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A Date with Undeath

Legerdemain Lounge. The bar was bustling this evening. Aside from the usual crowd, there were a number of extremely well-dressed patrons. Many stopped for a drink or snack, but most headed directly for the stairs.

Zantoris chatted with the bartender as he waited. He wore a crisp, perfectly-tailored tuxedo. His tidy braids were bound with matching black and white bands; his beard was neatly trimmed.

Conveniently enough, the dead woman’s friend happened to be renting a room upstairs and the two had convened not long before the date, so Marjolaine descends the stairs, burgundy hair bound up much more loosely than her corseted middle. Armor was a fact of unlife, at this point, and her maid attire was more conservative, so she decided it would be nice to dress up a little. Her usual heeled boots seemed to fit with the black and purple dress, however, so those were making an appearance.

Upon noticing the priest, Marjolaine lifted a hand, blinking a few times to make certain it was him. Suddenly she felt rather underdressed.

“Mister Zantoris! Sorry if I kept you waiting … Madam Lexi offered to cinch me up but she was being too gentle!” the ghoul laughed, moving to stand with her friend.

Zantoris turned, grinning, as she approached. “Just Zantoris, darlin.” He looked her up and down with appreciation. “You look amazing.”

“Um, so do you! Wow, did you rent that? I know those are expensive…” she exclaimed, gently brushing a hand over the sleeve of his tuxedo jacket.

He posed a bit for her. “Right posh, aren’t I?” he chuckled. “Would you like a bite here before we go, or shall we head straight for the party?”

“You are!” she agreed, nodding earnestly. For a moment a grin crossed her face and she thought about clicking her teeth together, but that might not be quite so amusing to him. “Are you hungry? I’m good to go to the party but don’t let me rush!”

“Nah, I’m good.” He extended an elbow. “In that case, off we go!”

Marjolaine stared at the offered elbow, hesitating briefly before linking arms with him. “Haha, normally people get all weirded out when I touch them. I guess it’s because I’m, you know, cold and unnatural and all that…”

Zantoris just smiled again. “I’ve been around plenty of undead folks in Northrend, darlin. Don’t worry about it.” He guided her towards the stairs.

The ghoul giggled. Who knew it could be as simple as that? She followed his lead, musing aloud, “So you were part of the campaign there.”

“Suppose you could call it that.” They turned left at the top of the stairs and strolled to the end of the hall. Zan rapped on the door, which was opened by an enormous dark-furred Tauren.

“Zantoris and Miss LaVey,” Zantoris stated. The tauren consulted a page in his hand, nodded, and allowed them through.

Inside the room were two blood elves maintaining a portal, looking a bit bored. Zantoris said something to one of them that sounded Elvish. The blood elf looked a bit more interested and nodded in return.

“Right through there,” Zan gestured at the portal. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Marjolaine lifted her free hand to wave to the Tauren, blinking incredulously as Zantoris conversed with the elves. She offered them a warm smile, then nodded to her companion. “Oh, okay … this is so mysterious!”

This said, she released his arm to step through.

The portal opened onto a large, sprawling lawn. People of practically every known race were standing about in pairs or small groups, chatting or playing various games. In the distance she could see a small group setting up fireworks. To the north was an enormous mansion. Everywhere were decorations, lights, and quiet servants bringing drinks and snacks and whisking away empty dishes.

A moment later Zantoris appeared beside her. He paused to look around as well, giving a low whistle. “Right, this is impressive,” he murmured.

The ghoul stood and gaped, taking in the sights with an awestruck expression before her gaze focused on her companion’s face once more. “Where are we…?”

He turned back to her, beaming. “This is the palatial estate of Lord Allaeneas Dayshadow, who is having his annual Noblegarden party this evening. I was able to wrangle us invitations.”

“Uther’s balls,” she swore, having picked that little gem up from someone on the buzzbox, “how’d you manage that? Er, not to sound like you’re not well-to-do or anything, I really don’t know, obviously!”

He smirked. “I’m full of surprises. C’mon, darlin. I promised you dancing, that’ll be in the ballroom.” He extended his arm again and led her toward the house.

All Marjolaine could do was laugh and take his arm, feeling swept away and bedazzled in equal parts by the whole affair. She was typically cleaning or fighting on estates this large, not dancing, but she was happy to float away on the romantic grandeur.

“I hope you know the steps because I’ll be honest, I have no idea what’s in fashion!” she grinned.

Zantoris chuckled. “Tell the truth, all the ones I know are pretty out of date. I figure we can’t go wrong with a basic waltz to start with, then maybe we’ll see if we can bring some of the old ones back in style.”

