(2018-06-04) Offer Accepted
The Conte of two houses make future plans.
gurian emmeline 
Talk of the coming masquerade ball and making other plans for the future of two houses.
Offer Offered
Offer Discussed
Misc Info:
Any other details to add? Commentary on the intent of the scene, anything to point out, other information other players may find useful or amusing?
enzo alvise arabella 

The Great Chamber of Zanetti is a high vaulted room with a grand hearth on one side, half as much for warmth on a chilly day as it is meant to be inviting with a warm fire kindling. There is enough room for several large tables to accommodate any fashionable gathering of guests. A large tapestry like rug that is woven in the dominant colors of the house, blue over sable, adorns the central portions of the floor. Large doors on one side adjoin the chamber to the central courtyard of the tower house itself, while a second set leads out into the conjoined piazzo between the homes on this block of the city. Some space for gardens for the family out there and fences erected for safety are visible as well. Opposite the hearth is a stairwell leading up to the antechamber and family's private rooms.

Several days after he had made the offer to Conte Enzo di Sabastino, Conte Gurian sent an invite to members of Sabastino to join him at the Zanetti household. To enjoy a small feast of sorts and to possible formalize more of the alliance he had offered. Today has come and he is waiting in the Great Chamber. He stands near the double doors facing out into the gardens, his back to the main entrance of the chamber. Servants have been informed to direct the visitors to the chamber. As well, fowl has been prepared. Glazed pheasant is prepared on the table, enough bird for all to eat and some to spare. Along with various squash in a similar glaze, cooked and sweetened. There are some dried figs among the scattering. Wine is offered, chilled, along with water to drink.
Along with Sabastino, members of his family have been invited as well. A get to know each other affair atop the business. Gurian remains standing until a servant announces any visitors. He will turn and offer a casual hand to the one table in the great chamber, "Please join me," to any that come with the arrival part. He will step towards the table, but allow visitors, guest and his own family to choose their seats, of those present when the party arrives.

Emmeline is already in the chamber, her brother likely knew she was home, but this seems to be the first public appearance the young woman has made, since she arrived back in the city. She's dressed much less casually than usual, but her outfit still looks fairly practical. And dated. It's not the most current of styles, possibly from a year or two ago, when she left on her travels. There's a hint of nervousness obvious in her manner, she's somewhat hesitant, only slowly approaching the table to step up to Gurian, offering a kiss on the cheek as she murmurs, "Brother." A small smile is offered to him, that same hesitation lingering, until she turns to the table, smiling at the offering. "Ah, I've missed this, it's funny the things that one longs for when all on offer is so foreign."

Well, there's probably some protocol to who sits where, and whether to follow that protocol or choose openly to ignore it probably makes some statement or other and it's all enough to make one's head spin if he or she should choose to allow it to. Alvise di Sabastino does not. He hangs back, waiting for others to make their choice, if it matter to them, and allows his profound ignorance to masquerade, if possible, as politeness. If not politeness, then indifference, and if not indifference, then indecision, and so on down the line, hopefully stopping somewhere short of openly rude. Having been invited along largely for social reasons, he stands back where the small party has entered the fine Great Hall upon instruction of the servants and smiles politely, saying, "You are all too kind, Conte, thank you," to their host but allowing the Conte di Sabastino to make the first move, if he so chooses.

Stepping in as they have been directed to the chamber, Enzo looks around for a few brief moments, before his attention focuses on their hosts. "Thank you," he replies to the Zanetti conte, with a polite nod to both him and Emmeline, along with a smile to both of them. Moving over to one of the chairs, although he doesn't seat himself yet.

