Fable - Ask First Annual Solstice Ball [Dreadlords]

A roleplay which may be open to join but you must ask the creator first

Meredith

Touch of the Leech
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Meredith looked up at Sable, he was different than she expected. She had never really gotten close to her classmates. Until Chas came along, she was only ever talked to if someone needed an answer. Resident bookworm, that was all the use she had to her other classmates.

Sable was lost in his words again, and she wondered if she had messed everything up already. She was good at that, she never knew when to stop talking. She stood awkwardly as he found his words, and she looked down shyly.

Sable had been excited that he had gotten picked to be her partner? Maybe he had been staring at her earlier. She was torn between embarrassment and and endearment as he spoke. She almost didn't believe him, as she was often the butt of cruel jokes.

Still, when he held up his hand she looked at him with a soft smile. "I'm honored by you Sable, truly. I'm really glad you're my partner." Her words were always clear and concise, even if her face gave away her embarrassment. "Your barrier, I never noticed how beautiful it was." She wanted to touch his hand, but the fear of potential problems kept her from it. She looked at Mars briefly and gestured to the dance floor. "We should go before we get yelled at.." She paused and looked away again. "Thank you Sable."

Sable Pembroke
 

Dorian

I Have A Ton of Spirits, They All Suck
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Dorian, brows raised, looked up at his partner.

"Well, I don't, but-" closer would mean an introduction between his cheek and her bosom. It wasn't the worst place in the Academy to be. No, that was The Box, which has been discontinued as of the recent regime change. Softly, he whispered, "are you fine with that?"

His one hand found hers easy enough, and the other her waist. All that remained was the distance between them.

"And would you loosen up a bit?" chirped Dorian, who was exceptionally skilled at smiling, "I won't bite."

Kristen Pirian
 
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Kristen Pirian

Pirian's Chosen
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Fine with that. She could be fine with that. It was all part of the dance, just how the dance was done, of course, and-and it was the most effective method of leading in the dance, and she ought to lead, she ought to lead, naturally, this was the one thing she was good at if nothing else, so surely, surely, there was nothing untoward about it and it all made good, polite sense.

And he wouldn't bite. Yes, of course. Her chief concern, the uncomfortable memory of Bull intruding briefly on the moment.

"Yes. You are right. I should loosen my stance, lest I become rigid in my motions."

Outstretched hands clasped, Dorian's other about her waist and hers the same, one thought resurfaced. The one thing she was good at, if nothing else. Here was sparked a sense of competition, pulsing strong. Never before at the Academy had it come, and so swiftly and powerfully at that!

Kristen looked to Dorian--briefly arrested by the intense blue of his eyes. My goodness, up close they were...gorgeous.

She had to put it aside for a moment. She leaned in slightly, spoke in a quiet manner both delighted and conspiratorial, "Dorian, the Academy has hosted this Dance for us initiates, so what say you to the two of us being the best among our peers? Let them be embarrassed by their leaden feet, whilst we glow with skill and grace. Follow my lead closely, and we shall be divine!"

She grinned. Oh, she did so hope that he assented. And if he needed to draw closer to her so best to flow in their dance, then she would absolutely be fine with that! This was her chance to impress--her peers, the Proctors--and she felt giddy at the prospect.

Dorian
 

Evangeline

Pirian Proctor
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61
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As the students coalesced into their pairs and began to gather on the floor, so too did the musicians on a small stage that had been set up for just such a purpose. Among them, a proud proctor with a violin. She glanced over the room and smiled, pausing on one Kristen Pirian to give her a knowing grin.

While many of the students likely thought this was silly or a waste of time, Evangeline had appreciated its assembly and execution nonetheless. The initiates might not have thought so now, but in time many of them would remember as one of the few moments they were allowed to be human.

With a clearing of a throat and a tapping of a music stand, the lights fell low and the little orchestra began to play.
 

Chasmine

The Odd One
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."Maybe she touched you, and slipped through the floor."

"That is unlikely," Chasmine mused aloud with a wandering, soft tone, "Meredith has never been able to phase with my powers."

