(1866-07-19) A Feast in Lonnaire
A Feast in Lonnaire
Summary: The l'Saigner and l'Corren families gather for a feast ahead of the upcoming nuptials, along with some guests.
Date: 1866-07-19
Related: None
Alina  Cesare  Corvin  Esyld  Gabriel  James  Lucas  Mina  

Great Hall, Highwater Castle — Lonnaire

The great hall is a hub of activity for Highwater Castle and yet manages to stay immaculately clean. No rushes have been scattered on the floor and no dog would think of sniffing about for scraps in this chamber. The floors are polished marble illuminated by day with rich colours by a pair of leaded glass windows displaying the family arms. At night the rooms six hearths warm and illuminate the hall as do rush lights in sconces along the wall.

For banquets long tables are laid out in the hall with pristine table cloths of white linen. The benches below the salt are well made and comfortable as are the padded chairs above it. A high table stands beneath the two windows, for the duke and his favoured guests to sit.

For Masques the tables are pushed against the wall and groan under the weight of wine and food made available for the guests and the floor is left open for dancing while musicians play from screened galleries above (at least one hopes its only musicians in those galleries). Besides the tables and the dance floor in corners and between the tables padded fainting couches have been laid out to allow guests a moment off their feet and a place for would-be lovers to whisper in relative private.

Juiliet 19th, 1866

Usually the l'Saigner family takes their meals in the family room on a higher floor of the main keep, at the "base" of the "family tower". However, since tonight's dinner has more than just family, the Great Hall has been outfitted to serve the family (mainline and extended) and their guests tonight.

The food has already been brought out, and it is a meal worthy of their guests. Roast herbed capons; mushroom soup; roasted vegetables in an array of late summer colors: reds and oranges and yellows; platters piled high with fluffy rolls and loaves of bread; crocks of chilled butter and bowls of honey; leafy greens with chopped nightapples, radishes, and carrots tossed with oil and vinegar; baked apples covered in cloves (the apples freshly-brought from Murnord with their guest); strawberries and heavy sweetened cream…

At the high table, two Dukes sit: Duke James in the center, with his wife Mina to his right and his honored guest, freshly arrived the night prior and recovered from gatesickness, Duke Cesare l'Corren of Murnord; on the other side of Cesare, Gabriel sits (as his wife-to-be allowed him to sit closer to his father) and then Alina. On Mina's other side sits her son Lucas, and then James's brother, Enrique and his wife.

Just below the salt, the Duke's bastard son Corvin Fremont sits, and on his other side the ranking member of the Black Foxes in the castle, Captain Esyld Draven, sits. The various l'Saigner cousins sit among the tables, chattering lightly among themselves, along with officers of the Black Fox and equivalents among the Wraiths.

Alina looks cheerful as she works on her plate, smiling brightly at Gabriel and his father.

Duke Cesare's laugh is booming and happy as he claps his son on the back. "I am glad to see the warm welcome my boy has recieved, James," he notes to his brother duke. "I look forward to what this may mean for the old grudge between our houses being resolved."

"Hopefully it means it is dead and buried where it belongs." James l'Saigner notes between sips of wine, a faint, but at least for him genuine smile flits across his face for but a moment, "We've seen the kind of foolishness that even relatively recent divisions can cause in Rivana. I rather doubt either of us would be eager to see so much as the thought of such madness here in Couviere." He lowers his winecup and concludes, "We are better than that." Yes, James is now aware that there were some exacerbating circumstances to the Rivanan Succession War, but to his mind if the nation hadn't been fractured to begin with then Anton wouldn't have been able to accomplish what he did. Probably doesn't help that he was a strong advocate of taking discrete action to further destabilize the situation back when the conflict was occurring (as Cesare would well remember), but was overruled by King Maris. Then again, it was never personal…simply taking advantage of the opportunity that presented itself. "Once we have the date set, we will send the invitations out immediately." He glances to Mina and smiles politely, though there's no real warmth in it, "Mina has already done exceptional work in planning for the hospitality and entertainment of our likely guests." Despite the lack of warmth in the smile, the praise is genuine, or at least those that know the Duke well would realize it.

Well, this is a welcome treat. Having paused for now in her demolition of a plate of bread, which she has been dipping merrily in delicious, gloopy honey, Esyld has her elbows braced on the tabletop, fingers steepled, as she converses pleasantly enough with a couple of the Wraiths seated to her other side. Though she's not of the sort or station to be decked out in finery, like the noblewomen around the expansive hall, the Captain is nevertheless very much presentable for the occasion; her dark linen shirt crisply clean and adorned with the embroidered sigil of her company, suede leggings likewise well brushed beneath her 'good' boots. Not the scuffed and road-weary ones she usually favors. Even her raven tresses are brushed to a silky sheen and swept back at each temple, simply pinned in back. One of the other female Foxes must have helped her.

