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In Celebration of a Great Work

In celebration of the Great Work of Caina being created on behalf of House Inverno, please join members of the House, Art lovers, and the project team for an evening of wine and art by the garden pool. Hosts will explain the Great Work along with a scale model, serve wine and refreshments, and have quick paint portraitures with hired entertainment artisans.


Jan. 26, 2020, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Beatrice Tyche


Sebastian Merek Philippe Helena Lethe Appolonia Amund Viviana Esme



Arx - Ward of the Lyceum - Domus Inverno - Garden Pool

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

The party is already in full swing when Tyche makes an appearance. And by appearance, she was here the whole time, idly lingering by the pool, glass of wine in hand, smile at her lips. The effect of the decorations offers a glimpse into what the Great Work might be like in person, and the results are stunning. Still, the pale in comparison to the actual pool cut into the side of one of Caina's dangerous cliffs.

For the event, the Countess has donned her steelsilk, and the play of the light against the fabric creates a pretty shimmer. When guests begin to filter in, the co-hostess turns from her perusal of the fine work a few dozen servants can produce, and offers a bright smile to all. "Welcome, come in! Come in!"

In celebration of the work done by House Inverno and its associates, the stage has been set for a gala and celebration. This is a classy outdoor garden party, set for the pleasure of nobles and the well-to-do.

Though it would be impossible to bring the entirity of the Great Work of Caina into Arx, as it sits majestically on an isle far away, the celebration is in its honor and thus artefacts of its creation are on display. On the exterior garden fence walls, and on easels around the outside, sketches are carefully framed showing the details of the work, and diagrams drawn showing its planning and progress, the drawings being the work of Sebastian Pravus. The pool in the garden is decorated elaborately, creating a sort of scale model of the artwork itself. It is surrounded by positioned columns - simple wood constructions - and mirrors at angles that point into the water, though the most dramatic reflections of the actual work are missing from this small representation.

As this is a celebration of art some portrait artists were hired to do quick - flattering - drawings of the people who so choose to attend the party, and there is a an art station for this off to one side. A few loose art supplies may be handy for those bold enough to trust their gowns to this process. But this is safely cordoned off from the refreshments: wine, breads, a few choice ales and some cheeses with honey and summer fruit. Some soft music is being played on string to also add a touch of ambiance.

Beatrice had put herself in charge of the decorations and planning committee, as she was also in charge of logistices for the work itself and wanted a reason to celebrate victory. She is in red, in a short summer dress and a bold assertive matching lipstick. In this moment, she is in her element. She is taking control of little details to make sure the party is running smoothly, but does not seem harried by it, already partaking of a glass of red wine by the pool.

There's a lot of gossip about as to the goings on and proclamations of today aside from this particular celebration, so things promise to be interesting.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: The pool in the garden is decorated elaborately, creating a sort of scale model of the artwork itself. It is surrounded by positioned columns - simple wood constructions - and mirrors at angles that point into the water, though the most dramatic reflections of the actual work are missing from this small representation. On the exterior garden fence walls, and on easels around the outside, sketches are carefully framed showing the details of the work, and diagrams drawn showing its planning and progress. Wine, fruit, cheese, and music. Artists doing small portraits for guests in one section and a greeting area around the gardens.

3 Tyde Houseguard, 2 Redwood Initiates arrive, following Lethe.

2 Redrain Guards, Lucien, a bright-eyed pine marten arrive, following Helena.

There are two things that are certain in life: that Sebastian Pravus will be late to any given event, and that chances are more than even that he'll be in a mood. On the upside, his silken shirt is only a little bit creased -- like maybe he slept in it or something -- already smoothing out with the heat of his body on this warm summer night as he strolls inside. Almost immediately, his gaze flickers to those drawings on display, a brief scowl visible from the artist before he snatches a glass from the nearest servant's tray. He doesn't drink though -- instead holding it as a prop -- as he angles towards Tyche. "Countess," he murmurs, voice low, as he leans in to kiss her cheek. "Quite a set up. Lady Beatrice's work, I assume?"

Tyche leans in to accept the small show of affection, a glint of humor to her gaze, despite Sebastian's scowl. "Lord Sebastian, you look well rested since last I saw you," she observes with a quick sweep of her gaze over his attire. "And yes, indeed. A shared idea, but she was the one in control," she glances toward Beatrice, the woman of the hour. "She's a very determined woman, I've found. I understand now why my late cousin was so fond of her help." She clinks her glass against his, and then takes a sip of her own before adding, "You should be proud of those drawings, you know. They display a truly remarkable mind."

Merek had heard about artwork, and as such came to celebrate, his white and black attire on, with his white scarf as well, looking in thought to folk while he settles about to listen.

Count Philippe Blanchard, a builder of works, chose to attend the party so to network with other builders of works. The habits of living that he learned as a cavalryman have still not wholly left him. He is dressed well, though not extravagantly, in his blue and white dress uniform. Armor suits him better than finery, but Philippe makes the effort nevertheless. He has a glass of wine with him as he inspects the artistic rendering, mulling over the steps with slow, deliberate watching.

Beatrice can't help overhear of course when her name is spoken, though she's busy greeting guests. She looks over toward Tyche and gives a small smile, and then approaches. "Honestly, Sebastian. You are really a man of the hour here. Though you gifted me all those drawings. I just had the framing done."

She cups her wine glass, and considers the display. "I don't know now what we'll do with all of them afterward." She knows he's not precious about the rough drafts. "But it makes for a nice enough display and then into someone's vault."

