zahara The sun is just beginning to head down towards the horizon, when there is a knock on Varanim's door.
Varanim "What? It's open," comes out in a vaguely irritated tone, Varanim's usual salutation to such things.
Varanim Varanim, dressed in her usual Not Really An Exalt? chic, looks up from a book where she seems to be scribbling copious editorial notes. She considers a moment, then bounces up to her feet and grabs her hat. "You're on."
zahara "Great!" She smiles, and leads the way out through Solaria, listening idly to the people around them as they walk. "I thought you'd be interested in the second-best view in the city," she mentions as they head onwards.
Varanim "Oh, definitely. I doubt your taste, as you know, but from the goodness of my heart I'll wait to see how it plays out." Varanim's mood seems to lift slightly as they leave the Cascade behind and blend into the crowds of the city.
zahara holds her hand over her heart dramatically, "You wound me, you really do. I have impeccable taste." She notices the change in mood and smiles a little to herself. A few more minutes of walking and they stand at the edge of a great central plaza. The entire area, which encompasses a space larger than the city blocks, is tiled in marble which forms a large mosaic of the Crest of the Sunlands. (...)
zahara At its center is a raised dias from which she has been known to make the occasional speech, but at this time it begins to bubble, a frothy spray of water, originally from the Cascade spears the air in a brilliant jet, catching the light of the setting sun and refracting into rainbows which color the tiles with light and translucent shadow. It falls down the dais, creating miniature waterfalls in an intricate pattern unseen when
zahara pattern unseen when it is dry.
Varanim "Hm," says Varanim quietly after a long moment of looking. "A bit fancy for my usual, but I'll grant it's a nice design." Should Zahara happen to look over, one corner of her mouth is turned up in a little smile as her eyes trace the multilayered structure of the water.
zahara "Ah," she raises a finger, "But it gets better..." As the initial jet of water dies down to a less enthusiastic - but still impressive - steady stream of liquid, it begins to fill up a basin at the bottom. As the sky grows darker, the fountain stands out even more... the essence-laden water glows with its own light and people begin to filter out into the plaza and set up in various places.
zahara Someone begins to play music, and others start to dance. Some strip down to very little clothing and step into the fountain.
Varanim "Is this going to be a ceremony? I make it a point never to be sober for those." Varanim slips a flask from one pocket, takes a swig, then offers it to Zahara as she watches.
zahara takes a swig and grins, "Nope. This only happens once a season, and they've taken to turning it into a party." She hands the flask back and watches the people fill the square.
Varanim The liquid in the flask is a higher quality of alcohol than Varanim used to drink, less inclined to leave a smell on the breath. "What's the occasion?"
zahara chuckles, "Honestly, I built this fountain to vent the excess Essence buildup of the manse in a pretty way. They call it Day of the Faithful."
Varanim "So they're having a party in your sewer? That's pretty good, actually." Varanim smirks, leaning on a rail to contemplate the plaza with something like relaxation.
zahara "It's a bit cleaner than that," she laughs and watches as the people in the fountain splash around, spreading the glowing water across more of the plaza - and the people - in haphazard sprays. The band picks up, playing an energetic melody, and some enterprising individuals set up their market tents with food. "Care to dance?"
Varanim "Me? I'm a terrible dancer." Varanim looks sideways at Zahara. "Wait, you're serious? I have to see this."
zahara laughs. "Me too. Never bothered to learn, but apparently the idea is to jump around and wave your arms."
Varanim "Oh, sure, it's easy." Varanim starts toward a nearby group of musicians. "Pick a group that has a beat you like and wiggle around sort of along that line. Also, drink more." She does, and offers some of her dwindling supply.
zahara heads on over, passing the flask back and forth with Varanim. "What're you drinking now? This is... different from your usual."
Varanim "Would you believe I'm adopting the airs of my betters, trying to fit in more?" When they reach the edge of the group Varanim picked, a bunch of country hicks from the sound of the melody and the attendant stomping, she tilts her head to listen for a moment, then hooks Zahara's elbow and joins in a group that's beginning the accompanying dance.
zahara "Not really!" she says cheerfully, and gets pulled into the dance, doing her best to pretend like she knows what she's doing
Varanim "True story: embalming fluid is a bad ingredient to a still!" Varanim lifts her voice to be heard over the music and the growing crowd as they whirl along. Contrary to her words, she's agile enough to be at least a passable dancer, and she seems to know the steps.
zahara does not know the steps, however she gets by initially on dexterity and ingenuity. Soon enough, she picks them up. As they twirl around the plaza, someone does a cannonball from the top of the dais and a huge wave splashes over them.
Varanim gasps, then turns her head to call laughingly back an insult to the jumper, something in a back-country Eastern dialect that certainly sounds both scatological and improbable. "Need more booze soon!" she calls to Zahara, as more people join in the line of the dance.
zahara shakes her head, pushing her hair back out of her face with a laugh. Now glowing and wet, she steers them more or less towards the edge of the crowd where she spies the sparkle of booze bottles. She snags a bottle on one spin and then when she comes around again, drops a coin worth at least twice what the bottle was sold for in its place. "Will this do?"
Varanim "It's the best kind--paid for--so yes! Come on, too many people." Varanim starts striking a path toward the edge of the crowd. "Of the Faithful, huh?"
zahara chuckles as they finally break free of the crowd, coming to a halt and catching her breath. "That was Markuran's idea, actually..." A shadow crosses her face, and she takes the bottle, and a healthy swig.
Varanim notes the look on her face but doesn't remark on it except to say, "Never regret a good party. Even assholes have the right idea sometimes, if only by accident." She helpfully thumps Zahara on the back to help the booze go down better.
zahara chokes a little as 'nim unexpectedly thumps her on the back, but surprisingly it does work. "It is a good party, isn't it?"
