Jump to content
Elderflower

Aftermath: A Salve for the Spirit - The Dance Floor

Recommended Posts

The main hall of the Trillion Theatre has been separated into two main areas: the dance floor and the banquet area. The Theatre managed to make it through Sombra’s second invasion unscatched beyond the unfortunate bending of a rather lovely weathervane in the shape of a swan, and as such Lilac Briolette chose this location to host a party to salve the spirits of those who were in the Crystal Empire during the attack. Here in the gold-and-red halls of the ballet theatre it is easy to escape the pained memories of the invasion, for the low lighting and sparse decoration coupled with the soothing music coming from the band set up by the dance floor creates a feeling of comfort.

The dance floor itself is fairly empty for the time being, with only a few of the Trillion performers swaying rhythmically in pairs to the mellow tunes drifting through the main hall and up to the balcony. There is an uplifting note to the melodies being played currently, but the tempo for the time being remains very calm - ideal for an intimate dance that leaves plenty of room for conversation!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It was when Naj was between naps that Red had brought up the party. Naj was a little hesitant at first. She done a few horrible things during the attack, both to herself and others, and though somewhat recovered she was still feeling a few lingering effects. She also had a few reservations about diving back into pony society so quickly. When she thought about it though, Naj realized it represented a second chance at their vacation, and on reflection that was something she'd wanted too and she agreed on going.

Naj hadn't bothered with a disguise. Enough ponies seemed to recognize her as one of the defenders that nopony seemed to have a serious issue with it. Either that, or nopony wanted to start another fight, particularly as she wasn't causing any trouble. Or maybe it was because she still looked injured, and thus a lot less threatening, walking with a slight limb and still sporting gauze wrap around her forelegs. The truth of the matter was a little irrelevant to her. She was feeling drained enough that she didn't want to worry about a disguise, and she wasn't going to miss this opportunity to be herself in public without consequence.

Naj was still getting a few odd looks as she arrived at the party. Nothing came of it for the moment, but she decided to keep her distance and let others approach her if they so chose. She didn't feel like risking an incidence, and neither did she want to force her presence on anypony. With that in mind, the dance floor seemed the best place to go, as for the moment it was the least populated part of the party. Besides, even if she didn't know that much about music she still liked to listen, and that seemed the best place.

“Hey,” she nudged Red, who she'd arrived with, “I'm gonna go listen to some music.” Her aim was to let him know where she'd be, without obligating him to follow.

Naj wasn't much of a dancer, so her presence mostly just amounted to standing off to the side and swaying from side to side a bit. Still, she was enjoying the music, and the overall atmosphere. “It's kind of amazing really,” she said to nopony in particular, “with what happened a few days ago, they were still able to manage this.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red had only happened to learn of the party by chance. He and Naj had spent most of the last several days in their hotel room. Thankfully, it was still standing so the two of them had a place to go. Red had spent much of the time tending Naj's wounds, getting a few quick lessons in changeling first aid in the process, and making sure she had all the energy she needed to be able to recover. Aside from regular trips out to get food for himself, he'd stayed by her side.

He'd made the most of those meal breaks to find out what he could. He'd learned that after an initial bit of revelrie at defeating Sombra and the viking caribou, the Faire had officially been cancelled. He and Naj had never even had the chance to see the jousting. The railway was going to be up and running again soon, and so Red had made sure to write a letter to his family in Stalliongrad informing them that he and 'Spring Breeze' were alive and well. There was no need yet to tell them of their experiences in battle. There was a lot of buzz around the city that there had been not one but two changelings spotted fighting the caribou, and that there was now another delegation of caribou in the city helping to mend both the Empire and pony-caribou relations. And then, he'd heard about the party, a simple gathering hosted by the local ballet troupe to soothe the nerves and heal the spirit.

Red was a little surprised by Naj's decision not to put up her disguise, but since it was already known that there were changelings who had fought the caribou, in the end, he didn't think it would be much problem, either. Certainly, if anypony did question it, Red would have set them straight quick. As it was, when they arrived at the party, he quickly figured Naj wouldn't stand out nearly so much as the three caribou who were already at the party. Red stared at the three for longer than he probably should have. Part of him couldn't help thinking that having the three caribou here, of all times and places, was in poor taste.

As Naj nudged him and said she'd be listening to music, Red did indeed join her, swaying a little to the soft songs playing as well. He didn't have much energy for anything more lively, either. “It's kind of amazing really, with what happened a few days ago, they were still able to manage this.” she observed.

Red nodded a little. "Ponies can be kind of hive-like when they put their minds to something," he said. "I'm glad that they did, though. I think this may have been just what everyone needed. As it is they have a lot of rebuilding to do."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

0JvgaeH.png

Lilac sensed Alexandrite’s tension immediately, her suspicions confirmed when the stunning, sparkling mare spoke. Whatever awkwardness was there, however, melted away into a smile. Hmph. The prima ballerina had so been looking forward to comforting her beloved, too! Grinning almost foolishly, her heart pounding with giddiness, she followed the crystal guard to the dancer floor.

