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A Beelated Birthday

It is quite possible that with all that went on recently, Lady Mabelle forgot to properly plan her birthday.
And so as spring brings flowers to full bloom, she invites you to Laurent's Apiary to a game of 2 lies and 1 truth that revolves all around bees.
Its alright, you can BEE wrong, you can BEE right, you can BEE creative and you can just BEE present. One of you will certainly Bee a winner.

Bee there or.. just Bee.

[From the Laurent Grounds: LM, SF, A]

Date

Oct. 9, 2021, 12:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Mabelle

Participants

Amari Audgrim Patrizio Romulius Cesare Liara Denica Jasher Breccan Gianna Natasha Grady

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Laurent Manse - The Apiary

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


Breccan has joined the an extravagant divan with soft silken cushions.

Its a lovely spring morning in the city and the Laurent Apiary is buzzing and humming. The guests however are sitting upon a deck with windows overlooking the work of the bees uninterrupted. Mabelle, standing by one of the windows is clad from head to toes in RED, now that is an interesting choice. "Good morning everyone and welcome to the renovated Laurent Apiary. We have some honey breakfast for you today and after you will learn more about bees than you ever cared to know, Albert and Pierre will take you to the fields to look about. We will begin shortly!"

Cesare takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Patrizio takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Denica gets a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Audgrim takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Amari is already here, and ensconced on the extravagant divan on the purpose built deck, with a view of the apiary while not being directly next to any beehives. This seems prudent, as she's dressed like an apple blossom. The bees might get confused. She has a cup of Laurent mead already on the go, and may have had one or two previously. She's in good spirits, and her cheeks are a little flushed. Upon hearing the plan to educate them on the ways of bee-kind, she arches a brow and says, "I was lead to BEE-lieve this was your birthday party, Lady Mabelle."

Jasher takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Mabelle drops a large chocolate cake topped with cherries.

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Audgrim does not have far to walk - from Telmar tower to Laurent house is not very far. He isn't dressed for a party, unless counting that his armour is all cleaned, oiled and in perfect condition, and hair that is still wet is combed back on his head, and he smells like someone that definitely used soap. All civilized. A red cloak sweep behind him as he stalks into the ground and takes one long, attenting look around the place, with an impassioned expression, before he bee-lines for the hostess. A deep bow. "My lady. Happy birthday." He thrusts out a small wrapped bundle.

For once, there's a subtlety to the arrival of Patrizio Pravus - there's no huge entourage accompanying him, nor the clink of his armour when he's coming - none of it seems to really be suitable for something involving bees. "I want to know if there're to be any dire bees here," says he in a faux-ominous tone, as he's glancing about, looking for the hostess of the fete before he's making his way over to Mabelle to greet her. "Happy birthday, even if bee-latedly, my lady," offers he warmly. "And many sweet returns of the day, gods willing."

Audgrim's eye twitches, stepping back to allow others to greet the hostess. "...are there dire-bees?" he murmurs to nobody in particular. He looks wary.

Liara gets a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Mabelle ushers Amari amusedly toward the large cake in the center of the buffet, "It is my birthday, thank you. But there are unfortunately do dire bees here today", she smiles reassuringly to Audgrim and in lament toward Patrizio. The bundle is received with a grin, "Thank you! It is unexpected", she beams at the tanner.

Romulius Thrax is seemingly perpetually dressed for a wake.

There might be more of a reason for it, of late, but the consistency of the prince's wardrobe would make it a difficult thing to determine. Black silks and leathers with a high collar strike a distinctly Thraxian silhouette, though he somehow looks even *more* surly than usual. Fitting, then, that he arrives with two other members of the royal house - he and Jasher flank the smaller form of Denica, heavy footfalls sounding out their entry to the grounds of the apiary. There's a quick hushed word offered to the two of them before leading towards the hostess, a dip of head and shoulders given to Mabelle in a gesture that comes just shy of a bow, "My lady." A pause, then, as he realizes that he is obligated to add, "Happy birthday." It's only nominally warm, but it comes shy of being curt.

Cesare arrives in an impressive spectacle of green-gold, murmuring something to a messenger who departs shortly thereafter. His attention is caught by the mention of dire bees, albeit in a way which is - alarmingly - full of excitement and anticipation and no caution whatsoever. When Lady Mabelle insists there are no dire bees, he deflates slightly. On the other hand - "My goodness, you are a vision in red. Are you hoping to attract the bees, by looking like a blooming crimson rose? I haven't brought you a present today, but wanted to offer to design a piece of jewelry you, if you like - I've been trying my hand at it lately, and the Radiant has been making them up, as a hobby. Do let me know. And I am very much looking forward to seeing the bees and hives!"

With the news that there are no dire bees, Patrizio's clucking his tongue playfully, and there's a shake of his head. "Alas. But it's a matter for another time, and not for during a festivity," he says with a warm laugh, before stepping back slightly to make sure others can greet the hostess, the dip of his head to a few of those that he recognizes.

Mabelle inclines her head welcomingly as other guests arrive and greet here, finding their places. "Thank you, Prince Thrax", she offers Romulius a quiet greeting and follows to shine a bright smile to Cesare, "Do not feel obliged but if you desire to see your piece upon me, I will happily parade it around", she winks to him. "As for the Red, wait and find out".

Meanwhile, Cupcake travels among the guests offering them booklets and quills, to write their answers down for the game. "So the game goes like this. There are 10 questions. Or 10 bouts of 2 lies and one truth. Write down which answer you think is the truth! I will provide the answers for each bout before the next one! The Winner will be receiving a very special trophy!"

Upon arriving into the platform, Liara tarries for a moment near the entrance, her gaze quickly drawn towards the windows overlooking the fields beyond, taking it in curiously. Then she moves further on in, smiles offered by way of greeting to various familiar faces, and she pauses to accept the writing material from Cupcake.

Romulius takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Denica brings a splash of colour to the small invasion of Thraxian nobles who arrive at the Aviary. She's wearing the rainbow. Her smile brightens as step in, whatever trials and tribulations that cause tension in her bare shoulders, ease when she sees the beauty of the space around her. Every detail catches her attention, and she's letting vivid eyes take it all in. She murmurs a few hushed words to her cousins Romulius and Jasher before she turns her expression to Mabelle. "Lady Laurent!," she exclaims. "This is perfect! How beautiful! You look beautiful! Happy Birthday! Happy You!," Denica is quirk to chirp up, offering her lively words to Mabelle. "I'm afraid I could not wrap your gift, so you will have to pop by the studio sometime." Denica offers the woman a wink, somewhat devious, probably a lot.

"Hope you like them. If you want them in another color, we can do a trade, I can make new ones and you can return those," Audgrim suggests, so at least it's likely that whatever he brought, is somehting in leather. What with him being a leatherworker. He bows to the others and stands like an ominous shadow in black and red, studying the beehives with some curiosity. The announcement of a game has him almost startling in surprise. "...a game?" He accepts a booklet and a quill and looks very confused. Seeing Cesare, he sidles subtly over to near him, murmuring; "I'm just going to shadow you and pretend I understand parties."

Mabelle smiles welcomingly and bows her head to Liara as she enters, "Your Highness, I'm glad you could come", but her gaze turns to worry as Denica proclaims her gift, "Oh my! I am worried now", she grins at her. Mabelle laughs then as Audgrim looks confused, "Have you never been to one of my parties, there is always a game!"

There's a knowing grin on the face of Patrizio when Denica's declaring her gift, and he does offer the Thraxan princess a smile, before there's a glance to Mabelle to see just how she's responding.

"Ooh. That looks delicious." Amari says, mollified by the appearance of the spectacular cherry cake. It is a birthday party after all, not a flimsy cover for a seminar on bees and bee related lore. Then the books come out. She accepts one, and a quill from Cupcake as she passes by and sets both in her lap with another suspect look sent Mabelle's way. Afterwards, her gaze wanders and she takes the time to look over the guests filing in. To any who catch her eyeing, she smiles politely and nods.

