House Thrax Open-Invite Dinner
Anyone and everyone is welcome to come and we encourage you to bring your appetite.
There will be time to share stories from the Mourning Isles, but more specifically, it's a space to connect and be with each other.
Oct. 15, 2022, 8:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Thrax Estate - The Crosses
Comments and Log
As people arrive, they are greeted by House staff, who welcome guests and offer food and drink. The Crosses has been set-up for a formal dinner, with a casual welcoming environment carefully cultivated by the evening's hosts. Denica is here, standing next to her cousin, Jasher and welcoming everyone personally with a gentle smile. As people arrive and settle in, they are offered some starting canapes. Trays arrive with mini pancakes with fresh cream and caviar, caramelized onion and oyster mushroom tartlets, raw oysters with assorted vinegars and pickled sea asparagus are matched with a variety of cocktails keeping with the Mourning Isles theme. People are instructed to find a place to sit, but also take a moment to settle in and catch-up before the evening begins.
2 Valardin Knights arrives, following Emma.
Flanking his cousin, Denica, by all accounts the one and only host of this evening's dinner, Jasher serves as her perfect foil: dark where she is bright and severe in contrast to her joviality of spirit. Instead of standing at the fore, he looms a half-step behind her and greets individuals as they enter with a stiff forward tilt of his head, tentative smile and verbal acknowledgement of each person by their title and name. He is clad in a casual sailor's attire for the event, feeling perhaps that the presence of house guards strategically stationed throughout the estate may provide something a reprieve from hefty and restrictive plate armor he is wont to don.
Vern, 2 Keaton Huntsmen, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Kael.
6 Grayson House Guards, Wyla, a small wisp of an assistant, Kael arrive, following Keely.
Caspian enters the estate with a smile, his usual clothing and leather armor especially clean and shiny for the occasion. he offered a bow to Denica and Jasher, "prince Jasher, princess Denica.. thank you for hosting this! with all the goings on these days it feels like a lifetime since i had a night to relax and drink and laugh with friends. So thank you." still smiling, he made sure to get out of the way to allow others to flood in as well
Thea likely came early, because well. That's best. She goes over to Denica, offering her a friend a slight smile. Jasher gets a bow of her head as well. "Thank you for having me,"the Countess greets. "The food looks good,"though shes likely already looking for a drink.
Ian holds the door open for Wash as the two Kennexes come in. He's made some kind of effort at looking presentable, even to the point of exchanging his beat up, sweaty coat for a vest that looks a lot nicer. He almost looks like a proper nobleman. That flat, borderline brooding expression paired with the startlingly intense eyes definitely looks like a proper Isles nobleman. "Glad you got into town in time for this."
The perfect image of Valardin royalty, Emma enters the Hall with every bit the graceful elegance one might expect. Every movement, subtle or overt, is like a practice of propriety. Her steps are soft, even despite her heeled shoes, and her greeting to the hosts is respectful and gracious. The guards which no doubt flank her every movement are left outside, where they cannot infringe upon the Thrax domain, as she speaks in a voice that is pristine and level, albeit lacking any overt expression of emotion, "Princess Denica. A pleasure to see such a bountiful banquet and glorious evening. Prince Jasher. Thank you both for opening your doors to us all."
She does not linger overlong before the hosts, but does move to Thea's side, as she spies the Countess, exchanging a quiet but familiar greeting. One which lord Ian also receives in the form of a dipped head and ghosted smile.
Wash is hardly presentable. The absence of Catalana from this event may be responsible for this lack of concern.
Jasher welcomes the first two guests with a warm, "Champion Caspian, Lady Thea, welcome. We are pleased that we could provide some diversion for an evening. What food you see you can help yourselves to, but there is more to come, I assure you." With that said, he flicks his attention to the Kennexes as they appear. "Lords Ian and Wash. Welcome. Princess Emma. We are glad to host you." Many and more make their appearance, but these faces do not deter the prince from doing his utmost to overcome natural reticence and verbally acknowledge the presence of them all.
Aedric Blackshore enters the Crosses unaccompanied and adorned in a familiar worn cuirass. Rather than take up too much of the host and hostess' time, the baron simply offers both Denica and Jasher a polite dip of his chin accompanied by quiet, respectful greeting. He then gravitates toward the war table situated near the center of the chamber and takes a seat, resting scabbard and longsword against a neighboring chair. A glass of nameless amber liquor is wordlessly secured from one of the house servants that passes by and -- after bringing it to his lips -- the sailor visibly grimaces, perhaps surprised by its spices or intensity.
Jasher returns the polite dip of Aedric's chin with one of his own as the baron passes, and though the words of welcome for him hang precariously upon the tip of his tongue, they go unuttered; he can respect the unspoken desire for a quiet entrance.
The familiar sights of friends warms the smile on Denica's lips and it lights her up from within. She has paint-stained fingers laced together, held against the front of her Mourning Isles style gown. Greeting people as they enter in turn, "Thea," she reaches to give the woman's upper arm a squeeze, "I am glad you could come." Catching sight of Emma, there isn't much recognition but she catches her name with her cousin speaks it. "Princess Emma, welcome. It's lovely to meet you," she says before turning to dip her head to the arrival of Ian and Wash and then to Caspian. "My Lords, Champion Caspian. Everyone, hello," the smile is easy on her lips and she returns the nod from Aedric as he passes by.
Thea gives a nod to Emma. "Princess Emma, good to see you again,"she murmrus to the now familiar woman. There's a wiggle of her fingers to both Ian and Wash, not even saying anything about about appearences. "Baron Aedric. It's been a long time since we've crossed paths. Things are alright for you, other than the--obvious I think, yes?" It's hard to not to state the obivous? There's a turn to Capsian as well, nodding her head in greeting.
"Prince Jasher. Princess Denica." Ian greets their hosts like he's commenting to himself on their presence, and nothing more. He nods a greeting to Emma, and adds her name to the list of people in the room: "Princess Emma. Have you met Wash? He's my cousin, but might as well be a brother." He eyes Thea warily, because nothing makes glitter stick like a little bit of sweat.
Wash collects a drink and slurps an oyster out of it shell. He inclines his upper body in half a bow to the Princess Emma. "Pleasure to meet you."
