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Tyaethe Radistirin


The paladin didn't even try to suppress her snicker as Fanilly was summarily dunked again for her negative attitude--not that it was unwarranted; being broody all the time didn't go down well. She even had her own thoughts to add: "Surely a party isn't that bad? Nobody is expecting that much, and you have more preparation for royal balls than most. Don't get roaring drunk in your first official function and you're doing better than certain other captains have."
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by jdh97
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Sir Jerel Ban
A smile, a true smile, slipped onto Jerel’s face. It felt good, to smile and make others laugh, like a knot inside his chest was unravelled by its loose end. When he realised, he became overly conscious, and it fell away, and rising up to replace it was some of that same tension that had momentarily abated.

His jaw muscle jumped as he clenched it.

He scratched his beard, the horse bone scrimshaw rattling on their braids.

“Do you forget I spend most of my time in a rookery?” Jerel said, his gait sauntering, loose; he was too tired for the rigid decorum he usually demanded of himself, “They eat rotten flesh and shit it back out just as fast.”

He shook his head, a slight smile fighting its way back to his face, "They almost smell as bad as you."

The darkening of Gerard’s features didn’t go unnoticed, but Jerel decided not to comment on them. There was a pit growing in his stomach, and it needed filling.

They took the shortest path to the kitchens.

The bandage stank of herbs and ointments. It was dubious whether such a thing was even needed, given the healing magics. They claimed it aided the process. Jerel thought it served more as a brand, to let their shame be known to all, to hammer home that they needed to be better. As if that wasn’t known already.

And then, a thought. An answer to a private, idle wondering that birthed another litter.

“Ser Gerard, I was not there in the battle. What was it like fighting him? What did you learn?” Jerel asked. What he did not say, but what rattled in his mind, How many men could have stood before him? How many would it have taken? If not for the Knights?

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"Ah?!"

To say she was expecting to be prodded on the end of her nose would be a lie. Most people really don't expect such a thing, and Fanilly was no exception in that regard. She fell largely silent, sinking up to her chin into the warm water, as the other two knights spoke. While she hardly felt entirely comfortable suddenly being confident...

This sulking behavior was unbecoming for the Captain of the Iron Rose Knights.

Slowly, she rose back out of the water, shoulders and collar exposed once more for a moment before she straightened further, the blonde girl sitting up entirely.

"... I apologize, my behavior was unbecoming for the position of Knight-Captain," Fanilly said, finally, before taking a deep breath, "And, er, yes, I suppose I'm not so worried about the party, really..."

It was hardly the first of such functions she had ever been to, and it would most certainly not be the last.

"I've never been drunk, and I don't expect to be tomorrow night, either."

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Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by HereComesTheSnow
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Gerard Segremors



"The Bandit King? He was..." he began, searching for the words across a moment. Even with forgiveness for his humble upbringing leaving a man of plain speech, it took him a few moments longer than he would have meant— The smells of the kitchen were now dancing upon the air in force. Overpowering even the pungent herbs of Sir Jerel's bandage and the musk that clung to Gerard's own armor, the knight found himself suddenly cognizant of a ravenous hunger that had crept upon him. It was a yawning chasm within his gut, and with it he could feel the beginnings of a similarly hollow ache upon his head.

Always after a fight, when his blood had calmed. That he had compelled himself to train afterwards would only make this worse, like diving into the fray again with an empty stomach. He was lucky that he'd run into Sir Jerel— now that he was aware of how his body hungered, Segremors had no idea how he would have survived a bath with a head feeling like a log beneath a woodsman's axe.

Opening the door to the kitchens, he continued.

"It was trying to fight a storm. I only made one real attack before Artificer Elodie set him ablaze and our assorted group fell upon him, but he was strong, like an angry bear. If I had taken a swing of his with any power upon my sword it'd have snapped clean in two— I got lucky enough to only get parried the once, at the start of his movement."

Flashing images of smoke, steel, and sparks passed through his mind as he inclined his head in greeting to the wily veteran Sir Indrau, and a moment later spied the familiar blonde locks and casual gait of Sir Jarde. The former he had not had much chance to speak with, but knew to respect his obvious tenure in spite of his injury. To simply still find oneself on the battlefield alive, after all his years, was proof enough of the wealth of experience that the eyepatched knight possessed.

As for Devaron—

A brotherly clap on the shoulder for him.

"His strength by itself would have made it a questionable fight for me, were I on my own." he continued, inhaling deeply through the nose as the telltale savory aroma of searing beef filled the air, accompanied by some bevy of herbs and spices he couldn't name— well, aside from Paprika, but the Kitchens of the Iron Roses were far more expansive than that.

The maids are working some magic, huh?

"But what struck me was that he possessed more than just raw force. Not only did he carry a blade the size of... well, you or I; he was quick enough to react to three, maybe four attacks from wildly different angles, and deft enough with that man-chopper to turn each aside simultaneously. He may not have been a proper knight, and I don't even know if I could tell the difference between his and my technique in either potential direction— but he wasn't braindead. Be it through training or just some base, bestial instinct, the bastard knew what he was doing."

He allowed an open grimace to show, exhaling just as fully as he had inhaled.

