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@Apex Sunburnheya discord is a bit easier to get all your questions answered, and we are really cool about newcomers joining to ask questions. BUUUT If you prefer this way I’ll boop princess and potter for you.

I can say there are muskets. there are trains and type writers and steam engines. It’s a Victorian age fantasy. So not everything is exactly historical if you get what I mean.

And no they don’t have to be, I believe we have one person who isn’t from any of the set kingdoms, but that’s a question for princess.

We do have a merchant/ lesser nobleman right now. @ReusableSword So you might want to ask if he’s ok with a similar character.

Hope you stay interested!

Time: 10:00
Location: Park / Archery Range
Interaction:Kieran@Prosaic, Pricilla@mellowdy, @13org Mayet,@RodiakMathias, @AerandirVerrick
Mentions: Lorenzo@FunnyGuy @princess Charlotte, @Conscripts John

Crystal froze when the large animal growled at her approach. She felt her heart leap into her throat. At mention of the guards she was trying to find her voice when a calm but firm voice came from the normally silent Liah. ”Be as agitated as you wish. We are not moving.”

”Aye, Don’t insult the wee lass by thinking only ye can have an armed guard.” Jacob motioned to Nala with a head nod.

Crystal turned and raised her hand to motion to them that it was ok…she hoped. She was then gestured to come closer then only confused her when she mentioned She should have the first bite.

”O-oh… but I have my own already these are fo-She started to shake her head, wondering if this was some Aladashi tradition. But then the woman insisted. Crystal blinked and swallowed. Her nervousness rose. This was to test if she poisoned it. These Aladashi are really paranoid… Why would she poison it? What would that gain? She let out a breath and took a bite of the pancake offered to her, despite the woman turning towards Kieran as he spoke up.

She took a half step back as she heard swearing behind her. Looking towards the ruckus she saw Uncle Lorenzo right in the center of it, Charlotte next to him But she couldn't see her face. As much as she loved him, she did see he did get in quite a bit of trouble. She also noticed the man she ran into in the library the night before.

The woman spoke up and introduced herself. Crystal turned around and tried to smile, ignoring the growing ruckus. ”I-it’s a pleasure She-shehzadi Kadir “She fumbled, trying to wrap her tongue around the new word. Only causing her to redden with embarrassment. It was at this moment Lady Harlow came up and suddenly started accusing Priscilla of spilling syrup on her. Mayet’s tiger quickly stood and moved towards the snotty woman. Crystal took a few steps back, suddenly even more terrified. The tiger stopped at Mayet’s touch. Who in turn threatened the noblewoman.

”Allrightte thats enouf excitement.” Jacob said, suddenly moving between Crystal and the tiger. ”Sorreh, but I think it's about time we move on.”

Despite being frightened, Crystal still wanted to talk. But before she could say anything. Jacob, not even looking at her, shook his head. ”NOPE. DONE. NOW.” As if he knew she was going to protest.

Liah took Crystal’s shoulder gently. ”Come on.” She said, eyeing the sudden brawl that started. Confident enough in Jacob to watch the tiger.

“O-o-okay…. It was um nice meeting you…” She said while being escorted away. ”If you wish, you can come sit next to us at the archery competition!”

Crystal and her guards arrived just as the announcer finished announcing the first pair. Most of all the seating was taken, so Crystal decided to sit next to a tree. One of her guards unfurled a blanket she had asked him to hold onto while she looked at the contestants. She was pleased to reconize one in particular. She moved to the fence that separated the audience from the range and raised her hand while standing on her tippy toes to get as much height as she could. And started waving. ”Sir Mathias!!! Sir MATHIAS!” She waved till she gained his attention. ”Good luck! I Do hope you win!” She said with a bright smile. Her smile faltered when she realized who was standing next to him. Her face turning a bright shade of Red as she began turning back to walk away, hesitating, turning back to the two men to raise a finger as if to say something else. Only to stop before she could and quickly retreated to her blanket.

It was then she realized and frowned. Kieran still had her waffles…

Time: 9:30
Location: Park
Interaction:Kieran@Prosaic, Prisicilla@mellowdy,@13org Mayet

Perhaps Priscilla’s guards were a bit worried. Only a deep giddy chuckle could be heard from Crystals. Crystal was taken back though at Priscilla’s reaction to mentioning her hair cut. She had forgotten how… intense. Priscilla had gotten over the years. ”I-I mean…” She looked wide eyed at Priscilla, but smiled anyways. ”I-I-it is much different from when I last saw you…B-but you still look lovely, not at all boyish or roundish…”

She was cut off when she saw Kieran stumble in behind his sister. Complaining about her rushing and getting grass stains on his knees because of her. Then saying hello to her. She had a slight blush on her cheeks but before she could say hello back Priscilla continued, giving him a compliment, but then manipulating the conversation to make herself give one on the spot. Her face was a little more red as well as she opened her mouth and looked between the two multiple times.

”O-o-of course!” She said with a nervous smile. Clearing her throat. ”Hello Kieran…Yo-you do look quite…dashing. Enough that grass stains wouldnt matter…” She said for a moment and looked back to Priscilla, realizing she didn’t answer her question ”SurelyenoughtocatchapartnerImean.” She added quickly with a throat clearing at the end as she tucked some of her hair around her left ear.

Pricilla forced the group forward toward the pancakes thankfully, but added a barrage of questions. ”I- um no, actually I did not…” She said softly “I did not see your parents either… I-I was quite occupied.“ She smiled nervously. Thinking back to her crazy night the night before… meeting a dashing guardsman, talking to Prince Callum, as well as prince Felix the music the dance… She faltered a bit remembering the first one, then what happened with Violet.

She shook her head softly and looked over to the woman with the tiger.”I-I guess… we could bring…her a plate and introduce ourselves? I’m sure she has never tried it before…it could help?”

Once they got their own plates, crystal looks up at Kieran and asked softly "C-could you hold mine please?" She had decided to go with the cinnamon waffles with whipcream and extra strawberrys. She Looked down at her books She realized this wasn't going to work and and quickly to Liah with a pleading look. Liah sighed and rolled her eyes, walking up to her she grabbed her books from her arms so she would not damage them. Crystal smiled "Thank you Liah.."

She grabbed another plain pancake with syrup for The woman with the tiger and Once everyone was ready, she lead the group towards her. Jacob moved much closer, but still far enough away to not 'intrude'. Crystal cleared her throat."H-hello. I-I um... Saw you didn't have a plate yet...H-Have you ever tried pancakes before?" She asked quite nervously to the strong looking Alidashi woman. Glancing at her tiger a few times as well.

Time: 9:20-9:30 (Just before Roman meets with Count Calbert)
Location: Damien Estate / Park
Interaction: Roman@ReusableSword, Pricilla@mellowdy
Mentions: Mayet and Nala@13org, Charlotte@princess, Lorenzo@FunnyGuy

Crystal took a bit longer than she requested of course. With her hair being a monster to tame and getting completely dressed. She grabbed two books when she finished and wrapped her arms around them before walking out into the waiting room. She sighed and looked at her father, who was standing with four people. Three large men, and one woman. She smiled at them. She already knew the woman, a tall redhead with a stoic expression on her face, breaking only with a tiniest of smirks at seeing Crystal. Her name was Liah Gibbs, and has been a guard for the family ever since Crystal was little. She was so close to the family that Crystal felt she was more like a protective older sister than a guard. Strict but kind, with a glare that would make a grown man whimper. It's true, Crystal saw it first hand.

Beside her was the other guard she saw as family as well. Jacob Gibbs was impossible to miss, as he stood at 6’11. He easily could have been mistaken for a bear standing on its hind legs. With long brown hair and a full beard with a few beads braided into it that came to his chest. As soon as he saw Crystal he grinned. “Took ye long enuf. Thought ye might’ve gotten distracted wif ye tipey eh..watcha call it…”

“Type writer dear…” Liah said softly

“AYE THAT.” he said with a hearty chuckle. He pointed to Crystal's hat. “Ey I love the hat! It suits yu.” He blinked and said as an after thought. “Mehbeh I should get me a hat like that...?” He said looking to his wife Liah who gave him a simple look.

“Ahh yer right. Not very practical. But it’s gunna be a sunny day…It be nice and co-”

Liah blinked and tilted her head ever so slightly.

“Right… nope. Nev’r mind meh.” Jacob said, as he straightened up and looked away from his wife to Crystal. Getting the clear message to shut up.

After being introduced to the two new guards, Crystal gave her father a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Just as a servant came up and announced that Lord Ravenwood was at the gate.

This was her que to leave. She quickly made for the door, her guards in tow. As the door opened and the fresh air blew in she took a deep breath. It was then she saw Lord Ravenwood by the gate still. Hesitating for a moment, as a flash of his face angry with her last night popped into her mind. She shook it from her head and strode forward, remembering that Jacob and Liah were just behind her. Her arms wrapped around her two books as she walked quite quickly towards him.

