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Red Strings Of Fate?

Red Strings Of Fate?

Can the Red Strings Of Fate save three nations on the brink of war? Or will they guide them to ruin?

1375 readers have visited this universe since KumoriRyuu created it.
Topics: destiny, fate, ill fated, intrigue, love, original, romance, and war (Add Tags »)
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Introduction

Red Strings Of Fate?





Welcome, everyone!


This is Red Strings Of Fate?, a story about three royal families who, in a desperate bid to preemptively end a global conflict before it starts, promise the hands of their respective Princesses to commoners of a different nation.

It is the hope of these Royal families that the union of Royal and commoner will help to bridge the social and political gaps which have pushed their nations to the brink of war, as well as to help them all usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.

The neutral nation of Valkyom will host a Royal Ball which the three commoners have been cordially invited to attend. While there, they are free to mingle and enjoy the finest food and drink available, all while believing that they were invited at random as a gesture of good will by the Royal families.

When the bells sound, the announcement will be made that the commoners present will be wed to the Princesses.

And thus our story begins… Will this union bring peace, war, love, or hate? Who will prosper and who will suffer? Which nations will decline while others rise above?

Will the Red String Of Fate prove benign, or malign, for these three couples?

Which are doomed, and which are destined for love?

Find out by participating!

(A list of available races and a thread on how magic works in this RP will be provided soon, so please check back regularly and exercise patience with me as I create small profiles for each race and work on the magic thread information.

Thank you!
)





CHARACTER PROFILE SKELETON


Code: Select all
[b]Name:[/b] (Be original as best you can, please.)
[b]Picture:[/b] (Anime preferred.)

[b]Age:[/b]
[b]Sex:[/b]
[b]Height:[/b]
[b]Weight:[/b]
[b]Voice:[/b] (Please provide an example of the voice you are after. Either a youtube or Soundcloud link will do.)

[b]Race:[/b]

[b]Primary Abilities/Strengths:[/b] (Please list at least 5 strengths.)
[b]Primary Weaknesses:[/b] (Please list at least 5 weaknesses.)

[b]Personality:[/b] (At least one full paragraph with no fewer than seven sentences.)

[b]Biography:[/b] (At least three paragraphs with no fewer than seven sentences each.)
[/size]

Rules

Rule #1) You must inform me of your intent to join this RP before submitting a character. If you submit a character with no prior contact with me, I will deny you entry to the RP.

Rule #2) Respect your fellow role-players.

Rule #3) I welcome new ideas for magic, creatures, festivals and holidays, etc. So please do speak up if you think you have a good idea for something within any of these categories. The world our characters live in is a major part of the RP, so by all means exercise your creativity and help me add to it!

Rule #4) No God-Modding, Metagaming, or Power Playing will be tolerated.

Stick to what your character knows, and what we all OOC know your character is capable of.

If you have not mentioned a specific skill or trait in your profile or biography, I will not allow your character to suddenly have access to said skill or trait IC.

For example: If you don’t mention they have medical knowledge in the profile somewhere, they do not know how to tend to wounds. If you don’t mention that they know how to pick locks, they can’t pick a lock or crack a safe.

Stick to what your character knows, and what we know they can do. If you want them to be able to do something IC, either it’s mentioned in your profile or they will have to learn how to do what you want from scratch. And if that’s the case you must slowly let your character learn how to do what you want them to do IC. You will not be allowed to “start” learning and then master it within a few posts. It’s going to take a LONG TIME to master whatever it is you want them to do.

Period.

Rule #5) Stick to the races given.

I have a specific list of available races to choose from, and I will not be adding to it or making changes to what they are or how they work for anyone. If you don’t like a certain race or want it adjusted to suit your “ideal” version of what they should be, you know where the door is.

Rule #6) Don’t try to skimp on the sentences in the profile skeleton. I ask you for a good volume of information. If you try and skimp and write fewer than the requested number of sentences, then you’re either lazy or you don’t care to follow directions. In either case, I don’t want you here.

Fulfill the profile requirements in full, or show yourself the door.

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Character Portrait: Korose
Korose played by KumoriRyuu
My strength does not make me "strong."
Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis "This is what I wanted. Even if I wish I could go back, my dream is no longer my own. I owe her that much."
Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard "My wings shall carry me above the troubles of man."
Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar "I suppose I could entertain the idea that your company could be interesting."
Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris "I will be my people's light."
Character Portrait: Nina Peirce "I don't see the big deal, hooking up AND saving the kingdom on the side? What's not to like?"

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These poor, unfortunate souls were once a part of this great world, but have been abandoned. Why don't you consider viewing their profiles and making a decision on whether or not you can roleplay them accurately?


View All »Places in Red Strings Of Fate?

Gheresh

Gheresh by KumoriRyuu

The nation of Gheresh.

Althuum

Althuum by KumoriRyuu

The nation of Althuum.

Irilene

Irilene by KumoriRyuu

The nation of Irilene.

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Events

Soon™.

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Setting

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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Valkyom: Neutral Territory

Time: 7:30pm





On a clear, cloudless night, the event was soon to begin.

The Royal Ball, which sought to unite three of the four nations under one neutral roof in an attempt to ease tensions which had arisen in previous years.

Althuum, Irilene, and Gheresh. Together the three Royal Families gathered in the Ballroom atop the balcony above the main floor. A dual stairway on either side leading up lined with red carpet. The Royal Family of Althuum on the West side. The Royal Family of Gheresh on the East side. And the Royal Family of Irilene dead center.

For the time being they were confined to this balcony, save for the princesses who were free to mingle with the gathering crowds.

Speaking of crowds... None knew the true purpose of this event. It was simply "The Royal Ball" to all of them. However, it was noted that a commoner from each nation was invited which had many of the nobility in attendance up in arms. Common folk mingling with nobility and Royalty at an event like this... It was inconceivable.

But that didn't matter to the Royal Families. They had an ulterior motive for all of this.

Below the balcony was the dance floor. A 20'x20' square of beautiful redwood flooring with a white marble edge. A red carpet lined the perimeter, 3' wide at each edge.

All around the room were hanging lamps and chandeliers from the ceiling lighting the room brilliantly. White drapes lining the stained glass windows at each side allowed the moon's light to reflect the stained glass coloring into the fabric, creating a brilliant and colorful display. Outside the dance floor was stone flooring with an intricate square pattern with curved and swirling inlays across their surfaces. Every 2x2 square designed to look like a single seamless image flowing from one square to the next.

Guards posted throughout the room to keep the peace and protect all in attendance, particularly the princesses, kept watch. They scanned the crowd ceaselessly for threats or signs of aggression. The nobility who were invited come from various nations, and many of them had strong political opinions about their neighbors. One potential fight had already been broken up just a few minutes before he walked into the room.

Through the large red double doors leading into the room emerged a tall and powerful figure with blue hair and matching blue eyes. He stood 6' 10" in height, and was well muscled. Normally he carried a golden sword gifted to him by a noble he saved many years ago. The blade was normally a two-handed weapon, but he wielded it with one hand due to his physical strength. That blade, however, had been left back home in Gheresh. Weapons were prohibited at this event unless they were in the hands of the guards.

As he entered the room, almost all eyes around them turned to him immediately. He was so tall he stood a head above the entire crowd, so it was hard to miss his deep blue hair and tall, muscular stature. He began walking into the crowd towards the East table where they were serving beverages such as wines and fruit juices. He approached and requested a cup of cherry juice, graciously accepting his beverage from the one handing them out and taking a sip. He scanned around in his peripheral vision and saw many of the nobility staring and chatting amongst themselves about him.

It was clear he was a commoner.

His clothing, while very nice for the occasion, was obviously of "peasant make." He wore a white collared shirt with a golden trim around the wrists and down the front where his buttons were. A red sash around his waist with black loose-fit pants and dark brown leather boots rising not far below his knees completed the ensemble. He wore no bandanna this night, considering it rude to wear such head gear to a formal event. He sipped at his juice and leaned against the wall nearby, trying not to stand out any more than he already was.

Not long after him, a Mithii walked into the room. He was also tall, but not as tall as the blue-haired one. His flowing brown locks framed his hard set face and impressive muscular physique. He wore traditional clothing for a Mithii, consisting of an open front shirt, green in this case, coupled with a brown sash and tan pans with brown boots similar to the other commoner's. He wore a badge indicating he was an ambassador of the Mithii, which earned him slightly more respect than the badge-less blue-haired one. He too walked to the drink table and requested white wine, which he sipped quietly before moving to the opposite side of the room and began chatting with one of the guards.

Overall, so far so good.

