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.