The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

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Contains RPGs that are finished.
Lien watched with impassive eyes as the performers took to the stage. He heard the swell of music, saw the acrobat tumble down her ribbons, her body on garish display. He looked beyond her. He heard the roar of the animals, and the female pantheras woman rein in control. He saw beyond her as his hair slowly bled from the severe color to midnight blue with vibrant pink tips. He watched clowns play, stuntmen thrill and the horsewoman try out her new act. He smirked as the undying man was tortured for the pleasure and disgust of the audience, and he cared little, if at all. There was no malice registered in the Seer’s eyes nor was there any pleasure. There was only the slight sad look as he looked beyond all of the performers and saw through those that were there and to the spirits that hovered behind their loved ones, watching them instead of the show. He sighed and shook his head.

Finally, the show was over and the man packed up his cards, took his money, pocketed it, doffed his hat to the woman that was sitting before him, looking flabbergasted at what he had told her, and he left her quickly. He saw the princess walking out and he stepped deftly between the guards and bowed to her. “Lady, before your men skewer me on the point of their…whatever weapons they are carrying. Let me just…give you one final performance. Not one that has the showmanship of the others but mine…is a bit longer lasting.”

He reached into his bag, pulled out a card deck and held them before her. “I know, you’ve probably been shammed by people before, but they aren’t me,” he paused, not for effect but because he was considering something before he shrugged and continued. “I’m a Seer, one of the few Cassandra seers, and male,” he laughed as if being male was something that surprised him. “Let me tell you your fortune, Lady. Let me just,” he smirked and looked over her shoulder, catching the eye of the young male spirit that stood behind the princess. Ah, it was something that he could do, something… a dangerous gleam caught in the chaos figure’s eyes as his eyes changed to a bright purple. “If not, at least let me know what you thought of the show,” he murred quietly as he lightly attempted to abscond one of the guard’s weapons. More than being a seer, he was infamous for his light fingers and pick pocketing skills. He lifted purses, jewelry, anything he could and would hide it away. He’d sell it later or keep it. He was much like a bird with a love of shiny things, even if they were worthless. Weapons though, they fetched a good price.

-----////Eumelia’s Post

Eumelia peered out from the tent after the show was over and saw the nimble figured Lien move to the Princess. She smiled slightly; Lien was one of the few that had talked to her when she joined. Even the men that were in her act didn’t talk to her, much too put off with the show that she put on and the fact that she made it clear that she would never lie with them, her standards were much too high. She tossed her head back and sidestepped as she shifted back with a tired noise into the hybrid form. She tottered unsteadily on her legs and had to lean on a pillar as she wiped the makeup from her body, leaving her skin pale with the grey brindling patterns.

She breathed out slowly and to comfort herself, she started humming a soft tune. Her people, when they spoke, were musical by nature and it was so very lonely when she thought to herself, no longer connected to any of her people and having yet to meet someone that could speak to her, mind to mind and understand her language. She petted the side of her horse’s neck and led him into the stall, boxing him in and then turned away from him and left. She walked slowly, wincing at the pain in her legs. The running during the show killed her hips, because she wasn’t meant to stay in her hybrid form for long, but she was a stubborn female and refused to change to her full form unless she was in her area.

She moved to the side and braided her hair tightly. She wondered if she should go check on Atticus and Laine, but she immediately thought against it. She would never be accepted into the main group and wouldn’t try. She would white scarves around her chest and secured them with a silver leaf-shaped broach. She walked to a bench and sank down onto it. Her hand splayed over the rough wood as she took a shuddering breathe in and then exhaled again, waiting for the pain to ease so that she could get up and walk around, curious to see if there were any men or women that wanted a companion for the night.
And therefore, — since I cannot prove a lover, To entertain these fair well-spoken days, — I am determined to prove a villain, And hate the idle pleasures of these days.


"And thus I clothe my naked villainy With odd old ends, stol'n out of holy writ; And seem a saint, when most I play the devil."
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Laine lay across the bed at Atticus’ feet. The noise of a glass being roughly placed down and some movement around her caused Laine to sit up. She brushed a few stray strands of hair out of her face and looked around. In the dim lights she could see Atticus moving.

She kept her voice somewhat quiet but the smile could be heard in her tone. “You’re awake.” The smile immediately fell away as it became apparent that he was trying to get out of bed. That was the movement she felt. Standing quickly, Laine went and stood in front of him to block his movement out of bed.

Laine’s tone changed, “No, absolutely not. “ Laine crossed her arms and shook her head. In the faint lights a slight frown could be seen on her face. “A deal is a deal. You were to let me fuss over you until I was satisfied that you were okay. I am not okay with the wounds yet. Get back into bed. They have not brought your cane so you are not going anywhere any time soon. There are strict orders for no one but Cooper or John to disturb this room. “ Her blue eyes flashed, the stubbornness clear in her voice. They seemed to be at a bit of a stalemate. Atticus’ face seemed give Laine a clear sign that he was intent on leaving and Laine was not going to let that happen.

Taking a few breathes; Laine crouched and placed one hand on his good knee and one on the bed. “Please, you made a deal with me. I put the blade in when the princess did not. You agreed to let me take care of you.” Her voice was soft again. As she looked at Atticus’ face, there was a slight pleading in her eyes.

Giving a small smile, Laine kept looking at Atticus gave a slight shrug as she continued to argue her case. “What do you have to fear from letting me look after you? I expect nothing from you. I just want to make sure that wound; the one that I caused is fine before I let you go back to your bunk. All you have to do is lay there, sleep, and anything else you normally do after your act to heal. If you need anything I simply want to make sure you get it without any effort to yourself. I am allowed to worry about you. More than that, you agreed to let me worry and fuss over you.” Laine remained crouched at his knees. The room was quiet around them.

Laine’s right hand remained on his leg. She waved her left hand indicting the room to him. “This is the safest place in the entire circus. No one will bother you. I won’t allow Cooper to yell at you until you are fully healed. No one bothers me. John won’t let anyone in. Like a monk’s cell. Cooper takes security very seriously.” Laine looked at him, her tone quite soft but firm as she tried to make her point. “Really, does it do any harm to let someone take care of you? Is it really such a bother to you to allow me look after you?”

Laine bit her lip. She was fighting the urge to feel a bit hurt that Atticus would back out of the deal like this. Laine looked at the tattooed man sitting on her bed, the one who hours earlier she had plunged a blade into and fought hard to keep the stubbornness in her eyes. “Rest, that’s all I ask, nothing more.”
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Kate stopped, her cheeks still streaked with tears as she held her blood-stained hand in front of her mouth, not wanting to touch anything and sully herself further but unable to resist the urge to prevent others from seeing the state she was in. She glanced up fearfully at the strange man who'd approached her. Was this not the end? Hadn't enough happened tonight?

