Fae Courts Hounds & Horns

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"Oh, there is your guest. Saang, did you know she ripped the skirt of her dress? I spent the better part of this week getting it done and she has ripped it." Her lips pouted lightly, and she turned her green gaze to Paetr.

"My guest?" Saang blinked, briefly confused on who it was he'd been expecting. He had, of course, invited Ianthe to join him but social outings were not among her things she enjoyed. Rather than pester after her company, Saang was reluctantly content to simply offer her another job instead. Ianthe rarely ever turned down work.

In looking about, his eyes nearly skated over her figure on the first pass, not expecting her in any capacity this evening, and then did a blinking double take as the blue beauty turned about with an unknown upon the dance floor. Wide was the breadth of his gaze and slack went his jaw as his eyes locked upon her figure in bewildered wonder.

"Dress," he pointed after her, completely missing the part where she'd ripped it. Ianthe was wearing a dress.

Ianthe was wearing a dress.

And she looked- "Beautiful..." Saang melted on the spot, eyes welling up in adoration of the sight before him. That she was dancing with another was not even registering in his mind.
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"Beautiful..." Saang melted on the spot, eyes welling up in adoration of the sight before him. That she was dancing with another was not even registering in his mind.

"Oi!" went Paetr.

He delivered a playful slap to Saang's cheek.

"Stop fucking crying before you make me start. Go tell that dog to fuck off out of your way."

Paetr turned to grin at Seryn.

"We'll be right behind you."
"Change? My Lord, you look regal as you are now." All worry of being unprepared for multiple looks for one event dissipated as soon as Paetr was outraged on her behalf of the ruined dress. Seryn tried to keep her lips from stretching further than her small smile, but when Paetr offered to accompany her for the first dance, she was beaming at the thought.

She was happy to hear his compliment, suggesting she would be a highly sought after dance partner. Seryn did not dare correct him that he probably meant Signe to be the prized Lusce sister.

Saang's distracted attention was ignored, her eyes following Lord Paetr like a young girl with her heart in a flurry.

Her heart raced seeing him grin her way, as if they were now a team. She had never known any other team than with her siblings, but Seryn, with blushing cheeks, held her hand out towards Paetr.

"At least I have someone worthy of defending my hard work. I thank you Lord Paetr. Perhaps you will help snap some sense into my brother."

Saang Lusce
Solenne smiled at the individual with the decorative headpiece, rust coloured eyes glancing between him and the King. It was entertaining to watch them both, far more entertaining than watching the goblin being dragged towards the pumpkin carving. The sounds that came from that wretched thing were almost unnatural.

The sidhe turned all attention back to the two in her presence, lifting a dark brow. "I do love a theme. Each of you look the part." She liked any excuse to dress for an occasion.

Wings fluttered as she contently brought her glass to her lips, draining the remaining wine left in it before placing it on a nearby table. "Are you part of his court then, Curcurbita?"

Nairth San'Seya
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Curcurbita's eyes, such as they were at least, took on an almost comical innocence at the Monarch's words and a thin gnarled hand laid upon his own breast.
"Highness," he addressed simply "I am awed by your generosity of spirit." Again he gestured wildly this time to Solenne.
"Have you ever seen such a thing? A vagabond gifted clothes by King?"
He gave a pathetic and short chortle that died in the air as he once again lifted his hand to his massive head.
"Ahem, apologies again. I beg your indulgence."
Solenne asked him a question and he did not know the answer.
"Eh, the King of Spring has graciously welcomed me to be part of his court but in truth I know not where hence I came. Only that I am a criminal and I am unworthy of any kindness his Majesty, or any else, may offer."
He didn't meet either Solenne nor Nairth's gaze. Instead he cast his eyes downward, to the leaf strewn floor.
His childish voice full of guilt at his forgotten crimes.

Nairth San'Seya Solenne
Wrongtoe snapped their mouth shut and glared at Signe with large, slit pupils. Goblins could almost all be bribed reliably and it didn't even cost that much. Ianthe often had Wrongtoe go sneaking with the promise of sausages, frogs or just shards of coloured glass.
*You promise?*
Goblins could liked to think they could get a good bargain out of anyone. This was never true, except for the great Goblin legend of Goldnose who once it was said charmed the very scales from a snake in exchange for a few pieces of useless rocks.

Signe Lusce
The pumpkin carver was furiously carving now, grunting and huffing as if compelled by some muse to draw the scene before him. He thought the duanann and goblin to be a strange duo, but now in the midst of their fae deal, he was struck by such ingenuity he was beginning to cry tears of joy.