Stepping in on the arm of Kael Keaton is Princess Keely Grayson, who is not exactly tugging the Marquis along but is certainly appearing considerably eager to be here in comparison to her more reserved counterpart. "You will -love- Denica," she is telling him in her naturally soft tones. "She is so wonderful and curious and knows so many things about so many things. And her perspective is always so Fresh and Interesting." And so she half-bounces over to the Princess so named, leaning foremost to press a peck to the woman's cheek when it is their turn for greetings and then quickly stepping back to flourish a gesture toward Kael. "Princess Denica Thrax, I am pleased to introduce you to Marquis Kael Keaton." And then, after a pause and a warm smile, "Hello, Prince Jasher!"
Caspian gives a wave and a bright smile to the familiar faces of so many. Ian, wash, thea, emma, each are given a bow and a broad smile, he does turn and look to Aedric though, moving near to the man to lean in and whisper quietly to him for a moment, a slight sober look on his face.
Emma accepts a drink offered to her by one of the servants (as is appropriate), but does not touch it immediate, merely holding it in the fashion of elegant society. "And a pleasure to meet you, Princess Denica." It is as simple as that, before she is out of the way of the hosts, though her tone remains level and implacable. "Good to see you, Countess." And, when she is introduced, she offers a nod, a graceful dip of greeting, to the Lord, "Likewise. Any cousin, near brother, of Lord Ian is worthy of the relation, I am sure." It is intended as a compliment, even though her delivery is lacking.
A flock of ladies-in-waiting, 3 Thrax Guards, 2 Thrax Elite Guards, Advocate Robert, a fastidious well dressed assistant, Coconut Custard, the Graypeak Mountain Dog arrive, following Alarissa.
Though Kael is not a stranger to the Thrax estate, he certainly does not visit with any frequency. This particular visit is undoubtedly due to the Grayson princes whom he serves as formal escort to. Pausing near the entryway to greet their hosts formally, Kael is bowing his head deeply to the pair and stepping back a half step while Keely offers her greeting. For his part, the Keaton is offering forth a, "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Your Highness," to Denica first and foremost after giving a sidelong look to Keely. Jasher is similarly greeted, with an additional, "Well met, Your Highness." His eyes flick briefly to the area as a whole, as if in search for someone, but it is brief. He also ensure that they do not linger overly long at the entry, for he escorts Keely to find seating when appropriate.
Smile brightening, she returns the friendly peck with Keely, giving the woman's arm an excited squeeze. "It is so wonderful to have you in my home, my dear friend," she murmurs to the other woman. Then she looks over at Kael and dips her head with a little flourish, "a delight, Marquis," she says easily. "Welcome."
Looking delighted to see people coming together, There is a variety of emotions in her eyes, vividly displayed. The one that seems to stand out the most, is gratitude. As people settle in, Denica finds her own spot but remains standing. "I want to welcome everyone to the Thrax Estate. Thank you for joining us tonight, for dinner. Tonight's feast will be served over a series of courses, and we will also take some time later, to share a few stories with each other. There will as expected, be a plethora of seafood, but also some land dishes for those who prefer," there's a little grin then. "It's always a joy to showcase the culture of the Isles, we have so much to be proud of and I am honoured to share this space with you, tonight."
Jasher happens to pick up the very enthusiastic compliment and tones Keely speaks on behalf of his cousin, and thus pivots on his heel to address Keely and Kael as they arrive together. "Princess Keely, Marquis Kael. A pleasure to see you again. And that account of Denica's character is spot-on, though I suppose I could be accused of bias." The latter he says directly to the Keaton lord with the faintest hint of a smile ghosting over his countenance. "I hope you enjoy the evening."
A flicker of dry amusement crosses Ian's expression at Emma's words. "Most of the time, anyway." He notices Caspian at about this point, and greets him with: "Master Wild. I was glad to hear you'll be joining us when we set out again." He might have been about to say something more, but falls silent to listen respectfully when Denica starts speaking.
"Considering the circumstances, Countess Wyvernheart, things could be both better and much, much worse," Aedric replies, returning Thea's nod with a small smile. For all of the baron's aversion to socializing, especially amongst peers, he is impeccably polite -- perhaps the result of a proper (and at times grueling) upbringing. "But this never was going to be easy. And, with any luck, all of the strife that plagues the Isles will soon come to a swift conclusion." He raises his glass, mostly to himself, and finishes its contents in a single swig. When Caspian approaches, he gives the champion his complete attention. "Of course. The proclamation deserved a formal response, and the silence from our peers was deafening," the elder Blackshore reasons.
Alarissa enters, and the sailor promptly stands, straightening his shoulders. Cerulean gaze shifts to Denica as she makes her first announcement.
Aedric has joined the a large war table with space for a map of Arvum.
"Denica is a very close of friend of mine,"Thea finds herself explaining to Emma. "Lord Wash and I go back, but his wife Lady Catalana is also my patron." Finding Keely, Thea gives her slight smile, noting the familiar woman. Don't worry Ian, Thea is currently glitter free. For now. When Denica starts talking however, she quites for a moment. When Aedric answers her, Thea gives him and understanding bow of her head. "I'll help the best I can."
Not long after Denica's words, Alarissa's slipping into the room with little fanfare, a dip of her head to the Aedric as he stands and subsequent dips of her heads to others in the room after Denica's welcome. In black and red, she's making her way to her own usual chair at the tables, a smile for Denica and Jasher. "Apologies, his Grace finds himself occupied at the moment. No doubt that when he finds himself free, he will join, but till then, I shall have to suffice." She offers before moving to her seat.
Aviana steps into The Crosses her eyes looking around, she seems to be in aww of the room. She was not sure how she should come dressed, so she came in what she feels most comfortable and those are her leathers. Her eyes scan the room looking to see if she knows any who have come, she spots Aedric and then Caspian. Her light steps move in their direction.
Once everyone has fully entered and claimed their drinks, light starts and/or chairs, Jasher nods to Denica and then crosses the room to take up his own at her side. While she stands, he remains seated with straight-backed rigidity, head turned to fully attend to her small but necessary warm welcome addressed to those who took time out of their lives to dine and converse with them. He remains reticent, patient, until at last she concludes her words. Short, simple and allows for the prince to focus on filling his small plate with oysters. It is at this time that Alarissa take her place within conversational distance, and so he lifts his gaze to her, filled briefly with a measure of warmth for her presence, and nods with understanding. "He will be missed, naturally, but I am pleased you are here. It has been too long since we had this time."
