Completed The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

On a party for the Lark-adjacent, Caspian hunts for leads. [ROHKA]

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A city floating in the center of a lake, Ravok is a place of dark beauty, romance and culture. Behind it all though is the presence of Rhysol, God of Evil and Betrayal. The city is controlled by The Black Sun, a religious organization devoted to Rhysol. [Lore]

The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Caspian on August 27th, 2019, 1:40 am

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16 Summer 519


“Because you’re my sister,” Caspian intones as precisely and succinctly as he can.

Taalviel leans back against the higher reaches of the wall from her perch atop his dresser, simultaneously crossing her arms and legs and not at all appearing to register what by all accounts is a definitive response.

“I’m not sure what that’s got to do with anything.”

Not for the first time, Caspian wonders if her ignorance is organic or willful, and if willful, just her roundabout way of displaying a connivingly sadistic sense of humor.

“The objective is to endure the duration of this party while presenting overarching grounds as to why I cannot sleep with Alann Taire’s niece. If I’ve brought my sister along, that’s hardly the necessary grounds, is it?”

“Suppose you just don’t say I’m your sister,” she replies, as if it’s that easy.

“Asking for the act of the century, then. Imagine if the situation calls for -“ He mimics an exaggerated expectoration. “ - putting my arm about you - or worse, taking your hand into mine -?”

Mirthlessly, she cocks her head to the side and waits.

“I’ve deduced two reasons as to your suddenly deciding you ought to be heavily involved. First, you don’t trust me to carry it off, and are giving in to your interminable predilections to hover - and second, on the tails of the first, you’ve been assuming I haven’t been planning ahead,” he resorts to declaring when all accessible insult fails him. “I’ve the perfect person in mind.”

“Oh?” She raises an eyebrow. “Those criteria being...?”

“One - she’s divine. Two - she isn’t you.”

Open and shut case.

Taalviel hasn’t the decency to look the least bit perturbed or even vaguely miffed. In fact, she’s so unruffled that he might begin to suspect she already -

Caspian groans. “Please tell me you haven’t been stalking her.”

From the wry little smile that twists up the corner of Taalviel’s mouth -

The answer, he’s afraid, might be for days.

Smugness radiating, Taalviel hops down spryly from his dresser, crossing the room and pausing by his side long enough to say -

“She isn’t me. I’ll give you that.”’



The need to prove Taalviel wrong is, historically, a force of compulsion that has driven Caspian to accomplish many a thing that might have otherwise gone interminably unaddressed. The range of those things, to date, is wide - from her snippily remarking that one of his tells when he’s feigning knowledge of something he certainly doesn’t have is a biting of his lip paired with a momentary but palpable expression of consternation, to a hyperbolic comparison of his footfall to an Olidosapux, or a particularly corpulent dog - to personal points that frankly shouldn’t matter to anyone, such as whether he really does fiddle with his cuticles as a matter of habitual absentmindedness. In response to all of her observations, his course of action begins with a cutting remark in return, if not bewildered aghastness, followed by covert and often unconscious remedial action. To her credit - or is it because she’s getting precisely what she’s after? - she doesn’t point out the subsequent rectification, no matter how directly demonstrable and comically conspicuous.

Unfortunately, at times more potent than being belligerently indignant is a juvenile reckoning of one’s self esteem.

At one point, during one of his nightly walks, he finds himself a stone’s throw from the fortune teller’s shop. Though he’s only been there just the once, and on top of that by accident, he knows it’s just round a certain bend as marked by a memorable cluster of cerulean wind chimes glinting against a kitchen window. The idea of it suddenly pulling into view and he into view of it and possibly then her, the proprietess-in-training, becomes something horrible and nerve racking, and the causeways something he dare not circumnavigate. It was only by accident again that his feet had brought him here; this is what he tells himself, at least, as he prowls back and away, eyes cast downwards and face burning as he retraces his steps towards whence he came.

The problem above all is that he’s not quite ruled out helping his stepfather remove his antagonist Moyran from existence; the issue at hand is that coming a step closer to achieving it means attending a nearing party hosted by shipping merchants of wares, proclivities, and fiscal booms considered categorically Lark-adjacent, and for said nearing party it would just carry itself off much smoother if he had an accomplice on hand - that is, to say, a date; the matter on his mind, however, is that contrary to Taalviel’s insistence, a certain sybil he’d met very recently named Rohka is rather ideal for the role, because he and Rohka had hit it off fairly well and immediately the first and last time they’d met, except in the act of his leaving he’d decided to take an ill-calculated leap of faith and invited her for a drink to the tavern beneath his apartment, the sentiments of which she had not, to his perception, really reciprocated.

So he just feels, in short, like a fool is all.

There is plenty to lament as he embarks, two nights later, for the party in question. The purposes of this have been clearly delineated for him by Taalviel, who holds still that he’ll fall to excessive aimlessness without an adequate amount of direction in the form of imperatives and what essentially amounts to hand-holding. First on the agenda is finding out when flesh-peddling magnate Alann Taire’s next inbound ship sails back from Zeltiva, or wherever they stop off before unloading souls onto Ravokian shores. Next and conjunctively is determining whether Moyran, a sailor in Taire’s employ and the target in question, is on it - and how long he’ll be staying once they land. Then there’s the where, and when, and will he be alone for any part of it and if so will it be long enough for Caspian to creep into whatever dingy room and board he’s taken up with in order to bring a knife and -

That part isn’t quite clear. Well - it is, but it also isn’t, because when he considers that part which Taalviel has described very plainly as a means to an end and what daggers are for, it’s cut and dry until it comes to him and his own involvement, and the idea of an ordeal clouds over in his mind until it rifts and it’s no longer really about him and his hand wielding the means to the very specifically requested end for Moyran.

Except it is about him, and always will be.

On the mode of lamenting, then - there’s plenty of grievance to be found in this situation, in which his stepfather Taaldros needs something done and through Taalviel has decided he’s the one to do it, and despite the great mass of horrors he’d endured as a result of his stepfather, not least of which includes being violently torn away from one continent to another, he hasn’t outright said no. Taalviel had been the one to ask, had posited it as something that would make her happy, never mind it likely subsequently making Taaldros happy in the process. And of that first reason -

Isn’t it enough?

