♕ The Reign ~ [The Roleplay Thread] ♕

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Denva Beaumont

Denva immedaitely knew how to respond to Arcana's concerns about the alliance, glancing at Dimitre and Malik before turning her attention on the flamboyant performer. 

"For one thing: you have resources we don't. And if one of us gets knocked out of the competition, we can help the others in the alliance get on the the throne. I bring connections within the city through my parent's business for instance: Malik brings sailing skills along with his crew on his current ship and Dimitre works in the library so we have access to records that otherwise we wouldn't have access to," Denva explained, pausing a moment to consider what the circus could bring.

"As for your part in the alliance, your circus has resources we otherwise wouldn't get: mounts, for example if we need them. And your performers are experts at slight of hand. If we need to learn about any possible trouble, they can alert us and we'd be ready for anything. You also know how to play diplomat, on top of being someone who knows how to get attention." As Denva spoke, her eyes fell on the edges of a tattoo visible as black ink under the sleeve of Arcana's dress and she immediately recognized the feathers of the creature depicted, the head's horns peeking out under the strap. 

"Hold on, you're a Beast Tamer, right? Isn't that a Quetza tattoo?" Denva asked, her eye for detail picking up on the familiar depiction of the magnificent creature. Quetzas were named for the god beast, Quetzalcoatl himself. All Ridgestriders knew of him for the legends of his magical treasure. Like all draconic cretures, the Quetzas loved to collect shiny things like magpies and ravens did. Or dragons and griffins in general for that matter. Hoseki for instance, liked having mirrors decorated with jewels in her stall to make her feel like she was with other griffins 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Despite Arcana’s cynicism,  Denva did not seem dissuaded.  The younger woman picked her chin up. "For one thing: you have resources we don't. And if one of us gets knocked out of the competition, we can help the others in the alliance get on the throne. I bring connections within the city through my parent's business for instance: Malik brings sailing skills along with his crew on his current ship and Dimitre works in the library so we have access to records that otherwise we wouldn't have access to," Denva paused, seemingly to contemplate Arcana's usefulness which the circus ringmaster found rather amusing. 

"As for your part in the alliance, your circus has resources we otherwise wouldn't get: mounts, for example if we need them. And your performers are experts at slight of hand. If we need to learn about any possible trouble, they can alert us and we'd be ready for anything. You also know how to play diplomat, on top of being someone who knows how to get attention." 

Arcana stifled a laugh behind a closed fist. Her crew brought so much more to the table then Denva could ever know. Anyone who looked too closely at her circus might be able to discern a concerning pattern of disappearances in the same places they visited. Of course,  Arcana ensured that their alibis were ironclad. "I'll admit it. I've underestimated you. And for that, I apologize."

Before Arcana could get another word out, Denva's attention seemed to be fixated on another matter entirely. "Hold on, you're a Beast Tamer, right? Isn't that a Quetza tattoo?" Denva asked, her eyes trained just on the cusp of Arcana's shoulder where the sleeveless nature of her dress allowed for a bit of the feathered pattern to poke through. 

Arcana visibly tensed, her typical suave nature vanishing for a short while as she processed. How much did the girl know about Quetzas? Did she know they could turn themselves into a tattoo? Likely not. Not even the Ashreapers, masters of all beasts, knew that. There was no mention of it in the legends. It had been an utter shock to Arcana when it happened to her. 

All these thoughts occurred to Arcana in a matter of milliseconds as she relaxed, offering Denva a lackadaisical smile. 

"What a keen eye you have there," Arcana cooed. "You are correct. I fought one such beast during my initiation trial. In order for a Beast Master to claim their title and place, they must prove their merit. I was young and prideful. Naive enough to believe that I could challenge such a monster. Obvious, I failed. Nearly destroyed my whole city in the process. I ran from my family in shame. This tattoo immortalizes my greatest failure."

Good, none of what she said was a lie. And she gave reason as to why she would have initially appeared uncomfortable upon Denva's mention of it. 

 

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Denva Beaumont

Denva was still in awe of the design. It really was a beautiful creature. Even if she couldn't see the whole thing, it was no doubt a beautifuly intricate pattern. 

"I remember hearing rumors about that. Quetzas are consided one of the most dangerous predators of the South. Even Master Beast Tamers from the Ashreapers are hesitant to try to tame them. Quetzalcoatl, the Father of the species, is considered a god among them. He's famous among the Ridgestriders because of the legends of the magic jewels in his horde. Legends of these sorts of creatures were always my favorite stories growing up." She admitted wishing the dress showed more of the design. But she could ask to see it another time. Now probably wasn't the best moment to have a full Quetza tattoo showing. 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

"I remember hearing rumors about that. Quetzas are considered one of the most dangerous predators of the South." Denva seemed absolutely mesmerized. "Even Master Beast Tamers from the Ashreapers are hesitant to try to tame them. Quetzalcoatl, the Father of the species, is considered a god among them. He's famous among the Ridgestriders because of the legends of the magic jewels in his horde. Legends of these sorts of creatures were always my favorite stories growing up." Denva gushed passionately.

Arcana chuckled softly. "Yes, I am familiar with such legends. Luckily, they are just that. Legends. At least, I have never had the misfortune to encounter such a being." She gazed at Denva with a good-humoured smile. "And you should consider yourself lucky to have never crossed paths with even a Quetza. Believe me when I tell you, they are a creature that cannot be tamed." 

At that word, coils of pain ran along the length of Arcana's tattooed arm, causing her to jerk back slightly.  It felt as though an invisible serpent had wrapped itself along her arm, constricting itself so tightly that the blood flow ceased entirely.  Of course, her arm appeared physically undamaged. 

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Denva Beaumont

"Hey, are you Ok?" Denva asked, genuine concern crossing her face when she saw Arcana in pain. She couldn't see any physical damage, but she wondered if it was an old injury from trying to tame the Quetza. She had always wanted to see one - at a safe distance of course - Denva knew when she was out matched. Wingless griffins were one thing, Quetzas were way beyond her level. And she was no Ashreaper beast tamer. Sure she had cousins who were, but she wasn't one of them. She had a cousin who rode a unicorn for instance and one who had an ice phoenix for their primary animal companions. Her Mom was an Ashreaper originally, but she became a Ridgestrider when she married her father. 

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Claude [Truthkeeper]/Rosie [Wispweaver]

((I just joined yesterday and this will be my first post, please feel free to correct me if I mess anything up or get anything wrong))

 

 

Claude had now been attending the banquet but by the time he got there it had already begun, that was alright though as he didn't mind being fashionably late. For the time being he kept to himself, not interacting with anyone. He wasn't really expecting anyone to interact with him either, no one in his faction interacted with him to much due to his mysterious origins so he didn't expect things to be any different here. 

 

Meanwhile Rosie had been at the banquet for quite a bit, she just didn't want to let her presence be known. She preferred to lurk in the shadows and observe everyone from afar, so that she'd know about them but not vice versa. She wasn't even really open to the idea to compete for the throne, she was perfectly content with her life beforehand. It was her husband that forced her into this, he told her he would've competed but thought she'd do much better. Needless to say she was still holding a bit of a grudge against him for doing that.

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Malik Nerio | Merchant & Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

Malik reciprocated with a smirk and angled brow at Arcana's alluring wink in his direction, earning a pinch to his side from Marrin from under the table. A sign that clearly meant, Stay focused, doofus.

Arcana made her way over to the group's table, beckoned so forth by Denva's outburst. By this point, other occupants in the room mostly returned to their former activities, though many still snuck peeks at the magnificent dress that the ringmaster wore. The reactions varied from awe to distaste to envy, but no matter the type of attention, it was all brought on by Arcana's entrance.

Arcana seemed to dismiss the alliance prompt. Malik agreed with her words; there was next to no reason for any of them to trust one another. The only benefit of working with each other is to heighten one's own ranking, which created strong but temporary trust in the others based almost entirely on relying on everyone's personal selfishness not to back out. At some point, someone was bound to throw another under the carriage to get closer to winning.

But Malik was a gambling man, and he found the idea of using the others' skills to help him through at least a good portion of the tests worth the risk. If needed, he would be one of the first allies to back out closer to the end of the others' usefulness. However, he wasn't so stupid as to suspect the others not to attempt the same thing. They would all have to judge the timing perfectly, in-between utilizing one another's usefulness and the need to individually win the throne.

Malik largely tuned out of the conversation between the two women upon them speaking about some sort of animal, but his dark red eyes were drawn back to the pair upon Arcana jerking her arm slightly back in pain. Nothing seemed outwardly wrong, the only thing marking her skin an intricate tattoo. Malik could only see the tips of the pattern, heavily increasing his curiosity to see more of the Ridgestrider's bare arm and the full design.

"They say pain is beauty," Malik commented instead, a mixture of coquetry and sympathy. While there was no blood, the sailor had assumed Arcana's skin may have snagged against one of the metal fragments that adorned her dress, having no other context to base her pained reaction from.

