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Dhemlan has become a land divided. The corruption that Witch’s Purge wiped out in the rest of the Realms was preserved by the well-meaning sacrifice of the territory’s Ebon Gray Queen. As such, the corruption here has only intensified. The tension between the Landen and the Blood who were meant to care for them is fast reaching a boiling point.
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Author Topic: The Gala of Queens  (Read 1444 times)

Description: All Queens and their attendants invited.

Offline Teoda Araneina

  • Character Account
    • te2ss
    • queen
    • Role

      Queen of Dhemlan

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      [Link]

    • OOC

      phinneas

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      80

    • Destiny's child.

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The Gala of Queens
« on: Feb 10, 18, 04:12:17 PM »

Main Facade
High up on the cliffs overlooking the Sea of Dhemlan, the palatial Territory Keep of Dhemlan sat as it had for millennia: solid, robust, and unflinching. The sprawling estate was more like a villa for its size, an unusual dominance of property ownership in the densely-populated capital of Amdarh. Known for its classically Dhemlanese architecture and an abundance of beautifully-appointed courtyards and gardens, the palace had served as the seat of Dhemlan's power since before the recollection of anyone yet living. One wouldn't know its age by how well it was kept up, however. Especially tonight, it had been cleansed and dressed to perfection in anticipation of a singularly important event: the Gala of Queens.

For well over a month now, Queens and courts across Dhemlan had been preparing themselves to make a showing at the event. The Province seat of La Oratova had been held by a Priestess for more than a year now, while Teoda Araneina considered and rejected each of the Dhemlanese Queens who approached her for the seat. Few dared criticize the process aloud, as Lady Aranaina had the blessing of the Cáthedra Abyssum to leave the La Oratova throne so tended, and speaking against the will of the Cáthedra was speaking against Mother Night herself. Regardless of what heresy the Blood of Dhemlan might whisper behind closed doors, few were willing to be branded a heretic in public.


Sentinels of the Cáthedra Abyssum
Still, it was the Queen of Dhemlan's intention to see that seat filled by a Queen, as Night intended. In an attempt to flush out Queens she might not have had occasion to meet before now, Lady Araneina had commanded that all available Queens - those who ruled courts and those who did not - be invited (and strongly encouraged) to attend a spectacular gala wherein she would see the Queens of her people in action. Security protocol had been sent out in advance to give those Queens with difficult-to-handle males time to prepare and plan. Queens were permitted to bring whatever escorts allowed them to feel the safest, though the only Craft permitted on the grounds during the event was that which the escorts used to shield their Queens from potential harm. To enforce that edict, the Cáthedral's Sentinels were posted generously around the estate, swords near at hand, making use of the same spells and webs that allowed them to monitor the use of Craft in the markets. The Sentinels were skilled and practiced, having served to protect the safety of the Landen vendors in the market ever since the riots wherein they demanded to be allowed to sell their wares there. The webs used were infused with Black Widow Craft, and because the work of those webs were being fueled by a conglomeration of Jewels from all of the linked Sentinels present, even the darkest of Craft was likely to be detected. Any courtier caught calling upon his Craft for any purpose save shielding his Queen would be arrested and tried for treason, as though he'd made an attempt on the life of the Queen of Dhemlan herself.

It was going to be a delicate night, and the Territory Court had no desire to let there be any question about how serious they were about the safety of the event.

The Amdarh Palace had been chosen for the event because of its size. With the numerous gardens, courtyards, and multiple ballrooms, there would be a generous amount of space for the Queens with more prickly courtiers to space themselves out. The Queens were responsible for leashing their males, and any who seemed to be unable or unwilling to keep their people from picking fights would be ejected from the event with prejudice.

Grand hallways were opened up to the guests to move through the estate as they pleased (within certain portions of it, at least). Though there was to be no formal dinner served, refreshments were nonetheless available at will within the spacious dining hall which was open to all guests. Guests were free to linger in the parlor or the ballroom, as both rooms were presided over by a small arrangement of string instruments. The former, of course, was arranged with plentiful seating to facilitate casual discussions. The latter was left open those who preferred to dance while socializing. Alternatively, the palace's many gardens were open for use, as were the famous hedge walk and rose walk, both of which provided the illusion of privacy along with their pretty scenery.

The palace's staff was present in full force, and worked diligently to ensure that, despite the large number of guests who were to attend, no one went without a drink in their hand who wanted it. Lady Araneina and her closest courtiers remained in private quarters to begin with, though the grand entrance would undoubtedly occur before long. In the meantime, Dhemlan's Queens and her courtiers were all encouraged to socialize and make merry.

Offline Dahlia Octavian

  • Player Account: Inactive
    • bo2green
    • bwq
    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      Dash

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      22

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #1 on: Feb 23, 18, 01:26:33 PM »
Subtle, for a BWQ
Dahlia had, indeed, been preparing for this night since she'd first learned of its planning. She'd spun tangled webs and visions of the potential for tonight. She'd taken spools of webbing and worked for weeks on her dress. Though she would call the dress modest, the art she had put into the dress was not. There were spells to burn out any poison that would hit her bloodstream, shields upon her body and her mind, and an emergency beacon to her males. They would be inert throughout her time at the party, but in an emergency Dahlia could activate the webs with an infusion of her Green.

Paranoia was only paranoia when people weren't intent to kill you.

The betrayal of the Coven that had manipulated Dhemlan for decades was still fresh. Dahlia had outed herself as a conspirator and been spared death or the breaking of her Jewels. Some said that it was the influence of the Ebon Gray Warlord Prince who had done it. But Dahlia knew she'd survived by her own merits. Still, she had lost face and while she was in Teoda's Court that provided her income and status she didn't have a seat of her own.

She'd worked diligently with the Inquisition to weed out those who were still profiting from the corruption of Dhemlan. She also happened to be making certain to get her claws into anything that could be valuable to her, even if only in the long term. If she'd saved some targets of the Inquisition and ruined others who were the allies or servants of her rivals, so be it. Dahlia deserved to be a Ruling Queen and she was intent to do whatever she had to in order to get that seat.

She planned to convince Teoda tonight that she was the best candidate for the job.

Martel, her darling Warlord Prince brother, was her escort tonight. He had taken to carrying a traitor's beard tonight as a fashion statement; his opinion of their father having risen quite a bit since his help in the coup of the Coven. She found that ironic, but she kept her opinion to herself and instead just whispered to him that he was very, very handsome. Keeping one arm wrapped around his own, she mingled with those who would not flee her presence in the parlor. Her reputation as an inquisitor had started to sway some public opinion of her, and she made well to play into the role of loyal servant. Teoda wouldn't name someone plotting her downfall, after all.

Not that Dahlia would. She had time. Teoda could have a century or two before she went gunning for the Territory seat.

Offline Mari Calderon

  • Character Account
    • white2rose
    • queen
    • Role

      Ruler

    • Faction

      Pirenza Province

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin

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    • Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #2 on: Mar 01, 18, 06:57:13 PM »
Mari had known this night was coming for months, had prepared for it, and it still surprised her all the same. The Rose of Pirenza had spent the past year organizing the Province Court into an organization that ran like a well-oiled machine, hinged upon her desires. Amore’s poor care for the land and its people infuriated Mari once she saw how deep the corruption went. She’d spent months arranging meetings, meeting with important people in the Province and smoothing ruffled feathers. She’d assured the Headmaster of Salamanca, an old friend of hers, that Pirenza was now in stable and capable hands. She’d done the same with the head of the Naval Academy,  though it had been a challenge to keep her stomach calm with the sea so close.

But the night of the gala arrived and Mari was determined to put her best foot forward.

She’d asked for Nicanor to join her this evening, trusting in her Master of the Guard to watch her person if he did not enjoy her company. The rift between she and Nicanor had not widened or closed, and they remained on different wavelengths. She could not go back and undo the past and that moment, etched in grief, had done them deep damage. Mari had not found a way to regain his love or desire and worried, privately, that she never would.

Oddly, her relationship with Lorenzo had improved. Oh, she’d been wroth with him when she learned that he’d taken the position at the Territory Court after he’d offered her three-hundred years of service to her the night before and her garden had received some of the most expansive and deepest care she’d could grant to it. Amore had maintained her garden (if one could call it that), but Mari had listened to the land and given it the care and love that it needed. When the Spring finally arrived, the Queen believed that her palace would boast the most beautiful garden in all of Dhemlan, bar none. Better even than what Mitra managed in La Oratova, way back when.

La Oratova, the subject of the night.

Mari knew that she’d never receive the chance to rule La Oratova, not as long as Teoda sat the throne and remained gatekeeper over Mitra’s legacy. Now, though, she no longer needed the seat of Coreserrini Province to show her power. Instead of waiting to be handed what she deserved, Mari had reached out and taken it. That placed her above every other Queen in this building tonight. They were all here, preening and strutting, hoping to be called upon like the student who’d spent all night studying for the exam and now knew all the answers. Mari smiled to herself as she entered the ballroom, her black and gold dress accentuating her curves as she glided toward the dance floor. Xiomara was a visionary, but Mari was constantly impressed by her daughter's ability to have her finger on the cutting edge of Dhemlanese fashion.

She was glad to be out of the rat race for La Oratova, but she was deeply interested in the soul who managed to withstand Teoda’s scrutiny. The winner of that seat would become one of the most powerful women in Dhemlann after tonight and Mari wanted to know who her peer was. She expected that Elena Barbaro would do the same. Mari fully expected her to be here; rumor was that the woman had never met a party she didn’t want to attend.

A few Princes and Lords stopped by to congratulate her on her ascent and Mari accepted their compliments with grace while Nicanor watched the room at her side. She struck up conversation with a few others, using the night as a chance to network and get to know the people she’d be dealing with for the foreseeable future.

Teoda’s rule was barely older than Mari’s at this point, but Mari was patient. Dhemlan needed the best and most pious leader possible; Mari knew she was that leader. It did not matter that they couldn’t see it now. Eventually, they would.

She had all the time in the world to make her case. 

Offline Raziel Cavallero

  • Character Account
    • bo2red
    • wp
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      First Escort

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      Logrona District Court

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      Lochlan

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #3 on: Mar 06, 18, 09:46:54 PM »
While Raz could have spent months preparing for the event like his lady who he arrived on the arm of with he decided to give in a little to the patriotism. He wore his military dress, decorated with the honors of his service and the cordials afforded him by his Captain-At-Sea rank. Not only that, but as much as Raz didn't want Estrellian ruling atop of an ant-hill, let alone a province, he eventually caved to the good idea in his head to show that her Court held people of esteem and reputation and while military dress was always an eye-catcher...having military dress decorated with medals, pins and other bling made it even more so. He would have worn his favorite bowler but it would have clashed with the colors and besides...a bowler on a military uniform? Not even a sombrero would be able to save that faux pas.

Yet he was here with a job to do and while the bones in his body told him to sit back, get a nice glass of bubbly wine and indulge in watching Estrellian get eaten alive by the snakes and spiders that would infest the gala the same feelings made him not do so. People would be clawing, jockeying and making deals all throughout the night. Promises of power and prestige to whomever would support them in getting the seat. It'd be a surprise if even with the Sentinels keeping watch there would at least be three deaths coming out of this gala. A betrayal, or a change of word at the last minute could strike the wrong heart at the wrong time. Boom. The end - and it would turn into a madhouse. He'd have to remain close to Estrellian or at least in arm's reach. He had cabinet'ed his sabres just in case circumstances demanded...more deadly negotiations.

My my, what delectable predators we have here tonight... Raziel smiled to himself at the sight walking in after being announced with his Queen. The Sentinels nearest him shifted their stance a bit in Raz's vicinity and his eyes slowly drifted to them; golden orbs shimmering with a dark yet rational humor. Focus, Raziel. He spoke to himself. Don't let yourself get carried away. He had only realized just then that what he saw, this whole room, was a dark splatter of ink on the beautiful canvas that was his homeland. The posh delights, the scenic draperies, halls and accents. The flowing gowns that costed a village and then some. Proof. PROOF! Right here in this room and Raziel could kill them all and be just fine with life. Yet his words echoed in his mind and truth won the day, that the violence would serve no one. They would be replaced with others who would do just as they did. More posh parties, more lucrative accents, even more stupidly overpriced dresses. There were no victors here. Just predators vulturing the corpse of a province seat.

They just did it more gracefully than others might.

La Orotova would be the talk of the night but Raz suspected there would be more happening at this gala than simply a Provincial Seat transfer. No one told him it was but it was a gut feeling, a sense in the air. Centuries of experience of gut instincts made him reserved but observant rather than turning into a party-horse. Besides, his amor needed a proper escort and he wouldn't dare seek to make her look a fool.





Offline Carmen Villendra

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • priestess
    • Role

      High Priestess

    • Faction

      Cáthedra Abyssum

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      [Link]

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      phinneas

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      29

    • Embrace eternity.

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #4 on: Mar 28, 18, 11:00:24 AM »
Carmen did not wander the party like so many of the guests did. No, she had already commandeered a corner of the dining hall, and sat ensconced by her dearest associates. She had chosen a particular red dress for the occasion, one laden with shimmering accents, a deeply-cut front and a seductively open back. After all, tonight was for being seen, and despite the fact that Carmen was not vying for any of the open thrones in Dhemlan, she had no intention of fading to the background while every Queen in Dhemlan pranced about on display.

