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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: Astrid Grünewald Character Portrait: Lux Fiala Character Portrait: Calliope Lordes
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Posting part 2 of the big collab, more to follow


Excitedly, Astrid hurried along the route, back-tracking her steps. There was a brief moment where she was lost as to the way to the balcony she jumped off of. However before long she managed to find the balcony, confirming it by looking down to the courtyard and confirming she had landed in it. From there it was a simple matter of backtracking her steps, which she positively couldn't do in her current condition.

Flustered and unwilling to admit she was a tad lost, she activated one of her charms, anima glittering slightly in the air, and began to follow the scent back to Nagasani's location. There, she found the group of girls cleaning up the mess that Astrid had made by being unnecessarily boisterous in the bath. "Ish 'er 'Eiress Princhesh Calliiiope! She needz a new clofes! Maybe mend 'er robe alsho, she 'ad a mishaap." The last word caused her to burst into a fit of giggles, dropping the strange pink man to cover her mouth and clear her throat. She certainly wasnt laughing about tearing Calliope's robes off, just had something caught in her throat, obviously.

Nagasani and the rest of the quintet looked up, slightly surprised at Astrid's sudden return. "Well I see..." The orichalcum maiden put her hand on her hips and examined the disjointed gaggle infront of her and the state they were all in, and she haggered a guess what the cause 'misshap' that happened to the princesses kimono was. The unconscious man in Astrid's grip was... something. That was a question that she wasn't sure she was going to like the answer of, but that could be put off until everyone was settled back down again. "I suppose explanations can wait till later. Would you mind leaving your new..." She struggled to find the word for the comatose man."Aquaintance over in the corner there?"

With a nod, Astrid hurled the man across the room, landing him in a slump near the back corner of the room. "Ish always time fer explanin! Thish 'er weird guy attacked tha Prinshesh and sho I kicked 'im in tha fashe! Nodding triumphantly, she finished off lamely, and not even slightly believably, "And 'er clothes musta got all tored up in tha scuffle!" A hint of mirth crept its way back into her voice as she dusted off her hands, as if the entire matter had been settled. "An' now we're 'ere!"

A snort came out of her as the man sailed across the room and landed without so much as stirring,“Hiiiii ev’ryone! We...w'back!” Lux waved, leaving the notion of explaining the situation to Astrid, since she seemed so keen on doing so. “L’Astrid said...Call’ope ne...neeeeds a pr’tty dress too!”

Calliope stood uncomfortably at Astrid's side, she still felt a little woozy. Not even the man being launched across the room drew her attention. She was too busy reminding herself of how much she disliked the situation she was in, but it was clear, she was not in the position to fight Astrid's vision.

"Ah... did he now..." Nagasani felt the edge of her lips twitch a little as she tried to keep a pleasant grin. Lord Fakharu would not be pleased when he learned of this. She pressed on though, deciding to leave that matter till later. "Well then if that is the situation then I suppose we can find something to replace her highness' garb." She eyeballed Calliope for a second, trying to picture a few items that might go well on her. "Princess, if you wouldn't mind disrobing for us we will take your measurements and get started." Wordlessly Periya and Vengalu stepped forward to assist in the removal of her belongings whilst Hotton and Lakshmi began setting up their workstation once more. The Princess hesitated, before nodding, and beginning to unequip her weapons, one by one.

Lux remained on her feet, standing as the handmaidens resumed their stations. Calliope seemed anxious about all this...was she maybe afraid she wasn’t going to look pretty too? If that was the case, then that was nonsense! The princess was really pretty...and she was pink! She could make garbage look nice by merit of it being in her presence. “S’gonna be okay! Han...haaaandma...t’girls are goin’ fix y’up nice!” she reassured the Solar.

Tittering quietly to herself, Astrid unceremoniously collapsed to the ground, landing on her butt and began to eagerly await Calliope's new clothes. Soon the trio would be all in beautiful new attire and ready to set out together on their quest to save Amarel. If there were three things the Lunar loved most in the world, it was a good drink, looking good, and a good fight. This quest had already provided two of these things, and she had a feeling it would soon provide the third.