She had half a mind to order him to leave her. With one twitch of a finger, she could have her bodyguards (who had hastily followed her out of the tent, much to her tearful frustration), shoulder him out of the way and allow her to continue.

From behind her, filtering out from the tent, there came a collective gasp littered with a few screams. Kate flinched violently, knowing what had just taken place. She glanced back from where she had come but could see nothing but the brightening lights and hear the faint strains of Sir Cooper's voice rising from the ring. Suddenly, she was too tired to resist. With a wave of her hand, she signalled to her bodyguards and let the oddly attired man lead her to a narrow wooden bench a little way away from the main entrance to the tent.

What harm could a fortune do? But then, what harm had she thought she could do before just a few moments ago?

"The show was... better than I expected," she said, trying and failing to inject a little strength and surety into her voice. She put out her hand for him to read, realised it was splattered with blood and quickly withdrew it. A bodyguard handed her a handkerchief and she took it gratefully, wiping off the worst before holding it back out again. "E-Excuse me," she went on. "The final act. I- Well, yes. Get on with it then."

Atticus scowled in exasperation and continued to shift his injured leg to the side of the bed.

"Next time, I'll do it myself then!" he said, his voice harsh. But then, checking himself, he went on in a marginally more measured tone. "The deal was you would make sure I was OK. And I am. Now move."

Ignoring her hand on his knee, he reached up to grasp the frame above the narrow bunk bed and, not having his cane to help him, used his upper body strength to pull himself to his feet. Once there, he paused for a brief moment to fight against a vague and sudden sense of dizziness then limped awkwardly around her and towards the door that led outside. Without his cane, walking was excruciating and his limp exaggerated but he could make it across the performers area at the very least.

Someone, Laine probably, had brought him a jumper from his quarters and had left it neatly folded on the bedside table. He bent to pick it up and pulled it on against the night chill outside, the bandages disappearing beneath the fabric.

He stopped at the doorway and half-turned, feeling guilt creep up upon him. It made him speak but it wouldn't prevent him from returning back to his room.

"Thanks," he said. "But you are asking more than that."

With that, he pushed open the door, stepped outside and began to make his slow way across the open grass towards his own quarters. There was no one still up now and the embers of the fire in the centre glowed beneath unfamiliar stars.
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Laine fought the tears that were beginning to sting her eyes. She wasn't asking for more. Then it hit her. Perhaps, the issue wasn't with the circumstances it was her. She sat heavily on her bed, wiped her face and pulled her knees up. Laine had encountered many men in her lifetime. Generally they fell into two categories. Ones who wanted to use her and ones who couldn't stand to look at her. Some wanted to use her to make money, like the man who owned her debt before Cooper bought it. Others wanted to use her body like a toy. Then there was a select group of men who wanted nothing to do with her what so ever. Laine had learned how to steel herself off from both kinds so that it didn't bother her. After all, those that wanted to use her body had to have her permission to do so and those that despised her could be ignored.

Laine thought back to Atticus' reactions to her over the last twenty four hours. He had asked her to complete his act if the princess bailed but he was not exactly warm about asking. He was gruff, as if the very sight of her was a hassle. Asking her to do it must have been a last ditch attempt, likely no one else agreed. Then, of course, why hadn't she seen it before. He wouldn't even look at her. Laine had finished her act and he wouldn't even raise his head. Then he had closed his eyes before she stabbed him. Laine had thought that it was a reaction to the coming pain. He had never done that before but she had never been so close. Her presence that close must have been horrendous for him. Now this, all she wanted to do was help, to make sure he was okay. It bothered Laine that after such an act he was left alone. What if something went wrong? What if he didn't wake up? The thought made Laine shiver. Obviously, being in her room, allowing her to care for him was too much for him to handle. He couldn't wait to leave.

Laine curled up on her bed. "Fair enough, you shouldn't have pushed so. Apologies are owed in the morning." There was no bitterness, no anger behind the thought. Laine knew she couldn't make someone want to be around her no more than the men who wanted to use her body could convince her to let them. Closing her eyes she made a promise to herself to seek Atticus out in the morning and apologize for making him so uncomfortable. She should have known better. Her heart hurt a little that she had upset him the way she had. "So much anger..." She closed her eyes and fell into a restless sleep.
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By the amount of applause she received after her exit, it confirmed her belief of an excellent performance. She took no notice of Laine or Atticus, instead she quickly took up residence on several stacked wooden boxes and gazed through a slit in the curtain. Karenza had seen all the acts numerous times before, but she still enjoyed watching the tumbling and swirling colors of the other performers. However, tonight was quite the treat as Eumelia took to the ring in a dazzling display of horsemanship. Karenza wished she could appreciate the display like the humans in the stands. She found it nearly impossible to see anything but prey out in the ring, running, just waiting for her to chase and feast upon.

Attempting to salvage some dignity Karenza fluidly jumped off the boxes and disappeared back to her own tent. Atticus’s act always made her think of a fresh kill, blood dripping while the prey’s heart slowed and finally stopped. Shaking her head to clear the primal thoughts, she began to remove her costume. Once free from the restriction, she snuck around the other tents, her senses alert for the slightest sound. Karenza felt like a wisp of shadowy smoke, snaking silently over the ground unseen by all. She found her prowling had taken her right to the entrance of the horse stables, the rafters were rather perfect for walking on in there. It reminded her of the long ago trees she had climbed on her planet.

Out of courtesy, she limited her time in the building. The stupid horses always sensed her presence within moments of her arrival. With one mighty leap she caught the beam and dung her front claws in before smoothly pulling up and crouching on all fours. Her senses were flooded with the smell of horse, which made her mouth water instinctively. Anxious nickers filled the stalls as she strode silently over their furry heads. It was difficult for the predator to ignore the sounds of cornered and trapped prey, but Karenza knew she had to appear civilized to others. There were enough rumors about her.

Eumelia surprised Karenza, it was not often that the courtesan was alone. Many men sought her company. Though many of the performers kept themselves distanced from the young woman, whether it was from awkwardness or a belief against her species few wanted to talk or be in here presence. At first Karenza had been elated a fellow non-human had joined, for so long she had felt lonely and left out; but it was not to be. During their first meeting Karenza could only think about what it would be like to hunt and each such a remarkable creature, no matter how much she reasoned the consequences of thinking in such a way. It was impossible to banish her deeply ingrained hunter instinct. Now she took to spending as little time as possible with the courtesan, it was safer for the both of them. Not that Karenza would ever tell the kindly woman the reason for avoiding her company.

