Little Silver Gathering
Miles north of the Republic of Chaya...
Outskirts of the Sudoku village.
A village that smiled, a village that laughed. He was setting up a party once again. It would flood with people, with rich ones seeking lodge, those moments where even the lowest beggar could make a year of a rich man's earnings if he was smart. For His guests were rich and mighty, powerful and grand, and the world shifted and changed on their passage.
The House of Seeing Glass was a great Manse. Great glass dotted its walls, representing scenes of past greatness and future uncertainty. Great battles, terrible figures, beautific figures, doomed loves. All colors of glass, some translucent, some opaque, some cracked... all sorts of techniques used on it. And the lights... will o' wisps moved slowly through the air, in perfectly coreographed circuits to throw many angles of illumination, each and all artistic over the Manse...
The Manse of Harmonious Ivory, the White Mantis.
The Lunar had sent out his invitations in many ways. Letters and sorcerous messengers, demons and elementals. He knew them, he said, and needed their help. Calling on any debt they might have to him, or to increase that he has to them. He told them to appear in his First Summer Moon Celebration, and be inconspicuous. Not to draw much attention to themselves...
And so they are in the Manse, its gardens filled with statues of glass in Hedge-Mazes forming sorcerous patterns, the servants, butterfly-winged boys and girls with strange eyes directing the influx of people... nobles, nobles from Chaya and Nexus and the Guild... they turn to each and every newcomer with the same easy smile and question, asking them if they can hold anything, if they can get them anything to eat or drink... both inside and outside the Manse, whose vague Butterfly-Shape held one great wing simply to be a party hall.... now filled, filled with people in many tables, a slow, pleasant music touched by a band, which had one Red Sparrow Beastman...
- Snowy would wander to the requested place, being.. inconspicuous, or trying as best she can. She'd try and slip by the beastmen guards in her cat form, then head to a quiet area off the main hall to shift back into Emerald(her one non-true human form!) and find some suitably revealing attire to go along with it.
Seven Leaf Sorrow: The man threw a half-eaten apple on the garden, admiring the Manse and its visitors with such amused eyes. He scratched his chin at the sight, and found it a surprise to see it so clean-shaven, chuckling slightly as he looked the butterfly-maid up and down, scratching the back of his neck. "Hmm, what is there to eat and drink in this place?" He asked, turning to the priestess beside him, "A little help? This is your scene, you know."
Gin: How terribly pleasant. How unbarely chaotic. Parties were both a joy and a bother. Were one there just for oneself, it was a time for relaxation and enjoyment. Trade pleasantries and gain new introductions and acquaintances, drink too much and eat too much and generally make glutton of oneself, dance to the sweet tune of whatever performer had the lucky chance to play.
But then, if you were not there for yourself...
Gin kept to Leaf's side with an unwavering but undemanding perseverance, a fetchingly demure and unassuming smile upon her face. A pretty, perfect mask to wear as they moved about, her attention outwards at all times. So many places an assassin's knife could strike from. So many drinks being offered that could hide a fatal poison.
She made small talk with those who approached her; a number she kept careful count of and which rose rapidly from the moment they had stepped through the door. She tittered and blushed at their clumsy seductions and tolerated their 'accidental' brushes against her hips or tails. A Companion knew how to be pleasant company, even when on alert for deception, and one would be foolish to ignore such a possibility from a mysterious invitation.
The fox-tailed Companion arched her delicate brows Leaf's way. "If you truly seek my suggestion master, for the moment I would have you avoid any consumption here. Not until we know what this place is about..."
She watched his eyes follow the posterior of a slender dark-skinned girl swaying by and took a grip upon the Solar's chin, squeezing perhaps just a bit harder than needed as she pulled his face back towards her. "Any consumption," she repeated.
Narrator: As Snowy... or 'Emerald' walked into the party, she saw so many faces... there was a pattern, however. There were Merchant Princes, their clothes colorful, with the markings of faraway lands. There were the Chayan nobles, so very crimson and rose. There were nobles from the River, and Captains, dressed in many sorts of water-evoking colors...
And most of them stopped to look at Emerald as she stepped in.
Admiring the northern, thinking of how to approach such a beauty....
A woman of orange hair, face delicate asa peach, stared at her through crimson eyes, sat down, covered by a most large gown which hid all of her below the waist. A man dressed in shifting greens, his coat trimmed with Green Jade drank in her sight, but dared not to step further. A woman in black, pale and blond, as norhterner as Emerald, watched her every step... and a young man of auburn hair, his attire white and rose, with motiffs of Chayan Blooms was the one to step forth, giving her quite a bow. "Good Evening, My Lady. May you grace me with your name?"
- Snowy smiles, returning the bow, and of course the view, then nods just a little to him "I go by many names, but you can call me Emmy. And now that you have my name, I should have yours too, yes?"
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Damnit, Gin." He held to the exposed flesh of her arm, shrugging. "You are no fun at all. What is the point of being surrounded by those pretties if we have to hold back? Just look at those gowns..." He said as he slid her hand away, his face closer to hers', whispering in her large, absolutely gorgeous fox ears... "Don't you think they are just made to be taken off?"
All of them looked at Gin, around them on the party. Talk of her tails. Talk of her robes. Those who recognized her as a Companion sighed with envy and jealously. Many watched and wondered just how that uncouth man could afford her. She saw the eyes, jealously, envy, saw the few that could even decide to take her, out of it...
A woman with nut-brown eyes and hair, in a dress of brown and black and yellow that shone like all made of gems. A large man flanked by slaves, beastladies both, feline and canine, watching the wavering of her tail. A handsome man of auburn her, with an eyepatch and the clothes of a river captain, watching Leaf with murderous eyes, and her body with unquenched desire...
