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The Morning After


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Jon's consciousnesses returns in slow waves, first he becomes aware of a rhythmic warmth against his chest. The warmth caused by Kitten's slow and steady breathing. He feels the warmth and softness of her body pressed against his. He feels one of her legs crossing over one of his, and under the other intertwining them completely. He feels several tiny points of pressure upon his chest, and realizes that she still holds the ivory comb. Jon stays very still, almost afraid to move in case this is a fragile dream where his slightest motion will shatter it entirely.


Having not bothered to open his eyes Jon is also completely unaware of what the pair look like. The room is trashed, with a broken window from where Kitten threw a drawer through it before the party. Piles of clothing are scattered everywhere, including two neat piles of vomit stained clothing from last night. Jon, bare chested and otherwise only wearing his small clothes. Kitten wearing a very short silk shift that hides nothing, especially when one of her legs is intertwined with Jon's which makes the shift ride up past her waist. Listening to Kittens slow and steady breathing Jon allows himself to drift back to sleep.

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Kitten woke up with a stabbing pain in her clenched hand. She threw her arm over the bed and relaxed it, thereby letting the object in her hand drop. She tried to open her eyes but the light was so bright in the room that it intesified her headache. Her vision slowly came back to her though, faster than her consciousness. She saw blurs in front of her until the first thing came into focus, the body of a man next to her. "Where am I?" She lifted her head to see the face of Jon near her, "Light!" She yelled inside herself. She was completely shocked to see his face. She looked down to see that she was wearing an immodest shift dress. Well, she apparently had changed out of her clothes. She was scared to see, but she lifted the blanket covering Jon to see him in his small clothes. "Oh Light! Light! Light!" She jumped out of bed, holding on to her nightstand for support. She saw Jon stir and she looked wild-eyed out of the room. She thought of grabbing some sort of cover, but didn't want to be there when he awoke. Thus she ran out of the room as fast as she could barefoot. She made it down the stairs in seconds, and kept going, past all the busy servants that only saw a whiff of her as she passed by. She threw open the door of the tavern and did not stop running until she had made it to the clearing deep in the woods surrounding the Haus. She slumped down against the base of one of the trees, sitting in the dirt with her toes sprawled in mud.


"I slept with him. Did I sleep with him? Light! I slept with him. How could I have slept with him??" Her mind was racing at the prospect of what she had done with Jon. She tilted her head back and groaned. her thoughts were muggy and she tried to recall the events that had transpired last night. She could see colors: reds, blues, yellows, and greens. She could hear sounds: music, cheering, yelling, and a gentle voice that had laid her to sleep. She banged her head against the bark of the tree. She wanted to remember something more substantial but the whole evening was just swirls of colors and blackness. "Beginning, how did it start?" Like a light switch being flipped, the visions of last night flooded within her. She could see herself and Jon. She could see Sapphira and Jodelle. She could see men and women everywhere. She could see happiness, drunkenness, and pain...pain on Jon's face. She couldn't remember why. She tried to trace what she did that night to see what led her to sleeping with the merchant but there were gaping holes between memories, and nothing after her dance with Sapphira. She had no idea what she was going to do. She noticed he drank sparingly, and he certainly would remember what happened last night. She couldn't let him know that she didn't and especially not let her sisters know either. She decided it was only logical they had done it in some fit of passion. She had to keep her senses about her and act as if it were just another night. She stood up and tried to wipe the mud that caked her body. She ran back to the tavern into Sapphira's room. "Interesting." Sapphira noticed her bed was untouched. She had the servants help her wash up in the basin as quickly as she could. She grabbed the first dress she could find in her sister's closet. She held it before her and realized it was nothing she would ever wear. It was a hunter green dress and the cut she did not care for, at least it was fitted somewhat. She had no time to brush her hair so she braided it and rushed downstairs. She sat on the white fur carpet as if she had been there casually all morning. She began to wait for Jon to come down and after some time she became impatient. She wanted to find out what he was doing without walking into her room. She went out to the back door and found the stones she had laid upon the wall to enable her to climb up and down to the covering under her window. She tied the dress to the side and went up as quietly as she could. She slipped and tore a little of the dress but promised herself she would make it up to Sapphira. She had made it up to her window finally only to see Jon staring at her from the other side. She was mortified and tried to think of something to say. "It's such a lovely morning, isn't it? I was just getting some fresh air..."



Emmeline Belrose

Edited by Faun
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"Where am I?" The groggy, half asleep voice of Kitten asked directly into Jon's sleeping ear. Now awake Jon thought he would have some fun, and pretended to still be asleep. 'She just woke up beside me, and there is no way she can remember what happened last night clearly.' Waiting a few more seconds for her thoughts to organize, Jon can guess her thoughts, 'About now she has just realized that she's only wearing a shift. I will have to tell her later that there was no way I was getting her into any of her dresses in the state she was in later.' Suppressing a smile, Jon follows her thoughts as he feels the blanket lift, 'That would be her checking to see what I'm wearing... Three... Two... One...' The bed shifts rapidly as Kitten springs to her feet, 'She's just made the assumption that we did more than share sleeping arrangements' Jon feints waking, stirring slowly, 'I really should end this now, before...' Jon's thoughts are interrupted by the sound of running feet. 'Did she just run out of her room in her shift?'


Throwing off the blankets and darting to the door, Jon catches a glimpse of Kittens curls as they flee the tavern entirely. Stepping back before the patrons think to look up at what she might be running from, Jon sees Margo standing beside Kitten's door, and blushes scarlet from hairline to collar bone, 'Why am I always next to naked in front of the staff!?' Darting back into Kitten's room Jon gathers his belongings, and stops dead when he sees the ivory comb discarded on the floor. Scooping it up, he heads back into his own room to get cleaned up and dressed properly. Once dressed, Jon seeks out Kitten's sisters, informing them of exactly what happened last night, and asking them to play along with his little game. With everything set Jon heads back into Kitten's room, 'After all, this is her room she has to come back sometime.'


