King of the Dolls

New New York

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a part of King of the Dolls, by Ashes-6695.

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Ashes-6695 holds sovereignty over New New York, giving them the ability to make limited changes.
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Setting

Default Location for King of the Dolls

Minimap

New New York is a part of King of the Dolls.

32 Characters Here

Hayden Valkyrie [24] "It's not that I can't, it's just that I don't want to, okay?"
Mika Taylor [23] "I don't recall being this...shapely."
Lyanna Tarnish [23] "Underestimate me, if you like. It will be the last thing you ever do."
Adrian Alistair [22] "Out of my face, you dolt!"
Isaac [20] "What gives you the right?"
Jayson 'Jay' Miako [19] "You take me from my peace to turn me into an item for consumers? You, vile man, will have Hell to pay before I am done with you."
Garret [18] "I was just a replacement for someone dead. Now I'm not even that anymore."
Annabelle 'Ivy' Smithson [18] "Just because I don't look like you doesn't mean I am any different."
Belton Reily [18] "When I said I wanted to serve my king for all eternity, I didn't mean it quite like this"
Adina "Adi" [18] "I just don't think... that there are enough words to make you understand."

Start Character Here »


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Olive Dawn Croft Character Portrait: Isaac

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Isaac


Olive reassured him that she was fine, then they both turned their attention to the envelope. Damien Jackson. He had no clue who that was, but then again, he wasn't very well versed in who was who anyway, since he hadn't spent but a few hours now outside the silent confines of Heartland's scientific jail. The only person he would have had any chance of knowing was Adina, but even with a few scans of the crowd he hadn't spotted the pretty doll yet. Perhaps it was for the best? Maybe Adi would always remain an elusive advice giver, some almost fantasy that reminded him of that very fine line between alive and dead. He couldn't help but want to see the doll though, putting aside such romantic concepts. He received the letter from Olive and scanned through the well crafted script quickly. His mouth thinned to a line as distrust welled in his system. Perhaps it was some instinct hardwired deep in his electrical soul, but he didn't want to let Olive out of his sight under such questionable circumstances.

It seemed that she shared his mindset, and he nodded silently in agreement. He would accompany her. It might not do them any good, but at least it would bring him solace. She smiled at him, and he blinked back at her, warming a little, though his thoughts were still stony as he thought about what exactly this Damien guy wanted from her. While he was still relatively innocent, there were some things he had learned, and those were enough to make him distrustful of leaving Olive alone with anyone. Let alone a man.

He blinked at her again as she continued, asking him if he recognized anyone. He sat down next to her, as she motioned, and made a small shrug. "Don't worry, I'm new here too. Nobody rings a bell for me. They all kind of look the same, actually." He squinted a bit at all the chiffon-dressed ladies and tuxedo-ed men as if to try and discern them from each other. It was quite impossible. All the faces blended into each other like a great mass of perfume and caked-on beauty. At some points it was difficult to tell the two different types of synthetic appeal apart, those with faces built to be beautiful, and those who had carefully sculpted theirs with products and methods. Not like he was one to talk. He looked just as generically handsome as any other male doll on the market, but a bit more morose and brooding than most. And a tad bit older than most. It seemed that most people preferred their dolls fresh faced, despite what age the owner in question was. Well, hypothetically, all the dolls here save for those programmed with the memories of another were technically children, though children with minds incredibly adept at processing information.

He examined the woman as she spoke again, a hint of sadness in her voice. Not a glamorous life? Well, how could that bother him. It would be all he knew, so it wasn't like he could long for anything. And she was most likely better than most of these fools here, who would treat him like a little lap dog and bark orders at him all the time. She reached out and straightened his jacket, and he lifted his hand to take hers. "I don't mind." His face ghosted with a smile for a moment before he fell back into more serious thinking. "I don't think I would enjoy this "glamour" all that much anyway. It seems tedious."

