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Saik Winter Wonder Party

House Saik opens their garden for ice skating upon the frozen-over pond. Hot beverages and entertainment will be provided!


Oct. 22, 2023, 7:30 p.m.

Hosted By



Aconite Umbroise Darren Lucita Catalana Thea Jaenelle Titus Noah Adalyn Pasquale Renata



Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Saik Tower - Gardens

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

As the snow falls on Arx this early winter evening, the gardens of Saik Tower have been transformed into a winter wonderland to welcome one and all across the city to join the Saik family for some seasonal festivities. The open gates lead to the party, where the frozen-over pond has been cleared of accumulated snow so that attendees can ice skate. There is a station where people can warm up with mugs of mulled, spiced wine or rich and creamy hot cocoa. Braziers have been lit to ward off the chill in places where guests might gather to converse, near benches cleared and lined with thick furs for resting. Beneath a canopy, a trio of musicians play lively music to keep the mood light and jovial, allowing for the more skilled of skaters to dance upon the pond in rhythm to the songs.

Near the drink station, Medeia stands bundled in her winter finest with a warm and inviting smile for everyone who comes. As the first guests arrive, she pulls her hands from hovering over the flames of the brazier to warm through. “Hello, welcome to Saik Tower, we are so pleased to see you here this evening!” She makes a gesture to the drink station. “Our staff is prepared to ensure you have everything you need to have a comfortable visit. If you need a drink, or even a blanket to drape your shoulders, please let them know. Ice skates are available if you did not bring your own.”

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, a nameless overwrought highstrung pygmy goat, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog arrive, following Thea.

The Radiant Whisper enters the venue, accompanied by a masked figure. Her gloved hand is nestled within the frozen visage of the Iceheart Paladin's elbow. Aco exudes warmth, her head slightly inclined towards her companion as they share hushed conversation. Bundled in a luxurious ensemble of honeysilk and furs, she promptly gravitates towards the inviting embrace of wine and warmth. Her head sways in rhythm with the music, and she casts a contemplative gaze towards the icy pond, a slow, discerning shake of her head accompanying her thoughts. When she approaches Medeia, her countenance is aglow with genuine warmth, and she offers a swift yet graceful curtsey. "Thank you for being a wonderful hostess."

Did someone say party? Umbroise, of course, could not miss such an event on her first day back in Arx. Clothed warmly in seatouched wool in shades of dawnglow, her black hair piled on top of her head in an intricate coiffure, she is the picture of elegance. With graceful steps, she makes her way into the grounds, and pauses to take in all of the seasonal decor. "Oh, how lovely!" she says, her voice delighted. She clasps gloved hands together, rubbing them as if to warm them, or in anticipation. Then she makes a bee-line for the mulled wine offerings, skirts floating gracefully about her as she walks in that direction. Once she reaches the drink station, she pauses as Medeia greets her guests, she offers a warm smile, and a dip of the head. "Lady Medeia. I have such admiration for your reputation as a gracious hostess. I am certain this party will not disappoint," she says, flashing one of her best, radiant smiles. "Lady Umbroise, of House Acheron," she introduces. "I hope all fares well with House Saik?" she asks, lingering for conversation while waiting for the staff to prepare her mulled wine.

Darren looks perfectly at home surrounded by the cold and snowy evening as he enters the garden, with Bear sticking close to his heels. He's left his guards outside of the party itself, such that his arrival is an understated one. He looks about him with interest, his expression neutral, just warm enough to appear friendly. His progress towards the drinks area appears more motivated by Medeia's location there than a desire for a drink, and he smiles as he draws closer, just wide enough to touch his bright blue eyes. With so many other people wanting to greet her, however, the smile and a playful sketching of a half-bow is all that he offers, at least for now, before moving on.

Lucita is not clad in finery, no, not at all. She wears her armor and a thick cloak for warmth and stands near the 'Lord Target' snowman. Splats and splotches, streaks and smears of snow and ice cling to her and she laughs and shoos away the last of the children who had apparently used Lucita as a secondary snowball target. She has a relaxed expression and it segues into a delighted smile as she spots others arriving. A hand is lifted and waved in welcome as she approaches the warm drinks area. "Oh, I'm ready for some hot mulled wine now, and some adult conversation."

Catalana steps in rugged in a warm coat. She however sheds it with a brisk intake of air. A glass of warmed wine is presented as quick as the coat is taken off. A warm smile is presented to Medeia after the first, very grateful, sip of wine. "Thank you for hosting. It is always such a delight when I get to come vist Saik Tower." She lingers only a moment before moving a side to let others greet the host.

Thea gets help making her way from Rocci. She's looking a lot better these days, not as deathlike. "Diea,"she calls over to Medeia, making her way there first with a smile. "Why are we celebrating the cold again?" There's a nod to Lucita as well, flutter of her fingers to Catalana.

