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Action by Gianna

(Public Action, OOC Date: Sept. 15, 2018, 10:02 a.m.)

For the past half year, the Bard's College has been under construction. Curiously, it was essentially the perfect building when Gianna first found it; the work has mostly been restoration and the construction of a stage suitable for putting on plays. Donations from various supporters has fueled rapid progress, and now the College is ready to open, fully functional. There will be an event. Gianna will perform at this event.

As the Voice of the Bard's College, Nik will be pulling all the strings he has to make certain that the grand opening of the Bard's College is seen as a momentous and defining cultural occasion in the history of Arx. The Black Rose what? The Empyrewho? It's all about the Bard's College. Your premiere source in the entire Compact for becoming the best performer, musician or singer possible and, for the party host, your source for the finest entertainers in the whole damn world. You heard me, Cardia! Your barbershop dragon quartets got NOTHIN' on the Bard's College! So he'll gladhand his fellow nobles and convince them that the grand opening of the Bard's College is easily the most incredible thing that's ever happened to them, even if they have beautiful children or fought in ugly wars, the Bard's College still comes in at #1! This could be THE moment of this era. Why would they not want to be part of it? And if they're going to be part of it, why wouldn't they want to donate so they can /really/ feel like they participated in a generational shift for Arvum? What's a few (thousand) silver if it means you can be a part of history? Legends come and go, people, but Nightingale Gianna is an ICON and ICONS ARE FOREVER. Be a part of her story! It'll only cost you your money.

Sabella will be going all out talking up the Bard's College opening to anyone that will listen! It's the first time something like this has opened in Arx and don't you want to be part of history?! Especially nobility--there's always a need for skilled musicians at parties and wouldn't you like the Whispers you hire to be able to mingle? Well, now they can because you'll have such wonderful, trained musicians to choose from thanks to the Bard's College! Why not show up for the opening and maybe make a donation!

Porter Kennex spends some time dragooning the more urbane ship captains, and the ones who were just inclined toward music in general, about the opening of the Bard's College. They should come. Bring your wives, they'll love you for it. Most especially, he provides a donation and starts a stipend to the Bard's College.

Aahana is using her charm and ways of conversation to mention EVERYONE who is ANYONE should attend the grand opening of the Bard's College. She provides social and economic writs in aide.

Who loves the arts? Elgana loves the arts! And nothing makes her heart soar more than the idea of assisting with the grand opening of the Bard's College. She knows how much love, blood, sweat, and tears (and maybe booze) that Gianna has poured into this, so Elgana will do her part, play her role, and ensure that it is the talk of the city, the Compact, for years to come for all the right reasons. Anyone who will give the Redrain princess a moment of their time will leave her presence knowing it is the place to throw their silver, their time, and the place to be seen if they want to be at the forefront of the social scene. Who doesn't love a good bard? And since she knows how much Prince Niklas and Princess Sabella love the arts she'll work with them as well to assist in spreading the love and the word to get those donations rolling in.

Given that Lucita is part of the bardic college, and Quenia is Lucita's protege, she wishes to see this organization thrive. She puts some of her social might behind it, as well as some of her economic might, and talks to all of her friends and allies about the organization, and how they teach others how to be the best performers they can be.

Wylla loves art! Of course she does. She wants others to love it too. She'll be providing a blessing at the opening of the Bard's College, and will be using her status as the Archlector of Jayus to throw some theological weight behind the college as well.

Eddard Clement takes to announcing himself as a member of the Bard's College everytime he performs at a low-key corner of a tavern or pub. Then reminding patrons of the soon upon them Grand Opening of the Bard's College! His time is well spent practicing songs of this sort or the other to ensure he is ready to *perform at the grand opening*.

Perronne does not necessarily LOVE art, but she likes art! And she likes the idea of the Bard's College, so she will go to her fellow merchants and speak with them about the economics of an organized group of bardic entertainers, who could potentially aid in the promotion of various goods and services, if well-payed and well-treated. She also points out the value of hiring bards on long caravans, and that bards trained and patroned by the College have a much lower possibility of being thieves or brigands in disguise. She donates significant of her own funds towards the opening and initial support of the college, and encourages her peers to do likewise.