Roman waited for the guard to check his paperwork wondering quietly if he was stalling on purpose. He was about to question the man when he noticed movement at the front of the house. the ever elegant form of Crystal Damien strode out carrying a few books with her. yet she was not alone, a tall lean woman with red hair stepped out after her. her confidence and physique shouted soldier, experienced too. the one bringing up the rear caught him off guard, you could say it was the man's height, build, or giant looming ax. but for Roman he was familiar, he knew the man was from Emberstone or at least the area. The look of puzzlement couldn't quite clear his face as they got closer.

Crystal uneasiness grew while she got closer and he didn't move. He just stood there. She realized he wasn't going to move and came to a sudden stop. She honestly did not want to speak with him. Not after last night. She didn't look up at him, but simply stared through his chest. Her arms tighten around her books. She cleared her throat softly. "L-Lord Ravenwood." She hesitantly said while Jacob towered over her and glared at Roman, His lips twisted as if he just tasted something spoiled. his eyes never leaving Romans. It was clear that he heard Crystal call him Ravenwood, but it seemed that he didn't care a bit that he was a lord.

Roman was caught off guard for a moment and instinctively took a step back shaking himself from his tunnel vision with a slight bow. "Apologies Lady Damien, just seeing a tiny ghost. I hope you have a marvelous day." his gaze shifted up to the mountain. "Try not to eat anyone on your first day, Johnathan. Wouldn't want to ruin your reputation."

He did hope he got the man's name correct; it had been sometime since they were sparring partners as kids. The smile he held on his face only grew bigger as he seemingly disregarded the other woman with them. not intentionally being rude but he basically just saw a ghost from his past and was trying to remember the man that he could only remember a few fond memories other than a few others where they traded pleasantries passing each other on the road.

Crystal didn't look up, she huffed slightly as he acted like nothing happened yesterday. While he stepped back he didn't step completely out of the way. Jacob glanced at Crystal and back at Lord Ravenwood, His scowl deepening. Not at the fact that Roman clearly didn't remember his name, but that he still didn't catch ques...such as getting out of a lady's way. "Still dense as eva Rrroman. Ye in the wee lady's whey still. Away an bile yer head ye eejit or ill smack some manners into that sad excuse of a mug of yers." He said in a deep growl. as he used his free hand to shoo him to the side, indicating he was still in Crystal's way.

Liah took a step closer to Crystal while Jacob went off on Roman, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder and coming to her side. Giving a clear indication she would simply walk through him if he didn't move. Her stoic features are not faltering.

Roman took a second to look down and sure enough he was still in the way. taking another step back out of the way this time, "About a decade later and you still remember me." he did not have a problem understanding the bears words a local dialect of the northerners. "you know what my father always said, 'Roman you got to read between the lines when it comes to social ques' problem is I cant read." he knew he was being unprofessional in the current company but seeing fellow people from where he is from, his people, always brings this side of him out. "Have a good day bear, remember to mind your manners these southerners aren't used to us."

“Yer dense noggin of cluelessness is the thing of legends, like one of those terrible ditties that you can’t get out of yer head.” Jacob said as Liah gently pushed Crystal and they slipped between the two giants.

“Don’t ye worry your little noggin about me manners when yer having the issue wif em.” He started to follow Crystal and Leah and called back without looking at him. “And It’s Jacob ye tube!”

Roman couldn't stop his snicker and knew on the inside the bear was laughing too, "Oi, at least I was close." the trio along with two more large guards began to move away but Roman still called after them, "I bet you a new ax you still cant drink me under the table!" Roman smiled and spoke to himself, "I missed that glorious bastard and his beard... what did he mean by clueless though?"

Crystal sighed with relief when they finally moved far enough away. She was grateful that her father decided to send them along.

Liah waited till Jacob caught up to them Then asked calmly.“Are you going to tell me what that was about? Or am I going to have to force it out of you…”

Crystal could feel the narrowing vision of the taller woman burrowing into the back of her head. She hesitated for a moment when she noticed Charlotte and uncle Lorenzo walking ahead of them. It would seem her dear uncle managed to get home last night...that is good. She noticed a cat with Charlotte as well...when did she have a cat? How did it get along with the Ferrets?

As much as she wanted to go right over to Charlotte and her dear uncle, She decided to stop and explain everything that happened last night. If she didn't answer her, Liah would only pester her with her cutting glares and doing everything in her power to make sure Crystal was Absolutely safe from anyone and anything...including that cute cat.

Once done explaining to them what had happened the night prior, Crystal looked up at the sound of Jacob's knuckles audibly cracking as he tightened around the shaft of his ax.“That piece of jobby. He is goin to need two wagon teams to pull his head out of his own arse once I’m through with ‘em.” Jacob muttered angrily behind them. Having half a thought to turn around and serve his justice right away. “Damned dobber tryin to remind ME of manners…” He grumbled under his breath.

“What Jacob is trying to say dear…” Liah spoke up. Giving Jacob a look to calm down. “Dont you worry about him, we will make sure to keep him far away and let you enjoy your day.” She said with a warm calm tone. “Thank you for telling us. Let's go… I’m sure you are hungry.” She said with a small smile.

Crystal nodded with a smile. “Thank you…” Before turning back around. The park wasn’t far from her home….it was only a few hundred yards from her home. She could already smell the pancakes. The smell made her smile. She couldn’t wait to be sitting under a tree enjoying the breeze with a warm sweet dish to enjoy.

Before she could take ten paces into the park, she heard someone call out her name. Looking over to her left she saw Pricilla running towards her. It took her a moment to recognize her with hair cut as it was. But a large smile appeared on her face as she moved quickly past Jacob as her heeled boots clicked on the cobblestone path and she nearly tackled her with a one armed hug around her shoulders. Her other hand is still holding her two books.

“Prisilly!” She teased. I'm so glad you are here! I was hoping to surprise you last night.” She pulled back. ”I’ve never seen you with such short hair before! It looks great.”

While they spoke, her guards slowly rounded them, but gave them a wide berth seemingly spreading out and giving them space. However, Liah and Jacob conveniently took a position between the two friends catching up and a certain lady with a large companion.

“Big kitteh…” Jacob said softly, impressed and intrigued. However his stance was casual as used his large ax as a staff to lean on. Looking down at Liah, “Ye suppose we can get one of those? I kno ye always wanted a wee cat.”

Liah glanced up with a smirk, she didn’t say anything as she folded her hands behind her back and looked back to Crystal and Lady Pricilla. She stood close to Jacob, looking more like a couple at the moment while on guard.

Jacob nodded, then rested his chin on his hand which was gripping the top of his ax. “No.. Yer right. We don’t have room fer a litter box that size.”

Crystal & Count Calbert

Crystal woke up with a groan when suddenly her curtains were whipped open by one of her maids “Time to wake up Lady Crystal. You have a busy day today !”

Crystal answered with a whine as she sat up in her bed, her hair a rat's nest as she rubbed the crusts out of her eyes. She was excited to go out, but she never really was good in the mornings…mostly due to her bad habits of reading or writing far too long into the morning.

“You really need to stop reading into the wee hours of the morning my lady.” The maid said as she gathered up the few books that had spent the night on the bed with Crystal. Placing them on the nightstand on the left side of her bed.

“I can’t help it. I was excited for today, so I was wide awake, and then I was bored because I was just laying there…. So I read.” Crystal replied as she flopped her hands from her eyes into her lap, her eyes closed still as she swayed back and forth in an attempt to stay upright. Before schoching a few times to the edge of her bed, looking like a child trying to get out of their parents bed.

As the maid went to her closet, Crystal reached the edge of her bed and let out a yawn while stretching her legs and arms at the same time before flopping back into the bed, her toes barely touching the ground. Her thoughts turned to the experiences last night, some great, some horrible… She felt her heart beat hard as she grew even more nervous about today. She pulled a pillow over and stuffed it over her face and wrapped her arms around it tightly.

The maid came back out with a cream colored dress. With a matching large hat. Crystal peaked from under her pillow. “Your mother the countess had requested you wear this.” The maid walked over and hung the dress behind a panel screen for her.

Crystal pulled herself up slowly and sat for a moment. Her thoughts drifted to her mother and sister… The latter gave her a sour look on her face. She didn’t even come over to say sorry for brushing her off yesterday after she totally helped her set up a dance with that ogre. She blinked, she didn’t even see her lights on last night as she went to her room. She looked to the maid to ask her if she saw Violet, but the words caught in her throat. Second guessing herself and deciding she didn’t want to talk to her anyway this morning.

She got up and dropped her pillow back onto the bed as she shuffled to the water closet to freshen up before changing into her outfit.

Her hair a mess still, after slipping her dress on, she came out and moved to her vanity. Noticing her stocking and boots were laid out for her. “Thank you Sarah….Could you please get the paper? I believe the schedule is inside.”

“Of course m’lady.” Sarah bowed and headed to the door as Crystal started to brush her own hair, humming a song her mother always hummed while brushing crystals hair when she was growing up.

As Sarah was heading to the door, there was a knock. Her father, Count Calbert, was just outside it with a couple new friends. Though, they were off to the side as he did not want to overwhelm her with them. He planned to gently ease her into it with hope she’d understand. “Good morning, Crystal my dear! Might I have a word with you?”