Karenza was about to leave, but she knew it would be impolite to leave without at least complimenting Eumelia on her performance. Silent as a shadow Karenza dropped from the rafters near the end of the stall row, as she walked past the stalls the occupants screamed in fear. Karenza didn’t even bother to offer soothing words to the distressed animals they always behaved like that around her and no amount of soft words would get them to trust her.

She would only stay a moment anyway; she was determined to keep her mind on other things during that time. Karenza averted her eyes as she spoke to Eumelia, “You were marvelous tonight, all the audience was on their feet at the conclusion. I imagine several will come back and watch a second time.”
Stupidity is the only universal capital crime.
There is no limit to how bad things can get.
Someone once asked me, 'Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?'
I replied, 'Why do you assume I see two roads?'
Depression is merely anger minus the enthusiasm.
Let no one think I gave in.
I chose to quit.
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Lien waited not with bated breath but with a sort of calm that exuded from him. For such a tall man, clothed in strange and revealing clothes, he was gentle and generally the way that he felt affected the people around him. At least, it affected the spirits that hung around the humans whose attention they were trying to get. “Princess,” he said, pitching his voice soft as to settle the poor creature’s words. “That was a cruel thing that Atticus had you do, and on your birthday too, allow me to make amends, or try to,” he said as he surreptitiously slid what he stole into his bookbag and removed the deck of cards. He looked over them, tossing one deck after another back into his bag until he was left with a simple, worn, deck. He frowned when he saw it, his fingertips trailing over one worn corner. “It’s a good deck, Lady…” he whispered.

At his left stood a woman with long black hair, dressed in a red gown. Her form, effervescent and seemingly fading in and out as she got closer to Lien, only to have the man step away. For most people, she was the only true spirit that they would ever see, and it was the one spirit that Lien constantly ignored. Lien deftly flipped through the deck, shuffled it, but he wasn’t about to read the cards. Not when there was someone that looked heartbroken, standing right behind the princess. Lien studied the fair youth, saw the mark of love on his face as well as the red blossom of blood that bloomed over his chest. “My Lady…” Lien spoke as he gave a hint of a smile. “There is someone here for you, and he’s quite adamant that I don’t read your cards,” he said as the spirit came to stand before him. While the Lady-In-Red could be seen by everyone, as long as she stood by Lien, any other spirit couldn’t be seen and that was what Lien’s job was…he was the speaker for those that died, in hopes that they would pass on.

He heard the chortle of Kate’s women as they laughed, clearly disbelieving what Lien was doing. The man frowned, of course, there were those that were hacks, that pretended to be able to see spirits…but he didn’t just see them. He talked to them, he knew, felt, saw how they died. He suffered as they suffered and what he did was no laughing matter. Still, the serving women were not what he was focusing on. Instead, it was just Kate and the young man that was then whispering in his ear.

“He says that he’s sorry,” Lien said, speaking slowly as he had to figure out what the spirit was trying to tell him. “He said that he never meant to get you into trouble, if you got in trouble after everyone found out what had happened. He said that he will try to find a way to make it up to you. He wonders if you have found freedom within your cage, if you still like the looks of the red flower that grows outside your window. He says that he left you a present among the flowers, that he meant to give it to you today but obviously…” he couldn’t stop the laugh as the spirit made light of his death, “he said that obviously there were things that happened that prevented him from returning to you but that he tried.”

Lien lifted up a hand and stopped the spirit from speaking further, “and anything else that he wishes to say, must be said in private,” he said. He had to make what he said light for the princess would have to figure out who was trying to speak to her, but there were things that the spirit wanted to say that Lien knew wouldn’t be proper in public. “Now, Lady…happy birthday,” he said as he handed her a single white flower. “I hope that you smile.”


Eumelia lifted her head tiredly when she heard her horses cry out. She closed her eyes and rested back, allowing her mind to reach out and soothe the minds of the creatures that were terrified of the arrival of Karenza. “Shush, you silly things…” she reprimanded gently, “she isn’t going to eat you…” she said as the pantheras female came towards her.

“Hello, Lady Karenza,” Eumelia said, speaking softly as her words lilted with the accent of her people, further tainted with the accent of Neptunalia. “I saw your act, I like that you are able to blend terror with the majesty of those large cats,” she said, speaking honestly. “I hope that such a show will prove to people that animals of that magnitude and majesty do not make good pets, and that they are best left to the wilds, or at least those that know how to handle them while still respecting them,” she said. She fell quiet, which was the most that she had spoken since she arrived to travel with this new strange circus.

She smiled wanly at the compliment that was given to her, her eyes still reflected how she felt about such a thing, the looks that the men that worked with her gave her as they held out hope that she would come to their bedchambers and allow them to finish what had been started on stage. “It is my dearest hope that I am able to clientele base here, enough to where I can figure out if there are more of my kind here. Someone I can speak to without speaking outloud,” she explained, frowning as she realized how rude that could have sounded. “I’m sorry, not that there is anything wrong with speaking out loud,” she said before she pushed herself up on unsteady feet.

“May I walk with you back to your chambers?” she wondered, gathering her bag with her garments in them. “I’m afraid that the rumors about me aren’t true. I don’t sleep in a stall with the horses and I am…ready to go lay down,” she said, glad for once that there weren’t any male clients to entertain. “I suppose tomorrow’s show will be much tamer than tonight’s, but we shall see, won’t we?” she asked, her tone light as she moved to stand next to Karenza. She refused to be daunted by the predator female, even though she was so clearly prey. Eumelia was determined to find someone to talk to, and she decided that Karenza, being the first person other than Cooper and Lien to talk to her, would be someone she would try to practice speaking outloud with. It was so strange…hearing her own voice so often, she couldn’t understand how non-telepathic creatures could stand the noise or constant headache.
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Atticus opened the door to his room and shut it behind him before letting himself collapse onto the narrow bed. He lent his head back against the pillow whilst his right hand kneaded his injured leg in a manner that had become so automatic he barely even thought about it any more. Here, he could lie in the quiet darkness alone. Here, he wouldn't have to enact an uneasy conflict inside his own head as a sleeping Laine's hair brushed his leg.

He should probably eat something; the nano-machines used energy and the day after his night-time act he'd need to consume almost double the amount of calories he usually would in order not to lose weight. But his leg ached too much to get up and head to the kitchen of The Traveller, even if he did retrieve his spare cane from the locker on the other side of the room, so he stayed where he was, shifting only to pull the blanket over him. He closed his eyes. Sleep came more easily to him now than it had done. Before he joined Cooper's circus, he could go for days with barely more than an hour or two of slumber, drifting through unfamiliar space stations in a permanent hyper-real haze. Now, maybe it was the act, maybe it was because he had something like a purpose again, he slept better.

