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* Plot Information for Hayll

Hayll has sought a suitable Queen to rule for years, but the one it has chosen has become the pawn of a manipulative Prince plotting genocide. While slaves fight for their lives in the Coliseum, Nero Augustus, Consul of Hayll, plunges the Territory towards war safely behind his puppet Queen.
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Author Topic: The Slipping Masque  (Read 559 times)

Description: Draega // Open // NSFW: mentions of sex

Offline Vivianna Vedius

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The Slipping Masque
« on: Mar 30, 18, 03:44:44 PM »
It was another party, at yet another aristocratic household in Draega. Had she been asked, Vivianna - whose memory was typically excellent for such things - would not have been able to say what the professed occasion for the fete had been. Someone's name day. Someone's advancement into adulthood. Someone's business opening, or someone retiring. It could've been a million things; Hayllians scarcely needed a reason to get dolled up and have cocktails while entertaining themselves via the suffering of others.

The moans and cries from the stage, as Mandius called it, carried even out to the balcony where Vivianna stood, some distance away. Had she not known any better, it would've sounded like she'd inadvertently wandered into someone's bedroom while they were at play. The voices didn't seem pained, at least not pained in the way that suggested they minded their situation. Had they not been slaves who'd been drugged and forced into performing for the enjoyment of their owners and the other guests, it wouldn't have been a bothersome noise at all. Most of the time, it wasn't hard to pretend it was that way. Most of the time, it was easy for Vivianna to smile and laugh with the other socialites, to drink her fill and giggle at the way this slave or that one cried out more emphatically than the others. Most of the time, it was easy to gasp and seem intrigued when the host brought out the toys to 'make things more interesting', no matter how much those 'toys' wound up harming the slaves.

But other times, it felt like she was never going to actually escape this charade at which she was playing. It was usually when she'd gone too long without hearing from Ophian, and she'd spent so long investing in her role that she caught herself forgetting what was real and what was fiction. It never lasted long. Just a stray thought that shouldn't be there. A justification that should have horrified her that didn't. Once she caught herself, it rarely took very long to remind herself of her purpose and her origin. Afterwards, though, it was always a little harder to return to the same old parties and watch the same old people do the same old deplorable things.

A few more seconds, and then she'd have to move back inside. A couple hundred years meant little to most Hayllians, so Vivianna could still get away with the claim that her broken Offering made her overestimate how much wine she could drink without getting sick. The balcony meant fresh air - as fresh as it got in Draega, at least, and a moment's reprieve. Soon, though, Mandius would begin to wonder why his date hadn't returned. Vivianna wasn't quite the social darling she'd been once upon a time, when her voice had won her fame and glory before the Purge. She had worked hard in the two centuries since, though, and had earned back a modicum of social capital as a fashion pundit working for Draega's largest paper. It was enough that Mandius would be concerned about her spending too much time off of his arm, and what that might suggest to those who noticed.

But Vivianna lingered, pretending to gaze out at the nighttime skyline of her hideous city in an attempt to stretch her reprieve as long as she possibly could.

Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #1 on: Mar 30, 18, 04:32:56 PM »
Inside the party, Prisca was watching the goings-on with her usual, reserved interest. She was sitting in a relaxed pose on a plush couch, and had glass of very nice wine which made occasional ventures up to kiss at her lips. One arm was bare save for a small fortune in fashionable jewelry, and was stretched along the back of the couch while the other, the one holding the globe of the wine glass in its palm, was draped in falls of silk that fluttered with the slightest of movements. The top of her dress cut sharply from covering one shoulder to her ribs on the other side, fully covering one breast while only just hiding the dark center of the other. A small mask of lacy gold filigree decorated her eyes and brow, though it did nothing to interfere with her ability to watch the knot of bodies and limbs groaning and writhing at the center of the room. The host had arranged for a slightly raised platform for the festivities, so that even those such as Prisca, who preferred to watch at a slight distance, could see very clearly from anywhere in the large room.

"Othoro seems to be enjoying himself," someone said, from their sudden place beside Prisca's ear. The Priestess smiled a low, small smile. She didn't have to turn her head and look to know that it was Savella, a fellow Senator. The Black Widow was leaned over the back of Prisca's couch, grinning smugly as she watched the man in question. Prisca's date had spent more time at the front of the room than with Prisca, a fact that Savella took a little too much pleasure in pointing out, Prisca thought. But then, the Black Widow was fairly new to the Senate still, which meant she and Prisca were not as well acquainted as they would eventually become. Savella had no way to know that Prisca preferred this arrangement to more... athletic endeavors.