Narrator: 'Emmy." He savors the word, repeating the name three times, rolling the syllabes on his mouth to feel the name... "Short for Emerald, yes?" He asks, before making a little flourish with a Chayan Blossom crystal on hish and, and answering, "But of course. You should have all you wish, my lady... my name the least of all. I am Sahid Norima, from the Summer Seat of Chaya."
Fangs-of-Winter: She wore the form of an exotic beauty from the South, one whom she had long ago devoured. She was Luna's Warrior, not her dillitant, however, so she had difficulty concealing her divinity. Dispite the warmed of the season, her breath came out steamed. The gown she wore was like crystal given unto the wind, and flowed behind her in long trains, barely concealing her mocha skin, though it make her markings seem a part of her look, at least. Most amazing of all, she had brought a gift for their host, and held in her hands a rose sculpted of True Ice, which also served to deflect some of the suspicion her breath drew, for it encapsulated the deepest cold of the North.
The train of her sari floating on the faint breeze, she looked around once with a wolf's eyes, utter cold following her as she walked. On her wrist, she wore a bracelet of fangs, and seemed uncomfortable in the warm, crowded air.
Wrynn Diermidis: Conspicuous messages passed from unknown sources, a clandestine meeting in a far off country, a manse of glass staffed with fairy servants... Such is the life of Wrynn Diermidis that these things are relatively normal occurances, and relatively normal occurances invariably call for ninja kitten action... or at least they would if the darned place wasn't made of glass-- it really is hard to sneak about in such a place.
No, unfortunately Wrynn is resigned to the rather pedantic role of partygoer: Reduced to walking in the front door like everyone else. Still, the instructions were to be discreet, so he dressed the part of a local girl from a small village about a weeks ride from the manse. She was a girl who would be described as small rather than short, with glossy black hair and a fine silk kimono of a deep forest green decorated with a delicate pattern of silver trees. It was a rather demure shape, so such she acted: a youth curious enough to be at the party but unsure and shy enough that it wasnt strange when she would excuse herself to each of the quiet gardens searching out her host...
- Snowy nods to this Norima, looking him over, then brushing by him to see about meeting what she would consider slightly more interesting party-goers. She was here for a reason after all, and while the party was fine, it really wasn't going to serve anyones interest to let it go on too long.
Gin: Gin merely smiled back with hooded eyes and patiently stroked Leaf's cheek, her long finger nails skimming his skin without quite scratching. "Of course they are, master. But we are strangers in a strange land here, as it were. They were such friendly faces and inviting appearances, but we know none of them. Not even our host."
An enduring pat upon his cheek with the cupped palm of her hand and then her touch fell away, her arm breaking free from his grasp with a delicate twist that could pass unnoticed to any watching. Leaning away, her tails swishing from side to side in an idle, but undeniably hypnotic rhythm. It kept attention from being turned towards the red marks his hand had left upon her arm. "Be patient. We will find dresses for you to peel in due time."
Fangs-of-Winter: She fought to keep her snarl away, fought the impulse to bare her fangs. She was like a wolf caged, and her eyes were far from the sedate appearance of many of the party goers.
Her smile was forced, uneasy, and something about her posture or the way she curled her immaculately manicured hands into claws, she avoided large groups, and dispite this forms beauty, looked decidedly out of place.
Narrator: Beautiful as the Northerner is, they kept their distance... they saw the beast.
The cold. Something boiled close to the surface on Fangs-of-Winter, and it made people nervous. A few did come closer to her, such as the blonde northerner in the livid dress, "Hello." she said, voice still as a pond... "I am Dalia Shadowsong. Who are you, who walks like the Sun and feels like the Snow?"
'Emmy' walked past Norima, and the orange-haired lady laughed, hiding her grin in a fan, like few others did, seeing the Chayan so spurned. He turned around then, holding her arm, "Won't you even dignify me with an answer, my lady?" He asked, trying to salvage his lost face...
- Snowy turned around, then nodded to him "It is, and you are quite persistant. Is there some reason for this, or is this your attempt at courting me?" *
Seven Leaf Sorrow: He shivered under her nails, the way she stroked him always bringing such bliss, always being so right, no matter where she did. If she wished, she would have him leaning against her and purring like a kitten. He tried not to think of how demaning that would be. And thus, he shrugged, as the promise was already good enough, and kept pace with her, as she put up a show that dazed all around, all her admirers stopping envy to just enjoy her movements, as if she danced... and Leaf himself stepping back to enjoy some of it. "So, what do we do if we can't eat, huh? I say we find one of those nice, soft places to sit down."
Fangs-of-Winter: Her eyes looked to the Shadowsong, and she gave a brief nod, "I am to be called Winter for now," she said, uncerimoniously. She had grace enough not to narrow her eyes in suspicion, at least. Trapped, as if in a behemoths fanged maw, she stood still, giving her forced smile to her tormentor. "I am pleased to meet you."
Wrynn Diermidis: It was a rather fun game in fact, mingling with the other partygoers, daring them to notice just how thin the veil of her demure personality was. Even as she excused herself from the company of a rather dashing foreign man, her snow-white tail swishes under her Kimono and her walk is anything but demure. Neither was it sultry either as the foxy woman's was though. Rather, it was predatory with a hint of careful slowness, as if she were chomping at the bit to run down one of these lesser beings... or a mouse, a mouse would be good.
She shakes her head, letting all errant thoughts slide from her mind. She was the best at what she does, and right now, she was cute.
Narrator: Norima starts to speak. He tries. Oh, hetries.
"I..." He starts, but it is no use. They all giggled and laughed at the Chayan's expense.
"I.. no... yes... see..." The Chayan started, then turned his face away, muttering "Bitch" and leaving her alone... still as the focus of so many's attentions. And even of a man in a loose gray kimono flanked by a nine-tailed woman, although he also spent his share laughing at the Chayan.
