(1866-09-03) Drinks and Plans
Drinks and Plans
Summary: Aidric and Eduard are enjoying an afternoon carousing when Broderick and then Tiadora show up. The four discuss plans for the future, amidst drinks and jokes.
Date: 1866-09-03
Related: A Bird in the Hand and Uncertain Freedom
Aidric  Broderick  Eduard  Tiadora  

Gold Dragon Inn

The Golden Dragon Inn is a sprawling and airy establishment with shutters instead of a wall facing the street to let cool air in during Sunsreach's scorching summers. Inside the common room it is shady and cool, with a scattering of circular tables about the center of the room, a heavy wooden bar to one side, and the scintillating smells of the kitchen wafting through a door to the right. The back of the establishments are given over to private tables, most often used by the 'quality', those with fat purses or noble names. Past these tables are the doors to private dining rooms where one can entertain in privacy.

The true focus of the common room however is the stage where bards, singers, storytellers and even actors can be found preforming most nights to the amusement of the patrons.

Past the stage is the wooden steps to the upper level sleeping chambers, which vary from closet sized rooms with a straw pallet and a chamber pot to more lavish bedrooms befitting guests of quality.

Septembre 03, 1866

The sun still hangs high in the sky, and yet today Eduard finds himself with little work to do - Lasair is very good at her job, and frankly, they have about wrapped up most of their business in the city. At least the business that can be done immediately. And that is why Eduard has invited Aidric out for a drink, to both thank his cousin for all his help, and of course to get to speak to the man about something other than business. "So he told the man, sir, that is not your daughter, it is your sheep!" Ned has just finished regaling the Carling courtier with one of his wittier yarns, wrapping up with a timely and well delivered punch line. He loves to tell a tale, and even better if it ends in a joke. Thankfully, it is just the pair of them, so he does not need to be as mindful of such a crude telling. "Here, shall we have another round?" he asks, noticing that their tankards have run low.

Aidric laughs. "Well one can't blame you there," he says of the end of the tale and drinks down the rest of his tankard, setting the cup down hard. "Another round," he agrees with a nod. He is somewhat flushed, but not entirely drunk. "And when we have it I'll tell you a tale of your Goblyn from back when we were in Falconhome together."

Apparently Broderick has little work to do either, what with having recently returned from a mission for the Vigilants and having no familial duties in Sunsreach. Instead he's spent a few hours in the cooler morning down at the tourney grounds working on his form and now, having bathed, it's time to relax. Dressed, as he habitually is, in a light and loose tunic of Tracano green he makes his way into the Gold Dragon, pausing only a moment to let his eyes adjust to the dimmer light levels inside. His first glance is to the stage, and he looks almost disappointed to see it empty before he turns instead for the bar.

Eduard's eyes can't help but practically glow in anticipation at Aidric's last words. "I thought you would never say such divine words, cousin." His laughter is rich, for even if he and Lasair are still in an awkward space at the moment, he nevertheless is very much looking forward to hearing more about her as a youngster. "Another round!" he calls, raucously. He may not be quite drunk himself, but he is certainly light-headed and light-hearted at the moment. "Where is that server?" he wonders allowed, and it is as he is looking that he spots Broderick. "Sir… Vigilant!" he calls to the man, the name escaping his grasp for a moment, as he thinks back slowly to yesterday.

Aidric grins at Eduard's eagerness to hear the tale, "Then let's get that round then-" he begins before he too spots Broderick and he laughs. "Well it seems like Sir Broderick kept his head," he says to Eduard before adding his call to Eduard's own, "Sir Broderick, come join us!" undignified, certainly, but a lot less guarded or smug as he had been during his first meeting with the former Thorn.

Broderick takes a flagon of watered wine from the bar and is turning to head for one of the private tables in the rear when the greetings reach him. Turning to see just who's attention it is that he's attracted he gives the pair a nod as if that's all he's going to do, then changes his mind and heads over to their table. "Eduard, Aidric," he greets as he settles himself into his seat, "enjoying the afternoon are we?" It's not as judgemental as it might sound, but he does eye their tankards a moment before offering them a glass of his wine.

