a simple meal ([personal profile] rogueinladysclothing)

Nov. 27th, 2016 11:49 am
i_paladin: (refined)
[personal profile] i_paladin
Like most mess halls for inns Paladin has stayed at, this place has a sort of seat yourself policy. If there is a seat open, take it? If someone sits next to you that you don't like, deal with it (at least that's the general rule of thumb.) The seat that Paladin takes is at a smaller table off to the side but still near enough to the massive hearth that they can smell the wood burning and feel the pleasant heat of it as well. It always reminds Paladin about the only enjoyable part of winter: the nights around the fire, safe in a warm inn, drinking ale. Literally the only part of the white death of winter that she enjoys.

Paladin had slept for ten and a half hours and still it didn't feel long enough. The only reason they are not currently in bed wrapped up in blankets and oblivious to the rest of the world is because her stomach is so empty that it is physically making her sick. The sweet and savory smells from the kitchen are not helping this problem.

Waking, a note was sent to room 228 with an invitation for dinner if Amelia could make it, and then she got dressed.

Unsurprisingly Paladin favors blacks and whites, tonight: black slacks, jacket and tie, with the usual white collared shirt, all clean and cut to fit that androgynous frame.

One of the serving boys comes by with a basket of bread and some butter and it's hard for Paladin not to simply drool, that will happen after the boy is sent off for a glass of wine.

Date: 2016-11-27 08:14 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Subtle Grin)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
The invitation arrives with perfect timing for the rogue: stuck on a difficult passage in her book on elemental magic, Amelia had been about to set fire to her notes out of frustration when there's a knock on the door. Schooling her expression, she opens the door, equally surprised and delighted by the offered distraction. She thanks the boy for delivering the message with a coin from a pouch on her belt and then quickly readies herself. Fresh clothes of a rich chocolate brown with silver embroidery under her leather underbust corset and a belt with only her pouches on it (there's no need for weapons inside of the inn). After brushing out and re-braiding her hair, she pins it up with her hairpin and then makes her way down to the dining hall.

Spotting Paladin once she arrives, Amelia makes her way over to the table and takes a seat next to the tiefling. "Seat's not taken, is it?" she asks, the corner of her lips tugging upward into a smirk. "I received an invitation, but I'm afraid it wasn't signed." The signature wasn't necessary, of course, but that doesn't mean the rogue won't tease her new friend a bit anyway.

Date: 2016-11-27 08:46 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Center of Attention)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
A silvery laugh falls from her lips at the thought of having more than a single message at a time. "You think too highly of me if you believe anyone would want to write me. Though I suppose after putting in inquiries about selling the wyvern I might get a few..." The buyers will likely call her phone rather than write a letter, but the idea is still the same. The rogue turns a wry smile in Paladin's direction. "Hopefully with large offers, of course."

Leaning back in her chair a bit, Amelia nods to the offer. "An ale would be lovely, along with a glass of water." The rogue and alcohol don't mix well if she doesn't want to run her mouth off and it seems best to avoid that if she wants her new friend not to reject her before they even get to sharing the meal.

When the serving boy comes back with Paladin's wine and the order for Amelia's drinks is placed, the rogue smiles softly at her companion. "I trust you slept well. You look much better than the last time I saw you." Which is to say that a bath and some sleep definitely helped with the look of pure exhaustion the tiefling had when Amelia left her companion to take care of herself.

Date: 2016-11-27 09:17 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Shy Smile)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
In the rogue's experience, it's best not to ask what someone would use something like a wyvern for. So long as they don't use it to come after her, it's not really her place to know.

"Nothing wrong with that when you need the rest," she teases. "Besides, when you're warm and comfortable, it's hard to resist the call of sleep." Even someone with sleeping habits as terrible as Amelia's can understand the desire to rest when warm and comfortable. After a hard fight and a long journey, especially one that ends in an unfamiliar place, it's even easier to fall into the rest needed to recover. And, really, so long as Paladin made it out of the bath before the water got cold, that's all that matters.