He swept his eyes out over the crowd again thoughtfully, and wondered what would happen to Adina. What kind of life did Adi want? What kind of life had he possessed? Would he get it back. Isaac had made up his mind to be happy for the time being, and he hoped Adi would be happy too.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove

When Daniel's first words oozed softly from his lips, Meora found herself yet again reminded that the boy before her was not a boy but a man, far more closely connected to the adult world than she could ever hope to be at the age of seventeen - and for a brief, fleeting moment it dragged her thoughts from the silver heart embedded in her throat, where she suddenly found her real heart hammering away. The doll kept looking at her! She swore that it could see right through her, to the naked lie that she was beneath her clothing. Stay calm, she urged her roaring pulse, knowing that whatever she did, 'calm' would never be something she could achieve around a - another - doll.

As the man gently brushed a kiss onto her hand and then allowed it to fall against her side, she did not feel the stammer of anxiety, only formed delicate pink brushstrokes along her wintry pale cheeks. However as Daniel excused his skittish little doll, all Meora could manage was a forced girlish giggle, a strained sweet, and two quick words: "of course". This was not going well.

"How are you enjoying the party so far? Heartland has certainly done a good job this year," Daniel said casually, either pleasantly unaware or tactfully dismissive of her inner awkwardness.

The bright, wild, dancing colours, I love; the shallow small talk, the forgettable blur of faces, I adore - but the presence of my own kind sickens me and I keep feeling Soeri's eyes on my back and I keep hearing her words in my ear and both you doll are making me nauseously nervous and for the first time in my life I want to flee the whirring excitement of a party! That is what she ached to say, those childish and consequential words; instead she opted for a hopefully more mature approach: "I am having a wonderful time, Mr Clement; how about you-?"

Meora's sentence was abruptly sliced in two as a pitifully dressed, filth-caked doll in rags was hauled onto the dance floor by an equally as disgusting, if not more so, man, made monstrous by his vile treatment to the beautiful, young woman. Somewhere deep inside horror and guilt and hatred for the cruel man stabbed between Meora's ribcage. What if that had been me? What if I hadn't been so lucky? She asked herself, same hair colour, same eye colour; it could have been me.

For a moment that hung precariously as glass on a table edge, Meora felt a strange, instinctive link that seemed to illuminate the air with electricity, and then, as the mistreated doll was swept from the floor by a familiar angel, it was gone and Soeri's snarling expression burned at the back of her mind.

"There's nothing better than a good happy ending," Daniel's muttering snapped her from the chasm into which she had mindlessly, unwillingly fallen. She observed the man as he wandered through his own sort of reverie and remembered

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove

When Daniel's first words oozed softly from his lips, Meora found herself yet again reminded that the boy before her was not a boy but a man, far more closely connected to the adult world than she could ever hope to be at the age of seventeen - and for a brief, fleeting moment it dragged her thoughts from the silver heart embedded in her throat, where she suddenly found her real heart hammering away. The doll kept looking at her! She swore that it could see right through her, to the naked lie that she was beneath her clothing. Stay calm, she urged her roaring pulse, knowing that whatever she did, 'calm' would never be something she could achieve around a - another - doll.

As the man gently brushed a kiss onto her hand and then allowed it to fall against her side, she did not feel the stammer of anxiety, only formed delicate pink brushstrokes along her wintry pale cheeks. However as Daniel excused his skittish little doll, all Meora could manage was a forced girlish giggle, a strained sweet, and two quick words: "of course". This was not going well.

"How are you enjoying the party so far? Heartland has certainly done a good job this year," Daniel said casually, either pleasantly unaware or tactfully dismissive of her inner awkwardness.

The bright, wild, dancing colours, I love; the shallow small talk, the forgettable blur of faces, I adore - but the presence of my own kind sickens me and I keep feeling Soeri's eyes on my back and I keep hearing her words in my ear and both your doll are making me nauseously nervous and for the first time in my life I want to flee the whirring excitement of a party! That is what she ached to say, those childish and consequential words; instead she opted for a hopefully more mature approach: "I am having a wonderful time, Mr Clement; how about you-?"

