Logs:PRP-Yule Ball on Witchwood Island

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PRP-Yule Ball on Witchwood Island
Dramatis Personae

Odin (as ST), Bernard, Tock, Anais, Damson, Ryan, Marlie, Darren, Auberon, Alireza, Carmen, Eleri, Kyrie, Carrick, Zeth, Bethany, Alexei Smith NPC, Valentina Smith NPC, Lucinda NPC, Krick NPC

6 December 2015


'

Location

Hale Hotel - Witchwood Island - Open Ocean


Witchwood Island (so named because of the thick and tangled groves of oaks and cedar that inspired superstitious dread in early sailors) is not an overwhelmingly large island. All told, it is some 35 acres in size, with the aforementioned groves taking up nearly half that area. The rest of it is divided between boulder-strewn expanses and the only barely-maintained areas of grass and gardens gone to seed. The Witchwood is located in the northern portions of the island. The eastern end features the single viable harborage, a dock that bobs evenly on the dark green surface of the water. The western part of the island features a small graveyard, primarily consisting of the Hale family.

The southern parts of the island are given over to the hulking shape of the cedar-shingled (and now-defunct) Hale Hotel. The place has as a long lawn leading up to it, and only shows the signs of the most modest of maintenance. There are a number of small outbuildings (all as salt-stained and worn as the main building itself) nearby. Though the buildings may seem worn, the windows of the low-slung building has are all whole and sound, to keep out the often harsh and mercurial weather.

The sound of the waves breaking on the rocks can always be heard from any place on the island, and the occasional moaning of wind whistling through the craggy shoreline often punctuates many a dark and starless night this far from the mainland.

True to the gilded invitations placed in the local gathering spots of the Fallcoast and Hanging Hills Lost, a chartered ferry has been provided for the five mile trip beyond the harbor to Witchwood Island. The weather is fine, if a bit warm for early December. The seas are calm, only churned from its gentle flatness by the motion of the boat's motor. In the distance, the small shape of the aforementioned island grows ever larger. The captain and crew are emphatically mortal and (the invitations make sure to note this) uninitiated in the night side of things. They are, however, very well paid and attentive to guests' needs during the trip. According to the occasional notes (piped over the loudspeaker by the captain), island-fall should be only ten minutes hence.

Carmen is there, clad in a red party dress and huddled in a long black coat. How she managed to see an invitation is anyone's best guess, given how new in town she is and how she's never actually really met more than one other Lost or Oathed to any Freehold. But you can't keep some people from a party, and Carmen is one of those people. She enjoys mingling!

Arriving by ferry just does not suit Alireza's style, and thus his personal helicopter is used to charter himself and his compatriots to the island. The chopper itself is fairly large, its body enough to carry its inhabitants in comfort, and painted black to make a proper impression. Landing on the rocky beachside near the harborage, one of the pilots hops out and runs to the door sliding it open to disembark its inhabitants.

To mortal eyes, Alireza seems dressed in a comfortable cream Armani suit with a matching hat, but to the eyes of the fae his hedgespun raiment has shining threads of gold throughout the tunic and gutra. He seems amused with the wind of the helicopter blades flowing down on him as he holds out his hand to help others down to the shore.

The scent of the water is enjoyed by the wool wrapped porcupine. Quills poke through the cozy sarong, the poor fabric has certainly seen better days. "What do you think it will be like, Auberon? I've never been to a party before. I hope my costume will be alright..." A little nervous, but in the excited way. Another, larger piece of wool drapes and covers, acting as cloak and hood to hide what of her costume might peek out. Conveniently, the clothing is much the same to mortal eyes - just a cute redhead swathed in warm wool with an equally short companion - Auberon.

Happy to arrive by ferry since it certainly beats swimming, there is a Damson. Furthermore, there is a Damson in some kind of costume, since he was told in no uncertain terms that costumes were required. Of course, this may have been an /exaggeration/ on the part of the person who passed on his invitation. So it is that he looks rather less decorous than many of the Lost here; he's wearing his normal clothing but has chosen specifically the brown courdroy jeans and the green shirt to maximise his tree-ness, and has topped those with.. tinsel around his shoulders and arms, baubles in his hair, and a star hat on his head. Well, he /is/ Woodblood.

In keeping with the seasonal theme of the event, Tock is dressed in an evening gown of deep, bold red. The skirts are full length layered silk, flared with crinolines, with a sweep train. The gown's illusion bodice is heavily decorated with three dimensional amaryllis and rose flower patterns in velvet, metallic thread, and glass beads. The floral pattern is dense about her torso, though it diminishes toward the high neckline and along the wrist-length sleeves to create the appearance of the flowers growing directly along her ivory-pale skin. Her cornsilk hair is swept back in a complex Greek knot style, adorned with a fascinator of live red amaryllis and rose to echo the gown. Her shoes, when they can be seen under all of her full skirts, are Edwardian ballroom numbers of red and gold floral jacquard with modest heels. A silver and gold woven metal bracelet circles one wrist and a locket bearing a stylised alternating current symbol hangs on a matinee-length chain from her neck, both items glittering with their own dance of electric blue when the light strikes them just so. Ali's offered hand is quite welcome to assist with getting out of the flying contraption, given the formalwear that needs to make it down with her.

Having taken the ferry, he really didn't know about the party until the last minute and with nothing fancy to dress in, Darren comes as he is. A pair of cargo pants that are black and a blue baggy hoodie, which has a black silken scarf wrapped about his neck and the tails over his shoulder making him look a bit ninja-esque. His hands are in his hoodie pockets as he exits the ferry, there aren't many that he knows of the Lost community outside of the very select few that have befriends him already, alone he moves off just taking in the sights.

The sound of a helicopter zipping through the air ahead of the ferry can be heard, and it seems the destination for the whirlybird is the same as the boat's. The captain's voice pipes in over the loudspeaker. "Now that's not something you see everyday. Good luck to that pilot. Witchwood Island, in addition to playing host to the Hale Hotel, is primarily rocky, with very few good places to land. We'll be arriving in just a few minutes, folks, and then we will return later in the evening to pick you all up. We've been informed by your host that anyone who wishes to stay the night in the historic Hale may do so, free of charge, and will be picked up tomorrow morning."

Never one to use subterfuge and manipulation to the best of his ability Auberon's costume is fairly obvious. Decked in dark green trousers, tunic, and capped off with an equally emerald, pointed cap. Sadly, it is about as simple as the elfin man can get, but he messes it all up with a pair of tennis shoes. Hey, at least their green. To the woman at his side he signs his own curiosity, and looks upon each guest to scrutinize their costumes with a noted hint of jealousy.

Ryan is wearing a rather odd mix of formal and not. On the formal side is his white dress shirt, black tie, gray dress slacks and black wingtip shoes. Less formal is his double-breasted mackinaw coat. The jacket is red, black and gray plaid wool in a distinctly vintage style. And the hat on his head is even more whimsical: a long red toboggan hat with a white ball at the end, of course. Slung over one shoulder is a medium-sized overnight bag. Perhaps he just like to be prepared. He boards in company of another Lost, Eleri, though the fireheart promptly goes below for the duration of the sea voyage. This leaves Ryan on deck looking about with a sort of hopeful nervousness, offering a smile and a polite “Hello!” to anyone who meets his gaze.

"I think I ought to get a larger helicopter. Something that can carry a limo would be nice. Or perhaps one of those hovercraft things yes?" Ali waves off the helicopter and it powers down to wait for the return of the master, closing its doors back up. Smiling to Tock though, he continues "We should go and wait on the docks though for the ferry to arrive. It's perhaps more proper we welcome them." He maintains the hand to assist Tock over towards the harborage. "I do think though I am not perhaps Festive. I'll claim ignorance, it will be more charming."

What do you do when you don't know anyone at a party? You find someone else who seems to be a lone wolf. So Carmen makes her way toward Darren, offering a bright smile that flashes her fangs just a bit. "Hello! How long do you think it will be before we reach the island? It's a bit nippy."

Not festive? This can be fixed. Damson walks over to Tock and Ali as the heli powers down, a small smile on his lips. "My lady, you and your companion appear to be missing what one might consider to be traditional festive trimmings," he addresses Tock, before unwinding two of the /many/ tinsel lengths he has adorning his arms. A deep red one for Tock, a gold one for Ali. Should it be permitted, he attempts to loop one over each of their heads; failing that, an arm.

"I know! They're all so... pretty. And refined. And..." She's going as something not yet revealed. Marlie plucks at her woolen wrap and tugs it closer, swapping to sign to more privately express some of that nervousness for a lack of class and pretty in her own chosen costume. that ends with: 'Maybe I should have brought presents. Then I could bribe them into liking it.'

“How many helicopters does one man require?” Tock asks Ali with one arched eyebrow implying she knows just how fruitful such questions are for her motleymate. “I like that one well enough. But yes, we should go and see when the others might arrive.” Damson's appearance ahead of the ferry surprises her slightly, but the sort of surprise that comes with a smile. “Good evening, Damson. I have been told that formalwear these days is a bit more subtle than that to which I am accustomed.” That being said, the woman is...glittering and decorated in shining metals, seasonal flowers, and an outrageous quantity of red silk. Her head tilts a few degrees off-centre. “Should there have been more...things?”


Having walked over to one of the railings as the ferry crossed over the water, Darren didn't seem to mind to be alone, though when Carmen makes her way over to where he is, he turns to glance at her. Seeing her fangs, his eyes narrow slightly. "Hello." he says not being rude. When asked about how long it will be to get to the island, "I don't know, probably not long." he says as he watches Carmen. "Excuse my manners, I'm Darren," he says as he holds out his hand to her.

Carmen removes one delicate hand from her jacket pocket and clasps Darren's hand. "I'm Carmen!" She is a little more careful about how wide she smiles now, given the reaction to the fangs. Which she must be kind of used to. "Nice to meet you. I'm relatively new in town. I'm afraid I don't know anyone!"

He didn't mind the fang, but than again he's a predator. He looks about for a moment and he notices Marlie is about, but he doesn't want to be rude. "I'm new around here myself." he says to her. "Granted I'e been around for about a month now." he says simply not minding giving out a little information about himself. He reaches and takes Carmen's hand and shakes it. His grip is strong, but he is careful. "How long have you been in town?" he asks.

Bribery? The thought seemingly shocks Auberon, and he gives her a judging glare. He signs, 'These are just trappings to enjoy the festivities. However, I dread wearing these things. I look like fool and a clown.' He stops to tug at the hem of his tunic, frowning, but he would probably be damned before skipping out on proper dress.

"You know the answer to that question already Tock," Ali says with a grin as he looks out to sea. "Besides, I imagine that Kyrie will steal the little observation copter after she got a ride in it. Probably the closest she'll get to flying outside of a jetpack. I have not yet managed to acquire one. The prototypes are not where I can manage to acquire them." He lets out a sigh as he taps his foot impatiently against the harborage for the boat to come in. Glancing back to the copter he shakes his head. "She's probably trying to convince the pilots to take back off with her, otherwise she'd have disembarked already.”

"Time for one last story before we touch ground, folks. This area used to be quite a popular shipping lane between Boston and the port cities of Canada, particularly Nefoundland. And frequently, where you sea trade, you'll find pirates. This place was no exception. Witchwood island was for a long time the base of a particularly vicious group of privateers, led by a captain named John Kench. It was said that this band never let a ship pass by unmolested, looting and firing everything they set their sights upon. That is, until the bloody battle fought between a very prepared schooner out of Boston called the Gloaming. In a pitched show of naval ferocity, the ships became locked together. When one of the cannons punched a hole in its opponent, they were both dragged down into the depths. It's said that even now, if one is out on these waters after dark, one might just see a ghost ship gliding along in the moonlight. Thankfully for all concerned, you will all be safely behind the walls of the Hale when that happens. Now, if you'll look off the bow, we're just now entering the harborage. Thank you for traveling with us today, and I hope you enjoy your stay on Witchwood Island."

The ferry touches down gently against the dock that leads up a gravel path toward the hotel. The ship's hands go quickly and professionally about the business of tying off and making the boat ready to debark. The ramp is set into place.

Damson disembarks. All tinsel-y and baubled. Now makes his way to Ali and Tock to try festooning them with tinsel. All is well with the time-stream.

'I think it's dashing.' Marlie signs back, grin impish - she /would/ like it, wouldn't she? And not a hint of mockery in either the signing or the smile. Though the smile wilts under the glare and she resumes her nervous expression, forming a quick 'sorry' for Auberon before looking towards Darren and Carmen, offering a wave and an anxious kind of smile. Hard to imagine a porcupine looking like a chihuahua, but there you go. "Hey Darren. Hi pretty lady."

Once the ferry is at the dock, "Well it seems she is speaking with someone, I will introduce you later." he says to Carmen. Darren watches the boat be tied off, "Looks like we are here." he says as he stretches out a bit and brings his hands tot he back of his head and begins to walk towards the ramp, glancing back to Carmen, "You coming?" he asks seeing the woman being very excited and he looks over to Marlie as she comes over. "Hey Marlie, this is Carmen. Carmen, this is Marlie." he says to the two and waits for them to begin moving to the ramp so they can get off the ferry.

“Yes, but is it not terribly inconvenient for the rest of the world if you have /all/ the helicopters? Besides, where would you put them all? You are /not/ allowed to crowd my hangars until they are non-functional,” the clockwork girl admonishes quite firmly, indeed, though there is a glitter of amusement in her crystal-like eyes. “I do hope she comes out eventually. The pilot was earning his paycheck landing us the first time.” Tock lifts an arm to wave as people begin to wander ashore from the ferry.

Ryan's expression remains one of undaunted cheerfulness as he loiters alone on deck, watching the other passengers more than the sea around them. There’s a moment of indecision as the boat is docked and the other passengers start to disembark, leaving the wizened glancing between the gangway and the boat’s cabin area. But eventually he reaches some decision and starts towards the door leading below. "Must have brought a book..." he murmurs to himself.

Accepting the tinsel from Damson with a raised brow Ali shakes his head amusedly. "Appreciated. Thankfully this doesn't seem to require much in the way of dry cleaning otherwise I'd be somewhat less pleased. Thank you anyway." With Tock waving to the others arriving, he does the same with a pleasant smile to many of the unknown faces. "I guess at least to the right eyes I'm in a somewhat festive costume. Maybe I can claim being a wise man. I'm sure I at least have some gold I could present if there was a new savior and the like. Was that one Balthazar?"

"Oh, Hello!" Carmen calls out merrily to Auberon, waving again. She is just full of enthusiasm. She follows Darren, her trusty guide, toward the ramp. "Marlie? What an adorable name! I love it. I'm Carmen. You think I'm pretty? Thank you! You're just adorable!"

Marlie's change of expression elicits a frown from Auberon. However, he does not have much room for apology as she moves to meet a friend. He quickly shoots a wave to Carmen and Darren, all the greeting he can muster it seems.

"Hello, my guests! Come one, come all! Welcome to the Hale! Come inside, let's get you warmed up with drinks and appetizers!" He turns around to step into the building, and what looks to be a mechanical spider the size of a medium sized dog follows behind him.