Kitten is gone for quite a while, but Jon has nothing but patience, 'If I can wait an hour for you to get dressed, I can wait an hour for you to come back to me.' Jon thinks, laughing to himself. While waiting Jon gathers roots through the scattered clothing to find an outfit that will complement him today, something that will go well with an ivory comb holding ones hair up. That's when the slight sound of tearing fabric draws Jon's attention to the window, walking over he sees the colour drain out of Kittens face, as she offers feebly, "It's such a lovely morning, isn't it? I was just getting some fresh air..." Jon simply smiles, a twinkle in his eye as if he knows something he shouldn't, or perhaps that he did something last night that he shouldn't have, "It is indeed, perhaps after breakfast we could go for a walk. I think we might want to have a little chat about last night." Extending a hand out the window, and bracing himself on the ledge, "Come on, let's get you inside. I've taken the liberty of setting out something that I would love to see you in today." Jon says, gesturing to the outfit he had picked out. "Why don't you get dressed, and I will meet you in the hall." As Jon turns to the door, a flash of something ivory catches the light, but is quickly blocked by Jon's body. Turning back, Jon adds, "Oh, and you left this laying on the floor this morning." while holding up a clenched fist, fingers curled downward as if he was holding something, "I suppose I should give it to you again, since you were a little out of it last night." Waiting for Kitten to hold out her hands, Jon says, "I think it would look beautiful holding up your hair today, don't you?" Jon bows over her hands cradling the comb, and kisses Kittens wrist again. Once more holding the kiss for a couple heart beats. "I will see you shortly." He adds before she really has a chance to say anything at all.


Jon Smythe

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Kitten unwillingly stepped through the window to see Jon smiling sheepishly at her. "Well, he's smitten," she said internally. She watched curiously as he gave her a gift she supposed was meant to be given last night, if she hadn't been so stone-faced drunk. She smiled and gave a simple thank you for the hand-carved ivory comb. He reached for her hand and kissed her wrist. She held her breath so that her heartbeat would be slowed and not give the appearance of any unwanted conclusions. Jon then stood up and told her what she should wear, giving a few more orders before leaving the room.


"You let a man sleep with you and all of a sudden he has this idea that he owes you." She paused. "Well if that were true, I'd have more people own me than I could count." She looked down at the dress laid upon the bed. It was so hideous, an old fashion she had meant to give to one of her waiting-women. "Too bad." She grabbed a knife that she learned to keep concealed on her from Bethesda. She viciously cut up the dress and walked out of her room to the edge of the gallery. She could plainly see Jon sitting with Jodelle and Sapphira at the breakfast table. With a loud, "Ho!" to get their attention, she threw the shredded pieces of the awful dress over the ledge.


She headed back to the room without waiting to see their reactions. She slipped out of Sapphira's dress and donned a loose, flowing rose-colored frock. She sat down upon her bed to examine the gift given to her. She held her breath. It was exquisite, not something she would have expected from him. Swiftly, she made her hair into a twist with the ivory comb securing it in place. She couldn't resist not wearing something of such fine craftsmanship. She smoothed out the pleats of her dress while hardening her emotions in preparation. She had to show Jon that whatever was between them was not a commonplace relationship. And never would she let a man give her instructions, whether intentional or accidental. She left her room and walked as slowly as possible, meaning to keep Jon waiting.



Finally, she approached the table, wishing good morrow to her sisters and kissing them each. Jodelle sat at the head of the table with Sapphira to her right. Kitten took her place opposite her twin, and diagonal to Jon. With a smile on her face, she lightly asked, "Now, which of my lovely sisters invited this man to attend out break-fast?"


Jodelle eyed her sister and hissed hoarsely. "We should be hospitable to our guests, my dear. And unless we suddenly have several semi-permanent residents, I would say Mr. Smythe is rather entitled to sit at the morning table with us."


"I'm sorry. Guests usually do not stay until sunrise." Kitten shot Jon her most icy glance, warning him without words against mentioning anything that had transpired between them. She could see Sapphira suppressing a giggle, and kicked her from under the table while maintaining her composure. She refused to let her sisters think there was anything between her sisters and the merchant, even if there was.


The hall filled quickly with chatter and laughter as the girls who worked last night came to eat with their mistresses. Before anyone began eating, Jodelle and Sapphira stood up. Kitten slowly followed suit, out of courtesy, not because she had anything to do with what was about to happen. She half-listened to Jodelle's eloquent speech, and Sapphira's clear calculations of last night. The two announced the evening's best performer - a direct reflection of the revenues they brought in. Everyone stood to applaud as the gleeful girl took her place at the end of the table opposite Jodelle. Kitten watched Jon as he looked upon the lucky girl. She was curious to see his reaction. Breakfast began only to be interrupted by the agitating Elliot, with Kitten half there, half somewhere else...



Emmeline Belrose

Edited by Faun
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Leaning on the rail outside, Jon could see Jodelle and Sapphira sitting below. Catching Sapphira's eye, Jon nods, smiling at what just transpired. 'It's going to go exactly as the two of them thought. I'm interested to see what act of rebellion she has in mind to show how she is her own woman.' Heading downstairs he moves to stand beside Jodelle and Sapphira's table, "Would you two lovely ladies mind if I joined you?" Once seated Jon offers, "It went pretty much as you've said it would go so far ladies. She was very reserved, trying to show no emotion at all even when gifted with the ivory comb I got for her. I bet she even thinks I ordered her around when I offered simple suggestions." Shrugging, Jon enjoys a cup of tea while he waits to see what Kitten will do next. Kitten's shouted "Ho!" gains several groans from people who drank to much last night, but also gets the attention she was seeking as well. As the shredded remains of the dress drifted down to the floor Jon couldn't help but laugh, barely managing to avoid spitting tea across the table, "Apparently she didn't like your choice of dresses Sapphira. Are you sure it was of the latest fashion?" Smiling wryly Jon sips his tea still holding back bouts of giggling.