Eduard's eyes do narrow as if trying to decide if he is being judged, but whatever conclusion he reaches does not seem to bother him, for a moment later he is laughing and gesturing for Broderick to join them. "Come, sit, Broderick." Because hey, they both know him, and he comes bringing more alcohol! "You should enjoy it with us. We can celebrate…" His eyes narrow again, but this time they are directed at Aidric. "Keeping his head?" he asks, a tad slow on the uptake.

Aidric stands in greeting for Broderick, taking the wine when offered. Though when Eduard starts repeating Aidric's previous remarks, he gives the lord a swift kick in the shin. "You want for discretion," he grouses before turning to Broderick. "I'd heard you were finally given a chance to meet our royal cousin, how did that go?" he asks sitting down.

"What are we celebrating?" Broderick asks Eduard as he takes his forst sip of the wine, not the finest the kingdom has to offer, but cool and refreshing on a hot afternoon, so it'll pass. He manages to ignore entirely the question asked of Aidric, focusing on the Carling instead and smiling ruefully, "I am not exactly counted among her favorites, but then I would have been ore suspicious than relieved if she had presented that as the case. I am neither banished nor barred though, bu tI did have to go and be nice to Northerners for the best part of a week as the first part of my penance. My suspicions were right however, in that she does intend to marry me once more, although I'm told there are not yet any ladies in mind."

"Ow," Eduard mutters, though his glare at Aidric lacks any real fire, and a moment later his look turns rueful as the meaning behind Aidric's words explain the situation. Turning to Broderick, he salutes the man with the wine glass, shaking his head slightly as he hears of his encounter with the Queen. "I remember my own summons from her Majesty. I was not entirely sure what to expect. Sounds like things could have been much worse." His lips curling with sardonic humor, he adds, "She could have given you a lordship." Chuckling wryly, he directs his next to both his companions. "So, my lords, are either of you planning to attend the Pacitta tourney?"

There is a faint smirk at Eduard's glare as Aidric sits.He gives the lord a good elbowing as a follow-up. Status be damned. The courtier then sips the wine, for a moment to gather himself and take in Broderick's words. "So you went to the wedding? How was the Masque? I wanted to go but I had obligations that kept me here," he says nodding to an empty seat at their table. "And be careful about the Queen and marriages, you may be woken one morning to find a contract signed and a bride thrown into your bed, she gave Tristan as little warning, and she likes him," a smile then, and a nod given to Eduard. "And of course, I doubt I'll do more than stand for Rivana in the melee, but it is Pacitta, it's not to be missed."

"Things could have been worse indeed," Broderick remarks drying, before turning a really rather blunt smile on Eduard, "she could have lumped me in with those you have just inherited from." BAck to Aidric then, for he knows him better, and his tone is back to light and conversational. "She claims she won't really be looking until after her own wedding, but that doesn't mean I can't see who is eligible and try and influence the negotiations. I need to find another excuse to speak with the Durantes as I admire much about their house, although thankfully with them being so close that may not be to much of a stretch." A shrug then, and a sip of the wine. "The masque was an experience, although once you realize that anyone important has already coordinated their costumes with each other it lost some of it's shine. They make this whole play of anonymity, but for the most part it's a sham. It's certainly a spectacle though, and worth seeing once at least." As for Pacitta he shrugs once, "I'm not yet certain, although having managed to place higher than the Lord Marshall in the north, I would rather like the opportunity to do it again. Repeatedly if possible."

Muttering good-naturedly at Aidric's (literal) ribbing, Eduard chuckles again, this time in sympathy at what it is to like marriageable and a member of the royal house. "Ah, well, than perhaps I should not complain so much about being landed. At least I get to have a say in my own nuptials." The point about his traitorous kin is acknowledged wordlessly with a lopsided smirk and an inclination of his head. "I will admit that for myself, this will be my coming out in the jousting circuit," he says, as the talk turns more to that of Pacitta. "My mentor did not hold with tourneys, and once knighted, the duties of my Order took precedence. This is the first time I actually have a reason to participate." Namely being the only knight from his house at the moment. "I find myself looking forward to the prospect. It is not every day I get to be a virgin all over again." He grins broadly at that last, before taking a rather long drought from the wineglass.

