The night was a chilly one, for the standards of Ersand'Enise. Perfect for the event in store. A raffle had been held the previous day to determine who would have access to the event hosted by Pelova Fascino, the up and coming Mudville business taking over the former grounds of Moli's. The last of the icebergs had been ported in via Jocasta, and fused together by several hired mages to form the base of where the party would occur.
A private security team stood near the docks, ready to let the winners of this raffle enter. And strangely enough, it was a mixed bag of individuals. A commoner would enter, then an pompously dressed noble. One thing was common between them though, they were both dressed to the nines. Some just in their best clothes, other in full costumes. Including a certain Yuliya, standing near the entrance greeting the lucky winners dressed as.. some kind of demon?
A low music came from the iceberg as many a man and woman were let on board...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB6WY24cPDM
Yuliya had done it, she got the dragon to crawl out of her den. Not that Zarina looked anything like such a reptilian, but the Saguinaire was one of those in the know so it was an amusing thought still. Her black circles were covered by careful layers of makeup, and her attire was a gift from her Vossoriyan friend - a means to show off a product from Pelova. And the silk chosen was just what Zazzy enjoyed to wear, plus the shape seemed tailor-made for her. It probably was.“Brrr. Already cold enough at the docks, and you bring a huge block of ice too?”
whined the Virangish, so far from the warmer winds of Gandakar. Her hands hid beneath her pits as she began to work up some basic arcane magic to keep herself warm, “Is there wine for me to survive on?”
Despite having sworn to never don such a get-up again, Silas found himself again dressing in the gaudy velvets and silks of the firnery he'd purchased for Nox Arcanum. As unwieldy and uncomfortable as it made him, the former Mudville urchin was near indistinguishable from the rest of the crowd pushing to enter the party- even his eyes were covered by the increasingly familiar mask.
"Wish me luck," Silas whispered to three friends before departing from the mainland. Two of the other figures, decidedly not human, fell in the water to swim after him, circling under the iceburg as the event began. There was music, free food and drink, all of which Silas helped himself to merrily. He avoided the hostess entirely, and never made any attempt to socialize more than a polite nod to the few classmates that recognized him, but otherwise remained by all appearances a perfectly respectful guest.
Ayla came to the dock dressed similar to Nox Arcanum again. Frilled in that red and black Flamenco, her lioness masquerade mask on, and now adorning what appeared to be cat claws on both her hands and feet. She is dressed up in costume rather like Yuliya as she put her arms around her good friend and kissed her upon each cheek."It is time to party! Going to party, drink, dance, probably try to steal a cutie for a dance partner. Find when me when you are free."
She giggled mischievously as she walked upon the ice berg.
She approached the Zazzy as still had to pop up on her tip-claws to hug her and reach up to peck her on each of the cheeks as well. "Meow. You look really good, this fashion thing suits you very well."
She released the virangish girl from her clutches as she looked around. "Time to get to the food and drink before Silas comes and steals it all."
People were looking at her.
That was fair considering yaniis might never have seen a Qarii'Muuna yasoi all dressed up for Neen'baun'taw. It was basically a fancy dance like this yanii party, so Casii thought. Dressing up required a yasoi to put a lot of effort in making their appearances colorful. Those that were dedicated enough tried to appeal to more than just sight. Smell, touch, hearing, and even taste could help a yasoi stand out and attract potential suitors. Not that Casii was looking for a suitor since she was happily with Isii. In fact, Isii had helped Casii with her outfit this evening.
She wore knee-high slacks that were at one point white but now they were painted in blue, green, and yellow dyes that spiraled up to her waist. In a reverse spiral, a flowery vine wrapped itself around each of Casii's legs, spiraling down past her slacks to coil the yasoi's bare ankles before reaching the top of Casii's low rutty boots. The flowers from the vine grew in many colors but it wasn't just flowers, berries dangled from small interwoven twigs like mistletoe, raspberries, and yellow cloudberries. From her waist up, she wore deep cut tangerine-colored blouse that clung tightly to her torso, revealing her lithe form and a generous amount of cleavage. It also revealed the flowing and neatly painted swirled patterns of the teal body art, that seemed to be flowing out of her the center of her chest and reaching out to her hands and feet. Her arms bore several organic bracelets of floral arrangements, spaced evenly and becoming more colorfully decorated as they reached the top of Casii's shoulder. Around her neck she bore the sigil of her family, the Antlered Stag, a wooden carving of a stag with small flowers growing from the tips of the horns. On Casii's own head she bore a flowered crown with a pair of flowered and lush branches acting like antlers.
Casii tightened her hand around her Living Staff and the staff reciprocated, gently growing around the back of her hand. It was by Isii's insistence that she commit to attending. She didn't like it, having to be here alone with all these yaniis, but she was committed this year to try after all. Her promise to Isii.
Casii approached the entry, waving her ticket in her free hand. "Gotta wonder why yaniis about bringin' the party to somewhere so cold. Ice! Y'all think it can't gettin' any more colder?"
She shook her head at the nearest security guard before her attention shifted to the demonic yanii standing to greet her. "Yulii gurl, right? Why are yer dressin' up all fixin' to be evil? You ain't gonna sink us as a joke, humph?"
Casii asked, seeing as how she always grew up with dress-up parties providing a chance to show who you are. Casii was a greengrowth and dressed like that. The way Yulii appeared, she looked like she was up to something like one of those fool plays in yasoi culture."I'm just 'ere playin'. Yer ain't yasoi so yer probably just dressin'. Yer lookin' peachy, gurl."
Casii smirked naturally joking as yanii never got yasoi culture. She reached out to pat Yulii's cheek before continuing on, her flowery perfume wafted in an aura as she wandered up onto the iceberg to see what kind of mischief awaited. The third arrival was a yasoi. Curiously dressed for the occasion, but honestly, Yuli digged the outfit. If she'd brought a piece of herself with this party, then it was only right that this girl should do so as well. A mischievous smile took her face as she spoke to the girl, taking her ticket.
"It can get colder. But, there is reason. People have to stay warm, so drinking and dancing and well, other things..." she smirked. Part of her think she should have done a couples entry, but then there'd be double the people on the iceberg as is. And then, maybe she'd be thinking of her suitor that had gone into exile. She broke those thoughts quickly. "You looking good too, vysokiy! Maybe it's bit of both though?" she winked and held the hand that touched her cheek, before directing her to the booze and other fun substances on board. There wasn't merely alcohol and wines, but a decent supply of bakeleaf, monkey(jamb'ysp), and brandix covered lolipops. As an alternative to that though, there was a like Coal Toad of a decent size sitting there, and every so often a denizen of the party would go up and lick. Definitely odd, and unhygienic, but curious!
