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Old December 6, 2009, 02:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Tepenny] The Wicked and the Wise [Ragman]

Timestamp: The 12th of Immanis, PF XVI

Etienne was, by no stretch of the imagination, an individual who enjoyed being idle. He was not, however, an individual who had ever particular enjoy manual labor. It was well then that his position at Lady Tepenny's was far from physically demanding. Mentally was another issue. The woman herself was an odd one, stirring equal parts lust and discomfort in the young man who was posing as a woman. There was not a cycle that went by that Etienne did not find himself trying to figure out if the woman knew his secret or not. If she did, she kept it and the charade continued.

That charade was in full swing late that afternoon during that time when dusk hovered on the horizon, casting pink and amber hues as far as the eye could see. Estée had just emerged from her own chamber after touching up her make-up and donning a simple dressing gown of light-weight cotton and the hue of a deep purple-gray. The bodice was simple, hugging in against her waist, the collar dipping slightly downward, heart-shaped. A mainlander dress and one of several that she had purchased over the past few cycles since enjoying Lady Tepenny's hospitality. Her hair was carefully piled a top her head, a few loose ringlets curling against the back of her turquoise neck. At her throat glittered the gift Esmé had sent for their birth-brightening, a delicate silver piece in which the image of Etienne's twin sister was situated.

The Trelorean's step was a bit listless as she paced down the hallway, her features carefully devoid of expression even as she clasped gloveless fingers together in front of her. The fact that Estée was bored presented something of a problem. Restless, she wasn't exactly certain what to do with herself. Already there were options flashing about inside of her head: Find other ladies-in-waiting with which to socialize; Find Lady Tepenny herself and see what amusements she might be interested in; Leave for an entertaining darkening out on the town...

Her fingers tightened slightly as a strange desire to head out on the town, see what could be found, wriggled about in her stomach. It was tempting, almost too tempting, and Estée brushed the rambling thought aside, striding instead with more of a perhaps as she came to a decision in her mind. The ladies-in-waiting were of no moment to the Trelorean. Their approval of the elf was of little significance, for they could likely do little for her. It was Tepenny who intrigued her, who drew her attention--and her curiosity--in a way that even Estée could recognize as dangerous.

No, it would be Lady Tepenny that Estée found out, to see if she could use the same entertainment and company that Estée was much in need of. What else was a lady-in-waiting for, after all?
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Old December 10, 2009, 10:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
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As Etienne dwelled within the expensive manor of Lady Tepanny, he would begin to realize that there were always something strange going on within the household. It wasn't anything big in particular, but just small things that the Trelorean Elf would likely not find... normal, in any normal sense of things.

For example, how the Lady never appears in the Brightening. The excuse was that she hates the sunlight; but of course that would seem rather extreme to completely hide during daylight. When inquired, none of the staff would seem to know the true reason regarding the extreme methods of the woman, then again, none of the staff were particularly friendly with Etienne as well. The caste system was a strong one on this island, and Etienne as the Lady-In-Waiting was clearly a cut above them.

Other Ladies-In-Waiting, though, were easier to get along. There was Layrissa, a minor Noble woman from Lauryl who could sing the larks off the trees, making the other Ladies-In-Waiting weep from her sweet voice, and Erymé, hailing from the Isles of Trelios who specifically penned letters for their Mistress. Lastly there was Azizah, a boring Rauan female who just looked pretty, but pretty much was useless for anything else. Some even went on to say she was mute, but others claim she was a personal bodyguard of the Lady Tepanny.

There were also always strange guests residing with the Lady Tepanny; and they too, seem to disfavor daylight. It would be the only time the Lady Tepanny ever ventured out of her manor, deep in the Darkening with her guests, never to be seen again until the next Darkening when the suns set.

This Darkening, it seems, was no different. As Etienne made his way toward the Grand Hall, the Lady Tepanny was already in the company of a man and a woman. The woman was seated beside his Mistress, holding a fluted glass in her delicately white fingers while the man had his fingers upon the keys of an organ.

There was something unique about the music he played. A strange, never before heard mode of expression, as if his touch lend some unknown attribute to the tonal qualities of the instrument. The way he moved, swayed to the music reminded Etienne of a mad man, his hair tousled and his movements utterly and completely too quick for a mortal man, almost a blur to watch.

All three, however, turned toward Etienne as he neared, almost as if they knew he was coming. The Lady Tepanny stretched out an introductory hand toward the two as she bade Etienne to come nearer.

