08.01.3013: A Night at The Apogee
Summary: As promised, Ariana takes Declan to The Apogee Casino. Percival and Ancelina join in to spend time with their son-in-law-to-be.
Date: 01 August 2013
Related: Valen Style
Ariana Declan Ancelina Percival 

The Apogee Casino — Summit, Nubilus
The Apogee Casino's high, vaulted ceilings and lavish crown moulding match the sophistication of its plush, red carpeting below in what is Haven's elite gambling establishment. The casino's entrance leads to an escalator that delivers visitors to the center pit, where a spoked wheel of electronic gambling machines and walkways end in a massive, central collection of table games. Elaborate fountain and art displays line the outside wings, which lead to an assortment of private gambling rooms, entertainment theatres, and restaurants. Waitresses in short, black cocktail dresses weave through the swell of visitors at all hours of the night, delivering drinks and cigars as needed to the clientele. All around can be heard the sounds of chiming slot machines and the excitement of gamblers taking in their winnings underneath the subtle background music of a string quartet.
01 August 3013

Ariana promised Declan a tour of the most fabulous casino on Nubilus and here she is to deliver on such a promise. In the company of her family, she leads the little group into the expansive main room of the Apogee. The interior of the casino looks pristine and elegant and many of the patrons are wearing expensively classy attire. The sounds of electrical gaming machines can be heard ringing and dinging and bleeping throughout the room as a way to try to catch a patron's eye. With a graceful gesture towards their surroundings, the young Lady of Larent finally states, "Welcome to the Apogee. I'm sure that any casino in the Spine would look far differently from what we have setup here?" This is more of an inquiry than a statement.

To fit himself in with that classy crowd, Declan is wearing one of the outfits from their shopping trip just a few days prior, the shimmery-silver jacket fitting in well with the general aura of glitz and glam presented by the populace of Summit. "Well, this is quite grand!" he remarks as Ariana leads him in and his gaze sweeps the interior. "We don't really have any major dedicated casinos, or certainly nothing so grand as this. It's more… local? Any given tavern might have a frequent card or dice game attended by the regulars. But gambling is far more a hobby, a pastime for entertainment in idle hours, than something one would make the… sole point of a whole night out, like a visit here might be?"

Bedecked in a gorgeous black gown made of duchess satin with a delicate black chantilly lace overlay, Lady Larent arrives to the Apogee Casino in regal fashion. By her side is her husband, Lord Captain Percival Larent. The two have come to meet with their daughter Ariana and her betrothed. Ancelina bares a pleasant disposition and holds herself in a prim and proper manner. Dark hair is gently swept off her shoulders into a fine chignon, accessorized with a few glimmering pins for added effect. Her hazel eyes squint a touch when they fall upon the statuesque Ariana. Slight lines crease at the corners of her eyes with glee as she smiles brilliantly. "My sweet daughter, you look absolutely breathtaking this evening. Doesn't she look beautiful, Percival?" Before her husband can answer, Ancelina greets her daughter with air light kisses to each cheek. "And this must be Young Lord Declan Arboren. It is a pleasure to finally meet you."

Percival arrives with his wife on his arm for this sort of multi-generational double-date. The Apogee is familiar ground for the Larent patriarch; the renowned Captain (along with some of his cohorts, like the Saveur black sheep Prince Rennic) has always spent considerable time here, and brought his navy buddies along with him, and he's never been shy of gambling big with the family's considerable wealth. Of course, the Larents surely take some percentage of the casino's profits, so his personal gambling here is more a matter of promoting the place- its not like Percival can come here and lose in any meaningful way. "Of course she does. She always does. Hello, dear." Percival is no less doting on Ariana, and probably the only reason he's not there giving her a kiss is that Ancelina beats him to it! But this leaves him with Declan to focus on instead, and he extends an arm to the young Heir. "I'm glad you could join us here. I think all the Larent men have a fondness for this place, one that you ought think about 'inheriting', even as an in-law."

