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Tenth Anniversary

It's the 10th anniversary of holding the title of duke! So lets have a party. It's technically the 12th year, but it's been a really busy two years! Better to have it now before we reach 15! Or 20!

Held at the pools as the weather warms, wear appropriate attire.


April 29, 2022, 9 p.m.

Hosted By



Tyche Alis Ryhalt Eiran Mabelle Kael Keely Fairen Mattheu Ripley



Arx - Ward of House Valardin - Laurent Manse - Gardens and Pool

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

It's an absolutely beautiful summer evening, the weather is warm and the moon is bright and full. Normally this time of the year is ripe with humidity, but tonight isn't nearly as bad as some of the others. A trio of musicians stands off to the side playing music that sweetly fills the air while servants are strolling the grounds passing out desserts and flutes of champagne. There's no dinner at this party, straight to the sweets. And perhaps as a testament to how off the cuff and unconcerned with formality this event is, there is not receiving line for guests!! Everyone is expected to just start wandering around and talking. Cristoph and Tyche are nowhere near the entrance and instead, he's draped himself onto one of the sofa's with his arm around the Marquessa. "Yes, and then I managed to annoy him so much he wrote to me and called me a vexing unsalted potato." This is for Alis, who I have also decided to powerpose for this set.

Cristoph has joined the a cozy sofa nook.

"And I told him," Tyche chimes in, continuing the story with a flicker of mischief in her dark eyes, "That if anything, he is very much salted. That is how you preserve food, isn't it?" This is murmured with a bit of amused ignorance for the way in which food is actually handled. "And he has been Duke for /so/ long," she drops a hand to his knee, a fond squeeze given for the Laurent who has remained a leader for so long. She's dressed in gauzy honeysilk, perhaps to honor his reign, that accentuates her very much pregnant form and helps to keep her cool.

Alis arrived early to make sure she got a comfortable seat, a flute of champagne, the company of some of her favorite people... and apparently also family gossip. "A vexing unsalted potato." she repeats, giggling quietly into that glass before drinking of the bubble champagne from that one district of the Oathlands or else it's just sparkling wine. "Honesrtly, I'd have gone with vexing salty potato. it sounds - see?" She gestures towards Tyche. "No wonder we get along so well."

Ryhalt strolls into the Laurent garden and accepts some champagne, but declines the sweets. He chuckles, catching the 'unsalted potato' part in passing. He sips from his champagne, which is excellent, and watches the stars reflecting off the pool, lost in thought.

Eiran is decidedly entirely stationary tonight, set up near the hearth, his precious bodice ripper book split over the chair arm to mark his place as he twists in his seat. "I cannot believe my off-the-cuff insult is being picked apart! Unsalted is-- well, nothing should ever be unsalted."

"Fortunato also told me that I was salted. I think you're conspiring in your responses, plotting together to direct the narrative of my life--" Cristoph is about to stop there and drink from his flute when Alis ALSO calls him salty. It earns a laugh and he goes on to say, "That's three people! Maybe I need to rethink how I approach life." But those words are spoken in jest and good humor and not some legitimate fear that he's too salty for human existence. "I thought your insult was very clever indeed, Eiran. That's why I've told so many people about it! I laughed." Are people supposed to laugh when they're insulted?! "Duke Farshaw, good to see you!"

Mabelle is here, likely, watching flowers grow. "So the kitchen episode you had last week was about too many unsalted things?", she collects one of the heart shaped cookies to match her attire.

Kael, for one, appears to be enjoying the summer evening. Not that he is dressed for the pool per say, but he's lacking in a longcoat, a vest, or anything else that is going to make him sweat like crazy. This is progress, you see. A tunic and breeches is about as informal as Marquis Keaton is going to get in public. When there is no one set up at the receiving line, his brow quirks and he asks a servant if the party has been going on for long, but that is about all the delay. He has a fine flute of champagne to obtain, after all. Once acquired, he moves further into the party, slowly making his way toward the Laurents and company.

"We like you salted and salty," Tyche promises with a grin, and then she leans across to Alis, stage-whispering, "The best of minds." Eiran is distracted by his smut long enough to catch the dissecting, and she laughs and casts him a look. "Not being picked apart. Appreciated for its semi-accuracy!" She catches Mabelle's remark and hefts a brow. "Kitchen incident?" this is asked of the man of the hour.

A vibrant pop of rose red and electrum floats into the garden in the form of Keely Grayson, on the umbra-clad arm of the rather dapper Marquis Fairen Leary. They both smell really good, objectively speaking, but like in a subtle way that doesn't cause headaches. "No, but I think you are forgetting something Very Important," the young princess is informing her escort, who is in a leading position certainly but is definitely being steered by the elbow toward a passing tray of drinks. "Oh, there are bubbles!" she enthuses softly, plucking up a flute of sparkling wine. "Now, when you see Marquessa Inverno, you must say how -radiant- she looks because it is the summer and she is probably Very Uncomfortable and needs to be complimented for soothing purposes." Her entirely unnecessary coaching of the perfectly capable nobleman with years of experience on her in these matters is spoken gently, with warm and encouraging smiles. "Oh, Cristoph! Congratulations on your continued success as a leader," she calls over as well as her voice will carry. There are smiles for him, for Tyche, and Alis and Eiran and Mabelle too! And Ryhalt and Kael and that is probably everyone but if it isn't, those people also get smiles from the Grayson princess as the pair approach.

Eiran does, at least, look pleased with the praise. He says nothing the kitchen incident! And instead leans in his chair to wave enthusiastically in Keely and Fairen's direction.

