(1867-01-15) Return to Couvieri Court
Return to Couvieri Court
Summary: The Winter court season is upon us, and King Jean-Paul welcomes the nobles back to court.
Date: 1867-01-15
Related: Any Couveri Court logs
Players:
Alina  Jean-Paul  Louisa  Cynthia  Lucas  Michael  Joffrey  Gwendolyn  Clarke  Samuel  Antonia  Artos  Justin  Gabriel  Talia  Nyssa  Alaric  Evelyn  Marcella  

Grand Ballroom - Averyon Palace - Couviere
See scene.
1867-01-15

It is evening on the night of Janiver 15th, fifteen days into the new year. The King had sent out his invitation for his nobles and courtiers to join him at court in Rovilon, and so many of them have…

The grand ballroom of Averyon Palace has been set up with tables with a variety of finger foods and, of course, free-flowing wine. The King has yet to make an appearance tonight, but should be arriving soon. However, in the interim hour or so before his arrival, the various nobles of the court (and those not so familiar with court) have been given the chance to mingle and converse as they sip wine and taste the finger foods.

Queen Cynthia has been out and about, mingling freely, though not spending overmuch time with any one group.

Michael l'Corren bows deeply to the Queen Mother as she passes before he returns to the conversation he is having with various nobles of Murnord. The duchy's heir is holding court near the refreshment table a cup of wine in his hand, his wife having found a seat nearby where she is entertained by a handful of ladies. As Michael only half-listens to something Viscount t'Ressuex is saying, as his eyes scan the room watching who speaks to who and the general back and forth of the court. He would need to keep a close eye on all of it, after all much had changed since he'd last been here.

Clarke is dressed in the regalia of the Blue Chevaliers, otherwise at ease then as he moves slowly throughout the ballroom. Stiff, a little overly focused on formalities even in the familiar Rovilon Court, wanting to make sure he doesn't trip over himself. Clarke passes by his father, and the formality, at least for a moment eases and vanishes as he's wrapped in a bear hug by the elder t'Cauthone that Clarke cannot quite match, letting out a heave and a gasp as his father releases him.

Gabriel is dressed in a rather fetching ensemble that has been designed by Alina for such occasions. The colors of his house are displayed in muted colors so that the outfit is not gaudy. His expression is one of polite indifference. He is not someone who.particularly wants to be here.

Present as well is Sir Antonia l'Valdan, wife to Prince Silvio, the younger brother to the King himself. Antonia's dark blonde hair has been in part done into a rather complex structure of braids, befitting the courtly occasion, and yes, she wears a dress, blue and silver, cut in a courtly fashion. As mingling is the current thing to do, Antonia is as well seeking the conversation with various courtiers, and currently at her side is Sir Justin t'Acuto. "I am not really surprised to see you here," the l'Valdan by marriage says with the faint hint of a wink. "Even though the exact purpose seems to be a thing I still need to find out." A low snort there, in playful challenge. "I mean… apart from… seeking the public eye, Sir Justin?" Grey eyes shift away from this t'Acuto and find Michael l'Corren for the brief spell of a moment, then progress further, following Queen Cynthia as she strolls about the great hall.

Lucas l'Saigner is presently holding up a wall, cup in hand, raising it to his lips from time to time, and watching the room with a hawk like gaze. Not that it was his duty, or that he had any interest at all in who was whispering what to whom. After to his mind more than half of those whispering probably worked for his father anyhow, but it was something to pass the time between now and when he could make a polite escape sometime after the king arrives.

Lord Joffrey t'Synclarre is certainly getting a taste for Court quickly this evening. While certainly no violence has occurred, he presently finds himself somehow having been pulled into being the mediator in what appears to be a very heated conversation between Baron Londan t'Molarri and Lord Andreas t'Gercarre (that there is an argument between the two men would be a surprise to no one at all, the enmity between their houses is well-known). Joffrey looks rather put upon as he tries to cool the tempers of both men, though he is thankful to not be alone in this task, as Lord Cotter t'Vir, looking even more put upon has interposed himself between Baron t'Mollari and Lord t'Gercarre, though right as it looks as though the confrontation may very well come to blows (and has drawn the attention of a few nearby Blue Cavaliers, who are starting to move in that direction), Lord Joffrey leans in and say something in what looks to be a harsh tone from his expression, and wonder of all wonders, the two men actually look a little abashed for a moment, before both making grand gestures of exasperation and moving in alternate directions, with Lord t'Vir briefly exchanging a glance with Joffrey, who smiles and gives him a brief clap on the shoulder before he moves away. Shaking his head in equal parts bemusement and mild concern, Joffrey too moves off towards more familiar faces, most notably of which being his wife Gwendolyn, who in her heavily pregnant state is actually among the few seated, with a few noblewomen of Murnord standing near chatting amiably with her. Joffrey simply moves to stand beside her chair, placing a hand on her shoulder and giving her a brief, warm smile, and a quiet assurance that all is well.

