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#841 Offline Kughii

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Posted Apr 24 2014 - 11:54 PM

IC: Kamari

She nodded and allowed herself to enjoy the restaurant's ambiance for a moment. Soft candles were set on the wooden pillars of the upscale establishment and reed curtains hid private diners, though did little to dull the raucous laughter bouncing around the room. The crystal table was laden with a cornucopia of seafood delicacies. Only the best was served to a toroshu, and each bite of her own meal brought a mouthwatering satisfaction she experienced in only one other way. She looked at Noshima.

"It is no trouble to serve you."

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#842 Online Purple God

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Posted Apr 25 2014 - 12:00 AM

IC: Noshima

 

Noshima smiled softly. "I am glad."


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#843 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 25 2014 - 03:51 AM

Ic: "At this hour?" I almost blurted. "Eh, I suppose you might find some neat accessories, though I doubt it'll be much. Just go see Soraya in the morning, and if her prices are out of your pay grade just tell her to bill the rest to me," I offered. Another plus of being a royal was the seemingly limitless wealth the crown could spend. Datsana nobles tended to flaunt their trapping more freely but nothing compared to this chōjo's taste in wardrobe. And yes, this is me bragging about my clothes. I'm a girl's girl; get over it. According to both Soraya and the finance minister, one dress of mine—which I tend to wear to parties—apparently cost something arounnnnd thirty percent of the empire's economy to make and I have five of them because I can't help it. I'm a sucker for fashion. Anyway, I'm just saying, helping Aya and Taz with their costumes is a literal drop in the bucket for me.

 

"Well, I'll let you two get on with your night," I said and gestured towards the thrumming lights of the palace's streets. "There's plenty fun to be had over there. Tazera, thanks for the intel, and cousin, it's always good to see you. Until the party!" I clicked my tongue twice, shot a wink and a friendly finger point, then turned on my heel and began the long walk up the hundreds of steps into the palace's core with my Clan Hogo mooks guards radiating around me like sun rays, as they always did.

 

Time to finally get some rest.

 

...

 

Nevermind, I didn't get any rest—too much was on my mind. As I struggled in my plentiful sheets I pulled Tazera's notes from my cleavage and opened the parchment, then spent long minutes reading its points over and over again. This Nihi was peculiar fellow. I decided to find her in the morning and get to the bottom of this scheme. And if the Fursics, maybe even the lapdog Kuno, were involved? My curiosity got the better of me. I got up, still wrapped in my sheets, and dumped them on the floor as I hopped into my silken clothes and fled my apartment.

 

Time to finally do some homework!


Edited by Crown Princess Yumiwa, May 19 2014 - 03:40 AM.

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#844 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 25 2014 - 11:30 AM

IC:

 

"Well Mako, I hope you have a costume ready, or I might need to give you an advance on your pay. We'll be attending a masquerade ball tomorrow night, and I can't have you dressed like that" Soraph told the Datsue, showing him the invitation.

 

IC: Vilda Mako (Tribunes)

 

"I'll have you know that this is the finest Ringti handiwork you can get for a cheap price, and Zuto Nui knows that's what I have to work with"

 

So, a masquerade, eh? I had a strong inkling that I'd stick out anyway, I mean, how many Male Datsue have you seen recently? I'm the only example I can think off anyway.

 

"Well, I was going to say that I'm not a partygoer, but with the added element of costumes sown by hardworking Ringti that could have better things to do than indulge the societal, how can I refuse?"


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#845 Offline Kughii

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Posted Apr 25 2014 - 12:41 PM

OOC:  Finally some halfway decent posts for these characters.  Got a moment to actually type. XD

 

IC: Daikura Koga

 

Paper has always been a luxury in our land.  When I was handed a thick piece of it all rolled up and tied with a gold thread there was little doubt of its origin.  For starters every first son around me was receiving a similar object.  And the couriers were Umbralines, clan of our Rora.  I pulled off the gold thread and quickly read the lush colors of script. The note was more of an invitation, actually a request.  I couldn't just say, "sorry I'm busy playing Paero that day," to the grand Chōjo now could I?  As a Daikura's first son I could already feel the clammy hands of my mother offering me up as promiscuous meat yet again.  Women.  

 

It didn't take long for the news to spread amongst the first sons standing awkwardly on the paero field.  I watched a particularly young and exuberant man start dancing with his little invitation.  

 

"I believe the summons of our Chōjo require preparation.  In order to honor our Princess's wishes it may be wise to post-pone our match."  I said loudly.  There was a muttering among men and finally a general consensus of agreement as several walked off the field to begin their search for proper masquerade attire.  I watched them leave, bowed to Seiryu, then made my own way from the field.  

 

IC: Hogo Kamari

 

"Shall we finish here and begin preparations for your attire, my toroshu?"  Kamari asked after she had finished chewing.  She leaned forward slightly with a smile only available in such private conditions.  :Perhaps sequins?:


Edited by Kughii, Apr 25 2014 - 12:41 PM.

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#846 Online Purple God

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Posted Apr 25 2014 - 08:54 PM

IC: Noshima

 

Noshima tapped her fingers together. "Perhaps."


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#847 Online One-Eyed Construct

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Posted Apr 26 2014 - 12:09 AM

IC Seiryū
"No. How many times do I have to tell you that I do not have time for this? Unlike some other Dasaka nobility, I actually have a whole mess of responsibilities to-wha?!" *THWACK*. Seiryū had been walking away from the Paero field, explaining futily to the messenger that had been sent for him that he couldn't go when the messenger pulled what looked like a boat oar out of nowhere and knocked him upside the ehsd with it (granted, she was a Soulsword. The messenger then proceeded to take what looked like a very special robe and dressed the unconscious First Son in it before throwing his limpo body over her shoulder and walking in the direction of the Imperial palace. "Operation: party-napping halfway complete."

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#848 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 27 2014 - 12:21 AM

(OOC: Jam with Yukiko that was supposed to be posted a week ago and then wasn't because I'm apparently the best at losing half my messages)
 
IC: Soraya and Hatchi
 
"Cultery is a simple craft, if you will forgive my rudeness.  Crafting such as this require special attention to detail, and I assure you that it is quite durable.  Purple heart wood is known for both its beauty-"

"Perhaps our honorable guest would like to rest, while she considers her choices," Hatchi cut in as she poured herself another glass of kaolang.  Her voice was gentle, but Samichyr would know it as a warning.  <Hold off.  This one's not worth it.>

"O-of course.  The stars are especially beautiful night."  The younger dashi's well-crafted front slipped for a moment, revealing her dissapointment.  Nothing for it.  Soraya obviously had a short fuse, for all her composure, and Hachi wasn't about to test it.  She pulled herself to her feet with her cane and bowed deeply as she opened the tentflap for Soraya to step through.

 
Soraya gave a slight nod to the pair as she stepped outside.  She had to give Samichyr some credit - going for the craftwork angle was a good way to make a sale when you knew the material would get you nowhere - but the younger Dashi had been rattled even before Hatchi had cut her off.  She'll learn, Soraya thought.

There was a touch of chill in the air outside, and the kaolang gave off a slow-burning warmth as it snaked down her throat.  She had to admit, she was enjoying herself.  Working for the Umbralines meant acting first and haggling later - if ever - and it had been too long since she'd had the opportunity to go toe-to-toe on a price war without having to worry about causing a diplomatic incident.

She heard the tentflap live up to its name, and the slow steps of Hatchi coming to join her.  "She's not bad," Soraya said conversationally.  "Let her get a little more experience with selling outside of the caravan so she learns to think on her feet a little better, and you'll have a mechant to be proud of."

 
Hatchi's eyes twinkled.  "I have lead this caravan for ten years, but thank you for the advice, Plangori Soraya."

She glaced to the side to see the other caravan member, who was nervously waiting with the bowls of stew behind them.   She must have given one to Samichyr already.

She noticed Soraya's nose twist.  "A bowl will be five wagon wheels," she said.  "Thank you."  She nodded to the other dashi, who handed her a bowl and spoon.

 
Five wagon wheels was a fair bit more than market price for a bowl of stew, but on the other hand she really had it coming, going by Hatchi's comment on how long she'd been running the caravan.  Soraya smiled cheerily, handed a few coins to the waiting Dashi, and took her bowl.

The first mouthful was a bit like getting smashed upside the head with a hammer made of sour-yet-savory meat, but the second went down more easily.  Man, Tajaar can cook.  
"Well," she said between spoonfuls, "I'm just saying.  I had it drilled into me early on that the only way to survive as a saihoko - or even a ringti - or even somewhere in between, which seems to fit most of my clan pretty well - is to get yourself out there and practice your sales everywhere and anywhere.  I spent years hawking our stuff around the archipelago before I landed here.  Got my face spit on more than I care to admit.  But-" she took another spoonful.

"But if you're going to get by, you better know all the ways you're going to get spit on, and you better know how to shake it off.  That's all."  She swallowed.  "But I guess Tajaar know that pretty well too."

