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Author Topic: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to  (Read 255 times)

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Offline Undine Licenius

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It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« on: Oct 14, 17, 02:47:55 AM »
Fall of 192 AP


Three Days Prior

Her hands chafed over her thighs. The soft material of the light woolen skirt bunched ever so faintly beneath her fingers. The hints of static charge causing the little hairs along her upper thighs and arms to raise even as her fingertips tingled ever so slightly. A nervous motion as the faint ticking of the clock across the room became her counterpoint.

The scent of burnt tobacco, vanilla, and the softening blow of citrus from the lemon oil used to polish the furniture rested heavy in a burning wave at the back of her throat. Each breath a battle to keep the smooth and serene pace set to the calm and unruffled nerves deserving of a young queen.

No matter how troubled her mind for Leviticus' sudden ire and refusal to see her; even for her to offer her polite apologies. That pain was a bit sharper. Or the fact her parents had pushed her birthday acknowledgments six months past her actual birthing day while celebrating Zephyrus' on the correct day. Another way to separate them it seemed and yet Undine took no solace in their threats being delayed.

Communications with Gaetano were difficult to work through; effort put into the simple correspondence to keep it innocent in appearance while still slipping what personal reassurances she could through. Stolen moments to nourish the bond and her own need for touch. These things she couldn't think about now. Instead, she focused on the steady tick of the clock. Each one a second slipping through her fingers.

The scuff of her foot along the carpet. Her thin house shoes dulled only by the heavier woolen socks. Her head tipped back; easing the strain on her neck from the heavy weight of her hair. Waiting, each breath focused on maintaining the pristine calm while dreading the appearance of the family matriarch. Fate was out of her hands now. Her webs were spun and all she could do was pray to the Darkness that her fate would not be too onerous.

Her shoulder's tensed as the whisper of the door opened. A bare brushing of sound and yet like thunder in the silent room. A counter to the faint huff of her breath and the tick of the clock. Footsteps that tread with the heavy confidence of the seeing. Thick soles that slapped against the tile before being muffled by the thick nap of the carpet. The whisking and rustling of heavier fall dresses indicated not only her Uncle had come but also Grandmother and Mother.

Her head turned. A carefully cultivated habit to focus on the shifting shadows of elongated gray. Another breath as she forced herself to remain seated. If she rose she would run; would flee from whatever news they brought. The three of them meant her time was up. Her clandestine meetings gone and her fate to be revealed. Her hand clenched tighter against her skirt now. Nails biting through the material until the pressure threatened to bruise the soft skin of her thighs beneath.

"Punctual at least. You will need it" Her grandmother started without preamble. No gentle warmings. No soft greetings or asking of her morning. Just a sharp word and off to business. Perhaps that was the reason her Uncle was Senator instead of the older woman.

"Being timely is a sign of respect Grandmother, as well as good breeding. " Undine couldn't help but utter. Her voice soft; forced to keep from accusatory or mocking despite the double-edged meaning found there. She had been on time and they had not. So polite. She forced the calm mask away. Her mind miles away- running from the terror as she tried to conjure the sharp scent of the ocean. The smell of sun-warmed sands and the salty spray. The vague hints of fish that was pushed away by the constant breeze.

"None of that sass girl. Your Uncle has done you a great favor and you will be grateful for it." The woman paused long enough for Undine's stomach to clench in fear. Her mouth drying and without a means to once more moisten it to fight the continued nausea of nervousness. No longer could she hear the steady rush of waves, the sharp piercing cry of ocean birds, and the sound of the sand shifting beneath her feet. Instead, the clock once more picked up its hammering within her skull. The gravel and hoarse from her grandmother's voice too loud and too encompassing to push away.

"You are to travel in two months to Mutina and present yourself to the District Queen. From there she has agreed to allow you to take a trial two-year contract of ruling the villages Este and Quinto" Rule? They proposed she rule? With what court? Undine wanted to scream or run. At the very least she wanted to curl against her Male and take the comfort from his steady strength. She knew she was too young. Any politics there would easily eat her alive and here she was being cast to the sharks.

Better this than a brood mare The thought touched her mind and rested there as a faint and ironic comfort. Three months to figure out how she was going to form a court and what she was looking for in each male that would add his strength to hers. That her cousin would come to serve as First Escort offered her some comfort. He was not bonded, but the ties of friendship were better than nothing.

"Well? Thank your Uncle for his efforts on your behalf. Political favors that could have been better spent" That voice again pounded on her until Undine lifted her head. Lips parted and formed a smile that boarded so close to a snarl for the tightness of her mouth.

"Thank you, Uncle, for your generosity" It hurt to put the words out in such a neutral and mild tone. Still she managed before rising. Not waiting for them to bid her leave. A minor rebellion as she went to leave without their bidding her first.

"I shall go ready myself then. Was there anything else?" Standing while they remained seated. A minor powerplay and yet one she used to help push back the terror. Not once crossing her mind to ask Gaetano to follow her; she instead feared losing him. Draega is where he served; the Senate and the people needed his cool leadership and deserved it more than she ever would.

"Your birthday celebration will be held in three days. We have already compiled a guest list. Make certain to be presentable and pleasant company." Her mother's words were an afterthought. Another heaping of their control over her life. She would be her Uncle's pawn in Faro and from there each movement would be his game of chess. How could she go from the piece to the player?

"Of course Mother.. Uncle, Grandmother... Good day" Stately as possible she turned and walked towards the door. The air chilled about her for more reasons than the weather change. Sent away; to a place she did not know.

---------------------------

Start of Party


She felt sick. Everything in her wanted to curl up and hide in her rooms and not come down. No matter she could hear and smell the work going into the preparations. Favorites from roasted and stuffed pheasant to the sweet and sticky honey bread. Foods that would have once had her nibbling instead made her wish to pull the blankets over her head.

The only positive remained that her family had invited all of her Uncle's colleagues; which meant that Gaetano would not stand out in attendance. She only hoped to find him before they made the proud announcement of her appointment to her first court. An announcement she was to look gracious and pleased about despite the terror that had her often wishing to shriek and rail against the unfairness of the fates.

Instead, she had sat still while her hair was arranged in the looping and intricate braids before being pinned up with costly amber combs. She knew this because her maid had crooned over the bit of new jewelry to adorn Undine. The pretty amber combs to go with the seed pearl and gold net that would affix a good portion of her hair in place. Her thick silk dress that bound tight against her ribs and breasts; pushing them upwards until the cool air upon them told Undine she was showing an immodest amount of cleavage. Until her skin was able to gather air better than her compressed lungs.

She remained still as the final preparation was done. A faint bit of carmine to stain her lips a pretty red. The gentle application of the palest blushes to add color to her cheeks. Eyes were lined with khol and lashes thickened so that even downcast they made a pretty sight against her brown-gold skin. Dressed and trussed up like the poor roast peacock. All the feathers arranged prettily and yet ready to be consumed.

Undine allowed herself to be lead and positioned near her family in the receiving line. A soft greeting and thank you for attendance escaping her as the guests filed in. Numb and yet painfully aware of awaiting two males; for two very different reasons.



Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #1 on: Oct 17, 17, 11:30:59 AM »
"Tullia, darling, you're fidgeting."

