Old December 3, 2009, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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[Event] The Festival of Love [Open to All]

The Twenty-Second Brightening
In the Month of Immanis, Era XVI
Winter's Soft Tidings!


The Winter Solstice was approaching. In the Brightenings of primitive magicks; before the arcana of today had evolved, Shamans, Oracles and Witches use what was known as Winter's magic on this Brightening -- Where they kill and eat the Sun to give them enough strength to fight the cold. Those Brightenings were gone now, and the Solstice was now only a period of cultural or religious significance.

In Secyclion, Eunesia, in particular, insofar since the dawn of the Secyclid civilization, it was a Brightening of another colorful celebration, and it was obvious even before this day had arrived.

From the Darkening before, the young had began seiving through every possible clothing store, ready to pick out the best they can afford for tomorrow's celebration. Some of the more affluent had already tailored their own livery to order Cycles ago, simply in preparation for this day. It was important to look good, after all, as per tradition, the first man or woman that asks another for a dance has to be his or her partner till the end of the festivities. And so, everyone sought to look to their best so that whoever asked them for the dance happening at twilight as the Suns set would be someone they find attractive as well.

By the time it was Mid-Brightening, couples were everywhere: the steeples of Toichos Kikkimos to the gardens of Arthro Galanos. Even the sprawling Neos Megalis and their pirate overlords were dressed like multicolored peacocks, in their arms women of all races -- nevermind that most of them are unwilling slave women that had been let out of the slave pens specially for this Brightening. The men wore laurel wreaths that had been woven by their female companions, while the women bore either a flower bracelet or a tiara prepared by the men.

By twilight, all eyes and ears fell upon Neos Megalis and Nephele Bay, the undisputed entertainment district of the island. As per tradition, the local cult responsible for the Cupirosian Mysteries -- the Trelochaae would be bound by the laws of the Mysteries to dedicate the Darkening to Cupiros (Secyclionian God of Love). At Mid-Darkening, when the Priestess consecrates the event to the deity, the entire island would erupt in celebratory dancing and more would rededicate their affection for one another.

Wine urns had been drawn out and filled to their brims on the beaches, all around the streets, couples, young and old alike were dancing, kissing, hugging and laughing.

Love was in the air.

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Old December 3, 2009, 12:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Qiara had spent just about two months in Secyclion, and while she had immediately fallen in love with the Red Island upon first setting foot on its shores, she still hardly considered herself localized. She still found herself saying "Kalimera" rather than "Chairete" when greeting people at the Aedile's office, resulting in grins of familiarity from fellow Ieffreonian souls and raised eyebrows from locals, or others who had grown accustomed to hearing the phrase that the Secyclionians favored. So she had a house and a job, but she was still very much an Ieffreonian girl. Or had her habits been picked up from her childhood on the mainland? Qi couldn't tell anymore.

And so it was that on this brightening, the twenty-second of Immanis, Qi was dressed no differently than any other brightening: she was dressed in a long Ieffreonian tunic dyed the color of pale orchids, with her very old and very worn dark purple cloak clasped around her neck. Free of the cloak's hood, her brown hair bounced loosely against her back, run through by the wandering fingers of the winter winds.

She would have been walking home from the Palati Ariadne to her cottage in the Toichos Kikkimos, but instead, she was frozen with her mouth agape, staring at the veritable parade of couples who were dancing with hands clasped down the street. There was more kissing than Qiara had ever seen in one place, and among one group of people; and everyone was dressed like a rainbow fish, glittering and gleaming in the twilight.

Shock and surprise were certainly a part of Qiara's frozen state, but another part was nostalgia and loneliness. An obvious Ieffreonian standing to the side of a parade of Secyclionian lovers, Qiara felt utterly alone. There was no devoted Liam with her to kiss and hug; no flirtatious Lyr with whom to exchange secret glances and smiles. No, Qiara was alone now.

But rather than retreat to her little cottage and mourn alongside her cat (Beauregard would shy away from her gloomy mood, anyway), Qiara decided to find out what was going on. Arms crossed defensively--as if steeling her lonesomeness against the flood of love that was rushing by before her--she made eye contact with a passer-by and asked in a quiet voice, "Excuse me, but... Is there something happening tonight?"
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Old December 3, 2009, 08:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Endymion and three of his friends lay watching the street activities from the covered balcony of an upscale establishment in Neo Megalis. They lay on small sofas positioned around a low table full of food and drink, talking amongst themselves about those on the streets. Their eyes keeping careful watch for any young women that caught their eyes and would be worthy to spend the darkening dancing with among other pleasures.