There is a more or less sober nod about the Durantes. "Good house, and wealthy too, a fine choice if one wishes to wed," he says with a further, approving, nod. "Shame though about the Masque. We may just have to throw one of our own in Rivana and do it right? Think the Queen would approve?" he asks Broderick with a smirk before taking a sip of wine. That wine is almost spit out as Eduard starts talking about virginity and tourneys, "One above, I feel sorry for any girl you've known if a tourney reminds you of losing your virginity. Charging at her full tilt with your member in one hand and a shield on your arm is not the way to get it done," he teases barely holding in a chuckle. "Anyhow, that horrifying image aside, the tourney should be well attended, so if let us hope the lots favour you and you don't meet someone like Sir Gabriel or young Graham Cassomir early on."

"Thankfully," Brodericks replies to Eduard, "my duties for my order come in fits and starts. Right now I can do as I wish, tourneys and the like, but as with you, once I start to venture again then I am rarely close enough to civilization to partake, and must occasionally make use of those skills in a more practical manner." Aidric is given first a nod to his comment about the Durantes, then a shake of his head, "and have the Northerners say we have no culture of our own but have to impersonate their's? No, I think not." While he doesn't comment on the matter of Eduard's virginity, the banter on the subject does seem to genuinely amuse him before he sober s a little once more and asks of the Carling, "while you are here there is a matter that the pair of us," he tilts his head to Eduard, "were discussing but yesterday that you may be able to assist us on. If you have the time to discuss it?"

Blinking a bit owlishly at Aidric, Eduard guffaws. "Divine Father preserve me, cousin, what kind of boor do you take me for? I meant…" He trails off and settles for emitting a suffering sigh. "Oh, sod it all," he mutters. He gives a last mock glare for the Carling before he too sobers somewhat - if less literally - as Broderick alters the conversation towards a more serious topic. He remains silent, apparently content to let Broderick lead this line of questioning.

Aidric grins quietly to himself at Eduard's discomfort. He takes a long sip of his wine then, to both cool and to celebrate. Then setting down his cup, "Fair point," he says of mimicking the Masque, before looking between Eduard and Broderick, "What's this now?" he asks, a brow raising slightly.

Broderick drains the rest of his own glass before refilling al three, Aidric's first. Once the flagon is back on the table he leans back into his chair, lifts his glass, glances momentarily across to Eduard to make sure that he doens't want to lead onthis, then starts. "The Sorez children, the two who were saved. I am lead to believe that they are in the care of your house?" Another glance to Eduard there, to indicate him as the source of the information. "I am sure you recall the state my wife's death left me in, and they are the last of her house. As such, and especially now that the Queen has made her intentions plain, I would see them set up as well as I am able. Lord Farrant here," titles because this is important, "is of a similar mindset."

"I'd heard rumors in Normont that they were wards of your father," Eduard says, when there seems to be an appropriate moment. "And as Sir Broderick says, we would both like to help them. Obviously we do not know what Lord Carling might intend for them, should the rumors be true, but Sir Broderick has room for a squire, and as to their future into adulthood, my house is lacking in knightly vassals. It is perhaps not as good a prospect as getting their lands returned to them, but barring that miracle, we could at least ensure their health and well-being."

Aidric takes the second cup of wine but does not drink. Not with this serious turn of the conversation, he runs a hand over his face to try to clear the pleasant warm haze that was foggy up his mind. "Yes, they sheltered there before their house fell, a boy and a girl if I remember correctly," he says. He had been there for the slaughter of their house, and it made him wish he could burrow deeper into that warm haze, and he glances at the cup for a moment before he pushes on. "Anyhow, I think the boy would be squiring age by now, I could write my father about him, see if he has plans for them. What of the girl? She was younger if I recall."

"Lasair might be willing to take her under her wing. She could use an assistant, though she probably would not like to admit it," Eduard says, in answer to Aidric's last question. "And if she shows an interest in arms, I can aid her in that as well." After that, he falls silent to let the other two work out the details. In the meantime, he waves over the server and asks for some water. Like Aidric, he needs to try and sober himself a bit with this more serious topic on hand.

