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July Grayson Family Dinner!

The next installment of the Grayson Family Dinner is scheduled for July 15th! Grayson family members are of course welcome, as are any vassals or anyone somehow connected to the family. It's just a way for everyone to all get in the same room and catch each other up on what's going on. Attendance is not required, but strongly encouraged and light guilt trips may be arranged for those who can't make it because family comes first, right? None Greater Than Grayson At Attending Family Gatherings!


July 15, 2018, 8 p.m.

Hosted By



Harlan Enoch Coraline Alaric Kaldur Barric(RIP) Augustus Niklas Mia Luca Fairen Tikva Kalani



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Grayson Mansion - Dining Room

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The last minute details have been assembled, there's someone from the Bard's College in the corner playing some kind of violin and everything looks perfect! Sabella is standing by the door ready to greet everyone as they come in, beaming a smile and bouncing on her toes, "Come in, come in! Have a seat anywhere! Nothing is assigned. Except the seat closest to the cake. That's mine. I will challenge people for it!"

Enoch follows Alaric into the halls of Grayson mansion, decked in the armor of the King's own with blade at his side. With a small chuckle, he looks to Alaric. "Well, of course I am, cousin." he says with an amused look on his face before he's ordered to stop guarding him as long as dinner goes on. "As you say, my king." he does with a warm smile before walking at his side instead of slightly behind him. "'s been awhile since I've seen the family all gathered."

"You may very well have a challenges then, your Highness." Fairen teases, making his way into the dinning room with his usual assortment of guards and finger eating bird left at the entrance of the estate itself. Though he doesn't actually -take- said seat, but positions himself next to it, settling down and folding his hands in his lap.

Tikva settles herself into one of the seats, arraying her dark skirts in a swish of silk and umbra and then taking off her hat to hang it carefully on the back of her chair. Turning a sunny smile to all and sundry as she runs her hand back through her hair, she says, "Sabella, I'm so glad you decided to go all out in arranging this. We really don't get around the table enough as a group, you know?"

Harlan enters from outside, looking to be a good mood and inclines his head towards, well, everyone, before moving towards wherever he's been told to sit.

Moving rather similarly to Fairen, only older and with more gravitas, Prince Augustus 'Old and Cranky Is A Complete Personality' Grayson makes his way through the dining room toward an unoccupied nondescript seat. He offers polite nods of the head to those relatives he recognises, and even more polite nods of the head to those he doesn't.

Arriving arm in arm with Coraline, Barric walks into the dining room with his betrothed. The man is still moving stiffly but if there is any further discomfort he isn't showing it currently. "Family." He says with a small smile and then introduces, "Princess Coraline Thrax, this is my family. For the most part. I am still not quite sure how we're all related but I am almost positive it's pretty safe to use 'Cousin' for everyone here. Then again... probably not." He chuckles wryly, "Family, my betrothed, Princess Coraline Thrax, who I am sure probably everyone knows already." And then he walks over towards the table and pulls out a chair for the Princess on his arm.

Sabella nods to Tikva, "Even once a month feels too little, but at least its something! Especially for those of us that are so busy," She gestures to those assembled, "But! This is an opportunity for us to help each other out with that! In just a but when more people arrive we'll play that game again. The what have you been up to one. So start thinking! And it can't be something that was just covered in the Assembly," she warns Alaric, but beams at him, "I'm so happy you were able to make this one!"

Arriving on Barric's arm, Cora gives a little wave to those she knows, and those she doesn't before taking the seat offered by Barric and settles down, "Good to see you all again."

Lord Kaldur arrives, with Lady Kalani on his arm, the two engrossed in a tete-a-tete. House Seliki's Country House and City House represented, respectively. The young knight, Wavedancer at his hip, bound as courtesy dictates, selects a seat for he and his cousin, introducing her here and there to the folk he knows more than by sight.

"A one Princess Coraline Thrax?" Fairen asks, casting his gaze towards the pair of them as they arrive, feigning at unfamiliarity with them both. "No, I don't think I am familiar with this woman. It is a pleasure to meet you, your Highness." He says, bobbing his head at Cora, a slow grin forming on his lips.

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

"Ahah!" Tikva hoists the object that she has been delivered high in the air above her head. It is a banjo. It twangs, banjo like, as she lowers it again.

3 House Riven Soldiers, 1 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors, Lianna arrive, following Mia.

Dressed for the weather in a thermal sweater that's a forest green, a pair of slim black trousers and tailored boots, Kalani aims a warm smile and amiable nod to everyone that she's introduced to as she takes a seat alongside Kaldur. "Congratulations to you both," she offers with another nod to Barric and Princess Coraline.

Harlan looks over towards Fairen, "You've never heard of her either?" His expression is smooth, tone bland.

"We do tend to wander," Alaric observes to Enoch before blinking at Augustus. "Well! If it isn't Great-uncle Augustus!" he declares in apparently delighted surprise. "I didn't know you were back from Bastion." Before the King can start annoying the elderly with too much unmitigated sociability, Sabella warns him and he looks quite innocent. "I'm pleased to be here. I even brought an extra cousin," he says with a gesture at Enoch. "You remember Enoch, right?" Granted, Alaric tends to assume everybody else has his borderline alarming ability to remember the faces and names of everybody he meets well beyond the normal bounds of Dunbar's number. He also takes a moment to smile over yonder at Barric and Coraline.

Mia steps into the dining room, shrugging her way out of a long cloak in the process of doing so. The ebon fur is given something of an affectionate pat before she passes it off to Lianna, to pass off to... whomever, really, before her eyes sweep over the room. Well. "It seems that there are quite few more Graysons, and a quite few less vassals than I'd anticipated." A pause. "I hope I've not overstepped?" Ohh, dear. Should she not have sent Lianna off so quickly?

An amused look goes first to Fairen then Harlan, "I am distinctly unknowable I know." She says dryly, "In fact when you hear of me I become terribly forgotten, it is a rather problematic habit of mine." Kalani gets a warm smile, "Thank you, it is also wonderful to meet you." Alaric gets a little finger wave of greeting, "Pleasure to see you again Majesty." She grins.

Fairen wrinkles his nose up back at Harlan, amusement riling through his expression even if he works con conceal it. "Never once in my life." He adds, then glances up at Mia as she arrives, nodding at her. As his cousin teases him back, he grins and gives Coraline a playful wink. "It's good to see you again." Then he pauses for a moment. "I told you I'm planning a visit back to Leaholdt, right? Have you decided whether or not you are going?"

Usually unflappable, the hoisting of a banjo does earn an actual raising of the eyebrow from Augustus. "I haven't seen one of those in a while," he says, his voice managing to carry with very little effort. He does pause, though, when Alaric moves his mouth and prompts noises to flow from it. "Quite, your Imperial majesty," Augustus intones, offering a light bow towards the much younger man, "Though with so much going on I daresay I could have entered the city a carriage drawn by a dozen flying horses and most wouldn't notice." He takes a moment to peer around the room, but as nobody else is speaking to him he simply allows the sounds to wash over him.

Sabella shakes her head at Mia with a welcoming smile and a gesture for her to keep coming towards the table, "Please! You are always welcome, especially at these dinners! Honestly, I half expect most of Thrax to show up sometime since I invite family friends as well," a smile is given to Coraline, "So tell your sisters next time! And yes, I remember Enoch! I used to rope him into my knights and princesses games when we were little ar Bastion. I mean, I did that with everyone, but if I remember correctly he played a great noble horse." She tries not to notice the banjo, glancing around for Niklas' inevitable smiling face.

"Come sit, Countess Mia!" Tikva puts down the banjo and gestures to the high table as she gives her former liege lady a wide smile. "Find a place! You cannot be more family than being Tiber's auntie." She resettles the banjo at a canted angle against the chair and gives Augustus a crooked grin. "Not exactly high table material, /I suppose/, but Prince Niklas keeps insisting that we are going to have a banjo duel, and yet we keep being without banjos. I have caused a banjo to arrive in the event this is going to actually occur."

"Shit, shit, sh-" Niklas skids into the room, sees that he is, in fact, every bit as late as he was worried he might be and just stops. All cool, he wanders over to the table, patting the banjo slung around his shoulders. "Evening, all. Hello and hello. Tikva. Marquis Fairen. Countess." A momentary flicker indicates he's not a hundred percent on Mia's title, but he said Countess and he's sticking with it. "Barric, Dame Princess Coraline! Good to see you both!" Niklas nods to himself, pretty much got everyone he knows, good job! Oh, wait, he just walked past the king. That's not a good one to forget. He turns and bows. "And your majesty, of course!"

"If our luck holds true," Barric says to Augustus, "Then there may well be a dueling banjo's session at one of these dinners sometime soon." He smiles wryly then nods his thanks over towards Kalani, "Thank you, we're both quite looking forwards to it." He smiles softly towards Coraline then and after making sure Coraline is settled he finds a seat for himself with a bit of an annoyed clench of his jaw and grinding of teeth to sit as smoothly as he can.

