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 [HC Event] Star Catchers

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Sailor Neptune
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Sailor Neptune

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime5th May 2019, 8:29 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 GauQv2D

Saphira would have been happy just leaving the assassins tied up there to meet whatever fate befell them, but one of them was dying. That was an annoying problem created by Kedrok.

Who, of course, just left them there to deal with it as he would have rather murdered the guy. When William finally returned to his body, she rushed to his side, concerned at how he'd tumbled to the ground. He didn't say much, but she figured it was because they weren't alone.

She glanced at Shashka, who had reverted back to being useless, and massaged her temple.

"If we just left them, who knows when the house owner will find them. He may die before that happens. We may have to offer one of our last coins to the owner so we can get him medical attention in time. And so we can clean ourselves up after all this."

Blood was on William's hands, and she tried not to shudder. She wondered if he was alarmed at all by it.

"We'll also ask them not to tell anyone about this incident. If they did, they would forfeit the promised reward."

___________________________

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Sailor Uranus
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Sailor Uranus

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime6th May 2019, 5:48 pm

sprite-keeping wrote:
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 AGGUpo3[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MFUyv6Z[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 BjJnuuP[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I4fmuzY[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 N90lomH

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Zek5Etf
William gave Saphira an attempt at a reassuring look as she neared; as the initial dizziness faded he felt otherwise fine and didn't want her to worry. Cassandra left - supposedly to start packing up - and he took over watch of the man she had been guarding to make sure he didn't try to roll away or anything. He was pretty well packed anyway. It would only take him a few minutes to be ready to get back on the road. Even if these two somehow worked out of their bonds, they would be well within the outer city before they could catch up, and from there it would be too late. He regretted that leaving this early would deny his teammates their hero's welcome, and the chance for Thelline to give it, but there was no help for it now. 

Cassandra's suggestion seemed reasonable - following an anonymous note would not be breaking the rules for the homeowners, and the guard force in charge of keeping the roads safe would be well able to handle them, but were they put to trial their truth would out. And with what they were hired to do, their failure denied them of a future. Any future. As Cassandra spoke of giving their lives new purpose, William caught the man's expression and felt the weight of his position, privilege, and responsibility fall back onto his shoulders heavily. He had the power to pardon these men when all this was over and his grandfather called off the attack on his life; he could give them the chance at doing what Cassandra suggested, but at the same time he could not. These men had agreed to take part in the secret assassination of a member of the Royal family of Esoria; pardoning them would only send out the message that he, William, did not mind being hunted down as a wanted man and would, in fact, excuse any attempts made against his life so long as they failed. Protect self and preserve authority: words Cardemon had drilled into him since he could understand what they meant. He could not help them here. His grandfather had doomed them in giving them this mission, but they had to have agreed to it first. He had to remember that. 

Saphira's reply gave him pause - why would it matter all that much about when they would be found? - but as she continued his brows furrowed. Die? Medical attention? His eyes critically swept the two men tied before him but he could see nothing wrong with them - perhaps something with the unconscious one? He half-turned to see where she was looking to get some clue to the conversation, only to notice how she glanced towards him before practically averting her gaze. He looked down and his stomach rolled. Blood. All over his cloak, all over his hands. He forced his breathing to remain even, even as the scent of it seemed to hit him all at once, the smell so overpowering he wondered how he had been able to ignore it before. He clenched his hands into fists and looked away from it, mind wheeling. What had Kedrok done?! 


Kedrok->William wrote:
'Saved our life. Calm down, he isn't dead. ... yet, in any case. Little mercy that is.' The dragon's voice was faint in the back of his head and his jaw tensed with the words. 'We both know what's going to happen to him. My way would've been faster, and without all that anticipation.'

He was responsible. Disarming the man may have been enough. Besting him without spilling this much --

He reached forward and grabbed the conscious man by his shirt above the bindings, forcing him to his feet, noticing too clearly how the man flinched away from him. He turned him, facing him towards where the house had been and started walking, pushing the prisoner along ahead of him. There was time for could-have-been's, and it was not now; not when someone's life was in the balance. A murderer, yes. An assassin meant to kill him, yes. But a man that should face trial and not die painfully by blood loss in the field. "Make sure that one doesn't get away, please," he said as he passed Saphira. 

When they reached the house, he pounded on the door with one hand until he saw lights flicker to life in the windows above. He took a step back, adjusted his hold on the shirt collar of the tied man with him, and as the door opened to reveal an annoyed man whose expression quickly turned to shocked curiosity, Prince William of Thelline, wearing the bloodsoaked cloak of a Star Catcher, announced "There has been an incident and I require your assistance."


DM - Timeskip! wrote:
The family quickly accepted the Star Catchers in, immediately waking and sending the oldest of their young son out the back (mostly to avoid seeing the sight of all that blood) to fetch a doctor. As the boy rode, the wife set to boiling water and fetching rags for bandages, as well as heating up some milk and putting together a small snack (as was only courteous) for the "poor dears". After securing the conscious man in a locked room of their stables, the husband returned and, with a makeshift stretcher, they managed to load the injured man up and bring him to the kitchen. The unconscious man was hauled to the room with the other.

The doctor arrived and praised Cassandra and Kitty for their quick thinking as he worked to stabilize their attacker; the husband stayed to assist and provide backup in case the man were not so weak as he appeared. Someone else could have stayed, too, if they had a wish to.

The wife, having heated more water than the doctor needed ("better more than less," she had stated), offered to help the Catchers wash their cloaks and set aside a portion of the hot water to washing up, then ("begging your pardon") directed William to the bath ("Your Royal Highness would cause quite the stir otherwise, if you don't mind my saying.") to remove the stains from his skin and hair. She later invited any of the others to wash if they so wished, though the baths of the palace would be better places to attempt to burn the feeling away.

Just after dawn it was all finished - their cloaks, while wet, were no longer covered in blood; the woman's trick having removed most of it, leaving just a slight discoloration in Cassandra and Kitty's sleeves and the stomach area of William's cloak. The blood was cleaned from their hands. The would-be assassin had survived, and would be escorted to the doctor's hospice by armed men later on in the day, the first guardsman having already appeared. Their story to him was that their lives had been threatened in the night and they had defended themselves. They did not answer questions about the motive of the men's attack - they "did not know". They were assured the men would be held and tried for their crime. 

William paid the family with his last coin, and, mounted, packed, and relatively clean, they started their last leg of the journey into Thelline, dressed in their tell-tale blue Star Catchers cloaks, hoods down to cover the silver lining of the shooting star across their backs. 

DM wrote:
Summary posts of what your character did at the house, if you'd like~ Conversations held in NPC sheet, please and thanks~ (both conversations at the house and while on the horses!) 

I'll timeskip through Thelline and into their arrival at the castle within the week!

___________________________

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 ThMyae[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 4jsq88
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 EryTeT
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 AE5IZ4
Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 UNUQgL
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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WYxcDX[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 VfipPu[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 QcYyas[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 RCRME8[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MwKWL7[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WbL1DG[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 2tcOIq[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 JbCUuo[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 V4DbwT[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 YtpCB5[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Mmp9t9[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Dx2prT
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Professor Tomoe
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Professor Tomoe

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime7th May 2019, 12:40 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 GZ443gD

Despite all that had happened, despite the horrible ambush and the ensuing rush and bustle in the aftermath, Kitty faced the new day feeling decently-rested. As usual, the level-headed, quiet young woman from Lorham didn't seem to have much trouble sleeping. The adrenaline spike had kept her alert enough to see to the nearly-fatal wound of the would-be assassin, until the doctor took over. She couldn't quite bask in his praise, however—most of the quick-thinking that had saved the man's life clearly attributed to Cassandra. Not only had she intervened in the attack, aiding the group in survival, but she helped the man who would have seen them dead.

