RP:What's Done Can Be Undone

From HollowWiki

Part of the What You Leave Behind Arc

Part of the What Dreams May Come Arc

Summary: Uma holds a secret meeting of witches and witch-sympathizers, at which she explains that the Cenril barrier is weakening due to the deaths of two of its casters. She sets forth the task before them: find four ancient witch talismans known as the crystal skulls in order to resurrect Valrae and repair the weakening protection around the city.

Mayor’s Entertaining Room, Cenril

Hudson | The entertaining room is as lavishly appointed with drinks and snacks as always for guests but access has been restricted for this event. Joanie, Hudson's secretary, is at the door to screen entry. For those of you who haven't met Joanie, she's older, carefully put together, and wears her auburn hair long. Her face is lined but pleasant. She has the calming demeanor yet ruthless efficiency you'd expect from a woman who keeps the trains running on time for the Cenril mob. She graciously directs meeting attendees to be seated on the couches. Hudson is hovering over a guacamole bowl and talking quietly with Uma, who is instantly recognizable with her dress printed in red poinsettias. (Evidently she's not warming up to the idea of wearing suits.) Uma keeps glancing over the room, waiting for it to fill up.

Alvina had arrived with Hudson but had chosen to occupy a couch instead of hover nearby the two discussing…whatever they were discussing. Likely this meeting, maybe even Valrae. She can’t tell from the serious expression on Hudson’s face which it might be. Her hair is loose and a little wild, brushed but not straightened or styled. Natural boundless curls spill across the shoulders of navy, high neck dress. The fabric near her neck is gathered slightly, patchy lacework showing some risqué clavicle action. Beware, Husband. She waits quietly; legs cross, contemplative expression on her face while other move into the room and take their spots. She nods to those she knows with a tight lipped grin, fingers tensing around a half filled glass of wine she is not drinking. Surely it’s embarrassing for those who know, maybe more so for those who don’t that Alvina is here to help with the resurrection of her Husband’s ex-paramour.

Lionel may steward Frostmaw and -- more notably of late -- shepherd a ragtag alliance against a worldwide threat to existence itself -- but one could be excused for thinking elsewise of the man at parties he isn’t hosting. Litheness bordering on too-thin and loose-fitting scarlet silk shirt and slacks help Catal’s Last Prince ably blend in at the farthest corner with the dimmest view. One leg’s propped up against the wall in a casual display of c’est la vie. The glass goblet in his hand is expertly-gripped by two left fingers and the wine of choice is merlot from the poorest and most inebriating vineyards Rynvale has to offer. Lionel’s stare seems to bore through the couch ahead of his vision like a sword cuts through suede. A burlap sack hangs from his right shoulder, clashing with his sense of style. The magics of his emerald crystal skull may resonate strongly with those keen enough in the magical arts to sense arcane power, but to look upon its owner is to look upon ambivalence itself.

Meri has met Joanie a couple of times, and so she is greeted with a nod and a faint once Meri passes through the door. The rest of the faces that Meri is also familiar with (Alvina, Hudson, Lionel, Eleanor), they are all greeted in much the same way. A nod, a smile. There are plenty that Meri does not know, a couple do look vaguely familiar to the blonde woman but ultimately she has deduced that this is not the time or place to rub elbows. Plus, to be honest, Meri is just no in the mood. She's in the sort of mood where she'd like to loiter in the back and hear what everyone has to say, figure out how she can participate. Valrae is someone who has come to mean a lot to her very quickly in the short time the two women had together.

Lionel perks a brow at Meri's arrival when he spots her approach in his peripheral. Now is not the time to ask her about her no-doubt-perilous time in the Shadow Plane, and, given his agreement with Khitti and Brand that the woman treasures her secrets like some women treasure jewelry or knives, perhaps he'll never ask her at all. Nevertheless, it's the first time Lionel has seen Meri since she was left behind in that damnable realm, and the nod and smile he returns her are notably prolonged.

