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Into The Woods - A Forest Fete

It is time for a little merriment! The Graysons are delighted to welcome one and all to the Great Gray Hall for a festive, foresty Function. Dress your best and join us as we transform our halls into an enchanted indoor woodlands, where all may enjoy drinks, dancing, and delicious delicacies, as well as entertainment, a game, and perhaps other amusements.

Did we mention that there will be prizes?

Questions may be directed to Princess Keely Grayson. We look forward to seeing you there!


Dec. 11, 2021, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Keely Liara


Grady Fairen Thea Denica Karina Noah Titus Yuri Ahriman Jaenelle Udell Aindre Symonesse Estil Samantha Tanith



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Great Gray Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Keely stands midway between the entrance and the center of the elaborately decorated, very foresty hall, her hands folded before herself and hidden somewhat in the vast folds of her gown. She smiles warmly, greeting each guest softly as they enter. Servants rush to take cloaks and help peace tie weapons while others drift to and fro with trays of drinks and appetizers. "Do not forget to pick a gift bag from the tree," she advises people here and there.

Noah takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Grady gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Thea takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Grady isn't watching where he's going as he comes into the hall; his attention has been captured to the exclusion of important things like whether he's about to walk into a person (or a wall) (or a pillar) by the performance going on overhead. "Oh dear. That... that really doesn't look safe."

Although nominally here to host, too, Liara seems amply content to let Keely greet guests as they arrive, and for her own part, she lingers further back, already furnished with a glass of wine, though she does offer smiles and affable, if still rather formal, greetings to various guests who happen by.

Loitering about ahead of time, Fairen quits pestering Keely with questions and goes to admire the foresty decor. Upon being told he can snag a gift bag, he wastes no time in heading over to grab a pouch with an intrigued expression, then turns back to bow to Liara and Keely. "High Lady, Your Highness. Always a pleasure to see the both of you and be a guest in your home."

Fairen gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Making her way to the Grayson ward a bit early comes Thea. She smiles a bit at Keely and Liara, bowing her head "Thank you for hosting this. It's lovely to be here. Drake wanted to come as well, but he's been as well and I'm afraid he just couldn't get away. But he sends his well wishes."

Thea has joined the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

Another party, another impromptu performance. Denica arrives at the Grayson Mansion gardens wearing a thematic outfit. Dressed in the palest shades of green, her ebony locks are topped in contrast with pale vines, their circle around the top of her head. There's an easy smile on her face, like she's always amused by something. The sparkle in her eyes takes in all the details. An evident appreciation for every thing she sees and experiences. It's all part of the bigger picture, after all. Confident steps, shoulders back and a look of growing excitement in her vivid blue eyes. Wrapped in cloud like velvet a bare arm is linked through Yuri's brocade covered one. The Thrax princess is caught in a close quiet whisper as they set foot into the serene setting. Then she turns her attention to the room, eyes scanning for familiar faces, her smile shifts but before she greets them, she draws the pair towards Liara and Keely. To the former, she offers a polite greeting, "your highness, what a lovely setting for a party," she says to her before turning her attention to Keely. "Princess Keely, a delight to see you again, I am excited to see what you have in store for us tonight!," she says with unabashed enthusiasm.

Liara offers Fairen a flash of a smile. "Marquis Leary, how do you do? I trust the evening finds you well." Her gaze flits up towards one of the high-up platforms as someone somersaults across, then she goes on to say to Fairen, "It is certainly the most spectacular use of the hall in quite some time; Princess Keely has done really splendidly."

She turns to greet Thea with another smile. "Countess, thank you for coming, and please thank your husband for his well wishes. I hope and firmly believe that you will have a most excellent evening."

When she goes to greet Denica and Yuri, it's with a curious arch of her eyebrows. "Quite an ensemble. Welcome, your highness, my lord."

After watching Grady with some growing concern, Keely's attention is drawn back to her guests, and her bright and warm smile returns. "You are most welcome, Marquis Leary," she voices, to Fairen. "Thank you very much for coming. Please, come in and make yourselves comfortable," her words appear to be for Thea as well, her hand gesturing lightly further into the hall.

Her manner shifts when she spies Denica, and a soft, excitable gasp slips through her lips. "Princess Denica, you made it!" she enthuses, all poise out the window as her entire face lights with a dazzling smile. "Oh, please come in and get a gift bag, the game will start soon!"

Slipping quietly into the hall, Karina lowers the hood of her light cloak, eyes growing wide. When a servant steps up to fetch the garment from her, she can barely tear herself away from the decor long enough to offer a polite thanks and a quick smile. An ocean green gaze flicks from place to place as the young woman takes a few steps to get out of the immediate entrance. Spotting Princess Keely in her glorious autumnal finery, she pauses to offer a curtsey and murmur appreciation for the decor. Finding and offering Princess Liara the same -- "Incredible gown, Highness!" she breathes through a beaming smile -- the artist wanders into the crowd, not wishing to delay either hostess.

The Prince that was once Grayson, (aka Noah), strides into the Hall with sure feet and sure knowledge of where he is going. Noah's right arm is wrapped around the back of Jaenelle's back. It allows for leading, as well as catching should something go dreadfully wrong. The rare of his smiles bestowed to his short wife. "Keely was a bit shocked when I said I might actually have work to keep me away. She does not know just how much I have to keep up with. This hair. This bod." He winks towards Jaenelle and moves her gracefully towards Keely and Liara. "Family." His voice is that low pitched tone as he allows his hand to run up Jaenelle's back and then back down to her waist.

Denica gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

And behind Noah and Jaenelle is a tale pale figure who doesn't know his way around here and probably looks quite out of place. Seeing Liara's outfit just steal his attention, Titus gives a polite clap in stoic appreciation.

Titus is overheard praising Liara: Wow

Grady comes back to his own before crashing into anything (or anyone), somehow, blinking alert hazel eyes. "Princess Keely!" He's found himself near enough to her to greet her. "My! This all looks wonderful. Quite transformed! And everything so green! I can't imagine how you put it all together as quickly as you did. Or even how you thought of all of this. It would be so much, yes, for a person to lay down the broad strokes, but the artistry is, isn't it, in the details?"

Karina gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Entrances not withstanding, Lord Tessere had been enraptured with the conversation he was having with the Princess; occasion bids of laughter coming from him before he nodded in some sort of acknowledgment. Though, once properly in the hall, his attentions came to the forefront, and to the hosts, immediately. Yuri settled off on some familiar and not so familiar face, bidding cordial nods to all but more so awaiting to be addressed. Liara was offered a rather respectful bow and a smile, "Your Highness, my thanks. Your Highnesses both." The recipient of his gaze now Keely. "The hall is spectacular and I sincerely thank you for opening your hall this summer eve." His expression all but shifted curiously at the mention of 'games', leveling it from Keely over to Denica with an amused smile, "...ah huh. I would say I am of the same mind to see what we have in store, but...perhaps some hearty drink is needed first?"

Grayson curmudgeon and all around social champion Ahriman Grayson makes his appearance. He is dressed in dark linen pant and a turtleneck. He wears thick leather gloves and a waistcoat over the attire. He also wears a tricorn hat. His disposition? Sour to disassociated. As soon as he arrives he finds an out of the way plays to judge others. His hands folded in front of him and pitch eyes tracking people and conversations. His hair and beard are a wild mane (Scar not Simba) of hair that surrounds his rounded face.

Thea spies Denica and Yuri and wiggles her fingers. She sees Noah and Jaenelle and gives them a brief smile as well. "Princess Noelle. Your Grace,"Thea greets. Spying Grady, she gives him a bow of his head as well, lifting her drink already.

"Cousin Noah," Keely smiles warmly, dipping her head to Noah and Jaenelle as they enter together and draw her attention from excitedly greeting Denica. "Thank you both for coming! I hope you will stay for the game." She lifts a hand to take a flute of champagne from a passing tray, but pauses midway in the motion and folds her hands back together, dipping her chin to Grady and resuming her polite smiling. "Lord Deepwood, your compliments never cease to flatter. I very much hope you enjoy yourself this evening." She then glances aside, a very slight flare to her nostrils when she realizes the champagne is now out of her reach. She exhales faintly, then turning a polite smile to Yuri at his greeting.

Liara's gaze flits curiously over to Karina at the greeting, and she lifts her glass of wine in a small, appreciative gesture, along with a ready smile. "Thank you. You are most welcome to our home." She goes on about greeting guests, and Noah and Jaenelle happen along next, and she offers them an amiable, if still very formal greeting, "Welcome, your grace, your highness. I hope that you enjoy the evening."

She casts a ready smile towards Titus, and, unfamiliar with him, her greeting is a simple, "Welcome," her voice pitched to carry. She ventures a perhaps somewhat cryptic comment at Yuri's comment about a drink being needed, "That may certainly influence one's performance at the game." There is even a smile for Ahriman.

Distracted briefly from heaping congratulations and the occasional rogue bit of praise on Keely, Grady gives Thea a warm smile and tips an imaginary cap to her. "I don't but doubt that it will be an enjoyable evening for all," he promises to Keely, before letting the crowd drift him away from her so that other people can heap whatever of their own compliments they might have lying around atop his. "Princess Liara, you really do look a vision. So clever, these outfits that you come up with, yes?"

"I am certain she was shocked, but I dont believe people are aware of the level of effort it takes for you to look presentable," Jaenelle tells Noah with a nod of her head to match the seriousness of this conversation. "One missed day and you'll not be able to see your feet and your hair will fall out. They should be thanking you." Turning then towards Keely, there is a softer smile when Noah directs them towards the hostess, "it is beautiful, thank you for hosting such an event. I am thrilled to be on this side of the guest list." Hearing Thea greet them both afterwards, Jaenelle shifts her attention to offer the woman a smile, "Countess Thea, I wish to bottle your energy." With that she notes other Graysons and offers a polite dip of her head towards Ahriman, stepping forward to press a kiss to the older man's cheek before her smile turns towards Liara, "thank you as well for bringing the Compact a bit of enjoyment."

Having kept an eye on a particular server with a tray of champagne, Fairen intercepts him and quickly removes a flute from his burden. Thea is spotted and he makes his way over with a dip of the head, "Countess Thea, a pleasure to see you. I hope all has been well?" Eyes wander, and the stern figure of Ahriman is given a nod of respect - other than that he's not going to bother the man. Udell is noticed in his garb and brows lift. "Pardon me, are you the new Archlector? Marquis Fairen Leary, Scholar."

Denica takes a few minutes with their hosts, flashing a smile at Liara at her comment before her attention draws back to Keely. "I wasn't sure if I would but I am glad I could," she says sincerely to the other woman. A warm smile, before she lets her get back to greeting guests. Denica nods her head at Yuri at the mention of the drink, "you read my mind. I do enjoy a good game. I beat Jasher the other night at the Whisper House." There is is a wicked look in Denica's eyes like she might not be telling the whole truth there. As they head to get a drink, she sees Thea and there is an attempt to slip her arm into the woman's and draw her along in the search for liquid refreshment.

