(1310-09-12) Marsilikos Tournament: Poetry Contest
Summary: Poetry Contest, Marsilikos Tournament 1310
RL Date: 9/12/1310
Related: Marsilikos Tournament
ailene ammy desarae elliot fenris gemma isabelle isla jehan-pascal ortolette matthieu narcisse rajiya thaddeus 

Solar — Ducal Palace

Spacious enough to provide a meeting place of more familiar atmosphere to the residents of the Ducal Palace, the solar is of rectangular shape and generously lit during the day through a number of arched windows in the south wall. The opposite side is governed by a huge stone hearth, a fire crackling there during colder weather conditions. Above the hearth hangs a shield with the coat of arms of House Mereliot, flanked by a pair of exquisitely woven tapestries depicting naval scenes of ships on the sea, one in calm and tranquil weather conditions, the other one in a storm with heavy rain.

All furniture is made of oak, be it the long table in the middle of the room, or the number of high backed chairs arranged about it, flat cushions of blue brocade adding to the comfort of seating. The ceiling is a sophisticated rib vault, constructed of wood, the ribs painted in yellow. Depictions of a variety of sea animals have been added onto the light blue ceiling as well by an unknown artist. Several kinds of mediterranean fish adorn the spaces in between ribs, such as combers, groupers and flounders but also starfish and octopusses.

A door leads out onto a rooftop garden, and an archway opens into the upper hallway.

For those for whom the long hours of sitting outside watching weapons being slung about have taken their toll — some respite. The cool, airy Solar of the Ducal Palace is the site of the rather smaller poetry event, the room set without much in the way of extra decor, but as pleasant as always, with cool sea breezes wafting into the windows and a general sense of understated stylishness in the choice of tapestries and of frescos, and the burnished oak of which all the furniture is crafted.

Speaking of furniture. There's a large table set at one side of the room with an hourglass on one side and some sort of large glass fishbowl on the other. On the edge of the table furthest from the wall, between bowl and hourglass, there sits the Duchesse's middle daughter, the sometime-sickly little Ortolette, the hem of her garment covering her feet as it hangs from the table's side. She's all smiles, excited to finally see an event, and, more than see one, even officiate! Before this table sit two rows of four desks with chairs. It looks like a sort of classroom where students might sit before their teacher. Each desk is outfitted with a velveteen writing-pad, a collection of papers, an inkwell and quill. Behind the desks there are more lush furnishings, lounges and loveseats and little tables at which one might sit alone or in groups to watch the competition.

Her purpose here today is double-fold; one is to avail herself to less rigorous entertainments - her love for the arts is all-encompassing, and after several hours engaged in business, a poetry reading and contest seems like a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. Her other purpose is more important, having spent the last hour coaxing Lord Jehan-Pascal de Baphinol, friend and patron, out of his suite to attend and indulge in one of his great loves…and keep an eye on the severity of his fugue. She is not certain, not by a mile, but she suspects his condition, and given that the man has supported her ever since she returned to Marsilikos, she would be remiss not to do the same. Hence, here she is in attendance, clad in a creation of fine silk dyed with the colors of the summer sky, set with a high collar and leaving her shoulders bare. A matching scarf made out of near-transparent organza is draped over her hair and threaded loosely around her throat, to trail behind her like banners. Her hand is tucked in the crook of Jehan-Pascal's when they enter, a reassuring pat against his forearm. "Isn't this lovely, Jehan-Pascal? And look who it is that is presiding." She slips her arm away for just a moment, so she could curtsey towards Ortolette, a warm smile directed her way, before she secures her place back at the man's side.

Ailene enters the Solar, all dressed up for this noble event. She is wearing a sea green silk dress that swishes delightfully when she walks. The underskirt is even shiny, so shimmers in the candlelight. Upon seeing her cousin Ortolette offciating, she smiles brightly and greets her. "Ortolette!" she says to her. "How wonderful to see you, cousin!" She swishes her skirts excitedly. "I am quite looking forward to hearing everyone's poems, aren't you?" She giggles happily and looks around, wondering who will be participating.

Having heard of the poetry contest, the Bhodistani Ambassador arrives to the solar so she may listen in. Followed by a couple of female guards, the young woman pauses within to look about curiously, allowing the pair who walked in before her to find their seat before doing so herself. A respectful dip of her head is given to Ortolette as well before a seat is sought out, the skirts of her saree to be tucked about her. As exotic as one of Jasmine House is she in presence and clothing, not to mention with the odd female guards.

Poetry readings aren't exactly his preferred way to spend his time, but considering one of the contestants, he is here to show his support. Dressed sharply in black - coat, breeches and boots - with a tailored hunter-green waistcoat with just a hint of gold embroidery and a high-collared shirt fashioned from white cotton, Matthieu de Rocaille cuts a tall, broad-shouldered figure when he enters with his walking stick, though he seems to be getting better by the day when his stride bears not a hint of injury or discomfort. Eyes like glaciers chased with silver filaments sweep in a cutting swath across the room in search of familiar faces (his brother's, in particular), accompanied, as usual, by his Cassiline friend and boyhood companion, Gabriel de Montreve. Not one to eschew proper etiquette, especially in the Dome, he moves to greet Ortolette at the head table, the pair bowing from the waist, almost in perfect synch - mirror images as they are of one another - before they proceed to find a place in the growing crowd.

As one of the competitiors here today Elliot is perhaps a bit nervous. He smiles shyly to people as he enters moving to greet Ortolette in turn with a polite bow before going to join those taking part in the actual contest. His eyes scan the room and then widen upon seeing Matthieu, he smiles brightly and inclines his head to his brother in a gesture of greeting before looking around to see who else is competing.

Narcisse is clothed in black and blue silk tonight just fitting enough to such an event in the Palace. He moves boldly towards the group of contestants without any hesitation and then stops to politely incline his head to Ortolette with a gentle smile curving up his lips. A brief wave is given towards Ailene as he spots his cousin, but nothing too extraordinary, as he might keep that hidden for the contest, or does he.

The giant walks into the Solar and he's wearing black pants, white tunic, and dark red jacket. He's sporting his Valliers colours today. He grumbles into the room and his eyes fall on Ortolette and he moves over, bowing before he turns and glances at the desk. His eyes narrow slightly before he slides into one of the seats and kicks his feet out crossing his ankles.

"Mmhm," Jehan-Pascal answers, drawing in a breath and trying not to let it out in anything sounding too like a sigh. He appreciates Isabelle looking out for him. It was a lonely sort of week in his flat and he dearly needed someone to issue human contact and escort him outside. He's in his old favorite tunic, comfortable, slightly oversized, and some doeskin trousers with a pair of riding boots, looking not unfashionable, but definitely not up to par with the outfits he's been sporting recently. If he's taciturn in his answer, he's not exactly lying. It's a nice room, with a crowd of comfortable and not overwhelming size, and the school-style desks remind him of simpler days, make him almost smile. Almost. "Oh, wow," he murmurs, in addition, when sabelle points out the president of the function, hopefully not loud enough to be heard all the way up at the front. While Isabelle is up making her courtesies, he just wanders numb-footed along and settles into a seat in the back corner of the eight offered. He draws his thumb along the velveteen writing-pad, momently completely invested in the sensation.

Slipping inside to view the contest taking place today is the golden haired figure of Isla Cherevin. She wears an ebony gown with delicate white crystal beadwork on it. The beads catch the light, causing the loose and flowing gown to glitter and shimmer softly like a night sky as it swirls its way down her curvy figure. Her black shoes match the dress with similar beading. She wanders through the crowds giving her respects to the hostess before taking up a position where she can observe. She is no poet nor is she very romantic, but she is curious.