Harlan merely smiles back towards Coraline, and looks around and various other people, but doesn't have anything to say -- although he still looks amused at Niklas.

Enoch doesn't honestly know how many people remember him, since he ewas always training and swordfighting and traveling as a child, but he does offer a small nod to all present. Though he does seem extremely happy that Sabella remembers him! "Yes, yes you did. It's good to see you, Sabella. and looking fantastic to boot." he says with a chuckle. Then he also looks to Augustus, giving him a small bow of his head in return.

There was something of a flicker at the edges of Mia's expression at the mention of Tiber, but, well. The woman wasn't prone to public displays of affection. Perhaps it was meant to be a smile, or at least the ghost of one? Who knows, really. Either way, she murmurs, "Thank you." Which was followed rather swiftly by a curtsy for the sake of the King, who it seems she'd not expected would be in attendance. "Your Majesty." And then, "Your Highnesses. My lords. My lady." Which should rather exhaustively cover everyone, she's relatively sure.

Alaric eyes Enoch as if sizing him up for horse surrogacy before nodding sagely. "I see, I see," he declares with a possibly unnerving amoung of vagueness before grinning at Augustus. "Well, I don't know about that, but it's wonderful to have you back. I haven't seen you in ages," he marvels. Granted, he was lacking either consciousness or coherence for the better part of three years. He glances at Niklas, eying his banjo. "Is it supposed to look like that on purpose?" he wonders before regarding Mia with a smile. "Ah, Countess Mia, so nice to see you," he replies pleasantly.

To Fairen Cora nods, "I would like to yes, besides there is someone I very much wish to meet there, though likely not nearly as much as you." Sabella gets a laugh, "Oh I would if I had the chance to see them very often. They are busy busy themselves." Niklas gets an amused grin, "I don't think Dame Princess is a thing Prince Niklas, though it is a pleasure to see you as well." A fond look to Barric then her eyes go to Mia and she too gets a wave and a smile, "It is lovely to see you again."

"If you learn how to teach a single horse to fly, let alone a dozen of them, please let me know, your Highness." Fairen offers over to Augustus, then he turns to catch Niklas' greeting with a smile and a nod of his head in resonse. "Thank you for having me. The estate is really quite beautiful, and I should make it a point to visit more often." He decides, then looks back at Coraline with a wide grin, nodding his head at her. "I think Lady Valitina is a good motivator for getting family to get on board with the trip. She has the most adorable little cheeks and feets you've ever seen."

"When you say a banjo duel," Augustus says as he eventually slides into his seat, "I take it you mean a performance *on* the banjo, not a fight *with* the banjos." He pauses and offers a small smile, "I know which one I'd rather see Prince Niklas subjecte... participate in." When Niklas does finally appear as if being pursued by a particularly bothersome chicken, the elder statesmen raises both of his eyebrows slightly, "I have known some Dame Princesses in my time. Fighting warriors of royal-noble birth... but of course in Thrax they just call them Princesses, obviously."

"Your Majesty," the Seliki healer rises from her chair for a moment and dips a curtsy as well to King Alaric before aiming a smile around the table in general, following Mia's lead, "My lords and ladies, thank you for the invitation," Kalani adds with a smile to Sabella. Only then does she lift the caraf of water from the table and tops off her glass, then Kaldur's, old habits simply do not die, and settles back slightly once more, glass lightly held in one hand. "Have you settled upon a date as of yet?" Kalani wonders of Barric and Coraline, her eyes sweeping the room again and those gathered around it as more people pull up chairs. And now there are banjos.

Enoch looks to Alaric. "...I know that look, your majesty. Stop it." he says with a small hint of amusement and playfulness in his voice about the horse surrogacy.

Cora nods to Fairen at his words, "Oh I am certain, so many new babies recently it is wonderful. I can't wait to meet her properly, truly she is the best motivator." To Kalani, Cora looks a bit sheepish, "The hope is spring, though it is possible it will end up summer."

"We are just the royal hostages." Barric tells Kalani with a soft chuckle, "When the details have been worked out, I am guessing they will let us know somewhat in advance so that we can adequately prepare but... one never knows what the future holds." He smiles at that before he chuckles at Augustus, "In this case, Princess Coraline was actually knighted as well by High Lord Victus, I believe it is the first Princess Knight in Thrax in... possibly ever." He smiles and then looks at Fairen, "Congratulations on the birth of your daughter, by the way, may she take after her mother." He says playfully.

Smiling at Cora, Fairen nods his head. "I miss her already. We're going to have to extend the visit to Leaholdt by a few days even still. Really, she couldn't have come at a more unique time." He decides, the content expression on his face as plain as day. Then Barric is speaking to him and he nods his head at him, then wrinkles his nose. "How dare you say that." He says with a chuckle, shaking his head. "I already get enough of that fight-me attitude from Marquessa Iliana, and from Lady Arcadia. I don't need any more of it."

Sabella beams at Fairen, "I will congratulate you in just a moment because I don't want us to get ahead of ourselves when it comes to news to share so--" she raises up her wine glass and taps it with a fork. Ting ting! "Welcome everyone! If you have never been to family dinner before, please help yourself to anything you see that looks good! All we ask is that you enjoy yourselves, relax, and participate in a little game we always play! Basically each of us will say something notable that has happened recently, or talk about something we are doing that we might need assistance with. Or an exciting announcement! Then you pick the next person to go until everyone's had a turn. And with that--I will go first!" She reaches out a hand to Niklas so he can join her. "I think we have been able to mostly keep this to ourselves with only a few other people catching on, but since Niklas is the newest Grayson and he's done so well we decided there ought to be a newer one! Who we won't welcome for some time, but! The Voices should rest assured we are rushing to fulfill that part of the contract." she says brightly, "And no matter what Niklas says we are not naming a baby after his brother. And that's my news so now...Princess Tikva! What have you been up to?"

"I don't know what you're talking about. I -have- a horse, he's expertly trained in fact," Alaric declares nonchalantly to Enoch before regarding Kalani and Kaldur sociably. "Lord Kaldur, good to see you again. I don't believe I've made the acquaintance of your companion, however. Another member of House Seliki, I presume?"

Kaldur's mouth rounds with appreciative surprise at Kalani's filling his glass. Old habit or no, seems the Sword doesn't expect it. Kaldur squints at his glass, brows furrowed. Squints INTO his glass. Someone mentions something about horses and his attention lifts, eyes searching out the speaker and the speakee. Noneother than His Magesty, Alaric and His Magesty's Own. The young man seems rather preoccupied, though not so much that he doesn't snare a glass of wine to offer his own, "Yes, congratulations to you both, Princess Coraline and Prince Barric." He leans to Kalani and murmurs. To Enoch, "Seems I recall this one doing the same to me." Allll the horse-y back rides, though he's the younger between them. As Sabella speaks he turns his attention and lifts his glass attentively. When Alaric addresses him directly, he blinks rapidly, "Ehm," ears color faintly. He might spring to his feet, and some inner counsel - for good or ill - schools him to do just so. He stands, setting down his glass and takes Lady Kalani's hand lightly in his, lifting gently, "Your Magesty, I am remiss. My cousin, Lady Kalani Seliki. She and her family are our 'city folk.'" He beams at Kalani and then bows to the King.

Sabella naturally catches Tikva with a forkful of greens in her mouth. She chews quickly, waving her fork amiably, and then sets it down. "I am so delighted to be among the first to congratulate Sabella and Niklas," Tikva says, "and of course, what I have been doing is working on arrangements for the Tournament of Swords in the coming weeks. I hope to see all these faces there, and if anyone would like to join me, Sabella and Princess Coraline in coming up with what we ought to for prizes for some of our events, creativity is /absolutely/ welcome, because unique event prizes are totally beyond my imagination at this point. Ah, I think I'm also going to be dueling my ridiculous husband sometime when we get our champions together and that will probably also be a party." Reaching for her glass again, she picks a person: "Um ... Prince Augustus, welcome back to the city; I think you shall get to go next. Tell us, how were things at home, and do you have plans for what to apply yourself to in the coming weeks?"

Making a startled sound, a sort of surprised laugh paired with an almost inhale of the sip of water from the glass she's holding, Kalani turns a notable shade of pink as she smiles at Coraline. "I have had the pleasure of meeting Prince Victus, sort of. There was a drinking competition a few months back, and I seem to have won against him," she says in a low voice that's pitched to carry to Coraline. This said she sets the glass down, so that her hands are free, as Kaldur rises to his feet and responds to the Kings query.

