RP:The Coronation of Queen Hildegarde
Part of the Thy Kingdom Come Arc
Hildegarde had fought for Frostmaw for six long gruelling months, so to stand here within its fort and bask in victory felt very dreamlike. It was difficult to believe that she had won after such a long time. Most victories came quickly, but this, perhaps the most important victory of her life, had come to her slowly. It was certainly worth the wait, though her doubts still gnawed at her; a vivid gnawing sensation deep in the pit of her cavernous belly. But alas, there was little time to think on it. Lisbeth gave her shoulder a gentle squeeze of reassurance as if she somehow knew exactly what the dragon was thinking about, such was the strength of their bond. “I’m ready,” the knight said softly before Lisbeth entered the throne room that was already full of waiting guests and emissaries: giants, Kuronii Northmen, the Quelodian centaurs and visitors from afar. With more still to arrive, according to Eyrie scouts. “Presenting Hildegarde the Silver, rightful Queen of The City of War, the North, the Frozen Tundra and ruler of Aramoth’s chosen people!” It would take some time to get used to such announcements preceding her entry to a room. The woman stepped in after Lisbeth – her mithril armour having been polished up and repaired swiftly by Master Gikal – proceeding to nod slightly at the gathered visitors and dignitaries before heading directly to the throne. Ascending the ice covered blue steel steps – of which there are few – the woman seats herself upon the ice covered throne, holding her breath for a moment or two to see if the long dormant enchant would suddenly activate and consume her. But it did not. The throne recognised her to be the true Queen and thus she would survive sitting it. A dangerous throne for a dangerous country. “Welcome,” the Silver finally said, her voice carrying well across the throne room, “Welcome to my hall. Please, take merriment in our food and drink; our music and the company of those around you. We come to celebrate victory and peace. Enjoy!”
Sabrina arrives in new duds, sharing steps with Pilar as she enters the room clinging to the slight framed woman at the crook of her elbow. She was still situating the girls as she got used to the odd fit of fine Frostmawian wares. She wore a simple white ensemble with her hair pulled over her right side to hide the thick scar encircling her right shoulder. She hoped Pilar would find them a seat away from the bulk of those gathered here. Somewhere near a cluster of warriors sits Rohk, eyes fixed on the outward growing masses intent on seeking any ill-intentioned guests.
Pilar was glad she had gotten ready before running into Sabrina. One quick emergency shopping trip later, and they were back at the fort. She was wearing the one nice dress she owned, which she had left in Vailkrin during the war, thus sparing it the destruction the remainder of her clothes had endured. Pilar's gown was almost Puritanical in its modesty, covering her from throat to ankle. A black bodice embroidered with red gave her some semblance of a figure, but the remainder of the dress was plain, unadorned ruby velvet. At her throat was a pendant which bore an image of the Xalious tree, and on her feet were worn leather boots. She hadn't the time to get herself something new, though she probably should have while she was out with Sabs. Oh well. She led Sabrina to a the seats on the east edge of the room, near the food and drink.
Irenic arrived with a muted personality as he wasn't entirely sure who any of these people are or why he was told to come here, but a slave does as he's told. Hands tucked into black trousers as he quietly takes up a rather boring space in the room while his silver eyes take in the sighs of the giants with a rather tired and bored expression. His hair slicked back as to not be pesky and slip into the view as it usually does, but hey, he was told it was supposed to be some fancy occasion; so, 'Dress up! Look Nice.' Irenic's idle movement's halted as his attention was taken by the woman sitting on the throne and addressing the visitors, but his expression stayed even. His booted steps near the refreshments, but he had no hunger for them and his silvery gaze start to take in the others while pulling the sleeves up on his forearms, revealing tattoos over tawny skin. Easily counting the heads with his 6'11" height and his tucked ivory wings nearly exaggerate that fact.
Aquila grabs a small amount of food, then returns to the corner where he can keep an eye on the entire room.
Hureig stands in one of the quieter corners, his thoughts and his eyes passing between Hildegarde and the large hunk of bread in his hand. He would've made for a proper giant if there were more meat and muscle on his bones to keep his furs, the finest a few seasons ago, from hanging off him every chance they had. He wore the hollow eyes and cheeks of a captive and the wariness of the fatter, haler giants as though he were a slave. One of the few who were broken out of their cells, he came to honor his Queen and eat as much of her food as he could.
Sykule followed the stream of people, elves and giants moving towards Frostmaw Fort. He wore warm wolf-fur clothes and a short leather cape over his shoulders, with his white hair held by an elegant silver circlet . -Fancy enough for such an event, I believe- The boy spent most of the time greeting and chatting with people he would recognize among the crowd, but soon he grew tired and decided to grab a piece of cake before standing near one of the corners of the throne room.
Aquila cautiously watches the room of unfamiliar faces. Having heard stories of the recent events he isn't entirely comfortable that the days coronation will go of entirely smoothly.
Ranok enters the throne room with little pomp or circumstance. Clad in a sharp pressed dress uniform. Born of an intermix of various branches, it was a simple black material, with a lapel that sat much more to the left then his center. Dress pants with a crease you could cut a finger on, with a golden 'blood stripe', a band of golden thread, down the side. Polished tanker boots click upon the stone smartly. Over his right shoulder was a wealth of thin cloth that moved strangely, thickly as if hesitant. Cut diagonal, it terminated at approximately his wrist. It was held to his neck by a clasp in the image of the sun. In white clothed gloves he head a pot that held a beautiful bloom, looking like the evening's sun captured in its petals. Protected against the last chills of the weather and the approach of night in a glass cover, it nevertheless brought a rather potent splash of color to the otherwise darkly dressed man. With no hat to hold them, his ears were twitching here and there, alert to the sounds of the room. On his left, with a delicate ivory skinned arm wrapped around his, was some woman dressed in a seafoam blue dress that revealed a breathtaking amount of cleavage. A merchant's daughter of some repute, taken along as a fulfillment of some promise or other. Behind the pair smoothly glided a tall, lanky figure clad in a thick woolen cloak. It paid no sseeming attention to anything in particular, but anyone close enough much feel the hairs on their necks stand up nonetheless. Ranok ignored the food, though he does allow his 'date' to grab herself a wine glass. He'd seek to move to Hilde. After all, he did bear a gift.
Josleen throughout the course of the war suffered many nightmares and enjoyed few good dreams, the one recurrent among them being this day: the day one of her closest friends finally takes back what was stolen from her, and the day she is free from her own service to the war. She’d do it again if called upon to serve, but she isn’t a creature of war. She is a woman suited to peacetime luxuries. Her vanity demands scented creams, plush feather pillows, and fine dresses. The latter is a particularly sore point for the bard as she prepares for the ball. What to wear? Threadbare, faded, war-worn dress number one? Stained, torn-at-the-pits, war-worn dress number two? Options three and four make option two look fit for a queen, and option five is burnt in the fort fireplace in a quiet dressing room rage. Option 1 it is. And no jewelry to accessorize with. And only her staple lip and cheek stains. Dignitaries from other cities will be arriving dressed to the nines and Josleen is stuck in some frock that just barely survived the war because all her fineries are in Xalious and she spent the war cleaning up puke and blood, among other excrements. Poor Kelovath is subjected to her quiet agitation and insecurity, though they haven’t been together long enough for her to openly vent. She is the plaster-perfect smile of a woman making due with what she’s got. A fellow nurse lends her a ruby, teardrop necklace. Ruby isn’t Josleen’s stone, but it’ll do. She stalls in the room in the fort that she shares with Kelovath. Perhaps if they arrive late no one will notice what she is wearing. To stall, she pretends to write important letters, Hollow’s equivalent or pretending to talk on your phone to get out of a conversation. Yes, these letters do need to be written now. When they finally do descend to the throne room, she’s on Kelovath’s arm. Her gaze picks out every other woman in the room to compare her attire to their mentally. Those similarly bedraggled by war are greeted first. Safety in numbers. Camouflage of the war weary. Look there, Eileen couldn’t find a single dress without a bloodstain. Perfect, Josleen is content to be a swan in comparison. She introduces Kelo to the friends he has not met yet by the drinks table. She eyes the rose wine and glances at Kelovath to see if he gets the hint, please.
Rusilan wraps an arm around Sparky's wast and growls at any female she thinks is getting to close. " Did she say music do you think there will be dancing? "
Sparky had recovered for the most part from his wounds during the final battle of frostmaw, he owed it all to the healer Rusilan who had taken care of him after the battle, and now despite stil sporting a blinded left eye he had decided to enjoy the festivities, dressed in his finest clothes a dress shirta black tie and black pants.
Sparky nods to Rusilan, "I think there might be."
And so, here Khitti was again. At a rather large party. Remembering full well what happened during the Yule ball, she was a bit nervous. No, it was more than nervousness. She was terrified. But, she actually had a purpose here this time. The urge to flee just as she had before was suppressed as she peeked around the corner into the throne room. The festivities had begun and the place was as beautiful, but that didn't make it any less intimidating. Lithe hands wrung one another carefully, but the vampiress made the effort to step into room nevertheless. For once, she wasn't adorned in her typical black. A mermaid style dress the color of dark moss hugged her thin frame in all the right spots, reaching the floor and covering the heeled boots she wore beneath. Her blood-colored hair had been allowed to flow freely, the sides loosely braided and brought to meet at the back of her head, the long tendrils that made up her bangs hanging somewhat in her face. It certainly wasn't a Kreekitaka-made dress, and if he found out about it, she'd likely hear it from him, but she'd deal with that if he managed to show up. Biting her lip carefully, she'd step off to the side from the entrance to the room, as if she were waiting for someone. Dark eyes scan the participants of the party, finding Pilar and Hildegarde, a faint smile appearing on her pale features. At least this time things were better. She wouldn't have a -need- to run away from the crowd.
