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Season: Autumn

With the cooling season of Autumn, Ice-types are starting to re-emerge from their hibernation as Ghost-, Normal-, and Flying-types swarm in the largest numbers they will all year. In comparison, wild Fire- and Bug-type populations are falling in number. The migration of Flying-types to the south in search of warmer weather has also started, as Istin City starts to re-freeze and Autumn marks the beginning of Cypwater Point's rainy season. Handlers and Rogues alike should be wary: Ghost-type powers are boosted during this season, at the cost of being more prone to their triggers.

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 Anne Capet's Travels, Korosensei
Carnivale
 Posted: Jan 22 2016, 03:03 PM
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Prologue


--


Anne had barely gotten on the rapidash's back before a new voice interrupted her.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Should Anne turn head or horse to find the source, she would have no trouble spotting it. A figure was coming this way from the direction her carriage had previously been leaving on, a sweeping shadow in billowing cloaks and shawls. Slippered feet trudged across the hard earth, and the stranger of a woman - no older than Anne herself at a glance - tucked curly brown hair behind one ear so she could more easily stare Anne down with a cocked eyebrow and deep-seated irritation.

"Do you even know how to ride a horse bareback?" she asked snidely, shifting the rather cumbersome-seeming burden on her own back. With a heave and a grunt, she threw it to the ground in front of Anne. It was, unexpectedly helpfully, a saddle. "No use getting your neck broken before you've done what the lady asks, so get down here and let me work on that for you."

A pause. Then, as an offhanded comment, "My name is Carlie. I'll be your servant for this trip."

Anne was given ten seconds to conduct herself as suggested. If she failed to move according to Carlie's wish, she would find herself physically plucked off the rapidash's back by invisible hands and set down (gently) on the ground nearby while Carlie approached the mount. She shushed its skitterish neighs with a careful hand before pulling it away from Anne, out of kicking range, just in case, and set to the task of saddling it.

In the meantime, Anne had a third new "friend" to keep herself busy with. This scoundrel talked in her head in a voice that was almost...gentlemanly. All you will do is gather information.

"One of your daddy's little friends had his feet all a-mucking through some delicate trades in the Parks," Carlie said from yonder. "We have our leads, but we don't want to move based on assumptions. Situation's tense enough without stray axes taking off the wrong head." The curly brown head jerked up, sharp green eyes scanning the sky. "Show yourself, you stupid psychic."

A chuckle, and an alakazam appeared in the distance between the two women. He stroked one of his long mustaches before glancing in Anne's direction. I hope you do not mind our company for your little task, Anne Capet, he said. We always like some insurance with the recruits. Just in case.

"In case you fail," Carlie finished for him, rising to her feet. She led the now-saddled rapidash back to Anne, handing her the reins. There was a warning in her eyes. "One of your lords today is a man named Simone Castillo. That's the one we want - we need to verify whether or not he's involved in a slave trade that's been snatching people left and right off the coasts of Maritime. You should be able to talk it out of him, or so I hope. If all else fails, we kidnap him."

Her tone suggested it'd better not come to that.

Once Anne was mounted, Carlie would gesture for her to take the lead. The alakazam vanished - waiting. Guiding, if Anne was unaware of where to actually head.

--------------------
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Gilen Bassett
Profile --- Travels
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Lahi Sharandi
Profile --- Travels
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Carmen Caldwell
Profile ---- Travels
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Korosensei
 Posted: Jan 22 2016, 09:59 PM
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Anne had only just managed to pull herself onto the back of the rapidash when she heard a sudden voice calling out to her. She nearly fell off the horse trying to see who it was, and eventually her fingers slid down the rapidash until she was lowered to her feet. "Who are you?" she asked, although she suspected it was no coincidence that this woman appeared right after Lady Barrie left. An important woman like her must have many servants, after all.