Enoch chuckles a little bit to Alaric. "Good." because he ain't surrogating no damn horses! He's not much of a horse-rider after all. Nevertheless, his eyes shift to Kaldur with a bit of a smile. "Shhh. We don't talk about that." he teases, he has great memories with most of the people here. With that in mind Nevertheless, he also looks to Coraline and Barric "Congratulations to you both. and to you and Niklas, Sabella." he smiles happily. Though he remains next to the king.

Catching sight of Sabella's smile, Fairen returns one of his own, nodding his head along with her as she mentions holding off on the congratulations. Then there is the bit about the game, and the announcement of her child and his expression lights up with joy. "Oh, congratulations, your Highnesses! Really, that's amazing news!" Then his attention shifts over to Tikva, as she speaks up as well, smiling and nodding his head at her.

Sabella gets a hearty, "Congratulations, and good luck as well." with a bright smile, Kaldur gets his own smile, "Thank you very much, we are excited." She nods at Tikva's words her expression making it clear prizes is not her forte. To Kalani, Cora grins, "Well done, he can drink that one so you most certainly have my respect. He is a good one is Highlord Victus."

Mia settles herself into a chair, about to reply to Coraline's kind greeting and bright grin -- an expression which, by the looks of it, has caught her momentarily off-guard. Whatever she was about to say is cut short, however, by Sabella's setting forth of the "rules" and her subsequent announcement. "Congratulations, Your Highnesses. Truly. I cannot tell you how thoroughly my Vahari coming into the world changed every inch of it, at least as far as I'm concerned."

Also adds to Enoch, "Thank you so much."

Barric smiles bright at Sabella, "Congratulations Cousin," He looks at Niklas, "Now you've done it, you have to settle down and be a role model. Next you'll be writing plays about family hijinx and dramatical comedies." He smiles a little wider at that, mischief in his eyes. He nods his thanks to Enoch as well when Coraline adds the thank you to him and then he asks Tikva, "What events are you going to have at the Tournament? It's been a long time since I was able to joust for anything of note."

Alaric regards Kalani with something resembling low-key awe. "Outdrinking Prince Victus? You're not one to be trifled with, then." He grins personably. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Lady Kalani." He regards Kaldur. "City folk or not, do not challenge her to a drinking contest," he advises emphatically before turning to applaud lightly for Niklas and Sabella. "Wonderful news! I for one am looking very much forward to at least four months of effortlessly being able to outrun Sabella," he quips.

Having just poured a small cup of tea, Augustus has allowed the brownish-greenish concoction to sit for a moment when he is called upon to account for himself. He pauses and arches an eyebrow slightly, "Well, thank you Princess Inquisitor." Apparently he's been keeping up with who is who and who does what. And who does who, presumably. "Things at home were rather mundane, thankfully. Master Corneliad's turnips are the talk of the town, as expected, managing to outpace Master Genetivi's in deliciousness." He offers a small, almost invisible smile, "Though if I see another turnip stew again after judging the competition, I would prefer to turn myself over to your clutches for an ordeal."

He pauses again, as if contemplating his words with extraordinary care, "I... do not believe my primary business is table-worthy conversation. But I do have a mind to write another book, so that should be an enjoyable passtime." Looking about the room Augustus' gaze halts at Enoch, "Sir Enoch, of the King's Own. I believe we turn to you, now."

Harlan nods towards Fairen and Sabella, and lifts his glass, "Congratulations, Prince and Princess." He sips from his drink...and goes back to eating. He's hungry!

"I'm already quite the role model, Barric. Scholar Oswyn benefited from my example for several months before I decided he was ready to fly on his own and now look at him, keeping notes at the Assembly of Peers and everything." Niklas takes Sabella's hand, because she's HIS wife, HIS, and settles in next to her. "But thank you all. We appreciate everyone's well wishes. Soon we'll be off to Bastion for our tour and... oh, hm, no Gareth tonight. Well, we can talk about that later." Niklas looks over and smiles to Sabella, taking off his banjo and setting it down. For now. "We are quite excited."

Kaldur nods sagely at the King's admonition, "No, you are correct, Magesty." He settles himself back in place, "The City Seliki are nothing to trifle with." He settles into his place. He lifts a glass in toast to his host, "Ah, cheers to that, Princess Sabella, Prince Niklas." He catches Countess Mia's eye and nods to her along the table before tucking into his meal.

"Thank you everyone! And I am very much looking forward to the tournament and Your Majesty let's not pretend that you couldn't outrun me right now, I know you were there for Dame Felicia's contest where I didn't quite make the Silver Order." she holds up her fingers like it was only by that much. "And I expect to get lots and lots of advice from everyone. Elizabetta is already very excited to be promoted to nanny!" Elizabetta does not look excited about this. When Augusus speaks she turns to him with interest, "Oh, what will the subject of your next book be, do you think? I'm submitting one for Lady Monique's competition! Or I will if I ever finish it."

"I'm usually correct, whether or not I'm right," Alaric observes to Kaldur. "Perks of authority," he quips before he finally sits down next to Harlan to chat him up a little and further postpone the poor guy's dinner. "Duke Harlan, always a pleasure to see you out here. I do hope that all goes well back at the Keep? I've heard you've taken on Sir Jordan as a military advisor not so long ago," he declares sociably. He glances back at Sabella and holds his fingers just a little bit less apart than she did. It was just that close, obviously.

Accompanied by a brief glimpse of a grin, Kalani aims a deep nod to King Alaric, "I did my best, sire," she says as Kaldur settles back in his seat alongside her. "Well, if we were easily trifled with, it wouldn't be any fun at all," she reminds in a mild voice before lifting her glass toward Princess Sabella and Prince Niklas, "Congratulations, may the next months be calm ones," she says in a hopeful tone of voice.

Enoch smiles softly to everyone though he mostly remains in the background. Though with a tilt of his head as he turns to Augustus. "You're writing a book? Once it is finished, I'd be delighted to read it, my friend." he then looks to Kalani with a small smile "Well said."

There was a small nod in response to Kaldur, though tt the mention of a book being written, Mia's attention swiftly turns to Augustus. All interest in her roast beef has been set aside in favor of the topic. With both brows arched, she's honestly so intent on hearing his answer -- and so obvious about it -- to be about as subtle as a rock crashing through one of their lovely glass windows would be. "I'd wager a fair bit of silver on it *not* being about turnips, Prince Augustus?", she ventures.

The father of many babies, Fairen Leary remains seated... Actually, right next to Sabella. But surely they aren't holding hands under the table or anything. He's just seated here for the cake. As that particular she, whoever it may be, starts talking, he looks back at her and nods his head. "So, who is next in this game of ours?" He asks, perking up some and looking around the table.

Kaldur laughs, "Just so," The knight's dimples make an appearance, "And I bet you find you're ever so funny, as well." Teeth flash and Kaldur's brows furrow briefly, "Magesty, who, if I may ask," he ducks his chin and does rather ask before getting permission, "Trains your horse? Is it Lady Fianna by chance?" Talk of writing a book has Kaldur's attention sharpening, "I've been thinking of having Seliki's history recorded by someone gifted," Kaldur tips his head at Augustus, "Is that something you'd be interested in or do you have a recommendation? I was thinking of something more than a dry recounting of dates and places."

"I believe it was Enoch's turn to go." Barric says, looking over towards Enoch, "To tell us something of what he's been up to recently."

Giuseppe, a kindly old man arrives, following Luca.

Oh gods! it's Enoch's turn! He seems to ponder. "Hm...well, Not a great deal has been happening with me, unfortunately. I joined the Kings Own recently, and I'd hope that I was doing a good job." he looks to Alaric amusedly as if to ask for confirmation. Nevertheless, he continues. "But...I'm not getting married nor am I starting a family." he states then. "I suppose aside from joining the King's I haven't been up to too much." he shrugs lightly.

Niklas laughs at Enoch. "Well, if the intense response from Dame Leona last time I suggested I was an honorary member is anything to go by, joining up is serious business and something to be quite proud of. So congratulations are in order, I think, and it's news well worth sharing!"

With all attention suddenly on him the elder Grayson frowns ever so lightly, though it appears for scarcely a moment. "It likely will... mention turnips. I intend on writing a series of comparative essays, comparing several facets of more recent times with similar situations in my youth. To see how we've improved, where we've let our standards slip, and so forth. Nothing as strenuous as recounting a house's entire history." He pauses, though and sips from his teacup, "That would indeed be a challenge, necessitating much research. So one would need a strong intellectual mind as well as a capable creative one. I used to know every author from here to the Mourning islands, but these days I can barely remember which boot goes on which foot unless pressed."

"It's Master Tristan, the Royal Stablemaster," Alaric tells Kaldur. "Still Master. He turned down the chance for a knighthood, you see. I'm not surprised, personally. Known him since we were both lads back in Bastion. He's the sort who thinks horses are better people than people are," he explains before turning to regard Enoch after hearing the question. "I'm still breathing, so you must be doing something right," he deadpans before grinning roguishly after a few beats.

