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A blast in the past - RolePages

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A blast in the past

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It was a time, months before the flood, and Consequence was celebrating at its most grateful, wonderful and tawdry best. On this occasion, the ending of the Wages, commemorated each year with a celebration that, once more, Consequence had survived

The streets were packed with stalls, musicians, street entertainers and revellers. The bars spilled out onto the cobbles and the black top alike.

At his periphery, an impish figure lingered, a glance that way saw it to be the wee wildling girl, Azura, moving along the stalls until halting and poring for some time over a trinket stand, unaware of his gaze.  A smile then. Cu  liked the wee thing. Certainly the girl had shown her mettle when he had returned them all to Celtic  Ireland.  Without her skill, innocent people would have died and so, she was double her worth. Disappearing for a moment in the crowd, Cú Chulainn craned his neck to find her once more and was satisfied when he did, watching with a grin as she ducks and weaves her way through the crush with the skill of any street fighter he had seen.

He was already making his way over to the empty bench when Azura emerged from the flock of people and perhaps after that ordeal the sight of her friend, the Ulsterman, pushing his way through to meet her and parting it like it was the Red Sea with his bulk, greeted her with a cheery smile and

“I was wondering what had happened to ye.” A mild mocking tone as he says “Perhaps it would be easier for me to perch you on me shoulder to get you back there” jerking his head in the direction of the trinkets.

 

Cú Chulainn was in fine fettle, a broad smile on his face and as always an open bottle in his hand. He stood head and shoulders above the average human, was as always, bare of chest as any decent barbarian warrior should be, mercifully unarmed, wearing naught but brightly coloured naive looking pants, tied with a drawstring about his waist, hues of buttercup yellow and moss green homespun plaid covered his legs. At his hip, replacing the more commonly seen gladius, a heavy coin pouch jangled when he moved

Arms were crossed across the oaken curve of pectoral and he was engaged, watching a street performer whose music was booming from a box behind him, and who had lain down some linoleum and was busily wowing the crowd by spinning on his head.

A pale figure drenched in glimmering violet fabric was slowly meandering her small frame through the crowds, easily identifiable to any that knew her for even in a throng of people, flesh and clothing melding together in an array of colours and shapes, Azura stood out amongst the rest. It was likely that rumpled mane of hers, coils of tangled black and white framing her face in messy waves that cascaded and rippled down her back, falling like dark rain as it curled at her hips.

 The streets were alive with activity, a lively tune playing to which some twirled and danced, bare feet and shoes colliding against the cobblestones in a rhythm that was slightly contagious though she resisted the urge to join the celebrations. Instead, she had paused beside one of the many brightly decorated stalls that were packed together, jostling for attention and dominance as the loud catcall of shopkeepers selling their wares joined in the symphony of sound.

She hovered, her pale fingers slipping over the ornate pieces of jewellery that were laid atop a canvas of scarlet fabric but out of all the finely crafted items, it was the raw chunk of purple amethyst that had her entranced. But unlike most of its kind, this particular gem was threaded with vines of turquoise that glittered and snaked like veins through its raw uncut surface, the jewel looped onto a thick black cord.

The sound of the shopkeeper clearing his throat had her tearing both her vision and hands away, cheeks flustering into embarrassment for she knew such things were beyond her reach. Sighing, Azura turned from the stall, sending those moss coloured eyes into the crowd as she searched for a way to cut through it without being trampled. 

A deep breath taken, the wild woman was forcibly pushing her into the surge of people. She ducked and weaved, picturing those bodies that blocked her way as the thick ancient and gnarled trees of home and this seemed to help guide her with more ease and grace, her bare feet creeping against the rough pebbled surface below her, taking care not to disrupt anyone though the same consideration was clearly not returned for several people near stepped on the woman, and she was almost knocked to her feet several times, recovering her balance just at the last moment.

 Finally, Azura managed to slide out of the mob, inching towards an empty bench she spied. As she collapsed into it, one arm reached to snatch a drink from the serving tray of a passing Hob, uncaring of what was contained in the glass at this current point in time for she blindly lifted it to her mouth and took a swig without even checking to see. She leaned back, her head tilting to find the sky, more interested in the waning colours of fading daylight then the packs of people roaming the streets, already overwhelmed by the sight.

 The twilight hours had always held a certain captivating lull to the woman and now, she was blinking up at the haunting beauty of it all, watching intently the way smudges of gold and amber darkened to deep shades of indigo and blue. The sun sank lower against the horizon, and already she could see a faint outline of a pale, full moon hanging like a spectral ghost against that painted landscaped of different hue.

At his periphery, an impish figure lingered, a glance that way saw it to be the wee wildling girl, Azura, moving along the stalls until halting and poring for some time over a trinket stand, unaware of his gaze.