The woman asked if she even knew what she was doing before producing a saddle and then acknowledging that she knew the recently departed lady. And then, a new twist - this woman, Carlie, was supposed to be Anne's servant. There were servants in her father's house, of course, but she was not used to having maids of her own given her odd status within the family. She had to fight the impulse to smile and instead offered an enigmatic little turn of her head. "It is good to meet you, Carlie. And thank you for the saddle." Although thanking a servant was not the noblest thing she could do, she felt no need to be rude to Lady Barrie's servant. After all, Lady Barrie could have easily killed her and didn't, and asked only for attendance at a party in return.

While Carlie prepared the rapidash, weaving the straps of the saddle in a way Anne didn't even know existed, Anne suddenly felt an intrusion in her head, as if someone had broken in. "What is happening?" she asked, but all the voice told her was that she needed to gather some information. Well, that was the sort of mission she liked best, but she didn't like the way this... thing was inside her head. Carlie didn't seem nearly as perturbed by the unusual turn of events; perhaps she understood, anticipated, or had even heard the voice as well. Apparently she was getting information from someone at her father's party, or as Carlie rudely said, one of her "daddy's little friends." She was about to protest this use of language, but she doubted Carlie would care. After all, the woman had a foul vocabulary, and Anne had no desire to hear someone cursing about her father. She held her tongue, but nearly squeaked when Carlie asked a psychic to show itself.

"A psychic?" she asked, pondering the strange voice from before. So it was a psychic-type, most likely a pure one. She definitely hadn't anticipated running into an alakazam, and was afraid when it materialized. She held her body very stiffly. It knew her name... Only after it finished speaking did Anne try to respond in a tentative voice. She was very used to people, but she had never spoken to a pokemon like this before. "Erm... how - I mean, you entered my head, correct, to get my name? I would prefer some sort of warning next time. And what do you mean by recruit?" she asked.

Carlie then filled in the rest of the details, stating that Anne was supposed to get information out of Simone Castillo with only her words. It was her typical modus operandi, but she had never tried to get any information about anything like a slave trade before. She generally kept her nose out of her father's business, and she wasn't sure he would appreciate her butting into his friends' affairs. She would have to hide this from him, a task that might be potentially quite difficult considering she was not likely to be the only member of her family at the party. Guillaume was almost certainly going to be there, and perhaps her half-sisters would even make appearances. Even her stepmother would be there, and since Anne suspected she had reacted to her elevation in a sour way, she was going to try to avoid Anna for the night. She would have to weave her way through the people, find this Simone Castillo who she didn't think she had ever met, and get the information Lady Barrie needed.

Although Anne was confident in her own abilities, she was not immune to the fear that accompanied a first mission. "I will inspect this bag that Lady Barrie gave me, and then I am prepared to depart," she said, not asking the servant Carlie's opinion on the matter. She sifted through the items, finding a pokemon egg that felt warm to her hands and yet stubbly. "It's rocky..." she muttered to herself, and put the aptly named Rocky the egg back inside. Then she felt around until her hand hit something else warm, but this was smooth too. She picked it up and found that it was a poke ball. "Lady Barrie has given me a pokemon," she said, feeling indebted to her for her generosity. She would do her best on this mission tonight, but first, her curiosity would get to her. She pressed the button in the center of the poke ball, and waited to see what would happen.

A red light illuminated the forest for a moment, and when it was done, Anne looked down to find a small catlike pokemon standing on its two legs. "Hello," she said to the pokemon, although she wasn't entirely sure what to say to it.

"Well hello to you too," she heard, and her brain felt tickled again, and she inhaled deeply. The voice was androgynous-sounding, and slightly mocking.

"A psychic? Another one? And this one's mine?"

The espurr snorted. "We travel together. There is a difference."

"And he is mine to keep?" she asked Carlie.

The espurr recoiled as if struck. "I am a female, and my name is Malkin. Remember it. We are a team, Anne Capet," she said, and then marched up to her poke ball and pressed the button, recalling herself. Perhaps she was angry, or maybe she was just bored by the lack of activity in the forest.

Anne smoothed out her outfit and tried again to mount the rapidash. When she was settled, she spurred the horse forward, and her eyes followed the alakazam as it advanced farther up the path. Apparently she would have to get used to psychics. "Let's do this," she said as the rapidash began to move.

