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The Reverie Ball (Open Hub)

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As the two danced, Nova continued to stare Emmaline in the eyes. She smiled softly, enjoying these precious moments with her. 

"Father wanted me to bring some important documents to your house. He wants to exchange trade between the two houses. Me however I came here to see you again. O' how I missed you."

Nova spoke as she dance along with Emmaline. Should Emma look into those red eyes of hers, she would fall into a light trance, spilling some secrets but not all. She would fall into a small sense of false security with Nova. 

"Tell me my beautiful Emmaline, what about you? How has life been since we've been apart? I came back because my heart cried to see you again. Come, let's take a walk. The air feels good tonight."

Before Emmaline could protest, Nova took her hand and began to lead her out of the ball, to the outside lodging. She wanted her alone to work her magic. And from interrupting forces. Nova then sat down on the bench as she looked at Emma. 

"What if I said I wanted to take you back home with me?" Nova asked then. "Would you protest? Would you fight me? Emmaline, you know me better than anyone. And I want to make you mine. I've always liked you."

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The woman entered the ballroom with careful steps. After a moment, she stopped, standing stiffly, head turning to taking in the scene with her piercing gaze. She remained still for a few moments, only her head moving eyeing the crowd, resembling a bird poised to take flight as soon as an opportunity presented itself.

Carina Gomez let out a barely audible sigh. She continued forward, distinctly and uncomfortably aware of how out of place she felt.

Here, in a grand ivory castle, attending ball, surrounded by a foreign kingdom's nobility decked in their best colors, was as far from her comfort zone as she could be. She was a scientist, for Gaia's sake. She worked in the field, collecting samples and documenting anything from reality shifts to chemosynthetic varieties of bacteria.

True, she worked for the Taen Empire - now the Veluriyam Empire. Still, even her work in Lunaris had involved her at the grassroots level, letting her directly interact with the citizens, managing the city's expansion, resolving conflicts between Mork'Outh and human, and the like.

These people... were aristocrats. Politicians, in a sense, coming from a different culture a different land. They carried themselves with confidence, parading around in those lavish outfits, speaking with such courtesy and politeness.

It was all part of some complex game of power she had little interest in. She'd never liked politics. She liked politicians even less.

Still, she had come, if only to accompany Sebastian. This was Veluriyam's celebration, and as a government employee, it would be polite to attend. Carina remained painfully aware of the countless unfinished tasks she'd left back in Taen. Her short vacation to Hell's Gate and back had been nice, but her workload had grown in her absence.

At least the Empress didn't seem to be here. That helped her relax somewhat.

Her dress was simple compared to the others, and of a distinctly different style. Folds of white lace framed her neck and shoulders, a sharp contrast against her coffee-brown skin, a complement to her pale hair. The semi-transparent material folded into puffy sleeves at her elbows and stopping at her waist. From waist down, the dress was a sheer black, the hem trailing only some ways behind her.

A reminder of home, in some ways.

Carina fidgeted, unsure of what to do, one hand moving to clasp the band of metal that ringed her upper arm. She considered following Aveline - apparently, the Singlances had been promoted to nobility. She knew the woman from their business in Taen (despite her initial fears, the Mil Dot Lunaris was quite eco-friendly). Whatever the story behind that was, it'd probably be worth digging up. Still, the woman looked busy, talking to a blonde teenager.

She looked at Sebastian, deciding to follow his lead for now.

Edited by Csl

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 For reasons Vesper could not quite articulate, being referred to as “Lady” by anyone outside of the Dali estate caused a twinge of discomfort at her core. It felt like a lie. A small one, but a lie nonetheless.

 Not that even the watchful eyes of the teahouse staff could detect it, for Vesper was used to donning a mask, even if the mask happened to be her own face. She smiled when appropriate, bowed in response to Dahlia’s introductions, and allowed a quizzically arched brow to rise when Evienne mentioned the Emperor; a subtle representation of both House Dali’s and her own personal feelings regarding the current reign.

 Her family had grown used to these shifts in her moods---relaxed and chuckling over lewd humor at one moment, stiff and withdrawn at the next---though she felt that containing this would be best considering the event. It was Evie’s moment to sparkle and shine, and a rare chance for Merida to escape the clutches of her governess and exit her workshop for the opportunity to meet someone new. While Evienne required little help navigating the social scene of nobility and common folk alike, the youngest representative of House Dali would need a little nudge in the right direction. In order to detain the sudden urge for a late night swim, there had to be a mission. Her brown eyes shifted onto Merida, the girl still holding to her coat for a sense of security, and a grin that managed to be both warm and scheming alighted on her suntanned face. Evienne could take over conversation, and Vesper only hoped that she would catch onto the meaningful glance she tossed over Merida’s head towards her entrepreneurial cousin.

 “Merida,” Vesper said, softly taking the girl’s hand from her back, “why don’t you stay with Evie while I go find some refreshments? If we are to dance as much as our cousin wishes, we must keep up our strength. Evienne, would you like anything to…eat?”

 The teahouse staff was at first quickly examined, though each failed to meet her criteria. Marceau was far too smooth, while Gareth was not smooth enough. Niko would have been an acceptable choice had it not been his age. He appeared as though he shared the same birth year as her. She drifted away from her family and their charming acquaintances, maintaining a vigilant awareness on both cousin and niece should they call for her presence. Merida needed someone her own age, someone more relatable, someone…

 Andelusia’s Chairman of Commerce glided by on surprisingly nimble feet for a man with such a rotund middle section, a section of reddened scalp peering out from beneath thin strands of greying hair. Positively not, and the cut of those breeches would have made Evienne screech like a rabid stray cat. His son was no better. Though he still had a headful of glistening blonde hair, he was far too occupied with preening in front of a gaggle of women wearing panniers.

