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In Avalia 27 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
Bardulf



Time: Morning
Location: North Pass Cottage
Interaction: Mister Luum @FunnyGuy, Zeva @Pink Khione, and Bowyn @Helo


Bardulf had begun turning towards the door when Zeva’s apparent rebirth had occurred. With squeals of excitement and gratitude catching his attention, Bardulf turned around to see the flash of blonde and white skin rush at him into a tight hug. Immediately his face turned red, flushing with embarrassment as he tried to brainstorm just how he should react. The man’s arms went up and almost began to flail in confusion for a moment, but in the few brief seconds of contact - there was a peaceful solace in Bardulf’s eyes. He returned the hug gently, his rough arms contrasting against Zeva’s much more fair skin. With that he procured his cloak as she began to whimsically make her snow angels in the yard. A rare smile graced his face as he looked at Bowyn.

”Let’s look for one of them taverns or a hunting board of some kind. We had one back home so it would be nice to see one here.” The man walked out with Bowyn and Rue in tow. The journey took the better part of the next hour, and as they approached the town proper the man took his cloak and shielded himself from sight as best as he could. Bardulf took note of Rue’s encounter with an unseen entity - hoping it was nothing for now. He did not wish to garner more attention.

Once they approached the Notice Board, Bardulf noticed the more dangerous jobs right off the bat. He felt a slight urge to take on the bandits - wanting to remove any unwanted blemishes along this serene countryside. However he opted for the more standard prey for now, pulling the poster for the dire wolves and handing it over to Bowyn. In a hushed voice he asked, ”Good warmup, right?”
In Avalia 2 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay
Bardulf



Time: Morning
Location: North Pass Cottage
Interaction: Masako @dreamingflowers, Mister Luum @FunnyGuy, Zeva @Pink Khione, Rue @Potter, and Bowyn @Helo


Bardulf took the ring thrown his direction by Mister Luum and slowly placed it on his finger. A warmth spread through his body that granted him an unexpected comfort despite wearing a loose tunic and tight cloth pants in the middle of a winter cabin. This worlds magic was strange but there was some nifty little artifacts that Bardulf had begun to learn about, this being one of them. His gaze fell on the mountain of cloaks, blankets, and sheets that surrounded the poor Light Elf Zeva and he slowly took his ring back off. The chill that covered his skin caused a wave of goosebumps to linger on his skin as he reached out to her with the ring in his hand.

"I am...used to the cold if you'd like to have this. I am fine with my cloak, so maybe we could make a trade of sorts." His smile was muted as he attempted his first bit of sarcasm in some time.

Whether Zeva would take the ring or if she would cling onto Bardulf's old cloak, Bardulf stood up and crossed his arms. "Could any of you perhaps...show me around? I would like to know where I may look into hunting for game or prize so that we may have plenty of money and food for the harsh winter days to come." He began to make for the door, and turned around to see who would want to join him on a little explorative adventure.
In Avalia 2 mos ago Forum: Casual Roleplay


Time: Morning
Location: Docks on the Coast of Dugmaghord
Mentions: Jun @JJ Doe, Zion @Helo, Arlen @SilverPaw, Amisra @Tae, and Sirena @tpartywithzombi




Tanithil measured the reaction of the gang and nodded. There was at least some progress being made, even if Jun was still as silent as ever. Firstly, he turned to the human and shrugged "I'll take that as a yes to all of the above then. Unless you want to, oh I dunno...elaborate?" His hand waved in a circle in a form of invitation for him to offer anything, but after what felt like an awkwardly long pause Tanithil gave up this endeavor for now.

He crossed his arms and reflected over Zion's skills. "A fella big as you can certainly find 'is place on a boat. If anything to lift the big things while our usual muscle is recovering from her injury." His eyes seemed sad for a moment as he thought of his friends injury - but the business face came back on with a slight scowl as he scanned the immediate horizon for any sign of establishment outside of the docks they stood on. As he spotted Arlen walking off, he noticed a humble tavern smushed amongst what he could only assume were regular living quarters for the fishermen who resided in this unnamed town. He pointed off in the direction the elf was wandering and looked back at Zion and Jun.

"Looks like Arlen is way ahead of me. That building there looks hospitable enough. And if it ain't, well you have my permission to kick the crud out of anyone who looks at ye funny." He pauses for a moment and adds one more thought. "Just don't get caught if you start a fight. Right back on the ship where I can smooth talk our ways outta anythin fishy." He chuckled, highly doubtful anything that crazy could happen.

"I'll be joinin ya lads shortly, but first I'm gonna make one more round of the boat and see if any of the other crew wanna grab a bite with us. First meal of the adventure's on me!" He waved and turned around to walk back up the ship, seeing if there was anything amiss with his ship, checking twice for stowaways, and even checking in on Sirena and Amisra should they need anything in particular.



Farim

Location: Primitus Church of Sorian
Time: Morning of the 24th
Attire: Robes
Mentions: Anastasia @princess, Nahir@Rodiak, and Kira @Potter


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


The slight warmth from the normally regal Nahir was certainly refreshing. Just as he would exchange more pleasantries there came a woman with a seemingly kind disposition coming to greet the group. "Perhaps the details can be discussed later." He said in a hushed tone before waving at the new person. He was going to let her down gently, given that he had no authority to decide who or what sits next to the Princess of this fine nation. Just as he was about to share that she would likely be better off finding another seat incase someone else takes offense, Wulfric entered the scene and vehemently expressed disapproval of the notion. Farim let him speak his piece, and observed the expressions on the mans face. It was not written plain as day, but there was a subtle hint that Wulfric had been quite busy this morning. The tone and "direct-to-business" attitude could very well be facets of the mans personality, but it gave him a reminder of his own busier days back home.

He would wait a moment to let the interaction play out, and then addressed the prince. "Prince Wulfric...it is good to be seeing you today." He said calmly. The personable glance from Wulfric told Farim there was more to be said, so Farim gave a subtle nod in understanding. This was another person Farim felt like he would need to convene with at a later date. This was supposed to be a vacation of sorts but I am finding myself with just as work as before. Ah well, such is the life of Farim. He smiled to himself. Once these interactions played out, the organs came a silence. It would seem the ceremonies were just beginning.

Farim respectfully mirrored whatever bodily motions the others would take, but chose to keep his voice silent during the prayer. Not out of refusal to follow their customs, but out of respect. If he were to show any kind of worship to their patron gods, he would rather do it properly. Since he did not know the words, he simply observed and learned what he could. This kind of interaction was something he was familiar with, and often enjoyed. The world was a wide place with many different relgions, rituals, practices, and ideologies. His true allegiance was to that of the Sun God, and the pantheon of Alidasht. But he would not shun others for seeking their own form of comfort, security, or tranquility - it was only fair.