Once again, Kitty felt somewhat awed at the depth of her friend's compassion and intelligence. For all that Cassandra herself might have denied, her actions and her accomplishments spoke well enough for her. The smaller girl felt rather useless by comparison, particularly as far as the events of this evening, but without the unhappy sting of jealousy. In fact, she felt almost a sort of mild pride at the taller girl's actions, even though she clearly had no claim to do so. She felt lucky to travel with Cassandra in particular, a schoolmate who had proven to be a truly astonishing young person to know and walk along beside.

There was no time to say or indicate any of this, of course. Instead, as usual, Kitty did her best ot be of use wherever she was needed. The lady of the house certainly showed that she was capable and quick-thinking, but any opportunity there was to assist with treating wounds or laundering, the pale-haired girl stood ready to step in. It simply wasn't possible to shoo her out of the way for more than a brief moment—she was determined to help, as if trying to make up for how little she had done for the group when the assassins attacked.

She eventually opted to bathe before trying to get a bit more rest, although she had already thoroughly scrubbed the stains from her hands and arms as soon as the opportunity arose, more from a need for cleanliness than a sense of unease. Her solid constitution served her well yet again.

This was far from the relaxed luxury they had enjoyed in the inns of towns before, but they did what they had to. Kitty didn't fret over William's temporary usage by Kedrok or lie awake pondering the fate of the attempted assassins. She carefully compartmentalized the worrisome elements, did what was needed, and looked forward to moving on. To be honest, even with the knowledge that they had the star, she hadn't yet begun to allow herself to imagine her joyful return home. After all, they still had work to do.
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Sailor Uranus
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Sailor Uranus

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime7th May 2019, 1:34 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Zek5Etf
The family did their best and performed admirably, especially considering what they had opened their door to in the middle of the night. He was grateful for their quick thinking, thankful that they took their own initiative without awaiting orders from him, as some were wont to do when he was around. He appreciated the quick arrival of the physician, and the confidence the physician had with his ability to treat the 'patient' and the man had with being able to watch over the procedure without reinforcement from them. It left him free to assist in the cleaning of his cloak - or, primarily, removing all the odd objects from the pockets he had created in his cloak so that it could more easily be laundered without damaging anything. As he took out object after object, making little piles on the table around, careful not to let the still-wet stain hit any other fabric, he felt somewhat like a packrat or a magpie emptying their nest. Maps, writing utensils, a compass, weapons, flint and fire starters, cords, his coin purse and pendant, plus other odds-and-ends besides were piled around as he carefully supported the weight of the star secured in the hood. When he was pushed off to wash he apologized for leaving them with the work, but, in their bathing room, saw why she had insisted, and carefully scrubbed away the dried blood spatters from his neck, face, and hair. If he had entered Thelline like that there may have been a panic. 

He managed to grab a quick nap before they struck off, anticipation rising as the distance between their horses and the house grew. His knickknacks weighed down his still-drying clock in a comfortable, familiar way, and as the street became crowded with buildings around them, he held his head high.

sprite-keeping wrote:
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 AGGUpo3[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MFUyv6Z[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 BjJnuuP[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I4fmuzY[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 N90lomH

___________________________

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Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 UNUQgL
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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WYxcDX[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 VfipPu[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 QcYyas[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 RCRME8[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MwKWL7[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WbL1DG[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 2tcOIq[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 JbCUuo[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 V4DbwT[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 YtpCB5[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Mmp9t9[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Dx2prT
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Sailor Saturn
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime9th May 2019, 6:26 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

With her sleeves stained and Charles's tarnished cloak about her shoulders, she fit the part of battle-hardened protagonist, a character irreversibly changed from the beginning of the story. She should be stronger now, better in multiple ways, a thought made ever stronger the closer they came to Thelline. All characters in a story grew in one way or another by the end of their journey.

Mostly, though, she felt tired. She did not regret the decision to attempt saving that assassin—she was not one to dawdle on her own decisions—but she did wonder if it had been the right one. That poor family, having to deal with the Star Catcher's sudden arrival... and Kedrok's words still haunted her, that those assassins would find their demise regardless of her efforts. They'd [i]chosen[i] such a life, chosen to bring harm to others for their own gain. But those reasonings did not quell the unease in her stomach.

It was out of her hands now, at the very least. She'd done what she could, and that'd have to be enough.

Being out on the road again brought a kind of calm to her heart, even as the buzzing excitement of being so close to Thelline broke through that calm from time to time. There were still so many uneasy things up in the air right now, it almost felt wrong to grasp onto that excitement. They'd need to remain cautious, after all. The journey was not yet over.

But Cassandra decided she could be a bit of both. Caution didn't have to ruin excitement.

She stuck close to Kitty as they moved onwards, the buildings closing around them like a forest. Regardless of everything else, a smile pulled at her lips at the wondrous sight.

___________________________

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Sailor Jupiter
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime10th May 2019, 1:32 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Js8uiIH

Shashka watched from a distance, interacting with both the others and the family as little as possible. From here, they all looked like strangers. She just wanted to finish what they'd come to do, and go home.

As they entered the city, she looked upon the strange, new buildings as a threat. William had only brought bizarreness and uncertainty with him and she wrapped her cloak tighter, wanting to protect herself from whatever other alien notions they would encounter in Thelline. What would the people think if they knew what their Prince could do? She pushed the thought away. Best to focus on practical things. Best to just make it through this.

Turn in the star, then go home. Turn in the star, then go home. The words became a mantra, and she mentally matched each one to a step, keeping pace at the back of the group.
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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime10th May 2019, 1:50 pm

DM wrote:
As the road widened and became cobbled beneath their feet, the buildings stronger and more expensive in materials and the surrounding area more densely packed with houses and shops, a great wall rose up in the near distance, its gates wide open, portcullis raised high. Made of red and grey stonemasonry, it rose a full three stories high, dwarfing the smaller buildings this side of the city proper. On either tower beside the gate waved proud the Esorian Flag. The citizens crowded the streets, cheering and hurrying into the city proper, waving back at them as they went.

Before they got too close to the entrance to Thelline, a single rider shot out from between two buildings, angling his horse in close and quickly reining it in, fitting himself beside William easily. The young man was their age with sunkissed skin and light brown hair cut close to the sides of his head and longer at the top and front, the style pulled it back into a neat tail to keep it out of his face. He did not have the classically handsome countenance the Prince possessed, but there was something about his slightly-off features that made him naturally attractive, though the way his green eyes darted about made him look just a little bit shifty. “So you’ve finally decided to come home, then?” he asked dispassionately.

Figured I could stand to see your face again,” William replied coldly.

If you missed it that much, you should have invited me along.”

You would have only cramped my style.

Please. Like you have any.

The young men’s eyes met, and the newcomer reached out and pushed the Prince’s shoulder warmly, a smile cracking his lips “Come on, you know you missed me. Do you know what fresh hell I went through when you turned up missing? ‘Edward, where would he have gone?’ ‘Edward, go after him!’ Like I’m your keeper or something. Why in the world are you going after the star anyway? Not enough prestige in being second in line to the throne?

You know me,” William replied with a touch of airy sarcasm, “I have this need to be the center of attention.

Showoff.” Edward replied playfully, practically glowing with how happy he was to be back with his friend. “So, you got it, then.

We did,” William replied, indicating their group.

Good,” the other nodded, “It’d be too embarrassing otherwise: there’s a parade prepared for your arrival.” He turned around on his horse, glancing at each of the girls as though to check that they were there as he spoke, “Ladies Saphira, Cassandra, Katherine and Shashka, welcome to Thelline. If you’re one for peacocking, now’s your chance. The order will be the marching band, a military escort, you all - with me, naturally - and some guardsmen in the rear. Your standard flower-petal rain - I hope no one has allergies?” he paused, waiting for someone to speak up before continuing, “If someone comes running out of the audience to hand you something, don’t take it. Either I or another guardsman will intercept it for you - it’ll be less awkward. The band will leave us before the third set of gates, the military escort will peel off on either side of the inner gate, and then you all should spread out for the presentation of candidates. Which of you will be making the claim?” Edward asked, looking expectantly to William.

I think Cassandra should do it,” he replied easily, glancing back at the Lorhammie warmly. “She retrieved the star from where it landed, so I think the honor should be hers.