Or, perhaps he simply couldn't help but show it.

"If I learned anything, it's that I need to grow much stronger if I want to face monsters that walk as men like him without backup. If I have to, I should say. Paladin Tyaethe could likely have handled him, from what I know of her— but a fighter like me has much worse odds. I'd need to find a perfect opportunity, after a perfect approach. Anything less and I'm cleaved in half along with my sword."
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Eventually, bathing had concluded, meals had been cooked, and the rest of the day went without much of a hitch. Preparations for the ball could be done in due time, and Fanilly already had a selection of knights in mind.




The next day, however, was quite a different one. The sun was once again sinking low, this time casting the sky in a vast array of oranges and reds, purples and yellows. Light played off the low-hanging clouds in a dazzling display of colors.

Fanilly's maids had braided her hair. Her armor and weapons had been cleaned to their most perfect condition. Now, there was only one thing that remained for her to do. She had to proceed to the party. She'd picked a fair variety of knights to accompany her, focusing on both new knights and a few veterans as well. They had been permitted to wear any formal attire they so chose, and Fanilly had decided to request that any armor must be suited to this if it is brought along.

Fanilly felt her nerves acting up. In spite of what she had said, her training had always left her somewhat awkward at parties. She hadn't spent very much time socializing as a child, and as a result she had rarely talked very much when she was at a party. Certainly, when it was smaller affairs with members of her family she felt more at ease, but she was anxious about behaving properly as the Captain of the Iron Rose Knights.

This was no small affair. The Royal Castle loomed ahead, a throng of guests milling both in the castle gardens and visibly within. Fanilly had been to the castle before, but... never when it was this crowded. The walls around the castle were strong and thick, but naturally the knights had been allowed through. They were both guests, and the Iron Roses themselves, after all.

The castle itself was an impressive structure. Known as the Crown of Thaln, or the Spikes of Aimlenn, it was a rectangular building, four larger towers arranged at each corner with a much larger one in the center. It was made of a dark grey stone, decorated with white. The gardens around the castle were verdant and thriving, filled with small trees, a wide array of flowers, and small ponds. Even here, however, there were clear signs of spots where soldiers would hold their ground, in case of an attack.

But at the moment, there were no such soldiers.

Fanilly led her knights through the crowd, to the castle itself. The interior hall was wide and spacious, and a herald declared each knight's status as they entered the room. Tables of food lined the walls, men, women, and children were everywhere, adorned in finery, and guards were posted evenly about the hall.

Fanilly couldn't help but feel somewhat nervous about such a large event.

But, this was it. The princess was no where to be seen, for the moment, but Fanilly was certain that would change quite soon.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by HereComesTheSnow
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Gerard Segremors



Evening again.

As luck would have it, apparently Sir Jerel had a far better grasp for their young Captain's mind than Gerard did: he had ridden out once again into the tawny orange and gold of dusk at the behest of Fanilly Danballion, just as the falconer had predicted. Maybe he shouldn't have doubted his position after all. Maybe it was just a mere coincidence. In any case, at least this time was towards a simple social outing, rather than combat...

So you'd think it would feel.

While the ball offered much lower stakes than even a straightforward mission like that of two evenings prior, and the reassurances of his fellow knights that the many intricacies of polite society were not so expected of him in this setting as he had believed, he still couldn't quite shake an unease within himself. The Spikes of Aimlenn, despite being full of attendees that were doubtlessly eager to see the Iron Roses, were an isolating place. So much finery, livery, and nobility. So little here that he knew beyond his own comrades. Half of the people here would have employed him seven months ago, and now he was milling about as honored a guest as they. If he was thankful for the familiarity of riding to battle, then this stuffy atmosphere only served to further highlight the sentiment by contrast.

A stranger in a strange land.

As if it were not embossed enough by his attire. That hadn't changed much, either.

Sagramore Gellért, at heart, had never really expected himself to so quickly be attending a party so prestigious as one hosted by the Princess. Even after being accepted into the ranks of the Iron Roses, the young man's mind was awash with reasons as to why he wouldn't be selected to make such an appearance: he was a newcomer, he was a humble villager by blood, he had been a rowdy mercenary by trade— the list was exhaustive. He most definitely was of the impression he would have much more time to prepare himself truly formal garments.

A hand, adorned in plates of painstakingly polished steel, adjusted the rust-colored cape that hung over his left pauldron, tied in a manner almost akin to a fancier and less warming scarf. No wind to catch it and make a mess of things, but surely getting it just a bit more out of the way would be fine. Just enough to ensure no entanglement upon anything, come what may.

It was a blessing that the Princess had evidently wished to see some of the knights' arms and armor on display tonight. How gracious of her to offer such a perfect sidestep of needing to buy some gaudy tunic out in the city earlier that day, all epaulets and frills and price and garish dye. He'd need to get it done one of these days, but for now he could make do after cleaning up what armor he had to the utmost. All it really took was a little more attention put into the usual daily maintenance of this warfighter's ensemble, and he was... at least presentable.

I think. Certainly it's what I know, but I think I've made it look nice enough. Though, steel and leather at a Royal Ball is probably always going to be an oddity.