Dalia stepped back, looking at Fangs-of-Winter, as if trying to see something... "You are... strange. Winter, is it? You do seem to be, with such breath... are you cold?" she asks, genuinely curious, taking a step back, and looking around Fangs-of-Winter, as if watching a beautiful, exotic and dangerous creature...
- Snowy flicks her eyes at Gin, but is slightly more concerned about being called a 'bitch' in such polite company, she quietly, almost wispering, asks Norima "Hmm? Could you repeat that? I didn't quite catch it."
Gin: "If you are so inclined," she nodded, though inwardly released a deep sigh. It was typically better to remain a moving target. It made one more difficult for an assassin to entrap... and for poor company to corner. But she voiced no protest to Leaf, one of her tails slithering upwards and twinning itself about his wrist to draw his hand into her own. She stepped back, rather than making him suffer the indignity of being pulled forward, and wrapped her arm around his own. By leaning into him, she could give the illusion of a mutually decided direction at least, rather than her guiding him along towards a semi-circle of cushioned seats.
The Companion glided through the crowded party with her contract holder, the tall platforms of her shoes clicking neatly against the ground. She'd let her robes 'blossom' for this affair. A fetching flash of long calf breaking through the front of her white and plum-shaded kimono. It dripped off her shoulders just a little, letting a length of white neck show. Perhaps not as daring as those ladies about them who dressed in gowns that were all but painted to their skin, but then she had no need to be so obvious. Attention was hers for the taking even without it.
But she was not the only one.
"I do not believe are not alone, master," she said, her eye drawn discreetly to the near by woman being busied with a somewhat flustered looking suitor. Gin watched her only in passing, the sort of favoring glance that so many were throwing about the party. But she knew what she had seen. "That woman over there; do not stare. But do be mindful of her."
Narrator: Norima looked over his shoulder, stopping cold. Snowy couldn't have done more if she had screamed. He turned around, looking at her face - a supreme effort not to look at her bust - and sighed, long and hard, before replying. "I called you a bitch, since that is how you act like, my lady."
Well, no other way to salvage his honor than to meet it head on...
Fangs-of-Winter: Fangs flashed a smile, all teeth and no amusement. She held aloft the rose, and said to the Shadowsong, "Oh, it is but this gift I have brought. It is of True Ice. I had not realised my breath steamed. Pray forgive if I have given... offense." She said, and showed more teeth. "Is it unsightly?"
The question was more challenge than polite inquirey.
- Snowy nods, considering what he said for a little while "Indeed, and because I have more important things to do at this party then discuss petty politics with a minor noble, I'm a bitch?"
Seven Leaf Sorrow: Leaf sat down the cushioned seats, pushing Gin to his laps. He had fight against the urge of pulling her tails... but that would be too bad for her, and he was not that cruel. Not before a good few drinks, anyway. He just pulled her to him, seeing the looks on the Companion, as many as the Haltan received... and making sure his arms pulled around her belly, to show the little prissy nobles she is his' with a big grin. Suck. It. Up. And suffer. "Who, the Haltan Pretty humiliating the fag? I think it's fine to stare, everyone's doing that anyway."
Narrator: Shadowsong took another step back, running a hand through pale blonde hair, suddenly unsure of where she stands. "True Ice? That rose? Is that what gives you such cold, that no one else can feel? Is that for our... good host?" She asks... "No, it is not unsightly. Simply... curious."
Norima, on the other hand... stood his ground. "No, the way you act makes you a bitch. A polite woman, one of manners, would know how to excuse herself better than this. It is a pity a beauty such as yours' would be so rude and careless, but you are. For that, yes, you are a bitch, and a tease."
That was followed with a long round of whispering.
Wrynn Diermidis: Indeed, everyone was staring, Wrynn included. Frozen in place, mouth forming a little 'o,' she blushes, politely covering her mouth with a paper fan-- just another member of the audience.
Fangs-of-Winter: "Ah, but the virtue of the Ice is to keep away summer warmth, not bring the chill of winter." She kept that all too toothy smile, "It is for our host, yes. You must touch it to feel its chill. Those who mine it must wear thick gloves of mammoth fur, else it would freeze their hearts as they moved." She offered it to the Shadowsong, and her grin took a predatory amusement, "Would you like to hold it?"
Gin: Gin settled easily into Leaf's lap, draping herself backwards, body bending and contorting in such a fashion as to conform neatly against him. All nine tails opened like a flower in bloom and wrapped around his waist, twirling together behind him to keep her in balance. Gin pulled the hem of her kimono apart and lifted one leg free, crossing it over the other before letting the cloth fall closed. There, now she was a properly displayed show piece to bolster his ego.
"They are not precisely being discreet, no," she agreed with a faintly rueful smile for the pair, watching them as all the room now seemed to do. Ah, to be the center of the party in the worst possible way.
- Snowy laughs a touch and closes with Norima, whispering to him again "I assure you that if the time was right, and you were slightly more polite yourself, this day would be far, far more interesting for us, but as it stands, whatever rudeness you felt I can assure you is entirely in your mind, as you were unable to seduce me and you cannot possibly reconcile that failure as your own problem." She then turns back around and heads off in the general direction of Gin.
Narrator: Dalia watches the flower... and her pale fingers come close, so close to the flower... her pale rose lips curling into a smirk back at Fangs-of-Winter. "Is that a challenge, South-Walker-of-the-North?" She asks, her voice with such an edge, and yet so careful, wrapped in velvet...
As Emmy moves, the orange-haired and others turn their attention to Gin...
