[M] Don't Throw Stones in Glass Houses

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Drezda Ecks
Posts: 122
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:10 pm
Topics: 18
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
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Plot Notes: [url=http:/fullurl/]Plot Notes[/url]
Writer: Maximus
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 5:58 pm

Loshis 30, 2719 | Morning
Drez's Home
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The impostor was coming to see her. It was a laughable state of affairs, the woman giggling in her parlour at the notion of the raen coming here, controlling the body of a dead man like an obscene puppet! Imagine him sitting in one of the armchairs and trying to pretend to be that slimy political fuck. But she knew better! Oh he wouldn't be able to fool her, didn't know that she knew his secret, that she knew what he was.

A liar! Such a horrible despicable liar. Sending her off to research backlash when he knew that he was some displaced soul that had displaced another one. Acting as if he didn't know why the mona around him had scattered, acting as if he didn't know what had happened to him and why there were gaps in his memory. Playing her for a fool when she had tried to be his friend and for what?

And even after that Hexxos acolyte explained what he was and extracted a promise from her lips about not causing him harm, she had tried to be his friend. It had been a small thing, just stepping into the midst of a bunch of conservative erseholes when they wanted Anatole's opinion on a matter that the real Anatole would have been vocal about. Of course she'd been eavesdropping, wasn't that an important part of politics? And while she didn't want to protect him exactly, she couldn't stand by while he made himself very suspicious and conspicuous indeed. So she'd inserted herself into the group, forced her presence upon them as she thought up a quick excuse to speak to one of them, remembering key facts so that she could subtly emasculate him while asking him a question. Of course the rest had scattered, none keen to fall foul of the stone faced bitch from Hox, unnatural, everyone knew that.

"Anatole" had tried to thank her later and she'd brushed him off, her demeanour towards him so cold, it was surprising that he'd walked away without frostbite. So of course he knew that something was amiss. If he'd had any wisdom in that thick skull of his then he'd have left her well enough alone but he wanted to see her so he'd get his wish. If he wanted to know what had changed and why her attitude had altered then he was going to find out. Oh he was going to have it explained in great detail.

There was an atmosphere of nervous apprehension in the air, hanging heavy even though none of the servants that surrounded her had monic fields to weigh down with their emotions. They breathed it, it oozed out of their very pores as they waited for the man to arrive and all hell to break loose. Luca had gone to hide somewhere, Jerome was in conference with Cora in one corner of the parlour, occasionally one or other trying to convince her to go upstairs for a quick bath before her guest arrived, and Rosmilda was sitting in an armchair making a show of embroidering with her trembling fingers as more tears threatened to course down her already blotchy face.

They were all frightened. They'd seen their mistress drink before. They'd seen how her moods could swing wildly when she was drunk but mainly they'd seen her miserable. Oh they'd seen her manic, riding a high that no one else could understand, seen her gain strength from a bottle that had helped to fortify her but they hadn't seen this before. The diplomat giggled to herself and muttered, a slur to words that were always strange and nonsensical, even if they were Common although she also used the mountain tongue of Deftung. She would smile and ask for something and her servants now knew better than to refuse.

Rosmilda had tried to refuse her more alcohol when she arose a house earlier with the night's inebriation still clinging to her system; the passive had become far more cooperative after the mona smacked her against the wall a few times. Oh, the particles had grown irate and departed altogether but what was Physical Conversation to the Hoxian? There were other ways to get people to do what you wanted that could leave just as many marks on their body - or none at all.

All of them were just waiting for the hammer to fall, certain that it must because that temper was just beneath the mask of manic joviality and none of the servants wanted to fall foul of it, not even the two who were hired rather than owned. Drezda didn't appear to be in her right mind, unlikely to make a distinction between who had real rights and who didn't.

When the bell chimed, everything became still as the household held its breath. The ticking of the clock on the mantel and the spit and crackle of the fire in the grate were the only sounds as the bell echoed through the house.

Tap.

Tap. Tap.

Tap. Tap. Ding.

The sound of Drezda's manicured nail tapping her tumbler of whiskey, the last strike hitting the rim in such a way as to send a new chimed note striking through the room.

"Is someone getting the door?" she asked sweetly, head turning slowly, a smile stretching her lips in an unfriendly fashion. Cora swallowed, exchanging a quick look with her lover who squeezed her hand swiftly before she left his side and went out into the hall.

No one seemed to breathe as the door was opened, the human's greetings soft, too soft for her to overhear although she could hear a quick urgency in her voice. She couldn't hear the warning.

"Good morning, sir. I know that my mistress said that she could entertain you today but she... isn't well. You'd be better coming back another time. I'm sorry for the inconvenience but it'd be better if-"

The tumbler shattered on one side of the mantel, some of its remaining contents sloshing sideways into the flames which flickered wildly, briefly changing colour in the alcohol's presence as the tongues shot higher for a few moments. Rosmilda gave a terrified yelp, flinching back and stabbing herself with the needle that she'd been holding so unsteadily; fresh tears started to dribble down her cheeks. Jerome watched sombrely from the corner, a mahogany statue, solid and immobile.