Meora's sentence was abruptly sliced in two as a pitifully dressed, filth-caked doll in rags was hauled onto the dance floor by an equally as disgusting, if not more so, man, made monstrous by his vile treatment to the beautiful, young woman. Somewhere deep inside horror and guilt and hatred for the cruel man stabbed between Meora's ribcage. What if that had been me? What if I hadn't been so lucky? She asked herself, same hair colour, same eye colour; it could have been me.

For a moment that hung precariously as glass on a table edge, Meora felt a strange, instinctive link that seemed to illuminate the air with electricity, and then, as the mistreated doll was swept from the floor by a familiar angel, it was gone and Soeri's snarling expression burned at the back of her mind.

"There's nothing better than a good happy ending," Daniel's muttering snapped her from the chasm into which she had mindlessly, unwillingly fallen. She observed the man as he wandered through his own sort of reverie and she remembered the cruelty that brought him to fame; asked herself if he really had found his happily ever after...And prayed that she found hers.

"Hopefully that's the most excitement we'll have for the night, eh?" He laughed a little, a smile carved into his lips, a sip drawn from his glass.

"I do hopes so as well," She spoke in an almost-whisper, eyes discerning what truth they could from Daniel's appearance, "How are you these days Mr Clement?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Xander Character Portrait: Adina "Adi" Character Portrait: Tamerah Character Portrait: Damien Jackson

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α∂ιηα "α∂ι"

Image "Call me Emma," The lovely girl responded, answering his inquiry to her name. That name which he'd heard on plenty of girls before - human and otherwise - had a particular kind of elegance to her. He couldn't figure out the reason for it quite yet.

Still, whatever it was that gave her such an underlying interest, it didn't matter quite so much at the moment. Soon, she was whisking him away, towards the dance floor with an elegant hand. Stepping into the midst of the dancing, their bodies quickly pulled close to each other, beginning their steps along to the music at a slower pace before officially jumping in. "You're beautiful," She suddenly said, breaking their own silence while Adina had previously tried to focus on the music in the room. His eyes widened, and he almost missed a dance step, at the abrupt comment.

He opened his mouth to respond, but simply found himself staring downward, trying to hide the flush in his face and focus on where his feet were going. He shut his mouth, positive that whatever words he would have managed to get out would have been nonsensical. It was best just to hold his tongue for now, until he could think of the right words. This girl, surely she would think less of him if he started making mistakes like that. Quickly, he looked up once again, giving a shy smile, as if to quietly convey a silent thank you. It wasn't very often that he got a compliment from someone he thought he could believe. Brittany just said that kind of thing to give him a pep talk, and Evan... Adina was sure Evan hadn't said anything that nice. He hadn't even had to.

"I'm sure you will go to a wonderful owner tonight, so you shouldn't worry about that," She continued, and this time, the statement made Adina a little more solemn. At least she thought so, but a good owner for an odd doll was a tall order. The more the night continued, even though it had barely begun, he really doubted that anyone on the premises was going to want him. He kind of wished he'd been one of those mindless, stupid dolls. Then maybe he wouldn't care that his owner was dead, and that no one wanted him, and that he couldn't make a conversation as well as the next person.

He pushed his thoughts away from it though, as she spread away from him at an arm's length before her graceful form then spun back into him. Hadn't she claimed that she wasn't that good of a dancer? Well, Adina certainly believed she looked elegant, regardless. "You're so lovely, anyone who wouldn't take you is a fool," She finalized, her statement firm and solid as if she'd been stating a perfect fact. Well, then, perhaps everyone was simply a fool, and Adi doubted that to be true.

Still he gave another small, bashful smile, feeling overwhelmed by the compliment, and at least a little more cheerful that she thought something like that. It was nice to meet a person who was kind, after all.