As the initial prayers ended, the choir and orchestra boisterously filled the halls with elegant music that rang through Farim's ears. It was as if his body was resonating with the music itself with how the ceaseless vibrations shook the very pews they sat in. His attention then turned towards the booming sound of the church doors opening. This entire ritual was as grandiose as it gets, and Farim found himself impressed with the showmanship and dedication - even as the more interesting part of the morning mass came to a head.

Farim was no stranger to the exotic and extravagent. He had heard of the way his family had made their entrance into the grand palace so it would behoove him to harshly judge such an erratic display of self-worship. Despite this, Farim could not help but find it strange to see the proceedings before him. Countless dancers, performers, and beautifully clad women all set the stage for the grand appearance of his Royal Majesty - who himself was carried both in body and cape towards the front of the church. Farim kept his external expression neutral, mimicing a pleasant smile. But internally he could not help but question the level of showmanship for a church service.

Nonetheless, after such a display there was an uproar of applause from the crowd, and Farim would offer an enthused slow clap of his hands to measure the excitement in the room. The parade was impressive and fun after all! It was just not quite what Farim was expecting for such a service. This is going to be...interesting to say the least. He thought to himself. He pulled gently on Anastasia's arm and gestured to her father. "That was quite the show, do you think you have a good view of your dad?" His voice would likely be drowned out by the sound of dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of cheers and shouts of adoration.
Drake & Thea






As Drake extended his hand towards her, Thea hesitantly took it and glanced up at him. She placed her hand in his, feeling a warmth spread through her at his touch. With his assistance, she rose from her curtsy, a blush still lingering on her cheeks.

"Thank you," she murmured softly as he pulled out her chair, a grateful smile gracing her lips as she settled into her seat. "You're very kind, milord, and quite perceptive."

Her eyes widened slightly as she watched him fumble, a moment of clumsy grace that only seemed to endear him to her even more. Despite his mishap, he recovered with such ease and composure that she couldn't help but be impressed.

As he spoke, reassuring her with a gentle smile, Thea felt her heart swell with warmth. "Yes, I am Lady Thea Smithwood. And...thank you, Lord Edwards. You've already surpassed my expectations, I must admit. I was half-expecting my date to either flee or judge me harshly when they found out who I was."

She offered him a shy smile, her gaze softening as she met his eyes. "But you've done neither of those things, and for that, I'm truly grateful.”

Drake nodded, but couldn’t help but feel a slight concern enveloping his face. He had certainly heard some rumors and read some tabloids - but truthfully he found them all to be blown out of proportion. ”It wouldn’t be fair of me to cast any form of judgment before I even got to see you face to face.” The thought of it seemed rather extreme in his mindset. There was an etiquette and an expected decorum to these kinds of things after all.

”Plus I don’t like to buy into the alleged words of folks who do nothing but spread gossip. It always seems to do more harm than good to folks. So you needn’t worry - Lady Smithwood. I am here very much for a rather pleasant time and so far, you have done nothing to betray this notion.” He offered a slight bow, with one hand moving to press against his hand while the other lay flat on the table. ”And thank you for the fine compliments. You look…well rather beautiful if I am being honest. Would you perhaps like us to start things off with a beverage of sorts? What do you like to eat at places like these?”

With each word from him, Thea slowly began to feel more at ease. While the nerves were still there and had her worrying over messing things up, she decided to focus on the here and now. This man was willing to give her a chance to show him her true self and she wasn't about to pass that up. ”Your kindness is refreshing, Lord Edwards, and I must say I'm truly appreciative of you giving me the chance to prove who the real Thea is.” Even though I'm not sure who she actually is. She kept that last little bit to herself and simply hoped she'd be able to figure it out while she sat here and conversed with this man.

His next words on her appearance had her blushing once more, but a genuine smile graced Thea's lips as she met his gaze. ”Make me blush any harder, Lord Edwards, and I may look more like a beautiful lobster than woman.” She said with a small giggle before grabbing the menu and looking it over really quick. The thought of indulging in alcohol was enticing, she almost craved it, but she would have to control how much she had.

”You know, I think I might have a mimosa. It sounds refreshing. As for food, I won't lie, I have a bit of a sweet tooth and I think that chocolate fondue French toast may be calling my name.”

Drake chuckled at her adorable reaction. He wouldn’t want to judge her too quickly but she seemed pleasant enough. At the very least she was doing her best to be - and he couldn’t fault someone for simply attempting their best to make a good appearance. ”Hmmm…A mimosa actually sounds rather nice. Perhaps I could couple that with some chicken and waffles - but your choice sounds awfully sweet as well….” He pondered for a moment before nodding. ”I shall enjoy some chicken and avoid the temptation to partake in a nibble of your fine fondue, milady.” Chuckling, he went to wave someone down so they could place their order.

Mingyu had immediately bounced over to the table, her smile as radiant as the morning sun. She tilted her head, taking a brief moment to appreciate the obvious chemistry brewing between Thea and Lord Edwards.
Once they approached, he started with a friendly smile and pointed at the menu as he listed the items. ”Hello! Could I trouble you for … two mimosas, an order of classic chicken and waffles and that lovely looking fondue french toast special you have?”
"Hello, wonderful people! I'm Mingyu, and I'll be taking care of you today at the Morning Blossom Cafe!" She clasped her hands together, her eyes sparkling with excitement as Drake spoke. "Amazing choices. I’ll be back with your orders in a jiffy."
”Lovely, thank you so very much.” As the waitress left, his attention went back to Thea. ”So, Lady Thea. What sort of things do you often look for in someone else when you’re actively courting?”

Thea sat there quietly and patiently as Drake ordered for them, giving the lovely waitress a kind smile. She did utter a thanks to the woman as well before she left, but then turned back to Drake.

Well…” Thea started enthusiastically, but then paused for a moment as her brows knit together and she considered Drake's question carefully. She had never truly courted someone before, her previous experiences having been fleeting and devoid of any real emotional connection. But now, faced with the prospect of starting something meaningful with Drake, she found herself reflecting on what she truly desired in a partner.

"Well," she began again, her voice tinged with sincerity and embarrassment, "I suppose I'm not entirely sure as this is my first year I'm allowed to court. I believe honesty and sincerity are important to me. Someone who is genuine and open about their feelings and intentions. I also value kindness and compassion, someone who treats others with respect and empathy."

She glanced at Drake, a small smile playing at the corners of her lips. "And of course, a sense of humor never hurts. I believe laughter is essential in any relationship, don't you?" she added, hoping to lighten the mood with a touch of levity.

”What about you? What is most important to you?”

*He took a moment to gather his thoughts - as strange as it was he never really gave it honest thought outside of his typically surface-level desires. But all the same he had some idea of what he wanted from someone. He took the moment to meet her gaze and answered with a mixture of melancholic reflection and hopefully optimism. ”The biggest things for me that you mentioned would definitely be genuine and open communication about one's own feelings. But I also do find myself quite fond of the personal attention that one can provide. Any kind of quality time is much appreciated to someone like myself.”