Crystal stopped mid brush as she looked at the door. Sarah looked back at her waiting for her cue to open the door. At which she nodded, going back to brushing her hair and looking at the mirror which was facing the door. “Yes Father.” She said softly. She watched as Sarah opened the door and curtsied to the Count. Her keen eyes noticed the few men off to the side as she softly said respectively to the master. “M’lady is decent…” Her eyes pointedly towards the men behind him. “But not prepared…” she added with emphasis while stepping out of the way of the Count, leaving the door open enough for him to sneak through while hiding Crystal from the others.

Calbert entered and gave Sarah a gentle smile, nodding to her in greeting. He noted her words and shut the door behind for the time being. He came to greet his daughter with a sincere hug. “You look lovely as always. How are you feeling this morning, darling?” He greeted. Whatever emotions were swarming his head, he was careful to keep them away from his expression other than the warm love for his daughter.

She stood up as her father walked over, seeing Sarah open the door again and slip out. She gave her father a tight hug back, as well a kiss on his cheek, groaning with an eye roll as he said she looked lovely as always to her. “Unlikely…” as half her hair was still a mess and her eyes were dark.

“I’m tired…. Couldn’t sleep. So I read…and didn’t sleep more.” she said a bit sheepishly. As she pulled back and sat back down on her vanity stool.

“But I’m excited and nervous for today.” She continued as she brushed her hair a few more times, turning back to the mirror. “So what did you want to talk about?”

Calbert frowned, “Well if you need to sleep in today a little bit, I understand, but do be advised that the Princes are meeting with noble women later today if you’d still like to go.” He began to gently comb his fingers through her hair to fix it up a little. “And this is where what I’d like to talk about comes in.”He sighed and took a moment before continuing, “So there are few subjects to speak about, actually, dear. Let us sit… Sarah won’t you be a dear and fetch some tea?”

He took a seat upon one of her chairs and awaited her to join. Once she had joined, he spoke once more, “Your mother and Violet are on their way to Montauppe currently…She left you a letter as she did not want to wake you, but she will return to you once more very soon. “ He handed Crystal an envelope. “Violet’s gotten on to some mischievous behavior and we are sending her away to spend some time with your mother away from the gossip and trouble until she is in better sorts.”

Crystal nodded as he ran his fingers through his hair to help fix it…only to catch a knot to cause her to wince but she didn’t show it. “Of course…I’m tired but I can push through the day.” She said softly. As she continued to brush her own hair quickly when he continued on. Asking Sarah for some tea. Who in turned curtsied and silently moved out of the room, slipping through the tiny gap in the door she opened, and closed it again

She sighed slightly as she placed her brush down and got up moving over to him and sat down, giving him her full attention. She was shocked when he mentioned that they were on their way home. She took the letter and glanced at the front and back, but did not open it. Only placing it upon her lap gently when her father mentioned Violet’s behavior. Crystal knew right away it had to do with Roman… probably because she showed him her scar. Someone had to have seen it apparently. On a normal day she would have been annoyed… but with how they treated her after pushing them together last night she couldn’t help but feel guilty that she felt glad at the karma. But despite what she felt she did say quickly, “I doubt she was being that mischievous father… probably drank too much…but she actually met someone she actually was interested in... ” saying it softly and respectfully… leaving it at a tone that she wasn't going to fight him on the matter.

It was weird that mother went with her though. Certainly he could have just sent her home with some guards. But she assumed her mother would have written about it in the letter so she didn’t push it. She did look sad though… She did want to talk to her mother about her experiences last night.

“I wish she would have woken me up… Now I have to wait months to talk to her about my experiences here” She said softly with a clear pout. Her hands falling to her lap. She felt a bit like more of her safety blanket was torn from her. She didn’t want to bother Charlotte by clinging onto her this entire time… but she was now the only woman she knew here.

“She wanted to let you sleep.. Your mother will come back to visit soon I’m sure, darling.” Calbert told her.

She had a sudden thought, realizing he said there were multiple things…“Don't tell me you’re not going to let me walk around the town now because of Violet's behavior…” She asked worriedly, sitting up as she did. He did tend to go a bit overboard when it was ‘damage control time.’

Calbert did not enjoy lying to his daughter. However, this was all for her own good. It would be easier to digest once she had time to adjust to the lack of Violet’s presence and she had a husband to comfort her. He missed Violet dearly and wanted to mourn her as a family, but he also did not want to jeopardize the start of Crystal’s life. She had a chance to marry a prince here and that was what could keep their family safe from now on. With the security of the royal guard, there would be nothing Crystal would ever have to worry about. The power they’d have access to eventually would be incomparable to that of what they had now.

“Well. That’s the other matter I wanted discuss with you… There’s been a rise of criminal behavior here. Your mother and I spoke about this and decided you’ve been cooped up enough. However, we do not want to worry about you out alone and I am sure you would like to feel safe as well. You are a woman of high status and unfortunately a target. Thus, my dear, I came up with an idea to hire some bodyguards.. “ He paused to let her digest the information, “I’ve only selected those in my circle that you may recognize. When you are ready, I’d like you to meet them and let me know if you are pleased with them. “

Crystal’s heart leapt into her throat as he started. It easily could have gone exactly as she thought, but she sighed with a bit of relief as he said they didn't want to coop her up anymore. There was a catch though… she was to be surrounded by bodyguards. She hated the idea, though she could understand his explanation why. She wasn’t a fool… But she still wasn’t happy about it..

Calbert knew that the last thing a young woman like Crystal wanted was to be babysat all day, so he did decide on exceptions to the rule, “If you are going to be at a public event in the day time, they will simply escort you and wait on the sideline. If you are going to be with a group of trusted friends I will allow that as well. I wish for them to accompany you while you are moving from point A to point B. If you would like to discuss other compromises, I am happy to. ”

She perked up at the compromises. She was confused at first, as she would normally have to fight for as much space as she could… but he offered it outright. She sat there confused and surprised for a moment. Blinking as she tried to think of some more compromises… but what he offered was already very reasonable.

“I-I um…” She stuttered, still trying to think of some way to get more freedom. “I guess… that will.. Be..acceptable.” She said slowly, trying to sound like she was in control. But clearly and adorably not.

Calbert beamed at her cooperative response, ” Excellent. Would you like to meet them now?”

“Yes daddy… I would like to meet them with half my hair a mess and no make up.” She said with a small sarcastic tone. “… need about fifteen minutes…”

”Okay darling. I will have them seated in the dining room waiting to meet you. …Take your time.” Calbert told her then turned on his heels to depart.

Selena had enjoyed her third bath of the day, having just finished drying her hair with a rune stone Finn’s mother gave her. She walked out of the bathroom and towards her bed. Having forgotten her clothes on her bed. However she stopped at the balcony to look out towards the moon. This world was so much different from hers, yet the moon was still the same. She sighed as she closed her eyes and enjoyed the moonlight…that was till she heard the door open.

Her hair stood on end as she realized it was a boy, quickly squatting down she, she hid behind the couch. She took little comfort that the boy was a kitsune himself. She saw his ears and tail pop into existence. So she quickly turned into a Fox herself. The towel that was wrapped around her now flew on top of her.

”Who are you!? How did you find me?!” She said angrily. In their native tongue. She darted to her bed and grabbed her clothes with her mouth and raced over to the bathroom. Slamming it shut with her back paws.

Returning to her normal form, she quickly dressed in the bathroom. Her heart stopped racing as she realized he must come to this school as well…Athena was giving him the same welcome she gave her. It would explain how he got into the room…the door unlocked for him. While she was still angry at the fact he walked in on her in just a towel…it was her fault for not bringing her clothes in with her. She just didn’t realize the room was co ed.

She slowly opened the door and peeked out of the bathroom. He was still in the same position. Her brain had time to focus now, but she was still hesitant. Most of the white haired Kitsune were on the mountain shrine with her, there were not many left after they fled the continent. She did not recognize him or his smell, and his accent was off, like it was a second language for him.

She walked over slowly, realizing more he might not be someone from their homeland to bring her back. Her arms folded, as if it added an extra layer to cover herself. She sniffed again. ”You’re… not from Inarikami are you? She asked in their tongue. Studying him closely, but still keeping her distance. He didn’t dress like them, he hid his ears and tail. Something she could not do, nor others from the island.

Quickly she forgot about the grievous sin of seeing her in a towel. Back in Inarkami he would have been put to death. ”Who are you…” She said slowly… Before she wrinkled her nose a bit. Taking a step away. “Why do you smell like a cat? How did you hide your ears and tail…” Was this a trick? She never knew a kitsune was able to do that. He did smell slightly like one, but the smell of cat overpowered it.


Mathias had been avoiding the same two older ladies that had spotted him with Charlotte during the first dance. They had tried to make a beeline to him as soon as the music stopped, and upon seeing this he had hurried off in the opposite direction as them. Unfortunately, they manage to pull a pincer maneuver on the knight and stopped him just as he was about to greet the Queen and King of Varian. And like before, both ladies pulled him to the dance floor where their daughters awaited for some nobleman to approach them and ask them to dance.