So he laments himself, for discovering himself in a mire, one that he hasn’t done much to extricate himself from, which alone is telling - that, and it’s worth a sigh to note that this sanguine expedition will have to be performed alone. And not just alone, but bereft - because when he thinks back to Rohka and how she might have come along had he only bitten past his doubts, it isn’t a choice merely of convenience. In matters of the covert it helps to have someone as sharp as she clearly is onboard - someone who can hold a conversation and sink deep, seek nuance and parse through affectation to essence. It helps, too, in situations like these, if one’s partner is attractive enough to present a form of distraction if needed. And more than attractive, she’d been luminous - that’s one way of putting it, because the other way is that Caspian’s not quite shaken the image of her leaning back against her desk in the dimming light, limbs languid and crossed and that dark, glossy tail rising and falling above her hips with every -

Not so lost in his thoughts, at least, that he can’t smile and hand over his curlicued RSVP to the attendant waiting on the gangplank when prompted. According to the invitation, his name tonight is not Caspian but Taalim Rasi, of no particular consequence to anyone, and might be suspected as all the rest here to be fortunate enough to have inherited a wealth made on the backs of others, for his own amusement and disposal. Thancerell had gotten him the invitation here, just as he’d done for him for the last party on the Lark’s grand barge, and though this fete isn’t on the same palatial scale of entertainment - well, quite intentionally, nothing in the city really is - it’s a summer soirée in sumptuous swing, the kind that people like Caspian need to lie to gain attendance to.

What’s not worth sorrowing over, at least, is that his magical suit’s done more than right by him, and he’s come dressed in a blue jacket so far past midnight it’s black, until he passes beneath candlelight, sending the raised stitches of obsidian brocade glimmering, revealing subtle patterns of serpents over blooms. His pants are cut tightly, in the same consuming, shifting hues, and his shoes are of black, pointed leather, mottled over with the ridges and bends of reptilian scales. Lining his eyes are gold and kohl flicked out towards his temples in feline form, more gold shimmer streaked across his lids and the high points of his cheeks. With the sound of each of his own steps over the ship’s wooden floors, he stands a little straighter, smiles a little brighter, floats more seamlessly, as if he were born and bred to it like all the rest surrounding him. But as he ascends the stairs to the second of the recreational luxury ship’s three floors, the weight of his Obfuscate dagger tucked beneath the left fold of his jacket presses back against his chest in steely reminder and reprobation.

He’s allowed to have at least a little fun tonight, isn’t he?

Glumly, he leans against the nearest railing, idly picking at the prettily configured trifle he’s just accepted from someone with a tray passing by.

If he’d brought a date, he’d at least have someone to complain with. And even if the result of his complaining - he muses as he ascends to the third and highest level of the ship - was that said date would scoff and roll her eyes at him -

Better than mulling about in silence, isn’t it, no matter how handsome one’s reflection may be.

At this point, he’s finished his first trifle, as well as his second, and is absentmindedly devouring a third. In casting his eyes downwards to the lovely mass of suits and frocks on the next level -

That’s when he spots her, sending his jaw dropping, along with the trifle from his grasp.


Boxcode credit: Rohka!
Last edited by Caspian on September 26th, 2020, 9:00 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Rohka on August 27th, 2019, 1:54 am

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There, in all his glory, was a man named Ronald Lark.

He stood outside the opened door of the Mystic Eye, holding out a bouquet of tiger lilies.


“How wonderful to meet you, Miss Calico,” His smile was practised, his tone projecting perfect sincerity. “My men and their dates are down the pathway, we’re walking over to the dock together.”

She heard whistling and laughter from nearby. The man at the door shot a glance to the side and nodded ever so slightly; a howling of approval soon erupted. He turned his obsidian gaze back to the woman before him. His smile grew a tad as he took in more of what his assigned company entailed. “Well you sure look lovely, sugar,” he said, eyes drifting to the cutout in her gown before they came back up. “Are you ready to go?”

Rohka took the bouquet from his hands and picked a flower off, keeping a forced smile on her lips. He caught the poor attempt at hiding her feelings and chuckled, his eyes cast to the floor, brow raised. A thick air of silence settled between them. She hated most lilies, especially these ones, spotted and garish. He couldn’t have known that. If this were any other occasion, she would’ve told him outright that she hated them most ardently. However, this entire night was supposed to return a favour to Lelia for the time she let the sybil have a day off for handling her regular, feminine stomach ache. The Divinist promised that this night would be simple... that a man would come to the shop in the evening to take Roh out to a simple party on a ship. She was instructed to come well-dressed and wait for him to accompany her to the location, and to keep her deck of Lheroa cards in the pocket of her skirt in case it was needed—why? Because this was supposed to be a blind date on the surface and an opportunity to help a client of Lelia’s in secret.

The sybil pushed the stem of the picked flower into the low bun of her hair, loosely.

“Thank you, uh, Mister Lark.”

“No, please, call me Ron.”

Rohka offered yet another smile as she took a step back.

Ron and Roh. Gods. The Konti did this on purpose, with her twisted sense of humour.

“Please Ron, come in,” she said, stepping back into the room. “You’ve been here before, yes? Make yourself comfortable, I’m just going to find a pin quickly and place these flowers on the table and we can be on our way. Would you like a drink? There’s tea, or water.”

Ronald Lark was amused. The young woman before him was not at all what he initially expected. His mother had told him that he would be meeting a member of the Calico family from the Lakeshore, a family he’d been more aware of recently, having helped transfer slaves over to their lands. He’d thought he would be meeting someone with more abrasiveness than he was seeing now. The Calicos had a reputation for being more on the wilder side, for better or for worse.

This one, however… seemed the opposite.

He walked into the dimly lit room and leaned against the doorframe, ignoring her question. By this point the sybil had already grabbed one of Lelia’s many containers and looked inside to find it mostly empty. She filled the mysterious vessel with water and dropped the bouquet into it before using a nearby cloth to wipe down the tabletop. He watched her and she could feel his eyes on him, sensing her own aura pulsate against her skin. The bouquet was placed down quickly before the hem of her simple white dress caught on the splintering wood of the table leg as she rushed towards the back, making her trip forward, the flower falling out of her hair.

“Shyk—I’m sorry,” Rohka avoided the Lark’s gaze in embarrassment and crouched down to pick it up but a hand got to it before she could manage to compose herself.

“Careful, there’s no need to hurry. That’s a dress you wouldn’t want to spoil before the party, I’m sure.”

Rohka let out a small laugh, immediately put off by his tone, but she let it go. She felt for her djed and watched his aura carefully. The wind she felt spoke of high places and a calm, sparkling chill told her of unsurprised expectations met, along with a certain bit of amused vanity. She didn’t want any part of it. She was vexed at having given off such an impression in the first place. When he handed her the lily, she took it while trying to smooth out the fabric of her dress.