Standing by Princess Sir Antonia l'Valdan, the younger brother of Baron Artos t'Acuto, Lord Sir Justin t'Acuto takes a sip of wine, his attention focused on the Princess for the time being as he chuckles softly at her words and says, "I favor duty over the public eye Your Highness, though I suppose you may well find out sooner or later." in a casual tone.

Even within the Songbirds, the court faction of Queen Cynthia's current and former Ladies-in-Waiting, there are factions of their own built. On one side, Lady Alina l'Saigner, heir to the duchy of Lonnaire and skilled courtier, stands sipping wine and tittering with her coterie, or at least those who have shown up this evening: Lady Paege t'Rannis, daughter of Viscount Alfonso t'Rannis; Lady Verity t'Picot, a scion of a Lonnaie vassal house, and Lady Portia t'Andalucci, a good friend of Alina's and the daughter of Viscount Mattias t'Andalucci, Royal Physiker. On the other, Marcella t'Juliano watches the comings and goings icily with her cotierie Jessa t'Resseux, Aimee t'Caden, and Tinette t'Mollari, a cousin of the Baron.

It is obvious how pointedly they are avoiding each other, these groups.

Talia t'Corbeau, showing the start of a healthy pregnancy had arrived early. She speaks in low, if not amicable tones to her younger sister, at least until the Queen passes by. Talia bows as she can, and observes the Queen's passing with a momentary silence, before righting herself and resting a hand on her stomach briefly. She returns speaking quietly to her sister, the conversation seeming to go pleasently enough. Occasionally, Talia's glance goes to either Alina's cottierie or Marcella's, as if to remind herself of something.

Staying a bit to the back so far, Sir Samuel l'Corren is in a conversation with one of the people from house t'Callan present, nodding at something the other man says. "Very true, very true," he replies, offering a brief smile. He looks around every now and then, nodding to the people present that he knows.

Breaking apart from his father after exchanging a few words and putting up a few playful wheezes for effect, Clarke t'Cauthone looks about the Rovilon court, eyes flitting and otherwise relaxed as he tries to identify as many persons of interest, and as many of the individuals and groups of power present as he hangs back some, taking in as much as he can quite follow before engaging.

Perhaps it's overly fitting that Lord Alaric l'Faust, recently returned from a somewhat lengthy trip abroad, is nowhere particularly close to the l'Faust contingent. At the moment, he's somewhat away from the center of the room, but not particularly close to the edge, either, chatting amicably with a young woman from some minor house in Ostvor - a t'Bartone, perhaps? He's in the colors of his house, of course, though the ensemble is fairly muted, with emphasis on the black rather than the yellow. His shoulders are relaxed, his mannerisms calm and relatively relaxed, eyes lazily floating from place to place.

Artos is also present, though he currently in conversation with his wife and a t'Jordine lordling. He has taken the effort to be presentable at court, his month's worth of beard is now gone from his face and he appears to be at least somewhat interested in the conversation. The baron has a cup of wine in his hand, but otherwise has not been socializing much.

King Jean-Paul l'Valdan moves into the ballroom, followed of course by what likely seems a small army of Blue Cavaliers and attendants and the like, made all that much larger in that his Queen Louisa walks arm-in-arm with him, occasionally leaning in to say something quietly to him in what seems to be good humor, though these small interjections only occur in-between the greetings they share with the various nobles they pass as they move through the room. He is of course clad in raiment worthy of a king, bearing the colors and symbols of House l'Valdan. Of course, the crowd makes way for this entourage, and as those aforementioned greetings occur, Jean-Paul answers them with the gracious nod that only seems to be mastered by royals and their heirs, often exchanging a few words, but not tarrying as he makes his way towards the center of the ballroom. The Cavaliers and servants do disperse some, though unsurprisingly a couple of the former do remain in easy reach of the King, even if they manage to look oh-so-casual while they do it.

Once he's confident that he has the room's attention, he glances to Louisa, and leans to kiss her hand, which seems her cue to step away for the moment, moving to stand next to Queen Cynthia, both exchanging cheek-kisses with each other, though the expressions shared between them do carry genuine warmth. Once he stands (relatively) alone, Jean-Paul speaks up, his voice clear and both his tone and carriage confident:

"My family, friends, and countrymen, allow me to welcome you all to my winter court." His smile widens, and he folds his hands behind his back. "To those of you who find yourselves attending for the first time, I thank you all for coming. For those who are familiar to the court, welcome back. I hope you all share my optimism in seeing a bright future for our nation unfolding before us. My late father, One watch over him, could not have left me with a finer foundation to build upon, and certainly, that is not an opportunity I intend to squander. However I am not my father…" He quirks a bit of a wry grin and asides, "Just in case that were not obvious," The smile grows less sharp as he adds, "And as such, there will no doubt be changes to come within the Court as I seek out those with the skills our Kingdom needs to help keep it upon the path my father set us upon."