Amelia's cheeks turn a light shade of pink at the compliment. "I-I... thank you," she stammers after a moment of stunned silence. "It's all my tailor's work, really. He... knows my tastes and shape well and always makes beautiful things for me." She's really bad at accepting compliments, if it wasn't already obvious. Her fingers find their way to her hairpin as she looks away, trying to regain her composure a bit. "You look nice, too," she manages after a moment. "You know yourself and style well."

Date: 2016-11-27 10:30 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Concern)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
As amused as Amelia might be by sonnets about bathing, it might be best if they wait until they know each other a little better. No need for things to get awkward too quickly. "Just wait for the day you walk around the Nexus and find it sunny one side of the street and pouring rain on the other. A bath is even better when you've lived through every possible combination of weather in a season in the span of a few minutes." The rogue has determined that she prefers showers after such adventures, but she doesn't really want to explain indoor plumbing to Paladin just yet.

"Perhaps I could recommend you to mine? He works magic into every one of his pieces." Literally. Amelia's seen him do it only once, but it was a fascinating process to watch. It also means the man can produce clothing that much faster. "I've never seen him create something that didn't flatter the wearer wonderfully." It's high praise, but the man deserves every last word of it in Amelia's mind.

To avoid any further running of her mouth, the rogue takes her mug of ale in hand and sips at it quietly. The homebrew here is a nutty ale that she appreciates, especially as the days get colder as Winter approaches. "So," she begins slowly, "what are your plans now that you've rested? Wait for me to sell the wyvern and then try to find a way home? Or were you thinking of staying here for a little while?" Most people try to go home right away, herself included, but some are curious and comfortable enough to pass some time in the meeting place between worlds before they venture onwards.

Date: 2016-11-27 11:11 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Ready For Travel)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"Assume weather for the season and be ready to run for the nearest cover if you don't like how it changes." It's not much comfort, but it's all she's got. The Nexus is a strange place by any standards.

She nods in answer to the question about her tailor. "I'm sure there are others who do such things, too, but I'm biased to mine. He's one of the few constants I've had in my life since I found him here. A good tailor isn't someone one moves on from on a whim - I'm sure you understand." It was the same way on her world, too. Once she had found a tailor she liked, Amelia didn't see anyone else. Given that she's still wearing the last leather corset the older gentleman made for her and that she tried to have her new tailor adapt to the design of the clothes she wore in from her world, it seems she's still clinging even now.

Amelia hides behind her mug for a moment, taking a sip of ale to give herself a moment to compose her expression. "With any luck, very little time will have passed when you make your way back home." She's trying to be optimistic for Paladin's sake, but also to cut herself off from wondering about those she swore to protect on her world and can no longer offer anything to. "Time is fluid here I've heard some people talk of staying here for a week or more and having no more than a day or two pass on their world. It makes it much easier for them to come and go when necessary."

Date: 2016-11-28 05:32 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Self-Deprecating)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
Amelia's shoulders rise and fall in a half-hearted shrug. "It's an assumption that makes sense in a world that's logical and follows rules. The Nexus has some rules, but most everything here is flexible. Time, weather, even where a place is can change without warning. It's a hell of a thing to walk down an alley and expect to come out on one street and end up in the middle of a busy market instead." One learns quickly to not assume anything as fact when they've seen some of these crazy things happen.

The rogue rests her mug on the table, her fingers loosely around the handle as she turns a smile up at Paladin. "I've met a lot of people, yes. Some good, some not, and every range of in between. Adventurers, scholars, captains, spirits - I've met all sorts here. Some of them were even human." She winks to give away that she's teasing before shifting in her seat a little to give her a moment longer to figure out how to phrase what's on her mind.

"Someone... even got me to believe that magic wasn't all bad. And now? I can use it, too." A soft, self-deprecating laugh falls from her lips as she shakes her head. "Poorly, since I'm learning all on my own and not great at theory, but I am trying." Despite her light tone and obvious excitement about picking it up, the fingers around her mug are turning white with the effort of gripping it. Magic, while not the terror it once was, is a sore subject. Not because of the terrible things it did on her world, but because the terrible falling out she had with the one who made it not so bad.

