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A Khati Storytime - Chained Hope

It's summer, the days are long and the evenings are just perfect for sharing food, drinks and of course, khati storytime.

Tonight, the house of Proscipi sponsor this storytime passed down with amazing interpretive dancing performed by Cassiopeia and Savio. Listen on the many endings that have threatened the Saffron Chains and the peoples who have called it home, and yet from every ending a new beginning has been built on hope which rises from the ashes. Enjoy Saffron food and drinks while sitting in the newly created Monopteros.

From the primordial oasis of a shattered Dawnhome, the fractured crown of a thousand rainbow jewels of the destroyed Empire of Serpents to the prodigal houses that have risen to embrace the light of the Compact and Faith. Learn how you can cooperate together today to save the many tomorrows worth saving.

As always, clue shared afterwards.

Hooks: Kal'kul'raja, Spirits, Saffron Chain, Reckoning, Empire of Serpents, Theology, Occult


July 24, 2022, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Titus Cassiopeia


Savio Khanne Caspian Nazmir Ryhalt Aconite Nina Patrizio Watcher Doll Quenia Wash Remus Renata Sebastian Giorgio Vanora Duarte




Arx - Ward of House Pravus - Tremorus Estates - Monopteros

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Nina gets a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

Khanne enters the area and looks around for a moment for a place to sit. She decides the floor pillows look pretty comfy and makes her way over to them, taking a seat.

A southern outdoor event in the winter, seems almost unthinkable, but every attempt was made to make it comfortable, warm and cozy. As people arrive, they are offered a blanket and a warm drink, by the attendants that roam around, dressed in traditional Arakkoan garb, but replacing silk with cashmere. Braziers are lit, candles illuminate, but otherwise it's a dark night with the snow falling in the background. Guests are shown to their seats, and the centre of the Monopteros is ablaze with a roaring fire. There stands Cassiopeia in a long red cloak, hiding her outfit underneath. There is a welcoming smile on her face, encouraging everyone to get settled in before the event starts. "Welcome everyone, House Proscipi and House Vaevici are honoured to have you here tonight for the story of our home. Please, have a drink, a snack, get comfortable and we will begin shortly." A small band starts to set up, with traditional hand drums. (OOC: Please pose in we will get started soon!)

Jayne, Burly Sailor arrives, following Wash.

Caspian trots in, face bright in a smile as he looks around. he is clearly excited for the promised performance and grins and he moves forward and sits down on the pillows, making sure to get a clear view of the stage. he looks around, offering waves and bright smiles to those he sees.

Already settled in place on the floor pillows, Nazmir turns his gaze over in the direction of Khanne when she decides to claim a seat upon them as well. There's a smile given and a little incline of his head as he offers, "Duchess." Then, his gaze drifts over in the direction of Cassiopeia before it darts about the area once more, taking in those that have arrived and are settling in. Caspian's arrival to the pile of comfy pillows draws his gaze back and there's a quick little nod of his head, "Hey Caspian."

Ryhalt takes a seat near the fire, smiling lightly in anticipation for the story.

Aconitesmiles the people arriving and most she know earn nods from the bundled Whisper. Patrizio gains awider smile with whatever words they exchange.

Given that this is an outdoor party this time of year, Nina dressed in something warm and brocaded and lined so she wouldn't feel the bite of cold. With flowers pinned in her hair and feathers all down her skirt, she arrives with a flourish and swoosh. She looks immediately for warmed wine, to hold to keep her hands warmed, but the desserts and other lovely things are equally tempting. Once she has her glass, she stands aside, watching the center stage but not yet committed to a seat.

Marie, the Warlord's Assistant, 2 Arakkoan Free Guards arrive, following Remus.

Savio is two for two out here on shirtless events. He has a strange tattoo over his left shoulder and bicep, a depiction of the sort of snake motifs that are common in the wilder parts of the Saffron Chain, though the rest of the outfit can't be seen yet as, like Cassiopeia, he is huddled near the fire in a red cloak dropped a bit low around his shoulders. "Why we have chosen to do this in the winter, Cassiopeia," he is laugh-sighing to his cousin as things get underway, "What is actually wrong with us?"

"Ooh, drink! Yes please," Khanne says as one of the attendants walks by. She takes the warm beverage and the blanket, though it just gets draped over her lap. She's really fairly comfortable with the temperature, but blankets are cozy. Smiling, she returns the greeting. "Prince Nazmir. Good to see you here. I do love these story times. I trust you are well?" She looks almost surprised to see Caspian and smiles towards him too. "Hello!"

Patrizio chuckles quietly where he lingers in the stone benches with Aconite, that smile illuminating his face as he's briefly glancing towards the stage and then back. And then a turn again, before a lifting of his voice. "Come, Lord Savio. While even /I/ detest the winter, that which does not kill us /does/ make us stronger, no?"

Remus gets a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

"This will be my second one. After the first, I was most certainly addicted and simply had to ensure that I attend all the rest of them." Nazmir offers that and then gives the hint of a chuckle, "And yes, I am quite well. I hope the same can be said for you and yours?" Claiming a drink from a passing attendant, there's a murmured thanks given before he's bringing it to his lips for a small sip before lowering it back down. Savio's comment has him looking over in that direction and there's a flash of a grin given, "We'll turn you into a Northerner yet, Lord Savio!"

Watcher has traded (most of) her battered leathers today for a wool coat and long-sleeved tunic, but even so, she really should look colder than she does. She's kicking snow from her boots when she arrives, but otherwise she might as well be strolling through summer fields. The red haired woman looks over the gathering with a neutral care, then picks out a spot to lurk, fetching up a glass as she goes.

