A Different Sort of Lesson

SaritaSarita Empress of Bahir'anThe Pillars of the Earth
(Sarita had been giving citizens of Bloodloch dance lessons. Galilei attended and did well, so Sarita had mentioned that there were other styles of dancing that Galilei might be ready to learn. She also proposed a new and mostly experimental method of teaching it.)

Effortlessly, you fill Galilei's head with a thought: "Would you be interested in attempting that which we discussed before this week?"

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Ahh, forgive me, I was mindless. I am awake now, and would certainly be interested."

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Oh, Khalifa - an interesting offer from one of our allies."

Effortlessly, you fill Galilei's head with a thought: "Aye?"

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Conservator Ardent Riahl is interested in serving as a partner for me while we conduct our experiment."

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Hm. He *has* worded it as sitting in, but if my having someone to dance with would work better, I imagine that could also be arranged."

Effortlessly, you fill Galilei's head with a thought: "I would rather not have anyone there initially. If you would like me to watch you practice later, I can do that with whoever you like, but since I actually have no idea how the first part will go, I think some privacy might be better."

Effortlessly, you fill Galilei's head with a thought: "I will be able to concentrate better without an audience too."

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Ah, of course, Khalifa."

Galilei's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Where shall we meet for the experiment? There will be no watchers."

Effortlessly, you fill Galilei's head with a thought: "The Bahir'an Estate ballroom, I think."

Galilei performs a graceful curtsey.

You incline your head politely to Galilei.

An opulent ballroom.
Sandstone granite encloses this great, circular ballroom interspersed with tall, arching windows set in contrived gilded frames. A concentric marble colonnade rises a mere few feet off the wall, each column sculpted from a base of geometrical design to spiral high into the dome above, that arches in clean lines streaked with gold. At the center of the chamber hangs a great, golden chandelier, its multiple tiers stretching sinuously outward and down, with dozens of branches heavy with a myriad of brilliant crystal drops that cast dazzling reflections onto the polished hardwood floor. A sigil in the shape of a small, rectangular monolith is on the ground. Resting on the ground is a cube-shaped silver sigil. Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara is here.

examine galilei
She is a typical Tsol'aa vampire, willowy and lithe, with alabaster skin and striking, silvery eyes. Deep-set and long-lashed, they lend her slender face an aristocratic cast, an impression reinforced by the arch in her thin brows and the delicate elegance of her features. There is an ageless quality to her; perhaps it is the dark, faintly amused timbre of her voice, or the inquisitive spark in her gaze, which takes little coaxing to rise, or the icy undertones brightening her almost eerily unblemished flesh. Though usually done up in a graceful plait, her dark hair reaches a little past her shoulders when loose. Dusky violet shimmers across it when the light hits, a striking contrast to her shapely, pale, pointed ears. The shadowed parts of her auricles are noticeably rosier, a hallmark of the warm and living blood that all Consanguine still possess.

(draped around her) : a hooded red cloak
(over her heart) : a cerulean glass rose brooch
(snug on her feet) : silken black slippers accented with silver lace
(around the neck) : an elegant collar of lilac-hued silk
(impeccably arranged) : a bottle-green velvet gown with snowy peonies
(settled lightly over the hair and shoulders: a snowy mantilla veil
(secured in her dark plait) : a spiral fern

examine me
She is an adaptive Human vampire whose posture is regal and erect, lending height to her otherwise slight frame. Her lean build might be that of a young boy if not for the beginnings of feminine curves. Well-toned muscles in her arms and legs keep her from looking overly skinny. Perhaps her most easily noticed feature is her hair, which is a bright coppery gold hue. Left free of any restraint but a circlet, it is long enough to brush past her elbows. Eyebrows of the same shade as her hair arc over eyes of periwinkle blue. The brightness of her hair contrasts sharply with the paleness of her skin, a uniform porcelain shade broken only by a faint smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks.