Enoch now picks Fiaren. "I think Fairen could share next, unless he already has and I found myself not paying attention..." which he says kinda apologetically.

"Yes. Three cheers for making sure His Majesty does not forget how to breathe!" Tikva raises her glass.

Sabella doesn't narrow her eyes at the King because that might make his guards nervous, but she does smile at him maaaybe a little too brightly, "You must be doing a great job, since you got him to come to dinner in one piece!" she tells Enoch cheerfully. "No easy feat! But thank you for sharing!"

Better late than never. Luca never says that, he just lives it, and here he comes living it up to the fullest, more late than never. He looks like he's been bathed not so long ago, actually, his hair only half-dried in the moment, and putting on clothing must have been an issue for him because he's wearing a soft post-bathing robe in Grayson's colors, "Oh, wow. Vassal company at dinner. I didn't realize..", he says, but seems undaunted considering the way he keeps on coming, to find himself a seat. "I think I overdressed. I didn't realize Nik would be here. I'll never win him over at this speed..", he says.

Enouch smiles to Alaric with a small chuckle. "Why thank you." then he turns his head to Sabella. "Thank you kindly." though then Luca comes in! With a small tilt of his head he chuckles softly to the fellow. "Well, better late than never, yes. You look fine though." he compliments him.

"Well, if you need assistance in such a challenge... I can't promise I will have time free for it, but I do have some notes that relate to House Grayson." Fairen says to... Presumably Augustus. Then Enoch is picking on him for the game and he smiles back at the man, nodding his head. "Alright... I don't know if it is unfair to mention news already noted in a formal proclamation, but just my wife and I had a beautiful baby girl just the other night. My cousin and I, Lady Elloise Leary, left in a hurry to support the birth of her." He says, smiling happily. Then Luca arrives and he looks over at him, arching his brow in amusement at the Prince.

"Just keep breathing, Sire, that's the trick to making sure everything else keeps ticking along nicely," there's amusement now in Kalani's tone of voice as she raises her glass again to accompany the calls for cheers. "Hip hip," and al that before Fairen announces that he and his wife just added to their family, "Hooray!" because that bit of news deserved it too.

"Well, then, Your Highness. It's a very good thing that no one accepted my wager, or I'd have had to empty my coin purse right here on the table, which would be terribly gauche." Mia offers a hint of a smile to Augustus, and... wait. Wait, no. There's Luca, suddenly sitting at the table in a bathrobe. For a few moments, the woman simply blinks at him. Slowly. Owlishly, even.

"That is true..." Barric says, "Your failing would be highly noticeable, there'd be no doubt about that." He smiles wryly between Alaric and Enoch but then nods to Fairen, "Congratulations again." He looks over towards Mia and asks, "The real question is, what do the turnips stand for?" He smiles and reaches out to take a little bit of food, not a lot, for his plate. He listens and watches while eating slowly from tiny bites. "At least it's not a sheet this time." Barric notes when Luca arrives in his bathrobe.

Niklas looks down at his banjo. Over at Tikva's. Back down at his. Back to Tikva. His eyebrows raise and he tilts his head. A challenge issued! Patting the neck of his banjo he says, "This banjo is finally back home after some years, you know. It used to be Washburn's until I stole it. Normally I'd never do such a thing, but Catalana begged me. And paid me. And cried." He shakes his head at Luca. "You need to play harder to get, Luca. Even if no one has ever been less hard to get."

Cora listens to the blend of what people have done, offerning congrats once more to Fairen with a smile, as well as drinking her wine and nibbling the offered bites. Luca's arrival is met with a blink at the robe but a soft chuckle and a shaken head before she is going back to the booze.

"I think that this might be Luca's plea for the House to buy him some damned pants," Tikva says reflectively. She answers Niklas's eyebrow challenge by scooting her chair back, and picking up the banjo she set beside her chair. Hoisting it as she stands, she fills her lungs to declaim with a performer's volume, "Ladies; gentlemen; family. Prince Niklas Grayson has challenged me to a bard's duel, with this instrument. He has a weapon once borne by Prince Washburn Grayson, and my weapon is borrowed from a knight of our livery! Borrowed, rescued, whatever. Anybody who is as appalled by this as some of you are looking may wish to cover your ears..."

"Oh, Master Tristan, of course. Well if he is ever persuaded to the knighthood and you're in need of a trainer, Lady Fianna has been remarkable with my Dumpling." In the grand tradition, a very unwarlike name for his noble steed. "Ehm, well, Highness, our House is a young one. I think the boot goes on the foot fits it, aye?" He gives a spluttering laugh at Luca and coughs, wheezing, "How could he resist?" He coughs again, eyes watering a bit. He's recovered enough to join Kalani in her well-wishes. "Likewise, Marquis Fairen, Seliki's best to your new little one." He grins, fond.

Food seems to be a matter of interest for the southern-turned-Crownlands prince, and he picks up a fork and starts poking at things that are on offer, "Oh wow, vegetables. People keep eating these things..", he murmurs, aloud but mostly for himself, an edge of distaste in his tone. He kind of meanders, visually across the meats, over toward the sweets, until he finds a cupcake to stab with that fork, lifting it up like he'd just made a fresh kill, "I'll have something strong. A northlands whiskey or an angry kick to the head.", he tells one of the serving staff, stuck in his own little world for a moment until he finally looks up. There's a languid smile for Niklas, "Naps, alcohol, discreetly saving the world one dinner at a time. You're right, there's nothing hard to get about me. Just as long as nobody finds out I'm a member of the Secret Inquisition. Did you get in too, Nik? Laric pins the little thing on the lapel and lets you run around the Grayson courtyard making crossbow twanging noises with a stick. It's lovely." - maybe the drink he's ordered isn't his first of the evening. He can't help but notice Barric over there, flashing the Sword a grin, "If more people tried wearing a sheet, it would be a new trend. It's so comfortable. I don't know why people are always wearing..", 'Pants', it would seem, Tikva's mention of them drawing the Lycene's attention, "Yes, those. But no. I'm going to steal Sabella's dresses from now on." Then he thrusts his cupcake into the air, "Alright! Let's hear some dueling bards!"

Raising an eyebrow to Mia, Augustus shrugs his shoulders slowly as Luca makes his entrance and Tikva begins talking banjo, "Mmm. Speak gauche and it shall appear, apparently." It is at this moment that Augustus discovers the wonder that is... turnip. On his plate. Tur. Nip. Well.

"'Pants required' may be something to consider putting on next month's invitation, yes," Mia replied, offering a deep and sage nod to Tikva. "And once it starts appearing on invitations issued by Princess Sabella, I'm quite sure it will become a trend, and all the scribes across Arx will be appending it on everyone's invitations thereafter."

Kalani could not be -more- amused, that is unless clowns were to arrive, but setting that aside, she turns toward Tikva with an expression of delight. "I love music," she says in a low voice to Kaldur, grinning as she says this, because it's family lore that Kalani cannot carry so much as a single innocent note without inventing new ones that ought not to be endured. Ever. Even as weaponized musical torture.

"Congratulations, Marquis Fairen!" Sabella says with a big smile before laughing at Luca and Niklas' back and forth and then Mia's comment, "I shall have to remember that for next time, a no no-pants rule." she grins at Fairen again, "Quick pick someone else before the banjos start!"

"Lady Fianna, is it? Good to know," Alaric tells Kaldur sociably but then Luca is here and raising a cupcake into the air. This looks too fun not to join in, so he picks up a cupcake and holds it aloft intrepidly as well. "Pants required!" he declares before immediately correcting himself. "I mean, dueling banjos!" He gives Mia a litltle sideeye like it's her fault he said the wrong thing.

Niklas holds up a hand. "Oh, the duel is on, your highness, but it can wait until we've heard from everyone. I believe it's the Marquis' turn to choose someone. And while I am eager to banjo the hell out of this room, I'm just as eager to brag endlessly about my debut and to leer at the king while pointedly asking what he thought." Niklas glances sidelong at Alaric, then says to Luca, "I'm actually in the Secret Secret Inquisition. First you get Gareth to smile and then the secrets of the universe are revealed to you."

For those who congratulate him on the birth of his daughter, Fairen smiles and bobs his head thankfully in response to each person. Then he looks between Tikva and Niklas with amusement clear on his face, grinning and waiting to witness the 'duel'. At the comment about Luca stealing Sabella's dresses, he laughs. "Now -that- is simply a must, your Highness." Then he looks back at Sabella and grins. "Alright, I pick Prince Luca to go next, considering his lack of pants."

Enoch bows his head lightly at Fairen. "Congratulations Marquis Fairen." he smiles softly before his eyes shift to the conversation at hand. "Pants required...." he looks at Luca, but can't help but laugh a little bit. "I am looking forward to what the Prince would like to say." he says teasingly.

