Trewsday night, 00:35. A star-filled sky hangs above the far realm. The two moons are vibrant thanks in part to the sparse cloud coverage. Low winds keep it chilly and remind all winter is upon them. Temps: -3C/25F lows and 1C/33F highs.
resource block credit goes to miss texas. credit for mini profile goes to bee.
The Day of Purification. What a joke. Sovall marks the day that Kalani ousted the throne from Jade’s bloodline. The reigning monarchs of the time died valiantly in battle. And if it were not for the bitter winter, and low sun in the sky, they would have won. But alas, the demonic warlords were powerful and knew just when to strike. Then along came Kalani.
History remembers Kalani as the saviour of Siras, but Jade knows differently. The witch was as power-hungry as any of the invading demons. Kalani’s conquering was simply more insidious.
Jade’s remaining ancestors, who were only children at the time, had their birthright stolen from under them. Kalani took their home, their titles, their land and their people. She capitalised on the Otherworld’s fear and profited immensely. Are those the actions of a selfless hero?
And now, Jade stands, surrounded by the crème de la crème of society. It sickens her to see what this Kingdom has become. To see immortal creatures bow down to mortal scum, decked in jewels and worship them like gods.
This world was never meant to be theirs. Sometimes Jade can’t help but look around and wonder if the whole Otherworld has gone mad. Is she the only one that longs to see the realm returned to its glory days? Has mortal influence not done enough damage already?
(They have already ruined their own world.) Jade casts her eyes out across the crowd and soaks in the many faces in attendance. (How long will it be until ours is the same?)
The district's Crown Prince waltzed across the extravagant tile floors of the throne room. He couldn't levitate, but a little ale could give anyone wings. And heavens above, did the good stuff flow freely at Sovall. This was just about one of the only times all year that Teo could be so openly inebriated at Woodrow Castle and not be seen as a royal embarrassment. Nearly everyone drank to commemorate the oust of the demonic overlords, even those who usually would not.
Despite a fresh haircut in honor of the day, Teo's head still weighs heavy. He thinks of the man he encountered not so long ago, Crux, who now sits imprisoned for his transgressions against the district. The act of withholding knowledge about powerful magics from the Royal Court was a serious offense, but there was one thing even more troubling in all of this--that coffin. Prince had not yet overcome the feeling that something important concerned that crypt. What's worse was he hated how he somehow felt responsible for it all since he had seen it all--been there in the thick of the situation.
Prince takes another generous sip from his gold-plated chalice, licking dewy booze from his bottom lip. The liquid courage lowers his inhibitions. Perhaps it's time he probe this situation more; the least he could do is delegate that someone else see to it that it gets handled. He sets off in search of his old friend, Lady Wiehl, mindful to stay away from his eternal watchdog, the sun-blood.
"And I told her that if she wanted her palm read, she should would buy me a bottle of mead first," Zoroaster joked from over the lid of his goblet, "she bought three." He was having a good time in the throne room, talking amongst the wealthy men and women of the Siras District. It was funny in a way, if this had been just a few years ago, Zoroaster would've been pick-pocketing half of these wealthy noblemen and giving them to the other street rats that had homes in the alleyways and side streets. But that was no longer his life. Now he was eating the freshest, most tasteful food in all the district.
Dressed in a burgundy kaftan decorated with gold trimming and design. It was one of his favorites among his new collection of clothes. The gypsy reached over to pluck a grape from its bustle and brought it to his teeth. He held it there for a split second before sucking it into his mouth and crushing the sweetly tart fruit. His attention was taken away from the small crowd that he was entertaining to look for his prince. His dark eyes scanned the room until he found Prince Teo. A smirk came across his face before he turned back to his crowd and continued talking.
Wearing an ebony dress in the ancient Grecian style, Maude spins around on the dance floor in the arms of the tall and willowy Elf that had asked her to dance. She works with him in the villages government, but she can barely be bothered to remember his name. In fact, though he has reintroduced himself at the outset of this particular number, Maude has already forgot his name. ('Is it Lyle? Lester?... I swear it starts with an L.') she thinks as they gracefully move across the floor. He's a good dancer in truth, but she has not once looked at her dancing partner's face. She is verily unconcerned with the reason that she is now on the dance floor, she's sure he has his reasons, but she's just observing the formalities.