 

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

Demitri ignored the circus master's approach, instead focusing on the other occupants of the room. Another latecomer entered the room, bringing a level of attention, though it paled compared to Arcana's entry.

The librarian recognized the other Truthkeeper as one of Astrin's best-known politicians, Claude von Riegan. The man was a mysterious figure, not one many knew much about, despite his public position.

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Claude [Truthkeeper]

Claude noticed the rooms level of attention was mostly focused on Arcana, so any newcomers would get some to know attention. When he entered a few eyes turned his direction, quick whispers occurred but soon enough the attention would be turned back away from him. He didn't mind though, as he mostly kept to himself and observed. He recognized a few, he saw one he noticed was the librarian he often saw while visiting the library due to his many visits to learn of this countries culture. He never really took the time to interact with him though... 

 

((hope it's alright they he might recognize him as well, if not I can change my post))

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

"Hey, are you okay?" Denva's voice pierced the veil of her pain.

Arcana closed her eyes briefly, breathing deeply. Once she had properly oriented  herself,  she opened her eyes. "I-"

"They say beauty is pain." Malik interjected,  his eyes gliding over her dress.

"Huh?" Arcana glanced at him, realizing that he must have been speaking about the dress. Arcana resisted the urge to look relieved and cleared her throat. "Oh! Yes. They told me sewing metal into the fabric was not a good idea. I am inclined to agree with them now." She chuckled lightly,  feeling very grateful towards Malik.  He had unintentionally just saved her from a very awkward explanation.

"This alliance proposal does intrigue me." Arcana changed the subject as she tilted her head. "Perhaps there is actually some merit to what Denva suggests."

Phoenix re-emerged from the crowd, carrying the glass of water he had been sent to fetch. "Alliance?"

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded in understanding, glancing at Phoenix as he returned with water for Arcana. She nodded to him in greeting before giving him a recap. 

"We were discussing the possibility of forming an alliance for the competition. We all bring different skills to the table and if one of us fails in the competition, we can help to get one of the other members of the alliance onto the throne. I figure Arcana can bring more than what we can with the circus and your resources: I can bring in funding from my family's jewelry stores, for instance and local contacts. Malik has sailing skills and Demitri knows the library better than anyone and can help find any information we need. And nobody notices the librarian unless they make a point of being friendly or need to check something out. We can use that to our advantage. You'd be surprised at how much gossip you can hear in the library when people think they can't be overheard." Denva explaiend, recalling how many times she'd done just that while doing schoolwork to learn gossip at school. It's how she learned of the potential for gold to be replaced by platinum in popularity for jewlery for instance and was able to tell her father, or how she learned from those noblewomen about Baron So-and-So dumped his mistress, that sort of thing. 

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Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

((anic101: that's fine!))

 

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

Demitri overheard the Ridgestrider's relay of information to a newcomer that seemed to have arrived with Arcana. Denva's words were quite true, Demitri knew much about daily gossips and plans that might not be uttered about in more open settings. Possibly more than the girl even knew, as another factor for Demitri's knowledge was helping research things for people working on projects. Some involved politics and other important matters and details, often allowing him to have vague ideas of hushed plans before they're brought into the open.

It also wasn't false that many people didn't take note of a quiet librarian fiddling away with the mundane tasks of the library upkeep, but bringing it up that way in his presence rather amused the Truthkeeper. Despite the girl's noble upbringing, she had a very optimistic and extroverted personality, first brought to Demitri's attention from the way the girl had almost tripped on her way to the table and how she loudly greeted the circus ringleader. The girl seemed genuine to the max, possibly not having ulterior motives, though Demitri still held out on cementing that in his mind until he knew more.

"Speaking of which," Demitri said in a hushed tone following Denva's recap to the man who'd walked up to Arcana's side. "From now on, we would probably want to find out a secretive place to meet if we are to discuss how to prepare for the tests as a group. If others know about alliance groupings that might prove strong, other competitors may consider us a target as opposed to just on our own. Additionally, we don't want others overhearing our plans and advice that they could steal from us to use themselves."

"Hmmm..." Malik hummed, staring upwards at the ceiling while he thought.

Demitri started again. "Depending on the type of training, it might need to be a more open room or space. I'd say the library, but despite it being quiet, it's still very public."

Demitri considered his parents' house, with large rooms and even a small outdoor lot. It was situated in the capital, but with the nosy neighbors, each distinct individual arriving, even if at different times, would be too obvious. Additionally, the librarian didn't fancy letting his new companions know exactly where his family lived for the time being. He next thought about the palace and if there were any areas somewhere others competition wouldn't think of occupying.

"How 'bout my ship?" Malik offered. "It's pretty out of the way, don't think people will be trying to get a sneaky ear in there when it seems vacant."

"I suppose that's a possibility," Demitri said, but didn't sound super convinced.

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded, considering Dimitri and Marik's suggestions. She could see other clusters of people forming alliances and some keeping to themselves. 

"What class ship do you have? Depending on the size, I could ask my parents if we can borrow some of our horses or even Hoseki, my Wingless Griffin, for riding lessons. I'm pretty good at performance riding like dressage and hunter jumper stuff on both horseback and griffin back. And we even have a few flying creatures, including a giant eagle for deliveries to other cities." Denva suggested, figuring she can at least contribute a few animals. If needed, they could borrow animals from the circus for riding animals since Althea had purchased their two retiring Manticore bonded pair. 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Arcana listened to the group communicate in a contemplative silence. Denva brought up a strong argument. Although,  it was her family's riches and sponsorship that intrigued her the most. Not only did that tempt her for monetary reasons, having a family as influential as her's declare patronage over Arcana would legitimatize her bid for the throne in the eyes of the people. Would they be willing to strike a deal? Of she became queen, she could offer them even more power. While most seemed to be playing with their own survival in mind, Arcana was taking a different angle. A theatrical one. If she had the support of the people, she had the support of the kingdom, regardless of who actually won the trials. Of course, her original plan had been to take an underdog approach. Be a lone wolf. Be the "good guy", the one to root for. Because everyone loves an underdog. If she started out strong as part of a strong team, she would be seen as more antagonistic. She even had plans to fail the first few tests just to make a heroic come back. She knew her audience would eat that up. She was a performer after all, and she would give a great performance. 

On the other hand, how much did she genuinely want to risk to win over the people? It wouldn't mean much if she did not get the crown. Unless she wanted to deal with a rebellion. So what to choose? 

"You are also free to use my bigtop for the remainder of the time it is up. It will not be too suspicious if you all visited the circus frequently.  Many usually do... and after some deliberation I have come to a decision. I will join this alliance under two conditions." Arcana held up two fingers as she turned to Denva. "One. I would like your family to publicly declare support for me. And you, of course. And two.  I would like not to be visibly affiliated with anyone other than Denva. No one must know we are a larger alliance.  Only that Denva and I are working together." That should do it. Denva was young. Naive. And really the only person Arcana actually trusted. Which was weird because she didn't trust anyone. Usually.. By publicly allying herself with the young heiress, Arcana would be seen as sympathetic. Compassionate. A big-sister like figure who generously took Denva under her wing in order to protect her. How noble. Perfect qualities for a Queen to have. 

No, scratch that.

When Arcana won, she was going to declare herself a king

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded, glancing at the other two members of their alliance. 

"My parents were already planing on sponsoring the circus anyways. So that shouldn't be too hard. Especially since Althea was able to get Kitty and Purry. They're settling in well at her family's stables by the way." She told the circus performer, glad that she was willing to join them. With the resources that her family and Arcana's circus could bring to the table, at least one member of their alliance would get themselves on the Throne. 

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Malik Nerio | Merchant

((sorry... know i said weekend, and it's tuesday now, but i got stuck doing most of a group project myself so got off track again xD))

 

"A merchant's ship, but the deck is sizeable when cleared of goods," Malik responded to Denva's inquiry.

Demitri didn't offer any other suggestions, just listening to Malik's information with a slightly skeptical glance of which irked the merchant. Though, Malik kept a pleasing expression adorning his face for the time being.

Arcana, too, stayed rather quiet at first, seeming to consider some factors quietly to herself, her face revealing nothing of what she was considering.

Arcana finally made an offer of the group meeting at the circus tent, the most practical of the areas to meet as a group. Additionally, the circus tent was an area that Arcana had control over, meaning other competition wouldn't think of using it as their own place to train. However, the ringmaster then turned to Denva, playing her demands in return for adding herself to the proposed alliance.

Denva agreed to the first, while Arcana's second condition required not publically associating with the remainder of the alliance. Malik knew it made sense. Denva was the most well-known and powerful, in terms of family ties. It would look smart, and even intimidating, for the two women to be the only two to purposefully be known as allies to one another.