Date: 2016-11-28 06:42 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Magic)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"If you stick to the Plaza or Industrial District, nothing can hurt you unless you give it permission to do so. That doesn't mean you can't accidentally hurt yourself, but at least you don't have to worry about anyone else doing it." The difference is subtle, but important, and one that needs to be mentioned right away.

"Not necessarily. Some of the humans I've met have been far more intriguing than the non-humans. True, the non-humans are often more noticeable, but that doesn't always make them more interesting. I'm always more curious about the interesting ones, no matter the reason they're interesting." Sometimes it can lead to bad things for all involved, but isn't that why they say curiosity killed the cat?

"He was... kind, sweet, and very patient with me." A beat as her cheeks turn a slight shade of pink. "The person who helped me come to face my fear of magic, I mean. He was a mage himself and he showed me so many things that magic could do that weren't frightening or meant to hurt anyone, that were meant to help people at times. Some of it was even beautiful in its own way, and so he... inspired me to try and learn." It's not the whole story, but she can't start on the rest of it without breaking down. Acceptance of what happened between her and the mage is still a work in progress and she'd rather avoid airing things like that to someone she barely knows.

But there's another question to answer and that one is much easier to focus on. "I've been trying to learn defensive magics - wards, shields, that sort of thing - but right now all I'm able to manage is the most basic of elemental magics. Most of it is related to fire." A warm smile returns to her face. "I've gotten very good at lighting candles from across the room and heating my bath water if it gets too cold, but everything else is still hard."

Date: 2016-11-29 03:37 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Can't Do This)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"It's not usually an issue, no. So long as you can keep your feet under you, you should be fine." Experiences may vary, but that seems to be the general idea around here at least.

Amelia can't help the small snort that comes out of her mouth. "That must've been quite a sight." One she obviously thinks would be amusing to see. "Even if she and her friend were offended, maybe it was for the best. Boring people need a good shakeup from time to time." You make terrible decisions, Amelia; don't encourage them in other people, too.

"In my case, it's fueled by my frustration and anger. Most days, anyway." She shakes her head, a self-deprecating smile tugging at her lips that never fully settles. "What I want is to use this power to protect those people I care about, but all I seem to do is piss myself off every day with my lack of progress. I know I need to be patient, but it's hard when I know what I'm up against." A sigh and she shakes her head again. She should really find a teacher one of these days, but who would want to deal with someone like her for more than a little while at a time?

The pink color in her cheeks darkens. "I just say what's on my mind, even if it ends up bothering people." Which is usually does. "And yes, he was very nice. Still is, I'm sure." Wherever he is, whatever he's doing, whoever he's with...

Dreams, why does it still hurt so much to think about him?

Her breath catches in her chest for a moment and she's glad when the server boy comes back to ask if they want anything else. Amelia quickly asks for a small basket of fresh fruits before hiding behind her water glass, not trusting her voice. Given how her stomach is knotting itself, she doesn't think she'll eat much of anything, but she'll at least try. Maybe it'll help ease her past the hurt?

Date: 2016-12-03 12:41 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Playing Along)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"Seems like a mystery best left unsolved. You can change the ending to whatever you like that way." If Paladin's watching closely, they may take note of a wink from Amelia, but it's over so quickly and her face hidden behind her glass of water so there's no way to be sure. The rogue seems rather pleased with her statement either way, though.

"I don't have time to be patient," she says tersely before catching herself and sighing. Setting her water glass aside, she shakes her head softly. "I need to stay here and just... keep pushing myself. It's always worked before and I'll make it work again. If I keep trying, I have to get it eventually, right? Even a fool can split their head open on a rock with enough force and effort." Perhaps not a great metaphor, but it's about how Amelia feels about her lack of progress with her magic. She wants to be able to protect her friends now, not 'eventually' or 'someday,' because if something goes wrong when Winter comes - which seems likely, given the end of the last Winter - she needs to be able to defend them. Knives and a slingshot don't work against magic and she knows that firsthand.

