Current Log


Note: Previous logs can be found here.

Recent Logs:

Vere journeys to Tir with Edan spotting
Signy studies the code wheels
Brita, Raven, and Jerod free an emuraptor
Brita, Raven, and Jerod pursue Dexamene and an icy Chaos beast
Ossian and Silhouette find evidence of a Klybesian network
Brennan and Conner observe the Maghee examination of Cledwyn
Vere and Edan return to the stables, Silhouette visits Solace, and Robin and Celina travel to Xanadu
Vere visits with Gerard, Garrett, and Fletcher until Robin returns
Brennan and Ossian have a family meeting with Regenlief
Brennan and Edan have dinner and discuss knights and Klybesians
Conner talks with Scarlett and trumps Fiona, and Vere tells Robin about his Tir adventure
Brita, Raven, Jerod, and Weyland do battle with Gatwegian mages
At dinner, Brennan chats with Marius, Celina with Merlin, Conner with Ossian, and Signy with Silhouette
At dinner, Hannah talks with Garrett; Robin and Vere talk with Corwin, Julian, and Edan; and Fletcher talks with Bleys
Folly finds Martin, Lark, Solange, and zombies, and trumps to Garrett
Celina talks with Merlin and Fletcher, and Raven, Brita and Jerod arrive
Vere and Robin tell Brennan and Jerod of Vere's Tir adventure
Raven talks with Gerard and Brennan and Jerod keep talking on the balcony
Celina joins Conner, Robin greets Silhouette and Solange, Lilly talks with Corwin, and Brita talks with Ambrose
Lark and Garrett re-join the party and Silhouette joins Lilly and Corwin
Vere and Robin talk with Soren, Raven talks with Conner, and Folly talks with Soren
Family members begin arriving in the town square, including Brennan, Brita, Ossian, Fletcher, Signy, Robin, Vere, Conner, and Garrett
Jerod talks with Valeria and Ossian, Celina talks with Huon and Brij, Brita talks with Signy, and Raven talks with Flora
Edan talks with Hannah and then Gerard, and Silhouette arrives with Corwin
Paige and Folly track their children, Hannah talks with Huon, Garrett and Vere talk with Max, and Robin and Conner discuss Tritons


Months Of The Year:
Horseman (Winter Solstice 1 Horseman)
Cat
Soothsayer
Knight (Vernal Equinox 8 Knight)
Archer
Coins
Tower (Summer Solstice 15 Tower)
Scales
Harp
Boatman (Autumnal Equinox 22 Boatman)
Huntress
Dragon
Warrior


Amber

Xanadu


(Freeday, 21 Warrior)
Edan arrives with his troops
Celina joins Signy and Silhouette to watch the festivities
Jerod enjoys a drink
Edan and Vere perform the Echo Dance, followed by a short speech from the king
***Edan goes to look for his father
***Brennan talks with Ambrose
Robin reacts to the performance
***Ossian talks with Valeria
***Garrett talks with Lilly
***Brita and Robin assist Hannah with her labor
***Celina continues talking with Signy and Silhouette
***Raven talks with Vere
***Folly touches base with Brij and Lark before seeking out Syd

Paris



Shadow


Rebma




**************************************************


Once the festivities are well underway, Edan and his troop of city defenders arrive on their horses and hand them off to waiting grooms. The applause is plentiful and seems to be enthusiastic. Lord Mayor Ash greets the Order in the name of Xanadu and the King, and officially gives them the freedom of the city. Edan is asked to give a few words.

It is later in the afternoon, and the lengthening shadows combined with the harbor breeze have sapped much of the unpleasant heat of the day. Lamps are everywhere around the square, and the dancing area is already filled with moving bodies as a dance band plays fast and lively music.

And finally, the Order of the Lamp appears. Still but a company, around forty strong, but each rider is clad in a colorful uniform of red and white and black, and the horses are energetic and glossy and beautiful. Anyone in the know could see that Michelle did an amazing job in the preparation.

Normally, Edan would be clad in the same uniform, but today he is in dancing silks of his own colors; spotless white with a wide crimson sash as a belt. His feet and head are bare, and his hair transitions from dark roots to reddish ends. Here, there is no hiding the color of his eyes, and anyone can see the molten fiery gold of the irises. His sleeves are gathered strangely, lengths of extra crimson silk at his wrists. A pair of heavily taped and weighted Avernus hook-swords are thrust into his sash.