Rikard Ambrus was one of the invitees. He arrived with a helmet tucked under his arm and wearing his finest which was... well, his mage's robes. He was rarely seen out of them or in something that wasn't at least similar and nobody quite knew why. The young teen - youngest student at the school - found himself bouncing between the many bars before long with a few of the younger invitees, until he spotted Silas who... didn't seem to want very much to do with him, to be honest. Slightly disappointed, he went back to... what one might consider lurking... and playing the occasional prank. Some of the girls here were dressed like... the boy swallowed and nursed a drink, trying not to stare.
Penny had won a ticket and, in truth, as one of the organizers, had little use for it, so she'd given it, free of charge, to one of her fellow students who they'd been targeting to model for them: the eeaiko Kaureerah. She sat in the VIP area while Yuliya fluttered about, nursing a cocktail and somewhat sour over the lack of Ashon, but that was outweighed by her excitement. Even if her Vossoriyan friend was the face of this endeavour, she was still here. To think that she had been invited somewhere so stylish! To think that so many people were here and just to enjoy themselves, noble and common alike! Penny smiled and took another sip, resolved to get up and look for some of her classmates. If this was the new Mudville, then she was already loving it. They could do it, she knew; they could uplift these people and change this place for the better, and what better way to start it off?
Ymiico had left Nikan with very little, that being said she always thought that attire fit for a ball would come in handy. The invitation she was received was just confirmation. There were seldom instances that allowed her to fade back into the familiarity of her culture and this was a moment she wouldn’t squander. She left her scalding hot bath to all the parts that made the flowery appearance of kimonos look so clean. Like a skilled artisan she dawned each piece of clothing: Susoyoke, Nagajuban, Koshi-himo, Date-jime, Obi, and finally the Kimono. She was decorated in deep greens with trims and cuts of a royal red. A pattern of flowers and mythical animals ran around the bottoms of her overflowing kimono. Her kanazashi looked like solid beams of gold jetting out her hair. Her face had also been touched by a layer of pale white make up with red accents on her bottom lip, eyebrows, and wings of her eyes.
Removing the entry ticket from the hanging sleeves of her kimono, she showed her ticket and entered. Greeted by an intimate group affair.
The last of the light had faded from the sky, for these were now the hours where Dami reigned and, before long, gods willing, those of Ipte would call forth even greater levels of debauchery.
The time was now ripe.
Then, there came a powerful gust of wind and the dozen torches lighting the path up to the berg flickered and died with wisps of smoke that became ribbons and then snakes. Amid a deep and all-encompassing darkness they twisted and swirled and people followed them as they raced and darted between fellow faces in the crowd. Then, the first one exploded into a burst of smoke - blue. A second one erupted in hues of green, and a third in gold, a fourth in orange, and three more in red, purple, and indigo: not people but illusions!
Yet, these were only there to distract from the greatest mass of the smoke, which had gathered at the entrance and formed itself into the shape of a woman. Tall, slim, and graceful, she emerged from the haze, bathed in soft but brilliant light, and stepped with measured grace onto the gangplank, feet light and bare.
In lieu of any clothing, the clouds seemed to follow her, clinging to her shapely form but teasing, always teasing, offering glimpses of more. Gasps and murmurs arose and eyes remained affixed to her form. Then, from behind her long, deep blue-dyed hair, she extracted a lute and darted forward with a performer's flair. The haze parted fully and left behind on her a dress that seemed to live and breathe and move of its own accord: black and swirling like smoke and like ink, but with a soft, pale bluish glow. As she walked, strumming the opening chords of her song, that blue glow began to resolve itself into individual snowflakes of all shapes and sizes. With each step, they peeled off and away, fluttering into the cool night sky, wafting about, swishing and whirling over the heads and past the faces of the crowd. Finally, the new arrival opened her mouth to sing:youtube.com/watch?v=Nx-x_1lIXh4
With each spellbinding word and movement, reality itself seemed to shimmer and dance. The snowflakes changed colour: blues, browns, and greens: melting. Then, they were leaves, whispering and shifting in the wind like the fish of some great underwater school. The woman in the living dress pranced and spun, long, delicate webbed fingers flowing over the strings of her instrument, and the leaves became gold, amber, and vermilion. The music worked its way toward a crescendo and there was not a man in the audience - and perhaps some women too - who did not think, at least once, about what it would mean to become the songstress' 'hero'. Next, the woman's voice soared and the leaves turned brown, then blue, and then, once more, as the music faded, they glowed softly bluish-white, fluttering gently down from the sky as snowflakes once again. Among them was a single golden ticket, which twirled whimsically, teasingly, and ended up in Yuliya's hand.
Kaureerah Wenhan had arrived.
Ayla purred as she spotted Kaureerah, it appears she decided to live up to reputation and she greatly appreciated her playing. The mist appeared to work perfect too in obscuring her features whilst promising the onlooking a glimpse of more that just never seems to come. There were temptation to join in, but she didn't want to ruin the majesty of the moment by sharing the audience, or competing with her tonight.
When Kaureerah finished her grand landing, Ayla moved up to her and swung her arms around her to place a kiss upon both of her cheeks like a hungry kitten. "My sister in Ipte, your performance was ravishing. We love the blue, it is our favourite colour."
. She gave her a light squeeze then broke away. "We think that is all that your adoring fans will allow me to have, they will evny me too much otherwise."
She giggled fondly.
Ayla had enjoyed a bite to eat and a drink, and now she was hungry for something else, dancing. The music has been continuing and a few were on the dance floor, primarily couples and noticeably taller than herself as well. She pried around the audience for some one suitable till she pried a rather glum boy nursing a drink in the corner, looking a little out of his depth in his mage clothes. The perfect victim.
The girl, dressed very fashionably, fixed her eyes upon Rilard as she approached him. Like a lioness who had found a gazelle, stalking through the tall grass. The boy may have saw him coming, but nothing would prepare him for the pounce. Ayla moved quickly as her hands grabbed upon Rikard's as she started to pull him up. "You are going to be my dance partner."
she beamed widely and mischievously toward him as she dragged the poor boy to the dance floor.
It just happened with a little influence, as managed to persuade for some Torragonese music to come up. Clicking her fingers as she got upon the dance floor to signal she had arrived. She leans in to speak softly to Rikard. "We don't know you experience, but Torragonese music is very passionate. So just say your hips, legs and arms, and follow my lead. We will take charge. You should blend in my dancing nicely."
