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(Created page with "Category:RP Logs {{Region:Alithrya|RPs}} {{PC|Irenic}} {{PC|Emilia}} {{PC|Reginae}} {{NPC|Nadia}} {{NPC|Yozenra}} '''Summary:''' Reginae takes her new prize (Emilia)...")
 
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{{Region:Alithrya|RPs}}  

Latest revision as of 16:18, 25 March 2020

Part of the Mearcstapa Arc


Summary: Reginae takes her new prize (Emilia) to Alithrya to surprise Irenic as a gift. Irenic complies out of fear for Emilia's safety. Emilia is fit with a frilly dress and her magic bracelet is shackled neatly in place. Reginae throws a party to welcome her new 'guests' and may or may not have murdered a tailor in front of...literally everyone. Emilia and Irenic are excused to their individual rooms where they discuss the events with Reginae's royal healer and Queen's guard.

They'll have to be tricky to wiggle their way out of this one.


Part I

The Welcome

Reginae was over the moon, so to speak, about her newest acquisition. The little doll she'd brought home from Cenril was washed and dressed. Not in tattered clothes but elegant, frilly fluff. A golden sarong against a sapphire dress. The naga maidens had even rewoven her dreads with scented oils. She looked so much like a true doll, the Queen could hardly contain her excitement! Everything was handled quickly and quietly. So when Reginae arrives at Irenic's quarters, she is overflowing with manic energy. She doesn't bother knocking but instead appears the same way she always did to triumphantly greet her Champion. The prison cell gave the illusion of a door when in reality it was a portal only Naga could pass through. It looked, each time she visited, like she bled through the walls. "Ire!" She sings cheerfully, demanding his presence. "I have a gift for you!" Behind her, two male guards would slither into existence, each one holding up one of the little doll's arms. Reginae watches as the guards moved Emilia's slack body to pile of silken blankets and pillows on the floor. My, she looked so handsome there! The guards rubbed their hands together, trying to warm them from the cold of the Gensai's skin. The Queen looks to Irenic with anticipation. How would he receive this little treasure?

Irenic is currently taking an ice bath after being put through another rigorous day at the arena and another day he reigns supreme. He’s been coming and going from his gilded cage, but the avian hasn’t really come to realize it’s never really been his idea. Is he a guest or just a prisoner of his own device? The pet name causes him to look over his shoulder to the Queen and smirk, “Regi,” he stands while grabbing a towel and wrapping it around his waist, but his brow quirks as two guards can be seen behind her, “not the kind of party I was hoping for, where’s that cute naga healer?” When Reginae steps aside and he sees that the guards are holding up his best friend, Emilia, and all the humor had drained out of his face. Jaw tense, fist clench at his side as he takes a slow breath in order to keep his calm over his wings because the cold water on his back has already begun to evaporate from the heat generating along his spine. Resisting the urge to go to Emilia, he understands now that his words and actions are crucial. Peeling his gaze from Emilia to look to Reginae as his low gruff timbre begins, “what are you playing at? What do you want from me? I’ll do whatever you want Regi, just let her go… please.” Somehow he feels responsible for this and he would typically be spiraling out of control due to his Phoenix trait, but even a dumbass knows that three against one won’t win. Has Queen Reginae been spying on them all this time?


Emilia slept the entire trip to the castle. She slept through being cleaned and dressed in frilly dress. She may had needed to be put to sleep a time or two as her body naturally accelerated at healing itself, yet she never woke enough to put up a fight. All dressed into pretty clothes with her dreadlocks refreshed and smelly good she did look like a little doll, missing a hand, but broken dolls were still as good as intact ones. The hands of the guards sported a thin layer of frost that melted away as they rubbed their hands together to return the warmth to them. While the Queen offered her newest prize over to he champion as a gift. It was knowledge by now the two knew each other, but the extent of their bond as best friends had not been disclosed. The reaction from Irenic would prove to the Queen and guards that the two were not simple acquaintances that knew one another. Perhaps, if Irenic played his cool then maybe the Queen would let him keep his gift from her. If he exploded into fire he might have her taken away, heck she still might take her away from him only to have as a reward for being good and keeping up as her champion. It was as the Queen waited a reply from the man in a towel that the Genasi on the silken bedding started to move with a low groan as consciousness started to refind the woman. She didn't fully wake though it would be soon.


Reginae looks genuinely shocked and hurt by Irenic’s response. The guards linger behind her, sensing a tension building between the Queen and her champion. But instead of wield her authority or strength against the avian, Regi clutches at her chest, human legs spanned out to steady herself as if she’d been struck. “My sweet Ire,” she whimpers, stepping towards him to cup his face if he’ll let her. She can feel the heat of his skin and wonders if he’ll try to overtake her now that Emilia is involved. But what she says is different, meant to defuse the situation. “She’s a gift, I thought you might be lonely. I found her all alone on the beach in rags, Ire, RAGS.” The idea horrified her. Reginae moves away from him to stoop where Emilia’s resting, threading one of her clean dreads behind her pale ear. The tips of her fingers turn blue but she doesn’t react. “Look how precious she is. Too beautiful to wear rags.” Emilia is still breathing, but Reginae now wonders if Irenic knows that. “She’s alive, sweetheart, look, she’s fine.” When the naga woman touches Emilia it’s with careful precision. Gently, like any hard press on the stranger would result in Irenic’s unironic ire. “And look, she had this darling bracelet in her pocket.” Regi holds up Emilia’s non stumped hand to show it to him. “She’s so beautiful.” She cooes genuinely. “She’s not a prisoner, she’s a guest.” But that wasn’t really true, was it? “I don’t want anything but your happiness, my champion.” Reginae stands to face the avian again with an pained frown. “I didn’t go looking for her but she found me and said she knew you.” The white haired naga sniffs, eyes glossy with the threat of tears. “I’m not a bad person…” She says in her own defense, voice low and injured.