He smirked dryly, sipping from a glass he had picked up at some point. A crisp sweetness to the liquid came with a hint of spice beneath that carried warmth down the back of his throat. Best be careful of that.

"At least the Captain's harness is suitably ornate... Not to mention complete."

As for Gerard himself, he had been well fed, well bathed, and well rested in the day they'd had to prepare. A little less fatigue beneath the eyes and a little less chaos in his short black hair made for, in his mind, the best he looked all week. There was little that could be done regarding scars, but they were thankfully small and faint upon his skin, and mostly covered by either gauntlet, gorget, cape, or cuirass.

Ah, well. Here we are.

He had done what he could to prepare. What happened now was all up to Reon's guidance and his own instinct. He had faith in one, but hoped neither were so capricious as to lead him into playing the fool. He wouldn't dare do the court jester's work for free, after all. Better to simply be as he was, not swerve into another's path.

All the thinking was making him peckish. With any luck, one of his fellows would be scouring the platters of food too— certainly some camaraderie would help the night go by much more smoothly. If he was to be in such a crowd, the least he could do for himself was to not feel so alone.

Plus, some of that pie looked tasty as hell.
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Tyaethe Radistirin


The paladin appeared to have taken it on herself to shun the militaristic appearance of so many of her fellows, not conjuring her armour or even displaying epaulettes or medals such as the captain. A black gown, hugging tightly and making it clear that mistaking Tyaethe for a child today would in no way be an option--but relatively unadorned, save for golden embroidery at the edges, an interlocked pattern of lilies and roses. It rather made the rest of her, pale skin and white hair, stand out all the more.

Of course the peaceable approach was rather defeated by having possibly the largest sword of any of the knights casually slung over one shoulder. At least comparing it to her bare arms made it clear how little muscle actually went into wielding it.

In her other hand, the vampire had already acquired and half-drained a glass of wine, looking around at the crowd as if trying to spot something. Only made more difficult by the lack of height... so she ambled up to Gerard. "Seen any nobles looking particularly annoyed since we came in?"

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Hidden 2 mos ago Post by PaulHaynek
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~ Crown Of Thaln ~


After spreading the word, Jarde kicked back to relax for the rest of the day. Getting in some training here and there. He had postponed his capital exploration for tomorrow. The Captain and others would be off to the ball that day so it was basically a free day for the Iron Rose Knights.

The next day arrived and he was in for a rude awakening. A fellow knight had informed him that he was one of the chosen knights to attend the ball that evening with Captain Fanilly. Jarde's jaw dropped, to the floor if it could. Why? Why was he chosen? He was no one special. He literally just got there with the Iron Rose Knights and has only fought in a single battle. Did Fanilly even know him? Doubtful. So how? How did he, among all the knights, get chosen to attend the ball?

Tyaethe.

There was no concrete evidence but judging from how his interaction with Lady Tyaethe yesterday, she could have told Fanilly to pick him as part of her cohort in the ball. Again, there was no evidence but Jarde felt it was highly probably that that was what happened.

But what's done was done, Jarde was going whether he liked it or not. It was already the day of the ball, there was no time to go out and buy something for the ball. Not that he had money to actually buy something fitting for a ball. Fanilly and the messenger said to come in their best armor, so technically that meant any armor would do. Jarde thus went to a fellow knight he knew and begged to borrow his armor just for the evening. Fortunately, it was borrowed easily, only costing a small favor from Jarde in the future.

Evening rolled by and Jarde went with Captain Fanilly and the rest of the chosen knights. The suit of armor he wore was not comfortable and did not look up to par with the rest of the knights, being just an average and unpainted set of plates, but at least it was better than just his normal wear which was basically a peasant's garments.

They soon arrived at the Royal Castle, also known as 'The Crown Of Thaln' or 'Spikes Of Aimlenn'. Jarde has never seen the castle, at least not this close. The huge structure was such a grand sight, a sight that his folks back home will no doubt question him about. As they went in, Jarde admired its towers and walls. Its interior gardens filled with trees and flowers and ponds. The royal family had gardens inside! How was that even possible?

The Captain led the knights inside the castle and into its wide interior hall. Their presence was announced by a herald which Jarde found a bit embarrassing but he gawked in awe at the sights. The hall was beautifully well-lit and filled with guests just like outside. Tables lined the walls with plates upon plates of food Jarde has never seen before. He was not sure if he was allowed to eat it, but looking at them was enough to satisfy him.

Despite enjoying what he saw, Jarde felt out of place in the party. He was not highborn like practically everybody here, in their noble wear and apparel. The other knights, meanwhile, may not be born nobility but they were veterans, they had earned their place here. Meanwhile, Jarde had not. He had just started out as a knight and his entire background was just being a farmer trained by a mysterious figure from the east.

But mulling about isolation was not his thing and so Jarde wandered the hall admiring everything within, looking at the details so he could accurately describe them for his folks back home. A servant had come up to him offering wine in a glass, but Jarde turned her down. His mum warned him about all those 'demon drinks'.
Hidden 2 mos ago 2 mos ago Post by Crimson Paladin
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Fleuri Jodeau


The remainder of Fleuri's day was spent cleaning his armor. It was a routine drilled into his mind during his time as a squire, and as a knight, he preferred to maintain it with his own two hands rather than entrust it to another. After the blood stains were removed and the metal polished, he retired to bed. He regretted not being able to interact with the other knights- after all, camaraderie and brotherhood/sisterhood were an important aspect of the Iron Roses- but he was simply too tired at this point.

