[M] Playing with Fire (Tom)

The capital city of Anaxas and the seat of the government.
User avatar
Drezda Ecks
Posts: 104
Joined: Sun Jul 15, 2018 12:10 pm
Topics: 16
Race: Galdor
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Post Templates
Plot Notes: [url=http:/fullurl/]Plot Notes[/url]
Writer: Maximus
Contact:

Fri May 17, 2019 12:21 pm

Intas 18, 2719 | Mid-afternoon
Drez's Home
.
Image
This was potentially very stupid. This had the possibility of scandal. Drezda was having second thoughts about more than one thing this afternoon. The meeting she'd planned was sufficiently anxiety inducing in and of itself but the diplomat had managed to run into a predicament regarding something rather ridiculous: her appearance. It wasn't like she'd never dressed up for a man before, every little facet of her look carefully calculated but that was different. There was a motive behind such pageantry, an aim that she had to achieve that allowed her to plan her outfit accordingly. This time, she had no idea what to do with herself.

The Hoxian had invited Incumbent Anatole Vauquelin to her home, determining that a meeting in a public space would be inconvenient and restricting, while a meeting in his home guaranteed a forfeit of power, allowing the man to have dominion over her, which wasn't a thought that the raven-haired woman relished. So she'd settled for here, a rendezvous occurring early enough in the day that it was less likely to cause scandal and rumours of something clandestine. Doing things in the dark pointed at an attempt to hide and the last thing she needed was for anyone to think that the two politicians were engaging in some manner of affair, especially given that the man had a reputation; this certainly was no tryst.

That was the thing though, Drezda had invited the man here without any intention of appealing to him sexually, not intending to use her appearance as leverage, especially as this was in her house rather than near others. If things went south while she was out, there were usually people she could call on, other galdori but here... her passives wouldn't be much use against magic and if their mistress was surprised... But Anatole wasn't going to do anything like that, nothing untoward at any rate. He was different, she was sure he wasn't the same pervert she'd known, or at least she felt certain enough to risk meeting him alone. But given his past and the rather questionable state of their relationship, the Hoxian was struggling to decide what to wear. In the scheme of things it was trivial, ridiculous even, but it worried the woman nonetheless.

If she was incorrect about Anatole's change in personality, or the old him was merely buried and chose to resurface then certain outfits could be quite provocative and therefore highly problematic. At the same time, she did like to look good and a certain sort of appearance made her feel more confident. Thus, she was stuck in her room with Rosmilda, still puzzling over her predicament.

A number of dresses were strewn over her bed, simple attire like a skirt and blouse having been ruled out by the woman for the simple reason that she thought they either made her appear to vulnerable and innocent - the woman had some honestly worrying clothing choices in her wardrobe when she thought about them - or too professional. She didn't want to seem too formal or informal, too weak and vulnerable, or slutty or-

Gods, why must being a woman be so bloody complicated? Men could simply look good or look bad and if their appearance happened to be sexually appealing, it didn't reflect on their character.

"I need something attractive, powerful, not too revealing and yet... not entirely covered either. I don't want to seem like I'm trying to hide myself away but I don't want to seem as if I'm offering myself on a platter either," she said aloud, not for the first time, more to herself than the passive who was contemplating her wardrobe; the redhead simply hummed. The fire was roaring in the grate but there was still a little bit of a chill in the air so rather than wearing her underwear alone, the woman had opted for a silken robe which she tugged tightly about her thin form, arms crossed over her chest.

"What about... your blue high-collared dress? I know it's very Anaxi but it's not too much and... if I did something simple with your hair then I could use your new hair pin and the colours would match," the servant suggested, turning in time to catch Drezda's hard glare before the woman approached. Given the thunder in her dark eyes, she was plenty intimidating, even if she wasn't properly dressed yet. With that irritated field bearing down on her had Rosmilda cringing.

"Did I ask for your input? Did I ask for your interference in my life?" she asked softly, the acid in her tone unmistakable; it wasn't the dress she was talking about either, not really, and they both knew it. The young woman wasn't liable to let the passive forget that she'd crossed a line. Even though she was extremely pleased about Khymarah putting in an appearance on her birthday in Ophus, she didn't appreciate Rosmilda's interference. It was embarrassing, it was infuriating and she had been cooler with the girl again, doing her best to return some boundaries, jumping down her throat for more and more minor infractions.