She held herself close to Rikard like two lovers embraced, then as the music started pushed herself away with a twirl. Rikard is getting introduced to ztorragonese Slasa style without an introduction. Taking his hand with her, she used it to spring board back to her. The Torragonese lion cub twirls, swirling, moving those hips as she draped herself upon the boy. All eyes moving to them as the Torragonese girl danced around him with flair. She gave the boy instructions as she moved around him, both verbal and guiding with her own hands. Hands on my hips. Twirl me. Hold. Catch. Shoulders. Hold my leg. Hold hands.youtu.be/PGOT0p2ms5Q
After the dance, she smiled widely as her arms her around the boys neck, gazing deep into his eyes. Their dancing was attracting the crowd as they stood in watch. She saw he looked rather terrified due to being thrust into the spotlight like this, her nose brushed against his as she smiled sweetly toward him. "Now watch."
She clicked her fingers as she attracted the attention of someone in the crowd. "Chair, now"
. As the chair is brought up, she pushed Rikard back upon it. His role has not completed. Now he is the centred piece as Ayla clicked her fingers to the musicians, "Flamenco!"
The Torragonese girl had only begun as she adopted the characteristic stance. Slowly building up tempo as she twirled, clicking her heels upon the ice, clapping her hands, the swirls, and circular movements, using the frills of her dress to enhance the performance as she danced around the boy in the centre. Giving him the full front row personal treatment with her dancing.
The crowd clapped along as the other Daughter of Ipte put on her beautiful performance, and perhaps the boy was visited by the Lord of Love himself in those moments.
Rikard had.... intensely mixed feelings. On the one hand, here he was dancing with a beautiful girl, and she was pretty, and he could see, well... her entire shape more or less. It was almost impossible not to stare and he wanted to... No, you won't, he chided himself. All eyes were on them, and he was... actually a much better dancer than she or anyone else had likely assumed: more or less able to keep up with her even in this strange form of dance. His dopey grin and fluid but somewhat overwhelmed motions played to the crowd and the storylines they might imagine in their heads. She was... spellbinding, after all.
Yet... it also felt kind of... he hesitated to think it, but there it was: wrong. He didn't know this girl, aside from a few incidental and passing encounters on campus. He didn't even know her name. She was a good three or four years his senior and didn't know him either. Yet, here she was, pressed up against him in a way that could only be described as intimate. He was... a prop, more or less. All eyes were not on him, but on her. It was... at best, a sympathy dance, and his cheeks burned with helpless embarrassment.
So, when she more or less threw him onto a chair, Rikard let her have her show. He even clapped along. It was a good show, but something in the boy had been sparked. He wouldn't just let himself meekly become a footnote in the story of others' brilliant performances. He rose and bowed and thanked her but, while the crowd was still cheering, he called his metal helmet to his hand and began to rise into the sky. Then, the air itself began to grow light and staticky. He had noticed the two decorative steel posts with rings about them earlier and, now, Rikard decided to employ these to their fullest, filling them with charges. He placed the helmet over his head. It was his own unique spell: one he had not tried publicly yet. He had practiced the notes, though, just for this event. He took a deep breath and focused, and then... music... of a sort commenced
There was benefit to being in the band with a Vossoriyan merchant girl and hanging out with a Kozaky girl, you get to experience the music and moves first hand, and this was the second song this evening. The task she had to do was pretty simple. Clap-Clap, She raised her hands in the air as she begun to clap. Clap-Clap. Encouraging members of the audience to do the same. Clap-Clap. She raised her hands apart from each other as she leaned during the dancing, leading the others to do the same, encouraging them to dance upon their feet.
Now came the signature move.
She went in a crouching as she kicked out before her, moving her hands to each of her elbows in that typical fashion. Clearly those familiar like Yuliya can join in quite nicely, and soon so can the rest. Switching into the jumping jacks.
It is time for others to be encouraged likewise, to get immersed in true Vossoriyan culture. Switching to simpler moves as she moves side to side waving her arms with a lot of energetic movements. Moving to each of the participants and getting them moving. It is Lednikrayva time
After the performance, amongst much cheers, dancing, and merrymaking. She moved up to Rikard and put her arms around him. "Loved it. You need to show me how to do that some time."
She winked and planted a kiss upon his cheek.
Rikard blushed fiercely. "Uhh... haha. Thanks!" he replied. Then, he took her hand, spun her free, and raised her arm into the air. They both took a bow. He glanced over at her from the corners of his eyes and winked once he knew that he'd caught hers. "I'll show if you show," he teased.
Ayla was as quick, "Sounds fun!"
. Finishing their graceful bow as they stood up. "Salsa lessons in exchange for Lightning? We can agree to that."
As things turned to relative normalcy for a moment as attentions were elsewhere. She turned to face him for a moment, "Someone said Lightning was the raw expression of fire. It has made me interested in learning more about it. Enrolled in the Magnetism class to find out for myself."
Rikard smiled. Maybe he'd judged her a bit too harshly before. "Well, then I guess I'll see you there!" Then, there was a buffet calling to him, and he could say 'no'. "You know, I'm gonna go get something to eat, actually. Hope it doesn't uh... go out the way it went in."
Dorothea entered the party confident, although not without hints of awkwardness. These fancy dresses are always so annoying to wear but she can't help but feel a slight bit more confident wearing them. Looking around, she spotted quite a couple familiar faces and some less so. Her dress a crimson red and silken, opposed to her usual browns and furs. Usually she feels bad for flaunting her wealth and social class... but indulging a little doesn't hurt anyone, right?
The little Torragonese cat didn't fail to make her presence known to the Virangish reptile, prompting a few chuckles and a share of her red wine before the little Ayla scampered off to harass a poor child way out of his depth. Along also came the over-the-top fishbard that even put the Varrahastan musician to shame with such a performance. It was definitely enough to have Zazzy pose her glass of wine so she could keep a sound mind until the end of the show. It went from a whimsical piece of music and theatrics put together to something that brewed deep within the captivated Zarina. A desire that many others manifested so freely, to be the hero this strange girl sought out in her lyrics. Fantasies in her mind eventually turned into boiling frustration and revulsion as she stared more and more at Kaureerah's form. With every passing moment Zarina created something to hate about her. This silent and uncomfortable moment was punctuated with a downing of her glass she had picked back up before she moved on.“Fucking Yasoi.”
she muttered to herself as she saw the disaster that Casii was. And there was another one too - One from Rettan or Nikan or whatever these half-breeds with the eyes came from. It was like Zarina was finding things to hate, and in turn nurturing any sort of justification for her to leave early.