Jon, Jodelle and Sapphira all noticed how long it was taking for Kitten to join them, but with the early morning conversation being so satisfying it was hardly a burden to wait. Jon personally found it amusing that she was intentionally taking her time, 'When she finds out that nothing happened last night, I wonder if she will be angry at me or embarrassed for the way she's acting.' Jon's train of thought was interrupted when Kitten started to descend the stairs wearing a flowing flowing rose-colored frock, it was loose enough that she seemed to flow forward instead of walk. Jon used his leaning over the table while he stood to whisper excitedly to Kitten's sisters, "She's couldn't resist wearing the comb, again just like you said. You both know her so well." Standing straight, Jon bows as Kitten arrives, and only sits again once she has done so. Jon looses his smile for a moment at Kitten's rudeness, but recovers quickly once Jodelle chastises her for it. "Thank you Jodelle, but if Kitten would prefer I take my breakfast at another table, or even another establishment it can be arranged." With Jodelle and Sapphira insisting that Jon maintains his seat, and Kitten's icy glares Jon is at a loss for words. Sitting quietly throughout the rest of breakfast, Jon begins to wonder if this game of his was a good idea, 'I should not have let this go on. I should have told her the truth about last as soon as I pulled her in through the window.'


When the room fell to near silence, and the three sisters stood - Kitten reluctantly. Jon was forced to tune out the conversation as soon as he heard the topic. Instead he simply watched the room seeing how excited the staff were getting throughout Jodelle's speech, and Sapphira's recounting of last nights sales. When the gleeful little woman bounced to her feet Jon hadn't heard why she was so happy, so he simply clapped along with the rest of the room. Jon didn't pay any more attention to anyone over anyone else, spreading his glances around the table evenly. Kitten's attitude was beginning to get to him, and so he he excused himself and went back to his room before he couldn't keep up the facade of happiness anymore. So far he had managed to keep his expression's positive, but much more of her attitude and icy glares and he would be have to say something.


Once in his room, Jon makes the room look more presentable. Ever since he saw the confused, but happy look on his families house keeper's face at how clean his room was, he has always tried to keep the places he stays in good order. Packing away things that are no longer needed, and readying his bags for travel once again. He planned on staying around town for two days, but it never hurt to be prepared. With everything in order, he sat down on the bed to think about his next move. 'Do I leave earlier than I planned, and make it to the meeting a day early? Or do I stay and try to sort out whatever is happening here?' Shaking his head, Jon continues to think in circles while sitting on the end of his bed.


Jon Smythe

Edited by Delfon
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  • 2 weeks later...

"One two three, one two three, one two three, up. One two three, one two three, one two three, down." Up and down, side to side, Kitten had trouble keeping up with the dance. Usually she could keep to the pace of her sister's instructions but she wasn't concentrating and her mind was roaming the free space inside of it. She stretched her legs apart, moved her arms as gracefully as she could together, wrapped them around her side, and twirled. It was custom after a heavy night of partying/drinking all the girls got together and danced, their form of exercise to beat their hangovers. They stripped down to their drawers (puffy shorts reaching their knees) and their brassieres. Kitten kept the same twist in her hair from breakfast, held by the ivory comb.


She leaped across the room with four other girls. She felt like a horse, her horse, bounding through the field. "Higher." Distantly she heard Sapphira call out. Kitten wiggled her butt at her sister, really it didn't matter the precision in which she did her exercises as long as she was doing them. To be frank, she still had her mind on breakfast (how painfully slow it dragged out) and last night. She was unresolved on what she would do. What if she just didn't do anything? She could act casual, not as cold as this morning. She shouldn't fixate on this merchant, she had much more urgent ....Wham! And she hit the wall.


"That was on purpose." She winced in pain. She turned her back to Sapphira and the others, though she could perfectly envision her reaction. She walked out of the room and made to her own. It was enough exercise for one day, she thought. She met Margo up the stairs, looking at her frantically. "What is it now?" Margo looked down and looked up, not making eye contact with her Mistress. "Say it already." She watched hesitation and remorse wash over the girl's face. "Anthem is sick. She hasn't been eating."


"What??" Kitten turned around and was face to face with her waiting-girl. "I give that man," she spat, " one job, and one job only. And he can't even do that!" She ran to her room and put one of her simple riding tunics on and tied it together with a rope. She slipped on cloth shoes that were tough enough to last rides and forest grounds. She slipped out of her window since it faced the back and she could make it to the building much faster that way. She jogged a quarter of a mile until she reached the place where they kept most of the animals that were to be slaughtered for meals. They had some livestock that the sisters had allowed their servants to keep for extra wages. And of course, towards the back, there were stables to keep their horses. As she walked in moving towards the back, she saw the caretaker, Mr. Caius. She pushed past him in fury as he threw his hands up in an attempted explanation. "ONE TASK, that's all I've asked for!" She screamed at him.


Kitten walked up to Anthem, who was sitting in the corner of her pin. "My baby." She curled up next to her horse and began to stroke her back. She could see the sadness in her horse's eyes. "I'm sorry, I've been away so long. It's okay, mommy's here now." She yelled for Caius to bring her some food and she held Anthem's face firmly as she fed it to her. The horse refused at first but Kitten managed to make her eat. "Shhh," she whispered as she brushed through her thick black mane. Anthem was very special to her. She had raised her since she was a foal. Kitten had gotten her from a distant land and you can see how exotic she was from the horses around her. Anthem was a deep, chocolate brown with a thick black mane and tail. Each leg seemed to have been dipped ever so slightly in a white hue. Anthem had grown to be strong and Kitten took pride in her horse's agility and endurance. Kitten tried desperately to lead Anthem up and out of the gloomy pin that surrounded her. "I'll be back soon to deal with you later," she told the frightened Caius. Trotting out of the barn, Kitten thought twice of mounting her then. She wanted Anthem to use all her strength to move and thought it better if she led her, trailing in front of her.


"A nice walk past the walls, into the deep forest, that should do you good, my dear." She began telling Anthem everything she could remember about last night and waking up with another man in her bed. She told her about the awkward breakfast and the way that she couldn't get him out of her head. Maybe it was crazy speaking to an animal, but Anthem was her only true friend that wasn't her family or wasn't paid by her. There was a genuine bond that tied them together and she could feel it whether together or apart from her. Hours past by as they marched along, Anthem began to nudge her from behind and so Kitten mounted her, feeling it was safe now. She loved the feeling of riding, at first their pace was slow but then she began to pick up speed. Kitten loved the way the wind threw her hair and tears graced her eyes from the sheer acceleration of Anthem. When they rode, they were united, connected, her horse was just an extension of her own being and she loved the closeness to Nature she felt.