Adi's eyes widened when another doll bumped into Emma, the jolt it caused to her body making him move as well. The other female doll hissed an agitated, "Watch it!" as she moved along. How rude, Adi thought, but had too little time to really think on the subject, as, in an instant, and with a faint click, Emma gave her own hiss to the rude doll, flashing what looked like fangs and startling the girl. Surely she deserved a start, but even Adina found himself jumping at the action, having not had the slightest idea that something like that would have happened. The owner of the rude doll made a call, probably at Emma's owner, but Adina was too distracted, staring curiously at his dancing partner while she turned back to him, offering the same sweet smile he had seen before, but instead with a sharp pair of fangs. Sort of like... what were they, what were they? Adina had seen them in movies with Darren. Those supernatural movies. The ones with fangs those were... They drank blood and had funny accents whenever it was a kid's show... Vampires!! That was it. He wasn't even aware that the corners of his mouth had tilted up into the slightest of smiles, happy that he'd found the word even if he knew he didn't have to use it. With a wink, her fangs were disappearing again, and he found himself staring even more. He knew there was something so beautifully unique about this girl.

"Don't you just love parties? That's my owner over there, Xander Harrowgrove. Isn't he handsome? Would you like to meet him? We would be saving him from his date, come. Let's go see him!" She said, and before Adina could react, she was towing him away, over to owner to be introduced. Somehow, Adi doubted the visitation of her owner would be productive, but then again, there wasn't much productive about this party at all. He almost wanted to interject, to answer her question. No, he didn't like parties, but he decided to keep it to himself. She liked them, and he remembered that giving a conflict of interest towards other people typically made them upset. He didn't want to make lovely Emma upset, not when she had such a charming smile.

"Excuse us, Xander, but, I'd love for you to meet someone. This is Adina. Isn't he lovely? He's for sale tonight." She said to the young man as she approached with Adi in tow. Adina studied the handsome young man, letting his eyes dart all along his physique, and then moving on to the young lady - his date, presumably - who was with him. Realizing that staring alone would simply make him seem like one of those mindless, dolls, though, he quickly pushed forth a polite smile at the young man, before ducking his head a little, shyly. He needn't introduce himself, after all. Emma had done it for him. What else was there to do? Both introductions were made. But there was a phrase that he could have put forth, wasn't there? Nice to meet you. Yes, that was it. He was about to open his mouth, to say the phrase, to make his presence as an actual, thinking, speaking doll known, but something caught his eye, causing his jaw to simply clench.

Emma had seen the young lady - the young doll - as well, for Adina heard her utter "Oh my god," the statement Adina understood to be a common expression for shock. He could understand the shock, most certainly. The fiery-haired girl stood in an almost translucent dress, her hair a mess and her body beaten down. She carried the dirt and grime and pain of mistreatment, and Adina could feel a choking sensation in his throat, a tightness in his gut, and a strain in his chest. Pain... He could see that look in the way she held herself, in the way she was so properly cared for. Were there... were there really people who would mistreat their doll in such a way? Hurt it and let it suffer? He could understand pain. He knew what it was like for every part of you ache and throb and feel like that piece of you could never handle movement again. Even psychological pain. But this girl could feel it so much worse. It was a different kind of pain, it was a more agonizing pain, he was sure.

He found himself staring with wide eyes, his free hand to his neck and his fingers along that scar in his neck, feeling the way the Heartland logo was bent and disfigured and the skin indented and creased with a twisted line. No kind of pain was okay. How could someone do that to their doll? It began making him even more fearful of the kind of person that might buy him. Having had only one owner, did he really even know what to expect? Who could say what other people were like? He wanted to look away, wanted to run away even. Go hide, seek comfort, but.... There wasn't anyone to comfort him, really. No one could protect him from his thoughts, and no one was going to protect him from being purchased. He needed to be bought, or he would die. But this girl... Surely heartland wouldn't allow this kind of thing at one of their prestigious parties, would they? They'd save her, they'd do something! He found himself shifting his gaze around, looking for Brittany, but he didn't spot her in that little black and silver cocktail dress. He almost wanted to panic about her not being in sight, too.

