Completed Friendsgiving 3.0


Character Biography
Official Invite:

Let’s Get Basted!
You are invited to Friendsgiving. Midterms sucked so let’s share a meal together. Plus, Proctor Gamble said this counts toward the Socialization credits.
Where: Southeast Training Fields
When: Sunset
What to Bring: Yourself (a side dish to share but not required)
What Not to Bring: Weapons (seriously, NO WEAPONS)

xoxo Lumen


With generous donations from House Weiroon. And with the begrudging help of Proctor Gamble, a visiting professor from Elbion, and a few students in the class ahead, the Southeast Training Fields were transformed into something Lumen was rather proud of. Picnic tables were lined up in a row and made to look classy, yet comfortable and inviting. Various lanterns and magic twinkle lights hung from overhanging trees. Luminaries lined the paths. The picnic tables were already stacked with loads of food: various pies and cakes, roasted pheasants, smoked meats, roasted vegetables, and some sides that made Lumen’s mouth water from where she stood welcoming and directing her fellow classmates as they entered.

Besides the massive table of awaiting food, there was a live band off to the side with a small dancing area in front of the temporary stage. There was an area where some stargazing blankets were set-up. Lumen had tried to get all the horse poodoo cleaned up before the event and hopefully she didn’t miss any.

Opposite the stargazing area, there was even a small, makeshift ice skating rink.

There were smaller seating areas, too. Places where the introverts, a foreign concept for Lumen, could escape to. And the weather was perfect so far. Cool without being uncomfortable. Clear skies. For now, Lumen waited, passing off steaming cups of hot apple cider as students arrived.
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The weather was indeed, fine, owing in large part to the excitement of one girl.

Houri Luana had reverently kept the piece of parchment which had been slipped under her door, and had pinned it to her very empty board of social invitations. This new concept of friendship was one of the few things that Houri enjoyed when it came to the changes made to Vel Anir in her time... away. The rest was much harder to get her head around, especially the no causing serious harm rule. She'd been sent to Proctor Gael's office on several occasions because she had 'broken someone's arm' and accidentally 'sent someone to the hospital'. It was not her fault; it was hard to dull a weapon which had been sharpened for 17 years.

As such she was finding it hard to make friends though she desperately wanted to. She couldn't run to Olvir every time she needed company. He was off fighting his own battles and she still had to graduate.

So she took this invitation as a chance to find someone else, or somebodies, who might let her be their friends.

She smoothed her hands down her red velvet dress one last time and glanced at herself in the mirror. She'd never been one for great formal occasions, though had enjoyed dressing up far more than her older sister Jiya who could never be seen out of trousers it seemed nowadays. But her older sister had been more than happy to provide her with coin to buy this for tonight. With capped sleeves and embroidery along the neckline in many ways it was very simple, but Houri liked it and - more importantly - if it came to it she could run and fight in it. Hopefully none of her new friends wanted to fight though.

Over the top of the dress she threw on a capelet with thick white fur trimming to keep her guarded from any chill then headed down to the training yards.

A few students had already gathered in their little groups and for a moment, Houri hesitated.

Maybe this was a bad idea... Tishya murmured in a voice soft as winters first snowfall. Everyone already had their groups. They had grown up together and that made them hard circles to break into. A few glanced her way and she offered a smile but they turned back to their conversations when they realised she was not their friend. With a soft sigh she made her way over to where drinks were being laid out and picked up some spice apple cider to warm herself against the sudden dip in temperature.
Cassi Azura had read the invitation to the Friendsgiving at least six times before she even left her room to see if Corvus was going to attend. Cassi wasn't anti-social but she tended to stick with her minutes older twin over everyone else. If he didn't go to something then she was likely to not attend either. Although, that had been tested lately with the mentor program and her new big brother. Neither she nor Caeso was pleased with the situation but she needed her lowest grade dropped so she played nice. Corvus had assured her that he would meet her at the Southeast Training Fields and he would bring a side dish.

That was all she needed in order to go into full-blown preparation mode which included contacting her parents for a new dress. The evening had finally come and Cassi stared at herself in the mirror. She smoothed her dress and tucked some of her black hair behind an ear.