Eleri finally slips up from whatever it was she was doing belowdeck, glancing around to locate Ryan amid the press of those disembarking. She flashes the wizened a reassuring smile as it becomes clear he's looking for her. "There was a very nice woman who was telling me about the history of the ferry," she says by way of apology as she joins him.

Tock offers smiles and waves and cheerful greetings to those she recognises or whomever may offer her the same, to be honest. “Oh, I have never claimed to be a Biblical scholar. You have a one in three chance, at least?” Then their host arrives with a mechanical spider and, well...it may be less the invitation to food than observing that lovely contraption which steals her attention and has her moving toward the hotel as bidden.

"Oh?" Ryan tilts his head at Eleri's explanation, then waves an expressive hand towards the dock. "That sounds interesting. Shall we go? It looks like everyone is hurrying indoors." The wizened flashes a grin and turns to head landward himself. "Not that I blame them. I doubt this weather will hold long."

"Like the puppy. The one dies in the movie." Marlie explains to Carmen, then nods. "Of course I think you're pretty." she affirms, holding back and waiting for Auberon so they might hit land side by side, giving him a bright smile once more - moods as swiftly changing as the rains and sun of Spring. Peeking down into the wrapped layers of wool to make sure none of her costume has slipped about, she starts for the ramp to get her bare, clawed feet back on solid ground. Boats are nice, but dirt is better.

"I guess we ought to head in. They will catch up I guess," Ali frowns at the helicopter not sure what the hold up is, but shrugs as he follows after Tock to make sure she doesn't decide to take apart the mechanical spider. "At least this fellow has interesting taste. Maybe I will have my landscapers talk to his, it's a very cohesive design." Shoving his hands in his pockets, he seems to be appraising everything as he follows along inside.

Darren yawns and gives a sleepily look to the others as he waits and now as Carmen begins making her way over to where he was and down the ramp, he waits for Marlie as well. But seeing as she is waiting for someone else, Darren walks off the boat. He notices Tock and offers a nod of his head to her, and Kyrie if she is about. Knowing he will see more of them at the hotel, he scans the area as he moves along with Carmen, looking alert, as he's not been here before or if he has maybe once before, still Darren seems to be a little on edge at the moment, also due to the fact he's the only one in street clothes while everyone else is dressed up. "So if you've not been here that long, how you get an invite?" he asks Carmen.

"I don't think I've seen that one," Carmen tells Marlie, pleased as punch. Flattery goes over well with her. At least she's happy to offer flattery in return. "Ooh, I like his jacket," she says of Ryan. "And her dress," she adds, peering at Eleri. Because surely Darren is interested in knowing her opinion on these things. "What's that? I quite literally stepped on one that had been discarded. I have no idea who this Bernard Lowell fellow is, to be honest. It's a little embarrassing."

To the hotel! Damson heads up that way; the dog-sized mechanical spider gets a very wary look and several feet of distance, but otherwise he follows Bernard inwards. Warming up with appetizers sounds like just the thing.

Eleri smiles at Ryan. "Yes, I think we should go, since I would not like to be left behind." As they approach, the spider behind their host garners a brightly interested look. "Also, food," she says, almost absent-mindedly. Hopefully she isn't planning on any abductions of property.

When people start filtering their way into the hotel, they see a place that has been restored without concerns regarding money when it comes to historical accuracy. It's almost as though they've stepped into a period piece. Almost everything they see appears to be a genuine antique, save for the electrical lights that sit in sconces along the main hallway.

Bernard leads the group into what proves to be a sort of combination ballroom and great hall. A long table has been set off to one side, filled with a variety of harvest and holiday dishes. Amongst the beverages are any number of spirits and large bowls of mulled wine or cider. The host himself, wearing a welcoming smile, gestures widely to the room about him. "Please, be welcome at the Hale, and enjoy. I wanted to get to know my new neighbors, and this seemed like a good way. Tonight, you are all my guests, and under the attendant protections and responsibilities that implies. Shortly, we'll have music and dancing if people want, but if you'd like to mingle in the meantime, please feel free!" The mechanical spider crouches beside its master, eyeballing (with no less than eight of them) the guests without expression on its blank face. "Oh," amends Bernard. "Edison would like for me to convey its greetings as well. And asks that if you happen to see any scuttling figures or hear strange clanking sounds, to let it know. Its children have gotten loose again, it seems."

Auberon's brow knits in confusion after Carmen's warm greeting. Her exuberance is met with stoicism largely colored by confusion. His ears twitch as Marlie's mood flips, probably confusing him further. He follows along when they finally begin to exit the ferry.

“Right, because you now have an entire island of your own to build up. At least that means you have another place to put your things that is out of the way,” Tock replies with an uptick at the corners of her lips. She waves in return to Darren's nod, managing to have noticed as much despite her curious interest in the mechanical skittering creature. For those that know her, she looks to be analysing how the thing was built and how it works...not planning to abscond with the thing or deconstruct it, by any means.

Kyrie was, most likely, trying to talk the helicopter pilot into giving her another ride, dress or no dress. Or maybe she was just avoiding the whole being seen in public in a dress thing. Or, most likely, Carrick was having to talk her into joining the others while wearing a dress. It's red, at least, so she's still in her signature color, and suits her, but it's a /dress/. "I can't believe I let myself get talked into this," she mutters, shaking her head, as she heads toward the other half of her traveling group with Carrick at her side. "Dresses don't feel right."

Coming ashore, Ryan tries to hurry his companion a little to catch up with the crowd, though they still arrive at the Hale's entrance near the back of the pack. Carmen's complement draws his attention to the woman, and he blinks in momentary surprise before recovering with a bright smile. "Thank you! I wondered if anyone would get the joke. I don't believe we've met? I'm Ryan Butler." He gestures aside to Eleri, adding an introduction for her as well. "Eleri Phoenix." Spotting Tock and Ali, Ryan lifts a hand to wave enthusiastically towards the pair, then turns his attention to their host, then follows as the man leads the way inside.

Oh yes. Her costume is so not even... Groaning inwardly, Marlie glances at Auberon and his elfy costume, then pats her quill poked woolen wrap. Well, at least she's not going to be a sore damn thumb by her lonesome. Mustering her courage, she has to use care in working the wool wrap off her quills. First the cloak, then the sarrong. Who knows what kind of party the Spring Beast THOUGHT this was going to be, but there's tactically located sprigs of mistletoe, glitter on everything, tinsel tangled in her bajillion porcupine quills, christmas ornaments, and clove studded oranges strewn throughout her spines. Tacky as hell, for certain.at least she has the sense of how bad it is. Still, she does her best to flaunt it - like someone trying to win a bad sweater competition. All while signing a tiny, subtle 'save. me.' to Auberon.

Carrick laughs lightly and slips his arm through Kyrie's. In contrast to the awkward-looking valkyrie, the pastor actually seems much more relaxed than usual. Normally, he seems rather bumbling and silly in his dumpy, poorly-color-coordinated sweaters. Tonight, though, he's dressed up for the occasion, and it works very, /very/ well. A sharp white suit, perfectly pressed and cut to his slender form, contrasts wonderfully with the red of his skin. With the ice-blue scarf, crooked little cane, and shiny black top hat, he looks like Frosty the Snowman's distant cousin. Who also happens to be a Duke of Hell. And he grins from ear to ear as he strides elegantly up towards Tock, tugging Kyrie along with him. "Oh, don't worry," he says teasingly. "Ye look wonderful." He glances around, with an air of distant, imperious approval, at the decor, and nods at several passing lost before nodding to Tock. "Evening, miss. And you, Mister Alireza. I really must thank ye for the transport."

"Carmen," Carmen tells Ryan, smiling over at him and Eleri - a careful smile, a close-lipped one. "So nice to meet you, Ryan --- Eleri - another pretty name. Have either of you met Darren? Darren, this is Ryan and Eleri. Do stop me if you've already met. I've imposed my presence on poor Darren here but he's been just lovely."

“Edison,” Tock mutters to Ali with a small shake of her head upon hearing that name. “There is absolutely no accounting for taste.” Ryan's waving has her raising a hand to do the same once more. “Good evening Ryan, Eleri!” Then Carrick and Kyrie finally arrive. “So good of you two to join us.” There is but a /hint/ of teasing to her tone. Really, she's being good.

Kyrie just wrinkles her nose at Carrick's compliment. She looks around while he thanks Ali, and her head tilts. "Mmm. Several people I don't recognize here. Including our host. I need to fix that," she tells her companions. "And, oh wow, I haven't seen Ryan in a while. Wonder where he's been hiding at," she says, lifting a hand to wave to the Autumn, and anyone else she knows and catches the gaze of. Tock gets a hard look, but there's no heat behind it. She's entirely too used to Tock's teasing.

"Do you think that baby mechanical spiders are like kittens and need to be adopted?" Eleri asks Ryan curiously before she seems to realize he's responding to someone. Turning her attention to Carmen, she smiles brightly. "Hello. It is very nice to meet you." Looking to Darren, she shakes her head. "I do not think so. It is nice to meet you as well." Tock's greeting is met with a grin. "Hello!"

"I hardly recognize anyone," says Carrick airily. He lifts up his cane and uses the crook of it to tilt his top hat backward slightly, giving him a better view of the surrounding crowd. "Jes' yourself an' Miss Tock, really. An' Mister Alireza, o' course, though I don't yet know him nearly as well as I probably should. You'll have t' introduce me."

Turning to look to those Carmen is introducing him too, studying both Eleri and Ryan, "Hello." he says as he gives a slight nod of his head. He isn't very outspoken, though his voice does reach the ears who he speaks to. "You're not imposing on me Carmen." he assures her. "We've not met before, so this is a first meeting." he says. He turns when he hears Tock and he waves to her. "Hello Tock." he says giving her a bow of his head.

Seeing Kyrie's wave, Bernard makes his way over to the Summer. He's using the cane he carries, no mere affectation. A limp seems to show a severe favoring of his right leg. Edison clatters along with its master, turning backlit red snowglobes that serve as its primary eyes upon the valkyrie. "Hello, Miss....?" The Autumn is offering a warm smile, along with his hands. "You haven't seen any of Edison's children, have you? They tend to get disoriented away from the nest and look for warm places to hide. Word to the wise, you may want to check any pockets, pouches, hoods or large sleeves you might be wearing. They're perfectly harmless. Well, unless they're scared. But the venom wears off in only a couple of hours."

Owen in a suit! He doesn't look half bad. Still weird, but whatevers! White shirt - starched, belt, dark slacks, suitcoat, power tie. Clean shaven, fresh haircut. Good shoes, even. An overcoat - trenchcoat, wool - to help against the chill, open to the elements. He -is- a Summer, after all, so a Kydex holster is clipped to his belt on his right hip, with two spare magazines on the other. He steps in, shrugging off his coat and taking his phone and pager from it, and his wallet, stepping in to look around. A wave to Ryan, Carrick, the others that he knows - and a whistle at Kyrie!

Carmen beams at Eleri, this time forgetting to keep her fangs hidden. "Oh, I hope so! I imagine they're very cute." Right, because Edison? He's cute. Another smile for Darren - so polite of him - and a wave toward Tock. And then her jacket pocket beeps once. "Ooops." And then another beep. "Oh, I'm sorry - ordinarily I wouldn't answer that, but I am waiting for some news. Please excuse me!" Carmen pulls a glossy red smartphone out of her pocket and strides toward the edges of the gathering. "Hello?"

People he knows! Ryan beams a delighted smile around at the familiar faces. "Hello Tock. Mr. Farukh." And though Kyrie's companion gets a curious look, the Valkyrie herself gets a cheerful wave. "Hello again, Miss Falkman." And Owen too! Yet another. "Hello Owen! Oh! I need to ask you about something, when you're free?" Apparently it can wait, however, as Ryan is already turning away. There's a distracted look back to Eleri before her words register on the wizened, and then he laughs. "I uhhh ... don't know about that. Probably not?" And finally he turns back to Carmen and Darren. "Nice to meet you both as well. You're new in town?"

Kyrie is perfectly proper and polite when Owen whistles at her. Meaning she calmly lifts a hand and extends her middle finger, along with a grin. "Shush," she calls to him before smiling at Bernard and taking his hand. "Kyrie Falkman. And I don't believe that I've seen any, though if they seek warmth I'm sure I'll see them soon enough." She /does/ radiate a lot of heat. "This is Tock, Ali and Carrick," she tells him, motioning to each of her companions before grinning at Ryan when he says hello. "Thank you for hosting this. Sometimes a party is precisely what people need. And I in particular am already enjoying this one because there are people I haven't yet met."

“Good evening!” the clockwork girl replies to Darren and Carmen. Despite the name, a mechanical spider is a mechanical spider. Tock tries not to beam too brightly when their host approaches with said metal arachnid. “Do you require assistance in locating the smaller spiders? I would not mind helping with a search. I've a bit of an affinity for mechanical creatures,” she admits readily. A little too readily, seeing as the offer came prior to introductions. “Oh...please, do call me Tock. Everyone does these days.” She dips a curtsey to follow the instruction. “Thank you for inviting us all to this lovely event.”

"Oh, of course, of course." Bernhard shakes the offered hand before waving to the indicated Tock, Ali and Carrick. "It's my pleasure. I figured that before I was able to open the place to the general public, I should at least make an effort to meet my neighbors. If there's anything I can do for you, please let me know, yes?"

When Tock addresses him, he beams in her direction. "Oh, I'm sure they'll be found soon enough. Edison is a worrier, you understand? Aren't you?" Edison makes a small series of grinding gear sounds, apparently in response. "You see," asks Bernard. "If I'd been the one to choose, Edison would have a name befitting such a caring soul. Tesla, perhaps. But alas, my mentor in the Order gifted me with Edison's company, and Edison already knew its name."

Darren nods his head, "Well maybe, I've only been here for a month now." he says to Ryan. The dragon seems to contemplate his answer for a moment before shaking his head, "Oh Tock, thanks for letting me come here, I was going to stay at the gym." he says to her. Figuring it was her who told him about this event.

"We'll keep our eyes out, sir, no worries there," says Carrick brightly. "I quite like spiders, really. Clever little things. An' your friend Edison seems a fine specimen. How large are these children o' his, then?" He shakes the Autumn's hand firmly for a moment, then looks around when he hears Owen whistling, laughs, and offers him a wave. Then back to Ryan and Bernard. "Liam Carrick," he says. "Local pastor. I'm not fussed about titles, really, but if ye must use one, 'Reverend Liam' works jes' fine. A pleasure." He offers Ryan a handshake and a smile - and, at the same moment, nudges Kyrie in the ribs with one elbow. "No flippin' off the rest o' the guests, Kyrie. You're a lady, tonight."

Eleri beams back at Carmen's agreement over the mechanical spiders, then she offers Kyrie a cheerful smile as well before glancing back to Ryan. "Ah," she says. If she looks vaguely disappointed, it's only briefly before she's smiling again at all of the new faces.