 
Hatchi gazed out at a cluster of stars.  She had known what they meant once, but she tried not to think to hard about it.  She might remember then.

"Every Taajar knows that from the time the can walk," she said, raising an eyebrow.  "And we don't have the protection of a clan name with more than a few dragons to its name."

And we learn very quickly, that we must never forget who we are.   Or we learn that an Imperial can have the security of leaving us with more than a broken nose and a bruised ego.

"It was just a mad Mmukau", she said.  "The leg."


Soraya's bowl was almost empty, and the chill of the evening was starting to set in again.  "Life'll do that," she muttered.  "Throw a mad Mukau at ya just to ruin your day." She scooped up the remains of the stew.  "What happened to the Mukau?"
 
"I managed to slit its throat while I was still concious," Hatchi said, her voice devoid of emotion.  "But that only meant they had to pull it off me."
 
"Talk about performing under pressure," she said, then winced.  "That wasn't supposed to be a joke."

Her spoon clunked against the bottom of the empty bowl.  The kaolang was turning sour in her stomach.

The silence stretched out between them, curdled and awkward, and finally Soraya sighed.  "Alright.  I've done pretty well for myself being a stubborn jerkface, but I can tell when I'm overstaying my welcome.  Look, Hatchi, I'll level with you - I don't even have enough in my wallet to make another round of bartering worth your while.  I had nothing to do tonight; I just wanted to get some good conversation and see how a Tajaar flips her wares."

 
Hatchi laughed.  "I knew that before you stepped into the tent, Soraya.  Your clan are not exactly known for their loose purse strings.  I tried my luck anyway.  Perhaps I took advantage of your goodwill, and for that I am sorry, but its not every day I get to try my wits against an Imperial merchant, and from the palace no less."
 
Soraya blinked twice, then chuckled.  "Oh! Well, glad to hear that, because I'm not gonna lie, I was starting feel like a bit too much of a smarmy jerkhead for once, which is a feat.  You Tajaar are always tough to read, and that leg story wasn't making things easier."  She grinned.  "Maybe next time we'll just agree up front that neither of us is expecting any actual deals."

She put the spoon to her chin and thought for a moment.  "Though, you know - I wouldn't say I'm 'from' the palace.  I ain't nearly good enough at talking down to people for that."

 
Hatchi rose to her feet, leaning on her cane.  "I'm sure you'll learn, in time," she said, and she herself was not sure if it was a joke or not.  "I will you good night, Plangori Soraya.  May Zuto's light shine upon you."

And with that, she turned back toward her camp and limped toward the campfires.

She was tired, but the night would be long.

 
Soraya blinked again as the Tajaar turned and limped away.  "Oh, uh- bye!"  Doesn't drag things out, huh.  She smiled.  I like her.

For a few moments Soraya stood there and looked around the camp.  She should probably get go-

"Hey, hold on, whaddaya mean I'll learn, and - hey, what am I supposed to do with this bowl...?"


(OOC: Soraya can now be considered to be 'back at the shop' the morning after this. So now in RPG time.)


Edited by GSR, Apr 27 2014 - 12:24 AM.

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#849 Offline Ghosthands

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Posted Apr 27 2014 - 06:44 AM

OOC: Just a few short posts to help move things along. Quite busy atm.

 

IC (Tazera)

 

:Well then,: Tazera remarked as she watched the Chojo leave. :...shopping.:

 

IC (Enali)

 

"I've got everything I need," said Enali, patting her backpack.

 

IC (Kilanya)

 

Kilanya watched Kulrik as he spoke with a rock-hard stare, hands clasped on the table in front of her. Kulrik may have though his fabrications would fool the Toroshu, but they did not. Her sharp wits picked out every guilty hesitation, every slightly-too-smooth glossing-over, every honeyed word that was just a little too sweet.

 

Nahila had been very clear in reporting her observations and suspicions, and Kilanya agreed with the intuition of her guard captain. From the moment he had stepped into her hall, she had been able to see from the way he spoke and carried himself that Kulrik was a male of that particular inclination, and she was now reasonably sure of what had really occurred between him and Aveela the previous day.

 

She did not, however, have concrete proof, and neither did she want to risk a diplomatic incident with the Vilda by making an open accusation against their First Son. And however much Kulrik might try her patience, she didn't think he really meant any harm.

 

"I see," she said. It was clear from her tone that she wasn't convinced. "Well, First Son, regardless of whatever may or may not have happened, I would caution you not to - as you yourself so aptly put it - take advantage of our hospitality."

 

Kilanya's gaze was unwavering.

 

"Is that understood?"


Edited by Ghosthands, Apr 27 2014 - 02:56 PM.

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#850 Online Toa Fanixe

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Posted Apr 27 2014 - 10:22 PM

IC:

 

"I understand completely, Toroshu Kilanya. You can count on me to be most gracious guest the Ageru have ever had."

 

Kulrik maintained his mask of quiet contentment with ease, the result of a lifetime of training, but beneath it all he felt a great, deep regret. Not for what he'd done - no, Kulrik had most definitely enjoyed the fun he'd had with Aveela - but for how he'd done it, and the result of his carelessness. He should have been more discrete in his actions, and perhaps have waited a few days before using his charm on the perky guardswoman.

 

He hadn't though, and it seemed to have landed him Kilanya's bad graces. That wasn't what Kulrik had wanted - Kilanya was remarkably amicable for a Toroshu, and one of the few woman he could have a conversation without their drawling over his undeniable allure. The prospect of having lost a potential friend left a bitter thought at the back of his mind. What Kulrik needed was some way to redeem himself. But how...

 

There was a knock on the door, and in marched a royal messenger. After a quick greeting, she handed both Kulrik and Kilanya. 

 

 

*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*• [OMG IMAGINE ALL THE GREAT AND FANCY DECORATIONS THAT ARE NOT ACTUALLY HERE] •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*

 

By the command of

 

Her Imperial Highness the Chōjo, Umbraline Yumiwa

 

The presence of your person and a guest is cordially requested for a festive night of refreshment and conviviality in

 

the Dragon Hall of the Imperial Palace on the second day following the full moon.

 

This note permits admittance.

 

Addendum: Please dress in masquerade.

 

*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*• [IF A PRINCE HAS NO LAND BUT A REALLLLLY NICE SWORD IS HE STILL A GOOD MATCH?] •*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*•*

 

 

A guest?, thought Kulrik. His mind quickly considered whom he might bring to the social event of the decade. Seigyo was his first choice, of course, but he dismissed when he realized there was a good chance she was invited anyway, and besides, as his Herupa she would follow him anywhere. He thought for a fanciful second to bring Aveela, but that was more in jest than anything. The First Son of the Vilda could hardly show up to a Royal Party with simple, fidgety Ageru guard. The truth was, Kulrik couldn't think of anyone with whom he might feel at ease at a party full of Toroshu, women that could with a word make his life very, very unpleasant. Well actually, there was one, and it couldn't be more perfect.

 

"Toroshu Kilanya, would you do me the greatest honour of accompanying me to the masquerade party?" Kulrik asked, charisma flowing from every word.

 

 

"Perfect!" exclaimed Soraph, clapping her hands in delight. "It doesn't seem like the Paero game will be going on today, so we might as well get going. Our bet still stands though; you won't be getting out of it that easily."

 

She and Mako rose out of their seats and made their way out of the stadium.

 

:Don't think I'll forget about our wager, Daikura Koga:  Soraph added into the First Son's mind before the two were out of range.

 

"It might take a few days to prepare your apartment, but don't worry, you can stay at mine until then. You can sleep on the bed; I have wonderfully soft sofa in another room I can sleep on if it means I don't have to hear you complain about your back all night at the party. We can go to Plangori Soraya for our costumes. Have your ever heard of that Ringti? She's one of the best on Sado, so try to be respectful."

 

The continued on their way. 


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#851 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 03:47 AM

OOC: Jam with Nuju.

 

IC:

 

As usual, I didn't sleep until the wee hours of the morning last night, only this time I hadn't just been reading. This Menti on the Roof suddenly had a name and with it an identity for me to chase down, a life to investigate. The false prophet now was in a whole different light to me and far be it from me to squander the opportunity and freshness of the moment. I had sent a handmaiden to the census ministry tower to make sure an official was present to help me in my investigation and spent hours researching Nihi. The official gladly acquiesced to my summons and questions until finally I retired at almost dawn even though she was very curious why I so intently was on the trail of this one Menti, but it was beyond fruitful for my purpose.

 

I slept only as long as needed to retain my composure and even managed to wake up without Hana bouncing on my bed—I was eager to go ahead with my full day's activities. No lessons, no court proceedings, just an open schedule for once. Or, it was open until I plotted out my errands. First off: Find Nihi.