It only took a few minutes before he did indeed fall asleep. For the rest of that night, Atticus dreamt that he was suspended from ropes, pulling every muscle into a pose, or hanging by one leg from the trapeze to catch the perfectly contorted form of a woman who's face he couldn't quite see.

Kate didn't react at first to Lien's initial revelation. She felt exhausted and wanted nothing more than to be taken home to the palace where she could curl up on her feather-down bed and hide her head under the covers until sleep found her. The less she said, the quicker this would be.

And yet, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something. Red, textured like fabric. As soon as it appeared, it was gone, leaving nothing but the memory, not even of an image, but more an impression lingering in her mind.

"W- Who?" she said, all the strength sapped from her voice as the hairs on the back of her neck rose and a chill snaked its way down her spine. "Who are you talking-?"

It couldn't be Andrew. It couldn't. He was gone, long ago and Kate didn't believe in the supernatural or life after death or anything but the endless material universe she saw spread out in front of her in her astronomy classes. But how could this strange man know about the flowers? Anything else, he might have easily researched, but the flowers...

Suddenly, it was all too much for her. She took the flower with shaking, blood-streaked hands and the tears came unabated. One of her bodyguards put his arm round her, gently but firmly guiding her away from the big top, away from Lien and towards where her ground-craft waited next to the gates of the compound. She let herself be led, shamefully comforted by the lack of control.

"Come to the palace tomorrow," she called back to Lien, crushing the white flower tightly in the palm of her hand. "P-Please. Ask for Elena Crossgrove. She's my lady's maid; she'll take you to me."

A moment later, she was cocooned by the soft synthetic interior of one of the Royal Ground Transporters and the lights of the circus were just visible through the trees as the craft purred away into the night.
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Re: The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Fri Sep 23, 2011 4:04 pm

As the light left the ring, so too did Cooper. He didn’t need to worry about escorting the princess to the gate, as a long, double line of performers, who hadn’t been in the show, were already forming, starting at the gate and working their way back to the tent. They would form a corridor for her party to walk though and each would wish her a happy birthday. Some had flowers and others had little babbles they had picked up over the four years, since they had last been on Corsivin, believing that they might offer up something she couldn’t get here on her home.

Now, there lay the problem for the less then filthy rich. What did you get a girl, who had enough money to buy anything she wanted on the planet, she would one day rule or could order from the core of human civilization? The answer of course was to be found out on the fringe, where the natural bounty of newly settled planets, were yet unknown anywhere else in the galaxy. Crystals and small gem-like stones were most common things picked up and some of those were very interesting, emitting light or warmth.

The ringmaster hurried back to his tent and picked up a small cage, covered with a cloth. Walking to the gate, he put his burden down and opened it. Inside was a bipedal creature, reptilian in nature and somewhat resembling a theropod dinosaur, about the size of a chicken. Dark, red-brown skin covered it’s lean body, smooth and leather-like. A bright crest of blue and green feathers rested against it’s neck. The jaws were long but thin, filled with small teeth, perfect for catching insects and small pests.

It was called a Jumper but the settlers of Varlorwui IV and naturally lived among herds of Rhinopigs, eating the insect-like animals the herds would flush from the grasses or those living on the bests themselves. The human inhabitants had starting using the Jumpers to keep their fields and homes clear of small animals. Quite tame, they can be rather loving companions, if not abused and will often gather their own food.

Waiting for Kathleen to make her way down to the gate, he slipped a jeweled body harness around the chest of the small beast and attached a very long leash. However the princess seemed to too distort over the last act to accept anything and was whisked through the line by her bodyguard, without a single gift making it into her hands, not even from the owner of the circus

With the Princess on her way back home and the rest of the performers heading back to their tents, Cooper let out a soft breath and relaxed, placing the Jumper back into it’s cage. Plucking the hat from his head, he strolled back to his residence. Now, describing the dirtside dwellings the circus used as tents was more of a tradition then fact, unlike the real tent they used to hold the show in. They were not constructions of cloth or canvas stretched over a thin frame. Instead, they were more small cabins, made from seven pieces of prefabricated plysteel, which could be fitted together in minutes.

Once inside, the ringmaster placed the cage down and then removed his jacket and the waistcoat, laying both out for tomorrow. Next he pulled the silk shirt from where it had been tucked into his trousers and undid a few buttons at the top. Removing his polished boots, he focused his augmented eyes on the bunk and contemplated getting some sleep. With a mental kick, he shook his head and slipped his feet into a pair of worn but comfortable shoes. Atticus’s grumpiness had driven the fact that he had a new act to congratulate, from his mind for a moment.

Giving the tattooed man a silent wish for a little more pain tonight, he walked out of his tent and set off to find Eumelia. The first place he checked was her tent but the Equastron was not there. Not completely unexpected, many of his people, who worked with the animals, would spend a great deal of time making sure the beasts were comfortable and well taken care of, as any good animal trainer should. In fact, he encouraged it, not only for the animal’s welfare but because it was easily documented proof, that they weren’t being abused.

Cooper arrived at the next place he thought he would find the Equastron, the stables. His eyes allowed him to look inside the barns without turning on any lights and the only warm shapes he could make out were the bodies of the horses (or the horse like creatures they could keep among the horses). He had plainly missed Eumelia and now that her horses were taken care of, she could be anywhere. He knew that she entertained with her other skill set and she might have found someone tonight. Maybe he should wait to speak with her until the morning.

It was only a chance glance, which allowed the ringmaster to spot the woman he sought. She was walking back towards the tents with….. Karenza of all people. He knew she had some trouble with the predators in the show and the Panthera lady was very much a primal hunter. It was the oddest pairing he had every seen and that was saying something, considering the circus he owned.

Walking quickly to catch up with the pair, he couldn’t help but notice the dancing sway of Eumelia’s walk. If he had still had his natural eyes in his skull, he would have been hypnotized. Now as a rule, he never let on to female performers that he found them attractive. Activist groups in the Core world or in the Belt had enough ammunition to attempt to shut down his show as is, without adding accusations of sexual harassment or worse. However, if one made an advance at him, well, that was different.

“Good evening” called Cooper, as he caught up with the ladies.
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Karenza was pleased that Eumelia understood her act and the amount of respect that was needed between them to make the act run smoothly. It was also due to Cooper allowing Karenza and her large cats, several vacation type trips on very primitive and wild planets where they hunted together and explored with reckless abandonment. After these trips, the cats would often perform even better than usual, having released their pent up energy and aggression. The large cats did have very spacious living quarters upon The Traveler, but nothing could ever replace the feeling of earth beneath one’s paws and the breeze carrying new and exotic scents.

When Eumelia smiled, Karenza felt a flash of jealousy flare up within herself. The woman was indeed fortunate to appear so humanlike; she could blend in and walk amongst them with ease. At first Karenza had been proud of her appearance, but planet after planet of fearful or distrustful looks had worn her down. Finding more of her kind was the only hope she had of living a truly happy life.

