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Author Topic: A New Year, a chance at a Festival Reunion  (Read 524 times)

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Offline EmryssTopic starter

A New Year, a chance at a Festival Reunion
« on: March 04, 2011, 07:13:52 AM »
Okay- this is a little WIP I've been doing on another RP type forum. It's also an avatar site (is hissed at) and I got no response from folks not with a vested interest in saying kind things to me. (Boyfriend, RP partners, that's it-  ??? ) So if it's terrible, I appologize I only have biased review on it so far.

Reposting the parts in the chunks I posted them as originally.

New Beginnings- a Winter Festival Novella by Emryss

Emryss gave a grunt as she tugged the hem of her long shirt into a better pleat below her corset. She rubbed her gloved hands together and shifted her axe to use as a make shift cane as she checked first one boot sole and then the other for the holes she swore she felt. When she found none she stamped the boots, thanking the gods that they came so high on her thighs, without them she'd surely be even colder. The cold seemed to affect her more than ever since the Ice Queen was defeated. Since Maxwell - She stopped that thought and took a longer look at the scene below the roof top she was standing on.

The festival was a riot of bright colors, the smells of chestnuts and cocoa rising much like the sounds of laughter from the gaily lit stands. A hive of activity, warm and welcoming, a few drums joining the music in the farther reaches of the festival hinted to a grand dance and many ceremonies. Ramshackle stalls stood beside battered food carts which ranged even in front of the grand nobles tents, a chaotic sea where one could disappear in but a moment. All in all it was an urchin's paradise. Yet for some reason the idea of duping the fancy nobles and stuck up ladies alone just made a spot in Emryss's heart ache.

Determined to have fun, and make enough coin to buy a warm cloak and some pants, Emryss slid her ax into her belt chain and made her way down the building and into the crowds. She had no instrument to play and, without some music to accompany it, her voice wouldn't draw any coin. Her own fingers weren't nimble enough to pick pockets, and her pride stung at the idea of asking for help. From anyone. Stealing was one thing, conning with games another, but begging? That was for babies, and she was 16, thank you very much. Despite the fact nature never caught that clue by four and left her dangling at 12.

Emryss tugged on the flat front corset again, shifting the over sized shirt under it to fold in crinkled pleats higher on her neck. Damn, with this cold she just needed to piss or get off the pot. She'd just have to figure things out as she went. She was the brains of the outfit before Max- She had more than enough brains, she didn't need anyone else's brawn to make her way.

With a scowl she turned from the tempting but well watched food carts and moved to the stalls full of festival wares that had sprung up fast as news can travel. Merchants were like urchins, they saw festivals as piles of money waiting to be gathered. Maybe she could pocket some of the dozens of beads hanging from every stall, enough of them might be worth enough gold for some hot chestnuts to warm her hands and fill her belly.

Offline EmryssTopic starter

Re: A New Year, a chance at a Festival Reunion
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2011, 07:14:15 AM »
Oddly, most stalls and even some festival goers were handing out the necklaces free, one per person. It was a bit galling, the one item she felt comfortable stealing was near worthless to anyone at the festival. She gathered them anyways, figuring if naught else she could attempt to sell them across town later, but they helped her now grumbling belly not at all.

Emryss rested after about an hour with no opportunities for gold or food. Across the path way she watched a stall with the most dazzling yukatas, kimonos and masks being displayed on it's outer walls. It was just setting up, the workers buzzing about the inside and front setting even more masks on pegs and stacked on shelves. A truly stunning festival kimono was finally unfolded and gently placed onto a display rod and hoisted, an over sized fox mask in complimenting colors was perched over the top of the pole supporting the kimono display.

Em caught herself sighing as she looked at all of the pretty kimonos and masks. She let herself wallow for a moment, the reds of that huge kimono reminding her of her best friend's guitar. If Maxwell were here he'd have somehow managed to steal one for her by now, and they'd pay the owner back later in the night after working the crowd a bit. For all that she had planned to win the beautiful clothes of the ice queen, she had been defeated far too often to earn much favor. All that pain, the loss of her best friend... and she had nothing to show for it.

She hadn't seen him at all since that last disastrous battle, and while she wanted to blame it all on Maxwell, she had stepped as far over the line as he. The final straw had been a few stupid words. She had known it was the end of their friendship immediately, as soon as the hateful words left her mouth, she wanted nothing more than to take them back. But it was far too late by then.

