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DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY
Faun

Some time later at the Haus

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It was times like these that Kitten would lock her door, curl up in a corner, and cry dried tears that moved her spirit in a way it had never been moved before. She didn't know how long it was since they found ....since they found Elisa. Elisa. Elisa. Elisa. Her mind was like one of their regulars-the old man that sat on the bar and just repeated the same words over and over all night as if he had never said it before.

 

She didn't talk to her sisters about her nightmares that played again each night. She wasn't sure what was a nightmare and what was real life. She held a pillow against her stomach as she trembled and moaned prayers without words. She didn't know how much time had passed since that day, that awful day, that day that ruined a part of her, that day that day that day.

 

After she became numb to the pain Kitten got up and moved to the place between her bed and the wall. She had hidden a box under the floorboards that only she knew the contents of. One of those things was an ivory comb. She fingered the handiwork and engravings on the comb before stuffing it back in the box and hiding it once more. It had been some time since she had seen the merchant. She was glad though. It was her suspicion of him being the murderer that enraged her in her deepest moments. At least it kept the spark in her alive.

 

It was times like these that she would try and beautify her face, only to fail from the tremor in her hands. She would dig her nails into her palms hoping the fresh ebbing of pain would stop the shaking. She would give up, like now, and call to her trusty maid-servant, Margo. Margo would come in and powder her face, stain her lips, and line her eyes. She would undo the mess of braids, letting her fingers unweave each strand, until Kitten's hair was more presentable. Margo would beg her to look in the mirror and see how pretty she looked but Kitten would weakly smile and refuse. She had lost so much weight her eyes sunk in and her cheeks were tight against the skin. Her curves were straightened out. Her bones showed in places they had not shown before. No signs of blood rushed to the surface of her skin, she was like a ghost of her former self. But she would let Margo work on her, stuffing her dress, painting her skin, and fixing her hair. Margo came in now.

 

After hours of painstaking work, Margo finished and kissed her. Kitten kissed her back as a way to say thank you and let the passion fill the void inside her. Time passed yet again as Kitten and Margo found a way inside of each other and finished.

 

After gaining her strength back, Kitten sat up and went to her oak-carved side table. She ate a piece of stale bread and drank a glass of red wine. She liked the way it burned as it went down her throat. It was fire that kept her going. The fire that ignited her soul and burned the memories of that horrid day- if only for a few moments.

 

Soon it would be back again and the painful cycle would begin.

 

It was times like these, Kitten would gather herself up because she had a job to tend to, downstairs, and sisters to love. And places to go and money to make. And sisters to love.

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Jodelle sat at the long, wooden bar in the main room, letting her fingertips slide against the sanded surface. "Yes, just as I envisioned. It's perfect." Everything created in the Haus was her brainchild and she labored day and night to improve it's standing. She prided herself on being the best buisnesss woman in this parts. She had a servant serve her a bowl of fresh red grapes and she popped a big, juicy one in her mouth and let it pop against her teeth.

 

"Hmm yes this will need fixing and that needs to be redone. And I think I should move that over there. A little more light on that side and it should be perfect." She did a mental inventory of what she wanted to do in the room. Her fingers rolled around in the grapes and she threw her head back and popped another into her mouth.

 

A servant approached her saying their goods had arrived. "Yes, about time." She took out a piece of parchment and dipped her rare, gold-tipped feather in the ink jar. She wrote down everything the servants brought into the rooms dictating where they were to be placed. "Everything seems to be in order," she said as she handed the paper to her record-keeper.

 

Jodelle then went to examine some of the fineries in the shipment she had brought to her. It had cost her much and lately buisness hadn't been so good. But she figured a few new pieces would distract the girls from what had happened in the past few months. She had been very strict with them, demanded their best, but she could see the toll it took on them. Oh, she mentally groaned, the drudgeries of being the madam of this establishment.

 

So she laid down on the new leather couch with her new silk pillows. She put her feet up and was immediately attended to and given a massage. She snapped her fingers and another servant came bringing more fruit and fed her as she hummed a tune her mother used to sing to her.

 

Jodelle "Buttercup" Belrose

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Jodelle had thoroughly been enjoying the past hour of pampering by her women in waiting. It was essential for her to renew herself anytime she was given the opportunity as she found herself continously busy day and night. It was just then that she was interrupted by a servant, standing before her, exasperated by all measures.

 

"Me Lady, I know tis not a good time to bother you but I, well it's..."

 

"Well, out with it. What seems to be the problem?"

 

"It's the boy. We've been chasing him all morning. Cleaning after him too." She could see the lines of pain on his forehead, trying to say what was amiss in the most gentlest of ways. Elliot was wild, yes. But she didn't see the need to place any parameters for him yet. The truth is she felt a little guilty for the boy who was growing up in a whore-house with no sense of the traditional parenting unit. She let him do as he pleased because the poor thing deserved it.

 

"Ah, yes. Call him in for me." Jodelle reached up to the top of the upholstery and lazily pulled herself up. She sat against the arm of the couch, drumming her fingers as she waited.

 

She could here him now. The pat-patting of his bare feet slapped the wooden floors as he ran into the room. "Oh Elliot," Jodelle called, "why don't you come sit next to me?" She placed her hand on the pillow adjacent to her. The poor, wide-eyed boy stood before trying to figure out if he was punished or not. He obediently listened to her.

 

"What have you been doing all morning, dear?"

 

"Oh m'm I'se been a good boy. I'se been playing with the lil animals. I'se brought some in cuz they's looking sad outside. Just some lil bugs. But they not happy about it."

 

She patted the boy's head affectionately. Sometimes her fingers would get caught in the mess of blonde curls that were beginning to fall down his back. She placed her hand under his chin and looked into his warm, chocolate eyes. She loved seeing his smile that showed his front teeth missing. And the freckles that fell over his nose and cheeks brought forward the innocence of childhood that was something missing in the Haus. Jodelle planted a warm kiss on his forehead.

 

"Oh m'm what's I do this time? I'se been a good boy." Elliot said as he violently rubbed the remnants of the kiss off of him.

 

"Nothing dear. Run along. There's work to be done and not enough time to do it in." Elliot stood up and sprinted towards the door before she could chide him on his behavior.

 

Jodelle thought of all the tasks she had committed to and which she should endeavor to start first. She smoothed out her gown, a gown colored of autumn, and set out to make her daily inspection of the girls. She was hoping to see one of her sisters on her way there. She had something quite important to confide in them, but at this moment it seemed to have slipped her mind.

