Solo To the Music

Aster gets a bit of a lesson in dancing.

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To the Music

Postby Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:24 am

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30th of spring, 520 AV

It was a warm night in the Outpost; then again, they always were. But it was a pleasant warmth, comforting. The stars shone brightly above her, and Aster had decided to go stretch her legs. Sleep had been elusive as of late, or when she managed it, full of unpleasant dreams and nightmares; so instead, she was out wandering the warmly lit streets.

She was wearing her Benshira face tonight; out of the three mortal seemings she could choose from, it had become her favourite, even more so than her original one. She was wearing one of her new dresses, the fabric flowing around her legs as she walked; it was slightly longer on her than it was during the day, nearly dragging on the ground but not quite. Her dark hair was loose, cascading down around her shoulders, and she had her coin purse safely tucked away.

Aserope wasn't going anywhere in particular; she was simply walking, taking whatever direction pleased her, when her ears caught the nearby sound of music. It was loud but pleasant, someone playing an up-beat tune on a fiddle, and she could hear laughter and the sound of mingling voices.

At this hour of the night, most businesses were beginning to shut down, if they hadn't already. Deciding to see what the source of the noise was, Aster followed it to a large, open air courtyard. Stepping inside, the music was even louder, though not overwhelming or deafening.

Tables were scattered around, with various forms of seating, where people gathered in groups talking and laughing. An open space on the floor served as a dance floor, which was moderately full of moving bodies but not packed. A man was standing on a stage, swaying from foot to foot as he played the fiddle, and towards the back of the courtyard Aster saw a bar.

It was pleasant, but not usually her type of place. She preferred quieter places, and while she enjoyed her people-watching, the courtyard was a bit crowded for her tasted. Not to mention she wasn't much of a drinker, musician, or dancer. But despite herself, Aster found herself stepping further into the courtyard, slipping between tables and skirting the dance floor to approach the bar.

The music was nice; perhaps this was just the sort of distraction she needed tonight, something a little bit louder than usual. It certainly saved her from being alone with her thoughts. Aster slid onto one of the stools at the bar; the bartender was currently pouring a drink for someone else at the other end, and Aster faltered when she saw him.

He was an Ethaefal. One of Leth's, with glittering pale skin and curving horns, beautiful as they all were. Aster felt her heart lurch, a sharp pain in her chest. This wasn't what she wanted at all; this was bringing in all sorts of emotions she'd been trying to avoid tonight. Before she could panic and flee, the Ethaefal was already walking towards her, smiling. She didn't smile back, but he didn't seem bothered.

Avoiding the man's gaze, Aster quietly ordered a glass of wine and paid up, turning to face away from the counter and clutching the glass in her hand, shoulders hunched up slightly as she stared down into the dark liquid in the glass. It was such a complicated thing. She felt bad, honestly, and knew she was being rude though she imagined it would be brushed off.

Word Count: 578
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To the Music

Postby Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:28 am

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It was just...so wonderful but so, so terrible to see another of her kind, especially when they were opposites and they got to meet her in their full wonder and splendor and she was stuck being so painfully dull and mortal. Aster took a deep drink of the wine, her chest tight; she was surprised to realize she was wrong when she saw the Ethaefal taking a seat beside her.

"Welcome to the Wayward Minstrel. Rough night?" He asked, kindly, and Aster stared down at the floor. The Ethaefal continued regardless. "My name is Razinor. If you want to talk about it, I've been told I'm a good listener." A glance up showed a gentle smile and a wink as he spoke. "Otherwise, tell me to petch off and I'll be quiet and just keep the drinks coming."

Aster sighed, straightening up and turning to face him slightly. "It's hard," she said. "Seeing you. I'm..." she motioned between them, and Razinor raised a brow, but a second later she saw the understanding on his face, and his smile turned into a more solemn expression.

"One of Syna's?" He asked, and she nodded, taking another drink of wine. It was both wonderfully pleasant to talk to him, to know that another felt her pain, knew her struggle; but also horribly painful, to be faced with the constant reminder by looking into his face, and especially to feel so terribly lesser beside him.