Seeing Count Philippe is here, she also gives him a brief greeting. "Ah, Count Philippe, congratulations on your fine work of building as well. Let us know if you'll be having a reception of your own!"

The slim figure of Helena Redrain comes through the door of the parlor, so directed by a servant, and she looks a little bewildered as she always does on the southern side of Arx. There's so many mirrors. Things get confusing over here for the northern princess. It tends to add to that ethereal quality she has when she's thinking or writing, though -- until she spies people she knows, and a flashing bright smile shakes that little spell. "Lady Tyche, Lord Sebastian, Lady Beatrice," she says warmly, dipping a nod to Phillipe who she has not met properly, "Sir Merek," she adds, for he is a staple at the parties and events of Arx. "This is just lovely," she says, gesturing to the paintings. "Of course you've something to do with it," she adds to Sebastian. "I cannot wait to hear all about it."

Lethe looks around with curiosity and a friendly smile. She finds a quiet spot to observe.

"Do I?" Sebastian is quick to smile an effortless smile, sloughing away that scowl. While habit means he clinks his glass against Tyche's, he doesn't drink of his own. "The drawings are primitive, early versions. They should be destroyed," he says, with a just a hint of artist ire. "But," with a concession as he glances to Beatrice, "They are yours now to do with as you wish. I suggest a fire," the Pravus murmurs easily, his smile widening. "You say determined, Countess. I say the Lady Beatrice is stubborn, wilful -- and quite a tyrant on timelines." Still, the words are delivered with a lightness that suggests playfulness as he regards the Lady Malespero in turn. He half turns as Beatrice greets Philipe, nodding towards the man. "Lord Sebastian Pravus," he introduces himself. Helena's arrival earns a genuine smile from the Pravus. "Princess Helena. It's been some time. How are the Northlands?"

Philippe moves to approach Beatrice, giving her a courteous bow. "My lady," he says. "I will need to coordinate an opening reception for the castle with my fellows. Be assured that there will be a fete of note." It doesn't take someone with a deep intelligence file to know that the old count has likely put his wife in charge of this task, as his idea of a party is rolling two kegs next to a campfire.

Appolonia Seraceni lives across the way, and so she has few excuses for poor attendance. She is not even staggering as she comes in, though she does not bring a retinue, merely a rather revealing outfit that is accented by sparkles, jingles, and a merry stride. It is good to hear good things spoken of one's family, even if the pricse was rather significant.

She sweeps into a deep curtsey to Tyche. "THANK you," she says, with a white beam of a smile, and she then makes her circuit round to collect a slice of melon and a piece of cheese to wrap it in before she accosts anyone else. She has, thus, her mouth full when she catches sight of Sebastian, but her eyebrows raise in delight - and further yet, somehow, to see Philippe near him! It may please the lord Blanchard, of course, to see her eating cheese.

"Princess Helena," Tyche smiles brightly as the woman greets her. "It has been ages. The very last time we spoke, we could not help but blurt out the deepest truths of our hearts, remember? An experience I am loathe to relive," she laughs, and lifts her glass in salute to the woman. "Thank you for coming. Lord Sebastian was, indeed, the artist behind our tribute to the Thirteenth. He deserves all the praise in the world, and soon, too, for I hear he often sneaks out of these events early." She casts the artist a grin, and then with a little wave to Appolonia she suggests, "Do get your picture done over there. A little souvenir." To Philippe she turns next, buzzing about like a hostess should, "I don't believe we have met. I can't say we normally have such distinguished men gracing our garden. Normally just the wilder sort. You are welcome, of course."

And oh look! There's someone lingering about the edge of the crowd. To Lethe, Tyche smiles and waves. "Welcome!"

Amund's subdued presence does not turn heads, nor make great noise. He has a peace-tied sword with a golden cross-hilt at his side, and another at his back, also peace-tied, but just those. Not that two isn't a number too great, already. If the guards ask him to surrender them by the door, he accepts, and moves on to the hosts of the party.

With a bow towards Beatrice and Tyche both, the former sellsword straightens as he makes his way to the refreshments table. He pours himself a glass of whiskey, keeping to himself for the time being. People watching. He is not at all immune to it.

The fair Redrain tips her head to give Sebastian an amused smile. "Not half as busy as they have been for you, I don't think. Congratulations to your house for such a feat. As a northerner, I feel quite close to Skald, and on a more personal note, I'm quite firmly committed to the ending of all slavery, and so I do commend you and thank you." She turns to Tyche and reaches for the other woman's hand, laughing. "Yes, I neither, and I think I drank enough to forget most of it, so your secrets are safe with me, darling Countess. I cannot remember what I said, either, so I'll be happy for you not to remind me."

If she were being entirely honest, the fire was what Beatrice was thinking, too. The drawings have served their purpose. But now that she has permission...

(Slight flash forward to a future moment when she is making a big bonfire and rather enjoying watching things burn under the summer heat--)

Which is not right this second. Right this second she just seems, quietly, to agree. "Delightful," she then says to Count Philippe, though she is not sure what sort of party that might be. Obviously, there will be roses.

She approaches Appolonia next, and gives her a smile of greeting... as well as refilling her own wine glass. "Appolonia, so glad you could make it. How are you getting on?"

