Eswynd Feast - Medeia's Birthday Edition
March 2, 2022, 9:30 p.m.
Arx - Ward of House Thrax - Eswyndol - Main Hall
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With winter still clinging to the city, Eswyndol's main hall has been turned into a party hall for the evening. Though, anyone who has been here before knows that there is little difference - the hall is full of people talking boisterously over drinks, tables are laden with food, and the guards are announcing guests (ineffectively as no one can really hear the announcements of the music from small drums and laughing and such). Near the door, Medeia stands ready to greet guests personally as they arrive. Her hair has been left long and loose, tumbling in warm brown waves down her back. It hasn't been cut in a while. "Hello, welcome! Come and find a drink, something to eat. There will be games in a bit!"
Fashionably right on time, Keely steps inside with a cashmere-clad hand curled at the elbow of Lord Mattheu Rivenshari, who is a merry riot of color as always, and stirs a song of bells into the air with every motion. The princess herself is attired in rich crimson velvet, revealed once her assistant helps her from her coat, after which she swiftly reclaims the arm of her protege and turns her dark eyes over the hall. A warm, luminous smile finds her young face when her gaze finds Medeia, and she murmurs something to Mattheu before moving in the direction of their gracious hostess.
"Lady Eswynd," she utters in soft, fond greeting, her smile growing farther as she looks the woman over. "Happiest birthday to you, and thank you for opening your home so that we may join in celebrating your existence. You look positively resplendent."
It's a dear friend's birthday. So has Ember Redreef changed up her look from 'full shadowmeld armor and bone-spiked cloak?'
Don't be insane. Of course Ember hasn't changed her look.
The small mercy, perhaps, is that Ember is devoid of helmet. Her hair is braided back and away from her face, revealing the scar on her cheek, but from the neck down, it's all shadowmeld. She looks like an ink-blot of a wraith. "Lady Medeia," she says, seeking out the birthday girl first thing. Then her cloak parts so that she can dip her body into a deep, far-too-precise curtsy.
The newly-anointed Dame Barlinnie has dressed up for the evening at least, rather than sporting her usual leathers. She'll hand off a fur-trimmed cloak to a servant and then follow in Ember's wake to greet the Lady of the moment. "Lady Medeia, happy birthday." She'll offer with a less-precise curtsey of her own. "And congratulations on your newest addition." Her hair is shaken slightly now that it's free of the cloak and the warmth of the hall means she can relax herself somewhat, unlike her liege.
Sir Corban is here, too, offering the woman of the hour a bright smile as he comes in. "Lady Medeia." She, of course, gets a squeeze of the hands and cheek kisses. "Congratulations and happy birthday." He dips his head to her. "Thank you for welcoming me to your home to share the occasion."
Beyond a merry burst of color, Mattheu smiles warmly as he steps inside with Keely. Waiting for her cloak to be removed with a small half spin from side to side producing a cascading shower of bells each seeking to sing out. Then to nod to his Patron in their exchange of murmuring. He follows along to greet Medeia, a nod and small wave of his hand. "Lady Medeia. Happy birthday, may it be filled with the kindest of guidance from the winds." He then pats at a set of pouches upon his sash belt and smiles awkwardly, "I seem to have left the long house without a gift... I will remedy this in the near future."
"Princess Keely, Lord Mattheu, good to see you both." Medeia gives the pair a welcoming smile. One hand lifts and touches the pendant at her throat. "Thank you again, Your Highness. My lord," Her hazel gaze settles on the Rivenshari, "I hope that you feel comfortable joining our sailors in song this evening. I imagine it would be a treat for us all to see the blending of styles." The lady's eyebrows lift slightly at Ember, but her smile doesn't waver. "Countess. Dame Barlinnie," Martinique gets a toothy grin. "The lessons paid off, mm?" She rests a hand lightly on the newly knighted woman's forearm before bidding the pair from Redreef to go find drinks. Corban gets the hand squeezes and cheek kisses returned. "But of course, Sir Corban. What good is a celebration with no one celebrating? Do me a favor and ignore the skull altar, would you?" Her laugh is soft and perhaps a touch self conscious. "Please, everyone, no gifts are expected. I am simply pleased to have you all here."