He was quiet for a moment, watching her. "Do you play any instruments?" He asked, seeming to abruptly change the subject. Aster shook her head. "Dance?" She shook her head again, but a grin had found itself back onto his face. "Everybody dances," he informed her. "Or at least they're capable of it. Finish that and give me just a moment," he motioned to her glass and stood, making his way into the crowd of people.

Aster watched him go, now puzzled, but obediently gulped at her wine until the glass was empty. In her mortal seeming, it was just enough to give her a warm fuzzy feeling that buzzed through her veins. A few moments later, Razinor returned with a woman in tow; she was tall, with long blonde hair and sparkling green eyes.

"This is Lucy," he announced to Aster. "She's a regular, and one of my favourite dancers. And you," he said to Aster, "Are going to dance with her tonight."

Aster blinked, staring between the two of them. Lucy was smiling, clearly amused but her expression kind. "I am? Why? I don't dance," Aster protested, baffled. Razinor perched on a stool beside her again.

"I told you, everybody can dance. Listen. Of course you don't have to if you don't want to; if you want to sit at the bar and sulk all night and have to deal with looking at me while you drown yourself in wine, you can do that." Aster frowned down at her lap as he spoke; when put like that, it sounded, well...pathetic.

"Or," he continued, "You can go and let the lovely Lucy teach you a bit about dancing. Have a few drinks, but have fun. Perhaps make a friend, at the very least enjoy yourself and forget certain things for a little while. Music has a way to take you out of your own head."

Aster twiddled with her empty glass. It wasn't as if she had never danced before; she had, once or twice. But not usually as sober as this, and not usually with a partner who was obviously experienced and meant to teach her. But she knew Razinor was right. The whole reason she had decided to step into the courtyard was to find a distraction, to not be alone with her thoughts tonight, but she wasn't going to accomplish that by getting drunk alone with another Ethaefal constantly nearby.

Word Count: 645
Total: 1,223
Last edited by Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Asterope
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Posts: 519
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Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
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Race: Ethaefal
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To the Music

Postby Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:31 am

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"Alright," she said after a moment, and Razinor smiled.

"Good," he said, taking her empty glass. "Now, go on, go enjoy yourself." Aster nodded, realizing as she stood she hadn't introduced herself to either of them.

"My name is Asterope," she said, mostly to Lucy because Razinor was already heading back behind the bar.

"It's nice to meet you, Asterope," Lucy reached out to offer her hand, and Aster hesitated before taking it, allowing the other woman to lead her onto the dance floor. "Razinor tells me you say you don't dance?" A coy smile played over the blonde's face as she glanced back at Aster, who nodded hesitantly.

"I mean, I have danced before, but probably very badly," Aster admitted. "I've never been taught, and it's not something I've really ever done. Maybe only once or twice."

"That's a shame," Lucy said, finding them a good, relatively unpacked area of the dance floor. "It's so wonderful to just lose yourself in the music and the movement. You don't always have to know what you're doing; sometimes you just need to move yourself to the music."

The tune being played was still upbeat, relatively fast-paced; Lucy started to sway her hips, and Aster hesitated, suddenly feeling intensely awkward. Lucy simply laughed, reaching out to guide Aster; she placed her hands on Aster's hips, beginning to sway her slowly, then slightly faster.

"See? Just move in time with the music," she told Aster, relaxing her hold. Aster continued the sway from side to side, trying to keep track of the music. This was different from the time at the Slag Heap; then, she'd been drunk and it had been a wild party, with intense loud drumbeats, and virtually nobody had paid attention to her. Dance partners had been brief and intense and paid no mind to what she was really doing.

This was...almost intimate. Sure, the dance floor was relatively full, but it was less of a party and more of just a gathering, groups of friends mingling while they danced, partners getting to know each other. The music was loud but not all-pervasive and intense, deep in her bones. And she was being instructed, which felt...strange. It wasn't someone teaching her to grind herbs or wrap a wound, but how to move her body.

