• Closed • Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Mae receives a surprising package related to a social gathering

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• Closed • Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Maebella » Thu Dec 28, 2017 7:28 pm

16 Zi'da 717

When Mae awoke that morning, she groggily remembered the social gathering set to take place in the Viden Academy that evening. The Eídisi hadn't decided if she'd go or not, still debating the matter when a knock came at the main door to the flat that she shared with five others. She was in the kitchen fixing herself breakfast or she might not have heard it. Furthermore, Salen might have taken the delivery and decided to nose at it before she passed it on to her flatmate. Thankfully, the scholar heard the conversation at the door and was able to intercede.

"I'm Maebella Arval," she informed the young woman who stood at the threshold bearing a large box, eyeing the parcel with a mixture of curiosity and bemusement.

"I was told to deliver this to you," the girl informed her simply, passing it into the Eídisi's hands.

"Who's it from?" she asked while her flatmate tried to lean around her to catch a glimpse of what Mae had received.
She moved to one side, doing her best to block the nosy girl.

"I couldn't say, miss," the courier explained with a shrug and a nod of her head before she departed, leaving Mae alone with her curious flatmate.

"Someone sent you something and you don't know who?" Salen murmured, obvious amusement in her voice. "Well, what is it then?"

"That's what I intend to find out," she retorted as she slipped into her room and shut the door unceremoniously in the other's face. With the barrier between her and the outside world, she carried the parcel to her bed and opened it with care, her curiosity growing with each passing trill. The box she opened seemed to have a thin layer of cloth covering its contents but a piece of paper sat on top of it, which provided some answers but also left her with questions. It was quite short and in a fine hand, and it said:

Save a dance for me,

With warmth,
V. Talius


She stared at the message for a bit or two, standing frozen in place as she tried to process the full meaning of his words. Finally, she set the note to one side and removed the protective from the box so she could see what lay beneath. There was more cloth but of a different sort. It was soft and had a crispness to it, coloured charcoal-grey. She lifted it out with a frown, eyes widening as she drew out a garment that unfolded as she stretched it out. It was a dress with a figure hugging bodice and a loose, ruffled skirt. There was a black ribbon around the waist, tied in a loose bow, with the ends hanging far down on the material. Maebella gawked at it for it was clear that it was something that Virikai meant her to wear. She could hardly believe it. For him to have purchased such a thing for her, to have had it delivered and to have left the note that he had, he must have considerable regard for her. 'With warmth.' he'd said, a phrase that brought a blush to her face.

Before she held the garment to her body, she realised that there was more in the box, as another layer of protective cloth covered an oddly shaped object. She raised it apprehensively, wondering what else he could have bought for her. She gasped anew as she saw the shoes that lay beneath -heeled shoes. They were grey to match the dress and had all manner of lacy bits that the young woman of which she could make neither head nor tail. She lifted one of them up between finger and thumb like it was something dirty. He expected her to wear these... death traps?! Chances were that she'd take one step in these and fall on her face. She let the offensive shoe to drop back into the box and then set about examining the dress with greater attention. She held it to her body and started muttering oaths to Yvithia. He expected her to wear this, he wanted her to wear this, and how could she refuse? Packing it away, she went off to quickly eat breakfast then returned to put the garment on.

The dress fell down to her knees, leaving the young woman's lower legs exposed. Worse, her shoulders and arms were left completely bare so that she actually had to remove the upper part of her undergarments in order to avoid them showing at the top of the dress. Without them, she felt rather exposed although the bodice did provide her with coverage and support. Still, it was oddly horrifying to her to wear such a thing. Adding the shoes to the ensemble only heightened the feeling. They increased her natural height by about three inches and while there were all manner of straps to keep them firmly attached to her ankles, she felt far from secure. In fact, she felt as if she was in danger of falling at any moment. Her centre of gravity was now higher than she was used to and of course, she didn't have the greatest support given the unnatural angle that her feet were at and the limited surface of the shoe that actually made contact with the ground.

This was going to take practice.

***


She'd spent breaks trying to balance in those sarding shoes! Breaks of tottering around the place, grasping the walls and the limited furniture for support. She'd seen women manoeuvre in such shoes before and while she'd always viewed them as ridiculous pieces of footwear, she had a newfound respect for their ability to walk in them and make it appear effortless.

The event wasn't due to start until the 19th break and so Maebella had had a great deal of time to train herself to take careful steps in the deadly shoes. It also left her with plenty of time to massage her ankles and feet afterwards as she discovered that not only were the shoes awkward to walk in, but also painful to wear. If she didn't have blisters by the end of the evening then she'd be greatly surprised. However, she was really doing her best. Virikai had bought her these things and had certainly given her an indication that he was attracted to her. In fact, the gifts might have been part of a courtship ritual although she didn't rightly know.