When others enter her personal space, Ariana tends to stiffen considerably at any sort of contact or even near-contact made, but when it is Ancelina who steps forward to place airy kisses on her fair cheeks, the young Larent seems to, at least, look relaxed. Her smile is pleasant enough and not kept at the bare minimum of a smile which she normally wears on her lips. She does need to point something out as the group are only now starting to mingle and chatter with one another, "That particular ensemble was created by a tailor in Phylon." She turns to her mother as she mentions Ancelina's birthplace, "It's equipped with a bit of color change technology that creates a subtle silver sheen to make it looks as if it's gleaming in the light. I find it quite an interesting piece really." That little bit of fashion talk out of the way, she looks between her father and Declan now, the men in the group, "So where shall we begin?" Before adding, "I don't know if I'd feel comfortable with the idea that my Lord Husband may be losing all of his credits at a casino."

Declan greets Percival first as his wife attends their daughter, reaching out to clasp the other man's hand. "As your daughter was saying, we don't really have any place quite like this in the Spine, but dice and card games are quite popular as pastimes in our inns and taverns. So, I could see myself enjoying an occasional visit here." As Ariana explains his outfit to her mother, he steps from Percival and turns to 'pose', turning a bit this way and that so that he can show off the outfit. "It's a bit flashy compared to my usual attire, but I think it suits nicely for a place like this." He grins, then offers a more formal greeting, "Lady Ancelina, you are too kind. The pleasure is all mine."

Ancelina is quite impressed with the tale of Ariana's Phylonian tailor. She takes a moment to take in the fine artistry and accouterments of Declan's jacket. "I love it. It is absolutely stunning. You have exquisite taste. Remind me to have Magda bring out a dress from storage I had made in Phylon years ago. You'd be surprised how classic and timeless their work is." With the brief talk of fashion now out of the way, Lady Larent turns to Declan and offers her dainty gloved hand. Percival spares no expense in dressing his wife and daughters in the finest jewelry. Her wrist is wrapped in black and white diamonds. "It is always fun to dress up in one's fancy attire for a night out at the casino. You need not worry, Nanners, there is plenty to do here besides lose all of one's inheritance." There's a sly little wink before the foursome continue onwards.

"Well, I think you will be impressed by things here," Percival assures Declan. "We have a number of automated games, but of course also a variety of card and dice games as well, if those are your preference. Perhaps you'd enjoy trying the craps tables." He makes a sweeping gesture. "But, there's a great variety to choose from, and I will leave it to you to explore. Why don't you lead on - and try whatever games might catch your interest."

So it seems that Ariana will no longer be tour guide and it all rests on Declan's shoulders. Watching his reaction for a time to see what he very well may think of being surrounded by such loud and chatty machines all over the place. A place such as the Apogee is known to overwhelm those who are not used to being surrounded by so much attention gaining technology that try to stand out from the rest. Slowly, she looks to her mother, nodding quickly at Ancelina's statement. "I would love to see what you may have worn when you were my age. There are some styles that never fade. It's just that newer outfits have bolder technology that goes along with them."

Declan reaches for Ancelina's hand when it is offered and bows his head to press a quick kiss upon the back of it. Once all the greetings have been handled, he glances toward Ariana, perhaps sharing that realization that the responsibility has been laid on his shoulders to lead the outing. Taking another look around the casino floor, he offers his betrothed his arm and then gestures with his free hand in the direction of some of the tables with those dice and card games he and Percival were discussing. "The machines seem like they're more suited for the citizenry. Just shoving money in a slot and seeing what happens? I imagine the big players spend their times at the tables, where instinct and skill mingle with the whimsy of chance."

Ancelina beams at Declan's excellent manners. She takes the same arm and threads it through Percival's. There is a fond look in her eyes, many thoughts with unspoken words. The Lord Captain knows this look well. Ancelina is tickled pink by the thought of her daughter marrying well. It also reminds her of her own youth and perhaps lives vicariously through Ariana while watching from afar. "The tables are indeed the most fun!" The petite brunette chimes. "Roulette is a game of chance, Poker takes some skill, and Craps…" A hazel flash rises to sweep over Percival. "We've played Craps before, correct? I just don't know the logic behind it." Before her husband can reply, Ancelina tells the young betrothed couple, "It's fun either way."