Irenic’s jaw is still tense and he starts calculating where he went wrong here. How did he misread this situation the entire time? Ah, yes. Arrogance and hubris, the bane of all avians. “Well,” he focuses his energy on keeping calm and his gruff timbre lowers, “she is uncomfortable in clothes like that because it’s too warm.” His gaze finds Emilia as she begins stirring and there is already an apology written all over his silvery eyes, but when Reginae suggests that Emilia looks better like this, he quickly snaps his reply of, “she looked beautiful before.” He may have not wanted to say that because now Reginae is clued in on the fact that they are closer than just acquaintances. “I know she’s alive,” he said defiantly, as if his short stack could be snuffed out so easily, not today. Then he sees the bracelet back on her arm and why was she carrying it!? That thing gave her so much trouble! Surely she has a good reason to have it on her person, maybe she would need to use it against a foe? Or she simply wanted to always know where it was so it couldn’t be used against her again. Ironic. Reginae’s next statement made him feel even more guilty and it’s clear now that this is all his fault. Realizing the brand of crazy he’s dealing with, he chooses his words carefully and flatly, “no… no. Emilia is always a gift to be around, thank you Regi.” Yeah, his best friend is now a captive with him and what a great gift, ‘thanks, I hate it.’ Right now it’s just pretending everything is okay until they are alone and he can explain himself.


Emilia's eyes started to flutter open as the grogginess of having life choked out wore off. The genasi seemed confused as first her gaze landed on the strange woman she didn't recognize tucking a dreadlock behind her ear. Not only was there a strange woman there was a strange smell. Oh wait. That was her hair with the oils in them. Strange she couldn't remember having her hair redone or a bath recently. Something against her fingers felt soft, silk? And there nake in a towel is none other than her Feather Stick. He looked beat up and out of place himself. She must be dreaming. This entire scenario was just not right. As her gaze fell onto her attire of a frilly fancy dress the woman mentally agreed that this was no dream, it was a nightmare. She read once that if you scream loud enough one could wake themself out of the nightmare. Parting those blue lips the small woman let out a breath that held one of the most high pitched shrieking screams. In response to the woman the ice from Irenic's bath shot up out of the tub into the air, hitting the ceiling causing the bits to break before raining gown on the room as it fell in small bits of ice. As the ice clattered to the ground it echoed with the sound exiting the petite woman.


'She was beautiful before-’ Irenic said and Reginae nodded in complete agreement. “She is beautiful and beautiful people deserve beautiful things.” His comment about her being uncomfortable in clothes that were too warm is met with a scrunch of her lips. “If she doesn’t like them, she can change.” The Queen waves off his concerns as immaterial. “You’re worrying too much. She’s perfectly fine.” A prick of jealousy flared beneath her skin but she was a Queen and must act as such. Stuff those pesky emotions down, let bitter resentment grow, Ire’s care for Emi. Muzo should be that concerned, at least half as concerned for Regi this way. And why wasn’t he?! This is when Emilia screams. Reginae’s hands pull away to cover her ears. The sheer power of the Gensai’s magic caused the room to rattle and the ice bath to literally explode until it rained down in glass fragments, almost like snow. All jealousy and turmoil dissolve in Regi instantly. She’s smiling in amazement. What was this woman!? The Naga shoots a glance are Irenic, as if to say ‘See, she’s fine!’. If she can scream, she’s fine. She imagines she has very little time to smooth this situation over so she bends back down beside Emilia and rests a careful hand in the air between them. “Sorry to scare you dear heart, if you hate the dress, by all means, I can get you something more comfortable.” Regi didn’t need to ask if Emilia was hurt, she knew for a fact she -wasn’t-. No bruises, no burns, not so much as a scratch on her dolled up, porcelain skin. “You are a friend of Ire’s no?” The Queen smiles warmly, moving in slow, careful ways as if not to startle Emi. “He’s been keeping me company but he’s so very glad to see you.” It’s in this moment that Nadia appears. The guards who were stationed in the room are tense, ready to grab their weapons at a moment's notice but the Queen’d belayed all orders of harm. “Irenic!” The naga physician pants, afraid he’d exploded in some painful fit after fighting. It was her responsibility to see to his health. If he got hurt, Regi’d have her skin! Nadia instead finds the three of them nearly frozen in a sea of surprise. She didn’t recognize Emi, hadn’t been involved in cleaning her up, and didn’t quite understand what was happening. Here, Regi stands, giving Irenic and Emilia space. “Nadia!” Regi purrs cheerfully. “Go prepare the dining hall and the ballroom. We have to throw our guests a welcome party!”

Irenic is panicking internally and honestly has no idea how he’s going to explain this one to Emilia, but then her scream pierces the air and this causes the avian to cup both of his hands to his pointy ears. The towel he was holding up around his waist wasn’t tucked and secured properly so it fell. The avian‘s inferno wings sprouted out just then to make a canopy over himself in protection of the little icicles and surely anyone’s gaze is drawn to that, not his shame. Just as Nadia storms in, he’s picking his towel back up, but he’s in no mood to hit on her at the moment no matter how much she looks like a naga version of a certain Red Witch. During the distraction with the other healer, he goes to Emilia to help her to her feet just as his wings shrink down to nothing, but he’s afraid to say much of anything in front of Reginae in fear of another outburst or roller coaster of emotions. He only gives a look down to her as if to say, I’m sorry and just go with this right now. Simultaneously, his hand in her own, resisting the frost and he tries to give it a little squeeze as if they could talk telepathically, ‘just go along with this butter butter and we will figure out how to escape soon.’ He changes his tone a little to sound flattered, “just for us? You don’t need to go through the trouble, Regi,” he fakes a charming grin that softens his angular features.


Emilia's scream slowly faded out into silence as Irenic bursts into flames as a naked man, the stranger was back in her space talking all calm like, and the ice shower simmered out. This was not a nightmare, or it was, but not one the genasi was going to simply wake up from. Taking in a slow breath the woman's lips curled in one of the most pretty smiles one could sport of frozen blue lips. She looked happy, as if it was perfectly normal life now. It was a fake smile, but this little woman had managed a life of smiling like she was the happiest woman in the world while behind closed doors she was being beaten regularly. This gave her perfect practice for moments like this one. With the help of Irenic the little woman, not fully five feet, rose to her feet. She wobbly a moment before gaining her balance on her own. Her bright gaze landed on the stranger, "Irenic is a friend of mine. The dress is lovely, I just don't remember putting it on. A party? That is all too kind of you. Will there be food?" The little woman was starving, okay. She liked food too much and hadn't eaten in some time with the entire trip here, wherever here was, and however long she had been out. Her hand gripped with a gentle squeeze, almost unnoticeable. Then her gaze landed on Nadia, "Would you mind a deep blue theme for the ballroom? It suits my eyes best and frozen berries at the dinner hall?" If she could read minds, she was doing her best to play along. The way the stranger acted the Genasi guessed she could make simple requests in her favor if she was a 'guest' here. Then those eyes flashed up to Irenic, "If I have to wear a dress. You better put a tux on for me." Those long lashes fluttering with a flirt before looking back to Regi. She studied her before speaking, "Emilia, leader of the Healer's Guild, and you are?" She emphasized her less than royal title while wiggling her hand free from Irenic's to offer a shake.

