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Oru
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June 18th, 2015, 6:06 pm #31

Shara gently nudged Jade, and she took a deep breath. She tried to remember everything Shara told her - DOn't let anyone see your face yet, keep the cloak closed until your wing is healed (the thrill of the idea of her wing no longerhurting made all of this almost worth it!) Bow to the Sultan and to Magus Dima, remain still until Dima heals you....

She moved ahead, the cloak swishing around her ankles, and cleverly concealing her ensemble by crafty design. Jade had to give it to Mid'gha, she knew exactly what she was doing and was a master of her trade. When she cleared the cyprus cove, she heard the nearest people gasp in delight. For though she was covered, her wings were not. The left one was tucked in close, but the right one ruffled just out of habbit - she didn't like enclosed spaces. She was lucky her nerves had held this long.

She felt the tiny golden chain put up little resistance to her movements and knew the other women were behind her. It was quite the spectacle, showing her as both prisoner and worthy of chains. She supposed that was a good thing.

Jade could just see the path laid out before her. Shara had been clear as to where she was to go and she followedit to the letter, fearing even to look up. Would the Sultan be offendedif someone else saw her face first? What would he do? Would he be angry? Would there be bloodshed? Her imagination took off without her, leaving her plodding as gracefully as she could to stop just before the Sultan. Shara tugged gently on her chain to give her the hint.

Jade dipped demurely in the cloak at the Sultan, just as Shara had shown her and then remained so with her head bowed. Her heart was pounding so hard she was convinced everyone could hear it.

Raka watched the crowd turn their attention to the other cyprus alcove as Jade emerged, followed by three women superflusouly carrying a golden length of chain. He overheard the quick intakes of surprised breath from the nobles closest and sighed inwardly. He'd been dismissed by the Sultan when Dima made his announcement, and now he and Walker stood to the Right, just past Dima on the lower section of the dias.

Jacintha stood just on the other side of the dias, and watched with absolutely no hint of being impressed. So what. It was a girl with wings. Jacintha was a warrior in white. This was too easy. She cast a glance at Raka, who watched with the usual emotionless detachment.

The Sultan rose but did not approach. "This is indeed impressive, Magus - but it seems as if this bird will not fly! See her wing, so?" He cast Dima a smile, his queue to begin. He practically vibrated with excitement.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 18th, 2015, 7:37 pm #32

Walker watched Jade emerge, he held his breath watching her move through the crowd like he had moments ago. They kept her covered up with an attendant holding her chain. The clear reminder that they were nothing more than possessions. He should've slain the Sultan. She was now on the dais between Dima and the Sultan.

Dima: A broken wing? Then she truly came from on high but this is a small matter. Allow me.

The magus turned her to face him and raised her head by placing a finger under her chin and pushing up. He slipped his hands into her hood and down her neck to her wing. Almost embracing her, he closed his eyes and started muttering in an old language. The rings of his gauntlet warmed and it spread out into Jade's wing. The warmth began knitting and setting, regenerating and repairing.

Dima: drop the chain.

He barked. Then moved his hands to her cheeks but looked at her like a man would look at an animal before slaughtering it for meat. He stepped away from her and lifted the chain in his hands and held it up for the crowd. He whispered so no one could hear him, not even those right beside, but everyone watched his lips move and then the chain twitched. The links rattled as they shook and the loose end at Shara's feet rose up like a cobra, turned and looked toward the magus then slithered out quickly toward e Sultan. It rose up to eye level with him then dropped limp to the ground. The Sultan's wives shrieked and then giggled and started laughing. Then the chain snapped up and a link wrapped around the Sultan's wrist. His wives fell back in surprised fear.

Dima squeezed the chain in his hands then yanked and e metal links evaporated into dust leaving an anklet on Jade and a bracelet on the Sultan.

Dima: Behold! The angel of the sky!

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Oru
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June 18th, 2015, 8:02 pm #33

When Dima encircled her, Jade tried her hardest not to flinch away. She did, however, hold her breath. But when the healingmagic began to spread through her, she let out a surprised gasp despite herself. She kept telling herself that maybe there was something good In Dima because he could wield this magic - but oh how he was looking at her made her sick.

The display with the chain had her heart pounding, and she could see by the faces of the nobles around her that they too were both delighted and terrified. The Sultan admired the gold bracelet with satisfaction. She could feel the weight on her ankle, light as a feather but there none the less.