Dominic ’s clothing was nondescript, apart from a crimson-flecked navy blue waistcoat that was apparently newly bought for the occasion. He scanned the room warily upon his arrival. This was all new to him… a party? And with so many people? But as long as he was anchored to Khitti, he could swallow back the worst of his anxiety. And … oh, there she was, in all her glory, beautiful and radiant and suddenly the only thing his green eyes saw. He strode directly for her, beaming, reaching out to squeeze her hands in his and greet her with a kiss. “You’ve outdone yourself,” he said before entwining an arm around her and turning to survey the crowd again.
Kelovath only had the pleasure of experiencing a month, maybe two, of the war for Frostmaw. More than enough for him. He was happy it was over. Happy for Hildegarde. Queen Hildegarde. The day seemed to drag on for the paladin. He was nervous, knowing he’d be surrounded by so many people. The fact that walking became a chore didn’t help. The fall from the cliff caused significant damage, but with the help of medicine, magic, and a bit of time, Kelovath could at least walk. With a limp. He was walking most of the day, inside of the room he shared with Josleen, waiting for the woman to finally get dressed and ready. Eventually, he gave up and laid on the bed. Might have taken a nap while waiting. And after that nap, checked in on Josleen several times, complimenting whatever it was she might have been wearing at the time. He was patient, but only for so long. Finally, it was time to head to the throne room. He was dressed more for comfort, waist down, because of his injury. Simple pants, fancy-enough boots. A slightly formal long-sleeved shirt covered his torso, Josleen’s necklace hanging from his neck, and a simple pair of gloves for his hands. His limp was obvious and it was clear the man was nervous during the introductions to Josleen’s friends. Having her there helped, but the insecurity of his legs made the man miss the more obvious signs Josleen may have been giving him. That included the wine. Oops.
Sparky motioned to rusilan, "Go and talk with people, I'll find you if there is a dance."
Sabrina ’s eyes are torn to a pot with a familiar sun-bloom smiling at all the happy faces despite the cold. A bit of shock washes over her at the carrier of said pot and her focus is immediately drawn to his date, oblivious and in tow. Just gorgeous. She tugs on Pilar’s arm and points to the woman on Lord Kelovath’s arm, whispering secrets that she may very-well be the most beautiful woman in the room. She sinks into the back of her seat, maybe hiding behind Pilar’s slight frame. She came bearing gifts as well and surely there would be a time and a place for such offerings. Hildegarde’s entrance was returned the Elfesses sole attention. The mutterings of people around them came in waves, parting the sea of noise was Hildegarde’s words and as soon as she stopped talking the rush of admirations and commendations filled the thickening space between them. So many people, it was getting hard to breathe. She would have to come to terms with this social claustrophobia some day, why not now.
Ashe had made enough jests about his return to the throne room for a ball, ending his contract with Hildegarde as it began, that half of Frostmaw could fire his quips back at him by now. Still, the bard was merrier than he'd been since the last ball. Back to his charming, quick witted self rather than the cynical, sarcastic and flippant attitude he'd adopted during the war. The by now far more recognized Stormcrow sat on the edge of the stage while the other musicians played, a drink in his hand and a devilish smirk on his face. He'd exchanged his old fine britches and vest for a fine, ruffled, dress shirt with brilliant blue slashes and black flaired pants that matched the cape he'd slung over one shoulder and down his right arm. Though his small, green, spectacles remained and flashed in the light whenever he looked from one guest to the other to shout a quip or another question over the music.
Pilar followed Sabrina's gaze to Miss Josleen and smiled softly. She was very beautiful. And look there, Sir Kelovath was walking again, just as she had predicted he would. She turned to Sabrina and patted her hand. She could tell the elf was nervous, and intended to stay by her side for as long as she was needed.
Hudson came from out of town, and is sharp in a tux and rolling deep in sports friends and their WAGS, including Alvina. "If you wanna go home, we leave, you say the word," is the pact they've made. He's shaved for the occasion, because frankly he loves a good party and doesn't want to look like a guy whose life has recently been firebombed by Desparrow. Time to make a comeback to actual society, especially the Eyrie which is how he met Alvina, so. Except they are doomed to repeat the same very awkward conversation with every familiar face. Yes... thank the gods/ it's so amazing Alvina is rescued. (Why are you inflicting this conversation on us, you awkward people???!) Actually they're getting married! Subject changed: it works every time. And, like that, Hudson finds that the news has attracted a crowd of squealing women around Alvina and so he catches up with the Sports Friends at the bar, because of course that's where they're congregating. Beers in hand, the group engages in a spirited debate over whether basketball wives are allowed to lose their minds if their man fouls out of a game (Huds is of the view that THEY OF COURSE SHOULD???). And suddenly Kelovath and Josleen are there, mingling in the Sports Friends group and breaking up this very important debate with their presence and hellos. "Yoooo! You're alive!" Hudson gives Josleen the one-armed hug and cheek-kiss that's appropriate in these situations. Kelo is obviously an Ansel replacement. He looks richer. Anybody who has a limp is assumed to be extremely wealthy because... lol why else would Josleen go for this dude. He shakes Kelo's hand and introduces himself as Hudson, has worked with Josleen before, she and his fiance (oh yeah, they got engaged, yes, she's doing well, thanks for the congratulations, blah blah, it's just really nice that she's safe) are thick as thieves. She's around here somewhere... mobbed by like a thousand women, he thinks, probably should keep better tabs on her, considering... What are they drinking, he wants to know, gesturing at their empty hands. He waves at the bartender with some authority. "Can we have a rose for Josleen and a whiskey for me and Kelovath, thanks!" Having sorted the drinks, he begins the usual small talk directed at Kelo. Where does the dude live. What does he do. How did they meet. Etcetera.
Hildegarde is anxious upon her high seat, but seeing the familiar faces fill the hall fills her with some relief. Kelovath, Josleen, Pilar, Khitti, Ashe and more. Those who had fought with and for her, who had stood by her through thick and thin. It was good to see them. Josleen is offered a special and very dignified wiggle of her fingers, a subtle gesture from the seat of power in Frostmaw. Was it merely a wiggle of fingers in greeting or a more subtle beckoning? Who knew. The Silver shuffled slightly upon the throne before leaning to the side to murmur gently to Lisbeth.
Rusilan shakes her head but stops growling, " I don't want to leave you alone in this crowd Sparks let's go together that looks like the healers over by the drinks table. " strokes along Sparky's cheek the sparks flow through her fur glittering a little bit brighter when they touch.
Sparky smiles, "well who am i too argue, lead on." Walking with her over to the healers.
Sabrina takes a deep breath and sits up, searching the leather bag, beneath the bundle of leathers she placed on the top layer. She retrieves a small box, and slides the bag under Pilar’s seat. “I’ll be right back.” She stands, straightening the bodice and fluffing her hair around the more exposed scars on the upper portion of her pale form. With all these strikingly beautiful women it was difficult not to feel a little underwhelming. She heads to her group of healers, smiles and hugs given throughout and pushes the box of herbs to be distributed to the collection of people here. Some had traveled far, some simply freed after months of imprisonment; her collection was meant to return some vigor and supplement some incognito healing throughout the crowd.
Rusilan purrs and waves at Josleen having seen her at the last battle. " Hello I don't believe we get a chance to meet. I am Rusilan and this is Sparky? " squeezes Sparky's arm lightly. " You where leading the guild healers."
Khitti blinks as Dominic finds her, compliments her, and kisses her. "I...uh..." Taking compliments had never been her strong point, and caught her off guard. "You...look vonderful." Even as he moved to her side to survey the rest of the guests, she still stared at him, taking in each aspect of his features that she already knew so well. After a few more moments of observation, she ultimately leans her head against his shoulder, content with standing there for right now as she finally turns her attention back to the crowd, "It's so much easier zhis time around to have someone vith me. Vhat do you vant to do? I'm so lost here...I always get so flustered at zhings like zhis. And to be honest, zhe last time I vas here for a party, it did not go so vell, so I'm a bit vorried." A frown lines her lips as dark eyes settle on Hildegarde, her anxious nature ever aware of her surroundings, keeping an eye out for any ill doings. Anything bad could happen, you know. She turns somewhat to press up against him, her head shifting to look towards the exit, "I feel so out of place. I'm not like zhem."
Tristram stood, not in a corner, but in an anteroom, alone, save for a very expensive, very ornate crown, and a single Frostmawian giant guard, who he eyed periodically. Giants. Like orcs but more … judgmental. When the party sounded like it was in full swing, and Hildegarde had received at least some of her guests, Tristram gestured at the orchestra, who stopped playing for a moment. He gave them a nod, and they struck up a regal melody, a victorious refrain, all hail the conquering hero come home at last. He straightened his tie and his cuffs and stepped from the room. Behind him, the giant followed, bearing the brilliant crown on a pillow. The crown itself was set with perhaps the largest diamond from any of the mines east of Craughmoyle. It was an icy blue, a blue that seemed to shift shades depending on what light struck it — dark in light by fire, cobalt — a near black, lighter, like the sky in direct sunlight — anywhere in between in any other light source. The Governor had taken care to source the best jewel available to him, one that would have fit in well in his own hoard, one that did when he acquired it. But a dragon would know if he was withholding his best gem, and so the brilliant jewel found its way into the crown he now reached for from his giant escort. He cleared his throat, then spoke over the crowd, so that his voice echoed into the vaulted room. “Hildegarde the Silver, savior of the lands of Frostmaw.” A beat. “Friend and ally of Gualon, and others.” He managed a telling, half-grin. “Come, let me crown you the queen of your people, forevermore.” He waited for her to kneel in front of him so he could place the crown atop her head. “If they love and care for you you even half as much as I know you love and care for them, this land will be a happy, prosperous land. This is not the last time you, or I, will know war. But you will know peace now, and so will your kingdom.”
