[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball: Act I of Darkling Tides

The West Wing plays host to an exquisite ball, as a mystery unfolds...

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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball: Act I of Darkling Tides

Postby Paragon on January 28th, 2012, 11:41 pm

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OOCThis event is open to all residents of Zeltiva. Opening posts should be general, social, or mingling amongst the Ball goers. As the event progresses, a plot line will begin to unfold. Credit for the snazzy event banner go to my girlfriend. Enjoy!

Timestamp: 85th of Winter, 511 AV
Location: West Wing Hall, University of Zeltiva

Every Winter, the West Wing of the University played host to a Winter Ball. It was an exquisite event, of sparkling dresses, and equally sparkling wine. Though showy, and perhaps a little pretentious, it was not exclusive to the students and scholars of the port city. Invitations were open, and to all. Sailors were as welcome as professors. All citizens were able to relish this chance to mingle with Zeltiva's brightest, and best of all, the event was funded by the University in its entirety. In truth, it was a mass advertising campaign on the University's part.

The West Wing's hall was filling up quickly, as evening began to dance across the sky. Soon, drinks would be consumed below the stars, and Zeltivans would dance together under Leth's glow.

And not so far away, a professor was about to meet his doom.

Zeltiva always was a city of irony.
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Warden Thrice on January 29th, 2012, 7:03 pm

Eorar was nervous, and though it didn’t show on his face is was visible in other places. His hands were stuffed into his pockets and his stride was hurried, and an observant person might detect the slight inconsistency of his steps, similar to those of a child. Tonight, he was not coming as himself; tonight, he was, for all intents and purposes, human. His skin was tanned pink and his eyes were the color of storm clouds, and the anxiety beneath them provided lighting to his expression. His head was perfectly smooth, not a hair to be seen anywhere save his eyebrows.

His garb was what would be expected at a party, to some degree. He had no flowery surcoat or ruffled tunic, shoes embroidered with gold. No, it was completely different, and whether or not it was “fancy” was in the eye of the beholder.

He wore a solid black button up shirt, solid black breeches and a solid black jacket; all were cotton, but there was elegance in their simplicity. Muted embroidery wove around the cuffs and hems, but that was all. The outfit’s sleekness was that of someone with a decent amount of coin, but who wished to remain inconspicuous. But perhaps… perhaps it made him the most conspicuous of all.

The streets were barren, for everyone who thought themselves a Zeltivan was either at or heading to the Winter Ball. Even now, Eorar could hear the sounds of revelry as he drew neared to the University campus.

He had decided to come alone, more to symbolize to himself than anyone else that he did not need help to function in what was now his city. And now, as he grew ever nearer to his destination, he began to second-guess his decision.

The pink sky was darkening quickly by the time he reached the great doors of the University. He lowered his eyes and slipped through them, doing his best to be unnoticeable. There were hardly any people in the entry hall; two professors and what Eorar assumed was a student. He brightened when he identified the registrar that had been so nice to him before, and hesitantly trotted over.

“Hello,” he said softly. “Er… here is not the Ball, is it?” he asked, gesturing to the extreme lack of festivities.
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Trente on January 31st, 2012, 3:55 pm

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Trente reveled in any chance to feed his gallant nature. Thus, the ball gave more than a bit of excitement to the man's life for several weeks prior to it's commencement. Though clad in his normal attire, far superior in quality than the layfolk sailors of the city, he did ware his grandfather's rapier upon his side and dress his skin with more colour than usual. Both ornaments played across his otherwise simple outfit with elegant and more than slightly pretentious flare. He was aware of the statement it made to others as he prepared for the night, and how many of the citizens would find his attire without a certain element of savoirfaire. This laid far from a worry in his mind, for he knew that an equal amount to the small minded and judgmental sailors in attendance would be a portion of his audience that understood that true graceful etiquette was found not in the drab mundane and horribly traditional styles of pseudo-prevalterian fashion, but in a truly inspired spark of fresh inspiration. This of course, was his style.

This style reached far beyond his simple clothing. It dictated his confident pose, and even as much as his time of arrival. He waited patiently for the sun to be well on it's way to set before he cast out for the ball, and when he entered he gave special attention to wait for a slight lull in the ambient roar of the crowded wing before entering. Some would find his care to be somewhat desperate, for which he understood. Though, to him making a good impression was no more desperate at a ball than eating was at a meal. To him those that did not aim to impress had no place but backdrops to such a grand scale ball. After all, it seemed much to him that the entire ball was simply an aim of the college to impress the world. He was simply playing his part in their grand show.

