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King last won the day on November 12

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  1. [Room: Sixth - Violet] Indeed, had the event been a more private affair, the extent of Rafael’s ire would have progressed little beyond a verbal reprimand, a dismissive slap on the wrist and nothing more. From what he could see, their prey was hardly affronted by their advances, and beyond the self-righteous, do-gooder werebeast, no others in the crowd had taken issue with the act or display (for feeding, in and of itself, is a passionate thing that often leads to the further emboldening of lust and desire). The impulsive acts of over eagerness were not isolated incidents, insofar as the twins were concerned, and the emperor had long-since tallied the behaviors to nothing more than growing pains. But tonight was far from a private affair, and as the eyes of domestic and foreign nobility rested heavily upon them, they had forced rarely-seen heaviness of their lord’s hand. “The impugning of your honor means nothing when set against my expectation of you,” Rafael reminded them both, his voice still soft, hushed. “If you were made to prostrate yourself here at the entrance of this chamber so that every guest might clean the filth and muck from the heels of their boots upon you, that is what you would do, for it is what I have demanded of you.” Sighing, Rafael’s attention swept over the crowd, settling comfortably on the voluptuous miss that had inspired so reckless a feeling in the twins. He would have words with her – but first, the misbehaving brats at his feet. “You shall enjoy the remainder of this event without incident, do I make myself clear? I will make arrangements for your visit to Inquisitor Sinclair. After that, I will see to it myself that you fully understand your place in this world.” Rafael left them with those words, yet another guillotine hovering over their pretty necks, and pursued the woman in white. Even as she tried to avert her gaze, offering anything – everything – but the emperor her attention, she would inexplicably find her gaze drawn back to him and his slow, unhurried approach. It was as if the room itself conspired against her, twisting and warping itself until he was once again the center of her focus. When at last he stood not an arm’s length away, Rafael appraised her in keen, thoughtful silence, eyes lingering on the dress she’d chosen for herself. There was life there, or so he believed, but decided the issue needn’t be pressed. Upon closer inspection of the woman, he found she was not of the offerings provided by his estate. She’d worn white of her own volition, which spoke volumes of her intention, and the though brought a half a smile to his lips. “I apologize for any trouble this situation may have cause you,” he said, the bass of his voice a gentle purr. Rather than seek her tithe, Rafael sought to pay one of his own, requesting her hand in the deep valley of his palm. He would kiss the back of her hand if she obliged, once at the center, and then one on the knuckle below that. “The ones you entertained, they are young, and… there is a great deal foreigners lack in understanding. I hope that this has not sullied your experience, and that you will continue to enjoy the festivities.” Rafael smiled, thumbing the back of her hand, and then departed. He found his way to Zenahriel thereafter, a heavy sigh on his lips, though the High Lord’s presence prompted a smile from him. “These fools and their pride will be the death of me,” he confessed to his mate, the gravel of his tone hinting at the irritation hidden by his mask. “And be sure to remind me to exclude the Lagrimosan bigots from next year’s celebration. I’ll not suffer their ignorance again.” A swift inhale brought with it a familiar scent, yet tastefully different from his many memories of it. Following its trail, Rafael found himself gazing at the young woman at Zenahriel’s side – marvelously dressed in gold, hidden behind a striking mask of glitter and horns. “Do my eyes deceive me, or has my beloved High Lord brought with him my dearest friend Shanna?” @Sigil Warden @The Hummingbird @Raptor
  2. High in the great tower of Caldur Mo’er, in a private dining chamber, Kean Bethory sat at the end of a familiar table, across from a face that, like the table, the room that housed it, and the pentagonal fortress that housed them all, had become all too familiar to him over the years. It was not the first time he’d found before the head of the Aradyis House, though this time, it was not the elderly Reinard, or his prized son and heir, Lucien. Instead, it was the late viscount’s daughter, Lucilla, barely a year into her tenure as ruler of these lands. Despite their passing, Reinard and Lucien watched over the meeting a spirit. A likeness of Reinard sat over the hearth, a full painting nearly as wide and tall as the wall itself. Like most art, it was a memory of a time long before he’d been taken by the previous year’s Whispernight. A memory from a time when Reinhard was a young, deadly warrior with a reputation well-known through the northern provinces of the empire. A time when he was more like his son, Lucien. Lucien’s painting was no less grand in size or quality. It