The riders' formation is like and yet unlike to the rangers; for as the rangers operate in groups of three, these troops ride and fight in groups of six. Their horses make patterns of stars as they make their way down to the town square.

They are relaxed as they can be, with the eyes of the city upon them and the applause around them. The mounts are well behaved, showing off, really, as the company moves down to the square. Grooms are there to take the horses as the knights dismount.


Celina notes the arrival of Corwin and Silhouette in serious conversation. Dolphin's face maintains its normal pleasant mien, but her Father seems very interested in the conversation.

Really? Celina sighs to herself.

Whatever it is, they finish their conversation momentarily thereafter and Corwin makes his way toward the dais, though it's not clear if he's coming for Celina.

Signy and Brita are also looking toward the dais where the Rebman party has gathered with the Queen. In the absence of Corwin and Random, Celina may be the senior Royal on the dais.

Celina judges that her Father is the weather. You cannot say where it is going but be prepared. So she waves to Signy and points to the stand area the Rebmans are holding.

Silhouette turns from her former companion and drifts toward the Rebman 'camp' with a purposeful gait. She tries to catch Celina's eye, bowing her head reverently.

Signy gives Brita a quick grin of farewell before threading her way through the crowd, managing to time it so that she falls in besides Silhouette, easily matching her stride.

"Cousin," she says quietly. Ho are you finding the festivities? There's business to be had, if you're looking for supplies."

Her face makes a momentary pout of distaste at the need for the practical realities of operating a smithy.

Silhouette quirks a brow, "Indeed? Business is my ambrosia, as it were. We can discuss this further whenever you desire." Her smile curls up, "And soon, I should commission you for a blade."

Celina nods a welcome as they approach the stand. She makes introductions to her Archivists present for Signy. The Rebmans know Silhouette. "How nice to see you both. I think the excitement is about to start. I admit I do not know much about horse dancing."

Silhouette smiles faintly, "If I'm not mistaken, my Queen, the stallion leads - with the exception of waltzes and soft-shoe."

From near the dais there is a fanfare of trumpets. For those who know Random (or Syd, as he called himself in Texorami)'s early compositions, it's a short piece entitled "Don't Tell ME not to give you high notes".

People across the square and beyond become still and quiet, anticipating some sort of presentation or speech. Those people are not disappointed, as first Prince Corwin welcomes Edan and his knights in the name of his brother-the-King and then, following applause, Edan himself speaks, magically amplified. People seem as impressed by that as his riding, although a few seem less than thrilled to experience actual magic.

Lord Mayor Ash has several young men light additional lamps, and the floor is cleared for Edan's entertainment and demonstration of skill. Ash also has people to keep the crowd from pressing too close to the knights as they perform.

Celina spends some time examining the methods of her cousin's mastery of the sound amplification. She then nods to Silhouette. "Does the stallion always lead in Xanadu, or were you speaking for all shadows you have seen so far, Silhouette?" Celina grins to let both cousins know she is enjoying the jest. She'll find out what soft-shoe is later. Probably a kind of horse footgear thing.

Silhouette continues to smile, "Regrettably, it appears to be a widespread truism. Pity, really, as through observation, I've found mares far more kinesiologically-inclined."

She pauses to observe Edan's use of magic, cocking her head mechanically. "Intriguing. I must speak to him afterwards. His technique might benefit the work I've done for King Random." She glances between her companions, "Do the paradigms here allow magic or is this an anomaly?"

Celina responds so quietly, even Family ears must listen closely, "Xanadu is blessed with such anomaly, though I have studied it only in passing. I think many things associated with sound are easier here."

Signy briefly frowns.

Soft horse shoes doesn't seem terribly practical, but then again there was much Weyland didn't teach her.

She scans the crowd again from the new vantage point.

"Both yourself and King Corwin are here, but King Random isn't?"

Celina nods. "It is a puzzle, but King Random likes to surprise with his appearances." She looks at Signy, "Unlike many royal courts, the people seem to enjoy it."


Their conversation concluded, and on a level of amicability that surprises even Jerod (will wonders never cease), he heads over to the bar to catch up with his sister.

The presence of the Octave does not deter Jerod from his approach, though part of him thinks that if he leaves Octave alone with Valeria long enough, Jerod will have to clean up the greasy spot on the floor, and that's just too much work right now.

As for Huon, Jerod had noted the arrival of the kin-slayer very early on, but since he arrived with the Queen, that pretty much puts him off limits...at least from receiving the business end of sharp, pointing things like spears and swords. Admittedly he is somewhat depressed by this set of circumstances, but only for a moment.