She was pleased to find that the dress hadn't been entirely necessary. The good people of Dhemlan still made it a point to seek her out and greet her where she sat, paying respects to the Most Holy while she sampled the court's wine and observed the goings-on. Her smile did not leave her ruby-painted lips, not when she was wishing well to the faithful who stopped to see her, nor when she had a moment of peace in between conversations to lean over and whisper something to one of the men who escorted her that would make said man don a smile or a smirk.

"Reál, I wish to dance," she announced after a time, and she lifted her hand towards her most trusted escort. The Warlord Prince had been with her for years, through thick and thin, and had committed his life to ensuring her safety. There was genuine affection in the way he bowed and smiled while taking her hand, and he happily led her towards the ballroom where dancing was already underway. The string ensemble that played at one end of the room had the dancers sweeping about gracefully in a lively waltz, and Carmen and her escort slipped seamlessly into the flow of the dancers. She didn't bother looking for Jessenia; the witch had business to see to, just now.

Offline Agustin Reyes

  • Character Account
    • rose2bo
    • wp
    • Role

      Master of the Guard

    • Faction

      Pirenzia Province

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      [Link]

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      Dash

    • Posts

      15

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #5 on: Mar 29, 18, 03:43:56 PM »
Nicanor loved these sort of events. What else would a peacock of a Warlord Prince, dressed in fine silk, consider to be the apex of events for one such as he?

Mari was beautiful tonight. Even with all the chill between them that had fermented for years, he was still hers and he recognized his Lady was a wonderful Queen held back only by herself. One that he would happily kill or give his life for if it were ever called for it.

Becoming her friend again, well.. that was a harder sell.

Still, Lorenzo's return had improved his mood dramatically and having the younger Calderon man about the estate had greatly helped Nicanor's faith in his Queen. So he hovered near Mari, her hand both prisoner and guarded subject in his arm and he looked upon the seeking Queens and their attending males with a smirk of arrogant amusement. He spotted the High Priestess, Lady Villendra, and he wondered if Marisol would be here tonight.

The other half of his affectionate heart.

"Lady." The low rumble of Nicanor's voice was audible as he shifted his eyes over to her, that smirk shifting to something broader. "Will you dance with me?" He began to lead her toward the ballroom, seeking to give an outlet to the sudden energy that was burning within him. And if he was using it as a chance to show himself off, well, that'd serve his Queen just as much as it would himself.

Offline Marisol Calderon

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • priestess
    • Faction

      Nuncio Delegation

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      phinneas

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #6 on: Mar 30, 18, 06:01:24 PM »
Marisol was indeed present. Technically claiming attachment to the High Priestess' retinue rather than the court of her mother (it was work, she would assure her mother, if pressed), Marisol was nonetheless on the other side of the room from Carmen. Marisol had the misfortune of choosing a red dress just as the Most Holy had. Because the High Priestess could do no wrong, if Marisol lingered near Carmen and challenged her for the most eye-catching gown, it would be seen as her faux paus, and not Lady Villendra's. Marisol didn't mind. It was a convenient excuse to distance herself from those with whom she normally would've socialized. Meeting new people meant making new contacts, and it was rarely a bad thing to establish new relations while dressed to the nines.

For the moment, Marisol strolled unhurriedly around the edge of the dance floor, nursing a glass of white wine and pausing now and then to greet the occasional acquaintance or friend. She noticed when Carmen took to the floor, and shortly after noticed when Nicanor led Mari to do the same. Even Marisol, who still had little use for the woman who'd recently taken the Pirenza throne, had to admit that Mari looked stunning tonight. She looked every bit the Queen, regal and confident and grateful.

Wouldn't get too comfortable quite yet, she thought to herself, while watching Mari and Nicanor dance. Of course, then it occurred to her to wonder if her beast of a brother was present, and she skimmed the faces around the room quickly, checking for his.


Offline Mari Calderon

  • Character Account
    • white2rose
    • queen
    • Role

      Ruler

    • Faction

      Pirenza Province

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin

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    • Chaos isn't a pit. Chaos is a ladder.

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #7 on: Apr 20, 18, 11:55:39 PM »
Always, my Prince.” Mari said, when Nicanor asked her to dance. Mari loved galas like this, especially where ballroom dancing was involved. She’d spared no expense to make sure her children knew how to acquit themselves properly on any dance floor in either Realm. No matter their personal faults or foibles, Mari Calderon would never have it said that her children could not dance to any music set before them. Some people called it foolish or petty. Others believed her vain.

Mari did not worry about the opinions of uncultured swine.

She allowed her Touch to flow into Nicanor, taking this moment to focus upon his needs. She tended her males well, but there was something to be said for personal moments with each of them. Nicanor was a steady, cold presence in her mind, the one that     made her think through her moves before she made them. Acting in anger and haste was, unfortunately, an issue for Mari at times. Had she brought anyone else to this event tonight, she knew that she would have let Teoda get under her skin. But Nicanor was fury clothed in silk and his cool and steely demeanor was a bucket of ice water on her hot temper and anger.

Mari caught sight of Marisol. She needed to speak to her about the letter she’d sent to the High Priestess. She expected that Marisol would learn of it soon enough, but Mari wanted to speak to her directly and gauge her feelings on the idea. Something in Mari’s peripheral caught he attention and she adjusted her gaze to see Lorenzo making a bee-line toward his sister.

She almost asked Nicanor to stop so that she could intercept him. The night was young and a public spat between her (now) two eldest children would bring negative attention to the Calderon family. Mari resisted that urge, though. Lorenzo was a member of the Territory Court. Marisol was a Priestess of the Cathedra Abyssum, in good standing. One child held the Gray, the other wore the Red. They knew the rules of this night as well as anyone.

The Queen of Pirenza decided to let her children work out their issues for themselves.

Offline Lorenzo Calderon

  • Character Account
    • sapphire2gray
    • wp
    • Role

      Second Circle

    • Faction

      Territory Court

    • Territory

      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Gavin

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      174

    • My hunger runs deep...

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #8 on: Apr 21, 18, 12:23:32 AM »
When Lorenzo received word that he was assigned to attend the gala, the second thing he did was ask Xiomara for a good suit.

The first thing he did was make love to her for over an hour before he asked.

For the first time in ages, he knew that his mother would be at a public even and he didn’t dread going. After all, Nicanor would be there and he’d be able to check his mother’s unkind impulses. She’d been sore about his assignment to the Second Circle of the Territory Cout. You deserve a high position. If Teoda doesn’t see that by the end of your contract, then that will be her loss. She also pointed out that serving a Queen that wasn’t Corazon was likely to be a deep insult that he would have to work hard to balm.

In the end, my son, I disagree with this choice. I do not like it. In fact, I hate it.” Mari had said.

But it is your choice, Lorenzo. In the end, only you can say whether or not it was worth it.

Stunned by his mother’s grudging acceptance, Lorenzo found himself visiting the Court more in order to keep the lines of communication open. He was further shocked when word reached him that Mari had seized the throne of Pirenza Province without bloodshed. He’d thought Mari was good friends with Amore de Medina and that she was content with Sitges District and her home in Vigo. The home where he was born and where he’d grown up. Well, mostly grown up.

Seeing the place now felt like his past not longer existed.

Lorenzo contemplated that as he watched his mother and Nicanor glide across the dance floor like two halves of the same whole. Mari was beautiful and Nicanor was a dashing man. Not for the first time, Lorenzo wondered if there was any possible way that Nicanor was his father. But if he was, why would Mari deny him paternity? Why would she keep it from him for all these years?

Why wouldn’t she just tell him about his father?

Lorenzo realized that his attention had wandered and found himself looking at Clarissa.

Wait, no. Not Clarissa.

He was headed in Marisol’s direction before he’d registered that she was the destination. By the time her gaze found him, he was a few feet away. He paused, adjusting the lapels of his dark suit and watching her. Their last meeting had nearly come to...what, exactly? They’d been at the Cathedra, politely discussing a luncheon that was never going to happen, so long as they didn’t trust each other. Clarissa had offered him her faith, but he felt constantly at odds with Marisol.

Perhaps it was time to make an effort. For Clarissa’s sake.

Good evening, sister mine. May I have this dance? I’d like to call a truce this evening, if possible.






Offline Marisol Calderon

  • Character Account
    • opal2red
    • priestess
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      Nuncio Delegation

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      Dhemlan, Kaeleer

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      phinneas

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #9 on: Apr 24, 18, 03:54:44 PM »
Marisol's attention was pointed elsewhere while Lorenzo was making up his mind to approach her. She was sipping her wine and taking count of which courtiers had arrived with which courts, and placing bets in her own mind about who might make it through the evening without causing a scene and who would undoubtedly be escorted out by the dark-clad Sentinels which seemed stationed at every wall and corner.

But she felt him coming, though she'd be unable to say whether some unconscious part of her mind had noticed him in the edge of her peripheral vision, or if some measure of his formidable power had resonated with her own, or if it was just some merciful facet of the Darkness warning her that danger drew near. Whatever the reason, Marisol turned her head and looked directly at Lorenzo when he was mere feet away from her. Even from a distance, he'd surely discern the way her bearing subtly stiffened from head to toe, as though being filled internally with stone at his approach. The faint pretense of warmth she'd donned for the sake of the public event bled away, and she held him with a perfectly neutral expression on her face until he spoke.

He asked for a dance. For a truce, for the evening. Behind her tightly masked face, behind the shields obscuring her psychic scent and temper, a mighty storm thrashed in response. Outwardly, she did nothing aside from turn her head and look away from him.

"A truce would require us to be at war. I assure you, if we were, you would not doubt it," she said, her tone clipped and cool. "Civility has been forced by the nature of this event, however, so if you would like to interpret that as a 'truce', then be my guest." She fixed a small smile back onto her lips, always cognizant of the potential for eyes to be on her and unwilling to seem too blatantly bothered by her brother's presence. It was a difficult sell, considering how cold her blood wanted to run simply because of his proximity. He was an untamed bull, a wrecking ball given human shape and released to run about amongst civilized people as though he belonged. The fact that he'd chosen here and now to approach was just proof to Marisol of how dangerous Lorenzo was. Tonight every slight flinch, every faint brush of aggression would be weighed and scrutinized, yet he'd thought it wise to approach the one woman who could be counted on for undiluted hostility every time he entered the room she was in. Had he misinterpreted her restraint at the temple in Alava? Had he mistaken her lack of bile there for some kind of forgiveness or acceptance? He was daft if so, she thought. It was simply a matter of practicality. She hadn't wanted to draw attention among the other Priestesses, especially not before she knew what reason was behind Lorenzo's visit with the High Priestess.

...a mystery she still had not solved, much to her vexation.

"I am certain I would regret taking any of your time away from one of your many paramours. Please, give my dance to them."

She took a sip of her wine, and let her eyes flick over the faces around them, quickly. She silently prayed that she'd see someone, anyone that she could claim a need to speak with as an excuse to pardon herself from Lorenzo's side.



Offline Klarika Campos

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 18, 12:00:50 PM »

Klarika wouldn’t even have missed the Gala if she had lost her other leg. Nothing would have prevented the Queen from receiving her just deserts. There were no better candidates than she, as she had been assured numerous times by members of her Court. Only a few had spoken against her odds. Yet, it was the dissenting voices that nagged at her as she exited the carriage. The thoughts their opinions had conjured in her mind were ones she would have prefered to ignore. Though once the ideas had been expressed aloud, the Queen couldn’t help but unravel the threads of her own self-assurance.

The Tiger Eye Queen gripped the arm of her Master of The Guard as they traveled up the walkway. Her face remained ever pleasant despite the roiling of her inner thoughts. Max looked down at her, but she stoutly avoided his gaze. She needed to be strong for everyone in her retinue. Now was not the time to show hesitation or weakness in front of the assembled Queens and their Courts.

Golden waves of fabric undulated in the soft breeze around the Queen. The dress complemented both her jewels and complexion. It certainly would be an addition to her permanent wardrobe, especially if events went well this evening. Klarika had a matching suit made for her brother. His protests had fallen on deaf ears. Prince Moreno was welcome to dress however he wished. Her Consort was straggling behind once again, she paused on the steps for him to hasten and take her arm. Dante gave a sharp sidelong glance to his Queen as he gripped her arm a touch too tightly. Kalrika felt a rebuke rise to her tongue, but chose instead to bite it back. The Province Throne needed to be the focus.

The Cantabria group entered the Gala to a dazzling display of colors and familiar faces. Bright smiles reflected everywhere the Queen turned, though many lacked authentic mirth. Some she suspected would have liked to see her carriage upside down in a ditch, with her crushed beneath it. The Queen gave smiles and appropriate greetings in return. As she moved through the crowd, she began to mentally list the members of other Courts she wished to speak with at some point in the evening. There were alliances to be made for her Court.

Offline Lorenzo Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 18, 10:28:17 PM »
Lorenzo wanted to reach out and rip those bitchy little lips off of Marisol's face. His expression darkened, briefly, before it was replaced with a sharp smile. A cold smile, meant to express to his sister that he understood what she was about...and that this wasn't over.