Because with all the times she'd fallen into Meredith's bedroom directly below her own, Mer had not yet once managed to phase. She had, however, been able to see the ghosts that plagued Chasmine on a daily basis. Out of everyone at the Academy, Meredith alone understood Chas' plight.

"No. No I don't."

"Not to worry," the smile on her face was gentle and not teasing, "it is not difficult to learn the basic movements. I can show you." Her pale gaze lifted upwards, finally, to Edric's face where it remained and focused. His grin was gone, the ebb and flow of colors diminished with effort of her mind.

She held her right hand up and out, graceful-like, "Take this hand out here," and reached for his right hand with her left, bringing it to sit at her side, just at her ribs, "this hand here," and then rested her left hand up along his upper arm, "the stance is light and apart. The steps are long, quick-quick. When I step back, you step forward, like in a sword duel."
 

Edric

The Warrior
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"Well I wouldn't let her touch you more." Edric stated plainly, still remembering the last time that Meredith had taken his powers.

That whole situation had nearly lead to him slitting her throat.

Edric had rarely felt the need to play the games that some of the more...competitive students took to. Killing his peers had always seemed like more effort than it was worth. The sneaking around, the obscurity. It had always just seemed easier to beat them right in front of the Proctors.

With Meredith though? Well, he'd considered the option.

Though that was before the Revolution. Before they had gotten rid of the final test. "Worry? Do I look the worrying sort?"

Edric asked as he suddenly found himself manhandled by the wisp of a girl. Her fingers slid between his, hands manipulating his palms before he even had a chance to object.

He showed no sign of hesitation as Chas guided his palm, fingers pressing against her side the moment she placed them there. Edric humored her, listening as she instructed him and simply nodding his head in silence. All the while wondering how in the fuck she'd even made it this far at the Academy.

Funny. He mused to himself. That's exactly how Proctor Pallatrix described it.

Though he still had no idea why the old man had offered him of all people that advice. "Ah."

Edric intoned, his hand sliding over hers.

"Like this then?" The Initiate said as the music suddenly erupted into the room, and Edric swung Chas into the dance. Just as she'd instructed.
 
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Henk did not compliment Noel solely to appease her; she did look quite divine, and despite her cold demeanor it was somewhat nice to be so close to somebody as lovely as she. Not that he got the wrong idea, Noel didn't seem the type to take affection well, and Henk certainly couldn't blame her, as none of them were exactly healthy relationship material. Honestly, he was shocked the Proctors would even dare take the risk of introducing such volatile emotions into their team dynamic. It was quite dangerous, though Henk suspected that Proctor D'amour had something to do with it.

The compliment Noel offered in return was met with a small smile. She was trying, but Henk knew he was no looker. The disfigured side of his face could never truly be hidden. "Compared to my usual, perhaps. I don't think I'll be winning any awards for my beauty, but your words are appreciated regardless of intent." Henk had always been very cordial with Noel. They were good teammates, and that was about it.

Gently, carefully, Henk entwined his gloved fingers with Noel's as they took to the floor. "If something irks you, or I need to slow down, you need only tell me." This was uncomfortable for most of them, including him. The least he could do was make this as painless as possible.

As the music slowly began to fade in, the hand that wasn't holding Noel's moved to rest gently at her hip, his feet carrying them around in a slow circle as he raised her hand, pressing her form close to his as his eyes shut for a moment. This was new to him, but he followed the beat of the music and moved naturally.

Noel
 

Walter Banick

Count of Ostia Anir
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The words of a man resigned. Or of a man whose practicality extended into the extreme, that he'd not a care for a single thing beyond the scope of his own life. Whatever the case happened to be, Proctor Pallatrix's mentioned concerns were likely to go to the grave with him. A shame, of course, but perhaps there were others more willing to oppose the drastic changes the Republic had planned for the Academy. Proctor Kellmir had been mentioned, and Walter thought he would do well to arrange a meeting with him.

"Well," said Walter, "perhaps one of your protégés will be able to climb the same mountain of accomplishment that you have." A small, parting nod. "Enjoy the remainder of your evening, Proctor."

Not particularly a good start, but if success was always and necessarily predicated on a good start then there'd be scarcely no one who could enjoy success. Walter made his way toward the refreshments table while Captain Grealish was calling out names. Walter walked slowly, eyeing the crowd of male and female initiates, matching faces with names.

