Greenmarch & Allies Garden Gathering
Nov. 13, 2021, 9 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Greenmarch Lodge - Greenwood Gardens
Comments and Log
Primus, First of Monique's Assistants, 1 Greenmarch Guards, Tertius, Third of Monique's Assistants arrive, following Monique.
Frost, a Maelstrom Forest Cat, Brutus, a very muscular Good Boi, Carolina, an orphan from Bravura, Sira arrive, following Lore.
A beautiful summer day, bright and cheerful, barely a cloud in the sky. But there's the moon, too, faint and eery, glinting down on the Greenmarch Gardens and the people mingling in them. Monique is there, making sure things are running smoothly. In her hands, where the glass of whiskey usually lives, is... nothing. Her hands are empty. No booze in sight. Which might account for the surly way she snaps at an attendant who's bringing out trays of finger foods. "Were you even trained? A damned elk could carry that tray more gracefully!"
Apollo arrives neither particularly late nor terribly early; he's got Siri with him, and Paris too. Paris, he sheds at the door, but Siri - well, there are some words, and a navigation of trading a journal and a satchel, and then the pair move to settle down. A good assistant is worth her weight in gold. He glances up sharply at Monique's outburst, and blinks over at the servant, back at her. "There's a fretful shortage of elk looking for work," he says, and rather than sitting he moves over to the servant, flashes a smile, and takes the tray - brings it over to settle it in the center of the table. "Everything alright, Lady Monique?"
It is humid. Cesare's hair knows this; it is a wild mass of loose ringlets, rather than its usual languid waves, and he has resigned himself to being unable to tame it as long as the moisture in the summer air remains. There are many reasons to be irritable - blinding heat, humidity, the creepy moon, which is up there looking like it just might start winking at any second, a lack of whiskey - and at least one of those is a thing Cesare can do something about. "Elk are actually quite graceful, you know," he says, winding through the gardens with a pair of glasses in hand (whiskey, with ice) and offers one to Monique. "I've seen them in the menagerie. Hello, Duke Apollo. Lovely to see you."
Grady has stashed Mortimer away somewhere or another, and comes strolling into the garden alone, and quite punctual. Or he's punctual in his arrival into the GARDEN. The issue of making it all the way to the table is another matter entirely, because he's so easily distracted by everything between the garden's entrance and the table that it takes him several minutes of stopping, admiring, remembering with a start that he's here for a reason, and starting again (only to repeat the cycle) before he completes the journey. "Lady Monique!" He finds her, fearlessly, on the tail end of the snarl and meets her with a broad, warm smile and a less graceful than it ought to be sort of bow. "Lovely and sweet tempered as always, I see. How are you? How goes the Dream? Ah. The place, that is, not general dreams, in either the sleeping or the aspirational sense."
Flowing along with the few gathering up, Rook offers a smile and a nod to those he recognizes. Spotting Sira and Lore he smiles broadly at the pair, and makes his way over towards them through the crowd.
Lore comes traipsing in with her arm hooked through Sira's, guiding the woman into the garden with a broad smile. "Trust me, the Greenmarches are some of the best nobility you can find. Totally down to earth and very friendly." ANd then there's Monique, snapping at the servants. She lifts a brow and cants her head, "Mo, did you lose a bet?" But Rook's approach has her smiling once more and turning to Sira, "See? You already know people here!"
Marius strolls out from the estate and into the gardens. He is dressed in umbra, and darker colors as opposed to his usual green and leather attire. Auburn hair tied neatly back, emerald eyes bright and lively dancing from person to person while he moves. His steps are light and graceful and the smile he wears bright! About the time Cesare extends a glass toward Monique the Marquis sweeps in and snags it, a wink being offer and then a close leaned whisper before he lifts his glass to all gathered. "Welcome everyone! A pleasure to see you all!"
Sira, true to her typically unsmiling self, is neutral faced at Lore's side. A look of concern passes quickly at Monique's admonishment of the servant, replaced by relief as Rook nears, "Minister," She offers a kiss to her patron's cheek in greeting. "Good to see you here."
Neve has found herself a perch in a tree, and from there she watches the arrival of the guests. Her lips are curled upward in an amused smile. When Marius lifts his stolen glass she hops down to join in the festivities.
Leaning forward to return a kiss to Sira’s cheek, Rook replies “And you too.” He turns his gaze towards Lore and inclines his head respectfully. “Twice in as many days. My fortune must have taken a turn for the better!”
Monique stares with abject longing at the glass in Cesare's hand. It's a visceral and deep desire and the Minx reaches out a hand for it - only to be intercepted by Marius snagging it. Her scowl intensifies, falling first on Apollo. "Everything is *fine*, Duke Apollo." It's not, of course, but after a few deep breaths she can fake it. A smile is summoned to her generous mouth. "Just fine. Cesare. You're looking like a sight for sore eyes. How are you both?" Grady earns the first real smile, wry as it is. "Flatterer. Lord Grady, welcome. The Dream is caught up in renovations still but things are moving apace. Have you met the Softest Whisper and the Duke Apollo? And Lore, Sira and Minister Champagne. I certainly didn't expect such illustrious guests. I hope you'll drink heavily tonight to forget my bad behavior." Guilt teases her tone.
