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RP:Yule Parade 2019

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Synopsis: The felines of the Isran Collective have put on this year's Yule Parade to mark the passing of the Longest Night of the year.

Merchant Street

It’s an exciting evening for the city of Cenril. The Longest Night of the year had just passed. The felines of the city are organizing the annual Yule Parade. The east-west street going from the Bank to the beach has been reserved for the procession, leaving enough room on the sides of the street for people to continue doing their business, if needed. Starting at the front and going back: an elder feline woman wearing a green robe and carrying a staff takes the lead, setting the pace. Behind her are various feline, human, and elven children of the city, wearing antlered and horned cowls and dressed in green costumes; they play the role of nature spirits, dancing wildly as the parade marches. On a wheeled and decorated platform, pulled by a pair large sentient saber cats, is a line of percussion instruments that would be too large to carry for one person. Mostly large base drums to accompany the smaller instruments and yule carolers that escort the platform. Further back are citizens who are well practiced with fire poi, joined by a pair of festively donned mages to make sure the fire is well-supplied without things exploding. Flaming staves, swords, rope darts, and even a fire-breathing male feline. A color guard brings up the rear; they would expertly twirl their flags and act as an indicator that the parade has passed. The cats of each colony come in many shapes and sizes; some appear as housecats patrolling the roofs and streets along the periphery, some as more anthropomorphic and walking on two legs, some are big cats, and others are elf-like or human-like with feline ears and tails. Each is painted for the holidays, with swirling and jagged lines of bright color lining their fur or skin.

Hudson | Mayor Uma is here, of course: she believes in a diverse and culturally rich Cenril. And she has on a comfortable pair of shoes for the march. Her son Marco walks with the other children, taking delight in being a part of the spectacle. Uma herself walks with other non felines, known witches in the city and other allies, some of them carrying festive banners.

Rorin cheers and applauds, loving the lights and music and confetti and such.

Futsuka didn't quite feel comfortable among civilization, preferring instead the peace of the wilderness, but when the ranger heard word that the felines of Cenril were organizing some sort of parade she could help but peek in just to see. Her own tribe had been destroyed long ago so the urge to reach out to other felines was undeniable. Wearing her simple leathers with her winter cloak wrapped around her, Futsuka watches the parade with curiosity. She was unfamiliar with the holidays and customs of Cenril (or anywhere else for that matter) so this whole event amused her greatly. The bright colors and loud music? The whole thing was a bit strange but she couldn't help but enjoy watching it, even if she'd never admit it out loud. Slowly, the albino feline navigates the crowd to get a better look. Standing at barely over five feet tall, Futsuka wouldn't be peeking over anybody's head for a better view, but her tiny form made it easy to slip up to the front.

Brennia can feel the excitement in the air as she waits off to the side in her own colorful drapings with many carefully picked pieces of accessories to accent the look. The avian easily sees over most of the crowd as her advantaged height and begins to smile when she picks up on the sound of music. Teal hues dance over the faces of those she recognizes of the Isran collective, people she’s come to know well since she’s been seeing Zahrani. The bard tucks some of her chestnut tresses behind her long tapered ears as she continues to keep an eye out for her love, curious as to the part the paladin will play on this beautiful parade. Brennia waves while smiling wider at the sight of the children, of which seem just as excited to see those large black as night wings and the tattooed woman attached to them. She makes a note to compliment them on their craftsmanship of their costumes later on.

Hudson and his wife Alvina are here with their family, flanked by "friends" who are in truth bodyguards who work for Hudson and his operation. They are not in the parade but are rather content to circulate on the periphery, eating fragrant street food and enjoying the parade, now and then saying hello to acquaintances and family friends alike.

Penelope had been invited from the clinicians from Cenril to the Yule Parade. The woman totes along her co-worker, Ruari Erickson to watch the festivities. Mr. Erickson loved the holiday season, and what better way to spend the season than watching a Yule Parade. The herbalist that stands next to the tall man is draped in a deep green button-up blouse and a pair of black slacks. The woman keeps a big purse by her side that is filled with aid supplies in case something clumsy or chaotic happens. She had to be festive with the green tone to show some sort of spirit. The loud music lifts the tone of the hectic city where she once lived years ago. The two physicians wave at the people who march by who wave at them—the two keeping their polite and professional faces for the public who knew the Kelay residents.

Rorin munches from a bag of sweets and enjoys all the wonderful sights and sounds and is happy to see all the kids having fun. He wonders about any cultural significance the colors might have or the instruments and sort of wishes he’d brought a date.

Rorin waves a bit to Penelope and wonders why Lionel isn’t here with her as he eyes a few beauties among the felines and even an avian among the crowd. With an luck he wouldn’t be without company for long.

Futsuka avoids the street foods. She didn't trust eating anything she didn't have a hand in preparing herself and had heard awful rumors about the source of the meat in some of these kabobs as well. It was worrisome. Content with just watching festivities, the red-eyed feline idly plays with the string of the longbow that rests over one of her shoulders.

Penelope finds a familiar face waving her way. The cool gaze of the woman lightens into something brighter and she smiles in her friendly ways. She then mutters something to the man next to her before she shimmies her way through the crowd to stand next to Rorin. “Rorin,” the Ardelian expresses in a silken tone. “Good to see you within on the festivities. How’ve you been? I haven’t seen you since—“ since the night of the battle. “Well, you know.” The girl looks down at the man’s leg to see if he was actually standing strong.