Ammy walks into the Solar, and he pauses the moment he enters. He is standing tall and proud, and wearing clothing befitting a noble. He has a scratch on his cheek, and he reaches his left hand up to rub the back of his neck a little nervously, which reveals the wrist completely wrapped in faded, old cloth, tied in a knot. He swallows, his giant Adam's apple bobbing in his long thin neck, and then he just saunters into the room as if he were born to be here.

Jehan-Pescal's lack of enthusiasm would be worrisome to anyone who knows him, but Isabelle is more equipped than most to understand the signs. She takes a seat next to her friend and patron, her hand turning over in offerance for him to take - and if he does, she'll rest her other upon his knuckles. She doesn't otherwise engage him in conversation, doesn't force him into responding - doesn't even encourage him to compete, letting him make the decision himself based on his mood and opinions of his current creative aptitude. She simply sits in a companionable fashion with him, fingertips lightly tracing absent patterns on the back of his hand as she waits for the competition to get underway.

As others begin to filter in, Rajiya's amber gaze studies each in turn, seeking clues perhaps to who they are. Curiosity shows plain upon her face, though she remains seated ever so properly, back straight and her unusual sare of burgandy perhaps to signal her out as another foreigner in the mix. Any who look to her will earn a dip of her head and a smile as she waits for the start of this contest.

His brother's face is one that he catches immediately, Matthieu's eyes falling on Elliot's across the way. His head dips in an acknowledging nod, white-gold hair brushing across his brow at the movement. There's no smile, but he rarely ever does, and the fact that he is here speaks volumes enough as to where his support truly lies. A sun-bronzed hand lifts, to impatiently tug at the neckerchief wound around his neck - it is fashion's present convention, but he dislikes it, and it isn't long until he's unspooling the knot, letting the ends drape loosely underneath his high collar. Gabriel, meanwhile, flashes Elliot that trickster's grin, both hands lifting to give him two thumbs up.

Ortolette is beaming with pride at her position in charge of the contest, and each and every one who comes to meet her is greeted with vigor of voice and cheer of diposition. "Why, my Lady de Valais, how good to see you," she greets Isabelle before she goes off. Her cousin makes her lean from the table and give her a frail-armed hug. "Oh, yes, dear cous," she grins. "Mademoiselle Ambassador," is uttely politic for Rajiya, and Matthieu and Gabriel are issued, both, a warm smile, though Matthieu perhaps the warmer. "I wished to thank you again for your invitation to the opera. What a beautiful evening it was," her eyes are dazzled by the very thought of it. "My Lady Cherevin," is next, and — who's that in the back, there? Hm. Oh well! "If contestants — if contestants would please take to a seat in the front two rows, please. I have had my mother's ladies in waiting take up a collection of topics of which I will select three, at random, from this bowl which you see at my side. For each prompt you will have ten minutes," she clears her throat, her bell-like voice slightly tattered-sounding fron trying to speak so loudly. "Ten minutes to complete a poem of at least two lines and no more than six. Poems may rhyme, but it is not required. Poems must be metrical, but the meter may be of your choosing," she lays out the ground rules, somewhat less loudly now that hopefully the attention is upon her. "You must pass your poems to me, and then I will read them aloud and a vote will be taken for the favorites. He or she whose poetry earns the most votes in the three rounds will be named winner."

While Ortolette is setting the rules out, attendants come around with baskets of paper scraps, giving them out to observers three at a time, so that in each round they may vote.

<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind: Success. (6 7)

Ailene sees Isabelle and gives her a big smile and a wave. She also sees Matthieu with Gabriel. Matthieu gets a grin and a nod, while Gabriel gets a very playful fluttering of lashes amd a very obvious coquettish look. She giggles at him then sees Rajiya enter. The Princess/ambassador gets a respectful curtsy and a smile. When Ammy comes sauntering in, her eyes go wide. She looks him up and down very appreciatively. She gives him a playful wink and a little thumbs up. She then to Ortolette. "I am going to find a seat to watch." she tells her cousin, reaching over and squeezing her hand. Then, she turns and skips off to find a seat.

Fenris looks confused a moment but he's already front row so he doesn't have to move. He's probably blocking someone if they sit behind him to. He grumbles at Ortolette and grabs his quill. He stares at her and his eyes narrow a little. Oh he's ready for poetry war.

Ammy smiles kind of stupidly at Ailene when she sees him, and he lifts his hand a little in a sort of wave. He sniffs, and then makes his way to the front of the room. Before he sits, he digs into the back of his pants, pulling out the very old, ratty leather-bound book from within them, and he fishes a piece of charcoal from his front pocket. He then sits, and waits.

Jehan-Pascal is settled into the second row, having been lured by the scholarly charm of the seat. And so it is that he's settled in as to compete — and when it's announced as much, he — well, he doesn't get up and move, at least. His head lolls slightly to the side, lulled by the soothing touch to his hand, and he almost closes his eyes. "I guess I'm writing a poem," he supposes, using his off-hand to slide a piece of paper from the stack and set it on top of the writing-pad, opening up the little tin of shaved wood that will be useful to dry the ink before submitting the piece. "That smell," he murmurs, "What is it about that smell. It's making me nostalgic. Or else I just… am nostalgic."

Narcisse looks briefly at Fenris, remembering the tall savage from their prior meeting, he wrinkles his nose, only shortly though as he continues on with the task at hand given to them. Taking a seat in on of the two front rows, he makes himself comfortable, before adjusting to a more thinking stance, feather and ink at the ready to strike the parchment once a topic is given.

Elliot looks nervous as he settles into his seat in one of the front rows. He picks up his quill and adopts a look of determination een as he seems to be struggling to relax himself. A glance at his brother and Gabriel causes him to smile again though and he finally does relax, squaring his shoulders and preparing himself. How bad can this be?

Ailene grins at Fenris and then to Narcisse. She isn't competeing so spends her time looking around and making faces at everyone else. Especially Narcisse. She sits behing him and lightlu taps her foot on his chair just to annoy him. She bites her lip to stiffle giggles. Another person she makes faces at his Gabriel de Montreve. She goes out of her way to make playful flirty faces to the Cassiline as she waits for the first topic to be given.

The faces the red-haired Trevalion shoots in his direction culls from Gabriel a look that is both exasperated and amused in equal fashion. The Cassiline leans towards his friend, lowering his voice in a whisper. "I said it before and I say it again, who the bloody hell let that hellion out of Azzalle?"

Matthieu returns Ailene's smile, before the hard line of his shoulders lift in the faintest of shrugs. "You're going to have to ask Augustin. Knowing him, he'll probably say something along the lines as to how that's a particularly good question."

Fenris turns to look at Ailene but there is no smile there. No expression. The lost Valliers stares at her a moment and then looks away. He bows his head and prepares himself for writing.

When Jehan-Pascal indicates his intention to write, Isabelle squeezes his fingers and releases them gently so he can have the use of both his hands. "May fortune favor you, dear," she murmurs with a faint smile, dark-and-gold eyes searching the crowd. Ailene's greeting earns the young woman a wink.

Ortolette's eyes flick from her cousin to the unknown entering to compete. "Mh," she nods, and certainly has not had an epiphany. She's far too busy whisking about the folded papers in the fishbowl and waiting for the competitors to take their seats. But at this point, anyone tardy will just have to deal with less time to write, she supposes. "And the first topic drawn —" she pulls a piece of paper, delicate little fingers unravelling it and then turning it right-side up before she smiles a big smile, issuing forth the first prompt in a girlishly enthusiastic tone:

"The Seasons!"

