Log:Alderaan: On Target for Spring
A calm drizzling rain lightly taps a rap against the canvas flies strung up for the spring festival. No native to New Alderaan truly expected the weather to hold out, especially this far north where mountains dominate the horizon in all directions. With spring settling in, green has become the prominent color and it is everywhere; the firs and cedars upon the mountains, the treelines along the edges of the forest, and the rolling hills with trimmed grass leading to the palace.
The boardwalk and beach prove the most popular place, because it's here that the festivities of spring take place. There are rides for children, tavern tents for parents, and ample seating around the lists. Alderaan had a Knight Order for each season, and members of the Alderaanian Knight Order of the Spring were responsible for the festival of the spring. Comprised of artists, performers, and yes, even combat-oriented knights, the festivities were built around the traditions and customs of the Knightly Order.
It is from the Knights of the Spring that all mounted cavalry units were assigned, its origins dating back to the Pretender's Civil War. Customs dictated that the main event be one of command over a beast or 'steed' (mechanized speeder), and skill of marksmanship while mounted. To honor the cavalrymen who died in the war, the lists were set up with obstacles named after the Knights of Spring who did not live to see the end of the war. Those knights wore the green cloak of spring, which was a long cape with the bronze image of a blooming tree dominating its center; every member of the order wears this cloak for the festival, distinguishing them from the rabble.
Laughter, games, food being cooked and served, and general merrymaking is had from all. Live music is louder than the chatter, and high spirited flutes and distinctive drums set the rhythm for one section of the beach dedicated to dancing. Women in green dresses twirl about, running barefoot in the sand while men wear the earthen toned brown or bronze dancing opposite. People on the side lines clap in time with the drums, making it easier for all to find the beat.
Aryn Cortess can be found by the lists, surrounded by a small group of nobility as they all partake in the festive green drinks. Brushing back her Spring Knight cloak, she accepts her shot and grins. For a moment, eyes are on her and she lifts her glass to toast. "To our cavalrymen, both beast and mechanized, who braved the charge amidst cannon, lance, and rocket. May our enemies remember the thunderous hoofbeat and engine roars as they set out at dawn. The gallant fought, and many died, but we will remember them loud and long."
Dressed not in spring colors, but in sparkly golds and silvers, the recently re-eligible Bachelorette Lady Saronno clutches a probably-too-large glass of pink champagne in one hand while she stands near the Queen among the nobles. While her dress stands out among the spring colors, so too does her red skin and pink hair, the Alder-Espirion contrasting with the natural born sons and daughters of Alderaan, though in demeanor and body language she's Alderaanian through-and-through.
Zacara Saronno once lived for high adrenaline spacecraft and daredevil stunts but in the past few years she'd settled down and found social engagements, spring flings and courtly gossip to be the more exciting adventure. She was no stranger to it, as it wasn't uncommon to see her name or face on the cover of a tabloid lately.
Zaca sipped greedily from the pink champagne after Queen Cortess delivered her monologue, having learned to indulge to excess as her lifestyle didn't suggest moderation as a principle, nor living to a hundred. Yellow eyes set within green sclera look out to the knights, a playful tilt of her brow appraising the competitors while indulding herself again in the pink liquid. "Whatever this is, I want a bottle to take home," she mumbles to nobody in particular, holding the glass out to study it a moment. Her accent is thoroughly Alderaanian, though with a more down-to-earth pronunciation than usual - one that wasn't from a born noble.
Clad in his house finery and mingling among the crowds, apart from the majority of House Thul who seem intent on reveling in the pageantry of the festival. Though well dressed, Lord Bors - Knight of The Black, is near a collection of food tents. A platter in hand, the other actively attaining nibbles and bites. At his side Kuhlai D'Mahn casually paying for whatever food is selected.
Bors? Handle the -money-? How droll. How very... common.
No he has more important matters for his aging rumpus, and so a deep fried, cheese covered, breaded, morsel is caught between his teeth, a song is in his throat and not a care in all the galaxy is had for the present. Not. A. Damn. Thing.
There are all sorts of things his doctor has said he should avoid at his age. But much like red-lining even the yacht his sister gifted him, or tearing across atmosphere in his E-Wing - there are many things he shouldn't do at his age, that he does so most happily.