Rorin was standing just fine, he was a growing boy after all, and he took Penelope’s hand for a moment like a gentleman before mentioning how good it was to see her and where the Commander might be.

Leoxander was accustomed to observing from the shadows, but that day he didn't seem to care if he was noticed on his perch or not. Dressed in his usual blacks, it would still take a sharp eye to see the rogue slouched forward on the rooftop, booted feet hanging off the edge and inked arms comfortably rested above his knees, though covered in soot where his sleeves had been haphazardly rolled back. The torches of the fire dancer would glint across the reflective lenses of his eyes like a beast spotted in the night, due to the taint of his lycanthrope blood, but his form was that of a man deprived of rest or a recent wash, dirty blond fallen over his eyes and ears at a length that came to the scruffed edge of his jaw. Unlike some of the excited folk attending, Leo didn't seem the least bit impressed by the colorful and well planned spectacle. But the fact he sat there to watch it through might suggest different than his stoic expression.

Brennia catches a glimpse of beautiful red hair and a rather scruffy looking tall man with the gorgeous bard, Alvina. The avian waves excitedly whenever they finally lock eyes and if permitted through their ‘barrier of friends’, Brennia would give her dear friend a hug and kindly say hello to Hudson before greeting the little ones (wow the amount has doubled since she last seen them!) She keeps glancing through the faces in the ground, determined to find Zahrani while handing out wooden flute recorders to Hudson’s kids. Yes, enjoy that noise later, parents.

Penelope nods politely at the gesture of him taking her hand in greeting. As a moment passes, she releases her hand back to her side.

Rorin darts his silvery half elf eyes over to a small flicker and gives a subtle gesture that may indicate he sees an old... friend? Rorin had given the werewolf/pirate/burglar the almost literal shirt off his back once, and things had seemed strange between them ever since. He shook it off a moment later as an excellent fire display was going on and he offered Penelope some sweets. He hoped standing this close to a pretty woman didn’t hurt his chances with other equally pretty women.

Penelope spaced off with his question about the commander. The woman would have no clue, for she had not seen him in days. “Oh, Lionel? Not sure. Haven’t seen him in a while,” she admits nonchalantly. She then smiles. “Glad to see your well.” As she is offered a sweet from the warrior, and she snags one before placing a hard candy in her mouth. Moss eyes trace over to a few pretty girls who are staring at Rorin and giggling. She savors the treat for a moment before speaking again taking the hint. “Hopefully I will see you again soon. I have to get back to Mr. Erickson. He loves this time of year,” she smirks. “Thanks for the candy,” the healer then gives him a parting nod and wave before pivoting back to her original spot.

Up on the rooftops of the city, other catfolk observe the parade, keeping an eye out for any unusual activities transpiring near the procession or the night market. Zahrani wears a gray hooded robe and armor to help her blend in with the darkening sky, patrolling the rooftop in parallel with the parade while a smaller house-cat (wearing possibly the cutest hooded robe in the world) maintains a similar patrol on the rooftop across the street. The cats of Isran Collective always keep a lookout, parade or no parade. The paladin spies some familiar faces, offering a grin should any of them turn skyward. A steady drumbeat marks the beginning of the parade. The elder cat leads with her staff, the children/spirits behind her dance. The people carol in time with the music played; some of the cats throat-sing with dual-toned notes, adding an otherworldly ambiance while the fire-bending cats do tricks with their staves and rope darts. The people watch the jubilant procession; the eyes of children and adults light up as they see an anthropomorphic painted lion drink from a flask and then unleash a jet of flame from his maw. Organized chaos, mesmerizing and festive and semi-primal. Information pamphlets and bulletins detail the tradition; it centers around the turning of the season.

Hudson also catches sight of Brennia, and Alvina makes a gesture to let her in so they can say hello. It's been some time, they declare, after embracing her warmly. They of course introduce her to their children: the girls are growing tall and pretty like their mother. Bryce has food on his face and is very energetic -- he immediately begins blowing away obnoxiously on the flute handed to him. That is, until he is shushed by a grey haired woman who seems to be their nanny .. who is also leading a young wolf on a leash. "That's Meadow," says Hudson, explaining that Meadow was born this way and refuses to shift into her humanoid form because Baby Reasons. She's perfectly healthy just being a pain in the ass to her parents. She barks when the parade begins to start, the excitement transferring immediately to her small lupine form. "Here we go, the main event," pronounces Hudson, helping Harper onto his shoulders to see. Luna sidles up to Brennia to get her attention. "I love your wings," she says.

Futsuka eyes the rooftops idly, ever vigilant even when she was not in the forest. Truthfully, being in the city made her even more nervous. Places like Cenril harbored predators that were much worse that the ones she'd fought in the wilderness. However, she felt at ease seeing the felines patrolling the area, keeping the people here safe. It was an honorable task and Futsuka respected those that looked out for others. It gave her a sense of pride to see her fellow felines represented like this and she wonders for a moment if she shouldn't be standing guard among them. Perhaps she would seek out their leader later, but for now she'd simply blend into the crowd, her striped tail flicking in annoyance every time someone got too close to her. The albino liked her personal space.