"Come, Estée, meet my guests -- the Lord Isidoro Malnaghi and his lovely wife, Lady Arina Selensdotter-Malnaghi." The man nodded his head while the woman smiled a thin smile. She had hair made out of finely spun gold that was like honey drawn into strands under the burning brilliance of the Mid-Brightening Suns. A sensual mole sat by her lip, and her piercing blue eyes, so perfectly clear, watched the Elf, lips seeming permanently in a half-smile. She, however, lacked the quality that the Lady Anatasiya Tepanny possessed, and there was nothing more that Etienne could draw from save her stunning beauty and thundering red dress that fell around her like the most scarlet of flowers.

The Lord Isidoro, on the other hand, was a thin man with shoulder length gray hair and striking green eyes. Strange that his hair bore that tone even though he could be no more than thirty at most. He wore a Chelseannean coat which was obvious given the cutting and material were so different from the rest of the Eunesian Isles, and had a golden-olive skin tone. There was something similar about him... and the Lady Tepanny, almost as if they bore the same... unearthly quality about them... like they were not truly there before his eyes.

"They just arrived from Chelseanna at dusk, and are two of my dearest of friends." Both the Lord and Lady acknowledged her words with a brief smile and then a courteous nod of their head.

"Estée, here, is one of my Ladies-In-Waiting. She's quite the entertainer." The Lady Tepanny inclined her head toward the Trelorean Elf.

"Oh really..." The woman beside his Mistress murmured, finger toying with the wet brim of her glass as she watched the Trelorean Elf with a mixture of vague interest and amusement. Filled to the brim with Vagaran blood, the woman had certain airs about her, almost as if she was trying too hard to keep up.
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Old December 13, 2009, 11:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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oocIs it Tepenny or Tepanny? I am confused :( Your location says Tepenny, but you keep writing Tepanny..pick one :(

Striding along the hallways, Estée's first stop in her tour of the manor home (in an effort to find the lady herself) proved successful: There she found the woman, Estée drawn to the hall by the strum of music that drifted from it, already in the company of some rather unfamiliar--and fairly startling--individuals. Estée lingered in the doorway, hesitating over whether or not to retreat or to stride boldly forward...and promptly found her decision made for her as the three turned nearly in unison, eyes settling upon her, the lady greeting her with a lift of the hand.

And, besides, when did Etienne ever retreat in the face of a few strangers?

The Trelorean strode forward into the hall, shoulders back and straight, hands clasped in front of her, chin lifted slightly, a smile ghosting over lips touched with a faint hint of berry-purple. "As you wish, my lady." The elf drew herself to a halt before them, performing a polite curtsy to both guests and hostess. As she straightened, she resumed her previous stance, hands clasped and shoulders straight, her carriage proud.

So close to them, she ran a quick study of their persons, the beauty of the pale woman and yet the lack she somehow possessed; the commanding nature of the other, so wan in his appearance, so much like the lady herself, so strange... Estée knew she stared at him, drinking in his features, trying to place him, wondering if he somehow might be of relation to Tepenny...and yet dismissing it. He was too much the islander to be so and it had become clear over the course of time that Tepenny was a mainlander.

"Chelseanna? A lovely island, monsieur," she informed him with a quick smile flashed in Isidoro's direction. "I paid it a brief visit before coming here to Secyclion. I was almost tempted to make my stay there longer, but there was something about this place that drew me." She shifted her eyes away, breaking off the blatant stare that she had locked onto him. Instead, she focused again on Tepenny, acknowledging her introduction of her with an inclination of her chin.

"The Lady flatters me, of course," she said with a bright laugh, turning a smile towards the woman introduced as Arina. "But, as I have had the pleasure of entertaining the lady, I bow to her esteemed knowledge on what passes for entertainment." She dipped a brief curtsy to the woman in acknowledgement. "Will you be staying long?" She flicked a curious look to both lord and lady. "Perhaps I will have such an opportunity to regale you as well."

The company was an odd one, even Etienne could recognize that. He maintained that pleasant façade, however, looking between one and the other, the lady and her guests, feeling somehow discomforted in their presence, his skin crawling just slightly. That unearthliness could be rather unnerving.
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Old December 17, 2009, 12:22 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"We shall be here for a Cycle... maybe more. Who knows? We've run into some inconveniences... in Chelseanna." Lord Isidoro murmurs, and the Trelorean would notice that while she had taken her eyes off him after blatantly staring at him, he continued to fix his strange eyes upon her. His wife, who seemed to have noticed, showed no visible emotion to reveal that she may be upset.

"They never learn, do they?" Lady Tepenny murmured, twirling her wine glass in her fingers. Whatever they were talking about, Estée herself could only guess. The Mistress herself seemed incapable of feeling ashamed, embarrassed or self-conscious, and spoke of these things freely as if she had no fear of them ever spreading to the rest of the people -- giving the impression that even if it did... she was too powerful to be touched.