Medeia's attention is, understandably, caught by the arrival of a someone in a mask, but she doesn't linger overly long in her look - just enough to properly admire the mask. No, she's polite and gives both the masked figure and their escort, her dear friend Aconite, a respectful bow of her head. "Aco, thank /you/ for coming. I hope that you and your captivating guest find the party to your liking. Do let me know if there is anything I can do to make it perfect." Umbroise is given a beaming smile. "Lady Acheron, how wonderful to meet you! You are lovely, and I appreciate that my reputation precedes me. I do hope we do not disappoint. As for the house, yes, all is going quite well. Have you met our baroness?" She gestures toward Lucita. "Baroness Lucita Saik." Once she has introduced those two, she turns to more of the guests.

To Darren, Medeia sweeps a proper curtsy. "High Lord Redrain, you honor us with your presence here. Thank you for coming out this evening. We are doing our best to embrace your season." She laughs softly and reaches a hand out to Thea. "The spirit of not letting things get us down." Then she's giving Catalana a wave as well, smiling to the Islander woman. "Lady Catalana, please come and get warm!"

With her hand lightly within the crook of Noah's arm, Jaenelle moves through the gates into the Saik garden. The firesilk encasing her form certainly warm enough that she doesnt seem overly affected by the cold in the air. "Oh," Jaenelle tells Noah before they reach too far into the garden, "I called you stinky cheese yesterday at a memorial celebration. Just thought you should know in case it comes up. It might. One never knows what is brought back up in polite company and easy conversation and banter. I dont have a problem with stinky cheese. It is not to everyones taste, but I have never complained." Then she smiles upward as if thats that and turns to face away to continue moving into the room.

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards walks alongside the Radiant, the steps not rushed but the clip of the boots on the ground at a steady pace. If the Radiant exudes warmth, then the Iceheart Paladin does the opposite and has a chilling effect as snowflakes fall on its shoulders. Still, it gives a rather old-fashioned bow towards the hostess and hearing Umbroise nearby speak names, it says in an emotionless greeting to Medeia "Hail, gracious hostess of this frost-kissed event. May the Winter Queen's touch bless your gathering with a serene stillness and the timeless beauty of an unchanging memory and an opportunity to strengthen bonds between you all. Your hospitality is a beacon, like sunrise striking the frozen realm's peaks."

"Nonsense," Darren says to Medeia with a smile, while pouring himself a glass of mulled wine. "Warm drinks and good company? It's the perfect evening for it. I can think of nowhere else in Arx I'd rather be than here."

"I won't hold it against you for hosting a party in the snow, Lady Saik," Aco quips with a luminous grin, playfully teasing Lady Saik. As the Paladin engages with Medeia, Aco's discerning gaze catches sight of Catalana. Aco quietly helps herself to a glass of mulled wine and seeking solace to the side near a braizer. She offers a petite yet respectful curtsey in acknowledgment. Once more, her attention fixates on the icy pond and its occupants, a gaze tinged with a hint of discomfort. When Thea makes her entrance, Aco's smile radiates anew, and she executes another graceful curtsey, her wide hood remaining steadfastly perched atop her head, shielding her from the brisk chill. "Do you skate?" she inquires of her masked companion, pausing just long enough to deliver a more profound curtsey to the Archduchess and Archduke, mindful not to disrupt their conversation. Instead murmuring quietly to the masked individual.

There is a certain look that happens after years of marriage. It's that look that one spouse has as they would love to be anywhere but where they are, but they are spouse pleasing and thus they are here. This is the look of the Archduke, Noah Velenosa. It's the one that he looks down from his vantage point towards his wife as she speaks. He doesn't really frown. He doesn't really smile. He just looks at her for a moment as they walk. It's almost like she said there was snow on the ground. "Hmm." It's more a low rumble in his chest than a word. Noah's blue eyes slide over the people as he stops on the one in the mask. There is a tension that moves through his frame for just a moment and he he adjusts his walk so that he is in between the unknown masked one and Jaenelle. Nothing he points out but a noted alteration of his movements. Then he offers in his low rumble of deep voice to the woman on his arm. "Interesting. I didn't speak of you at all." It is only then that he meets her eyes that he'll smile a full charming and sincere smile at her before he winks. The smile fades the moment he looks away from her and continues to step where she directs them.

Medeia's welcome is met by Umbroise with a radiant smile. "I am pleased to hear you are well," she says, and then as Lucita is introduced, Umbroise turns to her, and offers a dip of a curtsey toward the Baroness. "Baroness," she greets warmly. Then she sees Medeia greeting Darren and her eyes widen. "Oh, your Grace! What a pleasant surprise." She offers him a deeper curtsey, before moving out of the way, mulled wine now in hand, so that others can greet Medeia. Her attention turns briefly toward the masked figure and Aconite, and she kind of stares at the masked figure as she hears the flowery greeting. "My goodness," she says after a moment to the masked figure, "I could certainly learn a thing or two from you about the art of flattery," she says, beaming a smile at the figure. Her black sapphire gaze turns toward Jaenelle and Noah then, and another deep curtsey is executed flawlessly in their direction. Then, she turns her attention back to Lucita. "Pardon me, but there are so many personages here, it is a bit overwhelming!" She lifts her mug, and takes a sip of the mulled wine.