She didn't need Corvus by her side. She could do this. He would meet her there. She would make some friends. The confidence only lasted a minute more before she felt like she was going to throw up. Cassi finally started to calm down again and eventually made her way to the party.

When she arrived, she immediately headed toward the drinks and felt considerably better once she had a warm glass in her hands. There was a small comfort in such a simple item. She took a sip of the cider and looked around. Cassi knew the names of most of the attendees but that was it.

She finally understood why Captain Odal had pulled her into the mentor program. She did rely on her twin way too much.
Caeso had torn up the invitation he received and propelled the pieces of parchment away with a dismissive Forcewave. Yet another waste of time, and yet another reason why commonbloods ought not to be in charge of anything. The mockery they were presently making of the Academy was bittersweet to witness: on the one hand, Caeso was watching the Republic sow the seeds of its own destruction, fostering as they were this kind of weakness; on the other, the rightful return of the nobility to power would likely only come after said weakness brought about incredible ruin to his beloved Vel Anir.

Only practicality could warm Caeso to the idea of a "Friendsgiving" feast. Those new Socialization credits, unfortunately, now threatened to be the anchor by which the ships of the strong were pulled down. A needless addition to the Dreadlord training regimen, but here he now was. This was part of the game.

And House Diemut, like their cousins of Virak, played the game well.

One letter to his father ensured that Caeso was clad in an immaculate doublet with gold buttons marching down its front, dark trousers and high boots. A half-cloak regally adorned his left shoulder. Gloves of perfect fit encased his large hands. If he was going to this so-called celebration, then he ought to go well.

Warm lantern lights over the constructed archway signaled the entrance to the event. As Caeso approached he saw Lumen there, reduced to passing out cider to fellow Initiates—to those who had made her bleed, and those she had made bleed in return.

Caeso stopped. Didn't accept a cup of cider just yet.

He asked her, "Did Proctor Gamble cajole you into this? Or was it that 'Professor' from Elbion?"

If only Drakormir could have done Liadain the favor of wiping Elbion from the map.

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Reactions: Houri and Zinnia
Sometimes it wasn't good to think too hard about things, when the simplest answer was most often the correct one. The little festival that had been felt for Silas' class of Initiates seemed as though it had only been a month or to prior, and already an invitation to another celebration had found its way onto Artesto's door.

At first he'd scoffed at the idea. What motive did they have for bringing all of his peers together now? It wasn't that Silas resented or thought ill of the others, or that he found no enjoyment in their presence. No, what bothered him was how generous it all was. Silas had been raised by Guards. He'd heard the stories of The Academy, how brutal it was. It had been no easy trip to get this far, granted but... Credits for socializing? There was something about it Silas just couldn't grasp.

However, it was that same experience with the guards that drove him to arrive at the Southeast Field wearing a buttoned vest and coat as coal-black as the tight suit he wore on the field, save for the silver buckle on his belt and white toes of his boots. Those hardworking soldiers of the city only survived the trials they faced because of comradery, the bonds they'd forged. Silas wished to be not only great, but the greatest. And he knew it was foolish to think such a feat could be accomplished alone.

Without friends, there is nobody to save you when you find yourself at the end of a losing battle.

Idly he sipped the warm, sweet liquid he'd been given, offering a smile and a nod to Lumen as she provided them. "Thank you, it tastes wonderful." Silas had a reputation for being fast and loose on the field, but one wouldn't know it from how he'd cleaned up tonight, his normally wild and unkempt head of platinum hair brushed and pulled back into a small ponytail that hung down the back of his coat, which was actually something he'd inherited from his father, if the faded Anirian Guard symbol on the back was anything to go by.

Aside from Lumen, Artesto saw Cassi, Houri and Caeso arrive in turn. Cassi looked to be a bundle of nerves, and without Corvus here, Silas could understand why. The two of them had been inseparable for so long, and the Academy was redoubling efforts to force Cassi's independence. Silas wished her well, but she still hadn't cashed in on their bet, and Silas was in no hurry to be collected upon.

Houri, on the other hand... Well, he wasn't sure he'd ever seen her like this. Granted, they hadn't had much opportunity, and she wasn't one he was particularly familiar with, but the deep red of her outfit certainly drew his eyes to her. With a small smile tugging at his lips, he raised his cup to her, taking a few steps to meet her path as she headed to the drinks.