One of Edward’s eyebrows raised quizzically, looking to the rest of them for confirmation.

___________________________

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 ThMyae[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 4jsq88
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 EryTeT
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 AE5IZ4
Super Awesome Space Museum//Kyra's RP's
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 UNUQgL
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Qq4GRc

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WYxcDX[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 VfipPu[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 QcYyas[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 RCRME8[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MwKWL7[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 WbL1DG[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 2tcOIq[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 JbCUuo[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 V4DbwT[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 YtpCB5[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Mmp9t9[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Dx2prT
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Sailor Saturn
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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 5:52 am

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

Seeing Leon interact with the newcomer with an air of playful familiarity brought a smile to Cassandra's lips. She wondered who this person was to Leon, and how long they'd known each other. It reminded her of her own interactions with her brothers, and wondered if the relationship between these two boys was much the same.

As the conversation turned back towards the matter at hand, Cassandra tried not to get overwhelmed by the information. It seemed there was to be a lot of proper etiquette put into this entire procession, something she was not well-versed in and something she knew to be a weakness. Would she even know how to behave properly in such a place as this? She would need to fall back upon all of her books to ensure she didn't embarrass her friends, or herself, in the process. At least the excitement of it all—so many buildings! So many people! And here they were, heroes in all but name, with a real-life Star in tow!—kept her from feeling too anxious.

Leon's statement brought a smile to her lips in return, but she hesitated. "I can do this, if you think it best, though I may need some pointers. But should we not do it together?" she asked, looking at each of her friends in turn. "As a group? We accomplished this entire journey together, it seems only proper that we finish it as a group."

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 7:05 am

Quote :
Edward tilted his head to the side as though accepting something he hadn't thought would happen, and replied, "Sweet sentiment, but five people attempting to speak at once in unison has 500% higher chance of messing up. So, when we reach the palace, you all continue on towards the stage, stop, dismount, and walk to clear the horses before bowing before His Majesty. Then you straighten and Cassandra steps forward and says:" The brunet turned more to face her, his horse continuing forward at their steady, if slowed, pace, "'I, Cassandra Bailey of Lorham, present these four and myself as Star Catchers. We have traveled far and faced many dangers, and to you, King Henry, we bring a Star worthy of your collection.' Or something to that effect - don't stress over the exact wording, it's the confidence that makes the difference. The King will accept the notion and ask you to name your group members, and then invite you in once you have done so. He'll go into the palace his way, you all will follow an attendant - not you," Edward shot over at William, "to your rooms and then to lunch because everyone knows you're probably practically starving. Any questions?"

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 7:19 am

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

She appreciated his attention to detail and took to heart every word he spoke. Confidence, he'd said, was the most important. She could do confidence.

The very idea of speaking such profound words sent a thrill through her chest. To think that she would get to experience something straight out of a storybook, to come out victorious after a difficult journey in order to present hard-earned treasure to a sovereign. She knew that there was more to this, that there were dark things lurking in the corners of this scene, but it didn't quite quell the happy buzzing in her heart.

Cassandra smiled in gratitude at Edward's attentive explanation and nodded her acceptance of this role, with a quick look at her friends for an extra boost of assurance. "I've no more questions. Thank you."

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 7:42 am

Quote :
"Then let's be off," Edward said, giving William a look as he urged his horse ahead of them. They moved towards the gates.


As soon as they crossed beneath the gates, hundreds of voices rose in a solid roar of excited, congratulatory noise. Ahead of them, horns blasted triumphantly as uniformed musicians stepped into formation in the streets and began to march in time to the beat, one single man preceding them with a baton that he more danced with than marched with. Behind them came a stream of performers that threw batons and colorful flags, their movements in time to the music. As they pulled away, men and women in military uniform followed in their wake, mounted officers at the head of their precession and periodically along their flanks. Edward urged his horse forward to separate himself from them, leaving the five of them alone as the main event, but his gaze swept the crowd to intercept anything that wasn’t planned. As they moved forward the sound doubled with cheers, and, were they to look behind them, they would see uniformed guardsmen following in neat rows in their wake.


On either side of the wide cobblestoned streets, beneath the tall leafy trees that intermittently provided shade from the morning sun, were crowds of people, all cheering, jumping, celebrating the feat they had accomplished. Street performers made their ranks more colorful, their varied salutes in the form of juggling pins, silk hats, silver hoops and bursts of flame. The joy of the moment was infectious, and as they were showered with flower petals from the second story windows of buildings it was as though they passed through a clear-cut dream. It was glorious. The city itself was bright and well kept, shining glass windows clean and sparkling, storefronts proud and warm and well cared for, with window boxes brimming with flowers and awnings made of bright colors in simple patterns. The city gave off an air of being secure in its wealth and proud of its heiritage.


They passed under another set of gates about an hour later - these nearly four stories tall and older than the first - and clear calls could be heard above the roar from the audience: ‘Katherine! Cassandra! Lorham sends its best in you!’ ‘You’re Shadeslake’s favorite daughter, Saphira Vane!’ ‘Ringdotr does Deepwall proud!’ and a random chorus of “William! William!


The inner city was older and even better kept than the outer, artistry found in the very buildings themselves; this inner city was wider than the first, and it took nearly ninety minutes to get to the final set of gates surrounding a beautiful palace. The marching band peeled away, playing the Esorian anthem as they passed them by. The military sorted themselves to either side of the courtyard beyond the gate, even Edward moving aside, sending them forward alone.


The courtyard was beautiful - the gardens pristine, well-kept and obviously well loved, a beautiful foreground to the white-stoned palace behind it. Buildings of parliament rose to either side, the serving men and women in stands in front of it, each out to see the heroes of the day.


On a stage before them was gathered the Royal Family - the King, with his shoulder-length white hair held in place by the bejeweled golden crown on his head, long cape streaming from his shoulders to accent his most regal attire, the Crowned Prince, his hands held behind his back in an attempt at remaining neutral, though the proud smile that wrinkled his face upon seeing his missing son made any attempt at being stoic almost moot. The Princess and younger Prince, both blonde, were to his left with an attendant, attempting to look regal but the younger boy looked like he was about to burst with excitement. Beyond the other officials of state that filled most of the stage were a handful of attendants that did not call Thelline their home:


First was a proud couple, their bearing just as straight and collected as could be expected from a Mayoral family. They looked to the approaching Catchers cooly, their eyes landing on their daughter to nod once, politely, though their attention seemed primarily to focus on how others were taking in the proceedings rather than on any familiar excitement upon seeing her alive and well.


Second was a large man, strong but composed, his eyes seeming to shimmer with unshed tears as he spotted his daughter riding through the gates. His weight shifted as though to walk forward, but he caught himself, and, with a watery smile, glanced to the heavens above, his mouth moving in silent thanks before refocusing on his beloved child.


Third was a girl that was their peer. One that had signed up to be a Star Catcher, but had never even left the party due to an ill-timed bout of sickness. Egwene had recovered, but the redness around her eyes made it clear that while she applauded the entrance of those successful in the trial, her thoughts were briefly with one who had not been so lucky. Beneath one arm was pinned a small tin.



As they reached the designated spot, they dismounted as gracefully as they could manage, and did as instructed, moving forward and bowing before the King. Then, it was up to Cassandra.

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 9:04 am

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Zek5Etf
Seeing Edward again was like reuniting with his old shadow, an odd but still comfortable feeling following the lengths of time they had spent apart - a separation that Edward was only too quick to point out was not of his doing. He played along with the cold introduction, the treatment a quick way to bridge the gap that he had forced while reinforcing that Edward still believed they were close - close enough to treat him as a peer - and still illustrating that Edward was, indeed, annoyed with him for leaving without him. The play they had was unique for William, one built over years of friendship and earned trust, and when their eyes met the look Edward gave him guaranteed him that that trust was not lost. But he'd be expecting an explanation later. One that William wasn't exactly sure how to give, or what to offer. 