"Indeed. That was the point of bringing him," came the smooth reply.

"So that he could have his cock drained by harpies while you sit back here?" Savella scoffed, with a quiet laugh. Indeed, there was no better way to describe the trio of young, vapid beauties whose heads were currently bobbing over Othoro's lower half. The stunning warlord was reclined on a chaise, his head thrown back with the most desperate sort of pleasure written onto his face. His hands were lost in the mass of hair atop the heads of the women, but Prisca could see his torso just fine. Every little hitch in his breathing told a story. Every flinch, every gasp, every blissful moan was plain to see in the way his lean abdomen shivered and twitched.

"So that I could watch him have his cock drained by harpies," Prisca replied, with a deepening smile.

Understanding dawned on Savella, evidenced by a quiet "Ohhh.." and a renewed perspective. Someone said the Black Widow's name, and just as quickly as she'd appeared, she was gone again. Prisca didn't mind. The show, after all, was only getting started.

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #2 on: Mar 30, 18, 09:52:06 PM »
Inside the party, Gaetano Accorsi considered his next move.

Senator Cinerus’ little coalition had fallen apart when the older man went incommunicado. All the work he’d done seemed to be for naught, leaving Gaetano irritated, but not embittered. He’d just have to direct that support and those resources to a project of his choosing that he believed in. He hadn’t found that project yet, but he would.

By now, Undine was already settling at her new village in Mutina. The idea that she was so close to the freed slaves in Faro worried him, but there was nothing he could do for it now. His son, Emiliano, was in Dhemlan visiting his mother, a situation that caused Gaetano no end of annoyance. That annoyance, however, was balanced by his daughter Paloma’s desire to learn more of the Senate and make connections for the future. Paloma reminded him of his mother sometimes, so much so that it hurt to look at her. He’d taken her on as his assistant and set her to organizing schedules and meetings to start.

Tonight was his first night off since Undine left.

Gaetano wore a gray suit and black shoes, enjoying the festival of flesh around him. He sat on a couch, sipping a glass of red wine from one of the short-lived Territories that he couldn’t name just now. Giovanni would have known it easily, giving Gaetano just one more reason to miss his younger brother. It had already been a year since his murder and there were no further leads in the in the investigation. He hoped that Emiliano would be able to locate Talos and convince him to return to Hayll, if only for a year or so. The Gray Prince had been the best bodyguard Gaetano had ever known. Never should have let Troius accept his resignation…

Gaetano took another sip of his wine and watched as a group of women pleasured a male nearby. Gaetano accord them points for their technique. The man seemed to be enjoying it. Gaetano scanned the room and found groups of slaves tangled up in each other and enjoying every moment of it. Gaetano chose to do the same, reclining in his seat and enjoying another glass of wine.

He’d get back to work tomorrow morning.

Tonight was about enjoying himself for as long as he could.

Offline Alandro Viteri

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #3 on: Mar 31, 18, 04:26:50 AM »
Alandro hated these sorts of events with a passion. For all that he was Hayllian and a Warlord Prince at that, the voyeuristic nature that was such a grand part of his homeland's culture was honestly never something that had appealed to the man. Ruts were one thing, and of course he dealt with them accordingly when they arose, but beyond that his control and instinctual urges were wound tight, rigid as steel and coiled like a spring or a viper - only to be exercised at his discretion, his will.

Functions like these appealed to him and his Darkness-imbued urges absolutely zero percent. So why then, would the man find himself in attendance at such a grossly aristo-based gathering? Well, that was an easily answered question if one was at all familiar with him. His Queen, of course. Had Tyella instructed him to attend? No, of course not, but he was here on her behalf no less so, however covertly it may have ultimately been.

Someone within Hayll's revered Hundred Families had hired a killer to strike at one of Opus Populi's last rallies, the attack on Tye a clear move to likely get to Terzo himself, which left Alandro determined to find out who exactly had done the hiring. The Viteri family was not aristo and his own place among Opus Populi was a less publicly-advertised one, so it gave the Warlord Prince much freedom in coming to these types of parties and milling about. He could linger amidst the crowd and glean any gossip, make nice with anyone he needed to and then leave just as casually as he'd shown up.

Though he did personally know some people in attendance and was more than content to socialize with them, potentially reaching out within his own circle of contacts for his own reasons. The latest one seemed particularly enamored by whatever had suddenly happened with the tangle of bodies on stage, so Alandro bid them a good evening before deciding he needed some air. It was still early on in the night, half the attendees not nearly inebriated or lust-fueled enough to reveal much information of note yet, but there was still time, to be sure.