No unpleasantness despite the arrival of two of the three requested commoners.

It would not be long before the trumpets sounded to begin the event proper, and everyone expected signing and dancing on the dance floor for all who desired to participate.

If they only knew what was to come...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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Tetsuo Alastar

Image


“Would you stop fussing already Akane? I’ve been to these sorts of meetings before.” Grumbling a little to himself as he was dragged down the street, Tetsuo was only faintly resisting his younger sister’s tugs. In his mind they still had plenty of time to attend, and there was something to be said for being fashionably late. Naturally however, his reputation as a bit of a slacker was well established amongst his family, so he’d been assigned a chaperone to assure he didn’t do anything to harm the Alastar family name. Akane Alastar was his younger sister by four years, but she was a capable and charming young lady. She was also a nagging drag, but perhaps that was a side of her that only he got to see? Still, she was dressed somewhat nicely, even if she wasn’t going to be joining him for the evening. A bright yellow summer dress with white lace decals, a stunning accompaniment to her emerald eyes and twin blonde braids. Stopping just outside the gates to the royal estate, Akane turned back to her brother, gently pushing him back against the wall as she got to work fixing up the ribbon tie by his neck and straightening his jacket.

“This is a royal ball Tetsuo. There’s going to be nobility and other high class individuals. You have to make a good impression, commerce is built on trust and relationships. If you can make a few key contacts, we’ll have a leg up in trade agreements.” Dusting Tetsuo down, Akane heard her brother sigh, and made a point of tightening his cravat a bit roughly. “Don’t let us down. Besides, this is an opportunity for you to meet a nice young lady that’ll get your head out of those books.” At those words, Tetsuo looked away and to the side, eye rolling. “Not likely…” He mumbled to himself, but thankfully it wasn’t heard as he stood up straight. Stepping back to appraise her handiwork, Akane checked over the details. It was a fine business suit, a faint purple tinge rather than a pure black, with golden highlights and red trim dressings. With his white shirt untucked and black leather pants, it added a bit more style and showed a bit more personality than if it had been completely neat. Satisfied with how he brushed up, he certainly looked like he’d blend in with the nobility. Like a prince or something. At that thought, Akane sighed to herself wistfully. “Oh, how I wish I got to go! Imagine if I found myself a sweet prince who took me away to a life of luxury~” Fantasising to herself, Akane had clasped her cheeks and shut her eyes. Shaking his head, Tetsuo moved up and ruffled the top of her head.

“As if anyone would be interested in a runt like you.” Laughing to himself, Tetsuo smirked at her slight struggles, but before she could do too much to protest, he clapped a hand onto her shoulder and kneeled down slightly. “Thanks though. I appreciate you looking out for me. Don’t worry, I’m taking this seriously. I don’t want to cause trouble for the business.” Smiling to his sister, she did seem a bit pouty, but satisfied with his serious expression. She smiled, giving him a firm pat on the back and pushing him towards the gate. “Well, get going then! If you mess it up, you’re disowned from the family.” Laughing to herself as Tetsuo stumbled forward, her older brother shook his head again, waving over his shoulder. “Yeah, sure. I’ll see if I can find someone to date you too.” At those words, Tetsuo’s sister’s face lit up. Smirking a bit, Tetsuo glanced back to her, giving a shrug. “I mean, if I can sell you, I’ll prove myself to be quite the businessman. Has the added benefit of getting you outta my hair too.”

Bristling, Akane gave a simple wave, but it was clear she was pretty miffed at that final comment. Still, she let him continue on his way without another word, letting her eyes burn death into the back of his head as he made his way inside and out of sight.

Stepping into the main ballroom, it seemed Tetsuo was the last of the commoners. Striding with confidence and purpose, Tetsuo immediately scanned the room, taking note of the Mithii and enormous gentleman on the wall. He wondered what their purpose was in this sort of meeting, but it didn’t entirely concern him. Instead, his priority would be to establish connections with influential people to make his family’s trading easier, not fraternise with those closer to his social standing. After all, moving up in the world would only make life easier. Rather than make a beeline for a drink as he preferred to ‘talk with his hands’, Tetsuo instead made his way over to a group of gentleman that were already drinking, introducing himself and shaking hands before attempting to take control of the situation. Hopefully these men had enjoyed enough drinks for some compliments to butter them up and make discussing business a bit easier. As he spoke, he took note to the layout of the royalty on the balcony above, separated from their guests, as well as each other. Tensions between the regions made travelling and sales difficult, so he could only hope that the fact they were at least meeting was a sign of good things to come.



Haruna Lingquis

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”Breathe. You can do this… Stand straight, be polite. Lead with your name, thank them, allow them to lead conversation, but don’t be too passive." Whispering to herself under her breath, Haruna adjusted the wrinkles in her dress for the eight time. She wasn’t used to wearing anything of this quality, and it was a little embarrassing. Of course she’d worn dresses before, but this was something on a whole different level. The shorter girl was in a decorated teal dress, various shades highlighting and darkening areas to provide a pleasant contrast. Intricately woven patterns of embroidered symbols danced along the hem; and although the bottom of the skirt was quite wide and required her to lift it to move, the upper portion of her ballgown was far less bulky, openly baring her shoulders and showing off the intricate jewelry she wore around her neck. The long, shoulder length gloves were white and delicate, and made her slightly more uncomfortable, as part of her worried that she might forget she was wearing them and accidentally damage them with her nails. Her hair had been curled and primped, sparkling, shining and cradled together loosely in a weaved golden clip that held it neatly into place and prevented it from getting untidy despite still hanging loose and long against her back.

Awkwardly shifting her weight from one foot to the other, Haruna remained on the outside of the dance floor and the main social groups, using the wall as protection to stop anyone sneaking up on her. She wanted so desperately to impress her parents and act as a princess would, but she was far more nervous about making a mistake or a fool of herself in front of all these nobles. Yes, she’d trained. She knew the basics. But this was the first real test, and one mistake would colour everyone’s impression of her from this moment forward. She couldn’t afford to mess this up. Glancing up to the balcony, she met her mother’s gaze, and immediately felt the hairs on the back of her neck crawl from the piercing glare. The expectations had been set. Swallowing nervously, she made her way across from the wall towards one of the buffet tables to meet with the nobles there. She was alone in doing so. Even her personal attendants, whom her mother insisted go with her most everywhere, had been restricted to remaining on the upper floor. Taking another deep breath, she prepared herself to make introductions and small talk when suddenly, the attention and air of the room changed as everyone turned to the main entry.

Short as she was, she thought she might not be able to see what all the fuss was about. Despite that however, there was no way she could miss the gentleman that entered the hall, as he towered above the other occupants of the room. Was he one of the commoners…? Immediately, Haruna’s face flushed and she turned away, thinking back on it. She was so nervous, she had almost completely forgotten WHY she was at this ball in the first place! It wasn’t just to socialise and test how she was coming along with her etiquette training. She… Was to be wed. Everything in her life had changed so drastically over the past few months, but this… Could she really do this? Taking a few hasty steps away to the opposite side of the room, Haruna breathed a sigh of relief as she noticed the tall man make his way over to the east table, and although she was scared, her curiosity bested her as she observed him claim a drink, peering around the small group of individuals that she was hidden behind to stare and observe. He was like a giant! Was she really expected to marry someone like that? Squirming slightly, she ducked back behind the crowd to avoid his gaze when he planted himself on the east wall. As she did so, she realised that she’d now drawn the attention of the group she was using as a shield, and so she hastily made her own introduction.

“Haruna Lingquis. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I recognise you as one of my father’s business contacts? Thank you for all your service to our nation of Althuum.” Bowing slightly, just as she’d been taught, the people seemed genuinely jovial in her company, commenting on how lovely she looked and asking her opinions on Althuum’s current political climate. Though the compliment made her feel quite pleased with herself, she froze at the question. Her opinion? What was her opinion? No, not her opinion. What was the opinion of the Princess of Althuum? Hesitating a slightly awkward amount of time, her mind began racing as she thought through how best to answer. “Well that is… A delicate matter, but…” Haruna’s stalling seemed to pay off, as once again, the attention of the room was brought to the front doors, looking towards the second commoner to enter. Observing the Mithii before her, Haruna tried to recall what her mother had said about him. Wasn’t he a diplomat? He also was very tall, and quite imposing. Keenly observing him as he also went to claim a drink, the princess of Althuum immediately felt her body tighten up in panic as he began to make his way over to her side of the room! Immediately, Haruna began circling the crowd again, slightly surprising the nobles she’d been speaking with once their attention returned as the princess had silently slipped away and seemed to have disappeared. Conveniently, it helped her somewhat politely escape the questions asked of her.