The events of the next day were unexpected, but not unwelcome after the events of the previous one. In the morning, Fleuri was informed that Fanilly had selected him as one of the knights to accompany her to the royal ball, and thus much of the day was spent preparing. He bathed and groomed, then spent a few hours touching up on his formal attire. By the late afternoon when the ball drew close, Fleuri was ready. It was fortunate that he had gotten a good night's sleep the day before, because there was still much to do before the day's end.

For the ball, Fleuri's attire consisted of a white mantle over a white long sleeved tunic, accompanied with black pants, boots, and gloves. Both the mantle and tunic proudly the black sun symbol of the Jodeau family. This archaic-looking ensemble was was his family's traditional formal wear, nearly unchanged since before they gave up their wealth. While Fleuri was no longer relegated to wearing century-old hand-me-downs, he still honored his family's traditions by donning formal wear crafted in the same style.

As he and the other knights followed Fanilly to the ball, Fleuri looked up at the castle. He wasn't unfamiliar with these sorts of events, but he had never attended one as an Iron Rose knight. House Jodeau wasn't completely removed from Thaln's high society, still commanding some prestige from their history of service to the crown and to the Church of Reon. This time, however, he was representing an organization far more prestigious than a noble family- he represented the Iron Roses, making it all the more important that he not make any missteps.

It could be worse, however. I actually have some experience with this sort of thing, he thought to himself, glancing at Gerard. This is probably a completely new experience for a commoner-born knight like Sir Segremors or Sir Devaron. Fleuri didn't doubt their worthiness- if anything, it was a virtue of the Iron Roses that commoners like Gerard and Jarde could climb their way up the kingdom's social ladder through valor and skill at arms. It may take a while, but we'll make nobleman out of them.

Fleuri was led through the courtyard and into the castle proper. Fleuri waited until it was his turn to be announced, then stepped forward.

"Presenting Sir Fleuri Jodeau, of House Jodeau. Knight of the Iron Roses. Champion of the Brennan Tournament melee."

His first impulse was to look around. Fleuri made his way to one of the tables, glancing over the refreshments that had been laid out. He carefully picked up a glass of white wine, not wanting to risk staining his clothing red. The knight glanced over the vast room as he took a sip, looking over the guests in hopes of spotting someone else wearing the Jodeau colors. He had no idea if anyone from his family was also attending the ball, and was hoping for a chance to catch up.

"I don't see any of them. Guess I'll mingle with one of the knights. Fleuri saw Jarde wandering nearby, and took the opportunity to approach the neophyte knight. The young man looked pretty starstruck, no doubt it was his first time at an event like this.

"Sir Devaron," he started, taking another sip, "The ball is quite a sight, isn't it? How does it feel, taking that first step into Thaln's high society?"

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~ Crown Of Thaln ~


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"Sir Devaron, the ball is quite a sight, isn't it? How does it feel, taking that first step into Thaln's high society?"
Fleuri Jodeau


Jarde's attention was called by an Iron Rose Knight, Sir Fleuri Jodeau. His clothes were black and white, his white mantle having a black sun symbol on it.

His looks and question reminded Jarde of thoughts he tried hard to ignore. "Uggghhhh. Did you have to remind me, Sir Jodeau?" He complained in an exaggerated manner. His joking, humorous side brought out. "I'm over here enjoying my thing and you walk up to me and ask about how 'outsider' I am?" He then chuckled to indicate it was a jest. At least partly.

"Anyway, it's great. I get to see things I haven't. Smell things that could never be smelled back where I came from." Jarde answered with a sad smile. "But, everyone's a noble here... and I'm just a farmer who got really lucky. The other non-noble knights' got something to their name so there's reason for them to be here. But not me, I feel like... No, I really don't belong here." Jarde then whispered. "...Not sure if I'll ever be."

"I mean, this armor isn't even mine!" Jarde immediately continued. "I had to borrow it from a fellow knight of ours because I got chosen to come, somehow."
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When someone is nervous, they may want to take comfort in food. Especially when there is such a wealth of excellent cooking on display. It was said that the two greatest of chefs in all of Thaln resided in Aimlenn: One in Candaeln, and one in the Castle itself. The array of edibles on display ranged from piping hot pot pies, to golden-brown fresh roast duck, to honey-glazed pork, to a lovely-looking rack of lamb. The scent that emanated from the food table was one that indicated quality, the savory flavors of seared and roasted meats, vegetables cooked to perfection serving as sides... And of course, there was the impressive-looking multi-tiered cake, decorated with some manner of dark blue and gold frosting, resting on the most distant table closest to the opposite end of the hall to the entrance.

The fact that Fanilly was as nervous as she was and that there was so much lovely food on display made her reaction only natural. The young Knight-Captain found herself taking a plate from the table and approaching the food even as the herald continued to announce the knights as they entered. The blonde girl was only a few steps away from the roast duck when someone approached her.