"Sounds like a plan~" Malik purred, glancing between the individuals of the group. "As pained as I am to say so, I imagine you ladies should not stay around us much longer, then. Shall we plan our meeting together at the tent after we learn more information of what the first text may consist of? Pray they reveal anything beforehand for the success of any preparation."

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded, glancing between Arcana and the other two members of the Alliance they were forming. Thanks to her family, and her ties to the royals, she had some protection to keep from others attempting to come after her. 

"I think we should meet at the ship. It would afford us the most privacy for the moment. There are still quite a few shows at the circus even if the main one is over. If memories serve, you typically go until Monday when you typically pack up to go to the next town." Denva replied, glancing at Arcana for confirmation

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

"Typically you are correct, Denva. However,  given current events, the circus' stay has been prolonged indefinitely." Arcana tilted her head thoughtfully. "I would be inclined to agree with your concerns involving privacy but how could we all get aboard someone's privately owned vessel without being spotted or mistaken for thieves? A group this size of contestants boarding the same ship is quite obvious. The bigtop will allow for a lot more spaciousness  in the event we require training. Besides, the perks of owning the circus means that whatever I say goes." She waved her hand dismissively.  "I'll shut down the bigtop to anyone but staff for maintenance and move the smaller exhibits into the other tents. The rest of you may want to excuse yourselves one at a time to the lavatories during this meal and check behind the cabinets. I will arrange a stash of uniforms for you to procure to further minimize the risk of discovery. How does that sound?" Arcana appraised them with a bedazzling smile.

Phoenix remained stoic by her side, almost like a body guard as he kept a watchful eye on the crowd around the. 

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded, understanding where Arcana was going with this. At the ship, it would be a little unusual for strangers who weren't part of the crew to be coming and going regularly unless they were doing business. Denva could easily use that excuse if she was going by herself, but not if she was going to be with a larger alliance. 

"As a bonus, we'd have extra security. We can work on basic circus skills and make sure we know how to handle the various animals. I'm sure Althea will loan us Kitty and Purry for work with the Chimera. They are hers now after all." Denva agreed, gesturing to the small group. She glanced at Dimitri. 

"You wouldn't be allergic to anything furry, would you?" She teased, knowing some librarians kept cats since they were allergic to dogs or whatever silly reason. 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Arcana arched an eyebrow in regards to Denva's comment then chuckled. "I am not actually hiring you all. Just say that you are janitors or something if someone asks. I am not going to force you to pile into a very small carriage and cover your face in white powder. Now, I should be taking my leave." She turned towards Phoenix and inclined her chin. "Darling, please inform Angel of our plan. She will be able to drop the uniforms off the quickest."

Phoenix frowned ever do slightly.  "But-"

"I can take care of myself. I have friends now." Arcana's deceptive smile softened slightly.  "Please?"

"Very well." Phoenix mumbled and turned, meandering off. 

Arcana cracked her neck then strolled away from the rest of the alliance to claim her seat at the table .

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Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

Demitri merely nodded to the plans. A circus tent would be much less inconspicuous than the open boat Malik had offered up. And if Denva or Arcana provided animals, the tent would be far better for mountable creatures to move around within.

"Not that I'm aware," Demitri responded flatly to Denva's teasing tone. "Albeit, I've only ridden horses in the past."

Being able to ride a horse was a common trait among nobles and Truthkeepers. Demitri's experience wasn't too broad, but he knew the basic care and preparation that went into readying a horse for travel, and then just the action of riding to a destination. He'd only gone as fast as a canter, simply because he hadn't had the need to ever gallop at full speed. However, Demitri didn't have experience on more daring runs, jumps, or tricks, let alone how to manage so on a chimera or large griffin in such a manner. He would prefer to stick with training on a horse, if he had the choice.

"He probably is immune to allergies since he's around dust all the time," Malik added his own prodding comment, earning a strained frown from Demitri as Arcana walked away. Demitri wasn't sure how long they should wait to visit the restrooms to get the uniforms the ringmaster had indicated, but he figured he'd wait until the first dish had been served.

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Denva Beaumont

Denva nodded, watching Arcana and Phoenix leave as she stayed with the men, enjoying one of the delectable finger sandwiches at the nearby buffett and a slice of chocolate cake. 

"I'm not above getting my hands dirty. I help clean my wingless griffin's stall all the time. And I also clean out Burraku's litter box. It's not quite the same as dealing with griffin dung, but you get my point." Denva told the two men, glancing after Arcana again. 

"I say we wait about 10 minutes, then I'll leave and you men can leave ten minutes after that." She told the men quietly, figuring that was a good way to do this. She could easily hide the janitor uniform under her skirt or something and head back to her family's quarters with the excuse of needing to rest to prep for the competition the next day 

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Malik Nerio | Merchant & Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

"Okay, sounds great," Malik muttered, attention partially caught back from having watched Arcana's fabulous dress retreat to the other side of the room.

"Alright, then." Demitri sighed, not exactly thrilled to leave with the rambunctious merchant. The blond could barely focus on the discussion on hand. Demitri stood, momentarily departing from his companions to walk towards the table with food. It was a banquet, after all. It'd be odd to ignore the well-prepared dishes from the palace kitchens. Not to mention, Demitri might be able to take in more of the competitors.

On the way, Demitri recognized a few faces. He offered several formal greetings, mostly consisting of a nod of the head or a two-worded, 'good evening,'.

At the table, the main dishes had been brought out in addition to the appetizers that'd already been there for any early guests. Demitri grabbed a plate, serving atop it a few slices of tender poultry and perfectly roasted potatoes and greens.

As he was glancing at the other food options, Demitri noticed once again Claude von Riegan nearby. Demitri nodded his head towards the man; despite recognizing him earlier, he still didn't know the man well.

 

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

"It'll be a bit of a challenge to hide those garments without a skirt," Malik frowned as he considered having to go pick up the uniforms from the restrooms.

"Don't act like people with skirts have it easy," Marrin snorted, a faint smile on her face. The Ashreaper then sighed.

"I could sneak in and retrieve them for you?"

"Marrin, I don't think that's too becoming of a lady to enter the mens' lavatories~" Malik chortled, hand placed mockingly over his chest in a display of disgust, despite his face showing only amusement.

"Bold of you to assume I would be seen," Marrin smiled mischievously.

"Haha, I'm sure I'll figure something out," Malik spoke in a sing-song voice. "I always do."

 

((just deleted something for better congruence.))

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Denva Beaumont

Denva of course, was already at the table eating her food with her parents, pleased with her success of getting her alliance with Arcana, Malik and Demitri. Of course, her parents knew that she was forming this alliance and approved of her choices. They knew Arcana and her circus wouldn't let anything happen to their daughter while she was with them. 

"So, I take it things are going well?" Andre Beaumont asked his daughter, Denva nodding in response. 

"Yup! Hopefully Arcana and I will make a good team for the competition." She confirmed, making sure to only mention that she and Arcana were in a public alliance 

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Terri Marigold, the young

Terri Marigold, the young stuck up head of the royal guard prodigy was last seen and heard of going to 'sulking' in his room after he haphazzardly giving order to the next in command to carry on his work for him. His potential role in the fight for the throne are highly anticipete with the role he's already gotten in the castle and how loud and proud he made himself known

Unfortunately, he never left his room the next day. or rather, no one seen him leaving it.

There was a clear struggle and the fight's likely taking place, there're bloo.d. Not enough to confirm it being a fatel wound but the fact that he's nowhere to be seen leave his fate in the dark. The fact too that he's the head royal guard and let someone get to him make the case an unnerving mystery that has yet to be solve.

Ishmael Dawn, the seamstress, also disappeared.

In contrast, his quater remained clean and neat with no sign of struggle. The truth that the Seamstress is link to the high k,ill count assasin is not public nor well known but isn't too hard to look into and as such, he would be the big suspicious figure. Alas, there're no much to track him nor Terri down. and with that the two candidate for the throne are naturally disqualified.

 

As for Wallace Seaward the Young ambassador of Tideseeker who got dare into taking this challenge by his 'friends'...is still around, remain in the background. He'd either fail the first challenge with no one noticing or if fate((cough other rper)) really want to, he'd go through each challenge, still in the background and who knows, young Wallace might raise up to be the next to throne without anyone noticing. But that's the story that has yet to happened...as did the discovery of Ishmael and Terri's fate.

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Ashton Bál

Ashton quietly entered the banquet room rather late, his appearence going fairly unnoticed as he doubted anyone would remember him from the announcement. Having barely raised his voice to announuce his name, and didn't add much to his introduction after that. Nearly nothing stood out in his attire during then, a thin black leather jacket covering his most noticeable features, and even now he wasn't in anything particularly eye catching. Wearing a simple dark formal coat with subtle mahogany designs, and slightly lighter formal pants to go along with it, while his red tipped black hair was simply finger brushed back. His attention floated around the heads of the room, trying to a place names to each persons face, of course his eyes lingered on the outstanding fire-like dress of the circus ringleader. Instantly pinning her name to her face while playing out the chaos that ensued from her and her friends during the announcement. Mainly, her friends. He wandered around the room giving short greetings to other contestants before searching for a seat to claim.