"Endymion, you know you're not supposed to wear the flowers you make."

The young noble man that was nearly a Summer older than Endymion pointed out after taking a long draw from a goblet full of wine. The young mans name was Taric and he belonged to one of the lower noble families of Secyclion, fishing was his families industry. He was rather portly so he wore extra fabric to cover up his body as he was fairly ashamed of his softness. There was also a rather strong smell about him whenever he went anywhere, the mixing of cologne and fish smell was prevalent with him.

"Oh shut up, Taric. I know how it works you pudgy slag. I just don't think I'm going to find any woman that I haven't already had appealing enough."

Raising an eyebrow at his pale faced friend who immediately put his mouth back to his wine goblet. Endymion played with the flower bracelet he had on his right wrist that was made of small pink and white flowers. The soft flowers tickling his skin and causing a boyish half smile while he reached down for his own goblet that had been recently topped off with dark red wine.

"I don't know, the women of Secyclion have just been growing so boring. Don't you agree? It seems like I have seen them all at one point or another. If some new stock doesn't get let out of their houses soon I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Perhaps have a crack finally at your mother, eh Druden?"

Endymion tossed a single green grape at the taller brutish looking boy known as Druden. Druden being the way a typical Secyclid male looked, large and solid with dark skins and lots of hair to match. Yet for some reason he still followed the smaller and more effeminate Endymion around without much complaint.

"Oh leave him be, Endy...you know how touchy he gets when you make jokes about his lovely mother. There are plenty of women around you picky bugger, just pick something adequate and get it over with. It's only for one night after all and with your record I sincerely doubt you will ever wish to speak with the poor girl again. Speaking of poor girls, look at that one?"

The third friend around the table was named Krateon and he looked much the same as Druden. They were cousins in fact and bore some striking similarities around the eyes, Druden though was far more broad than his cousin.

"Nah. I saw her walk by earlier and stare up at us, there's something about the way she walks that turns me off. Do you see it? Sort of like a light limp on her right side. Either way if it's there or not, she's not fine enough material for me to bother caressing."

Endy and Krateon had lifted themselves up on their elbows to watch the pointed girl as she walked away with some other girls. Settling back down Endymion placed a few more grapes in his mouth as he listened to his friends talk mindlessly. The rituals of the love priestesses would be beginning soon and then the real fun would begin. The four of them would descend to streets then and Endymion would hopefully be drunk enough to not care anymore and just pick something.
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Old December 4, 2009, 12:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Qiara -

She managed to grab the attention of a slender, olive-skinned female. Her dress was much more in line with the mood of the evening than her own - really, it was nothing but one long sheet of fabric strategically placed and pinned with seashell-shaped pins that glittered in the torchlight. Her eyes were dark as her hair, both reflecting light as she moved. Skin and hair gleamed with some sort of fragrant oil, no doubt designed to attract the attention of interested parties.

"Chairete," she said cheerfully, peering at the stranger in their midst. The culture shock was evident in the way Qiara was standing, and in the wide, disbelieving stare. Ah, it was always so much fun when outsiders came to this particular festival. "Why, this is the Festival of Love!" She giggled, not unkindly, and pressed closer to Qisada to avoid the press of people as they moved down the street.

"Our Priestess will perform the rites soon and consecrate the island anew as she does each ordination. It truly is a wondrous event, you'll see. Come, try the wine, dance with us! Be merry, this is no darkening for sorrow!"
The maiden, who had not yet been selected and thus bore no flowers as yet, tugged at Qiara's folded arms stubbornly, refusing to take 'no' for an answer.

Endymion -

Down below, the people seethed and flowed. Friends and lovers met anew and shared with each other the intoxications of wine, song, and lush flesh. The lines were blurred even moreso than usual this night, nobles and commoners, men and women alike partaking of the pleasures of the night. They traveled down the street mostly in pairs or groups, never singly. To be left out of the festivities tonight was a terrible blemish upon one's social standing - if you were not chosen, surely something was wrong with you.

