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Count Landon Monet, Prince Wulfric Danrose, Lord Leo Smithwood, Count Ryn Hendrix, Lord Drake Edwards

Part 1

Count Landon Monet situated himself tentatively, drumming his fingers on the table as he awaited others to join him.

Prince Wulfric arrived relatively early, smoothly situating himself at the count’s table. “Good evening,” he greeted as he seated himself. The royal, too, was wearing an attire embellished with gold, his gleaming light beige suit a tasteful contrast against the cabaret’s darker environment. “Has something of note happened before we’ve even begun?” he asked, a vaguely amused tilt to his expression. He’d not caught anything, but there was a notable tension in Count Monet’s body language.

Leo approached the table shortly after Wulfric, greeted the crowned prince first and then the count before sitting down. “Something of note seems to be a common occurrence here.” Leo commented in a neutral tone.

The count of Erwynn soundlessly appeared from behind Lord Leo Smithwood. “Ah, but does that not make life all the more memorable and‌ exciting?” He smiled at the assembled nobility. “Good evening, gentlemen. I hope the day has been kind to you all.” Ryn settled into the seat beside Count Monet, who had smiled curtly in greeting.

“Good evening,” Wulfric echoed, but went back to studying Landon when the man replied.

Landon met Wulfric’s eyes tentatively and the muscles in his jaw twitched slightly. He relaxed some visibly as some gratitude washed over him; it was at least a relief that the prince had missed the spectacle. “Nuzzing out of ze usual, Your Majesty. Yet, it is truly an honor zat you decided to grace my event, and particularly my table with your esteemed presence.“ He managed a tight smile then let his eyes travel to Leo. “Lord Smeethwood. It’s a pleasure… ‘Ow was your trip from ze Varian Kingdom?”

“Scenic and serene but lacking the excitement to make it as memorable as my time here.” Leo responded with a nod toward Count Fritz. “Thank you for asking. And even more thankful to see a menu that barely mentions cheese.” He joked, hoping to lessen the visible tension from Count Monet.

“This morning had an overabundance of cheese,” Wulfric agreed. “Speaking of excesses, I simply must ask, however. What brought about your pink state, Leo?” He purposefully used the lord’s first name to take the edge off what might otherwise be considered a needling question.
“I confess zat is a question zat is traversing my mind as well...”

“Well,” Leo thought over how he wanted to answer, “I got up this morning, I took a bath, and then I was pink. Very strange, I suspect it is a prank.”

Ryn studied Lord Smithwood’s coloring while the man spoke. “If I may, can I examine your skin more closely?” A very pink eyebrow raised, then Leo nodded.

At his assent, Ryn leaned in, inspecting the skin’s hue and texture. He rubbed his fingers against the surface to search for any other irregularities or changes, but found none. Reaching for the water jug, Ryn dampened his fingers on the cool condensation. He tested the skin again. Waited. Breathed warm air on the wet patch. Rubbed once more, then examined his own fingertips and nodded slowly.

“I believe the soap you used was the culprit. One containing a rather potent dye that reacts to heat and moisture. It appears harmless, but I would advise washing it off thoroughly, to be safe.” Ryn sat back, an idea sparking in his eyes. “I heard there is an excellent spa in the city. Perhaps we could head there together later and get you sorted out?”

Leo chuckled, a mix of relief and amusement. “A harmless prank…I bet Thea set this up before she returned home.” He thought aloud. It was the best case scenario, one that meant Thea was feeling better than she had in a long while. “An excellent suggestion Fritz, thank you.” He briefly wondered if he’d misjudged the count but his initial gut feeling, one that regarded Fritz with a deep sense of animosity still lingered.

Ryn smiled kindly at the warmth behind the gratitude. This might well be the first time the nobleman had addressed him without overt disdain. “Think nothing of it.” Turning to the other two, he extended the open invitation. “You are both welcome to join us, if you would like.”

“Ah, zhank you, but I will ‘ave to decline.” Landon responded and then added with some bitterness etched to his tone, “My wife is expecting my return after zis, unfortunately.” The other count nodded in understanding.

“A spa…? If I am in the mood,” Wulfric casually rolled a shoulder. He did not mention to Leo that his sister had not, in fact, left. When he had met her this morning, it had seemed Thea was waiting for the right moment to tell him himself. He dragged his gaze away from the eye-catching eyesore of a pink Leo, turning back to Count Monet. “Well, then,” he smirked, “why not aim for an entertaining evening, at the very least?” He eyed each of the men gathered. “How about a game of cards, gentlemen?” He paused for a moment to gauge the initial reactions.

“And to make it more interesting…” A spark of enthusiasm transformed the smirk into a tiny grin. “Consider the following wager. The winner of a particular round can set a question, a challenge, or a game to the table. For example, if I won, I might ask ‘What was the most convincing lie you’ve ever told?’ and each of you would have to answer. Of course, you could choose to improvise, and see what you could convince the others you’ve pulled off successfully.

“I’m in, what game did you have in mind?” Leo asked, gambling with truths and dares as the prize was too intriguing an opportunity to pass up. “Black Jack?” He suggested something quick to get to the more interesting part.

“Hm, I would recommend a game which doesn’t require a dealer and which has a clear winner,” which Blackjack didn’t necessarily always have. However…we can make it work,” he smiled. He’d expected it, but he was glad Leo was so quickly on board. “We could also rotate games for each round, and each of us picks whatever suits him. Alternatively, we could vote from a selection of games we all know how to play,” he suggested.

Reminded of the drinking game he and Lord Damien did the evening before, Ryn chuckled. “It sounds fun. Count Monet, if you were to join us, what game would you suggest?”
Count Landon took a long swig of his whiskey, then met Ryn’s eyes. “Go Fish. Simple enough even for a child. 'Ere’s how it works,” he began, his tone brusque.
“Each of us gets five cards, and ze rest go in a pile. On your turn, you ask someone for a specific card rank. If zey ‘ave it, zey give you all of those cards. If zey don’t, zey tell you to ‘Go Fish,’ and you draw from ze pile. Ze goal is to collect sets of four cards of ze same rank. Ze game ends when all sets are collected, and ze one with ze most sets wins.”
He glanced around the table, his expression as if daring the others to outdo his fine suggestion. Then, Landon waved over a nearby waiter. “But first, before we play anything, I am going to order us a round of drinks as my glass is now empty.” He gestured the waiter to his side with a beckoning of his finger and began to whisper.
“It’s Landon’s night, I’m good with his game. Who has a deck of cards?” Leo asked of the table before giving his drink order to the waiter.

“Go…Fish? I can’t say I’ve played.” Despite it being a child’s game, Wulfric was evidently intrigued. The rules Landon laid out were very straightforward. “Simple indeed. Let us start with a round of that, then,” he agreed. When the waiter appeared, he noted, “I will abstain from alcohol tonight, so a glass of sparkling water will do.” At Leo’s question, he shook his head. “I can procure the cards if need be,” he assured.

“Quite an enjoyable game too, if I do say so myself!” The young lord's voice rose just above the ambient noise in the room as Drake made his way to the table of familiar faces. He took a moment to bow before the ensemble of noblemen and gestured to a nearby chair. “Mind if I take a seat? It has been ages since I’ve had a chance to properly interact with any of you. I think this is as good a time as any to rekindle some friendships.” He waited before taking his seat, but still brandished a drink he had procured from the bar earlier - a simple whiskey to start the night. After the encounter he just had, he would definitely need a few.