Regi pays no mind to Irenic’s now missing towel or his strained features before faking his smile. In her mind, all is well and her guests are happy to attend the festivities thrown in their honor. Wonderful! “What kind of food would you like?” Regi spins around to ask Emilia. Nadia stands there, looking between the two honored guests and trying to piece together what’s happening. “Winterberries, as the lady says.” Whatever Emilia wants to eat or drink, Regi commands Nadia to add to the menu for this evening. The Queen considers Emilia’s clothes and frowns. “Irenic said you weren’t one for fancy get ups, I picked that dress, it suited your skin tone but...if you’d rather, I can have something less stuffy brought to you.” Then her eyes turn to Irenic and she smiles brightly at him, feeling like she’s rewarded him properly for keeping her company. “Chaur, fetch Ire a suit.” She waves her wrists and one of the guards grumbles and starts out the door. The naga looks back at Emilia’s introduction and beams even brighter before shaking the woman’s petite hand. “You can call me Reginae.”


After the introduction, Reginae and Nadia borrow Emilia and take her to her own room. It’s equally as lavish as Irenic’s, with an inground bathing pool, a four poster bed decked out in gold, and attractive marble floors. The mechanics of the room work exactly the same way Irenic’s does. They fade through the wall to enter, and will fade through the wall to leave. Or, Nadia and Reginae will. Emilia won’t be permitted just yet. “Whatever she needs!” The Queen instructs the naga healer before leaving to get herself ready. The guards will bring Irenic a suit. The Royal tailor will show up shortly after to make adjustments so the garment fits nicely. The tailor will then visit Emilia and Nadia, willing to make adjustments to her current dress or any other dress of her choosing in the room. He just won’t agree to let her put her old dress back on. Where ever it was.

Part II

The Festivities

Neither Irenic’s portal nor Emilia’s will allow them to see each other. In fact, neither of them can leave their room presently. It isn’t until a guard shows up at Emilia’s door to escort her, that the Gensai is allowed to leave. Irenic will be visited in a similar fashion (but with two guards) and lead straight to the dining hall. It was decorated just as Emilia’d asked. Soft blues and whites replaced the glaring gold of the banners before it. Small winterberry centerpieces line the long table between plates, pots, and bowls overflowing with food both familiar and foreign. In the corner is a band. A mix of strings and percussion that chirp elegantly in the background. Emilia and Irenic will be escorted to the seats nearest the head of the table, on Reginae’s right side. She isn’t yet present but plenty of guests are mingling about before taking their seats at the table. Most are nagas, in their natural naga forms, but the waiters were instructed to shift into human legs, so their guest would feel more comfortable. The two guests of honor are free to eat, drink, and discuss whatever pleases them. They will simply be asked to stay seated while the gathering waits for the Queens Arrival.


Irenic watches as Emilia works the Queen and is impressed below a cordial grin. Her request is met with a more charming smile as he pats the top of her head lightly, “if I must.” If Irenic forgot at any moment, he’s quickly remembering that his best friend is a fierce little thing. His brow quirks as Emilia is taken from his room and he doesn’t like not being able to be around her so he can be certain that no harm comes to the Genasi. The gears start turning in his mind on how he can get the Queen to allow them a shared room, or at least a portal that conjoins their room. He complies and remains entirely stoic while he’s being fitted for a tuxedo in the same color scheme of whatever Emilia’s garments turn out to be. When he’s escorted by the other nagas, he attempts some humor, “how's it hangin’ fellas?” His gaze drops to their tails, “er… how's it dragin’?” They don’t seem all that impressed with his brand of humor and nudge him down the corridor, “I’m going, I’m going…” Entering the dining hall looks great, but his gaze is set on one thing and when he’s escorted to his seat next to her, he bows like it’s proper to do and pulls out her seat for her. Food! He forgot how late it’s gotten and when the last time he ate was, but it first things first, “how are you? Also, we need to see if there is some way we can have one room, I don’t like not knowing if you’re okay.” Speaking under his breath while piling a lot of food on his plate and grinning as if they are having a simply pleasant conversation. He doesn’t care what the lie needs to be that they hatch up, but they need to think fast, “what do ya got?”


Emilia slowly let her hand fall to her side after shaking hands. There was little time to answer the Queen before she was being removed from Irenic's chambers and escorted to her own room. The words from the woman about the care and time put into picking out her present outfit weighing on her during the walk over. There she kept a smile on frosty lips before the queen left her along with Nadia. The naga healer had already began to undress the woman with the notion thr tailor was on his way. Whether the white woman wore the same dress or another the Queen still wanted her measurements for future items to be made for her wardrobe. Emi was quite shocked standing there in nothing but a slip when the man arrived with measuring tape and pins. As if on purpose the woman was poked hard enough to bleed during the process, but she never noticed though Nadia did as she made the mental notes to let the Queen know about later. Her numbers taken she was redressed into the original dress she walked into the room with so she would not upset Regi when she arrived to the party. The guard walking her held a tail tip around her cold wrist until they had reached the woman's seat where Irenic was waiting. It was then she was let go as the guard moved to take his place.