Lanara enters alongside her younger sibling, Talyara, and as most know of the woman’s nature, she’s prone to babble. “So, Taly! I really think you should go to the ball with Scandal. So what if he’s a dragon? I mean… Draconian babies would be cute! I think. I mean, not nearly as cute as lycan pups, but not everyone can have a life as blessed as me. And I really wish you would have gone with the purple dress. Kree is going to have to special order that pink pattern you loved so much, and who knows if he’ll come through in time?! The ball is in less than two weeks. He can be such a crab sometimes! I worked for him so I know…And what about Ansel? You can ask him to the ball? He’s much cuter than Scandal. But he’s always so buried in his work.” Joanie gives Lana a lingering once over and asks her name and such, narrowing her eyes on the witch in sheer annoyance. As both women seem to not notice her and aim to step over the threshold of the home, she clears her throat and again tries to garner their attention. Lana now takes the hint, and rolls her eyes, and after the trio discuss quietly, the sisters are granted entrance. Immediately, chocolate hues take in those gathered, in support of Valrae’s resurrection, and she seems somewhat surprised to see Alvina. However, should the bard or her husband catch her gaze, she’d give them a polite wave, before plucking a glass of wine from the table, and lowering herself onto a chair. Having just come from being fitted for a ball gown, the elf isn’t as finely dressed as the others, as she’s in black form-fitting leggings, a leather and lace pink corset, and knee-high boots. Shifting her gaze to her sister, she elbows Taly in the ribs, lightly. “Where the hell is the mayor? Have you ever noticed that the people of importance are always late to their own affairs?” Shaking her head, she scans the crowd again, her gaze landing briefly on Meri, who is given a small smile, and finally settling on Uma, the mayor, though Lana merely looks at her with ignorance, before taking a sip of her wine, and sighing. Hopefully, this wouldn’t be a long night amongst strangers.

Alvina catches sight of all who enter, as she’d been here long before the event was set to begin. Lionel and Meri are greeted with tame polite smiles that spoke of how she did not want to be here. Lanara is offered a slight wave with a thin lipped smile that melted before it could bloom. She doesn’t hear Lanara’s remark about the Mayor or she might have frowned. Instead, she shifts her eyes around the room. Darting glances between Uma and the doorway.

Encara doesn't know who any of these people are and she doesn't much care, either, but she is admittedly somewhat curious as to what cataclysmic event drew them all together like this. There's a tension in the mansion that might set her nerves on edge, were she anybody else, and it's clear this is not just a friendly gathering. Polite nods from wary-eyed guests are studiously ignored by the cloaked and armored half-drow loitering in the shadows by the farthest wall, who watches the mingling crowd with sharp, calculating eyes. Her chosen lurking spot has put her close to only one other individual, though Encara does not even cast a glance at Lionel but is keenly aware of his presence thanks to that thing he's carrying. She thinks there's more to that man than he's letting on - she can smell it.

Talyara wears an expression much like most probably would when having to deal with Lanara for long periods of time. She has that vacant look to her green eyes which indicate she’s probably stopped listening to her some time ago although the occasional twitch of her eye proves otherwise. She lets her sister babble though, not wanting to interrupt her train of thought lest she begin her little speech all over again. There’s a bit of a hold up at the door while the sister witches give their names to Joanie before they are permitted entrance. Taly takes not one but two glasses of wine, one of which is downed immediately. “One, Scandal is an acquaintance, someone I just met. I do not feel comfortable going to the ball with him. Two, I didn’t even -want- to go to this ball, you told me I had to. Third, I loved the purple dress, but you told them I wanted the pink fabric. I don’t even -like- pink,” she says with a scoff and a roll of her eyes. Taly takes a seat on the arm of Lanara’s chair when she is suddenly elbowed in the ribs, half of her glass of wine dribbling down her arm and staining her pale blue sweater. The younger sister swears under her breath and gives her sister a disbelieving look. “Are you daft?! She’s right…there!” She says gesticulating towards Mayor Uma. “Oh, and by the way, you really need to stop selling Petey to the kid down the street. The extra coin isn’t worth it. He doesn’t even have a head!” Taly plunges her hand into her pocket and plops a dead bird pendulum in Lanara’s lap.

Hudson | It's Joanie who takes the initiative to let the people know that the meeting's about to commence. She pulls a wooden wand from her belt and waves it in the air to simulate a chimes noise. She takes a seat in the front, near Lanara and Talyara, principally for the purpose of chaperoning them, and simpers as she crosses her legs. Hudson wastes little time in burying one last chip in guac before maneuvering through the room to seat himself near his wife, who is wearing a risqué dress for her that (he thinks) constitutes some sort of low key wifely messaging regarding their post-meeting plans. He scoots closer to her and loops his arm around the back of the sofa, watching Uma click across the room to take her place at a podium that's been placed here. She waits until a silence has descended upon the room and begins, "Thank you for coming, witches and friends of witches. For those of you who haven't met me, I am Uma Abelin, Mayor of Cenril. I'd like to begin our meeting." She smiles, showing her teeth, before continuing, "As you know, on the night my husband was elected to become Mayor of this city, a terrible and tragic attack occurred that resulted in the death of many, including him. But Cenril was strong, and we fought back, and it was witches. Witches who saved the day." She smooths the paper on the podium and straightens her neck, lifting her chin. "Witches raised a powerful barrier that banished Kahran and his followers from the city. Unfortunately," her voice shakes, she pauses here for a breath, "that barrier is weakening because two of the heroic witches who helped cast the spell have passed away. I am speaking about Willow, who passed away later that night, and Valrae, who was executed in Larket."