Noah gives a stoic nod towards Jaenelle. Then he pauses to run his free hand through his hair. "Losing my hair may be too far." He grins to her, but the smile fades to a smirk for all others. "Keely, it is looking acceptable." He winks to her and then nods towards Liara. Thea is given a once over, "Theresa, it is ..." Good? Bad? Indifferent? "I see you are here." He does nod towards the others as well

"Marquis Fairen, good evening,"Thea greets with a smile. "How are you? I trust well,"feeling herself tugged along by Denica. "I can take two drinks, sure. That's what two hands are for." Thea gives an empathetic look to Jaenelle, telling her,"To be fair, you're growing a Noah in there. I'm sure it's exhausting,"waving off his words. She does respond with,"I know. It's great to see me. I'm sure your wife is counting down the days until you're gone."

Yuri glanced along to Liara with a chuckle, shaking his head, "One must be able to have a happy balance, your Highness. I would not want to suffer at the game, however, a bit of liquid courage may assist in ensuring that I am...what, how would you put it--pleasant to throw caution to the wind in mustering my performance for said game. All in all, however. One must have fun, always." His gaze settled back to Denica with a raise of his brow, "Oh did you now? He deigned to mention any of that. Hm. And thus begins the veil of secrecy between patron and protege." He paused a moment, "...don't tell him I said that." It was a quick aside to Denica before he settled upon Thea with a smile as they approached the refreshments, "Countess Thea! A good evening to you; you are well?"

Gliding in amidst the throng is Udell, gloved hands clasped in front of his clothing as he looks about those in attendance, a flash of recognition as Grady is spotted and an incline of his head is given. But his attention is soon called by Fairen at the question, turning his head to regard him and offering a respectful bow of his head before he answers, "I am at that, Marquis Fairen, I am Archlector Udell Alban."

Liara offers Grady an easy smile. "Thank you, my lord. That is very kind of you to say. If one is seeking cleverness, I think that the game that my sister has come up with for the evening will be the source of utmost delight." Another sip of her wine follows, before she says in response to Jaenelle, "I not infrequently say to people that we should never set aside those things which people enjoy, no matter the circumstances, and it is good to be reminded of it myself."

Liara lifts her wineglass in an assenting gesture to Yuri. "I am certain that you will enjoy it with as much or as little liquid courage as you care to seek, my lord. The cellar here is certainly not lacking for stock." A sip of her wine follows, and her gaze turns on about the hall and the various guests.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Symonesse arrives, following Aindre.

Karina fixes an unfussy cup of tea at the banquet table before wending along through the growing crowd and getting comfortable at the huge, intriguing map table. Lifting and settling her bag a few times in a slow, practice gesture that any fellow leaf-ficianados might recognize as Someone Who Knows How They Like Their Tea made. Bringing the cup and saucer to her nose, the young woman sniffs hesitantly, glancing about her immediate vicinity.

Karina has joined the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.

Briar, a quiet young woman arrives, delivering a message to Ahriman before departing.

Titus bows towards Jaenelle and Noah, and waiting for an opportunity he finally asks Jaenelle, "Might I bother you one moment your highness. The Gorgon is waiting for me, I hate delaying seeing her as there's drums of war being heard. Just a moment, I promise."

"Oh dear." Grady laughs cheerfully to Liara. "That sounds rather like an excuse for me to make a fool of myself. Ah! Here is Blessed Udell. Will you excuse me?" He slips away with something like a last half-bow to Liara to go find Udell near the doorway. "So glad to see you were able to make it, Archlector. I have just been promised a terribly clever party game this evening. Have you met... No, he's just introduced himself to you, yes? Hello, Marquis Leary. So good to run into you again. I hope the research went well after I left? Productive, and all that?"

As the trickle of guests begins to taper off, Keely, whose composure has slipped just a touch to give a glimpse at the young princess looking overwhelmed and out of her element, slips away from her post and moves further into the room, chasing after that champagne that had escaped her grasp previously. Once she has it in hand, her dark eyes lift ceilingward, and she watches the acrobatic performers in their elegant, daring routine, assisted in rhythm by a band of musicians on a balcony some ways up. She seems content at the moment to allow Liara to dazzle with conversation, watching on from some distance away.

There is a conspirator's grin that she shares with Thea at the mention of two drinks. The Islander is not one to shy away from a challenge, if it was one and even if it's not. Thick, dark brows waggle at the woman before she turns her attention back to Yuri and she nods her head trying to look as serious as possible. "Yes, and by a lot. I am not surprised he didn't tell you," says the princess, her eyes sparkling as she tries not to smirk too much. Catching Liara's comment on the game her smile widens, "that sounds fun!," she comments idly as the trio approaches the drink selection. "Now I am quite curious what it could be," she confesses to them both.

"Of course," Jaenelle easily says to Titus as she finishes her greetings of the hosts and the Graysons avaiable. She turns to say something quietly to Noah as she leaves him to fend for himself for the moment. She even motions towards one of the servers with trays of alcohol to head towards Noah because she is the greatest. Her hand lightly takes Titus' arm as she dips away for the moment. "I think you can take a moment without feeling the anxiety of the wardrums, Lord Titus," is said first before her voice dips slightly afterwards. As she passes Thea she grins, "I do not believe there needs to be two of him."

Noah arches his left brow towards Titus. "You are asking for my wife's attention at a party at my family estate as we have just arrived?" He looks the man over from top to bottom. "Hmm." Then he looks towards Jaenelle and there is an exchanged look there. "Bold of your friend." Then towards Thea, "I am sure she is rather excited for me to be gone for a long time."

Liara's apparently ever-present smile widens a touch at Grady's commentary, and she supplies by way of a brief answer before the Deepwood goes to greet the Archlector, "It is an excellent excuse to add some further enjoyment to the evening." Her gaze happens to flit curiously over Karina at the map table, although she does not interrupt the tea appreciation.

After some time, Keely makes her way over to the edge of the dance floor, and looks around somewhat nervously. She seems to be calculating something, and for a time she simply stands there with her eyes flitting to and fro. Finally, as the band brings the current song to a close, she climbs up onto a chair (with assistance wrangling her very full skirt and keeping balance from a pair of nearby servants) and clears her throat softly, raising her voice perhaps louder than it has ever been. Which is still not terribly loud.

"Excuse me, everyone?" She calls to the room at large, her gentle voice laced with timidity and her cheeks flushing a brilliant coral. "May I have your attention please? We are about to begin our Enchanted Tree game. Would everyone who would like to play please make your way to the dance floor?"

Titus must be bold, but he does give a dip of his head towards Noah and a finger to show it'll take just one moment. He steps aside to follow Jaenelle as heh talks about some battle to the far south being prepared.

"Yes, just now, in fact. And of course I've come, I did say that I would after all. Though I must offer apologies on behalf of Her First Harlequin and Her Blade that their duties did not allow them to be my shadows.", Udell remarks to Grady, a genuine smile appearing as he says this, looking between him and Fairen with interest before Keely makes the announcement.

"I have promised to compete in whatever clever game Princess Keely has come up with for us all," Grady is still speaking with Udell. "But once I've finished with making an exhibition of myself, yes, I will come back and do my best to fill their place. Not as, ah, thematic, unfortunately, my not being a Harlequin, but I do enjoy introducing people to other people."

Noah's jaw tightens for a moment, but he moves towards the dance floor. He also snags a rather large drink. Was someone talking to him? Damn Archduke Consort and his HORRID party manners.

Karina has finished her little ritual and begun to actually drink her tea, just as she notices Keely's massive skirts bustling about out of the corner of her eye. Turning to look at the Princess and listen intently, she beams, downing what she can of her tea (shameless!) with -some- decorum then passes the cup to a passing servant and makes way to the dance floor with a bounce in her slippered step.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: A game of Enchanted Trees (freeze dance) is taking place on the dance floor at the center of the room, those who are not participating watching on from around its perimeter.

Karina has left the a magnificent map table of Arvum made of oak and marquetry inlays.

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

Prince Aindre arrives a little after the greatest portion of guests have, dressed in the understated sort of finery that's common to him. He's well-polished, but not peacocking. All of the splendor he's wearing is on his arm, where the Queen of the Compact has come as his companion for the evening in all her brilliance and presence. He pauses just inside the great hall to let that one good eye of his sweep around, taking in how the place has been decorated for the gathering. "Well, would you look at all this.", he tells Symonesse, taking a moment to soak it all up. "It's like being in the Gray except I'm not worried for my life. That's refreshing." It's a jest, by the quiet grin he offers the Nox'alfar before leading her on deeper into the room with a familiar smile here and nod there for the people trying to catch his attention. In particular he slows a little in passing by his Highlord to greet her with a dip of his head, before asking of the Queen, "Shall I catch a glass of wine for you?".

12 House Velenosa Guards, Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting, Ellani, the palm sized spider, Titus arrive, following Jaenelle.

Yuri did what he could to ensure he made himself, or fetched himself, a drink from wherever the beverages had been settled for the evening. He managed with a small glass of...something, before downing it rather haphazardly, then turning toward the dance floor at the announcement of the game were proceeding.

From her place standing atop a chair, Keely begins pointing to people and calling out their names to pair them up.

"If it is all right with everyone," she calls to those gathered on the dance floor, her young face still somewhat flushed. "I will explain how to play. You are all now enchanted trees in our fantastic forest. As long as the music is playing, you may dance and move about with your partner. When the music stops, you must all become regular trees again! Anyone who moves when it has gone silence loses that round for their team. The pair that wins the most rounds will win the secret prizes I had made special for the occasion!" She smiles meekly, making the slightest gesture to the floor. "Everyone please get to your partner so we can begin!"

Udell chuckles and nods in agreement to Grady before stating simply, "Of course, I am quite content to remain here and observing."

A myrmidon comes towards the entrance and gestures Titus as she steps towards the Vaevici. "Warmonger, the Gorgon waits for no one. We must leave now." Titus gives a bow of his head, and off he goes!

Denica is game for a game. The princess grabs a shot of something, downs it without a second thought and then is making her way to the dance floor. As she is assigned her pair, she is scanning the floor for her appointed victim. A wicked smile on her lips, she is leaving Yuri and Thea for the company of a stranger.

Karina, having witnessed Noah not -so- long ago with Lord Clement and another gentleman whose name she did not know, manages to keep her eyes from tightening too much. What's a party without a little adventure. Having already spotted the Prince on the floor, she makes her way over to him, exacting a respectful curtsy. "Your Highness."

Karina even smiles! No really!

Liara hangs back a little to watch Keely, her smile bright as she listens to the announcement and then organisation of the game, and her gaze turns inquisitively towards the various pairings arranged. She turns that smile to greet Aindre and Symonesse, too, along with a small lift of her wineglass and an amiable, "Good evening."