They continued on their own mental path when suddenly Anthem began to rear up and screech. Kitten was thrown from her back and she hit the tree next to her. Throbbing in pain she was close to blacking out and tried to grip onto the edges of her consciousness. Her vision was gone but she could hear Anthem's hooves pounding away in the distance. "Great." Her hands reached out for some sort of support and she grabbed a low branch and hiked herself up. She closed her eyes and opened them a few times and when her vision came into focus she screamed louder than she ever had in her life. Her scream was so high pitched, if someone were there to hear it would sound like nails scratching against the most irritable surface imaginable.


Though she wouldn't have had time to notice all the details on account of her running miles in minutes, the thing sitting near Kitten was grotesque. Hunched and sitting against an opposite tree, there was a body of a girl, once alive. Her eyes had been taken out completely and her mouth was carved into a permanent smile. What's worse was Kitten had recognized the body as one of the "girls" at the house, whose hair had been dyed blonde post mortum. She was clad in a simple white sheet with a flower garland in her hair. The body had been cleaned of all blood except for a single streak of blood running from the eye socket and down the cheek. Her hands were placed in her lap.


Kitten couldn't think. She couldn't breath. She wasn't sure the way to get out but she knew she had to reach the walls. She had to get back home. Who knows how long she kept running? But finally her legs led her back to the Haus and she tore through the door landing on the main floor. She was white as a ghost or like the body strewn in the woods. She landed in Jon's arms before finally fainting to escape the horror she'd seen.


Emmeline Belrose


OOC/Edit Foal is a baby horse. Color of hair dyed.

Edited by Faun
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With his thoughts spiraling out of control, Jon didn't realize just how much time had past since breakfast. It was startled when his stomach loudly grumbled out a protest around high sun. Jon shook his head to clear his mind, and headed downstairs to get something to eat. Two steps outside his door he saw the entire female staff dancing in their small clothes, and promptly turned back into his room. 'A glass of water will have to tide me over. It will do me some good since it's abruptly so hot in here...' Jon thought while filling a glass from a matching pitcher. Draining the glass, and then filling it a second time. Jon resumed his pacing.


A resounding thud below caught Jon's attention, but when no voices called out in alarm Jon chose to remain in his room. He wasn't avoiding the room full of mostly naked women, he was just giving them their privacy. Yeah, their privacy, defiantly not avoiding them. A voice in the hall attracted Jon's attention, "What is it now?" 'Was that Kitten?' Jon thought as he approached his door, "Say it already." Smiling in spite of his treatment at breakfast, 'Yes, that's Kitten' Jon thought with a wry smile. "Anthem is sick. She hasn't been eating." Jon tilted his head to one side, confused, but his wry smile was washed away by concern. "What? I give that man one job, and one job only, and he can't even do that!" Kitten roared. Now Jon was concerned, he didn't know who Anthem was, but clearly Kitten cared for them. Jon opened the door to offer his assistance, and found Margo looking chastened standing there, but Kitten was nowhere to be found. Jon moves closer to Margo, and murmurs, "She's not mad at you, she's mad at that man." Jon raises the pitch of his voice to impersonate Kitten on the last two words, and smiles as he sees Margo fighting to keep the corners of her mouth from a smile herself. "What happened? Who's Anthem? Who is that man?" Margo explains briefly, and Jon nods, "Thank-you. Kitten is in her room?" At Margo's nod, Jon knocks gently on Kitten's door. After a minute Jon knocks again. After a further minute, Jon looks to Margo and gestures to the door, "Could you check on her please?" Moments later Margo returns, she raises her hands and shrugs. "The window!" Jon guesses, "So she's gone then." Just at that moment Jon's stomach thunders loud enough to startle Margo, "I guess I should eat while I wait for her to get back..." Jon trails off smiling, adding, "Do you ever get used to how chaotic she can be?" When Margo remains silent Jon sighs audibly, and heads downstairs for something to eat.


Lost in thought as heads downstairs, Jon is part way into the room before he realizes that he is entirely surrounded by four dancing women in their small clothes, with Sapphira off to one side calling out directions to the ladies. It takes every ounce of his willpower to keep his face from bursting into flames. 'Oh light, what has that bloody woman got me into this time!? She's not even in the building and she has me so distracted that I can walk into the middle of a crowd of mostly naked women without noticing.' The ladies do not miss a beat, and within moments two of the girls have grabbed Jon's arms spinning him into their dance. Jon does his best to escape, but no matter which way he turns a laughing woman twirls. Jon has no choice, he can either be kicked by a dancing woman, or be swept up into their dance. Jon tries to keep up, but the girls are switching out, passing him between them. Before long Jon is sorely winded, with sweat streaming down his face, and his stomach grumbling it's demands more and more frequently. Abruptly Jon is spun out of the circle of women, where he promptly bumps into Sapphira. Jon begins to apologize, but then he sees the twinkle in Sapphira's eye. Jon closes his mouth as Sapphira snakes her arms around him, pulling his hands down to rest in the deepest curves of her sides. Sapphira kept the dance going, mercifully she slowed the pace so Jon could keep up in his hungry tired state. They spoke as they danced, and although the lessened pace was a blessing, it carried with it it's own problems. With the slower pace it allowed Sapphira to press herself very close to Jon, and he found himself distracted from their conversation from time to time.


