[Open] Week: --: In The Absence of Enemies

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Staff Member
Ignis glanced at Aelflead, frowning a bit at the spurii's usual attitude coming to the surface. Fortunately Keydis dismissed the aggressive redhead's childish insults. Then, Deni swept in and began to strike up conversation.

"Either could still have sexual connotations if you really wanted," Ignis added with a grin.

Amicus hopped from Ignis' shoulder to Aelflfead's and poked the spurii's cheek.

"I didn't know you could dance," Ignis noted, stepping closer to the velen man. "Could I test out your skills? I'll try not to step on your toes."

Meanwhile, the bushy woodland spirit hopped from one foot to the other, as if urging Aelflead to dance.



Staff member
In response to Ignis, Keydis made a point of looking around the tavern. “Nah, feathers. I got at least one person who might get upset and I’m not seeing anyone here worth taking that risk!” Keydis yanked off her other boot, then set both boots on the ground. Her socks soon joined them, followed by her half-cloak over a bar stool. The hefty golden axe was next, leaned up against the bar, but her sword she kept at her waist.

Still wearing her glittering scale armor and with the decorative sash hanging off one hip, the barefooted woman went out and started dancing by herself, belting out half-remembered words to the song being drummed out and yelling for others to join in. Whatever dance she was attempting, though, no ballroom would have taken her.

”Ah, so one of those reluctant, hero by happenstance type of deals,” the ahtlete pondered out loud.

The athlete's attention had been absorbed by her so completely that he had to pull himself away to notice that the tune had changed to a quicker one. Glancing over his shoulder as the stomps grew louder, he could see people dancing. Smiling within, this gave him the perfect opportunity.

”Well, I am definitely feeling frisky tonight, may I have this dance?” Dante asked, as he stepped backward and extended his hand accompanied by a small bow, but not deep enough to break eye contact with Aeria and smiled calmly.

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Aeria smirked in acknowledgement of his accuracy. "Yep. You hit the proverbial nail on the head, Dante. I got dropped into the middle of it and had to cope as best I could. I made it out alright."

A momentary shadow crossed her face, but it quickly cleared again. Now was no time for melancholy reminiscence. It was time to enjoy the atmosphere and the drinks. As if he read her mind, Dante seemed to notice that the music had begun to play at a faster tempo. She was surprised by his invitation to dance, but wasn't phased by it. Compliments were tough for her to take but dancing was something she genuinely enjoyed.

She smiled warmly and nodded as she gave him her hand. "Of course you may have this dance!"

The athletic young man lead her out onto the floor and soon the pair of them were moving energetically. They both had energy, flexibility and stamina to spare, making ideal partners for this uptempo dance.



[Insert rimshot]
"What?" Aelflead snapped at the mons infans, more annoyed with a combination of Keydis' lack of decorum, and her own lack of alcohol tolerance than she was actually annoyed with the small creature, but she turned on him with a scowl anyway. When she noticed the tiny thing's interpretative jig her frown's purpose changed from annoyance to bemusement.

"I can't dance with you ya shrub, you're too small, I'd squash you." Weakened somewhat by the influence of drink, sunset colored lips broke through the lower half of the woman's mask with a humble, but genuine smile, and she poked the fae's middle. Then she reached for another drink and tossed back Aquila in one go, wincing slightly from the burn.

It might actually be nice to dance though. Aelflead thought, and tried to subtly glance around the room to watch see if any of the other bar goers were as miserable as she was. Instead subtle though, the Aelflead like an obnoxious mother trying to find her kids in a big crowd.

If that obnoxious mother was also drunk off her ass and making a wearing an expression that read as a cross between "puppy dog eyes," "lets go somewhere private," and "you got somethin' to say punk?"

When her eyes locked onto the beginnings of Ignis and Deni's ballroom-style dance something clicked inside of the redhead's mind and she stood up, almost sending Amicus tumbling to the floor as she did.

I know how to do that, Velden taught me that stercore when I was a kid.

Then she spun on her heel and locked eyes with Ioannes. "Hey! 'Ave you danced with a girl with a bush before?" She barked at the man, demanding his attention. Her eyes had dropped the "puppy dog" look by now, but the awkward combination it left behind was no less confusing and terrifying.

Aelflead reached for the last shot of the pantheon, Castus, and then downed it in a go, slammed it back onto the table, and took the poor man's closest arm in a tight hook under hers. "Get up," she said, as she dragged him away from his stool. "I wanna dance, and when a girl says she wants to dance you have to get up and do it with her, even if she has a bush..."

WC: [387/1,634]
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Lobster Mobster
Deni’s grin deepened as Ignis stepped towards him. Until he’d had a few drinks, he had forgotten how much he hadn’t told her about his time in the velen capital.

“It was only a few months of lessons, but I’m a quick learner,” he replied. “At least, that’s what my tutor told me. Come to think of it, she might not have been talking about the dancing.”

He offered out his hand.

“I don’t think starting out slow is an option this time.”

As soon as their fingers entwined, he pulled her towards the other dancers and looked down to the floor. His foot tapped hers as he began to explain the dance.