Broderick nods in agreement with a couple of Eduard's points, feeling faintly guilty for having ambushed Aidric so, but there'll be plenty more wine once this is done. "I can not offer any plan for their long term prospects, as Eduard here can," he notes, "but if either, or indeed both, find an interest in squiring then I can provide for them in that way until they reach adulthood. It is a shame perhaps, that the lady is not older, or I could take that option to the Queen." He himself does not shrink from the wine, but nods to Aidric once more, "please, write to him. Ask of his plans and let him know what I have said. They are my wife's kin, and I wil spport them as I may."

Aidric nods where he sits with Lord Eduard and Sir Broderick. Both Eduard and Aidric look a little flushed by drink, and Broderick less so. Aidric nods to what Broderick has to say, "The Queen would have never gone with it if she was older, she'd wed you for the sake of your house, and the Sorez now have nothing to offer except an opportunity for charity," he reasons bluntly. "Anyhow, I will write my father about them and see what he is willing to do, the boy as your squire may be doable and the girl as an aide to a priestess might work as well, but it will be up to him," he says of the matter.

The crowd in the inn murmurs slightly when a man in dark quilted armor enters, followed by the short, round figure of the Gerrel maiden. A second guard follows behind her protectively, and while both men wear the green sash of the loyalists, there are still a few less than kind glances cast in their direction. There is a flush of sun on her pale round cheeks as she tries to smile for the innkeeper when he comes to greet the noblewoman. "J-just a table t-to sit at, a-and with a flagon of wine to start? I-I'll order some food too." She glances uneasily at the patrons until she sees a more famliar grouping.

"And if the boy wishes to be a churchly aid and the girl a knight?" Broderick asks perhaps just a fraction pointedly, "I would take either, both, if that is their inclination. Your forget though, the girl, were she older, would have one thing to offer the Queen, the ability to repopulate her house without having to make alliances and deals in the process. I'm far enough removed from control of the House that numbers are important, rather than say the Prince, and I do not kid myself into believing otherwise. The conversation is moot though, given her age, but please do not allow your father to labour under the impression that I would deny her should she wish to take the path of arms." He's fairly intent ont he conversation at hand, and so has not yet noticed the arrival of the Gerrel contingent as he raises his arm to indicate to the bar that another flagon of wine is required.

Aidric shrugs "They've grown up in Normont for these past nine years, the boy may well have a churchly inclination, but the girl will be in no-way prepared to be a squire, my kin may well think themselves 'southern' but they're not that southern," he says with a smile. "One of them had better be knightly though, a Sorez rode with Giorgio when he slew the dragon, it would be a shame to see that light gone from the kingdom," he says with a rueful shake of his head. Then, the Gerrell party enters, Aidric peers up at once and not recognizing the man in armour guesses rightly it must be one of his cousin's men. When his cousin appears soon after he raises his hand, "Here cousin, come join us."

Tiadora's clearly relieved for the invitation. Her worried smile brightens and she heads over, nodding to her men to find their own near table. "Cousins, Ser Broderick. Good day." She makes a neat curtsey for the trio. "I-I'm not interrupting, a-am I?"

"That is a great shame," Broderick replies, looking perhaps even faintly annoyed, "for Sorez women wer enot all the shy and retiring types, if their last has been reduced to one of those ladies who can see nothing beyond obedience and a fear of anything larger than their head then I mourn doubly for them." Taking a long draft to finish the wine in his cup he shakes his head slowly, "if she has had such inclination beaten out of her than I fear my respect for your house may suffer for it, but again, we speak hypotheticals, so there is no point getting angry over that which we do not know. She may be as meek and mild as they come." And speaking of the meek, here comes Tia. Glancing into the bottom of his glass he fails to spot enough drops to actually make it worth draining them fully and sets it down to await the arrival of that other flagon, offering a nod to Tia as he does so. "Lady Tiadora, were it a conversation that could not take an interruption, you would not have been invited over, nor I suspect, would we be having it in such an open space as this. Please, if you are intending to stay, sit."

"We're not 'northern' enough to beat such inclinations out of a woman either," Aidric says casually despite Sir Broderick's annoyance. "Besides she might not wield a sword, but if she follows the lead of the Carling women she won't be some wilting flower, that's to be sure. You will only need to meet my sister Hellena once to understand that," he says with a wry smile. "Indeed, as Broderick says you are more than welcome. What word of you cousin? Will you be coming to the tournament in Pacitta? And more than that will Symon be coming?" he suspected if the Duke did come it would be more for the politics than the jousting.

