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House Bisland Grand Ball

A Great Ball set at the beginning of summer. Expect to get a chance to bother Grayson Princesses for dances, bother Lord Michael for dances. Eat pies and drink lemonade and wine. Be happy, have fun. Smaller events may come soon.


Jan. 8, 2020, 7 p.m.

Hosted By



Sabella Merek Peri Tesha Martino Rafael Jules Macda Imogene Josephine(RIP) Thea Juniper Nicholaus Ian Symonesse Ouida Zoey Kalani Orrin Sunaia Mikani Scythia Kaia Lisebet Niklas Locke Irisa Olivia



Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Bisland Manor - Great Hall

Largesse Level


Comments and Log


The first time that I have been able to attend the Bisland Grand Ball was a delight. Last time, well another took the place of escorting the Little Boss Lady of Pridehall - but Kaia's recovery saw her fit enough to attend.

But to have seen Her Majesty, those around and delightful friends from across the Compact reminds me always of the good side of our City.

Lord Michael did well.

Michael is...around. He is present! In the sense that he is already in the Great Hall and is already drinking lemonade in what must amount to fancy dress. A finely tailored tunic and comfortable leggings with boots he probably stole from the bottom of his leather armor display stand. Lyros and him are murmuring about something before guests begin to arrive. Probably nothing.

1 Grayson House Guards, a small twilit kingsnake, Thistleton, an elderly and devoted manservant arrive, following Macda.

What's better than a ball? A ball that's basically next door! Sabella and Niklas arrive exactly on time because they did not have to go very far at all and thus did not get distracted by anything shiny! As the petals rain down on them, the Princess looks up, absolutely beaming even as she brushes some off of her perfectly styled hair, "How utterly fantastical!" she enthuses, giving a wave to those that are tasked with standing there performing that function all night, before they're moving in towards Michael, "Michael, everything looks absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for inviting us! I even had this dress and tiara made just for the occasion! At one point Mistress Wren told me that I might run up the price on lace I was purchasing so much of it from her stall!"

Merek makes a way into the place, looking about, coming to eat for a bit before he has to do a few things. He has on that dark attire, while he finds a place to look at to settle in also.

Peri has a look of the East Garden about her. One of her boots has a smudge of potting soil and there is a twig in her hair, hair which is almost pristine. She brushes an escaping wisp from her brow.

Tesha was told to get out of the tower and to go have some fun. she is! She's all prettied up post helping with spidersilk and thankfully none of them murdered the Lady or others that helped Jaenelle. She's without an escort per the usual and she gives a polite smile of greeting to those that she passes.

Bowing his torso to the Bisland Guards, some of who likely still complain about the Malvici Lord, Martino steps across the threshold and enters Bisland Manor. Wrapped in golden tones, so very unbecoming for a Lycene Lord but suited to a Bisland Ball, he creases his sharp greens to Lord Michael in greeting and Lady Peri in recognition. A dip of his chin, once more, to guests as they enter while he steps to greet Michael. "Mmm a fine summer's day for a ball Lord Michael. Apologies on Lady Kaia not being able to be present. Still recovering from the wedding."

Mr. Hops arrives, following Jules.

Rudder, the fearsomely correct manservant arrives, following Imogene.

The dull sound of Rafael's walking stick accompanies his arrival from- well, from further in the mansion. He lives here! Not quite old enough to require a cane, the lion-headed piece is probably more accessory than anything. But the man does rely on it for a lean upon settling in a space. "One can never have too much lace, I'm sure your nerves will thank you, your highness," the Bisland physician demures, sucking in his cheeks just so to toss Sabella a practiced steely look. The expression washes away as soon as a servant passes a drink under his nose. What? Priorities!

Trina, the sullen arm crossed waif of an assistant arrives, following Josephine.

Trina, the sullen arm crossed waif of an assistant have been dismissed.

It has begun, and Michael shoos Lyros off to go do other things. Which the man-at-arms is all too happy to go do. He'll turn and approach the elevated stairs that everyone steps out onto before descending into the Great Hall. Dutifully, the man examines Sabella's dress as it is expected of him. "Greetings, Princess Sabella Grayson." He intones quietly, just as more flowers become flung from the overhead balcony and settle across his shoulders. Immense regret is upon his face, but at least now a conversation is happening instead of just welcomes. "I never understand the purpose of lace. Its cloth, but it has holes in it. It obscures and keeps one warm, but not really? Martino!" Saved from having an opinion on silk, Michael's hand extends towards Martino at his arrival, and pauses to let the crier do his crying about Martino and his titles and ... things.

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Jules enters into the room with his usual flare. His flowing steps and arms move about through the crowds and grant bows, waves, or greetings to any he may pass. If you happen to need someone to bug you then he just did one of those things to do you so just take note! He has no particular place or person he's around, he is just mingling.

Macda enters to a shower of flower petals and the blond bruiser practically coos in delight, flexing her sparkling knuckles. "If I go out, and come back in again, will they just keep doing that?" she asks, a decidedly hopeful tone to her query. She snags an errant petal off her umbra gown, holding it up against the gold-green vines patterned upon it. "It matches!"

Imogene glides into the room with an air of graceful elegance and a scintillation of blue gemstones, which perhaps are meant to set off her deep violet blue eyes that glance around the room with bright curiosity as she enters the hall. She stops and looks up with a quiet laugh as the showers of flower petals come drifting down from above, and doesn't seem to mind that a few lodge themselves comfortably in her hair amidst the gold thread and seed pearls. She smiles warmly and has a deep curtsy to offer Sabella and Niklas as well as Michael as the host of the night, and when she spies Peri and Merek too she offers the those two a still brighter smile and a finger-waggle of greeting.

"Mmm, Lord Michael. Your crier left off 'Most Charming Man' from the list of my titles." A jovial laugh kisses the voice of Lord Martino as he once shakes the hand offered of Michael and nods before making his way through a flurry of flowers raining down to find a drink without petals in it. Taking a vantage point aside, greetings to various nobility who walk past.

Martino has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Josephien doesn't tend to attend these things. She's a commoner after all. But they also tend to be noisy. In other ways that doesn't affect others. So steeling herself for the auditory onslaught, the jeweler makes her way in and starts down the stairs, watching out as she goes over that glittering throng. Spotting the pieces that she's made on the forms of others.

1 Greenmarch Guard, Layne, the withered veteran arrive, following Juniper.

"Really, Michael," Rafael murmurs in mock-disapproval, eyeing a flower petal dubiously where it has landed on his shoulder, "Fire that child at the door.

Peri steps near Martino and gives a bow. "I hoped to see Lady Kaia here. Tell her I missed her." She brushes a flower petal from her arm and looks up to see Vahari spilling them everywhere. She raises her brow at the child.

5 King's Own Guardsmen arrives, following Symonesse.

Sabella gives Michael an amused look, "It's pretty! And if you layer it enough, as such," she gestures to her skirt. It is very full. So full. There is so much lace there, "It makes a beautiful pattern! Good evening, Lord Rafael," she then greets as he comes over, bright smiles for all, "I rather liked the flower petals, I've never actually seen that done before and it's a very romantic touch!" She waves to Imogene as she goes by and then looks around as more people are announced as arriving, "This evening is going to be so much fun! Thank you so much for throwing this party, Michael!"

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrives, following Thea.

"Well, Martino. I believe he was instructed not to try and announce that title. I didn't want any challenges issued tonight and I'd hate to be the target of a challenge." Michael pats Martino's elbow as the man passes to allow the others to begin streaming into the Great Hall. "I will not set anyone on fire, Uncle Rafael." A stern glance from this Lord Bisland to that Lord Bisland. But Tesha has arrived and his hand sweeps outwards towards to greet her personally. "Lady Tesha Telmar. I'm sorry we haven't had time to meet over tea has weighed upon me. I am glad you were able to come tonight." A wince and Michael's shoulders lift and just a momentary glare is tosses towards Sabella. Romantic. "You are /oh so welcome/ Sabella."

Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire arrives, following Ouida.

"Oh I shall let Lady Kaia know, Peri, that you are thinking and hoping to see her soon..." Martino speaks hushed with Peri as he adds aside, "you must come by and see her though. She has begun to walk anew." A pleased smile touching his lips, Martino covers it with the petal-free drink. Wryly smirking across to Michael with a dip of his chin, "As you wish. As you wish. None of that own title called out."

Lyros returns once more, and calls out from a side of the room closest towards the tables. "Something interesting for a change, my Lord and Ladies, Masters and Mistresses. Assemble your jokes to try and make even the most stalwart man crack a smile or laugh. We'll be starting that very shortly."

Imogene accepts a glass of wine from her manservant as she drifts through the growing crowd, thoughtfully taking in each new arrival as they come through the doorway. On her way to the nearest table she has a smile for Jules, since that man seems to have a smile for everyone, and she settles into a seat with a quiet swoosh of silk skirts.

Imogene has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Thea eventually makes her way inside, in a gown no less. Her gold-flecked green eyes take in her surroundings as she bows her head in greetings to people,"Good evening,"a slight smile on her lips.

Tesha had gotten a drink and retreated to a wall to take up a spot. But she spies Martino and the redhead makes a decision to go over. "Lord Martino, I wanted to see how Lady Kaia and yourself are recovering." she states quietly as she stands at a conversational distance, she didn't want to completely interrupt any conversations that were going on.

To a flurry of petals thrown from above, Queen Symonesse arrives on the arm of Sister Juniper, once Whisper, now Godsworn. The ex-courtier shines like a dew-kissed rose in brocade and pearls, natural complement to the sunlit glory that is the Nox'alfar woman. "I /would/ have paid some trumpeters," she's saying to Symonesse as they sweep inside, shining like the dawn. "But this is even better." The petals, she means, one of which is caught as it flutters down, to be offered like a token (with a dimpled grin) to Lady Ouida, who arrives with them in the circle of King's Own.

Jules turns his attention over towards Imogene as he passes by and makes a shift from simply a smile to a bow instead and says, "My lady, how delightful to see you here tonight." His hands run through his hair briefly to ensure it is in place and he adds to her, "What a delightful color of eyes you have!"

Unescorted, Nicholaus picks his way from the gate to the hall with steady steps, pausing only when he's showered in petals. Slowly, he lifts a hand to pluck one stuck to the umbra on his arm and glance upwards. Spotting the source, he flashes a smile before he slides gloved fingers through his hair to shake free any still caught and step fully inside.

Only to immediately catch sight of the Queen, Lady Ouida, and Sister Juniper. He bows slightly at the waist to the trio with a slight grin before pulling to the side to stay out of their way.

The guards bow respectfully to the arriving member of House Bisland.

Octavian, a silken spaniel, an aid in Kennex livery, 2 Kennex corsairs, Ian arrive, following Zoey.

Lifting his glass up, Martino welcomes the presence of Lady Tesha with an easy-going smile across his lips. "Oh I recover well... a few sleepless nights while she was recovering. But, after, it is... awaiting her wellbeing to be full. She is going to attempt rustling the strength to come here." Martino exhales for a moment, turning his chin to the doorway before sharp green eyes welcome Tesha once more, "But how have you been? Please, do join us here. Have you met Lady Peri here?" Martino's right hand indicates to Peri and then back to Tesha

Conall, a scampering, friendly sable puppy with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, a curious, silvery pup with bright gold eyes arrive, following Sunaia.