“So first this foot goes back, then this one forward and then there’s a little kick…”



Staff member
Keydis burst out in laughter and she slipped off the impromptu dance floor to clap Aelflead on the back. “Look, you’re scaring the poor farmer boy! I’ll bet he’s never been kissed before, don’t be taunting him with thoughts of your bush!” Then she none-too-gently dragged Aelflead out to where everyone else was dancing.

If Ioannes wanted to join, he’d just have to follow them.

“I think if you want to dance, you should just start dancing! What about you, Shrubs?” Keydis asked the mons infans perched on Aelflead’s shoulder. She jabbed a finger toward the spirit. “See? He agrees.” She didn’t really give him a chance to make any sort of response, but she was sure she was right.

Grinning, Keydis started dancing again herself, tauntingly mixing in some garbled mess of a partner dance with her freestyle movements. “Come on! What are you waiting for?” True to her earlier word, she wasn’t seeking a hookup, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t mess with the drunk redhead.



[Insert rimshot]
And she was excessively good at doing so.

Aelflead was still trying to decipher the meaning in the brunette's joke when she found herself in the middle of the dance floor beside Keydis, and her being there hadn't made her any less confused. All she knew was that she'd lost hold of Ioannes, and the obnoxious terran who liked taking her shoes off in public was butchering a dance she knew well and challenging her.

Now, before we continue it would be prudent to explain that a word-for-word translation of the spurii's garbled drunken thoughts actually were, so they will be paraphrased from here on as the story unfolds, and this batch went something along these lines: Why is she asking the bush for dancing lessons?

Somewhere during these thoughts the drunk woman reached out to catch hold of the other's hands and began an awkward drunken attempt to drag her through a, surprisingly on beat, couple's routine. The bush is too short, I'll just each her instead.

WC: [168/1,802]


Staff Member
Ignis took Deni's offered hand, her mischievous grin softening into something more tender. She followed Deni's instructions and movements to the best of her abilities, but the dance was a bit complex. That, and the pale skinned avian wasn't used to dancing. Though she had danced on her own as a child and in the forests with Amicus before this journey began, something like this was beyond her experiences.

Despite her best efforts, the rust-feathered engineer managed to step on the tall velen's toes a few times. The redness on her cheeks flushed even darker at the mistake, but her dance partner was as patient as he was jolly. By the time the lively song was halfway through, Ignis was following his steps. She even remembered the kick.

Amicus, for his part was quite amused by the red headed spurii's demands that Ioannes dance with her. Fortunately for the nervous looking man, Keydis dragged them into the thick of things.

The bushy forest spirit rustled in a way that was reminiscent of chuckling. He hopped from Aelflfead's shoulder to Keydis' and did a short jig on the guild master's shoulder. He waved his branchy arms cheerily, as if urging the two women to dance.

Briefly, Amicus glanced over the crowd at his contractor. She looked happy with her situation. The contentment, embarrassment, and pleasure he could detect from her --even at this distance-- gave him a good idea of how well dancing was going. He returned his attention back to the two hot headed spurii and began his approximation of Deni's dance. The bush-like creature carefully copied the steps Ignis had been doing and then performed a kick. It was a tad off-beat, but fun nonetheless.

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Even though the music was fast, it didn't tax either dancer's fitness, so they were able to talk at a normal level while they moved. Aeria had decided that perhaps she'd better try to strike up some sort of conversation with Dante, even though she felt awkward. She leaned in to speak into his ear over the music. "So you're a kinner huh? That must be kind of interesting! Was it what you've always wanted to do?"

It was the only thing she could think to ask and she hoped it wasn't too impersonal or silly sounding. Most of her life, the spurii had been someone who was most comfortable in her own company, in some ways because she hadn't had a choice. Trying to break out of her shell wasn't easy, but given the level of notoriety she'd achieved, it was likely something with which she'd have to contend.

As the engineer had leaned in close, the athlete could smell a faint herbal scent from her, the athlete let Aeria's question hang as he pondered about it ever so briefly. He had never really thought about what he had wanted to do, sure he still enjoyed the sport enough to strive to be the best player he can, but maybe there was more to life outside the green kinchaa fields.

”I've been doing it my entire life, and its the only thing I know how to do, properly atleast,” the athlete replied calmly, the last two words almost unaudible whispers, his expression betraying that he wasn't entirely confident in himself. The athlete bought himself time to think by leading Aeria into a series of elaborate dance moves, finishing by spinning her close and leaning into him, all the while looking into her eyes.

”You really do have beautiful eyes, did you know that?” he kept flirting calmly with a genuine smile. Lifting her back upright, he made sure to not break eye contact with Aeria.

”I could teach you the game sometime if it interests you. It is not that complex to understand, but what about you, is engineering your passion?” the athlete said after a brief pause. Before she had a chance to respond, he began to lead her into a another dance.

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It was funny how easily Aeria fell into a rhythm with Dante. It seemed that she was able to pick up on the subtle physical clues of his movement that guided her in the right direction, almost before she knew what was happening. The pair of them moved so well together that it was nearly seamless. As Dante spoke, Aeria felt a hot flush colour her cheeks. No one had ever told her she was beautiful at all.