Jasher seems rather more grim-faced than one ought to be for the attendance of a birthday party, but what else is new? His fundamental severity is paired appropriately with austere attire befitting a prince of Thrax, apparently, as it seems most of them prefer to don anything but hues of the monochromatic variety. He arrives beside his cousins, Romulius and Denica, the latter of which can be perceived as being protectively escorted onto the premises, and who throws the two men into sharp relief with her chromatic attire. "Lady Mabelle," Jasher greets the hostess of the party with a respectful, strict bow at the waist. "Happy -bee-lated birthday." Yes, the emphasis is there. A twitch at the right corner of his mouth punctuates the compliment, and only reveals itself more fully when he turns to respond to his cousins' whispered commentary.

With a grin offered in Jasher's direction, Mabelle collects her little booklet and tries very hard not to look like a teacher without spectacles.

"First Question:

Which is the correct statement:

A.Both male and female bees can sting.
B.The Queen Bee does not sting.%C.The Queen Bee can sting but will not die from it.

"I am glad to be here, my lady. That is quite a view, and the food looks promising too," Liara replies to Mabelle, and, having said that, she goes to situate herself close by to the dessert stand. A flutter of her fingers is offered in response to one of Amari's nods.

"Sir Audgrim!" Cesare says, dipping his head as the scout/knight/tanner/man of many talents slinks over. "It's nice to see you. He ruffles Audgrim's hair, because he is terrible like that. "Look, you get to see how well these pants are tailored." He does a little turn, revealing the gleam of the leather and um, how tight they are, indeed, on certain assets. "And you didn't believe I'd squeeze into them. They're perfect, and the dye turned out exquisite."

His attention turns to the first question, and he immediately scribbles an answer to his little piece of parchment, looking smug. He's like a weird, social, colorful, shiny sponge of strange information.

Whatever hushed words might have been shared between the Thraxian contingent soften Romulius's expression a touch, though it doesn't become anything that might be described as 'lively'. After greetings are offered to the hostess, he motions to find a drink for himself and his cousins, if they follow - no doubt the two princes are somewhat reliant on Denica's more obvious social charms, at a birthday party. When the time comes for questions, though, his brow furrows with an incredulous look. It doesn't look as though he was aware of any overt differences between male and female bees. Something that Jasher says, though, prompts a look that would more aptly be described as 'greatswords' than 'daggers', and his response carries out far louder than his cousin's lower tone, "You're shameless."


Having headed into the party earlier and was helping set up, Breccan sets up a few colorfully wrapped packages on a table, then heads over to join Amari. The tall farmer is wearing a pure white v-neck shirt with the sleeves pulled up to his elbows and dark trousers and boots. He looks far more polished than he does at the farm. He is also smiling brightly as he settles into a chair.

Mabelle grins entertainedly as her guests seem to contemplate their answers, smiling meanwhile to Liara, "Honey food is the best", she winks to her, gives Romulius and Jasher a suspicoius smile and enlightens the group "Well in fact male bees cannot sting, they do not have a stinger. Stingers are actually egg laying tools. The Queen Bee however will sting you but not die. Worker bees have barbed stingers, while a queen has a smooth stinger, which she mostly uses to kill other queens. Queen Bees do not really stray from the hives which is why being stung by one is a very rare occurrence."

And while they might choose to contemplate their new knowledge, she moves on to the next one:

A.Honey bees have six eyes.
B.A male bee has bigger eyes than a female bee.
C.Bees can only see 10 colors."

Denica's expression shifts to one of mock innocence as Mabelle mentions being worried about her gift. It doesn't take long for the devious sparkle to return to the princess's blue eyes. "Worried, suspicious, apprehensive... all reasonable responses. I promise I won't disappoint Lady Laurent," the smile shifts to an easy rest on her lips. The woman takes a moment to let her attention drift to the other guests, catching Patrizio's smile Denica flashes a bright one in return. There's a hint of a smirk there too. Cesare catches her eye, "Softest Whisper!," she exclaims lifting a hand in a little wave. "Baroness Redire," she sees Amari too, and gets distracted from her long list of greetings by something she catches in quiet conversation from Jasher. Denica tries to hold her laughter in, but it threatens to escape and then it does. Like one of those jokes you should groan at, but it's just so bad, it's so good. While Romulius is staring greatswords, Denica is delighted and seems to welcome the lightness of it.

"...hey," Audgrim says and leans away in surprise from having his hair ruffled. But he smirks afterwards and takes a good look at Cesare's pants. "HOW did you fit into those," he asks, impressed and awed at the same time. "But fine, fine, you were right. The color is pretty awesome. You look like a peacock," he says, and that's actually a compliment. He turns to listen to Mabelle and frowns deeply, hearing the three different alternatives, and frowns thoughtfully. Then he shrugs, and puts down one of the alternatives on the paper.

Amari wiggles her fingers gayly in greeting to Liara and Denica both, before they take up the quill in a delicate, easy grip. Her attention goes skyward as she thinks over the multiple choice question Mabelle poses, and by the time she has the book in her lap opened she has an answer. Writing commences. Before considering the next question, Breccan joins her. "Did you know there was to be a quiz today?"

Writing, writing - Patrizio's working with the quill in his book, in the flowing, elegant script he's clearly cultivated, and had time to put work in on... or perhaps he's had good tutors who've ensured that this is a skill he has. There's the grin when he's noticing the smirk that he gets back from Denica, but he's letting a hiss slide free when he's listening to the pants conversation, those jade eyes drifting between Audgrim and Cesare as if he's weighing if this is a fashion he needs take up...


As he scribbles down his answers, Breccan lets out a soft laugh. "No, I didn't know." He says, leaning over to share his answers with his friend. "But if you need some help, you can peek." He says in a rumbling, joking tone. He looks so upbeat today. As if the last few weeks of moping has washed away recently. "I'm glad that we got to attend Lady Mabelle's birthday. Good to get out of the house as well."

Mabelle grins at Amari amusedly, "This way when you go outside to visit the bees, you'll know! Dont Blame the questions!"

"Proprietary Whisper technique," Cesare answers blithely to Audgrim with a brief grin, one that makes up for its brevity with its cheekiness. "And thank you. How have you been, since the scouting mission? Well, I hope." He leans over to say something more quietly, turning an ear to Mabelle's next question and writing down his answer. He catches sight of the Thrax party as he does and his lips twitch upwards again; he wiggles his fingers in greeting.

The alacrity with which Liara notes down her own answers might suggest that she either knows absolutely everything about bees off by heart, or, more probably, that she knows nothing about bees - no matter how much honey she might eat - and is guessing. She avails herself of some hot chocolate, but is otherwise perhaps not in the chattiest mood, being that she seems content to simply observe goings on.

"Ah, you poured oil into them and wiggled in like an eel?" Audgrim suggests dead pan. "Happened to me once." He does not go into WHY that happened, and maybe he was just joking. He squints - then spots Breccan, and perks up noticeably. "Breccan, hello there," he calls out, then leans in to listen to Cesare on something and murmur something back.

Mabelle wanders to Jasher a moment to peek over his shoulder at his answers and meanwhile responds, "Correct answer was B. Honey bees have 5 eyes: 3 simple eyes on top of its head, and 2 compound eyes, with numerous hexagonal facets. These detect light, meaning that a bee can sense if it is being approached from above by a predator. They eyes are also hair to help with wing navigation. The male's eyes, by the way, are so much larger because they need to find a potential queen in flight to mate with her."

"A.Bees prefer red flowers.
B.Bees has no color preference.
C.Bees prefer blue flowers."

