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No title.
(2013-07-24 - 2013-08-07)
No description.
Emperor Mateus Palamecia has grown slightly. The additional income and supplies have proven to be a boon for the main village, and new homes and buildings have sprung up over the past few months. The people are constantly bustling, hard at work at their tasks and apparently quite content with the state of affairs as they know them.

The castle itself has not changed, either visually or otherwise. There are no greater or fewer guards on-post, nor has the general darkness of the place eased from its vaguely unsettling air. Not active maliciousness, just... almost a natural state of being, if one wills.

There does not seem to be an open invitation this time, the gates closed and guards barring the way. But then again, perhaps it depends on who is visiting?
Maira Maira isn't really sure just what she thinks she is doing. It is most certainly going to make her friends quite angry with her when they find out. She will not keep it from them, but she will not tell them what she is about either. Not until it has been done.

The young woman has spent some time here in Palamecia looking for, perhaps, some relatives. Having found out who her father was and where he was from, she thought perhaps she might have grandparents or some such. No luck as of yet. Most of the people were too busy to speak to her.

That was not all she was here for however. She's stood a ways off for a while, simply watching the castle, her thoughts whirling, her heart questing for courage. Finally, she comes to a decision and walks up to the gates as calmly as possible, focusing her gaze on the posted guards. Would they know her? Had Mateus left any instructions? Did he think she would ever actually come to see /him/? "I am here to see the Emperor," she informs the guards, trying to hold herself with dignity. If she looks important and confident, maybe they'll let her in.
Emperor Mateus The guards at the front gate don't visibly react much as Maira approaches them, except for their grips on their lances tightening and she would feel two pairs of eyes focusing on her. Not a hostile look, but certainly piercing--and the Palamecian helm designs don't ease the intimidation factor at all.

When she speaks, the two guards visibly turn their helms as if to catch each other's eye without losing sight of Maira herself. "Lady Maira Netherpyre, I presume?" One asks her, but the inflection in his voice indicates that it is more confirmation than a question.

The other guard seems to relax vaguely, or at least the grip on his lance eases. "We do not know if the Emperor is able to see you, but we can let you in and pass the word for you that you seek his audience," he offers.

The two guards are oddly normal for such a dark place--professional soldiers, yes, but clearly not lost in darkness nor corrupted by it. They would not be out of place guarding any other castle out there, if given the appropriate armor to wear. Just another indication of the inherant duality Palamecia seems to exhibit as a matter of course--from the Emperor all the way down to the common villager.
Maira The mage inhales sharply as they guess at who she is. It is not that they expect her that surprises her. It is that she has a last name. She had never had a last name, for her mother couldn't bare to speak it when she was alive for whatever reason. Being called Maira Netherpyre was very strange to her ears. /Oh Uist.../ she thinks, her heart clenching in grief for her lost companion. She is moving on, working through the pain, but it still feels like a dagger to her heart when she is reminded of how his is lost to her now. The only balm is knowing that he is someplace better, happy with her mother.

Maira actually gives the guards a smile, nodding. They are normal people. Just another part of the mystery that is Mateus. "Thank you," she says to them, then would follow their instructions for entrance.
Emperor Mateus The guard who had voiced her full name inclines his helm to Maira, a sign of respect. Clearly there are no hard feelings for the poor conclusion of the last meeting. "Of course."

The two guards move as one, pushing the doors open and standing aside to allow Maira passage into the courtyard. The castle proper is further in, the doors already opening as word is passed along by quick hand signals from the vanguard back to the inner guards.

"The path to the main hall has not changed since your last visit, Lady Maira, but do not hesitate to ask for directions if need be," the other guard offers warmly.

The first guard emits a low, deep hum of agreement as he nods. "May your visit be a pleasant one this time, Lady."
Maira Maira smiles, charmed by the guards. They are, ironically, a bit disarming in their warmth. She doesn't even suppose she can tell them to stop calling her lady. She supposes if she's going to put up with it anywhere, it may as well be here. It was still /weird/ though. "Heh, okay. I will. Yes, I hope it will be more pleasant too..." she says, then waves to them as she moves inside.