 She witnessed Earls whirl by on the arms of their chosen partners, sidestepped a drunken duke and the trailing sleeves of his scholarly companion, offered a wink to a serving girl that noticeably rolled her eyes at the back of Lady Ship-Skirt’s head, and glowered fearfully at the Chairman of Commerce’s son when he made the unfortunate choice of beaming like a giddy hyena in her direction. The light within him dimmed at a rate so quick that there was nearly an audible whoosh of dismay.

 “Presenting the Lord and Lady Uldwar, accompanied by their children, Luis and Illyana Uldwar!

 No.

 Luis could have been decent enough lad, but there would be no dancing with the Uldwars, not when his father felt it acceptable to strike down his wife on Dali ground.

 She continued her hunt, sorting through the sons of Ursa Madeum’s elite with the precision of a surgeon, until the scent of fresh blood on the sea hit her nostrils. Sergeant Mosgrove and his small family were conversing near a string quartet. Upon seeing her, his robust laughter transitioned to an immediate salute, though they both exchanged grins with enough mischief to cause his wife to issue a scarcely veiled cringe.

 “Come, Alfheim, it’s Reverie. Spare the formalities for after the holiday.”

 Alfheim Mosgrove and his wife, Camilla, managed to create a blissful coexistence despite the opposing spectrums of their temperaments. The barrel chested Mosgrove spoke with a booming enthusiasm, always eager to slap companions upon the back with a broad hand or launch into stories that would often touch upon subject matter that was of a questionable nature. Due in part to this predilection for bawdiness, he often found himself a guest at the Moontraveler’s dining hall. Though Camilla reserved a secret smile for such behavior, she preferred to exist in a state of quietude. Thankfully, for the sake of both the mission and Merida’s shyness, her son took after her.

 “May I borrow Alistair for a moment?”

 Though her request caused both Mosgrove and son to pause tentatively, Camilla’s swift eyes cut across the ballroom to Merida’s glowing dress and red hair. Her emerald green fan snapped open and fluttered in agreement. “Go,” she hummed. “Let your father and I have a dance alone.”

 And so when Vesper returned to Evienne and Merida, her hands were busy with a plate of minute cakes, yet she was not alone. A boy of seventeen trailed behind her, his fingers plucking nervously at a stray thread trailing from the sleeve of his doublet. He was lanky in the half-finished way that teenagers often are, with legs a touch too long for his torso and shoulders that were designed to be broad had they not been currently slouched in an awkward hunch. Yet despite this, he had a potential that Vesper found satisfying: a combination of his mother’s dark hair and fine features intermingled with the cut of his father’s chin. Most importantly, however, were his gentle brown eyes that gazed out from beneath his wire framed eyeglasses. He was, Vesper decided, entirely harmless.

 “Alistair, this is Lady Evienne and Lady Merida. Lady Evienne and Lady Merida, this is Alistair Mosgrove. His father is a member of our militia, and I believe Alistair here is studying at the Academy. You can discuss that more during your dance together, Merida.” Alistair immediately sputtered and tripped over a speck of dust. “Would anyone like a tiny cake?”

Edited by KittyvonCupcake

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There was one person that Cassandra truly wanted to see, who she wanted to bare witness to what she had to bring to this event. Ever since the news had gone out about that little Dali upstart coming into her territory, Cassandra wanted to size her up for herself. Many sources pointed to her being true competition, but the Matriarch refused to believe as such. No one was going to get in the way of her legacy, of her rightful place in this kingdom.

"Let's go, there is someone that I wish to meet here. I know she has already arrived." said Cassandra, leading her husband and children to the soon to be verbal battleground of her new feud.

Illyana however did not wish to join in on her mother's petty rivalry with the other fashion monger. In her heart she knew it would bring nothing but pain to both of them, but there was nothing that she could do to stop it. All she could truly do was be there, ready to offer the love of Gaia, their Goddess, to whoever wishes to seek it out. Even if it pained her to do so, she could not interfere, especially when there was so much she could do here at this lavish party.

"My word, I had no idea you would be here, Priestess Uldwar." A knight said, bowing to her and offering his gratitude to her in the form of his hand.

Gently she touched it, allowing her fingers to brush the gloved knuckle of her admirer. "I am no priestess, fair knight. That honor must be bestowed upon me, after I have performed the rites, and earned them myself." Pride bloomed in her chest at the thought of having converted so many through the miracle witnessed on Misral Isle. Every time she thought of that little girl and how she was healed, she felt true in her belief in the Goddess.

Retracting his hand, it curled slightly, the warrior cherishing the feeling of such a holy figure gracing him with physical contact. "But that is what the people have been calling you. Your works are talked about by the common folk all over the islands. There are even some who say you should be Queen-"

She silenced him by a simple cupping of her hand on his cheek, feeling the warm fire of lifeblood flowing so freely in his sun kissed skin. "Sometimes the truth is a quiet thing, oft not spoken of, but it is the truth nonetheless."

As she spoke, a smile curved on her face, and the knight beamed back to her, filled with light and faith. "What can I do?"

"Devote yourself to Gaia, to Her love, and to bringing goodness into the world. That is all that I ask."

"Then you shall have it, Lady Uldwar." The knight rejoining the party, and Illyana continued mingling with the other guests. Many held great respect for her faith, others for her station as a daughter of a powerful lord. Any glory she was given, the young Lady made sure that it was redirected to Gaia, for none of this would have been possible without Her.

In the time that Illyana was speaking with the knight, Cassandra had finally caught up with her rival.

"Hello, Lady Evienne, it is so good to see you. Your dress looks wonderful." She said with a smile, looking over what she could of it. "This is my husband, Lord Uldwar, and our son, Luis." Oscar gave a slight nod, his eyes looking around them, scanning for something, though he was not sure what it was.

Luis on the other hand gave a more respectful bow. "Good to see you." He said cordially, though he felt more than a little uncomfortable in such a formal setting. It was yet another reminder that this world just wasn't what he wanted, yet he would be stuck with it eventually.