Hudson | Uma lets their names resonate before continuing, her eyes traversing the room, connecting with her audience's. She doesn't know everyone here. She knows Lionel and Joanie and Alvina and Hudson and Astrid, for example, but she doesn't know Lanara or Talyara or Meri and a number of others. It makes her nervous to trust like this, but she has to. She wrings her hands and continues, "I wish I were calling you here today to say that we could simply reweave the spell, but we cannot. What happened was a miracle wrought by powerful witchcraft but also one of our most ancient and dangerous rites." She very quickly wipes a tear that has stealthily slid down her cheek. She forces in another breath. "The best option we have to save the barrier is to stabilize it by raising the architects of the original spell. Valrae's spirit remains close. We have to act quickly. If we don't, there will be no safe place when Kahran's forces come back." She looks earnestly at those gathered here. "I am trusting that you will keep this, and what I am about to tell you, secret. It's for the realm." Joanie has risen from her sofa and now has in her arms a number of scrolls, which she begins distributing to the meeting attendees. They contain maps of various locations in Lithrydel with markings in four separate locations. They also contain some background reading regarding the crystal skulls. "These scrolls reveal the locations of four of the crystals skulls, which I am sure need no introduction to this group." She pauses and smiles at Meri, evidently re-thinking that. "The crystal skulls are ancient witch talismans that have the ability to raise the dead. After this meeting my office will put out an informal word that Cenril is paying handsomely for them but I'm here to tell you, my fellow witches, why, and to ask for your help personally." She offers the room a tight smile. "Thank you. That is all. I'm here if anyone has any questions."

Alvina | When Joanie sounds the alarm, Alvina casts a nervous glance at Hudson as he moves to sit beside her. Despite her agreement, she’s stiff beside him. Not out of anger but discomfort. This is not where she’d hoped to be and yet here she is. The fact that it’s a witch event doesn’t bother her; it’s the particular witch Uma is now mentioning for the second time. Valrae. She shifts uncomfortably, unfolding her legs to reweave the former top to the bottom and vice versa. Meri’s presence is noted, appreciated, granted a smile when Alvina feels her heart start to sink into the dark pity pit that is this meeting. Uma is (not surprisingly) graceful and convincing.

Lionel kicks off from his perch against the wall in a smooth and gingerly fashion, slowly making his way nearer to Uma. He affords her a quick but meaningful glance. ‘You did good,’ it almost seems to say. ‘Trusting them will be hard, but there’s no other way around this.’ His smile, although small and slanted leftward, is genuine. His eyes have removed all manner of ambiguity to focus on the Cenrili mayor proudly. “Just wanted to chime in for a sec,” Lionel says, not so loudly that folks engaged in their own conversations again will necessarily hear him. His tone is the antithesis of presumption: he wants this to be about Uma’s leadership, not his, because this concerns witches in a way a man like him can only follow. Still, he’s loud enough that heads may turn if folks have ears to hear him. “The alliance is working tirelessly to defeat Kahran. I promise each of you the men and women under my command -- including witches -- would give their all to see it done. Some of ‘em have indeed given their all.” He pauses, grimacing. “We couldn’t do it without all those who have bravely stood against Macon’s tyrannical edicts against witches. And frankly, we couldn’t do it without Valrae. Her death was a terrible thing. It shook the realm. We’re shaking it back. But we need Cenril in order to keep on shaking, not just because it’s an invaluable bastion of hope for its victorious defiance of Kahran’s invasion but because there are people here, real people with real lives who deserve to live.” Lionel eyes Meri briefly, nodding all over again as if glad she made it back from the Shadow Plane in one piece. “Valrae deserves to live, too. And we need her for Cenril. Let’s make it happen. Thanks, Uma. And thanks, all of you.”