Signe smiled sweetly, glossy lips curving up to match the sparkle in her eye. It was in her nature to enjoy deals of any kind, from simple trades to full on take over in assets.

Only if you promise that afterwards you dance with me in my celebration of the seasons without clawing, kicking, screaming, biting, spitting, drooling, urinating, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, retching, tooting, defecating, scratching, gurgling and crying.” The sweet smile didn’t falter even as she spoke. “And I promise to do the one thing you want to do for fun.” Magic thrummed for a moment between her fingertips, a glow just beneath her skin. It was gone faster than anyone could blink.

Tiny arms and legs spread wide to embrace the trade. Traditionally Goblins shook spit covered hands but promises worked just as well for things like this.
True to their word (though they did not enjoy the act any more than before) Wrongtoe became calm and still, almost doll-like in their new pacifism.
"Tuk muga gril tam-tam!"
*I want to break that!"
Wrongtoe pointed across the hall to a rather wonderful and ornate statue of a beautiful snow faerie dancing naked among wild thorns.
It wasn't that Wrongtoe disliked it. It was just that it would please them to break it.
Wrongtoe flashed the Duanann with a wicked grin.
Order was the enemy of all goblins. Theirs was disorder and ruin and if Wrongtoe was forced to attend this party then SOMETHING was going to get broken.

Signe Lusce
You want to break…” Eyes that put emeralds to shame followed the goblin’s dirty finger to land on a statue that looked a little too much like her. It was a snow fairy, as could be seen by the sort of wings it had and how it’s hair had expertly been carved to reflect the lovely yet curious way snow fairy’s hair seem to waft about their face like clouds. It was how it was dancing which reminded the statue of herself.

Joyous and free, the statue reflected back to Signe much how she felt when she was able to truly dance. It was the only time in the Night Court that she had felt free. Signe wasn’t sure why the goblin wanted to break something that had been made with such sincerity and good craftsmanship. She frowned, just as the gnome held up their masterpiece with all the confidence the world-renowned wood carver Georgios Nakashima would have.

That’s a little too close to the Erlking’s line of sight.” It wasn’t necessarily, but it wasn’t well-hidden either. Signe sighed which displeased the muse-struck gnome and he grumbled, very loudly, a few choice words that had the field mice chittering in agreement. The squeaking mice brought her attention to the gnome and she smiled, putting Wrongtoe on the ground so she could stand up properly. She had to or risk ripping a seam. Sashaying over, she collected their pumpkin, holding the smallest pumpkin she ever saw with both hands. Her own head was at least twice as big.

Oh wow, this is… in such likeness of Wrongtoe. They look so small!” Her face wasn’t that round, was it? The gnome nodded their head proudly and held up their hand, wanting something in return. Signe took out their right earring, gold and inlaid with pigeon blood rubies that blended in with her hair so much it was hard to recognize the jewels. “Here you go. Good work.” The gnome looked at the earring, put it between it’s large square teeth and tested the quality. It grinned wildly up at Signe and gave her a little bow.

Here you go, Wrongtoe. Don’t you just love it?” She turned to the goblin, plopping the pumpkin into it’s grubby hands.

Nairth graciously chose to ignore the heaps of praise that Curcurbita showered him with. Of course, being a King meant he had a rather lofty opinion of himself, but his ego wasn't so fragile that it needed such feeding. San'Seya did, however, feel the need to elaborate on the relationship his strange friend had with the Spring, his golden eyes looking past the now dejected Fae to meet Solenne's.

"Curcurbita followed what memory he did have, and those remnants led him to Grovehaven, Spring's heart. That leads me to believe that he was at the very least associated with my court before his ousting. Unfortunately, that would have happened during the reign of my predecessor, and I've no way of ascertaining his exact origins."

It was an unusual situation, to be sure. The possibility that Curcurbita was some forgotten enemy of the Spring Court wasn't out of the realm of possibility, and while Nairth doubted it, he couldn't definitively claim that the strange fellow wasn't a danger of any kind.

There was his trusting nature, again. Briefly looking at the pumpkin-headed man, he let out a small sigh and extended a hand to pat the poor sap's shoulder comfortingly.

"I would argue that deriding one's self for a crime that they cannot recall is somewhat counter-productive, if not foolish. Were your transgressions so long ago that they have faded from memory, I see no reason why you must still bear their weight upon your back. Or, in this case, your head."

Solenne Curcurbita
"Change? My Lord, you look regal as you are now."