Keely smiles to herself as Medeia touches her pendant, her coffee-brown eyes dipping demurely behind her lashes momentarily before rising again. After giving their greetings, the princess gives Mattheu's arm the gentlest tug so that others may approach the Lady of the hour, her eyes now set on the array of drinks available. "That way?" she asks of him, even as she is already setting off 'that way'.
Haakon is present, having (together with several Eswynd warriors) taken care of the children so that Medeia's hands are free for as long as she wishes them. A game of dice and ship tokens is being played in which the children are choosing which moves the adults will make. It's mostly luck, anyway, and mostly theityle ones just enjoy throwing the dice. Haakon is insulting Mykael for losing to a child. Mykael rebuts that the child is a better opponent than Haakon, which is not contested.
"Yes, they did." Martinique says simply, matching that toothy grin before trailing off towards the drinks table, there to poke through the selection a bit prior to choosing a cup of wine from outside the Isles. From there she'll sweep by the food to snatch a few morsels as she passes, though she doesn't load a plate or anything. At least not yet. Moving by the childcare/dice game area, she'll smirk a bit at the image, the warriors playing overgrown game pieces to the dice, and of course with trash talk.
There may not be gifts //expected//, but there is a gift nonetheless, as Corban places a small wrapped package on the table set aside for such things, taking it from Reedy. He then notes Haakon's arrival. "Ah. Lord Haakon. Good to see you. Hopefully we will not need to fight again tonight."
Mattheu eyes the drinks and with a nod follows along behind Keely then is distracted by the dice and ships tokens game with a long glance as he continues to head towards where drinks are available. A silly smirk flashes over his lips as he spies a mug and proceeds to pour a little of everything available into it, focusing on more of the Third Wall to mix with a splash of rum, then topped off with the blackberry wine. A small sip and the smile which is now glued to his lips as a favorable mixture as he proceeds to drink from the mug with larger gulps, only to quickly replace more wine into it before heading out to see who can be mingled with.
Haakon looks up from the dice game as Corban greets him. "You hope not?" he echoes flatly, eyes narrowing slightly in confusion. "Why for? I thought the last a good contest." Silly barbarian: thinking a refined lady's name day revel was the proper place for swordplay. Martinique gets a cup raised her way in mute salute.
As the gathering settles into a rhythm, Medeia collects a glass of wine and passes by the game where her two eldest are being tiny warlords. "There is hope for Savja yet to not take after her namesake, then?" The girl looks up, babbles something at her mother, and then proceeds to throw the dice at her brother and father. "Perhaps not." The lady shakes her head with a loving smile on her face before giving one of Haakon's shoulders a squeeze and moving around to mingle. Corban's hope earns a tilt of her head. "No?" A glance between the First Captain and Haakon is amused. "My husband brought Savio back in from the training yard bleeding on my last birthday. Perhaps someone owes him the favor returned." One shoulder rolls in a shrug. "I /did/ get a necklace made by my dear protege as a prize for something this evening."
Keely watches Mattheu with wide eyes, mild horror mixing with fascination, and perhaps a touch of envy upon her expression. "Lord Mattheu, your poor belly," she murmurs in quiet awe, her eyes only growing as she watches the man slam back his drink. She then turns her focus to the options before her, young features set in concentration. Determined to fit in, she subtly waves away her assistant, who would normally pour for her to avoid any catastrophes courtesy of the young Grayson's lack of hand-eye coordination, and boldly selects a bottle and a cup, slooowwwly tilting the former over the mouth of the latter and staring at the task with intense focus. She manages, at length, to pour herself a reasonably-sized beverage, then turns to wander at the Rivenshari Lord's side as he heads off to mingle.
When they pass the gaming table, she flashes Haakon a brilliant smile, dipping her chin gently in his direction. "Lord Eswynd, it is wonderful to see you again," she remarks in soft greeting.
2 Redreef Wardens arrives, following Griffin.
The soldier matches Haakon's silent salute and then turns to survey Corban as he speaks. "A sparring partner fit for Lord Haakon then? Must be something to see. I am Dame Martinique Barlinnie of Redreef." She offers by way of introduction. "And as Lady Medeia says, Eswynd parties have much to recommend them from...such perspectives." There's a tight smile. "Though I imagine we are forbidden to 'fail to attempt to assassinate' anyone tonight."