 

Before closing the door, her thoughts flashed back to Elliot, the only free man in the Haus. A terrible secret smeared every wall and bed in this tavern. And this is how much her conciousness would let her remember: one of Ladies was the mother, whether it be Sapphira, Emmeline, or Jodelle herself. They were all so young then. And so the answer to the unspeakable seemed to have been lost long ago, buried beneath an old tree, lying near her mother. It was only now that Jodelle should have thought of it.

 

Jodelle "Buttercup" Belrose

Edited by Aurora

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Jon entered the Haus a couple hours before it opened properly, and he realized that he seemed to be making a habit of early entrances to this place. Since the front door was locked to keep out unwanted customers, he had used a servants entrance. "I hope I'm still welcome here." Jon murmured to himself. Margo spotted him from across the room, and immediately scampered upstairs. 'That doesn't bode well for my welcome.' Jon thought before adding, 'Perhaps she was just needed urgently upstairs' more hopefully than seriously. Moving to the bar that would in a few hours be bustling, Jon leaned his staff against it and set his pack on the floor. Turning around Jon rests his elbows on the bar, and surveys the changes to the Haus since his last visit. Jon's thoughts instantly jumble when he remembers the last time he was here, helping Kitten upstairs, and listening to her horrific story. His contacts had kept him informed about the investigation, but as expected the guard had made little headway so far.

 

Forcing himself to think about other things Jon review his business trips since he was last at the Haus, all directly profitable or at least holding the promise of future profits. That Lordling will require a few more wining and dining sessions before he will be willing to do better than he's currently offering. Two of the contacts he met at the Haus panned out well, while three others won't work out. Two of the three wanted more than their trades were worth, and were not willing to negotiate. The third was too willing to negotiate, which sets off alarm bells in Jon's mind about stolen merchandise.

 

A barefoot boy scampering through the room drew Jon from his thoughts, and the servants chasing after him drew a smile across his lips. 'That must have been Elliot, he looks like he's running those poor servants ragged - just like me as a boy.' Jon noticed a woman peek her head around the corner, and head upstairs quickly, 'I think that was Jodelle's hand maiden, I guess that means that at least two sisters know that I'm here.' At this point Jon also noticed a couple toughs lounging near the entrances, and all of them were unobtrusively watching him closely. 'The sisters have tightened security a bit since I was here last. I guess one of the servants recognized me, or I may have met with a more violent ejection from the building.' With that realization Jon moves his staff out of his arms reach, nods to the two nearest toughs, and resumes leaning casually against the bar on his elbows. 'One of the sisters will come down at some point, no need to set the security team on edge until then.'

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Jodelle stepped into the hidden room behind a recess in the wall. It was here that the girls gathered in turns to recieve a daily examination. The routine was simple. The girls laid back on the tables as Jodelle and her medicine-woman passed checking for disease and inquiring important information that was to be kept track of by the recordkeeper. Jodelle stood in front of the girls removing her jewelry and tying her hair back. She lifted her sleeves out of the way, watching the girls laying down. Most were comfortable chatting away their prior experiences, but a few cowered in the corner and Jodelle prepared herself to enact whatever punishment they invoked.

 

"Alrighty, girls. You know the procedure. Lay back. Legs open. And please keep talking to a minimum." Jodelle began on one of the longest-working girls at the Haus. It would be a sad day when she would have to turn her out. Her experience made her an asset but soon her age would be a burden. She seemed clear of any illness, though Jodelle would have to tell her to take a few days off in accord to the injuries she seemed to have sustained.

 

"When was the last time you bled?"

 

"Oh just the other week m'm." The record keeper made note and Jodelle nodded her head in affirmation, moving to the next girl. After looking at each, the medicine woman would hand special roots for the girls to eat that would ward off pregnancy, most of the time. As Jodelle worked meticulously, her hand-maid came in to tell her of the arrival of the merchant.

 

"Yes and has he been welcomed?" Jodelle said strenuously as she continued the examination.

 

"No my Lady."

 

"And why not?" Jodelle's voice rose in anger. "What kind of buisness do you suppose we run? Get down there and offer him a room and a drink. Oh, and a girl if he'll take one." Though he seemed to have his eyes on one in particular, the last time he was here. "On second thought, I'll tend to it myself. See to it that all the women are examined properly.

 

Jodelle stepped out of the room and made her way to the bar. She could see Jon sitting there, looking around aimlessly. She came up behind him without his noticing. "Well I'm going to have to tell you Mr. Smythe the room rates have gone up since you've left. I have to say people thoroughly enjoy a tavern with some interesting history behind it," she said as she eyed him over. She poured a drink into her monogrammed goblet, not bothering to serve one to Jon as she had just remembered his distate for alcohol. She turned her back and leaned against the bar, drinking slowly and admiring the room around her. "I'd like to point out, Mr. Smythe, how much we have in common. We're just out for a profit. That being noted, I think it's neccesary to go over the negotiations from last time. And this time I'm not accepting an offer without having the upper hand."

 

 

Jodelle "Buttercup" Belrose

Edited by Aurora

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As Kitten was making her way around the tavern, she noticed the nervous bustle of the servants and their whispers. From the bits and pieces she heard, she knew Jon was back. It was like her whole body had been dunked in ice cold water. She was shivering and the tremor in her hands was more obvious. Get it together, you're going to be all right. She placed herself against the wall for support, closed her eyes shut, and bit her fist. She needed a moment to regain her nerves. She knew that this encounter would be important. Her sisters would be watching her every move and she had to prove to them, without a doubt, that she was mentally stable.

 

She watched Jon and Jodelle speak to each other casually at the bar and she was immediately filled with rage. How dare he? He did it. I know he did it. He comes out of nowhere, from nowhere, one of our girls is murdered, and he leaves shortly after the guards start to look into it. I hate him. I hate him with every fiber of my being. Oh, Light. She slowly approached them, keeping the anger tightly bound within herself and steadying her composure. She fingered her moonstone necklace that laid against her throat and drew strength from its connection. Kitten was now a stately woman as she stood before them, rising higher than her own body. She was wearing no fine clothes and her feet were bare, but her willing exposure showed the power of her being. Clearly, she was not a woman to be reckoned with.

 

Her emotionless blue eyes met his and she gave him the coldest glare possible. When she opened her mouth to speak, she knew that everyone with earshot was listening. "Such a pleasure to be graced with company like yours, Mr. Smythe. I see that you're back for another round of festivities."