"No they don't, which is amusing. Makes it more interesting for us." Lady Arina grinning, sipping at her wine, even while the Lord Isidoro continued his strange gaze upon her, eventually he speaks, but he does this without even flinching his eyes from her, and those orbs of his were faintly hypnotizing in a manner. He reminded Estée of those long Darkenings when the stars seem to glimmer forever and almost appear tangible when they were simply irreclaimable -- this was what the man's effect was on her -- that they were not real.

Lord Isidoro, for his part, seemed more interested in the Lady-in-Waiting than the conversation that his two female companions were partaking in, and with a soft, lulling voice that seemed so ill-suited for him, given it was powerfully deep and sonorous while he was a small man by Eunesian standards.

"Estée, is it? Perhaps you would like to give us a demonstration with what your talents are?" Isidoro asked gently, taking a seat in one of those single chairs as he crossed his legs like a true gentlemen. There was an uncanny grace about him as well when he moves, and the resemblance to her Mistress' own was reaffirmed for Estée once more.

And then Estée could see something moving through the shadows near the window where the torch's lights did not shine. The Secyclion coast was spread before her, the lights glinting off the Ieffreon shores were a multitude of candlelight shone, reveling together in the much more populous City compared to the backwater Secyclion.

It was something on all fours, scrambling, too fast to be seen, and certainly hard to truly discern its features. It moved very quickly, and then before she could actually gather her senses and wits around her, it pounced, straight toward her, leaping across from behind the seated Lord Isidoro and toward her... human fingers reaching for her throat and a wild, savage expression of a young boy twisted with a mixture of rage and desire with an almost animalistic snarl emanting from his throat.

Last edited by Ragman; December 17, 2009 at 12:26 PM.
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Old December 20, 2009, 08:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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"Inconveniences?" Her purple yes widened. "It is nothing that cannot be corrected, I hope." The words tumbled out in feigned concern. "Chelseanna is merely too lovely a place to feel so ostracized from its shores. I will pray to Phedos for your problems to ease, monsieur." She shifted her eyes downward in some show of demure piety, her hands clasped in front of her as she dipped a brief curtsy.

Estée refrained from casting a curious glance in Lady Tepenny's direction as the woman speculated on 'they' failing to keep their lessons firmly in mind. Instead, she merely smiled faintly towards both Isidoro and his wife. Inside, the mind turned and pondered. Who was they and what, exactly, were they supposed to learn? Of course, the dramatic side of the Trelorean was quickly pooling together a rather over-the-top story, in which Isidoro had stolen away his wife from her family against their wishes. Or perhaps that was just a bit overly romantic--these two did not seem to be the romantic type. Maybe they were criminals. Why else would they have to skulk through the darkening, unseen?

Her eyes lifted, briefly assessing the man that was staring at her. His gaze uncanny, discomforting. And his wife was sitting right there. Normally, Estée would have upped the anté of the meeting, fluttering lashes and swishing in a manner that was meant to be flirtatious, enticing. Yet there was something instinctively dangerous about the two visitors, perhaps more so about the man than the woman. Estée curbed her habits, offering the man what could have, perhaps, passed as a coy smile.

"Yes, monsieur. Estée," she confirmed for him with a slight inclination of her cheek. Her smile broadened somewhat at his suggestion and she flickered a look towards both Lady and wife, as if gauging their reaction. "If my lady Tepenny is amenable, I would be more than happy to regale you and your lady wife, monsieur."

She was about to strike her pose, to get herself situated as her mind plucked through the various items she could perform for the lot of them, when the movement caught her eyes. She flickered a glance in the direction from which she had thought to see it and frowned slightly, a frown just as quickly erased and replaced with her delicate smile. She tried to direct her attention away again, to dismiss and focus on what was at hand...but the thing was too strange, too different...too

Etienne shrieked, hands flailing up in front of his own person as the thing descended, hands extended out towards his throat, Aeternia-bent on violence. Any attempt to maintain the semblance of one Lady Estée de l'Avarrée fell apart as the need to defend his own life settled firmly into place. He scrambled backwards, dress hampering frantic steps to get out of the way of the beast. "Aide!" he yelped desperately, reverting instinctively to his mother-tongue.
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Old December 29, 2009, 09:43 AM   #6 (permalink)
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There was a blur, a flash, a singular moment when Etienne could feel a chilly breath against his throat before reality snapped back before his eyes -- or... simply the fact that things were finally moving at speeds at which his Elfin eyes could follow.

The Lord Isidoro was inches away from the Trelorean Elf, and his fingers grappled at the throat of another... boy. Clearly islander, given his dusky looking skin, and from the height, likely of Craeton descent. His dark eyes glittered on the Elf in a manner like the way a predator would regard a prey, and needless to say, was likely to make Etienne feel very uneasy.