".. I mean, I kind of do direct some of the narrative of your life. No wonder we think you're salty." Alis points out, sounding at once both wry and completely unapologetic, winking at Tyche for her stage whisper. "I completely agree, Lord Eiran. An unsalted potato is a very sad thing indeed. As is unsalted bacon, beef, poultry, stew, soup..." She goes on and on, before leaning over and without so much as a 'may I' picking up the bode ripper he's been so avidly reading. "Ohhhhhh, is this a new one? What is this one. Let's see." She flips a few pages front and back before looking like she's about to begin reading a passage aloud. But, first. "Ah! Marquis! And Princess Keely... Duke Ryhalt. Hello."

Fairen is dressed for summer in well-fitted clothes that leave him the cool blue to Keely's summered red. He serves as gentlemanly escort as he speaks quietly to her in a low murmur: "--but what is wrong with the summer?" even as he immediately addresses Tyche by saying, "Oh! Radiant. You look radiant, that is, Marquessa!" SPEAKING OF. He lifts his hand in a wave as he collects the bubbly sparkling wine and joins the flow to cookies and company.

Ryhalt waves over to Cristoph and grins. "Hello. Just wait, in a few decades it'll be a wrinkly, unsalted potato." Then it is difficult to avoid noticing Keely and Fairen arriving and he returns Keely's smile, nodding to her in greeting. To Fairen he says, "Doh, meant to write to you. If the sugar and booze don't do me in, I'll remind myself later." He also smiles to Alis, "Hello. Do potatoes burn?" Isn't asking for any particular reason, but that mischief in his eyes. He wanders over to Mabelle. "So...the heart-shaped cookies were your idea?"

"No, the kitchen episode was because Tyche was away for so long. I was forced to consume all those sweets out of grief, I'm sure you understand," Cristoph explains to Mabelle. He drinks from his champagne again, and then goes on to detail to Tyche, "While you were away, the only thing that would soothe my despair was eating the desserts in the kitchen. Which I did with Eiran! He was a ready companion. Very good company. Also I couldn't eat it all alone. I need to keep my trim figure." He runs his hands down the front of his vest and spares her an incorrigible smile. "Kael!" he calls out, waving the Marquis over. He notes the entrance of Fairen and Keely with a somewhat curious pinch of his eyebrows, drawn together ever so briefly before it smooths out. "Princess Keely, always good to see you. Marquis, and you as well. But where is my cousin? She wasn't able to make it to keep her family company? Eiran told me he gets his blood flowing by letting her strike him in the face--?" he turns now to Eiran for the accuracy of this statement! In this, he hears Ryhalt and snorts laughter. "Gods man, that would be a thing to call someone."

Eiran pales when he realizes Alis has scooped up his book. "Oh gods-- Your Highness, it's-- not proper for a gentle gathering!" He's so flustered that he can't even defend himself against the cake-cident. He blinks. "Who...?" he asks Cristoph. "Listen, I'd let a lot of women punch me in the face."

"And you look absolutely dashing, Marquis," Tyche's pleased reply comes, no less sincere as she sweeps her gaze over the man who she has met once or twice in her adventures. "Princess Keely," comes the next greeting, a hand lifting to waggle fingers at the woman, but she's being rightfully distracted by Cristoph's tale of woe, her eyes widening in merriment as she looks to Eiran. "If you were able to help him consume the sweets while I was away, you must have quite the appetite. Bravo." Alis has stolen a book, and now the Marquessa leans to try to spy the words on the page. "What do young lords read at summer parties?" she wonders, as if this book might determine the behaviors of the whole lot of them.

Mabelle wiggles her fingers to Ryhalt upon his entry, "Duke Farshaw", smiling curiously at the direction of Tyche when she notices her bump, "Marquessa, it has been far too long, congratulations", she smiles to her, "You shine like ... ", she pauses to think of something that glows like potatoes but... "the brightest jewel", that works. Should have been sugar on a cookie. That shines. Maybe because she's hungry. "Marquis Fairen, Princess Keely, Good evening". She also greets Kael and Alis, "A pleasure to finally be able to see you". She shakes her head to Ryhalt, "I wasnt in charge of the menu but they work with my dress", she grins at him. Mabelle's hand rise to her chest in sheer drama, "I am the perfect companion for cookies!", she huffs at Cristoph and then tells Tyche, "They framed it like a robbery, blamed half the compact as suspects and then made me throw an event", she nods thrice.

Violeta Emili, tall and shadowed rivenshari, 2 Rivenshari Clan Guardsman arrive, following Mattheu.

Tyche's snort is unladylike, but certainly merited, as Mabelle explains the caper. "Perfection. And thank you, Lady Mabelle." Her hand moves to that bump, which should be gone ANY DAY NOW. "And it helps that I'm wearing the honeysilk. With the shine," she grins.

"My Lord," greets Kael first and foremost. After all, it is an event for the reign of the Duke. "There is a matter of time we might discuss..." He trails off there, brows lifted with a hint of good humor. Even if it's just amusement that Kael, himself, indulges in. He's grinning though, and in good spirits, and that persists as he shifts to dip deep and low to the Highlord, Alis. "Your Grace," he offers, humbly. When he rises, he dips his head to the other Laurents, a flash of a smile to Mabelle there and when he finally turns toward Tyche. He waits until Cristoph is watching him, or he can catch his eye, and he winks at the Marquessa. It's a purposeful movement, that greeting, and has all the awkwardness of being done for display purposes. In fact, he's probably more concerned about Cristoph seeing him than Tyche. When Mabelle is greeting him not even a moment later? He coughs, has the good sense to look embarrassed, and drinks from his wine. "My lady," he greets her with a smile. The Grayson princess and her escort are greeted with a polite nod of his head.