Kaldur says, "But he's got such lovely calves," Kaldur offers of Luca and 'pants', his wheeze partially returned. Amusment redoubled, "She does love music." Kaldur can confirm and does. His face grows mournful, however, "It's rather unrequited, though. Quite tragic." And this is how traditions are born, Kaldur likewise lofts a cupcake, saluting, "Panted banjos!""

"What about skirts?" Barric asks Mia, "I mean, I think Luca might be onto something here. Pants are awfully restrictive, practically no airflow, skirts would still do the job of hiding any overly masculine body hair on the legs, and still allow for things to... breathe." He smiles at Alaric's first proclamation, "Pants required for banjo players?" He asks curiously, taking another small bite from his plate and chasing it with... water. No alcohol for Barric tonight it seems.

"Well, now I'm just standing here holding the silly thing!" Tikva complains, and puts her banjo down to lean forwardon the brace of her arms on the back of the chair. "All right, all right..."

Quirking a brow at Barric, Cora grins, "I think I will stick to pants thanks, although I will happily help you choose a dress to try, perhaps Elgana would enjoy helping us shop for you as well."

Fairen is smiling and having a good time, but he does catch notice of Barric's lack of alcohol, observing him, and apparently his cousin Coraline for a moment. "I think we've already discussed, Cora... If you wear a dress to your wedding day, Barric here is required to wear one as well." He teases with a grin and a wink towards his cousin.

"I've been told not to forget breathing very recently, in fact. Maybe I should look into wearing a kilt," Alaric observes as he lowers the cupcake and takes a bite.

Mia sports the most innocent of expressions as Alaric gives her the stink-eye. Clearly, if he should be staring at anyone right now, it's Luca. *Clearly.* Mia still is, after all, though it's become something less of a stare and far more of a dubious-peeking-at-between-conversational-points now. "If either dueling banjos or pants required is a Crown proclamation, Your Majesty, I'm quite sure that arrangements can be made to send the Observers far and wide across Arvum, declaring it as such all the way to the shores of the Eventide. Simply say the word, my King, and I'll see it done." As for Barric's proposal, she shifts in her seat and considers him momentarily, then nods with satisfaction. "A skirt and gown amendment can be added, I think, without requiring too much more effort."

Prince Luca rises up just as his glass of whiskey is delivered to him, which he takes in one hand, while brandishing a forked cupcake with the other. "Me? Okay, let's see..", he starts, pausing to take a bite from the cupcake and chewing thoughtfully for a moment, before he says, "I took on a protege who is a lot like me except worse at everything. I don't know what happened with her Stonewood heritage. Bad blood, maybe. I.. lost a couple of duels, nothing new there. Carved my initial into Bliss Whisper. I uh.. I drank a lot. I petted all my cats. I..", and again he pauses as if to dig up some more significant events in his life, "I ate an /entire/ brownie from Lottie's, quite impressive, I know..", and he looks a touch smug about that. "I also gave one to Skald. I hope he liked it. I uhh..", and there's a drink from his whiskey, "Oh! I got embroiled in some sort of weird Eurusi assassination plot. That's been a lot of fun. I'm not sure how, but it's been great so far.", and then, "Also, maintaining my strong marriage. I'm sure there's an anniversary soon." Then he glances around, dark eyes searching out a new victim, "Alright, I pick Kaldur! I haven't seen him since the stickbug's death down in Setarco! I'd like to hear something neat."

Luca munch on cupcake more.

"Wait, what?! I've made Gareth smile before and I have yet to be invited into even the regular Inquisition!" Sabella protests to Niklas and then stares at Luca before giving him a big smile, "See? This is why we have family dinner night. Who knew Luca was even ever sober enough to be awake for all the things he just said?"

After eating a few more bites, Barric pushes his plate away and then starts to stand, slowly, "I apologize everyone, but I must go rest. I am still not recovered fully and I don't think anyone wishes to hear me snoring into my potatoes." He smiles apologetically.

Cora chuckles at Fairen, "Ah yes, that agreement, though i don't think agreement was ever reached." She is about to continue but then Barric is standing and she stands as well, "Would you like me to come with?" She asks concerned.

Enoch looks then to Barric. "Farewell, Barric. May your travels be merry and safe." He then looks to Luca as he apparently starts to speak. "Oh? Sounds interesting." he says simply with a small, tiny chuckle. "Always good to keep a marriage in good order." he says with a teasing look on his face before he looks at Sabella. "Fair enough." he teases her too. "Wiat...assassination plot?" he crosses his arms now.

"I think I'll hold off on that until a more official-sounding proclamation that won't have the people of the Compact doubting the legitimacy of the messages from Arx," Alaric deadpans to Mia before glancing at Luca. "That's a lot of cats, I hear," he observes before nodding to Barric. "Good to see you, Barric, hope you'll feel back to top condition soon."

"Farewell, Barry! I would love to hear you inhaling mashed potatoes through your nose, but Sabella's been vomiting a lot lately and she might do it again!", Luca says, blowing Barric a kiss, with cupcake on his upper lip.

"I am beginning to consider why it is that Velenosas so often poison their family members," Tikva remarks, apropos of NOTHING, as she leans on the back of the chair.

Grinning at that, Fairen nods his head at Cora and then turns to look at Barric as he mentions leaving. "Well it was good to see you again anyway, your Highness." He offers, then looks over at Luca to hear his bit, wrinkling his nose up at some of what he says. The conversation about an official proclamation causes him to grin, and he looks over at Mia. "No banjo duel will ever be official again without each participant wearing a skirt, or pair of pants. Though I think we'd see an increase in people holding such duels while wearing nothing at all, simply to spite the decision."

"Randall is quite well," Kaldur sniffs at Luca's proclamation of the bug's death. "Or at least the bug that I tell Jairo-" he clarifies, "My too-young page-" continuing, "-is Randall is well enough." Rather more important than an assassina- wait, what? "That's ... I rather think you've buried the tale, Prince Luca," he waves a hand, rolling his wrist, hastening himself along, "I've-been-riding-patrols-at-the-lodge-and-on-the-market-for-a-match-and-swimming-with-spirits-rather-spirit-and-looking-into-a-site-for-a-harbor-in-Pearlspire-and /what is this about an assassination attempt?/" He half-rises to bow a farewell to Barric, and turns /eyes/ back onto Luca.

Niklas shakes his head at Tikva, expression a degree of disappointed that borders on aggrieved. "Princess! There's no one alive who doesn't look /amazing/ holding a banjo! Person sees someone holding a banjo? They know that they're dealing with someone hold all the cards." Niklas holds up his banjo and nods. He certainly looks like someone who thinks they're holding all the cards, though might actually be playing marbles. He scoffs at Sabella's comment, but squeezes her hand and gives her a fond smile, giving away the joke. Not that he doesn't go on. "You may have made him smirk. Perhaps grimace! But a smile? No. To get a true smile you need to know the only joke that can truly tickle Gareth's funny bone. And you can only get that by defeating a sphinx. Now, I have no idea what that is, but I told Ian to go do it and three weeks later he came back covered with blood and holding the joke. He looked at it, looked at me, said 'I don't get it' and handed it over." When Barric gets up Niklas leans back and sends a wave the man's way, then says to the others, "This doesn't give me a lot of hope for my upcoming week of meditation at the Temple of the Thirteenth." Luca's story gets a slow nod. "Well. I tried a tomato for the first time, so we all had an exciting week."

"I am just sorry I am going to miss the dueling Banjo's," Barric says to Alaric with a wry smile but he laughs at Tikva's comment with a shake of his head, "Thank you for such a wonderful evening everyone." And he bows with a bit of a wince and a clench of his jaw before he starts away from the table, nodding to Coraline after a brief quiet conversation. Then he starts to hobble out.

"I'm sure we can reprise later," Tikva says with a lift of her chin, smiling after Barric. "Good night, Barric! Take care!"

Kalani tips a sidelong look up at Kaldur as he rattles off his 'what I've been up to' at about the same rate as a horse galloping down the street. Which is to say, very fast with barely a pause between words to allow anyone to keep pace. "Rest well, and a pleasure again to meet you both," she calls with a wave as Barric hobbles out.

"Yes, well, some of those very same provacateurs are likely the ones that the saying about 'cutting off your nose to spite your face' was written about, Marquis Leary," Mia retorts dryly, though one corner of her mouth was creeping upwards. "And somehow, that sounds far, far more dangerous of a proposition for someone who's elected to duel disrobed, with banjos or not."

Ahsha, the young courtier leaves, following Barric.

Sabella gives Barric a wave and then says to Luca, "I haven't been vomiting that much," she protests, "And you missed the reason for that earlier, so congratulations, you're going to be an uncle again! But the first time with us." She tries to make sense of Kaldur's very fast talk, smiling the whole time, "Spires seem a very common thing to name things after I've noticed. Pearlspire. Bonespire." she lists, having a sip of wine cause everyone knows that makes babies strong! "Who hasn't shared yet? I'm losing track! Which is a good thing as there are so many people here tonight!"