Daydreams began to float through her head, of the epic quest to come, and after that of a potential alliance between Calliope's kingdom and Astrid's tribe. Perhaps the Lux girl could also become family. Things were going better than Astrid had dared hope, and for now she was content to sit and wait.

Possibly the most visible weapon on Calliope was the long ōdachi on her back. She set it down carefully on one of the work stations, clearly disrupting the work of Hotton. She removed her shorter Katana, and another of a similar size, then a dagger she had strapped to her leg... and another she had in her robes... and... The total number of weapons came to about 13. Vengalu and Peryia at first were largely nonpulsed as they collected the weapons the Dawn caste removed from her person, but by the time the disarmed armaments reached the double digits even their professonal facades started to crack a bit as they struggled to find open places to set them aside.

“Wooooow...lots of swords....” Lux mumbled, amazed that the princess had so many on her person. Honestly, Lux wouldn’t have ever been able to guess that she had so many on her, or that anyone could have that many on them, period.

Calliope patted herself down to see if there were any other melee weapons she had forgotten about. Lastly, she removed her weapons bag and dropped it. It hit the ground with a echoing 'thunk.' After all of this, she did not hesitate to remove her robes in front of Astrid, Lux, the maidens, and the unconscious man, who now lay awkwardly in the corner of the work space. Calliope gave Astrid a small pat on the head.

Vengalu quietly took the robe off the princess and neatly began folding it. Peryia stepped forward with a new line of measuring strings. "If your highness would extend her arms to her sides I... will..." She trailed off as she got a better look at Calliope's undressed state. Specifically her eyes fell on the stab wound at abdomen. Though the exalts natural healing had clotted over the cut by this point there was still spatterings of drying blood on her belly. Unused to seeing signs of violence, Periya dropped her tools and put her hands to her mouth to muffle her gasp while her widening eyes looked up at the princess's face and finally spotted the head wound that had been covered by her bangs. The princess cocked her head at first sight of Periya's evident distress. Calliope followed the handmaiden's line of sight to the gash on her stomach.

"What?" She demanded, watching the scene unfold before her. "This? It's nnothing more than a scratch." She said, gesturing to her wound.

The sound of measuring tools clattering to the floor drew Vengalu's attention, who became equally as shocked. Their hesitation in turn alerted Nagasani and the rest of the quintet and when they too saw the wound the collective look of appallment spread through them. Vengalu and Nagasani were first to recover, the soulsteel maiden snatching up a rag, wetting it and then diving down to clean the injury on her belly while Nagasani turned to the other two exalts. "Did... was this caused by that man in the cornor there?" Her voice shook a slight bit as she asked.

Once again in a daze, Lux found herself drawn from it at the question. A genuine look of confusion passed over her face, til she saw Vengalu dabbing at the wound on Calliope’s stomach. She’d...actually forgotten about that in her excitement over the prospect of the princess getting a pretty dress too. She’d meant to clean and bandage it herself, she offered to. Even if Vengalu had begun the task, she’d finish it. As drunk as she still was, she was coherent enough to see that the handmaidens were all disturbed by the sight of blood, and that was understandable, Lux could surmise that such a sight was uncommon for them. Blood didn’t bother her, it was something to which she was accustom, given the life she’d led.

Shocked by the feeling of foreign hands, Calliope squirmed when Vengalu began cleaning her new addition to her impressive set of scars. While the rag was warm, Vengalu's trembling hands were cold, and with each dab, Calliope had the urge to grab the poor woman by the wrist and turn her away. It was more than a figure of speech to say the Noble felt naked. The daylight accentuated the jigsaw puzzle of tattoos that swept across her back.

Lux took a step forward, toward Calliope and Vengalu, swaying just a bit as she answered, rambling a bit. “Yeeeep, t’was him. Kicked ‘em really good f’it, tho’. D...don’t thin’ he’ll b’having kids a’ytime soooooon....” Lux continued til she was next to Vengalu and before Calliope, not even fazed by the fact that the princess had disrobed, without a word, she bent over a bit, next to the Soulsteel handmaiden and observed her for a moment. Though she was working with purpose, Lux could see clear as crystal that her hands were trembling, and that her complexion was somewhat pallor.

