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Aleksei

Good Ol' Days

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What a disgusting, revolting, colorful display. There it was, just sitting peacefully in the southwestern part of Cosanastre (the very first city founded, just for your information), glittering like a well polished crystal and singing it's siren's song: the Cathedral. Ah yes, today the bells tolled, beckoning different sorts of worshippers to its freely dusted halls and oiled pews. Today these worshippers find themselves praying to the gods of green and gold; the reverent prayers whispering through the the beating heart of the Cathedral.

Serge bunting decorated the outside of the Cathedral turned gambling hall, enticing anyone and everyone to come inside and enjoy the raucous going on. Matching the exuberant decorations, guests were dressed in peacock colors; several of them, all on one body. The women wore reds, purples and greens. There were checks, stripes, brocades, appliques, and lush embroidery. The men matched the women, if anything, they were far more decorated than their counterparts. Clearly they are all extremely excited for The King’s Feast, an event that has recently been reinstated by the ever illustrious, gracious Ocelot Royce, the High Mason and ruler of Alterion.

Inside, trestle table after trestle table bowed underneath the sheer weight of food stuffs. There was a roast boar stuffed with rabbits that were stuffed with partridges - sans trees, unfortunately. Pies of every type covered the white tablecloths. The free-flowing wine, ale, beer, and metheglin added to the already high spirits of the guests. One one table was a large white swan, baked and dressed and then reassembled so that it looked almost alive, every feather repositioned perfectly. It didn’t stick out though, because in the most centered table full of all sorts of seafaring creatures is a ginormous tank with a mermaid swimming inside.

A Nymerian, to be more specific. Her dark hair was braided with beads and shells and crystals, akin to the black-blue sky sparkling with polished stars; her tail looked like the expanse of a early morning sky with oranges, reds, blues melting together; from waist up she wore nothing, representing the normal Nymerian wear, showing the lace-like tattoo beneath her breasts. The tattoo on her right arm shimmered with her panic, causing the shapes to appear as if they were moving with each swish of her tail as she swam from one end of the tank to the other.

She was one of the many prizes offered for the day's events, and to win her you must be betting on either a group, individual, or a monster itself. All those betting will be put into a drawing to receive the Nymerian, no matter their losses or winnings.

In the center of the grouping of tables was an open area. Here jesters danced and sang, people conversed, acrobats cavorted; the noise was tremendous, filling the Cathedral to the brim. And outside is absolutely no better! Anyone who can’t fit inside, found themselves a seat just about anywhere that was safe, mostly the rooftops and a few even made their homes in alleyways (out of harm's way of course).

Because these sorts of events always bring out everyone's competitive streak, various household games like poker, go-fish, and whatever else kind of games gamblers contrive in the moment, are scattered around for anyone to join in. The heavier hitters were at their chosen tables with handhelds scattered around them; faces of the competitors and the monsters they're working against flicker across illuminated screens. All are welcome to place bets on either the monster hunters or the monsters, just to add some fun into the whole ordeal.

Disgusting, colorful display of celebration and the day has only begun.

                                                                               

How to bet:

Easy! Everyone put your bets down in your posts and I'll keep track of everything. Anything that has monetary value (weapons, armor, jewelry, monsters of your own, etc.) you can use to bet, so have fun with this! Also reasonable, pleaasse.

Once there is a list of items gathered from all people betting, I'll use a randomizer to select who gets what item to make it all fair. So Group A is for Participant AB but group B is against them and are for the monsters; Participant AB wins, so group Bs bets are given to Group A.

Games:

I don't care if you guys want to play a drunk, drug induced game of hide and seek, have fun!

I will be introducing a version of Truth or Dare but with drinking, using a system where I think of a number 1-6, the participants pick a number, and the loser has to drink and then pick Truth or Dare. The dare obviously can't be hella disruptive but I want people to have fun with this and put their characters in awkward positions.

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The festivities were brewing for certain. Patrons lingered in pods across the vast section of the city dedicated to the praise and worship of those in combat; a bloodlust for a bloodsport. The area bore the full spectrum of colors, to vibrantly entertain the guests and draw them in. The booze and bosoms tanked them into submission and the money began to flow like honey. Feathery boas and large headpieces bobbed throughout the crowds, in the most scantily clad outfits that only drove a drunk man to lust harder and burn more coin. The aroma of food was so thick in the air, that one could get lost in a haze of smoked meats, drown in the sweet nectar of fruit, and suffocate in the yeasty-heart of a thousand types of bread. Royce spared no expenses in the revival of the King's Feast, and the hype was more than most could ever bear.

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. hallowed ivory .

From a walkway that overlooked the south side of Cathedral area and a platform above where a massive airship had just landed came a slender pallid figure with eyes of the bluest oceans, that masked an iridescent spark of technology, buried within the irises that churned with a cerulean hurricane. His hair had grown considerably since the last time he'd stepped foot into Cosanastre and as he reached the landing, a guard stepped forward at the velvet cordon and nodded, "May I see your papers, sir?"

