The Gathering

As the moon reaches it's zenith amidst the twinkling stars, the sovereign clearing alights with celestial light. The stones scattered across the clearing begin to twinkle in shades of azure and jade, foretelling the coming of the Queen. With a signifying chime, her visage
appears from the thinnest of air, hovering above the ancient well.
A soft smile reaches her lips as she calmly plucks two feathers from her masque, releasing them to the serendipitous breeze. She fashions her throne from tangled ash and hazel, landing gracefully upon it, her small frame dwarfed by the grandiose
structure. Her court is now in session and he will shall be known. She looks to the sky, her patience already waning…

Standing demurely to the left of the Queen’s throne, Zoe's fingers are nervously entwined with one another. Her grey gaze is entirely focused upon the entrance of the clearing. Her young ward was to be formally introduced to the court tonight and the thought had given her a restless night. She was not certain Evangeline was ready to be presented just yet, too shy of a child she was…too innocent. It was the wish of Mab however and no one was to interfere with her demands. The human finally untangles her fingers and runs them down the side of her crimson bodice and along the upper part of her ball gown; meticulously assuring no wrinkle was messing with her perfect attire. She takes a deep breath and composes herself.

A guttural rip resounds through the stillness of night as a menacing Lulu enters slowly, if not showing slight signs of distress. She curtseys dutifully and upon standing, subtly moves to replace one of the black locks of hair that was lost in her haste. She inhales deeply and holds her head high; looking towards the centre of the clearing, knowing the fruition of her work must now succumb to the most fickle of judges.

A smile crosses the countenance of the Queen as the stage for the debut slowly fills with her actors. The last of the Pixies Quartet shall thus be revealed and her machinations will finally begin to strive ever higher. She turns to her left, slightly nodding to Zoe. "Let us begin." With a have of her hand, a strong wind blows through the Court, her silken hair dancing about her in a display of splendor. Suddenly hundreds of lights, myriad in their shades, begin to encircle the clearing. Those that have come, those that have passed, and those with naught but a wish to be but one of the Court are now in attendance. This
display shall prove to be the finest test of the two Sorceresses beside the Queen and she will accept nothing save approval.

"Why must Lulu _always_ have such a dramatic entry?" Zoe thinks to herself and, like so often, restrains herself not to roll her eyes. Especially tonight, out of all nights, she would have appreciated just a tad less drama but what was done, was done. Time to concentrate on the evening in front of them. Evangeline had been placed outside of the clearing instructed to wait for Zoe's command who had been in charge of getting her acquainted with her new life and her most important duty, to serve the Queen. Dark lashes softly caress Zoe's skin as she closes her eyes to call out for Evangeline. "Come now, child. It is your turn to meet Mab. Don't be afraid, I am right here with you."

To say that Evangeline was nervous this night was an utter understatement. So many things she had learned in so little time and some of it still did not make sense to her. She was to meet Mab, her Queen. Soon. Now, in fact. The pixie girl swallows hard and quickly assures that no stray hair was standing up from her head. Zoe had dressed her in a darling gown of summer yellow with a matching hair band and white Mary Jane shoes (her favorite). As Zoe's words slowly enter her mind, she takes a deep breath and proceeds to enter the clearing. Two male elves’, one on either side, were ordered to accompany the girl and strode confidently next to her. Evangeline, though supposed to look only forward, sneaks a few peeks left and right to observe the crowd. The entire court was present, a group of extravagantly dressed individuals of the most beautiful kind. Her heartbeat was increasingly pounding against her little chest, especially after her eyes spot her Queen. What seemed like hours to her, she finally stands in front of the throne and falls into a deep curtsey, her gaze upon the floor. "Good evening, my Queen. I have long waited to make your acquaintance," her voice is that of a child but her words betray the sound.

Intrigued, Mab sits slightly forward. With a gentle tone, not entirely bereft of condescension, she addresses the clearly frightened debutante with a voice reminiscent of wind chimes. "Meet my gaze and allow me to peer into your depths." With a disdainful glance to Lulu at her left, Mab addresses the young pixie once again. "The power of one's name knows no bounds. You should ne'er fail to lay claim to it…Especially in the presence of one's Queen." As she focuses her gaze on the one before her, the Queen's eyes begin to swirl with shades of grey and scenes of ages past, the dreams of those beside her ever drifting in a world now belonging only to her…

Evangeline gradually lifts her silvery gaze but her long cut bangs almost hide her beautiful large eyes. Nervously swiping the hair aside, she locks eye contact with her Queen. Her mind is spinning, wondering just what Mab was going to see in "her depths". Her voice, not as strong as she would have liked, rings out "My name is Evangeline, my Queen. I hope it pleases your ear and does not offend." The pixies amber wings unfold behind her back, casting dancing shadows upon the ground.

