Sing to the Moon [Tom, Open]

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
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Xavier Zhirune
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
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Location: On Tour
Race: Wick
: Not all that glitters be ging. Some 'f it's me.
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Writer: Muse
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Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:43 pm

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39th of Achtus
The Toy Lantern
evening
It was, admittedly, quite the pleasure to be asked to return to a stage for an encore performance (let alone to be asked to return to a stage of any kind at all), to be given a bit of an opportunity to feel like a regular, to be appreciated for a little talent. Not that Xavier had a mere pina talent—gods forbid, ne! there was plenty of talent, mujo ma!—but in the spirit of humility (was that the right word?), the albino wick was more than happy to make another several appearances at the Toy Lantern as musical entertainment. It was a fine opportunity to make that fake writ look legitimate, to make some contacts, to find a bed to sleep in, and to listen to the locals in hopes of scouting out a big score or two to line their pockets full of ging and get them out of this gussied up, racist hole of a capital.

Vienda was plumb pretty, sure, but Xav was prettier and the ban on nomadic wicks was a real clockin' cramp to their style of living life, considering they were one.

Damn it.

Pale hair in intricate braids laced with a couple of ribbons, a dark feather dangling from one of many silver earrings, and the cozy comforts of a pair of thin, hand-knit wool scarves in deep amethyst and dusky mauve complimented the rest of the willowy albino's stage outfit for the evening which was, to be fair, not much different from the outfit they wore yesterday or the day before that: layers of muted color linen that made their long, tunic-like shirts, a dark charcoal brocade vest that surely fit more like a corset than was at all normally acceptable, a dark high-collared coat against the chill, far more jewelry than normally necessary, freshly shined knee-high boots, and trousers that were perhaps purposefully tailored to be just as slim and scandalous as the wick that wore them so well.

The frigid dip in temperature and heavy snow had brought a crowd to huddle in the warm glow of the Toy Lantern tonight, having spent the past few days digging out of the thick frozen layers of white fluff, and as Xavier settled comfortably onto the stage, oud polished and mother-of-pearl inlaid moons catching the light of candles to send it dancing in an array of colors onto colorless hands with nails meticulously painted just as black as the wood of their instrument, it was impossible for the albino not to gather a bit of attention.

Perhaps not enough, though.

Xav could never really gather enough attention, but the eyes that turned in the direction of the tall, pale creature wearing just enough kohl and just enough pale purple lip stain to make deciding on which sort of creature they really were— mysterious and quite content that way—were so very expectant gazes. And the truth was, they were eager to please them all (if only for the hope of extra tips).

While a chair had been offered, the wick had refused, choosing instead to stand on the stage and keep a few of the band from the last gig around for accompaniment. There was nothing wrong with sharing a bit of the profits, so long as Xav got to go home with enough to sleep somewhere warm tonight, preferably somewhere that served breakfast and didn't squint at that fake writ folded into the pocket of their well-tailored coat too closely.

Violet gaze swept the crowd with a smile, and lithe fingers laden with silver rings began to pluck and strum a few vibrant chords, slowly filling the hazy, body-laden room with a melody that was definitely not inspired by Anaxas. Mountains and valleys, clouds and sky—Xavier played the familiar landscape of their homeland but as seen through their memories and changed by their travels: music that was no longer from anywhere other than the creature of moonlight that played it.
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Musical ReferenceShow
Last edited by Xavier Zhirune on Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:53 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 725

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Tom Cooke
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 11
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: Ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν.
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Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:34 pm

the toy lantern
IN THE EVENING OF THE 39TH OF ACHTUS, 2718


Cooke had known an oud player in Old Rose once, a long time ago. It felt like a long time ago, anyway, though it could’ve been just a couple of years; the memory was hazy and watery and full of shadows, like a reflection in a puddle. He’d been mugrobi, that kov, fine-featured and tall and well-built, with fingers defter than any man Tom had ever met. He’d kept his tight black curls pulled into a bun at the nape of his neck, always with a few strands escaping. He’d had sleepless, dark eyes. They’d done belladonna together, and he’d played for him, the two of them sitting cross-legged and drifting in the oud player’s cramped apartment, the smallest feathery light just trickling in from cracks in the shutters.

He couldn’t remember his name. It wasn’t on the tip of his tongue or in the back of his head, waiting to spring out; it was simply gone. Two years ago, perhaps – less – one year – seven months ago, that name would have been his to pluck out of his memory whenever he liked, whenever he heard the plucking of an oud or the lull of a tender voice. Now it had vanished. He felt like a puzzle in which a handful of crucial pieces were missing forever. He would never replace them. He would never be able to put that Cooke back together.