__________________

Some information on me?

Sure Why Not....

Name?

Dylieh...

Or Dill works too...

 

Main Dragon?

  A black and white Night Fury named Corvus... Who has the tendency to glow blue...

 

Friend Code?

Uhm. Perhaps message me for this...

 

Favourite Colour?

      Green...

Neon green to be exact... Which looks really nice on white... and black... and red... and most all the colours

 

Interests?

     Does Headphone junkie, concert crazy, digital artist, and occasional writer answer this?

 

Favourite area in SoD?

     If you're ever looking for me in game... Just... go to the highest spot of the map, and you might be

able to see me hiding on one of the ledges... Or I'm racing...

 

Current Clan?
     The Leader of the Glass Wing Riders...

 

Dragons?

No, I am not showing all my dragons here... I have too many. I'll just make a video of them all later....
Or make a google doc or something, Idk...

 

Where I live?
    I love maple syrup on everything...
The weather can never make up it's mind on being either warm or cold...
Does... that give it away?

 

Music Taste?

Hahaha... Uhmmm.....

That ranges from...

Everything...
toooo....
Everything...

This is basically a glimpse into the nutshell that is my ipod... XD

 

Music Taste Doc

 

(By Emerald Huntress. Thanks :))

 

 

"Without Music, Life Would Be A Mistake"
- Friedrich Nietzsche -

 

-------------

 

Want any art from me?

Check out my Art Threads...

HTTYD Dragons & Vikings - Reference bases - Active

Creature Adopts - Active

Dragons to Vikings - Active

Jewel Spinner Adoptions - Active

Duma Ormsliki Adoptions - Active

SoD Screenshot edits - Paused

Musical Doodles - Active

Art requests.. but with a Twist - Active
 

 

Interested in roleplaying?

Check to see if these interests you :P

War Of Our Karma - Moved to Discord
A Dæmon's Tribulation - Active

Another coming soon...

 

Interested in reading HTTYD fanfics?

Check these out...

A Dragon's Fury
To Fly Through Time

Jewel of the Night - Revising

More HTTYD stories in the works....

including two comics...

 

Hey got Discord?

Link to Discord page info :)

(Banner by FeatheronFire)

(I don't post often on youtube... and tend to keep some of my music on unlisted, if you're interested in any of that, simply message me for that :P)

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Malik Nerio | Merchant

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

Denva departed to eat with her parents, leaving Malik alone with his crewmate. Malik yawned, barely remembering to cover his mouth on the line of good manners, though slapping it across since it was still early into the game.

"Gods, who knew this would be so dull?" Malik noted absent-mindedly, barely noticing yet another latecomer stroll through the door. "I wish something would happen."

Suddenly, the sound of multiple pairs of feet running outside the grand room caught the blond's attention. He cocked his head in confusion, noting several servants rushing down the hallway through the partially opened doorway.

Malik glanced at Marrin, who shrugged, but her hand suddenly moved under the table, the Ashreaper on high alert.

Several minutes passed, almost long enough that Malik began to forget about the collection of maids and guards that'd run by. The merchant had gone up to the buffet table and grabbed a piece of cake, bringing it back to his seat. However, before he could take a bite, someone in a panic ran into the room, walking up to the old clergyman that'd spoken at the announcement earlier that day. Malik struggled to remember his name... Elder Rondell? Ah, Rodell.

Elder Rodell's face paled, his hands formerly clasped behind his back dropped as he listened to the hushed whispers into his ear.

"Everyone!" Rodell spoke, his thundering voice hushing the room almost immediately. "It seems there's been terrible news. One of the contestants in this competition has suddenly disappeared, and not a trace of him has been found throughout the castle or grounds. None other than Terri Marigold, the acclaimed Ashreaper and head of the royal guard. He'd been last seen in his living quarters earlier in the evening but had never been seen leaving. He didn't appear to take any of his usual attire and items, as well as didn't leave anything such as a note behind. The primary issue for alarm is that some of his items had been disturbed as if there was a struggle, and some things have traces of what is presumed to be his own blood."

Many gasps and even a woman's screaming echoed in the large room. People glanced around at each other, as if suddenly weary of each other's presence.

"We will continue search parties," Rodell continued. "But until then, the second in command will take over indefinitely until we have found some sort of resolution on the matter. Until we understand what the meaning of this is, if it is found out anyone here directly linked to the disappearance of Marigold, they will immediately be disqualified from the competition and tried."

"Hm," Malik muttered under his breath. He rested his chin in his palm as he listened to the story. His stomach could have growled at the sight of the piece of cake, but he suddenly no longer felt like eating. If there really was someone going after people, poisoning buffet-style food with sleight-of-hand would be child's play compared to disappearing a whole head of the royal guard without anyone noticing.

Conspiracy theories soon arose amongst the gathered groups. Some dismissed the situation, saying the guard probably just left on his own and everyone was making a big deal for no reason. A few immediately left the grand room, possibly out of fear. Others jumped to glare at other competitors out of suspicion, especially those that'd arrived late.

Despite having no strong feelings on the matter in any direction, Malik did find his eyes turning to a few people in particular, more out of curiosity than fear or anger.

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Denva Beaumont

Denva looked up at the mention of the missing Captain of the Guard. Odd...how could this sort of thing happen with the entire palace on high alert like this? Strange....

"That's odd...normally the Captain isn't this sloppy. Weird..." Denva mused, gesturing to all the guards around the room as an example and her parents had to agree 

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Wolf and Star
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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Arcana graciously moved towards her seat. She politely sat down, eyeing the banquet of food laid before her. The sharp click of the door caught her attention as she turned to see a dark-haired man enter, slipping discretely into the crowd. Not to long after Phoenix slipped back inside, standing poise by the doorway. As their eyes met, Arcana knew instantly that it meant that the uniforms had sucessfully been hidden within the castle.

Nodding softly she turned back towards her meet, reaching out daintily to grab a slice of bread when the doors sprang open and a collection of servants rushed through.

Arcana paused in her motion to eye the frantic look on their faces. A smile crept on to her lips as she observed them. Sitting back, Arcana neatly folded her hands into her lap, poised patiently. 

A few minutes later, the servants returned, whispering something into Rodell's ear which reuslted in visible distress. The elder rose from his chair. ""Everyone! The elder declared. "It seems there's been terrible news. One of the contestants in this competition has suddenly disappeared, and not a trace of him has been found throughout the castle or grounds. None other than Terri Marigold, the acclaimed Ashreaper and head of the royal guard. He'd been last seen in his living quarters earlier in the evening but had never been seen leaving. He didn't appear to take any of his usual attire and items, as well as didn't leave anything such as a note behind. The primary issue for alarm is that some of his items had been disturbed as if there was a struggle, and some things have traces of what is presumed to be his own blood."

Arcana covered her smirk by lifting the bread to her mouth, taking a small nibbling bite. She was grateful that she kept her relation to the passed Queen a secrect given that her largest threat and half brother had conveniently vanished along with the guard. Yes, she was well aware of Ishmael's disapperance and it would not be too long of a shot to assume she orchestrated at least some of it. He was the ideal scapegoat, afterall. And a deep dive into the research regarding his hazy history informed her that his ties to the underworld would pin him as a prime suspect. After revealing his identity, Arcana ordered her two snakes to look into him. He was quite efficient, and left little evidence. But he was definitely into something dark. Which meant he knew how to make himself disappear and could do so effectively at the drop of a hat.

Really, Arcana did not believe that it was Ishmael. While he had plenty of motive to off as large of a player as the captain of the guard, why would he vanish after doing so and forefit his claim to the crown? Unless he was caught, in which case, this wouldn't be much of a mystery. The only other option was that he somehow new the guard and they had some kind of beef. So Ishmael's motive for joining the competition was to get close enough to kill Terri. But Arcana was completely unaware of Ishmael's work as an assassin and brushed off that theory because the two did not seem to display any kind of magligence towards each other.

Besides, her circus was no stranger to covering up such disapperances. 

Leaning back in her chair, Arcana schooled her features into an expression of suspicion and curosity. Yes, she rumours would fly. And she might even perpetuate a few herself to target her greatest enemies. Now... who had the most motive and posed the greatest threat to her crown?

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Malik Nerio | Merchant

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

Malik tapped his finger atop the tablecloth-covered grand table, in thought. It was rather odd that someone would off another, and such a high-ranking person, so early on. Was it truly an elimination of a threat, or a distraction of some sort for something even larger? Malik found he wasn't too bothered by the death itself; he felt sorry for the unlucky man, but the merchant was more concerned for the unknown factors in play.