Not wanting to appear like a raggamuffin, Maira has worn her best dress. It is long and violet, moving with her as she walks. It is a dress meant for dancing, but it was the finest thing she owned. Maira moves into the main hall nervously, her eyes scanning for Mateus. Surely, someone would tell him she was here. Would Leon be here? She was afraid to see him. She wanted to, but also dreaded it.
Emperor Mateus The outer gates close behind Maira as she makes her way through the courtyard. Officers don't seem to notice her, their red eyes and darkened hearts a stark contrast to the standard rank-and-file, but they are very much so few and far between.

The path there is uneventful and without interruption, nobody seeming to mind her presence. A few guards even have their helmets off, showing men talking and laughing with their comrades who do not seem any different than the villagers down below.

Two guards flank the doors as Maira approaches, but they step aside and open the doors for her instead of blocking her way as the outer vanguard had. They offer no words, only a bow of the helm as she passes.

The throne is, once again, vacated with no signs of Mateus anywhere. It is still a hubub of activity, however, with various persons in states of high dress--Palamecian nobles, perhaps? A few notice Maira's entrance and whisper to their peers, but are quickly silenced. It does seem, at least, that her dress is quite close to their own in terms of styling--even if theirs are in varying degrees of greater ornateness.

"Ah, Maira!" Mateus' voice echoes above the murmuring conversationalists holding their own court of opinion in the background. The nobles part like waves before a boat's prow, revealing Mateus in his royal attire striding towards Maira with a boyish grin on his youthful face. "I was told of your arrival. A most unexpected but quite welcome ray of sunshine in our mountain home." His voice is warm, his smile genuine--one could almost forget he is a Shadow Lord.

He offers his hand out to Maira as a gentleman would request a lady to dance. "Do not mind the nobles, 'tis the time of socialization preceeding the inevitable dance. If you would prefer to speak to me privately, we could go elsewhere." His violet eyes flick to a set of doors to the side leading to an empty balcony, as if to imply one possibility.
Maira A party was most certainly not what she was expecting, though she has to appreciate the irony of it all. She'd always wanted to go to a fancy party like this. A ball, with grand dresses and decorations and dancing. The man offering his arm to her however, is not the man she would most like to dance with.

She is caught visibly off guard by Mateus' warm reception of her. She studies him for a long time, trying to see though him to judge his intentions and his sincerity. Is he genuinely /glad/ to see her? Is this man really a shadow lord? The presence of the few knights with the red eyes would remind her, but everyone seemed to pay them no real attention.

Maira stares at the offered arm as if it were a snake ready to bite her, before finally taking a deep breath and accepting it. "I...I um. I' to talk to you, yes. Wh-why are all those people looking at me like that?"
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus can be infuriatingly hard to read when he wants to be, but his greatest deception has always been the truth itself. After all, when one is considered a 'villain', does hiding anything really matter when the bold-faced truth would never be believed anyways? So why bother?

He has always disliked politics anyways.

Mateus raises an eyebrow at the surrounding nobles, some of whom seem to be doing their best not to stare at the duo. "Your visit is quite unexpected, my lady, and much mystery surrounds you besides. Word of your deeds and, indeed," he laughs self-depreciatingly, "your fiery nature when riled have intrigued my court to no end. To finally see you in person is perhaps surprising if they have formed misconceptions beforehand."

He sweeps through the gathering with practiced ease, leading Maira without hurrying her as if she were a princess--and technically, she is. "Fresh air would do us both good, I think." He chuckles softly. "'Tis amazing how such a 'backwards' castle such as mine can get so stuffy."
Maira Maira's cheeks ting with pink as she looks around the room again, her grip quite unconsciously tightening on Mateus' arm. He doesn't feel cold, or strange, or slimy or...well, he feels like a man. That just seems unfair somehow. "So...they know who I am? You told them?" she asks, letting herself be lead toward the balcony. Fresh air. Alright. Fresh air sounded very good.

