April 5, 1329: Horses, Lions, and Wolves, Oh My!

Horses, Lions, and Wolves, Oh My!
Summary: Darrin invites several nobles to the Inn for a small party, and things get… snippy.
Date: 5 April 2012
Related: None.
Players:
Darrin Jerric Carisse Pawel Morla Sammel 

Blue Duck Inn, Laketown
The Blue Duck Inn is where all of the real business in Laketown take place. An imposing edifice of stone and wood, the tall stone fireplace rises high above the ceiling above, decorated with the banners of the three Guilds and other prominent merchant-dynasties and local nobles that hold sway over Laketown. It is a lively if subdued place, a bard or a small instrument troupe always on hand and fine wine, rather than some cheap ale or grog, the preferred drink of the crowd. The ornate bar with a long marble top holds fine liquors and other odd bottles to satisfy the most discerning Rhaedan lord or Taniford lady, as well as accomdate the eclectic fads of Laketown proper. The staff is a full compliment of waitresses, hostesses, bartenders, and other staff constantly in motion, much like the town it inhabits.

The rooms of the Inn are at the Upstairs landing, a more intimate Common Room for the Blue Duck Inn's more distinguished guests. An ornate door leads to the world outside to Laketown.

April 5, 1329

It's not every day that a hostage — erm, Ambassador — can get down to Laketown, and so Darrin Taniford is making the most of things. He's sent invitations to dinner to all of the southern nobles that his valet could find, and settled himself into the Blue Duck Inn. There are already a few cousins of cousins of barons and the like scattered around the collection of tables the Prince has had gathered in the main room, but no one yet of importance. Darrin himself is in the midst of things, laughing at some joke that a young Rhodin knight just made. The Prince claps the young man on the back, shaking his head with amusement, "And you just watched, didn't you?" The youth nods quickly, responding, "I wasn't about ot leave, and I don't think they were interested in my joining in, Your Highness."

The shuffling of feet, a bit of laughter till a familiar face around the Rhaedan's appears. One of the Royal Guards of Prince Jerric. He looks about the room before stepping aside and thus enter's the Crown Prince of Rhaedan. He pauses only slightly as he surveys the scene before him then heads to a table near the Ambassador of the Tanifords. "Well, Prince Darrin, seems you have a little party going on." His mean move and position themselves about the room, the four of them, as Prince Jerric pulls out a chair, uninvited, and proceeds to adjust his sword and sits.

A trip to Laketown is never bad, and so Pawel had arrived in town yesterday. Having spent some time out with merchants, trying to get some business done, he holds the door open for his sister to enter, and then entering himself. "They have a bit more interesting things the merchants here, wouldn't you agree?" he asks her, before he looks around to the various people present in the room. There's a brief pause as his gaze falls on the Crown Prince of Rhaedan, eyes narrowing for a few brief moments, before he looks over towards Darrin, a smile on his face instead now.

Carisse smiles at her brother, as he kindly opens the door for her. She inclines her head politely, eyes dancing. "Of course they do. The shopping has always been quite nice here, and I am glad to get the chance to come see the merchants, whenever we have time." She'll no doubt have a few seamstresses busy besides, given the option. As she enters, she glances over and her eyes widen slightly, at the royalty. And Royalty. "Oh," she says, her voice going significantly lower. "Were you coming to meet His Highness, and my shopping trip interrupted you? I'm sorry, Pawel."

Soft footfalls whisper the arrival of one Lady Morla Lohstren of the March. She sweeps down the stairs, a train of blood-red fabric tumbling down after each step she descends. Alabaster fingers rest airly on the bannister, barely touching the polished wood. Her hoarfrost hair has been gathered up in a loose knot that sends tendrils curling softly at the side of her throat. As she alights at the foot of the stairs, she glances around at the growing number of nobles slowly taking over the Duck's main room. Glass-colored eyes glance over all those present, quickly taking stock of those present. "Hmm," she muses half to herself as she smooths out her skirts briefly before stepping into the fray.

Darrin looks up from speaking with the young knights as the northern bastard arrives. The Prince's eyes might tighten infinitessimally, but a welcome smile lights onto his features none-the-less, "Prince Jerric. Indeed, it's so rare these last two years for me to get to see my countrymen." And then the Varghems are arriving, and Darrin is spared the indignity of further immediate pleasantries with the Rhaedan. Stepping away, he reaches out to take the Duke's hand, his left hand reaching up to clasp the man's shoulder as well, "Pawel. So wonderful to see you again." Stepping back again, he bows his head slightly to the Duke's sister, "My Lady. Please, join us." Behind him, several of the young nobles have noticed the lurking alabaster statue, one or two leaning in to whisper to one another while others nod politely.

Mirth dances on Jerric's features as he spots Pawel enter along with a pretty lady. "Ahh, Duke Varghem, so wonderful to see you yet once again. Still being sour faced as always I see. But this," his eyes go to the Lady at his side "this face is much to pretty to be anything but graced with a smile." He gives a slight bow of his head as he lays his gloves on the table and crosses his legs. "Ale," he says hardly giving the serving lass a glance. Past the two Varghems he spots another figure descending the stairs and watches her for a moment. Then, as almost an after thought he turns to Darrin "Two years, that's all. Why it seems just yesterday that you arrived in Rhaedan to be the voice of the Tanifords in my home. Time sure passes quickly when one is having fun."