Fairen suddenly gulps down the entire flute of champagne once the dancing partners are announced, already freezing in place. It seems he has an innate sense for that part of the game. He gives Udell a grimace and dips his head, "I will speak to you more later, Archlector. A pleasure to meet you." Wincing, he makes his way to Denica and gives the princess a long side eye. "I am so sorry already, Your Highness. So sorry. I promise not to step on your feet however," he vows once on the dance floor with her. Standing up straight, he gives her his best grin and nods. "Think it'll be interesting at least."

Grady gives Thea a warm smile and a not particularly graceful bow when paired up with her on the dance floor. "How do you think a tree would dance?" He asks, possibly hypothetically. Oh, wait, no. He's looking at Thea like he's really expecting an answer.

The party guests are just beginning to assemble when Symonesse makes her entrance on Aindre's arm, dressed in a sunny golden gown that complements the shade of her fathomless eyes and makes the pale opaline shimmer of her snowy white hair and skin all that more prominent by comparison. She, too, is captured by the wonder of the transformed Great Gray Hall, her delight obvious in the width of her luminous smile and the widening of her eyes as she murmurs, "It's so beautiful. I wish it was like this all the time." She gives Aindre's arm a little squeeze and manages to tear her eyes off the acrobats long enough to give that smile to him as she nods her head, "Champagne?" The grin turns a little mischievous as they are both all too aware of the effect that it has upon her since she has no head for wine or any type of alcohol. Her attention is once again snatched away to look at the dancers before Liara's greeting has her waving in turn as she says, "You've outdone yourself. This is magical!"

Thea makes her to the dance floor, with none other than--Grady. Because Gods--it's like fate hates her. Not because of Grady, oh no. "Stiffly,"Thea answers the man. Regardless if he expected one or not. Seein Symoneese, Thea curtsies to Queen, a slight smile appearing. "Your Majesty, long time no see."

Noah looks over and down towards the commo--er Karina. His blue-gray eyes just sort of look at her and a bit through her before Noah nods. "It seems we are to be partnered then?" The low rumble of his voice as he looks her up and then down and then back up. "I feel sorrowed for your feet already. This is not an activity I am well suited." She smiles. He stoics. Making friends!

Grady checks composure and performance at easy. Grady is successful.

Thea checks composure and performance at easy. Thea is successful.

Noah checks composure and performance at easy. Noah is successful.

Denica checks composure and performance at easy. Denica is successful.

Fairen checks composure and performance at easy. Fairen is successful.

Jaenelle checks composure and performance at easy. Jaenelle is successful.

Yuri checks composure and performance at easy. Yuri is successful.

Karina checks composure and performance at easy. Critical Success! Karina is spectacularly successful.

Once all of the pairs are partnered up, Keely lifts her coffee-hued gaze to the balcony and flashes a warm smile to the band, giving a light dip of her chin. An easy, lively melody fills the hall, and the dancers on the floor are signaled to begin.

"There are some wonderful slender trees that grow in the gray forest, birches and the like, and young willows, and, ah... Well. I'm not much of a woodsman, am I, but the point is that they sway ever so gracefully when the wind starts to blow through their branches." And so, as the music begins, Grady begins leading Thea through a dance, slow and composed, that really does call back to the swaying of tall or slender trees in a strong wind. He's probably not MEANT to be actually role-playing as a tree, but here we are.

The Thrax princess approaches her partner with a nod of her head, there isn't much recognition so she introduces herself to him. "Denica Thrax. I clearly wore the right shoes," she glances down at her slippers which have both pointy toes and heels. So much danger in every foot step. "Don't worry," she says with a smirk, "it'll be fun!," she exclaims clearly good-natured about her comments. Yet, she moves easily, avoiding the man's toes and seeming graceful enough to dance and stop appropriately.

"Are you--comparing yourself to a tree,"Thea asks Grady with a lift of her eyebrow. Though she starts to sway with the Lord, actually a bit more graceful than what she let on. At the present moment.

"We're supposed to be trees!" Grady protests. He does remember to stop moving when the music stops.

"Princess Denica, are you a rather good dancer? Marquis Fairen Leary," Fairen queries the Islander princess after introducing himself as he prepares to do some stop dancing with Denica. The music begins and his tan cheeks flush a bit after two flutes of champagne were downed in rapid succession for some liquid courage. Glancing down to make sure his boots are on and secure, then looking over at Keely with a deep breath, he focuses on his partner - and somehow is able to move with relative agility to the music. He stops in time! No toes are harmed and no one knocked over! "Oh it will be a good time, a pleasure to meet you. I believe you know some of my cousins," he chatters away, feeling less nervous.

Liara answers Symonesse with a small gesture off towards Keely and a low, breathy chuckle, "I might rather say that my sister has very much outdone herself. She arranged the greater part of the detail, and it is nothing short of stunning." Her gaze turns towards the dancers as they get moving, features still lit up with a smile.

Jaenelle reneters after slipping out for a second with Titus to return to the dance floor as partners are determined and she has been paired with Yuri. There is a grin for the man as she approaches, "are you a good tree, Lord Yuri?" Jaenelle asks, brows arching with her question. Then the music begins and the dancing starts, "all those years of dance lessons should make this easy, though I dont believe my private tutors ever instructed me to act as background."

Karina glances down at her slippered feet and then over at the boots of her thankfully-soon-to-be-erstwhile partner again. She hadn't been expecting dancing, A beat. "I am sure you can cover any bills accrued at the surgeons, Your Grace," she murmurs smiling bravely. At least this commoner is house-trained, it would seem. "Besides, I paint, not dance. We shall muddle through." This smile is a -bit- more genuine, and she offers a hand. "Whenever you are ready?"

"I ask myself the same question, Archduchess, when I plan to make good rest. 'How would I fare as a stoic tree?'" Yuri chuckled off, bowing his head toward Jaenelle. "If I cannot plant good roots, well, I would hate to think what it says about my footwork as a swordsman. Though. You can always blame the alcohol." He kept a steady pace along with his partner, taking a moment to eye the other participants, as well as seeing the motions of the musicians as to when their tempo would rise and fall.

A small grin touches Keely's lips as she lifts a hand and the music abruptly halts. Her keen, dark eyes flit over the room to seek out who was able to freeze and who lacked the balance.

Noah was not really paying attention to the 'rules', because who needs rules when they have Grayson blood? Then he hears Grady say they are suppose to be trees. The man turns to look over at Grady for a moment and then back towards Karina. "Trees? How does one be a tree?" He tries to make his demeanor a bit harder, the frame of the dance more solid. "Muddle through? I shall attempt to catch you if you need it." Noah moves through the steps as his left brow arches at Karina's natural ability and his voice lowers.

Grady continues his tree LARP performance quite masterfully when the music stops, ending with Thea extended away from him at about arm's length, in such a way that it will be easy to spin her back towards him once the music begins again.

Grady checks composure and performance at normal. Grady is successful.

"It could be. All we need to do is have the servants leave all the decorations up.", Prince Aindre suggests to Symonesse like the thought of it amuses him. "I've spent enough time out in the Gray. It wouldn't bother me at all. There tends to be less dancing out there, though..", he admits, letting his attention wander across the people who are forming up for a game of pretend at the moment just in appraisal of the event. He reaches out to commandeer a glass of passing champagne from off a servant's tray, smoothly bringing it around to offer it up to the Queen as she'd requested, though he warns her, "Champagne it is. As long as you don't find anything sweet to pair it with. We can't have you getting all Nox'd up on cake again.", in a way that's playful teasing and nothing more. It even comes with his most sincere, lingering sort of smile. Since the people dancing at the moment are playing a game, he remains off to the side even if he does slide an arm around her waist as he would if he were going to usher her out into the dancing. Instead, he leans in to quietly murmur something, seemingly content to remain close.

Karina manages to be light on her feet for a tree, or perhaps she's decided to change the rules a bit and be a wood spirit of sorts. They turn -into- trees, right? Clearly! She has imagined it, so it must be so. At any rate, it is entertaining enough to watch, for anyone not choosing to participate, and somehow the very stiff and stoic Grayson Prince paired with a light-footed and artistic soul is working. For now. Unless someone calls them out on it. "Just... blow in the wind or something, mmm?"

Thea is dancing, nicely, not quite tree like. That is until the music stops, causing her to abruptly halt her feet.

Thea checks composure and performance at normal. Thea fails.

As the music stops, Jaenelle pauses. Thankfully there was no intricate dance moves happening at the time they are meant to freeze, though the pair are rather graceful. Even her eyes remain fixed to Yuri's face without shifting back and forth from her partner to the musicians. It looks as if she really wishes to speak, and its taking everything in her not to while the silence of the instruments is replaced with the chattering of others watching.

Liara breathes a low laugh at the various exchanges about being tree-like, though offers no commentary one way or another, instead simply looking on. She offers up some rather earnest encouragement to the dancers as the first round comes to a close, "An excellent start!" This comes with a clap of her gloved hands, her glass set aside for now, though with people briefly 'frozen', she turns her gaze about the rest of the hall, happening over Udell and Ahriman in particular.

When Karina wood nymphs, Noah's brows lift upwards. Then he freezes when the music calls for it. He will freeze in such a way as to attempt to support his partner from tipping. Grayson stoicness works here.

2 Navegant Marines, 2 Navegant Sailors, Palwen arrive, following Estil.

Denica lights up, "Coraline!," she exclaims to Fairen as she moves with ease across the dance floor. She's going to enjoy the dancing while she cans. "I miss her a lot. It's been forever. Nice to meet you Marquis!," and then the music stops and so does Denica. Arms out, mid-stride she holds her position, even the smile remains plastered on her face.

Udell watches the game progress and claps his hands together gently, the lines around his eyes deepening at the broadening of his smile.

Jaenelle checks composure and performance at normal. Jaenelle is successful.

Taking his eye off the musicians for a moment, Yuri met Jaenelle's gaze rather pointedly, brow raising as if he were to question what she was going to say almost immediately. There was great anticipation for whenever there was going to be an abrupt change in tune, or the hum of a string that did not quite sit right. Nonetheless, whether there was grace before in the movements or not, the anticipation was slaying him. And there could have been some momentary waver.

The time to freeze like a tree has come. Planting his feet solidly, Fairen sticks two arms out in a hopefully tree-limb like fashion, a little crooked, but there's no hope for trying to make his short hair leaf-like. Standing still and making noises that are vaguely like rustling leaves (the benefit of growing up in the forested Leaholdt!) he watches Denica curiously. "Yes! Coraline, Caith and Catriona! It's been awhile since I've seen them too, but they never fail to brighten my day when I do!" Then he shuts up, like a tree.

Yuri checks composure and performance at normal. Botch! Yuri fails completely.

Noah checks composure and performance at normal. Noah fails.

Fairen checks composure and performance at normal. Fairen marginally fails.

Denica checks composure and performance at normal. Denica is marginally successful.

The beginning is where it ends. As Thea starts dancing more, means her feet start moving faster. And well---"Shite! I'm so sorry,"Thea expresses as she likely steps all over Grady's feet.

Karina checks composure and performance at normal. Karina marginally fails.

