It begins...

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It begins...

Post by Areada on Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:30 pm

It was an indisputable fact that the ballroom was dazzling. This was not simply a figure of speech used to demonstrate the impressive architecture’s effect on the common person, but it quite literally dazzled the eye. The windows along the west side of the room were the sort of glass that looked broken but really wasn’t, and the setting sun was looking very impressive through them. The chandeliers were of the same glass stuff, and the entire room seemed to be swathed in a combination of textures of light, from the bright, but not overwhelming electricity of the chandeliers and mounted lamps, to the candles on the tables and on the windowsills, and all tastefully enhanced by the oranges and pinks of the sunset, fragmenting colors through the windows to the gathering within.

It was a very posh party.

Despite this room being technically called a ballroom, this party was definitely not a ball. There was no dancing, the room was filled with small tables and chairs, and people drifted from group to group, glasses of expensive wine in their hands, languidly discussing a variety of topics, from politics, to the quality of the wine, recently published novels or the classics, how badly (or well) their work week had gone, new scientific and magical discoveries, and of course, copious amounts of gossip about everybody else’s business.

It was one of those events where mostly everybody there really is somebody, and the definition of what it means to be ‘a somebody’ involves a fortunate economic situation. But it was the Governor of Arcady’s annual New Years Celebration, and that was to be expected.

It had been the New Year for approximately sixteen hours at this point, and Rhiannon was not enjoying herself. She had done nothing to celebrate the actual turnover of the year the evening before, she had spent the day bouncing between books and drearily worrying about the awful party that she had unfortunately promised her very good (and only) friend, the mayor’s daughter, that she would attend. Rhiannon was not, in this context, ‘a somebody’, her economical situation was in the range of lower middle class, and her dress was the same one she wore to graduation parties, and any holiday dinners she attended at home. However, it was comfortable, and she wasn’t about to risk wearing a new dress of dubious comfort for such an elite event.

She poked at her hair plaits absentmindedly as she meandered by the windows, sipping at something dark red and expensive made of grapes of an obscure name from a place with an obscure name. It was, however, delicious.
Next to her, her very good (and only) friend, Allison, also meandered, except with no drink. Allison was on edge this evening, which was one of the reasons Rhiannon had promised to attend. Allison was avoiding several young men and women who were far too interested in her for a variety of reasons that were very distressing to Allison, who was disinterested in forming a romantic attachment to anyone who a. liked her money better than her, or b. lived in Arcady, or c. she had gone to school with.

This evening, Rhiannon was performing the time-honored duty of a good friend by assisting Allison’s escape from any social entanglement that went on for longer than ten minutes, and being both vaguely and openly rude to anyone trying to monopolize Allison’s time. She didn’t really mind. Allison had gotten into a bar fight once to protect her in a very dicey situation with a couple of very drunk and thoroughly inappropriate fellow students. Rhiannon was not one for spontaneous or close combat, unlike Allison, who excelled at that kind of thing. So she owed her one.

“Oh, thank goodness.” Allison said, suddenly, “There’s my grandparents. I should really go talk to them. You should get something to eat, or network, or something like that. I won’t make you babysit me the whole time.”

“It’s really quite fine.” Rhiannon replied, “Should I pull you out in ten?”

“Only if someone suspicious cuts in.” Allison replied, “My grandparents are quite benign. Besides, I want to know all about how their menagerie is doing.”

“Menagerie?” Rhiannon enquired

“When I say menagerie, I mean veritable small army of dogs and cats, as well as the hummingbird garden and extensive stables.”

Rhiannon nodded.

“But the moment you see someone coming over to get in on the horseback riding conversation, you pounce.” Allison said, very seriously, “I do not need another person using that as a conversational ‘in’ because then my grandparents will be charmed by someone I don’t like and then it’s all downhill from there for a month or two.”

Rhiannon nodded again, gave her friend an encouraging pat on the back, and continued to meander. She thought about books, which she rather liked. She thought about how nice the room was, even if the company was not really her style. She thought about how delightful it was to drink expensive wine without having to pay for it. She thought rather happily about going back to work the next day, and then she thought rather sadly about how little money she would make regardless of how much she enjoyed working. She thought about how she wished there was dancing, or that the music would be slightly less typical classical selections, and how she really disliked the scentless candles they were using, though they were, of course, better for large gatherings so no one would be allergic. However, the candles were a lovely shade of plum, which she did appreciate.

Eventually, she began to appreciate being invited. It wasn’t like she’d had anything else to do, and it was nice to get out of the apartment to go someplace that was not work or the closest tavern.

Eventually, she leaned against a wall in a way that was slightly too casual for the poise of the event, but only slightly, and watched. The lights dimmed again for atmospheric effect, and everything in the room was getting deliciously and entertainingly full of posh murmurs and polite, but occasionally sincere laughter.

What an evening.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Nayaby on Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:02 pm

“I do believe I was told there would be finger sandwiches. The wine is magnificent: Bellandria Province, 87 Zephyr Age. Good century, that. The décor is staunchly impressive, in particular I must complement our Governor’s taste in drapes. A real royal purple—none of that wishy-washy violet and lavender nonsense I keep hearing about. But there is quite the noticeable lack of finger sandwiches, and I must express my disappointment on that fact that this is putting a damper on my opinion of the party as a whole. A party without finger sandwiches, honestly!”

A man dressed up in a smart robe which only just missed sweeping the floor by a quarter of an inch and could only be called “pristinely white” stood wagging a long and limber finger in the bewildered face of one of more unfortunate party waiters to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time. “I would presume our Madam Governor thought finger sandwiches to be somewhat… pedestrian for a party of this calibre. Mayhaps you would like to sample the caviar or foie gras?”