Caspian gives a warm smile to Nazmir and Khanne, "hello! i see you opted for the best seats in the house as well!" he gave a smile and looked to Khanne, "i have missed FAR far to many of these! but the few i have made it to i have loved! i always love these stories." as Savio complaints he looks over and smirks, "Ahh its just toughening you up! besides.. if you drop the fire on your toe now at least it wont hurt so bad"

Caspian takes a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

Savio's weirdly saffron-accented voice protests back at Patrizio, "I'm half dressed out here!" And then Nazmir and Caspian are offering helpful tips and he just groans, he is in pain, IN PAIN.

A man dressed in gold silks steps onto the stage, encouraging the crowd to settle in as Cassiopeia starts to speak.

"Hope," she says, the word carries across the performance area. "Unity. Perseverance. Survival. These are words we use often, but their meaning are so rich and deep, the words never quite capture their importance." A small smile forms, but her eyes reflect the emotions behind it. "We should never live in the past, nor the future, but hold our space in the present. That is the only place we've control over ourselves and our environment. Still, what is done can inform today and tomorrow. We can learn from our mistakes and our success, we can chose to be better, that is why these stories are so powerful. They help us remember where we came from, so we can remain strong in this moment."

Taking in a small breath, "there were days, where hope was a terrible thing. Having lost my family, my home, everything, the idea of hope was a painful one, because it meant acknowledging that loss. Yet, without it, I am not sure I would be standing here with you. For it was hope, even a glimmer, that let me face my fears and lead my people." A pause for effect, "I encourage you to listen to this tale, not as something far removed, but as something that might encourage us to consider what is important, what our strengths are, and how we might pull together during the darkest times. For one person is mighty, but unity goes above all."

Eyes sparkling she looks around, "let us begin, my dear audience, with the beginning." And when that, she exits the stage, cloak billowing behind her. Cue, Storyteller!

A whisper of leather and fur across steel is the sound of Doll arriving, dark hair left loose and her expression on the unfriendly side of neutral in regarding a servant who offers her one of those blankets and warm drinks at first, like it might be some kind of trick. She does take them a second later, just a bit more brusquely than is necessary, pinching away metal gauntlets to clasp them instead in her hands.
That Doll's cold grey eyes survey the snowy lawn and well-dressed people all around while her long, heeled boots tramp over a trail of melting snow near one of the lit braziers by where she winds up seated. She settles, reclining, and then straightens what for her's perhaps a natural scowl - or one she wears often enough that one could not easily tell the difference. Instead, a smile slowly appears piece by piece, from lips to cheeks and pinching at the corners of her eyes while she tells the servant who seated her, all saccharine, "Thaaaanks." And she flares the blanket over herself, looking around.

Captain Curls, an attentive, ebony guard poodle, Aspira arrive, following Quenia.

Patrizio has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Patrizio.

Quenia quietly slips into the estate rooms to join the story hour, pausing only a few moments to look for a seat.

Seryna, a charming Lycene handmaiden, 6 Grimhall House Guards arrive, following Vanora.

3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields, Vanora arrive, following Patrizio.

Quenia has joined the luxurious white and gold floor pillows.

Patrizio has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Aconite nods to Patrizio and then follows his attention to Lord Savio with a quiet chuckle. "I'm onh your side." She promises before turning to looking back to Cassiopeia and falling more quiet. The Whisper leaned a bit forward in anticipation.

Doll has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Vanora gets a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

Wash sits quietly in the back just to listen.

Quenia gets a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

A chuckle from the Pravusi prince, but Patrizio is managing - for once - to not look miserable at the weather that's occurring about, though it's clear that he is /not/ a fan of winter, from how he's bundled in his heavy leather cloak.

Quietly standing by the fire, Remus watches the storytime performance with a traditional drink from home in hand, warm and potently alcoholic. A staid expression etched into his face, it nevertheless twitches whenever something unpleasant is mentioned or a cold breeze kicks up. Quickly waving fingers at Patrizio and his sister, he remains silent.

Remus has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Winter has embraced Arx with a cool kiss to cheeks of those gathered while brazers located around the central garden building provide warmth to the audience. Within the monopteros there is a shadow play stage set up although it is dark. The wind occasionally can be heard giving a ghostly howl from unseen places as the stars twinkle high above.

Suddenly, loud music and singing can be heard as many dancers are making their way across the various paths and over the bridge to dance through the audience, yes dancing right next to you! Each of them wear a headpiece or a costume that shows a Saffron culture as well as an animal, bird or something special (for those who might be following Saffron culture and history). But following the dancers is a long rainbow scaled serpent with vibrant feathered wings of many colours and wearing an ancient looking crown of a thousand jewels as the rainbow serpent is on long poles held by Saffron looking peoples and dances happily here and there as it winds through the crowd to then encircle their dance around the shadow play stage.

There's a great sound of metal clashing with cymbals as the dancers do interesting mock dramatic battles as the noise gets louder and louder until a deep rumble of what must be war drums vibrate right in your chest and the dancers run behind the stage in fright. It's then that you can see a long glowing serpent of red and fire also held by dancers making its way from outside the garden in a winding manner with jumps upwards and terrible crashes down as cymbals clash and roars as a huge maw opens to gobble this person or gobble that person as the dancers eaten disappears into the maw of the serpent of fire. One can hear voices somewhere saying words.


"First of Great Cataclysms."

"Destroyer of Dawnhome."

"That Which Hungers."


Aconite turns away from her conversation with those at the bench and focuses then, intent and silent on the performance.

Ryhalt blinks as he watches the spectacle.

6 First Legion Centurions, Sparrow, an enthusiastic and bubbly assistant arrive, following Renata.

Then darkness.

The candles and braziers snuffed out by the many attendants present, the night sets in. It's mostly darkness. The drums start to beat, softly before growing louder. Then a spark, and the end of two torches light up, revealing Cassiopeia and Savio kneeling on the ground. Cassiopeia holds the unlit end of her torch to Savio's lit one, and does the same with the other end to light his unlit one. Both ends of a long batton are lit on fire and it illuminates them, as the baton begins to twirl around. Dressed in a traditional outfit, more akin to the jungles of Tremorus than the capital proper, Cassiopeia leaps up. The young woman tosses her fire batton into the air, before catching it.