Marisol despised him. Lorenzo had, for the most part, made peace with that but to be dismissed the way that she was attempting to rankled him deeply. If he punched his hand to into her chest and tore out her heart, she’d have to give him at least some of her attention, then. He stayed his hand. Violence against a Priestess, especially one in good standing, would only tarnish his own reputation. He was doing good work for the Territory Court. He was making inroads with the Cathedra and he held favor with the Mother Superior.

There was also their mother and Clarissa to consider. Clarissa was at least attempting to forgive him and get to know him. She’d take it poorly Lorenzo robbed her of yet another sibling. Mother would would be enraged to lose another child, even if it was Marisol’s own fault for being an ice-cold bitch.

He’d leave it be for now. Time was on his side.

Well, I’m sorry to have picked the wrong time, sister mine. As always, we’ll have to try again in the near future. As you said, civility rules the night here.” Lorenzo said, nodding to her. He noted that the High Priestess had arrived and smiled to himself. She looked wonderful and, best of all, she wasn’t Marisol. Two points in her favor just for existing.

Oh, there’s the Mother Superior. I’ve been meaning to talk to her. Please excuse me, Marisol.” Lorenzo said.

I’ll pass along your regards to the High Priestess. She’s a wonderful dancer and I’d hate for all of Mother’s work to go to waste.” he said.






Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 18, 05:03:42 AM »
Queen's Gala in Amdarh
My heart, under your window full of pain;
engulfed in flames! Tired from playing the guitar so much; I wasn't able to see, your beautiful face ...



The Gala. A complicated business, she had expected, simply by the presence and appearance of the invitation when they had received it, and Estrellien had said as much at the time. Very unlike the other Queens in attendance, the Queen of Logrona had chosen a very subtle gown that offered a warm salute to both of her bonded Warlord Princes. "You look well, in full formal military dress, Prince. You at least, look to belong in this place." Of the lace and thin silk closest to her body, the Lady Estrellien had worn a lovely burgundy red, while atop it, was a soft, muted grey. Upon the whole were flowers formed of lace. Her sisters, all three, and whom never would have been permitted entrance, ironically, had stitched the gown by hand entirely, while the fabric had been a gift from donated from several Landen villages. Estrellien had not been required to offer anything in turn for it, and rather than funds, she had given the two of the sweetest things of all, in turn, nourishment for the lands around the various villages, and funds for the schools in the area without a favour expected in turn. There was some emotional pain that the Priestess Queen took in the perfect surroundings. Her Warlord father, with his limp, restitched clothing, tired, disciplined but loving patient golden eyes, and eighty hour work week might have warranted the front lawn for status if he was lucky.

It was as if bonding Salvador, as privileged as the man was, had taken the woman's long attempts to be a better Queen and turned them into something real. Though it had been mostly a silent approval and matter between herself and Prince Raziel, she had taken far much more of listening to him of late, especially when it came to helping others. After all, akin to most Queens that managed their money well, Estrellien had a very expansive personal fortune. Unlike many, she wasn't one to borrow either from the Syndicate or any other lender without immediately repaying what was owed on the rare occasion.

Though she yet owed her favour, the lady had long learned from her mistake in the theft of her first village six hundred years previous. As such, the Lady of Logrona felt extremely out of place at this particular party. The hint of shame that burned in her senses, and her treatment by the Cathedrá run out of control had been part of what had caused her to make foolish, foolish choices so long ago. Taking a deep, slow breath, Estrellien did her very best to consider with pride where she had come from. After all, it could have been far worse. She had not been born Landen, or even with a rougher hand, between the lives of Blood and Landen as dear Miss Calista Abarora, the Landen Advisor for her Court. 


Estrellien's Gala Attire
So many were here to snap and show off to each other, even seek revenge as Raziel likely considered even now. Instead, the Priestess Queen simply felt a heaviness in her heart. Unlike everyone here, she had come from a family born of poverty in the very city the Gala was even being held. "I am the only creature not of proper birth, though at least I have my Court to appear fitting, and I know well who and what I am. A sweet sinner, loyal to what we all wish Dhemlan could be," Estrellien commented both with a grave seriousness and in jest at herself in part to stir a little of a smile in Raziel. The beautiful surroundings made Estrellien again feel faint at the expense used for such a gathering, when it could have, to some degree have been granted to those deeply in need. Even while she understood that certain things were impossible, that it was the responsibility of the preening village, other district, and finally, province Queens to tend to Land, the Landen, the sea, and so many other parts of Dhemlan were something that she could not help but feel like a painful whisper along her spine. It was a complicated place to be and feel for Estrellien, one Priestess Queen that held no qualms or lies about her own desires and greed, but also held a heart that beat tenderly for a place that had never wanted her.

Delicately burgundy gloved lace fingers tightened upon Raziel's arm; she knew that Prince Salvador was not far beyond them, while not directly as her escort as was Prince Raziel's right, but close on. Unsteady even for herself, Estrellien offered a soothing sense of a mental touch to both men, even though she struggled not to sway upon her feet. The Priestess Queen wanted La Oratova the same way she thrived in the sweetness of making the land bloom for her in private, as it would have been very much unfashionable to display such a pastime, however, she both remained anxious about earning the Throne, disappointing her mother, being unable to redeem crimes that had long been paid a price, and truly earning Raziel's forgiveness. All impossible tasks that she could only pray her heart could withstand. A larger piece of herself than she ever would have expected wanted to weep at what these rooms currently represented and held, both the potential, the risk, and the decidedly unpleasant vibe.

Though she looked the pristine beauty, Estrellien trembled upon Raziel's arm. She did not wish to be here, to falsely preen for no reason, and truly counted the minutes until the true purpose for the Gala arose, noting all of those present, including the High Priestess. Lifting one hand, Estrellien neatened the delicate, and very understated though stylish tiara ensconced in her black and neat coil of hair. "Do you think there will be time to catch a little air in the Gardens? Dare I hope as well on such an occasion, that you might take a turn on the floor with me?"

Yet, upon a distaff to spear thread to Raziel, Estrellien admitted a remarkable commentary.

*I see it, as you have said. The rot, the cruelty, the grasping suffocating the hints of true silver and gold that are near invisible. I do not know how you have been able to breathe in my presence, how you have remained at my side. I suppose I will have to view them no differently than myself; a work in progress.* So tenderly, though she had such a long way to climb, the Lady Gualtierrez smoothed her Queen's Touch through the First Escort's fingertips. Beautiful, subtle, gracious, and honest, as the kind of Priestess Queen that Estrellien wanted to aspire to become, her own attire held all the protections as well that her own Court could muster. The villa at least, was nothing short of lovely, a Jewel of all Dhemlan. Estrellien looked about and noted again that she did not want it, with some considerable surprise. Foremost upon Estrellien's mind, was to witness the Lady Teoda, and what she would do with all of her power. Perhaps if they were lucky, Teoda would produce it, that Dhemlan of the dreams of few.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 18, 09:57:42 AM »
Rodrigo did not like being told what to do.

Usually, this sort of edict or injunction was coming from his own sister and he always found a way to thwart her without openly defying her. It gave him great satisfaction to see her fumble through how to extract her revenge without coming across as punitive or petty. Unfortunately, tonight’s restriction came from the Territory Queen herself and was enforced by the blasted Cathedra Abyssum -- and as much as Rodrigo would have loved to have bucked off those restraints, he treasured his life and his social status far more than he hated being told what to do.

There would be dozens of Queens to entertain, possibly seduce, if he played his cards right, which eased the chafe he felt towards Queen Araneina’s stupid ordinance. Lady Octavian, Lady Calderon, Lady Gualtierrez...and more… Rodrigo, if he could foist his sister off on some poor, horny bastard of an escort, could have his pick. The provincial seat of La Oratova was the purpose of the event and the discussion of it interested Rodrigo only as a possibility of escaping his worthless sister. Moving from one Province to another was a lateral shift -- Rodrigo had his sights set on higher positions.

Eventually.

Dressed in colors of black and blood red, with his Summer Sky Jewel bringing levity to his dark attire, Rodrigo looked as fine as he felt, even with Elena on his arm. He was ready to cajole and to court as he put aside his grumblings about the restricted use of Craft.

Besides, if Elena wanted to Shield herself from danger, she could do it without him. Chances were, if she ended up in a dangerous situation to begin with, she probably deserved it.

But until she was hiking up her skirts for the first randy male that crossed her path, Rodrigo stuck at her side, playing the admirable brotherly escort. “Quite the gathering,” he remarked blandly to her as they began they entrance, passing first the enormous fountain and its statue outside, and then through the security at the gates. Rodrigo gave their credentials, along with their invitation, with an elegant flick of his wrist, barely giving the servant a long enough look. Aristocratic appearances had to be maintained, after all.

Rodrigo did, to his chagrin, notice the plethora of Cathedra Abyssum guards. Damnable things…

For a brief moment, he wondered if the great Prince Montecristo would be making an appearance and how those guards would deal with someone like that.

And then, suppressing something of a shudder, he cast the thought of that man aside.

While they waited to be announced and then to decide their course of action, Rodrigo asked in a bored tone, “Is there someone in particular that you will be attempting to meet today?” Interpret it as one wanted -- he could have been asking Elena if she was hoping to speak with a certain Queen or to see a prospective lover. He fully expected the latter. Already he had spotted some of the Calderon family and...was that the Lady Villendra over there? Ah, yes. Splendid. Perhaps this outing would be worth his time.

Offline Xiomara Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 18, 05:30:42 PM »
Queen's Gala in Amdarh

I don't wish you no bad luck baby, I don't wish you no strain; I only want to expose your life to the finer things ...



Ever so many more times beautiful than I expected, truly ...

As a goal, Xiomara intended it to be likely that the only other woman that could out dress her in the entire ball might have been the Queen of Dhemlan herself, and that even was a stretch given that this specific gown had been created this week. Xiomara had made certain that no one suspected she was going to make an appearance. It was important that her new fashion piece be seen by no eyes but her own. More than this, it had been all of the sad and melancholy sighs she'd gracefully received from Corazon's direction that she would not be attending. Each of the gowns she had made were relatively similar in skill, like the one that Mari herself had worn, and a late present had been sent to Corazon's tailor, even though she had been aware the woman had purchased a ready-to-wear gown from her line, her own Queen deserved far better. So she had sent four gowns as options for the Professor Queen to choose from in various ocean and earth motifs, and even a gold one to play with.

Not to mention Lorenzo's intensity of late; in the end she couldn't bear to disappoint.

She had ensured that his suit was the very best she could provide, stitched by her own hands and with Craft imbued into every facet of the suit. He'd be as well protected nearly as any of the Sentinels, this night. Her own gown had the aid of widows webs to keep her safe, not to mention the gloves she wore, the delicate tiara. Xiomara was no Queen, but had come to the realisation that despite her tendency to be a little of a hermit, attending the Gala was the finest way she could show her support for the Lady Mari, Lorenzo himself, but never less, the Lady Corazon.


Xiomara's Grand Fashion
The gown itself was pink silk with a silvery overlay in ten layers, while the tiny flowers had been hand stitched with pearls for the centers and Craft interlaced so that this addition would not make the dress feel too heavy or hot. It had deep pockets that could hide a number of feminine products, and a lace that could be eased just in case the corseting made her feel out of breath. The length of the train had been bound up into a perfect bustle as light as air, and seemed, on first glance, a very plain gown, until she drew close.

Each flower was real and beautifully Craft preserved, opening and closing with the movement of the light upon them at random moments, where the pearlescent hue shifted from pink, to silver, and finished with the faintest golden sheen. It was a selection of haute couture attire that one could sit in, lounge in, sleep in, and dance in and still look perennially (ha!) flawless. Most importantly, she did not beggar any poor souls to create the piece as all of Xiomara's gowns were typically made of (depending on the request) recycled materials refreshed with Craft, so that the stitches would not break or stretch. Upon her feet were shoes in stiletto form that had been made for her feet by a local cobbler in Amdarh with some considerable skill, but not enough business. It had taken a filling of her Opal Jewel four times to make just the skirts of the gown.

In the end, it made sense for her to appear not only to throw some weight behind her own fashion business, but as well assist in making artful contacts for the Pirenza Court. Tonight, her cane had been shifted to a matching silver and pink, and the sword within had been peace-tied by the Sentinels several days before her attendance; she wouldn't be able to get it out, unless she was departing permanently for the evening and by request. For a little while, she wandered the hedge and rose walks, simply taking in the sights of the place that her beloved offered his service to the Territory Queen, whom as of yet, she had not met, and likely was within a considerable number of the same.

A grin brightened her face as she entered the ballroom, and she took note that those she might have called family were occupied; even her sisters were here, to whom she gave a little wave across the grand room. Having brought a book of fashion plates with her, it seemed just the thing to play wandering wallflower, and peruse it while observing whom of Dhemlan's "finest" had decided to show up. Here and there, she paused to have a brief, pleasant conversation. On a turn of her ballroom observation, she waved her gloved fingers at Mari and Nicanor making fine work of the floor, until she was snared by a courtier from the Pirenza Court (little more than a wealthy hanger-on) that she did not know well, to dance. Not always the best at saying no, especially in crowded places like this one. That said, Xiomara was very skilled in putting up with attention she had little to no interest in.

"You are whom, exactly?" Xiomara managed to keep the ice out of her voice, allowing only for a polite curiosity.

