[AW+] I am no mother, I am no bride, I am King
Feasting Hall | Wedding Reception / Spring Last Supper

May 21st | Dusk | The Feasting Hall
You have all been summoned to the Feasting Hall, but unusual to standard procedure, you arrive and are seated without the Mafiosi anywhere in sight. They do not arrive until later, once the entire pack is already present - clearly, they intend on making a memorable entrance!

Welcome to the Royal Wedding Reception! This event is the combined celebration for the formal mateship of the Mafiosi, and the traditional spring Last Supper. It is a mandatory pack thread - all characters currently dwelling in Salsola Proper are expected to attend, and there may be IC repurcussions for failure to show. If your character is unable to make an appearance, be sure to let leadership know!

There is no posting order to this thread. Multiple Salsolan pNPCs are in attendance, and can be referenced freely in any player posts as desired.

For more information on this event, including prompts and ways in which you character may have been involved, please check out our May Newspost. Don't forget to claim your 4 Thistle Tickets for participating!


They left the altar with all the solemnity of a funeral procession. The largess of what they had finally done - what she had finally done - sat strangely over Elphaba's skin. Somewhere behind them, gathering up the materials of their blessings and authority, the Helsi and Eternity women talked in low voices to one another. Their whispers shivered in the quiet dusk air.

In contrast, the cousins did not speak. They had already granted eachother all the words that were necessary, that were paid and long overdue. Giving voice to the lawful binding like an incantation had taken will, intent, and focus. It was the passage of power, through her lungs and her throat and her tongue, and into O'Riley like a vessel.

Now completed, the great witch queen of Salsola felt strange. Her stomach was long empty from her days of fasting, and her blood felt thin where it rushed in the tender skin of her temples and the secret hollow of her throat.

They walked in a silence that might have been companionable, and might not. Things were different now. Aware that power had been exchanged between them, Elphaba was no longer entirely certain of how to act. Before the formalities, before even their coup for the crown, she had known O'Riley as well as one knows their own limbs, their own reflection in broken glass. Their relationship had been perfected by the solidity of the rules that governed it, rules that continued long after they had taken the Law for their own.

Now there were no rules, save the ones she chose to defend.

He was hers - he had always been hers. But now she, too, was his.

O'Riley's stride was longer than her own owing to his physical largesse. She measured her thoughts by the pace of his footfalls. Every second step tugged lightly on her arm, where their wrists had been bound together. The binding did not chafe, as she had expected it might, but still it was strange and new to feel in any way tethered. Reykja had insisted they keep the interwoven ties on for as long as possible, an act of fortitude that would prove to bless their union going forward.

The völva had given them other blessings, too. Though she tried not to dwell on it, Elphaba could feel the simple white shift she wore clinging to the hidden painted symbols on her belly and upper thighs. The memory of Reykja's patient ministrations made her feel disconnected from her own body, but not entirely unnerved. There was a sense of relief in finally knowing what was to come, having held it at bay for so long.

Like herself, the Erilaz also wore white. This was an extravagant and almost vulgar display of their wealth. In such a land, and with such lifestyles as luperci lived, no garments could stay ivory for long - even the wool and fibers had to be sourced especially for their purity and cleanliness.

As they passed through the winding cobblestone pathways of the Ruins, the Boss strained her ears to hear the sounds of merriment ahead. It was entirely abnormal to approach the Feasting Hall already occupied. Normally the shepherd, Elphaba was used to calling in the sheep, letting them greet her one by one as was tradition. But tonight was no ordinary supper. Ahead of them, the orchestra of many voices mingled with the chirp of crickets and the rustling of the underbrush. Salsola had already arrived, and was waiting.

Near the entrance to the hall a tawny man was waiting. The servant hunched over the weight of a great armful of what appeared to be bristling feathers - seeing the Mafiosi, he straightened, and let the peacock cloak she had commissioned from the jester Monet unfold.

It was very grand. It was just as she had imagined it.

Kaimkillen was careful as he draped the heavy mantle around her shoulders, and fastened it above her clavicle. In the flickering torchlight, Elphaba met her new husband's gaze and held it. Pride lifted her chin. It was time.

The servant bowed and dismissed himself to the interior of the hall. A few moments later, bound wrist-to-wrist, the Mafiosi followed.

An expectant hush fell upon their entrance. In the baited lull, the Boss' eyes roved the length of the chamber. It had been decorated according to her meticulous vision. House banners lined the crumbling stone walls, punctuated by tall torches that glowed with flame. Every level surface had been decked with great garlands of wild thistle, violet blooms bursting vividly against the bristle of their thorny foliage. Even the long table, which sagged beneath the weight of its burden, had not been spared; thistles garnished every candle, every platter laden with meats, every bottle and crude vase.

It was not subtle, but nothing about Elphaba's rule had ever been subtle.

The couple took their place at the head of the table. Someone had filled a goblet with wine in preparation for the queen - she reached for it now, and was surprised to see that her fingers were trembling; With focus she stilled them, and plucked the stem of the chalice to raise it high.

"Familia fortis elegit!"

Her voice sounded strong and certain. The porcelain mask of her face betrayed no less.

"This night the royal houses of Revlis and Eternity have formally been bound. Spring will bless us all with abundance; I have seen it, and so it shall be. On this, the eve of my wedding, I entreat you: Eat, drink, and be merry! May the revelries begin!"

Taking her own advice, the Boss gladly lifted the brimming edge to her lips, and drank deeply of the ambrosia therein.

Some folks may feel free to assume they got meat from Krios for their own cooking purposes since he would have been hunting in excess! :>

His pancake experiments had not made it to the dinner menu for the Witch Queen and Erilaz's wedding reception. It was for the best that the simple country fare did not (dis)grace the more refined palettes of the elite; they could suffer in the privacy of their own homes when Krios inevitably refined his efforts and sought their opinions. But the Striker had not slacked on providing food for the festivities despite his attempts to stray from his usual trajectory.

Kamari, naturally, helped quite a bit on her own and between the two of them they brought a hefty selection of freshly hunted and killed prey animals. They had been butchered, cleaned, and then roasted both on their own homestead and those that requested cuts from the haul. The Kaiser-Revlis household brought quantity in simple preparations of salt and garden herbs. There was nothing alarmingly complex about the offerings. Granted, Krios did manage a wild blackberry roast sauce made from the drippings from the various meats that turned out relatively tasty.

At least he tried.

The decorating of the reception fell outside of the scope of his and Kamari's capabilities, so when the sun began its descent past the peak, the task of getting ready became the priority. The clothing was simple, if hardly poor in quality. Black with light stitching and the usual form-fitting material. Leather vest, belts, earrings, the whole accoutrement of a prestigious member attending a high-profile event.  If his mother hadn't been wearing the blue crystal necklace at her death, he would have donned it in her honor. Instead, he managed with a small bright blue stone on a simple cordage around his collar to stare like an eye from the afterlife.

They were not there to provide a show for the rest of Salsola; Elphaba and O'Riley would provide the spectacle for the masses to salivate over. But, they would undoubtedly see more than a few glances their way. With the union of the third member, and head, of the House of Revlis, eyes would be on them for their unfortunate failure of continuing the line. Between them, the line was at risk and it had suddenly landed on the Witch Queen's head that an heir was required.

Well, high time, but it was still a pressure that could not be ignored. Elphaba had been playing with hearts long before she needed to marry. Krios wondered if those hearts would survive the unexpected binding.

They had come early enough, as per usual, to watch others enter the Feasting Hall. Food was set out, drinks prepared, and servants milled about with a slight air of impatient anxiety. Elphaba and O'Riley would enter late to the reception, but that was expected and planned. The two had a small, extremely private ceremony and even Krios had not warranted an invitation to the event.

He was only a little bit irked by it.

When their Witch Queen and her new husband entered the Feasting Hall, the Striker snickered softly enough that only his wife could hear it. Just like the rest of them all, Elphaba had a penchant for flare and the dramatic. A peacock cloak atop the virginal white was a stark message to send out. O'Riley in white seemed almost laughable considering the man's nature, but how could any of them say it was unsuitable.