"Of course," Owen calls to Ryan, "Let me know chef, alright? I'm free whenever," he says as he makes his way over to Kyrie, Tock and Bernard and the others. "I even -didn't- take the on-call trauma pager AND I got a third year to cover for me," he tells Tock, Carrick and Kyrie - as if this was a major feat on his part, to set aside work. He's still carrying his work pager, of course. "You all look great," he says to the three and smiles, glancing at Bernard, "Sir. Thank you for your invitation," the iron-skinned Warden says to the other man, politely. "You can take the lady off the battlefield but you can't take the battlefield off the..." he says out of the side of his mouth to Carrick, a grin dancing in his eyes.

"I didn't flip off the rest of the guests. I flipped off Owen," Kyrie says in a perfectly reasonable tone. To Bernard, "Again, thank you for the invitation. I promise not to cause any trouble unless it's punching one of these two men," she says, indicating Owen and Carrick. "But I'll be discreet," she promises with a bright smile as she waves to Eleri.

"An' no punching," says Carrick mildly. "If ye absolutely must inflict some bodily harm, ye /are/ wearing heels. An' the instep is quite sensitive, if ye jes' apply a bit o' pressure. Much more dignified than tryin' t' brawl in a dress. An' ye might think that," he adds to Owen, with a crooked little smile, "but I've managed quite a lot so far. If I'm lucky, we might yet get a dance out o' her tonight."

Well played, Bernard, well played. Tock's fingertips reach subconsciously to brush at the alternating current locket hanging from her neck, a brighter smile sketching across her lips. “Yes, a shame you were unable to play a greater part in the naming. I will keep my eyes peeled for any of the little-Edisons scurrying about and...should I inform you, or bring them to you? Some prefer not to be handled as much as others.” She chuckles at Darren's words, the sound bearing a music-box-like tinkling quality. “Let you? Oh, goodness, no. Thanks should go to our host here, Darren,” the clockwork girl demurs with an open-palmed gesture to Bernard.

Ali shakes Bernard's hand with a smile that perhaps would leave the host wondering if anything went missing, even if it's fingers. "A pleasure to meet you, you must let me speak with your decorators some time. I've been having enough trouble bringing out all my own contractors to my place to keep a cohesive theme." He seems sincere at least in that, though his attention seems drawn to the banter amongst his compatriots which draws a chuckle.

Auberon gives the Beastly porcupine some space during the reveal of her costume. His head tilts curiously, and then the opposite way in an attempt to take it all in. Her request for saving is met with a confused stare. 'Save you from the decorations, or remove them? It appears to be rather dangerous.'

"Not so new," Ryan nods to Darren's story. "I've just been insanely busy lately. Haven't been getting out enough to meet the new people." There's a reassuring look towards Eleri when he sees her disappointment, and the wizened tips his head towards Bernhard. "You could ask our host? Maybe he has extras." There's a grateful nod to Owen for the Summer's patience, and then Carrick's offered hand takes Ryan by surprise. But he recovers swiftly, offering a handshake and a quick smile. "Sorry! Ryan Butler. Pleased to meet you, Reverend. And this is Eleri Phoenix..." he turns, including the fireheart in their introductions.

Standing in a small alcove just off the main room, Zeth points his gaze down at the high polish of black pointed shoes on his feet. hands lift, and he gently tugs on the lapels of his rented tuxedo, as if that action will somehow make it fit just a little better. Or at least make him more comfortable in it. The tailor assured him the fit was fine. Hazel eyes close as the Fireheart pulls in a slow, deep breath, as if oxygen is the cure for all his ails.

A chin lifts, and Zeth opens his eyes, a smile sliding firmly into place. It's all about playing to your audience, right? And tonight, the musician knows the audience. Well, some of them, at least. One foot forward, then another, clipped steps heard even over the slight muffling provided by the carpet in the small area, are only the precursor to the Fireheart reaching out and pushing the door open to enter the Hall proper.

All of the amenities of a well-prepared feast are in attendance, and Zeth is stopped in his tracks as memories flash, unbidden, across his mind's eye. Sandra's debutante ball. Eli's bar mitzvah. Another slow, calming breath is necessary, and he stops to take it before making his way further into the room, those clipped steps heralding his passing as he makes his way along the outer edge. Hazel eyes slide across the crowd in attendance, seeking out familiar faces.

Bernard seems pleased as punch to be talking to his guests. It's obvious that he's not the most socially adjusted person on the block, as so many Wizened tend to be. But between handshakes and conversation, he seems to be relaxing. "Carrick, Reverend Liam, sir," he offers to each in turn. "It's my honor to meet all of you. I really do hope you enjoy this spread. It seems like there's little enough good news these days. So as we head into Winter, I wanted to offer one last taste of warmth and luxury." Tock's question makes him chuckle. "If they're approached gently, they're quite friendly. And as I said, they enjoy warmth. An offered palm of the hand is usually sufficient to bring them to you. If you do happen to catch hold of the 'Eddies', as I call them - get it? Eddies of electricity - , you can just bring them back to Edison."

When Ali shakes his hand, Bernard glances back down at his fingers before looking back up. "Oh, yes, of course. Naturally. I can't claim credit for it, at all. I have a Mister Smith who does the work for me. He based the look on the original appearance of this island when the Hale first opened. Quite fascinating what he turned up, really."

"I didn't promise dancing," Kyrie mutters before smiling at Bernard. "I'm going to go introduce myself to a stranger or two, then maybe I'll look around for some of Edison's children." Her gaze slides to Tock. "I'm sure I won't be alone." Another smile to the group, a smoothing of her dress, then she heading toward Auberon and Marlie, and though her arm is linked through Carrick's, she gives him the opportunity to draw away and stay with the other group. Who knew valkyries were keen on mingling?

Owen grins at Bernard, a dip of his head and a laugh at Carrick, "Maybe, you may," he adds to Carrick, as he peers around and sniffs. "OOoh, I smell food. I can go check that out," he says.

'Should have brought presents. I'm -supposed- to be a christmas tree. Pinecone. Thing. A christmas -thing-.' Ah, so eloquent. Marlie tugs her broad, beaver-like tail up and hugs it against her chest like a hugely quilled shield. What she thought was cute is grossly inappropriate, and she's contented to stay at the edges near Auberon for now. course, there's tinsel, ornaments, and clove studded oranges in her tail, too. It just means there's less of HER to see and more bedecked quills. So now she looks like a gaudy ornament assembled by a four year old at preschool with spines.

“Well I guess not that new than." he says about himself. "There are a lot of people here for this gathering." he comments to Ryan and Eleri, but seeing as they are engaged in other conversations. "You all seem to know quite a few people here, I will be around." he says as he moves from them and heads over to one of the alcoves giving him a better view of the area that he's in. He yawns a little and leans against the wall as he does some people watching. He's not really all into crowds at all, for him it's too easy for someone to do something quick and dirty to another and than the perp could use the confusion to get away. So for now he's in view just in a alcove watching.

"No, ye didn't," says Carrick brightly. "But I can be quite convincin', when I put me mind to it." He laughs, and reaches up to doff his top hat briefly towards Tock, Bernard, and the rest of the crowd. It /would/ have been a full bow, shamelessly theatrical and cheesy, but Kyrie is tugging him away, and he allows himself to be pulled along in her wake for a moment, nodding to Marlie and Auberon as they approach. "Evening," he says, as they approach. "Reverend Carrick. Pleasure t' meet ye."

Tock claps Owen heartily on the shoulder. “Well done. Seeing as we /would/ have to dispatch Ali's helicopter to get you out of here and back to work in anything resembling a reasonable amount of time.” Her next laugh is nearly a giggle. “Eddies and currents, yes. Very clever. If they like heat, I have a feeling they may be finding our Firehearts soon enough.” The clockwork girl gives a nod in Eleri's direction. “Fortunately, I know Eleri has a fondness for spiders.” Carrick's tophat-doffing earns him a curtsey in return, a quickly whispered, “Oh, dance with the man at least once, Kyrie!” preceding the Valkyrie moving away.

Bethany is late, fashionably perhaps. Or just late to the party. It really shows. She's not the most dolled up, seeing how she lacks any jewelry to mention and no makeup to add even a bit of highlights to her complexion, or that her skirts fall only to knee length instead of a more formal ball gown... Then again, she's a Fairest, and a Dancer at that. So she more than makes it look good with her graceful movements as she pauses shyly near the entrance and looks around with curiosity on her face over the festivities.

"I'll think about it," Kyrie tells Tock over her shoulder, then smiles at Marlie and Auberon when she nears them. "Kyrie Falkman," she says, accent as English as Carrick's is Irish. "I don't believe we've met," she says, offering out her hand. She does radiate a bit of heat, which seems to be from her mantle, but her smile is just as warm.

Ding......Ding....ding..ding. Ding, ding, ding. The sound of a bell ringing can be heard, distantly. It grows in volume, but never becomes so loud as to be distracting or drown out conversation. It's a brazen sound, in the literal sense. For those versed in maritime folklore, it's plainly the sound of a ship-based bell, ringing sedately. Bernard, as distracted as he is with greeting his guests, doesn't seem to notice.

'Why are presents important? It is not Christmas.' He stops to reach into the back pocket of those emerald, elfin trousers to pull out his cell phone, and double checks the date just to make sure. 'No, not Christams,' he signs with one hand whilst stowing away his phone with the other. 'Would you prefer my shirt? It is not yet to cold for me to suff-' His signing ends as a spider begins making its way up his leg, and he goes rigid with surprise. The momentary surprise comes to an end with Kyrie's greeting, and he returns it with a polite nod and a wave.

"I would not wish to put someone in an awkward position," Eleri says to Ryan, then smiles at the introduction that had been provided for her. "It is nice to meet you," she says, cheerfully before being distracted by the conversation about 'baby' mechanical spiders, looking over to Tock and grinning. "It is true," she says, matter-of-factly before tilting her head at the dinging. "Is that some sort of dinner bell?"

Owen is like a heat-seeking missile - but for food. He snags two plates, arranged on his left arm like a professional waiter. It's all harvest-time food, autumnal in nature - and seafood. He wanders over to where Kyrie is, popping two shrimp into his mouth, "Oh my GOD, Ky, these shrimp are smoked with pumpkin, bacon and pine nuts! DUUUUUUUUDE!" he says as he offers one to her, and grins at Marlie and Auberon, "Yo, nice to meet ya! Owen. Thorpe. Man and Arms, man about town. Second in command at Valhalla. Healer." Each word is punctuated with a shrimp - eating politely, not saying anything with his mouth open. "Oh man, you guys gotta get into this. This shrimp is amazing!"

Tock's head tilts a few degrees off-centre, regarding that bell. “My family worked in shipping, Before. When nearly everything was shipped by...ships. That is most decidedly a ship's bell,” she informs readily. “Though everything is a dinner bell when Owen is around,” she adds, laughter lacing the words, as she nods toward the enthusiastic Ogre exclaiming about the food.

Ryan bobs his head at Darren's words. "There are indeed." And then he laughs off the notion that he and his motley-mate are well known. "We know a few people, here and there." But as the man seems ready to move off, the wizened nods again. "Have a nice evening? If you'd like to be introduced to anyone, just let me know." There is a subdued chuckle for Eleri's comment, and a louder one for Tock's point. Then he too cocks his head, listening curiously to the sound of the bell. "Do you hear that...?" he asks, looking to everyone within conversation range for confirmation.

Kyrie's head tilts a little at Auberon's distraction, but Owen's raving about the shrimp has her lips twitch. "You think everything's good as long as it's edible," she teases the other ogre. "Maybe even some things that aren't," she muses a moment later.

Zeth catches the entrance of Bethany out of the corner of his eye and turns toward the Fairest with a quick smile. A few steps will bring him in her general direction, but all motion ceases once the bell can be heard. The musician's gaze seeps over those gathered, waiting to see just what the signal means.

Not much, apparently, and Zeth quickly shakes his head before continuing on his previous course. Sidling up to Bethany, he manages a grin, dipping his head in a low nod, almost enough for it to be a bow. "Evening, Bethany. Good to see another familiar face."

'I have my tail.' Marlie signs back, one handed and a little awkward as she hugs her tail, still. 'Thank you, though.' she adds, trying to remember her manners. 'Next time, I think I will ask what kind of ball it is.' Marlie offers to Auberon, then looks up at Kyrie and her eyes go a bit wide. "Oh, hi. I'm Marlie." She snakes a hand out through her armor of meter long spines. "Spring court, healing sort. At your service." trying to sound gallant and confident and likely failing.

Bernard laughs, delighted at Owen's enjoyment of the food. "By all means, have as much as you want. If anyone overindulges and can't make the trip back tonight, there's room and board for your here. Everything has been freshly turned down, and you would be the first guests in nearly fifty years here." At the mention of the bells, Bernard tilts his head, listening. "That's nothing to do with me or mine," he informs, brow furrowing.

Closer now, the bell can be heard. With a sailor's (or perhaps a shipping magnate heiress') ears, one could tell the bell is tolling out landfall. If that weren't clear enough, there's a faint thrum through the floors of the hotel. Not quite an impact, but at the same time, the impression that something weighty has touched down upon the island.

Kyrie is clearly intrigued when Marlie names herself a healer. "Really? I'd love to get with you sometime when we aren't in a party mood. There's always a need for healers." She motions to Owen, then over to Tock. "These two are healers as well, though Owen tends to stick to mundane practices. She glances toward the bell, or the direction it came from anyway, but only mildly curious. But when she does she also notices something else and tries to turn her head a little more. "Is that one of those Eddies on the back of my shoulder?" she asks, not sounding worried, just curious about the little spider creature.

Carrick frowns slightly at the sudden thrumming sensation. For the moment, the thought of introducing himself to the new faces is forgotten. He sweeps his top hat off of his head and looks up, towards the ceiling, as if expecting something to come in through a skylight. His hair shines like embers. "Well now," he murmurs under his breath. "That is strange. Are we near any sort o' shipping lane, or anything? I'm not really familiar with the maritime activities o' this little village jes' yet. Haven't been here that long."

"Healer. We could use more of those. Get in touch with me at Valhalla, OK? Me or Tock," says Owen to Marlie with an easy smile. A grin at Auberon and then he laughs at Kyrie. "C'mon. Seriously. That olive bacon wrapped chocolate dipped treat was -awesome, OK? Now check out this spiced cake with walnut and hazelnuts. To die for. Chestnut and blackberry tartlets. Duuuuuuude," long exhalation. Air dried cured ham. Orange and cinnamon honey buns? Pork apple slider on tiny Brioche bun? Get outta here!~" He tilts his head, "Something is coming into harbor," he tells the other, regarding the bell.

Eleri nods to Ryan, even as she glances at Tock. "That is good to know," she says; the fireheart seems about to add something else, but then pauses at that faint shock through the floor. Owen's comment about the bells garners a thoughtful look. "That...is interesting." A sideways look at the others that seem to be noticing the arrival of...something, then she asks, "Docks?"