“Oh yes, please sit!” Landon encouraged Lord Edwards. He had pepped up a bit in reaction to those accepting his game suggestion. “Good to see you, young Edwards.”

Ryn gestured invitingly towards the empty chair Lord Edwards had indicated, “Please, do sit with us! We’d be delighted to have your company. Would you like to join the game too? The winner can pose any question they want, and the rest must answer true... or lie so convincingly it might as well be.” He favored Lord Edwards with a playful wink as he produced his own deck and set it on the table. “If it’s agreeable to everyone, we can use my cards.”
Olivia, Charlotte, & Zarai

Upon arrival, Charlotte and Olivia were greeted by an onslaught of sights and sounds. The air was filled with the cacophony of laughter, music, and the distant screams of delight from the rides. Standing at the entrance to the amusement park, Charlotte admired the bright lights that twinkle like stars against the sky. The sweet aroma of cotton candy wafted through the air.

A humble smile graced her lips as a wave of nostalgia washed over her. She hadn’t been to the park since her teenage years with Delilah, and for a moment, it felt like stepping back in time. Though it brought back fond memories, yet tonight, the sensation felt bittersweet.

Turning to Olivia, Charlotte asked softly, “Have you ever been here before?”

Olivia’s attention was brought back by Charlie’s voice. She tried to speak but words didn’t come out. Her eyes reflected the lights of the amusement park. “No. We couldn’t afford to go…. My mom tried to pocket enough for us but we could only admire it from a distance. I tried sneaking in but some noble bitch ratted us out. Fuck her.” She took a deep breath and sighed to relieve some of her anger. Be positive, she told herself.

“..So I’ll have extra fun for her tonight!”

Before Charlotte could reply, a commotion caught their attention, and they both turned to see a red-haired girl punching a man. Distress was clearly written over her face. She frowned and realized how familiar she seemed. Her mind paused, and then her name came to her: Zarai Lesdeman of Puerto Vira, Varian Kingdom. The words she spat were indistinguishable to Olivia, but the actions were not.

She turned to Charlotte, pursed her lips momentarily, and then gestured over to Zarai running away. “Shall we go assist that girlie?” Olivia turned to try to catch where she’d gone then hesitated; she didn’t want to ruin Charlie’s night out either. “....I won’t leave you, if you wish to stay out of it.” She smiled at her friend, took her hand, and squeezed it gently. “This is your night out Charlie.”

Lottie’s gaze followed Zarai as her figure grew more distant, “ Uhhhh…Well, I suppose... ” She reluctantly moved forward after the girl, recognizing her vaguely as well. However, she and Lady Lesdeman had never conversed before so she was not certain how this would all play out.

Olivia recognized Charlie’s nervous energy and looped her arm through her’s. She turned her friend to face her, and brought her into a firm hug. “I won’t let anything happen. I promise. You’re safe with me tonight. We will have fun!” She replied softly and a mischievous grin crossed her face. ”In case of any shit, I’ve got tricks up my sleeves in case, y’know.”

Olivia slipped through the crowds and throngs of people stealthily and was gone before people could even recognize them. There was something about Zarai that pulled Olivia to her like a magnet; she didn’t know why, or how, but she knew she had difficulty resisting…

Charlotte stumbled after Olivia, surprised by her eagerness, but hurried along all the same. “Lady Lesdesman!” She called once they were close enough to Zarai.

Zarai had found herself a quiet wall by the public restrooms, where she stood struggling to open a small tin can, her fingers feeling too fat and clumsy to pry the lid off. The tears welling up in her eyes didn’t help her case either. Her head shot up, eyes wide, when she heard an unfamiliar voice call her name formally.

“Who—” she began, hastily pocketing the tin can. She looked up to see the source of the voice. “Oh, hi! Lady Vikena, right? And um, sorry, I don’t know your name.” She wiped the moisture from her eyes and offered them both a too-tight smile. “How are you? Enjoying the night? Having fun?”

Charlotte approached Zarai slowly, coming to a halt at a respectful distance, her hands folded gracefully as she offered a gentle smile. “Good evening, Miss Zarai," She began softly and gestured to Olivia, “This is Lady Olivia Hawthorne. She’s a family friend staying with us this season.”

Olivia waved once her name was mentioned. Her smile was kind as she leaned against the same wall and faced the two girls. Her gaze scanned the scenery.

She then said after a hesitation, "...We had just arrived at the park actually, and couldn't help but notice you seemed to be in a bit of trouble. Is everything alright?" Sheepishly, she added, “I know it’s rather embarrassing to be forward with such things, but please take comfort in that I am no stranger to spectacles.”

”Sadly it seems Charlie here speaks the truth; especially on dealing with bullsh…I mean.. spectacles.” Olivia commented and patted Charlotte’s arm gently. Then, Olivia continued, her voice quiet. ”We’re happy to listen, but if you wanna be ‘lone, I get that too.”

”You have a decent punch, but it could use some work, y’know, I could help you with that if you're, uh, experiencing... issues.” Olivia grinned and gave her the thumbs up.

Zarai blinked and then smiled, "Oh no, you’re quite alright. Forwardness is my forte.” She chuckled. “But I do appreciate it, truly. I thought you were Sir Barrios—very glad you’re not him. His face would have just pissed me off further.” She pulled out her tin can again, fidgeting with the lid, but this time with a lot more calm.

“I just—ugh! I don’t want to talk about it.” She shook her head before shooting Olivia a grin. “You’re not the first person to tell me that. I am better with a sword, but the park doesn’t allow swords, and I’d rather be punished for punching some lordling than stabbing him. Gods, my mother might actually kill me this time... Anyway, yes! I’d love some pointers on hand-to-hand combat! I’m sorry; I tend to ramble when I’m nervous. Sometimes. Don’t mind me—better yet, let’s forget you saw that little show for now.”

Olivia eyed the tin in her hand and looked up to watch her speak. ”What fun is there in not letting in swords? Some people need to be punched with one. It might improve their faces.”

Olivia returned Zarai’s grin and nodded enthusiastically to her. ”I gotcha, it would be fun to pass my combat onto you both,” She saluted Zarai dramatically and commented, ”Aye aye, captain!”

Zarai grinned as she finally opened the can, dipped her finger into the oil, and rubbed it on the insides of her mouth. “Hmm, so, how about we have some fun?”

Charlotte giggled, finding Lady Lesdeman rather adorable. She was rather disappointed the two hadn’t spoken much before.

“I am known to ramble myself… Sometimes certain subjects are simply too exhilarating to contain within a few words… But oh, goodness!” She looked between the two girls, her eyes sparkling with genuine admiration. “It is exciting to think that you both were allowed to learn such skills as sword fighting and combat. My mother always insisted that such matters were strictly for men, but I have always dreamed of being as strong and capable as the heroines in my beloved books.”

With an enthusiastic smile, she took each of their hands, “Little did I know, there were such extraordinary women right here among us.”

”I got plenty to teach you both. Also, those books are coming true for you; Charlie, you are a heroine!” Olivia ruffled her hair lightly and smiled at her genuinely. There was a quick knowing look she gave her before it slipped away.

After Charlie’s final comment, a warmth for her friend filled her. It was an unfamiliar feeling that left her temporarily stunned. After a minute, her grin returned, and she composed herself. ”You mean three don’t-cha?” She took both of their hands and grinned. ”My lovely damsels, where to first?”