“I wish you the best of luck with your search. I am also familiar with the type of longing for companionship with others of the same species.” Karenza laughed, a sound somewhere between a purr and a deep growl, “I’m sure it is strange to you as it was strange to me when I first began to speak the human tongue.” Karenza had almost relaxed in the presence of the kind woman, but when Eumelia shakily stood it snapped the cat-woman back into her hunting mind frame. Weak prey! it shouted loudly in her head, slightly embarrassed at her barbaric thoughts Karenza would have left immediately had Eumelia not asked to accompany her back to the sleeping structures.

Karenza felt conflicted, she knew it could be dangerous to be near someone that smelled so distinctly of prey and yet here was another non-human that was interested in talking with her. Against her better judgment Karenza relented and allowed Eumelia to walk next to her, all the while keeping her thoughts on anything except how the woman might taste.

Another indication of the woman’s sophistication and advancement, Eumelia did not prefer to sleep with her horses unlike Karenza. The reason she had stopped doing so was the whispers that had spread about her being hardly better than the cats she trained. It ruined their fantasy that she was simply a human in a cat-suit and would act accordingly.

“I suppose tomorrow’s show will be much tamer than tonight’s, but we shall see, won’t we?” Eumelia asked.

“I hope so, a bit of danger is exciting in an act, but there can be too much for the audience and performer alike.” Karenza replied, bits of cat sounds mixing with the words. The feline woman admired the courage Eumelia displayed to come so near to her. As they began walking Karenza decided she would try something, it was a long shot considering their vast physical and mental differences, but she would try anyway. Karenza began to reach out tentatively toward Eumelia, when suddenly Cooper’s voice split the air.

“Good evening” He called to the pair, his usual charm firmly in place and showing flamboyantly. Her tail flicked in an annoyed manner as her jade eyes narrowed, Karenza did not want to be lectured about the near disaster during her performance. Though knowing Cooper’s welcoming personality, he might simply want to chat and speak with the circus’s newest edition.
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Selene Durlan
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Eumelia didn’t mean to appear weak, and had she been in her true form, the unsteady gait would be gone. But, because she was walking on two legs that was never meant to support the full weight of her upper-half, she tended to tire after a long day. Eumelia quivered, a prey’s instinct as she caught the knowledge that Karenza was indeed predator. She held still, she couldn’t run in that form and running wouldn’t help matters, still she was determined to befriend the other, as foolish as that sounded. “I think that you’re act is truly wonderful. I like how you are on the stage, only with yourself. You’re not…using your body to call attention to your act, or hinting about what you could do with your body…” she laughed quietly, “or being blatantly obvious about it,” she said. She saw Lien across the way, putting his hat back on his head and grabbing his bag. She shook her head and reached out, her hand hovering over Karenza’s arm before she pointed to the tall man. “Have you met him yet?” she asked. “he’s very sweet, despite his height, and his looks…” she saw Lien cut the purse of a lady that had made the foolish choice of walking too close to him. Eumelia frowned: “and the fact that he steals…” she said in quiet disgust.

She turned back to the other female and smiled again at her. “I swear, he’s not as bad as he seems. He’s made me feel quite welcome here and he sleeps in the quarters next to mine,” she explained as she walked along with her steps that left soft round indents in the ground as she walked along. She thought longingly of her bed, of her sweet greens and sugar-water, of her brush that will run through her thick wavy hair and being able to be free from the confines of her restrictive clothes. “I hope that tomorrow…I hope that I am able to concentrate more on the horses and less on getting tangled in the clothes,” she said, and as if to prove the point, she nearly tumbled when she stepped on the hem of her skirt. Shaking her head, laughing slightly at herself, she gained her footing and kept moving along.

From the corner of her eye, she saw Karenza lift her hand and move it out towards her, only to be thwarted when Cooper called out to them. Eumelia, seeing the wisdom in what the other female was doing, reached out and touched her hand to the other’s. “Karenza,” she said gently, “it is truly a pleasure to speak with you. Thank you for taking the time to come and seek me out. I had been hoping that you and I could speak, but I did not want to be the first to approach the other,” she explained. She felt, as the prey species, that she should wait for the predator race to come to her. It was a matter of respect that Eumelia had for the other that she waited.

She bowed low to Cooper when the man came up to them. She straightened slowly. She couldn’t curtsy, she was lucky that she could walk (and that she had been trained to do that) but a bow she could execute very well. “Hello, Lord Cooper,” she said respectfully as she nodded to him. She kept walking with Karenza, allowing Cooper to walk with them if he wished. “Karenza was helping me back to my sleeping quarters,” she said, her hand still resting on Karenza’s hand. She stayed calm, her voice soft as she regarded Cooper, her new employer. “Was my performance all right? I based it on rumors that I heard some of my clients on other planets say about me,” she said as she kept walking, reaching her trailer and stopping by the door, gearing herself up for climbing up the steps. "I know that my act wasn't as...entrancing as the acrobat woman, nor as riveting as Karenza's, but I hope that you will give me time to perfect it."
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Re: The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:32 pm

It was a night, in which Cooper was glad his eyes had been replaced, so many years ago. As he caught up with the pair of ladies, they appeared to be holding hands. It was just one of those things, when coupled with the odd sight of a predator hanging out with prey, which could make a person’s eyes pop out. For a second, he thought that Eumelia had found someone to entertain for the night. Within that brief time period, his mind raced down several wild trains of thought. Arousing, comedic and horrifying thoughts, all of which centered around the act of, eating out.

A mental shake, quick deep breath and the ability to listen, derailed those thoughts. A good thing or the big top wouldn’t have been the only tent in the circus. A broad smile dominated the ringmaster’s face, as he returned the bow he was given by the Equastron woman and fell into step with his performers. He walked on the other opposite side of Karenza, so he did not come between the pair.

“Please Eumelia” he said, “There is no need to be so formal and I’m not a lord. At most and only on this planet, I’m a knight but please call me Cooper. Or if you really need to, Mr. Smith, will do just fine. And I’m glad your making friends among the company, I would hate for anyone to feel alienated in this troupe.”

As they reached the dwelling belonging to the Equastron, the ringmaster stood next to the short flight of steps. He was close enough that should she lose her footing, he could catch her or should she need it, his shoulder would serve as an excellent handhold. It wasn’t something that he had thought about, that the spot he had been chosen to stand in, would be perfect to help. It was more of a sixth sense, which told the showman where to stand at a given time.