Despite all of that, as Aster kept swaying, following Lucy's lead, she found the stiffness in her movements slowly ebbing as they became slightly more natural. Lucy nodded, smiling. "It's important to try and keep time to the music, but don't focus on it so hard. Otherwise it doesn't feel natural," she told Aster.

Lucy did a spin, raising her arms above her head, bouncing on her toes as her swaying quickened. Aster found herself laughing despite herself, and when Lucy motioned to her with a grin, tried the move herself. It was clumsy, she was sure of it, nowhere near as practiced and natural and elegant as Lucy had been doing it; but she spun in place, arms twisting above her head, and she didn't fall over, so she counted that as a win.

Quite suddenly, Lucy reached out to grab Aster's hands and spun her. Aster let out a small squeak of surprise, twisting but somehow wrapping Lucy's arm around her and ending up trapped against the woman. She stared up with wide eyes, and Lucy looked down at her, startled, before both of them began laughing. "I should have warned you," Lucy apologized through giggles, as they disentangled themselves.

Aster was having fun. The realization struck her like a particularly loud chord; she was having fun, and suitably distracted from any negative or dark thoughts. And...she was surprised to realize that aside from Lucy being good company, she was enjoying dancing.

She was normally so uncomfortable with herself, her own body; sure, she had a certain natural grace at least during the day, but other than that? She had no idea how to specifically move her body to appear graceful or elegant, or to achieve things. She didn't know how to dance or fight. Nudity was deeply embarrassing. She couldn't stand the physical form she took, the constant physical reminder of being lesser, even during the day; so instead she ignored it.

But at the spa, and shopping for clothes, and now here; Aster was beginning to realize there was more to her body and to caring for it, enjoying it, than she had ever thought. Not only was dancing in and of itself surprisingly fun with a patient and experienced partner, not only was it enjoyable to simply lose oneself in movement and music and to not have to think or worry; but it was on a very deep level an overwhelmingly wonderful thing to Aster to be learning how to make use of her body, to move it how she wanted, to consider it something wonderful and beautiful rather than a physical rock tying her to mortality.

Word Count: 826
Total: 2,049
Last edited by Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
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Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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To the Music

Postby Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:33 am

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She'd gotten lost in her thoughts, though, which was just what she was trying to avoid. Lucy was watching, patient, and Aster apologized sheepishly. She brushed it off, smiling. "Let's try the spin again," she suggested, taking hold of Aster's hands once more. "Just spin in place until you get completely under my arm and are turned to face me again, a full circle."

Nodding, Aster began to sway her hips again; she was still slower than Lucy, clumsy and not quite on rhythm, but she moved in time with the music as much as she could, letting it guide her movements. Lucy joined in, and a few moments later, spun Aster again. This time, she was ready for it, and she spun in place, mindful of ducking under Lucy's arm, coming to a slightly clumsy halt when she was facing Lucy again.

"Good!" The other woman exclaimed, keeping hold of Aster's hands as they continued to dance. "You know, if you want to learn, there's all kinds of different and specific dances out there. I know just sort of dancing like this, doing whatever you want, can feel unnatural or awkward when you're not sure what you're doing. But there are other types of dances that have specific steps or movements," Lucy explained.

As she finished talking, the song ended, and with hardly a pause a new one began, much slower and more melancholic. Many of the people on the dance floor began to drift away, murmuring and talking, going to sit and relax or grab a drink to enjoy listening to the new music. Others stayed, but drifted closer together in pairs, drifting slowly across the floor.

"This is perfect," Lucy murmured. "Slow dancing is a bit easier to follow. There are specific types but I just usually follow the basic steps. If you want?" She looked to Aster, and after a moment of hesitation, the Eth nodded. She had been having fun so far, and she was interested to learn more before they paused for a break and a drink. Dancing was a lot more work than she had expected, too, and in the warm night air she was beginning to feel dampness beneath her thick hair on the nape of her neck and feel exhaustion in her feet.

But she wasn't done just yet, so Aster followed Lucy's instructions. "I'll lead," Lucy explained, "Since I'm taller and I know what I'm doing. Here, put your hand here," she positioned Aster's left hand on her own shoulder, settling her right hand on Aster's hip, and raising their other hands which were still clasped.