hung on the wall opposite to Reinhard’s, so that they framed the table set between them with their imposing figures in an almost oppressive manner. Kean had never been unsettled by their presence, for he had seen what had become of Reinhard, and slain Lucien, himself, at the Battle of The Twin Peaks several years prior. But gazing up at them now, he couldn’t help but wonder what they might think of this? After his son’s death, Reinhard had forsaken further attempts of peace with the Bethorys—but desperate times often required even more desperate measures to be had. And so once again Kean sat across from a bitter enemy, in a heavily shuttered and curtained dining chamber that muted all sense of daylight. A fire burned angrily in the hearth, as if offended by the count’s presence. Instead, it gave its warmth to the walls, cut from a light-colored stone that seemed to enhance and brighten the rays. It danced across the dark wood of the table, caressing its polished surface with a deep, orange-red glow that, like the fire itself, seemed phobic of him. Nothing, and nobody, within the keep dared to tread too close. He studied the room for a moment longer, then drew his hands forward, along with his attention. Layered over each other, he posed them beneath his chin in an almost lazy bridge of long, pale fingers, while his black eyes, empty of all light, leveled on the young woman before him. Kean’s mind had fogged to the year of her birth, but still, he remembered her as a child, having glimpsed her once or twice during previous treaty talks. Now she was older, more womanly in very noticeable and appealing ways, and possessed more of her mother than father in her features. Celine was in her large, dark eyes, her long, dark hair, the soft rounding of her chin and the fullness of her lips. Only the nose, and brow, could be said to belong to Reinhard. “We both know what approaches,” Kean said, his voice expectedly flat and hollow. “It’s only a matter of weeks before the Whispernight is upon us once more, and it cares not for our past grievances. We need more than this shallow peace, if we are to survive the long night that comes for us.”
  3. [Room: Sixth - Violet] Master Servant Emmanuel Tuning out the ebb and flow of the chaos around them-- the whispers, the murmuring, the gossip already circulating the room and pouring into the halls --Emmanuel listened to the woman’s account of the event with an almost single-minded focus. “I see, so it would appear the she-cat was a bit presumptuous in her gallant attempt to ‘rescue’ you.” At the psion-hunter’s demonstration of her outfit, Emmanuel raised a hand to halt further display. “Madame, it would behoove you to encourage your-- Rose, was it? --to assume a more standard ensemble. I do believe that would qualify as a weapon, by our dress code, and unless you’ve brought a spare gown with you…” He left the implication hanging in the air. Turning away from her, Emmanuel made his way back to the heart of the gathering, posed between the volatile twins and gargantuan she-cat that believed herself to be some manner of hero. “As you’ve heard from the Lady’s own mouth, while the advance was unexpected and sudden, it was not unwelcomed,” he addressed the crowd, loud so that all might hear. “There was no manner of mind control, as you so eloquently put it, or compulsion for that matter.” His eyes, suddenly sharp as the many fangs that surrounded them, leveled their cutting gaze on the she-cat. “I’m no writer by any means, but I thought the heart of good journalism was facts, not baseless accusations fueled by racism and bias?” Emmanuel tilted his eyes. “I suppose we’ve a different expectation of standards here in the civilized world.” With nothing more to say to the woman, Emmanuel once again spoke to the crowd. “All is well, honored guests. Please return to the festivities.” There were those that dispersed immediately, hungry for passion and blood. There were those that lingered a moment longer, more interested in the she-cat’s reply, secretly hoping she might prompt yet another conflict. Regardless, the still that had enveloped the room waned, as did the silence. Music once again flowed, and the guests began swimming to its melodies. Emmanuel stepped closer to the twins, raising a gloved hand to halt their progress. “Do not wander far. The Lord Father will want to speak with you about this.” He looked them over slowly, a shimmer of disgust in his eyes. “I will ensure He is aware you are not at fault. But, well, as I said before-- you know how deeply He detests when his children entertain the barbaric ways of the Lessers.” [Room: Seventh - Black; transition to Sixth - Violet] Rafael Rafael watched his darling empress flee his side, mulling over her words. She had become more than her mother’s twin, this Irene, no doubt a credit to the blood flowing through her veins. He’d always assumed there would be side-effects to the ritual, for one could not invoke such a deep magic without consequences, yet still proved ill-prepared. There was something dreadfully wrong with the way she’d spoken to him, for one that had so little love of humans and their kind. Those hadn’t been the words of a young woman pretending to be Gabriela, some charade or mimicry – it was as if Irene, herself, had