 

And that's where I am now: Finding Nihi. Thanks to Tazera's research I knew of Nihi's sister Nachi, and with the digging last night I discovered the extent of Nachi's injuries. Apparently Nihi was generally distant at work since the Chaotic Six’s escape, a huge devolution from being a reputed ‘bundle of sunshine’ before the mishap. I figured she'd visit her sister as often as she could, particularly in moments of strain, for comfort with someone familiar. I'm pretty far removed from everyday people's problems but I know what it's like to endure stress and wanting to find a trusted outlet to pour feelings into. Mine is Hana; I had no doubt Nihi would go to her sister for mutual comfort.

 

And so I walked through the Gardens' lower terraces towards the healing compound I learned Nachi was housed in. It was crowded with lesser Dasaka and a great many Dashi, all of them fanning out from in front of me as my squad of Clan Hogo retainers subtly spread word of my impending arrival, and the folk all bowed reverently as I passed.

 

Nobody questioned why I was there, all except a refined Dashi receptionist named "Gysha" who looked up from her tablet and abruptly shot to attention and bowed deeply. "Your Highness!" she crooned, regretful for not noticing me before when I strode up. "To what does this ward owe the honour of your visit?"

 

"I'm looking for a Menti named Eiyu Nihi. I understand her sister is cared for here. Has she come by recently?"

 

"Nihi? Yes, she's actually seeing Nachi right now! Let me just send word—"

 

"That won't be necessary," I gently interrupted with a smile, then asked, "What room is she in?" I knew this would be a real surprise for her. Hopefully she won't faint and hit her head on the corner of the bed.

 

 

When the door opened, Nihi expected a healer, come in to tell her that her time with her sister was up, and that Nachi needed rest; this was usually how Nihi's visits to her sister ended, for time passed at a different speed within her sister's room, and Nihi usually lost track of it. Instead of being presented with the squat figure of a healer, though, Nihi's eyes were met by a longer, more slender silhouette, one that she could not have expected less or feared more to see: The chōjo.

 

Immediately, Nihi sprung off of her sister's bed and bent into a bow that, given to anyone else, may have been comically low. Face facing earth, Nihi felt dizzy heat surge up in her cheeks. She squeezed shut her eyes for an instant, as if this would somehow stem the flow of warmth to her forehead. Training her gaze meaninglessly on the grains of the smooth wooden floor, Nihi was suddenly and acutely aware that she looked extremely inelegant today.

 

"My Chōjo," Nihi spoke stiffly, not really having anything else to say.

 

Sometimes I make jokes or pull pranks about the default reaction people make in my presence, much like with Tazera last night, but this wasn't a lighthearted chance encounter and I met Nihi's obeisance by wholly acting the part of the chōjo. "Eiyu Nihi," I greeted back. My insouciance and spunk was left behind in my apartment, drawing a contrast with Nihi’s anxious personality I surely revived in full force with my visit.

 

By my command the bulk of my Hogo escorts remained outside the medical ward, both because they would have intruded on the efficiency of the halls but also for my privacy with Nihi. Instead, only two guards stationed themselves on opposite extremities of the hallway guarding the door, which I now shut behind me before I gracefully stepped over to Nihi and glancingly touched her shoulder to relieve her back of its (nigh absurd but entirely sincere) ninety-degree bend.

 

I stood at the foot of the bed Nachi laid on and smiled kindly at the unseeing Menti. "She's beautiful," I observed aloud as Nihi recovered. "I hope the healers have been treating her well?”

 

When the chōjo had touched Nihi's shoulder, Nihi had immediately straightened, assumed her stand with almost militaristic rigidity. But by the time Nihi was up, the chōjo had already moved past her. With the sensation of a rock dropping in her stomach, Nihi discovered upon her ascent that the rora's elder daughter now looked, from a position at the foot of the bed, at Nachi. Something about watching the chōjo appraise Nachi was unsettling to Nihi; she felt that Nachi was too delicate to bear such a heavy gaze. But Nihi certainly couldn't tell the chōjo to look away.

 

"Yes, my lady," Nihi answered, joining the chōjo in gazing at Nachi, though she stood further back from the bed. "The healers help my sister with sure hands and open hearts. They are generous to keep her here."

 

Nihi wanted to know why the chōjo had come. Was it finally time for Nihi to feel more than stares as recompense for her brash remarks at the Markets? Was Nachi to be removed from this place of  tenuous safety? If either of these were the case, then why had the chōjo come in person? Indeed, why would such matters as these even be worth a chōjo's notice? Nihi was confounded, and for the second time in a short while felt that she had been sucked into events far too large for her.

 

I looked back to Nihi, but even with my politesse and disarming smile the Menti seemed to wither under my unavoidable scrutiny. "You're beautiful, too, and she's very lucky to have you as a sister looking after her." This made my mind fidget towards thought about Desde—would she treat me with similar kindness if I was the subject to tragedy?—but I brought myself to the presence instantly.

 

Nihi needed to be assuaged and comforted about my arrival, and maybe I wasn't the ideal person for that considering I am the cause of her anxiety, but I resolved to be both honest and regal regardless. "I am here about the speech in the market," I started—Nihi's face suddenly contorted into one of both a sort of relief and dread—"but I'm not going to judge you for it. I think you're a wonderful person, Nihi. I can tell you're ashamed of what happened, but you don't have to be ashamed with me," I said and collected her right hand in both of mine, holding it as if it were a precious thing to express my empathy.

 

"...My lady?" Nihi inquired. She could only think about the fact that her hand was between the hands of the next rora of the empire; had the chōjo actually explained herself, or was Nihi simply too far outside of herself to process what'd just been said? She still did not understand why the chōjo had come.

 

Nihi looked down at my hands holding hers, back at me and seemed shellshocked even more. I mentally sighed. Just... her wide-eyed gaze and visible astonishment was almost making me say "###### it" and just spill the beans all out of the can. But no, I couldn't do that. Not here, not in this public space where any influential clan could have listening ears. I had a plan in mind and I wasn't going to deviate from it.

 

"Please, Nihi, call me Yumiwa," I said politely, then got to the point. "I get why you're passionate about our policies on Mata Nui," I tilted my head subtly towards Nachi, " and I know you were politically leveraged into giving that speech in the Market. Politics aren't your thing but they're my life. I sought you out because I think we should work together—believe it or not I think we share similar goals, both on Mata Nui and here in Sado, and I can help you more than anyone else.

 

"But it isn't not wise to discuss these things here, so I'm inviting you to one of my private terraces in the upper Gardens for a late lunch. I want to hear your side of the story, Nihi—just you and I. And maybe we can help each other achieve each other's dreams." I almost tacked on a reminder of how rude it was to refuse the chōjo's invitations (even the casual ones) though from the even wider gawk in Nihi's face there wasn't a chance in ###### she would/could even consider declining. Instead all I added on was a hopeful, "What do you say?”

 

What did she say?

 

Nihi was flabbergasted; had she been in less honorable company, she may have tried to slap herself out of the revel that she must have been in. Surely she was dreaming... indeed, Nihi's life had lately been an odd series of dreams, sequential encounters with figures larger than life. First the Chaotic Six, the most notorious villains known to the Dasaka, had intimately broken her sister; then, Nihi had been one of just a handful of Menti to voyage to the island of Mata Nui, one of the few alive who had yet seen the Toa and Matoran of that place. She'd shared tea with one of the most renowned First Sons on the Archipelago, and days later had become a figure of public infamy. How - no, how was easy to trace; /why?/ - had Nihi been chosen by Zuto Nui for her inconceivable adventures?

 

So small next to the demons and royals of her recent world, Nihi knew that she was just a pawn to them. Kuno had wanted something, and the chōjo—Nihi could never conceive of calling the rora's daughter by something as informal as her name—must also have been seeking something. Both played (or now, tried to play) her pronounced hatred of the Skakdi to their advantages, she could see that this time around. Though Nihi had gone into Kuno's glittering den gullibly, and had swallowed his talk of dreams and vengeance as easily as water, she wasn't a fool. She could certainly remember where that word-gluttony had gotten her; Nihi was intent not to repeat her mistakes.

 

What did she say? There was, of course, only one thing she could say if she valued her life; nevertheless, Nihi felt as though she would have made the same choice anyway, if only because she was curious as to why important people found her important.

 

"I would be honored to join you, my lady," Nihi said, daring not to look into the chōjo's eyes. She fixed her gaze instead on their hands, still clasped. The contact was no less electrifying for its long duration.

 

"I already asked that you call me Yumiwa," the chōjo chided lightly, almost playfully.

 

"I'm sorry, my lady Yumiwa," Nihi apologized.

 

"Well, I guess it's a start," the chōjo said as she stood away from Nihi, at last breaking the contact of their hands. "I'll be outside; take all the time you want with your sister, and then we can head up to my terrace." Nihi nodded dumbly, and the chōjo, with a gracious smile, departed the room.