A soothing shush came from the Dragon-Blooded as she gently set a hand upon Vengalu’s shoulder, which seemed to lightly startle the girl, as her form tensed at the touch. Curiously and questioningly, she looked at Lux, seeming to not even realize she was there in the first place. “Lady Lux...?”

Lux just gave her a calm smile, and reach her other hand out for the soiled washcloth. “Lemme do thiiiis...can tell th’it’s makin’ y’queasy....” Without argument, Vengalu handed the cloth to Lux, who merely gave a nod to the handmaiden as she stood to her feet.

"Thank you, Lady Lux."

"'Course, s'no prob'em!" And without any hesitation, Lux took to gently dabbing at the wound. Calliope was visibly relieved to be treated by someone more familiar. Lux's touch was far more bearable, the Princess' previously militant posture relaxed to...slightly less militant.

Still in her daydreams, suddenly Astrid noticed that Lux was ahead of her and saying something to the quintet. Ignorant of their reactions, but not wanting to be left out of anything that may ensue, Astrid began to crawl after Lux on her hands and feet. Upon reaching her, she became vaguely aware of Lux trying to communicate, but between her own foggy mind, Lux's slurring of words, and the fact she was still daydreaming she simply couldn't make sense of it.

Instead, she contented herself by hugging Lux's nearby thigh and rubbing her face up and down against it, eyes closed, quietly humming to herself. Both Vengalu and Lux found themselves distracted, as both of them turned their attention to Astrid. Every so often she'd sing to herself, "Sawfty wawfty leg. Widdle Lux'sh leg." Repeating the two phrases for a time, after a few moments she brushed her face against a thigh bone, stopping to look at what she'd been rubbing against, she had a realization. Lux couldn't help but laugh a bit at Astrid's actions."Mish Luuuxxx! Ya don' wear underoos?!" Before Lux had time to process what Astrid had said, she clapped a hand against the girl's rear, with a light smack, to emphasize her point.

Though the slap delivered to her hindquarters might have been light by Astrid’s drunken standards, it carried enough force to sting a bit, which caused Lux to squeak and jerk back upright to her full height, knocking Calliope into a backward stumble. Stunned, Lux merely stared into the air for a few seconds wholly befuddled, as she tried to process what Astrid had just brought to her attention. Was she really not...? “Thaaat’s n’normal f’me, y’sure I’m....” Lux wiggled one of her legs about a bit, confirming her situation, “Huh, g-guesssss m’not! Oh ‘ell!”[color]

Lux haphazardly shrugged, not caring in the least about her predicament as things were. [color=red]“Fix it l’ter, f’now! Our pretty p’nk princeeeess n’her cut cleaned....”


Calliope snorted at the phrase 'pretty pink princess'. She stood a little taller after that. The pretty pink princess examined her hands and what view she had of herself. Was she ...'pretty'? What is 'pretty'? She understood it had some kind of relation to beauty, but she didn't fully understand the concept of beauty in the first place. She felt a boost of confidence and a wave of insecurity all at the same time.

Even with Astrid still awkwardly clinging to her leg, Lux went back to her self-assigned task, wiping away the dried and sticky blood from Calliope’s skin, humming a nonsensical tune to herself.

Astrid's drunken antic's brought some much needed levity back to the situation and the quintet let out a series of giggles at her and Lux's actions. Periya put her hands on Astrid's shoulders and gently tugged a bit in an effort to get her head out from under Lux's skirt. "Come now Lady Astrid, you may inspect Lady Lux's virtue later." The other girls were all smiles again, though Nagasani did spare another glance at the comatose man in the corner. The incident would have to be reported to the Censor rather soon, and though she was uncomfortable with the ruffian actions against their guest the fact that he was unconscious and that they had three, two of them currently drunk not withstanding, exalts to keep him restrained should he reawaken was probably the only thing keeping her from sending a runner for the guards. As it was she decided to leave the matter for now, but she was definitely going to inform the Dragon about the man's actions against his guest once the current makeover was complete.