spoken through her. The Feeding was no simple affair, an established ritual older than even Rafael himself, and to abolish it for the sake of Irene’s sentiment toward humans was to test the already fragile foundation. They were her pets, these humans she adored so deeply; pets that had on more than one occasion bit the hand that fed them. And yet even her blood carried with it the nearly debilitating condition to cater to them. It was maddening-- but also a problem for another day. A young servant stole Rafael’s attention, educating him to a problem in a further room. It was a moment later that he saw Zenahriel, beautiful and magnificent - accompanied by a young woman that looked as familiar as her essence felt - and gestured for him, and his companion, to follow. There would be time for them to speak and revel shortly. For now, duty called. He followed the servant, shaking hands when necessary, smiling when it was not, until he found himself there in the violet room. Emmanuel met his gaze and crossed over to him, leaning up to whisper in his ear. “It would seem the matter has been resolved.” “The woman?” “Perfectly fine. By her own words, she was rather enjoying the attention.” “The twins?” “Tamed. Colorful language, little more.” Rafael frowned. “How colorful?” Emmanuel gave the emperor an implicating glance. Bidding the master servant to return to his duties with a gentle wave of the hand, Rafael strode deeper into the room with long, measured steps. He was taller than a great many in attendance, and so there was no mistaking him, or his destination as he prowled toward the twins. Eventually, he stood before them, unassuming in his ensemble of black. Despite his size, Rafael rarely presented himself in an imposing manner, least of all in public spaces with so many eager, hungry eyes and open ears. There was no need for the uncouth antics that seemed to rule the other continents of the world. They were the Greaters of this land, after all. “Genevieve,” Rafael said, his voice just barely above a whisper. And yet there was power there, heavy and oppressive, as though he’d spoken their true name. “Tegan.” He held out a pale, expectant hand between them, lower than a bow would satisfy. They would kneel before their lord. “I trust that you two, of all the people here in my home, are behaving yourselves to my standards, yes? You wouldn’t dare bring shame to me, or our people, on a night like this-- would you?”
  4. I will be posting tomorrow.
  5. [Room: Sixth - Violet] Master Servant Emmanuel Emmanuel frowned. He’d asked a simple question, and again, it seemed that the strange guest was incapable of replying with tact. That was the problem with these self-righteous folk – always trying to make a scene. “I apologize for requesting so much of you,” he replied, turning away from her as she continued to ramble, right around the time she mentioned some irrelevant newspaper from halfway across the world. The she-creature positioned herself more aggressively, stoking the flames, and appointed herself protector of the woman who had, quite obviously, come as an offering. The master servant moved past the hulking werecat, pressing toward the psion-hunter. Behind him, the insults continued to fly, stacking higher. Emmanuel’s frown deepened. There would be grave repercussions for those two, and further shame cast on their already dubious house. It would only be a matter of time before they had drained whatever respectability still rested in their name, and left their family destitute and cast out of the court’s good graces. But no matter. Nearing the offering in question, Emmanuel signaled another servant. “Inform the Lord Father there has been a disturbance that needs his immediate attention.” The young woman nodded and then disappeared into the crowd, making her way toward the seventh room. Emmanuel’s attention swiveled back to the psion-hunter, the woman seemingly lost and confused. “I assure you, miss, you’ve done nothing wrong whatsoever.” Keen, dark eyes searched her over, noting the questionable fabric that had wrapped her up not a moment before. It seemed, this year, a slew of guests had ignored a number of requests and stipulations to attending the party. “There was concern that you were being fed upon in an unwilling manner-- mind-controlled, I believe, was thrown around. That is, of course, strictly prohibited due to the complications that might arise.” Emmanuel studied her expression, checking her eyes, listening to the beating of her heart. “While you are here of your own accord, as it was expressed by the emperor, none are permitted to feed upon you without your consent.” Despite the gravity of the words, the master servant’s expression – what was visible of it from behind his half-mask – remained plain and uninterested. “Should that be the case, the two responsible—” he glanced back over his shoulder, looking at the twins over the werebeast's oversized body“—will be punished immediately, to the fullest extent of our laws.” The implication of death hung over them like a guillotine. “Now, can you confirm that you were being forced by way of mind control to allow these two to feed on you? Or was this simply a misunderstanding, provoked by the overactive imagination of the creature behind me?”