Brennia remembers the first few times she spotted the panther and took a chance to look up to the rooftops just before the parade really took off. That’s where she sees the mysterious caped crusader, Zahrani. A soft smile plays on her lips as she gives a little wave while her wings shift with excitement like they do whenever she sees the feline. Brennia would love to flutter on up to the rooftop with Zahrani, but that would give away their patrol position, so she offers up a wink before her attention is stolen by the show. The music is beautiful and empowering while the fire dancers are completely mesmerizing. A soft gasp escapes the bard along with some crowd members when the large painted lion steals the show with his fire spitting and she cheers whole clapping along with the crowd around her. She looks down a Luna and without missing a beat, she blushes, “why thank you. That’s an adorable bow you’ve got. Can you see?” If Luna would also like to see at the same advantage that Harper gets (we see who’s your favorite, Hudson!) Brennia would help Luna up to sit on her own shoulders so she can also see, but if the child got curious and pets the avian wings, she wouldn’t mind because it happens all the time.

Zahrani looks down to see Brennia greeting Hudson's family, the panther chuckling softly at her love's gift of music/noise to the children. Her gaze wanders to the other attendees on the street, seeing familiar and unfamiliar faces in the crowd. Occasionally, the paladin would turn to the other catfolk patrolling the rooftops nearby; so far, so good.

Leoxander privately hoped that those cats a story above at his level kept their distance, and a sidelong glare would silently warn any who might be curious enough to risk one of their lives. It is sometime during that sweeping look that he catches the uneasy gesture Rorin gives his way, and although a friendly wave would not be returned, his gaze lingers on the paladin who had taken pity upon him some time ago in the park. Without a change in his solemn expression, his attention drifts across the watching crowd and back to the parade. Never without his medicine, the time is taken to retrieve a flask from the belted waistline at the back of his pants, the attached top unscrewed for a drink of the potent liquor, eyes squinted slightly not for the burn of the beverage but for the flare of a firebreather passing below.

Zahrani || On the other side of the parade, the small hooded cat would glance at Leoxander's position on the roof, sniffing in the lycan's direction before quickly moving around him. The felines are not ones to shoo others off the roof, unless they're doing something foolish or dangerous. As far as they're concerned, the pirate is currently causing no trouble or hindrance.

Hudson nods to give Brennia the OK to hoist Luna up onto her shoulders. (The baseball cap wearing pageboy styled Harper is his favorite. It's true.) Luna is very well behaved and doesn't touch things she's not supposed to, unlike Bryce, who is squeezing between people and requires a lot of wrangling on behalf of his nanny, Marge. Meadow is no better behaved and decides to pee inappropriately too close to a stranger, which requires Alvina to apologize and gives Hudson some trouble keeping his face straight over. Meanwhile ... Mayor Uma waits for her part of the procession to get to marching. Her son Marco is already moving along, delighted to take part in this Cenril tradition and make new friends in the process.

Penelope watches the felines on the rooftops. There were a lot of felines, though Cenril was a popular place for them, and well, the herbalist had talked to many before as they came through Kelay. The music is loud still, the crowd cheers, and the healer becomes a little antsy at the festivities. What time was it? What was Yerrel doing back at the hut? Did they need more supplies? The workaholic’s mind races in question as the taller co-worker hollers with joy. The frizzy-haired woman looks up at Ruari. “Y’mind if I make my way back to Kelay? I’m gonna stop at Cenril’s clinic to pick up the load of aid. Meet you back at the shop?” Halifax Roots in Kelay, she had meant. The dark haired man looks down at her and nods quickly. The physician now wanders off through the crowd and disappears to make her way to the quieter parts of Cenril, well, not before she grabs some sort of yummy kabob, but then she vanishes.

Lita is late to the party, per usual fashion. She's not quite here for the parade, or any reason in particular but being around people seems like a safe bet right now. The weather's not horrible and the entertainment's decent at least. Hudson with his little gaggle of kids catches his eye, earns himself a brief smile and a little wave as she moves through the crowd.

Futsuka 's ears twitch and she turns her head back in the direction of a female voice she heard through the noise of the event. Did somebody say something about a clinic? Futsuka wonders for a moment if they could use an extra healer. All her training was being wasted without wounds to tend and sickness to cure. Perhaps it was also time for her to reach out to other healers s well as other felines. Folding her arms over her chest, the feline stops trying to find the woman who had spoke and returns her attention to the parade.

Brennia points out interesting parts of the parade out to the kids and helps smooth over the pee incident with a few calming notes subtly hummed in the way of the gentleman. Suddenly the stranger seems carefree now and goes back to enjoying the festivities. Brennia notices someone else on the rooftops and it takes a moment for her to realize who it is, Hudson’s old business partner? Or something? Also, there is a memory of healing the man by a river? Either way, she smiles kindly up at the man before leaving him be since it seems he would rather be alone at the moment.

Hudson is of course a bit eagle-eyed thanks to the werewolf virus and waves at Lita, though that's a short-lived greeting because Alvina has returned from dealing with Meadow. "Who are you waving to?" she asks him. "I think I saw one of my mum's friends," he lies cheerfully, to keep the peace. "Oh, that's nice," murmurs Alvina, having lost interest already, her attention already reverting to Meadow, who is trying to eat something off the ground.

