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Sings Through Pain

The Madame of Izabal

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It had been weeks since she had heard from Celeste. At first Sapphira assumed that it was due to the limitations of technology in this land. The place certainly looked the part. Old but pretty too. She drank in the city beyond the sea with its multi hued limestone walls and tropical greenery, as the ship she was on drifted listfully towards the dock. She could see already why Mom decided to start a business here. Once the ship docked in the port, she could see how busy it was. Travelers and trade meant people looking for companionship. Sapphira didn’t understand quite why Mom needed another successful escort service but she assumed it had something to do with occupying her time so she could thoroughly ignore dad. 

Sapphira was dressed not unlike the sailors who disembarked the ship with her. A loose fitting white tank top covered her modest chest. The blazing sun had not succceeded in tanning her pale flesh, yet the light reflected brilliantly off the smooth stone surface of her left arm. She had Mom to thank for that. More than her looks, this oddity, what most assumed to be a skin affliction, afforded her a lot of attention almost too much.

 

she pushed her way through the crowd, looking up, knowing that Mom would likely be standing too tall to be ignored.

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Lovi had chosen to name her newest location The Mezereon, after a flower that longed only to please others in some old folk tale or such she’d heard long ago. Tall and regal and domineering as ever, the woman stood alone on an upper balcony of the aforementioned  establishment, smoking a long, silver pipe as she looked out over the seaside town. She’d grown up in a port town, though the one she remembered was much colder and entirely pale from the grey veil of unending clouds to the white waves and seasonal snow. This place was much more alive and colorful.

Her husband would have enjoyed a lively place like this, she thought idly as she held a breath of smoke before exhaling through her nostrils. Then again, he would surely find a way to make this place an arena for his own pompous ego to shine through everything else that made it beautiful already. It was the thing she most loved and hated about him, that boundless (and frankly unnecessary) confidence. And it was the one trait he’d managed to fully pass on to both of their otherwise polarized brood. 

“Well, speak of the devil..” she muttered to herself as she spotted a uniquely familiar form weaving through the streets and up to The Mezereon’s front door. Sapphira was so like her mother in appearance, and so unlike her in presentation. Lovi wore elegant attire, formal enough to entertain and revealing enough to give a suggestion of intimacy. She was only in her forties, but little had changed about her features in the last decade (a fringe benefit of being part  golum). Sapphira, on the other hand, was not concerned with appearance or formality, and she showed it in the way she stalked about in masculine, often ill-fitting clothes. And she wore the same incomprehensible anger on the outside that Lovi held, even now, on the inside. 

The madame tapped the last few ashes from her pipe on the balcony railing and stepped inside to await her daughter in the study. It wasn’t often that she was favored with such company.. Something must be very very wrong.

Edited by Lady Gilaen

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She didn’t see her mom standing up there among the balcony. It wasn’t in Sapphiras nature to look up rather than forward. Some might call it pigheaded. Her stubbornness was well known, especially by her mother. Instead she looked for the Mezereon and after a while she eventually found the sign. 

On the exterior and on the interior, Sapphira might attribute the words floral and ornate to the design of the place. All in all it wasn’t her style and as soon as she entered she stood out like a sore thumb. Sapphira was no less attractive as the women here but to her credit, she wasn’t trying. 

She approached one of the women there and asked for the Madame.

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A young woman with blonde curls and a pointed nose that seemed somewhat permanently stuck in the air saw Saphira enter at the door and was prepared to turn her away outright. After all, Saph was too rough on the outside to have been looking for that type of work, and too young overall to be either escort or patron. But when the blonde girl got close enough to see the familiar features on the new girl’s face (the stern look in her eyes especially), she reconsidered turning her away. The blonde hadn’t met Saphira yet, but she’d met enough of the other girls under Lovi’s care who had. She wasn’t prepared to test her patience. 

She led Saph all the way up the main stairwell to the top floor and down a long, curved hall to Lovi’s office. She knocked thrice with soft, quiet knuckles before turning the knob to inquire within.

”You may enter.” came Lovi’s deep, warm voice from within. The blonde girl ushered Saphira into the room just as Lovi was shutting her pipe into the desk drawer. She wasn’t supposed to be smoking anymore; not because of her health (she wasn’t entirely human, nor was her body subject to quite the same rules as such), but because she’d meant to be a better influence for Saph and her brother. Well.. as good as she could be, anyway. 

“Hello, dear.” she smiled, the expression slight, but sincere. She gestured for the blonde woman to leave them. The door shut behind the girl, and once they were alone she met her daughter’s eye. She always felt a mix of fear and pride at the way Saph’s fierce gaze reflected her own. “You look well.” she said, “To what do I owe this visit?” She didn’t mean to sound suspicious; she was genuinely very happy to have her company. But Saphira was a blunt person, and she did not care for pleasantries, and Lovi knew that.

