(1311-07-07) Festival of Fire
Summary: The Duchesse of Eisande has sent out invitations for a special Festival of Fire held in the gardens of the ducal palace.
RL Date: Sun Jul 07, 2019
Related: None.
alejandro amaryllis armandine helene odric oliver philomene yves 

Gardens — Ducal Palace

The gardens of the Ducal Palace have been prepared for the occasion, as paths have been lit with lines of torches leading the way to the center. The hour is late, as flames and fire create the most stunning effects in the darkness, and so lampions have been attached to the garlands that adorn the pavilion where servants in Mereliot livery are ready to attend to the guests, offering three different local Eisandine wines. Platters with appetizers have been set out on a long table, there are several kinds of cheese, bits of ham and some small pastries stuffed with cooked meat and goat cheese - small snacks to go along with the wine.

Outside, a number of benches have been set up, for those that wish to watch the proceedings from a seated position. They have been arranged about a space in the middle, the center of a triangle made up of three fire pits. Bonfires have been lit and burn, flickering flames rising all the way into the night sky.

The Duchesse of Eisande is there of course, being the hostess of tonight's festivities. Her gown reflects the theme of the night, dark blue with golden flames embroidered onto the skirts, and she wears the ducal coronet made of gold and sapphires. Armandine de Mereliot greets the arriving guests with a kind smile playing on her features. She is surrounded by family, daughters, nieces and nephews, cousins and married-in members of House Mereliot.

Helene Verreuil, the Baronesse de Poumarous, is an early arrival, dressed in blue-grey silk that seems almost violet when near the red and orange firelight. She accepts a glass of wine politely but then assumes her usual stance, finding a place near the edge of the activity from which to watch both the displays, and the other guests. Should the Duchesse look her way, she curtseys deeply, her green eyes lowering as she does.

Further away, another fire pit has been burning all day. On a spire, a boar is being roasted above the flames that keep getting fueled with fresh logs whenever the fire threatens to die down. It is here that a number of dancers are preparing for their great moment, when the fire dances will commence.

Music fills the air, drums and fiddles, along with other instruments played by a few very talented players. The drums strike a lighter rhythm for now, accompanying unobtrusively the musical ambience and backdrop for those arriving.

One of the dancers is Amaryllis nó Glycine. The young adept is attired in wide dancing trousers that sit low on her hips and a tight fitting short-sleeved chemise that leaves the pale slightly freckled skin of her belly bare while going all the way down at her back. Silver thread has been worked into her green colored garments, catching the light of the torches as brilliantly as the belly chain that sits on her lower abdomen, a chain of silver with small diamond shaped pieces of the same material. Her red tresses are secured into one thick braid that has been twirled into the shape of a conch and pinned to the back of her head. Stormy grey-green eyes flicker with anticipation and a hint of excitement as she seems already focused on her upcoming performance.

Alejandro had watched much of the preparations for the festival from his balcony in the Narbonne suite, though it is another treat entirely to behold the simmering bonfires from the ground. He chooses a fine tunic of the Mereliot colors to wear tonight, out of respect of his marital bonds with the hosting family, the rich blue and gold flattering his warm, bronzed complexion. He gives Armandine a small bow before making his way immediately to where the food is arranged. After all the exertion over the past 24 hours, the Aragonian finds he has a bit of an appetite…

Armandine spots Hélène Verreuil, and a warm smile is sent the baronesse's way, a brief meeting of gazes in that eye contact of recognition. The duchesse inclines her head to Hélène. The arrival of Alejandro is noted, and to him as well, Armandine offers a friendly upturn of lips.

It's been a long week for Lord Basilisque. He arrives to the beautiful display wearing all black, his hair brushed back out of his face and his eyes puffy and red. His eyes widen at the beauty of the lights as he follows the path. Then he sees the table of food and there is cheese there and pastries. A small smile lifts the corner of his mouth and he moves over to the table and goes to take a piece of cheese before he stops. He quickly looks around for permission to eat. He brings his hands together and takes a step away, bowing his head and looking at one of the fire pits. He lifts his eyes to see Alejandro coming towards the food and he steps aside.

Odric arrives mostly done in the green of house Eresse. A formal tunic, nothing of particular note, proper enough for an event hosted by the duchess. Speaking of the duchess, Odric makes his way towards the duchess to offer her a bow and a "thank you Your Grace, for hosting this event." He offers as a polite thank you before fading back into the crowd after niceties have been made to find a glass of wine.