Isla catches the looks Ailene is sending the poor Cassiline and approches the read haired lady with a sly smile. "Tempting a man who can do nothing my Lady? That is always a very safe thing to do, if a bit cruel." She smiles to Ailene a bit playfully. "But you do it so well and its fun to watch so I cannot help but approve."

Each of the contestants draws the eye of Rajiya for a moment, her gaze to linger over them, pondering perhaps if they look like poets or not. Briefly might she entertain the idea of joining those at the seats, but just as she might have been tempted to rise and take one of the few remaining seats, the first topic is announced, and she settles down to wait. Conversation nearby leaves her tilting her dark head to peer towards Ailene and Isla, before looking back to those putting quill to parchment.

Ortolette subsequently reaches aside and, with some effort, takes up the sand-filled sundial and turns it over, letting the sands begin to run.

Fenris blinks a few times. The seasons? He takes a moment to think and then he writes a little and stops. The Giant is not a swift thinker but golly he's gunna try poetry!

Ailene turns to give Isla a big smile. "Oh, Gabe is used to it." she chirps happily, sending yon Cssiline another playful face. This time she sends him blatent kissy lips. She then giggles. "He has known me since I was a wee girl." She then sticks her tongue out at him before turning back to Isla. "It is like…" She headtilts as she ponders. "One of the goals in my life to torment him." She giggles again. "Are you not participating My Lady?" she asks her. "I'm not because I can't write poetry at all." She sighs dramatically. "I don't even read any." she adds.

Ammy listens as the topic is given. He nods, and then opens his leather book, which appears to be filled with the scribblings of a poet. As he begins writing, his tongue peeks out of the corner of his mouth as if it takes a lot of thinking power to do this.

As the topic is given Elliot is suddenly writing, his mind and his quill moving in snyc it would appear. Elegant writing forms the beginnings of a poem that he is quick to finish. He spends the rest of his time checking it over critically and making a few adjustments before a final draft is written.

Jehan-Pascal returns the squeeze to Isabelle's fingers, the slouches forward over his writing-desk, leaning a cheek on the curved fingers of his left hand while he draws his quill with his right and begins to daub it in ink. Then there's the topic. He wrinkles his nose a little bit. Stares down at the paper. Maybe this was a bad idea. Seasons. What could be more cliche? Still, he shakes his head and writes something. Leaning on his fist rather heavily.

Fenris gets an idea and scribbles it down. He holds out his paper and bless the person that tries to read his writing. It's all over the place and there are Skaldic runes on it in places but his poem… he's good with it.

Jehan-Pascal tosses some sawdust onto his paper, then blows away the excess ink, folding up his poem and sending it forward.

Thaddeus steps in slowy, as he is fashion or maybe not so much late, as he holds his hand over Gemma's with a wide smile, he is dressed in his best tunic, and a pants, with his hair tied back, styled for once, with a wide smile, as he moves slowly to find a place, to stand, to lurk to watch, and his hand is tapping her softly.

Narcisse takes a long time to think and he nearly buries his head into the paper, but finally some thoughts seem to strike his mind and with a smirk here and there he writes it down, before tossing the paper of round one.

Gemma is trying to not look like a duck out of water, she is dressed well enough for the company but she is trying to see everything at once. Slipping her hand along Thad's inner arm she stops looking at the decore to take in the other guests, making a mental note of those she's met or seen before.

Ailene is sitting at a spectator, directly behind Narcisse. She is chatting with Isla and making kissy faces at Matthieu's Cassiline. Every now and then, she taps her foot against the back of Narcisse's chair to annoy him. She also alides Ammy looks here and there. Fenris, however, has her frowning. When it looks like he is finished writing, she leans over to whisper something to him.

Thaddeus slowly moves up towards his family, with a wicked smile, and his hand right on Ailene's shoulder with a tight grip."What do you think your doing?" His voice deep harsh, trying to make her jump, with a wicked trouble making smile on his lips.

Ortolette collects up the poems at the front of the room, having them brought to her to unfold and look at at her leisure, so that she can pronounce them aloud well and fluently.

The kissy lips has Gabriel making his own face back at Ailene, puffing out his cheeks and crossing his eyes - much like he had done, back in the days when she was little more than a toddler. "Maybe she escaped," Gabriel replies to Matthieu. "You ought to write to the Marquis and tell him that one of his baby girls is running around unsupervised in a major ci— " He blinks. "Is that the Golden Rose of House Cherevin?"

Matthieu turns his eyes away from his intense scrutiny of the contestants, stormy irises falling on Ailene and the golden-haired woman who joins her. There's a slight tilt of his head, but whatever appreciation may be there is safeguarded behind the ducal heir's tendency not to show much by way of expression, save perhaps a slight narrowing of his eyes in thought in an attempt to place her. "Must be," he says at last. "I heard she won the horse race, to no one's surprise."

"I suppose it's a little too late to crawl back into the womb so I could be the eldest born?" Gabriel wonders.

"You're ridiculous," his friend deadpans, though there's a spark of humored amusement that glitters there - for only a second.

<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Great Success. (4 5 3 8 8 3 8 8)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Good Success. (6 7 8 8 5 3 5 1)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Success. (3 8 6 3 2 4 4 4)

Another spectator is Rajiya, the Bhodistani Ambassador seated and watching as the contestants finish up with their first poem. There are two guards standing behind her, and unlike the Casselines, are female. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and for now, she remains quietly alone.

<FS3> Fenris rolls Poetry + Mind: Failure. (1 4)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Herbalism: Good Success. (1 3 7 2 3 2 7 1 3 7)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Drawing: Success. (4 4 5 7 5)

<FS3> Narcisse rolls Poetry: Failure. (5 3 1 6)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Orate: Failure. (1 4 2 4 5 4 5)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Orate: Success. (1 6 8 6 6 6 1)

<FS3> Elliot rolls Poetry: Success. (5 4 1 8 5)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Mind+Persuasion: Good Success. (3 6 3 3 7 4 1 6 7 6)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Mind+Persuasion: Success. (5 7 6 2 4 2 3 3 1 4)

Fenris feels someone lean over. When he hears it's Ailene he jerks his ear away. "Go." He growls at her. "No friends. Chose you over me. Go." He waves his hand. "Leave me be." He goes back to focusing on his stuff cause… poetry hard.

<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Great Success. (8 7 5 4 6 3 1 8 7 1)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Good Success. (7 7 5 5 6 8 4 3 5 4)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Philosophy: Failure. (6 4 3 2 5 5 6 4 4 5)

Ortolette rings a little bell someone helpfully put at her side to get everyone's attention. She is ready to recite! "Poem number one!" she announces, giving them numbers so that people can vote for them.

The sun shines down with summer heat
Onto the land below does it beat
Only to be followed by the chill of fall rain
As the leaves and weather does change
Fall fades to winter, winter to spring
An eternal cycle, a beautiful thing.

"I am much the same. I have little interest in poetry and fiction so it is hard for me to write such things." Isla replies easily to Ailene while watching the exchange between her and the Cassiline with a look of faint amusement. Then she catches note of said Cassiline looking her way and she arches an eyebrow curiously before offering him and his charge both a polite smile and a respectful dip of her head. She regards Matthieu curiously a moment before recognition dawns and she looks to Ailene. "Please excuse me y lady, perhaps we can speak more later." She begins to slowly drift over towards Mathhieu and Gabriel now.

