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Let's Go Glamping!

Come join Princess Lou Grayson and Princess-Consort Alarissa Thrax for an evening of Glamping! Glamourous Camping! There will be a large pavilion tent, food and snacks, a small bonfire, and stories. Logs and Lots of stories! And, perhaps, some other bits of entertainment. If this is event is for you, do come join us at the Companion Park at the Menagerie!

Date

April 15, 2018, 2 p.m.

Hosted By

Alarissa Lou

Participants

Victus Alarissa Lou Joslyn Lucita Titania Jeffeth Caspian

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Menagerie - Companion Park

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Alarissa drops Silk Travel Camp Chair.

Willen arrives, following Lou.

Lou makes her way into the companion park, a teeny bit late for her own event. She flushes a bit as she arrives. "Sorry I'm late. My appointment prior to this ran over a little late."

"It's all well and fine." Alarissa's dressed down in fine cotton, hair left loose and looking like she's ready for a relaxing night hosting what is camping. In the middle of the city. If you can call it camping. Around the greatest brazier she's standing, silk camping chairs ringing it, servers at hand with food and all amenities. The residents of the Menagerie making thier noises in the background loud enough to ocassionally be heard an individuals companion animals running about.

2 Iron Guardsmen arrives, following Titania.

The huge form of Jeffeth Bayweather approaches the big man lumbering through the menagerie with a gentle smile as he approaches. Bowing deeply, one fist is pressed to his chest in the direction of Alarissa. "Your Grace." The big man rumbles deeply before straightening. Turning to face Lou on her approach the big man bows as well. "I do not believe we have met. Knight Lieutenant Jeffeth Bayweather of the Silver Order, at your service."

Lou grins over at Alarissa. She's dressed in her typical explorer's outfit. There's probably rarely a day when she's not in it. The clothing and armor is comfortable, even if it does not entirely match. "This should be a bit fun." She pauses, then notes to those present, "I'm Lou Grayson, and this is my cousin Princess Alarissa Thrax," she introduces herself and her cousin, conveniently leaving off her own title in that introduction. "And as anyone might know I have all sorts of stories I can tell, being the Pathfinder of the Explorers. But, I hope that others have come prepared with stories of their own, to tell around the campfire. I'm prepared to give away a few gifts for those that impress me with their tales." Her eyes twinkle a bit as she says this.

Titania comes into the park and she is woddeling! Yes woddeling her belly bump has grown and her empire waisted dress shows it. Gut she has a soft smile on her face and she is happy even if it takes her forever to get to places at the moment, looking to Lou and Alarissa she moves over in their direction, "Your Highness, Your Grace." she says softly her ocean blue eyes looking between the two.

1 Saik Guard, Gunther, a Rottweiler, Micana, Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound arrive, following Lucita.

"I have no doubt that this will be fun. And far less horrifying than if one actually spent the night in the forrest." Alarissa claps her hands to the ones gahtered around. "Sir Bayweather!" Recognizing him. "Countess Titania gods, sit down. No giving birth this night, please. No matter how comfortable the tents may be." She smile sat the former Kennex. "Tonight is a night of camping, within the confines and safety of the Menagerie. For those of faint heart or in truth, just not able to take the wilds outside the walls.There will the telling of stories to scare, food in abundance and while we had thought to have a rabbit catch, we thought the better of it. Lest there be offended parties."

Anya, the cool as an ice cube Champion apprentice, Renn, the mousy, scholarly brunette, Morgan, a roguish looking gentleman arrive, following Caspian.


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A large delegation of missionaries heads out to the Oathlands. Led by Legate Orazio himself, the group is diverse and interesting - Legate Orazio brings with him Archlectors Avary and Aureth, Grandmaster Thena of the Knights of Solace, Sir Preston of the Templars, Radiant Selene and Delia of the Whisper House, and Princess Terese Valardin. This is no simple missionary trip however, as the entire caravan is quite the sight to behold, stretching as it does for half a mile. Supplies, guards, gifts, and sundries fill the wagons. This is a slow-moving force but move it does, inexorably toward the Oathlands and its people on a matter of Faith.



They are rumored to be focused on the Prodigal house, though any who wish to converse about the Faith are welcome at any time. It is a trip of true believers, of those who are thoroughly dedicated to their service of the Pantheon. We come in peace, they say. We only wish to speak respectfully with you, and to help, and to welcome you to the Compact.
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Lucita quietly makes her way into the park area. Micana stays well back, keeping the guard dogs out of the area and near the entry to avoid any risk of bothering anyone. She looks a little uncertain at first, one hand dropping to rest on the 'baby bump' belly and then drawing a breath, putting on a smile and moving forward to join the others. A curtsy is given when she notices Alarissa.

Turning to bow to Lou now, "Ah. Your Highness. A pleasure to make your acquaintance." Jeffeth slowly straightens up from his bow to Lou. As Lou talks about stories the big man takes a step back, smiling brightly to Alarissa. He steps back, going to fold his massive arms over his chest, looking left then right. Not quite sure if he's supposed to talk or not. Though he does turn to greet the approaching pregnant women, both Titania and Lucita get their own bow. "My Lady, My Lady."