Smiling up at Rook, Lore offers a short half-bow, "Always a pleasure, Master Rook. With Sira as a protege, I'm afraid you'll be seeing quite a lot of me. I can't seem to help but find myself in her shop all the time. We were discussing designs and ideas when Carolina so rightfully reminded me of the meeting tonight!" A grateful smile is passed to Carolina before lifting a hand in wave to Marius. Monique has her chuckling, "Well I know everybody present, but lets make sure everyone else does, too!" Looking to Sira, she smiles, "Would you care to meet my patron?"
"Or drink heavily enough to behave worse, ourselves?" Grady, who is almost certainly not going to drink anything at all (or hardly anything) asks of Monique with a grin. "Ah! Softest Cesare. Of course I should have found you here. Rather a dimmer occasion without you, yes? I inexplicably find myself one of your number, or as close to it as someone who has been so careless as to be born with a title can be. Marquis! Hello, there you are. You have such a lovely garden. Thank you dreadfully for the invitation. I shouldn't have known what I was missing if I were to pass it up, but I think it still would have been something of a personal tragedy, even if I had been blissfully ignorant. Minister Champagne. How goes the, ah, the finance... things." Grady might be a little bit vague on what goes into Rook's job.
Cesare's expression is momentarily tart as Marius intercepts the drink, but he turns the considerable full force of his charm on Monique almost immediately thereafter, taking her hand and kissing the back of it, then leaning in to press a gentle kiss to the curve of her cheekbone as well. "Yes, Lord Grady and I are well acquainted. Thank you for asking. I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer at the show last night, but I was feeling a bit worn, as I usually do after a performance, and wanted to prepare for the Grayson meeting this afternoon."
He dips his head to the rest of the arrivals: Lore, Rook, Sira, Neve. "It's a wonderful day for being out in the gardens. Much better than being cooped up inside.
Apollo smiles faintly at Monique's reassurance, and turns as Siri settles down. Blinking back up from his journal to Cesare, the smile grows, warms. "Likewise, Softest Whisper Cesare." He gives a dip of his head. "Congratulations - I can think of none better." His eyes turn to Grady, brows up. "And nice to meet you, Lord Grady." He does move to settle, though he flashes Lore a smile, gives Rook a dip of his head; those are the people he recognizes.
Neve and Marius have a murmured exchange and the former of the pair grins at her cousin. When Cesare addresses her (and the others) she replies to him, "Most days are better outside, but that's just my opinion. I'd rather be running through a field or climbing a tree than doing something indoors any day."
Sira accepts the returned gesture from Rook before looking around for a glass of... something. Wine? Lore gets a nod, "Yes, that would be nice," to meet her patron, presumably. "There are a few people here that I don't think I know." SHe glances at Marius, Neve, and Apollo, then briefly gives Cesare and Grady each a nod of recognition before saying "hello again, Lady Greenmarch," to Monique.
Grady bows to Apollo, the same technically correct but largely graceless bow as he gave to Marius. It's not the best showing, but the sheer force of warmth that pours out of his smile as he straightens up makes up for it. "So good to meet you Duke Apollo. Goodness, I'm going to be caught out in my neglect of the society pages. Most unbecoming, yes, not to already know who people are before one meets them." The smile turns openly apologetic. "I can't every well ask after the health of your domain without remembering your House, can I? Or... I suppose I rather could have, couldn't I? It would have been a clever way of concealing gap in my knowledge." An opportunity that he has chattered RIGHT away by confessing, but he doesn't seem upset by the fact.
"Ah! Excellent. Right this way. Master Rook, would you care to join us? You lend elegance to every endeavor," Lore smiles up at him, keeping one arm tucked into Sira's as she starts to guide them towards Marius. Along the way, she pauses by Monique just long enough to whisper something to the lady before flashing a wink and a grin and continuing along. Apollo gets a smile and a small wave as she carries them along, recognizing him as well. "Marius! Marius, this is the woman I was telling you about! Sira, this is Marquis Marius Greenmarch. Marius, this is Sira, the hottest new tailor in the city. Seriously, her designs are to DIE for." Turning to Neve, she smiles brightly, "Lady Neve, it's wonderful to have you back in the city. This is Sira. Sira, this is Lady Neve Greenmarch."
Marius offers a deep dip of his head toward Cesare after they have had their interaction. Then his gaze drifts about. "Lore hello there!" He says while waving back and sipping whiskey, "Lord Grady I am very pleased you've accepted the invitation. We truly are blessed to have your company as well as the others gathered here!" Now he turns to Neve, "How does a stoic tree act?" He asks before turning back to Lore and Sira and offering a half bow. "A pleasure to meet you, soon we will have to talk business... But not now!"