So there *is* dimorphism in bees. That's news to Romulius, and almost certainly the sort of information that will be discarded later in favor of something far from the field of apiaries, but perhaps the game will allow for some sort of retention. Perhaps not. Either way, he's distracted from the game by Denica's many greetings, offering a dip of head to each in turn as though he means to piggyback off of his more social cousin's good graces. Cesare's wave prompts a more direct look, but he earns the same polite nod before another Thraxian-murmur elicits another reproachful expression, this time directed at the princess. "How would one even measure a bee's eyes?" The question isn't posed to anybody in particular, but then there are more bee facts that demand judgment.

Mabelle answers Romulius amusedly, "A curious beekeeper"

"Very carefully?" Audgrim suggests dead pan.


As he hears the voice of Audgrim, Breccan perks up as well and grins at him. He lifts a hand up. "Audgrim! Hello! Been awhile since I've seen you. My fault. I have been quite busy ... " He trails off. ".. Feeling bad for myself." He says with a soft laugh. As he listens to them debate about bees, he chuckles to himself in amusement. "Usually you would measure then once they have passed on."

"To what are you referring?" Jasher inquires with straight-faced sincerity of his equivalently surly counterpart. Something that Denica says elicits his lips to press into a thin, tight line, the very expression one makes when attempting to stymie an expression of mirth. It succeeds, but only for a moment. The answer to the first question manages to prolong to smile as it dawns on him at last his choice was incorrect. "Trivia was never my strong suit," the prince confesses, and then pivots on his heel to lean in and display his choice to Mabelle for the second question. By that time, his expression has resumed its usual aridity. However, he does say aloud to her at the moment, "I've -comb-ed through every fact I might have known about bees, but cannot seem to get it right." Another answer is written down on the page for the third question. Probably wrong. Definitely wrong.

Mabelle murmurs over Jasher's shoulder, "You are doing magnificently awful", she chuckles at him, "I do hope you know more about dolphins".

"I don't know that it matters if any of us /are/ right, to be fair, your highness," Patrizio counters to Jasher when he hears the quip, even as he's still writing himself. "The matter really's more having fun with it, and perhaps we learn a thing or five." Which tells all how the Pravusi prince thinks he's doing himself.

Cesare is delighted to learn his second answer was incorrect, mostly so he can replace his faulty bee knowledge with correct bee facts. Part of being a Whisper, after all, is being able to entertain, and while some people have clearly chosen to go with awful bee puns, Cesare is prone to pulling out bizarre facts as though he is a dictionary of them. He adds an additional murmur to Audgrim, before calling to Jasher, "Your florid turns of phrase, your highness, are awful beyond bee-lief."

Romulius wouldn't appreciate dolphin puns any more than bee puns. "If I hear a quip about fish I'll throw you off of the next ship that we're on." Patrizio's comments draw cerulean gaze in that way - until there are more puns, and more sour expressions. "I wonder if perhaps we're having *too* much fun with it."

Denica need not seek parchment nor something to write with, she has bits of canvas tucked into the folds of her dress, and bits of charcoal seem to come easily to the artist. Hearing Romulius's question, the princess's eyes sparkle with humour and a little mischief. "With a very, very little ruler," she supposes trying to deliver her answer deadpan, but it doesn't last long. Jasher's pun is immediately caught and Denica is laughing, this is her kind of humour and she's going to delight in it. "I suspect by the end of this, we will all be better keepers of information. We can go back to the city and start a buzz," Denica cannot control herself and so doesn't.

Mabelle remains entertained and poses her gown for a moment, "From years of overlooking, it seems as if bees cannot see the color red. Which is why I am wearing red. They are very preferential to the color blue and find darker colors to be threatening since it is the usual color of their predators and that is why you wear white to handle them. Also, because it's easier to see if you have a bee on you that way." Returning to the center of the room, she grins at all the bee puns, "Oh this is Beeautiful", before moving on to the next question:

"A.Male bees do all the hard work in the hive while female bees just produce honey.
B.Male bees live longer than female bees but dies tragically after serving their purpose.
C.The Queen Bee is the only female in the hive."

"I've been busy too. It is good to see you again, Breccan. Drop by for tea some day, at the Telmar Tower?" he suggests. "I live there now." He frowns at something Cesare is telling him, and nods slowly in understanding. He shrugs helplessly, then focuses on the quiz for a bit - though he has no idea and just guesses randomly. But he too is learning something and he is paying attention to the facts presented.


"I will." Breccan promises Audgrim with a nod of his head. "Congrats on the move! Telmar Tower? Wow." He says as he scribbles another answer down swiftly with barely a thought.

Jasher claps Romulius on the shoulder in both a companionable and sympathetic fashion. "I will refrain from -pun-tificating, but you should really let go and enjoy the festivities, cousin." After a brief pause, he adds in a more serious aside, "Last one." Thereafter, he jots down the next answer, which is, again, most assuredly wrong. But at least he's enjoying himself in the process.

Mabelle grins at her guests while she mentions, "The Correct answer is B. A queen goes on what is called a “mating flight” where she leaves the hive and mates with anywhere from 5 to 45 different males – which is sufficient for her lifetime. Male bees are only good for mating, actually", she coughs a laughter at that, "And they die swiftly after they do it because their little…not stinger get ripped from them once they die. It is the female bees who do all the work in the hive: Cleaning, feeding the baby bees, feeding and taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to cool the hive and guarding the hive, and also outside the hive: Gathering nectar and pollen from flowers as well as water. "

"A.In the winter, Bees vibrate their wings to stay warm.
B.Bees hibernate in the winter.
C.Bees live longer in the summer than they do in the winter."

She grins at Jasher, "Dont! I love puns!".

"I have literally guessed them all wrong," Audgrim laments with good humour.

Patrizio makes a mindful sound as he's listening, and writing. "I'm not doing so hot myself," he muses, and lets a breath slide free. "But then again, I'm far more interested in other kinds of bees. As steeds."


There is an amused look upon Breccan's face as he listens to the answers, giving a glance down at his for a moment. He continues to scribble answers down, then gives a peek over at Amari to see how she's fairing.

Servants travel between the guests to offer drinks and sweets to ease their sufferings.

There are so many comments Denica could make about the society structure of Bees. The young woman fascinated by this, but the smirk on her face does well to sum it all up. There's another question and she it knitting those dark eyebrows together, lips press and twitch. Denica catches the interaction between Jasher and Romulius and the comment of the former has her snickering, eyes bright. "I'm learning so much! Next time I invite my enemies over to tea, I'll make sure to ask them to wear a nice dark blue," she says with a growing grin.

Amari doesn't crib from Breccan's answers, but instead sits there in (allegedly) deep thought before and after inking her answers. She doesn't look pleased, but eventually murmurs something pleasant and positive sounding to agree with her couchmate from Clement House. Getting out of the house is great. At the last question, she marks a letter and closes the book almost before the quill is clear of the pages. Snap. With it back in her lap she can take up her cup of mead again.

"Five to forty-five different males are generally sufficient for most lifetimes," Cesare intones very seriously, writing down an answer. "If occasionally one felt inclined to de-sting males of the human variety after the act was completed and they've served their purpose, I think the urge could be considered understandable, and, in some cases, justified." His expression is completely, pleasantly neutral.

"I'll hold you to it." Jasher's last pun is answered immediately by Romulius, more than happy to be offered some sort of mercy from at least this cousin, though Denica will no doubt carry on his torture. When Mabelle encourages him further, their hostess earns a glare of her own, though it's possessed of a far duller edge than those he's been delivering to his family. *This* bee fact prompts a quirk of brow from him, and then a half-shrug with the realization that the intricacies of apian courtship aren't something that he'd ever be expected to know a thing about. Patrizio's aside draws gaze in that direction, head canting in curiosity. "Steeds?" As for Denica's enemies, "You'll have to chain the bees up when I visit the barge."