Lou inclines her head to Titania. "Good evening," she greets the countess. She looks curiously over at Jeffeth and offers him a smile. "Be welcome, Sir Jeffeth, and a pleasure to meet you." She finds a camp chair and settles into it. She makes certain it is one that is not sitting in the same direction of any smoke blowing about from the braziers. "I'd be glad to recall any tale from my adventures to start us off with a story. I have several that are a favorite, and they are all from either patrols or expeditions or my time at war," she tells those in attendance. She plucks some chocolate from one of the trays the servers are passing around and nibbles at it a bit. She glances over at Lucita as she arrives, and offers a faint smile. "Welcome to Let's Go Glamping!" she exclaims. It's not quite camping in the woods, but it's enough that this rather not-people person explorer is relaxed enough.

Fashionably late, Caspian strolls into the companion park with his entourage, a bounce in his step as he whistles, blue-black eyes roaming around the area as he moves towards the tents. Finding his way over to the group, he waves to them with a bright smile, "Hey there, a I just in time for story time?"


**********************************************************************
It's a slow-moving caravan indeed, which gives the people of Greenmarch time to prepare. Word comes via Lady Margret that the missionaries are coming, and she encourages the people to respond to the Faith by showing them how religious the Greenmarchers are these days. Make sure to impress upon them how pious you are, she says. Even if it seems a little over the top. Lady Monique and Lord Corban Telmar join them. Play along, they encourage, so that your traditions might be protected from overzealous pilgrims. Marquis Marius, Marquessa Simone, and Lady Ianna Greenmarch likewise agree - show piety to these people who come. Korka Glynn rallies the commoners to join the ruse of excessive piety among Greenmarch and Rivenshari.



There's a second activity too - most of those nobles seem to also be looking for information specifically on Orazio and what the "real" mission is. When these missionaries show up, be helpful. Be thoughtful. Report anything unusual. Anything even remotely out of the ordinary. Blend in. Never let them know they're being watched. Invaders, some whisper softly. Always keep an eye on the enemy.



It makes Greenmarchers understandably nervous as so many of their leaders - not just Prodigals but long-term inhabitants of the Oathlands - start preparing them for what seems increasingly like a hostile invasion, thinly veiled as a missionary trip.
**********************************************************************


Lucita's entrance does not go unnoticed and Alarissa's moving forward at the sight of Luctia to slide her arm into the other womans arm to murmur quietly and find a seat.


**********************************************************************
Somewhere along the journey, Prince Edain has shown up with the missionary delegation with a small contingent of knights. They travel with the missionaries for a bit and then split off - as he is heading directly to Sanctum. His squire remains with the missionaries though as they arrive in Greenmarch lands.



They find turmoil - a people wary and watchful and extremely and loudly pious. Yet with tact and kindness they persist. Princess Terese speaks of honor and chivalry, the duties of knighthood to protect the weak and fight evils. Father Orazio speaks of the ability to coexist. Of the worth of the Pantheon, but in recognition and respect for the spirits. It is obvious he has worked with shamans before, and even if he is not himself one who seeks out the spirits, neither does he deny them.



Archlector Aureth speaks of his Queen of Endings, how she spun all their souls - Prodigal and Faithful alike, and there is room for all in the Faith. Selene Whisper speaks diplomatically of the benefits the Greenmarchers have enjoyed - security, hospitality, food, medical supplies and so on. She focuses on making friends and does quite well with it indeed. As the missionaries prepare to leave, more than one Greenmarcher looks to their leaders, confused by the foretold invasion that never happened at all. We are more alike than we are different, they say. They mean us no harm.
**********************************************************************


Lucita gives Alarissa a soft, warm smile as she links arms and speaks with her. A nod is given and she moves to take a seat beside her. "Pampering sounds perfect, and I love stories, at least most of the time. Sometimes a few are awkward to hear."


**********************************************************************
In Rivenshari things are different. Lady Eshra Rivenshari will not abide deceit, and she walks among her people to tell them so. Be honest, she exhorts them. Remember your duty, remember what we have gained by joining the Compact. She impores them to take this opportunity to learn and to show the Faith who they truly are. Count Athaur agrees. He reminds them of all that they have been through together, the sacrifices they have made. The tragedy they endure. "We will move forward in honesty and we will passionately endeavor to work with our new allies while remaining true to ourselves, but never shall we dishonor our name for the purpose of simple deceit, this we cannot abide."



Lady Petra Rivenshari reminds them that she has been listening to the wind and that the safest path forward is the one where the two traditions find peace together. Lord Vano as well tells his clan that respect must be given to those of another faith, and that there is nothing wrong with following both the pantheon and their shamanistic ways. Open a dialogue, he encourages. There is room for both in our world.



With Prince Edain's suggestions on proper hosting etiquette, and Princess Caelis asking questions about the Rivenshari life and showing interest in learning more of their history and not just erasing it completely, and Felix offering a commoner's perspective on the Faith, the missionaries will likely find this to be a far different experience from their sojourn with Greenmarch.
**********************************************************************


Conker, the Ornery Red Squirrel, Dame Barkley, a chocolate tri beagle arrive, following Joslyn.