The Sword of Setarco is here, and from her style, one might think she's arrived fresh from reaching berth in the Arx dockyards. Then again, Viviana's style almost always leaves her looking ready for the high seas or a duel. And really, who can blame her, she makes it look good. Breezing through the parlour and little clusters of people present, the dark-haired Sin waggles her fingers in a wordless wave of greeting to Appolonia, before moving to greet the Countess herself first, "Tyche!" The one-eyed woman calls the Inverno woman's name loudly, and lifts her hands to clap them together a single time while grinning, "Congratulations on the popularity of your project. To think, Caina might actually start attracting visitors." Grinning, the duelist certainly seems to be in good spirits, and her attention strays away from the Countess to look around the parlour, nods offered to familiar and unfamiliar faces alike, before she focuses on Sebastian and Beatrice for a moment, "Tell me you two, that's two rather impressive wonders under both of your belts now, isn't it? It seems you two do good work together, mm?"

Lethe looks to Tyche with a smile. "Hello, this is quite the event. I had to come see it for myself."

Philippe sees Appolonia, but she'll get closer soon enough. He is a patient man. Nodding to Beatrice as she continues, Philippe focuses next on Tyche. "Countess," he says, with a bow. "I am Count Philippe Blanchard of Chevalle. We raise Cobs." The Oathlands Vanner, a notable breed of horses. "I wished to learn more of the great work as I have begun efforts to do greater building in the west."

Sebastian clucks his tongue briefly, the look towards Tyche mild reprove at laying all his social secrets bare. "Now that doesn't sound like me at all," he denies easily. Helena's words earn a pleased smile from the Pravus Voice. "Thank you, Princess. Your support is appreciated. In truth, it was a combined effort of many of Pravus and her vassals. A step in a long road, I'm afraid -- there will be many more dangerous conflicts to win, though I think the slavers will be wary of facing us so head on next time. Ah, speaking of," his hand shifts out to settle briefly on Viviana's arm as his cousin nears. "The Sword of Setarco herself." He smiles brightly at her, giving a low-throated laugh at her words. "The Lady Beatrice is one of the few people who can keep me on course, it seems," he admits, with a glance towards the woman in question.

"Viviana," Tyche cannot help but laugh, even at the thinly veiled insult in the compliment. "So glad to have you at these events, as always," she steps forward to place a hand on the woman's arm lightly, leaning in to share a small private word - perhaps a reproach for the Caina and tourists crack! As she pulls back, she continues, in light of Sebastian's remarks about the efforts of the Pravus, "You must be quite happy with Pravus' success that just reached the city. Did you take part in the endeavors to free the slaves?" To Helena she them shakes her head, "I remember nothing. We're both in luck, then!"

Beatrice looks over at Sebastian with a glance, a little flicker in her eye and a smile on her lips that is both fond and just a little thin at the same time. It happens just as he looks back at her. "A daring muse needs a strict manager. Or things will never really get done."

Now her look for Viviana is all fondness. "And how have you been? The world is abuzz today with all the news out of Pravus." She nods as Tyche also brings the topic up.

"Very well done," Helena says with a smile to Viviana, stepping out of the way for the woman to greet the others. "Lady Lethe, what a beautiful gown. I do so love gowns that emulate nature. I have a few myself, but none quite like that," she says warmly. "The colors are just divine."

"Ooo, a portrait," Appolonia says, having finished her morsel. She then beams at Beatrice as she gets a big glass full of white wine, telling her, "I am getting on RATHER well. Had some night terrors last night, but you know how it is, I've had those forever... I do feel a little prescient. I told you, didn't I, about the Eurusi primer I"m working on? If I didn't, I did just now." A beat passes and she takes a big pull of wine. "Anyway, it's going to be very useful if we have to learn Eurusi to tell them, 'Eat it, chain boys.'"

"I don't know if we'd actually call them that," Appolonia confesses.

She then wave-wave-waves to Viviana, probably with more oomph than Viv gave her, but that's life. Back to Beatrice, she says, "Have you met the Lord Blanchard? He's wonderful. Very fatherly. Ask him about his Cob."

Lethe looks down at her gown and then at Helena. "Thank you. I like your gown as well and your bracelet. It is very pretty."

Tyche notices Amund (how can one not?) and she offers a grin to him, "Last I saw of you, you were masked. I am glad this Great Work could bring back into my life so many I haven't seen in ages."

"I wasn't in the Chain," Sebastian answers Tyche easily, "But I was involved." He glances towards the artists gathered, preparing to take people's portraits. "I'm curious to watch them work. Is anyone going to volunteer to be first?" he inquires, with an amused twitch of lips.

"Oh," Thank you," says Helena with a smile, though it falters a little as she glances at the bracelet. "The bracelet is more of a luck charm than anything, but it was made by Joscelin Arterius, and the last thing I have from her, so it's quite special in that regard," she says softly, fiddling with it for a moment. She chuckles at Appollonia's comments. "I've felt like saying that a few times in recent months," she says wryly. "Though not necessarily in Eurusi."

"Only just now," Beatrice says to Appolonia, with a little glance toward Philippe. "And by reputation," she adds, "From the castle construction. But you know I prefer boats to horses."

"I'd be happy to have a sketch done of course but I am not a guest," Beatrice adds. "As long as it's well done I won't be throwing that on the fire."

"As were you. Quite a memorable occasion, I admit," Amund replies to Tyche, lifting his glass of whiskey to her. "Congratulations on your project, my Lady. It is always good to see the sum of our efforts paying off, and especially one that is lasting for many generations as yours."

Making his way closer to the Countess, to converse at a reasonable distance, he asks, "But now we have until the end of the year, more or less, to decide on new masks, new themes. What do you think will be yours?"