Hudson follows Brennia's gaze to Leoxander, only after Luna (having also followed Brennia's gaze well before him) remarks, in her imperious voice, "That man looks gross." "That's not very nice," says Hudson, after nodding at Leoxander.

Vexar observes the proceedings from the shadows, as he is inclined to do so in crowds. He was not hiding; merely staying clear of the hustle and bustle a parade is so apt to produce. The vampire leans against the wall of a near enough shop, one booted foot propped up to offer support. His usually hooded head is missing its adornment this afternoon, allowing the shocking white of Vexar’s hair to stand out against the grime and dirt of the market wall. Emerald eyes scan the patrons in attendance; he chuckles to himself, realizing his is the unfamiliar face in the crowd.

Open Market

As the parade approaches the open market, a small band of white-clad felines waits in their path. The leader of the band bears the face of a black-maned lion, with cloudy marks of white that seem to shift like actual clouds. At his side is a strange cello-like instrument, the head of which is carved into the shape of a cat with its teeth bared. One of his compatriots begins to rhythmically beat his hand drum; a haunting melody emanates from their instruments. A light whirlwind of snow begins to form around them, before coalescing into a large apparition of a big snow leopard, its fur and breath colored with frost, its eyes white and haunting. It opens its mouth at the same time as the ebon-maned cat below him, opening the song with a similar throat-singing method. The two notes are spine-chilling, and the leopard-illusion begins a song. Winter is tired, his paws are weary of constantly moving. He wants to live and rest in the city with the other cats. When the verse ends, the elder woman who leads the yule parade raises her staff, signaling for the procession to respond with their own practiced carol. It is an adoration of Winter, but it says that no one in the city stays forever. Everyone eventually must move on and make way for others. Just as the old leave the city in the hands of the young, so too must Winter eventually make way for the coming Spring. The conversation goes on for a few rounds in such a manner, until the giant snow-leopard nods its head. The parade leader lowers her staff, the bottom of it contacting the road with a distant booming sound. The apparition of Winter is blown away in a cloud of snow, and the small band of white-robed cats joins the parade. They’re greeted with pats on the back and affirmations of a job well done, and the parade makes its way through the market.

Brennia grins impishly and gently nudges Hudson with her elbow, “how is miss E.L. Landon?” Brennia considers the woman a friend and a goddess. She could have died a happy woman the day she met Hudson’s mom, for she is her favorite author.

Futsuka nods her head in approval as she watches the pageantry, finding the symbolism very fitting. One didn't live like the ranger, always moving, never putting down roots, without finding a small connection to nature while doing so. After seeing ten winters come and go during her wilderness training, Futsuka knew intimately the coming an going of the seasons. In order to survive one had to learn these lessons, so it made sense to her that this old wisdom would have been passed down through folklore. These quint traditions weren't just frivolous nonsense, they told a story that taught a moral. The ranger smiles ever so slightly. While hesitant at first, Futsuka was glad she came out here after all.

Eleanor appeared along the edge of the street, out of the way of the parade and keeping a wary distance from its revelers. Sinking quietly into the shadows of a building, darkness curled in around her, and she leaned casually against the wall, arms crossed. Albeit her cloaked guise worked wonders to shroud her identity, a stoic pair of eyes like seaglass stared out from under its cowl.

Hudson points, for the benefit of his children, as the people dressed in white step forward, and together summon the snow leopard illusion. "This is lit," says Harper, causing Hudson to catch Brennia's eye. "Harp, stop saying 'lit,' adults don't know what it means," he says, grinning at her question about his mother. "She's good, living her best life, putting out a new book soon." "They're mature and only for adults," explains Luna, in case Brennia didn't know. "Quiet, guys," urges Hudson, as the snow leopard is now singing, and it's time for the audience participation part of the march. At some point during the proceedings, Bryce announces, "I have to go potty, number two," whereupon he is hushed by his parents, who exchange concerned glances. Well... Time for them to make an exit.

Leoxander caught a few pairs of eyes glancing his way, and wolf sharp hearing doesn’t miss the little girl’s comment, which resulted in a raise of a brow and perhaps the slightest crinkle on the bridge of his sun spotted nose. Another drink from his flask soothes the emotional scarring from the child’s words, where in reality it wasn’t like he hadn’t heard it a time or two before. Returning the container to its spot against his spine, his bandaged left hand tightens reflexively as the large apparition of snow forms, hearing the haunting words of the winter song. Finally, the pirate braces his booted feet beneath him to stand, walking the edge of the roof as easily as he could walk on the swaying deck of a ship. A hand braces the edge and he lowers himself in a silent drop to a balcony, and from there similar movement brings him onto a large, sturdy crate, and at last onto the side of the street, perhaps not far from where Vexar leans. The scent of the vampire would be just as distinct in his nose as the man might smell his blend of lycan, mining debris and rum, but he lacks any real aggression in his gaze as it sweeps over the stranger. Tilting his skull and rotating a shoulder to crack some of the tension from his joint, he keeps his distance from the gathered crowd to look passed them toward the conclusion of the parade.

Brennia chuckles softly before a singer reply of, “really? I’ll heed your warning, Luna, thank you,” is given. “I like it,” she mentioned to Hudson, “lit. This parade -is- lit.” She helps Luna down when Alvina and Hudson gather their pack in order to slip back home in order to go right back to parenting. “It was so nice seeing you guys! Have a good night,” she goes back to observing the festivities while awaiting to join her love.