The hand on his throat was clearly the only... thing that was preventing him from pouncing upon the Elf and he gave a look of long suffering to the gray haired man who seemed to be causing a certain degree of discomfort to the boy child, what with the hands that seemed gripped tightly on his throat. How he had made it so quickly beside Etienne to snatch the boy from mid-air, no less.

"Have a care, Thales, she is not to be touched, we are guests to the Lady Tepenny... or have you forgotten?" The man's voice was calm, but there was the sizzle of displeasure so evident in his voice, his eyes narrowing slightly at the young boy that could not be more than fifteen ordinations old. Not even the scantest hair on his chin yet.

Only when the boy gave a pained nod did the Chelseannean man release him as he turned toward the likely frightened Treloeran Elf with a bow of his head. He cast a wary eye toward Thales as he spoke, who still stood his ground and was staring at Etienne as if he was denied candy.

"I apologize, Estée, this is Thales... and... he is a little touched in the head... I hope he hasn't frightened you, he's harmless, really." A soft growl escaped the Craeton's lip at those words, though Isidoro paid no heed to it, instead, his eyes clearly focused on Etienne.

Lady Arina's face was dark, almost a deep scowl set upon her sharp and prominent Hesparian features, while the Lady Tepenny seem eternally Goddess-like in all her lineaments, the softest hint of a smile... or even not -- just the curl of her lip that always seem set eternally on her expression, as if nothing could truly touch her chiseled grandeur.

"Thales, apologize to the Lady Estée... now." Funny how he was talking to the boy as if he was a child... and clearly not appropriate for someone of his age, though the boy only glared even harder at Etienne, bristling in annoyance.

More growling.

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Old December 29, 2009, 05:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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He had been prepared for it, to take the pain and tearing of skin as nails sunk into flesh, tore, rendered... What else, other than that? His imagination worked over time, imagining the fists pummeled against his precious purple eyes, the dark rings that would spring up across his skin as his body was battered... His beautiful, perfect body, destroyed...

All of this rambled through his mind, his body flinched away from his attacker, arms lifted to protect his face... And he realized...that the attacker had never descended.

He lowered his arms tentatively, met the eyes of Lord Isidoro as the strange visitor revealed the boy that had flung himself so unkindly at his hostess' lady-in-waiting. Etienne stared at the boy for a moment, disgruntled as he was, clasped about the neck by the elder man's hands. It was, to say the least, an impressive display of strength.

And then Isidoro was talking to him...to her...and Etienne...Estée...shook her head, clearing away the cobwebs of his maleness and quietly drawing herself together. Woman. Female. That was what they should see, what they must see. She smiled faintly at the man, then the two women, not at all capable of hiding the fact that she was indeed shaken by the occurrence.

"Thales. I see," she murmured, slanting the boy a wary look. Touched in the head didn't quite seem to cover exactly what was wrong with the boy, but perhaps that was Estée just feeling spiteful over the recent events. "Frightened? Oui, monsieur, just slightly. It is of no consequence, however. It came of no harm, non? It is fine, I assure you." She reached up, smoothing back some loose strands of amethyst hair, then letting the hand trail down the front of her dress, smoothing that down, too.

"But, merci, monsieur, for your help. You have quite a grip, apparently. I am sure your lovely wife is most appreciative of that strength," she fluttered him an almost coy smile, but did flicker a look in Arina's direction, as if to acknowledge whatever it was women acknowledged when impeding on another's territory. "I can imagine, she needs no other guard but yourself--so quick you are!" Very quick. Startlingly quick.

But she hardly dwelled on that, her heart pounding, her head swimming still, struggling to overcome that near attack. She eyed the boy briefly, mustered up a smile in his direction. "It is all right, monsieur Isidoro. It is of no consequence, non? Let us...return to relaxing and enjoying ourselves, hm? Or...perhaps it might be best if I departed? It would seem I agitate the boy some." She could not hide a bit of her own nerves, although she tried to dismiss it with a light titter of laughter. All the same, she was almost afraid to depart. What if the boy followed her and tried to attack again? Isidoro had the strength to deal with him. Estée, quite clearly, did not.

oocSorry to post so quickly to our threads--I had thought to post on Thursday, but felt up to it today
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Old January 1, 2010, 10:55 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The man nodded at Etienne's assurance that he was fine, all the while staring hard at Thales, as if hoping that it would be an incentive for the boy to apologize... and he did so in quiet muted tones to state that he didn't mean a single word he had said. His head however, was low, almost as if afraid of punishment from the Chelseanni Lord.

"Oh she does, believe me." Lady Arina, upon hearing Etienne's compliment of her husband merely replied with a half-smile... strange, of course, that there was no jealousy in her voice, but rather she seemed genuinely pleased that Etienne had found something... so... noteworthy in her husband.

Whatever kind of dynamics their relationship had, it clearly deviated from the norm.