"Well met, Sira," Neve offers with a dip of her head. Lore gets a familiar smile. "Spring and summer it's hard for me to sit still, but I promised my cousin I'd take on more responsibility around her, so you'll see more of me soon," she promises. When Marius asks how a tree acts she just raises an eyebrow at him, her expression once more amused.
Deciding that he is quite happy to partner with Lore as the slices of bread for a Sira sandwich, Rook fancies her with a warm smile, absorbing the rapid fire words with a look of amusement on his face.
Monique seems well distracted by Cesare's charm and her mood improves considerably with the compliments, the perfect little touches he does so well. A true smile blooms on her lips as she leans in to murmur something, catching Lore in passing on the other side almost immediately after. As Lore pulls Sira by, Monique inclines her fiery head to the seamstress. "Mistress Sira. Come find me when you're done being presented like the prize you are." To Apollo, the Minx muses, "I shouldn't be surprised to know you know Cesare. Have you ever worked together on a poem or a song? I cannot think of anything I'd rather hear more."
Sira's hand catches Rook's wrist, making it a good thing he had decided to come along so she didn't have to drag him. Monique gets a smile and nod, a murmured, "Of course, my lady," before the introductions to the other Greenmarches. "Marquis Marius, Lady Neve," She gives a a respectful bow of her head to the nobles. "An honor. Thank you for opening your garden to us today." To Marius specifically, she gives another nod. "At your leisure, my lord." Wine. Wine. She needs wine.
Nudging Sira lightly, she grins, "Don't use titles here. Marius hates it. He's Marius, you're Sira, I'm Lore, this is Rook. I use title with Lady Neve only because I haven't had a chance to get her opinion on it yet." Lore turns to Neve with a smile, 'If you prefer title or not, I'm happy to roll with whichever you prefer." In passing, she plucks a glass from a tray and takes a swallow. Her eyes stray to Monique every so often, looking her over. Perhaps eyeballing her friends outfit and determining how she can get something like it.
Apollo gives Grady a little turn of his head and a smile, not apparently put off at all. "Or you can lead with honesty and inquiry," he offers. "I reserve a place of higher esteem for curious souls than those who've memorized lists. I thank you for the sentiment, Nilanza thrives." His attention shifts toward Monique, a glance cast again toward Cesare, a smile there. "Not as such," he says, looking back at Monique. "Though I will ever be enamored with his voice. The city is better for hearing it."
Neve nods to Lore. "I'm not overly attached to titles. I like being places where they don't even exist, when I can. The woods care not for that kind of thing. Neve is fine." That last bit is added after a beat, just to make her meaning entirely clear.
Cesare inclines his head to hear what Monique has to say, and returns her soft-voiced comment, his hand clasping her forearm gently as she speaks to him. He shakes his head, giving her a slight smile, and then murmurs a bit louder, in addendum to Apollo, "My /lady./ You haven't even heard me sing properly yet and you're already casting aspersions on my ability? I write my /own/ compositions, you know. We really are going to have to correct this soon, although I admit part of it is entirely my own fault, as I haven't performed publicly in some time. Perhaps we could arrange a private recital? Though you are quite busy lately." Eyes downcast, before offering a sly glance through his lashes.
"Well, I've rather confessed too much to lead with anything BUT honesty, at this point," Grady laughs cheerfully to Apollo. "Nilanza. That makes your House... oh dear, now I'm going to go and give myself away for having put SOMETHING to memory. Perhaps I had better bow out as gracefully as my own big mouth allows." His amiable smile, coming and going over his mobile, expressive features, make his self-flagellation a good-humored sort of thing. But he DOES bow out, in such a way that he finds himself holding a wine glass that he's not really drinking from at all and facing Lore. "Lore... Artiglio, yes? How is Prince Theo? I don't think I've seen either of you since that lovely evening at the Black Fox."
"Malespero," Cesare supplies to Grady helpfully.
Apollo shoots Cesare a grateful look, and gives Gradya bow of his head as he retreats. Seeing the glass Grady has, he glances at the trays, the beverages available - ah yes. The wine should do just fine for him, too. He offers Siri a brows-up look of query, and fetches one for both of them.
"Excellent! Neve it is," Lore smiles brightly at the Greenmarch lady with a nod. Her head turns towards Grady and she grins, "Hello, Lord Grady! He's doing well! Business keeping him busy, you know. And I was in the performance at the theater!" She chuckles lightly and lifts her glass for a sip.