Catalana notices Aconite out of the corner of her eye and she smiles warmly at her before joining her at the brazier. "I was only just looking at your letter. What a wonderful surprise to see you here." She sips at her wine and mutters gratefully, "Thank the gods for the Lycene and their ability to produce wonderful wines. "

More guests means more greetings from the happy hostess, whose smile has hardly faltered despite her known dislike of the cold weather. Medeia gives Jaenelle and Noah a curtsy, as she gave Darren, and beckons the pair further in. She politely ignores Noah being compared to stinky cheese. "Archduchess, Archduke, welcome. We are so happy to have you here." Then she gives a slow blink-blink to the masked figure. There is a calculating look to her expression as she seems to roll those words around in her mind. "...thank you." Her response is softer spoken, hesitant, but then she physically shakes off whatever feeling the guest's words caused and she counters with another warm smile. "Be welcome here amongst us." A grateful look is sent Darren's way. "I hope your sentiment remains come the end of the evening." The musicians pause for a moment before starting up a new song, and a pair of Saik house staff are helping anyone who needs it with fitting their ice skates.

Adalyn moves slowly through the gardens, the hem of the fur trimmed seawool dress caresses the snow covered grown ever so lightly. The hood pulled up as if to protect the person wearing it from the cold, green orbs peer out from underneath the fur trimmed hood. Once in view matching gloves move up to pull the hood down as not to be rude, hair pulled into a braid as she looks around a smile on her face.

Lucita curtsies as she grows nearer Darren, Noah and Jaenelle. Upon introductions she speaks in a gentle tone. "A pleasure to meet you. Please, have a warm drink and enjoy yourself here. I understand the challenge of a large crowd, easy to get overwhelmed. There are some benches grouped to help separate into smaller groups and make that a little easier. We welcome you all."

Thea gives Aconite a smile. "Aco,"she greets. "Highlord Darren, good to see you again. You must be enjoying the frozen death we have now." She's joking. Sorta. After grabbing some sort of mulled wine, she makes her way to Catalana, though she gives a wave to Noah, er Princess Noelle and Jaenelle as she passes. "Long time no see..."

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards walks with Aconite after giving a greeting to the hostess and make their way to some refreshments, although the paladin gives a slow swipe of its gloved hand to show it isn't interested in the warmth of drinks. At Aconite's question, it replies "I've been known to glide upon the frozen lakes in the far beyond, there's a certain serenity in the sound of the metallic blades scraping on the frozen ice as the night's sky is lit with the ribbons of auroras. Almost like the sound of steel dragged on stone walls. You should try at least once to skate, however failure leaves a mark when you strike the ice." It stops speaking and turns its gaze over towards a pair of people, the head tilting a little in silent judgment.

"Ah, La -- No, it's Countess Thea now, isn't it? I remember seeing the announcement, some years back." Darren greets Thea with a smile, then gives Umbroise a reserved nod of acknowledgement, but makes no attempt to detain her as she moves on to fairer company. Instead, he looks back to Medeia with arched brows, paired with a low chuckle like a rumble deep in his throat. "I'm not sure whether to be intrigued or concerned, Lady Medeia. What do you recommend?"

Beaming a smile at Lucita's warm welcome, Umbroise inclines her head, and then she moves off to find a place to sit and study the people. She inclines her head to Aconite in passing, a warm smile offered. And then she finds a seat near the pond so she can watch the skating. She settles onto the bench to sip her mulled wine. She, at least, doesn't seem quite ready to skate yet, letting the mulled wine warm her.

Umbroise has joined the benches beside the pond.

Catalana smiles delightedly at Thea. "Countess. My favourite protege. I am glad to see you looking better?" Her voice rises a little on protege, and was that a slightly smug look sent Noah's way? Probably. Her attention back to Thea swiftly. "How is your family? Is your son still infactuated with the goat? It likely needs a friend.."

Aco's smile to Umbroise is one of genuine curiosity, bright and expressive. She chuckles softly as she pays a compliment to the masked figure. "My friend here is a master wordsmith." Aco nods to her companion, "Not me. I tried once, some years back. It was a colorful experience."

As Catalana gravitates towards them, and Aco lowers her voice a touch, a subtle shift in demeanor. "I understand it's an unusual time. I apologize for that... things got? Difficult," she confides, her head tilting slightly and shoulders lifting in a gesture of acknowledgment. Raising her mulled wine glass, she adds, "Sometimes, it's the little comforts that make the Winter bearable." Turning to welcome Thea into their circle around the brazier, Aco's voice adopts a gentle, contralto murmur, sincere in its sentiment. "I'm truly glad to see you're feeling better."

Spotting the Clement woman, Medeia grows excited and steps away from the brazier to catch her in a hug. "Adalyn! It is so good to see you! How are the children? Did Vitalis come?" She looks beyond the woman briefly to double check that he is not following. "Thea is here, I am sure she will be happy to see you." She points out the Wyvernheart countess before turning her attention briefly back to Umbroise. "Lady Acheron, I know precious little about your own house, perhaps we might get to know one another more in the coming days? I am sure you will be quite busy, being just returned to the city, so I can be patient as you handle other priorities." There's a glance to Aconite and the masked figure, a nod for the encouragement to try skating. Which comes just about the same time Darren is asking for a recommendation. "How about we skate, Your Grace? I am terribly out of practice, but it would only be fair that the hostess embarass herself so her guests feel more comfortable, no?"

