Colapso Lucent had asked Varanim to attend to his room, and as she approached it -- no matter how long her delay -- she heard voices from inside. Voices breaking into laughs and giggles and back into voices, waiting...
Varanim is late, only absently noticing the voices as she approaches. Her hands are occupied by a pastry and a smallish skull--the former ignored--so she nudges open the door with one foot to enter.
Lucent She walks in Lucent, dressed in most regal ways, garnets in adornments in flowing white robes in the patterns of radiant cranes, of sunlight through clouds. Diamonds were in his hair, worked into ornamentation around his ear, a rosary of most startling colors hanging from his hand. He was talking to the maids, lights playing about them as he told stories, clothes strewn all about! Then, she walked in, and all eyes turned to Varanim!
Lucent "Good morning, Varanim!"
Varanim "Maybe," Varanim says warily, after several seconds of looking hard at the room and its glittering contents. She looks back to Lucent finally, blinking a bit. "What's all this?"
Lucent "Preparation." He smiles, giving a sweeping, dismissive gesture. "Take your clothes off!"
Varanim "Excuse me?"
Lucent "Do not be shy, they are all women as well. Let us not be long, too much to do!"
Varanim sets down the pastry and the skull so that she can fold her arms and fix him with a faintly incredulous stare. "Yes, I can see they're all women, very good. Is there some reason you invited me to this little party?"
Lucent "Hmmm? This is for you, is that not OBVIOUS?"
Varanim looks around at the entourage of maids, the piles of fabric, and the jewel-bedecked Lucent. "No," she says dryly, "'obvious' isn't really the word I'd use." She pinches the bridge of her nose, wincing as if at a headache, then ventures, "This is about... clothes?"
Lucent gets up, looking at them. His gaze lingers in one mauve dress, his hand touching a hairpiece reminiscent of a lioness, another, larger ballroom mask like a Copper Spider. A dress of pearlescent white and one of pink with white fur. "Indeed. You are not going to Heaven dressed like... like THAT!"
Varanim Beginning to look slightly nervous at the pink and white furry concoction, Varanim says, "Oh, I think it's a pretty workable idea--they'll assume I'm the hired help, and no one will try to talk to me. Trust me, it'll be great."
Lucent "Oh no. You are a Solar! You will go into the cabinet of Lytek, and he will know who you are. Heaven knows who you are, Varanim." He walks to her, hands landing on her shoulder, studded with gems. "You are a princess of the earth. You need to look the part."
Varanim "I've never been confused for a princess, and I suspect Lytek is a little swifter than that, although I'm often too optimistic that way." She looks at him as if assessing the level of dedication required to leave this conversation immediately, and her shoulders sag a bit as the verdict comes in. "I might be willing to dress up a bit."
Lucent smiled sunbright! "Great! We have all those maids here to help you choose and to help dress you. I know you may not be used to some of those accountrements, and some of them are somewhat tricky to put in place, but I tell you, you will look like a lady in no time."
Varanim "I've been capable of dressing myself for a number of years now, thank you," she snaps, then bends a little at his smile. "Something sedate. Anything giving the impression I'm interested in dancing, for example, will only end in disappointment for everyone."
Varanim A thought strikes her, and she scans the assembled maids for any that she previously through out of her room with the threat of necromancy.
Lucent Two of them, the one with blond hair and the one with green hair, were indeed there!
Lucent "Well, of course, you will go in a diplomatic dress, as a QUEEN, not a dancer!"
Varanim fixes those maids with a stare, possibly to remind them that she's capable of unpleasantness, then looks back at Lucent. "Every recent instance of someone putting me in a dress has ended badly, you know."
Lucent "Three's a charm?"
Varanim rolls her eyes, but beckons the maids forward. "Why is this so important to you?" she asks as she's surrounded.
Lucent walks back as the maids go to her and begin helping Varanim out of her clothes. A third one, one of the ones NOT terrorized by her before and thus more at ease brings forth adornments and begins placing them on Varanim, pointing her to a mirror. Lucent looks with interest.
Lucent "Back at you: Why is it so important to you to look like a beggar?"
Varanim "If you think I look like a beggar, you should spend more time with poor people--I'm dressed much more like a farm laborer, really. Ow, dammit!" She breaks off to push at a maid, then rolls her eyes.
Varanim "Take your pick: I dress like a peasant because I am one, it mostly gets me ignored by the right people, and into every necromancer's week a few periods of unmentionable filth must fall."
Lucent The maid 'eeks' and runs away, hiding under the table as if expecting necromancy to come, for a moment, before coming back just as embarassed as she had been afraid when she noticed there was none. "Let us ignore for a moment that I always try to dress you better, then, and change my question: Why are you against dressing in a regal way?"
