Oct. 12, 2021, 9 p.m.
Arx - Lower Boroughs - Dockyard - Light on the Water
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Narciso, a tall light rose-grey Jennet stallion with tiger eyes and a dark mane and ombre tail have been dismissed.
Close, but not to close to the gangplank that offers access to the Dromonds Deck, Pasquale can be found leaning upon the railings. "It would be a terrible shame to pass up such fine weather." he says to Titus. "And renewing peoples relationship with our Nilanzan" he lifts a glass "Red is never a bad thing. I would skip the Stormborn whiskey though if I was you. It is the sort of drink corsairs favor."
Titus is a bit more on the pale and gaunt side than normal this beautiful spring day, and takes a glass of wine. "I'm hoping there's folks who come that I haven't really been introduced to. Perhaps there's more houses who need assistance in protecting their domains or expansion desires." He lifts his glass though to Pasquale, "To unplanned situations. May we come out better for it."
Alas, it's just Cesare, wraithlike in umbra on this lovely spring evening, and accompanied by Grady Deepwood. The two chat amiably as they step aboard the ship. "Lord Pasquale, Lord Titus, what a beautiful evening for a seaside gathering. How are you both? Have you both met Lord Grady Deepwood? He's recently returned to the city."
Grady comes traipsing along after Cesare, having left his protesting retinue somewhere nearby. He's in a good mood, smiling as he absently tries to smooth down his sea-ruffled hair and somehow gets it more messy than the wind managed on its own. "... glad I ran into you," he's saying to Cesare as they're walking along the gangplank to board. "I don't think I would have thought to come by on my own. I'm afraid I was rather taken to task the last time - Lord Pasquale! Hello." On sighting Pasquale and Titus, he breaks into a broad, open smile.
"We have met, briefly." Pasquale pushes away from the railing to come over to the newly arrived pair. "It is always good to see you Cesare." he offers before asking Grady "I believe you are a diplomat Lord Deepwood?" he pauses for a moment and then polite asks. "You were taken to task? For what?" He looks then to Titus, seeming somewhat thoughtful, and answers. "It would be nice to meet someone new."
Titus checks charm and diplomacy at daunting. Titus fails.
Titus greets Cesare with a tilt of his head, "It's always good to see you, Cesare. If you're here, then no matter how sharp I might be you're here to make it not so harsh. I hope you're doing well, and the Whispers too." Blood-red eyes narrow as Titus looks at the smiling Grady, trying to place the face with the name but there's a shake of his head. "I don't recall meeting you before. Lord Grady was it? And you're a diplomat?" He looks the man up and down, studying. "You have nice....." he's struggling to say something nice and pleasant. "....boots. Very utilitarian and useful." That's important. "Do you travel much?"
Titus is overheard praising Grady: He has nice boots.
"It's a pleasure to see you, Lord Pasquale," Cesare agrees. "It's been too long. This is a familiar sort of vessel; I think the same sort Eswynd use, yes?" He runs a hand along the wood of the railing, casting an eye over the deck. "Have you had it long? Taken it on any impressive voyages?"
He bows his head to Titus, with a half-smile in the pale gentleman's direction. "Just so, my lord, though I haven't found you too sharp in our admittedly limited time together. A bit of sharpness is refreshing now and again, if you ask me." He'll let Grady answer about his boots.
A flock of ladies-in-waiting, 3 Thrax Guards, 2 Thrax Elite Guards, Advocate Robert, a fastidious well dressed assistant, Coconut Custard, the Graypeak Mountain Dog arrive, following Alarissa.
"I've been known to talk people into submission from time to time," Grady jokes to Pasquale. "I was taken to task, and rather severely at that, for bringing my silken self into the, ah. How do they say it? 'The Lowers'." He's not wearing silk. He's not wearing anything remotely as stylish as silk. He's also somehow managed to make the phrase 'the Lowers' sound fatally uncool. Then he cracks a full grin, and bows to Titus. The bow is quite correct, though Grady hasn't the grace to execute it with anything like aplomb. "I can see, my lord, that you are testing me, and so I will graciously thank you for the compliment to my boots, which I can see has been made with the utmost earnestness, yes?"
'Lord Grady has a silvered tongue, that near rivals if not exceeds that of his Marquessa." Comes a womans voice from the gangplank. Alaricite stands in stead of flesh for her left arm and any breeze present ripples the fabric of the dress designed to look like a tidal pool. "Though why you would have deigned to traipse through the lowers, I fear for you Lord Deepwood. I only come through here to the boats and even then, nearly half the guards emptied out to guide me." Everything is in place, nary a strand of hair lose from the instricate braids of different sizes and thickness that rest stylishly against the back of her head. "Lord Titus. Lord Pasquale." She greets when she's finally on deck proper.
"A Dromond?" Pasquale lifts his eyebrow just a touch at Cesare's question. "It is a design used all over the Compact. It is the largest class without going up to the new Caravels. Perhaps that is why you aren't familiar with them. As for Eswynd." he shakes his head slightly. "I don't know the composition of their fleet. This vessel is pretty old." he pats the railing. "And likely to be decommissioned soon. But Malespero hasn't had her all that long."