Adalyn smiles at Medeia, "It is good to see you as well Medeia!" she moves for the woman to get closer, "No, he is still recovering but he does send his hello." she smiles moving to touch the woman's arm with her gloved hands, "They are well, poor maggie was happy to have a moment of peace." her free hand touches the dogs head at her side. "Is she!" her green eyes start to search for Thea in the crowed and smiles more when she is pointed out. "This is all so wonderful, thank you for the invite."

Lucita gives a low laugh on hearing Medeia. "Out of practice? I never learned to ice skate. I can dance, sing, ride a horse, yet when I try to skate, seeks those contraptions have a mind of their own and want to skid off in odd directions resulting with me sprawling ungracefully and often dragging down anyone trying to help support me. I shall just enjoy watching some of the others!"

Lucita has joined the benches beside the pond.

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards looks to Umbroise, studying her before saying "I recognise you, lady Umbroise. May your skills in diplomacy never change, the Compact would do well to have more noted peacemakers like you as not all enemies need to be engaged at the same time. Sometimes war requires strategic peace, I'm sure many can learn from you." It does say something else, but it's more low in the vicinity Umbroise and Aconite are at.

Aconite has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Catalana has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

The shift in position from beside Noah to slightly behind is a common one and does not strike Jaenelle as odd, especially when she notes the mask wearing person. Her free hand is lifted and a gentle squeeze of his arm is given, a silent and subtle gesture that she is fine even if the gesture will certainly not make him relax. She gives a curtsey towards Medeia and Lucita in return, greeting the hostesses when they approach the pair, "thank you for hosting and opening up your beautiful home." After speaking to the Saiks, Jae turns her attention towards Aconite, giving the Radiant a warm smile, "You are well, Aconite? I am certain if anyone else could get my husband to skate it is you. How can anyone say no to a request from the Radiant of the Whispers herself. Pull the patronage card if you must," she teases. Seeing Umbroise makes her smile once more, and she turns to Noah, "Lady Umbroise is from House Acheron. House Acheron is the House my favorite husband founded before he rejoined House Velenosa." Seeing Thea, Jaenelle tsks in the woman's direction, "you arent dead, good. I heard reports. I am not angry, just disappointed." Oh look, its Darren. Jaenelle brightens up considerably when she sees one of her favorite cousins. "To long," she tells him, almost emotional about it, "you need to stop working so much and see me more often."

Thea skims the person in a mask, eyebrow lifted. "Countess yes,"she tells Darren meanwhile with a smile. "Of Highhill. Definitely not a roll I was expecting, but I enjoy the people and doing what I can for them." Thea assures Aco and Catalana both,"Better daily. Malvicis don't stay down long. I've been having Rocco bring me work and now it seems I'm running the Apothecary college.." Thea clears het throat at that before greeting Adalyn. "Lady Adalyn. It's been a moment. How are you?" Then Thea realizes something. "Uh..No more goats, at least for now. The children are good, but in Southport for now, until things are a settled." A wink is given toward Jaenelle. "Sorry about that. I'll try harder next time."

Thea has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

There's something a little bit wry in Darren's smile when Medeia invites him to skate. He shakes his head. "I wouldn't dream of so monopolizing your company." His smile widens as Jaenelle approaches, a bit of light glimmering into his eyes. "Far too long," he agrees. "There was very little from Arx to miss while I was spending my years at Farhaven, but you, my cousin, I did miss. How have you been?"

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards stands near the fire by Aconite, but a biting chill to the air comes as swirling snow on the ground dances around. If anything, the paladin soaks in the chill. It agrees with a nod to what Jaenelle suggests to Aconite to invite Noah to skate.

Smiling to Aconite, Umbroise dips her head in a brief nod. "Such silver-tongued wordplay takes a lifetime to master, I am certain," she says with a good-natured gleam in her dark eyes. She's angled in such a way that she can still converse with people. As Medeia turns back to her, the Acheron lady inclines her head at the offer of getting to know one another. "I should like that immensely, my lady. House Acheron does have some ties to the Lyceum. I suspect you might find the story quite fascinating." She glances to Jaenelle as the Archduchess speaks of that very thing, she she gives the woman a commisserating nod, and an empathetic look. For now, she leaves it at that. Enough to pique the interest, yet not enough to take over the conversation at a distance. She contents herself with another sip of mulled wine, her black sapphire gaze moving to study others.

As the frozen figure addresses her, Umbroise looks to it with interest, her eyes studying the glittering shards, as if trying to penetrate their depths and discover what lies beneath. After a moment, she draws in a breath after the figure murmurs to her, and her eyes gleam. "I do so adore the art of diplomacy," she agrees with the figure. "There is something to be said for resolving entanglements before they reach unfortunate conclusions." She offers the figure a mysterious smile, before she turns her attention to Lucita, murmuring something before laughing softly. There's a warmth about her, a light of peaceful contentment, as if she is in her element.