Along with her brothers is Arabella di Sabastino dressed in the colors of her house as is her usual. The vibrant red complemented by the silver threading into the bodice and skirt of the lovely gown. Her dark hair is pulled back on each side into a braid that meets in the middle in the back and allows the waves to tumble freely down her back almost to her slender waist. Remaining at the side of her brothers, she only steps forward as Alvise hangs back, a smile tossed back in his direction before dipping into a curtsy, all proper and polite for the host. "Conte di Zanetti," greeting him first, then the lady at his side, "Signora," before rising from the dip. "Truly, thank you for the invitation, we are honored to accept."

Gurian turns to his sister, a pause is given, it has been a while since he has seen her. And the kiss to his cheek, his stance rigid, almost as if it was 'allowed' to happen. A hand comes to the small of her back, a formable sibling hug of sorts. She may catch hint of a turn at his lips, and feel more than a brush, as if he was glad to have her present. "Sister, just in time." Trailing off her words, "I am thinking, perhaps Zanetti should host an porcini hunt, a welcome home gathering if you're interested." Just a thought as he turns to the Sabastino's then. "Only when deserved, Signore," he says to Alvise, "I sometimes take strategy from those around me." Half a nod to the way he borrowed technique at the recent tower stacking. His hand indicates chairs near the head of the table for Enzo, "Quite welcome. I was hoping this would find you well, a prudent time to move. I believe your family is hosting a party here, perhaps we will have news to share then?" About the alliance, his eyes of course turn to Arabella on the idea of that news, as if a measure is given.
"Please join us," he offers the seats to the left of the head to Sabastino family members. And to the right, his sister, "This is my sister, Signora Emmeline, returned from the Eastern Empire, her studies have taken her there." He says Eastern Empire with a certain vile aspect to the term in his features, not quite strained. In return, "This is Conte Enzo di Sabastino, his sister, Signora Arabella, and their brother, Signore …" He pauses on the name of course, and leaves it open. "I spent last week hunting this wonderful bird, I hope you all enjoy it." Perhaps the reason for his falconry trip was a bird hunting party for just such a small feast.

Emmeline's smile widens a bit at Gurian's reception, and then she turns her attention to their guests. "Signora," she murmurs in response to Arabella's greeting, and her comment is genuine as she offers, "It will be a treat to dine with fellow Matoran's again, I've missed familiar conversation more than expected." To Enzo and Alvise she inclines her head, murmuring, "Conte, Signore." She offers a small curtsy of her own, before moving to choose a seat on the right side as indicated, leaving room at the head of the table for the guests to sit next to Gurian. Pulling out the chair, she takes a seat, settling in comfortably, a bit more at ease now it seems. Perhaps she too isn't quite certain of the etiquette, but willing to pretend she just doesnt' care.

With seating having been taken care of as a topic, Alvise steps forward with long strides to reach the chair next to the one indicated for Enzo and pulls it out for his sister to take. As he does so, he dips his head in approximation of deference and notes, "Alvise di Sabastino" for the record, so to speak. Standing that little bit longer to be able to assist with Arabella's seating, he comments, "A wide-ranging education, it seems. I hope that the conversation merits your expectation, and more." Then, gazing along the table and its contents, he adds, "Your strategy in providing for this table is spot on and noted, Conte. I am more than simply pleased for yourself that your hunt was so successful."

Enzo nods as he moves to take the offered seat. He nods again as he listens to what's being said, offering another polite nod and a smile to Emmeline. "A pleasure to meet you, Signora Emmeline. The Eastern Empire? Sounds quite interesting," he offers. His gaze goes between the various people, before it goes back to Gurian. "Knowing you have spent time and energy hunting the bird will add to the enjoyment," he replies.

"We are indeed hosting a party and looking quite eagerly for it." Arabella smiles brightly at the work she had put into it thus far, a dip of her head to the Conte for acknowledging it. "Perhaps!" A glance between Enzo, Alvise and Emmeline before she looks back towards the host. "The meal looks divine, thank you." Finding a seat where there is one available, a grateful look is given to Alvise as she settles in arranging her skirts of her dress around herself modestly, her hands on her lap. "Welcome home, Signora Emmeline, I am glad to meet you. Perhaps one day we could speak of your travels and what it was like outside of this area. I wonder about it sometimes, I admit."

