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A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

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    Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

    It was nice to see that Siobhan had already set to arranging her escorts, am understandable notions given her weakness. It had always bothered her a little that her siblings seemed to excel far more in the power of mind and body than her, even if her wit more than made up for it. Perhaps she was just envious that she'd never live out the role of a hero from the tales she used to read, settling her qualms with sword play or a feat of mental strength. Of course she could always go live out her little fantasies in a shadow, but that wouldn't make for a very grand tale.

    As pleasant as the diversion might be, she had a speech to deliver, something she was quickly reminded of thanks to Siobhan's announcement. A quick smile flashed on her face before she mentally steeled herself for her role, the eldest Princess of Amber, no, for her soldiers she was already Queen.

    "You're all too kind," Vivi' started once the applause had died down enough for her to speak. She paused, her shifted hair flowing around her as she raised her eyes, looking over all those gathered before her.

    "Today my father, your King Olin, passed away in castle Amber. I ask for you all to take a moment to reflect on this, what this loss means for Amber and for us. I understand that not all of you would have respected him as King, I can't say that I always held him in the best regard myself." Another slight pause, as she tried to keep herself calm. "However, you should not mistake this ball as a celebration of his passing, I will never abide anyone being thankful for his passing. He laid the groundwork for what is to come, without him I would not be here before you, we would not be about to embark on this new age together. Though we move on, we will not forget those that have come before us and laid the groundwork for our own paths."

    A longer pause now, the princess letting her words sink in so there would be no misunderstanding. She abhorred death, hated it, even if it was laced with opportunity for her. Once she had the jewel of judgement though that would all change.

    "This ball, this celebration, is to thank you all for joining me," Vivianna started again, making a grandiose gesture with her arms to include everyone in the hall. "Bator has already laid claim to the throne as soon as life had left my father's body. Many have rallied to his claim to the throne, many would be perfectly happy to see that oaf take over from my father simply due to convenience. However, you don't believe in my brother's right to the throne, instead you have chosen to support me. I can not express how grateful I am to have so many loyal Amberites with me here in the shadow. Rest assured though, we will return to Amber, we will show our people that a true leader is needed for the throne. Bator will cede the throne or we will show them the might of the true fleet of Amber!"

    She was hoping this would rouse the troops enough that she could take a breath while they reacted, giving them a little before raising her hands to quiet them.

    "Enjoy yourselves tonight, know that we have many trials ahead of us. I hope I will have the chance to personally reward each one of you for your loyalty when we secure Amber for ourselves." She took another breath, smiling just a little. "Just remember, our enemies are not the people of Amber, only those seeking to lead them to ruin. I expect you all to treat your fellow Amberites with respect and kindness, we will not lower ourselves to the level of savages."

    "Please, don't let me keep you any longer, I'm sure you're all itching to sample the delights of this shadow." She curtsies deeply and respectfully to her subjects, holding the pose for a few seconds before raising again, resting her hands at her front as she sighs softly. Taking a moment to relax herself after her speech.


      Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

      Vivi's speech was well-received by the crowd, her points delivered in proper succession with well-placed emphasis. The sailors were solemn at the news of Olin's official death, even though they had all anticipated it. They were appropriately disgruntled, dismissive, or simply angered by Bator's immediate claim. And at the mention of them sailing to victory in the name of their future queen, they cheered happily and proudly for more than enough time for her to regain her breath. She was then able to finish the speech to another round of applause and a signal to the orchestra started up the music that signaled the beginning of the official festivities. Servants with trays of canapes and glasses of wine made their way through the crowd while men and woman joined hands in dance while others still sat or stood around at tables and chatted about the matters of the day.

      "Not bad, Sis. I think that got them all in the mood," Siobhan said, appearing by Vivianna's side. Her eyes were ablaze with intensity and apprehension. She had been anticipating this fight for years, and for better or worse it was about to begin. "I feel so alive right now, as if for the first time in my life, I'm fighting for something with real meaning. Not just some skirmish in shadow or with Chaos. Amber's going to be better with you in charge."