When she woke in the Hospital, it was all over and Maxwell was gone, no matter how she looked, she couldn't find him. And despite the fact she couldn't swallow her pride enough to apologize even if she found him... she did look. She combed the entire city, pawning her oh so coveted ice fan to hire some others to help look for him, and not a one was successful.

It had started so damn innocently. It was almost funny at first, a joke to pick opposite sides, no one would die, it was just a game. That was what they had heard, a game, where no one would die. Where you could switch sides if you wanted, and just have fun.

Except it wasn't. No few times bones were broken, blood was spilled, dirty tricks were used on every side. Ambushes and furious words, feeling hunted and outnumbered, painful lessons on turning traitor all around. And worst of all, growing vitriol between friends as playful banter became more hurtful and hateful with every skirmish. When Emryss suddenly sniffled she realized she had started to cry, and with an angry swipe at her eyes she nipped her thoughts in the bud before straightening from her slouch against the wooden fence bordering this section of the festival grounds.

"Right. Enough of that." Her voice was a bit hoarse at first from thirst and lack of use that evening, smoothing at the end as she shook her head once at her own foolishness. The stall across the way was now open, and as Emryss moved forward she saw a most curious thing... one of the workers was exchanging dozens of beads from a customer... for a mask. She sniffed one last time and grinned. The night was definitely looking up!

Offline EmryssTopic starter

Re: A New Year, a chance at a Festival Reunion
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2011, 07:20:40 AM »
With the small crowd trickling up to the shelves the dozens of masked workers were fast becoming busy, every new browser being assisted as they came to the newest stall, running boys in full regalia and even a few clockwork men in every color and style of mask they carried were all assisting festival participants together. That huge fox mask functioned as an orange beacon, one familiar enough to draw in the crowds, and the intricate kimono beautiful enough to tempt even the most cautious of them to brave the new section of unopened stalls here on the outskirts.

The sheer energy of the place was a bit off putting, and Emryss chewed her lip and stayed at the darkest corner of the circle of lantern light, watching and taking in all the details. There were too many workers to steal, and the shop was too good an opportunity to trade worthless beads for something immediately tangible.

It was a mad house of motion, she watched transaction after transaction, it seemed a rough dozen strands of beads were transferred per simple mask. For the large and ornate masks, a rough hundred and those trading for more expensive ornate masks or bunches of masks were offered a steaming drink from the mechanical men with their serving trays. As she saw it even those not purchasing large orders could trade any three necklaces for a mug of that same drink. With a grin, Emryss tugged up her rough group of nearly five dozen necklaces... gathering as many as possible had really paid off now to just work up the nerve to enter the bustle and get something warm at last.

A Clockwork Man near the the darker side of the stall seemed to be watching her, and on seeing her lift the necklaces he came forward to meet her a good dozen feet away from the stall with two steaming mugs. She had lurked at the outskirts watching for just a few moments, but it was long enough to be marked as a guest evidently. With a bow it offered it's tray and made a twanging note of inquiry with it's music box of a voice. Emryss's stomach let out a grumble and with a swift thanks to the fact that only a clockwork heard it she took the mug with hasty gratitude.

At the first sweet hot burst of the spiced punch on her lips her eyebrows raised in shock and settled again in bliss. It was thick, almost syrupy, and the shop obviously had used a great number of oranges as well as dozens of other fruits in the mix. It was so very tasty, especially as it had whole sections of flowers and fruits, a surprising ready made meal in a cup for someone hungry enough to eat the long stewed fruits.

With a happy sound Emryss tilted her head back and drank swiftly and deeply the steaming liquid, fishing for the fruit with her tongue, tilting back down to settle into eating the more meal like treat of the sweet drink. She let her eyes slide mostly closed as she hummed, chewing happily what must be a whole Cactus fruit. Not only would it feed her, these fruits were unheard of in winter, and expensive even in summer, for urchins or any but the richest.

Once done with the first heavenly pieces of fruit she beamed at the clockwork and draped 12 of her necklaces over it's neck, 3 per mug. Speaking clearly she tried to communicate her desires well enough for it's programing. "Please, 2 more cups, with much MORE fruit." She beamed and fished the last large piece of fruit out of the cup, holding it up and nodding then eating it with a nod and a grin.

When the clockwork nodded and made the sound of inquiry again while miming the eating gesture then like droping something big into the cup multiple times Emryss nodded vigorously "Yes! Yes, More fruit, please!" She quickly drained the rest of the pulp and small chunks from the first mug, giving the clockwork the empty in exchange for the full one on it's tray. It bowed again with an abnormally smooth maneuver for a clockwork man, it's ornate motors and designs flashing in the low lamp light, even as the low scrape of metal on metal firmly reminded of the fact it wasn't the human it was built to mimic.

