I was thinking JUGGLING AXES and I and Cesare could be cartwheeling across, avoiding the axes of course... Maybe some rings on fire we dive through. Oooh." He pauses. "Axes on FIRE."
There's a couple standing off to the side watching the happenings with a look on their features of people who have smelt something bad, totally normal. They are over by the banquet table and the cake. Completely nondescript. The dark haired woman and blond man linger and almost obviously snoop. Their clothes are good enough, but nothing special.
Haakon perhaps deliberately misunderstands Evaristo's phrasing. "I can't juggle Lady Medeia. There's but one of her." He takes a swallow of the cup in hand, concealing any distaste at finding it to be wine. "Axes I can manage."
There's a smile forming on Medeia's lips, relaxing again as the excitement of flying drinks has passed. "I'm so glad the sanctuary is suiting you," She says to Cesare, a flicker of pride in her eyes. But her expression quickly turns concerned, possibly even confused, at Evaristo's description of a performance. "Why are things on fire?" Then, looking up at Haakon, she laughs, "You've tried. It generally just results in me being over your shoulder and carted off somewhere." Her eyebrows lift at his drinking the wine and turns to wave down a different server. "Would you bring my husband a glass of whiskey, please?" To Cesare, she gestures toward the banquet table. "Did you see that I found a lovely bluebe-" Pause. "Who are those people?"
Cesare checks charm and diplomacy at easy. Cesare is successful.
"Fire?" Cesare asks. "Axes? Oh, I did go to that dagger-throwing event that Prince Noah - is he Archduke Noah now? - threw. I was better than I thought I would be. I have been thinking about investing in a dagger. Especially with everything going on around the world." He asides to Haakon, just quietly for those in the circle to hear, "Or perhaps, with some kind of Prodigal magic, we could be turned into a troupe of monkeys."
He shakes his head to Medeia, drifting over to greet the pair of stank-faced guests warmly. "Welcome! We're so glad you could make it. Did you get a bottle of wine? Please, if there's anything we can do fo you, let me know. And I'm so sorry - I just meet so many people, especially lately, but I can't quite remember where I met you, and what your names are?" More flies with honey than vinegar is /always/ Cesare's approach.
Evaristo nods vigorously at Haakon, and points at him with his drink. "Excellent. I sense this could be a great success." He squints at Medeia. "So... no fire? NOBODY lets me do things with fire on stages. Why -- well alright." He stops there, and nods sagely at Cesare. "I won the first price of a Shepherd dog in a dart throwing contest, by coming second. Princess Reese - she was a princess then - threw a dart in my arm. One of the best parties I ever went to, but this one is shaping up to-" He stops and surreptiously glances over at the people MEdeia are talking about, as Cesare adresses them. "No idea. They look... a little bland, but I shouldn't be so judgy."
Haakon chooses to avoid interacting with unfamiliar Arvani at any opportunity, and this is one such time. He chooses to speak of knives and things, instead. "What manner of knife? There are so many to choose from. And any game where you win by putting a dart in another's arm is worth a laugh." He clearly thinks Reese won the described contest.
The dark haired woman's look of disgust fades, marginally in the presence of Cesare's warmth, though the taller man doesn't take his eyes off of, very specifically, Medeia and Haakon. The woman's lips purse and jaw works for a few moments, "You don't know us." She is a bit terse, in a sort of tense way.
"Things /can/ be on fire," Medeia clarifies for Evaristo, "Not /inside/ the sanctuary, would be my preference." She makes a gesture toward the front of the estate. "Come spring, the courtyard has a large space that would be perfect for a performance of acrobatics. The audience could surround the perimeter so everyone sees a different..." The lady blinks, looking over in Cesare's direction and faltering as she explains a way to make his vision come to life. "I'm sorry?" Her expression has turned suspicious as the couple stares at her. "I don't seem to recognize you, myself. Which is no bother at all, all are welcome here." She forces an inviting smile. "However, if there is a problem? Do let me know so I might fix it."