 

As soon as rora's daughter left, Nihi collapsed next to her sister on the bed, eyes covered by her palms. She listened for Nachi's steady, unconscious breath, and joined its rhythm. In through the nose, out through the mouth, like they used to do in training. Nachi didn't have the best breathing technique these days, so Nihi had to do it for herself and her sister. After a half-dozen inhales and exhales, Nihi stood from the bed, and smoothed the places where her weight had crinkled the sheets. She folded Nachi's hands over her stomach, and kissed her on the forehead. Nachi didn't blink at the contact; her eyes were, as always, great cathedrals of nothing.

 

Not for the first time, Nihi was a little envious of her sister. Nachi no longer had worries. Then again, she didn't have much of anything.

 

"Wish me luck," Nihi said as she departed the room. "I'll need it.”

 

...

 

The walk to my terrace was like any other day for me, though for Nihi it must have been just about as awe-inspiring as my appearance. I’d always thought the gardens were pretty to look at and stuff, though Nihi’s impression would be fresh and unmarred by a deadness to the visages and the gardens would be unbelievably gorgeous—what was my everyday playground was her happy hunting ground.

 

It was a silent traverse, too. Either because of respect of fear or both Nihi remained at a short distance behind me. I would have enjoyed sharing the sights and sounds to my guest, though I also wasn’t going to force Nihi to be close to me when I know I am so overwhelming, so I merely walked ahead of her by about fifteen feet. Sometimes I could hear her footsteps patter more quickly as she caught up to me after pausing to admire something she deemed most beautiful and that brought a smile to my face. There was plenty to appreciate, too, from the flowing ponds that seemed like lakes to her and the bestiary we could view from one of the many soaring staircases that bridged the floor level to the upper reaches and the twinkling luminescence shrouded by dense and floral vegetation.

 

In what must have seemed like a magic trick to her we arrived in the highest points in the Gardens and scurried up the final flight of milky quartz steps onto one of my smaller private terraces. Well, small to me anyway. Just a single hexagonal floor with a koi pond and a little bridge surrounded by a wall of hanging vines and rich orchids. One table, round and adorned by half a dozen platters of stacked with foodstuffs, waited on the side, sheltered by an vine-laden arbor and afforded a gap in the foliage through which we could survey a big swath of Sado and the infinite sea with Odaiba in the horizon. Two ornate ivory chairs awaited us and we sat alone. The Hogo retainers, once again rendered pointless and a nuisance, stood at attention on a lower balcony to prevent anyone from interrupting my visit.

 

“Nihi, I think you’re a very smart young woman, so we’ll toss the facade and converse freely as two smart young women,” I said and unceremoniously plopped a huge piece of honey lemon crumbcake onto my plate. “You’re wondering why I have interest in you, aren’t you?”

 

Nihi gently nodded submissively as she looked for something to pluck from the assortment of foods. Everything on the table was absurdly beyond what she could afford and looked utterly pristine, like the foodstuffs reserved for restaurants that flaunted their golden platters and tall fountains of flowing saké, and she struggled to decide what to take. It probably felt like a sort of theft to her.

 

“Try the crumbcake! It’s my favourite,” I suggested merrily, though honestly she could have chosen anything and still think she was eating food made for a goddess. “The fruit’s for health nuts and I’m not one—they serve it anyway because ‘mothers orders.’

 

“Anyway, I’m sorry to say there’s actually nothing really extraordinary about you… other than your extraordinary fortunes. I’m not interested in you to manipulate you but because you’ve already been manipulated. I know there is a larger scheme at play here; I want to get to the bottom of it all and you’re the precious connection. So, to start this off, I’m going to ask this: Who approached you to preach in the Market?” I shoved a handful of the cake into my mouth. (######, I never can get enough of these…)

 

Nihi politely took a piece of the cake, and tried a little bit. It was very good, but she definitely wash't hungry. She set the little plate down again, and wiped her mouth as courteously as she could. The way in which the chōjo was eating her cake surprised Nihi a bit; she hadn't expected one of such high birth to have had such - dared Nihi even think it? - bad table manners. But, then again, perhaps the chōjo was lowering herself intentionally, so as to seem more approachable. At this stratospheric level of society, everything one breathed was probably manipulation of some sort.

 

The chōjo's directness also caught Nihi off guard; she hadn't expected to be questioned so unflinchingly. Because she had nothing to hide, because Kuno's suggestions hadn't done her any good - and so she had no reason to preserve his secrecy - and because she couldn't imagine lying to the chōjo, Nihi simply told the truth. "The Fursic First Son, Kuno, encouraged me to make my mind known at the markets, my lady Yumiwa," Nihi stated.

 

"Alright," I said, satisfied from the positive read I got. Nihi's eyes lit up with memory and her face almost glowed of resentment from the meeting; so she met Kuno, indeed. Not Kuni. Or Kono. Or Konu. The real thing. ######.

 

I contemplated how much I should tell Nihi about my worries and need to know about her experiences, especially with the Fursic deception play. She doubtlessly felt played for a tool even here and now, and rightfully so. She'd gone from courts to expeditions being used and then discarded like a syringe. In order to win her to my side I had to give her honesty—it was the language of the streets, her work, the common people. She expected me to be political and insincere plays, and my task was to shatter that expectation and become her friend. Honesty was key here.

 

"I'm worried about what is going on, particularly against my clan and the Dasaka Throne," I began, "but Kuno's involvement brings this all to a new light. Kuno and I are expected to be engaged soon. And I... well, I don't want that," I said flatly, at a loss for a more proper description that didn't feature a string of curses.

 

Nihi knew as well what to do with a royal confession as she knew how to breathe underwater. "I'm sorry, my lady Yumiwa," she said uncertainly. "If it comforts you, Kuno mentioned nothing about the throne.”

 

"Of course not," I replied, probably a bit too sharply, "that would be sloppy of him. He's a man of politics, too, as you know, and he used you, as he did with who-knows-how-many others, to attack the Umbraline ideology, which can be just as dangerous as raw physical rebellion. You were a weapon, he was the wielder, your mouth was the edge and your passion the grip. But now that you know this much, you can see why I, more than anyone, want to see this Fursic affair dealt with."

 

I towed with my food, poking it absentmindedly with a utensil. "What did Kuno preach to you in your meeting?" I asked, curious. "When you spoke in the Market the passion was yours but the words—they were deposited, weren't they?”

 

"No, my lady," Nihi said, looking up at last from her uneaten piece of cake. She glanced in the chōjo's direction, made eye contact for a moment, and immediately looked away, letting her gaze drift across the stunning vista all around. It was a gorgeous day, and a gorgeous view; Nihi couldn't remember the last time she'd been so high up, especially in the open air. Watching some of the Gardens' birdsperhaps the same cluster she'd eyed earlier in the dayNihi went on. "The remarks I made on that day were all devised of my foolishness alone."

 

She swallowed the lump of shame that threatened to silence her before continuing. "When I met with Kuno, he discovered my passion and urged me to speak my mind. He agreed with me, he told me that a cousin of his had also been victim to the Chaotic Six, and said that he wanted someone unburdened by his family's reputation to rouse the people... But Kuno didn't tell me what to say. I said what I believed, my lady." Or rather, what Nihi found that she still believed? Even the stares of all of Sado hadn't been enough to settle the frothing wrath that rose in her whenever she remembered the Skakdi's stupid, smiling faces.

 

"I see," I said as I tried to match my words with my imagination. Passion's roots ran deep and could solidify even the most insecure clump of soil with their embraces, and now I at least understood how devoted Nihi was—is—to the words she peached to the crowd. I also realized how ###### easy it was for Kuno to just throw her in the direction that most pleased him; she was like a rocket just waiting for a fuse.

 

Once again i found myself considering how best to approach the predicament Nihi presented to me. She was a strong woman and had a great urge to thrive but, like the plant in Nachi's room, she still withered under concentrated strain. Inokio's lesson of looking at all the angles and appreciating the larger view just as much as the minuscule once again became relevant to my situation as I realized Nihi needed to be swayed with more than just faint references to shared goals and a sob story of a deplored courtier. On my platform of empathetic directness I needed to make my move now that she felt weakest from shame. I set aside my little utensil to give Nihi my undivided attention as I expressed my plan.

 

"Nihi, it's obvious we disagree on methodology, and I am completely okay with that," I started to explain. "My clan has always held fast onto steadfast traditionalism and self-preservation but I believe in placing value in more than just the clan doctrine. I believe the opinions others have can be every bit as valid as our own. There are multiple ways to achieve a single goal and I strongly hold that the path towards a stronger empire is by informed compromise, not a one-track approach. In short: I appreciate your vocality because I think it has merit, just like you do.