Zoe inwardly shoots a prayer to the heavens that everything would be going according to plan. A nice and easy introduction, perhaps a dance afterwards. Angrily at herself and such naive thoughts, she furrows her brows. There was no such thing as “nice and easy" when dealing with Mab but one could dream, right? The mage reassuringly nods to her little prodigy, proud that she was managing her nerves in such a fine way. She was well aware just how nervous Evangeline was.

Mab curiously glances to her left, Zoe's prayers reaching no further than her Queen's inner thoughts. Alas, if only Zoe knew that no, she had given up her wishes of dreaming long ago. Mab turns back to Evangeline and for an everlasting moment pierces her with a gaze. Gleaning hopes and fantasies unknown from the Pixie child, Mab easily makes claim to her as her own. But alas, it could never be so easy. Though her induction into the Court had begun, it was far from over. "Now, mon petit, show me a trick, will you?
Something…" The Queen sat back in her throne for a moment, fingering the
feathers of her masque.."Something pretty."

Evangeline nervously glances to Zoe. That was not discussed in her preparations and the young pixie is momentarily stunned. The re-assuring look that she receives from Zoe calms her fears and an idea begins to form in her head. "It would be my pleasure, my Queen," she pipes. Her amber wings start to steadily move, raising the pixie slowly into the air. With arms raised into the night sky, she closes her eyes. Where there was no wind a few seconds ago, now a gust whirls up the leaves on the ground. Evangeline's form starts to emanate a faint glow and with a wave of her small hand, hundreds of butterflies all of a sudden sweep through the clearing. Dancing and whirling upon the wind, they look like a mosaic that has sprung to life. A lone butterfly lands on top of Evangeline's hand and the pixie lowers her arms and gently caresses the fragile wings. Her eyes sparkle with excitement as she sends the butterfly into the night sky, quickly followed by the remaining ones. Like a tornado funnel they shoot higher and higher, until they suddenly burst into a spectacular fire work display. With every color possible, the night briefly becomes as light as day. Slowly, Evangeline descends to the ground and curtsies to the onlookers. "I do hope you enjoyed this small gesture, my Queen," she says hopefully.

"I suppose that was pretty. Alas, pretty will only get you so far in this world, child." Mab's solemn tone emits a reverberating silence throughout the clearing. This induction, this child, this ceremony, was more important than most of the Court at large could imagine. The displays had only just begun. Mab suddenly sits forward, lazily cocking her head to the right. With a snap of her fingers she, almost reluctantly, whispers the words…"Lulu. Go."

She had seen this moment coming the moment she was sent to find the firefly that would blossom into the pixie before her. She had refrained from becoming close to Evangeline for this very moment. She had not been a member of the Court as long as most, but Mab… Mab she knew. It was never so easy. Without hesitation, Lulu launches forwards towards the innocent pixie, the orb atop her staff quickly glowing with effulgent violet light. It had to be her. Zoe would've never had the heart.

Zoe was delighted at Evangeline's display but knew instantly that it was too, innocent. Too much of a child's way to impress their parent, not something Mab was looking for. So it didn't come as a surprise as Mab orders Lulu to take charge. The mage uncomfortably shuffles her feet beneath her gown but does not interrupt. This was all for the greater good and she hoped Evangeline was using the skills she had been trained for. However, if Zoe sensed that the pixie child was in danger…she'd step in, no matter what.

Evangeline knows right away that her little trick did not impress her Queen and she gnaws on her bottom lip, shyly glancing around. Her brain comprehends Mab's words too slowly and with eyes wide open in shock, she realizes the charging Lulu. All of her inner alarm clocks are set asunder and her survival mode is kicking in with a bang. The pixie child quickly ascends into the air, transforming her body into that of a hawk. With outstretched talons she surges back down, targeting the orb atop Lulu's staff.
If it was a show her Queen wanted, it was a show she would have. It was not as though Lulu was completely bereft of compassion, but that it had been tested on so many an occasion she knew better than to heed it. Now was no exception. Stopping in her charge so quickly her pointed boots skid a cloud of dust in the air, the seasoned mage slams the bottom of her unusually long staff into the ground, the distinct rumble of a coming storm echoing from her form. With the smallest expression of compassion, the cold-hearted mage looks away as several bolts of black lightning begin to thunder down upon the opponent once serving as her protégé.