When Liara indicates that Keely is the author behind the night's loveliness, she looks in the Princess' direction, but, as she is currently occupied, decides to wait until the game has ended before approaching to offer her compliments. After all, there is now champagne to drink while she watches from the edge of the dance floor, grinning a little in amusement as several of the dancers appear to be trying to be trees. She murmurs to Aindre in a low voice as he pulls her in closer by the waist, "They have a game like this in the Twilight Court, though it is less dancing and more staying very, very still for a very long time, like a tree. It gets really exciting when they bring out the axes." Whatever Aindre whispers to her prevents further explanation and another of those smiles spreads of her lips as she offers a few words in return and, when Aindre is distracted by whatever she is saying, manages to snag a sweet off a passing tray and pop it in her mouth, rather daring him to try to stop her.

"Well done, all!" Keely calls out, giving the pairs a small round of applause. "Everyone wins this round. Get ready to resume..." She signals to the musicians, who begin where they left off as if the pause was written into the song itself, but at a quicker tempo.

Grady spins Thea towards him again once the music starts, and continues to dance. He's never moving very fast, showing real commitment to interpretive dance as a tree, but also to the fact that if you're moving slowly, it's way easier to stop on a dime. "It strikes me that if one were particularly competitive, yes, one might simply stand stock still the entire time. Not in the spirit of the thing, is it, but nowhere in the rules was it explicitly said that one must dance during the music." Not that this is stopping him. Thea is here, and thus he's going to dance with her, winning be damned.

Karina manages to pause in a way to be almost floral in her interpretation of what a nymph might do when dancing with a tree, which is to say... bend over its limbs? Nice one, Seabright. Very convincing!

Estil enters the Great Hall unobtrusively among all the revelry and the game occuring on the dance floor, ink-stained fingers lacing while dark hazel eyes flit about. Eventually, they settle on a place near to the edge of the room where she can watch from a safe distance and mill about with the other observers.

And then the music starts again and Jaenelle moves once more with ease. "I am not drinking alcohol at the moment," says the still graceful pregnant woman, "so I have little to blame if I make a misstep. But I have studied trees made of copper enough to know that there is a secret to being both a tree and being very still. Just don't let anyone close enough to blow on you."

Estil gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Collecting her glass again for another sip as she resumes her watching, Liara makes mention to a few of the people who are not dancing, namely Udell, Aindre and Symonesse, "Do please help yourselves to the party favours, too, if you have not already." This with a gesture of her free hand towards the gift tree which is set up to one side. A servant makes mention to her of Estil's entrance and she offers over a flash of a smile to greet the Navegant, though unfamiliar. "Good evening, my lady. You are most welcome."

"I just did not want to create a--gah!" Yuri cut himself short as he made to move just a bit too quickly. Too spiritedly after playing like a tree. He felt something lock up when he moved and it caused him to feverishly rub along at his thigh rather desperately. All the while, he still attempted to move as best as he could. If only to keep the tempo flowing, "Y-Yes, that would be bad...tipping over, hm, Archduchess?"

Noah is dancing and talking with Karina. This is perhaps his first mistake. Talking. It's because she's a commoner OBVIOUSLY and mixing classes. He's a tree. However there is a Karina bending over his limbs? At first, Noah thinks she's falling and he shoots out an arm to assist. This, of course, means his arm comes in contact with her shoulder. Which then allows for him to knock her over and means she's falling. Noah then lurches to grab Karina as she 'falls' but no, wait, she's /bending/. Noah overcompensates at the last moment and bends more to get her, which may lead to a knee to her face and he tries to spin to keep poor Karina upright. ONLY Noah does not succeed at this. In fact, he fails. He fails so epic that he lands on top of her, with tangled 'limbs' and that might be blood. Is that blood? TLDR; Noah takes them down to the floor. He has lost the game.

Estil does fetch one of the offered favors, though her attention is soon brought to Liara by the aforementioned servant. A quick smoothing of her dress occurs before she moves over to offer the hostess her greetings, a dip of a curtsey offered, "Thank you, your highness. Lady Estil Navegant, it's a pleasure to attend."

The music comes to another abrupt halt, and Keely must lift a hand and press her fingertips to her lips to suppress her mad giggles as she watches the various pairings attempt to freeze. Which turns to concern as her cousin injures the poor commoner she left in his care. "Oh, dear. Could someone... is that blood?" Her face blanches a bit, and some servants rush over to assist the pair off the floor.

The music starts up, more quickly now, and Fairen stops making like a tree with a concerned glance at Keely before his attention returns to Denica after chatting about his Thrax cousins. Now there's a wary expression on his face as he tries to both keep up and not tangle up. At first, it goes alright. The Marquis even looks like he might be able to make this round while also paying close watch to the artist's own moves. But alas, he's just not coordinated enough, not agile enough, and there's a doubtful rock in his not quite so sweet dance moves. He spots Estil and for a moment appears as though he might attempt a greeting, but there's just no room for error right now. Not when he's already starting to lose his rhythm.

Denica can easily maintain a conversation while dancing, left and right, the young woman is moving with ease. It's a fun dance, lots of bobbing about, some twirling, the kind you would do in a group of people. It also allows Denica to dodge some of the less skilled dancers around her. It's all in good fun and she grins at her dance partner. "I miss my brother and sister so much! Luckily, I have lots of amazing cousins to pester wandering about the estate," she says with a little grin. When the music stops, Denica almost skids, there is a moment where you cannot tell if she is going to freeze or fall but in the end, she manages to just barely keep still. It's enough! Her eyes sparkling from the close call.

Hearing the voice, Udell turns from watching to find the source, discovering it to be Liara and bowing his head deeply before he says, "Thank you, it is proving to be quite a celebration so far, yes? And I was not able to make my introductions as well before the game began, I am Archlector Udell Alban." As he straightens again, he notices Estil and smiles again before offering, "Ah, and it is wonderful to see you again as well."

Lingering near the dance floor, though observing rather than participating, Liara offers up another smile to Estil. "A pleasure to meet you, Lady Estil. In case you are curious, the goal of the game now happening is for people to stand very still after having been dancing increasingly quickly." There's an arch of her eyebrows at Noah and Karina's collapse, though there are people to help with things such as helping guests off the floor. Her attention is quickly drawn back by Udell, and another smile follows. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Archlector. I am glad that you are enjoying it."

Jaenelle checks composure and performance at hard. Jaenelle is successful.

Grady stops along with the music in a maybe a little bit too dramatic pose with one arm elevated. Like a... really tall tree or something? He hears the word 'blood', but trees aren't around to whip around and look or be ill or anything, and he's apparently putting his all into this role. Interpretive dance. Whatever.

Fairen checks composure and performance at hard. Fairen fails.

Grady checks composure and performance at hard. Grady is successful.

Denica checks composure and performance at hard. Denica is successful.

Yuri checks composure and performance at hard. Critical Success! Yuri is spectacularly successful.

Thea checks composure and performance at hard. Thea fails.

Estil lets out a quiet sound of understanding as her gaze sweeps over those on the dance floor at Liara's explanation, "Ah, I see. It reminds me of games I used to play with my siblings as a child... even down to the bloody noses." Gentle amusement flickers through her dark eyes at that, a spidery hand lifting as she catches sight of a familiar face in Fairen, though she doesn't try to further distract his concentration from the game at hand, instead focusing aside on Udell, "Archlector, it is a pleasure to see you again as well."

Prince Aindre doesn't dare try and actually come between the Queen of the Compact and the sweet she's reaching out to pluck off a passing tray, even if he does give the whole exchange a bit of side-eye and there's the faintest sort of tsking sound out of him. "Now you've done it.", he promises, making a show of looking resigned to the sugar and the champagne. "I think the game they play in the Twilight Court is a lot less friendly for the guests who come to take part in it. Just standing still though? Somehow I'm unsurprised by that. It's probably the best way to get them to slow down for a painting..", the Grayson prince retorts, reaching out and snatching his own little bit of a sweet too when next the tray passes, a bite-size creation of cake and honey and rose petals. It's not for him. It's for Symonesse despite all his protesting. Off the side, he offers to feed it to her while he's murmuring something else.

Karina had been sure she had everything figured out. Noah was preparing himself for some 'deep-rooted' stoical tree-moment cleary, and she was going to do whatever it took to freeze creatively without actually -touching- him. Twisting this way and that in an attempt to be respectful, she only manages to make everything worse than he already had. There is no freezing. One cannot simply freeze two bodies being exceedingly clumsy in a freefall. Nothing broke, and admirably, she didn't even make a noise when the weight of Noah causes no small amount of discomfort. Still, no time is wasted as Karina quickly extracts herself with a growing flush to her cheeks. "I think that is enough 'freezing' for me, if that is quite alright, Your Grace," she says with a small laugh before making another curtsy. Then it's off of the dance floor she goes, limping only a little bit.

It's a jump to the left and then a step to the right. Noah moves to get himself untangled with Karina. "I think freezing is perhaps not the best." He waits for her to get to her feet before coming to his own. There is a distinct sound of daggers moving. A roll of his shoulders and then his neck. He may have cut himself. It seems everyone is up. "I am sure that we won." He offers to the fleeing Karina before striding with confidence to get a drink and find a seat. No one is hurt here.

Thea has been trying to freeze. Honest. But clearly the woman can't dance and stop and stop and dance. This tree does NOT sway in the wind! "I prefer sunlight and--I guess I'm not very willow,"she appologizes to Grady. "I did warn you."

Udell lets out a gentle laugh and says to both Liara and Estil by way of explanation, indicating to Grady from his place on the sidelines, "It would not be so without Lord Grady asking with such earnestness that it was difficult not to relent."

As his partner vigorously - and quite nimbly - dances in different directions with enthusiasm, Fairen starts to seriously lag and becomes one of the hazards Denica is able to avoid with her agile steps. Then he spots the Queen, making a mental note of needing to greet her as well, and his concentration starts to match the dubious dancing skills that the Marquis possesses. Still, stubbornly trying to make it, he doesn't quite give in, no. Instead, the music stops and he's caught in his own inertia while trying to do a jump to the side. There's a stagger and he's caught on one leg, the other coming down heavily while he regains his balance. Alas, -after- the musicians have halted. "Ah, well then. Thank you for the honor of the dance, Your Highness!" Giving Denica a bow before trotting off the dance floor, winded.

Udell gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Grady isn't especially graceful, but apparently a skilled enough dancer (and he does turn out to be a pretty skilled dancer) can find ways to disguise a lack of grace. "Nonsense. You're a wonderful dancer," he assures Thea with perfect conviction. "And move a great deal more smoothly than I do. One isn't normally called on, is one, to keep stopping, this way." He comes to a sudden halt as the music stops.

Liara turns an amused look towards Estil at that comment, and observes, "Of my siblings, there is only one to routinely be a source of bloody noses, a practice which she has continued into adulthood, with, I might say, the utmost style." She means Macda, probably. Probably. Unless Keely's punched someone lately. She offers a flutter of a wave to the departing Karina, an easy, "Thank you for coming," and then she looks back to the dance floor. Aside to Udell, she says, "I believe that Lord Grady's approach to life in general might well be described as earnest."