Zahrani keeps up with the parade from the rooftop, glancing briefly at Leoxander as he makes his way groundward. As the buildings thin out, the paladin also descends to the street, a soft clanking sound coming from her armor upon impact. Cyan eyes survey the area, her hooded feline face turning to glance at Eleanor for a brief moment, before turning back to the festivities. She lowers her hood, revealing panther ears and dreadlocks tied back with bronze wire-wrapped jewelry. Less fancy, more functional. Like fuzzy satellite dishes, her ears swivel at the various sounds around her as she walks the periphery, just away from the crowds.

Lita caught sight of a familiar pirate lurking across the rooftops but she was distracted by the show of the parade. She'd move closer for a better look, watching as those felines moved past.

Vexar quirks a brow as, from the corner of his eye, a figure drops from such an area as one would not expect a figure to drop; even amongst an unusual collection of cats. Upon further inspection, however, he writes the imposee off as a mere drunken sailor lost his way. Perhaps such a target would have proved opportunistic, he thought, had the time and company been greatly altered; alas, such was not the case. The vampire’s presence here was purposeful, and he didn’t have time to worry over such oddities. Hudson grins at Brennia's use of 'lit' as he embraces her before drawing away to let Alvina do the same. "Great seeing you, take care," they urge her, as the group congregates in a tight pack to begin weaving through the crowd to find young Bryce a bathroom.

Sandy Beach

Eventually the procession makes its way to the beach, where a great pile of wood waits to be lit into a bonfire. The parade disperses, forming a ring around the makeshift pyre, while the old woman raises her staff once more, beckoning the people who had watched the parade to join them. The salty sea air flows through her black and silver fur, her amber eyes bright and spirited. Her voice is amplified by an unseen magic, “Come! Join us for our lighting of the pyre...The longest night of the year is behind us, and while Winter is with us for a time, he will eventually move on at the urging of Spring. This is a time we set aside to find joy in each other’s company, to make offerings to our gods, and to remember those who are not with us.” She motions to the large feline male who had been breathing fire during the parade, and on her command, he unleashes another jet of flaming liquid upon the pile of wood, the bonfire radiating a steady wave of heat against the winter’s chill. “You will find opportunities to do all of those things and more, should you spend the evening with us. The Night Market is open, and we made spaces for games, dancing, and reflection along the beach. May you find comfort, joy, and warmth as the Wheel of Time turns.” With that, the parade disperses. Felines with instruments migrate over to play traditional Yuletide songs, while other denizens of Cenril dance by the fire. The smell of street food wafts to the beach from the Night Market, tempting those looking to fill their bellies. Mulled drinks for all ages are warmed up in various cauldrons, each sitting above its own small campfire, waiting to be served to those looking for spiced wine, apple cider, and hot cocoa.

Leoxander couldn’t miss Brennia if he tried, with those wings of hers standing out from the crowd, but at that exact moment that Lita looked his way she’d find his blue eyes locked for a few moments in return, any last flashes of fire and light shining in a gold-green reflection from the shadows that shrouded the alley. The hair at the back of his neck prickled enough that it caused him to glance somewhat over his shoulder, spotting familiar cerulean eyes just barely visible in the darkness of her hood, and the edges of his unshaven jaw defined slightly for the clench of back teeth. Truth be told (or written), he intended on returning to the beach to eventually travel back to his vacant island. Not his, in actuality, though he would be hard pressed to argue the matter through a growl. He hesitated indecisively for now, in no hurry to join the pack of felines and friends for their ocean side tradition.

Eleanor caught a mixture of familiar and unfamiliar scents, her eyes drifting toward Zahrani as the somewhat-known-of paladin made her way past the mouth of her chosen alley. As the parade itself abandoned the streets in favor of the rolling dunes, the shadowed female was tempted to follow. However for now, she held back, something tickling at the back of her senses. A muted frown formed, before she expelled a sigh. Unfolding her arms, El reached into her cloaked to pull out a handrolled cigarette, a tiny blue flame summoned in one gloved palm to light its end.

Hudson | Mayor Uma and her son of course participate in the singing part of the procession. They have practiced for this. It wouldn't do to have the mayor not know the words to a culturally important call and response portion of the march. They continue to do their part in the march into they reach the water. Uma reaches to take Marco by the hand as they circle the pyre, nodding politely to citizens who recognize them. They stay for the lighting of the pyre but disperse after that, stopping to eat street food before heading home, as it is close to Marco's bedtime.

Brennia grabs a small mug of hot chocolate and meanders near enough to the pyre to feel the warmth from the flames while awaiting Zahrani to find her once the paladin found time. Some of the children from the parade used this opportunity to show off their costumes to the avian and she properly fangirled over them, asking them how they created certain details in genuine interest.