Prisca's soft voice was only a gentle infringement on the quiet of the carriage's interior, but it was enough. The young Priestess across from her immediately pressed her hands together in her lap, ceasing the nervous and habitual twining of her fingers. Prisca smiled to herself and watched as Tullia drew a breath and silently calmed her own nerves, a trick Prisca had taught the fidgety girl years ago. She wasn't nervous so much as she was just excited, Prisca knew. Still, it wouldn't do to have her seem nervous, not with her pedigree. The Livius line was old and well-respected, that reputation aided in no small part by Prisca's centuries of steady work in the Senate. Tullia was a bright, lovely girl, and it was possible she'd take her mother's place in the Senate one day. One far off day, if Prisca had any say about it. Tullia was only just seeing her one hundredth year, and had a long path to walk before she'd be ready to take up such a heavy mantle, Prisca thought.

"You can hardly blame her for being nervous," Cato said, from Prisca's side. He watched his sister with a playfully malicious sort of smile, the kind that warned all involved that something less sympathetic was coming next. "It's not everyday our little Tully gets to show off in front of her beau."

Prisca's brows lifted in interest and surprise, while color clawed its way up Tullia's chest and neck and her mouth tightened.

"Shut up, Cato. You don't know what you're talking about," the Priestess objected, huffing softly as she turned her face away from her brother. But he did know, of course. Not only was he very aware of how hopeful Tully was to see a certain male at this little soiree, he knew exactly what he'd done in bringing up the matter in front of their mother.

"Tullia?" Prisca prompted, with a touch of humor. "Is there something you'd like to say?"

"No, Mother," Tullia replied, with a softness and respect that pleased Prisca well enough to let the matter lie for now. Tullia was a smart girl, and that pleased Prisca as much as anything. "Cato's just trying to start trouble. As usual." She shot a look at her brother at the last, but he only laughed and shook his head. All three in that carriage knew that Tullia'd just told a lie, but there were other things to focus on at the moment. It wasn't as though not dragging Tully into conversation about it right now meant Prisca wouldn't be watching very closely this evening to see where Tully's attention wandered, anyway.

The carriage settled to a halt, and Prisca had to suppress the urge to admonish her children with last-minute instructions about manners and decorum. Young as they both were (even Cato only had fifty years on his baby sister), neither of them were adolescents any longer. They were both respectable socialites, with their own skills and plans and goals. The urge to mother them would never go away, but Prisca did succeed in holding her tongue while they waited for the porter to open the carriage.

Prisca was slow in working the reception line, mostly because she was personally acquainted with most of the people in it. Most had already met these two of her children as well, as they were her youngest and the most likely to be shadowing her about at work.

"My goodness, Lady Licenius," Prisca greeted the Queen, when she reached her in the line. "I don't think I've ever seen you quite so resplendent. My compliments, Lady." She paused, consciously allowing a second for Undine's help to relay who it was standing before her, and then stepped aside a little to introduce Tullia and Cato. "I don't think you've met Cato and Tullia," she said, placing a hand on Cato's elbow, as he was nearest.

"Good evening, Lady Licenius," Tullia said, sweetly with a perfect bow despite the unseeing Queen who received it. "It's lovely to meet you."

Cato also bowed, but if Undine's handler made it possible, he'd offer a kiss to the Queen's knuckles as well.

"At your service, my Lady," he said, by way of introduction.

"I know that you are occupied receiving your guests at this moment," Prisca said to the Queen, once introductions were done. "But I've a matter I'd like to discuss with you, when you have a moment tonight. I promise I won't keep you from your festivities for long," she assured the woman, with a broad smile.

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #2 on: Oct 17, 17, 07:20:39 PM »
Sweet Magnolia and Amber did not belong together; whoever concocted that perfume should have been drawn and quartered. Undine had to fight to keep from sneezing or choking at the cloud of fragrance that floated around the Priestess she was welcoming; that combined with the smoky musk of incense and it was an olfactory assault. A good thing her dress laced so tightly she couldn't really draw a deep breath.

Her smile remained tight on her lips as Livius stood behind her. His hand on her shoulder helped brace the Queen and keep her faced in the correct direction. The whisk of dresses, the clatter of shoes, low rumble of voices, and the piercing scrape of tuning instruments. The cacophony twined and tangled together diverting her attention into a million different directions.

Polite greetings left her by rote. Smiles and shallow curtseys; she moved on automation. Was Leviticus still angry with her? The worry nagged and chewed at her leaving that part of her heart and mind ragged and moth eaten. An old and ragged wound that continued to push at her emotional stability even as the bond between her and Gaetano stretched thin with a sharp piercing throb over the time apart.

Then Senator Livius was before her. Polite and stately; her perfume a pleasant and elegant scent that didn't conflict with her occupation or natural odor. A refreshing break in an otherwise torturous never ending line of greetings. Her smile softened from a border grimace into something more natural.

" A pleasure Senator Livius. I am humbled by your kind compliments. Your perfume is the loveliest scent I have encountered this evening.." A compliment for a compliment. It wasn't as if she could tell the woman about her beauty but scent was important to the blind queen. Enough that Gaetano would have won her on that alone.

"A pleasure to meet you as well Lady Livius..." Her hand was taken for the courtier's kiss. While Tullia's voice was soft and sweet; a kind enough sound her brother's voice was something else. Pleasant enough of a tenor; rich and accented to their upper echelons. His touch was proper and polite; the kiss just the correct amount of pressure and nothing more.

"You are too kind Lord Livius" She felt his bow; the shift in the way his hand held hers before he rose. Well tutored and mannerly enough to keep his grip for pulling too firmly and topple her already precarious balance.

"I hope that you both enjoy the festivities this evening. My Uncle has graciously provided several entertainments for the evening including a set up for friendly gambling" Her hand withdrew from Cato's when polite to do so. He wasn't hers; not in the way Gaetano was. Nothing lacking but Undine felt neutral enough towards the warlord; outside his pleasant voice and the scent of sandalwood that clung faintly to him- enough that she could scent it but not so much she was drowning in it. That alone elevated him above many of the other young Lords attending the party.

Prisca's invitation to speak was a slight suprise. Accustomed to thinking of herself as still a schoolroom bound queen instead of a future ruling queen Undine thought herself beneath the Senator's attentions; outside of manners. Instead she inclined her head in acquiescence.

"I would be happy to meet with you once I am available, Senator." Undine found herself honestly replying; perhaps it was the smile she heard in Prisca's voice, or simply relief of escape. Anything to distract her from the worry, anxiety, and press of scents and sounds around her. Sensations that, in this volume, became threats to overwhelm her and reasons she hated events this crowded. As guest of honor and hostess Undine couldn't even take the polite escape of pleading ill to leave early; she would be expected to dance attendance on each of her guests and politely speak to those who sought her out.

"Until then please enjoy yourselves. My Grandmother has released some of our finer vintages for the evening" Undine would pause before bracing herself for the next guest.



Offline Leviticus Agrippa

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #3 on: Oct 21, 17, 12:37:39 PM »
An invite to a highborn party, and someone he knew to boot.  The letters he had received still laid stacked upon his desk even as his fingers worked over the soft rich vellum of the invitation.  He knew it should be tossed aside, burned like the bridge she had set ablaze many moons before and yet he sat it down upon his desk as he perused his dated calendar, he knew almost instinctively that the day was free and in that regard he gave a suffered groan as he confirmed what he already knew on paper.  It would require proper grooming and dress, a fair few hours to get everything in place for himself to step out into the spotlight so to speak of the current ebb and flow of social activities.