Varanim smirks at him in the mirror. "And be taken for an aristocrat? That'd be a strange thing for a basically honest person like myself to do."
Lucent looks at her in puzzlement "You could be an honest aristocrat?"
Varanim laughs aloud. "Lucent, sometimes you say things that make no sense at all."
Lucent One of the maids holds to her the pink dress with the white fur, placing it before her bare body. Another brings underwear, frilled one with long stockings and garters. Antoher tries to show her how she would look with the Copper Spider ballroom mask. Lucent looks even more puzzled. "Why is it that makes no sense for you?"
Varanim "Simpler," she says flatly to the maids.
Varanim To Lucent, she replies over her shoulder, "Never mind, I'll tell you when you're older. Now, why does playing dress-up obsess you so?"
Lucent sighs. "You think there are no honest aristocrats? You think I am dishonest, then?"
Varanim "Oh, I'd never accuse of dishonesty someone who could lift a hand and have my whole family--hypothetical, of course--executed. Let's just agree that titles would sit poorly on me, shall we?"
Lucent Lucent becomes silent as the maids work. They bring a dress with a long, flaring peacock tail, of iridescent blue and green that seems to shift whenever the light strikes it differently. "... oh."
Varanim "Oh, that's pretty," Varanim says at the dress, then coughs and adds, "in a tacky way."
Varanim "'Oh'?" she echoes after a moment, unable to see him for the moment in the swirl of maids.
Lucent "Those nobles yet live?" The maids take it away and bring a new one, a dress of flowing greens and blacks. Subdued colors in a beauty embroided with onyx patterns. They hold her hair back for a moment with an onyx pin.
Varanim "Hm? Look, I wasn't talking about me, why do you always have to think everything is personal...?" She trails off a bit as she looks at herself in the mirror. "Huh."
Varanim "Keep that pin. And bring over... hm, that thing, peeking out the bottom of that pile."
Lucent "You did not answer if I was dishonest." They had a dress before her, all white, pearlescent with golden hues that flared from the low cut and the center of her chest like a sunburst to cover her form! But then, took it off to pick that one on the bottom of the pile... looking oddly at each other as they do so.
Varanim The gown is of fairly restrained cut in a deep bronze color, glimmering faintly with intricate embroidery worked just a shade deeper, flecks of onyx and gold glinting against the light. She points a finger and they also bring a long vest of charcoal gray to go over, like smoke around the gleam of a fire.
Varanim "What? No, of course you're not." She turns around with a frown, finally. "Oh, hell. Did I offend you again?"
Lucent "You ARE aware I am aristocrat, right?" He looks at the gown... and smiles. "Put that on. I think that one. Yes, THAT one, it fits you!" He points! "It looks just like Summ... er."
Varanim "There was a rumor or two about it, yes." Varanim turns back to critically regard the mirror, then nods. "It'll do. All right, enough of that." As she starts to hunt for her clothes, she says over her shoulder, "Look, I'll wear the dress, all right? But leave off the titles, they make me crankier."
Lucent "That stocking looks good with it." He points. "That underwear. That jewel for the hair..."
Varanim keeps a wary eye on his selections, hoping to prevent further escalation. "It might work," she admits grudgingly.
Lucent snaps his fingers. "Dress her." And promptly they begin to, shoes and dress and stockings, jewelry on her hair... "Well, you will probably need some time to do your nails and the like before we go to Heaven, but... I think that will make you a proper Solar. And wecan have a ball here afterwards, I think."
Varanim looks alarmed. "You can have a ball on the moon, if it makes you happy. I'll have work to do."
Lucent looks down, forlorn. "You would not come?"
Varanim "I can't imagine why I'd..." she catches sight of him in the mirror, and sighs. "Hell. What now? I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find one or two people to dance with you. Thousand, that is."
Lucent "But I want to dance with you. In that dress." He smiles, and the maids around Varanim giggle, or ooh and aaah, even as they soldier on working on her to finish the dress and accountrements.
Varanim looks increasingly restless. "I'll think about it, all right?"
Lucent They had finished dressing her, and he smiles to them one last time. "Leave us." He tells them... and so they do, with a last glare from one of the green-haired maids. Leaving them alone, for Lucent to walk closer to Varanim, walking closer and planting a kiss on her lips. "Do think. We are together now... I want to see you dressing the part. Dancing the part."
Varanim starts to pull back a bit, exasperated, but stops and looks at Lucent with a little smile. "Maybe for a few minutes," she says, and kisses him.