Tiadora sits gracefully in an open chair, keeping a polite distance between herself and the men. "I-I decided to take up Eduard's offer and come along," she says as she gives Aidric a tiny smile. "I'm a bit scared of going through the gates, but it has to be done. I-I was just out getting fitted for more appropriate gowns." Instead of the dark black brocades and navy velvets she usually wears, something lighter is certainly called for. "B-But I am uncertain if my brother will join us there. He's got a lot to get sorted at home. "

"I shall refrain from judgement until I have met her," Broderick replies with an acknowledging tilt of his head to Aidric, "the Sorez girl that is. It is too easy to imagine her to be as my wife was, but we are all individuals. Words may be said though, should she have been denied, words or perhaps merely an offering to her of the opportunity." He straights in his chair as the wine arrives, then refills his glass, "as I said though, we learn nothing through hypotheticals without knowing the nature of the girl in question, or indeed the lad, so let us leave this conversation until we have word from your father." Glancing across to Aidric to see if he's in agreement he then turns to Tia, "fear not the gates, merely respect the might of the One who looks over them." He's aware of that northern superstition at least, "just do as the warden instructs and if the One decrees it, it shall pass."

Aidric nods his agreement, "Indeed, I'll write him once I sober up and we'll see what he says," he says of the matter of the Sorez girl. Then to Tiadora he nods. "It's a strange feeling to be sure, going through the gate but nothing unholy. Anyhow, trust to Sir Broderick's words, he works with the Vigil, you will be safe." The news that Symon might be too busy for the tourney is met with a frown. "I may need to go see him then, or at the very least write him a letter. Opportunities may be missed otherwise." As he talks he summons the serving girl and fishing out some coins, calls for kaff. That Alhazredi drink said to help revive one's senses. "I'd share but it's wickedly expensive stuff, and-" he looks at the drinks in front of him. "-I've gotten an early start to my day."

Tiadora nods solemnly to Broderick. "I will pray for protection against the evil that inhabits them. I still have my doubts, but I do know Symon would prefer to see them used more often. Possibly even dug up, though I can only imagine how many people would panic if that was the case." She gives the two a faint shrug. "I mean, everyone else uses them fairly often and nothing bad has happened. Right?" She looks from Aidric to Broderick with hope they can confirm this.

Broderick waves his hand in a dismissive gesture to Aidric as he apologizes about not sharing his kaff, the Tracano it seems is happy with his watered wine. "Pray and you will be fine," he notes to Tia, steadfastly refusing to mention the delay suffered bu Princess Clara and Lady Emilia on their way north recently, nor indeed any of the tales that Wardens sometimes tell. The reactivation of the Gerrell gates is definitely on his list of things that should happen, so he's hardly going to discourage the Duke's kin. "Gate sickness feels a little like a hangover," he explains, in terms she's no doubt heard before, "drink plenty of water and be well rested before hand. You will be fine."

It takes all of Aidric's will not to launch into a few of the stories he'd heard about gate mishaps and stoke Tiadora's fears but he takes pity on his cousin. "It will be fine," he says reaching out to pat Tiadora's arm. "The tales they tell of the gates back home are hardly true. People use them all the time to no ill effect. Though you're right opening the gates again would cause a panic for some, but it'd be good for the duchy in the end, if it's done right." The cup of kaff arrives and Aidric drinks down the small cup greedily stopping short before he swallows the thick soup of grounds at the bottom. Still, for all that he continues to look a little flushed if just a bit more lively.

For all her appearance of womanly curves, Tiadora's youth shows through on her pudgy face. "I've…. um… never had a hangover." She glances at Aidric and giggles, "Though I have seen plenty of examples of the side-effects."

Eduard, who merely sat in silence for a time save for the brief greeting of Tiadora, now smiles over at his Gerrell cousin. "If you need help preparing for the after effect of the gates, we can always order a stronger drink," he says. Despite his efforts to sober up by gathering his thoughts and drinking water, he is still light of heart from the earlier drink that he and Aidric shared prior to Broderick arriving, and the wine since. Otherwise, he may not tease the shy Tiadora in such a manner. Still, his expression and large smile are warm and open, so hopefully that helps. "But I am glad you are coming. We will go through together, and we will suffer the effects together as well. Our first step from the Gate here at Sunsreach will be to the gate at Bendingbrook, so you will have plenty of opportunity to recover at the Paladin Stronghold." He looks to Aidric at this. "If you like, so long as you do not have many people to take with you, you could accompany us on the first leg. We'll be crossing to the Black Hills the day after that, and from there you can travel to Falconhome if you wish to speak to the Duke. If you do, I can add a letter to urge his attendance as well. Plus I had something I wished to speak to him about, and having him in a festive mood would help."