It was a young man, his black hair slicked back, clad in fine silken garb. He bowed immediately, purple eyes cast upwards towards Fanilly as he did.

"A pleasure to see you, oh Knight-Captain. I believe we've met before?" he began. After a moment's pause, recognition hit the somewhat petite girl head-on. She had not spoken to him very much at all, but she had met this man prior. It was quite a few years ago. She had only been eleven years old, and he had been thirteen or fourteen, she didn't recall. It was a brief meeting that she didn't remember very much about, but she remembered his name.

"Ah, Lord Velbrance, er, it's been quite a long time," she responded, giving him a somewhat awkward smile. She hadn't expected to be stopped on the way to her food-based method of relaxation... ".. How have you been?"

"Quite fine, thank you," responded Lord Edvard Velbrance, "The same can be said of you, it seems. Such a beautiful young girl, leading an entire order of knights..."

He paused for a moment.

"Well, it's tradition, isn't it? And you have already had your first success, slaying that butcher with delusions of grandeur," he continued, cutting Fanilly off before she could respond just as she opened her mouth, "I'm certain it must have been quite a frightful experience."

Frightful? Just what was Lord Velbrance saying? Fanilly shook her head. Regardless of what she felt may have been her own failings, her duty was clear-cut and letting fear get the better of her most certainly wasn't part of it.

"No matter what happened, it was my duty to the people of Thaln to stop him," she replied, managing to make her voice quite firm, "It's the duty of the Iron Rose Knights to stop anything that threatens the innocent."

At the very least, she was certain of that.

"My, even against a monster in human flesh like I've heard that Thief Lord was? I wonder how many people could honestly say they didn't feel the slightest bit afraid in the face of such a thing..."




Fanilly was not the only one who had been approached for conversation.

In perhaps what was possibly Sir Gerard Segremors's worst nightmare given the situation, it was not long at all before some of the nobility noticed an isolated knight and approached him.

In what may have been a source of relief for him they were not seeming to look for a way to use a conversation with him politically.

Three young noble girls had approached him, two of which had eyes sparkling with excitement while the third looked more or less bored with the entire situation.

"Aaaah, Sir Knight!" called the first girl, who had trailing blonde hair curled into drills and a red and white dress. She looked towards her two two at her sides with a somewhat smug smile on her face, "See? Didn't I tell you they would be here?!"

"Ah, how exciting!" cried a second, this one seeming to be the eldest of the three. She was clad in a blue and white dress, her blonde hair paler and worn loose. "Yoohoo, Sir Knight!"

She waved towards Sir Gerald.

The third girl, who appeared to be the youngest of the three and had black, neatly-cut hair and a black dress, looked rather less enthusiastic.

"It's not as if it was a secret or anything..." she half-murmured in a rather flat tone with a sigh. Still, she followed the other two girls as they eagerly crowded around the man.

"Tell us of your adventurers, Sir Knight!" said the first girl, "We wish oh so much to hear of them!"

"Yes, tell us, tell us!" declared the second.

The third simply sighed.

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Gillian


Gillian trudged into the party with little fanfare, a decidedly unamused scowl on his face. Hilda had been good as her word when she said he would wear the damnable outfit he was currently in. The woolen robes could be graciously described as 'archaic' at the best of times, the dull blue coat attempting to choke him as if Mayon herself was vicariously communicating her displeasure with him. He stood out like an ornately dressed sore thumb, if a traditional one. Many of the nobles gave him the odd glance, his figure brought to their eyes both by his dress and the clearly grafted limbs of his station. Hushed whispers passing between them as he passed and made no attempt to interact with them. Gillian ignored them. He wasn't here to be fawned over by people who had no earthly clue what these arms really meant.

He opted instead to stay close to the mini-captain, wagering that she would be a thankful lightning rod for any fawning that was to take place. That she would also very likely be the first to meet with the Princess was also a pretty useful, even if it wasn't the Royal Gill was particularly keen on seeing. What he had forgotten to take into account was that the Captain would also attract annoying back handed complimenting nobles as well.

Gill regarded Lord Velbrance like one might a particularly fat fly buzzing around their head. Which was to say, an unwanted common pest that most sensible people would happily slam into the nearest table if social graces allowed. "He's even hovering by the food. How apt..." Gillian said plainly, palming an apple from the buffet.

"If anyone has no fear going into a fight then their either an idiot or arrogant enough to deserve to die." Gillian said, neither bothering to bow or address the Lord properly as he took a large bite of the apple. "As I'm told, Jeremiah fell into the latter category and got beheaded for his troubles, among other things." He added, casually wiping the juice from his mouth onto his sleeve before extending it to the Lordling to shake hands in greeting.