“My mother shares the same sentiment. She’d been appalled to learn I know how to wield a sword.” Zarai commented, glancing down at their clasped hands. The doubt in her mind that threatened to flood her head was pushed down by the certainty that Charlotte and Olivia had nothing to do with her mother. This wasn’t that. ”Why not start strong? Something to shake us and ignite us?” Zarai grinned, a wide, toothy, daring smile, as she pointed to the large wooden structure where the sound of screams filled the air above them—The King Edin Express.

Charlotte followed Zarai’s gaze and her eyes widened slightly as she looked at the towering wooden roller coaster. The screams from the riders filled the air, and her heart began to race. She glanced back at her friends, feeling a flutter of apprehension in her stomach. But, not wanting to be cowardly, she took a deep breath and mustered her courage.

With a bright, enthusiastic smile, she said, "Yes, absolutely! It looks positively thrilling!"

Olivia couldn’t help her sigh. Why were nobles so damn boring? She was grateful for the childhood she had. Her gaze followed Zarai’s and lit up like a firework. Her smile was ear-to-ear. The height and the drop of it reminded her of what it must feel like to fly.

”Oh shit, I never rode that, that’s fucking awesome!” She glanced at Lottie and noticed her apprehension and looped her arm through her’s. ”You don’t have to join us if you don’t want to, I won’t judge ya. But it’s fun to get out of your comfort zone too! It looks like you’re flying!” She remarked to Charlotte. ”And if you do join us, you can sit in the middle.”

“Right, we’ll hold your hand– but it’s best to raise them above your head. As Olivia said, it’s like flying.” Zarai said without taking her eyes from the towering wooden structure above them. She bounced on the soles of her feet, looking at Charlotte, “We could try other rides, of course, but you never know if you might be an adrenaline junkie– or an aficionado of exhilarating pursuits.” She wiggled her brows at the girl, “What do you say?”

Charlotte smiled at the girls and replied, “ I am excited to try it; shall we get on the line?”

”Fuck yes!” Liv highfived Charlotte and eagerly led both girls towards the roller coaster. The three of them stood in line. Olivia bounced on the balls of her feet. Her gaze was glued to the ride and a rare and genuine smile stretched from ear-to-ear.

Similarly, Zarai mirrored Olivia’s excitement, shooting daggers through her eyes at the group in front of them whenever they glanced back at them. Nothing else would ruin this evening, not for her newly acquired friends. Not when they had gone out of their way to include her.

”Where are we going to go after this?” She looked between Charlotte and Olivia, the excitement palpable. If you ladies are hungry, we could get some of those giant turkey legs. I’ve never seen a turkey that big… where do you think they keep them?” The line continued to move until it was the snobby nobles between them and the cart.

“Certainly…” Charlotte’s gaze was drawn toward the turkey leg line and it was then she noticed Lord Ravenwood. There was a pause before she suddenly said to the two girls, “Actually… I want to go check on Lord Ravenwood for a moment; I’ve been concerned about him… You ladies go ahead. Please meet me at the turkey leg cart after the ride.”

Olivia’s excitement momentarily sizzled like an egg on a frying pan. She frowned, but nodded at her friend’s remark. Her gaze would meet Roman’s with a smile. Her gaze slid to Charlotte then back with a clear message: “Don’t you dare let anything happen to her.” She turned to face her friend afterwards as her enthusiasm lit up like a torch. ”Alright but next time you can’t escape so easily, Charlie!” Olivia giggled and waved haphazardly at the amusement park. Liv tapped her forehead to Charlie, a warning she’d use magic should anything happen to her. ”You can run but you can’t hide!” She took Zarai’s hand and moved forward in the line before they were lost to the crowd.
Violet & Lily

Violet stepped out of the carriage standing in front of the Estate, Her eyes drawing to its door as she let out a loud drawn-out sigh. Her hand instinctively moved to her cheek attempting to sooth the stinging feeling.

The feeling of dread warmed her as she removed the hood from her head. Having to have reality was overwhelming. The chaos and memories of her home haunted her. She thought that she had found some sense of solace with Roman. Her fingers dragged along her skin as her hand fell to her side.

She had a name, one that was given to her by Alexander. ”my scarlet-eyed raven “ His voice haunted her. What would he think of her now? Two murders and an attack on Roman, and she still had the body to hide.

She couldn’t trust many in her circle anymore. She fell back into a corner and needed to find a way out. A release. Lord Fritz did give her a surprising offer. Perhaps he was someone she could lean on. Her eyes fell to the ground as she sucked in her breath. But, how many times would she allow others to control her life? Maybe it was time she did it herself.

Violet began walking towards the front door of her home. The entrance was littered with guards on a post, likely a part of the search and rescue team her mother had put together. Approaching the door, the guards looked at each other and Violet walked through entering the Manor as if nothing had happened.

Violet emerged from the carriage with a hesitant step. Her gaze fixated on the door ahead, a mixture of fear and anger evident in her eyes, underscored by a heavy sigh that escaped her lips. Instinctively, her hand rose to her cheek, fingers grazing the lingering sting where Roman hand print kept its claim on her face.

As she cast off the hood shrouding her, a wave of apprehension swept over her. The stark reality of her situation flooded in, intertwining with the memories that clung to her like a haunting nightmare. She had sought refuge in Roman's company, excited when he was the one who found her, yet even there, solace proved false. Her fingertips traced the contours of her skin.

He wanted her to claim a name, but she carried a name one given to her by Alexander – "my scarlet-eyed raven" – his voice echoing like a haunting memory in her mind. What thoughts would he hold about her now, with two murders staining her hands? The weight of her actions pressed upon her, a burden too heavy to bear alone. Yet she had to.

Her trust, once freely given, now lay shattered amidst the fragments of her life. Cornered and desperate, she found herself drawn to Lord Fritz's unexpected offer, a flicker of hope amidst the encroaching darkness. Yet, even as she contemplated this she still stood hesitant.

With each measured step towards her home, she confronted the many guards standing by the door, their presence a testament to her mother's likely frantic search. Approaching the door, the guards looked at each other with confusion as Violet walked through entering inside the Manor as if nothing had happened. The only evidence still stinging her cheek.

Inside, the familiar opulence of the Estate, Countess Liliane Damien was already at the foot of the stairs. Her eyes widened and she approached hastily, speeding through the foyer toward her daughter with concern and relief evident on her features. "Violet, my dear," she began, her voice soft, "I’ve been so worried about you… I’m so sorry." Her eyes shimmered with unshed tears. "I cannot even fault you for leaving after all you’ve been through… I want you to know that I'm here for you. Always." She moved closer, her voice trembling slightly. "… I was desperate. I couldn't bear the thought of you having your life cut short. In my fear, I made a choice—a terrible, hasty choice—without consulting you. I know it’s unfair and I will spend my life making this up to you."

Liliane reached out, gently taking Violet's hands in her own. "I want to make it right, Violet. I want to help you find a way through this, I want to find you a cure…But I also want you to guide me. Your thoughts, your feelings—they matter more than anything. I want to be here for you, to support you in the way you need. I want us to find a way to reverse this curse together; I don’t want you to feel like you're alone in this."

Violet's eyes landed on her mother's and then moved down to the hand she gripped so desperately. Slowly removed her hand from her mother's grasp her eyes scanned her face as if trying to seek some kind of empathy. But she had none.