--------------------

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CounterHex
 Posted: Jan 30 2016, 12:12 AM
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Anne’s frivolous and most definitely one-sided pleasantries were wasteful of the precious few moments they needed to head back on the road towards the party. Save the niceties, those honey-coated words for Simone Castillo. Carlie could not be swayed simply by courteous or bold language, mannerisms of polite society were tedious. It was vital that she made this mission a success, Valarie had no qualms for violence and with Carlie in tow meant that Anne could rely on another if it meant they had to resort to kidnapping Castillo.

The alakazam’s appearance was unruffled when Anne voiced a concern over involuntary psychic interaction. He cracked a wry smile as the two spoons in his palms hovered and spun in mid-air. Anne could interpret his gesture any way she wished to, but the pokemon cloaked himself with the cover of night as if the stars and sky were wefts of fabric that could be pulled over like a hood.

As Anne took the opportunity to inspect her belongings, the brief introduction with Malkin was interrupted by Carlie, “Get your arse in gear. We’ll be late.”

Carlie trailed behind Anne’s steed. The party was well underway, a cascade of luminous light sources bounced around the hill of the estate. In the distance the pair wound through the meandering stone paved road. The clicking rhythms of rapidash hooves began to slow into a more manageable trot as they neared the wide iron gates. A carriage robust in size paused at the front gate. Visible security in this case had a pair, one on either side manned a polearm grasped in one hand. Both wore heavy chain-mail with helmets that at their distance was difficult to discern any of facial features. A servant of the estate inspected invitations before she waved a hand at the guards to open the gates. The stagecoach exchanged a few words with the woman wearing a plain, dark brown dress before snapping the reins to encourage the bridled rapidash to advance closer to the entrance of the building.

“Castillo unfortunately isn’t a heavy drinker. He’ll have a glass for the sake of keeping appearances during a meal, but as far as we know he doesn’t get intoxicated in public. Getting a stiff upper lip to loosely reveal intricate secrets will be difficult,” Carlie didn’t bother to refrain from displaying a smirk eerily similar to alakazam’s expression earlier. “but that’ll be your problem to deal with. I won’t be saying much at all tonight, Lady Anne Capet.” she said in a mock posh accent with her nose upturned.

They rode up to the gate. Carlie’s strict and callous manner slipped with ease into the position of a servant. The woman recognized Lady Anne. A brief lapse of surprise was shown in the subtle movement of her eyebrows. “Lady Anne Capet we were told by your father you would arrive by carriage. Did something happen on the road? You should see to your father right away! Shall I alert him to your presence?”

It seemed that whatever Anne told the woman, she would try her best to comply. The gates remained open for their party to enter. If she wished to immediately locate her father, the woman would be glad to assist. However, once she entered the estate Carlie and Anne would go their separate ways for the night. As a servant, Carlie would wait in the servant’s quarters with the others various families brought along.

Anne could persuade the woman that her carriage had been attacked – a partial truth that didn’t reveal Valarie Barrie’s involvement which warranted more time with Carlie to construct a plan in the privacy of one of the rooms.


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Korosensei
 Posted: Jan 30 2016, 10:23 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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Egg Count: 12 (Pumpkaboo), 2 (Rocky)

Carlie, as she noticed, was quite rude. She was most definitely not a servant, or hadn't been brought up that way. There was something about the way she talked to Anne that betrayed that she was far more. She wondered how Carlie truly came in contact with Lady Barrie, and what her usual role was. If she was a servant full-time, she definitely wasn't a good one. She didn't know how to hold her tongue, or allow her mistress to interact with her new pokemon for a sufficiently long time. Plus her alakazam was rude, the way it twirled its spoons like that. She would follow it to the gates, but she wouldn't trust it farther than she could throw it. Even though she was now in charge of a psychic-type pokemon, she didn't trust them any more than she had before. She would need time for more interaction - and perhaps a show of goodwill - in order to trust both the alakazam and Malkin better.