Wash raises his eyebrows. "Interesting phrasing. At least I hope to be worthy of being related to Ian and the Kennexes."
1 Saik Guard, Micana, an efficient assistant arrive, following Lucita.
Caspian nodded his head to Aedric, "its.. well its a damned mess my lord. all of it." he shook his head slightly and then looked over to Ian as he called out. His smile spread over his face and he nodded. "but of course! did you really think you could slip away and leave me here? gods i only got a few uses.. so im happy to be used!" he gave a smile, "besides.. i still hold im safer out there with you then anywhere else." he beamed to Wash, "And with Wash sailing us there.. be smooth as butter." it wouldnt.. but he was smiling all the Same. "Princess Emma its good to see you again." he smiled, offering a bow before spying aviana and offering a wave and a smile. "Aviana, come join us!"
Not long after the guests have begun to mingle, Thrax servants quietly enter from a nondescript door dressed in finery and balancing round serving dishes atop their outstretched palms. Without disrupting the flow of conversation carrying on within the dining hall, they present an option to each guest seated at the dining table: a bowl of steaming crab bisque drizzled with dill and spicy pepper oils or one-hundred hour chicken consomme with snipped herbs. A second servant follows behind the first to offer a beverage of tomato and clam juice, for those who are interested in something unique and non-alcoholic.
Lucita is unfortunately running late. So it goes with someone who has four children all wanting something just as one is getting ready to leave and then a group of messengers trailing in one after the other. She smooths her garment, smiles gently and waits near the room entry to glance over the gathering.
Keely lingers just a moment longer, smiling broadly at Jasher and lowering her chin into a gentle dip in acknowledgement of his words. "Then we shall be biased together," she enthuses softly, her dark eyes lighting from within with the opportunity to compliment her friend further. She then turns her smile up to Kael, easily following him to a seat, a delicate hand alighting Alarissa's and Thea's shoulders on her way past. The young princess smooths a hand behind her while settling, then slips a hand into Kael's once he, too is settled. She listens to Denica's speech with pride shining in her expression, then lifts both hands to applaud enthusiastically, though afterward she looks around with her cheeks sheepishly flushed and she stills and quiets, remarking softly aside to her escort while the food is served.
As smooth as anything like this can go," Ian agrees (mostly) with Caspian. His alert eyes catch sight of Lucita coming in the room, and he steps away to greet her. "Baroness Saik. Glad you could make it."
A drink is handed to Denica by Sivas before he joins Stojan who is nearby subtly glancing at his clipboard to ensure that the things are moving on schedule. The princess's regular retinue all seeming present and part of the festivities. As Alarissa enters, the short Thrax princess offers her a warm smile, "hello cousin," she murmurs to her before she is taking a sip as she sits down, preparing to partake in the soups that are brought out and set before the guests.
A simple nod is given, the Valardin princess perhaps thinking to add to Wash, "It was more intended that I like Lord Ian, and that I am sure that I might get along well with you, given the opportunity." Her delivery remains as stoic as ever, but she quiets, listening to the host, the hostess, and then observing as the food is being brought out for the first course. Her eyes are curious and observant, and she does begin to sip her drink. A nod is given to Caspian, in greeting, and Thea, as she comments about the Kennex Lords, but for the moment, other than the standard greetings given to those she passes near, she withholds further conversation.
Aedric returns to his seat. As Aviana approaches, he gestures to a neighboring chair. "Sit, if it pleases you," the baron murmurs, mirroring Caspian's invitation. An oyster is collected from the pile stacked atop the sailor's plate. Rather than use any of the finery afforded to him by Maelstrom's attendants, he collects a worn-appearing knife from his belt and uses the blade to pry open the shell. What the dagger has been used for in the past remains questionable and open to speculation.
"Oh certainly. I get along well with everyone." Wash promises. "I am like the mixer behind the bar. I go well with everything."
Kael's response to Jasher's commentary is a swift grin and a murmur of, "Noted, Your Highness." His attention shifts to Alarissa, of course, and despite her more quiet arrival the Keaton is nevertheless delivering a bow in her direction. For whatever reason, once he's taken a good look at her, that smile of his turns briefly distant and might, just might, have a touch of something sad. Still, another nod to her for good measure before he turns to listen to their hosts. When Keely is leaning in to murmur to him, he leans just a bit closer to her and responds briefly.
Aviana moves to Caspian, "Hello Caspian." she seems a bit stiff for some reason, a slight limp when she walks. "Caspian, Lord Aedric. Thank you, it is good to see you both." she smiles moving to take a seat with them. She looks to Caspian a small smirk forming on her lips, "I haven't seen you in the hospital again, thats a good thing." she teases at him then looks around at all the food, she takes a deep breath in and then out. "I hope you are both doing well?"
Aviana has joined the a large war table with space for a map of Arvum.
Caspian gives a snort at Aviana's remark "oh please.. its only because we have had a smaller breather. Given the upcoming military actions.. im sure i'll be right back in there in now time." he grins then, "Did you miss me? is that why you noticed?" he laughs merrily, "i actually went out to get some new books to read while laid up during my next long term stay in the saving grace." he glances to Aedric, "What do you do to keep yourself busy when recovering my lord? or have tou learned to simply NOT get hit. im still working on that part"
A flock of ladies-in-waiting have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
2 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
Advocate Robert, a fastidious well dressed assistant have been dismissed.
Coconut Custard, the Graypeak Mountain Dog have been dismissed.
A flock of ladies-in-waiting have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
2 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
Advocate Robert, a fastidious well dressed assistant have been dismissed.
Coconut Custard, the Graypeak Mountain Dog have been dismissed.
A flock of ladies-in-waiting have been dismissed.
3 Thrax Guards have been dismissed.
2 Thrax Elite Guards have been dismissed.
Advocate Robert, a fastidious well dressed assistant have been dismissed.
Coconut Custard, the Graypeak Mountain Dog have been dismissed.