Haakon rumbles back an even greeting to Keely, "Princess," before sniffing to Medeia. "Nonsense: she already plays with better strategy than that lackwit-" that's the moment she throws the dice at him. "A stronger arm, too." Martinique's quip of failed assassination earns a sharp and sudden bark of laughter, which passes just as abruptly.
Mattheu makes a direct path for Ember each step he takes is followed with a soft jingling of bells as he nears her he nods in an additional shower of smaller bells tied within his hair. "Lord Mattheu Rivenshari, it is a pleasure to see someone dressed in such layers of the night. And who might I have the loveliness to speak with?"
Keely looks somewhat apprehensive as Mattheu takes a path toward Ember, turning a glance over her shoulder to see where Medeia has gotten to and clutching her drink a little closer to herself. On their path, her gaze slips curiously over Martinique, but for the moment she seems happy to quietly wallflower while her much more vibrant companion socializes.
Medeia sighs at Martinique. "Please complete your assassinations, it is much easier to clean up - physically and metaphorically." A low 'tsk' follows the request, then a wink. "Princess Keely!" The lady spins to find the Grayson and beckons to her. "Tell me, what is a worthy challenge to pose to you all to win a prize? Would you rather attempt a performance or an act of nimbleness?"
There's a soft tug at Mattheu's leg and it might be the saving moment that the young Rivenshari needed to be pulled away from Ember's gaze. The child looks up to Mattheu with a grabby hand to the three stuffed animals that have been tucked to his belt and pouches. Mattheu looks down to the child with a grin, "Which one are you looking at lil one?" He then points to the badger, followed by water dragon, finally the little shark. The child's eyes light up as they jump when Mattheu taps the shark, "Ah. This one is very special to me too." he pulls the shark from his belt off of the small loop made to hold it, "It's name is sharkie." The stuffed animal is then held out for the child to see closer, when it is grabbed and the child seeks to run away with it. Mattheu watches dumbfounded for a moment, a quick nod to Ember and then he follows the child through the crowd to reclaim Sharkie.
Lengthy lashes flutter in a rapid blink as Keely hears her name, causing her to partially stumble over the hem of her gown. "Oh!" she breathes faintly, lifting her cup so that its contents don't slosh over the side as she regains her footing. "Uhm." She turns a bit, giving Mattheu a sheepish little smile as she departs his side to wander nearer to Medeia, just before he is relieved of his shark. "Which would -I- rather? I suppose... performance?" Predictably, considering her own garments seem to trip her up. Nevertheless, her cheeks are burning to match the color of her attire, dark eyes flitting self-consciously over the rest of those gathered.
There is a placating shrug from Martinique. "I shall endeavor to my fullest, my Lady, to see them carried out." She offers with a grin. And she'll sip some more wine. Her eyes flick upwards more abruptly at the flash of motion in the crowd, her left hand falling halfway to her hip--and then she relaxes. Just a kid running off with a toy shark. A normal thing in the Isles. In fact the only somewhat surprising part is that it's only a toy. She'll chuckle lightly. "I don't know how you Eswynds manage the chaos of children running around this big hall," she comments to the pair of parents. "In the Oathlands the nursery was barely enough to contain them."
Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.
"Nursery," Haakon echoes, deadpan. "You mean a childer-prison? We call it unholy to lock up grown folk, but ye mainlanders are well content to lock up your babes," the reaver heats dryly, with the tone of one who has made this joke many times, before. "Kin should grow together. It's our way. Separate rooms wasn't just a luxury among us, it was arrogance. Deia and I still bed down in the common hall with the household every now and again. But Arvani habits have forced *some* compromise." Yes, they also have a private room for most nights.
One of the Eswynd sailors that is enjoying the gathering leans down and scoops Savja up in one arm to get her to return the shark. "They /have/ a nursery," Medeia says to Martinique. "Or as Haakon calls it, 'baby jail.'" She hushes as Haakon explains further. "We're a communal people." Something her expressions suggests she took some time to fully comprehend. Then she claps, turning back to Keely. "A performance it shall be, then! Everyone who would like to attempt to win a prize of several pieces of deeplight coral may attempt this. Whoever I deem best will win!" She waits for everyone to decide if they are paying attention to her or not. "I wish to see everyone's best impression of Haakon."