She recalled Malkin into her ball and glared at Carlie. "I am ready to depart," she said huffily. She would set her place in this encounter and she would not be on the bottom. Never again, she had vowed to herself. Never again. She would call herself second to none except those who, according to their own noble positions, were placed above her. And even then, she would continue to be ambitious and seek her own gain. It was what a noblewoman did, after all - and she needed to become a noblewoman as best as possible considering her father's bestowing of a title upon her. There was no need to kowtow to the wishes of the riffraff, but she respected Lady Barrie. She would get the mission done.

As she rode, following the alakazam, she began to doubt herself. She was newly minted, a new person, and she didn't quite know how she was supposed to act with her new role in her father's household. Was she supposed to be gracious and forgive those who had trespassed against her? Or was she supposed to be cruel, punishing each smirk from years past with a blow? There were so many options, and when she got to the party, she would have to not only consider all this but also the mission at hand. She had promised to help Lady Barrie, and she considered her word to be the most valuable possession she had as a new noblewoman. She had to do this for Lady Barrie, but also for herself. Lady Barrie, she knew, had many friends and even more connections. An alliance with her could be beneficial for both of them, if she could only figure out how she was supposed to get the information out of Castillo. She had never met him before, and there were enough different kinds of people at her father's house for parties that she could never pinpoint a specific type of person. She would have to wing it completely once she got inside. Perhaps the espurr wouldn't be quite so bad after all, if she could help with the delicate matter. But she had to get through the opening gauntlet first.

The beginning of a party was a touchy time. She barely listened to Carlie's words or her snide use of her name in a fake accent before she approached the gates. Carlie shut her mouth, as befit a servant, and it was left to Anne alone to proceed from now on. She wished she had some sort of good-luck talisman she could clutch - but no, she was doing it on her own. She already had the luck to be named a lady and her father's favorite daughter. She needed nothing more.

The servant at the gate recognized her, as she knew the servant would, and she nearly panicked when she realized Anne wasn't arriving in the way she was supposed to. "My carriage was attacked," Anne said in a clear and confident voice. Even though she was admitting to an attack, she wanted to sound strong, like she had defended herself, even though she hadn't. She wondered how Lady Barrie could be so strong and also acknowledged as a lady in one of the most powerful families in the Harper region. She would have to ask her sometime. "As much as I would love to see my father, I believe I need a bit of time to touch up my hair and ensure my gown is presentable. I will take my servant Carlie," she smirked as she imagined the other woman's reaction, "into my rooms and finish preparing. And then, yes, I would greatly appreciate if you would help me find my father. No doubt he's worried about me."

She reveled in her father's love. She would shine at the party tonight. But first she needed just a little bit more time with Carlie, just a few more minutes to make the plan and make herself look more presentable. Her hair was likely mussed from the rapid ride and her gown was likely not perfectly pristine. It was an excuse that would work, and that the servant wouldn't question. And she could easily lead Carlie back toward her rooms where she could beautify herself while listening to the so-called servant's advice.

She would not emerge from her rooms until she looked, and felt, ready to complete her mission.

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CounterHex
 Posted: Feb 9 2016, 02:57 PM
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“Of course, my lady. Are you sure we shouldn’t alert to your father what has happened? He would wish to know of your well-being, I’m sure.” The servant said in a hurried tone. Her skin’s pallor turned sallow under the thought that Lady Capet was attacked, her father would go on a tirade at the news.

Unaware of the trying circumstances related to Valarie Barrie the servant was appalled and immensely thankful that Lady Anne was unharmed even if she was a bit disheveled. They entered the towering and heavy oak doors, designed by the best artisans’s in Seaway. A marble staircase covered by a long, plush velveteen carpet made sure no guests slipped. “Upstairs, first door to your right,” she said to Anne’s new servant. She couldn’t pinpoint her visage, but there was something oddly familiar about her. The woman batted away the distraction – Carlie must have aided Anne to safety seeing as the servant believed that Anne was incapable of fighting off bandits.