Fairen can't even really help it but to laugh at Mia's comments, shaking his head with wild amusement for the conversation. "If I remember correctly, there was one particular duel that involved specifically the removal of clothes. If nothing else, you may see an increase in people who elect to wear nothing -but- a skirt of some sort." He adds, his lips curling into a wide grin. "I will have to bring this conversation up with Lady Isabetta. Maybe she'll issue a challenge about it." Then he looks over at Sabella. "I think it is Princess Coraline's turn, your Highness."

Kaldur and Kalani share a brief exchange, murmured between them. Olin, Kaldur's attache arrives, clearing her throat mildly and Kaldur's brows lift, he wipes his mouth and excuses himself briefly, returning soon to partake in cheer and news and appreciation for Luca's fine calves. And, yes, even banjo music.

Eyes still where Barric left, a light frown on her face, Cora is just sitting when she hears Fairen and looks rather deer in headlights look, if headlights existed <insert theme appropriate thing here> "Uh oh, well I uh. I got knighted, which I am sure everyone knows already, I have been running around getting ready for my new Order to be ready to go, and uh OH! I passed the Physician's Exam with the Physician's Guild so that I can patch up all my reckless knights when they run headlong into danger. Hmm, Been training with new groups, studying war and leadership and such, and I /think/ that is it. There might be more but I can't remember."

"Congratulations on the morning sickness! Once you stop vomiting everywhere it all turns into a kid, I hear. You're going to need a lot more dresses if you're going to be hauling around Nik's big-headed child in your Kennex Den for nine months.", Luca says to Sabella with another languid smile. "Bye Kaldur!", he calls out, "Kiss Randall for me!", and then he goes back to munching on his forked cupcake, slowly, so as to not sober up too quickly. He does rise from his seat again, unanchored by any sort of plate in front of him, and begins wandering around to find another, with more victims. All mentions of assassinations and Eurisians are ignored, pointedly. When Coraline goes on about her achievements, he butts in with, "Oh wow, those are actually real achievements. I've got to stop drinking so much."

Ebenzer Jenkins have been dismissed.

Nevermore the Raven have been dismissed.

"Is it my turn, then? Well, this will be quite simple," Alaric declares confidently, seizing the initiative. "Meetings. Innumerable meetings, most of them dull, some of them strange, very few of them remarkable in any way except for their necessity in making sure the wheels of governance continue to spin freely and don't seize up under various crises and complications. Also piles and piles of messages. Is anyone still awake?" He pauses to glance around the table. "Ah, well then. I did get to go to the Laurent family dinner, it's always nice to see the cousins on my mother's side. The Assembly, naturally. And of course, I was at the recent ceremony to install the new Lord Commander. Other than that, I've managed to stop by the Salon a few times in and around various errands in the Compact Ward. Always some excellent company and even better drinks to be found there. But other than that, I've been looking forward to the end of winter. I'm ready for warmer weather to be sure."

"I've already congratulated you for the first, Coraline, but more are in order for the second! Scholar Oswyn also recently passed his exam and I congratulated him with a portrait. He seemed very grateful, but entirely uncertain what to do with it." Niklas serves himself up all sorts of everything, because now that he's eaten a tomato all bets are off. "In the Mourning Isles they call tomatoes 'the Lycene perversion', you know. Tomatoes and forks with more than two tines. And a number of dances. And cats of more than two colors. Honestly, the list goes on and on." He's about to call on Coraline again, but then Alaric takes his turn. At the end Niklas calls out, "And you took in a fantastic comedy from a bold new wit at the Blackrose theater?!"

Having caught Coraline off guard like that, Fairen chuckles, a wicked grin on his lips. Though he does quiet down to listen to what she has to say, nodding his head along with her. "Congratulations, Cora." He says, giving her a cheerful smile. Then he looks over at Luca and grins. "I think carving your initials in Bliss counts as an achievement." Then Alaric starts for his dealings lately and he turns to listen. "I think most people feel the same way. Actually, I believe there is a petition somewhere to skip winter next year."

"I rather like it, actually. But that's largely because it's good for the fur trade at the Twainfort, and I hardly find myself in short supply of warm clothes," Mia murmurs.

"Now that I have been declared snowball champion by Amanda Whisper, winter has nothing more of value to offer me," Tikva claims with a laugh on her breath. She flips her champion scarf over her shoulder. "Niklas, tomatoes are the fruity things they throw at you at the theater when your jokes get bad enough. Surely you've seen them before."

Niklas smiles to Tikva. "I'm afraid I'm not as familiar with poor performances as you, your highness!"

Sabella laughs, raising her glass to Coraline, "I don't know how you do it. Someone said recently you must not sleep and I think that must be true!" Then Alaric is listing his and she turns to listen, "There was once a time ehen I thought I wanted to be Queen and you make me very glad I shall never have that opportunity." she pauses, "Not your Queen, that would've been gross. Not that--don't think too hard on the musings of a five year old." she decides to interrrupt herself with." She laughs to Tikva, "Indeed he has not for all of his plays have been very well received! Though this latest one has been quite the success. I heard they sold out of all shows on the second night after word of mouth got out on how hilarious it was."

"That's called 'vacationing in Setarco'," Alaric notes to Fairen. "Oh, indeed. I didn't get to go opening night, unfortunately, but I did get to see the show a few days later. Quite delightful," he tells Niklas. "But in all seriousness, I think winter lasts just long enough to enjoy the novelty but not wear out its welcome."

Always supportive of his King, Luca stops searching for a new seat for the moment to clap loudly for Alaric's accomplishments, "What a sovereign! What a sovereign! I can't imagine having to read all the missives he gets!", and then he claps a little louder, but it does off when he tells Fairen, "That was me, I think. I sent in the petition to stop winter from coming next year. We'll see if it works. I wasn't at the Assembly of Peers today but I hope it was mentioned. It seems important."

"I often think winter lasts just long enough for everyone to think that summer is the best idea, ever. Just so that Summer can do the same in return, make us all grumble about how we can always just pile on more layers to warm up," Kalani aims a mild look of amusement at Luca. "Save for Luca, apparently, who doesn't need layers of clothing to stay warm in winter, a robe appears to suffice."

"I suppose I couldn't complain much either. Firewood sales increase during the winter season as well." Fairen notes in agreement with Mia, nodding his head at her. But then Sabella is talking about being Queen and he looks over at her, a wide grin on his lips. Too many jokes for that, which he decides to leave alone and return the his attention to Alaric. "With a bottle of wine, I hear. Though I don't think all of Arx can suddenly travel down to Setarco for the winder season." Then he looks at Niklas with a grin. "I think I forgot to mention it. Next time."

"Mmmhmm." Tikva narrows her eyes at Niklas and picks up the banjo. "Up," she orders. "We're doing this now."

"But I didn't get to tell anyone my news! Sabella and I are expecting and I had a tremendously successful debut at the Blackrose and my protege wowed audiences across Arvum with some of the most amazing singing they'd ever heard and I got to proclaim my cousin the first Sword of Stormward." Niklas looks from Tikva to his banjo, then shrugs and picks it up. "We should name our banjos. Or would House Swords find that offensive? And if they did, isn't that an even better reason to do it? My banjo is named Stormbreaker! No! Stormfury! No! Stormbringer! No! Red Sky! NO! Banjo Bill, the Old Timey Jamboree Banjoree Spectacular!" Niklas pushes himself to his feet, readies himself and whispers, "Okay, Bill, it's time to bring it."

Enoch seems to smile a little bit to everyone as he seems more than happy to just hangout in the background. He doesn't speak, but he clearly has a look of amusement on his face.

"Those names are too Banjovial! Call it Spinewrecker or Skullsmash, the String That End Arvum!", Luca seems to object, briefly, before going back to his whiskey, which he finishes in short order. He hasn't even found a new seat yet. He seems to still be assessing.

There was a long, long pause from Mia as insults were made and duels were declared. She waited another moment, as though serious considering her words, before she leaned towards Fairen, Harlan, and Kalani -- the remaining guests who didn't bear the Grayson name in some form or another, and 'whispers' to them quite soberly, "At my first dinner with the Graysons, the conversation was about whether or not one of them had webbed toes." Apparently, she though this was some sort of wise advice to offer the lot of them on how to survive the remainder of the evening unscathed.

Laughing as she hears Mia's low voiced words, Kalani just has to ask: "What was the ultimate result of that conversation? Webbed toes would be a serious prize when it comes to swimming ability. That sort of thing might go over well with my family."