The opening of the Bard College is a grand affair, hosted by - and hosting - many notables across the breadth of the city. The Nightingale herself performs - this is not a surprise, since the establishment of this has been her focus for years now. Prince Niklas handles publicity, organizing an army of people to talk about every facet of the upcoming event - Princess Sabella, Lord Porter, Lady Aahana, Princess Elgana, Marquessa Quenia, Archlector Wylla, Lord Eddard, and an adventurer named Perrone move through the city doing their best to make sure everyone knows what's coming.

And people show up from all across Arx, some even coming to the city for a visit with plans to see the College. The bardic tradition is important, and rumor has it that this old building, newly-refurbished, is quite beautiful indeed. And on the night of the grand opening, everything is stunningly perfect and polished within an inch of its life. The music is glorious, the company sublime, the acoustics absolutely amazing. And the mural? The mural on the floor is gorgeous, and no one can seem to agree on what they liked best about it.

In fact, upon closer examination the mural seems to shift depending on who's looking at it and when. Cleaned and restored, the night of the party people mention their favorite parts of the mural - a hooded figure with a lute, a woman with laughing green eyes and a sly smile opening her mouth to sing, a choir of figures singing in the woods, and sometimes it looks like the trunks of the trees have faces. It's a fascinating piece of art, and new details are seemingly noticed every day.

Action by Niklas

(Public Action, OOC Date: July 1, 2018, 8:46 p.m.)

Let's put on a show!

After some dawdling, it is finally time for Niklas Kennex to have his debut at the Black Rose Theater featuring his comedy The Playwrights, a play about two (somewhat familiar) playwrights, and their growing rivalry during a royal playwright contest. The final synopsis of the play can be found in the The Playwrights - Final Version book (Other The Playwrights objects are of a draft and are owned by people who refuse to junk them because they are dust addicts, not that I'm talking about anyone in particular, Bastien.) and in a black journal to be posted 6/18/18. Niklas and his entourage will be working tirelessly to drum up excitement for his debut.

The following PC actors are being invited to participate in the action. (Most have been confirmed as participating. Other roles will be portrayed by NPC BRT actors.)

Lumen Whisper as Master Ashby Ravelin
Alejandro Rossetti as Lord Eduard Planchard
Yasmine Rovashani as Mistress Bailey
Jareth as Sir Miles Gloriosus

Direction by Bastien, set design by Mailys Corsetina (carpenter) and Lady Tabitha Whitehawk (painting), costume design by Aurora Thornburn, music by Nightingale Gianna and general hype by Princess Sabella Grayson and Rook Grayward.

And no, Lumen! Eduard and Ashby don't kiss!

Bastien is...grudgingly directing. But even though it was not his first choice of project to work on, he never works with anything less than total focus and dedication. The play is not his particular style, but he hones the comedy til it's sharp enough to cut -- if not in style, then at least in precision and timing. The actors likely get very tired of hearing "Pick up your cues!" but by the time the show opens, it has the pace it needs for the comedy to thrive.

Ashby and Eduard do /not/ kiss in the play. However, he will grudgingly allow the production to at least skim across a moderate amount of sexual tension. IF HE MUST.

Jareth looks forward to returning to the stage with the debut of a young protege playwright, Lord Niklas. An elder of the Black Rose Theatre, the lithe and charming actor will bring his usual flair and dedication to his craft in hopes of whooing the audience and holding them into the palm of his hand even when not the lead.

Yasmine Rovashani has made a name for herself by playing secondary characters in many of Arx's most popular productions. The Ravashari's natural comedic timing and, let's face it, ability and experience in working with Bastien, bring the character of Mistress Bailey to life in a way that makes the character relatable and yet does not detract from the performances of the leads. She'll also leverage her current popularity as a dancer and model to hype up the play and, hopefully, lure in the audience that it so richly deserves.

How does one do justice to a man as complicated and deeply, deeply, deeply feeling as Bastien--err... ASHBY. Lumen is bringing the brand of demure preciousness she's best known for to this all-around lovable grump! The whisper hides the tender, longing heart of Lord Eduard's best friend forever behind a protective armor of condescension, theatrical arm-crossing, and childlike pouting fits --- but not so thoroughly that the audience won't see the genuine man beneath, longing for others to reach out to him for unsolicited companionship!