He escorted her regally through the front doors. The inside was even grander than the outside, with exotic woods and carvings, elaborate chandeliers, and of course the ubiquitous servants. As they entered they could hear music from within the house. They followed the sound down a wide, airy hallway. A few times Zantoris nodded at people he recognized--another blood elf in military dress, a small band of trolls in their best tribal outfits, a human with an eyepatch who raised his drink briefly as they passed.

The ballroom was enormous, but so many people occupied it that it almost seemed cozy. Zantoris unhesitatingly led her toward the center, where dancers were sweeping about the floor in a multitude of finery and glitter.

Marjolaine did her best to keep up, offering enthusiastic little waves with her free hand to her date’s companions, and found that she couldn’t stop smiling. Admittedly she didn’t know a plethora of dances, but she figured Zantoris would have a better grasp on the steps and she didn’t mind adding a few of her own.

“Aren’t you Mister Suave? This is a hell of a first date - right? It’s a date?” she asked with a teasing smile as they moved to the center, dipping into a polite, if somewhat overblown, curtsey.

“I have my good days,” he grinned back. “I sure hope it’s a date, or I’ll feel pretty silly telling people that’s where I’ve been.” He bowed in response, then stepped closer and swept her up into a waltz. “Hope you know this one,” he said cheerfully. “It’s pretty standard.”

“One-two-three-four, right?” Marjolaine smirked. She placed a hand carefully on his shoulder, the other grasping his, and tried not to think about the closeness, or how her master had warned her about managing expectations. “I just wanted to make sure!”

They continued their waltz for a couple of songs, then the band started something lively and fast. Zan grinned at her again. “Well, guess waltzing’s done. Know any that are a little faster?”

“Better! I know how to improvise and I bet you do too!” Marjolaine spun, taking the priest’s hands as she listened to the beat, trying to get a sense of it, before her steps morphed into something quick and peppy. She certainly wasn’t an expert and it wouldn’t pass muster at a ballroom dancing class, but it was fun.

Delighted, Zantoris fell into step with her, doing his best to complement her movements. They danced easily among the crowd, now and then bumping or stumbling, but for the most part synchronizing well enough to keep up with the music.

After a few more songs, Zantoris paused. “Whew! The drawback of having breath, I need to catch mine. Mind if we go get a drink?”

Marjolaine laughed, gently fanning him with her hand. “Let’s! I wouldn’t want you to drop dead and cause a scene!”

He chuckled as they walked out of the dance area, heading for wide hallway and its tables of hors d’oeuvres lining the walls. Zantoris plucked up a glass of water from one and drank half in a few gulps. “Much better,” he said happily.

A night elf walked over, a tall glass in his hand. “Elune bless me. Is that really Zantoris?” He looked the former priest up and down, feigning exaggerated disbelief. “You’re clean.”

Zantoris returned the disbelieving stare. “Ryidan? You’re out of uniform? I thought that thing had grown to you.” As the elf laughed, Zantoris indicated Marjolaine. “Marjolaine LaVey, Ryidan Sunspear. He was in charge of a division of Kaldorei in Northrend. Dragged my sorry ass out of a few predicaments now and then.”

Ryidan nodded to Marjolaine. “Oh, we couldn’t let you get yourself killed, fool. You were too good at mowing down the Scourge.”

Marjolaine smiled, offering the elf a hand to shake. “Pleased to meet you, Sir Sunspear! ...Is Monsieur Zantoris usually a dirty priest?” she asked without a hint of irony.

Ryidan choked on his wine, while Zantoris roared with laughter. “Well, Ryidan?” chuckled Zantoris, as the laughing elf patted his face with a napkin. “Would you say I’m… very dirty?”

Ryidan cleared his throat, giving Zantoris a wry glare. “We mostly saw each other on the battlefield, miss,” he explained with great dignity. “I don’t believe either of us had many opportunities to spruce up.” His attempts at decorum were rather undermined by Zantoris’ snickering. He gave the human a dark look and muttered, “Grow up.”

Marjolaine seemed to catch wind of the joke once Zantoris erupted into laughter and joined in, giggling as she ordered a hard cider with a slice of lemon on the side. They were at a fancy party, after all.

“Oh, that makes sense … well you both clean up very nicely!” The ghoul nodded earnestly.

Ryidan gave a little bow. “Thank you, Miss LaVey. You look lovely as well.” He nodded at Zantoris. “I’ll leave you two to the party. I must meet some friends upstairs.” He strolled off, smiling and shaking his head.