The unspoken passing over of the topic of the mage is welcome and Amelia latches on to the comment about manners quickly. Her gaze settles on the hair next to Paladin's brow, giving the impression that she's looking the tiefling in the eye when she really isn't. "There's nothing to excuse. You must've had one hell of a fight with the wyvern before getting here and now that you've slept? You need to recharge your body with food, too." Having been through it several times herself, the rogue's not about to tell Paladin to mind their manners at the table. When the body needs food after that kind of fight, you give in as quickly and messily as necessary.

Date: 2016-12-05 03:33 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Turned Away)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
Amelia folds her arms across her chest and grips the back of her arms tightly. "It's not that I don't technically have time, but... I never feel like I'm prepared enough. After everything that's happened the last few years..." She sighs, but it's a heavy, weighted sound rather than a frustrated one. "I worry that I'll fail to protect those people I care about if I can't do all of this now rather than later. On my world, my body was enough to stop everything that could harm them. But here? Here it's just... not enough."

After all is said and done, after all the progress she's made, she still believes that she is not enough. For anything. For anyone.

The suggestion of enchanted weapons gets a small shrug. "I thought the point of learning to use magic was to get away from the use of weapons. The ones I carry are deadly enough when my opponent can bleed." Which is to say no, she hasn't looked into that.

Isn't multiclassing what she's doing now?

A soft laugh falls from her lips and she shakes her head. "I'm not sweet at all, really." Just pragmatic. When her basket of fruit arrives a few moments later, she thanks the server boy, and then motions to it. Inside are fresh apples, peaches, a plum, and one large grapefruit. "Please, feel free to try something. It's all quite delicious."

Date: 2016-12-09 05:51 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Playing Along)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"But I don't want them to have to face it. I want to be strong enough that they don't need to be."

It's a struggle she's faced for so long, a habit she forced herself into without reason or cause. One day, she simply decided it was necessary to be this way for the sake of others and worked to become this unreachable paragon. She could never make it, could never be completely strong enough, but it didn't stop her from trying. Now, when she has the chance to do things for herself, she finds it hard to do. And those few times she's struggled to do so anyway, she's failed. Hard. Today she survives and studies to become stronger. It's all she knows how to do for now, but, maybe, someday, she'll finally take that first step toward something for herself that will work out in her favor.

Exhaling a silent breath, she turns to Paladin with a hollow smile. "I'll have to look into a magical weapon in the future, though. Do you think I could have someone enchant what I have already? It seems a waste to learn a new set of weapons when I'm comfortable with the ones I have." Pragmatic as always, but at least the nostalgia and desire to use her own weapons makes sense here.

The question about the fruit earns a small laugh. "It's called a plum. The skin may be a little tart, but the fruit underneath is juicy and relatively sweet." Amelia picks one up and offers it to Paladin. "Give it a try. If you don't like it, I'll finish it." Fruits have always been a weakness for the rogue and she doesn't care about the decorum of finishing what someone else started when it comes to things like the offered plum.

Date: 2016-12-10 01:06 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Subtle Grin)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
Letting the topic of her life choices aside, Amelia happily latches on to that of her weapons. "Depends on what the situation calls for. If I can keep my distance, I prefer my slingshot. No one ever expects it, but I have a deadly arm with it. But if I need to get close, I have a rapier and gausche, along with a large number of finely made daggers, that do nicely." She smirks and leans a little closer. "To be honest, I have a tendency to run in ahead of everyone else when I don't think we're moving fast enough, so I find myself relying more and more on the hand-to-hand weaponry." In reality, she has a hot temper that doesn't let her sit on the back lines much these days. Her tanks friends are always cringing as she flies past them into battle, taking many more blows than necessary. But with reflexes and endurance like hers, she can handle them. Usually. Mostly.

...okay, sometimes they're really bad, but she always shrugs those times off after she recovers.

"Good?" she asks, barely managing to hold back a laugh at the sight of the shine on Paladin's chin. To distract herself a little, she grabs a peach from the basket, takes a good whiff of it, and then takes a small bite. It's on that edge between too tart and mellow that she loves, and she gives a small nod of approval as she takes another bite. "Fruit in the Nexus is varied and delicious. If you like these, I suggest you take a trip to one of the open air markets - you'll find a whole assortment of new things to try there." Along with a whole assortment of other strange and interesting things, the likes of which seem to change every single day.