 A smile then.

Cu  liked the wee thing. Certainly the girl had shown her mettle when he had returned them all to Celtic  Ireland.  Without her skill, innocent people would have died and so, she was double her worth. Disappearing for a moment in the crowd, Cú Chulainn craned his neck to find her once more and was satisfied when he did, watching with a grin as she ducks and weaves her way through the crush with the skill of any street fighter he had seen.

He was already making his way over to the empty bench when Azura emerged from the flock of people and perhaps after that ordeal the sight of her friend, the Ulsterman, pushing his way through to meet her and parting it like it was the Red Sea with his bulk, greeted her with a cheery smile and

“I was wondering what had happened to ye.” A mild mocking tone as he says “Perhaps it would be easier for me to perch you on me shoulder to get you back there” jerking his head in the direction of the trinkets.

It wasn’t his booming accent that first alerted Azura to Cu’s presence but the sudden sensation of sunlight being replaced by shadow, his large enough in size that it evaporated the warmth she had been basking in. She tore her eyes reluctantly away from the landscape above her that had her so captivated and awe struck. Even so, there was a glimmer of misty dreaminess in those green eyes as they turned to find the Celt on who she was now bestowing the highest of honours, an actual genuine smile.

 “Perhaps all that dancing tired me out more then I thought it would” She said with a smirk, tucking stray tendrils of ivory behind her ear as she slowly clambered to her feet, that curious drink still in hand. She glanced at it for the first time, a fruity taste clinging to her tongue and shook it, one eye squinting critically at the glass before her attention was snagged by his teasing comment. One eyebrow slowly arched, confusion filtting over her pale features.

 “Why on earth would I want to go BACK into that..?” She asked, her voice incredulous as her nose crinkled in disapproval. “My feet have already been stepped on more times then I can count” She grumbled, wriggling her bare toes as if to illustrate her point and indeed, red imprints of shoes remained in her skin, faint indendations left by the stomping and trodding of others.

Cú Chulainn would instantly glance down at Azura’s toes and then offer a laugh. “Well, what d’ye expect Woman, you got nothing on your feet!” drawing attention to his own feet that were shod in modern day military wear. Good walking done on a boot like this.

“The Miracle of the modern world eh!” and certainly would appear almost gleeful. “Why deny yourself the comforts of the now!” though would also be aware, as any barbarian would, that there was a distinct loss of connection with the natural world as soon as those babies were laced up. There was always a trade off. He then answered her question with a question.

 “What were you looking at over there that held your attention so completely eh?” knowing what young girls were like with trinkets and also knowing that she probably didn’t have a sou to her name. A glance across the crowded street to the position of the jewelry stall and then a stubbornly cheerful grin to Azura and she would know that expression. It was the same one he had when he whisked her from her seat to dance earlier in the day, and she knew that she had little choice about it then. 

Azura stared at his laugh with a sombre expression, unsure if the huge Irishman was laughing at her or trying to make an attempt at humour. She decided on the latter and returned his chuckle with a careless shrug.

 “Footwear seems to slow me down. I tried it for a while, when I first arrived. Personally, I would rather spend the majority of my time upright then spilling over myself every few minutes so I guess I will get used to the bruises” She said, shuddering at the memory of those awful boots had given her, at least two sizes too big if not more.

As he mentioned the trinket stall, her eyes were quickly racing away, mirroring the look he flung in that direction, a blush of guilt spreading over her pallid cheeks. “How long exactly were you watching me Cu?” She countered, a slow grin appearing as she answered HIS question with yet another question though after a few moments of stubborn silence, she was crumbling under the pressure of that mischievous smile, slightly impish in nature.

 She was shaking her head even as he flashed that expression towards her, reading the man’s thoughts before he even suggested them.

 “It was nothing really. Do I look like a girl who likes shiny things? Pft” She bluffed, trying to swipe the subject away quickly. “Besides, such things are far too expensive. It’s unseemly really.. Selling natural products of the earth like that” She said, making a show of casting a disgruntled frown towards the stall but of course, there was a spark of desire in those green eyes.

“Long enough” Cú Chulainn replies with a laugh and at that was already grasping at Azura’s hand and tugging upon it insistently. If she thought she could go back to taking a breather and sky gazing she was sadly mistaken.”Cmon show me!” he said. “While I’m there I might buy a wee something for me Woman.” and he was already hauling her to her feet, no doubt amidst groans and protests.

 At least he then offered her the open bottle of whiskey that he had been swigging from as payment for the cost.

Her spluttered protests merely seemed to fade into the surge of music and chatter from the crowd as Cu took hold of her hand and dragged her into it though this time she did not bother resisting by driving her heels into the ground.