"Indeed, you may." Came a soft alto voice, that was crisp to the ears and lacked no sense of strength through and through. Slipping a hand from the cloak that hung from his shoulders, stitched with a fine ebony cord and hung an glowing hue of snow-white and aquamarine, with a large sea-hued gem—the skull crystal of a frost wolf, the pale skinned figure reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved a slip of paper. Extending it outwards revealed a series of energy rings that floated around his wrist, spiraling in different directions and softly pulsing with various tunes of information. The algae-green energy was not connected to him, but tracked every specific movement of his wrist by some unseen, unknown force.

The man stuttered momentarily, looking from the paper to the man, and back to the paper again before coughing roughly and handing it back to the man with a low, deep, calculated bow. "My sincerest apologies, Commander Ventus. I do not have a list from the High Mason of those whom he has personally invited." He immediately unlatched the cord that was blocking the way and Ventus raised a hand and placed it on his shoulder as he passed by, "Do not worry yourself. I'm not easily offended. Though if you would to me the favor of letting the High Mason know I am here, that would be appreciated. @paradigm" He offered the guard something of a smile before passing through the gates with the folds of ebony elegantly trailing behind.

Vortian moved quietly on the outskirts of the crowd. His footsteps were cautious and well-placed and his eyes scanning the area curiously, looking for anyone he may know. It had been so long since he'd last stepped foot into Cosanastre since being pardoned, that he doubted anyone would know him. A bird-feathered beauty passed him headed the opposite way and a lithe hand outstretched to take a glass of champagne from the silver tray before stepping to the balcony that overlooked the Golden Coast in the distance and partially turned to see the crowds. He took a light sip and the flush of aquamarine danced transparently beneath his epidermis, analyzing the substance, displacing the kinetic motions, and absorbing the contents as efficiently as possible while his body sampled and collected data. It couldn't be helped; it was what he was.

A rotund figure approached with a gracious bow and exclaimed in a jovial nature, "It is an honor, Commander Ventus, General of the Order of the Valiant Sky. I am the Jester, Cobrique and I am here to ask of you a donation for whom you think will succeed in the King's Feast?"

Vortian canted his head softly toward the man and took another sip, looking to the monitors overhead where bodies of monsters fell like rain all across the screens, from various angles, and the Luxe hovering in the background—one of Cross' more prestigious accomplishments that bore his hidden name upon the framework. Scanning at the boards and nodding softly, he spoke, "I will offer several options, how will that fair?"

"Oh, your Honorable. That would be most fantastic, allow me to fetch the Royal Charge. @Aleksei" Raising his glass slowly, as if to allow the jester to be dismissed, the fat multi-colored being performed a kartwheel away from him that almost caused Cross to spit out his next sip before a grin streaked across his celestial face. He didn't care for the suit and tie look. He felt awkward, like a monkey in a show...

Edited by Syncopy

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@Syncopy <3

ROeIUqs.pngTheir hands flew deftly and swiftly over the fabric of their conversations, beautiful colors of silky wordage streaming from their tongues and fingers. Nadia sat quietly in a chair, her own conversational piece sat before her; but she merely stared at it, feeling awkward, not knowing what else to do with herself. These women were strangers trying to invade her once quiet and hidden world with their false smiles and subtle jabs to her person. Able to parry and evade most of their attacks, she is left feeling sore and somewhat unbalanced.

“Are you thirsty Ms. Nadia? Oh! Er, your Highness Nadia, would you appreciate some wine?” the woman said quietly, making a half-hearted attempt to correct herself.

Bloody red hues traced the cool creature handing her a drink; she was pretty, yes, but her little mouth with its closed-lip smile seemed ungenerous - stingy, almost. While most blind would compare the woman’s eyes to glimmering sapphires, Nadia was reminded more of ice than beautiful jewels. And the red, orange, and green she wore seemed gaudy instead of brilliant, as she’s sure the woman thought of herself when first dressing. Though who is she, Nadia, to judge another so coldly?

“Thank you for your kindness.” The young Royce plucked the long stemmed glass from Jennifer? Genevieve? For the list of her she couldn’t remember the woman’s name and it’s only been seconds passed since the woman had introduced herself. Oh, Alice, that’s her name.

Timid lips kissed the edge of the crystal glass, she took a sip of the sweet stuffs but paid little mind to the taste of it. Everything around her felt dull, sluggish, just off enough that she frowned slightly before hiding it behind a manufactured smile. The proud shape of her slender shoulders remained firm and solid, like her dedication to her brother and home - home. Looking beyond the colorful crowd of dancers and singers and performers, her sight snagged on the corner of a door leading outside where the world was submerged in celebration. Home.

A tired hand sifted through fat curls, a action showing her boredom, which has no justification. While this is the King’s Feast, it was also a good opportunity for Ocelot to introduce his sister - scandalously so. No-one has ever heard of her, seen her, known of her until just a week before when he had announced to the world that his sister would be joining them during the Feast. Gossip about what kind of person she is that he had hid her for years from the eyes of the public set Alterion on fire.

Some had said she was crippled, but when she stepped into the party flanked by her own guards, they were silenced. That proud line to her jaw and those immeasurable eyes said Royce; her entrance knocked them all off their feet for she did not skip, she did not stumble, she proudly walked forth. Others thought maybe her looks, as Ocelot is a handsome man, so perhaps a ugly sister would affect his vanity. On the contrary Nadia was a beautiful woman, looking like a doll sitting with crystal in her hand, a crown of golden leaves sitting atop the mass of dark curls cascading down her back, and a gown made for her as a gift from her sweet sibling.