Varanim "Loud music, free-flowing booze, passable dancing, and"--she lifts her head to sniff expertly--"at least three different drugs being passed around. Not bad at all."
zahara chuckles and leans back to look at the sky. "I can think of worse."
Cerin Out amongst the fountain, there is someone who is starting to attract some notice. He is obviously a minor godling of some sort, despite his clothing in rough cloth of a neutral grey, as he isn't actually wet. To anyone looking closely, it appears he is actually dodging the droplets.
Varanim nudges the upward-looking Zahara with an elbow. "I was going to ask if you brought your stash, but check out the fountain first."
zahara blinks and looks in the indicated direction. She spots the man easily, as everyone else is already staring at him. "Perhaps we should investigate. What do you say?"
Varanim "As long as we're 'checking out that guy doing that thing at the party,' not 'looking for trouble that needs solving'. No authority stuff." With that caveat, Varanim strikes out for the fountain, elbowing and slipping between dancers as needed.
zahara "Well, he's also kind of cute. What could go wrong?" She grins and follows in the path that Varanim has so helpfully provided via elbows
Cerin The man appears to have noticed them coming, and indeed is dancing towards them, until suddenly he seems to vanish, until Zahara hears a footstep behind her. "Greetings, ladies."
Varanim "The cute ones are always the worst," Varanim is smirking over her shoulder to Zahara when Cerin vanishes, then she jumps a bit when he reappears behind. "Smug bastard."
zahara blinks, then spins to face him. "Well hello there, handsome." She grins.
Cerin "Hello, beautiful," he says with a matching grin.
Varanim "Ew, ick," Varanim says, rolling her eyes. "Now you're going to kiss, I can tell."
zahara laughs, "I wouldn't want to disappoint her," she looks up into his eyes, "Would you?"
Cerin "I would not like to prove her wrong, no," he softly. Before proving her right.
zahara kisses back with a grin, and he finally gets water on him. When she pulls away, he is glowing a bit too
Varanim "It's a curse, being right all the time," she grumbles, looking away long enough to steal a pipe from a nearby celebrant and take a hit before handing it back to the mildly indignant woman.
Varanim "You're not here on business, are you?" she adds as she looks back to Cerin. "It's my night off."
zahara "There are worse curses, I'm sure." She steps back a bit from him, though her hand falls into his. "I was showing Varanim the Day of the Faithful party." A smile, "I was wondering when you'd show up."
Cerin "I would hate to disappoint, either of you," he says, as he takes Zahara's hand. He makes a little up and down gesture to 'nim, as if to suggest 'Do I look like I'm here for work, dressed like this?'
Varanim makes a little hand-spreading shrug at Cerin, as if to say, 'Do I know all of your freaky ninja ways?'
Varanim "As parties go, I've seen much worse," she admits, "although me and the faithful is pretty hilarious."
Cerin nods a little, as if to say 'good point, well made'
Cerin "One day, I'll have to paint this," he murmurs half to himself.
zahara "That would be wonderful."
Varanim "The People Dance in the Sacred Drainpipe?" Varanim considers the idea.
Cerin "Something like that, yes," he says with a smile, acquiring drinks for them all with a gesture nobody really seems to see.
Varanim "Gosh, well, I'm not drinking these days, but maybe just this once." Varanim takes hers with an elaborately reluctant look.
zahara snorts. "Oh right, I forgot we were drinking apple cider earlier."
Cerin "Well, I would not want to tempt you. I could return it easily enough ..." he holds his hand out for the bottle.
Varanim half-turns to shield the bottle and bares her teeth at Cerin. "No takebacks."
Varanim Then she shoots a sulky look at Zahara. "Traitor."
Cerin laughs, and takes a drink from his own
zahara tips her glas towards Varanim then takes a drink
Varanim seems to be giving Cerin and Zahara an elaborate squinty-eyed scrutiny. After a moment, she takes a drink and says, "I'm trying to picture you two relaxing."
zahara raises a brow. "Well get a good look, it doesn't happen often."
Cerin "Not often enough," he says, with a slightly sad smile.
Varanim "So I gather. You should do something about that, really." Varanim delivers the advice with a dismissive wave of her hand and not a hint of irony.
zahara "I would, if only Creation would stop trying to kill me."
zahara closes her eyes and listens to the music for a bit, tapping her foot to the beat. "It's a lovely night out."
Cerin "Or perhaps we just have to stop bothering about that..." he murmurs in her ear. "It is, after all, a lovely night out, yes"
Varanim "I keep telling you, you have to learn to let that go," she smirks at Zahara. "No one ever listens to me," she adds mournfully to Cerin as she takes another drink.
zahara elbows Varanim in the ribs. "I let all sorts of things go," she says in mock-indignation
Varanim "Ow. And dropping your fork at dinner doesn't count!"
Cerin laughs, and takes another drink. "I'm sure people do listen ... it's the paying attention ..." he replies, to Varanim, as an aside.
zahara "alright, I'll put you in charge of whatever we do next then."
Varanim "Some people don't even make it that far," she sniffs to Cerin. Then she recalls that it's her night off, from necromancy and boy problems alike, and salutes them both with a bottle. "Celebrating people make lousy gamblers! I'm going to go find a card game and clean up."
Varanim looks briefly aghast at Zahara, then realizes she's joking. "Stop that. Both of you, behave! Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Then she wanders off.
zahara laughs, and looks back at Cerin, "Are you ready to 'behave' tonight?"
Cerin murmurs in Zahara's ear "When have I ever done that?"
zahara grins wickedly, "Well then, let's make some trouble."