Thus he will arrive at the bar in relatively good spirits, while he waits to see how long that might last.

As a good barman, the barman catches Jerod's eye as he comes up. "Can I get you something, highness?"

"Something dark, very strong and lots of it." Jerod says simply.

From near the dais there is a fanfare of trumpets. For those who know Random (or Syd, as he called himself in Texorami)'s early compositions, it's a short piece entitled "Don't Tell ME not to give you high notes".

People across the square and beyond become still and quiet, anticipating some sort of presentation or speech. Those people are not disappointed, as First Prince Corwin welcomes Edan and his knights in the name of his brother-the-King and then, following applause, Edan himself speaks, magically amplified. People seem as impressed by that as his riding, although a few seem less than thrilled to experience actual magic.

Lord Mayor Ash has several young men light additional lamps, and the floor is cleared for Edan's entertainment and demonstration of skill. Ash also has people to keep the crowd from pressing too close to the knights as they perform.

Jerod collects his drink from the barman, and the stronger the drink, the better the barman. He makes sure to pay at least moderate attention to the events that Edan has put such effort into, though regrettably his sister warrants more attention, so he will intrude upon her time at an appropriate moment.

The Barman is one of the better ones in town. His drink is strong, simple, dark, and strong. Given the southern latitude, it's probably molasses based.

Ossian seems to have headed directly to interrupt Octave and go off with Valeria.


After a short break, Edan appears at the center of the square. He looks up in the general direction of the castle, murmurs a few words, and touches the side of his throat with a smoking index finger; after that, his words carry outwards to the square as if he were standing next to each listener.

The trumpets sound, and the proclamation is read, welcoming the Knights of the Lamp to Xanadu. He waits through it, draws breath to speak...then stops. He smiles, and says, "I am not used to this. I am more used to shouting orders across a field, not giving speeches or lectures. But that is exactly what I will be doing, because our vision is that of a school. A place of learning. We will explore excellence in the martial and arcane arts. Horse and foot, sword and spell. At the same time, we pledge ourselves to the defense of the King and of Xanadu. We are deeply honored to be welcomed by you. We are proud to join the brotherhood of the Knights," and he rattles off the list of active knight orders that Michelle drew up for him. "We will strive to be worthy of this honor."

He turns and gestures to where the drums were being set up. "And...we have arranged a little entertainment, an introduction of sorts. A sword-dance of my adopted homeland. I hope that you enjoy it. I think that you will."

From near the dais there is a fanfare of trumpets. For those who know Random (or Syd, as he called himself in Texorami)'s early compositions, it's a short piece entitled "Don't Tell ME not to give you high notes".

People across the square and beyond become still and quiet, anticipating some sort of presentation or speech. Those people are not disappointed, as First Prince Corwin welcomes Edan and his knights in the name of his brother-the-King and then, following applause, Edan himself speaks, magically amplified. People seem as impressed by that as his riding, although a few seem less than thrilled to experience actual magic.

Lord Mayor Ash has several young men light additional lamps, and the floor is cleared for Edan's entertainment and demonstration of skill. Ash also has people to keep the crowd from pressing too close to the knights as they perform.

Three score of vertical drums are set up in a precise circle that dominates the central area of the square. Earlier dancers might have noticed premeasured marks on the dance floor, which are used to set the position and alignment of each drum. It was not an easy task; the drums are each about eight feet tall, and the base of each one is weighted with sand or earth. They break the plethora of torchlight and lamplight into a kaleidoscope of color and light and shadow within the ring.

Between the vertical drums and the crowd are arranged the Knights of the Lamp, each carrying a djembe for the hands or sitting at various larger drums or water drums; were this not Xanadu, one might wonder if they've claimed all the drums in the kingdom. The exception to the formation is Kyauta, who in dragonet form is flying from perch to perch around the circle. There are two openings in this drum ring; on one side, there is a low table behind which Vere sits, cross-legged. A bowl of golden coins is placed before him.

On the other side is the space where Edan enters. He is still in his dancing silks, shining white with a crimson sash tied at his waist. Lengths of crimson silk are sewn at the cuffs, long ribbons that look capable of reaching any of the drums from the center of the dance space. His feet are bare. Small bells are worked into the hair at the back of his head, such that sudden movements are accompanied by a ringing chime that can be heard through the crowd. A pair of Averni hooked swords are thrust into his sash, the swords blunted and heavily taped.