"Hello, Houri. Do I have you to thank for the clear skies tonight?" This was the first time he'd done anything to look nice in ages, and a light downpour could have sent him right back to wet blonde dog status. "If so, thanks. You have no idea how stubborn my hair is, and people already thing I'm a scraggly mess."
An...invitation? To a party? Possibly the last thing Zinnia had expected given her usual withdrawn behavior was...this. The fact that anyone had even remembered she was in their class was kind of staggering.

The gold-eyed girl sighed. Her head had told her to crumple up the invitation and spend another night alone in her room. That was the intelligent thing to do. The less she engaged, the less likely she was to get in trouble. Her heart, however, was lonely...and it was difficult to deny the heart what it wanted.

Just a bit of socialization couldn't hurt, right? Anirius forbid she actually make a friend or two. Besides, the party was outside in the middle of autumn. She could cover up nicely and no one would give her any weird looks. Yeah...yeah! That settled it, Zinnia was going to a party. She wasn't much of a chef, but she'd spent enough time in the Academy's kitchens to make some decent mashed potatoes. This would be great, absolutely!

Zinnia set her dish down on the table and breathed in the cold, evening air. Garlic, salt, and chives, as well as a hefty amount of mashing to reduce the chunks to smoothness would hopefully ensure people enjoyed the side.

She looked up and scanned the gathering. Lumen had certainly put in a lot of work making this whole thing look nice. The decor matched up with stories she'd heard of noble gatherings...this was much too good for someone like Zinnia. Still, she was thankful to be here, if incredibly nervous.

She'd chosen not to dress up too much for this (not that she owned anything particularly fancy). A knit cap covered her head down past her ears and provided warmth alongside the wool scarf she'd wrapped around her neck, beyond which her dark hair spilled out in a neat braid. Beyond that she'd chosen a similarly knit, white, sweater dress; long, cream colored, collared, winter coat that hung past her knees; and thigh high, brown boots. The only visible skin on her was the small window of exposed face, her hands, and the little gap between the bottom of her dress and the top of her boots.

Problem now was just...she didn't really know what to do. It had been about five years since last she'd tried to be social with her fellow initiates, and that was before the revolution made socialization something they actually encouraged. Tonight was fun in theory, but now that she was actually face to face with everyone she just folded her hands in front of her and...froze.
"Thith ith a bath ithea."

"You aren't the only dangerous one in the world you know."

Vasha tensed, slitted eyes narrowing as she glared at Proctor Evangeline D'Amour. The woman's soft features, to her credit, did not give away her emotions as she spoke. But Vasha knew she'd struck that nerve on purpose to get that exact reaction.

Jerking her head away, Vasha resumed pacing again back and forth in front of the window, cornered in the back of her room. She wanted to be angry. Vasha wanted to feel like she was right. But...instead she let out a low, guttural hiss as she was forced to swallow the pill that was reality. She was afraid. Afraid of her powers. Afraid of hurting the other students- her father and every adult could go fuck themselves as far as she was concerned.

Could they really contain it if it broke out? Could she keep it contained if someone provoked it?

"You have to start somewhere, Vasha." The Proctor's voice had a slightly gentler tone this time.

Vasha bit the twinned tip of her tongue and growled lowly, before she finally sighed and shook her head.


Vasha wrapped her arms tighter around herself underneath a silver mink shoulder-wrap, glancing down at the sleek black dress imprinted with designs of scales with a frown. Though, it was a bit more of a lost look than annoyed.

This should have been her normal. Going to parties, dancing... being the darling daughter of the Drurcius family. Instead, she... wasn't. Vasha set her jaw uncomfortably. Even if she wanted to try to learn to do the things she had aimed to in the past as a child, she looked like a freak. A dangerous one.

This just wasn't going to work out, she decided, and strode over to get some cider from Lumen with a small, polite nod before quickly backstepping out of the way of Caeso while they conversed. However, Vasha couldn't keep her gaze from wandering- trying to keep tabs on who all was present as she sauntered off to one side of a larger group. Caeso and Silas in particular drew her gaze more than others- and not quite the gaze of a lovestruck teenager. No. Unlike the girls, the boy's clothing choice revealed a good bit more about their particular focus, rather than comfort explicitly. Clean, crisp, militaristic. Controlled. Vasha almost wished she'd been able to get away with something similar. Maybe she'd be less on edge in pants.

