I created this so we don't have to deal with the bugged order.
A clicking chitter of approval emanated from her mandibles amidst the applause. Compound eyes gazed at the performer, a twinkle in her eye betraying otherwise strangled emotions. She had briefly contemplated whether the music only sounded as good as it did due to the grating tone of Eldar, but she concluded that it had legs ample to stand on its own. Such beauty, it almost felt criminal to applaud it, to assail the room with such a lesser sound. The desert’s own inflections and intonations provided such a new, refreshing sort of song.
Watching her make her way back to the table, her face turned to fire at the stray hands of select few. How dare they, such disrespect, such lecherous depravity. Today was one of much anger, it seemed. Grinding her mandibles, she took a deep breath and closed her eyes, counting to ten in her head. Upon opening them, she committed their faces to memory and returned to the table, commanding the corners of her mouth to rise. She’d deal with them later, it would be unbecoming to let such a thing spoil the evening for the rest of them, especially if the star was amenable to ignore it.
“An exceptional performance and enchanting voice, it would be criminal to sour the air with bickering.” Akna complimented, a sweetness to her voice that was absent with the other, “Important to take care of your instruments, external and internal. But, I can assure you, you missed nothing. We were both utterly entranced by you. I must ask, is it the singing that’s taxing on your throat, or the performance to a crowd? Putting oneself on a pedestal is rather daunting, I should know, but to weave such complexity from silence must be much more so nerve-wracking. One slip, after all, might spoil the immersion.”
Finishing her line of questioning, she’d eagerly await a response. She looked to the rabbit for a moment, and then to the hunter. A smirk toyed at her maw. The tension remained, and it was rather comical. She almost felt sorry for the mer, she’d spoken to him enough to know that his attempts at diplomacy may probably fall upon apathetic ears. She’d enjoy the rivalry, especially the delectable prospect of comparing him to a critter. It was almost tempting enough to inspire her to speak up now- but, Surayyah probably wouldn’t be so impressed with such brazen displays of animosity, so she’d bide her time.
She looked to the man who decidedly looked like he had not just fallen out of a turnip cart and furrowed her antennae.
“That all? Just beautiful? There’s so much more to admire that one word can’t just sum up alone. The wistful sounds of longing, regret, and melancholy. It does inspire me to wander if I’m a wayward wanderer of sorts, so far from home and missing it dearly, despite it’s spurning of me.” She mused, resting her chin on two hands and looking off into the distance. Quickly she brought herself back to the present with a chuckle, “I think I’m fine without, I found enlightenment in this pilgrimage of mine to the grains, and of course, you both too. Such exquisite company.”
Surayyah stood resolute on that stage once she had concluded her songs. The applause of the patrons did little to hush her drumming heart. The gypsy felt powerless due to her inability to whisk away their pain. And while this might have been a reprieve, the djinn would give anything to bear their misery for perpetuity. Instead, this pittance of empathy was all she could offer. An inadequate tribute that would wane come morning. And while she might return to that road. The people would be left to fester within the silt of their despondency.
Some might be quick to highlight that her ballads were not buoyant. However, the bohemian felt that emphasizing another's grief did much to convalesce others. It endowed them with a sense of not being alone and a reminder that others mourned worse. In short, she surmised it encouraged the crowd to deliberate over not what was lost but what they managed to keep. A distinction, while conceivably murky, was nonetheless noteworthy.
The starlet bowed once more, only to flutter off from her little perch. The songbird navigated through the patrons, tolerating a few who might have dared to touch her body inappropriately. She wouldn't permit it to ruffle her feathers. After all, one couldn't loll within the limelight without eliciting the occasional degenerate. Surayyah swooped back to the pair she had entered with before roosting back onto that chair. The caramel siren smiled, feeling a tad awkward given she hadn't an inkling what the others thought regarding her little performance.
Sheepishly those painted fingers would scratch the back of her scalp as the troubadour let out a chuckle. Those copper pools would hop from Eldar back to Akna before she cleared her throat. The djinn wouldn't surrender now, not when she had yet to hear their opinions concerning her singing. Naturally, the tarot reader wouldn't fish for compliments. Such behavior was unladylike and could only reflect poorly on her character. Instead, she'd continue the conversation as if nothing had happened.
"I'm elated to see you both are still here. I was afraid I would return to another quarrel."
A quip, one she hoped would stir the duo. Sir schwoopy would scale down from the gypsy, only to hop toward the center of their table. The hare's beady eyes stared at the hunter just as Surayyah could feel the gravity of attention badgering her. And while none had yet to stroll off to their table, she half anticipated one too. Thankfully, thus far, such a fear emerged as paranoia. Regardless, the wish granter wiggled her nose before supping away at the water she left behind.