It was then he decided to circle back to another statement he said - and with a slight rush of color to his cheeks he spoke in a quieter whisper to her. ”And to be frank, this is also my first year trying to find someone. So I am not quite as adventurous or experienced as some may expect someone of my title to be. So patience would certainly be a virtue in that sense - but I hope I am not asking too much.” He nervously coughed before continuing. ”Sense of humor, huh? I find my humor tends to be a ‘in the moment’ type of humor. Cold open jokes are one of my weak points, admittedly. I find that those kinds of jokes tend to send quite the cringe-worthy shiver down someone's spine.” He mildly laughed at his attempt at a joke - which both proved his point but still showcased his attempt at humor all the same. ”But aside from that. Just being forthcoming and loyal are paramount to me. I think most if not all problems can be resolved through communication.” He paused with a smile to simply take in the scenery of his date before continuing. Drake could feel a flutter in his chest but he did his best to pull back on the initial reactions he had to this gorgeous woman.

”Since I had a chance to ask something - I think it only fair to let you ask something as well.” He sat and patiently awaited her response.

As Drake spoke, Thea listened intently, her heart swelling with a newfound appreciation for his honesty and vulnerability. She couldn't help but smile at his attempt at humor, a soft giggle escaping her lips at his attempt at a joke.

"I think your humor is delightful, Lord Edwards," she reassured him, her eyes sparkling with amusement. "And I couldn't agree more about the importance of communication and loyalty in a relationship. It's the foundation upon which everything else is built."

As he offered her the chance to ask a question, Thea's mind raced with possibilities. She was tempted to delve deeper into his past, to learn more about the man behind the title. But then, a mischievous glint danced in her eyes as an idea took root in her mind.

"Well, since you're new to this whole courting thing too, how about we team up to navigate our first season together?" she suggested with a playful smile, her tone light yet tinged with nervousness. "I mean, not in the sense that you'd be courting me, of course! Just, you know, as friends who have each other's backs and all that."

Realizing how her words could be misconstrued, Thea's cheeks flushed with embarrassment, and she hurriedly backtracked, stumbling over her words in her haste to clarify.

"I-I mean, unless you want to court me, of course! I didn't mean to insinuate anything, I just...I mean, I don't want to get ahead of myself or make you feel pressured or anything like that," she babbled, her words tumbling out in a jumble.

Realizing she was only making things worse, Thea quickly fell silent, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. She glanced down at her hands, fidgeting nervously in her lap as she silently cursed herself for her lack of eloquence.

"Sorry, I'll just...shut up now," she mumbled, feeling utterly mortified by her own awkwardness.

Desperate to change the subject and lighten the mood, Thea cleared her throat and looked up at Drake with a sheepish smile.

"So, um, what kind of activities do you enjoy in your free time?" she asked, hoping to shift the focus away from her own blunder and onto something more lighthearted.

Drake took in her idea, and at face value it certainly was a friendly one. As she cracked and folded under the possibility of seeming impolite, he couldn’t help but find a slightly cute charm to the woman. He held out his palm and waved it slightly to reassure her. ”I take no offense if that is what you are suggesting. If by some chance things do not work out then perhaps we very well could counsel one another.” He paused, wondering if this next bit might be a tad strongly worded.

”However I would certainly like to at least try courting you before we resign ourselves to that. And you need not tell yourself to ‘shut up’.” His face became more sincere while he spoke. ”I am sure you may find this surprising but you seem rather cute when you are flustered. I am also flattered that you care so much about what I think of you.”

The bubbly waitress approached the pair’s table, keeping her friendly smile and demeanor as radiant as the sun while she delivered a pair of mimosas to the table. "Hello again! Here are your drinks! Food shall be out shortly. Let me know if you need anything else!" Just as soon as she arrived, she bounced off to a nearby table to fulfill a few more requests.

Drake took a sip from his mimosa before continuing. ”As for my hobbies, I am partial to reading, horseback riding, and shooting from time to time. I’ve partaken in a few other bits and bobs occasionally but those three seem to really grab my attention.” It was here Drake decided to lay it on a little thick to test the waters. He didn’t want to simply have this date be a Q&A - even if that would be beneficial to them both. The young duke wanted to take advantage of this fateful moment and see how much chemistry the two could bubble up in such a short span as one brunch date. ”What does someone as beautiful as yourself occupy their free time with? Aside from batting away the several suitors at your doorstep, that is.” A coy smile made its way across his lips as he sipped again from his mimosa.

Thea's cheeks flushed a deep shade of crimson at Drake's response, her heart fluttering with a mixture of excitement and nervousness at the prospect of him wanting to court her. She couldn't help but feel a surge of gratitude towards him for his kindness and understanding, and a small smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she softly muttered her thanks.

"You're too kind to me, milord," she murmured, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'm terribly afraid of messing things up, but I'm willing to give it a try if you are."

Thea's hands trembled slightly as she reached for her mimosa, battling with herself to resist the urge to down it in one gulp. Instead, she took a small sip, savoring the sweet tang of the orange juice as it washed away some of her embarrassment and nerves.

Turning her attention back to Drake, she listened intently as he listed his hobbies, her eyes lighting up with excitement at the mention of horseback riding and shooting. Unable to contain her enthusiasm, she blurted out, "I love horseback riding too! And shooting! I haven't been on a ride since...well, since my father disappeared," she added with a hint of what would appear to be sadness, her smile faltering slightly before she quickly composed herself.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to get carried away," she murmured, feeling slightly embarrassed by her own enthusiasm and felt another blush heating her face.

As Drake flattered her once again, Thea couldn't help but giggle, feeling slightly flustered by his words. Trying to reply coyly, she responded, "Well, you certainly know how to charm a lady, Lord Drake. You will certainly have me pining over you by the end of the night if you keep this up."

Taking a moment to collect herself, Thea then answered his question properly, her voice filled with warmth and enthusiasm. "Aside from horseback riding and shooting, I enjoy socializing at parties and events. I haven't had much time for reading, unfortunately, but I do enjoy a good book when I can find the time. My mother didn't think reading was important and instead filled my time with trying to teach me a ‘proper’ skill, in her words, which ended up being piano and singing. Both of which, however, I am still very terrible at." She said with a playful smile before laughing some.

”Being afraid of messing things up only shows how much you care.” His eyes closed as his smile widened and he kept his pleasant demeanor while she spoke about her interests. ”You know I recall hearing about your name in that archery competition a few days ago - You certainly did a splendid job! I say bravo to you. However I would like to clarify that I am a man of flintlocks, not bows. Nothing against them personally, but I was told growing up I needed a way to defend myself from people bigger than me. So there’s my ‘ace in the hole’ one could say.”