 

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

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"Now why would you open a friendly negotiation by misleading me about how busy you've been Jodelle? I always keep a close eye on the businesses that I invest in, or am thinking about investing in." Jon turns around and leans on the bar facing Jodelle, his body language and facial expression remain on the friendly side of neutral, but Jodelle would easily see that she has his full attention.

 

"Now I know you want the upper hand here, but realistically I'm already offering you a fantastic deal. You've tried to source my product yourself since I was last here, and haven't been able to match - let alone beat my rates. The only thing we really have left to negotiate is whether I can use the Haus as an office of sorts. Your hospitality helps relax and distract my business partners, and I pull in more business for you. That seems like a..." Jon trails off as he catches sight of Kitten walking toward them. 'now what does she have to be so mad about I wonder?' Jon thinks as he notices the white knuckled fists swinging so calmly at her sides.

 

For some reason Kitten makes Jon as readable as a book, and both women can clearly see as his emotions shift. Excitement at seeing Kitten again, curiosity at her rage, confusion as to why such emotions would involve him, and lastly a mixture of sadness and concern as he sees past the makeup and careful clothing selections to the shattered woman beneath. Without realizing he has even spoken he mumbles in a quiet voice, "I should never have left you..."

 

Shaking his head, and keeping up appearances for the servants Jon stands and smiles, saying more loudly, "The pleasure is mine." Bowing Jon pulls out a tall stool for Kitten. "Won't you please join us?"

 

-Jon Smithe

Edited by Delfon

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Walking down the streets of Caemlyn never but comforted Sapphira. Middle-class women flapped clean linens from balconies while gruff oafs lumbered down the streets, some heaving crates or pushing wheelbarrows, others eyeing shops in search of work. Her own oaf, Quick, stalked along behind her, clearing his throat and now and then making deep coughing sounds that - while less than pleasant - did not bother Sapphira, being used to the wide range of sounds made by males. The young woman had ceased questioning why they called him Quick, but she hoped it meant that he could be swift in ending sticky situations.

 

Sweet scents wafted across cobblestones counteracting the stench of contents of chamberpots and dung, and rounding another aromatically confused corner, Sapphira and her oaf approached their home. She glanced at the sky. It wouldn't be long before the establishment would open its doors to Caemlyn's male prowlers and more likely than not, she'd be found prey again tonight. The idea never ceased to excite her.

 

At seeing her approach, one little stable hand, evidently slacking off, rushed around to open the back door for her. Sapphira, stepped through without a word and was greeted by a warm gust of fragrance boasting crushed lavender and rose oil. The girls are already preparing themselves for business. The young woman wondered where her handmaiden was to take her velvet gloves and midnight beret. For a moment she felt her heart sink - it couldn't be...! But then she spotted the girl carrying heaps of dresses upstairs and quickly regained her ease of mind. Sapphira glided into the common room, her narrow burgundy riding skirts swishing about her ankles. Her eyebrows shot up in surprize for but a moment as she spied Smythe at the bar, along with her two sisters. From the look of it, Buttercup had been there the longest, settled in with a goblet of some sweet wine, no doubt having been disucssing business with the merchant; while Emmeline stood awkwardly addressing the visitor, wearing flawless makeup and defiance.

 

Sapphira winced. Her sister's sunken features made her heart twist each time she laid eyes on Kitten. She missed the roundness her face had had not long ago and had even noticed since that some of Kitten's more favored clients had begun to dwindle at the girl's loss of curves. She needs her home to be as normal as possible. She needs a sense of security again. It wasn't that Sapphira was heartless as to what had happened, but through her experience she had come to thinking of life in terms of entertainment, and she knew that now more than ever, the show must go on.

 

The blonde gave a little push and seated herself on the bar between Buttercup and Jon, and began tugged her gloves off with her teeth, careful not to let the burgundy rouge on her lips soil the velvet. When she was done, she cast a glance towards Jon, "So Master Smythe joins us yet again! Tell me sir, have your travels found you any exotic items that might catch the interest of three gorgeous females?"

 

Sapphira "Pixie" Belrose

The pale side of the moon

Edited by badriyah

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Kitten stood before Jon and Jodelle, trying to decide whether or not to take the chair offered to her. As she was about to speak, she saw Sapphira glide over and immediately she was more relaxed. There aren't words to describe the bond from sharing a womb. But Kitten knew that it extended beyond their birth and when the midwife cut the connection to their mom, a new one was created between Sapphira and Emmeline. That is how the world exists, she thought, and it comforted her to know that at least some things never change.

 

Sapphira took her place in between Jon and Jodelle. Kitten decided to sit as far from Jon as possible, on the righthand of her older sister. Though she felt better having the ablility to face this with her sisters, she just wished it wasn't this soon. She never thought she'd see Jon again and so she hadn't prepared herself for the possibility. She felt all her resolve dissipate and she became the hollowed out shell of her former self again. She heard everything they were saying but she couldn't distinguish what the words were. She nodded her head at the times she thought it was appropriate to do so. She thought she heard Jon talk about something in his childhood and she realized she didn't know anything about him .She was obsessed now watching their reflections in the mirror behind the bar. It has to be him, I just thought, well I thought it was, it was, it was...real.

 

She grabbed a goblet nearby and threw it straight at the mirror, watching its grandness shatter and rain down upon the shelves beneath it. She liked the way it broke. It reminded her of herself.

 

She motioned to the bartender and said, "Can I have that drink now?"

 

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Jon spends most of the conversation speaking with Jodelle, with Kitten being unusually silent. The topics of conversation vary, but none of them are the business they were speaking about before Kitten's arrival. Jon starts to notice a trend of leading questions, questions which always lead back to learning about Jon's past, while revealing almost nothing about Jodelle. Knowing that Jon lets himself be trapped by the leading questions, since he really doesn't mind sharing that information. besides, last time Kitten and Jon were together they didn't spend a lot of time speaking about themselves. Stories about his childhood, his family, his training with the quarterstaff. Other stories about generic trades, with details intentionally left out to keep his contacts hidden. Whatever comes to mind that might fill in that gap for the two sisters, all the while keeping his business contacts, locations, and products well hidden. Even going so far as to change the names and locations for things when needed.