Feeling a light tug on her shoulder, caused Astrid to stop rubbing her face against the oh so soft Terrestrial for a moment to inspect who was touching her. The girl's words were heard but not heeded, being quickly dismissed with a rather blunt, "S'not why am down here. Already got'n a full gander when I had ta scrub 'er down." It wasn't the Lunar's fault that the girl was currently taller than her, and standing up seemed so unnecessary when she had just sat down. Besides, in their spare time, Astrid saw no reason why she shouldn't content herself with petting a soft little creature, especially since the creature seemed so nonchalant about it.

Lux gave a pat to the top of Astrid's head, doing so as best as she could given their current positions. The Lunar wasn't bothering her in the least...but what did she get a gander of earlier? And what even happened earlier? When was she scrubbed down...? Eh, those were musings for later!

'Speaking of makeovers' Nagasani thought as she looked over the princess. She had to admit, while Lux and Astrid had provided their own unique if fun challenges Calliope was going to be a different ball game. Looking her bare form up and down she concluded that the woman was franky, visually perfect. A strong atlhetic build from a lifetime of physical training, a shapely body, long white soft hair, and a unique pink skin tone that added an exotic look to the woman. Building on that perfection was frankly going to be the difficult part, as they would need something to complement her natural beauty without clashing against her unique skin and hair colors. It was also not lost on her that the princess seemed to fidget strongly at simple touch. Looking over at the other two exalts (and pointedly ignoring their current compromising position) for inspiration two small idea's filled her head that could deal with both issues.

"Hmm, since she is rather pink already... and the other two have been given a bit of gold... would make sense on a solar..." Muttering to herself she walked over to where Periya was currently trying to dislodge the Lunar exalt from the dragon blooded's thighs. Tapping on Astrid's shoulder she leaned down to ask. "Lady Astrid, since you seem to be rather bored and Lady Lux has already volunteered to tend to the princess's wounds, would you be willing to assist us with her majesty's measurements?" She had noticed that Calliope had relaxed somewhat at Lux's touch, and going by that evidence it could be guessed that she'd be a tad more comfortable with her fellow exalts tending to her.

Measurements?! Calliope thought. "Inn mmyyy culture, clothes are mmm-mmmeant to be wornn! Not mmeasured! They billow for warmmth! And we used cords annnd belts to do the mmmeasuring for us!" She sputtered, putting her balled up hands on her hips. She readjusted to throw one hand down at her side, in a defiant, childlike gesture, but she assessed that it would be even more uncomfortable, and her hand found its way back to her hip. While Calliope was alarmed by all suggestions concerning her outfiting, she was once again, relieved to be in the care of her colleagues.

Hearing Nagasani's request caused Astrid to shoot up to her feet, neatly sailing through the air in a somersault and landing slightly behind Calliope. The poor Solar had barely caught sight of Astrid before suddenly she was at Calliope's side. Normally she would have stuck the landing, but her intoxication cause her legs to buckle slightly, almost falling back to her butt. Calliope caught her by the arm, but Astrid recovered assuredly, clearly without any need of the Princess' help.

Astrid lazily stretched her arms, like a lioness might before after awakening from a nap. "Yeaahh I cin 'elp wif measurin tha fair batt'l ang'l." Walking around Calliope, paying close attention to her features, she laid her right hand on the Solar. Running a finger down her shoulder and outlining her shoulder blades rather clumsily, she mumbled to herself, "Whippy mushcle, shlender build, but pawerful." Squatting by Calliope's leg, poking her calf, Astrid admitted, "I uhh... Wot er mea-shure-meants?" A yelp escaped the Princess' lips in protest, jumping at the slightest touch. Cleaning a wound was one thing, but Astrid's unsolicited touch was entirely different. Another small giggle escaped Nagasani at the display, Lux couldn't help the small laugh that slipped from her throat as well. She'd had her measurements taken earlier too....the handmaidens were going to have all of their measurements now! That would make it easier for them all to get new dresses in the future, wouldn't it?

"Well," Nagasani started, "when you get someone's measurements what you are doing is determining the size and shape of various parts of their body. We'll start by having you take hold of her." At her side Vengalu picked up the sets of string and measuring tools she had dropped earlier. She was about give a demonstration but Lakshmi stopped her, wanting to see how Astrid interpreted those instructions.