Irenic moved to stand in the line of gift givers and all that until it was his turn the small black & emerald wrapped gift was taken from him to be placed with the others. He bows deeply to the new Queen as his silver optics look up at her and a fist over his chest while his wings attempt to span out to take up too much space than one should be allotted, possibly bumping a few shorter folk; further note that such proximity to the Avian would emit any being's most favorite scent coming from the man. Irenic's expression was half apologetic to any he may have bumped with his Ivory masses and he offers to the new Queen in a low gruff voice, "Congratulations., Queen," while his tone was as nearly cold as the room. He made his way over to a vacant chair, uncaring who he ended up sitting next to while he loosened his emerald tie and unhinged the emerald cuff links so he may roll up the sleeves better on his black button up shirt; it's easy to tell this Avian isn't a fan of being so formally dressed.
Alvina had been on the fence about coming, when Hudson had told her about the Coronation. The war in Frostmaw had been won, to her relief, and it was time to celebrate the victory of Hildegarde and her allies. The victory of Frostmaw itself. The bard wished she had been unable to name a single face here but that wasn't the case. She wished that she could easily misplace the guilt of contributing absolutely nothing to the war effort but before she has a chance, Huds is talking up their engagement and beautifully dressed women and women in tattered gowns alike are demanding to see her engagement ring and asking her a thousand questions she doesn't have the answer to. Will they have children? When is the wedding? Where are they going to live? Etc, etc. Alvina is doing her best to address the familiar faces when Josleen catches her eye, and suddenly no other creature in the world matters more than the fanciful woman in a thread thin gown. "Pardon me," She politely offers a bow of the head and fragile smile to all that are gathered to rush past every single figure in her path to delicately stop short of Josleen, with tear- heavy eyes and a flooded smile. "Jos..." Alvina whispers the woman's name, for the moment ignoring her gentleman, and throwing her arms around the woman with gusto. The love there is painfully palpable. "I was so worried...I'm so glad you're okay..." Are among the bits of decoded dialogue that Alvina is sputtering at Josleen at high speeds. Only when the jitters stop does she notice Kelovath and gives the man an apologetic smile. "I'm so sorry, I'm Alvina, Hudson's Fiance and I didn't mean to intrude." She's smiling wide through a thin veil of tears.
Ashe saw the signal, in the corner of his vision, and cut his conversation short with a knowing wink as he leapt to his feet and sauntered across the stage to take his position with a worn violin. This time, though, unlike the yule ball, he didn't lead the accompaniment but was simply part of the symphony. Although better dressed than the others.
Pilar nodded to Sabrina and watched over her things as the healer left to see her fellows. She watched the crowning of Hildegarde, eyes growing wet. They had waited so long and fought so hard for this. And if anyone in that room deserved that crown, it was Hildegarde. She applauded along with the rest of the crowd.
Sparky nodded as Rusilan introduce him to josleen. "Pleasure to meet you."
Hildegarde had certainly expected Tristram to be present at the coronation and to play some sort of role, but she hadn’t quite anticipated him to provide her with such finery and finer words still! Her cheeks flushed red, earning her the name Hildegarde the Bashful rather than Hildegarde the Silver. As he paused, she rose from the icy throne and passed her halberd into the waiting hands of the finely armoured Lisbeth before dropping to both knees as though she had been humbled by Tristram before her. While she would love to say something, it would seem as though the warlord had robbed her of her words! Her sole eye even looks a little bit misty. Would she cry due to his words? No. She must be strong now. She waits in silence to be crowned by her ally, her friend, a man she holds in the highest of regards.
Sykule figured there wasn't much to do on a party except enjoying it. He walked towards one of the tables and grabbed a mug of ale for himself. The boy then stood near the throne, where he could have a better look at the crowd, playing a little game of guessing with himself. Who was each of the guests, where did they come from, etc. He watched closely as Tristram entered the room, and at the crowning of Hildegarde, he was among the crowd, cheering.
Ranok shouted, "All hail your Queen! All hail Hildegarde the Silver! Long live the queen! Long live Frostmaw!"
Ranok would be among the first to bow. Perhaps he was not as misty eyed as the others, but when a queen was crowned, you bowed. His posture was fluid and formal. He does not quite take a knee, as not one of her subjects, but his gesture is one of obvious respect.
Irenic would stand and applaud with the others as the queen was crowned, but again his expression much more muted than usual and his clap a bit lacking, almost like a golf clap of sorts. Only to sit again once the crowd settled once more.
Aquila bows respectfully to the queen.
Josleen really wants--nay, needs--that wine, but Kelovath isn’t picking up what she is putting down. There is an unspoken rule at these sort of functions that the man should get his date her drinks. His obtuseness here embarrasses her. Should she get the drink herself? Why not, right? She’s an independent, modern woman, isn’t she? (Not really.) Just as Josleen’s working up the nerve, she bumps into Hudson’s jock club and returns the appropriate ass-out hug and kiss with a bright smile. Josleen had no idea about Alvina’s kidnapping, or the engagement, and is shocked in opposite, but equally intense, directions. Focusing on the happy news, she looks for Alvina, but finds Hildegarde’s gaze and greeting first. She waves across the room at the Queen and mouths exaggeratedly, “You look great!”, oblivious to the redhead careening at her at full speed. She whips around just in time to find Alvina and hugs her tightly, surprised at her own swell of emotions. Knowing that Alvina was kidnapped recently, she mostly feels relief and joy that her friend is safe, and also guilt for not having known until now. “Alvina,” she says, still holding her friend longer than socially acceptable at this type of event, “I just heard.” She pulls away but still holds Alvina’s hands, “About,” she cants her head to the right and lets Alvina fill in the grim blank, then adds, “And about the engagement! Congrats!” She hugs her again, this time shorter, then paws at Alvina’s hand to look at the ring, flatter it as necessary, make a quip to Hudson about having great tastes (read: you didn’t cheap out, good job!--Kelo, take note). Kelo and Alvina introduce themselves, and before Josleen can add anything to that, Tristram commands the room’s attention. She takes the rose wine from Hudson (who mercifully knows her drink--Kelo, take note), mouths ‘thank you’, then turns back to watch Hildegarde be crowned Queen of Frostmaw. She claps her free hand against her wrist, other hand carefully holding and not spilling any wine. She smiles at Rusilan and Sparky politely when they approach, but focuses on the Queen.
Tristram gently set the crown atop Hildegarde’s head, making sure it was settled securely before offering his hand to the Silver to assist her back to her feet. He held her hand high as he led her to the front of the small stage upon which her regal throne was situated. “Frostmawians! Guests and allies! I present to you Hildegarde the Silver, Queen of Frostmaw.” He turned to her, squeezed her hand in his, and then stepped away to let her receive the applause and adulation of her subjects and friends.
Josleen shouted, "All hail Queen Hildegarde the Silver! Long live the queen! Long live Frostmaw!"
Dominic looked at Khitti sidelong, a faint smile softening his features. “You’ve already got more experience than I do. I don’t think I’ve ever been to something like this before, so …” Not with his freedom intact, anyway. He was distracted from whatever else he might have said, though, as Hildegarde is crowned. Dominic looked first to the crowd for a cue and then responded in like kind, applauding for their queen. Gods, he would have bolted away from the crowd already if not for Khitti. So many people. -Too- many people.
Josleen bows when appropriate.
Aquila stands and applauds the newly crowned queen.
Sabrina turns to the newly crowned and rightful Queen. She offers a formal Elvish bow; her fingers moving from her heart, to her lips, and then her head in a gesture usually reserved for her own kind. Very few received this exception. She is soon swallowed up by a crowd pushing their way forward to convey their own graces and slips to the back wall nearing the door. While she doubted any opportunity to gain the ears of the Silver she realized in time she would have her moment. Seeing her crowned was the purpose here, and she still had work to do, especially since those serving the Guild were granted the time to be here.
Ashe shouted, "Hopefully she'll stay alive untill the end of the evening, too!"
Alvina cheered along with the rest of the crowd. Gods, she was really there. They'd really made a heart, brought a woman back to life, and won a war...all for the people of Frostmaw. It was a sight to behold, truly.
Hildegarde accepted Tristram’s hand with a quivering smile. She felt as though she might cry, the silly sod! So much for a warrior queen if she might burst into tears with utter joy and intense anxiety due to the situation, it was ever so overwhelming. Tristram’s hand was much larger than her own, strong, soft yet not so soft as to suggest he had never taken to work or battle before. She’s actually a little reluctant to let go of his hand, but the little squeeze is signal enough for her. She must let go, she must stand independent of her ally. With the congratulations of those gathered, the newly crowned Queen takes a moment to let the applause and congratulations die out before raising her hand to usher in some silence. “Thank you, thank you all,” she beamed, touched by their congratulations and their adulation. “I thank you, Tristram, my ally, my friend and my peer. A trusted friend of Frostmaw forevermore,” she said with a little nod of certainty. “I would like to make an announcement, however, in my first order as Queen of Frostmaw,” her eye falls to Josleen, her hand extending out in her direction. “Lady Josleen, please, come forth.”