 “Ugh. Your so.. ” She drifted off, searching for the word and lapsing into thoughtul irritated silence as she did so. “..Obtuse!” She exclaimed, a victorious smile rising at her own self percieved cleverness.

 “Fine, fine. You win. I will SHOW you” She said in a resigned voice as she accepted the bottle of whiskey, taking a large gulp for courage as the crowd pressed uncomfortably close. But thanks to the hulking Irishman, they were soon cutting through with ease, people seeming to move out of the way of those immense shoulders on instinct.

 She sighed in relief as they slipped out of the throng, finding themselves in front of the aforementioned stall, the seller of which was shooting Azura a quick assessing gaze before taking in the added acquaitence at her side.

 “Well. Since we have so much in common. I’d be interested to see if you could guess which one stole my attention?” She said, a challenge offered teamed with a playful smirk, the like of which he had probably yet to see of the woman. “If you win, I will offer no more protests to whatever plan you have in that large head of yours” She finished, her free hand settling on her hip as she waited for his response.

Cú Chulainn didn’t know what obtuse meant. And so he just grinned and nodded and was satisfied, at least in his own head, it means handsome and heroic. Standing behind Azura to view the wares of the stall, there was a fine array of styles, both ancient and modern, for Consequence was a cosmopolitan city and any merchant had to cater for all tastes.And certainly as the challenge was laid down and the retort of “Pffffft!” delivered, Cú Chulainn was confident that he could. He knew women.

 Just pick the sparkliest.

For a moment his hand drifted, no doubt to Azura’s horror, to a piece that was righteous in it’s bling. A gaudy affair worn only by a certain type of woman. A grin as he would watch her expression, and hover towards an equally horrendously tawdry piece of sparkly bling as though indecisive.Ffinally with a laugh he settled on the amethyst, wild and unhindered as nature had grown it, it matched her to a twin. he lifts it from where it is displayed.

“Tell me I’m roight!” Cú Chulainn booms as he tips a wink to the merchant who was hovering hopefully at a respectful distance.

It was a wonder that Azura hadn’t played poker before for the neutral expression she pasted on her face as his fingers wandered over the amassed jewels of different cut and color was second to none. She supressed a grin when it seemed as if Cu was about to settle on a glittering but cheap looking chunk of green, pretty but clearly coloured glass and as such, man made and completely lacking in appeal.

Her smile wavered though when he moved on, skating closer to the chunk of raw blue snaked amethyst, clearly a rarity in nature for such gems were usually solid in their purple hue. Perhaps this was what had attracted the woman to the jewel in the first place. In a way, it reminded her of home for such things she had always taken for granted were now seemingly extinct to her, existing nowhere else but the slopes of her mountainous world.

She held her breath, silently watching those massive hands inch closer and when they curled and closed over the pendant, plucking it from the pile and holding it aloft with a smug smile, Azura’s eyes widened slightly in surprise and she nodded, that trademark blush returning to her cheeks. “Fine, you win. I guess I underestimated you” She admitted, u

unable to help a small musical chuckle for indeed it seemed virtually impossible to stay sullen and moody in the face of Cu’s mirth.

She shuffled from one foot to another restlessly now, uncomfortably unsure how to take his generosity for no one had ever gifted her with much, her worldly possessions few and meagre in comparison to others though most of the time, she was just content with the gift of survival and so, she needed little. “You don’t have to but thank you. I.. don’t know why you would waste your coin but I am grateful for it regardless” She said in a gentle, guilty voice.

A laugh and a nod to the stallholder as  Cú Chulainn reaches for his pouch, filled with coins, but also, lumps and cut offs of raw gold and silver for traders that preferred a more universally accepted payment. He tossed one such lump in silver to the merchant, pleased now that he would get double the gemstones worth at a trader and obsequious with thanks.

The Celt then solemnly drapes the cord about Azura’s neck. “A nice piece indeed!” he would state before adding “And I spend my wealth how I please”

He would open his mouth to tell her how pretty it looked about her throat, but at that moment, a susseration went through the crowd that the fires had been lit. As they were right opposite the park they would already be able to see the glow that the bonfire made in the space above it.

 “Oooooo grand!” the Celt exclaimed gleefully. “The Nymphs are out to play!” and he would be once again grasping at her hand and tugging Azura across the way, following the current of the crowd as all piled into Consequences’ only reserve of decent green space, jealously guarded by the Nymphs, but for this commemoration, lit with lanterns and party goers with candles lit to remember the loss, and a huge great burning bonfire, tossed upon it was an effigy of it’s past invader.

There was a mob excitement tickling at the gut as all waited in anticipation of the glorious fireworks that would follow. Cú Chulainn himself had more than once enjoyed the company of the Nymphs. They would delight in the pleasure of others and whether that was the eyes of a child, wide eyed with wonder and awe at the firework display, or a similar expression upon the face of a patron of the red light district was immaterial. He knew them to be superlative badasses when the need arose, and it often did in Hellifyno. 