 

When Sapphira joins the group, Jon stands and bows, "Nice to see you again Sapphira." Jon says as he straightens, "I make it my personal mission to always have something exotic hidden within my belongings for when I visit my three favourite sisters." Jon's eyes linger on Kitten as he says three favourite sisters, but he continues smoothly enough verbally, "How have you enjoyed the dragon torc I gave you last time Sapphira?" Turning to Jodelle, "and have you had a chance to try your oosquai yet Jodelle?" Turning lastly to Kitten, "Or you Kitten, have you made much use of the ivory comb?" Jon notices that Kitten is focused on the mirror, and her lips are moving as if talking to herself. When she doesn't respond right away, Jon resumes conversation with the other two sisters. The shattering glass showering down behind Jodelle brings an unexpected halt to the conversation, and Jon is left wide eyed and slack jawed with surprise. Not knowing what to say Jon clicks his teeth shut, and assumes a mask of neutrality.

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Jodelle listened very patiently to Jon reject her buisness offer. She was relentless though and would certainly bring it up later when he found himself in a vulnerable position. They moved onto lighter conversation and Jodelle found herself inquiring about Jon's life before the Haus. Jodelle was curious about his upbringing, how he became a merchant, and what drove his sucess. She was very pleased that her lovely sisters had decided to join her and she was thoroughly enjoying the conversation. When Sapphira mentioned gifts, her eyes glistened at the prospect of the fineries she adored recieving. Before she could mention how she felt about the oosquai (for it was the perfect present) a loud shatter startled her to a more pressing situation.

 

She could see in front of her that one of the most expensive pieces in the Haus was now in shambles, scattered across the floor and furniture. She turned to her right to see Kitten, so nonchalant about what had just transpired. Typically in situations, Jodelle would let Kitten get away with anything. Her little sister was like a child inside sometimes and Jodelle fiercely protected her. But Jodelle had spent so much time preparing the Haus for tonight, one of their busiest nights of the week. If it had been any other time, most likely she would have reacted differently. She knew from Sapphira their finances and they weren't in the best position right now. They were turning over profit, but not as much as she would have wished for. Of course, she hadn't told Kitten any of this. She had been having one of her episodes lately. So Jodelle sat staring wide-eyed at her sister and when Kitten turned to face her, Jodelle did something she knew she would regret later. She slapped Kitten. She slapped her so hard, Kitten tumbled back and fell off the chair. In shock, she held her hand covering her wound. Jodelle rose and said to her, "I've had enough. Your actions are ridiculous and you need to learn to take responsibility and control yourself. I won't accept it anymore."

 

Jodelle walked off distraught at having struck her sister. It wasn't something she wanted to do but something that needed to be done.

 

 

Jodelle "Buttercup" Belrose

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She could see the hand coming towards her, second by second. She was looking right into Jodelle's eyes and she was paralyzed by the shock of what she saw. When the hand reached her cheek, it felt like a thousand needles being buried into her skin. She flew off the chair with a loud thump on the floor. Thoughts and emotions flooded her mind as she instinctively held a hand against her face, still in disbelief. She looked up at Jodelle as she yelled at her and tried to hold back the tears threatening to shame her. She looked away and hid her face, hearing Jodelle scamper off.

 

Kitten slowly stood up, trying to regain her footing. She didn't have one clear thought in her head and had no idea how to respond. She looked up at Jon and Sapphira, with a quiet look in her eyes begging for help.

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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"I've loved wearing the torc. As a matter of fact I've rarely been seen without it." Sapphira winked and held back from mentioning that that particular item could be considered special since she was often seen wearing nothing BUT the dragon torc. The merchant was shrewd. He had probably already come to that conclusion on his own and Sapphira felt that the vaguest hint made it all the more enticing. Light, most of the clientele aren't intelligent enough to even fathom simple suggestions! Smythe was refreshing.

 

Idle chatter ensued and Sapphira participated politely here and there, though through most of it she spent chewing her plump lower lip and mulling over profit and plans. She was excited as ever at the prospect of a busy night of service, and no matter how much entertainment she'd been responsible for, no matter how tired she was, she never failed to go through each evenings earnings and tonight would be no exception. Tonight, she hoped, would bring plenty of gold.

 

The young blonde made sure she did catch enough of the conversation to hear about the merchant's past. She knew that Jodelle was no doubt listening to him like a hawk considering his possibility as a suspect, so she did not feel the need to be quite as attentive. She did, however, pick up on his use of generalities to mask the identities of characters of his acquaintance, and found it mildly amusing. Sapphira tossed in a casual suggestion that he come to her room before opening tonight to discuss the office option, and bringing in his business associates. Until Jodelle gave a final word on it, Sapphira would continue to consider it an investment that they would be taking in the near future. If it would mean more money for the Haus then it was a welcome endeavor in her eyes. She wondered if he thought anything else of the invitation.

 

CRASH! Without warning, the mirror behind the bar shattered to the floor, and before Sapphira could think to call Quick she spotted a goblet among the shards. Emmeline! She opened her mouth to speak but before any words could emerge Jodelle had slapped the younger sister right across her face, hard enough to leave a pink print on the ivory skin, before raging out of the common room. Emmeline's shocked expression made her twin's heart ache, and Sapphira slid off the bar and wrapped her arms around her sister. "It's ok sweetheart," she soothed, "she'll be just fine in a little bit. I know you're hurting and it takes time to recover. It'll be alright, try to remember. Everything is going to be just fine." Sapphira stroked Emmeline's hair in rhythm with her voice, hoping for a hypnotizing effect.

 

Once a few moments had passed she glanced back at Jon, praying he could tell that she expected him to aid in comforting Emmeline. If he did well enough he might be able to melt the icy uncertainty towards him her heart.

 

Sapphira "Pixie" Belrose

The pale side of the moon

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Jon studies Sapphira closely for a moment, when she mentions that she is rarely seen without the dragon torc. Confused slightly since he can't see the jewelry on her right now. However when Sapphira winks, and Jon clues into the fact that he has seen some of her performances the last time he was in the Haus. That's when he realizes what she would have to be wearing (or not wearing) to make the torc visible. Jon's cheeks turn crimson, the flush creeping up his neck and continuing to the roots of his hair. Knowing full well that he couldn't hope to hide such a fierce blush, Jon simply pretends that he isn't blushing at all, and continues participating in the idle conversation around him. Throughout the conversation Jon studies the three women. He notices that Sapphira is subtlety distracted by her thoughts, and briefly pondered what she could be thinking about.