Those observers with Third Eye or other magical senses can tell that Edan has divested himself of any magical effect. For now, it's just him and a pair of swords.

Edan crosses to the center of the space. Though he was disappointed that Vialle was not here to experience this, he does not let it show. He had intended this to be partly for her enjoyment. Well, no matter. He removes another, shorter length of silk from his waist sash and ties it securely around his head and eyes, ignoring what shocked reaction he hears from the crowd. With blindfold in place, he moves from pose to pose and finally freezes, balanced on one foot, arms extended. He extends his other leg, toes pointed, and stretches it up towards the sky. He balances there, motionless, turned in Vere's direction.

Vere sits quietly as Edan makes his preparations. Once Edan is in position, holding his balanced position in perfect stillness, Vere slowly runs the fingers of his right hand through the coins in the

bowl. The clinking of metal on metal sounds unusually loud in the hushed square as the spectators watch. Vere lifts his hand from the bowl, one coin caught between two fingers, and with a sudden snap he sends the coin hurtling towards one of the vertical drums. It strikes the drum with a 'thrum' that echoes through the square and bounces off it onto the floor.

As the first coin hits the floor, Edan is moving; his leg comes down, there is a turn and then a pirouette, and his arm snaps out. The attached length of silk extends and taps the same drum that the coin had hit. Around the circle the Knights start up a quick beat. Edan uses the cadence to dance around again to the center, and eventually takes another pose. His arms are together, one knee raised, toes pointed to the floor, head down as if contemplating. His body becomes still. The drummers end their drumming all on the same beat, and silence claims the square again.

Vere waits until the Knights end their beat and Edan is once more motionless, then with a faster movement of his hand he sends a coin towards another standing drum. It hits much harder this time, and bounces across the ring to strike yet another drum before rebounding onto the floor.

Two drums. Edan throws his arms up high, and the ribbons float down to gather in his hands as only silk can do. He snaps out both arms this time. Again, the ribbons snap out to strike the two signaled drums. Again, the Knights give him a fast beat, and he uses it to move and dance back to his starting place, silk swirling around him. He is in his Knights' hands as much as they are in his. And then the beat is gone and Edan is frozen again, this time a martial pose, one arm defensive, one poised to attack some imaginary foe.

Vere allows himself a small smile as he watches Edan's mastery. Once more his fingers snap forward, and a coin flashes through the air towards a drum a third of the way around the circle. Vere had calculated the force and trajectory precisely, and the coin rebounds off the drum to fly past Edan's ear, barely missing him, before striking a drum on the opposite side of the hall, rebounding again to another drum, and then again to a fourth drum before landing, spent, upon the floor.

Four drums! This time, Edan pulls one of the Avernus hook-swords out of his sash with his right hand and throws it, even as he spins and snaps out the silk from his left. The sword spins end over end and smacks flat against one of the signaled drums as the silk snaps against another. Edan's spin turns into a short leap and a few steps; the handle of the thrown sword, having bounced off the drum, smacks back into his palm. How long had Edan spent with tape and twine and grinding wheel to weight this length of metal well enough to fly true? How many hours spent practicing the throw, the bounce, the catch? But he does so, perfectly, blind, in step and to the beat. And then he does the movements again to the other two drums, with the other sword, using the opposite arms, to show it is all practice and discipline and skill and not luck or sorcery.

And then, in another movement, the swords are back in his sash and the ribbons are back at his wrists. He hangs there in another dance pose, on one foot again, body extended much like that of a swan in flight. The beat stops again.

The moment Edan stops moving Vere is on his feet. His eyes flick once to his cousin, then down at the coins in the bowl. His hand seizes the bowl and he spins once in place, eyes fixed on the coins, calculating. As he completes his turn his hand flashes forward and the coins fly from the bowl in a golden stream, the first of them striking the drum immediately to his left and then the rest, in a glorious cacophony, striking each of the drums in turn.

Edan smiles, eyes still covered by the blindfold. Such is Vere's skill that none of the coins have touched the dancer, only the drums. All the drums. Magnificent.

After the last of the gold stops bouncing and clinking on the ground, the drummers around the ring set a fast beat. And after four measures of this, Edan dances.