Michael's eyes catch Antonia's look and he raises a cup to her across the room mouthing the words 'Sir Antonia' with a smile. That smile fades a moment when he sees the t'Mollari and t'Gercarre at each other again, but when Joff has that handled he takes a sip from his wine and shakes his head. "Ah court," he mutters into his cup and he spares a glance for the doors from which the king should be emerging soon. "Quite right Your Excellency," he replies to t'Resseux's pious mutterings about Fisher being the One's choice for the Cardinal's hat, though when the king enters, he holds up a hand to silence those around him before he offers his bow to his king as he passes them.

Clarke's face twists into a relaxed set smile as the King comes out. Clarke t'Cauthone is not one of the Chevaliers that is in the vicinity of the King, but he stands stiff and at attention from his place in the crowd then. His eyes and smile are wide, though inwardly his memories are racing, from things in the past and on campaigns then of the past and serving under the King. He stands straight up and at attention, in a formal posture of readiness despite his state of mingling over with the crowd as the king speaks.

Alina and her group stop their tittering at once as the king enters, and all seem to puff up some when he welcomes back the old hands at court to court for the winter. Except young Verity, who is freshly minted as a Songbird (and will be staying in Rovilon at the dowager queen's service until she is released), Alina and her coterie have long mastered the ins and outs of the gameof court in Rovilon. Though when Jean-Paul mentions that there will be changes, a perceptive soul might notice breif, quickly hidden frowns on many of the Songbirds faces, whatever faction they belong to.

Changing things when they already know the dances did not suit well with any of them, not that any would admit it.

Evelyn l'Faust is present as well, in a rather lovely dress. While she herself has now cotiere, she has been keeping herself busy enough engaging in discourse with a the young t'Artan lord, seeming to find him pleasent enough conversation and distraction enough from realizing her brother is here, if not otherwise occupied himself. Yet, as Jean-Paul begins, she quiets, as does the rest of the room. And she listens. Aptly.

Talia nods farewell to her sister, who moves elsewhere into the room, the Songbird going where either instincts tell her or someone of a more demanding presence. Talia smiles a little, as Jean-Paul begins his command of the room, and his speech. She gravitates, a few steps, towards Artos, her attention never wavering from the King, however.

Antonia's mien lightens up when the King enters, and she smiles, straightening a bit perhaps when her glance falls upon Queen Louisa. "Duty, Sir, is a big word many dare to speak but only few know full meaning of.", she murmurs in an aside towards Justin, but even so, her attention is on the King as he begins to address them with his speech. A quick glance towards Michael, whose mouthed words she had caught earlier, a belated faint grin offered to one of the twin brothers to Queen Louisa. Even so, Antonia's attention is on Jean-Paul then, as his announcement is bound to provoke her curiosity.

Jean-Paul inclines his head a moment, perhaps in memory of his father, but continues after just a moment, "There is still much work to be done, and it falls to me to find the right people to help me do it. This will mean that as opportunities for the Kingdom arise, so too will those within the Court. Much has been…set aside…in the wake of our recent crises, and at times due to the treacherous machinations of a certain accursed fellow I will not honor by naming. Now comes the time to set these things that may not have seemed quite so important some months ago back into motion. But do not despair, those of you that are old hands at the sails of the Court, not all will change. As you no doubt know, my mother has graciously taken up the duty of serving as the court's majordomo in addition to the Royal steward. And so you will also find much that is familiar in the procedures and petitions to come." Jean-Paul looks to his mother and smiles brightly, though it's only a moment before he continues once more.

"That said, I know you all have much business to bring to my attention and rest assured that I will hear you in due time. Indeed it is my hope that you will maintain a presence in my court, whether in person or through suitable representatives of your houses' interests. My father believed that Winter was the time for Court, to plan for the events that the warmth of Spring and Summer both demand and allow us. So I do hope we can accomplish much in these next several weeks."

He glances about once more, and adds, "And now, I will stop taking up all of your social time, and instead partake of it myself. Be welcome within these halls, and may the One bless us in fellowship and prosperity. I will look forward to speaking with you all as opportunity allows." A brief pause before he lifts his hands and spreads his arms wide, "Enjoy the party. You may consider that a royal command." Though from his tone and expression, that is most certainly a bit of jest.

Antonia raises a goblet of wine to her lips, taking a moderate sip from it after Jean-Paul is done with his speech, her own demeanor thoughtful. "He speaks of changes to come. Sir Justin. What do you think? Would you embrace change, as it could mean to divert from the known path of acquired experience.", she muses towards the younger t'Acuto.