For once, it's Ian who's moderating his pace for his wife. There's something decidedly protective about the way he keeps an eye on Zoey when he's not watching his own footsteps to make sure he doesn't trip. He's more or less dressed up (more dressed up than usual) but somehow even nice clothes can't completely remove from him the air of scruffiness.

"You act as if you'd never seen her before." This comes from Josephine to Nicholaus as she pulls up to the side as well to let her better pass.

It takes a while in the ever-increasing social whirl of the hall, but eventually Imogene spots the entrance of Thea, and beams at the Malvici woman from where she's seated at one of the banquet tables, offering a small wave of welcome. "You're too kind," she replies then to Jules, the eyes in question twinkling gently at him. "I wish I could take credit for my immense taste in having such eyes, but I'm afraid for that you'll have to convey your compliments to my father instead, who kindly passed them on."

More and more people flow into the great hall with far more prefunctory greetings from the Lord Bisland. Except one. Michael dips an immediate bow instead of anything else towards the Queen at her arrival, holding until she might pass or pay him any heed.

As she enters on Juniper's arm, Symonesse laughs in delight at the fall of petals and turns her face up to them. When she is offered one of them, she grins and accepts it with a regal nod of her head, only slightly delied by the twinkle of amusement in her bright eyes. "I agree. This is far better than a trumpeter. Look at how lovely everything is." She takes a moment to gaze around her as she absently picks a few stray flower petals out of her upswept hair.

Tesha gives a look up when there is a murmur and she sees the Queen, oh! There's a moment taken to dip a respectful curtsey to the woman and her entourage. Then she's straightening to resume her conversation, "I'm glad that you two are doing well. The ceremony was lovely up until...well..." she trails off. "And I am alright. Just working per my usual routine." she smiles. "And I have met Lady Peri, it is wonderful to see you again, my Lady." she dips her head to her. "I should go say hello to Lord Michael as well." she smiles.

2 Bisland pride guards, Colin Laurent, a quiet and serene companion arrive, following Kaia.

The tall Harthall knight seems more at ease walking the appropriate steps behind the Queen and her companion than she might otherwise be at a ball, Ouida's dark and somewhat simple attire offering no competition for the Nox'alfar's brightness or the sister's warm sparkle. The shower of petals draws a smile to her lips as she takes a look upward to offer a playful wink to those stuck on flower petal duty. The token of Juniper's petal is received with a grin, as Ouida brings the petal to her lips briefly, and then tucks it into her sleeve, not unlike one might stow a token bestowed. There's a hint of playful warmth to it however. And a soft murmur. "It is beautiful. I wonder when the dancing starts, if they won't whirl about the floor as the dancers pass, like autumn leaves."

Jules laughs at Imogene's statement and shakes his head slowly with amusement rather than disagreement, "I see your point but you certainly must have done something to emphasize them." He seems to be examining her face with some careful examination, "Do you have a touch of color added to your cheeks?" At the wave she offers to Thea, he does shift slowly in case someone is approaching.

At Michael's deliberate misinterpretation of his words, Rafael subtly tap-taps his very nearly empty drink to alert a nearby servant of his pressing need for another. He greets guests in passing, but ultimately finds the bows and semi-bows a little taxing. Favoring his cane just a little bit more, he elects to withdraw toward a seat. Oh, and he flicks that flower petal off of himself. It takes a few flicks, actually. It's a whole THING.

Nicholaus glances to the side as Josephine approaches, offering her a faint smile before he turns back to inspect the indicated arrivals. "Well actually, I can't say I've ever met her," Nicholaus offers after a brief pause, a gloved finger rising to point out Lady Ouida with a faint hint of amusement coloring his tones. With that, he turns to offer a proper smile and a bow of his head, "Have you?"

Zoey walks slowly as she enters the hall with Ian, head high as she looks around. Her steps are short and controlled, allowing her to better counter the imbalance created by her round, swollen belly. She smiles warmly to anyone who makes eye contact as she looks for a place to sit for a moment.

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari The Cinder Cat, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men, 2 House Crovane Guards, Nephelae Ebonwood - A Nursemaid, Biorna - The Protective Mastiff arrive, following Mikani.

Zoey has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Tesha spies Ian and Zoey and gives them a wave, but she's not left Martino and the others for the moment. There's so many people that need talked to..and new faces that she's not met.

"One can never fault Grayson or their vassals for going all out. It's exquisite," Juniper chirps. No assumption is made that the collection of bows and curtsies and respectful nods sent their way are for /herself/. With a courtier's grace, she does an excellent job of setting out the Queen-- like warm gold, made to cradle a dawnstone and show it to best effect. Sweet nods and smiles are directed to those whose eyes do shift in her direction. A third petal is collected as she guides their little entourage around the circle of the dancefloor. The little scrap of loveliness is caught between her fingers, used to wave towards Nicholaus and Josephine in greeting when they're spied. "And plenty of room for dancing. I think they /will/ help those twirling flourishes. Lady Ouida, you'll have to spell me when her Majesty's love of dancing leaves me exhausted, will you promise?"

At the sight of Imogene, Thea nods to the Marquessa with a small grin. She wades through the crowd, plucking a glass of wine from the nearest server. Thea makes a quick search for a place to sit.

"Only been privileged to gaze from afar." Josephine bows to the man beside her. "Though the lovely breath of air on her arm I am well acquainted with. Guildmaster Josephine Arcuri. You are?" The older woman fishing for a name.

Arriving in the wake of several other couples and taking a place at the reception line, Lady Kalani Seliki is just one more face in the crowd, especially in the face of such august company as already present. The Seliki physician glances slowly around, smiling a the sight of the flower petal strewn floor and tables, her attention caught by the flower petals that are being cast down from the balcony, catching one as it lands in her hair and curls it around her fingers as she threads her way through the room.

When the Queen makes her entrance Imogene rises from her seat to make a deep curtsy in the direction of Symonesse and her entourage, then settles herself again and takes a small sip from her glass. Shaking her head at Jules with another smile, she says, "Only the colour added by the heat, and I'm not sure that's entirely complimentary. I can only imagine what hue I would turn if I stepped up to the floor and started dancing."

"It was, Lady Tesha. Until that moment and... well we still have the ceremonial wine from the event which I am unsure we will ever drink." Wry smile meets Martino's features while he speaks hushed with Tesha. Upon the entrance of Her Majesty Queen Symonesse, Lord Martino pauses to incline his torso deeply with a flourish of his right arm beneath. Straightening, there is a broad smile to him as he greets his sister Thea and Lady Zoey, "Ah good to see you Lady Zoey. Kaia was, well, looking much better today. Your visit must have helped."

It's a fair bet that Ian's not here because he wants to be here -- he's here because Zoey wants to be here. As such, he's not showing a whole lot of interest in taking off and mingling, and instead goes with her to wherever she's going to sit down. He does upnod Tesha-ward, though.

1 Redreef Warden arrives, following Scythia.

Scythia arrives, following Orrin.

Rafael has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Mikani has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Merek makes a way from the place with a wave!

"Nicholaus!" Sabella inadvertently answers Josephine's query as she bounds gracefully through the crowd to throw her arms around the Grayson Prince to give him a big hug, "I was listening for you to come in! I'm so glad to see you! Even if I am apparently the last one to do so in the city," she gives him a big grin and nods to Josephine, "I see you've met the Guildmistress, she basically makes all of my jewelry, she's amazingly skilled! See this tiara? She made this too!"

Orrin escorts Scythia in, looking crisp and bright and not particularly martial; for once, he's left the armor at home. Also, very happy, but who wouldn't be with that vision of beauty on their arm? He leans to murmur something to her, looking roundly amused.

Jules makes another bow to Imogene and says quite cheerfully, "I should be delighted to let you see if you wished my lady. I do rather enjoy the opportunity to head to the dance floor but if you do not wish to in truth, I should take no offense and be glad to get you something to chill you if you prefer." He motions around and adds, "It's looking to be quite the crowd as well."

Thea has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

The only dates coming with //this// pale Ashford are two scruffy, playful-yet-well-behaved pups. ...Well, they're fairly well-behaved, at least the sable one is, proudly trotting in beside his blush-colored mistress. The silvery-colored pup of nearly-equal height ambles off, however, sniffing the corners and ankles of each guest she finds. Sunaia snaps her finger sharply and peers down with a stern look at the silver pup, her voice just as sharp and commanding: "//Ylva//." One word is all it takes before the pup perks and trots over to Sunaia's opposite side, now flanked by a pair of //very// well-behaved little dogs.

Pups now under control, the pale Ashford steps within, curtsies neatly to the hostess and steps further - noticing the queen. She pauses, once-again and dips into a low curtsy - though that mischievous silver puppy barks sharply at Sunaia. As she rises, Sunaia eyes the pup, "Not now," she says - then looks around to find... someone whom she knows.

Michael is still standing at the entryway as others arrive in the wake of the Queen. Kalani's arrival doesn't actually get greeted with any words. Soundlessly, he reaches for Kalani's hand and lifts her knuckles upwards to kiss them lightly. Then wordless and soundless fails for some reason...

Michael shouts from nearby, "BIG PAPA! There you are!"

Symonesse returns a sunny smile and a dip of her head for those that bow or offer other such greetings, though she definitely seems distracted by her current company. She glances over her shoulder at Ouida, golden eyes glimmering as she says, "Hear that, Lady Ouida? We are counting on you to step in if Juniper gets tired." She laughs again and says lower, "I don't think either of you have anything to worry about." As their steps bring them closer to Nicholaus and Josephine, the Queen smiles brightly at each and says, "Sadly, I have so many Grayson cousins in so many places that making the personal acquaintance of all has been a challenge. I have considered making a project of it to make sure I get to know everyone properly." Upon hearing Sabella's voice, Symonesse glances in her direction and gives her a little wave, still laughing in delight.

Mikani enters in the soft sound of umbra and red rustling. Her dark eyes move about the room as she sees who is there. She nods and grins at Scythia and Orrin. Softly she takes a seat by Zoey. "Hello Lady Kennex." Mika says warmly before getting a glass of wine.

Peri answers Tesha, "And you, Lady Tesha." All of the fuss alerts Peri to the presense of the queen and she bows for royalty. She watches the petals rain on the golden queen with wonder. That moment passes and she is back in the present with Martino and Tesha. She spies Kalani in the crowd and shouts a hearty greeting to her cousin.

Peri shouts from nearby, "Lani! Over here!"

Zoey spots the table with the gold linens and points Ian that way, taking a seat once they arrive. "And hello to you, Lady Crovane," she says to Mikani. To Martino she says, "I'm glad for it. I've tried to come back a few times, but it always seems to be when she is sleeping."

Ian has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

"Almost all your pieces. I know you shop at others. You should visit Goodwoman Ephrath. I believe she is the protege of her majesty." Josephine offers as deep a bow to the elven queen as possible when the woman draws near.

Kalani offers a graceful curtsy, her hands briefly resting on the sides of her gown, gathering the material just so for that courtly gesture. She straightens and offers her hand to Michael by way of greeting, his silence notable in the crush and crowd of the room. "You've arranged a lovely evening, my lord, well done," she murmurs, her words turning into laughter as Michael shouts at her uncle, Orrin, as he arrives. She even hears Peri at a nearby table, lifting her free hand to wave!

Ian settles down beside Zoey at the table; he keeps his cane close to him so that even in this crowd, there's no risk of someone tripping unless they were already WAY into his personal space.

