Ashford House Dinner
Jan. 27, 2018, 9 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Ashford House - Forest Hall
Comments and Log
Harlan is in the forest hall, which has been filled with a ton of food of various types. He's near the entrance from the atrium, apparently there to greet guests! He seems to mostly be in a good mood.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Harlan before departing.
A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Harlan before departing.
Lady Teldra, a Lycene noblewoman, Sir Bristleworth the Hedgehog, Buchanan, a Champion arrive, following Cara.
There's no bevy of guards, dog or Pellinor. Just a bottle of a very important rum in hand as Alarissa makes her way through the Ashford Estate, no Victus in arm. Resplendant in white, blonde hair done up just so and in conversation with the servant who shows her through, she's looking away at her entry and smiles. "Duke Ashford." She greets with that wide beatific smile of hers. "Victus sends his dest." Holding up that bottle just a little.
Harlan smiles and inclines his head as Alarissa enters, "Your Highness. Thank you, and please let him know that Ashford thanks him. Welcome to Ashford House." He smiles and says, "We should have enough food and variety for almost any appetite, I hope."
Fairen strides into the Forest Hall with any Leary guardsmen being left outside so as to not disturb the event. As he makes his way in, he comes to a stop, bowing politely before Harlan. "Your Lordship, thank you for the invitation to this event, and for welcoming me into your home." He offers, moving towards a chair at the table. Then he inclines his head at Alarissa too. "Your Highness. Good to see you again."
Lethe steps into the room with a cheerful smile. "Cousin Harlan. I'm very glad I could be here with you and everyone. Thank you for inviting me."
"Marquis Fairen, a pleasure indeed! It has been some weeks." But there's Lethe and the smile widens just that much more. ."And I should not be surprised to see you here Lady Lethe." Alarissa moves back to offer a kiss to either of Lethe's cheeks once she's done speaking with Harlan. "No Lord Archeron? I would have expected to see him here."
Arriving largely sans entourage, Cara enters the Forest Hall without the customary 'look up at the ceiling at all the pretty wood' reaction -- chiefly because she lived there for many years. She does have a rather cute little basket with her, in which is curled a small hedgehog, and makes absolutely no attempt to explain why. "Good evening all -- lovely to see you."
Olivia hustles into the hall a moment or two late, perhaps mildly conspicuously so given that she's one of the presumed hosts! Pausing just at the threshold, there's a nervous patting of a soft blue gown as she goes, as if making sure everything is right in place, and then a quietly drawn breath before she continues in, ready with a smile. "Ah, hello, good evening everyone, thank you for coming. Your highness, it's good to see you again, it's been a little while." She greets Alarissa first, and continues on. "Cousin, Lord Leary-" And last, with a more familiar brightness, "Cara!"
Harlan smiles, turning towards Fairen, "Marquis, thank you for coming. You're always welcome here, of course." He then turns towards Lethe, "Of course, it's good to have you here!" He says towards the room as a whole, "Since I've recently returned to the city, and because so many things have changed and are continuing to change, I wanted to invite family and friends for a night of food, drinks and good conversation." He then brightens as he sees Cara, "Wonderful, you made it!" He shoots Olivia a warm smile.
Lethe looks to Alarissa after her cheek is kissed. "I'm very glad to see you here." She shrugs. "I thought he might be here, but he must be busy with something. Honestly lately I'm not even sure what he's up to." She looks to Cara and Olivia. "Good evening."
Fairen offers a smile towards Alarissa, receiving such a warm welcome as he does from her. "It has indeed, and for shame as we should certainly find time to enjoy each others company more." He offers, placing both of his hands on the chair he has selected, not yet ready to sit down. Then as Cara and Olivia arrive, he offers them both a smile and a nod of his head. "An honor to see you both." Then as Harlan addresses his response, he looks back at his liege and smiles. "Thank you. I must admit, I'm surprised Lord Tomwell did not come with the offer for good food and company. Though I suspect his new Lady friend keeps him busy."