Green eyes dropped, a murmur of apology from the sufficiently scolded girl. She moved past her, purposely banging her shoulder into the servant's own as she retrieved the dress in question. Holding it at arm's length, she frowned as her gaze swept over it. It was a dark blue with a high, tight collar giving way to blue tinted gauze down to the bust. The gauze bore fine applique and bead work that ran down to and along the bodice and wasn't too ostentatious. The tops of her shoulders would be left bare in it, as was befitting of Hoxian fashion, but the skirt was a tulle affair that was fitted at the hips but gradually widened to the hem, a modest A-line, not at the level of commoners but also not as thin as was expected of Anaxi galdori women. It was pretty though, she could feel confident in it and it covered enough flesh that it wouldn't be particularly provocative.

"I think I'll wear by high-collared blue dress. You'll put my hair up in a simple way - a tight twist at the back - and pin it with the hairpin with the blue and white flowers on it."

Shoving the dress at Rosmilda unceremoniously, she walked towards her bed, stripping off the robe that she wore and tossing it on the bed. "Right, come and lace me, not too tight now, it's really not necessary. There's only so much you can do to a womanly shape that isn't really there," she explained briskly, hearing a strangled sound from behind her that suggested that the servant disagreed with that statement but the youth held her tongue for a change. She stepped forward and set to work, tugging the corset laces until her mistress had a subtle hourglass shape, all business as she slipped the dress onto the Hoxian's frame.

Seating the galdor at her dressing table, the redhead worked with easy practice, brushing the dark locks smooth before gathering them and twisting them into a knot high on the woman's head. She used some plain pins that were similar to the Hoxian's hair colour to ensure that the hair would be properly secured before using the more noticeable gold pin that had been her birthday gift. The woman considered herself critically in the mirror.

"Cosmetics, Mistress?" Rosmilda asked demurely, carefully not meeting Drezda's eye, even in her reflection. The young woman made a clicking sound with her tongue, aware that there was no point going to great effort. Still, she turned her head from side to side, considering her complexion.

"I think a light layer of powder to make sure that my complexion is evenly pale and... line the eyes. A tiny bit of blue powder for the lids... no, I don't think that would go amiss. I think it'd look nice. I like to look nice, it's not for him."

The Anaxi nodded, prepping the necessary materials and getting to work, far quicker than Drezda would ever be doing the same thing and having an easier time of things because she was working on another person. Still, as the cosmetics were applied, the woman began to have her doubts. Maybe it was the way she was cinched in, the glitter of the light on the dress' beadwork or simply her brain catching up but she began to have her doubts about her choices. She was just about to say as much to the servant when the doorbell went.

"Damn it all! That'll be him!" the diplomat cursed, her maidservant pausing with brush poised over one partially decorated eye. "Right, better hurry up but that does not mean that you can make a mess of it," she added, remaining still while the passive finished things off. When she retreated, the raven-haired Hoxian had a chance to tilt her head from side to side, checking out the even pallor of her face, the light shadowing added to her cheeks to highlight the cheekbones, the thin black line along the edge of her upper eyelids that flicked out delicately at the corners, a thin smudging of a dark blue just above the black. She looked good, quite good. The problem was that she worried that she looked too good for this meeting.

"Heels to match his height or..." the woman mused aloud, trailing off with a sigh. "Heels that match this dress, Rosmilda. Be quick! Help me get them on and then dash down ahead of me, let him know that I had something to attend to but that I won't be more than a few moments."

With her heels on and the passive gone, the young woman took one last look at herself in the floor-length mirror in the corner of the room, taking a deep breath as she steeled herself and made her field calm and tranquil. She was ready.