Rodell ceased his public announcement voice as servants and messengers came and went from the grand room, relaying news and updates about the search or any clue findings, though they all seemed vague for the time.

However, the banquet seemed to mostly be over, at least in the form it'd been meant to take. Many plates of food were left untouched, too many distracted or otherwise unkeen on eating after the news in one way or another.

After an unclear amount of time, Rodell cleared his voice.

"We were planning to announce the topic of the first test at the end of this dinner, and those of you who showed to this banquet would be the first to hear of it, giving you a slight lead on those that declined. However, while our event has been cut prematurely short, as it were, we will still end this night with the news of the first test's topic. Anyone not here will receive a letter in their rooms later. A queen or king must know how to ride a mount adequately and eloquently, specifically horsemanship. You will be tested on various riding forms and a selection of commands that any fitting king or queen would know. Because this is a basic staple for a royal, you will be tested the day after tomorrow. If you do not already have one, a horse will be provided for you at the stables starting tomorrow morn, so you may get used to your steed and prepare in whatever you believe necessary prior to the next day's examination."

Malik breathed in, settling a faint smile on his lips despite his internal reservations. How ironic the topic was, after just earlier the alliance had been discussing mounts, as well.

Malik had ridden before under various circumstances, though he had no proper training by any means. Malik's experience with horses mostly consisted of using them to move merchandise or travel short distances. Otherwise, the ports were one of the areas of the continent most stranger to needing horses and other steeds for travel, using boats and sailing vessels for their primary forms of transportation. Truthkeepers and Ashreapers were probably at the biggest advantage for this test, most likely to have had some sort of formal training on the subject.

Malik knew he may already be at a disadvantage from the first test topic. Even the stuffy librarian in his alliance probably knew enough to pass with ease, growing up around nobles in the capital. Denva and Arcana also seemed to have experience with animals of the mount variety to some degree. But fortunately, above all, Malik had Marrin, a native Ashreaper of whom he knew he could trust above all the others.

Glancing around the room, some people tried to take care to school their features, but it was evident some were thrilled by the first test's topic, probably thinking it extraordinarily easy to complete and pass, while others seemed more worried about the choice.

Malik settled on a positive, neutral stance for the moment. How hard could it be?

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Wolf and Star
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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

The room had settled down affter the disturbing news of a murder. Arcana knew that the implications were heavy. Someone was targeting competitors and anyone who seemed to be in a position to win was a target. Understandably, a lot of the food left untouched after that, much to Arcana's disappointment.

Her stomach protested quite loudly, stirred by a ravenous hunger Arcana was sure was not her own. Resisting it, she turnd away, keeping her eyes away from the temptation.

"We were planning to announce the topic of the first test at the end of this dinner, and those of you who showed to this banquet would be the first to hear of it, giving you a slight lead on those that declined. However, while our event has been cut prematurely short, as it were, we will still end this night with the news of the first test's topic." Rodell spoke up again, providing a much welcomed distraction for Arcana.

The elder continued, "anyone not here will receive a letter in their rooms later. A queen or king must know how to ride a mount adequately and eloquently, specifically horsemanship. You will be tested on various riding forms and a selection of commands that any fitting king or queen would know."

Riding... like horseback riding? Arcana did not even bother to attempt to conceal her emotions. She wanted everybody to see the wicked grin that spread across her features. As an Ashreaper, she had recieved formal training in not only riding but combat on horseback. And as a circus performer, she was taught to perform tricks whilst bareback. To stand on her hands as the horse ran across the ring and to hang off the side of the saddle in a split. While Alpha was much better at it than her, Arcana was more of an aerialist, she knew the basics. And Alpha was just the perfect one to teach everyone how to ride.

Of course, only Denva could use one of the circus' mounts during the actual trial. The others would have to procure their own. But for the time being, they could practice on her well-trained and disciplined steeds.

Arcana's grin widened further. She was going to give her audience quite the show!

"Because this is a basic staple for a royal, you will be tested the day after tomorrow. If you do not already have one, a horse will be provided for you at the stables starting tomorrow morn, so you may get used to your steed and prepare in whatever you believe necessary prior to the next day's examination." Rodell finished his announcement and regained his seat.

Arcana slowly turned back around which quickly proved to be a mistake.

The inhuman hunger she had been fighting siezed control over her limbs. Arcana had just enough control to duck head as her eyes breifly turned to slits. She grabbed fistfuls of the wasted dishes, pushing them into mouth as though she were a starved animal. 

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Denva Beaumont

Denva smirked to herself, glancing at her mother. With her own Ashreaper history, not only did she know how to ride her wingless gryphon along with several winged creatures including riding dragons, she was trained in dressage. She had her own horse, a beautiful shimmer coated breed her cousin called an Akhal Teke that she named Lemonice - or just Lemon for short. Lemonice was her show name. She competed from time to time and she could show off their most recent performance routine from a contest in Horsehead Point a few months ago. 

"Good thing Lemon is a show pony." She hissed to her mother, who smiled. 

"I'll tell the stable boys to get her ready. You'll want to practice with the guys at the circus, I'm sure. We'll make sure Hoseki doesn't feel left out." Olivia assured her daughter, Andre nodding in agreement. 

"You just do what you need to do. We''ll need to handle things business wise anyways." Andre chimed in, a proud smile on his face 

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Ashton Bál

The commotion brought Ashton's attention to Rodell, his announcement raising the Ashreaper's eyebrow. Trying to think of the face that matched the name the Elder mentioned, vaguely remembering the tempermental knight that found everyone unworthy for the throne. Sighing away the thought, and carrying on with his food like nothing happened. Shortly after, the same Elder spoke once more, bringing back the bored man's attention to listen.

 

"We were planning to announce the topic of the first test at the end of this dinner-"

 

'Perfect, exactly what I was hoping for' his expression softened as he continued to listen, letting a smirk pull at his features as he mentioned horsemanship. Generally one of the first things Ashreapers need to learn, after the basics, is riding. Be it winged or wingless, or even slithery. His faction would definitely have a leg up in this test over the others. Thankfully for him, his vegabound lifestyle required mostly riding, so he had no doubts he'd pass this test with ease. He began thinking to himself about meeting with his old mentor, who he was sure still worked in the stables. Fairly certain that he'd help him look for a compatible horse. Some small commotion brought him from his thoughts, peering over to the firery dress, whose wearer was currently gorging on the leftover food like an animal. Ashton looked on the scene with confusion, his eyes floating into a long roll before he stood and started passing by.

 

"Perhaps Terri was right... Lot of unsavoury people trying for the throne" He spoke to no one in particular, but loud enough for the ringleader to hear. Now curious what kind of reaction that would come from her.

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

"Perhaps Terri was right... Lot of unsavoury people trying for the throne...'

Arcana whirled around, bits of half-eaten mush dribbling from her chin. She released a long hiss, glaring at Ashton with a petrifying stare. It was compeltely devoid of all humanity, cold and serpentine, the type of look a predator would regard prey with before going in for the kill. 

Phoenix, seeming to have noticed Arcana's sudden change in disposition, rushed over. He grabbed her by her shoulders, quietly hoisting her up and preventing her form mauling Ashton with her bare fingers.

"Arcana." He hissed in a low whisper. "Get a grip on her." 

Arcana thrashed in his arms, her eyes wild. Those of a caged animal.

Phoenix pulled her into his arms as though he were hugging her, loudly wishing her luck on the next trial so that she wouldnt attract too much of a scene.

Slowly, Arcana's movements quelled. She lifted her chin. "Unhand me." She growled. "I got it under control."

Phoenix gently released her from his grasp.

Brushing herself off and smoothing the wrinkles in her dress, Arcana lifted her head. She gazed at Ashton and smiled, subtly and temporarily bringing the gravity down around his right foot. It was not a lot but she hoped it would be unexpectedly heavy enough to literally trip him up next time he tried to walk. Like when you overestimate the weight of an object, and when you go to pick it up, you accidentally end up flinging it across the room. 

Turning away, Arcana began to walk out. She had to get home before Aztec made her do something else. 

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Denva Beaumont

Denva also heard that guy Ashton's comment about unsavory folk aimed at Arcana to provoke her. She narrowed her eyes. She focused on a small gem in her bracelet, the gem flying and smacking him in the nose before flying back to her bracelet before he could determine it's source. 

"Honsetly Mr Bál, the only "unsavory" sort around here, is you. A royal is supposed to encourage others! Not throw shade their way!" Denva scolded, winking at Arcana as she fiddled with the gems in her bracelet, using her power to shift their order or just spin them in the air for fun 

(figured Denva should have a little fun messing with Ashton on Arcana's behalf :P)

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Ashton Bál

Ashton squinted his eyes with a slightly tilted head to the reaction of the ringleader, barely catching the animalistic slit pupils before her friend came to settle the sitution. Humming quietly to himself and about to walk away when he felt his foot be dragged down, almost certain it would of tripped him if he carried on. However, he had stopped his movements when an odd pain snapped across his nose, eyeing the blurred object that found its way back to its owner. The ringleader already on her way out of the hall.