So why?

“Your grace.”

She looked at the jester, smiling at all his brightness for it suited him well and she was pleased he wore just as such. He grabbed her offered hand, placing a delicate kiss against her knuckles before releasing the small appendage.

“There is someone here to speak wi-”

“Take me to them quickly, I will not have my guests waiting around.”

She placed her glass somewhere and grabbed a handful of gold fabric, preparing herself for the journey to meet the person. She wasn’t going to wait for him to introduce the person, it’s obvious they mean something as they have requested an audience, and anywhere is better than being surrounded by a group of bloodthirsty vultures. For the last whatever years she has been taught the various dances of politics; how to sew, bake, cook, various other woman's things; to hold a pistol, to sweep a sword, to battle and rage like the best of them - she is completely ignorant to the games of women. Those women would have ripped her to shreds if she had given them the time of day.

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GwhfZiJ.png[ Are you well, Cross? ]

/ I'm fine, Lucille. Just making an appearance for the alliances-sake. /

Still and unrecognizable without his exoskeleton, Vortian lingered for a moment on the idea of just leaving. A place like this wasn't at all suited for a soldier, nor a Wanted man of his caliber. The algorithms all proved that with his relationship with Cosanastre-proper and the patronage at this event, drinking, gambling, and womanizing—sooner or later, someone would try to take him out or take him in as a Bounty Prize. Between that and being an Terrenian Artifact holder in Alterion seemed to upset people as well—but no one yet had the gall to try and take it, let alone ask for it. The Arcana took another sip of the champagne which was sweet like huckleberry and crisp with an oak, smoky finish.
His nostrils flared.

[ What happened? Your BP just spiked. ]

/ I sense royalty... who? /

[ Oh my. Nadia Royce. Lot's sister. Her beauty is renowned, though she's often recluse. ]

The synapse that fired in the moment of inhalation would have been a microsecond in the cosmic scheme of nonlinear existence, if such a paradoxical idea were able to be conceived—measuring time in a timeless state may as well break the brain of the mundane. The scent in this moment tumbled through filters and analyses before generating tethers and snapping out in a thousand directions to link and tag and catalog information as the genius sifter he was, to allow him a "heads up" moment to look toward the crowd and watch Nadia, the Heiress of Cosanastre to come strolling toward him with the Jester Cobrique in the lead.

"May I present—"

"Lady Nadia Royce, royal sibling to the High Mason, Lot Royce..." Vortian said, interrupting the round man. Cobrique clapped a hand over his own mouth hearing the name Lot leave the Commander's lips. As he'd smelled her beauty approaching, so too did his entire body pivot to face her squared up. His right foot slid behind his left, only slightly so and right hand swept the cloak back behind his back to reveal a far-less intimidating figure than the cloak presented. Slender and trim in a fully ebony suit, that hid the tactical Furyi suit beneath which acted more like a body glove than armor when wearing exterior clothing. His entire upper hand crept in half and the deepest bow he could have offered came into full view—as deep, if not more for her than her brother. He held it for a long pause, allowing her to fully approach and stop before him even. 

Raising slowly, his body returned to the standing position and he offered out a lithe appendage to take her own and again a bow and a kiss upon slender digits. The illuminated ring about his wrist waved a warming glow over their united hands for a moment; a dozen or more paper-thin rings transparently glided along back and forth, as a natural form of sensing and contact with Vortian. Their bio-luminescent glow was shades from emerald to aqua and they were ultimately harmless, telling him nothing he didn't already know. His hands were calloused, though soft and marked with scars along a few fingers and the back of his hands. His lifestyle wasn't exactly with the savory sorts, but he did what he did and could for his people...

"It is an honor to meet you finally, Your Highness. The world knows me as Ventus; You may call me Vortian, if you desire. My apologies for bothering you... when I told our dear Jester, Cobrique here, that I had an offer for the Gambling Den, I did not think him to fetch a member of the Royal House..." Vortian shot the man a cold, dark glare that unnaturally forced the fat man to bow far too much and tumble into the crowd and out of sight of the pair. "Forgive me. He did not warn me, I would be taking from your time, Your Grace." In the moment, he felt his cheeks flush; the hues of aquamarine backlit his pallid flesh softly, radiating as humans might in an embarrassing situation, yet a vastly different shade, which only made him look like he might be glowing in the evening light...

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ROeIUqs.pngSeconds before she was presented to their guest, she shot her chin up into the air, forced her back to be stiff and straight with hands clasped tightly in front of her; every single wall was shot up and forced around her in a act of protection. While her eyes looked forward, they saw very little, way too focused on the walls on the far back or the tapestries freshly hung - anything else that was not another snooty person. She’s  mere inches from exploding on the next person who decides to be short and cold with her, so prayers to their guest if they dare step on her small toes.

Regally she stood there before the man, waiting patiently for their Jester to introduce her to their guest, which is still an oddity to her. Hearing anyone call her Highness, Lady, Your Grace, and so forth feels weird, and she’s not entirely sure if it’ll ever be a comfortable addition to her name.