"Poem number two!"

Spring wet but has growth
Summer hot with bugs
Autumn leaves die fast
Winters cold so chug.

Ailene sticks her tongue out at Fenris. "I could tell you why, but it isn't a subject for polite company." she teases him with a saucy grin. However, she humphs at him and tosses her bright red hair over her shoulder. "Only little whiny girls stop being friends over a boy." she taunts him. She then sees Thaddeus and Gemma. "Thaddeus, Gemma!" she greets. "Come sit with me!" She grins at them as she waves to Isla.

"Poem number three!"

Spring makes the flowers grow into blossom
Summer brings the heat and the joy of wine
Autumn sends the leaves into golden sleep
Mother Winter covers them with her tears

"Poem number four!"

In summer when the days are hot,
we spend them wishing they were not.
The same, still, when the winter's cold.
We wish, and wish, while we grow old.

The verses so far are sound and Isabelle tilts her head, though whatever she thinks of the current offerings, there's nary a trace of which she favors on her face. There's a sideways glance towards her companion, quietly inspecting his profile. But now that he's done writing, she returns her hand in his and gives it a reassuring, and encouraging squeeze.

"Poem number five!"

Birthing anew, greeneries rise and dance,
tussled by invisible fingers. Reaching fruition,
Quivering lines of sight dance in the torrid air.
Giving everything, colors transition and fade
Fallen to the tilled earth. Resting completion,
Blankets of white covers all. An end of what had been.

Ortolette says, "You may discuss the poems now and submit your votes. The voting will end in ten minutes."

Gemma turns to listen to the poetry, her brow furrowed a bit as she listens to each. She lifts her hand to wave to Ailene before whispering a question to Thaddeus.

Ammy exhales slowly, a little nervously. He looks back over his shoulder at Ailene, offering her a clearly uncomfortable smile. He scratches his thigh, not really at home in these fancy clothes, and he looks back at the front of the room. He sighs, and he scratches the back of his head again.

Fenris ignores Ailene and listens to the other poems. "Those…were better." He grumbles to himself. Hey! He spoke right. He slumps back and stares at his pen and sighs quietly. He lifts his hand. "We pick? I no pick mine…" He points out simply.

Elliot lets out a breath as he listens to the other poems along with his own. He tries his best to maintain composure and for the most part he manages, only a faint hint of nerves still showing.

Banter seems to have faded, for now, between the two friends when the poems are read. Matthieu delivers his vote almost immediately, ever one accustomed to making quick but informed decisions. Attention kept forward, it's only when Gabriel's nudge finds his side that the future duc of Siovale lifts his eyes to regard Isla heading for their general direction. Situated at the back, at the very least he doesn't disrupt the proceedings when his tall form rises from his seat at her approach, ever the unrepentant gentleman in spite of his reticent demeanor - a greeting on its own for the lady, with the Cassiline following suit.

Ammy furrows his brow at Fenris, and leans over to slap him on the knee with a little scold, "Stop dat. Did your poem come from de heart? Does it speak de trut's dat your soul asked you to speak? If it did, den it's beautiful, and fuck anyone who doesn't t'ink so."

Ailene sees Ammy looking back at her and smiles happily at him. She then looks over at Fenris again and frowns. For a moment, she studies him quietly, before clearing her voice. "The one about chugging was the best one!" she says to Gemma and Thaddeus, her voice raised a bit. She nods to them both and looks to Ortolette. "That one is my vote." she proclaims to the room at large.

Fenris turns his eyes to Ammy. "No. Came from this." He lifts the quill. "Probably too…dill for poems." He points out to the man. He turns back to his paper and he tenses at Ailene's voice. He drops his forehead to the desk and groans.

Narcisse listens to the other poems being read out as well, taking a mental note here and there where to improve his own performance and then he turns towards his family with a smirk "Ain't too bad for that I am not the best poet in the world I guess.." Though an eyebrow arches when there's some emotional trouble stirring between Ailene and Fenris and he can't help a little grin as he asks, in a lowered him voice "Him too?"

Rajiya leans forwards a litle as Ortolette begins to read each of the poems out aloud. Thoughtful is she as she considers each one before she might put forth her own decision of which one she likes. Listening to Ailene and Fenris, she smiles a little, "It was very well stated, especially for someone who is not so versed in poetry, or the language. I am certain, good sir, that you could likely do wonderful, if able to do so in your own langauge?" Her thoughts on that, welcome as they may or may not be.

Ortolette is collecting the votes as they're handed up to her. She makes a little face as Ailene as she boldly tries to sway the feeling in the room toward the chugging poem, but — that's the name of the game, to some degree. So she merely plays scribe and tallies up all the voting.

Ammy considers Fenris' response, and he smirks. "Oh. Well den. You are doing it wrong and what you wrote indeed was terrible." He winks at the giant, and then returns to sitting facing forward.

"Please my Lord. There is no need to rise on my account. I merely wished to introduce myself, you are the Heir to the Duchy of Siovale yes? I am Isla Cherevin." She smiles faintly her expression perfectly composed as she curtsies gracefully for them both. She is not flirting here merely stating her mind as she speaks in a smooth tone. "I simply wanted to meet you and perhaps exchange an invitation to speak more at a later date. I have heard of the miracle of your return and I wonder if you might accept some help in settling back into the social scene. A man with many friends is a formidable force after all, and you should not settle for being anything less." Whatever her goals are are carefully concealed behind a mask of gentle composure but if one knows much about Cherevin's Golden Rose its that she is loyal to her family and works on behalf of them and her father the Marquis de Cherevin more often than not.

Jehan-Pascal is going to mirror Fenris and put his head down on the cushioned desk for a little bit of a nap in between rounds, holding Isabelle's hand the meanwhile. "Seasons," he murmurs, listning to the offerings without givng anything away. How could he? His face is on the desk top. He nods along to a few of them, though, actively enaged in listening, though he mayn't look it.

Ailene merely smiles sweetly at Ortolette, passing that smile to everyone else. "It was very relatable." she explains, shooting Fenris an encouraging look. She looks to Ammy, her smile going all soft. "Wasn't it?" she asks him, fluttering her lashes and blushing prettily. She then looks over at Sissy and her smile turns deadly. She doesn't even answer his question. Instead, she kicks his chair, then flutters her lashes. "Oops." she murmurs. "MY foot slipped." she coos.

Ortolette finishes up her calculations maybe a little bit later than the promised ten minutes, but there's a flood of votes which has come in, and she needs must match the numbers to the poems, and the poems to the names, and she's a good little bookkeeper, but this is a number of steps. Plus, some of the handwriting here is better than others! Is that a three or a two, Graceline?! Once she finally finishes everything up, she rings her little bell once more, "Are we ready for round number two?" she asks, voice piping in joy, the young woman obviously having a fine time officiating. "The next topic is…" and she lets her hand swim about in the bowl before she plucks a piece of paper free and unfolds it. "Ooh —"

"The Ocean!"

Ortolette flips the timer over once more. "You have ten minutes in which to submit your poems!"

After whispering a moment with Thaddeus, Gemma takes her vote rather shyly up to Ortolette. Slipping back away so the votes can be counted, she moves over to Ailene and her group. Giving her a quick hug, she finds a seat with the group, making sure an empty seat is beside her for Thadd.

Fenris lifts his eyes and stares at her. Ocean?! He glances down at his paper and thinks about it. Suddenly LIGHTNING! He starts to scribble down his poem and hands it over. He stands up and stretches out his legs. He waits for Ammy to finish before he pokes his chest. "It was horrible. That one better." He points out. He takes a seat again and stretches out his legs.