The invitation was stacked neatly upon the letters as the days took by, time spent between organization of the attempt to neutralize the slave rebellion, and the work he did upon the Senate, and still he cursed his dead family that forced him into those roles as they perished. This was not supposed to be his responsibility or life.  He should have been free to choose and do as was his own will, and yet now he still felt it.  The words on a letter she didn't even write herself.  The coiling mass of anger spread out through his mind before softening the rage with a deep breath.

The day of the party came all to quick and he found himself standing under a deluge of hot water, nearly boiling along his skin as he took in the soothing offerings of near boiling pain and the steam to help relax his body.  All too quickly he found his clothing pulled on, buttoned and cinched tight in all the right places before his boots were pulled onto his feet.  A hand waved as his weapons stored themselves away in his own personal little storage before the telltale click of his boots over the floor lead him from his home. 

He let his gaze fall here and there as his time was taken, travelling through the streets, enjoying the well constructed buildings and homes that flaunted the opulence and wealth. Not that he didn't have either but in his mind money was better used when needed rather than wasted on the cosmetic.  His destination was close and with a raised glance he followed the few people who were there in front of him.

The three in front of him posed ample opportunity for him to slow his gait, allow the situation to soak in so to speak and watch the current of conversation take place.  As they took off into the crowd he stepped forward, his voice a touch chilly as he greeted the guest of honor at that particular party. "Lady Licenius.  A pleasure I believe." He greeted before taking her hand and leaning over it as if to kiss in greeting though his lips never touched the skin, "My appreciation for the invitation, though no doubt you are busy.  Hopefully all goes well tonight."

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #4 on: Oct 21, 17, 05:12:58 PM »
Undine felt him. How, out of all the combinations of Rose and Purple Dusk, she could pinpoint that masculine signature she couldn't say. All the Blood Opal Queen knew was that he had come and relief passed through her. It made her anxious in waiting for Prisca and her two adult children to move on. Eager to speak with him and try for some sort of mending to the rift placed between their families.

Finally, he moved before her. His fingers touching hers until she felt the chill of his mood chase across her flesh. The emotional strike that had her almost jerk back in a pain that seared too deeply for the continued anger of a former friend. Every ounce of control poured into keeping her expression calm and pleasantly smiling. No matter the slight tear brightness to her eyes; she remained composed.

Instead of the cold distance of his words, Undine focused upon the heavy fall of her dress. The weight of the silk flowing until it pooled at her feet. The constriction and bite of the corseted top became her touchstone until the words uttered could be stripped of emotion. Until she could push away six months of doubt and hurt into a tiny package at the back of her mind and be the Queen she was raised to be.

"Senator Agrippa... A pleasure always. I am honored that you could attend this evening. Please call upon me after the reception line. I believe I have several dances still available" Polite she had to be polite even if she felt the cold and socially perfect words cut at her. Part of her wanted to cry at the hopelessness. He would not release his anger.

A lesson in holding her temper and one too late. Already her head throbbed and the promise of Gaetano even seemed dim for this fresh hurt lancing her.

"I pray the entertainments are to your satisfaction. My Uncle is looking forward to making an exciting announcement this evening." Her polite dismissal. A sending through the line. Livius' fingers tightened upon her shoulder, steadying her even as she shifted from one foot to the other; easing the pain of the pinching shoes that she already plotted on how to lose over the evening.



Offline Leviticus Agrippa

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #5 on: Oct 21, 17, 06:33:05 PM »
The warmth of her hand caused a jolt through his mind and body.  A feeling washed over him of indescribable comfort as he paused over her hand unable to move in that moment as he nearly relished in the touch. Suddenly the cold words and echoing pain in him seemed distant and wrong. A twisting of his mind and words, that betrayed the need his body was now demanding of that touch in his palm.

The mist that had dulled his mind was swept and washed away in the following of that single touch of hand to hand.  He could just imagine the look on his face as she heard the words that he had just spoken and yet he needed to push that away.  Lips touched the back of her palm as his hands squeezed her own.  Lingering just a touch too long savouring that innocent touch before he raised his head, slow to release his hold on her hand.

He was not composed enough for this party, not with the blistering heat that seared through his mind and washed away the pain and hatred he had been harboring.  Though with the greeting he would be forced to stay, it was an untenable situation he found himself in. It was with agonizing hesitation that felt that hand slip from his own as he raised his gaze back to her features.

"Lady Licenius." He started, paused as he flickered towards Livius before he obeyed the dismissal. There was nothing more to be stated in that moment as he bowed once more despite the fact that the action would be lost upon her before he turned to head deeper into the swarming mass of people that would be with the party.  "I'll look forward to that dance." He uttered as he passed by her, his voice soft in that respect though in his head he could still feel that blissful warmth that had wrapped around him and soothed that raging in his core.

Instinct demanded him to turn around back towards her and yet he had been dismissed, with any hopes they would speak more later in the night, though he would have rather done so in the here and now, at that very moment and the public be damned. No doubt however had he done just that, it would have turned out very poorly, not something he would have been able to easily justify or explain..

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #6 on: Oct 25, 17, 11:25:35 PM »
Undine felt the second bow; the soft warmth of his lips against her flesh. Tension uncoiled from around her stomach and her heart slowed just a bit. Even with the dress, she could breathe just a bit easier. There was a chance to find again that comfortable friendship they had formerly held. Her fingers curled for a just a moment holding tighter to his hand.

"Me as well Senator" She echoed softly. Her tone softer; a little more personal than the proper and forced words earlier. Livius's fingers squeezed her shoulder in reassurance before Undine returned to her duties. Each polite greeting and generous compliment a wore on her and dimmed any hope of one particular prince arriving.

Leviticus' departure felt as she turned back to the line with a dutiful sigh. A polite smile once more touched her lips. Who were these people's valets? Did they not understand that scent was meant to accent not be marinated in? Others held her hand too tightly until she wanted to jerk it back in revulsion.

Steady and stately enough Undine held her spot until the greetings started to slow down and her feet and back were beginning with the low ache that signaled the end of her endurance. These shoes were going into the first stashing place she could bump against. Gone; never to be seen again.

When the line had trickled down enough Undine separated herself from the receiving line. Her hand slipped over Livius' arm with the easy companionship that came from their long-standing relationship. The Warlord Prince and his patience as he guided her through the packed ballroom towards Senator Livius. The woman's perfume faint and mingling with the others until the mixture of scents threatened to remove any hints of an appetite from her thoughts.

~ I can be thankful now for the tightness of this darned dress~ Undine sent the wry comment to her cousin. His soft snort of laughter telling her that she scored her mark. Their swaying path paused as she felt the male give a polite bow to the Senator. Undine echoed with a faint curtsy of her own; the pinching of the top keeping her from the usual fluid grace found in her looser clothing.

"Senator Livius, I hope you have been enjoying yourself this evening thus far... If you were wishing a word I am available at your pleasure." She could hear the strains of music turning towards dancing and vaguely looked forward to the one activity she could actually enjoy at these sorts of crushed parties. Tonight it appeared she would be brushing up on her warming craft to ward off the chill as she escaped into the gardens as often as she could politely.