“Yes. Certainly. Another, please?” Anatole’s voice cut through his hazy attempt at concentration; he’d said something – he’d said something? – in response to someone – someone had asked him something, that was true and he knew it – his left eyelid fluttered, and he was able to focus on her, wavering in the candlelight, carrying a heavy-laden tray with the grace of a veteran. “If you would,” he added, smiling a little sadly.

She looked at him hard for a moment.

Her hair had looked black at first glance, but he realized after a moment that it was some kind of dark mauve, wine-dark, the color of the Tincta Basta in the small hours of the morning, when a storm was gathering between the docks and the red sunrise. Her forehead glistened with sweat. She lifted a dark eyebrow, but said, “I’ve got you,” and bustled off.

There was a person on the stage, a person with an oud, and that was what had made him think of his old lover whose name he couldn’t remember – and he was watching that person now, who looked so different from the oud player he’d known. One moment he’d thought they were a woman, the next a man, and then he’d settled on the idea that they might not be either of those, and though it was a thought that might’ve given him pause sober, he was too tired to pick it part and wonder about it just now. Those braids, that feather. To him just now, it looked like the moon had come down and materialized on stage, long fingers moonlight-pale against the dark wooden flesh of their instrument.

A Gioran, he thought, not the moon. He was close enough to the stage to see the shadows shift over their angular face, to see the hint of violet in all that black kohl. He caught the smile and found himself smiling, too, though he wasn’t sure why. He felt horribly sad, and he wanted this lovely, strange individual to play a sad song. He reckoned that if he heard a sad song, he might just die right there on the spot. That would be damned nice, to die listening to a macha, sad song.

The Gioran started strumming just as his Gioran whiskey reached the table. “Thank you,” he murmured after the server. He wondered at it, that tepid golly accent he’d picked up so quickly from his host’s household and all the visiting friends and staff – it was second nature, almost. But he did not like that thought. That was a thought that he did not want to be having just now. That was a sobering-up thought.

He took a long drink, enjoying the bite and that twinge of apah root, the warmth that suffused him almost immediately and that smooth, tingling aftertaste. It was perfect for a bitter winter’s evening, perfect for the hush around him, around the stage – an oddly mystical lull – as the Gioran began singing into the hazy bar.

Hey there, you, shattered in a thousand pieces…

He leaned forward, propped his head up on a hand. Ah, my gods. Just look, he thought, what they’re missing out on Uptown! For sure, he’d earned himself some funny looks, funnier by a long shot than the last time he’d been in here; he was simply and not sumptuously dressed, but he was still fair cleaned-up and professional-looking, and that and his bright red hair made him either an object of mistrust or a damn attractive mark. Still, he figured – if they took him for a lugger of a toffin, then so be it. Wasn’t as if he didn’t have money to spare.

So he sat listening to that beautiful Gioran sing to the moon, shivering into the coat draped round his shoulders like a blanket, feeling a little drunker and a little warmer every minute that went by. Feeling like maybe the stars were shining – not just around the stage, but in the world, too, somewhere behind the thick wintry clouds.

Oh well. He had to go home to that horrible house at some point, but not now.
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Elias Mercucianno
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Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:36 pm

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39th Achtus
Toy Lantern
Evening
Elias laughed so hard, he felt tears forming in the corners of his eyes, and his jaw ached. He laughed loudly, without care about who it bothered or what it interrupted, doubled over in his oversized velvet chair and looking at the other two companions that sat around the table with him. The candle in the glass on their table guttered dangerously, drowning in its own wax as the occupants around it laughed uselessly.

“Oh that is classic, it truly is.” The dark haired galdor sighed with a couple more giggles, dabbing at his eyes and leaning back in his chair and lifting a cigarette to his lips. Sucking deeply he squinted at the men, one a wick and the other a human, as the candle light threw colors to dance across their faces. They didn’t seem quite as amused as he, both in fact scowling. Elias breathed out a plume of smoke and crossed one leg over the other.

“So you thought I was going to buy that garbage from you?” He shoved the small packet of powder across the table with his pinky, the inked dragon on the front an indication of its origin. The galdor waved his hand and leaned further to pick up a wide glass that contained something delightfully green and alcoholic, sipping on the drink with a smack of his lips. The candle on the table spluttered out, and without pausing the Bastian snapped a quick syllable of monite and florished his fingers at the glass. The burnt wick flared to life again, mona in his field buzzing in annoyance.