Maira lets go of Mateus' arm, stepping back a few steps as she looks up at him, brow furrowed in confusion. "I don't know...what to make of you," she admits quietly. The girl shakes her red-gold curls then, inhaling. "I did come to talk to you...I...wondered if we could talk about Leon. Last time, I was...well, you know. I would like to really talk about it though. I'm not going to let the matter just drop," she says, clearly steeling her resolve.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus chuckles amusedly, though not seemingly at Maira's expense. "I did not have to. The soldiers talk and the nobles overhear, and they idily speculate as nobles are want to do. And you have met a noble before. Surely you remember the Palamecian nobleman who led you to the main hall at your last visit?"

He allows her to let go of his arm, stepping to the railing and providing a comfortable distance between them. He is quite clearly unarmed, no sense of magic active whatsoever, and whatever darkness he holds is kept so close as to be mostly undetectable. But that deep darkness is there if one looks hard enough--yet it does not make his current disposition an act at all.

"My advice is to stop reading into what does not exist," he advises kindly, his tone too gentle to be preaching and too friendly to be anything but honest. "I am Matthew, the wandering entertainer. I am Mateus, Emperor of Palamecia. I am also quite the haughty Shadow Lord. I am all these things, and I hide none of them. I am simply who I am."

He leans against the balcony on one elbow, folding his hands over each other in a quite relaxed state. The mention of Leon does not seem to bother him, only nodding in agreement. "Indeed, and such an important topic should not pass without reasonable discussion. Please, speak your mind." He makes a hand motion as if to indicate 'you first' to Maira.
Maira Maira continues watching him, her expression thoughtful. She remains guarded, but she is opening up somewhat to the possibility that Mateus is a complicated individual. It is easier to fight when your enemy is inhuman. It is easy to dismiss a foe rather than to try to understand them. That Mateus had done terrible things she was sure...but what did he want? What motivated him now? Did even the Shadow Lords have some degree of humanity left? Mateus certainly seemed to have more than Garland...but things are not always as they seem, are they?

Still, Maira can only work with what she is given. She takes a chance.

"I don't know why you did what you did to him...I thought it was pure...I don't know. Spite. Just because you could. But I don't think that's the case anymore. There is more to it, isn't there? More to what happened to him? I want to find a way to bring him back...for good. I'm going to fight for that, no matter what. So--I come to ask you...if you will help me."
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus is perfectly at-ease even under Maira's thoughtful scrutiny. As Maira voices doubt to her initial assumptions about himself concerning Leon, a smile lights up his expression. "This is certainly an intriguing chain of events. But to fight, you need all the facts, do you not?" He stops leaning on the balcony and straightens, resting the small of his back against the frame instead.

"Allow me to be frank, Maira." His expression turns serious, adding weight to his words. "When you and your friends came here last time, I had hoped for a drastically different outcome to the encounter--that you would freely choose to remain here, and that Leon would choose to continue fighting out there. So you see, Leon returned to me as I had predicted and thus balance had been restored, but it was a hollow victory that I could not savor."

He turns his head to gaze over the mountain range spread out before them, all peaks lower than their current vantage point. It's a nice view. "You are correct, there is more to it than a petty display of power." He inhales. "You see, his entire reason for living was to protect his sister--Maria, I do believe. He believed she died when they failed to escape my forces upon Fynn being sacked, and it shattered him. When he was brought to me, he cursed my name and attempted to goad me into killing him--but I had already received word of his raw potential as a swordman. Furthermore, I saw such a deep darkness in him that threatened to consume his heart from within."