Amaryllis lets her gaze wander, and for a brief moment they seem to lose that expression of focus. Looking towards where nobles are approaching to get themselves something to eat, her lips twist into a faint grin, and a certain sparkle enters those grey-green eyes of hers.

The duchesse notices the arrival of the young lord of House Basilisque, and one of her ladies-in-waiting leans in to murmur something into her ear. There is a nod to her lady, and an attentive glance sent Oliver's way. But there Odric arrives, and she turns her attention towards the nobleman of House d'Eresse. "Baron de Vauvert. I am pleased that you could make it. I hope you will find the occasion entertaining. Well. There is fire. And only few I think are impervious to its charms."

Hélène does spy Odric, making their at least on familiar face in the gathering crowd, and she walks over to join him, her head inclining as she greets him, "Lord Odric, a pleasure. I must admit, I was uncertain if the festival would interest you or not. It seemed more your brother's taste?" The question lingers a moment when she sees Oliver around his shoulder and cants her head, a touch surprised.

Alejandro nearly bumps into Oliver after seizing one of the pastries, getting a glance at his face as he represses anything more than a polite smile. He's seen that face more than once in the mirror. "Please, senor, help yourself," he offers after regarding the man's hesitation, though he does not linger for chat. His dark, aquamarine eyes sweep over the premises, seeking someone in particular out.

"I am sure it will be quite the evening your grace. I do believe you are correct, there is something quite enchanting about flames." Odric says in return with another small bow before taking the glass of wine and heading towards Helene who is already greeting him. "Lady Verreuil" he says with a hint of a smile before shrugging a little "given the subject Ii've been researching lately it seems quite appropriate. And beyond that, I should really make more efforts to meet others among the nobility." Odric notices the few curious looks towards Oliver and he glances that way before turning to look back to Helene with a curious expression.

Oliver lifts his eyes and glances towards the duchesse as she looks at him and his face turns bright red and he bows his head. His eyes avert and he sees Helene and then he gets distracted by Alejandro and he hesitates a moment seeing Odric and he suddenly looks panicked and confused with the attention. The young man turns quickly and grabs a lot of cheese and pastries before rushing towards one of the fires and taking a seat, shoving food in his mouth.

As the gardens begin to fill with the nobility of the city, great and small, so the noise begins to increase, the bright flashes of colour and expensive clothing all begin to meld into one dazzling spectacle, and it's a wonder that any guest can be spotted or identified at all in the throng. There's plenty of yellow and blue, certainly, in deference to the Mereliot hosting this evening's entertainment, but then there are very few colours missing from the overall palette given enough time to look around. The one missing colour, however, is a faded chocolate brown, the most usual worn and comfortable garb in which to find Philomene d'Aiglemort de Chalasse. Not that the lack of that particular delicately repaired and re-repaired riding jacket should lull anyone into a false sense of security, as a second glance towards a well dressed, tall, blonde woman in the corner would reveal the Gueret herself, only rather unusually resplendent in a high collared, short white jacket over a deep green waistcoat, both of which are encrusted with delicate embroidery, frogging, and an excess of tiny brass buttons. It's only those who know her rather better than by casual glance, or those who spot that distinctive and undisguisable limp that might immediately piece together this elegantly clad woman, in shining, tall boots and a striking application of makeup with the scowling and weather worn misanthrope who can sometimes be seen limping around the temple gardens.

"The young Lord Basilisque has recently been cured of his blindness. There was a time, before that, that we were friendly, but it ended. I just have not seen him since he regained his sight," Helene explains simply, her attention moving fully back to the conversation once more. She takes a sip of her wine once more before admitting, "I have not been out terribly much myself. I usually avoid the crowds, even more so since…" She pauses, her lips pursing a moment before she contains in a matter of fact tone, "Since I lost my finger. I thought it was perhaps time to try again though."

Armandine had met the counter of Odric d'Eresse with a light nod of her head, and it seems that the gardens of the ducal palace are filling up with guests. Filling up indeed. The tall blonde Vicomtesse de Gueret is no stranger to the Duchesse of Eisande, and so that familiar limp will be noted, and a pointed smile sent towards Philomène d'Aiglemort de Chalasse. "My dear Lady Philomène. You arrive just in time, and you look wonderful in this dress," Armandine greets the woman smoothly.