“Shoo. Go find some other trash to take that shit. I’ve got far better tastes then that.” Turning away from the two men, Elias focused his attention on the performer that the Toy Lantern had procured for that evening. He—she? They were most definitely a wick, though it seemed they were also a Gioran, which the young man understood from his parents dealings with Omn Lie was a statistical impossibility. That fact itself intrigued the galdor, stirring his curiosity. There was something almost collectable about a Gioran wick, and this one was quite pretty. His gold rimmed eyes scanned over the musician slowly as he puffed on his cigarette, downing the rest of his drink in one large gulp and putting the glass aside. The wick had lovely white locks, entwined here and there with ribbons and braids. Their outfit was tight enough to suggest they were a man, but the delicate features of the face indicated a woman. Beautiful violet eyes and lips, perfectly sculpted cheekbones and a fine chin. One could appreciate it in an artistic sense, though Eli could appreciate it in other ways. His ramscott field reached out with little sense of privacy, wanting to brush against the others to sense his glamour.

Not close enough.

Standing from his chair, the galdor placed the cigarette between his lips to hold it, using both hands to smooth down the dark beige of his pants and straighten his mauve brocade vest against the dusky purple shirt underneath. He adjusted his mauve cravat and brushed his hands over the slight curl of his black locks, squinting against the smoke that curled before his eyes. Taking the cigarette from his mouth, he breathed a few more puffs before tossing it in the glass candle holder. Breathing out the smoke, he moved through the Toy Lantern to find himself a better seat just as the musically talented creature began to play.

Oh yes, that was very pretty.

Pulling a few coins from his pocket, Elias snapped his fingers at the staff for them to bring him the opium hookah that was being carried around the room. If the man he was seated beside, an older fellow with a glass of whiskey and a sad face, were to be bothered by his presence….well frankly Elias didn’t care. He took a drag on the woven material hose that came from the metal device, nodding and handing over the coin as he held his breath. Breathing out finally, he waved at the bar.

“Chan.” He demanded, letting his eyes roam over the albino with an appreciative smirk.

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Emeil
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:25 pm
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Race: Human
: Putting the 'sex' in 'sex, drugs and rock'n'roll'
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Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:47 pm

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39 achtus 2718
evening
The night was going slowly. Meil sat with his back to the wall, on the floor but looking up at the stage. He was graceful, ethereal even, with his curly hair pulled back tightly on his head. Painted lips, red as the only colour to his garb, pursed up at the musician on stage. She was beautiful, willowy in her movements, and Meil felt the claw of jealousy scratching at his insides. He'd never been called back for an encore. Not on the stage anyway.

He would have smirked to himself, but he was painfully aware of the eyes in the Lantern. He peered around warily, studying each patron as if he or she were his next meal ticket. In truth, he or she might have been. Meil's eyes caught first on the galdor at the table, then another as a woman strode by him with an opium pipe. His mouth watered, but instead he quelled the urge with another sip of wine. Stolen wine was the best.

Being on the floor was a necessity, since the wine he'd stolen was actively being searched for. Stupid Viendans, caring so much about a singular glass of wine... What a waste. In Mugroba, the wine would have been shared. But not here. So he drank it, savouring the dryness as the liquid seemingly evaporated on his tongue. Another patron eyed him, and when they locked eyes, the man raised his eyebrows suggestively. Showtime.

He stood shakily, sauntering over with swinging hips. The man was familiar, older and attractive... Not well endowed, but wealthy. Meil sat in the chair next to him, laying a soft hand on his shoulder, and the man smirked and relaxed in his chair. Once more the opium pipe passed, stopping again at the galdor, and Meil quietly excused himself. Following the pipe, he stopped the passing servant and pointed at the pipe.

"The kov over there said to put a drag for me on his tab," he explained, and the woven hose passed into his dainty hand. He took one look back at the rich galdor and pulled, holding the swirling smoke in his mouth and lungs. On exhale, his head swam and he swooned, catching himself in a chair. He leaned his head back as the woman played, the music flowing through him on every blood vessel. There was a saying from a Mugrobi poet that came to his mind.

Once there was sound, but open awareness brought music. It was so true. It wasn't a moment later, though, that he realized that the serving girl must have gone back to the galdor for payment. A moment of panic gripped him, and he bolted to his feet and almost knocked over another patron. Murmuring a nothing apology, Meil turned and started for the galdor, who wasn't even looking at him. So far, so good.