The mention of 'change' has Clarke t'Cauthone keeping his face set in approval while inwardly looking up wtih curiuosity then but restrained. As the King finishes speaking, the Blue Cavalier breaks his posture of formality and attention then and relaxes once more, going back over to mingling while inwardly reflecting upon what was just said.

Justin nods to Antonia and says, "I speak of duty as a nobleman, a knight, and service to the realm of course." Then the king speaks. Justin quietly listens and then comes Antonia's words as he says, "Change can be both good and bad, depending on the form. There is one change I believe is needed, but I lack solid evidence to give weight to my voice so far."

Lord Joffrey t'Synclarre has listened attentively to the King's words. He'd be lying if he told someone his heart didn't plummet just a touch at the request to stick around the court. Joffrey doesn't really know the Court enough one way or another to have a strong opinion on it, but he does know it may mean more time away from Edgebrooke. But little of this shows upon his face, which maintains a thoughtful mien. At least until a Lord of House t'Juliano draws his attention with a greeting, and the type of lightly probing conversation that often transpires with newcomers to the court. Trying to find out just where the new face stands…and perhaps more importantly who with. Not that Joffrey seems entirely aware of it…or if he is doesn't seem to mind answering the oh-so-casual questions that come.

Much like Alina, Michael seems to take note of the news of changes, though he seems less concerned. Though he does exchange glances with a few of his fellow Circle Members. He suspects it will fall to him to inform them on many of these changes, what with being the king's brother-in-law. Still, he does not hurry to seek out Jean-Paul, but he does disengage from his talk with the nobles of Murnord to take circuit of the room, swapping cups, and nodding greetings to this noble or that one. Spotting Joffrey beset by a t'Juliano, he walks that way and greets them both with a smile, "Lord Joffrey, my Lord of Juliano, good speech don't you think?" he says by way of greeting.

Change. Well, that much is to be expected - indeed, it would be far more newsworthy if the new king proclaimed he would be like his father in every way. Alaric isn't surprised, necessarily, by Jean-Paul's words, but they draw his attention nonetheless. The lady with whom he was conversing is forgotten - granted, her rapt attention is on the king as well - and when he reaches the end of his speech, the l'Faust merely gives a little nod. Affirming, perhaps, but communicating little. And then he's off into the center of the room, albeit in no particular direction. The king says mingle, and so he will mingle.

Nodding a little at what's being said by the King, Samuel looks a bit thoughtful as he seems to consider the words. His former conversation partner having stepped over to someone else, there's a few thoughtful moments of pause. "Interesting," he offers, to nobody in particular, before he grins at the last of the King's words, "Now that is a good command…"

Evelyn gets a laugh out of the young lordling she's speaking with, before she, too, ends up smiling widely and moves on. While no courtly creature herself, she seems quite at ease and highly sociable, stopping to talk a little of her recent performance in the Tourney with two lesser lords and a lady with polite humbleness. If the news of such change affects her, she seems unaffected by that self-same news. Though her recent change of direction has her catching sight of Alaric.

Talia finishes taking the next few steps towards Artos, venturing, conversationally, "An interesting announcement of His Majesty." She hadn't missed the frowns of many who were paying the most attention to the man, observing to the Baron, "It shall be interesting to see what comes of it all."

The few frowns that he can pick up on have Clarke t'Cauthone's interest, even if more passively. Change in the manners of the court or something perhaps a bit greater? Knowing his King, it will be interesting. But, Clarke goes to rest back then, otherwise content to observe and pick up what mild bits of conversation he can pick up on then while observing in passing some of the groups.

Artos turns to the arriving Viscountess and gives a nod "Your excellency, indeed. I am not surprised, but it is his perogative to do so and I will support him in the endeavor." He frowns and takes a sip, "But yes, it shall certainly be interesting. I am no creature of court, but it is something worth paying attention to." The baron thinks for a moment and then says, "What are your thoughts on it?"

Nyssa t'Corbeau, younger sister of Talia and a former Songbird herself, makes her way through the crowd, greeting and chatting amicably with various members of the court.

She is a somewhat factionless Songbird, neither a member of Alina's coterie (known for their more progressive agenda within the court) nor Marcella's (mostly from more conservative houses, especially those with an Imperial bent). No, Nyssa had friends on all sides of the court when she had been in Rolivon prior, and at her sister's request would be staying in Rovilon again, tending to house business in the capitol once more.

And other pertinent house business. She casts a sly glance towards Lady Paege t'Rannis— the biggest stumbling block in her way on one of her most important tasks. But no, direct confrontation in that arena was destined for failure. Messy failure, and nothing was more ruinous at court than that.