"You are, indeed!" Lou tells Caspian, welcoming him to the glamping fold. "I'm just deciding on the one I should tell."


**********************************************************************
It is with some relief that the missionaries arrive to find a peaceful people eager to talk with the missionaries. Delia Whisper impresses them as she plies her trade, resolving little disagreements and learning culture with careful use of respectful questions. Archlector Avary spends more time answering questions than proselytizing really, and though she encourages conversions to the Faith, she's certainly not pushy about it. Grandmaster Thena shows the benefits of the Compact by working with Rivenshari to establish a small chapterhouse of the Knights of Solace on Rivenshari lands, to provide security to travelers and fulfill the hospitable, civilized mission of their Order.



The Templars too teach simple defense and speak to any Oathland lords who might seem to be uncomfortable with the Prodigals in their midst. They are excellent allies, Sir Preston points out. Noting the Prodigals in the ranks of the Templars he adds, they too have been willing to die for the Compact. They are allies and worthy ones, fierce to protect and to stand against the dark. Hearing a Templar speak fervently of the worth of Prodigals gives more hardcore Oathlanders something to think about - and to those Prodigals who overhear, they come away feeling that their contributions are valued, and their presence is welcomed.
**********************************************************************


Titania smiles at Jeffeth and Lou, "I will not be giving birth just yet your Grace." she moves to find a places to settle down looking over as Caspian cmes in then Joslyn and she waves for the woman to join her.


**********************************************************************
On the whole, the mission unites. Many Prodigals reaffirm their commitment to the Faith of the Pantheon, though they honestly admit they are not leaving their shamanistic ways behind, merely augmenting them. But the missionary trip is a solid step toward understanding and outreach. And then the Seraph of Sanctum makes a public statement about it.



"Word has reached us here in Sanctum of the missionary trip led by Father Orazio from Arx. This sort of missionary outreach is precisely the sort of thing we would expect the Legate of Concepts to do and as such, we are extremely pleased to hear of its outstanding success. The Oathlands are the Heart of the Faith, and while there have been many changes and new faces settling in our lands of late, it is heartening that they have embraced the Faith with open and honest hearts. Rivenshari in particular is to be lauded for their honesty and integrity - two qualities we greatly prize. To that end, and with the great success of the missionary trip in mind, I would extend an offer of hospitality to those involved in this trip, to visit Sanctum and refresh themselves here before their long journey home."



"And yet it falls to me to address other, darker rumors. It has not escaped my attention that there were those leaders, both among the Prodigals and even some from ancient Oathland houses, who decided that this mission was for dark purposes. Indeed, there were those who counseled a path of deception. Of lies. I do not know from what source these rumors came, but it only benefits our enemies when we are divided from within by those who would sow mistrust of the Faith. I thus charge High Lord Edain and the Voices of Valardin to root out these enemies among us who would see us divided, who would spread lies and calumny against representatives of the Faith. And I charge all those who fell for such a ruse to repent, to right their hearts and their course with regard to the Faith, and to aid High Lord Edain in his charge to cleanse the Heart of Valardin."



"May the Gods be with us all."
**********************************************************************


Joslyn is a little late to the camp out, but she waves pleasantly to Titania as she notices the woman, moving quietly and settling herself down nearby, and as well giving Lou a little bow of her head. "While I do hope you're not planning on giving birth here tonight, I can't help but admit that would be rather exciting," she suggests with a little giggle. "I hope I haven't missed the fun?"

Lucita gives a little wave of the hand in greeting the others though she still has the majority of her attention on Alarissa, replying to her in a low tone.

12 Thrax Elite Guards, Crow - Thraxian Steward, Lilybelle - Maimed Maine Coon arrive, following Victus.

"We haven't been on many adventures together, one, really, so I can't really suggest you tell a story that paints me as a bad ass," Caspian says back to Lou with shrug and a smile given her way. "Tell us something exciting and interesting. With mystery, trials, and tribulation!" Seeing Joslyn, he gives the woman a wave of his hand, "Long time no see!"

The big knight goes to slowly take a seat, though as Joslyn approaches the huge man is quickly back on his feet, going into a deep bow, fist pressing against his chest. "My Lady." Then Jeffeth is giving a smile and a nod to Caspian. "Caspian." Then he falls into his chair, looking attentively to the rest of the group.

"It was a dark and stormy night...." Lou begins. And are they not always dark and stormy nights? "I was traveling to the north with several companions, on a mission of good will. We were traveling along a ridge line when the storm seemed to get bigger than any I've ever seen. Lightning flashed, and struck several trees nearby, causing a bit of a fright... and then it started. Wolves. Howling. From all around us." she pauses there, waiting to see if anyone is listening. She takes a moment to grin over at Caspian for his comment during her pause.

Titania smiles and chuckles shaking her head, "Not at all Lady Joslyn." she says in a soft voice moving so she is sittng next to the woman a hand moves to rest on the other womans arm and smiles, she then looks over as Lou starts to tell her story and she falls silent.