"I am intrigued to hear all my sister has to say of her travels to the Eastern Empire," begins Gurian, taking his seat at the head as the other guests join at the table. Nonchalantly, he'll reach for a bird to start pulling apart the succulent offering. It was well prepared, probably for hours earlier this day, as the juices run down where it is cut. Others may cut into similar birds, or wait, and he'll offer meat out the same. But otherwise, all are welcome to eat as the converse with the birds opened. "I'm sure it is fascinating," leaving it open to be discussed, he turns more towards the other Conte nearby, "And you've had time to discuss my offer, things are agreeable?" Not to push business to the front, but on the side to discuss as needed. As he mentioned that business, his eyes go from Enzo towards Arabella, a slight smile. It could use a little more warmth, that may be one characteristic his features tend to lack.

The redheaded woman seems about to answer the questions about her travels, but some of that hesitancy comes back, with a glance at Gurian. Emmeline doesn't seem inclined to eat just yet, in spite of her earlier enthusiasm about the food on offer, but instead, keeps her hands folded in her lap. "This isn't really the place, I don't want to monopolize the dinner conversation," she murmurs with a smile. "I could go on forever, and really, this dinner is for other matters. Perhaps instead Signora, you would be so kind as to tell me about the latest goings on? Things that I will need to know, to function without tripping over my own feet and falling into a deep hole?" She notes the topic brought up by Gurian, but seems willing to leave that for now. "And you are hosting a party? That does sound exciting." Turning to Alvise, she offers him a smile, and she says, "Please, don't underestimate the company, already the conversation is meeting my expectations and I'm sure will be an evening well spent."

With their host's example displayed, Alvise spends a time attacking one of the other birds as the conversation develops, rendering its meat available for consumption. "Well," he says as there appears a brief lull in which to insert his own voice, "not wanting to monopolize a more general conversation is something I consider good instinct, so I, personally, will not try to pull more from you on the matter, Signora. It may well be that the topic comes up in conversation more often than you would intend, for a time, but it need not always be so." He then falls into quietude, listening for the latest news, himself.

Enzo nods, along with a smile as he hears Emmeline's words. "Another time and place, then," he offers, before he nods a bit at the part about the party. "It will be a fantastic event, since I know Arabella has control of it." He glances around the room a little, then back to the meal, taking a few moments to eat some of it. "A most excellent meal," he comments, before he glances over in Arabella's direction, briefly, then back to Gurian. "We have spoken some about it," he replies.

Following suit, Arabella begins drawing meat from the birds and placing a small amount in front of herself along with smaller things on offer if there are any. Her gaze lifts to Emmeline's expectantly and the smile that follows the announcement is genuine and understanding. "Mostly the happening in the city is the opening of the Gaspari fashions and the Cafe they have also opened. For the latest in fashions, it is a good place to go." It is just a start, but enough to answer the question and short enough so that she is not dominating the conversation herself as well. With the question from the Conte, she looks to him, catching the return look and tilting her head minutely, adding nothing to what Enzo says, leaving it to the two.

Gurian is glad conversation is carrying on, less one person in the spotlight at a time. As Enzo responds to him, he returns, "This is good then, and Sabastino is in agreement with this potential alliance, and the terms we discussed?" As if that part was missed by the other Conte. Gurian has some bird, and reaches for some of the squash and figs to round out his own plate. He does turn back, not to press his sister related to the Eastern Empire, but to chime in. Seeing the modesty displayed by Arabella, he further adds. "The heir Prince of Mecurea has been staying with the Sabastino family of late. He's not yet said if he seeks some aid to retake his kingdom from Kataro, not publicly at least." A shifted eye to the Sabastino's, they may know some of his interests in the city, he doesn't quite mean to pry. He then pours some wine and enjoys a bit of bird and squash as he looks about and listens.