"Captain Danbalion might be green, but not so green that she forgot to respect the danger the situation, however slight. A far better showing than most people three or four years her senior." He said, his tone that of glowing praise despite the implied insult to the Lord. "I'm sure if the other Reliquaries were in attendance, they would agree." He added, knowing full well that atleast one mirrored his own opinion....but he was also pretty sure he and Parnella would be loved to have joined in jabbing at the man if she were here.
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Fleuri Jodeau


Fleuri drooped his shoulders a bit at Jarde's reply, which was a bit sadder than he had expected. "Everyone has to start somewhere, and you're off to a decent start. Iron Rose, veteran of the skirmish that slew Bandit King Jeremiah. In my book you've done more to earn your place here than a lot of nobility your age," he assured the younger knight. "With Thaln's aristocracy diminished by Cal's rebellion and the Iron Roses' role in squashing it, it is an opportune time for aspiring knights to cement themselves as nobility by their deeds. And the prestige of being part of the order is far more meaningful for warriors like ourselves than the prestige associated with being born to an influential family."

"And I'm sorry about your attire. Not really anyone could have done about that, with how little advance notice we were given for this party. Ideally, we'd have a few days to prepare for it, sort out everyone's formal attire, and perhaps ensure everyone is familiar with dancing and etiquette." Fleuri took another careful sip of wine. "But I suppose it couldn't be helped that our triumph over Jeremiah coincided so closely with the date of the ball, giving just enough time for the Princess to extend her last minute invitation, but not enough time for us to make adequate preparations."

"Oh, and speaking of your borrowed outfit, a word of advice. Be careful if you sample the red wines, they leave very noticeable stains," Fleuri cautioned. "I made that mistake once and ended up spilling it on a tunic that had been in my family for generations."

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"Hmmm? Is that so?" asked Lord Velbrance, declining to shake Gillian's hand as he cocked his head slightly to one side, "Well then, that's a considerable feat for a girl of such a young age. Some would say it's rather unfair for such a thing to be foisted on her, but I suppose that is neither here nor there."

He shrugged. At that point, Fanilly found herself frowning. Foisted on her...? No, she wanted to do this. Even if it hadn't initially been her personal choice, even though she had been selected for the purpose of becoming the next Captain due to her birth... Even if she was afraid she'd fail, felt she already had failed that poor knight who had died under the weight of Jeremiah's blade. But nevertheless, she still wanted to help innocent people and keep them safe. That was one of the core values, one of the founding Principles of the Iron Rose Knights.

She'd long ago concluded to herself that it was truly what she wanted. So why...?

"But... wasn't Saint Elionne my age...?" she found herself saying.

"Well, of course," replied Lord Velbrance, "But a Saint is something quite a bit different then the average person. Would you say you're of the same caliber as a Saint, Knight-Captain?"

"I... what? Er..."

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Gerard Segremors



The contrast of black gown and red eyes upon alabaster skin and snow-colored hair popped into the young swordsman's peripheral vision, to say nothing of her immense, ever-present blade. He looked up from his plate, and rather than casting his gaze beyond a pale child as he was accustomed to, she had evidently decided to take the form of a woman. One he still towered over at present, yes, but not so obviously locked into an eternal youth.

"More befuddled than annoyed, for the most part." Gerard replied, raising his glass in greeting and thanks to Paladin Tyaethe Radistirin. She'd shown up just as he'd helped himself to a slice of ham, the salty and savory flavor complimented by the sweetness of a honey and brown sugar crust. Between mouthfuls he had downed a little more of his spiced wine, but for all her short (if now definitively adult) stature, it seemed the First and Youngest had already matched his intake. "I guess I don't quite yet look the part of an Iron Rose in armor."

...Could a vampire get drunk? There was, in truth, scarcely little he understood about them beyond the basics of their legend— the antipathy they faced from holy Reon, their need to consume blood through the fangs to survive, plus her plainly evident strength. Beyond that, little else. Something about garlic or running water...

Still— vampire or not, a comrade was a comrade. Though Segremors considered himself a fairly staunch Reonite, having burned more than a few white lilies since even boyhood, he held no doubts as to the Paladin's allegiances to their order, or their protectorate. With easily eight or even nine times as much distinguished service as an Iron Rose as he had years upon the Earth, it would be presumptuous in the utmost to even consider.

"Though, I now that I think about it, there may have been a man in blue and gold that was trying to curse me from afar over that way." he continued, unceremoniously jerking a thumb in the general direction he had seen the rather rotund nobleman (assuming his guess was correct), nearer to the cake. "Some talk about 'riffraff', 'mercenaries', that sort of thing—"

"Aaaaah, Sir Knight! See? Didn't I tell you they would be here?!"

Hm?

"Ah, how exciting! Yoohoo, Sir Knight!"

Uh oh.

He had been surrounded. If this were a battlefield, he'd have been dead on the spot unless it was again Dame Radistirin that he had been conversing with— In what felt like a flash, three young women of obvious status far above his own had crowded around him, pleading for tales of adventure and gallantry from, of all knights present, him. A commoner and a greenhorn, who had not even spent a year inside the hallowed halls of Candaeln. It was all too recently that he hadn't even shown his face on the field of battle, instead witnessing hell beneath brown hood and leather mask.

He was afraid of this. Afraid of exactly this happening, as it were. He had never been much of an orator to begin with in his mind, and he scarcely knew what stories to share. His eyebrows shot up and he, so taken aback by the sudden barrage of titters and requests, found himself recoiling a bit, as though his body believed he could lean out of their way and let the words pass by.

"Uh..."