Realizing that her plan did not proceed as planned, Evangeline's form returns into her natural shape but something was different. The pixie's skin had changed into a metal-like state, deflecting the incoming lighting bolts. Unfortunately, they did not dissolve and with a loud crash proceed to shoot in every which direction. Evangeline did not to mean cause harm at anyone but she was scared out of her mind and only acted on instinct at this moment. A high pitch shrill bursts out from the pixie and a swarm of bats suddenly rush from nearby caves and start attacking Lulu. A few of those bats are lost in battle as lightning bolts destroy them on contact but enough was still about to cause havoc.

Watching the lightning bolts coming dangerously near to her Queen, herself and the entire court, Zoe creates a force shield of protection. She shakes her head in disdain, Evangeline’s spells still seemed very child like, and she’d not be able to defeat Lulu this way.

Lulu remains composed, any lightning straying in her direction absorbing directly into her staff. With a look at Zoe, she takes a moment to speak aloud, "You insult them by insinuating they cannot defend themselves, Zoe. Your protective nature has its undoing." With a glance back to Mab, who appears entirely undisturbed, she dismisses the lightning with a passive hand motion. Several bats veer towards Lulu, their leathery wings outstretched dismisses yet they dare not attack her. The orb atop her staff has begun to shine violently, the clearing blinded with violet light. The onslaught of bats dissuades as they flee the flash and so Lulu continues towards Evangeline. Pulling the pins from her hair, the silken strands fall from their bun, revealing the unexpected length of her locks. She tosses them haphazardly to the ground and quickly sweeps her staff in a wide circle, clearly beginning to take things a spot more seriously. An indigo ring of incandescent light surrounds her form and she once again makes a dash towards Evangeline.

"I am just being polite, dear Lulu. I am certain no one wants to mess up their attire!" Zoe sneers and glares at Lulu. She secretly hoped that at least one bolt would hit her friend in the tush. Just one…

Evangeline's silver eyes are now flashing like bright lights and with a dismissive wave of her hand, the bats scatter into the four winds. The pixie girls lips are thin lines and her eye brows are furrowed with concentration. With a last effort to evade Lulu, her wings flutter at such a fast pace that they become almost invisible but the force creates such a violent storm, that Lulu is being tossed into the air like a rag doll. The discarded hair pins are also sucked up into the funnel of air and come to a halt right in front of Lulu's face. In fact, two are pointed directly at her eye balls.

With a sudden lithe grace Lulu's hand moves with such celerity that a faint trail of black follows close behind it. She swipes the two pins from in front of her eyes in one singular motion, her hair tousled about her, and her right hand still gripping her staff firmly. Taking full advantage of her formerly cast spell of quickening, she dashes through the air unseen, finally reappearing behind Evangeline. 'The time for tawdry spells has passed.' She swiftly swipes her staff in a downward arch, the tip of the crescent moon grazing Evangeline's back. Even Lulu was not so callous as to take advantage of such an innocent. She longed for it to end, and ideally, this macabre display would soon be over, given Evangeline had finally found her true resolve.

Evangeline's wings come to a forceful halt and the storm dissolves as suddenly as it appeared. A gleaming red streak appears on the pixie's back and she instinctively reaches around to get a hold of the staff. In the same movement her other hand, clenched into a fist, spins around and connects with Lulu's shoulder. While not looking like a strong build individual, the punch is packed with the fury of one angry pixie child now. Lulu was certainly expecting another spell to hit her, the personal contact was hopefully of surprise and would get her off balance…if so; another spell was waiting to assault the mage.

It was as though the scene stood still in time. In fact, it was. The two sparring opponents were suspended mid-air, Lulu's visage showing an uncommon, even if mild form of shock and Evangeline had already begun to gather her inner power for a crushing blow. This, however, was enough. A slow clap was all that could be heard within the clearing. Though not smiling, the Court knew Mab was finally content. 'Very well.' With a snap of her fingers….

The shield Zoe had erected cracked audibly, and Zoe herself, along with Evangeline and Lulu vanished suddenly from the clearing. The scene was complete. The trio would receive their remaining orders at a later date but with her patience waning Mab was eager to move on to further business. Calling softly to the audience, now silent in apprehension, the Queen's countenance seemed suddenly agreeable. "Starlight Seekers, Duo Trois. Come forth."