The Genasi gave Irenic a small curtsey befoe letting him slid her into her seat. She copied his movements in putting an assortment of foods onto her own plate. The opposite nature of the pair showing in their food selections. Everything she picked was raw food, cold nature food, or easily chewed foods. While Irenic began to feed his face she replied with a gentle smile on her face, "I am fine. I was taken to a room similar to yours, left with Nadia and some tailor came in and took all my measurements before redressing me and a guard escorted me here." She looked unharmed as she sat next to him. While he spoke next she ate some of the food from her own plate, listening intently to what he had to say. "I could tell her I'm expecting your kid..." she whispered softly as she reached over to pop a couple of the winterberries into his mouth, "but I already have three of them topside and I also don't think it would be wise to make up a lie to her. Her mental state seems rocky at best. I am happy you care so much about my well being, but I can take care of myself, ya know. Perhaps we can just ask her? Nadia made it sound like I was going to be on quarantine for a few days with only escort trips out, if any. Maybe she will let that portal connect the rooms during the day?" She wasn't sure what Regi would allow them, but she could be hopeful if she played her cards right to earn a trust she would get similar permissions to leave her room like Irenic had. Either way the healer thought a simple asking over a lie would be easier. With a smile the woman took a bite of a strange looking food that was chilled, making a scrunched face at the tatse simply not sure what to make of it.


Irenic seems to relax some when he learns that she’s got at least a comfortable room. His own mind going a mile a minute to hatch some sort of scheme while he does, indeed, stuff his face. Going through the ringer in the arena is quite the workout and he needs to stay bulked up, but when the scandalous suggestion hits his overly long tapered ears he chokes a little on his food. Quickly reaching for his wine goblet to cover up the sound and then dabbing his mouth with the cloth napkin that sits at his lap before accepting the winterberries from Emilia. He listens intently to her while continuing to eat, “I know you can take care of yourself short-stack… Haven’t you done enough of that though? I just,” he clears his throat and takes another sip of the wine to calm himself because he feels his back heating up, “it's just unfair that things like this keep happening to you and if I can prevent it. I will,” he considers her suggestion seriously and compartmentalizes the little bit of information that she has kids! He never knew and that just makes him even more urged to get her out of this or at least get more control over the situation. “You’re right… I’ll try to just ask respectfully,” just like that, as if on queue, the band picks up to introduce the Queen and his attention is drawn while he starts mulling over the words he is going to say.


Emilia had to cover her mouth to keep herself from laughing as Irenic nearly choked on his food at her hushed suggestion and information reveal. She smile while reaching a hand out to gently poke his nose, "Unless you plan to take me everywhere you go, there is no way you could ever keep all harm from me. It is a gentleman offer and I promise to behave so that I don't get myself into trouble, any more so than normal. Besides, it isn't the first and probably not the last time either. Life isn't fair and that is okay, I have accepted it." Another flash of a smile while trying reassure him that even if she couldn't always be in his room or in his company that she would be okay in his absence. Stuffing berries into her mouth her attention turned to follow that of the rest of the room as the band changed music to announce the Queen.


The party -is- for Irenic and Emilia, her esteemed guests but as the monarch of Alithrya, she’s required to follow certain procedures. Like this, for example. Whatever the Queen’s been up to before this moment is unclear. Her mood is unchanged; radiant, welcoming, enchanting. Her demeanour is one of joyous celebration. They are not prisoners, oh no, but her Champion and his companion and Reginae looked forward to getting to know her better. After the fanfare, the Queen walked (human legs for the comfort of her guests) to her seat at the head of the table with Emilia on her right hand side. The naga smiles at the Gensai, pleased to see she’s wearing the same dress Regi’d picked out for her. Oh she liked it after all! Nadia is seated at the table on Regi’s left side. Beside Nadia is Yozenra, the Queen’s guard. The lights are low, the table is lit with candle light and overhead an illusionary snowfall drifts down towards the guests. It neither accumulates nor chills. The band quiets back to a good conversation volume and Regi immediately spreads her arms wide with joy in the direction of the pair. Look at Ire in his suit! He looked so smart! “You two look lovely, absolutely lovely. Waiter!” Without instruction, the Waiter delivers a strange cocktail. Regi scoops it up, swirling the liquid idly. “Emilia, is the decor all right? I put my finest people on it.” Nadia shifts uncomfortably, trying to call Reginae’s attention. “Excuse me, one second.” The healer leans in to whisper to the Queen and immediately Reginae’s pupils grow to devour the blue of her eyes. Her reply is a hissed command that makes Nadia stand, bow, and leave the ballroom immediately. When Regi turns back to Irenic and Emilia, her smile and good humor remains intact. “Is the food all right? There will be a little announcement later on, introducing you two.” Her finger wags between the pair. “How smart you both look, so dapper and beautiful.” Then, to Emilia, “I trust your quarters are to your liking?”


Irenic glances to Nadia with a quirk of his brow, but his expression goes back to a forced pleasant look for the Queen’s benefit. The avian awaits Emilia’s responses and their conversation comes to a natural end, except for that last one question. Firstly, he appeals to Reginae’s ‘kindness’, “well if it is anything like my suite, I am sure it is perfect.” That charming grin coming a little easier and easier with their game as the act softens his angular features while adding a little twinkle to his eye, “I was a little curious about that, Regi.” Hoping to soften the interaction further with a nickname as if they are old pals, “if Emilia is my gift as your champion, wouldn’t it make more sense if we shared quarters? Even if there was just a conjoining portal?” His low gruff timbre is softened a little in his added politeness. Long ago there were tales of a charming young knight, very cordial and respectable - everyone from Island Vere knew he was going somewhere, but they all had no idea what a dastardly man he was behind it all. Casually sipping wine from his goblet and continuing to eat, but with a lot less vigor now that they are in the presence of Reginae.


Emilia was not crazy enough to change her dress to something she would have perferred to wear, mostly because well they seemed to have lost her old one. Her eyes watched the Queen find her seat with a gentle smile on her lips. Two legs or not she really was a beautiful woman/naga/Queen. The genasi waited to speak in her given turn to answering the questions, "It looks lovely. The blues and whites are most easy on the eyes in such a gathering. Brings about a calming effect." When the queen turned her attention back to the guests after Nadia departed the small woman couldn't help but reach with her hand to fix a hair of Regi's that had gotten knocked out of place. If allowed, it was a gentle and short touch to correct wild strand. Irenic spoke first, comparing the rooms though he hadn't seen hers, "It is a very lovely room. Much bigger with more things in it that I am used to having in a room. Cannot say I have ever had such a fancy bed, either. I am used to a cot on the floor. I appreciate the room, thanks." After Irenic asked about a shared room or conjoined rooms she flashed a soft smile to agree with his request. "It would be nice to be able to share company with Irenic..." her words faded out as she would be happy with either possible outcome that her best friend had asked for. The song of the band had changed once more to a new beat. As it did the eyes of the white woman landed on the Queen, "I like this song. Would you care to dance?" Yes, the guest asked the Queen for the first dance. She wasn't sure the royal protocol for these things, but to her it seemed logical.