Hudson | Uma smiles and briefly yields the podium to Lionel so that he can get a word in. Mostly, she wants to grab a glass of wine. By the time she's back, he is finished speaking. She gestures that he should loiter in the general vicinity in case people have questions about Kahran in particular.

Lanara tucks the pendulum into her cleavage, so only the taped-on head of the bird peeks out from the middle of her bosom, making her look like some sort of erotic yet creepy bird lady. She hurriedly whispers a response to her sister, while handling her a cloth napkin to clean up the wine. “That blind kid doesn’t recognize a bargain. How is that my problem?! Oh… Shh. It’s starting.” And with that, Lana falls silent, merely blinking at Joanie, their assume chaperone for the evening, before her gaze trails to Uma. So that was the mayor?! The elf’s eyes brim with tears as Valrae is mentioned, and she shakes her head, before dabbing daintily at her eyelids with a napkin. No witch deserved an ending that atrocious, regardless of whatever actions she had taken in her life. She had only met Val a handful of times, but each occasion was pleasant, and she felt a unique kinship with the woman. Witches had to stick together, especially in a time of need! She nods her head as the mention of the skulls is brought forth, though the mention of the gold goes unnoticed. She wasn’t here for payment of her services; she was here to help out a fellow daughter of the Goddess, and nothing more. Uma strikes her as someone that is sincere and is concerned about more than the mere safety of her city, and she softly claps her hands in a brief applaud as the speech ends. As the others disperse, be it to leave the mansion, engage in conversation, ask questions, or fill their bellies with guacamole like Hudson, Lana excuses herself from Taly’s side and slowly walks over to the mayor. A hand is extended in greeting, as the elf grows serious, the meeting having sobered her mood. “Pleasure to meet you, Mayor. However, I wish it were under less grave circumstances. I’m Lanara. I’m a witch. I was a friend of Valrae’s, and I’m happy to offer my help. I just wanted to formally introduce myself and thank you for putting this together so that both the residents of Cenril, and the witches of the realm, can all benefit from this cause.”

Talyara falls silent when Joanie calls everyone to order, turning her attention to the podium. She listens as the Mayor begins to talk of Valrae, of the dwindling spell, or the need to resurrect the fallen witches. A shiver runs down Taly’s spine as she turns her head to give her sister a significant look. The speech doesn’t last long and just as she is about to whisper in Lanara’s ear, Lionel steps up, the younger witch presses her lips closed to listen to what he has to say as well.

Meri does indeed like her secrets, but it is not entirely her fault she has to keep this a secret. Thank you, Onyx. It would be nice to be able to talk about her misfortunes but she's afraid she'll slip up -- lies can be so complicated sometimes. One thing was certain, even if Lionel was going to earn an answer for Meri, he probably would not have much hope getting her talking in front of so many people. Maps are passed out and Meri examines the one that she is given curiously before her attention is pulled to Lionel. The man is given time to give his little speech, her full attention given. Once it seems like there is room to talk again, Meri gives the map in her hands a bit of a wave and speaks up. "I know about half of you, the other half I don't. But my offer is good to all of you? If you want to team up and find these skulls? Let me know, however I can help bring Valrae back."

Astrid was late to the meeting, because that’s just the type of person she is, and she trotted into the room, her presence heralded by the furious clack of black heels across the hard flooring. She wore bright red slacks that were stylishly cropped a few inches above her ankle, with a simple, black sweater that was just heavy enough to combat the chilly coastal breezes of Cenril. She hugged a heavy tome to her chest, and slowly sidled around the crowd to come to a stop beside the only other person she knew besides Hudson or Uma; Lionel. In a conspiratorial whisper, perhaps just loud enough for those few who immediately surrounded the warrior and herself, Astrid murmured, “You know there’s a statue in a bathroom in Frostmaw that looks a lot like you.” She thought it was a great greeting, but immediately fell silent thereafter to listen to Uma intently. The talk of resurrection, reweaving the spell that protected Cenril, and the bounty for crystal skulls was enough to insure that anything said in retort about the aforementioned statue was promptly ignored. As Joanie made her way over, Astrid juggled the book she had brought with her to then accept the scroll, and immediately following, unfurl it; as a school teacher, she had the necessary skills in order to ensure that she maintained a careful and sturdy grip on everything within her arms. Lionel’s speech thereafter drew her attention from the marked map, and she listened as closely as she had with Uma’s before returning to the scroll. After a minute longer, she rerolled the parchment, and tucked it carefully into the back pocket of her slacks, before moving directly toward the Mayor, a bright smile fixed to her lips. “I wanted to return your grimoire. It was certainly a great help, thank you.”

