A new face joins the group and their friends think on it, the Dragonblooded face a political situation, Scurvey Pete time!
Of Scarlet Blood
The accounting tallies thus, Farrel of the line Cathak did take his father’s blade. Upon the third unanswered summons, Andrel of Cathak sought the blade of his brother and father of Farrel. Farrel in questioning after a disappointing loss in the grand games of Chiaroscuro’s festival arena event spoke of a slight that had not been answered by his father. The loss of his older brother.
Caspien Regara dipped the sharp point of quill into the deep purple ink he spent a fair amount of jade to use, returning to the scratching of parchment and fine clipped High Realm. Only a hint of annoyance touched the high arch of regal brow, back straight, shoulders pressed into the perfect poise of scribe. His mother doted so on his penmanship, never giving in to artifacts when skill alone bested such empowered script.
In my continued discussions with Ser Andrel, I learned of Donren’s death valiantly dealing with pirates in the western seas, falling to the maw of a shark anathema risen by the detested moon goddess. The very same ungainly pirate took his arm in the failed battle. Farrel lost much face with his father, left behind to die if not for the care of a simple monk. I have taken action to ensure he will be moved back to the Ilse, under another to see if any information or position may be gained. As always, my post remains with the elder.
He continued with a few more notes, names and locations, a bit of rumor, and a summary of cost in jade and politics for the entire situation. When complete, he folded the parchment, pressed a seal of a ring marked in the majesty of Regara, and tossed it into the open flame of his writing lantern. The flames glowed in fierce shades of red engulfing paper into floating motes of ash, disappearing to reappear thousands upon thousands of miles away on his mother’s fine desk.
Raising a silent bell, he tolled it twice then washed his hands in lavender water and oil. An older servant entered with a basket and tray, tea, cheese, and a bit of cracker for a respite and letters to read. “I see you brought enough for two.”
The elder gave a small grin shared in private. “I’m sure you don’t mind the company.” The voice did not match the face, causing Caspien to twist a metal fan to hand. “Silly lad, no need for violence.”
“Riven, why were you sent?” From the basket the eldering man with a fair voice pulled free a pair of invitations. One marked in the seal of the Tri’Khan the other a party for that evening. “Ah, I see. The Eyes are interested in places they cannot go. Is she aware?”
A low chuckle answered the question. Of course she was not advised. The spy kept this private, invitations and appearance, to gain ground for himself, and perhaps for his protégée. “Do take a proper bath for tonight. I shall not deal in scandals.”
Have a moment?
Bending and twirling about, far too many bones in his body to support such gestures, the great Anthorne delighted a veritable gang of children demanding entertainment. Garbed from head to toe in shades of orange, face hidden in mask of gold like the sun, he ended the charades with a sudden explosive spout of flame from his tap hat. The WHOOSH and bright licking flames earned shrill cries and belly-crushing laughter. The fools mocking in dance all along the edges rushed in with pails of water to put him out, which caused all of his clothing and mask to change from reds to blues. And with a soggy, dripping bow, he left again.
Thunderous applause marked his leaving, as he twisted a turn and slipped under the entry to the mysteries at the center. Breath fast, though he never needed a single intake of air, the thrill of emotions from the crowd nearly made him drunk, the dreams and desires filling him as a cup running over. Yet still, the mask that gathered and fed him simply was not the same. These overwrought feelings distilled into a bit of drink like swill from mucky boots compared to a single mortal dream.
People drew close, all speaking at once, not keen to his discomfort or state. Begging off their interest, deaf to their words, he meandered through until finding his own office through the door of a china cabinet in a tea room. The room faded in around him, a desk, artistic papers cascading from it with numerous ideas and parlor tricks depicted, a myriad of chairs none matching, and a wall of mirrors. One of these he stood before, hand reaching to lay against the glass bordered by white branches and red leaves.
“Have a moment?”
Within mere minutes, a reply. “Of course! Come by for a drink. It’s been far too long, Anthorne.”
He waited until the glass warmed under his fingertips, and another hand grasped his. Then he stood in another place, a tavern built around the boles of a massive white bark tree. Lanterns, laughter, and music assailed his senses and the ever loving Wyld. How it caressed about his beleaguered mind and cleansed away the harm of shaping that mired him in lethargic stumbling.
Pulling free the mask from his face, his true seeming revealed in a thin, tall man with ears as long as a rabbit, eyes large as tulips made of fine glass filled with rose water, clothing tight as skin with a billowing of lace floating about. A shock of carnations covered his head, nearly into his eyes until he fluffed them back. “Sinclair! So good to see you!”