As an aristocrat, he would be used to a certain sort of woman and the Eídisi girl definitely didn't fit any possible description that her mind could conjure up. She was rude, socially inept, inexperienced and incredibly awkward, but for some reason, he wanted her. Perhaps, it was due to the fact that she was an enigma, as he'd put it. Regardless of the reason, Mae didn't intend to embarrass him. If this was something of a date then she didn't want to make a fool of herself or him by proximity. So even more unusually, she'd been running over every bit of etiquette that she knew so that she'd know how to approach matters tonight. She'd probably have to remember to show him proper respect, such as addressing him as 'my lord' instead of using his first name familiarly. The girl had even tried to recall what a curtsey might look like, managing a shallow one if she took the greatest care in her high heeled shoes.

By the time she finally emerged from her room, she felt a little more confident in her balancing abilities although she felt sick with nerves. Her roommates were obviously ready to set off themselves but the stared at the Eídisi when she put in an appearance, especially as the dress was in full view given that she hadn't yet donned her coat.

"Well, fek me!" Yorin exclaimed bluntly as they all gaped at her. She smiled nervously at them, unsure how else to respond as she shrugged into her coat. There was an awkward beat or two where the young people exchanged looks before Yorin spoke up again, moving to her side.

"You're heading to the Academy, I take it. I'm heading that way myself; I'll walk with you," he offered with a smile, eliciting a tutting sound from Salen.

"We're all heading that way is what I think you meant to say, Yorin," the blonde human chimed in, exchanging a look with Jalet, their other female roommate. The next thing she knew, they were all heading out the door and she suddenly found herself with more company than she'd ever had before. The girls wanted to know about the dress and if an admirer had sent it to her, while Yorin seemed to be trying to flirt with her and the other two young men, Qalar and Heidan, wanted to make polite conversation and include her in it. By the time they reached the Academy, her head was spinning from the attention and her ankles ached from the terrible shoes. Once in the hall, they grew distracted by the various food and drink - mainly non-alcoholic - on offer, and Mae caught sight of the Talius scion, which allowed her to make her excuses and leave them.

She wasn't sure if Virikai had seen her or not, possibly absorbed by his present company, a number of whom she recognised from The White Fox Inn: medical students. The Eídisi youth clicked her way over to them, slightly self-conscious of the way the heels made her hips sway and moved to Virikai's side. She offered smiles to all who were there, taking the natural lull in conversation as the perfect opportunity to introduce herself.

"Good evening, gentleman. My lord," she murmured. She bowed her head, carefully placed her right foot behind her left and holding each side of the dress' skirt, she bent her knees slightly to execute a shallow curtsey. She straightened up again with all the grace she could muster, careful not to stare boldly into the aristocrat's face but instead merely glancing at him from the side of her eyes as she waited for the conversation to pick up properly again. Mae could only hope that her efforts had been pleasing.


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Cost of Dress and Shoes to be billed to Virikai (already removed from his ledger):
Dress: 25gn
Shoes: 1gn, 8sn.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Virikai Talius » Thu Dec 28, 2017 8:35 pm

Dress bought and sent with a courier to his latest quarry, and a new suit for himself, Virikai was set for this evening’s formal event at the Academy. It was some function or other - in truth, the young socialite could not remember what, exactly, it was for, but he knew that he was obligated to attend, along with his father and mother, and anyone else who was important in the city. Students, too, had been invited, though it was not a requirement for them. If they were to go, chances are they would be taking advantage of the open bar and, thus, lax monitoring of alcohol intake. They would be able to enjoy themselves. Virikai doubted that he would be so fortunate.

Arriving with his parents, the aristocrats were some of the first to enter the grand hall, decorated with no expense spared for this event. He remained with his parents for a while, greeting other guests and making small talk, before excusing himself when he saw colleagues from his cohort in the Institute of science arrive. One of them was already well on his way to becoming inebriated, which caused the young lordling to roll his eyes in irritation, but he said nothing.

At least with the students, talk became slightly more interesting than general pleasantries. Virikai knew full well that he would be expected to return to his rounds of speaking to the social elite soon, but hopefully, by the time he did, conversation would have moved on from the painfully dull phatic communication and onto something he could sink his teeth into.