The night hadn’t even started and she wanted it over with immediately. If it wasn’t for Lelia’s insistence on the reputation they’d been bound to keep, she never would have agreed to accompany this stranger into the unknown. The Konti assured her that she would be in good hands; she made it clear that this was only for gathering information on the business of the Larks, so that they could provide more accurate readings on the future outcomes of their slave trade. How hard could it be to simply socialize and listen in? Lelia figured the sybil would have very little trouble with it.

Rohka just hoped for the best. She stood straight, looking at the man with long black hair that went past his shoulders who looked back at her with eyes as dark as night. His face was bronzed and had a prominent double chin that paired well with his wide, sharp jawline. Dressed in what could only be an expensive, all-black attire, he filled it with a fairly average frame for his height. He watched her shift the flower from one hand to the other and she knew she needed to say something, at least, to be grateful for the unasked help.

“Thanks,” she said simply, her eyes kept blank save for the pleasant face she tried to maintain. He looked at her curiously but she spoke before he could form a question. “I’ll be right back.”

And with that, she walked into Lelia’s room and shut the door.

Rohka took a moment to breathe. Slowly, in and out. Focusing on the way the air went in through her nose and then out through her mouth. She moved towards The Divinist’s simple dresser with a mirror, its reflective surface a bit grimy from all the daily smoke of incense and candles. Fortunately, there were a couple pins strewn from when Lelia had undone her hair after a long day, and the sybil used a couple of them to secure the flower into place.

It looked hideous.

She grimaced and then paused, staring at the woman across from her. Without the dumb flower, she would be content with her features. There was some rouge across her cheeks and a generous amount of kohl around her eyes, making the large orbs look even larger. Her mother had been the one to teach her to apply mixtures to enhance one’s beauty. Vida had never pushed her daughter towards such methods of make up and disguise, but Roh grew a liking to it over time. She still kept things simple, as her mother taught her, but every once in while, the sybil liked to play with colour, adding green to her eyelids and pink to her lips before work.

Today, however, save for the flower and the rouge, her entire look was one of simplicity. She didn’t want to draw attention.

Rohka took a moment to focus on her breathing once more, knowing that this bit of time would most likely be the only moment that night where she would have privacy—where she would be alone with her thoughts and her mind. Where she could take in this silence, this calm that built within her as she watched her thoughts buzz through. She hoped the tiny, meditative reprise would serve as a reminder during the party. If ever things got tense, she could remember this moment. This comparative peace.

A powder puff sat atop a jar on the dresser. Rohka picked it up and lightly tapped it across her nose, forehead, and chin, making herself look less shinier than she did before. She smiled into the mirror, feeling slightly more confident in her appearance. For a tick she prayed for Rhysol’s strength to survive the night before she resolved to let go of her worries.

Lelia promised she’d have a good time, right?

“Hey Ron,” she called out, opening the door. The young Lark put his hands into his pockets and stepped towards his date. She noticed that he’d placed a lily into the front pocket of his attire. Rohka blushed having realized for what felt like the first time that they were going together to this social gathering. She would attend on the arm of a Lark whom she’d never met until these very moments. A man she barely knew.

The sybil swished her slick tail and breathed out. She knew, at least, that she would make the most of it.

“I’m ready, let’s go.”

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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Rohka on November 11th, 2019, 8:37 am

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They arrived aboard the vessel of glamour and extravagance. Music seemed to magically carry through the air, the fiddles and harps and flutes and mandolins all meshing with such gaiety and complexity that it only lifted the celebratory mood that the crowd seemed to be in tonight. Many were dressed up, some in costumes, a few who’d even seemed less than human. At least two other individuals she’d seen tonight had also sported tails of sorts; one’s was bushy, the other’s looked more rat-like. It made her feel less of a freak of nature and more like a part of the city.

In fact, being at such an occasion made her feel more a part of the city centre than she’d felt in years. Fortunately for her company, they were granted access to all levels of the soirée, if they so chose to take part. She was told there were three floors to The Chained Lily: the one they were currently on was the main deck, the upper one was more for private activities, and the lower one was for the ‘adventurous’ sorts, apparently. A handful of premium Lark slaves were down there with games prepped and ready for their desired forms of entertainment. Many giggles and glances were exchanged after she was given this knowledge but the sybil nodded and agreed to join her company should they choose to participate.

There’d been a moment when she’d noticed shiny pointed shoes, her eyes on the floor avoiding peculiar stares, and she wondered, with excitement, whether she’d see a familiar face with an even more familiar smile. A smile she’d longed to see again, ever since the day she first took pride in watching it grow. The day she’d nearly regretted, entirely, for never taking a chance.

When she looked up to check, she’d been wrong. It wasn’t Caspian.

“So Rohka,” said a voice, calling her attention. It was one of Ronald’s friends, a non-blooded distant member of the family. The sybil brought her gaze back to the small circle of people she’d been stuck with for the last bell, making light and meaningless conversation. “Did you know that Ronald here has been around the Lakeshore before?”

She asked the question with an odd ounce of venom.

“No, actually,” Rohka said, in response. “Were you there for business or pleasure?” She asked her date, with as little mockery in her tone as possible.

The young Lark flashed a knowing a grin. “Business, matter-of-fact. My buddies and I sold your uncle some quality slaves recently. The KRI perfected the breeding equation for peregrine falcons and he asked for a sample before he makes the eventual agreement to help us with training some exports. We have a shipment coming in soon from Zeltiva and your uncle wants to meet the Taires, form a partnership. We figured the birds should help seal the deal.”

“Oh yes, my aunt Niriline had been wanting another one of those creatures for a long time,” added Roh, as a maid came by with a tray full of sweets and drinks. “Her last mate was growing old, but they made a lovely hunting pair, or so I’ve been told.” The sybil picked two treats from the tray and held it between her fingers. “Have you ever went hunting before, Ron?”

Rohka asked the question with a smile playing at her lips before she popped a sweet in her mouth.

“Ha, no,” he stated, grabbing a drink from the tray. “Never needed to. We have more than enough help for that.” The young Lark took a sip to hide his smirk.

“Right, of course,” said Roh, after swallowing a smaller bite of her second one. Her smile never faltered, a giggle then erupting from the friend who’d spoken earlier. It seemed they’d struck a topic of conversation that could hold more info for Lelia’s benefit. The sybil took the opportunity to delve a little further.

“But Ron,” she began, holding the half-eaten sweet in her hand, her other arm crossed under chest. “Don’t you get tired of having things done for you? Have you never felt the desire to do something different than what’s expected of you?”