Her mother however didn’t need to continue through the torture. She had to be bigger than her. The sting on her cheek continued to pulse as a constant reminder. “You don't get to do that.” she said .

“ You don’t get to choose for me anymore. You used your chances.” She settled her hands in front of her dress as she unbuttoned her cape, Violet's red eyes unbreaking from hers.. “ You don't choose to reverse what you’ve done because of your guilt. You don't get to choose who I spend my time with or where I decide to spend my time.” She paused taking in a deep breath as she continued to talk to her calmly.

“ How much did you pay him?” she asked her pointedly about Roman leaving it open in case other names slipped out. Who exactly did she involve?

Liliane took a step back, her face anguished. "Violet, I... I never wanted to hurt you. I thought I was protecting you. I see now that I was wrong, terribly wrong." She clasped her hands together, her voice breaking. "I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but I beg for it nonetheless. Not for my sake, but for yours. You deserve to live free from the shadows of my mistakes."

She took a deep breath, looking more vulnerable than Violet had ever seen her. "If you want to leave, to find your own way, I won’t stop you. But if you stay, let me help you on your terms. I want to support you, to follow your lead. You don’t have to forgive me, but please, let me try to make things right, even if that means giving you space so you can still utilize your own home here…"

Liliane’s eyes filled with genuine tears. "I’ve arranged for blood to have on stock for you… You should only need it once a week, but I won’t force it on you. It’s here if you need it. And I promise, I will find a way to cure this curse. You deserve that chance, and I will do everything in my power to give it to you. On your terms, Violet. Always on your terms."

She looked down, her hands shaking. "I never paid Alexander.. or Roman… Anyone for matter… to assist. We all just wanted to know you were safe. ”

Silence crept over the two of them, only the pitter-patter of the feet of the maids running around attempting to prepare their nightly chores could be heard echoing. Alexander… her mind echoed him name. Did he want her safe, or was he worried she would let out his little secret? Roman’s idea of helping was already clear. That moment alone made her realize just how little trust she held for anyone.

Violet took note of the compassion her mother held but even a murderer could be remorseful. All she spoke of was simply a reflection of her conscience and not shame for what she truly did. She knew she held the power. Three small words would likely ease her mother's discomfort and give her a false sense of security.

“I will stay,” her voice breaking their silence.. “But I require space. Space to choose my path since you..stole” Her voice dropped as she attempted to keep herself from shouting. “ You stole that from me the first time.” She looked at Liliane's eyes and she could feel the feeling of pity start to appear.. “ I cannot forgive you,” her voice dropped to a sad whisper.. “...not yet” she added her voice nearly cracking. She cleared her throat and adjusted herself pulling her back into the cold-hearted expression she held when she first entered.. “ I have to take care of something tonight. I am going to wash up and head out, but I will return home when it's done.” Her red eyes drifted over to the dining room.

She suddenly remembered her mother mentioning that the blood would last her for a week. She could barely manage minutes let alone a week between each time she has fed. Her heart thumped with anxious feelings as it confirmed something was wrong with her. .“How do you know about all of this? Was there a book? Some kind of “fuck up your kid with vampirism manual?” Violet's red eyes returned to her mother. .“Or is there some support group that you’ve been seeking asylum with?”

“ Take all the space you need dear… I understand.” Lily had begun softly only to find herself on the negative end of Violet’s questioning. She soon answered, “I did some research. I can give you the information I was provided… I will leave it in your room tonight. ” Lily then took a step back toward the stairs. Anything else you need, please feel free to seek me out. I will give you your space. “

She paused before she had been about to ascend the stairs, a frown forming on her features. ”But before I go… Did someone hurt you, Violet? I can’t help but notice the mark on your cheek. “

Violet stood silent for a moment. She felt the need for her mother creep inside of her. Wanting to tell her about her first kiss, about how her heart fluttered. How he hurt her. “Just had a little too much at the tavern. It’s nothing.” she said calmly. Slowly untieing her tattered cloak she removed it, passing it over to a maid that stood close by. She took it with ease, her expression unable to hide her shock at the state of it. “ Will need some mending,” she reassured as the women nodded before scurrying out of the room.

Heading towards the stairs to return to her room, she passed her mother before stopping on the landing. Her red eyes peered down to Lillian as the venom in her voice caused a slight chill in the air. .” If Lord Ravenwood comes calling regardless of where I am, I’m not here. “ she paused as if wanting to say something else but instead Violet turned back around and headed up the stairs towards her room.

Duke Gideon Edwards, Duchess Victoria Edwards, Prince Callum Danrose, King Edin Danrose, Lady Ariella Edwards,Lord Drake Edwards, Milo St. Claire

The Sorian Church at night had an almost eerie atmosphere. The vast, vaulted ceilings loomed high above, their dark expanses broken intermittently by the warm glow of torches that flanked the pews. The flames flickered gently, casting a dance of shadows that lit up the stern expression of King Edin, his figure cloaked in the same golden regal attire as earlier. He was situated by the front near a small group of his church staff and several guards. They were gathered not far from a large painting, its signs of defacement obvious to all who bestowed their gaze upon it.

The room was quiet but tense as the enormous doors swung open with a loud creak. Duke Gideon Edwards and Duchess Victoria, perhaps overdressed as always, walked hurriedly into the room. Duke Gideon wore a dark velvet coat embroidered with intricate gold thread that caught the light with every step. His cravat was a rich, creamy white, fastened with a brooch that bore the Edwards family crest. Completing his look were polished black boots.

Duchess Victoria was equally striking. Her gown was made of deep emerald silk that flowed elegantly to the floor. Her hair was styled in an elaborate updo, with curls cascading around her shoulders. She carried a matching silk fan.

Gideon maintained his dignified aura as he came to stand before the King. His wife Victoria wore an expression that mixed resolve with a hint of defiance. He spoke in a clear voice that broke the silence. “Your Majesty,” he began, his tone infused with respectful firmness, “it is both our honor and duty to stand before you this evening.” Meanwhile, Victoria simply gave a stiff curtsy. She looked like she most obviously wanted to be anywhere else.

King Edin stared down at them without even a twitch in his demeanor. “I trust you’ve brought your daughter as instructed?”

As the king addressed the Duchess and Duke, the doors of the church opened again, echoing another loud creak through the building. Through the large doors came a squirming Ariella, being held up by two large guards who had firm grips around her arms as Ari’s feet dangled above the ground, kicking with frustration. ”Let. Me. Down!” she repeated for what felt like the 100th time.

Ariella was so focused on them she didn’t even notice her parents or the king. The heavy doors creaked open for a third time. Two guards entered, Callum followed, and two more guards trailed the prince by a handful of steps. They led him towards the king, walking in the same methodical manner as they had from the palace; two guards behind him, one at each side, their steps in sync, and their attention never deviating from him. The guards said little, despite Cal’s unending questioning, the only information he got from them was ‘His Majesty requires your presence’. Why the church of all places? Cause I didn’t go this morning? Bit much even for Edin.

But it wasn’t just Edin there, and as Callum looked around at the other familiar faces, “Is this about the shoe thing?” he asked. That sounded even more ridiculous than being in trouble for skipping church. He rolled his eyes the second he caught Duchess Victoria’s attention. “Hey! Let Ari go!” He barked an order at the other set of guards, but his own guards blocked Cal from moving any closer.