“Expertise only matters on the stage, Alexa,” Lilac purred as they approached the dance floor, her limbs already eager to spring into action, “Dancing is a matter of the heart. And besides, you know the dance of battle well - you know how to move with an enemy in patterns and practiced motion. Just...pretend you’re coming at me with a lance!”

The dancer was babbling, she realized, as her excitement bubbled to the surface. She flushed, and when they were before the stage where the band had set up she went en pointe, grinning from ear to ear. When she began their pas de deux, however, she did not move with the fluid grace of a ballerina in love. She sprung forward in a delightful imitation of fury, her grand jeté similar to the sailing strikes she had made against Ofrior and his warriors during the attack on the Crystal Heart.

It might seem odd or out of place, but Lilac did this to awaken a sense of familiarity in her love. Alexa knew how to move in battle. She dealt with bold moves and aggressive assaults, not twitterpated mares in ballet slippers performing a dying swan. And so Lilac would be bold. Well, more bold. In her “strike” she left the crystal guard only one option: to catch her and continue their dance.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red decided to follow Naj to the side of the dance floor. She was hardly surprised, and she of course enjoyed his presence, though she worried a bit. He'd spent a lot of time with her over the past few days, almost to the exclusion of all else. Naj wasn't comfortable with the idea that she was holding him back.

Ahh well, they were here now at least, so that was something.

Naj couldn't help but laugh a little at Red's description of things. She leaned against Red, and they swayed together as “Heh, I'm sure there are a number of ponies who wouldn't be so happy with that description.” She had to wonder at the accuracy herself, in the hive things tended to be more centralized. Any event like this would ultimately have been ordered or at least signed off on by one of the higher ups. It was rare, and even a little dangerous to try and organize something yourself. “I might just call it inspired, myself, though I suppose I'm no expert.”

She nodded in agreement at the overall point though, as she distantly watched a pair of crystal ponies take to the dance floor. “You're right though, this is probably what everyone needed, after that mess. Something to take our minds off things so we can all rest.” Which made her think about when they'd entered, specifically the look on Red's face as they'd entered the dance hall. It was nothing overt, but Naj could tell something hadn't sit well with him. She spoke quietly, hoping to address it without making it an big issue. “Speaking of things you don't need to think about, if they'd meant harm they probably would have acted on it by now.” She smiled up at him, aiming to soften the inherent criticism in the statement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"Your words are most certainly an encouragement, my love," Alexandrite Tilt said as she stared at Lilac as she spoke her words. "Put in those terms, I will see that my heart guides me. I will give it my all!"

She chuckled fondly and began to dance. She half expected her dear Lilac to go easy on her, for the two of them to simply shuffle about on the dance floor with little regards to the actual tempo of the music, just sort of lost in the moment, but no, this was not the case at all. Lilac instead seemed to be putting her all into her movements. They were bold and aggressive, similar in form and design to the movements she had re-purposed as attacks in the battle against that Ofrior and the other vikings. This worried Alexandrite for a moment, before it all clicked with her.

Lilac it seemed had meant her words about the dance of battle most literally. Her bold and aggressive motions were what they were so that Alexandrite would know how to meet them in kind. She could do this, she realized. All she had to do was attack.

Alexandrite relaxed herself and let her body move just as it would in a heated battle, guided by nothing but the sound of the music and the movement of her partner. Quick forward steps mirrored the trust of her lance, deft steps to the side of Lilac's hooves mimicked the sidesteps by which she had evaded blows. Where she had grappled with the caribou, she stepped forward to catch her mare by her hooves and guide her across the floor and into spins. As it went on, all the worry was gone from her and she realized she was having considerable fun.

"Truly it is just as you have said, dearest Lilac. Battle, I suppose, really is just another dance," she said with an excited smile, still fully engaged in their dance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red slipped his hoof around Naj's shoulders, holding her gently in case she was still feeling her injuries, as they swayed softly to the music. They were perhaps not nearly so graceful and artistic in motion as the other couple on the floor at the moment, but that was all right with him, as long as the two of them had this moment of their vacation go right after all.

“Speaking of things you don't need to think about, if they'd meant harm they probably would have acted on it by now.” she added. Red looked to Naj as she said that, seeing the little smile she gave to him as she did, and he couldn't help but smile back. It wasn't at all surprising that she knew what had bothered him when they arrived. In some ways, she knew him very, very well. The irony of having his reaction pointed out by a changeling, however, was not lost on him. "You're right," he said softly, admitting to what she had already figured out. "Of course they're not. I of all ponies should know better than to think they would be." He took a deep breath, then looked into Naj's brilliant eyes. "Besides, why should I give them any thought when I have you to dance with instead?" he said, smiling as he swayed with her to the band's gentle strains.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

8ptLulU.png

The shaman blinked down at the chipper unicorn who had been swallowing mounds of sugary treats, a little perplexed. After just a few moments a wide grin cracked over the cow’s expression and she ruffled the mare’s mane cheerfully. On Ylva’s very brief list of ponies she did not believe she would upset with her gift, there was at least one more she was certain she could tack on. Like Randgrid, this little pony seemed to carry an endless font of cheer within her.