 

Not to long after the redness in his cheeks has returned to his normal sun-kissed skin, Sapphira offers to discuss his suggestion of a business arrangement between the three sisters and himself. Jon's brain clicks over to business mode, and completely misses what else could be hidden in such an invitation. As such he responds, "I am always open to negotiations Sapphira, I would be happy to discuss options with you before the festivities later tonight." Which is about when the world comes to a crashing halt, and the mirrored glass scatters across the floor. Stunned, Jon is left wide eyed and slack jawed with surprise. Not knowing what to say Jon clicks his teeth shut, and assumes a mask of neutrality. His mask holds for about a second, right up until his eyes meet Kitten's. That look of pleading, and pain shatters whatever spell was holding Jon back and he springs into action. Without thought Jon is standing to Kitten's right, and slightly behind as she tries to regain her feet. His left arm encircling her tiny waist, and his right hand taking hers for balance. Leading the two sisters to a table with lower chairs, Jon slides a chair out with his foot so he doesn't have to let Kitten go with either hand. Gently lowering her into the seat, Jon drops to a crouch. He switches his grip from reaching around the outside of her hand, to a much more intimate palm to palm arrangement. His other hand being no longer needed for support wraps around her hand as well. Her hand is completely hidden by Jon's larger hands engulfing hers.

 

Jon's eyes are unblinking, and riveted to Kitten's. Once she finally looks at him, and their eyes meet it seems like nothing could break their locked gazes. Like the whole rest of the world ceases to exist. While Sapphira strokes Kitten's hair in time with her words. Jon provided counterpoint, offering his own consolations, and assurances between hair strokes, so Kitten is inundated with a constant stream of positive words, and soothing messages. Jon gently squeezes the hand he is holding, while his outside hand runs up and down Kitten's left arm. All the while the look shared between the two is almost palpable. Some tiny part of Jon's mind reminds him that Sapphira is also present, and he realizes that he has no idea what he has been saying to comfort Kitten. He also realizes that when Kitten is in need, the rest of the world looses all focus. Everything centers upon her. That same tiny part of his mind that reminded him that Sapphira was present, asks 'If Sapphira was in trouble, would she be all that I could see?'

 

-Jon Smithe

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If it weren't for Sapphira next to Kitten, she would have been a mess by now letting out a deluge of tears. But the touch of her sister and the comfort of her words helped to keep her together.

She didn't know how to react when Jon came near her. When he touched her, a shiver ran through her body. For a moment if it was as if her heart stopped beating and her blood turned to ice. Slowly and surely she relaxed to his hands wrapped around her waist and was too distraught to protest. She lets him lead her to a chair and then her other half is next to her, speaking soft words to her. Kitten closed her eyes and listened to the voice of her sister that was like music in her head pushing her away from reality. She tried to replay the events of today as she felt Jon's presence near hers.

I've never seen Jodelle like this. The pain of hurting her is worse than the hand she laid upon me. I don't know what came over me. I wish... Kitten's thoughts were interrupted by the pressure of Jon's hands in hers and she turned to look at him. She gazed into his eyes intently searching for a sign of his guilt. If these are the eyes of a murderer than I can understand how Elisa was lured out of the Haus. She could feel his rough hands moving up her arm in a gentle caress. As they held eye contact, she knew exactly what she was going to do. She would solve the case and when Elisa would call to her in the middle of the night, she would finally have an answer.

She reached her hand up to her sweet sister's cheek and stroked it. She kissed her and said a quiet "Thank you". Thinking about it she would do the same with Jon. She would make it sincere, believable. Everything depended on this now. She leaned in quickly so he would not have time to protest and kissed him full on the mouth for the first time. She held it for a few seconds and before pulling away, she licked his lips. Sitting up again, she gave him the most beautiful smile she had.

She knew she began a dangerous game, but she was determined to win. Or at least die trying.

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Sapphira was pleased that Jon understood the importance to comforting Kitten. Though it was a possibility Jon had been the one to murder the girl, Sapphira felt it unlikely, assuming he would not return to them if he had done it. Wouldn't he have just found another women's services establishment for his next victim, rather than risking returning to the same one? Comforting Emmeline could help things get back to normal at the Haus, and that was important for business. However of yet more eminence to Sapphira was her twin's well-being, and whatever could be done to ensure that would have to be. Neither her body nor her mind were at ease, and it was time to settle down and move on. And hope. Hope that the city guard could catch the criminal. Hope that the extra security could scare away the insane. And hope that the killer would not strike again.

 

Awakening from her thoughts by her sister's gentle touch and sweet kiss helped warm the cold that had been growing inside Sapphira. She hugged her sister tight for a moment, not wanting to let go, then released her from the embrace so as not to prolong the comfort and encourage memories of what had happened that day from continuing. The young blonde released a deep sigh she had not realized she had been holding. She stretched, reaching her arms over her head and twisting her neck from side to side. "Well-" she started to say, and was cut off by shock when Emmeline leaned over and planted a not so sisterly kiss right on Smythe's mouth. Light! She peered between the two for a moment, noticing how Emmeline smiled gorgeously as though it were her wedding day, and then slowly stood up. "It's getting dark and there is much to do. I hope you don't mind me taking my leave." And with a quick squeeze of her twin's shoulder and a distant smile, she was off.

 

 

Sapphira Lunetta Belrose

The pale side of the moon

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When Sapphira walked away, Kitten grabbed Jon's hand and led him out of the Haus. She entwined her fingers with his and brushed against him as they walked. For a moment she pretended she wasn't a whore and he wasn't a murderer though it was possible the latter was false. She let herself feel that this was actual courting, because she knew in order to deceive him she had to let herself believe it. Everything had to be real.

She lead him to an undergrowth behind the Haus. He sat down against the tree and instead of sitting next to him, she sat in front of him and leaned her head against his chest. She wrapped his arms around her and kissed his hands. She looked up into his eyes longingly and whispered, "Why did you leave me?"

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Jon's hand, which was not used to manual labour, and thus rather smooth, continued to run it's course up and down Kittens arm. He was oblivious to the shiver that ran though her at his touch, whether it be because he has rough skin to her or because Kitten secretly believes him to be a murderer he was none the wiser.