As they glide across the floor, she sees her niece, and her frozen face cracks a smirk at the excited look on the young Elfling's face. When Maude had picked Heidi up earlier, the girl had been almost catatonic with joy. Sovall rarely meant a ball for most of the townsfolk. There was a public celebration in the town's square, typically followed by family oriented feasts. For Heidi, this is probably her first royal affair, and Maude is sure that it will not be her last. Their chance meeting with the Prince the other day has seemingly changed the path of both Aunt and Niece.
With another turn on the dance floor, Maude picks out a number of other important and well to do people. Her boss, the consul, chatting up a woman far to young for him. The royal advisor (an overrated thief in borrowed finery) entertaining a number of guests. She glimpses Teo briefly, then loses him in the crowd. The music dies down and Maude finds herself facing the same direction of Jade. She's unsure of what to think about the fire-fae. If the fae showcase their elements in their personality, there's clearly all the harshness of sun and flame within Jade. Like most people, she puts Maude on edge, but unlike most people, Jade's enigma intrigues the elf.
The music ends and Maude looks the elf she was dancing with over. "Thank you for the dance, Lester..." she gives a bow and turns to head for Heidi. His voice carries after her as she walks away, "...My name is Markus, Lady Wiehl..." she can hear the disappointment in his voice, but she only grimaces inwardly, ('Damn, Mark?')
Coming upon Heidi, "Tis a shame that your mother wasn't invited, that she'll miss all of this..." She raises a hand to her head and subtly adjusts the braided up-do that she had selected for the ball.
"Tis a shame that your mother wasn't invited, that she'll miss all of this..."
The veiled barb is lost on Heidi who nods in agreement. It was a shame that she could not share this experience with her parents, she thought. Eyes wide, the young elf, dressed in a sky blue gown of satin, barely looks at her aunt as she tries to soak in as much of this as possible. Come tomorrow, she's sure that her friends - and not-friends even - will be demanding every detail of her night.
"I could just vomit," Heidi confesses in an excited whisper. The experience has thus far been overwhelming and she's been unable to make any headway towards the dance floor. Most of those present are quite a bit older than her - generationally speaking.
A quiet sound escapes her lips as she spots Teo making his way through the crowd and towards them - sporting a new hairdo no less. As he nears, Heidi drops into a curtsy. He may have insisted on a more casual approach to his station on Sorcerer's Road, but this is his home. "Prince Teo."
Now, it wasn't that the young oracle was anything but an upstanding, fine fellow, who'd won his games fair and square. He was. Honest. But most people wouldn't buy that, since he was Crystal's son, the little Oracle, the one who could peek into the future.
So he never actually played games of chance. Not really. People tended to accuse him of crude things.
Nevertheless, cards? Those he could play and only have the usual accusations of cheating when he won. But he lost enough ( or at least, as much as he deemed was necessary ) that people generally let him get away with coming back. Nasir, the Alderman Grevaris' son, had objected, of course, but the end result had been the same;
Teagan, here, in his best clothes. Best, because he certainly wasn't going to spend money on great finery. His best probably equated to under dressed, but he was fine with that, too. After all, he hadn't finished formulating his plans. But he could at least brush elbows with the people in the upper echelons of society. Would it be in poor taste to offer his services when the opportunity came?
But for now, instead of worrying ( because what would that accomplish? ) he simply took a glass of something that smelled delicious, from someone who was clearly there to keep the partygoers content.
Tonight, he was a partygoer, and so far, he was quite content. Even as he just milled around, listening to bits and pieces of conversations, occasionally brushing against people with a smile, trying to find a place to inundate himself.
The Prince and his legion of mongrels waltz across the dancefloor. Jade can practically smell the mead radiating from Teo. It’s a shameful and undignified reflection of what the kingdom has become. But Jade has come to expect such classes behaviour from Kalani’s bloodline.
Unlike the members of high society, in their elaborate gowns and shiny jewels, the sun-blood bears the distinctive armour worn by members of the Lead Royal Guard. She is not here to enjoy herself. Jade can think of a million other things she’d rather be doing right now. She’s here because she is required to be. She’s just making face and biding her time, until she can strike and take her rightful place on the throne.
And for that, Jade needs to sow the seeds of chaos. To unstabilize the belief that Queen Tia and her incompetent son are the best things for Siras.
(It’s laughable. To think that they could be allowed to rule any longer.)
Jade knows what must be done. She will tarnish the festivities with tragedy and cast doubt over Tia and Teo’s rule. It will be the spark that ignites the flames that burn down Kalani’s dynasty. And from the ashes, Jade will reign.
(This will be the last Sovall, so make the most of it.)
Jade carefully chooses a moment to slip away. It’s not too difficult, with the alcohol flowing and music raging. She’s just one in a sea of people. So with conviction in her heart, she snakes into a nearby hall ready to set her plans in motion.