Maebella’s arrival was not noted until she sidled up beside him. Virikai was pleasantly surprised by the way she held herself: demure and unassuming, yet at the same time, she was not meek. She greeted them as was expected in such a situation, and the other students murmured their own salutations in return. Virikai took the opportunity of the group’s divided attentions to examine the girl, top to toe. He had chosen well, both the dress and the choice of girl to put it on. “Good evening, Miss Arval.

Offering her a small smile, he said nothing more, and returned his attention to the group, where conversation was on one of the lecturers they currently had. “Yes, and it’s all well and good to have fewer essays to prepare, I like the free time. But when you consider how much it costs to be here, spending time in a freezing room and learning sod all from the man, and not even knowing where to begin with doing private study… the examination is at the end of the season and I am guaranteed to fail because of him.

There was a general muttering of agreement from the rest of the group, and even Virikai felt the same way, to an extent. But he did not agree with all of it. “I did not realise that we were studying in order to pass exams, Garrett,” the young scion replied in a dry tone. “I would hope that the Academy is gauged at providing more productive members of society. What was your ambition? Surgery? I pray to Yvithia you will not be my surgeon, Immortals forbid I should ever require one… if your sole aim of learning is to rote-learn and regurgitate answers onto a piece of paper and the forget it all.

There was laughter among the group, from all except the man named Garrett. “We cannot become useful citizens without passing those exams, Kai,” if Maebella was close enough, she may feel Virikai tense at the use of a familiar diminutive of his name, “So yes, I am learning to pass them. That is all the Academy is no anyway, test scores listed in a folder somewhere, a numeric value of my worth. And I hear it is not just our Institute which is suffering. How about you?” He looked over to Maebella, “What is the teaching like in the Institute of Arts? Do you feel prepared for your examinations?” All turned to the girl, including Virikai - he was curious to fee just what she thought of both the Academy and the point of receiving an education.


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Price of Virikai's Clothes (deducted from Ledger)
Brocade Jacket: 22.5gn
Cotton Trousers: 7.5gn
Cotton Shirt: 1.8gn
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Maebella » Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:27 pm

In her peripheral vision, she caught the noble looking her over. It was a brief assessment, but she had to bite the inside of her cheeks to stop herself from grinning like an idiot. She felt her face warm but she kept her head slightly down in the hopes that nobody would notice her blush. She nodded a subtle acknowledgement to Virikai's greeting and then focused on blending in. What the girl would enjoy most of all right now would be for the ground to swallow her, at least until she stopped blushing. That being said, she wouldn't mind disappearing for the rest of the event because past her entrance, Maebella hadn't been able to plan anything. She was out of her element and she knew it. For the most part, she would simply hold her tongue, she decided. Let everyone think that the scion's companion was quiet or shy; it was better than being deemed a fool.

She remained close to Virikai although she was careful not to touch him as she listened to the discussion between the classmates, having nothing to say for herself because she was unfamiliar with the lecturer of whom they were speaking. Of course, when conversation shifted to the matter of failing because of the man, the scholar had to bite down hard on her lip so that she wouldn't blurt out something regrettable. Instead, the nobleman beside her managed to voice her thoughts and she was able to smirk and then laugh alongside everybody else.

The young man who was the butt of the aristocrat's humour didn't seem well pleased with having his own narrowmindedness pointed out. He referred to the Talius heir as 'Kai' and she felt him tense beside her, her white gaze flicking to her companion in surprise. She wasn't sure if it was the diminutive he disliked or the man it was coming from, but she actually thought it sounded rather... endearing. The young woman hadn't expected to like being called Mae but the person it had originated from had made her fond of it. Perhaps, she'd have to put the matter to him at a later point. However, the Eídisi didn't have long to dwell on the matter as Garrett looked straight at her and asked her opinion directly. There was no use in remaining silent in the face of a direct question, but she found her gaze flitting briefly to Virikai before she opened her mouth.

"No, I don't feel prepared for my examinations," she remarked, her brows raised. "One can do a great deal of private study, can attend all one's lectures, and still arrive to an examination feeling under-prepared. There is nothing at fault with the teaching of the Institute of Arts, but the fact of the matter is that rote learning isn't possible within that particular Institute. Oh well, one can certainly formulate and answer and learn it by rote but you're more likely to fail rather than succeed," she explained.

Her head had risen now, a certain confidence in her demeanour as she primly patted her hair. Virikai had told her that she should speak when asked to do so. Perhaps he'd regret that little piece of advice later. "There are no set answers for my subject. Literature is a rather subjective topic and there's a great deal of disagreement of what's right or wrong within it. As such, it's less about regurgitating information and more about being able to form logical arguments, show that you're widely knowledgeable and are capable of critical reasoning. It's about broadening the mind and learning to use your natural talents to your advantage. Thus, if one passes in a Literature examination, it proves that one has developed a range of useful skills that can be applied to a great many areas of life. Surely, being able to consider a situation and adapt due to a more flexible mode of thought is valuable, yes?"