 

Jon's guiltless met Kittens's without flinching, and when she reached up a hand to touch her sisters cheek Jon relaxed a little bit. Kitten would be okay, she cared for her sister - whom Jon knew meant the world to her. Also, Jon was kind of excited to see the two twins kiss, however briefly. When her eyes met his Jon was completely lost, an endless amount of time passed in moments while Jon stared helplessly into Kitten's eyes. Distracted enough with her gaze, Jon didn't realize what Kitten was up to before her soft lips met his. Although his first reaction was to pull back away from her, Kittens's fist full of his shirt prevented any such action.

 

Jon felt his world explode, he wasn't prepared for Kitten's show of affection under these circumstances at all. Although a goodly portion of his being wanted to kiss those sententious lips. Their tongues touched for the briefest of moments before she pulled back, and smiled at him. Jon had his best smile plastered to his lips, without a doubt he was a happy man. Sapphira left saying something that Jon didn't catch, although a small part of him was sad to see her go. Dragged to his feet abruptly, Jon had no choice but to follow where he was led. Outside of the haus Kitten shifted their grip to further intertwine their fingers, and once more Jon felt the edges of his lips curl up into a smile.When her body brushed against his, Jon felt a warmth rise within him that he knew he should suppress, but with Kitten in front of him he found it hard to find the will power to break contact, and retreat to the room he hadn't been given yet.

 

Once settled in the undergrowth behind the haus, Kitten rests her head against Jon's chest, and Jon feels a wave of relief wash over him. As if her were home, which confuses him further, since he never felt this way while actually at home. The closeness, and the kisses being showered across his hands further distract Jon, so he is unprepared for the question to follow, "Why did you leave me?" She whispers, looking longingly into his eyes. Jon answers instantly, and earnestly, "You told me to go, I wanted to stay." Jon's eyes plead for forgiveness, moisture gathering near the corners of his eyes. showing his sadness, "I wanted to be here with you, but you said I had to leave or my business would suffer." Jon shrugs, "You were right, it would have, but I would have gladly let it suffer to avoid the suffering you've been through. You might mask it to others, but for some reason I see through some of your masks Emmeline." Jon hesitates when he uses the name he sees her by, instead of the nickname she chooses to go by, but he continues before she can object, "I don't claim to see through all, but I feel like I see through enough. You have been sad. You have been angry. You have been hurting." Jon Sighs deeply, "I want to help you Kitten" He says the name deliberately, "What can I do to help you?"

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"You told me to go, I wanted to stay."

Kitten turned her face from him as to hide her confusion to his statement.

"I wanted to be here with you, but you said I had to leave or my business would suffer."

It was clear she had done it again, she had a history of blocking out painful memories and she didn't remember a word of what Jon was saying. She was filled with sadness again, feeling helpless in her life. She had no control over her body and mind. She racked her brain for memories of their time together but there was nothing after the murder. The murder. She winced and drew his arm tighter around her. He could kill me right now. I wish he would. They were completely alone there out of earshot of anyone.

"What can I do to help you?" Jon said. She was startled by this and tried to think of something in response. No coherent words came to her. She searched his face for signs of darkness and found nothing but compassion and something else she hadn't seen on a man's face in a long time. He's bloody good. I'm going to have to try harder. She admitted to herself.

She knew what she wanted now. She nuzzled against him, especially against a more intimate part of him. She faced him and began to kiss him over and over again. With each kiss the time their lips met grew longer and more passionate. Kitten was frantic now, trying to remember something, trying to figure out if he was guilty. She slid her hands up his shirt, running them up his chest. She felt something though that made her stop immediately and she nuzzled against him once again, sighing at her frustration.

"Jon, tell me about your life. I want to know you, the real you."

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Kitten's intimate touching startles Jon, since he's not used to women being quite so forward. Jon keeps his focus on what is important, even though he is enjoying the passionate kisses. The Important thing is making sure Kitten is okay, and so Jon pulls back gently and takes her face in his hands forcing eye contact. "You don't have to do this, it won't make anything better Kitten." When she stops Jon releases her face, and wraps his arms around her once more. When she nuzzles against him again Jon finally relaxes. He didn't realize how tense he was until it was all released at once, causing him to sag back against the tree.

 

"Jon, tell me about your life. I want to know you, the real you." Her quiet voice brings a smile to Jon's lips, and he responds in a quiet, but clear voice, "As you wish, but know that I expect you to tell me about yourself as well. Now, where to begin, but the begining..." He sets action to words, and begins telling the story of Jon. He begins with a few stories about his family, and about growing up within a middle class noble family of merchants. He explains that his entire childhood was basically an apprenticeship for the family business. He includes story or two about members of his family staff, and their children that he had friendships with.

 

Jon explains that since his family owned several small shops surrounding Cairhien, and one large shop within the walls of Cairhien itself. Jon spent a great deal of time traveling. Jon completed his first solo transaction at the tender age of ten, and that was the moment Jon knew that he didn't want to do anything else with his life. The thrill of negotiating with a seasoned trader, and working the trade to completion was exhilarating. Travelling the roads can be dangerous, and so Jon told a few stories about his training with a quarter-staff.

 

Jon moves the story forward to when he was sixteen. "Travelling along the Caemlyn road our caravan was attacked by brigands. The caravan guards handled themselves well, and drove off the attackers." Jon pauses to smile down at Kitten curled up, with her head against his chest, before continuing, "During the melee, two of the brigands managed to get past the guards, and were working on removing the chains from the coinage chest. The chest contained most of the profits from the trip..." Jon trails off, and sighs heavily, seeing the battle once again in his mind. "I was watching the battle, keeping the horses calm so they didn't run off. But when I saw a months worth of hard trading about to be stolen, I did something stupid. I stepped in with my staff. The training my father had given me paid off, and I managed to hold the attention of the brigands until the guards could chase them off." Using his free hand Jon lifts his shirt to expose a hand long scar across his ribs. "The guards said that if I had gotten my staff up a half second later than I did, the blade would have taken me in the heart. As it was they were terrified that my father was going to kill them, or worse fire them." Jon winks to show that he's joking.

 

Next Jon covers his past relationships, which were few, but long lasting. His longest relationship was just over two years, and ended tragically. "I had just picked out the ring I was going to propose with." Jon smiles sadly, his eyes clouding with emotion, "When I arrived at her family estate, I was informed that she had suddenly taken ill a week before, and she had just passed on in the night." A single tear runs down Jon's cheek, and falls from his chin onto Kitten's forehead. He dashes his hand across his face to wipe away the tear, then gently uses his thumb to wipe the drop off of Kitten's forehead.