Her graceful curtsey is returned by both men with a shallow bow each, with the ducal heir's posture an easy thing, arm folding behind his back and one foot stepped slightly forward. "It's only polite," the tall man replies to Isla at her approach and initial comments. "When you're coming all this way simply to give me the courtesy of an introduction. Matthieu de Rocaille, firstborn of Duc Fernand of Siovale." He confirms her suppposition of his identity with his own straightforward greeting, and gestures to the equally tall, dark-haired man next to him with his sharp features and trickster's smile. "This is Gabriel de Montreve of the Cassiline Brotherhood." A priest and protector by profession, but born a lord, and a scion of the storied Montreves of Siovale.

The lack of flirtation is favorably viewed, there's a subtle softening of the man's no-nonsense demeanor when Isla states her opinion and purpose directly. "It's not in my nature to settle for anything if it can be helped," he intones wryly. "But the offer is a generous one, Lady Isla. Siovale shares a coastline with Kusheth, and I'm always amenable to meeting more of our neighbors. House Cherevin…" Pale brows draw down on his sun-bronzed complexion, calling up what he knows of the family. "…your family in heavily involved in the country's horse trade, is it not?" His eyes lift momentarily to fall on Elliot once round two commences, never a man who misses much of anything, keeping an eye on his half-brother's progress.

Fenris turns his eyes to Rajiya and grumbles a little. Her statements acknowledged at least! (add)

Narcisse ponders briefly, now that is a topic that should certainly run through his veins, just like the pain does when he reaches down to rub his shin that has been kicked by someone he loves oh so much. Sending her a smirk, he refuses to respond this time, letting the words flow on the paper this time and he finishes pretty much in time "Better.." he mutters more to himself than anyone in the audience who might overhear.

Rajiya does nod to the grumbled comment given back to her by Fenris, some sort of amusement to show within her gaze. But with the next topic announced, she doesn't attempt further conversation with the big man, allowing him to turn his attention to his next bit of writing.

Ammy writes the next poem with his charcoal on his parchment, again that tongue sticks out goofily from the corner of his mouth. He finishes, handing in his paper, and then smiles at Fenris. "Yeah? Good. Dis was harder for me. I've never seen de ocean." He furrows his brow, "Well, I don't t'ink I've seen it."

The ocean. Better, certainly, than seasons, but still Jehan-Pascal's brain is slow to the mark. He lifts his head a good minute or two after the timer begins, and leaves his paper blank for a good three or four minutes more — leaving it all to a last minute scramble to get something down, shaking his head as he does so. He crumples up one piece of paper, setting it aside and starting over, a flurry of ink that will have to go up wet if it's to get in on time. Leaning back in his sead, he shakes his head. "I should be acquitting myself at least mildly better," he remarks to his companion, rather dimly.

Ailene 's head whips over to Ammy. "You have so!" she says to him. "Your candle stall is at the docks!" She then narrows her eyes. "I thought you had been on a ship before, too." she says to him, sounding very suspicious. "You haven't been on a ship, have you?" she asks, frowning.

<FS3> Fenris rolls Poetry: Failure. (4 1)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Perception: Good Success. (7 8 1 1 3 1 4 5 6)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Perception: Success. (4 3 2 8 6 6 4 6 5)

<FS3> Narcisse rolls Poetry: Failure. (4 3 2 2)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Seafaring: Good Success. (4 7 8 6 7 2 2)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Seafaring: Success. (4 5 5 6 5 4 7)

<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Good Success. (1 6 3 7 7 7 5 2)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Good Success. (6 8 2 5 2 2 6 7)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Failure. (5 5 6 4 3 6 3 4)

"I have no doubt, my dear," Isabelle tells Jehan-Pascal quietly, squeezing his hand whenever he finishes writing and returns his fingers into her own. "Perhaps I should stay with you this evening?" she suggests, whenever the poem is passed on for judging. "We do not have to be in the same suite of course, but I can stay for a night or two in the adjacent room. A week is a very long time for the black dog to keep baying at your chambers, it will at the very least a comfort to me to see you looked after."

"A pleasure to meet you both." Isla returns to Matthieu and Gabriel with a faint smile. That smile turns sly when he mentions not settling. "Then we have something in common it would seem." She admits calmly and with a curious gaze that studies Mathhieu intently. "You are correct, we are quite famed for our horses. The horse I rode in the races was one I bred, raised and trained myself. I try and take an active part in the business. I came here in hopes of making allies and trade contacts for my family to pursue. I want to expand my families horse trade further and if possible get them involved in further profitable business." She smiles faintly. "Perhaps we will be able to work together on some things? I would be willing to discuss such at any rate and I can always put in a good word with my father as well."

<FS3> Elliot rolls Poetry: Failure. (5 2 2 5 1)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Mind+Persuasion: Good Success. (2 7 4 8 1 3 1 2 4 5)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Mind+Persuasion: Good Success. (7 5 1 7 8 4 3 1 2 1)

Ortolette reaches out her eager little hand for the collected poems and begins to read them through with bright, avid eyes eating up the verse one paper at a time, numbering them in shuffled order of receipt so that nobody can guess whose is whose just by the order. Maybe by some other criteria.

<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Good Success. (3 5 4 7 4 4 4 2 3 8)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Success. (4 1 2 4 1 3 7 1 3 2)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Good Success. (8 4 3 1 2 6 2 1 3 7)

Ortolette reads through the poetry until she is satisfied with her thorough knowledge of the contents. Her lips move through a silent rehearsal of a few of them before she nods her head and considers herself able to do justice to the lot of them. With a ring of her bell to quiet the salon, "I present poetic offerings — upon the ocean," she announces with a grin, setting down her bell and clearing her throat to recite, "Poem number one!"

There's salt water in the sea
Where else would it be?
Water smashes against rocks
Ocean storms breaks docks
Currents are ebbing and flowing
There's many boats a'rowing.

"Poem number two!"

When Hellenes of old sang of Ocean's vast embrace,
they never knew how cruel the tides could be,
nor how the moon when at its full could raise
a storm ne'er seen o'er their sunny, smiling sea.
This is no mother's hug, no lover's kiss;
They never dreamed of an embrace like this.

"Poem number three!"

The wind and the waves they roar and scream
Wide over the cliffs, loud over the stone
though through the wind and the waves sounds are ringing
the voice of the girl a song like a scream.

"Poem number four!"

Lost within the depths of blue,
The surface so warm from the fire above,
My eyes are open as my soul swims deeper,
Frozen breath and wanton surrender,
I drown in you.

"Poem number five!"

Down in the dark blue deep
Dark things swim and creep
The waves crash to and fro
Catching ships or letting them go
Wary should be a man on the sea
For his life is risked each moment he is free.

Once more Rajiya listens to the poems as they are read out by Ortolette, each one given some thought. There's a blink given for some reason when number four is read aloud, something flashing across her face before it is hidden away again. After all are read, she ponders, then finally writes down her choice on a piece of parchment that is handed over to the presiding Lady.

Gemma is a little annoyed at being ditched with Ailene but when the subject for the next round is announced she leans forward to listen. She'll make Thadd make up for it later. Half closing her eyes, she listens to each poem, trying to get a feel for which sounds like the sea to her.

Ailene listens raptly to Ortolette as she reads all of the poems aloud. Her lips are smiling, but when she hears a particular one, her eyes widen and she giggles, her cheeks blushing again. She leans over to whisper to Gemma, blushing deeper and twirling a lock of bright red hair.

