(1311-10-20) Great Exhibition: Horse Race
Summary: The Akkadian event of the Great Exhibition
RL Date: Sun Oct 20, 2019
Related: Great Exhibition Plot
andre belmont boniface farah marco mirzeta odette philomene roche theodosia 

Marsilikos Hippodrome — Eisandine Countryside

In honour of the ancient Hellenes and Eisande's own history of horse-breeding and rearing, the Marsilikos Hippodrome stands apart from the city in a reclaimed marsh. Stony terraces march down to the sea on the windswept site, holding back the waves pummeling the low-lying coast. Tough salt-resistant grasses and flowers cluster along the rocky fringes of the wide oval space. At first glance, the place resembles nothing so much as an untended field surrounded by a complex of weathered rock walls hemming in none too productive fields. But a seasoned eye may distinguish the lime-traced oval track at a distance, and the neat avenues slicing ruler-straight through the grassy mound. Clearly a favourite for riders to launch into galloping runs pell-mell over the flat ground, clods of earth and divots provide some level of hazard.

Here every spring and fall, the greatest horse fair in Terre d'Ange gathers and transforms the hippodrome into a sea of tents and Tsingani carts. The fields marked by rough stone walls become pens for yearlings and adult horses for trade and barter, the whole of it lively and wild. During races in the season, crowds throng the sides of the track and wooden stands spring up like mushrooms after the rain to accommodate immense crowds drawn by the sport.

The Hippodrome certainly looks different today, with the many tents and pavilions having been erected to advertise Akkadian culture and goods. The banners of Khebbel-im-Akkad and House Shamabarsin in particular are fluttering in the light autumnal breeze, but the weather is fair enough, not hampering the plans for today's particular contribution to the Great Exhibition.

In one of the pavilions, visitors can admire the signature weapons of Khebbel-im-Akkad, curved daggers and sabers of exquisite making, with hilts that are adorned with jewels and beautiful ornamental patterns. The same beauty is echoed in their scabbards, some made of leather etched with wonderful ornaments, others reinforced with metal, some even with gold. There are also more extravagant ones, made entirely of gold with emeralds and sapphires worked into them, most probably exhibits derived from the treasure halls of the khalif himself. It may come as no surprise, that this pavilion in particular is heavily guarded, Akkadian staff enforced with guards of House Mereliot, to make sure not one single item will go missing during this particular event.

In another tent, Akkadian delicacies are on display, on platters covered in intricate geometric patterns. Each grouping of platters catering to another desire. Some light and baked dishes giving off rich aromas of thin phyllo dough pastries. While as one progresses in farther more rich and indulgent scents assault the nostrils. Offered for the public to partake in are skewers of lamb, onions and red pepper, along with a stew of dried prunes and meat, a polow of rice with sweet carrots, almonds and raisins. Slices of thin lavash bread are available as well as borani, a yoghurt based appetizer with spinach and other more exotic ingredients.

The horse track has been prepared for the race, and a number of riders and horses can already be seen there, near the starting line, preparing for the contest. The Akkadian Exhibition is hosted by Princess Mirzeta Shamabarsin, and she is present, sitting astride her black horse of Menekhet breed, every inch the proud daughter of a khalif. Dark hair has been gathered into a loose do of braids, her attire an unconventional mix of fine white satin and a leather vest, skirts white and slitted at the front to allow a glimpse of cream colored pants. Her station is stressed more through the jewelry she wears than her attire, large golden earrings and a necklace of gold, a pattern of birds arranged in a chain of sorts. For now, her position is a little off, keeping close to the sidelines to engage in conversation with some of her people that are helping to run everything smoothly so far.

Not ahorse, but standing amidst the throng of people by the pavilions is another daughter of Akkadian royalty, this one a prince's bastard offspring, married a few months ago into the Eisandine ruling House of Mereliot. Lady Farah Shamabarsin de Mereliot has chosen a more traditional Akkadian attire for today, given the occasion, and she is here, clad in skirts of blue silk with ornamental patterns embroidered at the hems, and a short-sleeved chemise of sorts of asymmetrical cut, covering the right side of her abdomen while allowing a glimpse of dusky skin at the left. Her eyes have been painted with the traditional kohl, pronouncing the darkness of her eyes even further, and she smiles, cheek dimpling, as she wraps her large blue shawl about her frame, perhaps prompted by the slightly chillier climate of an autumn in Marsilikos. A goblet of wine has found its way into one of her hands and she stands there, gaze directed to where people are arriving on the scene.

Marco drifts through the exhibition for a time letting his eyes wander over trinkets and the displays making his way through the throng. He is clearly wearing Mereliot green but the trims are blue and his tunic is cut in the akkadian style leaving more of his chest bared than usual. His footwear also appears to be pointed at the tips with intricate patterns weaved in. His smile is warm as he finds a familiar figure after his wanderings. He moves behind Farah taking up his own glass of wine and he teases, "So have you sampled all the sweets yet?" He asks of Farah playfully letting his eyes move over her and then the wider thoroughfare, "Things are progressing as planned I hope?"

Among the many spectators arriving at the race track is Andre van Westerlo, the Prince of Brabant, in a hired coach. He has a young lady by his side, chatting amicably as they approach. He nods greetings here and there, eager to see who's turned up and who will be taking part in the races.

Boniface is here to compete. The young vicomte has been absent from Marsilikos as of late, but the lure of a horse race has brought him back in. And as such, he's on near the starting line with his horse, having chosen to ride his own mount. He looks.. happy, as usual. And excited.

Theodosia walks onto the field, the girl clearly dressed for riding, with high boots, jodhpurs and a short red velvet jacket, her eyes curious as she sees the arrangements.. she makes her way to the refreshments tents, and takes one of the small honey dipped baklavas, not minding that a few honeyed crumbs will stick to her lips.