"Xander, do something," Emma pleaded with her owner. Her arms were tight around Adi's arm, and he couldn't blame her. He almost wanted to latch onto her as well, to use her as support, but decided against it. When he turned his face back to her, seeing red tears welling up in her eyes - no, not just red, they were blood - he knew she needed the support. Adina would just sink his feelings instead. He had to avoid all that business about crying, even if he wanted to, even if everything about this moment screamed at him to give up, to crawl under the earth and be dead, like his owner. No, He had to be a good doll. He couldn't ruin his makeup.

He looked to Xander, this time. No, perhaps he should be called Mr. Harrowgrove, since Adina didn't quite know this human so well. A more formal title would have to be used. The young man had dropped his hand from his date, and seemed to be ignoring her now, having little interest in her. He looked to the fire-haired girl, looked to his doll, and looked to Adina. And in those three looks, Adina could tell a lot of things. Xander Harrowgrove was a one-doll kind of guy, he didn't really care about his date, and the only reason he paid Adina any mind was because Emma's hands were on him. Her owner was about to do anything for her, and if the poor, fiery-haired girl's situation weren't causing him such worry, making him so sad, he would have smiled about the little things he could tell about Xander Harrowgrove.

Adi looked back to the girl again, though he almost didn't want to, the idea of that kind of treatment to a doll was making him sick, and felt a swift relief flood over him, watching as a man - a much kinder looking man, one who seemed to know the poor girl - swept in close to her and took up her hand. He shut his eyes, glad that someone had intervened, that someone cared.

"It appears that she is in good hands... For now..." Xander Harrowgrove's words came in a mutter, though it was indeed enough of a statement to instigate Adi opening his eyes again, trying to focus on the young man and the lovely doll he was in the presence of. He had to bring back composure, he had to focus on what was going on.

Dropping his hand from where it had been on the scar of his neck, his eyes darted back and forth from Emma and Xander. Yes, Xander was a one-doll kind of guy, and having another around was only a crowd, and possibly competition. Quickly, Adi slid his arm from Emma's grip until only their hands were touching, and turned so that he was facing her, giving her a gentle nudge of the arm to get her to turn towards him as well.

"Don't worry," He put forth, offering a sweet smile, though it seemed not to reach his eyes completely. He paused trying to pick and choose. Should he explain what not to be worried about? No, it seemed obvious, and Emma was a clever girl. She could tell what he meant. Don't worry about anything. This time, he added an extra little pause, and on purpose. He had to be sure that the thought of 'Dont worry' was complete, and that his next statement wouldn't be conveyed as a part of the last. "You have a lovely owner, Emma, and I was glad to meet both of you." He brought her hand to his lips and kissed the back of it gently. Surely, it would make her owner Jealous for him to give her a kiss on the cheek, after all. When the action was done, he flexed his smile again, and this time, it just barely seemed as bright as it should have been, though there was still a hint of how solemn he truly felt in his eyes. He still needed to catch his breath, his thoughts, to sink all the sad feelings. No one would buy a sad doll. "I think he would like you all to himself, and I should be looking for my caretaker."

Dropping her hand, he stood for an extra second, giving a glance back at Xander Harrowgrove, before giving the young man a polite bow of the head, and a little smile before turning back to Emma and gently brushed away one of the bloodied tears with his thumb. Surely it wasn't normal to cry tears of blood, but something told him that it was just part of her design; part of the vampire thing, maybe.

"Everything is going to be okay." Adi didn't normally reiterate something. Especially not something that had been a couple of statements ago, since it had already been implied, but sometimes when people were spilling with emotions, they needed to be reassured of the same thing more than once. Or at least, that was the reason he would have said to explain why he made the statement, which was oh-so similar to the one he had made before, telling her not to worry. But really, he wasn't sure if he had only directed it at Emma. Perhaps it was directed at Xander, as well. Maybe he even wanted to say it to himself, for surely, he had been worrying all night that nothing would ever be okay. At least, he could say, that Emma was in good hands. The fire-haired girl was in good hands. And at least after this evening, he would live for another few weeks. That was more than nothing.