The Prince can't put eyes on Maude, and that's because he doesn't even think to check the dance floor. He wouldn't expect to find the elder Wilhelm out waltzing in any of her hundreds of years, so he never even glances that way. He does spot Heidi, however, and logic tells that wherever Heidi is, Maude must be nearby. He begins to head toward the platinum blonde elf and before he can even reach her, Maude has reappeared at her side, almost as if she smelled trouble coming in the form of Teo. Kalani's descendant notes that she's headed from the direction of the dance floor.
"Good evening, Ladies Wilhelm," he responds to Heidi's curtsy. Teo remembers what he told her when they first met out on the road, but he understands why she would bow to him now; here in full sight of some of the district's most upper nobility it would be uncouth to not uphold custom. "Heidi, I'm thrilled to see that your aunt brought you along. We'll have to dance at some point. Save some energy for me, would you?" he speaks jovially, as one typically does at Sovall.
Turning his attention then to the aunt, he smirks at her. "And you," he chortles, "I would have never suspected you to be such a choreographed specimen. Should I be reserving a dance with you as well?" he jokes. Of course, he must ease into asking the registrar if she's followed up on the man from the graveyard. Luckily, the holiday offers plenty of ease-in material.
Despite her snarkiness towards Willa, Maude is as vigilant as ever. Some may read it as paranoia, but the eldest of the Wiehl line simply attributes it to being prepared. She views the world in terms of how she sees herself: deceitful, destructive, devilish. And though she doesn't notice Teo on the dance floor, much the same as he doesn't notice her either, she knows that Heidi, in a way, is a beacon. Her niece is a pretty object. She glimmers... and she draws all those who seek treasures.
It does surprise her that her niece dips down, splaying into a perfect low curtsy. Maude's head cranes around to see that Teo has found them at last. For the briefest of moments she meets his eyes, then dips into a curtsy herself. It's not as good as Heidi's innocent gesture. It is passable at best.
Maude allows Heidi her exchange with Teo as he addresses her. She deserves it... or maybe it's more that the young elfling wants it. Even someone as embittered as Maude can appreciate the cruelty of young love. Formalities aside, however, she has more pressing things.
She pulls the Prince in close, to whisper in his ear. "Of that favor you asked of me." She lets the word linger for an Elvish moment. "I have no record of the Morganas in town, negatively that is, it's decent Dryad family... maybe have your advisor... look into it." She's never spoken of her dislike of Zoroaster before, and she doesn't now, but in all possibility if she can't dig up the truth... he possible could.
With a sweep of the room, Maude's eyes move across the ball and notes two things, to herself she says, ('Ah, the little seer is here.') and to Teo, "Yes... and now your Armor has left the room?" She no longer sees Jade, anywhere, and it could mean nothing. But if Maude's own head-of-guard left her alone in a room of people... she'd want to know why.
Although Zoroaster was enjoying himself talking with he nobles and wealthy people of Siras, he knew he had to keep tabs on two main people: Prince Teo and Jade. He didn't have a good feeling about the latter. She was always sneaking off doing something with that ablaze salamander of hers like now. His dark eyes landed on Teo who was now talking to Lady Wihel and her....daughter? No, niece.
"You'll have to excuse me," Zoroaster gracefully bowed out from the small crowd and went to grab a loaf of bread hoping that it would soak up some of the alcohol that Teo had consumed while also making sure he had something to eat.
The Advisor to the prince slowly made his way over to Prince Teo, quietly handing him the loaf. "Excuse me, Ladies." He bowed respectively. "I thought my prepossessing prince might like to have some bread with his beverage."
His dark eyes fell on the younger woman and grinned kindly, "this must be your sister, Lady Wiehl." He charmed, complimenting the older one. Zoroaster then took a step back so that he was just behind the prince. His eyes did a quick look around the throne room before adverting his eyes to Teo's shoulder.
"Heidi, I'm thrilled to see that your aunt brought you along. We'll have to dance at some point. Save some energy for me, would you?"
Heidi beams at the prince's word, her lips spreading into a wide smile as she clasps her hands tighter together. It seems a dream, and she still fears that it might be. That she will wake and find that none of it had happened at all.
She stands by as Maude draws the prince in close to whisper in his ear. The attempt at secrecy isn't enough to undercut her own enhanced sense of hearing - or that of any other elf in attendance this evening. However, the shared words are vague enough to any not familiar with the circumstances under which they met Prince Teo on the Sorcerer's Road two days hence.