"Prince Matteo Santiago, an enthusiastic fan of the reclusive Calderon flower. You seem to be the little tragic widow that hides away in the Calderon Court. A surprise to see The Fashionista witch at this kind of gathering, yes?" He was handsome, but not in a way that piqued her interest. So she held herself in an extremely closed position to easily prohibit wandering hands, and after a few moments, it seemed that's all she was doing, using the floor to dance away from him as best she could with all the skill that the Lady Mari had long assisted in paying for.

"I do not hide, I simply have business to tend to typically, Prince. Advisor to the Pirenza Court and a full series of orders keeps me from most frivolous events, beautiful though they might be. Is there a reason you have sought me out? Some piece you require created for a lover or wife, I suspect?" For a moment, she almost choked with rage, yet allowed deep, calming breaths timed with the string instruments to keep her at ease. The Blood Opal that she suspected was his Offering Jewel lay easily visible at least in the manner of the man's attire. Aware that this particular musical selection would go on for at least six more minutes, she steeled herself to endure its completion.

"I want this one that you've created." Xiomara moved the man's hand away from her ass with a twitch of her right hip. The polite expression on her face never once shifted at the bold request.

"No," she remarked with a gentle, yet firm smile. "You cannot afford it, trust me. Besides, I do not make pieces that are repeated, only one of a kind." She also was not going to make one of her perfect gowns for a prick with less manners than a spoiled child, but that was neither here nor there.

Clearly, I ought to have stayed in the gardens.

"Not for any price?"

"Do you always bother women after you have been told no, Prince?"

Xiomara snapped gracefully away from the annoying male in a perfect twirl, now seeing this dance as a challenge. While at home, Mari would have been able to protect her from idiots like this one, being raised to a Province Court meant more trouble. She'd handle it herself. Without getting in trouble and slamming her stiletto down on his instep, even if the thought was a pleasant one.

"It depends on the persuasion. You might be surprised."

I am certain I would by no means be, as my beloved could do better in his sleep with one arm behind his back, Xiomara thought with dark amusement to herself, but she decided to keep it silent and only smiled through the remains of the dance. It wouldn't do to agitate the fool creature. Instead, she shone bright like the star she was, smoothly signaling to one of the Calderon First Circle that she could perhaps use an extra subtle hand, if in twenty minutes she hadn't been released.

"I will entertain one more dance, in which afterward, I would suggest you continue to play the field, though I will certainly send regards to the Court on your behalf, Prince ... Santiago," she remarked easily, with careful Protocol.
"I have seen true Darkness, and not been conquered by it."

Offline Cristóbal De la Cruz

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #15 on: Jun 01, 18, 04:50:18 PM »
An invitation had been sent to Lady Gold and Cristóbal had been nearly overjoyed to see it. While his Lady could be marvelous in a social affair, she would seek to use it as cover for her interests of expanding the Veil. Cristó, in turn, was more interested in the dance itself. He enjoyed the Dhemlanese culture and parties, as it reminded him more of Hayll than Little Terreille ever did. The social affairs, the divide between aristo and commoner, those who have class and those who did not were sharper. And while Cristóbal wasn't one of the Hundred, his long centuries in Dhemlan to form the persona he had become made him feel practically as if he was. He had family in Little Terreille, children now that he'd outlive, but he had friends and paramours and more in Dhemlan. His name was well known and reputable and his contacts were far and wide. While he knew there were two other Tenebrosi Iarvis in Dhemlan, neither of them operated in the same circles that Cristó did (that wouldn't make a great deal of sense if they did), and so he did not anticipate meeting either Tempus or Damnatio at this affair.

Dressed sharply in silvers and in grays, Cristóbal arrived before his Lady. He would not be her official escort, as that was not her role in the Court, but he was close enough to have availed an invitation and would move about the field to mingle and to spread her influence. To the loyal Broken Warlord, she was the sun and he merely dwelt in her light.

But in that radiance he could flourish, and he was unafraid of swimming with the sharks here (as he was as solid a predator, should he put his mind to it). The High Priestess of the Territory, Lady Carmen, was as radiant and alluring as ever, and his first meeting with her in the presence of the Territory Queen had left a strong impression. He sought her out as she finished her dance, feeling that while it was good for her to see him, it was even better to be seen with her.

"Most Exalted Mother." Cristóbal referred to the holy woman with all due respect, bowing deeply to the woman that held the heart and soul of Dhemlan in her grasp; her power could not be understated. "Few experiences could be so uplifting or as spiritual as a dance with her holiness, would you do me such an honor?" Cristó's words lacked irony or sarcasm; indeed he meant every word as he extended a hand to her, showing to all what a proper male of the Blood could display in the presence of a holy dignitary.

Offline Agustin Reyes

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #16 on: Jun 01, 18, 05:03:03 PM »
Nicanor danced with Mari like he loved her; like he used to dance with her. Tonight he felt so good and in his element it was easy to pretend. So he looked at her with radiance and with approval and loyalty, not with hidden contempt or pocketed anger. His hand felt solid on her back, his hold on her hand comforting and warm. Her Touch was welcome and an immediate enjoyable addition to their dance. Perhaps he would even join her bed tonight, as it had been some time, but in this evening his mood was so great he was open to doors that had been closed for some time.

His eyes caught Lorenzo here, and he immediately was proud and happy to have Mari's son in attendance. His love for the young man was as deep as if he were his own son. Seeing Marisol as well, was an equal warmth -- though truth be told his mind was more carnal and of a different love for Mari's fiercest daughter than that of her boy. He had hoped they would come to be able to mend their relationship, but as he spied Lorenzo approaching her, he could sense the frost between them even if he navigated the dance with his Lady while he also perceived their periphery. He would be a shit Warlord Prince if he could not. Xiomera, too, he noted in her arrival and her navigating a hanger-on, and he smiled to himself before turning to smile down to his Queen.

"It is a wonderful night, Mari." He spoke in honest, rumbling tones. He was so bold to lean down and kiss her at the end of the dance -- though it was brief as his hand pulled her up into him. "I see your children are still getting along."

Whispering into her mind, as theirs was always an open correspondence despite the trials and tribulations they had over the years. I will go speak with Marisol, she seems the more likely to explode between the two. If anything, he was proud that Lorenzo had maintained his poise as he moved away from his sister. They were sniping, and he knew Marisol wasn't going to take Lorenzo's words lying down.

He didn't ask to leave Mari's side, but he knew she would approve of him playing mediator. If anything, Nicanor was someone that her family had come to trust and find a welcome voice.

So he moved like a tiger in silk, his impeccable suit custom-made to assure that every sharp line and broad muscle was defined and barely hidden by the sharpest of fashion. Arriving just as Lorenzo fired his finishing salvo, he appeared with drink in hand (having smoothly accepted two from a passing waiter) and offered one to Marisol Calderon, sharp, beautiful, and as fiery as her Red.

"Are you refusing all potential paramours for the evening, Marisol?" Nicanor's smile was disarming, and just a touch of sharpness in his eyes as he moved to resettle her focus from her brother to himself. "Or just the ones that are warded away by a single no?"

Many doors indeed.

Offline Corazon Chavez

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #17 on: Jun 02, 18, 04:18:56 AM »
193, Spring: the Gala of Queens, Amdarh

If asked, Corazon would assert absolutely that no lady would ever outshine Xiomara, no matter what Xio wore. She might add, with glee, that on occasion Lorenzo could, at least when wearing nothing at all. Yet tonight, the lovely Lady Xiomara had sculpted a gown for herself that seamlessly masked her difficulty moving. The length and breadth of the gown guaranteed the need to be seated on the softest, best seats without reference to her wounded leg at all. Add in the flowers, the lovely spring coloring, and the confection became the embodiment of the classical ball gown, while being entirely unique. No, it was not Xiomara who was out of place here! High born, wealthy, darkly Jeweled, the witch was a treasure of Dhemlan even before her remarkable skill in haut couture was considered.

Garbed as so many were, in Xiomara’s creations, her skill clearly had been considered. Adorned with Jewels as well as more mundane treasures, Corazon had rarely seen a more entrancing display of sensuality and power, male and female alike. But tonight, at the Gala of Queens, more than mere beauty was on display. Each cultivated Queen and her chosen retinue proudly displayed wealth, gifts of Caste, and those of power. Yet few, it seemed, had also chosen to showcase skill, cleverness or political acumen.

Apparently trying hard was another virtue best hidden in Amdarh’s social milieu. Of course, Corazon wasn’t here to try hard, so the temptation to challenge that societal norm was firmly reigned in. A Province Seat was beyond her need, at the moment. She was here for the food, drink and dancing, and to show Lady Araneina that she could handle even the most volatile of her people. No, this was not a trial to Corazon, but a delight. Such galas were always fun, as any large gathering of those she had been born to tend to was. Especially when she had the opportunity to bring her best beloved with her. Such thoughts inevitably drew her gaze back to the Pirenza Province Court.

Lady Calderon, Senior, was amongst that select few who had chosen restraint and astuteness in their retinue, as were both of the rather astonishing dual Caste Queens. Lady Calderon’s children were on display, though Lady Marisol, like Lorenzo, had split duties ...  and loyalties. Corazon’s gaze lingered for a while upon Lorenzo (currently serving the Queen of Dhemlan), then Lady Marisol, (whose loyalty lay firmly with the High Priestess of the Cathedra), before returning to consider their mother. Of the many astonishing men who attended that Lady, it was the striking Nicanor Reyes who was privileged to lead The Province Queen of Pirenza to the dance floor. They moved beautifully, with all of the aristocratic grace of their lineage and the power of their ancient, grief-tried Bond.


Corazon’s Gala Attire
Corazon’s thoughts and gaze returned to the Black Widow Queen, close associate of the traitor Coven and false Circle. Lady Octavian was elegantly, even demurely gowned in a simple black dress and for the hundredth time since arriving Corazon silently thanked Xiomara for the last-minute sartorial rescue she had managed. Still, watching the double traitor Queen, Corazon was torn between pity and a suspicion that the Lady’s conversation would be the sort that appeared all that was proper ... only to wake one a week later in a cold sweat as a wholly different interpretation of her meaning unfolded in one’s mind. With a smile and nod of respect, her gaze moved on.

The Priestess Queen was of deeper interest to Corazon. The ambitious, socially ostracized ‘commoner Queen’ Lady Gualtierrez was in many subtle ways a natural ally for the ‘University Queen.’ The Dual Caste Queen had Bonded Corazon’s dear friend, Raziel almost 600 years ago, yet even still the relationship was rife with both grief and rage. It concerned Corazon, as did the heart-sore state that the mutiny in the southern fleet had left her friend in. Carefully, Corazon began to drift in that direction, with a warm smile for Raziel and a genuine, if more reserved one, for his Queen.

Around her, moving as naturally as if they had been a Court for centuries, were those who would form her Court. The goal, for Corazon, was to have Lady Teoda see her people in action. Corazon’s greatest strength was in the sheer depth of talented, educated, competent and loyal people she could command. At last, she had the chance to let those people shine. She smiled up at her Uncle Ánton, resplendent in his Sentinel’s Uniform. And this time, the deadly, rugged aura of the man was enhanced by the full, overwhelming display of his medals, awards and orders.


Ánton rang like a chandelier when he moved, and he hated every moment of it. His exasperated, mildly amused expression as he met her gaze threatened to make Corazon’s silken laughter break free. His gaze broke away as he habitually scanned for threats, only a mild tension in the arm upon which her hand rested betraying that he’d found one. Her glance followed his, instinct spearing the blasphemous hand that dared stray where it was not wanted.

Whilst Corazon was wildly aware that Xiomara’s sword cane was far from ornamental, the urge to handle the situation by breaking Matteo Santiago’s nose with her own fist was strong. But Corazon was not a young Queen, and had many, many fists available to disarray faces for her.

Her Uncle bowed gracefully, smoothly handing off her personal protection to Prince Rhett Reynolds. 

Ánton then moved skillfully through the crowd, to handle the offensive Santiago cousin with his typical aplomb.

Corazon smiled reassuringly at her newest friend, and murmured reassuringly, “I know his mother; his famous Cousin is Dean of my University. Let’s you and I make sure Matteo’s next visit to Salamanca is memorable.”

And that, of course, said nothing of the complex vengeance Lady Calderon, Senior, would arrange.



Offline Raziel Cavallero

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #18 on: Jun 02, 18, 08:21:20 AM »
Raziel's arm was rigid to the touch of Estrellian's slender hand. Prim, proper and dignified. It was a military stature, like feeling stone. It was a good way to quell the chill that threaten to slow his heartbeat and raise his awareness in the anticipation of excess bloodletting. Duty. It was something Raziel knew well. "There are few things in this world I can do well. Can't help it if one of those gifts is strutting some serious stars and bars." He smirked. "Granted I look like a glorified pin-cushion compared to you however." He didn't mind however. The stars-and-bars strutting was to make her look impressive after all.