Gerard's eyes, amber and bright with a panic that had never shown itself on the battlefield in the last half-decade, flicked over to meet those of Tyaethe. She had experience in spades, both with knightly quests and with noble girls. Hers were the tales they wanted. Not his. They wished to hear tell of adventure and heroism.

Not a faceless mercenary trudging through the mud and smoke. I suppose that narrows things down a quite a bit, doesn't it? Luckily, only last night we rode home from one of the missions that remains.

As pedestrian as we all thought it to be. Funny.


Clearing his throat, the young knight returned his gaze to the trio, passing it amongst each one as he stalled, manufacturing a moment to recollect himself. His hands, still holding food and drink, relieved themselves of the latter by way of him downing the rest and setting the empty glass back upon the table. He held liquor well by necessity, all it amounted to was just a little greasing of the wheels up top.

He met them this time with a genial, friendly smile.

Just don't overdo it, Sagramore, and we'll be fine.

"Well, you must forgive how green a Rose I am, firstly. I don't have much time within the Order to speak of..."


The two that were really driving this had an eagerness and exuberance that he didn't want to let down. The third's exasperation, despite being much closer to something he felt he could handle, seemed almost lost against their dazzling whimsy. He'd been in a similar position many times in his band of mercenaries; the quieter one who nevertheless tagged along with their less reserved peers.

"However, we did just yesterday return from slaying the Bandit King and his crew of brigands, under the leadership of our new Captain. Paladin Tyaethe and I actually both got the chance to cross swords with that bastard."
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Tyaethe Radistirin


"Oh, they must be getting more subtle. There's always a few who think that they should have more say in how the order is run and recruits," Tyaethe said, absent-mindedly downing the glass as she looked around and grabbing another one. It wasn't as if the alcohol had much of an effect on her; being immune to poison tended to do that. Perhaps if she put her mind to it such an immunity could be suppressed... not that this seemed like a terribly good idea. She had seen other people with no tolerance drink like she tended to and it wasn't a fun experience.

Well, for them. For her it was generally hilarious.

The three girls coming in seemed to be angling for something far more than a mere chat, from the object of their focus--Gerard did seem to clean up reasonably well, after all. Just a bit down the table she could hear one of the slimy noble lot harassing the captain. It was as good an opportunity as any for her to slip away from the poor unfortunate soul... especially as Elionne had come up. If that basatard said anything...

"Oh, yes. We fought Jeremiah. All very heroic and that, I mostly watched to make sure nobody else got killed," she added, attention off the conversation--and then slipping away to hover behind the noble. Gerard would live. Probably. He'd be mad at the abandonment to the wiles of three young ladies, but she could cope with such frustration.

"Now, milord, what would you know of the measure of a Saint? Have you ever met one?"

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"Everyone has to start somewhere, and you're off to a decent start. Iron Rose, veteran of the skirmish that slew Bandit King Jeremiah. In my book, you've done more to earn your place here than a lot of nobility your age. With Thaln's aristocracy diminished by Cal's rebellion and the Iron Roses' role in squashing it, it is an opportune time for aspiring knights to cement themselves as nobility by their deeds. And the prestige of being part of the order is far more meaningful for warriors like ourselves than the prestige associated with being born to an influential family."
Fleuri Jodeau


Jarde was not at all assured by Fleuri's words. "Maybe I'm off to a decent start, but it's still just a start. Like, a literal start. You and the other knights here have already fought many times, enough to actually be called veterans. I mean, look at Sir Gerard over there." He motioned to the mentioned knight, surrounded by three noble girls. "I know he just joined the order like me, but he's got background. No doubt the reason why he's surrounded like that. Meanwhile, all I have is that little skirmish yesterday and I didn't even do much there." Jarde continued beating himself up.

"Maybe I will become a veteran someday. Fight in several battles and earn glory, and actually have reason to be here. But right now, I don't. I don't belong here." Jarde concluded before sporting a goofy grin. "But I'm souring the mood, aren't I? This is a party! Let's enjoy it the best we can, yeah?"

"Oh, and speaking of your borrowed outfit, a word of advice. Be careful if you sample the red wines, they leave very noticeable stains. I made that mistake once and ended up spilling it on a tunic that had been in my family for generations."
Fleuri Jodeau


Jarde chuckled. "Don't worry, Sir Fleuri. I don't drink so I'm free from that. Unless of course someone else spills them on me, but then at least it won't be my fault. Unless I mistakenly bump into them, but that would be unlikely. I'm not a noble but I'd like to think I'm nimble." Although, the armor he's wearing currently was hampering his nimbleness.

Sparing a glance to look for Fanilly, he found her with Lady Tyaethe and Sir Gillian conversing with a nobleman. He briefly wondered what they were talking about before returning to Sir Fleuri.
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Maritza Verenna

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"Presenting Dame Maritza Verenna, Knight Serpenta of the Iron Roses and veteran of the Red Flag War."