Through the much less creaky side door, Drake too had arrived at the behest of a messenger sent by his father. “Your sister seems to be in trouble with the King.” was all the notion he was given. So he arrived with a certain decorum in mind. He opened the door only as much as necessary and closed it behind him. Each pace was measured - as was his expression. He remained stoic - not letting his emotions drive him at a crucial moment.

Once he met the others in the middle, he gave the King a bow. ”Always a pleasure to be in your presence, Your Majesty.” He turned only slightly so as not to show his back to King Edin and echoed the command given to the guards. ”If it suits His Majesty’s interests, I would prefer you two to unhand my sister. I shall watch over her.” He offered a silent nod to his parents and those present, not wanting to drag his introduction to the meeting any longer.

As Ariella was clumsily ushered in by the guards, King Edin's attention snapped to the spectacle, his irritation mounting visibly, especially as Callum entered. Edin's expression soured into a grimace at the foolish outburst. “Quiet down, Callum.” He snapped then looked at Drake, “Lord Drake…” His brows furrowed. “The guards are not to unhand Lady Ariella just yet.” The king's gaze then shifted to a square tub of paint prepared earlier by his order, a vivid royal blue that seemed almost as intense as his mood.

“Place her down in the paint. We shall make haste in our pursuit of the truth.” he commanded curtly to the guards holding Ariella. “Ariella, you will dip your foot in that paint and step beside the footprint already on the floor. We will see if they match... I do not want to hear any further comments until she steps in that paint.”

“Your Majesty, having my daughter manhandled is entirely unnecessary.” Duke Gideon interjected as he rose from his seat.

Victoria hid her face behind her fan, “This is so humiliating…” She muttered.

Ariella looked around confused, unsure of why she was dragged, let alone her parents, the king, and Callum. She looked down at the blue paint that the guards hovered her over. Oh…

Her eyes glanced over at Callum as if to say a silent sorry as her foot went into the paint. The guard on her left then set her down, her foot printing perfectly next to the one left behind. Swiftly, the guard pulled her back.

“It is a match, your majesty,” the guard said, confirming with his own eyes. King Edin moved forward and gazed upon the footprint.

She grinned guiltily as the reminder of her drunken adventures crept back into her memory. “I'm not the most talented artist,” she said with a nervous laugh. A groan from the duchess followed her daughter’s words.

Callum stared at the two matching footprints, still completely confused about what was happening here. After a moment he simply began clapping. “Excellent work. We have discovered that Lady Ariella has an average-sized foot with five toes. I’m sure no one else in all of Sorian could make such a claim.” He offered flippant praise to the guards who had dunked Ari’s foot in the paint.

Callum’s applause ended and he removed his shoes and socks, tossing them in the general direction of Duchess Victoria, and lifted his arms out. “Alright, me next!” He said to the guards, expecting to be lifted up and dunked in the paint next.

Then he noticed the portrait, Edin with a pair of horns and a mustache, near the king. Callum couldn’t help himself, he immediately burst into laughter.

“It’s like he becomes a worse and worse person each and every day…” King Edin lamented audibly to himself.

Drake did his best to hide his internal gut reaction as his sister outright confessed to the crime. Strutting forward and taking a good look at the pair of footprints. ”There is no need to provide false confessions, Ariella. For what Callum says is true. And there is no way you could have done this….”

He paused for a moment. It was time to play his role as a politician as well as he trained all his life - and lie through his teeth. ”Because you were with me last night at Count Damien’s Masquerade.” He turned to his family and Callum. ”Before you say anything, Mother and Father, she was in an entirely different outfit than what you chose. And with her mask of choice - you would not have recognized her. But she asked me to hide it so that you two would not be disappointed. Sorry to reveal your secret, Ari, but I would rather you not be blamed for something you didn’t do.” He shot a glance at Callum as if to silently plead not to blow their cover. Then the Lord turned towards the King. ”As much of a tragedy as this is - could it not be possible an angry commoner made their way inside and played this simply awful prank?”

“Lord Drake, you patronize me, and you waste my time.” King Edin snapped immediately in turn. “Go look at the footprints for yourself. It is an exact match. The girl admits it. The story is simple here: Lady Ariella came into the church and defaced the painting.”

“Our family is much too caught up in our own affairs to waste time with such nonsense.” Duchess Victoria finally spoke up. She rose from her seat in the pews and fanned herself as she spoke with slight shrillness, “You heard my son: Ariella attended the masquerade. She simply could not have done it, and you see how Prince Callum laughs? How do you know it is not your son who is so often the culprit?”

“She admitted it, you blasted woman.” The king’s tone was etched with venom as he rounded on the duchess, prompting Duke Gideon to step forward. He came to stand by Drake.

“I am deeply disappointed.” Gideon announced to the group. “Our daughter, despite her youth, has demonstrated commendable maturity and a sense of responsibility by admitting her transgression.” His gaze shifted to his son, a stern frown upon his face. “The eyes of the Gods are upon us, my son, and to deceive our King in the face of such clear evidence is unworthy of a future Duke. It is imperative that we proceed with integrity. The Edwards family has upheld these principles for generations.”

The guards moved to set Ariella back on the ground with her foot still covered in blue paint. Looking at the two guards, she rocked nervously on her heels as they locked their arms with hers, ensuring she didn’t run off. Her attention turned back to her parents, her father was such a sweet man. She smiled softly as guilt ran over her for putting her father in this position; however, her brother lying on her behalf and her mother supporting his lies made her smile fade.

He was just like their mother. Worried about his position in life. Ari’s eyes fell over to Callum, they likely dragged him here assuming he had something to do with it. “Your Majesty, my brother and mother I'm afraid, have let their imaginations get ahold of them. Not to any fault of their own. I did indeed attend the Masquerade but snuck out without anyone noticing. I wanted to go visit my friend, your son Prince Callum.” she struggled on the word prince knowing how Cal had felt about it. Straightening up she continued her story. “Both to my Mother and Brother's knowledge I went to that party. Instead, I went to a religious ceremony in the woods. I stole a bottle of my brother's whiskey and indulged a little too much. Your son, being the gentleman he was, offered to escort me home safely. He escorted me to a carriage and instructed the driver to take me home but I decided to go on a detour and get some fresh air. Clear my head before returning home. That is when I stumbled into the church and well… You know the rest. You see, your majesty, the fault is all mine.” She shrugged. “I don't think the painting did you any justice, your majesty. It was an insult to your great visage. She bit back a smile as she tried hard to stay serious. “I didn’t even think it was you at first glance, it lacked your charming personality.” She attempted to curtsy, “Your majesty.”

King Edin looked doubtful as he considered the idea of Callum being a gentleman. It didn’t seem possible to him at all. "Though I appreciate the admiration of my personality, I somehow doubt that a black mustache and demonic horns made it look more like me…” He leaned in and asked her with a glare, "Do you take me for a fool, Lady Edwards?”

”Forgive me, all those present.” He paused for a moment, looking at his father. ”For trying to vouch for my family's honor until the bitter end. To think my sister innocent until proven guilty before the very justice of His Majesty. If I were brought before such unyielding and unmatched presence and prestige… I would confess crimes I didn’t commit too.” Drake straightened his cuffs and looked up to the King. ”But I will admit I was far too quick to judge - so I extend my apologies.”