 

Jon takes a deep breath to settle his emotions, before continuing the story of his life. He begins to speak about a massive storm when he was eighteen. He was staying in Four Kings at the Royal Inn. "I couldn't sleep because I was too worried about the ice peppers I had loaded in my wagons. If the roads got to muddy, it would take too long to get my product to market. Both my profits, and the peppers would spoil together." Jon smiled again, his sadness from the prior story fading into the background, "I was staring out the window, watching the storm when I saw a collection of men gathering outside. I thought they were crazy to be out in that weather. I noticed that they were watching the Dancing Cartman, so I tried to see what they were looking toward. In the window I could just make out two shadow cloaked figures. Moments later, lightning flashed down destroying part of the building, and killing or severely injuring the men outside." Jon pauses, he seems to be struggling to keep his last meal down, "The sight of all those twisted and burnt bodies sickened me. I had terrible nightmares for weeks. The rumors flowed like good wine the next day. People everywhere were talking about how lightning struck after the worst of the storm had moved on. Some people said that it must have been the One Power." A shiver runs through Jon, and goosebumps stand out on his arms. "Ever since then, I've been terrified of the One Power."

 

Trying to end things on a happier note, Jon tells several stories about his terrible sense of direction. "I can lead you truly though the worst tangle of streets, where every building looks the same. But, if you put me outside the city, I get lost by turning around. I once led my caravan a week in the wrong direction before one of the guards let me know that we were heading the wrong direction. My father flailed the guards with the rough side of his tongue for that one."

Edited by Delfon

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Kitten sat patiently while she hung on to every word Jon said. She loved stories; they gave her a sense of peace and she was interested to hear about other places. Her world was confined to whatever house she lived in, the neighboring houses, and the forests. Kitten mentioned in passing that if it was just the two of them, she would like if he called her Emmeline. She could feel Jon's heart beat against her. She was holding one of his hands tracing the path of blood on the inside of his wrists. The beginning of his story was very pleasant. When he mentioned his encounter with the brigands, she felt fear and excitement and then relief to it's good ending. She was amazed at how close he could have been to dying. Maybe that's what pushed him over the edge.

 

She grew very uncomfortable when he began talking about his former relationships. No doubt he had been with a woman of wealth equivalent to himself. Family estate. Yes, it seemed this dead girl was of a different class than her and illogically she felt Jon was rubbing it in her face. She was still a whore that he used to pass the time. No one ever thought of giving her a ring, not that she wanted one. She had long accepted a different fate for herself. But she hated anyone that would make her feel undignified. Emmeline Lunaire. She was someone. She resisted the urge to push him away and spit on him. Every move had to be calculated if she was going to prove his guilt (or disprove it). And she didn't like the pang of jealousy from hearing about the girl. But then she realized it had to have been his first victim. And now he was back to kill her as he had killed that nameless maiden.

 

When the tear fell on her forehead, she controlled herself from laughing at his expense. What a performer. And yet, she very comfortable lying against him and learning his past. If he was to kill her, she knew that it was written and there was nothing to stop it. So she thought she might as well enjoy her last days, hours or moments.

 

Her favorite story was the one she could tell disturbed Jon the most. It was her favorite though because she had never been in a situation as that and she would have loved to experience the One Power as frightening and dangerous as it was. She knew little about it but had heard tales told from travelers never seen again in the Haus. When he finally finished, Kitten stayed quiet for a few moments turning over a leaf in her hands. She wanted to run away for some reason, but she stayed because she knew how critical this was that she get it right.

 

She wasn't intelligent enough to come up with lies on the spot, so she began to tell the truth which was sparse and unclear to her. She talked about things he knew and became confused and tried to think of something she could tell him that he didn't already know. Her nose wrinkled as she thought hard. A few more moments passed and she didn't notice that she was scraping her skin with her long nails until it started to bleed a little. She covered it up quickly and said the first thing that came to mind.

 

"I ..it's hard. My memory isn't...I don't think as...I don't know what to say. I can tell you what Sapphira has told me. My mother was a lowly, Tarabonian servant that my father slept with when he wanted and as he wanted. She died young and was soon followed by my father. I don't know each time I hear about it, it's different. I see things....nothing's complete. Images flash across my mind and those are my memories, but nothing makes sense."

 

She tried to move to something more recent. She talked about how she had became the first to start whoring which is ironic since she was the youngest (Sapphira had come out first). It wasn't because she needed the money at the time, she just realized from an early age that men would give her anything in exchange for something as little as her body. She liked the power and the presents; it gave her control when sometimes she had none. Sometimes she would do it for an interesting story. She was never allowed to leave their house and the area around it (even if her sisters did) and hearing what the men would say was her only window to the outside world, far from the few leagues that enclosed her. When prompted, she couldn't remember her first, thinking too early in life made her mind cloudy and she didn't like that.

 

She talked extensively about Jodelle and Sapphira and when Jon mentioned Elliot it completely threw her off. "There's nothing to say. He's just our brother. He's just been there. I don't know. Why would you ask me that? He's a bloody pain in the arse." But the mention of Elliot made her chest tighten up and something dark came over. She began to cry, no she was sobbing and shaking with each wave of tears. She cried because she hadn't in so long and needed to. Jodelle, Elisa, herself. Usually when she was Kitten, she was happy. But when she was Emmeline the pain took over and she was lost somewhere in the void of the unknown. After she finished she wiped her eyes and reached up to unclasp her moonstone necklace. She placed it in Jon's open palm and said in a hoarse tone, "This is the most valuable thing I have. It should cover the costs for a new mirror. Please. I can't have Jodelle mad at me. I can't have her suffer at my expense." She closed his fingers around it and looked up at him, hoping he'd understand.

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

Edited by Faun

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Jon's teeth showed with the breadth of his smile when Emmeline finally gave him permission to call her by that name. Even if only when they were alone together. He has always seen her as Emmeline, and Kitten is this other person that she wears as a mask to protect herself. Perhaps that's why he he feels so protective when Kitten is distraught, because that's when a little piece of Emmeline shines through. The vulnerable core of her person. "Thank you Emmeline." Is all Jon says in response, in a quiet voice that you can hear the smile in.

 

Jon held back a laugh when Emmeline scrunched up her noise, she just looked so cute like that. His mirth faded when he saw how nervous she was. She kept scratching at her own hand repeatedly, and he hoped she would stop soon before she injured herself. Just then she started to speak, broken sentences and scattered thoughts came out, but she was speaking. Jon might actually get to learn a thing or two about Kitten. Once the words started to flow, the scratching ceased.

