Before Everett had the chance to protest Alain's remark about him getting drunk, the Grand Duke went on to claim that Everett was part lemon. Part lemon?! What was that supposed to mean?
"I am not part lemon. I'm all human!" he protested. He realized only too late that the assertion fit right in with Alain's previous remark, so as a disjointed afterthought, he added, "Don't... don't twist my words to mean things they don't mean."
At Alain's next question, Everett raised an eyebrow. "And what if it is?"
"I suppose that's fair," Satine admitted. "Websteros and Destrier are a ways apart, aren't they? It's the same with Aran and Solis."
She sighed absently, realizing she wouldn't get much opportunity to return home either. Solis was a lovely place, but it was very different from Aran. For one, it was entirely landlocked—quite a change for someone used to living by the sea. She did miss the sea, from time to time... something a Brachyuran who moved to Destrier could probably sympathize with, she realized.
"Only if you did not make things so easy for me to twist. Both you and your words get ebnt out of shape at the slightest provocation, I can't help myself," Alain's smile was genuine for a second, at least as genuine as it could be when he was as drunk as he was.
However, soon, it metamorphosed into a sly smirk. He grabbed a jug of wine and refilled the cup to the brim, rather shakily, causing him to add more wine to the already modest puddle on the table. Once that task was done, he practically thrust it into Everett's face.
"It's tradition that the new lord makes the toast at any Medieville function, and since you are the newest, I believe you have to do it," the Grand Duke's voice was the very essense of pleasantness. "Something perhaps to the king's health or a wish for the queen to have many fine children? Or even promising your loyalty to them? The choice is up to you. What's important is that you draw all the attention to yourself."
"Oh, and you have to drink as much as you can from your goblet, by custom. Otherwise the other lords will get suspicious," Alain tilted the cup of wine in his hand, causing some of it to spill on the floor. Some splashed on his boot while a little more dripped on Everett. "Oh, whoops!" he chuckled. "Guess that's a bit less for you to drink then?"
"They are. It seems like both of us got married to Houses as far from our homes as possible," Margot gave Satine a sympathetic smile. At her question, however, the woman could not hide her obvious sadness. "I do, sometimes. It's so far from the sea and I miss the cliffs and having fresh seafood to eat," she shook her head suddenly. "Not that I'm complaing, far from it. It isn't a bad life. You get used to it. Destrier has its own beauty, with the river and the hills, and Alain is good to me."
Except when he was doing this, oh Woo, she thought, covering her eyes briefly. This could not go on. Margot stood up from her chair and, after giving the two House patriarchs a nervous glance, smiled politely at Satine. "Would you like to go outside? I would."
Everett was taken off-guard by Alain's words, to the point that he didn't even react to his new clothes getting soiled. Was that really the tradition, or was the Grand Duke just making that up? No one had warned him about this before, but at the same time... a quick glance around the room confirmed that people were already looking at him. He had to do something. He had to make a good impression, House Jade embodied tradition, and if this really was the tradition...
Dear 'Woo, he was going to regret this.
He took the wine glass, trying not to spill any more as he stood up carefully. He didn't waver too much, or at least he hoped not. This would be a disaster if he were too drunk to stand... though if he really had to drink as much as he could from the goblet, it was going to go that way quickly.
"I... um..." Satine trailed off in her conversation with Margot, glancing up at her husband. Oh dear, what was he going to do? She prayed silently for the best as he carefully raised his glass in the air.
"A toast to the king!" Everett called out, getting the attention of everyone in the room. "To a long life, and, um... to a good marriage!"
That seemed to go over well enough, so next came the part he'd been dreading. He took a deep breath, feeling the eyes of everyone in the room on him as he brought the cup to his lips, drinking as much of it as he could in one go. The suspense rose tangibly as everyone watched him slowly down... did he just drink the entire glass? He was going to regret this.
Or, at least, that's what he would have thought were he not fixed on the sudden intense swaying of the room. He tried desperately to regain his bearings before plopping back down in his chair—and even then, Satine had to catch him to ensure he didn't fall off and hit the floor. Once he was sure he was seated, he started laughing again, slamming the emptied glass back down on the table.