Mabelle laughs helplessly at Denica, "Isnt that your color of choice? Rather makes me wonder if that is why its our House color. I should ask Cristoph", but it is Cesare's comment that makes her erupt and she moves to cover her face for a long few minutes, "I actually felt that way this morning", she grins at him.

"Correct answer was A. Bees live about six weeks in the summer because they are beeeusier and around five months in the winter. In cold weather, the hive becomes inactive. The bees cluster together keeping the queen in the center and any developing bees warm. They generate body heat by vibrating their wing muscles and survive off honey food reserves and they take turns in going to the outer circle so other bees can stay warm as well! Another thing they use this for is to kill enemies. I saw this right here a few weeks ago! They can trap a wasp in this bee ball and generate enough heat to get her killed, so do not piss off bees!!"

"A.The Queen Bee is shorter and smaller than worker bees.
B.The Queen Bee can lay up to 2500 eggs a day.
C.The Queen Bee can be removed from the hive and no one will notice."


As he pauses at the next question, Breccan appears slightly stumbled. He scribbles out one answer immediately, then stares at the last two. He taps his ink back and forth a few times before finally circling. This one has him baffled. Maybe he's taking a 50/50.

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

Audgrim nearly chokes on his drink at Cesare's joke. He coughs and clears his voice. He looks very amused. "Bloody... wrong again," he says and jots down the right answer next to his very wrong one. The last question - he groans, and guesses wildly once more. "All I know about bees, is that I avoid them when in the forest."

Gianna strides on in with a shimmer of gold on black. Just in time for a quiz. Or rather, in time for part of a quiz, as she's missed quite a bit. She seeks out Mabelle in the crowd and tips forward in a shallow bow. Are there drinks? Of course there are drinks. She makes her way toward procuring one.

Jasher lifts his beryl irises to rest them on Audgrim and says, "You are certainly not the only one." The parchment in his hands is held up for Denica and Romulius to observe with naught a single measure of sheepishness to show for it. After all, he's not a man prone to spending time ashore; creatures of the ocean are more his forte. His cousin's comment draws dark eyebrows to lift with dubious interest, though he does not prod further. Having utterly failed at every bee fact thus far, the prince seems content to listen to the remaining answers with clear interest in each tidbit of information provided by Lady Mabelle.

Mabelle wiggles her fingers to Gianna as she enters, providing the correct answer, "That would bee.. B! The queen can live up to five years. She is busiest in the summer months, when she can lay up to 2,500 eggs a day! She is also twice as long as a regular worker bee because of that particular job description. However, if the queen honey bee is removed from the hive, within 15 minutes, the rest of the colony knows about it! "

"4 more question!
A.If a Queen Bee dies, replacing her is impossible and the bees leave the hive.
B.Bee swarming happens when the Queen Bee dies and they have to find a new home.
C.To create a Queen Bee they need to feed a young larva special food."

"Don't piss off bees. That is very good advice Lady Laurent," Denica agrees sagely. "It's often the small ones you have to watch for, they have the sharpest sting," Denica shares her opinion with an amused smirk. Denica is indeed enjoying herself, and the game encourages her competitive spirit, even if she seems at loss a few times. It's good fun and the young woman invites the perfect little break, tucked into a beautiful and fragrant aviary, the sights of flowers and the sound of the bees buzzing in the background, it provides a pleasant backdrop for some silliness among friends. A glance over at Romulius and Jasher to see how they are fairing, the sight of the two Thrax princes brings a warmer expression to her face.


Looking relieved, Breccan blows out a breath, then scribbles in another answer. He gives a glance to Amari and grins, leaning in to bump her shoulder. "How're you doing so far?" He asks curiously.

"Entirely depends on the number and size of the bees you're pissing off, the availability of shelter and your ability to outrun them to get away," counters Patrizio, as he's grinning about the matter of it, and he shakes his head. "You don't have to be the fastest one present, just not the slowest, if you think of it, and so..." If that doesn't say all about the Pravusi general's military strategy...

"Yes! I got one right," Audgrim says and pumps his fist in the air for a second, looking quite smug. The next question has him scratching the back of his head, literally. But he jots down another guess.

"Oh, really well, Breccan." This is a lie. She has given up. The book she's supposed to write answers in is closed in her lap, and she's choosing instead to drink. She can learn bees facts by osmosis, through mead-spiration. "You should win this." Since she's not too distracted by having to follow along, she watches everyone else as they compete in the quiz showdown. Gianna's arrival isn't missed in the meantime, as the Baroness offers a fond smile.

Mabelle grins amusedly at Audgrim and then looks at Patrizio, "But what if its just one dire bee?"

Patrizio blinks twice, and then looks entirely innocently to Mabelle. "Then I'd throw a rope around it and ride it like a stallion," he points out, as if that's not the obvious right answer.


"I could lose on purpose." Breccan says to Amari with a laugh. "I feel it's a bit unfair being that I work with them all year long." He says as he reaches for his own drink to take a sip. He perks up at the sound of Audgrim and rumbles out. "Congrats!"

Gianna takes up a glass of something that almost certainly has honey in it. Also: a honey cake. When Laurents pick a theme, they adhere to it. They adhere the hell out of it. Gianna tips her chin in Amari's direction and then heads thataway. Breccan, too, is given an inclination of her head.

Gianna has joined the an extravagant divan with soft silken cushions.

Mabelle returns to the center of the room and laughs at Patrizio who seems to have very interesting notions about Dire Bees. "If the queen bee dies in a honeybee hive the workers can create a new queen bee. They do this by selecting a young larva and by feeding it special food called ‘royal jelly’ the larva will develop into a fertile queen. Swarming occurs when a colony has outgrown its current hive and is preparing to separate into 2 or more new, smaller hives. When individuals die, they are quickly replaced – workers every 6-8 weeks, and the queen every 2-3 years. Because of this, a hive could technically be immortal!", she wiggles her fingers magically at that.

"Question number 8! Who will be the sharpest Bee?

A. In her lifetime, a bee produces less than a 1/10 teaspoon of honey.
B. There are over 200,000 bees in one bee colony.
C. It only takes 100,000 flowers to produce one pound of honey."

With the abatement of the puns' assault, Romulius seems slightly (*very* slightly) less surly about the whole ordeal, and more attention is paid to the bees and the conversations on particularly large ones. "Dire bees?" He must have thought them to be a joke, but they just keep coming up. To his two cousins, he offers another hushed word before listening to the next round of questioning and seeming to be at an utter loss with this one.

Audgrim looks up as a new guest has arrived, nodding politely at GIanna and studying her with some curiosity - it's clear he regoznies her, in that way people recognizes celebrity. When it snaps into place WHO she is, he bows his head more respectfully. "Darn it." Clearly, he was wrong again. Another answer is written down - another guess.

"Don't lose on purpose." Amari doesn't approve of that suggestion on bit. She makes a counter-suggestion to Breccan, "Win the day, and make Baron Norwood proud." Then it's back to drinking as Gianna joins them, for something she murmurs, there's an equally soft spoken reply from the baroness.

"Baron Clement should be proud. And not just because he's not old." Patrizio pronounces this with a certain amount of delight, since there's clearly no delight coming to him from the quiz answers on the paper before him.

"Presumably the subject of the rather large bee sculpture in the lounge of the same name," Liara ventures by way of reply on overhearing Romulius' query. She offers up a cheerful wave to greet Gianna, then gets back to her hot chocolate, and to marking the answers on her paper.


"Okay, okay .. I won't throw the quiz on purpose. I don't know if there is a prize though." Breccan answers Gianna. "I just /love/ bees so much that I'm excited to just bee here." He says with a laugh.

Cesare restrains himself visibly from saying /something/ when Gianna comes in, but he is clearly trying very hard not to smile. He ducks his head and scrawls an answer on his parchment. "Bees are very important, you know," he says.