***
The guest was expected but that didn't mean that there wasn't a moment of indecision and worry when the bell went. The mistress was still upstairs and thus, there was some awkwardness about what to do with the anticipated visitor who had arrived. The diplomat didn't entertain at home very often and men were even rarer guests than the few galdori who crossed into her domain from time to time. That he'd been invited at all said a great deal and yet he evidently wasn't someone of great importance. There had been no strict orders about being on their best behaviours, on taking the greatest pains that he should be well tended to and his whims indulged as had happened in the past. That they would behave was a given but the lack of special treatment implied that he was not somebody who it was important to impress and yet the mention of his visit definitely made the Hoxian edgy. It was all a great mystery.

Cora, the only human in the household left her work in the kitchen, removing a floured and stained apron on her way out, moving swiftly to the portal. She examined herself quickly in the mirror checking for any stains or marks from her work, ensuring that she was presentable and that her dark brunette hair was still neatly beneath the light scarf that she wore over it, tucking a few strands under the covering. The lines of her face betrayed her age as did the white and grey that was working its way into her hair but for a human she looked good and she knew it, she was lucky. If she left the man out in the cold on an Intas day though, she might not be lucky for much longer so with one last quick glance up the staircase to check for her mistress, she answered the door.

The woman opened the portal wide to give him access, succeeding in giving a little bob almost like a curtsy as she pulled it, even though her knees protested the swift bending. "Good day, sir. Please come in out of the cold," she greeted politely, voice loud enough that she'd be clearly heard and couldn't be accused of mumbling, but not so loud that she could be accused of disrespect. Her eyes were on his face briefly before dropping to a point on his chest so that her gaze was effectively downcast; she was a few inches taller than him.

"May I take your coat, sir?" she asked, brisk and professional, the query presented before she even had a chance to close the door behind him. Anything he gave her would be taken and put away neatly near at hand, a coat rack by the door serving coats, cloaks and hats that needed to be hung up and a stand there to hold umbrellas, canes and other accoutrements. The woman had served galdori for many years, aware of her place and how she ought to act around them, but feeling awkward and uncomfortable if she had to make small talk with them; that wasn't her place. It didn't help that this one didn't feel right, his field even to her supposedly unrefined secular senses. There were some safe subjects though.

"Sorry to have left you out in the cold so long, sir. I was working elsewhere and hadn't expected to be the one to let you in," she explained frankly, smoothing the skirt of her dress in a distracted fashion as she glanced up the stairs. "I'm sure that you must be chilled through. Can I get you some tea and a place by the fireside? I think my mistress will receive you in the parlour but she's upstairs at the moment, I'm sure she won't be long," she assured him, trying to stop herself from frowning in his direction as she heard the quick, noisy footsteps coming down the staircase, reserving her disapproving expression for when she had turned to face the passive.

Rosmilda hadn't been raised as a domestic, sometimes exhibiting the arrogance that came from one of galdori birth but without the humility of one who had fallen from grace. Cora sometimes resented her for her impudence, envious of the girl for being a servant and yet possessing some of the privilege of magical masters.

"My mistress sends her apologies but she won't be long, she had an important matter to attend to that took longer than expected. We shall make you comfortable in the meantime with some tea perhaps? Or something more warming?" the redhead suggested, the flick of her gaze to Cora seeming to carry some sense of expectation.

Upstart bitch. Why doesn't she make tea? She's more than capable, even if she is just here to see to the mistress, Cora thought although her expression remained impassive. Probably what the mistress had to 'attend to'.

"Of course, forgive me, sir. I didn't think to offer you anything stronger. The drawbacks of age, you understand," the human remarked, voice filled with suitable regret and a certain amount of wheedle on the age comment; she was not yet forty but life had not been as kind to her as her pampered superiors. She was still a damn handsome woman though and she knew it but she doubted that this failed galdor was likely to have the same charm at her age. Clocking pup wouldn't be so up herself when her looks starting going south and she wasn't even that pretty to begin with.

"Tea or alcohol, sir?" she quipped, acting as if she wasn't even aware that Rosmilda was there.