Reginae looks in good enough spirits to hear Irenic’s request out in this crowded setting. “Ah yes, I haven’t forgotten.” Is all she says on the subject of shared quarters. Instead of elaborate on her plans, the Queen’s attention is drawn to Emilia, who is fussing over her hair as if they were old friends. Physical touch. Not combat or kidnapping but a physical gesture of gentle connection. The inky black voice in the back of her mind twisted in anguish. When had Muzo last done so much as embrace her? “I’m glad you’re pleased with the room, if there’s anything you need, anything at all, let Nadia know.” In Irenic’s case, he’d let Yozenra know. The naga smiles affectionately at the Gensai’s offer. It pleased her so to see her good will being appreciated by the woman. Never mind that whole kidnapping business. How Emilia got here was not important. Only that she was here, and her champion appreciated the company of his companion. Lucky for Reginae she’d kidnapped Emilia in a male disguise so she would not be considered the ‘hands on’ kidnapper. That might have damped the other woman’s spirits and Regi wouldn’t want that. “I’m afraid I have one small matter to attend to first, loves. Go, enjoy your party. Dance with your friend.” She encourages Irenic with easy joy. When the two depart, if Emilia tries to insist, Regi will politely ask for a rain check. The Queen sets her serious eyes on the back of the room to wait for Nadia. The ballroom in particular. If Emilia or Irenic should try to pass through it (any ‘none naga personal) both the ballroom and the dining room will immediately lock down. No one can get in or out. They were still, despite the lovely space and strange company, confined. Nadia returns a few beats later when the band is in full swing with it’s next song. Beside the blonde naga is the male tailor that took Emilia’s measurements. Her features are rigid and cold while addressing him. The tailor’s motions get more animated but the rest of the ballroom has yet to notice. The Queen pushes herself up and walks towards the dance floor to tap Emilia politely on the shoulder. Regi will lean down, pointing in the tailor’s direction. “My honored guest,” she starts with a wide smile, “Could you tell me if that gentleman there was the one who fitted you for your dress earlier with Nadia?” Her tone is slick as silk, inviting Emilia to tell the truth. It was a mundane question anyway. How many Tailors could she have on staff?


Irenic awaits an elaboration that never comes and slowly sips his wine… awkward, but he doesn’t want to push it. Without thinking about it Irenic takes Emilia’s hand (which resists the frost coming from the ice being, maybe it’s just the bracelet at work), “shall we?” Might as well put on a convincing show. Standing to help her out of the seat and then placing her hand in the crook of his arm as he walks at an adequate pace for her short little legs. Once they are in the middle, he stops and takes her hand again while his other sips around her…. He slouches down a little and curves his arm around her… well - this is awkward again. He’s too tall and she’s too short for normal standards in both of their separate races. “You’re gonna hate me,” he mumbles with that charming grin even though it’s coming off a little smartassish right now as he bends down and scoops her up. This way her rump is resting securely in the bend of his arm and his forearm supports her thighs over the cover of her dress without it riding up. Now they are eye level and her arm can rest around his shoulder while his hand comfortably holds onto hers so they may begin to partake in a waltz. “Nice growing there, short-stack,” he says softly with a pleasant grin on his face as he meanders around the ballroom in their dance with ease. His gaze is occupied for a moment on her face as he’s taking in all of the tiny details; the freckles, her soft blue eyes, the porcelain colored skin and tinge of blue on her lips. Blinking a few times before remembering that they are captives here and his gaze pulls away to glance about the room without raising suspicion, but he stops dead in his tracks as Reginae cuts in to ask a question. Irenic’s brow knits together as he looks to the man she’s pointing out and awaits Emilia’s answer.


Emilia nodded to the Queen as she offered a rain check for the dance. At least the small woman would feel that she attempted to follow what she thought was royal ways by asking the Queen first before anyone else. ‘Your party' swirled in her mind, still a confusing idea to the healer. As a ‘guest’ she had never had a party for her. Usually those kind of parties were for birthdays, weddings, engagements, anniversaries, etc. None of which applied to her or Irenic, that she knew of. Was it his birthday? Was she the worst best friend ever that she forgot his day? A warm smile played in those lips as she walked with the escort of Irenic into the dance floor. It was a weird pairing of heights to try to dance with one another. Standing on his feet like small children do would not even bring her close enough. There was a wide eyed expression as he easily hoisted her up into the air, using his arm as a seat for her, as a quick answer to the problem. "I don't hate you," she whispered. Though she looked weightless the woman sported a slightly heaver weight, sturdy bones. With a gentle touch she wrapped her arms around his neck, carefully so that her chilled body didn’t come in contact with him. His mindful gaze would notice that upon her nose there was a thin scar blending into the freckles, a spot on her lower lip darker blue where she frequently bit on the lip, and a silver thin scar hidden along her hair line. These little things people didn’t ever get close enough to see. Oddly it was peaceful moment to dance with Irenic, as if they were not forced guests her, yet that thought ended soon. It was with a small startle that the small woman turned to see the Queen returned to her to ask a simple question in a tone that suggested she not even try to lie. Shifting her gaze away she looked to the tailor man standing near Nadia with a studying look. The Genasi didn’t spend much time looking at the stranger while she was in the room with him being measured between him and Nadia, though she was fairly sure it was the man. Definitely a first for her. The woman’s voice stayed quiet as she replied, “I didn’t really pay much attention to the tailor, I am sorry. I can say that he was a polite being with mindful hands that never strayed. He was quick and made the new experience easy. Why? Did he need to correct a number?” The small woman held a confused look on her face, not exactly sure what was wrong or why the Queen seemed upset with the measurement-man. She didn’t lie, but she didn’t admit she was mostly positive it was the right man.