”But horseback riding…Ah I do love a good trip through some open fields on a clydesdale. Those big horses simply have the strongest stride - and strangely well kept if you know what you’re doing.” Drake took another sip from his drink. ”I suppose I would have to be the judge of your musical skills. I am fond of good music in general. Even as a child my father wanted me to learn violin. Meanwhile, ‘mother-dearest’ wished for me to learn the piano. I failed at both, so I would bet that you far exceed my skills on the keyboard.” He bashfully admitted his shortcomings, his eyes shifting off to the side in mild embarrassment.

”If you would like I could bring you some books. I am partial towards mysteries and dramas, but I really don’t discriminate when it comes to the written word.” He stopped himself, leaning in towards the table with a smile. ”Perhaps it could be a reason for you to see me on a second date, hmm?” Drake chuckled softly at the statement. But quickly felt a sense of unease building within him. He had only just met her and he was already proposing a second date? That seemed a bit fast for the social norm. Was he being too swift in his excitement? He decided to correct himself slightly. ”That is, if I am not getting too ahead of myself. We still haven’t even had our meals yet…Speaking of…” Drake’s pause and attention moved over the Mingyu as she brought forth platters of delectable and alluring food to their table.

The waitress glided effortlessly around the table as she placed two silver platters with ornate covers on each plate. ”For our two blossoming roses, I have here a Fondue French Toast Special for the beautiful Lady Smithwood. Annnnd a wonderful order of Classic Chicken and Waffles for our dashing gentleman Lord Edwards!” She took the serving trays away, leaving the plates of magically enchanting food for the two to admire and consume at their leisure. ”If either of you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask~!” She skipped away behind the double doors leading into the kitchen, only moments later bringing out some more plates of food for the other diners present.

Thea couldn't help but blush a little at Drake's mention of the archery competition, feeling a swell of pride at the recognition of her skills. However, she couldn't resist teasing him in return, a playful smirk gracing her lips as she leaned forward slightly.

”Well, Lord Edwards, it's bold of you to assume that the bow is my only interest in shooting," she replied, her tone teasing as she raised an eyebrow suggestively. "I happen to have quite the knack for clay pigeon shooting as well. Perhaps we could have a friendly competition sometime and see who comes out on top?"

Her eyes sparkled with amusement as she leaned back in her chair, giggling a little at her boldness yet enjoying herself. She couldn't help but appreciate Drake's easygoing nature and the way he seemed to genuinely enjoy their conversation.

"There's something so magical about the bond between rider and horse, isn't there? Personally, I have a soft spot for Arabian horses. They're so elegant and swift, and their speed is simply exhilarating." She said with a small sigh, not realizing how much she truly missed riding. ”As for the music, I suppose I can play for you at some point, just know that you've been warned.” She said with a genuine laugh before taking another sip of her drink, savoring the crisp taste.

She set the drink back down, listening to him mention bringing books to her and it being an excuse for a second date. Thea's heart skipped a beat at the thought, but the food arrived then, momentarily distracting her from Drake's proposal of a second date. She marveled at the sight and aroma of the delectable dishes placed before them, her mouth watering in anticipation of the flavorful feast laid out on the table.

"Oh, everything looks absolutely divine," she exclaimed, her eyes lighting up with excitement as she surveyed the spread of Fondue French Toast and Classic Chicken and Waffles. "Thank you, Mingyu," she added with a warm smile, expressing her gratitude to the waitress before turning her attention back to Drake.

But as she prepared to dive into the delicious meal, Thea's mind wandered back to Drake's earlier suggestion of a second date. The idea filled her with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, the prospect of spending more time with him both thrilling and intimidating.

"I think your proposal of bringing me books and using it as a second date is a splendid idea." she replied, her voice tinged with genuine enthusiasm. "I'd love to explore more of our shared interests and I'd love to spend some more time reading. So if this continues going as lovely as it has, it sounds like we have our second date." She couldn't help but feel a flutter of excitement at the thought of spending more time with him, eager to see where their budding connection might lead.

Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves, Thea reached for her fork, ready to indulge in the tantalizing meal before them. But her mind was already racing with thoughts of future adventures and the possibility of deepening their bond even further. She started with a strawberry, dipped it in the chocolate, and then took a bite. ”Oh my God…” she practically moaned as the flavors exploded in her mouth. ”Okay, I know we each got our own things, but you have to try this.”

The young duke giggled at the reaction to the food. But after looking at it once again he could understand the euphoric reaction she just had. So he took his silverware and gently poked a loose strawberry until it stuck to his fork. Then after a quick dip and bite - the man couldn’t help but release a low hum of appreciation for the sweet creation. ”You were not kidding! These are simply delicious.” He cleaned off any fondue residue from his lips before continuing.

”I’m glad to see I’ve made a good enough impression. I must say I quite like your company myself, Lady Smithwood.” Drake took his knife and cut apart a piece of his chicken, placing it atop the waffle and cutting once more to make a delicate chicken waffle sandwich. With just his fork hand he raised the food as it dripped syrup onto the plate, and quickly consumed it before more of a mess could be made. The salty and sweet flavors of chicken, waffle, syrup, as well as the residual taste of strawberry fondue all collided together onto Drake’s taste buds. He was tempted to let out an audible “Mmmmmm!” But a quick wave of shyness over how that may be received stopped him.

”Forgive me. I’ve never truly found the cleanest way to eat this dish. But it is one of my favorites.” He began to cut another piece. ”Since you offered some of yours, may I interest you in some of mine?” Drake inquired as he placed the chicken and waffle onto the fork and began to lift it up.

Thea couldn't help but giggle at Drake's enthusiastic reaction to the food, finding his genuine enjoyment endearing. She watched with amusement as he expertly assembled his chicken waffle sandwich, admiring his culinary finesse.

"No need to apologize, Lord Edwards," she replied with a warm smile, her eyes sparkling with amusement. "I must admit, your method does seem to be quite effective." She chuckled softly before taking a small bite of her own French toast, savoring the decadent combination of flavors.

As Drake offered her a taste of his dish, Thea's smile widened, touched by his gesture of sharing. "I would love to try some," she replied eagerly, reaching out to accept the fork with a piece of chicken and waffle.

With a small nod of thanks, she brought the fork to her lips and took a bite, enjoying the savory-sweet flavors of the chicken and waffle. As she did, a small dribble of syrup escaped the edge of the fork, landing on her chest. She let out a surprised squeal, her eyes widening in amusement as she quickly tried to wipe up the syrup with her finger. Her cheeks flushed with embarrassment, but she couldn't help but laugh at the unexpected mishap.