"When did I become chopped liver. I like sweets too." Alis protests, giving Cristoph a withering look for about half a second. "Next time, you save me one of the cookies or pies or whatever. Now I'm a vexed unsalted potato." she declares, nudging Tyche a little and with a laugh before glancing at the pale faced Eiran. "Good thing this isn't a gentle gathering." she quips, giving Keely a side look though too. "Cover your ears." she suggests, for a moment recalling the driving of her from a table with just one little word several weeks ago. Then, clears her throat. "He stopped and stared up at her, beguiled and enchanted by the beautiful features so near to him..."

Jingling bells and a laugh from something said under a hushed voice as Mattheu stops at edge of the gardens and takes a moment to look to where others are. A quick swipe for drink from a passing tray and he's nodding to Mabelle, then Keely. Looking around for the host and a large grin and elaborate bow to Cristoph. "Duke Cristoph. It's good to see you again." A little smirk as he looks back over to Mabelle.

"I recommend against letting Iliana punch you in the face," Fairen says, glass in hand as he bows his head to Cristoph after addressing Eiran. "She asked me to send her love and her regrets that she was unable to attend. She's busy having a lot of opinions about a matter of the Leaholdt's defenses." His tone is rueful, but there's more of a compliment than anything else in his voice.

Ryhalt nods in agreement with Cristoph, chuckling. "Could be so very inventive with potato invectives." He glances between Mabelle and her cookie, lifting his eyebrows in doubt. "I'm certain the cookie doesn't agree with you. No cookie agrees with you. It's a life-ending event for them. Tragic." Then he ends up staring at Alis who seems to be reading from a...romance novel?? "I think I'll have a cookie after all..." He nips one from a passing tray and chews on it, distracted.

There might not be a reception line but Keely appears determined to -greet- people. She approaches the seating area, bending first to greet Tyche with a gentle peck to the air near her cheek. "You do look radiant," she murmurs in confirmation of Fairen's words before scooting aside to give Cristoph the next air peck. "You also look nice." Scoot scoot, bend to air-peck Alis next followed by, "Hello, Your Grace. I promise not to scandalize anyone this evening but I -do- think we should discuss our investigation soon." Eiran is next! He does not get an air peck, but she does gently and briefly rest a hand on his shoulder and kind of appraises the state of him. All the while she is lightly tugging a very patient Fairen along and being careful not to spill her wine on anyone.

"Iliana!" Cristoph clarifies, since Eiran has a whole list of women he'd let punch him in the face. He squints again, this time staring at the book that Alis is plucking up. His expression twists to amusement and he leans into Tyche's space a bit further, speaking quietly to her before resting his chin briefly on her shoulder. "Yes please, tell us what the young lords are reading," he encourages Alis on the heels of Tyche's wondering, doubling down on the mischief. As Mabelle adds additional details onto the scandal he causes while she was away, he shrugs to her and murmurs something else. "Thank you for coming, Marquis Kael, my fellow vexing unsalted potato who will one day also be wrinkly." He nods in turn to Fairen's response, "I'll write to her tomorrow myself. Tell her that she owes me one attempted strike upon the face when she gets down having opinions about fortifications for--" he glances up to think about it. "Five minutes or so."

Mabelle eyes Alis, "Are you suggesting I am not gentle?", she hikes her eyebrow so high it meets her hairline, but she cannot hold it for long and begins to laugh. Her smile is met with Mattheu's upon his arrival, "Good evening Lord Rivenshari, it has been some time, How have you been? And you, Marquis?", she asks Kael. Or maybe Fairen. Who knows?. Ryhalt's question makes her wonder, "Do you suppose if the cookies do agree with me they do not share the same fate?", she intentionally makes a slow motion of a cookie into her mouth, wiggling her arm as if the cookie is screaming. Annnnd its gone.

"Oh, yes, right. Dear Iliana." Eiran writhes in his seat like a fly caught in a web as Alis proceeds to read. He wills a bright smile as Keely stops and touches his shoulder. "I'm happy to see you here! If you haven't gotten my note yet, thank you so much for the massive sweets basket--" And then he attempts to interject Alis, reaching up to try and steal his book back. "Yes, haha, thank you, yes, it's a great book, really engaging, a lot of... muscles and... Anyway, surely there's other books we can talk about!"

Oh Tyche sees it, Kael! She even reciprocates, without any attempt to hide it from Cristoph. The wink is accompanied, however, by a warm, "It is good to see you when you're not in the way, Marquis." She may have already teased him about this once, but a good jest should come back, right?! She leans in to listen to something quietly murmured by Cristoph, and it wins a laugh, and a shared quick word in return, but she's mostly interested in Alis and story time, so she gestures for the Highlord to commence.

Mattheu has joined the a rustic garden patio.

"You've been the cake-eating-cake for years now. Lots of strange stuff out there, there might be a cake-eating-cake-eater so you may find out?" Ryhalt nods to Mabelle with a straight face like all that isn't perfectly ridiculous.

"Lady Mabelle, my dear woman, you're among the toughest non-combatants I have ever met. And that /is/ a compliment of the highest order." Alis is sure to clarify, a of her old impish self showing in her smile. She continues in her reading after letting her expression of mischief show long enough for Kael and Keely to also spy it. ".. 'Stop?' he muttered thickly, 'I cannot. You say you do not want me. But you lie, Nicole, yo..." She yelps in dismay as the book is stolen back from her hands. "But wait, there's a lot of muscles coming up, you just said so!" An attempt is made to grab that book back from it being grabbed back from her, but she's too comfortable to actually lunge. Sigh. "Yes, you are quite right, Princess Keely." she agrees, returning the air kiss by squeezing the other woman's hands. "We need to find that shoe pervert before he or she traumatizes someone."

Mabelle grins at Ryhalt, "What's one more eater, right?", she chuckles at him and then grins at Alis, "I will take it as just so", but then she speaks about shoe perverts and there goes that eyebrow again, looking between Alis and Keely, "What shoe pervert?"