Reginae is cheek to cheek with Emilia so neither woman should be able to see each other’s expression. The rest of the ballroom, however, can see the Queen’s eyes flicker with warning. Her lips spread into a fanged smile and she fixes her posture to uninhibit their dance. “Thank you so much, my dear. Please, don’t stop on my account.” The man waits nervously beside Nadia, who is looking all too nervous herself. Regi struts away at a measured speed; not rushed or hurried in any way. All three nagas disappear for a time. The span of a song or two. Nadia returns first and takes her seat immediately. The band dies down and the Queen returns in a different set of clothes. Now she’s wearing a trim, gold pants suit and blazer with purple tie and trim. Her hair’s pulled back into a ridiculously high ponytail. Her snowy hair spills out from the top of her crown, which rests neatly atop her head. In her hand, she holds a goblet. She taps the side of the glass with a metal spoon to demand the attention of the room. When all fall silent, she resumes her place at the head of the table and smiles out happily at her guests. “I’m so thrilled you could all join us tonight, to welcome Irenic and Emilia to the Castle. They’ll be staying with us for a time and as such are under my protection. Ire has become the undefeated champion in the arena and Emilia is a member of the healer’s guild. Aramoth blesses us with their knowledge and skill so that we may learn from it to be a better people.” Her eyes flitter over her ‘guests’ and she gives them a warm scrunch of her nose before re-addressing the rest of the room. “It should go without saying but let me be clear.” Her tone takes on a warning edge, she’s addressing the room at large, not Irenic or Emilia. “They are diplomats from the mainland, which means they are under my protection.” As she speaks, the creak of heavy wooden wheels whines through the dining area. A large stand, that might support a suit of armor, is covered by a drop cloth and pushed behind her. “I know we have a bad history, as a people, of being racist little things but we’ve evolved. WE are better now. And I won’t tolerate even the slightest action or remark that could make my lovely friends uncomfortable.” Her hands clasp together, smile spreading to impossible proportions. Regi tilts her head, giving Yozenra the signal, and the cloth is pulled off the construct. It is a wooden stand, but the tailor is bound to it. There are no visible injuries on the man but one look would tell any spectator that he’s dead. The way his body hangs, the way his weight is distributed, the lack of heartbeat lifting his chest. Then, he moves. Jerky gestures, heavy tilts of his head. Black ooze creeps out from the very corner of his mouth, too slight for just anyone to see. And when he opens his eyes, they are devoid of color or light. “Now, this man will apologize for his crimes against my guests. Tailor.” The Queen turns, gesturing to the man as he trembles. “My apologies, your grace.” He looks to Emilia and attempts an off balanced bow. His words are garbled, like he’s speaking underwater. The entire inside of his mouth is black as pitch. And there’s Reginae, still gesturing at him, looking pleased as punch at his apology.


Irenic continues to dance with Emilia on his arm while subtly keeping an eye on where they had disappeared to whenever he happened to turn or dip Emilia in that direction. When he sees Reginae come back out in the new outfit, he slowed their dancing until he stopped when the Queen commanded everyone’s attention, but he neglected to let Emilia down. Probably for the best so she could actually see instead of looking at naga backside. His brow quirks up again as he is unaware anything was wrong and the avian’s gaze is drawn to Emilia in his arms as if he could see through her clothes to detect anything was amiss, but she doesn’t even feel pain - what could have happened in that small amount of time?! By the time he looks back to Reginae with an expression of befuddlement, the corpse/possessed thingy that was once the royal tailor. Irenic feels conflicted because he got what he deserves if he had hurt even a hair on Emilia’s head, but now he’s concerned for their safety more so than before! He’s starting to piece together that there is something else going on here that is much bigger than them and it’s way out of his league. With a quick glance and continued fake pleasant smile, he starts to see how the rest of her royal subjects have been walking on eggshells around her or just mindlessly going by her order. Slowly, he lets Emilia down easy.


Emilia felt strange with the Queen's face so close to hers without being able to see her face to read it. There was a small nod before the woman left to tend to her business while leaving the dance in motion. There was a twisting knott in her stomach that didn't leave as the royal leader vanished. She could be glad that Irenic was supporting her weight as they danced together. It made it hardered for her to trip on her own two feet. Them everyone went silent as the Queen returned in a new outfit that still showed off how beautiful she was, no matter the attire she picked out. As the announcement commenced the Genasi could feel the eyes of the room turning to look at both her and Irenic standing there. That knot in her stomach tightening as the cloth was removed to reveal the tailer man. With wide eyes and a gasp the healer lifted her stump to cover her mouth, accidentally smacking herself in the nose. It was still a process to remember she was missing the hand sometimes. She had seen many things as a healer, but this just made her stomach churn knowing this was because of her. The way the crowd looked at her she knew everyone was going to simply be afraid to touch her now. Feet back on the floor she gave a tight squeeze to Irenic's hand whispering, "I don't feel so well...can we go now? Please?" Her eyes never left the Queen with the dead snakeman behind her.


Reginae is oblivious to the confused faces of her guests and subjects. The man isn’t dead, per say. Technically, he’s alive. Technically. The Queen waves the zombie like tailor off, out of the room, and he moves with jerky, unbalanced steps towards a dark corner of the hall. Now that the announcement is over, Nadia is looking over at Irenic and Emilia with a pinched expression. The healer pulls Yozenra to the side. After a brief whisper fight, Nadia moves through the crowd towards the guests. Yozenra pulls Regi aside, mumbling something, and the Queen casts a look in their direction. She looks at them with pity and understanding before nodding. Regi offers them a short, well mannered wave while Yozenra helps Nadia escort Irenic and Emilia back to their rooms. The nagas offer no apology in the wake of their Queen’s actions but they don’t try to justify them either. They look perplexed, trapped in their own minds, nearly oblivious to any conversation Irenic and Emilia might have before arriving.


Part III

The After Party

Irenic mumbles, “it’s because of that damn bracelet,” as he instinctively takes Emilia’s hand and his gaze darts to all of the exits. Most are blocked and the rest are guarded, “I’ll uh… get right on that my short-stack.” Just as he began to casually walk to what could be an exit, they are caught up by Yozenra and Nadia and he casually greets them, “hey ladies. Wild party, huh,” the avian punctuates his chummy response with a short chuckle. “Oh? Party is over so soon?” He nervously shoots a glance down to Emilia as he tries to think quickly, “Yozenra, was it? Maybe the champion and his gift could have an hour or two together before we retire for the night? We aren’t really all that tired yet,” he gives Emilia’s hand a soft squeeze if she can feel it, but now they are being escorted apart and their hands fall away.