"Oh you are too kind," Paetr replied. "I am entirely overdressed."

She might have thought that he meant too formal.

"On a night of Hunting I prefer to be dressed down, like your bother," he said. By which he meant wearing less. "Or to appear truly intimidating."

"At least I have someone worthy of defending my hard work. I thank you Lord Paetr. Perhaps you will help snap some sense into my brother."

"Ah, but what would we be without the artisans who make our music, our stories and the finery that separates us from...humans."


He offered his arm,

"...We should take this dance before I am in no fit state to be on your arm."

Paetr would be indulging in every violent excess before the night was done.
Solenne silently took in the words of the sovereign ruling the Spring Court, feeling a sort of understanding personally to the topic of punishment. Yet her gaze narrowed, thoughts coming together like an answer forming one by one.

"Is that... not a costume?" She asked sheepishly, looking between Curcurbita and Nairth. Solenne would stop herself from asking further questions, whether he was able to change the shape or look. The word  punishment popped back in mind, and Lenny pursed her lips tight. Perhaps not...

"At least having no prior memory means a fresh start. A canvas left to be filled with picture. I have always believed in clean slates." To a fault, in her case. And with such festive atmosphere for a hunt, she did not feel compelled to enlighten anyone with her story so openly.

Nairth San'Seya
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"...We should take this dance before I am in no fit state to be on your arm."
Seryn abandoned Saang's side and tucked a dainty hand at the crook of his elbow, thumb lightly pressing to his bicep as a reflex of being comfortable.

Despite the nerves he gave her, Seryn felt at ease at his side. Like this was not their first meeting, that perhaps they had been in the same circles and never conversed until now.

The strings kept a light rhythm, perfect for a simple waltz that she could pretend to have some control of. Signe was always the stronger dancer, but Seryn was quick on her feet. She would follow Paetr's lead, her eyes darting around their surroundings as they spun in time to the tempo.

"Forgive me, I have not danced in a very long while. I had to enlist the help of my sisters to remember what dance was what... but I  know all the dances, I just sort of... momentarily forgot..."

With a wicked grin Wrongtoe took the pumpkin which in their hands was large indeed but when they lay their large yellow eyes upon the image their smile faded. Their ears dropped and a solemn seriousness came over their person.
"Wroogee... Vallabak?"
"This is... For me?"
It was without a doubt, the least talented, blocky, hastily carved pumpkin Wrongtoe had ever seen and it would only rot and stink from this point onward eventually becoming a pile of stinky matter.
Those massive eyes looked up at Signe whom they saw in a whole new darkness now.
"Th... Thaaaank yuuu!"
Wrongtoe didn't often speak any other language than Gobbledygook but they knew it well enough.
Signe had earned herself a bit of respect now.

Signe Lusce
Curcurbita had to try very hard to not retreat from his Highness' touch. Unworthy as he was to receive it he knew that Nairth meant to behave differently from other Monarchs. He was, something of a casual King.
"It may be but currently it is all I have Highness."
His voice was soft and obliging. Solenne again asked a question of him and he seemed to shrink, aware of his tallness among them.
"Heh, no. My Lady I am as I appear."
His hands gestured meekly outwards.
"This, is all I am. No costume, no illusions. I apologise again for my most unfit appearance."
Standing a bit taller now Curcurbita felt better at Solenne's next sentence. It was nice to be among those who did not judge him but it felt wrong to him. He was a walking warning, if people felt badly for him he was doing his job but if people liked him... If his life got better then, well that's not even a punishment is it?
"With respect, Lady Solenne. My lack of memory is not a gift. It is a punishment. You see I cannot make new memories. I shall forget much of tonight by the next full moon and while I retain knowledge of his Highness..." His large orange head intoned towards Nairth "...it is only because I have seen him much since his good Son... Prince... I... I..." Panic and realisation came over his face as he again bowed to Nairth.
"Forgive me, Highness. I have forgotten your Princely Heir. I mean no disrespect in it."

Nairth San'Seya Solenne
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Ianthe barely managed to bite the inside of her cheek in time to stop her lips from peeling back from her teeth in disgust. They were her salvation from the Erlking, whoever they were, and it was not as if she had the time to be picky. As their eyes wandered from top to toe she made her own sweeping assessment. Pretty, she supposed, certainly workable even if she did have to breathe through her mouth. Perhaps the type one might mistake to be her type with those dangerous teeth and the glint in their eyes. As they whisked her onto the dance floor she chanced a glance over to the Erlking who watched in bemusement. The kelpie suppressed her frustrations as best she could though it came out in the sharp edge to her smile.