Approaching, he stopped just before the man, leaning back to accentuate his figure.

"Excuse me," he said, voice sultry. When Elias looked, Meil indicated the only open space at the table, which had no chair. "May I sit?"
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Xavier Zhirune
Posts: 25
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 4:00 pm
Topics: 5
Location: On Tour
Race: Wick
: Not all that glitters be ging. Some 'f it's me.
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Writer: Muse
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:52 am

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39th of Achtus
The Toy Lantern
evening
The pale musician enjoyed the wandering gazes that made their way to the stage, that drifted over their person, that followed the deft movements of their lithe fingers over the oud strings. Violet eyes returned the gesture, squinting through the smokey haze. Xavier's vision wasn't made for distant details in the ruddy glow of candlelight, nor did the purposefully obscured atmosphere of the Toy Lantern make it easy to distinguish faces past the albino wick's immediate purview, but it wasn't difficult to make out the closer forms that lounged near the stage.

While their husky, pleasant voice sang of the stars that were far more beautiful when admired from the bow of aeroship high above everything else, the willowy Gioran didn't miss the well-dressed older man near the stage with his whiskey and his expensive shoes. Every thread on his clearly galdor-bred body was worth far more than the sum total of Xav's collection of favorite outfits put together, even if his taste in clothing was lower class for his race. Or the older man was, at least, dressing down for the location just to slum it with the lower races for an evening of entertainment. Who knew? It was rare to have jents around the Lantern, and yet the morose-looking thing seemed to fit in just fine.

Xavier couldn't help but wonder what brought someone like galdori like that one so far from Uptown, but they hoped that perhaps their pockets were as heavy as the weight that seemed to burden their thoughts, especially since they seemed the type to hang around for more than one act.

The laughter that arose from a few tables over didn't escape the pale musician's notice—on the contrary, it interrupted the Gioran's curious fantasies of finding more than a handful of forts in anyone's purse—and a tilt of a delicate chin allowed Xav to follow the movements of another well-dressed, younger man as they made a show of themselves as if asked to compete with the pale creature without their permission.

Another clocking golly.

Was there a drink special? Had some beloved pub in Uptown gone out of business?

This one stared. This one shamelessly stretched their oppressive field to brush against the tall wick's glamour, but the consummate performer didn't allow their lithe fingers to stray from their proper places in surprise even as the second galdor sat down at the table of the first.

How rude.

Oh, perhaps they knew each other.

Perhaps they were here looking for company to waste their coins on—gross. No matter the potential goodies worth pilfering in a galdori household, sharing a bed with one wasn't as high on Xavier's list no matter how lovely a hot bath and luxurious sheets sounded in their mind. Still, this rather forward one who must've carpiced all the fields in the entire bar clearly held far less promise than the languishing older fellow.

Xav's lyrics came to an end just as the table that had held their violet-tinted attention for so long attracted just one more interloper—a lovely creature with lips painted so boldly the albino wick couldn't help but wonder if they'd made the wrong choice of makeup that evening. It was a fleeting twinge of regret or jealousy that fluttered away as soon as the young man sat down on the clocking table between the two galdori. Immediately amused and far from unaware of the predatory behavior on display, the tall musician simply drifted into their next melody—this one without vocals as an interlude before their last song—and continued to let their attention roam the smoky confines of the Toy Lantern.

This next tune was far more sombre than the first had been, but no less complex. Lithe fingers moved over strings, plucking deep notes like the gorges of Gior where galdori no paler than Xavier let the echoes of their spells ring off ancient stones. It wasn't sad so much as melancholy, full of a nostalgia that the albino wick could never put into words. The song lifted somewhere in the middle, notes taking a slow, worshipful path up through mountain passes, above the tree line, and finally into the clouds.

The pale musician missed the sky.

So much.

Was it audible, their own longing?

The willowy creature let their gaze meander back to the strange table that was still admittedly more interesting than the rest of the bar for the moment, distant while lost in their own music, aloof like some moon-blooded child of Alioe watching from above.
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Tom Cooke
Posts: 46
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 11
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: Ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν.
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:04 pm

the toy lantern
IN THE EVENING OF THE 39TH OF ACHTUS, 2718


What the fuck? He felt the jent’s field before he saw him, muscling its way toward the stage, toward the pretty Gioran’s field; it was unmistakably galdor, heady and smooth and trained. Tom drew in a sharp breath and took another drink, hiding an instinctive snarl of his lip behind the rim of his glass. Since when had galdori frequented the Lantern? He’d reckoned this was the last place in town – save maybe the Book and Bell or the Stag, and he wasn’t welcome in either – that gollies, for the most part, didn’t go, and he felt both cheated and strangely self-conscious.