The newly minted Baron de Beaucare needs to show at public occasions as these, and so Belmont d'Eresse has arrived a few minutes ago, on horseback with a small retinue of men. While the baron now makes his way over to get himself some sort of refreshments from one of the pavilions, his attendant leads the baron's mahogany bay stallion over to to race track, before dealing with having Belmont put on the list of contenders. The Baron of Beaucare looks to be in good spirits, he is attired in a fine doublet and breeches of dark green, an embroidery of the family crest of House d'Eresse showing at the front of the doublet, done in silvery thread. His dark hair is swept back, revealing grey-blue eyes glinting with a hint of daring and mischief as he looks towards the horses and riders on the race track, but Belmont is in no hurry, it seems. When one of his attendants brings him a plate with some phyllo dough pastries, he removes his riding gloves to enjoy a small meal, before the great event of today's contest is about to kick off.

It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that somebody mentioned the word 'horse' and so a certain tall, older blonde woman has appeared. Rather like saying 'Bloody Mary' three times into a mirror, only far, far more terrifying in every way, the familiar figure of Philomène de Chalasse can be seen on the back of her dun mare, trotting quite ably to join the assorted competitors. Despite her recent injury, or perhaps because of it and in order to demonstrate that she is very much alive still, she sits upright, sharp eyed and alert, in the customary heavily embroidered brown riding jacket which she is so very rarely seen without. There is, for those paying attention, however, a new selection of embroidery lower down on the right hand side near the front, a delicate repair job to a rent made by a blade.

Odette comes to the races with the dashing Prince Andre. She's dressed to match him. Her long red dress and yellow detail matching that of his jacket. She keeps her arm around his as they start walking around readying to see the race. Guillaume, Odette's guard, follows after the couple but gives them enough space to speak privately. She's radiant as she looks around to see the beauty of the horses and then the people. Her young face is a light with joy.

"Sweets?" Farah turns to regard her husband. "I don't think so." Her lips curve in a smile, and she looks towards the pavilion with the delicacies. "Not yet. I may though, in a moment." Her dark eyes find Marco's gaze and she lifts her chin. "What about you?" A tilt of her head in the general direction of the race track. "I daresay, Mirzeta is making sure that everything goes as planned. That is, that every d'Angeline coming to visit the Akkadian Exhibition will get a good impression of the goods and the horses."

"Would you like to try some of the Akkadian food?", Andre asks Odette and leads her to the refreshment stalls, "I must admit I have no idea what they eat over there, but I'd be curious to find out." He spies a few contestants to the horse race and his blue eyes assume a cool frozen expression at the sight of the Chalasse woman, but he just juts his chin out and focuses on his present companion.

Theo lifts her eyes as she sees people approach and she waves to Andre and his date, the girl taking another piece of cake and biting into it, apparently building up energy for the race. The girl's horse , a large bay, that probably looks even larger due to her being rather short, is held by a tall groom, not far away. "Good day, Your Highness, have you come to ride, or to watch?"

Princess Mirzeta watches the arriving contestants with a faintly competitive glimmer in her eyes, sitting on her black steed allows her a good view of the proceedings. She is more or less already on the race track, nudging her horse then to trot over where she can address the crowd. "People of Marsilikos," the Akkadian princess begins, in a voice both proud and tinged by her remarkable Akkadian accent. "Welcome to our exhibition of Khebbel-im-Akkad. I am Princess Mirzeta Shambarsin, and my father, the Khalif, sends you his greetings. Please have a look at our tents where we have fine Akkadian wares on display… finely crafted weapons, carpets and tapestries, and yes, some food of my home country for you to sample. For the more adventurous among you… The horse race is about to begin. Those wishing to take part, step forth, and prepare." Her features twist into a wicked grin. "And don't be offended if I'd like to compete in this race, myself."

Odette smiles brightly. "I don't know either but I will share this experience with you. I am also rather curious." She chuckles. Though her eyes look over his face as he sees something he doesn't seem to like so she lightly brushes her fingers over his hand. "No negativity today. Let's enjoy ourselves." She walks beside him as they move towards the food.

Finishing off his pastry, Belmont walks over to the racetrack and after wiping his hands with a handkerchief, he dons his riding gloves. A bow is offered to the Akkadian princess, and a smile is offered to others in the crowd he may recognize, such as Philomene. He raises a brow as the realization sinks in that this woman intends to compete in the race as well, but that doesn't keep Belmont from mounting his horse.

Marco smiles at Farah as she turns, "Shall I bring you some? I found a few things that I thought someone might like. It is a rare opportunity to tuck away some familiar items you might like." He admits and he nods, "Mirzeta has worked very hard to get this together. I'm sure it will go fine. I'm sure it will have an impact on the horse fair this year. Perhaps she can be enticed to help arrange a smaller one during that." He suggests studying FArah and then the crowds again. He raises a brow at Mirzeta's pronouncements as he moves closer to Farah wrapping an arm around her waist. "Is there betting at such contests in your home traditionally?" He asks of her and leans in to murmur something to her ear.

Andre agrees on the negativity bit and focuses on the positive. Food! He picks up some dough balls soaked in rose water and stuffs one into his mouth. He's still chewing when Theo greets him and he gives her a strained smile, before the dough ball is gone and he can talk. "No, Mylady, I'm only here to watch today. I'm afraid I'm not much of a competitive horse rider. Do you think you may be worth betting a few coins on?", he asks her with a wink.

Farah had listened to her cousin's speech with a vague smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Her dark eyes shift to regard Marco at her side. "She is… lovely. Is she not?", she remarks with a gentle sort of irony lacing her voice. To Marco's suggestion of a wager she gives him a smile. "Betting is common, yes. Do you want to bet on someone in particular?"

Philomène offers a quiet, "My lord," towards Belmont as she eases her horse over towards where the competitors are gathering, then adds a cordial, "Your highness," to the erstwhile hostess along with a faintly amused smirk. "I think I should be offended more if you chose not to compete. If you intend to show off your horses, you can't do it by passively watching them eat hay now, can you?"

"Of course not!", Mirzeta replies to Philomène with a wry smile. "Our horses are the best. And I am meaning to prove this to you all." There is not even a hint of irony in her confident statement. "Please. Get ready… My ladies. My lords…"

Marco laughs warmly at Farah's words, "Hmmm? She has a way about her. Some might find her lovely." He says neutrally but with amusement. "Have you seen her ride often? I'm considering who I might bet on." He considers for a time, "Vicomtesse Philomene is said to be quite passionate about horses." He muses thoughtfully.