“I’m a Lark,” he said, as if that was the only answer she needed. Rohka stared at him blankly, prompting a deep yet obviously dramatic sigh from her date. His friends just laughed. They were all in on a joke that Roh barely understood. He continued onward with what felt like elitism in his tone. “This is how its always been done. I have no problem with it. Look around you, sugar,” he gestured around the room with his mug while she chewed on the rest of the sweet, both arms now crossed. “Who could ever get tired of this?”

And that was when the trifle landed on his head.

In the time it took for Ronald Lark to spew out curses and questioning, Rohka looked up and spotted the source of her beautifully timed, comedic interruption.

“Cas,” she whispered, her eyes fluttering to check if he was real. Sure enough, he was. Standing there, by the railing, their eyes meeting in a slow tick of unspoken solace.

“You twit, get down here,” demanded Ron, wiping the gunk out of his hair and off his shoulder. He gulped down the rest of his drink and slammed it onto passing tray, cheeks tinged with red. Rohka reached out to put a hand on his arm and whispered to him, pooling the strands of djed across her form to sense his aura, feeling the glittering sparks of a flint and steel.

“Ron, it was probably an accident, can we not—“

“Just let me handle this. It’ll be fun, alright?” He grinned with his maniacal glare fixed onto his target.

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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Caspian on January 27th, 2020, 12:04 am

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The way Caspian sees it, there are two options as to how he might proceed from here, with a third wild card which based on past experience goes over fairly well, if one has any appreciation for stochasticity and can rule going well as a simple removal from one’s original circumstances.

The first option - as is always the first option - is feigning ignorance and walking away, turning the other cheek as if he hasn’t heard the numerous infuriated articulations of the splattered man from down below, and stepping back from the railing and out of sight. (As far as then being out of mind is dreadfully unlikely, but one takes what one can get.)

The second path available to him is to counterintuitively forego all sense of self-preservation and deliver himself as he’s bidden. The prospect is as unattractive as it sounds and one he can’t say he’s taken very often for quite overt reasons but the problem is -

And here he takes a breath to the extent of his lungs’ capacity and holds it there, because that’s how she makes him feel, Rohka in her white dress, with her gaze turned up towards him and him alone.

A pretty problem to have, but a problem all the same. The directness of her expression tells, perhaps unfortunately for them both, that she has indeed recognized him. And he can’t hear perfectly well over the party - which rankles him, like he’s a carriage horse with unremovable blinders over his peripherals - but all it would take is a moment for her companion to register the recognition, demand elucidation, and suppose she then was even fractionally truthful as to how they came to meet and his name escaped her?

His cover, then, would be entirely blown. Not that his name would mean anything to anyone here, but that’s the thing, it doesn’t mean anything, and it would subsequently become apparent that he’s crept into somewhere he doesn’t belong. Not to mention the consequences that might tail him, were he identified, after the party ends.

Damage control, then, is what rules out his taking the primary Option A; that, and the fact that this vessel is of fantastic proportions but of borders decidedly finite, and if he were to jeopardize his longevity in the mission just as he’d managed a foot in door, he’d never hear the end of it from Taalviel. Even from a matter of personal perspective — because he does, in fact, take this realm of things seriously enough to care as to the caliber of his performance - he’d have to contend with it as an enormously resounding failure.

Caspian still hasn’t left his perch. Likely not enduring nor entertaining a split in his own decisions as to how to conduct himself, her companion shouts again, the designation something considerably more virulent than deeming him a twit. But that’s not actually what bothers him, nor what spurs him into abandoning the tried-and-true non-committance of Option A - it’s just that he’s noticed that Rohka and the trifle-tossed victim are standing awfully close, and -

He squints.

Yes, it seems they’ve got the same burst of hothouse monstrosities pinned to their persons, which can only be an act of deliberation, and potentially even worse, one of premeditation.

So you see - he just couldn’t leave her alone, not with all the madness with Moyran at hand, coupled with his inability to articulate the cosmic coincidence that the very and only person he might have liked to share the night with is mere feet below.

The decision makes itself, and he gives up the higher ground to meet them below.

Now in proximity, he’s quite leaning towards that third Option C, which historically has taken various shape and form, including but not limited to caterwauling, pyrotechnics, and general misdeed.

All of it’s theatrics quite suited for Sunberthian soil (read: grime, rather than fertile loam) - but on nautical Ravokian nights?

It’s just far too difficult to resist the urge to upend the nearest table, just to see what the pudding-popped prat might do.

Proving more difficult, the nearer he draws, is not looking at Rohka - looking at her at least once or twice, because he must, because if he doesn’t it will reveal itself as obvious avoidance. And a third time because he can’t help it -

“Gods above and down below,” he bounds loudly, boisterously, fixing his expression into something harried and apologetic, in practiced manifestation of the jovially tipsy. “I can’t believe I - are you alright? I’m - gods, dreadfully sorry. I hadn’t eaten very much before coming and when they ask if you’d like your drink a single or a double and you say double they really take it to heart. And bless them for it, but - What a wreck this is - and I think you’ve got most of the custard in your hair?” From his pocket he whips out one of his lace-trimmed handkerchiefs, which he frantically waves about the stranger’s person without doing very much in the way of real assistance. “You know what, I’ll just -“

He tries to flags a passing waiter; doesn’t try very hard, admittedly, with that one or the next, all under guise of the clumsiness of one who’s perhaps treated themselves to a tipple too many, and finally by the third attempt he steels himself against his own mirth enough to communicate to someone that they ought to bring linens and no less than a mop - because the man Rohka’s bundled herself up with looks utterly ridiculous with jam smeared across his jaw, great globs of it dripping and smearing onto the shoulders of his suit, which probably isn’t magical like Caspian’s but is surely expensive, an enchanting quality all of its own.

“Sorry,” he presses his victim airily, though it’s more of a habitual syntactic inflection than an apology of any veritable merit, and quite honestly he’s grown quite keen to find out as much as he can about the man hanging on Rohka’s arm. All in the name of the mission, of course. “What did you say your name was?”

Around them, people have begun to notice, some tittering coyly behind brilliantly brocaded fans, quite a few snipping outright as they pass arm in arm. Not ideal, to be at the center of anything, even if he isn’t the one covered in berries and cream and who knows what besides. As he revels - as he wills his face not to burn as he pointedly doesn’t meet Rohka’s eye - he scours their surroundings for an exit.