"You always do Washburn. That's what I love about you." Alarissa quips with a smile for her cousin - there's a lot of cousins in the room - and takes up a spoon for her consommé. "Lucita." A little formality is put the side for closer friends. "Just in time." Keely's touch garners a smile in turn. The touch of sad from kael garners a nod from Alarissa. "Is Master Caspian often in the Saving Grace?"
Jasher notes the arrival of Lucita from across the room, and makes sure to raise his hand in a gesture of welcome once their eyes meet. "Baroness, I am glad you could come. Please take any seat. Food is being served just now, so you have not missed much."
"Things are as they are, Aviana," Aedric tells the shopkeeper, collecting another oyster from the table. "Have you ever eaten a mollusk? They're an acquired taste, admittedly. Salty. Briny may be the better word. Best served chilled, in my opinion, though you can also boil and bake them," he continues, shucking the shell and offering it to the woman. Attention then shifts to Caspian. "I can assure you, Master Wild, that you're much much more dexterous than an old mariner. But to answer your question -- I pace. Regularly, and often against medical advice. Without activity, my mind wanders. And minds, as you know, can wander to dark, impossible landscapes."
As people partake in the first course that arrives at the table, Denica clanks her fork against a glass. This is a cue for a speech and she stands up again. "I just want to take a moment to say thank you, to everyone here and to those that cannot join us.," the princess takes in a small breath, her emotions evident on her features. "We've all been through so much these last few months, and there is still so much to come.," a small breath expels as she steadies herself. "Every day is uncertain and still, we are strong and resilient." There's a quick pause while paint-stained fingers rest at her sides, "with everything happening so fast, I thought it was important we take a moment to pause and come together. To see the faces of those we love, our family, our friends and our allies. To appreciate everything everyone's done to support each other through these challenging times. To say just say thank you," she takes in a small breath and looks fondly at her cousin then back at everyone gathered. "It's a small gesture, I know, but one we express from the bottom of our hearts.
Thea leans over to take a bite of her bisque. She looks over to Alarissa and tells her,"He's caught up to Ian I believe. Or not too far behind,"her eyes drifting to the Champian with amusement. Noticing Lucita, Thea greets her with a smile. "Baroness, hello." Looking up to Denica as she talks, she gives a quick wink to her friend.
Lucita's smile widens as Ian speaks to her and she approaches him. "Thank you. I do try to attend when matters permit." On spotting others she knows she seems to relax. A little wave of the hand is given. Her other hand bears a vielle which she stows aside as she starts toward a vacant seat. Jasher is given a little wink and as she passes by Alarissa she leans over to offer cheek kisses. "Oh, am glad. Had hoped would not miss anything." She settles into place, accepts a beverage and listens to what Denica has to say.
Wash sips his wine and quips. "Caspian is probably as often in the hospital as his own bed. Did you hear how he singlehandedly assaulted a flagship, set it on fire as a distraction then went BELOW decks to free the thralls? I bet he got more than a burn or two."
Keely knows better than to applaud this time, thank you, but she does smiles broadly and warmly for Denica, still looking Entirely Proud of her friend. There is some squeamishness on her young face as the more seafoody options are brought around, and she looks a little anxious, a little ashamed as she whispers her request for the more land-based options instead. All the while ofering little whispers to Kael here and there (once speeches are concluded, of course), and looking from he to Alarissa and back once or twice.
"You missed my big moment tending bar at the Black Fox today," Ian comments to Wash, once he's returned to the table along with Lucita to finally take a seat. Once again, he sets aside whatever else he might have said on his own bartending prowess and/or numerous hospital visits when Denica taps her fork on her glass.
A seat is found, silk arranged just-so as she settles and partakes in some of the bisque. The more daring dishes are eyed, but only through a mask of stoic composure. She listens to those around her, offering a nod towards Lord Wash, and a fair greeting to Baroness Lucita. "Battlescars can be a mark of great honor," she makes the comment, rather off handedly, before she turns to listen to the speech, and take a sip of her drink in recognition of the good-wishing toast.
"The reports and whispers did pass his grace's ears and eyes as well as mine." Alarissa looks to the man in question. "I expected no less from Master Wild. As it has been in the past, I am sure that it shall not be the last either." Cheek presses to Lucita's cheek and then her attention returns to the others at hand and at the table. Very little of her soup is consumed and she leans towards Keely, murmuring softly.
"You? Tend bar?" Wash asks. "Is there any bar left?"
Aviana smiles at Caspian, "I do miss you." she chuckles moving to pick up her glass and taking a sip of it as if the hide her grin. She hears Wash speak of what Caspian did and she stares at him with a blink, blink. Then she is drawn to Aedric, "No M'lord, I have not had the chance to have much food that has come from the sea." she looks to the shell and then takes it looking it over, "How do you eat it?" she asks a light pink coming to her cheeks.
Jasher is not much of a conversationalist, especially in very active and public locales, though he does make an effort to appear /open/ to it. And yet, he is happy to just shuck his own oysters and eat the crab bisque that the waiter had only just delivered. When Denica toasts to all of the virtues the dinner espouses, he pauses in his feasting to raise his own glass with her and then sip from the rim at the appropriate moment. Only after he has finished sipping from his rum does he venture to comment on something that Wash says. "Would that I have been able to see the spectacle myself. You have ever been fearless in the face of immense odds," he says directly to Caspian, now, and then toasts privately to the man with his drink.
Soup bowls emptied of their contents and thus cleared, the Thrax servants emerge once again from behind the scenes to deliver the option of two small plates: seared vodka soaked sea scallops with a minted pea puree or quail stuffed with wild rice and cranberries. Both may be selected by the ravenous or just plain adventurous. The sky's the limit! Well, also stomachs. Stomachs have limits...and there is still so much more food being prepared.
While initially Kael seems inclined to the Islander fare, one look to Keely has his lips twitching and he politely asks for the land based specialty as well. His request however comes without an ounce of shame and a rueful little look cast toward the Grayson. That said, he reaches for his water and listens politely with only the slightest side conversation between Keely and he. Until he sees the scallops, and why yes, he does decide to select some of those as well.
Lucita makes sure she greets each present respectfully. Prince Jasher Princesses Alarissa Emma, Keely, Denica, Countess Thea, Marquis Kael, Baron Aedric, and Lords Ian and Wash and Tailor Aviana are all acknowledged as she sips from her drink and takes a few bites of her bisque before the next course is served. "All this is so good!"