Azura could not help herself, ever the curious one, so it was that she was raising herself on her toes in order to catch a glimpse into the pouch he was rifling through, interested to see what he might store in there other then currency. When she spied the bulge of silver, the glitter of gold, coins clattering as they chimed, her eyes went slightly wide, surprised by his wealth for she had not expected it. She was staring at him for a few moments as he completed the sale with the stall owner.

“How..” She was starting to say but the question died as soon she felt the weight of the pendant being lowered against her and silently, she gathered her black and white mane in one hand, lifting it over the black chord which provided a startling contrast against her pale skin. She lifted the amethyst from its place, dangling below her throat, and stroked its raw edges, admiring it with a soft smile which she soon turned to Cu.

 “Thank you again. It’s beautiful” She murmured, agreeing with his exclamation. She was so entranced by her gift, that her head lifted lazily as titters of excitement trembled through the crowd, glancing at his glee with distracted confusion.

“Hm?” The noise questioning though as he mentioned the Nymphs, green eyes would roll, her lips parting to offer a refusal though she did not get very far for once again she felt herself being dragged in that whirlwind of people. “I’m beginning to think you might as well tie me to your arm and tug me along that way” Azura quipped in a light, airy tone but the comment was good natured. Her hand tightened on his as they were swept along on the tide of the crowd that pushed them deeper into the park. -c-

It wasn’t until they neared that orange glow that raged through the darkness that Azura realised what he was pulling her toward. Fire. She could smell the thick pungent scent of smoke piercing the night chill and on instinct, her nails dug painfully into Cu’s palm though she was unlikely to notice any pain she inflicted for the swell of panic was spreading over her quickly. She fought against it but even so, her shoulders tightened, muscles growing tense.

“Cu..” She murmured but the word was lost in the roar of the crowd, drowned out by cheers.

 All too soon, they were skirting closer to the immense bonfire that crackled and snapped in the centre of the park. Wide eyes stared at the flames, the way they licked at wood and consumed all in its path. Azura took a hesitant step back, edging herself away and shockingly, deeper into the crowd but still watery green pools glared, images arising in the orange and gold tendrils though she knew they were seen by only her eyes and the woman’s face began to pale to sickly grey at the sight of memories resurfacing.

Cú Chulainn couldn’t help his enthusiasm He still gripped tightly onto the child that he had been.  Often it was chipped away to nothing when one dealt with battle and war. Somehow, through the miracle of will and being almost permanently alcohol affected, it had prevailed. He loved the company of others, until of course he didn’t, and Azura was better company than most that he had met since his return. They had formed a quickly formed a respectful and firm friendship since she had rebutted his blarney quickly at the first meet. This alone held her in high esteem.

And so it was with great concern that he would see, not joy as intended, but a panicked and wide eyed Azura, backing away from it as though gripped by the worst kind of fear. The Celt was quick to respond, to the sudden tightness of fingers about his huge hand and to the change in her demeanour and he was quickly shouldering the crowd that came behind them out of the way while simultaneously shielding her diminutive form with his own bulk, he did not stop til they were well out of the crowd and Azura was able to breathe.

He had seen a similar look before. Zoey had her words for it- traumaticking something. She was a modern day cop of some standing in her force and had explained it in terms of how it affected others. Those that had seen, done, experienced more than their spirit could bear for a time. Zoey knew the modern day words. Cu called it battleworn.

For did not everyone have their own troubles and battles as a personal burden?

The sight was likely made worse by the fact that it was bundle of wood arranged in the towering shape of a human that burned before her round gaze. Flames licked at the figure’s face, its torso completely engulfed by that raging inferno which wound its away to splayed limbs.

Her head was starting to shake from side to side, scattering black and white over her face though in her panic she was making no attempt to free herself from those tangled threads. She had dropped Cu’s hand, attempting to inch her way back into that thick crowd and away from billowing clouds of smoke that made her eyes sting, the taste of ash burning her tongue. Screams echoed in ringing ears and she blinked rapidly to disperse the images that assaulted her mind.

 Her breath came in shallow pants and her eyes were darting rapidly about her, searching desperately for an escape but each route seemed cut off by clusters of people, their leering smiles of joy and celebration only serving to panic her further for the glare of the fire gave their faces a monstrous, crimson tint and in that moment, all those around her seemed to morph into demons, to take on the faces of those men that laughed and cheered as her people burned.

She could almost smell the roasting of their flesh invading her nostrils so strong was the memory.

Her eyes glimmered, a sudden flare of light and color and without even realising it, her hand was raising, soft blue light prickling her fingertips, droplets of water already trickling from her skin. And then, her fear was knocked of course abruptly as she felt her hand seized, her form tugged and maneuvered away from the fire that was fading in her line of sight the further Cu barged his way through the crowd. Several heads turned to flash the man a glare and yet his frame deterred any.