He gives a brief nod to Grady's answer. "It can be a dangerous place if you wander overly. The docks should be safe though. In general." he smiles a touch although it is impossible to know if it is Grady's words or Alarissa's call that cause it. "A pleasure to see you here tonight Princess. Was it the wine or the company." he gestures in the vague direction of both Titus and Cesare there. "That drew you out?"
Grady turns on his heel at the sound of Alarissa's voice, turning to face her. "Princess Alarissa! Goodness! You look a vision, really you do." He bows to her, deeper than the bow Titus received, once again correct and proper by not especially graceful. He's still smiling as he comes out of that bow; the corners of his eyes crinkle with his smile, and the light that the expression brings to them picks out flecks of green and gray in the hazel.
On hearing the voice of Alarissa, Titus immediately sets aside his wine glass and gives a formal deep bow with sincere respect and appreciation to see the consort of Thrax arrive. "We're sincerely honoured and appreciative of your presence here, your highness." There's refreshments coming for her, and he says "There is unfortunately no roast meat on a stick or fried cinnamon sugar flatbread but lord Pasquale selected the very best refreshments. The wine is exceptionally good." As he's greeting Alarissa, he turns back to Grady and says "I don't particularly understand diplomacy, but I know enough to recognise it's something sorely needed just as much as blades, sweat and blood. Does your house need allies or assistance in destroying Shav'arvani?"
Cesare, amused, shakes his head with a chuckle. "My lord, this is what I get for trying to sound knowledgeable about matters I have only the most passing familiarity with." He turns to greet Alarissa with a graceful bow, bending smoothly at the waist, before straightening. "I'm not very good with matters of sailing, I admit, Lord Pasquale. My knowledge base is wide, but not all-encompassing. Ah, is that Nilanzan red?" Of course it is.
"I'm sure we could arrange for meat on a stick." Pasquale says after Titus speaks. "If there is a pressing need for it. I don't have a good appetite myself. Sometimes I forget."
"Dear me. Whatever shall I do without /meat/ on a /stick/ "Alarissa dryly states, though there's humor there in the corners of her eyes at the mention of the meat and the fried bread. Deep inclinations of her head are offered to everyone present and she moves to take a position that would keep her out of the way of others who would come and go but still converse. "The company. I have had to cut loose a protege for their behavior and am trying to see if Lord Titus would be willing to take up the position. The offer to arrange for meat on stick though garners eyes wide and a brow goes up. "If you do Lord Pasquale, I might use it to run through Lord Titus for bringing it up." There's a smile though. "Cesare, you look lovely. Whisper suits you well as always. How are you?"
"If we do, that's rather more my wife's perview than my own, Lord Titus." Grady answers on the subject of crushing shavs. "I'm afraid you will find me to have a rather tiresome tunnel vision on the subject of diplomacy, always trying to make friends out of enemies, whether doing so is well advised, or no. If a carriage I was riding on were to break an axel, I would try to solve the problem by talking it into knitting itself back together again. It's a bit of a failing, but there's nothing for it, yes?"
"Well." Pasquale says with evident amusement. "Just as long as you wont be stabbing me. I think it can be managed." He offers a brief nod to Grady "I rarely serve nothing else." He lifts his mostly full glass of that blood red wine to his lips, drinks a little and then comments. "I am forever being told that I am too aggressive myself. But then that is a failing shared by everyone is it not? If our talents lie with the sword then we look to solve things with a blade - if they lie with sweet words well then, sweet words it is."
"I'm quite well, your highness. Thank you for asking." Cesare's air of amusement remains, a faint crinkle at the corners of his eyes. He gives a soft huff to Grady, shaking his head, and raises an eyebrow to Alarissa's mention of cutting a protege loose. "I dare not even ask. There has been quite a rash of questionable behavior lately, and often in the cleverest of ways, such that I can hardly say or do a thing about it. It's a shame. These distractions are hardly what we need, in such fraught moments for the Compact." To Pasquale, he adds, "I think the real talent is being able to discern when your own talents are not the necessary ones for the particular moment.'
Titus might like meat on a stick. He's just about to say yes to Pasquale when he hears Alarissa and he checks himself. "I think we don't need to make this a rough event, this is after all an extravagant event to help find new and interesting people we can try helping." to his friend Pasquale. Hearing though that offer from Alarissa, he says "I would be honoured, your highness, at the offer. I can find no proper way to show my sincere appreciation for that amount of trust and help."
"And to think." Pasquale says "I was thinking of snatching him up myself." he raises his glass in a toast towards Alarissa. "Congratulations." A nod is given to Cesare "It is the hardest thing to step back and allow someone with fewer limitations than you to take your place." To Grady he says "My wife does things I can only dream of as well."