Hands clasped around the cider, she took a long, slow sip and let it burn all the way down. Closing her eyes for a moment, she tried to stifle the- wait. What?

Blinking, Vasha looked up again and properly took in the lights hung about like so many stars. While the human eye would likely have only noticed soft golds and yellows and whites, hers instead captured an entire plethora of color hanging over the students.

...Maybe this can be somewhat enjoyable...

Houri caught herself before she winced outwardly at the thundering voice that bounced off her skull and clutched the tray she was holding a little more tightly. Sometimes, it was instinct to follow the voices that had helped her survive five years of imprisonment and the voice that was linked to her ability to control raging storms was always vying for the most control. But the man who had cut her off from her destination wasn't a threat. Nobody was a threat here anymore, that's what Proctor Eva had told her.

She took a breath and counted backwards from five before offering a smile she'd practised in the mirror.

"I think Lumen just picked a wonderful night," Houri said but glanced up to the cloudless sky to make sure it had stayed that way. Thunder still rumbled in her mind but the stars twinkled back at her and she let herself relax a little.

That wasn't very He was nice just trying to Really, you're the make conversation! reason the girl can't have friends.

Shit, had he said something?

Houri forced the argument into a muted annoying murmur and looked back to Silas. It was not very often she had to tilt her head quite that far, most of the male students were only an inch or two taller than her but Silas was over a head taller than her.

"I best put these down..." she motioned awkwardly to the honeycakes she had brought and carefully stepped around the other initiate.

* * *

Silas Artesto
Lumen's tawny eyes caught Houri's entrance. And the way no one offered to speak to her. A muscle twitched in her jaw. Which relaxed as Silas Artesto made his way over. That bob of wild blond hair similar to her own. Other initiates smiled and clapped Lumen on the shoulder as they passed. Got their ciders.

Even before the revolution, Lumen had taken on the big sis or motherly role. Watching out for the smaller ones. Making sure fights were at least even so it was fair. As fair as things could be at the Academy. Perhaps it was growing up with two younger twin brothers that made her fit so easily into that role. And maybe it was because she paid attention to the smaller details. Packed extra snacks and bandages when they went on missions. Promoted study groups when D'Amour's exams came around. That most initiates tended to trust her over not.

Lumen was on their side and would be in their corner until they started acting like dicks. Like Calvin Calhoun and his little possy of snot-nosed, big-mouthed, better-than-everyone typical bullies. They never bothered Lumen and seemed to sober up when she was around. But she heard what they did when she wasn't.

Eyes swept the gathering. But didn't see them yet.

A warm smile to Cassi Azura. She was a little less dour than her brother. "Hi Cass, stunning dress. Glad you could make it. Would you mind taking this to @Zinnia?" She would pass off another cup of warmed cider to her fellow initiate. Chin tipped toward the girl who had just set a side-dish down. And looked like a Falwood deer in a clearing.

A turn to the new voice as Caeso Diemut and his noble-blooded self waltzed up.

"No," the cup of cider she held tightly momentarily froze. "I cajoled them into doing it." Taking a breath, the cider went back to a more appropriate temperature. A half-step forward so she could whisper something only he would hear as she offered the cup between them. "I think that's Vasha Drurcius. And I'm pretty sure she has her eye on you. If you want a wing-woman, let me know."

A flip of her golden hair over one shoulder as she stepped back and offered a smile and small nod to Vasha.
No, I cajoled them into doing it.

Caeso took a moment to consider this. And after a moment he inevitably found himself impressed, and he gave a gracious nod alongside a little smirk to convey as much. Whatever he thought of the tangible outcome of the interaction between Proctor Gamble, the Professor, and Lumen—this "Friendsgiving" feast here as it were—still he was charmed by the raw fact that Lumen had bent those two to her will. You could even say that she beat them at their own game.

Caeso took a cup of cider, briefly and minimally held it aloft, and said, "Cheers," before taking a drink.

Credit where credit was due and all.