“Thank you, Flux,” she replied softly before walking away, nodding her head to indicate the unicorn should follow, “Typically I would refuse your offer on principle. I am about to perform a ritual sacred to clan Askr, one that was never intended to leave the clan in fact. Having an outsider know any step in the preparation would one be considered sacrilege, but now...now I believe is time to change our ways. There are many traditions which may remain ours and ours alone, but if we wish to ally ourselves with ponies and fight alongside them, this is one ritual I believe is necessary to share as well.”

Speaking this way helped to calm Ylva’s strangely tense nerves, and already she was more visibly confident. She reached a little alcove tucked into the crystalline wall near the stage. Just one day prior the space had been occupied with a cozy, cushioned couch to let theatre-goers rest their hooves. Now it was filled with instruments and packs owned by the night’s performers. From the shaky tower of instruments Ylva pulled out an old wooden chest with her teeth in one fluid motion. Almost as if by magic the shaking tower held its shape, and Ylva grinned up at it.

“Well, Flux,” the shaman said, opening the chest and removing a worn and rather nondescript drum, “While I prepare my drum I would like you to find the white shawl in that chest and remove it. Please be careful not to handle it more than you must to take it out, as it changes when touched by body heat. It is critical that the shawl remain mostly untouched for now. Your task with it will be important, however. Normally the shaman performing the ritual, which would be myself, would say an old chant over the garment before the ritual. But this is a night for change, no? Sing to it, sing to it a song for those who fell during the attack on the Crystal Empire. Whether there are words or not, whether you think you can hold a note or not, just sing. It is the heart that matters.”

Ylva would say no more. If Flux wished for further instruction she would not receive it, for it was time for the cow to prepare her drum. The silver-eyed shaman removed a pot from her chest and cracked the wax seal on it, revealing a powder that seemed to shine like a soft, pale rainbow. It carried within it the light and hues of the aurora, for this powder was pigment made from the plant called Qalipu’s Mane, one sacred to the Askr Clan for countless generations. Wordlessly, serenely, she took time and care to dip her antlers into the pot and then rub them in slow circles over her drum. After doing this for some time, she dipped her forehooves into the pot and then laid them atop the instrument, eyes closed.

0JvgaeH.png

The music seemed to be winding down for the moment. Recognizing the slow melody, the crystal dancer turned her gaze away briefly and noticed a pale caribou cow making her way to the alcove filled with the bands’ instruments and belongings. Soon enough would come a very defining moment for the party, and Lilac wondered with a knot in her brow if it would be a well-received moment. It could very well be scandalous, but the prima ballerina believed in the sincerity of Ylva of Askr’s intentions and she was glad to allow the caribou a moment alone upon the stage to offer the Crystal Empire and its ponies a gift from her heart.

That was something to concern herself with when it happened, though. For now the crystal dancer was engaged in a breathtaking pas de deux with her guardsmare. Truth be told, though Lilac had known that Alexa would be capable of moving in a dance-like pattern thanks to her training, the crystalline mare had not anticipated such an artistry from her. It awoke a giddiness she could never have guessed at, one completely separate from the floaty feeling that being in Alexandrite’s embrace caused as they whirled about together on the dance floor.

With the softer, slower music, Lilac ground the dancing to something of a halt, content to pull Alexa close to her and let their bodies drift and sway in time with the music.

“Battle, yes, but this was not just another dance. It has been some time since I have let go of form and technique to move with such wild abandon. I thought that charging at you, my Alexa, would be doing you a favour. Instead you are the one doing me a kindness. I am filled with creative inspiration and an eagerness to try new forms. You movements have lit a fire in me! I have not been this thrilled with dance since I was a clumsy filly eagerly devouring every new form as though I would perish without learning the steps!”

Pulling her head back a little, Lilac peered into Alexandrite’s eyes wearing an expression of love, unbridled joy and an almost foal-like glee.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flux balanced her glass on her back as she followed after Ylva to go assist the caribou with whatever it was she wanted help with. She smiled widely as it was revealed that she was apparently to be the first non-caribou to be allowed to know about this ritual. It was nice to know that Ylva trusted her enough to help out with something that sounded this important to her and her culture. As they passed through the dance floor area, Flux's eyes traveled over the dancers, eventually coming to rest on the couple she had spotted earlier. She moved on from them, smiling at the love she could feel from the two, looking around a bit more before spotting two of her friends. She gave a happy wave to Spring and Red before following Ylva to where they were going.