Rusilan bows slightly and claps for the new queen
Pilar frowned as Sabrina seemed to be making a break for it, and slipped through the crowd after her. Near the door, she reached out and grabbed her arm. "Forgetting something?" She offered the bag the elf had stashed under her seat. That wasn't necessarily what Pilar thought she was forgetting, however. By the hurt look on her face, she seemed to think Sabrina had forgotten to say goodbye to her.
Sparky bows like the rest when appropriate despite this not being a culture norm of his species.
Khitti looked back towards the throne as Tristram took it upon himself to crown Hildegarde. She eyes the man warily, remembering him from the battle only a week ago. She soon parts from Dominic's side to fully turn back towards where Hildegarde was, adding in the applause. Once it was finished, she'd take Dominic by the hand and lead him towards where the food and drink were. "You didn't have to come here if you didn't vant to. It's not like it's mandatory. I could've made up some excuse or some such." She'd look over each morsel of food carefully, trying to decide what she'd want, a frustrated frown forming.
Khitti looked back towards the throne as Tristram took it upon himself to crown Hildegarde. She eyes the man warily, remembering him from the battle only a week ago. She soon parts from Dominic's side to fully turn back towards where Hildegarde was, adding in the applause. Once it was finished, she'd take Dominic by the hand and lead him towards where the food and drink were. "You didn't have to come here if you didn't vant to. It's not like it's mandatory. I could've made up some excuse or some such." She'd look over each morsel of food carefully, trying to decide what she'd want, a frustrated frown forming.
Kelovath chats it up with Hudson for a bit after accepting the drink. He’s from Larket. Is a paladin. Met Josleen in Xalious. He asked the same questions to Hudson, as well as congratulating the man on his engagement, but didn’t linger on the topic. An introduction is made to Alvina, but then before any further questions could be asked to Hudson or Alvina, the crowning is taking place. The paladin, drink in hand, watches with a smile and claps and cheers when appropriate. When Josleen is called to the stage, Kelovath smiled to the bard and offered to take her drink.
Sabrina takes the bag from Pilar with a kiss to her cheek in thanks. “With everyone here, I am afraid I have to finish the Guild work alone.” She looks to her people. “They need this, and I have no purpose here.” Her eyes flash to those she knows, one in particular whose thoughts would linger on her for some time. “See that Ro doesn’t cause a fuss.” The hound would not leave the Queen’s side any time soon, always suspicious of everyone who may or may not have an agenda he keeps himself on high guard.
Sykule is slightly taken by a pleasant feeling, being surrounded by everyone he was fighting with. He was a part of this and it finally feels like he had accomplished something, like he's building a home for himself. Or maybe that was just the ale. Nevertheless he goes for another drink.
Pilar decided it wasn't important, and offered a smile. "I will. Good luck, Sabrina." She let the elf go, then turned to watch Josleen and Hildegarde.
Hudson tells Kelovath and Josleen that he and Alvina are actually moving to Larket! Just have bad feelings about Cenril, of course. They should definitely get together and play squash (and, he adds, after recalling the limp) or golf sometime, though? And suddenly Huds has recovered Alvina, although now she seems to be crying. This happens sometimes. As she straightens beside him, he drops a hand to her lower back in a silent gesture of support. (Remember, we can leave if you feel like it.) Cue yet another conversation about their engagement. He offers Josleen the tolerant smile of a dude who's already had far too many conversations about Alvina's ring but sure he'll endure one more. Fortunately they don't have to dwell on the subject for long because Tristram has summoned everyone's attention and Hildegarde is crowned. Of course, Hudson claps and then does the classy thing and whistles, loudly, while the crowd continues to roar its support. He does it again, moments later, when Josleen is summoned, capping the whistle with a "YEA JOS!" He shoots Alvina wide-eyed look, a non-verbal "what" in case she's inclined to eyeball him for embarrassing her here.
Alvina reluctantly lets go of Josleen so she can heed Hildegarde's call. The bard watches her friend go and stands beside Kelovath and Hudson as the ceremony continues. Normally, Alvina would give Hudson a good natured roll of the eyes but it's been so long since she's seen him smile. Do what you like, babe, says her smile and she leans into him to watch as Josleen goes.
Rusilan murmurs to Sparky "Is it me or does being at a party make it harder to talk to the people you don't see often?"
Josleen ‘s eyes panic with surprise despite her fixed smile that won’t droop, no matter what happens. She trusts that whatever Hildegarde has planned will be wonderful, but is hyper-aware of the fact she isn’t wearing her best dress, jewelry, or makeup. Of all the parties to come under-dressed to… Still, that panic is brief, hardly a second long. She’s a trained bard and a natural performer. Costumes come second to the performance, as her old acting teacher used to say. Suddenly she glows from the inside out, hands off her glass to Kelovath like it’s Aramoth’s holy chalice, and for a moment holds intimate eye contact with him in a way that is pure performance for everyone else. Then she turns to the main event, Hildegarde, and walks to meet the queen, her posture and gait all the pomp and ceremony a coronation needs. The women embrace briefly and Josleen whispers, “I’m at a loss for what this could be, your majesty.” She winks as she says the title, a reference to their private, long-played game.
Sparky replies to rusilan, "It often does, but if you think that we aren't getting enough conversation, we'll leave following the first dance."
Irenic stifles a yawn before leaning himself forward to rest his elbows on his knees as his silver optics don't move from the stage where they call up another woman he doesn’t know. He was nearly about to leave right after the crowning, but it seems something unplanned is unfolding here, so why not. His gaze got distracted for a moment at the commotion by the exit when he flashed a scowl of disapproval for the distraction, but it was all forgotten at the new woman named Josleen standing at the stage now.
Dominic ’s head swiveled as they moved to the refreshments, taking in the crowd, looking for familiar faces -- a brief, polite wave spared for Sykule, though he wasn’t even quite sure the boy was looking at that moment, and a glance at Pilar, who seemed at the moment entirely too preoccupied to extend even such a low-key greeting to. He pondered the things displayed across the table, most of them unfamiliar to him, and all of it almost overwhelmingly extravagant to his eyes. “Well, uh, this is what people -do-, isn’t it? What they’re supposed to do? Attend parties? Mingle with people?” Was that a shudder, right before he awkwardly cleared his throat? “Anyway, I couldn’t miss an excuse to see you all dressed up. To… to dance again, maybe.” Despite all his apprehension, he grinned brightly at her at that thought, ribbing her slightly. “You’ll have to pick something for me, by the way. I’ve no idea what any of this is.”
Rusilan purrs looking up at him. " if you want . I like music so I don't mind."
Hildegarde , perhaps amazingly, barely blushes at Josleen’s playful whisper. Instead, she focuses on the true purpose of calling Josleen forward. “Lady Josleen has been a true friend to Frostmaw. She has held firm and healed Frostmaw’s wounded through many trials and tribulations; standing strong to offer her advice and to risk her life for the men, woman and children of Frostmaw. With that in mind, I would like to reward her with rank and title. A position in Frostmaw so she knows that she will always have a home here and that her efforts have not gone unnoticed,” she announced to the crowd before gesturing to Lisbeth. The giantess brought forth a small box that had been stowed away behind the throne, opening it up for Hildegarde who dipped her hand inside to bring forth the contents. It was a glove of shimmering ice, delicate and ladylike; elegance in ice. “For you, Josleen. Thane of Frostmaw!” She then whispers softly, “Duchess, basically. Honourary title, my dear,” she said, gesturing for the hand to come forth so she might slip the icy glove onto Josleen’s delicate hand.
Sparky nods, "well I stick till your ready to depart, now when is this dance?'
Sparky applauds josleen.
Hudson is totally on the outside watching Josleen bridge the distance to Hildegarde but on the inside he is wondering whether he remembered to pitch one of his pitchers in his fantasy league. Ug... he is pretty sure he forgot, and that guy is pitching today. This is horrible. He realizes that they're standing near a large cat lady conversing with an eel person, and he taps Alvina on the butt to get her attention and then inclines his head toward them in a like, babe, babe, OMG do you see this, manner. He leans close to comment but Hildegarde is announcing Josleen's new title, so he waits, along with everyone else, while Hildegarde slides the glove onto Josleen's hand. "Babe," he whispers to Alvina, when everyone, including them, has started cheering and clapping. "Do you remember if I pitched that guy... Did I mention it over breakfast?" Clearly very present, Huds.
Sykule watched as Josleen gracefuly walked to the throne to receive her gift, and clapped along with everyone. He then turned to face the crowd and see their reactions. The boy raised his right arm up high, with a wide smile, in response to Dominic. Who was that girl by his side?
Khitti cast a side glance at Dominic as he nudges her in the ribs, smirking as she turns her attention back to the different delicacies. "I'm not 'people', Dominic. I'm...uh...I don't know vhat I am anymore." Was she 'people' now? Is this what it was like? The fact that she was indeed going to be staying in Frostmaw permanently now hit her like a freight train again. This thought is thankfully interrupted as she comes across the infamous 'cakelog' that she'd heard so much about amongst the Frostmawians that had been in the camp. "Aha! Zhis!" A bit of the cake is picked up and a bite offered to Dominic, her attention falling behind him now, "Oh. Hildegarde's speaking." The interaction between Josleen and Hildegarde are taken in as she eventually devours what was left of the cake in hand, regardless of whether or not Dominic dared to take a bite.
