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Clearlake Spring Festival

Come join House Clearlake as they celebrate the approach of Spring. Test your strength in the log toss or your wits in the game of hand among other contests while enjoying hearty Northern fare to welcome the change of seasons.

Date

July 21, 2018, 9:01 p.m.

Hosted By

Kritr

Participants

Tesha Desiree Thorley Arthen Gwenna Alessandro Arik Etienne Wylla Sebastian Khanne Violet Simone Monique Sabella Tynan Rowenova Niklas Felicia

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Shaman Walk

Largesse Level

Refined

Comments and Log

Thorley

I woke up this morning with sore arms - I did not realize that chucking logs would be such a workout.

Violet and I went to the Clearlake Festival last night. It was interesting to watch how the Northern lands celebrate Spring as compared to the Isles and Valardin. I'd like to think I acquitted myself rather well.

Though I always seem to do better when Violet challenges me. That is something I need to keep in mind.

And a reminder to myself to go learn some new survival skills for travels to come.


Rodrigo, Ximena arrive, following Alessandro.

Dandy, the red fox, Monique arrive, following Etienne.

"You mean they actually throw whole logs?" Thorley is asking his wife as the two of them are arriving at the festival area. "Is there some historical significance is it, or is it just showing off?" the knight seems at least genuinely curious and doesn't exactly question what Redrain does in it's free time.

Violet arrives with Thorley, arm in arm, and a smile on her face. Or more aptly a small grin with her dimples on display. As they comes into the celebration area she looks around. "Well...I'm not sure to be honest. Probably, but it's never been told to me," She admits. But her attentions quickly falls on the tables laden with food and the woman makes a delighted-sounding gasp. Then she is moving over to one of the tables and taking up some of the thick, dark bread, and buttering two slices.

Dressed in blue leathers and fur cloak, Sebastian Pravus approaches the lodge. "I'm sure 'hearty northern fare' includes 'hearty northern drinks', no?" At least, that's apparently one main reason why the Pravus artist is here, to judge by his aside-commentary to the young woman at his side as he enters. "Actually, you know what -- why don't you go somewhere warm -- I'll let you know if I need you," the woman bows and departs wordlessly, as he strides further in, making a beeline for the kegs of whiskey. "Two, my good man," one for him and... well, he's on his own now, so who knows who the second is for.

Gwenna arrives for the festival, dressed in the leathers typical of northern fashion. So many familiar faces! The princess hardly seems to know where to look first, but the decor of the room quickly steals her attention anyhow. "This is so lovely!" An ale is fetched and then she turns to offer a few waves and cheerful greetings. "Commandant Violet, Master Thorley, hello! My belated congratulations," is said kindly. "Lady Khanne, I had hoped you might come. As well, you, Lord Arik." A dip of her head to both. Then there's the Greenmarch contingent. "Lady Monique, Lord Alessandro! Archlector Etienne. I haven't seen you since the gift exchanges." A few more waves to those both familiar and unfamiliar before the Redrain quiets to give the stout a few sips.

Arik walks out from his own front yard into the celebration on the shaman walk. Hand on a sword pommel. He idly makes his way towards the tables until spotting Violet and Thorley and instead angles in their direction. "Violet, Sword Thorley. Good to see you out and about and partaking in some northern traditions." he muses in a rumbling voice and a wolfish smirk on his lips. "Although the ocean dip wasn't a bad one, I'll admit."

Rowenova steps in via the likely wake of Lord Arik and Vala Khanne, whoever is the last one to show up here. She still has her messenger bag over back!

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard, 2 Grayson House Guards arrive, following Sabella.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sabella arrive, following Niklas.

Felicia managed to get away, to judge from the smile curling her lips, and the black leather she's wearing as she prowls into the Redrain district with a purpose. Merril chasing behind her,"No, no, you promised!" the dark haired woman calling out,"We'd walk the goat and then get back to work. To /work/!" meriting the shorter scholar a couple of placating gestures from the redheaded knight,"And we will! We will, just that... /log tossing/ Merril. Log tossing. You go ahead with Warrior and I'll stop by afterwards... see what you've dug up. I promise."

Tesha must enjoy coming over to Redrain, because the woman shows up for the welcoming Spring festivities. And she's not dressed in her usual staple crimson. Gasp indeed! She's wearing a very Spring like dress and other accessories. But there's a fur lined leather cloak over the top to keep her warm. She gives a look down to the puppy that's toddling after her and then grins, "We'll get settled in a moment, Atram." she whispers to him. There's a look up though when she hears Arik's name and there's a smile to her brother-in-law and a wave to him.

Etienne arrives and as usual he is his sparkly shiny self, upon an arm is the effortless beauty of the Minx of the Marches, Lady Monique Greenmarch. He glides in, taking in the surroundings with a great amount of interest, a quiet conversation back and forth with his companion. He does, as many seem, make a quick approach to the refreshments on offer. He makes motions of greeting to those he recognizes in the throng as he moves. Hearing his name he responds. "Princess Gwenna! Indeed, it has been some time. A joyful spring to you."

Desiree takes a look around with a confident smile. She glances at those in attendance but doesn't approach anyone. Instead she goes to get a drink.

While Violet is looking for the food, Thorley is looking for some non-alcoholic libation. Violet is no longer drinking for the next several months, and Thorley doesn't drink as much as he used to. Upon espying Gwenna, the knight has a momentary look of chagrin as the 'Sir' is dropped, but recovers enough to offer a bow. "Your Highness." he greets his patron. "Since it seems I have a wife and a patron from the Northlands, I should learn some more of the land - even if my own duties keep me tied to Westrock Reach." Arik is greeted with a bob of a bow of his head, with the knight finally securing a pair of ciders, one of which he keeps, the other delivered to Violet.

Gwenna seems to spot Khanne as she walks from the Halfshav Estate into the area decorated for the gathering. Khanne smiles to her and waves her hand before she points over to the whiskey table and says, "need a drink, be right back." She is dressed a bit more colorfully than she has been lately, representing the oncoming spring, her gown a shade of grey to green ombre. Her red hair, as ever, stands out though as she fetches herself a drink, as promised, and one of those dried fruit tarts. She turns to regard the incoming crowd as she takes a bite, lifting that pastry holding hand in greeting with a nod to others as she makes eye contact with those she knows.

Violet turns with a mouthful of bread to first Gwenna and then Arik. A quick bow is sketched as she tries to quickly swallow the dense stuff. It doesn't work and she points at her mouth, holding up a finger, and casts about for the drinks. "G'ad ya' li'ed i'," She manages to get out, a hand over her mouth, to Arik. At Gwenna's congratulations she just smiles, still trying to chew the wonderful bread that so delighted her. Then there is sweet relief. Cider! And she takes a gulp and licks crumbs from her lips. "Thank you, dear. Do either of you know the reason behind the log throwing? Beyond showing off."

Tynan shows up. Why? There's probably free drinks somewhere around here. He skirts around the outside of the gathering as he hones in on the kegs and the braziers standing there to get himself a mug. Sipping from it, he lingers there by the fires to keep the evening cold away.

Arriving on the arm of the sparkling Archlector of Gild, Monique is tucked into an evergreen coat, peeks of honeyed satin beneath. As always, she wears a great deal of very extravagant jewels around her neck and perched on her flame-vivid head. She leans in to finish her private conversation with Etienne before looking up and calling out greetings. "Princess Gwenna! Radiant, as always. Alessandro! Hello, cousin! Come join us? We were just about to sample the enticing fare!"

Judging by the fast way Sebastian downs the entirety of the first glass of whiskey, the second is almost definitely for him, too. Discarding his empty glass, he gives a nod of greeting towards Desiree as she's collecting her own drink. "A pleasant almost spring to you," he toasts -- one could get the feeling the toast is an excuse to drink -- before taking a deep draught of his second glass.

"A Northern Patron?" Arik says for a moment and then looks at Gwenna suspiciously. "You know Princess, I would say we should take some wagers out on our proteges." he says in an easy mannered rumble the smirk still lingering on his lips. "Log throwing isn't about showing off. It's about showing up.... Everyone else." he quips without missing a beat but then he spies Desiree and makes a beckoning gesture to the young oathlander. "Lady Wyrmguard, a moment?"

Kritr emerges from the Clearlake Lodge dresses very much in the typical northern style of furs and wool with an especially thick bear skin cloak about his shoulders. His expression is a forced smile and it's obvious to anyone with a hint of empathy that he isn't a man that relishes the spotlight. Still, he makes his way over towards the tables and is given a mug from one of his clans man that he rises high into the hair and loudly clears his throat before speaking in a loud, deep gruff voice heavily colored with the accent of the North. "Welcome to you all. We of House Clearlake thank you for joining us in our celebration of the coming spring." he pauses and looks out over the crowd. "In the North where I am from the winter is brutal and harsh. At its peak it will freeze a man's nose off in less time than it takes to saddle a horse. When it finally starts to wane and show that spring is coming it is our time to work, but also to celebrate and this evening reflects them both. Please, enjoy our food and drink and we will start the games shortly. "

Alessandro has arrived a little behind Monique and Etienne, though not on the arm of the former -- nor the later -- but in fact without an official escort. He doesn't seem to mind, though, and when Gwenna greets him, he looks over that way, his smile widening as he lifts a hand to wave at her. "Princess Gwenna," he says, "how good to see you. I hope you are well." He moves to get himself a drink, and it's then that he sees Monique -- how did he miss her before? He continues, "Monique, Archlector! Save a seat for me. And Master Tynan, as well." Since Tynan has also been noted, and he gestures for his protege to join him.