She watched and listened in silence as Ylva removed a trunk from the pile, telling her to take out a cloth of sorts but to limit bodily contact with it. And she was supposed to sing to it, apparently. Flux smiled and nodded before turning to the chest and peeking inside to locate the shawl. After spotting it, she gingerly reached in, grabbing it carefully around the top corners and taking it out. she blinked a bit, looking at the cloth, then closed her eyes, remaining silent for a couple more seconds before humming out a tune to the cloth, letting her emotions from what she knew had happened to direct the flow. It started out sad as she lamented the loss and destruction, then eventually got a little happier and more triumphant as her song turned towards celebrating the win over the mean caribou and the other foes.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

[OOC:

will give some perspective on what Ylva's performance sounds like. Please listen! :catbug:]

It wasn’t long before the shaman had her drum and herself prepared. She inhaled deeply to calm her spirit, then turned and smiled upon the unicorn. Flux had taken the task she had been given seriously, and the little song that she sang warmed Ylva’s heart. The cow placed a friendly hoof upon the mare’s shoulder and smiled gently at her, then thanked her for her assistance. The music drew to a stop, then, and the silver-eyed caribou looked up at the stage, where the band moved their instruments to the edges of the platform to make space.

Ylva could feel curious glances moving towards the stage, could feel the watchful eyes of Lilac, the hostess, upon her from the small crowd of ponies gathered on the dance floor. It was time.Ylva draped her shawl over her shoulders, sliding her hooves through little loops of fabric that would keep the piece intact. The timer had set in - soon the shawl would begin to softly glow with all the hues of the northern lights.

The shaman moved through the quiet crowd and climbed the steps to the stage with her drum, then cast her silver gaze out over the crowd of Crystal Ponies and their allies. Another deep breath was drawn as she set down her drum, and then Ylva spoke.

“Greetings, my friends,” she said softly, though her voice carried throughout the dance floor and the banquet space, “I am an emissary of the caribou clan Askr. I am the High Shaman Ylva, right hoof of Jarl Sigrun. We came to the Crystal Empire in our longships to help you combat the Red Jarl but arrived too late, and that fact wounds us grievously. But I am not here to apologize tonight. There is little that we of Askr can offer in the wake of this destruction beyond our friendship and our meagre supplies to help you rebuild. There is even less that I can offer beyond this one, simple thing…”

Another deep breath. She could feel the eyes on her, many eyes. There was curiosity, suspicion, anger, and fear lingering in the air, or at least that is what Ylva was convinced of. This was not the same as home, in Askr. Her rituals were met with love and thanks there, and she was always so sure.

“In Clan Askr, Tuktu, the warrior god of the moon, commands an army of the fallen. Every valiant soul who perishes in battle is called to this army, to fight against the darkness and keep chaos at bay. Their weapons gleam like pinpoints in the night sky, for they are his stars. It is our goddess of the aurora, Qalipu, who carries the souls of the deceased to him within her river of light, and it is the duty of a shaman to guide these souls to her.

This is all that I can offer, and it is the most precious thing I have to give you. This ritual is sacred to my Clan; it has never been witnessed by an outsider, not even our dearest friends and allies in the Whitescar. But times are changing, and if we are to be your friends we should place the same faith in you all that we place in our kin.”

And that was it for speaking. She would not apologize for the Red Jarl nor speak of Clan Askr’s intents for becoming allies of Equestria and the Crystal Empire. This was not the time for the tricky dance of politics, it was a time to offer those she would call her friends the most sincere gift she had in her to give.

The cow dipped her head forward and began to rub her drum with her antlers, the sound not unlike the rhythmic push and pull of ocean waves. She continued this for some time, until the white shawl around her shoulders began to flicker with colour. The shawl was made with the fibres of Qalipu’s Mane, the plant from which she created the aurora pigment. Since these fibres hadn’t been boiled, only body heat could bring out the colour and light within them.

Ylva started drumming, her hooves tapping out a heartbeat across the skin of her instrument to make way for her song. It began softly, her voice lilting with the language of the Whitescar as she swayed, her shawl leaving streaks of of colourful light around it. Having covered her antlers and drum in the aurora pigment, Ylva’s little performance was beginning to glow with the colours of the northern lights.

As her drumming began to boom, the shaman began throat singing. Great grunts and growls burst from her maw and seemed to pull the sound of the drum out and push it up, skyward. There was a primal power in her voice, and the rest of her performance flitted between the lyrical trilling of song more familiar to ponykind and the brute, powerful thrum of throat singing. Every switch between the two began with a great slam of her antlers upon her drum, which spread her ethereal, glowing pigment scattered into the air about her.

When the singing was done, Ylva continued to tap the rhythm of a heartbeat upon her drum with her hooves, the volume fading until she drew silent and still. Without another word she gathered her drum and stepped away from the stage, her gaze cast downward. She hoped beyond hope the sincerity of her message had reached them, that it would be well-received.

It wouldn’t be long before she found out.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2w6dy09.jpg

Princess Cadence might not have arrived on the dance floor in time to catch that mystery caribou calf, but she did end up in a prime position to watch Ylva’s otherworldly performance. The alicorn had to admit when the High Shaman started singing that the cow’s voice was a match for Cadence’s own, who herself knew quite a thing or two about carrying vocals. And then that way Ylva was able to replicate the colorful resonance of the Northern Lights; the Crystal Princess knew of no way it could be done without illusion spells. If this was but a taste of the great caribou mysteries, who knew what else one of their shamans could accomplish?