“I’m not particularly in the mood for the liver of a duck at the moment, nor any other water fowl for that matter,” the white-robed man replied, retreating his finger into the confines of his baby-blue embroidered sleeve. “Just some constructive criticism is all I’m making. I would be ever so gracious if you could relay my concerns to the Governess so that her next party is not such a complete and utter disaster.” As charming a smile as the man could muster given his dissatisfaction with the state of things followed, and the waiter attempted to match the gesture with his own, though it came across nowhere near as sincere.

“I will take your comments into consideration Mister…” the waiter paused, waiting for introduction. In all honesty he had no wish to know the white-robed man any better than he already did, but the ‘mister’ which had escaped his lips had been a product of habit, and he had been too far along midway through the word to take it back and so had to resign himself to what followed:

“Doctor, actually. Dr. Artur Atrius Llore, Hedge Mage and Professor of Archeology at the Five Waters Academy in New Imperial City.” And before the poor waiter knew it, he was being subjected to a very unwelcome handshake which nearly shook him to his core and would have caused him to drop his tray had he not set it down when Dr. Llore first began speaking with him. “Here at our Madam Governor’s special request, in fact. An invitation with a golden wax seal and everything! Spared no expense, has she? Well, except on finger sandwiches I suppose.”

After all the necessary pleasantries and not-so-pleasantries involved with recording a formal complaint were dealt with (sadly, our friend the waiter had no easy shortcut to get out of doing this unfortunate part of his job) Dr. Llore departed from his company with a fresh goblet of wine in hand and the waiter was left with concerned thoughts and anxieties on his mind. Not about the lack of finger sandwiches, of course: he had no doubt that the Governess wouldn’t waste more than a moment’s glance on such a pointless comment, but about what the robed man had introduced himself as. A professor holding a doctorate in archeology was impressive but not concerning, but a hedge mage certainly was.

Hedge mages were any of those odd magical persons whose abilities did not fall under the conventionally recognised schools of magic. As it turned out, not all magical abilities manifested in quite the same way and some people were born with magicks that manifested so out of the norm that a unique category had to be made just to keep them recorded in the system. “Magical deviants” they were sometimes called, and the waiter’s anxiety came from the sheer unpredictability of what a hedge mage might be able to do. One might possess the ability to cause his nose to glow in the dark, and nothing more. Another could raze an entire building with a misplaced sneeze. The problem with categorizing that which was uncategorizable was that it made the whole process a pointless tedium with accomplished nothing but pointing out the fact that it was, in fact, not placed in a category at all. Dr. Artur Atrius Llore may as well be labelled “unpredictable” and while the Mages’ Registry almost certainly had a file detailing the known abilities of this Dr. Llore, our waiter certainly did not.

And somehow. he had the sinking feeling that Dr. Llore was just an accident waiting to happen.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Elfie on Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:37 pm

'And then I said to her – really very sincerely, you know – ''you have gotten thinner, that dress makes you look almost beautiful'', and then she said, looking at me in that way she does, a bit distracted you know, 'I know, thank you!''' A ripple of light chuckles went around the candle-lit table, situated in a darker corner, not far from the entrance to the elegant ballroom. If anyone found their speaker, or her words, anything but interesting or amusing, they hid it well. The women appreciated the gossip if nothing else, and the men appreciated the woman if nothing else.

They were all starting from being a bit tipsy, to verging on drunk at this point. All except the woman too interested in sharing a crude story, and the handsome man beside her, whose eyes had found more interesting subject matter, thus only half-listening and not drinking at all.

The blond, shapely woman, who was dressed as elegantly as the atmosphere around her – a dark red dress, in the latest style,with matching pumps, thick make-up, hair coiffed in a way – to her mind – was just simply as becoming on her as could be -  was enjoying this New Years party to the full. 'Really, it was most deilicious. Ah, there she is!' Another ripple of chuckling, as a stout, middle-aged woman sauntered past the table, beaming at everyone she passed. The table snickered, waving.


'She reminds me a bit of a... ahem... certain animal in a certain part of the world.' One of the youths at the table quipped, which was followed by more crude laughter.

The table rattled, shaking the silverware, and spilling some of the wine – though no one noticed except the elegant lady – and a loud scraping of a chair against polished wood – this time noticed by all, thus causing silence to fall at that particular table.

'Why, Matthew, what is the matter?' The elegant lady demanded, waving her glass around animatedly, her face annoyed. Matthew, the handsome man who had sat beside her, waved her away and started walking. She, naturally, stood up and followed.


'Must you always make a scene? This is not at home with your country bumpkins, these are highly elite and esteemed people!'

'Charlotte, please. I can't listen to that stupid gossip anymore. Anyway, I've seen something much more worthwhile.'

Charlotte huffed, deeply insulted. She loved Matthew, and hated when he treated her like this. Like she meant nothing to him.

And in fact, it should be known, he did treat her so often. She showered him with love and affection, all for naught. For several reasons, all of which were unbeknown to this poor Charlotte, if she might be called such a thing.

She was still more insulted when, after sitting back down, she turned at a lull in the lively conversation which she had, of course, promptly rekindled, and saw Matthew quite casually break into a conversation between a young woman and an elderly couple.

The fact that it was a young woman, or really any woman other than herself that he would willingly talk to, even shushed her inner critic from the fact that he had just interrupted those people, something which must never be done.

'Hello! I would ask you to dance, but since these formal higher ups would rather drink to oblivion and chat, I'll ask you if you would like to do that. With me.' Matthew smiled, his most charming smile, hoping it wouldn't seem fake.