Alvina remains where she is. Every time Valrae’s name is spoken, her left eye twitches ever so slightly. The wine glass in her hands is studied, the murky red contents weaving a happy ending for the band of unlikely Cenril heroes. Her lips are set in a strong line that’s not a frown or a smile. She is trying very hard not to let her discomfort show, but she’s a shoddy liar. The bard remains frozen, stiff but present with all the grace and respect for the dead that she can muster.

Encara isn't passed by Joanie, but somehow ends up in possession of one of those scrolls anyway - another guest nearby the half-drow mysteriously finds himself without the one given to him. The paper is scanned with idle curiosity, but her focus is on the others and their speeches, though the names are of little meaning to Encara. She really, really doesn't know any of these people. One woman catches her eye, however, waving her own map around and saying something that's rather more Encara's style than resurrecting witches, making barriers, and defeating Lithrydel-wide threats. Finding stuff - she can do that. Slipping away from the wall, the ranger approaches Meri through the crowd and holds up her own map. "If you want an extra blade — or bow — for this mission, I offer you mine." Her voice is soft, as androgynous as her appearance, but will be easily heard by the woman she's speaking to.

Hudson detects a mood emanating off of his wife. So much for reading a bit into her outfit. Out of an old habit, he glances at her as Lionel talks, but she mostly looks like she wants to get out of here. He frowns, feeling suddenly bad to put her through this, and he puts aside the plate of chips and guac he's holding to reach for her hand. Uma, seeing this, smiles in a fragile manner. She knows why it's fraught. Meri's offer of assistance draws a more genuine smile from the mayor, though. "Here, here! I'm happy to have you aboard! For the realm!" she exclaims, raising her hands to clap. Whether more join her in applause, she waits until relative silence is achieved once more to declare: "This meeting is adjourned. Thank you! You may continue to refresh yourselves if you like!" And with that, the hubbub resumes. Uma, having recovered from her emotional moment, circulates the room, moving her wineglass to her other hand to shake hands with Lanara first. "It's wonderful to meet you, Lanara," she says warmly to the elf. "Thank you for attending. We witches should have done this sooner." She winks, and finds herself pulled away by Joanie to find Astrid. "Hello!" cries the mayor, clasping the blond witch in a hug. She graciously accepts her grimoire. "Thank you for bringing it back. I hope it was helpful and you could read my writing!" She reaches to squeeze Astrid's forearm. "Thank you for coming!"

Talyara accepts her scroll and probably Lanara's too because she's gone off to talk to the mayor--what a nice change of pace after insulting her before the meeting even got started.

Lanara grins at Uma, catching that wink and the meaning behind her words, and she finds that she’s becoming quite fond of the mayor. Placing her glass of wine upon a table, she scans the crowd, and is pleased that Taly has picked up a scroll for each of them, with a map depicting the location of the skulls. Good. They would need all the help they could get, to ensure this ritual was successful. As the blonde woman with tattoo’s mentions that she is offering her help to any that should need it, Lana finds herself walking in that direction. The elf wasn’t exactly a social butterfly, especially after all she had been through this past year, but this wasn’t a cause she could just ignore. And besides, the ink in Meri’s flesh was easier to admire upon closer inspection. “Hey… I’m Lanara. I don’t think we’ve met, but I’m sure that my sister, Taly, and I would love your help, and we’d love to help you, too, should you ever be in need. Also… Where did you get those tattoos done? I’ve been looking to get a little something done, preferably before Sweethearts Day… A little token of my love for my fiancé. Is your artist nearby?”

Lanara catches Lionel's gaze, and thinks he looks quite familiar. Thankfully, she didn't overhear Astrid's comment about the statue, otherwise she may have blurted out something that would surely mortify both Lionel and herself.

Astrid returned Uma’s hug with a soft chuckle, but the moment the grimoire was removed from her person, she felt slightly bereft; it had literally been her constant companion for weeks now. She couldn’t even begin to count the times she had fallen asleep with it. An avid lover of books, she stuffed her hands into the pockets of her slacks to avoid reaching out for the tome, and merely grinned at the Mayor. “Absolutely, love! I’m looking forward to this scavenger hunt.” She offered a brief farewell, that incorporated a mention of needing to get drinks sometime, before moving off. Hudson, being the other person in attendance that Astrid knew, was the next person on her list of people to greet. However, Alvina’s dress immediately drew the blonde’s attention, and she beelined for the bard. “I absolutely -love- your dress. Where can I find one of those?”