 

"Kuno... is a political soul, but while I live and breath politics I'm not a product of its toxic stench. Now you know why I fear Kuno's machinations and am wary of him, and you have reason to loath him just the same, so I'm asking for your help." I bunched my lips to the side in a smirk as I realized Kuno likely asked her for help, too, but decided I would use a different approach. "I know you're not a politician and have no interest in the games we play, and Kuno has soiled your dignity in public by using you against your grain, which is why I would not have you change to fit whatever I have in mind. You don't have to alter your philosophies or give speeches anywhere, all I ask is that you help me counter the threats against the Throne's foundation. This is not a one-sided bargain, though—for helping me deal with Kuno I would welcome your input regarding Mata Nui and I can even put you in a position to play a pioneering role in history as we contend with the menaces on that place. This isn't a matter of sending you to light fires of passion; we would do this together.”

 

"My lady," Nihi said after a pause, "Im afraid don't understand how I can be of service to you in this endeavor.”

 

"A fair question," I said and smiled graciously. Nihi was a very smart girl—naive, perhaps, but still capable. "On top of your passion and lack of a Fursic connection, I think Kuno used you because of shared ideas and goals. Your advice would help me understand what the Fursics are doing on this front so I can better handle it. But, also, I...—by helping me as an advisor concerning Mata Nui you send an indirect message to Kuno and the Fursics: The crown princess knows what they are up to and is open to diplomacy.

 

"I want what's best for the empire, Nihi, and if you could join me in making the best happen, I would sincerely appreciate it. And unlike Kuno, I will protect you through this endeavor.”

 

There it was, again: An offer from someone of dangerous stature, a request for Nihi to entangle herself, probably to her injury, in a world that she didn't belong in. It almost didn't amaze Nihi anymore that the chōjo wanted her help, or thought of her as valuable—a valuable pawn, that was—and so she was better equipped to see the trap that'd been laid for her this time. Nihi would be helpless, a broken ship tossed by waves, if she agreed to the chōjo's proposal; but, then again, did a ship have any power against the inexorable pull of a storm?

 

If Nihi was a boat, and Zuto Nui the endless sea, then her fate was being decided for her. She couldn't pretend to understand the currents that tugged her away from the life she'd expected, or squint to foresee the direction in which the lapping waves would take her. She could only surrender herself to the eroding wind and a grand expanse of wet death.

 

"My Chōjo," Nihi bowed her head. "I am at your disposal.”

 

I grinned but then shook my head gently. "Yes, Nihi, but you’re not a mere subject to me anymore. You're not my arm or weapon—I'm not a Fursic—rather, you're an admirable woman and an advisor." I paused, mused a second, then made a playful grin. "I don't suppose that despite your eventful history you ever thought one day you'd befriend a princess, hm?”

 

“No,” Nihi said slowly as the thought dawned on her. “It never came to mind.”

 

I paused and collected myself before I posed my next question: "I'm throwing a splendid little evening party in a couple days and would be very pleased if you came as my guest. It's masquerade themed so your face wouldn't be visible for others to recognize, though I'll also be erasing your connection to the speech in the Markets in the meantime so you can have a fresh start regardless. Will you come?" I asked.

 

Once again, though, as was always the case of royal invitations, this was less a question and more a requirement. Nihi could feel the weight of this request, though her attendance at the party would give me a wonderful opportunity to not only torment Kuno’s soul in turn but also maybe prove my generosity is real.

 

"Of course, my lady," Nihi accepted submissively. She'd been foolish to expect any rest before the next chapter.

 

“Fabulous!” I said and applauded quickly in a bout of girlish enthusiasm, the turned serious as I explained what would happen next: “The next day or so is all yours. Midday the day after tomorrow a handmaiden of mine will meet with you and go over the details and get your disguise ready for the party. Also, not to worry you, but a Fursic spy or two probably saw you coming with me, so just in case of the worst a few Hogo guards will be somewhere near you always—you likely won’t even know they’re there, but they will be. We’ll be seeing each other soon, Nihi!” I said and waved as she went away.

 

My appetite resumed now that my newest little friend cheerily (and likely apprehensively and whiplashed) left my terrace and a trio of guards saw to her continued safety, so I began to dig into my food anew. This was a good day so far, but I still had much to do and even more to think about.

 


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#852 Online One-Eyed Construct

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 01:50 PM

IC Minami
Activating her Iden was never an issue for Minami. She could leave her body with utmost ease and had no issue whatsoever with flying about in spirit form. Those astral flights-especially the late night ones, were what she lived for, as no earthly pleasure could compare to the feeling of absolute freedom from the physical constraints of mundane life. She could fly wherever she pleased, not having to care for walls and boundries. She could also do her duty, using the power of her mask to survey areas and spot dangers that not even her brother knew of. But the real reason she used it: it offered temporary respite from the confines if her failing body.

Temporary.

For even as the most enduring albatross must come to land at some point or another, so also the Iden user must return to her body before too long, lest they find an inhabitable corpse waiting for them upon their return. And returning was... Difficult to say the least. The best explanation for it was that Minami's soul (or whatever it is) didn't match her body very well, which made for quite a lot of physical discomfort when trying to force her way back in. Common symptoms were coughing, vomiting, and overall dizziness, made worse by her already existing illness. Despite these risks, Minami still insisted on using the mask, knowing full well what she would have to deal with when returning home.

Today was better than most days, fortunately, as Minami was able to regain control of her body with only mild discomfort. When full control was resumed, she telekinetically wheeled herself over to her desk, looking at the invitation that had been delivered in the morning.


********* [OMG IMAGINE ALL THE GREAT AND FANCY DECORATIONS THAT ARE NOT ACTUALLY HERE] *********

By the command of

Her Imperial Highness the Chōjo, Umbraline Yumiwa

The presence of your person and a guest is cordially requested for a festive night of refreshment and conviviality in

the Dragon Hall of the Imperial Palace on the second day following the full moon.

This note permits admittance.

Addendum: Please dress in masquerade.

********* [IF A PRINCE HAS NO LAND BUT A REALLLLLY NICE SWORD IS HE STILL A GOOD MATCH?] *********

"This should be fun... Or not. On the one hand, it is a masquerade party, and parties are fun. On the other hand, there's all those snobby high society types..." Unlike her brother, Minami was more divided on issues like these. Where her brother would respond with a resounding yes or no (not that he didn't think about it; it's just that he never spoke up until he made a decision), Minami was more prone to voicing her indecision, often times over and over again (something that drove the court absolutely nuts). "Should I go...?"

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#853 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 28 2014 - 11:40 PM

Ic: My next item on the agenda for the day was paying a visit to the crown's Plangori liaison to talk about my costume idea. Normally I'd just send a handmaiden of mine to give her my order, but since my costume was just important enough not to be ###### up by a game of telephone and I had the day free to my leisure I took the task onto myself. Besides, it was time for my periodic sizing up.
 
While I walked down the great walkways of Sado I wondered what Hana was up to; I hoped she and Desde followed my advice and composed the summary letters about last night. Even if Uncle Rayuke already was a thousand kio ahead of Desde and I, a letter on his desk with our insights might just be enough to make him smile and tell me he's proud of me. In the spirit of Order, I greatly valued the appraisal of those better than me for two reasons: One, they were legends in their fields, whether it be diplomacy, war, justice, philosophy or keeping an empire together, and two, they were just so few in number.
 
Some would say it's lonely on top, and it sort of is since there are only a handful of people I'm required to show obeisance to: My aunt, my uncle, my mom and, if I had one, an older sister. Even toroshu of the other great clans were expected to give me respect, if not reverence, in my presence. But that aside, it can be hard for me to tell who is a friend and who is just another prowling monster trying to impress me and get me to like them, their family, their industry or their clan. The fact is I'm important and everybody wants a piece of me because, when I'm the rora, a single smile can mean wealth or famine for anyone and their allies.
 
If I had to pick a single heroine to sing a song about it would have to be my mom, honestly. She holds the singly most unenviable but also, paradoxically, enviable position ever. Being the rora was as much a curse as a dream, she once told me, because you're as the top of society and the glue that keeps it together. You're supposed to be the centerpiece and the hostess and if the soup tastes wrong the guests will spit it out and give you the blame. A good rora will taste the soup to make sure it's fit for use; I was determined to be the rora who's soup never tasted off. The council of toroshu was the only group that could dare speak out against the rora's wishes, but I wasn't going to let them make me nothing more than a portrait on the wall and an effigy of unity. Politics was a game for some people (Kuno comes to mind) but it's what I'm raised to breathe, drink, eat and ######, and I wasn't going to dabble in it lazily. No, I would be the rora who brought the empire together again after generations of gradual splintering. People high and low would once have real pride and joy for their leader, not just age old obeisance.
 
People stared at me as I walked by, bowing as the plebs always did. But how many of them bowed in genuine respect and how many kissed the ground I trod because of tradition?
 
...
 
Plangori Soraya's place of work was in a familiar part of town, on the edge of the Markets bordering the Palace proper, so the wares there were generally more geared towards the affluent. Trinkets and gizmos were replaced by expensive tools, toys and household items of the highest quality, meant to improve the lives of those already vastly comfortable, and while this might say something about wealth distribution in my world it says a lot more about the caste system that has kept us organized and efficient. Here I wasn't so much out of my element and was surrounded by members of lower nobility and Herupa of important clan members; it was likely that half the people around me represented people invited to my party. Still, they bowed and let me pass by effortlessly.
 