"A terrible dancer, I'm afraid," Kelpies did not exactly find themselves often enough in a ballroom to have a need to learn. Humans often called fighting a dance but Ianthe had always sneered at the description. Whoever was able to romanticise fighting was clearly not in a real battle. "Thank you for indulging my request," she fluttered her lashes in a clear mockery of more than one swooning dancer nearby.
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Wrongtoe’s giant bug eyes that were far too big for their face were adorable in the moment they thanked Signe. The duanann felt her heart swell, eyes crinkling up to match her ebullient smile. She couldn’t contain it as warmth spread across her chest.

It had been many months since that genuine smile had shown itself and all because it was the first time that Wrongtoe hadn’t spoken in Iza to her. Signe had never been more glad to hear Iza.

A bubbly excitement settled over her as looked at Wrongtoe holding the pumpkin. She could already picturing them treasuring it for forever and reminiscing fondly on tonight. Why, the poor thing would probably cry when the pumpkin began to sag. She wouldn’t remind Wrongtoe of such unpleasantness.

You’re welcome, Wrongtoe.” Signe continued smiling as she spoke. She leaned down, a hand going to pat the goblin on the head. She had probably made their night. She should be known for such things: Signe, the secret Goblin Whisperer.

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"Forgive me, I have not danced in a very long while. I had to enlist the help of my sisters to remember what dance was what... but I  know all the dances, I just sort of... momentarily forgot..."

"Oh think nothing of it," Paetr replied.

Even if his side of the Night Court war was the more moderate, he still appreciated women and lesser fae with an apologetic nature.

"Fortunately I am an excellent dancer," he said without ego. It was without a sense of self-awareness either.

With his right hand against her shoulder blade, her hand in his left, it was easy to direct her. Paetr had always found something sensual about the advance, her feet spreading apart in the long stride to make room for him.

He would have preferred something that called for her closer to his broad chest, but this was a nice, simple dance to get to know one another to.

With a grin, Paetr pulled her into a quicker spin.

"And so are you."
Her breath caught in her throat, taken by the Lord that grinned at her after bestowing the compliment upon her. Everyone had always marveled at how Signe would dance, how her other sisters were such accomplishments in what they pursued, and Seryn was only an adequate female in the words of her father that she had not meant to hear once upon a time.

Paetr made Seryn feel so much more than she ever believed herself becoming.

His words awarded him the rare smile that reached her eyes, those tourmaline greens never leaving the gaze of her dance partner as they moved in perfect synchronization. "I will happily relinquish the role of teacher to you, Lord Paetr. If you wish to spend more time with me, that is. I would hate to deprive you from doing whatever your original plans for the evening were." Seryn at least planned to dance a few dances with whichever suitor was willing to oblige before calling the evening a success and retiring.

Perhaps she may stay longer just to get to know the Night Court Lord a little better...

"I will happily relinquish the role of teacher to you, Lord Paetr. If you wish to spend more time with me, that is. I would hate to deprive you from doing whatever your original plans for the evening were."

"Oh I rarely stick to the plan," Paetr mused.

It was, in fact, a source of great dismay for the advisors of the Rovomane family. The best laid plans rarely stood in the face of Paetr's mood swings.

Paetr took her left hand and drew it to his back, just above his hip. With both hands now free, he held her back with strong reassuring hands. His left foot swept out to the side and he pulled Seryn into a dip. With Seryn only coming up to his shoulders, he had to take a long stride and hinged at the waist as she was swept from her feet.

"But look for so many so desperate to entertain me when I can entertain a lady worth my time?"

He drew her sharply back to her feet, back into the elegant rhythm of the dance.

He glanced over his shoulder. Saang was still occupied.

"Seryn, the only thing could possibly enjoy after this dance is a walk with you -and perhaps a little privacy - as we explore one another more."

His smile was far less elegant than the dance. It spoke of the line they had to toe. And of how close they could come to breaking it.
He brought out another smile from her, and Seryn dropped her gaze to his chest to hide her face, the charm he spoke with playing with her shy demeanor.

"I would love to accompany you for a walk." Just as her mother taught her, she lifted her head enough so that her green eyes could glance upwards, through her lashes which Signe helped darken to make her eyes pop more than the softer look Seryn preferred to adopt. Her smile was pleasant, coming to her easily now that she became more comfortable in the presence of Lord Paetr.