Mattheu watches the not-a-line proceed with introductions, stepping right along behind the others, mostly following behind his patron with a nod to each as he introduces himself before slipping to find a seat and mysteriously pilfer another glass of wine. A shake of near bounce between each person, with bells singing out his arms swing out as he gives a flourished bow, saving wine to be sipped upon and not spilt between each introduction. "Lord Mattheu Rivenshari. Neighbor to the Duke, at least here in the ward. Our expanse is just past the creek. Listen for the bells, and you've found us."

"One does not require salt for a potato to be nutritious," says Kael without missing a beat, his lips twitching. That grin carries on as he turns toward Tyche and laughs both at her verbal and nonverbal response. He tips his head, easily enough, in answer before turning to remark to Mabelle, "Well enough," in reply. You see, he does presume it was to himself. "I do hope that you have been well... Lady Laurent?" After that query he takes another sip of the champagne, moving to slide around the sofa so he can stand vaguely behind and to the side of Alis. It allows him to at least give the general look of a guardsman, you see. Even if he's one drinking champagne at the moment.

"I think that you should ask for the strike upon the face regardless of whether or not she has opinions, Duke Cristoph," says Fairen in a low undertone. "She has very many very strong opinions about fortifications. Or about anything, really." As Eiran _suffers_, he looks upon Alis with a dawning and growing respect. "Oh, this sounds fascinating and educational. What is this book, exactly?" He ootches on over, drawn by the lure of knowledge.

"Was it massive?" Keely wonders of Eiran just before pecking Mabelle's actual cheek and not just the air, searching for a spot to allow sitting. "How embarrassing. It looked like an adorable little thing in the drawing, and they said it only took three people to deliver." She looks concerned about having overdone it, but pauses that to flash Mattheu a smile. "Hello, Lord Mattheu, how wonderful to see you! You've met Marquis Leary, yes?" She is trying to be Very Breezy and pretend her patron isn't being SCANDALOUS, but she does look over with a flush of pink in her cheeks when she says 'shoe pervert'. "There is a shoe pervert," she explains helpfully to Fairen, and also Mabelle by proxy. "Someone stole Her Grace's left shoe at our camping trip at the Menagerie. I have yet to learn exactly what a pervert would want with a shoe, but last time I asked, Marquis Keaton fled the scene and then..." She stops herself, settling into a seat as her escort ootches away and bringing her wine to her lips because 'and then' is something she apparently doesn't want to elaborate on.

"Lord Eiran Laurent, the denier of muscles," Tyche sighs as he reclaims the book. She doesn't seem genuinely sad to have the story over, but the humor delights as she reaches to take a sip of her drink and lean back into the couch (and consequently, into Cristoph).

Mabelle concurs with Fairen with regards to Eiran's book, "I think you should send a copy to the holy section of the Stacks", before warning Kael, "I'm suffering from extremely idle hands and they have yet to find a cure for it". Mabelle pecks Keely's cheeks and settles right into logic, "Well what was the heel made out of?", she eyes Kael, doubts his pervercity.

Eiran looks like might wither away and blow off into the wind. The moment he gets the book back, he chitters at Fairen like a chipmunk fighting off a squirrel and tucks the book away in his cloak. "No, come now, talk about mixtures and musks and all that complicated stuff you like--" He groans at Mabelle. "I didn't think anyone would notice! I was nearly finished with the chapter." He smiles weakly at Keely, "It was a great gift, I'll be at those orange slices all week."

Mabelle comments to Eiran, "You brought a book to a party. I think the only person to make this legitimate is Naka"

"It appears to be a deliciously smutty novel about a princess and a prodigal if the cover art is any indication." Alis relays, lips pressing together to suppress a bout of laughter as she replies to Fairen. "As for the shoe in question; it was a reinforced leather boot. One suitable for camping in the woods. So, not what I would call a sexy material really." is admitted, with a shrug, and then cannot help her laughter at Keely's expression. She's sorry! So sorry. Okay, not sorry. "You missed me driving everyone away from the table at the dessert event a few weeks ago. They all fled, one after the other, until it was just Prince Sebastian and I there. Which, I promise, was not the intent when it happened."

"Oh, Nicole." Cristoph shakes his head, but he doesn't comment further on Eiran's book after it's reclaimed by the owner. He drinks from his flute, belatedly lifting his hand to wave to Mattheu as he moves through the party. "Lord Rivenshari, thank you for coming. My regards to your sister, it's been an age since I've seen her. I hope her and the children are well. Same to your brother." He laughs at the words spoken to him by Fairen, nodding his head. "I should. We had some loose plans weeks back, but I made the mistake of waiting for her to be free! I shall endeavor to be more proactive. Baron Clement has been teaching me to be less agile, perhaps she'll miss my face this time." Spoiler: she won't.

Alis adds, after a second of hearing this other part of the conversation. "I'm sorry, who is going to punch you in the face and why?" She /frowns/ at this.

Ryhalt has joined the an elegant pool designed from natural resources.

"Did you read to them from a book?" Tyche takes a guess at how Alis might have driven away the masses, an innocent batting of eyelashes to accompany.

"My sister's children are growing fast, since being made my brother's sword I am now training her eldest as well." Mattheu smiles back to Cristoph. "And my brother should be happy to hear of your well wishes. I'm to be hosting a fireside soon, you should come." Mattheu turns to all in attendance, "You're all invited, please come and join use for stories and games around the fire." He looks between the two glasses of wine now held and nods to Keely, "What's this about a shoe pervert? I could understand someone that heads after a good scarf, they have many uses."

Alis leans over to whisper to Tyche, keeping her voice extra extra quiet.

Kael looks absolutely normal, albeit soon without anything to wet his lips with. He exchanges his champagne flute for another, content to let this one rest in his hand for a while before indulging. "You? Idle hands?" Kael is the one that has to eye Mabelle there, and this is definitely a skeptical look that he shoots her. That side conversation allows him a fair distraction - you know, so he can pretend he isn't hearing that conversation about the bodice ripper.

