Snippet #2764918

located in The West, a part of Exalted: A Tale in the Time of Tumult, one of the many universes on RPG.

The West

A vast expanse of Ocean that stretches into infinity, broken only by scattered islands that grow fewer the farther one goes. Many myths tell of what lies beyond it, but few that venture that far return.

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Character Portrait: Ashen Sky Character Portrait: Lux Fiala
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Collab post between myself and Jakuri

The young Lunar wasn't sure at what point Lux was behind him, his engrossed state pushing out the rest of the world for that moment. It wasn't until he heard her humming beside him that he final noticed her presence. A quizzical look fell across his face as she spoke. It took him a few seconds to process what she was going on about. When it did click he blinked. Then brushing the moisture out of his eyes he gave her a miffed expression. “I’m sorry, but it looked as if you could use a distraction.” She admitted.

"Ay, consider me distracted. Those we're terrible." He paused as he noticed the handmaidens enter with their assorted equipment. "Though I think tha won't be the only distraction in the room in a minute." He muttered as one as Vengalu stepped forward and asked to borrow Lux. Getting a slight hint of what was going on, and seeing no reason not to enjoy someone else's predicament if he could, the glint of humor returned to Ashen Sky's eyes as he gave the Dragon blooded a slight gentle shove towards the starmetal wearing girl. "Sure ye can!" He answered for her. "Meal's not started yet. Lux'd love to spare a minute for whatever ye need!"

Lux had let out a small yelp as Ashen lightly pushed her toward Vengalu, volunteering her time to the handmaidens. She saw what items the lot of them had, and she had a feeling what she was being volunteered for.... Artisan’s earlier joke about being provided a change of clothes ran through her head. Looks like the Deathknight’s joke wasn’t about to just be a joke. A dismayed expression overtaking her face, Lux shrank inwardly on herself a bit, blushing at the thought of being forced into another outfit so suddenly. Despite however politely Vengalu had made the request...she saw the look in the handmaiden’s eyes! “U-uh,um...I….”

Before Lux could answer proper on her own behalf, and politely decline, Vengalu moved, setting a hand on one of Lux’s shoulders, responding eagerly to Ashen having answered for her. “Marvelous, then! Sir Ashen, we’ll have Lady Lux for but a short moment—she needn’t suffer through a meal with soggy clothing on, after all. It wouldn’t do her or anyone well if she caught a case of the sniffles, after all.”

“Indeed, we’ll have her tidied up in no time at all.” Lakshmī spoke up as well, moving to set her hand on Lux’s other unoccupied shoulder before Vengalu and she began to gently guide the girl toward an empty portion of the room. Lux stiffened up, going scarlet red, “Th-there’s no need, I-I’ve suffered through worse than a meal in damp clothing!” she weakly protested, knowing that it was pointless to do so....

"Nonsense!" Was Hotton's firm and sharp proclamation. "We can't well call ourselves good host if we allow one of our guest to endure even mild discomfort whilst dining at our table!" With that statement made she opened the folding curtain with a flourish and an audible snap. This barrier granted the twin benefits of privacy from the rest of the room to work and a convenient block on the only available escape route Lux might have had. "Now!" Periya said with a clap and a wicked grin. "Lets get you out of those filthy things."

And with that they descended on the terrestrial exalt with the ferocity of a pack of starved sharks, fully committed to the task of 'helping' their guest out of her current attire. They moved with frightening level of efficiency and practiced ease of someone trained specifically for this task. Each worked in tandem, holding arms and legs while the others fiddled with buckles and straps. Nāgasāni tusked as she held up recently relieved shirt."My, My this does show some wear and tear. When did you last have this taken in to a tailor Lady Lux?" She tossed it into a growing pile to the side "Oh we simply cannot let you be seen in it a moment longer, it does absolutely nothing to compliment your figure."