Grinning slightly at some anecdote exchanged, a mere glimpse of white teeth, the mercenary then lets her blue eyes wander awhile, taking in the grandeur of the families seated on high as the two Dukes exchange pleasantries. The Duchess, of course, looks radiant. As does the bride-to-be, though that's little surprise either. Esyld simply enjoys observing them all for a few heartbeats, before politely averting her gaze. It flickers briefly over Corvin beside her, then back down to her plate. No, too full for anymore. For now. She reaches for her wine cup instead.

Gabriel lets out a grunt as his father slaps him on the back. He finishes chewing and swallowing the slice of baked apple before turning and offering his father a grin. It's all he offers for now as he lets his gaze move over to Alina, letting Cesare and James talk about whatever it is they wanted to talk about. He looks back over at his plate, deciding what he would shove down next. He was a little hungry, he had been active doing his share of training and exercising earlier, things he would normally do, but now he was trying to set an example for Alina.

Having decided on what to eat next, Gabriel takes up a roll and puts on a large helping of butter and honey and then takes a bite.

Corvin Fremont seems…slightly different tonight. The clothing he wears is suitable for a noble of low station, neither too ostentatious nor too shabby, and of course bears the colors of House l'Saigner. He converses readily enough with those around him, but there's a certain sense of…subdual to him. Not ill-at-ease, but simply not quite making as much of a spectacle of himself as he often does. It would appear he's on his best behavior for their esteemed guests. After all, not all families treat their bastards with as much respect as the l'Saigner and their vassals tend to. Then again, having observed the man a bit, at least from a distance, Corvin somehow imagines Duke Cesare would be likely to treat them well. The more difficult mental exercise is imagining the man having fathered bastards to begin with. Not due to the man's piety, but simply to the knowledge that he wed fairly young in a time of war.

Corvin pushes such thoughts aside, plucking up a roll from the fresh basket that appears, which proceeds to release wisps of steams when he pulls it slightly apart, before asiding towards Esyld, "Slide the butter down this way, if you please, Captain?" And there's a hint of the usual smug in his smile when he directs it towards the Black Fox Cavalier seated near him.

Lucas itches in his finery, though stuffed as he is between his mother and his uncle he is unable to tug at his high collar or scratch where some stitching rubs against his back. So, he sits quietly and attends to his plate with the single minded focus of someone who wishes he was anywhere else. Though the talk of grudges makes him glance up and look at the two dukes searchingly, were they serious about that? Then, realizing he's staring turns back to his food with a murmured "I hope it is so," he says and means it. Though he does not have much hope.

Mina lifts her glass in a grateful acknowledgement of James's words. "With you here," she notes to Cesare, "the setting of such dates may be easier to do." She smiles warmly, or at least warmly when compared to her husband. "I understand you wish for a sooner date than later."

Cesare chuckles. "If it could be managed," he admits, "I would see them wed on the morrow. But I know it takes time to plan a wedding for an heir," and he smiles fatherly towards his son and Alina, "so I will only say 'as soon as possible' and leave it at that." He gives Lucas a smile as well. "And then I suspect your father will be looking for a match for you, eh?" The Duke of Murnord is quite full of good cheer, though what man would not be, having gotten to spend the afternoon relaxing with his grandsons?

Alina blushes a bit, then brushes Gabriel's arm lightly, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek before taking a roll of her own and dipping it lightly in honey. "Sooner has my vote too," she admits. "For many reasons."

"Yes, the morrow may be a bit too soon." James replies, his tone laced with dry humor, "Though I do not anticipate more than a few more weeks to prepare. Especially if you deign to assist in organizing the small tourney that will be held in celebration. Perhaps a bit of a warm-up for the Pacitta Tourney. Though likely quite scaled back compared to the more grand tournaments." James surveys the table momentarily, nodding slightly towards Lucas at his words. "Yes. I would imagine it would do well to have full and honest peace between ourselves before we delve too deeply into the idea of peace with Rivana." His tone does not betray distaste at the latter notion, but then again he rarely gives such things away easily.

