May 27, 2021, 7 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Redrain - Ravnsholm - Grounds
Comments and Log
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights arrive, following Isabeau.
The evening sun is still high and hot, making many of the northerners wandering the grounds a bit miserable. Torches line the paths to help ward off bugs and prepare for the decreasing light as evening trudges on. Tables have been brought out and laden with roast meats, vegetables, and sweets. Somewhere, a seemingly limitless supply of ale and whiskey is making its way into the hans of revelers. Aella is standing near the firepit, yelling. "AYE, AND IF YOU DON'T DRUM LOUDER NO ONE'LL DANCE!" Of to the side, a few Prodigals are playing music, but quietly for some reason.
Wash arrives fashionably early? He's interested primarily in drinking, as evidenced by the bottle of vodka in his hand.
Rosalind runs down the stairs, her bright hair flying behind her. Actually in a neat braid. "I made sure there was EXTRA whiskey,"a smile on her scarred and freckled face. She grins at the drums and Aella, actually laughing. "It's been a long time since you know--we've enteretained anyone, but I bet they'll be great." See Wash, Rosa waves. "Hi Wash! How are you?!"
6 Grayson House Guards, Gioia, a clever actress from Gemecitta arrive, following Jerrica.
Wash offers Rosalind a bottle of peppered vodka. "I'm okay. I just needed some time away. Some time to heal. I think... I think I'm ready to be hurt again. Where is the whiskey?"
Perhaps a little late, Isabeau arrives with her small retinue in hand. A former Valardin princess, at a Redrain, prodigal party... those made of lesser stuff might have seemed less comfortable, but the small blonde enters the grounds with the air of ease and confidence. Her cobalt blue eyes search the grounds before alightening on her target, Aella. She makes the move to step over to the woman first, a seraphic smile on her features, "Countess Aella, how lovely to see you."
"Heal, were you sick,"Rosa asks, eyeing the vodka with curiosity. She takes a swig, right from the bottle. Her cheeks turning a pink color. "Here,"she gasps. "This is way better. Maybe I need to get used to that,"sharing the bottle of whiskey SHE has. As people start to trickle in, the younger Ravenseye waves to Isabeau too as she wanders in. "Hi Izzy!" Did Rosa give her a nickname? Oh yes. YES SHE DID!
"Sick as a dog after a month straight of drinking the isles dry." Wash admits. "I'm back less than a fortnight and a fortnight sober."
Raimon strides into the mix and heads on over to hang out with Rosalind and Bran, the ones he knows best and one of whom had invited him. Introvert at parties take a little while to get 'warmed up' and so he's taking the slow, sensible tack. "Lady Ravenseye," Raimon bows. He'd brought drinks to add to the mix. But perhaps at this time they're superfluous. Rosalind's appellation of 'Izzy' elicits just the hot of a smile. Raimon will have to remember that.
"Wash Kennex," Aella says, turning her attention to the Thraxian sailor. "Good luck drinking Ravenseye dry, eh?" She gives him a challenging smile before turning to catch up Rosalind in a spinning hug before setting her down and walking toward Isabeau and Raimon. "Duchess, Your Highness, welcome to Ravnsholm. If you don't feel like family by the time you leave, we've done something wrong."
Jerrica arrives fashionably late and only slightly hurried. She looks as if she has just rushed over from somewhere: her hair is frizzy, shoes not really appropriate for a party, flushed cheeks, and quick steps. To Aella she offers a hug. "Countess! I'm so glad I could come to your home again." Rosalind gets a warm smile and a nod. "Rosie." She thinks she's heard that nickname before. "Duchess, so good to see you." That is for Isabeau with a squeeze of the hand. When she spots Wash: "Oh, Cousin! It's been so long!" After all that, the Grayson princess needs a breath... and a drink. Whiskey it is!
Raimon grins, commenting: "What with the amount of whiskey inbound, things could very well get out of hand quite quickly in the aftermath. Could be entertaining. Or dangerous. Or dangerously entertaining! Or entertainingly dangerous . . . " Raimon wonders: "What are the odds of each of those?" Raimon leaves his gifts for the hostesses on the nearby tables, and turns about to partake in the fun. Which is, at this point, seemingly: Whiskey. Well, ok then. Whiskey it is!