Who could afford to settle in his position? His life has been fraught with bloodthirsty politics since he was born, a history that has shaped him to look, act and conduct himself unlike a typical Siovalese. But the keen, sharp look of those who carry Shemhazai's blood is present in that pale, silver-chased stare as he looks at Isla directly in the eye as she speaks. "I was trained as a cavalry man," Matthieu remarks at last, hinting at the specific reason as to how he is at the very least familiar with her family. "The horse that carried me through the Camlach campaigns in the border was of Cherevin stock. They're fine animals, but I wasn't aware that you yourself lend an active hand in your family's mercantile interests." With poems being read out loud, he waits until the round is finished, and he places his vote for what he prefers. "A morning ride, then," he remarks, glancing to Isla. "A week from today. Is that amenable to you, Lady Isla? We can discuss what's on your mind, then."

Fenris listens to all the poems and he seems lost a few times. "Lies!" He grumbles. "No one bad at poem cept me." He grumbles as he points his quill to Ammy and shakes it. "You good." He turns to Jehan-Pascal. "You good." He stretches out his arms and growls a little. "All good. Need get better." He grumps. He turns to Matthieu and he pounds his chest with the quill in it. "Camlach!" The giant turns back to his paper. "Next poem…" He grumbles towards Ortolette.

Ammy glances back at Ailene, "I've been a boat. Lots of times." He's full of it. He scowls a little about it, and then returns to listening to Ortolette.

Jehan-Pascal angles his head up onto his fist again, yielding his writing hand to Isabelle and noting a little blot of ink on his skin from the impromptu penning and dearth of time to dry the ink. "That would be nice, actually. I'll hire the next suite over and you can stay… as long as you want. But I don't want to put you out… you've already done so much, just… getting me out for a little bit." He's not going to cry, but his eyes are a little bit watery even before the poetry starts, and, once more, well, it's a fine set of offerings. "It will really fall to the taste of the corona," he murmurs.

Ailene looks over to Ammy. "Of course you have." she chirps, smiling happily. If he is full of it, she has decided to indulge him. She flutters her lashes again and smimpers a little, then looks to the others. Even the back of Sissy's head gets a smile and she doesn't tap on his chair with his foot at the moment. Looking over to Matthieu and Gabriel, who are busy chatting with Lady Isla, she sends the Cassiline a grin and blows him a kiss, before her attention back to Ortolette.

Ortolette is collecting in the voting tickets once again, her feet, invisible under her long gown, swinging just a little bit as she sets herself quite diligently to her tallies, not quite having to resort to the abacus just yet. Once she is satisfied with her count, she rings her little bell once more. "Are we prepared for our third and final round?" That was a rhetorical question, in case you missed it! One last draw, and she plucks a topic right from the top, having shuffled it about plenty last time. Unfolding the paper, "Oh, dear!" she exclaims demurely.


"If you were putting me out, my darling, I wouldn't be offering," Isabelle assures, her thumb gently wiping the ink blot away after touching the tip of her tongue against her thumb, rubbing it on his skin to rid him of the temporary blemish. "I'll stay for at least two nights, besides, you've done as much for me as I have for you, and I can't even describe to you how grateful my mother was to receive your tokens. She's feeling much better." She leans in, lips finding his cheek, a rare token of genuine affection from a woman who tends to keep herself both apart and a part of the socioeconomic flow and tides of Marsilikos' society. "So put those worries out of your mind. I'm happy to do it."

Fenris hears the topic and he writes down easily before handing it over to Ortolette and not sitting back down. He moves over away from the seats and in turn Ailene as he stands and stretches out his body. His hand hurts.

Narcisse can't help but roll his eyes ever so dramatically as the last topic for a poem is being revealed to them. How to write about something you never have felt before or at least not have thought about. But then there's a gleam in his eyes and his hand just seems to write the words by itself. Once finished, he sets the quill aside and leans back in his seat, taking a glance across the crowd.

Ailene is in too good a mood to let Fenris spoil it. So when he gets up to move far away from her, she smiles widely at him before blowing him a kiss, too. Then she waves. After that, she looks to Sissy and tries to peek over his shoulder to see what he's writing, but fails. So she she sits back and swings her legs back and forth as she waits to hear the final poems.

There's a quirk of one delicately shaped eyebrow upwards when the next topic is announced for the third and final round of poetry. Loneliness. That.. makes for an interesting thing to write about. A quiet murmur from one of her guards draws her to tilt her head to listen to the armored woman, their tones hushed as they speak in their native tongue. Eventually, things fall quiet, and she turns back to the competition in time to see Fenris finish and move off.

Jehan-Pascal puts on his shy-boy smile when Isabelle redoubles her offer. "Oh, I'm — I'm glad to hear that," he puts gentle pressure down upon the words when she lets him know somoething he did has had a palpable positive impact in the world. It's something to hold on to, even beyond her hand which so kindly tidies up his own, "It'll just get inky all over again," he excuses her from the duty she's taken on, but the calming nature of the grooming behavior goes beyond the practical to the primate, and he feels comfortable, here. Comfortable enough to face the third category without blanching. "They want a love poem," he considers, wheels turning. Slowly.

<FS3> Narcisse rolls Poetry: Failure. (3 1 3 2)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Orate: Failure. (4 4 1 1 5 1 2)
<FS3> Narcisse rolls Mind + Orate: Success. (1 4 6 2 1 4 8)

<FS3> Fenris rolls Poetry: Failure. (3 4)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Perception: Great Success. (8 8 3 7 6 8 7 2 2)
<FS3> Fenris rolls Mind + Perception: Success. (1 6 3 2 2 6 8 4 5)

<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Good Success. (8 2 4 7 3 3 7 3)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Success. (5 5 5 6 4 2 2 8)
<FS3> Ammy rolls Poetry: Great Success. (2 2 7 8 7 7 1 6)

<FS3> Elliot rolls Poetry: Failure. (3 1 3 2 4)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Perception+mind: Great Success. (7 3 3 7 8 8 6 4 6 7 5)
<FS3> Elliot rolls Perception+mind: Good Success. (3 1 3 6 2 8 7 5 4 1 2)

<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Good Success. (4 2 4 3 5 5 7 8 5 7)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Good Success. (6 8 1 7 4 1 4 6 5 4)
<FS3> Jehan-Pascal rolls Poetry: Great Success. (3 6 7 5 6 4 7 7 5 7)

Jehan-Pascal seems almost relaxed while penning his next verse, taking a deep breath and flapping it in the air for a second before folding it up. That one even felt better. One can see it in his face when he passes it up. Not proud, really, just — content, almost.

Once Ortolette has gotten the last of the submissions, she shuffles them up again and prepares to read, hooking her ankles together and beginning to unfold them one at a time.

"The theme of the final round is 'Loneliness,'" Ortolette reminds everyone after she's had time to read, her voice taking on a rather serious tone for one that seems still so child-like in timbre. It is the final round, after all. "Poem number one," she announces, and begins to read:

Dreams of somewhere other than here
A missing piece yearning to be whole.
She lies in waiting, between worlds apart
Unable to be found.

"Poem number two,"

Sitting in the dark I can't forget you
Your touch, your kisses down my neck and spine
As we embraced together in the moonshine
And now I sit here only tears in my eyes.