"Yes well, Cesare, when you protege is the Count Amadeo, you cut them loose." But there's a lovely Nilanzan red and Alarissa takes it up in her right hand to sniff gently and then sip, satisfied with the wine. "I would defer to you Lord pasquale, but I find myself fond of the red eyed man here and I have plans. I would see his house thought of in a kinder and better light, and make of it, a shining example of how a prodigal house should be. I have faith that Lord Titus can do so. Ansd I heartily encourage the binding with other houses as well. Sangris, I am told, is a lovely place and their fighters embody Gloria fully"
"I expect you must be correct, Lord Pasquale," Grady agrees. "At least for those, like myself, with a narrow skillset, yes? There is, after all, that rather oft-quoted axiom about hammers and nails that I shan't bore anyone with at present." He finds himself, somehow, with a glass of wine in hand. Maybe a passing servant physically put it there. Maybe he mindlessly picked it up. Whatever the case, he looks a little bit surprised to find himself holding it, although he doesn't go so far as to set it down. He doesn't drink from it either, though, perhaps distracted by Alarissa's words. "If I can help in any way with your venture, Your Grace, you have but to ask and I will consider it a kindness towards myself for you to have done so. I came to Arx hoping to help smooth over some of the distrust between old blood and prodigal houses."
"Count Amadeo's lapse in discretion, if it was indeed a lapse, was neither clever, nor easily forgiven," Cesare acknowledges to Alarissa with a dip of his chin. "Lord Titus is a man of honor, from everything I have seen of him." He looks out over the sea. "Have you been to Maelstrom lately? I am very much looking forward to Princess Denica's events. I suspect she will throw quite a party."
"It is fine Alarissa." Pasquale says "If I was to be Patron to both Baroness and Voice people would start to think I too am a voice of Vaevici rather than Malespero." he gives a slow shake of his head when she speaks of Amadeo. "I do wish he had spoken to someone before making that proclaimation. With a different choice of words everything would have been so much easier." he shakes his head slightly at Cesare's question. "It has been some time since I last visited but I've heard a little of what she is planning. It should be magnificent."
"I arrived off the boats from maelstrom this morning. She is our minister of culture and I needed to see to some things before we could play host to the greater populace. ensure that all who venture forth and cross the mourning sea shall find nothing but hospitality and succor under her hand. They rode through this last winter well and the snows are gone. If you go, I suggest rising early one morning and taking in the field of swords from the hand of Mangata. The light glinting off the blades and the graves is quite lovely." Grady offers and Alarissa smiles. "Eswynd. I would suggest, perhaps, seeing to making Eswynd more palatable to the masses. Or at least tending to the reputation of the prodigal houses that do not make fools of themselves. Those are the ones to be encouraged and sponsored in the hopes the others will wizen up"
Titus has been listening attentively, and should he have not responded quickly, it's because his face is serious and pensive. "I find that I'm fortunate to have excellent mentors and very few true friends that I can lean on for advice, and that my pride doesn't hamper me taking their advice to adjust my strategies. Arx is a tricky battlefield to navigate and not the battlefield to be doing things alone." He has a fresh glass of red brought and he lifts it. "Toasts. To my friend lord Pasquale, while you may have lost out on patronage you are still and shall ever be my friend. A friend is a title rarely given, it links hearts in bonds of fidelity in a way that shouldn't be made easily or given up. To her highness, may I remember that my fortunes and missteps not only reflect on me, but reflect on you. I shall do my very best in all things, and where I'm uncertain, I will seek out your advice and others before leaping to a decision. May Limerance see my heart and judge my words accordingly."
Pasquale lifts his own glass when Titus makes a toast before wryly saying "And he claims he doesn't have a way with words."
Grady gives Alarissa an apologetic smile. "I'm afraid I'm rather the wrong person to attempt such a rehabilitation. Optics, you know. I'm responsible for a lot of the shav'arvani who bent the knee to Marquessa Samantha after the Great Road crisis. I made myself rather ill bringing the negotiations to a conclusion that was agreeable to all parties. Rather a good thing for us, yes - that is to say House Deepwood - but it isn't the sort of thing that looks quite right now that such negotiations have gone so much out of fashion, does it? I'm afraid I've rather limited myself to the back room side of the equation." He lifts his glass at Titus' toast, although his 'drink' is more of a tiny sip. Then he grins to Pasquale. "He's setting expectations low, I imagine. Wonderful trick, that. Sneak wit and wisdom in while our collective guards are down. All the better to render us suitably dazzled, yes?"
Cesare raises his glass to the toast. "Well said, Lord Titus." With a small shake of his head, he finishes the wine and acquiesces, "Alas, I oughtn't stay out too late, some very dry work to do tomorrow involving a great deal of parchment and tiny numbers. Thank you for having us, Lord Pasquale, Lord Titus. Princess Alarissa, lovely as always to see you, and I hope it won't be too long before we meet again. Good evening to you all."
'May Limerance never find you wanting." Alarissa lifts her glass in toast as well. Then lifted again in farewell to Cesare. Paperwork. Pernicious paperwork. But she turns to the other three. "I request a tour, if you would? See how this shop squares up to the Lady Thunderstruck? I am sure Lord Grady would enjoy such too."
"Yes of course." Pasquale gestures for Alarissa and Grady to walk with him. "She is more of a pleasure ship than a warship these days. Just keep that in mind."
Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove leave, following Cesare.
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