Better late than never, Yves Valliers' arrival is relatively unnoticed, and unremarkable. His clothing carrying more of its usual characteristic red than usual, it seems like his garments were chosen for their fiery styling more than for their tribute to his house. The long jacket that hangs to his knees has a sort of loose styling beneath the waist but remains tight across his shoulders, undoubtedly for purposes of allowing him to fence in it. Even if he is without his sword due to the circumstances of being at the ducal palace. Making his way over to a place to sit, he looks for some alcohol on the way, finds it and watches people for a moment or two while he settles in. As seems to be the pattern of the past month and a half, the tall strapping youth seems to grow progressively more confident in public, and manages the whole affair without staring at the ground, blushing or looking awkward.

Odric raises a brow at Helene "well that explains the looks hes been getting…" Odric says giving Oliver another curious look along with a sip of wine. "Would you be interested in introducing me? I'm sure you have some questions as well." He asks Helen before hrming at her second comment. "Well, getting out into a crowd can be a bit of a pain in general. I feel the pair of us are more accustomed to smaller gatherings, but, thats why we're in Marsilikos and not at our estates right? To do things like this,"

"As do you, naturally, your grace," Philomène insists with a half smile, dipping her head so that the flickering firelight reflects warm golds and oranges in her blonde hair. "Now it only remains to be seen exactly who we're setting on fire today. Is there a short list, and how do we contribute a name?"

The young man keeps his head down shoving cheese in. Barely swallowing what's in his mouth only to finish with another bite of more. He's not a public person and hey, when Oliver was blind, it was only him and the darkness. He lifts his eyes up to the flame and stares at it dancing, watching it in slightly awe as it dances.

"We aren't setting anyone on fire tonight," Armandine is quick to clarify towards Philomène. "Well. We can toss a piece of parchment, inscribed with our wishes into the fires later. But first…", and here the duchess raises her voice a little so that others can catch her announcement, "the will be fire dances to celebrate the heat and life of the flames, and the spark they put to our lives."

Perhaps this had been the agreed signal. Or perhaps the musicians have the subtlety to catch the hint. The music changes in character, the beating of drums takes on a louder character, as the melodies change a little, into something more archaic, with a bit of exotic flavor added in.

Just as Helene is about to lead Odric away, the music changes, announcing the impending commencement of the display and she turns to give Odric an apologetic smile. She gestures instead towards the rows of the seats and suggests, "Perhaps after. For now, would you care to sit for the dances?"

As the music begins to play, the red-haired Amaryllis lifts her chin, arms lifting and reaching out to the sides to accept two torches that have been prepared from two assistants. With her gaze lowered, the Glycine adept has her feet move in a pattern of dance steps. The motions are tiny at first, before they become more pronounced and finally fall into the rhythm of the beat of the drums. Her hands move to hip level, the torches still pointing outward, as they move in line with the sway of her hips. After completing a circle on the cleared space she comes to stand, that fluid movement wanders from her hips to her torso, and Amaryllis straightens her arms as she holds out the torches, painting tiny circles of light into the night air, circles that will grow in diameter, the movement performed from her wrists alone, picking up in pace, until it looks as if she were caught between two wheels of fire.

Philomène only looks very slightly disappointed, more amused than anything. "Ah, well, perhaps the dancing will suffice in place of any sort of human immolation today," she's happy to agree, adding more drily, "I do so enjoy dancing. Watching other people having fun is what I live for." Could there possibly, maybe, unexpectedly be just a tiny hint of sarcasm in that dry tone? Gosh, surely not. That would be so completely out of character. "There's the chance that if they dance fast enough we might still be treated to a sudden ignition. I live in hope."

Oliver lifts his chin, mouth full of cheese like a chipmunk as he turns and then watches Amaryllis start to dance. His eyes widen and he grip a pastry for dear life. The once blind man is entranced. He finishes off his cheese and swallows rather loudly as his mouth slowly hangs open. A brow lifts when he sees the burning rings of fire and he holds his breath.

Alejandro takes the cue with the rest of the crowd, finding a seat to enjoy the coming spectacle — conveniently within eavesdropping distance of some of the others. But he has no intentions of spying. His delighted gaze is transfixed with the lovely Amaryllis as she begins her dance. There are few surprises in store for him. The Glycine adept had rehearsed every step and move in his very presence — and wearing much less than she is now. Still, the deft handling of the torches is something to behold, and a wry smile tilts his hair-rimmed lips as he glimpses the shimmer of that chain about her midriff.

