“Of course, we can stay here only the one night.” — Vesper Sespech
The Evernight Elopment: Just before Vesper’s wedding, she spends time making sleeping arrangements and ordering food and drink for the reception in Ladona. She returns the night before Evernight to discover that not only are the Sespechs still arguing about her wedding, one has become an intractable obstacle to her plans to hold the wedding and reception at the Estate. Decillius Sespech leads a small group in arguing that the marriage between Sespech and Vargari is a bad idea, and asks Vesper to reconsider for political reasons. Though the young necromancer is adamant on the position, she finds that Decillius is not alone in feeling that the marriage cannot be openly sanctioned by the House. The rising star Savaquin also states that it must be made abundantly clear that the Sespech are making no allegiances with the Vargari. Enough of the House agrees with the two that the House Grandfather has no choice but to rule that the ceremony and reception should not take place at the Estate, scuttling the wedding plans the night before. But Vesper speaks with Grandfather Sadavari privately, and gains his blessing for marrying Kosvach under other circumstances. She quickly calculates a new plan.
Utterly unruffled, Vesper first has the food and drink’s delivery changed to the Vargari-owned building formerly known as the Last Ditch. She has her in-laws-to-be arrange for an alternate reception, and to pass word to the various guests to gather there. She then sends a message to Kosvach, asking him and his second to meet her at the shrine to Shessa at sunset. Cutting it very close, Vesper arrives with her second on spectral steeds just in time for the ceremony.
There she and Kosvach quietly speak their vows in a private elopement, with Crysidere Sespech and Iliska Vargari serving as their witnesses. Vesper gives Kosvach a wedding shirt she’d been working on secretly over the autumn: red with gray running wolves linked by Sespech eyes embroidered around the collar. The same embroidery runs in black on her silvery-grey crushed velvet wedding dress. The newlyweds then attend the reception and celebrate with their friends, before slipping away to their reserved chamber at the Pale Maiden once the assembled parties are too distracted to notice.
Winter In the Overworld: Evernight is Opilio’s last night in the mortal world before winter comes. Though a bit miffed that the public ceremony was cancelled and that Vesper decided to make the ceremony much more private, he nonetheless manages to be a lively pillar of the celebration until midnight comes. He discreetly walks through the portal into the Overworld, where he spends the winter at work in the gardens of Xedravina.
The Knife Business: Ettorio spends part of the winter continuing his association with the Black Veils. He volunteers in particular to assist in rooting out the mercenary elements of the organization and furthering the fortunes of those Veils who hold to the older tradition of using their blades for the betterment of society. His path takes him to Canteria, where he has a reunion with Lyria Redstockings, who agrees to recant her more mercenary ways and offers him the names of several corrupt Veils as a peace offering.
Between Campaigns: Carenza spends some of the winter recruiting and training the Ladies-in-Waiting, as well as gathering information on possible spring campaigns. She leads a small squad as security on an uneventful sea voyage to Khavayin, where she gets a taste for the mercenary culture in Hamaji, City of Blades.
Research: Vesper and Kosvach get a small apartment in Ladona, but don’t spend the majority of their time there. Vesper studies frequently at the Estate while Kosvach and his sisters are hunting reputable jobs. She focuses on the curse laid on the Maviolan Vargari lands, and ways to break it, but also makes a closer study of the life and works of Sespech the Shadowed and the legal codes governing the Sorcerous Houses.
During this time, Vesper cannot help but be drawn into House politics more heavily; Decillius continues to try exerting some influence over her, though he remains unable to acknowledge their blood relation publicly (much to her satisfaction). She is also pleased to receive word that the Miriadis appeal to be recognized as a Sorcerous House has been postponed by the Convocation of Princes; Cortifo in particular has recommended that the Miriadis take a year to look within their ranks and address a few troubling rumors of ill-conduct that have arisen.
The Courtship of Argentine D’Acentra: Rugo continues his off-and-on relationship with Cortifo’s trusted advisor on arcane matters. She is a difficult woman to get close to; she seems to be satisfied acting as the Prince’s arm as a means to achieve her ambitions, and her bond with her clan is apparently much stronger than the bond most House scions have with their own kin. Argentine discusses her job in generalities, but is very discreet regarding specific arcane threats that she may be pursuing.