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In SPIRITUM 2 days ago Forum: Casual Roleplay

@Stern Algorithm

Hollyhock had been approached by Sara. Unlike Sara's usual ward, Hollyhock didn't immediately engage in scorn and contempt. Rather, the first thing Hollyhock's eyes went to was the plate of food that Sara had been meticulously building. It was full of simpler foods that had less oil, butter, and seasoning. Hollyhock approved. It was a good plating. Someone like Theo would have probably filled his plate with rice, chicken, and broccoli that had all been boiled together.

"I enjoy it about as much as I can. People outside the church seldom approach a Scion wearing a veil. I just honour the push and pull and have my fill."

Hollyhock grabbed a small bowl of pasta and placed it on her plate.

"Jannick does a good job even when I give him the slip. Once he bites into something, he never lets go. Like a uh... honey badger." Hollyhock mused. The man wasn't quite a wolf. She moved her head a little while she digested Sara's comments about Theo.

"If I may offer a little sage advice: sometimes, people need to be protected from themselves. War makes a man's body strangle his soul."

She paused for a moment to gauge Sara's response. It was quite a long pause considering that Hollyhock spent that moment to shovel some Pasta Reggiano into her mouth.

"That line was from Ophelia. From the part where her father was sending her off to her arranged marriage to the mad duke. Though I suppose it's not a great source of advice. That the play was a tragedy, after all. What would I know?"

Her head turned to the noise of glass shattering. In the distance, it had appeared a servant had collided with someone. She watched as Caralynn admonished the servant. Hollyhock's mixture of smug smiles and breezy glances had been replaced by a grimace. Really, making a scene about that kind of thing was something awful. You just become the centre of attention in a negative way.

"Though I do suppose Jannick's presence at my side would defend me from that awful wench."
eyes emoji

Unsurprisingly, Hollyhock behaved herself during the procession. She was still pious and respected church events even though all bets were off the second one of her obligations finished. Even though she had a disdain for photos and being in the spotlight, standing alongside her peers--especially Maya--made sure that she was never the focus of photography. It was also a blessing that Isabella was there; Hollyhock was just a footnote for those who cared enough to follow the Rosarian royal family.

Before they had walked out, Jannick had motherly pointed out the chocolate stains on her face. Her veil would have covered it, but the thought was appreciated. She wiped her mouth using a pocket handkerchief.

Smile, wave, and follow behind the other Scions. That was her strategy in every single procession. Though, she supposed it didn't really matter if she smiled or not.

While she had some mystery novel misgivings about going to a hilltop manor for an after party, she wasn't going to bring them up to anyone. It was a myopic statement with a death so close. Plus, it wasn't like they had to go through a treacherous mountain road that would definitely have been blocked during a storm. Maybe Jannick would have thought it to be funny.

But Jannick was off entertaining the wallflowers. Hollyhock was, for the most part, unsupervised.

This meant that she spent the party walking and stuffing herself with as much as she could. Hors d'oeuvres had been devoured like she was part-horse. If someone had been astute and been paying attention to her (in present company, such behaviour would be rather strange), then they would have noticed that she had gone through four different plates already.

It was more than her usual supper, but the festivities crunched her regular meal schedule. Sure, she had breakfast, brunch, and elevenses, but her lunch, tea, siesta, and dinner were all interrupted by the appointment and procession. She was now deep into supper territory with half of what she usually ate. Cookies did what they could to tide her over, but only three?

It would be a disaster if the night turned out like a mystery novel. Unless the poison was in the champagne, she was probably going to be the first victim with how much she ate. Hollyhock rarely drank out of the principle that alcohol would take up room in her stomach normally devoted to food.

Hollyhock knew of most of the Scions and Templars already. After all, she was a Scion for 16 years. While she hated spending her youth studying unimportant matters, it did give her a healthy knowledge of politics and who was who.

She knew nothing of Ionna besides her appointment. But Ionna gave her cookies which automatically made the frosh Templar her favourite.

Rather predictably, Hollyhock saw Theo approaching and speaking to Commander Fyodor. She knew the bare minimum of the Scion of Fire's background. However, she wasn't going to approach the two veterans. While she was a fan of meat, she preferred it as food and not physique. They had an ominous aura; they were one firm handshake away from their shirts ripping off. Well, at least Theo's was.

Though, she did feel a bit bad for his Templar who had followed him. Rumors of their unfriendly relationship did make their way to Hollyhock's ears. It was unfortunate, but what did Hollyhock know? She grew up sheltered. If she had been fighting against a nation that denounced her beliefs, would she be able to accept someone who was a descendant of that nation?

But the ominous aura kept getting closer. It wasn't coming from the two veterans. It was something far more evil. Someone that stood for everything that Hollyhock despised. Someone who caused Hollyhock to immediately build up her flight response. With a flick of her hand, Hollyhock lowered her veil in preparation for who was to come. While she didn't participate in social media, Hollyhock was cruelly aware of it - and she was fully aware of the constant media spotlight named Miriam Grâce Desrosiers.