Scythia's looking in fine spirits, her lips curved into a smile of delight that is most definitely cast toward Orrin. She leans in just slightly toward him when he is murmuring to her, that smile growing a touch and joined with a twitch of lips. "Do you?" she responds quietly. Spying Mikani's grin of greeting, Scythia's casting a smile her way. She is, however, distracted by Michael's shout. Followed by Peri's shout. In the end? Orrin just gets a little look, though amusement remains.

After many weeks resting, and not being seen out in society, it may come as a surprise to most to at last find the Lady Kaia - now Malvici- making her way into the manor and the festivities. Her once upon a time delicate appearance, would now be replaced by faint scars here and there. Even so, she would carry herself across the room with grace, a gorgeous emerald wreath upon her neck and a decadent dress subtly swaying with elegance.

Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting have been dismissed.

2 Grayson House Guards have been dismissed.

Clark, an exasperated guard have been dismissed.

Thea flinches at Michael at Peri

Imogene demurs to Jules, "I'm afraid that while dancing was something I learned as all young women do, simply as part of their basic accomplishments, I can't really claim any great skill in it. But you're wonderfully kind to offer. And no, you needn't get me anything. Won't you have a seat, Master...?" She lets the question trail off with an inquiring look at the man. She's more or less lost track of the people coming in, but as the yelling breaks out her attention is turned in the direction of Kalani and Orrin, both of whom she smiles at and offers a gentle wave to.

"Nichol-" starts the Grayson Prince, but Sabella is there and suddenly he's being wrapped up in a hug. For a moment he's clearly startled as his eyes go wide, arms splayed outwards. When he understands the source of the embrace, he laughs lightly and closes it, returning the hug before she pulls away. "Cousin," he greets simply, the corners of his lips turned up in a warm smile, "I do apologize for that."

When the topic turns to Josephine's skill, he nods and turns that smile on the Guildmistress. "Yes, I was about to say I've been an admirer of her work. I'm honored to meet you, Guildmistress." In the hub-bub, he misses Juniper's wave, but when he sees her approach on the arm of the Queen, he bows his head to both and comes up smiling wider than ever. "Your Majesty," he murmurs, "It's only understandable that we've yet to meet. The fault is entirely mine. I've been absent from Arx for some time, only freshly returned a couple weeks ago."

"I can help in this instance," says Juniper, turning her smile to Nicholaus and Josephine as they stray closer. "Lady Ouida, Queen Symonesse, this is his highness Prince Nicholaus of Grayson. The one I spoke to you about, your Majesty. And you know Mistress Josephine, I'm sure, Mistress of the Crafter's GUild. When I gave up my Whisper jewelry, she made certain I had Faithful jewelry to make up for it. She insists I still sparkle."

Jules has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Thea flinched at Michael and Peri. Gods her ears! However, she smiles over at both Orrin and Peri, liking them both. Quiet.

"If that means that I'm to make sure you are suitably refreshed but will not have to be taken home in a bucket, I think I should be glad to take up that duty," Ouida replies with a grin to Juniper. Though when Symonesse explains further, her pale cheeks actually color in a blush more than a shade or two darker than merely being affected by the summer heat. "Oh! It would be my honor, your highness," Ouida says, with a bow. But there might be a wide-eyed look given to Juniper when the Queen is looking towards Nicholaus and Josephine. Luckily she recovers quickly, though there's still a rosy glow to her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. Juniper's introduction helps further, as she offers a bow to Nicholaus, and a bow of her head respectfully to Josephine. "Prince Nicholaus, a pleasure to make your aquaintance. And you as well, Guildmistress.

"Oh /good/. Countess Scythia." Because Orrin has a wife. Michael winks to Kalani, but she'll clearly be moving on for the moment. Peri needs to be quieted. Hands reach for Orrin and Scythia's hands. "Finally. I was taught something about interest when I was younger, so I believe you owe me foar more than just the single dance after all of this time, Countess. We have Pears in a dress down there too. Careful of th..e..." Except now Michael is blinking, because one of the ladies on the balcony has had enough. She has dumped the entire basket of petals over the railing so she can be done and go down and enjoy the ball herself. Michael is forced to sputter as he is covered copiously from shoulder to shoulder in flower petals.

Jules bows again to Imogene and says, "Jules Fabron, your servant." His smile remains ever present and he says, "I am Lady Mikani Crovane's associate." He does sit down and moves in where he may speak more closely with her...

Of course Michael is going to get a bow - and then Orrin notes the presence of the queen, and offers the same to her, with a murmur of greeting. "Your majesty," of course, of course. Michael gets a look that is utterly inscrutable; fond? Amused? Going to drop him to the bottom of a lake at next private opportunity? All equally likely. A hand is lifted to various quarters, family members, friends old and new alike, but he's giving Scythia a glance, like she's determining who to go have a chat with, here - or, if she perhaps wants to go dance with Michael.

Peri shouts from nearby, "Kaia!"

Why is this woman so shouty! who knows. Peri is exuberant at the sight of her mended friend.

Two sharp snaps from Sunaia and she steps, puppies ambling gracelessly along, with long, graceful strides directly to Niklas and neatly curtsies. "Prince Niklas. I don't see any more of my family here - but thank gods there are so many Graysons. Have you met my pups? Ylva, Conall, //sit//." The pups sit on command and Sunaia crouches, scratching the head of each one and grins, "Good pups." She rises abruptly and glances around the room, then murmurs, "I can't believe Olivia wanted me to come and she isn't even here."

"Even if you were not wearing jewelry you would still sparkle in a crowd, Sister Juniper," Sabella replies, letting go of Nicholaus quickly when it turns out he's the center of attention, "Your kind and generous nature simply cannot be contained! How is your hospice project doing? I hope that you have had at least a few inquiries of people looking to help, for I try to mention it as often as I can to people! And Queen Symonesse, it is always so delightful to see you at parties like these! I know he doesn't look it, but I think Michael was nervous about whether or not this would be a success and there can of course be no question if the Queen stops by! Lady Ouida it is good to see you as well! Are you--" she pauses as someone shouts Kaia's name, immediately looking up and around, "Is Lady Kaia here? I haven't seen her since the wedding--which was beautiful and lovely until it wasn't and I will be so thrilled to see that she is up and about again!"

Ramona - A Guard in Ashford House Colours, Bigsby - A Thoughtful Looking Young Man in Nondescript Clothing, 2 Ashford Archer, 1 Ashford Scout arrive, following Lisebet.

Zoey waves her sister Kaia over join them at the table with gold linens.

Lifting his attentions to the doorway, Martino welcomes the arrival of Lady Kaia with the broadest of smiles. The socialite out being social once more. A hushed murmur to the table he is stood at and, well, Martino steps forward to greet Kaia until... that shout. Laughing wry, Martino turns his head back to narrow his eyes with a joking tone to Peri before stepping back to welcome Kaia. "Darling Kaia. I am so pleased, truly, you have managed to make it here."

Michael mutters, "... favored ... I am glad you are here."

Tesha gives a smile, but she doesn't do well when things become so big. The redhead takes a few moments to give greetings and then returns to her spot on the sidelines as she looks over everyones dresses and accessories. She was just happy to not be looking at numbers.

Scythia's dipping low to a perfect curtsy, picturesque in that manner of hers. "My Lord Bisland," she says, "A most delightful of evenings to you. This certainly is a feat." The ball, she means. She might continue with the compliment, or perhaps respond to the very important issue of dancing. Instead, she laughs when the petals rain down, her eyes lifting with delight. "How might a dance of ours beat a moment such as this, my lord?" she asks, with an arched bow. Shaking her head, she withdraws a prime step so that she can stand beside Orrin, her hand moving to his arm anew.

Symonesse beams at Josephine as she murmurs, "Well met once more, Mistress Josephine. And hello to you, Prince Nicholaus. Though I suppose I should call you cousin? Juniper has been very kind in her praise of your person and I am glad to meet you." She wrinkles her nose a little before she shrugs and continues on. "Would you all like to join us? I think we should go grab a table before the dancing truly starts." Her golden eyes gaze about before she finds a place. She loops one arm through Juniper's, the other through Ouida's and guides them all toward a table.

Symonesse has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Aiming a happy smile to Orrin and Scythia, Kalani must turn to navigate through the crowd toward the table where Peri is already mingling with others.

Kaia has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Ouida offers a bow to Sabella as well. "Your highness, it is good to see you as well." Ouida doesn't seem to mind at all that the attention is drawn elsewhere though, her smile remaining easy, and reaching her eyes. But for the moment she seems content to remain in a vaguely at-ease position, probably quite familiar to those with military or knightly training, as conversation is exchanged. At least until her arm is taken, and then it's another bit of a blush and quick finding of her stride as she matches her steps to Symonesse and Juniper's. "At it pleases you."

Ouida has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Michael turns now as the stream of people slows and he can leave some younger siblign or cousin to deal with all of that. To begin to trace his way through the crowd behind Kaia...then past her. Someone isn't sitting at the edge of the bench on a long table so it provides a perfect foot rest for Michael to press his boot onto and leap onto the main table itself. "Pardon me, Lady Tesha....oh..oh...Pardon Martino...." And he is stepping past drinks and flower arrangements, still losing flower petals from his tunic and behind his ears and everywhere until he manage to reach the center of the table and look out onto the thronging masses. His mouth opening to do something..except...he spots the Queen and gulps. Right. Etiquette...../out the window/.

Michael shouts from nearby, "WHAT HO, FRIENDS AND FAMILY! I am very pleased that so many have come to join me in this manor for a Grand Ball. A dance to celebrate the arrival of Summer, the pending addition of new family, our continuing ability to thrive in a world of near uncertainy. I'd first like to start the evening off with jokes. Not mine, they're terrible. But jokes to make even the most stalwart and stonefaced man laugh. From you all. For Count Orrin Seliki is occasionally mentioned as possessing great solemnity and I would so love to see him laugh. And Fifty Thousand silver to the man or woman who makes him laugh the loudest. Or at all!"

Sabella has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Mikani shouts from nearby, "I think Countess Scythia is going to win this one."

Michael mutters, "... hair, my dear"

Nicholaus has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

"The invitation is lovely but I think that I should retire from the noise." She does look a little distracted, the jeweler. "It was a delight and a pleasure to meet everyone though." Hand gripping the cane, the older woman turns to start making her way up the stairs.

Peri has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Imogene can't help but look surprised and, yes, a little bit in awe as the Queen herself makes her way over the table she's at, and she swiftly rises with an elegant sweep of her skirts and sinks down in a low curtsy towards Symonesse and her honoured entourage. "Your Majesty," she murmurs in a respectful tone, which is not quiet entirely drowned out by the latest round of shouting from Michael's direction.

Holding his hand out, Martino offers it to aid Kaia as she joins among the golden banquet table. "Let me... ah. Perhaps too soon to dance?" A faint laugh escaping Martino after making space of Michael and listening. Glances about the golden table as the Malvici Lord plots with those around.

"Your highness, you flatter me. I /was/ going to give this petal to Nicholaus but you must take it for such sweet compliments." Grinning, Juniper proffers the third of the rose petals she'd plucked from the air to /Sabella/. The sparkle in her eyes is the metaphorical definition of "neener neener nyah nyah". Then she's steered away, declaring, "A table sounds lovely! It's very important we have something to drink before the dancing. Are any of you good with jokes? I'm terrible at it."