“Careful with that offer, you may find yourself with no food left in the building,” Tock teases good-naturedly as Bernard invites Owen to eat his fill. Again, that tilt of her head resumes at the ongoing sounds. “No, it certainly is tolling landfall.” Her words manage to come at precisely the same time as that thrum. Ta-da, the obvious! “It seems we might be having more guests, then? At the very least, the island seems to be...” Tock hears her name being spoken by Kyrie and Owen, offering a little wave their direction. “I have seen Marlie in action! We want to sign her up if she has any interest!” she adds as an aside.

"Shouldn't something be coming into the harbor? That is what harbors are for," Kyrie says distractedly as she reaches around to scoop the little spider off the back of her dress. She brings it around to study it for a moment before grinning at Marlie. "High praise. We'd definitely love the have the help at Valhalla if you're interested," she says, before looking out to sea, still holding the Eddie.

"Remember, later on, that you offered to let me eat all I want," says Owen to Bernard with a grin, "OK sir?" He's finished his plate, and his second plate, piling them neatly. He puts them down nearby, dabbing his mouth, "I'll go duck out and just check it out, make sure it's okay," he tells Kyrie and Tock and the others, as he begins to pad to the door, snagging on his wool coat and ducking out the door to 'check the perimeter'.

Indeed, it is one of the Eddies perched upon Kyrie's shoulder, perhaps basking in the heat of the valkyrie's mantle. It seems relaxed, which is perhaps for the best. If what Bernard mentioned about venom holds true. It's a perfect miniature rendition of Edison, with a metal skeleton-frame. Twitching, pulsating hedge vines run through the empty spaces in that frame, making up most of the thing's mass. Instead of backlit red snowglobes for eyes, it seems like instead there are catseye marbles lit in blue light.

It's a very short moment later when the doors to the hotel slam open, seemingly of their own accord. BOOM. Four figures stand outlined in the waning light of the early evening, and one of them (a tall, thickset shape) lifts his voice to speak. "Apologies for the intrusion, changelings of Fallcoast. But we thought it past time to begin our royal progress." Two of the four figures seem to radiate warm, golden light. While the other two seem to absorb the ambient light, with shadows pooling around their feet.

Hey." Bethany says in her airy, seemingly perpetually shy sounding voice, a slight wave added to it as she looks around. "There's a lot of people here." She notes, looking through the various attendees further. Then she tilts her head to hear the bell. "Oh, I wonder what that is?" She asks. Before she takes a deep breath and folds her hands in front of herself. Only to squeak and literally jump forward (Probably crashing into Zeth unless caught or avoided) as the doors slam open right behind her.

Looking up from his meandering, Ali tilts his head hearing bells and thrumming. "Well now, that's weird..." he says to himself, but with Owen heading for the door he isn't terribly worried, at least until the door slams open. The four figures now have his attention, especially as they glow and darken respectively. "Hrm, dawn and dusk perhaps?"

Carrick blinks at the sudden opening of the doors, but doesn't flinch. He simply scowls, and, for the briefest of moments, there's a flare of reddish, ruddy light from the flames in his hair. Then he sets his top hat back on his head and strides forward, allowing Kyrie the choice of whether or not to accompany, to stand beside Owen, leaning heavily on his cane and peering at the new arrivals. No words, just yet. Just a deep, icy frown and a long, unblinking stare. After a moment, he says, "Royal, eh? An' who's the monarch in question?"

The louder bells catch Marlie's attention, but not enough to pull her away from the introductions. "Nice to meet you, Owen." she says, nodding towards Tock with a rustling of her ridiculously laden quills. "I would love to help. I used to sing for the wounded." she offers, looking towards the direction of where the ferry landed earlier. 'Do you want to go look at the shi--.' the movement is cut off by the sudden sound of the doors slamming open. eyes widen and she lifts her tail a bit until she looks almost like a tittering harem girl hiding behind a spiky veil. With, you know, gaudy as hell christmas tree stuff stuck to her.

Auberon's attention moves with each person that speaks, and finally settling on the spider mentioned by Kyrie. It has a name? Fat lot of good it'll do for the Wizened, but it at least humanizes the weird thing enough for him to calm down. He leans down to remove it from his thigh, and holds it in the palm of his hand as if presenting it to class during show and tell. 'Do you know these people well?' he signs to Marlie with one hand, and quickly follows it up with, 'Do I pet this?'

Ryan notes other people reacting to the sound of the bell, and the feel of something big making landfall, though this confirmation doesn't seem to make him feel much better about it. "Ummm..." The wizened looks around uncertainly, then begins to fidget with the zipper of the overnight bag he still has over his shoulder. Their host has already denied any knowledge, so Ryan has nowhere to turn for answers. At least until the doors open and those four figures appear. Their appearance alone doesn't help him much, however, as he turns to Eleri with a quizzical look. "I don't suppose you know who that is?" He clearly has no clue.

Kyrie turns when those doors slam open and she arches a brow, lifting her hand to place the Eddie back on her shoulder, before her hand drops to...thin air. She glances down where her sword should be and grimaces, before looking back up and moving to stand...well, slightly in front of Carrick, just a little bit. She mutters quietly to him, "This is why I don't wear dresses. No place for my sword." Then she directs her attention to the new figures. "And what do you mean by royal progress?" she calls to them.

Owen shifts a touch as the door opens right in front of him. He reacts quickly enough, making himself wide - between Bernard and the guests and the folks at the door. "Heya y'all. We're all here under a peaceful oath under the auspices of our host. Come here in peace, and enjoy yourselves." says the big Ogre. "Do I have your word you don't mean any harm to the owner's home or his guests? And the prisoner?" he asks, indicating the bound woman. To Kyrie he calls without losing sight of them, "Powerful mantles Ky. Prisoner."

Eleri tilts her head, studying the four figures, her expression considering. A glance at Ryan and she gives a small shrug and a half shake of her head before murmuring something to the wizened.

“Yeah, a lot of people." Zeth leans closer, a conspiratory smirk on his features as he says a bit more discreetly, "An open invitation, with an open bar. Don't know why I was surprised." Bringing himself to a more upright position, the Fireheart quickly shakes his head. I'm not really--" And then suddenly a Bethany. His arms swing out and around the Fairest to pull her in close and he turns away from the sudden commotion, all meant to be a protective posture. When a second passes, then another, and the new arrivals start to talk, Zeth releases Bethany and turns to watch the procession.

Tock shakes her head, looking over to Ali and speaking softly. “Were there not rumours about a Sun and Moon monarch pair? In Boston? What are the chances?” The clockwork girl is a little prone to speaking in questions when confused or simply when her curiosity is piqued. And, honestly, both apply just now. “Any chance you were expecting...anyone?” That last quiet question is directed to Bernard.

'I don't know. Most things like to be petted?' Marlie ventures in cautious, half hidden sign to her companion. She edges a little closer to Auberon and glances at Kyrie when the woman reaches for a sword that isn't there. Surreptitiously, she begins to worry one of the thumb thick, meter long quills out of her skin. Owowowowow. Twisting and tugging a bit. Maybe it'll be mistaken as just, you know, fidgeting or fiddling with the tinsel.

"I heard that, too, Tock," Kyrie agrees quietly. "Been trying to get a hold of some people to find out more but nothing so far." She doesn't look away from the quartet though, even empty handed as she is at the moment. She's studying them intently, very intently. Which means she's oblivious to what those around and behind her are doing for the moment.

"Of course, my friend," booms the speaker, the tallest figure. He steps forward, right up to Owen. The motion isn't intended to be threatening, though it might come off that way just because of the sheer size of the man. He's somewhere north of six and a half feet tall, with a build to match. He's an older man, with a thick beard and thicker features. Think of Shrek in his human form, and you've got a start. His eyes are glowing golden motes and his ears are sharp at the tips. He's wearing a red tunic with a broad black leather belt (from which hangs a large sword of some variety). On his brow is a golden, shining crown, the points of which look like scaled up points of a compass' arrow. He's holding the end of a rope, which seems to be knotted around the wrists of the person next to him in an intricate knotwork.

The bound woman is at least a foot shorter than her captor. She's positively petite. Pale skin, literally violet eyes, black hair bound up in a knot at the back of her head. Spiralling ram horns jut from her brow, and her body from the waist down is covered in black fur. Also, cloven hooves for feet.

The other two figures stand slightly back and to the sides. One is a little under five feet in height, a hunched figure with green skin, jagged teeth and a hooked nose. Which it is currently picking vigorously. To the right side of the speaker is a statuesque, Nordic-looking woman. Obviously one of the Fairest, she has a pair of feathery white wings and wears a flowing white robe.

Carmen turns her phone off and slips the glossy red thing into her jacket pocket again, eyebrows arched and lips pursed in a moue as she regards the new and somewhat loud arrivals. Also, she collects a little mechanical spider skittering around her feet and tucks it into the crook of her elbow.

"As for our royal progress, we are the monarch of the Day, the king of the Found Way. We are known as Lord-Paladin Alexei Smith. Our erstwhile captive is Valentina Smith, who it is our distasteful but necessary duty to allow to partake in this trip. She holds the dubious honor of being the Crowned head of the Moon Court. With us are our respective vassals, Lucinda," and here Alexei gestures to the angelic Fairest. "....and Krick." He doesn't bother glancing at the goblin, who starts to caper, while pantomiming flicking his finger at the big man's back.

Bethany looks more than a little bit embarrassed at the jump and being caught. "Sorry." She whispers, seeming to want to give these weird new arrivals a chance to make their entrance. She even watches with wide eyes too. She spends a few moments even trying to tug at her skirt vainly, and to brush back a stray strand of hair from her face. She seems particularly to be looking at the binding of the woman being led in. Her eyes wide.

Owen peers over his shoulder, a touch. Just enough to see if Bernard nods - and the other man does. He glances back at the big man and Owen offers his right forearm, in the way of the Summer court. "Owen Thorpe. Man and Arms for the court of Summer, and our host bids you welcome. Are you or your companions hungry? The food is pretty darn great. The local head of my Court is over there," he indicates Kyrie, “And this is our host," to Bernard. "Stay in peace," he says - although he has to look up at the big man, as he's offering his right hand. "Does your prisoner require medical care? We have expert healers here." Owen adds.

"Pleased to meet you, Lord-Paladin, Miss Smith, Lucinda and Krick." Finally ... Owen will step aside. But those that are quick eyed may notice he's always within a quick grab of the big man and the bound woman. Just shadowing.

Carrick gives the indicated Valentina a considering look for a moment. One of his thin eyebrows is still delicately arched, and his expression is still locked in a frown. At least, for a moment. Until Owen steps aside. Then, quite instantly, he's smiling again, and striding forward, one hand outstretched towards the Lord-Paladin in offer of handshake. "The Reverend Liam Carrick, Yer Majesty," he says brightly. "Dawn Courtier an' local representative o' the Bishopric o' Blackbirds. A pleasure t' meet ye, an' I must say I can appreciate the theatricality o' the entrance, but I'm curious as t' why ye've seen it necessary t' put this poor creature-" he gestures with the tip of his cane towards the Moon Courtier "-in chains. I'm afraid I'm not quite up on the local politics jes' yet."

Kyrie has forgotten about the Eddie on her back, but doesn't seem bothered by it. Her chin lifts a fraction when Owen mentions her, but she does her best not to look threatening. Which is easier in her red dress than her armor. "What brings you to Fallcoast and Sentinel Rock, Lord-Paladin Smith?" she calls, still wary but curbing it. Mostly. Okay, some of it. And from this distance her smile probably doesn't look /that/ tight. Honest.

Tock perks and takes a step forward at Owen's mention of anyone needing healing. She bristles a bit at the mention of captives, at the bindings on the woman. It is all a little too much like Them, parading people about in tethers. She gives a nod to Owen. “Please, but say the word if someone requires medical assistance.” Or any other assistance, though she does not say as much. Or anything else just yet...

Ryan glances aside towards Tock and Kryie, catching at least some of the speculation, but most of his attention is on Owen and the four newcomers. The drudge's eyes go wide at the introductions, and then he shifts uneasily and casts a nervous glance over the crowd, trying to gauge the general reaction. But there is at least a bit of calming as he sees others taking this all in relative stride, and starting to introduce themselves. For his part, Ryan is more than content to hang back and watch.

Eleri blinks very slowly, red-gold eyes flickering from one of the proclaimed royals to the next to the next. If she has anything to say, it isn't apparent, although she /does/ jump suddenly, turning to peer down at her ankle before quickly leaning down. A moment later and she straightens, one of the mini-mechanical spiders balanced on her palm, a bemused expression on her face.

Marlie hardly knows anyone here, and now to see someone bound and held against their will? The little Springupine puffs up, her quills less slicked down and the girl looking much more like an upset, dangerous pufferfish. No touchy. Hug me not. She pauses in fiddling with the quill, biting her lip and looking nervous as she presses the end of the quill down into her skin a bit, twisting and digging to work venom up into the hollow tube of the quill, giving her a three foot long needle to deliver it if she needs to. with that golden, viscous fluid in the quill, she finishes tugging it loose, ignoring the sharp pain and the bit of blood as it comes out. "Kyrie? What's going on?" she asks, edging thataway with a waddling rolling step that might be funny if she wasn't looking like a sparkly urchin.

Valentina speaks up, with a surprisingly throaty voice. It must be said, she gives good voice. "I insisted on these as well. It puts me in a more relaxed mood." She lifts her wrists, wringing them against the bonds of the rope lazily. "If Alexei here bought me dinner, before putting this token on my wrists, the evening would have taken quite a different turn." She laughs merrily at the disgusted look on the King's face. Krick gives a whispy giggle, while Lucinda scowls.

Carmen eases her way back toward Ryan and Eleri, murmuring sotto voce in the vicinity of the pair, "Er. If they're here, who's minding what they rule? They're not from around here, are they? I'm afraid I'm not caught up on local business as of yet."

Zeth is content to listen in as best he can for the conversation between the nobility and the locals in charge. "Sorry." Bethany's apology is mirrored, and he flashes the woman a quick smile to match before taking a step back to stand beside, rather than in front, of her. "Do you know them?" The question is a whispered one, the Fireheart leaning in the direction of the Fairest as he asks, so as to not disturb the potentially formal presentation.

Owen is quiet, he catches Tock and Kyrie's eye. They'll notice Owen is shadowing the group - his 'strongside' (the one with the weapon) always away from them, and while he's polite and smiling, he's always within reach and ready to step in between them and the 'first' guests. "Sir, the pleasure is mine, and I am pleased to make your acquaintance," he says with a bow. "Welcome to our city." Otherwise, he's quiet - relaxed, just watching. In watchdog mode.