Knocked back into reality, she tore her cloudy gaze away from the marbled floor to gaze at their guest. He had knocked the first frosty wall by calling her brother Lot, and though her reaction was not nearly as flamboyant as Cobrique, it was clear she was tickled hearing someone speak so casually about her brother. The second wall fell when he swept his cape aside to reveal a person underneath such finery, and not some sort of monstrous stranger lying in wait to gobble her up.

Dazzled and pleased, she approached and released her breath, realizing that she’s been holding it in almost this entire time. Not thinking, she offered him her hand, her head tilting gently off to the side like a kitten suddenly bemused by a wiggling feather - in this case, colorful rings. That’s interesting, she thought to herself, the last of her cold walls dissipating.

“I will call you by what you would prefer,” she smiled, revealing rows of perfect teeth, “and you may call me Nadia, please. I won’t have it any other way and I’m more than willing to fight you and force you to call me by my name; I fear I may forget it, considering most would prefer the newly attached titles to my birthright.”

His cold look made the Jester stumble and tumble back into the crowds where he felt most protected. Nadia laughed at the display, feeling sorry for the man as he was just doing his job.

“Please forgive him, he did no wrong,” her bits of laughter were paused when he blushed. “Ha! Everything about you is blue! It suits you perfectly, but back to while you are here, I am assuming you wish to gamble?”

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jkJTsSL.pngHer approach was palpable and rigid—and it was entirely evident that she'd been misjudged one-too-many times this day. Now another stranger to pad her walls in fear of her brother or perhaps her position and pander to her eloquence out of respect for the royal name she bore. At least it was until she'd cracked open like a winter tulip to the charm of the man before her that she didn't care to know—only that he wasn't like anyone else on the floor at this time. Tucking his arms back within the cloak at sides, Cross sheepishly smirked and looked toward the horizon off the balcony for a moment to regain himself.

By position, he should have been used to this and maintained his bearing. By heart, Nadia reminded him of someone he'd lost and how vivacious her personality had become, once cracked open. The presence of her alone set him off regardless; the sister of Lot, how stunning she and friendly she was, and how stuffy and awkward he felt being in Cosanastre and this close to everything. It wasn't in his nature. It wasn't who he was.

"If only you knew..."

Vortian chuckled softly, returning the galactic azure eyes back upon her. The networking traffic of information beneath the irises pulsated and darted in sharp, linear points like a hyperthreaded highway, crossing and zig-zagging throughout his oculars, which if carefully watched could be seen tracing the flesh of his temples and face before vanishing beneath the more plumply fleshed area of his cheeks and nose. "I am told blue is my aura. It comes from the distinct heritage, I suppose... A mutt of this world, to be certain. My place on this platform would be akin to a server or dishwasher in your world." He chuckled and digressed.

"I have absolutely no issues calling you Nadia. If you didn't have to be escorted everywhere, I may have just taken you away from this place; relaxation, of course. I'm not very good at the kidnapping business." He offered a pointed grin of teasing, wondering just what she knew about him, if anything at all. To be standing next to a once-wanted, now-pardoned, mercenary commander—there was reason beyond his glare at the jester, that he fled so swiftly.

"And if we are to act as friends, I would prefer you call me Cross. That's what my friends call me."

She continued and he nodded softly, "Directly to business. That must be a Royce trait." His smile didn't dare falter, lest that be taken the wrong way and proceeded, "I do have a bit to help with this event. Several, actually, because my position allows it. I would like to commit, in separate, three personal protection-type drones, three work-stable utility bots, and perhaps to the victor goes the spoils—I would design a piece of equipment specifically for the winner or winning team. That is my merchandise, and ..." 

The Arcana took a moment to glance at a leaderboard and monitor before taking in his thin bottom lip and chewing at the side of it in thought...

[ The two young boys are really showing signs of raw talent. ]

/ I was thinking this too, but their speed at hand may not make the cut for kill-points. /

[ Very true. They may still be at the top though, and their ability overall seems far superior to the rest of the selection. ]

/ Very much so. I don't recognize anything on that power they're using... what ... what is that? /

[ Construct, unknown. Tapping into the Alterion and Cosanastrian Archives, this could take a while. There's a lot of speculation and rumor with gifts like these... ]

Cross nodded slowly and pointed to a short and slender flaxen haired youth and a larger taut boy with black hair. "The two wielding ... an interesting gift. I think I'd like my bet to be placed upon them."

Edited by Syncopy

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    il_340x270.1370339925_5kbk.jpg  

By the gods is she elongated, well enunciated, and absolutely infatuated with her surroundings.

“Come along now, dear. Don’t you wish to see the sights unfolding beneath these towering ceilings?”

Long curly rivulets snake about her cheeks as she takes wide strides through the crowded pathway marking the broad entrance to the Cathedral. Inornate and plain as day in attire befitting a specialty ward, though colorful enough in attitude to brighten any bland personality she’s matched against, she strikes on through to the doorway.

   
           
      Creme is the color of the day. A fine soft fawn suede coat hugs her tawny and slender frame, only to be darkened by the cloud white of her wide leg slacks. Audible clicks follow every step as pristine polished heels in a glossy black carry her onward and forward.    
           