Ian shrugs to Wash. "I had to leave early to come here." He doesn't seem particular about what he eats. He never really does. So he selects whatever Wash doesn't. His table manners are of the very careful 'I really don't want to embarrass my relations and that is something I'm at risk of doing' variety.
Caspian clears his throat slightly and offers a grin, "Ah well.. i dont know about fearless. just.. very reckless. it seemed a good idea at the time.. and im sure the gods were more than a little involved in getting me out of that mess. who even runs below deck on an enemy ship with no plan on getting out. thats just.." he shakes his head "yeah.. didn't think it through. got very lucky, but was glad to have done it all the same. the burns and arrows were worth it." he grinned to wash then, "And i do recall someone else piloting a burning ship into the enemy before hurling themselves off the side of the boat to swim to safety.. securing countless sailors their escape...since we are on the topic of burns"
What ever Alarissa says to Keely has the young Grayson's face turning several shades of red, but eventually she seems to manage to regain her composure before softly murmuring her reply in turn. A grateful smile is offered to her cousin, and then more words are offered to Kael. All the while, here and there, she is looking up to Denica as if checking on her from her spot, and lightly grazing upon the foods laid before her.
Emma partakes in a few spoonfuls of her bisque, but allows it to be taken away in place of a quail dish. This is equally daintily picked at, enough to show interest, not enough to appear overly enthused about the whole meal. But, her demeanour is lacking on many fronts in regards to that, though her piercing blue eyes flick from person to person throughout the course of the banquet, observing those nearest here, or not, in the passive manner of polite society.
"Once the oyster has been opened, you must detach the flesh from the shell. Observe," the baron explains, slipping the blade between the base of the tissue and its chitinous carapace. "There is muscle there, though hidden. Once separated, you simply move it to your lips, tilt your head backwards, and swallow. Be warned, though -- it's not for everyone." There is a strong possibility that Aedric has had this conversation, and perhaps even taught a similar lesson, before. He returns the mollusk to Aviana and offers a small smile. "You won't upset anyone here if you find the texture repulsive," the sailor assures her, nodding once.
Lucita says, "I was disappointed more of those poor thralls did not join in an effort to be freed, to live free or die rather than stay chained and whipped as they were. It was an amazing feat you did, Champian Caspian." She eats adequate amounts of her meal, enough to satisfy hunger yet leave room for courses to come. "At least some got free, maybe others will remember and act another time."
Wash is obviously a fan of oysters, finishing his wine so that he can produce a rubicund blade and shuck his own oyster or twelve.
The conversation between Alarissa and Keely continues, it seems, and now in addition to going red and widening her eyes in shock, Keely has inhaled some of her beverage and is now trying Very Hard not to make a scene as she coughs the kind of cough that seems to only get more persistent when one tries to stifle it. A napkin is employed to muffle the sound, and the Grayson princess is gradually sliding down, down, down in her seat, half hiding her face.
Ian angles his head towards Lucita when she murmurs to him.
Denica gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Jasher listens to Caspian's response patiently, all the while a very slight smile of amusement tugs at his mouth. "I say this as someone who is more often than not risk-averse: some great risks must be taken in order to make a great difference. But it certainly helps to have had very real motivation: lives were on the line, and you saved many them. I believe it was said earlier by her highness that battle scars are a mark of great honor." The nod that follows seems to suggest he believes that to be true, and especially in the case of the champion. Now, however, content with singing the praises of a fellow warrior, the prince turns Lucita and his expression waxes ruminative. He does not venture to comment or reply.
Aviana watches with intence curiocity as he explains how to open one and how to eat it, she takes the mollusk in hand looking it over. She looks over when Lucita greets her and she smiles, "Hello." then she looks back to the shell in her hand, "Always have to try at least once right?" when she speaks she has a bit of a soft Othlands accent to her words. She brings it to her lips and puts her head back, sucking it in. She starts to chew then stops for a moment, is she turning a couple of different shades of colors. She swallows and grabs her drink and takes a long pull from it.
Rocco leans down and murmurs something to Thea, causing her to lift her eyebrow. She nods, rising to her feet. She excuses herself, telling everyone,"Seems I have a slight emergency at home. It was good to see you all. Outside the hospital and gathered with--pleasant faces." Then she turns and strids outside the door.
Kael dips his head politely to Lucita and looks on the cusp of offering some words to go along with that greeting. That being said, the exchange between Keely and Alarissa summons his attention and his brow quirks as he looks sidelong toward the pair. He does not actually ask bot one brow spikes in query. Until Keely is starting to sink down in her seat and at that time he is leaning over to offer a few word that-a-way. This time though the friendly commentary seems aimed at Alarissa.
Jasher raises a hand to the countess as she rises to depart. "Thank you for coming, my lady. I hope all is well."
Another clink emit from tapping the glass and the short princess stands up to her full height to address guests across the table. "Tonight I am hoping you will indulge me, a little. Everyone here, whether born in the Mourning Isles or not, has a connection somehow. Some of us, we've spent much of our life there, while others might have visited or just know someone from there. What I am hoping you will do, is share a story, as simple or complex about your connection to the Mourning Isles. It could be that perfect sunset you saw while sitting on a beach somewhere, or maybe it an event you attended. Maybe someone changed your life there. It doesn't matter what.," Denica lays out a blank canvas. "With these stories, I will use them as an inspiration for a mural within the ward, my gift to you and yours to me."
A small smile forms as she encourages people to volunteer to take part, "I will start and my cousin Jasher will follow, so to give everyone a moment to think if you'd like to share something."
With soup and appetizers out of the way, the main course is ready to be dished and presented. And just in time for stories to be shared! A mouth-watering confluence of aromas drifts from the kitchen as that nondescript door opens once more to admit servants hefting plates of two vastly different choices in main course: boiled whole lobster with garlic butter, grilled asparagus and crispy layered potatoes or roasted pork loin with wild blueberry and juniper sauce served with a medley of grilled baby vegetables. Again, guests are free to consume both, should they possess the inclination and an utter lack of shyness! But otherwise, the servants will default to delivering one plate per seat.