"For me sins, yes," says Carrick. "The local Protestant community is in me charge." His own voice is just as hypnotic as the Moon woman's, in its way, though at the moment it tends more towards low and soothing than enticing. And, of course, the Irish on it is so thick that those listening can almost smell the potatoes. "I'm hardly the holiest o' men-" he gestures towards his decidedly infernal facial features "-but I do me best. In fact, until last night, I was plannin' t' come t' this little party in me pastorin' clothes. I don't own much in the way o' fancy dress. This is somethin' of an occasion - but I figured I'd best not embarrass my date." The slightest nod towards Kyrie, and a brief glance towards Valentina before he shrugs. "As ye say, miss. But that leaves us with another question, Yer Majesty. Majesties." He corrects himself almost immediately. "What /has/ brought ye here tonight, exactly? Awfully fortuitous, I think, that ye would stumble into a feast like this completely by chance."

Putting on his best face, Ali strolls towards the illustrious dignitaries, stretching a bow. "We are of course delighted to have such wonderous guests arriving in the lands of our Freehold. Wonderful indeed, and such a shame that we have not had the pleasure in recent times. Is there anything perhaps we can do to make your necessary trip more pleasant I am sure that your needs can be arranged and your desires found." Coming up from his bow with a warm smile "I am Alireza of the court of Spring, and I hold sway as head of Acquisitions, should there be anything you have need of." His gaze takes in them all, but as a fairest himself it holds on the other fairests a tad longer.

Kyrie turns her head slightly in Marlie's direction at the question. "Not sure yet," she murmurs back before the King starts talking again. "It may be nothing...serious." Though she doesn't sound convinced of that. But she's doing her best to ease in front of her friends, just to be on the safe side, while she watches the party. Others are doing a better job of talking than she could, so she keeps quiet, working at keeping a smile on her face.

Well, no one seems to be injured, at least? Tock observes that languid twist of the bindings around the woman's wrists, the nature of the words coupled with the motion, and simply...nods. There is a faint stain of petal-pink that creeps into her cheeks like paint upon a china doll's. To each their own... She steps back into the little group with which she had been conversing. Meanwhile, her skirts seem to be a little more...mobile than they should be for one standing still, a ruffling between silks and crinolines. The clockwork girl gives this only a moment's glance, presuming an Eddie has decided it found a good place to crawl. It isn't exactly like she can offer it a hand where it is, so she does what anyone bred from good English stock would do in such a situation and quite handily acts like Everything Is Perfectly Normal Here.

Bethany shakes her head to Zeth. "No." She concedes. Her gaze continues to be locked on Valentina, head even tilting to the side inquisitively. The shy girl even manages to come up with the courage to ask, "But why would you want to be tied coming to a party? It's not a costume is it?" She asks.

Ryan's brows raise at Carmen's question, but he can only shake his head slowly. "I don't know," he says, lowering his voice. "I think they may be from Boston? And I believe they're ummm ... out of work? I heard they lost their crown." But he is clearly far from certain on either count. His voice drops even further as he hopefully adds, "I'm sure it will be fine." The wizened seems distinctly ill at ease, if that's to be believed.

"Yes, well. As answer to your various questions, we are here to make contact with the Crowns of Fallcoast. We can tell they are not in attendance. Though there is glamour in great abundance here, none of it is the rarified stuff of the Crown." The Lord-Paladin glances around again. "As you say, Reverend, it is not purest chance that brings us to your shores. We were making our way. Perhaps you have heard word that the Seasonal Crowns have ceded to wisdom and now Boston is held in tandem by the Sun and Moon? We thought the best way to start our reign is to make ourselves known to our neighbors, and to seek a prosperous relationship with them. We happened to feel the flux of glamour upon this place from a distance as we were sailing. And as it cost us nothing but time to stop on our way into the harbor, so we did."

And just then, it happens. The quality of light changes as the sun slips beneath the horizon, even though the sconces drive back the dark within the hotel. Even if one misses that subtle change, there are others to contend with. For instance, the crown atop Alexei's head shatters into fine golden dust, while a crown of ebony (a graceful coronet with thorns atop the browline) manifests around the slim horns of Valentina. There's a little shimmy of motion from the Darlking, and she wriggles one hand free of the ropes that bind(?) her. The other is left bedecked with now-loosened ropes. "Ah, and now it would appear that is my time to speak, dear brother. Do be good and hush for the moment, will you?" She blows a kiss toward the taller Lost, who scowls, but nonetheless quiets. "Yes," Valentina continues. "Where were we? Come children, question and answer time."

Kyrie's gaze flicks down when something touches her hand, and when she realizes she's been handed a makeshift sword, her lips twitch in a genuine smile. "A healer and smart. I like you, Marlie," she murmurs to the woman, before hiding the quill in the folds of her dress. "Are you saying that you are only here to be friendly and meet us? Why not send word to our King to be expecting you? I'm sure he would have wanted to be among the first to greet the monarchs of another freehold."

That gets another raised eyebrow from Carrick. "Really now?" he says, sounding surprised. "I was jes' in Boston last year. Joined the Blackbirds there an' all, in fact." He leans forward on his cane, tilting his head to one side as he regards the change in crowns. He doesn't seem particularly surprised by it. His attention slides quite easily from the Lord-Paladin to the prisoner. "Last I heard," he says slowly, "Sun an' Moon were quite... ah, small. Not really the dominant power, let alone in any sort o' position t' start /reigning/. I have t' congratulate ye on... well, whatever it was that brought ye t' the throne, an' express me confidence that ye'll use it for the betterment o' your community." He taps the tip of his cane on the floor, once, twice. "How /did/ it happen, if ye don't mind me askin'?"

"We do have a king in standing, Lord-Paladin," says Owen with a dip of his head. He's keeping himself shadowed around them, just enough to keep himself ready to step in if necessary. "If you would like, we could pass along a missive from you?" Otherwise he's quiet!

Eleri gives Carmen an apologetic sort of look, then nods to Ryan's words. "What he said," she murmurs, setting the mini-spider on her shoulder, apparently unconcerned at its proximity to her face. At that shift between sun and moon, she tilts her head, the pair given a thoughtful look, particularly Valentina's words. It seems she doesn't have any questions, at least of yet.

The quill accepted and hidden away, Marlie falls quiet and stays still. After all, the question she asked was answered.

And then there is a request to speak with the local Court rulers, which is her cue again, spiders creeping about her crinolines or no. Tock steps forward once more, this time bobbing a curtsey as she does so. “Greetings, lord and lady. I am called Tock. As you so keenly observed, our rulers are not present here. My Court is not currently in season...however, I am one of the Sylvan Emissaries of Spring in Fallcoast. Should you have a missive that you wished carried to our Court's ruler, I would be happy to carry it.” Politeness never hurts, after all!

"I'll answer this one, my love." Valentina purrs as she steps forward, rubbing her fingers lightly along the rope upon her wrist. "I believe my stuffy, pompous elder brother wished to grandstand and take your own rulers by surprise. Nothing sets off ambassadorial dick-measuring by someone having the element of surprise. And yes, Man At Arms. I believe we do have a missive that we can send him. It is back on the ship, however. We'll retrieve it presently. Krick. Do it." To which the goblin offers a quick bow before dashing back out the door. "Now." Valentina smiles widely at Alireza. "A Spring court merchant. How interesting. I can only imagine the things you could get for me. I think we shall have to talk about a certain rare sap that can be found in the hedge. When dried and sharpened, and used to cut the skin, it can, well...." She mimes (possibly) a small shiver. "We'll talk." She regards Tock's offer, one side of her mouth tipping upward. "Such helpfulness. Such obedience. Tock, then? Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see what makes Tock tick." She takes the offered glass of mulled wine from Bernard, taking a sip.

Having kept to himself in the alcove he was keeping to himself at. Still as the leaders seem to be coming out to greet people, Darren didn't know them and figuring how he's dressed, he wouldn't go near them. Still he didn't care, he liked what he had on and it's more combat ready than what some of the others are wearing. His golden eyes seem to gleam where he is a bit of darkness over him as he looks around, though the longer he stands there the more he begins to smell food and well, Darren seems to always be hungry. So with that, he walks over to the table where the food is and he begins making a plate, he moves smoothly and between people as he makes his way over to the table. Passing by Carmen, Tock and Kyrie, Darren nods to them and he begins to take what he wants before retreating to his little alcove.

"Roger, ma'am," says Owen to the Moon Monarch, but as she speaks about seeing what makes someone tick, he can't help but speak, "How she ticks is a matter for us, our court, and our friends, ma'am." Polite, but firm still. "We'll most definitely pass your missive along, of course. Do you plan on staying for a while, could we arranging lodgings for you?" He can't help himself and he adds the Monarchs, "Try the shrimp. Totally, it's super awesome, sir and ma'am."

Kyrie is again stepping forward. Not to get in front of Tock again, but to stand beside her. Her smile now is more brittle, and her stance is protective. "If you'd like to speak to the monarchs, you have an ambassador happy to help /in that regard/," she says, with just a little emphasis there, "and I'm aldermember for my court, so I'd be happy to relay your intentions here, along with any messages, as well, to the rest of the council."

Bowing his head with a grin, Alireza seems pleased perhaps for being seen as something else. "I am sure that your desires can be met indeed. If there are any other things you or your compatriots may wish we can indeed discuss further." Having accomplished what he had set out for, he steps back to allow the others to handle their more pressing matters.

Carrick sighs and shakes his head behind Valentina's back when she steps forward and begins speaking. "Court o' Disgust," he mutters, very quietly, into Kyrie's ear. "She'll try t' set ye off. I'd tell ye not t' take it personally, but it's absolutely meant that way." And then he steps around to stand in front of the Moon Queen again, beside Tock and her rustling skirts. "Another question for ye, Yer Majesty," he says, his voice back to its former strength. "Yer brother mentioned a journey. One that required both o' your royal personages. Pardon me, but it doesn't seem like a simple round o' handshakes with the neighbors is quite enough t' merit that sort o' personal touch. Particularly so soon in a reign, when there's undoubted all sorts o' important royal matters that need attending to. Was there anything else ye were lookin' for?"

Carmen wriggles her fingers in a little wave to Darren as he passes; she exhales, murmuring to Ryan and Eleri, "Well, now it's going to be harder to meet people who actually live here with all this going on." Is she... pouting? Maybe. A little. She leans over to set the spiderling she's been holding down on the floor and sweeping toward the refreshments.

“I do try, Lady,” Tock replies readily to Valentina's observations, the corners of her lips ticking upward slightly. There could be some amusement at what the woman is attempting to do. “I should think it rather obvious.” A hand rests over her heart, just for a moment, meaningfully. “Clockwork, after all.” She bobs another curtsey. “If you have a missive, please do pass it on.” That duty reiterated, she quiets once more.

Marlie oh's, watching the Moon Crowned. Another quill is taken, this one long and thin - from her 'hair'. Flexible and sharp, she toys with it before offering it towards Valentina. Merry Christmas, you dirty masochist, have a new toy from a prickly Spring enabler.

Ryan's gaze strays back to Valentina as the Moon Queen takes the crown and steps up to speak. For the first few moments his expression is distracted and distant, and then the wizened blinks and gives an embarrassed-sounding chuckle. Apparently to himself, he mumbles, "That ... umm ... yes. Not so much." And then he seems to recall there are others around, and he looks up to murmur a quick apology to those near enough to have overheard that. "Sorry. Don't mind me."

Valentina has a moment of looking both quite pleased by some reactions, and disappointed by Tock's reaction to her (or lack thereof). "Well fuck, it's hardly going to be quite as much fun if you don't rise to my bait, dear. Still, good for you. Your friends were obviously ready to defend you. Which means I must have hit /some/ nerve." And...she's back to looking pleased! Especially when the quill is offered by Marlie. "Oh, you sweet thing! For me?" She takes the offered quill as though it were a fine and delicate crystal vase, beaming. "I have always loved you Spring courtiers," she confides.

"Ah, well." Alexei Smith, former Crown of the Sun, speaks up. "We had thought it would be taken as an insult to do anything less than present ourselves to our neighbors to the north. After all, after a regime change, entrenched nobility tends to get...nervous. We wished to allay such fears. We have heard such glowing praise of this area, its industry, its history, that we felt moved to see it ourselves. As for our reign, you needn't be concerned. The Wyrd itself vouchsafes our Crown, while our loyal subjects maintain the hearthfires at home."

Bethany starts to slip off to the side as the others from the Freehold start talking to these strange people more than before. The petite fairest dancer with the auburn hair is definitely looking a bit more concerned, probably why she has made it towards any food and drink available and is slipping to a corner.

Eating his food in peace, he does nod to Carmen, "Hey." he says to her before he made it back to his alcove. As things are starting to resolve, Darren begins to focus his attention towards Tock and Kyrie as they speak with Valentina. He sees Marlie give the woman a quill and wonders why she is giving this woman a quill as she seems to be provoking someone. He places his plate on the window sill, and he watches the exchange for now, crossing his arms over his chest as he leans against the wall.

Kyrie's eyes narrow a little and a tiny bolt of lighting, then two, flash in her eyes while her mantle flares, just a little, and she takes a step forward. Just one, but. Those who know her well can recognize, easily enough, that she's about to say something or do something that is probably not the wisest. Politically, anyway. Silly Summer valkyries and their tempers, right? But at least it doesn't seem like she's about to go stabby with her quill-sword. Yet.

Eleri gives Carmen a wry look, then she returns her attention to the exchange at hand, distracted only briefly by Ryan's sudden apology, although she hardly looks surprised. Perhaps she's used to the wizened apologizing for no particular reason.

Carrick's gaze flickers over towards Alexei when the large man speaks again, and, once more, that imperious eyebrow arches in mild surprise. "Well, your diplomatic efforts are certainly appreciated," he says smoothly. "But it's worth notin' that the Wyrd isn't exactly the most benevolent o' forces. It's concerned with rules, rather than virtue." The briefest tilt of the head towards Valentina - and then he lays one gloved hand on Kyrie's shoulder and smiles gently at her, leaning in to whisper something in her ear.

“Is it really more fun if every arrow strikes the same way each time?” Tock answers simply. Games of words in ballrooms: she is not unfamiliar, to say the least. Her step toward Kyrie is placed to look natural, just a shifting of her stance. A small shake of her head, a low whisper to match Carrick's.

"Fairly spoken, Tock. I'll just have to bring a full quiver next time." Valentina covers her mouth with the back of her hand suddenly, smothering a hugely theatrical yawn. "Ah, here comes Krick with the missive. If one of you dears would be so kind as to see it delivered, that would be greatly appreciated. For the moment, though, we will be taking our leave of this place. Master Lowell?" When Bernard jumps as if goosed, Valentina smiles. "Thank you for your hospitality. It was most gracious of you. Brother? Unless you wish to be left behind, we are going. /Now/." So saying, the Darkling turns about and starts to walk away.

The silent Lucinda looks at her King for direction. After a long moment (perhaps just to show that he -chose- to come along, not because he had to), Alexei starts to do the same. A deep bow is swept in the direction of the party before he does, however. "A pleasant and short night to you all. May the dawn find you well."

Kyrie actually does stop and listen to Carrick, then Tock, and her gaze lifts to the sky, holding there for a minute. When she speaks next, it's not to Valentina, or even her brother, instead she smiles brightly. "Dancing was mentioned, wasn't it? Tock, who do you plan on dancing with? I'm sure Owen would if you liked, though I can't say I've ever seen him dance. And you'll have to drag him away from the food, of course." The two royals? Get a smile and a wave, but no goodbye. She does, however ask, "You want it delivered to the Autumn king or to the council?"