Emmeline reaches out to finally take some of the food, avoiding the cooked bird, taking mostly the squash and other non-carnivorous selections to start. Her smile at Alvise is amused, as she states, "I apologize if I sounded like I was asking you to refrain from questioning me Signore, although, I do expect a hearty interrogation from my dear brother later." There's a hint of seriousness to the last, but the relief is evident in her gaze as she turns to Arabella. "Ah, lovely, I will make a point of attending the Cafe then, and looking into their fashion house." She too turns to watch the interaction between the Contes, curiosity evident in the way her face scrunches in thought for just a moment. But she too avoids stepping into the conversation.

Alvise continues to enjoy the meal, supping and sipping in turn, and remains completely oblivious to the dealmaking being discussed and having already been discussed. Business is often brought up over a meal and, just as often, Alvise is not required to chime in on that particular topic. He does slip in a quick reply to Emmeline, saying, "To the extent that I have implied a potentially unflattering motive to your statement, I apologize to you, Signora, in that you have felt lead to offer an apology that was in no way warranted." Continuing thereafter to dance around subjects rather than make substantive contributions, he adds, with a smile, "The masquerade briefly mentioned beforehand should be an interesting event. If neither of you are able to make it, perhaps a complete stranger of roughly your build and vocal intonation could be induced to attend in your stead."

"Indeed he has." Arabella relays only after it was brought to attention about the Prince. "Though for the most part he keeps to himself, he is a brilliant conversationalist when he finds time in his schedule to speak of things." With the question of her brother, she offers Enzo an encouraging smile, after all it was a really good offer and alliance, pending the more precise and exact details.

Enzo nods a little thoughtfully, as he continues eating his meal, glancing between the others. There's a brief pause as he hears Alvise's words about the masquerade, as he looks down to his plate, but that doesn't last too long. At the mention of the cafe, and the fashion things, he pauses. "I have not been able to visit that one yet." He shrugs a little, taking another bite of his food, before he looks back to Gurian. "We agree that this potential alliance is a good thing," he replies, before he offers a brief smile. "I believe it's time to look at the finer points of the agreement."

"I admit, my concern with the Tessuto Piazza would at best by the price of wool," Gurian returns, at least regarding the new cafe that opened with/near the Gaspari tailors. "If you wish to go, I would be happy to accompany you to visit, however." He offers to his sister, but slowly, or kind for him, he doesn't want to pressure with her recent return. That could well be a step ahead over other important things. He turns back to Enzo. "The finer points, of course. We find Sabastino a house of similar cause and influence, that the Sacario are strengthened in this time when the Divine Emperor plots with our neighbors." He takes a drink of his wine, resting forearms, not elbows, on the edge of the table. The thumb of his right hand rubs at the tips of his fingers, not quite counting, but perhaps similar in gesture. "The offer of Zanetti to such a venture comes from our shipyards And," he pauses, a brief look to Arabella, "and marriage between houses. At my age, I am coming to a time when I should need an heir. It would secure relations to Zanetti for generations to come for Sabastino."

"I'm certain that Gurian will set up an account for me there, so that I can refresh my wardrobe, as well as become acquainted with society once more." Emmeline's words are light, until her brother offers to attend with her. Her eyes widen a bit, as does her grin, and she murmurs, "Oh brother, I cannot wait." Turning back to Alvise, she pauses as she watches him for a moment, before stating, "No apology required Signore. We could do this all night otherwise!"

Emmeline chuckles, and then asks, "The party is a masquerade? Oh, I will make certain to attend. How entertaining, we can be whomever we wish for an evening! Indeed, I may find a double, just to add to the confusion." Turning her attention back to the agreement being hashed out, it's clear that her focus isn't entirely present, perhaps still plotting her masquerade amusements. But the talk of marriage draws her back, but the tension that appeared suddenly in her body fades almost as quickly, as she exclaims, "Oh a wedding! That too will be fun, but hopefully not a masquerade. So much could go wrong there!"