Ulani has found herself a nice shady place to sit under a pavillion, minding some of the younger Thul brood as they run between that and all the games, food, and excitement of the festival. Clearly here to spectate and not participate, she's dressed as well as one would find a noblewoman of a High House. Blue and blackes and greys. Though she does like to mix a bit of color into her outfits. Today, it is a some subtle shows of green that bring to mind the fan-tails of exotic birds that strut around the gardens.
She's long given up on telling Bors to listen to his advisors and medical professionals. So instead, she opts to just watch and support. And later when he needs a warm bath to soothe those aching muscles--because they will ache--she will make sure that is done, as well.
If there's any indication that one is an off-worlder among the various nobility, commoners, and other level of separation between people on New Alderaan? Kol Goren seems to strike the box of every single one of those common stereotypes. While he isn't necessarily dressed like an off-worlder per se, he is dressed exactly as an offworld tourist would dress to blend in with casual Alderaanian society. Needless to say among the commons working on moisturizing their skin with the light drizzle in the air sits the mercenary known as Goren. He's even donned a customary hat in Alderaanian style which is much like the rest of his attire: a hat that only an obvious tourist would wear. Altogether it's an acceptable outfit, especially if one wished to appear the wide-eyed and awe-struck tourist. Thankfully the hat serves well to protect his smoothly shaved head from the elements.
Over time though he is able to casually wander his way beneath one of the pavilions and out of the typical spring weather of New Alderaan. The back of one hand casually wipes away at the accumulated drizzle upon his skin, but he does well not to flick it somewhere - anywhere - for fear of insulting some Alderaanian nobility unintentionally. For now he's keen to keep to himself, maintain an obviously low profile, and observe the festivities.
Drinks lift in salute, then are consumed in the seconds that follow. If there were words to follow, they are drowned out by the loud speaker conveying the voice of Alderaan's First Sword, Ser Lars of House Syrush. Standing tall, and in ornate armor, the older Knight intends to conquer the crowd by announcing the start of the riding games.
"Come all to the lists and find a warm seat to watch. Riders both beast and mechanized intend to display their skill at arms whilst mitigating the obstacles set before them. Who will hit all targets and who will ride back empty-handed?!" There's some cheers from the stands, and a large shift from the crowds.
Prince Marcus and Prince Aidan are seen running for the front row to join other younger generations and watch their favorite Knights and well-known soldiers ride FOR GLORY.
Aryn passes off her drink and slowly makes her way inside, sharing a brief word with Lady Saronno, who had been near her during the toast. "Best find a good seat, my Lady." She offers. "Alas, I would join you, but I have volunteered to ride. Do wish me luck.." Aryn offers at her expense, a nervous smile following.
The first rider is up, this one mechanized and a fan favorite. Their colors are black, but the green cloak and bronze sigil upon its back mark them a member of the Spring Order. <"Our first mysterious rider as arrived; a member of the Royal Lir-Dragoons hailing from Belleau-a-Reyn, I name the Black RIDER!"> Ser Lars calls out.
The engine of the Black Rider's steed roars, antsy to jump forth and begin the obstacle course. They hoist an exotic carbine, priming it before giving the thumbs up. Noisemakers from the crowd whirl.
"I know them," Claims Prince Aidan. "They ride with my dad!"
"Mmm, a seat," Zaca agrees, her eyes looking toward the seating. She isn't looking for where to sit so much as who to sit beside. Looking back to her Queen, there's a small dip of her head. "Don't think you'll need luck, but as custom dictates - best of luck," she says with a small grin. The announcements are largely unheard by her as she walks away daintily in her stiletto heels - not a look many would have seen from her very many years ago - but the Alder-Espirion has fully embraced her position, even if she acts more like a teenager than a proper adult these days. Even her perfume is a light and fruity one, as you'd expect on a young girl and not a nearing-50 grown woman.
Her dual-toned eyes pass over the obviously-tourist mercenary beneath one of the tents, hovering on him a moment before breaking toward the seating. Two met have caught her eye, and one sits beside a woman of minor nobility who had just stood up to go and fetch something. Zacara takes this as an invitation, setting herself down in the other's seat, crossing one leg over the other, her foot pointing toward the young man seated beside her. "Mind if I sit here?" She asks, not waiting for a response before indulging in her pink champagne.
"You missed the toast, sir..."