She didn’t venture with Anne or Carlie into the room and waited at the bottom of the steps. Carlie turned the handle and bowed with her right arm gestured for Lady Anne to enter first. Her previous penchant for sarcasm was absent and now Carlie molded seamlessly into character.
The room itself was large. A bed against the far wall covered in pillows filled with the most expensive swanna feathers was highlighted by the dark red sheets, folded pristinely by a previous maid. The bed was nestled between two night tables, the left had an oil lantern. A series of book cases were on the right adjacent wall nest to an armoire. On the opposite end were large windows, they were closed for now but a lock in the middle could be unlatched to push them open if Anne wished to do so.

A wooden vanity painted the colour of cream was embossed with a detailed design reminiscent of milotic scales. The mirror was oval shaped with a matching white stool. Carlie closed the door behind them and shuffled towards the armoire.

“What does this door lead to?” She peaked and said, “A bath – well will you be changing your dress? Freshen up otherwise your father will worry or is that what you want? I reckon a black eye will get his attention, maybe he’ll send Guards to the trail to find the bastards.”

Carlie opened the armoire to find three dresses, one plainer, high-collared for everyday use. One was dark as night, long sleeved and cinched at the waist, while the last was a gaudy shade of green with a sweetheart neckline and plumed outwards. Another rack of tulle skirts were next, needed for the green dress.

“Once we leave this room I’ll be at the servant quarters so let’s hear a run through of how you’ll approach Castillo.”

---
Your 20 OOC has been redeemed for 2 Egg Counts

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Korosensei
 Posted: Feb 16 2016, 04:43 PM
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Stupidface McNoctowl
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The servant seemed quite concerned for Anne. This was such a nice change, she had to admit - since her father's acknowledging her, nearly everyone was treating her with an incredible amount of respect. It was something she had always thought she deserved, but actually getting it was another story. She couldn't even begin to count how many times she had mumbled something under her breath when someone hadn't respected her properly. Well, those times were over, and if she had her way, they would never come back. Even if this Carlie kept being rude to her, she could rest assured that the servants in her father's household would still be kind to her.

Anne and Carlie proceeded upstairs. It even smelled like home, with a pignite roast's fumes wafting through the halls. Even though she hadn't been gone all that long, she had encountered a trying situation, and it was nice to be back somewhere she felt safe. True to her part, Anne walked into the room before Carlie, snickering a bit at the other woman's sudden subservience. Whatever she was, she was a great actress - either that, or she was afraid of a reprimand in a more official setting.

Anne took a deep breath when she entered her room. She could smell some fresh, floral soap and assumed a bath was waiting for her. She wouldn't mind getting the grime of the road off her. She would need to look good at this party. Looking good would increase her confidence, which would do nothing but help her fulfill Lady Barrie's wishes. She took a look in her mirror, marveling at how horrible her hair looked. "I do need to fix my hair, at the very least, and I wouldn't mind freshening up. I will take a short bath," she said, aware that Carlie likely didn't want her to waste too much time. But in this world, appearances were everything, and she couldn't afford to mess up tonight.

While she bathed, she tried to think of what to wear. She had two clear options for the night, the midnight-black dress that was designed to make her look like a maiden of moonlight, and a green dress with several skirts to go underneath. She could craft two silhouettes, more like two personas, depending on what she wore. The black dress cinched in, creating an image of sophistication and honor. She could look like the picture of grace, and with minimum make-up or anything else, she could project this image rather quickly. On the other hand, the green dress would make her look young, innocent, carefree... She would likely need a fancier hairstyle to go with it and her movements might be encumbered by all the skirts underneath, but if she wanted to go for the innocent-girl route, that might be better.

It was a hard decision. What kind of image could she use to get Castillo to trust her? Would it be better to play the curious young girl card, or would it be better to appear sophisticated and understanding and perhaps tolerant of a potential involvement in the slave trade? Although if she appeared too mature, he might not trust her... It was her best bet, though. She needed to look like an adult, to be able to move freely, to be able to get ready without much complication. As much as she loved the green dress - she had envied it for a long time when it had once belonged to her stepmother Anna - she knew she had to play a part tonight that the green dress wouldn't fit. And if this worked, she would have more opportunities to network with Lady Barrie and wear the green dress in the future...