"...thought they might have some of those northerner sausages you like," says Niklas to Sabella as the pair walk up from the Ward of the Compact, the latter on the former's arm. "It'd be nice if they had some of that godsawful northerner coffee, but it looks like they have some of the dark left from the drawing in February, so that'll do nicely as well." He looks around the grounds and sends up waves whenever he sees a familiar face. "Lord Arik. Scout Rowenova. Ah, Lady Monique! So good to see you!" Then he's pulling Sabella over to where Alessandro is walking in behind Monique. "Alessandro, my friend! Your note was quite appreciated. Especially after, well, let's not even discuss it." He moves in like he's, oh dear, going to give the other man a hug. This is really treading on Jeffeth's turf.

Desiree looks toward Sebastian with a smile. "A pleasant spring to you also." She toasts. "I haven't been to an event like this for a while. How about yourself?" She nods to Arik with a curious look. "Hello, yes?"

Rowenova slinks over toward the food tables, grinning wolfishly toward Violet, then she glances back toward Prince Niklas and Princess Sabella. "Hello!" says the Northern scout with mighty lungs! "Good to see you, as always!" Then, the hungry woman is going back to loading up her food plate with the best things!

"Vi, Thorley!" Felicia calls out their way, adding a grin and upnod in the direction of Arik and Rowenova as she makes her way around towards them, offering Monique and Alessandro a wink and smirk of their own in recognition as she looks to secure booze and find a good place to loiter with a cheer of approval for Kritr.

Tesha manages to catch the arrival of Etienne and Monique and there's a wave to her cousin and the Lady Greenmarch. Then she sees that Khanne has made an appearance and she makes her way over to her sister-in-law with purposeful steps. "Lady Khanne, I'm happy to see you out." she tells her. "Could I speak with you for just a moment?" she asks her.

"Hear, hear!" Sebastian observes, wryly, in response to Kritr's welcoming speech, though whether the approval is for /freezing ones nose off/, or the /enjoy the food and drink/ is anyone's guess. With a twitch of lips, he answers Desiree: "I'm usually more of one for the arts than the... games. But I'm trying new things for inspiration. And yourself?" a pause, and he adds with a bow, "Lord Sebastian Pravus, artiste," with a low chuckle, before he follows Desiree's gaze to Arik.

Violet looks just a little proud as she glances at her husband and then Gwenna, before giving a firm nod of her head. "Indeed!" She says cheerfully, taking another drink of her cider. Felicia's greeting has her turning and waving. "Fel! Hi dear. Come to throw things with us?" She asks. As Niklas and Sabella greet Arik she gives them both a bow and smile as well. Though it's mostly Sabella that gets the smile.

Grinning as Violet finds relief with the cider, Thorley doesn't move to take that second piece of bread that Violet has. That's suicidal. Instead, he settles on one of the honeyed cakes and starts to work on it. Rowenova is sent an upnod of Thorley's head, before Felicia is grinned at. "Dame Harrow!" the trio is completed as the knight tucks into the cake. "You know what would go well with this?" Coffee. You know he's going to say coffee, right?

"I am Lord Arik Halfshav, Sword of Whitehold and on occassion Voice of Redrain." Arik explains to Desiree as he gives her a polite quarter bow before stepping a bit closer. "It is nice to see you coming out to some northern events.." he has a good natured air about him, an easy manner to his rumbling voice and does step a bit closer still and murmur something likely lost to the crowd.

Sabella laughs, "I hope they do and if not I'll just send Elizabetta running for some." Elizabetta doesn't look like a fan of that plan, but Sabella is oblivious since she's beaming smiles all around, "Hello everyone! Lady Monique, Mistress Gianna told me she sent the song over, I hope it is to your liking. I'm sure the Nightingale will do is justice no matter what and I am so, so excited for the Gala!" She gives a smile and a wave to Violet and Rownova and anyone else that's greeted her and laughs at Niklas' displays of affection to Alessandro, "Your notes always brighten our days, so thank you for sending so many of them." She tells the lawyer.

Etienne juggles greetings for the Telmar and the Greenmarch, escorting, and his unrelenting preoccupation with food with typical grace affording to him from years of experience. Naturally, the drinks and food seem a priority, perhaps they don't feed him at the shrine. "Would you like something Lady Monique?" he asks, he is already holding a glass of whiskey, but upon the realization extends it in her direction. "I think we can find a place to sit large enough fore everyone over there" he indicates.

Gwenna smiles wide at Thorley and bobs her head a few times. "Ah, a few traditions to learn should be fine. My mother was a Laurent before marrying into Redrain, so I know a few things of the Oathlands myself. That's what ties us better, I think. Sharing our loves and histories, hmm?" A laugh at Khanne's remarks as she lifts her stout. "All the drinks are sure to be wonderful, to judge by this one," she tells the famed Shaman. A grin to Violet and a held up hand so that the woman doesn't feel a need to speak. "I should try that bread," is decided. She then beams at Monique. "Me? You, as always, are a vision, my lady." Arik's words make her chuckle. "I also am a patron to a lord of Kennex, Lord Arik. Truly, I am fortunate beyond measure to have such wonderful people who trust in me. As for wagering, I have notorious bad luck, but perhaps." Exchanging some quiet words with her fellow Voice, she then beams a smile at Alessandro. "It is good to see you also, Lord Alessandro! I am well, thank you for asking. I hope you are, too?" She turns to raise a glass toward Kritr. "Thank you for hosting us, my lord!"

Khanne is people watching, mostly, seeming to blend into the scenery very well until Tesha notices her. She smiles towards her sister-in-law and says, "Tesha, good to see you. Of course." And she moves off to the side, away from the refreshments table a bit, beckoning her over as she listens to Kritr speak about his traditions and this celebration. She applauds him, raising her whiskey in cheer after.

Wylla finds her way in at the edge of the crowd, lingering there quite shyly in her Archlector's robes. There's a lot of talking, but she doesn't seem quite willing to contribute to it, adjusting one of her hairpins in a fidgety, uncertain motion, as she waits for the crowd to settle -- hopefully at least a little, from the tension on her face, and soon.

Desiree smiles politely has she speaks to Arik. "I'm happy to be here. It sounds like it will be a good time." She murmurs something to him before giving a quick reply to Sebastian. "Lady Desiree Wyrmguard. Artiste sounds interesting."

Tynan is half-way through his mug as Alessandro notes him, and the man holds a finger up in the air. A couple of more seconds of sweeping that ale, and with a smack of his lips he goes to refill that mug before he heads on over towards Alessandro. "My Lord." He greets his patron with a broad grin, although foregoes the usual physical part of it all considering his hands are full, "Come for the drinks as well? Free and in good company always taste better, right?"

After loading up a food plate, Rowenova slides over toward where Lord Arik is mingling around with the noble class. She listens in to the juicy gossips and anything else which is going on right now between the noble class type folks. Offering out the food plate, she happily shares with Vala Khanne, too.

Tesha also listens to Kritr and gives a round of applause after the speech is over, then she turns back to her sister-in-law and has a quiet conversation with her.

"Of course. I think Merril's mad at me because, well... there's always more books and..." Felicia wrinkles her nose and shakes her head for Violet and Thorley,"I'm going to turn into a scholar at this rate. So I think there's some drinking and throwing things in order... to maintain balance, of course." the 'pious' look on her face is not in the slightest believable as she rolls her eyes for Thorley,"Whiskey. Whiskey goes with everything. At least, in my opinion. Besides... at this rate I'm going to have to take up the slack for both of you." she grins.

When the Sword of Whitehold steps in to take the Lady Wyrmguard's attention, Sebastian politely moves aside with merely a nod to allow them a moment to exchange whispers -- back to seeking another refill of whiskey. Much more of this, and he'll definitely need some food to balance it out. As Desiree speaks, his lips quirk upwards. "A fanciful, self-adorned title, I admit, my lady. But also true, for all that -- even if my output has been a little ah, sparse, of late," he looks vaguely awkward, but it passes quickly.

Alessandro returns Felicia's wave, and there's one to Rowenova as well, before Niklas and Sabella's arrival is noted, and his smile widens as he returns the hug, despite there being no danger of being crushed by it -- or maybe that's a perk! "Of course," he replies. "I was very happy to hear the announcement. It is good to see you both." He looks from Niklas to Sabella, a little laugh escaping him at her words. "I shall be sure to send more, then, and you will never be able to leave your rooms for fear of being accosted by messengers. Do you know my protege, Tynan Grayhope?" he asks, gesturing to the man with a nod. "He is also quite good at writing messages, so it was really a perfect match. Princess Sabella Grayson, Prince Niklas Grayson." Just in case. He turns back to Gwenna then with a nod, adding, "I'm very well, thank you. Anxiously awaiting happy news from you and my brother." You're welcome, Gwenna.