      Siobhan placed an affectionate hand on Vivianna's shoulder and squeezed it warmly. Absolute trust appeared in her eyes, and this was a rare thing indeed for an royal Amberite to have.


        Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

        Vivi took a few moments to focus herself after the speech. She was used to addressing people, especially her half-sibling's fleet, today was going to mark a great turning point in her life though. She could no longer dilly dally in the shadows, or simply enjoy her time. From now until she either succeeded or died, she would need to remain on her guard against those she'd once been closet too.

        The princess gave a slight nod to Siobhan when she arrived, managing a slight smile at her words. She didn't reply until she felt the hand on her shoulder though, simply watching her sibling for a long moment before stepping forward to lean against her. She closed her eyes, her vivid hair almost curling to embrace the younger sibling while she did her best to relax against the warmth.

        "I'm going to miss him, as much of an oaf as he was at times. It's silly in a way, he never had time for anyone but Bator but now our family is going to tear itself apart over what he left behind." A deep sigh escaped her lips before she slowly pulled back, wearing a smile though she was sure her eyes betrayed her pain to her dearest friend.

        "Would you do me the honour of a dance sister? I don't mean to intrude on any plans but I'm not sure I feel up to socialising with what I imagine to be a long queue of those wishing for the opportunity." She knew she couldn't just bury her emotions, but at the same time she had a role to fulfil that wouldn't allow her to spend time wallowing.


          Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

          Siobhan embraced Vivianna back tightly, giving her older half-sister a comforting squeeze around the shoulders. In truth, their ages didn't really matter - they had both lived many lifetimes beyond that of humans in Shadow, and certainly none who looked at them would immediately think of Vivi as the elder, as Siobhan was much more filled out and fit in appearance.

          "Hey, when it comes down to it, Dad was a man. He may have been a great and powerful man, but he had his flaws, just like any other. Doesn't mean he didn't love us, it just means that he was a bit crap about expressing it. I'm certain he'd be proud of you taking a stand like this. I know I am."

          When asked for the dance, Siobhan looked surprise at first, but quickly melted into a rueful grin. "So I have the honor of first dance with Queen Vivi? Well now, isn't that one for the history books. Yes, Vivi of course. I don't think you'll be able to avoid a dance with others throughout the entire night, but for now, just lean on my shoulder and follow my lead."

          The dashing young admiral took her sister by the hand and led her to the center of the dance floor, where she then embraced her in the lead position for a waltz, nodding to the orchestra to show that the Queen was ready for the dance to begin. Vivi's choice for a first partner caused a ripple of murmurs throughout the crowd, but so jovial was the moment that the idea of a woman dancing with a woman was smoothed over by the young Imperial Prince of this particular shadow calling out his turban wearing Vizier, also a young man, and demanding loudly for a dance with him. Winking at Vivianna, the cheeky shadow prince lined up with his partner not far from where Siobhan and Vivi stood. With both the local and foreign dignitaries going so against tradition, all the people seemed to relax and even make a point of seeking out same sex partners for this first dance. Not everyone did it of course, but it was common enough that it very well might become a tradition of dances in this Shadow from this point forward.

          The music began and Siobhan nudged Vivi back and to the side, gently gliding around her in a circle, their hips close with their backs arched slightly. Unfortunately the demands of the dance prevented Vivi from resting on Siobhan's shoulder as had been implied, but looking at Siobhan's radiant smile and bouncy, curly auburn locks entwined in yellow ribbon made the self-proclaimed Queen in exile feel marginally better and forget for a moment her personal sorrows.


            Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

            Vivi smiled a little more at Siobhan's reassurance, though she supposed it was too late to know for sure how much he may have cared for them or not. She also wasn't so sure he would be happy with her opposing Bator, let alone what she really had in mind. Maybe he would though, it was always hard to tell with him and yet people thought her grandfather was the hard one to read.