"Refreshing and revitalizing. I often get pretty parched whenever I perform. I'd hate to drone off and burden you guys with such idle chitchat. Must be the nerves? Nonetheless, I digress. Enlighten and humor me. What have I missed?"
The fortune teller arched her brows before combing that raven hair behind her pointed ears. Nervously she'd sit both still and silent while licking her lips. Unsure if the two would up and leave, given they had acquired what they wanted. Something Surayyah was used to given such was the life of an entertainer. The crowd was there one second and eerie absent the next. It seemed few appreciated true art, especially during such troubling times.
Eldar was more than agreeable with putting their differences aside. After all, the wayward hunter had come to make friends, not enemies. Smiling, the Mer nodded his acquiescence towards the Priestess and turned to watch Surayyah. The establishment quieted once the realization of a performer was in their midst, and everyone seemed curious around him. A chuckle escaped his lips as she bowed before instantly springing back up. Tactical and showy at the same time, he thought.
Occasionally he flicked his eyes across the way to watch Lady Akna as she watched Surayyah. At first, the Mothkela seemed to enjoy the Gypsy's performance. Though after a while, something seemed to be upsetting her. There was no telling considering the oddities of the woman. Turning his eyes to Surayyah, the Elf continued listening to the music. The music coming from those strings felt almost magical, and the singer's voice complimented the sound beautifully. Lost in the beauty of the Djinn's performance, Eldar would not notice Akna's increasing distress.
Checking on the Priestess once again, it seemed that she had settled. Smiling, the hermit turned back for the last song. It reminded El of loss, specifically the loss of his family. The pang of sadness had passed, and now the hunter remembered the good time rather than the loneliness. The hunter had no idea what the afterlife contained, but traveling the stars for eternity sounded nice. El was smiling by the end of the song. Rising from his seat, the Mer clapped his hands and whistled loudly. No doubt this would irritate Lady Akna, and she would see this behavior as boorish. The hunter did not care at that moment.
Surayyah had shown courage by getting up and performing. Eldar wanted to express his appreciation for a good show. He did not know how many, but he did hear some others clapping and speaking well of the performance. Sitting back down after a minute, he took another drink of his water before speaking.
His words were short and to the point, and he tried to sound like he had not just fallen from a turnip cart.
She heard the drivel that Eldar slurred back to her, though to suggest she listened may be saying too much. Pressing her mandibles together in delight, Akna leaned back in her seat, her head cocked to the side. With the ease to tease such meagre minds, who wouldn’t? To think she would need his type, how humorous. Maybe as weapon of sorts? She could send legions of them to bring ruin to nations with their gibbering and inanity. Well, at least he wasn’t simpleminded enough to cling to his anger, that at least exhibited itself as one spark of redeemability.
Opening her mouth to speak, her attention was captured by that desert star once again. Sweet words unity, while nice to listen to, didn’t strike true to the moth. Disparity was inherent in the world, some were better than others. Vagrants don’t rise to rulers if given the opportunity, and rulers don’t reduce to vagrants if their resources are confiscated - for long at least. Looking over to Eldar, she smirked. They were not one, this mer held not a flickering candle to her grand luminance. But, she supposed the sentiment fell well enough on the ears of perpetual larvae.
“Wise words. I do apologise, mer. My travels must have roughened my edges, but a temporary setback. I’m sure you’ll find your light growing like a beacon when you sign on to your new calling. Perhaps I would have use of one such as yourself, an interpreter could prove quite useful if what you say is true.” She mused, before mumbling a quiet, “Samara help us,” beneath her breath.
Watching Surayyah rise from her seat, the moth leant back in hers and smiled. She seemed deft enough with her instrument, and her voice’s natural melody was promising. Leaning her head on two palms, the other two rested on the table, she watched the gypsy make her way up to the stage. Her way of moving was most eye-catching, the moth decided, tilting her head slightly in those carapaced claws. Watching her bow, her eyes were briefly arrested by the sway of her form. So easy to watch…
Frowning slightly, but not moving, the moth realised her own lowliness. What was she, some simple-minded creature to be mesmerised by jingling shinies and jiggling curves? No, she was an esteemed priestess, Samara’s own shepherd, a leader who earned her lofty perch. She most definitely was not one to be captivated by the dances of some pretty performer. She had already flown to love’s flame and had her fur scarred by its burns - never again.