Isla smiles gently to Matthieu. "Not many are aware of that fact. But I am honored to know it was one of our horses that carried you into battle on the border. I wish to build my own stock of horses made for agility and speed. Eydis my mare is the first step towards that. She is no warhorse but you should see her jump, the way she handled the bales in the race felt almost like I was flying." She shows a touch of pride on her features as she talks about the horse and she bows her head in agreement. "A week from today it is then my Lord and then we shall go for a ride." She smiles and curtseies before turning her attention back to the judges as the poems are read out.

"Poem number three,"

I wandered and roamed
I fell in love, but
fell in love alone.
Maybe I did it all
To prove to them
I can be someone's home.

"Poem number four,"

A pitch black abyss threatens my heart
For inside of me there is only a deep dark
I sit here watching the sun as up it does rise
I feel nothing but emptiness as my soul cries
To me it is like the worst sort of sickness
This plauge of darkness and loneliness.

"Poem number five,"

He loves me and
he is gone.

"I was unable to attend, but I've heard of your prowess upon a saddle. Your champion sounds like a promising start to a new strain, perhaps I'll meet her in our appointment." With the invitation accepted, Matthieu acknowledges it with a bow of his head, letting Isla depart and rejoin her companions before retaking his seat with Gabriel, who keep an appreciative eye on Isla as she wanders away.

The Cassiline nudges him with an elbow, and flashes him a look, his eyebrows bouncing up and down like a metronome. Matthieu can only sigh at the expression on his face, returning it with a glance that speaks volumes, before turning his attention to the entries presented in the last category. He casts his vote once all of them have been read.

There is a sigh that escapes from Rajiya as the last is read out by Ortolette. Thoughful, perhaps too much so, her head ducked as she twirls the quill between her henna-decorated fingers. Finally, a number is written down, and the folded parchment sent to the front table.

Ailene listens attentively to all the poems. Number four has her shivering with emo and number 5…Someone in particular gets a shake of her head and a sigh. However, she smiles as she thinks which one she will vote for. Finally, she comes to a decision and casts her vote.

Gemma is quiet as the poems are recited, her hands running along her arms as a particular poem has her feeling chilled. Making her decision, she cats her vote before sitting back down.

Loneliness. That subject should suit a certain darkly-clad young woman whom arrives unfashionably late to the poetry contest. Her hair worn loose, it hangs without kink or curl to the small of her back, a sheet of black silk that sets off the green of feline eyes and the warm undertones of her skin. She's accompanied by the bulk of her cassiline, a man in his mid-thirties who remains her quiet shadow as she scans the room for the best vantage point left wherein which to listen to whatever might remain of the entries. Which isn't a lot it'd seem. A smile to her cousin as she delivers the last of those, and look — Orto even receives a liftof her hand, as does Ailene when she, too, is spotted. Oh la… where to sit!

Fenris turns to glare at Ailene. "It's not one you think." He growls at her. "My poem not last." He points out simply. Though he doesn't say which one is his from there. He crosses his arms over his barrel chest and turns away from her. The giant growls as he just stands there quietly. "I know I lose." He waves his hand. "It good."

Ailene smiles and waves to Desarae when she enters. She is about to say hello when Fenris' glare and words make her turn back to him. "You care too much about 'losing'." she says to him. "This a game." she points out. "It doesn't matter who wins or loses. It is fun." She shrugs. "Other things you think you lose at when you haven't." She sighs. "You haven't lost anything but if you keep it up, you lose friends." With that, she turns away from him and folds her arms over her chest, slouching down in her chair. Her good mood having flown out the window.

Rajiya cannot help but overhear the comments between Fenris and Ailene. Lips part as if she might speak up, but then they are pressed together again as she comes to realize, perhaps she should remain quiet on this conversation. She doesn't understand what exactly seems to be going on here. Lifting a hand, she tucks away a lock of hair behind one ear, her hand to fall and be casually clasped in her lap.

Ortolette tallies up the final results, still perched upon the table's edge but with her torso turned aside and a hand laid flat on the tabletop while she does figures with a bit of chalk in her other hand. When she's done, she beckons over someone waiting by with a crown of actual bay leaves, fragrant with sun-drying and a little bit brittle but still with a little gleam to them where they have been fashioned into a poet's garland. "We have a winner!" she announces with a smile. And maybe a little glimpse of mischief in her eye. "May I ask to stand and come forward…"

"Sir Ambrose Kovak."

Fenris stares at her with a confused face. "I say it good. Other poems better." He shakes his head. "Fool." He growls. "What friends?" He shakes his head. "Stop talking me. Done talking." He growls and shakes his head. He sighs quietly and rubs his forehead. "Should stay with only family. Less drama." He grumbles to himself.

When the name is called, Ammy immediately slouches in defeat. "Argh." He sighs. Then tilts his head, "Wait… I won?" His brow lifts, and he smiles widely, turning to look back at Ailene. "I won?" he asks her, before looking bat to Ortolette. "Heh. I won." He laughs, and then hops to his feet, quickly making his way up to Ortolette. He looks out at the attendees, and he laughs a bit more, happy. "I won!"

Oh look — she's been waved at. That's enough apparently for Desarae to make up her mind as to where to sit, and she picks her way through the event's audience in order to sit herself close to her flame-haired cousin. "Cousin Ailene. How lovely to see you again." Her eyes cast upwards to the giant of the man whom she's with, and there's the smallest narrowing of those eyes as she observes with all the intensity of a cat considering a mouse. "Are you going to introduce us," she asks of Ailene as the man grunts his way through some nonsense or other about family and friends. But then a winner's being announced, and realising just how late she actually is, she turns her head to the front with the makings of a frown settling on her brow. A Tsingani won? What?

Gemma looks around the solar, wondering just who Sir Ambrose Kovak is. When Ammy stands up and claims as winner she covers her lips with her fingers and leans into whisper to Ailene.

Ailene growls under her breath at Fenris. "You're the one who made the drama you big baby!" She humphs again but then she is sitting straight up in her seat and /staring/ at Ortolette. Her mouth drops open. Her cheeks drain of color. Ammy is all laughing and hopping to his feet, though. He looks so happy. She smiles and nods. "Yes, you won." she tells him, then gulps. She is so busy looking from Ammy to Ortolette and back again that she almost misses Desarae's question. "Oh!" she exclaims and shakes herself back to attention. "That big twelve year old girl masquarading in a giant's costume is Monsieur Fenris." she tells her cousin. "He doesn't want to be friends anymore because of a boy." She then is being whispered to by Gemma, and she hesitates, but then replies in a whisper too.

Rajiya turns as Ortolette seems prepared to make the announcement of a winner. The name is unknown to her, but when Ammy stands up with some sense of surprise, will will put her hands together to clap as others might. "Well done.." Of course, she's curious as to which poems was his, along with the other contestants. One guard does step forwards to place a hand lightly upon her shoulder to gain her attention, a quick word whispered that soon has the Ambassador rising from her seat. She lingers long enough to hear any other announcement before making her way out of the solar.

There is polite applause from Matthieu when the winner is announced, though he can practically hear the whispers surrounding him - a Tsingano had won, and the upset is sure to fuel the gossip wheels of Marsilikos. Icy eyes threaded with silver filaments fall on his brother Elliot, before rising on his feet and moving along with his Cassiline friend across the room towards the other Rocaille son. His hand rests on his shoulder, though he doesn't squeeze it. "You acquitted yourself well," he tells the younger man. "You'll have to tell me later which pieces had been yours, though I think I recognized your style in some of them. With that said, I ought to be heading back."