They would not believe him when he told them that he already had a dance partner and continued to pull him forward until he saw Crystal just a few ways ahead of them.

"Ah, I see my dance partner." He bowed to them, like before, he apologized and hurried away from them and to Lady Damien, glancing back to see the two mothers glaring his way for running away, again. Once he was far away enough, he sighed and pulled on his coast to smooth it out, and approached his partner for the second dance.

"Lady Damien, a pleasure to see you again.” He smiled at her before continuing. ”Would you allow me the honor of making up your first dance of the evening, Lady Damien?" Mathias bowed, extending his arm in front of him.

Crystal smiled and curtsied, allowing him to take her hand as she said “Yes, thankyou…” not really knowing what else to say at that very moment. She followed him onto the dance floor. She glanced back at her sister with a smile before returning her attention to Mathias.

Mathias held her hand as they made their way to the dance floor; blue eyes kept glancing down at Lady Damien to make sure she was not uncomfortable. Mathias had only seen Crystal practically run away from the man towards the end of the first dance, and he was determined to make it up to her. Once in their spots, Mathias gave Crystal a bow before standing up straight and assuming the position, keeping enough space between them. A second later, the music began, even slower than last time. However, Mathias learned from his dance with Charlotte and kept the spins to the minimum. The Caesonian waltz did not include the spins he had grown so accustomed to.

"Lady Damien, I do hope that this night is not ruined for you," He started with brows furrowed together in worry. "You've probably been asked this, but my worry will continue to eat me alive if I am not sure- but are you truly okay?"

Crystal gave another curtsy as Mathias bowed for the dance, then taking his hand and putting her other hand on his shoulder. She looked up at him when he spoke. She glanced away in embarrassment for a moment, of course he saw what happened. Oh she felt like a fool, especially after talking with her sister. She brought up a very good point. “I am thankful that you are worried Sir Mathias. And I must apologize for making such a fool of myself. Earlier… I…” She looked up at him as she tried to find the right words. ”I do not get out much…as it is apparent.” She said sheepishly.

”But I am ok… I am mostly just embarrassed at this point..” She added with a nervous smile. She looked down to hide her embarrassment and also to make sure she didn’t step on his feet. However his gentle yet firm guiding touch truly helped her.

"There is no need for apologies, My Lady." Mathias assured her with a smile. He was sure she was tired of talking about the incident, so he moved the subject away to something else. He noticed how her eyes had lit up when he mentioned the ballroom was something out of a fairy tale. Mathias wished to see that expression in her eyes once more. "Lady Damien, are you a woman of literature?" Karla had been too. She would read aloud before his son was born, claiming that Lukas would move or kick inside the womb. Mathias continued to read to him even. To this day, he is always excited when Mathias approaches the boy with a book.

Crystal was very thankful he moved on from the subject. She almost laughed though when he wondered if she was a woman of literature… She had 5 published books to her pen name. But she was sure he hadn’t read her books. She smiled as she looked up to him. ”Yes! With a tiny hop in her next step. ”I love to read. All I did growing up was read books. I'm sure my father would say his library rivals that of the king and queens.” She said with a giggle. ”Why do you ask?”

There it was. Mathias returned her smile, bright and welcoming as ever. It seemed like Crystal's happiness was contagious. "A mere observation, My Lady." He shook his head a bit, "I saw the way you lit up when I mentioned fairy tales and when you told me you do not go out of your home much. If you do not mind me asking, what is your favorite piece of literature?"

She smiled more as he did. She cocked her head to the side though when he said it was an observation. Continuing on explaining how he came to his deduction. She gave him an impressed look as he gave his very logical reasoning. Giving him a nod to show she accepted his answer. She blushed and stammered a bit when he asked what her favorite literature was. ”I-uh..” She looked away for a moment, while she loved reading all kinds of books… and writing romance… She didn’t have a real ‘favorite.’ Also she read that men usually thought it was silly for women to read romance novels.

But she looked back up to him as she followed him in the dance.”You will think I am silly… She started… feeling he was not like other men. Her face reddened even more. ”I don’t have a single favorite piece of literature, but I…do love romance novels quite a bit…”

Taken back by the lack of favorites, Mathias arched a brow. "Not silly, at all, just a tad surprised to hear that you have no favorites." His face softened when he noticed the shade of red rising from her neck. "Romance novels, Lady Damien?" He smiled, "I think I would have to agree with you in that regard, they are far more interesting than reports or historical books." He did not wish for Crystal to feel ashamed of her interest. "Do you have a romance novel you might recommend to me?"

She relaxed when he said it wasn’t silly at all, only looking down and smiling. Crystal blinked as Mathias admitted he preferred romance novels as well. She absolutely did not expect that. Even more he then asked for her recommendation. She looked up to him with a warm smile. A royal guard and detective with an interest in romance novels? You are an interesting man Sir Mathias. She said with a giggle. ”Well before I recommend one. The reason I don’t have a single favorite is because I’ve read so many books that It’s honestly really hard to choose. I have favorites among every genre, it’s hard to place one at the top of all of them.

She looked at him for a moment, as if thinking what would be a good book for him.”I would recommend ‘The Princess and her Unorthodox Prince.’ by Violet Columbine. It has romance, adventure, and a few mysteries… I think you might like it.” She smiled. Feeling kinda awkward recommending her own book without saying its hers.

He smiled and looked away for a second as his cheeks darkened the slightest. "You flatter me too much, Lady Damien." Mathias laughed, shaking his head. "It is impressive that you have read so many books." He wondered if Crystal could fill a room with only the books she had read. "'The Princess and Her Unorthodox Prince?" The title was a familiar one; he was sure he had heard of it before but could not quite place from where. He was sure there was a copy of it back home in Karla's old studio. "I shall search for a copy; if you have recommended the title, I am sure it will be great read."

”All of her books have that theme to it. So you have a few to check out if you like it. But do you get time to read often?” She asked

"If you would consider reports and documents reading." Mathias continued, "But I do enjoy reading in my free time," He paused and hesitated before saying his next words. He would not admit to it, but Lady Vikena's subtle reaction to mentioning Lucas had made his heart sink- and he understood her reaction as well. It was rare to see a widowed man at his age, and others would often think of him as a married man when he was out with his son. "I do enjoy reading fairy tales; my son loves them so much that he will often beg me to read one every night before bed." His smile widened, talking about little Lucas. He took so much after him in looks, but all of his personality came from his late mother.

She smiled when he took her recommendation seriously, even though they’ve just met. But she continued to listen as he made a small joke. “Not the type of reading I was thinking of…” she said with a giggle. When he mentioned he had a son she was surprised, what would that mean about his wife? Was he still married, did she pass? She didn’t see a ring on his finger. There had to be a reason he was here, dancing with others.She smiled when she saw his warm smile. She could see instantly how much he loved his little boy with just that. It made her tear up a very tiny bit.

“Awwe…. I love children, they are so precious. He must really love his daddy to want to read to him every night. I know I drove my father mad, always asking for one more story when I was a little girl. I think I got him up to four stories in one night.” She laughed. “I highly recommend ‘Sir Ivan Whittlock’s collection of Fantastical true Stories.’ That was my favorite book as a child. All The stories inside have good lessons. And it's sure to last you for a few years,it's thicker than a dictionary..” She smiled warmly at the memories of both her mother and father reading it to her while tucked in between them when she was feeling sick. Making different voices for each of the characters.

“I can't wait for the day when I can read it to my children…If.. I have some that is...” She said with a worried smile. She thought of her mother, how she nearly died having both Violet and her. It is very likely that she would have the same complications her mother did…the thought frightened her greatly.

"Your father must care greatly for you, luckily my Lucas has only asked for two as of yet." Although he was willing to read as many as his son desired, of course, within limits. The boy had to sleep at some point. "I shall make an inquiry at the local book store, hopefully, they carry a copy. I am sure Lucas will love it," Mathias couldn't help but to grin at Crystal and just a hint of relief.

She smiled, [color=1e4fff]“I know he does.very much so.” She glanced up to where her mother and father sat.

“I’m sure they do, it’s a popular book here in Caesonia. But if they don’t, please let me know, I know all the book store owners in the city. I can find one.”

"I am sure you will one day be able to have the family you desire, Lady Damien." And hopefully she would be spared from seeing her family break.

Crystal smiled softly, unable to tell him her worries. “I appreciate that….” She pushed the thought from her head. And decided to make a tiny joke instead. “Though… I am unsure if I could bear it… twenty children is quite a lot.” She said, giving him a smirk.

Mathias' eyes widened slightly in surprise hearing the number of children she desired. The surprise was quickly replaced by amusement seeing the smirk gracing her lips. "Having twenty children would be quite a lot," he agreed with a warm smile before continuing, "but I do think it would be quite adorable to have so many little ones running around." He had always adored children; even from a young, he'd always take care of little ones around the slums.