"Panic may come if it is not handled carefully," Broderick agrees with a nod, "but that is not a reason to disadvantage a duchy so severely as Symon seems to understand. I expect that he will be able to call on the Church for what aid he needs in educating your populous, although such ingrained superstitions may take a while to shift." He;s not exactly an expert on the matter, but deeply held beliefs are deeply held beliefs. To Eduard he asks, "when is it that you intend to depart? I should probably get things in order and work out if I can make it myself before long, these things to have a habit of creeping up on you."

Aidric actually smiles when his cousin makes her remark. "Ah coz, your inexperience shows through," he waves a hand at himself. "This is not hungover, this is still drunk, the hangover comes after," he says with good natured mockery in his tone. He ponders the invitation to join Eduard and the rest on their trip and after a moment he nods "When do you plan to leave? I will make myself ready." He looks to Broderick then, "If you come with us we might be able to arrange for the Sorez children to meet us in Falconhome."

Tiadora looks to Eduard. "You were both leaving after the party?" She bites her lip as she tries to recall. "It seems like we'll have a good entourage with us. I may be able to leave most of my guards, so… four men, my maid, and myself? Or is four too many? Two?" She looks at the menfolk. "I need to have protection, but if there's a larger party, Symon -may- not mind. It would be nice to see him again, I can give him my update in person instead of writing."

"Sunday, I think, as the day before we have a small gathering planned at the Gerrell manse," Eduard says in answer to Broderick and Aidric, before adding, "To which you will both be invited." This last is also said to Broderick and Aidric, since Tiadora is technically one of the hosts. The Gerrell lady is addressed next, in answer to her questions. "From the sound of it, we may have to split into two parties, one with us all and Lasair, and five others, and the rest to follow with the baggage. But fret not, cousin. We three are trained knights, and near the other side of the Gate is a fortress of Paladins. You will be safe as can be."

Broderick is good it would seem, and doesn't offer to get Tia drunk, had she been more forthright and less of the retiring sort he might have though. Instead he simply smiles faintly at Aidric then nods to Eduard's summation of the numbers. "If you wish 4 guards then yes, two groups would be necessitated. Each party can only contain 10 souls and we each have retainers with, as Eduard says, the baggage. Two groups is not difficult to arrange though, the second will just have to wait for the network to coll enough to allow the second connection." That's all he has to say about the logistics f the exercise before he's turning to Aidric once more, "if that could be arranged then it would doubtless ave us all much time and hypotheticals. Let us hope your father is willing to discuss the matter."

Tiadora echoes "Network? Connections?" She frowns hesitantly. "I-I can just go with the t-two men. And the maid. I… it wouldn't be proper to go without a maid. For dressing. And hair."

"I will send a party ahead with my two men, Goat and Scarecrow," he says using the nicknames he'd given his two guards. "So if you have extra people to send, you can send them with them," he says to Tiadora. "I will be going on the day with my squire, that is if the numbers work?" he asks Eduard and Broderick who he assumes have a better count of them than he does.

Eduard may not be Vigilant trained, but he has traveled the networks and worked with Broderick's brethren enough to be familiar with the lingo and to understand the concepts. "My retinue can go ahead as well. That will leave us with one spot for Sir Broderick to fill, if Tiadora takes her two guards and maid." This last is with a nod to the Tracano knight, since he'll likely be taking his gyrfalcon, which may count as a soul in the telling of the gate. Ned knows it does for greathawks, anyhow.

Tiadora tries to smile but all the talk is clearly starting to make her regret her decision. Her eyes are wide and slightly troubled. "So, um… dare I ask how they were named Goat and Scarecrow?" She holds up her hand to call a passing serving boy and asks for a plate of summer sausage and cheeses. After a moment, she frowns and asks for just the cheese and bread instead. With wine and a cup of water as well.