But as I entered Soraya's shop the relative openness of the Market gave way to a stuffy atmosphere of cloth and wood. I sniffed curiously and singled out the scents of no less than five different fabric blends; I have a very keen nose for fashion. Soraya flitted as she usually did with a casual air of dedication to her work, though this time she seemed a little slower than usual, as though she spent the last night with one bottle too many and held a headache as a reminder of the evening. She was turned away from me, rummaging through some samples of her work and new fabrics on the far side of the room.
 
I cleared my throat but my gentle voice vanished into the walls of cloth and failed to grab the dashi's attention, so I merely stepped up to the counter and loudly exclaimed the one thing that would give Soraya nightmares for a week (I'm a weakling for jokes): "So the red dye f###### faded into pink."
 
She screamed as she turned around. She screamed again when she saw it was me.
 
I giggled until I could finally calm my lungs down and say, "Hello, Soraya."

Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 29 2014 - 03:17 AM.

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#854 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 12:30 AM

IC: Soraya [Sado Markets]

 

Soraya had had better mornings.

 

Now, to be clear: she really had nobody to blame but herself for the fact she was knee-deep in orders and neck-deep in a headache that half a dozen cups of water had done little to shake, and she owned that fact.  That said, somehow admitting your current misery was all on you did little to alleviate it, strangely enough.

 

A few orders had been plastered to her door when she'd awoken (earlier than she'd have liked, later than she'd admit), and they spared no expense: a cloak of royal blue, (where'd it get that name, anyway? Only royal here is the purple), a set of pure-black hoods (either someone died or someone wants to be inconspicuous and is really, really bad at it)... the list went on.  She pinned the orders to the wall behind the counter as she gathered up materials, trying not to trip and tear down half her shop in the process.  Well, there was nothing to be done for it - she'd get all these orders done on time and looking good enough to guarantee a few repeat customers down the line.  She hummed to herself as she went, an old song she could never quite place-

 

Now, to be clear: Soraya wouldn't characterize the sounds she made as 'screaming'.  They were more like 'startled yelps' in her book.  The screaming she saved for her inner monologue.

 

"Oh! Hey, Yu-" no not 'Yumiwa' say 'Chōjo' say 'Chōjo' say 'Chōjo' "-miwa." SORAYA.  "I mean, Chōjo.  Honored Chōjo."  She was getting there.

 

Semi-casually - that is, in the process sending a stack of orders sitting on the counter to the ground and sweeping them under said counter whilst never breaking eye contact with her client - Soraya stepped behind the counter and leaned onto it.  "So!" she said cheerily.  "What can I do for you?"  The red, Soraya.  The red is screwed.  "I mean - I am terribly sorry to hear that, Chōjo.  Do you have the effected item with you, or-" Or, assuming yesterday's 'customer' didn't mess it all up again, you know darn well you fixed it, so- "Or are you just messing with me."

 


Edited by GSR, Apr 29 2014 - 12:31 AM.

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#855 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 01:10 AM

Ic: "Both," I replied in playful truth, then extrapolated. "You were distracted by your work and I wanted to change your focus. But, also—" I pulled a dainty marbled pink pair of panties from my clutch and tossed it unceremoniously onto Soraya's desk "—this happened," my tone ever-so-obviously laced with disappointment. "The rich red even tainted the insides of my armoured leggings! I probably have hundreds of these things so I'm not angry, though my servants will be returning the latest batch to you just in case."


Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 29 2014 - 01:14 AM.

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#856 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 01:47 AM

IC:

 

"It might take a few days to prepare your apartment, but don't worry, you can stay at mine until then. You can sleep on the bed; I have wonderfully soft sofa in another room I can sleep on if it means I don't have to hear you complain about your back all night at the party. We can go to Plangori Soraya for our costumes. Have your ever heard of that Ringti? She's one of the best on Sado, so try to be respectful."

 

The continued on their way. 

 

IC: Vilda Mako (Sado)

 

Who would've thought I'd get to this level of grooming from Soraph? Answer me that, because I sure didn't.

 

"I might just stay here a little longer than planned" I thought to myself, thanking my old bones for being... well, old.

 

"My back has endured far worse than a sore sleep, did I ever tell you about the time me and this girl..."

 

OK, I think that should be saved for some other time.

 

"Masquerade party, eh? Well, I guess I'll just have to channel my inner beast, or somesuch. What do you see me as?"


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#857 Online Toa Fanixe

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 06:20 PM

IC:

 

"You mean besides an old man with a dirty little mind?" Soraph asked in mock disapproval. Mako's fleeting comments about his escapades from yesteryear were always funny to hear, but he would have to watch his tongue - not many nobles appreciated his humor as much as she, nor were the royal courts the place for it.

 

Soraph paused, taking a good look at the elderly Vilda and pretending to size him up. 

 

"Hmm... Maybe a... no. Wait, yes. A dog. An old, trained dog. You've definitely got enough silver in your mane."

 

Another thought invaded her mind.

 

"Actually, more of a wolf really. You should dress up as an old Kavinika, I think. And what do you suppose I should dress up as?"


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#858 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 07:52 PM

IC: Soraya (Sado Markets)

 

To her credit, Soraya managed to stop herself from saying her immediate thoughts out loud this time, which probably would've gotten her a one-way ticket home and her mouth brushed out with steel wool.  "Well", she managed to get out, "I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience, Chōjo.  May I" recommend you hire a washerwoman who knows how to read the Zuto-taken instructions "keep this for redyeing and inspect the troublesome batch at your servants' earliest convenience."  Smile, Soraya.  No, nice-smile, not murder-that-washerwoman smile.  That's the one.

 

"Is that all, or - isthatall, your highness, or is there something else I can do for you today?"


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#859 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 08:49 PM

Ic: "Yes," I confirmed and waved dismissively at my underthing on the table, "please do keep it—I don't want it in its current state anymore. But yes, there is something more. I'd like to have my measurements taken again since it's been a while, and I would like to talk about making a costume for my party coming up in a couple days. You have heard about my masquerade party, haven't you?" I said.

 

Based on her facial expression, she clearly hadn't.

 

"Oh. I see. Well, I'm hosting a masquerade party on the eve of second day after the full moon. Because of your work connection to my family you're also invited."


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#860 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 29 2014 - 09:40 PM

IC: Soraya

 

Party? Oh, spirit, was what Soraya would have thought if she were much more polite in her internal monologue.  Explains all the sudden requests. 

 

"Well, your Chōjo, I'm certain your handmaidens and personal staff are much more accustomed to taking measurements.  The dye's my speciality, remember.  But-"

 

The customer comes first, Soraya, she heard Morie's voice whisper.

 

"If you'd prefer my help, I can take care of that no problem."  She turned to the shelf behind her and began rummaging through it for measuring tape.  Ideally, she'd know off the top of her head, but her predecessor hadn't thought to leave behind a note with their biggest client's vitals.  I swear, feels like I'm the only one in this clan with an eye for detail.

 

"So," she called over her shoulder as she searched, "this party.  I take it you'll be needing my services for that as well?"

 

Soraya froze for a moment and blinked as her mind ran backwards a few steps.  "Aaaaand when you say I'm invited, you mean as a guest, not just an organizer?"


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#861 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 12:41 AM

Ic: " Yes, Soraya, as a guest, " I replied and stepped up behind Soraya, readying myself for her measuring while she dug throu gh her things for the tape. "I'm positive you'll be doing some work for a number of people in attendance. I feel it's only right that you attend as well to honour your efforts." 

 

She finally found the tape and grabbed a stool to reach up to my shoulders and I went on to describe my dress idea. "For this dress I'm thinking something Kanohi Dragon inspired. Mayyyybe a dense, layered red skirt with gold ribbons set at an angle and a black top with Kanohi embroidery in all colours, like scales. The material ought to be vine silk, of course I'll suffer nothing less."  

 

The dress idea was as much an homage to the great dragons on Odaiba revered by our culture as it was a nod to my clan's royal sigil on which the multi-coloured Kanohi Dragon roared proudly, a symbol of everlasting strength of will and divine Zuto-granted power. Nothing was as awesome as the dragons and I wanted to be the most awesome one at my party without looking absolutely stupid. This was a perfect design for me, as i was sure Soraya would mention.

 

Soraya had a great deal of talent in her field. I knew she wasn't a tailor or seamstress specifically, but whether she composed my dresses herself or had someone else do the work didn't concern me since she had never disappointed me before. Every time I made an order it came in timely and flawlessly. Was my new demand a high one? Sure. But I was positive Soraya would pull through for me like always.

 

"So," I said as she jotted down my numbers behind me, "will you be attending?"


Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 30 2014 - 04:59 PM.