Giggling softly, she licked the syrup off her fingers before she grabbed a nearby napkin and dabbed at the remaining syrup on her chest, making sure to clean up the mess as best as she could. With a playful smile, she glanced up at Drake, her eyes sparkling with mirth. "Well, I suppose that's one way to make a memorable first date," she joked, her voice tinged with amusement as she finished cleaning up the syrup. ”That was absolutely delicious, but you weren't kidding with it being a bit messy." She laughed as she dabbed at her mouth with the napkin now. "Thank you for sharing, hopefully I didn't make too much of a fool of myself there."

His eyes widened at the squeal, and noticing the location of the dribbling maple goodness, did his best to avert his eyes from directly staring. A rosy complexion filled his cheekbones as she cleaned herself. It was like reading bits from a romance novel come to life, how candid their reactions were. He chuckled and moved his gaze to Thea again.

”Memorable indeed, milady. Don’t worry, I am fully aware of the risks that come with such covetous toppings like syrup.” He let out a slight snort. ”But fear not, if you desire another bite I shall protect you from the deadly dribbles!” Drake wiggled his fingers up and down as he adopted a more satirical tone. ”That is - if you don’t mind being spoon-fed. Well technically this would be fork-fed.” He nervously laughed as he went to prepare another bite.

”We may both be a little silly. But I don’t think we’ve approached nearly enough tomfoolery levels to be considered a fool. You are a charming woman, Lady Smithwood.”

Thea’s cheeks flushed slightly at the offer, feeling a flutter of excitement at the prospect of Drake feeding her. It was a gesture that felt surprisingly intimate yet playful, and she found herself drawn to the idea of sharing such a moment with him.

"I must say, fork-fed does have a certain appeal to it,” she replied with a playful glint in her eye, "those nefarious syrup dribbles don't stand a chance against you."

She smiled warmly at him, her eyes sparkling with amusement as she leaned slightly closer, ready for the next bite.

She held his gaze as he prepared another forkful of chicken and waffles, a soft laugh escaping her lips as she waited for him to feed her. There was something undeniably charming about the way they interacted, and she couldn't help but feel a growing fondness for him with each passing moment.

Once the bite was in her mouth, she savored it once more, this bite seeming to be even better than the last somehow. She sat back and licked her lips happily before taking another drink of her mimosa.

"And you, Lord Edwards, are quite the charming gentleman yourself," she remarked, her voice soft with sincerity. "I must confess, I'm thoroughly enjoying our time together."

With a small nod of gratitude, she picked up her fork and took another bite of her French toast, savoring the flavors as she savored the company of the man sitting across from her.

Drake’s expression became far more awe-struck while she brazenly took his offer and took another bite from the fork he held. His jaw hung open for a moment before he cracked a smile at her compliment. ”I would agree. This kind of date was just the start to my day I needed.” He said, taking another bite of his meal. There was a certain inner peace that seemed to come from this meal. Drake merely looked across the table at her as they partook in their various dishes - admiring the view and keeping his charming smile tacked on to make sure she knew he was enjoying every moment of this.

”You know meeting you today was just the pick-me-up I needed after a rather unfortunate sequence of events last night. I shan’t bore you with the details and dirty laundry but…having brunch with you is just so refreshing. I really do pray we can have some more moments like this. With conversation like this, and the way you beam with such kind radiance that could melt any man's heart, I daresay you’re already starting to win me over, milady.” Drake took another sip of his drink, and sat calmly hoping he wasn’t playing too eagerly into their first time meeting one another.

Thea couldn't help but feel a warmth spread through her chest at Drake's heartfelt words. It was touching to hear that their time together had brightened his day, and she found herself appreciating his sincerity more and more with each passing moment.

"I'm glad I could bring some brightness to your day," she replied, her voice soft and genuine. "And I must say, meeting you has been the highlight of my day as well. Your company is truly delightful, and I find myself feeling more at ease with you than I have in a long time."

She paused, a soft smile playing at the corners of her lips as she met his gaze. "I would be honored to spend more time with you, Drake. Your charm and kindness have already won me over, and I look forward to getting to know you even better."

Her heart fluttered with a newfound sense of excitement and anticipation, eager to see where this budding connection would lead them.

Drake grinned at her array of compliments, clearly smitten by her words. His excitement was getting to him, but he inhaled and exhaled quickly to compose himself before continuing. ”That actually means quite a bit to me. I am thankful to have met such a beautiful woman in such a beautiful place.” He continued working on his meal and drink, pausing once he had made decent progress through it. Drake placed his silverware down and wiped his mouth of any leftover syrup or debris.

”Say, if you are interested, tomorrow does happen to be a special day for me. I am hosting a party of sorts to celebrate my birthday and, if you are perhaps interested, you could come and join the festivities? It could be a fun way to see each other again, and for you to be able to see my book collection and the other things around my estate. What do you think?”

Her eyes widened with surprise and excitement at Drake's invitation. The idea of attending his birthday party filled her with a sense of anticipation, and she couldn't help but feel honored that he had asked her to join him for such a special occasion.

"Oh, I would be delighted to come to your birthday party!" she exclaimed, her smile widening as she finished up the last few bites of her meal. "It sounds like a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with you and get to know you better. Thank you so much for inviting me. And I know it's early, but happy birthday!"

As she set her utensils down, a thought occurred to her, and she looked at Drake with a mischievous glint in her eyes. "How about this: I'll gladly attend your birthday party tomorrow, and in return, you can come to mine two days after yours. It'll be a chance for us to exchange birthday wishes and continue our delightful conversations."

She held his gaze, her heart racing with excitement at the prospect of spending more time with him and deepening their connection further.

The man tilted his head for a moment before a wide smile came across his face. ”Well I would truly be a fool to refuse such an offer. And how coincidental that our birthdays are so close together. That truly is interesting.” He placed his hand on his chest in a slight bow. ”Thank you very much for the birthday wish! A happy birthday to you as well, milady!” He immediately began to think of things he could possibly procure for such an occasion. He seemed almost lost in thought before he realized he hadn’t even officially accepted the invitation.

”I would be honored to join you at your birthday party, Lady Smithwood.” He took the time to finish off the last of his drink, a satisfied taste tingling on his lips. ”Speaking of birthday wishes…might there be a chance I could hear what it is you’re looking forward to for your birthday?”

"Thank you, Lord Edwards. I'm truly looking forward to both our birthdays," she replied, her voice tinged with genuine gratitude. As he inquired about her birthday wishes, she paused for a moment, her mind racing with possibilities.

In her heart, she longed for many things: to find true love, to break free from the shackles of her past, and to live a life of her own choosing, free from the expectations of her mother. But as she considered Drake's kind gaze, she found herself drawn to a simpler wish.

"For my birthday, I think I simply wish for happiness and love," she admitted, her voice soft yet resolute. "To be surrounded by good company, to share laughter and joy, and to feel at peace with myself and the world around me. To just truly feel loved. That would be the greatest gift of all."