Because it was.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Areada on Fri Jan 02, 2015 9:14 pm

Rhiannon had half an eye on Allison, but was also currently multitasking by observing some of the various other guests at the lavish event. The styles for women seemed to be sleeker this year, though not necessarily form-hugging, and favoring darker shades of colors, and the heels were, while still tall, mercifully shorter than they had been last year. As usual, skirt length seemed to not really be an issue. The dress pants worn by some of the women standing around, including the Governor and Allison were also a sleek style, and wider in cut than they had been last year. Everything was quite flowing, even the men’s styles. Fuller sleeves on the shirts and pant legs, longer jackets and tunics-the occasional white robe? Rhiannon blinked. White? That certainly stood out.

With a slightly self-conscious pang she glanced down at her mid-length swishy dress that was in a cream color with deep purple embroidery and trim along the edges. Hmm. So she probably stood out quite a bit as well, then. She considered that for a moment, and then fell into a state of apathy.  It was a nice dress, regardless of what was fashionable, and she didn’t feel like dedicating much of her brain to worrying about her own clothes. She did, however, enjoy observing other people’s clothes. The man in white, for instance, there was probably a lot you could infer about him from his choice of dress. If you didn’t have to go save your friend right now, that is.

Rhiannon glared at the man who had just cut in to Allison’s conversation with her grandparents. Rude. Definitely attempting to put on the charm.

As Rhiannon approached, near-empty glass in hand, walking with a purpose in her emphatically flat shoes as opposed to the languidity and/or balancing act of most of the other guests’ gait, she was relieved to see that Allison’s grandparents, the quite honorable Mr. and Mrs. Markam, were not particularly taken by the man’s dubious charm. Well, dubious to Rhiannon. There was nothing particularly wrong with his smile, it was just that he had bothered to smile so pointedly. Maybe she was being too judgmental. That was certainly possible. He was probably a perfectly nice person. She apologized to him in her head. Regardless, Allison had asked for a rescue should this happen, and Rhiannon was a person with a mission.

“Allison!” Rhiannon exclaimed, coming up right behind her and the man and stepping between them enthusiastically, her entire attention focused on Allison and Mr. and Mrs. Markam, “Mr. and Mrs. Markam! It’s a pleasure to see you this evening.”

Rhiannon had been introduced to Mr. and Mrs. Markam before at Allison’s graduation (and therefore also her own), and they were on perfectly nice terms. They looked rather pleased to see her.

“Ms. December!” Mrs. Markam exclaimed, “I thought I’d seen you lurking about, darling. How are you?”

“Simply splendid.” Rhiannon replied, nodding brightly, “I know—I thought it was time I stepped forth into the company and all. I’m terribly shy at these sorts of events but, well, I thought I’d give it a try, for Allison’s sake.”

“You are a welcome addition to any sensible company.” Mr. Markam said, graciously, “Someone as educated and intelligent as yourself ought not to be worried about talking to the economically elite. You probably paid more attention in school than most of them did.”

Rhiannon almost blushed. She hadn’t come over for compliments. But then again, the quite honorable Mr. and Mrs. Markam were very genuinely kind people.

Being such kind people, they were not unaware of the man still standing there. Mr. Markam looked at him, not unwelcomingly, “Sorry, have we been introduced? We’d better be introduced, you know, if you’re going to be asking our granddaughter to have a drink with you.”

Mr. Markam was simply beaming with generosity and good humor as he said this, and Rhiannon stifled an appreciative laugh.

Mrs. Markam was looking equally radiant as she added, “No worries, my dear sir, we’re not trying to intimidate you. We’d simply like to know the name of the rather handsome stranger who has graced us with his charming company.”

Rhiannon exchanged glances with Allison, bemused but not embarrassed. Mr. and Mrs. Markam were quite shameless with their liberal use of compliments. The positivity was, well, rather nice, even if it often felt like they complimented people so much it couldn’t possibly be genuine all the time. Maybe it was, though. They certainly did try to be undoing any damage Rhiannon might have caused by entering the situation so abruptly, but weren’t necessarily invalidating her entrance either.

She glanced again at Allison, who looked neutral, but was quite possibly thinking of how to use this situation to her advantage in making a gracious exit. Rhiannon then applied her thoughts to the same end.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Lycanthrope on Tue Jan 06, 2015 4:45 am

Lights flashing, voice amplifiers pushing around, and yells of reporters surrounds the charismatic Cesar, Professor of Technological Archeology. New Years Day is the upmost best day for his latest rediscovery to be on display for all to see. And what better place than the Governor’s New Year’s Party. Only the most intuitive people would flock, and Cesar, of course, is one of those marvelous people. Such intelligent people are the only persons to understand and comprehend the significance of his rediscovery!

“Yes!” Bellows Cesar, quieting the crowd of paparazzi with a simple shoo of his hands. “I am here today with exciting news!” He smiles, bright pearly whites rivaling the brightness of the cameras.

Cheers roar. A short, but impactful clearing of Cesar’s throat hushes the people once more.

“Traversing the tunnels of the Danguu Mountains, I have stumbled upon, perhaps, a lost civilization. Few artifacts remain, but with my fantastic restoration abilities…” Cesar flips his luscious blond hair for emphasis, “I have repaired one such robot. And I brought it with me here today!”

“Without further ado, let me introduce you all to…” A quick 360-turn and hands into the air is added for dramatic effect. “V.E.R.A, the Versatile Effective Robotic Apparatus!”

The crowd whistles, claps, and cheers. However, no such apparatus appears.

“I said, V.E.R.A, the Versatile Effective Robotic Apparatus! Vera? VERA!”

A large 2-meter metallic machine enters the room. Very humanoid looking, the robot’s defining features includes bright blue eyes and gold trim accenting its four limbs among the sparkling silver sheen. As it moves with a stutter, faint sounds of electricity and pneumatic cylinders could be heard.