The young woman waited to see how her response would go down. It would be nice if Virikai's peers could view what she'd said in a positive light but she was more concerned with how the scion himself would take it.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Virikai Talius » Fri Dec 29, 2017 7:39 pm

The blush was back, and how beautiful it looked. Virikai raised his glass of champagne to his lips and, as he took a sip, he closed his eyes and inwardly cursed, angry at himself for not immediately offering a drink for the girl. Glancing away from the conversation briefly, the young heir lifted his hand and snapped his fingers. Within moments a server arrived, silver tray expertly rested upon his outstretched fingers. Atop the tray were more full glasses of champagne. Finishing his own off, he placed it onto the tray and exchanged it for two new ones.

By this point, Maebella had began her answer to Garrett’s question, and he would not disturb her by handing it over until she was finished. Instead, he paid attention to the girl’s answer, intrigued by how she viewed education and, interestingly, her studies in the literary arts. It did not seem like a spontaneous answer - the way in which she spoke, while not defensive, was confident enough to suggest that she had had to defend her choice in subject before. It was a relatively rehearsed and will justified answer… dare he say it, it sounded like something Virikai’s sister would regurgitate to their father.

But it did not matter whether or not her utterance was rehearsed, more importantly Virikai was beyond pleased that Maebella only stopped speaking when she had finished what she wanted to say. She did not stop out of misplaced embarrassment or unease, but continued with the poise and determination Virikai knew her to have. He did not attempt to hide the small, satisfied smile. “Well reasoned, Miss Arval,” the aristocrat whispered as he offered one of the glasses of champagne to her.

Ah, it is not the first time I have listened to such drivel when an Arts student tried to defend wasting their money on such a pointless subject.” Garrett was not of the same opinion as the Talius scion, clearly. He had been riled up and, with a fair amount of alcohol in his system, had a false courage spurring him on.

As Garrett spoke, Virikai turned his calculating eyes to the young eídisi beside him, appraising her carefully to determine her reaction to the other’s words. He knew one thing for sure about Maebella: she was often insecure. He had a theory that the girl’s father may have agency in this, and perhaps he would be able to answer his theory… “Learning about literature can provide no new academic benefit. Fathers sending their daughters to study because it is cheaper than providing a worthy dowry… the easy option.

Ah, but to study the literary arts is so much more than simply reading the words on a page as an easy option.” Virikai’s smile was still present, but it did not radiate warmly throughout his expression as it had when he had smiled at his companion: it was cold, matching his hard gaze.“Literature gives us an insight into culture, history, races, and religion… it compliments the writings of linguists and historians alike, allowing us to gain deeper understanding of our own psyches, surely?
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Maebella » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:55 pm

Once her piece was said, the young woman didn't have long to wait for some sort of response. Virikai complimented her, handing her a glass of champagne as he did so. She smiled shyly, murmuring a soft thank you that she hoped wasn't lost when her verbal sparring partner decided to throw a response back at her. His words were met with a cold stare, the Eídisi wondering if he actually had anything valuable to offer or if he was only capable of flinging feeble insults. As he spoke, she scanned his face and tilted her head to the side slightly as she listened keenly to his voice. He sounded intoxicated to some degree, something that was evident by his tone and the slight flush of his cheeks. It probably didn't help that he'd been embarrassed by Virikai beforehand. He'd mistakenly sought support from her, obviously hoping that she'd side against the scion. The nobleman was somewhat untouchable so it seemed that she was too feel the effects of his impotent anger for the two of them; after all, she posed a far easier target, or so Garrett seemed to believe. Maebella only hoped that she could prove him quite incorrect.

However, when he commented on her father paying for her education - there was an amusing notion - and the idea of dowries, her response appeared quite clearly to her. If the man thought he'd suffered humiliation before at the Talius heir's hands then she was going to show him how biting true humiliation could be. The company she was in went out of her head as she let out a short, derisive laugh, all thoughts of second-guessing her behaviour crushed in the dust. If her response caused embarrassment to the man who had provided her with her outfit then it wasn't done on purpose; she simply didn't consider any of the consequences.

Before she could open her mouth, the aristocrat decided to come to her defence, which only gave her more of a chance to harden her resolve. The young woman took a sip of her drink, her gaze becoming truly icy while her features seemed to harden. By the time she could speak again, her expression was one of unconcealed contempt.