Arm to the left, sword to the right, move to the left. He spins, he leaps, he turns. Edan's jumps are amazing. His footwork is perfect. His timing is godlike. He hangs in the air with each leap, making the eyes ache to follow him, to deduce all the movements he makes seemingly all at once. Here, too, showcases the skill of the Knights of the Lamp, who could only have kept up with their Sultan through months or years of repetitive practice. When he slows, they slow; when he speeds up, they do the same. They support Edan through every leap and step and turn. Bare feet, long used to shifting sand, are not affected by the coins on the floor. Indeed, the fact that there is a solid floor seems to make things even easier. Turn. Stretch. Throw. Extend. Snap. Catch. A routine that cycles through all the variations of movement, even as the drums are systematically struck. The bells in Edan's hair chime in time to the beat as he whips his head this way or that. The silk ribbons are like the flow of water around him: here a wave, there a cocoon, different shapes forming as he dances. Fractured torchlight flows and reflects along the fabric of his dancing uniform as he moves. Faster faster faster. Turnthrowcatchsnapextendturnspin. And when Edan is down to the last twenty or so drums, the best trick of all; for instead of striking drums, he throws out the ribbons to snake around the handles of the hook swords in mid-flight. The beat, and the dance, changes. The swords are an extension of him now, waving at the end of his arms of silk. He spins, he shifts direction, contortionist efforts to keep both swords in the air and moving to strike the last of the drums. His targets shiver with the weight of the strikes he makes on them, heavy metal barbs at the ends of silken whips. The drumming is as wild as Edan's dance now, keeping him aloft and moving. He and the Knights feed off each other. They are his kin, extensions of his will as the ribbons are extensions of his arm. He is their mentor, their teacher, their Sultan. He is a warrior, a rider, a sorcerer, a Knight. He is a Sword Dancer, and this is his Dance.

Vere smiles more broadly as he watches Edan's skill. And as the last of the last of the drums are struck Vere's hand flashes forward one last time, sending the bowl hurtling through the air directly at the head of his blindfolded cousin.

Even in mid dance, Edan's smile matches Vere's. One sword drops to the ground. The other, he pulls to him. The handle smacks into his palm even as he spins in a circle and brings the blunted edge of the sword down on the bowl. It shatters before him. And the final turn, the final pull of the other sword into his hand, the last movement brings Edan back to the center of the dance floor with swords in hand and a rain of delicate colored pottery to clink and bounce on the floor around him.

Edan finishes, then, with a bow towards the king's place and another bow to his partner and a third to his Knights, without any of whom this would not have been possible.

The crowd applauds, at first tentatively, then enthusiastically. It lasts perhaps longer than is needful, but people see the royals on the dias applauding and keep their applause up.

There is a flash of light, momentarily dazzling from the balcony of the Mayor's house, and the King appears, wearing his crown and the state jewelry. Next to him are the Lord Mayor and his wife Tjaden, also applauding. Prince Bleys is on the other side of the King, with his sister Fiona. "Welcome, our gallant Knights of the Lamp! Your King is proud to have you defending our land from enemies, and teaching the philosophy and arms to those who wish to learn! Long may your red light shine!"

Random steps back, then steps forward again and adds. "You may all dance until dawn, there is no curfew tonight, and tomorrow is Red Lamp Day henceforth, and an unsolemn holiday."

Then the King retreats into the mayoral manor and does not return.


Edan holds his smile for the crowd, for his brethren, and for Vere. A smile is enough for the latter; they both know they nailed it.

Something is Not Right, however. The King was polite but abrupt. The Queen was not present. And with Father and Fiona there, sorcery might be involved.

There are going to be delays. A kind word to the Knights. Family come to talk to him. At the moment, Edan doesn't espy Hannah. But when there is finally a moment, he heads towards the mayor's residence; if nothing also but to tell his father of the impending grandchild.


Brennan watches the grand entrance of the Knights of the Lamp with a critical eye, although generally a constructive one. He will, after all, be handing off a small group of his own Knights into Edan's care, the better to help turn this group of forty horse warriors into the first cadre of something more. A fresh and professional perspective never hurt anyone. Well, that may not precisely be true, Brennan corrects himself, remembering the Family stories of Corwin and Eric in particular as the King welcomes the new Knight. But Brennan and Edan are not Eric and Corwin.

And anyway, Edan has good material to work with, and more than enough heat to forge them. Interesting swords, though, he notes to himself. Haven't seen those in quite a while.

As Edan is giving his introductory speech, Brennan catches a glimpse of Ambrose and heads in his direction. "Ambrose, I'm glad you're here. It's good to see you," he says. "Come join me watch Edan's display?"