She giggled at his reaction. She nodded at his remark, she enjoyed having many children around her. They always had such a wonderful imagination. But it was also because she always wanted more brothers or sisters. So her remark about having twenty children was mostly a joke.

“Your son, what is his name? Is he staying back in Varian while you are here?” She asked softly

At the question about his son, Mathias could not help but light up. "Lukas, he's staying here in Sorian with me." He knew that if Lukas stayed back in Varian with Sir Oliver would make Mathias worry for his son that he would not be able to stay here in Sorian for long. "He must be in my quarters right now with his nanny." While he wished Lukas was here with him, he knew it wouldn't be appropriate for a boy his age to be at the ball. Especially after seeing that wild animal that one of the Alidasht Shehzadi walked in with.

“Lukas.” She said with a small smile. ”Wonderful name. I hope he enjoys his visit.” She looked up to him as she heard the music come to an end. ”Thank you Sir Mythias, for the dance. You certainly made my night. Perhaps we can meet again after?
Tybert Palug & Trixie Connary

Trixie pushed the door open and quickly entered the room, Excited to see her new ‘home’. So excited in fact, she had left all six of her bags out in the hall, half of them blocking the entrance. She had a bright smile on her face as she looked around the room. This was WAY bigger than her room back home. She giggled as she saw the big comfy couch and ran towards it. Doing a rather smooth jump/roll over the back of the couch and onto cushions. Well It would have been smooth if it weren't for the fact she did it too quickly and simply bounced off it and onto the floor with a thud. A soft “Owwwwiiieee…” could be heard from behind the couch.

Slowly getting up she rubbed her forehead and peaked over the back of the couch towards Tybert. “I meant to do that…” she said sheepishly.

Following close behind and having to drag the blockade of bags into the room, Tybert gave her the kind of blank stare that was typical of felines. "Y'know, I could teach you how to pull off a roll," he said - completely overlooking the fact that he'd once accidentally rolled into a wall in front of her, then claimed he was "just testing his toughness". Not that it had stopped her laughing. "You ok though?"

Trixie’s eyes narrowed as she huffed. “I KNOW HOW TO ROLL. I'm not an idiot…” She said looking at the couch and mumbled. “Stupid couch…” before pulling herself off the ground. Looking at Tybert.“I'm fine…thanks.” She said softly with a small redness in cheeks.

"Welcome,Tybert Palug and Trixie Connary." Athena spoke up. "This will be your dorm room for the foreseeable future. There is a bathroom in the door to your right that both of you may share if you do not wish to use the public baths. While sleeping in the dorm room is not strictly required, sleeping in any non sanctioned area of the school is forbidden and may result in disciplinary action."

At the sound of another voice, Tybert whirled around, finding himself face to face with yet ANOTHER talking crystal. His tail fluffed up so much it almost resembled Trixie's, and a low growl escaped his throat. First the huge crystal in the main hall, then all the floating glowing ones outside, now this? What even was she? Was a teacher spying on students through an enchanted gem, to keep them in check? He'd known mages would attend the school, but he hadn't been prepared for the place to be brimming with magic. Such a heavy dependency on such an unpredictable, dangerous force - it was bound to go awry.

Trixie perked up. “Oh COOL… Another one of those crystals here?!” She went over and got a closer look at it. Her head cocking in different directions as she switched angles and tried to see if she could figure out how it works.She got real close to her face and almost sniffed it, but she remembered tybert was there. So she hesitated a moment and took a normal breath before she reached out to grab it and fiddle with it. She hesitated when it spoke up again.

“Attempting to move or tamper with Hoseforn Academy property may result in disciplinary action.”

“I’m not tampering with you, just looking…” she said as she grabbed it and turned it around in her hands looking for any hidden runes, Surprised at the resistance it had when she pulled it close. It certainly felt heavy, she didn’t see any runes on it…. She looked down, no runes on the floor… Maybe they were intentionally made smaller, she would have to use her scope to see.

"And Mr Palug, if you are stressed, a low dose of a sleeping potion could help," the miniature Athena told Tybert as an ever-curious Trixie turned her over. "I recommend enquiring about such at the medical quarters."

Tybert's ears pressed flat against his head. "Don't give Trixie any ideas."

“I wouldn’t go to that boring place if my life depended on it.” She said, not looking away from Athena. “They only have the boring poti-” Trixie suddenly yipped and jumped back as she felt a tiny shock in her hands. Dropping Athena as she did. However instead of falling, it just floated back to its original position. She rubbed her fingers together, it didn’t hurt. Just scared her. She turned away from Tybert as she realized she yipped in front of him. Despite having a tail and ears (That she did not currently have right now due to traveling. It was just too much of a risk.). Tybert still believed she was a simple human who liked it. Not that she was really a kitsune.

Tybert started as Trixie jumped back. Seeing she was alright brought relief, but... Had she just yipped? While not in part fox form? His eyebrows furrowed. While it was normal for people with animal features, such as himself, to have some mannerisms of said animal, Trixie was a human. He couldn't deny the fluffy ears and tail she liked to give herself were cute - not that he'd admit it out loud - but was the magic starting to have some kind of lingering effect on her?

”Ok, that's a new side effect," he muttered. Before Trixie could reply with her inevitable sass, that stern voice piped up from the crystal.

“That was only a warning. More attempts to tamper with Hoseforn academy property will increase the strength of said warning.”

Trixie grabbed the pillow on the couch and threw it as hard as she could at Athena.. “Stupid Crystal…” She mumbled. The pillow had no effect as it just bounced off it. Glancing at Tybert for a split second before walking over and grabbing her bags. “I just wanted to look at it…” She said softly. Then carrying it to her bed next to the balcony she yelled “I THOUGHT THIS WAS A PLACE OF LEARNING!” She huffed. As if she won the argument.

“As this is an institution of learning, it may be best to view this interaction as a learning experience. The lesson being; do not move, tamper with or unceremoniously manhandle Hoseforn Academy property.”

Trixie looked back at Athena and blinked… did a crystal just… give her sass? She looked back to her bag as she began to unpack it. Pausing for a moment as she was more intrigued now. But she started to unpack her first of ten bags.

With a long-suffering sigh, Tybert rolled his eyes. "Let's just ask her. Athena, who are you?" He kept his distance as he spoke, as if the spelled crystal were some kind of threat. "And why are you in here?"

"I am a device to offer assistance," Athena replied, pulsing with an eerie light, "and to answer any questions students may have."

Oh. Realisation sank in. If Athena was some kind of magical construct, created purely to serve others... That was uncomfortably similar to the origin of his own people. Now he regretted growling at her. "Uh, you don't have to if you'd rather not," he replied, his tone suddenly softer. "As you saw just now, Trixie here likes figuring things out on her own. Please excuse her behaviour." He slunk to his side of the room, muttering under his breath. "Only question I have is what on Ealinata is WRONG with some of these mages."

He hadn't meant for Athena to hear him, or to reply, but he reddened with embarrassment as she did. "I can assure you, the mages here are reputable, and much can be learned from them. As for offering assistance, I do not mind doing so."

Yeeeeeah, no, he thought. He'd sooner face a pack of direwolves than learn from the high-ranking, undoubtedly power-hungry mages of Hoseforn's. And despite Athena's reassurances, the whole situation still left a sour taste in his mouth - he'd heard horror stories of enchantments cast upon the original grimalkin servants, keeping them obedient. Was Athena, who'd called herself property and a device, under similar compulsions? Did people just casually accept that here?

"Personally, I only need to learn good old-fashioned combat skills." He glanced around, noting that someone had set up a training dummy and a wooden practice sword. He shrugged off his backpack, heading to the end of the room and placing it next to the dummy. As the leather brushed against it, it jolted into action, leaning aside and raising a jointed stick arm as if to block.

With a hiss, Tybert leapt backwards onto the bed. His gaze snapped to the runes carved onto the base of the dummy. "Ugh, is freaking EVERYTHING here magic?!"

Trixie let out a huff when Tybert mentioned to just ask her. Like it would explain how it’s created. she thought to herself. Though she would probably use it later to see how helpful it was….and find ways to look at it again without being shocked…maybe a lighting warding rune? Perhaps a potion? Did she have the right herbs for that? Might be good to double up.

She heard Tybert saying he just needed to learn some combat skills, to which she rolled her eyes. Mocking him under her breath as she wobbled her head back and forth and said what he just did but to herself as she continued to pull items out with a chuckle. She got annoyed at the fact he hated magic so much. Despite clearly showing him many times it can be helpful.

She suddenly heard a commotion and hissing. She looked around as he yelled angrily. After seeing what happened she busting out laughing. Falling back onto her bed. “Ooooo The big bad soldier! Scared of a simple training dummy!” She laughed a little more, wiping tears from her eyes as she got up and hopped over to his side of the room to come look at the dummy which was frozen in its block that never came. After a quick inspection of the runes she was satisfied with her curiosity of it.