Morla is indifferent to the whispers, though those clear eyes grace over the young nobles as if to inform them that she is neither deaf nor dumb. She steps ontoward toward the Rhaedan Prince and their humble — ha! — host. "Your Highnesses," she says with proper formality, though that dissolves rather quickly as she focuses her attention on Darrin quite fully. "Prince Darrin," she begins, the left corner of her pale lips threatening a smirk. "You'll have to forgive your sister's absence, but she sent me in her stead." And how thrilled Morla apparently is to be here! She does turn a smile toward the Duke and his sister however. "Your Grace, my Lady," and she bows her head gently.

"No, I came to take care of some business with one of the merchants here. I only found out today that he was in town," Pawel replies to Carisse, before he pauses a little at the greeting from Jerric. "Prince Jerric," comes the greeting, along with a polite nod from Pawel as he looks to the Rhaedan again. "Sour faced, Your Highness? I'm sure you have not seen me on a bad day." Spoken a bit lightly, although some might be able to recognize that it's a bit forced. Thankfully, Darrin making his way over gives him a chance to change the subject, and he shakes the Prince's hand firmly now, with a smile. "Darrin. It's been too long. I hope things are well?" Looking back to Jerric, he adds, "I'm not sure if you have met my sister, Lady Carisse, Your Highness." Then a smile to his sister, "You haven't met Prince Jerric yet, have you?" Offering Morla a smile and a polite nod as she makes her way over. "My Lady. I hope you are well?"

Carisse smiles at her brother's answer, giving him a simple shake of her head negatively, and then turns to curtsey for Darrin, since he's approached them. "Your Highness," she says simply. A glance back over to Pawel, and Carisse even offers a curtsey to the other prince, before she supplies Darrin with, "I am Carisse Varghem, Pawel's youngest sister." It gives her identity to the rest of the crowd as well, assuming they don't have it. But there, she's not so far past her age of majority and all - she likely isn't as easily recognized as the more experienced types. Her own hair has been coiffed neatly, up in loops and curls, held in place by the usual trickery. She too turns to spy Morla, and nods her head politely.

Darrin laughs lightly at Jerric's needling, turning to place Pawel and Carisse at his back, as if flanking him in support, "Do you think your dear sister thinks that two years is so short a time to be away from her great friends?" Looking back over his shoulder, he nods to Pawel again, "Such as the Duke here." Turning his head to the other side, he offers Morla a smile of greeting, "Or the fair," there's a double-edged word, with an albino, but it's spoken with a warm smile, "Flower of the March. We are honored by your presence, Lady Morla. I certainly did not expect my sister to travel all the way from the Citadel merely to meet with such doughty defenders of Taniford as the Duke Varghem and his sister. Please, be welcome." Looking to his valet, he nods his head, and the older man slips off to fetch another round of drinks and the first appetizers.

Perhaps the Divine feels inspired enough to give the Rhaedan prince some backup, for soon arrives the heir to Brivey Keep, clad in red-tinted chainmail. Perhaps he was out hunting and decided that full plate was too unwieldy for such things, or perhaps he opted out of courtly garb when he is in neutral territory. You never know when a dagger is going to end up in your back. "Your Highness," he intones to Jerric as he approaches the man — and the gathering of Taniford dignitaries. While the heir to Rhaedan might actually earn a smile and a bow of his head, the others receive a more cautious greeting, with a smile, nevertheless, but an edged one.

Another polite bow of his head as Morla arrives "Lady Morla. How fortunate that I should run into you. I have a letter drafted that was to be delivered to your House for an order of Horses." He says politely, as politely as he can it would seem. "A bit of trade perhaps?" He chuckles at the Duke, his blue eyes rivited on the man "I still look forward to the day that we can meet with swords in our hands," the words are left to hang for a time "You know, in a sparring match. Your Princess said it would not violate the Peace agreement." There his eyes linger and possibly hinting at that it is not a spar match he has in mind. "It was so kind of her to *allow* you to participate." When Carisse speaks he looks to her and smiles "So good to meet you Lady Carisse. Where has your brother been hiding you? He really should stop doing that." He says teasingly. When Darrin speaks of his sister it is then and only then that a darkening of his features, brows crease slightly, crosses the Prince. "Ah, my sister. I do hope that Aylanora was kind enough to allow her to come to Laketown as well."

Morla narrows those clear-colored eyes at the young Taniford Prince as he graces her with that smile, and she replies with a mere arching of a single pale brow. "Oh, she's here," the Flower says after a beat, and then she starts to smile with a hint of coy satisfaction. "I meant that she could not accept your invitation to this particular party of yours." She folds her left arm across her chest, bracing her right elbow as she rests her forefinger against her full lower lip. It is then that a hint of sunshine dances behind the windows of her eyes. Then she regards Jerric with a gentle bow of her head. "Certainly, Prince Jerric. I of course will have to speak to the Lord and Lady Equis, but we can arrange a preliminary arrangement. Perhaps Auldholme would care to provide some weapons and armor to the Horse Lords." Her gaze flickers toward the arrival of the Riedel, and he is sized up from head to toe before she bows her head gently in greeting.