"Mrpmph!? Hwmph whumffpf?!" Language, Bors. Your mouth full doesn't stop us from knowing that your mamma is frowning at that, somewhere in the hereafter. Even his daughter, Riina, on of the Thul Brood who has escaped Ulani's watchful gaze, knows he said a bad word and while the teen girl was no stranger to such impropriety when her parents weren't around, she knew well enough to stare open mouthed at Bors.
She even points.
"Whupf!?" The Black Knight of Alderaan exclaims with a most noble spew of crumbs from his lips in the general direction of his eldest child. Squinting at her with the eye not held open by the long suffering monocle he wears. His right eye looking ever-quizzical and the left INquistive. "Dare not give thine father look so, crass to assume I am pure of speech, nary does perfection string from your lips, dearheart, my spies are ere on thine very step and dwell within thy very shadow!"
"Father, nary a cad so grand as thee shall curse this land!" Riinalias now has the GAL to look scatching, a hand lifted and the tip of her thumb caught between her lips... Wait. Is it between her teeth??
"Daughter! Do thee dare bite thy thumb at me!" his voice edging into 'grounding' territory and her response is quick thought,
"Nay sir! I do bite my thumb, but I do not bite my thumb at thee!"
"Then pray tell why thee bite thine thumb?"
OH... the look he gives.
Oh, Ulani heard it, too. Such language but no stranger to it. Though he does get a look from her. "Don't complain when they start using their new vocabulary," she warns gently, taking a sip from her wine. Blue eyes glance glance here and there to make sure the boys didn't hear it as they'd be more than eager to add it to their arsenal. Who knows where they are, even? Probably causing someone else grey hairs. Ulani has plenty of crimson left but doesn't wish to spare many more.
The calls begin to be made, applause begin to sound off, and it is Kol Goren that begins to shuffle away from one cluster of some Alderaanians. He sketches an appropriate bow to the minor nobles, even if they surely recognize him for the tourist that he is. He still plays the part like a not-at-all expert. Following his own dismissal and careful return to the stands, Kol Goren again resumes his seat in order to settle in and enjoy the spectacle. When others cheer, then he joins his own cheering into the mix. When others begin to offer applause, so too does the mercenary. While he may not dress the part well, he at least blends with their activity of the crowds and takes their cues well. The anticipation mounts for many and Kol Goren is no exception to that building eagerness.
Ban Iskender adds a dignified baritone, "Hear!" of acclaim to the cheers that greet the first rider. He adds adds, "Hie thee, Dragoon!" in encouragement to a comrade in arms, but will thereafter fall silent to watch the course intently.
When the shot rings out, the Black Rider surges forward with a roar of engines and the flash of their knightly cape! They make the first jump, standing up mid-air and using the stirrups of the mechanized ride to remain upon the speeder while simultaneously firing the carbine. The first target is hit before the speeder 'lands', and the rider takes hold, putting more gas and speed. Sand, mud, and dirt fling up in their wake as they ride for the second.
When the jump comes, again they fire mid-air, smacking the target. The crowd cheers!
The speeder rounds the bend now, having to fire whilst drifting from right to left, and the armored marksman nails the driving maneuver but misses the target. The crowd issues a low, Ohhhhh! This seems to cause some distress from the driver who suddenly stalls, but the cavalryman proved their mettle in the seconds after, restoring functionality to the accelerator and taking off before they might collide with the far wall. Cheers follow as the Black Rider nails the next target and prepares for the serpentine section of the lists. Riding switch overs saw the engine maxing out, yet at each pass, the Black rider nails their target.
The last turn before finish comes up, and the rider's steed has begun to release telltale signs of overheating. Ignoring these, they enter the drift and commit to the action, firing a 100 meter shot in motion on a moving target at the center and nailing it.
Unfortunately, the rider's steed hits the wall, but they are in no danger. They simply kickstart the trusty speeder, and jet across the finish!
Ser Lars claps and remarks, <"A respectable finish! And an impossible shot from across the lists, give it up for the BLACK RIDER! THEY REPRESENT THE DRAGOONS WELL!">
Prince Aidan has run to find his dad, pointing at the cavalryman dismounting and raising their weapon in the air. The crowd cheers loudly before the Knight walks off, passing the weapon to a waiting attendant.