Given that his task would've been far more difficult if he'd brought a date he'd opted to go alone, which made it infinitely easier to slip out and meander to the edge of the terrace and enjoy the solitude. Well... semi-solitude, he noted, as golden eyes fell upon the figure of another who apparently had the same idea. The witch seemed somewhat ensconced with the view of Hayll's skyline, so Alandro was mostly silent as he took his own lean against the balcony's railing a socially-acceptable-but-not-suspiciously-too-far distance away. "Lady," he'd murmur and nod if she happened to notice him, for the sake of politeness if nothing else.


Offline Priscilla Livius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 18, 12:39:14 PM »
Her tastes did not run towards orgies.  Not that she was necessarily averse to them - it was a simple thing really.  She didn't like 'planned' orgies.  She especially was not a fan of slaves being used as art - something about it was.. bothersome.

If she was going to watch people rut, she'd rather it be something they actually felt passionately about rather than something that might require compulsion or drugs.  She was.. rather certain that most slaves in these positions required some sort of 'assistance' to perform as admirably as many of them did.

Despite her distaste for the usual choice in 'entertainment', however, she was the dutiful daughter who had come to the party because her father had requested it of her.  For what purpose?  Oh probably the usual.  Make an appearance, make it clear that the Livius family did not have only one strong member active in the community, but also had an heir. 

She thought that rather arrogant really.  Grandmother had never - exactly - stated that she was an heir. But her father's maneuvering of her life was what it was, and while she was rather stern in her resolve to live her life the way she chose with anyone else..

She had a harder time standing up to family about that.  Especially when she wasn't entirely certain of what else she would do when a few centuries had passed.  Finding her way around the party wasn't hard.  She knew many of these faces, and had no problems smiling and discussing small points of interest with most.

But they weren't the point of her meandering.  The point was her grandmother.  Someone she wanted to stop by and say hello to - if for no other reason than to not do so would be disastrous for her father and for herself.  She plucked up a new glass of wine, carefully making her way past a few of the more.. entwined.. guests before pausing near Prisca's couch to look towards the male enjoying three beautiful idiots.

That might be an unkind thought.  Good thing she hadn't said it aloud.  "Good evening.  Pleasant view."  Not a lie.  It was certainly pretty, in the debauched way that many things in Hayll were.  That she preferred scenery and nature was irrelevant, considering their surroundings at the moment.

"How are the waters tonight?"

Offline Vivianna Vedius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 18, 06:36:19 PM »
Vivianna sensed the approach of a Warlord Prince, and though she made no move to turn and see who it was, the fact that he was alone told her that her time on the balcony was drawing to a close. Warlord Princes didn't tend to move away from things, after all, but towards them, and there was nothing on the balcony at the moment but her.

But whoever he was, he maintained a polite distance and greeted her almost in passing, as though he meant to make no demand on her time. This drew her attention aside, and she recognized him as the Viteri man from Tyella's court. Terzo's brother, in a manner of speaking. She didn't know much else about him, aside from the fact that he'd been away for a time, recently returned, and that he tended to appoint himself well. Tonight was no exception, and she took stock of his suit for a half-beat before returning his greeting with a smile.

"Prince."

She wondered what'd brought him here. Was he playing a role, as she was? What was there to be gained from him pretending to enjoy the party, if so? And if he wasn't playing a role, what was it that'd prompted his attendance? Vivianna tried to recall the actual nature of the event, and though the she did recall it was someone's name day, she couldn't remember which member of the family's it was. Maybe Alandro was a family friend. Maybe Alandro's own family had asked that he come. Maybe he just enjoyed it, like so many Hayllians did. Even Vivianna could appreciate the appeal, and would've been less miserable had the "performers" not been forced into their roles.

"Oh, I know you," she said, smiling warmly because her entire pretense for coming to the balcony had been that she'd had too much to drink. "Prince Viteri, isn't it?" She waved a finger as though he'd tried to fool her. "I know you. You had that brilliant champagne suit at the Albanus' Winsol fete last year," she said. "How are you, Prince?"

Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 18, 07:11:24 PM »
Othoro's breathing deepened and his body tensed, and despite the fact that the room was far from quiet, Priscilla heard every labored pant, every rising groan that came from him. Her Craft was the subtle sort, but it allowed her to include flawless audio with the memory crystal she'd make for herself later of this evening's entertainment. None of the background chatter of the party, the music played by live artists somewhere in the room, or the noise of other couplings would be included. Only Othoro, and his sweet, desperate sounds. It was why Prisca had brought him, why she tended to bring him to these sorts of parties more often than not, of late. He was a man full grown yet still a good bit younger than she. She normally did not consider younger men, but she adored his voice so completely that she'd actually considered allowing him to sire a child on her.

