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Meora

"I'm sorry Miss Harrowgrove, but this is mine now, all of it, and I am afraid that there is nothing you can do to take it back."

0 · 154 views · located in New New York

a character in “King of the Dolls”, as played by Starry-eyed Starfish

Description

Name: Meora Harrowgrove

Age: 17

Gender: Female

Sexual orientation: Pansexual

Role: Doll

Personality: Instead of replicating Soeri's previously spoilt personality exactly, Robert Harrowgrove chose to make several alterations. Meora was given childishly/innocently girlish, passionate and confident qualities, enabling her to face an audience without difficulties in her act, and the impulsive nature that ensures her success in defending Soeri to the end. She is easily excitable and acts 'happily' a lot of the time, however that is what strikes worry in her the most: that this is all an act. Due to the fact that she was created to be Soeri's 'reflection', Meora has developed neurotic and paranoid tendencies that she is not who she thinks she is, not who she wants to be, acting 'happily' to please others instead of acting how she wants to. She is unsure of her own personality and often thinks that at any moment the Harrowgroves will abandon her and Soeri will take her place once more. She is slightly spoilt in the sense that she grips tightly onto what she has 'stolen' from Soeri - her family, her life - but she does feel a strong sense of guilt that she cannot hide, that eats away at her every day... Sometimes, because of this, she acts savagely and spitefully towards Soeri.

History: (Read Soeri's before) One day Meora was born, told to stay calm and relaxed, even though she was utterly confused - and she complied. On that day she was told she must replace a scarred girl, become her reflection for the sake of a family name - and she complied. Since the day she was born, she has been acting as Soeri Harrowgrove, the acclaimed child of Robert Harrowgrove to please her 'family' without question, performing speeches, attending balls - and that's pretty much her life in a nutshell.

Likes:
-Attention
-Pretty things
-Sweet treats
-Fighting

Dislikes:
-Loneliness
-Dolls
-The idea of memories

Secrets:
-The fact that she is not Soeri Harrowgrove
-She believes that she is an emotionless, personality-less shell

Fears:
-Soeri will steal her life back from her ~and Soeri in general, really
-People will discover who she really is and hate her for it

Crush: n/a

Boyfriend/girlfriend: n/a

Height: 5"4

Build: Tall, thin, athletic.

Looks: Long, slightly curled, red hair with bangs usually pulled from her face so that people can see her features properly and remark on them - and in order to upset Soeri - as well as porcelain skin and chocolate brown eyes, hidden beneath thick eyelashes.

Distinguishing features: Other than the mark on her neck, which she hides with high-collar blouses, she does not have any particularly distinguishing features.

Image

http://blog.zeemp.com/wp-content/upload ... fey_15.jpg

http://blog.zeemp.com/wp-content/upload ... ffey_5.jpg

http://blog.zeemp.com/the-outstanding-b ... an-coffey/

(( P.s. I apologise if I'm not supposed to just 'plunge in'; I have no idea what the decorum is for this RP sitey thingy so I'm just going for it... I tried commenting on the OOC link, asking if I could join, but it didn't work... I literally joined this site today so please bear with me. Thank you for your time, consideration and patience (^o^)~~~~ ))

So begins...

Meora's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Soeri Character Portrait: Meora

0.00 INK

Meora and Soeri

Meora watched herself in the mirror. Silently, for God knew how long, she sat at the vanity, chocolate brown eyes boring into an identical twin set, red hair falling in reflected twists about her shoulders beyond the glass. Milky skin showed not a single mark as she searched for that one familiar flaw: that scar. Soeri's scar. But it was not there and neither had it been there the last morning or the morning before that or the span of mornings rolled out before that. She blew out a delicious sigh, once again surprising herself with the cool relief that swept through her veins. She wasn't Soeri and that scar didn't belong to her and father still needed her. Good. Everything was just how it ought to be.

Satisfied with the thought, she continued to brush the jewel-encrusted comb through her hair, wondering what outfit she would wear for the upcoming Heartland Fundraiser Ball so that her servants could colour-coordinate her make-up and fashion her hair to perfection. It would be exciting, she had decided eventually, after father had convinced her to go, despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of dolls would be littering the ballroom, watching everyone, watching her. Meora shuddered at the thought. No, she would not ruin father's evening, no matter what, even if those creatures were there, even if they could see beyond the lacy collars and bejeweled amulets; there was nothing they could do at all, after all she was Meora Harrowgrove and they were nothing more than artificial human servants.

Of course, those words did nothing to stop her own hand from reaching towards her neck to where that silver heart remained forever imprinted into her flesh...

"Upcoming ball?" A voice, her voice - no, Soeri's voice.

Suddenly, Meora whirled around to find herself eye to eye with the very girl herself and once more could not stop her skin from crawling at the sight of her. It wasn't the rusty-red, unkempt hair or the crumpled, unwashed clothes or the way every bone in her body seemed to jut out at odd, painful angles...

No, it was the scar. The ghastly rip in her skin tore from her hidden hairline, down through one eye, into that smashed and disfigured nose and ending at the corner of her ever-snarling lip. One single narrowed eye glared at her and her mouth was contorted into an ugly grimace, not that anything she could do ever made her pretty.

Meora found herself swallowing nervously before she finally answered: "That is none of your business, Miss Harrowgrove, but may I ask why you are not being observed?"

Soeri scowled at her, grinning evilly, even uglier than before, "Scared, are we?"

"No!" Snapped the other girl, finding that she was only trying to convince herself more than anything; it only made the scarred counterpart before her cackle further.

"Don't worry, Greeves and Bennett are just down the hall...Unless..." Her eye grew darker; she drew closer, a black hawk descending on its prey. Almost gently, her hand rested on the mirror's surface, "Unless you think I can break this mirror in two and use a shard of it to slit that horrid little heart on your neck wide open? You wouldn't look like a doll then would you?"

