Miriel watched from her throne as the three gods of Water chatted together on her right; she’d learned early enough not to sit too closely to the beautiful Aleau, who was very friendly but every time she asked to “cuddle and make up” with her, the other two of the Holy Trinity clutched their weapons or grumbled. Ananmachara really didn’t like her and made it clearly known by proclaiming loudly and often to Kelizandri that she knew an enemy when she saw one and to only give the word to fix the problem, all the while pointing her frozen spear at Miriel and glaring.
Hansel was fairly calm, engaging her in conversation all the while with hands heavy on his goddesses (a bit distracting but if Miriel could survive her grandfather Samurn mating with his friends during the drum dances, she could ignore anything these water gods could throw at her). She felt that it was his word Kelizandri would draw heavily upon and so she was brutally honest in all of her discourse with him, though Ariuk kept assuring her that so far there was no difference from her normal honesty.
On her left sat her angels, who for once were waited upon, and the Herald Nigel; the handsome halfling definitely captured her Ordinal’s attention, and quite often clutched him to her bosom in her eagerness to agree with whatever he was saying – Sa’Nara watched them in great amusement, and Miriel would catch her eidolon watching her, taking every opportunity to blow kisses in human fashion to her, with a large amount of winking to follow.
Down and down the great table went, with every space filled with Kelizandri’s great retinue, feasting, drinking, and making merry throughout the room. Air elementals, summoned to act as servers for the retinue, zipped around the room carrying food and drink from the Prom Pavilion to the Great Hall, with her hound angels directing them via barks and growls.
The Prom Pavilion; Miriel tried not to look bored as she looked everywhere but in the direction of the opposite side of the table. How she would much rather be there then up here, where she had to be careful in what she said, what she revealed; the complex was full of the little taverns and restaurants and bars that Flitt said would please the followers of Prometheus, and there should could relax amongst the shared tables in the middle of it all, filling the gaps in knowledge with her angels, playing fetch the plate with her raptors, or flirting with Augustine.
Reluctantly she trailed her gaze from Aleau’s intriguing hat (really the only safe place to look when speaking to her, and even then, Hansel had to make steam from behind Ananmachara to indicate the ice goddess’ displeasure) to the end of the table and into the deep brineful eyes of Kelizandri. The dragon had not spoken in two months, and she feared he was not happy with her hospitality; Saint Nigel swore that when the Brackish Emperor was ready to speak, he would make it known, and that the fact that she her plane was not invaded and destroyed spoke volumes with the Emperor’s satisfaction at her hospitality.
A bell gonged from the highest point of her palace and she breathed a sigh of relief; it was midnight, her holy time of solitude, and she was able to take her leave for a few hours of much needed privacy. She rose from her throne, bowing deeply first at the dragon lurking at the end of the table, less deeply at the Holy Trinity, then nodding at Nigel and her angels. She leapt into the air, beat her wings a few times (mostly to blow Aleau’s hat off her head, with the water goddess’ peals of laughter echoing in her ears and a new torrent of oaths from Ananmachara – Miriel flashed an amused grin at Hansel, who quickly returned it before smothering the ice goddess with passionate, and distracting, kisses.
Miriel flew down the length of her tree, heading towards the boardwalk and pavilion she’d created two months ago. She still wasn’t sure about the decision to offer safe haven to the worshippers of Prometheus; while she was fine to be allies, his lifestyle was too indolent for the warrior spirit within her to reasonable with her. And she was adamant that she was not a thief; he was welcome to take his souls once he woke up. She hoped Prometheus’ father will understand that, once they finished with taking salt and speaking of general affairs.
She neared her destination, and at once the sounds of suspenseful music filled her ears, and for once Miriel landed quietly so she did not disturb the scene before her. A crowd of people sat in crude bleachers in a circle, and in the centre stood a halfling in rugged clothes – Roger Pratt, her lost soul. He held out his hands to her five raptors, whistling and barking at them, and with each whooping sound they changed formation or ran about the circle.
“He’s been training them well,” Augustine said behind her, and she turned at the feel of his hand running up her back and over her shoulder – the roughness of his hand made her shiver. They’d coupled many times but she still felt a thrill of mystery when he looked at her, eyes flashing power and passion.
“I am happy that he’s done so,” she replied. “They will be more dangerous when I summon them the next time.”
He laughed as the big one, Blue, jumped from where he stood into the stands, causing the cooks and servers from the Pavilion to jump away and scream in terror. “I don’t think you’ll have to worry about that, Goddess.”
She returned his laugh and led the way into the pavilion and her private table near the back of the tables. Her space was directly in front of a simple tea shop, her table of Fire Nation design and low to the ground, surrounded by pillowed seating. The server, a summoned human whose were-form was a bull, came forward and delicately poured tea into their small cups before bowing low and slipping back into the tea room. She sipped and watched Augustine from below her lidded gaze, but he knew she was looking and stuck his tongue out.
Miriel laughed and touched his hand gently. “You’ve been a good friend, Augustine, you know?”
“I certainly hope so, I don’t grow legs just for anyone,” he answered, eyes sparkling.
“I hope that his Lordship is pleased with the hospitality I’ve given him so far. I know that time spends itself differently in godly planes, but I am eager to rejoin my party.”
“What is so special about them? Are they not just regular mortals?” He toyed with her fingers, making her answer absently.
“They are more than mortals, they are my people, my Companions – my Story, if you would. They are as important to me as my family and ancestors.”
“Important enough to die?” he asked, his voice deepening in concern. “I mean; take this Flitt Fargazer. His person is a battleground to be won, not just by the Brackish Emperor but by his own enemies.” Augustine waved above him, where the Holy Ship floated in the air high above them. “Is he worth risking the wrath of an Elemental Lord and God, not to mention the god and goddesses that follow him?”
“Yes.” She answered simply, without hesitation.
He regarded her in puzzlement, pulling her fingers to his mouth and laying kisses on her knuckles. “You are an enigma, my dear. I wonder what His Lordship’s son would say, if he was awake.”
“Flitt Fargazer is a child of my ally, Prometheus – but even if he wasn’t…” She paused, considering. “I do not ally myself to just anyone, and so far he has been my only ally, all without even knowing it. With the Lord of Darkness actively looking to destroy both of our followers, I would dishonour myself should anything bad happen one of his; mark my words, that frog is destined for something big. I can feel it in my bones. All of them are, really.”
“You are truly something different, Goddess of the Night Wind.” His gaze turned thoughtful, and he gently laid her hand down. “I find that I am wont to trust you; I hope you are as honourable as you sound.”
“So serious, Aqua Man,” she teased. “I built this pavilion in Prometheus’ honour so that any lost children of his would feel welcome to wait until he wakes; I hope it is someplace Prometheus himself would feel comfortable in it as well, when he at lasts visits.”
“I am sure he would,” he replied quietly. He stood abruptly. “My dear Goddess of the Night Wind, I must take my leave of you tonight; I have some thinking to do and the sea calls me.”
“Of course, my apologies for taking up your time.” She tried not to sound too disappointed, which caused the merman to laugh and cup her chin in his hand.
“Do not fret, Goddess; you have not seen the last of me.”
She watched him go, shaking her head; mermen! She enjoyed herself for an hour after that, watching her raptors do tricks before falling asleep sprawled on top of her. She promised Roger that she would send some special steak for when they woke and kissed each on their nose before taking her leave back to her throne and Great room. When she got there, however, there was a turn of events that she hadn’t considered…
The Brackish Dragon wasn’t there.