Offering one last parting smile, though this one had regained it's hint of solemnity, he turned from them and walked off, not heading back to his seat but trying to see if perhaps he could spot Brittany still at the bar. Surely, to anyone watching him wander, he looked lost, and certainly he was. God, the Bar would be the last place he wanted to be, but seeing as Brittany had not yet returned to the table she had seated Adina at, it was the best bet for where she would be. At the very least, looking for her gave him an excuse to wander and spy at the other patrons of the evening.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emma Character Portrait: Xander Character Portrait: Adina "Adi"

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Xander Harrowgrove:

Xander did not like Adina. Even if he knew little about the androgynous doll, he found an instant dislike clenching at his stomach for whatever reason, he wasn't sure - or at least, he was sure but did not feel terribly inclined to think of it too much, seeing as it involved one topic he most certainly couldn't linger on: Emma. That said, he still found his eyes weighing heavily on her, lips pressed in a thin line, eyes slightly narrowed. Thinking. He could not tell if he was irritated or merely speculating; all he could find himself doing was flick his gaze between Adina and Emma, as the former disappeared into the crowd. The doll had kissed Emma's hand; the doll had been very familiar with Emma; the doll had danced with her - no, Xander did not like Adina all too much.

Another whining violin tune split through the ballroom all of a sudden, a new song striking up among the band; Xander found himself unconsciously taking Emma's hand, drawing her onto the dance-floor amid the throng of shifting, shimmering ball-gowns and tuxedos.

"Let's dance," He said, although it was almost a scowl. He did not even like dancing - well, not this kind of dancing anyway - so what on Earth had dragged him into the midst of it all? There really was no point pretending he did not know the answer to such a simple question.

As he held Emma's body against his own, hand on her waist, other hand in her own, spinning across the glossy tiles, Xander watched her closely; felt something tighten in his stomach; found breathing difficult for some reason, inhalations tangling with exhalations in a complex mesh. Nervousness? No, that couldn't be - but as he said this, he realised that he could no longer watch the doll, his eyes staring off into the distance, towards the band, anywhere other than her pale face, her wide eyes...

When he spoke, he tried to sound nonchalant: "Did you say Adina was for sale? Who is buying him?" Why were you dancing with him...?

Xander didn't - couldn't - ask that, for if he tried he knew he would discover his anger splitting painfully through his skin, so he settled for something easier: he watched her lips part and her breaths come quickly and wondered what it was that he found so curious about her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Perhaps if he hadn't been focused so introspectively, Daniel might have noticed how his conversation partner reacted to the abused doll being tugged across the floor, but he didn't. It didn't really matter though, there was enough in the conversation to keep him interested and curious. They picked up the small conversation up about where they had left off. It was her turn to ask questions and continue the pleasantries. Her words were soft though, barely discernible through the returning murmur of the party-goers. Daniel had to dip his head forward a bit, missing her first couple words. She was studying him, and he could have guessed her question before she uttered it. It was not an unfamiliar question, but the way she asked it was...different.

He smiled faintly again, slowly and methodically untangling his arm from Erik's grip as he spoke. "As well as ever, I'd say. My company keeps me quite busy, but they're a sweet lot." For all his words, he'd said nothing. Which was his intention. Nobody needed to know about his daemons. He rubbed his Doll's back fondly for a moment before placing his empty flute in the boy's grasp. Erik nodded, he was one of silent communication himself, and wandered off with a quick step, intent on doing what was asked of him as quickly as possible. He was still skittish enough to jump every time someone brushed against him, though he was getting better about handling himself in public. Sweet boy. Poor boy.

"How do you fare?" He asked once he'd sent Erik off. He didn't expect much of an answer but it was the ebb and flow of conversation; it was a rule of etiquette. She'd likely give a response similar to the one she'd given before, perhaps similar to his own. Meaningless, revealing nothing. Not that he blamed her. Many high class creatures were secretive, though rightly so. Although, the tone in which she'd asked her previous question still tugged at his mind. That soft, serious look on her face. It meant something. Well, she had caught his reflection, in seemed, and perhaps she'd held on to it. He didn't know quite what to make of such a thing, most people really didn't care how he was, past trying to get in good with him. He should leave it for now, he decided, but watch for more and for an opinion on it later.