Meora sucked in a breath, though she should have expected the stinging blow, and felt tears prick her eyes. Quickly, she blinked them away, staring straight into the girl before her, heart thudding like a hummingbird's wing-beat. Soeri wouldn't hurt her; she wouldn't risk father's affection like that - and it was the same for herself as well, as though a glass barrier, so fragile yet so strong, lay between them. Still, the scarred girl remained in her face, ugliness blotting her view, menacing, cruel, calling her that vile name... No, Soeri wouldn't hurt Meora and Meora wouldn't hurt Soeri, at least not physically anyway. As if in response to that, Meora did the only thing she knew would keep Soeri at bay: she lifted her hand and drew back her hair like a veil, revealing the pure, white, scar-less flesh of her face.

The result was perfect. Hissing, Soeri withdrew towards the door and lowered her gaze, scarred face burning red with humiliation and anger. Pathetically she tried to conceal her disfiguration with her hair; it did nothing but make her appear ever weaker. Exactly what Meora wanted. It served her right anyway...didn't it?

"I think it's time for you to leave," She said icily, turning back to the mirror and watching as the ghostly girl slithered from the room, back to the shadows where she belonged. Meora bit back the nauseous sensation of guilt clawing at her stomach - this was not her fault, she persistently told herself - and focused on more important things. Like the ball. Yes, she had a ball to prepare for.

And Soeri couldn't stop her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Soeri Character Portrait: Meora Character Portrait: Xander

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#, as written by Jynxii
Emma Swann

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How it began..

"And... she's back online. Emma? Emma, are you registering?" Emma's blue hues slowly flicked open, but she could not see. The world was a mass of blurring shapes and colors, bright lights and frightening shadows. She would have staggered, but she found that she was laying down. "Good morning, beautiful. Are you registering?" "I..." Slowly the harsh overhead lights of the lab came into focus, along with the hazy outline of a female figure. Gooseflesh bubbled over her arms. Registering? "It's cold." A light feminine chuckle filled the air. "Let's get you dressed," the woman said, tenderly helping the naked Emma into a seated position. The Register Room floor was incredibly frosty against her dainty toes. She was led to a line of other naked dolls, each standing huddled next to each other, and each, like her, slimy from the stasis solution.

The group was ushered into a large chamber with rows of shower heads, and instructed to bathe. Emma held herself close as she walked in line to her station, glancing around at the other naked and scared looking bodies. This was her first repair. The first time she had been back in Heartland since she first came from here. It was much colder than she was programed to remember. The water that shot from the shower was steaming hot, and within minutes the room was filled with steam. Emma had to admit, it felt wonderful. After she was done bathing, she waddled along with the rest of them to be toweled and picked up by their case worker. They would be clothed, and, forgive the pun, 'dolled up' according to order. Her case worker was a skinny brunette who had a charming smile. Emma was incredibly relieved to see her again. A familiar face was always a welcome one for Emma. "This way, Emma."

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The next thing she knew, she was standing awkwardly in front of a team of designers. The pedestal she stood on rose her six inches off the ground, and allowed the designers to walk circles around her. She tried not to blink too much, and decided it would be best to just stare blankly forward. They wouldn't ask what she wanted to wear, anyway. The brunette, Julia, held a pink clipboard in her hand with a large stack of papers. Emma turned her head just slightly, to watch Julia converse with the designers. "No, no, he won't like that... hmm.. Let me see the blue one?" It was brought over by a blonde intern with a dry erase name tag. "No." An assortment of other clothing swatches were brought over, each turned away. Finally, a blue dress was opted for. Just when she thought that she was going to be able to be clothed, she was whisked away to the makeup and hair station. Two hours later, she was dressed and done up to her designer's pleasure. She was led down a long hallway to an elevator. Julia escorted her out onto the level labeled "L".

By then, Emma had found her legs again and was walking around with graceful ease in her heels. "Wait here. A car will be brought around shortly." And then she was gone, and with her all sense of comfort that Emma had. Suddenly feeling as though she would vomit on her Prada shoes, Emma began to toy with her manicured fingers. "Don't be so nervous," a voice from beside her said. Turning to look to her left, Emma took in the blindingly beautiful woman. The fellow doll was possibly the most gorgeous woman Emma had ever seen. "Humans always love new dolls," the woman went on to say, "So no need to worry. Enjoy it while it lasts." Just then a cabbie came up to the woman. "Your ride is here, Mrs. Jenkins." The woman grinned, and flashed Emma a wink before heading off with her driver.

"Emma Swann?" "Yes?" "This way." Here goes nothing... Emma was loaded into a long silver limo, as was the custom for doll delivery. A large black Heartland logo boasted itself on both the hood and roof of the vehicle. Emma reached up to her emblem on her neck, feeling a silver chain that wrapped around the back of her neck and connected to each side of her heart. That's new. Turning the emblem into jewelry. Clever, too. Emma stepped into the limo and began to fuss over her hair. Shortly thereafter she was joined by a tall dark headed man in a business suit. EMMA SWANN read clearly across the top of the folders he carried. He must be The Seller, Emma mused to herself. The trip did not take long at all. They must have shipped me in stasis.. Emma stared out the window at the large buildings that blurred past. Her new owner had to be loaded... That would be nice.