Ambrose smiles and says something that sounds like "of course" though it's hard to hear him over the crowd and the amplified speechifying. Whatever he said, he comes to join Brennan. They make their way toward the dais, where much of the royal family is gathering, while Corwin is speaking. There are opportunities to at least nod a greeting to a lot of different relatives.

Brennan does take those opportunities to nod to relatives he's not seen in a while, especially since most of his time at the pre-revel buffet was spent out on the balcony with Robin, Vere and Edan.

After Edan's display, he offers up genuine applause. After Random's abrupt appearance and retreat, the applause continues, pro-forma. There is a phrase in Uxmali whose idiomatic translation is something close to, "The universe is a sonofabitch," which, in addition to its mild vulgarity, carries a substantial weight of blasphemy when spoken by the priestly caste, much less the son of a god. This, Brennan mutters to himself as the pro-forma applause continues.

"How goes the project with Signy?" he asks, once the roar has died down.


During Edan's performance, Robin is mixed in with the crowd and wildly enthusiastic about the artistry, the joy, the playfulness and the comradery she sees. She cheers, she whistles, she applauds, she stamps her feet and claps in time and she is very, very much in love with that brilliant coin-thrower.

Her other cousin is pretty good too. Soooo much better than stilted court stuff. That's what life and living is all about!

When the King makes his appearance, Robin stops and listens. And tilts her head in bewilderment as her brows furrow in confusion. Afterward, Robin shakes her head though she can't shake the pensive expression from her face.

She moves toward the trumpets distractedly. Because while something's... off, there are also brass instruments to lick.


Ossian comes to the bar as Edan starts his speech. He nods and smiles at Octave and says to Valeria, "I have not forgotten about that dance."

Valeria smiles and finishes the drink she was working on. "Sir Octave, it's a pleasure as always--I look forward to discussing this further on the morrow." She turns her full attention on Ossian and adds a high-wattage smile. "Prince Ossian," she says, keeping the promotion that she gave him in her last conversation with her brother, who is edging his way up the bar.

Sir Octave looks like he might correct her but decides better.

She continues, "Let's find a better sightline for whatever your cousin is doing next. I do enjoy watching a man dance. Almost as much as dancing with one." She offers her arm to Ossian.

Ossian takes her arm. "Edan is a very, very good dancer. I have danced with him at one point. Forceful.

"I thought you 'princed' me to tease your brother. But he couldn't hear you now. Why?"


The drumming was magnificent. As the amazing display of rhythm and precision wraps up, Garrett finds himself breathless and shaking his head in awe, completely forgetting the company of Max, Victor and Abd-allah nearby. His father's speech is half over by the time it registers to Garrett that the King is speaking.

As he begins to regain his composure, Garrett glances around the circle of faces at the front of the audience. Many of them are familiar; lords and merchants and relatives mingle together in the crowd. At the far edge though, one face in particular causes Garrett's breath to catch in his throat once again.

Lilly.

Her head turns, eyes locking with his. Panic flares in her chest. Would he want to talk to her? Had her departure ruined any chance they had at a lasting relationship? Perhaps Garrett had already found another. At once Lilly feels both foolish and afraid. But their eyes had met. Running, as she had during dinner, would only make her feel more pathetic.

Swallowing hard, Lilly pushes through the crowd. As she comes face to face with Garrett, words fail. She stops a few feet away, her fear keeping her from going any forward. How is this harder than combat, she wonders vaguely. Unable to speak or move, she stands, holding her ground and trembling ever so slightly. A single tear flows softly down her cheek.


Brita briefly watches Cousin Signy head to the dais and continues her rounds around the dance area. She watches as the drums are set up -- intrigued by the precision of placement and the scale of the instruments. In the bustle of people, she pulls out a plain scarf and ties it over her braided hair, twirling and tucking the braids up so they are completely covered. She meanders a bit, watching Cousins Edan and Vere perform with a slight smile at the drama. It is really rather impressive and she will have to remember to tell both of them. She pauses as Random appears and then disappears just as fast. A look of disappointment flickers across her face -- Uncles can be So Annoyingly Wiley sometimes. Maybe they All have a little of Uncle Loki in them. She notes the placement of her mother through this brief sighting of the King, wondering at her level of insight into what is going on. Something to ask later. She continues to wander seemingly randomly through the crowd, listening to the people's reaction to the new Knights and Cousin Edan. Eventually, she nears the bar and that cluster of Kin.