Caspian looks over to keely as she blushes and then partially MELTS into her seat. he breaks into a small laugh, grinning and waving to the princess. he offers a bow of his head in thanks to Lucita, about to speak when Denica stands. he falls silent and listens.
Lucita again listens to the others but seems to be savoring her meal. From time to time she speaks to those seated beside her in a low tone that does not interrupt the hosts or other diners.
When Aviana's color changes, Aedric stifles a small chuckle and claps his gauntlets together. "Well done, madame. I commend your courage. Few are bold enough to attempt foreign cuisine in the presence of strangers. Your bravery shall not be forgotten." Cerulean gaze then turns to Denica. Once she has concluded her request for stories, the baron stuffs his hands between his cuirass and ribcage, mind mulling over the prompt and potential candidates for recounting.
Emma's gaze falls upon Lucita, and she waits a moment, before she speaks, her tone level, her stare fathomless and sharp, but her words do not come forth - whatever might have been waiting upon the end of her tongue.
This is because her eyes are back towards Denica, silent as she listens. Allowing the next course to arrive, and awaiting the tale spoken of. This time, she is given the lobster. Clearly attempting to enjoy a reasonable amount of things-she-will-know, and that which is more Thraxian.
"When I was a little girl, I wanted to pick flowers so I could put them in the Fortress, because I thought it needed more colour. I snuck out," surprise, surprise. "I found these pretty pink and purple flowers and when I reached out to grab out, it cut me. Pricked my fingers. I can still see that little drop of blood. I wondered why a flower would be so dangerous and so beautiful at the same time. My finger needed to be bandaged and I remember the conversation that came after. They became my favourite flowers, because that day I learnt that even in the most challenging situations, there's still beauty. Something good can come from the most unlikely places. We just need to know where to look and how to approach it."
Glancing over at the table displaying a variety of potted thistles, Denica adds, "We've brought these flowers for you, today. To take with you and plant somewhere meaningful. Maelstrom thistles."
Aviana breaths deeply after the long drink, she smiles and was about to say something then she falls silent only to speak softly when the serers come around. She has decided to try both, her eyes then look to Denica silent still think of a story she may share.
Aviana gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Keely gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Lucita gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Jasher does not stand, instead preferring to deliver his 'story' from the comfort and security of his chair. After all, this is not necessarily a formal dinner. "For my part," he begins when all the guests have politely turned their attention upon him, "I have far too many stories to pick just one; it would not pay proper homage to the respect I bear for the Mourning Isles, its oceans, myriad islands and the people that live upon them. I would not have developed my perspective had I not spent the better part of my life indulging a latent wanderlust afforded to me. I have visited every domain, spoken with people from all walks of life, and witnessed despair and elation in equal measure. What I have learned in that time is that though we are besieged by war and strife, our vision for the future of the Isles, these people and places the name encompasses, is more than worth the blood and tears shed. We fight to ensure /all/ lives are afforded the opportunity to respect the Mourning Isles and live freely upon its shores and seas as we all do now." Here, he pauses to glance sidelong at Denica. A nod follows. And with that said, the prince falls silent again.
Lucita returns Emma's glance, a bit of curiosity showing in her expression before her attention shifts toward Denica and Jasher's stories.
Aedric gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Caspian gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Emma gets a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Fortunately, with the space of Denica's story and Jasher's to compose herself, Keely does end up upright in her seat again. She smiles that broad and affectionate smile Denica's way as her story is happening, and glances across the room to signal Wyla to collect thistles for she and Kael. Jasher does his story next, and the young princess looks touched, her smile softening and her dark eyes drifting aside to Alarissa for a moment before returning to the Thraxian prince.
And then, she appears to be moved to speak. She sits up a little straighter, clearing her throat softly and also not opting to stand. Her soft voice rises a little, and she tells the table, "I have several connections to the Mourning Isles, such as through my cousins, Princess Alarissa and Prince Jasher. But I do not really have any stories about those." Yet. "I do have a story, however, about how I met one of my very best and dearest friends, Princess Denica Thrax. I had just returned to Arx, and Bastion had fallen, and I was very shy and having trouble making connections. I... wandered into a party, and was immediately overwhelmed, and almost left. But Princess Denica called to me, picked me to be her partner in this game. And she told me so much about her life, so vividly, that night that I felt we'd been friends since the day we were born. Uhm. So I suppose what I mean to say is that, while I have never been to the Mourning Isles, I do not need to, to appreciate them. Because their people are some of the very best that I know, and I think the world is a richer and brighter place to have them."
And then, cheeks still aglow, she sinks back a little in her seat, only for what ever conversation was happening between she, Alarissa, and Kael, to catch her again and make her look like she is praying desperately for the ground to open up and swallow her whole. But in a fond way.
Kael coughs once, though he's luckily moving a hand to his mouth in time and it's not a terribly loud sound. Shaking his head toward Alarissa, he glances to Keely and then responds to the Thrax princess swiftly. Does he also look a perfect mix of embarrassed and amused? Perhaps. Still, he turns his attention to their hosts listening with keen interest to Denica before shifting his focus to Jasher when he speaks. As Keely tells her tale he does not study her, but rather the subject of her story. For whatever reason he inclines his head deeply to Denica in a most respectful manner.
Holding her seaweed embroidered skirts as she settles down after speaking, the princess is showing her emotions openly on her features. It's an expression of a different kind of art. Taking a moment to sip from a glass of wine, she is listens to her cousin Jasher talk about the Mourning Isles. Then allows her to a moment to compile herself and she smiles with pride as the man speaks. Lifting her glass to him when he finishes. But it's Keely's story and the recount of the night they first met that makes vivid blue eyes blink back any tears should they form. It was a simpler time perhaps, a happy one and she holds it close. "I remember that night clearly. You accepted me for who I was the moment you met me and it felt like home." Reaching up to brush the under of her eye she takes in a small breath and looks to see who stands up next.
Throughout Denica's story, Aedric listens intently. Whether or not he can relate to the lesson that the princess learned so early during her childhood remains a mystery. What it does not do, however, is preclude the baron from collecting one of the potted thistle plants claimed from Maelstrom's gardens and placing it beside the plates recently delivered by dutiful attendants. After removing his right gauntlet, and the clay lid, he brushes his right finger against its prickled leaves -- permitting the foliage to superficially puncture tissue and draw blood. Then, slowly, he withdraws his hand, cerulean gaze fixed upon the blooming beads of scarlet, the sailor's sickly mind infatuated with whatever it is that they must represent.
