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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: The Storyteller Character Portrait: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala
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Part 1 of a monster collab between Jakuri, Myself and Sepokku


Down a hall and pass several rooms, Nāgasāni led the chieftain across the spire to a spacious room. In side the found it filled with items fit for tailoring and cosmetics. On one side the walls were lined with rolls upon rolls of fabrics all of different colors and materials, all stacked between cabinets filled with scissors, threads, needles, measuring equipment, jewelry and other supplies. On the other was a layered series of racks and shelves that contained various outfits of exquisite design in states of full or half completed construction. At the far end Vengalu and Periya were finishing their preparations of their work station, itself already set up with the folding curtain and rolling wardrobe from earlier, a reclining chair and a large wooden tub of steaming water. They both turned and deeply bowed as Astrid was led into the center of the room. "Now then, Lady Astrid, we we're informed that you desired similar ware to what we provided for Lady Lux, but not noticeably so? We were hoping you could provide some further detail to that request, or would you rather we use our own imaginations?"

The room, admittedly made her changing room in the back of the longhouse that she lived in, look like a hovel. Indeed Astrid could get used to being prepared and pampered in a room of similar size, though perhaps one that was decidely more spartan. Nāgasāni posed a question that, to Astrid, seemed rather obvious. "Your imagination, of course. I know not what goes for normal around these parts and wish to stand out far less." That being said, she immediately undid the fastener that held her cloak around her, shrugging it off as she began to approach the steamy bath. Then she undid the clasp that held the remains of her shirt to her, letting it fall to the ground unceremoniously. The gauntlet on her right hand hit the ground with a dull thunk, and after kicking off her boots, she carefully took off what little remained of her now nearly ruined stockings.

The Lunar casually undid her belt and let her tattered shorts fall to the ground, each article of clothing lay where it fell, creating a trail to the tub. Removing her underwear, she plopped into the bath, purposefully splashing water at Nāgasāni as she did so. Turning a stern eye to Vengalu and Periya she told them, "I already informed Miss Nāgasāni here, but be gentle and treat me with courtesy. Or else." Trying to put a growl into her voice, but failing that, she relaxed into the bath, letting the warmth from earlier consumed drink mix with the warmth from the tub, creating a slight flush over her northern features. "You may begin." Feeling more at home, and unwinding tension she didn't realize she'd been holding, she requested with a smile, "Nāgasāni, be a dear and come wash my hair."

"As you wish honored exalted." The leader of the quintet never faltered in keeping her polite smile, and neither batted an eyelash at the spray of water or the implied threat. The warning lacked heat to it and it was clear the herbal relaxants they had adminsitered to the bath was working to calm the exalt. She set down behind the Lunar and began slowly pouring small hand fulls of hot water over the womans scalp to wet her hair. "Periya. The number 17, the forest kings nector if you would?" Periya nodded and went to one of the cubbords whilist Vengalu gathered up the discarded bits of 'clothing' (and Nāgasāni heavily debated calling the tattered scraps of rags that) astrid had left scattered on the floor. When Periya returned she came with not one but two bottles, for the 'number 17' and the 'forest kings nector' were in fact two separate items, one an actual shampoo and the other a paticular brand of drink gifted to them by a wood elemental. Nāgasāni had been somewhat expecting Astrids rough behavior, and had made a small plan to ease her into a more 'coobrative' state. The bottle labeled 17 she poured into her hands before slowly lathering it into the Lunar's hair. The liquid had a sweet-ye-earthy evergreen scent to it and the handmaiden worked slowly to apply it with soothing kneading motions.

Beside her, Peryia set down the forest kings nector and a small cup and bouyant plate and asked. "Lady Astrid, would you care for a drink and shoulder massage while you soak?"

The drink was appreciated, her buzz from the feast was beginning to wear off, probably due to the sheer amount of the food that had been consumed. "But, of course." without turning her body, and making use of her double-jointed nature, she grabbed the drink from Nagasani and began to indulge herself. After only a few short moments, the drink was emptied and its container placed carelessly on the ground near the bath. "You know Nagasani, being this far from my home, seeing you little ones, kind of reminds me of the children I left behind. Makes me a *hicc* bit homesick." Feeling the girl's hand knead their way through her hair was relaxing, and a bit nostalgic of the way her kids would play with her hair.