Brita suddenly strides up to Hannah out of the crowd. "Cousin. Your Water? Do you Need Assistance?"

"I do, I suppose. I'd like to stay on my feet as long as possible, but may need support. It's good to see you." Brita gets a genuine smile, and Hannah takes a moment to clasp her hand.

The Victorian upbringing just can never quite be put away though. "Have you met our Uncle Huon? Uncle, Brita was the first welcome me to Amber."

"...don' t know." Robin is muttering as she walks up to the bar. "The last time I licked a trumpet it did not taste like that. I think it was the polish. You know, because of the formal occasion."

On her shoulders, Peep and Chirrup are trading a look of disgust and concern. In her arms, Ooot is making sounds and gestures much like a dog with peanut butter on its tongue.

"One club soda, please. In a dish if you can." She tells the barman.

As she waits for her drink, Robin looks up and around at the cluster she has suddenly found herself in. A brilliant smile is sent to Brita. A glare to Huon. And... a Julianic eyebrow is raised to Hannah.

Hannah doesn't even hesitate, but gets a grip on Robin's forearm with her right hand. "Sister, I'm going to need your attendance. Have you been introduced to our Uncle Huon yet?" She looks between them.

"Well, consider yourself attended." Robin smiles at her sister as she covers Hannah's gripping hand with a comforting one of her own. Then with a sigh for her sister's fine manners, Robin's eyes dart to Huon. 'We've met' is what she tries to say. Really. But it comes out as pretty much as a growl.

Peep uncharacteristically does not react harshly, but instead croons at Hannah. The boys do not like 'Uncle Huon', who finds them amusing.

Hannah lets go of Robin to offer Peep a perch on her wrist.

Robin nods. Excellent! Peep is officially on distraction-duty.

Brita, courageously supporting Hannah from the other side, has bared her teeth at Huon in a semblance of a polite smile. It is unclear if the stress behind it is due to the impending dangers of childbirth or her uncle until, she says "uncle huon." She leans around Hannah to smile more gamely at Robin and notes, "We should Probably Alert Cousin Paige. She is More Knowledgeable about Children."

Robin's eyes sparkle briefly at the lower case 'uncle huon.' Someone's been appropriately dissed. And she nods back to Brita with a comfortable and confident smile. Robin is obviously not fashed by breeding issues. In other people.

Huon nods. "Please, let's not dwell on formalities when you have your sister and/or cousin to help. Hannah, you will be here all day if you attempt to introduce me to everyone, and that is not how I believe the King expects you to dance all night. I shall absent myself to find Paige." Huon bows briefly, from the neck, scoops up Hannah's unwanted drink and heads for the dais.

Hannah's eyes follow Huon away. "Well, I don't like that he knows who Paige is, and where Paige is. I have her trump right here if one of you want to grab her ahead of him." She flips it out of her dress top and offers it.

"Would you mind, Brita? Damn things never work right for me." Robin shakes her shoulders to get the boys into the air and searching for easy paths out of the crowd.

"Soooo, Ms. Hannah, do you think the patient should walk to her den or be carried?" Robin stands ready to assist with either.

Hannah gives her sister a little smile. "Gravity is the friend of labor. Never let a mother rest while she can walk or stand. People who lay women down for birthin' don't have the least notion of how awful they are... that is, ignorant. Ignorant nonsensical..." Her voice has gone tight along the way, and she shifts her hold from Brita over to Robin. She holds tight, but not too tight while another contraction passes. "Five minutes, I think. I need a stopwatch. People in pain can't make accurate measures of time, usually. Are our bodies really this efficient, that I might skip right over the first stage of labor, or not notice I'm in it? Or that the first stage of labor is shorter but more intense?" Obviously, she's coming out of it. Her grip loosens.

"Hey kitten, do you feel that?" she asks Peep. Hannah grins at Robin again. "I wish I'd been able to midwife for Folly. Paige will know this, but stage one most women can go about their business, but they feel it. 'Bout 7 mins between. Stage 2, usually 5 to 3 minutes between, mother is generally too pain distracted for conversation. Last stage is pushing. Women who can't stand up in stage 2 need to be held up for pushing, excepting exceptions. Like breech and hangin's and bleeds. Those are why you have a midwife."

Brita is studiously concentrating on the image of the newest red haired Warden. Much more energy in her stare and she might bore a hole through the card.