Zantoris finished off his water. “Well then, what do you fancy, lass? More dancing? Some of those games on the lawn? I believe they’ll be having fireworks in an hour or so.”

Marjolaine’s eyes widened and she put down her drink to clap excitedly. “Ohh, let’s play a few games and then watch the fireworks! I’ll have to send a thank-you card to Sir Sunspear … he was very kind.”

“Games it is.” Zantoris extended his arm again and they strolled out to the lawn. Games of varying levels of activity were spread about, from badminton to croquet to chess. One large rowdy group were playing charades, although there seemed to be an unusual amount of heckling for a traditionally quiet game.

As they stood on the broad veranda, surveying the choices, a tall blood elf came out of the house behind them. His clothing was simple but impeccably designed and tailored. Beside him was another thin elf, neatly but unobtrusively attired.

“Lovely weather for outdoor games,” remarked the taller one, in flawlessly unaccented Common. He turned his head slightly towards his companion without actually looking at him. The thin elf murmured something quietly.

“Ah, Zantoris, most recently campaigning in Northrend,” acknowledged the tall elf. “And Miss LaVey, companion to Lady Stormbow. Very nice to have you both here. Very interesting, a human dating an undead. Definitely worth seeing.”

Zantoris nodded, trying to stand up straighter. “Lord Dayshadow. Thank you for having us.”

“Oh! Thank you for hosting this fabulous party, sir!” Marjolaine dropped into a curtsey, surprised the man would even know of her. Her master, certainly, but her? “Don’t worry, it’s our first date and he’ll probably come to his senses soon.”

It was hard to tell if she was kidding or dead serious.

Lord Dayshadow smiled. “So glad you’re enjoying it. Do stay for the fireworks, the crew tell me they’ve got a wonderful show planned.” He nodded politely and glided down the stairs towards the lawn.

Zantoris looked over at Marjolaine. “Wow. I wasn’t sure if he actually came to these himself. Didn’t realize he knew who the hell I was.”

“I’m shocked he knew of me, too … do you think he’s been keeping tabs on us for some nefarious purpose?” The ghoul postulated, tapping her chin with a fingertip. “Then again, you seem to be a man of some repute … you must have really distinguished yourself up in Northrend.”

Zantoris shrugged. “Eh, just killed a bunch of Scourge.” He watched Lord Dayshadow walking across the lawn, greeting guests as he went. “Looks like he knows everybody. I imagine a high-end affair like this, they vet all the guests.”

Marjolaine followed her companion’s gaze, watching the ethereal elf flitter through the crowd. “Huh. I’m happy they didn’t stop me at the portal, then! I mean, really, thank you for inviting me here … I’ve never been anywhere half so fancy.”

Zantoris grinned. “If they’ll let me in, darlin, you’ve got nothing to worry about. I imagine if they didn’t want us here they would have offered the invitation at all.” They started down the stairs. “Glad you’re enjoying it. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been someplace this fancy, either. Unless you count the Cathedral.”

“That begs the question, where do you normally haunt?” she grinned across at him, hugging his arm as they descended.

“Since I left Northrend? Been shifting around Stormwind mostly, trying to find a place that wouldn’t evict me. Looks like I’ll be heading to the Broken Isles soon, though.” He surveyed the surroundings. “How about you? Where are you hanging your hat these days? Or would you rather keep that on the down low, with Anna being an escapee?”

“Well… I was staying with Madam Lexi in Elwynn while Master was missing,” Marjolaine stated carefully, choosing her words. “I’ll say that lately, Master--Anna--and I have been fighting demons almost constantly, so we’ve been on the move a lot. And why would they evict you?”

“I’m not too popular with the Church,” said Zantoris. “Or at least, a small but highly energetic group within the church. Bunch of little… well, acolytes… have made it their business to go around town spreading unsavory rumors. Try to make it difficult for me to find a job or a place to stay, so I’ll have to leave town.” He sighed, more from exasperation than anything else, then brightened. “And it looks like I will be, so there’s that sorted anyway. Got any tips for demon-fighting? I don’t have nearly as much experience with that lot as I do with the Scourge.”

Marjolaine frowned, seeming genuinely upset. “What? How dare they make up lies about you! If you find out who it is, let me know and I’ll eviscerate them for you. It sounds a lot like the Inquisition … er, I was sort of part of it before … well, you know.” She shrugged. “As for demons, don’t swallow the blood. Oh, um, not that you’d have a problem there I guess. Always go for the head and don’t let them try to talk to you because they’ll offer you power beyond your wildest dreams or a thousand virgins or whatever you want most.”