Hearing the snide murmurs of a patron nearby, she turned her gaze to them, relieved. Focussing a ray of hatred upon them, she let Surayyah’s performance leak in from the peripheries. Her oasis wouldn’t last long though, as they too were turned by the music. Grinding her mandibles together, she returned focus to the stage. How weak was she, that the mere muses of some radical dreamer could capture her as easily as the rest of these lowly patrons. Her vessel was impure, she saw this much now, base desires wrestled for control over her. She would purge these away in due time. For now, she’d surrender.
Taken on the ebbs and flows of tragedy. Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to drift in a world without material, isolated from the nauseous atmosphere, alone with that heavenly voice that leaked from the welkin as divine rains of melancholy. An expression of genuine peace and joy peered from her lead shell, blossoming on her features like a rare flower. There was nothing wrong with enjoying the music, this much was true. The threat was the gateway to romantic fantasy and ruin. Separating that would be a challenge, most definitely. But one that she need conquer if she were to become the pure vessel she wished to be, for her red queen.
How tragic. Lady Akna was so entrenched within her conviction that she failed to glean the meaning behind her words. Or, better yet, she selected not to lest her faith was rattled. The starlet wiggled her nose, scrunching up that face to convey her disapproval. Fortunately for the moth, such an expression wasn't directed toward her but the mer who spoke of death. How dreary, and yet she supposed she couldn't fault the simpleton for his views. After all, most that call this desert home seemed fixated to chart a destructive course.
Many might be quick to point out that things were on the up and up. Surayyah, however, wasn't so one to believe such optimistic projections. No, she had witnessed the cycle too many times to think disaster had been sidestepped. Within the djinn's eyes, the looming tragedy was only deferred, not perpetually shelved. A distinction that few shared that led the chivalrous spirit to wish for one thing, that she was wrong.
Surayyah kept hushed as the simple man wrangled with the academic alien. And while she understood what ruffled his feathers, the fortune teller failed to see what infraction rated this contentious reaction. The looming tussle had to be circumvented by any cost lest their cordial atmosphere wane under the mounting pressure. And so, rather than watch the strain snap the twine tethering them. The tarot reader would swoop in and try to defuse it.
"This derision needn't persist. The divide that separates us is purely superficial—a construct we've erected that justify concentrating on our difference instead of what we have in common. One's amount of coin or their unorthodox way of articulating in no way devalues or elevates their person. We are all one. And this needless desire to fixate on such inconsequential things has been the source of much suffering. I can't break the wheel. We all must work as one to defy the cycle that has chained us. So cast aside your demand to lock horns. And look beyond the vaneer to glimpse that immutable trait that binds us all."
The gypsy smiled, letting out a soft exhale as she spun her ūd around and caught it. The neck of the stringed instrument was now securely in her grip. She'd offer the duo a nod while Sir Schwoopy scaled up to her shoulder.
"I'm going to perform now."
Gradually Surayyah rose, pushing the legs of her chair back across the floor. The din of their scratching was enough to possibly inspire goosebumps. Without delay, the djinn would turn around and sashay toward the stage. The once rackety tavern gently simmered down. The patrons were confused, given the arts had long since been abandoned by most for more essential functions. Their murmuring could still be heard, which did little to sway the warm smile across the bohemian's face.
The gypsy extended them a courteous bow, only to instantly spring back up with that ūd still in hand. Surrayah's raven hair bounced, and her jewelry clinked against one another due to that sharp movement. Even her buxom form jiggled faultlessly with the jerking of her sculpture.
Initially, only the sketching and moisturizing of those lips would greet the spectators. The audience was uneasy, ready to ridicule and jeer this radical dreamer. Nonetheless, despite their animus, the show must go on. With grace and dexterity, her fingers plucked those stringers. The manner in which her digits danced across the neck of that instrument was almost mesmerizing. The melodious crooning of her bewitching voice rode across the acoustics.
One by one, those lost to the call of this rancours worlds cast off the yoke of their sorrow. Like a gentle shower, they relaxed and felt the begrime of their disheartenment slowly scoured off. Many a scribe strived to gain mastery over the arcane. And many great kings solicited after means to influence the hearts and minds of their people. Yet, before Lady Akna and Eldar stood a form of magic, few understood. And it needn't be an incantation to wow the populace. Nor did it require intimidation.
"Our ancient world seemed
Newborn in his eyes
No place could keep him
He yearned for the skies
He abandoned the way
That Elders foresaw
He followed a path of his own
And he strayed in the void
As a Wayward Wanderer
Despising the fate
That was meant just for him
Yet the dreams that he sought
In the deep red afterglow
Were as distant as ever before
He did find a home
In the city of gold
Where life neither purpose