After Sapphira finally let Jon go, Jon staggered over to a table and collapsed into a chair - thoroughly exhausted. Sitting there, head down on his crossed arms Jon nearly fell asleep before the server came to take his order. Order placed Jon did fall asleep until the server returned with his meal. Jon snapped awake when the first whiff of his meal reached his nose. Pulling himself up Jon devoured his food in minutes. As Jon sat back from his meal, he realized just how refreshing that little nap had been. Jon felt fantastic whether it was the meal or the nap, he felt great. Then the door burst inward, and an a disheveled Kitten stumbled inside. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl, and everything came into crisp focus. First Jon noticed that Kitten had a slightly puffy cheek, the redness had faded from hitting the wall earlier but the bruise had yet to rise to the surface of her skin. She was deathly pale, except for her cheeks which were flushed from exertion, and her hair was matted to her head with sweat. Next Jon noticed a tear in the shoulder of her simple riding tunic, and two other tears in her dress. Lastly Jon noted that she was only wearing one shoe, and the bare foot was dirty, scratched and bleeding.


In slow motion Kitten scanned the room, her eyes stopping on Jon, and her body pivoted to run to him. Abruptly the world was moving in a blur, and Kitten had already crossed the room, and thrown herself into Jon's arms. Jon barely had time to get his arms around her before she slumped into unconsciousness. With one arm supporting Kitten around her back, Jon bent to scoop up her legs with his free hand. Cradling Kitten against his body Jon shifted her so that her chin was on her chest, and her head was against Jon's shoulder. Now well supported, Jon carried her toward a table, "Clear it off!" Jon shouted at a horrified servant. Then Jon started issuing commands to the other staff around him, "You get a pillow, and a towel, and you fetch a glass of water, and a cool wet cloth, and you a bowl of hot water and some bandages." Carefully laying Kitten down on the table, Jon tucks the pillow under her head when it arrives. The towel he uses to wipe the sweat off her face and neck before setting it aside. The water is set aside with the towel until she wakes up, but the wet cloth is pressed against her cheeks and forehead to cool down her skin. When the hot water and bandages arrive, Jon lets the servants take care of her wounds while he dries Kittens wet hair with the towel. It doesn't take long for Kitten to begin to stir, and as soon as she opens her eyes Jon smiles, "This is the second time you've collapsed into my arms, let's not make a habit of it okay? It scares the hell out of me." Holding the water to her lips, Jon helps her take a few sips, "Slowly, slowly, just a little at first." Once she has had a chance to drink and recover for a moment Jon asks gently, "Why did you run in here like the Dark One himself was on your heels?"


Jon Smythe

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No one really ever knows that place you go to when you're unconscious. In the moment, you know where you've been taken and yet, you're lost and stuck between two worlds. Kitten could feel being lain upon a table and attended to. The coolness of the rag placed upon her cheek stung, more than it should have. She couldn't stop running, awake or asleep. She tried to scream out to those around her the body the body the body. But everytime she opend her mouth she knew that her mind was disconnected from the physical world. She kept running through the darkness and in a moment she was falling, help me help me please someone, she shrieked. But in the real world, she was just stirring, returning to the world slowly as she drew upon her life energy.


She opened her eyes and could see the servants and Jon about her with caring eyes. Jon begins to speak to her but she doesn't hear his words, just watched his mouth moving. She noded slowly to indicate that she had been paying attention. Her eyes were locked on the glass of water he held. He brought it to her lips and she drank much at first. Her mouth and tongue were so dry she could not mutter a word. "Slowly, slowly, just a little at first." Jon said. She heeded his instructions and sipped the water sparingly. As she felt the cool liquid spread throughout her inner body, she tried to shake the numbness of her body. She wiggled her toes and kicked her feet. She felt a sharp pain in left foot. Kitten tried to remember why she was on the table and why she was in such a bad state. Jon interrupted her stream of thoughts when he asked gently, "Why did you run in here like the Dark One himself was on your heels?"


Now she remembered what happened. Across her blank mind flashed the horrific images of Elisa, one of their longest working girls. Kitten saw a profuse amount of blood draining from her eyes and the wicked smile that exposed all her teeth. And the smell, of rotting flesh and maggots defiling her dead body, Kitten tried to hold back a sob that shook her whole being. She turned her face away from the crowd around her and cried deeply. She felt Jon's hand on her shoulder, trying to find out what exactly had transpired. She tried to say through short breaths and waves of sobs, Elisa, it's Elisa. She wiped her eyes and held on to Jon to stand up. She could see the confusion on his face. "Margo." Kitten called out softly. Her servant was by her side in seconds. "Call the city guard and all the men in this village. There's been a disastrous crime and this is no place for Jodelle, Sapphira nor I." She grabbed Jon's hand to help her up the stairs to her room. She walked in and closed the door behind them. She needed some time to collect herself and regain her composure before the men arrived.


She drew upon her basin and washed her face of the mud. She touched lightly the wound on her cheek. It was too tender to try and cover it up with her powders. As she dried her face, she began to tell Jon everything that had happened before. She stripped down to her small clothes and began to quickly wipe herself down. In another time she would have asked Jon to help but Kitten wasn't in the mood. She looked down at her foot and saw she was missing a toenail. Aargh, she mumbled in pain. She scrubbed it clean and slipped on the softest shoes she owned. She sprayed perfume on her nearly naked body. She moved to her wardrobe and grabbed a simple white robe, still recounting the story to Jon. She looked in the mirror and tried to comb out the tangled mess of her hair. Ow ow ow. Her whole body throbbed in pain. She braided her hair and finished the story. Only one tear managed to escape the whole time she spoke and so she knew she was strong enough to face the guards and elders downstairs. Jon accompanied her as they made it to the main room where a crowd of men had joined. When they saw her, they quieted down the ruckus they had been causing. She waited until all eyes were on her before she spoke.


"My name is Emmeline Belrose and there is a murderer among us."



Emmeline Belrose

Edited by Faun
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Jon held Kitten upright with one hand behind her shoulders, while the other held the water glass. When Kitten began those terrible shaking sobs, Jon pulled her close turning her so she could bury her face in his chest. After nearly a minute Kittens sobs subsided somewhat, and she leaned heavily upon Jon to stand before calling for Margo. "Call the city guard, and all the men in the village. There's been a disastrous crime, and this is no place for Jodelle, Sapphira nor I." She said, shocking the onlooking crowd of servants, friends and family. Although the crowd exploded in a fury of questions, Kitten ignored them. Kitten grabbed onto Jon's hand like a life line, and she directed the couple toward the stairs with gentle pressure with her hand.