3 Tyde Houseguard have been dismissed.

2 Redwood Initiates have been dismissed.

Appolonia says to Beatrice, "Oh, I know. I sent him a couple of the horses from Ischia, but if you didn't know their faces you'd swear the two weren't the same kind of animal." Then she sees a call for volunteers and raises her wine glass in salute! "I shall bear the burden of the alphabet; where, dear cousin, do I sit?"

"If I were to tell you my mask, that would ruin the fun," Tyche shakes her head at the attempts to rig the game! "You will simply have to find out when everyone else does." A beat. "Besides, I haven't thought of one yet," she grins, and then returns her attention to Sebastian as he speaks of staying behind. "Just as valuable to be in on the planning from afar. I'm coming to learn more and more that to make things happen in this world, all sorts are needed. I, for one, and proud to share the blood of Pravus. Today, and all other days." Talk of the portraits has her watching the faces who might choose such. "I volunteer to watch," she offers up.

"Princess, looking lovely as ever," the Sword of Setarco offers to the Redrain woman with a wide grin as she passes by Helena. Have they ever met? Debatable. In passing, maybe? But the grin on Viviana's lips is almost enough to convince, either way. And then the one-eyed Sin is distracted with Tyche moving over, the Pravus swordswoman tilting her head to listen to whatever the Inverno Countess has to murmur for ear. A hearty laugh is the Sin's answer, followed by a nod as she speaks, "We do. Soon."

"I am good. Life is good. Slavers are dead by the score. By the hundreds. The future is full of endless opportunities for crowds of newly freed masses," the Sword answers Beatrice easily as she lingers near the Malespero woman and Sebastian for a moment. Vi's lonely eye flits between the pair before she wonders, "You haven't started working on your /next/ project together yet, have you?" While listening for an answer, the Sin's gaze roams the partygoers idly, a nod offered in Amund's direction as the duelist gives the former-Sword a once-over, before Appolonia draws her attention. "Lord Blanchard? Why, I'm sure we've met at least in passing. If not, I've certainly heard word of the Count of Blanchard." The dark-haired Pravus flashes an easy smile at the older man.

"I'm always wary of sitting for portraits -- not because the artists aren't talented, but because I worry I'll do something strange, like cross my eyes or make an odd face I don't realize I'm doing, and then for all of eternity people will think either I was an odd little duck or that the poor artist had trouble with getting faces right, and that would not be fair to them," says Helena with a laugh. "But I will sit for the fun of it, if you like," she says, looking for where to go and what to do.

Sebastian seems to overhear Appolonia. After a moment, he says something in quick Eurusi. "I can teach you, if you like. That phrase, at the very least, though I don't recommend saying it aloud unless you have the might of the Black Fleet at your back. They tend to get quite sensitive about such things," he notes with amusement. Viviana's wondering is met with a shake of his head. "Not yet. Perhaps my next venture will be in the Saffron Chain, though," he suggests, with a smile. With a glance to Helena, he says, "What artist could see a bad side in you, Princess Helena?"

Philippe proceeds along, working his way through the crowd. He is cordial, but his talents clearly lie in listening during these social events. There are no archers to coordinate nor riders to lead, after all. Hearing that Appolonia may be drawn (or painted? his hearing calls that into question), the old count moves that way. Conveniently enough, he's being spoken of by Viviana! Serendipity. "My lady," he says, giving her a bow. "My congratulations on your family's ongoing successful campaigns."

Lethe nods to Helena. "Joscelin Arterius made so many beautiful pieces." She looks around. "I think I will be going now, but I'm glad I was able to attend."

Beatrice responds to Viviana's question. If there was any joke or innuendo in it, she didn't hear it or else is simply pretending she didn't. She does seem to agree with Sebastian, however, "The trade in the Saffron Chain is going to become very important for those of us who are port-minded. Whether or not we end up working together, at the very least we won't be at odds."

Sebastian's words draw a merry laugh and a little blush from Helena, who shakes her head. "You're too kind. I'm sure I have at least one. But it harkens back to when I was a child, and I wasn't the best at sitting still when... well, ever, really. I was a flighty thing. Will-o-the-wisp, my father called me. I never learned to fight properly because of it, and a few other things. Music. Painting. So sitting still for a formal portrait was torture, truly, and the artist had to make due from memory because I had run off to climb a tree, and well, that painting doesn't resemble me at all and everyone laughs when they see it," she confesses. She turns to Lethe when the lady says her farewells. "Be well, Lady Lethe."

"Lady Viviana. Though I will soon have to address you as Your Highness, won't I?" Amund muses, bowing his head to the Sword of Setarco. "Good to see you, and well struck on Skal'daja. The City of Chains deserves all the setbacks it can get, in my opinion, not the least of it for their slavery. I look forward to hearing more of the Saffron Chain campaign."

3 Tyde Houseguard, 2 Redwood Initiates leave, following Lethe.

Sebastian gives a brief smile to Beatrice, as if perhaps agreeing with her sentiment: or at least not politely refuting it in public. "In truth," he tells Helena, "Portraits can be the most difficult of works. If you paint someone as they are -- it's not how they see themselves, and it can upset them. And if you paint the idealistic image of them -- it is not true to who they are. I so rarely do portraits. But sometimes... they can be interesting."

Merek looks to be listening while he settles back with a nice drink, looking to some of the conversation, though when it is brought up about beautiful pieces he does look thoughtful.

With all of the people mingling, talking art, the fight against slavery, trade routes, Tyche takes a small step back to watch the party thrive - and a moment to drink some of her wine, because while all of this talk is fine, it is not a Lyceum party without a little wine. She obtains a quick refill before moving back toward the pool, the pillars arranged so perfectly around to set up the smaller scale exhibit. She does overhear this talk of portraits, and she tilts her head back to interject, "Which is why I will never ask Lord Sebastian to paint me. I fear his vision," she mock-shudders, and then calls attention to the pool, "All of you should come to Caina soon to see it in person. You will be truly amazed."