Gianna inclines her head regally over to Liara before shooting Breccan a look. Her eyes narrow slightly, presumably at the pun. Then she's leaning over to examine Amari's answers.

Romulius offers Liara a nod of deference, but he doesn't seem content to let the subject of monstrous bees rest that easily, "I'd have thought the Lounge to be named after the sculpture, Your Grace, and the art to simply be a rather liberal depiction of an entirely normal bee." Maybe he doesn't like the idea that bees can grow that large.

Mabelle snickers at Liara, "Truly, Prince Thrax, you never did wonder? Its my favorite tale", is it a tale though? "Correct answer was sadly, A. A typical honey bee colony may have around 50,000 workers. Bees live for about 6 weeks and produces only a twelfth teaspoon of honey in that time span. Honey bees can visit up to 5,000 flowers in a single day and it actually takes about 2 million flowers to produce one pound of honey. For every pound of honey produced, a hive must collect 10 pounds of pollen."

"Nearing the end, nearing the end, we have some tight competition here, speaking of bears:A. Bears claw into the hives to get all that honey.
B. The bees really produce honey for their own sustenance and we get the extra.
C. Dead bees become part of the honey as they decay in the hive."

"The bee sculpture at the lounge is but a miniature of a proper dire sized bee." Amari alleges, as Romulius and Liara discuss the issue. She sounds thoroughly confident and sincere about it too. Maybe she's just joking. Maybe. She's had a lot of mead.

Breccan lets out a soft laugh at the next question, immediately crossing one out. The next two causes him to tap his utensil against the quizbook a few times. He frowns, then looks over to Mabelle. "You're being tricky." He calls out.

Audgrim has joined the an extravagant divan with soft silken cushions.

Patrizio listens to the discussion of the sculpture because this is clearly very relevant to his interests. Even as he does take pause to consider the question that's just been asked, and he chuckles towards Breccan. "I think that if she weren't, messere, there'd be too much of a snarl for those in contention. At least I'm learning something from all of this."

Audgrim squints, and then throws his hands out - he isn't even going to write the last answer. He finds a seat now, joining Amari, Breccan and Gianna, carefully moving sword and cloak away before sitting. "Well, that was bee-yond my abilities," he says.

Mabelle grins at Breccan, "I am famous for that", she grins at him, "Dagger sized stings would do it. Maybe I should make myself a barbed dagger, sounds painful".

Jasher nods and smiles approvingly for those that have carried on his bee puns so enthusiastically.

Mabelle eyes Jasher worriedly, "I hope not to get a similar quiz about dolphins", she laughs and reports, "Correct answer was B. A single beehive can make more than 100 pounds of extra honey. The beekeeper only harvests the extra honey made by the bees. They fill the honeycomb cells and cap them with thin wax layer to seal it until needed. This capping indicates to the beekeeper that the honey can be harvested. Some worker bees have the job of being an “undertaker bee” and are in charge of removing dead bees from the hive. As for bears, while bears do enjoy honey, they prefer to eat bee larvae, not so cute now, huh?", she shudders, "So now, for the final question, brace yourselves."

A. Bees communicate by humming to each other.
B. Bees have two wings.
C. While honey can heal, bee venom is more deadly than a snake's."

Clearly that was her favorite question.

Something that Denica quips amongst the Thrax contingent prompts the quirk of a smile, finally, from Romulius, though the expression is banished almost immediately by Jasher's follow-up. He can't offer any rebuke, however, when there's the very strange subject of dire bees to address. "Miniature? What would the *hive* look like?"

Breccan lets out a loud groan as he rubs a hand along his face. It looks like he finally missed an answer. "See, tricky! I almost chose B." He says with a low huff in his throat. "And I knew it was B.. " He mutters to himself as he scribbles the final answer in his book, ten closes it up.

"Oh!" Cesare says with excitement at the question, but then he settles down again, because they were told /not/ to call out the answers, and therefore he must not share the amazing fact he knows about bees with everyone here. He is not wiggling. He is perfectly still and calm, writing his answer.

For the first time since he gave up the contest, Jasher scribbles something down on his parchment page and hands it off to Mabelle for her review. "Rest assured that my dolphin facts will not bee delivered in the same format," he replies to her question with a simple dip of his head in her direction to follow.

Mabelle checked dexterity + alchemy at difficulty 9, rolling 34 higher.

Liara breathes a low laugh at Amari's comment, then she supposes to Romulius with a small lift of her shoulders, "The only thing for it would appear to be to ask Lady Mabelle about all the details. I do not actually know them myself, nor had I questioned it to date."

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

While Cupcake collects the books, Mabelle informs the others, "Honeybees do a dance which alerts other bees where nectar and pollen is located. The dance explains direction and distance. It’s a subtle waggle. The bees actually have four wings, the two wings each side hook together to form one larger pair when flying and then unhook when they’re not flying. They also use their wings to remove the excess moisture from nectar by rapidly fanning them over the open cells in the hive.

Correct answer was C!.While honey does have a positive effect on skin, I have personally used it to dress wounds and protect it from festering. It also makes it very soft! So that's more than a teaspoon in your tea for certain. Some say it has all you need to feed on to sustain life but I am not going to verify that. Honey bee venom, however, is more deadly than cobra venom. Don’t worry, though – it will take about 1,200 bees to take me down!", she then takes her time to count the right answers while her guests get to mingle.

Natasha takes a flat bumble bee paper weight from a large wooden beehive.

"Yes, they /dance/," Cesare enthuses, "Isn't the amazing?" He thinks so, obviously. "Thank you, Lady Mabelle, what an amazing game that was. I learned so much."

Natasha takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Denica etches her answers on bits of canvas which she passes over to Mabelle. The Thraxian princess murmurs a few words between Jasher and Romulius and there is a devious smile that forms easily. Her attention shifts to Mabelle as the woman explains the effects of honey on the skin and her brow perks. A glance is given to the paper-white flesh of her arms and the mention of the bee dances brings a smile to her lips. "It is amazing," she agrees with Cesare, the whimsy of such a thing is not lost on Denica whose expression betrays the vivid imagination that is no doubt thinking about bee dances, bee balls, bees in ballgowns, who knows what goes on in the mind of an artist!

Amari holds her hands apart shoulder width to answer Romulius' question, in part. The hives are big by Amari measure. "Huge, I imagine. I've not seen one, personally, but assume they live in ruined castles and cellars, and such. It only follows." It's very reasonable, in her opinion.

Breccan takes a flat bumble bee paper weight from a large wooden beehive.

Patrizio takes a flat bumble bee paper weight from a large wooden beehive.

Mabelle informs the group, "Well, We have a winners tie! Both Princess Denica and Breccan have 9 right answers, that is amazing! So you both get the awards for Sharpest Bee! Whisper Cesare was great with 8 answers, prince Patrizio with 6, Princess Liara with 4, and Baroness Amari, Prince Romulius and Master Audgrim with 2. You are more than welcome to follow Pierre and Alber outside to see the beehives, stay here and eat, I for one am going to get cake!".

There had been every intention to attend the incomparable Lady Laurent's birthday celebration in a timely fashion, but with the crush of business threatening to swallow up Natasha Thrax on the daily, it may be a small miracle in itself that she has managed to claw her way out of whatever mountain has decided to pile on her today. While she has missed arriving with the entire Thrax entourage, she is at least dressed to match them - it is rare, these days, that she doesn't wear something black, austere and ultra-conservative, akin to a uniform of some sort and all the more accentuated in a style reminiscent of naval ensembles by the leather longcoat she wears. The hood pulled down, dark curls brush against pale cheeks as she cranes her head in search of the hostess, first, before she joins the rest of her family, and makes a BEE-line towards Mabelle's direction upon her declaration of retrieving some cake.

"I think I did better than I thought I would." Patrizio's laughing warmly, and applauding for Denica and Breccan with their knowledge of all things bee, as it would seem. "And bravo to those who won."