"That wasn't so hard," he proclaimed, gesturing at Alain. "You thought I couldn't do it, but I did. So there."
"Maybe you should take it easy, dear," Satine insisted, still trying to keep her husband from toppling out of his chair. Turning to Margot, she added in a hushed voice, "I don't want him to cause too much of a scene."
He was...was Everett really going to do it? Though of course, House Jade was the traditionalist House, there was no way that its lord would dare risk not doing what they were expected to do. Alain felt a grin tug at his mouth and if he had enough presence of mind, he would have restrained himself. But he was drunk and the fact that the Lord of Embers had fallen for his little ploy hook, line and sinker. He leaned forward on the table and rested his head in his hands. Occassionally his elbows slid, making his head loll to one side, but Alain found himself not caring as much. He was too focused on Everett, looking up at the other lord like a cat would look up at a little bird in the tree above it.
The toast itself was standard, he had hoped for more. But then Everett began to drink. Alain's eyes widened slightly. He was doing it. He was actually doing it, despite how drunk he already was! Thankfully the Jade Lord was too distracted by the wine, otherwise he would have heard the distinctive chuckle of the Grand Duke of Bern. And yet, as he watched, Alain could not help but admire Everett. How doggedly persistent he was, even though drinking more was a bad idea. Even though he had not questioned the prank, the fact that he was going through with it was worth something.
Alain was startled when Everett began to fall but his normally sharp reflexes had been dulled severely by the alcohol. He was not fast enough to catch the Jade Lord, but thankfully his wife was. Alain smiled and watched as Satine sat Everett down, both glad that his rival was unhurt but also gleeful that he had gotten Everett this drunk.
"Never said you couldn't, Everett," he laughed. "I did not think you would, though. I must say."
Margot, however, had buried her face in her hand when Satine had turned back to address her, not even wanting to meet the other woman's gaze. "No, neither do I. This is your first time here, that would be terrible," she looked over at her own husband. "I'll...I'll try to get him to stop."
Hesitantly, Margot tiptoed around Everett's seat and came up behind Alain, touching his shoulder. He turned to her, giving her a high-spirited grin and putting an arm around her waist. She gave a little startled squeak as he pulled her closer. Woo, he really is drunk.
"Margot, so glad you're here," Alain smiled up at her. "You saw, didn't you?"
"...Yes," she murmured and put her hands on his shoulders. "You've had fun?"
"So much, but I'm just getting started," he lifted up a hand to stroke her cheek, clumsily brushing away a lock of her hair.
"That's...nice," she murmured and looked him in the eyes, swallowing. "Perhaps we should go back to our own table? I mean...you've tormented the Jade Lord enough."
"I'm not tormenting him, Margot, it's all in good fun," Alain grinned and stood up a bit, kissing her. "Just let me enjoy this. It's only for tonight."
Despite herself, Margot blushed. Alain was rarely so affectionate with her and she knew it had to be the drink but she had to admit, appreciated the attention. And she wanted so badly to trust him and believe in him.
"Alright, you may," she kissed his cheek. "Don't take it too far, please."
"Won't be anything bad," Alain replied, "You go enjoy yourself too, alright?"
She nodded but at the same time, Margot glanced at where Satine was still sitting with the drunken Everett. "At least tell him you weren't honest with him?"
"I was going to," Alain smirked and finally unwrapped his arms from her waist. "Don't you worry about a thing, I have everything under control."
She restrained the twinge of doubt in her chest but there was nothing much she could do to persuade Alain and Margot knew it. She returned to where she had been sitting before with Satine, watching the two lords carefully and trying to stop the blushing of her face.
Alain smiled as he watched Margot go before she leaned in towards Everett, once again getting a little too close for comfort. "My wife wants me to tell you that no such tradition exists. I just wanted to see if you would do it," he laughed, "And you did. It was quite something. Though I did not think you would drink the whole thing, bravo!" the Grand Duke lifted up his hands, giving him a slow clap that was far louder than he intended it to be. "Good job. That was a fantastic toast."