A voice, similar to a person speaking from a long metal pipe coupled with a slight buzz echoes through the room. It’s monotonous tone is both strange but intriguing. “Sorry Cesar. There was a faulty fuse line in my …”

“Shush shush, people are present Vera!” Interrupts Cesar, “No need to voice your boring problems to them.”

Cesar turns to the crowd. “V.E.R.A. is an amazing machine. It is the first of its kind with artificial intelligence, capable of comprehending stimuli and establishing its own ideas. This year, I will work to understand how this is accomplished and the implications of V.E.R.A. into the lives of citizens like yourself!”

“I will not be taking any questions. Any further information will be released by my assistant. Now, if you excuse me, I have a party to attend. Let’s go Vera!”

Exiting the room, the duo follows the plush purple carpet trail to the main ballroom. Stopping before the ornate double doors, Cesar turns to Vera.

“Alright Vera. How do I look?” He twirls with arm stretched out.

“You are 1.7648 meters tall with blond hair. Your tanned skin exhibits no skin problems at this moment, however I sense a mild increase in sweat production around the axillary region. You are currently wearing a black tuxedo with a glittering purple bowtie. The black leather shoes on …”

“Oh nevermind! Shush.” Interrupts Cesar. “Let’s get this party started! Can’t wait till everyone else sees you!”

With a dramatic flourish, he opens both doors and strolls in, with Vera following closely behind him.

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Re: It begins...

Post by Nayaby on Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:23 pm

Artur’s distaste with the lack of finger sandwiches led him and his wine glass out the ballroom with the intent of finding some fresh air untainted by the plethora of bodies within. Not that the air within was very sweaty to begin with, what with none but the bravest of souls even attempting to dance to the vaguely charming, but not-quite-invocative-to-foot-tapping music. As he strode along his way he passed an amused glance at the foolhardily courageous man who had interrupted a young woman speaking with an elderly couple to flirt, who was promptly approached by a second woman who had glanced in Artur’s direction herself for nearly half a moment. A friend coming to her rescue, or perhaps a jealous lover coming to chase away the invasive competition.

Not of a mind to dwell on whatever story was unfolding there, Artur was met with the hustle and bustle of paparazzi as he exited the ballroom. The plethora of bodies without surely exceeded those within! So much for clean air… And they all seemed to be congregating around one man in particular, one who’s face he recognised from media as Professor Cesar. An archeologist like Dr. Llore, though their precise fields differed slightly with Artur’s line of work involving artifacts which tended towards an arcane nature. But what was this discovery Cesar was going on about?

Artur’s jaw nearly dislocated when his question was answered by the appearance of what was apparently called V.E.R.A., a fully functional AI as it appeared. The hedge mage had encountered similar constructs in his own field work, but never one which seemed on par with this one. The majority of those present didn’t seem particularly concerned with its voice as much as its existence, but Artur had to take note of the first words which echoed from it: Sorry Cesar. Artur had never heard of an automaton apologizing before, and that certainly made this one intriguing. First of its kind indeed.

As Cesar made his way through the crowd and into the ballroom, Artur was struck with an unavoidable pang of envy which he wasn’t keen on at all. Why, this man was drawing all the attention away from Artur! Perhaps the hedge mage had no discoveries of such weight under his own belt, but he was still a respectable member of the archeological community! And with the thought of finding fresh air abandoned, and the wine glass in his hand drained of its contents, the white-robed wizard found himself back in the ballroom after Cesar and approaching the man.

“Prof. Cesar,” he said, beaming at the man. “My esteemed colleague! I don’t believe we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person before. Dr. Artur Atrius Llore, at your service. Quite the show you and your robot put on out there. Versatile Effective Robotic Apparatus, was it? I simply must express my congratulations on what might possibly be the greatest find of the decade!” Nothing but politeness from the hedge mage, though inwardly he was sussing out the competition. Would Cesar even recognise him from anywhere? Artur had to hope he would, for his own ego’s sake.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Elfie on Thu Jan 08, 2015 3:35 pm

Matthew tugged at his collar, the room becoming suddenly a teensy bit too warm; did this elderly couple really need to start hounding him? Okay, so it was their grandaughter. And, okay, he should have thought it out a bit more before coming over in the first place. He had assumed these three were strangers, politely chatting like everyone else in this place. What in the world was he going to say? How to get out of this mess?

Just say your name, man! They probably won't look into it if it's the truth or not... or what your background is....

Darn Charlotte for always making him so uncomfortable – if she hadn't, he wouldn't have even involved this young woman. For even dragging him here in the first place. Darn her for all the trouble she's caused him...

He cleared his throat, along with his mind of the thoughts which caused his temper, and his temperature to rise. Focus. Just do what we rehearsed at home...

''I'm Mr. Higbly. Matthew Higbly. Pleased to meet you. I didn't mean to be rashly forward; I only saw your lovely granddaughter from our table, and felt she is... er,... more interesting than some at this function.''

Okay, that wasn't great, he reflected as soon as he'd spoken. He glanced at the other young woman who had come up. Another granddaughter? But, no, she had been adressed by her last name. A friend, then, perhaps.

Misses December. Unmarried. But she could be dating. So, he had to choose his words carefully this time. He really didn't need an angry lover jumping on him. He still had the scars on his chest and back from last time.

''Of course, I don't mean that any of the present company is uninteresting. You all are much friendlier and lovely than those I came here with.'' Perfect. Safe and smoothly backtracked.

As he spoke, he glanced at Charlotte, who was watching him with jealousy (As she should. She should stop putting the moves on me, darn it. Get it through her head that we cannot be together, ever. Then I could stop hitting on innocent bystanders.), his face turning into a scowl.