So instead, she moves over to Marcella's group. "A fine speech," she purrs in her velvet tones, "but I am more curious to know what these changes may be. Perhaps one of us should speak with the dowager queen?"

Marcella nods, then gestures to Jessa, the youngest of the group. "Go, attend Queen Cynthia," she orders casually. "See what you might be lucky enough to find out." As the younger girl scurries off, Marcella notes, "which is likely nothing, but worth an attempt."

Nyssa nods. "I, too, will see what I might hear," she notes.

"And you'll share such with your fellow Songbirds, right?" Marcella replies, referring, of course, to her own faction exclusively.

"We will see," is all Nyssa replies before giving her fellow Songbirds an slight bow of the head and moving on.

Antonia looks up, and allows her grey eyes to drift over those gathered, noting the various reactions. She does not share the intimidation the new and unknown holds for so many. Justin will receive a casual glance at his remark. But then her attention is on the servant that approaches, to offer a few whispered words of confidence into Antonia's ear. Concern soon replaces the expression of amiable courtesy, and she leans over towards Justin to excuse herself with a few words from the man. Slipping out, then. After offering Queen Louisa a bow from afar.

"I've had the honor and pleasure of hearing a few from His Majesty, and I've never heard him give a poor one." Joffrey replies to Michael with a bit of a grin, though it shifts to a more thoughtful smile a moment later, "His Majesty is certainly…a great deal different from his father…though more alike than many realize, I think…at least in the ways that really matter." He shrugs a shoulder and looks to his brother-in-law. "You know I think this might only be the second time I've been in Aveyron." The first being when he was awarded the Lightsilver sword and shield he owns by King Maris following the First Siege of Valetta.

As for the t'Juliano Lord? Well, he retires somewhat quickly when Michael appears, making it clear with his presence more so than his question that while Lord Joffrey may be a newcomer, he isn't without ties to more experienced (and well-favored) courtiers. He makes his excuses and moves on to less protected prey.

"You would ask my thoughts?" Talia's words are quiet, though possibly they could be overheard, if one were standing near. Hand resting on the visible bulge of her pregnant form she suggests, "One could read much into it. Though perhaps there may be little to read. It may be as simple as it looks. It may be that His Majesty merely wishes to create his own Empire, under his own dictums. Respect the legacy of his father, while not relying upon it entire." She pauses, here. "And it may be that there is suspicion. Shadows linger. A head was cut off, but was the body severed? Do groping fingers, and serpentine tongues still linger in it's absence? Change creates doubt. Discord. And uncertainty. A proven manner to eschew the unwanted from one's fields and lands."

Justin offers a bow of the head, respect reflected in the gesture for her combined positions of Princess and knight as she excuses herself. Being left without a conversation partner of his own now, he takes another sip of his wine and makes his way over to speak with a lesser Lady, likely of similar station to himself to ask her thoughts.

Jean-Paul continues through the crowd, though most of his interactions are brief, simply greetings to familiar faces or brief introductions to new ones. Still, even in just a few moments, Jean-Paul intensely focuses his attention on each person. Something as simple as a brief greeting can, for a moment, seem like a great deal more with just the right amount of eye contact, just the right amount of warmth in his tone. Whether conscious or simply borne of charisma, it's hard for Jean-Paul not to make an impression as he goes. Still, after a few minutes of these brief greetings, his path brings him towards where Lady Alina and her coterie have gathered, and he offers the heir of Lonnaire a bright smile as he approaches, "Lady Alina, allow me to very belatedly congratulate you on your impending child. I do appreciate you making your way here under such circumstances, though I heard there was some…difficulty on the road?" He looks both intent and mildly concerned at this, even as he offers an arm to invite Alina to walk with him a bit as they talk…a bit away from her coterie.

Alina gives her coterie a quick, understanding smile before taking the King's arm to walk with him a bit. "I thank you, Your Majesty, and yes. Brigands, and not too far from Rovilon itself," she notes. "I intend to send some of my Wraiths along with whomever is dispatched to clear them from the roadways. My brother and several of my guard too grevious injuries— so these brigands are far more skilled than simple highway robbers." She frowns. "But that may be a discussion for another time, my king."

Smiling, Michael replies "Nor I now that I think of it," he smiles politely as the t'Juliano lord departs before continuing. "And yes our new king is very different from the last, but I think he will do just as well as his sire did, but how is it you've only been to the palace twice?" he asks, finding the idea strange, but then, Michael grew up in the palace.

Clarke crosses his arms as the King goes through the crowd, craning his neck up and around to watch then, before going back to watch at the Songbirds. While the fluid hierarchy of the Queen's ladies is well beyond his capacity to keep up with at any given point, he still watches them passively, whether out of flirtatious interest or wariness. Perhaps both.