Dressed in her formal white & dark green quartered gambeson and partial plate armor, the latter of which she'd spent the day cleaning up; the Naga is met with a few audible gasps and plenty of murmuring. Well, I've been met with worse. Nobody fainted this time... Mari thinks to herself as she weaves through the party with ease, her quarterstaff tucked under one arm; the other guests giving her a wide berth. As she makes a beeline for the food, Mari catches sight of the noble harassing the Captain. Suppressing a growl at his condescending body language, Mari relaxes as Gillian and then Tyaethe move to support Fanilly. Good. Those two aren't going to put up with any nonsense... Returning to the task at hand, Mari leans her staff against a table and takes a plate which she begins carefully loading up with clean cuts of various meats. Thank the Goddess' for the formal etiquette training my teachers insisted on... She thinks to herself.
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Fleuri Jodeau


Fleuri was a bit concerned that his banter had only served to darken Jarde's mood. To step into this world for the first time with relatively little under one's belt was a daunting and intimidating task for those not brought up in it. The young knight's lack of arrogance and appreciation for his inexperience in the area of aristocratic gatherings was no doubt a virtue, and a welcome departure from the arrogant nobles who thought more of themselves than was warranted, but it was clear that a little confidence would benefit him.

At Jarde's prompting, Fleuri glanced over at Gerard, who had been approached by a few young ladies, and was regaling to them the story of Bandit King Jeremiah. What Jarde had missed, however, was that Sir Segremors' body language suggested that he was similarly out of his element, in need of a fellow knight's aid as surely as if this were a battlefield. Fleuri glanced at Jarde and back at Gerard again as he concocted a plan.

Yes, that ought to solve solve both of their problems.

"You're right, Sir Devaron," he conceded as he turned his attention back to Jarde. "This is not an occasion for lamentation. It is a time for celebrating our victory. And if you would be so gracious to assist me in this celebration, simply follow my lead." Fleuri approached Gerard and the admirers that had entrapped him, paying careful attention to their conversation and movements. He approached it not dissimilarly to a battle, interpreting a foe's body language and rushing to the aid of a clearly overwhelmed knight-brother.

"Good evening, Sir Segremors," he spoke up, drawing close to the group. "Regaling the ladies of the tale of our recent triumph over Bandit King Jeremiah and his bloodthirsty band of brigands?"

"It was quite the battle afraid I myself took a rather uneventful role in it. I cut down a few bandits, sure, but unlike some of the others, I didn't have the excitement of crossing blades with the Bandit King. He was quite the terrible foe, from what I heard though. Strong enough to fell a massive tree with a single swing of his weapon, and so tough that he went into battle without armor," he narrated, intent on grabbing their attention.

"Sir Devaron, you fought Jeremiah too, might you assist our friend Gerard here on recounting the battle against that terrible fiend to these lovely ladies?" he asked, gesturing to Jarde and drawing the group's attention to him. On a battlefield, it'd be grossly irresponsible to hoist the center of attention to a junior knight or squire in such a manner, and perhaps it was somewhat irresponsible here as well, but Gerard needed help and Jarde needed this experience.

With the assumption that attention had been diverted from him, Fleuri backed away to observe the commoner-born knights tell their tale, taking another sip from his glass. Once he could be sure they handle the ladies without a chaperone, Fleuri would be able to slip away and mingle with the others.

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"Oh, that sounds ever so exciting!" cried the first girl excitedly, almost bouncing in place as she did, her drill-curled hair looking like a pair of springs. It was quite clear that the idea of this great feat, this combat with such a ferocious man who called himself the Bandit King, was appealing to the girls.

At least... to was appealing to two of them. The youngest of the three seemed decidedly uninterested. It wasn't as if she didn't think it was a good thing. Rather, she was simply looking away slightly as if she didn't want to hear about it.

When Fleuri added to the story, the girls seemed to be in total awe. With the exception of the youngest, at least.

"Fell a tree in a single blow... no armor..." repeated the second girl slowly, as if the words had initially failed to register to her. In fairness, such a thing was stunning to hear about for anyone. It was clear that the Bandit King had been some abnormal warrior of extreme capability, after all. "Was... was he some kind of beast? A fallen divine like the Witch-Queen?!"

The youngest girl stared incredulously at her.

"The Witch-Queen? He was a bandit who had too many muscles," she said, simply, "Don't be silly..."

"That might be going a little far, Angenese," commented the first girl, scratching the back of her head with an awkward laugh, "The Witch-Queen, really, eh-heheh..."

"Well, no, not her... she was killed so long ago, and even if she was still around she looks like a little girl now, right?" asked Angenese.

This earned a heavy sigh from the youngest girl.

"You really believe that old story...?"

"They could be true!" declared Angenese, defiantly, "Besides, if he was so strong, maybe he really was a fallen divine! Wouldn't that make the story even more amazing?!"

She turned to the two knights excitedly.

"Tell us more! Do you think he was a fallen divine?!"

"I don't think he was a fallen divine... but I really want to hear more! How did you overcome such a monstrous bandit?!" asked the first girl, as well.

The third simply sipped her drink.

A fallen divine... Of course, there was no way Jeremiah was one. He was a mortal man, who had died like one. A servant of the gods who had descended to the world after its creation, who had rejected their own origin and became an opponent to those who dwelt within it, would never have died so swiftly. Besides, what would a fallen divine even be doing in such a place?

It was absurd to think about.

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