”With the confession now being twofold. I see His Majesty truly has quite the intellect and insight. I commend that of you, Your Grace.” He approached the matching footprints and noticed their rather similar match - as much as he’d love to follow Callum’s lead of any average-sized woman fitting these prints, it would do little to argue with King Edin. ”So a crime that was committed in earnest - not knowing it was your own visage. How does this fare with you, Your Grace?”

King Edin had nodded his approval, savoring Drake’s words like a fine wine. He had been about to commend the young Edwards when Callum spoke up.

“Sounds like Ari did you a favor, father. Callum pointed out, making a show of taking a long look at the painting. “Better that a crowd notice the vandalism than the deeply unflattering portrait someone made of you. Can’t fault her for not recognizing the man in the portrait when you were cruelly depicted like this.” Cal gestured at the painting. “They’ve completely erased your strong jawline, given you such a patchy beard, and the eyes, all wrong, dulled and lacking any spark of the great mind that sits behind them.” The words tasted like bile as he spoke them but Callum kept up the act. He’d spin this any way he could to keep Ari out of trouble.

The sound of deliberate footsteps rang out as a man appeared from a side room. Every strand of his perfect, blonde hair was completely in its proper place, his ensemble was fashionable in every sense of the word, and his smile was absolutely immaculate as always. Milo had been waiting patiently in the wings for an admission of guilt, and despite one coming to light, he felt less than satisfied. His voice was calm but loud as he addressed the group upon his approach. “The irony is not lost on me, that confessions in a place such as this usually come from the volition of weary souls wishing to cleanse their sin.” He stated curiously, the shades over his eyes hiding whatever true feelings may be resting beneath. “However, we find ourselves here tonight in witness of a different kind of confession. Pardon the interruption, but I figured it was about time I introduced myself. My name is Milo St. Claire.”

As he arrived only a foot or two from the confessing Ariella, he pulled the shades from his face so the girl could look him in the eyes. “Ah, the culprit. Not the vagrant I had imagined in my mind’s eye, yet guilty all the same.” His words then shifted to the king though his eyes remained planted on Ari. “Your majesty, what was done to my masterpiece is bad enough…but for it to be called unflattering, for the insinuation to be that my work of art was unbecoming of your royal highness, or that in some way it was a blessing for the painting to be ruined…” Finally, his gaze shifted to Callum, then to Drake, then Ari’s parents, and finally to King Edin himself before he continued. “That is simply slanderous, and far worse an insult to me than any vandalism. What will you do now, Edin? How do you see fit to make this right?”

Callum only rolled his eyes, “Art is…subjective, you should know that.” He only shrugged off Milo’s words. He still thought the painting looked better post-vandalism.

King Edin’s gaze flitted about the room, just as Milo’s had, and then set on Callum first and foremost, "Hold your tongue.” He cautioned angrily then looked to Milo. "Your painting was perfect, Mr. St. Claire. Thank you again for coming here tonight… I will select a suitable punishment now that the debate is settled.”

Duke Gideon cleared his throat and stepped forward, "Your Majesty, may I respectfully submit that my daughter has demonstrated nothing but honesty and forthrightness throughout this ordeal. She has been extremely cooperative. Considering her noble heritage and the potential for youthful indiscretion, I propose a brief and minor punishment. Lady Ariella's intentions were never malevolent, and she will vow that this incident is an isolated lapse. As such, a measured, corrective response would allow her the grace to learn from this mistake without foreclosing her social prospects during this crucial courting season. I trust your wisdom will balance justice with mercy, upholding her dignity while affirming the principles we cherish in our esteemed nobility."

His wife chimed in with irritation in her tone, "And handle whatever punishment discreetly. The last thing our family needs is the social circles buzzing about Ariella as if she were some common criminal."

King Edin’s gaze sharpened, piercing through the dim light as he raised his chin dominantly. “...Very well. Lady Ariella Edwards, to grasp the gravity of your crime, you will spend this night confined within the castle dungeon. Ensure you are escorted discreetly by carriage and arrive precisely at ten. You shall be released at dawn. Consider this leniency not just a reflection of your high station but also my profound benevolence, tempered as well by my suspicion that my son may have something to do with your sudden change in character. Let this experience embitter you against a repeat of such folly." He paused, allowing his words to sink in as he stared intently at Ariella, ensuring his decree was fully understood. Duchess Victoria’s gasp of surprise filled the brief silence. His gaze did eventually slide to Milo. “Does this suit you as well, Mr. St Claire?”

“Well, sounds like I’m not needed here? Right?” He asked, not addressing anyone but still unsure whether he was free to go or not.

Barely waiting for Callum to finish his off-handed little comment, Milo addressed their king. “Am I satisfied?” He asked calmly, so calmly in fact that it was almost odd. “My masterpiece is destroyed. A work of art that could have sold for a fortune greater than the Edwards bloodline could ever even fathom, was vandalized and ruined by this girl…and a single night in the royal dungeon is meant to be enough justice to satisfy me?”

Though his tone was almost kind in nature, the eyes of Mr. Sunshine did barely begin to show other emotions. “As a man who came from nothing, I do wonder how differently this conversation would have unfolded had the culprit not held the blue-blooded privilege of nobility that each of you in this room share. Oh, the way the mighty can fly where others would surely fall.”

He raised a gloved hand to his face as he stroked his chin in contemplation. Soon, a smile grew on his face with revelation. “I will accept these…pathetic…terms, but on one condition. Along with one measly little night in the dungeon, Ms. Edwards will be the subject of my next piece. I will paint her, and all of her shame, next to the wreckage she made of my art. This sin will be immortalized, but I will not publish it. Instead, it will remain in my private collection. These are my terms Edin.”

Drake had largely remained quiet during this exchange, not wanting to dig a hole deeper for his sister or upset any present. But something about the way Milo spoke…those words that were so boldly thrown at his family began to incite a drumming sensation within Drake. For a brief moment, his stoicism was replaced with the analytical gaze of a man who was beginning to detest just what he was looking at. The Lord, quick to realize his poker face fading, readied himself and softened his grip on the pew that had suddenly become fierce.

”If I may interject,” Drake offered a pause for anyone to interrupt, and then continued. ”In one sentence you have both insulted my family, implying that we are worth less than a fortune in monetary value, and somehow implied we think ourselves better than you, the very person who apparently is the expert appraiser on a person's worth in society. I reject such notions, Sir Milo.” Drake flipped his coat out behind him as he walked away from the pew, arms crossed as he walked forward. ”I sincerely hope you do not think this way of all nobility. Because to look at His Majesty and say to his face that his judgment is marred due to the faculty of how we were born is an incredibly ambitious claim of character, good sir. Are you saying His Majesty’s justice is not absolute? Not fair or just? Are you saying you could do better? All ludicrous statements, yet you seem to carry the air of someone who believes just that.

The Lord pointed his thumb inward, pressing onto his chest. ”While of noble blood, to imply that I personally have not labored away every painstaking day of my life to better help the future of my family and country is a notion I will not even remotely entertain. Much less let others procreate with their own preconceptions. I do not wish to wear a brand of shame simply because of the family I was born into. I would not do this to you, Sir Milo, so I ask you not to do the same to those present. Thank you.”

Drake stopped, his arms moving from underneath their crossed demeanor to gesture as he continued. ”And to top it all off, you wish to immortalize the embarrassment and regret that is felt by all of us into your next masterpiece.” Drake inhaled at the end of his sentence. ”Initially I had felt bad, and was going to offer you some form of reparations for your own art being sullied in such a way. But if this is the way you carry yourself - I think you should take the King’s punishment at face value and accept his gracious gift of mercy and benevolence like the rest of us, without the need for furthering the cycle of misery onto others.” Drake finished his tirade and simply met eyes with the man. His gaze contained little emotion to share, for his words had done all the talking for him.