Lumen then leaned in to whisper in private. There were two senses by which one could take what she said ("...has her eye on you"). Even with Lumen's follow-up comment which made her meaning more than clear, still there was within Caeso's awareness, like an alert sentinel, the instilled suspicion of his fellow Initiates, the wariness of their motives. Such was the old way. And everyone here had survived the old way, and were therefore products of it.

"Noted," he replied in confidence to Lumen before she stepped back.

Then he turned his attention to Vasha. Approached. Said, "Hard not to bring your own weapons, for you more than anyone here, I imagine," and sipped again from his cup of cider.

Secrets were a kind of currency in the old way. The more you had of them concerning your magic and what it could do, the richer you were, for the less prepared your opponents in the sparring arena (and, crucially, in more mortal contests) could be. All Caeso knew of Vasha's magic was that she had an unnatural resilience, and could grow some manner of reptilian claws and spikes.

Lumen Vasha Drurcius
Vasha's eyes snapped down from the lights as she focused on Caeso. It took a moment for her vision to adjust- pupils rapidly dilating a bit wider for a moment before narrowing to a more "normal" middling range. He'd note a tension creep into her limbs, a little startled, before she let out a subtle if forced breath through her nose and tried to relax; an awkward attempt at a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.

"Iths a bith countherinthuithive tho requesth no weapons when we are all thraineth tho be a weapon in anth of ourselves." she responded; forcing a longer sentence than usual in the hopes that despite the lisp on hard d's and t's she could prove herself a little. Damn her forked tongue... "Buth... I think we know the senthimenth at leasth." Vasha's gaze wandered to Lumen for a moment and she bit the inside of her cheek, before going back to Caeso. Productive. Productive. Something Productive to talk about...tapping her finger against her cider for a moment before sipping it as well, Vasha dips her head to the young man in front of her.

"Whath tho you think you will tho when we grathuathe? I can'th help buth feel ith is my responsibilithy to ensure House Thrurcius recovers its sthanthing." she lied. She couldn't give a damn if the place burned with everyone inside it. But someone had to be around to keep the mistake her father made under control.

Caeso Diemut
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Cassi smiled at the hostess' compliment about her dress. She was hoping to actually keep this one from getting ruined so she could wear it again as it was quite comfortable and surprisingly warm with the wool pants she had put on underneath. "This is absolutely beautiful, Lumen. Thank you for the invite," she said in response.

The twin took the glass of cider and nodded before watching another initiate put down a side dish. Shit, she thought. She really hoped Corvus didn't forget to bring theirs.

"And Corvus is bringing our side dish! He promised," she said before walking off in the direction of Zinnia.

Cassi was ninety-nine percent sure that she was correct when she walked up to the brown haired girl in the cream coat. This was Zinnia...they had classes together...this was her. Yes...Cassi knew she was right.

She hoped.

"Zinnia," Cassi smiled as she approached, "Lumen asked me to bring you some cider. It actually helps quite a bit to warm you up."

She handed off the glass and stood there awkwardly for a few seconds. "Enjoying the party so far?"

Zinnia Lumen
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Zinnia went rigid when she heard someone call her name. Oh boy. Oh gods. Engagement. What would they want? What would she say? Damn it, she wasn't ready for this, she should have just stayed in her room and--

--Oh, cider. Well that was nice.
"Ah, right, um. Thank you?" The wallflower accepted the cup gingerly and felt the warmth radiate into her fingertips. The steam wafted into the air above the liquid, and she inhaled it over the top of her scarf. It was...nice. "I was feeling k-kind of, um...cold..."

Zinnia spent the silent few seconds simply staring into the cup, taken aback and unsure of how to move forward. Thankfully this person--Cassiopeia, Zinnia recalled--broke the quiet first.

"Um, yes--uh, potatoes!" Zinnia turned on her heel and pointed out the glass dish she'd set down on the table. Gods she was terrible at small talk. "I brought...potatoes..."

She wilted. Why was this so hard?
"Hooooowww about you?" Zinnia piped back in, eyes snapping up to attempt eye contact with Cassi. Nailed it.
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Man, he was late. Cassi was going to kill him, but what did she expect? First, they had both received this dumb invite. Not a bad idea at first. Corvus would take any chance to drink a little, but then he had been told he needed to dress up. He hated this.