Meanwhile, Erik still had the glass clutched between his fingers, off in search of water for Daniel. He knew no harm would come to him, but he had to keep telling himself that or he'd have dropped everything and found the nearest exit and get away from all the people. It wasn't the people themselves, he just didn't like their nearness, nor the fact that he couldn't see them all at once. It put him in a bad place, mentally, and he knew it. He just had to keep himself out of it all and keep going. He was better at coping now than he'd been at one point, which was a very good thing, but the problems still lingered.

After cutting a questionable path through the people, he made it to the bar, deposited empty glass, and procured one of water. Pleased with his success, he turned to discover his path had been swallowed up, and there would be no way to get back to Daniel unless he pushed through people, and there was no way he was going to do that. He froze for a few seconds, then backed up against the bar again, swallowing and shrinking slightly into himself. He was no longer playing shy, he really was cowed to his core. He decided that the best course of action would to be to stand and wait for Daniel came looking for him. That would be the safest thing to do. Yes. Perfect.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Daniel Clement Character Portrait: Meora

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Meora Harrowgrove:

Her mindlessly asked, curious question did not seem to do much good in the ways of discovery, it seemed, as Daniel's answer seemed to both bar all doors to what lay behind chestnut eyes, clouded as a storm, and blatantly disregard Meora's words entirely, scraping shallowly across the surface of secrets. She could not blame him for wanting to keep his privacy; nobody could find fault in that desire, especially after his past experiences.

Although she found herself disappointed that she could do nothing to unravel confidences from his lips, hearing of his dolls - his sweet lot- was enough to convince her not to push the topic any further than she already had. Just imagining his home, crawling with them all, eyes watching, staring, wide-open, too perfect, seeing what should stay hidden...It caused her stomach to turn somersaults in her abdomen. At least he is happy, she chastised herself.

Happy to some extent.

When the quiet, little doll Eric, who Meora could almost - almost - feel the stirrings of pity for in her shadowy heart, had been sent away by some silent intonation into the bustling crowds alone - that foreign twinge of empathy once more - she found herself relaxing slightly, unconsciously made fists uncurling like the gentle petals of flowers, her taught shoulders oozed into a soft, unassuming posture. The pearls around her throat that had once constricted her relented and she felt air whoosh in and out of her lungs without difficulty, without fear of suffocation.

"How do you fare?" Daniel asked, though his mind, she could tell, had drifted elsewhere. The question itself was casual, expected, perfectly ordinary. Instantly, Meora felt suspicious. Nobody, except for the trusted Heartland Industries, should have been informed of what happened all those years ago; how could Daniel Clement of all the higher class aristocracy have harboured such information? How could he know what she was? How could he know of Soeri, of everything, of her entire life's purpose-? No. Impossible. No, no, no - it was just meaningless question, nothing of that sort; something harmless, something that would not dig into the blackened pit of her past. Father had made sure nobody could trace her roots to the vilely gnarled tree of her origins.

Meora caught herself before she sighed a breath of relief and spoke, smiling, "Perfectly fine." Not complex enough. "Of course there is a lot of work for me to do in order to help father but life at home is as it should be." Divert the topic away from yourself. "And father's business deals are going well, I believe-" Is that really interesting? "And Xander-" Instinctively, she found her gaze grazing the cloud of people for his presence, unsuccessful in such a busy environment; she turned back to Daniel, "He has a new doll-" She hadn't meant to stress the word; too late now. She cringed. Let's hope he doesn't notice. "Emma. She's very beautiful but quiet. I can tell that my brother enjoys her company a lot."

Speaking of dolls... Meora's eyes flickered to the pathway in which Erik had slipped through, now swallowed whole by the party-goers. How long could it take to fetch a glass of water? The bar was hardly a great many miles away. She stifled a frown; forced her eyebrows to stay curved calmly over her eyes, instead of knitting together.

No, she most certainly was not worried about that other doll.