  6. I'll send you a DM shortly.
  7. [Room: Sixth – Violet] Master Servant Emmanuel Emmanuel, like many others in the room, had been minding their own business before the commotion. Specifically, he’d been serving drinks to a lovely pair from the southern fringes of the Dominion. They were humans, and just as the vampyres favored their blood, these striking young women enjoyed their wine. It was one of the few Orisian brands the emperor had provided from his private stock; an exquisite merlot that held you captive long after you’d savored the last drop. He bid them pardon and excused himself, moving through the crowd with a grace that belied his common, unassuming appearance. Breaking through the wall of the crowd that had gathered around the beast-woman and the twin sisters, Emmanuel stood at their sides in plain view. He wore a gray two-piece suit, and like all servants, a simple mask – black to mark him as one of the five master servants charged with orchestrating his wonderful event and ensuring its smooth operation. “Madame,” he said with a practiced, plain sort of softness. His words carried themselves to beast-woman on polite, airy wings. “Madames,” he continued, deep brown eyes sliding their gaze toward the twins. “I would please ask you to lower your voices and mind your language, lest your further disturb the Lord Father’s event.” Tucking both hands at the small of his back, Emmanuel strode forward, erasing the distance that separated him from the twins. “I would put those away,” he whispered, nodding at their fangs and blackened eyes, “and behave like noble ladies, before word reaches the Lord Father that you would turn this night into a tavern brawl. You know how sorely He detests such shameful displays.” Emmanuel’s attention swiveled to the beast-woman, imposing, but foolish. He did not doubt her power or ability, but as the twins had so aptly reminded her, she was in the wolves’ den-- surrounded by vampyres both young and old. “As for you, madame, I would refrain from the use of such colorful threats while in the Lord Father’s home. Might I remind you that you are here as a guest, and it would behoove you to act in a manner befitting as such.” Even as he stood deep in her shadow, the master servant’s expression didn’t shy towards fear. “Now, please tell me what happened.”
  8. [Room: Seventh - Black] Rafael arched an eyebrow at the strange metal-man, his amusement only half-hidden by the face of Anubis. He did not deny the tithe, but instead nodded in its acceptance, somewhat impressed by the creature’s understanding of their culture. Or rather, he understood the importance to oblige these mannerisms when necessary. The metal-man no doubt thought it an odd, pointless thing, and yet here he stood fully dressed in attire for men, wearing a mask when he barely had a face to hide, and kissing a divine hand without lips or pious reverence for the man he addressed. “Straight to the point,” Rafael replied. “I like that in people, especially those trying to sell me something.” It was a bold move, at the very least. The metal-man was not the first entrepreneur hoping to deal in fantasies or dreams, and he would certainly not be the last. As the world continued to accelerate, the powers that be sought more creative ways to keep those without satisfied. From tonics to crystals and enchantments, this metal-man’s device was little more than another ready-made utopia for fools desperate enough to buy it. And there would be many that did. “Unfortunately, metal-man, the Red City does not make for good technological advancements. Over the years, the leylines of this city have become too intimate with those of Orisia, and have adopted some of their more hostile traits toward technology. It comes and goes, but that sort of inconsistency could be deadly to your business.” Though it was not meant in disrespect, Rafael’s attention swiveled away, drawn by his wife’s call and the woman that had offered herself. While not particularly thirsty, the offering’s distress proved itself to be problematic. He could taste her from where she