Offline Danae Agrippa

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #7 on: Nov 07, 17, 07:50:24 PM »
The strain between Leviticus and herself had shown itself once more this evening. Unable to gather herself together quick enough, Leviticus told her he would see her at the part and ensured she had proper escort. At least he had given her an affectionate peck upon blushed cheek before whisking off as if the Lady Licenius wanted to see him more than her best friend.

The ache however rose in her chest because something was wrong with her dearest brother and a Healer unable to pinpoint and fix the source of that pain was a death within. They were speaking once more and things had grown more at ease but still nothing as close as they had been up until the large blow out between him and Undine. What a shame... she thought as she twirled her necklace between her fingers. A gift of apology from Leviticus and thusly all the more important to wear it.

Protocol dictated that she wait in the horrendously long line to see Undine but she was growing anxious making small talk with others while waiting to greet Undine. It was when she saw Undine escorted away by her cousin that she wanted to huff at having waited only to miss her best friend. No matter, Danae was a patient woman and she would eventually have the pleasure of working her way over to socialize with Undine. For the moment she resolved herself to finding her brother. As per usual he was sulking about but she was determined to try to be a bit of sunshine in his rather dreary current existence.

"There you are brother mine. I have worried I might have lost you amongst this grand crowd" Danae said with a bright smile as she pecked him on the cheek and managed to wrap her arm in his. Like it or not she was staying at his side "You do realize how very rude it was for you to run off on me and make me come over with that boorish male. You are much more entertaining when you decide to be stoic."

Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #8 on: Nov 07, 17, 08:11:42 PM »
Prisca had not been idle while waiting for Undine's attention. Any social gathering presented a banquet of opportunities, the flavors shifting depending on the demographic present. The Licenius family was well enough off that a number of influential Senators and aides were already present, and Prisca spent her time laying down a bit of social lubricant. She gave out pretty smiles and promises for lunches like they were gemstones bequeathed to lucky recipients, and very subtly kept an eye on both Cato, who lingered at her elbow, and Tullia, who gradually let more space stretch out between herself and her mother. It was child's play for the seasoned senator to figure out which male it was that Cato had teased his sister about in the carriage; when he arrived shortly after the Livius' had, the young Priestess had lit up like a globe of witchlight. Prisca studied the Agrippa senator for a beat. Just a beat, hardly visible between strains of conversation, and made a mental note to look more deeply into the young man later. For the moment she was pleased, however. If he was indeed the target of Tullia's fondness, then the younger Livius had some sense about her after all.

Prisca was laughing softly at a joke that wasn't nearly as humorous as its speaker thought it was when she noticed Undine starting towards her. She timed her dismissal of her current conversational partner such that she was only just free in time to turn and receive the blind Queen's approach.

"Of course, dear," she assured her host, the smile on her face warming her tone of voice. "How could I not, in an estate as lovely as this one? It's a charming gathering, Lady Licenius, really." She reached for Undine's hand, though she merely offered her own before a polite pause wherein Undine's help could advise her of the offer. Such simple gestures were easy for the veteran socialite, who wouldn't miss a beat whether Undine accepted the hand or not.

"I've heard you are to be seated on a throne soon, Lady Licenius. Is that so? If that's true you have my heartfelt congratulations."

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #9 on: Nov 08, 17, 11:08:26 AM »
Her cousin turned Escort had danced these parties with her for years. Knew how to guide her and help her mask her deficient eyesight from those who would be less understanding about social gaffes. Subtle cues and silent conversations guided her to physical response. Vocally she needed little aide. Her mind and ears were sharp enough to make up for the dimness of her sight.

Her hand rose and placed lightly on Senator Livius' hand. Her touch the gentle and reserved pressure she reserved for such meetings. It grounded her enough to center on the woman without seeming to clingy for the polite contact. Her other hand left her escort's arm, leaving the Warlord Prince there to stand as an efficient statue. If he wished to move through the influential of Draega while she made polite conversation Livius didn't let on with his expression or stance. All appearances gave the indication he would wait patiently for the Queen he escorted.

"I am delighted to hear that Senator Livius. I hope your two charming children are also enjoying themselves." She hated how inane the polite inquiries sounded. Enjoyment was either found or not found at these gatherings. Sometimes there were even suprise arrivals a year later from a particularly salacious party. Not that Undine intended this one go that route. It was bad enough she was being banished from Draega that her brother might have more freedom from association with her.

The mention of her assuming a throne would have earned a scowl. Instead she just gave a teasing little laugh. Her lashes dipping enough to be considered polite in not afflicting Prisca with their out of focus stare.  "Well to my understanding they are two small villages... So less of a throne and more a wicker chair" A teasing play on the landen spring and harvest celebrations that invoked their own customs of crowning harvest and spring queens.

"I appreciate the sentiment though. My uncle was most generous in helping find me a placement while still so young" Undine knew the party line. Tonight she was to play the gracious and nervously excited young queen. It would mask her anger and dread at leaving Draega where her friends were and where Gaetano spent a majority of his time. She wanted to drag Danae with her; but until Leviticius was feeling more himself she didn't dare ask her friend to come.

"Though I just pray to Mother Night that I am up to the task of forming my court and managing the duties required of my caste." The one winning portion of being sent to Faro was that Gaetano's off season home was there and Michaela ruled the entire province. The reassurance that her mentor was at least close to hand enough to assist her in settling nerves; if not her hurt and anger at being sent away. No matter if her family had known who she had bonded with they would have happily kept her there at hand; in hopes of forming a more official role for the two of them.

The strains of dance music reached over the din of voices. Her head tipped just slightly and for a moment the look of longing crossed her features before being masked away. Firstly the shoes had to go; something she was seconds from asking Livius to vanish off. Secondly she still had to make all her rounds until Senator Agrippa claimed his dance.



Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #10 on: Nov 08, 17, 12:41:54 PM »
"Oh, I'm certain they are," Prisca said, a touch dismissively even as her gaze wandered over the party to touch on each of the children in question. "Youth has a way of thrilling at the simplest of social gatherings. A soiree as lovely as this one has surely provided them no end of delight. They are charming, I think, though it's kind of you to say as much on faith," she said, a touch of tease slipping into her tone. While it was common courtesy to refer favorably to the children of those one respected, Prisca was quite aware of how little time either of her children had spent in the blind Queen's presence. That was, in part, why Prisca was speaking to Undine now.

The Priestess laughed softly, politely, at Undine's "wicker chair" comment, and patted the Queen's hand reassuringly. "Now, now, my dear," she warmly chided, every bit the doting mother. "We must all pay our dues, mustn't we? Even those most blessed by the Darkness with the caste meant to rule. I feel you're a capable young woman, Lady Licenius, but even so, the art of ruling requires as much practice and education as being useful in a Senate seat. I think it's a perfect place to begin your tenure as one of Hayll's ruling gems. It may be well removed from the bustle of Draega, but it seems Faro will have plenty of excitement of its own in the coming months." Her tone sobered some towards the last, as she considered the matter of the fugitive slaves who'd made their way towards the south. It was a troubling thing indeed, the though of all of those animalistic thugs running amok. Order would be restored. Of that, the Senator had little doubt. The question was whether the Praetorian would be able to squash the little revolt before any damage was done to Hayll's more law-abiding citizens. Well, any more than what was already accomplished with the loss of the Colosseum.