Elphaba raised her cup and cried the motto of Salsola. Her toast was short and the cheer that followed loudly boisterous. Krios raised his watered-down beverage up at her with a slight smile on his face and an actual genuine wish that there was not another sham marriage on the throne of the Thistle Kingdom.
All weddings deserved to be celebrated. Azalea and Casimir had not had a grand reception, though – not when she was acting miserable and had life quickening in her belly. They could have, if things had been done properly. Then again, their whole marriage was a sham. It was a lie meant to protect his daughter and her children from the judgment that might come from raising them alone and so young. Perhaps, when her pups were older, their mother and “father” would celebrate properly.

Grievous was, admittedly, looking forward to watching the brood. They had visited here and there with Azalea, but they were young and their personalities still developing. Keeping them overnight would be a good opportunity for Grievous to see what sort of people they were turning into. There was still plenty of time before they would take to two legs and begin narrowing down what roles they would fulfill. He hoped tonight would help provide some insight, as children often showed their true colors away from the watchful eyes of their parents.

First, though, there was the grand event.

Grievous had sent their servant early to assist with the preparations, while he took advantage of the warm weather to scrub his fur in the sand until only the faint traces of dirt stains remained. He washed again in the running water of the river and perfumed his damp coat with scented flowers as it dried. Idrieus helped him brush out his fur. Less inclined towards clothing, Grievous had few options that seemed worthy of such a grand event, but eventually chose a formal looking set of short trousers, off-white half-sleeve tunic, and a vest with his House symbol emblazoned upon its back. On the neutral brown leather, the green of the Eternity-knot stood out clearly.

He adjusted his belt as Idrieus finished the rest of her preparations, and once Lilium was ready, the trio left their house and made the quick walk to the Feasting Hall. It was a sight to behold: colorful, full of food, noisy. Grievous imagined his cousins would be pleased.

The Equinest chatted with his wife and daughter as they waited for their leaders to arrive. Whisper came with Velour, and despite his attempts to avoid work talk, she brought up horses quickly – even more so when Cole joined them, eager to be included. Eventually, he and Whisper went off to continue their discussion elsewhere.

Not long after this, Elphaba and O'Riley arrived. They were both in white, though the Boss had donned a cape of such extravagant make that it seemed unreal. As a pair, they looked powerful and regal. There had never been a time before now when their leadership had been united in such a way, and Grievous thought this was promising.

He echoed the toast and beamed at his cousins, but soon found more interest in the food. Later, as the celebrations got underway, he would make a point to speak with the new couple directly, and find excuses to entertain his grandchildren.

[+ 5]
masks beneath masks until suddenly
the bare bloodless skull
Character Wiki  | [Image: 80x15_songbird.png] | Player Wiki
Optime | The Ruins (Feasting Hall) | Dated: May 21st; evening | cNPC: Mirko

Related to [SL] May Newspost.

Don’t mind me. Just rambling…as usual x,D Re: Elphaba’s gift, think of something kind of like this for design-wise?
It was a bit strange to arrive at the Feasting Hall without a formal summons first, but Kamari and her husband had arrived all the same. The outfit Kamari had chosen to wear that night was new, though, the style was hardly different from her usual choices.

A pair of dark pants were worn with a tunic that was a dark, slate blue with lighter accents reminiscent of her House’s colors. It had a high collar, and, while it followed more along the natural contours of her figure better than her normal clothes did, it was by no means form-fitting. Its short sleeves allowed her leather bracers to be visible, something that was, perhaps, unsightly at a royal wedding reception. Kamari was always a Shield member first, however. Even the belt worn at her waist held her knife in its usual place in the small of her back, and that was not to include the other hidden ones scattered about her person. Overall though, while relatively simple in design, Kamari’s clothes held a more formal appeal to them than her usual dress.

Kamari walked with her husband into the Feasting Hall. Having been busy with various other duties throughout the day, she hadn’t seen what had been done to the hall in its final hours before the reception. Looking about, it was easy to see that, whoever had put on the final touches, they had certainly outdone themselves. The hall looked dangerously beautiful with its various decorative items, centerpieces, and floral arrangements that highlighted the Kingdom’s prized plant; thistle. The braziers and torches had already been lit, and, together, they all burned brightly enough to chase away the darkest of shadows from the Feasting Hall.

The long feasting table was plated with the Kingdom’s best tableware and cutlery. Running down the center of it though was a fine and tantalizing assortment of dishes cooked and provided by the Kingdom’s own. There were a variety of different meats prepared in a number of different ways, from venison roasts to seared fish to whole a pig to still-steaming meat pies. Amongst the selection, Kamari even spied a few bread items, as well as the rarer dairy-made products that peaked during this time of year. Cups and other goblets had been filled with water for starters, though, the various, imported bottles of wines, ales, meads, and other tasteful drinks had been spread out as well.

Looking at it all, Kamari couldn’t help but to think of her old mentor, and how much he might have hummed and quietly marveled over the feast fit for a King that evening. It was an unbidden thought though, and the sharp pain that spiked in her chest moved her to quickly search for a way to distract herself.

Spying the area that had been designated for gifts, Kamari excused herself from Krios to make a beeline for it. There, she deposited two parcels wrapped in a pair of her finer furs. They were neatly bound with twine, and each carried a hidden note signed by their gifters; Kamari and Krios. The gifts had been a bit pricey to trade for, however, having known of the wedding for months in advance, Kamari had been able to make arrangements easily enough.

She’d brought the gifts home when she’d returned from Portland from a task for the Queen herself. The fur-wrapped parcels protected a pair of plated shoulder armor pieces made from quality leather. O’Riley’s was darker in color, and more subdued in design so as to not call attention to itself. Decorative, celtic knotting had been pressed along the edges, giving it a bit of uniqueness despite its more covert profile. Most importantly though, Kamari had purposely chosen the specific design to help cover and protect the shoulder O’Riley had injured during the previous spring.

For Elphaba’s, as she was a non-combatant, there was a bit more decorative flare allowed in its design, but not overly so. Kamari and Krios, both, favored functionality, after all, and did not wish to make the Revlis woman look like a fool—or, at least, Kamari didn’t. The spaulder was sleek, with hard cuts and points at the end of each plate, giving the appearance of spines. The leather was textured, pressed in a way that almost made it look as if it were imitating the scales of a serpent. Overall, the armor piece looked both elegant and intimidating at the same time, a proper fit for someone bearing the Thistle Crown, Kamari felt. At the very least, perhaps it would make Outsiders think twice about crossing the woman that wore it.

Kamari turned as she sensed the arrival of another from behind her, only to be met by her apprentice, Mirko. He’d chosen a nice but simple outfit that evening, and had, apparently, taken a page from Kamari’s own book and worn colors that were pleasant but subtle so as to not draw too much attention to himself. Glancing down at his arms, it was clear to Kamari that Mirko, too, had brought a gift. As they walked back to where Krios stood, the Confidant revealed that he’d crafted a decorative leather belt for the Queen, and had traded for a small bag of cured goat meat for the Erilaz.

Gradually, the rest of the Kingdom gathered in the Hall like the dutiful denizens that they were. Kamari engaged in a few conversations before the eventual arrival of the newly wedded Mafiosi. In an instant, the Feasting Hall hushed out of respect for their leaders, and many began to find their seats along the table as the Boss and Erilaz made their way to the head of it.

The Boss left not a moment to spare, rallying her Kingdom beneath her newly united front beside the man who was not only her Second, but, now, was also her mate. Salsola echoed its acceptance of their union and excitement to start the night’s events, from raising their drinks in toast, to reciting back their creed, to even clapping or howling in cheer. The festivities commenced forth as their Queen commanded.

Kamari Kaiser
— The Shadow —
[Image: k4f73A1.png]
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Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi
There was no way that Soul was allowing the newbie that was Mind or even Blood make a fool of Egregore at the wedding. He had told them both that he was to be present at the event, not them. What he should have expected was to be met with complete disinterest from the two of them. Neither Mind or Blood actually wanted to participate at all. Blood was never the sort to like these larger social functions. Mind was tired from the previous day's work of obtaining gifts for the Mafiosi with Reyes. Waiting out the presence any witnesses and taking out their target had been exhausting, but well worth the effort.

Egregore brought the gifts with him now. Folded and tucked away into a nondescript leather bag in his left arm was a dress for Elphaba. It was not incredibly elaborate from first glance, but the garment was of a material that Egregore hoped would be comfortable to wear in the coming months and suitable enough for the Boss. It was dyed a dark and muted blue, complete with a hem embroidered in a winding and knotted pattern. He thought it was reminiscent of snakes, though the design was lacking of any heads.