If anything at all. Blackshore men are rumored to slowly succumb to an eldritch madness, and perhaps this strange stupor is that same delirium made manifest.
Ian has settled into eating in silence, listening attentively, but with no indication that he has anything to say.
Lucita says, "back eleven, almost twelve years ago, shortly after coming to Arx at the request of Marquessa Quenia, we met Lord Wash at the Inn. He was worried about his wife and her going to have their first child, asking us questions about which we knew little or nothing about infant care. We kept saying things like, clean, dry, fed, have a nanny... and eventually the topic veered into something else. Ships. Lord Wash was designing a historical ship, one that ran primarily on wind power, sailing instead of rowers, a deep water ship. And this pre-dated the Caravel. I'm going to sing the song that commemorates the launching of this first ship of its kind."
Lucita stands and plays her vielle as she sings:
The Admiral Wash said
There's adventure ahead
Sailors, come raise our sails.
Leave land far behind
For we're off to find
The makings of wonderful tales.
The Bounty of Cerilla,
The first amid its kind.
The Bounty of Cerilla,
The best you'll ever find.
We've stocked our stores
Ready to leave the shores
With our crew of just fifty men.
That's all that we need
To sail with good speed
Cross vast waters once again.
Ten o' seven was the year
When we gathered the gear
Kissed all the sweet girls goodbye.
When the winds do blow
And those tides do flow
The sea's call we'll not deny.
If Mangata doth bless
We'll pass the sea's test
Of calms and a fierce gale's wind.
From bow to her stern
Her worth we will learn
And safely come home once again.
Denica's reaction to Keely's story obviously makes Keely's eyes mist over in turn, and she gives her friend a soft, watery-looking smile. She lifts her glass to the woman in wordless toast, only to find it empty, and then to find it swapped out by a helpful member of staff. It is then lowered, her dark eyes turning to Lucita, to listen attentively to her tale and her song.
Lucita gives a soft laugh as she puts her instrument away and gestures toward Wash. "Obviously the ship was a success as Lord Wash returned."
Wash has the sense to be demurely embarassed, "We took that same ship back to Saik when your twins were born."
Lucita says, "It was a fine ship, smooth sailing, comfortable, and fast," She teases Wash in speaking "which is good else the twins would have been born asea.""
Caspian beams as he listens to the stories, Keely's especially drawing a smile to his face. there is a look of agreement as the princesses talk of the other, the man clearly agreeing with their words. as Lucita sang, he listened intently, swaying with the song and breaking into a bright grin at the source material.
Each speaker is given Emma's full attention. Her fierce eyes (which honestly might be uncomfortable in their intensity) drift from face to face, her demeanour and expression nothing but pristine elegance and manicured perfection. When Lucita sings, she listens, quietly nodding, enjoying the meal. This time, the lobster and accompaniments are enjoyed a bit more fully, though no less near-demurely, a manifestation of years of noble tutelage in etiquette, no doubt.
Ian listens with maybe a particular amount of focus to Lucita as she sings, but shows no other sign of connecting with the music, lyrics, or subject matter, and goes back to eating once she's done.
Wash says, "Nothing wrong with being born at sea. Though I wouldn't say the same about giving birth."
Jasher listens intently to Keely's recounting of her first moments meeting Denica and the friendship that bloomed from it thereafter, and for the entirety of the story told, he turns in his seat to better observe the reaction the story elicits in its subject. If there is any amusement to be gleaned from his expression, it is hidden behind a hand upraised to pat his mouth with a napkin. With the thoughtful words concluded, the prince inclines his head toward his Grayson cousin and then reaches out to gently, discreetly pat the backside of Denica's hand laid flat atop the table. Lucita's song captures his rapt attention; her voice, familiar and stirring, drawing the prince to lean slightly forward in his seat. His eyes slide to observe Lord Wash, then quickly return to the singer. He neither claps nor resumes feasting; Aviana is next and so he waits patiently for her to commence with her own tale, less the distraction.
Last, but certainly not least, dessert is summoned, and so very quietly as not to disturb the stories and songs being shared. Servants clear the pile of dishes, emptied or otherwise, all the better to make room for the delivery of one dessert from yet another pair of options: a layered sponge cake with fresh cream and strawberries or soft chocolate-covered meringue candies. And in the spirit of providing the guests with /more choices/, drinks on offer are Tyde Ice Wine or black currant liqueur with lemonade and vodka.
Aviana listens to the stories that each tell, even when Lucita sings. She takes a deep breath standing up, there is a slight stiffness and a wince as she does. Her eyes look around as those here, she is a bit nervous but takes a sip from her cup and puts it down. "I am not from the morning isle, I was born and raised in the oathlands. But some day I do wish to go and visit them, how I have come to where I am today is because after I first came to the city I meet Prince Gideon Thrax, I was aiding him in getting some materials for his armor. In turn because I am a tailor he introdiced me to Duchess Margot, that is when she asked me to be a tailor for her. I accepted, later down the road Prince Gideon became my patron." she breaths deeply her voice a bit shaky as she continues to speak, "I had been away, back come when we lost the Duchess, I came back as soon as I could. I only felt it right that I try and help house Tyde in some way. So I became a memeber of House Eswynd and aid House Tyde in anyway that I can, my way of remembering her a friend and someone who gave me a chances." she says softly, sitting back down a hand comes up to clean a few tears away that she now feels coming down her cheeks and her cheks turn pink.
Lucita gives a little nod on hearing Aviana's story. She takes a slice of the cake and then another, enjoying the finishing touches of the meal.
Caspian looks to Aviana as she speaks, his brow knitting softly with sorrow as she spoke. the pain the woman felt was palpable, and as she sat down, he reached out to place a steadying hand on her shoulder. "its well done.. what you do in their memory. you should be proud of that."
Ian's brow furrows briefly as Aviana talks, a flicker of concern that he doesn't actually give voice to, or explain.
