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Circus 1x1 - Lycanious and Nanashi

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Posted (edited)

 

The Circus used to be a safe haven for those outside the norm. A place where those who didn't quite fit in- The magical, the supernatural, the 'freaks', as others would call them. A place where humans would think nothing strange of them, just another trick, just another performance. It was something magical, something strange to those who were normal; Something special, something safe to those who weren't.

But that has changed.

The year is 1884. A string of disappearances has the circus on edge, though the normal people are completely unaware as to what's going on, turning an almost supernaturally unaware blind eye to this. But the circus knows, and as one of their own have recently disappeared, stress levels and paranoia is high, even as they try to keep their guests content and unaware.

Those outside of the circus that know what's going on perhaps suspect them; Or perhaps they want the protection. Either way, the circus must stop it before it becomes too late... For all of them.

 

 

Character Sheet

Real Name: 
Nickname/Title: 

Age: 
Gender: 

Sexuality:
Place in the Circus:
Personality: 
Appearance: 
Abilities: 
History: 
Other:

 

My Characters

Real Name: Petunia Williams
Nickname/Title: Pippa the Bright

Age: 22
Gender: Female

Sexuality: Lesbian
Place in the Circus: She works as a magician on stage, her 'illusions' impossible to tell if real or fake from any angle, no matter how close- But I assure you, they're very, very real. She plays with monochromes and bursts of colors- especially red, or blue-green, which matches her wonderfully- in her acts, and the different effects of shadow and light.
Personality: To describe her in three words; Curious, ambitious, and nervous. She's always trying to find more about others, things, or even herself- Her own powers, especially, always trying to push the limits- As often as it makes her crash from low energy. She's aiming for being the best magician there is, even better than those in the circus before her, but she still has a long way to go. And while she tries to be friendly, she's always a bit suspicious about the people who come to the circus and actually talk to her- She doesn't trust them very much, suspecting they have an ulterior motive, even though there's nothing to suggest that about any of them. She's almost always humming a tune, much to the irritation of others; While her voice isn't bad, it does get irritating to hear her hum the same song over, and over, and over again to most people.
Appearance: Image. She favors whites and blacks in her attire, with no color except for her red hair and blue-green eyes. Her hair is quite puffy and curly naturally, but she's unable to tame it, even with her own magic. Freckles cover her face, shoulders, and chest, although the latter two you would never see, as she's practically always wearing long-sleeves, as her skin burns easily under the sunlight. She wears no visible charms, and her clothes tend to be a patchwork of white or black, although they always come together beautifully in the end. Her skin is fair and clear, other than the freckles that dot her along her cheeks and nose, no visible marks or scars, unless she's performing.

When she performs, she dons a top hat of the color of clothes she chose to wear that day, and her makeup is done simply; Fake eyelashes on the bottom, mascara on the top, light blush and a small bit of red lipstick to make her look almost doll-like.
Abilities: She's a magician, working with manipulating what's around her, for the most part; Changing paper to birds that flutter around without the need of wind, moving the heads of wooden animals without so much as a crack, and making different colors appear on what was previously white or black. She's also able to manipulate shadows and the light, but not to any huge extent; She can make 'shadow puppets' that move on their own, or change where a light source is coming from. Her limits come in where, for example, she cannot create something out of nothing, or if there was one plank of wood, she could not make an entire bridge out of it. She works with what already exists, and cannot make new parts herself, while she can alter them.
History: She's worked with the circus ever since she was young. Her father was a magician as well, and worked there originally. He met her mother on a trip, and they spent a night together; Then the mother discovered he had real magic, and threw him out, though no one ever believed what she said. When she discovered her child had strange abilities as well, around the age of three, she sent her daughter to the circus, and Petunia never heard from her mother again. Since then, she was trained for taking over her father's role so he could retire, though she's not yet nearly as good as he was. Still, she loves seeing the smile and awe on faces when she performs, and loves making people happy, so she plans to keep at it for years to come. But with the disappearances lately, that might be harder than she first imagined...
Other: She views the circus as one big family, kind of.

 

 

 

Real Name: Sage Jones
Nickname/Title: Just simply "The Fortune-Teller"

Age: 20
Gender: (Trans)Male

Sexuality: Bisexual
Place in the Circus: Fortune Teller
Personality: He's a very kind spirit, and is always looking to help others in any way he can. He's soft-spoken outside of his performances, and very nervous, typically keeping to himself and watching others from afar. He likes to aid behind the scenes, but as his powers lie in fortune-telling, he's not typically much help. Sage has a speech impairment in which he stammers or repeats words quite frequently, but he manages to subdue this during his performances... Somehow.
Appearance: He has short, mildly curly brown hair, and large hazel eyes; His skin is a tawny beige, and he has a splattering of freckles across his shoulders. He tends to end up wearing comfortable clothes outside of performances, woolen sweaters and sweats, but during performances, wears very fine velvet dress-shirts, typically grey, and black dress pants. Occasionally, he'll add on thin white gloves made of a fine silk. He has multiple pouches at his waist, each made of faux leather and lined with silk on the inside, to hold his fortune-telling objects when he's on the move, as he doesn't like leaving them alone; He wears this even outside of his performing. He's of a more slender build, average height, and a bit thinner than average, but not majorly so.
Abilities: He's been trained as a ringmaster, and has the ability to project his voice more than is natural- However, his true talent lies with fortune telling, whether it be crystal balls, tarot cards, pendulums, oracle cards, runecasting- You name it, he can learn it, and get to be fairly accurate. He doesn't like doing fortunes for those in the circus, though, as their futures are a bit more confusing to him.
History: As his father is the current ringmaster, he's been raised within the circus walls, learning the people, the show, etc cetera; He's never known anything outside the circus. He realized he was trans at a young age, and the circus was supportive, finding a doctor to perform top surgery on him once he turned 18. He chose to decline the position of ringmaster after discovering the fortune-telling position. He had a gift for it, and he loves it so.
Other: N/A

 

 

 

Real Name: Simone Martin
Nickname/Title: Trickster

Age: 23
Gender: Nonbinary(They/them)

Sexuality: Pansexual
Place in the Circus: Clown
Personality: Simone is a kind young adult, speaking quite formally, though a tad on the shyer side. He warms up fairly easily, though, and is an incredibly loyal friend to have. When as Trickster, though, they're very playful, playing harmless pranks and telling jokes on others- It's quite a change from their usual self.
Appearance: In their costume, they wear a half red, half yellow outfit, split vertically down the middle, separating the two colors with a row of blue buttons down the front, ending at their waist. White ruffles surround their neck, white gloves and large white clown shoes matching the ruffles. They wear a bright red clown nose, blue eyes peering out above it, and a bright yellow, thin ponytail hanging down, a red and yellow jester-like hat on their head. They stand at 5'6" tall, and the extra padding in the clown costume makes them look a bit bigger than they really are. A black diamond is around each eye, and their skin is all pale, too pale to be natural, bringing out the bright red lips and red nose and black diamonds wonderfully.