"I can send my baggage on ahead with the advanced party if required," Broderick considers out loud, "then you only need to account for myself in the ten." As it happens, that's a quirk of greathawks, and his falcon would not, but he is not yet sure if she'll accompany him or not. "Just let me know a time, and ensure the advanced party have a few hours lead on us, so we are not left waiting at the gate." Glancing to Tia as he sips his wine h gives a brief explanation, "there are many gates, so we say they are a network, and when they are open we say they are connected. All will likely become clearer once you see one in operation. Connections are one way though, so once you're through, step away and follow the Gate Warden's instructions. Well be there with you though."

A nod of agreement with the plan. "I can have my men ready before the party, will that work?" Aidric asks before giving Tiadora a smile. "Nothing scandalous, just how they look, Goat has a tuft of a beard and Scarecrow is tall, thin and blonde. They're old hands at gate travel now, so your men will have a good many on hand to help them with their first trip."

Eduard nods with satisfaction towards the Vigilant. "Alright then, I think we have the logistics largely sorted out. We can double check on Saturday at the gathering. Preferably early." Because the wine must flow at a party, of course, so numbers and timing is best discussed early. "And Sir Broderick, Cousin Aidric, I hope it goes without saying but you are of course welcome to stay at Blackstone on the way to and from Falconhome should the journey require, and even if it does not." He glances over at Tiadora, but instead of adding his own assurances to the others he just gives her an encouraging grin.

Tiadora glances at her men in thought, chewing on her lip. "I-I should make medallions of Saint Michaelis for them. I know I would want one…" She nods vaguely to the others. "So I can send my men and my maid during the party and then afterwards we can go in our own group. I… will just have to remember not to eat anything at the party. Maybe I will just stay in the chapel instead and fast."

"May I suggest St Paule," Broderick notes to Tia with a carefully neutral expression, "it is his order that will guide your progress and operate the gates." Not that he'd begrudge the Templars their patron, but this is gate travel we're talking about. "May I suggest though, that fasting is a bad idea. Water rather than wine I can see, but travel on an empty stomach is unpleasant at best. Ideally you want something stodgy, although not so much as you feel over ill before you depart, just something to settle your stomach as you go."

Aidric leaves the matter of saints to those more qualified to speak on it. "The party will be in your manse, Tia, you will be expected to be there," then he nods to Broderick. "There is also that," he says of being hugry going through the gate. "I would recommend water as well, you don't want to be drunk or hung over whem you travel either." He says speaking from experience.

Letting the talk roll past as it becomes light and friendly, Eduard saves his own advice for now, lapsing once more into thoughtful silence as he sips from his glass.

Tiadora gives Broderick a shy nod. "You're right, of course. Forgive me, Sir. I was just thinking we need to be brave, but that is much more logical." She nods a thankful expression to the serving girl who brings her plate and offers it to the gentlemen. "So eating is… a good idea. Bread and water beforehand then. I've not hosted a party before, that's all going to be Eduard and Mother Lasair's doing," she clarifies to Aidric.

"Pottage is never a bad plan if you want something a little more substantial than mere bread," Broderick notes with a faint shrug, "I tend to avoid too much spice myself, but otherwise don't think it has to be bare basics. More the same as a meal taken before a long ride." Turning once more to Aidric he asks, "how formal is this gathering to be? A simple gathering of friends, or something more?"

"Still, you're a Gerrell and it is your home, you need to be seen. It is what your brother would want," Aidric instructs Tia firmly. "Besides it will be a good evening, you may even enjoy yourself." To Broderick's question, Aidric lifts a shoulder in a shrug. "Informal I should think. Just a leave taking celebration."

Invoking Symon's name is a good way to get Tia to agree to anything, and she nods; reluctant but accepting of it. "It's informal," she clarifies. "Family and friends who want to say goodbye to Eduard and Mother Lasair before they go back. I'm letting them do all the planning because I've never organized anything much before. I guess I could help pick out a menu? I've gotten to know the local butchers and fishmongers pretty well and the spice-merchants too."