Upon entering he made it a clear point to avoid immediate conversation. The last thing he wanted was to be locked into a single group of socialites for the whole night. He strolled through the gathering, giving tempered looks of sultry suggestion to the women worth his notice, and nods of stern respect toward the men of note that took eyes to him. Trente would allow people to take to him rather than him to them. He was accustomed to engaging in conversation, and in a normal setting he would no doubt take the initiative. However, with such a large gathering he felt confident a drifter as poised as himself wouldn't remain single for long. He wondered to himself which of the gathering would find the courage to confront him first. Though he remained externally calm his excitement danced within him. He thrived in the setting, and was eager to see what excitement the night had in store for him.
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Paragon on January 31st, 2012, 4:00 pm

Eorar

Sanderson smiled at the question, pointing for the man. There was no doubt what the man was trying to find, with his smart attire.

"You want the hall in the West Wing. That's where the Ball is being held."
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Stri Navasarjaka on January 31st, 2012, 5:42 pm

Making his way towards the West Wing of the University, Stri straightened his shirt by tugging at its hem and patted out the wrinkles in his pants. When he was told about the Winter Ball, he had mixed feelings. Always busy in his fathers shop, he never had time for many festivities unless you counted the few hours his dad let him have on those city-wide festivals that ensured everything but food stalls and novelty stores were closed. Even then, he had to come home early and work on the store's ledger to make sure everything was in tip-top shape from yesterdays' work day and for tomorrow's as well. The ball provided an opportunity to finally work in an aspect of himself that he had been neglecting in his childhood and studies - the social one. Not knowing what to wear for such an event, he dressed himself in his best attire (Which consisted of his normal brown and kakhi, but with a small flower stuck in the breast pocket of the best white shirt he owned). He had even went and bought a fedora, a brown one to match the rest of his wardrobe.

In time Stri arrived at the entrance to the West Wing, the university's practical wing. It was here he came to study mathematics and gadgeteering. Taking a deep breath before walking through the twin doors to the building, he fixed his clothes one last time in a fit of nervousness before steeling himself and entering. Nodding to the registrar and the others gathered in the foyer hall, he made his way to the West Wing and started mingling with the crowd. For the most part he awkwardly stood at the edge of groups, adding a comment nervously or laughing along with whatever joke they told.

Eventually he grew tired of this and set off, looking for somewhere to sit. He searched for a bit of time before making up his mind that not only he would never find a seat, but he would never find anyone to talk to. And then he turned about-face and ran smack into an elegantly dressed person whose face was painted like a mask... The abrupt cessation of movement caused him to fall on his behind, and spluttering, he apologized while he got to his feet, offering his hand to the other person if he had fallen as well. "I'm sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going. Are you okay?"
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Trente on January 31st, 2012, 10:58 pm

The impact was swift, though not overtly strong. His neck tensed at first, but then as he began to tip backward he relaxed, and allowed his body to do what he had been training it to do. Poise was of the utmost importance to the man, and as such was more than equipped to handle such small displays of others awkwardness. His knees slacked slightly, as he took a single step backward, lending a short glance over his shoulder to ensure he wouldn't be stepping on any toes. Once he ascertained that the space was clear he tipped his hips ever so slightly, altering the angel of his movement, and arched his spine upward to keep a proud posture as he gracefully absorbed the impact back into his posterior positioned leg, and quickly stepped forward again, his feet directly by each other with an unaffected grace. The full motion took about an equal time to the clumsy man's spill before him.

The apologies came forth immediately, and though Tente found them less than honest he still decided to go along with the charade. After all, what sort of a man was so desperate to speak that he would make such a foolish show of himself to do so? At least he was trying, and that entertained Trente well enough to merit at least a short greeting. He offered his hand down to the man before he had righted himself, to offer a firm grip to assist in his ascension back onto his feet. "No trouble at all, Sir. Seems you took more a tumble than myself in any consequence." His words were calm, and his eyes a distant and light blue, a few shades lighter than his tie. He lended the man his full attention, however, complete with eye contact and a comfortable closeness so that they could hear one another over the bustle of the other attendants. His manner showed comfort and confidence, even in his colorful adornments. A naturally gallant personality in deed.