"You might divert and delight us with your talents, or you may choose to rest after that scare, I understand completely." The Lord Isidoro murmured softly, reaching out to touch Etienne gently on his forearm as a gesture of reassurance.

Thales, in the meantime, had moved off and quick as a beast, darted back into the shadows again, and vanished from Etienne's sight, moving once again... far too quick. Lady Arina's gaze followed Thale's disappearing figure until she too, could no longer catch him, already blended deep into the shadows of the large manor. There were indeed, places that Etienne himself had not ventured to yet on the Tepenny compound even after already spending Cycles here. It was that big.

Lord Isidoro shook his head in resign and took his seat upon a solo couch, eyes watching the Trelorean again, as to her choice to stay or go. Etienne's mistress in the meantime kept that same goddess-like expression on her face, waving her fingers in a manner to indicate that 'Estée' could carry on with 'her' performance, or simply, like the Lord Isidoro mentioned, retreat to her chambers for the Darkening.

But... above all, Etienne would garner the strange sensation that the three of them knew something that he didn't, and were simply making mockery of him, playing along, pretending to be guiled when they in fact, hardly frazzled by Etienne's attempts to be someone he wasn't.

Perhaps it was paranoia, but these three creatures had a certain unsettling effect with their perfectness and utter composure that even Elves themselves would be disturbed.
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Old January 3, 2010, 04:21 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Estée's eyes flickered from one to the other, although they largely followed Thales until he was finally gone, departed into the shadows, once more hidden from sight. It unnerved her, thinking that he lurked and she could not see him, could not tell where he was within those shadows, as if he so perfectly blended with them. How could that be possible? And if it were possible, what safety did she have from him? How could she walk from this room, expecting to go unassaulted in the hallways, no one there to protect her...

Drawing in a deep breath, Estée returned a look in Lady Tepenny's direction. She seemed so calm, so unaffected. For a brief moment, it made Estée angry, a deep buzz of unease and frustrating welling up inside of her, threatening to explode to the exterior. She clasped her hands in front of her and squeezed her fingers, her smile a bit tight. It was her nerves, she reasoned. They were shattered, worn. And these folk...they were so different. As if they knew and understood her charade and yet were perfectly content to play along. Did they mock her? Was all of this sheer mockery and nothing more?

She wanted to retreat, to curl in on herself and get out of there. To get away from the creature that skulked in the shadows and the oh-so-calm stares that looked back at her. She held her ground. Coward? No, she was no coward. Not there, not then. She did not wish to be viewed as a coward, looked down at by the lot of them. There was something about them, something that drew her in even as it repulsed her. She did not want their disparagement.

"If it would please my lady...and her guests..." she acknowledged Isidoro and Arina with an inclination of her cheek. "I will stay." She smiled faintly, loosening her fingers, which had begun to hurt, and pushing her shoulders back. A deep breath was drawn in, then released, her calm gradually returning.

She drew her faint smile up into something a bit more vibrant, more confident, as if trying to draw the incident away from her mind and focus on the possibility of entertainment. She glanced nonetheless towards the shadows, as if trying again to eek out the location of Thales, that disturbing individual that had so rudely attacked her. Seeing nothing, she forced herself to look again at her guests, so unnerving, so discomforting. Perhaps she should have retreated. Perhaps she should have returned to her chambers.

"What would you wish to see? A soliloquy, perhaps? A song? It is a shame I have no other person to bounce off of, or I would try and dazzle you with more than just a soliloquy," she stated ruefully, heaving an almost dramatic sigh.
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Old January 11, 2010, 09:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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The shadows revealed nothing. It was as if Thales had never appeared, though it may be that the skin on her neck still tensed as if anticipating his vicious grip. Still, the calmness of the three had truly unsettled her. She had just been 'attacked', and yet the three of them sitting there, utterly untouched, unfazed, as it it was something they were used to on a Brightening to Brightening basis and that it was nothing out or ordinary when it really should be.

And then of course, there was the way that the Lord Isidoro was looking at him that was part eerie, part intriguing. He wasn't an unattractive man, but was certainly eccentric looking... giving the premature graying of the hair and that he carried the quality of the Darkening in his motions. They all did.

He turned toward his wife even before she had spoken. How... strange. As if he had known she would be the one to make the decision for all three of them, which she did, with a slightly amused tone in her voice that sounded like mocking, yet not at the same time. Her mole by her lip seemed to twitch as she spoke. She was utterly Human, this one, while the other two were clearly more than that. She lacked the grace that the other two possessed, but was obviously trying her very best to compensate for that lack.

"Sing for us, as you will, Elf. Delight us with your melodies." The Lady Arina murmured with a brief shake of her hand, bringing up the wine glass to her lips as she took a careful sip. The shadows held their own secrets, and Thales was still nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it was safest that she stuck by this trio that clearly had the power to protect her when it required.

