Snippet #2767329

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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Part 5 of the big collab, more to follow


Certainly, how it was that Lux had managed to catch up with Calliope and Astrid before the trio of Periya, Hotton and Lakshmī did was quite the mystery for the ages, indeed. Regardless of how the little Dragon-Blooded had done it, she’d somehow achieved the feat. In the meanwhile, the three handmaidens had found themselves discovered by Nāgasāni and Vengalu, who’d set off in the aftermath of Lux’s hasty departure. As head of the handmaidens, Nāgasāni had seen fit to chastise the maids of Starmetal, Moonsilver and Jade for their unbecoming behavior. Nāgasāni was most positively not above indulging in a bit of fun, that was for certain, but there were still standards to which she and the girls needed to adhere, and one of those was ensuring that their guilty enjoyments did not push the boundaries of someone’s comfort too far.

....such had occurred with the Princess of Gladom.

The lovely woman seemed on edge regarding the whole ordeal she was undergoing in the first place, and her case had needed to be handled with delicacy...which it had not. The moment the Solar had rend herself free from Astrid’s grasp, Lakshmī should have made attempts to pacify her, and not given into the childish impulse to chase her. Overall, the situation just seemed to further worsen the more Nāgasāni thought it over—Calliope had fled from them, distressed, she’d been involved in a scuffle with an unknown man who’d managed to injure her; said man had managed to slip out from under their noses, his whereabouts otherwise unknown. He needed to be brought before Lord Fakharu, considering the severity of his actions, having attacked one of the Lesser Dragon’s guests.

Though she was quite capable of shouldering a number of responsibilities and carrying out her duties without fail; that did not mean that Nāgasāni was beyond feeling a touch of exasperation every so often, and, certainly, she was feeling it at the moment.

A sigh escaped the girl’s lips, as she had the bridge of her nose pinched between two of her fingers while her other hand rested upon her hip. Her lecturing of the three troublemaking handmaidens concluded with at least Hotton and Periya looking sheepish (Hotton perhaps a touch more than Periya), while Lakshmī merely pouted—her cheeks a bit flushed. Vengalu merely stood at Nāgasāni’s side in silence, allowing her “sister” to do her duty as their head. But when the maid of Orichalcum’s vexation showed itself, Vengalu set a hand gently upon her shoulder, offering her a bit of comfort, not breaking her silence.

This small action roused Nāgasāni from her thoughts, and made her look at the maid of Soulsteel.

While this whole mess had certainly become quite a hullabaloo, it was not beyond them to remedy it. And while Nāgasāni bore the bulk of the responsibility as head handmaiden, Vengalu wanted her to remember that she did have them to rely on—the five of them had each other and they could made reparations with Calliope, find the Pink Stranger, and have everything back in order before the Exalted all embarked on their journey to save Mistress Amarel. They’d accomplished even greater tasks before, after all.

A soft smile slipped across Nāgasāni’s face, and some of the tension in her frame dissipated.

“I know, Vengalu.” she answered the girl’s wordless reassurance, set her hand atop Vengalu’s and gave it a soft squeeze in gratitude before setting it upon her hip. Vengalu again said nothing, but nodded in response, removing her hand from Nāgasāni’s shoulder as the head handmaid turned her attention back to the troublesome trio before her. “I do believe you three clearly comprehend how inappropriate your behavior was, yes?”

“Yes, Nāgasāni, I’m sorry—I was having so much fun that I forgot myself.” Hotton was the first to respond, her large eyes were watery, and her cheeks a touch flushed.

Periya fidgeted beside Hotton, her voice soft with shame, “I must confess that I also got swept up in the moment, the events of the day caused me to lose my professionalism. I swear it shan’t happen again.”

Unlike the maids of Jade and Starmetal, though, Lakshmī remained quiet, her arms were crossed and she had her gaze turned aside, her cheeks still puffed out and a clear pout adorning her features.

“Lakshmī, you understand that you went too far today, don’t you?” Nāgasāni addressed the redhead, her voice firmer than usual.

She huffed outwardly in something of a melodramatic fashion at being directly addressed, but she answered quietly, “I was just having some fun, you know that. I didn’t expect the Princess to be so high-strung that she’d actually run away from us...naked, like she did.” Lakshmī drew into herself a bit, “But, I know that this whole situation is my fault. The second Lady Calliope started getting so terribly jittery, I should have done everything in my power to make her relaxed—that’s one of my duties, after all—I didn’t do that and pushed til she couldn’t handle it anymore.”