Lionel offers a quick little wave to the folks whose faces he recognizes. He's long since vacated the podium, of course; he's always hated podiums, even before Kahran announced his identity to the realm by appearing behind Uma's late husband with a sword straight through his back. Out of the public eye for a moment as best a man like Lionel can do to avoid it, he downs his wine in one fell swoop of highly alcoholic bliss. Not that he'd much mind doing so smack dab in the center of the meeting room, mind -- except that Esche would disapprove, and Khitti would disapprove, and Hildegarde would disapprove, and Rorin would disapprove, and all that billowing disapproval would drown out Brand's inevitable cheer and follow-up ale chug. "Oh well," he whispers into his emptied goblet, exiting into the night. The war continues.

Meri manages something of a smile in return to Uma, as best that Meri could muster with all things considered. In order to make good on her word, Meri lingers around, remaining near Encara -- just in case anyone wanted to take either of them up on there offer. A forced half-smile is sent down to the half-draw that Meri is entirely unfamiliar with. There was a hint of mistrust within that smile, though. How long Meri would wait? Not long, Talyara and Lanara were soon on the approach. The blonde extends a tattooed hand to each of them, Lanara first and then Talyara after that handshake is completed. "Hi. Meri. Nice to meet the both of you. I would love to track these down with the two of you. Valrae was a good friend of mine. So let's make some plans together and get these skulls, yeah?" Meri was a tattoo artist, but she's fallen into a bit of an artistic rut since her return from the Shadow Planes, and none of the work that Lanara was admiring was actually her own. "Couple of these pieces were done by Lita. She's out in SoulSkin. I haven't seen her lately though..." A beat. "Who is the fiancé?"

Talyara is socially awkward. Her sister is the talkative one so Taly just hunkers down in Lanara's vacated seat and waits for the elder sibling to be done chatting.

Hudson greets Astrid in the subdued manner in which one greets acquaintances who also happen to be attractive women: "Hey there, good to see you again." He squeezes his wife's hand, smirking absently as Astrid compliments her dress. "She does look nice, doesn't she?" he remarks.

Alvina hides her face in her glass with a stone like focus on nothing. She’s startled when Hudson grabs her hand. More startled still when Astrid approaches her. Alvina blinks at the woman, as if pulled from a deep slumber. “It’s uh-” She looks around, just in case she’s made a mistake. No one is behind her in a dress. Damn. “It’s from a shop in Frostmaw?” It sounds like Alvina is asking Astrid the question rather than offering an answer. She reminds the bard so much of Valrae, it almost hurts a little. “I’m sorry, I don’t think I caught your name. I’m Alvina Landon.” The wine glass shifts to her left, metallic hand and she extends her right fleshed limb to Astrid with a lukewarm smile. It’s the most hospitality she can muster, considering the circumstance.

Lanara nods her head as Meri agrees that they should hunt down the skulls together, and she gives the woman a genuine smile. Encara, who is nearby, is also given a smile, though her chocolate hues soon return to the tattoos, which are admired and gazed upon for a few moments. “They are lovely. I had tattoos before my, uh, death… But when I returned, they have seemingly vanished. All save for this one…” That left hand is upturned as the triquatra symbol is visible, having been branded into the woman’s flesh at birth. If Meri could sense magic, she’d sense a humming sort of vibration emanating from Lana’s wrist, which would pulse whenever in close proximity of her sibling. Speaking of siblings, Taly had shaken Meri’s hand and then wandered off to sit down, the younger of the sisters never having been one for being talkative. “I’m sorry about that; she’s not good with women… And my fiancé… He’s um…” A long pause. She couldn’t exactly blurt out that she was engaged to Eirik Vergessen, the ex-witch killer who had wreaked havoc on Larket and had played a huge part in the death of Valrae. Even if her lycan was fighting tooth and nail for redemption, was branded with a curse of empathy, and was now engaged to a witch… Would others believe it? So she clears her throat and shakes her head, thankful that her sister hadn’t caught on that she was engaged, just yet. “Oh! He’s a handsome lycan… He lives far away in Venturil. I’m sure you’ll meet him someday. Anyway! I was thinking of getting a wolf paw print, on my lower back… Maybe with a heart symbol, or such? I’m not very creative. Do you think Lita would be available, or could you recommend another? I know it’s rather short notice!” She grins, and upon seeing that frown on Alvina’s face, yet again, she gives the woman another wave.