 

"Honsetly Mr Bál, the only "unsavory" sort around here, is you. A royal is supposed to encourage others! Not throw shade their way!" The distant royal scolded, earning yet another look of confusion from the man. His features morphing into a soft smile as he sighed and gave a slight bow of his head to the girl.

 

"Oh, of course, my lady. However, a Royal is also suppose to respond to odium with maturity" He responded, straightening his back and pointing his nose up. His soft expression shifting into a sly gaze.

 

"Which neither of you responded with accordingly, so. I suppose the lot of us have a flaw to sort out during these trials" He cooed, walking away from the girl.

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Denva Beaumont

Denva rolled her eyes at Ashton's obvious fake politeness. She got up soon after he left, knowing she had to swing by the public restrooms to get her janitor disguise. 

"Mom, I'm going to go to the restrooms then go back to our quarters. I better turn in early so I have time to get Lemonice ready in the morning." Denva told her parents, Olivia nodding.

"See you tomorrow if we don't see you tonight sweetie. Go get some rest. And take Burraku with you." Olivia instructed, Andre nodding in agreement as the nekomata in question perched on Denva's head with a happy yowl. The two of them left together.

After doing her busienss, Denva found the clothes that one of the circus performers left for her to find cleverly hidden under the sink in waterproof packaging. Go figure, the circus would hide things in plain sight like with the ghost tricks. 

"And my size too. Go figure. Those circus people think of everything." Denva mused, tucking the clothes under her skirt and making sure it lay flat. She knew the tricks of sneaking around and smuggling gems. Sometimes she had to transport gems from sketchy parts of the city home for her father. So she was able to hide things in plain sight herself and get home without a problem. Burraku mewled, the two tailed cat, now perched on her shoulder as he tilted his black and white head at her. 

"Don't worry, it's just so it's not so obvious where I'm going when I go see our new friends tomorrow." She assured the cat, scratching under his chin. She was glad she was able to make sure that Althea got the Chimera she wanted and that Kitty and Purry were going to be spoiled rotten by her cousin now that they were retired to the life of carriage animals. 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Arcana slunk down the hall, her steps uneasy and feeble as she leaned heavily on Phoenix's support. Gone was the self-assured ease at which she had previously carried herself. Her skin was pale and clammy, slick with sweat and glistening in the candle light. Her hair fell limp, coiling in dark strands down her shoulders. Each breath she took rattled her ribcage.

Outbursts of reptilian aggression were not exactly common. Arcana never usually allowed herself to take it this far, usually she was far away, allowing Aztec to run rampant. She had no idea the toll the struggle would take on her body.  

While the monster was a remorseless killer, Arcana knew Aztec would never hurt her. Even if the beast wanted to. Arcana found the hard way that they were connected far deeper than she initially suspected.  Any harm that befell Aztec also befell Arcana. Arcana assumed that the reverse was true. And that the monster was in some way protecting her because of it. Whenever she faced an injury, Arcana had a tendency to heal at an inhumane rate. Small cuts healed up within the hour. Incredibly grievous injuries set her comatose for a few days while Aztec... did something. Some kind of magic because she always woke up without a single scratch on her. 

Arcana assumed it was in Aztec's best interest to keep her relatively healthy. So the Quezta protected her. 

But this?

This was taking it too far. 

"You need to let her free." Phoenix's voice stirred her from her musings.

"Shh!" Arcana snapped in a low tone. "Not here,  people could-" She fell silent as she is observed her surroundings.  She was back in her tent, sitting on her bed. 

Arcana dazedly gazed around. Either she lost consciousness somewhere along the way, or she was just so out of it, she could not recall the journey back to her tent.

"Arcana?" Phoenix spoke in a concerned tone.

"Nevermind that." Arcana murmured, folding her arms over each other. "I could not possibly let her out. Where would I go? I have a trial to prepare for and id.iot teammates to train. And releasing her here is not even a question. She would destroy everything and everyone."

"Don't you remember what happened the last time you ignored the symptoms?" Phoenix warned ominously.

Arcana rolled her eyes. "It won't come to that. Now leave me. Allow me to rest."

Sighing, Phoenix dipped his head and took a few steps back before existing the tent.

As the flap swung closed behind him, Arcana slowly drifted her fingers over her firey dress. She heaved herself up, bracing herself against the wooden beam which supported the ceiling of the tent. As she crossed over the dusty floor, she stood before her full-length mirror. 

Sliding the dress strap off her shoulder, Arcana slowly peeled the glittering costume from her ragged and marred body. Beneath the crimson fabric lay years worth of scars and marks, each other denoting another failure in Arcana’s mind. Like a permanent ledger carved into her very flesh. 

She delicately hung the dress into the small closet space and grabbed a simple night gown. Tossing it over her form, she turned her back to the mirror and staggered towards her sleeping cot. She probably should have washed up in the staff bathhouse, but weariness plagued her limbs, turning them to lead.

Arcana rather gracelessly flopped forward, coddling herself into the furs and sheets of her bed. Closing her eyes, Arcana allowed the sleep to tug her away. 

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Malik Nerio | Merchant

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

Malik managed to catch a glimpse of Arcana shoveling fistfuls of food into her mouth before the woman ceased the bizarre actions. In truth, the behavior caught Malik off guard, making him feel incredibly awkward to have witnessed it. The woman was usually so poised, and even if mysterious, that the action seemed very unnatural and almost animalistic for her. However, the feeling soon ebbed as the woman retreated from the room, seemingly having recovered to some extent.

By this point, a few remarks had been tossed around, though Malik was far enough down the table he hadn't been able to catch every word. Denva and a man Malik didn't recognize seemed to have a brief squabble regarding the other woman before the young royal also left the grand hall behind.

Others who'd caught sight of Arcana's wild display murmured in surprise. Because she was a showrunner, she must know that such a stunt would get people to talk about it, just like her dress had earlier in the evening. Though the most recent situation had definitely been unorthodox, having no reason to think otherwise, Malik thought the entire thing had been done on purpose for some sort of shock factor or publicity.

Oh, Malik thought, glancing around to attempt to find sight of a clock. It'd probably been long enough to leave the hall and visit the lavatory. The entire situation with Terri's disappearance had made him lose track of time. Denva had already been gone for a number of minutes, so Malik decided he was done at this banquet.

"I think this party has dulled to me, shall we leave?" He asked to Marrin, who nodded. The merchant pulled out the chair for the lady, allowing her to easily exit from her seat. Malik tried to catch Demitri's eye from across the room, who either didn't notice or was ignoring him.

Malik and Marrin exited from the hall. Malik held his arm out courteously until they stepped out of sight in the hall, dropping put-on formalities.

"This has already gotten dangerous," Marrin sighed as the two hurried down the hall.

"Not the worst thing we've seen, so far." Malik smiled.

"Still..." Marrin lifted her skirts to make a faster pace.

The Tideseeker and Ashreaper came upon the closest set of men's restrooms. Malik entered long enough check there were no other occupants. He then retrieved a circus uniform hidden in the depths of the linen cabinet, leaving the second set there for the librarian to find amongst the washing cloths.

Now that Malik and Marrin didn't plan to return to the grand hall, it wasn't difficult to merely conceal the garments from prying eyes long enough to get back to their wing of rooms in the castle, almost immediately turning in so that the group would be able to head to the stables first thing in the morning.

 

((pretty ready to skip to morning, if y'all are.))

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

((Yep!))

Damp strands of hair rolled down her back in waves, clinging to her Arcanas skin and sending driblets of water oscillating down her back.

Arcana had woken multiple times during the night after facing nightmares. She dreamt she was a predator, slinking through the dense populated undergrowth, stalking her prey. She recalled the sensation of her fangs sinking into the tender flesh of her kill, the hot irony tag of the blood bubbling from the still thrashing body of her prey. 

A shiver ran down her back, causing the dark eyeliner pen to jerk sideways, smudging the makeup. Cursing under her breath, Arcana tried in vain to remedy the mistake, but only served to further smudge it. 

She had arisen early and spent the morning soaking in a tub. Now clean, she had dressed into her typical masucline-style of outfit. She ditched the skirts in favour of rising pants and a red collared tail coat. Arcana sat perched on a stool, attempting to apply makeup with a shaking hands. Sighing, she helplessly set the marker aside, glaring at the offending item with a petulant expression. 

A deep chuckle alerted her to the presence of a visitor.  Swinging her legs around, Arcana met the eyes of Alpha who was grinning wickedly at her.

"Think you're going to stare that thing into submission?" Alpha tilted his head, his mop of ashen hair falling effortlessly down into his face. 