As for O'Riley, Egregore knew he would not find as much use in a dress. At least he did not think so. The man did not frequent two legs enough to justify that, so Soul had Mind loot something that was likely to be much more fitting to someone like him: a bird. A piebald raven sat quietly in a cage that hung from his right hand. It fidgeted about in the presence of all the crowded Luperci and smells, but it did not seem too averse to them. Truth be told, Soul only knew that the bird was (at least somewhat) Luperci trained, mostly silent, and most notably, her feathers were contrasting with one another in what was mostly black with splashes of white. She made for quite a picturesque image, one he hoped O'Riley would appreciate.

He was quick to leave his gifts among the others. The bird would be content enough to sit there, he was sure. She had only spoken once or twice in high speech, though the sentences were enough to convince him that she was passable. Still broken speech, but enough. Once the gifts were there, he left to join the throng. He looked too good in what Lyra had made for him to waste it on leaving after dropping the gifts off. They were signed simply enough on both the cage and the bag, so that was that. Now he could drink and enjoy himself. He could see familiar faces already where he sat... And one of them was Polymorph, who he had not yet seen. They sidled up to him with a grin on their face, daring to meet his eyes in public now that they were freed.

"There you are!" Polymorph said. "Did you and Reyes drop your gifts off?"

"I have, yes," he said. "Not surrre about Rrreyes. He may orrr may not be herrre yet." He shrugged.
[Image: red_moon.png] [Image: 88x31_v3.png] [Image: blue_moon.png]

[Image: egg.png]
Optime | The Ruins (Feasting Hall) | Dated: May 21st; evening | cNPC: Grisha

Related to [SL] May Newspost.
The Arbiter nodded satisfactorily at his work. The fancy bow of a ribbon definitely helped make the package not look as bland as it had when it had been wrapped with twine. The large section of brown paper looked clean and crisp, and had a feel and look of perfection without an errant crease or wrinkle in it. The tag to mark its sender dangled off of a small chord that had the ribbon looped through it. The wrapping and subsequent bow was, perhaps, unnecessary given that it was already in a box, but, the present looked better with them than it had without.

It had been somewhat difficult to decide what to gift the soon-to-be married couple. After all, what did one get for a pair that practically had everything? In the end, Argive had decided on something, perhaps, a little more ordinary, but, was, hopefully, useful all the same. He’d traded for a large, fur blanket that could have fit two oversized wolves beneath it comfortably with room to spare. He’d been rather impressed with the quality himself. Despite being made from multiple animals, the color was beautifully uniform throughout. Even the seams themselves were nearly impossible to find with how well it’d been crafted together.

With the gift perfectly packaged, Argive gave himself one final look over. He’d worn nicer clothes out of respect for the evening’s events. The warm night meant that he’d chosen a sleeveless, elegant-looking tunic. It was sleek and slimming, and its tall collar with embroidered hemlock flowers made him look every bit of the upperclass noble that he was. Wide, leather bracelets with decorative designs pressed into them covered either wrist. A belt at his waist and a darker pair of pants completed his look for the evening.

Everything was in order, and it was high time he made his way to the reception.

After a promise to bring back some food for Wormwood, Argive departed from his home with his gift, and made his way to the Feasting Hall where the rest of the Kingdom was to gather. Along the way, he crossed paths with Grisha. Although he was no longer the man’s Sponsor, he was pleased to see that the Confidant had dressed appropriately for the event, and had even brought a gift of his own. Through a bit of small talk, Argive learned that Grisha had gone simple as well for his gift, claiming that he did not know the Mafiosi well enough to secure anything more personalized. He’d chosen to go with a selection of cured and exotically-seasoned meats, and had paired them with cheeses of varying flavors as well.

Together, they arrived at the Hall amongst a few other Salsolans. They dropped their gifts off, and then mingled with the Emissary and a few others as they waited for the guests of honor to make their grand appearance.

The arrival of the Mafiosi was announced not with a shout, but, rather, a hushing wave of silence. As the couple in white crossed to the head of the feasting table, Argive whispered to Grisha to cue the Confidant to find a seat amongst his peers. Everyone found their placement, and the Hall was reminded of the reason behind the evening’s grand feast; their leadership had taken each other in mateship. The Queen raised her drink in toast for the celebration to be had, and Argive was amongst the many that echoed her motion.

It would be a fine night, he was sure. And, judging from the food on the table, Wormwood would be as jealous as he always was about these Luperci events of theirs.

Argive Hemlock
— The Poisoner —
[Image: nEbQegAr_o.png]
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Avatar art by Kiri · Sig art by Despi
All their preparations had been finished the night before, and that left them the day to pass in leisure.

Casimir allowed Azalea the space for her rituals and grooming by taking the kids in the afternoon. He brought them to the lake where they bustled in the shallows under his watchful eye, snapping at minnows and leaping at him with muddy paws. For that reason, his own grooming came last, when they were washed clean and left to sleep in a fuzzy pile in the sun. In that tranquil moment, he realized that somewhere in the spree between the birth of his children and now, the season had slipped into a fledgling summer and began growing as they did. There was no better time than this, when the air grew hot in the day but broke apart in the long twilight, and the light lingered for hours beyond the sun’s apparent setting.

The children were too young for ornamentation, and so once they were brought home, they were brushed and - after much struggle to get them to leave their flowery anklets alone - ultimately left in a pragmatic bareness. Tearful complaints were forgotten the moment they were out the door, and the puppies trundled excitedly ahead on the path, little wriggling shapes against the amber twilight.

Thoroughly relaxed by the pace of the day, Casimir forgot himself. When his hand brushed against his wife's, he clasped it without hesitation and didn't let go, even as he realized what had happened.

The fantasies were all gone now, swept out with the crushed petals and pollen of spring. He looked at Azalea and saw the merged image of her—both wife and friend, a truth that could bear fruit if given the right light. As they entered the Hall and the braziers set the shadows into a dance, she appeared both regal and wild, her green eyes a powerful vector of her Eternity bloodline along the banners of their House. She was among family here, even if the wounds were slow to heal around the suture of their sham marriage.

Casimir alone wore the Soul emblem. Lyra had forgiven him enough to embroider the crest onto the chest of his pale blue tunic, though not enough to include a single Eternity motif. I'll consider it when your marriage is a real one, she had said.

She was among the congregation already, gowned in an austere black with white feathered motifs; her pale gloves were intricately constructed to match, yet for their delicate make, they lent themselves easily to her deft and precise motions. Shadowing her was the severe looking man with whom Casimir was only vaguely acquainted. He had been at her workshop the day his tunic was ready, cordial but distant—according to Lyra, he was an Onuban. Little else was shared. He'd said a peculiar thing when they met ('Ah, so there is another son,') but Casimir had brushed it off as some cultural incongruity, reserving judgments as long as possible.

He greeted them with a nod and went on to the table of gifts, where Lyra soon sprung upon him.

"Pity your uniform was ruined in the war. You wore that best, I think."

She flicked her gloved finger across the loose ties of his tunic and unraveled it with a tug. As she spoke, she began reassembling the knot with her usual meticulous care. "But I suppose, for the sake of celebration, I should say you look better than I expected. Hopefully you’ll look as refreshed for your own reception, if that ever happens." Her smile grew mean. "Love your wife yet?"

Casimir glanced around them; there were no ears turned their way, not with the Hall so loud with the hum of anticipatory excitement. The Mafiosi had yet to emerge from their ceremony, and servants were still bringing to the table dish after dish as they were finished. He shuffled the bag of gifts onto the table. "Don't you get tired..." he sighed, "...of being so miserable?"

Lyra paused. He could feel the emotion shifting behind the steel of her exterior, and though there was a part of him that dreaded its inevitable appearance, there was a much stronger part of him that wanted only to return to his family, fake or not.

Her brows quirked up, and she resumed whatever it was she was doing with his tunic. "As often as you do of your own insufferable loneliness. Lucky for me, my vice provides me with plenty of company, as that old adage goes. But that's quite rich coming from you, King of Melancholia."

Casimir removed the handsome scabbard from the bag and set it among the gifts. A caged bird on the table peered curiously at them. "Are you done?"

Lyra paused again, then took a step back, apparently as answer. Unsure what she’d done, he glanced down — to his surprise, she'd restrung his tunic's ties into a version of the Eternity knot.