"Of course," Monique calls to Alessandro, watching as Niklas steals the hug that should have been hers from her cousin. "Prince Niklas, Princess Sabella. It never ceases to amaze me how perfect you two look together. I hope all is well as it can be? And the song was the highlight of my day, Princess Sabella. I honestly couldn't imagine anything more perfect and I'm thrilled to have you be a part of the Gala! Ah, Dame Felicia," the bright-haired Greenmarch waves to the King's Own. "They set you free for the night? Wonderful!" She accepts the glass of whiskey from Etienne with a smile that is most certainly fond. "And will you allow me to sample off your plate, or must I get one of my own?" she teases the blonde-haired Archlector, and grins to Gwenna. "Well... yes. Thank you." Ego powers, activate!

After giving his initial speech Kritr steps away from the tables and downs the entire contents of his mug to help fuel his duties as host. A sleeve is raises to wipe the froth from his mustache and he goes to settle by the log area and gets ready to address the crowd again.

Something has happened... Arik spots Wylla on the edge of the crowd, a woman in Archlector robes toying with a hairpin. He is clearly having a mild conversation with Desiree but upon spotting Wylla he's off! Slipping through the crowd he makes a very direct and somewhat notable approach on the Archlector of Jayus. She notices him, she tries to slip away, but all for naught!



Arik manages to get Wylla in a bears hug embrace that might threaten to suffocate her, "Cousin! You're to much the stranger, the Faith keeps you to themselves." he rumbles in a not very quiet manner.

"Just for the next several months, you'll need to fill in for Violet." Thorley smirks at that. "She was filling in for me, so you're taking the double load." The Westrock Sword gives a smirk at that, "And you, a scholar? It would only add to the appeal, Felicia." There's a wink at the redhead knight, "Yes, but whisky goes well in coffee. And so would this cake."

Violet turns to fill up a plate as people mingle and talk. And take another bite of the bread. Because it is obviously the best thing ever. At least right now. Turning about, briefly, as Kritr speaks she both has a mouthful and handsful. So clapping or shouting isn't much of an option. So she stomps a foot. That works. "Thorley, try this. You too Felicia," Violet says, handing over a slab of the dark, thick bread with the creamy honey-butter smeared on top. As Arik darts off her eyes follow the man and she finds herself snickering in amusement as he scoops up the poor archlector.

Rowenova waves back toward Alessandro with her free hand before picking off a juicy berry from her food plate and quickly popping that into her humanoid maw before chomping down with intense vigor!

"I escaped!" Felicia calls cheerfully in Monique's direction, eyeing the displeased looking Merril lurking on edge with a faint flush of color to her cheeks,"...temporarily at least!" there's a snort at Thorley,"I'll always be better at hitting people with things than studying, at least until I'm old and decrepit... assuming I live that long." she's being demanded to try the bread, and reaches over to snag a slice.

Desiree nods to whatever Arik says. "I will." She then turns her attention back to Sebastian. "I hope to perhaps see some of your work in the future. I'm not much of an artist myself, but I do have an interest."

Gwenna offers a bit of a laugh at Alessandro, a bright smile tugging up the corner of her lips. "As do I, my lord. You know how these things can be, though," she remarks, seeming no less dissuaded though. "Lady Margret is well? Duties keeping her this evening?" The Redrain then dips her head to Monique, though it's not long before all the wonderful food on plates around her lead her to meander over to fetch some delicacies for herself. Some of the bread, of course, and thick butter are first to be nabbed, a few tarts to compliment.

Wylla stares, wide-eyed, at Arik's looming approach. She takes a step or two back, but there's Arik, and she lets out a muffled little exclamation as he moves to hug her. "I... what," is all she gets out, gazing for a moment or two at Arik before it clicks. "I, um, I just came up to see the festival. I'm not going to be tossing those logs." She gestures towards them, pulling away. A deep breath. "There are a lot of people here."

"Certainly, I'd be happy to show you. Some of my work is on display in the Hart's Raven Room, if you're ever visiting -- well worth a look, even if I do say so myself," Sebastian says, with a low-throated chuckle. He half watches Kritr heading for the log area, his shoulders shifting as he asks Desiree: "Are you here to watch, or to participate, perhaps, Lady Wyrmguard?"

Arik checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.

"I believe I have met Master Grayhope a time or two," says Niklas, stepping forward to offer Tynan a hand. "A lawyer as a protege for a lawyer. And my protege is an artist. The system works! Good to meet you, probably again!, Master Grayhope." Monique's comment gets a grin. "Oh, Lady Monique, always a way with telling the truth. But do go on about how fantastic we look together." He holds Sabella close, then reaches up to adjust his coronet. Though when he overhears an introduction across the way he glances over to Sebastian, narrowing his eyes at the man. Then he breaks out a wide smile and murmurs to his wife, "Let's go meet someone new. Ish." Though he's distracted by Wylla's arrival. The archlector gets a look. Then he pulls Sabella with him over to the Pravus. "Lord Sebastian? The artiste? Allow me to introduce myself, I am Prince Niklas Grayson and this is my wife, muse, editor and critic, Sabella Grayson. I believe your sister is seeing my cousin. Maybe. I don't know. Aethan is just about as hard to read as Ian. And you're probably eventually related to my ex-sister-in-law, Vanora. What sort of art do you pursue?"

Kritr lifts a hand to attract attention again before addressing the crowd once more, "Once the winter cold starts to ebb in my homeland the ground is still long to be covered in snow, the dirt still frozen as hard as stone.. but our noses? they are safe. That is when it is best to work to the woods, to fell trees that can be drug out more easily by horse or oxen and with sled instead of wagons to get mired in mud in summer." he waves a hand towards the pile of logs, "and after being cooped up for so long, once we have the logs.. we play with our wood. It is a game of ours to see who can toss a log the furthest as a show of strength. Any who would like to attempt come forward. And for those that rather games of less brawn.. those are to come"

Tynan can't help but press his hand across his chest and give a small, shallow bow, then as Alessandro introduces him. It just happens to be with a mug of ale pressed to his jacket. "We have met. Your Highnesses." He says with a flicker of a smile at Alessandro, watching Niklas and Sabella both. "But it's always a pleasure to meet again." There's a small side-eye given to Alessandro however at his remarks, "You know, I wasn't aware that it was my skill at writing messengers that made you offer patronage, my Lord. I fear I may have been depriving you of them, if that was the case. I will make sure to send you lots more, to keep you appraised of what is going on with, well, everything."

Arik carries Wylla away in the death grip of a bear hug. The poor Archlector never had a chance. He shatters the whole time. "Ah cousin, come with me." he says, he is carrying her so she doesn't have much choice. "I'm glad you came, you know I've been meaning to write." just idle conversation, carrying her through the crowd as they approach Tesha and Khanne. The Sword of Whitehold gently puts Wylla on her feet and releases the hug with one hand coming up to brush off her shoulder and then offers a lazy grin. "Khanne, look who I caught on the edge of the crowd." he says easily and then like lightning he is gone leaving the Archlector infront of the Shaman

Etienne is mid-bite, his plate an assortment of samples, his hand once again containing a drink. The request for him to share his food causing him to put his drink down, and double up on the sampled selection before retrieving it. "Of course, help yourself." he says to Monique now that he is properly prepared, he turns to face the announcement. His expression at the announcement of the contest seems to communicate his serious obligations of carrying food and drink around.

Chewing on the bread, Thorley closes his eyes in thought. "It reminds me of a thick stock that used to be served in a tavern with this seafood stew that was excellent." the knight comments before he finishes it off. Glancing aside to Violet, there's a little whisper to his wife before he starts to head towards the competition to join in with the others.

Desiree enjoys her ale. "I'll have to go and visit then." She watches Kritr with an interested gaze before speaking to Sebastian. "Tossing a log? While it sounds fun I think I'll be watching. If you can't tell I'm not very skilled in log tossing." She laughs and looks at Sabella and Niklas with a smile. "Hello."

Felicia possibly doesn't give the bread and honey butter the taste test it deserves, given that there's a call being made for log tossing. The redheaded knight cramming the piece into her mouth as she raises a hand, hurriedly pouring the whiskey into her mouth in order to swallow it down as she trots over to join the line with far, far too much glee right now.

Rowenova sets down her food plate for a temporary time before she moves over to play around with the aforementioned wood. AHEM. She picks up the next log, swinging around and then tossing out the fallen tree to see how far she goes!

Rowenova checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 3 lower.

Felicia checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 1 lower.

Thorley checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

And then, that same log just drops when Rowenova flounders miserably!

"I've learnt one should never judge a book by its cover, my Lady. I didn't want to presume," Sebastian murmurs to Desiree, a hint of laughter in his voice. That's when he notices Niklas and Sabella approaching. "Ah -- Aethan is your cousin. Well, it is more than a pleasure to meet you, Prince Niklas, Princess Sabella," he gives a bow to each in turn, then gestures towards the woman he's talking with, "May I introduce Lady Desiree Wyrmguard," he says, before a smile tugs his lips upwards. "At the moment, I'm painting, though I've been known to provide a sculpture or two or ten thousand, as the mood strikes me," his answer, while whimsical, is nevertheless full of genuine laughter.

Wylla checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 6 lower.

Violet checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.

Monique checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 2 lower.