Keely looks to Alis as Mabelle begins asking about the shoe's specifics, then nods to punctuate the statement, like she's signing off on it. Nothing sexy there. "Marquis Leary," she calls softly toward Fairen as she notices that he is participating in a harassment. "Most people here were not present for the honor the faith bestowed upon you at the recent festival." She gives him a broad smile and a kind of Look, or her closest approximation since her young face is not really made for Looking. Her cheeks are then red enough to match her attire when Alis elaborates FOR her and then leans to whisper at Tyche, and she clears her throat quickly, rubbing a bit at her face. "Oh, yes, so, but the thing is that we do not -know-," she tells Mattheu, happy for the distraction. This is intoned like it is one of the more fascinating mysteries she's ever been privy to.

Tyche leans to listen to the whisper, her eyes first flying to Kael, and then to Keely. She laughs, warm and bright, and of course cannot resist, "Marquis Keaton, I hope nothing will drive you away tonight!" Keely earns a wink, and she doesn't press whatever latent embarrassment was there from Alis' wild side.

Keely has joined the a cozy sofa nook.

Alis slides an arm across Keely's shoulders to tug her close enough for a side-hug before releasing her. "Never change, Keely. Please. You're the best." she assures her protege, a warm and genuine smile given to the young princess. Of course, she also joins in with Tyche's laughter because she cannot help herself. "Honestly Kael, why don't you sit with us. I promise not to read anymore from the smut novel, or discuss the shoe incident." she relents, even forcing herself to call it the incident. She's being /thoughtful/.

Mabelle nods gravely to Kael as if she just told him the saddest tale and then exchanges a few whispers with Eiran. "Out for a swim, Duke Farshaw?", she looks toward Ryhalt a moment.

"Just my cousin, it's nothing to be concerned about! I promise you, Alis." Cristoph drains the flute and hands it off to one of the passing servants, leaning back into the conversation that's happening around them. He tries not to be too close while Alis and Tyche are whispering right next to him! Dododo, the look of a man trying not to eavesdrop on something transpiring next to him. "We can discuss instead that Mabelle's dog had more puppies! We're going to change the sigil of the house to whatever breed of dog Toffee is," he says, wiggling his fingers in Mabelle's direction.

Eiran has left the an outdoor hearth with couch seating.

Eiran has joined the a rustic garden patio.

Fairen widens his eyes at Eiran in an expression of innocence that's absolutely RUINED by the glasses over his eyes, just skewing all the angles and--. He sighs. He drinks his wine. He nobly refrains from any further acts of harassment under Keely's watchful Look and says, "That's very interesting, thank you," to Alis. "Princess Keely was telling me something about the shoe the other week. The whole thing is just bizarre, but I do hope it ends -- ah, happily? For someone? Eventually?" He pauses, caught with a sudden question. "Do you have the _matching_ boot? Lady Mabelle, how are your dogs at hunting shoes?" He can't possibly mean it.

Ryhalt "Sounds like a fun time," Ryhalt replies to Mattheu's general invitation with a smile. He helps himself to another cookie and chuckles lightly at Mabelle's question. "It's not that kind of party, though..." A glance over at Alis and Eiran, "Maybe we just haven't gotten that far along in that story... the muscles part." He is trying very hard not to grin.

Kael's brow quirks and he eyes Tyche for just a moment before shifting his gaze toward Keely. There might be just a little bit of something level there, in that survey, but he is snorting softly thereafter. "No," he assures the Marquessa. "No, I shall not be driven away on this evening." He does not elaborate further than that, but the set of his mouth betrays the fact that he is more or less amused. Amused still when he is summoned, and yes, he does indeed move around the sofa so that he can claim a spot.

Kael has joined the a cozy sofa nook.

"Lord Edris insists that you are not so easily scandalized, my lord," she tentatively voices toward Kael after nestling momentarily into Alis' side hug and then sitting up again, her smile brighter for the gesture. "And also that I should meet you properly. So. Hello, I am Princess Keely Grayson." Cristoph mentions puppies! "OH! Cristoph. Mabelle sent me home with two, though I shared my bounty of adorableness with Count Magnotta as his faithful companion Ezekiel is getting up there in years and could use a little one to keep him young. I named them Butter and Custard." She beckons Fairen nearer, gently patting the spot she saved for him with the floof of her skirt and scooting a little closer to her patron in the process.

Mabelle explains to Fairen, Keely and Alis, "I've a tendency to weaponize my shoes with precious metals", she points at the star iron of her heels, "I thought maybe it was stolen in order to kill someone and frame it on dear Alis here". Of course that's what she thought. "Her Majesty returned two of the puppies and only kept Sugar Cane the Destroyer, it gives me hope for a brighter future". Mabelle eyes Cristoph's then, "If this is a plot to make me lose the dogs, its working".

Fairen has joined the a cozy sofa nook.

"Puppies? What about Painbow's kids? Toffee's upstaging Painbow here. Painbow earned her place," Eiran declares.

"If we mate Painbow with Punshine ... I feel like Arx would implode." Alis quips after Eiran speaks, just cause.

"Gods, you're right. Toffee truly did upstage Painbow with her surprise litter of puppies! Outrageous, what a scandal," Cristoph gasps, sounding /far/ too serious for anyone to take him seriously over the subject. He even goes so far as to lightly slap one hand into the other for emphasis. "I can't issue anymore challenges through. I need this one with Prince Baldessare settled before I can even think of such a thing." He's thinking about it. He's THINKING about it. He does stop in his musing-not-musing to say to Mabelle, "Sugar Cane the Destroyer? I like that name."