<"Our next rider approaches, this one upon beast. Hailing from Delaya, I give you the Dame Sidney of the ancient House Ulgo, Commander of the Thunderous Dozen and Hero from the Pretender's war."> The Lady Sidney is seen riding out upon horseback, each trot making her lightly bounce in the saddle. Her exotic weapon is a lever-action slugthrower which she primes by flipping it sportingly in hand. The raven haired soldier arrives at the line and her horse stands upon two legs a moment before settling.
The intercom cuts over to Lady Sidney who speaks. <"This day would not have dawned were it not for the intervention of Aldera Squadron. My capture at the hands of our enemy were my darkest hours. Ser Bors Thul, the Lady Ulani Thul, and the Lady Zacara Saronno saved me. I salute their heroism.">
Readying at the line after the cheers go out for those named, the snare drums start as Lars loads the starting gun.
Beside her, the young man gawks at Zacara when she takes his lady's seat. 'Oh, uh, ma'am, that's--'.
Zaca turns her head to look at him, an impish look in her eyes. "What's your name, good sir?" She speaks much more calmly than he, the young man's voice tinged with anxiety.
'M-my name?' The fact that she asked his name when he was clearly objecting to her sitting there.. 'Julian de Witt, but that's--
"You're cute," the Alder-Espirion interrupts with a warm smile. She allows herself another sip of champagne, this one smaller than the others - she has company afterall. "I'm--" 'intervention of Aldera Squadron' plays over the speakers and she nods once, knowingly. "Listen now," she says to the man, pointing with glass in hand toward the speaking rider. '..and the Lady Zacara Saronno--'. When her name is said, the Alder-Espirion smiles innocently toward young Julian, though his eyes narrow slightly, clearly knowing the name.
'Hey! I'm sitting there!' The shrilly voice of a slighted young lady standing before the seated Alder-Espirion cuts through the conversation, this young maiden with her hands on her hips.
"You two are so boring," Zacara says with a groan as she stands up. "He'll disappoint you dear," Zacara warns the young lady, patting her shoulder once before stepping away to find another seat.
Called out so, and in public no less. Head ducking and moving to settle down where Ula has claimed, the displays made by the riders are noted and appreciated for a talent that is not Lord Thul's.
"Needn't thank me so... you or Zaca, certainly. But left in hazy past is fine enough for me." Bors comments once he is settled in, offering his nibbles platter to Lady Thul. For who can resist the siren song of Horse Doovers? In all of their delightful miniature meal form. All the joy without having to deal with the chef's current midlife crisis requiring they dress up something as simple as nerf steak like a cabin... made of meat logs. With a lawn meticulously made from your vegetables and a roof made from little breadsticks and the -worst- serving of mashed tubers spread over with far to little gravy.
Ugh. He actually misses barracks food. Slap a pile of hot, greasy, filling food. Plenty of it. No art-deco meals that he has so often destroyed with a fork while making unflinching eye-contact with kitchen staff.
"I should take ere the time to ride as a cavalryman. I feel that some of those that Prince Ban ride... speed must be phenomenal on them.
Oh no Ula. He's got The Look.
It's a beautiful day with beautiful people and this calls for beautiful treats. It's a nice litle plate of cheese and crackers given to Ulani by one of the staff that always seems to be buzzing around, and she nibbles on it to her heart's content. The accolades passed to her and the others does earn a bit of an acknowledging nod. "Appreciated, but I am sure we'd all do it again should it be called upon. Hopefully not. I've been rather enjoying these years of relative peace."
Relative. Given the state of the galaxy.
To Bors, she grins a little, noting the others putting on their full display of talents. "Well, it would certainly give you the thrill you seek on the ground. Though you may find it hard to do the loops without crashing into a hillside. But master the ground and you've only the sea left to conquer."
The cheers continue rising across the stands and Kol is no stranger to joining them. The Black Rider's successes earn enthusiastic hollars from the tourist in the stands. All good things must gradually come to an end however. Soon enough Kol Goren slips from the stands and begins to make good his departure. Merging back into the crowds on the boardwalk and back toward the plaza. It isn't long before he's changed out of the tourist's ensemble and blends seamlessly into the crowds anew in more appropriate attire in earthen tones. Soon enough he is simply another face among the population of New Alderaan.