Lita remained enthralled by the parade through its passing. The display of color and music. And all of this for another goodbye. The parade members and many onlookers moved towards the beach and she moved instead towards where Leo had found a place to linger in shadow nearby. "Was hoping to find you here." She managed to Leo, dark eyes flickering sideways over the figure of the vampire nearby. It wasn't a face she recognized but pleasantries weren't always her strong suit. She'd turn her attentions back to the pirate after a beat

Zahrani would make her way to the beach, the panther's tail swishing behind her as she witnesses the bonfire light up the area. With a smile, she grabs a cup of warm spiced cider and wanders over to Brennia upon spotting the familiar black wings. Standing next to the avian, she spots 2 of the feline children, Raahin and Amir, running up to the cat woman and giving her a hug. A warm laugh escapes from the paladin; she had helped them gather the antlers for their spirit costumes. "You guys did great."

Leoxander couldn’t have explained -why- he was there but fortunately, Lita didn’t ask. His attention focused upon the ‘spade’ who carried a changed scent, but in his own means of respect, he didn’t question her, either. His furrowed brow displayed some doubt at the proposition, as she might noticed his already callused hands revealed a few new blisters, at least where a grungy blood and soot stained bandage didn’t conceal his left palm. “Don’t have any equipment.” His voice clearly hadn’t been used in conversation in some time, graveled and hoarse as though he’d only recently woke from a distressed sleep. “Been a while… I’m not too sure…” The sentence he started faded out, but she could probably guess that his confidence in something he had done effortlessly for so many years was waning. Absently, the thumb of his left hand rubbed at the sore heel of his right palm while his sensitive nose captured the familiar scent of a certain blend exhaled not too far away.

Vexar says to nobody in particular, “At last.” The words project confidence and are not hushed, but amidst the festivities they would likely be lost in the boisterous throng. With a heave, he shoves off the wall and strides for the blazing fire, paying no mind to the thick gathering of the crowd that would otherwise impede a less motivated parade-goer; purpose driven, indeed. His silhouette grows dark and unidentifiable as he encroaches on the pyre, a mere shadow against the fervor of the flames growing ever stronger. Wasting no time, the necromancer draws from his robes a leather pouch, clasped securely by a golden twine. With a gentle tug the binding breaks free, and the contents of the pouch thusly drop into the vampire’s waiting hands; merely dust, it would appear. He tosses the powder into the heart of the burning icon. The substance apparently reacts readily and instantly a brilliant, azure hue roars to life within the flames, exploding into the sky; it is quite a spectacle, yet completely devoid of the heat and anger one might expect of such a display. Just as quickly as the crystal fireball is produced, it disappears. Any onlookers would likely write the ordeal off as another element of the show; indeed, several claps of applause and distinctive “hooray’s!” rang through the celebration. However, the man from whence the magicry came turns from the results, clearly disgruntled. This Yule flame did not burn with the power he so desired.

Brennia rests her teal hues on Zahrani’s feline face. It’s different from how she usually sees the woman, but beautiful all the same and she reaches out a hand to gently cup the paladins cheek, “they really did great. Thank you for including me in your celebration tonight, sweetie.” Brennia leans into the feline and softly presses her forehead to the panther’s in replace of a kiss. As soon as the kids ran off to play and it seemed the two had a brief moment alone, “I have a gift for you from the holidays.” She pulls out a thin blue box and offers it to Zahrani, waiting for her to open it. Inside the paladin will find a pair of fine gloves made of silver thread which seems simple enough, but given the material and creation, it’s quite useful for a paladin.

Lita didn't imagine this to be the time or place to ask the pirate about the bandages, or what new endeavors he might have been up to recently. Her motives were a slight selfish, sure. "Equipment I've got." Though it hadn't been used in a while either, the machines Alaine had made for her shop were still packed away there. "It's the skill I haven't got. To touch up a tattoo on the back of my shoulder." She crossed her arms and leaned her hip against the building they were near. "I'd consider the trying a favor," her voice softened a bit on the request but she didn't want to press him into it, wasn't her intention. "Just think on it, maybe?"

Rorin ended up stumbling out of an alley and sticking a few giggles as he wiped off someone’s lipstick and stuck an address in his pocket. He made his way toward the beach and ended up joining in some sort of song around a fire that he didn’t know the meaning of, but the boy caught on.

Eleanor drew at her cigarette a few times in quick succession, tension seizing at her shoulders, and an unsettled ache flared in her sternum. Her gaze swiveled toward the beach and back to where the Jackal now joined the one she formerly referred to as the Hound, and her frown deepened. There was no way she could hear them from where she lurked; a part of her was grateful for that at least, but the rest of her? El wasn't quite so sure. She shifted her weight from one boot to the other, then straightened abruptly and dropped the butt of smoked herb, crushing it under toe. Sparing another uncertain glance in Leo's direction, she pulled her hood lower, and shrank further into the shadows.

Rorin wondered vaguely if the fire wa supposed to be blue before he caught the sense of some dark foreboding entity - and really what magical festival comes with out one, especially in a town full of orphans. He shrugged it off and figured he might as well have a small vacation before getting back to regularly scheduled paladin business. Surely there were other young heroes with tragic backstories destined for greatness to deal with it for once, right? In this moment he finally understood how Lionel must feel every other day of the week...

Zahrani raises a brow at the vampire who just put on an interesting bit of theatrics. That wasn't part of the parade, and Vexar would find multiple sets of eye on him, including those of an old feline terramancer who had been previously leading the parade. They wouldn't soon forget his face. The paladin turns to Brennia, chuffing softly as they press heads together. She graciously accepts the gift, opening it and examining the gloves therein. "They're beautiful, love." They slide onto her hands easily, and they feel a lot stronger than one would initially suspect. She smiles sheepishly, "I'm afraid I don't have a gift for you now. Left it in my room."