As Amelia finishes off her peach and goes to grab for an apple, Paladin's meal arrives. Used to the large portions this place offers, she can't help but level a smirk at the tiefling when they have to shift their glasses and the basket of fruit to make room for all of it. "Think you'll be able to manage all of this?" the rogue teases.

Date: 2016-12-12 05:49 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Profile)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
There's no magical healers where Amelia's from and her body bears the scars of her mistakes. She carries her sins across her skin, hiding them from the world with her modest necklines and fully covered arms - but they're always there. Her companions may have hated her diving into fights the way she did, but at least they understood why. A rogue with a temper is not one you tell 'no' in the heat of the moment.

"We can see them after you eat, if you like. I have them all tucked away in my room." Weapons are easy enough to show off and she is rather proud of a few of them. "I don't usually throw the daggers, though. My slingshot hits harder than you might think." And yes, if Paladin thinks that means Amelia's killed a few someones or somethings with it, they would not be wrong.

The sight of the blade strapped to Paladin's arm draws Amelia's immediate attention and the rogue carefully reaches out to look it over, tracing the air above it with her fingers. Her eyes remain locked on it as she asks, "It... hums in a way I'm not familiar with. Is it magical?" It's a curious thing, one that makes the rogue want to know more about what it is she's seeing in front of her.

Amelia waves a vague hand at the questions about the meal on the table. "My appetite is small at this time of day. I'll finish my apple and likely be done for the night." In truth, the rogue doesn't eat nearly as much as she should. Days spent with her face in books mean she often forgets to take care of herself properly. There's always one big, hearty meal before her morning weapons training, but other than that? She all but lives on tea and dried fruits and meats in her room as she pours over all the magical texts she can find.

Date: 2016-12-14 04:42 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Restless)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"Invited to-- What the hell are you--?" A blush creeps across Amelia's cheeks as the notion Paladin's talking about sets in. Of course, the obvious idea for everyone else is the last one she'd think of. "Y-yes, that's... always best." Dreams, how much more awkward can she make this?

"I wonder, can it tell the difference if a very talented liar says they have no intentions of harming you?" A beat as she looks up to Paladin's face. "Not that I have any intentions of doing anything to you, but I am curious about how it works." Because that would be a hell of a neat thing to have at her disposal. The business implications of such a thing are immense, if the intent to cause harm didn't necessarily involve being hurt physically.

Again the rogue smiles and shakes her head. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm fine." As if to prove her point, she finally takes a bite of her apple. "And there's never any reason to apologize for an appetite like yours, especially when it's habit. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that old habits are the hardest to change." She flashes the tiefling a wink around another bite of apple, settling back in her chair a bit. As she does so, the fingers of her free hand reach up to her hair pin, pulling through the delicate strands as she thinks; The soft, musical sound they produce is comforting to the rogue. It's a grounding behavior, one that's become the kind of habit she doesn't want to break.

"Paladin," she says suddenly without prompt, "tell me... about your world. What's it like there? What races live there? Are there large cities and countries across the map or just small villages looking out for themselves?" Being around someone who is so much like herself, who obviously comes from a place not unlike Kairn, she can't help but feel homesick. Hearing about her new friend's world should help ease the pain ...or so she hopes.

Date: 2016-12-17 04:15 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Shy Smile)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
The blush in the rogue's cheeks begins to creep up to her ears and down her neck. "I-I didn't... I mean I would never..." Dreams, why does she even bother trying? She's so flustered she can't think straight. No wonder people like to tease her so much - her virginity is painfully obvious when she gets like this. She pulls her gaze away from Paladin to try and keep some amount of her dignity, but it's unlikely to help at this point.

Surprisingly, Paladin's answer to her questions is useful for Amelia. "In a way, then, you're - I apologize if I use the wrong word here - empathic? At least a little?" A beat, and then she clarifies, "You know what others are feeling. Perhaps not their emotions directly, as someone whose talents lie inherently in such things, but you know them by speaking with them?" Having known a few people who had the latent talent and then reading about it later helps her understanding greatly. She might be a bit off the mark here, but she feels a little better about it than she does many other things these days.