"Yes... and now your Armor has left the room?"
"She's most likely patrolling the grounds," Heidi says with a roll of her eyes. "You always seek out the worst in any circumstance." Heidi looks to Teo, still smiling, and shakes her head apologetically. (So embarrassing!)
"This must be your sister, Lady Wiehl."
Heidi, who had shuffled to make space for the advising gypsy upon his approach, looks to her aunt and grins. She doubts the compliment will be taken well. A Herald could come upon Maude and exclaim her beauty, and her response would still be a sharp lashing of the tongue or scathing look.
"You hear that, auntie," Heidi says, in a bid to draw Maude towards herself so that she might spare Zoroaster. "He either called me old or you young - I do hope it's the latter."
Jade's eardrums are assaulted by the sounds of music and laughter, as she snakes back into the throne room. The ball is still in full-swing, with guests grinning ear to ear with the sickening glee of Sovall. The sun-blood carries herself with a regal elegance as she glides through the crowd. She passes many faces, some she recognises, some she doesn't. All of them beneath her.
The Royal Guard can't help but seek out her charge. Teo stands surrounded by his usual lapdogs. Zoroaster, a petty thief who's rise in status is nothing short of criminal. Then there's Maude, who of late always seems to be whispering in the Prince's ear. And then finally Heidi. Pretty little Heidi. Her heart of gold is practically destined to be broken.
(He wilfully chooses to surround himself with the most deplorable social-climbers.)
The sun-blood gives a cordial nod to the Prince, letting him know that she's watching. She then does a survey of the room, double-checking where each of her fellow guards are placed. Jade briefly wonders if they will be called away at any given moment, she can after all already SENSE Polaris at the magic shop. Then Jade spots someone she didn't expect - a familiar face who once treated her with kindness.
"Teagan." The helaide smiles as she approaches. Jade was privy to the names of every man, woman and creature invited to the ball. The Oracle was not amongst them. "I don't recall your name on the list of invitees." She shares a knowing look. "But I won't tell, if you promise not to be any trouble."
He wasn’t sure what he was looking for – if anything at all. What would he need to do to integrate himself with these party-goers? Bits and pieces of ideas filtered into his consciousness and were summarily discarded – after all, he didn’t know these people well enough. But he could be patient, and attentive, and –
Not to say he jumped when he heard his name, but he might have just a little bit. Thankfully not enough to jostle his drink. When he spotted Jade he gave her a warm smile in return and shook his head, carefully.
”Na, I’d never do that to the folk.” Or worse, besmirch his mother’s good name with his own antics. Not among the wealthy and powerful, at least. Back home, there was little reason not to play a little trick here or there. ”But I swear I’ve been invited in a roundabout way. One o’ the Alderman – Graveris? Graverice? Somethin’ like that. His son’s not as good at cards as me. I’m here by right of conquest.” The word was said with a hint of a tease, because… of course, he hadn’t been required to physically conquer anything.
”You don’t look like you’re getting’ to have much fun yourself at this event, Ms. Jade.” He pointed out, tilting his head slightly. ”S’no fun if everyone doesn’t get to enjoy themselves. When d’you have a drink and a dance?” He asked, curiously, not entirely sure how a guard’s rotation actually worked.
Teagan jumps at the sound of Jade's voice. He's like a schoolboy being caught misbehaving and it reminds the heliade just how young the oracle is. Teagan is practically a child in comparison to her. Although age is always difficult to gage in the Otherworld, with its mix of inhabitants. Jade can't imagine what it would be like to wither away with age and die. In her opinion, it's what sets out the Fae as the true upper classes of the mage races.
(Cards?) The sun-blood's eyes narrow. (You'd have to be a fool to play a game of chance with a seer.) "Grevaris" She corrects, recognising the name as a member of the legislative branch. Elves always hold such frighteningly boring occupations. (Less elves the better. Far too haughty for my liking.)
Jade leans forward and lowers her voice into a playful whisper. "Well between you and I, I'm a big believer in earning your place, rather than being handed it." (Some have it too easy…) "So welcome to the party." (It might be your last…)
"I'm afraid a life in service to the crown doesn't leave much time for drinking or dancing." It's a true statement. Jade observes, but rarely gets to partake in any of the festivities.
"What about yourself? Is it everything you imagined?" She takes a moment to look the oracle up and down. He lacks the finery of many of the other guests, but Jade assumes this is the best Teagan can afford. She doesn't judge him for even a moment. Jade isn't materialistic in the slightest. "You certainly dress up well."