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Evienne's reactions are animated by her fan.

The richly painted accessory became the instrument by which she conveyed shock with its furling and unfurling- and parodied Marceu's flamboyance with it's colorful fluttering and shrouding. And, all through out, laughter bubbles forth from her lips rich and as easy as the wine casks seem to be around the room, but, as she gazes upon Merida, pride adds warmth to it. A salient sign of the adoration that was heaped upon the her.

"We must thank you as well, then, Lady Merida. You may think your part too little to be almost inconsequential, but without your help, we would not shine as brightly as we do now."

The youngest of house Dali was shy, and Evienne was inclined to place the blame on the Young Lady's governess, there was no good that could come from being under such close observation. Her thesis is further proved at a glance, as Merida clings onto Vesper's coat ends, she makes it a goal for the girl to come out of her shell.

Even if it was just a little bit, in the duration of the ball.

So, when Vesper catches her gaze, she understood her intentions all too clearly. A foxy smirk is her answer when Vesper excuses herself, and, Evienne conspicuously clasps Merida's hand, intervening her fingers between the girls. A small act of comfort- don't be too nervous. 

"Nothing too sweet!" She called out after the lady, now turned huntress. Restless, searching, stalking- it was madly amusing, even in such a situation, hemmed in by etiquette and how one twisted it's rules to get what one wants. Once more, her fan is shut, the silver and ivory handles resting upon her lips as she took in the expressions of her associates around her.

"Lady Merida's humble," she mutters, a matronly tone weaving in her words. "I aim to thoroughly glamour the habit out of her, tonight. Marceu, I hope you would be gentle to sweet Merida, I'll exercise those quick feet of yours well enough."

Her eyes still wove through the crowd, following Vesper's scheming blonde head for a moment- watching her float through the machinations of nobility. Over the eager gazes of Earls, and jealous glares of Countess'- and, the rather rotund figure of Andelusia's  Chairman of Commerce, who's entire ensemble made her wince. The motley of the old and new style made her eyes burn enough to shift her gaze, and attention back onto the Tea House crew. 

Miss Dahlia Chamelis was truly a balm to her sore eyes, and she sighed at the sight.

"Did you get the first shipment of uniforms earlier today? I sent them out to Mrs. Sedley's last night, and she assured me she'd have them delivered with the Reverie Costumes." She frowned, quite remembering the frazzled state right before the ball, pudding soft face scrunched up and snoring in a chaise- a veritable hag with the flushed face and nest of dark hair. "I wasn't able to che--"

Presenting the Lord and Lady Uldwar, accompanied by their children, Luis and Illyana Uldwar!

Her focus was shattered by the announcement, and her breath caught in her throat at the splendid display of solidarity that they presented.

Even if it was a front, they seem to ooze a certain sense of espirit de corps. Perhaps, it was the color of their dresses, making it seem as though it were fashioned from the fresh blood of their victims. The pelts, she noted with a quirk of an eyebrow, certainly made them seem intimidating, ferocious. They looked like the lords and ladies from her books, dangerous and capricious- a living symbol of what should be left in the past.

Evienne unfurls her fan, draws herself up to every inch of lace, silk and magic she donned. But, she also takes a protective half step in front of Merida; an accusatory glance thrown at Oscar. 

"I never could stand powder," she confided in Dahlia, smoothing any wrinkles or bumps on her dress, a second skin of lace. "Always made me sneeze, and then it would be ruined- and we'd have to start all over again. Or Panniers." Here, she hissed.

Thankfully- Vesper returned quickly, with a mountain of tiny cakes she highly suspected were lemon, a shy boy in tow. A quick glance over had her grinning ear to ear, and Merida's poor hand was relinquishes from her hold. The boy was awkwardly tall, but there was promise in his stature and, in the fine features of his, enhanced by wire framed glances and expressive dark eyes. A genius match for Merida, it seemed. She grimaced her approval to  Vesper, performing a quick dip of fingers at her chest at the introduction. 

"Well met, Allistair, when my fair cousin went to fetch refreshments- I didn't think she'd bring us a fresh man along with her. Enchante." Her breathless laugh was welcome relief from the strain the Uldwars had put her in.

"Hello, Lady Evienne, it is so good to see you. Your dress looks wonderful." 

Not that she expected it to last too long.

She dipped into a curtsy in front of her rival, ignoring the taut-dangerously taut- way the silk stretched over her legs and hips. Painfully aware of the contrast they presented; one in heavy fur, the other in airy lace. One with faint grays in her hair, and crows feet in the corner of her eyes- the other, barely making the first steps into adulthood. Two opposing, but equally enthralling aesthetics, born with grace.

"Lady Cassandra," Evienne coo'd, raising from her obeisance "You look wonderful in your ensenble as well! I do not know how you continue to consistently make examples of us even to this day!"

Then, she dipped again, once for Oscar, once for Luis. "My Lord Uldwar," she addressed one, almost coldly. The other, she acknowledged with a small, sad smile, as though she could feel the waves of unease rolling off of the youth.

"You're quite lucky with your wife, Lord Uldwar," She laughed, forcing her voice to remain level, even as her face flushed. "Very rarely do we see a lady retain such talent even into her years. I've been quite a fan." 

@KittyvonCupcake @Witches Brew @vielle @Grubbistch

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"Excellence is expected in House Uldwar." Oscar stated plainly. "I would not have chosen Lady Cassandra as my mate had I believed she could do anything less than exemplary work in all that she did." Even with his senses on alert, the Lord felt the cold rolling off his beloved, making him regret such indirectly affectionate statements. Something bothered the old warrior, a feeling he hadn't felt in a long time.

"Yes" Cassandra said with feigned enthusiasm "with time comes experience, and in that experience comes many connections. Your friends also look lovely, and must be very supportive of your craft. An admiral quality when one is in such a...competitive field. I myself could never have made it without the help of my family." She said, making the message in between her words very clear. All who supported her would be sure to lose, just as she would.