Swinging the fire stick around, back and forth, she dances with the fire, moving easily as though it was an extension of her. This is undoubtedly due to years of practice, but the movements re-enact the story, graceful but strong, with force to her steps as she lets the light spin around her, emphasized by the black night. Spinning it slower, then faster, passing it between one hand to the other. Her movements match and compliment Savio, while the beat of the drums get louder and faster punctuating their dance.

Caspian grins to Khanne at her words, a laugh bubbling from his lips. but then the performance is starting. he snaps his gaze to the stage, watching intently, a smile spreading over his lips.

That fucking Doll is still smiling, to the point of it being nearly the same kind of saccharine she responds to Patrizio with - glowing, grinning, cheery! She sounds one word out in particular when she echoes him, "Patrizio Praaavuuus... voice of Bella-donna." The gears in her head are clearly turning, "Nah, I don't think we met." Her brows raise and she grunts out, eyes briefly touching across Aconite in turn, "Can call me 'Doll,' highness... and Whisper." And she slings her parasol over one steeled shoulder, shading her face from the flickering light of a nearby brazier. Her palette seems to suit the pall better.
She settles in to watch the show, keen.

Nazmir's giving a little nod of his head for Khanne's reply, only to then laugh at the comment she gives to Caspian. His attention, though, is then drawn over in the direction of the performance as it begins, quiet now as he simply takes it in.

Renata sneaks in rather late to the performance, doing her best to not interrupt too many other's viewing experience as the Pravosi princess finds a place amongst the crowd from which to comfortably view it.

Khanne was talking with those seated near her, but she quiets as the story time begins, watching the dancers as they enter. "Ooooh..." she says, oh so eloquently. She is then rather mesmerized by the woman dancing with the fire baton, her gaze locked on in wonder.

It's on! There is FIRE! Whoosh, Savio's double-ended torch is lit and the cloak thrown off, revealing his outfit to be similar to Cassiopeia's, if a male version. Words in a foreign language call out after the storyteller's list of names, like a call and response, and as the fire begins to spin to the beat of the drums, the seems a practiced and familiar pattern for him. A dance that's been danced with his cousin many times, in harmony with each other, although perhaps never for foreigners before.

Briar, a quiet young woman, 6 Setarcan Royal Shields arrive, following Sebastian.

Briefly, a blink when Patrizio's hearing Doll repeat his name, though there's the quickest of glances about - as if the Voice of the Sins is worried for a moment that there's been a disturbance to the others listening or worse, to the performers - but his smile never fades. A dip of his head to Doll, and then once more he's settled to listen.

Quenia has settled down at the pillows with Khanne, Nazmir, and Caspian. She neatly arranges herself, pulling furs closed tight to stave off any of the colf, and watches raptly as the performance begins. Her attention is immediately drawn to all of the colors of fire, her lips pursing together ever so slightly.

Savio and Cassiopeia's dancing with fire make the whole thing really come alive. The fire serpent seems hungry as it devours dancer after amazing dancer, they must taste scrumptious but it doesn't yet eat the audience although occassionaly it might look at one of them like Doll with her parasol, the silent Watcher or perhaps tasty Patrizio as the fire maw opens up and closes. As the dancer fighters scream and run away, a muscled yet gaunt figure steps from behind the shadow play stage, blue eyes glowing from the mask it wears as it raises a set of long fingers up holding a branch with peculiar leaves that burn as a rather pleasant and soothing smelling smoke flows from the braziers, a sound of shhhhhhhh quietens the terrible noise like a parent hushing a child, or the sound of hot embers being cooled with water. Silence now except shhhhh noise.

The fire serpent slowly goes out in smoke and darkness fills the monopteros except where the large bonfire is at in the center. On the black painted figure there are interesting markings of a long serpent of fire with eyes that are a deep red that wind across one arm from the hand up the arm and shoulders to bite at his back with deep fangs and on the other arm a winged serpent of rainbow colours that also do the same except the eyes look from the chest. There are many other markings of animals or symbols like mountains, lakes, of fire or water and wind. But it's the mask the figure wears which is most unusual, for where the eyes are you see two eyes that glow with a pale blue light of their own.

The storyteller looks at the small crowd before it reaches into a small pouch at its side, letting pale sand with golden flecks be flung across the monopteros in a wide arc to scatter on the ground as it glitters from the light of the bonfire or braziers.

Looking right at you, a dead sounding voice speaks as it moves black long fingers with gold sandy dust which sparkles in the low light, weaving a web.

"We recognise those who came before us, to those from the lands we are on this evening and we honour them, for their history is ours to guard and protect. And together, we step across the dunes of time, across the sands of the past and look back with our hearts to what once was and the stories and people are remembered. Of moments split apart but connected in spirit. May we learn a lesson from our mothers that whisper from the stars above and beyond by being here tonight, to have hope and not forget from one ending is another new beginning. And we thank the noble Proscipi for sponsoring tonight's storytime, may you remember their names for sharing and protecting culture." says the storyteller.

Nina has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

What's probably a bigger surprise is that Sebastian is here at all, not just late: the winter snows have set in, and even though it's a relatively short distance from the Palestone manor, he's dressed in a furred cloak, shivering as he enters. As the warmth soaks in, he hands his cloak off to his assistant, the corner of his mouth quirking up as he catches sight of something, and he makes his way towards the benches, glancing now and then towards the fire-bearers.

Sebastian has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Giorgio is present, outfit in suitably warm attire for a Saffron native that year after year fails to adapt to the Arvani winters found this far north of his island home. Giorgio pulls his cloak of fur tighter about his shoulders and watches as the fire and dance begins, performed by his brother and cousin.