It was a prank. It took a moment for the words to fully register in Everett's drunken mind, but when they did, his smile faded. Of course it was a prank, who would have such a ridiculous tradition to begin with? Nonetheless, Everett was not pleased. Alain was determined to make a fool of him, and he just kept falling for it.
"You let me do that in front of all the noble Houses," Everett protested, "and get this drunk just for your own amusement? That's low. I should... I should put you in your place!"
"No, Everett, it's okay, dear," Satine interjected, again holding onto her husband and preventing him from toppling out of his chair. She grimaced. He was definitely going to regret drinking all that wine.
"You know what, Alain? You know what?" Everett continued, ignoring Satine. "I think if you're going to make me do that, you should do it, too. It's only fair."
He had to have a better comeback than that, though. So while waiting to see if Alain would take the challenge or not, he racked his wine-addled brain for ideas. There had to be some suitable way to return the favor to the Grand Duke for all the humiliation he was putting him through...
Alain chuckled. "Of course, I cannot keep your lovely drunkeness all to myself, that would just be greedy. It's far too amusing and you needed to loosen up a little. A royal wedding feast is the perfect excuse," he grinned and leaned closer. "Besides, you got me just as drunk in return. You must confess, it is so much more fun this way."
He let out another peal of soft laughter as he watched Everett get more and more irate. His protests and outrage at the revelation were far funnier than Alain had ever expected, or perhaps that was the booze talking. Regardless, he was enjoying it. Normally he would have kept such deception close to his chest but it was much better to let Everett know exactly how he had been beaten. Of course, he coulf retaliate but there was nothing Everett could do to him that was so terrible that Alain could not field it.
Which is why, when Everett issued him the challenge, the Grand Duke grinned widely and poured himself another goblet of wine, though the wine sloshed in it due to his slightly unsteady hand. "I would be glad to. Anything you can do I can do better, Everett. Watch, this is how you make a toast."
Alain stood up as tall and proud as he could manage in his drunken state, though he was resting one hand on the table to make sure he did not sway any more. But he was a Bernian and an experienced drinker too. One goblet of wine was not going to make a difference and he had not seen any mages hanging around so Everett had not enchanted it. He smiled widely and turned to Starmey and Daisy. The other nobles were looking at him but Alain happily and obliviously ignored them. They were not important.
"To you, your Majesty, and to your new wife! May your days be happy and your children both healthy and strong, for on them rests the destiny of the kingdom. So, a toast to the future!" Alain's voice rang out across the hall. He grinned widely down at Everett, making sure that the other lord was watching him, and tipped the goblet back, wine pouring down his throat in a steady stream. He was determined to get it all in one gulp, not even pausing for air, just to show Everett how you were supposed to drink wine. Or at least, how Bernians drank it.
Margot buried her face into her hands. "Oh Woo, this is never going to stop, is it?" she murmured, looking up at Satine. "I tried, I'm sorry."
Was he showing him up? He was showing him up. Everett narrowed his eyes. If Alain thought that Lord Everett of House Jade could be pushed around, he was wrong. He may have been new, but he wasn't incompetent—and he was going to make sure all of Kyth knew it.
"It's alright," Satine replied to Margot with an awkward smile. "At least they haven't done anything too extreme yet."
No sooner had she said that, however, than did Everett pull away from her grasp to make his move. While Alain was showing off, Everett discreetly—or, at least, what his drunken mind convinced him was discreetly—took hold of the Grand Duke's chair. And then, just as Alain finished and went to sit back down, Everett pulled it out from beneath him, so he would stumble and fall. He then started laughing heartily, as if it was the funniest thing he had ever seen.
"It's just as they say," Everett remarked through his laughter, "Pride comes before a fall!"
Satine just stared in disbelief for a moment, before hiding her face in shame. Under her breath, she mumbled, "Spyder's silk... I spoke too soon, didn't I?"
Normally Alain would have noticed Everett tampering with his chair but this was hardly a normal situation. He had been far too focused on the wine pouring down his throat to notice any shenanigans. When he had finally drunk it all down, he slammed the cup down on the table and took a deep breath, flashing the Jade Lord a huge grin.