From above, silent in sound, a golden orb of light plummets into the centre of the clearing. As it makes contact in front of the Queen's throne it scatters into a glorious display of twinkling lights. Standing amidst the shower of starlight’s is a figure dressed in form fitting coat of black and a white ruffled shirt noticeable, at his chest and wrists. A twinkling charm in his eye, he bows exaggeratedly, a golden tress falling into his face.

Just a split second after the first orb descends from the sky, a second one arrives in the same fashion. As the orb bursts apart in fireworks of silver, another figure is revealed to the court. This is one is dressed in an ivory, floor-length, coat with a high mandarin collar. Beige linen pants only partially hide his naked, webbed, delicate feet. His silvery, reptile like eyes, blink a few times before bowing his head in greeting.

"It has been some time. Laurent, Celestino. Your services are required." The Queen sits forward, showing actual interest in this meeting. It as though the previous showing of strength and spell rejuvenated in her a good nature otherwise unknown.

Laurent's features are as unmoving as that of a marble statue while he acknowledges her statement. He does, however, nod his head which sends a single tendril of lustrous hair into his face. A face, quite attractive if it wasn't a for a very thin scar that snaked from the left temple all the way down to the right side of his chin. "It's a pleasure, as always," he simply states.

Cocking his head to the side, Celestino asks with an accent distinctly of the southern seas "I daresay it proves more of a challenge than a simple widow bemoaning the fate of her lost husband. The boredom was too much to bare." With a playful smirk he runs a hand through his hair, nodding briefly in greeting to Laurent beside him.

"Given your rank, I daresay it is for you to inquire, my dear Celestino. Perhaps if your skills were of better standing your charges would prove of greater challenges. Alas, this shall be no easy task. For either of you." She looks to Laurent, knowing that, of the two, he the more capable of holding his tongue. "Seek ye the prophecy of the bumblebee. He has proven elusive in his transgressions. I ask you to retrieve him. I ask you do not fail."

Laurent glances sideways and bows his head to greet Celestino as well but turns his strange eyes back to his Queen. The tip of his pink tongue flicks out to wet his parched lips before he speaks again. With hands clasped behind his back he cocks his head to the side "I am not familiar with what you speak of, my Queen. Would you care to elaborate?" he asks while repeatedly blinking his eyes.

"Your inquiry was expected, though out of place at a full court, Laurent. As a member of the Seekers it should be well within your abilities to discern the location of one of his aura. You shall surely know when it comes time for you to know. I leave you with but a memory." The Queen stands, curtseying to the Court. "Good eve." She twirls once and disapparates into the light of the waning moon, leaving the clearing filled with the scent of sunflowers and summer afternoons."

His excitement quickly evanescing, Celestino turns to Laurent. "Sunflowers?" Rubbing his chin softly he looks to the sky as the lights surrounding the Court begin to fade back into the annals of time. "There are times I do wonder how one can expect to seek something they know naught of….Sunflowers." He scoffs and sticks his hands into the pockets of his tight black pants. "Laurent?"

"Well Celestino, it is obviously a clue," Laurent says absent minded. It wasn't meant condescending even though it could be interpreted that way. The sea-elf dressed in white was no man for flowery words or long speeches. Also, he did not appreciate to be scolded by Mab. His question was legit for he did not like the vague task they have been given. His almost invisible eye brows furrow as he tries to make sense of what was said. "I am not one to guess, so I will consult the Oracle of the Deep Sea. She has proven to be helpful in the past." Laurent turns to stand in front of Celestino "Or perhaps you have a better plan?" The remaining members of the court are slowly retreating into their suites, leaving the two sea-elves alone in the moon bathed clearing.

Pointing a lithe finger, Celestino nods in agreement with Laurent's suggestion. Blowing softly, a tiny golden light alights at the tip of his index. Tracing the small form of a star in the pallid air, he places his palm upon the now solid machination. The lucid star begins to spin rapidly, strobing the darkening Court with golden flashes. It stops abruptly and after a quizzical look, Celestino turns again to Laurent. "I shall begin preparations for a binding enchantment for when the time comes. Give my greetings to the Oracle." He winks and the pair dissolve into a burst of silver and golden flares, the clearing still once again, nothing more than a mere clearing in which to enjoy evening sky.

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