Bees are venomous? Romulius doesn't seem too confident in *anything* that their hostess has just said, and there's an incredulous look delivered to Denica and Jasher just beyond her. He's seen a bee, before, and it definitely had two wings, not four. He isn't about to voice any disgreement, though, and certainly not while surrounded by the bees that Laurent keeps. "I think I've learned more about bees in a day than I've learned about *any* insect in my life." And then there's talk of castle-dwelling bees of monstrous size, and he's back to looking surly. Amari is given an exasperated look, "Castles? Really?" He doesn't believe that, either, but *everybody* seems to insist that dire bees are A Thing. Then, though, Denica is being named Sharpest, and there's a warm smile offered to the princess. Eyes don't linger there long, though, immediately finding the sight of Natasha making her way towards Mabelle, a quick indication made in her direction for the benefit of Denica and Jasher.


As he takes the award, Breccan lets out a loud laugh, then looks over towards Princess Denica, curious to know who she is. His brows lift upwards some with excitement. "Congrats!" He calls out to the Lady. "Was a wonderful contest!" He shows the award to those at his table, grinning at them. "This is adorable. I can't wait to put in the House later and show the Baron."

Mabelle claps for the winners and flashes a huge smile at Natasha, "Princess, thank you for coming. I think your husband is a bit overinformed and underjoyed", she teases Romulius, "I have told you this, I am certain! It is my favorite horror story!!". Mabelle then congratulates Breccan, "Very well done, the Baron will be very proud of you" and further admits to Patrizio, "You did surprisingly well!"

Liara offers up some light applause for Breccan and Denica, a quick, "Well done!", and then, grinning, she gets back to her drink, sipping lightly at the hot chocolate. A flash of a smile is offered over to Natasha as she arrives.

Audgrim applauds for the winners, nodding at them. But for now he seems content to drink tea, and share a few words at the seat he's at.

Breccan is overheard praising Mabelle.

"I feel like you're saying that I'm not that smart, my lady." Patrizio is still smiling about this, however, and there's the playful brandishing of a wink for Mabelle at her statement about it... and then a breath slips free. "Truly, half of them were guesses after eliminating an answer. So." And that lets another grin linger, as he bows and moves off for a bit to find himself something to drink.

Sharpest /and/ Softest in one place. What will happen when two directly opposed ideals collide?! Cesare applauds, chuckling softly. "Congratulations, Breccan and Princess Denica! I can't believe we are graced with the presence of such truly sharp wit." He steps over in the direction of the Thrax coterie to say hello.

Amari applauds for Breccan and Denica's tied first place finish in the great bee quiz. "Well done!" She cheers, not the least bit put out by the doubt Romulius is expressing. She insists. "Really! Castles are the very best place for them, when you think about it. They could fill the entire keep with honeycomb and be well protected from weather and predator alike. Though I'm not sure what would be brave enough to bother with a dire bee hive in a ruined castle, no doubt in some far flung wilderness teeming with Abandoned..." Then again, she only got 2 questions right on the quiz.


As he glances to Audgrim, then to Gianna, it appears that Breccan has finally pulled his thoughts away from the quiz to realize who he is sitting next to. "Oh! Geez. I .. I'm so sorry. I was so wrapped up in the quiz." He says with an embarrassed laugh. "Lady Gianna, it's an honor to meet you."

"I hope you'll pardon the tardiness, my lady, but it seems I've arrived just in time to be informed as to who the winners are," Natasha tells Mabelle, the radiant smile from the Laurent lady softening her characteristic severity. "I believe I owe you a suitable gift, and a dinner. Perhaps I'll be able to entice you to both in the coming weeks?" Her remarks on Romulius has her attention drifting over to the man by her relatives, offering a soft whisper to the hostess, and while the exchange is brief, solemnity kisses her pale expression. Catching Liara's wordless greeting, her head dips in a respectful angle. "Your Grace, it's good to see you."

Not expecting the announcement, it catches Denica's attention and she laughs with delight. The bee-award is met with an unexpectedly warm smile, "well thank you Lady Laurent. That was a bee-autiful endeavour, such great fun," she says to Mabelle. Her attention shifts to Breccan and she dips her head to the man, "and congratulations to you, my good man," she concurs with him, tucking the statue under an arm, it is darling and she seems to treasure it and the experience of the day. The arrival of Natasha catches Denica's attention, she offers a smile of genuine warmth to the other woman in greeting.

Gianna stuffs the last of her honey treat into her mouth in a highly elegant manner so she can applaud for the winners. With her glass in her other hand. It's not very loud applause, but it's applause. She murmurs something quietly to her seatmates.

Mabelle smiles warmly to Liara, moving to personally provide her with a piece of chocolate cake and murmur, "I'm pleased you could attend". She straightens then and looks amusedly at Patrizio, "I did not know half of that before I hit my old uncle's books, so you are in good company. I cannot hear about another bee... and that's my life", she winks to him. Mabelle then stares at Amari, "Remind me not to go with you to the woods again, you are freaking me out.. Oh Whisper Gianna, hello!", she smiles at the late entry, "Thank you for coming".

Mabelle smiles to Natasha, "Of course at your leisure", her expression does fall for a moment as she realizes something and she murmurs something to the Princess, before winking to Denica in thanks.

Natasha is overheard praising Mabelle.

Patrizio laughs warmly when he makes note of Natasha's arrival, and his head dips to her respectfully. "Your highness," he says, a playful note lingering in his tone. "It seems you're taking a page out of my cousin Bas' book, to arrive now. I would've loved to see how you would've done in the quiz." The last, at least, is truly sincere, and he's turning back to nod slightly to Mabelle, before the breath slips from him. "Give yourself time. Given your love for sweets and the bees..." He looks around before he continues, "I imagine you'll be back to them soon enough, either way."

Amari is overheard praising Denica.

Amari is overheard praising Breccan.

Breccan is overheard praising Denica.

Amari is overheard praising Mabelle.

Breccan is overheard praising Amari.

"You've never mentioned dire bees once in the history of our association, I assure you." Romulius seems confident in his response to Mabelle, there, but attention falls away from the hostess to Amari's insistence of the monsters' alleged domains. "I'm not entirely convinced that such a thing could exist and go unnoticed - I may not travel inland often, but I'd never heard anything as bizarre even in children's stories." Natasha's gaze is met with a look of obvious affection, though the passing of pride for Denica's good showing sees smile dulling a touch. Cesare's approach is then met with a quick nod of head, "Master Whisper. Your knowledge of bees is impressive, if not entirely unsurprising."

Denica is overheard praising Mabelle: A bee-autiful hostess!

As Natasha wends her way through the loose crowd to join the Thrax contingent huddled together, Jasher does not bother to relegate his response to Denica to a whisper this time. "Congratulations to you both," Jasher says pointedly to both Denica and Breccan, and to the former, adds with conversational warmth, "We will be sure to visit the barge very soon, though I cannot promise to swath myself in red for the occasion. Natasha, glad you could join us." At this point, Cesare appears before them, so the prince inclines his head politely to the Whisper as he utters, "Good to see you. I see that your knowledge of bees may nearly rival that of notable figures."

Mabelle takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

"And you, your highness," Liara offers in an easy if rather brief reply to Natasha. Then to Mabelle, she says, "I am pleased that I could attend, too. There is quite a view from here, though I am not sure that I would want to descend any closer."

Denica is overheard praising Breccan: Sharpest Bee!

Mabelle grins quietly to Natasha, "That.. is a weird desire", she points out and then agrees somewhat with Liara, "I wouldnt either, they are very happy at spring, but they are mostly harmless. They do not want to sting anyone unless they have to". Patrizio's assurance is found correct when she already has a honey sweet by her lips.