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#862 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 01:56 AM

IC: Vilda Mako (Sado)

 

"A wolf...," I mumbled, pondering for a moment, "that's actually not bad"

 

My chosen lifestyle of trekking and wilderness traversal certainly had that air about it, but more importantly, Soraph had circled in my mind and categorized it perfectly. An old warrior, wandering his old hunting grounds like it was going to make him all better again... it was eerie and not entirely welcome, she was turning out to be smarter than she looked (which is definitely saying something).

 

"As for you," I replied, "I'd like to suggest, well, several things, actually, but the one that stands out to me the most is a snake. Beautiful... and dangerous"

 

"We'll find out soon enough, won't we?" I said, as we reached the door to Soraya's practice.

 

"Age before beauty", I mumbled with a smirk as I went ahead and went in the door.

 

"Soraya..." I called, and there I stopped.

 

"Well well, wasn't this an interesting surprise"

 

"Chojo Yumiwa," I said, perplexed as can be, superficially anyway, "what a pleasant surprise"


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#863 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 02:43 AM

Ic: Of course Soraya's response wasn't quick enough to beat the entrance of two other people into her shop. And of course they would speak up. No matter; Soraya'd have to reply to me anyway.

 

"Hello, datsue," I hailed back. I didn't know this person and didn't feel okay using my casual spunk like with Soraya, though for some reason the Dasaka he was with did seem familiar (and very pretty!)—the clothes were Vilda, so maybe I'd seen her in the Gardens. I did stop short of saying something like 'greetings loyal subjects and Zuto Nui's blessings opon you' because such superfluousness is silly. I'm convinced I can be both formal and approachable at once, which I try to be when outside the royal halls. Still, chances are meeting with the crown princess is sufficient enough an occasion for these two people to be surprised, so I played my role to give them grace and some conversation while the Dashi finished her work up.

 

"What brings you to Plangori Soraya's place of work?" Please say the party. Please say the party.


Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 30 2014 - 02:51 AM.

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#864 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 04:01 AM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

 

I don't like Yumiwa.

 

I don't dislike her either, to be fair, she's certainly not an object of the contempt that I prefer to save for whiny First Sons and the occasional uptight official who acts like she's got a stick up her rear (those people could use something very different up there, capisce?). I mean, she seems to have a fairly level head on her shoulders and all of that, but at the same time... well.

 

Maybe it's just my old bones talking but I hope our current Rora stays Rora for a good while, because I don't think I'd be able to keep up with Yumiwa's pace, or for that matter her sheer level of vigor.

 

OK, so maybe I'm a little jealous, what do you want from me?

 

"We're actually here to get proper attire for a party that a certain Chojo will be holding, or was it the Crown Princess? Keeping track of all those titles ain't easy" I said, with a jovial nod (ugh, let's hope I never have to use that word again).


Edited by Geardirector, Apr 30 2014 - 04:16 AM.

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#865 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 12:43 PM

Ic: I laughed good-naturedly. "It's just the two titles, though 'Chōjo' is preferred," I replied. "Honestly, the titles of 'crown princess' and 'chōjo' are interchangeable, since they both refer to the heir to the throne, and the latter is largely used for formal proceedings in conjunction with the former, but the former is always appropriate, hence why it's used in the invitations you received." Soraya finished taking my measurements and stepped away to put her things away so I finally could lower my arms and relax. I ambled over to the business side of Soraya's desk and planted my hands on it as I arched my back to stretch. "Additionally," I continued, "I can be addressed as 'madam' or 'your highness,' both of which are equally acceptable alternatives under casual circumstances such as this." 

 

Wait, why was I telling a datsue (and probably also the Dasaka) how to address me? Shouldn't that be, like, common knowledge? Eh, whatever. <_<

 

"Please forgive me if I should already know, but the two of you are...?" I asked, turned my head a slight to the side and curved a corner of my lips to an expecting grin.


Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 30 2014 - 12:44 PM.

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#866 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 12:59 PM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

 

"I wouldn't place too many bets on you knowing about meChojo. I am Vilda Mako, just a retired bodyguard, albeit a pretty good one if I do say so myself, which I just did"

 

No one had really said anything so far about whether or not animals were allowed in the shop, but since we were all getting dressed as animals anyway one could argue that my girl Kama was the most proper individual in the room.

 

"My... companion here, on the other hand, would be the Vilda Heiress Soraph"


Edited by Geardirector, Apr 30 2014 - 12:59 PM.

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#867 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 01:57 PM

Ic: "Vilda Soraph," I greeted and tipped my head slightly in her direction—not a bow but just a recognition. "I knew I recognized you as a Vilda, though now that I know your name I'm glad to have established the connection. It's good that you'll be at the party. After all, I suspect upon our respective ascensions we'll be doing a lot of work together," I smiled. "I must say, the stories of your beauty do ring true."


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#868 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 02:49 PM

IC: Soraya (Sado Markets)

 

Soraya took stock of the situation while the Chōjo exchanged pleasantries with the Dashi and Dasaka.  Vilda Mako she'd seen around town once or twice; the Dasaka she hadn't.  That made two to three high-ranking customers who all wanted something impressive for this party - the party she was apparently attending.  Maybe four if they were the type to dress their pets.   Time for triage.

 

Yumiwa's order took priority; she was first to arrive, the most prestigious of the three, and unless Mako or his friend had more exotic tastes in clothing than she thought, red-and-gold dragon couture was going to be the trickiest to pull off.  Soraph would be next if she had an order, then Mako, and finally the bird.  Her other orders were now officially on hold, though if this party was so important, she had a bad feeling they were high enough priority to make her life miserable if they didn't get taken care of soon as well.

 

Her headache had faded away; there were more important things to take care of.  "Mako, Sor- that is, lady Soraph," she called as she jotted down Yumiwa's measurements and order, "honored for ya to stop by.  I'll be just a second while I double-check the supplies on hand for the Chōjo's order, and then I'll be right with ya."  She turned and took the steps two at a time to the loft.  Good on dyes, decent on fabric - might need to put in an order with Tal to get the ribbons-

 

She took the steps three at a time on the way down, pulling her measuring tape back out and sending it streaming behind her as she did.  "Okay! Right.  Party time.  I mean, measuring for the party.  Soraph, line up by the counter, Mako, you next, and - you know, let's just get this out of the way, am I going to be dressing up the bird as well?"


Edited by GSR, Apr 30 2014 - 08:30 PM.

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#869 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 04:24 PM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

 

"Nah, Kama's not a fan of that kind of thing, I think she looks just fine as she is"

 

Kama herself gave a chirp of confirmation from where she was perched on my shoulder, I smiled, something only Kama got me to do often.


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#870 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 05:39 PM

Ic: I admired the bird on Mako's shoulder, leaned in puckered my lips at the pretty janu. "Aw, aren't you the cutest thing! You're properly placed as a Vilda. And yes, of course you can come to my party, too, sweetie." It chirped again, seemingly intelligent enough to know it had been complimented.


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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 05:42 PM

IC:

 

Soraph had never seen the royal princess up close before, only far away glances as she did her duty in the Gardens while the Chojo walked through them, so she relished the opportunity to do so now. The rumours were certainly true - Princess Yumiwa was very beautiful. Not as pretty as Soraph herself, who's good looks had been intentionally bred into the family, but the Umbraline woman certainly ranked in the top tier of Kentoku society. And that, of course, made Yumiwa's compliment all the more meaningful.

 

"Thank you, your highness" Soraph said, curtseying slightly as Soraya came up to her with the Ringti's measuring tape. 

 

"And the stories of your beauty ring true as well. I must say, this party of yours was a wonderful idea; everyone's been so busy running the Empire, and anxious because of the Chaotic Six and that island Mata-Nui, we've hardly had any time for some real fun! What gave you the idea for the masquerade theme, by the way?" she added, raising her hand as Soraya continued her measurements. 

 

Vilda Soraph thought better not to comment on Mako's calling her the Vilda heiress, or Yumiwa's thinking that they might one day work together. While Soraph was in line for the Vilda throne now, she doubted it would always stay that way. If her cousin Kulrik had a daughter while her aunt Toroshu Relisai still lived, which would probably be quite a while, Soraph spot for the throne would disappear into the wind. 

 

Soraph smiled when she saw Yumiwa coo over Kama; it was nice to see that the royalty still had a heart.


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#872 Offline Rucks

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 05:50 PM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

Kama gave her dusty feather dress a rustle as she chirped at Yumiwa in turn, flapping her wings a tad.

 

Well, Madame, you've officially earned yourself the Vilda Mako thumbs up, you managed to compliment Kama for looking younger than she actually is.

 

"I think she likes you" I supplemented.


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#873 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 06:26 PM

Ic: "I'm glad you think so," I said to Soraph. "There's been so much stress among my people that I think they need time to enjoy themselves and pause from ruling. Politics can't be helped," I said with a mild shrug, "as it always is when a massing of nobles happens, but at the very least I can give reason to be distracted. The masquerade theme is meant to be a distracting disguise between everybody's faces. By pretending to be something we're not we can live a double lifeif only for a night."