The Companion can see men and women talking, planning to invite her to a dance... but Leaf's vigilance keeps them away, at least so far. Norima, however, can only stare at Emmy's back with burning eyes, filled with hate, full of humilliation... and totally importent, after a moment simply picking a glass of the hardest thing he could find and emptying it in one guilp.
Gin: "Mm," Gin hummed, the tips of her ears twitching ever so slightly as she watched the other woman brush away the nobleman and begin a trek towards them. She tapped a white painted nail against her lips thoughtfully. "And trouble comes to our door now, it seems."
- Snowy doesn't really want to make more of a scene, deciding to slide her way off with a wink to Gin, she again seeks out a quiet area of the manse.
Fangs-of-Winter: "Will you meet it?" the wolf said, and the utter cold of the rose began to numb the very air. "Becareful of thorns," she warned, her voice almost a growl. She opened her hand, so the Shadowsong might take it. Her hackled began to raise, and her eyes locked on her adversery.
- Gin takes note of the wink, yet gives it no outward acknowledgement, her attention staying on Snowy only as long as discretion would allow. Enough people were staring at the other woman to make it hardly unnoticeable. And so then her eyes turn towards the other figure of the moment, the burning-eyed man Snowy had left behind in humiliation. "Master, would you excuse me for a moment?"
Wrynn Diermidis: With all eyes on either the unfirendly confrontation or the fox-tailed woman, none notice that the girl who had introduced herself as Suiki Shihou was gone. On the other hand, all eyes do noticed when a small white kitten appears out of nowhere, batting experimentally at the matching white of the fox-woman's tails. The kitten stares at them for a moment, then-- one delighted 'Mew!' later-- pounces dissapearing into them entirely.
Seven Leaf Sorrow: Leaf's hands run down her robe, tickling her around the side of her torso slightly... as he nibbles on her ear, wondering... "Why? You know they'll harass you just as much as soon as I let go..."
Narrator: Dalia reached to the flower.... picking it on her hands gingerly, careful for the thorns... feeling the cold, then letting it go with a wince, her pale, delicate flesh just slightly burnt... "How... how do you handle it? You are not dressed warm enough... no furs or anything."
Gin: Gin laughed at his 'concern,' shaking her head with a lingering stroked of her fingers across his cheek once more. "If you are troubled by that, then grant me a small boon and invi-"
The request, indeed the very word left her as she felt the sudden and rather persistent tapping against her tail. Gin twisted back on Leaf's lap, readying herself to politely scare away whoever was doing something so blatantly personal.
"Well, hello," Gin said, her voice lilting softly in pleasant surprise. Her hand dipped down and scooped up the small white kitten molesting her tails, hoisting it up before her. She smiled warmly, stroking a finger against the bridge of it's nose and down between it's ears, scratching behind each in turn. "Now where did you come from, hmm?"
Fangs-of-Winter: She reached down and picked up the flower, and held it delicutely in her hands, and gave another small smile toward the woman, "I am very... hotblooded." She said, and paid the woman a little curtsey.
- Snowy looks around, making sure her little quiet place was indeed quiet, then shifts back into her usual shaman self, hiding her tattoos quickly with the charm. She then proceeds back out and over to Gin, and Leaf, and the kitten, smiling a little to them, "Found a new friend?"
Gin: Gin looked upwards at the unfamiliar voice questioning over her shoulder. It only took a moment to peel back the veil and see the dark bird-like depths of the strangers eyes. She was not terribly surprised, but somewhat glad for the direct approach. This did save them time.
"Perhaps," she smiled back, setting the kitten onto her lap where the it could curl up in the slight depression between her legs and continuing to stroke it gently. A single tail slithered up Leaf's back and softly prodded the Solar's shoulder, hopefully reminding him that it was he who was supposed to make introductions.
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "I suppose. I liked the last one more." He said, looking her up and down... before offering her to sit with them. "I'm Seven Leaf Sorrows, this is Gin, one of the Rei-Lai's Brave Companions." He said with some pride, even more for her than for him. "It is always nice to meet more... interesting people."
- Snowy takes the seat, nodding a little, "So, can I take it you're the reason I've been summoned here? And Emerald has her uses, and she will return, if needed."
Narrator: "I can see that..." Dalia says, caressing her burnt flesh...
And even more curious at Fangs-of-Winter. "What brings someone so... interesting as you here, then?"
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Must have many nice uses..." He says, letting go of Gin just slightly.
"Nah. Neither of us are. We've been called here too. Gotta say this ain't my scene..."
Fangs-of-Winter: "I was invited," she said very simply, and arches an eyebrow at her, "Were you not?"
- Snowy nds a touch, sighing slightly "Why here? And why during this.. party? I suppose you don't know that either. I take it things wil be revealed in time, or should I simply try and make things happen?"
Gin: "Are you so impatient for an answer?" Gin asked, idling twirling her finger around the kittens tail as she watched the other woman measurably, curious if this was some strange test or deception. "Was that why the man whom your other self was dealing with received so friendly a reception?"
Snowy: "Maybe, maybe not. But I am far from home and I have travelled for a long time to answer the summons. I am not sure I like being asked to wait."
Narrator: A Butterfly Lady appears before them, the lightest bow to Gin and Snowy and Leaf...
"Things will be revealed now, Snowy Silver Night. The Master will see you now, if you will follow me..."
Dalia looks at Fangs... but before she can answer, a butterfly boy comes before them. "And the reason for your invitation is upon you, Winter. The Master is calling you now, if you will only follow me, great lady...."
- Snowy looks at Gin and Leaf, and the kitten with a shrug, then stands up and waits to be led off to.. the master!
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn stretches out in a silent purring yawn, pressing soft paws into Gin's smooth legs before settling down with a contented sigh. "Curiouser and curiouser." speaks up a tiny voice from Gin's lap.
