May 2, 2020, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Grayson - Ashford House - Orangery
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Sandor, the Tree Scout Captain, Nibbles, the Ashford Tree Squirrel arrive, following Rhiannon.
Conall, a huge, friendly, sable Wolfhound dog with bright platinum eyes, Ylva, an impressively-large, silvery Wolfhound with bright gold eyes, 3 Armed Confessors, Atanas Pandev, a wry, stalwart escort, Colm Teague, the stolid adjunct of ice-blue eyes, Ash, a fearless grey fuzzball of cuteness with butter-yellow eyes arrive, following Sunaia.
The greenhouse that is the Ashford Orangery is warm and green, a bright spot of color in the cold winter around Arx. Streamers and other decorations festoon the trees while tables have been set up with carefully designed foods to celebrate the Sanna/Ashford alliance. Booze abounds with the food, allowing for toasts to celebrate the happy couple. Heavy winter clothing is too much for the warmth of the Orangery, though most people surely planned ahead for that. As for the bridal pair, this might be the one occasion where Rhiannon isn't quietly escaping into a nearby tree to hide.
Outside of a battlefield, Kutazer has never really been much of a socializer, but in this instance, he knows the importance of not scampering away. And, of course, he wasn't about to let Rhiannon escape either. With the ceremony having been conducted earlier in a much more private affair, things have now been opened up for the pair to share their union with those who wish to drop by. As such, Kutazer and Rhiannon can be found over by the one of the booze stands, the former picking up a drink for himself and for his new bride.
Lisebet is still 99$$ pregnant, which is to say, very! She has a nice gentle seat and isn't leaving it very much, Harlan hovering over her, given her current state. The usually petite duchess is probably as round as she is tall, or near enough. She has a smile on her face as she watches the happy couple, and the comings and goings.
After riding up on a grey horse (with black points) to the Ashford orangery, Scout Rowenova hops down and strides forth, figuring out a chosen seatuation somewhere near Lisebet. Sir Floppington the soulful hound sits down nearby, too.
Lawrence Wanders his old rusty self in to the Orangery, "I heard people were happy! Doing happy things! I needed to witness this for my self!" The old knight moves suuuuuuper slowly, as he smiles around to everyone he can.
Everyone in Sunaia's pack is all cleaned up and pretty: 'The Lads' (the four Confessors) are dressed in clean leathers and even have their masks worn down; Colm is polished-and-pretty in a blue silk suit with fog-grey boots; the pair of huge Wolfhounds each have wide, green bows tied around their necks (though little Ash does not, having the tendency to play with it instead of wearing his); and Sunaia? Is. In. A. DRESS. Of purple silk. And white boots that don't exactly match, but she's trying, isn't she? Her hair is even braided neatly, draped down between her bare, alabaster shoulder blades. She smiles - faintly, trying to focus on being well as Colm escorts her like a gentleman into the Orangery. The Lads offer their congratulations to the happy couple and wander off for booze and food, grateful for a relatively-simple evening, while Sunaia, Colm and her pack of animals stride up to greet her cousin. "It was beautiful, I'm so happy for you both," Sunaia smiles - and that tension in the corners of her eyes? Well, Colm leans over toward her and murmurs something about this probably being the right kind of occasion for a little whiskey.
Relic arrives, following Harlan.
Lisebet looks over to Rowenova, and she smiles, shaking her head a bit. "Mistress Rowenova, how good to see you." She doesn't comment on the horse in through the atrium, though no doubt Cedric is somewhere looking quite put upon.
Rhiannon takes the drink that Kutazer gives her and she smiles at him before going to walk over and stand near Lisebet and Harlan. Surely Sunaia is nearby, too. Rowenova and Lawrence both get a little tip of her lips that is an expressive Rhiannon smile. She gives them a nod. "Hello! Good to see you all."
Rowenova smiles brightly, "Good to see you, too, Duchess Ashford. Long time. Though, always good to." She soon regards Rhiannon with that same smile, too. "Good to see you, too!" Then, she quiets down and reaches over her free hand which pets down Sir Floppington's back as her occupied one keeps close a mountain puppy on her lap.