"Tea will be more than sufficient, Cora. A clear head is best," Drezda announced from the top of the stairs, manicured fingertips trailing along the top of the banister as she moved leisurely and gracefully down the steps. The human housekeeper turned, bowed and assured her that she'd see to it immediately before disappearing in the direction of the kitchens; Rosmilda grew rigid, gaze moving to her mistress and held there as if hypnotised. The heels landed softly on the stairs' runner, the material cushioning the potential click and providing the woman with better grip. In spite of the added height, heels raised in what ought to have been a precarious fashion, she seemed quite controlled, quite a contrast from when the man had seen her last.

"Good day, Anatole," she greeted softly, settling on a familiar tone, voice shifting to commanding as she switched to address the passive. "Fetch some paper and a pen to leave on the parlour table, Rosmilda and ensure the fire is well-stocked."

The teen was knocked rudely from her reverie, bowing low and a little stiffly towards the Hoxian before disappearing into the room in question. Drezda offered the Anaxi politician a thin smile as she touched down on the ground floor, on the level with him but quietly smug in the inch of height that she'd attained over him, her field took on a slightly warmer cast in his sense range. "I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. Unforgivable, I know but unavoidable I'm afraid. Thank you for coming, you didn't have to accept my invitation after all but... you've read my letter, you know what I intend. Shall we?"[color]

The woman made a gesture towards the parlour door, inviting him to follow her.

"You mustn't think that I'm going to interrogate you about the matter, take down every word you say and pour over it later. I can assure you that I'm only going to jot down anything of particular note. Anything that might aid me in narrowing down my search for information. Obviously, the more I know, the better but I understand if there are things you don't feel that you can share," Drezda explained, voice carrying as she walked, skin of her back seeming to itch as she imagined him eyeing her up, perhaps lingering on the gentle sway of her hips. It was a relief to sit down on the sofa, to be able to see him again. He had his choice of seats, able to sit on the sofa beside her but with a seat's distance between them or to seat himself in one of the armchairs.

Her fingers brushed unthinkingly over the paper that the servant girl had left out, allowing her to do something with her hands before she settled herself to ensure that she was facing Anatole wherever he sat, onyx eyes flicking briefly to the bent figure of the girl in question who was busy dealing with the fire. The diplomat had to remind herself that now was not the time to enjoy the view.

"How has the new year treated you thus far, Anatole? You don't mind me calling you Anatole, do you? I should hope that we don't have need to be quite so... formal."
.
word count: 3271

User avatar
Tom Cooke
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2018 3:15 pm
Topics: 20
Location: Vienda, but also hell
Race: Raen
: Ψυχάριον εἶ βαστάζον νεκρόν.
Character Sheet: Character Sheet
Post Templates: Post Templates
Plot Notes: Plot Notes
Writer: Graf
Contact:

Sat May 18, 2019 9:50 pm

drezda's home 🙫 uptown vienda
during the afternoon of the 18th of intas, 2719
Damnably early for an eighth. He understood the reasoning behind it – wouldn’t’ve had it any other way – but he didn’t have to like it.

Some days were worse than others. Much as he’d known last night that the agreed-upon time was earlier in the day, he hadn’t been able to keep away from the whiskey; everything that’d happened in the past two weeks had left his thoughts racing faster than he could parse them, and he reckoned not even the Circle could begrudge him getting a little help slowing them down.

That afternoon, he’d awoken late. It’d taken him a half an hour of groggy, dizzy searching – fumbling around in the study in his nightshirt, cursing when he banged his head on the desk looking in the compartments underneath it – to realize he’d depleted Anatole’s stock of liquor upstairs. He knew there was more elsewhere, but there wasn’t time; his meeting with the diplomat was barking and biting at his heels, and he was liable to be late as it was. The bell-clear, nervous chatter of his thoughts had started up, along with that icepick driving at the base of his skull. He didn’t want to call on Ecks without anything to fortify him, but he didn’t have much of a choice.

He’d spent the past few days in a haze, but that morning, he felt physically present. Unfamiliarity clung at his every movement. It was cold, and his hip hurt every time he put weight on it. He tried to shake off the feeling as he cleaned up, but when he met Anatole’s grey eyes in the mirror, he felt as if he were coming unraveled. Putting the razor down on the edge of the washstand, he studied the tired galdor’s face.