“This is so stupid… You’re a princess, and you’re to be wed one of these men! You can’t keep running and hiding like this!” Moving up to the north wall, farthest from the two men and the entrance door, Haruna silently thought to herself and tried to psych herself up to introduce herself to her potential suitors. Continuing to blend in to the crowd and watch them from the sidelines, she was a bit surprised to see none of the other princesses, and in fact, none of the nobles made an effort to speak with them. Were commoners really that despised..? Was she inadvertently acting as a princess would by avoiding them? With these thoughts running through her head, Haruna missed the entrance of the third commoner, as did most of the nobles given how well he mixed with the upper class. With another long exhale, Haruna noticed that the north door was open to the courtyard. It was a pleasant evening, a nice warm breeze, and a hundred dotted stars shined across the sky… Perhaps she could get some air to calm down, then she’d return and make a full effort to introduce herself?

Heading over to the tall doors, Haruna slipped from the ballroom, slowly making her way to the edge and resting her arms against the railing. Looking out over the garden of the Valkyom Estate, she realised how beautiful this country was. It was a peaceful, stable nation. Althuum was… Well, it looked beautiful; the gardens were as meticulously well presented as any kingdom. Underneath it all however, it was unstable. It was a facade of control and perfection, but it wasn’t real. But maybe… Maybe one day, they wouldn’t have to pretend. Maybe she would be real too. She wished that was the case. Leaning forward more to rest her head slightly in her arms, Haruna realised such a stature was unbefitting of a princess and glanced behind her. Seeing no one, she sighed, sitting up slightly and looking up to the stars. Wishes were what got her into this mess. She couldn’t rely on the gods to sort this out. She’d have to fulfill her own wish with her own hands. But… What was it she truly wished for?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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The night of the Royal ball had come at last. The night that would change Soliana’s life forever….

Soliana could hear the sounds of the ball in the next room as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. With a sigh she pulled herself away from the mirror and made her way towards the ballroom. ”You can do this…” She told herself.

As she neared the doors to the ballroom the guards opened them letting the sights of the grand ballroom wonder into Soliana’s gaze. But she also felt the gaze of hundreds of eyes upon her. And why would the not be. Soliana was the avatar of grace and beauty. Her blue and silver gown clung tight to her thin form. The low cut of the top showed off her shoulders and cleavage. A silver amulet filled with water hung from her neck. The water was a crystal blue in a clear glass shaped like a raindrop. Her long blonde hair was tied up in a long braid that hung down almost to her rear. The dress flowed down coming to an end just above her feet. Her feet sparkled as the light danced off her silver sandals. The finishing touches where the silver bracers on her arms and the silver tiara that rested on her head.

Soliana kept a smile on her face as she looked over the gathered crowd. It looked like a group of happy well mannered men and women… but to Soliana it looked like a powder keg waiting for a single lit match. She found her eyes drawn to the nobles of her kingdom. The young men eager to claim the throne though her bedroom…. What would the do when they found out their plans could never be?

Soliana pulled her eyes from the vultures until her eyes rested on a tough looking man with blue hair. His outfit gave him away as the commoner from her land… She knew she would not be matched with him, so her eyes moved on.

Next Soliana saw the Mithii. He was a bit intimidating to look at. With his strong look and mighty wings. But what truly caught her eye was his badge. A diplomat of his people. He could be a great help wading through the politics of her troubled Gheresh perhaps… But the thought of being married to this winged man was a bit terrifying.

Soliana moved through the ballroom glancing around for a sign of the third commoner. He was good at blending in but Soliana finally laid her eyes on the Human man that blended in so well with the nobles he was speaking with. Such a man would be a great boon to her. He was also the fairest looking to her. A brief coy grin crossed her face. Charming as he seemed…. what if it was just that… a charm hiding something…

Out of the corner of her eye Soliana noticed on of the other princesses slip out to the gardens… No that wasn’t a princess at all it was an usurper playing princess. she managed not to glare thankfully… this was to be a peace ball… Even if she hated what was done to Althuum’s rightful rulers she had to play nice… Even has her eyes drifted back to the Gheresh nobles this time her eyes on the daughters wondering which one had her eyes set on being in her place…

A serving girl with a tray of finger foods broke Soliana from her thoughts. “Would would like something My Lady?” the girl asked.

Soliana took a small fancy sandwich of some kind and nodded smiling to the girl.”Thank You.”

“You are very welcome My Lady.” the girl said before heading off into the crowd.

Soliana moved on herself to mingle while she waited for the last princess to arrive.... ”So it begins..” she muttered under her breath.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Seriously, everything was way too pretentious. While she wasn't a stranger to harmless commerce, the atmosphere was a bit heavy. Pampered-up assholes attempting to play the illusion of the pomp gentlemen, and the trophy wives brought around like another piece of clothing. She'd be damned if she wanted to be one of their glorified armrests, but she did have an obligation to keep. She peered back at her family, scattered about the courtroom. Her mother, never bothering herself with social interactions was sitting comfortably in a balcony overseeing the overall layout. She would be approached periodically, but Nina couldn't imagine that the conversation lasted long. Her step-father was nowhere to be seen, most likely forced into two-people's worth of mingling due to being too soft on her mother. She couldn't imagine either of them was enjoying themselves.

Her dress was a deep rose shade, shoulder pads caressing her arms and frilly black ribbon hanging off the sleeves. The hems, adorned with flowery imprints reached to the ground before being separated by black fabric as contrast, the parting decorated with ribbon that was tied into rose shapes. Underneath was a black corset, wrapping tightly with more ruddy ribbon and finally, above the single opening was a stylish choker, frilled with black lace and choking her neck with every breath. Maybe this Princess stuff was tougher than she initially thought, do they have to wear this bondage suit every single day? They must've made her wear something like this to mess with her.

Her dress, defiantly shouting vivid colors, the unfamiliar role of Princess displayed on top of her head and the late entrance has given her quite a bit of attention. She knew what she had to look for, and these nobles were essentially just fodder, meant to fill the room and keep up the guise of a royal ball instead of an oddly excessive husband hunting ceremony. Of course, she knew how to use her words, talking with people like this wasn't too difficult. Bring your hand out, bow your head, laugh at their pitiful jokes and then leave, preferably in the next few minutes lest you want to throw up from all egotism.

She waved away another royal. Was she too passive aggressive there? People who bring up their accomplishment are really asking for it to be used as target practice. Sighing contently, she made her way to the drink table. Was it unprincesslike to get shit-faced? Her desperate plees to escape further meaningless conversation placed her in the right moment to study the new arrivals, particularly the sore thumbs.

She was told that the winged one was from her own kingdom, so she mentally ignored him. The idea of interloping with a bird-man was an interesting prospect, but she was told to adhere to the kingdom's wishes, sweeping away all her personal curiosities and desires. While not exactly her own style of play, she didn't want to make a scene just yet.

As time stopped for the first commoner made his appearance, the whole room audibly turned their attention towards him. Of course, Nina looked to where the fireworks were, despite his lowly title following him about, he was rather well-mannered. Her experience with other town-folk was a bit different, usually a more rambunctious, being able to maintain eye contact with them without arching her neck at a 90-degree angle. Nina stared at the man intently, a different glare from the other nobles, etched with curiosity instead of ridicule. She traced his movement and watched him lean onto the wall. After being thoroughly satisfied with her peering session, she smiled at him before ordering wine for herself. As she cupped the glass, she made her way to the side near a pillar. She was done with socializing..for now.

It was definitely more of the same. She watched as the socialites moved about, some stopping by to talk with her before she dismissively ended the conversation on her own terms. Of course, she was tasked with seeking out the suitors, but such matters weren't exactly on the top of her list at the very moment. The dress itself was constricting her. She needed some air.

Relaxing her posture, she used her shoulders to wade through the groups of nobles and patricians, stopping short at what seemed to be someone with exactly the same idea. Nina would usually approach someone that interested her straight away. They were going to the same place after all, but she chose to study her for a brief moment. Walking off to the interior wall, and looking from behind the door, she watched her. Amused as the girl attempted to relax, only to look around her worried about someone else's eyes on her back. How cute.

With a modest smirk decorating her lips, she inched towards the balcony. She walked up next to her, obviously without the concept of personal space, before speaking through an impish grin.

"Not enjoying the party? Don't blame 'ya..I don't have fancy tastes either." Nina took an ample sip of her glass, turning her body around to lean her back on the railing. She used her free hand to loosen to ribbon around her chest area before stretching her arms and shoulders. Looking back at the bustling party behind Haruna, she spoke again after her initial stint of surprise.