Odric nods at Helene and takes a seat next to her once she's seated. Now his attention focuses on the dancing instead of the other nobles at the gathering. It isn't every day one gets to see Glycine put on a public show with fire involved noless. There is a bit of a smirk when he notices Oliver peeking up like a chipmunk and he just shakes his head and takes another drink of his glass before whispering something to Helene.

Helene leans in to reply softly to Odric before returning her focus to the dancer. There is an appreciative smile, and appropriate applause at the turn of tricks and heightened tension that fire adds to the dance.

"Are you so keen on seeing someone go up in flames?", Armandine counters towards Philomène. "Come, let us sit down," she suggests then, walking over to the more privileged bench reserved for the hostess and whomever she wishes to keep her company. "You do prefer the comfort of a seat to standing, don't you?", she utters in half-question, half-invitation towards the Vicomtesse de Gueret. "I promise, I shan't force you to dance for us, tonight." A slight crinkling at the corners of her eyes emphasize a certain hint of humor. "As well as I won't call you out on a wager."

<FS3> Amaryllis rolls Dancing: Great Success. (8 5 3 5 3 7 8 7 3 3 6 6)
<FS3> Amaryllis rolls Acrobatics: Success. (5 5 6 4 8 1 2 5 6)

Amaryllis may note that a certain baron is watching, but the Glycine adept does not let this hamper her focus. Night Court training comes with a certain professionalism, and so she lets her gaze wander and meet the looks of those in the audience. One moment, it may be the shy young lord gawping at her, she gives her attention, the next moment, the young red-haired adept looks towards Helene and Odric, and then Philomene; and Yves. Meanwhile, Amaryllis continues with the performance of her dance.

A moment ago, she was standing still, but now her legs come to life. Leaning back beneath the flame she spins before her front now, the other behind her back, Amaryllis leans forwards, and the spin of the torches slows. One torch is handed to an assistant, before the Glycine adept proceeds, whirling one torch about her with one arm, as she performs a slow, controlled backwards bend, fire dancing in wide circles, as her knees lean forward and her head falls back, the vacant arm stretching to touch the ground behind and beneath her for support in her current position. After remaining in that dramatic poise for a moment, the dancer's arm slows the whirl of the torch - and tosses it up into the air, only to straighten and catch it by the handle as it falls literally into her hand.

"You can't deny that it would make it an evening to remember, your grace," Philomène quips, straightening her cuffs as she eases her way over to the bench to which she's been invited, left leg swinging out in that awkward gait, distinctive even in the flickering firelight of the dance which otherwise disguises so many things in the shifting shadows. Only once she's lowered herself to sit, a moment of schooled neutrality fixing on her face as she sinks down, does she allow that look of quiet amusement to return. "Well, it might be a little insensitive to set odds on whether your young woman there is going to seriously maim herself this evening, so I will grudgingly accept your lack of sporting ambition."

Well this is stressful but beautiful. Oliver watches as he shoves pastries in his mouth slowly, eyes wide. He flinches when she catches the fire and he leans a little over, tearing a piece of pastry and then shoving in his mouth. His cheeks have fully blossomed to make him appear so much more chipmunk like. He lifts his hand up and brushes his hair out of the way, leaving a small piece of pastry there. He's not paying attention as the fire… so many fire.

Odric motions over a server to get another glass of wine for himself and Helene if she wants one, settling back in quietly to observe the dancing. The swirl of limbs and fire is a bit entrancing so it is a few moments before polite conversation is picked up once again between the pair on the benches. "Quite the show. I'm not sure what I expected, but I'm not sure its this. Sort of thing I could imagine being more common abroad, perhaps in Khebbel-im-Akkad or Menekhet."

"I do not know where the tradition comes from now I think on it," Helene answers, her brow furrowing slightly, "Perhaps even one of the tribes native to Terra Nova. I have heard they do all kinds of unique dances and arts." She is happy to accept a fresh glass when it is brought, though the second glass leads quickly to a colouring of her cheeks. "It is remarkable though, the strength and agility required…"

"It would cost me a fortune to recompense the salon for the inconvenience," Armandine replies to Philomène's musings, "as well as it would hurt me to see that beautiful creature taking any damage from a mishap." She gestures for a servant to provide them with wine. "I see you are still here in our lovely city. It seems, you have taken a liking to our mild climate? Or is it the promise of entertaining company to meet here in Marsilikos?", the Duchesse of Eisande asks lightly. "The city has that effect, on many of the people visiting."