"I'm looking forward to that as well, Your Highness," Pawel replies to Jerric, studying the man a bit thoughtfully for the moment, before he offers a bit of a smile. "Like I said when we discussed the possibility with Her Highness, I will make sure we have healers ready for you." A brief shrug at the part of him being 'allowed' to take part in that, and he offers a momentary grin. "Ah, you know how it is, Your Highness, we are all servants to duty, after all." Smiling a little as he listens to the others for now, his gaze reaches the newly arrived Riedel, and he offers a bit of a nod, although it's a bit cautious now. "Ah, would it be much of a hiding place if we told you, Prince Jerric?" he offers, a bit lightly.

As his ale arrives Jerric nods to the serving girl and when he looks back he sees, then hears Sammel "Ahh! Sir Sammel! So good of you to join us. Here, sit, lets share an ale and good," he eyes those about him "companey. I was begining to think that I had traveld to far south and wondered into Taniford country." Back to Morla "I am very sure that we can have something worked out. Though as you know the weapons and armor from Auldhome is rather unique and *very* well made. I am guessing that we could do something. But I would expect the horses to be unique and very stout as well." When Pawel speaks up his head goes back as he laughs deeply and then when his eyes fix on the man again "That would be so kind of you. But I do not think that they would be needed for me, Sir." No, he didn't use the proper title that Pawel is accorded.

Darrin shrugs broadly at Morla's words, "Well, my dear sister is so often concerned with affairs of state. It's such a pity that she cannot get away from them to spend some time with the great lords and ladies of the kingdom." He cuts his eyes over to Jerric, "And my dear sister is so kind to give permission for a little exercise. It would be a shame if we weren't allowed to cross the road without her permission." The words finish with a light, easy laugh, turning the whole statement into a joke. Shaking it off, he moves around to collect a chair, pulling it out and offering it to the Flower of the March, looking past her to the newly-arrived Riedel. One dark brow lifts high, and he looks between the two northerners, tugging at his light silken shirt, "I feel rather underdressed. Are we late for some new Rhaedan aggression, or have you decided that you aren't safe anywhere south of the Rothim?" The careful insult given to Duke causes Darrin's lips to tighten, "You might be surprised."

It is then that the Flower of the March gains a rather simple, serene smile as she speaks to the Prince of Rhaedan. "As are the horses of House Lohstren, Your Highness… unique and very well made." And it is then that she offers another smile that gentle lifts the corners of her lips, and she inclines her head gently. "Certainly something we can discuss." Then she turns her gaze toward the bartender. "My brother had a cask of Lohstren red stored with you… I'll take a glass." Then she turns a bit to spy the chair being offered and she grants Darrin a slightly dubious look, as if looking for jam on the seat or some other embarrassing prank she — as a friend of Aylanora — had to endure so many years ago. Darrin is given the benefit of the doubt, however, as she collects her wine glass and steps over to accept the offered seat. "Thank you, Highness." She does glance toward the pair of Rhaedans however as she settles into her seat.

Carisse listens to the conversation for the moment, her bright blue eyes carefully watching each speaker in turn. She glances at the red tinted chainmail arrival, and nods her head in that direction, though her smile is a mere ghost of what it might be. She frowns briefly at Jerric, as he supplies insult to her brother, recognizing it as such. Still Carisse is gentle tempered enough to simply look to her brother, a hand reaching for his arm for a brief moment, and then settling back at her side. "Perhaps some wine?" softly to her brother, before a little louder, she asks, "is there a joust to be attended? That should provide some excitement and fun for all, I would think." It seems a reasonable question to her, given the situation and what she's heard said.

"They do have the best jousting horses," Sammel comments to his liege-lord's heir, smiling at the man's offer and settling down beside him. The Taniford prince earns a cautious glance as well. Morla earns a longer look as the Knight clearly studies the woman across from him at the table before a cordial smile graces his lips. It fades when Darrin makes that first comment. Given that House Riedel and House Taniford have that eons-old enmity going, it is no surprise that most of his attention is upon the southern Prince now. "It might be that we do not trust Taniford enough to count on the absolute neutrality of Laketown. You never know when your centuries' old tradition of assassinating might see a sudden revival."

There's a narrowing of his eyes as Pawel hears Jerric's words, and he looks about to say something in return. A brief pause as his sister reaches for his arm, and he takes a few moments of pause, looking to her before he nods a bit. "Some wine sounds like an excellent idea," he replies to her, before he offers a bit of a smile in Jeric's direction, shrugging a little bit. "Maybe not, but we can never be too careful, with a person of your importance after all." A brief pause as he hears Sammel's words, before he looks over to Darrin, offering the Prince a bit of a grin. "I seem to remember from what I've learned about those old traditions that our ancestors only assassinated important people, isn't that so?" Spoken a bit lightly, before he adds, "So there's really nothing to worry about, wouldn't you agree?"