He had also been given the oh-so-important responsibility of bringing a side dish. What the hell was that supposed to be? Corvus couldn't cook. That left him with the easiest option. He had snuck out to one of the nicer bakeries in Vel Anir and spent a bunch of money on random bread. He had also grabbed a thing of honey to make it look fancier. Cor knew how this stuff worked.

Upon his arrival, he first moved to the table to drop off his bountiful harvest. More importantly, he needed to find something to drink. They had alcohol, right? Arriving at the table, he spotted Lumen, the so-called host of this event.

"Hey Lumen, sorry I was a little late...I brought bread."

Yes, the forked tongue. Seldom had he heard Vasha speak on other occasions, during various classes and while about the Academy, but the abnormality of her speech had its way of making itself known quickly once again.

"The sentiment," Caeso echoed, taking another drink of his cider. He mused further, "The Republic hardly lacks for it."

Whether or not it was Lumen herself who added that stipulation to the feast didn't much matter. Caeso could imagine the current authority overseeing the Academy being all too happy for it regardless. They would have the temerity to think that a "No weapons" policy would mean much when, as Vasha had correctly said, everyone here was a weapon in and of themselves.

Her question, then. Now that they were the senior-most class, graduation was indeed within view.

"The same as you, and any noble worth their salt," Caeso said with an air of pride. "'Reservist' is the only way. Exile is laughable, and worse still is to submit yourself to be a lapdog to the military."

He leaned in a bit toward Vasha, so as to put a fine point on his forthcoming words. "We are of a better stock than many of our peers, Vasha. Bred of superior bloodlines. That fact endures, Republic or no."

Vasha Drurcius
You are my daughter. This is but a step in your rise to power. You won't die so easily with my blood in your veins, magicless or not. Her father's words rang in her ears with the same clarity as Caeso's.

Her eyes itched. Her fingers itched. Her spine ached and burned, but Vasha let out a soft chuckle and ignored it all. "I agree," she responded to both. Caeso would catch a faint outline of scales around her eyes, before it faded- as if the blood had drained out of her skin at that spot, and then come flowing back...

Maybe they were both right. They could be, and she could still want to kill her father for what he did. It was to her father's detriment for making a monster capable of challenging him after all. For enjoying the pain he'd caused her. That he still caused her. Admitting that she agreed... didn't mean she stood by their methods.

Maybe Proctor Evangeline had been right, too. Among nobles, there was little power to be gained in locking yourself away in a corner to be forgotten. To refuse potential allies in favor of enemies watching for any sign of weakness. A plentiful bounty all too ripe for taking advantage of.

She would never be one of those again. Ever.

Vasha's voice was low, and contemplative. Alongside this, she spoke a little more slowly, trying to find a better way to avoid her lisp. "Perhaps i' is for the besth we were here, in this place, in this momenth. We will remember, and they have litthle chance to ...'change' us. An' then, as you say, we enthure, and minimize the effecth on our lineage. You can'th expecth the Republic to be without issues... buth how long i' will stanth is thebathable." One slender shoulder rises and falls in a half-shrug. They both knew how history played out. Mistakes cost decades, if not hundreds of years. This was not something that would go away quickly.

It will all be worth it, my dear... you have no idea what potential I have just given you. Vasha's blood ran cold, as her thoughts wandered over that topic.

...was she one of those mistakes too?

Caeso Diemut
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Houri's smile seemed forced, but he couldn't be sure with her face tilted up towards the sky. Indeed there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the bright light of the moon beaming down and adding to the dim lantern and torch light illuminating the field, and adding a depth to it that wouldn't be there otherwise

Artesto's gaze only lingered upwards for a moment, however, and when he looked back down to see Houri still staring blankly up at the sky he figured something must be wrong. Houri was always a strange one, but even now he tried to give her the benefit of the doubt.

After all, it wasn't like any of them were normal. Silas had his demons, and it would be stupid of him to assume Houri didn't have hers. So when she looked back down and locked eyes with him, he nodded slightly, stepping out of her way. "Right, I apologize. Didn't mean to delay you. They look delicious." Silas took a long sip of his cider, keeping his eyes on her as she passed him to put her side dish down.