            "Thank you Siobhan. Just a little time to clear my head, that's all I need." She replied as she started to follow along with her sister's motions. In truth she'd not much considered the repercussions of her choice of first partner, but as they got into the swing of things, she only found herself amused by the number of same sex pairings that had taken to the floor. She noted in particular how happy the young prince had taken to the idea, returning a thankful smile to him and being sure she'd take him as her next dance partner in return.

            As she had hoped, Vivianna found it fairly easy to let some of her worries disperse as she danced to the music. Her choice of partner perhaps making it even easier. Siobhan had always been pretty, though in a less pampered way than Vivi' herself. How she ever managed to retain so feminine and playful holding her position Vivi' didn't know, though she far from disliked those attributes in her dear sibling.

            "Is dancing with a queen all it's cracked up to be?" Vivi' asked, breaking the silence she had been happy to maintain since the dance started. The title still sounded strange to her, at least when applied to herself, but she was determined to enjoy herself at least a little tonight and being quiet wouldn't allow that.


              Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

              Siobhan turned out to be an experienced and graceful dancer, and had no troubles taking the lead and stepping in time with the traditonal "man's" part. This made them as a couple stand out as one of the more coordinated partnerships on the floor, whereas even experienced dancers found it difficult if they were in a same sex dance to get the steps right. Fortunately, luck smiled and rather than the general mood being one of frustration, there was a lot of jovial laughter and encouragement from the other couples to help people get going in the right way. Siobhan and Vivianna got impressed nods from many others for how they were able to handle it.

              "I've never been one to shy away from the spotlight, Vivi," Siobhan grinned as they twirled around one another, Vivi's sparkling dress swirling gracefully. "So dancing with the queen, and dancing well with her no less, is exactly where I want to be. People respect you because you always end up being right about things - for me, it's about putting myself out there and trying to look good - and it works for the most part. People respect you for the effort."

              She then turned and bent her knee, easing Vivianna into a dip, holding her firmly with her strength. "You're doing the same, wearing that title of Queen. It suits you Vivi, and I won't abide anyone sitting the throne of Amber unless it be you."

              Helping Vivi out of the dip, the Siobhan brought her up into a tight embrace as the music ended, and Vivi was given a happy applause as people began to find more traditional dance partners. Vivi saw the native prince sharing a laugh with his young vizier, who seemed to be anxious and then pointed towards Vivianna as if insisting that his liege ask the guest royal for a dance.


                Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

                Vivianna was glad Siobhan could take the lead with all that was weighing on her mind. It wouldn't do to have her first dance as 'Queen' marred by her doubts and sadness at her father's passing. It was good at least that their gracious hosts seemed to enjoy themselves after the initial confusion she had caused by her choice of partner.

                "I couldn't have pulled off anywhere near as much as I did without you Sio'. I can make predictions and read situations better than most but when it comes to carrying them out, I have to rely on others. You've always been the one to help me with that part, that's worthy of respect enough." She smiles, trying to deflect at least some of the praise back to her sibling. She didn't dislike the attention by any means, she was far too used to it now. She just couldn't begin to pretend that her power right now was thanks to so many more than just herself.

                By the time the new queen was in the embrace of her partner, she had a bit of a blush to her cheeks, being reminded of just how stunning her sister could be while dancing. The applause helped to settle her a little more, even if she wasn't sure she could get the opposite reaction unless she really tried right now. This was going to be a huge test certainly, but one that she would conquer.

                "Thank you," Vivi murmured as she pulled back from the embrace, "I think I'll manage from here though. Go have fun. Though, perhaps you'd like to meet up after the party?" She suggests, a slight deviousness to her smile that all but disappeared as she turned her attention to the native Prince, knowing that she would need to start mingling now. The Prince of course being the obvious choice, especially since he'd so kindly humoured her strange request.


                  Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)


                  Siobhan pulled back from the dance and smiled at her sister, bowing to her and then to the crowd and showing off the queen with a motion of her hands, encouraging more applause. Stepping in close once again, Siobhan nodded.

                  "Yes of course, after the party. If I don't get too drunk and taken advantage of before then - or perhaps the other way around!" With an audacious chuckle, the admiral sachayed away and quickly plucked up a roguishly handsome sailor who had no idea she was coming his way and immediately started spinning him into the next dance. Siobhan was certainly one who took what she wanted when the inclination came to her.