A very briefly startled glance is cast towards Rosalind for a moment. Isabeau might be checking for a hidden cousin or sibling behind the woman for a moment. A smile tugs at her lips at Aella's words as the small blonde heards those words, "A good start with a childhood nickname discovered." She quirks a smile at Rosalind and leans forward a little, to affect a fake conspiratorial tone, "It is your party so you can call me whatever you wish, but if it sticks past it, I will never forgive you." Her words are spoken with no lack of amusement and no trace of annoyance. She returns Jerrica's hand squeeze and smiles to her, then looks to Raimon and offers a warmly spoken, "Your Highness," as her greeting.
To Wash, she offers a gentle dip of her head and introduces herself, "Duchess Isabeau Telmar."
Wash nods to Aella. "That is not remotely in my power. I'd need the crew of a dozen galleys to get anywhere close." Wash points out. "And you'd just borrow alcohol from your neighbors. Still, I shall not be caught wanting." He looks Jerrica over. "Cousin ... I'm sorry. I've misplaced my geneaology chart." He tells Jerrica. "Who are you again? Isabeau! Of Telmar. Nope. I forgot... oh. We are being introduced right now. Wash of Kennex. I'm that bit that goes back into the bottle after you've taken a sip of the finer parts of Kennex."
Bran emerges out of the stone facade, looking as if he's a piece of rock had been freshly quarried off the side of a mountain. He finds the atmosphere unfamiliar - it is filled with many new faces clothed in the strange and diverse styles of Arx, and his face betrays a mild expression of being taken aback by the myriad of curiosities that they have apparently embraced. Seeing the personages approach, he recovers in a practiced manner: "Your highness, welcome to our humble abode," he speaks to Raimon. "As for the amount of whiskey here...let's just say that it would noticeably increase the probability of a fire if all of this were stored aboard ships.
There's a large hug for Aella, laughing as she's spun into circles. When she's released, Rosa goes off to greet others. She's pretty much in her element. Home and people! "Hi Rai! Hi Jerrica,"Rosa greets cheefully. There's a grin at Wash, shaking her head. "You'll never be able to drink us dry, but it'll be fun to keep up!" There's a snicker to Isabeu, shaking her head. "I can't promise anything. If it stuck, I'm not sorry, but I'll sent you a bottle!" Then her face visibly brightens, her demeanor growing excited when she sees Bran. "Hey papa,"she calls out to her father.
Raimon to Bran: "Well, in the best interests of safeguarding all that is holy and/or wholly flammable, we must make haste to ensure that not a drop can escape, to threaten the ships, then!" Raimon deadpans. And then the grin breaks. "Bran!" Raimon strides forward to offer the palm-to-forearm style handshake most common to warriors, sailors, and men of the north.
"Prince Raimon! We keep crossing paths." Jerrica greets the Thraxian. "And good evening, sir," she says to Bran. She takes a sip of the whiskey and closes her eyes momentarily as the burn travels down her throat. "You're Wash Kennex, no? We're second cousins. I'm only familiar because Princess Liara had me looking up documents in which you were mentioned lately." She laughs knowing this sounds quite ridiculous but doesn't elaborate further. "Ravnsholm is such a happy place."
"I am. Jerrica Kennex. You're Aberforth's daughter? And that's... wow. I think we're actually third cousins. No matter. Drink!" Wash encourages. "Wait. Mentioned in a ... meaningful way?" He wants to know. People are talking about him! Gasp!
Raimon to Jerrica: "And a most pleasant journey is made all the more beautiful at a result of such happenstance -- for which we are thankful!" Raimon bows. "Your Highness." A grin. To Rosalind and Bran: "Lead on, then, for I have need of instruction in the finer art of the appreciation of whiskey!" Wines Raimon knows. But. This is different! This is Water with Fire in it!
"Rosalind...as excitable as usual I see - I'm please that you've found many friends in this place." A welcoming smile erupts across his face as he greets the many guests approaching, eventually turning back to Raimon, grasping his offered limb in the forearm firmly. "Indeed." He grabs a glass from one of the attending servants and raises it in toast. "To friendship and good health."
Gaze lingering on Wash for a time, quizzically, Isabeau regards the man for a time before she settles into comfortable silence. She begins to visually search the surroundings for a beverage without alcohol in it. Perhaps not possible? Cider, maybe... No. She sighs and moves to collect up whiskey. Anything preferable to ale. She ventures back with her prize, neat whiskey and offers Bran a polite dip of her head as she takes a nursing sip of the whiskey at the man's toast.