She met Drake's eyes, her expression earnest as she conveyed her heartfelt desire for a day filled with simple pleasures and genuine connection. ”And, perhaps, share some wonderful cake with a wonderful lord I just met.” She decided to end on a playful, less serious note. "But what about you? I pose the same question to you.

The way she so boldly stated those levels of desires to him certainly had him at a loss for words. Happiness and love…something he truly wanted as well. ”I can…understand just how you feel, milady.” His voice almost seemed somber. ”I think I would like to steal that idea for myself. Happiness and love are gifts we rarely see high volumes of - and I would never want to turn down such tokens. Especially from someone like you.” He offered a smile to counteract his slightly melancholic demeanor just a second ago.

Drake slid his hand across the table, resting it on the table cloth as he locked eyes with Thea. ”It would be an honor to attend your birthday celebration. I shall make sure to clear my calendar just for you!” Drake nervously tapped his fingers on the table while he felt an anxious blush creeping along his facial features. ”And sharing some cake with an enchanting lady like you would be quite the birthday gift.” He paused for a moment. ”It would actually be quite poetic, you know.” Drake brought both of his hands together towards the center of the table, his smile becoming gentler while he spoke. ”I know this is only our first meeting. But there is this indescribable feeling I’m getting. Something about you just seems so comforting and inviting. I’d like to think we’ve been getting along rather well. So I’d like to state it plainly, Lady Smithwood.”

He leaned in to whisper to her, a grin on his face as if containing the anxious excitement beneath his collected facade. ”I fancy you quite a bit Lady Smithwood. If we are already planning second and third dates - I am starting to think our first year courting might be a lot more successful than we had anticipated.” He stopped himself from speaking too bold too soon, but he couldn’t help but shake this feeling within him. Gods I hope she’s the one.

Farim

Location: Primitus Church of Sorian
Time: Morning of the 24th
Attire: Robes
Mentions: Anastasia/Count Calbert @princess, and Nahir @Rodiak


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The errant gasps and whispers of the ongoers was something Farim wasn't unfamiliar with. But he found himself partially distracted by the revelations behind just what Anastasia had told him. Had he judged the "Good Doctor" wrong? Surely not. There must be some kind of explanation - for someone to flip face so suddenly seemed against his best interests. It all puzzled Farim, but to avoid any further suspicion from Anastasia he placed a smile on his face and chuckled at the thought. "Well if someone were to come after you, it would have to be something like the mafia. I do not think many would like to see harm come to you. I am sure they, me included, will protect you from the big bad mafia." Right after he said this, he noticed his cousin Nahir stroll around nearby. He was rather happy to see someone else from his family nearby, and offered her a pleasant greeting as she passed. "Tahiaati lak (Greetings to you), cousin! If you are free later, we should catch up. I am curious to hear of your exploits here. And it is nice to be seeing you as well, Ece. I sure hope Nahir is treating you well." Farim said the last part with a slightly cheeky tone, and waved as they walked past and began to look for their seats.

Right around here is when Anastasia tugged him forward, talking of chickens and seeing her father. "Yes yes, Annie we will see the....chickens?" He raised a brow and saw the two children playing with toys at the front. The two grown men in front of them were conversing, and Farim recognized one of them as the Count Calbert gentleman from the beach. He resisted the urge to scowl at the man, who reminded him every bit of his own father and whispered to Anastasia. "Okay, but be careful around that one on the right." He said, clearly referring to Count Calbert. "He gave me the worst feeling when he came by the beach yesterday. I do not like him."

But he would follow her all the same, making sure to take a seat near the pair of gentleman as Annie would likely immediately run towards the cute children playing with their toys. Farim turned to the two and offered a bow and a greeting. "It is a pleasure to meet you both. I am Shehzade Farim. I believe you were..Count Calbert yes? It is nice to be seeing you here once again." The latter statement was a total lie, but he had no reason to start trouble where there was none. He turned to look at Count Monet. "What might your name be? Are you another Count or someone of different title? Also I hope you do not mind the Princess socializing with your young ones. She seemed rather excited to meet them." He went to take a seat near Count Monet, leaving a spot for Anastasia.

Farim

Location: Guesthouse -> Primitus Church of Sorian
Time: Morning of the 24th
Attire: Robes
Mentions: Anastasia @princess, and Thea@Tae

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The night was rather quick for Farim. He wandered into his guest room rubbing his head to an excited Thara, who coo'd noisily at his entrance. Once the falcon was calmed and put to rest within her cage, Farim disrobed and didn't bother to put on his night gown. He was simply too tired to care about any appearances of servants or guests that may see him in nothing but his undergarments. The sweet allure of the bedsheets claimed him too quickly to rethink the decision, too. While he dreamt, Farim tossed and turned, even muttering a few phrases in his mother tongue that poor Thara would wake up startled from.

In his dream, flashes of the specter he saw at the ritual filled his mind. The anguish he felt from the thought of losing his mother, whether this was real or not, plagued his dreamscape with parasitic thoughts and theories. But just as quickly as the night had come and claimed his tired soul for rest, the morning drew its first breath to awake the restless Farim from his slumber. The Shehzade shot up in his bed, cold beads of sweat dripping along his face as he drew shallow breaths. Once he calmed himself, Farim stood up and walked over to Thara's cage, letting her roam the room as he prepared for the day.

He took some time to wash his face in his private washroom, and followed it with a warm and comforting shower. A plate had already been left by his door of some of his favorite breakfast sausage, with a glass of refreshing spring water to start the day on the right foot. He spared some of his breakfast for his trusted falcon before getting ready for the day. He picked out a particular set of robes he wanted to show off to Anastasia and the citizens of the fine city. The robes of course were embroidered with gold, but the green tones of it might present a more calming disposition to the passing bystander - and then the rather liberal depth of the "v-neck" was something that he was simply used to having on his clothing. Back home it wouldn't be much of a deal, but he chuckled to think how those of Sorian would think of such a thing.

It was then that Anastasia knocked on his door, surprising the man and causing him to jump slightly. He waltz to the door before he could think and opened it despite his robes still hanging on either side of his torso, not yet fully wrapped around him. "Princess! I am happy to be seeing youuuuuuhhhhh...Wow!" Whatever sentence Farim had in mind was lost once he saw the dress Anastasia wore. The folds of the dress tightly wrapped around her hourglass figure, with her shoulders and neck laid plainly in sight for whomever would look. Farim was, for a brief moment, speechless. "You certainly know how to greet a man in the morning."