Still in the middle of a lengthy sip from her cup, Esyld flits her gaze aside over the rim to Corvin when he speaks - he's been remarkably quiet, after all and that suited her well enough. It was never going to last. Lowering the vessel and licking the last traces of wine from her lips, she obligingly reaches out to one side to retrieve the desired dish, then passes it to the other hand and on to the Wraith. It's nice to be nice. And if he can be on his best behaviour, she can be on better. Glancing past the man again, as the conversation flows onward amid their betters, she actually deigns to offer an olive-branch of conversation; the men to her other side having moved on to quieter topics in the interim. "..the Lady Alina looks content, this evening. Her Lord brother.. not so much." The words are softly murmured, but audible enough to Corvin, her eyes eventually returning to regard him. Apparently it's possible to ignore that smugness, under certain circumstances. Though that's likely to last even less time than his quiet reflection did. "How well acquainted are their Graces..?" They seem so different, one has to wonder. Her fingers fall to absently tearing the remaining soft bread on her plate into bite-sized morsels, though she doesn't return to eating.

Gabriel is just putting another large bite of warm buttery and honeyed roll into his mouth when his father mentions 'the morrow'. He coughs slightly, but then finishes the roll and then nodding at Alina. "Yes, sooner than later works well enough for me too. Though would a small tourney even be necessary? I thought the Masque would be enough of a celebration for anyone who attends?" A slight grin at that, his mind thinking back to his last Masque and some time spent in an alcove with 'the dark lady'. It had been rather interesting. Besides, he doesn't want the Duke to go out of his way on things.

"I'd hope contentment is but the least of what she finds in her marriage." Corvin notes rather quietly, studying the betrothed pair a moment, and adding, "Lord Gabriel seems a solid fellow. Perhaps an odd fit, but a necessary one." Corvin doesn't speak it aloud, but Gabriel's skill as a warrior is a point in his favor, in Corvin's eyes. At least he feels like Alina will have a husband that's capable of protecting her…unlike…some other Rivanan Princes who shall remain nameless. "Lucas?" Corvin spares his half-brother a glance, then looks back to Esyld, "Lucas dislikes having to clad himself in the raiment of nobility." He notes conspiratorially and quietly to Esyld, a flicker of amusement in his eyes, "He's probably itching something fierce, and would rather be off running in the woods somewhere."

At the latter question, Corvin looks speculatively towards Cesare and James, "Better than most expect, I gather, or this match would never have occurred. But they have long been acquainted in the fulfillment of their duties to the crown." Corvin shrugs, "Perhaps that was enough, though I've always noticed they seem more comfortable in each others' presence than I would expect."

Lucas blinks at the notion his wedding would be next. Yes, that was the natural order of things but he had not thought too much about it. "I suppose," he offers mildly hoping to put an end to that line of conversation before his parents catch hold of it. "Anyhow, I am sure whatever is done to celebrate the wedding, it will be a joyous occasion."

Mina chuckles. "The morrow is too soon, I think, but a month hence is not. I think that is enough time to get the invitations out, and for final plans to be made." She gives Gabriel a slight smile, then pats her son on the arm lightly, glancing to him with a sympathetic look. "Then you, I think. I'm sure your father and I will find something well enough for you."

Cesare tilts his head in consideration. "A month? That sounds well enough. Almost a year to the betrothal announcement. I think that is a wonderful idea, and yes, James, I will help as much as you'd like on a small tourney to celebrate." He smiles broadly. "What do you think, my son?" he queries Gabriel. "Though…" he lifts a brow, "from what I've seen, you're setting up as married already," he chuckles. "And I'm glad for it." His eyes mist a bit. "I could not have hoped for more, Gabriel. And you, Alina. I'm pleased you've both found happiness in each other." His smile grows impish. "And already given me two fine grandsons."

Alina laughs lightly but genuinely, reaching over to take Gabriel's hand. "I think," she says with a gentle look to Gabriel, "we'll find much happiness with each other, and in time he'll make a find Duke to assist me when I am Duchess."

A month. Huh, that was pretty soon, and a little sooner than he might have expected, though he didn't care much on that. He smiles back at Mina and then glances over at his father while taking Alina's hand. "Yes, I think that everything will turn out well." He squeezes Alina's hand then and then leans over to kiss her on the cheek before turning back to his father with a bit of a grin. "How long is it going to be before Michael provides you with another grandchild, I wonder?"

James' eyes turn towards Lucas and he nods, "Hmm. Yes, I've given some thought in the direction of potential matches for you, my son. Though understandably your sister took priority." It's stated quite matter of factly,and likely no surprise given that the Duke is well-known for thinking ahead. "But yes…first the wedding before us. Then we can consider the matter more earnestly. Where possible I would see all my children with fruitful matches." A bit of a loaded statement, given that there's a third at the table. There's a brief glance from James to Mina as well, something that speaks of discussions previously held. Not a foreboding look, but simply an acknowledgment of…something. Something left unvoiced for the time being.