"Family and two treacherous snakes that almost put us in the poorhouse." Oscar said mildly, putting both wife and daughter in unease at the mention of his would-be assassins.

"Yes...the Descartes twins helped me to start my business." She said at a near hiss. "But when their treachery was exposed, we dealt with them, as befitting of snakes who make their way into places where they don't belong. You should be careful of who you align yourself with, my dear, if the rumors are to be true of course." Aurelia Sunchaser was a devilish woman to deal with, but true to her word, she knew how to write an attack piece when prompted to. "Not every man is as trustworthy with your dreams as someone like a husband can be." She smiled at Oscar, a convincing smile that left the man at near disgust, and wishing to leave this place so he could find some peace and quiet.

"Yes, truly it-"

"You foreigners can be so strange! But absolutely marvelous at parties." There seemed to be a large group of party goers moving their way, laughing and joking, but with whom was nearly impossible to tell. All one could see if they tried to see past the tightly knit group were a flash of ivory, a small bit of ebony, and the most ostentatious pair of colonial European dresses to ever make such a garish entrance in the ball.

"Oh darling please! You slay me!" The voice sounded so familiar, but Oscar couldn't put a finger on it exactly. "Is that an original Cassandra Uldwar AND an Evienne Dali, as I live and breathe!"

"I simply must feel that cloth for myself!" The other voice almost betrayed their identity, but before Lord Uldwar could even think they were swarmed by a sudden mob of excited admirers of both women's designs. Cassandra was yelping in surprise as she and her husband were enveloped by the invasive crowd, who strangely enough had no manners or etiquette towards those they were assaulting.

"Let go of me!" Cassandra shouted, doing her best to keep the hands of the unwanted away from her.

"I'll have your head for this!" Oscar shouted, punching out the first man who attempted to feel the fur around his neck. Suddenly, his anxieties were solved, then replaced with a tremendous feeling of anger and rage at the sight of two familiar masked woman just in front of him. "You."

"Did you think chopping off our heads would get rid of us? Silly man, we are much more slippery than that. Now you will suffer for our humiliation."

And with that, they were gone, vanished as if in thin air, the party goers blindly leaving after their diversion was no longer needed. He had just seen them, Ursula and Marcella Descartes, the masked twins who nearly murdered him, framed his wife and installed his son into the throne as their puppet. Did they truly only sneak into this place, just to give Oscar a scare? No, there had to be another reason, there had to be a plan to all of this, and he was going to find it.

"Father!" Luis shouted, going to him and trying to see if there were any injuries on him. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine." He said, breathing heavily, the powder on his face ruined from sweat. "I need to speak with your mother, alone." He said urgently, pushing past both his son and the squires who rushed to his aid, pulling his distraught wife by the wrist as he marched his way to the nearest bathroom.

"What the hell just happened?" Luis asked, completely flabbergasted by what he had just witnessed. If he didn't know any better, he could have sworn that ravenous mob was charmed in some way, their actions not their own. What was worse, he was nearly certain he actually saw fear in the eye of his father, a man he swore didn't have a single fearful bone in his body. Something wasn't right about this, and he wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was, either.

Edited by Grubbistch

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Everything was happening so quickly for poor Merida. She clung to her Aunt’s coattails like a child seeking comfort from their mother at an age where she should be more than comfortable being on their own, at least for a time. But she couldn’t help it. She’s never been on her own, especially in a crowd this size, and with her mother being as busy as she was, her Aunt was the next best thing. When Vesper grasped her hand, she turned her head to gaze up at her. She paled at the talk of dancing, but something to eat did sound nice, so she smiled, and nodded her head slightly. She could not see her Aunt’s mischevious grin, or her cousin’s silent involvement in this plot that circled around her. One of the many disadvantages to her disability. Her Aunt vanished, leaving her hand empty, but her other hand was quickly scooped up by her cousin, whom was now one of her closest, and most trusted friend. 

The slight squeeze Evie gave her made her feel better, and she turned her body more so that she could engage in conversation, and to hear better. Her face flushed bright red as Evie revealed a plot, and she looked slightly panicked. “Mister Marceu! Feel no pressure to indulge in my cousins fantasies!” She said a bit loudly, and her grip on Evie’s hand tightened. “You have no obligation to waste a dance on me, I’d only scuff your shoes!” She laughed nervously, trying to find a way out of that scenario. 

She wasnt sure how that would be received, but her cousin and the tea house lady, Miss Dahlia spoke now of uniforms, but the cheerful conversation was brought to an end upon the announcement of the arrival of the Uldwars. 

She has never met the Uldwars, but she knows the name does not taste well on the Dali tongue. They had been supporters of the Tyrant King, fought against her family in the civil war, and then Lord Uldwar struck his wife in their gardens. And now there was some fashion war going on between Evie and Cassandra. This whole situation could not be good. Her aunt returned quickly, thank goodness, maybe she could help Evie calm down with all this Uldwar business. However, she heard a second pair of boots walking alongside her Aunt. They were light, nervous sounding feet. She brought someone with her. 

His name was Alistair Mosgrove, she’s heard the name before. Mosgrove. The man she assumed to be Alistair’s father has been to the estate a couple of times to visit her aunt. She had no idea he had a child. When there was mention of a dance, her eyes widened, and she stepped back, nearly tripping over her skirt, her arms flailing a bit as she steadied herself. She let out a little yelp as see did so, but managed to not fall, which was always a goal of hers. She was about to welcome Alistair, and introduce herself when Cassandra Uldwar made an appearance, trailed by her husband and son. Merida stood beside Evie, unsure of what to do at that moment in time. Cassandra or Oscar Uldwar made no move to introduce themselves to her or Aunt Vesper, meaning they had no interest in friendly chatter. Etiquette. It wasn’t long in the conversation between her cousin and the Lady Uldwar before backhanded compliments and passive aggressive statements were being politely being tossed back and forth. Then someone strange happened. They were rushed, surrounded by a mob of partygoers, all snatching and grabbing at the group, mainly at the Uldwars. Panicked, she swatted away at hands, and found herself pushed to the ground, her cane skidding across the marble floor as it flew from her hand. The Uldwars were loud, and making a scene. But it has ended as quickly as it had started, and the crowd vanished. Merida’s heart thudded against her ribs, her eyes wide. What in the bloody hell just happened?? 