He lifts his arms out to the sides, an implied shrug with no shoulder movement. "I was but an acolyte of a Shadow Lord at the time, and I freely admit I did not understand the nuances nor command the intricities yet. What else was I to do? Let him die? Watch him become a Heartless? Nay, I could not--and thus the Dark Knight was born."

He holds up a finger. "However, his sister did not die--nor did the two friends who attempted escape with them. The Wild Rose Rebellion saved them from my forces and nutured them back to health, and thus they joined the Rebellion cause. They proved to be quite the thorn in my side until the world fell into Darkness, and I have not seen them since." His expression sours noticeably. "And that was not of my doing either, I assure you."
Maira Maira turns her eyes from him to look out over the vista of Palamecia as he does, taking it in. This was, she supposed, her home. She was tied to this place in a way she had only begun to understand. So to, to the people. Maira places her pale hands on the railing, listening as Mateus speaks and trying not to judge too quickly. Her curiosity has been piqued, and Maira's curiosity is a very strong force. Now that they are speaking, she wants to understand him. Why he did the things he did.

For Leon, she gets an answer. "Yes...I gathered as much from talking to him. If his sister is alive, I have to find her. It is the best chance I have a lot at your disposal. Would you look for her? Though she's an enemy to you?"

Then Maira back tracks, blinking. "You hoped that I would stay? You could have asked. I mean...I probably would have said no but...." she trails off, turning to look to him once more. "I think I understand, at least...a little. You want to protect me--because of my heart. You don't just...want to destroy."
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus nods in confirmation to Maira's understanding. "Indeed. To protect what is mine is my primary concern and objective, and I am admittedly quite the greedy sort. My people, my land, my power--I care little beyond that, unless something from the outside threatens what I hold dear." He grins at a particularly keen memory. "'Tis why I took such deep offense at Fluorgis, when you took the Dark Knight from me. 'Tis also why, even after you attempted to undo me with the Holy spell, I did not retaliate against you."

Upon her request to find Leon's sister, only a thin eyebrow rises noticeably to mark his reaction. "I cannot promise that I will actively seek Maria, but I do make it my business to know whom from my world has returned from the Darkness and what they are doing. As far as I know at this time, there are only three of import who have survived--myself, Borghen, and the Dark Knight." He chuckles softly, not /quite/ unkind but certainly not warm. "If none else, this is turning quite interesting."
Maira Maira narrows her eyes slightly, her grip on the balcony rail tightening at the memory of Fluorgis. "It was take him, or try to kill him--for he most certainly meant to kill me. I knew with every fiber of my being that he meant to rip out my heart," she replies. Greedy? Yes. But at least he could admit it. At least he...well, he took care of the people, in his way, didn't he? Mateus was proving to be a complicated person.

Maira sighs heavily. "There could be more--and they would hide themselves from you I am sure. If I find Maria....will you stop me from trying to bring Leon back? We were friends in the time I knew him--as Leon he would protect me. Wouldn't that still be serving your interests?" she asks, turning to look toward him, her gaze unwavering.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus holds up a finger. "No, my dear lass. If those three youths and their allies ever emerge from the Darkness, they will eventually rise against me--out of revenge, out of misplaced loyalty, out of naive hopes and dreams. It matters not their reason, but they will be anything but quiet."

He taps his fingers on the railing in thought. "Guy. Maria. Firion. Those are the names of these youths. I am certain you shall know them if you find them." He has noticed that those from the same world seem to have a strange instinct when one of their own is amongst their midst. Curious, indeed.

He cannot help but smile at the determination in such a young girl, such a quiet display of will and /light/ without the need of spells or other flashy displays. "'Tis a quandry, is it not?" He opens his arms out wide, a flamboyant yet surprisingly inviting gesture that has the air of anything but. "You cannot revive Leon without the Dark Knight, yet I consider the Dark Knight mine. And I shan't simply hand him over with a mere 'pretty-please'--even from you, Lady Maira."