Not long into her act, Ylva’s voice did a complete 180 as she shifted towards guttural throat singing. It threw Princess Cadence into a loop for a while, as it in no way fit her preconceived notions of vocal performance. It was only when the alicorn’s mind made the connection that the viking caribou of Askr were noble warriors at heart that she could begin truly appreciating Ylva’s primal grunts for what they were. As represented by Ylva’s ritualistic song, Cadence could see how the caribou idolized both beauty and fighting... which to a certain degree was true of ponies also (Cadence’s cherished husband was a warrior, technically speaking).

Nopony responded at first as Ylva finished up and carried her drum off the stage. So it was up to the Crystal Princess to take the initiative, by being the first member of the audience to start clapping. Hopefully, this would give the rest who watched the courage to do the same.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flux sat down as Ylva took the shawl and put it on. It was time for the performance, it seemed, so Flux moved into a position she could see the stage better. She watched with a wide smile as her new friend spoke for a bit before beginning her song.

From the lyrical parts to the guttural parts, Flux enjoyed the performance Ylva was doing, especially as she began glowing with various colors. Flux's smile only widened at that part, and she was almost bouncing in place as she watched.

When it was over, the audience was initially silent, and she looked around a bit in disappointment before Cadence began applauding. Flux smiled widely at her before joining in, applauding loudly for her friend's efforts. After a couple seconds, she bounced over to her friend, bouncing circles around the caribou.

"Wow! That was a great song, Ylvvy! Great job!" She chirped as she bounced around her friend.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alexandrite was startled for the words her performance elicited. She had felt like she was doing well to keep up with Lilac, was proud of herself for not falling a step behind, but she had never expected to be lauded as a creative inspiration to the artist that was her beloved. It left her stunned, unsure how to respond in the slightest for a number of protracted seconds. It wasn't until Lilac looked to her with so much love and happiness in her eyes that it suddenly became the easiest thing in the world.

As they danced slowly on the floor, the guardsmare kept her gaze locked with her partner for a few more second and then stepped forward, kissing her boldly, with all the passion that she had built through the dance. She held her for several long moments, before breaking away and stepping aback, smiling as she looked to the other.

"If it is a fire I have lit, I will see it fanned to a roaring blaze so that it might fuel us both always!" she said, her voice full from love and excitement. Part of her wondered if the metaphor wasn't slightly escaping her, but in her passion she didn't pay it much thought.

"I am the same, you see. What I feel now in my heart at this moment, why not even Sombra himself would be a able to smite the strength you fill me with. I am most eager for when next I joust," she said with warm laughter.

Suddenly, then the music cut out and a caribou cow stepped forward to address them. Alexandrite was at first unsure how to feel at the sight of the caribou, but as she spoke of her clan and her philosophies, Alexa realized this was a poor attitude to have. In a time like this, they should be finding friends not looking at everyone as a potential enemy. As the caribou began to sing her strange yet hauntingly beautiful song, she listened calmly, holding Lilac close to her. There was something in it that resonated deeply. It was primal and powerful.

"I've never quite heard anything like it..." Alexa said as she listened. She wondered what it would be like to dance to such a thing. She could only imagine it being comparable to battle in even more real ways than the other dance.

When it was through, the applause began starting with the princess herself who had come to the dance floor perhaps to listen to it. Alexandrite began stomp her hooves in applause only seconds after the princess. The song had calmed her, yet also left her feeling invigorated for whatever it was the future might hold.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red was so intent on his dance partner, he hadn't realized that the dance floor was about to be the site of another performance, this time from a caribou shaman. Red wasn't quite sure what to make of the insinuation that any pony who lost their life lately would become a member of the army of a caribou deity, but he guessed it was meant as sincere gesture of respect. At least, he had no other explanation of it.

Listening to her performance, he watched as she drummed and sang her way through the ritual, curious as to its origins, but mostly rapt by the very different vocalizing she was doing.

As the performance ended and even Princess Cadence began to applaud, Red followed suit, stamping his forehooves lightly on the dance floor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Naj smiled, relieved both that she and Red were now on the same page, and that Red wouldn't be preoccupied anymore. That that he had been preoccupied at the moment, but Naj liked the idea of nipping that particular concern at bud. She laughed quietly at what he actually said, replying “Oh you flatterer,” before giving him a friendly nuzzle on the cheek in return.

Naj waved back when she spotted a familiar purple unicorn waving in her direction. Well, 'unicorn' she supposed, it would appear Flux had decided to get back in disguise. For her part Naj wouldn't miss an opportunity to walk around in her natural form, though to each their own. She did have to wonder just what the other changeling was up to though, as she followed behind a caribou coming up onto the stage.