They're completely different outside of their costume, and rarely seen out of it; It's unlikely anyone would recognize them. While their eyes are still a vibrant blue, their hair fades to a dark brown, and they're very thin, almost sickly so. They favor more formal clothes, dress shirts and black pants and black shoes. They're still sickly pale, but not so much as they are when they're a clown; It's not so unnatural, just makes it look like they've never seen the sun. They carry a parasol around, playing up the illusion that their skin is pale from lack of sunlight. Occasionally, they'll trade out the dress pants for a black skirt, but it's not too often.
Abilities: As long as they don't pass out, lose too much blood, or nothing vital is hit, any injury on them will heal, taking from a few minutes to a few days. This makes them a perfect target for learning how to throw knives, as long as they wear protection on their chest and neck. Not that they're fond of sharp objects flying at them, but, hey, they'll take what they can get! This also lets them get away with more risky performances.
History: At a young age, they had gotten into an accident, revealing their abilities. They lived in a very rural area, so it wasn't very widespread knowledge, but many people there were superstitious and shunned them for being like that. The circus took them in after learning of their abilities, training them as a simple clown.
Other: N/A

 

 

 

Lycanious' Characters

Real Name: Violet Carbello
Nickname/Title: Miss Direction, Vi

Age: 24
Gender: Female

Sexuality: Panromantic Asexual
Place in the Circus: Back-up Ringleader, depending on the dominate language of the region they are currently touring in. Unofficially deals with Public Relations as well.
Personality: With her cheerful nature, high energy and melodramatic tendencies Violet feels the most at home in front of a captivated audience. She adores visitors to the circus grounds, typically welcoming them with open arms and offering impromptu tours of the area despite the mixed reception from her fellow performers. Some think of it as foolish naivety, but she insists that it’s far more important to be well-informed on local events and the opinions of the people around them. Violet reads people well, and claims that if someone had ill intentions towards her or the circus she would know.
Appearance: Violet is tall, lanky, and generally towers over the average guest. Despite her intimidating height though she is known to have a warm expression and is otherwise very welcoming upon first appearances. Her natural eye colour is dark-brown, almost black, but on stage it is a bright and vibrant shade of purple thanks to an illusionary enchantment on her hat. Mahogany hair is long and wavy, though off-stage she tends to keep it tied back off of her face.

As a presenter Violet prefers an elaborate approach to her costumes and often opts for an eye-catching tailcoat and her favourite top-hat. She has a definite fondness for the colour purple and will inevitably incorporate it into any costume she wears for the circus.
Abilities: Violet describes herself as an ‘omnilinguist’, someone who is able to recognise patterns in speech with just a short conversation or by reading a paragraph or two. With further exposure she can completely master a language within a few hours. If her claims are to be believed she currently knows 30 distinct languages and is always looking out for more obscure ones to absorb. This ability also extends to animals, though she is mostly limited to reading and projecting vague concepts and often claims that it’s not as useful as people might think.
History: Violet was born into the circus life to a fortune teller and, according to the posters surrounding them at the time, ‘the world’s tallest man’. Her mother was an empath but her father had no supernatural abilities to speak of, though Violet did inherit her considerable height from him. Growing up Violet was the only child among the members of her circus, so would strive to make friends with anyone she met at a similar age before they inevitably moved again. It was this behaviour that lead to the discovery of her linguistic abilities, as she would begin to have fluent conversations with visitors while her parents were still struggling with basic greetings. She otherwise spent much of her free time watching her make-shift family practice their routines and longing for a chance to appear on stage herself. They finally relented and let her have a small role as a magicians assistant, which had morphed into a translator for their ringleader and occasional replacement for one by the time her old circus had disbanded. Drawn to the rumours of more beings with unusual powers, she joined the current circus soon after at the age of 18 and has been touring with them ever since.
Other: Her job as ringleader is only the theatrical sense, and she has little say over administrative issues behind the scenes.

 

 

 

Real Name: Arthur Wallace
Nickname/Title: Arthur the Adequate, Artie

Age: 21
Gender: Male

Sexuality: Homosexual
Place in the Circus: Various object manipulation acts, mostly involving juggling or knife-tossing. He tends towards comedy, but has a few more serious routines depending on the crowd.
Personality: The general consensus with Arthur is that despite his comedic performances he's a bit of a grump off-stage. Anxiety is common for him, and he does his best to bury it under a heavy layer of sarcasm or avoidance of whatever is causing it which can make him difficult to get along with. Even when relaxed he tends to keep to himself in his leisure hours, curled up in a tent somewhere with a book or a set of paints.
Appearance: Arthur is of average build, perhaps a little on the short side. His light-blonde hair is short, cherub-like and only needs the slightest breeze to become a mess of tangles so he often hides it under a hat. He has blue-grey eyes, but also a mild case of near-sightedness so they’re typically hidden behind a set of glasses. For his costume he isn’t picky, usually conforming to the style of anyone he is performing alongside of. He does however have a fondness for pastels, particularly a light-blue tuxedo that he brought from home.
Abilities: With a wave of his hand Arthur is able to generate portals to somewhere he affectionately refers to as a 'Pocket Dimension'. He describes it as a rather boring looking void, and as he insists that no one but himself should enter the portals most have to take his word for it. Its main usage is for storing items for him to access at will, a trick that Arthur likes to incorporate into his performances to make objects vanish and reappear. Teleportation is possible through his dimension if he opens up a new portal, but it requires him to be very familiar with the location and due to their constant travelling leaves him with few options.
History: In regards to his early life Arthur has little to share, other than the fact that he grew up in a family of considerably influence and they haven’t really forgiven him for literally running off to the circus. Broke and starving he stumbled across the circus at the age of 16, where a few of the performers took pity on him and offered some food and place to spend the night in exchange for helping them sweep up the place. His abilities were discovered the next morning, when one of the acrobats caught him trying to unsuccessfully stuff a spare pillow and blanket into one of his portals. Fortunately for Arthur the intrigue over this ability outweighed the fact he was ‘borrowing’ a few things from them, and after some debate he was offered the opportunity to properly earn his keep as a stagehand. He has since been trained in a variety of juggling and throwing skills, using his portals pull off some seemingly impossible stunts with them.
Other: N/A