Aindre gets a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

The dance continues, the music picking back up, faster this time, and Denica is grinning wildly. Embracing the rhythm, she has let go and is having a good time. It's written across the wonder of her features. There is a spin, a twirl, though she tries to keep an eye on Fairen. The the music stops again and Denica stops mid spin, keeping herself slightly twisted as she stands there, doing her best tree impression.

It is difficult to feel smug or like one is getting away with anything when Aindre starts feeding the Queen cake when she seemed very keen on sneaking it. She takes the little bite carefully with a lift of her brows before she chews, swallows, and then says with a grin, bright and sunny as a summer day, "Liara said there are presents. Also, I think she is speaking with the new Archlector of the Queen of Endings, so we have to go speak to him before the end of the evening." She disentangles herself long enough to wander to the 'gift tree' and select one of the pouches.

Symonesse takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Yuri takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

After the fallen trees have dragged themselves safely off the dance floor, Keely clears her throat, lifting a hand as if to signal to the musicians, who indeed play the music at a faster and faster tempo before very abrutply drawing to a halt!

Jaenelle does her very best to keep Yuri from pulling them down to the floor while the music pauses, and when the music begins again there is a deep breath that no one died a terrible death on the dance floor. "I believe you and I might need to meet more often, Lord Yuri, for dance lessons. Or tree lessons. We shall sit in the audience hall within the Velenosa estate and stand there to see if people ignore us because we make convincing trees. I used to hide beneath the potted plants there often enough, that I think we could pull this off." Then the music stops once more suddenly and she instantly stops moving. Everything but her eyebrows as they wiggle at her partner.

Estil lets her eyes crinkle at the corners in soft amusement as she turns her head to regard Liara, "My younger siblings were always much more martially minded than I, so I had the task of making sure they didn't get too physical. Though, they have both channeled it well as adults, all told, so perhaps I did well with them." Udell's words draw out a soft exhale tinged with further amusement, "That does sound like Lord Grady, even if I only briefly encountered him while recently wandering the stacks."

There's a lot of TIMBER going on on the dance floor. "Right. You keep being that kind,"Thea tells her partner with a clearing of her throat. "Should we get a drink.." That's not even a question right now.

"Yes, well, I would consider my own folly if I found myself pulling muscles at such a young age, now, of all things. In a fine hall, at a lovely evening, while pretending to be a tree. What a laughing stock I would, and could, become." Yuri chuckled, doing his very best not to also pull Jaenelle down in her current state. The abruptness of the music was not lost upon him this moment; sticking along his foot to ensure he had firm footing before pausing like a still-frame. His eyes shifted around rather quickly, out of focus, to any of the contestants that still may be having trouble. Then to the musicians; stoic as ever. And finally, to Jaenelle, raising his brow in silent question.

Jaenelle takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Genuine laughter bubbles from Keely as she watches the pairs, none of whom freeze-- except Jaenelle and Yuri. "Your Grace!" she giggles out as an assistant steps over with a tray bearing two very sparkly items. "You and your partner are the Most Enchanting Trees. Please will you step forward and claim your prizes?"

As she waits for the pair to approach, she lifts her hands to clap together merrily. "Everyone, please give yourselves and one another a round of applause for a most excellent game well played! Thank you very much for participating. Please help yourselves to the feast. The floor is now open for regular dancing!"

"Indeed, I'm gladdened that at least my services were not required during the game for any serious injury.", jokes Udell as he grins towards the pair, eyes flitting back and forth between Liara and Estil as he speaks, "But he did wander into the shrine not expecting anyone to be there, I think, much less a small meeting of the Harlequins."

Grady is happy to escort Thea over towards where the refreshments are. "I will even splurge on a glass of wine, to commemorate the occasion," he declares. Then he gives her a playful smile. "I promised Princess Keely that I would make a fool of myself during the game, and nothing is quite so foolish, is it, as doing something ridiculous with absolute sincerity. A technique I have often used, yes, to embarrass my children. Thank you for indulging, this evening, my propensity for the absurd."

Liara offers an easy smile to Estil and observes, "I am glad to hear that, my lady. There is certainly a talent to understanding what energises people and then seeking to guide them appropriately." To Udell, she gives a small duck of her chin in agreement. "Indeed. Had the music gone any faster, I dare say we may have had some close calls." She keeps an eye on the dance floor as the final piece of music comes to a close and, setting her glass back on to a nearby table, she draws her gloved hands together to offer some applause.

Then Liara speaks up to the hall in general, with a gesture of a gloved hand towards the gift 'tree' and the pouches hanging from it, "If you have not yet availed of a gift from the gift tree, I encourage you to do so."

As if anyone should be surprised! Jaenelle offers a curtsey towards Yuri as is appears they are the best trees who have ever pretended to be people there ever was in the history of such a thing. "Lord Yuri. Have you ever considered offering your services to the theater as one of the tree performers? I believe we might be expected to do so now, for the next performance and all the ones after. We have a reputation to uphold," and she turns with her hand tucked into his arm towards Keely to accept the sparkles.

Judge, Kessi, a big-eared, fuzzy fennec fox, 7 House Deepwood Guards arrive, following Samantha.

Estil dips her head in agreement with Udell and Liara, but she offers a rather apologetic smile as she moves to step aside to offer the latter a chance to direct the other partygoers while she fetches a drink, "It sounds like he often happens upon interesting groups then. That's not a bad skill to have."

A look of surprise washed over him as the brow he had leveraged off to Jaenelle had settled somewhat into a repose. Yuri reciprocated in the gesture of respect, bowing toward Jaenelle after their...performance. He glanced around, then back down to his ensemble, "You know, Archduchess, I had not given it a thought until this very moment. I believe it is time for me to go on tour; a rousing display from Tor down to Southport. There are traveling troupes, no? It would be a fantastic set of vacations while we make a name for ourselves as thespians." He waited for Jaenelle before escorting her along toward Keely with a respectful bow of his head, "The forest has...arrived." His brows pursed together quickly, before shaking away the quip and awaited Keely.

Aindre, for his part, manages to look just a little self-satisfied when he foils the Queen's sweet-thieving plans by doubling down on just how many sweets she's had now. It's rare the expression takes hold of him, but tonight it's there for a heartbeat. Not one to be left standing around after Symonesse departs for the gifts of the gathering, he hesitates long enough to pluck a little glass of something amber off another nearby tray and gives chase. A casual chase. "Oh, there's a new Archlector isn't there? I'd think I'd heard but it escaped me with the busy days." He stops near the tree where the Queen picks a pouch for herself and he chooses one as well, opening it up and digging around and looking it over. "I should give this to Mark. I bet he likes acorns. He strikes me as the sort." He isn't teasing. He doesn't sound like it at least. He pockets the pouch, before reaching for the Nox'alfar's hand to pull her across the room, "In diplomacy lessons, they say just go butt in.", he promises, laughingly so, "Not in those exact words. Anyway, who wouldn't want to say hello to you?", and there he goes butting in with an accomplice. "Liara.", he says with a smile, rounding about on his greeting for a second, this time more informally. "Your sister really outdid herself. I guess she's the new party princess now that you're the woman with with the alaricite will?", but also he addresses the others, "Who are your friends here?", whether he seems to recognize either or not.

Keely gets an enchanting necklace of champagne silver branches with an emerald leaf pendant from a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm.

Keely gets an exquisite necklace of rose gold branches with a ruby acorn pendant from a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm.

As Jaenelle and Yuri approach, Keely retrieves a pair of necklaces from the tray held within her reach, still standing atop her chair. She leans down and carefully offers one to each, with warm smiles for both. "Thank you both very much for coming and participating," she reiterates, this time at a more regular person volume. "I hope you have been and continue to enjoy yourselves."

The appointed hour of the party has long since come, and sadly it is only now that Samantha Deepwood has come to make her appearance. She strides into the room and casts a quick look about, tempering her disappointment with her delayed arrival with a warm smile for all of those who appear to having such a fine time. And hoping that she has not missed out on /all/ of the festitivities.

Noah has crossed his legs at the ankle in front of him and taken up the manly art of drinking. Every time someone walks by he's either taking a new glass or handing off an empty one. Noah's blue-gray eyes slide to the Queen and then across the rest of the room. He seems to measure each person his eyes land on before moving to the next one.

At the end of the game, Denica offers Fairen a warm smile, "well done Marquis! Thank you for not stomping on my feet," she offers with a wink. Denica is quick to clap at the announcement Keely makes for the winners, applauding the skills of Jaenelle and Yuri. "What a fun game, Princess Keely.," she says turning her attention to Keely, warming her smile. The short princess turns back to Fairen and gives him a crisp and easy salute in parting. "I think some sparkling wine is order after that," she says breathing out, having enjoyed the the bit of excitement. The short woman is directing her confident stride towards a tray of glasses, slender paint-stained fingers lifting one free.

Sensing that there is something of a break in the action, Samantha makes her way swiftly, yet gracefully, to the host, extending a smile towards Keely as she does so. Waiting until she has concluded the award to Jaenelle and Yuri, she dips into a curtsey. "Princess Keely, thank you for the invitation. I apologize that affairs have kept me late to your event, but it clearly seems that all are having a fantastic time. I truly regret having missed a portion of it."

Liara gives a low, breathy laugh at Aindre's words to her, and she once again retrieves her wineglass, to lift in a small gesture of acknowledgement. "This is utterly marvelous and very much her doing, so I dare say that is a very fair moniker to ascribe to her." Then she turns slightly so she can more easily see the people about, away from the dance floor, another easy smile following as she introduces Estil and Udell, "Lady Estil Navegant and Archlector Udell."

A servant notifies Liara of Samantha's arrival, and she turns to offer up a simple greeting, "Welcome, Marquessa."

Udell applauds for the participants before he looks into his gift pouch and smiles warmly, taking the plush animal from it and remarking, "Well, what a delightful trinket, I daresay that it'll fit perfectly upon my desk!"

Once he's more or less back to normal and not staggering, Fairen makes his way to the Queen to bow and offer a greeting, "Your Majesty, good to see you again, it has been awhile." However then Denica rather gracefully drops by and he returns her smile with a friendly grin, "You are quite welcome, I am pleased your toes survived unharmed!" Saluting her in return, he agrees quite quickly and makes for the tray himself, snagging a flute of champagne. Afterwards he approaches Keely and beams a smile, "Your Highness, that was quite fun, thank you for coming up with such entertainment."

Udell gets a cuddly badger plushie with a burgundy scarf from a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm.

Symonesse looks up from opening up her own pouch to chuckle at Aindre's comment about Mark, adding, "Careful now. If you give him a gift, Ian might get jealous and think you have found a new best friend. Not that -I- think that is a problem. Everyone needs a few best friends. Spares come in handy." The Queen nods sagely and, when she pulls out the badger stuffed animal, she says almost reflexively, "How adorable. Athalia will love this." She then startles a little, gives Aindre a look, and quickly tucks the stuffed animal away. As Aindre leads her back toward Liara, Symonesse takes a longer drink of champagne, draining the glass, and places the empty one down somewhere probably pretty inconvienent as she smiles at Estil and Udell and says, "It is a pleasure to meet you both."