As it left and hurried to the task of retrieving two more mugs, Emryss was drawn into watching the play of light against all the black, red and gold the lacquered outer case this specific clockwork helping her was decorated with. Maxwell truly would have loved to see such a beautiful machine. It was his colors, and even the style was that same vague sinister one he had so liked. It almost looked like a demon, and Maxwell, ever since she met him, years ago, had told her he was closer to a demon than she knew. She mused on this, sipping her drink and slowly feeling warmed, even as her emotions rose.

Draining the last of the punch in her cup Emryss caught sight of the mechanical man bringing back the other two mugs, and for a second, she swore she saw eyes, purple human eyes in the mask, but it was just a play of the light. As the machine got closer she saw the mask was the hollowed empty black that came of having no face under the mask, only a machine of gears running the humanoid form. Not for the last time, Emryss just wished she could undo what was said and have her best friend beside her once more.

As she finished the pulp from the mug and swapped it for the next mostly fruit filled mug, she made a soft sound, almost a sniffle. As she was still mostly in the dark, with only a clockwork to witness it, she let herself sniffle again. Maybe it was this clockwork looking exactly like something Maxwell would have made, maybe it was the shockingly comforting warmth of the fruit and drink unwinding through her body, but suddenly, she wanted to unburden herself.

She looked through watery eyes at the clockwork, then back over to the darker empty stall behind her, before deciding to see if it could work. She walked to the dark ledge of what would be a counter when the stall was open, and hopped up to sit along it, legs propped up along the ledge. She beckoned, and to her pleasant surprise, the clockwork still followed. It tilted it's head, and made a low sound of inquiry again, almost like it was asking her what was wrong.

And because that was just what she needed to believe, she let her mind play tricks on her, swearing once more, that she saw human eyes in the dimly reflected light off the edges of the clockwork's mask. Eyes, just like Maxwell's. It was with the ever growing warmth of the mildly alcoholic punch that Emryss blurts her heaviest burden first. This programmed and unthinking clockwork a stand in for her lost, and probably by now long gone friend.

"God, Maxwell, I am so sorry, We were never supposed to fight for real! it was supposed to just be fun... It was supposed to be a game... You even told me it was a bad idea, you had a bad feeling, but I just... I just, I just wanted to be beautiful like the Queen. Wanted to win the acknowledgment on my own merits, wanted to be beautiful to everyone, just once." Emryss let her eyes close as she let herself cry and talk aloud her thoughts, her memories... her rambling memories of what led up to her here alone with only a clockwork machine as a confidant, "I just wish you could listen to me, just wish you could know, see why, how... that it wasn't meant to end like that. It started, just us, just us goofing around..."

Offline EmryssTopic starter

Re: A New Year, a chance at a Festival Reunion
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2011, 07:26:17 AM »
Emryss's voice spun loose, painting a picture for her mind to follow, vividly recalling the bright sun reflecting on the first heavy snow of winter. Her voice trembled a bit as she continued, lost in memory, spinning out with all the skill of a born bard the details of that fateful day, the day that decided their fate to clash in the harsh winter battles.

...

Maxwell chased her, his hair and scarf trailing him like a banner, laughing so hard he almost fell from the roof tops they were running across. He almost caught her, then slowed letting her burst ahead while he trotted slowly. She noticed this as she turned back to check his progress. She skidded to a stop and scowled, turning around to run towards him with his guitar clutched angrily instead of playfully like before. He was treating her like a child again. She hated that.

He sobered as he saw her stormy face and couldn't help a small giggle at how like a child she looked with that angry face. "Hey now! was just catchin' my breath, honest!" He preempted while doing soothing hand patting motions in the air. She snorted and growled as she came closer thrusting the Guitar at him with a snort. "Whatever. I count this as I won because you're a pansy."

He rolled his eyes and shook his head taking the Guitar back to sling it across his shoulders again. "Way to act mature there little bit of Em! OOW! Damnit!" She had slugged him just after he used that hated nickname, not a gentle slug but a full lean into it numb arm slug before turning to the ledge and jumping to slide along the tilted shed roof perched at the end of the alley. She called up with a taunting voice. "Serves you right you big baby, now you owe me mocha, you said the day I got away with your guitar was the day you'd steal me Coffee in any form. And since you were an ass and called me that damn name, as well as chickening out on following and attacking me, you can get me a MOCHA." She enunciated it clearly as she began to slowly move to the main road.