"Oh, yes," she said, "We're done.”
(—) | NPCs: Children, Lyra
Mentions of children & Azalea with permission!
Their gift is a sword & scabbard for O'Riley and an ornate stone-carved hexagonal chest filled with witchy ritual items for Elphaba.
She left Casimir there with that stupid look of guilt on his face and plenty to think about, though the Light only knew if he could arrive at a conclusion without someone holding his hand. It wouldn’t be her anymore, that much was certain.

Lyra didn’t care one way or another how Casimir and his wife’s relationship played out, only that it kept them occupied long enough for other forces to work. Casimir was good for very little besides being fodder for war; as it turned out, this was any war, even one privately waged. With Azalea busy with the confusion of her husband’s affections and her children, her ambitions would be sidelined. She had Eden to thank for this inspiration.

Lyra settled herself at the table again and drank deeply from her goblet of wine. She felt the prickle of the priest’s icy stare on her face, and pointedly ignored it until she was done washing away the taste of her actions.

“Dying to make an observation?” She asked, drying her lip with a cloth.

Elizar gave a small shake of his head. “You’re aware already, I’m sure.”

“Humor me.”

“In Onuba, we say there are two types of people: fire or smoke. For the sake of diversion, I’ve been mulling over which one you are. I think I know now.”

Lyra eyed him with a hum in her throat. She didn’t care for categorizing people in such reductive ways (the complexity was what made categorizing fun), though she found it illuminating that he would entertain himself with childish sentiment. She supposed that this was all she allowed him; with his acceptance into their society, she had kept a tight collar on his activity. He was forbidden from leaving her workshop, or even her line of sight.

She’d told Clementine the same thing she’d told the Boss—not lies, exactly, but not the truth either. Lyra had been unsettled to realize that she needed time to work out the warring impulses in her heart.

While this went on, Elizar had resigned himself to this new version of captivity. He read the books she pulled for him from their library as she worked, and made notes in the journal he’d brought from his homeland. It seemed that this, a few writing implements, and the clothes on his back, were truly all that he’d brought.

There was a crackle of anticipation in the air as heads turned, and Lyra rose to better welcome the newly mated pair into the room.

The hush that fell over the congregation was nearly reverent, holy; Elphaba was resplendent in the firelight, and the Erilaz at her side was great and fearsome as his position—lineage commanded. Two mighty houses, finally united. They came together to the table with their hands still bound.

It was in watching the Boss’ expression that she suddenly recalled her childhood games; she and Clementine were sister Queens, beholden to no one and nothing but their will to rule, and Magnus and Baltasar were their loyal knights. As reality claimed both brother and dream in one soul-shattering moment, she couldn’t help but wonder if the same had happened for her aunt. Elphaba had waited longer than most to marry, almost as if she had been waiting for some other moment—any other moment—to wake her.

This was the notion to which they bowed their heads and raised their goblets in toast. All dreams died, only the Law survived.

Familia fortis elegit,” She raised her empty goblet and drank as if it were full.
(—) | NPCs: Elizar Moreno
:,) Lyra's gifts tbd lol
(827) | NPCs: | Optime |
Standing and letting the water—finally beginning to warm enough to be bearable—spill off her body, Azalea shook herself thoroughly before walking to the rocky shore. The warm midafternoon sun alone would not suffice to dry her in time to swap placed with Casimir. Squeezing the water from her curls carefully, she sighed, torn between the striking loneliness that came with the absense of a puppy’s babbling or Casimir’s company and her own blissful happiness at a moment entirely to herself. A moment to herself without worry, because Casimir was watching over the puppies, and nothing bad would happen so long as he was watching over them.

It took only a moment for Azalea to snap out of it and wipe herself down properly and briskly, the romance of the moment stolen as she became ever more aware of the time. Her fur clung to the wet, however, and even after her cloth was sopping wet her fur was still slightly damp. No matter. Wishing that she had perfume of any sort, Azalea put off the difficult task of gowning herself until the last moment in favor of combing her hair. Ever so patiently, she untangled the rats nests that had somehow emerged while she bathed.

”Was fine this morning. . .” The soft grumble went unheard by anyone, though it was not as if she had not complained of the matter before. Casimir had already lived through one rant about her hair’s ability to tangle itself up while she bathed. ”Doesn’t even matter if I comb it before I bathe.” The suggestion felt almost insulting, though Azalea combed her hair before bathing anyway, if only to prove a point.

By the time she returned home to dress herself, her fur was mostly dry even if her hair was still damp. Casimir was filthy but the puppies were shining and full of an energy that made Azalea beam. ”Can you help me with my dress?” She called out after her as she swept into the bedroom and lifted her favorite red gown up from where it lay spread out on their bed. Unbuttoning its many small bone buttons patiently before stepping into it, Azalea took a deep breath and sighed before carefully adjusting the undergown so that it would not be visible.

The feeling of Casimir’s hands ever so gently buttoning the dress up made Azalea’s chest feel strange. When he was finished she banished him, sending him off to do his own grooming. Upon his return, the sight of the Soul emblem on his tunic made a strange squirm of nervous energy run through her. Azalea wore nothing that would allow her to carry the Eternity family crest. They would attend the wedding together bearing only the Soul family crest.

She did not know how this made her feel. ”You look handsome.” A smile, to distract herself from her own thoughts. The puppies carried the Eternity name. ”Are we ready?”

Later, after she had separated from Casimir with the puppies so that he could speak to Lyra, she noticed the knot at his breast. A snort of laughter caught her by surprise as she relaxed. Harmony. Welcoming him as he sat beside them, Azalea attempted to control the puppies while they waited, unsure of how long they would have to. Many others had already arrived. ”Do you want to play ‘Guess My Animal’?” She proposed, her voice a whisper, having already lectured them all on the importance of sitting quiet and still. They would not last without entertainment, however.

Tails wagged and Azalea smiled, closing her eyes and thinking. ”Ooookay, I’ve got one! Can you guess?” All four of them put on different and yet strikingly similar expressions of concentration. ”Is it a bird?” Thistle asked, her eyes brightly curious. Smiling and biting her lip, Azalea shook her head quickly. ”Nope! It is not a bird.”

”Ummmmm. . . is it a sal-man?” Indigo asked, his own confusion evident, and Azalea frowned, not understanding for a moment. Recalling their last game, she perked up once more. ”A salamander?” Indigo smiled and nodded, repeating the word quietly under his breath. ”Nope, not a salamander, either.”

Their game was interrupted as a hush went through the room and Azalea gave the puppies a look before turning to watch the proceedings. The peacock feather mantle was the stuff of both beauty and legend. When Elphaba spoke, Azalea held her breath and imagined that the entire hall held it with her. This was untrue, for at the very least her children were noisily shifting about and whisper-arguing with one another. Once more she glared down at them, though this time with significantly more threat in her gaze, and effectively cast them to stone. To silent stone. At least for a moment.

Raising her goblet and repeating the words with the pack, Azalea drank, her fingers finding Casimir’s and grasping them beneath the table.
[Image: i4sQXcG.png]

Without proper means of acquisition just yet, Rosemary conjured resourceful solutions to her clothes problem: a funny combination of furs from storage, which she threw over herself and tied together like a bag. It was loose and cool and easy to wear, and this she believed made a proper outfit. The musty smell she could get used to.

She made it two steps out of her home that night before Monet swooped in like an owl, plucking this over-sized field mouse from her doorstep and planting her into something much more respectable.

When Rosemary arrived to the Feasting Hall, it was not as a feral gerbil, but as someone worthy of the designation of La Familia. Her hair was brushed to shining, plaited with lovely flowers (some of which had been there, and neither Monet nor Rosemary could get them unstuck), and her outfit unusually conservative—the halter collar hugged her throat and her well-endowed chest, but left her strong arms exposed. The ends flowed about her legs, trailing only in the back like wisps of curling sea foam. A venus born from the waves of history, except Rosemary had never looked this fancy before, and her gait revealed as much. She paced about the room less like the ethereal selkie and more like the bouncing, buoyant harbor seal hauling itself to a sunny spot.

Her gifts were likewise matchless for their inventiveness; no one would gift the Mafiosi a pair of his-and-hers wood pipes, but she had done just this. To her credit, the pipes had been perfected over a series of many, many failed attempts, and she had worked their house crests into the side with great care. They were handsome decoration, if nothing else.