One, ideally, for the lout that he’s quite made up his mind as having deserved his sugar-splattered fate.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Rohka on March 2nd, 2020, 7:07 am

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It had to have been the serpents over blooms that mesmerized her enough to keep her mouth fairly shut. It’s the first thing she noticed before fixating her attention on his words as he boldly seemed to bounce right towards them, his outpouring of an apology slowly bringing a grin to the sybil’s face.

Ron was no stranger to the crowd. Having any of the Larks attending, no matter their standing in the family, meant that there were faces of recognition now beginning to pop up and disappear around them while whispers spread in wonder of whether things would escalate. Seeing this, the young Lark breathed deeply and accepted the help from the waiter who’d stopped to provide the necessary clean-up.

“I am no one you need to concern yourself with,” he replied, his tone much lower now as he removed his soiled jacket and placed it over a nearby wooden chair. Ron caught the smile on the sybil’s face that hadn’t seemed to fade since the moment the stranger arrived on the scene. It was at this point that he placed a hand on Rohka’s back.

She froze, her smiling falling away.

“Leave,” said Ron, directing his command to the unwelcome assailant. “Before I-"

Interruption arrived in the form of an older gentlemen who walked up next to Ron and spoke into his ear. Hearing the concealed news, Ron bowed his head, his hand clenching into a fist.

“What’s wrong?” asked Rohka.

“There’s something I need to take care of,” said Ron, looking out past to a group of men walking towards an entrance to the lower deck. A serious look of worry crossed the Lark’s face before he shifted his determined gaze to Roh, gently grazing her arm. “It’s just business. It won’t take long. I’ll come find you.”

With that, he turned his back on them and walked away, the custard in his hair dripping a trail on the floor.

The men and women that Rohka had initially been conversing with were now speaking amongst themselves, casually, unconcerned for Ron and frankly seeming to make fun of him in a subtlety that the sybil couldn’t quite guess, but it made her feel a bit smaller, realizing that the partner she arrived with was now no longer by her side. In such instantaneous moments she felt pitied, whether real or imagined, and it stung. Rohka took a step back and swiped a mug that passed by on a tray and gulped it down.

Just her luck, it was only a fruity drink of sorts.

The sybil shut her eyes for a tick before opening them to find herself gazing at Caspian.

It was her second time seeing him and gosh, what a sight. Stunning, impeccable, with a grace in his movements that she remembered from their first encounter. He’d failed to show if he recognized her, and perhaps that was simply because of the inconsequential commotion. She wondered now if he’d be willing to just talk, or if he was also on board for some business or another. It was clear to her now that there was no use in keeping her thoughts to herself.

“You’re here,” she said, in a whispered statement. The sybil realized she would need to speak louder if she was to get his attention at all before he went on his way. The group she’d been speaking to were now being introduced to another group, and Rohka found herself slowly moving away.

“I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see you again.” She stated it invitingly, bringing a hand up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “You left so quickly, I wasn’t sure…”

…wasn’t sure how to tell you about my loyalties? …wasn’t sure how you felt about me? …wasn’t sure if it even mattered?

Rohka looked away as she played with the mug in her hands.

“Well. You look marvellous. The serpents and blooms," she remarked, her dark eyes sparkling as her dress moved subconsciously behind her. "And you made such a fun entrance, more fun than I’d been having since coming into this party, to be completely honest. How are you, though? How did you hear about this place?”

The sybil kept it polite, casual, and yet inquisitive, as was her nature.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Caspian on March 3rd, 2020, 1:25 am

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“Careful, or there’ll be none left for the rest of us,” Caspian replies glibly at the sight of Rohka in pursuit of the world’s oldest anesthesia. Now that the whinger’s out of the fold, his posture straightens and the artificed slur drops, but in full proximity to her he finds himself run over by an entirely different impediment. There’s the effulgence of her compliments, when he had just been half-preyed upon by the devastating possibility that she wouldn’t have wanted to see him again, or worse, wouldn’t have remembered seeing him in the first place. Then buoying that is - he just hadn’t, for some reason despite angling for it, prepared himself for their being alone. The sharp contrast between her white lace dress and the gleaming serpent’s tail that had all but hypnotized him during their meeting is startling, almost to anachronistic degree, and there are others at this party sporting foreign and newly begat appendages but none wear them quite so readily as she - as if it were nothing more than a minaudiere airily snatched up on one’s way out the door. In fact, she doesn’t even seem to be remotely bothered by the recent transfiguration - and that, coupled with her having stood beside that prat as long as she had, is a level of valiance not often seen.

Not that he knows the man, really, but it was confirmed that he was no better than a forgotten bit of allium rotting in a kitchen corner when he’d refused to even share his name.

“One’s here, yes, but also - not?” He steals a glance in the direction of the dessert-decimated dodger, and pleased with the continued absence, holds out his arm to the sybil and swiftly leads them up and away. Not that they couldn’t be found again, limitations of the grandiose boat being, at the end of the day, still those of a boat - but why make it any easier if one can help it?

And a merry chase he’d lead him on too.

“What I mean to say is -“ he goes on, accepting a glass of something fizzy and many-furled from a passing waiter without missing a beat. They’re on the highest floor of the soirée again, the better to survey the premises, and with her on his arm he artfully winds them through the glittering crowd, selecting a spot with a higher density of people, not enough to suffocate but all the better for concealing them in plain sight. Here he leans towards her, in softness and mirth. “Well, that all depends. Can you keep a secret, without being tucked away between the candles and the dark?”

No one’s listening; no one’s afforded them second glances except in relation to what they’re wearing, the noting of which he finds guiltlessly satisfying, and hang what Taalviel would have slammed in way of critique.

“I didn’t hear about this party, but Taalim Rasi certainly has, and the thing about Taalim is that he rather looks like me, possibly with far better manners. But with a poor hand when it comes to mixing late hours, rummy and gin? I also hadn’t quite made up my mind as to whether it’s more deflective to claim the mild but respectable Rasi fortune comes from fletching or embossing irons - but in any case his best quality is that he won’t exist tomorrow, and depending on the course of the evening you may find yourself struck with sorrow for the loss.”

There’s a lively band setting up now on the top deck, the thrumming and humming of the string instruments tuning to each other, the keyboard player, and their own fifths warming him more than the drink in his hand. With the weather lovely and languid, the stars alight overhead, and Rohka to his right, if one took away the sordid underpinnings of his coming here at all -

A rather nice night, if he can split the two narratives and allow himself another game of make-believe.