      With a suggestive movement she flips the collar of her coat to rest amid tumbles of richly red and chocolaty saturated auburn hair. Perhaps in order to hide presence, or fortify a star quality long lost among the currently preening birds fluttering nearby. None of these things truly matters to her, and the length of her jawline defines this point. Reflective lenses shadow the riddling intentions of such a being, if only to persuade the curious to deter their glares. For although they cannot see the fire licked amber hues, they could definitely be gazing back. A simple turn or tilt of the pallid face indicative enough to express attention where it is needed and turned away when it is not.    
                 
   

Industrious freedom, yes that is what this is. To march among the perpertuance of faith in search of...society. No, just the kiss of sunshine and the lick of fresh air as it brushes against her cheeks. It’s delightfully divine. Now why would such an illustrious lab rat join this sort of fray otherwise? Perhaps it can be displayed as an act of humanity. One she wishes to devour at best, in the confines of a massive social gathering.

   
                 
                 
Edited by -Lilium-

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Acrid, in the way of inky obsidian, is the being that follows at her shoulder. A shadow to oppose her daylight glistening features. This shorter facade, being built of more stolid tendencies. Toned and well weighed against the calm unhurried steps taken to pursue the speaker. She follows on command, they two parting people without so much as throwing a well aimed elbow.  

 

Beneath the confines of her hood, matte black eyes glint faintly in facets of red when light hits them. Born only as she takes in the scenery quickly passing her peripheries as they move. “I don’t want to be here…”

  4dfcab8109f08f59d85002a5749b5c3f.jpg  
         
   

As if to further refine the statement, she sighs under her breath. So much time  spent speaking with this woman had built something a few bricks short of a stable foundation between them. This entire place threw her, confused her, and the two things that mean to stabilize her, continually topple her balance. Though one was never too far, even now she can feel his sentient presence following at an extreme distance from the direction they'd original embarked from. The one kindness Dr. Concordia seemed to afford her. Otherwise the woman needed to constantly force her into situations as if to pull something out from beneath the surface of her flesh and bones, that she herself fears does not exist.

   
         
    Her psyche, still a jumble of rusted cogs and spokes, had yet to produce the flourish the Good Doctor kept telling her it would. If only she would just let it. In the here and now she cannot help but feel as though something is really truly missing, but that the world had stripped her bare and continued on without her. Leaving her naked to its unfathomable cruelties.     
               
       
Edited by -Lilium-

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ROeIUqs.png“Don’t paint yourself with such a brush! You’d be head dishwasher or a host, I think that would fit you the best.”

Royalty she may be, Nadia has never felt the weight of her responsibilities until the last handful of years. Ocelot made sure that his sister stayed hidden from the day she was born until just some time ago, fearing that she would be used against him, become abused by a hateful world, or worse … Cross made her feel awkward with his self depreciation, for she did not see him as a lesser due to her heritage.

“I’d be a horrible damsel in distress, I’m afraid. You would find me to be useless baggage, with my only talents being charting stars and wrestling rough seas - I’m a boring captive.”

He’d be pleased? to know that she knows nothing of him, just his names and his face and the blue lines dancing across his skin. His face not familiar, his names elusive, and him in general is but a random fixture in her suddenly busy life. Whatever light and darkness Cross brings with him, it has only now touched her, and she does not falter from either. If he were to reveal who and what he is, she wouldn’t know what to do with the information, other than perhaps chastise him for being careless and reckless.

Her smile reached the stars; tickled, bewildered, and incandescent. With only a few friends in her life, Nadia has room for many, many more.

“Cross … Cross … Cross …”

She repeated his name over and over again, savoring the taste of it on her tongue before filing it away into her memory. It was a nice name, she thinks, so quick and easy to say without all the fluffery attached to it like the other two. Why three names though? The question swam through the depths of her red eyes, but her lips did not shape her curiosity into words. That would be a little bit presumptuous of her to just ask questions about something that may or may not be extremely personal.

“I won’t even pretend to understand what you said Cross, but I don’t doubt the validity of your gifts.”

Having her fill of technology and the like, the woman often craved something more organic, more fantastical than wires, iron, and screens. Tracing his pointed finger, she noted his bet before waving at the shadows, wanting one of her many protectors to come hither. A Renovatian Ucissore peeled itself from the walls, decorated in the prominent white robes and red sash the figure appeared to be formidable in all its simplicity. A book was quickly presented to her open so that she could quickly write down his bet.

“You’ll have to excuse their lurking Cross, it’s an unfortunate addition to who I am. Business and all that.”

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K9gLjVk.pngThe Arcana watched carefully her face, eyes, and expressions as well as mapping those of the people and world around him. Growing up, before all this fame and [mis]fortune, the boy—Vortian had found himself in a world of school and peer pressure and politics with people that outclassed and outranked him in every facet of life and he felt the utmost pressure and disappointment from his father. To counter this grief, he began understanding people as he did technology. Reading people and their responses was a lot like coding and mathematics, but the complexity of human emotion and lies, deceit, and fear manipulated a great many things. Nadia being royalty added a facet beyond that of emotion and curiosity, which was political nobility to the upteenth degree. Though she was sheltered, she was poised to act, sing, and dance the politically and royally within the Game of Houses.