Tybert hopped down from the bed, scowling and folding his arms as his face reddened. "I wasn't scared! I was just... surprised! And careful there." He moved closer, wary eyes on Trixie, who examined the runes. "Don't touch it, those movements are pretty sudden."

She looked up to him and grinned. “I guess you do need to learn ‘some combat skills’ huh?” She said with a smug grin. She said as her shoulder brushed against the dummy and it brought it’s elbow on top of her head, booping her and causing her to pull back and rub the top of her head. “Yeowch!” But she kept on laughing at her previous joke.

“Ah!” Tybert’s eyes widened. Just as he’d suspected, the dummy was built to attack as well as block, and Trixie had found out the hard way. “You alright?” Her laughter indicated she was. A relief, but her constant teasing annoyed him no end.

Trixie groaned as it started to hurt more as she rubbed it a little more furiously but she still was giggling. Half from her joke and half from ‘surprised’ explanation. She peaked one eye open and nodded to his question. “Hnnng…I’m fine.” She said as she moved to one of her bags that he dragged in and started to rummage through them.

“And I’m telling you, I already have plenty of combat skills, just got to hone them to perfection.” Confident as he sounded, he couldn’t help wondering about the training process. If all the training equipment was like this, his education at Hoseforn’s would be even more grueling than he’d imagined. Still, he’d prove he could best any opposition, even if magic was on their side.

But she didn’t ignore him, she listened to him while she looked for the item she wanted. “Yes, you have the jumping and rolling down…wait…no, never mind…You have jumping and yowling down. pat.” She said looking back at him with a teasing grin. Remembering the comment for teaching her how to roll and remembering the time he rolled into a wall himself.

"I'll have you know, jumping is a valuable skill." Tybert responded to Trixie's grin with a frown. "And I can roll just fine." He knew exactly which incident Trixie was referring to, but that had been a while ago and she still wouldn't let him live it down.

She found the tiny vial with a dull red liquid in it. Without hesitation, she popped it open and drank it without hesitation. That bump on her head was going to give her a good headache for sure. She wanted to make sure she got a jump on it and just took a medium strength pain reliever made from cloves and capsaicin mostly. The only annoying side effect of this one, which the latter ingredient caused was a spicy/burning sensation. Like she just ate a pepper. She took a few deep breaths and stood back up.

She looked to her heaviest bag with the books. and back at him with big eyes. “Could you…um… Please?” she said cutely as she pointed to her slightly larger desk/lab table. “I still don't have enough mana…” She added as she pulled pathetically on the strap. She had used all her mana up during the trip with the bags floating so she didn’t have to carry them. Or tybert for that matter. Made the trip great. However upon reaching Hoseforn she used up all the magic in her stones and her natural pool. Which meant they had to carry them to Athena and then to their room. Tybert only agreed to take four of the bags… making her take six. Stingy, as he was much stronger than her, but she couldn’t refuse. She did manage him to take the heaviest ones though.

Letting out another sigh, Tybert approached the bag and crouched. That face worked on him every time, and Trixie knew it. “I still say it would’ve been easier to hire a cart.” It would have been more expensive, but better than relying on magic - of course, now Trixie had gone and exhausted herself. “But alright, you know me all too well.”

He set to work loading the many, many alchemical books onto the desk, stacking them neatly even though there was no way the order would last. By tomorrow, they’d be in their usual haphazard pile, with potion ingredients strewn across them. “Just this one bag,” he said, even though he knew full well it wouldn’t be. All Trixie had to do was give him that look again.
Violet , Roman & Crystal

Roman bowed to his dance partner slightly and stepped back as everyone seemed to be finishing up as well. “I look forward to seeing you again Shehzadi Mayet, I do hope the two of you enjoy the rest of your night.” He really did think the two of them would make a good fighting pair and possibly grow to be good friends. This year’s dance did seem to be more fun and friendly than the last time he was here. Who knew that so many could change in a few years with so many new faces.

Moving back towards the food table as the two parted ways for now, he found himself stopped by a masked man with a letter. It was an invitation to the after party. Curious, he hadn’t been to one of those in a while and could use a good drink and a chance to be loud and have some fun. Roman could only wonder who set up the party this time and who would be invited. The last time he was invited he got in a fight with some noble party crashers that found out about the party, breaking jaws was never so easy.

Tucking the letter in his interior shirt pocket as not to lose it, the lord continued on his way through the crowd. Passing the food table for a moment as it was crowded and grabbed a couple small pieces of meat and a couple oyster shells. Glancing around for a moment to try and spot Violet from his vantage point was fruitless so he opted to return to the balcony to eat and enjoy the night air away from the sounds and smells of the ball room.

As Crystal gave Charlotte an extra push when they separated she smiled as she watched her walk towards Lord Leo. As much as she wanted to go to meet him she wanted to make sure Violet got her dance with the bear. She turned to walk back to her sister and stopped when she realized she disappeared. She blinked a few times and looked around. She didn’t see her.

She frowned slightly. Did she go hide to read a book? She let out a huff as held her hands in her lap as she got on her toes to gain some sight…to no avail. However, as she looked, she saw Lord Ravenwood standing out on the balcony. She moved her upper body side to side as she stood on her toes to see if he was standing with anyone, but she couldn’t quite see with everyone walking around.

She thought for a moment as she settled back onto her heels and only a second passed before she thought of a brilliant plan. She quickly moved towards Lord Ravenwood, her heels clacking as she did, saying excuse me or pardon me as she squeezed by other nobles or servants. Once she was close enough she stopped, took a moment to breathe. For two reasons, to work up her nerves and get ready for her little ‘act’. Once she was ready, she slowly walked out onto the balcony.

She put one hand to her mouth as she walked up to Lord Ravenwood and looked back to the crowd. Making quite sure she didn’t see her sister so he wouldn’t catch onto her ploy. Looking back she then spoke softly, U-um… E-excuse me… Sir?”l Her hand covering her chin and bottom lip as she looked up to him. When he would look at her she would continue after glancing down at the ground. ”Could you possibly… help me?” She smiled as a little genuine embarrassment could be seen on her face as she looked back at him. She could see why Vi was so attracted to him…at least physically at the moment. A little redness spread across her cheeks. As she met his eyesight.

Dropping her hand to her lap and gripping her other hand with it.”It would seem I am a bit lost, and cannot find my sister. If only I were as tall as you, maybe I could spot her quite easily.” She said with a nervous chuckle.

A breath of fresh air was exactly what the man needed, being used to smokey conditions was one thing but there was some sort of perfume being used out in the ballroom that he did not find pleasant. Gazing up at the stars and then to the courtyard he barely noticed the light footsteps approaching him from behind. A small sound was all he heard behind him but didn't pay any attention to it at first, almost like a mouse in a thunderstorm. It did take a few moments but his mind did eventually catch on that the mouse was saying words.

Turning from the balcony he spotted the small girl that ran off from the dance floor earlier,
“Can I assist you with something?”
his mouth spoke before his mind could catch up to the fact that she did ask him for help. She was smaller than he thought she would be with an almost timid nature about her. He couldn't help but link her similarities with his youngest sister and the baby of the family Sasha. Relaxing his posture and giving her a small smile trying to appear as non threatening as he could.

She blinked. Was he slightly deaf? She thought she spoke up loud enough. She cleared her throat and stood up straighter, as if it would help her speak louder. I’m sorry to bother you... But would it be possible if you can help me find my sister? I-I Simply cannot find her.” She looked at the crowd of people as if to show how hard it would be. Then back to him. I saw you quite easily through the crowd … so i assumed you could easily find her. I could describe her to you.” She said with a bigger hopeful smile.

It seemed she needed help finding someone if her words were true, he didn't blame her as she was quite small, “well then how about introductions first as it is only polite. I am Lord Roman Ravenwood of Emberstone Stronghold. Who might you be? If you don't want to tell me that's fine I will likely just give you a nickname instead.” Roman continued to smile at her and wondered just how she would reply.

shoot! I can't tell him my name.” She thought as she quickly said ”I-I-I’m so sorry! How terribly rude of me, Lord Ravenwood.” She gave him a quick curtsey as she quickly decided on what to do and once she did she hoped he really was slightly deaf. ”As much as I would love a nickname, Lord Ravenwood we only just met.” She said with a giggle. My name is Lady Crystal Hamein. She said, kinda lowering her voice as she said Hamien. So when he realized it was Violet she could fibb saying ‘I did say Damien.’. She gave him a smile as she rose from her curtsey.

The giant of a man calmly stared down at her as she introduced herself to him, he couldn't help but furrow his brow at her for a moment. Not because of the stutter or hesitation but because she seemed to lower her voice at the mention of her surname. He couldn't tell if she was embarrassed by the name or wanted to keep her last name a secret. “Lady Crystal Hamien?” he looked at her incredulously, “you were quiet as you spoke your last name so forgive me if i sound rude, this is not a trick correct? The first time I came to this gathering some of the other boys tricked me into looking for someone named Mike Oxmaul about a new type of forging hammer he created and it took me the better part of an hour asking around the ball before someone had to spell it out for me.” Again his smile returned and brow flattened, “so you are not trying to trick me, yes?” It was embarrassing for him about the incident but it kept his father and uncles laughing for weeks afterwards.