As his friend went on about the parade prepared for their arrival he listened carefully, forcing his attention to stay on what he believed his friends would enjoy, rather than giving in to the feelings of anxious anticipation that came with thinking of his confrontation with his grandfather. Parades with bands and military honors were nothing new to him, but to them? He didn't know exactly what Kitty would think of it, or how Shashka would take it - she was more a mystery now than ever. She had continued with their lessons but had otherwise stayed withdrawn, the arc of their relationship crashing down with the revelation of his powers and the involvement of Kedrok. Last night probably didn't do anything to help with that, either. It was a shame that he had been unable to bridge that gap, but he respected her autonomy and did not wish to make her feel further discomfort in dealing with him. He didn't know whether she continued to want to be a royal guard; perhaps, though, seeing the city's guardsmen would help her make her decision. He had liked "making her hit herself", but he well knew that friendships sometimes didn't work out, especially when there were perceived differences in power, and the type of 'power' differences Shashka knew of probably made anything close to friendship impossible between them. She wouldn't have to stay near him for much longer, and he was happy for her for that. He wondered, briefly, what kind of celebrations or parades Saphira was used to in Shadeslake, but then came Edward's question of who would present them, and he had no doubt as to whom he'd choose for that.

While he knew Saphira would handle the duty with grace and dignity, he knew, too, that such an honor belonged to Cassandra. Not for the reason he stated - though it was true enough and concrete enough to fall back on - but because he knew she would treasure it most, as a lover of stories and as someone who saw people in their best light. He smiled reassuringly at her when she accepted the role, and as Edward pulled ahead of them he quickly ran his fingers through his hair one more time and glanced to Saphira, surreptitiously watching to see whether she would continue to ride by him or move to take a more neutral position. 

[...]

He silently thanked each and every citizen of Thelline that was in attendance for the parade for their involvement, hoping that his friends enjoyed the show of support, but especially thanking the street performers for providing entertainment when it seemed like their forward motion was slowed to a snail's pace. He nodded and smiled or waved when he heard cries of his name above the general roar, but for most of the ride he kept his hands on his reins, practicing the standard aloof, important, and authoritative body language to show no disrespect for not paying attention to absolutely everyone that begged attention. He counted no less than fourteen times that Edward had to swoop in to gather bouquets meant for either himself or one of his friends; by the time they reached the inner gates, it was difficult to see Shadow's saddle through the brightly colored petals.

His heart stirred the closer they got to his home, and as the band stood aside and played the national anthem it was professionalism alone that kept his composure. He hadn't really realized how much he had missed it - in the brief returns he had had between months away in training he had been focusing so hard on his goal that he hadn't really allowed himself to feel anything, but now that the end was in sight, that he could guarantee his father's autonomy and his own eventual ascension, nostalgia for where he grew up and the fondness he had for it swelled so much it felt like he could barely breathe. And then there they were - his family. His eyes skipped over his grandfather, focusing instead on his siblings - Xander wiggling so much that Irene looked like she could faint for the embarrassment and Marie giving him the look that was so familiar to his mother's that it made his heart twitch in his chest, eyes looking to the east as though he could see through the buildings to where she was interred. And then to his father - the pride in his smile made it hard to keep his usual neutral expression, a returning grin flashing for a moment before their horses stopped and they, as one, dismounted. 

In a line with him at the far left, the Star Catchers approached the stage and bowed. He straightened, eyes forward and focused on the tree behind the stage, and waited for Cassandra to speak, though he felt the Monarch's gaze on him. 


sprite-keeping:
 

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime11th May 2019, 9:53 am

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 GauQv2D

Thelline. Saphira had only seen the place in pictures, and they did not do it justice. The city was far bigger, more lavish, beautiful, and majestic than any other place she had ever seen. The buildings were tall, and everything felt grander, larger than life. This was William's home, and that boy ahead was William's friend, and she was finally entering his world. The world where she intended to stay in if all went well. She could easily see herself living here and enjoying it. After all, she'd always had finer tastes for things in life.

In a way, she was grateful she hadn't been chosen to present the star. Even with all her diplomatic skills and her adept way of masking her true intentions and feelings, she doubted she could look the man who had ordered William's death in the eye and not let him know just how much she hated him.

The parade was wonderful, and in any other circumstance would be a happy, joyous occasion, but the tension and anxiety regarding what awaited William kept her from being able to enjoy it all. Being adored used to be her main source of happiness, and yet now all her concerns were directed towards him and his survival. Kedrok had certainly helped reassure her that he would have back up - a strong, unexpected one at that - but the unpredictability of the dragon and her eroding trust in him made her feel like they were dealing with a wild card. Anything could happen at this point. A thousand different scenarios of how badly things could go and only one possible good outcome.

She tried not to let any of that show, however. To the parade audience, she was the proud Star Catcher, dignified and confident, satisfied with her accomplishment. She accepted their admiration and calls of support gracefully the way she'd always been taught. The procession felt like it could last for days, but patience was one of her best qualities, and she managed to keep up the faint respectful smile on her face as they made their way through the city.

And then there was the palace. Her heart constricted at the sight of it, knowing this was once her goal. She wanted to be here. She wanted to live there, at the top of the Esorian ladder of government. The place was even more magical and wonderful than her wildest imaginations, and it made her feel suddenly small and insignificant. Who was she, a foolish little mayor's daughter, to think she was worthy to rule this nation? Getting to know William better had taught her there was more to being a leader than what she'd initially thought; the burden and responsibilites one must bear, the required selflessness she didn't possess. She still wanted to be beside him forever, but she wondered if she was worthy of it when he became King.

And then she saw him. The King, who'd been hunting him down, who'd been hunting them down for weeks. Their supposed benevolence ruler who would murder his own grandson. Saphira's eyes flashed as she stared at him, her anger momentarily betraying her expression. She looked at him for a long moment, trying to discern his motives and what he was thinking, wishing more than ever that she had the power to do so.

Then, finally, she looked at the rest of William's family, having recognized them from pictures and his stories. They, at least, looked like a loving family, some even excited to see him alive. Saphira immediately decided she liked his sister, and thought they could easily be good friends.

And then she spotted her own parents.

She hadn't expected them to be there, and so she was startled, but then she realized it made sense. They wouldn't have acknowledged her if she'd failed, but since she'd succeeded, of course they'd made sure they were here to let everyone know they were her parents. That they were the ones who'd raised a Star Catcher. She searched their expressions for relief or pride, or love at all. But while they seemed proud, she knew it was only for her accomplishment and the fact that it was going to elevate the family's name. They only spared her the shortest glance before looking at the rest of the audience, probably already calculating how her success would catapult her father's own position.

Well, they were going to be in for a rough awakening, because she had no intention of furthering anyone's career but her own. She was done doing things for them and their approval. It was time to take care of her own needs.

Someone had to.

She tried not to look at how different and how much warmer the other families' welcomes were, and instead looked straight forward until they stopped.

Trying not to tremble at the idea of facing the King, she dismounted and moved towards him with everyone. Her back was stiff as she bowed, and, having rode by William's side the entire time, she now ended up right beside him. In a really surreptitious motion, she brushed her hand against him, just the pinky finger against his, in a gesture meant to signify support before he faced his greatest challenge yet in this trial.

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime12th May 2019, 12:34 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

The sound of strangers cheering her name was at once strange and exhilarating at the same time. Beauty shone everywhere, from the falling petals and rich buildings with their sparkling windows, to the bright warm reception clear on every face she looked upon. Even her wildest imaginations never gave such an experience enough credit. She couldn't keep the smile from her face, though she kept looking to each of her friends as much as she did the crowd and the city.

She'd felt a certain amount of excitement after the acquisition of the Star, but it only dawned on her proper in this very moment. They'd succeeded. They'd done what no one else had been able to do for years and years. They were Star Catchers in more than just name and ambition.

The completion of their quest was so close now she could taste it in all its bittersweet glory. She looked to her friends again, taking in their faces as if they'd disappear right in front of her. Pride for each of them swelled in her chest, made even stronger by the chants and music reverberating all around them.

Would she ever see them again after this?