Theodosia laughs a little at Andre's words. "Well, I don't know the others…I mean, why not, I'm sure I'll get long odds, so you might win big." She seems to approve of Odette's words, and she then moving to mount up, not begore feeding her horse a piece of sugar and whispering some words to him..then she leads the horse to the start line

Not being close or really very much acquainted with any of the other riders, Boniface mostly keeps to himself, mounting his horse when the time comes. Oh yeah. he's ready to ride.

Ode grins warmly up towards Andre. "Bet on her." She keeps grinning. "It shows support for a friend." She tastes the same pastry and makes a small sound of pleasure. "These are really good." She jumps a little and points. "The races are starting. Let's go see." She's vibrating with excitement.

"Will do. Don't disappoint me.", Andre winks at Theodosia before she mounts her horse and is away. He stocks up on a few more savoury pastries and drinks from the tent, before he walks to the stands with Odette by his side. As a foreign royal he does at least have a decent seat from which they can watch while munching. "This should be highly amusing.", he tells his date with a grin.

Everyone is finding their spot at the starting line. Everyone the competitors, that is. Horses are patted, receive a treat here and there and encouraging murmurs. As the tension seems to rise and people await the signal for the race to start.

<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding+presence: Good Success. (7 8 3 3 3 6 4 5 3 6)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding+presence: Good Success. (1 8 3 7 7 6 4 3 5 5 6 6 3)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding+Presence: Failure. (1 4 1 6 6 3 3)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding+Presence: Good Success. (4 3 1 3 8 4 3 3 2 7 2 4 6)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding+presence: Good Success. (1 6 7 6 6 1 8)
<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding+2: Great Success. (7 1 6 8 3 1 1 7 3 6 2 4 7 3)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding+2: Amazing Success. (8 7 7 7 2 7 8 3 2 8 3 2 7)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding: Good Success. (6 7 2 4 8 2 5 1 3)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding+2: Great Success. (6 4 8 7 4 4 6 8 8 7 6 2 4 5 5 6)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding+2: Good Success. (2 1 6 1 7 7 8 5 3)

"My bet would be on Mirzeta," Farah replies to Marco with a faint glint in her eyes. "As for the bet and what it would be about…? A favor, of sorts, perhaps?"

Theodosia spurs her horse on, and at first she's gaining good speed but then she sees most of the people get ahead, the short girl muttering under her breath as she's bent over the neck of her big stallion. "Don't worry, boy, we're going to gain things further on…"

The chemistry isn't the best today, between Belmont and his horse, however great in spirits he might have been when he arrived. He gets a little late start and his smile freezes a little as he rushes after the other riders, aiming to keep up.

Youth and enthusiasm are all very well, but there is an understanding between an experienced rider and her horse. In Philomène's case, the years of experience are considerable — this is a woman who has ridden almost daily for over forty years, after all, and not just the sort of ladylike trotting around the streets like civilised people, but the explosive force of nature that is trained into the cavalry charge. There's no question of the singleminded purpose of the Chalasse and her mare alike - to display, and with superb balance and poise, every hint of the grace, power and speed that she can manage from horseback and never even hope to match on foot.

Mirzeta looks a tad surprised to see the Vicomtesse de Gueret rush past her. But that doesn't mean that the Akkadian princess aims to give in that easily. Riding almost side by side with Boniface, the temperamental woman shoots him a challenging glare along with a wink, before she looks ahead, urging her black Menekhet stallion on to run faster.

Andre groans a little when his favorite gets off on a bad start and his least favorite takes the lead. "Well, I guess, everyone has to be good at -something-", he mutters to Odette between handfuls of candied almonds. "Would you like some wine?", he asks when he spies a servant going round with a jug.

<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding: Good Success. (5 8 7 2 4 3 6)
<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding: Good Success. (1 1 6 3 4 6 7 5 5 2 5 7)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding: Good Success. (4 2 3 7 3 8 4 8 2 2 1)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding: Success. (3 1 2 4 3 7 2 2 3)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding: Good Success. (8 4 3 3 3 6 8 6 3 2 6 6 7 1)
<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding: Good Success. (1 7 3 4 1 2 8 4 6 2 6 7)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding: Failure. (6 4 3 2 3 6 3)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding: Good Success. (2 8 1 3 2 8 1 8 5 2 6)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding-1: Good Success. (1 1 1 8 8 4 8 5)
Theodosia spends 1 luck points on Mutter, mutter, damn horse.
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding: Success. (2 6 1 3 2 7 2)

Philomène eases back a touch, eyeing up the jump in front of her, judges the gap to perfection and launches herself and her mare in a beautiful, soaring leap across the water, hooves thudding down on the turf ahead to continue thundering down the course.

Theodosia seems not to be in the best of forms , since she manages to jump over the puddle, but it's slow and the back hooves of the horse land in the mud, making it slip, and the girl loses even more time.

Boniface is.. well.. he's focused on the race- focused on the jump, focused on his horse. And not much else.

Odette watches the race happily and cheers for everyone. Then Andre is speaking and she lightly pats his hand. "You are right. Everyone is good at something." She purrs happily. "I would love some wine. Thank you." She keeps holding his hand while she watches.

Mirzeta approaches the puddle with a faint grin on her features. The black horse leaps with grace, certainly, but it doesn't help her to gain on Philomène who stays at the lead. Boniface may be set to ignore her, but Mirzeta is not paying him back in kind, muttering some charming sounding Akkadian words in his direction, that might in fact be insults as well.

Andre sighs ever so slightly when he sees Theo lag further behind but doesn't let it bother him. Instead he uses his free hand to gesture for the servant to come and bring them cups of delightful local wine. He hands one cup to Odette first, then takes the second for himself, before he focuses his attention back on the race.

Belmont for his part is gaining a little, overtaking Theodosia who falls back at the jump. The mahogany bay stallion of the baron jumps with more power than grace but the leap is efficient enough to secure him a solid fourth place, for now.

"Mirzeta, yes, definitely Mirzeta," Farah confirms her favorite for the race, "I know that look of hers, she is determined to win. Ah… the irony it would pose… Should she indeed…" But words trail off, and she lifts her gaze to regard Marco at her side, before she adds some words to him at a lower volume.