The buffets were wide open - wines, cheeses, exotic sweets and savories, breads and pastries; so too were the buffets of the more physical sort - males and females alike of all shapes and sizes, colors and races. The majority of them were Secyclionian natives, darker of skin, but there were mainlanders too - even the occasional dorin or katta moving through the crowd, many hands reaching out to pet their lustrous furs.

Abruptly Endy's husky companion perked up, his gaze fixed down on the street below. He let out a soft whistle to alert his friends. A trio of females was moving down the center of the street, and the crowds parted to let them pass. They wore brilliant jewel toned fabric that was really nearly transparent and crystal diadems in their hair. Tiny silver bells were attached here and there, and rang gently as they moved with feline grace. Nearly identical they were, slender and toned, their skin gleaming in the light. Two of them had little finger-bells, and they danced around their remaining companion, laughing and singing a song about... well, let's just say it caught the attention of any red-blooded male within earshot.

The last one was a head taller than the other two, the fabric of her... 'dress'... blue, rather than green or orange like the others'. She had a tiny gem of some sort adhered just above the bridge of her nose, and certain henna tattoos vined their way along her skin, hinting at more intimate patterns that were lost to sight at the moment. Her arms supported a large earthen wine jug.

"I call the orange one."

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Old December 5, 2009, 05:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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It was a beautiful day for love to be in the air, and Leto was no exception. Making his way out into the streets, he looked towards one of the vats of wine, and decided against it for now. No need to be inebriated on such a beautiful day, he thought as he made his way through the streets. "I wonder who's around at these times..." thought the young jewelcrafter aloud, as he made his way through the streets towards Neo Megalis. Smiling, he was easily dressed within his white tunic, as well as brown leather pants, and leather shoes.

Not the normal dress for a Secyclion, but then again, he hadn't been to secyclion in quite some time, and being here, he decided that maybe he'd go to the Agora to buy a new toga, or some better dress since he'd be staying within Secyclion for awhile, and long time coming. Thinking back to the mansion he'd been staying in for the past month or so, he thought back to Imperia, and his time with Aurelius. I wonder if he'll ever visit Secyclion, he thought as he looked towards some of the togas in the Agora. It would be nice to see him again, after I look better, he thought, brushing a hand through his soft brown hair, as he looked forwards with his sapphire eyes.

His body was lean, and masculine, and he thought about Epiktetos as well. "I wonder what Epiktetos is up to today?" he thought, as he hadn't seen him in the morning when he woke up, but simply had decided to go out by himself that day...
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Old December 5, 2009, 11:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Aurelius had only been on the red island for two brightenings, but he was enjoying it. While yes cold for the winter, when compared with frosty Imperia, this island was almost nice and hot. The young man though had already been to the clothing store and purchased some native clothing already. He was dressed in a purple tunic and a leather Pteruges. His dirty blond hair was bound in a purple leather cord that encircled his forehead.

The clothing fit his large muscular body well. His well difined arms stuck were only covered up near the shoulders allowing his arms swing freely. His arms weren't attractive part of his body. His legs were just as equally attractive below the skirt he was wearing. His well defind chest was hinted at under the tunic.

He had already asked about the festival to night, and considering his occupations found it an amusing festival to attend. He wasn't here for the festival. He had made a promise to come and visit Leto, and after visiting Vortex and then returning to Imperia, he had desided come and see how is close friend was doing.

The streets of Neo Megalis were full of people, but that didn't bother the green eyed handsome young man. He briefly wondered if he would see Lato here.
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Old December 6, 2009, 03:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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While wandering the agora, he somehow seemed to lose track off time, and space, and once more ran smack dab into someone, while slamming into the ground once more. As the fog seemed to clear, he looked up, and happened to see the one man he was hoping he'd see, a man he hadn't seen in over a month. Standing up eagerly, he said, "Aurelius! Chairete! I had been wondering if you would have made it here for the festival!" As he exclaimed, he almost wanted to hug the older man, a boyish thing to do, but he did look up to the man that had provided him with shelter for a month in his time in Imperia.