Juniper has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

"Doesn't she look -" Orrin starts - starts! - to say to Michael, but. His mouth shuts, as it so often does when someone starts bellowing in his general presence, which is to say, terribly often. "Now Lord Michael. At such a lovely occasion as this, I'm /meant/ to laugh. Are you trying to cast me so dour to pry Countess Scythia from my side? She seems quite determined." He glances sidelong at Scythia, and there's a faint smile, there; he pats the hand on his arm.

"If the band is playing, it isn't too soon to dance," Zoey tells Martino. "It would just make you first."

Darting her ghostly-grey eyes to Michael as he traipses across the main table, Sunaia holds her gaze there only long enough to understand the point - then, away darts her attention elsewhere. Anywhere elsewhere, everywhere elsewhere, not yet fixing on anyone.

Jules is sitting here, seeming to enjoy the company of Imogene when he looks over to give his greeting to the new arrivals. His smile ever present remains but his eyes look a bit glassy with some hint of shock and he gives a weak laugh as he spots Symonesse joining the table.

Ian is, surprise surprise, not really saying much. Anything. He's here by his wife's side, and he seems to feel that's enough.

Lisebet comes in, looking around. It seems Harlan is letting his wife out of his sight once again, so the honey moon must be over.

Sunaia checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.

When such an announcement comes forth from Michael, Scythia's other brow spikes quite dramatically. She turns, lips pursed, toward Orrin so that she might assess him most properly. "You do not laugh, my lord?" she asks him, as though this was so very much news to her. Mikani's shout is responded to with a swift grin and a shake of her head. "I do not believe it is appropriate that I partake. Now, look quite grim and dour, Orrin. Imagine I was off dancing with some Bisland lord." She is teasing, of course, leaning in to press a kiss to the Seliki's upper arm before withdrawing a few steps so that the Count Seliki is alone in the spotlight.

"A blind man walks into a ball. And a chair. And a table. And four people," Sunia pipes up, dry-as-a-bone.

Mikani excuses herself to go visit with Scythia. "Cousin ... you are looking amazing as always." She grins before kissing both of Scythia's cheeks if the woman allows it. "How is the baby? How are you?"

Michael can't help but blow a kiss towards Scythia at her response. A man hosting a party shouting tends to make things quiet enough for small remarks to be heard. Now that people have begun, Mikey moves to step down gracefully from atop the table, a heel settling between two people before he leaps to the ground between them.

Tesha sips at her wine and there's a smile at some of the antics going on. Mostly Michael's, but the Telmar woman keeps to her wallflowering for the moment as she enjoys some alone time.

Lisebet checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 48 higher.

On her way to find her husband, Kaia's attention is snatched by the enthusiastic voice of her friend, Peri. There's a beaming smile directed to the Seliki lady and a delicate wave before she approaches her for a friendly embrace. "Oh, Peri, I'm so glad to see you!" she says before letting go of her. A subtle touch by the elbow brings her attention to someone else, Michael. "Ah, cousin!~" she chimes sweetly, before leaning in to place a kiss upon his cheek. "Thank you, I'm glad to see you as well." She says, before glancing around the room to get a better look at the faces. Her eyes spot Sabella from afar and she offers her a smile and a little wave when their eyes meet; then, she spots Martino approaching, and behind him her dear sister Zoey and her in-laws Ian and Thea. There's a small smile directed at them from afar, before her gaze focuses on Martino once more. "Beloved.~ How could I possibly not? It's not every day Michael hosts an event, I was feeling much better, so I thought I'd come and surprise you all, even if for only a moment." She says, offering Michael a smile and a respectful nod, before stepping closer to Martino and wrapping her arms around one of his for support. "What have I missed?"

Peri checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 16 lower.

Scythia's countering that kiss on the cheek with one of her own. "Mikani," she greets her, warmly, amusement still in her voice. "I am feeling much more myself with Sereia joining us in this world. She is, of course, incredible." So perhaps amusement has faded to doting as she speaks, her eyes occasionally drifting to Orrin as she speaks with the other former Redreef. "What of you? How is it that you are faring? Well, I hope. Happy?"

Ouida checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.

Scythia's also offering a swift smile, bright and sharp, to Michael.

"I am legendary for my disapproval and unwillingness to show mirth at any time, didn't you know," Orrin tells Scythia. A scowl is put on for the imagery, but it's not a well-performed thing; it isn't meant to be. Only communicated. When Sunaia comes over to tell her deadpan joke, he chuckles a little; it doesn't seem like he can't help himself, but who knows. "What," he says to Michael, with a side of Scythia. "It's impolite not to laugh a /little/." Oh. And probably impolite to mention that's what you're doing. Right? Or he's just covering for actual humor. The world may never know. With a smile to Sunaia, he offers: "You ought to tell that one to my daughter," he says. "Her jokes are terrible."

Wandering through the room, Kalani lifts a glass of wine off of the tray of one of the passing servers and sips from it as she continues to circle and wander around the room. The contest to make Orrin laugh is one that draws a smile of pure amusement to her face, she well knows that Orrin does - indeed - laugh. But such a contest is to much fun to interrupt.

Mikani smiles, "I'm glad to hear it." Mika pauses and takes a sip of her drink. "I feel the same about Nakoa." Mika pauses again. "I'm very happy. This is a very large group though." She says softly.

Peri chuckles at something Martino says, "Wait wait, let me tell one." She stands up and projects, "Why do oars fall in love?" then snortlaughs. "Because they are row-mantic. get it? get it?" (GROAN).

Rafael brings the back of his hand up to his mouth, doing his best not to choke on his drink.

Michael groans aloud at Peri's joke, looking around as if there might be something to throw but failing to find anything. Thankfully. "Thats positively awful. Get off the stage." There is no stage.

Mikani wave Peri over.

"Mmm it is not every day Michael hosts an event." Martino's lips twist up into a faint smirk to Kaia as she settled in close beside him, elbow crooked to aid his wife. "Well... here we are trying to make the Count laugh. But, have you seen your sister? Zoey here is about ready to... birth." Martino indicates to Kaia with his chin while smiling slightly to Zoey. "Thea will help you."

Having just arrived, Lisebet glances around and finds Sunaia, so she heads that way. "M'Lady cousin," she greets. "That sounds like a joke, did you ever hear the one about - " She pauses, and then says, "Oh, I couldn't possibly tell that one. It's a joke that goes on and on. And - why are you telling jokes?" She turns to Orrin, hearing his comment, and says, "Terrible jokes? I'm sure I know one or two. I'm preparing for my own children in just a little more time. They're barely toddlers, after all. How about this one? Did you hear about the knight whose horse (the last in the kingdom) lay down and died of exhaustion so he couldn't get an important message to the king? The only thing the serfs could offer him was an old swayback dog, to which the knight responded, "I wouldn't put a knight out on a dog like this!"

"Do you think my joke was terrible, Lord Michael? I didn't think it was that bad," Sunaia flicks her gaze to the host, then flashes a quick smile and curtsy. "I'll try to think of a better one." But direct family is here, and the tall, lithe Ashford in palest-pink seasilk spots Lisebet. So, with a quick, sharp whistle, Sunaia starts off, long legs striding directly towards her cousin's wife, sable-and-silver puppies romping after her fluttering, blush skirts. "Lisebet," Sunaia greets the Duchess with a neat, proper curtsy. "Thank gods you're here. Where's Olivia?" She darts her fog-colored eyes at Michael and back to Lisebet, "We're telling jokes. Do you have one?"

Sunaia belatedly hears Lisebet's joke and flashes a smirk, "That one's bad. Worse than mine."

Ouida rises at her table when it is her turn, and pauses to offer a bow to Orrin and Scythia. "My lord, my lady, esteemed guests," she begins politely, and then clears her throat, somewhat uncomfortably. Clearly she hasn't partaken in enough wine just yet. "What do you call a fish with no eye?" queries the straight-faced Harthall knight. "A fsssssssssshhhhhh!" It's a horrible joke, really, but she's so pleased with herself, perhaps the somewhat shy smile at the end is at least a little charming.

Zoey smiles at Martino and lets out a little laugh. "I have a midwife on standby, so there should be no need," she tells him.

"What. /I/ think it's funny. It is funny." Peri insists to Michael. She sees Mikani's wave and excuses herself from the table of friends and wanders over to the other gruop of friends. friends abound.

"The pair should get together for a play date sometime," Scythia offers to Mikani, amiably. "Perhaps so that we might catch up." Then, pitching her voice lower, she agrees, "A tremendous amount. Clearly a reason to steal my horrible, scowling husband away quite early." Of course those words are spoken loud enough for said husband to overhear, especially given his own commentary. When Peri is waved over by Mikani, Scythia's lifting a hand to her with a flash of a smile.

From her seat at the table, Symonesse laughs at -both- Peri's and Ouida's jokes. Clearly, she has the opposite of Orrin. She'll laugh at -anything-.

Mikani whispers to Peri before nodding to Scythia. "We will have to. Nakoa doesn't do much but watch everyone who speaks to him. But he is growing fast."

"I am feeling much better Thea, that medicine you gave me earlier did work wonders." She says, before glancing back at Martino. "Oh, a dance would be lovely darling, considering it would be the first time I get to do so since..." she doesn't finish the sentence, but her eyes flicker a little. "Shall we, then?" she asks, a bright smile directed towards Zoey to whom she discreetly whispers something. A louder statement following soon after. "My sister is right, we shouldn't let this wonderful music go to waste.~"

Marchande, Junebug, the endearing and enthusiastic Graypeak Mountain Dog arrive, following Rosalie.

Mikani checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 13 lower.

Juniper would be a terrible judge for this event. She's been giggling throughout-- even at the terrible jokes! But Ouida's effort earns an extra bout of applause too! So very very biased, and easily amused.

Imogene giggles at her tablemate Ouida as the woman gets up to tell her joke, and can't help grinning at her at the end. "Oh, excellent," she tells Ouida with every evidence of sincerity. "I certainly couldn't have told one better!"

"I thought it was good Peri." Martino nods low to Peri before turning to Kaia with a slight smile, "Why... most certainly. We shall start with the slow steps. Like when I first taught you." Inhaling slightly, bowing his head to the guests around the table, Martino turned carefully to make for the dance floor.

Michael is quick to point at Martino. "Ehhhhhh! We're almost there, eager man. Just a moment or two more."

Orrin actually laughs at Lisebet's joke - though it's after mouthing the last few words of it together with her. What. It's the perfect intersection of a war joke (hello), a dad joke (hi), and a dog joke (he's got one of those too). Perhaps he's laughing that Lisebet called up that one, but also - laughing - "I've never heard that told better, bravo," he says. It's Ouida's that him laughing the most, so far. Perhaps it's the preposterousness. His eyes crinkle with it, and he looks very happy: "Sereia is nearly ready to tell -that one-. I'll have to teach it to her." He looks at Scythia, as if expecting that to get a rise out of her, somehow.

Lisebet grins at Sunaia, and shrugs. "Well, I didn't know there was a joke competition," she says with a grin. And theree's Ouida and that worthy woman gets a smile and a blown kiss from Lisebet. "I like them all," the petite duchess says, chuckling along with the crowd. She glances at Sunaia, leaning closer for a moment, and then her expression lightens, impishly. She moves a bit closer to say something softly to her Ashford cousin.