Too jittery with excitement, she was among those standing when the Bride and Groom entered. A wind like magic blew down over their conversations and brought an immediate silence. Her mouth parted in awe; she didn't think there could be so many beautiful feathers in the world. There was still so much Rosemary did not yet know.

Not of the past, not of the thundering significance of this moment, nor her own witness to it.

She did not know how her mother had fought the Groom nearly to their mutual destruction, nor that her grandmother had drawn the Bride's father away from his Kingdom, his duty, his wife.

All she had were memories of a snowy bridge, melted now by the light of Salsolan braziers.

"Familia fortis elegit," she whispered, raising her goblet.
(—) | NPCs:
Mentions Monet with permission <3
The wedding and the customs of Salsola had been going on for a while, without her prior knowledge anyways.

This was her first event as a Family member, ranked upwards and brought into their circle. Though how was she to be included as this, without so much as a dress? It was made for her, given the pretty fabric that swirled around her ankles and the tightness around her neck. It fit like a glove, hugging her in all the right places. Although, perhaps a little too tight in showing off her assets, or what ones she did have.

A goblet was in her hand, as she watched, heard, listened and then moved to the back of the crowd. At some point Deirdra found her, lacing their fingers together, Dee was boisterous, flamboyant at times, yelling out the repeated mantra and Lexus, smiling at the pretty woman in a lavender dress and braided raven hair, before whispering the same.

"Familia fortis elegit." It was a time to be merry. And to drink. Indulge in the midst of the world of the snakes, yet, she felt so distracted and distant it wasnt even funny. Without finishing her drink, she leaned in to give her niece a hug, and said; "I'm headed home, have fun, okay?" And with that she meandered away.
The truth of the matter was Whisper was poorly prepared for events like these. She had mentioned as much to Velour and Tattersall, and at least one of them had let this information slip to their sister. Never one to overlook a chance to play dress-up, when Taffetta arrived on her doorstep in the days before the reception with a gaudy, colorful garment, Whisper had not known how to react. Nor had she been prepared for the bossy red-head to demand she try it on and stand still so adjustments could be made then and there. It had been an unbearable process, and one Whisper withstood only long enough for the apprentice seamstress to make some quick tacks before she demanded release. Even so, Taffy hadn't left immediately – she had made suggestions as to how Whisper should style her hair, and urged her to craft a cinch or bodice. No belts, Taffetta had insisted, and left in the same whirlwind fashion in which she had entered.

Though uncertain as to how best to make the sort of object Taffetta had described, Whisper did her best. She was proud of her leatherwork and though it was simple, thought the piece fit her well. It was smooth and supple, with lacing in the back. She had opted for extravagance and added fringe along the edges, a calling card for most of the goods she had begun to craft.

Much to her chagrin, Taffetta did return the day of the reception, and spent a good portion of the day following her around, speculating and complaining. Velour had not been capable of saving her, for once she returned from her patrol her sister launched into a new tirade and demanded both of them wash up immediately.

When they were done and waiting for their fur to dry, Whisper reluctantly allowed the sisters to brush out her long hair. She wanted nothing more than to braid it back up, but was convinced to wear a portion of it loose. While they prepared, the girls talked – or rather, Taffetta talked and allowed her sister and Whisper to interject every so often.

By nightfall, they were all dressed and prepared for the event. Even so, when Whisper walked into the feasting hall she was astounded by the sheer opulence of what she saw. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, she carried her gifts (a set of his-and-her saddlebags) to the table upon which other presents had been left like offerings.

She found her family shortly thereafter, and was glad for the excuse to get away from Taffetta's endless chattering. When the newlyweds arrived, she made her way to her seat. Elphaba's toast was brief, for which Whisper was glad.

The wolfdog added her loud voice to the assembled as their pack's words rang out.

[+ 4]

avatar by alaine | sig by despi
Character Wiki  | [Image: 80x15_songbird.png] | Player Wiki
They had made their decisions deliberately and delicately and with the utmost intention. Polished bone buttons and small, tarnished chains and pins – from their lapel, to their collar, and a ruffled ascot tucked into the waistcoat, Monet’s outfit was pulled together of straight, sharp angles that cut a severe silhouette.

They had intended to depart at least slightly early and assist in setting up things, basket of gifts in tow, when Rosemary had crossed their path, prompting the jester to double back in their own alarm. Whisking the young woman back to their quarters, they outfitted her with something far more befitting of a royal reception. Conservative – yet not stiflingly so.

This was a day for the bride and her groom. Flamboyancy could afford to find its way onto the backburner for now. They had even forgone their own garish face paint.

Once content (at least, as much as they could be) with a thorough brush-out and a proper outfit on young Rosemary, Monet had ushered them right back out the door, pausing to collect their basket of goods to venture back towards the feasting hall, bedecked as it was in thistle garlands and boughs a-plenty, the banners of established families awash in the amber flicker and glow of lanternlight. Directing their gifts – finer floral soaps they’d crafted, smoked venison, and wine. If rumors were to believed, there was something to be said of the delicacy of deer to be an aphrodisiac. Monet, for one, thought it was a load of hooey – but, food was food, and, if men were to be categorized and easy to read, it had seemed as fine a gift as any for the groom.

They had melded in quick with the crowd gathered before the wedding party, chatting easily when it came, and keeping a full goblet on hand, only to be caught off-guard as the Mafiosi made their grand appearances, their Queen bedecked in their very own handiwork, and they reigned in their smile to something tight and prideful. Hours – days, even – of needlework made reality to the point that their fingers had felt raw and aching still at the joints with the precision work and delicate material, all amounting to a heavy and resplendent cloak of verdant and shimmering eyes.

When the call had come for festivities, Monet allowed their voice to rise with the others, and sought to drink more than their fill.

OOC: --
A change had taken place inside of Aidan, it was subtle and without fanfare, but profound and irreversible, nonetheless.  For so long he’d been nothing more then an observer, separated from everything by a transparent barrier erected by a pup out of the need to survive.  Somehow though, a Luperci had found weaknesses in that barrier.  Aidan wasn’t sure it was love, not yet, but never before had he wished for someone to remain close or share in his life.  Turning, Aidan’s grey gaze fell on the Luperci beside him, who now shared his home.  Silas appeared thoughtful, as he so often did, and dressed in what finery he could muster.  Aidan by contrast wore nothing but the new knives he’d traded for.

Pack members were arrayed around, all waiting.  Costumes had been donned and a chance to display status, a concept Aidan understood.  However, much of the symbolism was lost upon him.  This world, a world of ritual of pomp and demonstration, was one Aidan still sat upon the edge of, awkward and ungainly amongst it all, though not self-consciously so.  The grey eyed male knew he carried the name of a house he was doubtless not worthy of, but it had been bestowed upon him, nevertheless.  The scent of blood, of dirt and unmistakable stink of a pierced bowel, that was the world Aidan understood.

Aidan placed a hand on Silas, avoiding the clothes, but rather wishing to feel the silent man.  He gave no explanation, and he did not speak, Aidan’s face, for once, making it clear he was deep in thought.
Tattersall had never worried much about feasts and festivals, though he liked the latter more. Last year had been a week of extravagant events: mock-battle, a play, treats and endless laughter. In the year since then Tate had gotten to experience what real war was, as the scar on his face proved. There was another one on his arm, but the sleeve of his shirt hid this away carefully. He imagined if his mother had been able to, she would have done the same to the line across his cheek. As it stood, the wounds would not be case so easily aside.

Still, he was used to them now. He couldn't see his face, after all, and generally played no mind to his shoulder unless it ached, which was not very often. While it had been a bloody wound, it had not severely injured him as he had initially feared. More to the point, he was young and recovered with an ease that surprised even himself. It had taken longer for his mind to heal, though with summer close, he could almost forget about the winter's war and all it had cost them.

Tonight was just another dinner. Oh it was certainly important, but not to a simple Henchman. No, he'd show up, socialize, and the next day he'd be back at his training and back on the trail or the wall. These day-to-day routines were what advanced his skill, and the better trained and more experienced he became, the better his chances of staying alive when danger rose. It was, after all, inevitable that such a thing would come to pass.

With his red shirt and leather vest, Tattersall cut the figure of a proper man now. He had elected for loose pants of a grayish color, and made an effort to ensure his fur was clean and well groomed. It had been far easier to style himself than it had been Morrow.