"See Your Highness, we're quite fond of fire ourselves," Remus mentions with only the faintest of amused smiles at Patrizio, that same expression turned upon the befeathered and headdress wearing dancers. The rather fiery reveal of Cassiopeia and Savio turns his grin up further, eyes cutting curiously at Doll before he nods a friendly greeting to Sebastian.

As the story continues, the dancing stops and Cassiopeia stands at the opposite end of the performance floor from Savio. It gives her a chance to dip the ends of the stick into a small metal bucket and relight the fire at each end with a flint. The drums beat lightly, faster and faster, little staccato beats that carry across the stone floor. Louder they grow when the words stop and it's just music and dance. There is emotions in her features, reflecting her reaction to the story as it unfolds. Her eyes wide, but mostly she is focused, watching the flames and ever cognizant of their presence. Holding the stick, fire lit on both sides, she moves with an easy step towards the center. Hips shacking back and forth, each step is taken with a dramatic movement. The fire spins, around and around, from the front and to the side of her body, she is moving with it. It's something she's probably learnt at a young age, having taken years to come into the art. Dropping a knee to the floor, it allows her to spin the wooden baton faster, then she jumps up once more. Landing with a thump, she spins the stick, flames at both ends and tosses it in the air. There isn't a moment she isn't focused on it, catching it at the right time. There is a moment, where she looks a little fearful but then a smile erupts when it's back in her wrapped hand. The flames cause every jewel she wears to sparkle, her movements both graceful and athletic. Spinning around, she is tossing the stick behind her, catching it, so that it moves in unison with her. From time to time, she glances over at Savio, but mostly she is lost to the dance, like it brings her back somewhere far off. There is a little sheen to her forehead from the heat that is so close by, waving those little flames in the darkness.

Vanora managed to find her way here through the bitter chill, though she may have needed a Pravus prince to escort her. She watches the performance silently for a while, before slipping to join the group at the stone benches, the better to relax while she absorbs the fascinating tale unfolding.

Vanora has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Nina settles quietly into a seat on a bench while the show starts. Her eyes are wide and focused, her hand still carefully around her drink. The fire is flickering light off of her hair and eyes, as her attention is fixed, rapt with attention at the show.

Doll idly twiddles her signature parasol, watching Savio in particular for some seconds while it spins behind her shoulder in the newly-darkened area absent the light of the brazier - smoke still rising from its threshhold. The twirling fire and batons cast shadows behind her and light across her pale face, gives her grey eyes a reflection of its color.
She's still smiling but it's almost oddly inanimate, like some focused effort was keeping that expression right there where it is.

Renata settles rather near to Patrizio, her cousin flashed a friendly and familiar smile before her attention is quickly drawn back to the stage. Aquamarine eyes widen gently with interest at the story being told on stage, in all its fiery spectacle.

Aconite nods with a welcoming smile to Doll, tearing her eyes away from the performance long enough to greet her, "Welcome to the best seats in the house." She greets. NIna gains a bright smile and a wiggle of a gloved hand peeking out from her bundled cloak. And then Remus then Sebastian each gain a respectful nod. But she's not pulled from the show for long and her mouth falls open just a but while she watches with rapt interest.

Settled in on those pillows, Nazmir lets his gaze wander a moment, taking in the new arrivals who sneak in late, only for his gaze to dart back to the performance at hand. There's a smile on his lips as he watches, masked only by the occasional lift of his glass so that he can claim a sip of the hot beverage.

Quenia whips her head in Remus's direction when he mentions being fond of fire. She studies him for a long moment before allowing her attention to go back to the storytelling. She delicately folds hr hands in her lap, wringing them.

Savio's expressions are perhaps not his own personal reactions to the story, but theater to match it -- aggression, anger, fear, pride, as the reaction to the eaten or fleeing dancers and and the mention of their history might warrant. Always the fire is in motion, the light catching angles over his ink and skin. As Cassiopeia kneels and performs a more complicated trick, he does seem to be watching his lil cousin carefully, but she's got it, and her smile is briefly met with one of his own before they resume. At some times he is matching her perfectly, and at other times, like the trick, performing a more background role to highlight her athleticism and graceful dance. The male version of the moves is sharper, more forceful, but they match well and this seems intentional, a tradition, and perhaps a good match for the story as well.

Patrizio chuckles quietly to Remus, before he's lowering his voice, that attention towards the others remaining...

Watcher watches the fire serpent with the same neutral expression she's held so far, though there's a little bit of...something else, a slight tip of her chin, the slightest look of brief challenge in her eyes, though it's not in the slightest bit serious. After all, she isn't *actually* being threatened with an evil world shaking monster.

Renata has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Doll upturns her free hand by its wrist, fingers spread and voice low while she responds aside through her glowy, almost festive little grin towards Aconite, "Thank you. Thrilled to be a part." Her tongue runs over her lower lip in a way that looks almost hungry, and her eyes run back the other way again, towards the stage, crossing paths with those of Remus for a pause before she quite gets there.
A light toss of her head makes a loose sum of darkness waver out of her view and the length of her ponytail dance behind her, clearing her view. She inhales slowly and her smile slowly fades, lax like the rest of her has become in her seat - like some great predator, but more basking than on the hunt - while she starts to sit forward. The stage gets regular glances, but here and there so too does the audience, like there was much here with surveying, even the parts less on fire and in motion.

After Cassiopeia and Savio finish their amazing dance, the stage behind the storyteller lights up, as shadows of things move about to the story being told.

"A long long time ago before time was made, before the very first star twinkled, the sisters had come to the world which was without form and without life. Together, they desired to create a garden from which all things would come but to create such garden they first gave form to the world and with it, Life was born. As the sisters built their garden, they formed helpers with their first children who would look after the very creations which were made and so the firsts of all came to being when they woke from their making. And to the very first mother that awoke which was Life, a crown of What Was so that the very gift of creation and purpose would not be forgotten as new days would come."