"Ah, it is not me... but Kaia as well." Laughing slightly as he turns his chin to Kaia, Martino considers and tosses in for the joke - "I once had a nightmare about a shark. Woke up in a cold sweat and realised..." Dramatic effect. "It was just bream."

Thea has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Kalani checked wits + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Mikani steps up to tell her joke. "Master and Mistress Brown had two sons. One was named Mind Your Own Business & the other was named Trouble. One day the two boys decided to play hide and seek. Trouble hid while Mind Your Own Business counted to one hundred. Mind Your Own Business began looking for his brother behind garbage cans and bushes. Then he started looking in and under carts until an Iron Guard approached him and asked, 'What are you doing?' 'Playing a game,' the boy replied. 'What is your name?' the Guard questioned. 'Mind Your Own Business.' Furious the Guard inquired, 'Are you looking for trouble?!' The boy replied, 'Why, yes."

Ouida resettles, after offering a courtly bow to Symonesse, Juniper, and Imogene, and a deeper one to Orrin. The happiness in his eyes seems to be the greatest reward--and the Harthall knight catches the blow kiss from Lisebet and returns one of her own, before retaking her seat.

Martino checked wits + performance at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.

Kalani eases forward, waiting to take her turn to offer up a quip that's not at all unheard of before. At least, by fellow cliff divers. "Uncle Orrin, you've heard this one I'm sure. Letting go of a loved one can be hard," she pauses then grins, "but sometimes, it's the only way to survive a rock climbing catastrophe."

Really, nothing more than Lisebet's outfit has Sunaia's attention for now, though she does glance around the crowd briefly before leaning in to listen and murmur again.

Zoey gives Kalani a slightly horrified look.

Michael nods to Martino, turning to scowl momentarily at Kaia before he is clapping to the conclusion of all the fine joke-telling. After it is all said and done, Kalani's joke told and a long enough lull that it is time to call it. He'll step towards the center of the room and look pointedly towards Count Orrin Seliki with uplifted eyebrows. "Count? I think I have a pretty good idea of the winner, if you'd like to announce your decision, I'll have the silver awarded and we can dance before a stampede ends me and forces Lailah to be heir."

Mikani blinks and looks at Kalani.

Ian grumbles something about it being easier to avoid by having the proper gear in the first place.

A quick nod from Sunaia to Lisebet and another hushed murmur, followed by the flash of what may be a proud smile.

Tesha listens to the jokes and there's a laugh at Kalani's joke. Then she realizes a few people are looking to her, "What? Obviously you didn't know my uncle. He would have loved that joke." she tells them before she heads off to get another glass of wine.

True, Orrin does indeed get a rise out of Scythia for his commentary. She's grinning in response to him, her eyes dancing with no small amount of amusement. Ah, there are refreshments. She acquires a glass of red wine from nearby waitstaff. A glass of wine that is almost dropped with Kalani's joke, yet she recovers, and swiftly eyes Orrin.

Lisebet also catches the blown kiss from her friend, amused and pleased. She turns back to Sunaia, whispering one more time, and then she twirls in her outfit. Okay, she's being slightly daring, not wearing a dress, but she does look quite lovely, all the same. As she realizes that Symonesse is here, she offers a polite curtsey her way, but doesn't for the moment interrupt.

Kaia laughs at some of the jokes being told, and a few grimaces given at those not so fun. "Ah, I do hope we get to the dancing soon..." she comments to Martino after hearing Michael pretty much stop them from doing so. "I suppose we'll have to wait a bit more." she adds with a chuckle.

Sunaia mutters, "... I'm ... it in ... Ashford ... Just the ... family and a ... ... Anyone ... want to bring along?"

Perhaps that sort of gallows humor plays well at Seliki manor, because Orrin ducks his head at Kalani, gives a small smile, a shake of his head. Mikani's joke? He chuckles. But he considers Lisebet and Ouida, watches them with a bright smile. "Lord Michael, I think Lady Ouida has been spying on my daughter's antics and ought to be disqualified for doing an impression instead of a proper joke," he says. "I think it goes to Duchess Lisebet. For a flawless delivery." He lifts his chin toward her, eyes sparkling. "And now, my lord - /I/ will be going to dance with my wife." GAUNTLET. THROWN. He pats Scythia's hand, and starts to move off.

Niklas has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Niklas comes in so late it's gone past fashionable and well into haute couture. Being a fantastically wealthy and powerful prince, of course his first stop is to get whatever free food there is available. You don't get rich by paying for bacon wrapped dates or squabs stuffed with other squabs and then put on a stick. Once he's got a big pile of various animals and vegetables, he heads over to where Sabella is sitting, drops it all on the table and slides in next to her. "I missed a joke telling competition? That's too bad. I've got a good one about a fish and the Dominus."

Juniper quips to Ouida, "I think that counts as an honorary mention!"

OH NO! Everyone IS bumrushing the stage. Michael didn't wear his damn armor for such an occasion. People standing and getting ready. "Lyros! Ensure that Duchess Lisebet gets her prize money." A hand pushes towards Orrin as if he might stave him and others off while he searches the crowd. "First. I would like the first dance and clearly there is only one option for me."

"The height of beauty, the loveliest amongst the Compact. Strong, brave and true with laughter to rouse any sad spirits. Queen Symonesse Grayson, may I have the first dance with you?" He'll stand in the middle of the dancefloor offering extending his hand in the Queen's direction...for any enterprising King's Own to lob off.

Ouida laughs amiably at Orrin's quip, perhaps being quite familiar with the thbbbts and vowel-less utterings of young children herself, now. When Lisebet wins, she offers loud applause, and an appreciative whistle. "Well done, Lady Lisebet, well done!"

Mikani silently leaves after finishing her wine.

Mikani has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Damien Pierce - A Charming Assistant, 1 Redreef Warden, Vagari The Cinder Cat, 1 Order of the Firebird, 4 Byrne Mountain Men, 2 House Crovane Guards, Nephelae Ebonwood - A Nursemaid, Biorna - The Protective Mastiff leave, following Mikani.

"Congratulations, Duchess," Sunaia nods to her fellow-Ashford and politely claps, but offers a flash of a smile, regardless - and leans in again.

Lisebet chuckles,, amused. "I won? I don't usually - well, thank you, my Lord," she says to Orrin, and then a glance to Michael. "Prize money - I shall use it to be wearing brocade at some event, I promise you! My thanks, Dame Ouida." And then she blinks at Sunaia. "you what?" Okay that was not her quiet voice, but those two words are all that are said, before she reaches to pat the other Ashford on the arm. Their small conversation continues quietly.

Symonesse turns to look at Michael when he begins to announce the first dance and, when he says her name, laughs a little and rises from her seat. She gives her tablemates a little shrug before she crosses to take Michael's offered hand, saying aloud in a bright voice, "You are incredibly kind, Lord Michael. I would be delighted to dance with you."

Ouida winks at Juniper. "Oh, I treasure every compliment to my wits," she acknowledges. "Sometimes it is good to be known for more than one's brawn." She rises when the Queen rises, to take up the offer of dancing, bowing to Symonesse as she passes, before she once more retakes her seat.

Stepping with some cheer in his steps, the Malvici Lord Martino and Kaia are one of the first to enter the dance floor. Fingertips of Martino's aiding Kaia down while his right hand rests light upon her hip. Murmuring low to each other, Martino assures with a crease of his sharp green eyes to her. "Slowly... I assure you. Slowly." With that Martino steps to the left as lead with Kaia following, a step back and a smooth pivot upon Kaia's right foot as they pop across the dance floor. Long skirt of her ballgown draping across for a moment. Again, they step across the floor and with a pause in the movement, Martino's hand lifts to allow Kaia to twirl once. Laughing hushed, the Lord Martino and Lady Kaia Malvici repeat before one murmurs hushed to the other, "You know, this is our first dance now."

Martino has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Kaia has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

2 Bisland pride guards, Colin Laurent, a quiet and serene companion leave, following Kaia.

Johannes, A tall and red cloaked gentleman, A slightly embarrassed courier called Guido, Kaia leave, following Martino.

"Thank goodness, your majesty." Michael's hand clasps about hers to draw her towards him upon the dance floor. The other hand lifting towards the band who stops in the midst of their song....then starts a new one at the conductor's cue. A song worthy of dancing to. Lord Bisland's other hand settles upon Queen Symonesse's waist lightly before beginning to pull her through the motions of a dance.

Michael has joined the the dance floor.

"I shall grant you a petal if..." Juniper dabbles fingertips against her chin, deep in thought, as she considers Nicholaus-- and then considers Ouida. "If you offer the Lady a dance first. That will give me time to find a petal, /and/ make certain she's warmed and limber for delighting the queen on the dancefloor later. And then you may dance with me if her Majesty hasn't claimed her due by then."

Reaching to brush the faint blush of her cheek with pale, slender fingers, Sunaia's silvery eyes slant towards Lisebet and she murmurs, not-at-all-apologetically, "I was //busy//...!" Then lowers her voice into a private volume.

Kalani has joined the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Sunaia mutters, "BUT. I //will// teach you ... ... ... ... camping."

Symonesse has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Symonesse has joined the the dance floor.

Ian has settled into a disinterested slouch. His bright blue eyes move constantly, taking in gestures, shifts of weight, details, but he doesn't seem engaged with any of it. He nods to something Zoey whispers to him, and bracing himself on the table, pushes to his feet.

Zoey has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Zoey has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Scythia's dipping her head lightly, reminiscent of a curtsy when Orrin comes and pats her hand. She moves with him, but she does not dare venture out onto the dance floor while that first dance is performed. Instead she'll finally indulge in just that little bit of wine.

Ian has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Ian has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Tesha has joined the an elegant rosewood harp.

There is no mistaking Symonesse's easy grace as she begins to follow Michael's lead through the first steps of the dance. She laughs a little and teases, "Oh, Lord Michael. Were you really concerned that I would reject an offer of a dance? I rarely can refuse such an offer and especially so prettily made. I am quite charmed."

Nicholaus glances from Juniper to Ouida, an eyebrow raising at the former, a warm smile turned on the latter. "I had not thought to steal away the Queen's dance partner, but if the Queen herself has been stolen away I suppose now is my chance." He slips from his seat at the table and maneuvers his way around until he's standing before her, a gloved hand proffered, "Lady Ouida, it would be an honor if you allowed me your first dance of the evening."

The palest Ashford's face pinches sourly and she stares with pure skepticism and disdain at Lisebet - then leans in and murmurs privately again. The conversation concludes with another pinched frown and Sunaia's pale shoulders, frothed with a blush of thin seasilk, raise and lower in a helpless shrug.

Oh yes, Orrin will indulge in a glass of wine with Scythia until it's time to dance. Who's leading here? Does it matter? After a sip of something red, he tips his head toward her, eyes sharpening, smile returning. He doesn't... he doesn't seem very dour at all. There's a murmur, quiet, and then another sip.

Michael returns that tease with a bit of a cocky smirk. "Well. I am handsome and light upon my feet. So I wasn't /very/ worried about it." He is light upon his feet, which probably has more to do with fancy footwork while wielding a sword rather than wielding a woman. If you could wield a woman... "Quite charmed, you say? I'll have to make note of that....To be honest, I tend to shy away from from the Nox'Alfar since a chance encounter with Prince Tyrval."

The Queen laughs again, golden eyes bright with humor as she murmurs, "Handsome, light upon your feet, and so very modest. I imagine the line has already formed for your next dance!" Her brows lift at the mention of Tyrval and she asks, "Dare I ask what about the encounter has made you so skittish?"