"You can relax, I won't tell anyone..."


"Promise."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Haruna Lingquis

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”Maybe I’m just overthinking it all…” Haruna mumbled to herself, shutting her eyes and stretching her back and her right arm into the sky. She was a little bit stiff from maintaining her posture the whole night, so it was nice to take this opportunity in private to recuperate without having to entirely worry about looking dignified and regal. Still, it was just a short break. She’d have to head back to the ballroom and-

"Not enjoying the party? Don't blame 'ya..I don't have fancy tastes either." The somewhat playful and mocking feminine voice was entirely too close for Haruna’s comfort, and the feline couldn’t help but utter a faint set of squeaks in alarm before she composed herself, swiftly pivoting and taking a step back as she covered her mouth to stop any further embarrassing noise escaping her lips. By now, her face was already flushed a little red from being caught in what she considered to be such a compromising way, and Haruna sheepishly looked to the side as her new company got themselves comfortable. Glancing back upwards, immediately there was a flash of recognition as Haruna’s eyes widened. She’d been educated thoroughly about the other Royal Families, and this was none other than Nina Peirce, Royal Princess to the Kindom of Irilene!

She was a gorgeous young lady, slender as far as Haruna could see, and seemingly far more comfortable and confident in her dress than the Cahleethe as she seamlessly turned and propped herself on the railing. With a simple toss of her hand, she’d undone a portion of her corset like it was nothing, rolling her arms as she casually looked back into the hall. And for a moment, Haruna was stunned by her beauty. Was this the presence a real princess held? Eyes studying the woman before her, Haruna tried to absorb everything Nina held that she lacked, but for the moment, it all seemed intangible. The way she held herself with such confidence was effortless. How did one even learn to conduct themselves like that? It had only been seconds since the Princess of Irilene had sat next to her, and yet she’d easily taken command of her attention without so much as a thought. Contrary to the words she’d used to introduce herself, Haruna found her very much fancy, though she was a little too awe-struck and embarrassed to say.

As if sensing the Althuumian Princess’s unease, Nina spoke once more. "You can relax, I won't tell anyone..." Haruna felt her heart beat more rapidly in the exact opposite reaction to relaxing. The fact she even mentioned that she wouldn’t tell anyone implied that she shouldn’t be relaxing. A-and yet, as one princess to another, should she be refusing such an invitation? Would it be considered rude to maintain a formal position? Or was Nina attempting to goad her into a foolish action in order to further ridicule her inelegance? With her hands still at her face to hide both her mouth and her rose-tinted cheeks, the pause while she collected her thoughts was long enough for Nina to add in a final nudge for Haruna to reply.

"Promise." That one word alone was hard to read. Was it genuine or sardonic? Immediately, Haruna felt a stab of guilt for doubting her company. Perhaps Nina had reason to lie, but this was a princess. And in Haruna’s mind, a princess was honest. A promise was something to be upheld and cherished. And yet at the same time, there was something about that word that made Haruna feel a faint pang of melancholy. Pushing past her mixed emotions, Haruna steeled her nerves as she slowly lowered her hands in front of her, though they still seemed to hover a little awkwardly, like she didn’t know where to place them. Realising this, Haruna made a point of separating them and balling them into fists, placing them at her side. At the same time, she finally saw fit to address the woman before her. Breathe. Stand straight, be polite. Lead with your name, thank her. Allow her to command the conversation, but don’t be too passive.

“I thank you for accepting me so informally. I will return that favour with my name: Haruna Lingquis, of the Althuum Royal Family.” Bowing slightly, albeit a bit stiffly, it was very clear that Haruna was not very relaxed at all. Realising this, she swiftly ended her bow, bringing her hands back together out of nervous habit as she tapped her fingers together. “M-my apologies, I would like to accept your gracious um, offer of uh…” Hesitating again as she struggled to formulate the sentence she’d planned oh so well in her head, Haruna brought her hand up slightly as she found the words she was looking for. “-Your invitation to drop the pretenses of formality. However, I would be remiss if I were to unintentionally offend you through an overly familiar interaction that extended beyond the bounds of our relationship.” Did she say that right? She was using the vocabulary she’d been taught, but part of her was afraid that the sentences she strung together were nonsensical. It was hard to read how Young Lady Peirce was taking it, and rather hurriedly, Haruna’s thoughts turned to anxiety. Had she already offended her? Perhaps her stuttering had unveiled how entirely unworthy and inadequate Haruna was to be in this position? She had to try and salvage the situation! A princess from a neighbouring kingdom would be an invaluable contact for the kingdom, and any hostilities could provoke any number of issues between them. Not to mention… Immediately, Haruna launched into another spiel before Nina could get in her own reply.

“B-but do not misunderstand my intentions! I am delighted by your company and quite flattered that you would be willing to speak to me as an equal! Please, if it would be to your liking, I would most certainly like to take this moment to try and establish something akin to a bond. W-what I mean to say by that, is if you would accept my offer of friendship, I would be honoured to have your guidance and counsel in the future!” The more Haruna began to talk and ramble off words, the faster her façade of professionalism was falling apart. Her ears began to twitch and point downward, her face was obviously red, and by this point her ‘gentle’ and proper posture had been lost as her hands became a bit more active as she talked and gestured in an attempt to diffuse the situation. If her tail wasn’t hidden by her dress, it would have been obvious how unsettled she was by the way it swished about. With the hole she was in getting dug deeper, Haruna managed to stop herself and hung her head slightly as she bit her lip gently. This was a disaster. She’d not only bumbled, but in front of one of the princesses no less! This was exactly why she should have followed the instructions and let Nina lead the conversation. If she’d done that, things would have gone perfectly, but she’d been overzealous, particularly at the prospect of getting to know someone who she could speak to about such things. Now, she might have ruined her only chance of earning such a thing. The only solace to the situation was that Nina was the only person to see her foolishness. If the grooms or her mother or the other princess had been around, she might have died then and there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Within the confines of the ball room, Korose observed the crowd carefully. Many of the nobles around him were avoiding his presence. In fact there was a circle of free space at least four meters in diameter around his position. Nobody was going anywhere near him. So he decided to test the stigma a little by coming off of the wall and walking towards the crowd. And surely enough they all began backing away like schools of fish avoiding a predator.

It was understandable to a certain extent. Korose was a head and a half taller than most present. His body larger and more muscular. Even wearing a loose-fitting formal outfit such as that he wore now, it was almost impossible to hide his build. Was it that which drove everyone away, or was it his status as a commoner?

"Good evening," he said as pleasantly as he could with a smile to some of the nobles.

The nobles all gave him half-hearted grins which quickly evaporated and were replaced by over the shoulder stares and glares. Whispers began to circulate, but he couldn't make them out. He tried reading a few lips, but it was no use. They turned their heads before he could make out what they said.

Korose continued trying to find someone to spark a conversation with, but it was no good. Everyone avoided him like he was some kind of disease until the Mithii came and clasped a hand on his shoulder.

"Don't worry about them big guy. They're all fluff and overstuffed nonsense."

Korose looked to the Mithii and arched an eyebrow.

"That's not very kind of you."

"Bah. These noblemen are all the same. They see themselves as the elite and look down on anyone wearing less than one thousand gold's worth of clothing like you and I. I've dealt with enough of them to know. Believe me."

Korose spied the badge on his shirt.

"I see... Still, it is impolite to speak like that so loudly at such an event."

"Ha! Try not to take things so seriously big man."

"Korose."

"Korose. Don't be so serious. This is a royal ball and you're invited. You're free to speak your mind just as they are."

"Mm..."

The Mithii walked away to request another glass of wine, leaving Korose standing not far from the dance floor. He eyed it warily, knowing that dancing would be an important part of the event later. He didn't want to be rude by not dancing, but who would dance with him? Surely none of these noblewomen would dance with him if they were all so keen to avoid him like this...

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Tetsuo Alastar

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Talks with the nobles were going about as well as could be expected. The Alastar family already held strong trade deals in each of the kingdoms, so it was more keeping contacts then making new ones. Tetsuo was satisfied that he was making a positive impression for his family, especially comparative to the other two commoners in the room. In fact, the two seemed to have isolated themselves from speaking with the upper class. Not entirely by their own choice mind you; Tetsuo knew the highbrow of society well enough to anticipate that they’d be more than a little intimidated by the dress and stature of those men. That said… The doors to the ballroom had closed by this point. This indicated that everyone had arrived. Or at least, all the important people. Intriguing. Why was it that only the three of them had been invited? It was peculiar, and hinted that something more might be going on.