Just considered, though.

Priscilla approached and greeted her, but at first Prisca's only response was to hold up a hand to indicate patience. The moment where Othoro spilled his seed was typically such a criminally perfect expression of beauty and passion that Prisca would not be made to miss it. Her eyes, framed by that delicate gold mask, didn't move from her lover, and her attention did not stray in the slightest from writing every nuance and detail into her memory. Othoro came with a strained cry of release, and Prisca released a breath she hadn't meant to hold. The harpies attending Othoro became even more animated, shifting about him to clean his seed from his body, and only then did Prisca relax again into her seat and remember the presence of her granddaughter nearby.

"Priscilla," she greeted her, before lifting her glass to take a sip. After, she turned her head to look over at the girl, her eyes sweeping once in that timelessly judgmental fashion that only maternal figures could truly master. She said nothing to indicate any displeasure, at least. "How does the night find you, child?"

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 18, 03:05:06 AM »
Sophronia hated parties like those of that evening's sort because they took the private and made it public. The fact that the festivities were usually made possible by forced participation of slaves fundamentally incapable of consent because of their station made her stomach turn. But in Hayll, it was business as usual. The Black Widow told herself that where there was debauchery there was liquor and minds she could turn towards her cause.

Specifically, she was seeking out Prince Gaetano Accorsi, a man with deep psychic wounds and a penchant for waking her during night's least decent hours to speak of his troubles on spear to distaff threads only to go quiet and distant when sunrise came. Sophronia didn’t appreciate the fickle nature of their communication. She also found his disinterest in the political matters that had brought them from acquaintances to peers to be frustrating. Hayll was reluctant to the change which he’d promised an interest in bringing and Sophie was tired of letting him wallow in grief without consequence.

They were Senators. They had work to do. Resolved to accomplish what needed doing the Ocella Senator put on a party dress, had herself styled by the best, and made an appearance at the party where the festivities turned her stomach but the guest list held much promise for her work. She wasn’t the best dressed at the party but the Black Widow was among them. She paid well for the honor and it was a point of pride. It wasn't that she understood fashion’s subtleties but that she knew enough to respect them and pay those who were the best to make her body their canvas.

Lady Ocella found the object of her evening's intent reclining with a glass of wine as he happily took in the many sordid evening’s offerings. Whilst he was absorbed in a particularly enthusiastic display Sophie sat beside him and cleared her throat. “Prince Accorsi, it’s lovely to see you instead of just being woken up by your late night or early morning confessions. You promised me reform. I’m here to see that it actually happens instead of being drowned by your grief.” Sophie smiled and waited for the Dark Jeweled Prince’s response. Her gaze remained fixed upon him. An aural shield of Tiger Eye drowned out the moans of those who couldn’t consent that were made more amenable to the demeaning conditions by safframate and liquor.

Offline Priscilla Livius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 18, 11:04:11 AM »
"It finds me well enough.  The wine is passable."  Her head cocked to the side, eyes taking in the look of Prisca's enjoyable sights.  The male was pretty, and the harpies were obviously enjoying their work..  Which put the entertainment many bars ahead of the background coupling.

Her eyes settled on Prisca's face at last, unflinching at the 'look' her grandmother settled over.  That look happened all the time.  If Prisca disapproved of her, she'd make it more obvious.  Well, hopefully. 

"Sadly this party hasn't really caught my interest yet.  Father wanted me to pop in, make an appearance."  She gave a little raise of her glass, smiling at Prisca with that mischevious look that the figure holding Artemis usually held.

It was a pleasant mask to hold.  More than pleasant.  Artemis gave her the ability to do what she wanted, and to not rile too many feathers while doing it.  Mostly.  "You seem to be enjoying yourself though."

She motioned towards the couch.  "May I sit with you?"  She wouldn't normally wait for approval from someone - but Prisca was an exception.  Her grandmother was.. intimidating.  Even for her.  Maybe especially for her.

"Maybe you could point out something entertaining to keep my attention tonight.  I've been a little.. bored.. of late."

Offline Alandro Viteri

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 18, 03:06:22 AM »
Alandro had, in fact, been moving away from something. The inside of the party was tiresome and genuinely not providing much appeal to the Warlord Prince, though he was far too polite and cautious to indicate as much to anyone who might've asked, knowing better than to arouse suspicion with his presence there given just how many of the Hundred Families seemed to have members there that evening.

