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Stomping on a Beat #francesca #Jude


Rachel
 

When Queen Francesca returned to the party, she did so with the pleasantly disheveled Daniele Ferrari at her side. Political alliance aside, her hands had itched to muss up that long blonde hair of his the second he'd entered her home - and the way his gaze lingered when he'd knelt before her to swear his allegiance… 


The Ferraris were the most powerful family in the West, and the fact that they had chosen the most handsome of their kin for this task - for Daniele was not the eldest, not the strongest, certainly no patriarch, but gifted in his own way - showed that they were understood the game, and they were willing to play. It was promising. 


And, knowing his job was done, and done well, he sauntered away from the Queen and toward the buffet with naught but confidence in his step. 


The problem for Francesca, though, was that the two other largest families in her land had not followed suit. This was not a surprise on the part of the Gonzalos; there was a plan in place for that, even if a reactive one, given that the Royal General had not done as instructed and died, which threw Seo-jun for a loop.


The question mark had been the Weston clan, from the plains. They had sworn, sure, but they'd sent a nobody relative and made no offering. Their loyalty was worth no more than the air Pietro's words had dissolved into, and while Francesca knew it, they had done as asked and Francesca wasn't quite sure what to do about the falseness of it.  


Seo-jun would be awake to advise, soon enough. 


Smoothing her hands over her long, loose hair, Francesca returned to the party in her honor, accepting a glass of wine from someone she didn't recognize, and whose features she could not immediately attach to a local family. Which was good, because if her new regime could attract people to come in from Eventyr, that was promising. 


So Francesca accepted the drink, with a smile. "Welcome, Lady…?"


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Wearing: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/f3/26/31/f32631246763230e4b2626d406fda3fb.jpg


Silvy
 

Who: Jude (as Bryonie Smith)
With: Queen Francesca
Where: The Reception at Francesca's Palace
When: March 14th, 872 RoK - late afternoon


It was difficult to balance the two, conflicting voices in Jude's head - the eagerness to be landed, to finally attain power rather than simply under the wing of it. The more demure, anxious, unsure tenor of a woman unused to these trappings, how to speak and walk and hold herself in such a grand hall. Not because Jude was unused to that particular act, but more the tone of this new one. 


She was determined, set, with the mind to make something of herself, for her family, for her father... But that didn't stop her gaze flagging on occasion, down to the fraying threads here and there on her roughspun dress, whenever a far finer one passed her spot on the floor without stopping for even a moment. As though every glittering hem and well embroidered bodice made her question just what she was doing here, after all-


But Jude knew. The moment the Queen was back on the floor, Bryonie was ready and available with an extra glass to help ensure her presence was welcome. She shored up her smile on the approach - and gave her very 'best' curtsey after the gift was accepted. "Bryonie. Bryonie Smith, your grace," She introduced herself, accent heavy, colloquial. 


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Rachel
 

Jude: "Bryonie. Bryonie Smith, your grace,"


"Bryonie Smith," Francesca repeated affirmatively, contrasting the warmth and invitation in her voice by giving the woman a lingering, evaluative look. At first, the obvious signs that she was a commoner, but a lovely one at that, pleased Francesca - mostly because she knew this one would make a satisfying meal for one of her vampires, when the sun set and they took to the floor with her. 


The accent wasn't quite that easy to place. Francesca had been a rebellious youth who brushed up alongside many of the common folk - hell, her head of security, Antonio, had been little but the son of a thief and a barroom brawler before she had brought him up the ranks - but still… where was that lilt from? 


"Smith," Francesca said again, as if it was dawning on her. The West had its smiths, of course, but most of Eventyr's metalworkers resided in that unique region on the border of the North, which supplied the metal, and the East, that supplied ample wood for their fires. The thought of drawing someone from that region excited the vindictive new Queen, who hated both the Duchess of the former and, even more, the Duke of the latter. 


Because it was pleasant to look upon, few bothered to try to see past Francesca's beauty. But for those who bothered, the boniness in her throat and chest were obvious and the paleness of her skin spoke of a telling anemia, and the peculiar glee that lit up her sharp features could be just a bit unsettling. "Have you travelled far to join us tonight?"

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Silvy
 

>>>Francesca: "Have you travelled far to join us tonight?"


Her smile was small, tight, a little uncertain as the Queen repeated her name - not once, but twice, and in the back of her head, Jude wondered if she had made a misstep. Was there a well known family in the area of the name? Or was it too generic, to actually wind up being suspicious after all? 


But Jude, of course, was no simpleton. The pallid lack of tint in the woman's face wasn't powder the way some courts preferred their ladies - none settled into even the most requisite creases, and Jude was fairly certain that the kind of tinted creams Earth offered for that dewy, pale look weren't available in the Realm. So while she might have overlooked that the Queen of the West was on the thinner side, a little too eager about this evening, altogether... It smelled fishy.


How, though, was precisely her aim to discover.


"Oh not too far for the honor, your grace," She smiled humbly, tucking her chin in a brief display of reverence. She did let her gaze sneak back upward, just a bit, though - the Queen was, after all, lovely. It wouldn't do to pretend otherwise, and might honestly be an offense. "Many seem to agree." Her subtle gesture outward with her one free hand echoed the very constrained way she seemed to broach the entire affair - as though, of course, she had no business being in such a place, among such people, and ought to take up as little space as possible. 


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Rachel
 

Jude: "Oh not too far for the honor, your grace," "Many seem to agree."


"Oh, yes!" Francesca said, her whole body lighting up. Her brows raised, her shoulders sashayed, her feet seemed rhythmic in their shifting for a moment as her attention moved to the room. Indeed, Bryonie was right - many people had arrived, and that was delightful. 


...Rafael had not. 


It was better, that Rafael was not among the many who had arrived… 


It was better. 


"Many see, now, that King's City is hardly the beacon of… stability and security that it once was," Francesca said, and took a sip of her drink - and, conservatively, made sure-sure-sure her partner did the same.  


"I knew that the unconventionality..." the queen said, thoughtfully watching her companion for any struggle with the unnecessarily complicated term. "...of the West's independence might reasonably worry the civilians." A smile. "I am so glad that it has not."


Francesca tilted her head a bit, studying Jude's face with piercing eyes. "...What brought you tonight, Bryonie?"


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