A proper target was eventually found. A boy she still had a score to settle with and looking conspicuously proper for what he truly was. No desire or ire, despite what one may believe, could be found when she saw that little rat. Maybe this was her chance to pass the time. “Surprised they let you in here, little man.”
she introduced herself whilst seizing a recently opened wine bottle and poured herself some, “Want some? Tell me, did you feel anything when that fish-girl did her thing?”
she asked whilst pouring some wine regardless of approval, “She's a lot of pizzazz and looks- well as far as fish-folks can anyway - but did the singing move you too? I can't tell if she's actually good or just conned everyone with her lights and sways.”
Yuli grinned at one of the first arrivals, a good friend and future model for the business. She looked exquisite! She gladly took a ticket, and smiled as she directed her friend to the tables on the iceberg. Alcohol and food were plentiful, of all kinds, including the vossoriyan specialty that Zarina had not taken a liking to.
"Barely coat weather Zazzy. But if you cold, drink up, and dance. You'll warm up." she spoke with a wink, and gave her a kiss on the cheek, before going back to attending the other arrivals. Zarina's heart skipped a beat. And then she blushed when she looked away. Bad thoughts. Wine to down it all.
Peculiar eyes narrowed behind Silas' mask when Zarina approached. She's shamed him once, and he wasn't about to fall into another trap quite so quickly.
"I came with a ticket!" He replied indignantly, the feathers of his hat bobbing erratically as he offered his cup to be filled. "Got much a right to be here as anyone else."
His attention returned to Kaureerah- the swirling magic about her that had no obvious source. There was magic in the music too- but not like Ayla's, which had always felt predictable and familiar. Even Silas, sullen and stoic as he had planned to behave for the night, had felt his feet inching towards the dance-floor upon the Eeiako's arrival. The inexplicable energy sent chills down his spine, but he showed only a shrug to Zarina. "Don't think she came alone; someone doin' them tricks for her. Besides, got too many eyes for me." His grin was wide before disappearing behind he glass to take a long, deep drink of sweet wine offered.
Some feet away on floor, two small but familiar figures passed them, one twirling, the other barley staggering to keep up. "Is it some noble courtship ritual from the north?" He inquired with distaste, but couldn't keep his attention away.
Zarina flinched at the kneejerk reaction from the commoner. She wanted to laugh, but had the willpower to withhold it all in a shaky grin, “I wasn't going to say anything, but now I'm wondering if you stole someone's ticket.”
she let a teeny tiny chuckle escape her before she took a sip from her drink.
She then raised a brow at Silas' observation, “Huh. That's what you've taken note of,”
she attention went to the performer and the seduced crowd near her, “the parlor tricks. I was wondering if you found her singing as nice as her tricks.”
she shrugged and filled herself a third serving of the sweet wine.
Then came Ayla, "dancing" with Rikard. The drink was starting to up the Zaz's mood, causing her to giggle more liberally and dropping the downer mood, “It's just how they shake it in Torragon. Aggressively sensual. Ugh.”
she downed half her glass, and then snapped her fingers by the short king's ear, “Okay. If you want to actually fit in, invite me to the floor.”
a demand more than an offer, “I'll teach you some basic steps. You've actually danced before, yes?”
After only a brief hesitation Silas placed his glass on the edge of the table and stooped to his lowest bow, hand outstretched. His knowledge on dancing was minimal, restricted to the awkward shuffling he had preformed with Ahrora to move about targets on Nox Arcanum, but he'd watched how they were meant to start enough times at least. Besides, he was a quick learner, especially on his feet.
"Oh noble and ever-enchanting Zarina Nader-Al," The feathered hat scrapped the snow from the grown and threatened to fall off- were it not for a quick slip of kinetic magic. "Would you do me the honour of a dance?"
It'd be a lie if Zarina said she was anything less than charmed by Silas' approach, even if it was all a game of pretend. She graciously placed her hand onto his and tilted her head to the side a little, “It would be my honor, Young Lord-to-be of Mudville.”
she cracked a smile before tugging at his arm to drag the boy onto the floor.
There were so many different energies flowing about. Some were electrifying, other spicy, some even more mellow than what the music would suggest. But eventually, when the teens calmed with their showing off, Zazzy picked up on the next piece being played and adapted accordingly. It wasn't a Severan dance - it wouldn't fit and would be a bit foreign for Silas, probably - but something more Constantian. Her hand kept a hold of his, while the other reached behind his shoulder, “Try to mirror me.”
she whispered, as their cheek got oh so close to one another, “And feel free to spice things up.”
she giggled, as the steps began to flow with the rhythm of the song. It was very much folkish, fitting for where they were and the people they allowed in.
With Rikard off to stuff his face with food, Ayla looked around for Zazzy to find her with Silas of all people, and they had been dancing!
She approaches the pair as she placed her hands around them both. "Rawr! You two make a cute couple"
, giving the unlikely a pair a wink. "You two should go for becoming the Lord and Lady of the Berg. We will make you Nobles out of you both after all!"
In the midst of the rising crescendo and their footwork becoming more and more demanding, Ayla seemed to take an interest in them. And finally, once they reached their peak, Zarina stopped, content with simply swaying her hips with their shoulders loosely following the movement, before finally taking the final ten steps to punctuate this dance, “He does owe me quite a bit. An Iceberg to rule would be a good start, hmm?”
she didn't let go just yet, although now they face-to-face with passing glances given to the little third wheel. “And what of your consort, Ayla? He has the vigor of a champion. Might that befits a throne.”
Ayla beams at the discussion of Rikard, "His performance was really electrifying, wasn't it? He even agreed to show me how to do it!"
She clapped her hands as she turned her head to look to where ever he might be, speaking quietly toward her friend. "We cannot wait to spend some time alone with him."
Her big smile dropped as she took a better look upon the Virangish girls expression of amusement in respond to what she just said. She paused for a moment, blinking, before she hit against her arm. "Zazzy! Don't you dare give me that look. We didn't mean it that way. You and your consorting."
Her cheeks grow a dark shade of red as she dies of embarrassment. "... not my fault he turned out to be rather interesting choice of dance partner."
After a defiant huff, she considers her next options.
It had been meant to start out as a joke- good fun to help fit in at a party of people who, for the most part, either ignored or hated his presence. But there was only so much composure the young boy could muster when the older girl pushed up close and whispered in his ear. He could feel the warmth and softness of skin under the fine clothes she wore, and found himself struggling to keep up for more reasons than simple lack of skill. Neither the music or girl showed him any mercy, and both continued to quicken until beads of sweat started forming behind Silas's mask despite the cold air.
Ayla's arrival was nearly a relief; though he did not notice the beginning of the conversation- focused as he was on not stepping on his partner's feet. But when Zarina replied, Silas searched the crowd for Rickard, only to locate him apparently no worse for wear beside to food tables again. If making a show would free him of this torment he could give a show.