Milo’s eyes never left the King as the Edwards boy vented his frustration, though the outburst did allow him to gather his faculties fully once more. As Drake finished expressing his feelings on the matter, Mr. St. Claire simply repeated his final statement as calmly as humanly possible.

“These are my terms.”

“Your son is most impressive, Duke Edwards.” King Edin stated, mostly enjoying the fact that Drake had been defending the king in particular. However, before he could comment further, Ariella spoke up.

“Well, I refuse your terms,” Ari stated rather pointedly. “I am not going to have my likeness depicted by your rather awful artistic eye, when after a bottle of whiskey and a bucket of blue paint I clearly improved on what you consider to be a masterpiece.” She pulled free her arms from the grip of the guards, giving them a dirty look as she rubbed the sting of their grip from them. Turning her attention back to the matter at hand, she addressed the king next. “Your Majesty, I will accept your punishment since I disrupted your event. However, having my likeness painted and kept in some strange man’s collection seems like a violation, and I refuse.”

“Oh, since you detest the idea, we are definitely going to go ahead and add that to your punishment.” King Edin said coldly toward the girl. He smiled at everyone as he concluded, “In addition to the night in the dungeon, Milo St.Claire has my permission to paint her with her father present in the room. The painting will be stored privately unless Ariella repeats the offense, in which case I give Milo permission to release the painting. Arrangements for the when and where will be negotiated between Milo, Lady Edwards, and Duke Edwards… Now all of you leave my sight. I have grown weary of this.” Without letting anyone else chime in, the king left through the back door.

Ari watched as the guards that once held her up left with the king, leaving just her, her family, Milo, and Callum. Sighing heavily, she looked over at Callum, briefly remembering the text from the spell she had performed earlier. Maybe this was her punishment.

”Well, I guess I’ll see everyone tomorrow,” Ari laughed nervously as she addressed her family, acting as if it was no big deal.
In Avalia 1 mo ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

Time: Morning
Location: Camp outside Roshmi
Interaction: @Apex Sunburn Scathael, @FunnyGuy Thraash @ShiningSector FIVE
Equipment: Repeating crossbow, a bag, sword, two daggers, 3 small red potions, 1 large red potion, 1 large blue potion, hoverboard, portable solar box, eye protectors, fire starter kit, channeling gloves that turn her light magic orange, makeup, perfume, a skull she wears as a mask and a disguise ring

Mari's gaze shifted to Vallana as Scathael brought up his question. She frowned, deep in thought over the matter even as the child began to stir. Leaving the kid alone was a terrible idea, and taking her along wasn't much better. There was no easy solution here. Thraash spoke up, and much to her annoyance, the big guy had a point. The girl would be safest with her or Scathael. They'd just have to make it work.

Her eyes flicked to FIVE, considering the Warforged's question about relatives. If Vallana had any family that could take her in, that would be ideal. But finding a random place to dump her wasn't something Scathael would agree to. Finally, Mari spoke up, her voice firm. "Vallana can stick with me if she’s got nowhere else to go," she declared, picking up her crossbow. "I’ll take a ranged position in our battle and keep her close." Her gaze shifted to Scathael and she cheekily assured him, "She'll be safe with me, rest assured. I'm the most talented woman you'll ever meet."

She walked over to Vallana and knelt down to her level, trying to appear less intimidating. It had been a while since she’d dealt with kids, but she wasn’t completely clueless. "Hey, kid. I’m Mari," she said with a soft smile, a rare gentleness in her tone. "How about we have some girl bonding time today? I'll keep you safe, and you'll have a lot of fun. Trust me, I’m hilarious. Plus, I’ll even throw in a piggyback ride. Sound good?"

Time: Evening
Location: Tough Tavern
Interaction: @Apex Sunburn Sjandehk/Cynwaer @Tae Thea

“Sailor boys are so much fun, Thea.” Anastasia exclaimed, looping her arm around her friend with a spontaneous giggle. Leaning closer, she whispered conspiratorially, "These two are real sailor boys, Thea. They've got boats.”

However as the red-haired one spoke in an accent Annie had never heard before, and her eyes lit up as he chastised another man in the bar. Even as he turned to tell her that she looked like a clown, Anastasia's enthusiasm remained undimmed. “Oh my gosh. Thank you! Clowns are so much fun and they’re so colorful… I absolutely love the circus!” She rose to her feet and leaned toward Cynwaer, eager to compliment him back, “The way you speak is so pretty! ”

Her amber eyes shifted to the dark-haired male who introduced himself and also advised that their clothes weren’t practical. “Oh, my mother often says the same—that I'm not the least bit practical. Must be a personality trait of mine!” She shrugged with a giggle. “I’m just happy to be me, you know?” The princess poked her cheeks in a silly manner, adding, “You boys can call me Annie.”

Moving back to hop up and perch on the edge of the bar, Anastasia then clasped her hands together in eagerness, “But wow, the both of you captains. Captain Cynric and Captain Wasun…” She leaned forward, her excitement palpable as she encouraged them, "Now, tell me about the biggest storm you've ever sailed through. Make it a good tale; I want to feel like I'm on the high seas with you!"

Count Landon Monet

Time: 8pm
Location: The Gentlemen’s Grill and Cabaret

The lounge was dimly lit with the glow from crystal chandeliers casting a soft, warm light that reflected off polished silver and glass. The deep rumble of men’s voices filled the air that was thick with the intoxicating blend of fine cigars and the smoky aroma of aged whiskey. Their chatter became a low cacophony over the noise of shuffling card and clinking glasses. It was obvious to anyone who entered that this was a spot where only the most elite of society gathered.

At the far end of the room, the jazz band was bathed in soft, intimate light on the stage. The charismatic Louis Blanchet commands the stage as his velvety smooth voice caressed the ears of all.

Count Landon Monet, dressed impeccably in a tailored uniform adorned with subtle golden embroidery, stood poised by the bar, a glass of fine scotch in hand. His striking features, marked by sharp blue eyes and platinum blonde hair slicked back, commanded attention as many gravitated to situate themselves around them. He raised his glass to toast the room, his voice smooth yet carrying a trace of the underlying tension he harbored.

"To a night free from the emotional turmoils of our wives!" he declared, his toast met with chuckles and nods from the surrounding patrons.

However, amidst the approving laughter, one voice cut sharply through the camaraderie.

A well-dressed gentleman from the corner, his expression masked in mock sympathy, raised his glass in return, his tone dripping with condescension. "Ah, Landon, always so quick to escape the 'emotional turmoils' as you call them," he began, capturing the attention of those nearby. "Maybe that’s why you probably poisoned your dick of a father. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as they say afterall!"

The room hushed momentarily, the weight of the words hanging in the air. Eyes turned towards Landon, watching keenly for his reaction to the pointed jab.

Count Landon Monet's face flushed a deep shade of red, his fists clenching at his sides. Landon's voice then boomed across the room, filled with barely contained fury.

“You think you know me?" Landon spat out, “Mention my father again, and it'll be the last thing you do. " He then added with a growl, “And don't you dare compare me to that man. I am nothing like him, and you'd do well to remember that!"