“As for your act” Cooper continued, “It was very good and everything flowed very naturally for the first time performing for an audience. I must say I was impressed. Many of our new acts tent to stumble or freeze up their first time. You pulled it off like a pro and act itself was captivating. Although, I’m sure that anyone who was starting such rumors about you, was simply jealous.”

“Speaking of Karenza’s act” he said with a voice filled with a teasing mirth and turning a beaming smile on the Panthera woman, “Her act was so realistic at the end. When she screamed, I thought I was going to have to send in the roustabouts to rescue her.”
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Karenza had also spotted Lien packing up his stall, “Yes, I have met him a few times. He is easy to get along with, though his clothing and hair styles are rather flamboyant.” She murred in agreement, “I fear one day he will pick the wrong pocket and never return from his nighttime adventures.

It had not been Karenza’s intention to actually touch the other woman physically, but rather test her own crude telepathy style. That was how she communicated with some of her cats, though without using words simply sights, smells and sounds to guide their actions. Karenza decided to try again later, after all the two just met. That was why it was so shocking to her when the timid Eumelia took hold of her large paw. It was rather pleasant to feel the touch of another that only sought friendship, Karenza did her best to block out the nagging voice that insisted on darker activities. She almost didn’t hear Eumelia speak, thanking her for coming to visit. Karenza managed to nod in a slightly distracted way.

Cooper fell into step next to Karenza and Eumelia, he no doubt thought the hand-holding strange but being of a respectful nature he would not ask the reason for it. Once the trio reached Eumelia’s quarters, Karenza tactfully removed her hand and stepped back, simply being that close to her was intoxicating. Cooper seemed willing to catch Eumelia should she appear unsteady while climbing the steps. Karenza thought it best to leave for the night, she had spent much too long in the courtesan’s presence. “It was lovely to meet you Eumelia and I look forward to your next performance.” Giving a slight tip of her head she added, “Sleep well.”

Karenza normally would have retorted something not very kind back at Cooper, but meeting the new performer had put her in a good mood. “You have never complained about my screams before.” She replied suggestively as she sauntered past him, letting her tail tip glide across his face. Her jet black form quickly melted into the shadows as she made her way back to her own living space.

Karenza poked her head in slowly to her quarters sniffing for intruders. Once satisfied no one had been inside she stood in front of the mirror and removed her necklaces, she left the rest on. With one mighty leap the Panthera woman landed smoothly on her bunk, which was raised at least seven feet from the ground. It gave her a better view of everything and she felt safer being up higher than anyone else. She made her customary three circles before settling down in a circular shape.
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Selene Durlan
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Atticus woke early, as most circus performers were used to doing, and doggedly set about his morning routine: forcing himself out of bed, repeating his exercises (upper body, his bad leg was for later), limping down to the shared washroom at the end of the corridor to shower then, once washed and dressed, down to the shared canteen on the other side of the ship for breakfast.

Almost every morning was like this and it had been ever since Atticus had first joined the circus, not merely since he'd been taken in by Cooper. With a few exceptions of course; back in his acrobatic days the exercises had been more vigorous and involved his legs and, often, he'd not woken up alone. But those days were gone and now, unless there'd been a particularly big celebration after a daytime performance (after the night-time ones, Atticus' lack of consciousness tended to prevent him from joining in revelries), each morning was much like the one before it.

In the washroom, he'd carelessly taken off his bandages before stepping into the shower. The skin over the wound had matted together, leaving a pearlescent pink scar under the ink which would be gone within a day, although he knew that beneath it, his abdominal muscles were still not yet completely healed. A few minutes later he emerged, damp haired and clean. He always felt better after a shower; there was something about the hot water that loosened his injured leg and took away some of the pain and stiffness that plagued him when he woke up in the morning. Awkwardly pulling on his trousers, then slipping a t-shirt on over his head, he made his way towards the mess, the tap of his cane a constant companion to his footsteps.

Cooper would undoubtedly be there at some point and Atticus would really rather just get on with the inevitable berating he knew he was going to incur from the ringmaster. The princess had asked to be there. No, she'd demanded it. If she thought she was old enough then Atticus would be damned if he was going to give her a censored version. Her life didn't come censored after all, so she was just going to have to get used to it. Cooper would feel differently, of course...

There were only one or two others already in the mess; Jeneva and Dylan, two of the clowns from the chariot act, and Jon, the strongman, sat at separate tables, quietly drinking coffee and pushing food around their plates. Atticus nodded to each of them as he limped past and collected his own breakfast from the table at the end of the room. Just as the rest of his morning routine was one he'd adhered to for most of his life, he chose the same thing he always did: porridge, eggs (always two the morning after his night-time act; wound healing needed protein) and strong coffee then went to sit down at a nearby table to eat it.
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Laine woke with a start. She had been falling. “Ugh.” All night she had been dreaming of the new trick she was working on. Laine wanted to perform it for the princess but with the net she had only been able to accomplish it two out of every five times. Not good odds for a live audience and no net. Pushing herself out of bed she made mental note to work on it today before the day show began.

Moving to the mirror Laine peered at her reflection. There were dark circles under her eyes. Her pale skin made them appear dark purple. She scowled. “Nice one...” Coffee would help. Laine changed clothes quickly, brushed her tangled hair and tied it back. A quick look around her room and she was ready to leave. Then she spotted it. Atticus’ dagger. He hadn’t taken it with him last night. Grabbing it she headed out.

Laine stopped by John’s room. The large man hadn’t brought Atticus’ cane as she asked and she knew the tattooed man would be using his spare one. John gave her the cane, telling her he figured it could have waited till the morning. Laine simply smiled and thanked him.

Laine scanned the camp for signs of Atticus before heading into the canteen. There were only a few eating breakfast. Laine gave them a smile as she passed. “Morning.” She spotted Atticus. Biting her lip she walked to him.

Nervously, she stopped in front of Atticus. He was eating. “I won’t keep you. I just wanted to return these.” Laine placed his cane and dagger on the table in front of him, careful not to invade his space too much. “Also, I owe you an apology. I, um...I crossed a line. I didn’t realize that...well, if I had known...” Laine sighed. Her carefully planned apology jumbling up in her head now that she was actually saying it out loud. “It was unfair of me to do that to you. I am sorry. I won’t ask that of you again. If I had known that asking you to allow me to take care of you was so uncomfortable for you I would have never asked. I hate the idea that I made you so ill at ease. I appreciate being allowed to make sure you are okay but it's not worth your discomfort for my peace of mind. I won’t...well I won’t” Laine fumbled trying to find the words. “I won’t get that near you again but please, if you need someone to help with your act again don’t bypass me for this mistake. If you do, I understand.”