A gentle tug on the back end of her cloak told her that Shara had just given the signal for the revealing. She felt color rising preemptively in her cheeks. She slowly let her wings ruffle, not fully unfurled yet, but OH how they wanted to soar!

Ryvena Guide me, here we go....

Jade lifted and dropped the hood as instructed. Her hair was in itself an impressive piece of art - bergundy waves pulled back with gold pins from her face and twirled in braids and ringlets to the back of her head, where it was dotted with golden flowers no bigger then her thumbnail. Pearls were threaded with thin gold wire to accent the voluptuous layers and waves of it as it spilled from the hood.

Taking a deep breath, Jade unclasped the indicated buckle on the cloak. A tie fell away, dropping the back panel of the cloak between her wings, and as she moved her hand away the rest of the cloak fell easily around her. What it revealed was a vision.

The crowd held a collective breath in her wake. Stunning would be too mild a word. For certainly, everyone seemed stunned - even Jacintha didn't recognize the beauty before her at first, from that dirty, broken little pigeon they collected. But her skin shone with the faint gleam of scented oils, light jasmine and chamomile. Her hair was brilliant, road dust and sand all but a distant memory. And her face, painted around the eyes in a deep crimson to a point by her temples, accented by a sea-shell pearescent white closest to her nose and on the underside of her eyes. The green there popped all the more against such a drastic backdrop. The elegance of her cheekbones and jawline were very very finely painted with rouge to be more evident, and the overall effect was breathtaking.

Yes, Breathtaking. That was a better word. The crowd had to breathe to be able to pass the face and move on to the rest of her. For Mid'gha had outdone herself this time. (She noted with satisfaction fromt he sidelines.)

Jade's shoulders were bare, with rings of very thin white silk cuffed just past her shoulder, bound to the rest of the dress with gold threading and lace. The cut of the dress was low - uncomfortably low for Jade - but it was tempered by a swath of that same thin white silk over top, giving her the illusion of having been wrapped in silk, tempting the eye with barely hidden glimpses. The gold threading pulled from the sleeves to wrap around her middle, allowing for the shapeliness of the girl to be evident. The remaining white silk trailed to the floor in front and behind of her.

Jade wore comfortable undergarments that could thankfully NOT be seen, but above them was a pair of billowing, nearly-translucent gold silk that acted like pants, cinched at her ankles with white ribbons. It revealed much of her legs, so Jade tried not to think about it. There were several other layers of white silk wrapped about her, cutting off at angles to fall upon the floor. They were all trimmed in gold thread, making her gleam. To set it all off, there was a thin, (almost as thin as a few strands of yarn,) sash around her waist of jade-green. The ends dangled down to the floor just behind her, each sporting a tinkling gold bell. She had a pair of long, criss-crossed gold armlets, one for each hand and forearm, and she wore thin gold sandals.

The other side of each sleeve wrapped around the back of her only once above her wings and then rejoined the front of her dress. The ends of the corset linked up again in the back as well, just above her coccyx, again a bit low for the shy Jade. But that left the space between her wings was entirely free and bare, and with them now being free, she spread them wide to a colelctive gasp from the nobility, flashing the varrying shades of bergundy, crimson, scarlet, Sanguine, fire and merlot to them, face turned up towards the sky.

The Sultan's eyes widened in wonderment. "Fly for us!" He breathed.

Jade needed no further convincing. Witha mighty push of her wings, the breeze carrying with it her light perfume, she pulled herself off of the ground and into the air, a smile unwillingly plastered onto her face. Fr how could someone not smile when flying?

Raka felt his mouth drop open and had absolutely no way of controlling it. His eyes went wide and before he realized it he was staring at her. The Pigeon. The ratty little girl with wings. The... young woman.. with... fiery wings... with.... that dress...

Hoping no one noticed he clamped his mouth shut - but he couldn't stop watching her. It was like... something in his heart broke a little to see such beauty.

But... Jacintha did see. And she clenched her hands into fists so tight that her fingernails bit into the flesh of her palms.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 19th, 2015, 1:44 pm #34

When Jade dropped her cloak and spread her wings, Walker felt like he was in another place taking court with Angels. She was so beautiful it made him forget that they were prisoners. With her wing healed she was able to put them on full display and reveal their majesty to all. The crowd was completely silent, caught up in the awe of Jade's beauty. When the Sultan asked her to fly it was clearly heard by everyone. though he spoke in a soft voice.