Farim finally noticed his robe had not yet been fully tied, and moved to wrap himself up properly in front of her. He didn't mind her seeing his bare chest, but based on his initial reaction to her, any longer and she might notice a bit more of him than she bargained for that morning. But he was quick, and used to tying his clothing in record time. "I am almost finished. But in the mean time, you can always say hi to your favorite bird~." Farim gave a light whistle and Thara came over with a burst of flapping of her wings. She rested on Farim's shoulder and tilted her head before letting out a soft caw towards Anastasia. "Looks like she missed you! Come in, once I am prepared we can grab a carriage together perhaps?" He smiled and invited the woman into his chambers, letting her socialize with his treasured pet and friend while he donned his jewelry and fixed his hair. That same blue crystal necklace hung loose on his chest as he turned around and picked up Anastasia for a big hug.

"I am thankful you are okay. Seeing you hurt like that put quite the scare on me." He moved her hand to feel the slight bump on the back of his head, earned courtesy of Thea from the other night. "At least we share a fun little head injury. But do you remember what may have happened?" His face filled with concern, he still kept her close until Thara would walk over to the pair and flap her wings in protest - as if to say "I want a hug too!" Farim reached out instinctively and pet the top of the falcon's head, and gestured towards the door. "Actually, perhaps we should get a carriage first, and talk on the way?"

Anastasia gave a cheerful nod and led Farim by the hand towards the entrance of the Guest House and into a carriage she had prepared for the both. On the way Farim would ask Anastasia about what she remembers from last night, and how she is feeling this morning. All while his hand would rest on her knee in a comforting gesture. He would position himself close to her as the carriage made its way to the church, all while doing his best to make sure the bump wasn't as nasty as he let on. "Next time you decide to go running around at least let me be there so you do not bonk your pretty head - I am still sorry I was not around to stop it." He said as the carriage came to a stop.

Once out, he helped Anastasia down and offered his arm for her to take before guiding the pair into the main building of the church. Farim took in the magnificent architecture, the craftsmanship of the marble walls and wooden pews. The fantastical music had brought him to a stop as he looked on the fast numbers of folks already gathered and still gathering in the main hall. There were sure to be some glances given their brave choices of attire - but if anything it made Farim all the more glad her date to such an event. "Where would you like to sit beautiful?" He coyly asked.
Drake



Attire: Black/White Coat
Time: Morning of the 24th
Location: Edwards Estate -> Morning Blossom Cafe
Mentions: Thea @Tae, and Stratya @CitrusArms




The morning came, and the beams of sunlight dancing along Drake's bed roused him from his slumber. He took a moment to stir, and sat up with his hand resting on his head. He was surprised that with how much he drank, that he wasn't hung over. I have to thank that one foreign woman if I ever see her again. That bread and water was precisely what I needed. Drake stood up and a few moments to stretch at the end of his bed. There was a knock at his door, which he knew was the morning breakfast call. He answered through the closed door as he worked off his night-clothes, and walked over to his wardrobe to find what he wanted to wear.

Today was going to be an interesting day, so he wanted an interesting outfit. He had a reservation at the Morning Blossom Cafe, after all. If he was to attend this mixer, he would need to impress. Drake thumbed through his clothes until he came across an ensemble that seemed to speak out to him. A black and blue coat, with a white undershirt that had fancy fluffs of cloth along the front and the cuffs. He smiled and hung the top part of his outfit on the side of the wardrobe, looking next for a pair of dark blue pants to match his attire. Once he had his outfit arranged, he made sure to clean himself properly, taking care to shower with some of his nicer soaps, and giving his hair a proper brush before donning his hand-picked outfit. Once all that effort had been made, he had a light breakfast of toast and apple juice before making his way to the carriage out front and onward to the Morning Blossom Cafe.

Once inside, he was greeted by a lovely woman by the name of Mingyu who presented him with his card. On which, a fancy number "4" was written in brilliant calligraphy. Drake admired the handiwork of the note before placing it in his coat pocket. He walked around the room, scanning for who his mystery date might be, and stood still for a moment as he saw her. It would be no exaggeration to say he was enamored by her outward appearance. Drake continued his slow walk towards the table but kept his gaze locked onto the woman before him, unable to stop himself from staring and admiring the natural and enchanting look of her. The way her hair framed her face was like taking a picture from a fairy tale. Drake calmed himself and approached the table, seeing the lady ready to introduce herself and causing a few slight snafus that to some would seem unsightly. To him it only made him think her all the more adorable.

"Oh not to worry, my dear lady. Based on those first two syllables, I would say you must be Lady Thea Smithwood?" He smiled and offered his hand towards her, and would help her back up from her curtesy if she wanted. He then walked around to pull out her chair and push it in once she was situated. "But I won't force a name you would rather not share. You need only ask. Oh, and the pleasure is entirely mine, milady." Drake walked around the table to take his own seat, but in a moment of equal parts boldness and dexterity, he sat slightly off center to the seat and began to fall towards the ground - only to quickly snatch the table with his hand. It was entirely purposeful, but to the unassuming eye it would seem like the young Lord was also a klutz. Once he adjusted himself, he placed his arms on the edge of the table and intertwined his fingers. Drake smiled, totally unfazed by the slight mishap he just had. He spoke just enough for her to hear in an attempt to reassure her. "Now we're one for one on embarrassing stunts, if that was a concern. But I also promise that I am not quick to judge. I am Lord Drake Edwards. I hope I can meet your expectations today."

Farim

Location: Deep within the Forest by Lover's Lake -> Sorian Castle
Time: Evening of the 23rd
Mentions: Torvi@Tae, Roman @Reusablesword, John/Frederick @Conscripts, Anastasia @princess, and Munir @Infinite Cosmos

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There was a lot that was happening in such a short time. As Torvi tiraded against those present, a giant wolf appeared and walked next to Farim. It was clear the woman and the wolf were companions. As a fellow animal tamer himself, Farim could tell the bond the two shared. As her chastising ended, she offered a solution to his problem, something he was truly grateful for. But he could not help but blush at her casually branding him as Anastasia’s lover. ”I - well. Perhaps that is bold to say. I have only just met her. But I do care for Annie all the same.” He was not sure why he was explaining himself like this, but the conversation thankfully shifted to Fenrys being directed to guide the young Shehzade.

I am simply making sure a good business partner and acquaintance is not kidnapped by some random forest hermit. I see you are more than that.” He turned the direction Fenrys had began to trot and noticed her walking across the clearing in a hurry. ”And if you plan to take the jewels, may as well take the entire package.” He shrugged at the threat, but also fully accepted the consequences if he did hurt the Princess somehow. He did not wish to dwell on the ifs, but the notion formed a pit in his stomach.

Farim walked to the edge of the clearing with Fenrys, slowly searching for the Princess. He half expected her to jump out and scare him - but when he saw her crumpled on the ground, he instantly shot down to her aid. ”ANASTASIA!” He firmly shouted. The man checked her for injuries and found the early markings of a bruise on her head, likely from when she tumbled. Farim gently picked Anastasia up, hands and arms supporting her body, and her head propped against his shoulder in case it was badly injured.