Three commoners at a royal ball with a bunch of nobles… It would have to serve some sort of purpose. There’d be more of them if it was a token gesture of goodwill to the people, and given his family’s position in society and the Mithii diplomat over there, it seemed that the trio might have been handpicked to some extent. Just what was their intent? Hand to his chin as he thought this over, Tetsuo looked up to the balcony where the actual nobility and royal families had been sectioned off. They were the ones pulling the strings, and if the nobleman here were in on the plan, it seemed odd that they were treating him with such warm reception and the other two with a wide berth. Excusing himself from his current conversation, Tetsuo saw fit to retrieve a drink for himself as he thought through the clues. It certainly was a unique situation, and understanding the purpose of his attendance was now something of a mystery to solve.

Why would the royalty want him here? Looking to the balcony again, he noted that most of them seemed to simply be enjoying the party in their respective area belonging to their house, but there were a few looking over the ballroom itself. Some were simply enjoying the view, but others… Following their gazes revealed that not only were the other two commoners under scrutiny, but him as well. Not entirely out of the ordinary given how they were something of special guests, but it seemed like further confirmation that perhaps something was expected of them. Continuing to casually make his way about the room as he idly contended with his thoughts, Tetsuo subtly made another glance to the balcony, and noted some more movement as a woman he recognised as the current Queen of Althuum was making a purposeful effort to try and see to the north end of the room - a feat that was fairly futile given the layout - but if there was something or someone important here besides himself, the Mithii and the one who he could only assume was some mercenary or general, that might help him deduce the purpose of this event.

Kindly thanking the attendant girl as he placed his empty glass onto her tray, Tetsuo made his way towards the small set of stairs leading slightly upwards on the north side, adjusting his waistcoat and giving a short nod and smile to the couple he passed. Now overseeing the rest of the ballroom, Tetsuo did his best to identify anything or anyone that stood out. The nobles themselves didn’t seem to be anything special, no different from the men and women on the dancefloor. People in positions of power they were born and raised into, not earned, but that was how life was. His position was born through his own talent, yes, but a large part he owed to his family’s already established success. Then there were the guards on the perimeter. More than he expected really. In fact… Perhaps there were more for a reason? Maybe they anticipated trouble with the different royalties here? No, that didn’t entirely make sense. They weren’t watching upstairs, they were protecting something down here. In fact…

Eyes drifting out the doors leading into the courtyard, Tetsuo stopped to observe the two figures there. Far grander than the other women in the ballroom, it was quite clear that these two young ladies were a cut above the rank and file nobles if their dresses were anything to go by. With further study, Tetsuo recognised the current princess of Althuum. Those ears were a bit hard to miss, and even he knew enough about the political climate and coup that had occurred in his home nation. The other lady, the one in the striking red… Was she…? He’d heard rumours of a wild Irilenean Princess, and this lady seemed to fit the bill. Why would they be on this floor? Shouldn’t they be up with the rest of their royal families? Why were they mingling with each other? Or rather…? Slowly, a realisation began to dawn on Tetsuo as he turned his attention back to the ballroom. Was there…?

Sure enough, there was a third princess. An elven woman of Gheresh, possessing all the elegance and beauty expected of her race. Was it coincidence that there were the three male commoners and three female princesses from each of the kingdoms? Unlikely, and yet, the other prospect seemed equally ridiculous. No, strange as it was that the princesses were alone on the dance room floor, it was more likely that this was some sort of educational experience. Perhaps the women planned to interview them and gauge the community consensus outside of the castle walls? That would explain why they might have been chosen. Perhaps it was a way of controlling the view those princesses got to see of the outside world? After all, Tetsuo was no fool. There was plenty of unrest among the populace of each nation; but he’d be foolish to say anything and risk his family’s business. Likewise, it wouldn’t be entirely unreasonable for a diplomat to have his words tied. An elaborate illusion designed to fool these children into agreeing with their advisors or parents? Perhaps. Maybe he was jumping to too many conclusions.

Still, he was intrigued now. Perhaps there was some merit to his theories, and what better way to get answers then to go straight to the source? Observing the two princesses in conversation outside, Tetsuo wisely decided that approaching them in private was probably asking for trouble. The guards were already giving him a bit of scrutiny with the way he’d lingered near the exit, and it was probably improper for someone of his standing to interrupt their talks. Instead, Tetsuo made his way back into the ballroom, noticing that the Ghereshian Princess was mingling amongst the nobleman by the dancefloor. Picking his moment, Tetsuo made his approach, giving a slight bow when he entered her line of sight.

“I beg your pardon Milady. It may be presumptuous of someone of my standing to ask, but if it pleased you, would you permit me a moment of your company? I confess, there are some thoughts plaguing me that I feel would be eased through your counsel.” Returning to a standing position as he awaited her reply, Tetsuo reflected on his expectations. Even if she was elven, she looked incredibly young, as they always did. That made it somewhat difficult to read her. Age often reflected intelligence and wisdom, but there was a small notion in the back of his mind that a princess would be naïve and easy to obtain information from. Hopefully he could discern the purpose of his company this evening without arousing too much suspicion. Assuming she was aware of it. Even her reaction to his approach would be an incredible bounty of knowledge, and so he carefully observed her response while taking in cues from her outfit. The blue and silver were a pleasant complementary mix of colours, but what most drew his eye was the necklace of water that sparkled in the lights of the room. The fact it contained liquid while completely sealed made it a delightful piece, likely crafted through a brilliant artisan's magic, but no doubt it was special to her. A reflection of her character perhaps? Or something else? Maybe, if his presence didn't displease her, he'd find out momentarily.

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Of course, sneaking up on someone always warranted a reaction, but her's was downright excessive. Nina didn't mind the squawk of a response, she was already expecting an animal's cry judging by the ears that graced the top of her head. Her smile grew wider in reply, a hushed chuckle freeing from her lips before she took another drink of her wine. Nina held the cup by the underbelly and wrapped her index and middle fingers around the brittle stem as she allowed the Cahleethe a moment's reprieve to revert back to normal.

Nina wasn't looking properly up close, but this girl was totally cute too! Despite the almost unnoticeable contrast in height, Nina couldn't help seeing her as small. Their body dimensions were slightly different, but the Cahleethe's demeanor seemed to make up most of the difference. Posture, voice and overall demeanor were things that Nina always had a gold medal in, and it seemed that this girl's hands were becoming blue just from trying to keep up. It was totally amusing for Nina, evident by the ageless smirk that decorated her face, only changing to grow deeper.

Standing all by her lonesome was enough to capture her interest, but Nina would totally eat her up if they both weren't wearing such asphyxiating dresses. Nina placed her drink down after finishing the last drip of contents before bridging the gap that has formed between them. She was finished allowing this girl time to think, pressing her face dangerously close.

As far as introductions go, Nina almost burst out giggling from hearing Haruna's. Partially because of how rigid she said it, almost as if reading off a script for the first time, but mostly because of Nina finally realizing who she was talking to. She didn't keep track of politics, but this was THE princess of Althuum. Something that she didn't bother to notice until the introduction. For a princess, she thought Haruna was doing rather terribly as far as exchanges go. However, in terms of pure enjoyment, Nina wouldn't mind hearing her speak for hours, fumbling over every word and correcting herself after-said fumble.

As Haruna's spiels grew more clustered, Nina wasn't sure if she could take any more. Not because of them becoming tiresome or annoying, but due to how holding in one's laughter without the other party noticing was hard to keep up for so long. The choker around her neck wasn't doing her any favors. As the ramblings finally seemed like it would come to a close, Nina couldn't even concentrate. She turned her head away, holding her hand over her mouth as her breaths became interlaced with giddy giggles before bursting shortly after Haruna finished.

Her laughing fit went on for a few moments, seconds that felt like hours, Nina then taking another good long look at Haruna before rinsing and repeating. The laughter itself was definitely genuine, though the impression coming off as snickering. Yes, she was laughing at her, but it wasn't for something she did wrong.

With one fell swoop, she cast the empty glass from the balcony. The cup falling a few feet before a hushed shatter echoed from below them. Her grin reverted back into place, smug and cheeky in all its glory. Her eyes narrowed before she finally decided to speak.

"You're such a riot, Haruna. Whoever taught you how to speak should be executed." While this was meant to be a not-so-lighthearted joke, humor featuring some tongue and cheek, it is easily misinterpreted by someone like Haruna.