Harsh words from being exchanged. By the time they had slipped out of the throng of closely pressed bodies, Azura was rocking unsteadily on her feet and soon she was sucking in fresh air, inhaling desperately as she tried to rid herself of that scent of smoke and ash. After a few moments, she tilted her head to find the towering Celt, embarrassment clearly lining her features though there was no trace of pink along her skin as there might usually be, only that grey tint.

 “I- Im sorry. I don’t .. I don’t like fire. It.. reminds me of .. burning flesh.” She managed to choke out as she slowly shifted her breathing back to a normal pace though the girl’s heart was still hammering so forcefully in her chest that she through it might break through.

Cú Chulainn gives the girl her space for a moment, a silence between them as he would allow her time to recover from what ever horror her mind had replayed in her head. Just the murmured grounding of “Breathe now- just breathe” before it stretched out again. The Celt considered perhaps the swigging of neat whiskey probably didn’t help. There was a chance she hadn’t eaten.

Eyebrows would fly up into his hairline at Azura’s admission. An impassive expression of sadness, for it made Cú Chulainn sorrowful indeed at confirmation that his sweet friend had a past that had at one point, been coloured with violence. Right sorrowful indeed.

 “Just take a breath- it’s alright” He did not comment upon the scent she experienced because, he could be discreet when he wanted to be and Azura’s business was her own. As with old soliders, it was best just to give them a lot of silence and if they wished to tell, then they would. But his eyes did not stop searching her own gaze when it passed by his, a confirmation of his own that he wasn’t going anywhere, and instead gave her an off the cuff remark of dismissal, designed to relieve pressure and lighten the situation.

 “besides- seen one bonfire- seen them all.” For there was a reason it was called in old language a bone fire, and an any ancient battle field would be bristling with them as the remains of the dead were disposed of quickly.

This was back in his own time, and perhaps in Azura’s also.

The Celt was worried then about the fireworks and added with a timid caution “Yer know- it’s going to get right noisy soon. Fireworks are all huge bangs and flashing lights. Perhaps it would be best to move on anyway.”

He in no way wished to add to Azura’s torment with that experience. The Celt was having a pleasant enough evening with Azura and this could just as easily be at a market stall eating hawker food, or outside a bar with musicians and entertainers. The man could be surprisingly sensitive when he put his mind to it also, and was happily offering up an escape  

Azura nodded, taking a moment or maybe five to settle herself, forcing the chattering of both her limbs and teeth to ease and quietly, she was slowly gathering he

her composure though the vaguest hint of a tremor still passed through her. The green of her eyes was slowly fading to its regular hue however a haunted expression remained as she kept her silence, grateful for the absence of words for too often it seemed those she met felt the need to any such space with sound regardless of how idle or meaningless the words were.

She stared with a somewhat hollow expression at the half empty bottle of whiskey still clutched in one hand, her grip so tight that her knuckles were paling. With much difficulty, she loosened her grip and tilted the bottle to her lips, taking a deep long drink and when it moved back to clunk against her hip, her cheeks were flushed with dabs of rosy hue, brought on by the sudden burn of alcohol and the immediate rush to her head which left her feeling slightly dizzy but more importantly, a tad more numb. It was around this time that Cu offered his perfectly timed attempt at dismissing the celebrations of which he had been so keen to partake in only moments earlier.

Azura’s smile was thanks enough, meaning laced behind the tug and curve of her lips. She was tempted to push him, urge him back towards the flames and reverie for she was never one to force someone to wallow with her in despondency. “I’m okay now Cu. A little embarrassed, but okay. Again, I find I need to thank you. It’s very kind of you to pretend you do not wish to take part in..” She paused as her eyes drifted warily back to the ground, the searing heat.

“.. I wouldn’t want to spoil it” She said, chewing on the side of her cheek as she spoke. “You should go and have fun with those Nymphs of yours, Don’t worry about m.. Fireworks?” The traction of her words was interrupted as soon as the strange word snagged her hearing and in that one moment, her curiosity was captured and she settled back into pensive silence as he explained the term. She inched closer as he spoke, the quaking of her limbs finally evaporating as the gleam he might be well acquainted with by now appeared in her green gaze.

 “Lights?” She echoed, her eyes immediately drawing to rest on the lanterns that were strung above, golden orbs flickering and glowing softly. Seemingly still confused, but certainly intrigued she was glancing back towards the throng of people anxiously awaiting the display.