“Indeed so, Lakshmī,” Nāgasāni replied, which caused the redheaded maiden to frown again. The head handmaiden noticed how Lakshmī looked to be sulking, which caused her to let out a single breathy laugh and shake her head a bit. So it was the usual response, it seemed. Every time that something went awry, and Lakshmī was found to be the main culprit, the girl always seemed to realize herself in the aftermath and...pout. She was lively, mischievous, and lived life with her spirit leading her more than her mind. Never did she mean true harm to anyone, or anything, she just occasionally got carried away...and that was something that never changed, and in a way, Nāgasāni did hope that it wouldn’t.

Without a word, Nāgasāni took a few steps til she was standing before Lakshmī. The redheaded handmaid refused to look at Nāgasāni who stood before her silently for a moment before she reached up...and gave her “sister” a playful flick upon her forehead, which caused the maid of Moonsilver to squeak out an, “Ouch!” and bring a hand up to her assaulted brow, and sullenly looked up at Nāgasāni, who had her hands upon her hips again, albeit in a more relaxed manner then before, and a smile gracing her lovely face.

“What was that for?” she mumbled.

That was your punishment,” Nāgasāni started, “and so long as you understand what you did wrong, it’ll be your only punishment.”

Next to Lakshmī, both Hotton and Periya had their hands covering their mouths as they did their best to suppress their amusement. Both of them had apologized to Nāgasāni, and were fully aware of their own wrongdoings, yes, but they were still likely on thin ice and didn’t want to risk succumbing to one of Nāgasāni’s infamous forehead flicks. Even Vengalu, who’d had nothing to say during all of this, had the smallest of smiles forming on her usually serious face.

Meanwhile, Lakshmī was rubbing at the spot on her forehead, grumbling; “‘Only punishment’, you say—do you even know how hard you can flick, Nāgasāni?”

The head handmaiden chuckled a bit, “Rather hard, as you’ve told me numerous times.”

“I’m going to have a red mark on my forehead all day now; you know that, don’t you?” Lakshmī muttered.

Beside her, Hotton couldn’t contain herself and started sympathetically giggling, “Be thankful you’ve bangs, Lakshmī. The last time I endured one of Nāgasāni’s punishments, even Mr. Burnished Mantis commented that I’d a mark on my forehead since I’d nothing to hide it.”

To this, Lakshmī could think of no retort, and merely kept wallowing in her own self-pity, not reacting when it was that Nāgasāni had set a gentle hand upon her head, and patted it a few times, smiling as much as Lakshmī continued to sulk before she returned her hand to her hip and took a step back. “I know you meant no harm to Lady Calliope, Lakshmī—we need to ensure that she’s made aware of that as well. All of we five need to apologize to the Princess, and make amends with her.”

Beside Hotton, Periya still had her hand covering her mouth, though the urge to laugh had passed. She contemplated Nāgasāni’s statement and pondered, offering an apology to the Princess was simple; it was the easiest thing they could do, but that wouldn’t be enough to express their honest regret, though, an idea did bloom in her mind. The brunette maiden idly twirled the ends of her hair before she decided to speak her thoughts. “Um, Nāgasāni...?”

The head handmaid cast a questioning gaze to her, as Hotton did her best to console a still sulking Lakshmī, “What is it, Periya?”

“A thought occurred to me...regarding how we should express the sincerity of our apologies to Lady Calliope.” the girl spoke from behind her hand, “Perhaps, we should offer to her a gift of some kind? Though, I am not certain what manner of gift we would present to her, given what was the catalyst for all of this mess...I dare to say that the option of clothing is off the table.”

Behind Nāgasāni, Vengalu couldn’t contain the snort that escaped her. “Most certainly, clothing would be a terrible gift.” She crossed her arms, “However, I do agree that presenting the Princess with a gift is a wise idea.”

Nāgasāni nodded in agreement, going through possible ideas in her head, til her attention was drawn away from that train of thought, as the familiar, hulking feline form of Astrid dashed past at an incredible speed, which caused the quintet of handmaidens to poke their heads out into the main hall from the side hallway they’d been speaking to each other in.