Naj didn't have to wonder for long. She was too far away to hear Flux's humming, but it was easy to tell some was doing something with a piece of cloth hoofed to her by the caribou. And everypony in the room could see when the caribou herself got onstage carrying a drum. She introduced herself as Ylva of Clan Askr before explaining she wished to honour the fallen with a caribou ritual, as at act of condolence. Naj had to wonder if sending these dead off to be part of an army was really an appropriate thing, but then she supposed the intent mattered far more than the method, since the whole thing was symbolic anyways. She was also a little curious at what the Ylva would have thought of changeling being present for the ritual.

Naj didn't know what to think of the performance itself. It's component parts weren't things that should impress, the percussion and vocals resembled random noise and the glow reminded her of cheap parlour tricks, yet somehow the whole left a greater impression on her than she could have expected.

She was still processing it when Princess Cadence began a round of applause. Naj joined in, though had to admit it was as much out of politeness as anything else, as she was still unsure what she thought of it even if she appreciated the effort. She imagined it would take at least a day or two before she really knew what she thought of it.

One thing Naj noted was that nopony, and no caribou, in the room had made a comment about her appearance. She was predominantly pleased with that, as it meant that for at least the next few days she was being accepted or at least tolerated for what she was, but it also meant that it wouldn't be a very good icebreaker.

The idea of introducing herself to the princess flitted across her mind, she was sure they could have a lot to talk about, but she shut that thought down quickly. Not only would it not be her place on a normal day, but she could only imagine the conversation ending up somewhere dark, and that was the last thing anypony needed during the recovery.

Naj was spared that thought by realizing she hadn't actually spoken to Flux since the event, and a wave seemed a half-hearted way to greet a friend. Pointing briefly at the 'unicorn', she looked at Red and spoke. “We're giving this whole 'vacation' think a second try, right? I'm gonna go say hi, again.” She smiled, inviting him to come along if he liked, before half-hobbling over to an out-of-the-way spot beside the 'unicorn'.

“Heya Flux,” she started, and with a chuckle added, “you look like you're doing pretty well.” Not a week had passed and the mare was her usual bouncy self, literally. Naj envied her in some ways. “So, how did you get pulled into that?” Though the question was perhaps phrased a little crudely, there was some evident curiosity behind it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lilac liked to think she was prepared for what life had to throw her way. As a performer, she had learned the hard way to expect complications and how to work with what you’re given. She was well-equipped to roll with the punches and keep on keeping on. During Sombra’s first strike against the empire she faltered only momentarily before ushering little foals to safety (he had attacked during a youth dance class she was leading) and during his second strike she was mere seconds finding her courage and joining in the battle! But when Alexa swept in and kissed her with all the fires that had grown to blazing during their dance, the prima ballerina was totally and completely overwhelmed. Her knees wobbled and her breath caught in her throat. For all her elegance and poise she realized that her beloved guardsmare was the only thing holding her up. And of course her cheeks were burning with a pretty little blush.

Nothing had prepared her for this, for the thundering in her heart and the jelly in the bones and the happiness that burned so brightly it almost stung in her chest. She wasn’t sure if it was appropriate to be so happy in the wake of all this sadness, but the kiss just felt so right.

So she melted into it, and when Alexandrite finally pulled away she gazed up at her, eyes full of wonder over the crystal guard’s ability to make her so rapturous so effortlessly.

“My Alexa,” Lilac murmured, laying her head against her lover’s neck and sighing, “You have fanned these flames so high I fear my next jeté will carry me to the stars! I can only imagine how fearsome your lance will be. And I cannot wait to see it in action!”

The two drew quiet, then, as the caribou named Ylva took the stage. Her performance was bizarre and breathtaking, the aurora she painted with her movements holding an ethereal otherness which captivated the prima ballerina. She could only wonder what other beauties the Whitescar held, but when Alexandrite pulled her in closer she relaxed into the mare’s arms. It was just so hard to be totally captivated by the otherworldly performance when she was held so gently by her lover.

“Neither have I,” the dancer replied to Alexa, “Its strangeness has its own beauty that is hard to resist.”

When it was all said and done she echoed the Princess’ applause and pulled away from Alexandrite a little, though not without some reluctance. “I believe it is time I finally thank the Princess for her appearance tonight,” Lilac said softly, smiling, “Shall we?”

Finally regaining the strength in her knees, the prima ballerina pulled away from the enchanted little world that she and her guardsmare had created on the dance floor, approaching Cadance with a happy smile.

“Princess Cadance,” she said as she approached, combating the instinct to show total deference before the royal, “Your attendance tonight means so very much to myself and my guests. I apologize for not greeting you sooner, but I did not wish to interrupt your conversation with the Whitescar emissaries. And I...I had never danced with Alexa before now, not outside of battle…”

Perhaps it was inappropriate to speak of one’s love life to a Princess, but Cadance was the Princess of Love, wasn’t she? This type of conversation might just be the way to bridge the gap between a royal and her subject, and Lilac did had a promise to keep for Cadance in that regard. This was her attempt at putting her best hoof forward.