The distaff to spear she offered Raziel made him smile slightly as he continued to gaze upon the crowd. * Do you now? * The thought returned to her. When she asked how he had managed, so long, to tolerate her presence without killing her (indeed!) the response was coy and vague. * Booze. Women, sometimes. But mostly booze. When those don't work?.....I don't really know either. * He rested a gloved hand over hers and then it happened again! The Queen's Touch melted the chill from his bones and left him centered on his duty....save with the subtle feeling as if he had forgotten something, or left a door open somewhere. A not-nearly-a-complete fit is all that Raziel would ever receive from his Queen's calming touch. However he appreciated the gesture nonetheless.

"I doubt no one would mind if we took a brief reprieve to the gardens. I however must give my compliments to my superiors before I do anything else." Military protocol demanded it. "But that should give us plenty of time to mingle and get to know the others in attendance si? Nothing like making new friends." He said with a smile on his face, about as opaque as stone making a facial read difficult to discern.
Raziel's Military Dress Uniform

He eyed the approach of the Chavez cohort near them and he leaned in to Estrellian's ear, not really whispering. "Or being saved by the presence of older ones for the time being." He gave a deep bow to Corazon and those of her retinue when they approached. Queen Chavez." His smile was warm but reserved, as was proper but the twinkle in his eye suggested the affairs of the evening saved her some form of tease that would be fine between friends, not as political individuals.

"We meet again. If you continue to remain outside of Salamanca this long I may start to wonder if you even teach there anymore." And her cohort of OTHER males, he swore he met them all in the street, made him go through introductions once more. It was proper to greet the males of a Queen prior to getting real cozy. "Lady you are looking quite dapper this evening." His tone inflected that said tease she evaded had to do with her dress. "And here I am feeling naked without my favorite bowler." He had his naval hat...But hell no. Those things look stupid, feel weird and are just on the whole completely uncomfortable slap-ridden pieces of cloth. "I must say between yourself and my own Lady," He looked between her and Estrellian. "I must reiterate I look like a rather eloquent pin-cushion."

"Speaking of. This eloquent pin-cushion is thirsty." He said to both of them. "I believe I shall go fetch us some of that...." He snapped his fingers a few times in thought. "I believe the proper term is Grade A bubbly. Shall I grab some for anyone else?" The offer was made and, if any wanted any, he would get it. He gave a brief dip to Estrellian. "I will return momentarily, Lady." Thankfully a servant was not too far away letting him remain within easy eyesight.

Offline Teoda Araneina

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #19 on: Jun 02, 18, 08:30:41 PM »
A little more than an hour into the gala, a rhythm had begun to establish itself around the palace grounds. Courtiers mingled and talked, some graciously and others snippishly, and then conversations close and people moved on to the next grouping or the next room. Tonight was a night for socializing and being seen, for networking and for firming up old friendships - and in a few cases, confirming old rivalries. While a few of the Queens in attendance opted to find a place to sit ensconced by their attendants so that people could come to them, the vast majority of them floated from room to room like bejeweled flowers, a hive of courtiers busily tending to them as they went.

All at once, the music playing softly in the background of each room faded out, as though all the musicians present had been given the same instruction at once. There was a brief pause, and then in unison the arrangements all began to play Dhemlan's anthem, an old and stately tune that brought to mind both dignity and passion. In the main ballroom, the eastern end of the room ended in a raised platform, similar to the portico-like halls which lined the ballroom floor on each side, but taller. Thick velvet curtains hid the very end of that side of the room from public view, though when the anthem began playing, those curtains were smoothly parted. Dhemlan's Queen was escorted onto the platform, flanked on both sides by the members of her triangle, and her Court Seer. They each cut striking figures, as was expected of noble Dhemlanese in positions such as theirs. Teoda in particular shone, however, in a golden confection of a dress that was layered with such a delicate and exquisite array of fine fabrics that it seemed to actually glow in the soft light of the ballroom. Perhaps it was merely a Craft effect, or perhaps it was the actual gold that had been worked into her dress and veil.

The music was timed so that it lulled just as Teoda and her escorts reached the banister overlooking the ballroom floor, and Teoda smiled beautifully down at the Dhemlanese courtiers who filled the place. All around the palace grounds, crystals sprang to life and played real-time reflections of the Queen as she prepared to speak.

"Welcome, friends, faithful, and dear." Her voice was amplified by Craft, enough to carry without being overbearing. She was practiced in this sort of speaking, evidenced by the easy way she held herself, and how freely her smiles came. "We are well-pleased with your presence here tonight, and it is our deep and sincere hope that each of you will have an evening to remember. Dhemlan has endured much, and we have remained unbowed, unbroken, undeterred. Tonight, we celebrate the strength of our Territory, which is in no small part the Queens who give it life. We bid you welcome to Amdarh, and we invite you to sate yourselves on our hospitality while you enjoy the company of your countrymen.

"As you know, the Lady Mencia de Torres has been stewarding the throne of La Oratova Province these past months, at great personal cost and as a personal favor to us, her friends. She has done a beautiful and steadfast job, and she is to be praised for her faithfulness during this time of transition. But a throne belongs to a Queen, and it is our hope that we will find that Queen tonight. Any Queen who sees herself as fit for that throne is invited to leave her name with my Steward," she said, pausing to extend an elegant, gold-tipped hand towards Diego Salazar, at her side. The Summer Sky Prince bowed his head gently in acknowledgement.

"Though you may all come and go as you please, of course, we will not leave tonight until we have spoken with every Queen whose name is entered onto Prince Salazar's list. By the end of the night, it is our hope to have all of Dhemlan's thrones once again filled by righteous Dhemlanese Queens!" Her fervor swelled just a little towards the end, as though the idea of finally finding a suitable Queen genuinely excited her.

"For now, we invite you to enjoy the palace and its offerings. Let the music play, and let us feast upon the richness of our country and its beauty!" She lifted her hands at the last, smiling brilliantly, and the musicians set in once more with a lively number meant to draw people to the dance floor. At the same time, there were soft pops all over the grounds, and in every area that'd been opened to guests, glittery confetti suddenly filled the air. A feat of Craft, it was made to shimmer and sparkle brilliantly, and then fade away on its own after time. Teoda could be ostentatious, after all, but she wasn't a sadist. She laughed at the brilliant spectacle, even as the shimmering motes of gold and silver dusted her own arms and cheeks.

Offline Estrellien Gualtierrez

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #20 on: Jun 10, 18, 08:36:09 AM »
Queen's Gala in Amdarh
There will be no one in this world who can cure, the wound that your pride left; I don't understand how you hurt me with all the love that you gave me ...


Estrellien and her entourage remained with the Lady Chavez and her well mannered, 'unofficial court' because her presence seemed to vastly soothe Prince Raziel, though there were a great many Warlord Princes that had learned from the older Queen, she was aware. In an instant perceived humiliation had sunk Estrellien too easily, once, because of being a dual Casted Priestess Queen in particular. A direct shot to the heart that one would refuse to breathe her direction for an offer of service due to the lifelong hate received first by the predecessor of the current High Priestess, and now, the current one, Lady Carmen Villendra. It stuck in her craw ferociously even as the prospect delighted; how to turn the High Priestess to her side if at least in not being directly thwarted by the woman, even given what seemed a tradition of hate.

Unfortunate, impossible, insane task.

Elegantly, the Calderon family was out in stylish force, it was hard to miss their beauty and refinement. In passing during a dance, Estrellien offered a respectful nod and greeting toward the Lady Mari Calderon, Queen of Pirenza Province. Estrellien properly paid an acknowledgment to those present of the Seville Court. She mentally noted to asking to dance with Lord Rodrigo Barbero, Steward of Seville Province and waved her fingers in hopefully catching the Warlord's eye. Estrellien wondered if she would even be able to pretend that she didn't notice that the greater majority of the Cáthedra had not lost its way. These thoughts, however, came to a pristine stillness following the request of a dance with Lord Ánton Chavez following Corazon's graceful permission, of course. The elder man was soothing and professional, helpful in reminding of the purpose of the evening. It was Estrellien's intention to save her final dance of the evening for Prince Cavallero; to offer a subtle gesture of devotion, with the concession of pain contained in their near six hundred years long Bond.

Though she did not overly engage the Ebon Grey Warlord Prince that served as the Lady Corazon Chavez's Escort to the Gala, she did, the Priestess Queen hoped, more than enough to make the male feel included, despite his Half Long-Lived presence, or perhaps, because of it. Estrellien was acquainted with a few to know the various fascinating appearances of them keenly enough. He reminded her of the pair that she had assisted to regain a youth taken from them of a Sceltic blended line the previous year; Estrellien was reminded then that she would need to bring three items as souvenirs to her one-of-a-kind Landen Advisor, the Lady Calista Abarora, as also promised. Time was carefully granted to each of the males had attended with her; the Lady Gualtierrez favoured Salvador Coyote with particular attention, though it was notable as well that Estrellien did not shy away from dancing with the ladies, in addition, taking turns leading dancing with her own Court Priestess, Healer, and the Seer.

Determination to make a good and most of all an efficient and competent showing, not wasting time nor responding to the slightest insult or slight was well apparent in Estrellien's mien. Prince Alcides Fernandez, the Logrona Steward moved carefully near in his networking. Mentally and emotionally, Lady Gualtierrez prepared for a minimum of two outcomes tonight; the need to ensure she kept her current seat or received her heart's desire, the warmth of tender memory craved: La Oratova. It was different the way she wanted it now as compared to previous decades and centuries. Gentle craving burned in Estrellien to make the family of relative nobodies she had been born to, proud of their daughter. Difference between simple greed, complex greed, and more, a true desire to do something had wrapped its tender tendrils around her heart and whispered until the Darkness caused her to sit up and listen. To attend.

Perfectly as expected, cessation of the music ensnared the Lady Gualtierrez's attention like no other; she had not been far from the main platform where the Queen of Dhemlan's triangle made its appearance. Whatever Estrellien had been expecting was swept away by the perfectly golden appearance of the Lady Teoda Araneina. In this particular moment with rapt attention upon the Queen of Dhemlan, she did nothing more than stroke Raziel's hand, despite the elegant gloves she wore, daring to lace her fingers with his, and squeezing once.

Moralistic shine of the Queen of Dhemlan's appearance.

Passionately, Estrellien desired an essence of similar form. Gold of the Queen's gown which was lovely, as was undeniable presence of being Queen of the Territory. A righteousness of personality and charm was unmistakable. Corazon too shared that innate compassionate mannerism. Once more, Estrellien wondered at the procrastination of her ability to care; a faint sheen of tears that presented in an intrigued emotional gaze. Supplementally to whirling thoughts, she craved to further change for the sake of itself, with the understanding that she was by no means shoving the past under a rock but embracing cruelty, harsh demands of her past. Curiosity held the lady spellbound. Perhaps tendencies of greed could be used toward that most previously annoying paths: for the greater good.

Have I truly been so wrong? Perhaps even after centuries, no former villain can expect a happy ending.

Carefully, she blinked moisture away, listening to the woman's elegant oration. A profusion of Queens that Estrellien would have to compete within this delicate scramble, but she held tight to the iron core of her senses, the embracing of the evil she had once done, and the desire to be better. Unexpected showering of gold and silver confetti had the normally keen, querulous and hubristic Priestess Queen laughing almost sweetly on her First Escort's arm. The extremely rare sound of her laughter in delight and the sudden warmth of the tangled scents of Priestess and Queen had caught a fair number of eyes and ears. Only after Lady Teoda appeared to finish addressing the ballroom did Estrellien speak.

"I desire to be on the list of consideration. Shall we, Prince Cavallero? Will you escort me, my Prince, so we may give my name? We should neither be first to approach, nor the last. It is important this evening ... to restrain my desires, even as I acknowledge them," what shocked Estrellien extensively was how she felt the words, rather than futile flattery to ease the way as once was likely. Akin to miracle had been her remark, the second of which, to acknowledge what she wanted without hurting anyone, she was learning from her Bond with Salvador. Then, she turned to Corazon, expression notably severe. "Regardless of the ending of this night, whether I am so lucky or blessed to gain said seat or not, I would like to work with you, Lady Chavez. I heard a little rumor about your work with the oceans in particular, though my interest is especially with Landen villages, and less fortunate Blood," Estrellien said bluntly, noticing that after some minutes, the confetti was designed to begin to slowly vanish. The attention to detail made the cynical woman truly smile.

"How clever," she said in a remark to both the 'Professor Queen's' accomplishments, but as well, the vanishing confetti. As such, Estrellien did not feel any burden of an undue stress of the evening, nor bitterness, no poison that she might have from what she either could not have or could not obtain. She wished that it were possible to obtain a tiny cup of the glitter to take to her mother, but she would make memory crystals of this night to please her mother, particularly of Lady Teoda's appearance. It was the only thing the severe, disciplined trained Healer had asked for.

'I should buy a dress for you. Won't you--'

'My nails are rough, hair dull, lips tired from soothing innumerable patients, mi hija. Your sisters and I, your father, we are not of the social class that belongs or can attend such a Gala. We are poor; not so much as Landen that have truly nothing, but poor and common all the same. The title of 'Lady' before my name is a false equivalency; my hands have long been tired of stitching bandages, but I will not cease until death.'

'Do not say that, please. I know I have played the cruel prodigal child, but I do love you. I am not ashamed anymore--'


'Silence, girl; for once, listen to me. If not for your beautiful Castes, you would still be one of us. I am becoming proud of you, as I once was with the beginning of your studies long ago. Bring me a memory of the comely Queen of all Dhemlan, for she is sure to appear as beautiful as the sun.'