Broderick can cope with informal, and nods to the table to indicate his understanding before he downs the last of his wine and sets his glass back down on the table. "Until Saturday then, for I fear i have other places to be this evening. Send word to the castle if there are any changes to the plan." Pushing himself to his feet he nods first to Tia, than Aidric and Eduard before he takes his leave.

Aidric nods to Broderick when the man departs. "Until Saturday," he says cordially enough, before turning his eyes back to Tiadora. "That would be of use," he says of planning the menu. "I am sure your advice would be welcome."

Tiadora says, "I know art and… the scripture." She looks down at her plate and then her figure. "And food." She smiles weakly as she takes a small piece of bread and cheese to nibble on. "I will see you then, Ser Broderick. One be with you."

Aidric shakes his head. "The dinner will be an education in other things then," he says. "Politics, etiquette and dancing no doubt. Try to have fun and remember who you are, most of the people who will be there are beneath you in status, try not to act afraid of them."

Tiadora says, "I've had little excuse to exercise any of those." She admits it with a hesitant sigh. "But I will do my best. It wouldn't help our family if people think of me as a rabbit instead of a a greathawk.""

Aidric nods firmly. "That's it exactly. A greathawk, not a rabbit," he say meeting her eyes with his own. "And the practice will be good, your brother will likely need to make use of you for social functions like this until he finds a wife. Though, you shouldn't worry, your example here has been a good one. Few people would look at you and think of the misdeeds of your mother which is what your brother needs."

Tiadora nods again. Still hesitant but with a bit of conviction. "I'm having dresses made in brighter colors. I have one in a pretty wine color? And maybe something in white, but with red and black trim so it looks less… dark. I need to look nicer. I mean, less mean. Less… scary."

Aidric considers his cousin a moment, head tilted. "Wine would work, as would white, a holy color. If you can find a way to make some with green and gold it would be helpful as well, less scary plus they are the royal colours," he says and nods to his own dark green doublet. "It always helps to suggest loyalty to the Queen, at least at court."

Tiadora ohs at that. Her idea of fashion has always been what the Duchess ordered for her. "Oh yes, those are pretty too. Maybe a dress in green and black. And deep red, so it's more burgundy." She giggles, "I'm talking fashion, isn't that the silliest thing?" Her face lights in a girlish smile. "And maybe I can wear something less restrictive." She raps her knuckles on the heavily lined corset. "I know it's not the fashion to be big. But if there's dancing and all I may want to be able to move better."

Aidric can't help but smile as he shakes his head. He often forgot how young and sheltered she was. "Not so silly, fashion is important here. Anyhow loose could be good, so long as there is some shape to it, no sense wearing a sack," he offers with a crooked smile. "Also for Pacitta, jewels. They're all merchants there even the nobles and they love nothing more than public displays of wealth. It's all terribly crass, but when in Castoria…" he says spreading his hands.

Tiadora's nose wrinkles. "It's horribly immodest to show off ones wealth so blatantly. But I guess I need to see what a jeweler has on hand then. I guess one of those little tiny crowns, tiaras?" She motions to her own jeweled hairband and veil. "So something sparkly then. I suppose I have more shopping to do."

"They are an immodest people, the Pacittans," Aidric says with a further shrug before nodding at the mention of tiaras. "Yes, that would work," he agrees. "And you'll have find no shortage of jewelers to choose from here, they are everywhere in this city," then shifting in his seat he looks to his cousin. "As I need to go to the market myself, shall I escort you? I can point out some of the better jewelers, though if you want to have them come to you that would also be suitable."

Tiadora says, "I'd appreciate it, of course. Then I can send my girl around to request they come to the manse and show off their wares, so it's not me going into the stores like a commoner. No more bunny-rabbits." She nods firmly at that and finishes her light luncheon. "Although I do like bunnies. They are so very soft, and rabbit fur is a nice lining."

"Good," Aidric says when she decides to have the jewelers come to her. "No more bunny rabbits, except for the lining of your clothes." He stands then offering an arm. "Well, let us take a walk through the market then and begin your transformation."

Tiadora says, "And fabrics too. So I can get some cheerful dresses made. I have one already done for the wedding, but I can bring it with us to Paccita and wear it early."

"Very well then, fabric as well," he says as he begins to move towards the door. "Now as for wearing a dress to two different events…" he begins as he leads them towards the door.

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