"Lord Talius makes an excellent point, which I could certainly expand upon to a considerable degree. However, I feel as if such an endeavour would be wasted on you. It's clear that you've formed certain opinions but it's also quite evident that you can't be blamed for your narrow mindset. You might well have quite adequate intellectual faculties but you've just proven that you haven't a notion how to utilise them," she commented calmly, her lips quirking into a humourless smile. "It seems that you haven't had the opportunity to think for yourself, no doubt you've always had quite thorough tutors to ensure that you never had to bridge a gap in your knowledge by yourself. Spoon-fed, no doubt. It would certainly explain why you haven't a notion where to begin with your private studies. I wouldn't pin the blame on your current lecturer but rather on your previous education."

She took another sip, eyes moving almost lazily to take in the sight of a passing waiter before her gaze zeroed in on her prey again, never wavering as she stared him down. The girl did her best to reduce the number of times that she blinked, ensuring that her gaze was more avidly fixed in an effort to unhinge him a little. "I assume you've had your education paid for, which seems a sad waste, but not everybody can waltz into the Academy with more money than aptitude. My father paid for nothing of the sort, in the same way that he doesn't pay for my accommodation or my living expenses. I've pay for everything myself, my education included, and I didn't have someone pick out a career for me. I may be following a similar path as my father but I'm also quite capable of thinking for myself, conducting my research and without external influence, expanding my mind without anyone else's direction, and contributing to the Academy's knowledge base as a research assistant."

Mae allowed a few moments for her words to sink in before she delivered what she deemed to be her final, killing blow.

"I appears that I can accomplish more with my 'pointless' subject and mode of thought than you can. You can only blame a lecturer for your own failures, a feeble excuse. If you had the aptitude or the drive, I'm sure you wouldn't be worried about doing poorly in your examinations, would you?" the young woman questioned softly, smiling thinly while her eyes remained cold and sharp.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Virikai Talius » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:18 am

Ice Queen indeed, Virikai thought as he watched her facial expression twist into one of utter disdain. Then she began to speak, and there was far too much vitriol in her for ice to do her justice. There was far too much fire. This was the first time Virikai had seen Maebella’s sharp tongue directed at someone else… he enjoyed it. But the precise way the words left her mouth, and the frigid way in which she held herself, left Virikai under no false illusions. She was entirely in control of her words and actions.

Garrett had hit a nerve, this Virikai could tell, but it was not evident why - his theory would have to wait for another occasion. At least she had not apologised, not withdrawn within herself. Whilst her utterance was not particularly diplomatic for such a formal event, it was polished and cultivated. In their present company, Virikai did not mind, and he had always felt that Garrett needed to be taken down a peg. Or five.

The Talius scion took another sip of his own drink. “As must as I have enjoyed this battle of wits,” he interjected, a smile still playing on his lips, “It is not… charitable for you to spar with a so poorly an armed opponent.” Without warning, he reached down and took the glass from Maebella’s hand, slender fingers brushing against hers as he did so. He stepped back and placed them on a table before turning his full body to face his guest, “I think we should leave our friend to lick his wounds in peace

Extending his hand expectantly, he tilted his head, drowning Maebella’s attention to the dance floor, where people had been congregated and were now sharing a slow waltz. “May I have the pleasure?” If she accepted his hand, he would not glance back to his student associates, but would lead her through to near the centre of the floor, where he would expertly twirl her around, arms ready to catch her when the momentum would inevitably pull her body back towards him. With well-refined movements, his feat would move to the beat of the music, leading her through the steps, especially if she did not know it.

For a while, they would move in silence, before Virikai opened up the floor for conversation again. “You continue to surprise me, Miss Arval,” he murmured after a second spin, “And you look exquisite tonight.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Maebella » Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:50 pm

Her words were met with silence. The young man who had felt her ire didn't seem capable of saying anything at all and his companions appeared rather stunned although a few of them were doing their damnedest not to laugh conspicuously. They carefully avoided eye contact with one another, as when their gazes met, they seemed unable to contain their mirth. One of them tried to drink to hide it and started coughing instead as the fluid went down the wrong way. The only one who bothered to speak up was Virikai, and while he didn't exactly shower her with praise, he didn't condemn her outright either. In fact, he seemed rather amused although she wasn't sure if he was laughing at her or not.

"No, it isn't charitable at all. One might say it was cruel, in fact- oh!" she exclaimed as he took her glass from her. She blinked at him in bemusement, unsure why he'd taken the alcohol away from her. She hadn't even consumed half the contents of the glass so he couldn't possibly believe that she was in danger of being overly intoxicated!