Aster flushed slightly as Lucy drew her just a bit closer; she hadn't realized how intimate of a dance it was going to be, though perhaps she should have expected it with the slow, lilting tune that was drifting through the air.

Lucy giggled. "Don't worry, I promise not to flirt with you. Unless you want." She winked at Aster, who felt her flush promptly become a burning in her cheeks, and Lucy stifled more laughter.

"I'm sorry, that was mean. I know it's a bit close, personal space isn't usually an issue with slow dancing because it's often done with someone you're interested in romantically," Lucy explained. "We can stop if you like."

Aster shook her head stubbornly. She'd gotten this far, she was determined to learn the dance. Besides, the other couples dancing around them looked so graceful with their gentle swaying or sweeping steps. She wanted to learn that, to be able to teach herself to be graceful even at night when she felt the clumsiest and most useless.

Word Count: 608
Total: 2,657
Last edited by Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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The sun will rise, and we will try again
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Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
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To the Music

Postby Asterope on March 31st, 2020, 2:35 am

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"Alright," Lucy nodded. She began to sway them gently side to side, allowing Aster to adjust to the new rhythm, before gently tugging with her hand to lead Aster to the left. "I step back, you step forward with the other foot," Lucy explained. "And then I step forward, you step back, to where we started. Other foot back and forward," she recited the steps as they went, painstakingly slowly compared to the others around them.

Aster glanced down, brow furrowed as she tried to focus on the steps, stepping her foot forward when Lucy moved hers back and swaying with the taller woman. It was...surprisingly more difficult than just dancing however she liked to more upbeat music. She was just beginning to think she was getting the hang of it when she stepped forward too quickly, stepping on Lucy's foot and causing herself to stumble.

"Sorry," Aster apologized, tensing in embarrassment as Lucy caught her stumble.

"No need to apologize," Lucy laughed. "It can be tricky to learn at first. I used to have two left feet, if you'll believe it. The first time I tried to slow dance, I must have stepped on my partner's feet a hundred times."

Slightly reassured, they settled back into the rhythm of back and forth and swaying; the next time Aster stumbled, however, she decided she was done. She was getting tired and sweaty, and while she was still enjoying herself, she found herself much more self-conscious with so many fewer people on the dance floor. She much preferred the more fast and loose style of dance, she decided.

Lucy didn't protest when Aster stepped away, instead smiling. "Drink?" She suggested, and Aster nodded. The two made their way to the bar, and Aster ordered another glass of wine. Razinor looked pleased, but didn't say much to her, for which she was grateful.

Perched on a stool and catching her breath, the sweet on her neck beginning to cool, Aster sipped at the sweet, chilled wine, watching the remaining couples sway to the music. "Thank you for taking the time to teach me," Aster said, looking over at Lucy. The other woman smiled.

"I wasn't just teaching you. I was dancing with you, and I had a lot of fun, so thank you for dancing with me. Care to join me again when the music picks back up?" She asked, but Aster hesitated before shaking her head. She was surprised to realize just how tired she really was.

"No thank you. I might head back after this drink. I enjoyed myself quite a lot though," she smiled, and Lucy nodded.

"Have a good night, then. It was nice meeting you, Asterope. If you do stick around, don't hesitate to grab a random partner or go dance on your own again. And come back some time!" She grinned, draining the last of her drink before reaching out to squeeze Aster's hand, then leaving to weave through the tables and go find someone else to dance with after the current song ended.

Aster watched her go, sipping at her wine, and was surprised to find herself feeling content; almost happy, and certainly enjoying herself as she relaxed, despite the ache in her feet.

Word Count: 539
Total: 3,196
Image

The sun will rise, and we will try again
User avatar
Asterope
A light that never goes out
 
Posts: 519
Words: 529979
Joined roleplay: August 16th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Location: The Outpost (Sunberth)
Race: Ethaefal
Character sheet
Storyteller secrets
Journal
Plotnotes
Medals: 5
Featured Thread (1) Mizahar Grader (1)
Overlored (1) Alvadas Seasonal Challenge (1)
Power Fork (1)


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