Once inside Kitten's room, Kitten headed toward the wash basin. Jon picked up the wash cloth from beside the basin while Kitten filled the basin with water from the matching pitcher. Jon insisted on cleaning, and tending to Kitten's remaining wounds. Kitten tried to protest that she could do it herself, but Jon cut her off with a curt, "This isn't the first time I've cleaned you up, now sit down and hold still." Although his voice held that no nonsense tone, Kitten could also easily hear the undertones of concern. Match those undertones with the mixture of sadness and caring in his blue eyes, and Kitten had no choice but to relent. That or literally fight him off. With a remarkably gentle touch, Jon had her face clear of mud in short order revealing the bruise that would only show up more as the day progressed. Once Jon was satisfied that her wounds were tended, he handed her a towel to dry herself off, and sat back to listen to her story.


Distracted by her story, and her actions to prepare herself, Kitten would still have noticed that Jon turned his back when she began to strip down. She may not have consciously taken notice of that fact right now, but at some point the oddity of him turning his back on someone he's slept with will strike her. Jon remained quiet during the story, but had to restrain himself constantly from rushing to her side and enveloping her in a protective embrace. To reassure her, that he was here and as long as he was by her side she was safe. Again the thought crosses Jon's mind, 'How is it that I'm so attached to this woman?' When she is finished redressing, and her story comes to a close Jon goes to her immediately, his arms encircling her completely. "You did the right thing getting back here as fast as you did. I'm not going to tell you that it's okay, because nothing is okay about this situation, I am here for you in whatever capacity you require." Jon doesn't think his assurance will amount to much with Kitten after this morning, but he can't help himself. When Kitten appears ready to go downstairs, Jon says, "Before we go down, I would like to collect my walking staff from my room." Jon offers Kitten his arm, not willing to even go so far as his room without her by his side at a time like this. Holding his staff in one hand, and Kitten's hand in the other Jon and Kitten make their way downstairs.


As the couple descended the stairs, a jumble of questioning voices could be heard. One voice talking over another voice in a cacophonous uproar. Although a couple of the local guardsmen were attempting to establish some order, only those closest to them seemed to be listening to their shouts. The room began to quiet as a few people nearest to the stairs noticed Kitten descend. Within a few moments the entire group had quieted, and everybody had turned their attention to Kitten, "My name is Emmeline Belrose and there is a murderer among us." She announced, shattering the silence into pandemonium.


Jon Smythe

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Sapphira had had an amusing breakfast. She hadn’t been surprised that Kitten hadn’t liked the dress she’d given Jon to offer to her sister. She knew her sister well enough to know her likes and dislikes. Though Sapphira had once loved that dark fairy-tale colored dress, it had been aging and had several holes. It had had to go anyway.


The awkward meal had been hilarious for Sapphira. She had watched slyly over the rim of her goblet of watered wine as her sister fought to recall what had happened to her the night before. It’d ok, I might remind her later if Jon allows. It really wasn’t her business, though she cared for her sisters deeply, she had learned to stay out of their one-night-stands for the most part, and in this case, there hadn’t even been any inappropriate behavior. Or so Jon said.


Once breakfast was over Sapphira headed to the attic where she settled down in one of the plush purple chairs and studied her records extensively. She had bought a pair of spectacles while in Tear the previous winter, from a merchant who had purchases a few rare pairs from the Sea Folk. Sapphira had been surprised to find that they actually made a difference to her vision.


The party the previous night had been a success. They had profited much and more, and were certain to have plenty of regulars as a result of their outstanding hospitality and alluring entertainment. Jodelle would be please to hear the projections Sapphira had just calculated. Haus of Three was going to be one of the most profitable taverns in Camelyn, and considering the great size of the sprawling city, that was an impressive position for their business to be in.


Once she was satisfied with her paperwork, Sapphira removed her spectacles and headed for her bedroom. Pulling the light pink dress off her body, she left it on the floor for her bed maid, Marianna to retrieve. The young blonde kept her corset and thigh-high white stockings on, though she pulled her hair up into a ponytail. Comfortable with her attire, she made her way to the chamber the girls gathered for their daily exercise. Once everyone had filed in besides her sisters. Sapphira began the dance that was their work out. She had them stretch every muscle in their body throughout the session, and mixed up every move to make sure they were constantly using more than one limb, in order to promote good coordination. Some of the girls groaned as Sapphira led them through an especially difficult portion of the dance, “Keep it up girls!” As the girls grew more unruly Sapphira reluctantly retrieved her riding whip for one corner of the room and walked around between them whipping whoever complained or whined. She didn’t like to have to do it, but if the girls wished to maintain their positions in Haus of Three, they would have to comply with their employers’ rules, and one of those rules was making sure to stay healthy.


Kitten wandered in, which pleased Sapphira and she kept an eye on her sister, worrying that she might not be in any state to exercise yet if she was still suffering from her hangover. Kitten eventually left, and to the dancer’s surprise Jon wandered in and began dancing. Sapphira grinned. She was going to have some fun with this. She slid over to Jon and informed the girls to wind down the dance, leading the way at slowing the pace of every movement herself. She grasped Jon’s hands and placed them on her tight waist, pulling him close and dancing with sinfully sultry movements, making circles and figure eights with her hips, eventually pulling Jon’s hands down to hold on to her hips. She hoped she had him imagining what else she could perform with her hip motions. Sapphira finally let the dance end and gently pulled herself from Jon’s arms, maintaining eye-contact with him as she slipped away.


The dancer, heart beating with the rush of the exercise, retired to her room to wash up, calling for Marianna to fill her tub with pails of boiled water from the kitchens. Once the task was complete, Sapphira stripped entirely, and slid into the hot bath completely naked., using a cake of rose oil-scented soap to wash the light sweat off her pale body. “Marianna, come here you silly little wench!” As Marianna came over the dancer leaned forward in her tub, letting her servant wash her back, smiling as she noticed the care with which the girl did it. Sapphira could entice anything, as she was quickly learning. Male, female, or other. Light, she could probably even seduce a half-man, and certainly a Trolloc.