Oh boy. Apparently this is going to be a thing. Fairen looooks over at Tikva, and then turns to look over at Niklas, wrinkling his nose up at the list of banjo names. "Webbed toes. Well, we can rule Prince Luca out on that one." He decides, looking down at the mans feet. "I bet it was Prince Niklas that was decided to have webbed toes. In my family, it would have to be Lord Tomwell. He's always talking about frogs."

Harlan finally finishes his dinner and leans back, just sipping whiskey quietly.

Sabella laughs, "Prince Niklas wasn't a prince or a Grayson then," she points out. "This is actually his first Grayson dinner as a Grayson rather than a Kennex and no, Luca, we don't need your thoughts on how you might have a webbed anything else!" she says quickly, shooting him a grin.

Alaric leans into to join the non-Grayson conversation rather shamelessly. "You should have been at the dinner when Luca and I competed to see who had the better ass," he notes.

"I won, by the way," Alaric adds nonchalantly.

Kalani can't help it, she doesn't even try, because it's just to amusing to resist. "Sire that sort of competition should be revisited. The passing of time, and all. Gravity is a real thing," there's a wide thread of teasing in her tone of voice, turning to grin at Sabella. "If he has anything else that's webbed, it could lead to a fame of a different sort entirely."

"So you've often said." Enoch chimes in to Alaric with a friendly smile, though he also looks over to Sabella. "Likely true."

"The man refused to dignify such an attack on his character with any sort of response, but also pointedly praised me later for pretending I'd not heard the entire thread of conversation." Her lips purse, and then she shrugs her thin shoulders as though some things simply can't be helped. "Kind of him, perhaps. Or suspicious, when considering that I've never seen him with his shoes off." Mia then arches both brows at the King, asking simply, ".....Isn't such asperions against the Crown's posterior treason? I'd have thought so."

Luca pads over to Sabella, leans against the table where she's sitting, and tells her in a lowered tone, "Listen, you said we weren't going to talk about that, 'Bella.", in the most serious sort of manner. "My webbed whatever is my business.", but he gives the woman a slow wink before rounding about on King Alaric, "I don't do ass competitions anymore, King Al. Don't give them ideas. I was a different person back then.", he says. "Er, I don't do them for free, that is." A smirk crosses his full lips, thinning them out for a moment, "You did win though. I tell everyone."

Chuckling, Fairen grins and looks over at Sabella, lifting a shoulder in a light shrug. "Well in that case, if it isn't King Alaric, it has to be you." He teases, giving her a playful wink. At Alaric's comment though, he peers over at the King with a wide grin and his brow arched up in a mix between amusement and curiosity. "Now -that- is a competition I wish I hadn't missed." Then he looks over at Luca and chuckles. "Do I get half off if the competition is for a single cheek?"

"It's not treasonous to have poor taste in asses, just unfortunate," Alaric declares casually. "I feel like it's one of those crimes that is its own punishment in itself." He grins at Luca. "Oh, I wouldn't dream of it. They do so no publicity is bad publicity, though."

Tikva checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Sabella grins at Fairen and shakes her head, "I might welcome webbed toes if it meant I could swim better. Or at all. And I feel like Arx is pretty obsessed with asses lately. I heard Lumen found a second mysterious painting in Whisper House."

"All right, here we go!" Tikva lifts the banjo, and then strikes up a tune, jaunty and effervescent as she keeps time with the stomp of her foot. It is not the finest banjo performance of all time. It is not even the finest performance of banjos that Tikva herself has given. But it is sprightly and she throws a lot of energy into it. (It is not quiet.)

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 48 higher.

"There was a first mysterious painting?" Alaric asks blankly as he settles in for the banjo experience. It's very twangy.

In most musical duels and battles of the bands one waits ones turn to reply. Like in a rap battle or a poetry slam. But as is proper with a banjo duel, Niklas plays it like a duel with swords! But instead of dancing blades that slash and parry, it's MUSIC instead! Banjo music, sure, but it still counts. And damn if Niklas doesn't jump right in to play against Tikva's jaunty tune, working squarely in the theme of anything you can do I can do better, picking up her musical threads and making them his own. Honestly, if one is dead set on hating banjo music it's all probably just noise, but to someone with an open mind (and an open HEART!) it might just help one to discover ones true and hidden love for the art. Of banjo.

Fairen grins back at Sabella, preparing to make a comment on her webbed feet, but then Tikva is kicking off the banjo duel. With that, he falls silent to listen to her play, a soft smile on his lips for the quality of her music. Even if it isn't her best. But then, Niklas interrupts her song with his own and he grins to look over at him, clapping lightly.

Oh good heavens. Let the Banjo playin' begin. Enoch simply falls silent to listen to the beautiful music, happily just leaning against the wall with a smile.

Luca takes advantage of the intense banjo session to pick up a silver spoon and another cupcake, scraping some of the icing from the top of it, then flicking it across the table at Sabella. But, his groove is there. The music is in him. His shoulders are moving up and down in drunken rhythm to the twang. He just really wants to hit his cousin-in-law in the face with icing.

Tikva checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Tikva fills her lungs to belt out a verse as she keeps playing the banjo, her voice loud enough to carry throughout the hall and probably at least to the surrounding rooms:

"Niklas Grayson was a playwright,

had himself a banjo;

played it on a dinner night

it really wasn’t bad, though!"

Cora was awake! Truely she did /not/ just have a power nap to be awoken by banjo duels. Eyes as wide as they go, Cora looks around to make sure she wasnt noticed then nods to the music, yeah...chill...cooool.

Kalani taps her fingertips against the table as Tikva - then Niklas - begin their dueling banjo contest. The first cupcake thrown has her leaning back in surprise before casually swiping one from the nearest tray, just to keep it from being tosses as improvised sugary weaponry.

Mia checked composure + etiquette at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Oh yes, Fairen noticed Cora passing out and taking her power nap. As she looks around the room, her eyes may lock with his and he simply has the most -wicked- of grin for her, followed by a wink. But the duel continues, now to include singing and he turns his attention to look over at Tikva, chuckling softly. As the cupcake flies across the table towards Sabella, he scoots quickly in his seat to avoid getting hit himself.

Look at Mia, sitting there calmly as two dueling banjos and a flying bit of cupcake explode around her. She is the picture of serenity. Of calm decorum. Of cool dignity. Yes. Yes, she is. She's even applauding politely along with the music. There is absolutely nothing to see here. THIS IS FINE.

Sabella starts clapping along, grinning like a person who totally knew something like this might happen at her otherwise fancy dinner party! She even looks about to respond to Alaric until a bunch of frosting hits her in the face. "Luca!" she yells, reaching up to wipe it off with her fingers. Then eat it. While glaring at him, "Food stays on the table, this isn't your bedroom!"

Alaric smoothly gets up as soon as frosting starts flying. "Well, it's been a singular pleasure and I do wish I could stay for the rest of the concert, but I really ought to be getting along back to the Palace." He holds up a hand toward Enoch forestallingly. "You're still ordered to stay as long as you like," he directs preemptively. After all, who wants frosting on the Crown of the Compact? Not this King. Also he's been at it for like seven hours now since the beginning of the AoP and needs a breeeeeeeeak. "Lovely seeing you all, have a good evening."

"It's not your bedroom either, but I heard what you and Nik did in here!", Luca counters, chiding Sabella back in a way that's hard to tell if he's serious or not. But his shoulders are still grooving to that music, up and down with a little side to side too. He's getting a refill on his whiskey.

Alaric is overheard praising Tikva: Music!

Alaric is overheard praising Niklas: More music!

"If I can advise, your Highness.. Perhaps you should retaliate with some mashed potatoes or something of that sort." Fairen offers to Sabella, still leaning away from her a bit, a wide smile on his lips. At Luca makes a coment about Sabella and Niklas in here though, his eyes go wide and he lets out a healthy chuckle. "Have a pleasant evening, your Majesty!" He says, waving at him as he starts to leave.

13 King's Own Guardsmen, Zelda, the royal messenger leave, following Alaric.

Niklas narrows his eyes as Tikva starts singing a song about him. What the hell? He doesn't have a song about her! He has two songs about people and one is for poor Bastien, dead of a dust overdose probably, and one for someone who apologized and as such that song stays in his pocket! So he plays harder and belts out, "We all know the princess with a voice like a dove! Who, when she gives voice to sing, is like a choir from above! A princess we admire, such a bold, brassy chick! But Sorrel isn't here, so we can sing about Tik!"

Leaning back in her seat and folding her hands together -- perhaps to keep from swatting certain royal bottoms like they were her boys misbehaving in front of guests -- Mia announces a touch too loudly, "Were we quite finished with Princess Sabella's lovely discussion of recent goings-on among all of the attendees? I do think there were some who'd not spoken yet, and perhaps we could give them a turn after the musical portion of the evening? Duke Ashford, perhaps. I don't believe we've heard from Duke Ashford." Or maybe she was just trying to keep this from turning into musical instruments flying at people's faces, instead of cupcakes. At this point, who really knows?!?