With his sapphire blue eyes trained upon the man, he the said, "I am sorry I ran into you once more, it seems I was in a fog again, thinking mostly since my time here..." Pausing, he saw what Aurelius was wearing, and then said, "Oh my, you look dashing, almost as if you were meant to be here on the Red Island, toga and all!" He was certainly impressed by what Aurelius was wearing, and intended to find something like that for himself as well in the Agora in Neo Megalis, where they both happened to be at that very time...
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Old December 6, 2009, 04:38 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Aurelius was surprised when he turned from looking at a strange prossession to smack his chin into another mans forehead. He raised his hand to his chin and rubbed his slightly hair skin, trying to rub out the pain. Aurelius realized he needed to shave, a razor not having touched his face since the dawn of the brightening before. A light stubble of hair covered his chin and sides of the cheeks.

His green eyes turned to the grown were he had just heard a body slam. His hard eyes widened in surprise at seeing Lato on the ground before him. He had hoped to see Lato, but hadn't really expected to run litterally into him. It was a lot like before. Aurelius briefly wondered what that might mean, but he didn't say anything as he extended his arm to help pull Lato up. With out his traditional white linen shirt, one could see the muscles in his arms flexing and working as he pulled the young man up.

He grasped the other mans elbow in a shack that only people who were friends would feel comfortable doing. His white teeth flashed in a smile as his thine lips parted.

"Chairete!" Aurelius said as he shook the young mans arm and patted his shoulder with Aurelius large hand. "Lato, what a pleasure. I was hoping to see you again." He laughted then as he let go of his arm and rubbed his chin. He stopped and put a hand on were he had bumped into Lato's forehead. His long fingers gentle brushing against the skin checking to see if there was anything wrong. "We do need to stop running into each other so violently? Is you head okay." He asked with concern in his eyes.

"Thank you. I am glade I don't look to bad. When I arrived I couldn't help but notice the different style of clothing. Sadely my coin only allowed me to stick to the less expensive outfits. It is very comfortable, and breaths a lot more then my mainland clothing. Then again, I would freeze to death in this if I was back in Imperia right now." His soothing deep voice said with a laugh. "So how have you been?" He asked placing a hand on Lato's shoulder and steering them to the side of the street were there would be less of a crowd. His touch was strong and friendly.
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Old December 6, 2009, 08:23 PM   #9 (permalink)
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"The Festival of Love...?" she murmured in disbelief. What luck.

Qiara half-wanted to refuse the girl's offer and march back up to her house and spend the darkening alone, but there was something about frolicking around in a strange town that had a certain appeal. Qiara hardly knew anyone in Secyclion, but that was part of the fun, wasn't it? She could just be herself. And perhaps she'd meet some new people tonight.

And so with only the smallest bit of hesitance, Qiara unfolded her arms and allows herself to go with the girl. "Sure... okay," she said with a smile.

She began to walk along with the woman towards... wherever they were going. "What kind of, um, rites did you say were happening?" she asked.
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Old December 6, 2009, 10:52 PM   #10 (permalink)
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As Aurelius touched his forehead, Leto smiled, and then said, "Yes, we do need to stop bumping into each other, but then again, it seems to be how we always meet up again..." He smiled, and looked at him. "I have been doing very well, working on learning some new skills to add to my repetoire, so that i can become a better jewelcrafter. Learning to work with some of the precious metals around the island, such as silver and copper to begin with... I've also been living in this mansion... a man had seen me wondering off the boat and offered his hospitality to me... He was so generous, as were you, that i couldn't say no... thought, I do hope to own a home of my own some day, but perhaps this will help me out to get on my feet..." he said, smiling, and thinking of Epiktetos.

"How have you been?" he asked of the other man that was in his life at the moment, a friend more than anything, but as he felt his touch, it almost felt like something else. Perhaps that was the escort side of Aurelius coming out, but then again, he was a gentle man, and seductive in his own right, after all, they were at the Festival of Love?
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Old December 7, 2009, 11:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Qiara:

The other woman smiled brightly when she gave in, happily linking her elbow through Qiara's. "Oh, we're going up to the Temple. Some of my friends are trying to get a good spot to see the Priestess. She gives a speech, then completes the consecration. Oh, the celebration you'll see! We have fireworks, wine, good food... and people," she added cheekily, moving along with the flow of the crowd. Everyone did seem to be generally going in the same direction at this point. The only ones going 'against the grain' were those who were, perhaps, retreiving their partners from the various establishments along the way.