Thankfully, Jannick had tracked her down by presumably smelling his way to whatever food source was nearby. His presence was always reassuring. He would leap in front of any photo taken of Hollyhock in a bout of media self-sacrifice. Well, she could dream that he would. It was more likely that his ocular pat-downs wouldn't recognize a danger.

Then arrived a figure to break the ill omen that was an influencer's aura: the young Scion of Light. She truly was radiant. In the way that all children were, at least.

With two and a half cookies in one hand, Hollyhock returned a polite curtsy with cookie-filled hand over heart. Though, she did not raise her long dress enough to show off her choice in footwear. If she had been wearing Weezies, she would have probably lifted her dress enough to show the princess. Unfortunately (more likely fortunately), Hollyhock was rather strict when it came to what she wore. Weezies didn't make the cut.

"And a good day to you, Princess Rosemary."

While Hollyhock would have usually been boringly polite for such an event, the addition of cookies had thrown all formality out of the window. Besides, she was watching the young Scion share in her delight of sweets. Hollyhock couldn't keep up etiquette with something so adorable in front of her.

With Maya came Edmund. Unfortunately, Templars didn't usually have reputations that preceded them unless there was significant politics involved. They were good people who did their job and they didn't often interact with other Scions. Hollyhock listened to his fun fact, curious on what he was like. Of course, his brief reverence to the arts was befitting of someone from Rosaria. Not that she knew where he was born; it just tended to be that most people who referenced sonnets shared her birthplace.

Hollyhock never liked Redcrosse. Though, she had not read his works since she was ten. At that age, she was more entertained by the profanity-littered works of Piedspere. His insight of nature was limited to the sound of breaking wind. However, Hollyhock wasn't about to bring up her childhood enjoyment of classical fart jokes in front of a seven year old princess.

Thankfully, the arrival of Kasper and his friendly offer meant that there was now a wall protecting Hollyhock from Maya's grip of influence. Likewise, one of the two men of the hour arriving would mean that she could more easily escape from the prying eyes of social media.

It was also good to know that Hollyhock's worries were not unfounded. Immediately, they were posing for pictures with hugs and pleasantries. Extroverts like Maya were truly a danger to Hollyhock's personal well-being.

Fortunately for Jannick, Hollyhock didn't bolt away from this danger. When Justinian approached Jannick (Jarric?), Hollyhock threw a bizarre jab at his fun fact.

"And I see you're in the habit of glazing your wild side, your holiness."

Ionna had found a kindred spirit to have an interesting conversation with. Hollyhock was, however, a bit out of her depth listening to them. If one of them brought up the intricacies of such an arm, then Hollyhock would completely lose the plot. While she knew of sculpting and magic, magitech was something she had no idea about.

The sombre air was stifling and cold. The ceremony of bestowal was meant to be a traditional formality. It was the recognition of the obligations and duties of a Templar. This time, it was different. Hollyhock could feel the distrust and anger brush against her exposed wrists. Her loose dress and veil, more formal and darker than usual, comforted her in this atmosphere.

Hollyhock wasn't really a friend of the late Theo. It was strange, wasn't it? A young Hollyhock often saw the Estoran prince as her duties required, yet they had never had childish conversations to fondly look back on. When Theo had become a Scion, they exchanged meaningless pleasantries as people in the same position would. She had never asked about his life, his thoughts, or any such matter. Now she couldn't.

She supposed that perhaps it was for the best that she was distant with the prince. It was better that she felt an empathetic sadness rather than a personal sorrow.

Luckily, her stomach didn't betray her for the bestowal. No rumbles or grumbles to break the solemn ceremony. While it would have usually been ignored, the vestiges of death were apparent in the proceedings. Or maybe it should have. It would have at least kept some eyes off of Tyler.

The year end's itinerary was quite painful for Hollyhock. Having this ceremony at 5 and the procession at 6 made for a very dangerous timeline: it cut directly into her first dinner.

Jannick would know this well. However, not well enough to actually stop her. By the time that the ceremony ended, he would have noticed that Hollyhock had already disappeared.

And where was Hollyhock?

Well, she had reappeared beside Ionna with veil lifted and three cookies: one in each hand and one already in her mouth. Nobody had noticed her arriving and grabbing cookies. She was just there and already eating.

A healthy crunch caused the cookie in her mouth to fall, her already full hands managing to catch it. The gooey treat filled her mouth with the flavours of sweet wheat and chocolate. A smile filled her face as her cheeks were stuffed like a small animal.

She gulped down the cookie, her cheeks as rosy as ever and a streak of chocolate at the side of her mouth.

"I can play a half-dozen instruments, control the wind, and my favourite type of cookie is triple chocolate chunk."
moving la goblina here so i don't have to dig through multiple threads

a little wip before other people get their ideas out, the element is a bit interchangable if need be

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