Then he turned back to the Markams and Miss December, quickly besotwing each with a brilliant grin.

This time, not fake.

*****

Charlotte had by now stopped caring what the others were talking about. The voices droned in her ears, and she could almost understand Matthew's hatred of such conversations.

Almost.

At least it was distracting; if it were silent around her, she might very well burst into tears. This realization both shocked her – she really looked down at sniffling beauties – and disgusted her. Sometimes, she really did want to stop loving Matthew.

But then she looked closer at him again, and she would desire him all over again...

A movement at the entrance caught her eye, forcing her to look away from the small group of people around Matthew.

People had come in and gone out all evening.

These two weren't really wearing anything out of the ordinary.

The man was wearing a suit, and the woman... Charlotte blinked. Why, that wasn't a woman! It was a robot!

Curious, she got up, and made her way towards the two, almost bumping into a funny-looking figure, to Charlotte anyway, dressed in white, who was introducing himself to the couple.

''How did you come upon this robot, sir...?'' She asked, not thinking about societal politeness. Her heart was beating faster, and she really had no control over her mouth in this excited stage.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Areada on Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:28 pm

Rhiannon cringed inwardly as the man introduced himself. He didn’t necessarily seem like a bad person, but compliments at the expense of others were not something she liked to hear. What a sleaze. Rude.  Then again, his heart really didn’t seem to be in it. Still. Rude.

Mr. and Mrs. Markam continued smooth as ever. If they shared Rhiannon’s opinion, they certainly didn’t show it.

“Markam.” Mrs. Markam said, “That’s us. This is our granddaughter, Ms. Morden.”

“Allison.” Allison said, nodding politely, “Allison Morden. This is Ms. December.”

Rhiannon nodded. Politely.

“Who did you come with?” Mr. Markam asked, “We attend every year, you see, but there’s so many people we don’t know here this year. Ellie really expanded the guest list, which isn’t bad at all, in fact I quite approve of these less exclusive events, but there are so many more introductions to make.”

“Speaking of,” said Mrs. Markam, beaming, as the Governor joined their group, resplendently classy in her dark blue outfit.

“Going well?” the Governor asked, “I think it’s pretty good, for a mandatory function.”

“Lovely, Ellie, just lovely.” Mr. Markam said, “The wine is spectacular.”

“Yes, well, I think so too.” Governor Elizabeth Hunter said, draining the last bit of wine in her glass, then grimacing, “Apparently someone was complaining that there weren’t any finger sandwiches. I can’t tell if the incident was just an excuse to use the phrase ‘finger sandwiches’ or an actual complaint about the food. Melanie reported that the waiter seemed slightly distressed about the entire situation.”

“Poor Melanie.” Allison said, “She did such a nice job with the event, there’s no reason for someone to get bent out of shape about whether or not their particular favorite food is served. Besides, finger sandwiches simply aren’t filling. There’s perfectly nice dinner-sized sandwiches available.”

“Perhaps we’re unique in our preference for there to be actual food at a party.” Elizabeth said, sighing “I thought the caviar and foie gras would be enough to sate those who prefer to nibble expensive but ultimately unrewarding snacks, but, well, you can’t please everyone.”

The three generations of Allison’s family looked pointedly morose for a brief moment.

“Tell Ms. Keaden that I, for one, think the party is charming and the food is really excellent.” Rhiannon said, with a brief but sincere smile.

“I will.” said Elizabeth, with a pleased nod, then turned to Matthew “Who is this young gentleman? I don’t believe we’ve been introduced yet, although, if we have, I’m so sorry. I’ve met far too many people this evening to remember them all.”

“This is Mr. Higbly.” Allison said.

“Welcome, and nice to meet you, Mr. Higbly.” Elizabeth said warmly, “I’m Governor Hunter. I hope you are enjoying the party? My event planner, Ms. Keaden, has really pulled out all the stops this year.”

“What on earth is going on?” Allison exclaimed, distracted by some sort of commotion outside of the ballroom, “There’s some sort of to-do in the entry hall, mom.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes, “I suppose that would be some sort of gate-crashing celebrity. There’s a reason I don’t invite them specifically, I can’t stand the media at this sort of event. There’s dozens of other events that are far flashier, I don’t understand why they feel the need to turn up here. Networking, I suppose. Some people just can’t pass up a chance to show off.”

“There’s quite a crowd around the building.” Rhiannon observed, “They must have attracted quite a few people along the way.”

“Or advertised that they were going to be here.” Allison said, sighing.

“There’s nothing we can really do.” said Elizabeth, shrugging, “But I’ll have security contain at least the media in the entryway.”

The Governor looked around and caught the eye of a short, snappily dressed woman who was agitatedly coming towards her.

“That’ll be Melanie.” Elizabeth said, “What is the commotion all about?” she asked, as the woman arrived at the group.

“Professor of Technological Archaeology. Cesar, I believe.” Melanie said, “He wasn’t on the guest list by name, but the invitation was extended to college faculty all over the province. He’s showing off some sort of robot, sir. Some sort of archaeological find.”

Elizabeth’s eyebrows shot up, “He’s showing off an archaeological discovery at a New Years party? That’s what conferences are for!”

She paused, then said, authoritatively, “Don’t let the media get into the ballroom. He and his robot, of course, are welcome. Unfortunately.”

Melanie nodded, and walked off briskly.

Rhiannon shot a glance at Allison, “That name sounds familiar. It wasn’t our school, was it?”

Allison shook her head, “I don’t think so. But you’re right, definitely familiar. Maybe he visited and gave a talk?”

“I’m going to go find out.” Rhiannon announced, and started to walk in the direction of the door to the entry hall, “Coming, Allison?”
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Re: It begins...