"Aspersions! I would never! But if you don't sing something by the end of this evening to prove it, I might have to," Monique teases Cesare playfully. "The good Duke composed a poem only the other day and it fair stole my breath away. Even though he didn't believe the subject matter of it as much as I did." Her gaze follows after every glass of booze poured with a distinct longing, the fervor of a functioning alcoholic coming off the alcohol. "But Cesare, the way you danced with Ilira... ah, I don't know I've ever seen something so beautiful. Even though she did stab me in the end."
"I do hope that he had the good sense to attend, or failing that, to be suitably torn up about missing it." Grady looks away briefly with his conversation with Lore to give Cesare a smile of gratitude that the golden mischief gleaming in his hazel eyes transforms into something closer to a grin, then returns his attention to Lore. "Such a bother getting anywhere in this heat, much less a crowded theater, but of course a Lycene prince hardly can plead off with that excuse. How was the performance?"
With a nod, Sira acknowledges Lore's words about titles. "Marius, Neve," She corrects before grabbing a glass of whatever is coming by on the tray just then. Her arm links with Rook's after a lengthy sip. "Better." The word is muttered mostly to herself. Then, she's approaching Monique with Rook in tow, seeking the lady out as requested.
A servant arrives and hands Neve a note. She reads over it, frowning, then puts a hand on Marius' arm. "Looks like there was a snag with the arrangements to visit the Greenwood. I need to take care of this."
Marius offers Sira a warm smile, "There's a time for all things," he gestures around them, "Here in this weather and this setting... We're all in it together." Now Neve gets his attention and his brows furrow briefly at her words but he nods, "Send word if you need me to come assist. That has to be one of our highest priorities."
"You needn't evangelize the Duke's abilities with verse to me; I am well aware of his talents," Cesare says placidly. "But I do think the best songs are the ones that the singer believes most stridently, and for that reason I often prefer to write my own." He slips his arm around Monique's waist, supporting her. "Just as the Duke doubtless prefers reciting poetry of his own composition. And I also prefer some time to /prepare,/ although I suppose I could sing something, if you like; I have a poem of an unusual form that I composed and haven't shared with anyone yet, and I can come up with a melody. It will /not/ be my most impressive work."
A pause, and then, to Grady, "Mistress Nina breathed fire, and I am intent upon learning to do the same. It will be an incredible addition to whenever Lady Monique decides she'd like to next fling knives at me while I perform complex choreography. Which is to say, it was incredible, and went over perfectly."
With Sira and Rook gravitating towards Monique, Lore hangs back by Marius to help him hold up the fence. Or something. She flashes a grin towards Grady, "Oh no, not His Highness' type of event at all. I didn't expect to see him there." Lifting her glass for another sip, she glances to Neve, then Marius, murmuring, "If there's anything I can do to help grease wheels, let me know..."
Neve gives Marius a quick nod before slipping out.
Having thrown in his lot for the evening with Sira and Lore, Rook is brought over to Neve, to whom he nods a polite greeting, and then Grady. The latter he also offers a polite nod. "Lord Grady - how are your little ones fairing? Did you decide whether to introduce your eldest to that hobby she was considering?"
Swiftly the Red Fox, 1 Greenmarch Guards, Andred, a lady-in-waiting leave, following Neve.
"Very kind of you, Lady Monique," Apollo says, and tips aside - nudges Siri, who realizes she has wine. He does nod at Cesare's assessment. "I do prefer to speak aloud my own work. Though Mockingbird Evaristo performed one of my pieces once, so I know that appeals to some."
"Breathed fire! Goodness." The mental image seems to take Grady a little bit aback. "I suppose you do mean that in the literal sense. What a skill to learn! I would be curious to hear, ah, not firsthand, mind you, how it is done." No breathing fire for Grady. He smiles over to Rook. "I've rather had a better opportunity to let her see the place than I might otherwise have had. I suppose it's something every father must see as the pinnacle of their career, yes, finding a way to see a hero reflected in the eyes of their children when they look at him? Or mother as well, I should imagine, but Jessa is a hero in most everyone's eyes, so I rather think she takes it for granted. Such a wonderful feeling, to be able to take her to see the library there. It was some days ago, you know, and she still hasn't stopped talking about it. Do you know, I don't think I ever asked you if you were a family man, Minister."
Monique's lean on Apollo is pronounced but her smile for Sira's return is warm. "Welcome back, Sira. Tell me what brings you to Arx? I know what brings you to Greenmarch," her eyes stray to Lore with a fond smile, "and I don't blame you for it." And to Cesare, "I can't think of anything that would sooth me more after the day I've had, Softest Whisper. If you would? I could use all the beauty in the world today."
Mar, the Magpie arrives, following Pasquale.
Marius sips on his whiskey and casually exchanges a few whispers with Lore while keeping an eye out for anyone that may need his attention.