To the question he gave a short response, wanting to move on from the topic of the man's social awkwardness, to get to something that may be slightly more entertaining. "I'm fine, and I trust you are as well. Let me introduce myself, if you have ceased to see birds fluttering about your head." He gave a sly smile along with his joking tone and held out his gloved hand once more. "My name is Trente Ostentatoire-Criard Eclatante, though Trente suits me fine, and I hail from Syliras. I'm a student here now, though, studying the performing arts, cartography," he looked the man over, noting that it was unlikely he had a need to describe what cartography was to the admittedly intelligent looking man. "And, a dabble of the mystical arts of Summoning. It's dangerous, but rewarding." He gave an open smile to this topic, one he found to be one of the most interesting about himself at the time, as he waited for a return to his hand and introduction. He was genuinely interested in what the man before him did. He could recall seeing him before, somewhere. Likely it had been in the hallways of the college.
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Warden Thrice on February 1st, 2012, 5:33 pm

Eorar bid an excited thank you and a nervous farewell, then set off towards the West Wing. The closer he got, the noisier it became, and the more his anxiety grew. Finally he came to the doors to the ballroom, and he stopped, took a deep breath, and entered.

He was immediately overwhelmed. Everything was glimmering, everything was moving. Everywhere he looked was something bright and beautiful; swirling gowns, fluttering tailcoats, roses the color of wine and wine the color of roses. And slowly, he felt himself begin to choke.

He did his best to slip inconspicuously through the sea of moving bodies and head towards the refreshment table, and could almost hear Lhex laughing when he found that there was absolutely everything except for regular, trustworthy water. He snorted softly to himself and randomly picked one of the pitchers, pouring himself a cup of its contents before heading off to se if there was anywhere that wasn’t packed with bodies.

There was nothing substantial; most open space was filled with dancing or talking while the corners were filled with more intimate interaction, and there was nowhere to sit. At all. Eorar frowned, struggling to keep away the sickly pallor that was trying to creep into his face, and found himself a nice wall to lean against. He sighed, happy for this small iota of peace.

Alas, it was short-lived. Before he could even taste what was in his mug two people walked into each other directly in front of him, dousing him with not one, but three people’s drinks including his own. He sighed forlornly and wiped less-than-savory smelling liquid from his face, then looked at the causes. Had he been his usual self he would probably have rushed to the side of the fallen, inquiring to his immediate health, but he was far from what could be considered his “usual self” in more than one sense of the expression, and so he just regarded the two with a vaguely surprised, ill, and slightly blank expression.

They didn’t seem to notice him, but he was glad for it when he began to see spots swim through his vision. He shook his head, trying to clear it, and though it didn’t come close to eliminating it, it did keep it from spreading and granted him roughly half of his vision. He needed to get out of this place.

He started forward and accidentally stumbled into one of the two men whose drink he was now wearing, and mumbled a strangled apology before practically falling into the fray of moving people. Perhaps he was simply lucky or perhaps his swaying prevented him from tumbling into anyone else, but he refrained from any mishap.

There. A door. It was off to the side, was large but not ostentatious, well-made but not fancy, and Eorar ducked into it just as the last of his vision was swathed in purple. He heard the door swing shut behind him and reached out blindly for something, anything. His hands brushed cool stone, and the heat that had overtaken him leeched out slowly. He turned and leaned against the blessed chill and slid to the floor as his weakened legs gave out.

He put his head in his hands. His ears were ringing and his head was throbbing painfully, but slowly, ever so slowly, it began to fade. The purple began to disappear and his hearing began to return. When he felt he was ready, he looked up.

He was in the West Wing, at the end of a corridor that seem to stretch to eternity. One side was occupied by heavy wooden doors, while the other was an open balcony through which light was streaming. Granite supports stood vigilantly, and for reasons he couldn’t explain, Eorar felt comfort in their silent strength. The place felt strong. Not old, but… experienced. Knowledgeable. He knew instinctively that these wall had stood for hundreds of years, and they were more than capable of standing for hundreds more.

When he was strong enough he stood, one hand against the wall for support, and took a few small steps forwards. The wall fell away to air, and Eorar leaned against the stone railing. The balcony overlooked a courtyard, not small but not spacious either. There was a cobbled path through grass that was artfully unkempt, a little bench sat under a proud tree, and in the center was a fountain that bubbled cheerfully. Night had fallen completely, and the stars were twinkling brightly. The moon was completely full, illuminating and defining everything clearly.

Eorar breathed in the night air, feeling a sense of ease creep into him. He was alright. It had just been a small spell of claustrophobia accented with a bit of overgiving.