"Are you nervous about moving to Faro Province?" she asked, turning more towards Undine. "I have faith in the state's ability to restore order quickly, but I will admit it's an intimidating thing, to think of going there, so near to the angered rabble."

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #11 on: Nov 08, 17, 11:46:35 PM »
"I agree fully Senator" Undine smiled in a softening warmth that offered a sense of conspiratorial trust. " I am most honored to take the position and don't begrudge my wicker chair" The nonsense about being darkness blessed was ignored. Brushed away as false and empty flattery. Queens may heal the land but the Senate ruled it in truth. Undine knew exactly which way her bread was buttered.

"I find myself preferring the country in truth. Sometimes the crush of Draega can get a bit much. More so when the current trend is to marinate in one's scent rather than, as you so wisely do, apply only a hint." Social words that hid her discomfort at being sent away. The real reason she despised leaving Draega. The mention of Faro's excitement earned a little frown. In many ways, Undine could understand the anger and the frustration of the former slaves. The ambition to reclaim some power for themselves after their lives were molded to the designs of others for so long.

She wouldn't know the agonies they suffered. An aristo queen never suffered more than the bruised cheek from an open-handed blow. Still, her sympathy for the 'rabble' would not be felt or returned in the mixed company of the gala so she just gave a little sigh of regret.

"So I have heard. I am assured that my travel there will be safe and my guard along with escort will be ample enough" Undine kept her tone confident. She trusted that the men would keep the rabble mostly under control. Besides who would want to wish harm on a Queen? They were vital to the land and keeping it healthy and whole. That knowledge alone gave her a false sense of security. The same security that saw her walking the slums of Draega during her charity days; or the ones that allowed strange senators to walk her out of a party. No one had actually ever threatened her fully. Her life was secured and formulated to walk along a set path. That her actions as a queen would advance her family and the fruit of her womb would catapult the Licenius line to a premier status.

"My sincerest hope is that our government will be able to find a peaceful resolution for the former gladiators." That was as much as she would offer for her discomfort. The forced fighters deserved reparations. No amount of money would undo the harm they suffered but it would help those who survived build new lives. Anything had to be better than being considered insurrectionists in a land they may have once called home.

"Something, I have no doubt our good Senators are working tirelessly on achieving." The music stanza changed. From a stately waltz to a spirited cotilian. She itched to dance it with Livius' steady hand beneath hers to guide her through each movement. It wasn't Livius she wanted to dance with though. She longed for the warmth and acceptance of Gaetano's hand; the sensuality that came from that. Missed the steady and spirited warmth that Leviticus once provided in his companionship.



Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #12 on: Nov 09, 17, 09:54:45 AM »
"Is that so?" Prisca replied, betraying a note of amused surprise in her voice at Undine's insistence that she preferred the country. "How refreshing. So many of our young people are too eager to be caught up in more cosmopolitan concerns. Sadly, none of the very important issues facing our nation will be solved on a dance floor. The old adage about waltzing making and breaking regimes is charming, but mere fancy. It is hard work and focus that will assure Hayll's future, and nothing less."

The young Queen expressed her hope that a "peaceful" resolution would be found for the "former gladiators". Prisca was quiet for just a beat, nothing terribly noteworthy except that it was rare for the Senator to need a pause at all. It took that pair of seconds for Prisca to bite back her initial response, and to remind herself that youth often tended to tint one's glasses rose. "Peace" would return when the errant slaves were returned to their place. Or killed, perhaps. They had, after all, caused an ungodly amount of damage to one of Hayll's most ancient and profitable institutions.

"I'm afraid the rabble has moved past the Senate's ability to help them," she did say, navigating carefully through the urge to chastise the woman for her bleeding heart. This only affirmed in her mind the need for Cato to join Undine in Faro. She needed a strong and grounded head nearby to offer advice more useful than what the girl was coming up with on her own. "Hayll depends on civilized discourse, Lady Licenius. They have shown already their preference for chaos instead. Should there somehow manifest an organized faction from within them that could approach the senate for consideration, that would be a different story, perhaps. But it seems unlikely that such will occur, and in the meantime, they are a dangerous and unruly menace.

"That is why I have decided to lend you some aid in your new venture,"
she said, segueing into a smile and a lighter tone of voice. She sent a thread to Cato, summoning him to her side. As he approached, Prisca continued.

"My son Cato has been serving the Territory Court under Lady Aurelius. His contract has ended, however, and rather than re-sign him there, I have asked him to serve a term in your court." She paused there for a beat, as she expected the news to be shocking. Cato was merely a warlord but he was a Sapphire, and to step back from the Territory (even though he was in one of the least of the circles) to serve in a District or below was unheard of. "He is young, and he has many years ahead of him in which he can serve in the land's higher courts. For now, I think it is more important that our gems are sufficiently protected. Ahh, here he is. Cato, my dear, how are you finding the party?"

"Mother. Lady Licenius," Cato greeted the pair, with a neat bow of respect to each. He smiled at his mother's question. "I find it quite beautifully arranged, much like our hostess," he said, with a nod of his head towards the blind Queen.

"Indeed," Prisca hummed, lightly. "I've just told Lady Licenius about your impending move to Faro. Would you kindly assure her that you desire to go as much as I desire to send you?"

"Yes, of course. It would be my honor, in fact, to see that you are kept safe and aided in any way possible, Lady Licenius. But with respect, Mother," he said, shifting his attention back to the Priestess for a beat, with a mildly chiding looking creeping into his expression. "Surely you meant to say that you offered my move to Faro?" He switched his gaze back to Undine, warmed with kindness. "It is, of course, the Lady's choice whether she'll have me in her service or not."

If Prisca could've rolled her eyes without looking petty, she would have.

"Yes, of course. Though I can't imagine a Queen forming a new court would turn down a Sapphire, no matter how esteemed and well bred the young man who came along with it," she replied, enough merriness in her tone to make the matter a light one, still.

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #13 on: Nov 09, 17, 11:26:32 AM »
" If waltzing were to solve society's issues then I feel Hayll would be a utopia among nations. Unfortunately we still have our issues to attend as most sovereign nations do" She replied simply. Undine hated playing this game and bandying. She knew the woman had called her over for more than just congratulating her on the recent promotion. A note or word at entry would have sufficed for that. Faro was the perilous seat for its queens currently. The slaves had gone there and both Leviticus and Gaetano had shared concern over the province's fate.

No doubt the village queen had vacated her position to seek retirement further inland and away from the escape route the Slaves were taking from Hayll. At least, Undine assumed it was an escape route. Prisca's remark about civilized discourse made the younger queen want to laugh. Is that what Hayll was calling fucking for favors these days? Or perhaps it was civilized for those people to be enslaved because Hayllian aristocrats were making marks off each drop of blood shed? Words she bit back and kept her features focused to the smooth and polite expression expected of a Queen who had yet to reach her seventh decade.

Then Prisca cut to the point in such a pretty way. A way that had Undine's expression turn to shock as she caught her breath at the implication of her son being lended to her. That he would take the demotion downwards into a village court, even for the minute term of a year, was unheard of and something she would have protested if Prisca had given her a moment to collect her thoughts.

"That is most" Presumptuous "Considerate of you Senator Livius. I appreciate you ask him to consider interviewing with me" Undine decided she needed to be a bit firmer. Michaela would not have allowed for such presumption but then her Father had far more standing than Undine's family. Still, the Blood Opal Queen figured that even if she came from peasant stock Michaela would have taken a no nonsense approach to things.