Cesare sits up a bit, taking a deep breath and lengthening his spine from the top down, shoulders squaring and chest rising. "You may want to sit away a bit, Lady Monique, I may get loud." He moves his hands, cupping them over her ears as he tries to (tries to) keep his voice at a reasonable level as he trills out a scale, takes a drink of whiskey, and then lets out a second bottom-to-top scale of notes, followed by a softer hum, testing out a few abortive melodies. "The poetic form was to use thirteen discrete words, and only thirteen. So it's a bit simpler than what I usually write, but - well."
A warm smile is favored for Grady as Rook listens to him recount the tale of his daughter. "I am indeed, as a matter of fact. My wife is off with our daughter right now, but she is roughly of age with your eldest."
Apollo angles eyes up toward Monique at some murmur or other; it's not the most suspicious he's ever looked in his life, but it's suspicious enough. "I'll be very interested to hear," he returns. He's just lifting his wine to his lips when he catches a bird streaking into the room, a fluff of feathers in front of him. He breaks into a smile, and gives the magpie's breast a pet; it greets him with whistles, and "pollo!" twice. "Hello Mar. Where's the message?"
There's a moment where Sira looks like she might just turn and leave the party. It's fleeting, but there, in response to Monique's question about being in Arx. "I..." Her shoulders lift in a shrug. "I have a shop here. Had a shop here, some years ago." Her attention flicks to Rook before settling back on Monique. "I don't remember why I left. Or how I got back. Or... Most things, really." She then busies herself with drinking. Another will be needed. Soon.
"It's a bit of an awkward age, I think. I remember when I..." Grady's conversation with Rook peters out when Cesare starts singing, and he turns all of his attention towards the Whisper.
Well. That catches Monique's attention more than anything could. The mystery of Sira tugs at her and it's a good bet that if the seamstress ran the Minx would give chase. But she's stopped by the hands over her ears and she laughs. It's a tone deaf sound because of course she can't hear anything until Cesare releases her ears. "Gods. Is it that bad that you must block my ears first?" she torments poor Cesare before stepping back next to Sira and Apollo to listen. She leans in to whisper something to Sira, quiet and with great interest. Poor Sira.
Despite being rather unfashionably late Pasquale steps into the garden as if he is entirely on time. Alas. Pasquale follows the path taken by the magpie at a far more sedate pace until he can wryly tell Apollo "One of these days that bird is going to break my heart." he gives a slight shake of his head and then looks to Sira "Surely you aren't leaving already Messere?" and then Monique. "What a lovely gown Monique." he sits himself down then, as close to Apollo as is convenient. "Cesare is singing? How lucky for me."
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Georgette, 1 Greenmarch Guards arrive, following Simone.
Sira gives Monique a quiet response, something involving ticking things off on her fingers. She gives a small shake of her head to Pasquale before greeting him. "My lord, hello." THen she's listening to Cesare, too.
Cesare narrows his eyes. Capriciously, he clamps his mouth shut, and folds his arms. He tilts his chin up slightly, waiting until he is absolutely certain he has everyone's attention, because he has been volunteered to sing and agreed to do so out of the pure, liquid goodness of his honey-gold heart, and this clearly entitles him to be a brat about it. It's not until all eyes are on him that he starts. Though to be clear, the quality of his voice is almost certainly enough to get the attention of anyone close enough to hear it anyway. Rich, clear, warm - satisfying as holding a smooth piece of amber, lovely as looking at sunlight through it.
Well. That's foreboding!
There's room next to Apollo on one side - just the other side from Siri. He looks up when he sees Pasquale and lifts his wine. "For all of us," he murmurs. "I'll try not to seduce him away from you." And then he falls silent, listening to the ominous song Cesare wrote - dark even if his voice has that inherent sunshine to it.
Marius has found a good spot just enough out of the way that he can devote his attention to anyone that requires, chit chat, or simply stand there and sip on whiskey which he continues to do while his green eyes scan the crowd
The lyrics of the song leave Grady looking a little bit confused, for all that he clearly enjoys the music. But then he's left with the problem of applauding while carrying a still-full glass of wine. He looks around for a surface on which to set the glass.
Cesare's song spares Sira more grilling from Monique. In fact, she seems to forget the world entirely while the Softest Whisper sings. It's a lovely distraction and she doesn't even spare a moment to stare longingly at Marius' whiskey and her own empty hand. She does tilt her fiery head in greeting to Pasquale's arrival, but the rest of her attention is for the song and as it fades into the ether, she murmurs, "Fucking Horned God and his damned ravens." There's a shiver. "It was hauntingly beautiful, Softest. Our gratitude for gracing us with your talent. Even if I had to force it out of you."
For a while Pasquale just listens to Cesare singing but once the song is done he looks back to Apollo and then to the magpie enjoying pets before offering a mildly amused. "I think it might be too late for that." softly, to Monique, he queries. "I thought that was Crows, not Ravens?"
Lore stays back by Marius, helping him hold up the fence. She sips her drink and occasional makes a soft remark to the Marquis in an attempt to get a laugh from the man. She watches the rest of the party with a smile, just enjoying the atmosphere for a bit.