Nodding to Morla "The last we received from your House surpassed our expectations, My Lady. My knights have fallen over them selves to claim one for their own." Jerric smiles to her "And truth be told I do as well. I find I am in need of a good war horse. As you know Father forbids me in taking part of the Joust. He claims it would not be fair to the other side." The last said he gives Pawel a look. "Lady Carisse, the first Tournament of the season should be soon, it is to start in Wolveshire. I am looking forward to seeing your home again. Far to long it has been since I last saw it." A hand gently touches Sammel's arm momentarily in a manner of caution "What with the bandits on the road, thieves in the streets, it never pays to be to cautious, I find at any rate." For the Prince also wears his brigandine, as is his want. As the words of Pawel reaches his ears Jerric's eyes narrow and the creases form on his forehead. If looks could kill….

Darrin offers a toothy smile to Sammel as he pushes in Morla's chair quite politely, stepping around to offer the same courtesy to Carisse, his valet coming to hover as his elbow with a glass of brandy. "Yes, because we Tanifords have an entire house of poisoners and cutthroats at our command." He pauses dramatically, "Oh, wait… that's House Westmark of Rhaedan." He nods to Pawel, laughing lightly and reaching over to clap the other man on the shoulder in appreciation of his words. "The Estermarch raises more than just jousting horses, my Northern friends." There might be just a little more weight on the last word, perhaps a little sarcasm, but not too much, "They raise the fleetest and best horses in all of Eikeren. Let us not do them the wrong of damning them to faint praise, after all."

"To break a truce in Laketown would be to threaten the trust of the Guilds," Morla points out as she takes a sip of the perfectly balanced red wine, and she leans back in her seat as she gracefully folds one leg over its twin; her skirts fall in a graceful triangle around this new poise, allowing the toes of her riding boots to peek beneath those blood-red hems. She lifts her eyes toward Sammel to meet his lingering gaze, and those window-colored irises have darken a bit with stormclouds. She then glances toward Carisse at her order. "Good man," she says to the barkeep. "Give her a cup from our stores." Then she returns her attention to the pair of feuding princes and their supporters, and she indulges in another swallow of wine. Where's her brother when she needs him… "Lords, please… we are all proud of our home and hearth, but let us sit as our greatest of grandfathers did and enjoy a drink," she encourages in her cool, somewhat maternal alto.

"Yes, do go on thinking we are unimportant or easily beaten. I welcome the sentiment whole-heartedly, my lord. Who knows, you might be right. I highly suggest rounding up your troops and marching north as soon as possible." Sammel's green eyes gleam with a sort of unsettling glee at that, gesturing towards a servant and ordering something quietly before the serving boy's dismissal. He scoffs at Darrin's retort, "A destrier is good for both tournaments and the field. Any mount that is strong enough to allow you to shatter your lance on someone's shield is certainly strong enough to allow you to cleave through your enemies on the battlefields. As any experienced rider would know." Morla makes her request to keep the peace, which makes him grow thoughtful as her eyes darken when they meet his. A smirk crosses his lips briefly for some reason and he nods in quiet acquiescence before he is served a mug of ale.

Carisse's smile grows brighter at Darrin's polite chivalry, as she accepts his assistance with her seat. "Thank you, Highness," she says. She'll let Pawel order the drinks, if he's going to, willing to - oh. MOrla gets a grateful smile and a nod. "Thank you, m'Lady. You are most kind." And way ahead of the men at the table. The amusement in her voice says Carisse did not miss this fact. "Indeed, why not share a drink, in polite company?" she asks, throwing her voice in with Morla's.

Jerric gives Darrin his full attention before he speaks "I am so glad you find Westmark to your liking, Prince Darrin. For I had thought that you should go there soon and see for yourself how we defend the shores of *our* lands. Yes, a month or two might be in order." While there is a hint of a smile on his features there is little mirth in his tone. He looks back to Morla as she speaks "My Lady, wise are your words but I do not suffer slight very well." But he can give it, it seems. After a deep breath he eases his tense frame and chuckles "Another day, Duke Varghem, another day." He looks to Carisse "And since your sister is here," she gets a bow of his head "I would not wish to shame you in front of her." He only smiles as Sammel goes on about the Tanifords. Words that, perhaps, he wishes he could utter but due to his station he can not. Well not right now.

He might have noticed the look from Jerric, because there's a bit of a smile forming on the lips of the Duke of Wolveshire now. Nodding a little bit as he hears Carisse and Morla, he offers a bit of a smile. "A drink sounds good about now," he agrees, shrugging a little bit as he hears Jerric's words again. "Another day, Your Highness." A brief pause, before he adds, "Speaking of sisters, I have not seen your charming sisters in a while. I trust they are well?" Sounding quite sincere at the moment. A glance to Sammel as well, before he smiles, "Ah, I do not think you easily beaten, Sir. Quite the opposite, in fact." Turning his head away from the Riedel now, to offer another smile to his sister.
<OOC> Pawel says, "In case it wasn't clear. That pose was mine!"
<OOC> Carisse thinks you're the only duke of Wulveshire?