Mattheu spins a little as he is still chasing more playfully to get the shark plushie back, "What's a nursery?" he calls out towards Martinique, then laughing softly to Haakon's response. "The Rivenshari are the same Lord Eswynd. We live together, eat together. All help raise children and are put to work all the same. Where ever there is space to slip a hammock, that's where we sleep. If not atop of a table."
Griffin slips in and was watching the birthday celebration in silence from a corner.
Keely's dark eyes grow, and she lifts her fingertips to rest against her lips as she considers Haakon, weighing whether this would be a good idea to undertake. After a lengthy drink of her beverage that only deepens the color in her cheeks, she squares her shoulders a bit, lifting her chin as if readying herself for something.
Now it is Martinique's turn to laugh at the jests of 'baby jails.' "Some houses, it does seem that way." She'll agree. "I don't know if Redreef was different in the past, but what I understand of the Countess's mother's Lycene ways, she never would have put up with an arrangement of this sort." A roll of the blonde woman's shoulders in a shrug, and then a thoughtful sort of expression crosses her face. "Imitate Haakon eh." Then her smile is sly--when will she get this chance again?
Keely checks command and performance at hard. Keely fails.
Martinique checks stamina and performance at hard. Martinique fails.
Keely takes a deep breath in, in, in and holds it, gaze lingering on Haakon as she musters up the nerve to imitate him. She puffs her chest up a little, furrowing her ivory brow, opening her mouth to speak and then...
Nope. She releases her breath in a rush, deflates rapidly, and gives a sheepish little shake of her head to Medeia, the whole ordeal only fanning the flames in her cheeks.
Mattheu checks strength and performance at hard. Botch! Mattheu fails completely.
Martinique attempts to step in as Keely needs a moment. She looks thoughtful and then heads over to the drinks table once more, picking up a bottle of something with no label all aside from some colored wax dripped with a seal that she can't make out clearly. A quick sniff confirms the contents and she pours out a new glass, this time of Islander moonshine of one sort or another, the kind of thing that can double as a ship-burning incendiary if one has enough of it. (One never has enough, she is given to understand.)
"Ahem." She deepens her voice a bit, such as she can. "If we're not reaving, I'm leaving! These drinks are too weak!"
And then she'll attempt to down the entire glass in a single go but barely manage a swallow or two before she breaks into wheezing coughs of disgust. "Ugh!" The glass is thrown, somewhere far away from the children, to shatter against a wall. "Imagine that was a harpoon, since I don't have a casual eveningwear harpoon I carry with me." She's a bit hoarse.
"See, Princess, you couldn't possibly do worse than that--have another go," Martinique encourages, while still wiping away the taste of that /stuff/ from her mouth.
Griffin checks perception and performance at normal. Griffin is successful.
Medeia gives Griffin a little wave when she spots him, inviting him to mingle with the others. She turns to Martinique and nods slightly. "It... It is different. My mother." She pauses, frowning. "Would likely faint dead away." She's grateful to Keely for a diversion, giving the princess an expectant look, and then she's watching a glass fly. "Get Martinique an evening wear harpoon, got it. Someone write that down for me?" Her eyes scan the hall for a servant to take a note for her.
Haakon snorts at Marti's entertaining effort, an affected look of disdain curling his scarred lip. No eveningwear harpoon? "You could have borrowed mine," he scoffs, gesturing at the house's altar.
"Where's my dagger!? Which one of you children has stollen it? Don't you know I've got to beat the Countess?" Mind you, Griffin be heard by everyone.
Mattheu gives up on catching the child with sharkie for a moment, watching Keely as she needs to step aside from her performance, then clapping for Martinique. "Have only met him today and... it could be him." He looks at Haakon with a squint, "You remind me of one of the Iron feet. They have this thing that they will do." he then slams the rest of his drink and proceeds to spread his arms out to motion to get some space. Once he has it, he leaps up and spins in the air to land upside down and in a handstand, which looks great right up to he fails to catch himself. Barely stopping his motion with forearms instead of hands and falling flat on his face not even able to complete his full spin. A long breath is exhaled from the Rivenshari on the floor as he rolls over and starts laughing. "Something like that but landing."