Alvina blinks, as if awaking from a rather nice dream about peace and graceful ladies, and crowned Dragons...to Hudson's elbowing about his fantasy team. Is this really what she wants for the rest of her life? She gives him a careful smile and nods. "Yeah, you talked about the other guy being...handicapped and having to replace him I think?" That sounds like a baseball term right? Be impressed! (>.>;;) but then she waves her hand at him to hush because Josleen is receiving a special honor and deserves their attention. The way Hildegarde and Josleen looked at each other. That was the stuff of legends and Alvina just sighed pleasantly as the festivies resume. She does give Hudson a careful look that says, Hey buddy, where's my drink? :<
Josleen had not been expecting anything so grand as a title. This great honor humbles her deeply and chinks her performance-armor. ‘What?’ she mouths in disbelief, blinking and revealing her truest self in a way she never does when this many eyes are on her. Dresses, smiles, perfect posture, perfume, the gentle dip of the chin, a calculated lowering of her gaze, these are her walls, and they fall away to reveal a real person, who is now, unbelievably, a thane. “Oh this is too much,” she mumbles breathlessly as her hand slips into the delicate glove. She admires it in the candlelight. It refracts different shades of arctic blues. Despite being made of ice, it moves against the roll of her wrist and doesn’t break. What a strange, beguiling enchantment. She looks beyond the glove at the audience now, and her performer’s instinct knows it’s her turn to speak. What to say? “It’s been an honor to serve Frostmaw, and I will continue to serve this City and her Queen into the future until the day I am parted from you all.” The little speech is unrehearsed, genuine, a rarity for a woman so guarded. She looks back at Hildegarde, smiling a little too tight, just a touch too creased, overcome with gratitude. “Thank you.” She hugs Hildegarde again, this time without performance.
Irenic quirked the scared brow as he figured it was a nice surprise for the one called Josleen, now Thane. Standing while idly clapping as he was before, but this time he doesn't seat himself after. No, he was bored of this and wished to leave as he was beginning to get a headache once again from something his brain wanted him to remember, but isn't allowed to… Oh well. His wings tuck closely to his athletic frame while he glides past the guests with ease to find the exit.
Pilar applauded as Josleen was named Thane and received her gift/sign of office. Well deserved, well deserved indeed. She could clearly see the love the two women shared for each other. Josleen was sure to be a fine Thane. As Sabrina had taken her leave, Pilar looked around the large room, suddenly alone, and suddenly very uneasy. She headed back over to the food and drink and tried to find someone, anyone, who might tolerate her presence.
Ranok did not exactly make the most stellar of dates. But then, he was hardly the true reason why the woman on his arm was here. Any notions of his being a well sought after bachelor would likely be soon discarded. Once he'd done the bow, and the formalities were under progression, the smith would be abandoned by his 'date'. The merchant's daughter was seeking the connections, cutting through the crowd and chewing through the Who's Who. Making nices, introductions, business cards handed out aplenty. A worn, war torn nation was to rebuild, after all...and Zephyr Merchants and Company would be there. For a price, of course. Ranok looked almost relieved, an island among the jostling crowd. He and his body guard. And the flower, of course. Josleen's title granting had rather gummed up the proceedings of gift giving, but the smith was not put out by much. Standing stock still, with the patience of a man who'd done a long number of hours doing nothing but standing just so, he'd wait for Hilde and Josleen to dissolve before approaching the new queen.
Hildegarde embraced Josleen tightly in return, softly patting her back. “You’re welcome, my friend,” she whispered, before eventually pulling back. She announced to the room, “Josleen is a loyal and leal servant of Frostmaw! Frostmaw does not expect anyone to bend the knee, but it expects to earn that respect from people and to gain their trust and loyalty.” The knight gestured to Josleen’s gathered friends, taking her hand and carefully guiding her down the small icy steps of the throne and releasing her hand as if to release her back into the company of her friends. “I would now call upon Lady Pilar, Lady Khitti, Lord Dominic, Lord Ashe Stormcrow and Lord Sykule,” she beckoned to the crowd.
Sparky felt rusilan silently tug at his sleeve, turning to her he noticed her eyeing the door, perhaps the night had been to much for her. With a slight bow to hildgearde not even sure if she could see him, he helped lead out his friend out of the building.
Hudson is so consumed by his fantasy baseball woes that he's forgotten to get his woman a drink. Which is a shame because she is A High Quality Woman who has now laid his fantasy baseball concerns to rest. He knows better than to speak up and correct her - the DL, not 'handicapped' - after a dirty look like the one he's just received. Gods forbid he speak during The Thing. Which is happening right now. He instead absently kisses the side of her head in silent thanks. Josleen's speech is heartwarming, for her, actually, because usually she seems so.... careful. Like a gymnast performing a complex floor routine. He waits for the crowd to begin to clap and cheer Josleen to join in, and then he seizes the moment to refresh his drink and get Alvina's. Rose for her too.
Dominic did indeed take a bite of the cakelog, the taste and texture savored. “Oh, that’s delicious. Good choice.” He went for a slice himself now and worked through it in a slow series of nibbles. He only half registered what was going on with Josleen and Hildegarde; most of his attention was reserved for Khitti and what was leftover had just been taken up by a certain illusionist boy. So Sykule -had- seen. He gave the boy another nod and a half-smile in return -- more than what the rest of those gathered here were getting! -- before turning his attentions more fully back to Khitti. “I don’t know. I guess I don’t really fit the bill, either. Sometimes I think if I could just tap into Brand’s confidence... he’d find a way to be right at home here. That, and make it all about himself, maybe. Probably set some things on fire... Okay, so maybe it’s better that it’s just me.” He concluded with a shrug.
Sykule was stuffing himself with another piece of cake when he heard his own name being spoken by none other than Hildegarde herself. He swallowed the last of it as fast as he could and hastly walked over to the throne, trying his best to hide his anxiety. The boy approached the throne and bowed, with one of his hands crossed over his chest. "Queen Hildegarde..."
Pilar had just gotten herself a slice of cake when he heard her name called. She promptly dropper her plate and the cake (onto the table, not the floor, thank fully) and whirled around to stare at Hildegarde. What. No. She wanted her up there? In front of all these people? The timid fledgling, so alone, was this close to freaking out. Her eyes darted around. There had to be someone around she could cling to for comfort. The only people nearby she sort-of knew were Hudson and Kelovath. And she could hardly hide behind them. She was almost in a full-blown panic by now. But she had no choice. Shaking violently, she made her way towards Hildegarde, only to trip on her own feet the second she cleared the crowd. Her face burned hot as she heard someone behind her snicker.
Khitti grinned at Dominic as he approved of the cakelog, gathering another slice for herself. Oh, this was good. It was so so so good. So good in fact, that she hadn't noticed Sykule yet, her attention focused on the cake, nor the approaching Pilar. But then...then...Hildegarde called upon her, as well as the others. The vampire nearly chokes on her dessert, coughing and sputtering ensuing. "Vhat?...Did...did she just call us up zhere?" Oh. Oh man. Oh no. Oh gods. Panic definitely set in, but she managed to muster up the courage, stuffed what was left of her cake into her piehole. She made herself presentable, then grabbed Dominic's hand and dragged him along with her. "I zhink zhis is vhere I die." is whispered to her lovely date. "Vhy is she calling on me? Of all people?" The questions are more retorical than anything as she finally comes to a halt in front of Hildegarde, trying her best to hide the stage fright that was lingering on her features.
Alvina nods and receives the wine as any High Class Lady should!! How lucky is Hudson to have a girl that not only knows Baseball terms but also favors the type of wine he can make without much effort. Key points to dating the slacker / jock type. Alvina continues to watch as more people are called to the front, most she's never spoken with before. Who knows what grand thing The Queen of Frostmaw has in store for them!?
Dominic is dragged.
Ashe looked up from his instrument when his name was called. Albeit his last name following titles he did not in fact. Have. Still. The man rose to his feet, in no real hurry, and handed his violin to the man next to him with no explanation or pause. Befitting the pomp of the event, the man swaggered across the stage, stepped off of it into the crowd and shimmied his way towards the throne where the queen waited. “Most generous of you to refer to a mere entertainer as lord, Your Grace.” he winked.
Josleen rejoins Alvina, Hudson, and Kelovath (who is still here in spirit and probably does something cute and supportive when Jos returns? Maybe they have a little vomit-inducing moment? New love tends to nauseate those around them). Once she and Kelovath have finished turning stomachs, she takes back her drink and watches the next batch of heroes bask in the limelight. She applauds for all of them, but especially Pilar, who she knows best, then Ashe, who she knows a little. The rest she knows only by name and in stories. She applauds when appropriate and fills in Hudson and Alvina on who’s who and why they’re up there.
Pilar shakily got to her feet and joined her friends and comrades by Hildegarde's side, thoroughly embarrassed. She took Khitti's other hand, as much for her friend's comfort as her own.
Hildegarde moved as soon as Pilar tripped. Queen she may be, but a Queen does not ignore a subject or friend in need. The Silver crouched for a moment to reach her hands out to gently grasp Pilar’s arms and gently pull her to her feet. The woman was not above these gathered people. “Are you all right?” she asked gently, eventually letting Pilar go so she might face the assembled group as a whole. She smirks at Ashe, “That’s Your Worship to you,” she said, clearly only teasing. “But I gather you before me now to welcome you to Frostmaw, not just as honoured guests and friends, but as citizens if that is your wish. Know that you shall always have a home here in Frostmaw, a place in my hall and my table; a warm hearth with meat and mead. You are not only honoured guests, you are friends of Frostmaw. If you would stay as citizens, I would be most honoured.” The Queen paused before looking to Khitti, “You already hold position here, Khitti, and I have heard a rumour that you are an archer. I am in the process of having a gift crafted for you, as a symbol of your office and your trust in Frostmaw,” she told the vampire. “Ashe. I would ask you to consider becoming my bard, my adviser who I may listen to but never necessarily obey,” she said with a little wry grin, before swiftly stepping in to press a brief kiss to his cheek. “You tried hard to keep me alive, my friend. I thank you for that.” Dominic, Pilar and Sykule are glanced between before she finally says: “Think on my offer of citizenship. There is much and more for you here, if you wish it,” she says gently before taking a step back as if to tell them silently that they could depart from the stage if they so wished. Finally, her attention falls to Ranok. “Greetings,” she said to him, offering a little smile. “Thank you, for your congratulations and hail. It was most kind of you.”