Rorin caught sight of Zahrani talking to that gorgeous avian, a few other lovely ladies as well, it here he was wondering if he should put in some sort of networking effort. A held elf isn’t too common of an appearance himself, a goatee and pointed ears don’t usually go together, so he wondered how much he stood out among the crowd of painted and accessorized and costumed felines and the occasional Mysterious Stranger you could tell because, we’ll, maybe he was drunk, but he could swear their names were blue, but how in the world would he know that?

Leoxander jolted just enough for it to be noticeable, reflexively flinching at the sudden explosion of blue flame, his eyes squinting against the bright combustion that turned out to be harmless, as far as he knew. As onlookers cheered and applauded, he relaxed a little. Never entirely zen and always on his guard, nerves frayed as if a recent trauma or memory stayed ever on his mind. As Lita continued the conversation and her voice became more gentle, he responded with a slight nod and avoided eye contact for a moment, then met her eyes for the question. “Your shop across the way?” His head jerked subtly toward the direction of the beach and pyre, but he meant beyond the water in a place where it was all too easy to feel alone. Which was just sometimes how he preferred to be. Leo was a far cry from the captain and alpha that dealt with society on a day to day basis, but with a little help, maybe he’d come out of the woodwork. Or rather, from the looks of him, the mines. Another distracted glance caught not only the young man who had enjoyed some festivities of his own, but also the Fox shrouding herself deeper into the dark.

Brennia grins sheepishly as well and offers, “well, you can just give it to me later. There is one last thing though,” she looks far off into Zahrani’s cyan eyes and how the light of the fire was flickering within that beautiful gaze. “It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while now and I’ve finally plucked up the courage to share it with you.” The bard steps closer to Zahrani so there isn’t much of any space between them and leans into the paladin to whisper something.

Zahrani places the gloves back in the box while she hears Bre whisper in her ear. Whatever it was that the avian had whispered has the feline grinning. She turns back to the Bard and brushes her panther head against her partner's. After whispering something in return, Rani invites Bre to join the small crowd of Cenrili citizens dancing on the beach.

Lita nodded at the pirate's question. "Not so active these days as it is." Cal and his crew still kept plenty of people coming and going but as a shop, as her shop, it was just a building anymore. Lita could have sought out some other artist but the number of people she trusted these days could be counted on one hand. "But I'd make an exception." She managed a playful wink for the pirate and leaned away from the building again, glancing over her shoulder towards the beach. "Think I'm gonna head down to the water, try to stay out of trouble." The apple cider smelled tempting. "Think about it," she echoed again, the words more a request than demand.

Brennia is blushing and smiling, like, the biggest and dopey type smile at whatever Zahrani whispered back. Gladly setting her hot chocolate down somewhere so her love could whisk her away to dance with the Cenrilians mixing perfectly with the Isran Collective.

Zahrani leads the two of them in a spirited dance to the yule carol played by small band of felines. The panther doesn't pull off anything too crazy, since her armor is still firmly attached to her, but the pair would spend the rest of the evening with the Isran Collective before turning in for the evening.

Eleanor 's nostrils flared from her darkened corner, and her heart felt slow and heavy; how much of that was Leo's doing, she wasn't ready to admit. As Lita looked like she was starting to withdraw from the pirate, the spellrogue's feet started to move, almost of their own accord. Her boots noiselessly carried her out of the alley and towards the beach, but not before daring to seek out the man's eyes. However, instead of joining the parade's bonfire frivolities thereafter, her heels crunched into the first bits of sand and she immediately turned south.

Leoxander didn’t lose his somber expression, but it could be considered a victory that Lita had managed to get him speaking and considering the idea. He didn’t give much of a vocal farewell but nodded again to the last of her words, arms folding across his chest and his position held there on the side of the emptying street, at least for a few minutes more. The pyre was in view surrounded by people celebrating but he hadn’t made it as far as the sand, yet, eyes drifting over the bits of colorful litter that had been left in the wake of the parade and crowd, speckling the market like confetti. Alone for the most part, his eyes drifted back toward the smell of burning wood, cider, chocolate, sweat, sand and sea, and he wondered what it would be like to loiter carefree amongst the crowd, dancing a dance clumsily and foolishly, partaking in the cooked meat and warm beverages. His arms then dropped for the flask at his back, stuck between the two small blades concealed under his black shirt, and he sought the comfort of his lifelong friend to dull those ridiculous thoughts and remind him he was just a drunk, lost sailor as the vampire had privately predicted. His stare locked on the leader of rogues as she passed by, and whether it was heard or not, he swallowed the burning taste to speak a few low but audible words. “Fox on the hunt? I can tell yer pissed off.” The weight of her step, the tension in her walk. Hell, even if it was just his imagination he could almost hear the pounding of a heartbeat. Maybe that was his own.

Lita headed towards the beach and snagged a bottle of that apple cider. She took a long look across the beach and the sea but ultimately decided to head west again, back out of the city. Hopefully she'd hear from the pirate at some point.