"The Queen's backup dancer," Ouida reminds Nicholaus with a bright grin, clearly not minding that designation. "But how could I refuse the invitation of one that comes so highly recommended by the brightest Sister in Arvum?" She rises to take Nicholaus' gloved hand. She may be dressed in a doublet and pants rather than a gown, but the steps fall to her easily. "As it pleases you, my lord, it would be my honor as well," the Oathlands knight offers.

Scythia's certainly not acting in the way of someone that finds their companion to be a dour, grim thing. No, she's merrily smiling to Orrin, and whatever it was that he murmured to her, that has her laughing quietly. With a shake of her head, she responds quietly.

Nicholaus has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Nicholaus has joined the the dance floor.

Ouida has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Ouida has joined the the dance floor.

Nicholaus has left the the dance floor.

2 House Velenosa Guards arrives, following Locke.

The look on Lisebet's face remains proper, though there is of a sudden a wide smile of approval. "There are drinks, I see, and perhaps some small food?" She looks to Sunaia, as she says that. Ouida gets a glance and then a grin, as she's off to the dance floor.

Nicholaus has joined the the dance floor.

The departure of Nicholaus and Ouida to the dancefloor is chased by a kiss from Juniper. She sends it after them on a breath blown from the tips of her fingers. Her laughter follows soon after-- and as promised, while she sinks back into her chair, she casts about for a petal with which to reward the gallant prince. Though she isn't so distracted by the search that she can't lift a flirt of a wave when Symonesse goes whirling by in Michael's arms.

"Oh, I'm alright - unless there's something for the pups. But, feel free to enjoy a drink if you like," Sunaia replies to Lisebet before crouching down to pet her tiny 'dates'. The pale, pink skirts of her feathery-light gown pool around her and the pups seem to think it's their personal blanket, for the squeak and snuggle upon it as soon as the pale Ashford finds her way nearer to the pair. Which only brings a pleasant grin and soft chuckle from the alabaster woman - truly, dogs and adventure are nearly the only things to bring a smile to Sunaia's lips.

"Ohhh, I think I've manuevered myself into a conversation that makes me skittish already." The song speeds up and Michael is given some time to stay quiet as everyone upon the floor moves along with it before it settles once more. "He seemed ever so willing to announce someone's past life in public. Some of us aren't especially eager for others to know of such things, your majesty."

Tesha seems to be calculating things in her mind as she looks from the dance floor to the gathered, then back to the dance floor. She's definitely not going out there yet, but maybe at some point this evening she'd make it out there.

Symonesse nods sympathetically as she picks up her pace to match Michael's before she offers an answer, "Sometimes, when you can see and know lives that someone has lived before, it can be difficult to tell the difference between one life and the next. Still, it is intolerably rude and I will be sure to box Tyrval's ears for it next time I see him. After all, we are in-laws now. Sort of." As they dances past her, the Queen gives Juniper a fluttering little wave.

"Indeed," says Orrin, smiling slantwise. "And I yours." Whatever that means. After he finishes his wine - which does not take so long - he offers his hand, a better sort of escort for approaching a dance floor than the traditional hand-to-arm sort of thing. It lends to a dancing sort of posture, see. He's watching the first-dance dancers, of course, and there's a glance sidelong at Scythia at some moment or another.

Zoey catches a bit of the conversation on the dance floor over the music and conversation at the table, then leans toward Ian and whispers something to him.

"Oh, as if that doesn't worry me further, your majesty." Because of course the prospect of Prince Tyrval getting lambasted by the Queen on account of Michael is sure to fill the Bisland with some amount of disconcertion. He'll be saved by the ending of the song and he'll step away to dip a bow to Her Majesty, her hand still held within his for the moment. "An honor, Your Majesty. I should tend towards that waiting list of those who wish to dance with me now. And not keep others from you."

Ian gives Zoey puzzled look and nods to what she says to him, but has the look of someone who doesn't understand the significance.

Symonesse laughs a little and bows her head, giving Michael's hand a squeeze as she murmurs, "Indeed, it wouldn't do to keep your admirers waiting, Lord Michael. Thank you for the dance."

When Ouida places her hand in his, Nicholaus flashes her a grin and turns, leading the way out to the dance floor to join the other pairs already there. He waits for a momentary pause before he steps out and turns back to face his partner, placing a hand high up on her side. Immediately he begins to turn gently with the music, rotating with Ouida in place for one beat of the music before he starts in to the fray proper, turning and moving with an ease befitting his earlier claim of being a practiced hand on the dance floor. "You've an exceeding grace about you, My Lady," he offers once they get properly going, "I can see why the Queen had claimed you as her partner. I hope I can keep up."

For the pups?" Lisebet chuckles, as she heads past the dancefloor to where she thinks the drinks are, pausing to allow the Queen to walk by. "Your Majesty," she says briefly with a courtsey to Symonesse as she lets the royal pass by.

Juniper slips from her seat and sliiides to the edge of the dancefloor. Coincidentally timed to the last flourish, the last whirl, the last spin performed by Michael and Symonesse. There, she sinks into a curtsy and upon rising with lifted hand, she pleads, "May I have the pleasure of stealing her Majesty away, my lord Bisland? I promised to dance her feet right off her legs."

With the great hall being as lively as it is, Locke finds it rather easy to step inside mostly unnoticed. His arrival is not particularly guided with desire to get on the dance floor, seeing as he's already found the drinks, but he does find deeper purpose when a few familiar pups are spotted. "Aha. It's been a hot minute, hasn't it?" It's not like Conall can really answer, but he just had to say hello. "Evening, Sunaia." There's also a nod in greeting to a few friends at the table, specifically for Zoey and Jules.

Jules laughs to Ian in a half awkward way and bows his head, "Of course my lord, I should wish no offense to you though." He makes his way out of the table and extends his arm out to extend Zoey to the dance floor with a slow and steady pace. He leans over towards her and whispers something as he makes his way along.

Imogene gets to her feet with a gracious inclination of the head to her tablemates, and with smiles and waves to those she knows, makes her way from the hall.

Imogene has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Rudder, the fearsomely correct manservant leaves, following Imogene.

Ian has acquired a drink somehow to sip while he slouches in a disinterested manner. He doesn't just stare at Zoey and Jules when they go out to dance like some kind of serial killer plotting Jules' death, but he does look that way pretty often. Possibly like a very subtle serial killer plotting Julies' death.

Scythia is light in step, following where Orrin leads. She dips her head once more, flashes him a smile when he is casting that sidelong glance her way, and away she steps onto the dance floor. Or at least she takes that initial step, awaiting Orrin's further lead with just a smidge of amusement present.

Orrin has joined the the dance floor.

"Of course you may, Sister Juniper." Michael nods his head towards Juniper at her arrival and steps from the dancefloor. Gaze sweeping through those who aren't dancing at the moment with someone in mind. Clearly. "Lady Seliki." Michael calls out towards Kalani, offering his hand to her where she sits awaiting.

Zoey has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Zoey has joined the the dance floor.

Scythia has joined the the dance floor.

Zoey takes Jules' arm and allows him to lead, whispering something in return.

Kalani is seated with Peri, laughing with her cousin as they are enjoying a glass of wine apiece. She looks toward the dance floor and their host before she sets the glass down and rises to her feet. She strides toward him, moving around those who are coming and going from the dance floor and sets her hand in his. "No promises about your toes, my lord," said with a teasing wink.

The smile (more of a beaming grin) cracks across the alabaster Ashford's face before she even sees the man who's just addressed the pup and her. Sunaia shoots her head up towards Locke, "Prince Locke," she grins as he makes his way to her, the scruffy sable pup perking at the prince's voice, as well - and greeting him with a deep bark as he rouses. Which, of course, rouses the silvery Ylva, too, and both are prancing around the Lenosian prince, tails waggling and jaws open, begging for attention. Sunaia, freed of the pups, rises directly, pale eyes peering into Locke's eyes. "Fancy seeing //you// here. And look: you brought my coat. So kind of you, Prince Locke," she smirks.

Kalani has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Kalani has joined the the dance floor.

Jules has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Jules has joined the the dance floor.

Jules checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 69 higher.

Ouida laugh is light, but warm. "You are too kind, your highness," she proclaims to Nicholaus. "I think much of it belongs to the skill of one's dance partner, in truth." She smiles at him. "I am more suited to the sands and lists," she admits, "But dance is almost as enjoyable. And one does not have to remember what fork goes where." She knows enough to keep to the beat of the music at least. "You are light on your feet as well, Prince Nicholaus. Do you also favor being out in the open rather than in the halls? Or do you find balance suits you?"

Rafael has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Dionne, a Mercy Novitiate leaves, following Rafael.

Orrin checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Zoey checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Once Michael and the queen have had their dance, Orrin does indeed lead Scythia onto the floor - a sweep and flourish his to frame, hers to perform. Sweeping a look down at her - well deserved, that /dress/ - before gathering her into a hold, when the music renews, he starts about the floor. He isn't a fancy stepper. He isn't showy. That's all her; he's all delight. Dour. DOUR. Sheesh.

Sabella is overheard praising Michael: What an amazing party! Did you see the flower petals?!

Michael checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

"As you can see, I am wearing my sturdy are you. Wait. What did you do to her?" Michael looks askance from Kalani to Peri, who is dressed all in something like a dress. "I am glad yours arrived before mine. I bow to your superior wisdom in fashion and taste in dressing Lady Peri Seliki." The band has struck up something lively and swift, its cadence carrying swifter feet. Including his as Kalani is nearly yanked from her seat and pulled into the somewhat crowded dancefloor.

Michael is overheard praising Symonesse: A wonderful first dance!

Kalani checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Peri checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.

Peri checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.

Locke glancing downwards at his coat and running a hand along the nape of his neck, Locke replies, "I hadn't planned on arguing today, but if you insist..." With a lift of a smile and an inclination of his head towards the dance floor, he teases Sunaia further. "Not taking to the dance floor today, Wolf? I'd offer a hand, but, well - I could only spare a few moments." A few moments to steal a drink, maybe too. And he does just that, sipping away at whatever's on the menu.

Symonesse happily takes Juniper's hand once Michael releases her, her smile brightening just that much more as she gazes upon her friend. She makes her way -back- to the dancefloor with Juniper and then places one arm on the priestess' shoulder and the other on her waist, clearly intending to lead for the first dance at least. She murmurs something to her with a lopsided grin before starting the process of sweeping her about the dance floor.

Scythia checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Juniper has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Juniper has joined the the dance floor.

Niklas watches as the dance floor starts to get a little more crowded and turns to look at his wife. "Shall we?"

Peri has left the a large banquet table dressed in gold linens.

Peri has joined the the dance floor.

Peri beams at the lively music and she hops up to join the dancers in a skipping and motion. Her movements are not inspiring but they are enjoyed. The dress shimmers as she twirls and whips around again. She laughs.

Sabella beams at Niklas and holds out her hand with a flourish, "I thought you'd never ask!"

There is no objection to being swept and guided about the floor with Symonesse in the lead! Juniper knows how to be the most graceful of complements. The grin is answered in kind, though close observers /might/ see that when she laughs, she does so while wrinkling the bridge of her nose the tiniest bit.