stood. “Excuse me, metal-man. We will continue this conversation in just a moment.” And so he stepped from Irene’s side, capturing the young woman’s wrist in his palm in the motion, and pulled her closer to him. “Breathe,” he said, whispering the words into her ear. “The pain is only momentary.” Lifting her offered arm to his mouth, Rafael bit into her wrist and drank. It was not the craze, gluttonous feeding of his youth, but enough for her to feel him drawing it out from her. Her blood was rich, a testament to his cultivators’ skill and care, as they brought out the full extent of its potency. Closing his eyes, Rafael watched as he past flitted before him—every choice, every hope, every dream, fear, and joy. And then he was finished. “Remember, no guest of mine shall feed upon you should not desire it. My bite alone has ensured you have fulfilled your service. But…” he lifted her arm again, offering it to a pair of hungry eyes behind her. A bearded, thin-lipped smile spread beneath the face of Anubis. “…I encourage you to enjoy yourself. There is pleasure in pain. You need only let it find you.” Returning to his previous conversation, as though no pause had occurred, Rafael said, “That being said, I have no qualms with perhaps investing in this adventure of yours. I’m sure you could use a man with my means and resources.” He waited a moment, letting the metal-man speak his agreement or disapproval. “Our current surroundings may not be the best place to discuss these matters, however. Perhaps we can revisit this discussion after the Feeding?” It was not a moment later that another young offering greeted them, this one far more confident than the previous one had been. He was a tall man, lean but not malnourished, with pale skin and short black hair. It was the lack of fear in his eyes that Rafael found most intriguing, for even seasoned offerings still held the tiniest worry that, perhaps, this might be their last. He heard it in their heart beats, smelled it in their perfumes, and saw it in their eyes when he passed them by—but not this man. This man was, for some unexplainable reason, eager. And the emperor was happy to oblige. Reaching out with the same hand that had so delicately handled the previous offering, Rafael wove his fingers through the man’s hair, securing a greedy, but delicate, handful of the locks. He eased the man closer, for as with all things, feeding itself was an intimate thing, one that even he, a Bartolome, respected and cherished. Rushing things ruined the flavor; and the flavor was all there was for him now. “I shall.” He bit into his neck slowly, carefully, until his fangs were buried and the richness of vitae spilled out across his tongue. This man was a warrior- a killer of many, forged in the crucible of a bitter and terrible youth. His life was blood, the giving and taking of it, and in that was a flavor so powerful it brought a satisfied sigh to the emperor’s lips. When he was finished, Rafael breathed, slow and steady, and savored the lingering taste on his tongue. “Well done.” Blue eyes, tinted red at the edges, scanned the crowd. “You may be the finest flavor attending this year, darling.” Releasing the man from his grasp, he turned to Irene, placing a hand at the small of her back as he whispered: “Is something the matter?” Though she hadn’t displeased him in any particular fashion, he thought – just for a moment – that he’d felt a bloom of discomfort in her. She’d been excited at the prospect days before the ball, and had studied vigorously. Why then did she feel so… out of sorts?
  9. The phantoms are in the opposite rooms. Those in the black room see the real one.
  10. @DarkHorse @vielle Rafael is going to take a bite out of @Mickey Flash, and then he would be happy to pass her your way. : ) I'll be posting tonight, if you two are interested and don't mind holding off. If not, pursue other means!
  11. Everyone is now in the main event. @Mickey Flash, just pick whichever room lines up with your character's backstory. @danzilla3, you're in the black room with me, friend. C'mere and give me a bite.