The dance has concluded. At least the part, Amaryllis had to perform. And so the young adept hands the torch off to the next performer, smiling with a bit of gratification that all went well, and that hint of an artist's ego that keeps finding flaws in their own performance. There is some applause, and Amaryllis offers a graceful curtsey before she moves off to the side.

Alejandro is hardly disappointed by the lack of attention. He knows the fire-haired courtesan will have eyes for him again, soon enough. Still, he cannot help but burst with applause as she performs her feat, for a moment rather awkwardly sticking out from the crowd. He hardly cares. Being a foreign-born Aragonian entitles one to loud and uproarious gestures, even among all these immaculate d'Angelines. Retaking his seat from his brief, standing ovation, he notices Oliver again, in the row ahead, a perplexed furrow touching his brow. "Boy," he murmurs, leaning in. "Are you quite alright? You are looking just a bit like a hungry raccoon."

Odric offers polite applause when the first dancer is finished and then returns the wine to his hand to nod at Helene "thats one place I know next to nothing about. Other than its mere existance. I couldn't imagine what their tribes are like." Odric hrms a little "I wonder if that's a thing in more northern territories as well. Places where fire probably means more. I could see Vralians having some fire rituals due to the cold." He gives a glance over to Alejandro and his awkwardness and loud statements. Perhaps judging, perhaps just noticing.

Oliver claps as the woman finishes and then he turns his eyes to Alejandro and his cheeks flush. He covers his mouth and chews, keeping his head bowed as he turns around in his seat and grumbles an apology. He has finished his food so he quickly wipes his clothes off and brings his hands together chewing and swallowing as fast as he can so he doesn't offend people.

"Returned," Philomène corrects absently, inclining her head in thanks as she's presented with wine. "I've been back in l'Agnace most of this month, but the grain has a nasty habit of stalling here if I'm not constantly on top of the shipping, and as long as it's not moving it's losing value." That thought prompts a slight frown, but she shakes it off. "I certainly agree with the climate, however. The company? Well, present company excepted of course, I wait with bated breath to form a particular affection for the entertainment generally offered. But then it's possible that my idea of entertainment isn't quite the same as the general understanding here." She pauses, glancing sidelong at the Duchesse with easy amusement. "And no, despite my baiting, I don't think setting people on fire would be as amusing as it initially sounds." She lifts her glass to the Mereliot, quirking a small smile and dipping her head in mute toast before she takes a long, refreshing draught.

Helene follows his eyes for a moment, and remarks, ,It is good to see he is eating. There was a time Lord Basilisque was simply withering away. I do not know the other gentleman though." Her green eyes return to Odric and she continues, "I have heard stories. I know people who have had opportunity to go, and hope, eventually, to open trade routes across the ocean, but that is a long way off.". Another sip of her wine and she leans in, "I am sorry, I must go for a bit but I promise I will seek you out if you are still here when I return."

Odric bows his head to Helene as she departs and, lacking company now, he decides that he may as well find some new conversation partners, so he rises from the benches and heads in the direction of Oliver and Alejandro. "Lord Basilisque" Odric says with a small bow of his head to Oliver "and, forgive me, I'm not sure of your title, ambassador perhaps?" Odric says to Alejandro. "I am Odric d'Eresse. Its a pleasure to meet the pair of you."

Armandine's expression sobers a little as she hears Philomène's remark about grain. "So there has been some trouble with some of our shipments?", she inquires in a low murmur. "I am sad to hear. How very unfortunate." The statement sounds genuine, as it is devoid of any sarcasm. "Please let me know, if there is anything I can do to help." A smirk returns. "As for entertainment? I take it then that you are less fond of what the Night Court of Marsilikos has to offer. Well. No one was ever forced to indulge in entertainment. And I shall be the last one in all of Terre d'Ange to force you."

Alejandro remains no less perplexed by the lad's stuffed-cheeks apology, though he does not press the matter. He himself likely had the worst manners of his three brothers, in his youth, but this is something else altogether. He withdraws just in time for Odric to make his introduction, unable to suppress his chuckle before he rises again to offer his customary (and likely unnecessary) bow. "I am actually as d'Angeline as you, senor. Alejandro Velasco de Mereliot — a pleasure. My wife, regrettably, could not be in attendance." There is not the slightest regret in his tone, despite his choice of words.e

The next Glycine performer has foreign blood, perhaps of Bhodistan or Menekhet, if one can tell from his duskier skin. He performs a dance with palm torches that are attached to his hands. The music once again launches into a driving beat, the melodies this time more foreign sounding.