Feeling her inhibitions begin to loosen, and once again making use of her double-jointed nature, she reached back and with a grip of iron, she grabbed Nagasani's hand. "Come 'ere, I want a better look at ya." Without waiting for an answer, Astrid pulled the girl into the bath with her and began to scrutinize the poor thing's face, all while the Lunar's own features grew flushed from drink. "Ye remind me of my rambunctious *hicc* little daughter. Do ye think she'll *hicc* have yer kinda *hicc* grace when she's yer age? Little scamp is *hicc* always up to all sorts er mischief with 'er *hicc* brother." Hugging Nagasani tightly, Astrid called out to the one that had been adressed as Periya. "Miss... Periya if you could take over for Miss Nagasani, she is unfortunately predisposed at the moment." Turning her attention back to Nagasani, without skipping a beat she continued on, "I *hicc* like this shampoo ye picked *hicc* out. It smells like the forest *hicc* I used to call home, back *hicc* when i was younger. How did ye *hicc* know?!" Perhaps she was a bit louder than necessary, but volume control was far from her mind.

Joining Astrid in the bath was decidedly not part of Nāgasāni's plan, and it was a miracle that she managed to keep her self from yelping as she was pulled in. At least not too loudly. Trying to keep Astrid tipsy was probably a miscalculation as she was now effectively the Lunar's captive. Despite this, and probably thanks to the herbal relaxants in the bath water, Nāgasāni was able to recover just enough to respond. "Well, um," she began lamely. "We were given a brief overview each of you and your homelands, Lady Astrid, and I uh, suspected that you would prefer a brand native to your part of creation." She felt a slight hint of a blush start to appear on her face as the much stronger woman squeezed her close, not feeling quite as used to being the one on the receiving end of the embarrasement. She flicked her eyes at a still shocked Periya in a subtle gesture of 'do something' whilst she franticly thought of a way to regain control of the situation.

"Um, I wasn't aware that you were a mother Lady Astrid." She said grasping at the first subject she could think of. "Is it just the two children then? May I ask how old they are?" Behind them Periya took over her leaders role of hair dresser and resumed the task of washing Astrid's locks. Vengalu stood further back, wondering to herself if she should come closer to help or stay in reserve in case the exalt decided to get grabby with Peryia as well.

Perhaps a bit weird considering other aspects of her character, Astrid would always seize upon opportunities to dote upon her kids. "Just the two! Twins, a boy and a *hicc* girl. I believe theyre a little over *hicc* three. They must miss *hicc* dear ol' mum terribly *hicc* by now... And they're prolly *hicc* reigning hell down *hicc* upon the rest of the tribe. *Hicc* little scamps never seem to *hicc* run out of energy. Mischievous brats... *hicc* kinda like ye." Thoughts of home filled her head, mind wandering away from the Palace and their soon to begin quest for but a moment.

With a lazy smile Astrid inhaled deeply as she continued to hug Nagasani in a tight grip, the scent of various perfumes, the shampoo, and the herbal relaxants in the bath created a heady mixture that was pleasing but slightly overwhelming. Relaxing her bear hug, but still holding her in place by locking a leg around the courtesan's, attention was turned towards Vengalu. "Miss!" Showing the girl her unmanicured nails that could use some maintenance, she continued, "Could you *hicc* do my nails please? They *hicc* need a bit of *hicc* uh... *hicc* care. Don't color them. *hicc*" She let loose a drunken giggle, no one at home was this skilled at beauty care and it was refreshing, but she'd never admit that. Kicking her free foot up out of the bath, water cascading through the air as she did, "Toes too, *hicc* please!"

Seemingly suddenly becoming aware of something, Astrid quickly scanned the room and confirmed her suspicions. "Where *hicc* er the rest of ye? Weren't therr *hicc* more a ye? This could *hicc* be a lot quicker! Not *hicc* to say I'm in a hurry to *hicc* be done here." Reaching towards Nagasani and ruffling her hair, [color=darkslateblue]"I don't *hicc* mind. Tha leader a ye all *hicc* here to pay me all manner *hicc* a attention. So tell me Miss *hicc* Naaagasani, is the water to yer liking? I am enjoooying it. *hicc*"

A slight chuckle escaped Nagasani's lips at that. The young woman was still slightly off kilter from the sudden turn of the situation, but the head handmaiden was an adaptable sort and was doing the best she could to adjust to Astrid's pace. "It pleases me to know that the bath fits your inclination Lady Astrid. The water was given a special mix of mineral and herbal supplements designed to open the pores and ease muscle fatigue, and has the added benefit of helping to reduce stress and anxiety." That said Nagasani was noting that her dress was getting rather soggy. She would have loved to get out and dry it off but with the exalt's leg firmly wrapped around her own, getting untangled with the older woman would likely be a struggle on it's own. Idly she remembered Astrid's earlier demand against 'inappropriate touching', and how that had apperently gone out the window as soon as she had gotten buzzed. Instead, she opted to remain where she was in an attempt to keep the Full Moon appeased while she rode out her high. Then they could regain footing for stage two.