"Thank the gods, as I miss your company," Tyche shifts as Kael joins the growing group at the couches, making certain that she can easily observe each and every face. There is a glass in her hand, whatever drink swaying gently from her movements, and she tracks the conversation of shoes, puppies, what type of party this might be, before she makes an amused huff and lifts her glass, "Before we descend further, might I offer a toast?" The invitation for others to join is there as she pauses. "To Duke Cristoph Laurent, one of the finest leaders of the Compact." It is a simple toast, no overly flowery language attached, but there is no doubt she believes it. Once done, she'll take a sip and return to the listening. "Now return to your naming," she grins.

Mabelle hums, "Punshine. I should name a cocktail after that. But Cousin, if you wish to challenge my dog or its owner, might be the only way one of us actually reaches a duel", she laughs. She lifts her glass in Tyche's greeting, "For many years to come!"

"To Duke Cristoph!" Keely chimes in readily, flashing a beaming smile Cristoph's way as she raises her glass of sparkling wine following Tyche's toast.

Ryhalt lifts his glass to join in Tyche's toast for Cristoph. "May it be long, long before he becomes a wrinkly potato, unsalted or not." He grins cheerfully.

Eiran lifts his flute for Tyche's toast. "Gods bless the Honey Duke, for his sake."

"To Duke Cristoph." Alis lifts her glass when Tyche offers a toast. "One of the finest friends, and leaders, of the Compact." She added a little bit there sure, but it still counts right? "Are you certain you can't issue more challenges? I think you could if you really tried." is noted as well.

Mattheu lets out a loud howl of a laugh to something Mabelle has said at the patio as he looks to Mabelle and Eiren with a flushed face.

Mabelle eyes Alis, "Who's side are you on? No new shoes for you!"

"But haven't you read one of those really irritated messages he sends when there's a challenge afoot? They are things of hilarious beauty. Such creative insults. I keep them so I can use the insults for later." Alis protests, looking at Mabelle.

"Duke Cristoph Laurent already -has- a pending rivalry," Keely informs the group, trying to look and sound imperious but just kind of looking like she's suppressing a hiccup momentarily. "With a Princess of House Grayson who has been Very Patiently awaiting the fallout. And he should probably settle -that- dispute before getting distracted by yet another offense."

"To Duke Cristoph," Fairen says, his glass lifted with the others. "Does anyone keep records for who issues and answers the most challenges? I admit I don't follow it _closely_, but you certainly do your best to keep the traditions of the Oathlands alive and well."

Kael's lips twitch twice. Once when he glances toward Tyche and tips his head and thereafter to Keely. "I suppose that I am not, though I am amused to think how Lord Edris came to such a conclusion. Beyond being a cousin of mine," he responds to the princess, before dipping his head politely when proper introductions are brought forth. "Marquis Kael Keaton. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, your highness." He looks on the cusp of saying something - or asking something - but he refrains before there is even the mention of puppies. See Kael be content enough to simply listen to the conversations at hand, and of course take part of the toast. "To my liege, Duke Laurent!"

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound arrives, following Ripley.

"All I care about," Eiran begins with the spread of his hands, like he's about to say something direly important, "Is Prince Baldessare consuming an entire pot of honey in his loss. That was the deal, right? Or did Cristoph have to eat it? I might've mixed it up. Either way, I win."

Mabelle eyes Alis and Cristoph together, with a grin, "I wonder what creative insults he can come up for me and my puppies. Fur shedder?"

Alis leans forward just enough to clink her glass with Kael's deliberately. "I am glad to hear you will not be run off this evening, though I almost feel like that's a challenge to see how obnoxious I can be." A quiet pffft is given towards Mabelle. "Fur shedder is just... truth. Canines shed."

There's a ginger haired commoner slinking his way into the gardens, eyes obscured by too long hair and a Keaton hound loping at his side. A small bag in his hand, his shoulders almost curled in on himself and scratching at a fairly spectacularly shaggy beard already, he looks like a cat in a room of rocking chairs. He's here for one reason only and he's looking for the reason, dodging out of people's way as he straighten then slumps repeatedly as if that might help him locate the person.

Cristoph is obtaining another drink when Tyche calls for a toast and he sends a side glance her way before dipping his head and laughing. "Thank you! The warm words are appreciated. I'll try to have the next party on time and not two years off, but you know, us unsalted potatoes aren't the best at keeping time." He lifts his glass and knocks back a bit more of the Oathlands Sparkling Wine. To Fairen, "Hm. I imagine someone in the Champion's Guild does. I don't really know!" he admits. It's a mystery to him! A soft gasp escapes his lips. "Insult your puppies? What monster insults puppies? Mabelle." He flashes her a smile before leaning back, spotting Ripley's approach in doing so. "Oh, Prince Baldessare needs to drink all of the honey if he loses. I forget what I needed to do." He lifts a hand, "Master Ripley!"

"Toad!" What ever else was happening around Keely, what ever conversations and challenges and potato insults, the young princes has now forgotten them all. She sits forward at the edge of the couch she is sitting on when she spies a familiar ginger and his familiar hound, a luminous smile on her young face. "Look, Cristoph, Toad is here! And Mister Ripley, too!" She sits up a little straighter, giving Ripley a cheery wave and then gently patting her knees, trying to summon Toad closer.

Tyche has left the a cozy sofa nook.

1 Inverno Ensign have been dismissed.

1 Inverno Captain have been dismissed.

Cornelius, a studious looking attendant have been dismissed.

4 Setarcan Royal Shields have been dismissed.

Toad is all too happy to abandon Ripley and head for Keely. The bloodhound with all his floppy folds of a face bails and is soon thumping paws down onto Keely's knee's to lavish attention on the Grayson princess. Ripley in the meantime is ignoring that the dog has left his side because Cristoph has waved and let him know where he is. So he dodges others around the garden, keeping eyes down till he's with the man of the hour and those with him and just silently hands over the little cloth bag. There's a lift of one shoulder as if saying it's no big deal, here's something. THen hands go into his pockets and he rocks back and forth on his heels.