"And that," he swayed a little in his place but managed to right himself. "Is how you do it. I probably should have showed you first before I played my little joke on you but it is far more fun to watch you stumble first"
The Grand Duke kept up eye contact with the Lord of Embers as he lowered himself to where his chair had been but all that met him in that space was thin air. By that point, even if he had not been inebriated, Alain could not have recovered from the fall and instead fell back on to the flagstones. He cried out and tried to grab the table to stop himself from falling but his fingers missed it by several inches, leaving him grasping at nothing. Without anything to stop his descent, the Grand Duke of Bern half-sat, half fell down on to the floor below the Jade table.
Margot gave a small squeak and stood up from her own chair, looking over Everett at her husband. "Are you alright, Alain? You're not hurt, are you?"
To her surprise, though she really should have expected such a thing, he began to laugh heartily.
"I'm fine, Margot, just fine. Though I could have sworn there was a chair here," he grinned and looked directly at Everett. "Did you magic my chair away too? You Jades...you do everything by magic."
"Do you...need help getting up?" Margot asked, wincing.
"No, I'm okay. I can get up by myself," Alain put one arm on the floor and tried to push himself up. However, his leg wobbled as though made out of jelly and he fell again. "Though...I might need some help."
He reached over and grabbed the chair on which Everett was sitting, pulling himself up with it. This time, his legs began to cooperate and Alain got into a kneeling position. He then put his hands on Everett's shoulders and began to pull himself up by using the Lord of Embers as leverage, but to any outside observer, it looked like he was pulling Everett into a hug. It did not help that as he got to eye level with the other man, Alain stopped and smiled.
"You know, you have beautiful eyes, Everett," he murmured, still holding on to Everett. "They're so...green. Like summer leaves."
Margot stared, mouth open, and cast a sideways glance at Satine. This...this was surely not what it looked like. She could only pray to the Woo that the other woman would not interpret it as such.
Oh 'Woo he was touching him again what was he doing why did all his plans backfire. Everett tried resisting against Alain's using him to pull himself up, but the effort was futile. There was nothing he could do to stop the man from climbing all over him and complimenting his eyes. ...Complimenting his eyes?!
"Knock it off, you imbecile," he growled, trying once more to shove Alain off of him. However, his sense of coordination at this point was significantly hindered, causing him to put much more of his body weight into it than he thought he did, throwing himself off-balance. "Whoa—!"
The next thing he knew, he did what his wife was trying to keep him from doing and fell out of his chair. Except, much to his chagrin, he had somehow landed on top of the Grand Duke. Once again, all his plans were backfiring spectacularly.
Satine, meanwhile, was blushing furiously, hiding her face in shame. "...You know what? I think maybe I should go outside," she remarked, getting up bashfully and moving for the exit.
And once again, Alain was on the floor. But this time, Everett had gone down with him. What was more, Everett had not just gone down but landed right on top of him. The Grand Duke really could not have asked for a better outcome.
He grinned up at Everett, remaining perfectly calm, and put a hand to the face of the Lord of Embers. "Oh, Everett, you really could have just asked. It's embarrassing at the wedding itself, and rude to outshine the bride and groom," Alain laughed, looking more into Everett's eyes. "You're still beautiful."
With those words, he wrapped one of his arms around Everett's neck in a tight hug. With the other, Alain pushed up against the flagstones, slipping out from under Everett. In the process, he had to let go of the Jade Lord but eventually, he managed to move himself into a sitting position. Leaning against his chair, he laughed again.
The Grand Duke of Bern felt amazing. The wine he had drunk at the toast had begun to take its full effect, mixing with the magic wine to produce a euhphoric sensation. It was the very peak of drunkeness and he wanted to celebrate it. Especially because they were at a wedding. Weddings were supposed to be happy affairs, full of celebration and merriment and...music.
"Say, Everett..." Alain's smile was so wide that it almost threatened to split his face. He put one arm around Everett. "Do you sing?"