Fiora watched Jade for a moment then turned her attention on Raka and WAlker. Both fools were jaw dropped looking at the. It'd woman wi her wings. Even Fiora admitted that she found her beautiful but it was a passing observation. Nothing would distract her from her plans and from her Jacintha.

Dima was impressed with Mid'gha's work. The bird woman looked visibly appealing and had the desired effect on the Sultan. The fat sovereign's look of glee was all Dima needed to know he had the man's favour again for years likely. Excellent.

Dima: You can fly, but know that your anklet will not let you escape us. If you feel a tingle, I recommend you return or you'll soon find yourself falling on your head again.

He whispered a warning to her.
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Oru
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June 19th, 2015, 2:08 pm #35

Jade took careful note of Dima's warning, knowing that it was no bluff, and not wanting to push her luck. But oh, how it felt to fly again! The trails of white silk fluttered behind her like kite-tails glimmering with gold thread. She went as high as she dared until it tingled then dropped back down, folding her wings in and spinning. Before she was even half way back to the ground she snapped her wings open again and caught the air, and she let it buffer her as she swooped around, testing the limits of her range. She seemed to have a relatively wide range. She didn't want to leave sight of the preening Sultan, so there were times she could have gone further. What she assumed was that she could not leave the Palace grounds. She would attempt to walk about later but now - she flew.

It was all she could do not to hoot and holler like a tomboy. When Jade heard the wildness of cheering and applause, she carefully wheeled back, gliding in low over their heads and touching down before the Sultan and dipping into a low bow.

The Sultan clapped several times in abject awe and approached. He lifted her chin with a stubby finger and gave her what she interpreted as a warm smile. She smiled back at him. He let her chin drop. "Magus, your visions and prophecy serve my Kingdom well, for you have certainly brought an angel into our midst." He took a breath and the crowd silenced for his line of verse. "Mother sun and Father moon/ whose grace ignites our hearts/ brought forth an angel of wind and wine/ to bless our lives with her grace.'" Another round of polite applause.

Jade felt her cheeks flushing and she cast her eyes over to the only other familiar faces that didn't terrify her - Walker and Raka. She smiled shyly. She hoped she did all right.. She couldn't see Shara dabbing proud tears from her eyes, and she couldn't see Mid'gha's knowing smile from where she was.

Raka watched her fly about and for a brief second wondered how his people could be so hateful and angry as to hate the Jamata. SO what if their Goddess was different? They could FLY of course they would have a different Goddess. Realizing he was staring again, he ripped his eyes away from the sky and plastered them on the ground ahead.

Aries kicked around in his skull, a strange sort of elation from the stone. Envy maybe? Maybe Aries felt joy at seeing beauty. Maybe Aries wanted to destroy it. He glanced at his wrist and knew then that there were many things he did not understand about his stone - and maybe that was a reason why he had not fulfilled his full potential with it.

Raka glanced across at Jacintha. He felt her smoldering gaze for a second before she looked away with indifference. Yes. He would go see her tonight. If anything to get that image out of his head -

Raka had just decided that when Jade landed in front of them. And then of all things she looked in their direction and smiled. She smiled. Pigeon. Stupid Pigeon. Is this fun for her? Does she know what has happened to her? That she'll never leave this place? That her days will be spent in a cage? Raka angrily snatched a stemmed glass from the tray of a serving girl and downed it, looking pointedly away from Jade.

"Stupid Pigeon." He muttered barely a whisper under his breath.

The Sultan clapped his hands with much authority, and food and drink started materializing around the gardens in attractive displays of cookery and cuisine. Things that almost looked too pretty to eat also smelled like bits of divinity. "And now to celebrate My Magus' success and the reception of his delightful gifts, I invite you all to be guests in my house! Eat! Drink! Be welcome to Nabil!"

Servants started appearing and dissapearing through the cyprus alleyways and came and went with food or empty plates - nothing went unfilled. And soon enough Raka was on drink number three without even thinking.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 19th, 2015, 6:35 pm #36

Jade in full flight was a splendour to Walker's eyes but the beauty was marred by the twinkle of the golden anklet. He ground his teeth and felt the anger but took hold and directed it, dispersed it and focused. Scorpio pulsed with the anger and as it was levelled, Scorpio settled into a hum that persisted through the entire night.