The Lady Tepenny smiled her same disturbing smile, indicating that she too, would be charmed if Estée sang for her. The only male in their company only replied with a brief inclination of his head, his eyes never once leaving his body. It wasn't lust or attraction... it was something else entirely, something else that Etienne couldn't quite place... yet. It seemed as if they wanted something from him... but wanted him to find that out... himself.

The warm winds rose from the seas, buffeting the interior of the Manor, heralding the beginning of an unforgettable Darkening as all three pairs of eyes moved with a sublime grace over Etienne's figure.

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Old January 16, 2010, 10:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Estée drew her eyes away from the shadows, seeing nothing and certain that no amount of staring was going to yield her what she wished to see. That the rest of them had settled, as if nothing had happened at all, merely served to further force her to shove it aside. Nonetheless, she was still rattled, still disturbed. She did not like when things threw her offstride and this most certainly had done that. To give herself away like that! To so blatantly reveal that she was a he...

And yet none of them had said anything. Even though the timbre of his voice had changed in that moment of shock and fear, they had said nothing. It was too much to hope for that they hadn't noticed. These folk seemed somehow to notice everything, to draw everything in with a mere flicker of a glance, a turn of a look around the room. These folk seemed to know all, see all, to strip away the dress Estée had donned and seeing to the very heart of the matter.

And yet, if they knew, they did not openly acknowledge it. She didn't know whether that was more unnerving or relieving. Well, whatever was going on...it certainly was no relief. It didn't help that they--or perhaps simply Lord Isidoro--looked at him in such a fashion that made his blood tingle with discomfort. They were odd folks, that was certain.

Seeing the deference to the woman, Estée's brows arched, but she maintained that patient smile, touched with nerves though it might be. The Trelorean inclined her cheek towards Arina. "If it is what you wish, madame," she responded, with a slight dip of a curtsy.

Straightening, Estée worked quickly through her mind, trying to select the song that she was to sing. It was a lucky thing for her that her natural vocals--male vocals--were a high-pitched, with none of that silly baritone some men possessed. Singing, Etienne could pass for a female. That worked rather fairly in Estée's favor, she figured. There were several songs that she could have chosen, but all of them were of the same subject matter, as so many songs seemed to be. Love. She put little stock in love herself, but there it was...with few other options set out before her.

Clearing her throat, she adjusted her stand, hands clasped before her, back straightened slightly. She lifted her chin and tried a few notes first, finding her pitch and washing out any of the phlegm that might have been distorting her vocals. Once satisfied, Estée began to sing.

The vocals were in Jaedaxienne, not common, and she figured these guests above all others could respect the decision and not mind it at all. She flung herself into the song. She might not have been adept at evoking emotion as a well-trained singer might, but she knew her voice to be at least pretty, if not as honed as her acting. A song of lovers finding one another, dwelling in sweetness, avoiding the darkness of temptation. It was not a story song so much as a song that gloried in their care and love for one another.

Yet, even as she sang, her voice wavered. She was all too aware of the eyes that watched her, somehow predatory in their manner. It unnerved her, put her in mind of the individual in the shadows, waiting to jump out and grasp her by the throat, to destroy and kill. It disrupted her singing and at length Estée stopped abruptly, shaking her head, fingers pressed to her temples. "Pardonez-moi. A touch of nerves, I think. The...matter...has left me a bit uneasy, I think. Please, forgive me." She bowed her head, knowing she was quivering a little.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:02 AM   #12 (permalink)
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The three listened without expression. It was the way insofar as Lady Tepenny presented herself as an audience -- never the participant, and ever the observer, watching through her dim eyes that at the same time seem powerfully prismatic, sucking all color and life away from her surroundings. All three adopted the same posture of quiet scrutiny that of course made every passing moment even more torturous for the Elf.

"Perfectly understandable." Lord Isidoro reassured the Trelorean Elf as his wife clapped nonetheless as if she had enjoyed the song while it lasted. There was an apologetic look from the male Chelseanean as he nodded toward his wife, who acknowledged his words with a simple cant of her head.

Lady Tepenny merely looked slightly disappointed, but said nothing more, and the Lord Isidoro had began to speak again, a suggestive tone in his unusually deep voice.

"Perhaps, we should all move outside for some fresh air. I'm certain it will calm your nerves. I think it would be good for all of us." He continued, gazing at his other female companions as if seeking their approval, and beside Arina, Etienne's mistress shifted excitedly, warming to the idea almost instantly. Her voice was tremulous as she whispered, and Arina's lips curled as the only indication of her acquiescence. How these Humans were so self-contained were anyone's guess, but then again Etienne had began to have his own doubts and suspicion.

"Excellent suggestion, and it is such a beautiful Darkening after all." The Lady Tepenny remarked as she gazed outside through the open veranda where the clear Darkening sky loomed. It was indeed a rarity that the Darkening was so clear and calm since it was the Monsoon season, though as Etienne had come to learn, weather in Eunesia was almost as whimsical as their patron deity, Markalin, and could turn any moment, and very often without warning.

"Will you join us, Estée? You are new to Secyclion after all, we shall take you to the worst haunts. I insist." A chirpy laugh which seemed almost throaty to a certain degree, and something in her voice made Etienne shiver, or perhaps it was the content, that a rich, powerful woman like her would dream of going to these places on Secyclion -- and Etienne, having experienced those dredges himself personally would know that Secyclion harbored shadows that even the demons themselves would fear to thread.

"The worst?" Isidoro murmured thoughtfully, a finger on his chin.

"The worst." Etienne's mistress affirmed, turning her eyes back onto the Trelorean Elf.

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Old January 24, 2010, 08:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Estée shifted with some minor discomfort, a light flutter of her heart, as the three exchanged disappointed glances. she had tried to shift through it, but it had been...undeniable that Estée was shaken by the attack. Usually she could overcome it, but here she had remained in the room, staring at the shadows, waiting for that thing to reappear, as suddenly as it had before. The thought of something skulking so unseen simply set her teeth on edge. Estée was not keen on being surprised...particularly by someone eager to throttle him about the throat.

Estée would have retreated to her own chambers, to get away from the staring shadows around her, but for the Lord Isidoro's suggestion that they remove themselves from that place and venture outwards. She cast a look about her, examining the place, wondering if it would really be safer to venture further and deeper into the household by herself, retreating to her chambers, or if she would be safer with the three strange folk that had come to the Lady's manse. After all, it was the Lord Isidoro that had saved her to begin with...

Yes, she would be safer with these folk. Perhaps. For all their strange ways, they did not seem to mean her any harm at all.

And they were nothing if not strange.

Estée smiled at the lot of them. "Oh, oui, monsieur, that would be perfect. I could use a breath of air to calm my nerves, I think," he responded lightly, with a polite and very slight dip of a curtsy in his direction.

She only smiled a bit brighter at the twinkling suggestion that they go and visit their worst haunts. These folks did not seem the sort to visit those lower ends of the city, to delve into the darkness and bask in the depravity of men and women gone in sin. For a moment she thought perhaps that was what they meant, but she could not envision the stately Tepenny nor her guests indulging in such strange indulgences--although the brief visual in her head was both disturbing and strange at the same time.

So Etienne was curious. The worst haunts? Quite clearly they meant their favorite haunts. Or so he imagined. What else would it be? Fun, he knew that.

So Estée smiled and bobbed a complacent and eager curtsy, this time to the whole of them. "It would please me immensely to accompany you and your guests, Lady Tepenny, if you would have me."
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Old January 28, 2010, 02:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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A gondola was quickly hired, an elderly Secyclionian man who had a wizened face rowing the quaint vessel toward the new marina fashioned into the Lady Tepenny's estates.

Arthro Galanos had, of course, by what it seems was the work of a rogue mage, been sunk into the seas itself to mirror the decadent Neos Megalis in the last season, as well as reshaped a large portion of the isles. The estate was now one of its kind in the Kingdom, filled with water-themed parklands made of sea rocks and clear fresh water that filtered from the seas, a sparkling contrast to the debauched sewers of Neos Megalis. It took a bit of getting used to, but with the projects and plans that were underway from the Aedile's Office to beautify Arthro Galanos, it seemed that not all was bad with the new change after all.

When the Lady Tepenny announced her destination in flawless Eunesian, the boatman paused, surprised, lifting his head toward the woman. His oar was dipped into the waters as he slowly rocked and maneuvered the gondola out of the estates and into Nephele Bay. The Darkening was still, though it hardly gave the sensation of peace. Instead, there was a thick and undeniable tension in the air -- like something awful was about to transpire.

"Are you sure, Kyrio? That is the worst place to be, even in the Brightening." The elder boatman asked cautiously, meekly, though there was the unmistakable sound of shock in his voice.

"Yes, I am most sure of this." Etienee's mistress murmured, her voice almost cooing, belaying her utter confidence in her decision. They had all opted to dress as males before leaving the manor, and were now four dainty males garbed in finery, little Eunesian princes in their own right.

Before leaving, the three had also made sure that they were armed, and Etienne now carried a jeweled dagger concealed under her skirts that the Lord Isidoro had assured, was quite sharp and a lethal weapon capable of inflicting grieveous wounds if 'she' so wished.