Violet glances at her husband and finishes her mouthful with a hard swallow and gulp of cider. Setting down her plate and mug she moves to follow after her husband. Hands rubbing together she grins at the logs, looking them over thoughtfully before moving to choose one.

Sabella gives Tynan a smile, "Yes, we know each other. Sat together at the Sentinel's picnic! It's always good to see you." Then she's being pulled along for more introductions, giving Sebastian a bright smile, "It's always a pleasure to meet another artist! It seems the city is lucky to have a plethora of us these days. Prince Niklas is also a painter! He's very, very good, though that might just be my bias showing since the last one he did was of me." She leans in to give Niklas' cheek a quick kiss before nodding to Desiree, "It's nice to meet you, Lady Desiree. Are you also an artist?"

Khanne checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.

Wylla makes a wait one second sign to Khanne. Kritr's words have caught her attention. She moves for a log, and tosses it. It goes all of perhaps a foot away from her. She stares sadly at the log's lack of flight, before looking back towards Khanne. "I think Arik wanted us to talk," she remarks uncertainly. "I /do/ want to talk to you, but."

Thorley grins as he leads his wife over to the logs. Hey, at least the pair of them got the logs up and at them before the toss is made. And it seems that the pair are evenly matched.

"Please do," Alessandro replies to Tynan, lifting his glass to the other man with a smile. "I always enjoy receiving messages. It makes me feel as though I am very busy and important." He does not, in fact, attempt to join the log tossing, since that would be more comedy than is probably warranted at the moment, but he does turn to watch, taking a sip from his glass then.

Tesha gives a hug to Khanne and another whisper before the Telmar is moving away from her sister-in-law and heading out it seems. She takes a moment to pick up her puppy and stop by to give a quiet word to Baron Kritr as well, "Thank you for hosting this event, Baron. I have to be going sadly. But I hope the evening goes well." she tells him.

Monique watches as Etienne piles his plate high after her request, and the way her lips curve is beatific. She reaches out to snag a pastry before her head cocks. "Ah, want to see me try to handle a giant log?" she asks Alessandro and Etienne conspiratorily and entirely laced with innuendo. There's a chuckle to Niklas but since he's already heading away, Monique turns instead to playing with wood.

Thorley checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 26 higher.

Violet checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.

Wylla's face turns absolutely red at Monique's words, as she stands there hesitantly mid-conversation.

Desiree grins as she responds to Sebastian. "That's good advice." smiles politely as she speaks to Sabella. "It's nice to meet you too, and no I'm not an artist. Although it's always a pleasure to see a painting or a sculpture someone has worked hard on."

Violet takes care to select her log. Then her gloves hands come down on it and she hefts it. Then she gives it a toss with a goodly grunt. She's done this before. When they both land the same distance away she glances at him. "Did you do that on purpose?" She asks, stepping back to watch the other throws. When it becomes clear they need to toss again she shrugs and goes to grab another one. This one goes farther but...she whistles and grins at the distance above and beyond Thorley's gets. "You win. Again," She doesn't seem to mind at all.

Whatever it was that Violet whispered to Thorley seems to have given the knight a new strength. Grabbing the log, this one is /flung/ from sword's position to slam down in the field several feet away.

"Ah, I've just been taking up painting. Well, 'taking up' as in for the past few months. I recently finished a portrait of Sabella that was deemed decent enough to hang in the great hall at the Grayson mansion." Niklas purses his lips slightly, then adds, "Well, I deemed it decent enough and hung it there without permission, but no one has taken it down yet. Possibly because even my mediocre skill couldn't fail to capture the radiance of my model." Niklas, never one to pass up on the chance to talk about himself for a bit, continues, "Though my passion remains writing plays. I thought after my debut at the Blackrose I might lose interest, but, no, as much as ever. Possibly more! Though through my work with my protege at the Bard's College, I'm hoping we can turn that into a venue for more than just music." He pauses, then says, "But I do talk endlessly. Perhaps Master Voss has a point. No wonder no one will teach me Eurus. That'd be twice as much talking to do."

Log goes up... log comes down. Unfortunately for Felicia, she must have miscalculated something. It's not the lack of strength that is her undoing... her hand slipped just a little, and she flug it at the wrong moment, causing the thing to go up a few feet with the wind resistance of a beached whale... before she has to balk and run from it deciding to come down almost exactly where it was tossed from.

"Highlight of that particular day, Your Highness." Tynan replies to Sabella with a quick smile before inclining his head as both her and Niklas run off to socialize further. His attention back to Alessandro then, "Ah. I see. Perhaps if you give me opportune times when you're in public, I will make sure to send you plenty of messengers to showcase just how important a figure you are. I believe it is my duty to make you look good, after all, right?" He flashes Alessandro a broad smile at that as his eyes drift to the log tossing, "Amazing the things you can come up with and call entertainment."

Khanne is hugging Tesha as they stand off to the side, out of the way when Arik deposits Wylla in front of them. "Oh...." she says, watching him then skedaddle. Turning back to Wylla she says, "Hi there." She chuckles and says, "likely. He gets frustrated when people don't talk to me and he thinks they should." She holds up a hand. "One moment... The toss!"She goes to toss the log. She manages, but not as well as others.

Etienne does his best to swallow his bread, though a fit of coughing seems to have over taken him at Monique's comment. He slaps himself upon the chest briefly. "I wish you all the luck *cough* Gilds fortune" he eeks out, taking a drink from his glass in a last ditch attempt to save himself.

Rowenova face palms and goes back to her food plate, chowing down.

Wylla's slowly recovering from her blush as Khanne speaks. "I, um, I'll be quick. Father Orazio..." And she lowers her voice for Khanne's ears alone, nudging her barely thrown log out of the way as best she can with a foot.

Alessandro snorts at Monique's words, shaking his head a little bit, but he can't completely hide the smile as he watches the log tossing. "I'm sure you would do quite well, cousin," he says, "though I am not sure I should watch it." Belatedly, then, he turns to Gwenna, replying, "She is well, thank you, Your Highness. Busy at the Clinic at the moment, yes, but she may come when she is through." He watches Felicia do her toss, before looking back to Tynan. "Thank you. It seems I have made the right choice of protege after all."

"Are you indeed, your highness?" the princess' words have Sebastian looking at Niklas with a sharper interest, now, sounding pleased. "I'd love to see your work some time, if you're amenable, and I'm certainly happy to provide any advice on anything from the best place to get your brushes or paints to the best canvases. But, yes -- we are indeed blessed with many," he agrees with Sabella. "Many of which don't get the exposure they should have for the talent they hold -- something I'm hoping to work on with some more showcases of local artists." He grins at Desiree -- then gestures past towards the log-tossing, whistling under his breath at some of the close calls as much as the good throws. When Niklas speaks of playwriting, that earns the Pravus Lord's interest quickly enough. "I've witnessed a fine play or two in my time here. I'd heard of your play's success, actually -- the first of many, I hope."

Poor Wylla. Poor Etienne. Monique has no shame as she slips over to try and toss her log. It doesn't go well, which probably doesn't do wonders for the Minx's ego. She sighs, heading back, and on the way, tossing out to Niklas, "I could teach you." And then it's back to Alessandro and Etienne. "Clearly, I need more practice."

Monique is overheard praising Petal.

Kritr wisely stands well out of the path of the airborne logs and maybe even has a hint of a real smile to crinkling the corners of his eyes. He applauds with each attempt as one of his clansmen mark the distance of each thrown log. "Good throws!" he booms out, "back home this contest especially seems to make its competitors very thirsty. Please, see they are served" And Clearlake staff move out to serve the competitors while Kritr moves to Thorley, "Our winner! A strong toss. "

Violet moves to wrap her arms around Thorley's neck and give him a kiss. "Well tossed," She tells him, not hiding her delight. Or the public display. But that tends to be her way. Back to her food she returns, however, saying to Felicia, "Logs are tricky. They can slip out of your fingers easily." She's been tossing her logs her whole life, for one reason or another.

Felicia mutters at her gloves, pulling them off to shove in her belt with a grunt for Violet as she goes to join the Commander,"I should probably have taken my gloves off, first... I'm just glad that it didn't hit anyone. That was... kind of embarrassing." not that from the rueful grin she's too concerned.

Rowenova sets down her food plate and loudly claps for Sir Thorley. "Good job!" says she with those Northern lungs working overtime.

"Of course. How could I ever be the wrong choice, my Lord?" Tynan replies to Alessandro with another of those patented grins towards him before raising his mug of ale to take a good mouthful of it. It's interrupted as he gives a very ineffectual applaud as the winner is announced, hand against mug. Luckily it's half empty at this point.

"I had good inspiration.." Thorley starts to say, though his cheeks darken as Violet claims her own prize, before lifting the small blonde and gives her back a good squeeze, before setting her back down. "You are much lighter than the log." he points out, an attempt for a flattery of the blonde archer before accepting the drink - though he accepts a cider and not anything harder.

Khanne returns from her attempt at log tossing to speak to Wylla. She leans in close when the Archlector begins to speak.

Desiree is overheard praising Thorley.

