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Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri)

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26 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:07 pm

[Glen and Ka'Ri break off to Secrets and Lies.]
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27 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:22 pm

[TW: Misgendering]

Lord Xiloscient is too well-bred to let his thoughts show on his face or person, but his mind is cold anger at Sunrise's choice of song. He wonders if she picked this song to mock or humiliate him--or if she might be working for the Redfangs. Is this a reminder? Some subtle message? A threat? He watches her with cool eyes and every appearance of disinterest, but she has made an enemy and he will remember her face. A face lingers in his memory--a pretty young orc with copper hair--and is surrounded with old anger, built up slowly over years.

Lady Xiloscient's thoughts are more pensive. Obviously, to her, the song is about Thorn; she does not think of the dashing boy in the audience as anything other than a little gangly girl. Thorn is lost to her, she thinks, as the belonging of powerful men like her husband, like Betreygis, like Luther Rivvers. This awareness does not make her happy, but neither is the pain or sorrow intense. Her primary emotion is regretful acceptance of the situation, tinged with a dollop of fear that Thorn may, if 'she' does not return to Betreygis, cause the ruin of them all.
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28 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:28 pm

Sunrise lets none of this show on her face, not even pausing her song, though she does feel a small thrill of vindication at the face.

With both of them she tries to dig deeper. In Immeral's mind she tries to trace the memory, to find how they met and the reason for the anger. For his wife, she probes at the fear, to determine if it's baseless or if she really has reason to think the Redfangs could and would ruin them over this.
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29 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:08 pm

[TW: War Crimes, Sexual Violence]

[Lord Immeral] Screams, but not Immeral's own. The flash of a blade in his hand, the spinning of his surroundings as he dances to a tune only he can hear and cuts down his opponents like a hammer slaying an errant fly. The hiss of hot blood. A rising chant as a woman--pretty and young and dangerous--raises her hands and points her spell at him. A stab of fear when he realizes he can't get to her in time to stop her, then the archer in his team puts an arrow through her shoulder. She screams, the spell interrupted, and his men are on her in moments, tying back her hands and gagging her mouth. There are so few spells which can be cast without hands or mouth. One of his men makes a joke and the others laugh, and then it's not a joke anymore and her eyes are wide with fury as Immeral advances on her.

---

[Lady Immeral] She was happy for the war to be over. It meant they could go home, leaving this wretched border front and returning to the comforts of the city. Immeral is distant and quiet, but then he often is and she has resigned herself. She loves him for who he is, not who she wants him to be. She jolts awake in the night and wonders what has interrupted her sleep--then sees the orcish woman in the moonlight, cold and angry. Immeral sits beside her in bed, cold sweat on his forehead and one hand groping for the weapon which should be under his pillow yet is not. She's never seen him look frightened before, which means this woman must be dangerous indeed.

The spell doesn't take long. Her belly rounds in the moonlight as the orcish woman's flattens. She drinks the draught the woman pushes at her; what choice does she have? She always wanted to be a mother, to carry Immeral's child. She'd never been able to conceive. She supposes she still hasn't, not really. She's just a vessel as far as this strange witch is concerned. She hears the warnings given to her husband, the orcish names he's meant to find and lend his support when they reach Brilight, but she's too lost in her own feelings to care. She wonders if the child will be a boy or a girl. She was quite sure the witch knew, but she hadn't said.
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30 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:00 pm

She wraps up the moving song, again glancing around to see how the listeners - not Immeral; she knows his feelings already - react to it.

Then, without missing a beat, she moves into the next, this one full of warm hope. The rest of the set continues without incident; the songs she's chosen are designed to both entertain and excite the emotions, leading to a triumphant finale.

As she sings though, she finds an opportunity to meet Luther's eyes, holding his gaze just a fraction of a second too long.
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31 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:20 pm

Luther's face is unusually gentle as he listens to her sing. He returns her gaze with a tiny smile.

Glen and Ka'Ri slink back into the room midway through Sunrise's last set. Veshti shoots them both a thin-lipped look and murmurs something sharp to Glen, ordering him out to the carriage to change before coming back in for the post-song mingling.

When Sunrise finishes, the guests clap with enthusiasm; she is genuinely talented and much better than anyone was expecting. Everyone stands to chat and eat finger foods and drink Immeral's best wine, and several make a point of introducing themselves again to Sunrise and complimenting her.

Ka'Ri, for the scandal clinging lightly to her, is largely ignored by the crowd members, though a few of the young women speak with her about dresses and the season.
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32 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:34 pm

Aeran inclines his head in a sheepish nod and quickly leaves the room. When he returns, he is dressed in fresh livery, his face clean of makeup, his hair neatly combed. He keeps close to Sunrise as she is greeted by the impressed strangers and partygoers, and conspicuously avoids making eye contact with Ka'Ri, exaggerating just a little to make a point. He also keeps an eye out for Thorn, doubting he will have an appropriate moment to say hello but still a little hopeful nonetheless.
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33 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:40 pm

Sunrise, who hadn't allowed herself anything but room temperature water in the hours leading up to the performance, enjoys the wine and fingerfoods with appreciative gusto. She mingles happily, accepting compliments with grace but not preening, making light conversation with anyone who seems willing (and keeping an eye out for useful connections, either political or as a singer - no use wasting the evening.)

All the while, she looks for an opportunity to talk to Lady Xiloscient.
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34 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:46 pm

It is Luther who approaches her, his smile warm. "Sunrise."