Emilia shoved an elbow into Irenic's side as he mumbled about the golden trinket about her wrist, "I have a couple weeks before that makes me ill. I'll be fine," she whispered back while he began to make a move through the crowd. The squeeze was returned just before the duo were being separated by Nadia and Yozenra to be escorted back to their own chambers. The Genasi glances over her shoulder to look at Irenic before following along behind Nadia in silence until they almost reached the portal to the room. Without the crowd and the party all around them it felt safer to demand answers. The Genasi came to a dead stoo with arms folded over her chest, "What in the bloody hell was that about?! Why did she make a spectacle of that man? What did he do that was so wrong?!" Her tone was raised with a hint of irritation laced in it. Nadia had seen what the Genasi didn't see or feel during the fitting.


Yozenra and Nadia neither agree nor disagree with Irenic’s request for Emilia and him to have some well deserved privacy. When Irenic pretends to be surprised by the party ending, Yozenra gives him a sharp ‘not buying it’ stare. Now, in the hall before the ‘rooms’, Emilia is shouting. Understandably so! Nadia takes a step away from Emilia, frightened and already on edge. Yozenra slithers in front of the healer, blocking Nadia, and scrunching her nose with strained patience. To appear less threatening, Yozenra arches her body so she’s hunched closer to Emilia’s eye level. Her trident remains upright and towering over them. “He tried to hurt you.” The Queen’s guard frowned. Nadia looks at Irenic, they were familiar with each other. He knew Nadia wouldn’t lie, right? “He specifically and vindictively tried to hurt you.” Yozenra looks over her shoulder at Irenic, catching his gaze to stress the importance of the reason. The logic wasn’t sound, Reginae had effectively kidnapped them both and kept them in this gilded cage, but she still didn’t wish any harm to them. She would protect them, even against her own people. It was an odd show of faith from her. “The Queen had to do it.” Nadia, previously cowering behind the guard looks at both guests with equal distress. “There’s a bias against outsiders. She was protecting you.” No, the method was screwed up, but that’s all it was, baseline. “I will explain more inside, please.” Yozenra gestures for them to take their individual doors. Nadia hesitates still, afraid Emilia might scream again. The blonde didn’t have the stomach for conflict.


Irenic watches with a thoughtful look on his face and catches the look from Nadia, big brown eyes peering up at him from behind round eyeglasses. One thing he remembers about her is that she hiccups when she’s nervous and only people who have something to hide or are telling a lie are nervous. Yes, she’s worried, but as of right now he believes her because Emilia doesn’t feel pain and if she was pricked without having watched the man, then she would never know. There would be evidence of it on her skin or on the insides of her dress though, right? “Lets just check her,” surely there would be some evidence left and without further ado, he gets down on his knees in front of Emilia to lift the hem of her dress. Her legs look fine and he chalks that up to her fast healing, but his gaze does catch on a small spot and as he works through the layers of her dress in order to get to it, he’s finding more, “that asshole.” The gravely menace to his voice becomes more evident as he lifts up the underside of her dress enough for Yozenra to see, “little dried spots of blood as if from a needle.” Letting Emilia’s dress drop with an apologetic look offered to her before he holds a hand out to point out, “Nadia was telling the truth and Emilia must have been too excited for the party too have noticed whenever she was pricked.” His gaze rests on Yozenra in attempts to read her feelings on this because surely this doesn’t seem right even though the tailor intended harm on his best friend, it could have even dealt with different. Irenic can tell that he won’t be getting any alone time with Emilia so he looks down at her with this unknown look in his face, “sleep tight my short-stack,” while gently snaring her chin between his thumb and side of his pointer finger, but unlike the Queen, his lingering touch doesn’t frost over. Then he looks to Nadia, “there is still a sharp pain here on my side, could you help me a moment?” Stepping up to his door, hopefully with Nadia by his side, he takes one last look over his shoulder at Emilia before stepping into the portal. Nadia seems to be a little more comfortable around him at the moment, so he’s going to try to get some information out of her and surely Nadia would want to swap rooms for the night, given the Genasi just yelled at her.


Emilia glared up at the guard with anger into those light blue eyes, as if that look could turn the snake into an ice statue. The woman rolled her eyes after a moment as she snapped under her breath, “We're not endangered species.” If anything, the two captive guests were just that among both the surface folk and the naga-folk. It made no sense to the snowy woman that she didn’t want harm to come to her Champion and his guest, yet she kidnapped them and was keeping them here. Perhaps the folk not living in the castle were worse. Nadia was cowering behind Yozenra after Emilia had snapped at her. In that moment she felt justified for it after she was part of the group holding her here. As she moved she found herself stopped by Irenic wanting to further look for an answer. He was her best friend and had seen her in less than a dress before so she didn’t put up a protest of him checking for left over blood. If it had been either naga she might of punched them in the face. There were splotches of tiny dots of blood from the pinpricks she had never felt. “Pinpricks? Really? All this fuss for that! You guys acted like I had been poisoned or stabbed,” she gruffed as Irenic dropped the fabric back down. Unfolding her arms the small woman turned on heel to march herself through the portal door that lead into her individual room, much like an angry child. If she could right now the genais would release a blizzard upon these people in their castle, but she couldn’t at the present moment. A look over her shoulder at Irenic with an apologetic look on those features for ruining whatever he might have had planned for this day. A sigh left those frosted lips as she grumbled, “Fine.” Then she went with whoever was now in charge of her through that strange portal that lead into her room.


Yozenra doesn’t flinch at Emilia’s declaration. “No, but we are.” There’s no malice in her voice. She’s simply stating the truth. “Please.” The Queen’s guard directs Emilia through her portal and shoots Nadia a careful glance before following. Nadia looks at Irenic while the other two women leave, nodding shakily when he mentions a wound that needs mending. Both nagas follow their respective charges into their individual rooms. Nadia looks uncomfortable, as if she’s afraid Irenic might now yell at her for reporting the Tailor for nothing, the same way Emilia had. “He wanted to hurt her!” Nadia blurts out. “I’m sorry, I couldn’t...I didn’t know. I just thought he’d be reassigned.”