No point in pissing her off. Houri was cute, but he knew damned well what she could do in a fight.

"Well... that went particularly well. Maybe this wasn't the greatest of ideas after all." Artesto muttered into his cup, finding it empty now. What had he gotten all dressed up for again?
Refreshing, to hear Vasha say what she had said. The nobility were, and forever would be, the rightful inheritors of power. Though complacency had laid them low in the Revolution, that was more a mistake of Caeso's mother and father, Vasha's mother and father, their grandparents, all who had allowed it to come to that point. Remember, endure, minimize the effect on their lineage—these were the primary responsibilities foisted into the hands of Caeso, Vasha, Cassi, and all the rest of the younger noble generation.

"Well said." Caeso finished his cider. "For posterity, it is incumbent upon us to preserve our heritage, and carry it through to outlast this...Republic."

He looked toward the long table (or tables, as it were, all lined up together) with all the elements of the feast on display. Certainly a facet of the old way of the Academy was never to let such an opportunity go to waste; the ire of a Proctor and forced starvation were always within view then. Zinnia and Cassi (the latter of whom he'd gotten to know better via Captain Odal and Proctor Melina's harebrained "Big Brother" program) were over there already. And Corvus as well had just shown up.

He swept a hand in that direction. "Let us see if the meals on offer at this feast are worthy of our attendance."

Vasha Drurcius
That wasn't nice, Tishya murmured softly. You hurt his feelings, Tiri agreed.

Houri sighed and stopped after two steps towards the table. The whole point of tonight was to make friends and she certainly wasn't going to do that by upsetting people. She hadn't meant to upset him! She had just wanted to... Well maybe her tone had been a little... Oh bollocks.

"W-would you like one?" Houri asked and turned back towards him and offered the tray towards him. "They're honeycakes, I actually... made them myself. The cooks were not particularly happy about sharing their space," she cracked a small but genuine smile at the memory of their exasperated faces.

* * *

Silas Artesto
"You're welcome," Cassi said with a genuine smile. "Yeah, it is a little chillier than I thought it would be but at least it's not windy," she smirked at her own words since she could make it windy at a moments notice. Tonight was not for messing with others though, it was for making friends and eating good food.

Potatoes? Cassi thought with a raised brow. She was sure that she asked the girl if she was enjoying the party but maybe she had accidentally asked if she had brought anything. She was hungry so it would be a completely plausible slip.

"I like potatoes!" Cassi announced as she watched her fellow initiate wilt. Cassi thought she was bad with people but Zinnia was proving to be worse.

"Hooooowww about you?"

Cassi was going to try to make Zinnia feel less awkward if it killed her so she answered the question that Zinnia had previously answered. "I didn't bring anything. My twin is bringing something but I have no idea what. I just know that I am starving."
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"Thon't be thoo harsh. Ith's not like they thrain us tho cook afther all." Was that a teasing tone coming from her? A hint of a smile?

"...even if tha' woul' be useful on missions." Vasha finished, a little more thoughtfully as she moved to follow Caeso toward the others. Maybe if she didn't have the little issue of claws springing out of her fingertips when irritated she would give it a try. But until she managed to figure that detail out, she decided it best to avoid the culinary arts... and avoid making others suffer the results.

Caeso Diemut
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Soleil never dressed up. Not of her own accord. She wore the same kind of clothes she always wore. Small jacket. Wispy dress. Thin. Breathable. Dark.

When she had received the invitation earlier she had read over it quickly (she always was a fast reader). There was something she didn't understand. The "xoxo" right before Lumen's name. She asked the first person she saw: Flavien. Flavien had laughed, said, "Nothing anybody would ever want to do with you, sand girl," and gave a dismissive flick of his hand as he walked away laughing still. She watched him go. Trilled her tongue as she did.

Now the invitation was folded and nestled inside of her jacket as she approached the Southeast Training Fields. Soleil stopped before she crossed through the archway. Admired all of the lights hanging from the trees. She made a popping sound with her lips and continued in through the arch.

Corvus was talking to Lumen. Lumen held a tray with cups of liquid. Soleil moved past like a ghost. Ask later.