Passing the drink off to Rhiannon, Kutazer is then lifting his own to his lips, taking a small sip of it before lowering it back down. As people begin to arrive, there's a smile given to each, along with a nod of his head and a quick, "Thank you all for coming." Then, there's a little nudge of his elbow against Rhiannon, followed by a quick, "Lets at least move away from the booze table, shall we? Can't start things off by having people think I drive you to drink. At least not yet."
1 Farshaw novice guards arrives, following Ciaran.
Harlan smiles towards Rhiannon, sayign, "Congratulations, Rhia. It's good that we finally got this taken care of." He nods towards Kutazer, "And welcome to Ashford, Lord Kutazer." He chuckles.
"Hello, Scout Rowenova," Sunaia says, lifting a small-and-quick smile to her - but Colm is abandoning the whitest Ashford. "No, but..." Sunaia tries to protest. Colm just shrugs and walks away, having two glasses of whiskey poured while Sunaia fixes her gaze on the back of her adjunct's head. She presses her lips in a line and exhales shortly through her flared, marble-white nostrils and flicks her eyes to Lawrence. "Hello. I'm Sunaia, Rhia's cousin." She lifts that meagre smile that is so much like Rhiannon's and turns back to the family. "Congratulations, Kutazer, and welcome to the family."
Colm returns with the whiskies and Sunaia just looks at him. "..." She sighs again and takes it, taking the smallest-tiny-little sip there ever was. "Drink," Colm's baritone voice rumbles. "A little bit."
There is but the smallest mutter from Sunaia's voice as she takes a //little// more and presses her lips together in a light smile to Harlan and Lisebet. "Lissy, Harlan. Hi - but, how are you feeling, Lissy?" she softens, seriously asking.
Lawrence bows to Sunaia, then everyone else. "Greetings. I heard people were happy here, so I needed to see it. Nothing but doom and gloom since I wandered my old ass home! Good to see people can still enjoy them selves! Lawrence Crovane. Old rusty suit of armor! At your service!" He grins, being overly polite with all the bows.
Ciaran arrives, perhaps a bit late, but then he's not a very fast walker: he's announced by the clacking of his cane, and its use slows him down. He spends a while taking in the gardens, their riotous color quite a contrast to the frigid cold that consumes so much of the area. "Thank you for your invitation," he greets Sunaia pleasantly, before raising a hand with familiarity towards Lisebet: they're siblings, after all. "You're looking well," he greets her, straightforward.
With a grin, Rowenova pets Sir Floppington as she gives a greeting to Harlan, congratulations to Kutazi, then a greeting to Sunaia as well as Colm, too, before doling out similar things to Lawrence and Ciaran. After all that, the wolfy scout mostly watches for the time being, simply happy to be here.
Lisebet smiles at Harlan's comment, and she raises her juice filled goblet up. "To Rhiannon and Kutazer - may they be happy and fruitful."
Rowenova shouts from nearby, "Here here!"
And then to Sunaia, Lisebet adds, "I am well, thank you. Though that pool looks really inviting."
Rhiannon takes a sip of her drink, having already wandered over to Lisebet, not wanting to leave the Duchess planted and without companionship. She offers Lisebet cake and juice, that kind of thing, not minding at all looking after her cousin. She nods at Rowenova and lifts her drink in salute to the scout. "Thank you, Scout Rowenova, for your help in procuring a dress, as well," The gold dress sets off the golden areole of Rhiannon's hair. She's only distracted by the family toast and then she lifts her glass to join in and takes a sip. "Thank you. I was kind of sure that it would never happen as well."
"Oh good, you're here," Sunaia replies to Ciaran, lifting a brief smile to him - but there is true relief in her voice as he joins them; and the pale Ashford hugs him, then flicks a look at Colm and moves to put her tall glass of whiskey to Ciaran, "Oh, you need a drink so you can toast the happy couple. To Rhiannon and Kutazer!"