This class, along with the other sister classes of the same age, were undoubtedly going to be last true Dreadlords that Vel Anir had to offer--if his attempt to inspire resistance to the Republic's softening of the Academy fell through. Even so, there were options. There were always options.

Out of the corner of his eye, Walter caught sight of one of House Pirian's Dreadlords, she who was holding a violin among the other musicians: Evangeline. His gaze didn't linger, and neither did the slight curling of his lip and flaring of his nostrils. House Pirian. Soft House Pirian. Perhaps other Banicks more or less tolerated them, but Walter found them to be insufferable. He wouldn't be surprised if the Republic's push to weaken and eventually dissolve the Academy was some Pirian plot yet to be discovered. These Pirians ought to concern themselves solely with their farms and leave the important matters of state and defense to more capable hands.

Walter arrived at the refreshment table and picked up a drink and took a few perfunctory sips. Truly, he was more keen on taking an initial measure of the initiates present as they were pairing up.

The ones who stood out first and foremost were the ones who carried themselves with confidence (or had enough skill to put on the appropriate air of it). In this regard, Edric, Vance, and Noel were most impressive. He could say nothing of their magical aptitude, but, in warfare, deception was often as important--if not more so--than one's actual strength. Yet, if he were made to wager, he would say that these three were sure to rise to the formidable heights of First Level Dreadlords, and he'd go so far as to say that perhaps one of them might have the power within them to be named Archon.

There were some that could stand for improvement, yet it was quite plausible for them to be envisioned as the superior soldiers they were training to become. Sable, whose stature alone commanded respect, even if he seemed to be currently plagued with all the familiar nervous tendencies of a young man in this very sort of situation; Dorian, a touch passive, but he appeared particularly unflappable among his peers; and Eleanor who, whilst possibly harboring concerning anger issues, was not intimidated by Vance in the slightest.

The rest: Chasmine, Henk, and Meredith. What in the hell was that girl Chasmine doing here, and by what miracle had she managed to survive up until now? She looked as though her appropriate home was a gutter somewhere, intoxicated by some foul substance by comprehension. Henk--it was quite laughable to Walter that he'd been paired with Noel, the boy seeming to wilt and wither in her presence. Who the soldier was between them was obvious; not even mice would take fright from the boy, despite his scar. The frail girl named Meredith, whose strongest opponent was very likely a brisk wind. Walter thought with some amusement what the venerable Selene Avar would think of initiates of Meredith's poor caliber, how disgusted she would be with them.

And then there was Kristen Pirian. The less spoken of her, the better.

Walter drank.

And continued to observe.
 

Sable Pembroke

The Bulwark
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It was no joke. It was genuine, and Sable aimed to prove it in both word and deed. In fact, to conjure up such a cruel prank would've been tantamount to besmirching a lady's honor, and that was an act that would have brought shame upon Sable's head. Instead, he would ensure (to the best of his ability) that the two of them would have a good time.

Meredith's own words earned a bashful smile from her otherwise imposing partner. He'd certainly never heard his magic described as 'beautiful' before; hell, he usually didn't get so much as a 'thanks' when they blocked an incoming fireball from obliterating one of his comrades. Compliments were unexpected, but welcome, he found.

He wanted to say something more, but the music had kicked in, courtesy of Proctor D'amour and an entourage of supporting musicians. He silently thanked the proctor for the dance lessons she'd provided earlier in the week, smiled down at Meredith, and took her hand without a wink of hesitation.

"It's my pleasure, Meredith." He replied, then guided the two of them out onto the floor of the ballroom. Doing his best to let confidence overtake nerves, he guided her free hand to his shoulder, placed his own on the small of her back, and led her away into their first dance.
 
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The First Annual Solstice Ball. Tinker already hated it. He refused to attend, so didn't, and refused to attend every other annual ball or dance or gala or other nonsensical frivolities that they dreamed up to further waste his time. He had more important things to do. As a soldier. As an engineer. As a scholar. Vel Anir would not become a better more secure place by prancing around in pointlessly colorful clothing designed on a basis of "fashion" rather than practicality.