Beatrice never considered it, but Sebastian is right. What's better, to get the person as they are or as they see themselves? "Maybe the trick is to capture the person's inner essence somehow. But I'm not the artist who knows about these things the way you do." She sips a bit from her glass. "But I know you'd capture me at my best," she teases.

"Thank you, Count. The gods have surely blessed us thus far. Suffice to say we certainly did not expect to encounter this Eurusi force, it remains to be seen what the battle at Pieros will do to slow our progress in the Saffron Chain. We'll need some time to recuperate, and to facilitate the settling of the freed slaves," Viviana answers the older man, looking pensive for a fleeting moment before her wide grin returns. Aside to Sebastian and Beatrice, the fencer muses, "One day, I shall have to think of a grandiose enough endeavor of my own to warrant engaging the pair of you."

Amund's remarks draw a hearty laugh from the Sword of Setarco and she flashes a crooked grin in the man's direction, "I am looking forward to it. I did always dream of getting to be a Princess." A pause, a laugh, and she adds, "And now I don't even have to marry a Prince to make it happen." Moving through the crowd, the fencer pauses near Appolonia to lean in and murmur something to her cousin, before she continues onwards and asks aside to Helena, "I hear parties are /much/ more enjoyable as a Princess, is it true?"

"Very true," Helena says to Sebastian. "I at least have the patience to sit still for a few moments, these, days, but I'm sure I don't see myself as most see me, for good or ill." Beatrice's words earn a nod from the princess. "I think a true artist, and not just an... archivist, maybe, for a better word, will always put something that is more essence than physical, objective truth in there, and it may not be something that the person is ready to face." She grins over at Tyche. "I cannot think anyone would see you as anything but lovely." Amund's words to her draw a laugh and she lifts her shoulders. "I have no idea, given that I've never attended one as not-a princess, so you'd have to ask someone who has stood on both sides of that fence, I think, to know for certain."

Appolonia drifts towards the seat of honor - which has good lighting, of course. She says to Sebastian in passing, "Your pronounciation is excellent - you know, if you're studying the language still, you would actually be able to help the project quite a bit, once our draft is complete..." She then lingers to listen to Viviana, and her eyes widen in what appears to be fascination and delight at it. "ABSOLUTELY," she says to her, a little too close and a little too loud, but then.

She sits!

And holds her wine glass steady, delicately grasping the stem. She blinks several times, shifts herself, and lets her eyes turn towards Tyche. "Tell us of it, darling," she calls to her. "Take my mind off the itch my nose will no doubt feel within moments."

Philippe nods to Viviana. It is a serious matter, but Philippe is naturally serious. He sips his wine and watches Appolonia as she sits for the portrait. "The nose does not itch, only the mind," he says, in an effort to help. "Channel the will. With practice any discomfort may be overcome."

"Viviana, it shouldn't be too hard. Bring wine and a chance to show off a little and you know I'll be there," Beatrice says warmly.

"It... IS lucky, isn't it?" Not that it was luck, but work and cleverness that got this far, but Beatrice does agree that it's nice that Viviana will be elevated. "Remember the little people when your title changes. You can attend your Princess party and report back to us on what changes."

"A wise choice," Sebastian tells Tyche readily. "Some have asked before and," with a little laugh, "Regretted it. As might you, Lady Beatrice." His gaze naturally follows Appolonia as she passes by him, with an upward twitch of his lips. "My grasp is fairly complete, and in truth, at present I wouldn't have the time to devote to such efforts, I'm afraid, Lady Appolonia. But I'll gladly assist you with any points of contention or correctness. You may know my sister and brother were both half-Eurusi. Though -- if you want a native speaker to review, I could recommend someone?" Viviana's words, in truth, earn a brilliant, effortless smile from her cousin. "And I look forward to seeing what you might come up with, Vivi."

"Viviana, for the first time in my life I might be mildly jealous of you," Tyche shakes her head at the woman and all this talk of royalty. "But I can assure you, parties as a Countess are just as fun." Or that's what she tells herself when she goes to bed at night. To Appolonia, the subject of the portrait, she explains, "It is a beautiful reflecting pool, with strategically placed mirrors meant to reflect the Blood Moon and honor the Thirteenth. The people of Caina were quite pleased." As to Sebastian's quick assurance that she wouldn't want him to paint her, she smirks. "You should have denied it for a moment, at least, as Princess Helena did. But the damage is done already. My poor heart is wounded beyond repair," she moves a hand to heart, as if to hold it together.

"Well, dreams do come true sometimes," Amund remarks over to Viviana with a slight twist to his lips -- in what could be a smile -- and nods as she wanders away to move through the crowd. Draining his whiskey, he sets it down on a table and then declares, "I should be on my way, but I thank you all for the festivities. Congratulations again, Countess, my Lady," and, to Tyche, "may our paths cross again soon, whether at a masquerade or somewhere less... dynamic. Gods willing." With a nod of his head, he makes his way out.

Beatrice looks at Sebastian again, and thinks... maybe she would regret it. But then again maybe not. Hm. "I should pick up another language," she muses. "Would be very useful for trade abroad. There's a lot to learn though. Earlier, we studied the waltz."

She raises a glass to Amund as he's on his way about, acknowledging his good-byes.

"I do speak a little as well, though I think you will find half our fellow Scholars do. We tend to collect languages as, well, many of us ladies collect Dame Ida's hairpins," Helena says with a grin to Appolonia. "I think I actually will forego the painting today, for I can already feel my nose itch and my feet getting restless just thinking about it, and there is a tree near by just begging to be climbed," she says lightly. "Congratulations on such a beautiful addition of art in our world, and again, on your successes of late. Enjoy the rest of your evening."

"Thank you, Amund," Tyche smiles to the departing man. And then to Helena, "Princess! Until we meet again."

2 Redrain Guards, Lucien, a bright-eyed pine marten leave, following Helena.

Appolonia lets out a small laugh, which seems to make the portraitur look smug on some level, and answers Sebastian, "Oh, of course! We're still compiling the old sources, it's harder than it looks -- we cannot just copy out the old books or we'll keep all their flaws, but often their vocabularies and so forth are excellent." Her lips purse then, and her eyes return to Philippe at his advice. It makes her look fractionally more somber, graver. Maybe something about it surprised her.

She doesn't scratch her face, though.

"I'll teach you if you'd like," she proffers to Beatrice. The artist, meanwhile, seems to be doing a quick study -- after all, sitting for eight hours is hardly party behavior. The outline of Appolonia's face, caught halfway in the midst of a laugh, is already clear.

With a sidelong glance to Tyche, Sebastian gives a low laugh by way of response. "Somehow I doubt that, Countess. You are far too confidant in yourself for one such as me to tremor your thoughts of yourself," he remarks easily. To Beatrice, he says, "I know an excellent teacher, if you want to learn other languages. Ah, fare well, Princess Helena. I hope to see you at a poetry reading sometime soon," he calls to her.

"Oh, excellent. Then I'll be spoiled for options. What do you think is the MOST useful language for matters of trade?" Beatrice asks. She's asking Sebastian of course since he offered, but Appolonia is within earshot.

She peers over at the artwork in progress, considering it to be a good likeness. "All right, I could be convinced to go next. It IS our party."

Tyche cannot deny what Sebastian accuses her of - as it is quite true. Her hand falls from her chest, and she turns to her stroll about the pool. For the remainder of the evening, the Countess socializes with the partiers until the party winds down. She's there to the last. Totally.

1 Inverno Ensign, 1 Inverno Captain, Cornelius, a studious looking attendant leave, following Tyche.

"For the first time?" Viviana retorts to the Inverno Countess with a playful scoff before she flashes a grin at the redhead. "You'll have to remind me to visit during the next Blood Moon," the Sword adds towards the Countess after listening to the exchange with Appolonia. As she listens to the others, the Sword busies herself with finding a glass of wine, nursing the alcohol while listening, "Is learning foreign languages the new craze these days? I should probably start keeping a proper translator around, as our encounters with these foreigners seems to becoming increasingly steady." The one-eyed duelist looks between Appolonia and Sebastian before she wonders, "Do either of you speak Cardian, as well?"

"For trade -- with the Saffron Chain -- my experience there is they seemed to default to Eurusi. They were quite pleased when they learnt I spoke the language," Sebastian answers Beatrice. "So I would suggest starting with that." There's the uplift of his glass towards the Countess in a silent toast, though his gaze doesn't linger on the Countess as she moves away to underdtaking hosting duties. "I don't," he answers Viviana. "I've never met anyone who does, either."

"Do you?" Appolonia asks Viviana. When there is a sign from the artist, she rises up and walks round to look at the likeness - it is, most certainly, a speed painting, but the likeness has if anything improved. Appolonia takes three sips of her wine to make up for lost time, and says, diffidently, "I don't know if I like it. Why did you use that color --?"

She seems satisfied enough by the answer to move along. "Ahem. Yes," she says. "Yes, Eurusi would be widely spoken there... another point in our favor... You know, I should speak to our new vassals, perhaps, and see how the language has grown among them. It would be very good to know how *they* speak it, not so? Not just how aspiring tyrants do."

Philippe looks thoughtful at the discussion of Cardia, but reviews Appolonia's image with her. He nods at it and finishes his glass of wine. "How they speak it?" he asks of Appolonia. "There would be... differences?"

Beatrice shakes her head at the question of speaking Cardian. "It might not be another bad one to learn, but I'm not even sure I could say yet what it sounds like."

At the comment of an apsiring tyrant she gives a little laugh, it's such a direct thing to say.

Then she moves over to a portrait station to also try her luck with being drawn, as there's no harm. She takes a moment to finish her wine glass first at that, and hands it off to a passing server.

"If you do, Lady Appolonia, I suggest you tread carefully. Even with their intergration into Setarco, the subject will be quite a sore point for some time," Sebastian says, as he steps over to look over her shoulder at the artist's work. He's polite enough not to comment, only making a faint noise. He nods to Philipe. "Language drift, I imagine. The Scholars would probably enjoy looking into it further."

"Oh of course," Appolonia tells Philippe. "You do not notice it so much between we tutored folk, of course, but if you had some of your sworn men with you and they were to talk with our lads from Ischia, I imagine they'd struggle past the basics. It isn't that they speak a different language, it's that they speak it differently. Indeed, see," and she wiggles her hands, "you see how I'm moving my hands? This is a Lyceum sort of thing. I'm told in the Mourning Isles they have ten thousand different sorts of frown."

"Well taken," she murmurs to Sebastian, even as she looks over towards where Beatrice is being made into a portraitice.

Philippe furrows his brow at both Sebastian and Appolonia. Perhaps he'd never considered this possibility. "Hm," he says, watching Appolonia gesture. He starts to get it.

"Gods, no. I can barely stand books, I don't have the patience to worry about trying to learn another language," Viviana answers Appolonia with a laugh and a shake of her head. The Sword watches some of the painting being done, listening to the conversation around her before grinning aside to Sebastian, "We certainly seem to have no shortage of bookworms about, these days. I will never understand how you all do it. There is so much to do. So much fun to be had." The duelist feigns a look of disappointment and then as conversation strays deeper and deeper into the realm of linguistics, Viviana busies herself with draining her glass of wine. "I am afraid I have some business I need to go tend to," the Sword declares after setting her empty glass aside. --No she doesn't, and she doesn't even really make much effort to hide it, given the lopsided grin on her thick lips. She's just reached the point of deciding there is far more fun to be had elsewhere, with less intellectual company.

Happiness, a bluebird arrives, delivering a message to Sebastian before departing.

Beatrice is... a BIT of a bookworm, though her head is more for math than language. Still, something about the title of 'bookworm' makes her brow knit a bit... but she straightens it again with a force of will so as not to upset the line of the art being done. "Fare you well Viviana and best of luck!"

"I hear the Blanchard breed war horses. Is that true, Count?" Sebastian inquires of Philippe, while he half-watches Appolonia's artist at work.

Philippe will talk about horses all day. "Yes," he says. "The Cob. They are fine warhorses, strong and capable, even-tempered. The treasure of the western shore."

Appolonia frowns in thought at Viviana's question, but her departure renders it rhetorical. She tilts her head, eager to hear, perhaps, of the legend of the Cob - known only by name, not reputation.

The artist gets perhaps even even better likeness than might have been the case, given that moment of tension. A very true to life face develops, along with ample decolletage and a sensuous use of the red pigment to accent lips and, inevitably, the relevant curves.

Happiness, a bluebird arrives, following Esme.

"Interesting. I'd like to discuss them further, perhaps see some of the breeds," Sebastian tells Philippe. "If any are hardy enough to withstand the heat of the Saffron Chain, they could prove very useful to our expansion efforts, with so little of the Chain being fully explored. Of course," there's a slight smile that might be a joke -- teetering on the edge of it not being so, "If we can figure out a way for the local wildlife not to eat them." The group is gathered near the artists doing portraits, with Appolonia the current subject.

Esme speaks softly with one of the household staff to figure out where exactly the person she's looking for is found. There is that trademark Toran saunter that Esme can't seem to get rid of, even though tried. A bluebird flits from her shoulder to find purchase somewhere high to observe the area as Esme's emerald green eyes slide over the ares. She smiles vibrantly towards anyone that may notice. Tonight, she's traded her pristine whites for the shadows of umbra across her form and her hair is allowed to flow downward in the heat.

Beatrice is waiting for a portrait but already a bit restless. It is perhaps because she wants to make sure everyone else is having a good time as well at the event, even though a few of the VIPs have already said their peace. She looks over as Esme, a late arrival, steps in, but then she sits staighter so that her hair is at a flattering angle.

Philippe almost chuckles. He snorts softly as he collects another glass of wine from a passing runner. "If there are horse-eating beasts, your problem is not them eating horses, but men. Regardless, we should consider doing business. The war effort in the Saffron Chain is vital for the safety of the realm."

Appolonia is overheard praising Beatrice: I'm not sure I like this commission, but the price can't be beat. What a wonderful party favor!

"That," Sebastian answers Philippe kind of ruefully, "Is the other half of the problem. Of course, we can bully through but -- that is non-ideal. In time, we may come to tame the savage land, or at least get it to a point where we can co-exist." There's a pause in the conversation, and Sebastian's gaze shifts. Of course, it helps that he was expecting her, though it makes it seem like it's fortuitous all the same. "Lady Esme," he calls, as he catches sight of her, the lift of his hand entreating her to join them. "Do join us. Do you know the Lady Appolonia Seraceni, the Lady Beatrice Malespero, and the Count Philippe Blanchard?" he nods to each in turn.

Beatrice tilts her head over to nod at the other woman, in greeting. "Not yet! But it's good to meet you." She offers a hand in greeting.

Philippe bows politely to Esme. "My lady," he says.

Esme allows her eyes to play upon each of the people, though her attention is stolen by Sebastian when he speaks her name. That smile of hers just radiates more, but it doesn't seem just for the person. It's one of those smiles that form from someone truly happy at the core of their identity. The woman moves in the artist's direction, "I cannot say that I do." She smiles towards Beatrice. "It is good to meet you and might I say that you have such beautiful hair. I am always envious of the darker locks that come with the Cities. Sadly, the Gods did not bless me with them." Her hand lifting to indicate the auburn burn of her own hair. This draws her attention towards Philippe as a frown mars her features for all of a moment. "Horse eating monsters? That is the most horrid thing I have heard. I almost think that I love horses more than people. Though, I am still trying to find one since arriving in the city." She turns to Appolonia and takes her in. "And your eyes they are..." The words seems to be lost for a moment, but it's not out of a faux pas but searching for the right element she wants. ".. transforming. There is something that gives a feeling of complete openness and complete concealing all in just the color of them." Her voice drops to Sebastian as she meets him but then her eyes search for wine.

The artist finishes the quick portrait of Beatrice, presenting it to her for approval or, perhaps, condemnation. (There's probably a knife to stab any such canvas.) Much like Appolonia's: Excellent for a ten minute piece: in need of refinement, should one want to hang it properly.