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The angle of her nose made her want to punch it. The way it stuck up, inviting derision. Of course she didn’t. Instead she smiled, “Wassup girl, how y’all been?” She said, perhaps even with a bit of strained friendliness. Her mother taught her manners and returning respect for people. Besides Sapphira knew what it was to work a job. So she followed up the stairs and made polite conversation. 

 

When she walked into Lovis office and her mother addressed her, Sapphira got a good look at her. She stood regal and Sapphira thought, ‘damn my mom is cool’, so she smiled wide and responded “Mommmaaaaa!!!” She shouted. 

 

Her arms went wide and she went in to embrace her mother with a big hug. For any body else in this plane of existence, Sapphira coming in for a hug was a terror. But she got it from her momma, and lovi was strong enough herself for it to feel not unlike it felt when Sapphira was a small child. 

 

Sapphira held tight for a while, regardless of the dense smoke from mothers pipe. When she finally let go and Mom said she looked good. 

 

“Damn girl you too, I see I don’t got to worry about aging. You are looking fierce. I see you running things.”

 

Sapphira looked around in amazement at the office. Then Mom asked why she was here, which she appreciated. Lovi and Sapphira were the same, both liked to cut through the bullshit.

 

“I was on my way to Gaia Prime for the Heaven or Hell, I decided to drop by and see you and the girls.”

 

Sapphira did not travel the planes as her father did, through the astral, but she swam through the elemental plane of earth to get to the various material planes. A gift given to her by Lovis heritage. 

 

A few of the girls from Sapphiras childhood home worked here, three girls in particular.

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Suffice it to say, temperament aside, Saphira took after her father. At least as far as volume was concerned. She couldn’t help but feel her true age just then. The Madame was, after all, from a different place that was, in itself, from a very different time. She felt like a relic that had thawed from a thousand year ice nap just talking to her kids. “You’re sweet, dearheart,” Lovi replied, meeting her daughter’s embrace in equal measure, “and right.” Maybe she wasn’t half as loud or boisterous, but she was no less confident than her kin. 

It was a relief to see Saph in good spirits. There was a time not too long ago when meeting like this meant a fight was sure to follow. (Well, an argument, really. Matters of strength between them were, as of yet, no contest). Those days had long passed, but their spirit lingered, for Lovi at least. 

“Ah.. The tournament.” It wasn’t where she and Tres had met, but it was a turning point in their mutual history.. in both good and undeniably bad ways. “It almost killed your father, you know. ‘Several times’, in fact.” She made no effort to hide the skepticism and concern in her voice. It was a dangerous game with too few rewards, save the final prize, to warrant the cost. But it was not her place to deny Saph what she truly wanted (as though she ever could).

”The girls will be happy to see you, too, I’m sure.” She said, finally stepping back to give the girl some space, “Although, Else and Celeste are out on leave. I received a letter from Else not long ago to say she would need more time away. Her nearest relative is quite sick, poor dear. I haven’t hear from Celeste since she left, but you know how she can be when she desires space. What am I telling you for, though? I’m sure she’s written you about it.” She made a dismissive gesture at the last comment, taking for granted the fact that the lady in question was always more apt to reach out to Sapphira than Lovi herself. 

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21 hours ago, Lady Gilaen said:

“It almost killed your father, you know. ‘Several times’, in fact.”

"We both know I'm stronger than Dad was when he fought. Besides, if I don't enter, who is going to represent the Fam?" 

It was true, it wouldn't be the Heaven or Hell if an Ecstuffuan was not present. Her genes beckoned her to fight and so when the call was made, she answered. Sapphira feared no man and did not fear death. Fighting was in her blood.

"Thats weird. Celeste told me that she was going back to the brothel after she fell out with her Man." A concerned look grew on Sapphira's face. Sapphira didn't look down on her mom's occupation and business. Sapphira might have tried it if she was any good at being "Sexy". Her brother got all of her parents Sex appeal and Sapphira was only good at pissing people off rather than turning them on. 

"I heard she has an apartment around the way. You want to go see if she is home?"

 

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It’s true, Sapphira didn’t inherit half the charm that her brother had, and he would have been apt to point it out to her at any given moment. But he would not be joining them for this story, nor would he be participating in Heaven or Hell. As far as strength was concerned, he was the weak link in the legacy chain. 

“Well, that is true.” Lovi conceded to her daughter’s point about being better than frankly either of her parents back when. She wasn’t saying it to be doting or indulgent; it was a plain truth. “You’ll make Tres very proud... possibly too much for his own good.” She said it half in jest, but there was an edge of truth in her words.

When the topic shifted to Celeste, the air in the room seemed to have gone a bit cold. A slight frown pulled at the corsets of her mouth, but Lovi turned to the window in an effort to hide it. “I know the place.” she said, “We should pay her a visit while you’re in town, shouldn’t we? She’d be more than upset with me if she missed your visit.” She was speaking casually, but the concern that Saph felt was growing inside of Lovi too. It was probably alright, she thought. Celeste was a trouble maker in her own right and had a habit of disappearing from time to time. It’s why Lovi and Sapphira were particularly fond of her. “I’ll just change out of my heels and we can go..”

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