"The crows are Azazel's," Apollo says. "I don't know that I've seen reference to ravens in connection with anything. But the song is perfectly ominous enough on its own."
The measured, graceful steps of the Marquessa can be heard before the woman is seen, moving through the entry leading from the lodge into the gardens. A pause is given, quiet words shared with the servant who opens the heavy door for the woman before her chin is lifted and amusement floods her features. A glass is plucked and sipped at even as she moves further. The song is given attention to, eyes lingering a beat and then its over. Then she notes Marius, glass lowered and that slow smile returns.
Grady belatedly finds a place to put his glass down so he can applaud Cesare's performance. Through an unfortunate (or maybe fortunate, depending on how one looks at things) accident of chance, this leaves him looking for all the world like he's enthusiastically applauding Simone's appearance in the garden.
Oura, a white-tailed eagle, Valor, a juvenile male Oakhaven Bloodhound, 2 Greenwood Tribe Blood Warriors arrive, following Thesarin.
Lore straightens up with a smile, nudging Marius in the side and whispering to him before sidling away with a nod towards Simone.
Having been spared further questioning, and a second drink found and gulped, Sira looks around and slinks out quietly without drawing attention with goodbyes.
At the appearance of Simone the Marquis eyes light up, "Excuse me a moment Lore," he says at her nudge before taking another sip of his whiskey and moving in her direction. If there is a reflective surface on his path he absolutely took a quick glance to make sure he looks alright. "This day continues to surprise! Beautiful songs, beautiful friends and now the most beautiful Marquessa to draw breath has brought her radiance to bestow over we humbly gathered!" There is a sweetness to his voice yet heard this evening and the brightness of his smile has no doubt grown three sizes.
Thesarin makes his way into the Gardens, looking... well, grim, as always. The Marquis' scowl seems to be the resting expression on his face, perhaps having ignored his mother's warnings that it would stick like that if he kept making it. He steps in quietly, for all his size, not drawing much attention, but lifting his chin in greeting to the assembled as he steps into the garden.
"You're both right, of course," Monique says to Pasquale and Apollo with an apologetic smile. "That song drove thought out of my mind entirely." There's no drink in her hand to punctuate the thought with and so she adds, "Still ominous. What was the inspiration?" she asks of Cesare, curious, even as she lifts a hand in greeting to Simone's arrival and brightens at Thesarin's. "Well. A face I've not seen in a long time and still as fierce as ever. Marquis Thesarin Riven, where's my hug?" Is she teasing? The glint in her eyes says she might be.
Lore sidles over to take the spot that Sira left vacant, slipping right in at Monique's side without so much as a whisper. Instead, she merely stands there and glances sidelong towards her friend to see if she'll notice.
"Ah! The most admirable Marquessa Simone." Grady turns on his heel towards Simone, for all the world like he didn't notice that he accidentally applauded her entrance (maybe he didn't), and gives her a warm, friendly smile. He bows to her. "My loyalty to House and family prevents me from acknowledging you as the most beautiful Marquessa, my lady, but you look lovely this evening."
Cesare, having just finished his impromptu performance, takes several long swallows of his whiskey, and then sets about looking for a refill, apparently insensate of any reaction to said performance until he has obtained it. He blinks at the question, and says to Monique, "Well, I suppose it was mostly just wordplay, to be honest - dark, black, feathers, wings, ravens. And the portentous mood of late." He leans closer to speak words directly into her ear, before turning his attention back to the party at large, dipping his head politely to the arrivals of Thesarin and Simone. "Marquessa, Marquis."
Apollo tips aside to murmur something with Pasquale, looking interested in his answer even if the air is humorous, and then nods. Looking up at the incoming nobility, he offers a smile, a dip of his head to Simone and Thesarin.
Simone has not been applauded for entering a room in the last hour, so Grady certainly makes up for such an oversight. She is gracious though! "Lord Grady, you say the sweetest things, and if I did not already agree with such statements I would think you were stroking my ego. As it stands, we both have exquisite taste and I shall never tell a soul that your loyalty was tested so strenuously this evening." She leaves the man with a wink and lift of her glass before her eyes take in another. Monique is provided with a softer, familiar smile, "Lady Monique, you have turned one of my most favorite areas into something lively. I hardly know if the garden is the attraction or the company. I may feel the loss for the lack of people when all leave that I might have to lock the doors and keep everyone." She might be teasing. As she locks eyes with her husband there is another warmth coloring her features as the man closes the distance, "Marius, it is I who is humbled by your words. Even though the smartest decision you've ever made was to be in such a position to say them to me." She lifts to place a soft kiss to his cheek, before Lore is noted, "I have yet to use the cloth you assisted me with, though I am certain inspiration shall strike." Apollo's greeting is returned before she loops a delicate hand in Marius' arm, fingers curling around, "I am pleased to have heard your song, Softest," she says to Cesare, pleased.