  12. [Room: Seventh - Black] Ah, there you are. Rafael had remained standing, still as death itself, but his eyes moved with purpose in the shadows of his mask, cresting over the crowd to settle on the empress as she stood in the gaping maw of the private corridor. The doors behind her slid shut, silent despite their imposing size, and for a moment, the party continued on without care or acknowledgement of the two. He was a selfish man in this way, postponing his announcement so that he might appreciate her beauty in privacy. Blood magic had given her Irene’s eyes, her face, her womanly shape and the sweet aroma of the ancient blood flowing through her veins. But it had been through her own efforts that she learned her mother’s many mannerisms—from the cut of those summerset eyes to the nearly petulant pout of her full lips. Now, the final test was upon them. Raising his left hand, Rafael brought about a resounding silence throughout the entirety of the suite. The music died with a practiced abruptness, each note laid to rest in a gentle and careful manner, and each of the seven orchestras looked to the seventh room, as if seeing their lord through walls of stone and hordes of decorations. Rafael waited an appropriately dramatic moment, letting stillness and silence reign in full, before addressing his glorious host. “Friends,” he said, his voice soft and low. And yet it was heard in every room, every hall, as sure as he stood beside each guest speaking directly to them. “Strangers. I bid you welcome into our home, and this year’s Feeding. It is a pleasure to have you.” He took a single step down the dais, extending a hand toward the outskirts of the crowd, an invitation to his gorgeous companion. There was nothing left to be said until she stood beside him, but as she moved, all in attendance would see, as surely as they stood within the black room – a phantom of gold and light, weaving in and around and through them. And when at last she ascended the velvet-cloaked steps, Rafael took her hand in his own and, returning to the crest of their platform, guided her to his side. There was no turning back now—no way to undo what they’d done. Whether they succeeded or failed, they would do so together. “Before we begin, as always, there are some manners of consequence that we must discuss.” Again his voice rippled in the rooms – from the tapestries, the walls, the glass, the air itself. “It is in my wife’s name that I have hosted this event, privileged as I am to call her such. Thank you, Irene, for all that you have done for me, before, now, and in times not yet shared.” He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed each of her pale knuckles, and the spaces between them, with utter reverence. Then, lowering her hand, his attention swiveled back to the others present. “Next, but no less important, are the rules of this event. Rules that will be followed without exception.” Again, the emperor raised his left hand. “The offerings that will be presented to us shortly are here of their own volition. They are to be treated with care, but most importantly, respect. They have all been adorned with a white sleeve covering the entirety of their left arm that, under no circumstance, is to be bound or fed upon. Should an offering lift this arm above their head at any point during the activities, they are to be released into the custody of a servant immediately. Should any of you witness an offense taking place, do not hesitate to notify me. This is my home, and I will see to it personally that all culprits are punished gravely.” Despite the softness of his voice, there was a sharpness to it – a dagger of warning, resting in its supple sheath. Snapping his fingers, the entry doors on the far side of the suite snapped open. A line of men and women, dressed in robes and gowns of soft, white linen. They were draped loosely over their bodies, showing more than they hide, letting their cultivated physiques prosper from the lightning and ambiance of the suite. As they passed each room, clusters of the offerings broke away, working their way to the center and blooming into a ring. “As mentioned in the invitation, this year, we have received a rather bountiful harvest. Just as each of these rooms boasts a different color, so too shall the offerings differ. “In the blue room, you will find the syfae, denizens of the city of Tethys. In the purple, scattered nobility of Ursa Madeum. In the green, those of Lagrimosa. In the orange, Cierno. In the white, Illyria, and in the violet, those from the Red City, itself. In the final room, the offerings will be without grooming. Their blood will be the rawest, its taste nurtured by their triumphs and failures, their love, hate, passion, dreams, and fears.” “Refreshments for those not partaking have been placed in the entry corridor. Should you need anything else, a servant will gladly assist you.” When the last of the men and women had taken their place, beautiful in their half-nudity and willingness, Rafael gestured in a broad wave. The moon above, red as the wine in their glass and the blood in their veins, shone down upon Lana’thel with a deep glow. “Enjoy.” The music resumed, and blood flowed.
  13. It did come off that way, yeah. That's why I was going to kind of grab their attention (it's going to happen anyway because an announcement is happening), but it can continue after if that's the drama that wants to be cultivated. There are some young and excitable folks at the event. Not everyone can be a well-mannered noble.
  14. That's what she said.
  15. I'm going to be post tonight and the situation would have been handled, albeit indirectly. If you want to take the reins on that though, @Ataraxy, let me know and I'll leave that to you. But, if that's Kae's type of party, well, don't stop them from having a good time.
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