The mansion that the limo pulled up to consumed the windows. Emma had to bend slightly down to try and see the top floors. "Stop that. You'll wrinkle the dress," the businessman snapped. Surprised at his harsh tone, Emma sat up again, and instantly felt nervous all over again. The man got out, and helped her out. "Let me do the talking," he muttered as he led her up the steps and into the main doors. Her new owner stood waiting for her, and she stood very still and quiet as the businessman began his spill about return policies, maintenance, rights (or lack there of), her sexual parts, and other details that she blocked out. "She's the only vampire we've ever made," she heard him say. "Show him your fangs, Emma." Pulled from wondering about just how many rooms the mansion had, Emma turned to look at her new owner and flashed him her fangs.

One week later..

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Emma was slowly walking around the house, wearing one of her 'lounge-around-the-house' outfits. She was in a part of the mansion she had never been in before, exploring her new home. Suddenly, something... no, someone, crossed in front of her. The glimpse she got was of something terrifying and she gasped, jumping slightly. What the hell...? "Hel'," she felt her voice crack, and she cleared her throat. "Hello? Is someone there?" Just then, her owner's sister appeared in the doorway, looking slightly alarmed at first, and then flashing her a smile. Oh, so it was just her. Emma sighed in relief, convinced she was only seeing things. After all, here stood the girl she just saw, and she looked completely normal. Just as beautiful as she looked the first day they met. "Sorry," Emma mumbled, "I, um... Dinner's ready!" It had been the first time she really talked to her owner's sister since she arrived. That was Emma's first and last interaction with Meora when he was not around.

Current day...

Emma cussed as another egg hit the kitchen floor. Her ginger locks were pulled high on her head in a loose bun, and a few wild wisps had escaped. The tiny twists framed her slender, flower-covered, face. She has gotten up early that morning, convinced that she would master the art of cooking despite it not being programmed into her. Over the past two weeks Emma learned that Xander truly only loved one thing; his sister. Knowing this, she took it upon herself to make her breakfast. Perhaps if she could get close to his sister, she could learn how to truly make him happy... and, not that she would admit it, a friend would be nice too. Emma had on a white apron to cover up her black tank top and short shorts while she cooked. Her french tip toes were bare against the cool kitchen floor, so she began to take extra care not to slip on the eggs.

She was just finished with slightly burnt pancakes when the fire alarm blared through the air. Emma winced at the screaming alarm and grabbed the oven mitt to fan the smoke away. When the sound finally stopped, she let out a relieved sigh. Straightening up again, she added the cup of yogurt and slices of fruit to the plates on the serving tray. "I've got it, I've got it," she assured the cook, who sat looking extremely amused across the island. The large cook chuckled and waved her away. "I'll clean up," he chuckled. Right... that's probably for the best... she thought to herself with a small, thankful smile. With careful steps, Emma made her way to Xander's room. Taking a deep breath, she balanced the tray on her hip and held it with one hand as she knocked onto Xander's door. "Xander," she called, trying to keep her voice steady, "I... I've made you and Miss Meora breakfast... May I come in?"

Emma gently pushed open the door and took the tray over to his desk. "I thought, maybe, you and your sister would like to share breakfast this morning.... together." Her nerves turned her stomach upside down. Dolls weren't supposed to think. Would Xander be upset that she got up without permission? Would he be mad at her for walking around without him? New owners were so fickle. What if he decided overnight that he didn't want her, after all? The idea of being sent back to Heartland made her feel faint. Masking her emotions well, Emma placed a smile over her lips. "Would you like for me to go get her?"


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Soeri Character Portrait: Meora

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Xander Harrowgrove:

Emma. Charming and intriguing Emma, full of mystery. Xander hadn't particularly known what to expect when buying his new plaything, seeing as she was his first ever doll, and to be honest, he still didn't know what else he should be expecting, when the girl was quite literally a walking question mark. Ever since she had arrived that short and sweet week ago, she had been desperately eager to help, slaving in the kitchens, cleaning up messes, anything to make 'Mister Xander' happy - of course he had quickly asked her to drop the 'Mister' part of the name; it had sounded so formal and Xander was tired of formalities, especially since he hadn't bought Emma just to play ballroom manners.

He sighed as he lounged lazily, half-dressed, on his bed, flicking through a notepad with complex equations scrawled across it. Anyway, he hadn't seen much of her and that bothered him. Emma was a mystery - and luckily he liked those very much - but she was a mystery that he had yet to solve, which, put simply, pissed him off.

Grumbling to himself, he flicked out his pen and began to scribble another solution to a rather difficult question until he heard a hesitant knocking at the door and a voice - her voice: "I... I've made you and Miss Meora breakfast... May I come in?"

Speak of the devil herself. Absolutely perfect timing.

He smirked as he quickly finished this problem, glancing up to see the young woman glide into the room as elegantly as usual and place the tray on the side; it wasn't exactly a 'glance' because once he had looked up, he found that he could no longer lower his gaze. Yes, Emma was most certainly a lot different to the many other women he had ever been with; for one she was absolutely, visually perfect...but that was just because she was a doll...wasn't it?

Shaking his head as though he was caught in some weird daze - though that couldn't be the case, as Xander Harrowgrove was never distracted by anything - he suddenly realised that she had been speaking all this time, smiling at him innocently.

"...me to go get her?" Her? Oh, his sister. Xander frowned; unfortunately, unlike himself, Meora hadn't exactly warmed up to Emma as much as he'd hoped. Because she was different, with those curious vampire fangs and all, he had assumed that she would find the doll as enticing as he did, though all she had shown on her face was an expression of uncertainty - it had almost been enough for him to send Emma back. Almost. Not quite entirely. His reasons stripped down to their bare minimum, Xander simply could not bring himself to do it; he told himself that his darling little sister was merely shy and that he could not give up on Emma yet, not when he hadn't even solved her mystery... It would be like giving up.

Xander pursed his lips as he examined the beautiful doll and stretched himself into a sitting position. What to do...