The crystal clear thought cut through some of her own cheer. But no, she wouldn't let such doubts weigh her down just now. They were her friends, they'd grown close, hadn't they? Even without a common goal to tie them together, the connections made couldn't be so easily forgotten. She, at the very least, would strive to keep in contact with them, no matter how much distance may separate them from each other.

Her eyes slid to Kitty specifically, then, a soft smile coming to her lips to see the flowers caught in that pale hair, before turning back towards the crowd once more.

The scenery changed now, from that of crowded buildings and cheering crowds to something more private and austere. Her eyes caught the sight of the King first, his regal appearance complete with a heavy crown sitting upon his head. A King. He looked just as she would have imagined a king. If she'd not known any different, she would have thought him someone to truly be worshiped. As it was, she let her eyes slide from him and the darkness she saw in that face, and took in the sight of all the others standing near him. These must be part of Leon's family, Crowned Prince, Princess and Prince. They looked lovely and warm, and she smiled at the love shining on their faces.

She wondered if there were other family members standing amongst the gathered assembly. Hard to tell, when all eyes were upon the Star Catcher group and she did not know what to look for. Instead, she sought out the familiar face of her mother and father, of her brothers, wondering if they had been able to make the trek as well. An expensive endeavor, she knew, but she also knew that impossible things were something not so impossible after all.

As she sought out the faces of her own family, coming up short with a quiet resignition, another face caught her attention and her smile slipped away as a hard lump formed in her throat. The razor sharp edge of guilt cut her to the bone.

Egwene.

She did not have much time to linger on the implications and the emotions all wrapped up in the appearance of that familiar face. The procession had reached its end and she needed to focus on being confident. As she dismounted from her horse, she blinked away the tears of a thousand emotions stinging her eyes, and straightened her shoulders. In this moment, she'd embody the storybook heroes she loved so much, and for once, feel as though she truly could be one, too.

Once straightened from the bow for the King, she took a few steps forward. She looked up to the King, head held high, bolstered by her books, her friends at her back, and the quest they'd completed. They'd done something extraordinary as Star Catchers, and she need not fear this man.

"I, Cassandra Bailey of Lorham, present these four and myself as Star Catchers. We have traveled far and faced many terrible dangers. Together we survived all these adversities. We now bring to you, King Henry, a Star worthy of your collection."

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime12th May 2019, 1:51 pm

The King wrote:
"I appreciate the hardships this last trial has put upon you, and I thank you for your dedication and your gift. You shall be rewarded for the fortitude you have shown. Please, name your companions, Cassandra Bailey of Lorham, that I may grant you this boon equally."

___________________________

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime12th May 2019, 4:22 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

His words rang heavy with a weight that she'd expected from a King, but it still struck her, having never interacted with another person with so much power as this one being.

Still, her confidence did not waver. She turned towards her friends, pride clear in her stature as she looked at them all once more.

"I name Katherine "Kitty" Davis, of Lorham. Her steadfast presence and nimble healing fingers kept us safe and at ease throughout the journey." She turned to the next. "I name Shashka Ringdotr, of Deepwall. Without her keen questioning and determined nature, we would have fallen into more traps."

"I name Saphira Vane, of Shadeslake. Her quick wit and prowess with a spear saved us more times than I can count. And lastly I name Prince William, of Thelline. His calm guidance and reliable knowledge kept us going in the right direction at every turn. It has been my honor to call each of them my companion and friend during this quest."

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime12th May 2019, 4:49 pm

The King wrote:
King Henry of Esoria, the eleventh of his name, softened as Cassandra not only named her companions but spoke highly of their contributions, an addition that made the introductions more unique than others had been in the past. His eyes moved from one figure to the next as she identified them, gaze lingering on the last before he returned his attention to the speaker and replied, "Katherine Davis, Shashka Ringdotr, Saphira Vane, William, and Cassandra Bailey, I thank each of you for what you have done and the sacrifices you have made. Please be my guest here in Thelline, in this very palace," he motioned to the castle grounds surrounding them, "as a proper reward is arranged, and join me in celebrating your achievement tonight, wherein I will receive the star you worked so hard to secure and bestow upon you each a gift of your choosing." He looked beyond them to the officials gathered, "Let it be then that a Starlight Ball is held this evening to honor our Star Catchers. Peace be with you all.

And with that, the King turned and left the stage, followed by the Crowned Prince and their retinue, the little prince somewhat loudly protesting being lead away. The moment the royal party disappeared from view, a flurry of activity started up as attendants calmly approached the horses, unloaded them and lead them away, the catchers' belongings heading off into another direction as the team themselves were, as Edward had mentioned, motioned over to two large doors that opened into the palace proper, assured in hushed voices that their family or familial representatives would be joining them for lunch after they were settled into their rooms. 

The moment they entered the large and impressive interior, Prince William was escorted one way as they were all moved in another direction. 

DM wrote:
their official schedule is to settle into their rooms, refresh themselves and later rejoin for a luncheon together, wherein they will be reunited with their family/familial representatives! That'll kick off tomorrow~ between now and then please post if you'd like to react to anything else that has come up ♥ The goal is to get to the Ball towards the end of this week, with maybe an RTRP of the ball itself? =o whaaaat ending on May 19th, 1 year since this RP Event began!

The luncheon is in a fancy parlour, where they are reunited with their parents and Egwene! Bubbles and Jupi please feel free to take control of your catchers' parents!

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime12th May 2019, 7:29 pm

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Somewhere between two and four heartbeats after straightening, Saphira's hand brushed his. Just barely, nothing so overt as to be noticed - the motion hidden so well in minute adjustments he almost wondered if it had been accidental, but knowing her erased that doubt the moment it entered his mind. Even now, with her potential reputation or future prospects on the line, she took a chance to show him her support. He wished he could do something as meaningful for her. He also wished he could just take her hand, but again this was neither the time nor place for such a thing. 

The presenting of Star Catcher candidates unfolded as described; it had been ten years since the last such presentation; he had only been ten, and honestly he only really remembered having to get dressed up to open the ball before being sent to bed. Cassandra recaptured his attention when she did more than just name them, and a small smile pulled at the corner of his mouth at what she said, agreeing with each of her statements and being honored by those she made of him. She was a genuinely good person, level-headed but believing in the good in people, a trait he honestly relied a lot upon to keep faith. He was proud to know her. They were dismissed, and only when his grandfather descended from the platform did he look away from the foliage to catch the rest of the stage party, catching some resemblance in three of its occupants to two of his companions. He tried not to look too long upon Saphira's parents, believing that doing so may only make things harder on her later. If he had his way he would let Saphira decide whether they would attend any of the festivities, rather than allowing them entrance on blood relation alone. 

He followed their precession towards the two broad doors that lead into one of the vestibules, overhearing that their parties would meet with them for lunch, sensing more than seeing Edward hurry after him with a purpose for following them rather than heading to where he knew he was expected. Upon entering the double doors and leaving the public eye, he gently caught Saphira's hand, not to keep her in place but to get her attention. "I'll find you later," he promised before Edward caught up, put a hand on his shoulder, and smoothly steered him down an adjoining hallway towards his family's quarters. 


Luckily for him, stating that he was tired and did not wish to see anyone kept reuniting with his grandfather at bay. However, his siblings were already in his quarters when he entered. Xander practically knocked him over with a flying hug the moment he cleared the door, the seven-year-old's questions going a mile a minute - which was lucky, as he didn't have time to answer a question before another one sounded. He ruffled his brother's hair and worked to take off the cloak, a task made easier when Marie intervened to get their overenthusiastic sibling to release him for a moment. She made like she would take the cloak from him and he hid a smile at how heavy she would find it, but at the last moment she took her hand away and he had to catch it before it fell. Xander moved in to take it with both hands over his head, the cloak practically completely covering him as William gently placed it on his waiting arms, and he staggered and exclaimed at finding the dagger sheathed at his eye-level as he stumbled with it towards a dressing table. Marie punched him square in the arm then, commenting about how she thought the cloak looked worn and stating under her breath that if he were anyone else she wouldn't be seen with him in that state, so he made sure to hug her extra tight before removing his chest guard and greaves. She made a face, miming that he smelled, and before he could throw his balled-up neckerchief at her she backed towards the door, calling Xander over, and informed him that their father had made room in his schedule to have lunch together in an hour.