"I think at some time or another we've played just about every game in here," Percival points out to his wife, laughing a little at the recollection. "Craps is mostly luck, but there's a little bit of logic to the betting. Though I'd say that's true of most of the games. That is why it's all called gambling, after all." He flashes the group a grin at this; the man does seem to enjoy the sense of uncertainty represented at the tables. As Declan sets out, and with his wife at his own side, he moves into stride behind them, murmuring more quietly to her as they follow the younger couple, "So, what do you think?"

Linking her arm gently with Declan's own extended arm, Ariana retains to her normally stiff posture as she stands tall besides her betrothed. Her entire demeanor seems cordial enough and a polite smile or even a gentle laugh is at the ready when the appropriate moment comes up. The youngest of the Larent main line looks picture perfect and radiant when next to the Aboren heir. To the discussion on gambling, while she may not be known as much of a gambler, she does add, "I've played my share of card games. It's a decent noblewoman past time, though I cannot say that I'm particularly good at it. Though, perhaps with practice." She doesn't pay as much attention to her parents as she does to the room as a whole. The Apogee is vibrant with color and personality and she really does wonder if all eyes are upon her now. Making their way past a large wall of electrical games, she does look curiously at the set of tables now present — some of them are hosted by drones while others have human dealers.

"Well, why don't we try cards then?" Declan seems quick enough to pick up on Ariana's own area of 'expertise', even if it is hardly that. He wouldn't want to involve her in something un-ladylike, after all. And so, with that said and decided, he leads the way to one of the tables where such a game is being played. Blackjack, as it turns out - maybe going for something a little simpler than poker, especially if they plan to try many different games before the night is over. "Do you know this one?" he wonders of Ariana. "We don't really play it in Arborenin, but I think I know the rules. You try and get close to '21' without going over, and there's some betting along the way. Well, its probably more complicated than just that, but I think that's enough to play." Presumably they've gotten some chips before moving out, and he sets his pile at an empty spot on the table indicating his desire to join in. "Would you like to play as well, my dear?"

"Well," Ancelina murmurs in reply to her husband. She is taking notice of Declan's appearance. Aside from his Phylonian clothing, he's scruffy and has long hair! Lady Larent is nice enough to 'see' past this, though. "He's very Arborenian." The fingers of her free hand gestures lightly to her shoulder as if telling Percival she doesn't like the long hair look. "But he is heir and has manners. It appears he is very courteous of Ariana and as long as he is good to her, I shan't have a problem. But, if he touches one hair on her head and she does not give her consent, I will sent the hounds after him." No one messes with her Nanners. No one. "And you, my dear? I assume you've met before. What were your first impressions? Is he good enough for our youngest child?" Perhaps her voice carries a touch where the young couple might overhear the parents gossiping about their future son-in-law.

"Very," Percival agrees, continuing to evaluate the Arboren heir even as he continues ahead with his daughter toward the blackjack table. "But, I suppose that is to be expected, as his House's heir. To uphold their traditions. Even if those traditions are a bit… provincial." Of course, he keeps his voice low! Its not really polite (or wise) to openly disparage a Paramount House. He smirks at his wife's fierce protectiveness. "Of course. Though he does seem more polite than that, for the most part. Maybe a little too polite even. Such a politician already, as they've no doubt taught him to be. We've met a few times, when his family came and visited us here on Nubilus, no doubt laying groundwork for the betrothal, and then again as the High Lady sent him to handle the negotiations directly. Again, he seemed very sharp. Almost too sharp. But I couldn't really find fault in anything he said, and it is a very good match for us. So long as he'll not treat her as some pretty trophy, it will be well enough, I suppose."

Ariana has been known to threaten her cousin, Valentine, with a chopping off of his locks, so one may say that she isn't particularly fond of the look, but it could be nice depending on the styles and fashion… which the Arboren are not known for! Despite the bit of chatter and gossip that happens mostly quietly behind them, Ariana only turns to look at her parents once, when one of their voices rises into her earshot, but she is unable to make out exactly what was being said. "Oh yes, I do know of this game well enough. Part skill, though that is very little, I would say. Though others may think otherwise. And mostly luck. I've played this game many-a-time with some of my other friends, noblewomen all and while I might do well with it, as I have said, it's all about luck." Gracefully, she settles herself down in a chair and expertly stacks up her own chips as if she's been to this casino before.

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