                  The Prince meanwhile appeared before Vivianna and graciously asked her for the next dance. He danced very properly and complimented Vivianna on her appearance, her grace, and her beauty, adding that he was honored to be living in the time of the prophecy, when he and his people were destined to join the fight for the palace of the gods who wore mortal form. Her being here at this time was for many of his people, himself included, an affirmation of their particular faith - which amongst infinite Shadows just happened to coincide with exactly what Vivianna needed at the time, a Shadow worth of religious zealots willing to fight for her to the death in a holy war. The sad reality was that they would die in droves unless she could somehow mitigate the strength of the Amberites under Bator's control.


                    Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

                    Vivi' couldn't help but smile at her sibling's proclamation, she always managed to be so cheerful. Her confidence was always something to admire, it seemed so natural. Out of all the possible allies she could have ran off to a shadow with, she was certainly glad that she had Siobhan at her side.

                    She graciously accepted the dance from the Prince, moving after his lead and making sure to return the compliments. Thankfully, she had a lot of practice maintaining a fašade when it came to events like a ball, being sure to keep her attentions on the moments rather than the implications of committing this shadow to her war. She could justify the deaths of shadow dwellers far more easily than amberites, though that didn't make her feel any better about the thought of sending droves of people to die. Death was death, though it might well be necessary, she would be sure to minimise casualties as much as she could. She wouldn't be much of a queen without subjects to lead after all.

                    She assured the Prince that his people would be part of the legends spun after the war and to thank him again for his hospitality.


                      Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

                      The party seemed to have gone on forever. The Prince had been very charming, very overawed, and to her amusement, very willing to talk about his longtime crush on his vizier, the young man whom the Prince had asked to dance when Vivianna had danced with Siobhan. The act of dancing with a same sex partner had been somewhat of a taboo on this shadow, but when the queen of prophecized destiny had shocked the court by dancing with the beautiful Valkyrie (the prince's word for Siobhan), the closeted prince had taken his chance to approach the man of his desire. It seemed that the power of the occasion would have sweeping civil consequences for the people here, perhaps for the better - if any of them survived this coming war.

                      After dancing with the prince, several other dignitaries took the opportunity to share a dance with her, until at last Vivianna was able to excuse herself and find somewhere relatively private to wait out a better portion of the night. It wasn't until many hours had passed that she was able to say her temporary goodbyes to the hosts and make her way back to her chambers on the deck of the flag ship. As she was about to pass through her door, she saw Siobhan in the quarters across from her, the door open, and her figure flopped upon her bed. She was partially undressed but still relatively decent, and she was awake, for Vivi could see that she was rubbing her eyes. Aside from her slightly flushed face, Siobhan seemed to be looking as good as she had at the beginning of the night.


                        Re: A Plot, Sinister (Vivianna)

                        It was a long, though certainly entertaining night. She made the some small talk with her dance partners after the Prince, making sure to keep up her expected appearance. It was something to take her mind off things, for at least a little while. There would be a lot happening soon so the chance to spend even this little time distracted from the world was one she would seize.

                        As the ball wore on, Vivi found it harder to simply enjoy the moment. She had never been very good at switching off, partly the reason she would spend so much time exploring in her youth. Even now, as she tried to distract herself with her ball, she found herself sizing up what she knew of the royal fleets and trying to decide how she would deal with the conflict off the water. She took the chance to excuse herself to a more private part of the ball, hastily making some notes on possible strategies to review later. When the time came to retire, she left the hall with a few assorted scraps of whatever she could find to write on.

                        When Vivi made her way back to her cabin, she was surprised to see her sibling had apparently retired earlier than she had. She opened her door just long enough to drop her notes inside before turning back to Siobhan's quarters, moving to stand at the doorway with a soft smile gracing her lips.

                        "I didn't expect I'd be seeing you back this soon. Is the drink here lacking compared to what you're used to?" she teased, letting her glamour fade so she stood in her natural form once again.