"Many celebrations in the city and much to do. I'm sure you can regale him later with tales." Cara is there and Alarissa's raising her fingers to wriggle them at the grayson cousin. "A pleasure! What is that in the-" Oh. Small rat creature, with... nope, she's avoiding that basket. Yes indeed. "Indeed MArquise All are welcome to the house to take tea or something alcoholic. My home is open to all."
"Oh, hello, Livvy," Cara beams and swoops over to give the younger lady a greeting, a kiss to each cheek, "What a lovely feast before us tonight. I'm so glad to see you." She offers smiles of greeting to Lethe and Fairen before grinning at Harlan, "I wouldn't miss it -- unless the world was ending, or somesuch, and it doesn't appear to be doing so at present." She returns Alarissa's finger wiggle wave with one of her own in turn.
Harlan chuckles to Fairen and says, "Well, he could have brought her, but he may have had plans that needed more privacy." He chuckles and moves towards the head of the table. A nod towards Cara and says, "Not as of yet, no!" He says, "I'm sure that if anyone else shows up, the guards can point them in the right direction." A half-smile and he says, "Come, be seated and enjoy yourselves!"
"Sorry if I was tardy, brother, I just lost a little track of time while getting ready," Olivia tells Harlan, although the excuse is said more in the tone of a sister used to getting away with things than one who actually needs to apologize for anything! "I think it's quite nice to have a more intimate gathering," she also opines, regarding anyone who may or may not have shown up due to other events. "It's hard to have good conversation otherwise. You just end up saying hello all night, until things are over and you're obliged to say goodbyes." After returning Cara's warm greeting she gestures everyone further within. "So let's everyone make themselves comfortable."
"Yes, thank you. I would very much like that, your Highness." Fairen replies towards Alarissa with a soft smile, nodding at her. "Of course, please allow me to extend the same invitation to you. Leary House doors are always open to pleasant company." Then he looks towards Harlan and grins, nodding his agreement at that. "The pair are getting along quite well so far. So much so that I would be highly disappointed if we find the ladies House to not be acceptable for a courtship proposal."
Everyones being ushered to take a seat and depositing that bottle of alcohol, Alarissa's making her way to a seat, smoothing her skirts under her ashs edoes, a glance to Fairen. "I shall have to take you up on such if I can ease away from the estate. I have undertaken a project to renovate the library in the house. It has been exhaustive and I still hunt for more tomes. Scribes follow me when I visit so that if we can't borrow a book, we cann at least scribble it down there." Olivia is belated realized to have greeted her and alarissa smiles. "Lady Olivia! I have missed tea with you!"
Cara takes a seat and smiles, settling in comfortably, "The house looks very well -- winter suits it, I think. There is no cozier place in all of Arx than Ashford House, to my mind. Don't tell the steward at Grayson's that I said that, of course, or else they'll knit cozies for all the furniture and pretend that it was always that way."
Harlan smiles towards Olivia and says, "It's all right, Livvy. It's easy to do." He turns back towards Fairen and ahhs, "Well, that's wonderful news, then! I'm glad that he's found someone that he cares for, presuming it gets that far. It's all to rare for us to ahve that." He says towards Alarissa, "Highness, you should check the Explorer's Guild. I know they have a number of things, but I'm not certain what all they have that is public. Or that isn't, honestly." He grins towards Cara and says, "Good luck keeping servants from talking -- I foresee much knitting going on soon." Once most people are seated, he lifts his glass (with wine, huzzah!) and says, "I want to thank everyone for coming. Ashford is honored to have the friends that it does, especially as our family has dealt with loss. Still, we continue and persevere, Ever Rising to face each challenge as it comes. To friends and family!"
Tomwell isn't running, as that would clearly be gauche - much as being late would be, some might note - but he is moving with hurried steps. His hair, never exactly well-tamed, is looking particularly unruly. But he's dressed up and he's here, so that's something. "I'm so sorry I'm late, everyone," he says as he enters, pressing a hand over his heart. "Your Grace, my deepest apologies." He sketches a graceful half-bow to Harlan.