"Lady Arslan," He managed to gasp out between the lulls of a musical change. "You gave us quite the show to follow up" An unseen grin cracked wide behind the mask as the beginnings of a plan formed.
"Hold on tight!" He warned before pulling Zarina away from Ayla back to the floor just in time for the music to begin. Except the floor wasn't the same, kinetic magic trailed ahead of them making the already icy surface impossibly smooth until they weren't dancing at all- but gliding across the iceburg. He placed one hand on her forearm while the other tightened around her waist as he puller her along, demonstrating how to move on the slippery surface. There was no more worry of crushed toes if their feet never left the ground at least. It didn't end there, just as he let go of her arm his other scooped further downwards until he was lifting her in the air as he slid and spun around the floor, faster and faster until he thought he might faint from dizziness. Then he released her down, still with the spinning momentum as they circled each-other, only to again come together for another display of lifts, poses, and spins gliding on the ice.
He'd listened the music of the night closely enough to recognise the ending crescendo- when he pulled Zarina close to him, and with barely a final word of warning, flung her whirling away towards Yuliya; the full beauty of her dress dazzling with added arcane sparkle to further wow and draw the crowd to her as Silas vanished into the food table cluster once more in search of Rikard
Casii indulged herself in some yanii wine, some of the food offerings though of course she stayed away from anything that had meat, before moving on to sucking on a lollipop. She'd be back for the other stuff depending on how the night went but for now, was trying her best to avoid the things yaniis typically commented about. Always smoking and spitting
, they'd say, like they were bad things. Fine, for now, she will not take anything and smell like a fresh spring garden.
Although when it came to actually pestering the yaniis around her, she ignored them and immediately found the other yasoi at the party. Ymiico, the suunei who barely uttered a word some days it seemed. Also owed her one of those fancy kimono. She approached announcing herself, "Miico, suunei."
She reached out to lightly feel at the kimono, running the fine material in between her fingers. "When yer fixin' to supplin' me with a kii-mo-no? We ain't have any of these back home."
Ymiico could feel the gaze of others on her, whether they were inviting or discriminatory wasn't known to her. She was no stranger to it seeing as she didn't have much comradery built with her peers yet. Casii had made her way over, finding other Yasoi was quite easy with how many yanii surrounded them. She dressed to the nines to the private event, it was a nice polarity to her dress. "Oira, suunei". Ymiico was slightly caught off guard by the way she pulled at her kimono. "Yes, Kimono. I just finished putting yours together. You'll have to come find me after today and I can fit it for you. Maybe you can show me some of yours"“Hmm? Follow-up?”
Zarina never skated in her life - ice itself remained pretty novel to her overall. Luckily, this wasn't skating, but it didn't make things any more relaxing. But what really got her flustered was how Silas took the lead in what she was supposedly one of the best at. Zazzy so easily let herself be taken by the flow that the rat-boy created, from taking on poses to being lifted. A little squeak even escaped the tall teen! Then came the spinning, and she did her very best to try and cling onto Silas, “Bwaaaahhhhh!”
she ended up laughing quite a bit, very much enjoying herself.
As the peak of the song was reached, she blinked as her eyes met Silas' mask's eye slots. She wanted to utter something, but was immediately flung into a spin. Surprised, but not graceless, she adopted a a final pose where she reached for foot over her head while the other slid onto the smooth surface. Little did she realize she was crashing into Yuli! “Oh fu-!”
splat. Zazzy tripped, ready to collide into the blonde organizer's unsuspecting body.
Although the party had begun the moment that people had begun to board the iceberg and partake of the food, wine and various narcotics available for consumption, it had only just set sail down the river. No more guests were to be let on board as Yuli smiled, looking at the tickets to determine who would be the ruler of the iceberg for the night. It was not to be Silas, or Zarina, or Rikard. Nay, it was the Eeiako songstress that had enchanted the entire vessel with her music, playing up a storm. She enhanced her voice with a kinetic touch, piercing through the various tunes that were playing."The ruler is here! Lady Kaureerah, what is first decree as Lady of the Lednikrayva?"
she spoke, holding the songstress' ticket to the sky. It was in this moment that Zarina had crashed into Yuliya. The average denizen of Ersand'Enise would have fell over at the sudden impact, but Yuli was incredibly sturdy and used to the ice, so they rapidly slid for a couple of seconds before the momentum caused them both to hit the floor a decent distance away from the centre and relatively close to the edge. Zarina was on top of her now, the two in a very awkward and hard to explain position, their faces barely an inch away from each other? "Zazzy?"
was all Yuli could muster, being surprisingly flustered by the sudden entanglement they were both in.“Yuli.”
it took a moment for Zarina to register just how close they were. Was this a dream, or a nightmare? She just stared, wide-eyed into the girl she had accidently pinned down. Exhales turned into steam in the cold hair, brushing both of their faces as the staring didn't cease.
Her eyes closed for a moment, and then she whispered, right by the Sanguinaire's ear, “How bad do you want to drink from me, Yuliya?”
she taunted the blonde host with foxy grin on her face. Maybe three glasses of wine were all she needed to loosen up.
Yuli's mind went blank for a second, and blood rushed to her head. What was this situation? She felt as if she might melt through the iceberg. Alas, a second passed after she spoke and she was still lying there, Zarina on top of her and whispering into her ear. The cogs went back into motion and she thought - perhaps - that she might want to drink from here then and there. An d would she be two more drinks in, perhaps she would have indulged that intrusive thought. But - she was far too sober to be so stupid, yet her desire was still present. She turned to face Zarina, and put a hand on her chin, before leaning in for a kiss. She held it for a couple of seconds, biting the girls lip almost to the point of drawing a drop of blood before pulling away."Is that answer?
she whispered, letting go ever so gently and attempting to sit herself up from her prone position.
The moment Zarina's chin was seized, she froze up like a kitten being nipped at the nape. The mighty dragon fallen prey to the carcass that was a Sanguinaire. It felt oh so wrong to be this close, to say these depraved things. And yet she had never felt more right. Goosebumps rose throughout her body and her mind focused on the one thing that mattered right now: Yuliya's face. She was so fixated on her crush that she didn't initially react to the kiss. Like a girl that never kissed before, her lips didn't move. Her eyes slowly widened in the same pace that her pupils dilated once a degree of sense hit her.I kissed a girl.
And she liked it.
Of course she did. And in five minutes to two hours she would regret it terribly after all the blushing and drunken sunshine walking had passed. But right now? Her sister's hedonism had finally made its influence. The bit lip was pricked by Zarina's own teeth with the help of very light magic, causing a drop of blood to flow out of her bottom lip, “No half-measures.”
she uttered in a voice slightly louder than a whisper as she adjusted herself to match Yuli.