Turning his attention to Harlan, Kutazer is offering a respectful incline of his head towards him, "Thank you, my lord. It's good to be here." Then, his attention is turning towards Sunaia and he's offering her a smile, along with a nod of his head, "Thank you, as well." Lawrence's entrance draws his attention and there's a soft laugh in the back of his throat, "Well met, Lawrence. Kutazer San... Ashford, now, I suppose .." A look to Rhiannon, "I wonder how many time's I will make that mistake." When Lisabet comes to lift her glass in toast to the pair, there's a glance about and he lifts his own glass, offering a smile and a quick, "Thank you, all."
"Ciaran, come give me a hug," Lisebet demands. She looks over at Kutazer and smiles. "Often, I am sure. It took me quite a while."
Ciaran hugs Lisebet as demanded--he even looks like he might have hugged a person once or twice before in his life. "Always good to see you," he tells her fondly, before Sunaia's statement sees a drink being thrust into his empty hand. He takes it, lifts it high, and regards Rhiannon and Kutazer. "I do not believe we have previously had the pleasure of being introduced, but my most heartfelt congratulations and well-wishes to you both. May your union be a happy one."
Rowenova smiles softly, "Most welcome, Lady Rhiannon. You look lovely in it."
Lawrence does his best to not just cackle at Kutazer, "I am guessing it takes a while to get used to. I wouldn't know, but I am not entirely without imagination!" He smiles and looks between the wedded pair, "I wanted to see happiness. seems I have. I will crash your wedding no less! I promise." A grin as he bows like a million times.
Rhiannon lifts her glass again to the well-wishers. "Thank you all for coming and sharing this time with us. It's strange, but I'm sure that we'll adapt. Kutazer has gotten used to the tree thing, so I imagine that anything is possible." She looks over at her new husband and while the quirk of her lips couldn't be called an outright smile, it does soften more than a little.
Lisebet looks quite pleased with that sibling hug. She takes the plate of goodies from Rhiannon, with a smile, quietly listening for a bit. "Welcome to everyone here at Ashford House in our Orangery. Please do help yourself to drinks and something to eat. You are all most welcome to join us in this celebration."
"Trees!" That's offered as a teasing retort to Rhiannon before Kutazer is looking to Ciaran, "No, I don't believe we have had the pleasure of meeting. But thank you for coming." Then, it's back to Lawrence and there's another laugh, "Well, please feel free to enjoy yourself. Have a drink and enjoy some food."
Colm is nearly as stubborn as Sunaia (is that even possible?) and simply returns with a cup of tea for her, instead - doctored-up, probably (definitely). "Fer you, m'lady, since ya don't want ta drink it. ...Straight." Colm smiles wryly, one side of his mouth lifted in a rather frightening display for a 'smile'.
Sunaia eyes the adjunct and then the teacup. "...Fine," she replies flatly, accepting the teacup and lifting it to drink. "Oh, you're staying with Rhia in the treehouse, aren't you?" Sunaia asks Kutazer, unthinkingly lifting her teacup to her lips and sipping reflexively. She pauses. Blinks. Looks at the teacup, then at Colm. "How much whiskey did you put in this, Colm?"
The man just shrugs and finishes his own whiskey, a smirk planted on his face as he struts away.
Sunaia flicks her eyes back to the family, but she's mainly silent, lingering beside Ciaran, until she perks at a thought. "...Oh, but... you have a caravel you're having built, right, Ciaran?"
Lawrence grins his biggest grin, "Oh no no no. I have done enough damage. I am out. You all have all the fun you can... in fact...." He waves over a servant, and whispers a few times, "Ten cases of northern Whiskey. On the way!" He bows. "Congrats to the Ashford family!"
Rowenova gets a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside from Messenger Bag.
After getting up, Rowenova meanders over to the gift table and sets down a brandy bottle with one hand as her other hand continually manages le pup.
Rowenova drops a booze bottle with apricot brandy inside.