 

 

 

Real Name: Robin Lockwood
Nickname/Title: N/A

Age:  22
Gender: Gender-Fluid (any pronoun)

Sexuality: Pansexual
Place in the Circus: Costume / Scenery Designer
Personality: Polite and sociable, Robin is one of the friendlier member of the circus. They still treat complete strangers with some caution, but are quickly won over if they seem benign. Given their role in the circus though they don't tend to cross paths with people outside of the circus very often anyway unless they're visiting any local markets. Robin is very much a perfectionist and can have some obsessive tendencies, spending all day and long nights working on a project for the circus until they burn out from fatigue. They constantly need to be doing something useful and excel when it comes to multitasking, but quickly become bored and restless when there isn't much to do.
Appearance: Robin is a little bit taller than average and rather slender. They have blue-green eyes, or more specifically one blue-green eye as the other is clouded over and blind. Some nasty-looking scarring runs along their left temple and over this eye, ending somewhere further down their cheek. They do their best to conceal the injury though with a heavy application of makeup and tinted glasses. Hair colour is difficult to pin-point, as they like to play around with dyes and wigs a lot to see what kind of combinations it forms with what they're wearing. Currently it's pure-white and sits at shoulder height. While Robin does not have a distinct costume, as they rarely appear on stage, they still wander the grounds from time-to-time during visiting hours and will use it as an opportunity to get constructive criticism or just blatantly show off a new style that they're proud of. Outside of work hours though (of which there are few) they can be surprisingly plain, opting for a simple buttoned shirt and pants with some well-shined boots.
Abilities: Robin is a telekinetic, but their strength lies in the number of objects they are able to move at a time. They find it difficult to lift anything beyond what they are physically capable of, but can have dozens and dozens of tiny objects whirling around them and seemingly keep track of the movements of each one.
History: Robin comes from a long line of respected seamstresses, tailors and dressmakers and happily trained for a similar profession at an early age. They don't speak a lot about their early life, but when they do it's with fond memories of their family and they seem keen to visit them again some day. Telekinesis and other related abilities ran in the family, so Robin's ability was evident from an early age and there was always a rumour or two floating around about witchcraft towards them or their relatives. Though reluctant to talk about it, the scarring on their face seems to be related to that accusation. Rather than running off to the circus, the circus actually found them as they wandered through Robin's town one morning. They were in need of some urgent and extensive costume repairs for a show that night, and had followed the local gossip of 'magic tailors' to their family-owned store. After Robin, their parents, and their siblings worked tirelessly through the day to reach the deadline the circus claimed it was in-debt to them and offered a job to everyone there. 19 year old Robin was the one to take them up on the offer, and has been touring with them ever since.
Other: N/A

Edited by Nanashi

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The circus, the circus! Lord Lune's and Lady Luna's Circus was here! Well, the Moon Circus was just setting up now, really. Recently, something bad had happened; One of their own members had went missing, so they were discussing, in a private tent, what to do about this...

Sage was part of this discussion, being the ringmaster's son, and having a higher role as a result. He didn't like these sorts of meetings; They were gloomy, unlike the usual circus cheer, and this one, especially. But it was important, and so, he couldn't miss it. While it was "kept secret" from the others, everyone knew already what had happened, and how they were having a council to decide what to do with it.

But it wasn't moving quick enough for anyone's tastes- Especially not Sage. He was getting bored, and he just wanted to go help set up... But he stayed still, listening, though he had no part in the conversation himself. The thought of escaping under the flap when no one was looking occured to him, but he brushed it off shortly, deciding otherwise; Not only would his father get mad, but he didn't really have the courage to, anyways. And besides, what if today was the one day they actually needed or wanted his input on something? That thought made him straighten up, focusing on the conversations happening rather than the thought of going off to help everyone. He couldn't help in daydream land, after all, and all he ever wanted was to be useful.

 

Petunia was cleaning up her equipment, organizing it after the trip, and humming to herself. While she knew bad things were happening, she was certain they would be resolved. Or... Well, she hoped so. She glanced out of her little personal tent, frowning slightly to herself. It would all be fixed, right? Definitely? They'd keep them safe, she assured herself. The higher-ups in the circus wouldn't let any harm come to any of their members, especially not after this, keeping them all on guard. But... What if they did?

Anxiety was growing in her stomach, and she forced herself to stop thinking about it and focus on the few objects she brought with her. She didn't need much for her show, but preparation was always nice. It was broad daylight, so the Circus would likely be performing the following night, as was their habit; They preferred to keep a nocturnal schedule, performing with the moon, as their circus was so aptly named after. So she had to hurry up, so she could catch a few hours of sleep, as restless as she was sure they would be.

 

Simone had entered the nearby town, their 'normal' appearance making eyes just pass over them effortlessly as he spread posters for the circus. While they weren't really needed, it was nice to have them anyways, so that they could have that extra publicity... Which meant more money, which meant newer, better supplies, more food- Etc cetera. Really, there was fewer downsides than there were upsides, they mused while pinning another up. Their distraction caused a few of them to fly out, the wind suddenly picking up, and while they frowned... Well, what better way to spread the news than by air? Besides, it made their job a tiny bit easier with that much less posters.

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Posted (edited)

Violet was also attending the meeting, there to report on any semblance of information she might’ve been able to gather from the local members of the town. She’d been wandering about the town since yesterday morning and judging from her unusually dishevelled appearance she hadn’t had much luck in finding a lead. Currently she stood up from her seat, hands hovering over some scraps of parchment that she had scribbled a few hopeful but ultimately unhelpful notes on.

“I have no answers, really. The last person that saw them seems to be a fishmonger down near the food markets but other than that...”

She spoke clear and precise, the mark of a well-trained announcer as she picked up another handful of notes. For a moment she looked as though she was going to read more from them, only to suddenly tear them up in her hands and send them fluttering into the air with a flourish.