"Or a Robin." Robin has been listening carefully to Hannah's explanations. "I don't usually get to see the early bits." She explains, "Usually by the time I'm brought in, there's a boat or a tree or wild animals involved. Sometimes all three." She grins.


Celina cheers when Edan is done with his speech.

Random speaks.

Celina applauds with great delicacy and precision.

Random steps back, then steps forward again and adds. "You may all dance until dawn, there is no curfew tonight, and tomorrow is Red Lamp Day henceforth, and an unsolemn holiday." Then the King retreats into the mayoral manor and does not return.

Celina laughs. "I accept the challenge! Dancing until dawn it is!." She applauds again.

Signy dutifully claps at the dancing and theKing's speech, but as the King retreats back inside, Signy shakes her head ruefully.

"And yet after announcing the big party, he heads back inside."

She looks around at the crowd before a worried look crosses her face.

"Was that a command? Do we all need to dance until dawn?"

Celina smiles and puts a hand on Signy's shoulder, "While I'm sure the King would be amused if we chose to interpret his humor such, I do not think it is a royal command in that sense."

Silhouette smiles softly, "Although, I suspect your dance card will be quite full, might I trouble you for at least one dance this evening, my Queen."

She glances over at Signy, "And you, cousin. Do you dance? Sometimes the forge takes us away from such aspects of life."

Celina nods with excitement, "It may not be custom above the waves, but in Rebma, three ladies may dance a number of styles together if you wish."

Celina adds with a smile, "It's not hard to learn. There is no dance that is done wrong. I've taught this many times."

Silhouette bows her head, "I think, for tonight, custom shall be considered fluid and all-inclusive, my Queen. I would be delighted to be Enlightened upon this form of dance. Thank you."


Raven, in the crowd, frowns slightly at the shortness of the King's speech. It doesn't hurt her feelings that it's short, but it does seem like the dance and all that should have maybe produced a slightly longer one. Or maybe that's just the way this king does things. She shrugs a little then and looks around. Her brother probably needs even less keeping an eye on at his age then she did, really, but she is curious what he was talking to a Prince and an Admiral's son about.

"Don't know that we've properly met," the captain says as she approaches. "You're Vere, right?"

Vere had been staring thoughtfully at the now empty window of the Mayor's Mansion, but he turns slightly before Raven speaks. He nods slightly. "I am," he answers, "And I believe that you are correct that we have not met."

"Sorry - name's Raven," she supplies. "Still figuring out who's who, but your father pointed you out at dinner. If you don't mind my asking - everything okay with my brother? I saw you taking to him earlier."

"Ah, Captain Raven," Vere offers his hand. "I have been told of you, and young Max mentioned you when speaking of his siblings. He appears to be taking his responsibilities quite seriously."


Knowing the king's proclivities, Folly told herself that she would be keeping a close eye on the crowds, and musicians, particularly in the vicinity of the drums, during the evening's festivities.

But then Edan's dance started, and suddenly it was impossible to pay attention to anything else. At its conclusion, she cheers wildly and enthusiastically...

...until the king's appearance and brief speech reminds her what she's supposed to be doing.

She bids a temporary farewell to Paige -- "I have to go run an errand, but I'll find you later for dancing if I can, okay?" -- and then turns to her mother and daughter.

"Are you two going to be all right if I leave you alone for a few more minutes?" she asks in a studiously neutral tone, and kisses her daughter's wet hair. It's difficult to tell in the play of torchlight and shadow, but her eyes might be twinkling.


After Edan has been greeted and thanked by many to most of the dignitaries, he will prepare the crowd for his demonstration.

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Last modified: 14 August 2017 Folly sits at the harpsichord... ish... thing and begins to play. Most of the sound energy is directed into the structure of the device itself, so what Martin can hear is muffled and rather distorted, like a cassette recording of a phonograph playing an old disk of piano music recorded from three rooms away. Still, he can sense the power in the music; there is something in the melody that stirs the blood, makes the pulse quicken and the tiny hairs on the back of the neck stand at attention. The string of the pendulum quivers, tracing a path unseen somewhere in the heart of the device in response to the music.

After a few minutes, the last strains die away; the pendulum returns to rest; and Folly blows out a breath and stands up to retrieve something from the center of the device. She pulls out a small card, inspects it critically, blows gently on it to ensure the ink is dry enough not to smudge, and then proffers it to Martin. "It's not a trump," she reassures him. "But it is... interesting."

In the center of the card, maybe an inch and a half long along its bigger axis, is a near-perfect tracing of the Pattern.