Lore dips a deep nods towards Simone, offering a smile of wamrth and enjoyment, "I well know that crux, Marquessa. Do let me know if I can assist you with anything else at the market. It will be my pleasure."
Pasquale chuckles softly at something Apollo says softly to him before murmuring back.
Grady laughs, when accused by Simone of ego stroking. "Nonsense. That's the husband's job, and yours does it with incomparable aplomb." He then smiles past her to Therarin, and bows. "I will say, however, without reservation, that you are quite the loveliest Marquis, if only because I fear the wrath of your wife if word got back to her of my crowning someone else." Nobody genuinely afraid of a person like Mia could possibly smile as easily or speak with such lightness as Grady does. "How is she? Your wife, that is. I don't think I've seen her in some weeks. I understand she's negotiating a new addition to your house."
Cesare bows his head again to Simone, smiling faintly. "You are too kind, Marquessa. It's a pleasure to meet you. In your absence, your husband and Lady Monique have been the most gracious hosts one could imagine, and I have enjoyed my time in Greenmarch Lodge tremendously. You have a wonderful home in the city, and I am sure the Greenwood is equally, if not moreso." He nods to something that Monique says quietly to him, and returns the aside promptly, if equally hushed.
Apollo smiles at Pasquale, then nods at Simone. "I've loved these gardens since I first visited. At Lord Alessandro's invitation, though I've not seen him in an age - pity, that. They're truly lovely."
"Come on, then, Lady." Thesarin's scowl cracks into a glimmer of a smile, and he holds one arm out wide to one side, inviting Monique to make good on the request. "Though you've none to blame but you if you hurt yourself." That same smike holds as he looks toward Grady with a shake of his head. "Busy, ever busy. But in good health... if weighed heavy by all about of late. How fare you?" A nod then to Cesare, as well, and a noise--a sort of grunt, really--acknowledging the greeting he'd recieved.
"I do not think myself a smart man, though I shall take the compliment," Marius replies to Simone with a wink and a smirk. Her kiss to his cheek receives one in return. "I'm happy you made it my love. I trust the day has been well for you?" He inquires of Simone as she takes his arm. His empty glass is placed on the tray of a passing servant and another picked up, "Have you eaten? Can I get you anything?"
Monique steps away from Lore and Cesare to Thesarin's outstretched arm. "Uncivilized Prodigal brute," she teases the Riven Marquis with deep affection, squeezing him just as tightly. "Where've you been? Off vanquishing evil, no doubt!" She steps back. "You look well enough, at least."
"I am quite well, although rather less busy than I should like." While he chatters cheerfully to Thesarin, Grady collects his still full wineglass from wherever he set it down so that he could applaud Cesare and/or Simone. "I'm afraid Marquessa Samantha rather takes all of that on herself, and with not even scraps to toss my way like the starving mongrel that I am. Quite her prerogative, of course, but I'm liable to get myself into some sort of regrettable trouble, yes, if not given something constructive to do."
Pasquale speaks softly with Apollo for a few more moments and then moves up onto his feet. "Time for me to retire. I appreciated the gardens."
Mar, the Magpie leaves, following Pasquale.
"I am pleased to hear that," Simone tells Cesare, "I expect nothing less, and there is nothing worse than my disappointment." She doesn't appear to be intimidating, the charm and amusement creating an approachable appearance, but no one ever wants to be disappointed at! "Lord Alessandro keeps busy, as we tend to do, for we know that we all get into enough trouble without added boredom. I shall let him know you have sought him out though," she then tells Apollo. Her head tilts at something her husband says, and she smiles at Marius, "I came to steal you." There is no. shame or guilt to her words. "I decided that your company was misplaced and I wished to have you all to myself. Alone." She attempts an innocent look, and would succeed if not for the look she gives the man.
"Killing folk I reckon needed killing, so aye. Could call it so. But back in civilization, brute I might be, for the now. How find you, Monique?" Thesarin steps back over in the direction Monique had come before he releases her, and giving a nod and a low noise in his chest toward Grady. "That's the trouble with clever folk at your disposal. They'll need to be kept occupied, or they'll find their own occupation."
"Oh you know, mayhem and Dark Mirrors chasing me like they can't get enough," Monique tells Thesarin, bodily carried and then set down. "Nothing new. I swear, if an Aspect appeared to me just once, I'd die of the shock." She glances aside between Simone and Marius with a 'little sister here, gross!' expression. "Are you looking for something constructive, Lord Grady? Because the Gods and Spirits know I've got plenty I could keep you occupied with."