"I think you already know me..so my introduction might not be needed.." She glanced at Haruna from the corner of her eye before breaking out into a light chuckle. "Though..I think it's impossible to beat you in spouting redundancies so I'll just go on ahead.~"

Nina stepped back a little bit, taking a deep breath to imitate her, and spoke. "Name's Nina...I'm a dancer..and..a wanderer I suppose.." She went closer to the railing and rested her hands on the top of the rail before ending her introduction on a somber note. "Though..the wandering has taken a back seat as-of-late.." She let out a deep sigh before turning to her.

Her face returned back to her base state, a confident smile, though exaggerated this time around. "I told you to relax! Do I have to teach you? She leaped closer, placing her finger to her own chin as her curiosity overwhelmed her next action. Those ears were way too fluffy to be real..

In a quick pounce, she inched so close that Haruna could feel her breath and grabbed her by the head, ruffling her hair even more so and pinching her large ears in a playful manner. "Seriously! Stop acting so formal..I mean it!" She grinned from cheek to cheek before letting Haruna go after rough-housing with her. Nina then gave her some room, letting out a mischievous laugh in response to her reaction.

"So..we're both princesses..you must know our duty tonight...any guys you thinking of hooking up with..? Good friends LOVE to talk about this stuff..right?"

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Harous Ilkguard Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Korose meandered around the edge of the dance floor, slowly and deliberately doing so while sipping causally at his juice. He glanced back to the room behind him and spotted one whom he could only presume was the final commoner besides himself and the Mithii... He had forgotten to ask the man's name.

The final commoner was a slender young man who had just engaged a rather strikingly beautiful woman in conversation. Korose didn't want to intrude, so instead he continued to meander around the room until he spotted two more beautiful women outside in the courtyard. One of them, wearing a red dress, was messing with the hair of the other. He couldn't tell from here, but the victim of the attack appeared to have large fluffy ears. A Cahleethe, perhaps? Must have been.

Korose had never had the chance to speak to a Cahleethe before, but he'd always wanted to meet one. But the way their conversation was going he felt he would only be a nuisance.

But still... He really wanted to speak to her.

Korose took a breath and headed for the courtyard doorway as the red-dressed woman continued her assault on the poor Cahleethe's hair and ears.

Finally he reached the doorway and stepped outside to the nice warm evening air.

"Pardon me. Good evening." He said to both, giving a bow of his head.

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Haruna Lingquis

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The wait felt like an eternity to Haruna as she wrung her hands together, but really it was only a few seconds. Nina was dauntless in her expression, but just when Haruna was about to try once more to clarify exactly what she was trying to say, the girl turned away. Oh no. H-had she offended her that much with her ineptitude? Panic and thoughts racing through her head, but it wasn’t until the giggles became louder and transitioned into full blown laughter did the Cahleethe snap from her thoughts. Looking to Nina in surprise before immediately shifting to shame and embarrassment, Haruna looked off to the side as she held her arm. Was she… Really that bad at this? Becoming a bit downcast as Nina’s derisive laughter continued, she let out a faint sigh. She had to do better than this! Her parents were depending on her, and she had a legacy to uphold. She couldn’t let her down.

Briefly, there was a moment where the laughter stopped and Haruna thought it prudent to try and defend herself. No sooner had she affixed Nina with her most confident gaze did the Irilene princess immediately cover her mouth to try and stifle another explosion of mockery. She was unsuccessful, doubling over slightly as the situation was clearly so funny that it hurt her stomach. Haruna’s expression faltered as she already had failed to get Nina to take her seriously. Biting her lip again to try and keep her emotions under control, Haruna was almost on the verge of tears. Almost. A motion suddenly broke her from her spiral of sadness as she gazed in wonder and confusion as Nina intentionally tossed her now finished wine glass off the balcony to break it. It was so destructive and unexpected that Haruna simply froze up to stare at Nina. Such a callous action wasn’t really very ladylike… Was it? Haruna’s mind was now a buzz with etiquette and customs and all her training trying to find and piece together something to make sense of the situation, but all she was succeeding in doing was making her head hurt.

Feeling eyes on her once more, Haruna’s gaze flicked back to Nina, who had the expression of a predator as she smirked. Staring directly at Haruna and -to the Cahleethe at least - it felt like she was looking right through her. Haruna swallowed nervously.

"You're such a riot, Haruna. Whoever taught you how to speak should be executed." Nina spoke at last, and though the words stung bitterly, Haruna couldn’t deny the fact that she hadn’t made a good impression. Thankfully the extreme nature of what Nina referred to made it easy to realise she was joking, but there was clearly some truth insinuated in the statement. That being, she was doing her teachers and her mother an injustice, shaming them as well as herself. Remaining silent as she took Nina’s introduction and further criticism, Haruna held her tongue. At this stage, she couldn’t deny it. She could only do her best to try and prove otherwise by learning from her mistakes and becoming the princess she was expected to be.

As Nina took a step back, drawing in a deep breath in a teasing imitation, Haruna did her best not to let it show that it was getting to her, and instead focussed on the words Nina spoke. It was a… Crass introduction. None of the formalities that were expected of someone in their position. Somehow though, it just… Seemed to suit Nina. It felt natural and genuine, and in that regard, it didn’t feel out of place. How Haruna wished her own introduction felt like that. Still, the fact she ignored her own title as Princess of Irilene was intriguing. Was that simply because she felt it was redundant? Or was there something else there? Watching Nina in interest and concern, Haruna spotted the briefly somber expression on her face, her own face turning to one of faint recognition as Nina elaborated. "Though..the wandering has taken a back seat as-of-late.."

With those words and that ever familiar expression on her face, Haruna felt that maybe she’d misunderstood Nina up until this point. Perhaps they held more in common than just their titles? Haruna knew that look of sadness both from her own introspection, but also in the eyes of the previous princess of Althuum. Moving up, Haruna felt it was her duty to try and console her newest acquaintance. ”Nina… Are you..-?” Haruna didn’t entirely get to finish her question. The melancholy moment was fleeting, and soon enough, Nina was back to her feet and encroaching into Haruna’s personal space once more, a cheshire grin on her face. "I told you to relax! Do I have to teach you?”

Springing, ducking and weaving with grace to get closer and beneath Haruna, the Cahleethe took a few cautious steps back as Nina made a bit of a cute pose in front of her. Raising her hands up in a pleading gesture, Haruna gave a nervous laugh. ”N-no, not at all. That’s not necessary. I’m very relaxed in your company Lady Peirce, truly. Thank you for your concern, however.” Having shut her eyes for a moment, Haruna missed the shift in Nina’s gaze that marked her next target, and was wholly unprepared for the playful antics that followed. With a speed that surprised the feline, Nina was atop her, eyes inches from her own and briefly stunning her with their deep beauty before another more pressing sensation was felt.

“Ny-nyaah?~” Haruna gave an embarrassed squeal as her ears were gently tugged on, her face turning scarlet from both the vulnerable sound and the silliness of the situation. “N-Nina! Sah-Stop! Ahh haha-” Wriggling about as her furry ears were quite sensitive and ticklish, Haruna covered her mouth to stop some laughter escaping her lips, but it was a futile attempt as the infectious noise filled the air. Satisfied that she’d broken Haruna’s regal persona, Nina relinquished her grip and took a step back, smiling herself in joy before speaking of something that Haruna found to be far more serious. "So..we're both princesses..you must know our duty tonight...any guys you thinking of hooking up with..? Good friends LOVE to talk about this stuff..right?"

Haruna was floored by the casual audacity of Nina to bring up such a thing “H-wha-wha-?” Haruna immediately began to stammer and fumble over her words. S-she’d wanted Haruna relaxed to talk about that?! Something so deeply personal and intimate and embarrassing. Cupping her cheeks and shaking her head, the Cahleethe hoped that Nina might want to drop the topic, as it was far too sensitive an issue!... Though she was very curious to hear Nina’s own thoughts on the matter. And then there was the fact that she'd called them friends. That... Haruna hadn't expected that. It was nice. Perhaps she could volunteer something light, and then get some more information in kind..? “O-of course I haven’t thought it through… I-I barely know those men, and they both look so intimidating… I can’t imagine speaking with them in the same manner as I have with you Nina. You’ve been so accommodating and forgiving, but whenever I think of talking to them I freeze up...” Sighing again, but more out of frustration with herself, it was at this time that someone else chose to make their presence known.