Dismissals? Leaving? Oh! "If you need more quills, let me know." Marlie says, giving herself a shake all over that rattles her spines and flattens them. It also makes a shadow of glitter and tinsel on the ground around her. The tail is dropped. Mistletoe does not 'good' clothing make, but she tried! Apparently she thought the party was more frat and less formal. Silly Spring court quillgirl.

"Well met, your majesties. May your time here be peaceful and productive," says Owen with a bow, as he'll move to make sure they get out safely, and back to their ship.

“That is always the wise choice,” Tock agrees regarding full quivers with a smile and yet another curtsey as the royals take their leave. “Do have a pleasant evening.” She seems quite reassured that Kyrie is not doing anything rash just now.

Carrick actually laughs at the sight of Tock stepping up to Kyrie at the same moment that he does, and the clockwork woman gets a crooked grin and a nod from under the brim of that shiny black top hat. "Great minds, Miss Tock," he says quietly, as he loops his arm through Kyrie's. "An' dancing was quite definitely mentioned, yes. Even if I have t' make it happen meself." He offers a nod to the retreating nobles, but lets Owen's farewell stand without comment, and instead turns back to the rest of the Lost, raising his cane and calling, "O' course, if we're going t' dance, we'll need music."

Eleri gives the pair a thoughtful look as they bid their farewells, then she flashes a quick grin at Tock. Kyrie's question of the royals and the missive is met with an interested expression. "I can take it to the Autumn King if needed," she offers.

Lord-Paladin Smith pauses at the very edge of the threshold. "The Autumn Crown, if you would be so kind. It is greatly appreciated. Is that French perfume I smell? How curious." The last is said, almost as an aside, as Owen escorts them out.

Slowly moving towards the gathered group, which is Tock, Kyrie, Carrick and Marlie with Valentina. "What's going on?" Darren asks simply, though his town is lowered which those who know him, knows this is his normal speaking voice. Still the dragon looks to the group watching and waiting for a response and to see if everything is alright.

Dancing needs music! Seeing another need, and seeking to fill it, Marlie thinks and then grins like a scamp, starting to clap to a quick rhythm. "In the merry month of June from me home I started, left the girls of Tuam nearly broken hearted, saluted father dear, kissed me darling mother..." Even adopting a fair accent for the acapella form of the Rocky Road to Dublin. freeing one hand to sign out a quick, 'Dancing!' excitedly, in the habit of using it when her voice is otherwise occupied, like now. And what a lovely voice it is, carrying richness in the notes.

"Interesting and more interesting. I guess this counts as festive as well," Ali says to himself as he seems thoughtful. Going and collecting a drink for himself he hrms somewhat amusedly as he glances over his shoulder at the collected spider. "More and more curiouser hrm."

“Great minds or wary ones,” Tock replies to Carrick with a slow curl of a grin. “I /do/ think dancing is required. I am sure there is no lack of partners for the same. Ali came with us, after all. And Owen. And just look at all these lovely guests.” Is she still ignoring the spider in her skirt? Like a bloody champion. “The new Crowns of Boston decided to drop by unannounced, perhaps thinking that our Crown was here. Lacking said Crown, they have left a message for him instead. And off they are going, accordingly.” Marlie's singing draws a chuckle, a little elbow-bump to Carrick's arm. “Well, there's right up your alley for music.”

Kyrie nods to Eleri. "Probably wise, yes. You can no doubt get a hold of him as easily, if not more so, than anyone else." She glances to Darren, then to the departing visitors. "Royals paying a visit," she murmurs, before she smiles at Darren. "I wouldn't worry too much tonight. Just relax and enjoy the evening." Lips twitch when she hears Marlie and she nods slightly. "Owen! Tock needs a dance partner," she calls to him before arching a brow at Carrick. "Well?" Nevermind that she's wanting to dance while she still has a spider on her back, right?

Ryan sidesteps a tiny bit clear of Eleri when she volunteers to deliver the missive to the King of Sentinel Rock, as if separating himself from the official business of Autumn. He watches as the royal delegation prepares to leave, but looks more relieved than intrigued at this point. Then there's an apologetic glance towards Carmen at this point. "Sorry. It seems the umm ... storm has passed? And some people still seem to be in the mood for a party..." A curious look is cast towards the impromptu music, and those discussing dance.

Ryan's stepping aside is met with an amused look even as Eleri nods to Kyrie before moving to collect the missive, giving it a curious look before finding somewhere to store it for the time being. "Food and dance and spiders," she agrees cheerfully.

Looking to the departing nobles, "Why were they here? Or just making an appearance?" Darren asks. He doesn't sound like he cares, but he does know when to mind his manners which he is doing now. Though when Kyrie starts calling for Tock's dance partners, he smirks a little and the turns to watch Marlie. Hearing her sing and go about dancing, he rolls his shoulders a little bit than looks back to Kyrie, "You doing alright?" he asks both Tock and Kyrie. He nods to Carrick.

Carrick lets out a bright, cheery laugh as Marlie starts to sing. "Now that's a lass after me own heart," he says cheerfully, pointing towards her with the crooked end of his cane and grinning mischievously at Kyrie. "O' course, that's not exactly a waltzin' tune," he says, as he hooks his cane over the crook of one elbow and leads her out towards the center of the hall. "So you'll jes' have t' do your best, for now, an' try t' keep up with me. Simple steps, now, but quite fast. An'... here we go."

And then he's dancing, a happy, energetic series of steps that has his body orbiting Kyrie's, linked only by their arms or hands as his feet tap out a quick, bouncing rhythm in time with the song. And Marlie isn't the only one singing any more, either. Carrick's voice is huge now, loud enough to fill the hall, and filled with easy, flowing melody that sets feet to tapping everywhere. "I bought a pair o' brogues, rattling o'er the bogs, an' fright'nin' all the dogs on the rocky road to Dub-lin! One two-three four-five! Hunt the hare an' turn her down the rocky road, all the way t' Dub-lin! Whack follol de rah!" And no, there is absolutely no shame, nor the slightest embarrassment, in his face at spouting such a line in public.

"I am," Kyrie tells Darren, glancing off to the royals, shaking her head. Then Carrick's trying to pull her out to dance and she digs her heels in, shaking her head. "Oh no. You'll have to dance this one by yourself. I don't do this kind of dancing. Ever," she says firmly. "And sure as hell not in a /dress/," she points out, moving back away from the center of the hall. "I tried this, especially in these bloody shoes, and I'd fall on my face."

Celtic reels are such upbeat things, even if the lyrics of some songs are heartwrenching. Marlie sticks to the simple and perky sort. Carrick joins in and she grins hugely before the end of the breath and sets to the next part, altering her pitch slightly to accommodate the bigger man's bigger voice as she claps to hold the quick rhythm of the tune. "In Mullingar that night I rested limbs so weary, started by daylight me spirits bright and airy, took a drop of the pure, keep me heart from sinking; thats the Paddys cure whenever hes on drinking, to see the lassies smile, laughing all the while, at me curious style, twould set your heart a bubblin." A clawed, bare foot adds more of a bassy stomp to the clapping - the quills rattling their own soft clattery sound with the enthusiastic motions of the porcupine.

“We can only know what they told us,” Tock answers Darren as honestly as she can. “And what happens to be in that missive. However, said missive is for the Autumn King's eyes and not our own. Perhaps he will see fit to tell us, perhaps not.” She flashes the dragon a smile. “I am just fine. Noble women attempting such verbal barbs were a dime a dozen in my life Before. Nothing I cannot handle. Kyrie was just getting her protective dander up; she will be okay, too.” All of this is an attempt to be reassuring, she hopes. “Well, okay regarding the royal visit. I cannot speak to the dancing.” She chuckles at Carrick and Kyrie's opposite reactions on the dance floor.

Chuckling at Carrick's pulling of Kyrie, Ali shakes his head as he approaches them. "I can think of dancing more appropriate for the lady valkyrie in that dress." His smile may be of the sort that a proper response is being decked however. Glancing to Tock he does seem somewhat mischievous though. "I can see what is in the missive if you were curious. Wouldn't be terribly hard."

Owen returns back after a few minutes. "Cool ship. Totally hedgespun. Pale, transparent sails with their sigils," he says as he goes to get another plate. "Super black hull. Three masted schooner. Thing must've cost them an arm and a leg in ingredients, yeah?" he asks.

"Well, /actually/," says Carrick, as his wild dancing takes him spinning past Kyrie and the rest again, "we know jes' a /bit/ more than that, Miss Tock." He spins to a stop beside Kyrie once again, and his cane comes down onto the floor with a loud click as he slips his arm through hers again and ceases his mad little jig - though his foot is still tapping in time, even as his expression becomes just a bit more serious. "I did mention that I was in Boston last year. I knew those two. A bit." He pauses, shrugging, and adds, "By reputation, at least. I ought t' have. I was there for three years an' all."

Tock lightly play-slaps Ali's arm with the back of her hand. “Alireza! That is a formal missive from the Crown of one Freehold to another! One does not simply read the Crown's mail!” Her tongue tsks against the back of her teeth, head shaking slowly. “Do you learn nothing from being around Vox?” She quiets to listen to Owen's descriptions of the ship. “Fascinating. Yes, that would have taken quite a bit of money or quite a bit of hunting and scavenging to accomplish.” And then there's Carrick with his input. “Oh, really? You will have to dish on the foreign Freehold gossip for us, Carrick. I am afraid this is the only one I have ever known.”

Kyrie points at Alireza. "See? He knows!" she protests to Carrick, even as she goes to stand safely beside the pair of Springs. "And I don't trust those two. At all. I seriously hope that the king at least relays the contents of the message to the council. I've got a bad feeling," she says, hand tightening around her quill-sword, though she seems to have forgotten she's holding it. She glances to Owen, shrugging lightly. "They could have scavenged it. Or just the ingredients," she points out.

Bethany then moves back to the side, standing near the dance floor as she looks out for potential partners with a devilish sort of grin on her face. She is swaying back and forth as she waits. A grin that seems to be growing each moment even as she starts looking around at the others at the party.

"Well," says Carrick, with a faint frown, "I don't trust 'em either. Not even so far as I could manage t' throw that big lug with the sunbeams. It doesn't add up. Like I said, I knew those two, back in Boston. Not /close/, mind, because no one knew 'em all that well. Sun an' Moon hardly existed at all last year in Boston. No more'n five or so of 'em, total, out o' one of the biggest freeholds on the East Coast." He shakes his head, removes his top hat, and brushes something off of the brim. "An' now, suddenly, not only are they in power, but they're comin' out here t' make sure everyone /knows/ it? No. There's somethin' they weren't tellin' us." A pause. "But the crowns were real enough. Which is all the more worryin', if ye ask me."

Eleri grins at the current activity - particularly the dancing - but then seems to reconsider the missive in hand, particularly in light of the conversation. A nod to Kyrie, Carrick, and Tock. "I am thinking that perhaps delivery of such should be sooner rather than later," she says by way of excusing herself. "I believe that I shall head back to turn this over." With a brief wave to those gathered, she heads towards the exit.

"Which means they gathered power in what, a year? That's insane," says Owen, as he works on a plate of food, neat and polite - but voracious. Bodyguarding is hungry business. "And they could've," he agrees with Kyrie, "But it's still a power play, like the pastor said. So they moved fast and now they want to expand." A thought, considering at Carrick, "You still have contacts? Think you can maybe, I dunno, discreetly reach out to the folks that lost, see what they say?"

"Of course you don't trust them, neither do I. But it doesn't mean they don't have what we want," Ali offers a little shrug. "As for scavenging it, well it may be spoils of war as well. Or stolen." Pondering a little, he offers a shrug. "If you want, we can always have them tailed. One phone call and I can have the observation chopper take off from my island and go take a peek."

"I think you're probably right," Kyrie agrees with a nod to Eleri. "But honestly, there's not much we can do tonight, and it would be a shame to waste all the primping and, ugh, dresses. So for tonight, try to just have fun. We can worry about what those two monarchs have in store for our freehold. Because I know for damn sure they've got something in mind." Then she's giving Ali an appreciative look. "Tempting, but probably not wise, not for the moment," she says finally, sighing

“Have a good night, Eleri! And thank you for carrying the missive on,” Tock says to the departing Fireheart. “From what I heard as grist in the rumour mill, they deposed their Freehold's Autumn Crown. It did not sound as...peaceable an agreement as that Sun fellow was making it out to be. That is the full extent of what I had heard, however. They did not inspire trust in any way, no.” She shakes her head at this. “Not that those revelling in Shame and Disgust are likely to put anyone at their ease, exactly.” Her teeth find her lower lip, considering Ali's words. “I would not do anything that could be perceived as hostile without permission from the Crown, Ali. We do not want to start something serious by accident.”

The lyrics of the bouncy song come to an end and Marlie chuckles. "So befriend them. Get them to let down their guard so you can go snooping through their things and see what's really going on." she suggests. Apparently playing fair isn't really on her list of things to do.

Eleri grins. "I am fairly certain, but I think I'll let the King sort out that end of things. I promise that I /will/ find some sort of fun, though." A cheerful nod. Ryan gets an inquiring look, perhaps waiting to see if her motley-mate is going to join her or remain for the festivities, then she starts towards the door.

"Tailing we can't do, Ali, that's skirting too close to breaking the peace oath that they agreed to when they came in." Owen says after some thought, "As much as I'd love, love love to do it. You have lots of merchant contacts, right? Lady like that, she has to have a ... unique shopping list. When you get a big promotion, you start shopping, right? Think you could nose around, find out some intel for us?" he asks Ali.

"Oh, well, less than a year, probably," says Carrick, placing his hat back onto his head and giving Owen a somber look. "Do they strike ye as the type o' people who'd wait about? No. I'm guessin' that they jes' now got control set in, an' they're movin' fast. They /want/ something. I jes' haven't got a damn clue what it might be." He gives Tock a nod, then looks back to the rest. "Sun an' Moon aren't... healthy," he says slowly. "Every other Court has its merits, so far as I can tell, but those two're both the most extreme an' damaging reactions t' what we've been through that I can even begin t' imagine. Sun is the Court o' Shame, an' they spend their time in power hunting down anyone who steps a foot outside o' their exceptionally narrow an' Puritan rules. Moon is the Court o' Disgust, an' they go out o' their way t' be as monstrous as possible, in every way they possibly can. Ropes ain't the half o' it." He glances sideways at Kyrie and shakes his head, then smiles. "But yes. It'd be a real shame t' waste all this dressin' up we've all done."

Kyrie shakes her head at Owen. "Doesn't break the peace oath, just gathering information. But it might cause trouble we're not quite ready for," she says, brow furrowing in concern. "I'd just suggest, until we learn more--" and she gives Ali a pointed look and inclines her head toward Tock at Tock's suggestion of intel-- "that we just watch and wait and try to avoid giving them anything." She glances around and smiles. "Besides, there are new people here we need to welcome to Fallcoast and the freehold. Let's not scare them away so soon, hmm?"