Hudson claps as appropriate and is a willing if not captive audience for the subsequent hero awards, though is conscious that Alvina beside him is shifting her weight and shooting him anxious looks out of the corner of her eye. Too many people for too long, he thinks, leaning closer and hiding his face in her hair for the time it takes him to discreetly ask her if she's trying to signal she wants to leave. Yeah. She does. All right. Ugh. He did want to party, but he had promised her. He hides his disappointment pretty well, squeezes her hand. The party's just beginning to stir, in-between acts, when he gives Josleen and Kelo the, "We have to head out, it was great seeing you," quick speech. He gives Alvina his jacket and the two make their way through revelers, though not without a pit stop at the dessert tray - something for the road - on the way out.
Accompanied by a guard, enters a skinny, nervous-looking youth dressed in the most outlandishly pretentious bard's garb - doublets and lacy bits and tights.. Oh my. The guard stands with him as they wait for an apporopiate moment for the youth's presence to be announced. The young bard appears to be breaking out in some sort of rash.
Alvina sighs gratefully at Hudson's exit plan. "See you guys soon, lovely to meet you."
Ashe utilized the half-cape he'd swept over his arm to bow with a flourish to the queen. Stylish as ever, was the bard, now in a more comfortable environment than the battlefield. The two had traded places, as it were. “Consider it I will. Though I had hoped to take my trade somewhere where I won't face large scale battle. Or frostbite.” That came with a smile, giving himself a fair share of the witticism with fair humor. “It is not an easy task you lay before me. But I may yet come to enjoy a challenge, no?”
Khitti looked down at what had been her free hand, now taken up by Pilar. It's given a squeeze, and Pilar a reassuring smile before turning back to Hildegarde. As she's addressed, she blinks a few times at the mention of a gift, "I...I...uh." Good going, woman. Just say something. Geez. "Zhank you, Hildegarde. I hope zhat I don't disappoint you." She lets the thought of a gift for her process in her head as she releases Pilar's hand, and moves to lead Dominic slowly from the immediate area near the Silver as she attends to the unknown male that had approached her. The shock eventually fades and she looks to Dominic, remembering Hildegarde's offer. "You'll stay here right?" is asked as she moves back to the food for more cake, "You'll stay here vith me?"
Ranok makes a certain gesture, a flip and upturn of the wrist. A one handed elven sign of respect that he'd picked up, "The least I could do. I do wish that I could have done more for Frostmaw, but domestic matters consumed much of my attention and resources. Still, Rynvale as a people cry out for your people." A pause, "And I do wish to make up for Arien's lack of effort on assisting her displaced people. Strange that so little was done for those of Sage, but it was kind of Frostmaw to offer them a new home. For that, you have my eternal gratitude." An incline of the head and hiss ears flatten just slightly. In a smooth motion, the glassed pot is offered, "A small token. I had heard that your winter berry garden suffered in the war. A small thing to help restore it. I cultivated it in my own garden." Another pause, and a glance around, as if daring any to snicker at the revelation of his past time. Then, he continues, "It has no formal name, but I feel that Sun Rose will do just fine. It is as hardy as I could make it, but...even if it only survives the summer, do not take it for the waning of resolve of the people I have adopted."
Tristram watched the festivities, the accolades awarded to Hildegarde’s loyal friends, their shared celebrations. He finished his drink, toasting to the Queen with everyone else who raised a glass. But it was time to go home. He had an army outside the gates, warmed by Frostmaw ale, but practically frozen over. It was time to go home. He started making his way through the crowd, exchanging pleasantries and farewells. He glanced Hildegarde’s way as he reached the large doors to the throne room, and maybe he caught her eye, maybe he did not. Either way, he knew it would not be long before he saw her again, perhaps in a more temperate clime, something more bearable than the bite of the perpetual Frostmawian winter. He flicked a two-fingered salute to the newly-crowned queen, and took his leave.
Sykule looked around, at his friends, at the crowd, then back at Hildegarde with a smile. "T-Thank you, Queen Hildegarde. It would be an honor to live here at Frostmaw." The boy didn't mind the cold, harsh weather. He was used to living in this kind of climate. And it would be good to live near The Eyrie, he couldn't think of a more convenient place to call home. The boy then turned to face his friends, waiting for their answers.
Dominic had only nodded and bowed demurely to Hildegarde, words failing him. To be honored in such a way… really? Him? Had he really done so much to be worthy of special recognition? But he recovered as they pulled away from the stage again, a quiet “of course I will,” offered to Khitti, “as if I could even think of leaving you… besides, being citizen of somewhere sounds better than staying perpetually nomadic.” Not that he wouldn’t still wander from time to time.
Linn was probably showing up unfashionably late at this point, and certainly no less unfashionable was his usually conspicuous mithril armor – he never managed to retrieve or replace the formal wear he wore to the last festivity. Regardless of his own appearance, he tried to slip in without too much event and watch from the sides to see what stage the coronation was at. Judging by the figures leaving however, he might have been later to the party than he thought. Oops. After some glances cast around he eventually set his sights on Hildegarde at the throne with a smile, the position a culmination of massive effort, focus, leadership, and inspiration. The only thing that would be found in his expression was a deep respect.
Pilar had already been given this offer. Why did Hildegarde find it necessary to call her up there? Just to honor her in front of all these people? That had backfired horribly. Pilar swallowed, and tried to speak. "Th..." That was all she got out before Khitti slipped from her fingers and she was all alone again. Or she felt that way. Tears pricked her eyes and she backed away from Hildegarde and ducked into the crowd. She weaved through the people, muttering "excuse me" and "sorry" where appropriate, practically running for the door.
The poetically foppish young man taps a fingernai on the guard's helm and rolls his slightly googly eyes toward the Queen and her guests, a none too subtle hint. The guard mumbles something under his breath about the sack of gold he was paid to do this not being enough, then sighs and clears his throat loudly. "Your Majesty...May I present to you Master Wentworth Ponsonby-Smythe, of Cenril, bearing a gift of goodwill on behalf of that City." The youth looks like he's about to wet himself.
Khitti finished stuffing more cake into her mouth, promptly wiped the crumbs from her mouth and then threw her arms around Dominic's neck, "Really?!" As if she thought he'd just up and leave, a kiss presented happily to his lips. "Vill you dance vith me?" She beamed brightly; never before had she ever been seen in such a good mood. It's almost as if things actually felt right for once.
Sykule tried to reach for Pilar, a little too late. He stood there looking quite confused, then turned back at Dominic and Hildegarde. "Should we go after her?"
Josleen applauds when appropriate and calls out Pilar's name.
Hildegarde smiled as most of her honoured guests accepted the offer or at least vowed to consider it. But Pilar’s response deeply wounded the Queen: leaving her standing there to watch as Pilar ran to escape the building, “Pilar,” she said gently, but knew she could not give chase without shunning all else and she could not do so. But she didn’t need to. Lisbeth instead took the initiative to head off after Pilar, her large legs carrying her towards the familiar vampire in the effort to catch up to her and walk outside with her for a little bit of comfort. Turning to Ranok, she dipped her crowned head as Ranok spoke of how Rynvale mourned and cried out for her people. It was good to hear that some mourned alongside her own people. “It would be wrong of me to say I am glad to hear the people of Rynvale cry out alongside the Frostmawians, but it heartens me to hear our grief is not alone,” she said, finding that the right words came to her after a little stumbling to begin with. “The Sun Rose,” she said softly, smiling at Ranok and not judging his hobby. Hildegarde liked to paint when she found the time! The Queen accepted the glass container with a careful grip. “Thank you. Our garden was protected by Orikahn, but I shall see to it that it finds a good spot there. But I would ask that you leave a note with some advice on its care. Would I be better off to plant it in the garden itself or to keep it in my own chambers?” Yet now she must turn to the boy and poet! “Thank you, young sir. Please, accept this as a token of my gratitude and tell Master Wentworth Ponsonby-Smythe to perform post-haste,” she said, passing a generous pouch to the lad.
Ashe with the situation moving on, Ashe tactfully removed himself from the elevated position and returned to his seat in the Orchestra.
Linn tilted his head with a curious lookas Pilar began rushing back down to escape before pushing forward to the crowd in an attempt to intercept the vampire. Should he managed to catch up with her and Lisbeth he’d pull alongside them to ask slightly hesitantly, “Uhh… It looks like I missed quite a bit.” An awkward ‘heh’ as he tried to relieve some of his own embarrassment as it became apparent that he was absent for just about the whole coronation. “What all has happened so far?”