Yozenra moves with authority into Emilia’s room, not pompous but not uneasy either. She stops in front of a full length, decorative mirror on the wall and then becomes Emilia over. “Like this,” She explains without really explaining anything at all. The Guard presses the gold jewel at the top and the glass fogged. “This way you can see each other.” She said. “He’ll have to hold down the other side for you to hear each other though. And you can’t see into his room. Only when he’s standing directly in front of the mirror. Privacy issues, you know.” It wasn’t clear if Yozenra was telling Emilia because she was ordered to or as an apology for the chaos in the ballroom. “Nadia will show him shortly, after whatever healing I assume.” It wasn’t a portal but it would have to do.

On Irenic’s side of the mirror Nadia is trying to explain their situation to the avian. “You are not helpless -” like Emilia had shouted at her “- but she is protecting you in her own way.” He saw that right? That despite how insane her display and logic was that it came from a place of...possession, really. There really was no excuse for the way things were. All of Nadia’s logic behind the situation couldn’t account for the cause. Maybe the Queen was simply lonely, with her lover gone? Could they find Muzo to distract her and earn their freedom? Nadia was too uncertain to say. If Irenic does indeed need an injury assessed, she will with shaky hands but it’s her suspicion his claim was strictly to get her alone to discuss the current events.


Irenic agrees with Nadia on her assumptions of what would have happened to the tailor, “I would have thought so, too.” The avian is mindful of his tone, softening it’s gruffness and he starts on removing the layers to his tux. He remains entirely silent as she explains how the mirror works and he watches her facial expression shift as she is lost in her thoughts. Careful not to talk negatively of the Queen, he tip toes into the conversation, “Regi must be under a lot of pressure,” in attempts to get Nadia to divulge some of what she knows by sounding like he’s on her side. Now that he’s down to the plain white tee shirt he was wearing underneath the stuffy tux, he lets out a relaxed sigh before meandering his way near Nadia. Her favorite scent comes from the avian and there is a comfortable warmth emanating from his Phoenix skin. “I am sure you’re under a lot of pressure as well, Nadia,” he reaches a hand up and gently caresses a lock of her mousy blond hair behind her ear. “How are you holding up?” The man’s lips curve up in a subtle and charming grin. This behavior isn’t so strange as he’s always hit on Nadia, so it’s not like this is raising suspicion and under any other circumstances he’d try harder, but all he can think about right now is Emilia and her safety.

Emilia let out a long sigh as Yozenra walked over to the mirror to explain how she would be able to communicate with Irenic from one room to the next. Perhaps it was punishment for the events post party with the tailor. The healer would be hopeful that when things settled down the two friends would be able to spend more physical time with each other, she would just have to learn patience. Standing next to the Queen’s guard the Genasi looked up to her, “Thanks.” Her words were soft in response to the training on the mirror and information of how it worked. Seemed to be pretty simple, though she would wait until the guard was gone. Stepping away from the other woman Emilia turned her gaze to glance around the room she would be trapped…staying in under the Queen’s generosity. It was silence for a moment before Em spoke up, “I will have to apologize to the blonde later and thank the Queen for putting our safety at top priority,” even though she had kidnapped her into staying here as a gift to her friend. Reaching over her shoulder the one handed woman gave a tug to pull the dress up over her head, but it got stuck with the fancy ties in the ruffles. A grumble, “If I am not needed elsewhere tonight, mind offering a hand in getting this contraption off?” she asked nicely. It was one thing to wear a dress with missing a hand, but when it became a fancy frilly one it was almost torture to get free from it. If Yozenra assisted she would be able to see that beneath the gown the back of the lady was covered in layers of scars that ranged from burns to blades to whips vanishing down beyond the visible parts at her shoulders and when turned there was a wide scar down the middle of her chest vanishing down her torso. It was no wonder Irenic worried about her safety, she had been through something or a few many somethings to warrant it. Down to the slip alone it was spotted with the dried blood, but more comfortable. Eyes on the guard, “Can I be alone now? It has been a long exhausting day. I am tired.” Lies. She didn’t want to be alone right now, yet she didn’t want the company of those holding her captive either.


Yozenra silently helped the Gensai out of her dress. She was under no illusions that Emilia wanted to be here. She was rightfully frustrated as a glorified captive. The dress, despite it's frills, was easy to detangle with assistance. "The party is wrapping up so I doubt you'll be bothered anymore tonight. I told the Queen you were both tired from the day. She'll leave you be." Yozenra notices the spots of blood. She predicted it would be a few in a neat little patch but...it was not. It was obvious the tailor had meant to really hurt Emilia. Luckily, Emilia hadn't felt the pain. All the Gensai felt was the discomfort of the frilled dress. At Emilia's request to be alone, Yozenra moved towards the portal door. She paused, right before leaving, to say "I'll be just outside if you need anything." Then the room was quiet, smoke billowed, trapped inside Emilia's side of the mirror. Her prison was likewise gilded; large bath in the floor, gold and white draping and delicate decorations. The light filtered down through a false skylight, catching bits of dust in the air and making them shine.

Nadia was less silent in Irenic's company. She believed the part he played and though she'd shrugged off his playful remarks numerous times, this time felt different. He was silly but caring. The healer saw how he cared so much for Emilia. She felt her own wave of envy. When he looks into her eyes and lays bare her soul, noting how much pressure she was under, she burst into tears. It was so relieving, knowing someone else saw it too. On reflex, she leans into his hand when it touches her. "It's very hard, to make sense of it all." Her brown eyes closed, tears streaming down her cheeks and against his hand. She didn't know why she wasn't nervous. Usually she hated being seen or having direct attention on her. "I feel so guilty, your companion..." Emilia had shouted at Nadia, and it was Nadia's fault the Queen even knew about the tailor. "Please tell her I'm sorry." Her hand came over, pressing his palm more firmly against her cheek before she let go. The click of Yozenra's armor tells Nadia the guard's outside so she can't linger. "Listen, use this only tonight. The Queen's forgotten it exists." She rushes to the mirror and dials a quick but lengthy sequence into the mirror. Careful to hide it from view, so Irenic and Emilia wouldn't abuse the system. If they got caught in each other's room...there would be hell to pay. The mirror fogs then clears, showing Emilia alone in her room, dressed in the blood spotted slip. "Go." Nadia said before turning to leave as well. Who knows what tomorrow holds, but tonight, maybe they could find some peace and Nadia's guilt could be relieved in knowing this.