...and then they kiss, right?

Aurora Thornburn, the prized tailor for the Mummers, creates each costume worn by the actors in the performance. She takes into consideration color, detail, and the importance of clothing in being able to portray the right feel within each scene. She wants the clothes to shine in their own right, creating emotions and bonds between stage and audience.

Almost any play is improved by having a good set and props. Therefore Tabitha will lend her skills as a painter to help out with the creation of both of these things, and maybe also with stage make-up should it be required. She'll also be mentioning the play whenever she can, talking up Niklas and the rest of the cast and crew; but really, her main task is to take care of the artistry. How fun!

It's Gianna's first time providing instrumental accompaniment for a play. Thankfully, she realizes she is providing support here and not trying to steal the show. Various musicians associated with the College will be helping her out.

Princess Sabella has been waiting her WHOLE LIFE to be able to talk up a protege like Niklas! And she will do so at every opportunity! Don't you want to be there for Lord-maybe-Prince-by-then Niklas' debut at the Black Rose? Have you seen any of his other plays? Well, this one is even better and incredibly hilarious! He's such a brilliant playwright and no party, tea party, quiet passing in the street or at the market will go without her brightly and cheerfully trying to ensure all of those seats are filled opening night and beyond!

Rook's a hype man, it's true, he can make a dozen well connected people get all very excited over one thing and obsess over it for weeks. In regards to Niklas' play, since Rook's own proteges are both acting in it and designing the costumes, it only makes sense that Rook is stirring up a craze here too! He's going to push the angle of two of the most prestigious commoners having a hand in the show; Mistress Aurora Thornburn is one of the most famous crafters within the city and Yasmine is known as one of the most well known models as well. The courtier's approach is going to focus on the upper echelon, clientele and investors he works with daily, hopefully to get some real money-movers and influencers in the house that evening.

Two of Calista's protege's are involved in the production of this play and this truly makes her one happy Duchess. She supports Alejandro and Jareth completely in all their endeavors. The Duchess of Roses adores the theater and as such offers additional 'hype' for Niklas' efforts as well as silver so that the newly crowned Prince playwright can pay his actors, stagehands, and crafters. Calista has a broad circle of influential people and she makes certain they all hear about the upcoming play.

Though acting is not his main strength, Alejandro has been recruited to take the role of Lord Eduard Planchard. He throws himself into studying the lines and the delivery of said lines, relying on his hard work and natural talent to help him perform as best he can. Being in front of a crowd like this will be new for him but he's not particular nervous. Just focused on getting it right.

In the long winter months, what is there to stop people from losing their minds with boredom? Why art, of course! And Playwright Niklas Kennex means to deliver! He takes his troop of Mummers out to the further ends of the Compact and starts debuting his play. At first, it is decently received, but as the troop gets more and more comfortable with their parts, and starts making each part their own, the audiences become more and more appreciative.

The closer they get to Arx, the greater the acclaim, until it seems all of Arx itself - or at least all those interested in the theater - are holding their breaths in anticipation of Opening Night at the Blackrose Theater. Direction by Master Bastien? Jareth not in the lead - but still playing a supporting role? Audiences do love him, and he's known for hamming it up. Yasmine, character actor and dancer? Lumen Whisper as a... man? Alejandro in a lead role?

Even the setup is amazing - Legendary seamstress Aurora making the costumes, music by Gianna, set and prop painting by Tabitha? This could be a changing point in the Black Rose history - or at least an exceptionally amusing play.

Certainly they're finding support from the haute monde, as it were. Lady Calista, Princess Sabella, and Rook all actively promoting their proteges and talking about the upcoming comedy. They plan to LAUGH and CRY and TALK ABOUT IT WHILE USING EXCITEMENT AND WILD GESTICULATIONS.

And as opening night approaches, the theater-philes of Arx are eagerly in line for tickets and ready to make it a night out on the town!

Action by Jeffeth

(Public Action, OOC Date: June 14, 2018, 12:53 p.m.)