Alis smiles down at Toad, her smile wavering in a watery way for a moment before she offers her hand to the hound to sniff again to see if he'll remember her. And then, to scritch behind one of his ears since he's so close to Keely and she's also close to Keely!

Kael scoffs at Alis. No, really, he actually scoffs. She is eyed, but this is after he clinks his glass back against hers. "I believe that such a challenge is not something that can be indulged in. Mind you, if you do happen to be looking for a challenge..." His brows lift. Why yes, he's absolutely playing. Even as he drinks deeply thereafter. Spying that hound in the distance though, he's surveying the bloodhound from the distance.

Mabelle mentions aside to Cristoph, "Well, unless you meant to challenge Toffee directly, the funny insults needs to be directed at me, say, uncrumbly cookie", she laughs.

Ryhalt wanders into the garden after a while, drinking some more, probably.

Ryhalt has left the an elegant pool designed from natural resources.

2 Farshaw trained guards, Suzette - a Westrock Aerie Page leave, following Ryhalt.

"Oh, hello," coos Keely at Toad, as if talking to a baby, very gently smooshing his smooshy face between her hands and then petting down his neck and shoulders. "Mister Toad, this is Highlord Alis Valardin, and Marquis Fairen Leary, if you are not already acquainted." The introductions to the people on either side of her are spoken quite formally despite how she is petting one of the recipients. "Over there is Marquis Kael, but you already know him I am sure as you are from his House. And of course you know Duke Cristoph Laurent. Who doesn't?"

"I don't know. I did already torment Lord Eiran. I almost feel like I should do some good deed for repentance there." Alis jokes with Kael. "Toad and I have met before. He even stayed with us for a few weeks, though he was much more interested in Fia than me. Can't say I blame him, there." It's a fond memory now, but she still clears her throat and finishes off her glass of champagne.

Glancing from Keely to Alis and then down at Toad, Fairen finishes his glass with an 'oh, what the hell' kind of shrug. Sliding the empty glass away, he reaches to offers his hands to Toad with perfect courtesy. "How do you do, Mister Toad," he says Very Seriously. "I see this is a friend of yours, your highness?" he asks Keely with a sidelong glance. "Competition for your kittens?"

"Ah! Thank you." Cristoph accepts the cloth bag from Ripley and begins to undo the ties so that he can look down into and see what this might be. A glance is spared to Ripley, and he adds on quietly, "You certainly didn't need to. But this is appreciated." His somber appreciation of a gift is broken somewhat by Mabelle calling him an /uncrumbly cookie/ which are fighting words!!

Toad is relishing the attention and any hands that get near find themselves summarily blessed by his tongue. No nips, no bites, no bad behavior. He may not be the finest of well trained Keaton hounds but he learned his manners before he was gifted to Ripley. The dog flops to his back to present his belly.

There's a shrug from Ripley, the one shoulder and the man's offering a poorly executed bow before he's turning and with a glance to his dog but leaves him be so he can slink back out. Toad will find his way home.

"Oh, yes. Toad and I are the best of friends," Keely replies to Fairen, sitting back a little so he and Alis can get in on the action. "Tiddlywinks loves him, when he stayed with us this winter he would wait for Toad to fall asleep before the fire and then curl up on his back to nap." This is clearly a fond memory, and she shares her wistful smile with her patron as this seems to be a somewhat shared experience. "Sweet Piscetta... tolerates him. Much better than she tolerates Butter, I will say." Her dark eyes lift in search of Ripley where he had been standing near Cristoph, but he has since slipped away and she scans the crowd for a while trying to spot him. "Mister Ripley is so kind to share his wonderful friend. But Toad always misses him before long and is terribly excited to return home whenever it is time."

Mabelle has left the a rustic garden patio.

Cupcake, a cookie girl leaves, following Mabelle.

Toad, a flippity-floppity smoosh-face of a Keaton Hound leaves, following Ripley.

Eiran mutters, "You absolutely ..."

Alis starts laughing at something Eiran has told her, and finally stands up to deposit her glass back onto the tray of a passing server. "Pardon me, for a moment." she murmurs, excusing herself to take care of something.

Kael grins in response to Alis, though he manages to stay quiet for the moment. It isn't difficult, of course. Even less so when he is being introduced to the hound there. There is a quirk of his brow and he looks up from the hound to regard Keely, his head tilting to the side as he just studies her. When Alis is mentioning Fia though, he exhales a heavy breath and straightens.

Mattheu appears to be smirking as he touches at a necklace while talking to Eiran at the patio.

Alis shares a slightly saddened smile with Kael, of course, but straightens her shoulders when she makes her exit, exhaling deeply.

Alis has left the a cozy sofa nook.

Sir Rhys, a Valardin Knight, Laurene, a military adjutant, 10 Valardin Knights leave, following Alis.

Keely giggles warmly as Toad flops over to show off his belly, and she stays back a little to allow any adoring public he has drawn to him to fawn unhindered since he's probably staying at the Grayson mansion tonight. As her dark eyes rise, she catches some of Kael's appraisal of her, not for the first time, and tips her head mildly to one side before offering a small, somewhat uncertain smile. "You... do Very Good dogs," she compliments him, the awkward phrasing making the statement no less earnest.

When the compliment is posed to him, Kael's moving out of his reverie and giving Keely another one of those looks. This one is briefer though, and absolutely the amusement is seeping through. "Thank you," he says. "Though I admit that I have very little to do with that. It is a family tradition and we have other kennel masters that see to their rearing. I admit that I have been neglectful of overseeing most of the pairings, but those in charge certainly do well. Rarely do I see a hound that disappoints me."