He drummed his fingers on the marble. “Why the hell did I agree to this?” he asked, but the Incumbent looked just as bewildered as Tom felt.


🙫🙫🙫
With a little help, he’d reconstituted the wreck of that morning into the shape of a respectable official. It was a well-combed, clean-shaven and sharply-dressed Incumbent Vauquelin that stood swaddled in his coat outside the diplomat’s house, shivering and bouncing on his heels. When a human servant let him in and took his coat, voice low and manner respectful, he thanked the whole clocking Circle he wasn’t late; he knew he wasn’t a minute too soon, either, but Tom reckoned sufficient was good enough. The diplomat wasn’t down yet, at least.

As he stood there in the foyer, he clasped his hands tightly behind his back, figuring it’d keep him from fiddling with his watch-chain or wringing his hands. He tried to keep a bland, aloof expression on his face.

The human servant was like a dozen others he’d met Uptown since Achtus; it still bothered him, looking up at somebody who wouldn’t meet your eye, but he’d gotten used to it by now. Her tired face, her thin, worn frame and her calloused hands, were fever-dream-clear through the hammering at the base of his skull. There were a handful of things he could’ve said, but he didn’t say any of them. By now, he knew better than to start small-talk. He found himself wondering absent-mindedly how old the woman was – not as old as Anatole, he thought, but more grey threaded through her hair than his. She looked worn, tired.

His hands had once been calloused, too. He pursed his lips, shutting his eyes momentarily.

He could’ve sighed in relief when the young passive came in, but he quickly realized that the two servants’ relationship was turbulent at best. He was praising Hulali’s waters when she suggested something a little stronger than tea. He’d opened his mouth to reply when a fourth voice cut smoothly across the silence.

The voice drew his eyes over and up the stairs.

The phosphor lights caught in the ripple of blue gauze, glistened in the little flowers that pinned up her hair. He watched her fingertips trace the bannister for a moment, feeling unsettled, though he couldn’t say why. He met her dark eyes and noticed the subtle blue smudge – all blue, all matching. As she descended off the last step, balanced admirably in those perilous heels, he realized he was looking up at her by just a hair.

This wasn’t, he thought, the Drezda he’d stumbled around in the cold with last month.

He bowed deeply; when he came up, he was smiling Anatole’s tepid smile. He took a step forward, the frazzled edges of his field passing into range of hers. The perceptive mona seemed to warm at his approach; the gesture all at once put him strangely at ease and disturbed him.

“No need to apologize, Ms. Ecks,” he replied evenly, glance flicking over to watch the passive scurry off. The mention of paper had put him on edge, but he did his best not to let on. “You’re looking very well this afternoon.”

He kept his hands clasped behind his back as he followed her into the parlor, inwardly wrangling with his irritation. What right had she to speak for him? Maybe she was right, though; dancing around her questions would be complicated enough sober. As he took a seat in one of the armchairs, he took a deep breath, trying to ease his nerves. His eyes wandered over to where the passive was tending to the fire, distracted momentarily by the warm glow.

Anatole, she was saying, somewhere in the blur of words, Anatole? Anatole— He blinked, tearing his eyes away from the hearth. Swallowing thickly, he crossed his legs and smoothed a wrinkle in his trousers. Ain’t my name. Ain’t my fuckin’ name.

“Of course. Anatole’s fine, yes. Shall I call you Drezda, then?” He knit his fingers over his knee and kept that tepid smile on his face, studying his host from afar. One eyelid gave the barest little flutter. “The new year’s – well, it’s treating me, eh? Good or bad, I can’t say. How have you been? Vienda's gearing up for rainy season, and I suspect both of us’ll be busy enough then.”

His eyes flicked over to the paper on the table, then back to Drezda’s face. That’s exactly what I think you’re going to do, as a matter of fact, he thought.

“I’ll do you the courtesy of being honest with you, as I have in the past.” His smile faltered. “I don’t know how much use this will be to you. I can’t tell you anything about what I was doing prior to the incident; I can’t even tell you what the incident was. I’ll be as honest as I can, but, ah – I’m afraid I’m in the dark.”
word count: 1239
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic

Return to “Vienda”

  • Information
  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest