First Amber Dance

A short while after the end of the King’s Dance, Kendall approaches Briar and bows, extending his hand. "Your delight is my honor," he says gravely, staying in his bow but looking up at her expectantly.

Her eyebrows rise sharply, but she smiles and readily accepts his hand, though the smile suggests the young Lord of Chaos may have little idea what he's getting himself into. "I don't know what the proper response is to that, but if you're asking will I dance with you, then yes."

Kendall's smooth hand closes over hers and he escorts her onto the floor with him. "Very simple," he answers coming to stand in front of her and bowing again as the music starts. "Your honor is my delight." He comes back up from the bow and strikes the first pose, different yet similar, more exotic than the Amber dancers. "I am uncertain whether I should tell you the appropriate response should the partner decline."

"Ah. Well then, your honor is indeed my delight, and never mind the proper negative response. I don't anticipate needing it." She studies his posture carefully for a moment, taking up what seems to her to be an appropriate complementary pose. "Lead on, and forgive me if I follow imperfectly at first."

He smiles at her response, but his eyes are wary, measuring, as though he's trying to decide something about her. He nods at her stance, and then swings into the dance as the music begins. His movements are similar to the Amber one, but far more dramatic and at the same time, less intimate. There is both a distance and a fire to the movements. Kendall gets very much into the forms of the dance, expression a study in concentration.

"It would seem some customs cross cultural lines," he notes at one point when she is near enough to talk comfortably for a moment. A brief pause, and he elaborates. "Many of your dances are similar to those in Chaos."

"Some, but not all." Following along with little enough difficulty, Briar seems less concerned with pure form, dancing with a sort of constrained wildness that threatens to break the symmetry of her movements… but never does. Not quite. "You take great care to keep your distance," she notes a few moments later, "which is quite unlike the custom here. Are dance-floor assassinations common in Chaos, or is it something I said?" She smiles, but makes no move to close the distance, respecting the space he's creating about himself.

"Common enough to warrant precautions,” Kendall answers. “They are not overly popular, however. Interrupting a dance is considered quite uncouth. Regardless, that consideration is not what defines the dance. This one is distant, but others are much closer. Shall I demonstrate?" He seems to be completely serious. Moving nearer, he spins her into a far closer version of the dance. In keeping with its drama, he lifts her up if she allows, releasing her and catching her in his arms mere inches from the floor, pulling her suddenly up from that pose with one arm to twirl her into his other.

She seems no more than mildly startled, and goes right along with it, either unafraid of being dropped, or confident of her own ability to catch herself if he should fail. "Now that's more like it," she remarks, obviously enjoying herself.

Kendall looks faintly confused, spinning her through the movements of the dance with precision. Even up close, there is a certain 'hands off' quality to the movements, though it is hard to say if that is the dance or Kendall. "Like what?" he asks.

She chuckles. "Sorry, it's just an expression. Meaning, I like this better. I keep forgetting how confusing colloquialisms can be for a newcomer."

"Ah," he answers. They move through several more parts of the dance, Kendall at one point behind Briar and guiding her to fall backwards so that she ends up looking up into his face, hanging almost parallel with the floor. He pulls her back up and spins her around. "Which customs would you estimate do not cross cultures?" he says after a moment. "You said some but not all before."

"Well, as examples, you already pointed out the discrepancy in marriage customs. And judging by our conversation at dinner, humor doesn't always translate very well," she says with a wry smile.

"You are being humorous?" he asks, still deadpan. The motions of the dance take her away again, then back. "Tis difficult to know of what to speak, since there appear to be many…" he searches for the word as they promenade for several steps. "Pitfalls. I feel somewhat… overwhelmed and know not where to begin to understand Amberites." That last is spoken in almost a confessional tone, his voice dropping.

Briar smiles with genuine sympathy, as though she quite understands his dilemma. "I know. A bunch of regular lunatics, aren't we?" She spins away with the dance, then back, and goes on. "But trust me, Professor, Amberites are really not so different from any other people. Once you learn enough about us, we do start to make a certain kind of sense."

"I see," Kendall answers. A short pause. "I look forward to that, as I am finding myself bewildered by things you appear to take for granted. Each House in Chaos may have very different customs. However, we all share many of the same ones in situations such as this. The lack of structure at this gathering is most unusual. May I ask what a professor is?"

She grins. "It's a term of respect for a scholarly man of learning in some Shadows I'm familiar with. You remind me of one."

Kendall almost misses her arm as she passes him in the dance, but recovers quickly. “Thank you," he answers. "That is indeed a great honor. I have not usually been considered very scholarly. My tutors were most displeased with my lack of… focus?"

"You're quite welcome. I am of course unfamiliar with your academic record, and basing the comparison on first impressions. But you certainly strike me as a serious and inquisitive person."

"As Second Son, I must live with certain expectations. Scholarly aptitude was one of them," he says by way of explanation. Then, "I was uncertain what to expect from this trip. However, I have enjoyed visiting new places in the past and hope exploring Amber would prove the same," he observes.

"Well, there's plenty to see, and it's all beautiful. I'll try to put together a good tour itinerary over the next couple of days."

"I look forward to it," he answers, still all formality. But a gleam in his eyes reveals that he really is looking forward to it; a gleam of excitement and curiosity.

"You won't be disappointed, I promise." As the music draws to a close, she sweeps into an elaborate curtsy, which suffers not at all for her lack of flowing skirts. "Thank you for a most enjoyable dance, Professor. The Ball should continue until midnight, but it's quite acceptable for guests to leave and then return. So let me know when you'd like to take a break and visit the stables."

Kendall flows out of the final dance pose and into a sweeping bow, reaching to take her hand and kiss it lightly. "Thank you for a most enjoyable dance," he answers. "I doubt I will have difficulty finding you later for the promised… stroll through the hay?"

"Something like that," she says with a lopsided smile. "Until later, then." She rises gracefully and moves off toward the refreshment table. The only indication after all that dramatic dancing and conversation that she may be just slightly winded.

Back to list of Kendall's game threads
In Amber: Cutting Cordiality

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