Iulia's eyes flick briefly to where Trutina sits trading stories with Niamh. "No, I don't know anything about it, and can't for the life of me think of anyone else who might. Certainly one would expect that those who sent him on such a perilous mission would find it in their best interests to seek him out, would they not? I can't think of any reasonable explanation why they wouldn't. I have an associate who is keenly interested in the truth of that matter, as well."
Referencing her glance over at the pair, she says, "I was able to discover that he was on a Quaesitorial mission. Did she deliver it? And who is this associate? Such a person might have some information that I haven't acquired, and vice versa. In any event, I'm sure I'll have to make other plans for my longevity ritual, something Justinius promised me early on he would assist me with, due to Boustaphan's bungling of the opening of my Arts." Sophronia says the last a bit dejectedly.
Iulia smiles and laughs, as though Sophia's said something funny. "Such a topic is better discussed in private, given the situation. If you need a longevity ritual, though, Desiderius is a true master; his rituals are twentieth magnitude. I could likely persuade him to set aside some time for you."
The unspoken "IF" hangs heavy in the air between them.
Sophronia slices through it, "Oh, I'm sure you know that I insulted him, and all the details around that incident. Such an act of generosity on your part, to intercede with him on my behalf. I can't even imagine what I could do to repay you."
She frowns. "Oh. Your voting sigil reverted to Goliard, with your pater's disappearance, didn't it? You see, the only thing I really need are votes, but if you don't have one, perhaps we can work something else out at a later time."
"But of course, even if I had my own sigil, the Exarch would determine which matters are important and which matters are unimportant. The trick, if I may be so bold, is to make her think your matter is unimportant."
"Not an option, in my case. But no matter, there are other such specialists available to you, yes? Perhaps not as gifted as Desiderius, but few are."
Sophronia says, "Perhaps." Sophronia will grow silent after this.
((correction – Cygna is wearing her hair-shirt under her Probationer's robes, not her normal clothing.))
Cygna looks around. [color=red]"The only other one I know is Sophronia, and only because we both make our homes in the same covenant."
She feels so very awkward and out of place, like she has no business being there, let alone being waited on (even if she is trying to limit herself to basically bread and water). She will continue making idle chatter in Russian, perhaps whisper-discussing Clan stuff if she's of the same clan (Arelie), asking if she can get her anything if it looks like her glass is getting low or her plate nears empty. Looking to see if anyone else is looking as awkward/out-of-place as she's certain she does. Wishing someone would hurry up and invent the watch so she could keep checking it. Wondering how long the party's going to last. Stuff like that.
Cygna does a doubletake as she looks around the room: Adorjan appears to be deep in animated conversation with a young pretty brunette maga.
[color=red]"What the..." Cygna says, then rubs her eyes and looks again. [color=red]"What is he...?"
[color=red]"Will you excuse me for just a moment?" she says to Uncia, then gets up and heads to where Adorjan is talking to the maga. ((I take it she has no idea who the woman is?))
[color=red]"Adorjan! What a...surprise!" she says, then turns to the maga.
[color=red]"I don't believe we've met. I'm Cygna."
The two exchange a look briefly, then turn to Cygna, all smiles and pleasantry. "I'm Niamh, Follower of Pralix," she says, "And this is my amicus, Stephen Eruditus scholae Jerbitonis." The man with Adorjan's face leans forward to shake Cygna's hand, with a "Pleasure to make your acquaintance" in a voice distinctly not Adorjan's.
Cygna blushes beet red as she returns the handshake. [color=red]"Likewise. I am so terribly sorry, but you bear a remarkable likeness to someone I know."
"What are the chances that you know someone who shares a face with the princeps of Libellas, and shares a name with the former princeps of Duos Flumen?" Stephen muses.
Niamh silences him with a hand on his arm. "Well, your friend must be a very handsome man, whomever he is," she smiles warmly, and the likeness of Adorjan melts away from Stephen, leaving behind a face which, while handsome, is unfamiliar.
"Wishful thinking, Katya?" Cygna hears Adorjan's voice just behind her, but she cannot see him there.
[color=red]"I'm sure the odds must be astronomical," Cygna says, thinking that his name sounds vaguely familiar. She engages in idle pleasantries for a couple of minutes, again apologizing for the misunderstanding, before begging off and headed back toward her seat.
[color=red]"Very funny, mudak," she whispers to him, visibly annoyed at his little prank. [color=red]"I do wish you would leave me alone sometimes."
After a lengthy silence, Sophronia brings up something that's been bothering her. "Iulia, forgive me for asking an impertinent question, but why are only gently Gifted magi invited to this dinner party? Couldn't all magi partake of the culture and chance at conversation? I'm missing the point behind this particular event."
Iulia gives Sophronia a sharp look. "Let me answer your question with another question. How do you think the quality of culture and conversation would be, if this party were attended by the likes of my nude friend Corvus, your mad friend with the red hair, or God forbid, Phessalia?"
"Would they attend an event that is defined by being refined and cultured? Whither the poor Gifted, and certainly the blatantly gifted be fed from the cup of culture? Their interests generally preclude interacting with most mundanes, but does it not serve us better to give succor to those who crave culture and erudition to those who would take it? Certainly standards of decorum can and should be set." Rising and heading towards the door, she announces before leaving, "It seems I've discovered the true nature of this event. Since I do not have feelings of superiority to any magus despite the severity of his Gift, I will depart and wish everyone a good night."
"There are quite a few who would make a pretense at such, and a poor one at that, for the opportunity to keep tabs on what other people are doing," Iulia explains. Before Sophronia storms out, she also whispers in Greek, "I would counsel you not to commit political suicide on the eve of several hotly contested Tribunal issues."
Sophronia is out the door; she's had her fill of Julia and the dinner. A breach of etiquette, yeah the whole darn dinner is a breach of etiquette!