Raimon echoes Brand's diction and sentiment: "To friendship and good health!" he call out, mid - volume, raising his own glass to join in the toast. *swig* Down the hatch! *gulp*
"Aren't you a princess,"Rosa asks Jerrica. "Wash isn't a prince." There's a confused look on her face as she looks from Jerrica to Wash. "But family is family, so it doesn't matter. "Papa! These people have -patiently- sat through ALL my quetions, so yes! They're great friends!" She takes a big drink following the toast and hurries over to the drummers. She murmurs to them, smiling a bit. "Maybe a little louder, but you're doing great!"
"I am not." Wash agrees in Rosalind's direction. "I wasn't a very good one when I was."
Wash and Jerrica are talking quietly between themselves possibly explaining what documents she could possibly be talking about. With a raise of her glass, she joins in the toast. "To friendship and good health!" This is a cause she can get behind. After another swig of whisky, she answers Rosalind's question. "He was a prince before he got married. Sometimes the title is a thing one sacrifices."
"I was a Princess before a duchess," Isabeau says, offering her agreement to Jerrica's words as she directs her words to Rosalind as well, "And I expect Princess Jerrica probably has almost as many cousins as I do." She smiles over at Jerrica and raises her eyebrows, "It is a lot to remember, isn't it?"
Raimon is talking quietly with Bran as he learns the finer points of whiskey appreciation. By osmosis. As it were. Raimon is a 'learn by doing' type of guy.
Bran watches the growing interest in Wash's identity - while not familiar with the details, he grasps that there is some kind of embarrassment that all in attendance is attempting to avoid. "On sacrifices- there are far greater things to loose than part of one's name. Loosing one's sense of their place in the world is infinitely worse - these two things are not quite equivalent as much as they seem to be in the moment."
"That is assuming, my Lord... I'm supposing Ravenseye, that I had an identity to begin with! I did not." Wash confesses. All better now though.
Being Rosa, her large hazel green eyes widen. "Really,"she gasps. "What happened,"she starts asking. "Did you want to be not princes and princesses anymore? Can you do that?" There's obviously a story there. "Wait...Should I not be asking that? Can you tell me another time? Over more whiskey?"
Offering Rosalind a kind, sweet smile, Isabeau takes a moment to explain, or at least summarize, "My husband was to be the Duke of Telmarch, so I married into his family, rather than he into mine, and so I became a Lady, and when his father passed, I became a Duchess-Consort when he became a Duke. It is more a matter of... giving up a title to be married to him." She raises her glass for a delicate sip, then smiles again, "It is part of marriage contracts and discussions, who goes to which family."
"I seem to have started quite the discussion!" Jerrica laughs as a tinge of pink spreads on her cheeks. "The Duchess is correct! Princes and Princesses are popular for political marriages as all houses want to be allies of the great houses. And there are so many Graysons that I can barely keep track of them all. Cousin Wash married out of the house long before I left Bastion to come to Arx. It isn't odd that he doesn't remember one of his 50 little cousins."
"It is a lot to expect an old man to remember!" Wash insists. "And generally, Princes and Princessses marry heads of houses. It is only a matter of time before ... Jerrica is Duchess of.... Is there an opening? You might have to settle for Marquessa." Wash says his mock solemnity only surpassed by his mock sorrow.
Rosalind loudly whispers to Aella. "Do you see what you have to look forward to,"her voice teasing as she listens to the cousins. "I'm not worried about getting married, but I hope you guys are happy in your new rolls." She means that. Sincerely. Rosa starts passing out more whiskey, because more drinking is required.
Squire Lump, the badgerhound, Dame Galina, the Graypeak Mountain dog arrive, following Malcolm.
Squire Lump, the badgerhound have been dismissed.
Talk of marriage and changing stations has left Aella completely zoned out and glazed over. Like, there's just nothing there. No one is home. Rosalind's loud whisper gets her to snap back. "Aye, uh... Let's find Papa a new wife, eh?" She shifts uncomfortably and grabs a bottle of whiskey to drink from before heading to find a seat around the fire.