Ban Iskender inclines his head to Prince Aiden's excitement. "You shall scarce see another so skilled in marksmanship asteed as that. Do note how the carbine was fired in the moments before the repulsor jolt of landing.. I daresay Lady Sidney shall do the same in timing her shots for the instant in which her steed's hooves are off the ground, so as to avoid fouled aim." A pause a d look about for the elder of the Royal heirs. "Tell me where your brother is," he bids quietly.
The starting shot discharges, and Sidney is heard over the crowd as she drives spurs to encourage her animal forward. "YAAAH! YAH! YAAAH!" She rides hard and fast, showing the crowd she's no stranger to the saddle or marksmanship. Rising up from his spot in the lists, the Count Ulgo places gloved hands upon the railings of the front of one section's seating and watches, cheering his second born daughter on. "DOING GOOD, SIDNEY! RIDE HARD, GIRL!"
Sand and dirt kick up behind her beast as she clears the first pair of jumps quick, firing in time with the jumps. Her slugthrower is loud, issuing a 'PPCOW!' noise each time she pulls the trigger. Two targets spark with positive connections, and the rider has taken to the turn. "YAHHH! YAAAAAH!" Sidney screams, hanging off to one side of her horse and steadying her rifle in the flanking shot. She fires on a moving target using the grip of one arm and hits it, earning a loud SCREAMING CHEER from the stands. She rights herself in the saddle, coming toward the end of the bend and leaning out to fire upon another target on her other side. Ambidextrous shooting sees her hoist her weapon out with her other arm and no support from her right. 'PPCOW!'
'PIIIIING!' The shot hit!
Sidney is at the switch overs now, and her animal, well trained to respond to the rider, moves through the obstacle with varied ease. "YAAAH!" At the bend of each, she nails one, then two, then three targets, and it's finally time for the last bend.
With no jump to steady her aim, she stands in the saddle and turns toward the target, aiming a 100 meters out. The gallop paired with a distant moving target proves her undoing though, and instead of hitting the last target, the sand pocks up with a slug. The rider is unfazed by this though, her expression joyful as she sits back into a timed bounce on her beast.
Count Ulgo is clapping hard from the stands. "BRING IT HOME, SIDNEY!" He calls out, visible pleased when she's crossed the line uninjured. "WELL DONE!"
The octave of the crowd is sincerely difficult to process. Ears ringing, stands vibrating, clapping, noisemakers, and flags waving prove she's earned the crowd's favor. Lady Sidney dismounts, landing easily and brushes her green cloak to one side to bow. Attendants bring the horse in as the Lady waves and moves off the track.
Prince Aidan points down toward the front of the stands where Marcus waves vigorously at Lady Sidney. By the looks of it, Marcus is boasting to his friends how she's been training him (if that thumb angled back at himself said anything about it!)
The slugthrowers and pings and crowds and PA systems would be enough to give Zaca sensory overload were it not for the dulling of the pink champagne on her ocular senses. Swirls of whites and yellows and blues and greens coalesce in her visual field as the noise is made visual, but the sweet alcohol in her blood makes them easier to ignore and easier to see through. She hands her empty glass to a passing young woman - without quite caring if she was a server or not - and walks her way from the second to the third row of seats, finding an empty one to sit on.
The sparkles and flashes from her elaborate golden gown shine bright under the artificial lighting within the rain-protecting canopy as she finds a seat seemingly at random (and by chance not already belonging to someone else). She pulls the bottoms of her skirts smooth against her bottom as she sits, careful not to ruffle them up. The dress was quite expensive, and though she was careless with her spending lately, this particular dress was from a world that could no longer produce them. She needed a moment to belanace herself, and sitting while everyone else stood and cheered gave her the brief moment of isolation it would take to do so.
A little cottage, irritatingly crafted of horse doovers, on a hilly lawn of decorative greens, besides a little lake of gravy is delivered to Zaca once she has been spotted. Bors having no bones with subjecting others to the nightmare of food architecture.
Why his isn't so bad? The interior of the little cottage isn't a hollow shell of culinary disappointment. No. Not at all. It is filled to the brim with cheese nibbles. Delicious cheese, friend golden brown, with bits of deliciousness jammed into it before the cooking. A little heart made from a cracker sitting next to it and written in little... tasty string things that are anyone's guess are the components it says 'To Z' and below the heart 'U & B'
Bors, meanwhile hrmmms, "If the repulsor carriages are modified to rest upon gyroscopic guided gimbals with an anti-grav on similar rotation, centered beneath the control saddle, you could do it with the proper application of thrust to velocity ratio - reliant heavily on it being a tight loop."