<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding: Good Success. (6 6 6 7 2 6 2 6 1 8 4 2)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding: Success. (2 2 3 2 5 7 2 3 3)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding: Good Success. (1 2 7 3 1 1 8 2 5 5 3)
Boniface spends 1 luck points on Jumping Stuff..
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding: Good Success. (1 8 2 8 6 1 6)
Philomene spends 1 luck points on Super duper jumpy bonus thing, oh yes. Boing. Etc..
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding: Good Success. (1 8 4 1 4 4 1 5 8 2 2 8 3 2)
Belmont spends 1 luck points on Angelic Leap.

<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding+4: Good Success. (5 6 4 3 1 8 1 1 2 2 1 3 8 8 2)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding-1: Success. (6 1 7 6 2 4)
<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding+4: Good Success. (2 1 3 2 6 8 8 3 2 2 6 4 1 5 2 2)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding+3: Good Success. (8 1 4 4 7 7 6 5 2 2 4 4)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding-1: Good Success. (8 4 2 6 3 1 8 5 8 1 3 3 5)

Odette takes the cup happily but keeps holding Andre's hand. Her small hand shakes lightly. She sips the wine and turns a little to Andre. "Aren't the horses beautiful?" She sighs happily as she watches the skill. "They are all doing so well!" Another sigh from the beautiful woman.

Theodosia is clearly unlucky today, another snag as she goes over the bale of hay, and with the others already well in front, she not only does not make up time, but actually loses some, she raises in the saddle a bit to give her horse spur…

Still with barely an adjustment to her mare's stride needed, the Vicomtesse de Gueret holds her narrow lead, reaching the stack of hay bales a split second before the pair hard on her heels and aiming a clear, direct line over them. She doesn't look back, somehow instinctively aware of exactly how close the competition is, but holds her chin high, leaning well forward over her horse's neck, all angles, pale skin and a flash of fair hair, and cool grey-blue eyes with nothing more visible than a will to prove herself. Again, every movement is smooth, practiced and skillful, a distinct and stark difference to the awkward limp with which she carries herself on foot.

As the riders rush after the leading Philomène de Chalasse, Belmont maintains his solid fourth place, chasing after the pair of Boniface and Mirzeta. A look over his shoulder, and he sees Theodosia fall back even further, especially after that phenomenal leap over the line of hay bales his stallion manages. "Come now, Tristan. We can get them," Belmont murmurs to his horse, leaning a tad forward to gain a little more speed as they are nearing the final part of the track, heading for the finishing line.

Marco smiles as things begin and he watches the riders going, "Oh? So loyal for Mirzeta's win." He smiles, "Well then if she wins you do, and if any of the d'Angelines win I do." He says to her in amusement watching with delight as his eyes watch the riders in anticipation and delight clapping as they each move through and past the obstacles.

"Some better than others.", Andre murmurs back to Odette, offering her some of the last candied almonds he had liberated from the food tent. "And yes, horses are rather beautiful creatures. If I had had my own horse here, I might have entered the race myself. Do you ride?", he asks the girl curiously.

The proud Akkadian princess brings her black stallion to leap gracefully over the line of hay bales, even if that doesn't make her gain any ground on the leading Philomene. Boniface maintains his spot at her side, prompting her to call over in her accented d'Angeline, "You are doing this on purpose, don't you? Holding back to ride beside me?" There is a hint of irritation in her voice though, making it less of a tease, and she leans forward, allowing the graceful Menekhet steed to launch into a gallop, clearly aiming to manage the impossible and overtake Philomène before the vicomtesse can take home the win.

Ode grins at Andre. "I think you would have done wonderfully." She takes the candied almonds and happily eats them. "I do ride. Just not well." She chuckles. "I'd join a race too just to come in last so no one else would be last." She nods her head happily and sips more of the wine.

<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding+presence: Good Success. (5 4 1 7 2 1 4 1 7 7 5 5 5)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding+presence: Good Success. (6 2 5 7 8 8 5)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding+Presence: Good Success. (2 7 3 6 8 7 5)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding+Presence: Good Success. (1 6 6 2 4 8 3 2 8 1 1 3 5)

Boniface finally glances at Mirzeta when she speaks to him in d'Angeline- and he offers her a smile, bright and cheery as usual, before he goes back to focusing on the race, having jumped the hay bales with little trouble.

<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding+presence: Success. (8 3 4 2 5 5 1 1 4 4)
<FS3> Boniface rolls Riding+1: Great Success. (5 6 8 3 2 8 8 3 5 3 4 8 4)
<FS3> Theodosia rolls Riding+2: Good Success. (7 5 2 6 7 8 2 3 6)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Riding+2: Failure. (6 1 5 6 2 5 3 5 4 5 2)
<FS3> Philomene rolls Riding+2: Good Success. (7 1 5 6 6 7 1 5 8 5 3 1 5)
<FS3> Mirzeta rolls Riding+2: Great Success. (5 3 3 6 5 7 2 5 3 6 3 7 7 1 4 7)
<FS3> Belmont rolls Reaction+Reaction: Success. (4 5 4 4 8 4 2 2)

Philomène finally glances back over her shoulder, a rare and unexpected small smile on her face now. There's none of the harshness of her usual expression, no judgement or even triumph, but a genuine look of joy from a woman who belongs in the saddle. Even as her horse gallops on to the finish line, she doesn't touch the spurs on her tall riding boots to the old mare's flanks, content to let the animal enjoy the thrill of racing that has the pair of them in perfect symbiotic harmony.

Theodosia looks really annoyed, but at least she's got company in that last place…so she gives Belmont a warm smile before she dismounts..and then she pats her horse's nose with a sigh. "Well, we tried…" she fishes in her coat's pocket and pulls out a bit more sugar. "Time to see what else the fair has to offer..and to go offer our apologies to the Flatlander prince.."