She yelped and squeaked, making noise after noise of protest as various articles of clothing were stripped and pulled off her without any regard. Nāgasāni fussed and commented on her clothing and its well-worn state—then mentioning how it did nothing to compliment her figure. Lux paid little heed to her words though as complete mortification overtook her in her current state of undress. To say that Lux’s face resembled a tomato was almost an understatement, at this point. The quintet had stripped her down to her underclothes with no regard. When Lux’s arms and legs were freed from the handmaiden’s vice-like grips, her arms quickly flew overtop her chest and she slunk inward a bit, head down as she attempted to object, but found herself only able to make an incoherent, birdlike shriek.... A sharp shiver ran through her, her exposed skin developed gooseflesh as it caught a breeze from a nearby, open window. Tropical though the environment was, it was still barely spring, the air carried still winter’s chill.

Hotton set a hand upon the small of Lux’s waist, and a hand upon a shoulder and guided her posture straight. “Oh, Lady Lux, the sooner you allow us to gather your measurements, the sooner you’ll not have to endure the temperature, I assure you, you’ll look a wonder!”

At her side, Periya was taking hold of Lux’s arm again as Lakshmī took hold of the other and straightened them out while Vangalu brought out a measuring tape. Lux quivered abit, til she felt the tape wrap around her back and her.... That made her yelp, “P-Please don’t touch me there!”

The handmaidens collectively held back a small giggle at the Terrestrial’s reaction, she had nothing to be embarrassed about. They weren’t doing anything inappropriate and had done this for numerous individuals—this was something everyday for them, after all.

“Don’t worry, Lady Lux, we’ve almost finished your measurements, we’ll ensure that your clothing compliments your natural beauty and your build, as Hotton said, you’ll look a wonder.” Nāgasāni assured the girl, the slightest smile on the handmaiden’s face as she jotted down numbers on a piece of parchment as Vangalu rattled them off.

Meanwhile, Hotton began fetching a particular set of clothing from the rollaway wardrobe that she felt would suit Lux just splendidly....

As Hotton sifted through the collection of garments Lakshmī hummed a bit as she gave their charge a quick once over. "You know you have such lovely skin Lady Lux. Soft and a fine shade of color. It's a shame your hair seems to be so rebellious though." She held up a lock of her golden blonde hair an rolled it around between her finger and thumb. "Since we're at this stage already, we should set it in order for you while we have the change."

A cooing noise came from Periya on the other side of her. "Oooo yes! A bit of Sea Adder extract to bring out the shine a bit more!" Nāgasāni nodded in agreement. "And while we're doing that we could have her nails trimmed and painted." Behind her Vangalu was already rushing to grab a chair and a large bowl for water. Without even waiting for Lux to object they quickly bade her to sit down, propped up the bowl behind her which mysteriously seemed to fill with simmering water all of its own and then they each took a hand or a foot and got to work. Hotton had finished narrowing down her choices and left her pick hanging from the curtain behind them as she then went to rest at Lux's left foot. Vangalu took the other, while Lakshmī and Periya went to her hands. Nāgasāni took position behind the terrestrial and gently lowered the back of her head into the warm water, soaking her hair before she began rubbing some thick fluid into her locks and scalp, slowly working up to in messaging with firm but soft motions. As they worked each offered complements of Lux's appearance, her face, her eyes, her hair, her skin. Though they were taking all the fun they could get out of playing 'dress up' with the dragon blooded, they were still professionals offering kind and flattering words to their current victim charge.

Honestly, she didn’t know how to react anymore, it didn’t matter if she squirmed, writhed or begged; there was no salvation from what was happening. The handmaidens were drawing this out because they were having fun toying with her. Maybe it was karma for having so impolitely stared at them earlier... The girls made quick work, doing...something to her feet and hands, had they mentioned paint? Nāgasāni had some thick goop in her hair (had she said it was Sea Adder extract?!), and was scrubbing away at her scalp while Lux was otherwise helpless to stop any of it. She just squeezed her eye shut and whined all the while, as each of the handmaidens individually paid her compliment after compliment on one thing or another.... In a way, yes, she very much appreciated the kind words; the handmaidens were polite, even if they were forcing her into what was essentially a spontaneous makeover against her will.