Marius nods at Simones words, "It never ends well when there are bored Greenmarches, who knows the ill begotten trouble we might find!" Marius chuckles and cuts a quick glance over to his sister, though the look that comes his way from Simone captures him. "We'll, when you put it that way it is hard to, nay, impossible to say no to!" Laughing brightly he looks back to Monique and catches her look, he rolls his eyes playfully and calls over, "Can you see that everyone enjoys the rest of their evening? I'm being kidnapped by force completely against my will as you can see!"
Whatever Monique says to Cesare leaves him vaguely amused, and he finishes his glass of whiskey succinctly. "Likewise, Lord Pasquale, I've an early morning tomorrow, as usual. I'm so grateful that you've had me tonight, and it's been such a pleasure to see you all." He bows deeply, finding a passing tray to slip his glass onto, and then slipping back through the greenery of the gardens himself.
"Pasquale, your b--" Apollo calls after him, because Mar is... still there. "Well?" he says to the bird, like: aren't you going to fly after him? Siri looks bemused, then /amused/; he just shrugs, and ruffles his curls, and when his hand drops to the table, he's got a small white twig in it. Where did /that/ come from? He grins, because no sooner has it appeared but Mar has stolen it... and flown off after Pasquale.
Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove leave, following Cesare.
"Perhaps you might be so good, yes, as to mention as much to Marquessa Samantha, should you happen to see her," Grady suggests to Thesarin with a grin. "Especially if it involves describing me as clever. I don't think I could, could I, have hoped to weave flattery so subtle and with such a natural cast to it, and in the presence of such, I find myself quite humbled." Now he turns his smile to Monique. "As long as it doesn't involve sending me to Bastion to do the gods only know what, to the gods only know who, I should be delighted to hear it. I should, I think, be delighted to hear it even if it does, so long as it should come from you, but not so willing, perhaps, to take action. I'm not very suited, am I, for doing whats to whos."
"I'll see about speaking with Marquessa Deepwood, but subtle ain't much my strength." A shake of Thesarin's head, and he lifts up his chin toward Marius. "Try to endure. Sorry I came so late. Just aimed to be sure that, when Greenwood opened your doors to allies, Riven made a show."
Simone laughs brightly at Monique's expression as she slides her hand from Marius' arm into his, leading him out of the gardens.
Monique, in turn, eyes the whiskey the Marius is abandoning with a sneaking expression. Surely one glass won't hurt. But the distraction of Grady and Thesarin are enough for now to keep the redhead from taking a drink. To Grady, she offers, "Not Bastion. Not my fight and I've little that could help them, I'm afraid. No, I've something else in mind, my lord. Come find me in the next few days? We'll take... tea... and go over the plans and you can decide how much of your life you'd like to risk." To Thesarin, the Minx adds, "Riven has always been our allies, and ever will be." She leans in to murmur something quietly to the Marquis.
Georgette, 1 Greenmarch Guards leave, following Simone.
2 Greenmarch Guards leaves, following Marius.
Apollo flares a hand after the magpie, and watches the Marquis and Marquessa depart. There's a look at Monique, sort of helpless, like to say: birds want what they want. A nudge from Siri, and he gives a look of query, then - as if he's suddenly understood - he nods. "You'll have to pardon me as well - I'll have to enjoy the gardens further another night. Thank you so much for inviting me, Monique." Smiles and a dip of his head all around, and he presses to his feet, angled to leave.
"I don't suppose 'none of it' or 'as little as possible' are acceptable options?" Grady chuckles. "Well! I'll come find you at a more opportune time. I'm afraid tonight it rather grows late, and I don't, do I, wish to keep you here once the Marquis and Marquessa have gone. Thank you once more for the lovely invitation. And, ah, the wine." He sets his (still untouched) wine glass somewhere nearby. "Delightful to see you again, Marquis Thesarin!"
"I'll be called to Bastion 'fore too long, ain't doubt." Thesarin shrugs his broad shoulders and gives another low rumble. "Make your business fighting, and you ain't find yourself often idle. Seemed clever, once. Have a care, lord Grady; and fine seeing you, likewise." He listens to... whatever it was Monique whispered to him, and gives another slow nod back toward her.
Nomius, a deeply skeptical bloodhound, Siri, an attentive apprentice, Paris, a charming mercenary, Tagalong leave, following Apollo.
"Good evening Duke Apollo. Lord Grady. I'm afraid there's a minimum of at least half. See you soon!" Monique's good mood is decidedly restored as she nods back to Thesarin.
Grady waves and starts off, collecting Mortimer and the two guards from wherever he happened to stash them.
2 House Deepwood Guards, Mortimer Ridgewattle the Third leave, following Grady.
Having been decided quiet for the evening, seemingly content to be seen as the eye candy for one person or another, Rook has finally run out of conversations to drift in and out of. He makes his way over towards Monique. "As always, I thank you for the invitation."
Lore checks dexterity and stealth at normal. Lore is successful.
Utilizing the time-honored lowborn servant skill of blending with the scenery, Lore has faded from view and slips away to find new trouble and mayhem to get into.
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