(beneath her skirt) : a fitted pair of tawny leggings
(worn modestly) : a demure gown of white silk
(on her right ring finger) : a snarling, panther's head ring
(peeking out under her gown) : gold-accented slippers of beige silk
(crowning her head) : an exquisite sapphire circlet
(around the neck) : a golden locket of the earth
(on her left wrist) : a helical bracelet of silver and gold

You have emoted: Sarita glances Galilei over carefully before saying, "Face me. Shut your eyes. Try to clear your mind of all thoughts."

Galilei obeys, placid hands at her sides. She straightens her back and stands tall, before letting her eyes close.

You have emoted: Sarita closes her eyes too and stands motionless before Galilei. To an outside observer, she merely appears to stand there.

Galilei is still, keeping her eyes shut but listening, directing her focus to the other senses left at her disposal - mostly to her muscles, waiting for any sign of movement, even for the smallest twitch.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
You feel nothing at first either, at least until you feel a consciousness probing on the outside of your mind. It has the same feel to it as that of your grandsire, but unlike the more passive projections you have felt before, this is a direct, almost painful intrusion.

Galilei's fingers twitch as if in response to an electrical shock, drawing a faint breath reflexively, but you can feel her once again rein in her mind, and her eyes do not open.

The other consciousness forces itself in further, and you begin to sense it pushing itself onto your very memories. At first, they are seemingly random, a day at home during your childhood, an afternoon reading in a library sometime after arriving in Bloodloch, or an evening's hunt.

Galilei just thought:
Still. Be still.

Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Greetings, Khalifa. Is all well?"

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The memories continue to be pulled up, one after the other, and then shoved back into their places. You sense no maliciousness, yet the movement is painful. Likewise, any embarrassing or painful memory viewed is clearly not intended to be an invasion of privacy, but cannot be helped.

Effortlessly, you fill Rebra's head with a thought: "Don't talk right now."

There is far little time for each of Galilei's memories to be examined at length, pulled without warning by an external force as they are. Here and there small details stand out, central points for each memory and emotion - a blindingly blue piece of glass against a paled sky; the creak of a musty bed and a frail cough, and pain; waves of what could either be a bolt of silk or a mane of auburn hair; a strange, choking sort of pain accompanied by the flash of bloodred irises.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
Eventually the memories grow closer to the first dance lesson, and there seems to be more time spent searching through each, possibly trying to find something specific.

Galilei just thought:
The Empress should take priority.

Galilei just thought:
Shouldn't she?

A beam of prismatic light suddenly shoots into the room.

You have emoted: Sarita clasps her hands around Galilei's forearms abruptly, clutching them tightly enough to bruise mortal flesh.

(Run away!)

You have emoted: Sarita drops her hands with an indistinct sigh of exasperation.

Voice low, Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara says, "I beg your pardon, Your Majesty - I do not yet know why the Ancient One summons me, I was trying to keep my mind empty."

You say, "I guess we need somewhere a bit more private."

(Room in Sarita's haven)

A misty ballroom.
A low-lying mist obscures the ground here, but it feels relatively solid and smooth underfoot, more like a well-built floor than the ground of a forest, and the relatively straight lines around the edges of the area suggest walls, with enough space in between all four to create the illusion of a grand ballroom, composed primarily of a dance floor and complete with an illusory chandelier that manages to light the entire area with an almost romantic glow. To one side, a shadowy illusion shows a grand piano with two figures standing in front of it. The first is an imposing tekal man who is in every respect the perfect Consanguine figure. At his side and looking up to him is Sarita, caught in a moment of reverential attentiveness. At the other side of the room, a row of comfortable, real chairs sit, positioned where their occupants have a view of both figures as well as the rest of the room. Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara is here.
You see exits leading north and south.

Effortlessly, you fill Macavity's head with a thought: "Your childe and I were in the middle of a lesson. Was there some urgent need you have of her?"

Macavity Nebre'seir, Ancient One tells you, "Where did you go??"

Effortlessly, you fill Macavity's head with a thought: "We are in my haven. I was planning on continuing the lesson here, unless there is something that cannot wait."

Macavity Nebre'seir, Ancient One tells you, "No not at all, just was going to talk to my Childe about her Childe."

Effortlessly, you fill Macavity's head with a thought: "I will make sure she goes straight to you after this, but in the meantime, she and I will both need complete concentration."