Alarissa's taking up a seat with Lucita, the camping chairs all comfortable though perhaps teh heavily pregnant women will need some help to get out of them after. "Wolves Lou? You're telling that one?" Alarissa smiles. "it's a good one." Then falls silent to listen.

Aletta, a Bird of Prey, Lindsey, a rosy-cheeked disciple of Petrichor, Brier, a dappled grey mare arrive, following Leola.

Leola checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 52 higher.

Leola checked command + animal ken at difficulty 11, rolling 46 higher.

Aletta, a Bird of Prey, Lindsey, a rosy-cheeked disciple of Petrichor, Brier, a dappled grey mare leave, following Leola.

Lucita listens to the story being told, giving a little smile and nodding at some of the points.

Lou grins over at Alarissa and nods. "Yes, that one." She goes back to her tale then. "We could see them from the corner of our eye, and so we decided to make a run for it, hoping to find for a cave," Lou continues the story, but not with much dramatic effect. She's not a performer. "We ran and we ran, and it felt like their breath was right on our necks. They were large beasts, or so it seemed. Everything seems larger when you're in the dark, and in the rain. They kept calling to one another, back and forth. Sometimes close, sometimes distant. It was hard to tell where they were, and they had scared our horses off -- they went running further up the ridge. As luck would have it, we did find a cave, and we all crowded within. We quickly lit a fire, hoping to further deter the wolves. They'd sounded hungry!" Again, Lou pauses

"Master Caspian!" Joslyn smiles towards him. "I've heard you picked up some tricks since the last time we met, made quite the name for yourself! I'd like to see what you've picked up in the meantime," she says, chuckling as she nods then to Titania, leaning into the touch and listening to Lou's story.

Lucita continues to listen closely to the story, her gaze drifting along over to note the others present and give them a smile. She relaxes in the chair beside Alarissa absently resting one hand near her waist. "A shame my cousins are not here, they would love hearing this."

"But Did you escape Lou?" Alarissa calls out, a look of feigned horror on her face. "With all your limbs? Or did you tame the feral beasts and make them yours?!"

Lou moves to continue her tale. "Almost as soon as we got the fire lit, the entrance to the cave was surrounded by wolves. They were quite big! But, not as big as some of the abyssal tainted wolves I've fought off in the Gray Forest last year," she assures everyone. She takes a breath and continues on. "They stood there and stared at us for a long time, and then the biggest of them all howled again, and the wolves started filing into the room one by one. While there was a series of caverns behind us, none of us knew where they went -- and we did not know if we would be safe going into them. We huddled closer to the fire -- since that /should/ have kept them at bay. We were fairly baffled at why it didn't. Then, all at once, those that moved into the room and had surrounded us all laid down on the ground. It was all rather strange. We were prepared to fight, to do battle, but they just sat there, watching us, waiting, and staring... it felt like time itself had stopped."

Titania smiles at Joslyn and listens to Lou then to Alarissa, her hands moving to rest on her belly relaxing enjoying the story telling.

Victus would soon drift into the menagerie, looking profoundly out of place in such a peaceful setting. At the least though he was no longer wearing his armor out everywhere, a new wardrobe in fact. His dark leather coat sweeping out behind him as he walks into the menagerie, both hands dug into his pockets. His eyes slowly traverse over those in attendance, one after the other. With a snort he eventually settles on the familiar comfort of his wife's company, striding over to where Alarissa sits and taking a seat on the ground himself, his arms rested over-top his knees. Story-time is being had and he's listening with rapt attention soon enough.

Alarissa smiles at victus as he makes his way over, shifting a leg over the other so she can rest a hand on his shoulder and leave it there.

"After what felt like ages had passed, there was another howl from the big one, who was still standing out in the rain. Then, more wolves filed into the cavern. They were staying to the outside edges of the circle the first set of wolves made. It seemed like we were going to be a meal for all of them, with no real way to escape - as there were so many of them in the pack." Lou says, working to wind things up. "But, those wolves, the ones that kept moving into the cavern, they filed into the back f the cave, leaving us alone. Not a single one came after us or touched us. Though, if we dared to move closer to those sitting on the ground they'd growl and snap at us. Once the latest batch of wolves were in the cave, their leader -- their alpha, finally came through, and followed the others. Once the alpha was through, the rest of them got back up to leave, and then walked to the back of the cave, and into the caverns as well." She pauses, takes a breath, and lets out a soft sigh. "And, we shared the cave with them that night, not a hair harmed betwixt either of us. It's nothing I'd ever seen before. It was amazing, and full of awe. And it was true and real. I don't expect to be able to experience anything like it every again in any of my travels." And there is definitely a look of awe on her face as she comes to her conclusion. "We need not have escaped, as they left us to sleep, and we them. When morning rolled around, we moved on to our destination, unhindered and unharmed and they theirs."

Lucita's attention is split for a moment as Victus sits beside Alarissa who is next to her. Her gaze returns to Lou and the story telling but quickly moves back to the man long enough to examine his garment more closely. "Oh, nice coat." She says aside to him. Then to Lou she murmurs. "Oh, that is a nice story indeed, and a remarkable thing to have had happen!"