"That won't be necessary," He decided, a slight smile playing with the corners of his lips, "Unfortunately Meora is busy running father's errands, so it seems that I'm dining alone, unless..." His eyes caught her summery blue ones as he spoke, "You've made an awful lot of food for one person; honestly, I don't think that I could manage this all by myself, despite my strength, so would you care to join me, my love?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Meora Character Portrait: Xander

0.00 INK

Xander Harrowgrove

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"This way," Xander announced from further down the corridor after having led Emma through an intricate labyrinth, where hallways twisted and curled around each other in a serpent's embrace. Thankfully, he had always been a curious child, desperate to find the mysteries of his home and so, when young and left to his own devices, he had found himself wandering through this maze more often than not, which meant that he definitely wouldn't draw his new doll into a completely isolated tangle of rooms that they would never be able to escape from, (on an accidental account anyway). As they walked on, Emma trailing behind, their footsteps bounced from the floor, resonating off the walls and further and further through every walkway and window, a cloud of hard, cold noise ballooning upwards to consume the silence, a silence that had quickly ensued Xander's...episode.

Of course, he shouldn't have been so foolish as to raise his hand towards her; what was he thinking, that she would appreciate the gesture? That it would work like it did on every other girl? No! If anything, she had looked scared, or nervous even, not like she had 'appreciated the gesture' at all. He sighed - and that hush of sound seemed to shake the very foundations of the house too, though it was probably just his imagination. Well, he guessed it didn't matter; she was only a doll, a solution to solve, and once he was finished with her, father could send her away for all he cared! When he turned back to ensure that Emma was not too far behind, he instantly felt a sharp and breath-taking stab of guilty plunged between his ribs because...look at her: she was so afraid to be disowned, to be alone...How could he hurt such a creature? As her swimming blue eyes clashed with his, all he could manage was a weak smile in the hopes that it could, somehow, on any level whatsoever, fix the awkward quiet stretching for miles upon miles between them, like a deep black gulf.

Among other things, something that bothered Xander a hell of a lot was a humiliating drop in conversation, but he guessed that was why he was walking to Meora's room - that and the fact that Emma needs a new dress, he reminded himself, seeing as his little sister had probably the greatest dress-stashes in the entire world, possibly the universe, and there was bound to be something there that pleased his doll.

As they walked, side by side now, along the ornately decorated corridors, they eventually came across the double doors leading to Meora Harrowgrove's dress chamber. Hurriedly, so as not to prolong his embarrassment further, Xander flung open the doors with so much force that they could have clattered off their hinges and marched into the room to find his little sister, donned in her ballgown, surrounded by maids who waited on her hand and foot, staring at him with wide eyes.

"Brother?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Meora Character Portrait: Xander

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Meora Harrowgrove

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Silver slid down Meora's body like the foamy tips of a crashing wave, and pooled at her feet, the fabric shushing and shimmering gently every time she made even the slightest of movements. Admiring herself, she watched the gleaming reflection that glinted at her from the mirror world, watched as its hands gripped the material, watched as it swished the dress about, light refracting throughout the long store of gown upon gown upon gown. Tidily her hair had been slipped from her face, slicked into a secure bun at the nape of her neck, coils of graphite-grey rope twisted, serpentine, across the red-ember tresses. Her face had been encrusted with scatters of glitter that caught the light in such a way that she seemed to be an ethereal star, fallen to earth, shining. It was perfect! This is exactly what she had wanted! Grinning at her handmaids, she suddenly erupted into a spinning body of elation, twirling and whirling on the spot until the sickly clutches of dizziness rattled her brain more than she could bear, her dance, a flurry of silver and sparkles, coming to a halt. Everything was perfect and the ball would be absolutely breath-taking and Soeri could not ruin a thing! So consumed with excitement, she could not hear the slap, slap, slap of footsteps against the carpeted corridors outside, nor the soft breathing and whispers of the two people behind the doorway.

Without prior warning, the chamber doors burst open, a breathe of air sweeping through the enormous room, blasting Meora's startled face with warm air that blew the fabric tightly against her body in a hushing, hissing mass. When she could finally blink open her eyes, squinted in surprise, she found her brother standing in the square cut of sunlight by the door, half-naked, smiling brilliantly at her.

"Brother?" She asked, smiling back at him, confusion laced in her wide eyes, "What is it you wa-?"

Disallowing her to finish, Xander rushed towards her, drawing his little sister into his arms quickly as though he had not spoken to her in a while, which she guessed was mildly true; father had kept her busy a lot this week...But that was no excuse for him to go about wrinkling her new robe! Hurriedly, Meora shoved him with as much force as she could allow herself to show - I cannot reveal too much of my secret strength, she thought, ashamed - enough to keep him a decent distance from her outfit.

"What do you think you're doing? This is my dress for the ball, Xander, and you're going to ruin it!" Snapped Meora, though she found a sly grin creeping along the corners of her lips secretively; she really had missed her elder brother.

"How could you? Preferring a mere frock to your dear, old brother?" Xander mocked her shocked expression teasingly, finding that his little sister playfully bat him away, "But it is a fine dress isn't it?" He leaned back, as if to examine her, "And you look simply divine in it, sister, if I may be so bold." At this he bowed before her, grinning jovially.

"Do you really like it?" Once more, Meora spun on the spot over and over again, loving the whisper of the gown as it caressed the air itself. As she danced about, she saw something flicker at the doorway. Was that red hair? Was there a scar marring that once-beautiful face? Soeri! She came to an abrupt halt, only to find that it was the doll Emma that stood there, Xander's doll, the vampire one. For seconds, all the girl could do was stare at her, nerved by her appearance. A doll. Just like herself. Could she sense that they were the same? Could she tell? Would she reveal this to Xander, to the world, to anyone? Panic bubbled like a hiccuping stream, unable to be suppressed.