Macavity Nebre'seir, Ancient One tells you, "I have relayed my thoughts to her, it is ok."

You say "I have told him that I would like to finish here first."

Tension subtly drains from Galilei's shoulders. "Thank you."

You have emoted: Sarita picks a spot near the center of the floor, but positioned so that neither she nor Galilei have a complete view of the other illusory figures in the room. She drops her arms once more to her side, looks directly into Galilei's eyes and says, "Again," before shutting her eyes.

Galilei's eyes are quicker to close than before, and it takes time before she can relax enough for you to probe. She is still on edge from the previous encounter, walls upon walls pressing upon her mind before the girl tries to wrench them open with a frustrated flare. Another would-be heartbeat, then she releases, waiting for the walls to disperse - which it eventually does.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
Sarita's own mind finds its previous place in yours once again. Eventually it retrieves what appears to be the desired memory, the first dance lesson within the Alcazar ballroom. As it comes to fill your mind, you cannot help but notice that the remembered ballroom is an almost exact match for the misty one in which you now stand.

Galilei's relief is immediate, but not enough to break the connection your mind has set up with hers. Her brow twitches slightly, eyes still obediently shut, as she tries to adjust her knowledge of where she stands with the room in her mind.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The relief from the earlier pain is short-lived, and soon replaced with something even worse - the sense that your mind is being partly torn within itself.

Galilei's hands rise, at first, to her chest. Only after she locates where, exactly, this pain originate does she shift, torn between trying to resume her original position and clutching at her head instead. She ends up doing neither, fingers white and trembling somewhere around her heart as she tries to hold onto her mind.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
A sudden, vice-like grip clamps itself around your entire mind, steadying it so that the tearing can continue. Painful as it is, the process is done meticulously, making an opening just large enough for a smaller, foreign memory to slide in next to your own. It is your grandsire's own, and in it, she practices the same steps you did, exactly as you did them.

Galilei's hands still, and her eyes almost flutter open before she manages to stop them. She lets out a faint exhale, a breath she hadn't noticed she had taken.

Galilei just thought:

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
"Pay attention." As the command fades away, the foreign memory is carefully woven into your own, formerly separate, memory. The process seems to be a long one, but once it is complete, the memory left behind is your own dance lesson, but the practiced steps have become more refined, just as hers were.

Galilei's mouth falls slightly open in wonder, and a wave of delight washes over the younger consanguine's mindscape, both at how well-executed her steps appear, and at how the experiment is proceeding.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The memory slips back into place, and it becomes clear that the tear was necessary to compensate for the inclusion of the second memory. The pain of the tear slowly begins to dissipate as that part of your mind returns (mostly) back to the way it had been before.

Galilei's elation ebbs as all elation must, leaving her mind smarting, but she remains as she is, patiently awaiting for it to finish stitching itself, and for further instructions from you.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
Once the pain has eased enough, a place for a new memory is chosen very close to the other one related to dancing. Then, without much warning, a trickle of foreign memories begins to fill it. At first it is slow enough to pick out pieces - an undead minion freshly created from the body of a male dancer leads Sarita in a sweeping dance around a deserted dance floor.

The world seems to contract, your sense of scale distorted as your heart beats. The phenomenon is gone as quickly as it came.

Galilei physically stiffens for a moment, but wills the tension to leave her. There are more pressing matters at hand, which will require her undivided attention. After a few oscillations, her mind settles, once more mostly still and open to receive.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The trickle begins turning into more of a stream, with the memory shifting away from that dance to what seems to be Sarita's own first lessons in that style of dancing. A Consanguine man, one who she remembers as being powerful enough to not refuse begins by insisting that she learn, and starts the lesson with a regal bow, followed by a kiss on her hand.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
"Ezalor D'baen. Keeper of Bloodloch. Praetor of his House. The sixth childe of Abhorash."

Galilei's brow furrows the faintest amount, but she does not yet make any sort of movements.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The speed of the memories increases again. It becomes clear initially that these are her own dance lessons as she received them from Ezalor, but they soon move too quickly to pick out the individual parts any longer. The knowledge of it is simply imprinted into your mind, ready to be recalled at will later.