We are going to Morning Mist Hill. A place lost to maps. A day or so northwest of the Twilight Court, heading towards the Mother river before it branches into the daughter. The mission is to find the ancient site of the orphanage and abbey that Sandrine fell at. We have the knowledge that Gray Forest Reavers, an abandoned Tribe, may have a shrine at this site, and they may be Teindpayers. Also Nox'alfar may be here? Unsure. Prince Tyrval has provided rough directions. A small team is going with Jeffeth Bayweather on this expedition as a scouting operation. The intent here is to get a look at what's going on and how possible setting up a future orphanage and abbey would be, setting up a holy site for pilgriamage.

Sir Jeffeth Bayweather will be ranging. His primary task will be making sure everyone survives to get to the location in question. The others will be brought around to make contact and BE NICE! We do not want to hurt or kill any Gray Forest Reavers here. If there is hostility, Sir Jeffeth is expecting the more social creatures in his crew to smoothe things over and make contact, learn about any potential paths forward. It also doesn't hurt that Jeffeth is bringing gifts (resources) to gift to the Abandoned tribe (or whoever they find), finely made things and treats that they may not be able to get all the way out here!

Bliss is not a diplomat. Nope. In fact, the Whisper loves nothing more, it seems, than riling up those around her - except, perhaps, attention. She can handle herself with her sword if need be, of course, but what she can really do is charm with song. Likely working with Niklas, she will use the universal language to soothe any worries or impress the Gray Forest Reavers.

But what she's really hoping for is an appearance from some members of her fan club. After all, that's why she's been asked along, isn't it? And if the Nox come out to meet their idol, she is just going to have the most wonderful time with them. She's even brought souvenirs - dolls of herself and the like. In a big box. Presumably dragged along by a mule. Someone is bringing a mule, right? Well, if not, there's Jeffeth.

Korka is coming along! She will assist in defending those going, and do her best to assist with smoothing any trouble over with the Abandoned (as she can). If they do make it to the orphanage/abbey, she'll scout it out and gather what info she can on who (and what) all might be using the ruins.

Princess Caith is here to FITE and be a BADASS!! Haha, no, don't be silly. Her role is to charm her little patoot off and soothe any hostilities that may arise. She is good at reading a room, figuring out the emotional wants and needs of a group in order to diffuse a situation. Plus? She's just delightful company! Stories, puns and laughter -- when appropriate. Always when /appropriate/. See: earlier 'reading the room' comment.

Niklas is going along with Jeffeth to act as the group's diplomat just in case any diplomatic crises break out. And to play the banjo just in case people need the morale boost! But mostly the diplomacy thing. While hiding behind Jeffeth for the most part.

Off Jeffeth goes, and he takes a merry band to travel to Morning Mist Hill, the place where Sandrine once met her end in the protection of children. They travel through the day, north and west of the Twilight Court, following the exceptionally vague directions Prince Tyrval gave and hoping they don't get accidentally caught in a Folly and killed. Though perhaps a few of them are privately thinking it would be nice to be caught in a Folly and survive (never tell them the odds).

And then Korka notices something in the trees. They're being followed. No one else notices it, mind - but she does, and when she points out the movement, an extremely aggravated and marginally embarrassed Nox'alfar shows himself. "Humans," says Norever, with a roll of his eyes and a heavy sigh. Even the sight of Bliss isn't quite enough to cheer him.

"You're running into Reaver territory," he says to them. "And if you get into a fight with them I'm going to help them win. Don't kill the Tiendpayers." He glares at them but then as they start to turn away to continue on, he blurts out as though the words are torn from him, "Can I have your autograph?" He hands Bliss a paper and pen and then slices his wrist open, offering it to her to use for ink. Not until she has signed are they allowed to proceed.%
Duly warned they move forward with caution. Jeffeth's size alone intimidates the people who come at last to meet them. But with Caith and Niklas doing more of the diplomatic talking, punctuated occasionally by very earnest comments about Sandrine and the children on the part of Jeffeth, they finally explain their purpose. The Reavers think about this for a long while.

"Alright," they say at last. "But we want a treaty with the Compact to leave our lands alone. We leave the orphanage alone and let pilgrims pass, and you leave our lands alone." Their main diplomat is man who speaks impeccable Arvani. "And don't think you can just agree here - you have to have a signed agreement from the King and the High Lords or we won't agree."

And then the Reavers leave the group with their hefty demands and an elf who crossly encourages them on toward home and away from the Gray Forest Reavers.