Alvise feasts and no longer tries to hold up his end of the conversation. This is, to him, a moment for the Heads to come together in a not at all unexpected discussion. He does take a moment to look across to Emmeline and nod smiling agreement to her statement to him, in that the matter could be reiterated multiple times or dropped entirely, and he is content to let it drop. He is convinced that he can convey all this with a smile and a nod, but he probably rather just seems like a goofy fellow eating game bird while the grownups talk business. As Emmeline refamiliarizes herself with Matora, she will no doubt discover that this is a mostly accurate assessment of Alvise di Sabastino.

"I am very much looking forward to the masquerade dance, I hope to find a mask or something suitable. I once saw someone dressed as a dancing tree, and another as a dancing cat. It was interesting." Arabella seems to be animated as she speaks of the coming party, a look to the other woman who could perhaps understand her own eagerness. "It will be a lovely evening. Perhaps the Prince will make an appearance."
With the shift of the conversation some, to those finer details, her own body finds a touch of tension when she realizes exactly where it was leading. An heir for the Conte. Her mouth forms an o, but no sound comes, she just gives him a searching look as she feels his gaze on her, but like Alvise, it was a discussion for the heads and technically had nothing to do with her.

"It will secure relations for generations to come, for both our families," Enzo replies with a nod, before he offers a brief smile. "We all reach that age, sooner or later," he offers to Gurian. There's a glance to his siblings now, then back to the Zanetti conte.

"Well then, this is good news today," returns Gurian, taking the agreement of securing relations as an agreement. Sitting more upright again, forearms taken from the table. "I can leave announcement of this agreement to you, good Conte, perhaps for your masquerade to come." The smile is more than usual even for Gurian, at least one corner of his lips reaching almost a full lift. "I do not wish to wait long, that we may focus on Vinchia and the Imperial forces potentially preparing in the north. Allied and united as one." Then a turn to his sister, "And in the week to come, if you are not opposed, we can have the houses out to our district. An early summer feast, and we can hunt porcini, it should be growing soon under the cypress I believe." He is guessing, he doesn't know when those delicious mushrooms grow other than they start showing in early summer.

Emmeline watches the negotiations between the two heads of their respective houses, with her eyes occasionally going to Arabella to assess her reaction. But when Gurian speaks to her, she nods in assent, calm agreement in her tone as she replies, "Indeed, an engagement party perhaps? After the masquerade and announcement, and in time to feast on porcini dishes. They should be ready within a fortnight." Leaning back in her chair, she pushes her plate away, mostly untouched, signalling to a household servant that it can be taken away. "Perhaps an actual hunt as well? For those that find that amusing?"

With the main point seemingly agreed upon, Alvise finished up with his plate, having taken a bit of a head start in that he's spent the last little while not speaking. He looks to Arabella and smiles to her, the next Contessa to come from the Sabastino family, with what reassurance for her and confidence in her that his face can muster. To Conte Gurian, Alvise says, "You are kind to open your House and your district to others within Matora in this way. You have taken strong steps in recent weeks, Conte."

Just like that. Arabella remains quiet as she sits there, no arguments, no tantrums, but after a moment she gives Enzo an encouraging smile, even if it is somewhat forced. "That leaves you free to speak with the lady we spoke about recently." Which is cryptic in its own way, but not so much as to encourage questions, hopefully, from others. Her own meal is given another look and after eating another bite of the squash, she also indicates she is finished to the servant to have it taken away. Lifting her eyes to Alvise she holds that same somewhat forced smile, now and again allowing her gaze to drift to Gurian now and again, curious. "Hunting does seem to be exciting, no matter whether it be game or portcini."