Laine stood, holding her breath for a few seconds, ready to turn and walk away not wishing to bother him any more than she already was.
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Re: The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:59 pm

Cooper strolled through the rows, lines, lanes and corridors formed by the tents. While they were all standard in the way that each had the same number of pieces and could be assembled in the same way and time, they didn’t look the same. Walking from section of tents to another, you could see the shapes and colors change, as the planets they were made on differed. Some had such long roofs, that when they were put up (close together as space was always at a premium), they formed what could be considered a single building with a bunch of rooms and hallways.

He wasn’t in his ringmaster’s costume. Like most of the performers in the show, he’d wait to get dressed up until right before they opened for the day. Luckily, that would be a little later then normal today. The princess had been out late with them and would need her beauty sleep for a very public appearance in the morning. It gave them all a little extra time to get everything ready for the arrival of the royal party.

Stepping into the mess tent, he gave a general nod to everyone in there without really looking at them and went right to the tables the morning offerings were laid out on. Drawing in a deep breath through his nose, Cooper rubbed his hands together and considered the choices before him. After a few seconds, he took a mug of dark black tea, laced with cinnamon and a plate loaded with eggs, toast, locally made bacon and a berry muffin.

Turning away from the table, he glanced around the room. Sitting close at hand, was the rascal he wanted to talk to, Atticus himself and Laine was standing at his table, the dagger she had plunged into his chest in front of her. An almost friendly smile spread across his lips, as the ringmaster walked over, focusing on the man he needed to have a little chat with. A public (or at least public for the circus folk) breakfast might not have been the best time to handle this but it might just be the only time.

“Good morning” said Cooper, taking a seat across from Atticus but speaking to the lady acrobat first. Keeping eyes seemingly aimed at the man, he started to eat, letting the tension grow for a while. Once he had finished the muffin and taken a few sips of tea, he placed his hands together and stated tapping his thumbs.

“You know” he said, ‘We have a problem and it’s right in front of me. What did you think you were playing at last night? There wasn’t any need to traumatize the princess like that. There wasn’t any need to make her do the deed. Her own bodyguard would have been perfect or you should have just stuck to having Laine coming down and stabbing you. We’re you trying to get us all arrested for something? King Theodore might love my show but he loves his daughter more and we’re all in his power right now. If he wanted to come down on us like a ton of bricks, then we’re all screwed.”

“So listen” Cooper continued with an uncharacteristically serious face, placing a small pile of credits on the table, the minimal pay everyone earned in space, plus what Atticus would have earned for last night, “We have two ways to fix this. Way one is you dressing up nice, acting like a pleasant human being for the rest of our five week stay and helping me welcome the royal party to the circus. Or we can use way two, which is you taking your pay and getting the hell out of my show. Which is it gonna be?”
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Atticus looked up as the unmistakable sound of Laine's voice came from the other side of the mess hall. He paused, spoon in the air, as she came over, set his dagger and cane down on the table in front of him, and began a hesitant apology. For a moment, shock jolted through him. Maybe she knew. But no, that was impossible; no one at the circus did.

"Had you known- what?" he began sharply, putting the spoon back down into his bowl with the clatter of metal on ceramic. Then he realised: she thought he didn't like her. At least, not in that way. She'd thought her insistence that he be taken to her room after the show had made him uncomfortable because he found her... unattractive? Repulsive?

He opened his mouth to say something but found himself at a loss. It was almost painful for him to see her obvious discomfort; Laine who was so unflinchingly kind to everyone else in the circus, with all their myriad sob-stories and oddities. Even him, who was quicker than most to snap or fling a insult. Especially him, it seemed, she deemed to deserve something more than just kindness. And somehow she thought he found her unattractive? And yet, it would be easier to let her go on believing that. He could get it all over and done with now so she'd avoid him in the future and thereby take temptation, unease and pain with her. But he couldn't bring himself to unleash the train of harsh rebukes that passed, one by one, through his head.

Over her shoulder, he saw Cooper enter the mess hall and immediately welcomed the passport out of the exchange with Laine by diverting his gaze away from her towards the ringmaster. Cooper was inevitably here to berate him for the show last night and, right now, Atticus was glad of the interruption. Going back to his porridge, he waited for the other man to speak with a patience that was only maintained to save having to look at Laine.

"I didn't make her do anything," he replied, stabbing a spoon in the air at Cooper before regarding the small pile of money on the table between them with derision. "She wanted the night-time show; she got it. But fine, I'll play nice." After all, what was the alternative? He knew as well as Cooper did that the circus was all he had. And that pissing off the royal family of this planet was a sure-fire way to cut their year's revenue by a third. "When's Her Majesty back for the censored version? This afternoon?"
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Re: The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

Postby Irish Wolf on Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:15 pm

Cooper arched an eyebrow at Atticus, when he waved his spoon and claimed her didn’t make the princess do anything. It was a pack of lies and the tattooed man knew it. He had been watching the performance. He had been the grumpy entertainer take the girl’s hand and force her to stab him that first time. He knew that tattooed man had taken advantage of the girl’s numbed mind to order her to cut and stab him a few more times. But, he wasn’t going to call him out on it.

Water under the bridge and all that, seeing as Atticus appeared to be willing enough to play nice. He thought the threat to kick him out would work. As they both knew, the tattooed man had nowhere else to go and little money, besides the fact t hat he’d be alone on a world ruled by a man, who might just want his royal guards to find him for a lesion in manners.

“Her Highness” said Cooper, taking the credits and putting them back in his pocket, “Princess Kathleen and the rest of the royal party, will be arrive at noon, when we official open the circus. I expect you at the main gates, a quarter hour before hand, being as chipper as you can be.”

With the situation taken care of, the ringmaster went back to his breakfast. After a few quick forkfuls of eggs, he paused and looked up at Laine, his mind suddenly working out that she wasn’t looking her normal self. Having known her for the better part of eight or more years, he had seen her at her best and almost at her worst. Dark circles under her eyes, hints that she had been crying and something he hadn’t seen in years, she looked like she was carrying the weight of fear about on her shoulders. He turned his head to make it clear that he was looking at Atticus for a moment, before swinging back to look at the acrobat again.

“Are you alright Laine” asked Cooper, looking (the best he could without natural eyes) concerned, for someone he considered more then a friend.
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Laine held her breath and when she realized Atticus was not going to acknowledge her apology she was ready to leave. He was just sitting there, barely looking at her. Tears welled in her eyes. “Enough of that, it’s his choice. You crossed a line.” Laine scolded herself inwardly. She realized he was looking over her shoulder. Laine caught Cooper’s figure in her peripheral vision and was going to leave until he sat at the table with Atticus and bade her good morning. Laine weakly smiled at Cooper. She went to step back but Cooper began to scold Atticus and she couldn’t move. She watched the scene in front of her, uncomfortable but unable to move away.