“The truth,” he continues less blithely, twirling the stalks of thistles and buds adorning his drink, “is that I’m looking for someone. His name is Alann Taire, and he’s a flesh-peddler in possession of a sizable outfit. The Taires do well enough - they’ve been invited to this party and get to use their own names, I mean - and in doing well enough, they have a fleet of blaggards in their employ, who rove with live cargo from port to port as they’re told. Now, one of those blaggards -“

And here he can’t help himself from hesitating, if only to scan their surroundings once more to be absolutely certain no one is listening.

“- is an unfortunate fellow by the name of Moyran, an individual we were quite sure had been quite killed, and some several years ago too. He and my stepfather have no great love for each other, though to be honest, if Moyran would like to declare himself as a sworn enemy, he‘ll have to take a number. My feelings on this are neither here nor there, though, because what my stepfather Taaldros feels is that Moyran being alive means he’s back to looking over his shoulder without end. Again, I emphasize this would not be a new feeling for the dastard that raised me, but -“

It’s difficult, explaining this part, because he’s not even completely sure he’s worked it out, the issue of his loyalties and where they on principle ought to lie.

“I’m here to find out when Taire’s next shipment will be in. Moyran will likely be with it. And then I - do what I need to do, so my stepfather gets a little more sleep at night.”

Whatever Rohka might ask now, the depth of any clarification needed - it’s fair game, any questions.

Though he’s got plenty of his own.

“What are you doing here, by the way? And who was that ponce gone pudding-pelted? If that’s the company you really keep, I can only hope to live up to half the standard.”

The band numbers a little under twenty, compact sections of horns and strings with percussionists stalwartly at the back. They strike up a song every Ravokian knows - a little lofty but an old tune traditional to the city’s history. It helps that they’re all clearly very good at what they do - and even with his mind divided between the task at hand and Rohka’s tail whisking at eye level, he feels again the distant but recurring wish that he might be one of them. Maybe when this is over, with the inevitable drag back that will be his returning home, he’ll drag his battered violin case out from under his bed, really devote the next week to clarifying the harmonics that have newly begun to elude him with his lack of consistent practice.

The wry smile on his face dips - nearly dips, because he’s gotten a little better at catching it. In vast recompense, he grins at her and throws back his drink.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Rohka on March 8th, 2020, 5:35 am

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“Oh lord,” said Rohka, in answer to it all.

She picked up a cheese niblet from a passing tray while Caspian spewed out a dizzying matrix of information. Her tail, the very limb blessed by Rhysol, gently swayed behind her as she listened and softly munched, giving her a chance to quell a sudden hunger from seeing him. He spoke so openly, trusting her with his business. It was a lot to take in at once.

But when she heard a familiar name, Roh perked up.

“Ron could tell you about the Taires, no problem,” she said, after swallowing her last bite. The sybil wanted to be useful to Caspian, knowing that helping him would allow herself to continue some reconnaissance of her own. “To your question, I’m here as a favour to Lelia, my employer,” as she said it, the sybil ran a finger across her brow absentmindedly, turning her gaze to the crowd below them.

A part of her was on edge, wondering how long the Lark would be away for, and whether her choice to follow the young serpent-covered man had been the wrong thing to do. Caspian had been such a welcome distraction that she’d forgotten her purpose for being here. The sybil turned her gaze back to focus more closely on the present, both her hands now combing through her hair.

“Ron is my, uh, partner for the night. Honestly, I only met him today. Dear Lelia set this up because she wanted me to help provide insight and company to the network of her clients. He’s a Lark, a nephew to Vernon, and he sold Kelvic slaves to my uncle in exchange for proper training. My uncle Mattias is getting into the slave trade, you see. Apparently Mattias wants to meet the Taires and form a partnership. I know so little about it, I’ve been avoiding my family’s business for a long time now. But if it’s the Taires you want, I’m sure I could, oh, I don’t know,” she paused, breathing in and closing her eyes for a tick.

She opened them and smiled at the potential for some harmless trouble.

“I could help investigate for you,” said Rohka. She crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Caspian throw back a drink. “You know, for a second I thought you were telling me that you were here to end the life of someone named Taalim. I guess perhaps that’s partly true,” she grinned. How much more was there to this story of the Taires and the man being sought after, she wondered.

Rohka sensed into herself, feeling for threads that connected to the environment around her before giving into her own curiosity. She breathed out slowly as her eyes slightly glazed over, watching for Caspian’s aura. It glowed slightly blue. Right then, she felt an icy chill run through her body, sending the hairs on her neck to stand.

“So who exactly is this Moyran?” The sybil’s eyes narrowed as her attention fell back to the conversation. “What did he do? Why is your stepfather so concerned over finding the man?” At this point, Rohka knew she was being more than a bit nosy. It was his aura that spurred her onwards. Something about it didn’t seem right.

“What will you do when you find him?”

Whether or not Caspian would answer in full depended on how much detail time would allow for. Why?

Because nearby, a shower of flames erupted, illuminating the area in flashes of bright white, crimson, and vivid orange.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Caspian on March 12th, 2020, 1:26 am

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Confession isn’t really his thing, to put it lightly - but he’s just done it, a whole lot of it, and to someone he’s remembering he’s only just met. Who is relatively, for all intents and purposes and by most standards, a total stranger.

And he had done it anyway, and with great effusiveness. If something’s to be blamed for what might plainly be considered a great lapse in judgment, in stark contradiction to the sordid tenets on which he was raised, he lobbies the accusation against her eyes, and the particular tilt to which she holds her head as she listens to him rattle. More than once during his explanation had he felt the beginnings of a flush rising from his neck up to his cheeks that had nothing to do with the liquor being freely wheeled about the establishment.

“Ron and Roh? How the stars align,” he says nimbly, as if playing into a certain character might make it easier to disguise the severity of his interest. That Ron directly bears the Lark surname is worth a tetchy eyebrow raise but not necessarily a full-bodied startle; some things, in this case a corner of organized oligarchy, just root and spread like disease.

Though he had entertained the idea some days past of inviting Rohka to this party for the express purpose of serving as accomplice to his own designs - he had, perhaps, both not thought it entirely through, and had assuaged his own prospective guilt at involving her in his schemes with the idea that he simply might not be so forthright about them. In intended innocence, he might yet spare her, both from the weight of the beginnings of a crime, and from having to be treated far too immediately to who he truly is at his core.

The question she poses is so frustratingly reasonable and he really ought to have prepared for it, his own response sticking in his throat with the precarious delay that might suggest that what does eventually come out is a fussed and fabricated lie.