Darrin turns a more mellow smile toward Sammel this time, although something glitters in his eyes that suggests it is not quite as friendly as it seems, "Yes, and that destrier of yours will help you run down a fleeing foe? Will let you circle around to flank an enemy quickly? Please… don't try to lecture Tanifords," his slight gesture includes Morla, Pawel, and Carisse in that term, "on horseflesh." And then he collects his glass of brandy, stepping around to seat himself at the head of the little table, with Jerric on his right and Morla on his left, turning his head to the man on his right, "Really? You believe my talents as Ambassador would be well suited in Sipdon Tower? I'll definitely take that under advisement. I had thought I might," And once more he turns a bright smile to Sammel, "Spend some time in Brivey… quite safely across the Rothim, of course, so you don't worry that I might return to my own lands on a more permanent basis." Morla's chastisement gets no direct response, buthe's being nice.

"Good, because I expect a challenge when I hear of Taniford's men and women. My blade does not sing just for anyone, nor would I find pleasure in the fight against easy quarrel." Sammel comments to Pawel, the man's statement seemingly earning some sort of begrudging respect from the Riedel. Then Prince Darrin speaks again and he meets that gaze with a murderer's look all his own. "That destrier of mine will allow me to run you or your brother through with my sword when we meet in the field of battle again, after we're done with the outsiders, Your Highness. But I suppose you might know a lot about horseflesh, as you state, so I will defer to your thorough expertise on the matter. Warcraft, however, is mine. And I have done with much less than what you've been simply handed." He smiles brightly, then. "We take our precepts of hospitality quite seriously, Prince Darrin. You might not be given the customary tour of the castle given to dignitaries in good faith, of course." He nods an apology to the Rhaedan Prince after all that is said, and then to Morla.

Carisse stirs, but as the glass of wine is brought her way, she accepts it, taking a sip and offering Morla another smile. She turns her attention to the princes and then Sammel as they speak, her gaze calm and unflustered. "Such chivalry will not go unnoticed," she says softly. "And when we host the jousts in Wolvenshire, I am certain that all will have an enjoyable time. I look forward for the opportunity."

Jerric was sipping on his ale as he hears the words from Sammel. Nearly choking on it, he coughs a few times, one hand at his mouth the other setting the ale down. He looks to Sammel and grins before turning back to the others at the table. "Well, perhaps on the morrow, Duke of Wolveshire, we might be able to settle our little sparing?" As he is about to say more one of his guards comes over and whisper's in his ear before standing and moving to the door. With a sigh Jerric stands and nods to each "It seems that there is business I must attend to. My pardons for my departure." He turns to Sammel first "Tell your sister that I look forward to seeing her again, we do have some matters to discuss." But to the Tanifords he only looks at them, save for Carisse "I am sure it will be a grand time, Lady Carisse. I am already looking forward to it. Swiping his gloves off the table and with an adjust of his sword and his surcoat he strides towards the door.

Morla narrows her eyes at the men before she casts a glance toward Carisse. "By the Other," she half-sneers into her cup as she takes another gulp of wine, and cursing the Chaotic God appears to be quite fitting for the moment. Then she looks up toward Darrin briefly, almost impressed by his ability to stand-up for his own Kingdom. Maybe he has matured… She flicks a glance toward the Taniford Prince briefly as he sweeps in on her left. When she looks up toward the men once more, her eyes are dark with thunderheads. She looks after the departing Jerric. She glances toward Carisse, who was given a proper farewell. "He must like you," she murmurs behind her goblet once more as she wets her tongue again.

Darrin arches his eyebrows at the venom being sent in his direction by the Riedel, shaking his head a little sadly, "Because I never led soldiers against the Corsairs… so very true." He nods to Jerric as the other prince rises to leave, "I do sincerely hope that your dear sister is not being treated with such suspicion and ire in her own office as Ambassador. I'm sure my own dear sister is being quite careful and polite with her, however." He tosses back his drink, looking over to where a pair of young Taniford knights are getting a little rowdy in describing their actions at a past tournament. Rising to his feet, he nods to Pawel, Morla, and Carisse in turn, "He likes most anything with a skirt, I believe, although Lady Carisse is well worthy of the compliments. If you will excuse me for a moment…" And then he's moving to calm the recounting of martial exploits.

"I never said you haven't led soldiers against the Corsairs. I simply believe each of us have their respective expertises." Sammel nods reverently to Jerric as the man takes his leave. "And worry not; any Ambassador, no matter how deep the hatred runs between our respective bloodlines, will be afforded the utmost respect and comfort as befits a man of diplomacy." He reassures Darrin. "As long as it remains likewise. Otherwise, I suspect we might live to see a lot of blood being spilled in the greenery." He takes a deep sip from his ale, enjoying the beverage before settling it down and shrugging lightly when Darric dismisses himself. His attention turns to Morla, whom he watches even when her expression becomes ever darker. "Yours is an unusual beauty, my Lady, and my hatred for your kingdom aside, I am certain you haunt many a dreaming lord's good dreams."

"Ah, good, good," Pawel replies to Sammel, offering a momentary grin. Watching Jerric as he leaves. "Take care, Your Highness," he offers, sounding quite sincere too. He nods again as he hears Darrin's words, "Of course." Looking around for a few moments longer, before he lets out a breath as he sees the Rhaedan Prince fully out of the room. "Ah, sorry about that," he offers to the ladies, before he shrugs a little at Sammel's words about the respective expertices. Not saying much more at the moment, it seems.