Astrid nodded as Nagasani instructed her in the proper way to take one's measurements. Stepping up behind Calliope, she put one arm around her waist and the other slightly below her bosom, ensuring Lux had full view of the wound on her midsection.

A wave of chills overcame Calliope, as she was now fully groped by the intoxicated Lunar. The smell of alcohol in Astrid's breath was far more apparent what with how close they were now. "I'm certainnn this is unnnnecesary!" Calliope cried. "H'okay, am 'avin uh hold uh her. Wut am do now?" Certainly the civilized world had some odd traditions, and this hadn't occurred during her outfit change. Perhaps it was due to Calliope's royalty? Royals had oh so many odd rituals. Rituals that Lunars simply didn't have the luxury, or want to pursue. Shrugging off her thoughts, she awaited further instructions.

Lux adjusted her posture now that her leg and hip was now free of one very clingy Lunar, and knelt down, dipping the washcloth in a nearby bucket of soapy water. Now came a part that Calliope was certainly not going to enjoy—disinfecting the cut. Whether the woman was an Exalted or not, it would do no good just cleaning around the injury if she left it gross and with Creation knew what might be festering in there.

Vengalu maintained a neutral expression, however that was constrasted by Lakshmi who was trying not top snicker. The redheaded moonsilver maiden elbowed her sister in the side and Vengalu sighed and gave Lakshmi the measuring string she had been holding. "Now you take this, wrap it around her and call out her size." The string had a series of red lines painted on it, meant to act as markers for the length of centimeters one could measure by. Lakshmi took it and held it out for the Lunar whislt Vengalu acquired another set.

No one ever liked having their cuts cleaned, it always was unpleasant. But, Lux had this nagging feeling in the back of her foggy mind that Calliope would do well with a warning before she got around to doing that, “Pr’tty prin’ess, g’warn you now, goin’ to b’cleeeaning the cut now, m’ght sting bit, ‘kay?”[color] she slurred her words out, as Astrid was attempting to take the Solar’s measurements with whatever instructions were provided by the handmaidens.

Kicking a foot forward, wobbling slightly but using her grip on Calliope to stay upright, Astrid took the measuring string. Wrapping that leg around the Solar, she transferred her hold of the string to the hand above her wound and held it, keeping her hand wrapped around her torso. Then she picked up the other end of the string with her foot and kicked it out almost to a ninety degree angle to pull the string taught. [color=darkslateblue]"Mm'kay, ish wrapt. S-sh'bout... a th-third a tha string. Wut er theze... red bitz fer?"
Vengalu was the one who answered this time. "Those are centimeter markers. You simply need to count how many of them go around to determine the size." She ignored Lakshmi sticking her tongue out at her as she took position on the other side with a small board and writing pen. They had other things to do today and the soulsteel maiden didn't want to waste all of it pranking exalts. "Once you've done that, pick another part of her and measure that as well, I'll keep track of the numbers." She gave a quick glance up at Calliope. "If your highness wouldn't mind would you please stand feet shoulder width apart and your arms outstretched?"

Between the disinfectant and Astrid's awkward assistance, it was as though Calliope was being ensnared and tortured. Now she was being given orders? "I most certainly will nnnot outstretch mmy arrmmms! Let GO OF MME!" She demanded. The pink man, practically upside down in the corner, had awoken at the sound of the Princess' cry, shocked to see a very naked woman being restrained by the intimidating Lunar.

As the Solar began to fidget and writhe about, attempting to escape the hold Astrid had of her, Lux’s efforts in disinfecting her wound came to a halt. Even still soused, the little Dragon-Blooded sensed a need to move from her current position, or else...something would happen, what that something was, she wasn’t sure.

Not understanding why she had to take hold of Calliope, and deciding that part of the measuring process must require her to not let go, Astrid was taking great pains to keep her arms wrapped around the Solar. Calliope was on her final straw. Astrid's grip on her tightened, while she fumbled with the measuring tape. Calliope planned her escape. While she couldn't seem to leap out of Astrid's clutches, instead, she dropped and rolled out of the Lunar's grasp, almost toppling over Lux, who'd obeyed her sense and had flopped backward onto her hindquarters and scrambled back a ways.