“I-I’m not.... Anything particularly special.” she managed to squeak out as the quintet worked. Lux’s denial of her own beauty made Nāgasāni’s fingers pause in their work on her scalp. A very small frown appeared on her face that went unseen by Lux, and she went back to massaging the Sea Adder extract into her victim’s hair

“Lady Lux, I must politely say that I am inclined to disagree with your perspective, though we handmaidens may be having a bit of fun with you—our compliments are sincere. You’ve charms and beauty; we’re just going to help make those a touch more obvious.”

Despite Nāgasāni’s assurances, and admitted teasing, Lux softly mumbled in embarrassment as the girls finished their various tasks.

Nāgasāni continued to lather, rinse, and then rinse again. The gelled shampoo had been fully applied to Lux's hair at this point and now all that remained was to clear the excess away, comb it straight, give her a light trim and then bind her hair to quickly dry before combing it again a final time. The other four finished their self assigned set of nails one by one and collectively began to pillage the makeup box. A new fever seemed to come over the girls now. At the start this had just been an excuse to have a little fun, practice their talents a bit and enjoy make the young fire aspect squirm and blush adorably a little under some light hearted teasing. And while that was still mostly the main goal, Lux's denial of her own beauty sparked another goal in their minds, to convince her that she was every bit as pretty as she actually was.

Brushes and pigments in tow, the four with free hands took position around her again and began applying makeup to her face, neck and shoulders with the care and patience of an artist polishing a statue.

Wordless whines and mewls came from Lux as the quintet continued their meticulous work on her, her expression caught somewhere between timid and a grimace. At this point, Lux had come to accept her situation with some kind of reluctant grace—it was futile to object to anything that the handmaidens had planned for her. Even if she still felt horridly awkward, resisting would do her no favors, and it’d all be over quicker if she just let it happen.... With that said, in spite of how very jumbled Lux’s mind was, she...couldn’t help but feel that something was now a just a smidge different with how the girls were working. They seemed determined in a new way?

Perhaps her comment had created some kind of spark within them? Nāgasāni’s words were so kind, and Lux was grateful, but she’d been speaking the truth...she never thought of herself as anything so special. She didn’t think she was hideous or anything! She just thought herself...average. Was there something wrong with that?

“Lady Lux,” Vangalu spoke gently, “May I request that you hold your expression neutral? Otherwise, the cosmetics will not go on proper—please?”

A small breath slipped from Lux—cosmetics. Lux had never wore cosmetics of any sort before. She’d seen the box the handmaidens had been handling, but. Ah, there was no way out of this, the maids were going to paint her face whether or not she complied...and as averse as she was toward all of this, it was likely apparent that Lux was otherwise incapable of denying any request these girls made of her at this point. A small noise came out of Lux as she slipped downward into the chair she was seated in, giving in.

“I-I...eh, you all very well can figure I’m incapable of refusing you....” she murmured, her voice quiet and quivering as she forced neutrality over her face.

Periya giggled softly at Lux’s words, “We’ll keep that in mind, Lady Lux.”

Returning to her state of discomfiture, Lux felt a comb being run through hair while puffs and brushes worked their way around her face—powders and creams being applied. The sensation was so foreign and strange—Lux wasn’t sure if she liked how it felt or not? Did individuals of nobility truly wear this substance on their faces every day...?

Whilst Lux silently ruminated over this, the handmaidens seamlessly blended their work, every bit of powder and pigment flawless and perfectly picked; a soft rose for the lips and a delicate ruby for the apples of her cheeks—truly Lux now looked every bit the part of the bashful maiden she acted.

With the final stroke of the brush applied the girls leaned back to regard their work. They each simultaneously nodded in silent agreement. Now came for the final touch. As Lux's hair dried they bade her to stand up once more and take position in the center of the handmaiden's circle. Hotton fetched the outfit she had selected and presented it to the others from beside Lux. One glance at it got the approval of the other four, it was a perfect choice for the young woman and they held it next to her for comparison to prove that fact.