"Die things sind a lot more ereignisreich than expected." The Drudgunzean proclaimed in a bout of ditsiness. Properly intoxicated, the girl began to what some call dancing. Kicking all around her before she started to become more cohesive as she began to lower her form, almost looking as if she was squatting.
"Ja, ja!" Dory clapped as if hyping herself up. "Lassen Sie uns mit den Feierlichkeiten beginnen!"
Kaureerah's already-large eyes widened. "Oooh? Mee?"
She jumped up and down, clapping excitedly. "Beloonleeness!"
After a moment, the eeaiko cleared her throat. "Es yaur feer end joost rooler, Eye decree..."
Then, she took notice of Zarina and Yuliya's... entanglement. "Aull peepool shool paurner oop! Yoo hev ten secoon too graub e fren... oor lauver,"
she added with a wink. With that, she whipped out her lute and began playing an escalating tune.
Rikard, meanwhile, was busy stuffing his face plate when the decree came out. He was just reaching for the potato patties when he found another intrusive hand doing the same. About six seconds remained on Lady Kaureerah's decree...
Silas took his time around the food, poking at the odd piece but not over-indulging. The dancing, wine, and nerves of enacting his plan were beginning to have an effect on his stomach. But Kaureerah's crowning and announcement sent his paranoia into overdrive. He reached for some carbs to attempt to settle the butterflies, but instead his hand landed on Rickard. A more useful find in the end. "You don't want to dance anymore do yah?" Silas asked him with a grimace.
"C'mon" The older boy hissed as already the pairs around them joined together and the music began again. Silas nearly dragged Rikard down with him and under the tablecloth, his other free hand bringing the full plate of patties down with them. "Wanted to ask you something-" He finally said, mouth half full of food while the music outside kicked into gear while the visible feet surrounding the food table dispersed to begin dancing. "Want some easy money?"
"This sounds... too much like a nefarious scheme...." Rikard trailed off and glanced around. "Besides, Ayla knows now!" He paused and considered. "But what is it?"
"A scheme?!" Silas did his best to look appalled, a rather difficult task with a mask covering most of his face. Clearly the rumors about him had spread since the events of Right or Spite, making useful friends was becoming more and more difficult. "Let Ayla know! There's nothing to hide." One of his hands reached into a pocket demonstrate the jingling of coins inside. "Just want yah to enjoy the party till the end- honest to truth- a full ten magus. No tricks or nothin." He removed the hand from his pocket to place it over his heart. "May dami descend to judge if I lie."
Rikard narrowed his eyes, sensing... something. This was too good to be true. "So... you're just giving me ten whole magi for... shits n' giggles?" he questioned.
Silas nodded vigorously and produced two of the coins in question and held them out in offering. "Near enough- Give you this now, the rest -money and details- after I talk to Kaureerah. But nothing dangerous- or illegal!" He assured the younger boy. "Think you can help me get to her?" He asked sensing the small crowd of men and woman surrounding the Eeiako, making any chance at a private conversation impossible.
"You... uh... got a crush on her or something?" Rikard inquired, dubiously accepting the two hatlike coins. "I mean... she's..." He trailed off.
Silas flushed deeply and his nodding turned to equally vigorous shaking. "Just want her to play me a song."
"Ipte," Rikard laughed-slash-hissed, "You coulda juss said so. So, what do you need your wingman to do?"
A relieved smile broke across Silas' face. "Your electric show was a crowd pleaser before; maybe some fireworks to dazzle them again? Just something to get the attention off her- wont even be a minute."
"Ya know... I could just slip her a note and say a special fan wants to talk to her... Maybe slip her the cash?" In truth, he didn't have a helluva lot left that was novel and was too embarrassed to admit it. He didn't want to let Silas down, but he also didn't want to make a fool of himself.
Silas considered a moment. "That would be better." He finally agreed, with a pained smile. "'So long as you're able to write it." There was still embarrassment as to the limits of his literacy; especially revealing it to the one student younger and smaller than himself.
"Yeah, I can do that," Rikard decided. "What should I write? You gotta dictate it." He pulled a pencil from one of his pockets, and then a scrap of paper, unfolding it.
Silas was quiet for a moment while he weighed his words. There was a chance to hasten things there, but it would require more trust than he was typically willing to give.
"Great and beautiful lady of the iceberg," He began "Silas Rieger, friend and associate of Tiff, wishes to honour your sovereign rule with a performance. To do so he humbly request a tune of the lady's choice; perhaps a more sombre song to quiet the excitement that her presence brings and give the dancers a moment of respite; so they may simply watch in awe and wonder." When he was done he reached out for the paper, attempting to parse the words for himself before clumsily writing his first name on the bottom. "That should do it. -Thank you," He added to Rickard, returning the note to him. Then another realization dawned on him. "Might want to get rid of that after she sees it." He nodded to the paper. "Fire is good."
Rikard pursed his lips and, after a moment, nodded. "Right. Time to go deliver it." He scooted out from under the table, rose, and composed himself, searching about for Kaureerah.
Silas nodded in thanks and did his best to regulating his nerves as he waited for the boy's return. There was one final chance to save his home. Still under the table, he removed his hat and overcoat- those were for Rikard to wear, he left a full 15 magus in the front pocket for the boy to find before leaving the hiding place before he could return. But it wasn't Silas that appeared standing behind the table a moment later, but a tall noblewoman sporting a gaudy wing weaved into a crown and ornate dress. A sight- but not at all out of place with the rest of the party. "Go Kaureerah! We knew you could do it!"
She clapped excitedly for her friend. This is a far better calling for the Eeaiko, the opportunity to freely create beauty and spread love in Ipte's name without being caught up in the lies and blasphemy of places like the Swirl.
However, what caught her attention was the sight of Zazzy and Yuliya laid upon each other like eager lovers. "Now that is what we call having too much to drink"
, she giggled as she then noticed her other friend dancing away happily even though the music stopped. "We stand corrected... Dorada! You are not meant to drink on an empty stomach."
She started to plate up some food for the drunken Feskan, whilst casually glancing at the scene, only absently paying attention as her hand roams the table picking things up.
The Feskan saw her bestest of bestest friends on the iceberg and quickly leaned against her, stopping her rather sloppy dance. "Aaaaaaaaaaylaaaaah, how're you toda-y?" Oh dear, perhaps she indulged a tad bit too much.
"Ai've ben sooo jealoos of every..one!" Her Avincian started to become rather messy. "Meine Liebe, willst du tanzen?"