~ Polite but firm Diane.. You must be polite~ The words brushed against her mind. Her cousin's reminder enough to keep her from scoffing at Cato's flirtatious words. They were sweet and complimentary and no doubt he earnestly offered them. Would they ring the same as those stunned and less practiced words that had moved her frozen heart? I believe I am yours Simple and straight forward. The call wasn't there with Cato. He would be another attempted puppeteer. Another moment before she touched a soft smile to her lips. A little bob of a curtsy offered to the warlord. He wore the sapphire and that deserved respect.

"You are generous in your praise Lord Livius. I am relieved to hear you are enjoying the gala" Inwardly Undine was kicking herself. She should have let Gaetano move forward with his plans; whatever they were. It couldn't have been as awkward as this. Trying to make polite conversation while the warlord's mother offered him up like a new book at the local lending library. At least Cato seemed to find some bemusement in it. His tone chiding and while silken smooth, like any other court trained politician, he held some humor. Perhaps she could work with him. Rejecting him would be untenable. An insult to both Senator Livius and Cato.

"Senator Livius is correct. Though young enough to still plead youthful folly, I am not so foolish as to turn away any wishing to aid me in gaining the experience needed to serve Hayll in the capacity Mother Night chose for me" She fell back on her old ploy. The pious and sweet Queen who kept her chastity as penance for whatever sin stole her eyesight. The tightness under Prisca's voice was hard to detect beneath the strains of music and Undine could only depend on her past histories with her family to understand that the Priestess was less than pleased at being reminded the blind child queen would have final say to her maneuverings.

"I would be most honored to have a private interview with you at a quieter time Lord Livius. That we might see if we suite one another well enough to work together" There she was polite and non-committal. Perfectly proper even as she knew that Cato would be coming with her to Faro even if she ended up despising him; because her family would wish the continued alliances with other households. Already Undine was trying to figure out where to place him in her first circle. There was time for that later.

"Assuming you wish to serve within my court?" So careful to keep her words professional and polite. No room for double entendre or way for him to assume he would be serving more than just his politics to her.



Offline Zephyrus Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #14 on: Nov 09, 17, 12:10:58 PM »
Though Zephyrus was, of course, at this celebration, he had been sent on various errands and included into a great many conversations that kept him wandering far away from the receiving line that Undine stood rigidly in, greeting her guests. He did not need to brush against her mind to know her mood. He was not blind to the tight expression on her face, the stiff set to her shoulders, even as she feigned enough etiquette and warmth to fool everyone else. It seemed as though the more she spoke with others, the more internally upset she grew. Zephyrus assumed that Undine’s unnamed Bonded male had not yet shown himself, else she would have appeared more relieved and relaxed.

Or maybe he had and they were staying apart for appearances.

Whatever the case, he chose to let her suffer, just a bit, before letting his conversations and greetings circle him within earshot of her. Undine had been cornered for a great length of time with the Lady Prisca Livius and it was only a small surprise to see her son Cato as well. With a welcoming smile on his face, Zephyrus approached, saying, “Undine, this must be quite the conversation tonight. You haven't moved in nearly an hour.” He gave polite nods and bows to the other participants. “A great pleasure to see you again, Lord Livius. And you honor us with your presence, Lady, thank you. I hope that you are enjoying tonight’s event and my sister’s company.”

While his attention was on their two guests, Zephyrus privately said to Undine, **You look positively uncomfortable. Has Prisca been attempting to maneuver you into all of her ambitious plans or something?** Truthfully, Zephyrus only half cared about how Undine was handling all of this. The other half of him cared about hearing ambitious plans in case it furthered his own advancement. He wasn’t above letting Undine squirm a little for the trouble she had caused months ago, though he was nearing the point of feeling it petty to continue it much further.

Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #15 on: Nov 10, 17, 12:08:36 PM »
"As I said, Lady, it would be my honor," Cato affirmed with soft amusement warming his voice. He bowed his head in a respectful nod, and spoke again even as his mother opened her mouth, neatly subverting whatever her response would have been to Undine's insistence on an interview. "I will wait to hear from you, then. Send word when you are ready, and we shall speak of how I might aid you." Prisca's mouth was pressed into a slightly firmer line than normal, and she watched her son for a quiet beat instead of the Queen. If there were psychic threads being exchanged, there was no other sign of it given.

The Senator was even less pleased at the fact that there was suddenly an additional voice in their little conversation. She shifted her attention smoothly towards Zephyrus, who not only had the gall to interrupt and insert his voice into the conversation, but who greeted Cato before he greeted the Senator. Her displeasure at the snub was written clearly into the cool lifting of one brow.

"Dear Prince Licenius, come now. The Lady Licenius and I had only been speaking for mere moments before being interrupted, I assure you. Such dramatic exaggerations are not befitting those to whom the work of legislation has been entrusted, though your eagerness will certainly take you far, I'm certain." She tsked, softening to something more sympathetic, then. She took a step towards Zephyrus, and even touched a hand to his elbow, a very you-poor-thing sort of gesture. 

"I know that it can be daunting to watch one's sibling gain renown so quickly, but trust that in time, your own star will have the chance to rise to brilliance without the need for such careless embellishments. You'll escape your family's shadow one day, Prince, I have all confidence." She gave his elbow a reassuring pat, the smile on her face seeming entirely sympathetic and kind. She then turned her head to look back to the Queen.

"Lady Licenius, please do excuse me. I'm sure we'll speak again soon about arrangements to be made. In the meantime, congratulations once again, and enjoy your fete. Cato, dear," she said, looking to her son at the last as a prompt for him to escort her. He gave proper deference to the Queen and the Prince whose presence he was leaving, and moved to escort his mother away from the group.

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #16 on: Nov 10, 17, 04:52:05 PM »
Undine felt like she would shatter at the slightest provocation. Speaking with Senator Prisca and her son wasn't the true trial. It was the fact she kept having to force herself to keep her eyes up rather than lowered. The constant swirling feed of muted streaks of color and sharp light that blurred into dimmer shadow played havoc on her senses. The noise combined with press of psychic signatures pushed further at her tolerances until the Queen wanted to beg for a walk in the garden; no matter how compromising. A lifetime of wearing this mask of perfect contentment kept it in place even as it should have cracked and fallen into a thousand pieces.

" I shall send word tomorrow with a meeting date Lord Livius" She assured him. Her tone polite and steady despite her urge to flee the gala for just a moment of peace. Even with the steady presence of her cousin the headache that came from such gatherings was still forming. Rescue came in an unlikely source. Of course her brother would offer some sort of solace for her. He, of all here, knew her the best. They had come into the world together and for the first decades of life were barely apart.

~ Outside of offering her son like he was the newest novel at the lending library? Nothing more sinister. Yes, I know.. I will accept the contract with him.  My head and feet are killing me though. I need outside before lunch makes a reappearance. ~ The double talk between them was as natural as breathing. A bond they had shared before birth and later in their toddler days when they had spoken in their own shared baby language. A thing this new distance between them could not change. Her tone at least was wry and lacked the peevishness that truly came with misery. She could handle the discomfort for the moment. When her teeth ground together and mental tone turned to that sharp almost angsty note- that was when her endurance was reached.