It was a gown as white as sea foam. Consisting of three parts; first a Bodice in the Décolletage style, clinging from the sides of the upper arms to better show off the neck and shoulders. It flowed downward like a waterfall, splitting at the front and continuing behind into a Train that fell all the way down till it reached the back of her feet. Looping around just beneath her breast was a rope to grant stability to the Bodice, a rope that was made of fibers taken from phoenix feathers which gave it a constant slight shimmer to it. This same golden phoenix thread was also embroidered along the frills and edges. Above her chest at the low neckline was another embroidery, this one made of deep green that matched the color of her eyes. This portion thread came from the hair of a dryad and the proximity gave off the scent of pine and cedar trees. From the back a hung a large bow made of the same material as the embroidery with a flowing design to it. From the Bodice's center and on both of it's sleeves was a small golden 'flower' of golden thread with a single emerald in each.

Next beneath the Bodice was a small under skirt that wrapped around her midsection and drifted down to the upper thighs and it too had the shimmering gold thread stitched along it's bottom frills. Finally came a pair of stocking that went all the way up her legs until they rested just a few inches below the the lows edge of the skirt and it too had a design of gold and emerald threads. The whole ensemble was brilliant, a work of carefully woven textile work and specifically chosen materials.

Nāgasāni sighed happily. "A splendid match for you Lady Lux. I think it will complement your hair and eyes wonderfully." She rubbed her hands together and hopped excitedly where she was. This had been the most fun she and the other girls had had in ages and they each were pleased with how the final end result was about to look. But just as they were about to complete the piece and slip the dragon blooded into it, Periya hummed slightly to get their leader's attention and held up something else behind her with a wink. She thumbed up then down in a silent question of 'yes? No?'. Nāgasāni paused, bit her lip, gave Lux a gauging look, and finally shrugged and nodded. ONE last bit of mischief before they set her free of the constant stream of teasing.

"Now, let’s get you into something that matches it's texture a bit more closely first. Just to make sure it's the complete outfit." There was a slight impishness to her tone as Periya advanced behind the exalt with a silk corset and matching undergarment. Besides her, Vangalu appeared with a tray of perfumes and scented oils.

As exposed and embarrassed as Lux felt, having to stand in a state of near undress, she couldn’t deny how...stunning the dress was that the handmaidens had selected for her. The quintet were genuine in their compliments, but looking at the dress, Lux just felt as if it was something that didn’t belong on the likes of her, it was so striking. But, Nāgasāni and the rest of the handmaidens seemed so enthusiastic.... Even if this whole ordeal was completely, horridly mortifying on every conceivable level for Lux, she could at least take some comfort knowing that the handmaidens at least seemed to have had fun, even if it was at her expense and humiliated her to her core.

Though she didn’t feel as if she was suitable for the dress, Lux would don it, if only to appease the girls. They seemed happy. Lux sighed, ready to just get on with it...til Nāgasāni’s comment about completing the outfit.

....Lux had no time to process what she meant, or anything else for that matter, as Vangalu and Hotton moved in and held Lux’s arms upward.

For the umpteenth time in a matter of minutes, Lux was left utterly flabbergasted when she found a corset of all things being put around her middle, and laced up with no warning. A loud, high-pitched squeal escaped from Lux’s throat as the laces were tightened and her waistline was forced even tinier. “A-Ah! Too tight! T-Too tight! Isn’t my waist already small enough?”

Periya hummed from behind Lux, as she made quick and accurate work of the laces. “Given the circumstances, we handmaidens feel you should experience the joys of the complete ensemble, corset included, Lady Lux!” Nāgasāni and Lakshmī, meanwhile, busied themselves sorting out the various pieces of their chosen dress, preparing it for immediate wear once Periya finished with the corset.

Lux exhaled rather sharply, feeling tears prick at her eyes as she felt the corset cinch her ribcage and force some of the air out of her lungs. “Creation have mercy! If this is thought to be a ‘joy,’ then I’m utterly terrified to ask what one would consider a horror to be!”

