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Characters  •   Loki (as Low-Key)  •  Urania (as Twila Estelle)  •
Location  •  North Star Troupe Side Tent
Date  •  2019-03-16
Summary  •  A new arrival catches a unique sort of attention from a rarely surprised muse. Cat-staring ensues. (Backscene, roughly 3 years ago.)

The carnival is still young, not that any of them yet have any notion of it. The North Star Dance Troupe show is a night-time spectacle unto itself, growing all the more risque and bloody as the family-friendly crowd disperses. All but one of the dancers, utterly mundane. Peculiar in appearance, elegant, certainly, but ultimately mundane. The slight, slinky girl in the lead is not. With the eyes of the divine, it's easy enough to see: she shimmers as if she's made of starlight, the dappling of freckles over her skin luminous in the dim, humid air of the tent.

As the dance winds down, the troupe's resident bally puts up word that private readings will follow, though the queue is slow to form as the dancers make their way back behind the stage.

Reality is a peculiar thing, and oft times a fickle creature that can be manipulated. A little pet, a soft verbal stroke, and she is just as willing to bend over backwards as anyone else is for the man in the carnation yellow suit. He is a man that presents somewhere between a king and a monster. The thickness of brow, the sharpness of smile, it's all just a little bit 'too'. Too feral, too beautiful. Like he might sire beasts instead of men in his image, and they too would be gorgeous. The dance holds his glittering dark eyes, a smolder held in eyes that border on a yellow shimmer. While there are those faces that catch his attention, where there are freckles and shimmers? There is laser sharp focus.

When the call for fortunes is made, he strolls to the front of the line. While there is a momentary confusion from the person that was there, it only takes an easy smile and a tip of his hat, "Thank you for holding my place, friend," to earn a smile and relaxation in return. This is just how he works.

The bally at the head of the line is none the wiser, no more aware than any of the dancers as to the reason the man in the yellow suit seems to be able to glide through the crowd and formalities at once with the grace of a passing shark. He is no more aware of the reason the woman waiting behind the curtains said she was off her game tonight, and couldn't pinpoint why, than she is. Neither has any notion that the reason is about to stroll right in; it's business as usual, in so much as anything at the carnival ever is.

The curtain is swept back -- funny how the bally simply forgot to collect the fee, this time -- and the room beyond waits. "No grabbing the oracle," is all the man says before he's suddenly distracted by a black cat launching itself from between the curtains to run off into the crowd; he gives chase.

It is a relatively small space, dark and shadowy, less by design than the simple practical reality of what they have to work with: the tail end of a trailer backed up to the foot of the stage. Curtains shroud the back, and cover whatever might be present along the walls, and at the center of the seemingly empty space, there is a passably comfortable chair. "I will be out presently," comes the voice from behind the rear curtain, "Please sit down, and be comfortable."

That's likely because the man in the yellow suit was chatting up the Bally almost immediately afterwards. Talking about his stance and my how square those shoulders are, "Oh, that's me, I'm sure we'll catch up later," and then he's slipping into the tent because that's what he wants to do. A soft little whistle escapes him to melodize with the humming she's probably heard in her mind for the last thirty seconds. It's a jaunty thing as he meanders the inside of the tent for a moment. Charletains inspecting charletains or so he thinks. Looking for the hokey smoke rig, or the lights hidden he finds none of those things to an almost disappointed, "Oh."

Breathing in through his nose he simply sighs into a warm smile and does just that, making himself comfortable in the chair normally reserved for the Mystic of the Dark Arts(tm). His hat is removed and should there be dirt or grass or carpet beneath him, his cane will simply stand stick straight beside him as he leaves it, setting his chapeau atop that so he can properly recline in Her chair and get thoroughly relaxed. Soon the scent of vanilla and honey floats through the air on wisps of smoke as he begins to enjoy a cigarillo.

The curtains dividing the reception area of the trailer from the 'back stage' rustle. Smoke? Squint. Another black cat spills out from between the curtains only to prance its way over to the newcomer's feet. There, the small creature perches, rumbling with a merry purr, eyes half-lidded in greeting, as the hum rises from behind the curtain quietly, disturbed only when the cat chirps out a warble of welcome.

The light spills out the moment the curtains part. No lamp, no spot. Nothing so straightforward as that. Instead, the glow is surreal and tinged the faint blue of distant stars, and the light they cast along the curtains ripples like the surface of the sea. It is one hell of a spectacle, and yet, to the crowd outside, one that would remain utterly invisible to their mundane eyes. The real show is truly lost on them.

Her feet are bare, padding on the worn wood of the trailer floor, but the clappers on her anklets chime with her steps, soft, tinny, and hollow, like a weak reflection of church bells. It takes five steps to circle toward the front of the chair, and they are taken slowly as she says, "I will tell you what I know, what I can know, of what's to come. If you have a questio-"

She doesn't finish. The last step that would deliver the last of her instructions brings silence instead as she simply stares, though her eyes dart over him and everything around him at once, as though she could see the influence he exerted on the very ether around him.


Cat stare.

The star-speckling of her freckles shimmers like a nest of angry hornets in confusion.