 

@KittyvonCupcake @LikelyMissFortune @vielle @Grubbistch

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Evienne's trained eyes could see the imperceptible tensions that tightened around the couple, and, with a soft purr of courtly satisfaction at Oscar's words- she shot her companions a worried look. She was glad for them standing witness to this... battle, still, there was an itch of worry for them. 

Especially for Alistair, she didn't want to quite scare the boy away.

"...I myself could never have made it without the help of my family." 

She schooled her expression, into one of pleasant awe at Casandra's words, one, she knew the other would be frustrated at- that of a dumb girl, who couldn't quite get the point she was trying to  get across. Behind her back however, her fist tightened- even as her smile loosened. "Family, is quite important to us Dali. We respect and listen to each other's opinions; that, I believe is a sound foundation for good familial relationships?" She grinned at the couple,

Evienne's gaze flitted, to the Lord Uldwars, as the pair droned on about the Descartes twins- her fan fluttering, disrupting the scowl that curled beneath it. Cassandra Uldwar was a true master of these courtly games, turning ever wave of unease and disgust and displeasure on its head- but.... The Lord Uldwar was distinctly uncomfortable, and Evienne thoroughly raided the man's animated expression to gauge his Wife's tempers. 

"One mustn't put too much stock into rumors, but there's a morsel of truth in every one of them." Her eyes locking onto Luis', observing him with a feline curiosity. "My benefactor's old enough to be my Father! I doubt he has more interest in me than you would towards your daughter. That Sunchaser woman delights in her devilish creations." She sniggered, the sound being cold, deliberately so, "I would be careful of such a woman were I, you Lady Uldwar."

The silence is drawn out, but only for a moment before she breaks it with a peal of laughter, "Oh, my, I've been quite rude. Let me introduce you to my Cousins; Lady Vesper Moontraveller, Lieutenant of House Dali, and, Lady Merida Spiderwalker, an exceptionally talented mage." She motioned to each of the ladies in turn, before she moved her attention onto the Tea House party. "And, these, are the lovely representatives of the Andelusian High Tea Society, Miss Dahlia Chamelis is a most talented woman! Her taste is exquisite, don't you think? Her tea house is even more so! Her staff is always amicable and the delicacies are something else." 

But, Evienne had spoken over the approaching gaggle of people, and they were upon them scarcely before Evienne could think.

"Where'd you get this fabric?!" One asked, diving for Dahlia.

"What pretty coats!" Another squealed at either Vesper or Niko, she couldn't''t quite tell.

 A dark haired man shot a hand out- trying to decipher the embroidery covering her breasts before Evienne could slam a kinetic field against them, pushing them away from her and the party. She turned towards Merida, wincing at thud she made when she fell, and anger against the attacker, but, as soon as they came, they were gone.

Now, they were frazzled.

It was apparent in the Uldwar's faces, as clear as her own shock. "What...?" Then, Lord Uldwar was off, dragging Lady Cassandra with him; ignoring the look of distress upon her face, brushing off his Son's concern about him. Leaving the poor lad surrounded by the very people he was probably most uncomfortable with. She stooped to pick up Merida's cane, a surprisingly direct scowl twisting her mouth.

"Are you guys alright?" 

Evienne felt hot, frazzled and utterly confused; and before she could think any further on it, she excused herself and walked upto Luis, clapping a hand against his shoulder, offering a wry smile. An apology, before she scampered off trying to find a washroom and compose herself.

@vielle @KittyvonCupcake @Witches Brew @Grubbistch

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 There was not enough dust on the dancefloor to trip over in response to being referred to as a fresh man, so Alistair settled with a noise in his throat that was meant to be a questioning hmmm? whilst in reality it was a distressed hurrrk! Thankfully for the young Mosgrove, his flustered vocal twinge went unheard due to Lady Cassandra’s approach. The attention shifted, and he felt himself able to breathe through both nostrils and even managed to slow his owl-in-the-lantern-light blinking to a regular rhythm.

 Intriguing, he thought, this contrast between Dali and Uldwar garb. It was a line of thought inspired from an education at the Academy that, while centered in classical music, provided Alistair with a foundational skill in admiring the arts that he found himself eager to exercise, as his ventures into figure drawing were dreadful and his sculptures all drooped in the heat. Sleekness on one side, ornate on the other. All in all, however, they both looked dreadfully expensive and he was filled with the sudden apprehension of treading on Lady Merida’s glowing skirts or bumping into one of those floating ribbons behind Lady Cassandra. He reached for one of the cakes, praying to any god within earshot that a delicate dessert would provide a soothing balm for his nerves.

 Vesper’s mind did not wander upon aesthetics or the monetary repercussions of accidentally destroying Ursa Madeum couture gowns, though she shared a similar desire for lemon cake. To be ignored entirely by Oscar Uldwar suited her as his presence invoked murderous memories. A flash of steel gleamed somewhere in the distance of her peripheral vision and she recalled how her elder brothers perished at the hands of Damien’s troops. Lady Cassandra spoke of fields and snakes and Vesper felt the chafe of her Witch’s bone mask raw on her face, all crimson on Misral’s beach at her feet. Kiva with a lance in her belly, red water against black hair.

 Had anyone stood nearby with a drink in their hand, they may have noticed the liquid within their glass swirl with agitation.

