(OOC: This is a CIRP set in the world of Elemaer. Itâ€™s â€œsemi-openâ€ because characters must be approved before they can be used, but new players can join at any time. The Wiki is a good place to post new characters to show me; new posters without Wiki access would be better off using the Elemaer Character Thread, viewtopic.php?t=1115
. Thereâ€™s a lot of Elemaer setting information on this page, http://mysidia.org/rpgww/Spleen_Jots_Down_Elemaer_Notes
, but itâ€™s poorly organized and incomplete right now. My screenname on AIM is DeusFio if you have any questions.)
The sun dipped lower and lower in the sky over the city of Asâ€™nar on the last day of the year 973, also the last day of winter - a mild winter, fitting Asâ€™narâ€™s warm climate, but a winter nonetheless. One could hardly believe it was still winter (or could ever be
winter) on such a perfect day as this; only a few wisps of clouds traveled lazily across the sky, helped along by a light, warm breeze blowing in from the south. The night would be beautiful, as well, the sort of night that required neither a jacket to keep warm nor a fan to keep cool. This was fortunate, of course; most everyone could remember New Yearâ€™s Eves in past years where it went heavily one way or the other and everyone sought a temperate middle ground.
The city was festooned by the public themselves, as it was every year. Colorful bunting was in evidence, flags and pennants and streamers flew from all over the city, and whatever light sources could be were stood in windows. The lights were off for now, but in many a home a match was already ferreted out in preparation for sundown, a scant hour or two away. The traditional festivities were in evidence this year, as they were every year. In the Public Orchards in the Southplains district, amid the fragrant smells of the johdr fruit blossoms and the lights of carefully-placed festive lanterns, a few orchestras in the classical style were preparing to play through the first several hours of the night for the cultured, who traditionally trotted out their finest wines for sampling on this occasion. Bands would also be playing in the Fountain Square in central Asâ€™nar, overlooking the Edo River; these were the more popular, modern type of band, and space was cleared for a dance floor of sorts, although â€œdancingâ€ to the music popular was more a matter of bobbing oneâ€™s head in time to the complicated percussive beats. The parade down the major thoroughfares of Asâ€™nar was almost complete, most of the horse-drawn floats already in the process of being dismantled and half the marching bands sent home.
In addition to those festivities, of course, the people of Elemaer, especially those in Asâ€™nar, played out a yearly ritual of slowly increasing inebriation. Legend - not respectable
legend, of course, possibly something between an urban myth and a fairy tale - had it that if you could drink in a serious fashion until sunup on New Yearâ€™s Day (which, according to the official calendar, was actually when the year changed) and still acknowledge the sunâ€™s existence, you would be granted one wish (and a headache). On New Yearâ€™s, bars stayed open so late that many just didnâ€™t bother to close before the next dayâ€™s drinkers.
For a certain Pyral of the Order of Fire, this last tradition had been adopted as his own, and had served him well since he was a Flambar and discovered alcohol. However, Telerak Zekail wouldnâ€™t be drinking with the boys tonight. Unless his date wanted to come with, that is, and until extremely recently heâ€™d have lumped her in with â€œthe boysâ€ as a matter of course anyway.
Heâ€™d asked Turâ€™nasus Jaksur on a date on something between a dare and a show of good faith. The agreement was part and parcel of a plan Telerak and Tur had had to set up their friend Keliel Kartoff with an eligible lady from Turâ€™s Order of Air. Keliel wouldnâ€™t go for it unless Telerak could prove that he could go on a real date with a real girl of substance; it just so happened he could only actually name one, and he was scared to death of the entire arrangement. He didnâ€™t know what it was that caused it, but he was always more comfortable - vastly
more comfortable, even - dealing with women (in romantic situations, at least) who were demonstrably less capable than he, unaffiliated with any Order and often not terribly bright, either. Kel and Tur got on his case constantly about it, almost as much as Telerak got on Kelielâ€™s case for being a crazy hermit. Thus, young Flambar Keliel would be escorting the (by Turâ€™s description) â€œvery cuteâ€ Arenda Nialin, in clothes that Telerak had borrowed for him from the similarly-built Jagen Turlis, to whom Tel now owed a drink. They would be picking Arenda and Turâ€™nasus up for their double date right around sundown; an hour and a half away (including fifteen or twenty minutesâ€™ travel time) and Telerak was already getting a little queasy, nervous twisting feeling in the pit of his stomach. He could lead men into battle against the creations of a dark, depraved god with a grin on his face and a song in praise of Krad on his lips, but somehow the simple act of spending time with a girl of Turâ€™s caliber on anything like a date froze his guts.
Telerak rooted through the small corner of his already small closet that he devoted to â€œnormal peopleâ€ clothes, pushing aside outfits in the Order of Fire colors - red, orange, and yellow (he wasnâ€™t part of an imaginative organization) - that were the official-unofficial uniform of the Order. Street clothes, laymanâ€™s clothes, whatever you called the clothes in the back of the closet, they were in subdued colors, provided no protection, and (this was the important part) would not scream â€œKraditeâ€. It was tradition for members of the Orders to at least dress the part of a regular person on New Yearâ€™s Eve, hence the loaner clothes Jagen had provided for Keliel (who probably slept in Order of Fire reds, Telerak mused, and maybe even armor). He eventually found the clothes he wanted: A fitted, long-sleeved black shirt that would show his Krad-given musculature to its full, impressive extent; a light vest in a medium gray, because vests were in style; loose fitting pants that matched the vest. He combined this decidedly normal ensemble with a leather belt (onto which his coin-purse was tied) and his most comfortable pair of combat boots and tucked his gold and ruby lionâ€™s head amulet (a gift from his mentor for becoming a Flame Warrior) into his shirt, reasoning that one didnâ€™t need to be in an Order to be religious. He scooped a thick cream from a jar on his washbasin into his hands and spread it into his hair, holding it spiked in his customary style, then picked up a few short lengths of gold-colored wire off and twisted them around the spikes.
Dressed, Telerak left his room and ascended the stairs up to the floor of the Temple of Fire where the communal Flambar dorms were, seeking out his young protÃ©gÃ©. â€œKeliel? You in here?â€ he called, poking his head in the door.