Gin: "I believe you just spoke," Gin said as she raised off Leaf's lap, cradling the kitten in one arm and lightly tapping the top of it's tiny head to make it clear just who she was speaking to. She laughed breathily and tickled the top of Wyrnn's fuzzy head, waiting patiently for Leaf to rise before following. "A very clever way to get between a woman's thighs, master kitten."
Fangs-of-Winter: She gives the Shadowsong another toothy smile, before nodding at the butterfly boy. She gives the woman another curtsey, and follows the boy. The long sleeves of her sari trailed after her like an aurora of blue.
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn gives off little kitten giggles, nuzzling against the tickling finger. "Hee, I am caught. Can you blame me for succumbing to such soft swishing invitation? Ahh, but who would have thought I'd find so many other... special people invited here as I?" Soft little kitty paws reach up to Gin's tickling finger and the little ball of fur flips out of her grasp, landing on the fox-woman's shoulder. "I just had to speak up." the kitten says in explanation, giving Gin a little lick on the cheek.
Harmonious Ivory: They are led into the Manse... out of its Glass Party Hall, and into the Labyrinthine, compact body of the Butterfly, rows upon rows of books in the way to his study... where the butterfly servants left, leaving them alone in that quiet, quiet place, where a fireplace stands silent, dark. And he waits, close to a desk of redwood...
Harmonious Ivory waits dressed in white and green, a long kimono and three flowing sashes of red that he holds on his arms. He walks over slippers black as night. His hair is just as black, his eyes purest emerald... watching his newcomers intently, calm radiating from him, a calm of meditation and purpose, hiding power before comes the time of action... "It is good to see you. I was fearing neither of you would manage to come. I am sorry if you had to wait... but I had to make sure if t was safe to have you here."
At one end of the scarfs, he fingers a hearthstone seemingly made of glass, of colors ever-shifting, each different angle in the glass showing a different scene, a different place... he closes his eyes for a moment, and then opens them again, made of the same glass. A blink, and they are the natural emerald once again. He doesn to hide his Tell - all can see it behind his back, a long 'skirt' of sorts covering the back and sides of his legs, like long leaves... or a Mantis' wing-guards. "I need help." His eyes at them seem to remind those he had helped before of their deals... and for those he had not, to promise rewards. And to all, a plea.
- Snowy looks at the man, looking around the room, looking for a place to sit, nodding just a little, "And, what sort of help do you need? And why us, or more specifically, why me?"
Gin: "Mm, and you are very special, aren't you little one?" Gin smiled, scratching Wrynn under the chin softly. "But do please try to remember that it is impolite to molest a woman's tail without her consent."
Gin fell silent as they arrived in the... study? That is what it seemed to be, with all of the books about. Standing at Leaf's elbow, the Companion calmly folded her hands together before her and waited like a white shadow for some request from the Solar or some sign of a threat to him.
Harmonious Ivory: "Because you are a No Moon. Strong enough to help, not notorious enough so as to be targeted. Or specifically so, at any rate. You see... there are people after me. I am now mostly sure they are not at the party, at the very least... but they are. They want something I have, and I need to understand what it is, and who they are. That is where you come in." He nods, moving away from the desk and presenting a few chairs, "You can sit down if you wish. Learning curve's steep on this one."
Fangs-of-Winter: She stalked after the butterfly boy, looking left and right as she past the odd smelling books. She supressed a growl in her throat, and walked on to where the host was to be encountered. She effected a respectful nod to him, and listened to what he had to say.
She didn't like this place. It was almost as if it was designed to put her on edge. Paranoidly, she began thinking that was the very purpose! Put her on edge so he could ask improper things of her.
- Snowy nods just a little, taking the seat and getting herself comfortable, especially if this is going to be taking a good while "I see, well, I guess the sooner we start, the sooner we finish."
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Learning's my thing. But whoever it is, for the right place... you got the services of a God." He flashes a grin, the God of War incarnate, burning crystal and obsidean in the wraps around his arms. Confidence and power, the latter shining for the first time through his loose clothing, through his disheveled, but handsome appearance...
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn purrs contentedly at the scratching, "Ah, but I thought you were just another attendant-- ooh, a little to the le-- that's it" *purrrr*. Soon enough though, their host speaks, and Wrynn's attention shifts. "Pro-protecting? Surely you know who you're talking to?"
Harmonious Ivory: "Oh, I did not mean to call you, Seven Leaf Sorrows, although you are a great bonus. I meant to call her." He points to Gin, his eyes piercing her in her shadow. "A companion, and Moon-touched indeed. A priestess, an intermediary with spirits, Born and Bred and Chosen. A God of War is useful... but she is needed."
He walked to the edge of the room, pulling a large wooden box, and smiling to Fangs of Winter.
"Please, be at ease. You'll soon run the fields, my wolf-sister."
Fangs-of-Winter: "To plee is to seek aid, yet you did not seek us out, you beckoned," a growl rose in her throat. She began to pace back and forth, which looked odd considering the form she was in. Eyes always on him, she listened carefully to his world. He was strong, and that was to be respected, but his hall was too... stale. It smelt wrong.
Gin: He meant to call... me?
Oh... oh ho ho ho!
The laugh rang out throaty and loud, a far deeper though no less feminine sound than the tittering giggles she'd posed out in the Hall. She raised a hand and pointed into Leaf's face, saying... absolutely nothing.
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn shakes his little kitty head, thinking about the reasons he came in the first place. "Very well, if you would have a fox guard the henhouse-- ah, no offense miss-- I am here. You have guts, I'll give you tha-a-a-t--" he breaks off, holding on for sheer life as his mount laughs.
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Yeah, um." His eyes narrowed, embarassment taking his face...
looking at one side... then to another...
"Just... don't go getting cocky now, y'hear?"