Once she had finished she had Marianna dry her off, even though the younger girl insisted on doing it with a piece of silk and her bare hands. The Belrose twin dismissed her bed-maid so she could have privacy while dressing. She donned one of her afternoon/evening dresses, entirely too form-fitting, neglecting to wear any sort of undergarment underneath. The dress was tight enough to cling to her breasts, and though it was the tiniest bit transparent, it would not be obvious unless she was standing in front of a large torch. Or if she danced close enough to someone’s face.


Sapphira made her way downstairs, swinging her hips as she walked, and swayed contently into the common room, anticipating a late lunch, only to find her sister Emmeline passed out in Jon’s arms. Once he had set her down, the blonde twin rush to her sister, smoothing her hair as the servants began wiping her face off. “It’s ok sweet sister, you’re going to be all right.” Sapphira soothed to her unconscious double.


As time passed Emmeline woke and Sapphira stepped back to let Jon soothe her. There seemed to be something between them, and Emmeline seemed to favor Jon’s comfort as of late, which Sapphira understood. Sometimes a woman isn’t enough, even if it is your sister. After waiting for them to complete their private time in her sisters room, Sapphira sent Marianna to learn from Margo what had happened to her sister. Marianna reported back quickly, to Sapphira’s pleasure, and followed to relate a horrifying story to her mistress. Sapphira frowned in though, her mind working as she assessed the situation and the best way to understand and resolve what had happened to her twin. She would have to consult Jodelle before sending for the city guard, as Emmeline had wanted according to Marianna. Sapphira seated herself at a table in the common room where her older sister seemed shocked and disturbed. No doubt her own servant had informed her as to what had taken place. “Jodelle, we are going to need to figure out who did this, and I doubt the city guard will take the time to investigate adequately. With the false dragon, they already have plenty on their hands. We should tell them just so ensure they make a public message to dissuade the killer from committing another such crime, but I think we may want to handle this ourselves as well. Leave it to them and they’ll forget, since as long as they are protecting the queen in these times, little else will be of great importance to them. What do you think?”


After listening to her sister’s response, valuing her elder’s experienced opinion and discussing the issue further with her, Sapphira sent a stable hand to inform the city guard. There would be no other officials to tell in Caemlyn, and she doubted the queen would be listening to petitioners until things were cleared up with the dangers posed to her court. She just hoped everything would resolve. Sapphira introduced herself professionally to the city guard officers who entered. And then settled down on a bar stool next to Jodelle, anxiously awaiting her twin’s descent.



Sapphira Lunetta Belrose

The pale side of the moon.

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Enveloped into a sea of chaos, men rushed at Kitten surrounding her while yelling their questions. She tried to answer one and then the other but soon her own voice was drowned out. She managed to slip out from the crowd unnoticed and she stood on the side watching the guards and volunteers debating with themselves. She heard men groaning saying they did not have time to look into prostitutes and their problems, they obviously were not worth it. It stung but she shrugged it off, what surprise is it that men were idiots.


She heard one man who was obviously interested enough, take charge. He must have been one of the leaders because he yelled, "Ho! These men here are to stay and question the staff. The rest, you are to go back home as we already have our hands tied. We only need a few men. You can report back later to me, but do not worry about that just now. Volunteers, we need you o a search party. Grab your torches and ride past the walls and bring back the body."


Jodelle stood up in protest, "This is ludicrous. We have a tavern to run and I can't have my clients scared off by the city guard and some death of a girl." The man and Jodelle negotiated and he agreed to take girls one at a time, upstairs in the private quarters, making sure not to disturb the business. Kitten hoped they did not go in her room, and if they did, that Margo had enough sense to hide her contraband. All the men filed up with Marianna, Sapphira's maid, leading them. The main room looked normal again. With a sense of false security, Kitten tried to make over to her sisters; she desperately needed to talk and be with them. She was interrupted by the man who had spoke earlier.


"Can I take you upstairs?"


For a second, she wasn't sure what he was asking and turned white with fury. Realizing what he meant she replied, "I must stay downstairs as I run it. But you're welcome to sit at this table in the far corner, as long as I can monitor the crowd."


They took a seat as the customers began to emerge. The girls looked a little shaken, but they feared the punishment that could be inflicted upon them if they did not do their best. It was a rough night for all of them anyways, and if someone were to chastise them, it would not be Kitten tonight. The man looked at her with steady eyes. "Let's begin with your name."


"Emmeline Lunaire Belrose."


"And you go by Kitten?"






"It was a nickname given to me some time back. It suits me better than my own name."


"How old are you?"




"And you have a twin sister?"




"What about the other girl?"


"She is my sister too."


"By blood?"


"We have the same father. Her mother raised me."


"Tell me about your family."


"My father was a blasted idiot."


"And your mother?"


"The maid was a whore."


"How old were you?"


"Young, but Jodelle's mother had always raised us."


"How did you come about this tavern?"


"It was Jodelle's investment. I was lucky enough to be invited to join."


"What sort of place is this...tavern?"


"A place of all pleasures."


"Have you had violence surrounding it before?"


"The occasional bar brawl but nothing of this seriousness."


"Did you know the girl killed?"


"I recognized her but I don't know much about her. You'd have to ask Jodelle or one of the girls for more information."


"But she's an employee of yours."


"I don't deal with the girls. I lead gambling games and encourage men to drink more."


"Is it possible a man unknown to you murdered her?"


"I don't know all of the people who come in here, but ...I don't know. This whole situation is bizarre to me. We send our boy servants on errands. The girls never get out of the house, except for the monthly trip they get to relax for a few days. I checked earlier and it wasn't her turn. I don't have any idea why she was out, so far away. We always stick close together."


"Could she have been taken from here?"


"Absolutely not. We always have people in every corner of this place inside and out. Someone should have noticed her screaming or fighting in protest."


"But she could have been led willingly."


"The girls are not supposed to leave under any circumstance."



"Who do you think has done this?"