At their side Vengalu arrived with a set of clipers and nail files. Deciding to start with the outstretched foot, she gently took hold of the ankle and guided it to the rim where she sat down and got to work massaging the foot and trimming the nails. Deciding to keep the conversation going Nagasani continued. "As for where Lakshmi and Hotton are, we left them to take care of a minor spill on one of the other floors but they should join us given enough time. In the meanwhile, since you desire my 'attention' so, would you allow me to scrub your back for you?" She was stuck here now, and figured she might as well try to play the exalts game if she was to get any sway in the matter.

Hearing the others would join them in due time, was enough for Astrid and sunk a bit deeper into the bathwater, letting Vengalu attend to her while Periya finished treating her hair. Nagasani's request was heard, but there were more important matters to attend to first. Leaning forward, squeezing Nagasani in a bear hug, she whispered softly into the girl's ear. "Is thar more a that drink I just had? Can ya send Periya to get more? That sounds like a goood idea!" Releasing Nagasani from the leg-lock, she pulled herself enough out of the bath to allow her back to be scrubbed. Not looking at her, but rather relying on sound and the movement of the water she kept a watch out for Nagasani trying to jump out of the tub.

"Aye do feel a lott lesss fat-igued... As for tha stresss... well that could be a number of thingss..." Certainly, she didn't expect a trip to the spa when she received Fakharu's summons, though she also had no clue why he'd summoned her. Perhaps she should have been twisting his arm a bit further before setting out to reclaim Amarel, but she couldn't dwell on the thought at the moment. Far too many distractions were happening currently, too many things to keep a watchful eye on, well as watchful as she could be in her current state.

Getting the Lunar more drunk was... well it wasn't something she would suggest after seeing what happened with the last bottle, but as host it was only fitting that they see to their guest request. Reluctantly Nagasani gave a nod to Peryia who had mostly finished with Astrid's hair at this point. Swapping places, the starmetal maiden left the room to go collect more of the elixer whilst Nagasani took position behind Astrid. She leaned out of the tub slighty to grab a bar of soap and began lathering the exalts back. Starting at the neck, then working her way down, Nagasani made small circular motions with the bar along the shoulders, under the armpits, the sides, her shoulder blades and then down to the small of her back. Then once there was a nice layer of foam across Astids back the handmaiden rose out of the water to grab a nearby spounge.

Closing her eyes, enjoying the attention as Nagasani set to work, the Lunar let her thoughts begin to float away. The scent in the air and sensation of being attended to by a trained entourage of the Western censor, caused her to dissociate slightly. Such a surreal situation, her children back at home would hardly believe it. However, when Nagasani stood up, mistaking her movement for an attempt at an escape, Astrid practically tackled her, taking them both underneath the water. The water in the tub sloshed about a bit, getting Vengalu slightly wet as well. A sly grin crossed her face as they re-surfaced, "Soorryyy, I slipt!" Her words were an obvious lie, made obvious by the glint in her eyes. "The baath is tooo.... big, don't get oot. I feel odd bein' innit alone."

Lux followed after the two handmaidens, doing her best to keep pace. She kept a loose hold on the Lantern, deciding to take it with her, lest another “slight mishap” occur. Hotton and Lakshmī seemed to sense the apprehension Lux felt, as both girls would occasionally glace back at her and offer her a small, reassuring smile—which she would return out of politeness. As much nerve as she’d built up.... Whatever happened, certainly this would be an experience?

The trio of girls walked for several minutes in silence down stairs, and through corridors and hallways til the duo of handmaidens stopped in front of a door, Hotton spoke, “We’ve arrived, Lady Lux. Nāgasāni, Vengalu and Periya are tending to Lady Astrid here.”

Lakshmī moved, and took hold of the door’s handle, opening it up and making a motion for Lux to enter first, “You may enter, if you’d like.”

Resisting the urge to nibble on the tip of her thumb again, and tightening the hold she had on her Lantern, Lux took in as deep a breath as she could manage with the corset still squeezing her middle so tightly. “Thank you both....”

Steeling herself, Lux held her head up high and entered the room...only to be met with quite the unexpected sight. Of everything she could’ve imagined seeing or happening.... Barely three steps into the room, and Lux froze in place, gawking at a very naked Astrid in a large tub, basically clinging onto a still clothed Nāgasāni. The little Dragon-Blooded opened her mouth a few times, but no words came out, only a high-pitched noise akin to a whine. After a moment, the sight registered in Lux’s mind and the girl suddenly yelped, loudly, and clenched her eyes shut, face turning red as a beet, even with the pigment upon it.

“I-I am SO sorry! I did not mean to interrupt—I th-thought that you were only getting a-a new outfit prepared!” Lux shouted, voice raising an octave as she began to make the motion of backing up to leave the room.