In the stage, two sisters can be seen walking from nothingness and as they walk, all sorts are created. The firmament, the waters. The trees and all sorts of animals and birds. Above all, a moon and sun are above and it looks as though all things dance and sing to a song. A tall matronly figure has many of the animals and strange spirit figures moving around as they dance happily.

"Life as mother of all began to speak and whisper to the many other first daughters to make sure that those which followed would do according to their purpose for purpose brings fulfillment and contentment, for they were helpers to gods and while they might have great power, the daughters were caretakers first of their purpose and to raise their families to protect What Was. The ground would stand firm so that others could walk. The air would blow to bring life's breath. From the ground sprouted trees that would give fruit and shade. Fire would burn. Water would quench. For everything made, a purpose. And so on until the very end of time would mother teach daughter and daughter would go into the world to make sure that what was would be. Fish would swim in the streams. Birds to fly in the air and so on. The sun rose for the first time on that very first day and where it rose was called Dawnhome. From the garden the guardians of What Was went out to make their own homes, to raise their own children and to see that they did as they were created for. The sun watched them in the day and the moon at night as stars had not yet been formed. All was good in the garden and the world until.."

Green light from lanterns spill across the monopteros as strange undefinable shapes and a few that might be legendary creatures like great dragons can be seen fighting.

Nina looks quite delighted at the flickers of light from the shadowplay, lowering her glass to her side, and raising her hands clasped together, as if resisting the urge to clap too soon.

Harlen arrives, following Duarte.

There's utter fascination on Nazmir's features for the way that shadows play about and the Redrain Prince is taking it all in, that smile growing deeper as he continues to listen and watch.

Quenia's keeping her expression reserved and neutral as she watches things play out. She continues to wring her hands in her lap, but remains ever attentive to the story playing out.

Harlen have been dismissed.

Caspian is completly enthralled by the performance, his eyes tracking each motion and twirl of the flames. The words transport him and the audience to a long ago time, as the story unfolds before them.

Khanne watches the story teller with deep interest and a bit of a smile as the tale as spun, as the story of first children and daughters is told. But when the green lights from the lanterns spills out, she sits up straighter, surprised, eyes following those shapes as they seem to battle.

Renata looks equally enraptured, listening to each of the skull-masked figure's words with interest as the lights flicker about the the area.

Sebastian, after brief murmurings to his fellow bench-dwellers, turns his gaze towards the dance-in-progress. Of course, his eyes are bright -- as much for the fire as the use of shadow, the visually pleasing costumes and set.

The drummers are seated in a line, four of them on the floor, each one is dressed in wrapped wool that is dyed a vibrant shade of crimson, scarlet, orange and yellow. They are moving there shoulders as they tap their wooden drums with the slap of fingers and the thrust from the base of their palm. Then a fifth musician joins in, this one with a rattle made from shells, that makes a shaking sound.

The story continues and the dance pauses and Cassiopeia is moving her feet ever so slightly the whole time, perhaps because they are bare and the ground is cold. When there is a break, she looks over Savio, a silent cue between cousins as she grabs a second baton of wood, each end tied with a soaked canvas cloth. Using the lit torch she lights the second one, spinning both of them to light the other end. With one stick in each hand, she is moving easily in the wrap skirt. Taking leaps across the floor, she holds both torches up in the air and then stops in front of the audience. Glancing down the length of her shoulder at Savio, she winks at him and then starts to move the torches around her arms up and down in large circles. Her face lights up, to echo the talk of happiness and new life. Concentrating on the flames she starts spinning both, stomach muscles clenched so she shift one hip and then the other, from side-to-side.

Then her feet stomp, left to right, head bopping up and down using her whole body to stomp now, jumping into it. It punctuates the refence in the story to fighting. The drums mimic the movements and Cassiopeia's eyes are wild with emotion the story fueling their dance. There are moments of joy and ones of determination. Lifting up arms up she is spinning them, and then bringing arms down, one in front and the other in the back.

Yeah, the ground is cold. Move those feet, Saffron fire dancers. Lucky they are moving, or else Savio would be a sad little Proscipsicle. A glance at Cassiopeia confirms that they will pick up their dual torches at the same time, which adds a whole new element to the fire dancing and dimension of moving light. It might also add a whole new element of worry for those who attended the Saffron festival of lights and remember that these people can and will set objects on fire. All good for now though. They are careful to support the story without upstaging it, even as they interpret the more dramatic themes.

Doll presses her lips together a bit more firmly when the dramatic shadow of some draconic figure in the distance first ripples past onstage, rather much in contrast to the happily-dancing and fluttering figures of birds and animals opposite.
Cassio dances and that Doll watches through a slight narrowing in her eyes, more focused on her in this part. Behind her, Doll slows her parasol's spin to a gradual stop.

Duarte - who has been nestled in the crowd - inconspicuous and discreet - lets out a loud whistle and a hoot and holler for Savio and his dance crew. "That's one of my boys..." he comments proudly to another bystander before being soundly shushed by a few others. He sinks his head into his shoulders and silently apologizes, melting back into the scenery to become a distraction no longer.

"There were other children of course in the world, children of the air who held a crown of Now and children of the depths who held a crown of Will Be. And the children of Now desired to rule the world and terrible battles were fought for supremacy among them and all others. The children of the First Spirit listened to their mother that the battles of now were not for them and instead to safeguard What Was, that was their purpose and not to define what is now or will be. But as more and more blood was spilled from these powerful conflicts, it began to sink deep into the cracks of the world to dark places where a serpent of liquid fire coiled and waited for his purpose."

And in the green-lit stage, the shadows show fantastical beings falling to the ground and what looks like something spilling down cracks to where deep red light illuminates a coiled serpent in a hole somewhere in the world.