He had intended to skip whatever lunch had been planned for him to join his friends, but he knew how difficult it was to arrange a private luncheon. He pushed back those plans, intending to join them after, and moved to his chambers to take a hot shower and change into an outfit he hadn't alternated for practically the past month straight. 

Clean, groomed, wearing clothing that had been recently laundered, pressed, and folded, he was dressed and looked the part of a Prince, but as he left for lunch he felt underdressed, his eyes trailing to the chestguard that had been like a second skin and the blue cloak that had held everything... and still held the star. Without a second thought, he threw it on over his shoulders, clasping it at his throat but adjusting it so that the front panels were behind him, looking more like a cape than a piece of all-weather protective gear. It looked a little odd in the mirror, but then his father would get a kick out of it so it'd be fine. He dug a pair of fingerless archery gloves from a drawer and slid them into place as he left his room for lunch.

sprite-keeping:
 

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime13th May 2019, 6:31 am

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The others saw Thelline, the beautiful buildings with exquisite masonry and sparkling glass. They heard the roar and hum of the crowd, voices raised to chant their names, an outpouring of national glee at the quintet's success. They felt the excitement thrum in the very stones and dirt below their horses, echoes of stomping, clapping, and dance. They smelled the fresh breeze, accented with a hint of floral added by the petals drifting down like snow. And yet, although she rode alongside them through the same place, Kitty did not.

It finally sank in when the young man approached William, his manner alternating between gruff and teasing, clearly a friend of the Prince. So many worries, so many fears, so many things that she had been desperately holding back this entire journey... they began to thaw, to crumble, and she finally allowed herself to embrace the bit of hope that had propelled her this entire time. They were here, in the capital, ready to return the Star they had risked so much for, and that meant that finally she could do the one thing she'd avoided dreaming of: she could go home.

She could change things, for the better.

Kitty thought of that sweet face, the one she had avoided for so long, terrified of how her emotions would impede the task at hand, and her heart ached to see the girl again. She imagined her sister not as she had been when the pale-haired girl left, a body wasting away amid carefully-laundered sheets, a wan face bolstered by pillows in an herb-scented sickroom, the eyes shut to the beauty of the sunlight and fresh breeze that knocked against the windows like a child begging a friend to come and play—but instead as she had been, as she existed in treasured memories of the older girl's heart, a vibrant child with a sweet disposition and a curious nature, animated and merry.

It was that familiar, beloved laughter that reached her ears, not the cry of the crowd. It was the family farm she saw ahead of her, the house perhaps in need of some minor exterior repairs, the barn nearly due for whitewashing. It wasn't gorgeous or imposing like a palace—what ranch in Lorham could be described as extravagant? Yet it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, even in her recollections, and she had to hold herself back from trying to guide the horse away from the path ahead of them in her hurry to return there. She remembered the group that gathered on the front porch to see her off, expecting that she'd be home soon, and she wanted to run into their arms and beg them to forgive and understand why she'd done something so stupid and so selfish.

But she didn't leave now. Kitty understood that she still had to wait—she had to actually finish the steps that would lead to her wish being granted—but she felt a sense of relief during this parade that she had lacked the entire journey. The pressures of stress seemed to lift slightly, releasing her, and the breaths she took as they approached the palace seemed to fill her lungs in a way she hadn't experienced in days. Even her eyes took on a different shine, brighter and clearer, as she stared off into the distance, lost in her own reverie.

When they finally reached the stage and dismounted, she noted Egwene with slight surprise, but she still felt a burst of warmth to see their companion. Kitty didn't have much bandwidth to do more than note her fellow Lorhammie—how could she have missed Cassandra's lovely presentation? She certainly wouldn't have been one to question William's election of the peridot-eyed girl, and Cassandra performed the noble task with honor and warmth. Hearing the voice ring out and seeing her classmate looking so poised in front of the King, she felt proud to call this young woman her friend.

It was over so quickly, and then she was being ushered into the palace, a place so unimaginably large and ornate that it immediately overwhelmed the girl. She found herself standing alone in the room almost in the blink of an eye, and there were many more blinks to come as she tried to find her bearings. It felt strange to be separated from the others, almost dangerous. "No; no," she tried to reassure herself. "It's over." It didn't seem quite right to say that they were "safe", all things considered, but they were expected at luncheon, and there were so many people bustling around the hallways and rooms that it didn't seem an ideal locale for foul play. Or perhaps she just wasn't as focused on safety as she had been, her thoughts too wrapped up in hopes and fantasies of seeing her family once more. A soft voice, so much more carefree than it had sounded during the rest of this trial, hummed nonsense as she quickly bathed and knocked the dust from her recently-laundered attire.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime13th May 2019, 11:57 am

Egwene Ta'vreen of Lorham

Egwene waited nervously, standing not too far from the door way into the luncheon hall. Her dark hair, already naturally curly, was pinned up in as nice of a fashion she could produce and wore her finest dress, which in comparison to much of the royalty and elites here, didn't amount to much.

She rubbed her eyes, still red, with her free hand again, being sure there would be no tears as clutched a small tin tightly against her chest, the contents inside making her stomach flip each time she dwelled on them. She had never expected to come to the city to see the catchers return. It had been a wave of excitement once word had reached Lorham. Kitty and Cassandra alive and they had returned with the star! It was all the town could talk about as they rushed to have Egwene act as ambassador. The town had needed the new, especially after only finding out about Charles's death three weeks prior and now...

Egwene swallowed down a lump that was forming in her throat, eyes looking at the door, begging them to open and reveal Cassandra and Kitty soon. She was eager to see them again, eager to talk to them about everything, about the adventure she never had the chance to take, about what happened...the reality of that adventure had hit the village head on. They all knew and understood the risks, but it didn't make it any easier.

Doing her best to put a smile on her face, she concentrated on keeping it there until they arrived. It was only right to greet them with a smile, as they had been through so much.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime13th May 2019, 12:59 pm

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She watched as Cassandra presented the star, touched by the things she said about each of them. Saphira knew she didn't have to say anything else but their names, but in true Cassandra fashion, she had gone above and beyond for people that she had only come to know a short while ago, people who had been keeping secrets and lied to her on occasion. And whatever happened with William's wish... even with Kedrok's help, there was still a possibility everything would go awry. The rest of their wishes might not come true as expected. Saphira didn't much care for hers, but these other girls... they had hitched their hope onto William's wagon and she hoped it wasn't for nothing. Of course, she also knew he would make sure their wishes were granted in other ways.

If he came out of this upcoming encounter unscathed.

She couldn't help the anxiety that plagued her as they finished the ceremony and went into the palace, especially when William had to part ways with her. He promised he'd find her later, but the moment he left her side, she felt empty and afraid. It wasn't until this moment that she realized she hadn't been separated from him for a long time now, except for short amounts of time. And not having him - or the others, for that matter - by her side felt incredibly strange.

All she'd wanted when she started this journey was to strike out on her own and succeed on her own. That had been her ideal state, or so she thought.

But now she felt cold, empty, vulnerable, and small, even surrounded by the lavish surroundings she had always dreamed of.

Saphira looked around the room that had been prepared for her. This is it. The palace. The place you've always wanted to reach. She tried to tell herself it was everything she'd wanted, and yet...

Why do I not feel happy, then?

The beautiful decor, the grand architecture, even the pretty clothes they'd set aside for her failed to excite her. The bath was glorious, and yet when she'd stepped into it, it was hard to enjoy her time in it when her mind constantly worried for William. Why couldn't they just get it over with? Why did they have to wait until tonight?

She took a deep, frustrated breath and sunk herself deeper into the fragrant water, willing her mind to shut up and enjoy all the incredibly rare luxury she was currently afforded. Snap out of it, Saphira. You're being given the royal treatment, one that only very few people outside the royal family has ever experienced. This is huge!! This is amazing!! A once in a lifetime opportunity!

