I seem to really enjoy using Taliana’s party to take new characters out for a spin, and since the theme this time is unbirthday, it seemed appropriate to celebrate my newest people. Meet Tiaro and Orait, and join the fun over on EclecticAli’s blog!
“You’ll have to forgive my associate- in our line of work, a flair for dramatics tends to be favored.”
This fox had the good sense not to sneak up on me. He was done in silvers, much like myself, and seemed much more sedate than his more brightly colored counterpart.
I returned his head bow with one of my own. A better start, but I was still a bit put off from my first fox encounter.
“And what line of work is that, exactly?”
Though his smile was small, and clearly meant to be humble, the hint of fang was clear.
“Entertaining those more easily won over than yourself. You don’t believe in Fate, no matter what your serpents try to tell you.”
Ok, that had me interested. I held out my hand in an invitation to dance. “And what do you know of my serpents?”
Nothing, it turned out. I’d let the silver fox lead to one of the side parlors, where he’d had an elaborate table set up with cards and a crystal globe, the whole nine yards. Aside from knowing my guests were serpent-kin, everything else he spouted was pure nonsense, the usual vague, leading questions that led people to leap to their own conclusions from fortune tellers. Even with the slight buzz from too much punch, I knew better than to fall for his cheap tricks. Annoyed, I got up abruptly and headed upstairs, almost hoping to run into a phantom or some other bad guy I could work out some of my aggression on.
Instead I found my serpents, sequestered away on a balcony bench. I wanted to yell at them for not mingling, but something about the way they sat concerned me.
“What’s up, you two? Everything ok?”
Orait nodded, a little too quickly, but Tiaro’s brows stayed pinched. “My brother may have had a vision.”
That got my attention, so I sat down on his other side and took Orait’s hand. “Tell me?”
He shook his head, clearly trying to dispel his thoughts- a trait that would breed true in his grand-nephew. “It is nothing. Merely my own fears for the future taking shape and come to taunt me.”
Tiaro’s lips pinch and she looked ready to swat her brother, but remained poised as always.
“It was the fox you were hunting earlier. He offered Orait many names, though he didn’t say why. I can’t imagine what he wanted, but I don’t like that he knew us both so readily.”
“The foxes? Oh good grief- for a minute I was worried this was important.”
Tiaro shot me an annoyed look, but I simply shook my head.
“They’re charlatans- I wouldn’t doubt that they’ve snuck into the Library and helped themselves to a few books to get to know the guests. It’s just cheap party tricks, don’t let it get to you.”
While neither of them seemed completely convinced, Orait was ready to believe anything that would let him escape what he’d seen. I’d have to go back and read over his scenes without me later to see what had spooked him so.
But not tonight. Tonight, we were going to have fun, and I had just the thing. “Hold on, guys, I’ll be right back.”
I wondered if Taliana had some sort of spell that let her know when someone was looking for her. No sooner had I hit the main floor than I’d spotted her. When I told her my idea, her eyes lit up, and she told me she knew just the person to help with my request.
The family resemblance was clear. It came as no surprise when Taliana introduced the man before us as her father. “Father is in charge of the entertainment this evening. If he’s not already set up a room like you’ve requested, I’m sure he’d be happy to.” I nodded my thanks and explained what I’d like to do for my sulky serpents. Sure enough, he knew exactly where to direct me.
The serpents seemed dubious when I led them out onto the ice. “It’s like a blade dance, but with the blade strapped to your feet.” While I wasn’t actually any good at ice skating back home, I figured I’d take advantage of the narrative and enjoy myself as well. “This is the only time you’ll ever be able to do this- normally, it’d be way too cold for you to move. But the enchanted snow gave me that idea, and…” I trailed off, feeling silly. “I just want you two to have a good time. I feel like such a rotten author, always being the one to subject you all to your fates.” I held my hands out to the pair of them. “Let me do something nice for you? I promise you’ll have fun.”
I held my breath as they took their first tentative steps. But once they’d found their centers, the easy gliding motion came as naturally to them as- well, as dancing. Orait’s face blossomed into a childlike grin, which brought an answering smile to his sister’s face. They quickly adapted their favorite steps to the ice, and I found myself lost in the wonder of it.