"The fire serpent desired to safeguard his mother, for none were greater than him but his mother would counsel him saying that it was not his place to change Now or Always, it was his place to remember What Was and keep that safe. The battles raged on above until the terrible moment when the sacred place of the garden was hurt, that his mother's cries could be heard deep below and he knew a terrible thing was happening, she could not die but the precious thing what she was could be destroyed. Her calming voice and those of his beloved sisters and aunts began to fade away and when he called out to her and them, they had begun to fade. It was as they say, the straw that broke the camel's back. For if sister Dream put all the hopes of the world in Life, sister Nightmare placed within the world's heart a thorn so sharp that any who would hurt it would bring about their own undoing."

The shadow play stage has the garden attacked by all sorts of winged things and the mother spirit seems to crumble away. The fire serpent on the stage breaks upwards in an explosion from what looks like a huge mountain, making the serpent impossibly large as the shadow shapes of everything else on the stage are so tiny in comparison.

There's a very large rumble though of war drums which sound like thunder and you can feel the beats in your chest and soon the fire serpent here amidst the audience is lit again as it makes its way through the crowd, gobbling up a dancer as it wants to reach the shadow stage. There's a mighty roar! Whispers can be heard in the sound of the storm, they sound angry if not bestial.

As the dance evolves, Nazmir's gaze is darting from Savio to Cassi and then back and forth between the pair, watching as the cousins perform their art with the addition of those second torches. There's a low whistle that is given for the feat of it before his gaze is drawn back to the storyteller and the shadows that play on the stage.

"Oh my gods...." gasps Duarte quietly. His fingertips splay across his chest as the tension and suspense of the drums give way to a mighty roar! Captivating.

Duarte has joined the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

When the storyteller says roar, the band does just that in unison, loud voices that billow. The drums are loud, thumping setting a dramatic beat and foreshadowing another intense turn to the dance. Cassiopeia is moving with both her torches, a good ten feet from Savio. Watching her cousin, the silk petals of the flowers atop her head look dew covered as the fire reflects in the shimmer of the material. Hips sway back and forth and she is just watching her cousin now, but she's blinking like she is counting. Everything carefully planned, a little smile starts to grow on her features. It's obvious that despite the drama and the dark themes in the story, she is invigorated by the dance she performs. It gives her life, it reminds her of home. Shoulders moving, as though the movements are building, and something is about to happen. She is focused. Her arm lifts, and the fire is bright in the darkness. The drums increase their intensity and the drummers use their heels to add a beat in behind. There's a daring flicker in those azure blues and then she tosses the wood fire stick in the air, towards her Cousin waiting for him to do the same. The young woman's body easily sways, while she focuses on the challenge of throwing and catching the stick. It's quick, but the build up gives it a chance to tell its own story, an emergence. Then catch, two back in her hand, she is lifting them up arms wide, stopping to hold the pose and face the audience. A glance to Savio and her focused and serious expression cracks into a relieve smile in his direction.

Khanne's expression becomes more solemn as the story continues. Slowly, she begins pulling the blanket up, despite not being cold. As the fire serpent rises up and explodes out of the mountain, she hugs the blanket as if it were some sort of plushie; a comfort in the midst of the battle scene playing before them. Her hand presses to her chest, feeling the beat of the drum deep within as her eyes lift to the storm. She watches Savio and Cassiopeia as well, perform their parts in the tale telling.

Sebastian tilts his head when Briar arrives and murmurs something into his ear. He nods, murmuring a few words to Patrizio that end with an amused snort at something spoken, giving Duarte's shoulder a companionable pat, before he stands and excuses himself quietly. He glances back as the war drums thunder, a look of disappointment that he's missing the end.

Sebastian has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Briar, a quiet young woman, 6 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Sebastian.

Two torches each, four on stage now between Cassiopeia and Savio! the reason for this makes itself apparent as the story tilts its way into conflict -- the blood, the war drums, the roaring, the serpent menacing its way through the crowd and eating hapless dancers. The extra fire adds drama and threat, as there should be! Savio is watching his cousin as much as she is watching him, they're listening, they're coungint, and then -- now! Just the right hint is given, though no verbal cue. There are many years of practice in this, maybe, and fiery sticks fly all at the same time, hers to him, his to hers. A neat catch and it seamlessly passes into the rhythm, a moment that looks easy and might not be.

Doll slowly slings a thigh across her other just above where the hem of her longboots end. She's sitting up and sitting back while the fire serpent blazes by her on one side and gobbles up a dancer in flight amidst the echo of a roar beyond.
Her eyes seem to relax their squint and her gaze floats back to Savio while the drums rumble back into rhythm. Shadows move all around when the batons start to fly between the pair. Absently, she flexes one of her hands as if she might've thought to catch one in flight herself, amidst.

Patrizio can be seen quietly murmuring to those at the seating where he he is settled as he's rising, before he's as subtly he can moving off, and collecting his soldiers along the way.

Patrizio has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

3 First Legion Centurions, 3 Setarcan Royal Shields leave, following Patrizio.

Wash slips out the back again.

Jayne, Burly Sailor leaves, following Wash.

"To the other first mothers did the Beast of Blood demand why they did not protect her. Why they allowed her to be hurt. Why did they not do anything to protect What Was and all of them were frightened for his anger was terrible to see and they knew in their own hearts he was the thorn to undo all things. To their inaction he flew into a white hot rage and exploded from the great mountain as fire and ash rained down. In his mind he only saw his brothers and sisters responsible for not caring for their mother and for that, they deserved a similar fate of destruction and hurt. He sought them out, hunted them and feasted on their blood and with each one consumed he grew in power and size. In his hurt rage he did what others could not do, he shattered Dawnhome and destroyed the beautiful garden. An entire land as large as Arvum broken up in one day and night as he slammed the world and consumed his brothers and sisters, to him their desire to not act when the world was hurting was a wickedness that fueled is rage."

The imagery of what is happening on the stage is what looks like a shattering of a huge land as a fire serpent coils and breaks it all into pieces. The fire serpent going through the audience is getting closer to the storyteller as it dances and jumps. Again the storyteller lifts up the branch with strange leaves and lets the smoke be carried by the chilly wind as a shhhhhh is heard, and that pleasant and soothing smoke from the braziers also drifts by the audience.