Post by MozytheHealer on Sun Jan 11, 2015 2:06 am

The party was going swimmingly. Mathilda wore a dark blue evening gown in the current style, but it had a vintage air to it. It was worn with a lace knitted shawl in a similar color that she had made herself. She was generally a younger woman, only just barely twenty-nine, but the air with which she carried herself and her enormous hat topped with five large peacock feathers made her look more like someone's great aunt. She carried an umbrella, just in case. It was never a good idea to be caught out of the house without an umbrella. Anything could happen.

So far she had talked to a number of people at this party, although she was not technically related to anyone. She just happened to know many of them very well. However, she was rudely interrupted while she complimented a dear friend's grand-daughter's best friend's new bride. "Only married last week? Oh, goodness. When I was your age--" she managed to get out before a large, and incredibly loud, crowd entered the room, disrupting everything. Mathilda decided that she needed to give this man with the...what was that? It looked inhuman. She needed to see what was going on. "Excuse me, I must see what all the commotion is about."

"Of course, Aunt Mathilda." Her dear friend said, smiling deeply. Mathilda took the smile graciously and departed in a bit of a huff. She disliked being interrupted.

Mathilda walked right up to the man and his creature, and, ignoring the other man who seemed to be speaking, bent close to the odd creature and poked it with her umbrella. She kept her distance, in case it was violent, but she poked it again as she frowned. "What," she exclaimed, her eyes widening as she poked it again, drawing closer, "is it? I do not appreciate being interrupted by these kinds of things, you know. You young people have no respect for dignified events such as this one. You should be ashamed of yourself."
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Re: It begins...

Post by Lycanthrope on Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:09 am

Cesar beams. Away with one crowd and here comes another. Pity the wonderful cameras could not follow; it would make good publicity to the University of the Northern Isles.

The Northern Isles is a collection of islands just slightly south of the polar circle. University of the North Isles, (UNI), is the university located on the archipelagos’ largest island, Sumtra. Specializing in field work and expeditions, the university funds all students and staff to travel the world and discovery, rediscover, and explore as much as possible. Classes are organized on ships, caravans, horses, and other forms of transportation. Residents of Sumtra question what happens behind the walls of UNI if the majority of staff is adventuring.

“Now settle down everyone. No need to be too disruptive. Everyone will have a chance to interact with V.E.R.A,” announces Cesar. Of course every person here would want to see his magnificent robot. No doubt about it!

A white robed male presents himself to Cesar, introduced as Prof. Artur Atrius Llore. Cesar vaguely remembers this hedge mage, at the function at Five Waters. Through his travels, conferences, and meetings, Cesar meets enough people that he simply stopped remembering names, unless he or she is of importance. Llore, an eccentric man, did stand out certainly. He was very strange and someone Cesar would not generally associate himself with. But nonetheless, his politeness cannot be unacknowledged.

“Professor Llore! Yes! We must have met in a conference at Five Waters some time ago. Thank you for your sincere kindness. I do hope V.E.R.A. is a marvelous rediscovery. Perhaps capable of winning some award?” cheerfully replies Cesar.

Cesar turns to the pretty lady who questioned his rediscovery.

“How you may ask? That, is a wonderfully long tale,” smiles Cesar while accepting a drink offered to him. He is rather parched from talking so long.

“Along the vast labyrinth of the Danguu mountains, by wonderful fortune, I fell through some weak flooring. Amazingly, I was unscathed, and so I…”

“Do not approach my circuitry with that umbrella,” interrupts Vera, “You may damage either my wiring or yourself through an electric discharge.”

“Now V.E.R.A,” scowls Cesar, frowning. “What did I say about manners?”

“Manners involving including the words please and thank you as much as possible in the conversation. Did you want me to exhibit the behavior of manners?”

“Yes, always.”

“Now where was I? O yes. Once the dust clouds around me, my eyes gazed upon a wondrous site. In front of me lie…”

Cesar stumbles, stepping back slightly and shakes his head. His vision starts to blur, the edges of light quickly turning black. His legs could not support his weight anymore and Cesar collapses. His throat burns like a roaring flame. He gasps for a breath, but pain surges to every part of his body. Darkness quickly swallows his sight and Cesar lays motionless on the floor.

“Out of the way. Move! This is urgent!”

A black coat moves through the crowd and kneels to Cesar’s body. The hand touching the carotid artery feels no pulse.

“Vera, please initiate a full body scan on Cesar.” Commands the man.

“No. I only take requests from my operator, Cesar Gregory Obana,” replies Vera.

“Under authority of the Covert Templars of Quian, I, Templar Zuraa, command you, Vera, to perform a full body scan on Cesar.”

“Scan complete. Brain and heart cease to function. One toxin, not listed in any listed database, cannot be identified. Conjecture: This toxin is the cause of Cesar’s death,” reports Vera.

“Did anyone see the man who handed Cesar the drink? He is a man working for the Quiet Hallow Syndicate, an terrorist organization.” Templar Zuraa asks the crowd.

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Re: It begins...

Post by Nayaby on Thu Jan 15, 2015 4:49 pm

“Someone help, I think he’s choking!”

“He’s fallen! Is he alright? Do we have a medical doctor in the house?”

A few panicked cries erupted as the body of Cesar Gregory Obana struck the ground. Those nearest to the incident began huddling about as mass minds tended to do whenever something interesting and tragic happened, and another far more authoritative voice spoke, garnering the attention of one Ceridwen Adalbern, a woman standing watch by large double doors connecting the ballroom to the outer hall. As she realized what was going on, Ceridwen spoke into her radio to inform the other officers of the situation.