---

Thorn can't speak with Glen directly in this setting; it would be inappropriate for him to chat with a bodyguard who is meant to be seen and not heard. But he finds a moment to approach the buffet table alone near where Glen stands against the wall. "Thank you so much again," he murmurs at the table with a soft smile, just loud enough for Glen to hear.
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35 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:10 pm

Aeran notices a scuff on his shoe. He takes a cloth out of his pocket and crouches down to polish out the scuff.

Glen responds while his head is down, his voice warm. "Of course. It is so good to see you, and you look so well. I hope I can..." He clears his throat a little, scrubbing at a particularly stubborn spot on his shoe. "I'd like to make good on my offer to come by and see you, if you'd still have me." His voice is hopeful and shy and sweet. He manages to still be scrubbing at his shoe, but he'll likely have to stand up after another moment.
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36 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:21 pm

Her own smile widens. "Luther." Taking his hand, she draws him into a brief social hug, unusual but not inappropriate between friends. "How are you? Did you enjoy the show?"
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37 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:27 pm

Luther returns the hug with warmth. "I did, very much. Your singing is a delight to the senses. My only regret is not hearing you in a more amicable setting," he adds in an undertone and with a smile, not wanting to offend their host.

---

Thorn all but beams at the buffet table. "Yes! Of course, yes. I'd really like to see you again. I know, um, I'm not really interesting and I'm sure it's boring to have to come out to Mr. Luther's house again but I really would like to see you sometime. If it's convenient for you and you're not too busy and stuff. I know you're busy."
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38 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:38 pm

Glen too is beaming at his shoes while shaking his head just a tiny bit. "Thorn. Don't be silly. You're so interesting, and it's not boring. I can and would be happy to make time, for you," he blushes a little, "wherever you want. How should I contact you to coordinate?" He's started the final bit of his shoe polishing act, carefully unlacing the shoe so that he can lace it back up and give it a prim and proper knot.
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39 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:45 pm

She smiles prettily at the compliment and shakes her head. "Well, but I suppose your companion could hardly accept any other social invitations before his own father's. They must have so much to talk about." Tilting her head she adds, "I suppose the two of you will be staying late so they can catch up once the guests leave?"
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40 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:50 pm

Thorn blushes and shakes his head. "Umm. I guess just send a letter to Mr. Luther's house? That's how everyone else is reaching me right now. It's been wild--so many sympathy cards over my 'ordeal'. Most from strangers!"

---

Luther laughs softly. "I... think we'll be keeping the tender heart-to-hearts to a minimum. The plan right now is for Thorn to plead a weak stomach after all this rich food and for us to leave before we're the last ones left." He shakes his head. "I don't imagine Xilocient longs for a private reunion any more than Thorn does. They both know the score; there's no need to belabor personal issues when politics are at hand."
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41 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:56 pm

She dimples at this. "Well, I'm sorry that's the case, but. Since it is, please know you would both be more than welcome to come back home with us for an aperitif afterwards." Glancing around, she adds, "For now, though, please excuse me; our introduction was so brief, I haven't had a chance to thank our lovely hostess."
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42 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 8:58 pm

Glen gives a tiny nod. "I will. I..." He finishes lacing his shoe and ties the lace in a neat bow. "I wish I didnt have to get back to my role - I wish I could see you tonight. You, um. You look incredibly handsome." He turns bright red for a moment, but then collects himself.

Satisfied that his shoes are once again looking their best, Aeran rises. He stands up, against the wall, his hands clasped behind his back, looking straight ahead. His face is impassive; he is vigilant and respectful and silent again. He'd give anything to look over and see if his compliment had the effect he intended, but he cannot risk being found out and getting Thorn into any trouble. Aeran is a pro and won't break decorum.
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43 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:07 pm

Luther gives her an intrigued look and nods. "You can expect us. Good luck with, well." Inclining his head just the right amount for their audience, he sweeps off to perform mingling of his own.

---

Thorn's eyes widen at the unexpected compliment, blushing deeply. He stammers something and takes a moment to collect food for his plate so that no one else can see his reddened cheeks.
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44 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:10 pm

Glen grins inwardly, catching just the smallest view out of the corner of his eye of Thorn suddenly fumbling around for food. Aeran the valet will not speak again unless spoken to, keeping a close eye on the ladies upon whom he is sworn to wait.
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45 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:15 pm

Sunrise smiles in farewell, and resumes scanning the room.
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46 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:17 pm

Lady Xiloscient is present, as she must be, but her shyness is so overwhelmingly evident that almost all the guests have given up trying to engage her in conversation. She hovers near the doors to the kitchen, whispering orders to the staff which appear to be useless repetitions of things they are already doing.
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47 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:24 pm

Sunrise, undeterred, makes her way towards the woman with a smile. "Lady Xiloscient," she says warmly. "Thank you again, so much, for hosting us tonight. Congratulations on your son's return." Her smile grows brighter. "He's so resourceful! On his own for so long, in that part of town and with gangs looking for him, and with two newborns to care for? You must be so proud of him."
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48 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:26 pm

Aeran inconspicuously makes his way over to stand against the wall a respectful distance away from Sunrise and the lady of the house, ready to attend to Sunrise should she need anything but staring straight ahead and giving the impression he cannot hear them talking. (He can.)
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49 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:30 pm

The lady almost flinches at Sunrise's bright voice. "Y-yes," she offers after a long pause. "Of course. Thank you."
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50 Re: Songs and Secrets (Glen, Sunrise, Ka'Ri) on Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:35 pm

She smiles, adjusting her voice to a gentler, more soothing pitch in response to her reaction. "We were so happy to see how well he looks, Lady...?" She colors. "I apologize, I never did catch your first name."
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