Ciaran nods towards Sunaia as he cautiously drinks. "Yes, that's right," he says to Sunaia. "It's due to be put to water from the Darkwater shipyards out east. Given the strange prevailing circumstances in the local harbor, it's lucky it's not being built locally...though I'm not sure any of the shipyards around here are capable of creating such large vessels." He rubs at the back of his neck. "I believe I was telling you about it the other day. Why do you ask?"
Rhiannon lifts up her drink with more toasts and she sips at it, trying not to get too drunk too fast. She leans against Kutazer's side. They are a play in contrasts. Kutazer is a giant of a man with dark skin while Rhiannon is lithe and average height with the palest of skin and golden hair. Those contrasts likely make them stand out, though she doesn't seem to notice. "That is the cutest pup, Scout Rowenova. As well as your hound. It is very well trained."
Graham enters into the room glancing around before stepping off to the side not to be in the way. He's dressed up for the occasion or as much as he ever does anyways. He finds he at least knows a few people which is heartening to him as he continues in towards the grouping.
"You know..." Sunaia replies to Ciaran, trying to play it off casually and generally fails, "I was thinking we could plan a trip. Somewhere. ...." She looks up to his eyes and smiles. "Maybe that place I told you about."
She looks to Harlan and Lisebet, then to Rhiannon and Kutazer, "So, there's this place... called The Isle of Echoes... that's halfway to Eurus... going the //other// way."
Turning back to the newlywed couple, Rowenova smiles brightly. "Thank you. Squire Clovis was a bit unexpected. I won him from second place in the armwrestling competition at the Taste of Redrain. Sir Floppington here." Rowenova motions down to the older hound who always seems to keep her within eye sight. "He used to come and get food when I would feed strays, and then, one day, he jumped out of nowhere to scare away some masked hobos with knives when I was in the Lower Boroughs. I was not a trained fighter back then, but since I have learned a few tricks, we get fussy with one another about who should be saving who. Thank you kindly for complimenting these good boys."
Looking back over towards Sunaia, Kutazer is giving a nod of his head towards her, "I have been, yes. It's certainly quite a bit different then what I was used to, that's for certain." A hand lifts to give a wave to Lawrence as he takes his leave and when Graham makes his entry, the former Northern Lord offers him a wave as well. Then, as Sunaia makes reference to Eurus, he's looking back to her, listening, head canting a touch to the side.
Rhiannon looks back at Sunny. "Is that the place that.." she narrows her eyes at her cousin and then looks back at Rowenova. "They are very good boys. You can tell that you work with them a great deal." At that, her squirrel hops down off a tree and lands on Kutazer's shoulder, chittering for a nut.
"Well, Lou's going to another island that's close-by; it's called Brightshore, apparently because the people there wear very bright colors and the foliage there is brightly-colored, also," Sunaia replies to Rhiannon, then pauses as she notices Graham. "Oh, hello, Count Graham. Have a drink and some food; we can tell them about the snakes on your land, too." She flits her attention back to where her family is gathered and continues, "So, to be able to enter the port at Brightshore, the people give you some test for 'taint' - though we don't know what kind of taint they're looking for. ...Or, at least, records from 200 years ago said that's what they did. And the Isle of Echoes... it's." She looks up to Ciaran, then to Colm and back with a mildly-apprehensive expression. "...Different."
"I understand that is a very long trip," Lisebet says softly. "But I'd certainly be willing to assist those who want to travel there." She smiles, thoughtfully. 'I'm not at all sure how long, but I am sure that it will take some months." She sips her juice, glancing at the puppies, and then idly rubs at her tummy before she sets the glass down.
Ciaran glances away from Sunaia over towards Lisebet, as if for some kind of moral support. "Well," he drawls pleasantly, "I don't have any interest in sea voyages, do I? You know me, always...yearning to be stuck on dry land..." He pauses to drink before looking back at Sunaia, expression faltering somewhat. "As for that place, you know what my condition is already." He doesn't look entirely enthused about the idea. The mention of 'The Isle of Echoes' has him visibly frowning. "This Brightshore sounds like a much more promising destination. One that doesn't involve resisting the pernicious influence of strange spiritual forces."
The young man having reached close enough to the group. Graham returns the wave a friendly smile offered. "Hello m'lord and congratulations I believe as well." he realizes after he's spoken that skipped a step. "Ah, I am Count Graham Byrne." he offers in way of greeting. He looks to Sunaia giving her a warm smile "Ah m'lady wonderful to see you again." He seems also remembering "Ah, yes I did verify that no current anti-venom exists for the fireviper."
Rowenova quietly thanks Rhiannon, "I appreciate that. Sir Floppington is the absolute best. He has gone to war with me, especially to defend the Lodge." Reaching over her free/left hand, Nova ruffles those floppy hound dog ears which gets her a soulful glance from the older canine. "Such good boys." Afterwards, she looks back up to Rhiannon, "Are you going on that trip to either one of the halfway point to Eurusi?" She picks up the convo threads which are currently ongoing.
Rhiannon points a finger at Sunaia. "I know what you're planning. That island is the dangerous island. The one that makes it so you can't leave if you don't pass some test or resist the whispers or something." She frowns at her cousin, slightly. "I hope that you don't think that you're going without me," she says, her tone affronted.
"Three months, in fact - each way, by way of the Saffron Chain, Lissy," Sunaia explains to Lisebet, then smirks up at Ciaran... for a moment, before her expression falters, too. "Yes. I know the conditions." She glances back to Lisebet, then to Harlan, then to Rhiannon's eyes and briefly meets Kutazer's gaze before deciding Rhia is likely to be her best supporter. "So, there's a //possibility//... a rumor that's likely true," she hurries through that bit of uncomfortable information, "that there are ghosts on the Isle of Echoes that would show you your past and everything in it. And that it's so potent..." She flicks her eyes up to Ciaran and back again, "...Well. If you aren't //VERY// strong of mind, it might hold you. And //YES//, Rhia, I want you to come, too. Do you think... you can resist it? I'm pretty sure I can." She smiles to Rhiannon, "Ciaran's going to captain it, if I ..." She looks to Harlan, then to Lisebet. "You know, it's ...seeing into my past. So, Ciaran wants me to make sure that Archlector Hamish and Marquessa Mia... think it's... okay."
Ciaran deadpans, long-suffering: "Sunaia, being extremely stubborn, believes that she is /so/ stubborn that she can resist the siren song of these ghosts, and will thus uncover all the secrets of her timeless past and get away scott-free." He confesses to Rhiannon, "I myself do not believe I am so very gifted when it comes to strength of will. I've seen too many men break under pressure and I have occassionally been one of them." He concludes, "If I go along with this scheme, I'll be staying on the boat. Unless Sunaia succeeds in finding some means to ward against the spiritual influence of the things that live there. Presuming in fact that the tales are true. All we know for certain is that the ancient charts show the island to exist."
"Thank you very much," is what Kutazer offers to Graham, followed up by, "A pleasure to meet you. Lord Kutazer Ashford." Well accustomed to Rhiannon's squirrel now, he even has a stash of treats stashed away for the little critter. Slipping a hand into his pocket, he withdraws a nut a moment later, lifting it up for Nibbles to take it from him. He's then looking between those gathered, only to offer up a quick, "If Rhiannon's going, then I'm going. That's not even going to be open for debate." A quick smile si given and then his glass is lifted back to his lips, a small sip coming to be taken as he simply falls quiet once again, to listen to the information provided.
Lisebet listens quietly for a bit, then she frowns a bit. Almost scowls. Then she shrugs delicately, and says, "It's quite a long time, indeed. And I would be quite worried about all of you, with or without anything to protect you from the call of the so called ghosts." She sighs, and then winces. "I'm sorry. This is a wonderful conversation, but I'm all of a sudden not feeling very well. I think maybe I'll go settle in my room for a bit." She rises, with Harlan's help.