 “It’s not loud noises that bother me. My home is filled with sound. And what is louder then the gush of a water hurtling off a cliff before crashing over rocks below?” She asked, her question genuine for there was little she could imagine that might equal such a roar. “Can we.. “

She stammered out the first bit of her question, suddenly shy that her request would be met with laughter. “Can we watch from.. a distance.. away from all the people?” She asked, a flicker of hope flitting through her gaze for now Cu had peaked her interest with his vague description.

A grin as Azura does what he himself would do in such a moment, and have a pull upon a bottle. “Achhh no need Woman. We all have our moments and I’d rather have your company joyful than not.” A smile that erased the need for any self consciousness but which broadened as she responded to his explanation of the next phase in the night’s festivities.

Azura’s suggestion was sound in his mind and so with  reply of  “Of course! Anything you want!” he would take a step or too towards the open lawns of the park, away from shadows and the tumult of the crowd.It was a fine night for fireworks. Cooling down, clear, with just the spangle of distant suns across the firmament once one got away from the glare of the bonfire.

 “Oh aye!”  Cú Chulainn would reply to her with familiar enthusiasm, his words thick with the brogue of his world. “Lights and bangs and crackles and all manner of wonder!” He loved them with a passion as they were not a feature of his time. “You’ll see”

He waits this time for Azura to follow rather than mauling her hand in that familiar way, and together they move out into the wide open space and as he was watching the bottle in her hand carefully and preparing to make a swift grab for it for a wee dram himself, there was the whistling fizz of what he knew to be a rocket shooting into the sky. A second or two and then… explosions of colour, followed a breath later by a ear splitting bang, as sound caught up to light and the while sky appeared to be raining golden and blue light.

She merely smiled, her free hand skating towards her throat to fidget with the newly acquired gem that glimmered against her pale skin, it’s pastel purple hue matching the violet fabric of her dress perfectly though such things would be beyond her notice for the woman had little inclination to the ways of vanity. It shocked her that Cu would rather spend his time meandering at her side then jirating wildly with the rest of the crowd but she couldnt help but feel pleased with the idea for it seemed that very few people wanted to dwindle away their time conversing with a savage who questioned everything yet knew little.

 At his booming enthusiastic response to her timid question, her smile widened into a grin and as he strode towards an empty space on the lush rolling green grass, Azura was falling into step behind him, skirting around the few people who chose to select a spot away from the crowds. She her gaze fixed ahead, avoiding letting it veer towards the flames around which people milled, concentrating instead on the rich timbre of Cu’s thick accent. His excitement was contagious and her tongue was soon wagging with questions as she kept to his side, near clinging to his shadow.

 “Is it dangerous? How does it work? Is it magic?” Question after question flung though the Irishman no doubt was likely offering laughter in return and with those two words, ‘you’ll see’, she clamped her lips defiantly shut against her clambering mind. She sank down into the cold grass, blades of it damp with moisture from the air, and stretched her ivory toned and ink stained legs out in front of her, wiggling her toes against earth, bringing the bottle of whiskey to settle in the her lap, glass drowning in lavender skirts that pooled around her as she got comfortable.

She had noted Cu’s hungry look towards the bottle she nursed and was about to offer it towards him when she heard a strange sound, an odd high pitched whistling. Her head darted around for there was a moment when Azura did not know in which direction she was meant to look but, following the upturned eyes of those around her, including Cu, green pools were finally drawn to the sky above, a sea of darkness now being pierced by a rocket of golden light charging through its inky depths. Her mouth dropped open slightly, her eyes widening.

 Azura watched carefully, the sphere reminding her of a comet or else a falling star in reverse, leaving tiny sparkling orbs in its wake. She held her breath, hypnotised by the flare and in this moment it would have been hard for her to imagine anything as spectacular and indeed, it seemed as if the odd wild girl had assumed this was what summed up the term ‘fireworks’ in its entirety.

 As such, she was not expecting the sudden explosion of sound and color, her tiny form jumping at the shock of such and those eyes were now growing as wide as the full moon that hung above them, that ball of silver now outshadowed by the kaleidoscope of light and hue scattering itself across the sky in shards that glittered and fell like rain. Dazzling bursts of gold and sapphire sparkled in tiny dancing flecks and for a heart stopping moment, Azura thought that the sparks would fall like burning bits of timber to the ground, scalding all in its path.

 Then, another whistling comet of light was racing through the sky, quickly joined by another and another, all twirling until they rose to a peak in that dark landscape. Her fingers curled into the grass, preparing herself for another for the series of bangs that boomed, making her ears ring.

The sky was suddenly lit up, illuminated by explosion after explosion of colors booming across the darkness, constellations of every hue painting themselves across her vision ranging from radiant golds and fiery amber to bright sparks of flickering indigo and electric green, every shade she had ever imagined and some she had not even thought to merging together to form patterns that crackled and spat before burning out only to be replaced by more booms of color.