Ryan glances at the festivities and then back to Eleri, smiling apologetically. He leans in to mutter something to the fireheart, then pats his overnight bag. And the wizened remains behind as she makes her exit, turning his attention back to the discussion around the recent crowns of Boston.

"Fair nuff," says Owen, "But if they are looking to edge in here, they are going to be in for a rude awakening, yo," he says. A grin at the others and he pops a shrimp into his mouth, and another, and he steps over to the dance floor to begin ... boogying!

Glancing to Marlie, Ali raises his glass in a toast. "What do you think I was doing? Nothing leads to friendship faster than supplying someone with their desires." He shakes his head at Owen's objections. "Watching someone is hardly hostile. But yes, I imagine that she will be wanting a great deal of things. I will of course be needing assistance for some of them."

“It is sheer speculation, but the way in which they phrased the 'coming to see wisdom' of the Seasonal Courts giving way to Sun and Moon in Boston? I do not like to think what they might have their sights on for surrounding Freeholds still following the Seasonal Courts,” Tock speculates, indeed, in somewhat lower tones. “I think being entirely polite and amicable is in order, without getting too close. And seeking further instruction from our leadership so that we are at least united in our response could be the better part of wisdom here...” She gives a small nod to Ali. “Just let us know if you need help.”

Marlie bobs her head to Alireza and grins. "No matter what those desires may be. I have the feeling that the Moon's desires will be her weakness. Repression, perhaps, the sin of the sun." she muses, then lifts a shoulder in small shrug that rustles quills as she moves in closer to the group, lips pursing in thought.

Kyrie gives Marlie an assessing look. "You may well be right," she says, nodding. "Your name was Marlie, correct? The Spring Healer? Are you also part of the freehold?" she asks curiously.

Darren seemed to be a bit out of it for a moment, but his senses return to him quickly. "I'm glad you both are doing well." he says to them. Having listened to Marlie sing, he does turn to watch her for a moment more. "I think I will need to talk with you and Tock on these royals, best to know who all persons are," he says seeming to be thinking of of a few things.

Zeth remains as he has since the royals made their way onto the scene. Quiet, in a corner, with a wine glass full of a rather splendid merlot. The musician glances down to the glass, giving it a swirl and watching the burgundy liquid as it slides down the inside of the glass. "Right." This is said more to himself than anyone else that might happen to be nearby, and he pushes away from the wall and begins to make his way over to the knot of familiar faces.

Something prompts Tock to shift toward Kyrie once again, patting the Valkyrie's shoulder reassuringly. It is then that the little mechanical spider crawls its way closer to her skirts' hem. The clockwork girl dips down in what seems to be quite an impressively low curtsey, a hand placed to the hem coming up with a little bronze spider in its palm. “Well, /there/ you are, you sneaky little devil.” Righting herself once more, she gives a nod to Darren. “Of course, getting to know your local leadership is always a good plan.” Not a beat missed.

"Only recently sworn." Marlie replies to Kyrie with an inclination of her head, and a motion towards the spine the other is holding. "Be careful with that. I've filled it with venom. Not sure how long it'll be viable for away from me, but better safe than sorry." she says with a warm smile before quieting again, nodding towards Darren. Sure, they can talk.

Where has Auberon been? Why he has been in the restroom, vomiting up something for the last hour that was not quite right for him. He eventually does groggily return, eyes bloodshot as he looks over the party-goers. When he finally catches sight of Marlie he signs to her, 'Did I happen to miss anything good?'

Bethany has occupied herself with some dancing, even if to herself before she suddenly finds herself by the side looking a bit discombobulated and starts to just drift towards the door with a distant expression and a bit of a shiver, arms crossed as she too slips outside.

"Kings and queens are but a representation of the concept. I truly recommend against it should it ever come your way. After all, the fate of the Fisher King was a terrible thing to have." Ali shudders at that, not entirely pleased. "Still, I am curious what it is that the others want. I fear that what the queen desires will be... pedestrian." He makes that sound as if it is the worst insult he can make it. "The desires of the repressed are far far more interesting."

Kyrie waves to those who are slipping out then glances to Auberon. "The king and queen of Boston's freehold dropped by unexpectedly and we'll all concerned, but other than that...? Not really," she says with a faint smile before nodding to Marlie. "I will. Do you want it back now?" she asks, offering the quill out.

Just then, a small buzzing can be heard coming from Zeth. The Fireheart's brow furrows, and he reaches into his pocket and pulls out the vibrating cell phone. Flipping the thing open, yes, a flip phone, he looks at the thumbnail-sized display and frowns. "Shit." It's a small little murmur of an expletive, and the musician follows it by placing wine glass to lips, tipping his head back, and finishing it all in one go. Eyes closed, the man slowly shakes his head, letting out a small breath before placing the wine glass down on a nearby table. Time to go. Shoving the phone back in a pocket, he clears his throat slightly, and turns to head out.

"Thank you, Tock." he says to her. He looks to Marlie, "Nice singing, and you dance nicely." he compliments her. Still Darren seems to be a bit at odds, granted there are other Lost leaving, still he doesn't feel comfortable in a place like this. "Why this gathering?" he asks, "I don't understand all the fanciness there is around us. What purpose does all of this serve?"

"And if not more interesting, they can be more intense." Even a boring, vanilla act can be brutally inflicted if the intensity of it is changed. Marlie takes the quill back, tipping it to show the collection of golden venom in the hollow of the quill. It takes away an aspect of surprise among those gathered, but it was a measured display of caution. Auberon wins a smile, and she signs back readily, 'The Moon and Sun king and queen came, there was some dancing, the Irish guy sang with me. It's been a lovely evening.'

“Your quills have venom? Good to know,” Tock says to Marlie with an up-tick of her brows and a playful smile. Ali's comments earn a little nod. “It depends just how creative she is looking to be.” The clockwork girl will leave it at that, at least. She gives a wave to the people departing, noting Auberon's arrival as someone to whom she has not yet been introduced. And then he is signing. She waves again to attract his attention, then signs, 'You Deaf?' to him to establish if introducing herself aloud is a good plan or not. “It is just a fancy party. Sometimes fancy parties are fun,” she explains to Darren.

"This? This is... a small gathering. It's lovely, and no offense to the host meant. But this is not the epitome of excess and wanton display of emotion that is the norm." Ali nods a tad as Tock provides the simpler explanation. "Do not fret, only another three and a half months till Spring. Then you will see a party."

Kyrie gives Darren a mildly amused look and tilts her head to Tock. "Just a party. Have fun, meet people. Like Marlie here, with the poisonous quills, who is new. And her friend who I have not yet officially met," she says, nodding to Auberon. "Just have something to eat, to drink, dance a little, mingle. Enjoy yourself, basically."

Mention of royalty sends his ears upward in excitement, and he nods happily. Ignorance really is bliss. Before he gives a response he catches sight of Tock, and gives her a shake of his head. 'No, I can hear you all fine.' Then to Marlie he signs, 'You have to tell me what they were like later on.'

'The queen came in all tied up and I think it was making her about ready to drop her panties. She's a pain-seeker. I think if we play our cards right, we can reduce her to a helpless place if a steady hand inflicts on her. Play her to our advantage. The Sun is different. I think he's the kind to sit on things until he breaks into violence of his own. I'd have to sit with him more to understand properly.' Marlie signs quickly. She might not be the sharpest when it comes to social norms, but she's good at reading people, or tries to pay attention to the things that make people who they are.

Tock just shakes her head at Ali's reply regarding the fanciness. It looks like a well-practiced gesture where her motley-mate is concerned. She smiles and nods at Auberon's response, waiting for a natural pause in his conversation with Marlie to speak again. “Good to know. I was about to offer to type on my phone, because my signing abilities are all of ten sentences learned by rote and some slow finger-spelling,” she admits with a self-deprecating grin. “I just wanted to introduce myself, as I do not believe we have met. My name is Tock.”

Darren blinks a few times, "Ooook." he says to them all. "I guess." Yeah he doesn't look like he will do any of that, except for just eating, that part he enjoys. "I will try at least." though with everyone seeming to enjoy whats going on, Darren just seems to be happy doing what he's been doing. "Marlie came by Valhalla, she is pretty cool." he says as he looks back over to Marlie. He lets out a breath, "This is just still new is all, feel like the awkward one out here."

Kyrie cocks her head, squinting at Auberon's hand wiggling, then Tock. "Signing abilities? What do you mean?" She perks a little at Marlie. "You've been by Valhalla? What'd you think?" she asks, smiling warmly.

Auberon's ears twitch while under scrutiny, but he stands his ground for now. Once Marlie spills the excitement he missed his mood flips from wondrously curious to pure confusion. He signs to the Beast, 'I now regret asking you,' with a listless look. Tock is then given a slow nod of understanding, and then his gaze returns to Marlie. 'Can you tell her the place is huge and exquisite?'

"Auberon can't talk." Marlie explains, "He says the place is really big, and he likes it. Says it's exquisite." 'There was something weird with the Sun and Moon king and queen. Beeesides... how can I help them find their happiness if I don't know what they want? she liked the quill I gave her.'

“Signing...primarily gesture-based language?” Tock attempts to explain to Kyrie. “People who do not hear and/or do not speak often utilise sign to communicate.” She nods to Marlie and Auberon, handily demonstrating throughout their own conversation. “Being in medical cultural competency courses, they teach you a couple of things. I can ask if someone is hurt and tell them that I am going to help in at least a half a dozen languages, but that doesn't mean I can do much clear communicating in them in the least.” 'You hurt? I help-you,' she signs to Kyrie, in more limited demonstration. She collects the little mechanical spider from her wrist back into her palm to look at it more closely.

"Oh. Wait, he said all of that with his hands?" Kyrie asks, looking at Auberon's hands with more interest now. "Why has no one mentioned this to me before? I mean, I know Owen uses a few signs when he's in army man mode, but that's not like that. It's bloody brilliant! And thank you, Auberon. I like it. Always looking to improve it, though, if I can figure out a way to do that."

"Like writin' with yer hands," says Carrick simply, as he loops his arm through Kyrie's once more. "An' yes, it's quite useful, though it can be a bit tricky t' learn. I've made a couple attempts meself, but no luck, I'm afraid." He adjusts the set of his hat and nods to Auberon. "Apologies, sir, but it's nice t' meet ye all the same. Reverend Liam Carrick, Dawn Court, Bishopric o' Blackbirds, an' all the rest o' the spiel besides. A pleasure." He glances towards the door. "Seems like the crowd's thinning out a bit."

Auberon's signing slows as the thought of the celestial royalty sinks in. 'No, I think that may be enough of that.' He stops with Kyrie's exclamation, and then asks Marlie, 'Who is Owen?'

'Another healer, I think.' "He wants to know more about Owen." Marlie says, looking towards those that seem to know the man.

“Owen is a friend, of the Summer Court, and in charge of the medical clinic at Valhalla,” Tock explains after the question is asked. “He was here earlier. The large fellow shouting about how much he liked the shrimp?” She turns her hand this way and that, watching the spider do laps over it like it is on a treadmill.

Kyrie smiles at Carrick, then looks back to Auberon and Marlie, nodding at Tock's explanation. "He's a good guy, despite his monstrous appetite. And Carrick reminded me...I'm Kyrie Falkman. We'll skip the titles. Summer Court, Tolltaker, etcetera. The rest can come as it comes. But if you need anything at Valhalla, have any questions, don't hesitate to ask me. Or Tock or Owen," she says, while her spider scuttles over to peer curiously at Carrick.

"Well, technically, ye could /also/ ask me," says Carrick breezily, waving his cane through the air. "But I'm much less likely t' be capable o' givin' ye a proper answer, on account o' jes' movin' in. But speakin' o' appetites..." He turns to eye the buffet, then glances back to Kyrie, one eyebrow raised. "Can I get ye anything while I- oh, hello there." This last is directed to the little spider, which is perched just a few inches from his nose. He grins at it as if it were the most adorable puppy in the world. "How're ye doin' this fine evenin'? Yes, she is quite warm, isn't she? Jes' don't bite. She doesn't like biting. An', believe me, ye don't want t' make her cross."

Oh? Missing Owen seems to have Auberon's ears sagging, but the chance to greet another Summer mollifies him. The scarred skin of the elfin man betray that he belongs to the same order of leg-breakers and bounty-hunters, and he briefly smiles, ears perking up swiftly. He cannot rightly introduce himself, but he does offer Kyrie a slightly calloused hand.

"I think that's the same thing Auberon does. But he's a heroic knight." Marlie exclaims, then grins brightly. "He killed a huuuuge turtle and saved a village from being eaten, once." Having no problems bragging about her buddy.

“I am the hostess at Valhalla, tending to those in residence there either short or long-term,” Tock explains when Kyrie directs to her as one of the people to ask questions. “In addition to being one of the healers on-call and doing some trainings in various and sundry topics.” She chuckles at Carrick's conversation with Kyrie's spider. As if on cue, her own goes wandering up along the outside of her sleeve. “Oh, but you stay /outside/ of clothing from now on, little one,” she finds herself prompted to admonish her spider, as well.

"Quite impressive," says Carrick to Auberon, without looking away from the little spider. "The turtle, I mean. It's quite nice t' know that Kyrie's got some backup for occasions like that. I don't like the idea o' anyone here havin' t' handle everything like that on their own." He lifts one gloved hand and moves it, very slowly, towards the little mechanical beastie, as if offering pets to a stray cat. "We can always use more heroes about the place," he says quietly.

Auberon nods happily in response, and with it comes the faint stench of burnt wood. However, it the scent is gone as quickly as it came, and with it Auberon's attention to Carrick. Instinctively he signs, 'I am no hero, but I will help as I can.'

Marlie snorts and pokes a finger at Auberon's shoulder. "You -are- a hero. You might not think so, but the people you helped think so. And I think so." And she totally has her certification in hero detection. "Regardless of what he thinks, he says he'll help."

"He worries," Kyrie says with a grin. "But it's good, having another Tolltaker around. You're more than welcome, Auberon. Let me know if there's anything I can do to help you out, okay? And not just with Tolltaker duties." Carrick gets an amused look while the spider makes an odd mechanical sound. If it had been a mechanical cat, it'd be called purring, but...spiders don't purr!

“We have many capable warriors,” Tock assures Carrick for what is not the first and likely will not be the last time. “But we /can/ always use more, most certainly.” Her spider wanders from one shoulder to the other, then starts the trek down her opposite arm. “We appreciate whatever help people have to offer.”

Spiders may not purr, but that little noise gets a broad grin from Carrick regardless, and one gloved finger reaches out to scratch what would be the creature's underbelly, if it actually had a belly of any sort. "Oh, now," he says, "I think he likes me. That's nice. I've always liked spiders. Did I mention that? Usually, though, they're not that affectionate." He lowers his hand, straightens up, and adjusts his suit slightly. "And yes. I worry. Not entirely without justification, I might add, but I do." He gives Auberon a nod and adds, "Ye fought a giant turtle t' save a village, apparently. So far as I'm concerned, that's about ninety-nine percent o' the definition o' hero, an' the remainin' one percent can go an' hang."