Joslyn murmers something quietly to Titania, but she's still listening closely to Lou and she blinks a moment at the conclusion. "I don't know what I would have done in that situation," she admits to the other woman. "I doubt I would have gotten a great deal of sleep! But that is an incredible story!" she grins.

Lou nods to Victus now that she's done with her story, offering him a warm smile. "Be welcome, Prince Victus," she tells him warmly. She looks over at Lucita. "Indeed, it really was. It happened last year." She looks over at Joslyn, "I talked to them. I wasn't sure if they had extraordinary intelligence or not. They were bigger than the ones we normally see around here. Of course, they were just wolves, and nothing more. And, it was a bit frightening," she admits. She looks around the fire, then asks, "Is there anyone else who has a story to tell? I do have some prizes..." she motions to a few things she's set in a pile: a carved dragon figure, the shield of breaking dawn steel blade, a firestarter kit, some tea, and a few pieces of jewelry.

Titania blue eyes look to Victus and her head nods in his direction in a silent greeting, when Joslyn murmers something to her she tilts her head looking to the woman and shakes her head whispering a reply to her.

Standing up from his chair, Jeffeth gives a deep bow to Lou, then Alarissa, then finally Victus. "Thank you so very much for hosting this event. Have a lovely evening." The big knight rumbles before turning to make his way off.

Joslyn quickly nods in response to Titania's whisper, smiling as she whispers in return, looking back to Lou. "Well, I'm sure I have a story I could tell," Joslyn says. "I'm just not sure. The others have all since passed on, but it's not nearly as inspirting as your own," Joslyn admits, tugging out her hairpins, letting her hair fall loosely around her shoulders as she gets comfortable. "Though maybe the first time I ever saw any kind of real fighting makes for a story all the same. Against shards and lesser entities."

"Lets hear your tale lady Joselyn." Alarissa verbally nudges, a smile on her face.

Victus gives a nod of gratitude to Lou, and one of greeting for Lucita and Titania as his eyes move over them. He's quieter than usual. "A sailor does love a good story." Are his words that break the quiet, rumbled over to Joslyn. "Give it to us!"

"I would very much like to hear that story," Lou says, a look of interest on her face.

"Well, all right then," she blushes a moment, reaching for some wine to drink as if to stall for time for a few moments. "I was travelling," Joslyn says. "With three companions. I was there to help them to remove a blood cult from a villiage near where they grew up. It was a rather nondescript village, but we noticed that there were two people standing guard near what looked like the entrance of a mine. They said some things in a language I didn't understand, but it was enough for my companions to agree that we were in the right place. The guards were rather easily dealt with, and we proceded inside. It was a normal looking mine, except that at the end was a solid wall with only a small coin sized indentation. Stuck there for a few moments, we searched the bodies, and there I found a medalion around the guard's neck that had the same shape. Slipping it into the indentation, and the wall split in two... and that was when we found the temple."

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

"A temple?" Alarissa's brows raise.

Titania listens to Joslyn nodding her head then she falls silent listening to the other womans story.

"Yes, a temple," Joslyn confirms. "Inside the temple," Joslyn continues. "We found an old man standing in a large open space. Ancient. He spoke in a tongue that... Once again I didn't understand. My companion spoke to him, trying to get information, while the rest of us began exploring the room, but all that I could really see were these dark tunnels that could've led to anywhere. While I was looking, the old man... let out a horrid shriek and had transformed into something... horrid. Inhuman. The robes he wore parted to reveal goat's legs, and he was holding our companion by the neck. I didn't really own any proper weapons... still don't," she chuckles then, twirling her alaricite hairpins in her fingers. "I charged in, hairpins drawn and we worked to pull it down. It was a long fight, and I didn't do much damage but we took it down. My companion gave me a dagger after that and from there we began our exploration, taking one of the tunnels. That was when I began to hear his voice. The demon that had control of the temple. Or... probably not a demon, being that the four of us managed to make it out alive. Something, though. It kept on telling me that through him was the path to power, that I lusted for blood... it filled my mind with an image of my friends all dead at my hand. Another travelling companion was striken mute for much of the journey. We were then beset upon by more creatures. Shards."

Lucita's glance goes from Joslyn to Alarissa and Victus then back to the storyteller. She holds her hands almost protectively over her belly area as she continues to listen attentively.

"These things were tough, and they cut through us rather quickly, except for myself," she grins then. "Anybody that has faced against me can attest to my speed. I danced around them and while the first was slain by our combined efforts, the last two were rather soundly dealt with by myself. And that's when I felt sensation... when I fight I lose myself into the moment, and it served me well. The voice taunted me more at my victory. I don't know what he was trying to do but... well it didn't really work. We explored further. We found a box, and not sensing anything strange about it... we opened it. Turned out that we had released a spirit that attempted to posess my friend and well... she didn't bother telling us that until far later. From there we found a prisoner. He was... just pitiful. Emaciated and covered with his own filth. We freed him and asked him how to destroy the source of power in the temple, and he led us to the center. That's where we found him. I suppose he was trying to reassemble his physical form with the cultists, if the prisoner was any indication. He rose from his sleep... a giant. To this day, the fight that followed was one of the most harrowing experiences of my life."