"How odd of a feeling it is to want to finish this dance quickly, but also to never end so that I could remember this moment." Confident enough now with the footwork, she stepped in closer towards him, leaning her head back enough to peer up at him without straining her neck too much. "Why have I never seen you at past functions when we resided in the Night Court?" She had thought she met all the eligible bachelors or friends of friends of the family. Seryn had only ever heard of Lord Paetr when Saang mentioned him.

She had danced with many lords and rich males of the Night Court before, but none could compare to how Paetr made her feel: at ease and nervous all the same. As if he were the calmest of waves that then grew into her giant swells, the kind that had such force to crash against rocks.

As if she wished she could be much closer to him... but Signe and Saang were present here. Many others were present... and it was very unlike Seryn to think such a thought...

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"A terrible dancer, I'm afraid," Kelpies did not exactly find themselves often enough in a ballroom to have a need to learn. Humans often called fighting a dance but Ianthe had always sneered at the description. Whoever was able to romanticise fighting was clearly not in a real battle. "Thank you for indulging my request," she fluttered her lashes in a clear mockery of more than one swooning dancer nearby.

"Well," Aelas smiled indulgently to the kelpie, taking those words as their cue to lead the dance, "nobody's perfect."

Rubies flared behind a narrowing wince of their smile as it pressed up into their cheeks at the flutter of eyelashes, clearly understanding the mockery of her show. "You did not give me much choice in the matter," they replied as the pair of them were caught into the tide of the dancefloor among all the others waltzing away, "but I would not have declined had you asked. It has been quite some time since I have seen hide or scale of a kelpie. Let alone a free one-"

Aelas then stopped abruptly, wind sharply shunted from their lungs as their back swung into something quite tall, solid, and crimson.
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The slap did it. Saang felt his crossing wires suddenly sort themselves out while Paetr slipped away to the dance floor with his sister. The burning embers of his eyes softened as his gaze shifted shortly from the cerulean apple of his eye to that of Seryn's blushing smile. It was nice to see her finally enjoying herself, though Saang had never intended for the impetus of that enjoyment to be Paetr. There was a mess brewing from this coupling, he could feel it, but...

Seafoam shifted across his peripheral once more and Saang decided not to fret on such things. For now. With his own warming smile he shifted through the crowd of fae encircling the dance floor to find his way to the only one he intended to dance with tonight. His intuition placed him keenly within the floor's edge, and as intended he stood strong against the jostling of the unknown, smaller shuck.

"Apologies," he said gently with an undercurrent of intent as he placed a hand on the shuck's shoulder and suffused the fae with lackadaisical glee, "but my time here tonight is limited and I mean to spend it with my very dear friend here," his eyes slid to Ianthe, "if she will allow me to steal her away, of course."

A hand lowered past Aelas' shoulder in offer to her.

Ianthe's smile began to falter as her mysterious mutt started down the topic of what she was. Of course everyone here would know what she saw; her scent was obvious despite the perfumes Sybil had all but dunked over her head. But so was the lack of iron tang that usually marred her kind. Strange how she had felt more vulnerable since they had been removed. It was not a sensation Ianthe was used to feeling.

A flicker of relief crossed her face as their words were cut off though she was about to offer a few choice words to whoever had interrupted their dance. She had actually been enjoying it - though she would have had Wrongtoe rip the tendons from their ankles if anyone had so much as suggested she enjoyed dancing. Whatever sharp words she was about to throw at the newcomer died when she looked up into eyes more familiar than her own.

The unfamiliar feeling of her heart tripping over itself made her forget how to breathe.

Ianthe stared dumbly at the outstretched hand towards her then across to her partner. She felt just a twinge of pity.

"Thank you, for the save," she said by way of farewell as she slid her hand into Saangs, her skin tingling at the familiar, homely warmth, and stepped away from her odd match into the arms of an even odder one. Almost immediately the smile vanished replaced with her typical scowl.

"What took you so long?"
"Pleasure was all mine," the shuck tittered in reply as it slipped away, high on the ephemeral energies of the Kelpie Commander who now collected Ianthe into his arms and stepped with her back into the circle waltz as if they'd never missed a beat.

Saang was all warmth, like the hearth of a cozy, comfortable, well-loved home. His gaze a gentle flicker of a candle flame fell without greed or desire across her, but wonder and calm delight. How charming she looked, second only to when her face reddened with fury for some silly slight ... ah, just as it began to now. His easy smile split into one of anxious embarrassment, "Ah - well, I must admit I spent several moments simply watching you from across the way... after running into an unexpected familiar face."

"You look so different, I could hardly believe my eyes."