Having been quietly enjoying the bread and stout, Gwenna bobs her head and smiles to Alessandro. "I imagine the clinic keeps her quite busy, what with all the trouble in and about the city, my lord. I'll hope she does manage to come by, though. She's lovely. Really, Lorenzo and I should host you for dinner next, hmm? I'll speak to him about it. We are rather belated in our thank you gift to you both, as it is," she mentions with a faint bit of embarrassment. Turning to watch the competitors, she grins wide. "I can barely throw a book properly at someone when I'm mad. Logs? That's incredible!"

"I don't think I would do better at all." Etienne says to the results of Monique's efforts. "I'm barely survived from the recent cold exposure, the last thing I need to do is crush myself with a large piece of wood." he takes another bite from some morsel from his plate, crushing himself with the amount of food he has stacked high on his plate seems to be a feat within his grasp.

Violet returns to the last of her thick and buttered bread. Happily shovelling it down and humming as she chews. Someone is having a good day. "Mmm! Thorley, try these," And she picks up a tart from her plate, one of the honey and nut persuasion. "I love the nuts and the honey together."

"Lady Monique, you shouldn't indulge my bad habits. Both my sister Octavia and my sister-in-law Princess Louford T Grayson have declined to teach me, for fear that I will cause an incident." Niklas waves a hand dismissively. As if such a thing were even possible! "What am I like to do? Get Mason to declare war on our side of the mansion? Pfft." Back to the artiste and his companion, Niklas says, "It's too bad you returned to the city too late to see it. I am more than pleased with the reception to the work. I am a man who, in general, has a magnificently high opinion of himself, but for just a moment prior to release I thought 'what if I'm not as great as I think I am?' and then the public chose to prove those concerns entirely invalid." He's probably kidding. Like 90% kidding. Like a good three quarters kidding. A real half and half. He's probably not kidding. "Should I end up painting something worthy of public exhibition, I shall let you know. Most of the galleries around here do tend to focus on the dour, while I'm hoping to paint light. Perhaps I'll just see if Lady Lisebet would put some up at her coffee house." Niklas turns to watch people heaving logs into the air and grimaces. "That seems like a good way to put some internal organs out of place."

"Next time," Alessandro assures Monique, leaning in to murmur something to her, before he turns back to Tynan with a grin of his own, nodding to concede the point. Gwenna's reply has him looking her way again, though, and he nods. "We would enjoy that quite a bit," he says, before lifting a hand to wave off the apology. "Not at all. Your presence was gift enough, as ever. I only hope to see you both more often."

"You should definitely not indulge his bad habits," Sabella says with another laugh, grinning at Monique and then Niklas, "I'm pretty sure he talks nonsense at me in languages that don't exist just because he knows I don't speak anything but Arvani." She glances over at the log throwing with a curious expression. "Who was the first person to ever decide to do that, I wonder? And then decide it was a good sport? And who was watching and agreed?"

Maybe it is the mug of whiskey starting to work but Kritr seems a smidge more relaxed as his clansmen start to move the makeshift targets into place. Each is a slice of a tree stump several inches thick and made vertical by a tripod of tree branches nailed to the back. A small square of parchment has been placed in the middle of each stump. "Our next contest is one of skill instead of strength." He is ended a wood axe that he holds by the handle and rises high. "The goal is to cut the parchment in half. Each will have three throws. Who will compete?" he asks again.

Laughing, Thorley accepts his wife's offers to have him sample all the things, and there's a rumbling chuckle. "My darling, you're going to have me working extra laps in the training yard at this rate." he comments to her in mild amusement. "Don't forget to share with Felicia as well." He's not going down alone! And then there's the competition of dexterity. "No, you can't use the same wager again." It's quickly said to Violet.

Violet sets her plate down once more, chewing on something, and shoots THorley a smile before moving forwards. "I shall!" She says cheerfully. Thorley's comment has her looking thoughtful. "Hmmm...fine. You get to wear the dress then." Whatever that means.

Monique smiles fondly at Etienne, lifting a hand to brush his under all those voluminous robes. "You have other strengths, hm? Like eating," she teases the Archlector before leaning in to hear Alessandro's words and laughing. "Please. I might blush, and then the world would end!" To Sabella, "Very well! I retract my offer!" laughing. "But another contest? How can I resist!"

"Well done, bravo!" Sebastian applauds when the winner is announced, gaze settling on Thorley for a moment. "Well, your highness, dour is in," he might be saying that sarcastically, but it's hard to tell: his expression even, a hint of a smile as he glances to Niklas. "Certainly, most artists draw on their pain, and not their pleasures, for inspiration. At least many I have known do -- but a welcome change is always something to look forward to." The next contest has him rising brows, intrigued. "Interesting. Are you sure you won't take a turn, Lady Wyrmguard? I think I might -- just for fun." With a half-bow to those he's talking with, he winds his way through the crowd towards Kritr.

Monique checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Monique checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Monique checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Violet checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Violet checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Violet checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Snorting, Thorley shakes his head. "Nope. I don't have the legs for it." Those this time, he gives Violet a whisper, brows crinkling in amusement.

Sebastian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Sebastian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

Sebastian checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Tynan realizes there's other people around him and nods his head at Gwenna's exclamation. "I feel that my efforts towards lifting a log would go as far as trying to pick it up and then spending the next week nursing my spine back to health, Your Highness." He remarks to her, once more disappearing behind a mug of ale to sip from it. He glances over as the next contest is announced, shaking his head slowly. "Think I'll wait until they get to the word scramble. I'm good at those."

Desiree lets out a cheer for the winner of the log toss and looks to Niklas. "I heard so many good things about your play." She looks at Sabella with a grin. "I don't know, but it was in good fun." She gives a curious look to Kritr as the next contest is announced. "I have to watch this one. If you're compete I'll cheer for you Lord Pravus." She watches his attempt with amusement.

Thorley checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 58 higher.

Thorley checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Thorley checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

"Men, surely," Gwenna sort of deadpans, if amusedly, in Sabella's direction. "Though perhaps it was an angry wife? I often mean to research such traditions, but duties and diplomatic efforts too often keep me from it," is noted with a little shrug. A few more nibbles of the bread finish off the Redrain's initial sampling of the Clearlake offerings. There's a faint gasp. "Cutting parchment?" Only the Redrain ledger nerd might be briefly aghast at such. Turning back to Alessandro, she grins. "Well, still, we discussed doing something and then other things began to fall into place, so I suppose we let ourselves get caught up. Indeed, though, I hope we might manage another dinner soon." And then the field takes her attention again, the princess offering a low whistle at the impressive shots by the competitors. "Son of a motherless bear. Remind me never to make any of them angry when there is a sharp object nearby." Tynan's words make her laugh and she bobs her head in agreement. "Me as well. Word scramble? Ah, if it were numbers, I might give such a try."

Violet grins at whatever her husband whispers to her. There is mischief in her eye as she throws the first blade. She hits every time and that seems to please her. Then her husband takes his throws and her grin just growns, showing teeth, as she looks from target to Thorley. "Aw shucks, you beat me again," She sounds far from upset.

"Indeed," murmurs Niklas, his attention turning toward the latest contest, "though at times I feel there might be enough pain." Desiree's comment gets a grin, "You are clearly a refined lady of the highest taste." He turns to Sabella and brings her hand up to kiss the back of it, saying, "If I make up words, my dear, it's only because I've run out of ways to describe your beauty. Arvani only has so many ways to express adoration." A quick look around, then he adds, "No Luca, so he should be safe." He wanders over and snaps up the axes. "Might as well give this a try. I won third place in a jousting contest once, you know. Tilted against the king himself!"

Niklas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 14 lower.

Niklas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Niklas checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 10 lower.

Felicia checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Felicia checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 11 higher.

"You don't wish to try your hand at not slitting your own throat instead of the paper?" Alessandro asks Tynan with slightly widened eyes, as though he's being completely serious. Since clearly that would be what //he// would do, should he attempt the contest. Therefore, he does not, and instead his smile widens when Monique does so well, applauding for her whether she wins or not. "You may wait until there is a happy announcement to give," he says to Gwenna, "if you feel that it is to be soon." There is some amusement in his tone there.

Throwing at the target, it seems that Thorley has a particular dislike for ledger pages, fling the axe at the page, before he grins aside towards Violet. "Maybe I should find wagers that make you actually try?" he teases playfully.

Etienne chuckles lightly at the celebration of his true talents, putting his plate down momentarily to cheer on Monique as she attempts the daring feet of slicing a parchment in half. The plate isn't left neglected long, he wouldn't want to hurt its feelings.

With a grin for the Lady Wyrmguard, Sebastian steps up to take his turn. While the Lord Pravus may be an artist, he apparently has some competency with weapons. Enough to hit the paper solidly every time, though he's obviously outclassed by those of higher skills. Still, he looks pleased by his effort, gracious in defeat -- nodding approval to his fellow contestants. He doesn't wait for the announcements -- instead stepping back towards the group he recently departed from, flexing his fingers. "More whiskey required, I think," he says, with a laugh.

It probably goes against Monique's instincts to slice up paper, but she does it anyway, wincing each time she hits the mark with ripping accuracy. "Do you think I might collect to scraps for the Gilded Page?" she calls out with an expression of guilt.