From a kneeling stance, Calliope lept to her feet triumphantly. There was a brief awkward pause as the handmaidens and the other two exalts stared at her, Vengalu being the only one with presnece of mind to lend a hand to the fallen Lux. Then Lakshmi, ever the miscreant, pointed directly at the princess and gave a sharp yell of "GRAB HER!"

The Princess, with a sudden burst of adrenaline, took off, fully in the nude, and out the door of the sewing shop. If ONLY she had any of her weapons! Then she could properly defend herself. She only had her own motivation to escape. Taking a sharp turn around the corner, Calliope slipped on the marbled floor, careening into the protruding corner of a wall. She recovered quickly though, making it to her feet, and sprinting down the closest hall she could find. She was just a blur of pink, and a streak of white hair trailing behind her.

A brief moment of uncertainty went through Astrid's mind, taking a moment to process what had just transpired. Hearing Lakshmi cry out, Astrid's skin rippled, anima glittering slightly in the air as it illuminated her caste mark. Growing greatly in size as her Beastman form began to surface, Calliope's scent still fresh in the air, she dropped to all fours and purred out, "Oh Creashion do I luff'n they run." Bounding forward, she darted after the girl. Calliope was quick, but not as quick as a Lunar in full glory, re-capturing her was but a matter of time. Right behind her a small battle cry was sounded as three of the quintet followed behind Astrid's charge.

In the flurry of commotion, the Pink Stranger took the opportunity to sneak out the back, staying quiet as not to draw any attention to himself. He scrambled to his feet, nearly tripping over some baskets of thread and fabric, catching himself on the wall. He fumbled with the door handle for a moment, before making his hasty retreat.

Under most circumstances, even inebriated, Lux would have found it in herself to politely thank Vengalu for helping her to her feet, however.... The whole scene that had played out before the Terrestrial left her otherwise dumbfounded, and for good reason. A naked-as-the-day-she-was-born Calliope sprinting out of the room, with Hotton, Lakshmī and Periya following straight after...which was also followed by a now transformed Astrid.

Following the whole fiasco, Lux, and the remaining two handmaidens, Vengalu and Nāgasāni, all silently stared at the doorway, trying to process what exactly had just occurred before them. What’d just...? Swaying a bit on her feet, the little Dragon-Blooded looked to Nāgasāni questioningly, then to Vengalu. Both of the girls returned Lux’s bewildered stare for a moment, none of them noticing that the Pink Stranger had managed to slip away and out of the room unnoticed.

“Er, that did not go as we planned,” Vengalu mumbled, rubbing her hand against the back of her neck.

Nāgasāni sighed in a most exasperated manner, and set a hand against her forehead, “Indeed, I would say that it did not.” she sighed, “How it was intended to go no longer is of concern, what is of concern is that we have a nude Lady Calliope running about the spire, aimlessly in a panic....”

Both of the handmaidens began to go back and forth between each other, trying to figure out how they were going to absolve this ridiculous situation.

Lux stared at the two girls as they spoke to one another, still holding onto the wet washcloth in her hand. It took her a little longer to comprehend what’d happened than it perhaps would’ve normally, given her intoxicated state, but when it hit her...it hit her hard enough to sober her up a smidgen. Oh dear, poor Calliope.... The Dragon-Blooded had merely been trying to clean and disinfect her wound, but all else that had been going on must’ve been too much for her to bear.

She hadn’t even stopped to grab something to cover herself with before fleeing. Did she even realize...? Acting without thought, Lux dropped the washcloth in her hand, and kicked off her heavy heels, knowing she could move faster without them and sprinted off much in the same vein as Calliope had, though she bothered to grab a large, loose sheet of patterned fabric before exiting the room, calling back to Vengalu and Nāgasāni, “Goin’ after t’em!”

And she was off without waiting for a response, or even knowing where she was going to find everyone, somehow though, Lux had a feeling she’d luck out....