Noah stares hard and cold at the person in the mask until Jaenelle tightens her hand on his arm. It is only then that Noah's brows lift and he looks down towards her before the others. Thea is given a smirk. "Has it been a long time? I feel like that means you own me free drinks later." He also nods towards Medeia and Lucita, as well as those that nodded to him. His eyes linger a moment on Aconite as if to assess if she's at risk and then right back to Jaenelle. When she greets the hostesses, Noah nods his head as if to add a silent 'ditto' to her words. At the mention of him skating, Noah considers. "No." The voice is low, deep and ease of flowing. A silent moment. "It wasn't that hard to say really." A slight smile for Jaenelle. Although, it falls as easily as it was there when she says 'her favorite husband founded'. He nods his head towards Umbroise. He does reach out with his free hand to snag a drink.

Thea murmurs to Aconite,"Please get Princess Noell-er Noah to skate. I feel it would help loosen him up a bit,"smirking at the man. "Sorry. I feel you owe me. Only fair since I almost died and all." Thea looks to Umbroise and introduces herself. "Countess Thea Wyvernheart. Pleasure to meet you."

"I can think of no one better to run it." She tells Thea and Catalana. Aco seems cheerful and relaxed while warming herself with wine. The Whispers body language seems to hold the masked figure in some regard but also as a close friend as she places a hand on his arm and smiles when he speaks to Umbroise. "I see you've met but I haven't had the pleasure. Aconite Whisper." She introduces herself and then is surprised to hear Jaenelle calling to her. The suggestion that she should attempt to get Noah out on the ice makes a laugh bubble from her. "I don't know, Archduchess. I know he can handle knives with his hands but I'm dubious he'd know how to use them strapped to his feet." Her dark eyes cut to Noah and her grin grows mischievous. Despite the playfulness Aco is able to absorb Jaenaelle's introduction of Umbroise which earns a dip of a curtsey from the Whisper to the Noblewoman.

Medeia goes to the staff who are helping with skate fittings. "Oh, Lucita, that is unfortunate. But one of us should surely stay balanced on regular ground. This works out!" She takes no offense to Darren's decision, giving the high lord a nod before she scans the party. The masked figure, once again, catches her attention. "You seem my most likely companion for skating. Would you care to join me?" Whether they answer yes or no, the lady moves to stand upon the ice.

Medeia checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Medeia fails.

Adalyn is overheard praising Medeia.

Catalana murmurs to the people around her as she watches some begin to strap on skates, "We could make this a drinking game. Each time someone falls, we drink?"

Lucita sips again from the mug of hot mulled wine. Some of the conversation threads drift till she can hear bits of what is being said. She seems to enjoy those though stays seated where she can enjoy the spectacle of ice dancers and those who skate, or attempt to skate.

Alphonse, a long-suffering assistant, Maggie, an energetic Mistward Labrador leave, following Adalyn.

Rising to her feet once again as Aconite greets her, Umbroise brightens, and offers a curtsey in return. "Oh! Radiant, how pleasant to make your acquaintance. Lady Umbroise, Voice of Aviaron's Peak, Master of Trade for House Acheron. We have a long history of relations with the Whispers. In fact," she goes on to say, "some time ago, I think we briefly exchanged letters regarding a possible event at the Whisper Palace in Avarion's Peak? Or perhaps that was with Radiant Anisha or the Radiant Selene," she says, frowning a little, as if her memory is failing her. "Regardless, I do still have hopes to do such a thing in the future. Do you think you might be open to such discussions at a future time?" she asks of Aconite, her voice warm and tinged with enthusiasm. She turns to Thea then as she introduces herself, and Umbroise curtsies in return. "Countess Wyvernheart. What a pleasure to meet you."

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards points a gloved finger to Catalana as it speaks something before it turns to depart from the fire. It pauses a moment to turn and address others in a departing blessing. ""As we part ways, my companions, may you carry with you the wisdom of winter's embrace. Amidst the winds of change, remember the solace found in the certainty of tradition, where the unchanging heart of our legacy resides. In your endeavors for change, take heed, for sometimes the more we strive to alter, the more we find the enduring strength of the unaltered. Farewell, and may the Winter Queen's tranquility guide your path." The figure walks into the snow flurries to depart.

Someone wearing a frozen visage of glittering shards has left the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Catalana's hand immediately goes to her locket. A slight paleing of her cheeks and she silently sits on the bench. "Who...who was that?"

Alberico, the Malespero aide, 1 Malespero Guard, Louis, a Malespero Armsman, Mar, the Magpie arrive, following Pasquale.

"Ah smart," Jaenelle tells Aconite when she goes right for the daggers. There is a shrug for Darren's question before she grins, "you know. Always the same. I have been well, busy as usual, but certainly well." It is one of those things that only another person with the same life perspective could understand. Busy means a whole other beast to another High Lord as it might to another. Thea is blown a kiss for her sassy reply, a grin following it before she turns her face upward to ask her husband, "would you like to sit somewhere since skating is not going to be an option for the evening for you since..." her words trail off into something more quiet.

