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T42 Pt. 16 | "Dance Dance Ball"

Tales of the 42nd: Dance Dance Ball


+++CAPTIAL PALACE, APODIS IV+++

+++201.000.M42 / 1700 HRS 13 MAR 41000+++


Cecilia and Leana have been talking for a few hours now from a range of topics regarding troop movements, command strategies to the more mundane and relaxed. Cecilia lets out a small sigh while she leans back into the seat, her hand playing idly with her collar after she had gotten changed back into her uniform while the dress gets adjusted slightly.


"You know, it has been good to be able to relax and talk to someone. As much as I have a good relationship with my XO and the Commissar, somethings you can't just talk about with them. But you are highborn, but at the same time I feel like we have gotten off on the right foot."


"I know what you mean, I spent years guarding everything I said from those around me, but I feel relaxed for the first time in years."


"I remember those days far too well growing up...felt like living in a pit of vipers."


Leana nods to Cecilia's words moments before the data-slate starts beeping.


"Exactly, oh looks like that is time for the ball then."


Cecilia nods while she stands to offer a hand to Leana to help her up that Leana accepts with a smile, holding onto it for a couple of seconds longer than necessary before she lets go and leads Cecilia into the bedroom where their outfits are laid out. The two of them get changed into their dresses along with the heels that complete the outfits, their outfits would look similar but enough to be considered the same. Taking a moment to look over each other outfits, they head out of the room before their aides fall in behind them as their escorts while they make their way to the ballroom, a couple of other nobles were also still making their way, but none of them had an armed escort with them.

The two of them reach the ballroom doors, the seneschal bangs his staff on the floor with every entrance, banging it before he announces them.


"Lady Leana Biscari of Xailiv, and Lady Cecilia Skye of Caledonia."


The two of them nod before they enter, while their aides break off to enter the room put aside for escorts and aides to those attending. Cecilia looks around the ballroom, taking it all in as it had been years since she had participated in a ball properly. Her eyes drift over the other guests that hadn't arrived fashionably late, taking stock of the number of them that had clearly undergone rejuvenat treatments to extend their life and return their youthful looks.

The pair of them drift over to one of the tables running along the side of the room that had a mix of drinks and small nibble food. Leana pours them both a glass of amasec, handing the first to Cecilia who takes it with a small nod, sipping from it while her eyes scan the room. Taking note of the people who were watching the two of them and trying to act like they weren't, with nobles, it was hard to tell if they were looking for political or human reasons due to their bodycon dresses.


"Thanks, Leana."


"Not a problem, Cecilia. You are scanning the room, aren't you?"


"Aye, can't help myself, looking for threats, exits, areas of fire and such."


The two of them sip at the rich and fruity amasec appreciatively while they talk.


"Yeah? Then we need to get your mind off work..."


Leana trails off when the song changes to that of a waltz and several guests move onto the floor in pairs.


"And I think this is the perfect chance, come on."


Leana does not give Cecilia much choice while she about drags her onto the dancefloor before Leana assumes the leading position for the dance and Cecilia settles into being led. Cecilia falls into step with Leana through the dance, the two of them gaining a few looks from the other nobles, especially the more traditionalist ones. It takes Cecilia a moment to find the rhythm of the dance while she is tense, but as she starts to relax it becomes more fluid with Cecilia's muscle memory taking over from long sessions as a child being taught to dance. Leana, being slightly taller than Cecilia even with them both wearing heels, looks down into Cecilia's eyes while they dance, the two of them drifting closer together during the slow waltz, both of them enjoying being able to let their guard down even just for a moment.

They stay like that until the music comes to an end and people start making their way back to the sides of the room. Cecilia's cheeks take on a slightly flushed look while the pair of them move over to a small table, getting fresh drinks before they sit down. Leana adjusting her chair while she does so, ending up with her closer to Cecilia while they look out into the room.


"Thank you for that, didn't realise how much I needed to relax."


"You were quite tense at the start, lost count of how many times you about stepped on my toes."


Leana grins at Cecilia, who looks over a brief look of panic on her face before it is replaced by a look of embarrassment from her reaction.


"I'm sorry, been a while since I have danced."


Leana shakes her head slightly, while she places her hand on Cecilia's bare shoulder.


"You were fine, I was teasing. As you are easier to tease than I would have expected from a hardened military commander."


Cecilia looks down at her lap, trying to hide the flush of her cheeks before she speaks.


"When rounds are flying, I know where I stand, been training for it for most of my life. When it comes to other stuff, it often catches me off guard, especially when it comes to talking to people as equals or as friends."


Leana nods slightly while she moves her hand off Cecilia's shoulder, taking a sip of her amasec.


"I understand, and I know that we have only just met, but I do hope you will be able to consider me a friend in time."


Cecilia finishes her amasec before she turns to look at Leana and offers Leana her hand.


"I would be more than happy to call you, friend."


Leana smiles while she takes Cecilia's hand in a firm grip before she starts to pull her to her feet.


"Well friend, its time for another dance."


Leana leads Cecilia onto the dance floor while another piece of music starts playing.

This pattern of them dancing, drinking and talking continues throughout the night until approaching midnight, the moonlight finds them leaning against each other on the balcony of Leana's room. The two of them look out across the palace gardens, illuminated by the pale moonlight until Cecilia turns to Leana.


"Thank you for tonight, it really was fun."


As the moon clears the clouds, it shows Cecilia's flushed cheeks while she looks at Leana. Leana turns to Cecilia, smiling with her violet eyes almost sparkling in the moonlight.


"It really was, been far too long since I have had fun like that or the pleasure of company like yours."


Cecilia looks away in embarrassment slightly before she looks back up to meet Leana's eyes.


"I really enjoyed your company as well..."


Cecilia's breath catches in her throat when Leana brushes her hand across Cecilia's arm while she turns slightly and moves even closer to whisper softly into her ear.


"Who said it had to end..."


Cecilia blushes while she tries to stammer a response that is silenced by Leana's lips firmly planted against hers before Leana starts to lead Cecilia back into her bedroom.



+++IMPERIAL COMMAND, CAPTIAL PALACE, APODIS IV+++

+++202.000.M42 / 0000 HRS 14 MAR 41000+++


Lord Militant Thoren Marbray looks up from the hololith and the displayed strategy map to look at the other senior officers.


"So you all understand what you must do?"


Lord Admiral Antonius Calgar nods and speaks first.


"We do Lord Militant. We do what must be done to ensure victory in the Emperor's name, no matter the cost."


The Lord General's Mordax Strab, Colm Gavinski and Sartak Kasky of the 31st, 32nd and 33rd Army Groups nod along with the Lord Admiral. Before Marbray speaks again.


"Good, then go with his blessing and may we not have to do this. No matter the cost, we will drive the Archenemy from this system."

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