I shouldn't have danced with her, even if she were the only person who didn't wish to kill me. The other Elves showed more than disdain for her and distrust for me. When they saw her, they veered away as though she had a disease they did not wish to catch, a pariah.
Her gown and veil were not the end of her eccentricity. When the gardner interrupted our dance, I felt a slight shock when I realized that I'd almost forgotten about him as I engaged with the Lady.
“Of course,” she'd said then led us like a small parade trailing through the staring dancers. She seemed to hesitate the closer we got to the dais that seemed suspended on strands of dew from the concave ceiling.
I knew I treaded through enemy territory, but I felt strangely relaxed as I stalked after my mad host through the ranks of vicious Elves.
"Perhaps..." Lady Perr murmured as she looked around worriedly. Had she only just realized the danger of our situation? If I were an elve, I would have mentioned the energy in the room, the wild excitement someone powerful struggled to dampen. Would the Precept behead me right in the middle of the ball? It would be a peculiar climax to the war I'd waged.
“Lady of Perr,” the High Precept said cheerfully coming forward with hands outstretched. I recognized him from the face imprinted in their coinage. Not gold, but stone. Elves had few uses for gold. “What a charming hat. I’m certain it will cause waves in the fashion world.”
A female on the dais in a gown that reminded me of whipped mint chiffon tittered at the Precept's words. Apparently the preferred fashion leaned towards pastry more than beekeeping. Pity.
“A Tsunami,” she whispered, the sort of court whisper that could be heard throughout the whole room. Her sharp toothed smile triggered an emotion that I did not have time for. All the same, I bared my teeth at her and spoke out of turn.
“As a Barbaran I appreciate the effort for Lady Perr to adopt the customs of my people in order for me to feel more at home.”
You could have heard a pin drop as everyone stared at the me while I tried to keep my gaze firmly on the Head Precept.
“Quite.” Head Precept said as though there were nothing odd in my acknowledgment of an insult in a voice like a stringed instrument. He nodded to the musicians at the side to resume their playing. “Lady Perr is noted for her ability to make people feel at home.”
The mint pouf choked on her laughter, lifting her drink to camouflage her flagrant disrespect.
“How do you like High City?” Head Precept asked gesturing beside him for me to sit, waving for someone to bring us food and drink.Lady Perr stood at the edge of the dancers who'd resumed their graceful cavorting with most of their attention clearly towards the dais. I could have killed him, strangled him with my hands, but the idea didn't appeal to me. I hadn't been directed to do anything other than spy out the lay of the land. Somehow, It felt as though I'd been hand-fed to the lions, however well polished they kept their teeth.