Their horses fly towards the finishing line, and Mirzeta grins, never caring that their speed makes her sophisticated braids dance in the wind. Because. She is gaining ground now on the Vicomtesse de Gueret, almost catching up to her… Had the race track been a bit longer, perhaps with one more obstacle integrated into the course, it might have been possible. But as it is, she finishes the race shortly after Philomène, casting a rather surprised glance to her side to see that Boniface once again has stuck to her side. "Is this some kind of game you are playing?", Mirzeta wonders lightly, as she slides elegantly out of the saddle to land beside her horse with a soft thud. Attention is then turned towards her horse, even as a herald in Mereliot colors announces the outcome. "And the winner of the race is… Lady Philomene d'Aiglemort de Chalasse, the Vicomtesse de Gueret!"

Andre rises to his feet with a sigh at the result, but claps politely for the winner. Fair is fair after all. "Well, that was rather entertaining.", he then smiles at Odette, "Shall we explore the fairground a little more? I would like to see more of the Akkadian goods. I know they are rather good with carpets. I wonder if they really -do- have carpets that can fly though…"

"What? No." Boniface says, his musical voice filled with amusement and joy as he slows his horse down at the conclusion of the race, giving the Akkadian princess a good look as he shrugs his shoulders, "I wanted to win, same as you. I guess we're just evenly matched?"

Belmont is in for a bad surprise… when his formidable mahogany bay stallion suddenly shies from a small bird that had crossed its way. And so it rises onto its hind legs, almost… almost! throwing off its rider. But the baron clings with the tenacity of the desperate, reigning in the startled animal. He does manage to have the horse move to the finishing line, but too slow! And even Theodosia manages to catch up to him. A fact that earns the young woman a smile that looks surprisingly charming. "Well ridden, my lady. That was a brave jump of your horse." He rolls his eyes just slightly. "It has been fun nonetheless. Would you care for a bit of wine?"

Theodosia smiles at Belmont and nods. "A bit of wine sounds just fine.." She is breathing a bit hard, and she waves towards Andre, clearly promising some kind of compensation of making him bet on the one who finished last. She then asks Belmont. "What do you think would go best with the wine?" She;s looking at all the offers of foods and snacks.

Farah cheers Mirzeta on till the outcome is clear and she slumps just a little against Marco. "Okay. You won," the Vicomtesse of Akkadian heritage allows towards him with the faintest of glares. "Congratulations. Now let us go and mingle. There are some delicacies I'll have to make you try."

Ode finishes her wine to put it down and then claps happily at the winner. Her eyes bright as she cheers for the winner. "Yes let's go explore." She takes her glass and hands it over to a servant and when she turns she seems to have lost Andre in the crowd. She blinks a few times and looks around carefully. "Oh my…Um…" She stops moving and keeps her eyes peeled for the prince.

Philomène wheels her horse as she eases back to a walk, that pure smile still on her face as she leans from the saddle rather than dismounts in order to offer her hand to each of her fellow competitors in turn. "Your highness, my lord, well ridden," she's keen to offer, along with a dazzling smile that softens her formidable features. "Lord Belmont, my lady," she adds to the two who were perhaps unluckier.

"Oh, there is wine over there," Belmont remarks and points towards a table where attendants are offering refills to hastily emptied goblets. He offers Theodosia a grin. "Well, I believe we've earned us a moment of repast, haven't we?"

Marco claps his hands as the riders come around to the finish. He smiles as Philomene claims victory. He leans over and he kisses Farah's cheek, "Don't I always win?" He teases her and he nods, "Let us go mingle. Shall we offer congratulations to the winner?" He asks and he grins, "Oh? Some rare Akkadian delicacies I should taste?" He asks with warmth as he moves with Farah towards the gathered riders.

"Vicomtesse…" Belmont inclines his head towards Philomène before he dismounts, offering Theodosia a hand to help her off her horse. "You rode well, Lady Philomene. You didn't grant any others of us a chance, truly."

Theo takes the offered hand and smiles, the short girl graceful…as she lands on the heels of her tall boots. "Oh, yes, very well ridden, Lady Philomene." The Namarrese girl offers a quick curtsey, then she looks around, giving Marco a wave as she notices him.

"Congratulations," Mirzeta offers towards Philomene, her voice courteous while her eyes burn with a dark fire. "It is refreshing to see that the women of this country do know how to ride." To Boniface, she adds with a soft giggle, "Yes, it is always about winning, is it not? Forgive me… I tend to get a little excited when I find myself in competitions of sorts. I believe we almost got the Vicomtesse…"

"Its not -always- about winning. The ride and challenge is part of it too," Boniface counters with a little shrug of his shoulders as he dismounts his horse, giving the dark animal a pat of the neck, "Yes, we almost did but she had too much of a lead out of the gate."

"I have the advantage, your highness, of being born Camaeline," Philomène insists, touching a hand to her chin and absently cracking her neck. "It's good to see that despite formidable competition, my old Hirondelle here still remembers how to lead a charge."

Odette watches the group head towards the riders so she moves that way as well. She stands back slightly and watches them gather. She keeps her hands together and her head up. "It was an amazing race. Truly a pleasure to watch." She speaks softly.

Farah looks very Akkadian in her attire, and yet she walks beside the Vicomte de Toulon at a leisurely pace, even exchanging a few murmured words with him as they stroll towards one of the pavilions. "Perhaps we should take a look at some of the daggers…?", she half-muses, half-suggests, before she looks up and spots Theodosia's wave towards Marco. "Someone you know?", she asks.

Despite knowing he will miss a majority of the day's festivities, Roche nonetheless decides he will make a rather tardy appearance. The races are finished but the socializing has not. The place looks different and the man pauses upon entering the hippodrome to take a moment and look at the decorations, goods, and people. His expression is even, lips pulled into a thin line. This may be displeasure or it may just be the way the severe Camaeline looks. Maybe both. The Vicomte proceeds, his gait precise and his posture upright, having no destination in mind except to stroll about and mingle.

Even as he accompanies Theodosia over to the table where wine can be had, Belmont's gaze comes to linger on the graceful creature that is Odette nó Lis d'Or. "Mademoiselle Odette?", he calls, nevermind that others might overhear him. "Is that you, indeed?"