However, he held out his hand to her with an expectant air and she accepted it tentatively, understanding finally dawning when he put the question to her that he intended for them to dance. "Oh, Virikai, I know that you asked that I... but I don't know how to..." she admitted softly, her voice almost a whisper. Once more, she was beginning to worry about her behaviour reflecting badly upon him. Now that she had a chance to consider the encounter she'd just had with Garrett, she thought that she might have caused him a bit of embarrassment, but she was certainly going to represent him poorly if they danced. The Eídisi woman could barely move in the heeled shoes as it was and dancing seemed out of the question, especially as she didn't even know how to do it. All that was going to happen was that she was going to make a complete and utter fool of herself.

With her heart fluttering nervously in her chest, Mae followed him out to the centre of the floor, smiling fleetingly at those she passed while trying to glean what she could from the other female dancers. The scion spun her, eliciting a gasp of surprise from her as she was pulled in close to him, a position that set her blushing again. Linking arms with him had been one thing but this was rather different. With a furtive look at those around her,
she assumed the same position as the other women who were following a male lead, placing her left hand on Virikai's shoulder and allowing him to take her right. She eyed their feet surreptitiously, moving her right foot back when his left foot moved forward. Her left foot moved back next and then she brought her feet together in the same way as those dancing around them. Her left foot went forward again, followed by her right and then they came together again, finding that she'd danced in a little box. From there, it was just a matter of doing the same steps again, which became a little easier to do after a bit or two when it became more of a habit rather than having to think about every little movement.

The scholar still had to concentrate on not falling on her face but it was a task that was made easier due to her partner's support. Furthermore, she felt a little less awkward in her movements and she got used to being so close to the man. Of course, when he decided to break the silence between them, he set her blushing again with his words. "Thank you, my l- Virikai. It is all right for me to call you that again, isn't it? I thought that it would be less than appropriate for me to address you familiarly in front of others. That was correct, wasn't it?" Mae questioned softly, raising her brows slightly. She chewed on her lip briefly as she contemplated whether to ask him about being called 'Kai' now or not.

"I'm quite far out of my element, you know. I've never even worn heeled shoes before and I haven't worn a dress since... well, I'm not sure but I think I last wore one when I was still quite young, my early teens perhaps," Mae admitted with a soft, embarrassed laugh."I'm certainly surprised although I hope that I've managed to surprise you in a positive manner. You look rather handsome by the way." Her cheeks continued to burn, her eyes demurely averted to where her hand held his shoulder. She was highly aware of the firm feel of it beneath her fingers, even through the cloth. She found herself wondering if he'd worked to enhance his normal leanly muscular physique, and then questioned why she was thinking about that.

The young woman was feeling more than a little flustered so she decided to focus on something else, anything else at all so that she wouldn't blurt out something truly idiotic. "I couldn't help noticing that you reacted poorly when that brute called you 'Kai'. Was it because of the speaker or do you take genuine offence at it? Only-" She broke off abruptly, chewing on her lip before she could admit that she thought it adorable.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Virikai Talius » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:45 pm

He had ignored her claims that she could not dance, firmly keeping his grip to indicate that she really didn’t have a choice in the matter. Virikai wanted to dance with her, and so dance they would - it really was as simple as that. The girl was unsteady, but Virikai’s embrace was sure and confident; he would not let her fall or embarrass herself. The dance itself was a simple one, anyway: a few twirls was about as exciting at it would get, the rest was just basic footwork. A good first choice of dance for the pair, he decided.

Yes, Maebella, here you may call me by my given name. Though you re right, it would take some explaining as to why we are so familiar with each other in these circles.” He paused, considering his lesson on proper etiquette, before speaking again. “Though it is my father who holds the title ‘Lord’, not me. He, you would refer to as ‘My Lord’, whereas I hold claim to the title as a… prefix fo my name, for lack of a better term.” He wondered if he had explained it clearly enough: there were enough true Lords in the room, and Virikai did not want to be seen as claiming a status even further above his own high station.

The blush remained, colouring her cheeks with a warmth that seemed so natural on an otherwise cool complexion. He knew little of women’s beauty products, but wondered if she had taken the time to decorate her face with make-up, like so many other women present would have done. “It is not just your appearance, Maebella,” he replied, ignoring her own compliment - he knew how well turned out he was, “But the way you have conducted yourself, managing that… disagreement. It was impressive, I concede.” If only she would desist with her continuous need to explain her shortcomings, clearly his lesson from the previous trials had not completely sunk in.