'Mama ... mi Madre ... I have hurt you so much--'

'No, do not cry, you will ruin your lovely face.'

'I will do my best, I promise.'

'Now go, leave us. Make them remember that people like us exist, if you can. That is all I have ever wanted for you.'


The intense memory of her mother's dry, thin lips pressed against Estrellien's forehead was a painful emotional squeeze upon the heart; as had been closing of the faded red door of her mother's house, that still squeaked when it was opened. Small with every space completely used, the home had been viciously clean just as it was when she was a child. Carved wood of the front door still as warped as it was centuries ago because the Craft on the door had not been done very well. Thoughts of the smell of homemade bread, baked fresh, well-spiced salmon and fried churros lingered just now in her thoughts with a soft pinging ache. She had yet to ask Raziel again to meet her parents, as the topic was a very sore one, and she once more understood his pain in several additional layers. Estrellien still had hers, and the value of her name for as little as it was worth, despite everything. Elisa Gualtierrez had stood strong and cool against Estrellien's turn away from them, toward a path she had not been raised in and had refused to bend for her youngest daughter until she had developed some damned sense despite the temptation bound whispers of Dhemlanese corruption.

"I saw my mother, before the Gala, and she had only respectful, strong and kind words this once, for me. I have waited centuries to earn them, but it was vastly worth the wait. She asked only for a memory crystal of the Lady Araneina's appearance. My sisters requested flowers from the leftover decorations. I think there is almost enough time to make that particular request of the Queen in meeting her. Will you help me, Lady Corazon?" Her heart roiled at asking another Queen for help, but real allies were absolutely paramount, Estrellien knew, and who better than an old friend of her oldest-yet-complicated-love? She could only hope the Opal Jewelled Queen would understand the deeper meaning in her request having not just been meant in an insipid and hackneyed political sense, but a sincere one.

I can do this. I will do this. Mother Night, though I have long not been worthy, hold me in your arms.
"Mother Night is real. Not a mere dream."

Offline Lorenzo Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #21 on: Jun 12, 18, 11:33:35 PM »
Lorenzo’s mood was a touch soured as he walked away from Marisol and meandered towards the High Priestess. He knew that he shouldn’t be offended by her cold demeanor. He’d wronged her, once upon a time, and she’d seemed to pick up the grudge that Mother and Clarissa had both laid down in order to grant him another chance. Speaking of his mother, Mari caught his eye and held up her wine glass, beckoning him over. Lorenzo changed his course and walked over to the Queen of Pirenzo, greeting her with the respect due her station.

Thank you, my darling son, for not making a scene.” she said, taking a glass from the tray of a passing server and handing it to Lorenzo. He accepted it, but did not drink it right away. He was on duty, after all, but he did not want to shame his mother by acting like he didn’t enjoy her company.

"Naturally. You look beautiful, as always." he said, leaning down to kiss her on the cheek. It was strange to know taht she was ruled Pirenza, over a year later. She’d been the Queen of Sitges for his entire life until last year. In his youth, Lorenzo truly believed that Mari had planted the first tree in Vigo and that she would hold that place until she returned to the Darkness. He was happy for her ascent, but wondered if Mari Calderon would ever be satisfied with being just a Province Queen. For everyone’s sake, he prayed that the answer was yes.

Even when he was certain that it was a resounding no.

Thank you, Lorenzo. You look great as well. Your lady puts out a decent spread.” Mari said, eyes passing over the crowd around them. Lorenzo fought the urge to smile. Mari would walk out of here right now if it wasn’t political suicide. Lorenzo should have thanked her for not making a scene, but it would have been patronizing.

Mari’s gaze halted at some fixed point across the room. Lorenzo followed it and found Xiomara dancing with--

Don’t go over there, Lorenzo. She can handle it.

I know.” he said, putting his untouched glass of wine on the tray of a passing waiter.

Lorenzo--

Please excuse me, Mother. I need to see a man about a woman.

Lorenzo was already making his way toward Prince Santiago and Xiomara before Mari could protest further. He weaved his way through the crowd, aided by the fact that moment people wanted to stay out of a Warlord Prince’s space. He stopped just a few feet away from Prince Santiago, enough so that when the man turned his attention away from whatever filth he was whispering in Xiomara’s ear, he would see the Gray Warlord Prince standing before him.

Prince Matteo Santiago visibly paled.

Prince Santiago.” Lorenzo drawled, his smile revealing perfect white teeth. “Fancy meeting you here! You look so hale. When your secretary told me that you were ill, I sent a get-well basket. When I returned to your office, she said that you were still out.

That was three weeks ago. That must have been some fluenza.
” Lorenzo said.

Ah, yes. Had me laid out pretty badly, Prince Calderon. I-I-I sent a letter about rescheduling our meeting this morning. Did you receive it?” Prince Santiago asked.

My secretary didn’t mention any letters, but then again, I didn’t see her today. I was at your office this morning, where your secretary told me you’d be in at noon. So I came back at noon only for her to tell me that you had an emergency meeting in Carmora. The location slipped her mind, though. I feel like you’re avoiding me.” Lorenzo said, keeping his gaze focused on Prince Santiago.

Not at all, Prince! Not at all. In fact, I have a space in my schedule for you. Shall we meet at, ah, ten to go over the particulars of the dispute?

Let’s make it eight. I get up early.” Lorenzo said, letting his gaze flick over to Xiomara. Would she be cross with him for this? Would she let him peel her out of that wonderful dress, layer by layer, so that he could massage her leg before he spent the night enjoying her company.

Eight it is. I get up early as well!” Prince Santiago said, trying to keep his tone even.

Mind if I cut in?” Lorenzo asked, gesturing to the space he occupied in front of Xiomara.

Not at all.” he said. He turned to Xiomara. “Lady Calderon, please have a wonderful evening.

Prince Santiago did not run from the area, but he looked like he wanted to. Lorenzo looked to Xiomara and smiled.

Excuse me, Lady Calderon. I’ve long been an admirer of your work. May I have this dance?” Lorenzo asked, offering his hand. He would dance with Xiomara through this song and the next few, until Lady Teoda arrived to speak and commence the party officially. Lorenzo remained beside Xiomara, providing her a fresh glass of wine from a passing tray, even as he opened the thread between them.

*All this pomp and circumstance and yet all I want to do is take you back to Moontear Hall and peel you out of that dress. Is that wrong, my love? I’m sure Corazon would enjoy hearing about that. Perhaps I’ll bring her, too.

I suppose I’m greedy that way.
*

Lorenzo smiled.

His mood was vastly improved.






Offline Carmen Villendra

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #22 on: Jul 03, 18, 10:28:21 AM »
Reál was a practiced and familiar partner, and he and the High Priestess acquitted themselves well amongst the dancers on the ballroom floor. Carmen enjoyed herself without restraint, positively effervescent in her own, dignified way. Tonight was the culmination of such extensive planning and work that it felt like a tremendous burden relieved just to have the night here and progressing. Now, there was little to do but enjoy the spectacle and wait for the results.

So enjoy it she did.

She was laughing quietly at some sardonic quip from her escort as the song to which they were dancing drew to a close. Reál knew her well enough to anticipate her desire for a drink after three dances, so he led her to the side of the floor in preparation of tracking one down for her. It was as he did this that an unfamiliar (to him) male approached and greeted his Lady. The Warlord Prince watched with a discerning, guarded eye while the newcomer extended the proper courtesies, though he said nothing to intervene.

Carmen's reaction to Cristobal's approach was much warmer. She smiled brilliantly upon noticing him, and when he bowed to greet her she extended her hand for him to dote upon.

"Lord de la Cruz," she greeted him, seeming pleased to encounter him. His flattery drew a gentle laugh from her, one that settled into a very pleased little smile afterwards. "I would be very happy to do so." She looked to Reál and squeezed the forearm beneath her palm, gently. "Prince Octivo, could you bear it?" Reál gave a muted smile and bowed his head deeply to the Priestess.

"As you will, my Lady." He offered the lady's hand to Cristobal, and though he maintained a practiced air of civility and grace, the sharpness in his gaze betrayed just how unpleasant the act still was for the Warlord Prince. That gaze would assure the Warlord before him that there would not be a move made between the stranger and Reál's Lady that would go unseen, regardless of where on the dance floor he took her.

Cristobal was allowed to move Carmen back into the field of dancing bodies, where the Priestess' attention zeroed in on the man like someone who was accustomed to having others watch her back for her. She was free to be entirely distracted by her dance partner, despite the number of unfamiliar people dancing in close proximity. She seemed, in fact, to not have a care in the world at the moment, evidenced by the ease and peace in her plentiful smiles.

"It pleases me to see that you have returned to us, Lord de la Cruz," she told him, as they began to dance. "You were so very helpful to us while dealing with the unpleasantness of our lost Nuncio... I am glad to see you return home to enjoy some of our splendor now. Little Terreille has its charms, I'm sure," she said, though she was clearly making an allowance there for politeness' sake. "But there are few things like a Dhemlanese gala."

Offline Marisol Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #23 on: Jul 03, 18, 10:44:57 AM »
If looks could kill, Lorenzo Calderon would've been little more than a stain on the polished floor before he'd made it three steps away from his sister. His parting shots touting his association with the High Priestess did their intended work, and Marisol was visibly angered in a way that she hadn't shown in public in quite some time. She finished her wine and set the empty glass on the tray of a passing waiter, and stared daggers at Lorenzo's retreating form. It was so rare these days for her emotions to so thoroughly override her intentions, but few things in the world could inflame her fury like the monster who pretended to be her brother.

In fact, had Nicanor not chosen precisely then to step into her line of sight and speak to her, distracting her from that quickly-compounding fury, she might've gotten herself into a spot of trouble. She seemed to realize this, because for a moment she simply blinked at Nicanor, and then visibly took a moment to calm herself and reset her face.

Nicanor had been a fixture on her mother's estate for longer than Marisol could remember. He'd always been her mother's, which had inherently limited how much she'd engaged with him since reaching adulthood. In any contest between Marisol and her mother it was safe to assume that Nicanor would take the elder woman's side, Marisol thought, which made him less useful to her than he might be otherwise. But even so, he'd been a constant in her life. He was trustworthy and steady, and at the moment he was all but a lifeline for the vexed Priestess. She accepted the offered drink, but her breathing was still a little short and her jaw still a little tight.

"Nicanor," she greeted him, the suaveness of his opening drowned out by her receding anger. She didn't turn to look, but she imagined the eyes of a few of the Sentinels on her already. Craft use was forbidden, so she couldn't disguise her psychic scent as she normally would when upset at an inconvenient time, and the anger of a Red witch was not always a subtle thing. She was doing well to reel it back in now that Nicanor had interrupted her thoughts, but the longer she thought about how easily Lorenzo had nearly set her off, the more difficult it became to force herself to calm.

"Will you walk with me, please?" she breathed, seeming uncharacteristically concerned for the moment. "I think I'd like some air."


Offline Xiomara Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #24 on: Jul 31, 18, 10:47:32 AM »
Santiago had been like some kind of lame viper, with his fingers wrapped almost painfully around her arm but in such a way that no one could actually see it. Xiomara's smile, however, never faded, remaining as sweet as the sun. That despite her desire to grind her heel into the upper portion of his foot. Her beloved Queen was occupied with a number of courtiers, and though she had noticed Anton Chavez heading her way, he too had been caught up by a number of well-meaning ladies. It meant for a good half an hour, she was on her own, which after a fashion the Hearth Witch decided was actually good so long as the situation didn't get further out of hand. She could put up with the annoyance of one irritating male for the sake of the Lady Mari's prestige in Pirenza. There was a sense of real pride in being a Court Advisor there with her cousin not only because his mother had once been a Queen of Pirenza, but her uncle and Romerio's father had held Court there.

Being at the Territory Keep, however, was an entirely different feeling. Despite the vile murmurs in her ear, which she could mostly ignore and offer a thin smile toward as well as a shallow, feigned interested laugh, she was still very, very proud of Prince Lorenzo's gains. She had throughout the evening, kept herself and her hanger-on out of his line of sight for a reason.

But now the dancing was soon to, she hoped, come to a close with the Queen finally appearing, she herself rather wondered whom would end up holding the Province seat and thought to make an ally for the Queen she served, not to mention her heart bound Queen, Lady Corazon. She was hopeful that Corazon would at least end up with a swath of villages along the coast, given her recent research. A whole district would be an incredible and stunning coup for a woman with no true ruling experience especially with the sheer number of Queens in waiting for a seat that had shown up to this gala alone, and the thought put a besotted blush to the Hearth Witch's face. Even though she wasn't in the Lady Corazon's service, she wanted very badly for her to succeed.

Unfortunately, the way her face softened irritated the man she was dancing with. His fingers around her arm tightened just a little more. Xiomara's eyes snapped closed and she had to suppress a pained sound. "Let me go," she hissed.

"I will when you explain what that look was for, as it clearly wasn't me, Lady."