Galilei does not attempt to sift through the memories, although that, too, takes effort. Not out of some desire to spy into her grandsire's life, you are sure, but with the desperation of an inexperienced pupil trying to write down a loquacious tutor's lectures. With time, however, she once again wills herself to relax - not to fight - to have faith that she will be left with something in the end.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The flow of the memories slows down, possibly drawing to a close in what seems to be a ball hosted within the familiar Alcazar ballroom. As in the very first memory shown, she seems to find it far more enjoyable than the first lessons would have suggested, as the pair makes their way in perfect unison through an intricate series of moves that she believes were partly his way of showing off.

Movement below Galilei's eyelids; her attention is captured by the fluid way the pair moves, by the complexity of the pattern woven and Ezalor's display of technique.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
The stream of memories seems to have come to its end. As they are folded together, there is a final, parting thought. "You should be able to do this fairly easily now, but you will still need practice. Bind those to these like I showed you before."

Galilei's expression is softer after having witnessed, no, lived, the moments of grace and opulence, and she silently lets her mind close up with a final stitch over her grandsire's gift. Her lips part as though to speak, as though her mind has caught upon some detail, but the moment passes. She has lost whatever had gripped her attention, now lying deceptively dormant in her subconscious.

Galilei just thought:
Thank you.

You plant the image into the mind of Galilei:
You sense her presence leaving your mind, returning it to the state it was in previously, with the exception of the additions.

Effortlessly, you fill Rebra's head with a thought: "What was it you wanted before?"

Leaving all as it should be. Smooth, now - though flowing subtly without rest as minds are wont to move - as though never having been disturbed at all. Galilei begins to open her eyes, hands at last falling back to her sides.

You have emoted: Sarita opens her own eyes, taking a moment to compose herself again before she says, "That could have been a bit smoother, I suppose, but the real test will be to see how well you are able to do that particular type of dance now."

Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Oh, I just hoped you were well."

Effortlessly, you fill Rebra's head with a thought: "I am, I think. I was just teaching another dance lesson."

Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "I'm glad there's such interest."

"Yes," Galilei murmurs. "Preferably with a partner," she adds. "Dancing alone is rather different, after all."

You say, "You can go and make one, if you like."

Effortlessly, you fill Rebra's head with a thought: "This was a different sort of lesson."

Rebra's psychic whisper trails through your mind, "Oh?"

Again that tension resurfaces, though the faint rosiness in Galilei's cheeks distract you from the fact. "I think it won't be too hard to *find* one, Grandsire."

Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara says, "If they have the time."

You have emoted: Sarita finally gazes around the room and lets her eyes dwell on the two figures. "You know sufficiently skilled dancers?"

Effortlessly, you fill Rebra's head with a thought: "Aye."

"I know one," Galilei nods. "To help me practice, and I did promise another to help her practice in turn, before the ball."

You have emoted: The earlier efforts seem to have drained Sarita's energy a bit, leaving her tone a bit less composed than normal. "I will be quite interested in seeing the results."

Galilei hesitates, but when she catches your eye you can see the younger consanguine is smiling, a little shyly. "I know the first ball comes in some days. I don't know if I can wake in time for dancing, but if I can, I will do my best out on the floor. Thank you again for today, Grandsire. This experiment wasn't like anything I'd done, but it was intriguing."

You say, "Then you will just have to let me know when you do have the chance."

Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara says to you, "Of course. For now - I think I will go seek out my more experienced partner. I'm rather sure he'd be happy to point me to the right direction as well, while I practice."

You ask, "That Archivist you mentioned?"

Grand Duchess Galilei Nehekhara says to you, "Yes, that's right. He actually offered to play music for us. He had no idea what this lesson would entail, of course."

Her composure having returned, you say, "You may tell him if you like."



  • That was a fun read! I always love RPs that involve dancing, for some reason. It never fails to make me happy.

    That being said, you've reminded me that I need to utilize the think command more. It's so easy to forget to do but it can add some real substance to a session.

  • Need to hook up with Saritia and offer to play the music next time! That was awesome!
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