Oli's head was down so when he hears Lord Basilisque, he jumps a little and lifts his eyes up…up…up to Odric. He lifts his fingers up and does a small wave. "Oliver." He grumbles quietly. "I'm sorry." He bows his head and brushes more crumbs off his chest and legs. The young man keeps his head bowed as he watches Odric's shoes. He could be interested in them or just distracting himself. He listens to the strange accent and closes his eyes, focusing on the voices of the two men.

"I'd rather ride a horse than a courtesan," Philomène agrees drily, taking another long drink from her glass before lowering it again, her thumb absently running around the rim. "And it seems a more efficient use of Gueret funds to make sure our grain and pigs find a secure market than to selfishly make sure my bed is warm for a night. Thank you, your grace," she adds, pursing her lips. "I believe it's mere incompetence and laziness now, rather than malevolent intent. I suspect that whoever had a mind to try to take our grain has decided better of their life decisions now."

Amaryllis watches the performance of her Glycine compatriot, bare feet tapping in time with the music. Now and then, her gaze shifts over to where Alejandro speaks with Odric and Oliver, with a wry twist of a smile. But for now, she remains where she is.

Odric bows his head apologetically to Alejandro "my apologies lord Mereliot. Its my mistake. I hope you can forgive it. I meant no offense. Perhaps it is the accent that has thrown me off, I am unaccustomed to hearing d'Angelines refer to people as senor but I do remember hearing Aragonian merchants use the word." He says before looking to Oliver "no need to be sorry to me young lord, I was just introducing myself. Seems you've become a small center of attention recently. Lady Verreuil mentioned who you were so I thought I would introduce myself is all."

"It is a matter of preference," Armandine counters with amusement glinting in her eyes. "But your reasoning sounds very reasonable indeed. I shouldn't chastize you for preferring to abstain. In case you wish to save your coin, there are always other options…" Said with a wink, she tosses Philomène's way. "If the matter with your grain was only temporary trouble, I am glad. But if the matter persists… I would ask you to confide more of the details in me. I can give the issue to the city watch to investigate…"

Alejandro continues to wear a broad smile, projecting quite the amiable countenance despite his rugged appearance. "Ah honest mistake I am quite accustomed to," the Aragonian offers in reprieve. "I have not been in this country even a year. Fortunately I studied the language a bit in my youth before making wedding arrangements." His eyes shift, a briefly distracted glance in Amaryllis's direction. A glance that then wanders back towards the direction of his suite.

Oliver lifts his eyes up. He seems confused. "Who I was? Who am I that people want to stare at me?" He shakes his head. "I'm .. just a young man." He fiddles with his black shirt. He looks over to Alejandro and blinks a few times. He looks back to Odric and then back to Alejandro and then bows his head. "So… there is pastries on the table." He winces.

Did she catch that glance? Amaryllis receives a light cloak to put around her shoulders, and she begins to fidget with her hair, releasing it from its orderly do. The braid comes loose, and she runs her fingers through those long curls, adjusting it so that it falls down in a fiery cascade over her shoulders. A nod is given to her fellow Glycines, before Amaryllis excuses herself from them. Barefoot she is, as she circles the space in the center where another continues the fire performance. Snatching a glass of red wine from a tray, she appears not too far from where Alejandro, Oliver and Odric are engaged in conversation.

Philomène allows herself a genuine smile, although whether it's at the offer to call out the city watch to protect her grain or because the servant has, unbidden, topped up her rapidly emptying glass is unclear. "If we have another shipment disappear, I give you my word that you'll be my first port of call, your grace," she promises, doing her best to drain more of her wine as though it's some sort of competition. She aims to empty it. The servant aims to fill it. Who will win out? More to the point, after enough wine will Philomène even care any more? "If I were of a criminal intent, however, I'd probably focus my efforts on the influx of foreigners rather than good d'Angeline people. Which, I suppose," she adds dubiously, "is still technically your problem, although…" She shrugs.

Odric ahs at Alejandro "interesting. And how have you been enjoying Terre D'Ange? I imagine it's quite the difference from what you're used to." Odric raises a brow at Oliver "I didn't mean to scare you" he says, perhaps a bit put off by how put off Oliver is. "I was just making introductions. Lady Verreuil said she knew you, and so I figured it was worth meeting you. And besides, can any lord truly be just a young man? Should have a little more pride, no?" Odric asks, bluntly. Then he looks up to Amaryllis "you were quite talented. I dont think I've ever seen anything quite like that."