Ayla started to pat Dory upon the shoulder, rubbing it and holding the girl close. She held the plate of delicious food in front of the girl, the plate having a wide selection of servings from the table as she attempted to help sober up the girl. The sight of the boy from earlier moving across the floor reminded her of his words, "Try not to taste the food a second time, Dorada."
Dory began to munch down at the food Ayla brought. "Ai'm not one of tose weaak panziez! Ai donn't just puke.." Even if she proclaimed it, she did get close to letting it all out once more... however her determination not to waste the food won.
Once the girl finished her food she left a peck on Ayla's cheek. "Danke.... du bist mein Retter..." A couple more pecks.
She rolled her eyes with a playful sigh as her cheek is getting smothered and wet due to the drunken kisses. "When Kaureerah was singing about us needing Hero's, this was certainly making this look a lot more glamourous."
She started to look for a chair, or perhaps an exit to get some fresh air, otherwise she might end up being the next Yuliya at this party. "Here we go, Princesa Dorada."
"Prenceesa? Ai'm not a Prencees! I'm a Cooontesh. A Cooountesch tat son will ruul it al!..." Dory proclaimed proudly. Looking at her saviour, swinging slowly from left to right. "Werr it nott fur tat boi Kazpee..." She paused for a while, thinking of what words to say. "Ai, woul' take you as mah waiv..."
She sighed and simply smiled politely, "Dorada, don't say things like that, people might get the wrong idea."
. She stood in front of Dorothea as she started to preen and smarten the girl up in front of her. Leaning in to fix her collar. "Besides, if you were to take me as your wife, what would Manfred say about that, Mmh..?"
She smartened the girl up, before realising what she said, her face dropped and then rolled her eyes. "Perhaps better not to tell me what Manfred would say about that."
Giggling, she pecked her friend upon the cheek. "There we go! Looking beautiful as always."
She swayed her arms around in annoyance. "Ten lettem hav teh wrong idee! Ai lov mah friend!" The girl thought to herself aloud. "Waht woul' Mannie thinck? Ai... don' kno'..." Seeing the effort Ayla went through to tidy her up placed a warm smile on the Feskan's face. "Nott ash beu... beuteful as you!"
Ayla squeezed upon her friend, “You are sweet, and we love you too, Dorada. We always love it when you come around with your Spratzmuffins. Cannot wait to stick them in my mouth. Nom.”
She beamed as she bared her teeth, acting out biting them. “Though, we definitely know now to keep you away from the wine, you're a flirty drunk like Ingrid. Banning you from the booze, water only from now on."
She teasingly chastised her presentation, booping the Feskan upon the nose with her index finger. “Feeling well enough to go back inside yet?"
"Ai'm not flirtin'! Ai speak only teh truuph!.. Fine.." The girl sighed and began to clumsily draw and cast yet it was somehow still working to a certain extent. the eyes began to look slightly less of one passed out drunk. A deep breath from the Feskan before a small little pout appeared on her face. "But you know if I don't drink... I'll die..."
It took some time for Rikard to get through the crowd to Kaureerah but, when he did, she seemed relieved to see him. "Reekaur!" she exclaimed, darting forward to enfold him in a hug. "Whaut treeboot doo yoo brenk?"
They separated and he got down on one knee, holding the letter dramatically out before him. "From a secret admirer, milady, who wishes to ask something of you."
The eeaiko's eyes widened, but she took the proffered note. "Eye thenk yoo faur thes moomentaus news." She opened the letter and read it but then, much to Rikard's dismay, slipped it into a hidden pocket in her dress. He tried not to show his alarm. He was supposed to have burned it, but that couldn't be helped now. "I shall take my leave, milady." He faced her, bowing, as he backed into the crowd, all theatricality.
It was less than a minute later when a new song came on: a soulful lament...
The mysterious woman paced through the crowd- never straying far from the clustered groups of guests. It was rather impossible to tell the ground was warming beneath her feet- a damp mist began rising along the northern end of the iceberg. Only when it was near their eyes did those surrounding seem to notice; laughing in amusement at the fanciful party trick. The woman had vanished completely, in her place was a tall; familiar looking old man. Or he would be should anyone have been able to see him through the steam. The figure began rising, until the peak of a large pointed hat broke through the low clouds.
"Even in death I cannot rest." Eyes surveyed the crowd. Hugo Hunghorasz, at first only identifiable only by his voice, hat, and beard as the mist swirled below him; beginning to dissipate as a series of lights began sparking behind the floating dead man. "You all did not truly think a simple illness could take me?" His staff appeared next, along with his arm and robes as the full boy of the former Paradigm came into view to the icebergs invitees. "Listen close all here, and I will tell you the true tale of my death; and why I have returned." He raised his arms, and as thought commanded the floating lights came together into an explosion of fireworks behind him, startling the crowd into more of an excited frenzy. Confused whispers grew louder as they began to wonder if this was another part of the night's entertainment.
Hugo silenced them all with a raising of hands. "I do not have much time- so I will make my piece quick. It was no illness, but murder and betrayal that ended my life."
There was a pause as again the whispers rose, only for other members of the party to hush them just as quickly.
"A murder," He repeated before continuing. "Witnessed and perpetuated by our very own host." The left raised arm slowly swung around to point towards Yuliya.
"Have you not wondered where all this foreign wealth came from? Why it seeks place itself just outside our city walls?" The hand fell as did the old man's face.
"I am gone, but this city was my home, and having taken an oath to protect it- even death cannot stop me. I will not see our great city become a tool in the hands vile monsters. Yuliya Vasilieva is no innocent academy Biro- but a murderous sanguinare! A monster who was maimed and wounded those within the Workman's quarters. Targeting and feeding upon the students and guests within our city. And now seeks to corrupt our Free City with funds from the Vossoriyan Royal Court to try and force us to bend to a foreign Callanasti influence" For all his words of being dead, he'd increased in virgor as he spoke until the last words were all but shouted out- nearly loud enough to reach the mainland.
"But we are the free city of Ersand'Enise! We bow to no emperors or kings, nor fall to outside influence. Friends! Let us show this monster how we welcome her kind in our home." There was a final great flash of light; and the man, mist and lights were all gone in an instant.
In the water below; a young boy held his breath, and grasped a shrimp-dog tightly as the pet began to carry him back to shore.
Ayla was back in the main bit of the Berg as there is suddenly a light show, more of a spectacle than anything. Though the content was terrible. Someone was ghastly enough to dreg up the recently deceased Hugo."So you are telling us .. that the little blonde over there, who had just been bested by a drunk girl tripping over her, murdered the Paradigm?"