 Azura gasped, her jaw dangling, those shifting streaks of different hue reflected in the sheen of wonder that clung to those emerald orbs as she stared, unblinking, her knees pulled to her chest so she could wrap her arms around them. Her grip on the bottle slackened, and she blindly knocked it against Cu’s hip in a wordless invitation for what words could be offered when faced with such astounding ethereal beauty.

 “It IS magic” She whispered in a stunned voice full of awe, eyes trailing to follow the burning embers of light and when she finally tore them away to glance at Cu, they were misty with wonderment. “I like this much better then the bonfire.. Thank you.. so.. much.. for showing me”  She breathed, her words spoken in a reverent hushed voice and it was only seconds before her gaze was lifting once more.

“Oh better than that” Cú Chulainn responded as he joins Azura on the lawn and throws his weight down beside her. “It’s science!” sounding to naive ears knowledgeable perhaps, but really only having a vague clue. It was truly beyond his ken though at a guess the Celt would assume it was just one of those things that in his day, would have appeared miraculous, but in this modern city, would have a logical and reasoned explanation. Despite living in Hellifyno for many years, thankfully, there were still miracles to be found.

 Certainly his eye would drift once more to the bottle and was grateful it had come his way. It was a miracle that there was any left at all given their attention of the bottle.For he would the knock the liquor back like it was mothers milk and he was gladdened that Azura also had the taste for it, though it still tickled him to sometimes see that momentary grimace at the burn from her wee face as it snakes its way down. It was her expression he was watching now momentarily as it was lit from the brilliance above before his gaze was drawn to the lightshow above and lubricated the moment with a pull on the whiskey.

This open space had couples drifting by and before long, two nymphs drew close. Magnificently tall women, dressed similarly and elegantly in layers of diaphanous fine silks and devastating beautiful. Cú Chulainn’s gaze would lock, and being the hospitable Celt he was, he would immediately offer them the bottle, for was it not the worse kind of luck to be eating and drinking and not be sharing with any creature that was watching.

A smile and the offering was taken and shared between them before being returned to Cú Chulainn. The display would end all too soon, and the park would be taken over by rather more Bacchanalian carousing, and he assumed therefore that their presence mean’t it was approaching that time. Soon the fountains would run with wine and there would be more than one dancing reveller, cavorting pagan naked about the fire before the dawn signified the end.

Cú Chulainn was more than happy to spend the rest of the night as always, back at the Blue Moon, Despite usually enthusiastically committing himself to this kind of debauchery, he would wait til another occasion presented. The Celt was rather enjoying Azura’s company and it did so make a nice change from tavern.

A pleasant experience indeed.

One Nymph would murmur something to the Celt who would give them both a cheery smile and a “we’re grand thanks. Next time!” before the two women would walk away laughing, leaving the rueful gaze of the Ulsterman following their journey and appreciating that they looked as good from behind as they did from the front, and perhaps a question or two from Azura as to the nature of their words 

“Sci.. ence.. ?” The question was but a faint echo, a clarification she had heard his vague explanation but did not understand it in the slightest though it seemed as if Azura did not really care, too fascinated by the wonder itself to question its making at this time. She continued to gaze admiringly at the glimmering coloured heavens above for every time her eyes attempted to stray away they were soon compelled to race back, caught by another shimmery burst, unable to look away for more then a second or two at a time.

 As such, she did not notice the two delicately featured women approach, their supple figures swaying proactively, until their shadows fell over her own and she was blinking up at them, her features souring at the interruption to the view which was now slightly obstructed.

Azura resisted a petulant scowl, if only for the hulking Cu’s benefit for she knew how he loved to toy and flirt with the Nymphs, and damn near everyone else with a shapely set of legs and fluttering eyelashes. Her sea green eyes rolled and she bit back a scathing remark when she saw the bottle tilted towards the vixens, a sip offered.

A gentle huff was taken, her arms crossing against her chest as she sulked at the idea of sharing the last remnants of whiskey with the two women she assumed had likely had their fair share by the wobble and shake of their movements or was that just part of the ploy to entice one from what lay in their pocket?

 Either way, she crinkled her nose in distaste but kept her silence, trying to focus on the blaze of the fireworks, head shifting to skate around those freakishly tall women, well, they WERE giant in the slight woman’s eyes so in her mind, it was a fair observation. She supressed a sigh of disappointment though for she saw that the show had ended -c0

great clusters of people moving towards the park exits now though there was more then a few late night partygoers that still hung around in droves. She remained staring at the sky for a moment, a look of longing pasted over her features for Azura did not wish for the colours to fade and pouted silently at the thick darkness that was left behind, the shimmering silver stars and pale light of the moon having lost their beauty temporarily for they waned in comparison to the glamour and wonder she had witnessed moments before.