The sad fact of the matter was that his best friend and roomate, unable to keep himself from changing back to his native form, would be going on four legs. While not nearly as scandalous as some events, it was nevertheless an unfortunate situation. There would be talk, Tate was sure. How could there not be?

They managed to convince Mirte to make him a cape that fastened much like a horse-blanket, even though the elder seamstress had found the whole thing ridiculous. Tattersall had gone the extra length to ensure Morrow looked his best, and brushed out his short fur following their afternoon at the river. Then, with Tate reassuring the dog his presence would be even more noticeable if he did not come, the pair walked to the Ruins.

Despite his expectations, the Feasting Hall was indeed a sight to behold. Wowed by this, Tattersall found himself admiring the great mass of sights and smells. He spotted his family soon enough: Brocade looking roguish and like an old general, his mother in a striking green dress, Velour in red and Taffetta with what he could only imagine was at least three birds worth of feathers in her hair. The younger triplets where there too: a bow around each girl's neck, and a handsome kerchief around Tweed's scrawny neck. When they saw Morrow was also on four legs, they swarmed him.

“Did he really come like that?” Taffetta asked waspishly.

“Shut up, Taffy,” Tate snapped at her.

Their father had become distracted by another guest, and though she said nothing, Morgana watched her children with hawkish eyes. Luckily, Taffetta merely scoffed and went off to bother someone else, and Tate took the opportunity to make his way to his seat.

The bride and groom arrived not long after, and when the toast was complete, Tate dug into the appetizing food and sweet drinks spread before him.

[+ 6]
You got to go out and fall down and get up with everybody else.
Character Wiki  | [Image: 88x31_v2.png] | Player Wiki
Silas had made sure to arrive early to the Feasting Hall, something that would have been expected of him were he still a servant. Now he was a ranked member, so duties of a servant were not meant to be piled onto him. That certainly didn't stop him from continuing to come. Some habits were just too hard to break. At least in this way, he could help the servants with getting their work done sooner. He couldn't stay all the way to when the guests would arrive as he normally would however. There were still certain things that were expected of him now with his new freedom, no matter how uncomfortable they made him.

With enough time to spare, the silent man had made his way back to the tower that was their home. Aidan was likely already getting ready. There wasn't a doubt in his mind the man would need some more time to prepare, if only because such formal occasions were not high on either of their lists. Aidan was a warrior at heart, and with that came the little need to cover himself. The other didn't have much to his name. There was no way he was going to be able to get something different before the event, leaving him with his usual shirt and pants.

There had been a small bit of surprise when his gaze lifted, seeing that the Warden had nothing on him save for the new knives... but perhaps that was perfect for him. His flare came from his weaponry rather than anything more... material.

The two walked in relative silence with one another, both sets of eyes focused on the Hall coming ahead of them. Life was already springing up around them, though both of them still kept to themselves. Silas found his eyes trailing to their settings, the banners hanging along the walls, the flowers arranged as center pieces, where the servants were around them. They had all done well in the preparation. He hoped that the Boss and Erilaz would see good in their efforts.

Golden eyes moved to their hands as they connected. This was something new, at least in the sense of them being in public. Up to this point, had anyone even truly been aware of the care they shared for one another? Unlikely. Even so, it had been something that brought a smile across his face. Were there not so many people around, he would have planted a kiss on him. Instead, he took a brief moment to break from their grasp, grab each of them some wine, then returned to offer Aidan a goblet of his own. As the cries rang out around them, one hand held his drink up in silent cheer with the other returned to the Warden's hand.
(+400) | NPCs: N/A
Silas del Morte
[Image: fWoACZC.png]

Avatar art by Alaine · Sig art by Despi

The more Tate tried to reassure him, the less sure Morrow became. He did not doubt his best friend's sincerity in the effort - only his pragmatism, which was thoroughly biased by their comradely bond.

Mirte had been far less comforting, but a commission was barter nonetheless and she did not refuse them. As she had sized him for the coat, the red-furred woman - doggish in a way that might have connected them, were it not for his predicament - offered no calming platitudes. The furrow of her brow as she worked had said enough.

For all that, the coat was a handsome and well made thing. If only he had no need to wear it. His work with Yaga on meditation and breathing had already helped greatly - Secui was within his reach now, if he had long enough to prepare and was in the right headspace for the attempt - but most days it felt like it would take a miracle to fix whatever was broken inside of him. Yaga was a practitioner of the craft, but even she could not claim to be a miracle-worker.

Shame kept the hound awake all night, listening to his roommate's heavy breathing and the restless gutteral murmur of his troubled dreams.

By the time the sun was setting Morrow had resolved not to go countless times. Unfortunately Tattersall could be persuasive when he wanted to be - not in a cruel way, but his mother was a Revlis woman and the familial traits ran deep. Every argument was met with a robust counter. While it would indeed further his shame to make an appearance, his absence could bring greater wroth.

The witch queen of Salsola was temperamental, and there was no telling what she might take as a personal slight.

So they came, the soldier and the dog, one on two feet and one on four.

Tate's family were the first to greet them. Morrow was temporarily grateful for the children, who gave him the pretense of ignoring Taffetta's jibe and the pointed stares of those who noticed his arrival. Instinctively he dropped to a play-bow with the pups, who were delighted by his loose jowels and strange smooth fur, but the motion made the fancy coat Mirte had made go tight around his chest and throat. The tension was a stark reminder. Stiff-legged, Morrow excused himself from the bairn-swarm lest he become confused as one of them.

Trying to carry himself with a confidence he did not at all feel, the hound found his place at the long table. He thought about attempting to scramble up onto the wooden stool, but just then the queen and her formal consort arrived, and instead Morrow tucked his tail and slunk under the table, temporarily out of sight.

He did not reemerge until later, when the revelries were well underway, and most were too drunk to notice the unshifted walking among them.

The wedding meant little to the wilding woman. She did not understand the ceremony of it, the need to commune before the Salsolan people – to wave and glitter like undulations in the stars. Velour had dressed only because Taffetta had fussed for what felt like hours, pinning and curling the edges of her long dark hair. It was not an outfit that she would have chosen for such an occasion; one day, if she were to marry, she would seek to exchange words deep in the woods, their vows secret like unturned river stones.

She and Whisper had settled into a rhythm that she appreciated. It was gentle and tied to dawn, when Velour would creep out to complete a patrol and return with food.

Velour shot a look at her friend and offered a crooked grin, ignoring the way that Taffetta gasped and clapped her hands as the Bride and her new Mate finally entered the hall.

”See!?” She was whispering behind her clapping claws, ”Feathers are SO in.”

Her sister preened proudly, wiggling in her feathered dress so that the fronds bounced and jostled against her ruffles. One of her younger siblings made a face and attempted to snatch an errant feather to toss it high up into the air. They were grown now, with little left of their puppyish features. Soon they would shift, but for now they did their best not to wrestle one another beneath Tattersall and his friend Morrows feet.

She nudged her arm and grinned widely, ”- and Whisper looks nice.”

"Oh-" Velour was jostled from her thoughts, flicking her ears to the side as she glanced towards the pale Eternity, "Yeah. I guess you're-"

"Eeee! Look at that- do you think that they'll kiss?!" Someone offered Taffetta wine and she drank it with a ladylike curtsy before offering it to Velour.

The surface rippled to show a woman filled with uncertainty, a gold chain hanging heavy around her neck and leaves twisted into her hair.

(///) | NPCs: cNPC Taffetta!


The hulking silohuette emerged. Although the wavering yellow light from candles and lanterns was absorbed by his stygian fur, it was apparent that Wrath hadn't groomed himself before attending. He had also failed to dress.

Small twigs were entangled by knots of fur, and mud plastered his powerful thighs and buttocks. He strode into the celebrations on time and in Optime, but had little interest in peacocking. He was striking enough without clothes. He did, however, carry at his side the thick branch that had become his primary weapon. A heavy club forged by his own teeth, its tip dragging with a soft hiss on the grass below.

Of course, he stood alone, sponsorless now, and with no other ally in the pack. He watched the two leaders, their wrists bound, with lingering curiosity.

The scene spoke volumes, though it also served to form more questions in his mind. What did this mean for the future of the kingdom? Would there be any shift in Salsola's priorities?