Eleanor ; The crunch of sand underfoot nearly drowned out those words, but the gruff familiarity of their speaker is what gave the woman pause. El's next step was caught aloft, before sinking heavily into the ground, and she very nearly stumbled forward another step. Her breath came quick, before she pushed herself to move again. Exhaling carefully, it took all her self-control not to spin around and tell Leo just what she was really feeling out here in the street. But never one to cause a scene - at least, not one that wasn't layered in subterfuge - all Eleanor did was angle her chin down, toward her shoulder; an invitation.

Leoxander knew his next step would be a foolish one. It was the lead to a slow walk after the path the spellrogue had taken, with another swift drink of 'medicine'.

Lanara walks through the streets of Cenril, relishing in the fact that the colony was hosting a Yule parade, as it was a high holiday for witches and one of the most special times of the year. The witch is clad in a sparkling knee-length dress, crimson in color, with a pair of black glitter flats on her feet. The sound of the drums, the rhythm of the beat, and the familiar festive tunes that play are welcome to her tapered ears, as her chocolate hues take in the sights of the floats, the carefully painted faces of all that are gathered, and the many felines that loiter in the strees. Were Zahrani to look her way, Lanara would blow her friend a kiss, and the other felines in the colony that she had encountered in the past would be offered an enthusiastic wave. One feline in particular, the one with the ability to breathe fire, is where the witch lingers the longest, as she watches his act in fascination. As it comes to an end, she frowns and begs for an encore, before placing a hefty tip into his paw. Lana doesn't linger for more than thirty minutes or so as she has her own holiday event to get to up in Frostmaw, but she's delighted that she was able to witness the beautiful displays that she would fondly remember. As she's leaving, she smiles at another one of the intricate illusions and mutters, "I hope they do this again next year!"

Talyara was hesitant to return to Cenril. especially for a holiday celebration. The last time she attended one for Lammas, witch hunters had shown up and set a woman on fire in front of her. Unfortunately, she had been chatting with Hudson at the time and he had to deal with her panic attack and subsequent flashbacks to her abduction and torture by the religious cultists. However, when she heard that the Isran Collective was hosting a Yule parade and winter solstice celebration, she decided to face her fears and make an appearance. She didn't have to stay long, the witch reasoned, but Zahrani was a friend and guild mate, and she had been to the compound and visited with various members of the Collective in the past and she wanted to support them. After discussing it with Krice, the pair decided to go together, and station themselves at the beginning of the parade route. Hopefully, this would allow them to watch and enjoy the festivities but leave when the witch became overwhelmed. Still, she dresses up for the occasion; she's not entirely sure how the Collective celebrates Yule nor the traditions surrounding their beliefs, but she wears what is customary to hers. Talyara dons a simple, crimson frock, made of a light flowy material. The sleeves fall to her elbows and the neckline falls off her shoulders with a slight dip at her bosom. The fabric cinches at her waist before flaring at her hip, the hem dancing around her knees. A pair of black ankle boots with a slight heel is her chosen foot ware. Her hair is "organized chaos"--still curly but not as voluminous as it is in it's completely wild state. Atop her head, Taly wears a crown made of holly leaves and oak branches (a nod to -her- belief in the legend of the Holly and Oak kings who do battle at each solstice) and accentuated with red berries. Around her neck was a silver chain and nestled between her bosom was a pendant called Lovers Embrace--a gift from her beloved for her birthday this past spring--and dual jeweled earrings of ruby and emerald hang from the lobes of her slightly tapered ears. The thrumming of the drums is so intense she feels it reverberate in her chest and she reaches for Krice's hand and gives him a small smile before shifting her gaze towards the rooftops. If she manages to spy the familiar paladin she would offer a friendly wave with her other hand. As the parade starts she cheers as they move through the streets and nudges the warrior and points when the fire dancers pass. "I wonder if I could learn to do that with my flames," she says with a mischievous grin and a waggle of her eyebrows. As the procession moves deeper into Cenril and towards the beach, the witch sighs, torn between wanting to stay and enjoy the rest of the festivities and the building anxiety she feels in her chest. In the end, the latter wins out--she didn't want to ruin anyone else's fun by going into a full blown panic attack and causing a scene. "C'mon, let's go," she eventually says to Krice. "I sent Zahrani and Isran Collective a gift basket full of goodies for Yule as a thank you for hosting this."

Krice wasn't going to let Talyara come back to Cenril alone, knowing full well the trauma she suffered during her last visit. Krice and Witch Hunters didn't get along, so he would ensure that no harm would come to the witch if such fiends decided to appear. Standing with his arm slightly bent for hers, the silver-haired man responded to his companion's smile with a small but warm one of his own, and stepped out to follow the progress of the parade. Crowds had never been his thing, never would be his thing, but being here in support of the woman at his side made all the festivities and bubbly behaviour easily tolerable. When she cheered at the parade, his expression softened to reflect his delight at her happiness, and he nodded without hesitation at her wonderment of the flames. " You'd definitely be able to do that." He had full faith in her abilities, clearly. While she followed the celebrations, the warrior's eyes drifted toward the beach and he squinted thoughtfully, his mind deviating briefly from his immediate surroundings. Within an instant of Talyara requesting to leave, however, his focus was once more set on her face and he nodded without hesitation. " Leaving is a good idea," he murmured, pensively. " Did I tell you that you look amazing, by the way? I feel like I didn't." The warrior turned to lead his companion away from the crowds, their elbows interlocked.