"I don't bloody know. I try not to deal with psychopaths."


"So you don't know anyone that could have done this terrible deed?"


Something made Kitten hesitate but she answered with a cold, "No."


"Was she here last night?"


"I..I can't remember."


"Why not?"


"I had one too many to drink and the place was packed. I wouldn't have noticed sober."


"Okay moving along, is there anyone new here that's been hanging around past their welcoming."


Kitten could see Jon from across the room, being interviewed himself. It wasn't that he should have left, but he was certainly new. Suspiscions began to cloud her. "There's a man who came yesterday to the Haus before the party."


"He was early?"






"I have no idea."


"What did he do?"


"Well, he...he sort of went around the Haus."


"What is his name?"


"Jon Smythe."


"What do you know about him?"


Kitten racked her brain to try and answer his question. She looked over at him, his features and composure. The man looked in her direction. "Is that him?" "Yes it is."


She paused. "I don't know much about him. He, he's a merchant and his family ring shows that he is of good standing. That's all that could help."


"Do you know anything at all?"


Kitten stood up in anger and barked, "I will not subject myself to this."


The man stood up with her and tried to arrange a room to stay the night. He mentioned having someone stay for protection. He grabbed her hand and she shook it off.


"Personally, I would prefer if you did not stay but that's something you'll have to run by Jodelle. I would hope to hire a rogue than have some washed-up city guard attempt to protect me. Good night..." She trailed off trying to think of his name but realized he had not told her, "whoever you are." She walked towards the crowd of festivities.

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Jon tried his best to keep the sea of men from Kitten, loosing her hand to take a firmer hold on his staff. With a firm grip on his weapon, Jon used it to hold the crowd back, pushing with all his strength he managed to create a small corridor and smiled as Kitten escaped the milling mass through it. After that Jon just let the crowd envelop him, and simply moved with the flow of the crowd until he made it to the outside. Unfortunately, this left him on the opposite side of the room from the three sisters. Jon nodded when someone finally took charge of the group, shouted orders rang out and the crowd began to disperse as the men when about following their orders. Jon's first reaction to Jodelle was amusement, but this merchant side kicked in, and he immediately understood her concerns.


Watching the three sisters from across the room, Jon reflected on what had changed in the last twenty four hours. He had come here to enter a business arrangement with the Haus, and through the party build his network of contacts beyond the tight knit group he had from his family's business dealings. He had partially achieved the first, and far surpassed the second. 'I met a fellow all the way from Tear last night! If he supplies the horses he promised, I can trade those with the Andoran noblewoman, who will in turn...' Jon's thoughts circle as one trade leads to another, and each step of the way Jon makes a tidy profit. Now however, Jon feels connected to this place, well maybe not the place so much... Jon smiles at Kitten across the room, standing there talking to the man that took charge of the group.


A guardsman moved to block out Jon's view of Kitten, and asked, "What is your name? Are you a member of the staff or a guest? Were you here last night?" Jon was a little annoyed that the guardsman had interrupted his thoughts, but wanted to help in whatever way he could, "My name is Jon Smythe, my family has estates north of the city. I was a personal guess of Emmeline Belrose at the party last night. You may know her as Kitten, I believe she goes by that nick name most of the time." Jon moved the conversation over to a table, which by happenstance had a view of Kitten sitting in the far corner of the room. The questions kept coming, and Jon answered them quickly, hoping that the guard would be satisfied and move on. Jon explained with some detail that his location could be accounted for by witnesses throughout the evening, he even had someone located outside the room he slept in last night. He caught Kitten's eye across the room, and was surprised to see confusion and doubt play across her face. The emotions were quickly hidden, but Jon started to wonder what that man was asking her about. The questioning ended a short time later, and the guardsman moved off to question someone else. Jon sat back trying to regain his train of thought from before.


Just as Jon managed to get his trading narrative back on track he was interrupted once again, this time by the man that was speaking with Kitten. "Jon Smithe?" The man asked, clearly already knowing the answer. "I would like to ask you a few questions" he added without waiting for Jon to confirm his identity. Jon gestured to the chair across from him, and the man took a seat, "What brings you to the Haus of Three Master Smithe?" The man asked without preamble. "Business." Jon replied simply.


"What kind of business?"


"I'm a merchant and a trader, although I fail to see the connection between my business affairs and your investigation. Am I a suspect?"


"Everyone and anyone who was here last night is a suspect Master Smithe, but these are just routine questions."


"Does this mean that you're about to ask me the same questions that fellow asked?" Jon inquired, gesturing to the guardsman he had spoken with.


"Possibly some. Let us begin, and we shall see. Did you see anything suspicious last night Master Smithe?"


"Nothing of note. I attended the party as Kitten's date. Throughout the night I spoke to dozens of people, including Kitten's sisters. Eventually I retired to my room. Kitten later joined me shortly thereafter, and we spent the night in her room. Before you can jump to any conclusions, nothing inappropriate happened throughout the night. She was in no state for such things. Margo stood guard outside Kitten's room, you can verify with her." Jon was surprised at how candid he was being with this man, but he always tried to help out local law enforcement where he could. A well placed guard has saved more than one merchants goods, or their lives depending on the villain. The man made a noise that could have meant anything, and asked a dozen or so more questions before excusing himself. Once the man had left Jon recounted everything he had said, looking at each word from every angle to see if this man could twist something he said to make it fit his suspicions. Jon had witnesses to his location for virtually the entire evening, and so he wasn't worried.


Now that he felt better about the entire situation Jon went back to planning his trades, running through his mind everyone he met the night prior, and what they had hinted at or outright promised. Sorting through the information took a while, and he noted that he would have to hit the road to firm up some details after this murder investigation was completed. Although Jon was planning on leaving tomorrow, that investigator would assume guilt if Jon tried to leave. Jon made a mental note to send a messenger to his client to let them know that he wouldn't make their meeting. Although business picked up once the gathered men had left, Jon wasn't really in the mood for company. Trudging up the stairs, Jon collapsed into his bed fully dressed. "Maybe tomorrow will be a better day." Jon said to the empty room.


Jon Smythe

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