Fenris claps for Ammy and whistles a little. "Good poems." He nods his head. He growls at Ailene but he doesn't insult her back or talk to her. He moves further away from Ailene and tries to let the insults roll off himself as he claps for Ammy. "Talented." He nods his head and avoids looking at anyone else. He stares off to a wall before nodding to Ortolette. "Thank for judging. Must go." He turns on his heel and he walks quickly for the door growling deep in his chest.

"You have won," Ortolette confirms in her softest doll-baby voice when Ammy stands up for her, leaning back slightly where she sits and then sliding off the edge of the table to stand before the Tsingano, regarding him with open curiosity when he approaches her and she lifts her arms, standing up onto her toes to reach aloft and crown him with the laurel wreath. "It is good to finally make your acquaintance, Sir Ambrose. I have heard a great deal about you," she speaks low to him while crowning him, though it's not a whisper, by any means.

Gemma still seems a little confused but that doesn't matter, Ammy still won. Not paying any attention to the hub-bub with Fenris she lifts her hands and claps for the winner.

Jehan-Pascal joins in the applause, leaning back in his student seat and looking to Isabelle, smiling, if faintly. "Well— not everyone cares for a trochaic dimeter catalectic," he supposes, reaching up to scratch the side of his nose, just under his eye, with one finger. "But I really liked what I wrote, and- I'm really glad you made me come," he confesses, lowering his voice a little bit. "Thank you," is probably one of the more heartfelt things he's said of recent just— heavy with pathos.

Ammy smiles widely. "T'ank you so much, Lady Ortolette," he offers genially. He bows a bit to her, and then smiles proudly as she crowns him. He smiles again, a large, toothy grin when she says she heard about him. "T'anks. Wait. You have? What—?" He inhales and looks back at the room, smiling a little once more, before looking back at Ortolette. "Well, I hope it was all good t'ings. If you're ever in de market in de port, please, stop by my stand. I would love to give you one of my candles as appreciation for dis evening." He bows a little once more, and then notices there's some discontent and whispers about the winner being Tsingano. He grabs his leather book, and then quietly and quickly begins making his way to the exit.

"Fenris. An odd name. He has the look of a Camaeline about him, though he's more than a little rough about the edges." Desarae's pronouncement on Fenris is short and sweet as he turns without acknowledgement of her and heads away. A lift of her chin. "Rude, too." And that appears to be all that she has to say on the matter of him as with a rustle of her skirts she pushes back to her feet. It wasn't worth sitting apparently. "I must go and say hello to Ortolette. She's looking well tonight." A rarity that's apparently worth commenting upon, and leaving her cousin to continue her conversation with Gemma, she heads towards the front.

Ailene nods distractedly to Desarae, but keeps her eyes upon Ortolette. They then follow Ammy as he tries to take his leave. She turns back to Gemma, forcing a smile. "It really is too bad Thaddeus had to leave so early." she murmurs to her. "Sissy seems to have slinked out, too." She drops her voice again, laying a hand on the other woman's arm as she whispers, still keeping her smile upon her face.

Ortolette sets the crown gingerly upon Ammy's locks, then taps it slightly to halt its being crooked. She smiles benificently at Ammy, but must decline. "I don't make my way to the port with any frequency, Sir Ambrose. But if you were to send me a candle, I would take it as a token thus intended," she continues, with an air of propriety to her words that stops just short of sounding cold, leaving room for some girlish enthusiasm in around the edges. When Ammy, in turn, takes his leave, she throws open her arms for her cousin— Desarae, this time!

"You'll have to tell me what that means at dinner tonight, my dear," Isabelle says with a laugh, moving to stand up and offering her hand to Jehan-Pascal. "And you'll have to let me know which pieces are yours, though I think I can venture a few good guesses." That heartfelt thanks has her smiling ruefully. "Were I in the same straits, I am confident that you would have done the same for me." She waits for him to stand as well. "Now, shall we go get some fresh air? It's a nice evening out, and it might even work up a proper appetite."

Gemma's brow furrows a bit, appearing confused she stands up and offers her arm to Ailene, "You can explain to me over a glass of wine?" her gaze wandering over the solar and back to Ailene.

Ailene nods to Gemma and also stands. She links her arm through hers and inclines her head to Ortolette and Desarae, giving them smiles of farewell. She also nods a farewell to Lady Isabelle, Lord Matthieu, Lady Isla and Gabriel de Montreve. A look is passed to Gabriel, but then she and Gemma are heading out.

Jehan-Pascal leans forward, scooting the chair out behind him and then rising to his full height with a long stretch of his back. "That sounds nice, yeah," he tells Isabelle. "I'm gonna actually go see if I can dig mine out from the desk up there in the front, I think. I'd like to take them with me," he decides. "Do you want to go to a restaurant?" he goes on to ask. It's really hard to tell whether that intonation is hopeful or dreadsome— maybe he just wants to go home. Maybe home is the last place he wants to go again and feel stuck after finally getting outside.

Gemma doesn't know many hear but she gives a quick curtsey and a nod to the few she does end up passing. She however doesn't linger, the girls must need to be somewhere else or just need to catch up with Ammy.

She reaches out to take his arm, curling her fingers into his inner elbow, her other hand resting on his forearm. There's a hint of a smile directed to Ailene, though she watches the red-haired Trevalion move away with an inscrutable look. Whatever is there, however, she doesn't voice and she returns her attention to Jehan-Pascal as they pay their respects to Ortolette, and then stroll for the doors. "I am open to doing whatever it is you would like," she tells him honestly. "We could go to one of your hidden gems, or we can return to your suite and have the servants bring us dinner. I am content so long as you are." Silks sweep on the floor as the two of them head out.

Desarae slips into Ortolette's arms for the gentlest of hugs. "I'm so sorry that I was late and missed most of the contest. It appears that you handled it well. The wreath of bay was a lovely touch." A press of her cheek to her cousin's. "You're looking well. I could scarely believe it when I heard that, in my absence, you took your first assignation." Oh shh-hh. "You're going to have to tell me all about it, though I already confess to knowing a little." She hoists herself to sit on the table where Orto had been perched, and reaches for the poetry that's piled there still. "Did a Tsingano really win?"

Jehan-Pascal recovers his documents, if poss. before Desarae collects them all up— and takes them away with himself and Isabelle with a courteous bow to the two at the table. "Let's stay out a little bit later?" he asks, as if looking for permission, or as if not even sure, himself. "I'll bet the Golden Harbor is packed for the evening— but the upper levels of the Kraken's Den are rather presentable… now that everyone has gone downstairs," he supposes. "A glass of wine and maybe a beefsteak." He may have forgotten to eat today, and his stomach rumbles in irritation.

"He did— and more than that— oh, but I'll tell you later," Ortolette lowers her voice, leaning against the table, herself, and putting away her surreptitious smiles when the Lady de Valais and the Lord de Baphinol come to collect some of the poems, providing them kindly courtesies while refraining from any sort of interaction that would make the universe explode in a mingling of altage. Once they're on their way, she throws her arms around Des again, still frail, but with some spark of vigor there that had not been in months and months and… years, really. An assignation has a pinkening effect on a maiden, to all evidence. "And I'll tell you about that, later, too.

"That sounds fantastic." She is just as home in a posh restaurant as she is in a seedy hole-in-the-wall, a lady in circumstance but an adventuress in spirit. Isabelle even seems heartened that he wants to stay out a little later, and she bobs her head in an enthusiastic and encouraging nod. She squeezes his forearm affectionately, and once the poems are collected, and a smile and curtsey directed to Ortolette and Desarae, she is off with her companion, to look for something to eat and drink.

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