As the Sultan declared supper Walker hoped for a chance to get close to Jade but they were instantly separated by crowds of nobles rushing to greet them. Unfortunately the stinky one Raka had warned him about was front and center asking him about his homeland. He managed to keep his answers vague but couldn't slip away. He admired Raka's angry demeanour all the more as he watched Aries troddle off on his own with a drink in hand.

As the food was passed around, Fiora mingled with the crowd, dancing from one group to the next. She smiled and laughed, kissed cheeks and touched arms and the nobles loved her. She did not share their sentiment, she was hunting and had finally found the perfect prey. He was a young nobleman from a northern land. Hadn't yet learned to abandon his heavy fabrics for silks that could breathe in the hot air. His hair was cut, trimmed and cropped in a clean fashion but had a length down to his shoulders. Jacintha would like that. He stood amongst his family with a puffed out chest and wore a broad sword at his hip, he fancied himself a fighter. Fiora could smell the bluster all over him. It only took a few shared words before she determined he believed men were meant to do the fighting and women were meant to do the birthing. Jacintha would get off on crushing his spirit after he got boring. His body shape was likeable with his athletic build and height.

Fiora: I'm sorry, sir Bloomfield, I just had a wonderful idea. You should come and meet my sister, the general Jacintha. She often jokes about no strong men in the desert, she may find you refreshing.

She winked after the last word and took his hand in hers, slipping it onto her hip as she led him away to find Jacintha on the dais.

Now that the show was over, Dima had to deal with the politics. At least he'd get to eat. That was one thing he enjoyed about the Sultan's festivities, the food was always amazing. There were countless fowl dishes, roasted pig, beef and goat. At their main table was raw fish prepared in lemon juice with rice. The Sultan's favourites or best paid sat at the main table with him and his wives. with Jacintha as a general, he was able to keep her beside him if he needed her. Fiora was a viper in full camouflage among the crowd.

It would be a good night.
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Oru
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June 19th, 2015, 6:58 pm #37

Jade was immediately swamped by people - all of whom she had no idea how to talk to. Shara came to her rescue, taking her arm and bobbing her head submissively as she was threaded through the crowd to a simple marble bench. The other serving girls were there, adn theyhad several dishes of food just for her. Despite herself she ate rather well - trying so very hard to be dainty. An encouraging wink from Shara helped her get through the evening.

Shara also helped her avoid conversation with men who eyed her like she was an entre. Jade kept scanning the crowd for someone she knew but the men were gone in the midst of it, and she was alone in her corner surrounded by admirers and serving girls. She was well within sight of the Royal Table,a nd she saw several beautiful women around the Sultan (Shara told her they were his wives) who gave her strange looks.

Raka threaded his way through the crowd, and people didn't bother him. When he made it to JAcintha's side he didn't really know what to say. So he stood there until she noticed.

Jacintha turned to looka t Raka with a stoic expression. "Crow put on a good show."

Raka scoffed, looking anywhere but at her face. 'Pigeon. Rat with wings."

Jacintha was quiet for a second, and the Aries stone seemed to tremble. Raka spared her a glance and saw an unabashed and seething pool of anger just beneath her dark eyes. He quirked an eyebrow. 'Jealous?" He muttered. He realized his mistake as soon as the word slithered from his lips. He downed the rest of his drink and quickly added, feeling too short in her presense suddenly, "I was thinking. About going for a walk tonight." He caughther eye. Thats what she used to tell him when she wanted his affections.

JAcintha only laughed and turned her back on him, spreading her arms to the approaching Fiora. To him, she said, "Well, have fun on your walk."

Raka glowered at her and looked over to Fiora and the big guy.

I could take him.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 19th, 2015, 7:27 pm #38

Fiora swept in with her blond north man on her arm and directed him in a dance like shift of her arms and hips over to Jacintha.

Fiora: My dearest sister, please meet sir Bloomfield. Maybe you can help me convince him to take some of his clothes off.

Then she tittered and the noble flashed her a shocked but flirty expression.

Fiora: I meant because your clothes aren't suited to our temperatures in the desert.

She took great pleasure watching Raka slink away like a beaten dog. And the joy on her sister's face when she turned her back on him was pure ecstasy. The foolish stone Wielder had more torment to come and Fiora decided the bitch with the wings needed to be put in her place before her ego took flight. The shadowy one would serve well...and she might get to work out certain fantasies that have crept about since seeing him fight Cancer.