 “You foreigners can be so strange! But absolutely marvelous at parties.

 Ghosts of the past have a way of robbing one’s senses from the present, and this was perhaps why her Rosiderian dangersense gave a warning that something was amiss too late. The tide swept her along with the rest of her companions.

 Hands snaked out to grasp at the edge of her cape when she would swat away hands that reached towards her waist to feel the stitching of her vest.

 “Is this velvet?”

 “What fine embroidery!”

 They mussed her hair, pinched at her thighs, and made the mistake of grasping at her boots for a hidden blade sliced one’s finger. Her forearm became acquainted with someone’s nose when attempts were made to grope the poor Mosgrove boy’s doublet. Tragically, the tiny lemon cakes did not survive the stampede. Smushed, dejected remains of fluffy pastry and powdered sugar smeared across the floor.

 Damn Uldwars.

 Alistair peeled himself away from the confusion and stooped over Merida, wrapping his long fingers around hers and offering a supportive hand at the small of her back as he gently pulled her up from the floor. “Are you okay?” he asked quietly, glasses askew. His hands retreated from her to adjust them and pass back her cane from Evienne. Vesper caught his eye and granted him a nod, the gesture sealing the transfer of Merida’s care from her hands to his. “I-I could get you something to drink. What about you, Luis...or Mister...Lord? Um. So. Yes. Drinks?”

 Evienne would not find herself alone on her walk to find the washroom. Vesper strode alongside her, her face set in grim frown. Strands of blonde swooped over one eye, accentuating the feverish gleam that burned within them. “Evie,” she said, voice low with intensity, “had I expected the game of fashion to grow so hands-on, I would have offered you a rapier that matched your dress. The Uldwars appeared as surprised by that strange assault as we did. It does not sit well with me.”

@LikelyMissFortune @Witches Brew @Grubbistch

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DhZj5AaW0AALH7g.jpgemmaline lafiya


"Father wanted me to bring some important documents to your house. He wants to exchange trade between the two houses. Me however I came here to see you again. O' how I missed you."

Emma looks away at the mention of her own aristocratic household, the very one she has long since left behind on her escape to a different life, a better life. With the years spent far away from each other’s company, Nova perhaps does not know, and she doubts her appearance-loving parents would ever stoop down to admit the very existence of Emmaline Lafiya, youngest child of the House of Faliyra, not publicly ever.

“I missed you as well, dear friend,” she tells Nova instead, shyly looking her straight in the eye to show her immediate sincerity. Almost immediately, her vision clouds over, tinted rose and soft-colored mist. She does not question it, not really.

"Tell me my beautiful Emmaline, what about you? How has life been since we've been apart? I came back because my heart cried to see you again. Come, let's take a walk. The air feels good tonight."

Emma does not protest as she follows the woman out into the open night air, not with the happiness infusing her very core, seeing her dearest friend again. Words spill from her lips without much thought behind them. “I’ve been well, and, uh—happy, even! I’ve been very much happy, Nova. Everything is going wonderful, and the teahouse is flourishing again,” she babbles, grinning wildly as she settles down beside Nova on the stone bench.

"What if I said I wanted to take you back home with me? Would you protest? Would you fight me? Emmaline, you know me better than anyone. And I want to make you mine. I've always liked you."

Through the haze that had descended upon her thoughts, sluggish and all-consuming, Emma simply tilts her head in confusion, eyebrows furrowed deep. “Take me back home?” Where is home, but the teahouse itself, the people she has come to adopt as her own? There is no home in Athentha or anywhere else, for her.

However, she does not deny that she has missed her friend. Emma opens her mouth to reply, not knowing exactly what sort of pronouncement is about to take flight from her lips, when the doors rattle and open, bringing forth an altogether too-familiar voice that snaps Emma out of her daze for a brief moment.

“Em? Are you here? Gods, and here I was wondering why you left—” The man stops in his tracks, bewilderment tainting his expression as he holds up two glasses of punch.

“Ah, Kellen!” Emma leans back, arms perched against the bench, lounging casually as if locked in the very bowels of her art studio. “Come meet my long-lost friend! Nova, Kellen Cordaro. Kellen, Nova Illumonsa,” she introduces them both, gesturing from one individual to the other with apparent glee.

 


 

@Rin

 

 

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14.jpgkalika hildebrand


She will never tire of attending lavish events, if only for the smile it brings to her daughter’s face.

Kalika takes one sweeping glance around the ballroom from where they stand at the doorway, observes all the opulence and the grandeur and the affluence displayed through every ornament and clothing, and pointedly shakes her head. She has never been one for such decadence, but her station demands that she attend society’s grandest affairs, and attend with lavish style, as her rose-and-ivory gown displays.

The way Jasper looks at her, however—it perhaps makes up for all the discomfort. Perhaps.

“Mama, look at all the pretty dresses!” Suri giggles, tugging at her soft skirts and pointing at the extravagant amounts of fabric and other fancy paraphernalia prevalent on every individual within their line of sight. Despite herself, Kalika simply smiles and pats the girl’s head, her attention suddenly shifting towards the footsteps echoing behind her back.

“Have I mentioned that your beauty exceeds all else tonight, Lady Isidore?” Jasper says, all smooth honey and wine, and Kalika resists the urge to roll her eyes, even as her heart beats just a little bit faster than before.

“You flatter me, dearest,” she retorts, entwining her hand with his as he joins her in her perusal of the surroundings, sharply dressed and undeniably handsome in her eyes. “Your siblings?”

He shrugs, the curve of his lips enigmatic and veiled. “On their way. Fabulously late, but they’ll be arriving.”