Pouting slightly, Arcana side-eyed the eyeliner pen. "It's not for a lack of trying."

Alpha chuckled again and moved forward, "allow me, Princess." 

Arcana rolled her eyes at the use of the nickname but did not object as he daintily placed the pen between his fingers. 

With a steady, expert hand, Alpha began to draw the darker wings on Arcana’s eyes. Each line was fluid and calculated, much unlike Arcana's previous attempts. 

Arcana hated to admit it, but Alpha was the best makeup artist in the whole group, he did all of their show make up. He had an odd mastery of the stuff from a background which he refused to speak of. He never would have admitted his excellency in the art form, either. 

And yet, here he was, perfectly replicating the design from one eye on to the other. 

"Done." Alpha sat back, clicking the top back on to the pen.

Arcana swiveled back around to observe his work. "Flawless as always." She purred and got up. 

Alpha smirked, folding his arms. "You don't need to tell me what I already know."

Arcana rolled her eyes for the second time. "Is there any particular reason you are invading my tent?"

"Other than to watch you struggle?" Alpha jeered. "Maybe."

Sighing in exasperation, Arcana pulled on her top hat. She jutted her left hand outward as her cane flew across the room, nearly smacking Alpha in the head and landed in her palm. 

Side-stepping the flying cane, Alpha grinned. "I came to report that the big top has successfully been cleared out and prepared for cleaning."

"Cleaning." Arcana echoed. "Oh, right. The janitors." She hoped that she had gotten the correct size of uniform for her alliance members. "And the mounts?"

"Awaiting their arrival." Alpha clarified.

Arcana nodded in approval.  "Good. How about my dress?"

"We sold it. Just as you expected, it was worth nearly triple the price we paid to have it commissioned." Alpha folded his arms. "Smart thinking."

"It's one of a kind." Arcana grinned. "That money is more than we earn in an entire week of performing.  This trial business is proving far more lucrative than I initially expected."

Alpha just hummed his agreement.  "Shall I see myself out?"

"You better. Before I toss you out." Arcana smiled wickedly. "Please, greet the janitorial team when they show up. They will need you to... take the reins on this one."

Alpha grinned at the clever wordplay. "Of course. We do have one issue. Angel is currently using the area to practice. She claims that the acoustics are the best there and refuses to practice anywhere else."

"Eh, she should be fine. As long as she does not interfere with us." Arcana shrugged. "Besides. Her voice is truly heavenly.  Maybe having a small audience will allow her to work up the courage to perform for a larger one."

Alpha nodded then backed out, heading back to make the final preparations for the day.

Arcana stretched out and took a breath, she pulled her damp hair into a pony tail. Then she stepped outside, ready to face the day.

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Denva Beaumont

Denva was up bright and early. Lemonice was ready as she requested. If anyone asked, she was going to go for a ride in town to get the feel of the saddle and maybe visit a few friends. She had the city saddle ready and thanked the stable hands for getting the palomino Akhal Teke ready for her. 

"Have fun Lady Denva!" One of the hands called as she swung up onto her horse, a rather stylish Ridgestrider copper colored jacket hiding the top of what she was wearing. Well, she often wore tight fitting pants to ride so those weren't unusual for her. Lemon nickered happily but Hoseki looked at Denva like she was a betrayed birdy. 

"Oh hush, I'll take you tomorrow." She told the wingless griffin as she passed her stall, Burraku riding in her saddlebag as she rode out for the circus tents. She took a roundabout way to get there - subterfuge 101, never let anyone figure out where you're going. The Akhal Teke just seemed to enjoy the fact she was being ridden. 

Sure enough, they reached the tent without incident, Burraku poking his head out of the saddlebag with a mewel. 

"Hey! Is Arcana up yet?" Denva asked the person on guard duty outside the tent as she came up, swinging off the Akhal Teke with practiced ease. Burrakku meowed, jumping out of the saddlebag to perch on her shoulder as she slid out of her jacket, folding it neatly to put it in the saddlebag 

(btw, this is what Lemonice looks like: <-- this is a palomino Akhal Teke, one of my favorite horse breeds in terms of asthetics) 

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

Alpha leaned against one of the support beams, boredom playing with the Dagger placed between his hands. He flipped it swirling it around his dexterous fingers before it came to rest pummel-down in his palm.

The clopping of horse hooves alerted his attention towards a sandy caramel steed that his way. Sliding the Dagger back into its holster, Alpha tilted his head as he observed the admittedly small horse. It's rider was an even smaller girl. Denva, he recalled. The one Ravi took an interest to. 

"Hey! Is Arcana up yet?" Denva asked.

Alpha grinned as he saw her uniform. It fit surprisingly well. "See for yourself." He pulled back the curtains of the tent revealing the big top. 

It had completely transformed from the last time Denva had seen it. All of the apparatuses like the trapeze, silks, and lyras, were hung up and draped across the ceiling. The center ring was completely vacant, leaving a massive empty, dusty circular stage. Angel sat perched on a trapeze which was hanging a few meters from thr ground. She had her wings pinned back and was singing soft tunes and songs.

A massive white horse with black speckles was racing around the ring. And he truly was massive, standing at nearly 20 hands tall with a tail that had grown out and trailed after him like a banner. This was a shire horse, no doubt, the largest horse breed in the world. His mane was long,  nearly dragging the floor with each thunderous hoof beat. The feathering just above his ankles also trailed in the breeze. 

Arcana was perched on top of him, riding in an English style saddle with some modifications such as handles placed towards the side. Those uses became apparent as Arcana reached over, grabbing onto a handle at the pommel and a handle at the cantle. Lifting her body up and in a vertical position, Arcana slowly brought her weight onto her hands. The rest of her body followed as she performed a handstand on the horse while it was still galloping at full speed around the ring.  

"How's that for riding?" Alpha laughed.

((Just so you can get an idea of the scale of the horse.

And this is what he looks like

))

 

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Malik Nerio | Merchant & Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

At some point last night, Demitri turned in after retrieving the circus uniform from the restroom. He awoke the following morning, a mixture of drowsy yet unable to sleep any longer after having difficulty sleeping the entire night through. He hadn't been friends with the brash Terri, but he'd grown up over the years around the man at the castle. Knowing how strong the head of the guard had been only made his disappearance even more worrisome and bizarre. Gathering a quick breakfast and a spot of coffee aided in waking Demitri up further. He put on the janitor's uniform, concealing it under a long dark blue riding coat until he arrived closer to the tent.

It wasn't the most unusual time for the librarian to be awake, but he was so used to his routine of entering the library he almost found himself walking in that direction at first. He shook his head, walking down the lesser common path to the castle stables. He wasn't sure if Arcana was planning to train them all with her own horses or ones provided by the palace, but either way, gathering a castle-prepared one made sense in terms of cover, and if they had to ride that specific mount the following day.

Entering into the stables, there were already a few stalls empty, other early-risers already having taken out their own steed or temporarily adopted one in preparation.

Demitri didn't have his own steed at the castle, not often having enough need for a horse of his own. He often just borrowed one from the stables if he found a desire.

Entering further into the stable, Demitri soon approached and decided on a familiar pale gray and white Lipizzan. He'd ridden the gelding before and hadn't had any issues, so being able to use a horse he somewhat knew already offered a level of ease.

Demitri thought he noticed Malik enter from the corner of his eye, but didn't offer any sort of greeting since there were many others around, not wanting to draw attention to their relationship. It was good they arrived at different times, which would stagger them all arriving at the circus tent at the same time.

 

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

As Malik descended the stairs into the stables, he vaugely caught a glimpse of Demitri exiting the stable atop a silver horse.

"Hmmm," Malik hummed to himself as he strolled by the various stall gates and overlooking the horse breeds, similar to a few other competitors occupying the holding. The man crossed his arms. Malik had discarded much of the jewelry and trinkets he might normally have adorned across his neck and arms, knowing it could be cumbersome when riding horseback. Malik currently wore a white sailor's tunic, tied loosely over his chest. He planned to swap shirts in secret closer to the circus tent, the janitor's shirt stashed in a satchel across his body. The shirt and sleeves of his current top were breezy, only snatched at the waist by a belt and the tied ends of the sleeves around his wrists, though they could easily be rolled up his arms if needed. It was a flexible shirt, able to allow good wind flow during a hot day out at sea while protecting the skin from the harsh sun's rays.

While the merchant had an expert eye in terms of which he would buy to transport somewhere for a customer, picking one out to learn how to better ride on proved far more difficult. The rarity of the breed and glistening coat weren't necessarily something that would win a competition of skill.

Malik paused in front of one mare's stall. She looked at him with doe eyes, almost as cute as a pony. The black horse's demeanor seemed sweet, and she lifted her head over the side. Malik lifted a hand towards her snout, which she inhaled at briefly. However, after not finding any sight of food or a treat, the horse decided to grab the sleeve of Malik's tunic and give it a yank upon jerking her head to the side.