Margot, meanwhile, had buried her face in her hands, hiding her reddening cheeks. Only the sudden sound of the chair scraping against the floor had brought her back into the world. Barely even looking at what their husbands were doing, she whipped her head up just in time to see Satine leaving.
Maybe that was a good idea. Margot suddenly felt exposed in the great hall, with their husbands acting as they were. She needed air...and to apologise to Satine.
"Wait," she rushed on after the other noblewoman, "Lady Satine, wait for me. I'm...I'm so sorry. I cannot apologise enough."
"Oh, knock it off," Everett grumbled, but he didn't push Alain away this time. Considering how poorly he had gone last time, he decided it wasn't worth it. If his face wasn't red enough already from the wine, now he looked like he may as well have been trying to rival the Grand Duke's maroon clothing.
Just as soon as Alain had finally let him go and he had managed to maneuver himself into a sitting position, Everett found himself with Alain's arm around his shoulders again. 'Woo, would this feast ever end?
"I sing at church," Everett said in response to his question. "But what does that matter?"
Satine, meanwhile, made a beeline for the door, stopping only when she heard Margot calling her name. She glanced back toward the other woman, trying to ignore whatever their husbands were up to now. Hearing what Margot had to say, she gave a bashful smile. "You don't have to apologize. It's not your fault... honestly, I'm not sure either of us would have been able to stop them."
Margot stopped when Satine did. Despite the other woman's reassurances and her very true words, she could not help but still feel guilty. She lowered her head. "I doubt we could have...but I still feel responsible. It's my husband that started this."
As this was going on, back in the feast hall, Alain laughed loudly when Everett gave an answer to his question and leaned in closer, tightening his arm around Everett's shoulders. "Well, that's no fun. Songs aren't just for dusty churches, Everett. No wonder you are such a lemon," he gave another chuckle as the mention of that coming back up again. It was a funny joke, it had to be repeated twice.
"Maybe it is because you only know hymns. You need to be taught some better songs," he swayed a little in place before turning to face Everett, still smiling. "In fact, I feel like singing right now. You should join me, it'll be fun! So fun!"
Swaying a little as he got up on to his knees, Alain reached for the nearest cup on the table. His hand slid across the Jade Lord's shoulders as he tried to reach both for it and keep ahold of Everett. He toppled forward slightly but managed to lock his muscles in place just in time to keep himself from falling again and finally grabbed the goblet. There was some wine in the bottom, a fact that made Alain smile. He did not know whose it was and he did not really care.
The Grand Duke of Bern sat down beside the Lord of Embers, wine in hand and a huge grin on his face.
"Listen carefully. We'll show ya how we do it in Bern," he chuckled and raised the cup.
There shall I visit the place of my birth. They'll give me a welcome the warmest on earth. So loving and kind, full of music and mirth, The sweet sounding language of home.
O, roe, soon shall I see them, O, hee-roe, see them, oh see them. O, roe, soon shall I see them, The mist covered mountains of home!
Hail to the mountains with summits of blue! To the glens with their meadows of sunshine and dew. To the women and the men ever constant and true, Ever ready to welcome one home!
O, roe, soon shall I see them, O, hee-roe, see them, oh see them. O, roe, soon shall I see them, The mist covered mountains of home!
Margot gave a loud sigh and buried her head in her hands, feeling her cheecks flush. As much as she respected and cared for her husband, she didn't want to be out here anymore. He was too drunk and it was simply too embarrassing. "I'm...I'm going to go outside," she murmured to Satine. "If you wish, you can join me but...I can't stay here."
Meanwhile, back in the chaos, Alain sings, at long, long last. The song he is singing is "Mist Covered Mountains of Home" but I couldn't find a non-instrumental version to let you all listen. ^^; So just...imagine it however you want it.
Everett scowled as Alain started to sing. What was he doing, singing about Bern in the middle of King Starmey's wedding reception? How terribly arrogant of him. If he was going to sing, it might as well be an appropriate song. The Grand Duke was making a fool of himself, but Everett let it happen. He deserved it, after all.
"You Bernians and your rowdy drinking songs," Everett scoffed, as the song finished. "We're at a wedding. Why don't you sing something a little more tasteful, like... like..." He racked his drunken mind for a song. After a moment, he got an idea, and then he too started to sing.