Kalika simply nods, suddenly distracted by familiar faces making their way through the crowd. The Uldwars stick out like a sore, albeit attractive, thumb from within the sea of people, and as they come closer towards the Hildebrand couple, Jasper opens his mouth and sends out a verbal greeting. Either by indifference or outright obliviousness, Lord and Lady Uldwar do not acknowledge them. Even as Jasper huffs beside her, murmuring inaudible nonsense, Kalika catches the husband’s iron-tight hold on the wife’s wrist, Cassandra’s distressed expression, the frantic spark in Oscar’s eyes.

That is the look of a man fearing for his life.

“Why, I rather think I feel the need to refresh myself right this moment, husband,” she murmurs, eyes locked slyly onto the retreating figures of the Uldwar nobles, then turning towards Jasper, wordlessly asking not for permission—she does what she wants, a fact her husband is very well-acquainted with—but for support. To his credit, Jasper always provides in spades.

“Don’t be long,” is all he says, kissing her with a sweetness that belies the underlying dark waves of unrest in his gaze: be careful. As they separate, Kalika brushes her knuckles against his cheek, smiling prettily as is expected of her, and then turns on her heel to follow in the footsteps of the noble couple, Suri confused but trailing quietly behind her all the while.

Something is about to happen, she thinks, and what better entertainment than to stand by the wings and observe?

 


 

@Grubbistch

 

Edited by vielle

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Image result for dirty blonde girl anime"But... Port Sun? If there's so much fuckin' trade going through there, why haven't I heard about it 'till now?" [Aveline]

Teresa let a moment of silence drop before she spoke again, a variety of thoughts swirling around in her head. Though she wasn't exactly an expert on Vulcanium it sounded like something the Veluriyam researches could use in returning Ursa Madeum's climate back to normal. Maybe. Perhaps she'd bring it up to her father later and see about convincing him to let her follow her thoughts.

To Aveline's question, Teresa just shrugged. How was she supposed to know why the not so-noble noble hadn't heard of Veluriyam's largest foreign port? "My father and Grand Kommadant Primera came to the agreement around the same time as the A.N.T. meetings. It's where most of the materials being used to rebuild New Everrun are coming from." Teresa crossed her arms, index finger tapping gently against the crook of her opposite arm. "Supposedly the technology being shipped from Port Sun is rather advanced technologically. New Everrun is gonna be nothin' like Andelusia or Lunaris." Another shrug. "Or so I've heard."

“Lady Aveline, I’d be more careful with the words I used, especially in the presence of the Emperor. Some of us hear more than we should, and we do not do so by choice.” [Reyna]

“Princess, forgive me for intruding on your conversation. But I must say, that you do look beautiful tonight.” [Reyna]

Almost as if a switch had been flipped, Teresa's entire demeanor changed upon the entrance of Reyna and Grant. Her back straightened, expression softened, and the line of her mouth took on a more neutral expression. Her entire persona, even the aura, became more... imperial. Though her casual self was appropriate for Aveline, her tutors had warned her against maintaining her normal personality around the more formal houses.  

"Oh it's perfectly alright Lady Reyna," she answered, "It's a pleasure to finally meet both of your acquaintances." It occurred to Teresa that according to her formal studies Reyna, Grant, and Aveline should have bowed or curtsied before speaking to her. But she was rather glad they hadn't. With all the bowing and cawing of the personal guards, the moment where she was never being bowed to again couldn't come soon enough. "Thank you very much! It's a gift from the Emperor, purchased down in Renovatio. You as well," Teresa motioned gracefully to the Duchess of Senaria with a flourish and a smile, "are looking absolutely stunning this evening." 

"I might be inclined to consider that, but please don't call me 'lady'." [Aveline]

"I really think we shouldn't continue until we get to the terrace. I just hope there's fewer people there." [Aveline]

"In a moment," Teresa replied, politely holding up a hand to signal an arrest in the conversation. She threw a curious glance toward the ballroom's commotion, landing on the Dalis and Uldwars. The scene wasn't the most eventful, at least Oscar managed to restrain himself from physically hitting his wife again. For the instant anyways, before hurriedly dragging her off to wherever. Interesting. "Tell me," her eyes shifting slowly from Grant's to Aveline's, "if I had the desire to drill a hole through the base of Mount Egon, how useful would Vulcanium prove to be in that endeavor?" She paused. "Theoretically, of course." 

She smiled. 

Edited by Ataraxy

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Da_PTcmVAAARzh8.jpgdahlia chamelis


"Did you get the first shipment of uniforms earlier today? I sent them out to Mrs. Sedley's last night, and she assured me she'd have them delivered with the Reverie Costumes."

Dahlia gasps, hand flying out to cover her mouth in sudden embarrassment. “I might have—I might have forgotten to check it, my goodness! I’ve been so engrossed with your designs and how stunning they look on myself and my staff that it had completely slipped my mind.” She chuckles, hiding the faint blush on her skin with her raised hand, waiting for Evienne to continue—I wasn't able to check—when a sudden proclamation pierces through the conversation.

“Presenting the Lord and Lady Uldwar, accompanied by their children, Luis and Illyana Uldwar!”

The Uldwars? Dahlia shares a glance with her staff before turning her attention to the nobles presented to the ballroom at large. She has never had the opportunity to meet the members of the House of Misral, with them being so far away from Andelusia, and so she is eager to perhaps converse with them, until she remembers that she stands on the opposite side of this war over Ursa Madeum fashion by conscripting commissions from Goldcourt.

"I never could stand powder. Always made me sneeze, and then it would be ruined- and we'd have to start all over again. Or Panniers."

“Ah—well, yes,” she replies, not knowing what else to say in the midst of simmering tension, almost tangible even from the distance between the two embittered rivals.

Dahlia is used to retreating into the background when the need arises, and so when Lady Vesper disappears in search of scrumptious fare and returns with an aristocrat boy in tow, she simply smiles at the young Alistair and takes a step back, shifting her focus to the rather determined stride of the Uldwars moving towards them. The nobles finally reach them, their regal bearing made all the more elaborate with their chosen manner of attires. Marcy visibly bristles at the ignorance hurled in their group’s direction, but Dahlia’s warning look and Gareth’s grip on his shoulder manage to keep him at bay.