Cooper was serious; the look on his face was not one that Laine saw often. A pile of credits was placed on the table and Laine flinched. Cooper set the options before the tattooed man and Laine bit her lip. “You shouldn’t be here, move damn it!” Her mind yelled at her but her feet refused to move. Frozen to her spot Laine stared at the men seated in front of her. Would he leave? Her hands clenched at her sides. She wanted to tell him to stay, to tell Cooper that she’d smooth it over with the princess, anything to get the man to stay. The words on the tip of her tongue and she bit it to keep from saying anything. A knot began to form in her stomach and Laine thought she might be sick. It felt like forever before Atticus answered Cooper.

Atticus was annoyed but he agreed to play nice. Laine wanted to smile, to say she was glad he was staying and then she remembered that she had no business butting in. Fear crept up her spine as she realized her lurking might have given him another reason to want to be away from here. Then again, he wouldn’t look at her so perhaps her presence didn’t matter.

Lost in her thoughts, Cooper’s question startled Laine. “I...” She looked at Cooper, and then looking briefly at Atticus she lowered her eyes. “I am fine. I didn’t sleep very well. Too many mistakes last night. You know how it goes, can’t get them out of your head.” She placed a hand on Cooper’s shoulder and gave it a light squeeze. “I’ll be alright. I am going to go congratulate Karenza and Eumelia. I have that trick I want to work on and some other things to rehearse before the show. You know me, show must go on.” She smiled at Cooper but turned her head at the last second, knowing she couldn’t meet the silver pools of his eyes. He’d know she was hiding something. They knew each other too well for her to lie well to him and she hated to hide anything but now was not the time.

Laine released Cooper’s shoulder, “Eat, enjoy your morning. I’ll be ready this afternoon. Clothes and all.” Joking, trying to lessen the tension and then remembering Atticus, she stiffened and dropped her smile. “I should go.” Laine took three steps backwards and turned on her heel. She walked quickly out of the canteen. One hand on her mouth, she willed the hurt to go away.

Laine stopped outside, pressing her back against one of the walls. “What did you think he was going to do? You screwed up and made him uncomfortable, you pushed him into a place he didn’t want to be. You couldn’t have been any more inconsiderate...” Laine spoke out loud, angry at herself. She shook her head, “Let it go, there are things to do.” Laine stood up and headed off towards the tent hoping to find either of the women along the way or inside. They needed to be congratulated, they had done wonderfully last night and Laine needed to think about something else. She'd apologized, it was done and there was no more she could do. Laine smiled and said good morning to the various members of the circus as she passed them. The camp was becoming busier as more were waking up and going about their business. She walked on to the big top.
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Re: The Greatest Show in the Universe IC

Postby Northgaze on Wed Oct 05, 2011 2:09 pm

Hawks barely managed to rise in time for breakfast; he had a hangover from hell. Which in turn put him in a very disagreeable mood, he would have to be extra careful when talking to others. His assistants had found him after much searching, in a bar, surrounded by glasses on all sides; he was so inebriated that they had to carry him all the way back to camp. Performing for the Princess had been absolutely out of the question, as he would have likely set the entire arena on fire. Besides Hawks preferred afternoon performances, those gave him time afterward to go out drinking and then be ready the next day. And it wasn’t like it had been a huge crowd, simply the spoiled ruler’s daughter and her sycophants.

Putting on a small amount of foundation makeup helped lessen the dark circles and facial cues of heavy drinking the night before. Hawks quickly slipped on a plain red shirt and black pants, checked the placement of his mask and confidently left his quarters walking with a slight swagger toward the eating area. He spotted Laine walking out, but didn’t stop to chat. In his current state he might have said something unkind and acted rude. He decided to talk with her later.

Once inside Hawks piled his plate with nearly everything offered, His affinity for pancakes was clearly shown by how many he took, gooey syrup nearly flowing off the plate. He took a seat at an empty table, his head persistently giving him pain. As he took large mouthfuls he gazed around wondering who else was eating. Hawks noticed Atticus and Cooper talking several tables over; by the looks of it the ringmaster was aggravated at the Tattooed Man. Chuckling to himself, he wondered if it had anything to do with the Princess being frightened/horrified from witnessing Atticus’s “death”. He had to admit viewing the man’s act was quite shocking the first time and even the times after that. Death was often seen as taboo, not to be talked about or watched.

Turning back to his food, Hawks wondered if Karenza had already eaten. He found her extremely fascinating, especially watching her eat. Every movement seemed stilted as if she desired to shove the entire contents of the plate into her mouth at once instead of bite by bite. He was nearly certain she had to eat before coming to the eating area, if the amount of meat her cats consume was any indication of a predator’s appetite. For the most part he had excluded her from his pranks and jokes, due to her unpredictable animal nature.
Last edited by Northgaze on Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid."

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Nearly at dawn Karenza awakened, she rarely needed large amounts of sleep, preferring small naps throughout the day. This habit helped her keep alert while resting, even though the camp was very safe and secure, Karenza could not break her natural watchfulness. Stretching each body part thoroughly she jumped down from her platform and began padding towards the large cooler where all the Panthera’s food is kept.

Entering the cooler Karenza’s nose was delighted by the scent of meat and her mouth began to water in anticipation. She ripped off the Anti-Freeze packaging on a four pound chunk of meat and began to gnaw on it, reveling in the bloody goodness of it. She would have preferred her food live, but she had to make sacrifices to fit in with the troupe. She finished eating quickly, fearing discovery and the inevitable unspoken shame people put upon her for eating in such a frenzied fashion. Karenza tossed the empty package in a waste bin and began to lick the blood off her hands and face. She made sure to relock the cooler upon leaving, to prevent thieving people from gaining access.

Karenza strolled across the turf, enjoying the warmth that spread across her back as the sun shone down brightly. She would make her customary appearance in the food hall to prevent whispers from spreading about why she never seemed to eat with everyone else. At first she had thought their suspicions were amusing, till the strange disappearance of several small performing dogs. Immediately accusations began to fly at her, they were completely untrue of course, but ever since then Karenza always makes a conscious effort to act as “normal” as possible around the other performers.

Karenza nearly collided with Laine as the young woman was walking quickly away from the food hall. Reading the expressions of humans was still very difficult for Karenza, but the obvious stress in the woman’s movements indicated she was upset. The feline was unsure of what to do next, emotions was not something she had practice with unless it was about hunting, killing or fun. None the less, Karenza greeted Laine warmly; she praised the woman’s excellent performance and her courage for finishing Atticus’s act. Belatedly Karenza realized she was still hungry, even ravenously so, which would make her intended course to the food hall even more important.

Not wanting to leave Laine behind, Karenza asked, “Have you had breakfast yet? I am on my way there now; would you like to accompany me?”
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Selene Durlan
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