 

I analyzed the janu bird again. "The birds have it easy; they're beautiful without effort. Ruling can be an affair as arduous as it is glorious, Soraph, whether it's over a clan or an empire. Never be languid."


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#874 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 08:40 PM

IC: Soraya [Sado Markets, Soraya's Practice]

 

Soraya was, if not a blur, at the very least slightly out of focus as she stepped around the two new guests, measuring and prodding.  Left arm slightly longer than normal here, waist suggests slim-fit robes only...  Details.  It was all about the details.

 

"There's been so much stress among my people that I think they need time to enjoy themselves and pause from ruling."

 

"Mhm, I'm sure the nobility's close to just fainting away from all the stress of living way up above all us little people," she muttered absently. Might need to call in a few favors if they're going for all blue-

 

She blinked and slowly looked back up at her three guests.  Whoops.  "Thhaaaaaatttt issss-" 

 

The janu rustled its feathers.  "That is- a really beautiful bird, huh, Chōjo? Wow, hey, yeah, great bird!" Somewhere, Morie was having a killer headache and didn't know why.


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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 09:17 PM

Ic: The hairs on the back of my neck bristled as I heard the dashi's words barely escape her lips and Soraph's jaw clenches just a little as she heard it, too, being so close to the dashi. Soraya's glimmer of a surprised look confirmed that she meant what she said but didn't mean to say it. I was not unused to the sentiment of jealousy; Inokio's preface to my lesson yesterday came to mind.

 

"You are everything they are not, remember that. You come from the greatest clan. Everything you have was given to you, even your education, but for most of these people all they were given was the skin on their back and a long line of nothing to continue. You sleep in Valkyr down comforters in a diamond mountain but some of these people may coil under wooden bridges with fish scales as bedding. You are a spoiled noblewoman in their territory, the antithesis of their lives in every sense of the word, and are not exactly welcomed."

 

To be noble—no, royal—meant being derided and cursed in secret while people bowed and praised in public. Soraya's stray remark may have been fueled by any number of emotions like envy, hatred or mere misunderstanding that even highborn have duties. Such was life. People were bound to feel the constraints of the caste system and were equally prone to commenting on it. Nevertheless, acting so publicly on it was a corporeal transgression against Zuto Nui, a conflict against the Virtues and one I found myself dutifully responding to.

 

None of us said a word in the awkward pause after Soraya's caustic remark and the dashi tried hard to cover the social blemish up with her work. Both the Clan Vilda members awaited my reply as it held the most finality in this situation and my reaction would provide the base for the Vilda, particularly Soraph, and so I came to a crossroads. Still, my choice was easy to make: Because of my family's relationship with the Plangori and my appreciation of Soraya's competence I chose grace and emphasized Honor despite the dashi's transgression.

 

"We'll pretend we didn't hear that this time," I said with a faintly disguised scowl, "so Morie won't know and you won't get a lesson on the importance of Order."

 

My frown suddenly bloomed into a smile that cut through the bleak pause like a sunrise. "The bird is very beautiful. Does little perky here have a name?" I asked either Soraph or Mako.


Edited by Jenny Quantum, Apr 30 2014 - 11:26 PM.

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#876 Offline GSR

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Posted Apr 30 2014 - 11:42 PM

IC: Soraya

 

Stay of execution granted, then.  She stifled a sigh and busied herself once more, avoiding looking at the Chōjo directly.  That had been careless, even for her - was she still stinging from the Tajaar's parting words, or did she just have a lower tolerance for kaolang than she thought? It hadn't even been anything personal, though she supposed if there was anyone for whom a slight against the system was a personal slight, it would be the ChōjoGuess she and I aren't ever going to wind up as drinking buddies. 

 

Quickly as she could, she finished jotting down her other customers' measurements and turned to them.  "My apologies-" she couldn't bring herself to say 'sincere apologies' - "for speaking out of turn.  Lady Soraph, honored Mako, if either of you has a particular costume idea, it would be the Plangori's pleasure to provide it for you.  Otherwise, we would be honored to provide some recommendations."

 

It was the oldest trick in the book for digging yourself out of a slight of manners - turn off the individual, turn up the pleasantries, and put the entire Zuto-taken clan at the customer's service.  If you're going to get spit on, learn how to handle it.


Edited by GSR, Apr 30 2014 - 11:42 PM.

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#877 Offline Rucks

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Posted May 01 2014 - 12:26 AM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

 

"Mhm, I'm sure the nobility's close to just fainting away from all the stress of living way up above all us little people,"

Ohohohoho.

 

Girl, you've got moxie. Not a lot of commoners I know have managed to get away with a remark like that. Now, you may be wondering why a high-ranking male such as myself wouldn't take issue with such a remark, well, the truth is I'm not that high-ranking.

 

I enjoy a solid reputation, for those that know of me anyway, and I certainly get my share of respect around here, but I'm not in the Courts of this empire, imperial or otherwise: I'm just an old man that does what he wants, when he wants, and somehow manages to get away with it.

 

And that's why I had no problem commending Soraya, both for speaking a little out of turn and for not taking it too far.

 

"Costume motif, euurgh..." I mumbled. What had Soraph suggested again? It'd practically blown right out of my head. Well, that's just one of the three that comes with old age; the first is memory loss, and I forgot the other two.

 

I snapped my finger eventually, though, as it came to me.

 

"Right, I was thinking a (lone) wolf motif myself, but I can't speak for Soraph"

 

"The bird is very beautiful. Does little perky here have a name?"

 

"Sure does," I replied, as the bird moved from my shoulder to my arm, and was held out in the Chojo's direction, "Kama"


Edited by Geardirector, May 01 2014 - 01:59 AM.

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#878 Offline Queen Anora Mac Tir

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Posted May 01 2014 - 01:09 AM

Ic: "Hello, Kama!" I said convivially as I stretched my hand out to meet Mako's and receive the bird. It didn't hesitate fluttering from his fingertips to my hand and I quickly brought Kama to my collarbone and let it snuggle close to my neck. A few audible "awwws" and "d'ahhhs" escaped my lips  as I shared the precious moment with the bird, to the approval of both pet and owner. :inlove:

 

I've always had a soft spot for flying things. Sure, the dragons are the embodiments of the Three Virtues, most of all of Power, but while their awesomeness was nearly incomprehensibly immense the sheer beauty of even the smallest creatures reflected the fractal of perfection found in all of nature. The age and scruffiness of the bird was of no concern to me because all things grow old and become more weary; age was a progression in Order and is to be respected. Like its owner, Kama was aged and weary and yet it seemingly possessed a personality and a sense of dignity I really could profoundly appreciate. This janu bird was, to me, as precious and beautiful a thing as the Kanohi Dragons, and Mom always taught me everything was precious, big and small.

 

"Hehe, alright, alright," I said with a beaming smile as I passed Kama back to Mako. "We'll see each other again soon! And that goes for all of you, actually. Soraph, Mako, it's been excellent meeting you. Soraya—I'll be back on the morning of the party to make certain the dress works for me." With a respectful nod I dismissed myself and exited the shop.


Edited by Jenny Quantum, May 01 2014 - 01:13 AM.

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Posted May 01 2014 - 01:27 AM

IC: Vilda Mako (Soraya's Practice)

 

"You certainly have a way with people, don't ya, girlie?" I said, beaming at Kama as the door closed behind her Royal Highness. There was a Vilda in that girl somewhere, if her love for animals was any indication. Well, I can work with that, can't I?

 

First Soraph, then Yumiwa, who was next on Kama's roll, I wondered.

 

"That settles it, you're coming to the party, too" I said to Kama, Kama herself seemed to badly feign surprise, as if her attendance had been a given from the beginning and she was just keeping up appearances, I chuckled.

 

:You overestimate just how lovable you are, you know: I told her.

 

"And you overestimate your charisma, old man" she replied with a look.


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#880 Offline GSR

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Posted May 01 2014 - 10:42 PM

IC: Soraya

 

"Soraya—I'll be back on the morning of the party to make certain the dress works for me."

 

Soraya spun back from Soraph and Vilda just in time to see Yumiwa stride out the door.  "Hey-"

 

Not now, Morie's voice chided.  You have customers, and if you hope to patch up a slight with her, you would be better served doing it when the wound is not so fresh.

 

She stifled another sigh.  Sometimes having a sense of responsibility got awful tiring.  Be nice if someone actually let me get a word in edgewise before peeling out one of these days, at least. 

 

Forcing a smile back onto her face, she returned to her customers.  "Alright then.  A wolf motif, right? We have dyes that can create a moonish grey or a noble silver, if that suits your fancy.  A cloak and hood combo should do the part nicely, though when it comes to masks-" she gave her best graceful-yet-sheepish smile -"I'm a dyer, not a forger.  You might have to look elsewhere for anything real fancy on that front."


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