"Pardon me. Good evening." It was a masculine voice, and as soon as Haruna turned to see who it was, her stomach plummeted. H-how long had he been there? O-one of the commoners, here?! She wasn’t prepared for this, she’d barely composed her thoughts! Oh my, what had he seen and heard already? This was too much, too soon! “Hwha-hua ha-” Haruna stammered out some more gibberish as her hands flailed in front of her as she tried to get herself composed and relaxed again. Soon enough, her instincts kicked in as she became more and more embarrassed, and she immediately ducked behind Nina and pushed her forward slightly, hiding behind her shoulder and peering to Korose from the safety of her new friend. At least, she hoped she could call Nina that. Shrinking back slightly from the intimidatingly large man, Haruna was aware this wasn’t the best way to make an impression, but she’d just been so startled, and he was so huge...

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Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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Soliana was busying herself by speaking with the nobles of the other nations. While it seemed just idle chatter about the weather and the latest fashion trends Soliana found ways to sneak out information about things of a political nature as well. All in all it seemed as if mistrust and fear was commonplace in all the lands.

Saddened by this Soliana politely excused herself from the nobles and that was when she was approached by one of the suitors. It was the merchant. As he came closer Soliana took in a better look at him. Well dressed almost noble to the untrained eye. Even more so with his manner. She had to admit... He was good to look at.

As He bowed and greeted her she found him a bit wordy but he had grace and manners. That was something many of the nobles of her nation seemed to lack. It caused her to smile and not one of those fake princess smiles. No it was a genuine smile that crossed her face.

Soliana gave a little curtsy and smiling said ”Well met good sir. I must say your manner puts the ‘noble’ rabble of my nation to shame… But please no need to be so formal. I am Princess Soliana… but I’m sure you already knew that.”

Noticing his eyes on her necklace caused Soliana to absentmindedly play with it as if nervous. Smiling she pointed to some chairs next to the dance floor. ”Do have a seat.” Soliana offered taking a seat herself.

Soliana adjusted her dress as she sat her fingers fumbling over her necklace as she looked at the merchant. ”You hail from Althuum correct? A Merchant I believe… I would be interested to know how the common folk fair… under the…” Soliana’s face grimaced as she almost spit out ”...new rulers…”

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Haruna's responses were satisfactory, Nina feeding off of her like an apex predator. No formalities, no suffocating etiquette, just a genuine conversation. Nina knew that playing the part of the Princess was her true duty. These shackles she now swore upon herself, but she would rather jump off the railing than act so damn fake. If this is what it means to be a "princess", stiff and pitiful, playing pretend just because their parents told them to, Nina would just rewrite that definition.

Simple as that.

Her question regarding the potential suitors was only meant to fill the air. An unimportant question meant to yield an unimportant answer. Not that she didn't care about Haruna's response, but because Nina already knew she would answer in such a manner. Flustered, unassuming, and unsure, the sole characteristics that formed her barely decipherable reply. Nina wasn't too fond of being characterized as "easy to talk to" by this Cathleen. It's due to her mercy that their conversation was going as smoothly as it is, with Haruna easily manipulated in this social battleground.

Nina's mouth fell into a smile once more. Damn, her thoughts were hella cool. She was half-joking for the most part, though.

"Boo! Lamest answer I've ever heard. You can't be serious..there is plenty of cute guys here.." She watched from the balcony, bustling commerce a few blocks east into the town. A cat scurried up a small fruit tree, jumping from branch to branch before falling after a mistimed jump. The feline fell with a stiff body before twitching shortly after landing, running away back into the town.

"..Or...are you into our more furry friends...? Those ears aren't just for show, right..?" She was close to pouncing onto her again, her hands close to pinching her poor hair before being shaken by earth-tremoring footsteps. Growing louder, the perpetrator finally making his presence known and bowing before the two. Speak of the devil..it was one of them.

One of the commoners, that is.

Nina felt the weight shift as Haruna hid behind her, pressing against her back like a wounded animal. She smirked, dispersing her glance to focus on the new challenger. The tall man, the talk of the party, though not exactly in a good way. Must've been treated like the black plague then forced out like a lost pup.

Poor thing...

Nina's lips opened, revealing an impish grin. It was obvious with that eye movement. She retained eye contact, always. Even if it meant bending her body so uncomfortable that it would lead to back problems in the intermediate future. He wasn't looking at her but over. Nina was not the main event. Not for Goliath, at least.

"Oh..it's the sore thumb. Must be tough in there..huh.." Nina spoke in an almost dismissive tone. He was tall, but he certainly wasn't intimidating. Surely Nina wasn't trying to be rude or anything, except for the fact that everything she says can come off as rude.

She turned her body so that she was leaning on the railing, arching her back and keeping a sideways barricade between the two, before eventually stepping out of the way. Of course, Haruna seeking refuge behind her was cute and all, but Nina wasn't intent on giving her a free lunch. She turned her cheek to her.

"Why don't you introduce yourself...? You've been practicing, after all."

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Tetsuo Alastar

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Smiling a trained smile, Tetsuo nodded as she gave her name, returning his own in kind. “As you wish Milady. My name is Tetsuo, first born of the Alastar Family line. I am humbled by your presence.” Following her as she lead the way to a pair of seats aside from the dance floor, Tetsuo calmly took his own spot adjacent from her. She seemed accommodating to him at the least, and it was somewhat comforting that his talent for talking was good enough to satisfy one of her stature. Not that he had any doubt in himself in the first place. Not wanting to seem too forward or presumptuous, Tetsuo waited a moment to allow her room to engage the conversation, though as she fiddled with her necklace, he wondered if perhaps he’d unsettled her with his boldness. It wasn’t often a commoner would deign to introduce himself as he had. Of course, there was also the alternative theory that they shared a connection, but only time would tell for that.

“You hail from Althuum, correct?...” The princess began with some simple small talk, though the fact she was already so aware of his origin left a number of questions in Tetsuo’s mind. Had she already been informed of him for a purpose? Or by giving the Alastar name, had she simply made the connection of her own accord? Part of him begrudged having made such a mistake so early in the game, but it would have been improper not to give his own introduction after her open acknowledgement. Some things couldn’t be avoided, and so long as he played correctly, the match would still be his. Carefully eying over her expression and character, Tetsuo was amused by how easily her face betrayed her feelings regarding his home nation and the new royal family. Perhaps she felt no need to hide it in front of a commoner? Or was she so strong willed that such an opinion would surface no matter who she was speaking to?

Putting these questions into the back of his mind, he focussed on the task at hand and decided to respond to her queries, as well as return with one of his own in due time. Quid pro quo, after all. “You are as well informed as you are enchanting Princess Soliana. The Alastar families have dealings in each of the kingdoms, but if you would allow me to be so bold…” Leaning forward somewhat, Tetsuo smiled a more playful smirk. “That’s not what you were interested in, was it? I’m a man who prefers not to waste time on the trivial matters, so allow me to provide my own perspective.”

Sitting back once more, Tetsuo laced his hands together. “I trust you understand that given our positions, burning one’s bridges - especially the one leading to home - is a foolhardy move.” Glancing over to see how many were listening to their conversation, Tetsuo found them to be observing, but not necessarily in earshot. Maintaining the façade of a polite conversation should be enough to dissuade them from listening too closely. “However, I see no fault in simply speaking of facts. Many of which I feel you’d already be aware. The border skirmishes between your nation and Althuum are a travesty, and are impacting on trading and travel alike. Lord and Lady Lingquis are of the opinion that – and I trust you understand that I’m not of the same mind – Gheresh is responsible for these altercations, and are attempting to create a conflict over our land and resources.” Pausing briefly to let that settle in, Tetsuo continued.

“Given the political upheaval and rapid change our nation has undergone, most of the populace - though experiencing hardship through taxation and harsh working conditions to promote the military rule – trust in the leadership to be making the appropriate decisions and are attempting to endure this until the situation with your nation is under control. Regardless of what opinion you may have of them, the Lingquis family is held in high esteem thanks to their military accomplishments, and most of the common people were backing the revolution. That said they were under the impression it would lead to change and a more prosperous kingdom. I am blessed with a position as a trader and as such, though the taxes are hard, my family is not as severely hit as the farmers. If we were spurned too hard, we would withdraw our services and retreat to another nation, and as such, trade is still high, particularly in the area of weapons, but I’m afraid it is beyond my standing to go into any specifics around such dealings.” Stopping again as he retrieved a drink from a nearby server, Tetsuo let the princess respond to his open conversation regarding the matter. Perhaps it was more information than he should have shared, but her reaction and response would tell him more than enough about what sort of person Princess Soliana was. Once she had finished her piece, he decided to interject with his own query, hoping that his gracious answer would be returned in kind.

“But do tell me Princess Soliana, were military and trade secrets the only reason I was invited this evening? I confess, I would feel blessed if that was the only price to pay for your company, but I feel there is more to the arrangements this evening than simple banter and maintaining face.” Taking another swig from the wine glass, Tetsuo was loathe to admit that he didn’t mind talking about such higher level topics.