"Hey!" Malik hissed, arm involuntarily pulled along with the horse's teeth. "Give that back!"

A few people glanced around to see the sailor wrestling with the horse's grip, sniggering upon seeing the horse clearly winning the fight due to the merchant desperately trying not to allow the shirt to rip apart.

"Nope, nope. Nope." Malik sighed, trying to gently remove the shirt from between the horse's teeth before it tore. "And here I was, going to give you a chance. But you're really not that cute anymore."

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Ashton Bál

Ashton woke up fairly early the next day, but took his time getting to the stables and took even longer to get the saddle on the friesian horse he choose. Allowing him the joy of watching the sailor struggle with a mare for a short moment. Ashton pulled his horse out of its stall and walked over to the blond as the mare ripped the man's shirt.

 

"Having fun, there?" he chirped, trying to keep a smile from creeping onto his face, letting his attention bounce from the horse to the blond.

 

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Denva Beaumont

Denva led Lemonice inside when Alpha pulled aside the curtain for her. Her gaze was immedaitely drawn to the massive black and white animal currently in the ring. 

"Oh sweet gods above! I've never seen a Shire horse up close! They really are gorgeous animals!" Denva told Alpha, gesturing to the horse in the ring as Lemon nickered her own approval of the beautiful black and white animal before her and her owner. Even Burraku seemed awed by the animal as the cat dropped down to explore his new surroundings. 

"Don't get into trouble with the larger animals Burraku!" She warned her Nekomata, earning a "merow!" of confirmation in response from the cat. She knew Burraku wouldn't go too far from her side when he was on guard duty. She saw Arcana was riding the horse when she did the hand stand. It was clear she had major trust in the animal. It was amazing - one minute the woman was handling diplomacy as well as any bureaucrat, the next, she was riding something as large as a Shire like it was no bigger than a pony! She glanced at Lemonice and the horse lookd at her with her gorgeous brown. 

"You think any of our skills can own up to that?" She asked the horse, earning a snort in response as if to say "Doubt it! We got style sure, but, they got the flare to back up their style," in horse. Denva had to agree with the horse on that one. That shire was a gorgeous animal. 

"You wouldn't happen to know the Shire's name, would you, Alpha? I swear I've seen it before and I don't think it was in last night's show...And I think Lemonice here is a little intimidated by the size of him." She asked the circus second in command as she gave her horse a pat on her golden side as the horse gave her a "seriously?" look in response, making the girl giggle.

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Malik Nerio | Merchant & Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

"Sure am!" Malik gritted out, not taking note of who offered the comment as he finally snatched the cloth from the horse's mouth, though it was already ripped off from the rest of his sleeve. He sighed, merely tying off the end of the tunic sleeve again so that the torn-off section wasn't as noticeable. The merchant shoved the ripped section of fabric into his pocket until he could figure out if it was salvageable enough to be mended later.

Malik finally turned to the newcomer, a man who seemed vaguely familiar. Malik wracked his head, trying to place the other's face. He finally settled on having noticed him at the banquet the night before, though there was a chance he'd seen the man before. Malik wasn't often at the castle for long periods of time, so he wasn't always able to recognize some of the workers by name or occupation. The other man seemed to be an Ashreaper, at least based on his darker attire.

Malik almost asked the man if he recommended any specific mount or breed, but immediately recalculated the thought before it could make it's way to his mouth. This Ashreaper was also in the competition, and while he would know more about mounts, that could also tempt him into offering poor advice to others for his own gain.

"Nice horse, is it yours?" Malik asked instead, nodding to the horse by the Ashreaper's side. Right then, Malik felt a sniffle at his hair, tingling the top of his head and forcing him to back up. He glared again at the same black mare as before as she wiggled her nose at him mockingly. He brought two fingers up to his eyes, flipping them towards the horse, then across his neck as a warning. This was only met by the fresh smell of a manure drop to waft out from the stall.

Gods... Malik thought with a sigh.

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Ashton Bál

Ashton to chuckle at the continued exchange between the man and the horse.

 

"Yeah, generally take him out everytime I'm here" Ashton mused, grabbing a handful of oats from a nearby bag and holding it up to his own horse, letting it eat from his hand. He then picked up the bag of food and placed in Malik's arms without a word.

 

"Might help if they know they can get something from you, be it oats or... Your shirt" He smiled, then nodded down to his torn sleeve.

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Malik Nerio | Merchant & Demitri Lockehart | Librarian

[Demitri Lockehart | Librarian]

Demitri trotted off down the main path from the castle. Within a few minutes of riding, he could make out the view of the largest circus tent up ahead. Glancing around, there weren't many other passerbys, most must have gone off to train privately in a field or ring.

Demitri veered his horse off of the main road, waiting until another tent hid most of his form before dismounting and removing his riding coat, left just in his disguise and riding boots.

The pale-haired man sighed, feeling very awkward in the janitor's uniform while he made the rest of his way towards the main tent. However, it did manage to fit him rather well, and it was definitely a look that would aid in him not being noticed by anyone from a distance.

The sound of a horse's hooves clopping on the ground could be heard even from the outside of the enclosure. Glancing around one last time, the librarian opened the tent flap and took in one of the largest horses he'd ever seen.

The circus ringmaster was currently holding her form upside down atop the running horse, gripping onto only to the handles attached to its saddle. Denva and an unknown man were also watching and seemed to be conversing about the Shire horse Arcana rode.

Demitri was impressed, but very much hoped it was merely the circus leader's own routine and not something any of the others would be tempted to try.

 

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

"Ah, that makes sense. They're much like humans in that way, then." Malik grinned as the bag was thrust into his arms. The man shoveled some feed out into his palm, holding it out to the mare. The female horse immediately began nibbling the oats from his hand, the odd feeling of the horse's lips grazing across Malik's skin and taking a moment to get used to.

Once finished, the horse sniffled once more around Malik's wrist, causing him to pull his hand back.

"Gods! I must smell really good to you or something," Malik said to the mare, rolling up the bag the Ashreaper had given him. "Not saying Ms. Sweetpea is wrong."

He added upon reading the name on her door. Now that he'd gotten used to the mare, she was actually growing on him. Sweetpea also seemed relatively muscular, probably a good mount in terms of strength and size.

"And thanks...?" Malik said, trailing off as he turned back to the Ashreaper, waiting for him to offer up his name.

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Arcana |Circus Ringleader/Perfomer|

"You wouldn't happen to know the Shire's name, would you, Alpha? I swear I've seen it before and I don't think it was in last night's show...And I think Lemonice here is a little intimidated by the size of him." Denva gushed.

Alpha chuckled. "His name is Titan. He's the biggest horse in our troupe. Arcana thought that using him as a mount would make her look regal, even though he is technically my horse. But I can't disagree with her on that one. He will definitely make her out shine the rest of the competition and intimidate the other competitors."

Arcana brang her legs down, doing an inverted split in her handstand as Titan rounded another bend. Her legs came together, bending in a way that created an optical illusion. Then suddenly she fell forward.

Grabbing on to the handles, she rolled to the side of the saddle, doing a split across the horse's side. It was a move she commonly did on the lyra and had brought it over.

"She's been practicing horse vaulting all morning." Alpha sighed a bit.

As soon as Angel noticed Denva, she immediately fell quietly, ceasing in her song and looking away

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Ashton Bál

Ashton smiled as he fed the mare, eyeing the stature of the horse and comparing it to the blond. Internally agreeing with the pair, but didn't bother to say anything about that. Looking back to the blond as he spoke.

 

"And thanks...?" he trailed off.

 

"Ashton" He smiled, holding a hand out to shake.

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Malik Nerio | Merchant

[Malik Nerio | Merchant]

"Um," Malik said, holding out his right hand but remembering that Sweetpea had licked over it in the process of eating from his hand, so he hesitated on actually touching the Ashreaper's own extended palm. "Unless you don't mind horse slobber, that is. I'm Malik."

He finished the introduction, mentally deciding on Sweetpea and hoping his gut instinct worked as well as usual. He'd just need to collect the saddle and prepare her to ride out.

A stablehand came over to inform the sailor the horse had already been brushed down that morning and only needed to be tacked up, retreating momentarily once more to retrieve the correct gear for the mare.

"Anyways, thanks again, Ashton," Malik said, subconsciously adding one of his usual lazy winks the other man's way. "Hopefully me and Sweetpea here work out."

Malik momentarily turned his attention back to the stableboy who dropped a saddle into the waiting merchant's arms. The saddle Malik had received was an English style, which definitely made sense for the capital and the palace. Malik was much more used to the Western-style, closer to what he'd ridden in other nations. But exactly that reason was why he didn't have formal training in the more eloquent style.

This is gonna require a lot more balance and rhythm, Malik thought, preparing the horse to ride.