“Detective Ceridwen Adalbern, let me through,” she said, attempting to disperse the crowd with a wave of her hand. Of course, the crowd did not scatter entirely, but they knew enough to get out of her direct way.

“Isn’t that Ceri the Bear?” One nervous party-goer muttered, just barely loud enough for Ceridwen to hear and frown. “They say she wrestled a black bear to the ground, you know.”

“I heard it was a grizzly,” a young woman muttered in return.

They say a lot of things, and not all of them are necessarily true, Ceridwen though venomously to herself. She certainly wasn’t a woman of small stature. Standing about a head taller than most of the men in the ballroom, she bore herself with practiced grace which some might consider contrary to her appearance. Her limbs were naturally thick from muscle, and the curvaceousness of her hips was accented by the presence of the sword and pistol upon them. Short hair with a few strands of premature grey not bothered to be plucked or dyed to match the rest of her ebon head.

The fact that a man had just fallen dead in the middle of the ballroom while she was on security duty was bad enough, but the presence of the man calling himself a Templar of Quian was the icing on the stale, disgusting cake. Now she had to explain how an assassin had managed to get past her security force and murder a well-known member of the academic community! And if there were Templars here, then this was bigger than Ceri would like…

“Oh, I saw the man,” a white-robed magician said, glancing down at the corpse with a look of shock and intrigue. “He was roughly my height, though darker-haired. Dressed as a waiter, so he must have been a waiter… oh dear! I don’t suppose that it was the waiter I spoke with earlier about the lack of finger sandwiches? Then perhaps he intended to poison me!” The white-robed man sniffed his glass of wine gingerly and somehow managed to pass it to Ceridwen’s hand as she arrived. “You’re an officer, yes? I would like to make a full statement. Perhaps be placed under protection.”

Bah, she didn’t have time for this! “Templar Zuraa, you say?” Ceri asked, handing the drink back to the white-robed man who took it with a frown and held it at a distance from himself. “I’m Detective Adalbern, and I want to know what a Templar is doing here and why I wasn’t informed about Quiet Hallow activities in my jurisdiction.” She spoke with the authority of a woman in her position, but knew she wasn’t likely to get any straight answers soon.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Areada on Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:29 pm


The sudden outburst of shocked chatter and screams stopped Rhiannon in her tracks, and she turned back to look curiously at the group behind her. In moments, Melanie had hurried up again and had engaged Elizabeth in hurried, hushed talk, even as the rest of the room began to fall into a state of chaos. There was no stopping the crowd from trying to get to the area by the door where whatever had caused the chaos had happened.

Rhiannon made eye contact with Allison, who shrugged. Mr. and Mrs. Markam looked mildly distressed, but were focused on Elizabeth as she and Melanie conferred. Within seconds, Elizabeth looked up at the group. “There’s been an accident. Our distracting celebrity guest. Excuse me.”

Elizabeth and Melanie hurried off, and Allison looked rather sick. “I’m going to retire upstairs." she said, and hurried off.

Mr. and Mrs. Markam looked apologetically at Matthew and Rhiannon, “We’d better go and calm some of the guests down.” Mr. Markam said, “It was wonderful to meet you, Mr. Higbly.”

And then Rhiannon was left alone except for the man who had been trying to flirt with her friend, and she did not feel altogether too nicely toward him. Still, she thought, she had better make a gracious exit.

“I’m going to see what’s going on.” she said, “It was nice to meet you, sir.”

Rhiannon made a hasty exit that was not actually quite as gracious as she would have wished, and walked briskly over to the commotion. It was a work of a few seconds to bypass the crowds, murmuring ‘let me through’. As she went, she appreciatively noted the faint but distinct smell of lavender and geranium. It was a lovely scent blend.

She was at the front of the crowd in a moment. Elizabeth was already there, with Melanie. There were also present a few people Rhiannon did not know, the man in white robes she had briefly noticed earlier, and, much to her distress, a Templar of all things and a detective whose name Rhiannon had forgotten, though she was unfortunately familiar with law enforcement on a personal level. They didn’t know that, however. And, of course, the man on the floor who looked distinctively dead. And there was a robot.

What a day.

Rhiannon sighed, poked at her plaits, and crossed her arms, studying the dead body and the people attempting to enforce the law. It looked likely that no one was getting out of here anytime soon.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Zip on Sat Jan 17, 2015 9:21 pm

Four hooves moved along the clean, white tile floors of the kitchen. A relatively simple Arcadian household hex prevented anything unsanitary coming off the chef from accumulating on the floor. The space was certainly cramped for Odaris California to move around, but he understood that the floor planners weren't paid nearly enough to predict that the next pointless war would prematurely end with the majority of people in Boffin being transformed into horses.

A tanned, stocky waiter born many hundreds of years after the events of the late Zephy Age exasperatedly burst into the kitchen with the only two legs he had and slumped over the central counter while Odaris moved a plate of frozen of rolls onto a heating rune. “Hay!” greeted Odaris to his coworker.

"Listen, Odaris, I really, really appreciate the governor for letting us work this gig, but if I swear if I have to listen to another stinkard complain about the lack of finger foods?? Oh my god." The hex silently analyzed the server for any traces of filth, but failed to identify any. The spell presumed that to be the Hopeless waiter's apparent hygiene and not signs of it decaying like a mortal on its part. Christina continued, “Like, hey, let's forget for a moment that most of the staff here know someone back in Boffin that can't afford to feed themselves because you can't operate machinery with hooves, and there's not enough plains to graze on!” He buried his face into his hands and let out a muffled shout.

It was true; the Boffin's booming industry collapsed after the war. One of the most heavily hit sectors was furniture-making, which only made sense considering that the invisible hand of the free market couldn't draw up a chair design for equines that didn't have abysmal lumbar support. Another unique aspect of Boffin's industrial capabilities was that the workers didn't need to have an understanding of magic to be able to assemble a single part of a much larger product.