The idea that there'd been someone else on the balcony as well had crossed his mind but was ultimately of little consequence to the Hayllian and initially he didn't really recognize her anyway. Even as he'd maintained the casual distance and offered the offhand greeting, her attire and appearance, while elegant, didn't strike him as separating from anyone else inside or anyone he might've known - not on a conscious sort of level at least. However, recognition crossed his features when she turned around fully to greet him in kind, his golden gaze moving quickly over to the witch in question as she continued to speak.

Ah. That made sense, he supposed, for the one and only Vivianna Vedius to be present at such a party. One of the fashion scions of Hayll's publication industry would of course be in attendance, even if he couldn't quite recall the exact occasion for this function. Did Hayllians ever really need tangible occasions anyway? They threw parties and galas for just about any reason under the sun, large or small.

"You are correct, Lady Vedius. The pleasure is all mine, truly," he returned with a crisp, deep bow before resuming his upright stance, one arm moving to rest on the metal railing while he took another slow sip of the drink in his other hand. "My younger brothers would be highly envious of my good fortune this evening, they follow your articles religiously," Alandro remarked with a smile.

While the Warlord Prince did always make sure to put his best foot forward, fashion-wise and in nearly every other manner, that didn't mean he always necessarily remembered every outfit he chose to don for whatever event he had to attend. That being the case, it took her description a couple moments to jog his memory of what suit she was actually referring to before his smile turned a few shades more amused. "I'm flattered that the attire caught your notice, I had no idea, but I was particularly fond of that one, so thank you."

A pause, his vigilant gaze sweeping towards the glass doors that led back outside when some sound or another seemed to rise to exceptional volume, eyebrows furrowing in the most minute amount of disapproval before his attention turned back to Vivianna, not wishing to appear rude. "I'm as well as could be expected, Lady. And yourself? Surely you aren't here without an escort?" he inquired entirely genuinely; because of course duty and Protocol always seemed to wind up at the forefront of his mind regardless of whatever situation he happened to be in.


Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 18, 10:12:51 PM »
Gaetano continued to sip his drink when Senator Ocella approached, though he winced internally at her tone. It was true that he’d called out to her during indecent hours when his need for companionship was greatest. He usually regretted those actions in the morning. Not because Lady Ocella was poor company; she was quite the opposite. But Gaetano could not lean on his Queen, for she’d left Draega to begin ruling her own village and assembling her Court. Being in the presence of family just reminded him even more of the brother he’d lost, which forced him to think of Troius, whose loss never truly faded.

And thinking of Troius lead to Gaetano thinking about Salome’s passing.

There was no way in Hell he would ever seek Cassica Laertes for comfort of any kind.

That left Sophronia Ocella, who wanted what he’d promised her. The one thing he wasn’t equipped to think about right now.

It’s good to see you in the flesh, Senator Ocella. You look lovely tonight.” he said to her, over his shoulder. Sophronia’s curves didn’t go unnoticed by the Prince, though he knew her to be loyal to her fiance. Gaetano couldn’t remember the man’s name just now. His eyes surreptitiously scanned the area for any escort that Senator might have.

The reform we discussed was based upon aid from Senator Cinerus. Senator Cinerus has been out of contact with me for some time. Don’t know what he was planning, but with the damage to the Colosseum and our illustrious Queen attempting to execute members of the Hundred Families without explanation, I think everyone’s focus is a little scattered.” Gaetano said. He sighed and turned to face Sophronia fully now, leaning back against a pillar. The sounds of sex permeated the area nearby until the aural shield went up, earning a mirthless smile from the Prince. Gaetano was sad to miss all of this.

As for my grief, that comes and goes.” he said, shrugging his broad, muscled shoulders beneath his coat. His right shoulder ached, the muscle deep within irritated and sore. He hadn’t seen Maerinia in some time. He needed to reach out to her, but after Roberto’s loss, he didn’t want to deal with the questions or the looks of pity. He didn’t want to hear anymore condolences or apologies. He wanted to fuck someone and forget all of his troubles. If he found a carriage now, he could probably still make it to Mutina by morning. He didn’t want to bother Undine, though. She had enough on her plate already.

Reform will happen. It’s just going to take longer than we originally planned. Then again, that’s the beauty of living as long as we do. We can coordinate our work and move together in accord.” Gaetano said.