But she was laughing. Laughing, laughing...
And he crossed his arms, a sullen look on his face.
"Not another word!"
Gin: "Of course, your godliness," she smiled, bowing her head low to him, arms spreading outward to help Wyrnn balance on his perch. "I would never dare tarnish my divine masters reputation."
Her moment of mirth mostly past...
... Gin's face smoothed over with serenity as she raised it to Ivory. "Would it be too presumptuous to ask a question of you?"
Harmonious Ivory: "Yes, Wrynn, I know who you are. You are curious, yes? The mystery behind this opens up a whole new world, likely. Those seeking it seem to have... greater powers than I can imagine. You are a thief, yes? I need someone who can steal truth, who can walk where no other would dare, who could move between the shadows as one of them." He said, almost idly, as he opened the box... one layer at a time, unfurling it like a chrisantemum, in ways that it could not have been the box. It was a puzzle, one he went through with nearly unconscious skill... "And at the end of it, there may be the fame as the one to steal the darkest truth and bring it to light, trickster. Not too bad, is it?"
Finally, he opens the final layer... and there is a book there. A book with a cover of red and black. There is a drawing there, but it seems to just be a complex black ink drawing on the red... thing? It is not leather, or parchment, or... it just is. And the drawings... they seemed like simple symbols at first. Rough lines, pehaps forming a styled 'V' or 'M' or 'W' in front of the book... but the more one looked, more lines appeared, and all touched, like a strange painting, all was the same in many planes that touched, and it seemed to stretch to infinity... which is why he did not look at it as he lay it down. "I am sorry for calling you here, Fangs-of-Winter. But I could not leave. I could not leave the book unguarded... and I could not guarantee your protection then."
He nods, before turning to Gin. "Of course. What would that be?"
- Snowy looks over at Gin, waiting for the question, yawning oh so slightly
Gin: Gin placed a hand upon Leaf's shoulder, seemingly to pull him back out of the way as she stepped forward, but her grip was tight. More so than it need be. The Companion moved forward gracefully towards Ivory, stopping a few feat from him and clasping her hands together once more. The confrontation was open in her eyes. Not the wild challenge that Fangs of Winter snarled out, but a stern and unmoving demand none the less.
"You display great resources and skill in being so able to track all of us down, knowing apparently great detail about who we are and where we have come from, when until the moment we stepped into this room, none of us knew so much as your name. What is it we can hope to learn for you that these previous mediums could not? Why were they not turned to the task of finding your answers?"
Wrynn Diermidis: The kitten nods, "I am a thief, yes. I am the thief. You will have your truth, your secrets, rather, but what the woman says is true. You know much already."
Fangs-of-Winter: She growled low in her throat, but it lacked the angry edge. She nodded her head, all Ivory would get in way of apology or understanding, and continued to pace. The place raised her hackles. She looked toward the courtisan, and to the amazingly articulate kitten. She noted them, and continued her pacing, like a wolf defining the areas of its cage.
- Snowy sighs a touch, looking over her new companions "I am entirely sure that we are here because we need to be here, and we would not of all come together if it was not part of a plan. And we can learn much, as these previous mediums were obviously not as capable as us, four of Luna’s Beloved."
Harmonious Ivory: "Do I?" He asks, with a shrug. "It seems that good bussiness practices have worked against me, this time. It is always good to project an image of power and knowledge." He nods, "But you far overestimate me. I have convene with friends, to know about the right Beloved of Luna.... and you are thus. Neither of you are secret - the Companious are well-known, Gin. Wrynn is, as he says, the Thief. Fangs-of-Winter and Snowy Night have their respective territories. You do not take part of the game of thrones... but each and every one of you is well-known enough for me to hear about."
"My enemy is not."
"But in at least two of you - Wrynn and Snowy - there is hope that they may be found."
He touches the book, running his hand over its covers....
"Since I have come into possession of this book, I have known the enemy is closing around me. I have ran from many of my places of influence... and know there is more than one faction of them. Many want this. Whatever this is."
- Snowy looks at the book and nods "If we are to be hunted by people looking for this book, can I at least have a look at the book and attempt to find out *why* they wish the book so much?"
Gin: "A thief, are you master kitten?" she ask, arching her brows as she looked at Wyrnn from the corner of her eye. "I expect all of my tails to be in place when you dismount my shoulder."
"How did you acquire it?" Gin asked in a louder tone, leaning slightly closer to the book letting the other matter go. His answer was satisfactory enough. True, her status as one of the Moon's Children should not have been particularly well known, but then she could hardly expect her father to have kept the secret. In all likelihood he'd sold it to everyone with two obols to drop into his hand.
Fangs-of-Winter: "And what is this book that others would name you enemy for posessing," a silvery note in her voice, seemingly at odds with her growl. Finally settling, she leaned against a stack of books, placing the Ice Rose on an end table. She observed Ivory all too closely.
Wrynn Diermidis: The little kitty stretches, curling around Gin's neck like a fur stole. "Why of course mistress Gin! I'd never! Especially when they're attatched to something just as plesantly soft" A cold little nose probes at the underside of Gin's chin, preceding another lap of the sandpapery tongue.
Harmonious Ivory: "I have this friend. He was called by Rei-Lai to tatoo a certain newly Exalted Companion." He smiles to Gin, "But it would raise too much suspicion to purchase you myself... thus, I pulled a few strings to get you with our War God there. It involved nudging him to the right way, which was not hard at all, and having that same friend whisper a suggestion to your father. He did not mind, for he knows your father. Trust me, I also know of Rei-Lai. You would better stay very far away from your father."