Aco's eyes widen, and her face brightens with renewed enthusiasm when Umbroise brings up the matter of letters. The spark of excitement rekindles within the Whisper. "Ah, yes! I remember now." Aco places a hand gently over her chest, a small gesture of apology. "I'm sorry for momentarily losing track of that conversation. We can certainly arrange something. I'm actively working on bolstering our network of Whispers throughout the Compact, and now seems like an opportune time to expand on that endeavor."

As the masked figure begins to depart, Aco offers a warm smile. "May your travels be safe," she calls after them, then turns her attention back to Thea and Catalana, assuring them, "They're a friend. I should probably ensure they reach their destination safely, but I can catch up easily."

Jaenelle mutters, "... ... ... you to fall on that glorious ass ... yours."

Thea watches as the masked person leaves. "I have no idea." There's a look to Aco, thanking her. "I have a lot of work to catch up on..."

Medeia falls on that glorious ass of hers, instead, as if cued by Jaenelle's mutterings to Noah. "Oof!"

Although Pasquale's is more than fashionably late he doesn't make any move to apologise or hide his arrival. He stops close to the edge of the pond and watches the skaters for a time. His expression shuttered and difficult to read, even for those who know him well. Then he looks to Jaenelle and Noah, offers a nod of respect, before heading towards a drink and a chair - in that order.

As Aconite does recall the exchange regarding the event in question, Umbroise beams. "Oh good! And no need for apology. I had to return home on a matter of some urgency, and so had to shelve the conversation for some time. It is I who should apologize," she says, and sounds sincere, inclining her head in turn. "I do look forward to renewing our acquaintance," she says, warmly smiling to Aconite. She inclines her head respectfully then to the departing mysteriously masked figure, and then takes another sip of wine. She glances at Catalana, hearing the woman's question, and gives a slight shake of her head. "I have no idea who that was, but they certainly made an impression."

If Darren holds any special understanding of the kind of busy that a High Lord can be (and he almost certainly does), it doesn't show in his pleasant expression. "Perhaps 'well' is as much as can be reasonably expected in times such as these," he muses. Jaenelle's words to Noah get another smile out of him, and he chooses now to resume mingling through the crowd.

"But did you die?" Noah's voice offers towards Thea. There is a slight glance over her to make sure but he'll deny it if inquired. His eyes trail after the one in the mask. "Is there a reason they thought it a good idea to wear a mask at times like these to an event with two High Lords in presence?" There may be an underlying growl to his words, but one of those HL's he's mildly attached to. He doesn't comment on the daggers. He doesn't have daggers!! Nothing to see here. "We can sit if you desire." The words are towards Jaenelle. She says something in lowered tones to him and he offers, "I would never fall on you." He does nod at Pasquale as he drinks from his cup.

Pasquale has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Catalana untwists her hand from her locket and nods in agreeance to Noah. "It is never a good idea to hide your face. It always makes me think immediately of Prince Donrai." She looks skeptically at Aconite but doesn't comment. Taking a breath, she laughs, still slightly shakily, "I do doubt Countess Thea could ever die. She has more lives than a stray cat."

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

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

Medeia is laughing now that the initial surprise of landing on her rear has passed, and she moves - tenderly - to regain her feet upon the ice. "See? Embarassment is out of the way, everyone else can skate without a hint of shame, now." She takes a tentative step forward and then manages to glide off. It's still not perfect, but at least she isn't falling again.

Lucita has left the benches beside the pond.

2 Saik Guard have been dismissed.

Micana, an efficient assistant have been dismissed.

"Touch and gio,"Thea answers Noah with a chuckle. "Surgery and being held together by stitches, about as good as new." Don't worry. She knows he cares. There's a look of amusement at Catalana as well. "All the more reason to be prepared,"she merely says about the masked person. "Hey Pasq,"Thea greets her friend. "We went from ages to a few times now,"a smile again.

Umbroise has left the benches beside the pond.

Aconite finishes her wine and she shakes her head to Noah. "I didn't think to ask, Your Grace." She admits setting her glass aside. She watches the figures on the ice for a few long moments. Pasquale is given a smile in greeting before she glances the direction the masked figure escaped. "I should go.. Enjoy your evening everyone." She curtseys and then turns to head off the direction of the gates.

Aconite has left the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Umbroise wanders around the gardens now, staying just within conversational range, friendly and approachable. She holds her mulled wine in one hand, taking careful, calculated sips as she watches the skaters. She does not end up taking her own turn at the skating, not having an athletic bone in her body. As Aconite departs, Umbroise inclines her head to the Whisper. The Acheron socialite finishes her wine eventually, and makes her way back around to the drink stand to rid herself of the empty mug.

Noah offers to Thea. "I would have offered to help, but I had the worst teacher in healing."

Jaenelle snorts at Noah's response, eyes rolling in the process as its her turn to reach for a drink of her own. In the process she directs them towards a bench to settle on so they are close enought they might engage but not stand around awkwardly.

Jaenelle has joined the benches beside the pond.

Noah has joined the benches beside the pond.

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

After one complete lap of the pond, Medeia excuses herself from the act of skating - she's done the thing! Mission accomplished! It takes her a moment to free herself from the skates and rejoin the bulk of the party settled onto benches. Spotting Pasquale, she gives him a bright smile. "Pasq! Hello, when did you get here? I am so glad to see you. Are you well?"