Raimon has been quietly talking to Lord Bran Ravenseye about (not-politics) for a bit of time now, while avoiding the talk of titles etc. that had the main crowd in its grasp. As Malcolm makes an appearance, Raimon's eyes do brighten with nascent joy, and Raimon makes haste to include the latest arrival.
"The Duchess of Diplomacy perhaps? But I'm sure that is already taken by someone." Jerrica for the time remains mum on her true feelings on this subject.
At some point, Wash has collected some sipping whiskey and he rolls with the tide of the conversation, equally at ease on the deck of a ship and the back and forth of a conversation. He tacks back and forth between subjects with ease, and occasionally snaps out a witty one-liner, when he overhears a conversation at a distance. The one constant is his self-deprecating sense of humor and his absolute disregard for any pretense to being a part of high-society, minus the whiskey of course.
Does this mean that Malcolm arrived at the best-worst-best time -- he thinks so, although he does seem a little startled at his own tardiness. He brushes himself off, offering the gathered a bow before he straightens up and removes his hat, "Evening, all. Forgive, yeah?" He ruffles his hair tidy, shrugs, and moves to help himself to a drink - heading in the direction of that sipping whiskey.
Offering Jerrica what may be a sympathetic smile or just a smile, Isabeau's gaze finds Malcolm. She brightens a little with a smile, "Duke Shepherd, I didn't know you were coming here," Isabeau greets the man with warmth in her rich tones as her hand raises to greet him with every evidence of delight, "Now I can thank you for that dress personally. So thank you!"
"Uh...what?"Rosa asks Aella with a wrinkled brow. "Isn't he too old,"her large eyes catching Bran's eye. When Malcolm comes, Rosa waves to him too. "Hi Mal! Welcome to our house! Climb a tree, join the fire, uh....have a walk!" Rosa usually is in a tree. "I don't know how anyone can be so CLOSE to the fire. It's so hot, I don't know how anyone can stand it! Are you melting?! How aren't you melting?!"
"My countess," Bran sharply turns from Raimon at the mention of him, barely managing to refrain from a weary sigh. "Aella, I have no wish of another episode of love and loss. My life in those terms has been turbulent enough." He politely reminds the distracted Aella of his sentiments. "And with my age, the risks to the stability of the house when undertaking such a decision are quite substantial."
"Yeah," Aella reassures Malcolm as she raises her bottle in his direction. "Come, sit, drink." She's a simple woman. "Not melting. Savoring what is lost in six months." She gives Rosalind a smirk then gestures to Jerrica to come sit, as well. "Papa, I'd never make you. I promise."
"I would love to." Jerrica happily sits next to Aella but her brow is furrowed. "What is lost in six months? I am afraid I do not follow."
"Evening, and thank you for hospitality, Countess Aella." Lady Rosalind. Lord Brand. With a quick bow of his head, offering a warm and well-mannered smile. "You're welcome, Duchess Isabeau. Pleasure to know it brought you some joy," Malcolm admits, chuckles, and he glances toward Raimon. "Your Highness." Then, again, another bow. "Your Highness, Princess Grayson. Lord Kennex. He has his drink, so he toasts - drinks and finds a seat to slouch into.
Moving over to settle at a seat near Malcolm, Isabeau holds her glass of whiskey neatly in her curled hands. She sips at her drink as she looks around, "I've had an interesting time the past couple of days." She smiles a little, looking between Jerrica, Aella and her patron, "I had a meeting with Assistant Guildmaster Samira and she seems interested in doing a joint event with the Crafters guild and the Hearts soon."
Wash comes back around with his drink to Jerrica and tells her. "Stop by the Kay sometime and meet your cousins. We have a Duke regent, which is the next best thing to a Duke." He gestures to Malcolm. "That is also a Duke, but he's spoken for."
Malcolm checks composure at normal. Malcolm is successful.
"Melting,"Rosa tells Aella, plopping somewhere near her sister. "I've been laying low a few days. You know, behaving." She grins though, nodding her head. "Im trying to avoid all these people. People following you around are weird." Weird meaning her.
The Shepherd Duke doesn't sputter on his whiskey - good job, and he considers Wash with a gently bewildered smile, "That's what I've been told, aye, milord Kennex." He chuckles, glances toward Isabeau once she settles closer, listening with interest. "Oh, yeah? That sounds quite promising, milady Isabeau - sounds like you have been real productive," he offers a friendlier smile to his protégé.