“It’s just like they vanished into thin air!”

Exclaimed the woman, smacking the palms of her hands into the table surface before her. Someone hushed her to the left and she faltered slightly, wide-eyed expression replaced with an apologetic one as she slowly sank back down into her seat.

“My apologies. Perhaps someone else has had better luck.”

 

Robin was pacing, as was their usual response when something was on their mind. They weren’t quite sure how long ago they had started, but were fairly certain they’d done at least four laps of the circus grounds by now and should probably take a break as it was clearly getting them nowhere. They needed a distraction, anything really, and so made a beeline for the nearest tent. They knew from the humming alone that Petunia was inside before they even caught sight of her, polishing away at her stage equipment. Robin decided to announce their presence by humming along as they entered, though after the first few notes it was clear that they had no idea what the tune was supposed to be.

“Huh, don’t reckon I know that one. Where’d you pick it up from?”

They trilled as they wandered in and poked at a nearby prop.

“Need a hand? Finished getting my things all together hours ago.”

 

Arthur took a step back and admired his handwork, eyes tracing over the painted sign he’d been permitted to set up in the centre of one of the market areas. He’d spent a great deal of time on it, lovingly transforming the boring old planks of wood into portraits of their most renowned members complete with, of course, a full-moon against a star-dotted night sky as the background. He nodded, satisfied, and after testing it was secured properly into the ground he dusted off his hands and turned to make his way back to the circus. He’d only gone a few metres down the street when the first fluttering of a rogue poster caught his eye, followed by a second, and then five more spiralling through the air. Arthur glanced up, tracing the source of the airborne paper to a spot that seemed to be the next street over. Managing to snatch a few of them out of the air he made his way over and sure enough, there was Simone with the rest of them. He said nothing as he approached, but motioned to the posters in his hand with a raised eyebrow as though he was expecting an explanation for something.

Edited by Lycanious

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Sage's eyes were drawn to her as she reacted so animatedly, watching her without a word, though he flinched when she slammed her hands against the table. He watched as she was shushed- He shared her frustration, but... After a few minutes of more useless conversations, Sage spoke up.

"It's only been a day- They couldn't have gotten far, right? We should search the whole town, and-"

"We need to prepare for tonight. With them lost, we need all the hands we can get, and we can't let the citizens know something's amiss. We'll proceed as usual."

His father spoke up, and Sage took a moment to process before speaking again.

"...So we aren't going to look for them? At all?"

"None of the lost have been found so far. We don't have the people to do an extended search; We need them to set up and to guard the rest."

"But-!"

"No buts. We can't afford to lose another."

Oh, this wasn't going so well.

"Can we at least stay here a couple of nights longer than usual? Maybe- Maybe it isn't like before, maybe it's just... They got lost."

"Sage..."

His father sighed.

"Fine. We need to restock, anyways."

 

Petunia glanced up at the other's humming, before smiling gently at them, though something in her eyes was still on-guard. She didn't usually get visitors, even other circus members, into her tent- It was rare for her to even be in the tent, frankly...

"Ah- The last town we were in. When I was travelling around town, a bunch of people were singing it outside a church... I'm not sure what it's about, because I didn't hear the lyrics, but..."

She laughed sheepishly, but paused in consideration at their offer to help, glancing at the remaining equipment. She usually didn't let others touch it, but she really needed a nap- And it wasn't like it'd hurt anything for the help...

"Sure, why not? I'm just organizing now, really. But I wouldn't mind the company."

 

Simone smiled sheepishly, glancing away with a sigh. Ah, there went their plans. Couldn't get out of this. They were a bit sad at that, but they supposed taking the easy way out wasn't worth the trouble they might cause later on. Even though they wish they could've anyways...

"Ah... I apologize. They slipped out of my hands, and... Word travels faster by air, doesn't it?"

It was a terrible excuse but... Ah, well. Could have been worse, much worse. They held onto the posters a bit tighter, the wind ruffling their hair and giving a pleasant breeze as it passed... Well. More than just a pleasant breeze, really. A bit chilly.

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Posted (edited)

Violet spent the next few minutes detached from the conversation, tired eyes pouring over some of the notes that had survived in hopes that there was an answer hidden in them somewhere. It was only when Sage spoke did she glance back up from the table and soon found herself nodding along in agreement. All this talk was getting them nowhere, and the longer they sat around doing nothing the fainter the trail would get. When the ringmaster only insisted that they didn’t have the means to a proper search party though she tensed up, looking ready to jump out of her seat again in protest. Violet managed to hold her tongue this time, but only because she knew that if the man’s own son couldn’t convince him then she certainly wasn’t going to be able to.

“...They are strong, at least.”

She announced as the two seemed to come to some sort of compromise.

“Perhaps if we give them some time, they can find their own way back.”

Violet was still addressing the room, but her line of sight seemed to focus on Sage in particular as she mulled carefully over her words.

“...If it is fine by you Sir, I should like to go now and practice an opening speech before tonight. The show must go on, as you say.”

 

Robin, unfortunately, seemed oblivious to her guarded attitude and continued to gaze around the curious little tent as though just realising they’d never been in here before. They had a habit of popping into the tents of others for a chat or an emergency refitting, and apparently Petunia was no more an exception than the rest.

“Sounds nice, I ‘spect it’s a hymn of some sort then. I’d say you ought to see if Vi knows it but no doubt she has a long and extensive historical essay about it.”

Eyes rolled to the top of their head for a moment, though the tone was affectionate. The two were close friends after all.

“Ah. Well. It’d take your mind of things for a bit at least wouldn’t it?”

They added, with considerably less enthusiasm than their earlier jest. Robin suddenly found the back of their hands very interesting, starring down at them as they twiddled their thumbs for a moment before tucking them away into their pockets and clearing their throat.

“Right. Anyway. Lets get this lot sorted eh?”

A few scattered, smaller objects started to rise in the air and lazily float around them as Robin awaited further instructions.

 

Arthur crinkled his brow at the explanation, apparently not quite following the thought-process of his fellow workmate. Still silent, he stretched out his arm and attempted to place the salvaged posters back on top of the pile in Simone’s hands before continuing down the street.

“Maybe. But not when it’s caked in dust.”