The dark haired woman may seem innocuous to most but there's a sudden interest in a shadowy woman making her way across the room. She's masked but her dark eyes seem focused on the dark haired woman as she strides toward her with an impossibly fluid motion. One wonders if her feet are truly touching the ground. "I know you, my sweet." Her voice is echoey, a strong Crownlander accent as her alaricite claws rise up to the woman's claws.
The woman's throat*
"Of course, of course. I would not want to get any plants in trouble," Evaristo says and smiles at Medeia. "We shall see!" He drinks more, leaning casually up against a table with crossed ankles, one hand resting on his peacebound weapon on his belt. Then... Evelynn appears. What interest he had in the woman and man Cesare and Medeia are now adressing, is completely lost, in favor of her. His eyes widen. His smile too, rakish and mischievous and charming all at once. His violet eyes glitter with interest. "Dear gods," he breathes. "My poor heart."
Haakon doesn't seem put off by being pointedly stared at, and simply accepts the cup of whiskey from a servant with a muttered thanks. He repeats, "My thanks," to Medeia for ordering it for him. When one is a tattooed prodigal, one grows accustomed to stares.
"There is a problem," the man says, jolting a little as he stares daggers of disdain down at Medeia, "Bad enough you marry no better than the shavs who sacked Bastion, but you throw parties to celebrate while good people have lost their homes? Have you /no/ shame?" The middle-aged blond man is puffing up and starting to get red in the face, distracted by the target of his own anger's approach. The dark-haired woman though gives a strangled yawp as claws near her, her eyes wide as she is approached. The woman shrinks a little at that, her attention going to Evelynn, even as the man blusters at Medeia.
But the blond man just went past pointed stares...
Cesare checks charm and diplomacy at normal. Cesare is successful.
Unperturbed by the bizarre shadowy aura that may surround her, Evelynn is entirely focused on the woman in front of her. "You want to go with me, don't you?" Her voice is warm, her lips curling up.
Evaristo, why are you like this? Cesare remains all easy, unflustered charm, planting himself right in the blond man's line of sight. "Oh, come now. This isn't the place for that. We're celebrating our birthdays. Surely you wouldn't disrupt the birthday party of a respected member of an institution so integral to the Compact as Whisper House, would you? Particularly when there's an Assembly of Peers later this evening for you to voice your concerns at." He blinks over at the mysterious masked lady. "... /Does/ she want to go with you?"
The rude commentary by the man has Evaristo distracted enough to turn a snort his way, but - he doesn't pipe up or try to help. He isn't a diplomat, in difference to Cesare. "Yes... yes I do," Evaristo murmurs - after Evelynn's enticing words to the woman, and then he drinks, gulping down the contents of the glass, and reaches out for another. "I mean, what?" He stands up straight and blinks - he gives Cesare a broad grin and a thumbs up. "You got this." He then continues to stare at Evelynn.
Curiously, the bigoted words cause one corner of Haakon's scarred lip to curl upward. His words are to Cesare, even as his eye settles on the loud, red faced blond man. "Does this fellow look a peer to you, Whisper? I've trouble telling mainlanders apart, even their peasants dress so rich." His head tilted to a curious angle. Apart from a few pricy pieces of stygian, Haakon is clad largely in wool, leather, and iron.
Medeia's eyes widen, staring at Evelynn as she reaches up toward the woman's throat. She opens her mouth to say something - likely to interject on the strange woman's behalf, but the blond man stops her. Her mouth hangs open in shock before it closes, lips pressed thin and cheeks reddening in anger. "Excuse me?" Her Lycene accents thickens in her impassioned state. "My husband, my people, had nothing to do with that attack. They are not the same, by any means." She swallows hard, trying to steady herself. "Now, more than ever," Comes a softer tone, "We need things to celebrate. My birthday will come and go regardless of whose homes have been lost, but why shouldn't I take some time to spoil my friends with a nice party to ease their minds for a time? You think you know who I am. If that were the case, you would know how, as a physician, I spent sleepless days and nights helping the refugees who flooded into Arx. I have offered rooms in the sanctuary to those who are displaced and need shelter. My garden is full of medicinal plants so that I can provide free medicines to people."