"My private life is my own, and I am absolutely certain I needn't explain to a man I hardly know in that fashion--"

"You could though. And should. It isn't as if you have anyone to tend your needs. And the way I could part those perfect thighs--" Prince Santiago malevolently whispered before his face almost turned a strange pallor with a greenish hue despite the warm brown of his skin. His hand slacked its rough grip on her arm as Xiomara swayed a little on her heeled feet and snapped her attention in the direction Matteo was now standing just before the sound of Lorenzo's voice was akin to a soothing balm over the very real growing panic she felt. She smiled, despite the fact that she felt more like crying, then eased away from Matteo's hold completely, with a vast relief.

The dance had just gotten to the point where she would probably have needed to make a scene to shake him away from her. An upset was far from what Xiomara was feeling, but she kept it to herself, expression courtier smoothness while choosing not to interrupt the Prince and Warlord Prince in their Protocol-correct, verbal spar. She understood then that the slightest sign from her that she had been truly bothered would go poorly for both men. Watching Prince Santiago end up verbally and socially eviscerated was more than soothing. When Prince Matteo moved to depart, however, she sank into a stunning curtsey, at which all the flowers on her gown opened at once. Despite the fact that he had treated her like she wasn't a dark jewelled witch and not a bauble he could add to his collection, she kept her head and her manners even if he hadn't deserved the graces.

"Prince Santiago. If you would like, you may write to the office of either of my ladies Calderon, or Chavez," if you dare after the insult paid to me, was the subtle subtext, that Xiomara did not say, and instead sweetly, warmly continued as if her arm still wasn't throbbing,"My services as a fashion consultant are always available with a proper appointment. I am happy to see if perhaps I can fit you in for next season." The green cast of his face, and the blush as well upon it, increased as the man's eyes darted quickly to Prince Calderon. His answer to her was swift, and the man made all due haste and seemed almost to run from her despite how nearly cruel he had been. Men. Funny how some types were all but brought out at events like these, Xiomara thought.

Before Lorenzo offered his hand, she had been considering hiding in the powder room for the next hour. But her heart did odd little flips when he offered his hand to her for a dance. She hadn't at all expected to be able to even have more than a brief moment of his time this evening, and it showed in the brightness of her expression which had shifted from wariness to closed off relief and finally welcome.

Reaching out her own hand with a real, honest tenderness, she accepted his hand with a bright-eyed nod. Even with the understanding that he would be required to attend to other courtiers eventually, as he was on duty, the pleasure from being able to dance with him, in public no less and that he would even think it, for several dances! She almost thought to correct him, because of the message that would send but the residual sense of controlled fury kept her quiet and giddy until after Teoda's beautiful appearance. Xiomara had never actually seen the Queen he served, and all but bounced at his side. She all but melted in a flush, practically forgetting the lingering throb of her arm.

"That's is the Queen of Dhemlan now!? Ah! She is almost as lovely as Corazon! I am blown away, literally. Whoosh! How could Lady Mari possibly see her as a rival? Between you and me, and I love your mother, my heart, but she's not one of those. You cannot fake the radiation of that kind of warmth. Your clever mama is definitely more of a dragon with larger biting teeth." Even though she knew with dread that Mari would never understand what she was lacking. There were parts of those two Queen's presence that one could not buy, barter, steal or be taught. Xiomara had been unable to put her finger on it until she bonded Corazon, which gave her a unique insight over the many months since. A bond between ladies, if abused, could break, was something she had as well taken the care to learn for either woman's sake. "It is not about the beauty or the party, but the draw, of the Queen as a ruler, as a woman," she murmured, babbling tenderly, then accepted the wine that Lorenzo had collected for her.

The thread turned her entire face to the collar bones a clear, bright red that thankfully due Mother Night's blessing's upon her for complexion did not clash with her gown but improved upon the whole. She pointed at him, and shook her head, even as she was aware of the dizzying senses of the thought of at minimum being able to cuddle with them both and no one between the two being irritated or puzzled by the other. "You tease me, Prince Lorenzo, and I accept," she whispered with a growing smile. "I know it is different for you, I imagine because there is a history, and she is not your Heart-bound Queen but lovingly chosen one. But you must know that I love you more, and every single day, for introducing us. I love you eternally."

Xiomara answered him out loud as after all, the least she could do with the rumour mill that he'd have started by rushing over to save her, and dance with her repeatedly was to confirm her feelings in public.
"I have seen true Darkness, and not been conquered by it."

Offline Lorenzo Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #25 on: Aug 01, 18, 01:34:03 AM »
Lorenzo watched Prince Santiago leave. He briefly debated following the man and discreetly pulling his spine out through his nostrils, but Xiomara’s scent drew his thoughts elsewhere. Soon enough, Lorenzo wasn’t even thinking about his early morning meeting with the Prince. Xiomara accepted his invitation to dance, and that was that. He drew her into his arms, golden eyes focused on every plane and curve of her face. The Green Hearth Witch and her Gray Warlord Prince drew many an eye with the way they moved together on across the dance floor. They moved not just as a unit, but as though they were of one mind, connected by the sounds of music playing around them. If anyone else in the room cared that Lorenzo was dancing with his brother’s widow, he didn’t give a damn.

Prince Calderon gave himself wholly to the music and the woman before him.

How many songs passed before the Queen of Dhemlan arrived to discuss the reason for the gala? Lorenzo could not say. He would have other duties to attend to this night, but he needed Xiomara to know that he saw her and that he loved what he saw. Her leg might eventually start to bother her and that concerned him, but she’d not brought it up yet. Xiomara was a woman grown and just over a century his senior. She knew her limits. Lorenzo exhaled and reminded himself that Xiomara didn’t require him to hover over her.

Teoda’s appearance evoked such a warm and genuine reaction in the Hearth Witch that Lorenzo was also swept up in it. Her commentary surprised him, but he found no fault in it. Lorenzo had been exposed to a few Queens now and he marveled at how different they were. Lady Teoda possessed a warmth and charisma that few could match. Only Corazon was a warmer woman, in his mind, but Lady Teoda was a close second. Lady Teoda’s charisma was second-to-none, though, and Lorenzo would say that without reservation. Not every male in her Court was heart-bound to her, but those who served held her in the deepest esteem.

And then there was Mari. Mari Calderon was the most focused and driven woman that Lorenzo had ever known. Corazon’s work ethic was set toward different ends. Lady Teoda worked hard, but never forgot to live life. For his mother, though, work was life. It was her leisure.

Lorenzo tried not to see that as a tragedy.

He pulled Xiomara close enough to whisper in her ear. “You speak only the truth, my dear. But I’m glad you’re on board with my plans for the evening.” he said.

He was silent, briefly, after her declaration. Two years ago, he would have struggled to accept the love she offered him. Now, it was easier to accept it and let it bolster his spirits. He looked forward to each day. Even his earlier spat with his little sister was forgotten, despite her vitriol. Corazon and Xiomara took solace in each other and they were doubly bonded through their bond and through him. That fact bolstered his confidence more than any of his successes in life thus far.

And I love you eternally, Xiomara. I’m glad you and Corazon are happy. Later tonight, when this is over, I want to ask you something. Before you worry, it’s not bad. In fact, I think you’ll enjoy it.” he said.






Offline Mari Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #26 on: Aug 22, 18, 05:12:48 PM »
Mari watched Lorenzo go forth and terrify the man who’d annoyed Xiomara, sipping her champagne to keep the smile off of her face. The relationship between Lorenzo and Xiomara would always be difficult for Mari to watch, but attempting to keep them apart would merely place her in opposition to her children. She didn’t need that tonight. She watched Marisol and Nicanor chat, wondering idly what they had to speak of. She let the matter drop, however, when Teoda arrived to make her grand speech.

Then she watched as several Queens stepped forward to make their case for the rulership of La Oratova, Teoda’s former seat. Let them politic and plan. Whoever obtained that seat would be Teoda’s creature and, likely, no ally to her. Better to choose her allies from among Dhemlan’s other movers and shakers, the better to guide the future after Teoda was deposed. Because she would be. Dhemlan would not, and could not, survive a Queen like Teoda Araneina. She’d survived deadly attack once, but...that would not always be the case. Mari looked around the room and sighted Elena Barbero and her Steward.

She could use some conversation while her family mingled.

Mari slipped through the crowd like smoke, smiling at someone here, exchanging a pleasant greeting with a member of the Fifth Circle there, but all the while drawing closer to the people she wanted to see. She would make eye contact with Lord Barbero before she was within arms’ reach, favoring both him and his Queen with a smile as she made the acquaintance of the Province Queen of Seville.

Lady Barbero, Lord Barbero, good evening. I’m Mari Calderon of Pirenza Province. It’s good to finally make your acquaintances.” Mari said, as one of the servants brought a tray of champagne to the trio.

How are you both faring this evening?” she asked, looking between the two.

Offline Rodrigo Barbero

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #27 on: Aug 27, 18, 04:46:15 PM »
He had suffered Elena’s company for over an hour so far.

By now, she usually found someone, anyone to disappear with, but it seemed as though every male in the place had his tail tucked between his legs with the threat of most likely death for the use of Craft over a specific level hanging over everyone’s head. It put quite a damper on the party at first. Rodrigo had hoped that it would dissipate as the wine flowed.

Still, an hour into escorting Elena around had done little to ease his usual chagrin towards her. A few lovely Ladies approached for conversation and he smoothly slid himself into the dialogue, but it was all small talk and nothing promising came about. And the few males that had drifted over to talk seemed intimidated by his bored presence.

He was trying so very hard not to be the protecting, hovering brother. Honestly. Please, someone, take Elena somewhere far from here and have your way with her. Rodrigo would not complain.

When Lady Calderon slid into view, Rodrigo prepared himself for another round of small talk but readied a charming smile. “Lady Calderon,” he said pleasantly to the Rose Queen, taking her hand to kiss the back of it. “It is an honor to make your acquaintance,” he said. His words were crisp and warm, full of delight. “You look dazzling.” The tray of champagne had made its stop with them and Rodrigo refilled his glass so that he could raise it to share a toast with the Queen.

“Well, I won’t speak for my sister, Elena, but I’m enjoying the festivities,” he said. Mostly a lie. Maybe if a few more of his business contacts had made it to this event, he would make the best of what was around but alas. “And yourself? Do you have plans to speak with our illustrious Queen about the offer of La Oratova or are you content in Pirenza?”

Offline Elena Barbaro

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #28 on: Aug 31, 18, 11:20:26 PM »
Elena was doubly happy for the invitation to the Queens gala.  First of all, it was the social event of the season and she always shone at these things.  Second, she needed a distraction from Alejandro’s abrupt departure.  She tried to put on an understanding face but everything just felt so empty without him there.   She stopped taking her powders because they didn’t seem to help and Mother Night, it has been weeks since she had anyone to warm her bed.   Not that she hadn’t had many offers but it just all felt so empty. 

She was sober for the first time in more than a century and she hated it.  It felt like her skin was so tight, like nothing felt right or tasted right and all she wanted to do was curl up in bed beneath the covers and let the world go on without her.   She was certain Rodrigo would gladly let her, so he could be free to run everything as he wanted.   Hellfire, he’s probably find some way to oust her all together.   So she had pulled herself up with a great deal of effort, summoned Valeria to come up with a gown that would highlight all her best features and breath some new life into her.   The seamstress came through splendedly, creating a masterpiece of a gown that hugged her shoulders, and fit like a glove down her slender body with long full skirts that fell to her ankles.  It was black silk and black lace, which might have seemed far too plain, but with Valeria’s masterful hand, they accented each other against Elena’s warm brown skin.  But the real work of art was the slit in the gown that rode so high up her tight that it didn’t take much effort or much imagination to know what was, or wasn’t beneath the folds of fabric.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Valeska had proven herself to be a very reliable maid, and Elena’s hair was coiffed with perfection, her long dark tresses pulled up in a design of twists and braids and held up with gold pins that shimmered in the witchlights that illuminated the ballroom.

Elena felt like her old self again, sexy and confident as she walked into the gala on Rodrigo’s arm.  Mateo hadn’t wanted to escort her, he had been rather absent from her court she had noted after Alejandro had appeared and didn’t return when her Bonded left.  She would have welcomed his presence next to her stonespined older brother.  At least Mateo knew how to enjoy a party. The only bonus was that if Elena did meet someone interesting enough to sneak off with, Rodrigo wouldn’t stand in her way.  Mateo would probably make up some excuse or another to keep her from her fun.  And she really needed some fun.

She watched Teoda’s speech, polite interest on her face but nothing else.  Truth be told, she had no interest in the squabble.  She was the Queen of Seville and frankly she thought she had the jewel of the Territory in her possession.  All she cared about was making a good impression on Teoda and to dispel any of the nasty rumors about her that might have the next event offering up her seat to the highest bidder.   Even now she was observing the other Queens, the ones who didn’t jump at the chance of La Oratova and might have their sights set higher.

Elena stood off to the side, sipping a cool glass of champagne and watching the dancers.  One pair in particular, far across the dance floor with enough distance and people between them left their scents obscured caught her eye.  The man looked at his partner in such a way that it made Elena’s heart skip in her chest and a strange sort of longing filled her. She had had many lovers, but not one of them had ever looked at her in that fashion.  She wanted that.   Maybe that is what she was missing, that was what would fill the void left by Alejandro’s departure.