He eventually said with a sigh, as though he’d been racking his brain for a better complaint and was admitting defeat in finding one. The young man reached into a satchel hanging at his hip that contained the tools he’d used to set up the signs around the area. He rummaged around for a moment, before it admitted a muffled crackling sound and an odd static-like sensation passed over the little area he was standing in for a second.

“Come on,”

Arthur grumbled, suddenly brandishing another load of posters that couldn’t have possibly all fitted neatly into the satchel they seemed to come from.

“Far too cold out here for a one-person task anyway. They really need to ration out these things better.”

Edited by Lycanious

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Sage met her eyes, but only for a second, quickly averting his gaze out of nervousness. He knew her words were right- But did that mean everyone else was weak? He couldn't help but disbelief that. There was no way they were going to come back without help, but... Would he really dare go against his dad? His father was all he had, at this point... Was it really worth possibly losing that by betraying his father's trust? While he usually wasn't one to make harsh decisions against his son, the circus always had to come first...

His father sighed, but nodded after a moment of consideration, waving his hand to dismiss the entire group.

"Yes. All of you may."

Sage rose to his feet unsteadily at the words, moving to slip out of the tent, keeping his gaze to the floor, hiding shaking hands by fiddling with his tarot card pouch. Maybe... He usually wouldn't dare, but maybe he'd do a reading, just this once, for the circus. He was so worried, after all, and... It couldn't hurt, right? What's the worst that could happen? He pulled a card symbolizing certain death of everyone there?

That wouldn't happen.

He hoped.

 

Petunia's tent wasn't incredibly large, just enough space in it for a cot and a couple of chests; A mirror sat on the bed, likely going onto one of the chests, but as they were open right now, she didn't bother trying to put it on. The chests were brown with gold-colored metal locks and corners, the sides decorated with small paintings of various flowers, the colors and shapes and sizes and styles ranging; It looked like she had added a flower for every year she had lived so far, twenty-two flowers on each chest, though no two were the same, even ones of the same year. Inside one chest were her supplies, fabric almost concealing paper underneath, and a few props on the top; a small carved wooden horse; a long rope, all coiled up; a small bone trinket shaped like a dragon... There were many, many things she had collected over the years. The second chest had personal belongings, mostly clothes, but there weren't many of even that.

She watched them for a moment, thinking to herself, before nodding and directing them on where to place the objects; She could properly sort them before they left next time.

"...I suppose that would be nice, a distraction... I might go ask her later."

 

Simone smiled, nodding; They took a very small bit of pride in knowing they won that discussion, but carefully brushed the dust off the papers, holding them much more securely now.

"Thank you. Shall we split up, then, to cover more ground? I'll head west, you head east? Ah... And then we could head back to the circus after our piles are done- Rotate around the town until we see the other's posters, clockwise..."

They were mapping it out in their head, clearly, trying to figure the plan to cover the most ground without disturbing too many people, or ending up in the same spot so soon. They hummed softly as they thought, something tuneless and only lasting a second.

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Violet managed a polite nod of gratitude as they were all dismissed, but the clenched jaw was a pretty good indication that she still didn't approve of the situation. She suspected the ringmaster knew that too, and were it not for her role in tonight's performance she wouldn't have been surprised if he ordered someone to keep a watchful eye on her. Somewhere deep down, she could maybe understand why they had to continue on as normal though. Spread the word of the disappearances too much and the perpetrators would take it as a sign to lay low and flee. Thinking they got away with it would make them sloppy and slip up somewhere. Maybe. Hopefully. Violet's gaze followed the stream of people as they all exited the tent, wondering whether any of them were likely to sneak out under the guise of a restock. Again her attention settled on Sage. Not that she expected a rebellion from him by any means, but he did at least seem to share her viewpoint and that was a starting point.

"One wonders if the young gentleman before them has any sagely advice on the situation."

She began, trailing behind him and doing her best not to look pleased with herself for the play on words. Eyes flicked briefly down to the tarot card pouch, but seemed unsure how to react to it.

"Or perhaps, are we better off not knowing?"

 

Robin was happy to oblige, blissfully unaware that the objects were likely to be resorted after they left. At least they were treating the various items with care, letting them dance gracefully through the air before gently filing them away into the various nooks and crannies she was directing them towards. Robin seemed particularly intrigued by the carvings, bringing the dragon and wooden horse closer to their face for inspection but not daring to touch them with bare hands.

"Did you make these yourself?"

They inquired as the two objects were settled back down onto a solid surface. The attempt at idle small-talk was obvious, but Robin would be lying if they said that they weren't at least a little curious about all the trinkets Petunia had lying about the place. Their personal belongings tended to change on a whim depending on trends and occasional flares of creativity, so they didn't really have anything with a rich personal history behind it.

"Sorry, I shouldn't talk like that. About distractions I mean. Makes it seem like the poor sap's done for. I reckon they've just gotten lost and they'll show up an hour or two before showtime tonight."

 

Arthur at least was patient, standing idly beside Simone and letting them take the time to make a mental-map of the area. He hadn't paid much attention to the place upon their arrival, to the point where he wasn't even sure which way was East let alone how much ground there was to cover in that direction. Not that it mattered a great deal to him though as long as he knew which way the circus was. Grey eyes trailed off as Simone continued, taking note of a few people and buildings around them. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but somewhere at the back of his mind the memory of recent events stirred and he suddenly grew tense.

"No! I mean- no. Actually. I think we should stick together. It would..."

He paused, again having trouble with deciding on a suitable response rather than just admit to the sudden bout of nerves he'd developed about the whole situation.

"...It would just probably be best. You'd make a good shield if we ran into trouble."Well, at least the twitch in the corner of his mouth to a smirk indicated that last bit was probably meant to be a joke.

Edited by Lycanious

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Sage blinked at the sudden voice, glancing over at her, but being unable to help a small smile at the pun. He sighed, shaking his head before staring off into the distance at the other tents, still fiddling with his pack of cards. He took a few seconds to find his voice again, and the words came out in a rush at first.

"I'm afraid not, and I... I don't know what the cards would have to say about this. If you'd like, you can come with me to my tent and we can figure that out..."

And he flushed at his words, quickly stammering out a correction.

"N-Not in any weird way-! Just because- Because my tent has all my other fortune-telling stuff!"

He really needed to do this weird thing called 'socialization' and 'thinking before he spoke' more. He mentally scolded himself a few times, the effect showing on his somewhat mentally-pained expression. 'Stupid, stupid, stupid!'