Meora swallowed, "Xander...What is it that you and - and Emma want?"

Noticing his sister's anxious state, the man placed his hands on her shoulders gently, so as not to startle her, and spoke with a voice of silk, "The ball is soon, is it not? All dear Emma and I wanted was to borrow a dress, if you may be so kind as to lend us one? You would not mind would you?" The girl stared straight past him, into those wide, nervous eyes and forced a gentle smile, despite that her blood was also trembling within her veins.

"Of course, that's fine, brother."

"Excellent!" Xander swiftly turned to look at his Emma and Meora felt the flutters of butterflies swarm riotously as both dolls' gazes accidentally collided. Embarrassed, she turned away to her handmaids, not daring to venture yet another look in that direction, as Xander led the other doll into the treasure trove of ballgowns.

"Here, this is the red section! You can pick any one that you like, love, alright?"

All the while, Meora could feel the cold, prickling sensation of someone's eyes boring holes into the back of her head, but she could not tell who they belonged to, only that they sent shivers up her spine like the clattering keys of a piano.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Meora Character Portrait: Xander

0.00 INK

#, as written by Jynxii
Emma Swann


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Emma followed behind Xander quietly as he seemed to do that inner battle thing he was so prone to do when she was around. Did she really stress him out that much? Helplessly, she quietly walked behind him as he weaved her further and further into the house until she was hopelessly lost. They came upon a set of large double doors, and before she could ask why they had come here Xander left her side and burst through the doors. An explosion of noise and color left Emma standing in the door way, dazed and confused. "Brother?" The voice was feminine and familiar, "What is it you wa-?" Meora started, but Xander cut in as he bounced across the room and scooped the stunningly beautiful woman into his arms.

Her dress was like starlight, bottled up and weaved into fabric specifically for her. It wouldn't have surprised Emma at all if her father had commanded God to send down the glittering objects to adorn his daughter. As far as Emma knew, the world began and ended with Meora... at least Xander's world did, and that meant that Emma's would too. Meora made a pitiful attempt to shove him away from her precious outfit, earning her a look of mock shock from her elder sibling. "What do you think you're doing? This is my dress for the ball, Xander, and you're going to ruin it," scolded the sister, though Emma caught a glimpse of the smile toying with her lips. Emma couldn't blame her; attention from Xander was both embarrassing and intoxicating for her so Emma could only imagine what it would be like to have a brother fawning over her.

"How could you? Preferring a mere frock to your dear, old brother?" Her owner gasped, pretending to be offended though it was clear he was in a playful mood. The two exchanged more banter that Emma tuned out of. It wasn't until Meora was staring at her as if she had eaten half the wait staff that Emma noticed she was no longer invisible. Emma watched the girl's emotional exchange, noting the way her arms stiffened, her back straightened, and her voice became ever so higher. Emma glanced to Xander, unsure what she had done wrong, and remained awkwardly in the doorway.

"Xander...What is it that you and - and Emma want?" Meora asked, clearly set on edge. Emma swallowed, unnerved by putting the heiress on edge. Would she make Emma leave? Would Xander not want her anymore? What had she done to upset the mistress so much? "The ball is soon, is it not? All dear Emma and I wanted was to borrow a dress, if you may be so kind as to lend us one? You would not mind would you?" Her owner answered the question with a voice like warm honey, soothing and gentle. Meora just stared straight past him, her eyes burning into Emma's as she forced a smile. Emma smiled weakly back, unsure if speaking would help or make the girl faint. "Of course, that's fine, brother." "Excellent!"

Emma felt her stomach turn over as Xander rushed over and took her hand to lead her away. At that moment, her eyes connected with Meora's for only a moment. Emma blinked, confused at what she saw, but she quickly dismissed it. "Thank you, Miss Meora... your dress really is beautiful," Emma said quietly as Xander led her past the frightened heiress and into the massive closet- no, dress warehouse.

"Here, this is the red section! You can pick any one that you like, love, alright?" Xander had called her love again, and just like that; everything was right in the world again. She could forget about his creepy sister, with her judgmental and terrified stares, and she could focus on finding a beautiful red dress for the evening. Emma tried on dress after dress, showing each one to Xander; but all she got in responses were 'beautiful', 'perfect', 'enchanting'. He was complimenting all of the dresses and she was flattered and amused. Perhaps if they could just spend the rest of the night in the dressing room, instead of having to attend the ball? Xander didn't want to go anyway...

Knowing that would never happen, she finally decided on a dress. Blushing and smiling over her shoulder at him, she spun once, twice, and on the third spin she landed against his chest, grinning up at him. "This is the one," she giggled, "please, please?" It wasn't red, but in it she looked like a sexy Ariel and she felt wonderful. She couldn't help but grin as the maid that was in the room brought over the shoes and purse that matched the outfit. "Oh, say you love it," she nearly squealed, taking a slight step back so he could get another look at the outfit. "I know I said red, but this is just too perfect," she sighed happily.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Meora Character Portrait: Xander

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Xander Harrowgrove

Flashing party lights. Music that shook and pounded at the very foundations of Earth. Litres of liquor that danced over the edges of wine glasses, beer glasses, mugs - anything that could hold the liquid fire. That was what Xander Harrowgrove was used to, not tailcoats and ballgowns and small-talk that polluted the air in great plumes, which was exactly what lay beyond the immense double doors thrust open to the Heartland Industries Fundraiser, where candlelight flickered on the walls, strained laughter poured into the night like artificially-scented perfume, and the chink and clink of champagne-flutes rattled in the way that the chains of a restrained convict would wear around their wrists.