"I don't... think hounds can be disappointing?" Keely ventures tentatively, her ivory brow taking on a delicate crinkle as she considers Kael. Now -she- is doing some appraising. She glances aside to Fairen, then, as a sanity check to confirm that literally all dogs in the world are beings of pure goodness and light.

"Oh, I'm not getting into this one," Fairen says, leaning back to catch the attention of someone with a tray of sparkling non-regionally-protected wine. "I will accept just about anything the Marquis wishes to say on the subject of hounds, unless it is to claim that his are better than the Graypeak dogs, at which point regional pride will come in."

When those words are offered, Kael takes a deep breath, squaring up his shoulders. This is not a source of pride, really, but rather him steeling himself to some unkind thoughts. After a stretch of quiet, he murmurs, "You are very young." This? This not meant unkindly, really, but rather as if steeling his own words. He is granted some reprieve with Fairen's addition before he tips his head that way. "I would not wish to cause offense when there is none to give. Each serves its purpose." Of course he at this point he has to go back to the topic at hand. "There are some that have a malady of body or mind that might not be remedied. Then there are those that - through no fault of their own - suffer at the hands of those that should care for them." That, it seems, is all he has to say with that. He clears his throat and offers, "My apologies, your highness and my lord. This a party. I should not dampen it with such conversation." He rises, slowly.

The look on Keely's face is a mixture of sheepishness and regret as Kael rises. "Please," she voices softly, sitting forward again. "I promised not to chase you off again this evening, my lord. I was only confused by what you meant, is all." There is another glance at Fairen, but this one is to see if he also got her a new generic bubbly wine before looking back to the Keaton Marquis. "No one is offended. Oh, unless... did I offend? Please forgive me if I did, it was entirely unintentional." Her teeth worry lightly over her lower lip, and she watches the man carefully.

Mattheu continues to sit awkwardly upon the patio and talking quietly with Eiran, looking over as there's a louder discussion of dogs for a moment before smiling and taking a sip of his wine.

In fact, the very first glass of generic bubbly wine that Fairen acquires is offered to Keely; it's only after that he retrieves one for himself, and uses it to salute Kael for all aspects of wisdom he offers. "Oh, I don't think you gave offense, your highness," he assures Keely on Kael's behalf. Lil' presumptuous, sure, but don't worry, he's not done!! "I would nearly say envy, but I suspect the Marquis more accurately is suffering from an onset of _wist_ for the way you see the world."

"You did not offend." You see, Kael is answering for himself even though Fairen did similar. His head tips toward the Leary before he continues on with, "And perhaps a bit of wist as well. Worry not, however, there is no offense given or taken however. Though I should retire, for the day of meetings starts early in the morning. Thank you both for the conversation. Your Highness. My lord."

"Wist," Keely echoes Fairen softly as she carefully accepts the wine, sitting back a little on the couch and having something of a thoughtful moment, apparently taking the Leary Marquis to be an authority on the inner workings of all And Kael unfortunately confirms this, in her mind, so that's that settled. "Well, my lord. It was a pleasure to finally meet you, and I hope perhaps to do so again on a quieter day, schedules permitting." Her smile is warm and genuine as she utters her farewells, and then her attention is back on the spokesman for all Marquis for a quick murmur.

Fairen, keeper of the Musings of Marquises, takes one, two, _three_ drinks of his fizzy before setting it to the side. "Good day, Marquis. I thank you for the good example and a good reminder. Your highness, would you like an escort?" he asks as he rises, offering Keely the bar of his arm to stand.

"I will be on the look out for you at the next social event, your highness, and perhaps we might find a quiet moment to converse as well. I can offer you an old man's wisdom," murmurs Kael, amusement lacing his tone at the latter of his words. He dips his head toward Keely once more, deeply, and tips his head to Fairen as well before drifting away.

Kael has left the a cozy sofa nook.

Eiran twists in his chair to lean over and wave. "Oh are you off? Good night Marquis Fairen, Princess Keely!"

Mattheu looks from his seat next to Eiran, "Good night Princess Keely."

In an ill-advised move, Keely very rapidly makes her way through her latest glass of wine, setting the glass aside and then quickly turning her face to touch her fingertips to her lips for just a moment. That complete, she rises to her feet and bends to gently rouse Toad. "An escort back would be Most Appreciated, my lord," she replies to Fairen in warm tones as she gently takes his elbow, her other hand rising to wiggle her fingers to Eiran and Mattheu. "Enjoy the rest of your evening," she calls softly. And then she -winks-, probably courtesy of her whole two glasses of wine.

Fairen, watching Keely CHUG that last glass of wine, murmurs something very quiet that sounds a bit like, "Oh dear." THEN. "Good night, my lords," he says to Eiran and Mattheu before setting a Toad-approved pace as they head off. "What about a dog that chews on your favorite shoe?" he asks in a quiet, baiting tone as they go. "Is that still a good dog?" This discussion will occupy them at _least_ until he drops her off. Maybe he'll even ask Toad to weigh in.

Fairen has left the a cozy sofa nook.

Keely has left the a cozy sofa nook.

6 Grayson House Guards, Wyla, a small wisp of an assistant, Butter, a roly-poly little puppy leave, following Keely.

Grandt, Captain of the Leary Guard, 4 Leary House Guards, Harper, an overworked assistant, Keely leave, following Fairen.

Mattheu has left the a rustic garden patio.

Violeta Emili, tall and shadowed rivenshari, 2 Rivenshari Clan Guardsman leave, following Mattheu.

As Mattheu departs the patio, Eiran meanders over to flirt with the lingering guards! He can't be stopped!

Eiran has left the a rustic garden patio.

3 Laurent Guards, Melli, an excitable aide, Piri, a matchmaking devotion leave, following Eiran.

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