She had to snap out of her daydreams. "The black one will cultivate the right opinion. I need to look sophisticated. I think I might be able to pair this with some expensive-looking jewelry and convey the appearance of someone who has enough money to spend but doesn't need to show off." This went against her inner nature - she loved showing off as much as possible - but on a mission like this, she didn't want to be too obvious. She would look dark as the night and move nimbly through the crowd. She would present herself as an adult with money to spare and with some careful talk she might even be able to insinuate that her morals were lax enough to consider purchasing a slave. Then she would see... "Twist up my hair into something simple. I want to look simple yet striking," she said, partly for the satisfaction of making Carlie do something for her. It was quite the amusing situation, in her mind.

As she donned the dress and prepared to go, she went over her plan with Carlie. "I think we'll need my espurr's help in order to communicate, since we won't be in the same place. Malkin can transmit thoughts, and she's small and cute enough that she might even be able to come out in the open if we need her. But near the servants' quarters there are some rafters that lead over the room where the party will be held. Perhaps Malkin can wait there, and be your eyes and my ears in the room." If Carlie approved of this plan, Anne would give Malkin to the other woman. She was still not entirely comfortable being around the espurr yet, and the idea of Malkin spying on her was disconcerting, but she had to do what she had to do.

"I will go to the party and speak with my father first. This will just remind the other people of my favor with him - and I'll keep an eye out for Castillo, if you can tell me any physical features of his. If not, I'll have to find a way to ask my father that's not suspicious. I think I can do it with him, but with Castillo, I'll have to be more careful." She pondered what would happen with the potential slaver. She didn't know anything about him - his looks, wealth, demeanor, and personality were all mysteries to her. And perhaps he was even cultivating a disguise of his own... "With Castillo, I'll need to hear him speak before I come up with a concrete plan. He may be faking something or he may come up with some sort of false circumstance for being at the party. Any prior knowledge you can give me about what he usually does would be helpful, although I'm not likely to catch him in a lie. What's likelier to happen is that I earn his trust and speak in a similar manner to him, all the while planning my words to get him to say something that'll be enough for you. That's when Malkin will tell you what's going on." After that, she planned to enjoy the party, staying around the people to as to squash any suspicions of foul play. "Once Malkin has told you this, I will continue to act normal at the party and may even converse with Castillo some more. If I do get him to admit anything, did you want me to tell him any sort of message?" It was demeaning to be an errand-girl, but if Lady Barrie wanted it, she would at least try.

With a curl of her fingers she motioned for the poke ball back. She told Malkin the plan quickly, and unless Carlie had any objections to anything, Anne would leave the room as soon as her hair, dress, and jewelry were ready. It would be a challenge, she knew, but she was feeling quite confident in the black dress. It had been a dress made specifically for her, instead of a hand-me-down that was resewn to fit her measurements. She couldn't help but smile widely at the thought that this dress was hers, and it would always be hers, and potentially greater things could happen so long as she did this mission successfully. With a smile, she motioned for Carlie to open the door.

--------------------

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CounterHex
 Posted: Feb 21 2016, 10:16 PM
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Anne was seated at the vanity after she adorned the dark dress for the party. A perfect fit as the hem barely dragged across the floor, but hid her footwear. Carlie made no indication of irritation as Anne basked in the mild observance of power against the rude woman. The demand held an implicit sense of trust. Carlie opened one of the drawers to retrieve a smattering of hairpins. Fixing Anne’s hair into an elegant knot depended on a fraction of intimacy. Although Anne barely knew or extended a modicum of trust with Carlie, the woman was associated with Lady Barrie, a powerful woman in their upper echelon. Carlie pulled Anne’s hair back, wrestling the stray baby hairs into some semblance of orderliness. The woman’s thumb pressed against the nape of her neck and brushed back the long strands, if Carlie wished to it wouldn’t be difficult to twist the woman’s neck.