Aella gives Jerrica a nod as she sits beside her, but her attention moves to Isabeau quickly. "Any more details on that?" She means the joint project. "Could be worthwhile." Her eyes flick to Wash and Malcolm. "A shame, that. Find a man with as much common sense as he has and I might not fight this marriage nonsense. Not that any fop of a man would willingly marry into Ravenseye." The whole topic of marriage is clearly sour for her.
Wash says, "If you are looking for a fop, I too am spoken for, unfortunately."
Jerrica laughs. "You are going to start putting ideas into people's heads. Duke Shepard, welcome. And how is Duchess Shepard?" She deflects the awkwardness in Wash's comment. "I have met your Duke-Regent. He spoke rather sternly about duty and honor. When there is something to announce, I am sure you will be among the first to hear. You may find me wandering in Kennex Kay one day. Or maybe I will be polite enough to send a messenger before I arrive." She is clearly teasing the man.
Aella says, "Not. Looking."
Malcolm snort-laughs into his whiksey-glass, ears going red.
Offering this form of topic as a distraction from marriage, Isabeau continues, "Not yet. But I've managed to reassure her that we're not a bunch of people trying to do good for acclaim and notoriety and that we are approaching things the right way. I'll admit, I was trying to. I've invited her to come to our next meeting to see if she has any insight." She smiles aside at Aella and Jerrica, her eyebrows raising slightly. She looks over at Jerrica and crinkles her nose at the woman, "I was there for that, goodness. How cynical." She looks over at Malcolm and laughs softly, "You missed a thoroughly engaging conversation on how Princesses become Duchesses and so on."
Rosalind gets all sort of excited. "I met your wife,"she tells Malcolm. "Cadern introduced me. She's really nice." Nudging her sister, Rosa tells her,"Women rule just fine on our own,"loudly kissing Aella's cheek. Looking to Bran, Rosa asks her father,"How are you liking the city, Papa?"
Wash raises an eyebrow. "Found then?"
"Duty, honor, an' responsibility. The trifecta that sealed my future," Malcolm murmurs out of the corner of his mouth, amused, and he scrubs his knuckles against one of his cheeks. "Mm. That sounds wise, milady Isabeau, and if I can get it through my thick head to attend the next meeting, I will --" he admits. Mention of Delilah makes his dark eyes lighten, "Aye. She's kind an' clever an' smart as a whip. Whatever that means."
Bran finds the strange tone of the conversation unsettling, being reminded of the reasons he disdained coming to Arx until recently. "I have seen why Arx is renowned as an unbreakable defensive structure, yes, by almost getting lost through its warrens."
Bran says, "At least I managed to find a place which is best described as a theater of combat. Or perhaps it was a training hall of sorts. I met Prince Raimon there."
Isabeau looks over at Bran and expels a soft amused noise as she gives a gesture, "You should see my home, then, my Lord. I grew up in Sanctum." She smiles and gives her head a shake, "And of course, now there is the Red Wall." She offers Bran an easy dip of her head.
Aella manages to find a smile when Rosalind noisily kisses her cheek. "Keep it up and I'll name you heir." She winks at her sister before taking a swig of whiskey. "Not found, either. The single men of this city are hopeless." A shrug at that. "I can't just pick /any/ noble lord. They must be suited to leading. Trustworthy, capable, sympathetic to Prodigals, and from a house that wants what we have to offer." She sniffs. "Would be easier to find if the Faith didn't ignore our qualification for elevation to a march on account of our being Prodigal and elevating us maybe making people angry enough to start a war. Aye, they really said that." Another, longer swig of whiskey.
Rosalind looks over at her now friend Izzy and asks,"What's the red wall?" She looks pretty content with her drink, stretching out comfortably. Though she stiffens at Aella at the mention of heir. Then she looks at Bran. "Can she do that?!"
"Red Wall, the Telmarch, and there'll be a day when I get to finally see that." There's a hopeful note. "Never went that far west before - so far inland like that, and it sounds real interesting - an' an' we'll not mention what the higher peers an' the Faith say about neo-nobles and elevated Prodigals --" Malcolm rarely has a Strong Opionion. This verges on one. Then, helpfully, he offers to Rosalind. "She can if she wants. I threaten to make Bonnie heir at least one every year or so."