After hearing what Ciaran says, Rowenova hmms quietly before offering up, "Mayhaps, someone should ask Princess Katarina Valardin about The Lantern, before going to the Isle of Echoes. I know it is often used somewhere else, but... never hurts to mayhaps try it out there, too!"
Graham looks over from person to person though lands on Sunaia and chuckles "An island adventure of willpower.. that does sound quite interesting indeed, perhaps one may find out the answers to be sought out there." He looks back to Kutazer "An honor to meet you properly."
Did Ciaran say something? Because Rhiannon said something and her new husband said something and Ciaran - oh, he said, "OH, GREAT!!" Sunaia grins. "Kutazer, how strong do you think your ability is to be presented with your greatest hopes and dreams and fears... and pull away? Because that's what the tales say," she explains with excited nonchalance, then grins at Ciaran and hugs him tightly. "I'm so glad you're going to be our captain! It'll be a family trip - and that's probably the best--"
Suddenly, Sunaia halts entirely. "Oh, Lissy... don't go, please? We can talk about this another time." She does, however, hear what Rowenova says and flicks her eyes with incredible interest there, then flickers a nod.
Looking to Lisabet, Rowenova briefly bows before popping up to full height along with the wolf ears atop the pelt headdress. "Take care, my friend. Hopefully, you feel better soon."
Rhiannon looks back at Lisebet and looks a bit sheepish. "Yes, please, Lisy. Don't mind us, we promise to behave." At least until she has the baby. No one expects Ashfords to stay home. She goes to get Lisebet more cake. "Do you want more cake? Something to drink? I think there's some fresh orange juice."
Ciaran assures Lisebet earnestly, "I would not put myself into unnecessary danger." There's a certain gravity behind his words. "If I got marooned somewhere, who'd look after you, after all?" He smiles briefly, glancing at Harlan. "Well, any number of people, I'm sure. But don't worry. I don't want to be the cautionary tale part of someone else's ghost story." He glances sidelong at Sunaia. "While I think exploring Brightshore, as a halfway point to Eurus that avoids the monster in the depths, has merit...I have to wonder about whether or not we ought to know the facts of our past lives at all. I believe they are largely forgotten for a reason." Evidently, if it's a battle between Sunaia's quest and sisterly concern, the latter is currently pulling more weight.
Lisebet pauses briefly, still standing. "It's not the conversation, Sunaia, believe me," she says wiyly. "And Ciaran, there is some reason to know about our past lives, or well, I think so as well. I'm not so sure I like that particular method, as there are dangers in learning too much about such lives." She pauses there, taking a sharp breath, and then adds, "But in this case, I rather think I should go before this babe decides to arrive in the middle of the party."
Looking to Graham, Kutazer is giving a nod of his head, "Indeed it is. And thank you for coming." Then, he's looking back to Sunaia, so as to offer, "Well enough, I think. At least, I would hope it is." When Lisebet announces her departure, his gaze plays over in her direction, but with Rhiannon and Sunaia already addressing her, he simply remains quiet.
Ciaran tells Lisebet pleasantly, "It won't be long, will it? I'll try not to be too bad of an influence, but I fear an uncle has to be at least slightly terrible. It's my duty, you know. Take care, and rest well."
"Are you that close, Lissy...?" Sunaia's eyes widen as she considers her cousin-in-law. "I didn't realize; I'm sorry." She glances to Harlan, every bit of the concern for her trip set aside. "Do you need some help getting her upstairs?"
Graham nods to the words of Kutazer. "Of course, any chance to celebrate something happy I am always glad to see it." He looks over to Lisbet his features looking concerned. "Of course if you must rest, please do so but if we can offer any help, please need just ask." He offers over.
The party goes on for hours with lots of drinking and talking. People start to wander off after the Duke and Duchess leave and there is some concern about the arrival of the newest Ashford. Those who want to remain and hang out, do so, the house staff eventually removing the decorations and the house eventually quiets.
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