That was what he had told those who had busted in the doors of his workshop as he was bent over a pile of clay attempting to mold it into a more pleasing shape. They manhandled him. Roughed him up. Bathed him. Forced him into one of those tasteless suits. And then combed his hair. All while holding a spear tip to his back and a knife to his throat.

What was Vel Anir coming to? How low would she fall before her parasites were sated?

And it was still struggling against his bonds that he was literally tossed into the ball room.

Tinker landed on the floor and bounced a couple of times. Bruises were sure to follow. Another thing he would have to see to before he could get back to work. Swelling hindered flexibility and he would need it when shaping his clay.

He contemplated just laying there. A burden upon this ball that was burdening him so. But it would be a protest in vain. No doubt his "peers" would just simply walk all over him causing further bruising and potential broken bones. A broken bone would keep him from his current project for far too long.

So he got himself up and dusted himself off. Then he proceeded to find a place out of the way of those actually enjoying themselves. Besides, they had already partnered up out there without him. Why ruin their fun if they were having it?
 
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“Don’t worry about it,” Vance was exceptionally focused on not looking as awkward as he felt. He pointedly did not look at Ella again until they were on the dance floor and he turned to face her.

Why did they have to put her in that dress? Why did they have to make her hair do that. Was she wearing makeup? Her eyes seemed larger and… he had been staring too long.

He cleared his throat and placed his hands on her in the way they had been taught. It felt wrong to be this close to someone, to be holding her near instead of defending against her. For fuck’s sake this dress. It was so thin that he felt like he was laying hands directly on her skin.

“How…have you been?”

“Uh,” eloquent as always.

Vance wasn’t used to feeling taciturn. His mouth tended to run quicker than his fists, and he was almost never at a loss for words. Ella just… she made him fuzzy. He started the dance, moving his feet as instructed, trying his best to guide her. Just don’t step on her feet he thought to himself. If nothing else, don’t step on her feet.

“I’ve… fine. I’ve been fine.” Stopping the conversation before it started. Great job. A few more awkward steps, and few more moments of feeling way too much of her hand against his.

“Why do you think they’re doing this?” He asked suddenly. Looking at Ella was too distracting, so he kept his gaze over her to the proctors on the walls. “Is it a test?” Everything was a test. At least everything had been until a year ago. Maybe they wanted to see how they could blend into high society? Maybe dancing was some way to test agility? And again, maybe there would be some catastrophe coming.

He saw the other couples dancing their way around, doing alright it seemed, for the most part. He gave Ella a slow spin out of a sudden need to not be the most boring pair. They didn’t have to be the best, just not the worst.

“Um, how have you been?” Probably should have asked that sooner.
 

Meredith

Touch of the Leech
Member
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The stood facing each other for a few long moments. Both lost in their embarrassment it seemed. She realized that when she was nervous, she apparently blurted things out like how his magic was pretty. How dumb. She was supposed to be a killer, so was he. Still, she did admire him, and what he always did for his classmates. He was one of the good ones, someone you could rely on. She was relying on him even now, to lead them into a dance they both were nervous about.

The music started up, and Sable led her to the floor. It was easy for him to carve them a path, no one would dare stand in his way. Imposing, but still so sweet and kind. He had not a shroud of hesitation as he positioned her hand on his shoulder, his hand on her waist. As if he had done this many times before, he led them into dance, and she followed his lead easily.

"I'm glad you're my partner, if it were anyone else I may have had to sneak off and read my book instead." She laughed softly as they followed the music. Her face was still red, but they were finding a comfortable rhythm. The embarrassment started to ease, and she studied him as they danced. He was handsome, and much taller than her. Even dressed up, she could see how athletically built he was. He really wasn't one to mess with. She wondered what a fight between he and Edric would be like.

Sable Pembroke
 

Liza Newcastle

Useless
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4
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Liza woke with a start and the uneasy feeling that she was forgetting something. Something... important? No, that couldn't be it. If it was important, she wouldn't have forgotten about it... right? Still, the thought nagged at her from the back of her mind. What was it? It had been another decidedly unremarkable day really. Breakfast then classes... OH! And a dress had been delivered for the ball that evening. THE BALL!