"We are preparing for the great exhibition," Armandine tells Philomène, leaning back in her seat, and her expression amused. "Which will bring a lot of foreign visitors to Marsilikos. Are you telling me, we will have to worry for their safety?" The competition, the vicomtesse undertakes in regards to the glass in her hand, is observed with a lift of a brow. "Criminal elements will be prosecuted, regardless of whom they are targeting. It would cast an ill light on our system of justice, were it otherwise."

"It has been a delight," Alejandro projects the half-truth with uncanny charm. "Though, a wildly expensive one. Especially when one wanders the direction of the Night Court…" And on this beat, Amaryllis makes her presence known, the foreign noble having briefly lost track of her whereabouts. "Dulce!" he greets her enthusiastically, aqua eyes sweeping over her, head to toe. "A ravishing performance, indeed. I could not discern a single misstep…" He pats the space on the bench next to him, inviting her to join him.

Oliver lifts his eyes and his cheeks burn with redness. "You don't scare me." His voice breaks half way through that. He grumbles. Though he does seem to get a little sad at the worth meeting part. "There is no pride here for myself." He pokes himself in the chest. "I pride myself in my family." What's left of it… He sighs quietly. His eyes turn to the woman and those eyes widen. His mouth opens to speak but Alejandro speaks so he turns and closes his mouth, looking back at the fire.

Philomène leans forward as Armandine leans back, pointing out earnestly, "Criminals will always pick the easiest mark, and the easiest mark in a city like this is the visitor. A visitor doesn't know the local ways, the disposition of the watch, the safer and more dangerous areas in the city, or who has a reputation for untrustworthiness. A foreign visitor lacks all that knowledge and more besides. I'd say if we don't worry for their safety then we're being quite naive. Violence, perhaps, but the art of the persuasive and charming criminal who'll have them paying made up taxes and tariffs, or have them investing in completely fictitious endeavours, is probably more likely yet. I'd expect a huge increase in opportunistic crime, yes."

Odric catches word of something being discussed near Armandine and Philomene and his head turns in that direction before Alejandro and Oliver reply to him and his attention is refocused. "Oh, that it is. It can be quite easy to lose a fortune in the night court, even for those raised with access to it." Odric just looks at Oliver and takes a sip of his glass. Clearly he's not the motivational speech type as his reply is "well, suppose I'm glad I don't frighten you m'lord." Before hes looking back to Alejandro and Amaryllis.

Amaryllis receives the praise from Odric with a little smile of gratification. "Thank you, my lord. I have had splendid tutors. Some of them of foreign roots," she tells the Eresse lord. But there is Alejandro, and his enthusiasm is rewarded as she gives him a smile. "Of course you didn't," she says, lifting a finger. "Because I wouldn't bring dishonor over my salon by giving a flawed performance." The tone is gentle, even if of a light chiding tone. "I am glad you enjoyed it." Grey-green eyes meet Alejandro's gaze, and she smiles, shaking her head just so, in declining his non-verbal request. Attention turns to Oliver, and she chuckles in delight at his awkwardness. "Hello there. I am Amaryllis. Amaryllis nó Glycine," the young adept introduces herself. A slight roll of her eyes then, as she remarks to Alejandro, "I may be back in a moment… I need to see to something first." Something Glycine, apparently, as she drifts of to speak to some others of her salon that are waiting for their turn in the performances.

The young man speaks softly. "Hello." He bows his head to Amaryllis. "It was beautiful." He lifts his eyes up and grins warmly at her. Though she rushes away and he sighs quietly. "Of course not. Not much scares me anymore." He speaks towards Odric. "Life is just a group of moments and we drift from one to the other. What happens, happens." He shrugs lightly.

Alejandro frowns briefly as the Glycine dismisses herself, though it doesn't last long as he lifts his spirits with a sip of his wine. "I shall wait here for awhile, seniorita. If not, I shall look for you on the balcony…" A balcony the two had already spoken of sharing, before the bonfires went out.

Armandine's eyes narrow a little at Philomène's thoughts. "Ambassadors arriving in Marsilikos will be under my protection. But the same goes for others, of less exposed station. There is no clause in Eisandine law that differentiates between d'Angeline or foreigner. The city watch serve the law. And criminals… d'Angeline criminals willing to target foreigners especially will find themselves prosecuted, for the same reasons that will pertain to crimes committed against d'Angelines." There. "Taxes. Those would be raised by officials in my service. Impersonating such an official constitutes a crime. I don't see a hole in our legal system, that will allow such actions, Lady Philomène."