“Ah, Lady Lux, when it comes to beauty, sometimes, sacrifices must be made.” Lakshmī spoke with a hint of glee in her voice. “Again, allow me to offer our mutual reassurance—we’re only working to make your many natural charms and loveliness a touch more apparent.” The quintet all nodded or hummed in agreement with Lakshmī as Periya completed lacing the corset, tying it tight and securely as Hotton had picked a bottle of scented oil and proceeded to apply something that smell a lot like roses to the pulse points on her wrists while Vangalu spritzed with a spray that smelled similar to the oil, yet was lighter all the while. Following, Nāgasāni approached her, clothing in hand.

The first to go on was the stockings which Vangalu lifted her leg and guided her foot into. At first contact against her skin the material felt every bit as exquisite as it looked. So soft was the fabric that it felt like cream against the skin and was nearly as weightless as the air, leaving no friction as it was slipped on. Hotton handled the other leg and the two of them capped it off by producing a pair of solid gold high heeled slippers for her feet. Then came the under skirt which Lakshmī laid on over top of the corset and allowed to drape down her belly, tickling her stomach with it's touch. Finally came the Bodice, which Nāgasāni raised over her head and slipped onto her, letting the train of it fall down her back in a gentle descent. There was a certain something to it--an odd, comforting warmth that Lux could feel but couldn't explain.

That finished, Hotton and Periya returned to the rolling wardrobe one last time. They returned with a large full body mirror and a set of golden jewellery; a necklace, a pair of bracelets, and a beaded hair pin. Each piece studded with sizable gemstones and dangling a small gold bell. Nāgasāni placed her hands on Lux’s shoulders in a comforting manner as Hotton held up the case to her inspection. “Consider these to be a personal gift from us. The final touch to a noble young princess of the earth’s attire.”

Having someone else dress her was a rather surreal experience overall, never once in her life had Lux ever had someone else dress her...nor did she ever wear a proper corset laced so horridly tight! She could barely breathe. Though Lux did not doubt the quintet’s capabilities or expertise when it came to such matters, but, a part of her was honestly afraid that she was going to end up woozy. She’d made a fool enough of herself already, the only way she could make it truly worse was if she managed to faint during the meeting with Fakharu. ....the clothing did indeed feel wonderful, though. Entirely different from anything she’d ever worn in her life, and still she didn’t feel like she belonged in them.

The clothing felt...she didn’t know how to describe it. Something in her felt soothed, she felt warm—comforted? Was that it?

Something about the sensation made tears well up in her eyes...while she gazed upon herself in the mirror the girls had brought out. She was speechless. Was that really...her? Lux didn’t even know that her hair could lay straight? Fiddling with her fingers, she stared at her own reflection, nervous, not knowing what to think. Nāgasāni wanted her to keep this ensemble as a gift? Something so exquisite? They’d just...let her have it? Clothing like this didn’t suit her, nothing so grand suited her. They were genuine though, even if they’d admitted to having some fun with her. The handmaidens seemed determined to make Lux see herself as more than average.

Lux felt her cheeks flush under the pigments and powders the girls had applied to her face. Accepting a gift of this caliber from anyone seemed so odd, so undeserved. She felt obligated to politely decline, say it was too much to just take when it wasn’t yet earned. However, as she had said before, at this point she was unable to refuse them.... Wringing her hands, standing quiet a moment, she contemplated.

“Ah...I, I really don’t know how to respond,” she spoke softly, “but...but, I do appreciate everything done for me, even if I feel so out of my element. I...do look....” Lux’s words drifted off.

Lakshmī gave Lux a smile, “You look beautiful, Lady Lux, though you are naturally so.”

The Dragon-Blooded let a strange noise out of her throat at Lakshmī’s words—her reaction made the gaggle of girls giggle. Lux was a fun one indeed, you could pay her the slightest compliment and she essentially shutdown. Perhaps they hadn’t quite convinced her of her own charms and beauty yet, but they’d seemed to somewhat sway her in the right direction. It was progress, at least.

“....th-thank you, for the makeover and the attire.” Lux’s voice was hesitant, and quiet.