She did her best to do so, scrubbing herself clean and thoroughly washing everything, focusing on the menial tasks to distract her mind. Then she donned the dress that had been prepared for her. It felt impossibly soft on her skin after weeks of wearing leather, beautiful and comfortable at the same time. It was like wearing air considering how light it was. While it was slightly too big, probably because her size had either changed during the journey or they hadn't bothered asking her size to her parents, it still fit good enough. For the first time in a while, instead of braiding her hair, she let it all down around her shoulders after a good brushing.

And then, unable to wait longer, anxious to be reunited with her companions, she made her way to where they'd said the luncheon was going to be.

And immediately regretted it when she saw her parents among the people waiting outside the room.

She actually considered turning back until everyone else had arrived when her mother waved at her. "Saphira! It's so good to see you, darling."

Her mother walked toward her, proper and regal as always, despite the fact that such a reunion would probably better warrant a little bit of rushing and hugging. Instead, Mrs. Vane stopped an arm's length away from her, her husband trailing behind.

"You've done well, Saphira," her father nodded formally, as if addressing one of his fellow politicians.

"Mother. Father," she replied just as coolly. "Thank you for making the trip here."

"Of course," her mother answered in what could almost pass for gushing. "You caught the Star! We wouldn't miss it for the world."

They'd mentioned nothing about how they felt when they knew she was going to do it in the first place, and didn't ask questions about it either. It was as if she had always planned to catch the Star and now everything was proceeding as planned. Nothing out of the ordinary at all.

"So, what will you wish for, dear?" asked her father. "You could do so much for the family. We have to think strategically here about what's best for us..."

"Can we talk about this later?" she interrupted, though her tone remained calm and polite. "I am thoroughly exhausted and hungry. It's been a very tiresome journey. I would like to enjoy the lunch first before we talk shop."

"Of course, honey, we're so sorry," her mother quickly replied, and Saphira recognized the look on her face, the nudge she gave her father. She realized that, for once, she held all the cards here. She was the person they wanted favors from, the one they had to win over with their games of persuasion. At this point in time, her position wasn't their daughter or her father's assistant. She was their mark, the queen in their game of chess.

And she knew how they played their game.

Saphira intended to press her advantage. She could do whatever she wanted and she no longer had to listen to them or consider what they desired, or making it the factor in all her decisions.

And so, she waltzed away from her parents and went into the room without a second glance.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime13th May 2019, 1:50 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

As the audience with the King came to a close, a rush of movement and emotion found Cassandra standing in her own room—her very own room within a castle!—and very much alone. Strange to think that, once upon a time, she sought out this very same solace that now left her so uncomfortable. She knew from all of the stories that adventures changed a person, and here she was, the proof of that statement twisting in her chest.

Alone, the grandeur of everything melted away, a cherished memory she would never forget, but one tarnished with a single thought she hadn't allowed herself to ponder until left alone in her own thoughts.

Where would she go from here? 

Cassandra sunk down into a plush chair, pulling out pages of parchment scribbled dark with her near illegible handwriting. A long endeavor, to write down the story of the Star Catcher journey, of how her dream came true in all its arduous wonder. She'd only covered a small portion of it, with so much still left to go. Perhaps now that she was done with her adventure, she'd have more time to commit to such a thing. Though going home would find her hands soon busy once more.

But would she go home? She missed her family, that much was true, the very ache of it twisting like a vine around her heart. She would go to see them, at the very least. But to stay? After all of this? She'd left out of a desperate need to fulfill her dreams, and she'd gotten more than she'd ever dreamed. The sights would stay with her forever, more grand and terrible and wonderful than anything written on paper.

How could she go back to the life that once drowned her so, now knowing what amazing things lay beyond Lorham?

It was then that the humming caught her attention. It was soft, nearly drowned by distance and the bustling of others outside the room. But her perceptions were keen and she knew that it was Kitty she heard, humming to herself in her own room nearby. A smile came to Cassandra's lips, secretive even alone, but an expression tinged bittersweet.

The very idea of not seeing Kitty every day, or not seeing Saphira, Shashka, or Leon when she woke up ready to strike out on the road once more... A dream come true, it'd been, the bad meshing together with the good to make something truly memorable. But now it was coming to a close, and she didn't know where it left her.

What did one do when dreams came to an end?

Cassandra sat still in the chair, letting the soft sound of Kitty's humming soothe her tangled thoughts. A few moments was all she gave to herself before she got back up, placing the written pages back with their blank brethren still waiting for her scribbles, and started to freshen her appearance. Traveling did not lend itself to leave anyone looking presentable, not for something as noble as a King's court. She washed herself thoroughly and combed the tangles from her hair. The fresh set of clothes were of a fine quality, though they were a little tight around her arms, the fit not accommodating her farmer's muscles as well as her mother could. Still, it made her feel refreshed in a way she hadn't felt in ages. She wasn't certain if they were meant to bring the Star Catcher's cloak with them or not, and the dark stains on the fabric gave her even more reason to leave it behind.

But she couldn't part with it. Not yet. Not until the dream came fully to an end. Instead, she clasped it back into place, taking solace in the fact that this cloak was still relevant in a celebration meant for a Star Catcher's victorious return. Surely no one would begrudge its appearance.

How strange to think that she was to have a meal in a castle, dressed in clothes far fancier than anything she'd ever owned before.

Her earlier excitement began to buzz its way back into her heart as she exited the beautiful room given to her, the feeling a further balm to her prior heartaches and concerns. She did not know what lay ahead for her, but her dream was not yet over. She would enjoy every lasting minute allowed to her, and then she would figure out what the future held for her.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 6:35 am

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 GZ443gD

It wasn't clear if Kitty didn't notice the clothes available in the room or simply hadn't found them suitable. She certainly didn't open the wardrobe or rifle through any drawers—thinking fondly of her hometown, feeling more at ease, she operated as though staying as a guest in someone's Lorham home. The room would not have been reserved exclusively for visitors, but instead re-purposed temporarily from someone in the family, tidied until it shined with the gleam of warm wax. To be fair, she hadn't exactly "settled in" during any of their inn stays as travelers. She carried little with her and they had to be ready to leave on a moment's notice. The pale-haired girl made sure to scrub out the tub after she used it, carefully wiping down the toiletries and restoring them to their original state, and left the used towels neatly folded to the side.

She couldn't find a broom, but she did her best to wipe up the floor after knocking the dirt and dust from her attire. The industrious girl carefully unbuttoned the cuffs and rolled up her sleeves, disguising the bloodstains, and daubing a bit of soap here and there until she felt satisfied. The soft hair fluttered around her face almost like feathers, so much lighter after such a thorough washing. She almost missed the familiar weight of the grit and grime picked up on their journey. She contemplated pinning a bit of it back from her face, but it seemed unkind to borrow the baubles laid out on the dressing table—not if she couldn't ask their owner for permission.

When she stepped out into the hall, the petite young woman missed the look of confusion on the face of the nearest palace worker, her eyes too busy scanning the hallway to retrace their steps. He managed to compose himself before approaching her, swallowing the critique of how peculiar and uncultured these country folk could be until later, a perfect extra bit of gossip for the servant's hall.

"If you would, miss," he gestured, guiding her at a distance and then disappearing into one of the many corridors that snaked through the palace as soon as the bustle of luncheon came into sight.

Kitty spotted a beautiful young woman at a distance, regal and shining—a perfect accent to the majesty of the palace. The auburn hair fluttered around her shoulders, and the long, petal-like skirt wafted around her as she strode elegantly forward, chatting easily with the regal people milling about the area. Kitty felt as though she stood inside of a magnificent dollhouse, and had just spied the princess, although perhaps some child had misplaced the doll's crown. Then her eyes scanned the rest of the crowd, and the Lorhammie understood that she was quite under-dressed for the occasion. Her hand-me-downs were laughable compared to luxurious silk, embroidered chiffon, and shimmering satin ribbon.