"My older brother is just being kind in looking out for me." Prisca's implications set the younger woman to bristling. She could pick on her brother, torment him even, but none other had beter disparage him. Zephyrus did his best with his youth and the family that surrounded him. For a moment her expression flashed that fierce protectiveness that came from siblings bonded so closely.

"His star is destined to shine brightly, for all his will be earned efforts instead of those offered due to a chance of darkness blessed birth" A fall back on Prisca's words about Undine's caste. A mild rebuke and reminder that her brother held some esteem to the young queen. She stood there stock still; her hands clasped before her. Unmoving for nervousness of bumping into anyone. Otherwise she would have reached for her brother's arm or moved to at least appear more than an animated doll.

"It was a pleasure Senator Livius. No doubt we will have further discourse in the near future. I look forward to it and conversation with Lord Livius" Undine plastered the smile to her lips. Her lashes lowered coyly. An expression meant to show youthful piety as much as it relieved her burning eyes from the distorted feedback. Her head was throbbing and she finally reached for Zephyrus. Her fingers groped for his arm before curling around his bicep.

"Outside.. please.. I need fresh air" The plea escaped her. Soft and barely more than a whisper even as desperation showed over her features. She had not lied to Gaetano about hating these affairs.



Offline Leviticus Agrippa

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #17 on: Nov 16, 17, 09:12:00 AM »
Mingling, or what he offered as mingling was mindnumbing, even more so with a party focused towards the rising of a new Queen, and yet there was still hands to be played and delt. Far too many people had looser lips than they should have after a few drinks, even more so when a few turned to a few more as they used the claim of showing proper gratitude of their invitation.  Never the less he sipped and ejoyed the decent enough vintage.  Nothing to terribly expensive, but smooth and pleasant all the same.

A brow raised as he felt those arms circle around his arm, causing his head to tilt to the side before he leaned down offering the barest of kisses along her brow, "Now now, I told you the party had already started and you were still fussing with your hair." He offered with a good natured smile, his emotions and dare he say it his mind had been much more stable since that very small conversation in which the ice had been broken between the two, him and the Lady.

Eyes flickered through the crowd, watching Undine be cornered by another Senator.  While the situation could be seen as amusing to some degree, she would need to learn how to rise above the pressure of politicians if she was to hold steady with just what was transpiring with her ascent.  "I do believe, I see where we need to head next, Danae." he spoke softly as he gave her a slight bump of his shoulder against hers before tipping his head in Undine's direction.

"Why don't you go and steal away her escort, and I'll ensure our Queen friend is kept safe and unaccosted long enough to sooth her ruffled feathers, I doubt having the attention of Senator Livius and her brood did not help what is likely already a taxing circumstance she finds herself in." A chuckle was offered before he gave her hand a little pat, "I'll even make sure to hold her attention long enough that you can come and harass her in your own little ways, will that be okay?"

Offline Danae Agrippa

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #18 on: Nov 16, 17, 09:40:54 PM »
Leviticus was not wrong about the hair thing. She and her servant were fussing terribly over it but it had come out so very perfect and she was so incredibly pleased. Danae patted the updo of gentle curl and wave, the new blood red tint accentuating her outfit ever so correctly and retorted with great amusement,"True but I dare say that my hair looks like perfection and you are lucky to have such a beautiful sister on your arm. I might just look as good as the Lady Licenius does this eve."

Danae always adored the pecks upon the brow he gave her and it felt more like they were moving back towards the once dynamic duo they were together. She watched his gaze and thought very little of it when it landed upon Undine. The poor thing did look grossly overwhelmed and she knew her darling friend hated crowds and parties. The fact she had ponied up to come to her galas was a testament in and of itself of how much Undine treasured her. With Leviticus's shoulder bump she nodded in agreement. "Poor thing does seem as though she could use some friends and respite from all this" Danae concurred.

She was entirely on board with the idea as they began to cross the room together like two crafty thieves on a great heist to steal away the honored guest and Queen until Leviticus insisted she go distract Undine's escort. Danae looked at him and narrowed her eyes a bit. "Are you trying to get rid of me so quickly, brother mine? Or might I ask why you are trying to be rid of me so quickly?" After all things had not been left in the greatest state after the three of them had been less than tight.

Maybe Leviticus was attempting to make nice with Undine and apologize. Danae would give him his pride and question no more. She wanted them to play nice because she loved Undine so dearly. She was, next to Silvia, her most dearest friend. His reassuring chuckle and pat made her complacent once more, not to mention the promise to hold Undine's attention solely for Danae. "When you bribe me so, how can I possibly decline?" she said with a cheerful laugh.

Danae was prepared to quickly part with her brother as they grew near to Undine but for another few moments she would stick by his side. After all, it would make sense the pair would come over to chat together. What a pleasant surprise that it was her brother, Zephyrus at Undine's side and not her cousin as per usual. Inside she pouted only a moment it was not Livius but Zephyrus would do. Besides she was still trying to win Zephyrus over in terms of liking her. He was the first person she suspected that was not entirely a Danae fan and honestly Danae found this absurd. Perhaps tonight she could win him over into being more friendly.

"Lady Licenius, Prince Licenius. Thank you so much for inviting us to this lovely party to celebrate. I must say how terribly happy I am for you Lady Licenius" Danae said sweetly. She was happy for her friend and any reason to celebrate with Undine was great but her heart did ache that she would not likely see her friend as often as she might want. Breaking off her hold on Leviticus's arm, she embraced her dear friend, leaving soft affection on both her cheeks.  "It is ever so nice to see you again, Prince Licenius" Danae cooed as she stepped back from Undine. Her goal was to give Leviticus the opening he needed to get Undine the breather she required and selfishly so she could talk with her friend. All this damned hubub around Undine leaving had left it hard for them to spend as much time together as they were once at liberty to do.

Offline Zephyrus Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #19 on: Nov 30, 17, 03:19:06 PM »
When Lady Prisca turned her smoldering and displeased attention towards Zephyrus, he knew instantly that it had been a bad idea to attempt to help Undine.

It always seemed to be a bad idea, didn’t it?

"Dear Prince Licenius, come now. The Lady Licenius and I had only been speaking for mere moments before being interrupted, I assure you. Such dramatic exaggerations are not befitting those to whom the work of legislation has been entrusted, though your eagerness will certainly take you far, I'm certain,” she said as she made a chiding sound and then touched his arm in gentle rebuke."I know that it can be daunting to watch one's sibling gain renown so quickly, but trust that in time, your own star will have the chance to rise to brilliance without the need for such careless embellishments. You'll escape your family's shadow one day, Prince, I have all confidence." She gave his arm another maternal pat and then turned to speak with Undine again.

Whatever words she said to the Queen were lost on Zephyrus, who had started fuming internally at the situation. The road to Hell was paved with good intentions and it seemed like every time he acted out of goodness he was damned even further! He watched as the ingratiating pair excused themselves gracefully, feeling entirely lacking in that moment.

He didn’t even hear Undine’s words defending and praising him.

The only thing he could hear was Prisca’s condescending voice ringing in his ears and the soft, crackling sound of a wineglass being slowly shattered by his hand.

He looked down at it, feeling both the prick of sharp edges and the wetness of liquid. “She always was quite the bitch,” he remarked in a low, dangerous voice.