In the years and years of psychological and physiological research, responses could be performed and dictated according to key ingredients. Not to say that he'd been studying her this entire time—but, Vortian had been studying her this entire time. The forms of her mouth and the shapes it took, the muscle beneath the supple, delicate flesh that twitched and naturally pulled, the gentle creases of smiling was more natural a placement than the posed question that hung on her lips. She was intriguing and a rarity among the houses. More-so because Lot had stowed her away like some sort of precious antique furniture and now she blossomed in the radiance of a party atmosphere. "I am an open book, Nadia; if you dare to ask." It was bait to the lingering curiosities and more to learn about her, as well.

"I highly doubt you'd be a nuisance or a burden. You're more than welcome to travel with me at any time. Though you may not know me, I am sworn to your family and have worked with Lot in the past." His words were absolutely casual in referencing the High Mason. They'd known each other in the distant past, before Royce's rise to the throne. They'd fought together. His past was entirely unknown to her, he realized and she hadn't a clue who he truly was. It was an interesting feeling to be unknown with such a bold-faced reputation. Among the Cosanastrian Military, Cross was something of a misunderstood rogue agent. They'd had run-in's in the past, which evolved into some dangerous shootouts and activities, but pardoned and work for Ocelot nixed all of that.

He was so interested by this anonymity, Cross chuckled and posed a random question as she motioned, "Do you always entertain suspicious azure guests or are you just this gracious and polite?" His eyes smiled to his own words.

With a light glance and unwavering expression, the Ucissore emerged as the wallflower it had posed and offered the lady Nadia some parchment for his request. There wasn't a doubt in his mind this person knew who he was—but was there surprise in his lack of concern or un-surprised attitude. With the careful nod of his head, Cross glanced back to Nadia and her words and chuckled.

"There is no need for apologies over their presence. With the Ucissore as guardians, you will certainly find no better protection from threats—except by my own hand, of course." A playful smile passed over his thin lips, and he offered the assassin a faint shrug—an action that would read something akin to 'well, its true'.

"However, if you could get me an audience with a master to speak on PRIDE..." 

His voice was hushed and serious. The art form was something he'd been fascinated with and studied, but as the levels of difficulty were obtained, the information became more and more sparse. He left the question to bast, thinking that they would not respond, but it would probably be relied. He was entirely unsure of what to expect, having never actually met one before...

Turning his attention back to the Royce, Cross offered her his attention, looking over her face as he had when she first arrived with enigmatic eyes of the brightest ocean blue.
"So what is it that you do Nadia? Broad scope. Study the stars? Fun? Excitement? I imagine this is something of a small culture shock for you." He gestured with a faint movement of his thin, pallid lips toward the mass of drunken, feasting bodies.

Edited by Syncopy

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'Need favors returned soon. Found another friend of yours, more to follow on that. David will be fixed very soon now. First favor, Arachnids Eye in Arcadia Prime. Time for you to return home.' smiley face; kissy face. 'You’re ride is on the way. See you soon. -Lilium'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once they reach the glory that is the inner sanctum, Lilium gives a broad smile to every and all the people of Alterion's higher society. Not that any would know this or it's reasoning. Finally, she had completed her task and would tell the High Mason himself that his wish is now a fruitful reality. An electronic notification would not suffice. So impersonal as they are.

Lilium’s next step is to have Erioza run off and play with the other children. To learn new things, to socialize and fill that irritating void of hers with something… something more. The genetic material she'd bartered for in order to create her, something of an intriguing keystone. A flush rolls from the clothed flat of her belly and flushes her neck and chest as the notion of being able to wield such raw energy herself, rises.

A look towards the well guarded Princess Nadia Royce, causes her to focus in on the faces present. Closer, closer, quickly closer. And before too long almost standing right in front of the posted protectors of Cosanastre most darling princess. Though her current actions make her no less volatile in nature,  than that of her older brother. The ultimate deceiver.  But Dr. Concordia appreciates that in the young Royce, she had learned quickly under his tutelage and would be a great adversary for any daring to smite her some day. Magnificent really.

In this very moment, her plans change dramatically. From her coat pocket she pulls a small tablet, the other hand lifting-and pushing them into her hair like a band-sunglasses from her eyes. Once, twice, three times… she takes in the man speaking to her, and bubbling laughter rolls out of her mouth.

Is...is this it?

Oh my...the timing couldn't be more perfect…

Yes, it is time. Goldie, stay where you are. Everyone else...I'll update you later. Let the game begin…

“Erioza, head back. I've just sent coordinates for a pick up, if you don't mind. Grab the small black box box from my bag on your way And hand it over to the package. And please be quick about it, darling. We no longer have time to waste.”

She doesn't wait for an answer or even turn to see if the woman did as ordered. Lilium just knows she will, and truly has no choice but to do as bidden. It only takes a few quickly unified drops of her thumbs again and again, until she hits send. The tablet simply deposited back into her pocket thereafter.

Amid the rainbows of dancers, singers ,jesters, and Ucissore alike she takes in a slow a slow breath. All around entertained by nothing, other than those two youthful faces. Oh, how they ingrained on her senses; the scent of an aura once caught by her, never lost.

How would she proceed? Unabashedly, of course.

“Oh, please do excuse me for the interrupt. I do hope not to intervene more than a few moments. Young lady, you look absolutely astonishing, and you sir make a very suited match at her elbow. The most handsome couple here, no doubt.” It is done with a genuinely appreciative smile, any lack of illumination would merely be in the shadows of her amber eyes, “Pardon my manners won't you. I am Doctor Lilium Concordia, from Daius Industries.”