He touches the book, then, idly... "I have found this book in the remains of a battlefield. I have seen Chosen fighting over it. I have seen a castle devastated, and its Daymio put to the stake. I traveled carefree, then, learning all I could about the world. The surviving Dragon handled it on my hands, and told me to keep it safe. He said terrible things would happen if 'they' got their hands on it. It is all in a strange code, however... which I am no closer to deciphering. In the following weeks, I learned it is named 'The Chained Heart'."
- Seven Leaf Sorrow coughs so loudly. What is that about not being hard to nudge him?!?
- Snowy sighs a bit and gets up, heading over to Ivory "Can I have a look at the book please? It may give some clues as to who 'they' are."
Fangs-of-Winter: "What makes it so especially desirable others are willing to die for it?" Though settled, she still seemed... anxious. "Would not others seek our death as proxy?"
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn stretches about to look at Winter. "I do believe that is part of why we are here miss."
Gin: "Charmer," she crooned softly to the little cat on her shoulder, stroking a hand across his head again. She was grateful for Wyrnn on her shoulder. He gave her a distraction. A needed moment to digest these bites of information being offered as they came.
She had not expected that blind and mute Lunar who had tatooed her skin to have any connection to this. She'd barely given the man a second thought. In it's own strange way though, it did make sense. And of course Leaf was terribly easy to nudge.
"Indeed. That does seem to be the heart of this all. A mysterious enemy seeking for a mysterious book for a mysterious purpose. All of it fraught with deadly peril and importance and all of it quite... vauge," Gin tapped a finger tip to her lips, then focused her eyes upon Ivory once more. "If I am to be part of this, you will need to negotiate with my contract holder. A subcontract drawn up or a bill of sale handing my full contract over to you presented."
Harmonious Ivory: "That, as they say, is the question, my dear." He steps back a bit, motioning for her. "Come here, and I will let you look. See, back then, I did have a good network of informations. The time when I could find out about important newly Exalted Lunars. I tried to find out about this... and they started to disappear. Back then, I would reply your earlier question with much fanfare about how I could know secrets of Lookshy... but now, I know nothing. I have not even any idea if my former network was up to the task, or if just asking drew unwanted attention... but there was silence after silence. I have fought Dragonbloods from the Realm and ghosts from the Underworld... and none wished to speak of it. They would live and die for this secret..."
Waiting for Snowy, he looked over at Leaf... and bowed with a bit of humilty. "Well, then, we will have to dicuss a payment for you, Seven Leaf Sorrow... and I would be honored if you would allow your servant this work, and if you would help."
- Snowy nods a bit, looking over the book, seeing if it was anything she recognized or remembered, or whether or not it was occult knowledge, or simply a book of stories for young children, written in cypher.
Wrynn Diermidis: Wrynn sniffs affrontedly. "Paperwork! My contracts are very simple. My employer pays me. If the ammount is too low, I pay myself the rest from his coffers and a 20% surcharge. Simple! See?"
Fangs-of-Winter: "You had no whiff of who was doing this? What would cause such a dreadful fear in those that you queried?" She seemed to scowl at us, "No scent of this nameless terror you speak of?"
Gin: "You've certainly found a remarkable way to circumvent the bureaucracy," she smiled at Wrynn. "Alas, not all of us are so blessed with the freedom to assert such ingenuity. For a Companion, a contract is a bit more binding and complicated."
Harmonious Ivory: The book, as Snowy opens... is all coded. A code that is, in fact, like holding a star-lit sky - the paper looks like the shadows in the sky, and the words are all arrangements of stars or celestial bodies - all in sanguine red - some she had never seen before. They form many shapes, that should be words... and one or two letters of Old Realm are something she can recognize... but the rest, is simply complete gibberish. Some form strange organs... some stranger things still. And it does make Snowy feel a little... disoriented.
"I have fought some of them. They never talked, and I had to kill them." He shrugs. "I was not very good with interrogations either. I know they exist, and I have fought chosen and a demon who work for them, but... no actual word. I have seen people looking at me strangely, I have seen my network disintegrate. I know they are closing on me... and I know they have quite an infraestructure, but..."
Wrynn Diermidis: "Ahh, information. I would be.. hmm... curious to know what types of chosen you've encountered sir. Castes would be divine, but anything you know should help."
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Hmmm... well, you got me curious, Ivory, I'll grant ya this much." He says, walking up at the Companion... and idly smacking her behind. Now, this is payback for you making me look bad! "We can talk money... quite a sum of it. But apart from that... she's yours'. To protect, talk to gods, officalize weddings... god know why... kick ass... oh, and she can dance too."
- Snowy continues to read through it, a little disorentation has never stopped her before, she wants to know whats in the thing, and more specifically, why anyone would want it. Maybe its a design book for gods?
Gin: Gin stiffened a moment as Leaf's palm smacked into her hind end and she gave her 'master' a narrow eyed glare. They were in private enough for that, but he was lucky there were so many strangers about.
"All he says is true," she agreed with a inclining of her head. "I doubt I will be of much assistance in deciphering the ledger though... did you learn anything?"
She directed the question towards Snowy with a look.
- Snowy looks at Gin and shrugs "I think i'd need at least a month to get anything useful out of this thing. Its mostly pictures, looks like the night sky, may be something to do with
Heaven, which might explain why its wanted by so many."
Fangs-of-Winter: She growled a little bit, "Everyone can see the night sky. Either its something they can't see, or can't see anymore." She flicks some of her dark hair from before her eyes, steam coming from her lips as she sighed, "Unless its just pointless occult jibberish.."
Harmonious Ivory: "I have met Dragon-Blooded of Water, of Realm Stock, but good at the assassination bussiness. Of the Air Aspect, ninjas clad in red. I have fought a demon assossiated with Cecelyne, and I have fought another Lunar, one Octopus-Totemed one. I have fought ghosts who claimed something about Thirteen Bells."