Ayla loudly proclaimed as she pointed toward the girl lying upon her back underneath Zazzy. She did the dramatic pause then started to laugh, "We love the publicity stunt! Now everyone is going to wish they were attending this party! Let's sing and dance before Benedicto the Blessed decides to turn up revoke the berg from Queen Kaureerah."
Ayla cheerfully heads toward the band and picked up a lute as she begun to strum, playing to the crowd. Her eyes roam till they land upon Rikard as she began to sing.
Yuli was prepared - ready even - to partake of the small treat Zarina had prepared, when an illusion had rocked the iceberg. Singing tales of truth to her, but wild accusations to the rest of the onlookers. She froze halfway through leaning in to finish up this 'half-measure' for just a second as her brain once again racked. Why were there people determined to make her life difficult? And who could have even given this information? She thought it might be Zarina, but there was tales that even she didn't know. Augusto? He was long gone, and why would he throw her in the mud like this? Penny? Not a chance, not after all the money she put in. Where did she slip up?
Alas, she didn't care anymore. She would not let this ruin her night, ruin the experience she had spent so long preparing. She finished the job, leaning in to Zarina and fully partaking, both of the drop of blood and of the kiss in which she would hold and enjoy for far longer than previously planned. By the time the kiss was over, the little charade was as well, with Ayla commenting on it and redirecting attention. She owed her for the save. She stood up when the illusion faded, pulling away from Zazzy for just a minute.
Yuli began to laugh and clap at this 'performance', maintaining her vibe on the exterior. Inside, her blood ran murderously cold, but she did not let it show. "And a demon! He forgot demon!"
she exclaimed, pointing to the little horns on her head. But her smile quickly turned into a pout "All is fair here, but this is bit disrespectful, no? Let dead men rest a while before making mockery."
she waved her hand, offering her other to Zarina to pick her up off the ground.
Many people seemed to buy that it had been some weird sort of prank: a sort of Lednikrayva roast gone a bit too far, but there were murmurs as well. At the very least, it was a mildly uncomfortable incident. At worst, it was true. Penny, who knew that parts of it were, soon came to the conclusion that this was no mere innocent act, but rather the result of some kind of grudge. The Perrenchwoman kept her feelings closely to herself. She could not imagine Yuliya having anything to do with the murder of Hugo Hunghorasz, and that presupposed that there was a murder. Yet... would Yuliya wantonly kill? She told herself not, but there were uncomfortable facts at the heart of their friendship: Yuliya had attacked her in the night and she'd only found out due to her vile blood type giving the sanguinaire problems. Then there had been attacks on Owain and Marlijn and, supposedly, Yuliya had not wanted to harm them. Marlijn had vociferously stated otherwise and Penny had known Marlijn for longer.
As to whether the entire thing had been real or an illusion, Penny was a binder, and a good one. The illusion was good. The appearance had been almost impossible to see through. The energy had been on point. Yet, beneath the illusion, the cold hard matter of the speaker alluded to a much smaller person. That intrigued her. She needed to find out who it was.
Kaureerah was left holding a piece of paper from Silas, asking for a quieter song. She looked around for him as unease rippled across the crowd and even as Ayla promptly forced some more music to start. There were plenty of nervous laughs and she recognized them for what they were. Silas was from Mudville and, as a true mistress of illusion, she came to understand something else too. This was Silas' work and he wasn't far off of the truth. Here comes the coverup.
She let out a low whistle, tucked the paper away, and decided to save it for later.
Truly, her goal was always to bring joy to those around her. It was why she had signed up to model for Pelova Fascino - to perform!
Yet, she was now equipped with a growing awareness of how the endeavour she was a part of would change Mudville in fundamental ways, for she had seen it before, far away on the frontiers of Akrihar. This will not uplift the people here,
the eeaiko knew. Except for a lucky few, it will replace them,
and that was not something that sat right with her. How long will I keep selling myself, body and soul, to smiling rich people?
She swallowed and composed herself flawlessly, drifting through the crowd, making smalltalk, and easing worries. She had standards. Whatever else she might be, Yuliya was a client, and Kaureerah had standards. It had all been so exciting: so lively and colourful and... she'd felt like she was finally somebody for a little while ago. They'd noticed
her! They'd liked
her. It was oh so hard to let go of, and a very large part of her did not want to. A very large part of her remained painfully undecided.
Rikard blinked, dumbfounded at the display. It was... clearly not Hugo Hunghorasz and some sort of jape or grudge, but at least a few of the simpletons around him seemed somewhat convinced. The thing was... he hadn't sensed
anything 'off' about it. Any reasonable form of scientific diligence could disprove the existence of ghosts and, if it was truly Hugo, why would he have simply appeared to level an accusation at a party instead of going straight to those who could make a difference, instead of seeking his revenge!?
Rikard would've totally reaped his vengeance had he been in the paradigm's shoes, had any of these tall tales had any truth to them, and how terrible it would have been! He decided that this was all false. It had to be. Nothing else would make any sense. Then, there was Ayla dragging him into a song and dance number and it was distraction enough... for now.
Initially, Zarina thanked the Gods for this over-the-top distraction that'd keep eyes away from the humiliating mistake she was consciously doing. But as Yuli went to claim her small bounty, and made it last, Zaz widened her eyes when the subject of the grand Hugo-show was made clear. Her gold pupils darted toward the illusion, and then to the crowd that shared their attention between the apparition and the host of the party. Which meant attention to Zarina and the girl she was smooching with. An absolute catastrophe.
The words of the false Paradigm resonated loudly in her mind too, serving as missing pieces to a puzzle she had forgotten. The Hugo-murder story was known, but the Workman's Quarter? And Vossoriyan royalty? Who was Yuliya really? A combination of doubt and immediate regret when Ayla made it clear that everyone would notice the couple had one simple saying from the Count Mendoza that resonated in her mind:Sanguinaires are real. Be wary of them.
Simultaneously the predator and prey of the Wildblood, Yuliya's form brought cold shivers to run down through Zarina's spine. She had briefly zoned out, only to snap out of it when Yuliya presented her hand. She accepted it with a bit of a delayed reaction, “Thanks.”
she stood up and brushed herself, but also remained quiet. A normal Zarina would have spoken up, either made fun of or intimidated the pranksters, but this time she kept it all to herself. Nothing felt right, not even that delicious reward she had been wanting for a while. She may have actually fallen for an actual monster with the face of pretty girl.
The party raged through the night, despite the distractions. The complications the ghost brought on the morrow, and following days however, did not disperse as the Lednikrayva did. The battle for Mudville had begun in earnest, not in the form of violence but propaganda.