What was worse than what lay within the ever-looming shadow of the ballroom was the already tight atmosphere held taught as stretched fabric around Xander, his father and the three women accompanying him: his date, whose name continued to evade him; Meora, busy hurrying ahead into the fray; and Emma. Something told him that tonight was not going to be easy; for starters, his father was breathing down his neck, constantly steering him in the direction of the nameless woman, pretty enough, beautiful even, but not...quite right. Then there was the fact that he wasn't looking at 'what's-her-name'; no, he was looking at Emma, and the shimmering blue-green dress, the colour of the crashing ocean, (he wanted to say he was mostly looking at Emma but that would be a lie - because the majority of the time he was, admittedly, looking at the dress). She looked stunning. He didn't dare to say more, just in case his thoughts ran out of control.

As the group of humans - and one doll - climbed the ivory stairs leading to the main hall, they found themselves splitting away at the seams: Meora had rushed on ahead, excited as a child, with her tired father storming off after, though not without shooting a watchful glance at Xander over his shoulder. Well. That wasn't obvious now, was it?

Forcing a smile, Xander turned to both of the girls, "Time to enter the war-zone, it seems." Quickly, they marched into the hall together, arm in arm in arm, still as uncomfortable as ever. As soon as they stepped one foot onto the tiled flooring, they were hit with the symphonic harmony of the orchestra; the difference to the kind of trash he normally listened to was a very stark one. All I need to do was get this over with, he reminded himself persistently, whilst leading the girls onto the dance-floor.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove:

Once Meora had lost her father in the complex and wildly spinning carousel of ball-gowns, clattering glasses and fluttering bubbles of small talk, she found herself lost in what she had been born to do: charming expensively clad businessmen into supporting her father and weaving sweet, innocent words of manipulation into the air between them. This expertise of hers allowed her mind to drift from the haunting shadows of home; it finally permitted her to wallow in something that she was simply good at, in the warm waters of security - a place where she had the upper hand, where Soeri could not defeat her.

As she drifted away from her current circle of entranced partygoers, Meora noticed the tousled, golden-brown hair of a certain recognisable figure nearby - Daniel Clement, wasn't it? Of course, it was inexcusably rude not to talk to such a familiar face - well, that was what she told herself anyway; in fact, she was uncertain that her compulsion to talk to him was more closely associated with the face that he was a very attractive man, (and she was an excitable teenage girl), or that talking to him would help her father in whatever way possible. Yes, it was most likely the first option... Plus, what could go wrong from talking to a man she had never met before? Okay, many things, but that was beside the point.

Obviously eager, Meora swished through the crowd, towards her 'target', with a delicate smile curled on her face, until she cleared her throat, only to find the man twisting around, a doll resting on his arms. That was exactly what could go wrong. A doll. Fantastic. Now she could feel herself turning into ice, freezing, breathing cold, choked air at the back of her throat, which had suddenly felt as though a noose had been tightened around her neck. Of all the things she could rely on, her nervousness around other - she found herself sick at the word - dolls was what she hated most! Unknowingly, Meora found her fingers fumbling at the heavy diamond necklace that concealed the Heartland Industry emblem adorning her neck.

It was far too late to escape such an awkward situation now, so she cleared her throat, forging a deceptively gentle smile onto her lips, "Hello, you are Daniel Clement, are you not? I have heard a lot about you."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Daniel Clemment

Daniel was in between people when he heard someone clear their throat behind him. It sounded like a woman, he guessed as he turned, and was greeted with the sight of none other than the lovely Miss Harrowgrove. He smiled at her and pretended not to notice the single second in which she froze, staring at him, before falling back into motion, toying with her necklace. She was dressed well, in fluid silver, and he offered her a laid-back grin. "Indeed I am." He responded. Her hesitation was now replaced with a soft smile, but he couldn't help the curiosity pricking at him. What had caused that second of pause? Erik hung onto him, watching the guest over Daniel's shoulder warily, so he squeezed his doll's hand, reassuring him.

"And you must be the lovely Miss Harrowgrove." He took her hand, bringing it to his lips for a second. "You're even more beautiful in person." He said pleasantly, studying her face. He'd have to swallow his curiosity though, it was rude to seem so prying. And he certainly didn't want to scare anyone off, especially not this young doe. She seemed interesting. And he knew quiet well that she could wrap men around her finger, and that her father used it to his advantage. He was very good at getting himself out of such situations, most people didn't realize just how perceptive he was, even if he seemed at times like an utter airhead. But that didn't mean that he couldn't be as apparently buoyant as ever while mentally keeping his guard up.

"You'll have to excuse Erik, he's a bit skittish." He said after a moment as Erik shifted on his feet, still hanging onto Daniel. He reached up absently and patted the Doll's face. Erik offered a small, hesitant smile at the girl. He was actually playing the shyness up a bit, he'd received a number of complements about how cute and sweet he seemed, and Daniel didn't seem particularly bothered by his clinging. So he settled down to spend most of his attention watching the floor and hanging onto his master, only sending the occasional glance up at the girl through his dark hair.

Daniel took a moment to scan the party before turning his attention fully to the young Harrowgrove. "How are you enjoying the party so far? Heartland has certainly done a good job this year." He commented, effecting some small talk. he was still watching her to see if she would freeze up again, and was wondering just what had triggered it, even though he was trying his best not to think of such things.