"Your Highness," Morla bids Darrin his temporary departure, bowing her head softly before she turns her gaze toward Carisse as if to engage the fellow Lady in further conversation. Before the words can pass her lips however, her attention is captured by the Ram Lord, and she turns her gaze toward him. Even the coldest winter is warmed by a rising sun, and Morla's fair cheeks turn a soft pink at the compliment of the Riedel lord despite herself. "Thank you, my Lord. It is unfortunate that my hatred for your own Kingdom is quite infallible, or I may even say that you are equally handsome."

Carisse's cheeks go pink, just a little, at Jerric's parting words. Especially as she is singled out. She closes her eyes for a moment, and then exhales carefully. "Your Highness," she says, her head bowing politely, as Darrin too takes his leave. She pauses to look at Morla and Sammel as they exchange compliments, a brief smile crossing her own visage. A glance to her brother, and then Carisse says, "Such interesting and fun times here in Laketown. I can see I shall have to come by more often."

A genuine smile flashes across Sammel's lips, then, bright and meant for Morla as he angles his head respectfully to the Flower of the March. It might be for her resplendent beauty as she blushes, or the compliment she offers his way, or both. "Thank you. And yes, perhaps I am glad for Laketown, in this manner: only here would I have come to make your acquaintance; the brightest note in this day for me."

Pawel smiles a little as he hears the exchange between Morla and Sammel, before he looks over to Carisse, offering her a smile now. "It can be a quite interesting place, yes," he replies, before he lowers his voice to speak something quietly to her. That done, he offers a bit of a smile to Sammel. "See, Sir Sammel. Everyone finds something good with Laketown, after all."
Pawel whispers to Carisse.

Morla casts a glance toward Pawel and Carisse before she returns her clearer eyes toward the young Heir. She straightens up a bit in her seat, hands gracefully resting in her lap as she regards him with the softest curve of her lips. "I'm certain you will find yet another brighter moment tomorrow, my Lord." She then finishes off her goblet of wine before she gestures to one of the serving girls for a refill. "Perhaps you would at least join us for another drink, Sir Sammel… have you ever tried a Lohstren red?"

Carisse grins at her brother, and nods her head. Her smile is fond and approving, though she does not return the softly spoken words. Instead she looks over to Morla and Sammel, and offers, "Oh, please do stay for a drink. I can safely say that the Lohstren Red is quite a good wine." She smiles at Morla, seemingly quite willing to aid and abet.

"Of that I am not certain, my Lady. It is not every day one sees a glimpse of Altheara herself." Sammel replies as he finishes his ale in a long intake as he considers her words, then tells the serving girl, "Once, but I confess that I do not usually drink wines, my Lady," he admits to her, the smile lingering at the corners. "I will have a goblet of what she is drinking, myself."

"The Lohstren Red is indeed quite some fine wine," Pawel agrees with a smile now. "And this is a quite fine place to enjoy such a fine wine, too." Offering a bit of a nod and a half-smile to the Riedel heir, he adds, a bit lightly. "And I promise, no assassination attempts." It's spoken rather lightly, as he holds both of his hands above the table for the moment.
<Public> The Wolf, Pawel's only allergies are of the mental kind, sadly.

Morla cannot help herself as she laughs softly at the young Riedel. She nods gently toward the serving girl before she considers the man once more. "You know, if you were half this charming with the Taniford men, there would be less feuding while we are in our peacetimes." She gives the Riedel an arched look before she leans back in her chair once more. "Now, if my memory serves me… you are Duke Riedel's eldest son?"

Carisse smiles at Pawel, and then over at Sammel. She takes another sip of her wine, lazily, and raises the glass in a silent toast of sorts. "It is lovely to enjoy the peace, while we have it," she says, with a small nod. She glances at her brother, and then says to everyone, "A glass of good wine and some good company, for one drink, we might manage it, yes?"

"Perhaps, my Lady, but Taniford and Rhaedan men have taken eachothers' lives for so very long now and besides, I reserve my praises to those I feel are deeply deserving of them, in my heart. And indeed, I am the son and heir of Duke Riedel. Sir Sammel Riedel, at your service, my Lady." Sammel replies to Morla, with a nod. "And you are the Flower of the March. Rumors of your beauty, while extremely favorable, cannot hope to do you justice." He then tells Pawel, "Somehow, I do not think you wouldn't favor a direct confrontation, my Lord. I believe both of us might see eye to eye when it comes to conflicts and how they should unfold." He is served the wine, then and he takes the goblet thoughtfully before sipping from it. A smile is levelled at Carisse and he nods in faint agreement.

"I have a feeling you are quite correct, Sir Sammel. I believe we both may have similar views on how the conflicts should be handled, yes." Pawel replies, as he takes a sip from his own wine now. "And although our families have been on the opposite side of conflict for so long, I know I respect House Riedel for its strength." Another brief pause as he looks between the others for the moment now.