Even a familiar face seemed to have been better prepared for this event. Kitty moved towards Egwene, partially because she did not feel confident talking to anyone else standing around—although she had hoped to see her fellow Star Catchers—and partially because she longed to see someone from home who had been in comforting Lorham all this time. She wondered if the curly-haired girl would smell like home, ushering the comforting scent of hay and sunshine around her, instead of the perfumed and somewhat sterile scents of this place.

"Egwene," she greeted, the tone even and cheered, although her smile fell slightly when she saw the red eyes of her hometown classmate. Slate blue eyes looked up, questioning, but she didn't want to appear rude, not when this was supposed to be a celebration.
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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 10:24 am

Quote :
The tables of the parlour stacked with sandwiches and meats, greens and breads, and a dessert table stocked with delicious looking fanciful things, most of the helpers quickly made their exit with short, graceful curtsies or bows, but for those that remained to serve drinks or ladle out hot soup. There were small tables set about with plush chairs, looking more like a hearty high tea than a feast lunch, but, as per usual, that was intentional. The first meal back was more of an intimate gathering, meant for the Catchers, their families, and any town representative that may have made the journey to Thelline to congratulate them. The time to bask in the glorious company of the capital would come later; now it was simply time to relax, reflect, and enjoy the food.

A steward made himself available by the door to answer questions, but otherwise the staff - well trained - kept to themselves.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 12:39 pm

Egwene Ta'vreen of Lorham

As Egwene stood, the anticipation of waiting making the pit of anxiety in her stomach even worse, the familiar pale haired Kitty walked through the doors and made a beeline straight to her. That made this difficulty both easier and worse at the same time. Egwene gave her her best cheerful smile, but faltered when it was clear that Kitty could see through her forced cheerfulness.

Her smile turned into a small sad one as she reached out and gently touched the girl on her shoulder, her other hand still clutching the tin tightly to her chest. Egwene was never one to beat around the bush. It was best to be honest and upfront with people, whether or not people particularly liked what she had to say. Honesty was her best policy and now it was time to stick true to that.

”Kitty, I did not want to dampen the good spirits of this celebration but…” she said, pressing the tin into Kitty’s hands, ”when I returned to the village, Daisy...she…”

She swallowed another lump that had again started forming in her throat. She silently cursed her emotions, wishing she were a stronger person for this job, but she looked into Kitty’s eyes, her own starting to shimmer.

”She had already passed. I’m so sorry Kitty, I had wanted to leave right away to find you but…” she sighed, eyes dropping away from the girl, ”It was just not possible.”

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 12:54 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 GZ443gD

She no longer felt the gentle pressure of a friendly hand on her shoulder. The words that Egwene spoke vibrated oddly in her ears, echoing strangely, so that she fought to understand their meaning. It was as if the other girl communicated with a different and unknown language, her familiar voice now speaking in tongues. The shorter young woman in the dark, worn cloak stood very still as she listened and concentrated. She felt removed from the rest of the gathered group, as though she no longer stood in the elegant palace, in a room with lively conversation, but instead existed in another realm, a place sterile and undefined.

"...She had already passed..."

What were those words? The pale-haired, slight figure felt as though she were turning towards the gentle breath of wings from a butterfly, trying to chase down the small and beautiful creature. Perhaps she could show it to...

The gray-blue eyes widened, pupils contracting to a narrow point, and Kitty felt the tightness in her chest constrict until she thought she'd implode, collapsing inwardly like a dying star. The tears gathered in an instant, eyes still unblinking, and she stared forward at the barrage of memories that flooded past her, suffocating her, all of those smiles and the laughter now twisted into a mocking cry heard only within the quiet confines of her own mind.

And then she was doubled over, sobbing, kneeling on the floor without knowing that she had fallen, and overwhelmed with guilt and anguish and pain.
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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 1:17 pm

Egwene Ta'vreen of Lorham

Watching Kitty, she knew all to well the emotions that over took her. She too had felt the crushing emotion of hearing the same news with Charles, how over whelming it was and nothing around you mattered. Just a dull blur.

Egwene did all that she knew to do. She knelt beside the girl, comforting her as a mother would a child, as her own silent tears slid dwn her cheeks. She would give time for Kitty to open the tin and see it's contents--the funeral biscuit and black armband, customary of Lorham's rituals. For now, she just needed to let the girl grieve, and Egwene needed to give her whatever comfort she needed.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 2:28 pm

[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MtyLMkX

She'd taken her time to reach the room, taking a more roundabout route so as to see more of the castle for as long as she could until being directed back on track by confused servants. It was a beautiful place, and she wanted to see as much as possible before the opportunity dashed away.

Luckily, the luncheon room itself was just as beautiful, full of delicious things she couldn't even begin to guess the names of. It was a far more private affair than she'd expected, but that made it even more comfortable.

But amongst the grandeur of castle architecture, lush furniture, and delicate foods, there was only a single sight that caught and held her attention.

The instant her eyes spotted Kitty collapsed upon the floor, Cassandra ran, any ideas about proper decorum forgotten in her alarm.

It was only after she'd reached Kitty's side and thrown herself upon the floor next to the smaller girl that Cassandra realized Egwene was there, too. Tears fell from Egwene's eyes but they did not strike pain through Cassandra's heart quite as much as Kitty's shaky sobs. "Kitty?" Cassandra tried, reaching out to pull Kitty into her arms without disrupting the comfort Egwene was giving at the moment. She spotted the tin Egwene had been carrying earlier as she did so, but that didn't give her the answers she needed. "Are you okay?" There were no wounds that she could spot.. Was it something Egwene had said? Had the topic of Charles's death come up?

She glanced over at Egwene, confusion clear in her expression, tinged with wary suspicion, but without any answers, she could not place the blame on anyone. Instead, she turned her attention back onto Kitty, her voice soft and concerned. "What's happened?"

She was afraid of the answer. For they'd seen terrible things, experienced terrible things, and none of those experiences had ever left Kitty in this broken state.

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PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime14th May 2019, 7:22 pm

Egwene Ta'vreen of Lorham

Egwene turned when she heard the familiarity of Cassandra's voice. It giving her just a small tinge of relief. Scrubbing her eyes with the sleeve of her dress, she cleared her throat. If only Cassandra had walked in moments earlier, having to repeat the news again... Well, there was nothing she could do about it now. She was just glad that Cassandra arrived to give Kitty a more familiar comfort than she could.  Egwene only surmised that the two had been able to grow closer on their journey, especially after she learned that they both had been the ones to lay Charles to rest. A task that should have never been theirs to begin with. A task none of them should have had to endure.

"Her sister...Daisy. She succumbed to her illness just three days past the solstice. She had already been gone a day by the time I returned to Lorham..." she said, voice shaking. She opened her mouth to say more but could not bring herself too. Egwene did not think Kitty could handle hearing anymore than she had to.

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[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Empty
PostSubject: Re: [HC Event] Star Catchers   [HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 I_icon_minitime15th May 2019, 8:32 am

DM wrote:
Shashka wrote:
[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 Js8uiIH
The moment she could, Shashka started to separate herself from the others. She didn't want to have anything to do with the rest of things. They were nice people, she didn't wish ill of them, she just knew - for her own health and happiness - that she had to put this whole business behind her, and that meant distancing herself from the people who were there when it happened. 

When she reunited with her father, neither of them had dry eyes. After a hug that lasted for minutes, she asked that they skip the luncheon, and he agreed. She had changed from the headstrong, fire-cracker of a girl that had left over a month ago, her expression haunted and her heart heavy, and he would do whatever she asked to make her comfortable and help her heal. 


[HC Event] Star Catchers - Page 30 MFUyv6Z Shashka Ringdotr has removed herself from the party. 
She will accept he star but will have nothing else to do with the other Catchers (at least, for the time being and foreseeable future. Months or years down the line that may change, but for now this is the way of things). 

Her wish (which has changed), will be spoken when the others present theirs through a DM update!  Thank you, Sailor Jupiter, for participating in this ENORMOUS HC EVENT! =D

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