It was at that moment that he noticed some mild commotion across the floor, in which a ratty looking young woman with red hair was being tugged along by an equally ratty looking man, who didn't seem to be of any good sort. Everyone in the vicinity of the woman seemed to be turning to look at her, many with open mouths. And then he spotted a singular Mister Jackson, one of those people everyone knew, if even for the wrong reasons, who apparently intervened. Then he recognized the red-head girl as said infamous Lord's doll. Ah, that made more sense. He tipped his head to one side, finished observing the scene, and cocked a half smile at his conversation partner. "Well, I hope that story has a happy ending. " He said softly, almost as if to himself. "There's nothing better than a good happy ending." He'd ultimately had what people called a happy ending, what with being saved from his unpleasant youth and saddled with a lovely little wealth. Though nothing had actually ended yet, he supposed he could be happy with what he had. Sort of.

"Sir?" Erik murmured in his ear, jerking Daniel from his thoughts. He jumped back to the present moment, reinstating a rakkish little smile and changing his champagne glass into his other hand so he could take his third sip of the night. "Hopefully that's the most excitement we'll have for the night, eh?" He said with a small laugh.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove

When Daniel's first words oozed softly from his lips, Meora found herself yet again reminded that the boy before her was not a boy but a man, far more closely connected to the adult world than she could ever hope to be at the age of seventeen - and for a brief, fleeting moment it dragged her thoughts from the silver heart embedded in her throat, where she suddenly found her real heart hammering away. The doll kept looking at her! She swore that it could see right through her, to the naked lie that she was beneath her clothing. Stay calm, she urged her roaring pulse, knowing that whatever she did, 'calm' would never be something she could achieve around a - another - doll.

As the man gently brushed a kiss onto her hand and then allowed it to fall against her side, she did not feel the stammer of anxiety, only formed delicate pink brushstrokes along her wintry pale cheeks. However as Daniel excused his skittish little doll, all Meora could manage was a forced girlish giggle, a strained sweet, and two quick words: "of course". This was not going well.

"How are you enjoying the party so far? Heartland has certainly done a good job this year," Daniel said casually, either pleasantly unaware or tactfully dismissive of her inner awkwardness.

The bright, wild, dancing colours, I love; the shallow small talk, the forgettable blur of faces, I adore - but the presence of my own kind sickens me and I keep feeling Soeri's eyes on my back and I keep hearing her words in my ear and both you doll are making me nauseously nervous and for the first time in my life I want to flee the whirring excitement of a party! That is what she ached to say, those childish and consequential words; instead she opted for a hopefully more mature approach: "I am having a wonderful time, Mr Clement; how about you-?"

Meora's sentence was abruptly sliced in two as a pitifully dressed, filth-caked doll in rags was hauled onto the dance floor by an equally as disgusting, if not more so, man, made monstrous by his vile treatment to the beautiful, young woman. Somewhere deep inside horror and guilt and hatred for the cruel man stabbed between Meora's ribcage. What if that had been me? What if I hadn't been so lucky? She asked herself, same hair colour, same eye colour; it could have been me.

For a moment that hung precariously as glass on a table edge, Meora felt a strange, instinctive link that seemed to illuminate the air with electricity, and then, as the mistreated doll was swept from the floor by a familiar angel, it was gone and Soeri's snarling expression burned at the back of her mind.

"There's nothing better than a good happy ending," Daniel's muttering snapped her from the chasm into which she had mindlessly, unwillingly fallen. She observed the man as he wandered through his own sort of reverie and remembered

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove

When Daniel's first words oozed softly from his lips, Meora found herself yet again reminded that the boy before her was not a boy but a man, far more closely connected to the adult world than she could ever hope to be at the age of seventeen - and for a brief, fleeting moment it dragged her thoughts from the silver heart embedded in her throat, where she suddenly found her real heart hammering away. The doll kept looking at her! She swore that it could see right through her, to the naked lie that she was beneath her clothing. Stay calm, she urged her roaring pulse, knowing that whatever she did, 'calm' would never be something she could achieve around a - another - doll.

As the man gently brushed a kiss onto her hand and then allowed it to fall against her side, she did not feel the stammer of anxiety, only formed delicate pink brushstrokes along her wintry pale cheeks. However as Daniel excused his skittish little doll, all Meora could manage was a forced girlish giggle, a strained sweet, and two quick words: "of course". This was not going well.

"How are you enjoying the party so far? Heartland has certainly done a good job this year," Daniel said casually, either pleasantly unaware or tactfully dismissive of her inner awkwardness.

The bright, wild, dancing colours, I love; the shallow small talk, the forgettable blur of faces, I adore - but the presence of my own kind sickens me and I keep feeling Soeri's eyes on my back and I keep hearing her words in my ear and both your doll are making me nauseously nervous and for the first time in my life I want to flee the whirring excitement of a party! That is what she ached to say, those childish and consequential words; instead she opted for a hopefully more mature approach: "I am having a wonderful time, Mr Clement; how about you-?"

Meora's sentence was abruptly sliced in two as a pitifully dressed, filth-caked doll in rags was hauled onto the dance floor by an equally as disgusting, if not more so, man, made monstrous by his vile treatment to the beautiful, young woman. Somewhere deep inside horror and guilt and hatred for the cruel man stabbed between Meora's ribcage. What if that had been me? What if I hadn't been so lucky? She asked herself, same hair colour, same eye colour; it could have been me.

For a moment that hung precariously as glass on a table edge, Meora felt a strange, instinctive link that seemed to illuminate the air with electricity, and then, as the mistreated doll was swept from the floor by a familiar angel, it was gone and Soeri's snarling expression burned at the back of her mind.

"There's nothing better than a good happy ending," Daniel's muttering snapped her from the chasm into which she had mindlessly, unwillingly fallen. She observed the man as he wandered through his own sort of reverie and she remembered the cruelty that brought him to fame; asked herself if he really had found his happily ever after...And prayed that she found hers.

"Hopefully that's the most excitement we'll have for the night, eh?" He laughed a little, a smile carved into his lips, a sip drawn from his glass.

