The Ball: One Last Dance

Kendall returns to the ballroom escorted by one of the ubiquitous castle guards, who excuses himself at the door. Kendall barely notices, glancing about the ballroom, clearly looking for someone.

Moon walks up to him, from across the way. "Lord Kendall," she says as she approaches him.

"Kendall turns at her voice, and bows. "Lady Moon," he returns the greeting. "Have you enjoyed the evening's festivities?"

I have, and I have finally found a dance I know how to perform," she says looking at the dancers beginning to tango.

Kendall follows her glance, raising his eyebrows. "Indeed, it is much different from what we were dancing before." He pauses, looking back at her again for a heartbeat. "Why are you not dancing, then?" he inquires.

"I was looking for a partner…" she replies quietly.

Kendall looks again from Moon to the dance floor, and then back. Perception flickers in his eyes, and he merely smiles slightly as he extends his hand to her. She grins almost wickedly, and then takes his hand.

Kendall leads her out onto the dance floor amongst the couples who have already begun to dance in earnest. He holds her close, his hands resting against her back, and begins leading her into movements similar to the others on the floor. The rhythm of the music sets the pace, the beat playing out and choreographing the movements of their feet. She places her left hand on his upper shoulder; she stares into his eyes and moves to match his rhythm.

Kendall holds her gaze and flows into the motions, leading her through the first steps and gradually learning her proficiency. As the music allows, he sends her into a dip, bringing her out slowly and sensuously, then spins them both around and into the next several steps. She sways dancing the intricate foot work that has their feet matched and occasionally intertwined, as she follows his lead.

Kendall smiles at her as they move. "You are a quick study," he compliments her. "Unless you were misleading me in order to have another dance." He leads her in some fancier footwork, swinging her into a lift before sliding her down his body and into another dip. There is still a certain restraint to his demeanor, though his eyes warmed with his smile.

"It was a long time ago, but I had a friend who knew it and he taught me and a group of us. It was a lot of fun." A shadow of sadness passes quickly through her eyes at the thought of her friend's name, but she murmurs, "We were never this good, it must be the person who is leading."

"Of course," Kendall answers.

She is silent as the footwork gets trickier, almost challenging her to keep up to match the time, the saucy music, the dancer. In the next dip, she looks up at him, her hair coming out of it's fancy style to frame her face in soft curls of gold.

Kendall pulls her out of the dip and stands still for three heartbeats before sending her into another spin, bringing her back to his arms and beginning again, stepping up the complexity again. "I expect you will be more than proficient in all the dances I may show you within a very short time."

She doesn't have time or breath to reply, as she has finally met her match in the steps. She stumbles and laughs, "Apparently, I may need several more lessons."

Kendall chuckles at her, a quiet sound almost lost in the music, before obligingly simplifying the footwork. "It is simplicity itself for those who have been raised in knowledge of these arts. Should you stay in Amber, you may find yourself learning more of such things than you might wish. And not simply of dancing."

It is his first real chuckle and she likes the sound of it. "For tonight, all I want to do is feel real, tomorrow I want to learn more."

He spins her away and then back again. "What do you mean by feeling real?" he asks curiously. "What makes you feel real?"

Moon dances several more steps, her hips swaying. "I haven't felt real since I was ripped away from my home, and I don't know if I did before then. Tonight this dance, I'm in the moment and there are no shadows over me, no feelings I am in Heaven or Hell. Just the moment of feeling alive.”

Kendall nods with a look of understanding in his eyes. "I too have had moments similar to what you describe. Moments of… freedom perhaps?" His expression shadows for just a moment, but then he strokes his left hand down her arm, side, and around her back, grasping her tightly, lifting and swinging her around, keeping with the tone of the music. Into another dip and up to stand a hair's breadth away from each other, gazes locked. "It is good to know that you feel alive tonight," he says with sincerity. "One may only hope that the feeling will continue past this evening."

She seems surprised that he understands so well. "Moments of freedom, from what others want of you, to just be who you are," she says holding his gaze and perhaps moving a slight bit closer.

"They become more and more precious as one approaches more closely to power," he comments, swaying with her movement back into the dance.

"It seems many have taken this opportunity to enjoy freedom tonight, those in power and those who have none," she turns her back to him, pressed up against his body as they move across the floor, her hand outstreched in his.

Kendall's chuckles again as she begins asserting herself in the dance. "Sometimes people reach for freedoms that are merely shadows of tighter confinements," he murmurs in her ear. "Be wary of freedoms others dictate."

"And what do you wish to dictate to me?" she asks, cold shivers running up her spine as he whispers in her ear.

Kendall is silent for several heartbeats, listening to the music and enjoying the feel of the dance. Moon can feel his breath against her neck, teasing her loose hair. At last he answers very quietly in her ear, "That you will still desire to paint my portrait in the future even if you sleep alone this night."

She is quiet for a matching set of heartbeats. "Of course, and I would still take you to a Rave back in San Fran, but only if I could get you to wear leather,” she says wickedly, relieved that he can't see the look on her face.

"It would be my pleasure," he answers with perfect aplomb. He spins her around again, as the music begins to wind towards its end. "My position here in Amber is quite delicate, as I am certain you may appreciate," he adds. "I will be unable to dally at this time as I will need to discuss what has occurred with the Ambassador, and I fear you would find that frightfully dull." He smiles at her.

"Nothing about this evening has been dull, but I understand," she says carefully.

"Perhaps not dull,” he agrees, still smiling. “N'layqin so'lairen thar fl'an. Or to put it differently, you would not understand us."

"What language is that?" she asks.

"It is the language of Chanicut," Kendall answers. "Each House has its own tongue, which is not taught to outsiders. The language we currently speak, that which is spoken in the Royal Court, is called the King's Tongue." He leads her over to the edge of the dance floor as the music winds to a halt.

She breathes a little heavily from the intensity of the dance. "Well then, I thank you for the breath of sweet freedom this evening."

Kendall bows low before her again, still holding her hand, bringing it up and turning it over to kiss the palm. He is breathing heavily as well, and looks perhaps a little flushed in the uncertain light of the ballroom. "Thank you for making this evening more pleasant than I would have expected," he answers. "Fair Turning. Would you like assistance with finding an escort to the rooms the Queen promised you, or will you be staying here for a time?"

"I'm turning in," she says looking tired. "It has been quite the eventful day. I'm sure the servants will take me to a room."

Kendall straightens with a nod, folding his hands back into his sleeves. "Then I will bid you a pleasant rest. T'laya qin sal'tharen dal peth'han. May you sleep in the Serpent's embrace."

"Good night Kendall," she says and turns and glides away, looking for a servant.

Back to the list of Kendall's game threads
After the Ball

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