Offline Caelissine Agrippina

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 18, 12:01:27 PM »
Locale: Draega, Hayll. Some F*cked Gala or Other

There were not many times that Caelissine Agrippina had been driven toward real, honest anger in her life, but this night was one. Given their ferocious disagreement over a series of initiatives in the Senate that her brother, Prince Julius chose to support, he'd managed to not only place himself in considerable danger by choosing to ally among the more radical forces supporting deepening the punishment for escaped slaves. Firstly, the Agrippa-Augustinus had always been moderates, particularly so when their father had been living. Taking their Senate seat in the direct opposite of tradition had brought on a series of death threats to her brother, which at least to Caelissine, was very unsurprising. They'd fought bitterly over it, in which he had said some choice remarks that were not something one could take back. Particularly, that he was glad Horatio had died, because he had been tired trying to measure up to his younger brother.
Caelissine's Reluctant Fashion


This was in the middle of the party circuit that they'd been expected by their mother to attend, as 'appearances mattered, and she wouldn't tolerate her daughter looking like some idiot supporting rebellion of any kind.' It was nearly enough to make Caelissine grind her teeth. She loved her family, but more and more of late, Gnaeus' words, which seemed ever so long ago after the vicious row with Prince Julius, seemed ever more painful to pay mind to. Julius. He had been named directly for their father, but in recent years had shifted his hailing to Julian, because the legacy of an old, short-sighted man was not one he wished attached to his name.

I would be better off, beloved sister, if I had been able to mourn you, too! You're different. Always a little self-righteous, but now its tragic and comical. Did you heal anything other than your overly tight cunt--

She hadn't heard anything else. There was nothing but red afterward, and even now despite feeling guilty, Caelissine was pleased that she got in a good few hooks. The Priestess didn't even know how to begin explaining her swollen hand to Jupiter if she happened to be so unlucky to see him before it healed.

I do not know you, brother. But even grandfather would be ashamed of your manners. I would sooner be damned than allow anyone to malign my name that way. Yes, even you. Say it again, and see where it gets you. Not everything is about Jewels, slaves, or what gets your cock up. Tend your drunkenness elsewhere. I haven't the time for it.

His feelings on their father's journals had been violent; Caelissine had been lucky her remaining brother had not decided to burn them, and he only had not because the blithering fool had willed them to Caelissine. She wanted her brother back, but it seemed that the darker side of Hayll had its hooks in the man's heart, and was unwilling to be released. Worse, he'd left her here, alone, unescorted, going on to the next place with a coldness in his familiar golden eyes that she had not recognized the last several times until recently. Her brother was bored, and all of the pretty toys and reform initiatives weren't going to fix it. Her palm and knuckles ached from having slapped, and then outright punched him, still. Caelissine was certain she'd never struck anyone in her life, not even during the Occupation when it was deserving. For a little while, she'd walked outside whatever villa and party this was, until finally deciding to go inside.

As always, she had dressed to impress, but even then, most of the Lady Caelissine's attire was a good deal more polite and conservative than most of the people here. She noticed that immediately, that even the slightly revealing selection in a lovely, brilliant green that she had chosen earlier that night from a new shipment of gowns did not go as far as many did in a choice of attire.

You spoke of equality. What of those entitlements?

The Priestess bit her lower lip and neatly tucked her right hand behind her back upon entering. Unsurprised to have dubiously willing sex by a variety of slaves as the centrepiece for this engagement, perhaps because she was willing to fight for them, Caelissine did not choose to avoid the spectacle or look away. The woman's golden eyes, despite the fact that she was better suited to a Temple than this place, were decidedly calculating in presence. Snatching up a drink from a tray, she began to count heads, noting who was here for their own selfish pleasure, and which ones seemed to be present for other reasons.

Thorough attention was paid to which of the very few held any compassion for the apparent 'furniture and art selection'. There was an absolute irony in the lack of the right kind of care at the epidemic this party, and so many others like it represented, though she found that blame seemed the wrong measure rather than finding a damned focus for their kind. Finishing one drink, she set the glass on a tray for the empties, and selected a second, finding a seat reasonably close to an attendant for a good chance on further drink. The Priestess recognised the difference between those as well that were ungodly cruel to their slaves and ones that possessed a more dangerous type of boredom, like her brother, and those just looking for someone or something to fill the holes where their hearts should have been, but time had worn much away. Lady Agrippina-Augustinus could have run away, but instead, she considered how she might wrest the Senate seat away from her increasingly destructive sibling, or convince him to retire.

I just don't believe that what you mean to do will heal more than it will hurt.