Once Ylva had stepped off of the stage to put away her drum and her shawl, the applause began. Startled, she swung her head around sharply, causing the beads strung across her antlers to rattle cheerfully. At first it was solely Cadance drumming her hooves upon the floor, but soon after most of the party’s attendees were applauding her. At home, in Askr, this ritual was never met with applause. It took the shaman by surprise to have such a thing happen, especially here in the Crystal Empire.

She was humbled, and with her gaze cast downward she nodded graciously towards Princess Cadance before the royal was approached by the hostess Lilac and her dance partner. The Right Hoof of Jarl Sigrun carefully packed away her things and headed back to her sister’s side. It was pure instinct. Any time in her life that Ylva was uncertain or shaken at all she merely had to stand by her sister’s side for all to feel right again. Though it wasn’t uncertainty which guided her tonight, it was a glowing sense of warmth and welcome the likes of which she had never anticipated after all of the pain the Red Jarl had caused. Before she left the dance floor she smiled softly at the unicorn who had helped her and thanked her one last time, letting her know that she would always be a welcome guest of Clan Askr.

Once the stage is cleared the band makes its way back to get their instruments set up. There are a few new Equestrian faces to replace many of the crystal ponies and their energy has picked up. A stallion plucking a contrabass gets things started, the tempo upbeat and bumping. The music is modern, the rhythm infectious, and the mood is quickly becoming electric. It would be hard to resist the call of the dance floor now.
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flux smiled at Ylva's thanks, giving her new friend a wave goodbye as she left back to the food area, probably to join up with the other caribou. Flux had had enough food for now, plus Spring was here! The disguised changeling turned towards the undisguised one, giving her a wide smile.

"Yep! I'm doing great now!" She chirped happily. Her smile faltered at her friend's question, tilting to the side in confusion. "Roped in? No, I didn't get roped in. I volunteered, silly!" She said, giggling a bit. She took that moment to look over her friend more closely, frowning at the injuries she saw.

"Hmm... How have you been since we beat those meanies?" Flux asked, looking back up to meet her friend's gaze. Really the only reason she wasn't in her true form was because ponies tended to accept her more easily when she looked like one of them. And there didn't seem to be too many here that had seen her in her true form during the fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2w6dy09.jpg

Here at last did Princess Cadence gain the chance to greet the host, the ever-pretty Lilac. She had gotten a lot better about not acting so formally in front of the pink alicorn, bringing a smile to Cadence’s face. “That’s wonderful!” the Crystal Princess expressed further pride in the romantic accomplishments of the new couple; “I’m so happy for the two of you. I’m guessing you realized your feelings for each other during, well, the events of the Faire?” War was terrible by every stretch of the imagination, but such supreme adversity could also give birth to a strong love, forged by fire.

“Oh before I forget Lilac,” Cadence merrily interjected; “You can just call me Cadence.” That advice should help loosen the prima ballerina up even more. The alicorn might find it hard to hear the responses of Lilac and Alexa though, for a band from Equestria was just starting to play a modern dance tune. Cadence herself might have to clear the dance floor very soon now to make way for the lively dancers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“My Alexa, You have fanned these flames so high I fear my next jeté will carry me to the stars! I can only imagine how fearsome your lance will be. And I cannot wait to see it in action!”

"Soon, my Lilac," said Alexa softly. "Whatever else may happen, I will perform for you and you will see all the strength you've put behind my thrusts."

She laughed gently and nodded in agreement at the mare's comments about the strange music performed by the caribou shaman.

“I believe it is time I finally thank the Princess for her appearance tonight, shall we?”

"Of course, my love," she said at these words and wandered up to the princess, perfectly in step with Lilac. She realized as she did that she had never appeared before the princess in anything other than her armor, and certainly not with her mane done up and wearing a dress. it made her somewhat conscious, though she wasn't entirely sure why. Her best guess was that, while she was perfectly comfortable appearing like this before her beloved Lilac, she wished to remain in the eyes of her princess the loyal and perfect guard.

“Princess Cadance, Your attendance tonight means so very much to myself and my guests. I apologize for not greeting you sooner, but I did not wish to interrupt your conversation with the Whitescar emissaries. And I...I had never danced with Alexa before now, not outside of battle…”

“That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for the two of you. I’m guessing you realized your feelings for each other during, well, the events of the Faire?”

Alexa quietly nodded at the words just as the music kicked back in. It was not the caribou's song this time, but it was something almost equally strange to her--a strange rhythmic something not particularly known to the empire, played mainly on instruments Alexa could not even discern. For this music, Alexa talked a little louder.

"Indeed," she said, smiling the princess way. "What happened there was terrible, but emotions run high out there. As the crystal heart needed to be filled with new love, I suppose it was that we both realized the depth of the love that was inside of us." She smiled and looked toward Lilac. "Or at the very least, surviving what we did was enough for me to be awarded a kiss from this lovely mare."