In her haste to get out of bed, Liza became tangled in the bedsheets and crashed to the floor with a loud cry. "Where is it?" she muttered hastily untangling herself from the bedding and glancing around the room. "Whereisitwhereisitwhereisit" she repeated frantically as she dug through her wardrobe. A garish, peach colored dress should've been easy to find in the midst of her otherwise boring clothing. Why do I have to wear a damn dress anyway? Its not like I'm going to this stupid thing to impress anyone! I HATE wearing-

Liza's train of thought abruptly ground to a halt. She studied the plain shirt in her hands, a new idea forming in her mind. Tossing the shirt aside, she retrieved a close fitting white dress shirt and a pair of black trousers from the pile of clothes that had been haphazardly thrown to the floor. Liza scrambled to get dressed and-MAKEUP! No! There wasn't time! Her natural features would have to do for tonight. Slipping on a somewhat clean pair of boots, she did her best to tuck in her shirt as she made her way to dining room.

After a disapproving glare from the proctor stationed outside, and a reminder that this was a formal event and that they had been expected to dress accordingly, Liza was reluctantly allowed in. The beautiful sound of an orchestra greeted her as she stood by the door, and watched as a mix of colorful dresses and dark suits twirled across the dancefloor.

Out of the corner of her eye, Liza noticed another student standing off to the side. She had never had much interaction with Tinker Smithe, but admired his dedication to his craft. Liza hesitated for a moment before deciding that if she wanted to talk to somebody, it might as well be him. Stopping on her way to grab a large roll off a nearby table, Liza came up alongside Tinker.

"Not one for dancing, huh?" she asked, looking over at him with a smile. Not that she was expecting an answer. But still, she felt the need to make an attempt at conversation.
 

Eleanor

Red Dead Dreadkid
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Vance led them to the dance floor and turned to her. Eleanor could tell he was having some sort of internal monologue so she stayed quiet. This was such an awkward situation for all of them, but it was especially awkward for her and Vance.

He pulled her close to him, placing his hand on the small of her back. Why did he have to look good tonight? He even smelled good. Damn all of this bullshit. She should be training or on a mission right now and instead she was in the arms of a very good-looking classmate.

They started to move around the dance floor, both of them concentrating on not looking terrible. Some of the other couples looked like professionals while others looked like flailing fish.

She looked up at his face when he asked why they were doing this and she shrugged. “I think they want to embarrass us or perhaps they want to make the weaker students feel good about themselves. I am just happy I didn’t get paired with someone who can really dance…” Her voice trailed off as she looked around the room again, “no offense.”

Vance completely caught her off guard when he spun her out and she was caught more off guard when she came back into his arms and didn’t want to punch him. What the actual fuck is happening right now?!

“I have been fine,” she responded with the same answer he had given her. We are so awkward. This is terrible. What is there even to talk about? “You look nice tonight, Vance.” Ella wanted to bang her head against the wall. She could slit a grown man’s throat but she couldn’t talk to a boy that she could barely stand. She could barely stand him…right?!
 

Chasmine

The Odd One
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When Edric swung them in to the dance steps with the music, Chasmine's kitten heels were ready. Though it had been several years since dance lessons at Bethel's School for Young Ladies in Alliria, the movements melded back to her with natural panache. Smoothed in from the distant, broken memories of her life before the Dreadlord Academy, not connected with family in any particular way, the interaction of this evening's chosen escape on her mind made the pathway to recollection completely open.

A smile, small but bright, implanted itself onto her lips as they strode--long, quick-quick--in successive circles about the dance floor. Edric picked it up with little difficulty, and though perhaps she should not have been so surprised at this she could not help but be so. Pleasantly surprised.

The colors that span around them as they moved were free-flowing and ever changing. Chas kept her eyes up on Edric to maintain her focus, but the longer she watched the more her smile faded, "Are you feeling alright, Edric?"
 

Sable Pembroke

The Bulwark
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There was...a lot to focus on right now. Or to try not to focus on. A cursory glance at their surroundings was necessary to not run into anyone as the duo proceeded around the ballroom. Thus far, it looked like not everyone had gotten the lead out of their shoes just yet. Vance and Ella had joined in and looked suitably awkward, more so than one might expect from two completely inexperienced dancers; if rumors were to be believed then those two had some history, and, to be honest, Sable imagined anyone would be distracted by Ella's dress.