"But the spirit of the mother could never die, and as Dawnhome burned, her soothing voice and memory slipped across the sky as the Beast of Blood breathed in deeply a smoke before each terrible roar of victory and soon it crashed back to the ground and slid into the deep crevices to sleep. The destroyer of Dawnhome, the breaker of the world, a name that puts fear into every spirit no matter where they are for they know that blood spilled to gain power ultimately will trigger the destruction of all. And so the days and nights went and came, and the world slowly healed as the spirits took great efforts to protect What Was. Thus the Saffron Chains were created out of the destruction of Dawnhome and from the first great cataclysm, a new world with new opportunities was born. From that ending, the sisters populated the world with their second children."

Some might recognise particular elements on the stage as the green-lit shadows show the dance of skulls and other moments of extreme tragedy with war and bloodshed.

"Many many generations afterwards, the Ancients again were caught in the middle of wars between the children of Now and the Second Children. And listening to their mothers, the children of the Ancients made their way to a new refuge although not all spirit mothers went there because each mother must look after What Was such as the great White Bear of the Northern Forests, but her great stories and teachings are for another day. And again, as war was raging loudly and blood began to seep into the deep places and a terrible choice was made, the world shook as the Beast of Blood began to wake from his deep slumber as the dead hunted the living and Life was threatened."

"And as time moved, an epic struggle to rule the khati engulfed their world as they ignored the teachings of their mothers and sought to define now and will be, forgetting their place as caretakers of what was. But rather than destroy the world, the serpent khati were able to stop the Blood Beast from awakening as they left Nefer'khat and on the wings of the rainbow serpent Ophissa did they sail across the deep waters and find their way to the old places called the Saffron. A place full of poison of anger and hatred, a place where a withering malaise would destroy anything as the great world-breaker rumbled below in his chains of dreams. And here, Ophissa led them to the place that was chosen and from her did they create the city of Hissah - a city of beautiful colours as the great Lady of Coils and her king started a new empire and reclaimed a place long lost. And again, from tragedy did the Saffrons yet come back to life."

The green-lit stage turns to a more normal colour. All sorts of islands can be seen as a feathered serpent slides across the oceans and soon a peculiar peoples can be seen that look half-serpent half-person if such a strange idea could exist. Someone might even see a shadow of another fanciful thing like a flying ship sailing the sky and going to another city of the Empire of the Serpents being shown.

"It's so nice of you to say Lord Savio is one of the best performers you know. I very much agree!" Duarte replies to Nina at the benches with a playful pout of his lips. He might side-long glance Savio's way to see if his loud praise might rattle the man. Then his attention is grabbed by Remus at the benches and the over-eager Count returns his volume to something more appropriate.

Ryhalt frowns as he listens to the story and watches the imagery.

Renata watches her cousins leave, offering those remaining at the benches her own apologetic smile as she too seems to have to take a sudden leave, "Pardon me, I must go assist Patrizio. Enjoy the performance."

The war drums continue through the talk of battle and then pace picks as they interpret the ancient war, it slows for the serpents while the rattle adds another dimension to it. Then for the dance of skulls, it becomes faster and more energetic. Cassiopeia mimics the movements sinuous, letting her body shift back and forth like a snake, lifting the two sticks in the air, spinning them around. Then one is tossed up, then the other, as catching as each own falls down. Kicking a leg up, she is jumping to the side, spinning one of the sticks under her leg as she extends her leg in the air. It might be cold outside, but she doesn't feel the chill, the flames are hot and close and her skin has a subtle warm sheen to it. The move is repeated to the other side, then she is lifting the torches and using deft fingers to spin them as she lifts them up and down, moving her body, to circle and dodge the fire as it moves.

Renata gets a leather bound portfolio embossed in flames to store stories from a gold painted urn offering all sorts of delights.

Renata has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

6 First Legion Centurions, Sparrow, an enthusiastic and bubbly assistant leave, following Renata.

Aconite nods to Patrizio as the Prince leaves and looks back to the story happening as it forwards to annother time. Aconite's attention never straying for long as a fond smile warms her features.

As the host of Pravus gets up to take their leave, Nazmir is casting a glance in their direction before his gaze darts back to the performance, to continue to listen to the story with a smile on his lips. His gaze flits from the shadows to storyteller and then back again, taking in the whole image of things as it's presented before he's then turning his gaze back to Cassi and Savio, to continue to watch the pair dance with those torches.

Savio is a professional, Duarte. A professional. He cannot be rattled by compliments mid-action, he is busy throwing fire around and he is fundamentally incapable of believing compliments anyway. Perhaps the most impressive part of the act is the timing; throwing a torch around is one thing but doing it such that the torch turns the same way through the air as someone else! That's a whole other thing. Maybe there's a small smile for the stage's appearance of islands that can be seen, but it's quick, brief.

Caspian seems to be simply trying to take it all in, the man enwrapped in the story, gasping and starting with surprise at all the right times as such an epic of world shattering proportions is told

Nina is clearly watching Savio closely, and notices that he doesn't slip up even a little when Duarte calls him out! Truly professional indeed. But you have to be, to work with dangerous things.

"And for many generations did the Empire thrive until again did life get threatened at the very core. War's drums began to shake the world with a reckoning and blood spilled and used for power seeped deep below as the Beast of Blood began to wake. Not the wisdom of the Queens of the Coast or the great empress could forsee and prevent what was to be as yet another schism formed. Once more, the Beast of Blood rose from his slumber and the world trembled as he shattered the Empire into a thousand more shards and scattered the Isles. And so that night the Empire was broken as islands were raised up and thrown down, fortresses and great capitals shook and destroyed and soon it seemed nothing would be able to survive."