   
           

 

Edited by -Lilium-

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One prevailing idea amidst the rabble, those beings  of such low station that they were not permitted within the High Masons inner circle, was that the High Mason intended not to make an appearance. While categorically untrue, given his presence deep within the den of sin, it all hinged on one’s interpretation of ‘appearance.’ True Ocelot didn’t intend to man an appearance, but he did intend to attend. None at the gambling table could remember when Ocelot arrived, but he fit easily enough within the group that none realized they spoke to the High Mason, or a man for that matter. Indeed, none were quite certain when the tall gorgeous woman arrived at the event, but few desired that she leave. 

 

She was dressed for the event in a gown of highest quality. In fact, the subject of her tailor was a frequent topic of discussion since the unique fabric and embroidery work was a trademark of the High Masons personal tailor. Whispers already ran rampant that the High Masons mistress was in attendance, add to that the presence of his sister, as well and the soap opera was off to a decent start. Long feathery crimson locks cascaded down her shoulders, caressing milky white skin, inviting more then one inebriated male guest to assist in brushing it away for her. All of this attention was accepted with grace and gentility, and followed by a small flush and a coquettish smile. 

 

While Ocelot could not attest to the enjoyment of his guests, he was having a ball. The art of playing with shadows to disguise ones features was a Daius art, and Ocelot proved a virtuoso. The right tucks in the right spots, an illusory shaving of the Adam’s apple and some minor teasing of the vocal chords and the illusion was complete. Honestly, the most unpleasant part of the ordeal were the heels. That, however, did not prevent Lot from ‘workin it’, drawing more than a few lascivious looks as he gracefully swayed across the room towards, Cross, Nadia and Lilium. Upon arriving he offered a polite nod to the group. “Well hello there! The Comtess Oliviette de Mauxbary, of his Holiness’ personal staff. A boundless pleasure!” 

Edited by paradigm

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lIaouR5.jpgThe grandiose nature of the King’s Feast was in no way deterred by its positioning within holy mother church. If anything, the Masons involvement enhanced the expenditure available for decor and with every prince of the church struggling to out do one another, the lavish extravaganza only grew more opulent. The excess of the rich and powerful never ceased to amaze, Richter Grievous. Perched beneath a gold plated archway, Grievous donned the full military honors due him as Ocelot’s first sword. Despite his closeness to the High Mason, Grievous made no haste towards the festivities, finding it preferable to orbit the outer layers of the Cathedral and relax before sinking into a pit of debauchery.

Life in Alterion was good to him, there was no shortage of coin, the liquor was of excellent quality and the courtesans rivaled Renovatio’s in beauty and skill. Hell, Lot had even convinced him to take a few Upper women out for drinks. They were vapid, but still enjoyable—though not of the level that Grievous was accustomed to. They looked for position in their ambitious endeavors and if love found them, so be it. For his part, Grievous preferred the courtesans. He knew what they wanted and could tell them what he needed, and in that transaction he found a bare fraction of what he’d felt with her. And that was enough, Riva help him, that was enough.

A voluptuous figure in a flowing silk gown, moved along the edges of Grievous’ peripheral vision. Turning his head, Grievous moved aside a thick velvet curtain and passed beneath the archway towards the figure. She did not pause, but smiled at him and offered a finely manicured wave as she disappeared around the corner. Quickening his pace, Grievous took bounding steps to catch a glimpse of her again. Panic seized hold of him and stopped his heart in his chest. She was his age, older than he remembered, older than he ever had a chance of seeing her become, but it was her. He could see Daniella’s features as plain as day in the face that greeted him.

Grievous hurried around the corner and raised a hand to beckon her to stop, but she was waiting for him leaning against a column built into the cathedral wall. Now that he had a moment to truly study her, Grievous could see the startling similarity. She was the picture perfect image of her.  “You’re, General Grievous?” She said in an amused voice.

Grievous chuckled and shook his head. What an absurd sounding title. “Commander, actually.” He corrected with a polite bow. His eyes roamed her form again, taking in and appreciating her beauty. “And you are?”

“Aura,” she said, offering her hand. Grievous took it and gave it a gentle squeeze, his own hand nearly twice the size of hers.

“What brings you to this desolate part of Riva’s house?” He asked, letting his hand rest upon the pommel of Riva's greatsword at his hip.

She smiled, tucking a lock of brunette hair behind her ear. “I was supposed to be meeting a friend tonight,” the way she articulated friend, brought a small smile to his lips. If she was a courtesan, she was far more expensive than he typically paid. It wasn’t impossible, Grievous was frivolous with his money, but he preferred to be frivolous with many different things. His emerald eyes moved to lock into her bright ice blue irises as she continued. “But it seems he intended to spend more of his coin gambling than he did in settling his debts.”

Grievous flashed a set of pearly whites and shook his head in disbelief. “Valucre’s greatest fool.” Taking a step closer, Grievous placed his arm against the wall, the length of it being the only thing separating the two of them. “Well, his loss. You know,  I’m a dear childhood friend of the High Mason. I would be more than happy to...” Grievous let a thoughtful facade pass over his comely face as he snatched the ideal word. “Reimburse you for your time.”