A solution had to exist that didn't involve burning everything Hayllian to the ground and beyond. However, he had been right. In order to repair anything, there would be at least a little pain, and she had been very naïve to think otherwise. Caelissine flexed her right hand and tucked it beneath her elegant lace sleeve.

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #12 on: Jun 02, 18, 11:55:35 PM »
Gaetano had the sheer gall to compliment her looks after waking her up in the middle of the night to pour his grief into her soul. Sophronia was a Healer of the ailments from which he suffered but he never stayed in contact to do the work, only to make her heart heavier for his secrets and sorrow. She wanted to slap him. Instead she steeled her resolve. The Prince went on to act as if one Senator’s absence meant their whole movement could go nowhere. Inside her head a small voice screamed in frustration.

The Coven’s pretty poison continued to smile. She nodded as if everything Prince Accorsi had to say made sense. Between the pauses in his words Sophie composed her argument. Building a response while taking in an answer was a particular skill many politicians thought they had and few mastered. Lady Ocella was the latter.

“Our longevity isn’t beautiful in this instance, Prince. Generation after generation it has made us complacent.” The slaves were right to have risen up. They never would’ve won their freedom through peace. She’d been part of the problem. Sophie did not wish to make that sort of mistake again. Going forward in her career she wanted to be on the right side of history.

Beneath her aural shield she felt somewhat free to speak. Parties such as that evening’s affair were full of curious vipers quick to steal ill advised bits of drunken conversation into the next day’s profit. Around them personalities far more notable than her own floated through the crowd. Despite the glamour and prestige in attendance, Sophronia remained focused on the man whose plans to forget his woes were being dashed by a persistent witch to whom he owed several explanations and at least one apology. Not that he was self enough to see why she deserved one.

“Your grief you mention? It comes and goes and you make sure I know its passing and lose sleep for it. I am happy to help you because you made yourself an ally of mine in a cause desperately lacking for hands. However, your allyship in the causes most dear to my heart means I will not allow you to be idle. Hayll has been stagnant for far too long.

We owe better to the world. I’m going to do better, and so are you. Because you’re what I have to work with. Cinerus will catch up when he comes back from what’s got him detained. People are scattered so we have to unite them, they’re thirsty for leadership in chaos. Not all of them will come to us but some of them will. That’s more than we’ve got now. You have the sort of reputation I need. Well,” her lipse pursed, “You’re old enough that people will listen to my ideas coming out of your mouth. I know what needs to be said, but nobody listens when it comes from me. They’ll listen to you.”

Offline Prisca Livius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #13 on: Jul 26, 18, 12:53:29 PM »
Oh, yes. If Prisca found reason to disapprove of her namesake, there was no question that she would comment on it. Though such comments could often be subtle, a practiced ear wouldn't miss them. Not if they valued their pride, at least.

"Mm." ...was the only response given to the return of pleasantries, and the thought that Priscilla was here at her father's request. Prisca's attention still seemed primarily focused on the display before her, though she didn't miss a note of her granddaughter's words. The younger woman commented on Prisca enjoying herself, and the elder Priestess drew a quiet but deep breath, something that might've been a sigh had she been more obvious about it.

"Indeed. Perhaps you should find a way to do the same," she suggested, before taking another sip of her "passable" wine. Spoiled, she thought, but didn't expend the energy to say. People didn't come to places like this for the wine, she mused. Priscilla was young yet, however, and by Prisca's estimation was still in that phase where meaningless words served better than no words at all. The Peccatori asked if she could sit, and finally Prisca took her eyes away from her date to look up at her scion.

"Look around, child. There are people in this very room conspiring to bring chaos to the order our family has helped to maintain for many, many years. If you find yourself without purpose, perhaps you should consider attempting to impact those bleeding hearts who would see our age-old institutions torn down." Pointedly, her gaze swung away from Priscilla and towards a couch across the way, where Senators Ocella and Accorsi had their heads bowed in shielded conversation. After that veiled indication, Prisca's eyes returned to Othoro, who was finally beginning to gather his wits after his exertion.

"If you're not going to partake in the festivities, there's no reason why you couldn't make yourself of use to the family," she finished, before sipping her wine once more.




Offline Vivianna Vedius

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #14 on: Jul 26, 18, 02:05:07 PM »
"Your brothers?" she countered, with a playful smile. "But not you?" It was, of course, no shame for the men of Hayll to concern themselves with fashion. When one had as much money and free time as those long-lived aristocrats, such hobbies were varied and common.