"T-thank you..." She stammered as he complimented her.

The slender spurii was relieved as he kept talking, giving her something to say that was actually intelligible. "I...well...sure I'd like to learn how to play the game. I don't know if I'd be any good at it, but I'm willing to try."

She paused to allow Dante to whirl her around again before returning to face him. "Yes! Engineering is all that I ever wanted to do. Along the way, I seem to have become several other things as well.:

Her face grew briefly serious. "Where were you when the war with the daemons happened? Did you see action?"



Staff member
”Vis’ sake, who taught you this stuff?” Keydis asked with a laugh as she tried to followed the drunken redhead’s movements. Even as wasted as Aelflead was, though, her dance had some semblance of rhythm to it. Keydis, on the other hand, had none. Moving was enough for her, it didn’t matter whether it was on beat. She’d certainly never done any dances made for two people, even in her school days.

Alternating between falling in step with Aelflead’s dance and doing her own chaotic thing, Keydis barely noticed Amicus doing a dance of its own on her shoulder. The weird little spirit reminded her of Pico, but she couldn’t imagine the little leaf-bug dancing, or drinking, or even doing anything besides whistling its disappointment at her.

Yanked out of her musing by another sharp tug into Aelflead’s dance, Keydis growled out a playful warning. Well, it was her idea of playful, which might have sounded like an angry pruina. She yanked back, just a friendly tug to remind Aelflead not to get too carried away. Or else.



Lobster Mobster
“Now you’re starting to get it!” Deni laughed, taking his vision off Ignis’ footwork for the first time since the dance began. A little colour showed on his own face, though it was uncertain whether it was because of the dancing or the alcohol. His partner’s steps quickened as she grew used to the moves. In a way, it was similar to when they paired up in battle. The heat, the spontaneous reaction. They grew used to each other’s movements fairly quickly. Fortunately, the bloodshed was missing.

When Deni saw how wild her eyes were with concentration, his smirk deepened. Fingers still interlocked with hers in one hand. The other slid down her back and rested on her hip.

“Well, you’re doing better than my first time,” he said with a warm chuckle. The velen shuffled to give them both room to kick. When he pulled her back in, they seemed closer. A question lingered in his blue eyes.

“Is this the first time we’ve danced? Damn, it feels like we’ve done this before.”

Nearby, Aelflead wasn't taking Keydis' tug quite as playfully as the brunette would have hoped.

Keydis' pruina impression earned her a pair of narrowed green and red eyes and a spike of fervor in pair's dance.

"What was that?" Is the closest approximation of what the spurii said as I can manage, though muddled with hiccups and awkward burps as it was. In the midst of her slurred nonsense she yanked on the rhythmless terran close, as if to prove a point, and dragged her into a spin with her.

"You got a fuckin' problem?" The drunk woman seemed to have said, inflicting the foul stench of drink on her breath upon poor Keydis' nose.
Wc: [soonish]
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Ignis smiled up at Deni as their dance became more fluid. "What was your first time dancing like?"

Her fingers curled around the velen man's larger hand, face flushing as Deni's other hand grasped her hip. Shyly, the pale avian looked up at her partner through curled lashes. After the kick, she let the tall velen pull her to his chest and leaned her face against it.

"This is the first time we've danced like this, but it's far from the first time we've had to work around each other," the rust feathered woman replied, just loud enough to be heard by the music, singing, and loud conversations around them.

As they continued their dance, moving together and apart much like a single person with four limbs, their surroundings seemed to melt away.

"Would you teach me another dance?" Ignis asked, tilting her head to meet his blue eyes with her chocolate colored ones.

Dante abruptly stopped dancing, letting out a deep sigh as he grabbed Aeria's hand and lead her off the dancing area and sat down in to a nearby table, shaking his head. The question had visibly caught him off guard and it had had the unintended side effect of jolting the kinner deep into his memories of being in combat with countless daemons. Resting his head in his arms, looking at Aeria.

”Yes, I did see action, though I wish I had not,” he sighed, almost as if speaking about the war was taxing his body physically, ”I was aboard the Hydrus when it happened,” the kinner finished, still resting his head. The happiness all but drained from his face.

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Oh great thought Aeria now I've gone and wrecked the mood. Good work!

She went to join the kinchaa pro as he sank down, looking as though someone had hit him in the stomach, setting her hand gently on his shoulder as she spoke in soothing tones. "Oh I'm sorry, Dante. I didn't realize that...you'd been on the Hydrus."

She sighed. "It wasn't my intention to drag you down. This wasn't the right place or the right time! After all, we're supposed to be trying to forget about what happened out there."

Her small, strong hand squeezed his shoulder once and let go. "We can talk about something else for now. In the future, serious discussions can be saved for the right moment."

Aeria realized that she'd essentially told Dante that she wanted to see him again. It was true, whatever else was going on, so she decided to go with it. She extended her hand to him. "Do you want to dance it out of your head? Sometimes that helps!"


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