Chas and Vance whizzed right by Mer and Sable. To Sable's great surprise, Chas appeared to be leading. Leading Edric. And she was actually quite competent by the look of things, in spite of her saucer-sized pupils. In fact, she was kind of putting everyone else to shame at the moment.

Perhaps the biggest distraction was the ever uncomfortable tightness of Sable's blasted shirt and the looming threat of his buttons exploding every which direction. There was so much to think about...

Mer yanked him right back into the moment with just a few words, however. He looked down to her, not initially registering what she'd said. Gods, she was pretty. That wasn't fair. It was hard enough to keep his feet straight as it was.
"I'm glad as wel--wait," 'Sneak off and read my book.' Sable blinked, enamored. "do you also enjoy reading?"
 
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Vance did manage to take some satisfaction from Ella’s reaction to the spin. Or rather, the fact that she did not have an immediate negative reaction. The pleasant surprise, though, he would take that. He had managed to relax a little bit and... well start to not hate whatever this event was. He wouldn’t go so far as to say he was enjoying it. Not yet.

Ella hadn’t exactly been cruel to him since... then. He hadn’t exactly been friendly to her either. Call it embarrassment, or pride, or a little of both, their past was something he had chosen to pointedly avoid whenever possible. He had also chosen not to explore why he felt so awkward around her. Why he cared so much. Why he didn’t want to throttle her for the things she had said just moments ago.

Her compliments were beyond unexpected, and he felt a shimmer of static rush through him. He felt heat rise to his face, and Ella might feel some of the hairs on her neck stand on end as that charge was passed to her.

He coughed out a garbled thank you before deciding that he could not be this close to her for any longer. It was too warm, and he had to look down to meet her eyes and that fucking dress was making maintained eye contact difficult.

“Do you want a drink?” He could sure use one. He looked only at Ella, mostly so that he wouldn’t catch Edric’s gaze at any point whatsoever.
 

Meredith

Touch of the Leech
Member
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The moved somewhat awkwardly as they danced, but nowhere near as awkward as some of the others. It was easy to follow Sable's direction, and she was a quick study. She glanced at Ella's and Vance as they passed. Ella's sure was making a statement, but they both seemed very uncomfortable.

Sure, Sable made her feel a little bashful, but not uncomfortable. She couldn't imagine if she had been paired with the likes of Edric, he avoided her like the plague.

Speaking of the hulk of a man, he and Chas passed by and she turned her neck to look at her friend. She seemed to be doing fine, but still she worried. She would fight anyone that so much as harmed a hair on her pale head. She may appear small, and some would say worthless, but she was her own force of reckoning. There was plenty she didn't show off, and there was reason behind it.

Sable responded to her, and she turned back to face him, letting Chas vanish from sight. She studied him for a moment before responding in kind. He had seemed worried initially, but the mention of books seemed to pull him right out of it. She smiled warmly, it reached her eyes making them shine excitedly. He was handsome, and loved to read? It made her want to learn more about him. "I love it, it's my favorite thing to do. The library is my pretty much my home."
 

Eleanor

Red Dead Dreadkid
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As they danced, Eleanor did feel the hairs on the back of her neck stand and it made her smile. She knew he was having some unexpected feelings if she felt the charge of his power. She may have been a little smug at causing such a reaction even though the amount of skin she had on display made her extremely uncomfortable.

“I do, but I do not want to be the first couple to stop dancing. I don’t know what they are up to and I don’t trust them.” Her words were earnest and a little worried. She really didn’t like anything about this dance…well…she didn’t mind being in Vance’s arms right now. What the fuck?!

“I am…sorry about this dress. It was Noel’s doing. The seamstresses had it a little more covered.” She looked down and wanted to cover herself up so bad. Perhaps if he held her closer, he wouldn’t be able to see anything. She was not going to point that out that.