"The Realm ones might be Iselsis... but it would be hard to investigate in the Realm, for me, while still being defensive of the book. But.." He shrugs, "Are you in this? If you, I would like you to name your pri..." He stops.
His Hearthstone shatters.
Wrynn Diermidis: The little cat chuckles. "Ahh, sweet one. Take it from someone who acquires objects for a living: Wars have been started over less than pointless occulr jibber-er-er--- what in the name of all that is mew? What happened?" The kitten instantly drops off Gin's shoulder and rushes to his employer.
- Snowy looks over to Winter "As much as you think it may be jibberish, all of Creation runs on what people consider the occult, so unless you want more things exploding, i suggest you be more careful about what you say."
Gin: "Perhaps we could take it to my father?" Gin offered speculatively. "If it relates to Heaven, there may be few better to decipher it than- Rei-Lai!"
The name wasn't quite the what Gin had meant to say, but it burst from her as a shocked curse as Ivory's hearthstone suddenly and violently exploded. Hot on Wyrnn's heels, she rushed over to the man and took his arm in case he needed to be steadied or slowed in a fall. "Are you harmed? Are you harmed? "
Fangs-of-Winter: The gem shatters, and instantly her arm is up to shield her face from the worst of it. Her gown floats with the motion, and the cloth-mist deflects much.
Harmonious Ivory: Smoke fills the air, pieces of the hearthstone fill the air, touching them, and cutting just slightly on Leaf's cheek. But as Gin touches him... he is unharmed. But pale. Ghastly pale, as he touches the end of the sash... growing paler. "This... this means the Manse is breached. Someone broke the arrangement. It allowed me to feel it all. To see it all, around here... and I had not seen any. How... how..." He asks, confused, but unharmed, amidst the smoke... "We can talk about your payment later. We need to do something now We need to safeguard the book... and find out where they are. My guests..."
- Snowy wishes she had travel without distance, but alas, it was not to be, not yet anyway. "Is there a back way out?"
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Well, we gotta get a hold of it anyway, right?" Leaf says, reaching for the book, picking it on his hands.... then reaching for the collar of Snowy's robe, pushing it aside and placing the book between it and her cleavage. "There. Now, now..."
"Who wants to punch them until they beg to stop, raise your hands."
Harmonious Ivory: "Hey, careful with that!" Ivory snaps to Leaf, but has little time to carry on a quarrel in those circumstances, thinking... "There is, out of the study and down a floor, there are exits on both ends of the Butterfly's body. But we do not know if they are waiting for us there... I have to check on my guests. I would hate if they were harmed..."
- Snowy just seems a bit stunned, clutching the book, nodding a bit "Well, uhm.. yes, I'm sure the guests will be able to run away quite effectivly. Now we should get the book out of here, yes?"
Wrynn Diermidis: "I nominate the half-wild one." the kitty speaks up, hopping from one piece of furniture to the next. "I can fight of course, but I'm better spent staying with the book." It takes Snowy a moment to realize exactly what that means, giving Wrynn the time to dive in after the book.
Fangs-of-Winter: It was Luna's gift to her children that they would be able to hide their divinity in lesser forms. But there were times when it was no longer appropriate to hide. She began to grow, her skin lightening to an almost alabaster tone, and her fingers grew longer, her nails becoming claws. Fangs grew in her mouth, and her dark hair became the color of her skin, and wild and unkept. Her growl now came from her chest, and she completed Luna's Ascention. Her breath came out as large gouts of steam, that frosted what it touched. Her eyes were a baleful blue, and muscle rippled like boulders beneth her skin.
- Snowy looks down into her robes "This is going to take a bit of getting used to. I too can fight, but I'm probably better off leaving."
Wrynn Diermidis: A small snow-white head peeks out of Snowy's robes. "Remind me not paw that tail. Ever." Then the kitty is gone once again.
Harmonious Ivory: "You are right. We can leave by the back door, then." He nods, looking at Leaf.
"Well, we are leaving. You coming?" He wraps his sash around himself, and storms out of his office...
He points at the right, "Following that, we leave."
He points at left, and then left, "Following that, you get to the hall. Do warn my guests before fighting, mr. Sorrow."
Seven Leaf Sorrow: Leaf watched Fangs' Ascension... and could only grin. "Good doggy."
- Snowy follows Ivory, not really wanting to get them all in more trouble..
Gin: Her sentiments were with Wyrnn as she eyed Faings of Winter. Certainly she had heard of such transformations before, but this was the first she had ever seen one in person. It was a shocking revelation of just what their kind could become.
"I will do as you wish me to, master," Gin said simply to Leaf, offering the Solar the smallest shrugs. "Should I accompany the book or you?"
Fangs-of-Winter: She gives Seven the middle finger, pronouced all the more by the long claw that capped it.
"Give the book to me," her voice was part growl, part silver now. She seemed less agitated now. More... well, comfortable in her own skin. She held out her hand for the book.
- Snowy looks at Winter and shakes her head "I have one crucial advantage over you: Wings. Now lets meet up at the town near here."
Seven Leaf Sorrow: "Go with the book. Keep the pretty Snowy and the book safe. It will be where they will be aiming the most, I think. We will just break whatever it is." He nods, pecking her forehead. "And take care, Companion, you hear me?"
He grinned at Fangs, "Good of you to volunteer so heartily... but they hide. We punch."
Wrynn Diermidis: "And if all else fails, I can steal it away.." says a muffled voice from within Snowy's robes.
Gin: "I endeavor to please," she smiled pleasantly, bowing to Leaf, before she joined the other Lunars. She didn't care for the idea of leaving her charge behind, but she was perhaps a far more apt choice for such a mission than Leaf was. "Let us hope that will not be necessary, master kitten."