Duties done for the moment, Keely puffs out a swift breath and, with further assistance from some faithful servants, she descends from her chair with little incident. Someone hands her the flute of champagne she had to abandon in order to direct the game, and she moves to the edges of the party once more to give an appraising look over the room. A warm smile is flashed in Denica's direction at the woman's kind words, and then Samantha's approach draws her attention. "Marquessa," she greets the woman with a dip of her chin and a kind smile. "I am so pleased you were able to make it. Please, help yourself to something delicious, and make sure you get your gift bag from the tree."

Upon Fairen's approach, her dark gaze is pulled in his direction, and she lifts her drink in salute with a soft laugh. "You did so well, Marquis Leary. I am glad you enjoyed yourself, and did not step on my friend. But then, I knew she would be safe in your hands."

Thea applauds those that won and didn't stomp on feet and went with the wind. She nods to Grady and just sits. No more dancing! Nope. She takes a large drink from her wine glass instead.

Jaenelle accepts the necklace, and dips her head towards Keely in thanks, "thank you as well. It is a beautiful prize and I shall remember the evening fondly each time I wear it." Back to Yuri she grins, "I shall prepare the tour to leave soon then, I am certain that the Lyceum has never needed something more than this." As it appears that her husband lost, and she might need to rub it in his face, she turns to move to where Noah has found himself a people watching perch. She leans over and presses a kiss to his lips lightly before settling beside him.

Estil dips into a graceful curtsey towards Symonesse as her presence is brought to wider attention, her own respects soon offered to the Queen and some of the other high-ranking attendees now that their attention is not more fully invested on the dance floor, "A pleasure, your Majesty, your Highnesses."

Yuri bowed along toward Keely as she presented the necklace to both he and Jaenelle, "My thanks to you, your Highness. For this generosity and the chance to simply partake. Once I again, I thank you for the hospitality." He then turned along toward Jaenelle with a equally appreciative bow, "Ah, very good. I will see that I gather my necessary belongings and ensure my horse and carriage are prepared for the journey. May we stop in Lenosia on the way, perhaps? First stop?" He smiled lightly before nodding respectfully, taking his leave as he made to place the necklace gently within a confined pouch within his brocade coat.

Another dip of a curtsey to Keely from Samantha. "Thank you, your highness," she replies, drawing back to allow Keely to progress onward, before turning her attention towards Liara. She makes her way over to offer proper greeting. "Your highness," once more curtseying. "How are you doing this evening?"

Noah seems to side-eye Jaenelle as she sits down. He murmurs something low to her as he looks around the room. He will glance back to her and to see what necklace she got. He keeps watching for now though. Maybe he's looking at weapons and looking for daggers.

"If you'll excuse me." Grady gives Thea a half-bow. "I don't like neglecting Blessed Udell. Ah. Unless you'd like to come and meet him? He seems lovely, yes, just got into town recently, and all that. Very kind, but I suppose that rather ought to go without saying. Well! I seem to have said it anyway, regardless." Glass of wine held rather elegantly in his long, thin hand, he takes his leave (or not, if Thea follows), and goes in search of Udell again.

Samantha takes a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm from a large, whimsical tree displaying gift bags.

Yuri puts a soft pouch with a silver acorn charm in a simple white linen bag.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: Guests are enjoying themselves around the party, some feasting, some mingling, some taking a spin on the dance floor at the center of the room. There is also plenty of drinking happening thanks to the extensive selection making the rounds on various trays.

Thea climbs to her feet again. "Of course, I'd like to meet him,"walking next to Grady. That said, she goes and well---she easily strides over.

Liara turns to Samantha with an easy smile. "Splendidly, thank you. I am glad that you were able to make it, even if a little late." Then she looks aside to the others gathered nearby, at that space by the edge of the dance floor, and she inquires of Samantha, "Are you acquainted with everyone here?" And with a subtle perk of her eyebrows at the others, "And is everyone acquainted with Marquessa Deepwood, I wonder?"

"I do have to visit Lenosia soon, I am exploring something," Jaenelle informs Yuri all mysterious like. "It has been years since I went to explore something, so I am quite excited to be given the chance. If I survive that, then nothing is to stop us." Death stops things. Then she turns back to Noah with a grin at whatever it is he says more softly, showing him the necklace by placing it over his head.

Liara would be referring to Udell, Estil, Symonesse and Aindre, that is. All in the same general spot, when she speaks to Samantha.

"Lady Estil. Archlector Udell.", Aindre repeats as both are introduced, looking between them in turn as he speaks each name by way of greeting. "We're pleased to have you with us tonight. Are you enjoying yourselves?", There's a warm smile for each, and for Udell especially he adds, "The Queen assured me we'd be better for meeting you. There's been a lot of excitement about your arrival!"

"Archlector Udell, will you be holding office hours for discussion? I would like to catch up when you are available," Fairen asks Udell after sipping from his flute of champagne, which turns into a larger one afterwards. He smiles at Estil and gives her a proper wave this time, "Lady Estil, glad to see you again. I see you missed your chance to imitate a tree." Lofting his brows in amusement, he drifts back by Keely and asks, curiously, "Where did you get the idea for that? I'm glad your trust in me was not misplaced and I did not harm Princess Denica. She's far too nice for a toe stomping."

Samantha smiles warmly towards Liara. "I have found quite the stack of papers awaiting my attention since I have returned, unfortunately, and simply lost track of the time in completing them." She glances over towards the individuals that Liara is indicating, and she offers each a warm smile. "I have of course met her majesty, but I am afraid I have not yet had the pleasure of the others." She takes a moment to consider each in turn as Liara handles introducing her.

Udell looks up from the stuffed badger in his hands and offers Symonesse and Aindre a warm smile before he bows and replies with an air of sincerity, "The pleasure is certainly mine, your Majesty. I was only remarking not long ago that this is quite a celebration to be had and it seems that now my words have been overshadowed by the truth." He notices Grady and Thea approaching and smiles before his attention falls on Aindre and he says, "So I have been hearing, the clamor upon meeting me has ranged from warm and welcoming to disbelief that I am more than a figment of the Most Holy's imagination." This prompts a laugh from him as he nods in agreement to Fairen and states, "I am, yes, now that I have settled into my office."

A drink in her hand, Denica is sipping from the glass, but not one to stand still for long, she is making her way through the room, a wave to Thea, who always catches her attention. Spotting Jaenelle adoring her consort with the sparkly necklace she says a cheerful, "a spectacular performance, cousin," she chirps, before she is making her way towards Keely. "Princess Keely, I cannot foretell how long my attention will remain focused, I set out for the Mourning Isles in the morning, but I am glad I got a chance to catch this. It's certainly provided a pleasant reprieve," she murmurs with sincerity as she opts not to take too much of the hostesses time.

"Perhaps I could dress as a historic tree for the upcoming Scholar's gala, though I'll have to work quickly on that." Estil supposed the idea towards Fairen, a slight smile flickering over her lips after a moment, "But it's lovely to see you again as well, Marquis." A dip of her head answers Aindre, "I am, yes. It's my first social event since I have returned from traveling, so hopefully I am not too out of practice at merriment."

Noah rolls the necklace over in his hand for a few moments and then lets the chain run across the back of his knuckles. "Enchanting." He hands it back towards Jaenelle before looking over at Yuri for a moment. The co-tree. Then back to his wife. He leans over to brush his lips to her temple. Then another glass of wine.

Grady brings Thea, as well, to this happy little (maybe not so little) gathering surrounding the Archlector. He seems delighted to find Samantha there, as well, but focuses on the task of introducing his companion. "I rather seem to be falling down on my word, yes, in regards to introducing you to new people, but Countess Thea Wyvernheart has been so good as to agree to save my reputation a touch. Which is, I think, a mark to the generosity of her spirit, yes? Countess Thea, this is Blessed Udell."

Liara supplies a few introductions to Samantha, a gentle gesture given towards each person as she names them. "Prince Aindre Grayson, Lady Estil Navegant, and Archlector Udell." Then she mentions to Samantha, "I am glad that you found the time to come, all the same. Easy though it is to be consumed by paperwork and other responsibilities, I feel that these occasions are rather important in their own right."

Yuri settled off away from the center of the hall's floor, back down to where the other guests had been congregating to see where Denica and Thea had run off to. He paused momentarily as he did not need to wander far. Well, save for grasping a drink off of a wandering tray to which he took rather securely despite his earlier misstep on the dance floor prior.

"My sister and Lady Mabelle Laurent came up with the theme," Keely replies to Fairen with a small, sheepish grin, turning to stand beside him and observe the party happenings. "The game idea just sort of... arrived to me, while we were talking of dancing and encouraging people to mingle." Upon Denica's approach, her face lights up again. "Princess Denica," she greets the woman warmly. "You did so well at the game. I am so pleased you were able to come. If I do not speak with you again before you depart, I hope you have a safe journey and look forward to your return. Perhaps you will write if you have time?"

"I won't monopolize your time here, but if there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out. I am sure that the Dominus has you well looked after, but anyone who reveres the Queen of Endings is someone I am invested in seeing succeed." Symonesse gives Udell an easy smile and a bow of her head before back up just a little, but not so much that she cannot smile in delight at Samantha, "It is so good to see you again, Marquessa. I am so glad that you have returned to Arx."

Thea gives a slight but respectful nod of her head to Udell. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Blessed Udell." Clearly she hadn't ventured too far from Denica, so poor Yuri doesn't have to look to far. Seeing Samantha, Thea gives her a small smile as well. "Lady Samantha, good to see you again."

Samantha nods slowly to Liara. "Of course. I should not have allowed myself to become so preoccupied, but alas." She nods to each of the new faces she is introduced to, curtseying as appropriate. "I am honored to meet each of you." Turning her gaze to the Queen, she curtseys more deeply. "And I am glad to have returned. While Lord Grady has done an admirable job seeing to the affairs of Deepwood in my abscence, I felt my lack of presence of late at the Council bet for messengers was too great a detriment to His Majesty. For which I am truly sorry."

"Rest assured, we're all a part of someone's imagination somewhere, Archlector. You can be imaginary if you want. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.", Prince Aindre says with a bright laugh. He steps back a little as Symonesse does, giving her hand a squeeze as he looks across to Lady Estil once more and tells her, "Let me promise, it's easy sometimes to fall out of practice at the merrymaking, especially as business goes these days. But there's just one way to sharpen it up again and that's by being a little merry. Daunting, I know." He punctuates the sentiment with another smile before joining in with the Queen's greeting of Samantha. "Marquessa, we've never met but my uncle Gabriel's always thought the world of you as far as I remember. We're glad to have you with us tonight. And here in Arx once more, too."