Nāgasāni lightly squeezed Lux’s shoulders, reassuring her. “Think nothing of it; we enjoyed ourselves, and your company. Now, I do think that preparations are nearly complete for the meal, Lady Lux.”

Hotton gathered Lux’s well-worn traveling clothes in her arms, “Hmm, I do have to say that I am somewhat tempted to have this thrown out, such rags are unfit for one such as yourself....” Before Lux could protest to this though, the handmaiden let out a tiny chuckle at seeing her dismay. “Worry not; I wouldn’t do such a thing. However, I will see that this ensemble is properly washed and restored to proper condition whilst you speak with our Lord.”

With that the girls began tucking away their measuring equipment, packing the make up back up and folding left over clothes. Once finished they gave Lux a brief moment to collect herself emotionally, then brought down the folding curtain and with Nāgasāni still holding her by the shoulders they gently guided her back to the table; Each of them beaming proudly as they presented the dragon blooded like an artist debuting their latest work to the room at large.

Ashen Sky had been vaguely keeping an ear out for the group since he had thrown Lux to the metaphorical wolves. With his charm active it had been hard not to as the emotional mix of excitement, humor, and especially embarrassment had been a rather concentrated smell to his essence charged nose. When he caught sight of Lux being lead back in new apparel and makeup he smirked. The dragon blood had been easy on the eyes before but now a touch of aesthetic detail that truely put on display her natural allure. Still smirking he decided to have on last little laugh and let out a sharp cat call whistle to show his approval with the change.

A sharp and pronounced whine slipped from Lux as fought against reflexively squishing her face into her hands. He had to have known she was way beyond her comfort zone. So, he was purposefully trying to get a rise out of her...and, of course it worked. The handmaidens’ work was astounding and exceptional, but Ashen’s little wolf whistle just made her feel like crawling into the nearest hole and never coming out. Lux knew he was poking fun—she knew it but she still didn’t know how to respond. She never knew how to respond, and it honestly felt like she never would. Flustered, Lux fidgeted about, wringing her hands over each other, while she looked down at the floor, avoiding eye contact since she couldn’t resort to hiding her face in her hands—she’d ruin the cosmetics the quintet had worked so meticulously on, so looking away was the next best option. Lux felt the grip Nāgasāni had on her shoulders tighten, just a bit.

Though the quintet was still smiling cheerfully they each secretly gave Ashen a look and by the same nature of his active charm he could smell their sudden desire to remove his manhood with a rusty pair of scissors. He paled, coughed slightly and quickly revised his last statement. “Ay ah… Ahem. I mean ta say ye-you look rather lovely Lux.”

The sudden shift in Ashen’s demeanor toward her appearance caught Lux off guard, she knew that before he’d just been trying to get a rise from her...which he’d succeeded in doing so, but that last comment was rather unexpected, as far as she was concerned. Surprised, she looked up at him, blinking a few times before she nodded in response, uttering a timid, “Ah, thank you….”

He laughed, slightly nervously, and patted a place at the table. “Well why don’t you come join us then, now tha ye be finished.” He eyed the handmaidens briefly as he said this, and they seemed mostly placated for the moment. Nodding approvingly, they made a final bow to Lux, and then another towards the group as a whole. “Lady Lux, thank you for your time. We will take our leave now. Everyone please enjoy your meal. Call for us if any of you have need of anything.” With those final parting words from Nāgasāni the quintet gathered their things and exited the room, leaving their guest alone with the water dragon.

Lux bade farewell to the handmaidens as they exited the room, Hotton had her clothes in tow...:Lux did hope that she would see them again, though Hotton had promised she would have them cleaned and mended, then returned to her, there was still a small amount of worry. With a sigh, Lux paced over toward the long table, taking heed of Ashen’s invitation. She still felt rather out of her element, and uncomfortable with her appearance, but there more important matters to attend to. Like hearing how Fakharu. So, Lux seated herself in an empty chair and waited quietly...though she found her eyes again drawn to the emerald statue that stood in the center of the room.