More than a few people seemed to stop to eye the unlikely pair as they weaved through the crowd, and there were appreciative whistles as they passed - mostly from men. Qiara's companion did seem to know a few of them, and waved companionably to them but did not stop. She was on a mission. A newcomer to the island and to the Festival? Ooh, Qiara was in for it. She'd show her everything!
ooc There. I spelled it right. THHBT.

(Aure and Leto: oocsince you two are moving along OK without me, not gonna jump in for you yet. However, I AM WATCHING. (cue ominous music) )
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Old December 7, 2009, 02:19 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Qiara allowed herself to be dragged along by the local girl, listening as she described the ceremony they were heading to. Fireworks, wine, and food all sounded good to Qi, but what did the girl mean by 'people'? Of course there were people; there was a whole parade of them, and Qiara and the girl were part of it. Well, whatever. She supposed that she would see when they got there.

When people stopped to whistle, Qiara was confused for a moment, then realized that they must have thought that she was with this woman--as companions. She wanted to open her mouth to say something like, "Oh, um, we're not... um... like that..." but thought better of it. It was better to be with someone than no one at all, right? She was grateful that the girl had linked arms with her and dragged her along after all, rather than Qi having to trudge along by herself with no one beside her. She didn't think she would have appreciated the whistles as much then.

So she grinned and continued to follow the crowd in ignorant bliss. At one pause, she turned to the other woman and said, "By the way, my name's Qiara. What's yours?"
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Old December 7, 2009, 04:15 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Aurelius kept his arm around Lato's shoulders as they came to the side of the street. His hands grip was firm and friendly. "I am glade to hear that you have settled in so well here." He didn't mention anything about the man and the mansion. To Aurelius it wasn't any big deal. They were friends, and Aurelius appreciated that one could make good friends any were you were.

His smile continued. "Well that is always good." Aurelius said. He looked around his green eyes watching the crowd. "Do you know were everyone is going?" He asked raising his voice above the crowd to be heard.

"I have been well. Life has been quiet since you left. I did go and visit Vortex though. Its an interesting town." He paused again. "This island is a lot more interesting then Vortex was."
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Old December 7, 2009, 10:44 PM   #14 (permalink)
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As Leto watched the crowd, he shrugged. "I actually have no idea where they are going... haven't been here since I was about five eras old..." he said, looking up towards the man who had his arm around him. It felt warm, and nice, and he was glad that he could have a bond of friendship with someone like Aurelius, who was nice enough to have traveled so far to the island to be able to see his friend.

Turning towards him, he then said, "I've never been to Vortex, but i've heard dark stories about it... nothing that one would want to tell their children, unless they wanted to scare them for doing something bad... though, I wouldn't truly judge it until i've been there..." Looking towards the crowd, he turned to Aurelius and then asked, "You like the Red Island then? Since you've been here that is?"
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Old December 8, 2009, 11:29 AM   #15 (permalink)

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Very cautious steps were taken out of the inn and into the streets of Secyclion. There were a few reasons behind the caution, one being that the Vysstichi maiden hadn't worn an outfit so daring in quite a long time. Another reason was the simple fact this was the festival of love. All of her past experiences in that area hadn't been particularly good, so she had no idea what to expect. But Triel knew that she had to be here. She had to mingle with people, make friends and learn what people considered this emotion to really be. Was it just a coy way of trying to get someone into their bedchambers, as she had experienced, or was it something much more meaningful and deep like she'd always hoped.

This event was most definitely the best way to find out. Today, the Vysstichi woman wore her grey cloak with silver embroidery, a red dress made of silk which was completely backless and had discreet slits up the side to mid-thigh and finally her grey satin sandals. These had ribbons that trailed halfway up her calf and tied at the back to be out of the way. As usual, the hood of the grey cloak was up to shade her sensitive eyes from the sunlight. Triel fully intended to drop the hood when the light dimmed to let her do so without the excruciating pain. Though it was currently hidden under the hood, her hair was down and permitted to hand loose around her shoulders, except for two small braids that went from the side of her head, behind the pointed ears and met at the base of her skull to make a small pony tail, just to make her hair a little more elaborate.

A deep breath was taken and the slightly nervous woman stopped hiding in the doorway of the inn. Quiet footsteps carried her off into the streets of Secyclion and towards the biggest group of people she could find. It was the only way she would meet new people and learn about this emotion called love and what it really entailed.
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