"Unsurprising, Prince Romulius?" Cesare asks, raising his eyebrows as he approaches. "Why is that?" He bows to each of the Thrax royalty in turn, before greeting Jasher as well. "Only /nearly,/" he admits. "And not enough to outdo your cousin! I didn't know I knew so much about them, really. I suppose I've heard a lot from listening to people talk about the apiary arts. Honey is an oft-used ingredient in many fine delicacies, and I am always paying attention." He gives Jasher a critical look. "You would look good in red. Not bright red, but a deeper crimson, or a burgundy."

Mabelle takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey from a large wooden beehive.

Mabelle drops a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey.

"Then you've not heard the tales the children in Artshall, Reveillon and Duskshire tell. I've heard them claim there are dire bees, dire turnips, and that there's even a dire fish that eats cabbage swimming about." Amari counters with the barest hint of a smile. She may just be winding him up a little at this point. "And, well, since Lady Mabelle isn't likely to join me on an expedition to find a castle hive to prove it one way or the other, I extend the invitation to you instead, Prince Romulius. Should you ever wish to satisfy your curiosity."

Mabelle checked dexterity + alchemy at difficulty 9, rolling 46 higher.

Jasher is overheard praising Mabelle: Truly, the Queen Bee.

After a few more words are exchanged with Mabelle, Natasha's porcelain veneer seems to linger on that same subtle warmth, suffused with a touch of genuine affection towards whatever Mabelle says to her. Liara's easy reply is acknowledged with that spectral curving of the corners of her mouth upwards, and quietly excuses herself from the small circle of women so that they can carry on their conversation, her attention drawn to the Pravosi prince. His banter is one clearly appreciated. "Bas is an unrepentant artist and while he may not openly admit it, some degree of drama is part and parcel of his unique tapestry," she says, good humor plainly audible. "Had I the choice, I would have been on time and participating - it is good to see you well, also, Your Highness. If you see Bas before me, would you inform him that I intend to pester him in person the minute I discover where he's hiding?"

Cesare is overheard praising Mabelle: It would be positively beeastly of me not to acknowledge that Lady Mabelle is absolutely the queenliest when it comes to buzzing up a party.

"If I knew where he'd cloistered himself, your highness," Patrizio says, with a laugh, to Natasha, "I would... probably still not reveal it, because then my cousin would be upset with me. But would it be a matter that I could help with, on the topic of the pestering? Even if..." His voice trails off, and a hint of colour finds his cheeks before he shakes his head. "No, no business here while we're celebrating the good Lady Mabelle's birthday, even if bee-lated. But the offer stands, if it would be of assistance to speak with me, until I can find him and remind him that he ought find you."

Audgrim is overheard praising Mabelle: Happy Birthday, Queen Bee

"I imagine that your position demands a wide breadth of knowledge - I don't find it surprising at all that you might know a bit about bees, as well." It's impossible for Romulius to hide a bit of lingering pride at the deference to Denica's own impressive apian knowledge, though the comment to Jasher on his wardrobe prompts a lifted brow. "Burgundy, Cousin. The world apparently grows bored of your preference for black." From the Sword of New Hope, the comment is almost absurd - the man has worn color perhaps only once in the mast months. Amari pulls his attention back to dire bees and castles, though he seems somehow even more incredulous than a moment ago. "Would you visit every abandoned castle in Arvum, Baroness? Suppose we never find your hive?" It's not a decline of the offer, exactly.

Gianna peers at Amari, leaning back a little. "I'm sorry. Dire... turnip?" Her eyes narrow slightly. "That does not sound like an actual thing."

Mabelle huffs at Amari, "You know I will come anyway. And oh!", she tells Natasha, "I owe him a story. I said if I wrote him a story he will do a commission for the district! I must have a Sebastian in the District!". Mabelle moves over toward Patrizio and hands him cake. Because why not? "Dire Turnips just sounds like very good .. crops", she laughs.

"I suppose that is somewhat reassuring, but, all the same, there is tasty food right here," Liara offers as a mild argument to Mabelle. The Grayson's fairly withdrawn on the whole today, though, at least compared to her usual, and after that, she lapses into comfortable silence again, lounging back on her chair.

Gianna is overheard praising Mabelle: A very happy birthday to you, Lady Mabelle.

Gianna is overheard praising Audgrim: So polite!

Gianna is overheard praising Breccan: So polite!

"Dire Turnips...?," Denica mouths these words in disbelief, but then there is talk of hives and castles and adventure and the short princess perks up. "Oh, sign me up for that mission," she interjects herself to Amari, unable to contain her curiosity. Another bit of conversation catches her attention, though probably enough to make an informed opinion, but..artists and drama. "All artists are dramatic. Any that claim they are not, are often the most dramatic of the bunch," Denica points out with some authority on the matter. Then there is the matter of colours and she considers Jasher and says, "you could get a burgundy so dark it's almost black, but isn't. Though... I suppose that might defeat the purpose, it would be a gradual transition," she suggests, always keen to discuss colour.

Breccan is overheard praising Gianna.

Romulius' glance is met with her own, his broadcasted affection returned in kind; doubtless she'll find her way to her relatives soon. The flash of color on the Pravosi prince's cheeks is certainly surprising, but considering the princess' overall inscrutability, she doesn't make it overt that she notices - save for a glint of mirth uncovered from dark eyes. "I did promise you a conference," Natasha replies to Patrizio at the offerance. "I wanted your opinion on something recently discussed, also, perhaps we can fold in both, and you can tell me how my elusive cousin has been. I received a letter from him, recently, when he was fresh from arriving from Setarco - that was the only reason I know that he's somewhere in Arx. But thank you kindly for the offer, if nothing else, it only prompts me to sit down with you sooner rather than later."

Patrizio accepts the cake from Mabelle, though not without a faint look and the lift of one of those well-plucked eyebrows of his, as he's holding it for a few moments, as if trying to figure out /why/ he's suddenly possessed of a confection. One that is, admittedly, settled on a table, before he drops it, because gods know he might do that. "I should have to remind my cousin that he owes you such," he says to Mabelle with a genuine smile, before he's nodding to Natasha. "Seems then that we should arrange such, though perhaps not while we're celebrating. I should send you a messenger in the coming days, and we'll find time for such, no?"

"There were turnips of unusual size one year, recently. The farmers were overjoyed, if confused. So yes, dire turnips, according to the children's tales." Amari explains to Gianna and Denica, and no doubt others who did a slight what-the-what. As for Romulius, she smiles over at him, "We wouldn't have to explore all the ruined castles of Arvum. I think we can narrow the area to search considerably. I'll be sure to let you, and Princess Denica know when I've a good candidate to seek out and explore." Because that sounds safe. She seems willing then to let it rest, as something else slowly sinks in. "Did someone say cake?" She looks to Mabelle.

"I look forward to it," Natasha tells the Pravosi prince agreeably. "But for now, cake. It looks delicious." There is a quick and surreptitious wink towards Mabelle, so fleeting that it might possibly be imagined from a soul not altogether known for her humor, but with a polite parting to those within her vicinity, dark skirts and leather swirl around the ankles of thigh-high boots as she proceeds in a cutting wake towards where her husband and cousins are, pale hands folding in front of her and a thumb absently stroking the twin serpents coiled on the adjacent, smallest digits of her left hand.

Gianna wrinkles her nose at Amari. "That's just a very large turnip," she maintains.

Mabelle eyes Amari, "Have you met me? Of course there is cake". She does shake her head to Patrizio however, "Oh do not remind him, I owe him a story, so I am the one who needs to deliver!", she smiles to him. She looks about her guests and gets lost between conversation about turnips and honey, but if they seem happy, she lets them bee.