They continued to move, music guiding them in their steps as they danced among the other guests. At these events, Virikai spent more time watching dancers than partaking in the social phenomenon himself. He had always imagined an algorithm that dictated the dancers’ abilities not to bump into one another, but when on the dance floor, it was not so clear cut as to be described through mathematics.

Brought out of his reverie by Maebella’s question. He considered it for a few bits before answering. “That is a familiar diminutive which is used by my family and closest acquaintances,” he responded slowly, neglecting to mention the pet name ‘Viri’: he only permit his mother and sister using such a name when addressing him. “I do not tolerate it being used so freely.” He did not explicitly say it, because Virikai would not break etiquette and risk causing affront in a social function, but the underlying message was clear: Maebella did not have permission to use such a name.

It is with regret that I will not be able to dance with you all evening,” He changed the topic before Maebella, who seemed to overthink everything, could linger on his words, “I am expected to support my father tonight. There are a number of Academy ambassadors here, and Viden, unfortunately, does not advance as a result of mere convivial diversions. We must cultivate change through associations with these influential few.
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Virikai Talius
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Maebella » Sat Dec 30, 2017 3:05 pm

Once she had a grasp of the basic footwork, Maebella avoided looking about her. It wasn't that she lacked curiosity but rather that she feared that others might be watching them and she didn't want to see their curious eyes. After all, Virikai was a well-known aristocrat, powerful, a man on his way up in Videnese society and who was already at a considerable height in it, and she was... nothing, really. She was an unknown entity, someone who stuck out like a sore thumb as being inept, graceless and common. None of them knew that she was related to one of the most powerful families in the city through her deceased mother. To them, she probably looked like a potential social climber or possibly some girl that the scion had charitably agreed to dance with.

Perhaps this was a charitable action to some degree. Oh he was interested in her, but probably only as an intellectual curiosity. Of course if he wanted to bring her here and find out how she'd respond in these circumstances then he'd get her a dress like this. What was the money to him, especially when he could be entertained? That's probably all this was to him, an opportunity to gain some fleeting amusement before he moved onto whatever new thing attracted his interest. After all, what did he care for her? He'd admitted himself that he wasn't someone who was typically viewed as kind but it had been clear that he was interested in her mind. What issue would he have with using her?

"I understand," she murmured as he explained the matter of titles and names. "In that case, am I not supposed to refer to you as 'my Lord' if it's borrowed or is it rather that I'm only supposed to refer to you as Lord Virikai? I assume you're telling me this because there's a difference between how I should refer to you and how I should refer to a true lord. That being said, I don't imagine that I'll be talking to any true lords. After all, I don't move in those sorts of circles," she pointed out, her face becoming more impassive than it had done around the young man for quite some time. She was busy brooding, wondering why she'd even bothered to come.

The scion wasn't going to allow her to traipse around with him on his arm all evening so she'd be left to her own devices. Considering that she'd been torn about coming prior to the parcel that arrived that morning, if it wasn't for Virikai, she probably wouldn't be here. Given the bizarre and frankly uncomfortable response of her roommates to her appearance, she didn't think that she'd like to spend an evening in the company of them and others like them, such as her classmates. The scholar certainly wouldn't be mingling with the cream of Videnese society so she wondered why he was even bothering to explain these matters of etiquette to her. Frankly, it seemed a pointless waste of time outside of the pursuit of knowledge.

When he commented on her conduct, her eyes flicked up to his own again, her gaze icy. His attention was somewhat divided as if he had no real interest in the woman in his arms. Perhaps he was merely waiting for his obligations to be over so that he could be rid of her. "Oh my behaviour was acceptable for you, was it? Oh I'm very glad!" she commented sarcastically. Her ankles were seriously starting to ache and she'd just realised that if the man looked straight down that he'd probably be able to see down the bodice of her dress. She suddenly felt as if she was only here at his sufferance, as if she wouldn't have been able to attend without his permission. It caused her some exasperation, especially given that it felt like he was dispensing the verbal equivalent of a condescending pat on the head.

"Oh, yes, your message is received quite clearly. I won't call you anything of the sort. I suppose it does remove some of your natural potency and I wouldn't like you to feel undermined," Mae explained, her tone a little too pleasant to be anything other than false. It was safe to say that some of her thinking was beginning to show in her demeanour. The cold in her eyes and the purse of her lips when she wasn't speaking would probably be more than sufficient indications that she was displeased with the young man. "I don't see why you have reason for regret. I certainly wouldn't be spending my evening dancing with you in these preposterous shoes. I highly doubt I'll stay long after this dance in any case because I don't think I want to mix with those that I'm familiar with."