Artos nods, "It would make sense. I do hope my current position is safe, but I do not fear it. I believe it is likely as simple as it appears. As I believe that he will, and should be ablely served, he is doing the right thing." He shrugs, "But enough of that for now, how are things faring for you?"

"Edgebrooke is a small fiefdom, and there's never much call for the houses of the far north at Court." Joffrey shrugs a bit, then grins, giving Michael a nudge, "Murnord counts on fellows like you to handle that sort of business, after all. I had horses to raise and train and other such very important business." Joffrey adds, "I was brought here with the other survivors of First Valetta, that was my only other visit before now. I've been to Rovilon of course, but not usually inside the Palace." Joff's hand unconsciously moves to take Gwen's as he speaks, though her own attention is still with the ladies she's conversing with, beyond a brief, fond glance to her husband and the fellow he's speaking with, who happens to be her brother. "Somehow I think I'm going to be seeing more of it than I have in the past." There's a touch of ruefulness to that statement…but not really any bitterness. Not yet, anyway.

Talia watches Alina and the King walk off, curiousity clear in Talia's eyes. But she only tracks that pair briefly, before looking back to Artos. "I am as well as I can be, Excellency. Thank you. I am unused to having such a concern over my well being. Beyond that small annoyance, I do look forward to my child's arrival. I am merely sorry my husband could not be here. Other duties, I'm afraid." She smiles, faintly. Almost as if she were apologizing for the fact. "I trust you have had no trouble to speak of?"

Moving a bit from where he was standing, Samuel pauses as he starts passing by Clarke. "You either look curious or terrified there, but I can't really decide which," he offers to the man, with a brief grin.

Jean-Paul frowns a bit, and nods, "I think you're right, Lady Alina, but we will discuss this later, and preferably before you take any action?" There's a touch of amusement to his expression as he tilts a brow towards Alina along with the question, but it fades after a moment to something more serious when he speaks, "I do wish your…brother…and your guards a swift recovery. If you've need of any healer's resources for them, do let me know." He disengages himself from her arm, and lifts her gloved hand to briefly peck the back of it, "We will speak later. Do say hello to my Mother when you get a chance, though. She does still regard you quite fondly." And with a smile and a nod, Jean-Paul releases Alina's hand and continues on through the crowd.

Clarke glances over at the Songbirds, for a few moments then before turning his attention over to Samuel and chuckling, "What, a man can't be both?" He dips his head over to Samuel, craning his neck in passing as Jean-Paul moves out of sight before turning his attention over to Samuel, grinning.

Artos does not see the king and Alina walk off, but stays focused on his conversation, "I understand, but I can say from experience, my children are the best things that have ever happened to me, and I am eternally glad that they are alive and well. I wish the same for your child."

Finishing a brief back and forth with the Lady, Justin t'Acuto offers a polite and respectful departure before making his way over to his older brother at a casual pace, just making the rounds it seems.

A couple members of the Circle are quite unabashedly giving Talia, even in her pregnant form, a once, twice, and thrice-over. One elbows the other and smirks, murmuring something to his companion and waggling his brows. His friend lets out a hearty laugh— not at all strange in a room with so many mingling and talking— and nods, giving a knowing look.

"Well…" Samuel offers to Clarke. "Only the wise, I think." Another grin is offered to the man. Looking around at the various people present as well.

Clarke nods over at Samuel back at the grin, "Aye, I think I'm probably best served more by being mindful more of the second than the first, but one can always have a healthy dose of both."

Michael laughs. "So it's all on me then?" he asks Joffrey about the minor houses and their dealings with court. "Good to know." He nods to Gwen then when she looks in their direction. "And as much as you're going to hate it here, it'll be good practice and it'll help you get the new courtier stink off of you so ones like that t'Juliano don't come nosing about to figure out how best to use you," he advises lightly before adding "After all that's my job."

"And your right." Joffrey chides, taking the comment in the humor with which it's intended. "I doubt I'd be particularly useful to anyone else, really. Though I suppose they might think they could get to you or your father through me." Joffrey sighs, "That's the way I'm going to have to start looking at virtually everything, isn't it?" He shakes his head, "It's certainly going to be an…adjustment." He makes a show of sniffing at himself and notes, "And I'll need some court-soap, apparently." Well, at least he's taking it in stride, but then again…he pretty much always seems to.

Samuel nods as he hears that. "A healthy dose of both would probably be required," he replies. "Especially in places such as this." He grins as he looks around once more.

Taking note of the Circle members with their elbow nudging and laughing. They are given a hard look to suggest they be a bit more respectful, though it is likely a wasted effort. After a few moments Justin approaches his brother and Viscountess Talia and offers each an abridged formal bow of the head and asks, "I hope I am not interrupting over much." looking to Talia he says, "I simply wanted to offer you my congratulations Your Excellency. May the One bless you, your child, and your House." offering a soft smile, his words sounding sincere.