She nodded again and closed her eyes briefly. "I'm just glad you are safe, princess," she said. "The empress... when Sombra took over the first time, well... I'm sure you know the details..." She gave a long sigh. "I did my best to be resolute in mind, in word and in action, but I cannot deny that there was a part of me so terrified through it all that the same nightmare would repeat itself again, that we'd once more be helpless to stop it..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lilac beamed at her love when she spoke of her joust. She supposed, in time, it would be her turn to learn something from Alexa. After all, sweeping the guardsmare into a pas de deux on the battlefield had led to this wonderful romance they had both dived into. She could only imagine what learning the art of jousting, even in the most amateur and juvenile (see: safe) form of the art, could do for the two of them. Besides, it was important for her to more intimately understand something so important to the mare she adored! It could only help her to understand Alexa better.

The short walk to Princess Cadence found Lilac keeping close steps with the crystal guard and struggling not to wear a grin that was too goofy and twitterpated. Her struggle became much realer when the princess showed a sense of pride for the two mares and their love. Sure, she was the Princess of Love, but the ballerina hadn’t been expecting a reaction that strong! Oh dear, she was so tongue tied!

Thankfully, however, Alexa spoke first, sparing Lilac from any embarrassment she might have caused herself. The prima ballerina nodded her agreement with everything the lovely guardsmare said, then added, “It wasn’t just the thrill of survival that guided my movements, Alexa,” she said softly, her gaze cast downward sheepishly at speaking so casually (and with such a smitten smile!) before a royal, “After first meeting you...it was bound to happen eventually. Deep down I knew it from the first.”

The prima ballerina listened carefully when Alexa spoke this time. They hadn’t had the opportunity to really discuss the darker side of the attack, and Lilac honestly hadn’t been willing to face it while she was scrambling to organize this party in the aftermath of all that chaos. Though a part of her dreaded it, she would like to talk about it all later on. Sombra had reopened old wounds, and she wanted nothing more than to support her lover. The crystal dancer inched her foreleg closer to Alexa so that it pressed against hers.

“Despite the obvious joys that came from the attack it was...difficult. I was shaken more than I should care to admit. I feel as though my resolve would not have been so strong had not…”

Lilac trailed off and offered Alexandrite a pretty smile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red looked over to where Naj was pointing and, seeing Flux, smiled and followed Naj to say hello again. Seeing as how their first meeting had been cut rather short, he thought he should indeed try again to get to know one of Naj's friends for a change. As Flux explained how she volunteered to assist the caribou shaman in her performance, he nodded. "Well, it made for an interesting show, anyway," he said, standing next to Naj in case she felt the need to lean on something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Naj chuckled at Flux's response to her comments, and raised a hoof defensively.  “I kid, I kid.  And yeah, I guessed as much.”  She nodded in agreement with Red's statement that the show was interesting, as he came to stand beside her.  “It certainly was, I'm still not sure what to make of it.”

Somewhat catching his intentions, Naj leaned against Red once he'd walked over.  Strictly speaking, she didn't NEED him there at the moment.  Most of her injuries had faded into various dull aches, and she was confident she'd be able to keep upright.  All the same, she appreciated having him there, and intended take advantage of it.

 

Flux's next question was a bit more sombre, if no less friendly, about how Naj was doing since the battle.  She shrugged, and pondered for a moment.  “I've been better but, I've been worse too.  Granted, I've been in and out of sleep the past few days, and I've been relying on him-” she patted Red on the shoulder and smiled at him, “-for all of my needs.  And, kinda keeping him cooped up in the room too...”  She rubbed the back of her head, feeling a little guilty about it.  “But I'm feeling better every day!  And you look like you're doing pretty well yourself, what've you gotten the past couple days?”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Flux giggled a bit at Spring's response to the first part, giving Red a friendly smile as he walked over, saying the show had been interesting. well, it had been, but it had been pretty good too, in her opinion. She liked different, it made things interesting. She listened in silence as her friend talked about how she had been doing, saying Red had been taking care of her. She gave him a wide smile, patting him on the head lightly as Spring turned the question towards her.

 

"You're a good stallion. Wish I could find somepony like you." She said simply before moving back from him and looking at Spring. "Hmm... Well, I've been trying to help out around the city, but that was proving a bit difficult without really any magic left, so I've kinda been trying to get that back. I ate a bunch of sweets over there, so hopefully that'll help the process along!" She said cheerfully, waving a hoof over towards the banquet as she mentioned the sweets. She then began hearing the music, bouncing and humming in time with it as she smiled widely, enjoying the music and the presence of her friends.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Red smirked to Naj as she suggested he was being kept prisoner in their room. "You didn't keep me cooped up. I was perfectly happy to stay around and make sure you had enough to get well on." he said. The truth was, he was also happy just to be with her, even under the circumstances. Living in different cities as they did made any time they spent together precious.

 

Red smiled again as Flux patted his head, listening to her describe how she was trying to regain her magic. Naj hadn't always taken to eating food, so hearing Flux talk about loading up on sweets intrigued him. Figuring out what a changeling was like on a sugar high could have been interesting. "Does that work?" he asked, as much to both changelings as to just Flux, as he was genuinely curious.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...