Sabella laughs at Gwenna's comment, "Surely!" She agrees with a wide grin before nodding to Desiree, "it most definitely is, but I often wonder about the stories behind things. Even simple things like log tossing that then got turned into sport! There are more important things one ought to be thinking about surely, but I can't help my imagination from trying to fill in the blanks of history!" She tells her cheerfully. Then she takes a step back as Niklas throws his axe. Then another. Then another. "It's the writer in you," she calls out encouragingly to Niklas, "It doesn't want to marr the paper!"

"Numbers. Letters. They're all better than lifting things." Tynan remarks back to Gwenna with quick smile at her. He turns his head then to regard Alessandro, peering at him, "I've gone this far without me, or anybody else, slitting my throat, you know? I feel the best course of action is not to tempt fate there. Generally, if somebody is throwing daggers, my instinct is to run away. I was raised right, after all." There's a few quick nods that follows his own words, but nevertheless, he gives the same hand against mug applause for the competitors again.

Wylla and Khanne are still carrying on a quiet conversation. Wylla seems to speak at length about something. Hesitantly, but there are quite a few sentences there, and perhaps uncharacteristically so!

Felicia is not a small weapons sort of person. She at least knows which end is supposed to go in the other guy, but, well, at least she manages to at least /hit/ the target, but it's definitely not skillful slicing of the paper so much as brute tearing through it with a frown of concentration like she has a personal vendetta against paper.

Desiree cheers for Sebastian. She gives him an impressed look. "That was really good Lord Pravus." She grins with a nod for Sabella. "It can be fun to imagine. Everything does have a story." She watches Niklas. "He gave a good effort. I can't say I would have done any better."

Niklas tosses an axe up and nearly loses a hand. "Whoops." When it lands between his feet he scratches his nose, decides to count that one and grabs up a second axe and flings it, missing the paper and whatever the paper's on and pretty much losing the axe to the darkness. Eventually something in the distance shatters. "Oof. That sounded expensive. Send the bill to Princess Tikva." The third axe is lifted, he takes a good moment to carefully size up his target, then throws. It's pretty good form, except he lets go of the axe some time during the backswing and as a result he chops off the tip of his shoe. "Well. I think I'm done with that for a while."

Gwenna takes in a breath and sighs it out, smile still in place. "I have no idea if or when that may be, but things seem promising, for which I am happy enough," she notes and laughs a bit. "Regardless, it would be nice even without some news to announce, I think. Though I am unsure we might find a place as lovely as the Greenmarch estates." Sabella's reply makes the Redrain laugh, her head nodding once again. She then dips her head to Tynan briefly in apparent agreement. "I can lift things, of course. A glass of wine, a quill," she notes, ticking off her fingers. "I even once won second place in an axe-throwing contest. Though there were just three of us and I think I simply threw less poorly than my opponent." A grin follows the words. "All Redrain are trained with spear and shield nearly as soon as we can hold one. I...was less skilled at the dangerous things, it turns out." Grinning, she looks back to the field and claps her hands for everyone attempting the challenge!

Sebastian grins at Desiree in response, giving her a half-bow in thanks for the cheering. "I find the skills necessary for artistry -- a light touch, a grace, fine motor control -- can sometimes be honed efficiently into the blade. With practice," he adds, after a moment. "The axe is rather more heavy than I'm used to, though." Niklas' near incident with his toe has the Pravus Lord wincing in mute sympathy.

Kritr watches the contest with a few nods of approval.. and a wince or two at Niklas' attempts. Once it is obvious there is no blood he looks to the targets and then once again moves to Thorley, "Our winner, once again!" he calls out and gestures to the man. The targets are cleared and he waves to the empty space. "Our next contest will be one of wit and luck, wiles and perception. It is to be competed in pairs. If you wish to try the game of hand find a partner and gather here"

"Probably for the best," Alessandro replies to Tynan, wincing at Niklas' display, especially at the last one. "Please keep your hand, Niklas," he says, "or how will you wear the friendship bracelet that is being made for you even as we speak?" It might be a joke, considering the laugh in his voice, though it's hard to tell. Gwenna's words, though, get a shrug, and he continues, "We all have our talents," he says, and he might have said more, but then Kritr is announcing the next one, and he turns to Tynan. "Partners?"

"All fine things to lift, right?" Tynan agrees with Gwenna, slipping another broad smile her way. "In the Lowers, you learn to fight back or you learn to run away. That in mind, I'm quite a talented short distance sprinter." He says it deadpan as he sweeps the remainder of his mug of ale and puts it away on a nearby tray or table or whatever happens to be close. At the announcement, he lights up then, "Now this sounds more promising." and nods quickly at Alessandro, "Might actually have a shot here. Let's do it."

"This is where I'm screwed." Felicia offers to Violet and Thorley wryly before electing to raise a hand and call out,"Anyone need a partner?" by way of crowdsourcing.

Etienne's plate is empty and he sits pleasantly, an almost empty drink in his hand when the next contest is announced. "This one!" he calls out to get Monique's attention. "This is one I can do." he seems eager, as if ax throwing and log tossing were some how not his cup of tea. "I'm witty, right?" he asks in way of assurance.

Desiree looks to Sebastian and grins. "You certainly are talented." She asks Sebastian after Kritr announces the next contest. "So what do you think? Do you want to be partners? I suppose I can try this. He has me curious."

"Are you sick of being partners with me for life or shall we compete in this one together?" Sabella asks Niklas, moving over to him once all sharp things are away from him or at least embedded in the ground. "That didn't hit any of your toes, did it?"

Violet glances at Thorley as Kritr announces the next event. There is obviously no question, as she reaches out to take his hand, who her partner is. Then she drags him forward a bit, taking her drink back from Erin with a nod of thanks. "Who wouldn't want to partner with you?" Violet asks before raising her voice, "PARTNER WITH FELICIA! SHE'S AWESOME!" Then she beams at her friend. "There ya go."

Monique bats her lashes over at Etienne. "Partner, of course? I think you'll have to take the lead on this one. You're exceptionally witty, Etienne. Lead the way," she invites the Archlector with a toothy grin. "I'll try not to stumble along in your wake and drool."

Khanne is overheard praising Kritr: A shining example of how to introduce your House to the people of Arx.

"You sure you don't want someone more witty? I'm all brute, no brain." Thorley teases his wife, even as she's dragging him forward for the competition. "I mean, I can drag my knuckles."

Drysi, a young shaman apprentice, Shailaja, a Whitehold Mountain Dog, GusGus, the fluffy Whitehold Mountain puppy, 2 Crimson Blades Private leave, following Khanne.

Sebastian stretches out an arm to Desiree for her to take, with a brilliant smile. "How could I possibly refuse such an offer. I should love to be your partner, Lady Wyrmguard." He leads them to where the others are gathering.

"Well, you can only do what you're suited for, I'll be the smart one and you can toss the heavy logs." Etienne assures her, standing and approaching the gathering teams. He brushes the crumbs off of his coat, with some force, catching his hand on a clasp, it looks painful. Intelligence in action.

Felicia grunts drily,"Just because you put up with me, doesn't mean that anyone's likely to mistake me as witty or wily, Vi." seemingly content to snag herself a whiskey with an ushering gesture for her friends to go compete,"And handle a thick log." she quips for Thorley's words with amusement.

Arthen Dayne wanders into the festival with little fanfare, dressed for the cold but not seeming to mind it even a little bit, save for the red that it has brought to his cheeks and just a bit of his nose. He swings that baby blue gaze of his around the place, not taking long at all to realize he's stumbled over some sort of festivities. The sight of it all certainly seems to bring a smile to his face. As if just to ingratiate himself with someone, anyone, in all these strangers, he speaks up, "Hey, did someone call for some wit and luck? I've got one of those.", but he doesn't say which. Instead, he leaves the answer behind a secret smile.

Gwenna gives another dip of her head to Tynan. "My thoughts exactly. Princess Gwenna Redrain, by the way, and my apologies for such a late introduction. Aaaah. I am not much of a runner, but if you need someone who can have their face planted into the snow half a dozen times and still manage to come back up? I would be your girl," she says with a light laugh. "Still, perseverance only gets one so far, I suppose, so the spear and shield were soon left for paint and parchment." As the new contest is mentioned, she raises her mug to Tynan. "Good luck!" Turning back to Alessandro, another nod is offered. "Indeed, my lord. Truly, I rather love numbers, though some find that puzzling." Then Arthen arrives and Gwenna offers a polite wave of greeting, familiar with him since he is employed by Redrain and all.

Sabella gives Arthen a grin, "I think Dame Felicia was looking for a partner! Dame Felicia!" She calls out, "I found one for you!" She points to Arthen.

Violet finds herself chuckling and then snorting at Felicia's comment. "You are witty enough for me. We're partners. Always," She tells him, this last a little softer. Leaning in she bumps her shoulder against Thorley as she awaits the rules.

"Nope! All six toes accounted for!" Niklas turns and kisses Sabella's cheek. "Of course now my foot is cold. But these things can't be helped. I mean, I suppose it could have been helped had I not decided to throw an axe at my foot, but... hm. No getting around that one." He looks past his wife to the Baron and says, "Of course I'll be your partner, Sabella, though you may want to wait and make certain the event isn't one where I might accidentally behead one of us." Holding up a hand toward Alessandro he says, "I still have both, so you aren't out of the woods on making me that bracelet yet!" When Arthen makes his interest Niklas laughs and says, "I suppose I have the other."