"Joyful, joyful We adore Thee 'Woo of glory Lord of love Hearts unfold like flowers before Thee Hail Thee to the sun above Melt the clouds of sin and sadness Drive the dark of doubt away Giver of immortal gladness Fill us with the light of day..."
Satine winced. It was bad enough when Alain started to sing, but when Everett started singing... he was going to be terribly embarrassed when he came off of this.
"I'll come with you," Satine mumbled, eager to get away from this.
Alain stared in wonderment as the Jade Lord began to sing. Even though it was a church song, something which should not have been surprising at all given Everett's earlier comment, the fact that he was singing at all made the Grand Duke laugh. So he did have a voice, and what a nice voice it was too. To his great pleasure, even though Alain hardly went to church as much as Everett would have done, he recognised the tune. More than just recognised.
What had Alain been thinking? Everett was right, this solemn but nevertheless happy song was clearly a much more appropriate thing for a wedding.
As the Lord of Embers finished the first verse, the Grand Duke raised his cup and put his free arm around Everett's shoulders again.
"Mortals join the mighty chorus Which the morning stars began Lord Woo's love reigning o'er us Brother love binds man to man Ever singing march we onward Victors in the midst of strife Joyful music lifts us upward In the triumph song of life."
When they had finished what was probably one of the rowdiest and most drunken renditions of that hymn that Kyth would ever hear, Alain laughed loudly and shook Everett by the shoulders.
"I didn't even know you had it in you to sing like that," he grinned and held out the wine. "Drink?"
Margot by then had looked away, deliberately trying not to hear as the two men sung. She nodded quickly to Satine and began to head out of the hall, only feeling a little better when they had reached the door.
"Maybe we should try to go somewhere into the fresh air, like a balcony or such?" she suggested, looking around the corridors for any place that could potentially lead her to such a place. She needed to relax, to not think about what was going on in the hall. Having a view of something, anything, would help take her mind off it.
Everett wasn't sure whether to be pleased that Alain Stallion had joined in on singing the hymn, or annoyed that he was trying to steal his thunder. In the end, he decided just to be content to keep singing, regardless of what the Grand Duke was doing.
"Of course I do," Everett said in response to Alain's remark after the song finished. "Hymns are some of the best prayers, you know."
He accepted the wine glass from Alain, but before he could take a sip, there was a very loud, very pointed sound from down the table of someone clearing their throat. A tall man with pale brown hair, long pointed ears, and glimmering yellow eyes was looking directly at Everett, a frown on his face.
"My Lord," he said, his voice heavily accented, "I think perhaps it is that you have had quite enough to drink this night."
"You can't tell me what to do!" Everett protested reflexively.
The elf bowed his head. "No, I cannot. But I can appeal to your better nature. I implore you to take notice of the fact that Lady Satine has already been forced to flee the hall for shame at what has transpired thus far."
"What?" Everett glanced toward the seat where Satine had been sitting, and sure enough, she wasn't there. A genuine frown crossed his face. She left... because of him?
"Aught you not spare her and yourself as much as you may at this point?" the elf continued. "The choice is yours, my lord, but is it really worth it?"
"...No," Everett said after a moment. Then, with extra force, he shoved the wine glass back at Alain. "I already ruined everything! Everyone thinks I'm a drunken idiot, and, and Satine hates me, and..." He paused, apparently choking back a sob, then glared at Alain. "...And it's all your fault!"
Satine, meanwhile, gave a relieved sigh as they left the great hall, hearing the drunken noises fade with distance. She hated leaving Everett by himself, but he was clearly too intoxicated to listen to reason at this point. Trying to stop it was an exercise in futility, one that was far too overwhelming for her at the moment.
"A balcony might be nice," she agreed. "Do you know where one is?"
Everett is told off by an elf, with thanks to Shinko for offering Pascal's dialogue. Everett is struck with the realization that he embarrassed off Satine, and blames Alain for ruining everything 5eva.
Satine, meanwhile, asks Margot if she knows where a balcony is.