While she is busy being a dazzling spectacle behind the curtains, he is busy simply existing in his own personal space bubble it seems. The very air around him warps for a moment, the motes of fireflies and smoke seem to dissipate some when she comes but they never truly disappear. He looks down at the beast that comes to greet him and seems to smile just a hint. "My mother loves cats," he coos to the thing as if that is a reason it should trust him, trust him enough to allow him to bend down and stroke the fuzzy things head for a moment before readjusting in his chair - Her chair! - his now. Somehow the fur doesn't stick to his suit, it remains spotless despite being in the presence of peasants as it were.

His inevitable smile is wide, and sharp as she comes around on bare feet to simply stare at him. "Oh, hello there," he preens just a bit as if her staring reaction was entirely worth the price of admission - which was nothing if you'll recall. Now to say that he was exerting all of this influence on the world would be to ignore the fact that the world simply /wants/ to work with him, for him even. Chaos would be too rudimentary a term. Entropy. This man is Entropy incarnate.

His smile never changes from that charming, disarming, partially titillating and fear-inducing way it was when she first stepped foot into view. "Thank you for having me," he says graciously.

The cat chirps, purrs as it grinds its ears into his fingers with a shameless stretch and wobble of its head. Even the cat doesn't stare like a cat so much as the girl does. Woman. The woman. Despite the wide-eyed stare and youthful blush at her cheeks, her eyes are old. Old as stars. One shimmers as if a mote of true starlight had been caught in her eye; it tics accordingly as she watches the wheels within wheels of the universe, envisioned by endless faiths and countless prophets and revealed in innumerable dreams, shimmy back and forth, halt, and speed like a machine straining at its limits.

She takes a single step forward, long sheer shirts swishing ahead of her, stirring the dust from the floor before she stops once again. Still, the stare. She has yet to blink.

The cat leaps up onto one of his knees, circles with a drag of tail under the petting arm, and then nestles. The look it aims at Urania would be easy to miss, but the mood of it is clear enough: can we keep him, Mommy? For the space of a few thunderous heartbeats, she stares at the cat through her squint. Cat, meet cat squint. The muse is somehow better at it.

He isn't one of her kin. Not even any of the ones the scholars can never agree about, as to whether they are her kin or not. She would have remembered him.

She remembers everyone.

Her head cants, and the shimmering ornaments in her hair rattle. What show there may have been is absent, now. What there is to see is only beginning; that much she seems to know as a certainty.

"Who?" The first word is seconds ahead of the rest. "Are you." The question falls apart as if by the very dictates against the seamless flow of order, and her lips purse as punctuation to it.

The cat and he are the bestest of friends already, and it's no wonder with that animal magnetism and pragmatic smile that just seems to ease the hurried and jumbled way that life simply falls around him. While he does take a moment to admire the way the starry woman looks, it's her eyes that he stares into without fever or dream to come of it. Staring into that open expanse just beyond her vision, he has seen that kind of thing before in relatives of his own.

With the unexpected visitor, the man simply gives the furry creature a ruffle up and down the spine before smoothing all the fur back down straight again, "What can I say? Animals like me," he preens a little bit. Even while she is busy losing her damn mind in general about who or what just walked into her tent. This is already far more amusing than he had planned it to be, something about her already tickling a fancy as he watches the order and structure in her world run right up against the improvised nature of his.

The flutter of air comes as she steps closer, the swish of her skirts bringing a tilt of his curious features. Brow arching as she only manages one word at first. "Not what? Or where? Isn't it supposed to be that you know that already, and that I ask the questions? Come now, you're already running off script on me," he tuts gently with a teasing smile before he gestures to the table and the chair, "Sit, please, and I will answer your question," he promises so easily.

For long seconds, she continues to stare. She barely appears to even draw breath, and were it not for the endless jewels and thin chains and sheer layers of feather-light silk she wears, she might seem still as statuary. But no, they all move. They all betray her as being something alive.

And that is suddenly something, too. Alive like prey is alive; she can't help but notice. It dawns on her that she's fluttering like a doe, and it rankles her on some deeper level, presumably where she stores her spare gumption. "'What' would be impolite," she notes in a voice as light and airy as her skirts, but there's something curiously regal in it all as she raises her chin, almost -- but not quite -- like a girl playing dress-up as a queen. She already hates that impression, and it needles at some distant part of her psyche.

When she moves, its with the uncanny flow of something not entirely real. In motion -- in deliberate motion -- every sway of silver charms and chain, every ripple of skirts is her ally in presenting a truly unearthly impression. It would have been fashionable three decades or so ago, at the height of Art Nouveau. Now, it's out of place, surrounded by dust and shadows. A light under a barrel.

She delivers herself to the tabletop, perching on the same side of it as Her chair, where he sits. One hand lightly tumbles down to pet the cat, which is keen on affection from every quarter at once. "'What' gets interesting answers in these parts, though I imagine you've gathered as much already." Her eyes continue to track the broken wheels as they spin off and away from him, shooting off etheric sparks, to the sound of grinding she can only hear in her head. "You didn't come for a reading," she decides at once, convinced.

"You came for your future, though," she says with a slow and certain nod. "They aren't the same thing."