"I'll certainly keep that in mind, your Majesty, and rest assured that I can certainly make time for you should you require it. Thankfully, the First Harlequin and the Queen's Blade have been seeing to things admirably so that I am able to focus on settling in and seeing to my duties in earnest. Sadly, they were unable to find themselves here.", Udell assures Symonesse, bowing his head with another warm smile, before laughing at Aindre's comment. At the barrage of introductions his way, he brushes at the front of his cassock and bows his head to Thea and Samantha before offering to them and to Grady as well, "The honor is indeed mine to meet you both, and Lord Grady, your impersonation of a tree was quite admirable. Once again, you've discharged your duties with distinction, I think."

A warm smile breaks across Samantha's face at Aindre's words, and she repeats her curtsey to him. "It pleases me to hear such kind words from one such as he," she replies, placing her hand over her heart and bowing her head to him. "I am pleased to be here once more, to be certain." She looks to Udell and smiles. "I am quite sorry to hear that I missed Lord Grady's performance - if anyone I know could portray a tree with conviction, it would most certainly be him."

The thought of exchanging letters brings a smile to her lips, she nods to the other princess, "I think I could manage that! Perhaps I should put them in bottles and toss them off the ship," she winks at her. "Thank you for the lovely evening your highness," she offers to her. An easy twist and Denica is back to the vicinity of Thea and Yuri. "Well that was fun," she says to them both. To Yuri she smiles, "nicely done, My Lord," she adds warmly to him. Taking a sip of her wine she murmurs something quietly afterwards.

"A small enough thing to be put in charge of a contraption kept in such good working order," Grady protests to Samantha with a smile. "But for all of that, I confess to being glad enough that my hands are no longer the only ones, yes, responsible for its care." He gives a cheerful laugh at the recollection of his tree impression. "I could hardly, could I, do less and hold my head up. The tree is Deepwood's emblem." He shows Udell his signet ring, as proof. "I'm sure I would feel quite ashamed to have fallen down on the task with Marquessa Samantha so close at hand."

Liara offers Samantha a quick, easy smile, though she withdraws from the conversation to some extent herself, instead arranging for a plate of food to be brought over to her, which she starts into, eating slowly and somewhat daintily.

Noah is speaking in low tones to Jaenelle. It seems that Noah isn't overly interested in meeting new people, yet. Or maybe that's liquid courage that he's consuming. His eyes sweep the room before he looks at Jaenelle. His eyes meet hers. They hold. He takes a drink and upends it to swallow the glass of wine in one go. Then he lifts his brow at her. There may be more quiet words. Nothing is showing on his features. He could be making a joke. He could be insulting people. Like the licks to a toosie roll pop, the world may never know.

Thea agrees with both Udell and Samantha, sighing in the most dramatic of ways. "It was hard to keep up. I tried too hard I think,"she admits with a drink of wine. There's a look at Noah and Jaenelle, Thea already deciding that he's insulting people. Because--Noelle.

"Why thank you, your Highness. I...well, that certainly was a farcry away from when we both had a spar some months ago, hm? I did not look like a victor at all, but that is what I get for doing too much. All the same, my thanks. I managed a few glances; you did well, too! Along with your partner." Yuri remarked, glancing over to Thea with a smile, "Countess Thea, how did you fare? We /are/ all in one piece, so that is saying something. Does not seem like anyone got hurt. I find that to be a startling success."

"Is that the Queen?" Keely asks of Fairen somewhat abruptly as she lingers there on the edge of the festivities, speaking with him quietly. Her dark eyes have finally found Symonesse from across the hall, and she draws in a quiet breath, lifting her flute of champagne and draining its contents. This swiftly results in some rather pink cheeks for the princess, that color also soon creeping across her nose.

Samantha offers a warm smile next to Thea. "Perhaps that was your mistake, Countess - trees do not try, they simply tree." She winks at her with amusement, and then, seeing that she has a glass of wine, turns her gaze about to see if there are any about she may procure for herself.

Estil reaches up to adjust the glittering comb set in her chestnut hair in an absent fashion, soon offering Aindre a faint smile at his suggestions, "I shall have to endeavor to do my best to practice then, your Highness, and not get myself too lost in books and administrative business. There's always something distracting there, though."

Jaenelle stands after the brief conversation with Noah and shakes her head, reaching down so her fingers lace within his. "Your Grace," she says to Liara, then "Your Highness" is directed towards Keely, "all the excitement was a wonderful cause to enjoy the moment, and the moment is insisting that I rest." Dancing is not as calming as it once was when you are a tree! "Shall we?" she asks of Noah.

"I am so glad to hear that! Tanith and Raymesin are wonderful." Symonesse is still slowly backing her way out of the crowd with Aindre in tow and maybe even casts a few longing glances at the dance floor because of course she does. She's not -rude-, though, and still speaks with those around her even as she is slowly making her way away, "There is nothing to apologize for, Marquessa. I would prefer to celebrate your return rather than mourn over your absence." Before she can make her escape to get her groove on, Symonesse hears the word 'Queen', spots Keely, and begins to make her way in that direction, calling out, "Princess Liara says that -you- are to blame for the state of the hall!" Then, as she comes to the stop before Keely and Fairen, she smiles brightly and continues, "It's gorgeous and such a creative idea."

Turning from the food that she had procured, Liara offers an easy smile to Jaenelle and Noah both. "Thank you for coming, and I hope that you enjoyed everything." She lifts her wineglass in a small parting gesture to them.

Peering owlishly at Grady's ring, Udell's smile grows before he says, the words directed both towards he and Thea but also appear to be in agreement with Yuri, "I was fortunate enough to watch the whole and I think everyone did quite well. And personally, I'm glad that I wasn't being called upon to treat anyone, it would have made introductions slightly awkward."

Noah uncrosses his ankles and moves easily to his feet. Drunken ease? Is the Archduke Consort drunk?! His arm comes out to rest across the back of Jaenelle's hips as he nods his head. "Thank you again for all of this. I will work on my tree dance." He winks to Keely but then he turns to escort his wife home.

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

Jordan, apologetic Gentleman of the Chamber leaves, following Noah.

Beaming a smile at the Queen, Fairen bows and states cheerily, "Your Majesty! Let me introduce you to Princess Keely. Princess Keely, Queen Symonesse. It has been awhile Your Majesty, I hope all has been well! It's a pleasure to see you again. Didn't she do a marvelous job? It's quite amazing. I do love the forest, and it is a delightful reminder of it, even if I am not such a great dancer," he admits with a chuckle. His eyes peer over and notice Samantha, waving. "I see the Marquessa is back, how lovely!"

There is a soft, strange sound that squeaks from Keely's throat as Symonesse approaches and calls out to her, and some unfortunate combination of fluster and mortification wash over her features. Her dark eyes widen quite a bit, and she fumbles to hand off her empty champagne flute, ever ready with an apology for what ever, be it decorating for a party or merely existing. "I-I'm s-- oh," she begins, and then ceases, her relief immeasurable and written all over the open book that is her face. "Oh, thank you, your highness," she exhales, a sheepish smile soon finding her features. "The theme was all the idea of my sister and her protege. I am so pleased you could come!" She releases a breath, gratefully allowing Fairen to take over the interaction from there as she subtly snags another drink. At a point, she flashes a small, wry smile at her drunken cousin as he escorts his Very Pregnant wife from the party

"I didn't. I apparently don't bend well enough,"Thea answers with amusement, gesturing toward Samantha's statement. "Exactly that." She looks to Udell, amused. "I could have helped with that. It's part of my job, though it may be closer to yours..."

"Really, it IS difficult enough to dance without being called upon to stop at a moment's notice," Grady protests (again). "Under the circumstances, I think, yes, that everyone did quite well. Rather outshone expectations, I'm sure."

Turning her gaze towards Fairen, once more Samantha is dipping into curtsey. "Indeed, it is lovely to be back," she calls to him, returning the wave. "I am hopeful to remain here for quite some time, now. All of the affairs of the House and of my family are now in order. The children are being tended to, and have stopped clinging to me for dear life." She chuckles softly. "It has been a hard period of adjustment, but I feel that the time is right for me to continue to live, as he would have wanted me to, and continue my work on behalf of the people. He would have been very cross with me if I let such a thing as his passing deter me."

Prince Aindre's in tow. Despite being remarkably more tall and broad than the Queen is. She doesn't seem to have a problem at all with pulling him along for a change. In his departure, he calls out to those he'd been talking with, "Have a good evening! Don't get lost in the woods!", before he's turning his attention back to where exactly it is he's being taken. There's Fairen and Keely. He joins again with Symonesse's sentiment, promising his cousin, "The execution really is very creative. As someone that's spent a lot of time in the woods, it feels like home."

More gratitude, this time reflected in Keely's smile as she turns it to Aindre. "You are most kind," she murmurs warmly, dipping her chin in slight greeting to the prince. "I am crestfallen not to have seen the two of you doing your best impressions of trees, but I do hope you enjoyed watching. Will we be seeing you take to the dance floor before the night is through?" The question is clearly for Symonesse as well. She takes a quick sip of champagne.

Udell's eyes crinkle up with amusement before he shakes his head to Thea and remarks, "Nonsense, I'm having to battle old habits of seeing things with a Mercy's eyes. I've little intention of stepping on theirs or the Physicians Guild's toes." His choice of words appears rather intentional as he chuckles, "But at the same time, if I can help in any way, I would."

Estil starts to edge herself away from the gathering, seeming to be aiming to depart without causing any interruption or fuss. Respectful dips of her head are offered to those she passes on her path to the exit.

"I am glad that I did. I mean, the alternative was to stay home and knit. I think I have made enough scarves and hats and baby clothes to give as gifts for the next three hundred years." Symonesse is smiling and surely that has to be an exaggeration. Though, there is something in her eyes that might make one think that maybe she isn't exaggerating. "This was so much better. I haven't spent as much time out in the woods lately as Prince Aindre, but it is looks very forest-like to me. The presents are also darling." She holds up her badger plushie and waves it a little. "Marquis Fairen, it is so good to see you, too. Half the fun of coming out to these parties is seeing all the people that I haven't seen in forever. Your dancing was delightful. I was explaining to Aindre that we do something similiar in the Twilight Court, but at the end, there are axes involved. It gets sort of messy." She wrinkles her nose, pauses to take a breath (Aindre did warn her about mixing wine and cake), and then continues, "Anyway, I liked this version better and I am going to come to every party that you host, Princess Keely! I mean it! As for dancing, I am off to do that now. The musicians are wonderful. They -have- to be from the Bard's College." And then she flits off toward the dance floor, still dragging Aindre with her, and parks her stuffed badger under the tree to free up her hands for dancing.

After finishing up her food, Liara slips over to Keely to offer a few words, "That was excellent. I have a matter or two to attend before retiring for the night." She flashes a smile, and continues towards one of archways leading out from the hall.