You’re killin me smalls… She thought to herself. She blinked a few times, at the fact he wasn’t letting it go, and the story that came with it. Now she felt almost guilty for her own innocent joke she was attempting to pull on the man. ”L-L-Lord Ravenwood…” She said looking away, blushing as she did feinting processing the information of his lewd joke experience. But it was really for deciding what to do.

”I-I am sorry, you were a victim of a cruel and quite vulgar joke. But that is not my intention. I simply wanted some help.” She looked back to the crowd ”I suppose I was a bit forward in asking…Forgive my intrusion.” She said as she took a step away from.

Roman sighed with a small smile seeing the young lady step back, “My apologies, I tend to have issues with social interactions… What does your sister look like? Height, hair color, and what she is wearing are a good start.” he hoped he didn't leave a bad first impression on this little mouse, if he did he would have to make it up to her somehow.

She looked back to him and seeing him smile she lowered her shoulders just a tad, with a soft smile of her own.”I-it is alright Lord Ravenwood…I a-also not very good with social interactions as well.” She said as she brought her hands up to her chest. Glad her plan was back on track. Well, do believe me when I say this… She said with a grin. She has the black hair that almost looks like the night sky that sometimes even looks slightly blue. I know with me being a blonde… It's true! She has very pale skin, silver eyes and about my height. Maybe a tad shorter. Which she does hate as she is my older sister. She said with a bit of glee. Her frame wiggled ever so slightly side to side as she was proud of herself in gaining that extra inch on her.

”She is wearing a black dress, with a loose shirt and black corset.” She left out the part of the Raven’s embroidered on it, as it would probably not be seen at a distance. While her description was unique, she was sure it would give it away instantly.

The description this Lady crystal was giving sounded very much like Violet but their names are different but very similar. Cousins perhaps or half sisters? Romans thoughts wandered while his gaze returned to the sky, “Silver eyes that hold mysteries beyond comprehension, as if she fell from the silvery stars to grace us with heavenly beauty.” he spoke quietly to himself then returned his gaze to Crystal. “I can only assume there are a few who could match the beautiful young lady you may be speaking of.” eyes lifting off her and scanning around the room only to catch a glimpse of violet near the food table reading a book, “to the food table then for my first guess.” Crystal did tell him she wasn't joking so he didn't think she was trying to trick him as he began walking toward the refreshment table.

Crystal leaned closer as he spoke softly to himself, but she managed to hear what he said. Her eyes grew wide as she blinked a few times. She felt her own heart flutter at the description of her sister.Oh….wow… She thought to herself. Was this man also a wordsmith? Making a mental note to write that down and use it later, she was pulled from her thoughts as he just suddenly walked away.

She was shocked that he just… left her there. ”Why does she always like the awkward ones…” Crystal thought to herself with a giggle as she quickly caught up to him. His long strides were followed with a triple of hers. ” I’m sorry…you sound like you know her?” She said as she tried to keep up. Holding up her dress just slightly not to accidentally step on it with this fast pace.

Slowing his pace slightly, realizing that the other girl had trouble keeping up as he parted the crowd. “Your description reminds me of someone that I talked to earlier in the evening. She has the most beautiful scars. It is a shame she hides them.” he spoke towards her as he continued excusing himself with occasionally bumping into others or walking in between them as they talked. The black dress and dark hair of the one he spotted earlier grew closer with each step until he finally parted the crowd to a small opening between himself and The Lady.

His hesitation only lasted a moment and he hoped the other girl didn't run into him as he stopped nearly dead in his tracks. The fireflies in his stomach returned with each step toward violet, “Lady Violet Damien.” He spoke as he walked up to her, his smile returning to his face, “I have someone here who might have been looking for you.”

Crystal smiled when he mentioned her scars…he did realize saying that confirmed she opened her shirt to him. Please…for the love of God…Do not say that in front of father… She thought to herself. She let out a small oop. When he suddenly stopped, managing not to run into him just in time. She looked up to see him just stare at her for a moment and she felt her heart flip. He spoke up again, walking towards Violet. Crystal walked behind and to the side of Roman, but as Violet would look at her she would her little sister grinning like a little girl. So excited to see them interact. The smile quickly died down to a normal smile as she moved now around Roman and said “Vi VI I was wondering where you went!”

She stopped in between the two and gave Violet a very specific look before giving her a hug. ”I didn’t realize you two already spoke.” She looked towards Roman and with a warm smile said, ” You Sir…are a tease, Making me describe my sister. Despite hearing my last name.” She was so excited she could hardly contain her joy. The man almost ruined her plans… but she won. Oh it felt so much better in real life than in her books.

Violet stood silent, reading her book while devouring one glass of wine after the other. The constant lines about coffee and the large paragraphs focused on the brewing of coffee made violet raise a brow. She started to wonder if her sister was taking up a new hobby as a coffee farmer.

She put the small book into her pocket as she finished off her last glass of wine. Her face was pink , with all the wine taking effect on her small frame. She leaned against the table, using it to slightly hoist herself steady as she spoke to herself “ So that is what that feels like…” she had never been buzzed off her drink before, but it was helping steady her nerves more.

While she steadied herself she heard a deep voice call her name. Her heart fell into the pit of her stomach as she would recognize that voice anywhere. She turned her head to see Roman standing in front of her , greeting her with a smile as just the look on his face sent sparks over her body. Her eyes widened slightly as she stumbled slightly before standing up to curtsy.

”Lord Ravenwood, wha- “ She was interrupted when she heard her sisters gleeful voice peak near her. She stood up , her hand still on the table as she looked over at crystal, her eyes searing into her as she thought “you…didn’t…you little-” She forced a smile on her face to her sister “ Crystal, I thought you had something to do with Charlotte. I am so sorry my Lord I hope she didn’t bother you”

Roman almost laughed at Violet's condition, one he had seen many times, too much wine on an empty stomach. The words from her dear sister did make him stifle that smile and laugh as he soon realized he had been tricked again. His gaze shifting from violet to crystal a flash of fire behind his eyes, “it is quite alright, even though i did ask her not to trick me it seems that she did anyway… that is an action she will regret at some point this summer, i can assure you Lady Crystal Damien that it will not harm you but i can also be a trickster in my own way.” he finished what he had to say with a devilish smile that soon faded to his normal smile refocusing on her sister.

Stepping up to her and carefully grabbing her hand with his and her forearm with his other he helped to steady violet. “I see you got lost in your book and didn't notice how much wine you drank. It's no worry, drink some water and eat some bread.” his smile remained but he would let go if she resisted his strong arms trying to keep her steady while also trying to make it look appropriate. “I would love to carry you through the next dance but I do not believe it would be appropriate. That's if you would do me the honor of having this next dance with you? If not then maybe Crystal would enjoy a dance?” He knew he might be pushing it a little but he did want to dance with Violet.

Crystal could feel her sister's anger with her with her glare. She only returned a smug smile as if to say “Yes I did”. ”I told you Vi, I just had to talk with her for a moment.. When I turned around you were gone.” She gave her a look that clearly said,When I said don’t give up on the bear I DIDN'T MEAN GET DRUNK She started to get nervous and looked hurt when Violet tried to apologize for her. But then Lord Ravenwood simply smiled.

He knew he was tricked again, But she wasn’t going to admit it so quickly. She looked hurt. ”Lord Raven I did not trick you! I told you my name. You were the one who didn’t hear my request in the first place, and I had to repeat myself remember? Perhaps you should have a physician check your hearing?” She let out a huff, ”As much as I would like to enjoy a dance, I am sadly already taken for this one. Violet would love to dance with you I’m sure.”

Violet stood there, her weight shifted onto Romen as she just stared for an awkward amount of time , her silver eyes focused on his. Blinking, she pulled herself together for a moment before looking down at his grip on her. [color=firebrick] “ Thank you, Lord Ravenwood ..I-..” Her grip on his arm tightened as she steadied her legs. [color=firebrick] “ I am okay..really.” she smiled at him. Her pink face reddened as he mentioned carrying her “ I ..wouldn’t be opposed to that…I have never been one to care what others think. Why start now?” she smiled playfully. She continued to ignore her sister as her eyes were locked onto Romans. “ A dance? Yes, I would love a dance, I really enjoy dancing” she lied, but with him she would. She had just left the dance floor after two steps with the prince , but she could simply spend all night dancing with Lord Ravenwood.

Her mind clicked slightly as she looked away from him for a moment, her face brighter red then what it was as she realized all the things she was thinking she just spoke out loud. Straightening herself she smiled nervously “ I'm sorry, I’ve never had so much to drink in my life before. “

Roman couldn't help but glare slightly at Crystal for what she said but chose not to answer and shift his focus to Violet. “Here, eating some of this will help.” reaching over to grab some small pieces of bread and hold it out to her. “My family drinks a lot at celebrations, we don't always have the opportunity and it's always fun with laughter and the odd fight.” this girl was definitely going to be fun if this watered down wine could do this to her.