Appolonia's face colors slightly at Esme's praise. "Oh, you're too kind, my lady! Far too kind indeed; I am so glad, though, to meet you." She lowers her lashes, and she also, perhaps most blessedly, sidles a bit to the side to reveal where the wine is being kept when not circulated. "Sit for a portrait, if you like. They're simple things but it's quite memorable."

The effortless smile is matched by Sebastian as he leans to kiss Esme's cheek in greeting. "Only if you dare venture into the Saffron Chains, my lady," he enlightens Esme. "So much of it is untamed jungle, by our standards. Traveling tends to be by boat on the inner rivers, or by foot. A hardy set of horses though -- those would be invaluable. If one learns to overcome the things that wish to eat them," his lips twitch. "Ah -- if you are looking for a horse, then you are in luck, Lady Esme. The Count here breeds a fine horse well known across the Compact." He gestures towards Philippe as if to encourage the Count into talking more about horses. As if the man needs some such encouragement.

Philippe appreciates anyone who correctly values horses above people. "Blanchard has many fine riding horses this season," he says, but takes a moment to look at Beatrice's picture. Back to Esme. "Their temperments are mild and they are clever enough not to be disturbed by city noise. White, tan, or black, if more rarely."

"Why thank you!" Beatrice says, as she's definitely one to fall for a bit of flattery.

She's grateful when the drawing is done, as she can get more wine thereafter. "Thank you, I do appreciate it," she says with a small and gracious nod. "I don't think it's one for the firepits," she says with a little joking smile.

Esme moves to find a wine glass within her grasp as she smiles towards Appolonia. "If I were to sit for a portrait, I would want the worst one drawn. I would like to see one that evokes an emotion, even if it's anger." She leans in and offers a mock whisper. "I cannot remember if I crossed him recently. He may draw me as a horrid beast that eats horses and then hang it for all to see in a gallery. It would be /horrid/." Chances are, it would not be horrid to her. "What did you think of your portrait?"

"Oh, I actually am actually the knight of a calvary. While I do enjoy a blissful ride, I find that I desire a horse of war stock. I want one light enough to be fast and strong enough to lead a charge." Esme offers towards Philippe. "Although, if you are inviting me to your stables to see them at some point, I am not turning it down. Perhaps we might go for a ride as well? Everyone promises me, but little follow-thru." Her eyes fall towards Beatrice with a smile as she tries to see her artwork. "What about you? Does your portrait evoke anything from you?" She will move a bit closer toward Sebastian to offer. "Are you inviting me to your jungle? I am more than happy to do so."

Philippe is a simple man. "If you visit the stables, we will discuss horses, and the fast steed you wish will appear. It will know you are right, and it will serve well."

Esme is overheard praising Beatrice.

There's a lift of Sebastian's brows as he considers the implications of letting Esme roam free on the Saffron Chain. "The port city of Pieros is a lot more stable, these days, but still not unsafe. The wall was destroyed when the Eurusi slavers counter-attacked. We will rebuild, soon enough, though I wouldn't recommend it to those who don't understand the danger. I would hate," and he smiles easily, "To cause contention with your Duchy for seeing you come to harm, my lady." While Philippe and Esme exchange horse-pleasantries, he regards Beatrice's portrait, murmuring quietly to her. "You can trade it for a better one when you find it, my lady," he tells her. "Just don't let the artist know."

Merek is overheard praising Beatrice.

Merek is overheard praising Esme.

"Is it near one of the old tombs? You could break that down for stone, save time, if you get word out," Appolonia proffers to Sebastian. "It's probably not too cursed - at least, I didn't read of anything untoward. I gather such old buildings were being used by the slavers?"

Beatrice looks over and smiles at Sebastian's comment. This is a bit warmer, especially since he was throwing just a bit of sarcasm which she's rather fond of. "What I think..." she says about the portrait," and then she holds it down by her side for a moment, then out, squinting at it, "Is that it doesn't quite capture my spirit but for a quick one it will do. But if someone draws me as a beast I want it to be a beautiful and terrible one at the same time."

She puts her hand on her hip. "Because that suits me."

Esme smiles towards Phillipe. She's pretty sure Merek is out in the shadows, he's always out there. Watching. "Wonderful! It shall be a date then. Let me know when you are free and I will come and spend time with them. I find that, much like people, horses and their meant owners have a bond. It's something to a nature of mystics, but something even deeper than that." She moves to bonelessly recline like a feline into a seat near Sebastian. "There are graves? This is just becoming more and more compelling. I am sure that Calista trusts me to fight my own battles. I do know how to wield a sword you know. I know the pen might be mightier, but my sword protects my horse." She teases with a wink and looks towards Beatrice. "I would paint you, if I could paint, as a horribly lovely beast. It would have dark scales to become whatever it wanted and ruby red talons that are always just the right color."

With a slight shake of head, Sebastian answers Appolonia, "We have only begun to explore what the Chain holds. Many secrets, I suspect, and things that should be dealt with carefully until they are better understood. That includes whatever burial rites may have been undertaken. Even things in tombs cannot be trusted to be wholly safe," the Pravus Voice murmurs. Beatrice's answer earns a generous laugh. "Beautiful and terrible: like one of the Nox'alfar?"

"Yes. Exactly," Beatrice says, looking at Esme with a little shine in her eyes. She tilts a look at Sebastian. "There would be worse things. Not all beasts are unattractive ones."

She walks past Sebastian again and touches his shoulder this time as she heads over to refill her drink once more. "I may be calling it all a night though myself, or at least see to make sure this is stowed properly." The picture.

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