"That would look absolutely wizard!" Riina pipes in, getting a brow raise,
"My little love, we do not say wizard here. It is ere a common phrasing, from a hutt world." Ew. Tatooine. The dictionary poster-world for both poor and common.
This has been Ulani's existance for nigh on sixteen years now. Her time with Bors has gotten her acustomed to a great many things and the concept that anything benign can be turned into a gravity-defying death machine is near the top of that list. The fact that this is likely being passed down to their children is merely a by-product of the man she chose to marry. Though there is at least one son she has hopes for in terms of not scaring her into an early grave. The same son that the Countess has likely seen the most Courtly potential in.
Their daughter, however? Ulani laughs. "Lord Bors Thul. Have I lived to see the day where you have turned into thy mother?" Scolding his progeny for the terminology they wield all to the sound of ruckus applause.
Which Ulani joins in. "Well done, well done! A feat to be sure!" Now she is starting to worry where her sons may be. No doubt the youngest has found himself a calvary man to grill questions and the eldest offering an impromptu dance to some blushing maiden.
Again. All by-products of the man she chose to marry. Ulani's efforts to dull those edges have worked about as well as they worked on Bors.
"The Beastlords of Onderon would stand in awe of such," Ban notes evenly to Lady Sidney's skill as a rider as the Ulgo navigates the course flawlessly, a near miss of the final target being the only blemish of aim. A gloved hand is raised to offer a salute of the performance. Ban looks where Aiden points, giving a short nod. Exhaling slowly through the nose, he looks back to Aiden. "Do you favor watching steeds mortal or mechanical?" he wonders of the youngest prince.
Another rider makes their way out to the track, and Ser Lars begins the introduction by saying, <"The next rider needs no introduction; Her Majesty, the Queen of Alderaan! She earned her spurs during the war and under the pressure of a dire assault. Do note, that in place of a distanced weapon, her Grace wields a pistol. Staff, bring up the dampening fields.-- Meaning no offense, your grace..">
Aryn, who has rode her beast out to the line, starts laughing. "None taken, Ser Lars. Hahaha." Her horse walks an impatient circle as the blonde royal frees her pistol. She waves at an over-eager son (Marcus), grinning.
At the discharge of the starting gun, Aryn drives her spurs to encourage her beast forward and rides hard for the first jumps.
One jump is made and a target hit, two jumps, target hit. Then she's beginning the bend. "YAH! YAHYAH!" She fires on the next target, hitting it, then leans out to fire on the moving one. Unfortunately, the red lance from the exotic Westar-34 pocks up sand, and Aryn is tested in the saddle, but recovers. She fires on her other side, scoring a head shot upon the target before leading into the switchbacks.
These are challenging, even for a trained rider, and it highlights just how good Lady Sidney had been. Struggling for speed, Aryn hits the first two targets, but the last pocks up the dirt and she's heading into the final bend for the long distance shot.
Standing up in her saddle, the Queen takes aim and fires, but between the gallop, her movement, and the movement of the distant target, her shot is feral and is absorbed by the protective field encasing the lists, protecting the crowd from danger.
Aryn is seen grimacing at the last shot, cheeks red as she rides in at a casual bounce, but cheers follow when she crosses the line and holsters her weapon before she hurts someone. She dismounts before attendants can make it to her to help, and lands gently in the sand, brushing her cape back so her other hand can come up and wave!
To Ban, his youngest son answers, "I like the roar of the engines more! It is loud, and looks hard to control." His gestures seem to indicate some fantastical notion of driving, but admirable all the same. Aidan grows quiet watching his mother ride, and he stands up to see the distant shot. Without much of an understanding of tact, he says, "Mom sure did miss a lot of targets. What was she aiming at down there?!"
A plate is offered to Zaca once the crowd have all sat down and she perks a pink brow up at the serving girl. "Thank you - how about some of that pink champagne, too?" Whatever the girl's response was went unheard as Zacara squints at the treat surrounded by greens and gravies. Years ago she'd have been grossed out, but this kind of thing was familiar to her now in her retired life. The card is opened and it's immediately apparent who U and B are. A smile makes its way to her painted lips and she picks her head up to look for the Thuls. Among the crowd and the noise, the cheers and 'awws' as their Queen takes and misses some of her shots, she finally makes them out between the swirls of color. A red arm is raised - rudely, right in front of her neighbor's face - to wave at the Thuls and the little mini-Thuls cursing up a storm around them.