She smiled and his heart dropped to the pit of his stomach. She was the very ghost of her and damn him, he needed her. Aura wrapped her arms about his neck, but even with his leaning down and her wearing heels she had to strain to place her lips against his cheek. “Then let us have a night that Cosanastre will not soon forget.”

Grievous smiled and lost himself in her eyes, he did not find his clarity again until the needle was firmly buried in his neck.

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The upper crust of Alterion is here reveling in the King's Feast, but among them would enter a crumb from the floor.

In his sharp black pinstripe suit, he sure didn't look like one, but nobody here knows of Thurgood Albert Singlance; and the only ones that have heard that lst name have been paying pretty close attention to the hunters, since his little sister is in the mix. Normally, he'd stick out like an aircraft carrier at a regatta, but he actually got to bust out his Brooks Brothers three-piece suit and black wingtips for this occasion as all five-feet and eleven inches step through the door. Of course, this human in drow (blue) skin (and ears) stands out pretty well.

Thurgood did not come empty-handed though: he brought plenty of cargo that the guards now have custody of, for reasons that are glaringly obvious for those who know what it is. In fact, they were so preoccupies with his wager items that as far as he's aware they didn't even search him, which would have been interesting because he had two Colt M1911s in shoulder holsters under his vest, and full magazines in the inner pockets of his vest, and a two-shot .45 ACP Derringer in his right sock in case he needed to defend himself, all loaded...

...or so he thinks. The guards did take them, and the mags quite skillfully, but thought he'd cause a scene if he noticed, and they're right. For now though, Thurgood remains blissfully unaware that he is actually unarmed.

The two radar foxes, Vivian and Nadia, had to stay somewhere else, because even though they're sapient, they're not humanoid. Thurgood believes that sapient creatures have the same rights until they make the choice to deprive others of them; so he's in a sour mood right now, and hasn't even seen the captive Nymerian yet.

This appearance is as much for business as it is for pleasure, so he supresses his numerous objections for now.

Edited by notmuch_23

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ROeIUqs.png"I've entertained vampires, and werewolves, and even mermaids on countless occasions."

Her answer came with a curious tone to her voice. There's been many, many strange things and peoples she has met in the years of freedom.

"But you are the very first azure man I've had the pleasure of knowing."

As for being gracious and polite, she isn't sure. During her sheltered time in Alterion she had always been surrounded by familiars, and they hardly spoke to her or when they did they were always terse words. Being gracious and polite, what else was there? Power may have been at her fingers, but she never grasped and used it to her benefit. There was just never a need to flex her muscle, everything had been handed to her and she was more than happy to oblige.

It wasn't until she was forced to think for herself and do for herself when she realized that she is far more capable than she had ever thought. Leoa and Corvinus were not kind to her sheltered ways, and were quick to mold her into a respectable person.

"That's a loaded question!"

Nadia turned thoughtful, now given an opportunity to really talk about herself and the things that bring her pleasure.

"I've charted stars and seas and oceans and the wilds. Not much of a salty sailor, but I have earned my way around a ship or two."

A happy kind of light made her red eyes glow, showing her pride in her own skills and her general love for anything that involved the oceans beyond their borders.

"You're not wrong," she looked out to the crowd with a nervous smile, "I've been in crowds as big and mean as this one, but not filled with ... my people."

A strange thing to say when the people of Alterion belong to her as much as the sky does. While she understood her responsibility as a Royce, she wasn't sure how to operate amongst the people of this land, let alone above them. None of them respect her, none of them truly know her, and they certainly don't trust her all that much. Nadia can't blame them though; who suddenly just reappears and claims a name and expects to be revered?

Their conversation was interrupted by a new face, causing Nadia to ready her defenses by putting on a mask of cordial thanks when complimented. This woman approached with ease, something most did when they found themselves unthreatened.

Much to her consternation, Nadia was ready to blush when the woman complimented she and Cross as a couple. Would it be rude to correct her? Would it be strange to stay quiet? Nadia wore nothing on her hand to indicate her marriage, not that it was a secret or something they couldn't speak about, it's just the attention associated with it. It's why he wasn't there at her side, agreeing to covet her like the rest just to ensure her safety and comfort.

"You are welcome Lilium."

The good doctor had opened the floodgates. First her, then Oliviette who would be given a passing smile, and lastly Leoa and her husband. Too much at once, and if it were not for the Lion drowing Nadia in a familiar hug, she would have turned to excuse herself. The familiar faces made it easier for her to stay on the ground, and with Cross being gracious enough to entertain her, she can stay for further conversation.

"I'm sure he'll survive, and as for his whereabouts - I don't know."

She laughed, the ice melting away from her once again.

"You two know each other?"

Nadia threw a bewildered look between the Empress and Cross, wondering how much this man knows.

"Where's Yonatan? Did she not come with you?"

Yoni was one of the first to befriend Nadia, and the two women have been close ever since that fateful day. She figured because Yonatan had been Leoa's proclaimed replacement that the woman would be here, mingling with the Emperor and Empress. Seeing her not at the Grande's side made Nadia openly question the lack of ucissore turned courtesan turned uccisore.

"And how do you know Cross?"

The question was left for Cross to answer, since the Empress seems more interested in Oliviette’s attire than the previous conversation.

This was going to be a struggle.

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