"Hello, Lady Evienne, it is so good to see you. Your dress looks wonderful." 

Niko quietly tugs at Dahlia’s skirts, forcing her to take a subtle step back towards the safety of her staff.

"Lady Cassandra, you look wonderful in your ensemble as well! I do not know how you continue to consistently make examples of us even to this day!"

“Oh gods,” she hears Marcy hiss, low enough only for the teahouse members to hear, and gets abruptly shushed for his troubles.

"Yes, with time comes experience, and in that experience comes many connections. Your friends also look lovely, and must be very supportive of your craft. An admiral quality when one is in such a...competitive field. I myself could never have made it without the help of my family."

Dahlia gives a cheerful smile and a polite nod towards the Lady Uldwar in response to her acknowledgement, but then the air turns even more restless as the subtle verbal jousting continues in increasing speed.

"Family, is quite important to us Dali. We respect and listen to each other's opinions; that, I believe is a sound foundation for good familial relationships?"

The conversation stills for a moment after, poisonous and tense. What follows is a whirlwind of activity as the approaching group of people collides with their own: wandering hands outstretched and reaching towards them, high-pitched voices screeching questions left and right.

"Where'd you get this fabric?!"

She almost screams at the unexpected appearance of searching hands aiming straight for her body when Niko reaches for her, wraps a hand around her wrist to pull her away from the worst of the onslaught and into a cocoon nestled between himself and Gareth. Marcy, bless his soul, takes the groping incident thoroughly in stride, smiling brightly and answering as many question as he could by introducing the teahouse’s fashion patron.

Just as sudden as they have appeared, the group moves on and vanishes, but not without taking the Uldwars away with them just moments after, when Lord Uldwar excuses himself and drags his wife away into the depths of the crowd.

"Are you guys alright?"

Dahlia is still breathless after the encounter—in more ways than one—and so Niko answers, to the surprise of everyone employed in the teahouse. “I believe we’re quite fine, my Lady. Certainly not unscathed, but alright.”

Dahlia leans against him for a moment, trying to calm her rapid heartbeat, before straightening up. “Well,” she laughs, a note of unease in her tone, “that was most certainly interesting.” She watches as Lady Evienne and Lady Vesper departs from the group to compose themselves at a washroom, and she cannot find it in herself to judge them for leaving so suddenly: they had taken the brunt of the assault, as it were.

“I-I could get you something to drink. What about you, Luis...or Mister...Lord? Um. So. Yes. Drinks?”

The teahouse members—minus Niko, who raises a judgemental eyebrow—all look to one another before simultaneously quipping several variations of “Ale” and laughing good-naturedly at the shared idea. Smiling wildly, Dahlia allows it even for herself; there are various reasons why alcoholic drinks have been banned in the teahouse, and abandoning proper behavior is most certainly one of them.

“As unfortunate as it is, my Lords and Lady, we might be keeping you company for a moment, as the others seem to have disappeared on us,” Marcy quips, giving the assembled gathering around him a lighthearted grin in the hopes of lifting everyone’s mood after the perplexing series of events. “In the spirit of formal introductions, may I present my lady Dahlia Chamelis, proprietor of the Andelusian High Tea Society, and her humble staff at her service,” he bows low and gestures towards the raven-haired woman with a grand flourish. “As Lady Goldcourt has stated, she has quite good taste when it comes to—well, everything, so she’ll be lovely company no matter who she’s with.”

“There is no need for that, Marcy,” Dahlia interrupts, crimson vibrant against her pale cheeks, and waves at the man to step down. “Well, um—I do not believe we have met yet, Sir Mosgrove, Lord Uldwar. Have you ever heard of the Andelusian High Tea Society? I should like to know if we are as famous as my staff would have me believe.” She turns her grin to Merida, quietly looking her over to make sure she’s alright. “Lady Dali, I think, has been well-acquainted with us ever since we commissioned these masterpieces, as she herself has personally seen to it that we shine the brightest that we can for the evening.” She gestures to herself and to the men around her. “Aren’t they lovely? Oh, but your mother’s designs are quite astonishing as well, Lord Uldwar,” Dahlia laughs, giving Luis a playful look.

 


 

@LikelyMissFortune @KittyvonCupcake @Witches Brew @Grubbistch

 

Edited by vielle

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SEBASTIAN

Truthfully, Sebastian had been on the fence about coming to this celebration, even though his invitation had come from Titus himself. Despite his title as the Governor of the city of Lunaris, he never felt like he was anything but a man doing a necessary job; not like an aristocrat or noble. Eventually, he had come to a compromise with himself, deciding that he would ask Carina to accompany him, and only go if she said yes. Given that the woman was more at home in the field or her lab than anywhere else, he had figured that she would probably turn him down. Therefore, he couldn't have been more surprised when she actually said yes, and thus had resigned himself to attending.

Still, there was the silver lining of getting to spend more time with Carina. The two of them had been dating for a while now, but given the busy nature of their careers, they never got to spend as much time together as they wanted. Now they had an opportunity to do something together, even if they also had more formal matters to attend to as well. He reached down and squeezed her hand to get her attention, smiling down when she looked up.

"I should probably go greet Titus; but after that we can do whatever you'd like."

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"Eh, from what I've heard, 'bout as useful as any other high explosive, like RDX or methyl nitrate," Aveline replies, "still need to actually drill holes though, and there, diamond will be the most able to pierce the igneous rock."

Aveline also noticed all the commotion surrounding the Uldwars, but wants nothing to do with any member of that family.

"I know Thurgood wants to build a geothermal power plant there, but that would mean dealing with the Uldwars..."

Does Teresa not like the Uldwars either?

Of course, if Aveline knew what Thurgood did just now, she would throw him in Mount Egon's caldera.

@Ataraxy

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