But Wrath had priorities of his own, and eventually, his unwavering gaze scanned those that thronged the celebration. He saw her but was wise enough not to approach. He'd waited long enough to find her; he had procrastinated and deliberated over this decision for a long while. Another hour or two would change nothing.

Wrath blatantly surveyed her movements throughout the evening; even if she did meet his gaze, he did not look away. Finally, when Aani's ex-wife had finished a conversation with an opulent, though severe-looking woman, he approached on slow, lurching strides.


WC: 200+
[Image: body-2.png]

Hell is empty, and all the Devils are here...
The whole of this month had been building up to this moment. So many of those in the kingdom had been working hard on decorations, hunts, and outfits. She had been happy to offer some flowers for the servants to use to decorate center pieces, and there was a bubble of excitement in her to be meeting with her friend to get a dress for herself. It had been what prompted her to get something for Lexus. The girl worked so hard for her as well as her family. She should be able to have something nice for herself, and who better to send her to than Lyra?

Well... perhaps she should have sent the tan woman with a few warnings about what her friend was like. She made sure to apologize for that once Lexus had returned home that day.

The Cleric had spent much of her morning making sure everything was good to go, as well as making sure all her family was ready for the celebration. Since Deirdra and Lexus had been spending their time helping one another, something that brought a smile to her face. The two females had grown a bond with one another, further cementing the fact that she belonged to be part of this family.

Arius would probably want to spend time to himself. She wanted to be a part of his life, but she couldn't force herself into it. He would come around when he wanted to, she was sure of it. That just left her youngest children. She saw no reason to bar them from attending, though she would have to make sure some rules were in place while they were there. Being as small as they were, there was not much she could do about their appearance, but she could still dress them up.

With some spare pieces of cloth, she adorned each of her children with a collar, each one having a bow on them as well as a different flower for each of them. She did her best to position them so they wouldn't get in the way of the pups' muzzles. A soft smile crossed her muzzle as she stared at them, her heart filled with love.

Eden spent some time in her room, carefully slipping into the dress that had been made for her. It was so different compared to the ones she usually wore. The collar was so wide it had her shoulders showing, white covering most of it. Usually she had some kind of color on her body. There were carefully placed floral and other patterns near the collar, sleeves, and bottom. It flowed loosely around her body.
She felt so... free in it.

She could look at herself in the mirror and smile again.

When all of them were ready, she gathered those of the de le Ulrich household, minus Lexus who seemed to have headed out earlier than them, leaving the tower, and heading to the Feasting Hall. The Cleric's eyes lit up as the group had been joined by her sister and niece.

The family all stood together, Eden taking a brief moment to greet Lyra when they entered. She may not have had a goblet with her, probably not the best to be drinking anymore after what happened; but, that didn't stop her from raising her hand into the air when the call had rung out, "Familia fortis elegit."

Pink gaze turned to Lexus as she spoke to Deirdra, leaving the Cleric to place a hand on her, "Thank you for coming with us. Get some rest. We'll be home later." That out of the way, it was time to turn her attention to her youngest, "Alright you three, I want you to listen carefully. There's a lot of people here, so if you are going to be out, I want you to stay where me or your older sister can see you. Stick together. I don't want any of you wandering alone."

Three heads nodding eager was all she needed.
(+600) | NPCs: Deirdra, Syrus, Harlow, Iverness
Adel, let me know if there's anything I need to change. Mentions to Evelyn and Maja so they can be here.
Eden de le Ulrich
[Image: yfguJcT.png]

Avatar art by San · Sig art by Despi

Spartacus Ulrich
When will they realize,
I'll always reign.
The immortal question,
when will you learn your fucking lesson?

Eyes both seeing and not had been watching, ever waiting as he seemed to float on through his days. He had thought about her sometimes, but only when he had been bored of his other duties that his father had been pretty keen on keeping him busy with. While Till had been in and out of Salsola recently, he also seemed to have more than enough things for the Red Reaper to keep him busy. He and Till had also been doing training sessions with their ward, Dandy, so that he might not find himself in the situation as he once did within the clutches of the Vampires.

While he and Dandy did see differently on things, they had become somewhat friendly with each other since the younger male's arrival. Dandy had a charisma to him that Spartacus did not have, but he did recognize, and for some reason Sparta found himself wanting to learn more about him instead of blow him off as he would some of his other siblings who might have had better social skills than he did. The two had become close enough to talk at length of their interests with one another, and Spartacus had not been entirely okay with how close he had become with the ward, and when he had come to that realization, he already started to pull away. This shift in their relationship had not been unseen by the younger male, but Dandy had been well enough adjusted to understand that others needed space. The youth was quiet and left the elder brother alone for the most part, but it was this day that Spartacus would seek out the ward . Once he had found the boy outside with a cigarette dangling from his lips, Spartacus approached the other and took the burning leaf from the ward. It was brought to his own lips as his eyes of both seeing and unseeing turned to rest on the younger male with eyes that were astonishingly close to his own father's and some of his brother's. 

"Does Till know that you smoke?" he asked, returning the cigarette back to the younger ward. "He might, if he cares then he hasn't said anything." the younger male spoke, having smoked for some time now, and while he did not have a really bad habit, the fact that it was so easily accessible to him again had made him become a bit more interested in growing the herb and being able to harvest and smoke it. "Till would be more than happy to know if you would tend the garden. Since Coaxoch's departure, there has been a bit of lacking at their garden. " Sparta mentioned, wondering if the ward would be more likely to move out of the Ulrich home if he was interested in gardening and herbs. "Tryin to get rid of meh'?" he spoke with a smile that grew on his face after he had pulled smoke from his cigarette and then passed it to the Red Reaper. There was a chuckle that was forced from the breast of the smaller male, while Spartacus missed the humor in it and instead, his eyes narrowed on the ward. "I would have already done so if I wanted to." the statement was delivered dry, and it almost sounded like a lightly veiled threat, but Dandy was already used to the incompetence of the male's interactions with others, so he shrugged it off and continued to puff on his cigarette until it ran close to his fingers. Spartacus moved away from the ward but motioned with his hand to the other for him to follow when he was finished.

Spartacus still would help the youth get clothed for the first Royal Wedding Reception that he would attend as a member of the Ulrich household.  Spartacus too, was new to having to attend such an important wedding. Together the man and boy got dressed in clothing that their father had spared no expense in getting for them for special occasions such as this. The tailor had studied the clothing closely in the weeks coming up to the wedding, and while he had not wanted to tamper with some of the garments, he couldn't help it. Spartacus had not allowed the younger tailor to mess with his own clothing though, and he might come to regret if it he knew how much better the youth could have made his garments. Spartacus dressed himself in the his house's rich reds and blacks in the form of a kilt that was not unlike his original one, a cuffed shirt, vest, and Ulrich branded shoulder mantle. The ward had come to the other suddenly as Sparta struggled with tying his own tie, fumbling with his fingers around the silken cloth, and oly giving way to the cream colored fingers of the younger male. Sparta's tall ears turned back and sat back on his black crown as the heat had come to his face. He looked down at Dandy with his bright ruby colored eye as he helped tie the tie and he felt himself swallow hard.

He didn't know why he had gotten so nervous, but he felt his chest still as his breath lingered within it. "Relax, I'm not going to hurt ya'." Dandy spoke as he let his bright eyes look over the stiff body of the Red Reaper. They both were confused and Dandy's hands lingered on the Confidant's chest as his eyes turned up to his throat and then to his eyes. "Thanks.." Sparta spoke before he suddenly pulled away and Dandy released his grip from Sparta's tie. Spartacus looked over the other male, decided that he looked fine and needed no help from him, so he moved downstairs and then outside to get their horses ready.

Once their horses had been readied for the ride to the Feasting Hall, Dandy had come from the home and he re-approached Sparta once more. Sparta's tail flicked lightly at the approach and his ears turned back on his head once again. Sparta turned his gaze from the Ward and he mounted his horse, Bayek, and he turned his draft horse to be facing Dandy and his horse.  "Will the Henchman be joining us?" asked Dandy but was greeted with an immediate shake of his head.

"Till will be following shortly. He likely has some other business to attend to before the reception. " Spartacus spoke before he turned his horse again and allowed the beast to ride off towards the direction of the Feasting hall. Dandy allowed his horse to also follow behind them.