His smile turns cold and dark, lavender irises flickering a purplish un-light around the edges. It is a mere glimpse at the Darkness deep within--frighteningly momentary, but seems to last far longer. "If you believe you can revive a dead man, convince him to fight and to /live/..." He steeples his fingertips in front of his face, almost touching his nose as his keen eyes squarely meet Maira's unwavering gaze. His voice drops to a tone that is deeply ominous yet... still completely /himself/.

"You are welcome to /try/."
Maira She knows the names, for she had read them in Leon's journal. She /had/ been searching, but as of yet she had had no luck. That she knew of, anyway. Unbeknownst to Maira, she had actually recently met Firion, but he had not given her his name.

Maira squares her shoulders, standing a bit taller as she gathers up her defiance around herself, drawing on it for strength. "First of all, he is not /yours/. You cannot own a person. You made him a slave to you--you'll tell me you did it to save him from being a heartless, but you still did it. There has to be another way. I will find it...and what will you do? Fight me? Kill me? Then all that you rule will fall to darkness. You'll rule a land of Heartless," she says. "Not," she adds, "That I would let that happen. I'm not going to throw my life away--I almost died not long ago, severing my connection to Uist..." she shakes her head then, pain surfacing to become evident on her features. "I could have stayed. I could have taken my heart and the light in it and let myself die--that would have ruined some of your plans, wouldn't it? But it would mean dooming more people than I could count, and I couldn't do that. It would have been easy--but it wouldn't have been right," she confesses. Why would she even share these things with him? Would it make any difference?

Maira shakes her head then. "I hoped...I hoped maybe there was good left in you," she adds quietly.
Emperor Mateus The Darkness disappears from Emperor Mateus' whole demeanor as quickly as it'd shown itself, leaving only his true human nature. He looks amused at Maira's display of defiance for a few moments, a smirk settling on his lips with his eyes half-closed in haughtiness, but it is an expression that does not last long.

When Maira talks about what happened with Uist, what happened with /her/... understanding lights his expression as a grave expression dispells his royal air. "So that is what happened." He sounds all the world like he is not surprised. "A great tremor shook my lands for a few minutes, affecting solely Palamecia and Fynn without touching the lands surrounding them. I knew instantly that something had happened to you, yet I knew that direct action could have made matters worse for you or myself. So I waited, and my patience was rewarded when the lands stabilized again."

His entire stance and expression changes again, fluidly relaxing yet deeply saddening. He folds his arms on the balcony and leans over it, hunching his shoulders as he lifts his head. Perhaps, just for a moment, a glimmer of the man behind the sorcerous Shadow Lord. "Good?" He shakes his head slowly. "Such terms are relative, Lady Maira. My people call me 'good' for my actions on their behalf, yet you see me as 'evil'. Thus, the crux of the matter: how could I be seen as both?"

He cants his head towards Maira, a boyish grin playing at the corners of his mouth. Utterly Matthew, the erstwhile entertainer... utterly himself. "Humanity, my dear lass. That intangible factor of one's self that is protected, sacrificed, destroyed, or restored only by one's self. For what good is the pursuit of power, for owning all that one sets their mind to, if one loses /who they are/ and /why/ in the process?"

He laughs a bit, more at himself than Maira. "I already have a prime example of one who sacrificed his humanity for power, and I would sooner cast myself into Pandemonium before I allow myself to do the same."
Maira Maira watches him carefully, her expression thoughtful and open. She does not shut him down. She listens.

When he speaks of the earthquake, she bites her lip, taking a steadying breath. "I am sorry. I did not know that--my heart stopped. The shock the parting, I guess...but Perci and Faruja got it going again. I heard there was a quake, but I didn't think it had anything to do with me," she breathes, the gravity of the situation truly sinking in. To have such an effect on a land filled with was terrifying. It was life altering. It is, in a very real way, a heavy burden. Her life is not just her own.

Was that was it was to be a princess? To be a ruler? Did Mateus feel the same?