Catalana briefly deals with a small flurry of messages before murmuring something to Thea. As Pasquale joins them, she guinely brightens. "My Lord. It is good to see you. I hope you are well?"

Having refreshed his drink, Darren whistles to Bear, who has wandered off to enthusiastically roll around in a big drift of snow, to call the dog (which looks a lot more like a giant sentient snowball at this point) back to his side while he makes his way over to the benches where Thea and Pasquale are seated.

Darren has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Noah grabs two drinks and sets them where Jaenelle can get one as well. When the sit down, his arm draps around the back of Jaenelle's seat. It /could/ be because he's offering her body heat. He knows his job.

Thea scoffs at Noah,"Right. Or a terrible student,"making room for him and Jaenelle. "Do all northerners have bears for dogs,"she teases, gesturing toward his dog. But then she has Finn.

Pasquale seems almost surprised when Jaenelle sits nearby and leans to whisper to him. He offers her and over-quick nod. "I will be." He says in a way that could be answering either the archduchess or Medeia. "It has just" he pauses for a few moments and then adds the insufficient argument of "been very cold." Excuses given he looks to Thea "So it has." before nodding to Noah again. "What is this I hear about a masked figure?"

In time, Umbroise makes her way toward the exit. She manages to slip out quietly. One minute she's wandering around and chatting up people here and there. Next minute, she's exited the gardens as well, drawing the fur-lined cowl of her warm gown close about her face with a gloved hand.

Aendor, a grim-faced House Acheron guard, Faleena, a prim and proper lady's maid, 2 Acheron Red Guards leave, following Umbroise.

6 First Legion Centurions, Sparrow, an enthusiastic and bubbly assistant arrive, following Renata.

"All of the fur helps with the cold," Darren answers Thea as he settles on the bench, without clarifying whether the fur helps the dogs, or the northerners. "Countess Thea, an alarming number of people are expressing surprise to find you alive."

"Because she was one of those who faced Helena Thornweave," Medeia says to Darren of Thea, her attention pulled toward her friend. "And she is lucky she was unconscious when they brought her to me at the hospital, or else I would have yelled at her a lot. Instead, I had to get immediately to work keeping her alive." She stands between the rough groups that have formed and cradles a mug of half wine and half cocoa she had the house staff pour for her. She gives a nod to Pasquale's answer to her before turning her attention to Jaenelle and Noah. "I have been meaning to reach out, I was wondering if there were any new Lyceum-wide projects that needed assistance."

"There was a person with the Radiant who was wearing a mask. I'm sure they are fine as she's not going to bring someone dangerous to a party. I just didn't like it." Noah offers. Surprise. Noah didn't like something. He speaks quietly with Jaenelle a bit and leans forwards near his feet. Probably trying to explain that he cannot hook daggers to them. "Thea, if a student doesn't learn it's on the teacher. But that's not really my business." His hands have gathered some white fluffy stuff that's he's compacting to a nice round ball that is soon going to be sailing towards Darren.

Noah checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Critical Success! Noah is spectacularly successful.

Darren checks dexterity and dodge at hard. Critical Success! Darren is spectacularly successful.

Clearing her throat, Thea glances to Darren. "Combat medic that mostly does combat,"she explains. But Medeia is talking and she clears her throat. "Right well. Thanks for that." Squinting at Noah, she tells him. "Be smarter "

Perfectly fashionable on time. Princess Renata steps into the courtyard pulling at her coat to keep the cold out tucking seatouched wool gloves into a fur muff as she looks around to all that are participating in skating and conversations. A small bow towards Darren as she sets towards him only to be distracted when she spots Medeia and seeks her out with a wave to quickly tuck her hand back into where it will be warmer. "Lady Medeia!"

Catalana rests her fingertips against her locket again, pensieve with Noah's words. "Perhaps." She then snorts at Noah's words. "Have you met Thea? You can beat her across the head and she still doesn't learn." She gestures to Thea indictively, "She has still not gotten the lesson on why releasing bunnies in the Kay was a bad idea."

Darren checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Darren is successful.

Darren looks over at Medeia when she provides an explanation, and then turns an inquisitive gaze towards Thea, as thought hoping for some kind of elaboration, even as a snowball begins its passage, sailing, perfectly aimed, straight for his head. "I'm glad to see that you --" Without looking away from Thea, he raises a hand and catches the snowball, then hucks it straight back in the direction that it came from. " -- made it out more or less in one piece. I understand that was a dangerous fight."

Noah checks dexterity and athletics at hard. Botch! Noah fails completely.

Thea is squinting at Catalana, about to answer her with something as well. But she's caught off guard when Darren is catching a snowball. Without flinching. "That must be a northern thing,"she deems. "It was,"she finally finishes. "Unfortunately I didn't get too far in it. I was face down and bleeding out."

"I can't blame you for that." Pasquale tells Noah. "Masks have gotten far too commonplace but I suppose it is the wind up to the Red Moon." he lapses into silence as the snow ball war begins entirely too close for his comfort.