"Always." Thorley agrees. And now it's his turn to bump noses with his wife and forget others are around with a quick public display of affection between the pair before he settles in to listen for the rules.

Wylla finishes her quiet conversation with Khanne, edging towards the back of the crowd again. She looks even /more/ discomfited at the idea of finding a partner, swallowing, seeming content to watch.

Felicia pauses with her whiskey as she hears her name, raising her chin until she spots Sabella with a loft of her brow,"I'll be right there!" she calls back to Sabella, draining her glass and setting it aside with a smirk for Vi and Thorley as she heads over towards Arthen and the others,"I'm terrible at these sort of things, but if you're not driven to win... I'll partner with you." she advises Arthen, only belatedly offering,"Dame Felicia Harrow... of the King's Own." by way of introduction.

Desiree walks with Sebastian to where the other teams of two are. She looks around. "I wonder what we'll have to do."

Once the pairs are gathered Kritr addresses them and the crowd. He starts by lifting a hand in the air that holds a small, smooth stone. "The game of hand is a simple game, but one that we hold in high regard. many would be surprised at the size of wagers placed on the game and it has even more than once been used to settle a dispute that would otherwise have come to blood," he explains and then puts his hand behind his back with the stone "the game is easy. One of you holds the stone and puts your hands behind your back, placing the stone in one hand and then bring both hands in front of you closed fist. Your partner, your opponent here, needs to guess which hand holds the stone. The one that holds the stone must remain still, but the guesser cannot touch them. they may only look. and talk. Oh.. the talking." he grins slightly. "Give it a try" A small river stone is handed out to each pair.

Alessandro nods once at Tynan's acceptance, and a nod is given to Gwenna, too, before he replies, "As do I." He shoots Niklas a grin then, before he turns back to Kritr as the man explains the rules, his expression shifting thoughtfully. When it's explained, he nods once, reaching to take the stone. "You go first," he says, handing it to Tynan, "and I shall guess." Well, he is the patron. Clearly that means he gets to decide that. He looks to Monique and Etienne then, with a smile for his cousin, and says, "Good luck."

Georgette, 1 Greenmarch Guard arrive, following Simone.

"That's okay. We can be terrible together. It's been a while since I've been to Arx. It seems right I should come back in to something like this.", Arthen says, offering a smile to Felicia that's edged by a grin, and offering his hand as well. "Arthen Dayne. Put 'er there, Felicia. What uh.. what are we doing, now?", he asks, glancing around as if to get his bearings.

Violet listens to the rules and finds herself smiling. "Oh, I like this game," She says with a chuckle. As they are given the stone she looks at Thorley. "So which of us guesses and which of us hides?"

"Curious," Sebastian murmurs, after Kritr has explained the rules. He selects one of the stones, holding it out on his palm as he regards Desiree with the faintest of smiles. "Your choice, my lady. Would you like to hold, or guess?"

"Well. I." Thorley seems conflicted. Has the knight ever been known as a good fibber? "Do you want to guess?" he asks her. Because his tells are completely horrible, really.

"Well, this is going to be a game for the ages," murmurs Niklas as he takes the stone, hides his hands behind his back and then brings them around, holding out both hands for Sabella. Then he just stares her directly in her eyes, face utterly impassive. Now and again he glances to one of his hands, then the other, back to her, back to a hand.

Desiree looks to Sebastian with a grin. "I want to be the one to hold the stone, and you can guess. I want to see if you can guess correctly." She takes the stone in her hands.

Monique gets a stone, and gets excited. Sleight of hand? Yes, please. She gives Etienne a look that is entirely ego and challenge. "I'll tell you what, we'll make our own side bet on this, hm?" she says the Archlector, leaning in to murmur something quietly.

Tynan widens his eyes at his own lack of etiquette and turns towards Gwenna then, dipping forward into a quick, shallow, bow. "My apologies. Tynan. Tynan Grayhope, attorney at law and Lord Alessandro's protege. A pleasure, your Highness. Hopefully, the snow is done for the year so I won't have to call on you for that, though. The winter and cold generally do not agree with me." Then, the rules are explained and he turns to Alessandro. "I'll hold the stone?" He asks, before heading on over to grab the riverstone and hefts it into his palm, palming it behind his back and then closes his hand around it before holding both hands back out towards Alessandro.

Niklas has rolled a critical success!
Niklas checked wits + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 77 higher.

Felicia accepts Arthen's hand for a firm shake,"Apparently one of us needs to hide a rock in their hand, and the other has to guess which one it's in. Do you want to try and hide it? Or guess it?" she enquires of Arthen.

Tynan checked wits + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Alessandro checked luck + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher.

Sabella checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Desiree checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.

Sebastian checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Violet takes the stone and says, "You guess then." Her hands disappear behind her back and she fiddles the stone between them. Until finally she puts her hands out, smiling sweeetly. She doesn't look at her hands at all either.

Violet checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Violet maybe glances at the right hand. Maybe.

Thorley has rolled a critical success!
Thorley checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Monique has rolled a critical success!
Monique checked wits + legerdemain at difficulty 15, rolling 100 higher.

Simone slips in quietly near the back of the crowd and watches the festivities. Seeing some of her family and friends she offers a wave and a friendly smile, but stays out of the way while the competition is going on.

Arthen laughs, amusement in the sound of it, and gives Felicia, "How about you hide the stone? Don't take the wrong way. And I'll do my best to see if I can't suss it out..", he promises, picking up one of those small, smooth stones and tossing it, underhanded and lightly, over to Felicia.

"Sweetheart?" Thorley asks his wife. "You need to close your hand all the way." he winks at her as he covers her right hand in his.

Etienne listens to the side offer that Monique offers in his ear, he blinks slowly a few times before clearing his throat and accepting. "Very well. I agree to your terms" and he peers at the Minx closely.

Etienne checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Sebastian gestures towards Desiree, acceding to her wishes easily enough. "Very well, my lady." He watches her closely, gaze mostly held to her eyes, rather than her hands. "So, I don't know you well enough to know whether you are left or right handed, whether that would influence your decision. Perhaps you'd care to share? That seems within the spirit of the game," he tries, coaxingly, looking for any tell.

Sabella doesn't hesitate, "That one!" She says, reaching out to tap one of Niklas' hands, "It's definitely that one! We are so completely connected I can just tell," she gives Niklas the brightest, most hopeful beaming smile.

Felicia checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Arthen checked luck + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Niklas smiles broadly at Sabella and opens that hand, revealing the rock. "We certainly are," he says, before leaning in to kiss her.

Rowenova checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Felicia snorts,"Concealment's not my thing, but fine." she says to Arthen, tucking the stone and her hands behind her back. It would take someone really oblivious to not realize when she brings them back out that there's definitely more of a lump in her left hand rather than her right.

Violet looks down at her hands and then turns a lovely shade of pink. Even as she giggles at herself and clenches her hand more firmly around the stone. "Woopsy?" She offers before passing him the stone. She can't help but continue to giggle at herself, enough she has tears in her eyes.

Alessandro watches Tynan, tipping his head as he considers the choices. "Hm. I feel that I've heard somewhere that one should never go in against a Grayhope when death is on the line, but luckily that's not the case here." He hesitates, looking between the two hands, before he gestures to Tynan's left. "That one."

With an ease born of very practice and no small amount in inherent skill, Monique flips the rock behind her back and then jiggles distractingly. Very distractingly. And then her fists come out, closed and face down, exactly even in diameter. She stares at the Archlector with a passive expression. "Well?"

Desiree holds her hands out without moving them. "It might influence my decision, but then maybe it wouldn't. Either way I think maybe I'll keep that information to myself. Although you did watch me toast earlier."

There's a laugh as Thorley takes the rock from her. "We're going to keep this." He considers it for a moment before tucking it behind his back - his hands behind his back before he says something quietly to Violet as he prepares to show his hands.

Thorley checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 1 higher.

Tynan is a facade of nonplused expression. He becomes the rock. The rock is in him, and Alessandro will never figure out where... aww, beans. Lucky guess, probably. There's a wrinkle of his nose at Alessandro as he opens his hand to reveal the rock. "If you want to risk death, I can throw it at you." He responds, the sullen little expression only lasting a fraction of a second before he lights up in a smile again, tossing the rock into the air and catching it again. "Your prize?" He says then, holding the rock itself out towards the other man.

There's no hesitation from Sebastian, after Desiree's answer -- he reaches out and taps her left hand. "There," he says, with a knowing smile.

"A pleasure, Master Tynan Grayhope," Gwenna offers and then the contest gets underway! The Redrain opts to get another tart or two to nibble on while she watches this next event.

Arthen Dayne grins at Felicia, "Are you sure about that? Maybe the hiding isn't always about the hiding. It's about the distracting. Sometimes you just need to get people to look away from whatever you're hiding..", he tells her, and when she hides the stone in one hand and brings them out again, the man looks a little thoughtful for a moment. Unhurried, he lifts a hand and rubs at his chin like it's a real puzzle he's solving. "Mm. You're very distracting. I-.. let's see..", and then he finally does look at her hands, both of them, then holds his own, palm-up, beneath the woman's left hand. "Alright, let's have it."