Maira's eyes soften as she watches him, leaning over the railing beside him as she listens. She doesn't fear him--not in the immediate sort of 'he's going to chuck me over the balcony' sort of fear at least. "You can be seen as both. You can be both. We are all both...and I don't see you as evil. There is...something like evil /in/ you but the sum of you..." she shrugs then, words failing her for a few moments.

"I wonder though, what made you into the person you are. No doubt you have done horrible things and the people who call for justice deserve it...but you're a person, a person with a past, right? You were once a child. Someone loved you."

"Who are you talking about? Who gave up his humanity for power?" she asks finally.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus' expression becomes introspective and thoughtful, face still turned towards Maira yet not quite looking /at/ her. "Palamecia has always been a land close to darkness. Legends say that the gateway to Pandemonium once stood within Palamecia's very peaks. The other lands of my world--Fynn, Altair, and countless others--scorned and feared us and our propensity to the dark. And when I was but a wee lad, proof of their correctness seemed irrefutable."

A clear crystal orb appears in his hand and he absently starts weaving it around his fingers, a habit without conscious thought. "My father, the king of Palamecia, allowed the darkness to corrupt him. T'was he who made the kingdom of Palamecia an Empire, who changed the kingship to emperor. So great was his corruption that he saw me as competition to his throne, as I too was close to the dark."

He grins a bit, a rather fond smile. "My mother, Queen Airu, was a woman of pure heart and bright light. She knew I had strong magical aptitudes, and had me sent to Mysidia for training--but t'was also to protect me from the Emperor." He shrugs almost carelessly. "The years passed, and I rose through the ranks to become a Black Mage, then a wizard. But I never forgot my homeland... and I could sense the darkness growing unchecked, even physically darkening the horizion. I was perhaps no older than you when I finally left Mysidia and returned to Palamecia."

His face twists, a whole slew of emotions including anger and revulsion visible along with the audible memory. "The corruption had consumed the Emperor--mind, body, and soul. While his acts were unspeakable against his people and his soldiers, t'was his final act that sealed his fate. He opened a gateway into Pandemonium, the heart of Darkness itself, willing to sacrifice everything he had for even more power."

In a tone too careless to be quite fully honest, he adds almost as an afterthought: "So I stopped him--permanently. But what was done could not be fully undone, so I willingly took his place as both Emperor and Shadow Lord. I restrained the darkness, I rescued as many of my people as I could," he nods to Maira as if acknowledging her for the first time, "such as your father."
Maira No doubt, this is a strange moment. Knowing some of his history, she thinks she can understand more about him. Wether this is good or not is still up for debate. If she needs to fight him, and surely there may come a time for that, it will be harder, knowing that he is more than he appears. Knowing his /reasons/.

Maira listens quietly, though she looks surprised when he mentions Mysidia. She'd heard of Mysidia, dreamed of going there to study. She'd met a Sage from there recently, in fact. Was is the same Mysidia? Had to be...

When he finishes, Maira straightens, looking toward him, her eyes filled with a kind of understanding--and sympathy. She goes so far as to reach out and place her hand tentatively upon his arm, a gesture of comfort. "I'm sorry....for all that you lost--that your father was...." she trails off, shaking her head. "I'm sorry."
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus does not pull away from Maira, nor does he scorn her sympathy. Instead, he only offers a brief smile while patting her hand before directing his gaze back out over the mountains. "'Tis nothing to apologize over. I accept who and what I am, and I do not regret my choices nor actions."

He laughs, a surprisingly honest sound given the nature of the conversation, and spins the crystal orb on a fingertip. "What use is there in wasting time cursing what could have been, when there is so much yet to do?"
Maira Maira nods in agreement, letting her hand fall. "I guess that's true...." she replies. The girl is then quiet for a while, obviously thinking.