 

Petunia shook her head, smiling slightly, though it was somewhat fake. She hummed along at their words, nodding in thought, even though she didn't believe what they were saying, not really- If they were lost, wouldn't they have taken less time to come back? They knew where the Circus was going...

"No, I didn't make them myself; The dragon was a gift from a child in my audience when I first started out. Her father was a hunter, if I recall correctly, and her mother often carved the bones he brought home, to decorate the place. The horse was from a small gift shop at one of the cities we visited quite some time back- The shopkeeper's mother had it for many years, but ended up passing away, and they weren't on good terms with her, so they wanted her possessions gone."

She sighed.

"I have more trinkets- But they're buried away right now. Maybe I'll show you all of them sometime."

It was an empty promise, as she knew they'd both likely end up too busy with their own performances and forget.

 

Simone seemed taken aback at that- They didn't seem to realize it was a joke at first, opening their mouth to retort, before pausing, closing their mouth, then scrutinizing him. They sighed in the end, shaking their head.

"...That's a terrible joke. I thought you were serious, and I was about to leave you behind."

However, they moved to start walking at a pace he could keep up with them at, though a bit brisk.

"Come on, then. We don't have all day. Best to finish this up and head back swiftly, so we may practice our performances before the residents end up too curious to stay away before we're even finished setting up. They can be quite impatient that way, hm?"

There was tenseness in their shoulders, even as their tone seemed relaxed, though formal.

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Violet squinted down at him as the tent was mentioned but it didn't take long for the look to be replaced with a smirk as she realised the blunder. Had her primary focus not been on the missing person he'd be on the receiving end of a mocking comment or two, but she just let it slide with a wink for now. Besides,  Sage looked like he was mentally chastising himself enough without her input.
"Breathe, dear. I knew what you meant. And if the cards are not the answer today we should head over at once."
The ringleader stooped a little, lowing her voice as she glanced around at the fellow circus performers still shuffling away from the meeting tent. The clenched-jaw look had returned to her face,  her mind dwelling back on the majority decision to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that nothing wrong. Surely, they could at least spare a stagehand or two to go scouting for information while the show was on...
"To be honest, I am not even sure I want to know the answer to what has been going on around here."

She murmured, but motioning for Sage to show her the way to the fortune teller's tent as she spoke.
"...All I know is that people should be reacting better to this, all these friends and family vanishing around us. It doesn't have to be a good reaction but it should be something. Perhaps with your unique insight behind us we can prompt some sort of action out of them."

 
Robin was intrigued by the little stories behind the objects, even if they didn't seem quite as sentimental as they had originally assumed. There had still been reason to keep them, after all. Placing both of them back down onto a solid surface Robin actually seemed to perk up a little at the offer to show off more of the trinkets someday, turning to face Petunia with a curious little gleam in their eye. It was then that Robin finally seemed to get the impression that they were intruding on things though, noticing some of the force behind the smile and beginning to think back over the conversation they'd just had.

"Er...Yeah. Neat. If you're not already bored talking about them of course."
They seemed to have difficulty choosing whether to give an awkward chuckle or clear their throat after that, apparently deciding that a tired sigh was a compromise between the two afterwards. 
"Sorry. I just ramble when I don't want to think about things, y'know? S'nice that you listened though. I should probably go make sure no one needs any last-minute repairs anyway."


Arthur pursed his lips in thought for a moment, nodding in a agreement.
"You're right. It was awful. I should keep it for the next show."
He replied, swivelling on his heel and beginning to trail after Simone at a slightly slower pace.

"Hmph. Far too impatient. They're probably flooding the grounds on one of those bloody 'impromptu preview tours' as we speak."
Sniffed the man, sporting an expression of vague disdain at the thought of a certain ringmaster who'd probably be responsible for it. Placing the signs meant that he hadn't been able to finish setting up his sleeping quarters yet and he was fairly certain he'd left some personal belongings just lying about the place ready to be tampered with or ridiculed.
"We shouldn't even be open tonight. Too much of a crowd. Too much potential for more things to go wrong."

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Sage nodded nervously, following behind her, though still mentally putting himself down for his words. He stumbled a bit as he walked, his feet dragging along the ground, but managed to catch himself before falling completely upon his face, sighing softly. He didn't speak until they reached the tent, and even then, his voice was quiet, shaky.

"...I'll set the stuff up. Please don't touch anything- Um, not to be rude, it's just- Otherwise I have to cleanse them again."

And he hurried around the tent, placing a blue velvet tablecloth over the small, round table, setting his crystal ball on top- made of - and his cards by him as well. He left it at just these for now, but made sure to check to remember where everything else was, as well as setting up a few small candles in jars, before seating himself and gesturing for her to close the tent flap and take a seat as well. Almost immediately, he seemed more relaxed, more in control, eyes half-lidded as he gazed down upon the setting, a slow exhale escaping his lips as he focused.
"Now... What exactly would you like to know? There's many questions you could ask... And there's only so much the spirits can inform us in such a short amount of time. We'll check the cards first, of course. They tend to be the most straight-forward, in my opinion."

 

Petunia felt a wave of guilt at that, letting her smile fade away and closing her eyes with a soft sigh.

"...I don't mean it rudely. I'm just unused to guests. Even as a magician, I don't interact with the audience much- And I'm not as close to the other members as you may be. I'm not naturally a sociable person. Not like you are. Not unless I really know them, and... I don't know you. Or anyone, come to think of it."

She let a softer, more gentle smile grace her lips, eyes opening to focus on them.

"If you'd like, I really wouldn't mind sharing the stories behind some of the things. But you should probably make sure everyone's alright, yes. You have a more... Calming presence. A distraction might help the mood around here, and you're great at providing that."

She wasn't sure if they'd take her words as compliments or insults, but- Ah. She tried, at least.

 

Simone sighed, shaking their head, but couldn't help fighting back a small smile as they walked- Though they certainly did their best to hide even the slightest sign of it from Arthur.

"True. But we can't stop it. Ah, I'm at least not as important as the rest of you, so... The life of a clown is an easy one, when there's multiple."