Irisa enters the hall in a long blue dress. It isn't a down by any stretch, but it will pass for a commoner. The blade on her sash and belt is peacebonded, as expected, with a long tress of white silk. Seeing Vahari, Irisa winks to her semi-ward and whispers something to her with a smile before stepping further in. Taking it all in, she steps slowly around the edges to try and spot a few people she knows. Ouida gets a happy little wave right away, a little delight at seeing her here.

Lani laughs as Michael pulls her into the somewhat crowded dance floor, the outer edge of it as the band picks up something up beat to play instead of the more sedate pieces that are on the play list. "I didn't do anything. She's lovely and you know it, and I'm sure the dress you picked out would have been nice," she is looking down at his feet as he leads, watching the steps for a moment, getting a feel for the flow of the moves.

Tesha gives a look to her empty wine glass and then out to the dance floor. The redhead decides to hand off her glass to one of the servers. Then she adjusts her flowery tiara and then heads out just as quietly as she entered.

Tesha is overheard praising Michael.

"There's no way, Locke. I don't dance - and it doesn't seem you do either, fairly comfortable with that drink," Sunaia flicks a nod towards whatever-Locke-is-drinking. "Besides. If I dance - or try to - the pups will just trip on everyone's feet, as I have yet to teach them not to stay with me." The tall Ashford-in-blush-pink leans to murmur privately to the prince, watching... someone. Probably Lisebet - from afar; then flicks her gaze back to the prince's eyes.

Tesha has left the an elegant rosewood harp.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Sabella checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 115 higher. Sabella rolled a critical!

Niklas has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Niklas has joined the the dance floor.

Whatever Juniper says with that wrinkle of her nose makes Symonesse laugh hard enough to almost, -almost-, falter a step. She doesn't, but it is a near thing and the Queen adds a little flourish to hide the half-stumble. "I hadn't thought of that part of it, but now I feel as thought I'm doing the Compact a service. You may have left the Whispers, but you still have a few courtier's tricks up your sleeve, I see." She lowers her voice to murmur, her own golden eyes gleaming wickedly.

Sabella has left the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Sabella has joined the the dance floor.

The queen goes back to the dance floor so Lisebet goes to get drinks. She pauses to look back, and gets three drinks, bringing them back with her to where Sunaia is. "Nothing for the pups, alas, cousin. But we can all have one." A very definite once over of the gentleman she's not met, who is standing here with Sunaia. "Good evening. I hope you are enjoying the ball so far? It is a ball, I've been trying to convince my cousin that dancing is fun."

Zoey and Jules move to the center of the dance floor so that faster dancers can move past them unencumbered. Jules maintains a discrete distance from the heavily pregnant Kennex lady as the pair slowly and gracefully swirl to the music.

Juniper checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Ian is, indeed, probably not a good dancer. He doesn't even seem especially engaged with the music as he watches the people come and go (talking of... wait, no.). He has, if anything, more an air of a guard than a guest.

Niklas pulls Sabella out onto the dance floor, where he proceeds to put on a performance that scholars a hundred years from this moment will refer to as 'okay, I guess' or 'not bad'. But as much as he goes to sweep her around the floor, nothing he does is going to take attention away from all. that. lace.

"Me?" Nicholaus asks in return as Ouida poses her question. It seems the Grayson Prince may have stormed the dance floor with his partner a bit too early, but it also seems like the Grayson Prince doesn't care. Typical.

"I suppose I /do/ prefer balance, though truthfully I've never quite had the presence of mind to approach it as such. I have trained with a blade -- though I get the feeling not nearly as much as yourself -- and I have trained with the proper fork. Each have their time and place." He leads them in a twirl about the floor, spinning about from one end to the other. In time, he even starts to outpace the band by just a bit, though he seems fully present of this fact when he fails utterly to hold in his laugh. After a few more passes around, he gradually slows them to a stop near the edge of the dance floor and separates from Ouida with a beaming smile. Slightly out of breath, he bows to her before claiming: "I thank you, My Lady, for the honor."

Olivia wanders in. Late. Hardly fashionably either. She smiles as she is lead in and waves out to the crowd. She spies around and sees Sunaia and heads that way.

Nicholaus checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Scythia's not dancing for show, nor does it seem - note, seem - that she takes the lead. It is all Orrin, and his guiding hand, unless someone is paying particular attention. Then it might be clear that the little twirl performed was initiated by her, to appear as though it was by him. Is that really important though? Not really, for other than that twirl that seems to delight her so, she is back in Orrin's arms and looking up at him with no lack of smile.

Ouida checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

"Lovely? Are we jumping to calling her lovely? She still pollutes my pond with her stones. And you too, probably." Michael and Kalani are currently upon the dance floor, moving at the quicker pace of those on the outside circle of the dancers. "The dress I picked out got sent back. It wasn't right for her. You didn't have that problem. With her dress or yours." Then Kalani is lofted from the floor and held up off of her feet for a quick spin that is just a bit more flourish than others might be doing.

Certain crafts fade without frequent practice. So it is with dance, but Juniper retains enough of her old skills to temporarily seize the lead in the dance. While Symonesse laughs, she claims the momentum and lifts her hand high to pivot the woman through a turn before drawing her close again. She's too short to dip her. Alas. Control is returned once more to crowned royalty. "Always," sounds like a promise, and heartfelt at that. "Especially if it makes you smile that way."

Ouida's laughter joins with Nicholaus' own as they start to outpace the music, but at least they are well matched in doing so. "I do wish that I had been so inclined to seek balance when I was younger, rather than trying to catch up now," she admits. "But sometimes the path finds us, rather than the other way around." She bows to him in return. "And thank you, your highness. It was a delight! I hope that we will have the opportunity to dance again, sometime."

The minute Sabella steps onto the dance floor its as if the lighting gets softer and all of that lace on her gown just about glows, swirling so softly around her with each movement it seems as if her feet aren't actually touching the floor and she's simply gliding, surrounded by a cloud of lace and aeterna. Every moment is impossibly graceful and effortless and while she doesn't mean to show Niklas up, it's hard not to! The twirling of her skirts even causes a flurry of flower petals to surround her at one point, like something out of a dream, "This really is the most wonderful party," she murmurs to Niklas as she pulls in close after a particularly stunning spin, "I'm so glad we came!"

Naturally, Locke's attention follows Sunaia's gaze to Lisebet. "I might steal a second drink on my way out, if I'm being completely honest here." The whispered comment is enough to lift his smile further, and he greets Lisebet with a very casual lowering of his head. "It's a pleasure to FINALLY meet you Duchess Lisebet, Sunaia goes on and on about you." He may be exaggerating a touch. "I'd definitely convince Sunaia to dance with me, but I actually need to be escaping shortly. Maybe next time?"

Peri overhears the plaintive cry of a Lord bemoaning innocent stones. She swings his way and tells the two, in between a twirl, "oh come now, if you came to the pond and skipped some stones with us you'd understand."

"Duchess Lisebet, please meet Prince Locke Velenosa, owner-of-my-Ashford-style-coat. For the time being, that is," Sunaia smirks at Locke, dryly teasing the slightly- taller man. "Locke - this is my cousin's wife, as I said. Duchess Lisebet Ashford. Thank you, Lisebet," the palest-Ashford's gaze flicks to Lisebet, accepting the drink from her. "Do you need another, Locke? Oh - and here's Olivia - //Lady// Olivia Ashford, might I introduce //Prince// Locke Velenosa. Dancer extraordinaire," she smirks again, peering up at Locke. "Locke: My cousin and Voice - in tandem with Duchess Lisebet - for the Ashford House. Olivia's a physician, too. Me? I'm just a dog-trainer - Oh, Olivia, watch out for Ylva!!" The small, silvery puppy YELPS as its little tail gets stepped on, and Sunaia blinks, wide-eyed, stooping down to scoop up the injured pup. "Oh my gods, Ylva, you poor little thing," Sunaia frowns, cuddling the silvery pup to her bare expanse of chest. Then peers at Olivia... and glances to Locke. "Locke, will you please pick up Conall so he's not stepped on by all the people?"

Ouida steps away from the dance floor, and catches sight of another knight, dressed in blue. She lifts a hand in warm greeting to Irisa as she catches her eye, offering a grin and a wink.

Twirling is the perfect way to communicate that you would like to be twirled, and that is the nature of the conversation happening between Orrin and Scythia, one spin nearly always chased by another. Not for an audience, but for each other. And Orrin might well only have eyes for her - but when they are drawn. Niklas and Sabella are what draw them, the whorl of flower petals doing it - and when he sees the cause there's a moment before he softens, then he smiles at Scythia. "My goodness," he murmurs. "Quite the talent. We should come to more of these sorts of things."

Irisa watches the dancing and smiles, especially seeing the Queen and Juniper sharing a laugh. Her eyes travel through the room, then looking over Kalani being lifted like that. The warmth i nher eyes settles like a breath has lifted a weight. Perhaps its the decor. Or maybe just the jovial mood. She does stand off to the side though and take up a passing drink. Seeing Ouida return the wave like that, she grins and lifts the glass in toast before taking a sip. Watching Orrin and his wife, the smile holds while she looks on.

"Your preoccupation with water works and landscaping of the pond and surrounding park is really quite charming," Kalani notes, even managing to keep a straight face as she says this. "Rocks keep the fish happy," as though that sentence makes /any/ sense. She exhales a laugh as her feet leave the floor, just for a moment, landing with a flourish and a dramatic flare of her skirt, the scarlet hue and intricate embroidery actually gleaming in the light. "I'm glad you approve," she adds with a grin.

Symonesse giggles when Juniper manages to take the lead and turns her through the motions of the dance. Once she is allowed to lead, the Queen does so with a graceful flourish, but it is clear that Juniper's dancing skill more than matches her own. She spies Nicholaus and Ouida ending their own dance not far away and after murmuring, she guides Juniper in that direction and deposits her right in front of Nicholaus. She's already reaching for Ouida to drag her onto the dance floor as she calls out behind her, "Switch!"

Olivia eeps as the dog she steps on makes noise and slides to hide behind Lisebet. She glances sharply at Sunaia. "Cousin." She offers cheek kisses to Lisebet, "Duchess, good to see you. Couldn't convince Harlan to join the party?" She asks with a smile before turning to Locke. She curtsies and smiles. "A pleasure to meet you your highness. I see that my cousin has you on beast wrangling duty."

And so she finds herself breathless and a little dizzy before Nicholaus. Juniper blinks once-- and then has the temerity to call after Symonesse, Queen of the Compact, Healer of the Nox'alfar, "That's /cheating/!" Such accusations! But she's laughing as she turns back to the prince and falls into a deep, deep curtsy. "Your highness."

Lisebet manages to be graceful enough to not step on either little pup. "They're cute," she says softly. And then she smiles to Locke. "A pleasure to meet you, Your Highness." Olivia gets a smile. The tray has drinks, and Lisebet sets it on a table, taking one for herself. "do help yourselves," she offers with a smile. "Dancer extraordinaire? I should love a dance, your highness, perhaps the next ball we are both at? I don't want to keep you. How is it you've Lady Sunaia's jacket?" Hah. Well, if he's leaving, he won't answer anyway. "As for Harlan, truthfully, I don't believe he's remembered the ball is tonight."

Recovering his breath, Nicholaus straightens and seems about to reply to Ouida, when suddenly the Queen appears and deposits Juniper directly in front of him. The call of 'switch!' makes him blink, then laugh, as he turns his gaze on the Sister. Immediately, he matches her curtsy with a bow and then rises with an offered hand, "I believe we've been given an order."