"If the world could be restored, like Manhattan, would you want that?" she asks then. Might as well get all the questions out of the way.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus tilts his head thoughtfully. "An intriguing thought," he admits. "Though I would not mind the restoration of our world to resume where I left off in conquering it... I had all-but-won already. The Wild Rose Rebellion was certainly a thorn in my side, but proved to be little more than an annoyance. In truth, it was starting to get boring. Stagnant."

He offers a nonchalant shrug, dispelling the orb like it was a soap bubble. "Besides, now that there is free travel between worlds, such a large expanse is at risk from outside interference. I still have my people, and I still have my lands. I find it better to leave things be," he offers a knowing, but teasing, grin at Maira, "but I am sure my opinion of such matters will mean little if you truly put your heart to it."

He motions past the peaks towards the distant lands of Guadosalam, the Giza Plains, and the ocean itself. "Besides, how could one go back to how things were before in the face of all this? So many worlds, so many different cultures and ideas. So many /possibilities/." He almost sounds like a kid in a toy store not knowing where to start first. Almost.
Maira Maira shakes her head, cracking a smile. No, his opinion would not stop her from restoring the world. She intended to do so, if she could find everything needed to do so. Seemed a long journey.

"I don't know...maybe things would come back, but we could continue to travel between--after all, we're learning more about the way the worlds work more every day," she counters with a shrug.

Well, she has her answer, and a great deal to think about. "Well--thank you, for being hospitable. I think I' on my way...?" she says, her voice rising at the end to form a question. She is not entirely sure that he will let her leave.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus smiles and straightens, twirling away from the balcony with light steps with the black coat-tails of his outfit fluttering in his wake. "Of course, Lady Maira. If you wish to leave, you may do so at any time--I have not changed my mind on that. But."

He regally bows at the waist, one arm folding behind his back, and offers Maira a hand.

"T'would be rude of me to force you out without offering even a small measure of hospitality. You are an important guest, after all."

He tilts his head back inside, where music has been playing somewhere in the background for some time now. It seems the noble's ball has begun sometime during their conversation. "At least permit me to give you a better conclusion to your visit than the last time you were here."
Maira Maira smiles softly with relief. He wasn't going to decide to just lock her in the tower. At least not yet. She'd really try not to give him reason to! She actually laughs as he does a twirl and drops a courtly bow. She simply can't believe how ridiculous this all is.

But she'd always wanted to go to a ball, and at least she was somewhat dressed for it. Maira looks to the offered hand. Taking it wouldn't mean she didn't still mean to fight him, or at least oppose him. She meant what she said about Leon. It wasn't going to change her mind. Thus, after a moment of hesitation, she takes the offered hand. "Are you asking me to dance...?"
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus smiles warmly and honestly as Maira takes his hand. There is a time and place for hostilities, and he knows that this moment will change nothing in the long run. But that time and place is most certainly not now, and the long run will deal with itself in time.

He elegantly leads her back towards the main hall, easily returning to the royal air of his station. "Indeed, so I am." The nobles gracefully part before them, giving them enough room to join them if that is what they wish to do, but do not linger. "If you are interested, that is."
Princess Maira Maira's eyes wander and grow large as he leads her out onto the dance floor. Even in her purple dress, the nicest thing she owns, she feels under-dressed, blushing slightly as every eye turns in their direction, the crowd parting for the Emperor and herself (though she knows very well its him they move for, no illusions there).

Maira stands before him and nods. "Alright, I've had tea with the Dark Knight, eaten cake with LEXUS, apparently, may as well dance with you," she says with a cheshire smile, reaching up to place her other hand on his shoulder, prepared for a waltz. Luckily, she knows how to dance thanks to some friends (namely Faruja and Margaux). She is /fairly/ sure she will not make a complete fool of herself.
Emperor Mateus Emperor Mateus rests his free hand around Maira's waist, not pulling her close but keeping a very narrow distance between them. "As you wish, my lady."

And with that, he leads Maira fluidly into a waltz as the music switches songs to match.

This scene contained 31 poses. The players who were present were: Maira, Emperor Mateus, Princess Maira