Ranok takes a moment to adjust a cuff link, "I admit that I have not tested its hardiness to the extremes of Frostmaw, but it bulbs. Perhaps that will be enough. Sun and water are all it needs for. Not an exceptionally needy plant." Head tilts ever just so slightly in response to her question, "I suppose that is your choice, Queen. Do you share the bloom's beauty to the people, not sure that it will survive the demands? Or do you hold it close to your breast so that it may last forever? I could not say the proper way for you." A hand delves into a pocket, taking out an exceptionally made pocket watch. The glass back showed the master crafted timepiece, the chain made of fine mithril, "I have one more gift for you, but I will save it for later. Matters of state and business should wait for their time. For now, you should enjoy your hard won victory with those that made the journey with you. For now, my leave I will take." A click of the watch and Ranok bows once more to the newly crowned queen, andd he withdraws to collect his date. Hopefully he had not left her too long, as she was the sort of charming saleswoman. Maybe more then one giant or native might have been persuaded into an ill advised timeshare or shipment of absolutely necessary goods.
Dominic hadn’t picked up on Pilar’s sudden flight, nor the reactions surrounding it. He wasn’t being intentionally rude, just… new love consumed his attentions and all. He was fixated on Khitti, returning that kiss, wrapping himself around her in that waltzing position she’d shown him before. “If you want a dance, it’s yours.”
The bard pales, except for the splotchy red of his nervous rash, which stands out even more brightly against his wan, perspiring face. In his head, he is chanting to himself the words of encouragement spoken to him by that the strange hobo on the cliffs yesterday, as he steps toward the Queen, grappling a lyre appended by a strap to his back, at the same time attempting a too-low bow, which causes the lyre to swing about and thuk him on the head. Scarlet-faced entirely now, the young man speaks, his voice tremulous, “Your Majesty, if it please you, a song…” He was meant to say so much more, but the formalities stuck in his throat, about where his prominent adam’s apple was bobbing up down, nervous gulps preceding a few notes struck on the lyre, to make sure it was properly in tune, and prepare the audience – what was left of them! Dash it all, for being tardy! – to listen. The tune he played was lively but with an air of the dramatic, the words he sang as follows.... (https://www.hollowgame.com/wiki/Song:The_Silver_Dawn )
Sykule held himself back as Lisbeth went off to seek Pilar. He was sure he wouldn't know how to comfort her, at least not now. But this was a celebration, there would be time to worry later. The boy waved his arm at Xzavior and offered him a warm smile on his way out. He then went back to one of the tables, watching Dominic and Khitti nearby, hoping to chat for a bit with them if he had the chance.
Pilar ran headlong into Linn and fell on her backside. The second embarrassing fall of the day. Lisbeth caught up to her and hauled her effortlessly to her feet. The vampire stared up at the giant with big, wet eyes. "I-I'm sorry... I just... I panicked." Her first humiliating fall had sapped all the strength she had for being in front of a crowd. "I... I'm not fit for Frostmaw, I'm... not strong enough." She looked at Linn, tears staining her cheeks. "Hildegarde is queen now. And Miss Josleen a Thane." Well, he wanted to know what had happened.
Josleen is slowly getting drunk on rose wine, belting out lyrics to known songs with other spontaneous-singers, mostly healers. She dances in place, and in a group, as Kelovath’s leg injury makes him a poor dance partner. Then the emissary from Cenril plays a song she doesn’t recognize, and she listens attentively with the focus of a musician. Lovely piece, worth the standing ovation she gives it. Back to dancing now. She really wants someone to ask her to dance. Her gaze surreptitiously scans the crowd for a non-creepy man who looks willing and skilled.
Hildegarde would certainly think on Ranok’s advice. “I shall invite you to view it, when I decide on where it shall be placed,” though she felt she already knew where it would be going. As Ranok spoke of needing to go, the woman offered a dip of her head in reply, tempted to bid him not to call her Queen but instead electing to let it slide for just one day. “Another time, then,” she told him, allowing him to slip away as her attention was called away by the performing bard. As he begins to paly the lyre and delve into the song, the woman listens quietly: the tale of her death, revival, the battle so terribly vivid and Balgruuf’s surrender. It was beautiful and grim, a bit like Frostmaw itself. “A beautiful song,” the Queen praised after a moment of silence. “Artfully written and quite like nothing I have ever heard before. I commend you, sir bard!” she said with a broad grin. “I would be honoured if you would sing more for us, truly,” she said, welcoming the bard quite happily into her hall. Meanwhile, Lisbeth is gently trying to reassure Pilar: “Pilar. She meant to honour you before her friends, the court, the nobles. It was a gesture of goodwill, of trust, of love. Not embarrassment. She had something else for you, but you ran away. Another time, perhaps, but you must seek her out another time. You are upset, true, you didn’t hide it. But Hildegarde? She hides it now,” the giantess said, pointing over at the smiling and conversing Queen. True enough, the knight did her best to conceal her feelings to but the merest of flashes of truth.
Linn was about to reach down to help Pilar up as well before Lisbeth beat him to it, bringing about a weak smile before another curious look came as she accused herself of weakness, before long he shook it away. Before he could fully process what she said a reflexive “What are you talking about?” came out. “Uhh, for Frostmaw.” Another pause came before he reached an arm around the vampire to try and comfort her as they presumably continued their way out of the throne room. “I figured Hildegarde is queen now, but what do you mean not fit for Frostmaw? You’ve done a lot that others wouldn’t be willing to do. You made your way through a whole different kind of danger from that of a battle.”
Xzavior had finally arrived to the doors just to see Pilar running out of them. With a raised brow he twisted out of the way before she could hit him and continued on with his walk to the person in which this party was made for. Cutting through the crowd he remained a respectable distance before offering Hildegarde a bow and with a smirk said, "Is that crown comfortable, Your Highness, Queen Hildegarde?" There wasn't any way he wasn't going to give her a bit of grief with that title now. Why shouldn't he?
Hildegarde said to Xzavior, "I'm sure you'd like to know just how comfortable this crown is, my friend. That's Your Worship, to you!"
Khitti , whereas Dominic hadn't noticed Pilar's fleeing, finally did realize what was going on, her ears perking up as she hears Pilar making her escape and then running into Linn. A faint frown adorns her lips, but she does nothing more than sigh at the girl. She knew how she felt though. With multiple people attending to her, she'd certainly seek out that vampire she considered her sister soon and find out what was wrong. As Dominic gets into position for dancing, she returns her attention to him, dark eyes settling on his own. Like their dance in the library, she'd get lost in the music, lost in the moment. Except now, it was ten times as great for this time there was a real band, and it was a real party, and feeling wasn't just spur of the moment. That dreamy sort of smile of hers stamps out the frown that had once been there, all of her focus on Dominic now.
Wentworth Ponsonby-Smythe seems to be on the verge of fainting as his song earns him personal and complimentary comment from Hildegarde, but manages to complete another low and dramatic bow, his poetically lengthy ginger forelock falling over his face as he does so. Sweeping the hair back as he stands, he begins to play another song, this one more familiar to the crowd, all the while imagining what he’d say his father in arriving home, triumphant, having not ‘completely stuffed it up’ nor having ‘embarrassed the family name’, as predicted.
Pilar was an utterly miserable wretch, wasn't she? She had hurt Hildegarde's feelings and seemingly rejected a great honor for no reason. She sniffled and wiped her eyes as Linn placed his arm around her. "I just... I got so upset over such a stupid little thing..."
Sykule realized he was a bit drunk once he stood up again, to grab another piece of cakelog. He was already humming along with the songs of the bards and he was unconsciously considering to dance. - How embarrassing, get a hold of yourself!- He shook his head, trying to get the image of a dragon dancing with a top hat in the middle of the hall out of his mind.
Linn sighed and weakly shook his head as Pilar went on. “Just take it easy. Panic happens.” At least that’s what he assumed happened anyway. A nod was offered to Lisbeth for her advice on what to do next. “You can catch up with her later. From the looks of it it’d be best for me to as well. I need to congratulate her but…” A glance back at the new queen of Frostmaw. “It’s a bit late.”
Josleen sizes up the bard from Cenril in the foppish attire. Secret desire: Please be a gay man. Gay men are both excellent dance partners (as a general, but not absolute, rule), and non-threatening to boyfriends (Kelovath need not feel emasculated). The Cenrili fits the double bill. To test her theory, she makes eyes across the room at him to gauge how he reacts.
Dominic was lost in the music, lost in Khitti, in remembering the proper steps to the dance. He reached up at one point to tuck an errant strand of hair back behind her ear. “I’ve already told you you’re gorgeous, but… no. You’re beautiful. Stunning. Absolutely radiant in every way.” He was running out of synonyms and settled for twirling her before reeling her in for another kiss.
Aquila having finally put some names that he had been hearing about to faces, and since the party seems to be winding down, begins to head to the door to leave.
Josleen is drunk enough to forget to count sweets, worry about her figure, and sashays over to the dessert table to pick off a slice of cakelog. Her shoulders and hips wiggle in opposite directions, in tandem to the rhythm, as she savors that sinful chocolate. Her eyes close, body still dancing in place: she's drunk.
Xzavior completely ignored the music and went straight to the drunkish dragon child after wavi g farewell to the queen and offered Syk a grin. "Don't tell me you're a light weight kid!" before grabbing some rum and drinking from the bottle
Wentworth happened to be flickering self-conscious glances about the room, trying to ascertain how his music was being received here, imagining that any moment he’d hit a sour note and these fierce Northern folks would come at him with.. pitchforks, or something. He catches that glance from Josleen.. Was it.. No. Couldn’t possibly be.. flirtatious? Ginger-haired, too tall, too bony, splotchy-faced, with a few remnant spots thanks to his recently-passed and emotionally turbulent adolescence, the young bard offers her a weak smile in return, managing at the same time to appear rather like a small and frightened rabbit, in a hall thronged with wolves. Was she coming over? Was she expecting.. something? Would he actually pass out? Nothing to indicate which team he played for, in any of that – but anyone was in need of some rescue, it was poor, terrified Wentworth Ponsonby-Smythe (whose name had been announced earlier…).