A friendly smile is beamed at Aindre, giving him a bow. "Your Highness. Yes, as one who spends a lot of time in the woods and did so growing up, being surrounded by the forest is always a pleasant experience. Here it feels like home," Fairen enthuses to Prince Aindre although his was more of a nerd with a book in the woods experience. "Aren't the presents just absolutely cute? Those little badgers are just too darling. I will have to show my daughter when she's back up here again," he chuckles, nodding at Symonesse. "Oh, axes involved at the Twilight Court's version? I think I'd quite like to see it, but not so much like to participate. I am rather allergic to axe blades I fear," the Marquis confesses with a grin, wishing Liara a good night.

Keely mouths the word 'axes' to herself, looking mildly horrified by the implication. However, after a moment she simply smiles for Symonesse, her cheeks coloring brightly at the praise. "I shall have to host them frequently, then, so we may all be graced by your effervescence and light," she replies with a gracious bow of her head. And then she watches her cousin dragged off to the dance floor by the Queen, a faint giggle escaping her lips.

When Liara nears, she extends her free hand to squeeze that of her sister's. "Thank you for all of your help," she murmurs warmly and earnestly.

2 Navegant Marines, 2 Navegant Sailors, Palwen leave, following Estil.

12 Grayson House Guards leaves, following Liara.

Atli, a Whitehold Mountain Dog, 1 Harlequin jongleur arrive, following Tanith.

"You'll have to tell me about your travels,"Thea tells Udell. "But for now, I'm afraid I must be on my way home. My son has probably pulled out all the hair from everyone in the house." She smiles at Liara and Keely both, telling them,"Thank you for this. It was a good time and I can't wait until another." Finding Denica and Yuri, she flutters her fingers at them both. Grady gets a chuckle. "Thank you for the tree,"and starts to head out.

Grady bows to Thea when she moves to depart. "It has been quite the experience, as it always is, having the good fortune to dance with you." He gives her a last, warm smile before turning his attention back to the gathering.

Yuri placed his glass down on an occupied tray that was passing by, glancing off to Denica as he offered out his hand toward her to take if she so chose to. He glanced off to Thea with a fond smile, offering her a parting wave to the flutter of fingers that she offered both of them. His gaze then settled back over toward Princess Thrax, "Shall we? While we seem to have the floor to ourselves for the moment more?"

Tanith is looking a little harried, dressed in a back-baring, deceptively-simple looking gown of indigo, silver spiders clasping the elegant garment to her shoulders. She arrives to the event late but interested, snatching a drink from a server that passes, taking a moment to look the woman in the face and offering both a smile and her thanks. Spotting Symonesse, Tanith visibly perks and moves to the Queen's side.

Udell nods to Thea and smiles gently before he replies, "Of course, once again, it was a pleasure to meet you and I look forward to it." He then chuckles at the sight of Tanith before he turns to Grady and asks, "Lord Grady, you mentioned a cousin whose fault it is that I am here?"

"Thank you for coming," Keely calls to Thea, lifting a hand to offer a rather informal wave after the woman. She then lifts her champagne for yet another sip, the merry flush in her cheeks only deepening.

Prince Aindre seems to sympathize a little with his cousin's sentiment, going on to promise her, "You did miss out, but only a little. I do all my best tree impressions when I'm on a hunt, but I've had a lot of practice. You'll just have to dedicate yourself to more games of enchanted trees in the days to come. Next time we'll arrive sooner." After that he just listens to everywhere the Queen's conversation wanders, watching her at work in her charms as fueled by cake and champagne and leaning into her just slightly. Somewhere in the midst, he finally lifts that little glass of amber he'd had in Fairen's direction as if to agree and then tips it back to empty it. "I can see how you'd love nature, Marquis Leary. I've passed close to the Leadholdt in my travels at times and surrounding area is practically magical."

Thea has left the silver seasilk sofa of superb repose.

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

Tanith gives Udell a wink in passing, pleased to see him at ease and in conversation.

A hand lifts and fingers wiggle at Thea before she departs, a fond smile for her friend before her attention draws back to Lord. A hand is given and she walks with him towards the dance floor, "a little spin wouldn't hurt," she says settling a hand on the man's shoulder. Denica finds dance movements easily, the beat of the music gives her enough of a framework. There is an easy smile as she moves with Yuri, and though it's unlikely not intentional, she keeps trying to lead.

"The only cousin I have presently in Arx is Marquessa Samantha." Grady motions towards Samantha as he speaks to Udell. "And I wouldn't dream of laying fault for your presence or any other thing at her feet. My promise to, ah, 'talk up' the dance, as it were, was made to Princess Keely. And of course, I was only in the shine that day to have a bit of a look at it, yes, having never gone there before. Well. That and tweak Mortimer's nose a bit. I am most certainly not related to him." He smiles, and then brightens when he sees Tanith passing by. "Well! It looks as though we have been blessed with the First Harlequin's presence after all, yes?"

Symonesse is dragging Aindre to the dance floor and pauses briefly to wave to Tanith and say, "Good to see you, Tanith. I can't stop now. I need to dance!" The conversation still bustles off the dance floor, but once there, the Queen seems to visibly relax. It is no more quiet, but music has replaced conversation and she smiles as she says simply and softly to Aindre, "This song is one of my favorites." Many times, especially fueled on alcohol and sugar, the Nox'alfar would launch into some story about having met the composer 300 years ago and shared walnut cakes or something with them, but, for -this- song, she has no story, only an expectant smile and an outreached hand to Aindre.

Nothing ostentatious was taken up, of course. Yuri led Denica out to the floor to take advantage of the musicians' waltz, settling into a flattering tempo of the dance as to mesh just so with the music. Whenever he felt the princess was bound to overtake him, he committed her into a short spin before drawing her closer toward himself. An easy-going settled off onto his face as he took advantage of that spin, clicking his tongue toward Denica, "If you want to lead, where shall you take us, hm?"

Tanith grins as Symonesse is swept away, pleased to see the Queen content, raising her glass in a salute. Grady's voice as the First Harlequin turning, her head tilting to admire the man. "Lord Deepwood," she greets him with a bright smile. "A pleasure to see you again. Are you making sure our Archlector gets into trouble?" She beams at Udell. "It is good to see you both."

A wistful grin is offered to Aindre, "Indeed, I do miss the woods at the Leaholdt. Dense and filled with mystery and all sorts of amazing discoveries. One day I'll make my daughter take over so I can remain there. It will be quite a welcome relief, I miss it every day," Fairen admits to the prince, then laughs as Symonesse drags him off to dance. "Enjoy your dance, Your Highness and Your Majesty! I am sure you shall fare far better than I!" The Marquis asks Samantha curiously, "Now that you are back, what do you have planned? I am very glad that you are, the Deepwoods have always been a credit to the Compact."

Udell laughs and nods to Grady before he says, "Ah, yes, that must have been it, you'll have to introduce me so I may thank her for the wonderful desk accessory I have now." He looks at the badger in his hand before he smiles fondly to Tanith and replies, "I've no need of any help in that regard, I seem to do fine on my own in finding it. Although I'm glad that you were able to make it after all, to see that I'm behaving myself."

"To be honest, I have no certain plans as of yet, although I do believe that I shall make every effort to support the archscholar's library initiative," replies Samantha to Fairen. "It is the sort of project that I think is long overdue, and I am pleased that someone has taken up that mantle." She places one hand over the other and rests them together near her midsection as she speaks. "Otherwise, I will for now simply give counsel where asked. I am sure that something will strike me soon, but I must acquaint myselfs with the other efforts on-going before determing what new paths, if any, are required."

"Wouldn't dream of it," Grady responds to Tanith with either too much innocence or the right amount of it, depending on how charitable one is inclined to be to the general and constant disarray of his hair. Then he nods to Udell. "Well! Let me see if I can find her. I expect she's pretty well worn down, yes, by the, ah..." He makes a vague gesture probably intended to encompass the whole party. "She put it all together in a shockingly short stretch of time. A few weeks at the most. I'm sure I would be dead on my feet after such a monumental undertaking, yes, but of course I'm not a Grayson princess."

Tanith shakes her head in amusement at Udell. "Behave yourself only if it pleases you." And to Grady, she tsks. "Boring dreams then," she teases, before taking a sip of her wine.

The spin lets Denica extend outwards from her dancing partner, only to be brought in again. The princess enjoys the rapid movements and then she looks at Yuri before she is receding back into the eased tempo of the dance. Spotting the Queen on her way to the dance floor with partner in tow, Denica dips her head respectfully to Symonesse and offers a warm smile to the pair. All the while keeping her feet moving in tempo, allowing her heels to click against the floor in a staccato beat. Yuri's question causes the Thrax to smirk a little, "right into the middle of trouble, no doubt," she winks at him, but she is probably serious. The young woman lets her footing to move easily along with the up and down of the music.

Oh yeah. That whole being pulled along thing was taking him to the dance floor, wasn't it? In Aindre's wake he's calling out to Fairen and Keely both, "It was nice talking with you two! Enjoy the rest of your night! Be careful of the deeper woods!" What's a farewell without a warning in the forest? His attention's swept away as easily as the rest of him is, out in the direction where some are still dancing. He waves to Tanith as he passes her and there's a smile too before he's looking back to Symonesse and squaring himself up broad and prominent as he takes her hand again with one of his and pulls her a little closer and rests the other on a hip. "Everyone should get to dance to their favorite songs, shouldn't they?". If he notes the lack of a tale to match the proclamation he doesn't say anything. Rather, he takes in the sight of her smile and takes the lead too, letting himself fall into a slowdance that's not dissimilar from a couple of trees swaying in the night's wind. Maybe he is treedancing tonight.

"I do quite like the Archscholar's library initiative, I am going to support it as I can as well," Fairen replies to Samantha with a smile and a dip of his head. "Bringing the gift of the written word to those who have a harder time accessing it is wonderful. It sounds like a good idea to wait and see, true."

Grady holds up one long, thin finger to Tanith. "DUTIFUL dreams," he corrects with exaggerated seriousness.

Keely lingers quietly now, her gaze drifting from Fairen, beside whom she lingers, to Samantha as the pair converse. She then turns her focus out over the forest-- er, hall, a pleased and very slightly weary smile on her lips. She has another sip of champagne.

Tanith sighs. "BORING," she insists to Grady, then laughs.

Udell chuckles as he looks between Tanith and Grady before remarking with a grin, "Should I not be pleased in what I do? And just the same, I've very much enjoyed myself so far."

As Aindre takes her hand and pulls her closer to dance, Symonesse lights up like the rising sun could be contained there in her smile. She is a gracefully dancer, perhaps a touch -too- graceful, as she follows the Grayson prince's lead with artless ease. As Denica and Yuri dance past, the Queen offers the pair a smile and lifts her hand from Aindre's broad shoulder long enough to give them a friendly little wave since the other hand is currently dwarfed in the grasp of his larger, sword-callused one. Her attention wanders to Aindre as she tips her chin to look into his one good eye and says with the edge of a tease to her voice, "Thank you for indulging me. I know you are far too serious to want to dance on your own." She laughs a little, affectionate thick within that giggle, as she sways with him, doing her best impression of a willow tree now.

Fairen is overheard praising Keely: Quite the party host!

Grady is overheard praising Keely: A charming party, planned and executed to prefection!

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