Zantoris was chuckling. “Nah, darlin, no eviscerating. I know exactly who it is, mostly just a bunch of stupid kids who think one side is all there is to a story. Not worth eviscerating anyone over.” Although I may strangle one or two of them before too long, he thought. “Good to know about the demons. Should be interesting. I’ve run into a few, but nothing like the big blighters they’ve got over there now.”

This caused the risen woman to pout, but only for a moment. She nodded as he spoke. “I know you’ll do just fine! The most dangerous ones are the ones that can mess with your mind, but you seem to have a strong will.”

“Well, shadow magic involves messing with minds as well. So maybe that’ll give ‘em something to work for.” He looked around at the groups of guests. “Anything catch your eye?”

Marjolaine smirked, looking the man over. “You really are a naughty priest! Oh, let’s see … that charades game seems very lively. Do you know how to play croquet? It looks a little silly.”

“Nope, never played any of these upper-class games,” he admitted. “But I don’t mind looking like an idiot. Wouldn’t be the first time. Do you want to try the croquet?”

“Pshhh,” she chided, giving his side a playful nudge before heading towards the unfamiliar game. “Let’s do it!”

The croquet group seemed happy enough to include the newcomers. As with the rest of the guests, they were a mixed bag, a few dwarves, a tauren, and a half dozen blood elves. They seemed to be managing despite the language barrier, mostly through gestures, although there was plenty of good-natured laughter as they fumbled their way through the wickets. Zantoris said something to the blood elves in their language; they looked startled, then they were all laughing uproariously and pulling the pair into the group, thrusting mallets into their hands and making encouraging motions to show them what to do.

Despite being unsure of what was said, Marjolaine laughed too, taking the mallet. As she practiced her swing she asked Zantoris quietly, “What did you say?!”

Zantoris answered quietly, grinning, “I’m not entirely sure. Went out with a Sin’dorei lady a few times, she used to say that and they’d always laugh.”

“Haha! You ladies’ man…” she teased, beaming. After everything that’d happened with Anna, this evening was feeling more and more like an impossibly pleasant dream.

He chuckled as he tapped one of the croquet balls through the wicket. The blood elves all started trying to explain to him what he was doing wrong, or perhaps how to do it better. Zantoris held up his hands, laughing. “Oy, mate, that’s about all I know of your tongue! Except a few swear words.”

“Too late! You’re one of them now,” the risen woman giggled, waving and gesturing vaguely to the elves before taking her turn. She hit the ball far too hard, cringing as it rolled well off-course. “Um … am I supposed to shoot from there now, or what?”

“Ye play it as it lies,” said one of the dwarves, stepping up for his own turn.

“That’s golf,” said another. “You bring it back and play it from here.”

“It’s good enough for golf, it’s good enough for cricket,” said the first. “Play it as it lies.”

As the dwarves fell to arguing, the tauren retrieved the ball and set it back where it had started.

Zan shrugged. “I guess we start over. I suspect this is not a regulation game.”

“Oh! Thanks,” Marjolaine grinned, watching the dwarves argue without intervening. She hit the ball again, much more gently this time - too gently, in fact, as it crept towards the wicket at the speed of smell. “...okay, this is harder than it looks.”

“I’m not even sure what the goal is, here,” laughed Zantoris. He tapped his ball with the mallet again, prompting another swarm of cheerful chatter from his sin’dorei fan club. They continued trying to coach the unlikely couple through the course, as the dwarves squabbled and the tauren quietly took his turn when it seemed appropriate.

At some point, after the sun had fully set, a middle-aged blood elf woman strolled out into the lawn and tapped a fork against her wineglass until the chatter died down. “Good evening, guests!” she called, projecting with practiced ease over the area. “The fireworks will be starting shortly, if you would like to join us on the east lawn for the best view!”

“That’s our cue!” Marjolaine perked up, offering the mallet back to the friendly tauren. “Thank you all very much for including us,” she spoke slowly, trying to gesture her thanks with a series of bows and clasped hands for those who didn’t speak Common.

The blood elves chattered in response, pausing as the woman repeated her announcement in Thalassian, and then other languages. Zantoris extended his arm again and they walked companionably along with the rest of the crowd. There were a number of benches set about, and many people simply sat on the immaculate lawn, looking expectantly in the direction the fireworks crew had been working.

