Auld Acquaintance

Title: Auld Acquaintance
Time Period: December 31, 134
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The anonymity that comes with costume and disguise allows for a unique conversation between two old acquaintances.

The party is in full swing; a riot of color spins and twirls in time to music, and despite being outside, no one is too cold except for those who wore too little or danced too little or drank too little. Beisdean Skye is not in that company, having a couple of pints of ale in him, wearing a coat and gloves and mask to keep him warm, and having danced the last few bouts with a different woman each time.

He turns toward the refreshments table for another glass of drink, careful to drink it without showing too much of his face. His blue gray eyes are all that show behind the leather wolf mask he wears, and while they may be enough to give him away, they are certainly not an uncommon color in this town. They fall upon Luna’s form as she too drinks, and he moves closer, to bow and hold out his hand as the band begins to play a new song.

“Shall we?” he asks, short syllables to perhaps keep his voice from being too recognizable as well.

Turning her head to lay eyes on the masked gentleman, Luna's chin lifts just a little in a haughty manner and she gives the man a small smile. "Of course," her clipped speach is polite but not overly so. The man in front of her isn't unpleasant to look at from the neck down and therefore (so far) shows promise as a new client. It eases into something of a grin that, had she not been wearing a mask, could be deemed as lecherous when combined with the look in her eye.

Slipping her hand into his, she allows herself to be led out onto the dance floor. The number of steps and amount of people make it difficult for her to navigate as warm as she is feeling. From alcohol and powder mix, she's needy enough to lean into the masked man as she waits for his hand to come around her waist to the small of her back. "Thank you," she says in a lowered tone, just loud enough to be heard over the music, "I was beginning to feel like a pariah, everyone being asked to dance except for me."

It’s hard to read his expression behind the mask; his head tips and his eyes seem to widen just a touch. “A pariah? That’s an interesting word to use. I’m sure you are no such thing,” he says, voice soft and words short, enunciation different from Beisdean’s normally hybridized Scottish-English accent.

His hand is warm beneath his glove as it encircles half her small waist, thumb hooked on her front hip and the rest of his fingers against her lower back. The other hand’s fingers interlace with hers, but then he folds his hand in to hold hers against his chest, bringing her closer.

“Why would you be a pariah?” he asks.

Cheeks beneath the mask tinge pink as Luna's smile falters a little and she shakes her head. "I'm not," she corrects herself quickly, letting out a small breathy laugh. "I simply meant that I feel that way when— " when anyone else gets the attention she so richly deserves. "Never mind, it's not important, I just meant to say thank you."

Averting her blue eyes away from his, she looks toward the feet of couples swirling by them. "Are you new to Dornie? Or just passing through? I don't recognize you, then again, I'm feeling a little bit more celebratory than usual. You could be my father and I wouldn't know who you were." She pauses, catching her breath and looking up with a glint of fear in her eye. "Of course, you're not my father— he sounds nothing like you do."

No, he does not, Beisdean thinks but does not say. “I certainly hope I am not your father, Madame,” he says. “You are very welcome. I’m a visitor to this town, and you shouldn’t recognize me or I failed in my dressing room, haven’t I? But I dare say we are strangers.”

He lets the music move them, his tall form graceful with long strides that move them rather swiftly from one spot of the square to another.

“As for you feeling like a pariah,” he continues, his voice musing and thoughtful, “I can only guess you mean that you felt others were not giving you as much attention as they were to others. But it’s hard for men to pay attention to all the lovely masked women when someone is demanding all of the attention by showing everything that others leave to the imagination. I’m sure you weren’t the only one who felt invisible after such a display.”

Luna falters and glances up at her dance partner with a frown hidden by her mask. "I suppose you were one of the ones that turned away?" Her question holds no maliciousness in tone or wording, simply curiosity. "I saw quite a number of them do just that." Her arm moves from his shoulder to gather up a pinch of gown between her fingers to hold out as he spins her around the floor. It gives them a little more room.

"I feel sorry for her," the peacock continues in a rather nonchalant manner, "there may have been someone she was looking to impress and he wasn't there. Or maybe he was and when he saw her, he left." The simple thought of it puts a hitch in her voice but she masks it nicely with a false smile up in the stranger's direction. Once she’s made eye contact, she loses it again by ducking her head down to look at more feet on either side of them. "Anything is possible, wouldn’t you agree?"

Beisdean shakes his head. “I watched,” he says quietly and honestly. “If anyone looked away, it was probably for embarrassment or jealousy. Some cannot stand anything that has to do with pleasure, and some cannot stand to see another get attention that they want for themselves. But for the plainer girls, or the shyer ones — it was likely a painful thing to see. They’d gotten dressed up in all their glitz and glitter, hoping for a little attention from some farm boy — only to have it taken by someone who had more training and more skill than they could hope to offer. If I were a girl, I might look away, too.”

He turns her easily to the music a few more times, before he speaks again. “I feel sorry for her, too. I think she seeks attention — but isn’t prepared for it when it’s not the kind she wants.”

"What sort of attention do you think she's seeking? If not something that was rather obvious from the dance?" Luna's hand sways back gracefully as she leans into his hand with every twirl. She rights herself with one step after each turn, other dancers receiving gracious smiles for clearing a path for the two of them. Of course, most everyone there knows who the woman in the peacock mask is.

She lifts her chin to look up at her partner again, her eyes narrowing suspiciously. "Do you know her? The dancer? She's quite well known in the village, I can't imagine that you haven't heard of her or seen her at all. Even if you are a visitor, she's very well known with visitors. Makes it her business to meet practically everyone."

“Certainly she does not know every man that comes into the town,” Beisdean says, a heavy emphasis on the word ‘know.’ “I believe I know what she is, and I can tell you I’ve not been to her bed. As for what sort of attention she seeks — I’m not sure. Apparently being pretty and having her choice of dance partners isn’t enough or she would have simply come to dance like the rest of you.”

The music begins to slow, hinting the end of the song. “Who do you think it was she wanted to impress? I know I for one would be more impressed with someone dressed as you, or her, or her…” he nods to some of the other women, all in their more modest wear than Luna’s bellydancing outfit.

"Well she doesn't know them in the way you're implying!" Luna's protest comes a little too loud compared to the tone of the rest of their conversation. The spark of indignation brands itself in her eyes as she stares up at the man. "There's not many who've been to her bed, no matter what you think she is. She's quite picky when it comes to people she'll share a bed with. Not just anyone with a trinket to spare."

Her breathing is a little heavy and shaking as she tries not to let her emotion get the better of her. Regardless, her voice cracks when she tries to answer his next question. "An impressive man, that's who she wanted to impress. Someone who has nothing to give, but it don't matter, he's not here."

“If he has nothing to give, perhaps she should seek someone else,” Beisdean says, letting go of her hand and waist to bow, and part ways.

“Thank you for the dance. For auld lang syne.”

It’s a strange thing to say to a stranger.