Haruna Lingquis

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And just like that, Haruna was abandoned, her saviour and protector stepping to the side and with naught but some faint words of ‘encouragement’. Left standing before the behemoth of a man, as the kind of person who tended to keep her eyes low, it was even more of an effort for Haruna to crane her neck upward. Swallowing again in nervous apprehension, the Cahleethe knew it was her duty as princess to be strong in this situation. It was either this man or the Mithii, and even though she could only see a few external differences between the two, it would be to her benefit to make some conversation and see if she could determine which she preferred.

Taking a few steps backward, it almost seemed like she was trying to escape again, but soon enough, she turned back to face Korose, hands behind her back to hide their fidgeting. “Yes, this is much better.” Making a smile as she cocked her head slightly, Haruna’s distance now made it easy for the two to see each other's face without an uncomfortable amount of strain - even if it was perhaps a little far for polite conversation. Still, with the exception of Nina, there was no one else here, so it was a practical solution. Leaning back again and taking another deep breath, Haruna steeled herself, this time taking a few more seconds as she shut her eyes, exhaling before opening her eyes to meet his gaze. ”My name is Haruna Lingquis, crown princess of Althuum. I apologise on behalf of myself and Princess Nina here. It was not my intention to offend you, and I believe Nina’s… ‘open’ talk is a form of respectful familiarity.” Bowing slightly in her request for forgiveness, Haruna sat back up.

“I hope you can accept my heartfelt apology…”

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Korose was rather taken aback by Nina's tone and dismissive words.

Sore thumb? He thought.

She then said it must have been tough in there, but Korose chuckled and waved it off.

"It wasn't so bad." He replied.

Nine then encouraged the Cahleethe to approach, which she did and very politely and eloquently introduced herself as the crowned Princess of Althuum. The other was introduced as Princess Nina, and Korose was rather shocked and his mouth left slightly agape.

He didn't know they were Princesses!

He quickly gave them both a deep bow before standing to address them again.

"N-no apologies necessary your majesty's. I must apologize for greeting you so casually."

He cleared his throat as he stood up straight.

"My name is Korose. I'm a commoner who was invited to this ball for reasons which still escape me. I hope this evening has found you both well."

Clearly he was a bit stiff and uncomfortable greeting royalty. He wanted to get to know Princess Haruna as a Cahleethe, but she was the Princess! He couldn't just ask her about her race, abilities, and the lifestyle of her people like it was nothing!

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Character Portrait: Korose Character Portrait: Haruna Lingquis Character Portrait: Nina Peirce
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Haruna Lingquis

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Continuing to pleasantly smile at Korose, Haruna really hoped he couldn’t tell how nervous she was and how much she was sweating. It was nice of him to apologise for his greeting, but given his position as a commoner she hadn’t expected more of him. Still, he seemed quite polite, and although he seemed as anxious as she was in their presence, Haruna couldn’t help silently screaming to herself in panic as he mentioned the ‘reason’ for his attendance. Thankfully, she managed to keep the smile on her face, remaining warm and pleasant, the perfect persona of a perfect princess.

Raising her hand to her mouth to politely cover her chuckle, Haruna nodded. This was it, she was letting him lead the conversation, now she had to simply respond in kind and that would be an amicable and proper way to hold a discussion. “Well met, Korose. If my experience with Nina has taught me anything, some casual levity can be a breath of fresh air.” Bringing her hand to smooth out her hair a little, as she only just now realised how it had become somewhat dishevelled in Nina’s roughhousing, Haruna paused for another moment as she thought over what next to say and how to say it. Soon enough, she continued.

“I’m sure that reason will become apparent before the night is over. Although the evening is still young, I can say that my time thus far has been... “ Another long pause from Haruna as she thought how best to describe the emotions thus far, followed by another check to make sure it was a polite and proper term for such a setting. “Enlightening? This is my first time meeting so many people, so it has been an experience meeting so many characters.” Continuing to smile all the while - Honestly, her cheeks were starting to hurt - Haruna didn’t want to lie to Korose, but she certainly didn’t want to confess the truth either. Instead, she’d settled for half-truths, but ignored the more crucial details that she could have expressed. It wasn’t her place to tell him why he was here, and she didn’t have the confidence in her own feelings to really say how she felt at this event. Looking up again, as she’d naturally lowered her gaze while in thought, Haruna forced another smile, not realising she’d let it slip for a moment.

“I hope the evening treats you well. As I hope it does for each of us…”

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Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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This boy was a charmer but Soliana knew he was trying to read her just as she was trying to read him. Almost a game… Annoying… but at the same time charming game….

Soliana listened to Tetsuo speak on a subject she knew quite well. She had heard of these battles and had been ordered by her parents to stay far from the border for her own safety. But she had heard the tales of raided villages and assaults on the border roads. She couldn’t help but have a glare cross her face as he said they blamed her nation for this.

What Tetsuo told her next only made things worse. The people had wanted this? Soliana wondered what lies this false king made to sway the people against their rightful king. What lies would nobles of her nation use to oust her? She had hoped for better...but maybe the people when just blind. She would have to make sure her people knew she cared and would always protect them.

How am I to be at peace with those who had taken away a friend and spread lies about her nation? Soliana thought as Tetsuo paused.

Then he asked his question and Soliana was silent almost as if she had not heard as she pondered in silence. She Didn’t answer him though but asked questions of her own…

”What would you do if a friend you grew up with was suddenly gone? And What would you do if you had to be friends to the one that took her away? Friends with someone that lies about you? And what if you had to to keep your family safe?”

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Character Portrait: Tetsuo Alastar Character Portrait: Soliana Sylvaris
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Tetsuo Alastar

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Soliana's silence on the matters Tetsuo raised might not have been telling, but the same could not be said for her poor poker face, at least when it came to national politics. Though he couldn't fathom what exactly was running through her mind, it was clear that the unrest between Althuum and Gheresh upset and angered her. Perhaps it was a combination of his phrasing and her own Intel? Regardless, as Tetsuo stated earlier he wasn't one to beat around the bush if he didn't have to. But… there was the matter of his question. She had to realise how poor a deflection that extensive pause and topic change was? Perhaps she was hoping he'd sympathise or drop it due to her standing, but that wasn't really within his creed. That wasn't to say he wasn't a gentleman, her questions weren't without their value. He'd answer them out of politeness, but he had his own agenda to see to.

”What would I do…” Tetsuo muttered to himself, as if reaffirming her question in his mind. It was clear by her phrasing she was referring to a personal matter, and given the subject of their discussion up until this point, it was likely in reference to the current situation with Althuum. Given that this ball was something of a peaceful event between the different royal families, Soliana was probably against having to be sociable with Althuum in particular. It was hard to imagine the particulars of her situation, but maybe he could give some general advice.

“Honestly, I’m not sure what I would do. Perhaps I would try to ask others around me for guidance.” Tetsuo sat up, looking directly at the princess as he continued. “But in this case, the one who best knows your situation is you Princess Soliana. Only you can find the answer that sits right with you. Have confidence in yourself and your decisions. Those with the burden of ruling need to have the strength to reach the future they seek.” Hoping that his message was clear enough, Tetsuo returned to his more relaxed stance, gesturing slightly towards the female elf. “Still, don’t ponder too long. It weakens the heart to see a face like yours without a smile. This is a night for merriment, and it wouldn’t do well for my reputation if word got around that I upset Gheresh’s princess.”

Looking to the side, Tetsuo noticed that his extended presence at the side of royalty was drawing the ire of the other guests, whispers about him forgetting his place or disrespecting due process. He didn’t entirely care what their opinion was of him, but he was here on family business. It seemed his time was up. “Still, I hope our discussion has been of some aid to you Lady Soliana.” Standing up, Tetsuo made his way over to help her out of her seat, giving a short bow after she was up. “If I may impart one more piece of commoner’s wisdom: Caution and thought are important, but never undervalue the power of taking action. Perhaps you would do well to seek the answers to your questions from the source?” Laughing to himself, Tetsuo moved to head away as he waved over his shoulder. “But of course, what would I know? I’m but a simple common merchant. I hope the night treats you well, Princess; and that you find the path that you’re seeking.”

Lacking an answer to his questions, Tetsuo was mildly dissatisfied, but knew that he’d find out something before the night was over. Still, he took some solace in the face that he’d tried to assist the princess. Hopefully his words generated something positive.

Red Strings Of Fate?: Out Of Character (OOC)

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