"Well, we may have some now, Your highness," Olivia points out to Alarissa, flashing a quick smile. "Unless you'd prefer start with wine or the bottle you've brought, and save the tea to go with dessert. It has been a while. I think you were only just married when we started meeting, and that you've surely eben very busy. Congratulations and good health to the Princess, by the way." She seems particularly delighted at that. Of course Cara's praise earns a grin. "People can joke about the treehouses all they like, but I'd not live any other way." Since it seems like they're toasting, she picks wine for the time. Tea later! "Hear hear, brother. To friends and family. Oh look, there's another one!"
Cara lifts her glass readily to echo the duke's toast, "To friends and family -- may there be many of both, in good time."
Fairen chuckles softly and nods his head in understanding at Alarissa, smiling faintly. "That sounds like quite the project. Though I suspect it is as exhaustive as it is pleasant, if you hold the same level of love for reading as I do." Then as Harlan begins his speech, he falls silent, listening to him speak and raising his own glass of wine when the toast is made. "To friends and family, ever watching, ever planning!" Which he says just as Tomwell arrives, wrinkling his nose over at his brother playfully. He doesn't say anything, but the expression is clear. Judging older brother, teasing look. Ya goof.
"To family, here and departed." Alarissa agree's lifting her own wine glass up.
Lethe lifts her glass. "To family."
Tomwell scrambles to find a glass, which a servant happily provides. So he's not too late to raise it. "To family."
Harlan moves to sit down, and grins at Tomwell, "You didn't bring your lady with you?" He shakes his head mournfully, "Pity, I'm sure that everyone wanted to see who had captured your attention." He's teasing more than anything else -- but he's also seeminly watching his words just a tad. "I know what the Marquis has been up to lately, businesswise -- I'm holding conversation on that until after dinner though. How has everyone else been?" He looks to see who will jump in first as his plate begins to get filled with this and that.
"Up to my ears in ink and parchment," Cara admits with a quick smile, "But happy with it. I'm working on an archival project, preserving old histories and documents from...hmm, shall we say, horrible nibbling little beetles that like to eat old things. There's a treatment, but it's dreadfully expensive to produce. And rather dull dinner conversation, I'm sure."
Tomwell, now with glass in hand, moves to take his seat. Or he is mid-sitting, when he stops to blink at Harlan. "My what?" Blink. He drops into the chair. A flat stare swivels to Fairen. "Darling brother, what tales have you been telling?" He raises an eyebrow, but turns back to Harlan with a huffed laugh. "I did not bring her, as she's not, in fact, mine as of yet. I promise I'll introduce you whenever you care to meet her." That (he hopes) settled, he sweeps a smile to the rest of the gathering. "Good evening ladies."
"We shall have to place our heads together then Princess Cara, and see if there are any times within Thrax's library that might aid in the further recording of our history. I managed to find in Kennex's libraries when I was graciously granted entrance, the battle of thirteen hammers and I think there was a time on the battle of silence. There's a great deal. I even has a few scribes set to hand writing down tomes from the archives of interest to Princess Cassima. Though." And Alarissa smiles again at this. 'She keeps hiding the romances because they make her blush. She keeps moving them to an obscure corner."
Lethe listens to Cara. "I don't have anything exciting to report either. I'm just keeping busy with the usual things." She looks to Tomwell with a polite smile. "Good evening." Her smile grows bigger at Alarissa's mention of Cassima and the romances.
When Harlan settles down into his seat, Fairen does the same, sliding into his seat at the table and setting his glass of wine down on the table as he does so. "I'm afraid I can offer you little else of value, your Lordship. While business has been quite prosperous and exciting, social matters aside from that haven't been as enticing." Then he looks over at Tomwell and chuckles, shaking his head at him. "Oh, no I suppose not. Four not-date dates in, and we still have yet to meet with Marquis Greenmarch to discuss the courtship." He teases, then looks between Alarissa and Cara. "I also would love to involve myself with this project. My estate in Arx doesn't quite have the same library as Leaholdt, but nonetheless, I'd love to trade copies of books."
As for how everyone fills their time, Olivia's answer is predictable, because it is nearly always the same. "As usual I keep busy with my gardening," and she glances at Cara. "Which I imagine is every bit as dull a thing to most! Though I'm branching out I suppose, working both with the Physicians and at the Lodge of Petrichor, and with some curious new varieties. Some of them you may see in the Atrium." She does giggle a little at the mention of the secreted-away romances.
"Branching out!" Cara laughs, though it likely wasn't meant as a pun per se. "You do have such a gift for plant life, Livvy. I love your owrk." She nods enthusiastically towards Fairen and Alarissa, waving her fork, "Oh, yes, that'd be delightful. I'm always on the hunt for new sources, after all."
Harlan smiles towards Cara with a head nod towards Alarissa, "See, Cara -- the Princess is more than interested in your endeavors. Knowledge must be safeguarded, I agree." He smiles towards Lethe and says, "Everything ebbs and flows." He then shoots a grin towards Tomwell as Fairen pitches in with the teasing, before nodding in agreement with Fairen, "The same goes for Ashford, of course." He gives Olivia a smile and says, "You should take a look at the Botanic Gardens I found in the city recently." He says little about his own activites, however. Apparently he isn't going to talk about himself tonight?
"It's truly an honor and privilege," Tomwell tells the other guests with a dry smile. "To have one's elder brother be in charge of one's love life." He looks over to Olivia with interest at her answer. "Gardening, you say?" He seems intrigued, happy to leave the books to Fairen. "I'm thinking of adding a garden at the Leary estate. Might I call on you for advice?" He glances aside at Cara's interjecting, grinning at her in amusement.
Arlo, an impossibly fluffy dog with an impossibly grumpy face arrives, following Ianna.
2 Ashford House Guard have been dismissed.
When Tomwell makes his comments about honor and privilege, Fairen chuckles with satisfied amusement, grinning at his little brother for a moment. Thoug he doesn't particularly say much just yet, and instead looks over at Harlan, nodding his head at him. "We should exchange literature then, your Lordship. I'll have to make it a point to visit Ashford House more frequently, and not just for business." Though as Tomwell and the ladies start to discuss a garden, he turns to listen to them, smiling faintly. "That's a brilliant idea, Tomwell. Something to potentially include lab equipment, maybe? At some point, I intend to study herbalism and things of that nature."
Late late late late... Ianna had to stop home and change her shoes and then this and then that and she's /late/ and... And the servant is introducing her presence, and she takes a deep breath and puts on her game face. Despite being terribly red-cheeked, she is holding it together pretty well. She walks over to the table. "Good evening. My apologies for my lateness."
"Hmm yes, please, come look. Sparte fatchforth has been lingering there of late, looking through. But you are we-" Alarissa glances as a thrax servant is makin their way in." Welcome, to take a look. Excused me. Duke Ashford, I suspect I'll have to make my way back. But we should speak further soon about further trade." Alarissa's getting ready to stand up.
Lethe doesn't have much to add to the conversation, but she does listen to everyone. She looks to Ianna with a smile when she enters. "Good evening."
"Good evening," Cara says cheerily to Ianna as she leans over and spears herself a bit of roast partridge. "Mm, this is delightful. Nothing like a good roast on a chilly night, hmm?"
"I have visited most of the various gardens in the city," Olivia tells her brother. "Though many of the public ones are beautiful, they tend to keep familiar varieties. But I've found some interesting smaller and private ones too." It's an oddly specific answer. She quickly nods at Tomwell, though. "Oh yes. I'd enjoy it." But she does make a point to rise as Alarissa excuses herself. "I will try and make up tea with you some time soon, your Highness. Please be well."
Harlan nods towards Fairen in agreement, but otherwise is glad to let everyone else talk. He stands as Alarissa does and says, "Thank you for coming, Your Highness, and I'm sorry you have to leave so early. I know that Princess Cassima also let her interest in that regard be known."
Harlan then turns towards Ianna and says, "Welcome to Ashford House, Lady Greenmarch. Please, come and be seated. No apologies are needed, of course." He pauses, then says blandly, "I'm sure that there's a seat next to Lord Tomwell, somewhere..."
Olenna leaves, following Alarissa.
Then Ianna arrives, and Fairen's grin grows cheerfully. "Your Lordship, ladies, please allow me to introduce Lady Ianna, Lord Tomwell's lady friend in question." He teases with a repressed chuckle, gesturing towards the poor lady as he looks towards Harlan. "I hope it is no trouble, your Lordship, but I took the liberty to invite her myself." Then he looks over at Ianna, gesturing towards Harlan. "Lady Ianna, this is Duke Harlan Ashford."
"Wonderful." Tomwell grins sunnily at Olivia. "I'll have to be in touch. Perhaps you can give me a tour of a few, so I can get a sense for what I'd want." He puffs out an amused breath at Fairen and nods. "I'm sure we can figure something out." As Alarissa rises, he does as well. So he's standing already when Ianna appears. "Ianna!" His brief look of surprise is chased quickly away by unhidden delight.
"In question?" Ianna tries very hard not to look mortified, and she mostly succeeds... but only mostly. Her eyebrows are drawn up just so, and she is turning crimson from her collarbone to the tips of her ears. Damn ginger genetics. Right. Manners. She turns to Duke Harlan and executes a flawless curtsey. "It's an honor, My Lord," she says. There is, in fact, a seat near Tomwell, and she slips into it. She absolutely does not hide under the table.
Olivia can't help but join in the gawking and grinning as the not so subtle prior topic of conversation, er, that is Ianna, arrives. "Oh, its so nice to meet you, Lady Ianna. We've heard such lovely things." She smiles far too sunnily, then glances again to Tomwell, which is convenient now that they're sitting together! "I would very much suggest you start by taking a look around the Atrium here, as it is largely mine to maintain these days. But I can advise you on some other interesting places to take in around the city, or indeed, my favorite spots outside of it. Nice places for scenic walks, for instance..." Oh no, she's joining in!
"And if either of you'd rather flirt shamelessly with other people, I have a small list of relations and friends who are on the market, so to speak," Cara says drily. "There are ever so many title-holders sans spouses. It's quite a predicament." She spares an arch glance for Harlan.
With the introductions complete, Fairen grins mostly to himself as he watches Ianna move to sit next to Tomwell, repressing another chuckle as he observes the pair for a moment. "Do not worry yourself over it much, my Lady." He offers, until Olivia is joining him in the teasing. That repressed chuckle can no longer be contained, and he lets it go with amusement, nodding at Olivia. "Yes, scenic walks. Very good idea. Please do try to include a trip to the creek, with Lady Ianna in tow as well." This is said as he looks over at Iannam casting her a subtle wink. Cara's comment, however, is ignored as he instead delights in the teasing at hand.
Harlan smiles towards Fairen and nods, "Of course, of course. I welcome more company and the opportunity to meet people." He takes a moment to start eating though, pausing just long enough to eat before saying, "There's always the treehouse..." His lip quirks in amusement. He doesn't respond to Cara though.
"Oh Gods." Tomwell sits as Ianna does, a hand reaching out beneath the table to grasp hers. Though with so many watchful eyes, it's unlikely it goes unnoticed. "Apparently we were a subject of discussion, prior to my arrival," he leans over to tell her in a low voice. "Because my brother lives to torment me. Though." He casts a warm look toward Fairen. "He did invite you, so I suppose all is forgiven." He nods toward Olivia, for Ianna's benefit. "We were discussing the possibility of adding a garden to the Leary estate. Apparently Lady Olivia is a keen gardener." Cara's comment provokes a snort and a shake of his head, lips twitching upwards.
A convenient glass of wine is poured for Ianna. She takes it. She drinks. Her eyes light up as soon as the polite-garden-talk life-preserver is tossed to her. "A garden? I've been trying to corner my cousin to ask him if I could use a piece of the land around Greenmarch Lodge for planting, once the weather gets warm enough." She squeezes Tomwell's hand, probably a little too hard.
"The spirits would be pleased, I should think," Cara smiles to Ianna and goes back to eating, leaving off the marital teasing. "Though they are not fond of Arx these days, for good reason. Ah, well. Perhaps t'will improve when spring comes."
"Have you considered a party, your highness?" Tomwell asks, turning to Cara. "Invite all your eligible friends and family, provide a good deal of alcohol, and let them to their devices." He tilts his glass of wine toward her with an amused smile. "You'd be doing the Compact a service."
Olivia is keen on Cara's choice of new target, too, sparing a sly glance toward Harlan. "Yes brother, you ought to be worrying over such things yourself more than bothering these two." Nevermind that she's equally guilty of this. But there's plant talk, so: "Oh that sounds quite nice, Lady Ianna." And she echoes Cara's opinion here too, nodding along about the spirit-foo, as if such things are also of relevance to her gardening. "More decorative, or would you have vegetables as well?" Since she mentions a more significant bit of land.
"It'd be a great deal simpler if we just wrote up contracts for one another like the old days. Why, you wouldn't even need to meet your future spouse outside of once or twice. It worked rather well for my second marriage," Cara waves her spoon, then frowns dramatically, "Rather terribly for my first, though. So perhaps that is not the best method of spousal acquisition. Though I daresay a goodly amount of the blame falls on the people who did the arranging, not I."
"Funny you should say that, my Lady." Fairen counters to Cara as he shakes his head in mild disagreement. "But as far as I can see, the spirits have favored Arx for generations." Which is apparantly all he has to say on the matter as he begins to indulge more fully into his meal.
"Herbs, actually. As well as plants that most would likely consider weeds. My idea of a garden isn't very pretty, I'm afraid," Ianna explains, sipping her wine. Her shoulders relax just a touch as she starts talking about plants, "Any garden I start this spring will have some fascinating blooms this time next year. I recently went out and harvested seeds from winter-blooming plants." Yes. Plants. Talk about plants.
Lethe stands. "If you'll excuse me. I think it's time for me to be going."
Cara smiles to Lethe, "It was good to see you, Lady Lethe."
Tomwell slides a glance aside to Ianna, along with a soft smile. Leaving her to her garden talk, he turns toward Harlan. "Everything is wonderful, Your Grace," he says, indicating the food and drink with a nod of his head. "The invitation is an honor."
Hey, Olivia will happily talk plants all day! "Herbs? Oh that's especially wonderful. I was just talking about it earlier, doing work with the Physicians as well. You've joined as well, have you not? Are you planning to work as an apothecary then?" Evidently she's met precisely the perfect person for all of this! "We should really sit down and talk about it more, I have some projects you might be interested in." Pausing to wave after her cousin, she then quips over at Cara. "I'd say it worked out in the end! How are the little ones?"
Harlan looks to Olivia blandly and says, "Indeed, we do need to find you a husband to marry into Ashford..." He shoots a playful grin at his sister, and sends Cara a meaningful look. He smiles towards Tomwell and says, "As I told the Marquis, Leary is always welcome here. Keeping ties strong is always an important thing."
Olivia promptly sticks out her tongue. "You first, brother!" Ah, as guests depart, things devolve into more familial behavior.
"Oh, they're fine. Growing every day. The girls in particular are rambling all over the house -- it's a chore keeping up with them." Cara smiles to Olivia, and then, catching Harlan's look, says evenly, "Husbands worthy of Olivia are not nearly as thick on the ground as either of us might like, I should think." She glances to Fairen and smiles quickly, "There's much to learn from the forest folk, I've found. The shav'arvani have many different and interesting cultures to learn from. I find much of it most interesting, indeed, particularly in finding the common roots that indicate how we were, at one point, far closer than we are in recent generations."
Harlan smiles towards Olivia and lifts his glass to Cara and says, "Only the best for my sister, of course." He then turns his attention mainly back towards Fairen and Tomwell.
"Leary is proud to stand with Ashford," Tomwell answers with sincerity, raising his glass toward Harlan. He quirks a smile at the sibling banter, familiar as it is. "If I happen upon any of Princess Cara's eligible singles, I'll be sure to speak highly of you both."
Ianna tries to murmur something discreetly to Tomwell, but she laughs at whatever she was saying and ruins it. Cough. Drink. "Oh, um, apothecary? Maybe. Working with plants was the most interesting thing I could find to do in the Greenwood, as I am not a particularly martial woman. For all of its loveliness, it is far from a center of learning."