In any case, he turns his attention back towards Cesare and nods, "No doubt your assistance will be invaluable. And yes, I should think at least a small tourney appropriate, given how many of your kinsman will likely be in attendance, Lord Gabriel. While it will certainly have the flavor of Lonnaire, such a wedding should pay heed to the traditions of both houses to some extent, should it not?"

Captain Draven quirks a brow, her gaze following in the wake of Corvin's own to briefly regard Alina and Gabriel, though her expression is touched with subtle warmth. "Some would consider contentment a decent enough fate.. but I agree. I hope she finds far more." She. Not they. "And perhaps their differences will be a strength, when all's said and done." Shrugging, she refrains from saying anything further on the matter - what does she know about marriage, anyway. Having apparently satisfied herself with the destruction of uneaten bread, she rubs her fingertips absently together, permitting the quirk of her lips into a smirk at the summary of poor Lucas. She can sympathise, but evenings such as this are rare enough for her that they remain a welcome novelty, rather than cursed obligation. "An odd trait, surely, for one in such a fortunate position.. but not entirely unheard of. Everyone likes their freedom, now and then, don't they?"

As Corvin offers a surprisingly astute opinion of the Dukes, Esyld regards him in profile, mildly surprised perhaps. But she averts her eyes and stifles the expression before he'll notice, taking up her wine cup and dangling it idly in the fingertips of one hand, musing alongside. "It's true.. I would not have expected such an air of ease about proceedings. They are so very different. But, as you say.. this would not be happening were they not on good terms." Far be it from her to wonder at the decisions made by minds more shrewd than her own. "Maybe it's the same thing. Their differences make them good allies..? I don't know." Overhearing the discussion still going on nearby, Esyld grins ever so slightly into her cup as it's raised toward her lips, clearly satisfied with the idea of a tourney.

Perhaps mercifully, Corvin misses Esyld's brief glimmer of surprise, mostly because he's having one of his own, with a brief double-take towards the Duke at the mention of "all his children." Clearly a reference that was not lost on him. Despite that, there's only a brief moment of looking perplexed by the statement, before he smooths it over. What will be, will be. Corvin's hardly the type to rail against his father's wishes. Just rather unexpected to hear so much as the hint of such a thing from him. "There's something to be said for bringing in resources that can strengthen you where you may be lacking." He offers by way of Esyld's assessment of the pairing. "And yes, there is strength in diversity." A grin directed towards her now, perhaps with a tiny touch of the smug, but not too terribly much, "For instance, the Wraiths could not defend all Lonnaire entirely by themselves."

There is a slight flinch from Lucas when he does not dodge this particular topic entirely. However where good sense would urge him to let it lie his father's comments have him curious "You have?" he asks about his father putting thought into a match for him. He's so focused on that he does not take a moment to ask if there will be fisticuffs at this wedding tourney or not.

"Of course." James replies succinctly enough towards Lucas, "I would be quite remiss were I not devoting considerable thought to the future of my House and my family." James smiles, the usual faint but reasonably sincere smile he has, "And should you wish to discuss the matter further, you may take it up with your mother and I at a later time. For now our attention should be upon your sister and your soon-to-be-goodbrother." It's not really an admonishment. There's almost the slightest flicker of what might pass for amusement in James' eyes.

Glancing over at James, Gabriel offers a nod, "Of course, Your Grace, you are correct. A small tourney would provide a bit of entertainment for the crowd, and likely get some in attendance ready for what will come in Pacitta. I am sure many wish to keep that Rivanan from potentially winning the Circuit Championship." He grins a little at that. Some had expected him to do more, but he had other things on his mind, such as Alina birthing their children.

To Lucas, he offers a sympathetic smile. The man was destined to get married, probably better for him to just accept that now and make the best of it. He did hope he would find a measure of happiness though.

Mina allows James to answer with a wry smile. "Yes, we should speak later," she says to her son in an undertone. But she looks up. "Then it's settled. A month from now."

Cesare chuckles. "I've already brought Gabriel's cloak— I think it's quite a good piece. Your ideas for the l'Saigner side, Duchess Mina, I think came out quite well." He nods. As expected, the dukes and their wives have been conversing about these details for some time.

Mina smiles at the compliment. "I'm glad, then," she demures.