It was these thoughts, as well at the fact that you cannot see your own face without a mirror, that prevented him from realizing that his eyes had changed. They had returned to a miniature version of his true ones, little black and blue facets glittering in the moonlight at every movement of his head.
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Faylon Kwanda on February 1st, 2012, 6:02 pm

[At the Winter Ball he probably stood out like a bit of a sore thumb. Either mistaken for a commoner or one of the sailors that had come from the docks of Zeltiva to attend the event. Dressed in a tunic and breaches as well as boots Faylon had ensured that his clothes were clean and he’d shaved early in the day so that when he arrived his appearance would be a proper one but there was still no mistaking the man for any kind of academic. Well at least not an academic from the University of Zeltiva. Normally Faylon might not have decided to attend a gathering like this but for some reason he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mingle, or at least be present, at this event.]

[When he found the West Wing Faylon had moved inside under the guidance of a careful footsteps. Navigating himself around others in attendance as he sought out a place for himself. Immediately he’d have been able to recognize that many of the students and professors were much more richly dressed then he had been though he didn’t seem to mind. Actually one of the things that may have set Faylon apart from anyone else is the Longsword that he wore, sheathed, over his right hip; he always wore the sword though and this likely identified him as a soldier if nothing else. Whenever looks were cast in his direction he’d have ignored them though unless he was approached directly.]

[Walking through the crowds of party goers, whether students or sailors, Faylon would rub shoulders with a few and offer a polite –pardon me- on his way to a nondescript location that was out of the way but still close enough to be considered mingling with the rest. There was a waiter that crossed his path on the way and he’d pluck a thin glass of sparkling wine from the tray that he was carrying before raising it to his mouth. Tipping the glass Faylon had to remind himself not to drink too deeply seeing as how he was in the company of many more refined individuals. On that note he decided to sip the wine instead of downing it in one pull though the potential was definitely there for him to have done that.]

[Arriving at an area with relatively fewer party goers Faylon would stand and watch. Rolling his shoulder once as he stood there to loosen it up a bit. The wound he’d suffered roughly three weeks ago had healed now but his shoulder was still a little stiff now and then so it paid to loosen it up before it became tighter. Observing those around him Faylon remained relatively quiet besides remarking once...”Not a bad party. Good women.”...to himself when his eyes settled on a group of younger ladies that were likely students of the University. Smiling at them politely he couldn’t help but openly gawk a bit before turning away to survey what else was occurring all around himself.]

[People weren’t the only thing Faylon was looking at. No he openly admired the architecture of the old world building too. As he remembered hearing once the West Wing was one of the buildings that had survived the Valterrian which made the chance to inspect it, even on a limited scale, quite appealing for a person such as Faylon. There was something about this place that actually appealed to him though he couldn’t put his finger on it. Maybe it was the idea that this hall one of the last remnants of the past before the Gods irresponsibly, in his opinion, changed the world to what it had become now.]

[No matter though. Standing there Faylon drank the wine that still occupied the thin glass he had taken and enjoyed himself. Calmly admiring everything that went on around him at the moment and allowing himself a moment to relax now that he was here at the Winter Ball, the last and largest event of the year in Zeltiva, and amongst people who knew nothing about him or what he had done. Nodding his head he seemed quite content in fact.]

[As he stood his ground in the midst of the hall Faylon thought he might have caught someone looking at him but when he glanced out over the people in attendance he saw nothing, probably just his imagination, and went back to enjoying his drink. Not the largest man in attendance he was definitely physically toned and fit, standing out amongst anyone less than he was, which likely drew him a few more looks as well.]
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Stri Navasarjaka on February 2nd, 2012, 12:59 am

Stri watched as the man artfully absorbed his impact, then grimaced as his bottom hit the floor. He'd have to exercise more now that he was a student. And he was alone here in Zeltiva; he'd have to practice self-defense. A dagger would probably do well, or a belt knife. Something razor-sharp he could swing about. And of course, if he could learn how to fall correctly he would probably save himself loads of trouble in the future. Sighing, he stood back up. Almost absentmindedly he registered a humanoid shape assaulted by a few drinks, but he was wrapped up in conversation and hoped whatever was the trouble wasn't caused by his escapade.