She had just turned 16 today, and still she looked not a day over 12, a barely budding girl in body whilst in mind she was ready to be a grown woman. Damn it. She kicked a rusting can as she heard the thump and slide of Maxwell sliding down the shed. It may not be fair to abuse him so but... damnit, he'd been big even when they first met. Being Little Bit of Em was great and comforting when she was 12 and scared. It was horrifying when she was 16 and frustrated.

Maxwell trotted up to the skulking and slow moving Emryss and tugged a curl of her hair a bit. She glowered up at him and he grinned before handing her a flat bulky plain brown paper wrapped bundle from his back strapped pack. "Hey, beautiful girls may be hard for some folk to see, but you'll always be my pretty little heart sister, even if you look like an hourglass with a thousand men panting after you, you'll be my beautiful little heart sister. Even if you stay just as you are, a diamond in the rough, you're still my little heart sister. A mean evil little sister, but mine. Shouldn't give this to you though, cause evil doesn't get given gifts..." he teased with a smirk dancing it a bit, till she grabbed it with a mock scowl and a growing grin.

She tore the paper open and nearly dropped the beautiful white flat corset with leather lacing that matched her newer shirt. Her eyes stung as she looked up at Maxwell. He scratched his cheek as he looked down at her from beside her, slumping a bit at her tears and hastily talking to her again. "Aw, hey, I didn't mean for it to make you cry Emmy, it's supposed to be a 'hey you're a woman too' gift thing. Wanted to get you something to let you remind yourself of that..." he was cut off as he suddenly had a happily crying girl clinging to him, the hard boning of the corset crushed between her chest and his waist. At a full head and a half taller than her, Maxwell was a bit pained at the placement of the boning, but just grinned down at his best friend and little soul sister.

"Hey, glad you like it Emmy, but, breathing's also good." He joked before she pulled back sniffling and slugged his arm again. She sniffed again before saying, "Jerk. You had me going.", and then pulling the beautiful corset up to look at it again. It's surface shimmered very faintly, a brilliant white untarnished by street grime yet. She dashed her tears away before tugging her bunched tied on skirt lower and thrusting the corset at Maxwell. "I'm wearing that. Right now. You're helping me get it on over my shirt." She ordered as she straightened her oversized baggy shirt.

Maxwell rolled his eyes, but began loosening the ties along the back as she began to pleat the top into something somewhat smooth and padding in parts. Together they got everything to lay comfortably, and as he tightened the corset, Emryss grinned down at the super faint bulge made by the folded shirt, it almost looked like tiny mounds caught by the flat corset. And even better, the pleated shirt was long enough to almost reach her legs. Maxwell finished tying and latching and tucking the long term style corset with a few deft movements, before Emryss spun to face him, kicking down her baggy twine tied skirt, pulling at her boots and little mini-skirt with a grin. "NOW I'm a Woman! HA!" she crowed whilst spinning around.

Maxwell winced at the indecent strip of thigh flashing but shook his head once before nodding with a sigh. "Yes, but we are getting you a real skirt, that much skin, and THERE is just. Not right for my little Emmy."
He grabbed her in a hug from behind as she spun, smiling down at her. "But yes, you're a Woman now, my little Em."

She rolled her eyes and laughed, tugging on his arms as she grinned. This day was turning out AWESOME after all. Even if her friend and brother was an ass. She pinched his wrist grinning at his yelp. "You still owe me Moa-ca. You promised. And I so won. So, Moa-ca!" She enunciated and singsonged it... Max just laughed, stepping back and rubbing his wrist ruefully.

"As milady commands, so I shall do!" He mock bowed and flourished an imaginary cap. He offered his arm and winked. "To Mochas Milady Emryss?" She giggled and like a rich couple of nobles linked her elbow on his wrist before saying seriously "If it pleases mi'lord..." They both giggled and guffawed at that, all but dancing into the busy traffic of the main road.


((Ya'll are missing the pics of the various characters, Emryss before beads, after beads, the Clockwork Man, Emryss younger in every way and un-scarred and without the eye patch and corset; as well as the younger, flushed Maxwell I stopped here as I literally only had my BF and friend saying it was good- and we had a bunch of Group RPs pick up. (Sadly all but 3 of them died off due to people flaking) When I get approved I plan to edit in the pictures as appropriate. :P )