The palpable hesitation comes in trifocal phases. The first - as will always be - is that he considers lying, or at the very least masking the more squalid particulars. The second is his assessing and reassessing in a blink’s worth of real time, for the umpteenth time, whether the plot does warrant any justification. And the third -

To imagine her expression of wanting simply to help shifting into one of horror presents itself as a risk he’s not sure would be wise to take.

But there’s that way about her, her eyes and how she holds them transfixed upon him - and maybe it’s something to do with her dress, how it seems to flicker just like the intricately carved iron lanterns posted along the railings. The consequence is that he doesn’t lie - only stutters and stilts, at least to start.

As if marking the commencement of his own movement for him, the compact orchestra strikes up another tune, this one a waltz fueled by a highly controlled but lively spiccato, and the contrabassist’s bowings biting down low.

“Moyran and Taaldros were friends once, I think,” he says. “As much of friends as one can be when you’re in our line of work.” He hadn’t meant to use the plural possessive, but it had revealed him anyway. “While mizas might be the law of the land, the true law is the abstinence of law, of constitutionalized congregation, at least where I’m from. What I mean to say is - Moyran and my stepfather were out on a job. The usual thing, strong-arms-for-hire, had to muscle a merchant out of a monthly tithe on behalf of the goon running that quarter. It was going well enough, until a band of blaggards suddenly burst in to the domicile. There had been a bounty on my stepfather’s head that greatly exceeded any future profits Moyran determined he might glean from their continued partnership. Simple arithmetic, you know? At least in the short term. Moyran had informed the necessary parties, and all had lain in wait. What Moyran hadn’t counted on is my stepfather having suspected a betrayal of some sort for some time, and had my sister tailing him for weeks.

“So, to properly set the scene for you - in a tidy little parlor there’s my stepfather who Moyran’s just tried to stab in the back, literally and figuratively. Then Moyran himself, who like the lout he is has a grin from ear to ear and is still wearing yesterday’s stained drawers. The the group of three or four surveyors who’ve been tipped off to collecting the object of the bounty; then five more undesirables, including myself, who’ve been at the ready to cancel the entire debacle, and arrived at my stepfather’s command. And of course in the midst of it all, having likely gone into cardiac arrest several times on the floor, is the merchant who didn’t have anything to do with it, and wasn’t very good at paying his rent.”

In the process of his routine surveillance of the room, a pair of women in parachuting lilac flounces on the other side of the increasingly populated dance floor catch his eye. As he settles one arm closer around Rohka, he generously throws them a roguish wink, sending their fans furiously fluttering.

“So we routed them,” he goes on. “We didn’t have the numbers, and I doubt I was effectively any real help - I was half the slip I am now - but surprise went a long way. Out of the sake of - friendship, or whatever happens when you spend a good bit of time with the same person, at regular intervals and under shared duress, my stepfather gave Moyran back his sword and they had one last duel. Give him a fighting chance before sending him off proper, I guess. We went to a craggy place, far off in the dark where we were less likely to be interrupted. Not the fleetest of feet, Moyran, and in the thick of it he slipped and smashed his head down a quarry. None of us wanted to climb down to check, though I knew it was on the tip of my stepfather’s tongue to send me to do it. I mean, we were all quite sure that was the end of him. He fell with such a crack and to this day I can’t forget the sound, like a -“

Sharply contrasting with the story at hand, the lead flautist sends their instrument whistling a pretty tune.

“My stepfather would just rather any potential problem, now that it’s resurrected, be eliminated,” he says. He can’t see the lilac girls anymore, and one couldn’t have missed them, given the ostentatiousness of what they were wearing, the effect amplified by their mirroring so closely the other’s gestures and affectations. But in a crowd where everyone dazzles near equally, could there be a saturation for enchantment, that fulfillment to capacity rendering him blind?

And to think that all their parties are among these lines.

“I’ll be capitally unhappy if you feel you’ve just been dragged in. But if you’re - forgive me - on board - if you can find out where the Taires will be, Moyran’s likely not far behind.”

His has his own lead - Alann’s niece Marcelyne - but to expeditiously accomplish a task he’s long procrastinated on, any help is welcome.

She asks him another question, one that’s colored his days for some weeks, and he isn’t going to lie when he addresses this one, but an eruption presents itself at an opportune time.

Further into the depths of the party and unnervingly a touch too close to the live ensemble is a heavily beribboned and festooned alchemist, who with carefully crafted vials and flagons is amalgamating a series of flaring concoctions, to the great delight of all looking on. There’s a mildly practical element to their act, as they’ve got a knack for setting the salted rims of some of the trays of cocktails aflame, in a brilliant range from sapphire to gold.

Even from this distance, Caspian can sense the growing apprehension and ire of the string players seated closest to the alchemist. Given the reams of sheet music pinned on the stands before them and their instruments being made of wood, it’s quite understandable. But they’ve got their places to tend to, as does the alchemist, and in turn both he and Rohka, who’s manifested the problem that hangs about the air and stifles him more stolidly than all the smoke and mirrors on this ship combined.

He begins to answer - and he’s not sure of it yet but supposing this is the way to do it, to let it unfurl on its own and perhaps finally figure where on the matter he truly stands -

And that’s when he finds them again, the lilac twins, just adjacent to the alchemist who’s quite stolen the show. Proximal and focal to all are the virulent enthusiasms of one Marcelyne Taire, the very woman he had hoped he might avoid, no matter the material gain.

They’re all together, the girls in lilac and Marcelyne in a heavily tulled and tiered gown of blush. They nudge Marcelyne, his newly minted admirers, and suddenly he’s three sets of glitter and artificially lashed eyes upon him.

If he doesn’t go to her, she’ll surely come to him.

“Come with me?” he asks Rohka, his gaze still locked with Marcelyne’s. “There’s my mark. Taire extraordinaire.”

The best parties, it seems, are the ones with volitional danger, the kind you pay for - and here he is heading right for the swell of it.
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Rohka on April 19th, 2020, 1:31 am

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Rohka tilted her head as he relayed his story. She tried to focus on his words, on the details, although it seemed like there were so many to keep track of. What she did manage to catch though, was the attention he’d managed to pay both to herself and to the women in lilac.

It would be a lie if she said she didn’t enjoy the distance closed.

The warmth of his arm traveled across her pale skin, bringing colour to areas where there wasn’t much before. She nodded along while her heart rate started to quicken in time with the orchestra—or was it in time with his tale? Her own tail was having the habit of peeking through the slit of her dress as he spoke of duels and quarries. When he suggests finding out more about the Taires, her dark eyes brightened with the potential to glean insight into a world so new to her own fairly sheltered, common life.