He tried to look anywhere that wasn’t that foppish brocade and coiffed-messy dark hair, tried to focus on anything other than that field. His left eyelid fluttered when the jent flopped down into the seat beside him, and it fluttered again when he snapped his fingers for the hookah. Now he did sneak a sideways glance at the young galdor, irritable to be distracted from the stage. Another drink. Little shit. If I was alive, and this was the Dove, I’d have knocked you on your erse, at least until you set me on fire or whatever the hell it is gollies do with voo. And another drink, burning and sweet against his throat, easing his nerves a little more. Or tried to get you in bed. Would’ve depended on my mood.

Clocking hell!


Another human shape swam into his already-swimming vision, delicate and languid – another head full of dark curls, but pulled tightly back, a familiar shape attached to an unfamiliar face. His heart leapt and he gripped his tumbler white-knuckled, glancing away. Catching a glimpse of red-painted lips, the languorous line of a lithe body posed to impress. He gritted his teeth as the young Mugrobi man spoke to the young galdor, gesturing to the table. There were two gods-damned chairs, thought Cooke, and they were both filled, and when he’d thought about getting guttered at the Lantern this evening, this wasn’t the table company he’d pictured. He’d pictured himself alone, as a matter of fact.

And speak of longing! He’d heard the ethereal voice on the stage ebb to nothing, the oud melody folding over it like the gentle closure of a lullaby; now it started again, and it might’ve pulled his heart out of his chest, might’ve sent his soul into the next life, if that were possible. He swallowed thickly – another drink.

Tom Cooke had no frame of reference for this music. He’d never seen the sky from the window of an airship; he’d never heard the voices of Giorans echo off the walls of grey Damna Erth. But he knew longing, that was certain. He knew longing better than he knew anything else, and he knew it right now, and he knew it like a lover, or like an enemy who’d slit his throat. He knew hunger in only the way that a hungry ghost does. He was starting to know the hunger of a life that lasted centuries. With the golly and the pretty young man at the table with him, this music was breaking him, and he might’ve hated the Gioran for it, if she – they – if this person weren’t so beautiful.

With a sigh, he set down his tumbler, started to lever himself up out of his seat –

The room spun and tilted, and his legs weren’t quite right. His erse slammed right back down in his chair. “Hmmmmm.” He heard Anatole’s voice – his voice – muffled, slurry. He squinted through the gloom of the Lantern, the lights from the stage – so like stars they were, he thought, like stars, gods damn it! – bleary and yet blurrier with each moment. Tocks! he thought, and then with more relish, Fuck! I can’t stand up. It was an oddly coherent thought.

He glanced over at the fop again, this time paying attention to the smirk on his face. That smirk that went along with looking at the moon-singer and the pretty young man with the curly hair pulled back. He swallowed, then frowned, then smiled thinly. A flametongue of rage lashed in his chest, threatened to get out of his throat. He took another drink, finished off his whiskey. Set the tumbler back down with a click of glass on wood and a jangle of ice and watery dregs.

Looked back the Bastian, lifting a bright red eyebrow.

“Well, you’re awfully clocking bold, aren’t you?”

Shit. He hadn’t meant to say that outside of his head.
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Elias Mercucianno
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Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:26 am