Marco glances to Odette and smiles as she drifts closer, "Wasn't it a delight to watch?" He asks and he smiles warmly to Theodosia and the wave, "Lady Theodosia. Have you not met my Lady Wife? My dear this is Lady Theodosia de Fhirze. Heir to the baronnie." He then glances to Farah and smiles, "A dagger? Do you need more? I don't know where you'd keep it." He teases, "Should I worry about you wanting to be more armed?"

Theo lays a hand on Belmont's arm as wine is being poured, and she takes the offered cup, taking a long, almost unladylike sip, but it's understandable, maybe after the frantic race she's run. Still flushed from it, her eyes turn to see Odette and she bows her head warmly, before Marco addresses her. "Oh, hello, Lord Marco..a pleasure, my Lady..yes, we have not met before, Lord Marco was kind enough to show me around the city when I first came.."

Odette turns when she hears the voice. Her eyes turn to Belmont and she sighs in relief. She gracefully moves over to him and curtsies. "It is I, milord." She turns her eyes to Marco. "It was so lovely. Everyone is so talented." She replies kindly. Her eyes turn to Theo and she smiles brightly to the woman. "The horses are beautiful."

"A pleasure to meet you, Lady Theodosia. Yes, I believe I heard my husband mention your name to me before," Farah tells the young Namarrese lady with a smile blossoming in her features. "As for the daggers," her gaze shifts towards Marco, and she attempts an innocent look. "They look lovely, they would make a wonderful decoration at the wall."

"Mademoiselle Odette," Belmont repeats, and in noting that relief steps closer to reach for the young adept's hand, for a gallant kiss to her knuckles, if she allows. "I'm not sure you remember me. It was about a year ago. I was among the few that were invited to attend your debut fete at the salon of Lis d'Or…" He smiles. "Did you enjoy the race?"

<FS3> Farah rolls Perception: Success. (3 3 6 5 5 2 5 5 7)

Marco smiles at Theodosia, "Well I like to think you've settled well into the city." He offers warmly and he glances around to the others smiling to Belmont as well. He then glances to Odette and beams, "That is the joy of such spectacles." He encourages and then he glances to Farah and laughs warmly, "If that is where you wish them… I suppose. But if I cut myself on a wall I'll be quite cross." He says in a warm and amused tone considering his wife.

Theo beams at the courtesan, and she nods. "They are, aren't they? Would you like to meet Lilac?" She nods her chin towards her big stallion. "He was always eating the bushes when he was a colt, so…he got the name, and he's a gentle creature." She grins at Marco's words. "You too, I am sorry I did not get to come to your wedding, but I was out of town at that time.." She sips at her wine.

Mirzeta had inclined her head to Philomene's reply, about a certain Camaeline advantage. "You will receive a prize, my lady," she intones and then moves with a mixture of haste and impatient determination towards one of the tents. Overhearing perhaps a remark about a dagger, she heads directly for the pavilion in question, vanishing in there briefly, before she returns, a fine curved dagger in hand, secured in a bejeweled scabbard of expert craftsmanship. "Please, my lady. Accept this, in acknowledgement of your great performance today.", Mirzeta says, addressing Philomene rather unceremoniously as the handing over of the prize seems to happen rather low-key — perhaps because it is borne rather out of a whim than a planned course of action. "Please. Accept this. I would be honored.", the Akkadian princess tells Philomène with a vague smile.

Odette blushes as Belmont takes her hand and kisses it. "Trust that I very much did remember you." She bows her head. "The race was so exciting." Her eyes turn to Marco now and gives him a large smile. Then her eyes turn to Roche who arrived and she bows her head. Her blue eyes turn back to Belmont. "I am surprised honestly, that remembered me. You have such a … exciting life. Changes and so much to do."

In contrast to the rest of the riders, Philomene remains on horseback rather than dismounting. Conversation apparently goes on around her, and she's congratulated variously by some and ignored studiously by others, none of which can knock the contented smile from her face. It really is as though the woman is a different person when she's sitting atop her mare, who for her part is beautifully behaved even in the press of company. On the presentation of a dagger, however, she actually lets out a delighted laugh, blue-grey eyes fixing on the Akkadian princess as she grasps the scabbard. "Your highness, I'm honoured to compete with you, and even more honoured to accept this. Now, there's a legend that one oughtn't draw one of these without then drawing blood; that one cannot resheathe it until it's tasted it. Is there any truth to that rumour?"

His eyes cloud a little at the young adept's remark, but even so, Belmont allows that slender hand to slip from his grasp. "Of course, I would remember you. It was a memorable evening. A great performance. A lot has happened since then. Even so. As the world… continues to follow its turn, it is good to have fond memories as these to nourish. "You look as if life is treating you well…" His smile deepens a little. "I am glad that our paths crossed again, so unexpectedly."

Roche's meandering take him in the general direction of the others as though he were drawn in despite his best efforts. He approaches, taking stock of those standing about and socializing after the day's events. As Odette looks his way, the man returns her gaze with a cool aloofness, offering a faint nod as she bows her head in his direction. Rather than interrupt the others he lingers for the time being, filling his time by looking over the wares that are for sale in the vicinity. Nothing seems to interest him directly, though there are items here and there that he pauses to pay more attention to.

Mirzeta inclines her head as Philomène accepts the dagger from her hand. The words the vicomtesse addresses to her make the Akkadian princess's lips curve in a smile and she regards the older woman with a hint of mischief glinting in her eyes. "There are such stories, yes, my lady. So you should perhaps better beware of drawing such a dagger without the intent of wielding it for its true purpose.", she replies lightly. "I hope that you'll still accept the prize, even with that legend clinging to it?"

Marco does lean in to murmur to Farah indicating Mirzeta, "She's not used to losing is she?" He asks in vague amusement with a fond smile at his wife squeezing her. He watches the exchange. He returns Odette's smile giving her a light wink though as she exchanges words with Belmont. He then chuckles softly at Theo's story about the name of her mount. He shakes his head ruefully and he smiles. "Well we'd love to host you Lady Theo." He smiles faintly tracking some of the exchange of the dagger before glancing to Theo, "Did you have a chance to wander around and explore the pavillions? I'm told the outfits are quite popular at the moment."

Theo nods to Marco. "That is a good idea, I haven't yet seen those.." She gives Belmont a smile as she empties her wine. "Thank you for this, my lord… I hope I shall meet you again on a day when we don't finish last..now I should go have a look at those costumes that Lord Marco suggested..and maybe present my apologies to Prince Andre.."