Enzo smiles, nodding a bit as he hears Gurian's words. "I believe this would be a good thing to announce at the masquerade, yes," he replies, before he pauses momentarily at Arabella's words, then nods. "True," he replies, unable to hold back a brief smile, before he nods again, looking back to the Zanettis, "A good idea, even if I'm not that much of a hunter myself," he says, with a smile.

That settled, Gurian gives one more look to Arabella, then to the table at large. "Perhaps both hunts, yes. I've a taste for porcini lately. I'm enjoying the early squash, but something more earthy." He isn't sure that's the right word, that's the flavor coming to his mind. "Boar as well for those who have that preference. I think we should find someone to conduct such a hunt, proper. I would be glad to take others through our fields for small game with birds, but larger game would need some experts." He knows his bounds it would seem. A consideration, "I do not know what all you have learned while away, perhaps there is some custom you enjoyed there." Again, despise there, as if he can't fathom what customs the Eastern Empire might have that are good, but he swallows some pride. "Something to share if you wish as you refamiliarize yourself with home?"

It seems that Arabella's trepidation hasn't gone unnoticed by Emmeline, perhaps because she felt a glimmer of the same sentiment, just before she realized it would be her brother getting married! Her voice isn't coloured by sympathy so much as a genuine interest, as she states, "Perhaps Signora, you would care to join me as I go about renewing my attire? If it's not too much to ask. I'm sure it would be a favour to both me, and my brother, it wouldnt' be at all interesting for him to be forced to give his opinion on fashion." The smile though, it's a bit conspiratorial, she's probably got some stories to tell about her sibling! Turning back to said sibling, she smiles, "Ah Gurian, I would not subject you to that either. Truly, I am happy to be home, and would prefer to simply have Matoran dishes." A pause, and her voice is a bit softer as she states, "Thank you though." Perhaps she realizes how dearly that offer alone must have cost him.

In the moment, Alvise is simply pleased with the way this dinner has worked out for his sister and the rest of his family, absent any prior knowledge of discussions leading up to it. The effort being put forth to be open and welcoming leads him to believe Arabella could be very happy indeed, and there is nothing forced in his smile at the thought. "A hunt would be well, and timely. The first of its like in this year. Congratulations," he says, and looks to his sister as he finishes, "to you both."

This time when Gurian glances her way, Arabella happened to be looking towards Enzo, somewhat glad he seemed pleased at least, with everything and the way it seemed to be going. "I would go along for the ride though I am not such a successful hunter. I do like to be a spectator, I admit." At the offer from Emmeline there's visible relief and a tentative smile offered to her in return. "I would like to join you and perhaps get a few things for myself as well." A wedding meant needing some new things also, she just realizes. With the celebratory words from her brother and the forced smile returns, even if it holds affection for him. "Thank you, Alvise."

There is a grump sort of noise from Gurian, it could be a low throated chortle more appropriately. An agreement with his sister. He would certainly go for family, and would give opinion about fashion. Whether it was appropriate or not is another concern all together. His eyes go between Arabella and Alvise, and as she gives thanks, he follows suit. "My thanks as well Signore Alvise." The name is coming back to him now, from the poetry near the water, or from Arabella saying so just now. "I would not be opposed if something was found suitable for a Conte meaning to attend a Masquerade." As if in general, the sort of general saying while you're looking for fashion, I trust family over servants to pick something out. A polite way maybe, for Gurian? "Stay and enjoy the food," he says beginning to rise, "I must see to a matter of the ledgers of the day, and I should start to draw plans for our end of the arrangement." Ships to help Sabastino. He rises and nods his head to all.

Smiling as he lets out a brief breath, Enzo offers another nod to the people around the table, gaze pausing on Arabella for a few moments longer, before he adds, "Yes, congratulations. I'm glad we have managed to come to an agreement that's worked out well, for everyone." There's a brief pause, and he offers a brief grin to both Arabella and Emmeline. "At least you don't have to deal with my fashion sense, right?" He nods again as he hears Gurian's words. "Of course," he replies, offering the man a smile.

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