Amelia settles in as Paladin speaks of their world, a wistful smile settling on her lips. They could be talking about Kairn's history, for how similar the description is to old tales that she's heard and read in her lifetime. It eases a little of the pain clutching at her after coming too close to the subject of her world for her tastes.

"Dwarves are a wonderful people," she agrees, setting aside her finished apple and picking up her ale. It's a little warm now, but as she ordered it, she'll still drink it. "I fought alongside one for years and I have met very few men as fine." The blacksmith will always hold a special place in her heart, along with the rest of her traveling companions, but it's good to know dwarves seem to be good people across the multiverse.

After a moment of pause to allow Paladin a few bites to eat, she presses on. "What else can you tell me? What of the type of lands? Are there mountains? Great plains? Wide seas? And what of magic? From what you've said, it sounds like something everyone knows and understands, but is it... normal for someone to use it?" The unspoken question hangs in the air: Is it safe to use it?

Date: 2016-12-20 03:38 am (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Discussion)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"Oh, no, it's not that, it's just--" Well, actually, it is that, but Amelia's trying not to push back on her new friend for being the way they are. "I'm just not very good at handling, uhh, that kind of conversation..." True, she's bad at a lot of personal conversations in the first place, but for all the flirting she throws around, she's terrible at being on the receiving end of it. Her stubborn nature and pride keep her from appreciating the subtleties of most compliments.

The rogue nods along as Paladin explains how they sense things. "I can see that having a lot of practical applications." Both the blade and Paladin's latent talents. Perhaps someday she can convince the tiefling to come on a job with her, use that to her advantage when dealing with a particularly inconvenient or tiring client. If she could have just a little bit of an edge, it could go so far...

Her own mug is offered in a companionable toast. "Then I thank this baker for ensuring you lived long enough for me to meet you." A small smirk, and then the rogue hinds it behind a long swig of her ale.

"Pirates are best kept away from port," Amelia agrees, "though they do make for interesting company." And they usually pay quite well, but she won't mention that part. No need to hatter all the illusions about herself so quickly.

"That sounds... nice, actually," she says about the magic. "Far better than the few uses of magic I saw on my world. I'm glad that your world can see both the good and the bad - it makes the good that much sweeter and the bad less sharp." It's a pragmatic thought, but it's how she thinks of everything. With good comes bad. With light, dark. It's balance. It's the way of nature. And knowing this means you can continue to survive whatever comes. Her lips draw into a thin line for a moment before she takes another sip of her ale. "What sort of magic do you do?" she asks rather suddenly. "Are there certain things only you or those like you can do?"

I'M SO SORRY FOR THE LATE TAG ;-;

Date: 2016-12-31 07:12 pm (UTC)
rogueinladysclothing: (Magic)
From: [personal profile] rogueinladysclothing
"They do, I just... I don't..." A small huff as she crosses arms in front of her chest and looks down at her feet petulantly. "Others can do whatever they want - I just don't talk about it." What an adorably awkward person she can be when she doesn't try.

In reality, people on her world are perfectly fine with talking about sex, and Amelia's fine with talking about other people going at it or even helping set up a late night rendezvous. But if it comes to talking about sex in relation to herself? Well. The current conversation isn't the first awkward one she's ever had on this subject.

Amelia's face is neutral as Paladin speaks of their Gods and magic, but her eyes are alight with curiosity and wonder. "Does everyone on your world have patron Gods like you? Does the God determine the power they give or do they draw on something already inside of someone when they offer aid?" It's not a concept she understands, coming from a world where such things simply don't exist, which is why she's trying so hard to ask the right questions now.

As for the display of Paladin's personal power, it's much more fascinating than it is unnerving to the rogue. Curious, she reaches out with her mind and snuffs out a single candle on their table, leaving the others untouched to see what effect the act might have. "Is it all for show?" she asks, her eyes still trained on the candles in front of them. "The flaring candles and sounds, I mean. Or is there something more going on beyond what can be seen?"

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