Clarke nods at Samuel, even as he eyes the various factions of the Ladies in Waiting about the room, "Aye. I suppose one can say look, but don't touch then?"

If Talia notices the members of the Circle, their gazes, or guesses to their quiet laughter she doesn't pay it any mind. There is an incline of her head to Artos, however. "I will need to leave my heritage to someone. It is time," she says, mildly, with the touch of a smile. Pride, perhaps. Or expectation of things to come.

"Good way of thinking," Samuel offers as he hears that, before he looks around the room carefully for a few moments. "I see someone over there I need to speak with," he offers after a few moments.

Clarke nods over at Samuel, "Of course. Good travels to you." He dips his head at the other man, giving a light bow to him before crossing his arms once more.

"You are not intervening at all," Talia assures Justin momentarily. She inclines her head, "Thank you, Lord t'Acuto. Your well-wishes shall be remembered."

Artos notices the courtiers' gaze on the Viscountess, but makes no remark. He does nod at her mention of a legacy, "It is our duty to do so. But at least it is one we can take joy in." Justin's approach is noted and Artos motions for his brother to join them, "Your excellency, I do not believe you have met my brother, Lord Justin t'Acuto."

Michael continues to smile and has a sip of his wine. "And don't forget the Queen, you're her brother-in-law as well," he adds both as a reminder and as a way to tease Jofferey some. "And yes, you will have to think of things that way. It's how things work here, for good or for ill. If you like I can make some introductions to some dependable people here, which should help."

Justin gives Talia a more formal bow, at least as much as space allows without risking bumping into others, "I am honored by your words, and meeting one of honor and such lofty station Your Excellency." in a formal, respectful tone. Perhaps a bit over the top, but it is a bit more of a proper introduction.

Joffrey nods, "I suppose I might have to take you up on that." He notes to Michael and laughs, "She is, yes. Though I can say I understandably haven't had as much opportunity to speak with her as I have you and Sir Gabriel." Joffrey smiles once more, "Though perhaps that will be a welcome opportunity to be found here. Assuming, of course, she has the time." Joffrey glances around the room, still thoughtful, still smiling, and still well out of his element, "But yes, knowing who can relatively be trusted would certainly be a start. Besides family, of course."

Talia inclines her head to Justin. "I am certain we shall speak later, Lord t'Acuto. But until then, it has been lovely to meet you." She positively beams at the man, before nodding to Artos. "Your Excellency. Be well, until we have chance to meet again. There are others I need speak with." She nods once more to each, before she politely removes herself, heading to get herself a drink before engaging others in conversation

"I am sure you will get the chance, I don't imagine she'll not summon Gwen to visit while she's here," Michael says of the queen. "Anyhow I will arrange something social soon to make those introductions. Until that point, just be polite," as if he has to tell Joff that! "And commit to nothing. It's usually the safest strategy."

Clarke continues to let his attention wander throughout the women present, content to just watch and follow them, mindful of 'look, don't touch, try not to be caught looking' as he observes the dynamics.

Artos gives Talia a nod, "Indeed. Enjoy the rest of the festivities." He then looks to his brother, "I assume you have been enjoying yourself, Justin?" He takes a drink from his cup, "I hope the tournament went well for you."

Justin takes another sip of his wine, his attention fully on Talia. To her words he nods respectfully and says, "Of course Your Excellency." in a polite tone. As she takes her leave he looks to his brother, "You seem to be doing well. Course you always fared better in matters of court than I did anyway." Likely doesn't help he rarely, if ever attends court. To Artos' words he says, "Better than the one at Pacitta. I fear I have grown too rusty with the months spent overseeing things at Valetta. At least I made some showing instead of being removed before I barely entered at Sunsreach. How goes things at home?"

Jean-Paul continues to make his rounds, and as it so happens, Talia's departure from her conversation with Justin and Artos brings her right into the King's orbit. He inclines his head to Talia as he approaches, smiling amiably, "Viscountess t'Corbeau, a pleasure to see you here. And congratulations on your impending heir." That certainly does seem to be going around…but then again there are plenty of good reasons for a bit of a "boom" following troubled times. "Walk with me a bit?" He offers his arm to Talia this time, as his Cavaliers continue to stake out enough space to keep the conversation relatively private.

Talia inclines her head, smiling brightly. "Your Majesty," she greets. Her tone, too, is amiable. She takes the offered arm, "Thank you," to the former congratulations offered to her. "It would be my honor." She begins, then, to move away with the King, her eyes either ahead, or upon her escort only.

"They go well enough. Winter is rather uneventful as it is, so I was able to enjoy some peace and quiet." He relaxes his posture, "I never saw much use for tournaments, but I was able to get some business concluded in Pacitta, so it was by no means a wasted trip. Your work at Valetta is invaluable, even if it does get in the way of your training. With the One's will we will have little need for skill at arms or for fortresses."