Turning his back on the stunned gentleman, Landon downed the rest of his drink in one harsh gulp, slamming the glass down on the bar with enough force to draw a sharp look from the bartender.

It was then he noticed Count Calbert Damien approaching, his bastard son in tow. Calbert moved toward him and placed a comforting hand on Landon's shoulder, “Landon, take a moment, my friend," He advised in a low, soothing tone, his expression one of genuine concern. “Let's not give the night over to harsh words and tempers. Your guests are about to arrive and your grand event has just begun."

Turning his attention to the gathered crowd, Calbert raised his glass with a charismatic smile, instantly drawing the room's focus to him. “Gentlemen, let us remember why we are here—to enjoy an evening of good company and fine spirits. Let's lift our glasses to the many successes we share and those yet to come."

His words resonated throughout the room, easing the tension as men raised their drinks. Luckily, they were all already inebriated enough to go with the flow and probably wouldn’t even recall the outburst. Laughter and murmurs of agreement slowly replaced the earlier silence, as patrons returned to their conversations.

“Thank you… You always make it look so easy…” Landon murmured, his gaze shifting away as he leaned on the bar.

Calbert offered him a wry smile, “There’s an art to it, my friend, and we all are adept at different things…” His voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper, ensuring only Landon could hear his next words, yet he maintained his friendly demeanor despite the subtle threat. “Landon… Do not to forget yourself again. I have my son present with me tonight and I intend to ensure him an opportunity to build himself a foundation with the other nobility. Present yourself with dignity. “

With a supportive pat on Landon's shoulder, Calbert stepped back."So how many tables did you acquire for this event?"

The blonde man gazed at him and hesitated with his reply as he seemed to be still processing Calbert's prior remarks. "I have three tables." He gestured to their roped-off section. "I think I will go situate myself at one now."

"Well. I'll go to another with my son, and we'll help keep things civil for you... Best of luck, Landon."

Time:Afternoon to Evening (~7pm, an hour before current time)
Location: Damien Estate
Attire: Dress, Amulet
Interaction:@Potter Olivia @FunnyGuy Lorenzo

Delilah had gently roused Lottie from her slumber for dinner around six o'clock. After changing into a fresh dress and having her hair tidied up, Charlotte arrived a little late, finding everyone already seated. She remained uncharacteristically silent throughout the meal, idly pushing her potatoes around the plate as if it were some game unbeknownst to the rest of the household. The dinner conversation was rather subdued. Gilbert was in and out of the room with plates of food, offering his usual sparse comments. Olivia, too, seemed less lively than Charlotte had hoped; she had appeared shaken ever since the ball. Fortunately, Delilah's bright spirit remained undimmed.

"Gilbert was absolutely hilarious, helping me eavesdrop. He was surprisingly considerate about things, not just fixated on the French toast not being as good as his. But you know, he was right. His French toast truly is the best... If only we could say the same about his atttttiitudeee!" Her voice took on a singsong quality at the end of her remark.

"For fuck's sake! Find something else to talk about other than me, woman!" Gilbert complained as he returned to the kitchen.

A smirk graced Charlotte's features as Delilah continued to chatter about Gilbert anyway. However, later in the conversation, Delilah made a suggestion that steered their fates for the rest of their night. "The sky is clear, and the stars are out! I bet there are going to be all kinds of cute boys at the amusement park for the circus in town... Lottie and Olivia, you girls should go have fun, and Olivia do me a solid and try to convince Lottie to at least try to talk to some men. I'd totally come with you, but I want to help Devan pack for his departure tonight... Oh, and Lorenzo, you go too! Have fun! Find a lady friend! You all deserve some enjoyment after all the drama."

Charlotte was absolutely not in the mood to go anywhere. She wanted to hide away from everyone, preferably even get away from this house. Even the nap had not been able to quiet the storm in her mind as it tried repeatedly to piece together what exactly was happening in her life lately. But then her eyes settled on Olivia, and she softened.

With a sigh, she relented for the second time today, "If that would lift your spirits, I'd love to attend with you, Olivia."

Time: Evening
Location: Tough Tavern
Interaction: @Apex Sunburn Sjandehk/Cynwaer @Tae Thea

“To ships and peace!"

An echo resounded behind the two men as Princess Anastasia, with a bottle of whiskey held high in salute, inserted herself between the sailors. Her cheeks were rosily tinted, her mischievous eyes twinkling under the dim tavern lights. Leaning comfortably against the bar, she flashed a charming grin. “I may not know the stern from the bow, but I know a good toast when I hear one!” she proclaimed with a light-hearted giggle, her hands slightly unsteady as she poured herself another glass.

Before the men could respond, Anastasia called over her shoulder, her voice carrying effortlessly over the crowd. “Thea, baby! Over here! Come celebrate ships and peace with us!”

Turning back to face her new companions, she rested her elbows on the bar, a playful glint in her eyes. “To ships that zip and captains who sip!” she toasted, lifting her glass and taking a generous gulp. She and Thea had ventured into the tavern about an hour earlier, eager to immerse themselves in the chaos. Although they typically graced the Prince Callum tavern—much to Queen Alibeth's hatred for the Tough Tavern's proximity to the slums—Anastasia had always been drawn to the sheer wild nature of the Tough Tavern.

In Avalia 2 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

Time: Afternoon
Location: River Fairy Kingdom
Interactions: @Funnyguy Darius @Alivefalling Dante @Samreaper Menzai @Helo Cyrus
Equipment: Staff with unbreaking and shift enchantment(shifts into dagger), Her bag, Water Purifier, Flask, some shiny pebbles
Attire:Outfit, amulet with Millinia Crest, wooden butterfly earrings, various bracelets

It was only hours later that the group found themselves moving through the forest path towards Riverbloom. Phia was eagerly at the front of the group, her eyes up in wonder as she watched birds overhead fly over them. Her long magenta hair was pulled in a messy braid that she had been decorating as they went. Occasionally, she'd pause and pluck a flower from the ground and embed it into her hair.

The moment they crossed the threshold into Riverbloom, the enchanting beauty of the place unfolded before them. The towering tree with its cascading pink stood majestically at the center. Phia paused, her amber eyes wide with awe, a smile stretching across her face. Her eyes darted over the area, taking in every detail.

As she absorbed the scene, her smile began to fade slowly. A sense of déjà vu washed over her. Hazy visions of the past, as if from a distant dream, threatened to take over her vision. She glimpsed the same sight before her, but in her visions, the sky was filled with many more fairies. The sight of a fairy waving to her hijacked her mind next, then as she lowered her gaze toward the cobblestones, she imagined fairyfolk bowing shortly after meeting her eyes. These fleeting images were subtle, almost ethereal, leaving her feeling both comforted and disoriented.

Suddenly, she felt something brush against her leg, grounding her back to reality. Phia looked down to find Sunny with his big, expressive eyes filled with concern. Scooping him up into her arms, she felt the softness of his fur, and his warmth of his body, steadying her swirling emotions. His cute face, with its twitching nose and perky ears never failed to bring her comfort.

Earlier, Dante had suggested using animals to spread information in the area, and Phia had eagerly brought her beloved fox, Sunny, along.

"Well, we're here." Phia announced softly to the others and turned to smile at them. "I suppose Sunny and I could work on making some friends with the wildlife in the area..." Her gaze slid to Cyrus. "Do you speak with fauna as well?"

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