 

The confusion Jon feels at trying to follow the story of Emmeline is dwarfed by the sympathy he feels toward the circumstances of her life. Jon suspects that more than one traumatic incident lurks in her past, and that her mind has blocked them out to protect her. 'That could explain some of the seemingly random actions she does - the mirror for example.' Jon ponders briefly, before turning his full attention back to Emmeline. Jon is very uncomfortable when Emmeline begins to talk about whoring, less so about the acts themselves, and more that she believes that her body is a small thing to give. Surprisingly Jon accepts it all without changing his mental image of who Emmeline is, maybe that is why Jon as always seen her as Emmeline. That thought leads to Jon thinking about Kitten's advancements, and how they have never felt quite right. The physical reaction is there, Jon is a straight male after all - and Kitten is quite beautiful. However, Jon doesn't want to be intimate with Kitten. It isn't Kitten that Jon is interested in, but Emmeline hidden within her. "You know Emmeline, I travel more than most. If ever you desire a story from the road, you can always ask. I fancy myself quite a story teller."

 

When Emmeline began to talk about Jodelle and Sapphira, business Jon perked his head up to listen. For Jon, Kitten was never part of the business end of his interest at the Haus of Three. Jodelle and Sapphira both seemed to handle those aspects of things from he had heard before arriving, and what he had seen since visiting the place. Learning a little about them through Emmeline could shed some light as to how he should deal with them. That and non-business Jon was actually interested in them as people. As people and as connections to Emmeline both. Jon knew he had made a mistake as soon as he mentioned the boy Elliot. Emmeline pulled in upon herself, and her manner of speaking was no longer scattered - in other words it was Kitten speaking again. Kitten vanished in a wave of body wracking tears, and Jon's heart ached with her sadness. Holding her close, wrapped tightly in his embrace Jon just held her there and let her cry it out. She seemed like she needed to let all that sadness out anyway.

 

When she gave him the necklace, Jon barely managed to suppress a smile. Once Jon got past the shock of the glass shattering in the first place, he had begun thinking about a fellow he knew in Cairhien who does wonderful things with glass. A fellow that owed Jon a couple of favours. He had already planned on sending off a couple messages while the ladies got ready for this evening, one more letter to this fellow could have that pane replaced before they Haus opened tomorrow. Since Jon suspected that it would only cost him a favour, he didn't want to take the necklace. He also didn't want to upset Kitten, and so he nodded and slipped the necklace into a pouch - fully intending to return it to her at his earliest opportunity. "I'll take care of it, but I do want to know why you broke it in the first place. Since the moment you saw me today you have seemed..." Jon hesitates, looking for a good word, "...tense."

 

-Jon Smythe

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Kitten had verily calmed down by now and was feeling much better. She could think clearly and she knew answering Jon's question would betray her plans. She stood up and began to dust the thin layer of dirt covering the bottom of her gown. "Mr. Smythe, I feel that your question begets no answer. My payment is enough. However, I do appreciate you agreeing to undertake such a grand task in such a short amount of time. Please keep me updated." And having said that, she turned around and walked as quickly as she could back to the Haus. She didn't want to enter with him on her arm, having the servants think there were sexual relations between them. It would be embarrassing later on when they realized he was uninterested in her.

 

She entered her room with new resolve in life. She asked Margo to bring her meal up and she could see the surprise on her servant's face. She ate everything on the plate. She had forgotten how good it was to eat; she couldn't remember her last full meal. She drank a warm cup of tea afterwards. Kitten knew the importance of being sober now. She began to tend to her body now applying creams and oils. She removed hair from the necessary parts of her body and powdered her face. She thought of what to wear tonight and set everything out on the couch in front of her bed. Today had been exhausting so far and trying on her, so she plopped on her bed and took a small nap.

 

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

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After waking from her nap Kitten stayed for a while in Sapphira's room. She listened to everything that happened between Jon and Sapphira, desperately trying to keep herself from breaking out in fits of laughter. When she heard Jon leave and the door close, she jumped out of the wardrobe, crawled through the window, and threw herself on the ledge so that she could get to her room as fast as she could. She heard Jon mention where he was going and she was intent on running into him; she just had to see his face. Once in, she leaped across her room to the door, took a moment to form her composure, and opened it. She stepped out and purposely bumped into Jon and her face was lit up ear to ear by a genuine smile from seeing Jon's reaction.

 

"Oh dear Jon, I didn't mean to startle you. You look a little pale, maybe uncomfortable. Squeamish? Did something happen?" Kitten said as innocently as she could.

 

 

Emmeline Lunaire Belrose

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Jon quirked an eyebrow, and muttered lamely, "How does my question beget no answer?" He realized that he spoke to quietly for her to hear as she walked away, and sighed heavily. 'This woman will be the end of me yet.' Thought Jon while standing up and dusting off his own clothing, Jon walked slowly back into the haus. Instead of going up to his room right away, Jon stops by the bar. Asking the bartender, "Can I have a glass of wine please. But can you water it down so that it's only one quarter wine, and the rest water? Thanks." Smiling to the girl while paying for the wine, Jon tips her a little more than is standard and winks - feeling impish. With drink in hand Jon takes his pick of the empty seats within the still closed bar area. Now set to mentally prepare for his meeting with Sapphira, Jon goes over the advantages for both parties with this arrangement, and tries to come up with some reason why this wouldn't be a good idea for either the Haus, or Jon himself.

 

Jon was so distracted by his thoughts that he didn't see Margo come downstairs, but he did see her when she headed back upstairs carrying what looked like a meal for two people, but set out on only enough dishes for one. Jon smiled broadly, 'Either Kitten is having a guest over for dinner, or more likely she has her appetite back.' Jon was proud of himself, and he knocked back his entire drink in celebration. He thought that he may have helped her get grounded again in some small way. 'Now I have to negotiate well for this office, not only for the good of my business, but perhaps for Emmeline's health as well.' Jon thought to himself.

 

Feeling the little bit of wine he had drank far too quickly surge through his blood, Jon wavered a little in his seat when he called over one of the girls. When she arrived Jon asked, "Can I have a large glass of water please? Also, can you summon me three messenger boys? I have some missives that need to go out right away." Jon patted his inner jacket pocket where he had two of the three letters he would send out. Feeling pretty good about himself Jon waited for the messengers to arrive, and drank down two large glasses of water to clear his head of the wine he had ordered on impulse.

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