When he emerged from the clearing, he yet again saw the two cloaked figures and made a distinct connection. This was about where the pair of men had emerged in the midst of the fight. Farim wanted to believe they would not be responsible for harming such a high member of royalty, but his suspicions got the better of him. He would rather an uninvolved third party examine her. ”I am sure you both are busy. This is not just some woman. She is a princess of this nation. She has more than just me as her allies. I like to think the best in people, so I will not accuse you both. But if either of you were the cause of this….” He took a measured breath to temper this growing fury inside him - he did not wish to condemn a man who had not yet spoken. So he simply spoke two curt words while staring daggers at the pair of men who stood across the clearing. Tread lightly.

Up until now his demeanor and tone has been pleasant. But it was through those two words that a more sinister connotation bubbled forth. The frown and furrowed brows coupled with eyes that were brimming with calculated frustration. As if in that moment he was making a silent promise of what was to come. But just as quickly as it came, it vanished. ”Forgive me. The night has been taxing. I will be taking my leave, and I shall bring Annie home.” With that he followed Fenrys, who seemed to be sniffing the ground in a rather impressive show of tracking. Before long they happened upon a carriage, one that Farim recognized as one of Hakim’s personal carriage for Muni. With minimal effort Farim flagged them down and hitched a ride to the castle.

”What a situation we find ourselves in. Clutching the one we are interested in while they peacefully slumber away. Seeing you dash off like that had me concerned for a moment, cousin. But I am glad you and your…..moon and stars are both well~.” He said entirely bent on teasing his cousin’s fervant love. But there was still a kindness behind his eyes. Deep down he knew Munir needed a true love to break that poor shell of his. For the rest of the carriage ride there was likely banter and mild laughter amidst retelling of the two’s evening as they approached the castle.

It was then the pairs parted ways, with Farim making his way to Anastasia’s room. There was some mild concern from the guards, but a few quick dirty glances from Farim was enough to silence them. He did however make sure to reassure three things. One, the princess is okay. Two, he did not do this to her. And three, he would look after her until she was better, but if they so wished they could send a nurse to check in on her. Farim carefully opened the door, stepping in with Annie’s unconscious body and closing the door behind her. He breathed a sigh of relief as he finally felt the safest he had been in several hours.

And then everything went dark.
Drake



Attire: Mask, Jacket, and Pants/Shoes
Time: Evening of the 23rd
Location: Damien Estate -> Edwards Estate
Mentions: Zarai @Rodiak and Stratya @CitrusArms




The smirk on Drake's face was plain as day. This fun social game of this woman's design was rather alleviating and refreshing. Everyone present seemed to be getting on well, and for a short time the young duke forgot about the somber situation back home. He chuckled at Zarai's forbiddance from him entering her kitchens. "Well I suppose that is only fair!" He then turned to Stratya, whose banter about burnt food yet again caused the man to chuckle. "Burnt food is a smell that will ruin any kitchen for the week. I would know - considering my head of kitchen staff did not let it down for the rest of the month!"

Drake then raised his glass and began sipping the second glass of bourbon he had acquired since joining this group of nobles. "What a sly trick you played there, madam. You are quite the clever one~!" He spoke with a slight slur - the liquor finally hitting his system on more than just a surface level. Drake took a moment to ponder the question Stratya posed, but then found himself realizing just how late it had become. He saw people leave - and even a few faces hurrying out as if under duress or panic. It was an odd sight to say the least, but Drake figured that as much as he would love to continue on here for the night; he must eventually call an end to his fun little game.

Drake raised his glass and spoke to those present. "I know my arrival was abrupt, and my departure just as much so. But I am afraid your reminder of the morrow does make me recall just how late it is! Not that I wish to depart but I have to attend to some things in the morning. So as a parting gift for such a lovely experience with you all, I shall leave you with a new fun game to play, should you be interested." Drake paused for dramatic effect, stifling a little laughter as he gathered the confidence to brazenly speak his piece.

"I am a fan of a good mystery. Tis why I attended such an event in the first place. For those that share the same sentiment, I offer a challenge! If you would like to unmask the man behind The Musician, if you haven't already, one must simply ask me 'What time does the Angel's Trumpet bloom?' If the person you approach is indeed me, I shall be honor-bound to respond with 'Midnight.' No more words, and certainly no less! A fairly simple task. But the trick here lies in the execution, for you may go about asking just any other nobleman of such a thing and be deemed silly or mental. However therein lies the fun, no? But if no one is interested, I shall take no offense. Like I said, it is merely my attempt at a gift to you all for such a lovely night. For now, I bid you all adieu~!"

Drake took a long bow and finished his bourbon before turning to walk along the dance floor, cane clacking obnoxiously until he hit the cobblestone path that led out from the Damien Estate. The carriage he had left at the end of the road had arrived not too long ago and was patiently awaiting him. With no hesitation he gestured to his driver. "Straight home please. No shortcuts." The driver nodded, and off the young man went to return to his humble abode. He would arrive far before any of his immediate family, and with a disturbingly empty house, all Drake would do is meagerly walk its halls until he finally found his room. His sanctuary. He asked the nearby butler for a glass of water and some bread to be left outside his door, and for no one else to bother him for the evening.




With the nights events behind him, Drake slid behind the door to his quarters and leaned against it, locking it behind him as he finally let his body relax. He hadn't realized how tensed up he had been, and how much the alcohol had been impairing his coordination. Perhaps he was just lucky and only just now noticing his drunken stupor - or perhaps the thrill of the party made him act more coherent then he truly felt. None of it really mattered, however, as his hand shakingly gripped his mask and slowly pulled it off. Drake slowly and clumsily undid every last part of his ensemble, carefully draping it over a nearby chair to be properly sorted in the morning. Once he finally made it into his night clothes, he heard the distinct clink of a platter outside his door and a gentle knock, signalling his request had been met.

He took the water and bread with gratitude and nodded towards the kitchen-maid who brought it to him. "Thank you." was all his parched and tired throat could muster. Finally he stood by his window, the view of Sorian blessed with the dim moonlight adding a serene vibrance to his feelings as he sadly munched on the bread. The water was like a blessing to his throat, and he hadn't realized just how thirsty he was. Once the food and drink were consumed, and his needs sated. Drake would stare silently at the gardens that surrounded his home. The only other words he muttered were barely a whisper. "Why must I lose everything I love?" He had no answers. Only more contemplation as he reflected over the past few days, scanning and calculating how he could have done better. But it didn't matter anymore. For all intents and purposes, he was once again, alone in the world. With naught but his own thoughts to guide him. He shook off the intrusive thoughts that threatened to consume him, and shuffled into his bed. For tomorrow was another day, yet filled with opportunities...hopefully.
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