Clarke has taken a moment away from his more casual stance then to make his way over towards some of the food arrayed out. A fresh platter and some wine in hand, he goes back over towards some of the nobles chattering back and forth as the Cavalier is content to just nurse on his drink.

Justin nods to Artos taking another sip of his wine. "I believe it was at Pacitta I had a similar discussion on the matter. A discussion over the value of fortifications and treaties and which saves more lives. I believe I made my point in favor of treaties well. As to tourneys, well one must keep their skills sharp. Not all of us have a Seat and advancing age to leave us with less time for knightly training." offering a good-natured smile and soft chuckle, clearly giving his brother a hard time over his age and position. All in good fun of course as Justin no doubt has respect for his brother's accomplishments.

Jean-Paul moves along with Talia at a leisurely pace, "I am glad we have this opportunity to speak, Viscountess. I have not had the opportunity to thank you for a certain service your House helped render just a few months ago. I'm sure you're aware of which I speak, and certainly I do not consider it a trifling matter. Rest assured, while I know you enacted the task at the behest of your Duke, I do consider it something of a personal favor rendered, and it will not be forgotten."

"I see," Artos says and ponders a little. His brother's jab gets a raised brow, "I am sure that I can hold my own against you, brother. I have been keeping my own skills sharp, I just do not enjoy tournaments." He snorts in mild amusement.

"I seldom spoke with your father," Talia says in the safe, quiet measure of their little closed off space, thanks to the Cavaliers. "But I am confident that he knew where my loyalties lie. With Duke, and Crown. The old ways, the proven ways are best. I am merely pleased to offer means to ensure their protection," Talia states in quieted fashion. "It will always be thus, with my family. And the Crown. And my Duke." Still, the Viscountess smiles. "But I am glad it shall not be forgotten, Majesty. A keen mind, and memory, serves one well."

Justin chuckles and says, "Of course, what else is there for you to do than to duel with the soldiers?" chuckling softly in good-cheer. Contradicting his previous words, but then when has the words exchanged between brothers joking around with each other ever made sense?

"Well, thankfully I have rather little to commit anyway." Joffrey replies to Michael, laughing a bit, "But duly noted. Gwen does seem to know a few people here as well." He notes, which is…partially true. While never a fixture at Court, she is acquainted with many of the Ladies of Murnord and some of its' neighboring fiefdoms. "I won't keep you though." Joffrey grins, "Fortunately Gwen and I have a convenient excuse for retiring early if we must."

"Well the advice is still good regardless, anyhow, enjoy your evening and we'll talk more of introductions later," Michael says with a nod for his brother-in-law before moving off to enjoy the party.

"Read, tend to the finances of the barony and other duties that I am needed for," Artos says, "But if you wish to back your words with steel, I would gladly meet you in the training yard." Artos grins, "But it is what it is."

Justin chuckles softly and asks, "Depends, would we be using steel or quills?" chuckling softly.

Clarke has taken the moment to go and approach some of the other knights in more relaxed regalia then, idly watching across the room as he goes to chatter with some old familiars and listens to court rumors.

"My father was a very private man." Jean-Paul replies to Talia "But yes, he was aware of much. Often more than many realized, I think." Jean-Paul smiles a bit wistfully, "I can only hope to approach his wisdom and insight someday, but thankfully I know I have the support of loyal family, friends, and vassals." He cants his head and smiles a touch wryly, "While I will confess I do not hope I will need call overmuch upon the…resources…of your House. It is nevertheless good to know that they are available if needed." He smiles, "Thank you for your loyalty, Viscountess, and may your child be blessed with health and talent." He inclines his head towards her and disengages his arm from hers, "And do enjoy your time here in Rovilon as you are able."

"May blessings and prosperity follow you, Your Majesty. I look forward to when we may meet again. Be well," Talia inclines her head, letting the King do as he will. As he disengages from her, she moves away from him as smoothly as he does from her as their conversation comes to a close. She watches him go for a few moments, curious, perhaps, where his route might take him next. Or maybe lost in some thought. But she moves on moments later, feet carrying her across the room.

"Obviously swords, I do not wish to embarass you that much." Artos says with a little bit of humor. "But we shall see, pending what spare time I can conjur up." He finishes the cup in his hand.

Justin says, "I can write well enough brother. That said, a good spar wouldn't go amiss. Who knows, perhaps I might even prove you have gotten too old to do anything but command troops." with another good-natured wink.

"We will see. But I had best meet with some others that have arrived. I will speak with you later, brother." Artos nods and goes to try and fine a refill for his cup.

Justin nods respectfully to his brother and moves on to find others to speak with.

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