So maybe there was a little seed of trust. Carlie grasped a few pins between her lips for easy reach. Each pin was carefully placed, hidden to keep the locks in place and when finished gave an illusion of volume. It was a popular style these days. No one wanted greasy, frail, or limp hair. People thought it made them look sickly.

With the proper jewelry, Anne was ready to attend the long-awaited bash. “Aye, aye” the rising tone, the inflection was a mockery of Carlie’s agreement to the plan but the sound was so natural as it left Carlie’s lips. Maybe she had been a sailor at one point?

Castillo, he’s the calculating type – real dangerous, his lot. Some think he’s uptight, not fun at all especially because he doesn’t enjoy drinking. I haven’t met the man myself though so I can’t quite say how stiff he is. A stickler personality doesn’t garner any fans, but dogs just lap at whatever hand is giving out food. Lady Barrie said he had a beard, but for all we know he could be clean shaven for tonight. Dark auburn hair and brown eyes, it sounds just like any other middle aged man. Ah, but that could be a signifier too. He’s plain then,” Carlie said as she took Malkin.

“Ask around - actually no, don’t do that. Have your father introduce him to you. Your father will know him better and frame the conversation in your favour. If you can manage to speak to him without your father’s interference then maybe he’ll say things he wouldn’t say in your father’s presence.”

Carlie grabbed the door handle and opened it. Anne stepped out of her private rooms, with Carlie at her tail as she travelled back down the flight of steps. The servant woman visibly brightened, “My Lady Anne you look wonderful. The festivities are well underway. You know where it is, in the grand hall and on the extended balcony.”

Carlie nodded to the servant woman and both of them proceeded to leave as Anne steered toward the actual party. The soft melodies of music accompaniment filtered through the conversations. Many well-dressed people, lords and ladies chatted. Anne did not see any sight of her half-sisters or brother as she treaded through the crowd. They could be here, but it wasn’t as if Anne was making an effort to scout them out specifically. As she made her way to the stretch of balcony, she passed through the large glass doors. Her father was in the middle of a rambunctious conversation. Anne’s step mother was at his side, sipping on a flute of wine. Her father scaled through a story that engrossed the senses of an elderly gentleman and a younger man that was the spitting image of the older one. Tall, not as broad shouldered however there was a dignified presence between them. The elderly man had greying hair both on his halo of curls and his beard. What was presumably his son possessed blond head of hair. They wore similar outfits, a red surcoat that covered a black tunic and dark breeches. It seemed her father nor her step mother had seen her yet.


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Korosensei
 Posted: Feb 23 2016, 05:32 PM
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Anne was deep in thought as Carlie helped her get ready for the party. The dress clung to her body beautifully and as Anne leaned her head back to get her hair done, she only had one moment of regret before she tried to relax into the other woman's hands. There was something about Carlie that made Anne not want to trust her, and although Anne doubted Carlie wanted her dead, she was still more than slightly nervous to trust Carlie so much. She was odd for a supposed servant, and Anne suspected she had worked on the arts of lying as much as she herself had. She tried to not seem uneasy so as to not give Carlie an advantage, even an emotional one, but it was difficult. She tried to think ahead to the actual challenge. Now was too early to get wary.

Carlie described Castillo for Anne, and in her mind she began to build a picture of him. So he was calculating, which meant the black dress was likely the correct choice. She knew an outfit was likely to be the first thing analyzed - appearances were paramount, after all - and she did not want to be thought of as a small child. The black dress would make her look sophisticated and might even show Castillo that she had a mind of her own and she could use it too. She briefly contemplated whether it might be best to try to look more innocent, but as she felt Carlie's hands knot in her hair, she realized that the black dress showed her more as she truly was. If she was more comfortable, and pretending to be someone else the least amount possible, she would likely get better results. So she would stick to her choice.