Auberon's slowly turns to look at Marlie, lips pursed and brow furrowed. 'Did you have to tell them all of that?' he signs hastily. 'They were not that curious of my past. Can you at least tell them that I will do almost anything asked of me, and for the Freehold?'

'Yes. Tolltaker's can have bad reputations and you don't need to get stuck trying to explain things when you can't make yourself understood.' Damn meddling Spring. Marlie just smiles at Auberon like she knows best (HAH!), then nods. "He says he'll do most anything for the Freehold, if allowed or asked."

Kyrie nods at Tock. "We do. The Freehold needs every person we can get. And I'd say the same for Valhalla. We have several healers, but more? Always good. Several trainers? Can still use more. So let me know if either of you want to help out in Valhalla, okay? And not just healing and training. There's always a lot to do there. And if you need a place to stay, that's available too. Tock or I can get that settled and give you the tour." She spares a grin for Carrick and a, "Mine," before she arches a brow at Marlie, though it's more amused than offended. "I'm a Tolltaker and haven't killed giant turtles to save villages. I've just got the bloody face," she says, lifting a hand to the streak of blood there.

“There is shelter, showers, food, a stock of clothing, and other supplies,” Tock elaborates on that whole need-to-stay-somewhere offer. “In addition to the rest of the facilities, which you may have already seen when you visited.” Her lips curl upward in a smile at Marlie's meddling, even if she does not get the full extent of what is being said between the two.

"I'd say that we could do with a few more Blackbirds around the place," says Carrick, "but, honestly, I haven't had much in the way o' cases thus far. Here's hoping that it stays that way, for the good o' everyone here." He nods to Tock, then raises an eyebrow, turns to Kyrie, grins at her for a second, and leans in to whisper something in her ear.

'Well. Still.' For now Auberon is left dumbfounded by Marlie, and continues listening to the present conversation. He nods fervently to the notion of aiding Valhalla, but nothing more. He lifts his hand to sign something once more, but he's stuck staring at Marlie suspiciously. 'I am able to handle libraries of any stature, research, and favor sword and shield over any other.'

Not an uncommon state for Auberon when dealing with Marlie. "He likes big books and he cannot lie, you other bookers can't deny..." Make even better by the porcupine shaking her tail a bit - the quills making her butt look huge. "And he favors sword and board for fighting. Me, I don't fight, I hate it. Blood..." her voice trails and she shrugs. "I'm also a veggie eater. No meat, please."

Kyrie's cheeks flush a little and she elbows Carrick --lightly-- before she nods at Marlie. Doesn't look like she gets the song reference at all, but she does perk a little. "Sword? And board? I don't understand what you mean by that, unless you mean shield? If so, that's the style I favor as well. But I'm not as good at the libraries. Blood doesn't bother me though. You uh...just so you're prepared? The clothes I normally wear, my armor? It's made of blood."

“I'm mostly claws and arrows,” Tock chimes in on the topic of fighting styles. “But...yes. There is rather a lot more blood around Lost than average. The coat I wear in the Hedge is spidersilk fortified with Briarwolf blood.” That tidbit is offered, perhaps, in solidarity with Kyrie. “It is good to know that there is someone out there who eats more than meat! I am not a vegetarian, but compared to many around here, I sometimes feel like one.” She grins at Marlie, first over that topic, then over the impromptu tail-shaking. “I /love/ libraries,” the clockwork girl adds to Auberon, finally.

"I'm mostly ineffectual flailing, followed by quite a lot o' screaming like a little girl, an' then extreme amounts o' bleeding. Jes', like, a whole bunch." Carrick chuckles faintly and hooks his cane over the crook of one elbow again as he winks at Kyrie, obviously immensely satisfied with himself for provoking that blush. "Though I'm quite good with books, if I do say so meself, an' moreso with talkin'. That's more my side o' things. An' I take offense t' that, Miss Tock," he adds - but there's no heat in his voice as he says it, and his grin hasn't faded. "I can enjoy some nice vegetables as much as anybody. Shepherd's pie wouldn't be much o' anything if it were jes' potatoes an' meat."

Auberon is left to glare at Marlie as the conversation turns to blood and food. 'You might want to tell them you can tolerate blood. They may think you faint of heart, and weak of will.' He pauses, and glances Carrick's way. 'And please see if he can actually make that.'

"He wants to eat your pie." Marlie says, looking to Carrick and smiling. "It's not blood alone." she says with a rattly lift of her shoulder. "More like the screaming, and thrashing, and the blood spraying. I just don't eat meat any more. And I'm good with needle and thread and putting people back together." 'I'm not weak. I just have bad dreams.'

Kyrie's lips twitch and her gaze slides over to Carrick. "Screaming like a girl?" She tsks softly then watches Auberon's hands again during that signing. "I have got to learn how to do that," she murmurs, shaking her head. "And not everyone can handle a fight. Nothing wrong with that."

“I was not speaking of you specifically, Carrick. I know little of your eating habits other than your unfortunate taste in coffee,” Tock answers back, still more than willing to tease about his beverage choices. “But just watch at Lost gatherings and see what people tend to eat. So very many carnivores in our midst.” She just giggles a bit at the whole 'screaming like a girl' thread.

"I'm a lover, not a fighter," says Carrick, with another grin. And entirely, once again, without any hint of embarrassment at the corniness of his own lines. "An' it's not /my/ pie he wants, trust me," he adds, half to Marlie and half to Auberon. "I'm a terrible cook, meself. I jes' know what I like. An', luckily, Valhalla is always stocked."

Auberon's eyes widen dramatically as Marlie speaks. He tries to play it off with a smile, but the man does not have much left in the tank for the night. He waves frantically with both hands trying to state the otherwise, but the lack of words leaves him looking like he's trying to fly in a small plane. Hastily, he turns to glare at Marlie, small hints of his Mantle flying before he turns on his heel and makes for the exit.

Oh. He's going. Marlie purses her lips and scrunches her forehead up as she watches the irritated Summer storm off. It's obvious he's mad, and she's the reason, but damned if she can figure it out without some serious work on her end. She waits until he's almost to the doors before she makes a bit of a face. "I should go find out what I did wrong." Again. "It was nice meeting everyone. I'll go by Valhalla again soon." she promises, starting after the unhappy Auberon.

Kyrie nods at Carrick's comment about Valhalla. "True. Some of the perks of the place are a parlor where people can hang out, have meetings, eat, whatever. And a kitchen with a cook and a fridge that's always full," she says, watching Auberon depart, quickly. "What was he saying?" she asks, looking baffled. "And bye?"

Carrick watches the other two turn to go, looking faintly nonplussed. "Well, then," he says, after a moment. He lifts one gloved hand to offer a wave at their retreating backs. "Good night for now, then?"

“It was nice meeting you both! Have a good evening. I am sure a little talk with smooth the ruffled feathers,” Tock says in an attempt to be reassuring. “I think we might consider heading out soon, ourselves. The helicopter pilot will be wanting to get back before it is too terribly late...”

"Yeah, but it's not the observation helicopter," Kyrie says sadly. "That one's fun. I grab onto a strap...or, well, he wants me to strap myself /in/, and I sorta hang out and it feels /amazing/," she says on a sigh. She looks to the spider on her shoulder. "Should we...do anything with these spiders?"

"Yes," says Carrick firmly. "We should take 'em home. He seems t' like ye, after all, an' I don't think anyone'll mind much." He pauses. "Jes' so long as I don't wake up one night t' find an eight-foot robot spider chewin' on me legs, I think we'll be jes' fine."

Tock's spider has climbed up into her hair to cling there like a shiny ornament. To be honest, it doesn't look remotely out of place. “Yes, I think mine is a bit...attached. In the literal sense.” Her eyes move upward as if they would be able to observe the thing that way. “And the observation helicopter is not ideal for transporting numbers of people.”

"I know it's not, but it's /fun/," Kyrie says, scooping the spider off her shoulder to bring it a few inches from her face. "You want to go home with me? Yeah, I guess you do, huh? Okay. Let's go, before the pilot leaves us all behind," she says, replacing it on her shoulder and smiling at her companions.

"That reminds me," says Carrick, as he slips his arm through Kyrie's and sets off, side by side with her, towards the exit, "how /did/ ye convince Mister Alireza t' give us that ride, Miss Tock? He doesn't strike me as the kind o' man t' give anything away for free. I hope ye didn't spend too much on us."

“I do not have to convince him to show off his extravagance. It pleases him. Besides the fact that we are in a Motley. We help one another,” Tock explains easily. “And Ali is richer than a pagan fertility god. Do not worry excessively about expense where he is concerned. That is only /one/ of his several helicopters. He wants to get a bigger one, now.” She shakes her head at that, a common enough gesture for her regarding Ali. Reaching up, she gives her automaton-cum-barrette a little pat. “I am going to call you Nikola. Just to balance things out in the universe.”

Kyrie laughs at Carrick's comment and shakes her head. "What Tock said. He flew me out to his island the other day just because he wanted to show it off. And does he need an island? Nope. But he /wants/ one. He wants everything, and wants everyone to know he has everything. And wait, name? I've never named a living thing before," she says, wideyed. "Carrick, help!"

"Does he, now?" says Carrick, sounding faintly amused. "Well, if he's got that much money t' burn, I can hardly blame him for wanting t' flaunt it a bit. I'd even say that I envy him, jes' a bit, but o' course I am above such petty concerns." He doesn't even /try/ to keep a straight face as he says it. "An' if we're talking famous names in electricity," he adds, "ye might try 'Watt'."

“Volta? Ampere? Joule? Ohm? Faraday? Hertz?” Tock rattles off a list of scientists that went and got units named after them in the field of electricity. She does not expect all of the references to catch, but /she/ is enjoying them, at least. “Ali is a...procurer. He knows how to get things or he knows people that can get them for him. End of story.”

"Yes, well, let's try t' /extend/ that, rather than go storm-chasing," says Carrick, giving Kyrie's arm a squeeze. "I quite like having ye in one piece, ye know, rather than as a charcoal briquette in armor. An' I understand, Miss Tock. I won't pry further. I was only mildly curious t' begin with. It jes' boggles me, sometimes, the kinds o' things the various Lost I meet find t' occupy themselves." He laughs, and pushes open the door, leading the three of them out into the cold night, towards the helicopter. "But then, I chose t' fill that gap with horror movies an' far too much Edgar Allan Poe, so I'm hardly in a position t' judge."

“You /told/ me to do that, by the by,” Tock reminds Kyrie in regards to that electrical shocking going on. “Franklin, then? If one is to believe that tale of the kite and the lightning storm?” She reaches over to give Carrick's shoulder a pat. “Don't fret so much. Those of us who play with the elements are much more difficult to hurt with them, after all.”

Kyrie smiles at Carrick, leaning into him for a moment. "It didn't hurt. Like Tock said, we're difficult to hurt with it. Like, I could stand in the middle of a hurricane --and have-- and not even be blown back a step. I could take a hit of lightning full on and just smile. If I know enough to prepare for it, anyway. But you owe me some movies, Carrick. And hmm. Franklin is possible..."

Carrick laughs and rolls his eyes. Or, at least, he gets as close to rolling his eyes as someone lacking both pupils and sclera can get. "I'm mostly teasin'," he says with a smile. "But mostly, you're both jes' gonna have t' accept that I fret a bit. It's basically me job, here." He leans his head to the side for a moment, bumping it against Kyrie's - then, just in time, remembers his top hat and catches it as it starts to fall off. "If Kyrie isn't gonna worry about herself, I'll jes' have t' worry for the both of us. Even if she is more durable than a tank." He nudges the valkyrie in the side with one elbow. "An' I owe ye both movies, I think. It's getting t' be about Christmastime, too. I wonder..." He looks thoughtful for a moment. "...Have either o' ye seen 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas'?"

“The usual answer to 'have I seen' is 'no'. Though Eleri did have some of us watch 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'. That was a little odd,” Tock observes as she leads the way back to the helicopter.

Kyrie looks down at her dress and wrinkles her nose. "Not durable in this," she mutters. "Not wearing a dress again. Unless I can sneak my sword and shield in. Or at least my sword," she says, sighing. "Why would a grinch steal Christmas?" she asks him curiously. "But I have to say Tock's right."

"Oh, come now," says Carrick, as they approach the helicopter. He steps up into the opening door and turns to offer each of the ladies a hand in turn, helping them up into the cabin. "Ye look beautiful, even if we didn't get the chance t' dance like I'd hoped. An' not every party gets crashed by mysterious agents from another freehold." He grins broadly, then continues, "Well, ye see, it could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight. It /could/ be his head wasn't screwed on jes' right. But personally, /I/ think the most likely reason o' all may've been that his heart was two sizes too small."

“You could just wear dresses to mundane events. Sometimes they /are/ necessary for dancing,” Tock suggests readily, rather appreciative of the hand up to assist with getting her ample skirts into the helicopter. “I do not see why having a smaller heart would be of assistance in stealing an entire holiday. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome can have lifelong detrimental effects, even after multiple surgeries or transplantation.” Yes. That was exactly what he meant, of course.

"But if I'm in a dress I can't have my sword on," Kyrie protests as she gets into the helicopter. "And yes, I don't understand that. How can a heart have sizes? Much less be two sizes too small? And wouldn't having too small a heart kill someone?"

"Well, in the Grinch's case, it resulted in severe depression, migraines, an' a compulsive hatred o' anyone who wasn't suffering from the same crippling condition," says Carrick levelly, as he closes the door behind Kyrie and moves to take a seat. "Incredibly tragic, moving story, ye know. He sets out t' steal Christmas, an' he ends up learning that his own suffering doesn't mean that there can't be things worth celebratin' in the world. An absolute triumph o' the human spirit, an' all that jazz." And he breaks into a wide grin again. "Plus, it's got some very catchy music." As he buckles himself into the seat, they can just make out the sound of him singing under his breath:

"Ye're a mean one, Mister Grinch Yer heart's an empty hole..."

“Most mundane events won't let you walk in with a sword, anyhow, Kyrie,” Tock points out. “I think we may have to watch this thing before he reenacts it in its entirety,” she says as an aside to Kyrie, though not in a softer voice to avoid detection or anything of the kind.

Kyrie gives Carrick an amused look and shakes her head before pointing out to Tock, "They do if it's hidden in my bag. The bag just doesn't match my dress." She leans forward to address the pilot. "You can take us up. I think Carrick's getting tired, and goofy because of it," she says, before giving him a teasing look.

"Ye know damn well I'm always goofy, woman," says Carrick brightly, in between verses. "It's part o' my inestimable charm. Jes' one among many, o' course, so I can forgive ye for havin' it slip yer mind jes' now, but still." He sweeps his hat off his head and holds it in his lap, grinning. "But yes, you're very much gonna have t' watch this with me. It's a classic."