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with the dust of the stars (in her eyes)

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A proper party, by Kima’s own definition, is built of a large tavern, drunk compatriats, and a brawl formidable enough for a black eye and sore limbs the next morning. Perhaps even a pretty wizard to warm her bed afterwards and tend to the aforementioned black eye. The room Kima finds herself in presently, is ostentatious at best and gaudy at worst. This is, by every definition, a ball. Kima hates balls. Perhaps this is an exaggeration or perhaps it isn’t exaggerated enough, she hasn’t yet decided, but if a party does not involve approximately a gallon of ale and a fight with someone at least twice her height, she knows she wants no part in it. 

The circumstances under which Kima finds herself in a glittering ballroom surrounded by dozens of equally glittering noblepeople is the handiwork of one incredibly persuasive wizard. Kima doesn’t sway from her stances for many people – in fact, only one person truly comes to mind. Normally, she would laugh in the face of an invitation to a ball, but she will make an exception for one woman and one woman only. That woman is spotted throughout the night, darting from guest to guest making pleasant small-talk and grinning in the candlelight. Seeing High Arcanist, Lady Allura Vysoren in her swirling gowns, eyes lit up brighter than any prismatic orb is an intoxicating sight. Parties like this are where the wizard thrives and Kima loves to see her in her element.

Despite her title of Lady of Vord , Kima is not a dancer. She considers the battlefield her dancefloor, though graceful would hardly be her word of choice to describe her time spent there. Ruthless is more like it – because that is what she is. Ruthless and agile, but never graceful . Graceful is a word meant for Allura, who takes to balls and dances like a fish to water or a mimic to taking the shape of a treasure chest. Graceful is a word most certainly meant for Allura, who is swathed in midnight blue velvet and flitting delicately around the ballroom. (Or perhaps graceful is meant for the way Allura’s back arches whilst bathed in the moonlit room they share.) Kima’s never not amazed that the woman wasn’t born into nobility for she carries the title of Lady as if she’d held it since the dawn of time itself. Allura’s grace and poise are unlike anything Kima’s ever seen –– something Kima points out every chance she gets and that Allura will deny with a flush of her cheeks and demure smile. Kima could watch Allura at a party for hours. The key word in this is watch . So when Allura appears from within the crowd and takes Kima by the hand to pull her out to the dance floor, Kima can’t help but grumble.

“I don’t dance, Allie, you know that.” 

“Just one dance, Kima? Please? For me?” 

Allura fixes her with a pleading look that she knows Kima can’t say no to and the halfing heaves a sigh that’s immediately lost to the swelling music, “Fine. Just one though. Only for you.” 

And so Kima allows herself to be swept towards the dance floor. If any other stuffy noble in this room even tries, I’ll punch them , she thinks as the music continues to grow. She lets Allura guide her into the proper position – or something close to it, considering their difference in height. If it were anyone else, Kima might argue that it was too awkward and make her retreat back to being a wallflower. Which is more a testament to the fact that she will do almost anything for Allura than anything else. She’s going to have to figure out how Allura does it so she can better counter it next time. That’s it – treat the party like a battlefield. A dance is but one of the possible maneuvers – one that Allura is as proficient with as her spellcasting.

Allura leads, because of course she does - she knows the steps better than Kima ever will - and begins to guide them in a simple combination around other dancing couples. She’s glad for the easy steps, but can feel her brow furrow as she tries to count the steps. One, two, three, one, two, three. Make a box as you go, ah shit she wants me to turn, do I remember how to turn?

“I can see you counting,” Allura says softly, interrupting her thoughts and making her immediately lose count. But the wizard doesn’t falter, and because she is following her lead, neither does Kima.

“I’m trying not to look like an ass,” she hisses back, trying to find her counts again. Was I on three? Or was it two? She can’t find her place, but when she looks down at her feet, Kima’s amazed to realize they haven’t stopped moving.
“Just follow me, darling. I won’t let you look bad. Let me lead.”

So she does; the result isn’t as awful as she expects. For as often as she’s the one leading the charge in every aspect of her life, this is Allura’s domain. (And Kima trusts Allura implicitly, doesn’t she? Why not follow Allura into this battle.) She forces herself to stop counting and listen to the music - feels the gentle tug of Allura’s hand on her shoulder and lets herself be guided through the dance, Allura’s other hand warm in her own. Kima loves how effortless it is for her – how her eyes sparkle in the lights - like stars, Kima thinks - and how the gems in her hair do the same. Allura is lovely and graceful and while she might argue that she isn’t, Kima will go to the ends of the earth and back to insist that she’s perfect .

At the end of the night, for all her grumbling, standing there and swaying gently to the music, wrapped gently in Allura’s arms, is the perfect way to spend a party. She still bows out after a single dance to make herself blend back in with the ornate wallpaper. The whisper of the words ‘You owe me, Vysoren’ make their way to the arcanist’s ear, soft enough under the music for their intention to be clear. Because no matter how much stardust is trapped within her lovers eyes, Kima still despises balls and dancing and stuffy nobles. (Though she certainly loves Allura more.)