There's a grin from Martinique at Haakon's words and she'll raise her resumed wine glass at the house altar and its...various contents, briefly. Then of course it's Griffin's turn, and she'll applaud--friendly rivalry is one of the healthier reactions Ember often receives. And then there's Mattheu, attempting--well that started out gracefully. She'll wince at the tumble, however, having had her share of similar spills, often while trying to win bets.
Haakon tilts his head to a curious angle as Mattheu goes into acrobatics. "..Your fleet does that?" he asks, deadpan. If he hears Griffin, it must have been mistaken for someone sincerely having a child steal their dagger.
6 Grayson House Guards, Wyla, a small wisp of an assistant, Dame Regina Pockets leave, following Keely.
From the floor, Mattheu tries to explain further to Haakon. "They have a means to walk upon their hands when needed. I added some flourish to it... Or attempted to." He sits up to spot the child standing nearby waving his shark plushie at him and proceeds to dive after the child, scrambling upon his hands and knees for a moment.
"Well," Medeia laughs and moves to intercept the shark thief, standing just in the path of the child's running so they fall against her calves. "I believe that contest goes to Martinique." She applauds all the attempts regardless and then turns to the woman. "Dame, tell me, a feat or strength or sight?"
"Oh, that was round one was it?" Martinique inquires. Her cheeks are a bit flushed now; she didn't get too much of that moonshine down but even a little of that goes a ways. "Strength of course." She manages, somehow, to avoid flexing at this point. Maybe it's the dress.
Medeia summons Loryk, her personal guard, to her side. "For a chance at winning a few bolts of our gorgeous windspun wool, whoever can beat Loryk in an arm wrestling contest the fastest will win." The man smirks a little and settles up at a table, making a 'come hither' motion to any who might challenge him. Medeia, for her part, moves to stand behind and to the side of the man so she can watch the attempts to beat him.
Mattheu checks strength at hard. Mattheu marginally fails.
And that's where Griffin will bow out. "Performance is one thing. Strength is another."
Martinique checks strength at hard. Martinique marginally fails.
Mattheu looks at the child as they bounce off of Medeia's calves with a grin to lean over them and help the small one back upon their feet. Snatching the shark back and bopping the shark's nose to the child's nose. "This one is mine. I can have another sent over for you and your sibling." As he stands up in another cascade of bells, he looks to Medeia then to Loryk. "I accept such a challenge." He bows flourishly to Medeia, to then spin on his heels and catch himself before falling over completely. Squinting at Loryk, "Right. An arm wrestlely."
There's a grin from Martinique as the shark is returned to its rightful owner. There's also a faint apprehension at any pending hysterics--but that doesn't seem to be occurring. And that's for the best because the soldier's methods for dealing with squalling children were inherited from squalling recruits in boot camp and might not be suitable. "Right. Loryk. This should be fun." And now she'll limber up her wrasslin' arm a bit, with a gesture for Mattheu to go first.
Mattheu takes a seat and without any warming up clasps hands with Loryk then proceeds to give it his best go a tense set up which way it will go is anyone's guess, ultimately Loryk beats him. And Mattheu looks to the man with a grin, "Well done! I need more drink. Though, amazing job. This was tougher than I anticipated. But I did get Sharkie back. So win?"
"Seems a victory to me, my Lord." Martinique allows to Mattheu as she moves to take his place at the table. And, well, even though she's going second and Loryk is theoretically already tired--she is also beaten, straining with all her furious Redreef might, but ultimately her hand touches the table. "Well fought then, Messere Loryk." She'll state with a grin; no harm done. And she can resume drinking immediately, which she does.
"Hm." Medeia watches both matches and smiles at Mattheu. "Yes, we will call that a win. Will you pick our last contest for the evening, my lord?" She casts a look around the room, thoughtful. "A test of nimbleness or a test of sight?"
Without a second though Mattheu blurts out "Nimbleness" then proceeds to pour out another mug of the blackberry wine.
"Well, Griffin, will you have a try at this one?" Martinique inquires. "Worst that happens is you don't win."