They hummed softly, setting up signs as they went along, though they didn't take a particularly long time to set them up. However, one time, they did manage to send a nail directly through their flesh, earning a muffled curse- only muffled by the fact they moved to use their other hand to shut themself up, biting on one of their fingers briefly, before working on getting it out. It healed fairly quickly, and they glanced around warily; Thankfully, no civilians seemed to have noticed. They let out a sigh of relief, carefuller now with the tools.
"I've never gotten better at hanging these signs up. They probably only send me out here because I heal so fast..."

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Violet at least had already moved on from the matter, as was the norm for such comments. While Sage fretted and stumbled about over his thoughts she was making a brisk and determined beeline towards the fortune teller's tent, mind reeling with all sorts of scenarios she was preparing herself to hear. The only time she strayed from the path was when they passed by her own quarters on the way and she ducked inside to grab something by the door. Seconds later she emerged with her usual top-hat in hand, twirling it in the air a few times before it was placed snugly on the top of her head. Violet regarded the much-beloved memento of her past as a lucky charm, and even if it was pure superstition she felt slightly more confident that they would find out something useful if she was wearing it. As they entered Sage's tent she instinctively reached for the nearby table-cloth to assist him, but at his words she quickly snatched her hands back and folded them across her chest with an apologetic expression. She watched in silence as the man arranged everything, curious as to how it all fell into place but not daring to interrupt for fear it would ward off the spirits or something similar. It was only when she had closed the tent-flap and taken a seat did she decide it was safe to resume the conversation.
"Oh. Ah. I was hoping you could just ask them what is happening and be done with it."
She admitted with a frown,  drumming her fingers on the table for a moment as she tried to think of a more specific question. Violet had no dealings with the spirit world other than the one her mother would 'contact' as part of her own act, and that was more of a farce to disguise the mind-reading. She shivered a little, wondering how benevolent actual spirits were supposed to be.
"...I guess we should start with the most important one. Are they...are they alive? Can we still find them?"


Robin twitched the side of their mouth into a half-hearted grin, but waved off her words with a 'forget about it' sort of motion.
"S'alright, I know a lot of us around here ain't always wanting to talk about themselves or where they're from. Probably a good thing you're more cautious, even if it's just 'cause you're shy. I say too much, gets me into trouble sometimes."
For once they didn't choose to elaborate on that last sentence, but Robin did reach up for a moment and scratch at the left of their face a bit before glancing down at their fingertips to see if the makeup was behaving itself. They made a mental note to reapply some more before visitors arrived on the grounds tonight. Dusting off their hands the tailor stepped back and glanced in the direction of the tent-flap, spotting a fellow work-mate or two wandering around in the distance trying to tie everything together at the last minute. It would seem that all the members of authority had finished their meeting and were back on the grounds now.
"...Thanks? I think? But yeah, maybe when we're all settled and our missing fellow's back from their adventure you can tell me some more about all of...this."

Robin concluded, spreading their arms to motion to all of the objects surrounding them. Bowing their head they then turned and stepped back out of the tent, making a sweeping motion with their arm that prompted the tent flap to close behind them. Of course, it only took about 5 seconds before their head popped back into view, now with a malevolent little grin across it.
"Hey, can you change things in paintings? Just realised Arthur's not back yet and I'd love to hide some obscene things into his latest landscape. Y'know, if that's the sort of distraction you could use."
 

Arthur remained oblivious to the mild amusement he managed to prompt out of Simone, too busy shuffling through the papers in his hands and commenting on the imagery used under his breath.  At first he was only half paying attention to the clown's reply, but tuned back in when they started to speak about the life of clowns and angled his head down to frown over his glasses at them.
"Easy? Don't be daft. If I had to spend half my off hours with that lot they'd drive me mad. I swear the only reason they're still here is because clowns are so important to a circus' image." 

Granted, maybe if Arthur didn't keep snarking about every other clown at The Luna Circus they'd probably be more amicable towards him. He always insisted that they were the ones to start it though, whatever 'it' was exactly. Drawing his attention back towards the posters Arthur fetched out the tools in the satchel at his side and set to work, not wanting to be accused of slacking off on the workload. When the familiar tap of hammer against nail was replaced with a hiss of profanity from his fellow performer Arthur audibly winced,  turning his head away from Simone and cringing even though he hadn't actually seen the injury. He recognised the sound all-too-well and it instantly reminded him of all the mishaps that had happened in his early training as a knife-tosser.
"I wish you'd be more careful. But one gets careless when it doesn't matter, I suppose. I'm always forgetting to pack for things and just assume I have access to them."
He mumbled, only looking back at them when the wound seemed to have finished healing.
"And yes. Probably. But being a more friendly face helps too I'd imagine."

Edited by Lycanious

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Sage nodded, letting his hands ghost over the cards, before beginning to shuffle them, shifting them into a messy pile, then straightening it out once more, and spreading them into a fan. He let his hand hover over them, eyes closing for a moment, before he chose two cards, setting them in front and gathering the fan into one pile, setting it off to the side. His eyes opened again, and he flipped the first over.

'Are they alive?'

The question was answered by the Seven of Wands, no roman numerals on it, only the worlds in silver, shining ink. A woman's silhouette stood in white, her hair and the seven sticks in silver, on a black background. It sat 'upright' in fortune telling terms, but even so, he frowned slightly- though his eyes were relaxed, the gaze calm and reassuring as he turned it onto Violet.

"The Seven of Wands... To put it in simple terms- Yes, they are. However, it's not easy for them; They're going through trials- 'Opposition' to their life. If we don't mind them soon, they might not be for long. But... In the end, they are still alive, and isn't that a good thing to know?"

With that question answered, he moved onto the next.

'Can we find them?'

The question was answered by VII, the Chariot; Two horses as dark blue silhouettes, the space where their silhouettes met being lined with black to show the separation, led a grey, cloud-like chariot across a black sky speckled with gold, which shone in the soft light. He hummed, smiling a small bit; It was upright, and he nodded at Violet, resting his hands before the two cards now.

"The Chariot means progression; It means getting through an uphill battle, but ultimately, it means 'yes' when it's seated like this. It'll be a long, hard search, and it won't be straightforward either- There'll be twists and turns, dead ends and we may lose hope, but we shouldn't. In the end, it tells us we'll find them."

 

"Gladly, I'll tell you."

Petunia smiled, watching them leave, and going back to her sorting- She paused, however, when he poked his head back in. She had only gotten a short bit of stuff left, and it'd be a shame to leave it all messy like this still, but it was somewhat tempting...