Wash shakes his head in dismay at the list of ingredients Aella needs in her spouse. "You're not going to find many like that around these parts. This is Arx. But... if I do find someone who fits the part, I'll be sure to introduce you, Countess."
"Aella has high standards. There is nothing wrong with that." Jerrica puts a protective arm around her protoge. "She is happy right now." The princess does not touch on the defenses of Arx as that is left to other heads than hers.
Bran says to Rosalind "Of course. In the same manner by which I named her almost 10 years ago. And if Aella doe so, I doubt any will question her will. You are in quite the strong position here, my child." Replying to Isabeau, Bran answers with a leftover imprint of fascination: "The great defensive works of the compact are always of interest to any who has commanded in war. Even if I have been more comfortable with mountains and valleys in my past life."
"As she should." Wash agrees. "Marriage is a terrible thing to compromise on."
"And there is also Greenmarch, and Blancbier and Highhill," Isabeau lists to Malcolm, her eyebrows raising slightly, "Lord Jamie Greenmarch assures me that the roads are quite safe to Greenmarch and some of the bigger villages, though there has been some bandits." She smiles a little and raises her shoulders, "But also that the people are curious about the House. I hope that this gives me an opportunity to see what might be done for my people." She brims of enthusiasm for a moment before turning to answer Rosalind, "And the Red Wall is the... well. Essentially the border of the Oathlands and protects the primary road to the heart of Valardin territories, it has stood to defend us from invasion for centuries."
"I want to take everyone to visit Stormheart one day, so they can how great our land is,"Rosa says. But when Bran and Malcolm, she instantly wrinkles her nose, downing and emptying her drink. "You'd have high standards too, marrying into our house,"a grin appearing. Getting another drink poured, gives Aella the stink eye. Rosa's attention back to Izzy, she asks,"So it's really old. Why is it red?" So so many questions.
There's a flicker of what might be gratitude on Aella's face for Wash's offer, but she leans into that protective arm of her patron. "As the princess says, I'm happy on my own. My happiness affects the stability of the county, however. Which is why I need consider naming Rosa heir." She at least gives her sister an apologetic look for that. "Any who don't wish to speak of heirs and marriage and defenses, come with me. We'll have a game." She stands abruptly, heading for the open field.
Wash refills his whiskey and trails along after Aella. "Is this the sort of game one can do while still drinking?"
"Is there any kind of game one cannot do while drinking?" Bran intones, downing the rest of his glass. "I would not call such activities games if they were so."
Aella says, "It better be, I won't be putting my bottle down."
"Aye, milady Monique - a friend, my friend, she was a dear friend - she's a Greenmarcher. There's also good reason to see Highill an' the rest, and - aye, all the way up north to Stormheart sounds an adventure -- and did the Countess mention a game? Keen to play a game with the others, milady Isabeau?"
"Oh ok!" Jerrica is surprised when Aella leaves her seat to go to the field. She gets up an tops off her whiskey before following the others to whatever game is coming.
"The blood of would-be invaders." Isabeau answers blithely and promptly to Rosalind as she stirs to stand, nodding at Aella in agreement. Her tone might indicate a joke, but she is a Valardin, and the Duchess of the Telmarch. The answer is plausible. She looks to Malcolm and nods, "Of course, my Lord patron. As long as it is not bobbing for apples."
Rosalind gathers her whiskey and hops up to do all the things with all the people. Chattering away with a smile plastered on her scarred and freckled face. "There's this place over here,"she starts, showing a place in the field.
Connal, a Northern Wolfhound, Honeymare, 1 Ravenseye Warrior leave, following Rosalind.
Malcolm blinks at Isabeau, considerately, and he adds with a suddenly cheery: "Lord Haakon might like the sound of that. I'll need to bring that up t'him. Now, let's see how the Ravenseye play with their drink." He's up, out of his seat, offering his free hand out for Isabeau to accept - if she chooses to - and he escorts, following in the wake of Aella.
"Not bobbing for apples!" Aella's still traumatized by that. She looks at Isabeau wide eyed. "Never. Again. And no flying horsefeet, either." Was that what the game was actually called? Probably not. "Aye, so a game. It requires partners. I can stay out to keep the numbers right, unless Papa wants to judge?" She looks at Malcolm and Isabeau, then Jerrica and Bran.