Islands seem to impossibly be lifted up and flung, the fire serpent roars to life as it coils and flexes, breaking the Saffrons and the great Empire. As shadows move in panic and it looks like the Empress and Emperor watch the Beast of Blood destroy them, one might notice at the very corner two tiny shadows move. A crown on a female child form and a young knight escaping the complete destruction of the empire.

"The Beast of Blood destroyed what even the Marin king so badly desired to conquer, and hundreds of primasens and prima were destroyed that moment. And yet the guardians of What Was again came together and slowly looked after their children who clung to rocks or wood that floated on the seas and remaining isles as a great warrior came and took the Beast of Blood down far below and chained it, anchoring it with every remaining isle and spirit left. Places like Tremorus which fought back the terrible monsters of nightmares born out of havens, of leaders like the Proscipi who would shine their light in the darkness of destruction and no matter the threats, they would rise up again like the phoenix. Even just recently with the Skal'dajan forces that tried to destroy, from that hurt and destruction comes new life and new opportunities. No matter how terrible a destruction that area has experienced, the Saffron live on. And as now the Saffron is slowly being guarded by the Compact, we have the ability to be guardians of what was as those who are lost find help and comfort with the strength of the diverse Compact."

The shadow play fades to darkness. The storyteller looks at Cassiopeia and Savio a moment before he looks to the audience. The decayed voice of the storyteller is a quiet whisper, looking at the smoldering fire serpent that desires to wake and consume.

"And so our stories close. Listen carefully to the whispers in your heart and mind and should you become lost, look up to the stars where our many mothers and ancients rest and remember their stories they wish for you to keep in your hearts. Beware the loudness of war and where anger stomps, you can wake that which slumbers and in your desire to cause hurt to those who hurt you, you might lose control yourself and end up being the greatest destruction to those things you hold most dear. Keep your hearts safe with the teachings of our mothers that life is precious and to be content. Again, give thanks to the Proscipi for tonight's story they've shared. And to you all, good night."

Ryhalt applauds with a smile as the story comes to its conclusion.

Duarte jumps to his feet in riotous applause. Two fingers in the mouth facilitate an ear piercing whistle. "Yes! That was..." he takes a deep breath, "...Bravo! Bravo!" Bending forward for a moment, he straightens back up with roses which he begins to lob one by one, in Savio's direction.

Aconiteapplauds warmly and starts to gether self up to be ready to leave even as Alejandro is making his way over to her to fetch her for their travels.

Duarte is overheard praising Proscipi: 30

Nina is overheard praising Proscipi: What a terrific show!

Duarte is overheard praising Proscipi: BRAVO!

Nina is overheard praising Cassiopeia: A wonderful show and party!

Nina is overheard praising Titus.

Nina is overheard praising Savio.

Vanora is overheard praising Proscipi: A fantastic and engaging performance!

Vanora is overheard praising Savio.

The story shifts into it's final chapter and so does the dance that is there to provide a visual to the words spoken. The drummers provide the beat for the movements that transpire. The last part of the dance sees the batons spin, over and over, and Cassiopeia is spinning along them, almost like she might just spin off the edge but then she stops and dips those sticks into the water. There is a sound when the flame is extinguished. Cassiopeia puts her sticks down, and rubs a hand across her forehead. Walking to the back, she takes her place next to the storyteller. "I am so honoured to have you all here tonight, to listen to the stories we heard growing up. The things that gave history life, and in hearing them, no doubt influenced us all. A big thank you to my dear cousin, Lord Titus Vaevici whose ability to string words together and tell a tale, leaves me in awe. Thank you to my fellow fire dancer, my beautiful cousin Savio Amadeo and to all of you. For being part of our night, for bringing your curiosity. Thank you," she says with a warm and sincere, but somewhat breathless voice.

Cassiopeia is overheard praising Titus: He brings the stories to life.

Aconite is overheard praising Proscipi.

Aconite is overheard praising Titus.

Caspian jumps up to his feat as soon as the performance is done, bursting in applause, "Well done ! bravo! well told and well danced!!" the man is loud on the best of days, and louder still in his praising. he looks around to the others, encouraging them to join in as he beams a smile, "That was marvelous so marvelous!!

Cassiopeia is overheard praising Savio: He's on fire!

As the story comes to a close, Nazmir is polishing off the remainder of his drink, only to then set the empty glass aside. It's then that he's bringing himself to his feet, a hand dusting a little snow off his clothing before he's clapping his hands together, a loud whistle being offered before he's basically bellowing out, "A truly lovely display, Cassi and Savio!" A pause and then, "And a fascinating telling of story, Lord Titus!"

Aconite is overheard praising Cassiopeia.

Aconite is overheard praising Savio.

Doll is overheard praising Raja: Y'know who's alright? Raja's alright.

Quenia is overheard praising Proscipi.

Khanne is overheard praising Proscipi.

Khanne is overheard praising Cassiopeia.

Khanne is overheard praising Savio.

Khanne is overheard praising Titus.

Grand finale! How fast the fires spin! Savio moves closer to Cassiopeia and it seems almost certain they will crash into each other or drop a stick or miss their mark, but it is not so, just one final hiss as the torches hit the water at the same time, and he takes a bow. "You have outdone yourself, Lord Titus," Savio decides to the storyteller, and applauds, as though to lead the onlookers in the same. He didn't miss the Rose, however, and pleased, sticks the flower sent his way into the rest of his headress. New decoration. Duarte gets a kiss blown, mwah.

Aco stops to speak to Cassiopeia and Savio. complimenting them on their stunning performances before she hurries off out into the carriage waiting beyond the gates.

Aconite has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Alejandro, a gravely sober middle-aged Torean leaves, following Aconite.

Doll is overheard praising Proscipi: Y'know who's alright? Proscipi's alright.

Vanora has left the a series of stone benches set in a circle.

Someone wearing A porcelain white sand phoenix skull mask with softly glowing eyes is overheard praising Proscipi: Guardians of What Was and helping to protect the many futures that might be.

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