It appears that things have calmed a bit as the three Tanifords and sole Rhaedan have actually sat down for a drink. The serving girl has come back around and refreshed Morla's cup while giving a brand new one for Sammel. The Flower drinks her own wine, lifting her eyes toward the Riedel has he bestows another compliment, and it is rewarded another soft pink at the apples of her cheeks. She shakes her head a bit, offering a laugh. "There will be time to prove your worth, but I don't think there's been a mixed tournament in some generations… to see how the Kingdoms may fair against each other…"

Darrin returns from settling down and glad-handing a couple of Taniford knights, waving them off as he returns to the table of higher nobles to calls of "Seabreeze! Seabreeze!" Laughing lightly, the Prince steps over to his previous place at the head of the table, brushing his heavy falchion out of his way without a second thought as he settles back into the common room chair, "Now that could be quite interesting, My Lady Morla, if fraught with tension, as our own little verbal scuffles proved. Despite out common cause against the Corsairs, it seems there is always someone looking to cause trouble." And the Taniford Prince says those words so coolly that it might be assumed that butter wouldn't melt on his tongue, despite his own part in the argument. The sip of brandy that makes its way over his lips doesn't hurt.

A nod is given to the servant in dismissal, and Sammel nurses his new drink for a moment before taking another sip. He smiles again when she blushes and the ensuing soft laugh. "It might be quite entertaining. Of course, in my veins courses the blood of jousters and tourneyk nights of great fame and fortune. Just as in yours are the finest riders in the two realms. A very close match, I would say," he inclines his head to her, then looks to Pawel as he states, "And I respect your House, Your Grace, for the fierceness they take to battle." He lifts an eyebrow at Darrin's return, then states, very plainly - and just as coolly as Darrin - "I would make sure not to aim the lance at your pretty face, Your Highness. A scar might not do you much justice."

Sammel adds, "Nor might a fatality in a tournament be seen under any favorable auspices."

As the Taniford Prince returns, Morla sits up slightly straighter in her seat — is she truly armoring herself against a fellow Tanifordin? She does bob her chin gently as he returns. "Your Highness," she says properly before she offers the gentlest smile toward Sammel. "They say that that maidens are quite fond of scars, so perhaps he would favor such a thing," she offers with a slight lift of her brows toward Darrin. Then she takes another drink of her wine as she savors it a moment before swallowing it down.

"Ah, things went well, Your Highness?" Pawel offers to Darrin, with a bit of a smile now, before he nods a bit at Sammel's words. A brief pause as he hears Morla speak about the scars. "I think it would depend on the scars, Lady Morla," he offers with a quiet nod, taking another sip of his wine now.

Carisse looks over Darrin as he returns, though she does bow her head politely, staying quiet for a moment. Her thoughts on the idea of a scar or not are not voiced. Instead, she takes another sip of her wine and glances at her brother, almost measuring something. At Pawel's answer, she quirks a brow, and her smile grows mischievous. "Perhaps you are correct, brother," she says softly. Her wine is finished, and she does in fact rise to her feet. "However, I think I shall retire, if you will excuse me. I have some shopping to plan for on the morrow."

Darrin swirls his brandy beneath his nose, arching an eyebrow at Sammel's words, "I've managed to keep my face clear of scars thus far, Sir, I think I can manage a tourney or three." Morla's words draw a warm laugh, and he bows his head, then raising his glass in salute to Pawel and laughing once more, "What do you think, My Lady Morla? Do you favor good, honest scars, or do you prefer a smooth, clean face?" Carisse's rise draws him up to his feet as well, and he nods his head, "It was a pleasure to meet you, My Lady Carisse. Do sleep well, it wouldn't do to miss a day of fine shopping."

"Maybe. Or maybe not." Sammel sips from his wine, setting the goblet upon the table. "Yes, that is true, Your Grace," he agrees with Pawel's point on it. "It depends very much on the scars but also the object that inflicts them. Which is why, I think, being courteous about a lance is expecting the same courtesy in return. Though what man would leave themselves open and not make good use of their shields for such."

Morla gives Darrin a rather amused smirk, and that mostly cool demeanor warms slightly in the face of poking fun at her dear friend's brother — nevermind the Prince bit. "I'm not entirely sure if even a scar could help you, Your Highness," she responds as she takes another sip of wine. "Though, I'm sure you can ask my opinion again once you've earned one." Then she glances toward Carisse as she makes her farewells, bowing her head. "I'll see you again, Lady Carisse," she says warmly before she returns her attention to the three men she has been left with.

Pawel nods as he listens now, with a smile for his sister. "Of course, sister. Sleep well." A brief pause, before he offers a grin, "And don't buy all of the town, please?" It's said rather lightly, before he looks between the others for a few moments, smiling a little at the conversation. Unable to hold back a bit of a chuckle as he hears Morla's reply to Darrin now.

Darrin draws a hissing intake of breath at Morla's teasing, shaking his head, "And now you sound like my dear sister, My Lady Morla. Can I never get a compliment from she or one of her lovely ladies-in-waiting?" Shrugging lightly, he lifts his brandy to his lips once more, "I will just have to try harder, I suppose. Although I do think I will try to avoid 'earning' any more scars. The ones I have already had thrust upon me were quite painful at the time, and I think I would prefer to avoid reliving the process if I can."

Silent for a little while after Carisse's departure, Sammel drinks the last of his wine, re-sets the goblet upon the table and stands, bowing his head lightly to the Duke, then to Morla, a smile flashed at the Flower. "For the time being, I believe I shall take my leave. It was a true pleasure to meet you, Lady Morla, and an honor to make your acquaintance, Your Grace. And you, of course, Your Highness. I hope to see you on tournament grounds soon enough."