“Um…I am also sorry I have been a bitch these last couple years.” Ella had no idea why she had said that. She was a bitch to mostly everyone, but Vance was a good guy and he was extremely powerful. He could kill them all easily and that meant he had her respect in that regard.
 
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There was so much to do. So much to prepare, again. This ball was ruining his project! The clay he had been working on was utterly ruined now. Infused to the point of strengthening it but not to the point of animating it. Not that he wanted that now. It was a block with the start of a golem body formed. Not exactly useful in any way. Maybe it could bounce or rock about menacingly? Would that scare off knife eared filth? It certainly would scare off the sand bathers.

No. He would need new clay. The old stuff would be ruined once he removed the magic from it. Dead completely. Life could only be breathed in once, except by the grace of the gods. Why necromancers were fools. Bring back the dead? Bah! They were just energizing what lingering life remained in corpses. It was a pale imitation of what he could do. He created life from nothing. Nothing! What did they e-

Tinker was completely zoned out as he just stood off to the side of the dance. A broodish aura around his blank expression. Perhaps the look of a deep thinker or the gaze of a living statue.

He looked to see what had disturbed his thoughts. His precious, important thoughts. A girl around his age. Perhaps his age? It was so hard to say. He never paid attention to the fleshies. His work to improve their lives was more important than any single one of them.

Oh wait. He was aware of this one. She was part of some of the lectures he was forced to attend from time to time. What was her name again? Liga? Laza? Lazy? Yes. Lazy. Her name was the same as her character stuffing her face so carelessly at this pointless ball. She wasn't even dancing. The one thing to do here.

"No."

Was she still here? She had her answer! Perhaps more words would make her leave him be.

"You?"

Liza Newcastle
 

Edric

The Warrior
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Dancing, he found, was surprisingly calming. There was something to it that he couldn't quite put his fingers on. All the precision, all the agility of a fight, but without so much of the violence. A way to practice the core of a battle without getting injury.

Not that he'd ever minded a broken bone or two.

"Me?" Edric seemed to snap out of a trance of concentration, looking down at Chasmine as she prodded him. "Never better."

Languishing within this mockery of what was supposed to have been his life. Having to suffer through yet another twist after being ripped from his parents. His life had been prepared twice over, and both times it had been torn away from him.

His face flickered into a frown for a moment, his gaze caught on Chas.

Thoughts drew back to that chain of pity weighing on him. An odd drag that pulled down into anger. "Why are you still here?"

He asked.

"At the Academy." In her addled mind she might have thought he meant in this dance. "Not like they would chase you anymore."

Edric didn't know if that was actually true, he just knew that none of the Initiates had been sent out on a hunt since the Revolution. "And there's a thousand other places in this world better for you."

Someone as weak as you.
Was what he truly meant.
 
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“I do, but I do not want to be the first couple to stop dancing. I don’t know what they are up to and I don’t trust them.”

Smart. Vance nodded, and for a moment his mood cooled as he returned to tactical analysis of their surroundings. Standing out was not a good plan in any battle. It was human nature, predator nature, to pick out individuals. Stick with the herd and obscure yourself within them, however, and you lowered your chances of being singled out.

“I am…sorry about this dress. It was Noel’s doing. The seamstresses had it a little more covered.”

“Oh, it’s fine.” He said, trying once again to quell the rising static as she drew attention to her garment. “It looks nice.” It did look nice. They had seen one another in far less in daily training, though Vance never let his eyes linger on Eleanor for too long. The other girls were, as he said before, classmates and competitors. He’d grown up with all of them, and he knew what horrors they could commit. He would like to say his time with Ella hadn’t made her any different… but it had. It was so rare to share anything but violence with one another in their world. To share even a moment of ignorant, inexperienced tenderness was still a big deal.

Vance, like most young men his age, did not fully understand all of this. All he knew was that he felt differently about her than the others.

He did not expect her apology, and his mouth suddenly felt very dry. He gave himself a moment to think by passing Ella behind his back and turning himself to catch her hands, one of the simpler but more stylish moves the instructors had gone over, before pulling her back.

“Don’t apologize,” he said. “There’s no room for niceness here.” In truth her coldness had probably helped him. Before this revolution (or rebellion, depending on which proctor he overheard) sentimentality was a death sentence. Affection was a distraction. He was quiet for a few more steps. He probably should apologize for his own dickishness.