Soleil pivoted at a sharp angle toward where she had heard that. She just inserted herself into the conversation between Houri and Silas without any regard really for either of them. Her attention was squarely on the honeycakes. Scrutinizing them deeply.

Then she glanced to Houri. Asked of the honeycakes:


Houri Silas Artesto
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Reactions: Houri and Zinnia
Reference lost upon the shut-in that was Zinnia, she did not crack a smile or even notice that Cassi had done so. She was much too worried over getting down the whole "acting like a human" thing, something that should have obviously come naturally to her but rarely ever did these days. No one could be worse at this than Zinnia. She thought, anyhow, until she heard the nearby Soleil ask the simple one-word question she did. Poor Soleil...

...Right, she was actively having a conversation and she hadn't responded in a while. More small talk. The weather this time.
"Y-yeah, chilly, haha. M-my outfit is also doing a p-pretty good job of, uh...making it not so bad." Another wince. She'd just mentioned she was feeling cold prior to the cider, hadn't she? Stupid. Most everyone was dressed nicer than she was anyways, surely no one cared about her dumb outfit.

I like potatoes!

Oh! That was something.
"Ah, well, hopefully these, um, stack up?" Zinnia felt her stomach groan even as she spoke. "I could eat too, I think...h-hopefully Lumen lets us dig in soon, huh? Ahaha..."

There was actually something kind of relieving about the fact that not everyone was bringing something. That alone made Zinnia feel like she'd served some kind of purpose in being here rather than just to stand present. Some small glimmer of pride sparked in her, even if just for a moment, and she smiled over the top of her scarf.
“Hello, hello!” Ysobel joined the group only slightly fashionably late as usual bearing two different trays of side dishes. For once, she was in a shockingly good mood, offering a smile as she apologized for being late. It had taken her all morning to decide on what to bring, questioning herself often ‘what would you feed a load of absolute wack jobs?’.

Pumpkin pie and green bean casserole.

The very thought of either made Ysobel gag. She thought them to be horrible choices, yet for some reason they remained a staple on the table at any holiday dinner prior to her arrival at the academy. Perhaps her family hated her. Or they hated each other. She supposed that she would never know. Regardless, she did know that these dishes reminded her of life before arrived at the Academy.

The choice to even accept the invitation was partly in due to her self-declared best friend, of which she was most definitely not head over heels for, that some people had no childhoods and while it was much too chilly to force feed them ice cream, she was more than willing to provide the bizarrely mushy and pumpkin-y dishes that reminded her of her childhood.

After passing the dishes off to whomever had two arms and found themselves in her path, she would make her way over to Lumen and grab one of the cups of cider, sniffing it for the scent of alcohol. Technically she wasn’t supposed to drink while the academy was medicating her, but she had made the executive decision to stop taking most of them. So far, it was going well. She hadn’t had an outburst in like…eight hours…Cooking is really stressful actually, so it is completely understandable, OKAY?

“Hey Lu, how have you been?” She took a sip of the cider as she tagged along with the hostess.
Invitation for me? Friendsgiving? Friends are like Salad, he was a friend I think? Upon receiving her invitation, Victoria pondered it profusely. She had never received an invitation to anything, and wasn't particularly trusted to do anything but missions. She didn't have a clue as to what she was walking into, but that wouldn't stop her regardless.

One thing that made the painted girl pout had to do with her not bringing her club. It was her safety, and she gnawed her lip as she gave it one last longing look before departing her room. Victoria didn't necessarily need a weapon, but that didn't mean she wasn't attached to hers.

Victoria made short work of her walk to the training fields, she'd been there often enough. There were lights and tables littering the field and she tilted her head trying to understand. Intiates stood in groups, chatting away carelessly, seemingly happy. How strange. Still, the girl proceeded forward, to where she thought she was supposed to go.

Ysobel was chirping at Lumen, and it seemed drinks were being offered. Victoria crept behind Ysobel, her eyes lighting up briefly. With a jerk, Victoria grabbed the girl's shoulder, giggling gleefully. She removed her hand just as quickly, holding out her hand in a fist. "Look Ysobel!" She opened her fist to reveal a huge hairy spider, a favorite creature of Victoria's. "Spider friend. Here take him." She grinned at the girl, thinking that this was absolutely how you made friends.