"I... Suppose that I could, yes. That's much simpler than making a carousel seemingly 'come to life'. However, if he asks me, I'm telling him that you forced me into it- And please, give me a few seconds to finish sorting all of this. I'm almost done, there's just a bit left..."

She had been working while she talked, and true to her word, there were only a couple of items left, of which she hurriedly put them away into the boxes, closed and locked them, and headed out to meet with Robin.

 

Simone sighed, but offered a half-smile at Arthur as they pulled their hand away.

"Hm. That's true. Honestly, I've had worse, though. These are at least clean nails this time, not rusty. Urgh. That was the worst. And, of course, my days helping out with target practice for knife throwers... Really, a nail like this through the thumb is one of the least I've dealt with- And it didn't hit bone. I'm just glad my fingernail cleaned up nicely this time..."

They sighed, rubbing their thumb gently, the slight sting still present. They chose not to mention that, though, realizing they had likely said too much- But they were just trying to tell him that they were fine, that this wasn't a major injury or too painful of one... Minus the fingernail part. They hated growing them back. Half the time, they wouldn't even bother with it, and they'd be missing a fingernail and feeling extremely tender for the next while. At least this time, it healed up without a problem.

"Friendly? Outside of my clown costume? Hardly. I despise it when the crowds stare at me when I'm not all covered in makeup and frills and bright colors. Not that they frequently do..."

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Violet found herself releasing a breath she didn't realise she was holding as Sage announced the meaning of the first card. Her gaze traced over the picture displayed on it with a look of dismay, briefly relieved to hear that they were still alive but not liking the sound of these 'trials' for their life. Did he mean that in a literal sense? Were they being tested for something? She didn't find any answers leaping out at her but the thought of their friend being put through some hellish sort of experiment was enough to grit her teeth in anger at the whole situation again. The explanation for the second card only seemed to fuel that attitude, making her more determined that they should do something and causing her to tense up again. This time though, she realised the frustration that was rising and took a deep breath to calm herself down as she stewed over the news. She rubbed at her eyes, muttering something under her breath that may have been a plea for Fate to be on their side in her native tongue. Or perhaps it was just a string of profanity from a few different sources. Violet did that a lot.

"I suspect the news could be worse, all things considered."
She eventually mumbled, still resting her hands on her own face but parting her fingers so she could stare over at Sage through the gaps in them. 

"But I fear the first card. I worry that if we wait until after the show tonight we could be too late. Could that be what the horses are telling us too? To hurry?"
Violet trailed off, clearly trying to think up some sort of master plan to sneak out for a bit more before she even got an answer from him.  As of now it mostly consisted of just lurking around the entrance and trying to slip out with the crowd while Sage's father was distracted, though Violet rather doubted she had any shred of stealth and subtlety to actually pull it off. Now Sage, on the other hand...
"...I think with that insight of yours you have a good chance of finding something a bit more...unconventional. Something we've missed, I'm hoping. What if you told your father you need some more supplies for tonight from the market?"

 

Robin chuckled as she wandered outside of the tent, holding a hand up to their chest as though they were taking a pledge of allegiance.
"No don't worry, I'll take full responsibility. More fun that way."
They assured Petunia, with a tone that suggested tampering with such items was a common occurrence even though the two didn't seem to interact with each other that much. Arthur's dwelling was already in view from where Robin had been standing, recognisable by the collection of small canvases, wooden sign posts and dart boards that were stacked near the entrance ready to be set up or sorted. Most of the signs seemed to be left-overs from Arthur's current duties, with the exception of one that was already fixed to the ground beside the tent-flap and stated in large, black letters 'SHOUT BEFORE ENTERING - POINTY THINGS BEING THROWN'. Robin didn't follow its instructions, happily waltzing inside and clasping their hands together as they contemplated their surroundings. Arthur's tent was one of the smaller ones on site given that he didn't expect to entertain any visits other than his own. A neatly-made foldable bed was wedged in the far corner away from the door,  mostly obscured from the entrance by two thin bookshelves to presumably give him a sense of privacy. The bookshelves were almost bare as of now, sporting about 9 books between them which all seemed to be about topics that Robin found painfully boring and promptly ignored after glancing over a few of the titles.
 An easel and stool sat near the entrance, propped up in such a way that its owner could see outside the tent-flap while working and still easily reach the paints that were set up on the small end-table beside the easel. He must have been in the middle of organising said paints when told to go set up some signs, as half of them were arranged in a neat little row according to colour and the other half were scattered hazardously across the surface. Robin shuffled closer to little art corner Arthur had made for himself, peering at the current project on the canvas.
"Bloody hell, he's doing abstracts again. Knows I can't stand 'em."
Complained Robin, wrinkling his nose at the splashes of red and yellow before them before tilting the easel aside and inspecting the space behind it where a few finished paintings were just visible. They chose one at random, hovering it up and away from the pile to reveal a fairly generic painting of a mountain with a few trees. Robin then glanced back over at Petunia with a raised eyebrow, seemingly to see if they had any ideas in mind for it.

Arthur indeed thought that they had said far too much, trying to keep a straight face as they started to go into detail about encounters with rusty nails and semi-competent knife throwers. By the end of the ramble he was looking a little queasy, even though it was all just to ensure the fellow performer that they were fine. Normally it wouldn't even affect him in everyday conversation, but recent events had left him with a vague sense of uneasiness for the entire day and Arthur was overcome with the sudden urge to just throw the rest of the posters back into the bag and retreat to his cosy little tent for a few hours.
"Yes, yes, yes, I believe that you've had far worse but I would prefer it if you didn't give me a monologue about it. You'll throw me off for tonight."
Announced Arthur, trying to steer away from the topic before more reminiscing happened.
"Well. Erm. I meant more friendly as in...well I don't know. You don't look like you're one unsavoury remark away from strangling someone at least."

In hindsight Simone was probably not a great example of being approachable either, though at a personal level Arthur still regarded them as the more welcoming of the two.  Or, at least, if they found interaction with strangers just as draining they seemed better at hiding it. He frowned down at a few of the papers still in his hands, as though it suddenly troubled him that neither of them were particularly captivating outside of their performances.
"...Maybe we should wrap this all up and head back now. I'm starting to worry there's still people around here we shouldn't be drawing attention from."

Edited by Lycanious

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