Walker was al out completely oblivious to Fiora other than her being on the wrong team. When he saw his first hole in the barrage of nobles he took his way out and hid among the cypresses. The press of people, body heat, odours and voices was becoming too much for him and found it very important to take in some fresh air. While looking up into the darkening sky he imagined himself gliding by cloak along with Jade as she soared through the clouds and over the lands until there was nothing but sand or sea.
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Oru
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June 19th, 2015, 7:48 pm #39

Raka snatched another glass from a server's tray and drank it without looking at what it was. He wasn't sure if it was a Tanjuri curse, or from wielding Aries, but it always took so much more to elicit a drunken stupor for Raka. It was then he glanced around for Walker, and was irritated to see that he was no where to be seen. He was about to march off and look for him when a whole gaggle of rather ballzy court women (or wives of courtiers, that is,) swept over to him, reaching out to touch his face. He swooped out of the way with a snarl and they giggled behind his back as he again moved through the Gardens. His left eyebrow twitched as he searched for an alcove.

Mid'gha cleared her throat behind Walker and smiled over. She gently tugged at a loose string in his ensemble and twirled it in her finges, letting it ball up and drop to the floor. "I am most impressed by your skills, Master Shadow, and if my intuition serves, the Sultan too, delighted in your performances." She bowed deeply at him.

"Forgive me, I often seek solace in these quiet places. There are several ringing the gardens. One such with a bench just across the way sits an angel." She smield fondly, peeking past him into the dance floor. "If you will excuse me Master Shadow. It would seem you have many admirers to night, and I would not wish to take your time." She bobbed into another bow, and slipped out into the crowd, dissapearing with a servant's ease.

Jacintha immediately took the man's other arm and leaned in heavily, looking him almost square int he eyes. She felt him balk in surprise at her height - it was always a surprise to these types of men. She cast Fiora a sly sidelong glance, telling her sister that she had chosen well. In her deep throaty voice, she said, "If he would indulge me, I can show him exactly what I like to see on a man."

The man let out a cocky laugh, returning her challenge with one of his own, and she smiled wickedly. Jacintha led him away with a vibrant, penetrating laugh, hoping Raka would hear it. She sashayed her hips, and crystals gleamed as she led him across the floor.

Raka heard it and as she glanced into the throng, she saw Jacintha. And in that Moment the monumental woman leaned into the blonde warrior, whispering something in his ear. Raka watched as he looked right at Raka and let out a laugh. Jacintha followed suit, eyes following him as they passed him by.

He broke his glass. He grabbed another one.

Shout out to all those players I miss, and the new friends I make.
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Gigantor
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June 21st, 2015, 11:30 am #40

The voice coming from behind startled Walker and he turned to find Mid'gha tending to his outfit.

Walker: You have a light step. Lighter than most warriors I've known.

When she spoke of solitude he nodded in agreement. It was exactly why he was here also, to avoid the crowds and the confusion. He heard her mention an angel and started throwing glances hoping to spot where Jade was seated. Before Mid'gha could slip away he reached out and touched her arm gently.

Walker: I don't know who to trust and who not to, but my instincts and Raka tell me that you might be a rare find. Thank you Mid'gha.

He let her go after that and then sliped through the shadows to avoid being seen until he found Jade, sitting alone and watching the festivities.

Walker: For people that live in a gruelingly hot climate, they like to share their heat closely while they dance.

He said from beside as he stepped out of the shadows. The nobles and their guests were all in the center of the gardens dancing together. The older nobles were grouped and chatting while the younger ones pulled young nubile dance partners in close. The young found their partners and engaged in sultry dancing with grinding and rubbing and holding. The Sultan clapped with the band in between drinks of wine and golden ale. Walker shook the image of the near coital dancing and turned his eyes to Jade.

Walker: You look glorious.

When more wine flowed out of the Sultan's mouth than there was going in, Dima took his leave. That was, of course, the sign that he wouldn't be missed much less even noticed. The Sultan was done with him and engaging in full sin. The magus had better things to do. Maybe his new experiment had hatched.

Fiora cherished every grimace of anguish on Raka's face as Jacintha strutted off with her toy for the evening. Now it was time to implement more of her plan. She took two glasses of wine and slipped around the molded nobles and came up to him with a glass extended.

Fiora: Thirsty?
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