Wash balances his drink on his head as he follows Aella, eyes lifted to the heavens. "If there are not enough partners, I have Jayne!" Wash's long-suffering and enormous bodyman trails along to keep him out of trouble, perhaps warn him if he's about to trip over anything.
"I can play with whoever works best." Jerrica slides over to be next to Bran. "So no bobbing for apples. No throwing appendages of horses. What are we playing?" She raises her eyebrows and aims the corners of her mouth down in a curious expression. Then it's time for another drink of whiskey.
"Well, you are becoming a far better judge of affairs than I ever have been or will ever be. And I do not know what elements this surely new invention is composed of." Bran remarks to Aella.
Accepting Malcolm's hand with a grateful smile, Isabeau nods, "It's obvious that my patron and I will win whatever game it is, having such a wide spread of interests and talents between us." The blonde duchess offers a hint of a tease to the other forming pairs, a little mischief creeping into her tone and face as a flush from nursing her whiskey appears as well.
"She said that, ya'll, not me. Though - if she believes in us, guess there's no reason why I shouldn't." Malcolm mutters, chuckling softly.
Aella looks curiously at Wash, and then around for Rosalind, and then recounts everyone who is around. "Huh. Well. Never mind Papa, seems we're both in. Clearly the duchies have teamed up against the rest of us." A look around has her wondering how the remainders will pair off. "Aye, so the game. It's a game of dares, in a way. One of each pair stands in a row facing their partner in a row opposite several paces away. Each person has a chance to issue a challenge the group - can be to answer a question or attempt some physical feat. At the end, whichever pair completed the most challenges wins. So you need look your partner in the eye as you let them down."
Wash takes his tumbler off his head and turns his attention to Bran. "If they are pairing off as patrons, well, I suppose we could make it official. At least for the purpose of the game."
"We can ask /any/ question or dare a physical feat?" Jerrica had been trying to moderated her alcohol consumption, but this requires the largest swig of whiskey yet. "This could be interesting. Or hysterically funny." She stands in front of Aella and beside Bran, unsure which she is to team up with.
"Why not? I admire one who has come out so unscathed from the many tumbles of intrigue." Bran answers in the affirmative to Wash's suggestion, again extending his palm to give the same style of handshake as Raimon did earlier.
Laughing softly at Malcolm, Isabeau raises her glass and takes a slightly larger sip of her whiskey, squaring up and stepping back to regard Malcolm as indicated. She smiles a little broader and gestures softly, "At least we have made the first move towards victory, patron-mine. We have been decisive in our team."
Wash shakes Bran's hand and then gestures. "Who knows, if it's a successful venture then we may continue afterward." To Jerrica he says: "Any question you ask at me I will answer." Then looking at Aella. "Truthfully?" YEah, that was probably assumed. "Truthfully."
"Aye, suppose so - and on account that --" Malcolm mutters something real quiet, bobbing his head vaguely " -- and I've never-ever really ever been a body to tell someone no." With a sincere smile at Iseabeau, asking all of a sudden: "Do you know any good jokes?"
"Looks like we're a team," Aella says to Jerrica, and stakes a spot to start the row and gesture to where the princess should stand. "Well, anything, but remember you're a part of a pair. It need be something you're willing to do or lose a point for your team." She looks at Isabeau. "Duchess, wish to start us off?"
Shanking her head gently at Wash's assurance of veracity, Jerrica steps dramatically to her appointed spot. "Oh thank gods!" The princess is relieved that Isabeau is starting. The Duchess is reasonable.
Isabeau shifts from foot to foot, humming in thought for a moment, "I will dare everyone. To stare their partner in their face and make the most ridiculous face they can think of without laughing." She offers a seraphic smile along the line, her cobalt blue eyes dancing in obvious mirth as she offers a sweet, innocent smile.
Malcolm already looks like he's going to laugh. He drags in a breath, puffs out his chest, squares his shoulders - finishes his drink and tries very hard not to even smile.
Wash does pull a face. He sets his feet, puts his tumbler up to his eye and peers through the amber liquid at Bran. "I am looking at you..." He singsongs, meanmugging in an unbelievable manner at Bran.
Jerrica sticks out her tongue out at Aella and makes circles with each hand to gaze through at the Countess. "Whatever you do... don't laugh!"