Ouida has left the the dance floor.

Niall RedTree, adorably awkward squire leaves, following Ouida.

Scythia's grinning in response to Orrin, remarking, "We likely should. Perhaps, my lord, you should host the next ball. One underneath the stars in the gardens." She is most assuredly teasing, or perhaps likely so. She is also starting to more blatantly lead, or try to, stealing Orrin away.

"The one drink should be good enough," Locke replies to Sunaia before tilting his glass sky high and draining whatever liquid was left. "That's me. Beast-wrangler Locke. First the wolf and now the dog. Next up: cats." With the glass deposited on a nearby tray, he crouches down to scoop up Conall, holding him close to his chest. "Nice meeting you, Lady Olivia. And I'll be sure to catch you for the next one, Duchess. For the meantime, I really should be off, I just wanted to say hello." And possibly have a drink. "Care to join me, Sunaia?"

"It wouldn't do to defy her," says Juniper as she rises and tucks her hand in Nicholaus'. Her other? It produces the petal earlier promised, which she flicks against the prince's nose. "For you, your highness," is the claim. "For making my good friend smile and laugh and enjoy herself."

The SWITCH is called out and Michael starts at it, glancing towards who might call such a thing and seeing it is the Queen. Then he plots only for a moment before Kalani's hands fill with Peri's hands for the time being. And he is stomping off the dancefloor in a beeline towards where Irisa awaits. "No no no. Lets go." A hand outstretched towards them as if narry a care if Irisa doesn't want such a thing.

Scythia is overheard praising Michael.

Orrin is overheard praising Michael.

Orrin has left the the dance floor.

Scythia has left the the dance floor.

1 Redreef Warden leaves, following Scythia.

Scythia leaves, following Orrin.

Kalani moves easily to the side so that she can join Peri in a whirling jig of a dance, her hands holding the sides of her dress. She spots Irisa and the smile that forms on her face is one of delight, not /quite/ jumping up and down and waving. But.. it's a near thing.

Ian uses a combination of the table and his cane to push himself to his feet.

Suddenly assaulted by a petal, Nicholaus' laugh is brief but amused as he takes the offered token and tucks it into a pocket on his coat while he leads his new partner out onto the floor. His hand falls on her side and once more he's spinning about the room, twirling and rotating first at the outer edge before he moves them further in to the more gentle currents. There, he sets a slower pace and pulls her in a bit closer as he lowers his voice.

"//Yes//," Sunaia replies immediately to Locke, "And thank you. Pardon me, ladies; it appears I'm being //wr-//..." The palest Ashford halts, flicking her gaze to Locke as he murmurs something - and her cheeks turn three shades pinker than her gown. "We do //not//," Sunaia insists to Locke, her chest, even (under the silvery pup), having turned a bright shade of red. "...Uh-... We're going... to take the dogs //out//," Sunaia informs Lisebet and Olivia. "Pardon us and enjoy the rest of the ball. You can ...teach me to dance at home, Lisebet? In preparation for another ball." The platinum-blonde-with-a-puppy is thusly wrangled by Prince Locke, curtsies neatly-but-quickly and curtsies one-more-time to Symonesse (even if the queen is dancing, paying utterly no attention to the lady-with-the-puppies) and readies herself to be 'wrangled' off by Locke.

Peri skips lively with her cousin. After a few turns she clap claps and then starts again.

Irisa is watching Kalani when she see's that there is a Lord heading her way. Its Michael. If there were headlights, and Irisa were a deer, it would be a spot on impression. Oncoming danger! She's about to lift her hand in protest and it ends up in Michael's hand and she's pulled out towards the floor, laughing and blushing furiously. Has anyone ever seen Irisa dance? No. There are reasons for this. The panic is there but its tempered with a laugh and smile. "I tried to warn you, m'Lord!" she laughs.

Ian starts towards, of all places, the dance floor. Has a miracle happened? Does he intend to dance?

Jules looks to Zoey and quickly offers his arm to take her back and says, "Of course my lady, at once." His smile ever broad but his eyes having a hint of something troublesome to them even as he continues to speak cheerfully, "I have certainly allowed you enough exercise for one day I think. Once they get there, should you like something to drink?" He's even now moving through the floor and attemping to make his presence a bit more broad than he really is, that flowing movement seeming to regularly move in other people's way to get Zoey off.

Once more destined to follow rather than lead, Juniper accepts it with her same grace. She sinks into the give and take of that transition across the floor, and when the current softens, she sinks into trusting Nicholaus to steer them safely. Head inclined near his shoulder, she tilts an ear to what's murmured. Her own soft reply is carried on quiet laughter.

Lisebet inclines her head to the departing Locke, and then her lips quirk in a smile at Sunaia's reaction. "By all means, cousin," she says softly. "Enjoy your evening." She sips her drink, glancing now over the dance floor.

Michael checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.

Zoey walks with Jules back toward the table, meeting Ian on the way. She speaks to the two of them in a soft enough voice to not be heard by the other ball-goers.

Zoey has left the the dance floor.

Zoey has joined the a large banquet table dressed in grey linens.

Irisa has joined the the dance floor.

"I am wearing my good leather boots, Dame Irisa. I'll be safe." And he is, even as her feet find his once or thrice. Then her hands are lifted and she is pulled through several spins in time with the music before he pushes her off again to switch. Once more. Her hands finding Kalani's hands and Peri's hands getting snatched up by Michael's.

Nope, Ian is just here to collect his wife, it would seem. He nods to Jules, then angles his head towards Zoey to listen to her.

Sabella's eyes get very big as she sees Ian approach the dance floor and says something in a low voice to Niklas, moving a bit off to the side just in case he needs some extra room to do the incredible dance he surely is gearing up for. This happens to spin them nearby to Michael, whom she beams at, "Michael I have to say, you really outdid yourself tonight!"

Irisa checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Olivia wiggles her fingers at Sunaia, "Try not to have too much fun cousin. You look lovely in your dress... we need to work on the shoes though..."

Ouida and Symonesse enjoy a dance, laughing most of the time, before the drift off to the side. Ouida apparently wanders off to fetch a drink, but the Queen lingers to the side of the dancefloor, watching the couples dance by with an expression of joy on her face.

Jules hands off Zoey to Ian but continues along with the pair as prepared to offer his services where he may. His hands are not so flowing as they are tucked behind his back and his steps are direct and focused. He is leaned in close and says something to the pair.

"Is there such a thing as too much fun?" On his way out, Locke tosses an entirely casual wave over his shoulder. "Moon's as bright as can be. It'll be a great evening, night you two." An arm is offered for Sunaia, and the two depart.

Conall, a scampering, friendly sable puppy with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, a curious, silvery pup with bright gold eyes leave, following Sunaia.

2 House Velenosa Guards, Sunaia leave, following Locke.

Keeping time with Peri as they do a dancing jig, clapping between the steps and spinning in and out of the edge of the group on the dance floor. She lets out a laugh of delight as Michael trades her dance partners and claims Irisa as soon as Michael pulls off the switch and steals Peri. Lani claims Ris's hands and spins her around, "Hi! You're here! You look great!"

Ian gives Jules a puzzled look when he speaks in their three person whisper party.

Irisa grins and then.. she's being spun! Hands in the air, she twirls happily and seems to find some semblance of balance with it. The skirt turns with her, adding to the delight shown on her face. This is either her first time ever dancing with anyone, or she finds this more amusing than she remembers. And then handed off to Kalani, Irisa beams a smile to her. "Lady Kalani, a pleasure to see you again. ...Thank you! You look gorgeous as ever." And a whisper.

Nicholaus checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Juniper checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Nicholaus effortlessly navigates the slower rotation near the middle of the floor -- though in truth it doesn't take an enormous amount of skill at that pace. He glances briefly around the room, looking to those that dance in his periphery, but soon enough his focus is back on Juniper as he continues to converse with her in a lowered voice.

Peri is about to clap again when she finds that Michael has captured a hand. "Lord Bisland," She says, with joking solemnity, "Shall we dance?" She gives him a fancy curtsy and invites him to do a reel or perhaps some other dance of his choosing.

lisebet makes her way to the side of the dance floor, inclining her head to the Queen. "Your majesty," she greets Symonesse lightly. "I don't think we've met officially. I'm Duchess Lisebet Ashford." There's a gentle ease to the petite duchess in this setting.

Zoey moves the whispering trio the rest of the way back to the gray banquet table as she quietly responds to something one of the other two said.

Ian gives what looks like it might be a light shrug, and takes Zoey back to the table to sit her down.

Jules is just continuing along in the whisperfest!

Olivia stands at the edge of the dance floor, happy to be on the side lines for this.

"Lady Seliki." Michael intones back to her, "I think we should do." Then he is yanking her away from other dancers because this is SURE to be something raucous. As if Michael had seen a seaman's shanty at some point while patrolling the wharfs and only practiced it minorly. Peri is forced to endure it. Then forced to spin in time with him once, twice, then several more times before being spun away by a single hand.

Symonesse tears her eyes away from the dancers as they move by when Lisebet greets her. Her smile brightens as she greets Lisebet in return, golden eyes gleaming as she says, "We have not, but it is a pleasure to do so now, Duchess Ashford. Have you had an opportunity to dance yet?"

After settling Zoey in place, but before he sits, Ian gives Jules a look that has gone from disinterested to hard and firm in a heartbeat. Even though his voice is pitched low, it's now just loud enough that the iron in his voice can be heard.

Lisebet tilts her head, a hint of teasing in her own expression. "I have not as yet had an opportunity to dance, and alas my husband is elsewhere tonight, busy with duty." She smiles though and nods to the dance floor. "Would you like to dance again? I should be honoured to dance with you."

Irisa hears a whisper from Kalani and does her best to sort of, subtly but not-so-subtly watch Kalani's feet move through a few sets while Rissy tries to keep pace. Okay. She can do this! Fortunately she's still grinning. The light in her brown eyes is unmistakable as she moves with the Seliki, eyes looking to others around the room every few moments.

Peri checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Peri puts Michael to his mettle and stomps up a mad jig with leaps and leg kicks. With each turn she invites him to match and then she tries to jump higher. Her diver's lungs give her all the energy she needs to keep going.

Michael checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Jules gives a soft nod to Ian's whisper but his expression is soft rather than anything else, his smile is weak. He then looks to Zoey and says, "Of course my lady."

Jules walks away from the whisperfest and over towards the water...

As fast as the steel in Ian's eyes appeared, it's gone, like it never was. He sits down next to Zoey.

Kalani whispers to Irisa, though whisper is a strong word, considering how loud it is in here, so really just pitches her voice quietly enough to not carry all that far. She gives another spin around before kicking up her heels again and picking up the pace just a little.

Michael. Sort of keeps up....keeps up enough to not look like he is falling madly behind, but he certainly hasn't mastered the seashanty jigs that Peri seems to have on point. Eventually though, he'll interrupt and pull her towards her family and friends. His hip finds Kalani's hip and bumps her upon the arrival of the pair. "Switch again?" Because Michael would like not to be heaving for breath on the dancefloor.

Olivia watches Michael and Peri dance with great attention, "Oh my... quite a dance..."

Symonesse grins and bows before Lisebet and she reaches out her hand, "Not dancing at a ball is a shame. I would be delighted to dance with you, Duchess."

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