The main treat is thrown into her mouth like candy and she's mildly surprised to find the cheese inside, but not upset about it. Cheese is great. Watching the Queen for a time, Zacara leans to her side to speak to her unknown neighbor (the same one who's face she waved in front of), gossiping: "she used to be great in an X-Wing." Was that a well-known fact? She didn't know. Gossip was her new profession, and she eagerly awaited the tit-for-tat her neighbor may offer in kind.
Instead, she gets, 'Yeah.. cool.'
The serving girl returns with her pink champagne and earns herself a hefty tip for the service. "This is my new favorite! Thank you, girl."
"My mother was a sainted and wise woman and I am lucky to have taken after her many, varied, verified, and undeniable traits." giving Ula a 'SNIFF' a most noble and courtly SNIFF that he chases by taking a sip from a ludicrously tiny glass of sherry passed to him with Kuhlai's unstoppably perfect timing. A particularly snooty pinky -popping- out at the moment the glass is tilted back and a 'mmmmMMMMMMmmmmm' look is given by one eye - the other hidden in his profile.
Showed her, he did. That won't come back to bite him later. Nope. Not at all. Never.
Bora watches the Queen's display, head tipping - and if he had heard the Prince's comments? Well. You could imagine the quip he would have tonight, with The Sass Knight in full swing it seems.
Oh the quips that would risk a fine and brutal sabering from Her Majesty... or from Ban. Or from Ban -and- Aryn. Yes. A right and vicious swording from the monarchy for his troubles. You foolish, foolish Bors. Who is most lucky he is only sassing a fractionally less dangerous sass target. Hairs breadth difference.
A-Wing Pilots are nuts.
"I swear, the Mother and Father test me." She's mostly teasing. Mostly. There's a regality to her that has been gained over the years of not only dealing with Court and their half-vieled snubbing of a married-in commoner, but also in the tireless wrangling of her own love and progeny. The lot of them sent to test her.
A member of Thul staff approaches from the side, offering a short bow and a quiet "My lady?" Upon given an approving nod, the young man leans in to whisper something into her ear. Ulani's jovial expression fades into something more akin to reserved frustration. Note enough to crease her face, but enough to make Riiha a little nervous. She's seen that look from her mother before.
And Riiha is thrilled it isn't aimed at her. "Ooooo. Who is in trouble?" The pre-teen is far too eager to know which of her brothers is going to get it. Far too eager to rub it in their faces later, too.
"All of you, at this rate, my dove." Ulani sets what's left of her cheese and crackers down, the distraction making her miss the Queen's run on top of everything else. The one event she really, really wanted to see! She rises, smoothing out her dress with a steady intake of breath. "Mind your father. Bors, dear. It would appear Byron has challenged another young lord for the hand of their sister." At fifteen, noless. Who knows WHERE he gets it from. "I am off to save our legacy."
The word 'again' lingers in that statement.
"You will wish to watch closely, Aiden," Ban notes as the Queen is announced to ride next. "Hear!" is added to the cheers, but otherwise the gentleman does not shout on his wife's behalf, careful to maintain a regal dignity, raising his hand on respectful salute to Aryn at the completion of her course as he had for the prior riders.
He looks sharply aside to Aiden. "She struck five targets of eight, at speed. With a pistol. Both rider and beast completed the course unhurt, this is not a poor showing. Your eye is spoiled by the performance of the prior showings: only Lady Sidney rides like Lady Sidney; only the Black Rider shoots like the Black Rider. Now salute your mother."
Prince Aiden deflates a bit at his father's stern correction, but he does as he's bid and mimics his father's salute, standing out where his mother could see. Marcus was seen saluting, too, yelling for his mom by saying, "Well rode, mom!"
Aryn is led off the track and the next rider comes out, another Dragoon! The engine is LOUD, roaring even, and its rider young and not yet Knighted, but brave enough to ride the course. They sally up to the line and rev as the First Sword curates their details.
And so the day went in celebration well into the night. Spring was here, tradition honored, and peace reigned upon Alderaan, hard earned and well sacrificed. Thanks was given to the sons and daughters of Alderaan.