"Oh Cora? Is that the Incumbent? Do show him in," Drezda trilled, listening to the shuffling steps in the hall, the mumbled apologies from the housekeeper.

"Go away, everyone. Shoo! My dear friend is here!" she cooed as they came into the room, rising unsteadily to her feet, swaying as she bent to pluck the near empty bottle of whiskey from the table. She brought it to her lips, gripping the neck as she upended it and swigged straight from the bottle. She hiccuped.

"I said go! she snarled at Cora, the joviality briefly displaced by a furious contortion of features. The human was the last to depart, leaving her alone in the room with the raen. "How good to see you, friend. Did you want a drink? Sure a new bottle can be fetched. You like a tipple, don't you, Anatole?" she questioned, the smile back now as she began to giggle a little manically.

"Oh but... you aren't him, are you? Well... the Lady's Grace to you, not-Anatole!" she flopped back into her chair and smacked her chin with the top of the bottle.
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word count: 1319

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Tom Cooke
Posts: 297
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 32
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: "disturbingly unheimlich individual"
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Notes & Tracker
Writer: Graf
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:14 am

Drezda's House Uptown Vienda
Morning on the 30th of Loshis, 2719
It was a break from the rain, at least. The morning sky was a funny, soft blue, fragile as the inside of an eggshell, and he felt like that was the color of his heart today. All numb with the clinging, balmy chill, all aching, with too damn much on his mind to make sense of anything. He felt dizzy; he felt like he was dream-walking. He’d had a little to drink, just to prepare himself. It burned in his throat, strong and pleasant. It held him still, held him fast, kept him from telling the driver to take him to the Dives instead.

All the way there, he’d held Web of Souls in his lap, running his hands over the cover and the spine. Tracing the gold-embossed letters with his fingertips.

As the cab rattled to a stop, as he clambered out to totter on his stiff knees, he told himself again that he didn’t have a damn clue what he was walking into. Dark windows peered down at him, gazes cold as the diplomat had been last they’d spoken; as he approached the stony-faced door, rhakor unyielding, he felt a lump of fear rise in his throat. Before he took hold of the knocker, he forced himself to swallow it. He had to know.

It was the natt that met him in the hall, pristine as ever with its sweeping staircase. He felt it when he stepped inside, thick in the air like a ward. Tension. It was quiet as the grave, save Cora’s hasty, hushed voice. Tom looked up at her, brow knit with concern, but the sound of Drezda’s voice tore his gaze in the direction of the parlor.

Soon as Tom heard the smash of broken glass, he was moving past Cora.

“Drezda –”

The name was on his lips, ragged in his throat, before he even saw her. A fire roared in the grate; he saw it, first. The flickering light, trickling over shards of glass like so many tiny diamonds scattered across the carpet. And the golly was swaying on her feet, snatching up a handle of Rodriguez from the table. There was something strange about her smile, like she’d come untethered from herself.

The way she said the word friend was sharp as a knife, and Tom knew with a jolt what had happened even before she said it. He felt a thrill of fear.

The nanabo scrap – the one that liked Ksjta’s poetry, Tom remembered – looked like she’d been embroidering, but she was getting up, too. Her face was blotchy, and her eyes were brimming; she wasn’t even trying to hide it. The other one, the Mugrobi, had been standing in the corner, still as a statue. Tom met his eye as he started for the door. They all scattered when Drezda Ecks snapped, face gone twisted with rage in an instant, teeth bared like a spinewolf.

Even Cora, at the last. Watching her go, Tom’s mouth set in a deep frown, brow furrowing. The door clicked behind her, and he turned on Drezda. He was suddenly keenly aware of being alone with her, and his mouth was painful dry.

She’d stumbled back sloppily in her seat, fingers curled round the neck of the near-empty bottle. Another giggle, a flash of white teeth, sent a flurry of chills creeping down his spine. Then she spoke again. A nerve jumped at his cheekbone; he felt the spasm twitch through his left eye, flutter the lid. He shut it, massaged it with two fingers.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he started roughly, stepping into the room. His voice was unsteady, edged with panic. “What –”

The second he felt it, Tom broke off, flinching. He breathed a curse. The mona’d gone, leaving the room silent as a tomb; even his tsuter porven was thinning out, abandoning him, and that meant – hell! His face got slack, pale. He froze where he stood, going through his options in his head. She’d drunk Circle knew how much. She’d backlashed.

He was so tired. He couldn’t think what to do. Send for help? The incumbent’s golly heart – his heart, oes, his weak, busted-up heart – was hummingbird-fast, tearing the breath right out of him. With a flare of anger, he thought about shouting; he thought about trying to take the bottle from her. That was just as mung, and twice as useless. His heart sank. There was something horribly familiar about all this.

Web of Souls was still in one hand, hanging at his hip. He’d almost forgot. He took it in both his hands, pressing it close to his chest.

Tom winced, but he ignored the jab. It was fair, after all. He did like a tipple. He always had.

So he ignored all the questions but one. “Of course I’m not Anatole,” he said softly. “Anatole’s not your friend.” His voice wavered, nearly breaking on the word. He met her eyes and took another step closer. “Whatever you’ve got to say to me, say it.”
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word count: 904
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