The studious, capable, educated, and frankly just good looking Archlector Etienne recovers from her display of distraction, and studies Monique's hands, he bends over, peering at them, and again up at her trying to trace some semblance of a hint from expression, posture or otherwise. "I suppose if I just wait long enough your arm will get tired?" he offers, but patience while a time honored skill escapes him and he taps one. "Here"

Violet's giggles fade at whatever Thorley says. Instead she looks at him with a shining smile and leans in to press a chaste kiss to his cheek. "Your turn," She says as she steps back to give him room to show his hands. "Though I think we know who won already."

Wylla takes the opportunity to slip away, the distraction from the game providing all the cover she needs to make a quiet exit.

"Please don't. I am very unlikely to be able to dodge it." Alessandro takes the rock from Tynan and turns away, hiding his hands form the other man and doing whatever it is one does with a rock to make sure that someone else can't guess where it is. Probably just choosing which hand to put it in, though. Soon enough, he's turned back, and he holds his two fists out in front of him for Tynan to guess.

Alessandro checked luck + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Felicia snorts anew for Arthen's words,"And you're an awful liar." she advises as she turns and opens her palm to reveal the stone, cheeks coloring briefly,"...but still a better detective than I am a hider." she offers with a laugh,"My lord."

Desiree opens her hand with a grin as she looks to Sebastian. "You were right! Great job! You've impressed me again."

Monique flips the fist that Etienne has indicated, and with a dramatic flourish, unclenches her fingers on... air. She gives the blonde-haired once-Telmar a smug, infuriating smile. "Hard loss, Archlector. I do apologize. Would you like to switch?" she opens her other fist to offer him the stone.

Sabella wraps her arms around Niklas entirely giddy that she guessed correctly! What a great team! She beams at him after that kiss ends, "I'd go now, but I know you'd just guess correctly. As much as I enjoy being your partner, I think we have each other's tells down too well for guessing games like this." She glances around to see how everyone else is doing, smiling broadly at all the fun everyone seems to be having.

Violet has rolled a critical success!
Violet checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.

"The game of hand may have settled some disputes.. but it has started its share too. It is simple, but has helped passed many a spring storm full of ice and snow." Kritr adds on and then waves towards the tables, "Please, continue to enjoy the game, the food and the drink. Winter is near over and spring will be upon us. Let us celebrate the change of season and it's return"

Still seeming amused, Arthen's baby blue eyes conjure up a bit of trouble in them, "Hey, look at that. She blushes.", his tone a teasing thing, but not anything that's less than good-natured. He just seems happy to be here, really, to have stumbled over such festivites. "You're right though. I'm an awful liar. I'm better at picking out the truth than hiding it. Here, why don't you let me hold onto that, and you can give it a shot, Felicia of the King's Own.", and he plucks the small stone, tossing it up once or twice, then putting it behind his back with both hands. When he comes back around, it's hidden, in one of them, surely.

Arthen checked luck + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.

Tynan checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Etienne snatches the stone from Monique's hand, looking at it as if it betrayed him. "Very well! You will be amazed, you will be astounded!" he waves the stone in the air. This is his version of distraction folks, eat it up, he lacks any wiggly bits for advantage. Concealing the stones behind his back he does the concealment to the best of his ability.

Felicia checked luck + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Etienne checked composure + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

With a laugh, Sebastian reaches out to take the rock from Desiree's hand, tossing it up in the air for a moment, before secreting it away in a pocket, as if for later. "Call it artist's luck," he says, with a wink, patting his pocket. "An intriguing game. I wonder how common a one it is for Redrain?" he muses, aloud. "Well -- are you up for a meal, Lady Wyrmguard? I think I need something warm to offset the whiskey, and the food has been well touted."

Violet doesn't even let Thorley get his hands fully from behind his back before she is guessing the correct hand. "I like this game," She tells the man cheerfully. "But I am still hungry. And there is more of that lovely bread over there..." Her eyes glances towards the food tables with great interest.

Monique is overheard praising Kritr.

"Have no fear, I am very unlikely to hit if I did throw it." Tynan says as he hands the stone over and politely stares into the sky as Alessandro hides the stone this time around. Then, both hands are presented to him and he looks between. "See, I hid it in this hand," he gestures towards the right one, "so a smart man would try to trick me and put it in the same one thinking I'd not choose it again. But a smarter man would choose the other one, thinking that I knew I'd think that and pick the other one. But a clever man would know that too, and go back and pick the first one all over again. Then, you might know that I would know that and pick the OTHER hand. Such choices." Lips purse in thought and then he reaches out and firmly puts his index finger on Alessandro's right, outstretched, hand to correctly reveal the stone. "Ah ha. You are both a smart, and a clever man. I knew it."

Monique has rolled a critical success!
Monique checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 63 higher.

Felicia gives a rueful grin,"That's because I'm a redhead and not baked like a saddle." she grunts at Arthen, eyeing him, and his hands, before finally making her decision with a fingers-to-palm gesture of 'gimme',"Good thing you're not a thief, I suppose. You're as awful at this as I am." she laughs.

Etienne finishes his elaborate shuffling of stones, place his hands out in front of him his expression daring, his palms dry, his eyebrows arched in defiance of her abilities. "Select now!" he announces in a foe deepened voice.

Desiree laughs. "You artists must be very lucky." She sighs and shakes her head. "As much as I would love to have some of the food with you, perhaps another time. I'm afraid I need to be going, but I really enjoyed meeting you. I had a good time."

The observant eye would have noticed something. Thorley had a rock in both hands. Violet was totally going to win. "Oh, yes, let's get some more food." the knight offers, slipping the hand that had the rock that she guessed at in hers, while the other drops the second rock behind him.

Simone makes her way over to the drink tables to fetch a drink, then moves once more to watch the games. Laughing softly as Monique utterly confounds her poor cousin, she just shakes her head in amusement, calling over to them, "Pay attention to the rock not my sister, cousin!" Then spying Alessandro and Tynan she gives them a wave. Standing along the edge of the crowd, she sips the drink quietly.

Niklas gives a soft laugh at Sabella's words and nods. "Yes, we do make a good team, don't we?" He glances sidelong at her and adds, "Let's head back home and prove it in ways that don't involve rocks or axes."

Desiree is overheard praising Kritr: He's been an entertaining host.

For her part, Rowenova mostly watched the entertaining show whilst chowing down on the lovely foods. She must have been a tad sore about her long performance, but she grinned big for the further fun she happily watched.

"We have our moments," Sebastian murmurs by way of response to Desiree. Apparently they also like the whole 'mysterious and knowing' truck, since that's what he's going for. "Alas. Well, I shall not hold you up. It was a pleasure, Lady Wyrmguard," he inclines his head, a smile lighting his features.

"Don't help him!" Monique scolds Simone, laughing all the while. Her eyes, though, remain on the handsome Archlector, or rather, on his hands, on the way his body shifts, on the exact and precise movements of his face, too. "Oh, hm, now, let me see... this is really difficult!" She leans in, placing a hand over one of Etienne's and murmuring something into his ear while she pries the rock away.

Sabella grabs up both of Niklas' hands in hers with a laugh, "That sounds wonderful. And I won't even make you race me for it. Goodnight, everyone!" She offers a wave to those that are staying, "I think we'll quit while Prince Niklas still has most of his shoes."

Arthen clears his throat at something Felicia says to him, mischief coming to rest on his features for a second in time, "You're absolutely right. No thieves here. Just us stone-hiders and festival crashers. Say, are you sure the stone's in that hand?", he asks, as if he wasn't sure himself where it was. He waits, a pause that's all art and theatrics, before he finally does drop the stone into Felicia's hand. "Well, well. Look at that. I'll have you know, I'm actually /quite/ skilled at sleight of hand. You're just that good, aren't you?", he asks, with a sly wink.

Alessandro has to laugh at Tynan's musings, though he waits until the actual guess to reveal that, yes, he is both smart and clever. And also outguessed. "Excellent reasoning," he says, schooling his face into something vaguely like a straight one, though he can't quite keep the smile out of his expression completely. "You are to be commended, sir." It's then that he sees Simone, and he returns her wave, starting toward her then. "Simone! I am glad you came, though you missed Monique's impressive axe-throwing display."

2 House Wyrmguard Guards leaves, following Desiree.

Simone glances around and laughs, "Well no one is beheaded or seems to be seriously harmed, so I would suppose that it was relatively tame to what I have seen her do in the Greenwood." She tosses Monique a teasing glance as she speaks. Moving to give Alessandro a kiss on the cheek as he approaches, she says softly, "Hello, cousin. I apologize for being late. I had business to attend to and could not get away."

Etienne surrenders the stone, Monique's whisper message appearing across his face as both a smile and a furrowing of his pale golden brows. "Very well, you win. Again." he says, the words not bitter, but there is a slight edge to them. "I will complete our bargain, though I had every intention to, to begin with." he says pointedly. He comments to Simone now. "I fear I've no luck taking your advice in this matter." the smile having returned to his face.

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard, 2 Grayson House Guards leave, following Sabella.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sabella leave, following Niklas.



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