Alvina leans to one side of Astrid and catches Lanara's wave. She lifts her wine glass to return the gesture and makes a note to catch Lanara soon at the bard's guild so they can catch up.

Astrid spared a smile to Hudson, and returned the subdued greeting for a cheery one of her own, “Hey! How you been?” Alvina’s answer, while it spoke volumes of discomfort, didn’t deter the blonde; she was gregarious. “The one in the middle of town? I was in there last week looking for a dress for the ball. They had a similar dress in white, but-” She trailed off with a soft wrinkle of her nose; white wasn’t a preferable color. As Alvina swapped her glass into her prosthetic hand, she glanced briefly to the metal appendage, but quickly averted her attention back toward the ensuing handshake -which Astrid did her part to reciprocate-, and the introduction thereafter. “Pleasure to meet you Alvina. I’m Astrid. Astrid Beckette.” She hooked her thumbs lazily into the pocket of her slacks, “We should get drinks sometime.” A quick glance was delivered to Hudson that clearly insinuated that he was not invited.

Encara has seen that look plenty of times before, and if she was still bothered by it, she wouldn't be on the surface. The tattooed woman gets a mimicry of her own smile in response, though it quickly falls off Encara's face again when Meri introduces herself to the other women, replaced with an unreadable, stony expression. She's not one for idle chatter and the thin circular markings on her face are paint, not tattoos, so the half-drow has nothing to offer on that front either and hopes they'll get on to proper business soon. Except that the conversation about ink and fiancés continues, and Encara would roll her eyes were she not -trying- to remain polite in supposedly polite company. Wasn't this supposed to be an important meeting? She takes a step closer to the two women, gaze flicking briefly down to inspect the mark on Lanara's wrist - her nose itches, but she resists the urge to scratch it. "My name is Encara. Tracking is my specialty, so finding these skulls shouldn't be much trouble." Retrieving them, though… well, that's what the bow on her back is for.

Hudson leans closer to his wife and kisses her on the cheek, in what he hopes passes between them for a very obvious Hello, I am here and see only you even though this attractive blond woman is talking to me. On the outside it probably looks like a rather surprisingly tender gesture from a guy who runs the Cenril mob. (If only his wife saw it that way...) He's relieved when Astrid invites his wife out. That's sweet. "Mrs popular," he jokes, putting an arm around Alvina. "Before we get carried away, we have to go home and catch bedtime," he reminds her.

Lanara allows Encara to inspect her wrist, and she smiles at the woman. “That’s perfect! I can sense magic, and depending on exactly what we’re up against, I’m adept at spell-casting and things of obvious witch nature, as is my sister. So I think the four of us, together, will have excellent odds of getting our hand on a skull. Pleasure to meet you, Lady Encara. I’m Lanara, though everyone calls me Lana, for short.” As is proper, she extends her hand for a formal shake.

Alvina pauses for just a tick too long. Hudson already knows this woman? Does he know all the witches in the world somehow? Astrid’s offer for a drink is flattering, catches her off guard. Surely this wasn’t a woman Hudson had been involved with if she wanted to get a drink right? The corners of her eyes soften as she draws her arm back to curl fleshed digits around the wine stem. “That’s the one. They should be doing a ‘spring’ sale soon. No good for the ball but...If you want to check the Cenril shops? I can recommend a few, post drinking?” A small card is removed from her pocket. WHY YES the dress has built in pockets, it’s just that cool. The card is handed to Astrid has the Landon address scrawled on the front. “Write me soon? We’ll chat later.” It’s possible she’s saying this because she’s some important guy’s wife but there’s an earnesty to her words and a warmth that had only previously been directed to the familiar faces in the room. “Pleasure to meet you Astrid. Good evening.” She offers a small wave, sets the glass down on a nearby surface and follows Hudson out to the carriages that are waiting.