Odaris put on a long face, and grabbed a knife in their mouf and started chopping up the rolls to be more “finger-friendly”.

The waiter looked up, “Oh my God, I'm really sorry about that. I know we only met this morning, but for some reason, jobs like this just get so dehumanizing, do you know what I mean?” Christina gasped and covered his mouth after he realized what he said.

After setting the appropriately digitized party snacks onto a serving platter, Odaris stuck their tongue out and shook their head. The cleaning hex was on the edge of of its non-Boffin seat.

Christina leaned back up, suddenly ready to endure more finger-sandwich comments. “Oh shit, aaaa, I'm so sorry.”

“No, no, it's fine! We all slip up sometimes, I guess,” he brayed. “I mean, my parents were on the Seabiscuit when those UNI students used their ancient artifact gizmo thing, but I was only a colt-oh no, baby (see now you have me doing it, uh-), when it happened so I'm a bit used to this.” Odaris sighed, and  shaked their head, causing miniscule amounts of dead skin to be dislodged from his grey mane which the hex eagerly sent to the Farm to Play with the Animals.

Christina picked up the plate and, in the sense that time recognizes everything and simultaneously nothing, historically hung around the swing door for a moment. He coughed into his arm. “Hey, uh, do you want to just want to leave? Someone else already has the drinks covered, and I want to have some actual fun before the new year hits us.” He paused and then tried his best at smiling. “And honestly? I think we deserve these rolls more than anyone out there.”

Odaris laughed. “Oh no, you don't want those; I poisoned them.” Christina feigned terror and dropped the plate, which caused Odaris and then his new friend to laugh even more. “Obviously, I'm kidding. Do you know how much poison costs these days? On a Boffin's salary?”

Christina wiped a tear from from his eyes. “Come on, take that chef's hat off and let's scram. I hear the Sweet Orange Spice is doing a New Years thing too, tonight.”

Odaris shoved everything into a sink and cheered while Christina put on a faux fur coat.

The two were barely out of the ballroom when someone screamed that Cesar, the esteemed professor of Technological Archeology, and one of the students involved with the Seabiscuit Incident, had been poisoned. In the kitchen, the cleaning hex, if it could cough, started coughing. Since it couldn't cough, it did the next best thing and exploded.
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Re: It begins...

Post by Lycanthrope on Mon Feb 02, 2015 1:40 am

Templar Zuraa searches the body of Cesar, making sure nothing was missing. It was a rather quick check. Dr. Obana was man of big ego, not even an identification card was on his person – everyone obviously knew him of course.

Zuraa stands up and faces Detective Adalbern. With his short stature of 5’ 1’, it was a rather comical seeing a dwarf holding authority over the towering woman. Zuraa answers “Detective Ceridwen Adalbern. Us templars are everywhere, but we usually do not make ourselves known unless necessary. A death of such a prestigious scholar did require my reveal unfortunately.”

He looks down at the corpse of Cesar and frowns. “Dealing with poison is not exactly one of my strong suits – I did not understand why the Goddess requested my presence here if she knew this would happen.”

Templars of Quian answer to the omniscient Goddess Quian, a clairvoyant deity. Unless commanded, templars are never to intervene in the acts of fate that will occur in the natural world. One must not alter the sands of time unless Goddess Quian warrants it.

“But I cannot doubt her wisdom.”

Zuraa turns to the white-robed mage. “Thank you for the description. My associate has, with no doubt, acquired the assassin. She does have a rather phenomenal auditory sense.”

He turns back to the detective. “If I can have your personnel remove the body from the premises, it will be greatly appreciated. You will also be approached by my associate who will collect samples for further analysis before disposing the body for you.”

“Now, please attendees, return to your fancy party. Enjoy the rest of…”

A rather large explosion interrupted the Templar. Plumes of flame snakes from the kitchen as debris flies from all directions. Vera’s machine reflexes allowed her to activate a plasma barrier extending 15 meters from her chest. Fortunately, many persons were standing within 15 meters from her – curious with her or her previous master.

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Re: It begins...

Post by Areada on Thu Mar 05, 2015 1:30 am

Rhiannon jumped as the explosion occurred, and her senses jumped into a jumble of heightened panic. For a moment her brain convinced her that her life was now terminated, but after that moment passed she realized she was untouched, thankfully behind some kind of barrier.

She immediately quelled the panic and tried to focus on being alert. Where had the explosion come from? Was anyone hurt? As she focused - and then re-focused, which took more time than she would have wished, she became aware of Elizabeth being hurried off by a group of guards, and Melanie in close conversation with another few guards.

The people around her were chaotic. She frowned, and as a sharp scent of rosemary filled the air, she blinked twice and shook off her panic-induced immobility, wishing desperately she had better reflexes.

She ran over to Melanie, a thought having occurred to her, "Allison?" she asked, quickly. Melanie's eyes widened, she shook her head, and in a moment two guards had been dispatched to check in on the whereabouts and wellbeing of the governor's daughter. Melanie turned her attention back to another guard, and Rhiannon looked around, restlessly. The chaos was overwhelming and exceedingly distressing to her, and as she took some tentative steps through the crowd, most of which were simply excusing themselves from the building as fast as possible, she felt a headache coming on.

Chamomile and mint breezed faintly through the crowd, and the chaos lessened. Not noticeably, but enough for Rhiannon to feel like she could breathe again. The people rushing to the doors were more determined, and less frantic now, and even as her headache began to subside just as quickly as it had come, she sat down hard on the floor, right next to Vera, and rested her head tiredly on the machine's leg, without being quite aware of its presence.
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