The giant chuckled for a moment with his smile, “Tell me Violet, what is your family known for? Are you good at shipping, good at being merchants or miners, maybe even farmers?” he hoped she wouldn't be put off by him inquiring about what their family does as he continues to help assist Violet with standing.

Crystal stood there quite shocked when Violet completely ignored her. She never saw her sister act like this… She was focused solely on the man who now held her, Another thing that surprised her was the glare from Lord Ravenwood, and the total dismissal of her as he focused on Violet. The joy that once filled her was now replaced with a sting of hurt. What did she do? She thought she was being playful… Did she just annoy the both of them with her comment?

She stood there awkwardly for a moment slightly confused with the situation. Her stomach rolled with a flurry of confusing emotions. She forced a smile and pointed awkwardly towards nothing to her right and slowly slipped away. Lovely…Perhaps I should just stick to books… She thought to herself as she looked towards the wine. She reached out and played with one of the empty crystal glasses by rolling it on its base a few times. Before stopping and deciding to walk to the edge of the room.
Crystal & Charlotte

Crystal smiled as she stood next to her sister, Looking out into the sea of nobles. What little of her confidence was back again. She saw Charlotte standing at the perimeter of the dancefloor. She looked at Violet and said softly, ”Ok. Promise me you won't give up on the bear. Ok?! I have to talk to Charlotte real quick before the next dance.” Before squeezing her hand and quickly walking away.

It didn’t take long for her to reach her best friend. Charlotte! How was your dance? She said as she gave her a hug from behind. She tried to act normal, not wanting to bring up her own in case she didn’t see it.

”Crystal!”Charlotte whirled around to hug her best friend back with a smile. She gave her a gentle squeeze before letting her go. ” I’m so happy you’re here tonight. You look well!”She told her pleasantly, before answering her question, ”It was nice. Sir Matthias is a royal guard from Varian Kingdom. He seemed to be an amiable sort…I think I saw him approach you before, yes ? Did he ask you to dance with him?”

She smiled more when Charlotte hugged her back. Thank you, I feel great! Especially when Mom hasn’t killed me yet for sneaking over here by myself” She then mentioned Sir Matthias and she nodded, Yes he saved me from embarrassing myself when I walked in. Though he would claim I saved him from some older Ladies that were not too happy he left. But yes, yes he did. I think we will dance this next one.” She added with a bright smile.

”He did tell me he was a Royal guard, but also he’s friends with Sir Verrick! I didn’t know he had a close friend!”

”Oh that’s great! I bet he’s going to just adore you.”Charlotte giggled.

No… not when he’s already danced with you! You two looked cute together!” Crystal added quickly, waving her hand in front of her face as if to fan away the idea he might adore her.

She took her hand gently and began to assure her, ”I am positive he will! Make sure to ask him for some stories-” She broke off and suddenly said with excitement, ”Oh! Speaking of stories, I spoke to Verrick tonight! I want to introduce him to you at some point.”

Crystal smiled at Charlotte when she took her hand. Surely the man would not be interested in a girl like her, stuck at home and reading books all the time. But she nodded just the same. Her eyes went wide when she then changed the subject to saying she actually met Verrick tonight. She knew he was here, the princess of Varian was here. But the fact that Charlotte spoke to him just made her excited. That and she wanted to introduce her to him as well. She grabbed both her hands with hers and said very excitedly, Oooh I would love that. Thank you! “ She always wanted to meet him of course, he was a childhood crush of hers. Hearing stories about him even in Casonia inspired her to write. That made her realize…was her source here as well?” She looked around the room for a bit. Like that would have helped as she never met the man.

I am sure he's busy with the princess though…We shouldn’t bother him.” She said with a light sigh. But she quickly turned to Charlotte, So, is there any other man that caught your eye tonight?”

”Of course, I know how much he means to you. It would make my night to see your dream come true… I am sure we can catch him at some point. ”Charlotte told her genuinely. Through thick and thin, Crystal had always been so sweet to her. It had been hard for her to keep friends after the Vikena family reputation had sunk so low, but Crystal had stuck by her, even writing to her when she shut herself out the last year. She was one of the few people she could be around and come out of her shell. Helping Crystal meet Verrick was the least she could do.

Her cheeks reddened a little at the idea of someone catching her eye. “Oh dear, um….” Romance was a notion she hadn’t bothered considering for herself at times. It was certainly something that made her giggle to herself late at night when her romance novels made her giddy, but it wasn’t something she ever thought would be in her cards nor something she was certain to even be real. After seeing her mother’s attempts at romance always utterly fail, she had grown to have a pessimistic opinion. ”I don’t think anyone’s interested in me. “Charlotte finally admitted with a sad smile, I, well…Had an embarrassing start to my night that may have left not the best of impressions. But… I think I would like to find Lord Leo Smithwood again tonight. I promised him some of my time. ”

Crystal smiled when she said she could introduce her to Sir Verrick. That it would make her night to see it happen. She really appreciated Charlotte so much. Despite not being able to leave her home, she came often to visit. Where any other girl her age simply just let her be and moved on. She also encouraged her writing and even gave her insights into her social life so Crystal could relate: even keeping her updated on the latest gossip.

Obviously Mathias could introduce her as well, but that would be a little rude really as they are all here to mingle and get to know each other. Especially when he was so kind to her.

She looked at Charlotte and grabbed her hand. ” I highly doubt no one is interested in you…” she said softly. It would seem that we both had an embarrassing start tonight in our own ways… She added giving a comforting squeeze. ”Lord Leo Smithwood?” she asked. It sounded familiar, But she couldn’t remember where she heard family name. But she smiled. ”Well if you promised some of your time, that means he asked for it??” She said with a happy grin. She began to look around, ”Which one is he?”

Charlotte got up on her tippy toes and craned her head as she searched around the crowd. She finally spotted a head of curly red hair and pointed him out. ”There he is.” Her heels dropped back to the ground and she said after a pause, her expression saddening, ”... His father passed away last year.”She told Crystal, her voice dropping in volume, ”Him, his sister and I had all been friends since we were children. I wrote them ...maybe two letters at most over the year. I do not feel I was nearly as good a friend as I could have been. I’ve been… procrastinating speaking with him. It’s difficult to find the words to apologize correctly for such a situation.”

Crystal mimicked Charlotte almost perfectly as she got on her toes as well. Once she pointed him out she smiled and nodded. She looked over to see Charlotte look a bit sad. Explaining her relationship and that their father passed as well a year ago. She wrote them, but she felt she wasn’t nearly as good as a friend. Crystal shook her head. ” You can’t be hard on yourself. You lost your mother at the same time, you were dealing with the same pain as well.” She hugged her. ”You have always been the kindest person I know. The fact you still reached out during that time shows how amazing of a friend you are. You can't deny that. Your best friend said so. So thus it is.”.She said with a grin.

”Oooh Crystal.”Charlotte smiled and hugged her back, ” Those words could move me to tears! Thank you for being so sweet.” She took a deep breath. ”You’re right. Maybe he’ll understand and see it that way too… It matters more what I do now then in the past as they say.” She rubbed Crystal’s arms in a friendly and comforting manner, ”...Have you been okay? If you are in better health, maybe we can visit each other’s houses more…” Her eyes widened and she bit her lip to keep from gasping out loud, “...Then I can play you a song I wrote for the heroine in your story. I’ve read it twice this last year! I just loved it so much. It’s rather romantic and soft in the beginning, but the tempo changes, and the tune gradually becomes more epic to showcase her character development!” She looked ready to squeal. Though Charlotte was usually not a loud girl, especially not in public, she was known to get excited when she talked about her favorite topics.

Crystal nodded while Charlotte convinced herself that it would be ok. ”If he doesn’t understand. I'll make him.” She said with a small grin. Not that she could do much. But maybe a surprise kick to the shins or other parts would work. When Charlotte moved to her heath she smiled and nodded more definitively. ”Yes, much better I would lov-” She started to say when she was surprised by her friend's sudden enthusiasm. Which only made her smile more. She blushed at her saying she read her book twice this year. She had mentioned in her letters she loved it, not that she read it twice! That made her feel wonderful. She mentioned she wrote a song for her latest books, and she laughed. She had done this before with her other books as well, and they were all wonderful. ”I can't wait to hear it! You make the most wonderful songs! I keep telling you, you need to compose more. Then I can support you like you do me! ”

Charlotte was elated to hear her positive reaction. She was happy she had gotten to speak to Crystal tonight; the nervous feeling that had been plaguing her all night had finally left her in peace. “I would love to compose more for you. I promised you I’d always have your back and I meant it.”

”I would love it. I also never doubted your promise, I promised to have your back as well and I meant it.” She said with a smile. ”Now to keep that promise. Stop hiding on the edges here…”She said moving slightly behind Charlotte and placing her hands on her back. She began to push her gently towards Lord Leo which was also on the way back to her sister which she would go back to after.”Stop procrastinating and go ‘apologize’ to him. Though I'm sure it's not even warranted.”
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