"Yes, I suppose that's true," Stri gave a small chuckle while he pat down the seat of his pants to rid it of any dirt that might have latched on to it with his little fall. Straightening his pants, he looked up at the man who looked like a well-to-do person. There was something about him that seemed familiar; Stri had probably seen him in passing in the halls, since he certainly shared no classes with the man. His suspicions were confirmed when he told Stri of his interests and his course subjects here at the University. All throughout their conversation the man maintained eye contact, and it took all of Stri's determination and self will to return it. He was not used to such direct attention, not at all; his father usually gave him a side glance, at best, before returning to writing in his ledger or conversing with a costumer. "Yes, I'm quite well. Just a small tumble is all."

Returning Trente's handshake, Stri introduced himself. His hand was firm yet giving - whenever Trente disengaged, he would too. "Very nice to meet you, Trente. My name is Stri Navasarjaka, but of course Stri will suffice." He did not want to sound too formal, but did not want to risk sounding too easy-going either. All this social hogwash was demanding work! Cocking his right eyebrow, he continued. "I'm also from Syliras, as it so happens. Come to the University to study as well, unfortunately without my fathers approval, but at least I was able to procure his blessing, else I could not afford it." By the looks of him, Stri could see why he enjoyed acting, and even summoning, but he could not figure out what drew Trente to cartography. He knew what it was, of course - he was a merchants boy, and if his father wasn't the richest man in Syliras, well, he was certainly better off than most, and could afford the luxury of books - especially since that was what he sold! If the topic came up again he would ask what was so fascinating about the making of maps.

"I myself am studying mathematics and gadgeteering, along with Glyphing and Animation. Automatons have always fascinated me ever since I learned of their existence. The thought of a machine, built through engineering and animated through magic, moving around autonomously, performing repetitive tasks to make men's lives easier, even learning on its own!" Stri got quite animated when he talked about something he enjoyed, and the passion for his work leaked through the twinkle in his eye and the slowly increasing volume of his voice. He realized how loud he was becoming and looked around sheepishly. He decided it was a good time to change the subject. "If you don't mind me asking, what exactly do you like about cartography?"
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[Seasonal Quest] The Winter Ball

Postby Idue on February 2nd, 2012, 1:16 am

If anyone were to turn towards the door they would see an odd sight. Idue had only been in Zeltiva for three days so he wasn't prepared for a formal party. He really didn't know the proper rules for parties in the first place. So the Benshira arrived to the Winter Ball with a lack of style. His clothes were travel worn, and only slightly washed through water. Atop his head he wore a turban, and his goatee was shaven but still not proper enough for this party. But really the thing that put Idue out in the open was his two handaxes stuck through the sash around his waist. He was armed for a party that he had no idea about.

Idue didn't really know what he was here in the first place. After over a season of fruitless searching for his mother in Sunberth, he had accepted that she died and sought a new life. He had grown tired of the wandering and random fighting in the streets of Sunberth. He hardly made friends, barely made money, and found no leads in his search. He had been beaten in front of the Daggerhand's leader's daughter. He had fought slavers, and got hit in the groin by the midgit. Sure his groin hit that midgit in the face in return, but in the end Idue's manhood was still damaged.

And eventually Idue had learned about Zeltiva, home of a university. The Benshira never had a formal education, and this place didn't seem like it was full of gang warfare. It was his chance to get his life straight, following the codes set down by his god Yahal. Plus he could really get himself an education, and make something of his life that had gone static over the past year and a half.

But first glance at his surroundings, and Idue knew he failed in the "first impression" category. All around him were well dressed men and women, and here he was wearing worn clothing and carrying weapons. Would he get thrown out? And would it be for his weapon or his attire? Hoping to get out of the sight of others, Idue turned to the left and headed away from the bulk of the crowd. Along the way he grabbed a glass of wine, sipping the liquid as he looked around. He didn't stand around for too long at a time, but he noticed several things as he wandered the room.

For one thing he noticed that he wasn't the only man carrying a weapon, as he had noticed one man with a slim sword strapped to his waist. He also noticed that not everyone wore their best clothing. He noticed a few well built men wearing clothes as worn as his, and named them sailors. And at first glance, he noticed that not everyone as humans, noticing a fish-like humanoid. Yeah, while he did look very odd, he wasn't the only one around.

With his observations finished, Idue found a bare wall to lean against. With that, he sipped his wine, a sweet liquid, and waited for whatever was to come. If someone was curious enough to speak with a Benshira, he was waiting, bored. But he wasn't going to look for conversation. He was always looking for something bigger than small talk. Although he never knew it growing up, Idue lived for excitement.
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