Castillo seemed like a mystery. Someone who could transform himself into whatever he needed. No extremely distinguishing physical features or really any way to pick him out of a crowd. He had become one of many, and that made Anne's job harder. After all, she would have to find him before she could begin her mission; she had assumed this part would be easy, but now she had to reconsider. Although... perhaps, if she thought carefully about her own techniques of blending into a crowd, she could try to find him. Although, he was likely better than her at hiding or sneaking around or looking natural... He actually sounded like a good mentor to learn from, although not in the traditional way. Observation of his techniques after she found him would be able to help her develop her own career. Although she had no solid proof of this, she had a strong suspicion that Lady Barrie might want more of this kind of work from her in the future.

But now was not a time to think of the future. As Carlie finished putting Anne's hair together and sarcastically gave her approval to the plan, Anne took out the poke ball from her beautiful bag. Thankfully, the bag with the rock-type egg and the other supplies had been appropriate for the party. She was glad - she hadn't wanted to leave anything behind. She released the espurr on the floor, and the pokemon looked at her with its giant brooding eyes for a moment before Anne spoke.

"Malkin, we're going to be... I have something to do and I am requesting for you to help me." Although she knew it was common to order a pokemon around, she had gotten a strong feeling of confidence from the espurr at their earlier, albeit brief, meeting. One of the things she knew was that egos had to be accounted for, and although the espurr was only a pokemon, its psychic abilities made it think like a human. She only hoped the pokemon would listen to her.

Malkin nodded slightly, but before Anne could start to explain the mission to her, the small catlike pokemon was in Anne's head, looking through the grooves to find the information she needed. She didn't take long and when she was done, she walked up and pressed the button of her poke ball. She did this while looking at Carlie; Anne hoped she was giving the servant woman some sort of agreement. Anne picked up the poke ball and handed it to Carlie. "Here's Malkin. I think she'll be useful. Perhaps we can find other pokemon to help us along the way, but for now, I intend to mainly rely on myself." It was her favorite strategy. She wouldn't need anyone else to help her. She would be fine.

As she exited the room, Carlie following behind briefly, a servant commented on her beauty and told her the location of the party. She knew - she had known for a while - but she had never truly gotten to be a part of things like this before. When she arrived, she took a deep breath and put on her most charming smile. She didn't even need to fake it. She was happy, finally, genuinely happy, and as she walked into the great hall, her happiness was radiant even in her dark-colored dress. It sparkled like her jewelry. It was palpable in the air she breathed and any words she spoke would be tinged with it, at least at the beginning.

Her eyes darted around the room - not too fast, though, she didn't want to look nervous or hurried. She looked for members of her family and swiftly found her father and stepmother talking to two men she didn't know. Neither of them looked like how she had imagined Castillo would look from Carlie's description. At first, she was going to simply walk up to her father, but she stopped shortly after she had gotten closer to the center of the room. Her father, for all his supposed affairs and bastard children, was known to be a man of honor in other matters. He wouldn't want to know anything about a slave trade, and there was nothing she would hate to do more than lose her hard-won favor with her father. Was it worth risking her father's affection to try to do this mission?

Not yet, she decided. Not quite yet. She would look around the room a bit and accept a drink. She would look at any entertainment around, whether human or pokemon, and use this as an excuse to get closer to groups of people who were already talking. She would listen, feel, see what came to mind through the different conversations. She would keep an eye out for a brown-haired, bearded man, but if anyone else acted suspicious, she was likely to try to follow up on these leads. And, to decide where to go first, she had a method. She knew well the methods of sneaking around, of trying to pretend she was something she wasn't. She would look for someone else who was doing this same thing. Her eyes would go to the corners of the room and then anywhere near any entertainment at the party. She would try to note who mingled, and if they mingled with anyone she knew. She would look for discomfited looks in the eyes of people she knew.

As her eyes began to rove, she noticed that she didn't see Guillaume or either of her half-sisters anywhere. Perhaps she was the only one of her father's children to be invited! She felt a huge surge of confidence, like she could do anything. She couldn't wait to begin. Her heart pounded with exhiliration. She could scarcely believe she was so honored! Her large smile was definitely not fake now. She thought back to her techniques, to everything she thought someone who had more than a party on their mind would do. This would be her data. She would be the collector and the one to solve this problem. She had no problem believing in herself as she began.

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