He didn’t.
 

Chasmine

The Odd One
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70
Character Biography
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He was right to clarify - Chasmine did think he meant the dance and was prepared to inform him that she was, in fact, still here because they were dancing. As well, she was fairly certain the doors had been closed and posted with guards. Seemed the Proctors were insistent that everyone have a good time or else, tonight.

The clarification, however, was cause for a slight misstep. Chas tripped slightly, her gaze breaking from Edric as he continued elucidating his point. Why was she here at the school? They wouldn't chase her if she ran.

A thousand other places in this world better for her.

Why are you still here?

Her eyelids fluttered, eyes unfocused and pinned while his words swirled about inside her head. "This...I-" the point to be made between the lines, words unsaid, shifted from the dark corners of her mind that she rather forcefully kept blocked. You don't belong here. Should have died long ago. You'll never be someone of value or worthy of the Dreadlord title.

Your just a fucking joke.

"This is ...my home," the girl reaffirmed her firm but gentle grip on his hand, "why would I leave?"
 
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Dorian

I Have A Ton of Spirits, They All Suck
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Taken aback by Kristen's enthusiasm, Dorian glanced about the hall and frowned at his peers. But, in one way or another, the young killers-in-training embraced the situation.

No, embraced was a stretch. Adapted?

"Well," Dorian's voice trailed off. Still, he looked around as they halfheartedly swayed. Then, when he watched Chasmine and Edric take their steps - long, quick-quick - his frown drooped farther.

He looked away just before their cute little rhythm began to crumble apart.

"Sure," Dorian finally looked back up at Kristen. Determined. Bothered. "Let's dance our as- our rears off."

He did as bade of him and pressed himself against the young Lady. Used to graceful, flowing motions from using his magic, dancing along with Kristen's movements - flowing, as she said - came naturally after the first six or so steps.

Well, it wasn't so bad. Almost fun, even.
 
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Kristen Pirian

Pirian's Chosen
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84
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"Wonderful! Oh--!"

Even though she herself had suggested that he do so, still Kristen was caught by surprise when Dorian closed the gap between them. She blinked and her breath was briefly caught within her chest. Of course this was for the dance, all the better for him to follow through tactile sensation her motions. Yes, his (gorgeous) blue eyes were closer now and in truth it could be said that it felt a bit warmer within the dining hall now, but it was for the dance!

"Step. Touch. Step. Touch," Kristen whispered, keeping a cadence for him to follow. Stepping out with one foot, bringing the other in to touch. And, oh, how marvelous, Dorian picked up on the rhythm and the movements within a small matter of moments. Perhaps there was insufferable gossip and besmirchment among the other initiates about Dorian being lax and lazy. Codswallop, Kristen would say! He was a diligent and quick study.

"Delightful, is it not?" How long had it been for the other initiates to experience meaningful human touch? Even something as simple as a hug? Here in the Academy, even within this newer and gentler training regimen, all that one seemed to experience so far as human touch went happened to be punches to the face or boots to one's posterior.

Kristen, as she and Dorian danced and turned, caught glimpses of the others. Oh my, it seemed that both Tinker and Liza were late, and tardiness was never a very becoming look. Evangeline! How much Kristen just wanted to have a small moment to speak with Evangeline, not as it would be between initiate and Proctor, but as they had in the past, between two members of House Pirian. Meredith and Sable, along with Henk and Noel, were going through the motions, though in Kristen's estimation it appeared that the former were enjoying themselves more so than the latter. Chasmine and Edric were doing...well? My, had one or both of them (couldn't possibly be both of them!) paid extra attention to Evangeline's short dance lessons prior to the ball? But it was the--albeit amateurish--spin that Vance gave for Ella that alighted a small spark of competitive jealousy in Kristen.

Kristen had an idea to politely upstage them.

"Dorian," she said, accompanying his name with an encouraging smile for what she was about to suggest. "Would you like to dip me? Place my right hand on your shoulder, hold me at the waist and back with both hands, steady yourself, and rotate to your left."

Dorian Vance Calgrave Eleanor