"Oh, but of course," she spared him, after letting him hang on that precipice for a moment. Her smile broadened, bright and seeming genuinely amused. "You've proven already that your style doesn't need any advice. Tonight's no exception, I see. Well done, Prince." Her eyes dropped to his suit at the last, and she gave a little nod of approval. His glance towards the interior left him seeming uncomfortable with the party, a notion Vivianna could relate to more than she dared show at the moment. When he asked after her escort, she let her gaze wander back out over the balcony's edge and shrugged noncommittally.

"I'm easily bored," she said, as though that explained her lack of accompaniment. "Mandius is less so." Her escort was likely half-inebriated by now, tangled up in some facet of the festivities somewhere. Vivianna was supposed to join him once she 'got some air', but she doubted she would. The mask was harder to wear tonight than usual, for some reason. "What about you? You ought to be making some poor witch shake in the knees, with how turned-out you are, Prince," she told him, glancing back to him with a flirty little smile. "How have you escaped being someone's arm-candy tonight?"

Offline Gaetano Accorsi

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #15 on: Jul 26, 18, 11:03:56 PM »
Despite the aural shield over their conversation, Gaetano wasn’t necessarily keen to discuss the slave revolt in public. There were a number of people who owned slaves, himself included, among the party’s guests. Sophronia wasn’t happy with him and he knew it. He continued sipping his drink, only because it was easier than facing her right now. She would see through him and he didn’t want or need the pity. But the longer that Lady Ocella spoke, the more chastised Gaetano felt, owing to his sense of guilt about everything that had passed between them so far.

She was the only person he could talk to about the loss of his brother and he barely knew her.

He knocked back the rest of his drink and turned to face the Black Widow, praying that he wasn’t facing down the last few minutes of his life in doing.

Look, I’m not trying to brush you off. I’ve been trying to separate myself from my grief for a bit. Nothing is helping. I don’t mean to lay that on you, but you’ve been the only person I can discuss it with. For that, I’m grateful. And for that, I apologize. You have your own life to live and I haven’t respected that.” Gaetano said, looking down at the floor. He missed Roberto. He missed Troius. He missed Undine.

Gaetano sighed.

Can we go somewhere? I don’t want to have any major discussions here. We’ll talk about anything you like. I just don’t want to be here right now.” Gaetano said.

If Sophronia agreed, he’d escort her out of the party to go and discuss their future plans.

Offline Sophronia Ocella

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Re: The Slipping Masque
« Reply #16 on: Jul 26, 18, 11:59:14 PM »
Sophronia's lips wanted to purse in disapproval. Her eyes wanted to narrow in suspicion. One hand, well manicured and decked in diamonds and yellow sapphires, wanted to slap the smug right off Prince Accorsi's face after he downed the rest of a drink. Furiously she wondered at how many he'd already thrown down his throat. It was a funny thing to be mad about at a party, and the Black Widow knew it.

Logic didn't stop her caste's prickly nature from rearing its head as he finally turned to face her. Instead of doing any of what her body told her was necessary she wore a courtier's graces. That is to say, the Lady looked lovely despite the broiling frustration in her belly. When Gaetano apologized, a thing none of her webs could've predicted, her icy but charming demeanor melted into a warm, somewhat taken aback, surprise.

She didn't tell him any of his behavior was fine, because it wasn't and Sophie Ocella believed in honesty with the same fervor a Dark Jeweled Priestess worshiped Night. “Well,” she said softly while still maintaining her shields, “the important thing is that you recognize it.”

At that, she reached out and squeezed his knee gently in a manner meant to affirm the certainty of their bond, while not lingering long enough to suggest anything more than comfort. “For what it's worth, I'm happy to keep listening, so long as you listen back. You've got a knot of grief and confusion inside of you Prince Accorsi, I'm afraid of what you and that power you wield might do to Hayll if you don't spend time untangling it.”

He sighed and showed no indication he intended to acknowledge her offer in the moment. Instead, after intently studying the floor, he proposed they leave and speak of business instead of woes. While Sophie fully expected the subject would turn to that which strained his chalice, because drawing such forth was half her nature and half her calling, she didn't mind. He had accepted her confrontation and showed responsibility for his actions.

In otherwords, Prince Gaetano Accorsi – despite being a fickle patient – was improving. After nodding, she took Gaetano's arm. On a private thread of Yellow, she sent word to Silvius (the man to which she'd been betrothed for nigh two centuries but never kissed) that she'd need to leave him to suffer the party's festivities unbothered by her peculiar morals. He did not complain.

On their way out, Sophronia spied her fiance enjoying a spirited discussion with a lovely witch. It made her happy to know someone would be making him happy while she worked.

 

 

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