Arms of a shaggy dark-haired man with a bit of scruff on his square jaw, clothing once fine now worn to threads in some places, black from head to toe, gripped the other tightly. He seemed a normal man, except for eyes literally filled blue with clouds. “Anthorne, I swear it feels like lifetimes. Come come, have a drink, spin a tale. Where are you these days?”
The nameless bard always demanded a tale. “Ah we are stopped over in Chiaroscuro for the grand festival. And you? Life with the wife has kept you lean but well.”
The pair neared the entry of the great Tavern of the Four Winds, the small goddess of booze crafting their requests with precision, the clientele all Raksha, exalts, spirits, and more. “Final farewell of a knight his lady for me.” “Always so romantic, knock me upside down with a kiss, mistress!” The first received a rose and gold drink with a deep heart of night. The other a drink shifting in maddening colors with pops and fizzes.
After a bit of chatter back and forth, the heart of it all came forward. Sinclair laid back on a couch, arm lazy draped behind Anthorne as he leaned elbows on his knees in a perfect hoop of bone and flesh, a touch of sadness in his eyes. The drink shifted like a rainbow in his hands, no promise of a pot of gold. “She’s found her next journey.”
Sinclair sat up further, calloused hand pressing to Anthorne’s back, such rich emotion offered. “Oh my friend, we knew this day would come. It’s the way of exalts. You can’t keep them like pets.”
He would have smacked at his friend, for that old sentiment was never true for this rebellious pair. “Blasted it all, Sinclair. I wanted more time! There’s so much she needs to know, my Juniper. Where she comes from, the horrors that will come to pass. But then, she would question how I know these things.”
The bard nodded with each word. “You guided and aided when she needed it most. And ravaging away her memory to keep her close is not the answer. You learned your lesson after the first time…Not again since?” Anthorne shook his head. “Good. She will return as a friend, if you are ever loyal to her as such. We are not our lords, or those Raksha before us. She still has the sword?”
“Aye that she does, which will guide and protect her. Though I imagine the Tri’Khan may corner her just to hold it!” They shared a laugh, knowing that man must be dying of curiosity. “I shall miss my Juniper.”
“And I miss my friends as well. Say, when you finish your run along the southern coast, come back to Nexus and take to wagons. Come through Chaunta and finally Sal’Maneth and stay a bit with us. Keith and I would love your company.”
He gave a sigh, pushing aside the drink he held. “For rainbows must come the rain. I think I shall, but I may take my time in case she needs me.”
Dressed for Success
Before the great party that night (next game)…
“Hessan! I have a dilemma.” Zhorne jauntily entered the library as the elder read an old scroll with a pot of tea. In each arm, he carried a thin robe of golden mesh with gauzy gold silk under and a sarong of midnight black and crisp white birds taking flight held by a single artful buckle hidden from view. His long hair dripped behind him, his towel barely held to his hips.
“Is this serious? I’m tired.”
“It’s life or death here, literally.”
“The gold.” “Why?” “Fine, the black.” “Wait, why change your mind.” “Take both, wear one for a while then the other later.” “Genius!”
Jadefang scrubbed at his fur with a brush on a long stick, floating in a bubble bath in the massive urn of the First Age he bought with literally all of the Tri’Khan’s jade. The leader of the massive city and numerous kingdoms laid flat on his back of the scribe’s bed, trying to smother himself to death with a pillow. “Ah bwohn’t gwo!” “What are you saying, you have to go!” “NWO!” “What are you, three? Talk without the pillow, and don’t drool on it!” “I seriously don’t want to go.”
“Tri…why not? Afraid of the politics, every khan trying to get their daughter married off to you? Begging off beauties from a little trysting in the cloak room? Overeating? What’s not to like?” Soap bubbles burst with a lovely scent of orange blossoms. “She may be there…” “She?” “SHE.” “Oh…her…well, maybe this once it’s ok to let yourself…give in.” The glare spoke for him. “That’s dangerous. Better to let her think I hate her, and continue our political battles.”
“So better to hate than love? Better to be cold and barren than happy for thirty years? Please…” The Tri’Khan threw the pillow, dousing it in the bath, earning a growl. “Hey! My pillow!” “Jade, what about you then? And how you feel?”
The tiger looked dumbfounded for a moment, and ridiculous with wet fur and bubbles, as a guard entered with a note. “Saved by politics…whew.” The tiger disappeared into the watery depths.
Wrapping a length of fine fabric and pirate flag around his head like a turban, Scurvy Pete grinned with a couple good teeth left. “I am gettin’ laid tonight! I TELL’S YE!” The servant who drew the short straw to prepare one of the champions held her breath as long as possible, vowing to make sure his drink would be drugged the moment he entered.