"Outside.. please.. I need fresh air," Undine begged in a soft voice. Zephyrus felt a keen hatred towards that pathetic tone. He opened his mouth to say something scathing about he had just risked his reputation and career advancement for saving her already when he noticed that another couple was coming their way: the Agrippas, Leviticus and Danae.

Mother Night.

“It’ll have to wait,” he muttered darkly to Undine, who had not yet heard their approach. Zephyrus quickly switched out his broken glass for a fresh one as a servant passed, giving his clothing a cursory glance to make certain he hadn’t spilled wine on himself.

The moment she was close enough, Danae said, "Lady Licenius, Prince Licenius. Thank you so much for inviting us to this lovely party to celebrate. I must say how terribly happy I am for you Lady Licenius." Zephyrus forced a polite smile on his face, though it felt tight. He was still simmering over Prisca’s words and would for the rest of the night most likely. "It is ever so nice to see you again, Prince Licenius," she cooed at him.

Pushing as much of his emotions back into check, Zephyrus replied, “Always a pleasure to see you as well, Lady Agrippa.” His other hand -- the hand that hadn’t cracked the glass -- swept forward to kiss the back of hers woodenly as he bowed in greeting. His greeting of Leviticus was less forced. “And you as well, Senator Agrippa. I trust you two are enjoying yourselves?”

Offline Silvia Devecchia

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #20 on: Dec 03, 17, 11:13:28 PM »
Spoiler: Silvia's dress (click to show/hide)

Silvia glanced down at her emerald green gown, feeling rather out of place among the glitter and glamor of the Aristos in the ballroom.  She waited at the door to be announced, feeling the judgement of the butler as he called out her name but without the customary addition of her House name as would have accompanied were she one of the Hundred.  The attendant extended his hand and she let him remove the soft fur short cloak that had covered her bare arms and shoulders, and felt very naked.  All the women were bejeweled from their hair to their feet, and the most she had was a small pair of cut stone earrings her grandmother had left her, a string of pearls that she had woven into her black hair for adornment and of course her jewels. 

Unlike when she worked in her clinic, it wasn’t her Sapphire that hung around her neck but her Ebon Gray.  She remembered, and hoped it hadn’t become an old rule, that most of these events everyone wore their Offering on display, a subtle aggressive power display without actually fighting.  She found it vulgar but she knew if she hid her Offering, there would be even more vicious talk and she didn’t want anything negative to impact Danae’s good works with the clinic.  After all, it was no great secret that she wore the Ebon Gray.  Everyone in this room had known her when she was court healer.

Descending the short stairs to the floor, Silvia looked around and tried to ignore some of the stares, both neutral and glaring at her, as she made her way down into the sea of people, smiling politely and nodding her head whenever someone did the same towards her. 

“Didn’t think I’d see you at one of these,” a cool voice said from behind her ear, causing her to turn quickly.  The smile slipped off her lips as she recognized Flavius Tercius, a man who a lifetime ago had sought to court and marry her.  Of course at the time, she hadn’t been fooled by his false flatteries, understanding it was only because of her strength and court position that he had pursued her.  He had assumed that his family name and money could convince her to fall madly in love with him, and had been viciously angry when it didn’t.  Of course, he had been the first to spit on her -figuratively- when Elettra died and her place at court vanished.   

“Hello Flavius, you look well,” she said politely, reaching for a glass of wine as a waiter walked past.

“Yes, I know,” he crowed confidently, “Last I heard, you were playing in the gutters of the slums, fat with a dozen babies.”  Silvia almost laughed into her drink.  With the drain of her jewels she would have to eat a household of food to even put on any extra weight, and a dozen babies?  Did the man have any concept of the length of a single pregnancy?  Darkness help any woman who agreed to marry the dolt.

“No, no children and as you can see, no fat,” she said, laughing into the game.  “But I do operate a clinic in the slums yes, tending to those who need help.  I’m sure you’ve heard of Lady Agrippa’s valiant efforts to raise money to build a healer’s school, to educate and help those less fortunate in Draega.”  She cocked her head a little, “I don’t remember seeing you at the gala we threw last month, a pity.  As I recall, you have a fondness for healers.”   She hid her smirk behind another drink of wine.  He had a fondness for things that often caused him to seek out Healers, which was not a quiet secret.

His face grew red as he caught the double meaning to her words, but before he could retort, she looked over his shoulder and waved, “Oh, there’s Danae!  She told me to find her as soon as I got here so she could introduce me to Lady Licenius.  It was wonderful to see you again Flavius,” she said with a smile that dripped mock sincerity as she slipped past him and headed for “Danae”.  In truth, she had no idea where her friend was, but the sputtering jackass was going to get more than he could handle if she didn’t make her exit from that conversation very quickly.

Offline Undine Licenius

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Re: It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
« Reply #21 on: Dec 04, 17, 01:25:04 AM »
Of course her flight outside would be interrupted. She had promised Senator Agrippa a dance and it seemed he came to collect promptly. Timing, it seemed, was not his forte. Still, she found the charming smile to touch to her lips even as it turned to a real smile. Her dearest friend Danae's greeting coming first to her brother to follow her later. A thin distaff thread was shared quickly between them ~ I need to talk to you tonight...~ An invitation for them to share a few quiet moments of chatter. Already the Rose Queen felt a little easier; even as she knew she would be meeting with Cato tomorrow before luncheon. Business duties always came before duties of pleasure.

"Lady Agrippa and Senator Agrippa. A pleasure always and thank you. The appointment has come as quiet a shock, but then since I was mentored in Faro it would make sense my first posting be there as well." Her voice remained bright and cheery. Her hand gently pressed to Zephyrus' arm as she read the tension radiating from her brother. Later she would try to cheer him; attempt to make him see how silly and petty the Senator's words had been. Zephyrus was brilliant and the rising star of their family. Right now, she knew he would stew upon those words.

Her hand moved from her brother's arm to free up. A polite and subtle invitation for Senator Agrippa to claim his dance. The awkwardness of their coming together once more in a sort of semi truce with this one evening there. Easily read in the stiffness of her posture even as she waited to be stolen away. Would they find that easy peace that had existed between them before those hateful and damning words? Would she find the strength to utter the soft apology, the admittance that any queen would be honored to know his bond and not just because they could do worse.

"You just missed Senator Livius; though no doubt that was on purpose so you could flirt with my charming brother no doubt Lady Agrippa" Undine teased charmingly. Her impish smile ready and available; no matter the pounding in her head and that constant nagging need to escape outdoors. The itch to collect herself with the cooler air and the relief from the constant psychic pressure of so many of their peers about them. The easier and dim darkness of the night that was simply one long black shadow barely punctuated by the gentle light of the moon. Her only relief found now in lowering her eyes to break the swirling of shadows and pricks of light.

"Zephyrus, I believe I owe Senator Agrippa a dance. I promised him one earlier" Not too out of character and yet more eager than she would normally find herself to dance with a male outside of her family. More so after she had just pleaded to go outside. Of course; her purpose was a dual one. Hoping that the good senator would be happy to oblige her in the seeking of solace outdoors. Being seen with one of Hayll's more notable lechers would only add to the veracity of rumors circulating her impending departure from Dreaga. Little things that rippled across the surface like scattered pebbles on the pond.

Doubt that weighed upon her mind. Why had Gaetano not come? Her head ached and heart even more.



 

 

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