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

Both of Lou's brows raise at the story, and she remains quiet as she continues to listen.

"He was huge and he attacked with both his immense physical strength and magic. I was hit with a spell that made me think that I was covered with spiders," she shivers at the memory. "I couldn't even fight for a time, and when I managed to snap out of it he hit me with his fist right across the chest, knocking the wind right out of me. Working together, however, we took him down. We were battered and beaten and could barely stand, and than all around us the temple began to shake. It was falling apart! So, tired or not, we needed to get out of there /fast/. So we ran. Covered with the dust and debris from falling columns, we made it out. It was there that our friend's posession became apparent. She refused to leave, and it was only when we physically dragged her from the area surrounding the temple and its influence that the... whatever it was that was inside of her burst forth, unable to exert control out of that domain."

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

Lucita says, "That is so exciting, so dangerous to hear about. Am glad they broke free and all turned out well!""

"Explaining the scars to Juliet when I got home was another adventure altogether," Joslyn adds, chuckling and giving a little smirk.

"Some half-goat fucker and a temple of cultists." Victus muses, shaking his head side to side. "Miss when the world still seemed simple and the worst we had to think about was burglars and politics. Never eaten goat... Don't think I'm gonna eat goat from now on."

"And here my greatest adventure has been wading knee deep through a cove with skeleton corpses, falling tiles, frienly spiders, all so I could read a wall written in Nox'Alfar that was nothing but name calling. The Rex'Alfar are born of a demons taint." A faint roll of her eyes. "I waded through the mire to read that." Alarissa looks to Victus with a ladylilke snort. "What of otter pirates?"

Lou nods in agreement with Lucita. "Indeed!" she exclaims. "Thank you for sharing your tale." She looks over at Victus and chuckles. "Oh, I don't think it was simple at all, not from everything in my travels. It just might have seemed as such at the time." She lifts both brows at Alarissa. "Otter. Pirates?

"

Titania looks up when Otter Pirates are mentioned and a small grin comes to her lips looking over to Victus, if this story is told she is going to have to try and hide.

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

Victus can barely hide his sneer. "Otter pirates. Fuckin' hell, I can't believe that weren't a fever dream when I think on it now. None of me got hurt, but a part of me still died that day." The High Lord recounts. "It's not for the faint of heart. Or the faint of people with right sensibilities in their heads."

"I met a knight that was a stoat," Joslyn offers up to the rest of the group. "Though I think most people seem to know Sir Matthew at this point," Joslyn laughs. "So... otter pirates, stoat knights. What's next? A rat gang?"

Titania smiles, "Otter Pirates and yes I have meet sir Matthew." she looks to Victus, "You should tell them, to tell them would honor those Otters your Grace." she says softly.

Lucita tips her head as she listens, her gaze following the flow of conversation from one to the other. She starts to cross one leg over the other but quidkly abandons the effort to extend her legs a little and just cross the ankles, settling in place to continue to listen. "What happened?"

"It does seem as if curiouser and curiouser things have happened. I've seen an animal that speaks, in the Arvani language." Lou offers, giving a nonchalant shrug of her shoulders.

Joslyn leans in close to Lou, speaking quietly, even as she listens to the rest of the conversation taking place.

There's some grumblings and grouchy growling from Victus. He's being nudged from somewhere unseen hard enough to jostle him a bit. After awhile, he relents, the air in his lungs leaving all at once through his nostrils. He takes his stand and walks up to tell the tale, hands in the pockets of his coat. "Alright. This story is fucking ridiculous but swear on my damn life and soul yet to return to the Wheel, every detail of this happened. There were three folks from Thrax. Me, Edward, and Titania who at the time was a lady of Kennex. We met Dame Leola out in the gray forest real early in the morning. I was awful groggy when she introduced the 'friend' we'd be helping out today. It was a fucking weasel with a monocle and sash, introduced himself as Sir Matthew of Petrichor's Fluffybottoms knight order. We didn't hear him talk, but Leola sure translated. To this day I'm not sure if this was all actual divine will or Leola just has the largest imagination with the most well-trained weasels in the world."

Lucita says, "From the way my dogs interact with her," She only makes a brief soft spoken interjection. " Dame Leola is something special!"

Titania grins when Victus gets up and starts to tell the story, she lays her hands are her belly listening remembering the journey well.

"I have yet to hear this, he refuses to tell me" and so Alarissa settles in for the story.

"So we find out there's some shrine to Petrichor that we need to clean out of some taint, or some such. It was up-river, so we were meeting with some of Matthew's 'friends' which coincidentally are also apart of Leola's 'friends'. We had to get on a raft." Victus rubs at the side of his face, already exasperated. "Titania took command, I took rowing. That was a nice respite, getting to row a seaworthy vessel. But unfortunately Sir Matthew was curious about me. Leola translated that he was wonderin' if all sea-based Houses have a bias against landlocked people. I was trying to ignore his existence up to this point, but it wasn't workin' out, so I... started talking to him." A sigh. "It was going okay, though. The trip was nice if you didn't think about where we were going... But that's when we met Matthew's friends. The Blackwhisker Pirates."

Alarissa gives another inladylike snort. "Blackwhisker pirates?"

Titania nods her head, "Yes your Grace, a very interesting and honorable group." she says to Alarissa then she looks back to Victus with a smile and continues to listen.

Joslyn giggles softly at Alarissa's reaction, and she interjects. "Trust me, the names I've been told about? That's the most normal name I've ever heard animals give themselves."

Lucita lifts a hand to her mouth to both hide a grin and stiffle a little laugh of amusement.

"Ask Dame Leola about House Don'tgotothedarkwaterwhatareyoucrazy. Though I suppose they will need to adopt a new name" Alarissa murmurs.

Willen have been dismissed.

Joslyn giggles, and nods eagerly to Alarissa. "Yes! That's the one!"

"The Blackwhiskers were all otters. All of them. All of them were otters that built tiny boats and forded rivers across the forests." Victus explains with the dryness of a man who has lost all will to live. "Sir Matthew said they'd be helping us cleanse the shrine and that we needed to get on their boat to do so. So we did. Titania stayed in command, I climbed into the crow's nest. One of them followed me all the way up there. It wanted my flask of whiskey. I tried to tell it that alcohol was probably poisonous to their species, but it wouldn't listen. It just sat there. With it's silly leather armor and sashes." He grinds his teeth together slowly. "Things started to get rocky the closer we got to the shrine though. Fun and games got left behind when the sharks started circlin' to try and take us down. They had some bad intentions and before long, we were swept up in a sudden storm. Some of the otters went overboard and got gobbled up, others fared a bit better."



A grim look comes over his face. "When we made landfall at the grotto, the water itself started raisin' up against us. Murky shades started popping up. It was the four of us, plus Sir Matthew, and a whole slew of otters in silly clothing against 'em all."

Lucita continues to listen with rapt attention, the story telling keeping her silent.

Titania moves a hand to rest on Joslyns arm as Victus tells the story, a bit of a sad look comes to her when he gets to the ones who went over board, "Sharks are jerks."

Joslyn rests her hand atop Titania's as she sits quietly, listening to the story alongside her, furrowing her brows. "They are," Joslyn agrees.

"You were not jesting" Alarissa murmurs.

"No, no I fuckin' wasn't." Victus barks back in kind to his wife. "We fought through the whole shrine, slicing down the shades while they took some of our Otter crew down with 'em. It was a difficult fight, certainly wasn't without it's share of scars either. But luckily these were apparitions were the same kind that did go down with normal steel and shot. So we killed 'em. When they were all gone, Leola and Titania did their, whatever the hell it is they do, and the shrine was all pretty again. Cleansed of the bad-shit." The High Lord seems to wind down as the tale nears its end. "We hopped back on the boat and the Blackwhiskers took us home... With the promise that if we ever needed them again, they owed us one. I hope I never have to live to the day where I gotta wonder "Where the hell are those Otters when I need them" in the middle of battle. I hope. Gods, I fuckin' hope."

Victus's story is done and Alarissa's squeezes his shoulder. "I should write a story about them, if no one has yet. Fanciful tales of the Blackwhisker tribe."

Joslyn looks to Titania and gives her a little smile. "Sounds like you really went through something," she says. "I do have an appointment to keep today, however. It has been lovely seeing you all," she wraps her arms around Titania in an embrace before she pulls herself to her feet.

Titania smiles at Victus when he is done with his story, she enjoyed hearing it very much. "They were brave Otters." she smiles to Joslyn, "Remind me later I will tell you about the shark wrestling." she moves to wrap a arm around the other woman returning the embrace.

"here i hope that my jaunt to the island will be far less adventerous and just a loevely easy sail and trek through the woods." Joslyn is making to leave, around them people are sitting in their small groups and enjoying the stories and food. "Be well lady Joselyn, you and your alacrite hair pin."

Lucita says, "That was an adventure indeed, and a most interesting one. I'm impressed! Thank you for sharing it with us." She hesitates and then says. "I don't have anything really good like that to share but.. do you all know my cousin Echo?""

Conker, the Ornery Red Squirrel, Dame Barkley, a chocolate tri beagle leave, following Joslyn.

"Princcess echo, of Redrain. Her sister is marrying into Valardin." Alarissa nods.