 By the time she finally did pry her gaze away from the sky to rest on Cu and his adoring fans, the two woman were slinking away, twirling back into the crowd bathed in perfume and laughter. A question floated in eyes slanted with mute disapproval and resignation, a smirk appearing as she shook her head at his antics.

 “Well? What exactly will you be partaking in next time and why do I feel as you have included me in such assurances?” She asked, an eyebrow rising quizzically.

The Celt just laughs and shakes his head. He gets to his feet and offers a hand to help Azura to hers. Whatever it was, it amused him and perhaps his lack of response may develop irritation in the young wildling woman, but Cú Chulainn concludes “Seriously, you don’t want to know!” and certainly the Celt was about to tell.

He diverts the conversation completely with “grand display this year!”, referring to the fireworks, or at least, glancing to his face which holds an enigmatically impassive expression, Azura would assume this. But who knows with that impish smile twitching at the corners of his lipsm and no closer to telling her. 

And so it was back to the Blue Moon they ambled,

A smile and the offering was taken and shared between them before being returned to Cú Chulainn. The display would end all too soon, and the park would be taken over by rather more Bacchanalian carousing, and he assumed therefore that their presence mean’t it was approaching that time. Soon the fountains would run with wine and there would be more than one dancing reveller, cavorting pagan naked about the fire before the dawn signified the end.

Cú Chulainn was more than happy to spend the rest of the night as always, back at the Blue Moon, Despite usually enthusiastically committing himself to this kind of debauchery, he would wait til another occasion presented. The Celt was rather enjoying Azura’s company and it did so make a nice change from tavern.

A pleasant experience indeed.

One Nymph would murmur something to the Celt who would give them both a cheery smile and a “we’re grand thanks. Next time!” before the two women would walk away laughing, leaving the rueful gaze of the Ulsterman following their journey and appreciating that they looked as good from behind as they did from the front, and perhaps a question or two from Azura as to the nature of their words 

“Sci.. ence.. ?” The question was but a faint echo, a clarification she had heard his vague explanation but did not understand it in the slightest though it seemed as if Azura did not really care, too fascinated by the wonder itself to question its making at this time. She continued to gaze admiringly at the glimmering coloured heavens above for every time her eyes attempted to stray away they were soon compelled to race back, caught by another shimmery burst, unable to look away for more then a second or two at a time.

 As such, she did not notice the two delicately featured women approach, their supple figures swaying proactively, until their shadows fell over her own and she was blinking up at them, her features souring at the interruption to the view which was now slightly obstructed.

Azura resisted a petulant scowl, if only for the hulking Cu’s benefit for she knew how he loved to toy and flirt with the Nymphs, and damn near everyone else with a shapely set of legs and fluttering eyelashes. Her sea green eyes rolled and she bit back a scathing remark when she saw the bottle tilted towards the vixens, a sip offered.

A gentle huff was taken, her arms crossing against her chest as she sulked at the idea of sharing the last remnants of whiskey with the two women she assumed had likely had their fair share by the wobble and shake of their movements or was that just part of the ploy to entice one from what lay in their pocket?

 Either way, she crinkled her nose in distaste but kept her silence, trying to focus on the blaze of the fireworks, head shifting to skate around those freakishly tall women, well, they WERE giant in the slight woman’s eyes so in her mind, it was a fair observation. She supressed a sigh of disappointment though for she saw that the show had ended -c0

great clusters of people moving towards the park exits now though there was more then a few late night partygoers that still hung around in droves. She remained staring at the sky for a moment, a look of longing pasted over her features for Azura did not wish for the colours to fade and pouted silently at the thick darkness that was left behind, the shimmering silver stars and pale light of the moon having lost their beauty temporarily for they waned in comparison to the glamour and wonder she had witnessed moments before.

 By the time she finally did pry her gaze away from the sky to rest on Cu and his adoring fans, the two woman were slinking away, twirling back into the crowd bathed in perfume and laughter. A question floated in eyes slanted with mute disapproval and resignation, a smirk appearing as she shook her head at his antics.

 “Well? What exactly will you be partaking in next time and why do I feel as you have included me in such assurances?” She asked, an eyebrow rising quizzically.

The Celt just laughs and shakes his head. He gets to his feet and offers a hand to help Azura to hers. Whatever it was, it amused him and perhaps his lack of response may develop irritation in the young wildling woman, but Cú Chulainn concludes “Seriously, you don’t want to know!” and certainly the Celt wasn’t about to tell.

He diverts the conversation completely with “grand display this year!”, referring to the fireworks, or at least, glancing to his face which holds an enigmatically impassive expression, Azura would assume this.

And so back to the Blue Moon they would amble, the Celt with his hands jammed into his pockets and whistling nonchalantly as Azura plagues the daylight out of him for the truth.

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