Mirzeta's cousin has noted the silent presence, and Farah cannot help but look towards Roche, perhaps catching the gaze Odette gave the tall proud man. Perhaps it is his air, a faint chill that surrounds him that catches her attention. To Marco's remark about Mirzeta, she shakes her head lightly in confirmation of his statement. But it is towards Roche she looks as she asks Marco, "What a strange proud man this is. Do you know him?" The question could be easily extended towards the others standing in their vicinity.

Odette watches Belmont with kind blue eyes. "I could perform for you again if you wish it." She bows her head to him before grinning. "The houses treat all their adapts well." She looks him over and grins. "I am quite happy in that too. You are dashing." She clears her throat. "I spoke what I was thinking again." She turns her eyes to one of the stalls and she sees Roche and his not so socializing. "Let me bring that man over. He seems… well let me see." She fearlessly moves over towards Roche. "Milord? Might I get you something to eat or drink?"

Marco inclines his head to Theo and smiles, "Until later." He offers and then he glances to Farah studying her and then following her gaze. He smiles, "No… for once I cannot say that I do. Shall we meet him? Ah but it seems one of the flowers of the court has taken it upon herself." He says turning easily enough studying Roche with open curiosity and then smiling as Odette approaches him. He smiles at Roche as he waits to see the response to Odette he does lean in to murmur something quieter to Farah.

"Oh, I assure you, your highness," Philomène insists, twisting a little in the saddle so she can begin the process of sliding this dagger onto her belt, "when I draw a weapon, it is with the express intention of wielding it for its true purpose. Thank you. I shall think of you with gratitude every time I am prompted to use it."

Roche turns as Odette approaches, hands moving to the small of his back to clasp there as he looks down at the young woman and seemingly takes a moment to really think over her question. As if such a simple offer required some consideration. Eventually, he nods, just the barest of movements, "Yes. A drink." he responds with characteristic brevity. "Whatever you feel like fetching." he tilts his head, sensing some more curious attention and turns toward Marco and Farah. Though he doesn't know them, he can quickly tell Marco is a nobleman and so he closes the distance between them and stops at a polite distance to offer the young man a nod, "You appear to be curious. I will leave you in uncertainty no longer. I am Roche Valliers d'Aiglemort." he glances aside at Farah briefly and then back to Marco, "It bodes well for your house that you keep your servants in such finery. It is good to see others flourish."

"I am glad to hear," Princess Mirzeta Shamabarsin counters with a smile as she gives Philomène a look. "Keep it, and rest assured I will remember you in turn." There is a certain sharpness to the look she gives the vicomtesse. "But for now, would you please excuse me." There are obviously some other matters that need to be seen to. The Akkadian princess slips away to confer with some of her retinue, but the exhibition seems to be going well so far.

"My lord, pleased to make…" The words die on her lips as Farah does not fail to overhear the remark, Roche addresses to her husband. It makes her mouth stand ajar for a moment, before it closes, and she shoots Marco at her side a glance, glaring at him. "…make your acquaintance.", she finishes, a bit half-heartedly perhaps, shifting her gaze back to Roche. "But it seems you are mistaken. I am no servant, as much as you are not of Akkadian blood."

Odette blinks a few times and nods her head. She moves over to get him wine and brings it back over to him. The very full glass of wine. She moves up beside him and holds out the glass carefully. Then she pales at his words and puts the glass down near him. "It's right there." She points and moves over to Belmont and carefully sitting close to him. Her eyes on the ground.

Marco raises a brow at Roche's approach. He considers the older man for a time, "Roche Valliers d'Aiglemort is it? A name no doubt worth remembering." He says in a wry tone. "I am Marco de Mereliot." He glances then to the side and to Farah drawing her closer a moment and he settles his gaze on Roche, "I think you're a bit mistaken though. This would be the Vicomtesse de Toulon, Farah Shambarsin de Mereliot. My Lady Wife. I can appreciate though that perhaps those visiting from Camlach they might find status difficult to understand. But do be welcome for your visit in Marsilikos if you require a guide to help you understand such intricacies we can provide a guide during your stay. I'll have someone sent over."

Belmont had let his gaze follow Odette as she left to address the other lord. Offering smiles to Theodosia before she excused herself, and he was left on his own, with a goblet of red wine in his hand. But Odette returns. And even more, she chooses to sit down next to him. "Mademoiselle," the baron addresses her gently. "You did not come here on your own, did you?"

Her eyes turn to Belmont and she shakes her head. "I don't know where he went. We were watching the races and he suggested checking out the wares and I put my wine down and he was gone." She brings her hands to his one hand. Her fingers brushing over the top of his hand. "It is lovely to see you, Baron. You smell amazing." She brings one of her hands up to her face and covers the blush.

A brow arches over one bright green eye as he senses that something is amiss. It's not a difficult thing to sense considering Farah's response. "Ah, my mistake." Roche addresses this to Marco, hands slipping out to his sides as he head bows. A beseeching gesture, "A simple misunderstanding on my part. My experience with foreigners outside of Skaldia is rather lacking." as Odette returns with his drink, pales and simply leaves the glass nearby, he looks over his shoulder to watch her for a moment or two before returning his attention to the pair before him, "Your offer is generous, my lord, but unnecessary. I have no difficulties in determining status. I suppose some do." his eyes shift from Farah and then back to Marco, lips curling into a thin smile, "I have been visiting for many months now, so I feel a little more comfortable in this soft southern land. The air here helps my wife breathe easier and so I have come to appreciate that aspect of this place."

<FS3> Farah rolls Composure: Good Success. (8 3 4 7 2 1 6 4)

"Very well." Farah manages a smile, as she takes Roche's reply as some sort of apology for his misstep. "Marsilikos is lovely, is it not? I have come to appreciate the lovely countryside surrounding the city. As for your wife… I am glad that her stay here adds to her well being." It may be a non-committal remark, a required courtesy, but the dark eyes of the Vicomtesse flicker a little as she studies Roche intently. She is clad in Akkadian garb, but that may be due to the occasion. "Perhaps…" She continues after a moment, "you'd like to be introduced to my cousin, Princess Mirzeta."