The question he asked was met with a smile unseen. Intent on the joy of bringing her profession some fresh meat, the sybil waltzed her way forward towards to the gaggle of giggles.

“Oh, this music is divine. Praise to Rhysol,” said Roh, a hand to her heart. For as much as she was a diehard fan of her God’s existence, she was also a try-hard socialite. “Don’t you just love how it rises and falls as if it’s meant to be tying the music of our souls to the grace of our God?”

“Absolutely,” said one of the girls, sighing. “Gods, if Rhysol showed up to this party, I would just die.” They all gushed in unison. “Mother made me leave our slaves at home, or else I would’ve had them playing and singing songs in his honour too. Mother didn’t want us to really show off tonight,” the girl glanced at Marcelyne and quickly quieted, catching the hint of a glare. The sybil decided this would be a moment to investigate further.

“Oh but trained slaves are often incredible at bringing life to a party,” she exclaimed, her hands gesturing her surprise. “Why keep them away when you could be adding to Rhysol’s praise? My uncle lives near the trading post and Gods, if he knew about this party, I’m sure he would’ve been here with his slaves too. What’s so bad about showing off?”

“Well,” started the girl, looking to Marcelyne again. “There’s a new shipment coming in, and—“

“And it’s none of your business,” interrupted Marcelyne.

“Oh goodness, I’m sorry, I should’ve introduced myself,” said the sybil touching her face apologetically, and reaching out to whom she hoped to truly question. “I’m Rohka, and I came here with Ron, invited through a mutual friend of ours. Have you heard of The Mystic Eye?”

Marcelyne still seemed to be put off, while the girl who’d spoken earlier chirped up.

“That’s the shop I was telling you about before, I knew she looked familiar! And she came here with Ron?” She doesn’t look like his type though, she thought, throwing an eye of uncertainty to one of the other girls. They both then took a glance at Rohka’s hand, prompting the sybil to clear her throat a bit, pushing off the presumption as little more than societal force of habit.

“I work as an apprentice to Lelia there, and she spoke highly of tonight’s affairs. In fact, she encouraged me to practice my craft while I—“

“Yes, please do! Can you tell our fortunes?” One of the girls asked excitedly.

“Well,” Rohka paused, looking to Caspian for his guidance on the matter before pulling three cards from out of her pocket. The sybil flashed the faces of the cards to the girls and grinned before taking a look at them herself. “The cards suggest that it’s possible, though it requires a flow of communication, and it would lead to a better sense of responsibility. Honestly though, it really isn’t going to be about whether I can do it. It’s more a question of whether I’ll be allowed to. There’s harmony here, if welcomed and shared,” she says, holding up a card with two females poised in front of a large castle.

Rohka stared straight into Marcelyne’s distrust. “Harmony on the path where there is peace.”
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The Bloodied Barcarolle Pt. II

Postby Caspian on April 28th, 2020, 1:58 am

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The throngs seamlessly part en route to Marcelyne. If he didn’t know any better - or perhaps because he knows just enough - Caspian could swear it’s because the baleful woman had willed it.

What might have been more helpful than ascribing a more fancifully sinister edge than necessary to an individual barely into her twenties is determining exactly what it is he’s going to say in real time. Too often he relies on what’s clinically known as winging it - there’s certainly fun to be had in solving the puzzle before you even reach the table, in doing your research on your marks and discovering how they tick. But he had gotten too caught up in his own aversion to her since meeting her in the greeneries on the grand Lark barge, and had to both intentional and inadvertent degrees put her from his mind in the crucial days leading up to the present operation.

Fortunately, Rohka doesn’t possess the same hang-ups, and he has to actively quell the expression of gratitude and fond admiration he nearly throws her way when she opens the conversation.

More than opens - she generates the momentum and holds the reins on its degrees.

Though when the conversation takes a very sudden, lurching turn to slavery -

The topic is ubiquitous; for the majority of his life, he’s lived in places where it simply is the norm. But that alone lends it the sinister edge that nearly etches itself into dangerous visibility in his own expression. What’s curious is how avidly Rohka responds to it - and he doesn’t know what to call his reflexive feeling except that it’s a thing he’s noted, the sort of bit that nibbles, that from the course of living he knows firsthand will inevitably turn to gnawing. But as he’s done before, still as a matter of the course of living, he revises the absolute down to - well, he can’t predict the future, can he? This is just one party - just one conversation within it - just one scheme among many in which Rohka isn’t meant to be playing herself and neither is he, and if this is fiction then maybe so is her sentiment about how one does or doesn’t parade around their live chattel. The problem is that he still isn’t wholly certain how he feels about it - the words stick inside his brain and tumble down over themselves into ephemera that manifest as a vague unsettling of his gut, that he might easily brush away and excuse as his having taken full advantage of both the freeflowing luxuries and stressors at his disposal.

And speaking of telling the future.

“I don’t see why not,” he says grandly, rakishly, shoving his hands into his pockets where they are categorically nowhere near Rohka, or Marcelyne’s temperament. “Miss Rohka’s top of her class. Told me I was going to come into a modest little windfall, to be immediately followed by finding my paramour - and I tell you what, dolls, but I’ve just been to the bank this morning.” He’s boisterously fibbing about that last part - and it would jeopardize the mission but admittedly he’s trying to see how far he can push it to make Rohka laugh - but it’s gotten the materially desirable effect, which is their audience’s attention. “I’m Taalim, by the way,” he says to the two girls in lilac, who flank Marcelyne on either side like lovely thorns. “Though I suspect you already knew that.” His eyes slide deliberately to Marcelyne, who with serpentine steadfastness meets them head on, without falter.

“Niala,” says the slightly taller one.

“And I’m Harriette,” says the other.

“Glad you made it off that boat alive,” Marcelyne says with a smirk, which ought to be a joke, but unfortunately really isn’t.

Niala and Harriette both turn expectantly to Rohka. Taking advantage of the diversion, Caspian holds his gaze on Marcelyne - holds his breath, lets his eyes wander down to his lips. Back, again, to her eyes. Silently counts the rhinestones arranged around them in feline form, the cosmetic foil flecks radiating out to her temples. When’s the beat’s right, he throws her the hint of a smirk back.

Notes with grim satisfaction the color that briefly rises to her cheeks before she resolutely - and just as sincerely intrigued as the others - turns to Rohka.
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Caspian
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Joined roleplay: August 12th, 2018, 11:26 pm
Location: Zeltiva
Race: Human, Mixed
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