At last, she allowed her gaze to drift to the side, moving to other dancing couples and accidentally catching someone's eye as she found them staring straight at her. The face was familiar as was the red haired woman that he danced with: Jevan, her classmate who seemed to have it out for her, and his girlfriend, Caesia. When she caught his eye, he glanced away almost guiltily but she found his gaze on her again the next moment, watching him from the corner of her eye as he appraised her rather openly. She saw Caesia's head turn to see what he was looking at and then their heads came together, the pair whispering fiercely together before the redhead abruptly shoved him away and flounced off. Mae found herself looking more openly at the scene - she wasn't the only one - and caught Jevan glancing back at her one more time before he pursued the evidently furious girl. Despite the warmth of the place, she gave a shiver at the man's attention.

She went back to peering at Virikai's shoulder, a slight tremble in her limbs as she mistepped. "No, I doubt that I'll remain long while you, uh... cultivate associations," she informed his shoulder.
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Save A Dance For Me (Virikai)

Postby Virikai Talius » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:32 pm

It was not the first time Maebella had confounded the young scion, but it was the first time he had been at a loss for words. Virikai usually considered himself to be a talented manipulator, carefully weaving his words for his own advantages. Tonight, he had been no particular effort to manipulate his guest, however. He had been polite and courteous: he hadn’t undermined Maebella, and had even gone as far as to support her. Nothing he had said or done could be construed as remotely offensive. In a phrase, he had been an infallible escort to such an event.

Virikai made no effort to hide his frown as, now on a roll, Maebella continued to spit out every unfiltered word that entered her mind. Despite his annoyance, he was also curious, his interest piqued even further. Most girls would simper, desperate to please. Maebella just kept pushing his limits and defying him.

It was thoroughly unusual.

He would slowly ease the girl into the perfect, obedient companion. The irony would be breathtaking. Besides, Maebella had talent, however hidden by idealistic grunge and the taint of self-righteous contempt for the other half, that much could not be denied. surely it was his duty to educate the younger eídisi to help her develop her potential? He had never considered it, but the idea of influencing a person so entirely was fascinating. If it didn’t go well, it would not be difficult to server ties and ruin her reputation. Verity Talius no doubt had an arranged marriage lined up for Virikai anyway: the girl was a project, nothing more.

Besides, Maebella was still unsolved. Quite far out of her element? It was ridiculous. She has just thrived on destroying a fellow student. He had the girl, had all the time and opportunity to mould and experiment and test the other eídisi as he pleased. Virikai had always liked collecting trophies, and this was a spectacular trophy indeed. The possibilities of what he could do were endless.

By the time the girl finished her tirade, the Talius heir’s yes had narrowed to slits, his control close to fracture. He had to admit that he admired her resilience, her unyielding will. Maebella Arval was impressively strong, there was no doubt about that. Slender fingers slid beneath the girl’s jaw, tilting her head up, so cruelly gentle. When he spoke, his voice was like velvet, composed and controlled, with none of the retort Maebella would be expecting. “I have not asked you to hide or pretend to be something you’re not with me,” he whispered, eyes intense as his gaze bored down into Maebella’s.

Virikai had already warned Maebella that he was by no means nice; his persona was interlaced with ice and threat… he was perfectly capable of playing this game. “I knew who you were when I sent you that dress,” he continued, “But it goes without saying that a function such as this requires a certain amount of propriety from all attending. You are better than the words you just spat.” The intensity of his gaze would not release her’s, as his fingers fell from her chin and returned to support her arm.

Your continued presumptions about my character are woefully unfounded,” Their graceful dance continued, though it had lost some of it’s earlier flair. “Perhaps you should try to understand my world view better before you start making assumed criticisms of me.” Releasing his hold with one arm, he twirled her again, constantly aware of potentially watchful eyes around the room. Virikai would not be humiliated by this girl. “I will make one thing very clear to you, however. Do not bait me, Miss Arval. You will be the one to suffer for that.

He had intended to follow up his earlier statement by inviting Maebella to join him. She had proven herself as capable of acting appropriately, and Virikai thought he would not be embarrassed. He even imagined that she would appreciate the opportunity to meet scholars. The Talius scion told her as much, and finished by saying he no longer thought it appropriate, if this was how she would behave. “I meant what I said, Miss Arval. I can give you the world, anything you could possibly want, more than you could ever dream or think to ask for. I don’t mind you fighting me, it is admirable and I respect your determination… but I have boundaries. I will not tolerate your current attitude. It is not acceptable.
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