For some strange reason, there was the feeling as if they were on a hunt for something. The Trelorean, most likely had never been on a hunt before, but there was the feeling that this felt like one. There was a certain anticipation -- a tension in the air fed by their livid expressions on his face, the sly and knowing smile that had so infuriated Etienne before.

Eyes fell upon them as they neared -- there were the homeless, the poor, the derelict, and of course the infamous pirates moving about, gazing at the four of them as they swayed on the waters into their territories. They stood out by far, and their opulence was reflected in the eyes of the men that watched them like hungry wolves would to antelopes.

"This is the nearest I can go, Kyria... I-" The boatman apologized as he maneuvered his gondola against the walls of the elevated platforms of Neos Megalis, the rankness of the canals so powerfully evident that Etienne would not be surprised to see a dead body bobbing here and there. Sounds of drunken revelry melded into the air at a distance, and just the faintest shriek of someone screaming as if he had just been stabbed -- the ambiance hardly peaceful; and if such was the idea of Lord Isidoro to get some 'fresh air', then he must have been a very sick man, or very bad at making jokes.

"It is fine, you have done well." Lady Arina, who had remained more or less silent throughout the entire journey had finally spoke. She had been stroking her long sword attached to her belt throughout the whole time as if she was itching to have it drawn. The Chelseannean Lord reached for his pockets and pulled out ten crowns which he handed to the grateful elder boatman who was gazing at his surroundings cautiously.

"Stay close together." The Lord Isidoro murmured thoughtfully, a strange smile on his face as he was the first to ascend the steps carved into the sides of the wall to allow people from boats like the one that ferried them to ascend up to the rest of the district. Lady Arina hurried after him, and the Lady Tepenny herself urged Etienne to climb after the Chelseannean, ascending last.

This was one part of Neos Megalis that Etienne was unlikely to have entered before -- this was the Pirate's Haven.

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Old January 29, 2010, 12:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Gone was the dress that had coyly depicted Etienne as a she rather than his rightful he and now he stood there, dressed as nature and civilization suggested he should be, at least in the Secyclonian fashion, which was to say that the clothing would have passed as feminine in cultures other than this one. The cold touch of steel and gemstones pressed against his thigh was at once both reassuring and titillating in its coolness and its firmness, but Etienne did not mind it as he strode behind the Lord and Ladies, his blood and skin giving a little thrill at this prospect of adventure that sprawled out before him. Here they went, dressed in their finest, poised to enter one of the most dangerous places of the city... Suicide, perhaps, but a daring thrill, nonetheless.

Etienne settled himself in the narrow boat that was to take them from one part of the city to another, careful not to rock it least it send them barreling into the water that surrounded them. The thrill was touched with something else. Hunting. It felt precisely like some gay outing to the meadows to stalk some precious treasure and commodity, to pierce it with an arrow and haul it back. Etienne presumed that they were merely out to hunt down some of the meatiest and most dangerous of haunts in the city. That...and a good time.

What else could he suspect of it?

Whatever it was they hunted, it sped his heart as he looked about at the eyes of his companions, at their postures. It left him straightening his back somewhat, his chin uplifted. He was in rich company--lofty company--and he was proud to comport himself among them. He had been welcomed when others in the household had not been invited. It was, to the elf, an honor...and one he was certain he could bend to his own wishes when it suited him (although it gave him a queer thrill of uncertainty to think on it, as if going up against Arina's icy stare and Isidoro's knowing gaze was somehow daunting).

He stared out at the figures that saw them--the dirty and the poor, so much more unfortunate than Etienne, who could have very well ended up like them one time ago in the past. No, perhaps not that poorly, but badly enough...his mother marrying that peasant of a man rather than someone worthy of her stature... His stare was cold and impassive as he looked back at them, unmoved by their condition...merely disgusted and hating them for their weakness, their inability to rise above their own filth. Come at me, if you dare. I'm above you.--so much could be said in just one stare.

And then they were docking and a quick survey of the area proved that, yes, this place was filthy, even if just one whiff of the place decided that. Filthy and dangerous. Yet it gave him a slight thrill, that trickle up his spine that anticipated excitement rather than dreaded it. He kept close to his companions, but not from fear--from confidence and certainty, pride in the group that had chosen him as their companion. He did not fear them now, not here. He felt a certain belonging just then, perhaps brought about by the thrill of danger that encircled him.

Outside of the boat, Etienne lingered close to Isidoro and Arina, waiting on Tepenny to remove herself from the bowels of the gondola's vessel. He did not hesitate to gain the layout of the land, reminding himself that this place was dangerous and that he needed to be on his guard. He thought again of the blade strapped under his Secyclonian skirt, shifting to feel the reassuring rub of the metal and looking at his companions. Somehow there was safety there, somehow....and yet danger enough that the thrill continued to run through him.
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