Griffin peers. "I thought.. Nevermind. Sure." He's uncertain where he would stand of the question of nimbleness. "Why not."
A pack of giggling and gossiping Redreef handmaidens have been dismissed.
There's a look of pleasure on Medeia's face as the last contest is chosen. "Splendid!" Quietly, she gives Loryk a few instructions and he moves off to arrange a pair of benches parallel to one another. They are about a foot apart. "For this test, you will step onto the end of one bench, hop on one foot to the other end, jump across to the second bench, hop on the opposite foot to the end, and then jump back to where you started." She says this as if it is the most normal task to give anyone. "And the winner will receive some of our velvety soft peachskin pelt."
Griffin checks dexterity and athletics at hard. Griffin is successful.
Mattheu checks dexterity and athletics at hard. Mattheu fails.
Martinique checks dexterity and athletics at hard. Martinique is successful.
Aha! Now this, Martinique seems confidant in. Despite how much she's been drinking. Still is drinking. Perhaps she's been to too many Redreef parties and is terminally drunk-challenge brained. But she'll drain her cup of wine complete and not slam it down, but set it down with an audible click before she rolls her shoulders back and moves to the benches. And then she'll hop up. And then on over. And back again, over and back again from one end to the other, and then a return trip. She'll end this by hopping down and bowing with a flourish and a grin, before pouring yet another cup. "Will take more than benches to bring me down today, my Lady!"
Mattheu watches Martinique and applauds her show of skill. "Well done!" He then looks at the benches with a tilt of his head, shrugs and kicks off his boots to take to the first bench. The first hop is shaky at best, slowly gaining a balance that could be considered upright. And he continues with a few more hops where everything is looking good right up to the second bench where he is still wobblily from trying to regain his balance and slips to land sitting upon the bench instead. A hard swallow as he hits the bench and looks over to the others to stay sitting for a much longer moment while his face contorts ever slowly into a grin.
Griffin isn't too sure when the callenge is explained, but he tried anyways. Something about hopping one foot, than the other.. almost like.. yes. Almost like once when he was almost caught at a somebody's house long after they were supposed to sleep. One hop.. two hop.. three hop.. he was actually going to do it! A couple more, and he was done. "Tada. Thank you Shannon." Shannon must had been the lady he was almost caught with.
Medeia holds her hands up in mock surrender to Martinique. "And never again will I consider you less capable than a pair of benches." A teasing smile curls the lady's lips before she turns to watch Mattheu and Griffin. She winces at the Rivenshari lord's landing. "Are you alright?" But it is the Redreef lord that has her wondering, one eyebrow raised, "Who is Shannon?" Then, she shakes her head. "I suppose it does not matter! Congratulations my lord, you have won that challenge." Turning to address the whole of the party, she says, "Thank you all again for coming. Do please stay and eat and drink and sleep until you are content. There is room for you all. I have decided that everyone who came should have a fair chance at the necklace, and Loryk has put the names in a hat for me to draw." The guard steps forward, little slips of paper folded up in... A helmet. Close enough. A name is withdrawn. "Aha! Princess Keely will receive the necklace. And congratulations to Dame Martinique, Lord Mattheu, and Lord Griffin for their wins!"
"Uhm.." Griffin wasn't aware he spoke her name aloud. "She was a.. a good friend, who didn't make it when the battles came, when the Countess won. She wasn't supposed to be on the field." Let alone the other side. "Thank you, Medeia." He puts his hands out with surprise.
"Well, that was entertaining at any rate, my Lady, and you've kept us all--if not on our toes, at least working for our drinks." Martinique will grin. "And I'm sure the Princess will look smashing in the necklace. As you yourself are a vision in your gown tonight. I may take you up on that offer rather than walk home in the cold, but we're not done here yet!"
Mattheu looks over to Medeia and smiles, "Nothing a drink and sitting within the creek by our gates won't fix." He gets up slowly to grab his drink and proceeds to drink in heartedly. As the winner of the necklace is announced he claps his chest to let out a loud shower of bells all to sing instead of clapping his hands, "Well done Princess Keely!" Then a nod to Medeia, "Thank you, Lady Medeia. This has been lovely and fun."
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