Olivia beams brightly, though whether it is due to thoughts of Cara's girls causing terror or the discussion of her apparently rare worth is hard to say. "If you ever need, I'm happy to watch them," she does go on to offer, in that way that suggests it would be as much for her own enjoyment than lessening of their mother's burden. Then a serious nod given Ianna. "Well, I'd not push you if it's not your plan but I am happy to help as I can."
Whatever Ianna whispered provokes a laugh from Tomwell, too. He tries to cut it short, clearing his throat before murmuring something back.
"I shall take you up on that, my dear. Free childcare is nothing to scoff at," Cara promises with a laugh.
Harlan stands after a while and motions for a messenger to take notes as he sees Fairen has left, "I did want to bring up one bit of news tonight. I want Ashford to be as strong as possible not only to help our vassals to grow strong as well, but also as our duty to Grayson. With that in mind, I've arranged a trade agreement with Thrax, which is why Princess Alarissa graced us with her presence. Ashford will be supplying lumber to Thrax to help repair and rebuild ships as needed, especially with the upcoming challenge, as well as men to help train archers in their navy. In exchange, Ashford will receive Thrax assistance building future ships for our own forces, as well as the ability for Ashford merchants to send cargo to Thrax for sale. It is the first in what I hope to be a number of trade agreements to come, and I wanted news to come directly from me."
"That's excellent news. There's no finer timber for ships than Ashford hardwoods," Cara says, as if she knows something about it. (She does not.)
"To a strong partnership between Ashford and Thrax," Tomwell says, raising a glass in a toast. He takes a drink before lowering it. "Your Grace, ladies," he nods around the table. "Both food and companionship have been excellent. But I should be taking my leave." He turns aside to Ianna, "I'm happy to escort you home first, unless you'd like to stay and plan your garden."
Olivia gives a little 'oh' at her brother's news and then nods agreeably with what seems to be Cara's take on it. "Quite. It's good to know that our natural bounties can be of value to the Compact, even if we are not such seafolk ourselves. Though learning a bit cannot hurt either." Then she beams once more at Tomwell and Ianna, who've clearly won her over at a couple! "It was so nice meeting you both. Let us keep in touch about the gardening, hmm?"
Ianna looks conflicted, but in the end she nods and says, "That would be very nice, Tomwell. Lady Olivia, I to look forward to speaking with you soon. Any friend of plants is a friend of mine."
Harlan smiles and moves to stand at Tomwell's statement and says, "Of course, Lord Tomwell. Thank you for coming. Lady Ianna, it's a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for coming as well." He's happy that Olivia is making friends, too! He looks over towards Cara and says, "I'd like to talk with you in the study before you leave, Cara, if you've the time."
Tomwell returns Olivia's beam with a warm, broad smile. "The pleasure was mine, Lady Olivia. And Princess Cara," he turns the smile on her. "I wish you the best of luck with looking after both children and unmarried nobles." He pushes his chair back and stands, offering a hand to Ianna. "Thank you, Your Grace. We'll have to return the favor and host Ashford at the Leary estate, next time."
Fairen had to step out for some reason or another, after receiving a messenger about urgent business, so he returns with just enough to to realize the event is coming to a close. As he enters the Hall once again, he moves towards Tomwell and Ianna and nods at Harlan. "My apologies, your Lordship." He offers. "It is good to hear that business is going well though."
"Of course, Harlan," Cara agrees quietly, and smiles to Tomwell and Ianna, "It was very nice to have supper with you both. I hope to do so again in the future."
Harlan smiles towards Fairen and says, "Of course, Marquis. I know far too well how business can affect things. Definitely let your merchants know as well, it's a prime opportunity. One of more coming, from discussions I've had."
Arlo, an impossibly fluffy dog with an impossibly grumpy face leaves, following Ianna.
Lady Teldra, a Lycene noblewoman, Sir Bristleworth the Hedgehog, Buchanan, a Champion leave, following Cara.
Cara leaves, following Harlan.
Olivia offers further goodbyes, and pushes tea on people, before slipping off!
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