Morla hesitates a moment at first when Darrin offers his reply, but then she settles into another calm smile. "I'll let your sister know that you are being relentless as always," she says in a cool reply. Then she glances toward Sammel as he begins to make his leave, and she straightens up a bit. "As it was to make yours, Sir Sammel… to put a name to a face is a prized thing." She inclines her head a bit, offering him a far warmer smile. She lets the others make their goodbyes with the Riedel heir.

"It was a honor to make your acquaintance as well, Sir Sammel," Pawel replies with a nod and a smile as he takes another quiet sip from his wine. "And to enjoy some wine together in peace and quiet, that was a quite good thing as well." Looking back to Morla and Darrin now, he studies the two of them a bit thoughtfully for a few moments.

Darrin settles back in his chair, resting his right elbow on the arm of his chair and letting the glass dangle from his fingertips, "Likewise, I'm sure, Knight of the Rams." He smiles faintly, looking over to Morla once more, "Relentless? I was thinking more along the lines of 'dedicated,' My Lady Flower." Golden brandy swirls around in the snifter as he spins the glass lightly, "Doesn't my dear sister consider dedication a virtue? I've always thought she was quite dedicated to her own goals."

Once the Ram Lord makes his departure, Morla lounges back in her seat once more, crossing her arms at her chest as she crosses her legs once more in a ladylike poise. She considers Darrin for another heartbeat before she releases a simple sigh. "Perhaps you are right, Prince Darrin… I still see you as the miserable boy who tied Princess Aylanora's and my hair together, and tricked us into sitting in jam. Perhaps I should not be so… quick to judge."

Pawel raises an eyebrow as he hears Morla's words now. "I don't believe I have heard this story before," he offers, after a few moments of pause, looking a bit curious as he looks between the two of them. Draining his wine now.

Darrin holds up two fingers to Pawel, smiling easily, "Two stories. And she didn't mention the ants in my clothes, or having the girth on my saddle being loosened." Laughter lights his lips, "Taniford was not the only people under assault these last thirty years. There was a merry war of pranks and tricks betwixt myself and my dear sister, and not simple on All Fool's Day." He holds his free hand up defensively, "I will readily admit, however, that I did not submit to these assaults without fighting back, but I still consider myself the aggrieved party." By his tone, he's joking, teasing, or somewhere in between.

Morla scowls a bit. "Yes, quite the innocent party. A terrible victim of the viciousness of noble girls." Then she gestures at him with her nearly-empty goblet. "You are not so innocent, Prince Darrin… just know that I know this." She then offers Pawel a bit of a smirk. "I wouldn't dare embarrass our Prince with tales of his childhood. Certainly, his time with the Northerners have given him opportunities to blossom into a Prince to be proud of." There might even be a challenge in that statement.

"Ah, I see," Pawel replies, looking between the two of them for a few moments longer now. "Well, I guess I should retire for the evening as well." Offering them both a smile, he adds, "I hope the two of you will avoid tearing down the Inn." It's said rather lightly, before he smiles, "It was good to see you again, Your Highness. And you, Lady Morla." Getting to his feet a bit slowly now.

Darrin shakes his head at Morla's words, "Oh… I would never claim innocence, My Lady Flower. That would be a flat-out lie." One pale gray eye flickers shut in a wink, even as he gripes, "You don't think I returned from the Corsair War as a Prince to be proud of?" Shaking his head, "Well, I'll have to work harder on that. I have mentioned dedication, haven't I?" Pawel's rise causes him to nod, rising to his feet and offering out his hand once more, "Thank you for stopping by, Pawel. You and your sister alike. It was good seeing you again. Hopefully it won't be so long this time."

Morla offers the Duke a gentle dip of her chin before she casts the man a smile. "Please tell Lady Carisse that it was good seeing her once more, and that we will be visiting Wolveshire soon." Then she casts a glance toward the Taniford Prince once more, and she keeps him under a calculating eye, and then she breathes out another sigh. "Forgive me, Highness… I should not cast such negative assumptions upon you and your reputation." She squints at him briefly before she extends a soft, lily-white hand to him in an offering.

"Hopefully it will not," Pawel replies in agreement with Darrin, shaking the offered hand again, before he smiles to Morla, nodding a bit. "I will tell her, and we will be looking forward to the visit," he replies, before he adds, "I wish you both a pleasant evening." And with that, he heads out of the room now.

Darrin claps Pawel's shoulder on the handshake once more, then looks back to Morla, "Why not, My Lady Flower?" He reaches out to take that hand in his own calloused fingers, bowing over it to brush his lips over her knuckles, "My dear sister and I have never been particularly close to one another, and you are her lady-in-waiting, her boon companion and close confidante. I'm sure she had filled your ears with many stories of my sour disposition and covetous nature."

The Flower accepts the kiss to her knuckles, giving the Prince a slightly dubious look. "I would not say that she called your disposition sour nor your nature covetous." She releases his hand after a moment, curling her fingers around her goblet of wine. The two sit at a larger table that had once been occupied by quite a few more than just the pair, so says the various empty goblets that have not yet been bussed. "You are obviously doing a fine job as an ambassador… after all, the Prince of Rhaedan absolutely hates you."

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