Cora blinks at Fairen, trying to look like innocence itself before she watches baked goods go splat on Sabella's face and wonders if she is dreaming.

Despite food flying everywhere, Enoch remains smiling, and actually pulls out his smoking pipe (that's smoking EXTREMELY LEGAL SUBSTANCES) but once the King starts to leave, he does so as well, mid-movement of putting his pipe away before he's ordered to remain here for as long as he likes. "You are certain? Very well, your majesty." he bows, before he turns back to the festivities, smoking his pipe.

"Webbed feet and cupcake throwing contest, that could be the items on the next agenda," Kalani suggests as she rises to her feet and bows slightly to the room in general. "It was nice meeting everyone, but I have to take my leave as well."

Tikva checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Tikva breaks her voice with a brilliant cackle as her fingers fly over the strings, and she stomps her foot as loudly as she can-- it's hard to be really loud in silk slippers, but she's making the effort -- and carries on, "We stole him from the Kennexes,

traded a bit more than a song,

but now he’s on the premises,

and I know that rhyme’s all wrong,

But he married sweet Sabella,

in a story damned romantic,

and I’m afraid our funny fella

soon will be a daddy, frantic!”

Then she strums a quick coda and then pumps her fist, banjo in the air. Apparently that is her finish. Otherwise this could go on all night with awful, awful verse.

"I'm afraid I'm a pacifist even when it comes to mashed potatoes." Sabella replies to Fairen with a laugh, "But if I were to retaliate it'd be with something harder and then Luca would whip a platter at me and then we'd be at war with Velenosa by morning so I must refrain." she's picked up a napkin and wiped down her face, waving to those y

who are leaving!

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

Grinning back at Cora, Fairen chuckles and then he shifts his attention back to the banjo duel, laughing and clapping at each one of the contestants as they play their songs. Listening to Sabella though, he laughs and nods his head at her, wrinkling his nose in amusement. "Then you will have to take my brothers threat to me, and use it yourself. Dump frogs on his bed."

Aw, Tikva sang something nice! Well, now he feels bad for that blazing burn. Though he started off so well, Nik is now sweatin' to keep up. Still, with a laugh at the complimentary lyrics, he calls out, "I'm happy to be here, that much is true! And for a love like Sabella, you'd move mountains too! So L Niklas K becomes P Niklas G! And as far as endings, that's happy to me!" Twang twang twangity TWANG! And with a stomp of his booted foot, that's the end and the adoration of the masses is to follow, surely.

"Sabella doesn't keep frogs anymore. One finally turned into a prince when she kissed it and so now we're stuck with a bunch of sexually frustrated amphibians.", Luca quips to Fairen, tipping back his whiskey and killing what's left of it. He looks at his spoon, still covered in icing, looks back at Sabella, seems briefly thoughtful, then decides to just lick it clean.

Vern arrives, delivering a message to Mia before departing.

Letting out a puff of smoke, Enoch continues smoking his pipe, his lips smirking as he watches events unfold. Though Sabella gets a look. "Even when it comes to food? Come now, Sabella..." he teases her very lightly, letting out another breath of smoke. Though he does look to Luca with a small smile. "Heh..."

Tikva chooses to finish off the banjo duel by breezing across their impromptu stage, around the table, to give Niklas a one-armed hug as she angles the banjo outward with the tilt of her frame. "Mwah," she kisses his cheek with a noisy voiced mwah sound. "I have no idea who won, but it was a good game. Perhaps that means I concede?"

Sabella applauds for both banjo players, though Niklas is the one that gets the adoring look. Sorry Tikva! "You better watch it, the both of you, or people will be placing orders for songs!" She grins at Enoch, "I'm not starting a food fight at my own party! Cedric is probably here lurking in the shadows and I know he'd have a word with Lily and then I'd wake up with hair shorter than Elizabetta's one morning." she laughs at Fairen's suggestion then mock glares at Luca, "Not every prince started out as a horny toad like you."

Again, Fairen laughs at Luca's comments, apparently not getting directly involved for the time being. Instead he just grins at him, and then over at Sabella in response. "That would make Prince Niklas the frog then, no? So -he- is the one with the webbed feet." With that, he looks back at Tikva and Niklas as the cheek-kiss is passed, grinning. "I think we can call it a draw. You'll have to compete again at the next family dinner."

At the end of the banjo contest, Cora applauds, "Well done, both of you. Very skillful playing, and of an instrament I had never heard before. The long lyrics were nice too, creative." She keeps an eye out for continued frosted missiles.

Ahh, well. Not all attempts are bound to succeed. Mia starts to let out a soft sigh, which is perhaps what leads to the somewhat unfortunate snorting-esque sound that escapes her at Sabella's latest. Her expression swiftly straightens. Like a cat that's rolled off the shelf, she is intent on pretending that did not just happen. "Delightful playing, the both of you," she says mildly.

One should not the innuendo Sabella supplied went straight over Coraline's head.

"What do you mean 'started out'?", Luca shoots back, picking up another cupcake and wielding it like he might launch it at Sabella for the insult of insinuating that he'd evolved into something more. But he doesn't. He plays nice. Instead, he passes around the table, picking up a bottle of whiskey from off a serving platter, "I'm leaving! Thanks for dinner! I love you all! Tikva won!", and as he passes by Coraline her just sort of.. paints her cheek with the cupcake he'd taken, but continues right along, padding out of the dining room in his Grayson bath robe. He takes a bite of that cupcake too. Thrax cooties or not.

"No, Tikva, it means we all won!" Niklas returns the hug, but behind her back he points to himself and nods. Like, yeah, but I won juuuuust a little more. Luca's declaration gets a narrow-eyed glare and a silent declaration of vengeance to come. To Sabella he says, "I had a dozen people come to me asking me to write songs about them after my Orazio song, and that song was very, very stupid. So the lesson is that people are easily entertained and amused." He moves to put an arm around Sabella's waist and leans in to kiss her cheek. "Well, I'm full. Let's go upstairs and try for twins!"

Luca picks up a sinful chocolate mirror cake.

Wordlessly, Mia offers Coraline a napkin. Her napkin, actually, which might have a little spot or two on it from earlier dabbing, but a little spot or two is likely preferable to a faceful of frosting.

When Coraline gets creamed with a face-full of frosting, Fairen bellies out a laugh, looking right at her. Oh yes, he's laughing at her. Then Niklas makes his comment about twins and he grins, wrinkling his nose up at him. "I'm fairly certain that isn't how it works. Otherwise I would have had far more babies than I already do."

"I'd tell him that's not how it works but far be it from me to spoil their fun," Tikva says as she steps back, laughing and running her hand back through her hair. "I want more of those cupcakes ... I'm going to steal a piece for Ainsley so I can smash his face in it when he gets home."

"I haven't passed my physcians exam or anything, but I'm pretty sure that's not how that works," Sabella says with a laugh, leaning in to give Niklas a kiss, "But that doesn't sound like a bad idea. To those we did not get to yet, please feel free to continue with the game! Or just drink more, it's a party!"

And suddenly her cheek is frosted, "I suppose now I taste amazing." She says wryly before waving to Luca, "Um, thank you?" As Niklas seems ready to steal away his wife to have their wicked way together, Cora says, "I am not certain that is how that is achieved, I mean during pregnancy." In a very confused voice. She accepts Mia's napkin offering with a grateful smile and begins removing the desserty substance. "Thank you." FAiren gets a shaken head, seriously, men!

Giuseppe, a kindly old man leaves, following Luca.

Giuseppe, a kindly old man arrives, following Luca.

:pops back in and hurls his stolen cupcake at Nik's head.

Luca checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 20, rolling 28 higher.

:pops back out.

Enoch smiply chuckles lightly, still smoking his pipe though he does look on amusedly as everyone seems to start to settle done. The frog quips at Luca actually make him laugh just a little bit. Finally a break in his serious demeanor. Though he does turn his head to Tikva. "...I'm wondering if smashing food in people's faces is a common game amongst the people in this city." he says teasingly.

Niklas checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

"I'm just trying to fit in," Tikva says with a laugh as she sweeps her hand through the room. "Luca is all in fashion. Which explains the bathrobe, really..." She swirls across the room to scoop up a cupcake to squirrel back to her room for her absent husband.

"Guys. I know how pregnancy works. I have my own pelican." Niklas rolls his eyes at everyone, like, god guys! Then he pulls Sabella to the door, just in time to take cupcakes to the face. "THANK YOU, LUCA! I WANTED ANOTHER CUPCAKE!"

Giuseppe, a kindly old man leaves, following Luca.

Luca shouts from the Queenspeace Hall <QH>, "YOU'RE WELCOME"

Niklas shouts from nearby, "YOU ARE VERY THOUGHTFUL!"

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