Talk of dire bees, dire turnips and dire fish all have the effect of drawing the prince's beryl eyes to rest upon Baroness Amari's face for a beat, as though searching for hints that she's being facetious. But no. There is apparently a castle with dire bees living within its walls, and that's just too intriguing to go unremarked upon. "I would like to see such things for myself. If you're not careful, you may find yourself on the hook to entertain half Thrax family, my lady." Conversation concerning his choice in wardrobe, and its lack of color, draws his attention away, prompts his brows to draw together and crease at the center. "I never claimed to be a consummate man of fashion, though crimson is just fine, and works almost as well at hiding bloodstains." Morbid, but ever focused on the functionality of attire rather than its looks.

Mabelle takes a limited edition of Laurent's Spring Honey.

When Denica voices her intent to join the expedition, it's her turn for an exasperated look from Romulius. He gives a lot of them, apparently. "So long as you do not provoke the bees, Cousin - I would hate to be asked to cut apart a hive of them." Not that he believes that dire bees exist, by now confident that it's more likely just fun at the expense of the man who might be the most humorless at the grounds. Then there's Jasher joining the expedition, and it very quickly becomes a Thrax family affair - they travel in packs, it seems, and only growing when Natasha makes her way to join them. She's given a warm look from her husband before an arm is offered for her to take, "You've just missed Denica make fools of Jasher and I, and the *both* of your cousins have been torturing me with their attempts at humor."

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

Breccan continues to listen to the conversation around him, though the idea of cake has him licking his lips. "I hope that you enjoy the gifts from House Clement." He calls over to Mabelle with a laugh. "One is a bit of humor, the other is far more serious and enjoyable."

Audgrim has left the an extravagant divan with soft silken cushions.

Dodgy, a brown rat leaves, following Audgrim.

Mabelle smiles warmly to Breccan, "Thank you and please also thank the Baron for me".

Better late than never! Grady looks a little bit harried as he comes in, attempting to smooth his hair (without success) while he walks. Trots. His pace is a mix of a walk and a trot, shifting from one to the other and back until he actually gets into the space, at which point he comes to a screeching halt and adopts a more sedate, unhurried pace.

"That sounds like a challenge. At the very worst, we'll have fun in the attempt and if we've learned all the right bee facts, not be killed." Amari decides, not shying away from having to entertain half of the Thrax. Gianna is turned to then, and nodded to, "It is, but they sound more exciting as dire turnips, no? Not so good as cake either way." Which is why she's going to fetch a slice.

"Oooh, get me one, too," Gianna calls after Amari.

Mabelle smiles to Grady as he enters, "Lord Deepwood. Welcome. There's cake!", she points out and looks amusedly to Amari, "Make the entire team wear red".

The offered arm from Romulius is accepted by an ivory hand laden with long, almost delicate fingers, curling at the hinge covered in black silk and dark eyes turning up to vibrant cerulean eyes cast in her direction. "I'm sorry to have missed the game, but I did arrive just in time to hear the winners. Congratulations, cousin," this said to Denica. "Your breadth of knowledge never ceases to surprise. And you as well." To Jasher. "For placing. We are still meeting sometime next week, yes? You as well, Denica." Ever opportunistic when it seems that the first thing she does is to remind herself of the appointments she should be making - and one wonders why she hardly ever attends parties! There is a soft murmur of greeting imparted towards Amari and Cesare, also within the collective, or at least speaking with them, a warm squeeze absently delivered on her husband's escorting bracket.

"There are plenty of ways to get bloodstains out," Cesare chides Jasher lightly. "And I am more than certain the royal laundries of House Thrax must be /very/ familiar with them. Crimson would look wonderful on you, and I will get you wearing some blue, as well. You have wonderful eyes. And bronze, too, I think, to set them off." He flits a hand in both Thrax princes' direction. "Everyone has their preference for clothing. There is nothing wrong with expressing oneself through fashion. Sometimes the expression is 'I wear only black.' Sometimes it is -" he gestures to himself, which begs the question, what on earth /is/ Cesare saying with all his gleaming green and gold?

"Cake! Ah!" Grady lights up on seeing Mabelle; his face breaks into a broad, warm smile. "Here it is your birthday, and you're feeding all of us, yes? Happy birthday, by the way. Er. There isn't a, ah, a color-coded dress code, is there? I haven't anything red to wear."

"I have never provoked a dangerous situation," Denica lies. It is a look of innocence she fanes to Romulius before the smile erupts on her lips, betraying her jests. Denica flashes a smile as Amari adds her to the list of explorers, "at least if we find ourselves famished on this expedition, there are plenty of things to eat," she murmurs. Dire Turnips and Dire Fish have to make a Dire Stew of sorts? Jasher's comment on fashion catches the young Thrax's attention, "yes it does, very nicely," that's all she has to say on the matter of red clothes and blood, head nods. As Natasha approaches, the princess tries to pull together a more proper expression but her eyes twinkle with mirth, "I fear some of our jokes may have stung your husband," she tells Natasha, "but he flew right through them," she shoots a look at Romulius as she comments before she nods back at Natasha, "of course. I look forward to speaking with you cousin," she says with genuine warth.

A chuckle from the Pravusi prince, and a sigh, as he's once more making a brief reverence to the hostess of the afternoon. "I should make my way out now, I fear, my lady," says he to Mabelle, with a warm smile. "But thank you for having me, and may you have many more sweet returns of the day." There are dips of his head for all around, as Patrizio makes ready to go.

Mabelle confesses aside to Cesare, "When I wear black it mostly means I'm in a very impish mood. I would stay clear of me, or close if you look for trouble", she then scans Jasher and decides, "Dark green would also look well on him. And grey. And flaming red, the man is handsome", she shrugs a little and hides a smile. Grady's comment earns a laugh, "Oh no, we learned bees cannot see red and they are going to hunt dire bees. And I always feed people, even on my birthday", she winks to him. Mabelle then squints at Denica, "Never?", before going to say goodbye to Patrizio.

Jasher checks composure at hard. Jasher is successful.

"Hiding the bloodstains isn't a matter of vanity, but practicality. While I've doubts you could manage the feat by simply wearing red, the intent is to deny information to an enemy." Romulius can often seem like he was born into House Thrax, as direct and severe as he is. "As for the rest? I expect my cousin is capable of dressing himself." No comment on how handsome he might be, though. Then his wife is making appointments, and there's a quick hushed word delivered to Natasha before Denica once more turns the verbal foil of punnery upon the cousin with the least tolerance for it, "You're incorrigible."

"Very true!" Amari agrees with Denica, even if what they'll have to eat isn't nearly so nice as Mabelle's birthday cake. Dire stew does have potential though. She gets two slices served up, and returns to the divan not to eat both, but present one to Gianna. She'll settle in again, quiet and watchful while she eats.

"Dire bees?" Grady narrows his eyes very slightly at Mabelle, like he's trying to work out how seriously he should be taking any of this. "Like... the lounge? Mortimer is quite addicted to the bacon over there, by the way. A bit on the sweet side for me, you know, but that leaves more for him, yes?"

Gianna inclines her head to Amari with a hint of an almost-smile as she accepts the cake. "Thank you," she murmurs to the Baroness.

Mabelle shakes her head now at Amari, "Look what you've done. Now I know the next Apiary event will be facts about dire bees. I dont even know any!", she grins at Grady, "Like the lounge, I'll tell you someday".

"You're a Thrax. If you've never provoked a dangerous situation in your life, we'd have to disown you," Natasha replies, deadpanned, towards Denica - and while her unmovable facade may claim it to be an absolutely serious comment, dark eyes and the ignition of amber chips to further, fiery life at the obvious jest are visible. "It's a required right of passage." Romulius' slight cant towards her prompts her to give her husband attention that is due him, listening quietly, the ghost of her earlier smile threatening to widen into further prominence at what she hears. It doesn't, though. Instead, she replies to him softly after a further lean in his direction, before peering curiously at certain imps trying to inject more color to Jasher's wardrobe.

Romulius is overheard praising Mabelle.

Grady is overheard praising Mabelle: Happy birthday!



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