"I do hopes so as well," She spoke in an almost-whisper, eyes discerning what truth they could from Daniel's appearance, "How are you these days Mr Clement?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Perhaps if he hadn't been focused so introspectively, Daniel might have noticed how his conversation partner reacted to the abused doll being tugged across the floor, but he didn't. It didn't really matter though, there was enough in the conversation to keep him interested and curious. They picked up the small conversation up about where they had left off. It was her turn to ask questions and continue the pleasantries. Her words were soft though, barely discernible through the returning murmur of the party-goers. Daniel had to dip his head forward a bit, missing her first couple words. She was studying him, and he could have guessed her question before she uttered it. It was not an unfamiliar question, but the way she asked it was...different.

He smiled faintly again, slowly and methodically untangling his arm from Erik's grip as he spoke. "As well as ever, I'd say. My company keeps me quite busy, but they're a sweet lot." For all his words, he'd said nothing. Which was his intention. Nobody needed to know about his daemons. He rubbed his Doll's back fondly for a moment before placing his empty flute in the boy's grasp. Erik nodded, he was one of silent communication himself, and wandered off with a quick step, intent on doing what was asked of him as quickly as possible. He was still skittish enough to jump every time someone brushed against him, though he was getting better about handling himself in public. Sweet boy. Poor boy.

"How do you fare?" He asked once he'd sent Erik off. He didn't expect much of an answer but it was the ebb and flow of conversation; it was a rule of etiquette. She'd likely give a response similar to the one she'd given before, perhaps similar to his own. Meaningless, revealing nothing. Not that he blamed her. Many high class creatures were secretive, though rightly so. Although, the tone in which she'd asked her previous question still tugged at his mind. That soft, serious look on her face. It meant something. Well, she had caught his reflection, in seemed, and perhaps she'd held on to it. He didn't know quite what to make of such a thing, most people really didn't care how he was, past trying to get in good with him. He should leave it for now, he decided, but watch for more and for an opinion on it later.

Meanwhile, Erik still had the glass clutched between his fingers, off in search of water for Daniel. He knew no harm would come to him, but he had to keep telling himself that or he'd have dropped everything and found the nearest exit and get away from all the people. It wasn't the people themselves, he just didn't like their nearness, nor the fact that he couldn't see them all at once. It put him in a bad place, mentally, and he knew it. He just had to keep himself out of it all and keep going. He was better at coping now than he'd been at one point, which was a very good thing, but the problems still lingered.

After cutting a questionable path through the people, he made it to the bar, deposited empty glass, and procured one of water. Pleased with his success, he turned to discover his path had been swallowed up, and there would be no way to get back to Daniel unless he pushed through people, and there was no way he was going to do that. He froze for a few seconds, then backed up against the bar again, swallowing and shrinking slightly into himself. He was no longer playing shy, he really was cowed to his core. He decided that the best course of action would to be to stand and wait for Daniel came looking for him. That would be the safest thing to do. Yes. Perfect.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove:

Her mindlessly asked, curious question did not seem to do much good in the ways of discovery, it seemed, as Daniel's answer seemed to both bar all doors to what lay behind chestnut eyes, clouded as a storm, and blatantly disregard Meora's words entirely, scraping shallowly across the surface of secrets. She could not blame him for wanting to keep his privacy; nobody could find fault in that desire, especially after his past experiences.

Although she found herself disappointed that she could do nothing to unravel confidences from his lips, hearing of his dolls - his sweet lot- was enough to convince her not to push the topic any further than she already had. Just imagining his home, crawling with them all, eyes watching, staring, wide-open, too perfect, seeing what should stay hidden...It caused her stomach to turn somersaults in her abdomen. At least he is happy, she chastised herself.

Happy to some extent.

When the quiet, little doll Eric, who Meora could almost - almost - feel the stirrings of pity for in her shadowy heart, had been sent away by some silent intonation into the bustling crowds alone - that foreign twinge of empathy once more - she found herself relaxing slightly, unconsciously made fists uncurling like the gentle petals of flowers, her taught shoulders oozed into a soft, unassuming posture. The pearls around her throat that had once constricted her relented and she felt air whoosh in and out of her lungs without difficulty, without fear of suffocation.

"How do you fare?" Daniel asked, though his mind, she could tell, had drifted elsewhere. The question itself was casual, expected, perfectly ordinary. Instantly, Meora felt suspicious. Nobody, except for the trusted Heartland Industries, should have been informed of what happened all those years ago; how could Daniel Clement of all the higher class aristocracy have harboured such information? How could he know what she was? How could he know of Soeri, of everything, of her entire life's purpose-? No. Impossible. No, no, no - it was just meaningless question, nothing of that sort; something harmless, something that would not dig into the blackened pit of her past. Father had made sure nobody could trace her roots to the vilely gnarled tree of her origins.

Meora caught herself before she sighed a breath of relief and spoke, smiling, "Perfectly fine." Not complex enough. "Of course there is a lot of work for me to do in order to help father but life at home is as it should be." Divert the topic away from yourself. "And father's business deals are going well, I believe-" Is that really interesting? "And Xander-" Instinctively, she found her gaze grazing the cloud of people for his presence, unsuccessful in such a busy environment; she turned back to Daniel, "He has a new doll-" She hadn't meant to stress the word; too late now. She cringed. Let's hope he doesn't notice. "Emma. She's very beautiful but quiet. I can tell that my brother enjoys her company a lot."

Speaking of dolls... Meora's eyes flickered to the pathway in which Erik had slipped through, now swallowed whole by the party-goers. How long could it take to fetch a glass of water? The bar was hardly a great many miles away. She stifled a frown; forced her eyebrows to stay curved calmly over her eyes, instead of knitting together.

No, she most certainly was not worried about that other doll.