Meri had her suspicions as to who Lanara might be engaged to, but if she was correct then it definitely would not serve the witch well to blurt out his name here. And if her suspicion was correct it was probably only a matter of time before it would come out that Meri was the one who actually did a tattoo for Eirik. Which would make things embarrassing for Meri, she'd probably look like a rude little twat. Part of her wanted to confess that she's gone and lost her muse but her blue eyes swivel around the remaining faces in the room....and there she goes keeping things to herself again. Lanara didn't need to know. But the realization of how many people were present began to sink in on Meri and soon the room was starting to feel much smaller. Was it getting hot in here? Stuffy? It was hard to breath and Meri wanted to step outside to catch a breath of fresh air. "Why don't you come out to the Rebel Room. Out in Larket. We'll talk about this tattoo..." Even if Meri was concerned that her creativity was lost and her work would be subpar. "And make plans to get these skulls, yeah? I'm going to go for now. But it was nice meeting you both and I really hope you two come out there soon..." Meri may not be entirely trusting of Encara but she does point out to Lanara and Talyara, "She'd probably be good to have along." And then to Encara directly. "Drop by, we'll make plans too." The more search endeavors the better. Meri was not going to linger around for their responses.

Talyara had dozed off somewhere during Lanara’s conversation with Meri which is probably a good thing since she didn’t actually know her sister was engaged yet. The witch’s head tilts to the side, her unruly locks covering half her face as she hugs the scrolls to her chest.

Astrid quickly tucked the card into her pocket, and stepped back from the couple, providing them enough room to take their leave. "It's a date then. I'll shoot you a letter sometime this week with availability." She currently mooched off her roommate, so she was always available. She was desperately in need of friends of the fairer sex. "Have a good night you two. Pleasure meeting you as well, Alvina." She lingered in the room a minute after the pair had left, and jealously inspected the card she had received -one day, she'll have her own to hand out-, while sipping on a glass of wine she didn't intend to finish. When she felt that enough time had passed, so that it didn't appear as though Astrid were following Alvina and Hudson, she left too.

Encara can't quite hide the discomfort she feels at the use of that title, though when Lanara extends a hand to her, the half-drow is polite enough to accept it. "Just Encara is fine." There's a hint of a plea in her voice, but that's all she'll say on the matter. "I have a trick or two of my own, aside from the bow. We should be more than equipped for this." Meri gets a long look at her words and following departure, and then Encara glances back to Lanara and offers a small smile that's only slightly forced. "I suppose I'll see you in Larket." She'd have given Talyara a nod as well, but… it'd be better not to disturb her nap, she thinks. With a final nod to Lanara and a last half-frown at the rest of the room, Encara turns on her heel and departs.

Lanara nods in response to Meri’s comment about meeting up at the Rebel Room, to discuss tattooing; however the location does have her pausing. Larket!? Pulling her lower lip between her teeth, she lightly bites, mulling it over. It wouldn’t be the smartest decision for a witch to just waltz into such a dangerous territory, especially after all the events that had transpired in that region, only recently. But, if she were to wear a disguise of some sort, or just be extremely careful, it could work. And it wasn’t like Meri was working undercover for the other side, right? She was here, in support of hunting down the skulls to resurrect two fellow witches! Lana shakes the worry from her mind, and peers over at Hudson, his wife, and the stunning blonde that is at their side. She can sense the bard’s hesitation over the encounter, and she shifts her hues to Hudson, her dark eyes narrowing. Astrid was lovely to gaze upon, and those blonde curls were breathtaking… However, the lycan clearly only had eyes for Alvina, and that makes her smile. Returning her attention to Encara, she nods in response. “We will all bring something special to the table. It’s refreshing. I’ll see you in Larket, then?” As the two women depart from her side, she sees them off with a smile, and retreats to her seat from earlier, only to see that Talyara has passed out on the couch, the scrolls hugged tightly to her voluptuous bosom. “Oh, Taly… How am I going to get you back to Kelay? Hm…” Lana looks around the room and finds that an idea has struck her, as she gazes at the window. Tugging the drapes from the rod, she rolls it into a thin line, and ties makeshift satin handcuffs around her sister’s wrists. Taly was known to sleep like the dead, and although she was petite, Lana wasn’t a body-builder, nor did she have her steed or broom. So, she would have to make do with the Mayor’s expensive window coverings, which she would have ironed out and shipped back in a day or two. Sorry Uma! The scrolls are gently tucked into Lana’s satchel, and she takes one end of each of the arm ties, and rests her fists over her shoulders, thus dragging the witch from behind. Taly is hoisted from the couch, her face smashing against the floorboards for a split second, before her head lolls to the side, and with each step, her upper half bumps against the floor. Lana is seen dragging her sister from the mansion, though the duo does get stuck in the door which closes on Taly’s mid-section, before they exit into the night.