A younger sister. Isabeau has faces. One of which she directs to Malcolm, going cross-eyed and puffing out her whiskey-blushed cheeks. This is the sort of face a younger sister would flash at a brother during a serious dinner to make him laugh and get in trouble, most definitely. Maybe that's why it is so practiced.
Bran goes along with this whimsy, pulling his reflective brown locks across his face, with only his left eye sticking out. "And I am a mirror...you see the dregs of whiskey doubled and doubled again."
Aella grins, she's not laughing! Then she scrunches her nose while opening her eyes as wide as can and baring her teeth. Good luck to everyone for not laughing at this entire display.
Isabeau checks composure at normal. Isabeau is successful.
Aella checks composure at normal. Aella is successful.
Jerrica checks composure at normal. Jerrica is successful.
Malcolm checks composure at normal. Malcolm is successful.
Bran checks composure at normal. Bran is successful.
The Shepherd Duke's funny face - is his attempt to look like a proper noble. Nose turned up in the air, expression straight, although his shoulders are shaking sligjtly.
Wash checks composure at normal. Wash is successful.
Jerrica has many siblings. She is practiced at ignoring things. "Stand down, Countess. Please don't bite me," she teases Aella. She manages not to laugh.
Squire Lump, the badgerhound have been dismissed.
Dame Galina, the Graypeak Mountain dog have been dismissed.
Squire Lump, the badgerhound have been dismissed.
Isabeau doesn't break her composure as she looks at Malcolm, strangely seeming familiar with such a snooty face. It's almost like she almost sees it every day. She glances around as she drops her face, "My... no laughter. Who's next?"
Aella is stone cold even after nearly half a bottle of whiskey and doesn't laugh until her face is resting and everyone seems to have succeeded the first challenge. "Each pair has two points, then. Tough competition." She nods to Isabeau. "You choose."
Wash hmphs. "Thought I was funnier than that. Wait. If I make him laugh then ... I lose points?"
"I choose her Highness, Princess Jerrica then." Isabeau decides promptly, flashing a smile at the other woman.
"Hmmmm... What shall I ask." Jerrica ponders. "A dare! I dare everyone to do the splits."
Aella checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Aella is successful.
Wash checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Wash marginally fails.
Bran checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Bran fails.
Malcolm checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Malcolm fails.
Isabeau checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Isabeau is successful.
Jerrica checks dexterity and athletics at normal. Jerrica fails.
Malcolm tries. He tries his best. He winds up on the floor, splayed out like a roast chicken, and he looks distinctly uncomfortable with his current predicament. "Aw, shite." Weakly: "This was ill-advised."
Isabeau somehow manages a split. In a dress. She takes great pains to make sure her skirts are modest around her and she carefully picks herself up before going to offer Malcolm a hand up. "It was a good attempt," she tells him, diplomatically.
Wash tries to slide down into the splits but bails out halfway through as his balance starts to go and he flops headfirst on the ground to save his whiskey.
If she is going to ask everyone else to do the splits, Jerrica is going to have to do them, too. But her dress is too tight. She topples over in her attempt to remain modest. "Oops. I can't do my own dare."
Bran looks at the princess as if she had gone mad for a second, before attempting to do so anyway. He manages to get halfway through the motions before quickly realizing the disastrous potential of the maneuver and exiting it. "Perhaps when I was younger. When I could still climb a cliff."
With a smirk, Aella slides down into a split, the whiskey likely helping here. "Well, that's a point to me and Duchess Isabeau." She looks at the others, shaking her head in laughter at Jerrica. "You're lucky you're cute."
Wash says, "It's all good! I didn't spill any!"
Aella says, "Good man!"
"I guess I get to pick next..." Jerrica spins around pointing a finger at the others. When she stops, her finger points to "Wash! It's your turn!"
"Let's cheer for Wash's whiskey - hu-fucking-zzah," Malcolm cheers, accepting Isabeau's hand up, and he does so - clearing his throat, cheeks ruddy. "Honestly, it'd be a travesty if he had spilled."
"Probably get disowned." Wash grumbles.
Bran says, ""Oh, my lord. At least our sailors won't know about it. There would be mutiny if they hear of the dreadful waste.""
6 Grayson House Guards, Gioia, a clever actress from Gemecitta leave, following Jerrica.
Jayne, Burly Sailor leaves, following Wash.
Jerome, a bodyguard, 2 Valardin Knights leave, following Isabeau.
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