Thankfully, Medeia is pulled away from the proximity of snowballs by Renata's arrival, which causes her to turn and approach the Pravus princess with the traditional southern greeting of cheek kisses. "Princess Renata! I am so happy to see you!" Her smile is split wide, showing white teeth in her joy. "I cannot believe you a re here, it has been far too long. When did you get back to the city?"

Renata has joined the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Noah blinks for a moment as Darren catches it. "What the actual fuc--" That's all that comes out of his mouth before said mouth is hit by the snowball. Just like that, war was declared. Although, Noah pauses to wipe the snow off his face. His eyes slide towards Jaenelle for a moment and then the snow. Then his wife. Then the snow. Surely, he wouldn't would he? A clearing of his throat as he packs another snowball. Darren is considered but he got hit in the face. So he tosses it at ---- Catalana. As he's letting the snow ball leave his hand, he offers to Jaenelle. "Did you want to mingle?" Thus being a tiny human shield.

Noah checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Noah is successful.

Catalana checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Catalana is successful.

Pasquale murmurs some more words to Jaenelle as the fighting continues. Not paying much attention to the fight.

Catalana may of been distracted by conversation, but she does live with two sons and well, Wash. She's an expert dodger, especially when it comes to small, wet and uncomfortable items. It's not like she's even looking at the snowball when she ducks down and the ball sails over her head. She smiles tauntingly at Noah, most probably an invitation to engage in a snow fight, "Who taught you to throw?"

Thea has left the a cluster of benches around a warming fire.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, a nameless overwrought highstrung pygmy goat, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog leave, following Thea.

The mischief in Darren's smile is there and gone in the blink of an eye, the barest crack in his otherwise detached demeanor, when he hears the results of his handiwork. Hears, rather than sees, because he still hasn't looked away from his conversation. The return fire has started to catch his dog's attention; Bear lifts his head and perks up his ears in a way that has Darren casually taking hold of his collar. You know, just in case. Snowballs are one thing, but a furry missile who thinks it's time for fetch and wrestling is another entirely.

The color in Renata's cheeks drops as Thea starts discussing bleeding enough where she is quick to offer kisses in return to Medeia and immediately seek to hook the host's arm in search of a seat by the fire. "Only recently. I heard of my sister seeking to spend more time with family and Prince Patrizio stepping into her shoes. I felt it was best to brave the sea and cold to help where I might be needed."

Jaenelle has left the benches beside the pond.

13 House Velenosa Guards have been dismissed.

Ibasia, the Velenosa Lady-in-Waiting have been dismissed.

Ellani, the palm sized spider have been dismissed.

The Saik house staff is expert in their duties, flitting in among the guests to clear away any obstacles that may be in the way of those who are now engaging in some sort of snow war in the garden. Even the drink station is moved to avoid any stray projectiles. Medeia accepts the linking of arms with Renata and leads her to a fire, a less snowbally fire, and speaks with her in excited tones. "Yes! His ascension was a surprise, but I believe Belladonna chose widely. Patrizio has been a true champion of Pravus and been unfailing in his duties as her Voice. I might be biased, as he is among one of my oldest friends in this city, and I respect him deeply. In any case, I am so pleased that a consequence of it all is you returning to the city." Then she's looking at the others present. "Do you need me to make any introductions? The ones engaged in winter combat are High Lord Darren Redrain, Archduke-consort Noah Velenosa, and Lady Catalana Kennex."

Warmth found by fire as Renata beams with smile towards Darren, excitedly waving to him as she looks around expecting to find another /part/ of him nearby. "High Lord Darren Redrain! Where is that large ball of fur of yours? While Aksel might not wish any old shoes for Fury. I can still send a pair to you." She looks to Medeia with a nod, then wave to her outfit "I also answered a call from Master Dacian to model clothing for House Blackwood. It's not much for their loss of kin. Something that might help in the moment." Noah is given a small curtesy and nod of her head, "Archduke-consort Noah. A pleasure to meet you." And a nod to Catalana, "And Lady Catalana a pleasure as well."

Pasquale nods to Renata as well.

Jaenelle has joined the benches beside the pond.

Jaenelle has been casually shifting to dodge whatever snow balls might be headed towards Noah as he begins the war and then suggests she make a great mingling shield. "I'm good, I think," she shuts it down easily though she then suddenly starts laughing, looking at Noah like he has lost it.

Noah hasn't tossed another snowball. Dang him. Start it and not finish it. He is talking to Jaenelle. Although, he asks her something. Then she starts to laugh and he shakes his head. It's a clear 'no' to perhaps being misunderstood. He turns in fully towards his wife and if one could see, his smile slowly starts to curve up at the corners and it's not promising good intent.

It'd be easy to lose track of where Bear is; a session rolling in a snowbank has left the big, hairy dog with enough of a coating of white that HE could be a snowbank at Darren's feet. But he's definitely there, showing stirrings of interest in the nascent snowball fight that has prompted Darren to seize his collar. "My wife is going to skin /me/ for a rug if Bear picks up a taste for shoes, Lady Renata. I must beg a rawhide bone or similar for Bear, on pain of my life. My cousin Jaenelle can tell you how the husband of a woman from the Isles who trifles with his wife can expect to fare."

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