“Want to sit on the lawn?” Marjolaine inquired, looking around to make sure no one was paying attention before making a terrible social faux pas. She slipped her boots off, wiggling her stocking-clad toes in the grass as she picked up her boots with her free hand.

“You bet.” They found a clear spot and settled down, nodding at the small groups around them. Zantoris loosened his bow tie a bit and unbuttoned his cuffs. “Been a while since I’ve seen fireworks,” he remarked.

“Me too.” Marjolaine nodded in agreement, looking up at the sky before glancing over at her companion. “How did you meet General Mayanna, anyway? Did you two serve together?”

“No, actually, although we were probably there at the same time. But I met her at Lexi’s vet place, Welcome Home. Went there after the latest eviction, hoping they could hook me up with someplace to sleep under a roof.”

Marjolaine frowned slightly at that. “Oh… do you have a room there? I’ll have to sneak in and visit! Madam Lexi and I thought it’d be best if I didn’t pop up there… you know, with all the vets they might get the wrong idea and think I was out for a snack.”

“Near there, place called Hemmensworth’s. For the moment anyway, I think I’ll be shipping out with May soon.”

“Right… hm. Well, I definitely think Anna will be avoiding the crap out of her, but we can still meet up! I mean, if you want to.” Marjolaine looked upwards again as the first few fireworks blossomed across the evening sky. “Look at that violet one! Wait, green? Magic is awesome.”

After a dozen or so fireworks to get started, the show really took off. Fireworks sprouted in patterns and danced symmetrically back and forth. Outlines of dragons and birds swooped across the sky. At one point the band, which had surreptitiously moved onto the lawn while everyone was distracted, played a few popular songs, while the fireworks went off in time to the music. With every new display the guests exclaimed, and ooh’d and aah’d, and applauded. At last the show concluded with a fantastic display of light and color that lit the spectators in rainbows for several minutes, then finally faded away.

Zantoris applauded with the rest. “Now THAT was impressive,” he remarked. Several guests nearby were cheering.

Marjolaine was among them, cheering and applauding. “Holy Light, that was amazing! Did you see that part with the dueling dragons?!”

Obviously he had, but the maid was enraptured.

“Aye, and that phoenix? How in the seven hells do they do that?” Zantoris stood, brushing grass off his suit, and extended a hand to help Marjolaine up.

“It has to be an arcanist--no, a team of them! Firework mages, can you imagine?” Marjolaine accepted his hand, smiling as she slid her boots back on.

Zantoris looked around at the milling guests, most of whom were making their way back to the portal site. The two blood elf mages from the Legerdemain Lounge were now stationed on the lawn, maintaining a portal back to the room in Dalaran.

“Looks like the party’s winding down,” Zantoris said. “Do you want an escort back to Dalaran, or do you want to hearth back to your friend?”

“Aw, already?” she asked, looking around. True to his word, the party was just about over. “It went by so fast… ah, I suppose I should hearth back.” Marjolaine paused, clasping her hands together with a slightly dreamy smile. “Thanks for taking me out, Zan--may I call you Zan? I really had an incredible time.”

“Aye, please do. And it was my pleasure. Been too long since I’ve been dancing with a lady.”

“I’d love to do it again! I’ll study up on some new moves when I have time,” Marjolaine promised with an eager nod.

“Aye, we’ll have to find out what they’re doing these days.” Zantoris rebuttoned his cuffs, not wanting to look too unkempt. “Thanks for coming, Marj. Hope I meet you on the Broken Isles soon.” He gathered her hand and kissed it gently, then stepped back to give her space to hearth out.

“...Ahaha,” she giggled as he kissed her hand, remembering after a few awkward moments that this was the part where she utilized her stone. “Oh. Right… I hope so too! Be safe out there and if you need anyone killed, I’m just a call away!”

She activated the runes across her hearth with a poignant pause, giving him a little finger wave with her opposite hand before her form faded away.

Zantoris waved back, not sure if she could still see him. Whistling one of the popular tunes the band had been playing, he used his own hearthstone back to Hemmensworth’s.
Kalaallexin
((Awwww super cute))
  • April 22, 2017
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Marjolaine LaVey
(( heart And the title makes me smile! Wink ))
  • April 22, 2017
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Kalaallexin
((Yes!))
  • April 22, 2017
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Mayanna Stonewood
((I am pretty sure Marj talked Anna's ear off the rest of the night. Probably while they were slaughtering demons))
  • April 22, 2017
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Marjolaine LaVey
(( 100% accurate XD ))
  • April 22, 2017
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Lunadelle Moonwhisper
(( hehehee! ))
  • May 4, 2017
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