All his children, hm? What would a woman have to do so wrong to deserve being wed to Corvin Fremont? Esyld feels for the creature, whoever she may one day be. But these matters are really not for the likes of her to offer opinion on. She'll settle for snerking about it when the time comes, and in a less public setting, no doubt. And, there, as if on cue, the Wraith is wavering close to being himself again. Following a calm sip of her wine, Esyld meets the Commander's gaze sidelong, those startling, vivid eyes of her determinedly passive. "Why, thank you, Master Fremont. How nice of you to say." His grin is countered with a slight smirk, little more than a twitch at one corner of her lips, and the reply, soft-spoken as it is, is laced with sardonic humor in turn. His compliments are almost always backhanded, she's not going to take this one seriously. Let him have his fun. The Captain swirls the dregs of her wine gently before knocking it back, her attention drifting - or so she would have it appear - back to the mention of a tourney. And oh, poor Lucas. This is one aspect of nobility she does not envy him.

"It was rather nice of me wasn't it? I don't know what's come over me. Must be the wine." Corvin notes in his more regular, jocular tone, inciting a few quiet chuckles from those seated nearby. He gets a refill on his wine and sips a bit after enjoying some buttered bread.

Lucas gives his mother a sidelong glance and nods. "Very well," he says before going quiet for a moment. As the tournament talk progresses though he chimes in "A tourney ought to make the t'Maren and others," a nod to Eslyd "Happy. What events will there be, or am I getting ahead of things?"

"Given that it's in our home. Archery and Fisticuffs would be mandatory, I should think." James notes, "And Duke Cesare and I have already discussed that we will make an exception and allow those who are not knighted to partake of the melee, as well, so that others from our lands beyond only the t'Maren might compete." He glances towards Cesare, considering, "Given the proximity to the Pacitta tourney, I think we may eschew the Joust. Ours is a difficult terrain for Horses and no doubt the competitors will want them to be well-rested for an actual circuit event."

Gabriel glances over at his father at the mention of his cloak. He listens in for a moment and then finishes up his meal, then leaning back and turning to offer Alina a soft smile. Lucas and James seize his attention and he nods. "An excellent suggestion, it should provide a bit more entertainment for the whole affair." He references letting non-Knights enter a melee, of course.

Alina nods. "Archery and Fisticuffs, assuredly. And melee." She doesn't mention that she's thankful for the lack of wreched horses.

For her part, Esyld simply rolls her eyes, taking the banter with good form. "Then by all means.. do keep drinking." She, likewise, takes advantage of a refill. It's delightful to enjoy something other than frothy ale, lovely as it may be, and the Captain can more than stomach it. Especially after the impressive amount of food she's managed to consume this evening. Waste not want not, as they say. For the moment, addressed with an enquiry to do with some lame horse or another, her attention wanders from the matters of the upcoming celebrations and settles on more tangible, familiar things. How best to keep a poultice in place. Fascinating. But the young man who asked seems enthralled enough. Only that brief look from Lucas draws her eye, answered with a faint smile and polite inclination of her head. Several of her fellows, too, seem to be subtly earwigging, on this topic. The Foxes are, by and large, fans of anything that combines drinking and fighting. An exception to be made?! Alright, so the hushed exclamations and excited looks between one another might be something of a giveaway, regarding their eavesdropping. But it seems a popular idea. Even The Captain herself is grinning, now. A shame about the Joust, in her opinion.. but this is still just the sort of thing that can do wonders for morale. Beating the snot out of one another. There's even an arch of one brow in Corvin's direction as she watches him for any sort of reaction to the idea.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Corvin does not seem particularly surprised by this announcement. Or if so, he gives little sign of it, ever-so-slightly mirroring his father's cool countenance for the time being. He engages in idle chit-chat with those around him, looking a bit bemused at the obvious excitement that the tourney won't be solely relegated to knights. Corvin himself? Hard to say…he usually only takes part in the Archery competitions, even when the fisticuff events are available. But it IS his sister's wedding. Perhaps he'll make an exception.

Lucas nods when the answer is given. "Sounds like it could be some fun," he says letting down his guard a bit and actually enjoying this whole mess for a moment. "Will you be joining the fisticuffs?" he asks to Gabriel, who seems to be sharing Lucas' interest in the tourney.

Despite her obvious interest in the conversations going on around her, Esyld rises smoothly to her feet after a short while longer, seeming to quietly excuse herself from the chatter of those closest. She'll be back, no doubt - there's still wine in her cup and food on her plate. Maybe she just needs a little air. Regardless, her rising is no cause for concern and her fellows carry on enjoying their evening, mingling quite merrily with the Wraiths and other guests. Stepping away from the table, the Captain carries herself tall and proper; just with a more casual, rangy gait than other, more proper ladies might be allowed. Long strides take her from the hall without a backward glance. It's going to be a splendid night, if events thus far are any implication.

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