Odric cocks a brow at Oliver "a bit dour, considering, lord Basilisque, don't you think?" Odric asks Oliver with another drink of wine, before looking around to try and obtain a new glass. "I see you were enchanted quite a bit by the glycine yourself lord Mereliot."

"I think that the fact that they're crimes is rather implicit in the fact that I refer to these miscreants as 'criminals'," Philomène points out drily. "The law is clear. That will not prevent people doing what they can and praying not to be caught. If the law protected us from those who consider themselves above it, we should have no need for the watch at all. But it doesn't and so we do. Crime will continue. We can only ever minimise it."

Oliver shakes his head. "I don't think so. Think about it this way, you always have a choice, correct? That being said your choice when faced with it should always be the same based on your beliefs at the time. So that moment was predefined by you at its inception. It's a moment in time. Was the last moment the same as this one? Not at all. Who we are and what we have inside us is what drives us through moments. It's what drives everyone. That's why peoples stories are so unique to themselves. Drifting from moment to moment is about letting it happen. Understanding that our actions drive the moments and what we put out in choices will be returned in actions."

Alejandro had not forgotten the presence of Oliver, though he finds himself at a loss for now to respond to the boy's depressed mumbling. Odric proves an easier partner for conversation. "Oh, I have been an eager audience for many of her performances," he remarks of the departed Glycine. "I would highly recommend broaching a contract with her Dowayne, if I did not wish to keep her all to myself!" Another sip of his wine, as he idly watches the other performers.

"Of course," Armandine allows, and her tone loses some of its sharpness. "Minimising crime, and making sure that criminals will find justice eventually is what we are striving for. The city watch is so far a doing a good job. But if you have any suggestions as to how to improve our efforts… I will be glad to hear them." The vague smile that accompanies her words seems to add, "But perhaps some other time."

"I see" Odric says to Oliver, clearly not agreeing but still wishing to remain (mostly) polite. Alejandro quickly becomes the focus of Odric's attention. "I must say, while comparing the different Salons to one another can be a bit of a folley, for the purity of a nights enjoyment, Glycine truly may be the best. If you take to gambling or games even more so." Odric laughs a little at Alejandro's joke "I'll leave my hands off this one, least for the moment then." He promises.

"I'll draw up a report," Philomène promises, then smirks. "But I'm monopolising your time, and I apologise, your grace."

The young lord looks from Odric to Alejandro and sighs quietly. He pushes himself up. "I'll leave you both. I seem to be souring the mood." He turns and leaves the group of people as he walks down a lanterned path alone. Just him and his cheese.

The foreign noble gives Odric a slow nod as he sips his wine. "I must confess, I knew little of the customs involving the worship of Naamah, despite their reverence — and indeed, disdain — in my own country. I merely found myself in La Glycine one night, and found Amaryllis just as easily at my side." He releases an easy breath, letting the dancing fire take his mind away. "I have wanted for no other. Despite the prevailance of polyamorousness, for me…" and he begins gesturing with his free hand, struggling for a moment to find the words, "…it is more natural, to think of her like a mistress. Only one my wife already knows of." A jest he almost cringes to add.

Odric offers a small polite bow of his head to Oliver "a pleasure to meet you lord Basilisque" at least he says, reality perhaps a bit more questionable. "I wish you a good night." He looks back to Alejandro with a curious expression. "Ah, yes, casual lovemaking is more frowned upon in other cultures. Not having Eisheth's blessing must be a real burden. It's an interesting way to consider the relationship, but, not every d'Angeline is open with half a dozen lovers. Its not outlandish to imagine someone pairing off with just one."

Alejandro makes a brief glance at the retreating Oliver. Odd boy. He returns his attention to Odric, apparently rather eager to share the details of his relationship with someone. It's not as if Sofia cares to hear it. "I have contributed a great deal to her marque," the man explains. "And when it is complete, she has agreed to retire with me to my family's estate in Cabrera. As much as I shall miss this fair city, I dare say I take the best of it with me." Glancing over his shoulder, the Aragonian appears to give up on his lover's return, rising as if to make his own retreat. "She may be waiting for me now. I would stay and chat, my lord, but she can be quite the impatient one," and he offers a sheepish smile, comfortable with the mantle of the subservient noble.

Odric offers a polite bow to Alejandro then "but of course m'lord. It was a pleasure meeting you, hopefully we'll speak again some time, until then, have yourself a good night. Which I imagine you will."

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