Lucita gives a nod. "Yes, Echo is the younger sister of the twins Astraea and Amarantha, and sister to Lord Apollis. This is a true story put to song. It is no where as exciting and gripping, just rather ordinary truth be told, but is a mix of sad and amusing at the same time. It is about something happened in Granato back shortly before my cousin Echo got married and moved away." She hmmms a moment. "She'll probably yell at me if she knows I sang it to you but anyhow, here goes. It is called Echo's Retribution" She strums her lute then begins to sing:



All women seem perfect his friends did say

When you've indulged in to much wine today

Eventually they will have flaws that show

But he scoffed at the words and a courting did go



Oh, the man went courting, or so he said

But too much wine had gone to his head

A lovely woman he saw so proud and so fair

With creamy skin, gray eyes and white hair



Soon the lovely woman found she was courted

Or so all the Granato gossips had reported

But soon Echo decided to drive the man away

For too deep in the wine he'd always stay



Lucita continues:

And the lovely woman he thought he'd found

Feigned an annoying laugh, a grating sound

Then sang purposely so bad that dogs did howl

And ate things to make her breath smell foul



And a courting he did go, a courting he did go

But the flaws that mattered were 'his', you know

Stayed to drunk to see Echo as she really could be

He deserved to be tricked, that's plain to see.



She finishes singing and rests her hand on the lute strings to silence them. "She never did tell me who the man was, just gave a big grin when she told me about it."

"You always sing so lovely." Alarisa muses. "Never will your children shrink in horror if you sing like ours will." Alarissa laughs at that. "And that, is an interesting tale."

Titania runs her fingers in her hair smiling, "Such good stories." she says softly her fingers running over her belly gently. "I have one from when I was but a child."

Victus returns to his spot on the ground, looking just a teeny bit worse for wear after that ordeal. Nonetheless, his eyes follow Lucita as she tells her story, then next onto Titania.

Lucita chuckles softly. "When they are little, a parent's voice is so welcome the notes and tone matter not, it is beautiful to them. Oh, another story, do tell!"

"Tell us your tale Fireviper. Before we disperse to go make sur everyone knows where they are resting for the night." Alarissa shifts, leaning forward to murmur to Victus

Titania smiles, "Growing up the only child of Sonya and Renault Kennex, I was always drawn to the allure of the water and the ships rolling into the docks. My friends were the beautiful Kennex vessels coming home from patrols, waiting for them to pass through the Stormbreak Arches. I reveled in watching the vastly varied types of people coming and going, wondering what each one did, where they came from, what kind of fantastical adventures they have been on. Through curiosity, I eavesdropped, learning and listening, getting to know these sailors and Kennex Corsairs from afar. One day, when a pair of sailors from Arx had come, and a group of Corsairs got into a bit of a row, I stepped in, without even fully realizing what I was doing, and quelled the potential fight before blows were thrown. Mind you I was a small child and nnbeknownst to me, Wash Kennex wasn't far, watching the altercation and my intervention. He mentioned this to Catalana later that night and I was invited to be trained in finer points of Diplomacy. Its how I came to be so close to Lord Wash and Lady Catalana, I had not know my cousins well till that point till they took me in and they became like parents to me." she smiles ending her story.

Lucita says, "Awww, that is a good story, one about friends and family.."She moves around a little in the chair as she speaks. "..and one with warmth in it."

'and on that note, we should break, go and tend to making sure everyone has a tent and then we can all filter back for more tales and some food." Alarissa's careful in geting up so not to disturb Victus. "No one is obligated to spend the night, but assure you, accomodations are top notch, and very comfortable and how often do you get to spend the night in the menagerie?"

Lucita @emit Camp chairs are not the easiest to get out of graceflly when the balance is thrown off and additional bulk affects flexibility, but not having to be as caeful to avoid Victus since he was on the other side of Alarissa, Lucita does, eventually, manage and murmurs. "..and I didn't even have to turn it over."

Titania moves to get out of her seat slowly, "I should head back to the manor, I am afraid I am needed there." she smiles looking to them all, "I thank you for holding this your highness, it was nice to hear stories." she looks to Lucita and Victus smiling, "I do hope you still have the Otter paper weight your grace." she grins running a ahnd over her belly again.

"Would be easier if kids didn't take so damn long to get into the world, eh?" Victus mused to the pair of ladies he sat with as he makes his way up to his feet, brushing the grass from his coat. "I got some shit to start writing..." He grimaces to Titania. "Yeah it's still on the desk. Stained with ink now, but it's there." He leans over to press his lips to the side of Alarissa's cheek. "I'll see ya' back at home."

"In the morning, Lucita and I are going to compare belly sizes, and moan about swollen feet and eat everything in the menagerie, maybe sneak into the butterfly dsplays." She takes the kiss on her cheek and nods to Victus before turning to Lucita and offering her hand. "Be well Countess Titania."

Titania nods her head, "Be well Your Higness, Baroness Saik." she nods her head to her two guards and turns to start her slow woddle walk back to the Fireviper Manor.

2 Iron Guardsmen leaves, following Titania.

Lucita chuckles softly as she takes the hand offered. "Indeed, be well, Countess." To Alarissa she says. "My brother made a vow to Estaban to watch out for me and took the vow seriously. One day he arrived with a huge basket of pastries and cheeses, olives, a pickle, a 'kabob', some preserves, dried fruit and small amounts of about every food he could find, all for the sake of saving numerous trips to the market when I sent a messenger to him speaking of a craving for something.

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

"Hmm, they do that. That's good. Enjoy it. Come, we'll walk around a bit, see the animals some." Alarissa offers her hand to Lucita to help her up



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