Image
39th Achtus
Toy Lantern
Evening
“O​​h, what a pretty thing you are.” Elias muttered to himself as he watched the Gioran, closing his eyes momentarily to enjoy the sweet sounds of the musicians instrument and languish in the opium that began to infiltrate his system. Drink had already left its intoxicating mark, narcotic would plug the holes and chan would trickle through the gaps. It was a dangerously disarming combination, but one Eli dove into headfirst. The constant state of inebriation meant he was never quite alone with his thoughts or feelings, and that, was a clocking good thing.
​​
​​He might realise how much he hated himself then.
​​
​​Opening his eyes with a deep breath, he blinked as the view of the pale creature was intercepted by another form. Slowly, the galdor let his gaze roam over the other magicless being, taking in the tilt of his stance and slowly letting a smile creep on his lips.
​​
​​ “You are very excused.” The dark haired Bastian breathed, glancing up as his chan was delivered to the table, waiving his hand to ensure it was placed within. The serving girl hesitated, waiting for payment that Elias had no idea he was required to provide, even as he turned back to the dark eyed creature. He was younger than Eli, so much younger, but clearly not too young. The hazel eyed galdor sipped his chan with a casual air of nonchalance, before putting the glass on the table.
​​
​​ “Well now, can you sit there? I assume, given there is no there, then that would be challenging. But…I know where you can sit…hang on yes what do you clocking well want?!” He snapped suddenly at the girl, turning his field on her with a tangible slant of frustration. The young woman jumped, glancing at Meil before looking down at Elias again with a shake of her head.
​​
​​ “Payment for the pipe sir.” She stammered, wincing at his firm words, before gesturing at the human that stood before them. Before Elias could answer however, the red haired galdori across the table stood—or at least attempted to—before falling back into his own seat with a sound of disgruntlement. The younger man looked at him with a laugh, unable to hide the amusement.
​​
​​ “Bold, me? That’s one way to put it I suppose? You could have also used pompous, self-absorbed, rude…I did once get told I was very galdori, so there’s that too. But yes. I am. Does it bother you sir? I could get you another whisky and you could try that whole standing business again?” Picking up his chan, Eli sipped it again and smiled.
​​
​​ “Or, we two galdori could enjoy slumming it with the lower caste and just pretend it’s all fine and dandy that we’re both here instead of some uptown shindig bumping glasses with the socialites of Vienda.” Putting down the glass, he reached out to Meil.
​​
​​ “Now, why don’t you come here you delicious thing, and sit in Eli’s lap, and explain to me why this girl expects payment for something I haven’t bought. I feel like this might have something to do with your pretty face, but let’s not make assumptions shall we?” The Bastian patted his lap with his free hand, smiling widely and letting a small giggle escape him. For the moment, the Gioran wick was pushed to the background as the young human stole his attention.
​​
​​Such a fickle beast that he was.

“You’re a bit young for a place like this, aren’t you....?” He left it hanging, fishing for a name from the brunette youth.

♛♕♛
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Emeil
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 5:25 pm
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Race: Human
: Putting the 'sex' in 'sex, drugs and rock'n'roll'
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Writer: Tommy
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Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:04 pm

Image
39 achtus 2718
evening
Emeil's heart raced, standing in front of the galdori. He shot a furtive glance back towards the stage, then the serving girl, who was squirming as much visibly as he was emotionally. Emeil bit his bottom lip, a nervous tic he picked up as a sensual tool long before adopting it to cover his insecurities or nerves. A small smile followed, though, and it looked like what one would imagine a vampire would look like when being invited inside.

"This young woman told me that you had offered to pay for my hit. I thought it only polite to come and thank my hero for his contribution," Emeil lied, casting a glowering glance at the serving girl. Her eyes went wide, but it was clear that she understood the threat behind those words. Emeil was not physically imposing, but something in that glare told her that she had best follow along. With raised eyebrows, Emeil pushed past that though, and pulled a chair from another table to sit beside Elias.

"Politeness aside, I assumed that the gesture was an invitation to join you and... Well, here I am," he said, the playful smile that he had trademarked years ago pulling at his mouth. It was a practiced move, one without real mirth but loaded with bad intentions. The serving girl, now red in the face and with tears rimming her eyes, squeaked, but Emeil paid her no mind. He knew his lie would put her in a precarious position, and he was playing a dangerous game. Either the galdor would be enraged that she offered his hard-earned money without consulting him, or he would be grateful that the girl's initiative brought Emeil to him. And either the serving girl would play along with the lie, or Emeil would make sure she regretted.

Life was full of choices.

The electricity in his blood reminded him he was alive. For too many seasons, he'd sat by, doing what he could to get by. A fling here, a lover there, and some viola in between, but he had not felt this alive in ages. The light in his eyes, contrary to the forced seductive smile, showed his true feelings. He was excited; excited by the game, by the players, by the stakes. The blood rushing through him felt good, it reminded him of his time in Mugroba.

Before all this.

He reached a thin hand out, placing it on Elias' own hand, and tittered softly.

"Please don't be too mad at her, I am sure she was just trying to make both of us happier," he said, winking at the girl, who by now had silent tears streaming down her face. "And I am sure that my company will more than make up for the cost of the opium."

He always did have an overinflated sense of worth. The girl, a statue with wet cheeks, waited on bated breath for Elias to speak to her, to chastise or dismiss her, and Emeil lounged back in the chair, his legs open and comfortable. He ran a hand over his hair, smoothing down any flyaways, and prepared for whatever would come. Hulali floats...

But then again, he drowns.

word count: 558
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