Spartacus and Dandy had arrived at the Reception but were not late. Sparta's gaze looked around the room, and once he found what he was looking for, he turned away and found a seat amongst the other Confidants. Sparta and Dandy sat pretty close together and their eyes were glued to the end of the Hall as everyone awaited the Mafiosi, and once they had finally come to their head, the Spider Queen finally begun to speak.

She announced the joining of her house to Eternity, and called their words, and they both had raised their glasses and chanted the words : "Familia fortis elegit!"
"Sparts speech", "Dandy speech"

OOC: this is a nothing post, just ignore me. Dandy is present with Spartacus this time.
Word Count: 1223
Table Code by Silverfrost | Art by Rott-gutt@DA
Note: Spartacus is blinded in his right eye as of June 2020. His eye appears to be a cloudy silver-ish color.
Like Wildfire - It starts in my chest - The silence grows louder - Ringing out in my head

OOC: stuff here

The sight of the broken child was a rarity for this event. Arius truly didn't want to turn up; the idea of being in a crowd of people again, people he'd seen cry out for his mother's head to roll and for him to watch, made him feel sick. He'd lost so much sleep just thinking about their eyes, their faces, looking at him and remembering how broken he was. How his begs for a mother who didn't love him would prove just how little Arius knew about being normal, knowing love. A wedding was not the place for him, yet he had to go, for the sake of keeping up at least some appearances. 

Finding clothing proved difficult; picking an outfit that his mother had once gotten for him was out of the question, so Arius wore only the minimum of items. A plain tunic and short pants, dull colours to help him bleed into the background of an event he didn't feel at all welcome to. Others turned up in waves and Arius simply slipped into one of them, trying to hunch forward his tall frame to seem harder to spot, his glazed eyes keeping to the ground to avoid any sort of eye contact. Others were looking at him though, Arius could feel the skin on his neck flare, making him clench his fists to avoid scratching himself bloody at a public ceremony. Taking some breaths, Arius found his dark corner and remained there, daring to look up if only to try and spot his family. 

Deidra was there, then Lexus and then Eden and his younger siblings. All those the boy lived with, yet felt like he barely knew, especially now he'd become so distant from them. A void shattered between them, created in the blood spilt from their dead mother. Arius looked to his siblings, wanting to go to them for a moment, trusting that they'd not upset him. But then the shadow, the hulking form of Wrath approached Eden, and Arius shrunk himself down in his chair and kept to himself. Celebration began, others mingled and enjoyed themselves, yet the isolated child remained to his corner and his misery. Too afraid of the world around him to try and fit in.

[Image: xsGMFsD.png]

Mom sure liked to teach Indigo and his littermates about the world. He felt she was the smartest being in the universe, though he knew Boss Elphaba Revlis was supposedly ruler of Salsola. Of course, he did not know much. Skadi was quick to remind him of this whenever he expressed such thoughts. Still, he was glad their amazing mom and dad took them places and showed them things. He wanted to be better at talking and writing and reading, but he was getting there.

He gazed around at the surroundings of the wedding reception, not entirely comprehending where he was. The others were likely squirming away from Azalea now, but Indigo was just lost in his head again... That is, until their mother engaged them in a game. His head snapped to attention.

"Do you want to play 'Guess My Animal'?" she whispered.

Indigo wagged his tail with excitement, thoroughly enthused even when her eyes were closed in concentration. Thistle made the first guess, narrowing the answer down to things that were not birds. Indigo would make the second one, hoping the answer would be the same as last time. It was possible.

"Umm... Is it a sal-man?" Indigo inquired. His head cocked to the side and a fore-paw lifted to show how unsure he felt.

"A salamander?"

He felt a little silly for not getting it right, but he was still learning. That was what mama said. Utterly focused, he lowered his head and whispered to himself.

"Salamander." He wanted to remember it and look smarter.

"Nope, not a salamander either."


He should have known. Why would it be the same answer? It was different every time! He felt frustrated, but everything went quiet suddenly. The Boss spoke, so he sat quietly and patiently like mom taught them to - until Skadi elbowed him.

"Ow!" he squeaked.

The others were saying something in whispers to each other, but he did not hear before Azalea glared at them all. He cowered under her eyes, his own gaze shifting to the ground.

"F-family forty ee-legit!" He desperately tried to chant along with everyone else, but it came out all jumbled.

Across the way, he spotted his grandfather, Grievous Eternity. Indigo stared at him openly, obviously fascinated by him. He was so admirable to Indigo. He thought Casimir and Azalea were the best, but he also really saw his grandfather as a hero. He stuck a small arm out and waved excitedly at him. 

"Grampa! Izzat grampa, mom? Is he coming to see me soon?" He made shining, begging eyes at her now.
He was.

Amos just was. His existence was merely that. There was not really anything to look forward to, and he behaved as any proper servant should. He listened, and he obeyed, all because he was saved. How long ago was it? It felt longer than reality, and he knew that, but the stifling years he spent as a servant to Till Van Ulrich-Lykoi allowed the sun to set on his youthful prime. Six years old. In four he’d be in danger of old age taking him. His teeth were dull, beginning to yellow. He wondered when he’d really start to notice the grey fur begin to pepper his face. It would need to be around his brown eye, as the rest of his fur around his face was too light for age to show itself.

Unlike his master who had all but lost the vibrance of youth, at least in his hair. The bard combed through it carefully, allowing the teeth to glide through. At the slightest hint of a snag, the man would stop. He did not want Till to storm with anger at him. Amos was cautious with any catch of hair, finding the best way to part the strands. He’d help his master look his best, like he did for any and all occasions. Packwide or otherwise. Vain was his master, and vain Amos once was. Now he didn’t really care.

He cared about so little now. Sometimes there was someone or something to stir emotions inside him. Usually it came in the form of a young woman, untouched by the thorny grasp of Salsola, or one who stood at the same level that he did. A fellow servant suffering caused a brighter flame to burn within him than his own predicament. He knew he wouldn’t get out, save for maybe time, if his master cared to free him anyways.

Fine threads donned, his boy set off before them, ready before his father. He had tried to love Spartacus, perhaps in more than one way, but the lad had chased and bitten away that possibility. Amos didn’t bother to pursue Spartacus anymore, only watching him should Till ask. He didn’t even bother treating the newcomer as a friend, denying himself any chance of growing attached to the young man. Why even consider it? Amos was a servant, barely a person.

Barely a person, dressed up well, spiffied up. Naturally handsome, but he held himself in such a subdued way. He did not shine among the others, and why should he? He did not matter, and he knew it. If he were to tragically die, he doubted anyone would pay much heed to it. Till would be upset, obviously, but not because Amos died, no he would be angry that he lost a great servant. Spartacus would probably laugh, and the other sons really had no need to care. The most he’d get out of Salsola would be a “What happened?” and an “Oh that’s awful, well I’m off now, have a good day Henchman!”

He was there to serve Till, and nothing else. It hurt, so much of him wanted it to be different, but could it be? Could it ever be? Was it worth it to even have any inkling of hope of freedom? Right now, he felt it was best to just accept his current reality. The wedding was just one more thing to polish the well-worn river stone that was Till. He was forced to stand at his beck and call, to obey any command.

The bible told him to be happy for his situation, but would he even go to heaven? Perhaps he had already died, and his stent in chains was his eternal punishment.
WC: 267

Deirdra would lie and lie until the spirits struck her down for her sins, but when no one was looking she allowed herself this one moment of pure truth: Deirdra de le Ulrich loved weddings. She loved getting dressed up and prettified and going out to dance. She often hid this part of herself behind a prim smile, but alone in her room there was no one to mask for.

Though Deirdra had no mirror, she could look down at herself in her prettiest lilac dress. She could twirl and twirl until her thick braid threatened to leave bruise on her slender body. But soon, Eden called for her to come down and it was time to return to reality.

"I'm ready!" The little family unit, almost whole once more, travelled as one to the great festivities. Eden as their matriarch, Deirdra at her side with the other siblings in tow. With a wedding hanging on the air, it was easy for Dee to forget the weights that had settled on her shoulders after her other mother's exile.

The wedding was everything that Dee had hoped for and more. She found herself exuberant in this beautiful display of love - part of her understood that the politics were more complicated than that, but she could pretend, right? Deirdra intertwined her fingers with Lexus's, calling out the mantra with pride, "Familia fortis elegit!"

Eventually, Lexus departed for home. Deirdra stole the remnants of her wine for herself and set off to have fun at the ball. There was food to eat and clothing to see and children to entertain.

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