"Oh… he will be back, most certainly.", Belmont assures Odette, gesturing with the hand that holds the goblet towards the tents. "There is so much to see though. It might take him a moment." His other hand is claimed, and he does not deny it to her, not pulling away from the touch of dancing fingers at the top of it. Her next remark has his features twist into an almost boyish grin. "Ah, Elua, you are flattering me. You remind me that I have been neglecting some habits of mine, lately. Habits I should perhaps take up again."

Marco nods at Roche's apology but he says agreeably along with Farh, "I'm glad the air here is doing your lady wife well. We're always happy to host people from many places and I would say the majority find Marsilikos a pleasant temperament to visit." He pauses raising a brow as Farah suggest the introduction. "As you may have noted we have a grand exhibition going on, and the exhibition is near and dear to my Aunt's heart and I appreciate your wanting to ensure there are no misunderstandings going forward. We wouldn't want someone else to be upset at a misunderstanding."

Odette grins warmly at him. "Then I shall keep you company until his return…if he does." She slides closer and puts her head on his shoulder while her fingers play with his hand. "What habits? Is there something I can help with?" She watches the calm explanation from Marco and how his beautiful wife is composed after the misunderstanding. Her eyes glass over a little as she sighs. "So refined."

"Do you think it wise," Roche turns his attention to Farah, his expression resuming it's typically cool and detached quality, "to introduce me to a foreign visitor of royal blood? A man who assumes that one of your complexion and half-blood status must be this d'Angeline man's servant? If so, I should be even more suspicious of your intentions than I already am. Terre d'Ange is a pure nation beset on all sides by howling mobs of foreign invaders who want what we have, after all." this is followed by a pause and then a fuller smile. Full, but not long lasting. "I jest." another pause, "Of course. No, I'm afraid I must decline. I will leave the diplomacy to the diplomats and will eventually return to Camlach to interface with outsiders in a less mutually beneficial fashion. It is good, my lord, that you and your aunt have taken steps to be so welcoming to outsiders. From within and without." he offers another nod, clearly including himself in the former of the two. "I missed a horse race?"

"You assured me that it was a misunderstanding, my lord," Farah replies to Roche, her back straightening. "And perhaps you have been fooled by my darker complexion, and the clothes that I wear today, to honor the land from which I hail." Her hand squeezes that of Marco gently, and she continues. "Perhaps it will make a difference, if you encounter me at court, clad in attire that befits my station. I may have grown up in Khebbel-im-Akkad, my lord. But I am also in part d'Angeline." She states this softly, but also with a certain pride. "Yes, you did miss a horse race." Avoiding to comment on his other remarks, Farah gives Marco a sideways glance. "If you will excuse me for now, my lord… I have persuaded my husband that we have a look at some exquisite Akkadian daggers…" She offers a curtsey, and then heads off, without any further delay.

Marco squeezes Farah's hand and he moves with her pausing long enough to offer to Roche, "It is a point of pride for Marsilikos and the Namarrese. Our hospitality. More so, you may wish to consider that many of the outreach between Terre d'Ange starts not here but stems from the City of Elua. If you have concerns about the policy you may wish to take it up there in your future. But have a good evening. I hope you will avoid any future misunderstandings." He offers moving to accompany Farah.

"You shall," Belmont confirms with a smile. "My habits are not bad habits, per se." His shoulders move in a light shrug, even as he looks towards Odette by his side. "And no… there is nothing you can help with, except… perhaps grant me some time soon, for a performance of your artistry." He smiles warmly.

Once the couple have taken their leave, Roche turns about and with a glance at his abandoned glass of wine, moves in the direction of Odette. First he offers Belmont a polite nod, "Pardon me, my lord." he shifts his attention to the young woman and arches a brow at her. "Did you lose track of where I was? Surely not, yet here I am. Without a drink." after a moment, he lifts his shoulders in a shrug, "I am not thirsty in any event. Who are you?"

Odette nods to Belmont. "Anytime you wish, milord." She grins kindly to him and then Roche is talking to her and she pales. She reaches over and takes the full glass lifting it up, tears dotting her eyes. "I did not wish to interrupt you." Her voice wavers a little. "I am Odette no Lis d'Or. I am sorry." Her head bows quickly while she holds up the glass.

Roche takes the glass from Odette and sets it right back where she had originally set it. Eyes narrow a bit as he looks her over and he frowns slightly, "Why are you crying? Are you afraid?" he breathes out lightly, the faintest of laughs, and shakes his head, "Why would you be? Compose yourself. There's no need to be upset, Odette. You are an adept, I assume? What type of Lis d'Or are you?"

Ode pulls her hands back when he takes the wine from her hands. "I am afraid. You frighten me." Her voice is quiet. She lifts her chin after wiping her eyes. "I am an adept of Eglantine." She offers Roche as she looks at him. Though her face is pale and her eyes are glassy. She parts her lips to speak but they close quickly.

"Why?" Roche clasps his hands behind his back as he stands before the young adept, looking down at her with a vaguely curious expression. "You don't know me. I have never harmed you or anyone you know. At least, I doubt I have. You have spent only a moment speaking with me. Why would you be afraid of me? That is curious." his shoulders lift in a faint shrug, "What instrument do you play, adept?"

Ode looks up at him. "Your demeanor is cold and your eyes equally so." She bows her head. She doesn't reply to the questions of why any further. "I play the violin, piano, and I'm learning the cello." She speaks softly. "I have been working on my voice. I found I have a talent for languages so I speak five."

Roche considers her response and then nods, "That is true. I am from a cold place, though. How could I not be cold? It is warm here and I'm sure the people are warmer. They do not see the carnage we see along the borderlands. They do not know what it is like to protect their homelands from our enemies. Instead they have feasts and exhibitions. I do not blame them, Odette. They are from warmer lands. We do not fight and die and sacrifice for praise but because it is out duty." he reaches out and rests a hand on her shoulder, giving a light squeeze. "I will come by some time and you can play for me. I'm not so frightening. Unless you hit wrong notes." he smiles, gives a soft and cut-off laugh and then turns about as he prepares to leave.

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