Pilar appreciated Linn's reassurance. "Thanks..." She looked up at Lisbeth. "I'll apologize to her tomorrow, first thing." Now at the door, finally, Pilar looked to Linn. "Go enjoy the rest of the party. I'm just going to to my room... Get some sleep. Good night."
Linn nodded as Pilar bade her farewells. “yeah, I’ll have to see her soon myself.” Briefly he turned around to the rest of the party with a sigh. Missed the whole damn thing. With weak smile he turned to Lisbeth, “Tell Hildegarde I send my regards. But right now I have someone I have to take care of.” With a chuckle he began to depart from the throne room to end his short-lived presence.
Josleen cannot pay attention to all announcements as there is gossip to be discussed. Eileen, army nurse, who nearly died during the last battle, already has a new boyfriend! Her seventh of the war. Seventh!! Wentworth's name pales in comparison to Julius, Eileen’s boyfriend du jour. Who, by the by, is vomiting in a large potted plant. Josleen expects to hear news of an eighth boyfriend soon. Men, take heed. If you can’t hold your liquor, be sure to lose it privately lest you risk losing your girl too. As for Wentworth, jackpot. Straight or gay doesn’t matter. He’s too much of a boy to threaten a man like Kelovath (who is still here, fyi). Josleen comments to her beau, “Oh look at that poor boy from Cenril.” She can tell his city simply by the attire. “I recognize that expression anywhere. It’s the singular expression of a bard trained under Master Proch. Miserable old music theory teacher at The Academy.” That is, The Cenril Academy of Music and Arts, Josleen’s alma mater. Once Wentworth’s set is over and other bards hip-check him off the stage for their turn in the limelight, Josleen strides over to the ginger-haired boy and calls, “If I am not mistaken, you are trained at The Academy, are you not?” No need to specify which academy. To bards, there is only one. Hollow’s Julliard, so to speak. “I can hear the discipline in your tone,” she tacks on. If wrong, flattery smooths over the miss.
Khitti would've certainly been blushing could she have, her bottom lip bit in embarrassment, "Oh hush. I am not..." She's soon cut off though, with that kiss of his, her protests silenced. It soon became apparent to her that a lot of people had gone, including the Queen herself. "Ve don't have to stay if you don't vant to." She pulls her hands from his, slipping her arms around Dominic's neck, shifting it into a more slow-type dance, one that really didn't take much effort.
Sykule turned to face the Naga with a wild smile. It was a fact that he wasn't someone used to drinking, he'd usually favor a cup of tea instead, but he wouldn't refuse a friendly dare. He grabbed one of the bottles of rum, just like the one Xzavior had. "Was that a challenge, Mr. Noodle?" He took a sip, then drank from the bottle, coughing afterwards. The boy laughed "Maybe I'll get used to this after living here for a while."
Xzavior nearly spit out his drink when he called him a noodle and burst out laughing, "Oh now I am going to drink you under the table!" he took said bottle and tipped it up to down all but a quarter of it to take a small breath then finishing it off with a smirk, "Well kid? Think you can match me?"
Wentworth’s prominent adam’s apple rises and falls like a buoy on a stormy sea, “I.. uh… The.. uh.. Acad..uh… “ He’s gone a funny color, hard to describe, but plainly the boy is flailing here, “Yes!” he blurts, nodding hard, his ginger forelock swaying off its swept-back position to dangle in front of his eyes again, two blue-green pools of terror that can’t seem to meet Josleen’s for very long. “M..master P-p-..” The stutter that had shamed his father into enrolling him at the Academy in the first place, in the hope of it being cured, made an awful re-appearance. If the floor could swallow him, Wentworth would thank it eternally. “Proch!” he blurts, and remembers to take a slow deep breath, a moment to gather himself, and adds, “Y.you know him?”
Dominic said to Khitti, "The crowd's more manageable now, and the music..." He trailed off, but the starry look in his eyes said it all. "I'll stay and dance as long as you want."
Sykule raised an eyebrow, then did his best attempt to look serious. He closed his eyes, exhaled and then chugged the bottle, slowly at first, then faster. The rum burned his throat, the smell was strong, but he was determined to do it. He eventually finished it, dropped the empty bottle on the table, and sat there, with his eyes still closed for a moment. Sykule then fell headfirst into the table, completely knocked out.
Josleen enjoys pinning Wentworth in her gaze more than she would if she were sober. It’s fun to watch him stumble because of her attention. “Of course.” Her voice lilts flirtatiously. A shoulder lifts and her chin dips towards it girlishly, in the way all teenage boys have been instructed through plays and poems to interpret as a sign of a girl’s willingness. Josleen is not willing, but she knows the game. This here is the danger of letting Josleen drink. She isn’t cruel, but she is a performer. No performer could pass up the opportunity to have such a striking effect on a rapt audience. “When I was a student, Proch was the crucible of all my nightmares. My main was fiddle. He almost put me off the fiddle for good, but passions can’t be put off long. ..But you know how that goes, I can tell.” She smiles sweetly, like a true groupie-in-the-making. She’s not. “His wife is worse.” The dance teacher, Wentworth would know if he isn’t lying about his enrollment at the Academy. Entertaining that possibility, even drunk, Josleen explains for his sake, “Wonderful dancer, terrible teacher. Shame all first-years have to endure her class. It puts a lot of artists off dance. Shame.” She leans in conspiratorially and whispers, just loud enough for Kelovath to hear for she is at all times aware of his potential concerns, and the need to placate them preemptively. “Not a soul in this ballroom can do the foxtrot in the Rynvalian style.” Given her tone, you’d think everyone in the room were buffoons but these two bards, bonded in their highbrow, musical education. “Indulge me?”
All Wentworth can do, in response to any and all of that, is nod like some sort of skinny-bodied, foppishly-garbed bobble-headed doll. Not that he wouldn’t rather be eaten alive by a rabid wharg than get up and dance in front of everyone, but the fact is that he’s just a smidge more frightened of Josleen than any such beast, right at this moment. He props his instrument carefully against the back of a vacant seat, as if the thing was not only precious but alive, he stands – towering over Josleen in a human-shaped stick-insect-y sort of way. But as socially inept as the youth is, he is after all a Ponsonby-Smythe, an old and illustrious name Josleen would probably know well, seeing as it was plastered over several bronze plaques around Cenril, including a couple at the Academy. His lifetime spent among the wealthy elite of that city proves to be his savior now, as manners learned from birth kick in like autopilot, and he offers her a formally courteous hand, the other arm tucked neatly behind his back, ready to lead her to the dance floor. As they go, he speaks quietly, “Madame Proch once made me degage for seventeen hours…” The pain of that memory is clear, in his blue-green , anguished gaze.
Josleen still hasn’t learned the boy’s surname--or first name? She was learning of Julius then, who is now sleeping against the clay pot that houses the plant he fertilized with his vomit. All parties end this way, sooner or later. Had she learned Wentworth’s name, she would likely treat him as one handles an ancient painting hung in a museum, that is, from a distance, discussed in whispers, never touched. Alas, she has no idea who he is, only that he is obliging her and she does so badly want to dance. It is true that none here are trained as they. Behind Wentworth’s back, as he leads her out onto the floor, she sends Kelovath a grateful glance and wink. She’s still his, just wants to dance. In response to Wentworth’s anecdote she says, “She must have liked you.” On the dancefloor she lets him lead. He’ll find it’s easy to turn and guide her, like slipping a knife through butter, at room temperature. She adjusts to his style as well, mimics his strides and flourishes so they appear a well-oiled, rehearsed pair rather than strangers. The first few bars are spent taking the measure of him, and the rest of the song dedicated to performance.
Dancing has never been an activity Wentworth would ever indulge for fun, Madame Proch’s militaristic demands had indeed wrung every possible shred of joy from that activity from him, for all eternity. But one did not simply pass through the Academy without knowing how to act, and dance, and do both at once when required, so the youth really does dance divinely, and smile like a mannequin, all the while. Through false cheer, he replies, “She liked my parents’ donations, unfortunately.” The very idea of that dread woman ;liking’ anyone brought a quirky, awkward smile to his face, replacing the well-practised wooden one, briefly. As the dance ends, he bows in the required fashion, one hand flourishing in a gracious sweep before he stands and leads Josleen off the floor, in the direction of the seating area. As for the flirting, the petite woman may as well have smacked him with a 4x2 plank, for it’s left him a little bit stunned, really, the foppish bard having never had anyone flirt with him at all, in any way, so it was rather like offering a goldfish a slide trombone and expecting something to happen. Grappling for his lute, Wentworth stuttered a bit, something about needing to get some fresh air, bowed, stuttered an apology and something polite, bowed again and fled the throne room like a gangly jackrabbit with its cottony tail on fire.
When Wentworth mentions his parent’s donation, she finally realizes where she has seen the hook of his nose before: in the gallery of patrons at The Academy. All the Ponsonby-Smythe’s boast the same schnoz. She doesn’t let on that she knows who he is now. Instead she nods agreeably, continues with the dance. It’s over and he deposits her back with Kelovath, who is still being NPC’d unwittingly, poor sod. Josleen curtsies when Wentworth bows. He’s scurrying away before she’s fully upright. She laughs against her knuckles as she watches him bound away. Her attention returns to her date. “Gosh, that was fun. I’m exhausted, love,” she says as she drops into Kelovath’s lap, whispers about wanting to go to bed, and shares with him her true affections and flirtations. Poor Wentworth Ponsonby-Smythe.