A figure approaching pulled her attentions back to her surroundings, and she smiled graciously, slipping her empty flute onto the tray before taking a new one.  Rodrigo of course slipped into his persona of “perfect courtier” bowing before the other Queen and kissing her hand with all the grace of a man who actually meant his display.   Elena knew better. If he was kissing her hand, he was wondering how that hand could be turned to his benefit.

“Lady Calderon,” she said, beaming brightly as she stepped forward to greet the other Queen.  “I am doing quite well.”  Her hand lifted to motion at the decorations.  “Teoda certainly knows how to throw a glorious gala, and I am enjoying myself immensely.  It is always a pleasure to meet with other Queens and courts in a less than official capacity.”

“ I too have been meaning to pay you a visit but you understand how it is, there is always something that calls our attention away.   Lately it has been dealing with all those poor Glacians fleeing their homelands.   I don’t know if word has reached you in the south.  Apparently they are forcing their lighter jeweled to wear collars.   As if they were slaves!”  She shuddered at the thought of those poor people, necks wrapped in wrought iron monstrosities.

“I took one of them into my employ, she’s an excellent ladies’ maid.  I am so thankful she was able to escape that place,” Elena said, pausing to take a sip of her champagne.   She moved to stand beside Lady Calderon, indicated with a subtle tilt of her chin at the women who were vying for the new District seat.  “So who do you think is the best candidate?  After all, whoever takes La Oratova will be sandwiched between both our Provinces and I imagine we’ll have dealings with them regularly.”  She tried to keep her expression less on the side of a gossiping adolescent, but more a responsible Queen discussing the shift and flow of power that was around them.

Offline Mari Calderon

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #29 on: Sep 13, 18, 05:38:16 PM »
Mari accepted the Lord Barbero’s greeting and smiled warmly at him. Rumor had it that he was the reason that Elena’s Court functioned so well. Mari appreciated a good Steward who knew his role and managed the number of surprises that his Queen had to endure. She wanted to speak to him privately, but that wouldn’t do in the here and now. He was escorting his Queen. Perhaps she’d make contact in a few weeks and see how well Lord Barbero responded to a friendly overture.

I’m enjoying myself this evening, Lord Barbero. Thank you for asking! To your question, no, I’m not seeking the seat at La Oratova. I am looking forward to seeing in the hands of a capable Queen once more. That’s no slight to the esteemed Regent who has ruled with fairness since Lady Teoda came to Amdarh.” Mari said, looking between the pair.

But Coresserini Province will benefit from having a Queen at the helm. Just my personal opinion, of course.

She turned her attention to Elena, her peer in the realm. Elena seemed to have a great deal of praise for Teoda and Mari merely listened, seeming to nod her head in agreement. “It’s a wonderful party. I simply hope that its purpose is met this evening.” Mari said with a pleasure she didn't feel. She left it at that, because she wanted privacy in order to sound out Elena’s true feelings on Dhemlan’s ruler and the direction she was taking the Territory.

Well, then let’s see it done. We should take turns hosting each other and building better relations between our Courts.” Mari said, looking between the pair. Whether or not they agreed, Mari would accept their initial reaction. She could press them later until they agreed. She already had ideas for possible dates to bring Elena to Pirenza and indulge her zest  for life. Mari would make a friend out of the Queen one way or another. But tonight was merely about baiting the hook. She would get Elena Barbero to bite before long.

Elena’s talk of the Glacian refugees surprised Mari. She hadn’t know the pale little ants were leaving their homeland, but having to wear a collar based on one’s standing in the Abyss struck Mari as an arrogance that even she wouldn’t engage in. Elena mentioned taking one as a maid while Mari sipped her drink. Did the other Queen want to set herself up for heartache?

No, Lady Barbero, I hadn’t heard the full story about that in Pirenza. Are these refugees still coming to Seville? What is Lady Teoda’s decision on the matter?” she asked, looking between her and Rodrigo. The whole thing sounded like asking for trouble to the Rose Jeweled Queen, but she’d let Elena and Rodrigo fill in the blanks, or not, as they chose. An idea was already forming in her mind, but she couldn’t rush it. Soon enough, she could pin Elena down and discuss the matter in question freely.

She allowed Elena to guide the discussion toward the women vying for La Oratova, sipping her champagne as Elena moved to stand beside her.

I believe that several of our fellow Queens are worthy.” Mari said neutrally, unsure of who might be listening in on their talks. “I have my personal favorites, but I’d rather not discuss them here. Too many prying ears, you know?

You’re right, though. Whoever is chosen will be placed between us, but they’ll have Teoda’s ear first and foremost. I hope that the person chosen is loyal to Dhemlan above all else. The three of us are aiding Teoda in keeping Dhemlan steady as we move into the future.

I hope that we can work together, when all is said and done.


Offline Caelestis Chavez

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #30 on: Oct 15, 18, 05:11:02 PM »
193, Spring: the Gala of Queens, Amdarh

Caelestis Chavez was no Sentinel, privileged to use Craft at this Gala, but when his beloved Teoda riveted every eye and moved every heart with her entrance, it was all he could do to resist enveloping her in an invisible hug. Only 1,000 years of practice allowed him to survive the moment without embarrassing his beloved ... or himself. If a few of Teoda’s other Bonded’s warning looks helped him keep his cool, well, that was between the men who stood, blood and bone, between the Lady Teoda and anyone who would hurt her, and himself. It took a vast effort of will to look away from his lady, and study the crowd, but as that was his actual job today, he did manage it.

Eventually.

Still, a remnant of the warmth with which Caelestis regarded his lady echoed in the soft smile and warm light in his eyes as he paused for a bow to the High Priestess of all Dhemlan. Teoda counted her both a personal friend and a political ally. She was surrounded, though, with all of her well wishers, and Cael made a mental note to seek her out later in the Gala. The two Province Queens received a brief study as well, though Caelestis focused more upon the courts of the Queens he thought most likely to ascend to the third Province. More than the Queens themselves, he studied their Escorts. How comfortable were they? While an extreme example, the sorts of pressures that a Court had to endure if their Queen got a ruling seat would be exactly what they were enduring today.

Reflexively, his hands brushed over his perfect, formal suit. It was basic black, with subtle gold and tan embroidery that matched his Lady’s gown perfectly. But a classical cummerbund, golden kerchief and tails could not compete with the glory of a man in uniform. The sight of his Uncle brought a wry grin to Cael’s face. No matter how much Anton hated being on display, the old soldier looked amazing in his Sentinel’s uniform. Briefly, Cael mourned his own naval gear and its bright display of gaudy medals. Uniforms, while they made dressing for these affairs simple, could not be made to match one’s chosen Lady.

Almost like a metronome was keeping time in his head, every few minutes Caelestis searched out Teoda’s presence. No matter how many times he saw her, heard her voice or listened to her rulings, she amazed him. Tonight would be a struggle for the competing Courts, desperately stressful for the Queens desiring to rule, but utterly exhausting and demanding for his beloved. He would not add to her stress, but he could ease her job by dancing with which ever Queen seemed the most uncomfortable here. No Queen deserved to be a wall flower, and Caelestis would see to it every single one felt adored, beautiful and appreciated.

And if possible, every single other Lady here as well. One benefit to a gala that would likely go on so very long, was a chance to dance with them all, instead of picking his partners strictly upon a political agenda. There were several ladies here he knew by sight but had never gotten a chance to actually dance with, and that, too, could be remedied tonight.

Offline Tassach Falkirk

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #31 on: Oct 15, 18, 06:19:38 PM »
193, Spring: the Gala of Queens, Amdarh

Tassach Falkirk was not nearly as comfortable in a crowd as Caelestis Chavez was. The grey Jeweled Warlord Prince watched the older man maneuver through the crowd like Caelestis was born to it, while he remained stubbornly at the bar. Yes, Tassach knew that he ought to be out talking to the people, dancing with girls, and otherwise attempting to be charming ... which was not a skill he’d ever been accused of having. He sighed, and ran his fingers through his once-stylishly done hair. Horribly, a sticky mass of hair gel clung to his fingers. With the ban on Craft, he wasn’t even allowed to use Basic Craft to correct either the damage done to his hair or to remove the ick from his fingers. He was so relieved Naraii, at least, wouldn’t see him in such a state. Or Roisin. Unless Yesult or her own family had talked her into attending. The very thought made him scowl.

The waiter tending bar merely grinned, and passed Tassach yet another fancy napkin with which to wipe off his fingers. If he did this enough times, would the shit in his hair finally vanish into nothing? Ignoring Callum snickering beside him, Tassach ran a critical gaze over the finely garbed mob. It was an additional irritant, that rather than being in his Clan uniform as decreed by his Clan Queen for this dance, he was in a suit. The rest of the Falkirk contingent, Calum included, boasted the the formal Tartan that belonged by right to every Scelt from their Province. They looked amazing, the glories of a full tartan adding that extra snap any set of men and women in uniform had. Severely black, lacking decoration, embroidery or medal, Tassacch’s suit was distinctive only in its severity. While technically appropriate, the choice of suit was a not-so-quiet rebellion. He had hoped that looking boring and alien both (the alien aided by a deliberate growth of facial hair) would drive off random company. So far it had worked. He had not needed to dance, and no crowd of curious strangers hassled either himself or his best friend.

Of course, the island of empty seats and the clear space around he and Calum might as easily be the fault of the Black Widow Warlord Prince. Calum was making his way through the little glass dishes of what rather reminded Tasach of a really fancy Trail mix at record speed. But at least it was food they both recognized, and for that Tassach was grateful. You never really knew what would happen, when going to a party with the Long Lived. But as long as no one attempted to pass off peacock tongues as food, Tassach would keep his peace. His drink remained untouched upon the bar, his mood dour, as his Queen Cousin floated about the dance floor sparkling like this was her own gala. She had no business being here, and Tassach had no notion what had possessed the scribes of Dhemlan to decide she merited an invitation. Perhaps it was some subtle move on Roisin’s family’s part? At least Yseult’s presence had opened the door to his best friend’s attendance, and for that Tassach was deeply grateful.



Offline Calum Falkirk

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      Idariel

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Re: The Gala of Queens
« Reply #32 on: Oct 15, 18, 07:20:13 PM »
193, Spring: the Gala of Queens, Amdarh

Calum Falkirk shook his head at Tassach’s growl, and kept eating the candy mix. The mountain of a man was crammed into his formal Tartan, the dagger at his ankle looking like a toothpick against the massive size of his calf. He hated being asked to dress as anything but what he was, a warrior. Yet he had come to this Gala anyway, knew with a finely honed instinct that he needed to be here tonight. While he had willingly dawned a suit for his Coira’s Offering, this was different. He felt the indefinable threat in his soul, and hated his lack of armor and weaponry. The sure-fire instincts he always trusted had had him all but insist that he attend as part of Yseult’s Court. Whether he was here simply to keep Tassach from lashing out or some greater threat loomed, Calum couldn't say. He surely wouldn’t have arranged any situation where so many volatile, Dark Jeweled Warlord Princes had to be present at the same time.

He swept the entire room with his gaze, but he found no one thing that screamed of threat to him. Sure, there were several folks here sporting Jewels even Darker than Tassach’s, and Calum couldn’t be wholly comfortable with that. Especially with the one angry man who drove off a man from the dance floor, and the other looking so darn ill-at-ease. But then Tassach looked like a bear with a toothache, didn’t he? Perhaps it was the very burden of the Dark Jewels to feel a terrible pressure with this many Blood all in one place. The High Priestess did snare his gaze, rather often. She seemed so young, and sweet ... and from what Tassach had told him of the Long Lived, neither observation could possibly be correct.

Pivoting upon his chair, Calum swept the room once again and found the clever lady who had finally, finally trapped Tassach into a Court contract. She, too, seemed young and terribly sincere. Sparks blocked his sight, as a Vision of the Territory Queen upon her throne swept through him. A dark threat loomed over her, diffuse and impossible to see clearly. Slowly, his eyes cleared, and he remarked absently, “You’d best get used to it, Tassach.”

The grunt of baffled non-compliance that followed won a warm, hearty laugh from Calum. “Tsk, now, lad. You ought to ask Lady Ar.. Arenai ...”

“Lady Araneina,” the waiter at the bar put in helpfully.

“Lady Araneina,” Calum grinned his thanks, still astonished by the general acceptance he received here. They had no more than a sensible respect for Black Widows here. “You ought to ask her to dance.”

The cold stare Tassach settled upon Calum would have caused a lesser man to quail, or change the subject. But Calum had never quite learned such common sense. The cornerstone of their odd friendship seemed to be relentless determination and mindlessly bravery. “You will be here for a while, Tassach. Best to know the lady whose will you’ll be enforcing.” After all, there was only one reason Queens sought out Dark Jewels so adamantly. But in her defense, this particular Queen had yet to send Tassach (and by default, Calum as well) to break any heads open, shatter any Keep walls, or collect Tithe. Mostly, she’d made Tassach learn how to cope with being part of a Court that wasn’t his.

Calum slid his emptied goblet of candies towards the waiter. “I’ll take a double, this time.” He grinned, the waiter laughing as he slid two full goblets towards the Sceltic man. “They make good candy here. Good drinks, too, I hear.” But no more than Tassach, was Calum drinking. He couldn’t afford to loosen his already questionable manners, and that prickly sense of purpose and tension kept nipping at him. However bizarre, Dhemlan needed for him to be here tonight

 

 

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