The man puffs up his chest, at Cesare, declaring, "We've got no problem with you except your connection with a known shav-sympathizer. You go that way too? And you're telling me to go up in front of the Assembly to declare that I don't like people who like shav? Who /are/ shav? Should I make a proclamation? How many others would agree that prodigals are no different?" His face continues growing red as he looks at Haakon, snapping, "I've got better blood than you, but we're expected to bow to you 'm'Lord'?" He scoffs, pouring venom into the final title.
The dark-haired woman, obviously meant to be a part of the verbal onslaught is instead staring at Evelynn, nodding mutely and numbly in answer to the question, her bile-spitting friend forgotten.
"Do you want to come with me?" Evelynn asks, her brows furrowing, her voice muffled slightly by the mask. "I can ensure /you/ don't have to deal with the same fallbacks as your... friends. It's your choice, darling." She says with her smooth Crownlander accent.
"Alright, so WHO are paying you here exactly?" Evaristo now asks, pushing off the table he was leaning against to stroll over with his lazy gait, his smile wide and a bit toothy. He winks at Cesare and Evelynn, then adresses the man and woman. "Is it... some followers of Helianthus perhaps? Oh wait - Waldo? Or just some petty tradtionalist? You're not very ENTERTAINING!"
Cesare draws himself up to his full height, which is not insignificant, looking down his nose at the blond man. "I'm telling you that you are making a fool of yourself at a celebration for our friends and family, in front of the Softest of Whisper House. This is not an appropriate time or place to make your opinions known. It is a terrible breach of etiquette and your demands and questions are embarrassing invasions none of us are required to answer. If you are trying to see yourself banned from Whisper House for your inability to respect common decency, you are doing an excellent job traveling along that path.'
He pauses. "As for Lady Medeia's political leanings, you ought to know that Whisper House is politically neutral. I chose Lady Medeia as a patron because she is a talented hostess, healer, vintner, and apothecary with a wide web of social connections which have all richly benefitted me. Her political views are not mine to comment on, and as a representative of Whisper House it is my obligation to remain as feasibly neutral as possible in public matters."
Cesare checks command and intimidation at easy. Critical Success! Cesare is spectacularly successful.
Haakon weathers the insults quietly for now, giving Blondie a chance to walk back his folly in the face of Cesare's Cesare-ness.
Medeia's lips press together again, deciding that anything else she might say would be wasted breath. She does hold out a hand, resting it on the center of Haakon's back. Her eyes flick from Evaristo to Cesare to Evelynn - what /is/ she doing to that poor woman? - as she tries to make sense of this whole mess.
The woman nods again at Evelynn numbly, and unresisting to any coaxing of her away. She is abandoning her friend as he seems to shrivel under Cesare's words.
The blond man stammers a little at Cesare, shrinking for a few moments as he is threatened effectively, "Look... look. I'm sorry to bother you, Whisper. But... but she's just openly s..." he trails off and gulps, looking to his friend for support and finding none begins to slump like a kicked dog.
Cesare just /stares/ for a moment, with fire in his dark eyes. And then, abruptly, his features melt into a soft smile. "Your concerns for the Compact are admirable, sir. Perhaps at a later date if you make an appointment, we can discuss them further and see what Whisper House can do to assuage your concerns. For now, please, enjoy the party and take note of what excellent hosts the Eswynds are." He steps back to rejoin his patron and her husband, laying his hand on her shoulder in a display of solidarity.