Canting her head slightly, she watches as Aedric takes the plant and pricks his finger with one of the little spikes. The artist observes as though she is watching a painting take it shape and she memorizes the moment. Then as the song begins, there's a smile forming and she reaches for fork so she might enjoy a bit of cake during the refrain. Her attention drifts to Wash and then as it comes to an end, there is a pause to give a clap. "How delightful!," she says before looking over to Aviana. Going silent she listens to the story about how she met Margot and there is a quiet expression that forms. A smile then and she says both encouraging and appreciative, "thank you for sharing that."
Wash stands up, swirls his wine for effect and says thoughtfully, but with building passion. "Some people would say that I have no connection to the MOurning Sea at all aside from Catalana. But the first time I sailed the open ocean was on the Mourning Sea. I stowed away on the Tssau Coast out of Arx, and was caught just three days out. The Marquis was within his rights to throw me overboard, but instead he clapped me in irons. Mostly to keep track of me, keep me away from his niece." Wash explains. "So I found myself sitting on the prow, everyone on the crew forbidden to speak to me, particularly Catalana. Chains on my wrists. And the only thing I could do was watch the ocean. I didn't notice any else. The wind the waves drove it all away. I forgot everything entirely. That's when I became a part of the Mourning Sea. And I have never left it behind."
Aviana breaths deeply blinking as she was lost in thought then looks to Caspian, her hand moves to touch his a small smile forms on her face, she mouths a silent thank you as she does not want to be rude to the other story tellers.
Perhaps it is Lucita's song that ultimately breaks Aedric out of this dissociative state. When the baron does come to, he appears pale and frightened, as if momentarily unsure where he is or what exactly has transpired in his perceived absence. Slowly, the panic fades. Aviana's recollection of her dealings with Prince Gideon and the late Duchess Tyde serve as a sufficient enough distraction from a heightened pulse and labored respirations, as does Wash's memory of staring out into the sea. He draws the wounded finger to his lips to rid it of blood as eyes glance uncertainly around the room, likely in an attempt to regain his bearings.
Jasher solemnly inclines his head to both Aviana and Wash, one after another, and then leans back to allow his empty plate to be traded out for sponge cake, which he will thereafter only pick at here and there. A mix of thoughts of the late duchess of Tyde and sailing the Mourning Sea appear to occupy his mind; face adopting a suitably conflicted expression. He reaches for his glass and pulls deeply from its contents.
Keely obviously takes both desserts as she listens to the stories and, more ruefully, her cousin and the Keaton Marquis she arrived with, the latter of which is probably why she selects the stronger of the beverage options, and perhaps drinks it a little too quickly. Her face has not returned to its normal color since the choking incident, and now she just sits there rosy and staring at her desserts, suppressing giggles or perhaps more coughing, who knows?
Listening as the last story is shared, the princess returns her fork to the plate and she looks around at all the faces there at the table. Taking in a small breath she looks touched by it all. There's a lot of emotions there, they tug at her and the last few months are visible if one were to peer a bit closer. "Thank you Wash," she says to the man before lips press together silently. "And everyone. For coming here tonight. For everything. I am grateful. Despite everything, the loss, the pain, the heart-ache, the uncertainty, I feel blessed to be here to hear these stories, to share my own. Please, stay as long as you'd like and enjoy more food. Talk with each other, be comfortable, be you." That probably marks the official part over and the princess knocks back the rest of her drink.
Lucita glances at each person and then back at the hosts. "those are touching, memorial stories."
Keely is overheard praising Denica.
Keely is overheard praising Jasher.
Every gesture is polite and thankful, as Emma listens to each tale in turn, serious and quiet. Accepting the last plate of sponge-cake with cream and strawberries, she barely touches it, but seems sincere in her enjoyment as she echoe's Lucita's sentiment, "Quite touching. Very insightful." She doesn't look or sound moved, but perhaps she just maintains her emotions well.
Emma is overheard praising Denica: The Princess is the sort of affable and vivacious woman Thrax needs now.
Emma is overheard praising Jasher.
Wash says, "A night out is good every once in awhile." Wash agrees. "Glad to focus on something else for an evening. Between the rebels and replacing my ship, I rarely have a spare minute."
Aviana leans over to whisper something to Aedric as a look of concern crosses her features, her hand still resting on Caspians if he has not taken it back yet.
Lucita is overheard praising Denica.
Lucita is overheard praising Jasher.
Caspian is overheard praising Denica.
Caspian is overheard praising Jasher.
Kael is overheard praising Denica.
Kael is overheard praising Jasher.
Aviana is overheard praising Denica.
Aviana is overheard praising Jasher.
Jasher is overheard praising Denica: I am proud to be your cousin.
Caspian offers smiles to each and eveyrone who spoke, the stories each reverberating with the man. he hasn't pulled his hand away, though he does look over to wash as the sailor speaks. "How is the replacement going by the way?"
Jasher takes a little potted thistle with a purple-pink flower from Thrax Art Pedestals.
Lucita checks the time and then, reluctantly, rises. She thanks her hosts and discretely withdraws from the gathering, pausing here and there to tell people goodbye.
1 Saik Guard, Micana, an efficient assistant leave, following Lucita.
Denica gives Jasher a subtle side hug, and then reaches for another cookie.
Ian slouches in his chair with a drink, watching and listening to the interactions around him. He only really stirs himself long enough to say goodnight to Lucita, then it's back to watching.
Wash offers to walk Lucita out.
Jayne, Burly Sailor leaves, following Wash.
Kael declines the dessert, perhaps due to Keely taking two, or simply due to the fact that he is quite full from his meal. Still, the drink is selected and enjoyed as he listens to the stories and conversation at hand. That the Keaton is on the quiet side is likely unsurprising for any that know him. Whatever the case, when Keely is ready to depart, Kael rises and bows first toward the Princess Consort of Thrax, next to the hosts, and thereafter offers well-wishes to those he is familiar with before escorting the Grayson away.
Keely takes her time eating her desserts, ensuring that Kael samples each of them even if he does not want full portions himself. She also takes her time finishing her next drink and, flushed now from the booze rather than mortification, she rises and sneaks over to gently attack Denica's cheek with several sisterly pecks and a light nuzzle, then toddles back to her escort full of giggles and lighthearted chatter, with farewells offered to Jasher, to Alarissa and Wash, to others present, on their way out.
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