"Excellent." Evelynn's words echo throughout the room unnaturally, though her attention remains on the woman. She wraps her arms around her with a warm smile. "They love to watch me leave." She tells the woman, presumptuously before they both disappear in a shadowy blur heading for the entrance.
Evaristo blinks slowly at Cesare. "...that was amazing," he breathes. Evelynn's abrupt departure, with that woman, has him raising a hand and taking a few steps after her. "..." He has no time to call something out and he stops, snapping his fingers. "Damn. I didn't get her name! Who IS that?!"
Medeia's eyes narrow at the blond man, but then she's distracted, watching Evelynn and the unfamiliar woman and blinking as her vision blurs a bit. Shaking her head, she turns back to the man, offering a calm smile. "Messere, I respect that you have opinions and beliefs that differ from mine. However, I assure you that we are liable to have more in common than you might expect." She takes a steadying breath, giving Cesare a thankful look. "I would be willing to speak with you, some other time, properly hear your complaints against me. In the mean time, you may stay and enjoy the rest of the festivities. Or you may leave unhindered in your passing by anyone here." To Evaristo, she gives a small shrug. "Lady... Eve? Evenn. Ethel. I know I've seen her around. Those claws were fabulous."
The man continues shrinking and then just... grabs a plate of food off of the table and flees, soon grabbing the arm of the mousy-brown haired server from before and just getting out of dodge with all haste, seemingly defeated and deflated for now.
Haakon has kept his silence for some time, eyeing the blonde mainlander with dry amusement. As Cesare seemingly de escalates the confrontation, and Medeia seems satisfied, Haakon notes to the birthday twins, "Had a body spoken so in my hall, they'd have bled for it. You lot are more forgiving than I."
"Evenn? Eve?" Evaristo encougages. He's grabbing another drink and his smile is as wide as before - but there's a glint of wariness in his gaze. Maybe he isn't quite so oblivious as he likes to pretend to be. "Indeed. Those claws were... fabulous." He puts an arm around Cesare's shoulders, grinning wide at his friend. "But not as fabulous as Cesare! That was a display of POWER, my friend!"
"It's a Whisper's job to fix things with words instead of punching," Cesare says, patting Haakon lightly on the shoulder. He flashes a brief grin at Evaristo. "I don't think I've seen her before...she is ...striking. You have the /worst/ taste." He basks in the praise, just a little, because it his his birthday party, and he /is/ fabulous.
"Oh, I'd not have punched him," Haakon assures Cesare with a frankness that may not be wholly comforting.
"There's something strangely sexy about that thinly-veiled threat," Cesare muses.
"Mm, but we weren't in /your/ hall," Medeia says to Haakon, offering a light smile. "Though, I admit, had Cesare not been here? I'm not sure that man would have left on his own feet." She finishes the glass of wine in her hand and gives Evaristo a shake of her head. "Honestly, the name eludes me." Then, she takes Haakon's hand. "Come, all I want for my birthday is one dance. It won't kill you."
"I have /excellent/ taste. I love a dangerous woman. Still," Evaristo is forced to admit, "maybe not that dangerous..." He squints at Haakon, then snorts with high amusement. "I was tempted to subtly cut his belt so he would've dropped his pants," he says. "I'll keep it for next time." He claps his hands. "Dancing! Cesare, do you want to sweep the dancefloor with me?"
"It's the thin veils. Folk can't resist them," Haakon deadpans to Cesare, before accepting Medeia's hand and guidance toward the dance floor. "I'll deny you naught on your name day, lady."
Cesare is overheard praising Isabeau.
"Absolutely!" Cesare takes Evaristo's arm and the two of them prepare to absolutely destroy the dance floor. In the sense that they're going to take it by storm, not in the sense that literal destruction will be occurring.
Evaristo is overheard praising Cesare: Great party!
Evaristo is overheard praising Medeia: Great party!
Cesare is overheard praising Evaristo: Who knew Evaristo had enough brain cells to be such a thoughtful gift-giver? Now I do.
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