Roy was the last to sit down at the table, as he had been holding the door for the monarch respectfully. As he sat down at the opposite end of the long table, fingers crossed, he cleared his throat and spoke. "Now, Miss Vespa. What is it you wanted to discuss?"
The monarch brushed her long blonde hair out of the way and smiled politely. "Well my dear boy, you have no doubt heard of my son's upcoming marriage to the nearby elven town's mistress. I fear for my son's life and –upon hearing of your exploits- would like very much to hire your party as bodyguards for the night of the event."
"Aw, a wedding? Who's the lucky lady?" Haley added, chipper as she smiled at the queen.
"An elven princess. The marriage –while arranged- seems to be working out for the two. The bond is supposed to be combining our clans of humans and elves to try to end the enmity between us. As a result, though…" She added, looking at the two short nonhumans in the group, "Only humans and elves will be attending. Sending in a dwarf or a halfling would set off alarm bells to everyone there; they'd know who you were."
"Who wants to go to a dumb wedding anyways?" Belkar grumbled. Vaarsuvius, who had been sitting next to him, nudged him with their shoulder.
Durkon nodded "I understan'. Weddin's be a par'icular affair. We best not be interferin."
"Well I've already introduced myself to your son, so that's a no-go…" Roy began listing off members of the Order. "Belkar and Durkon aren't the appropriate race, Elan would get too caught up in the atmosphere, and Haley would try to make off with the ring-"
"I would not!" Haley interrupted.
There was a pause.
"You rolled a nat 1 for Bluff." Belkar whispered out of the corner of his mouth.
"Yeah. I know." Haley's eyes narrowed bitterly.
"So it looks like Vaarsuvius will have to go solo." Roy concluded. "That okay with you, V?"
"While I in no way doubt my ability to exterminate any and all interruptions, are you sure it is wise to only send in one of our members? Surely an alternative means of caution should be applied." The wizard explained, gesturing with their hands as they spoke.
"Well I believe I have an idea." The monarch spoke in her dainty voice. "Do you perchance have access to the spell 'Enlarge Person?'"
"Why, yes I do."
"Then you could use it on your halfling friend there." She pointed to Belkar. "And he would appear human."
"Hmm." Vaarsuvius put a hand to their chin in thought as they looked over at Belkar. "An interesting proposal. It would be prudent to have allies –even unreliable allies- to assist."
"Unreliable? What do you mean by that?" Belkar scoffed.
"I mean your incessant tongue and tendency to fits of rage would be quite unfitting at such an affair." They looked over at him with narrowed eyes.
"Well it's uptight and overrated, so it fits you just fine." He grumbled, crossing his arms.
"Anyways…" Roy cleared his throat, trying to break up the fight before it begun. "Belkar and Vaarsuvius will go –Belkar disguised as a human- and the rest of us will be on standby."
Vaarsuvius stepped into the room, their dress shoes making a quiet click against the floor. Looking around, they listened to the jovial music and took in the scene.
Belkar was nowhere to be seen –then again, Vaarsuvius had not seen him since the planning stages of the job, during which he had seemed to have not been paying attention. They sighed, not putting it past him to have forgotten entirely.
Looking around, the spectacle was quite lovely. Glass chandeliers hung from the ceiling, flames glittering in the crystal. The floor was filled with dancing elves and humans, and the room was abundant with pleasant chattering. The atmosphere was very charming, and despite Vaarsuvius's reservations about their assignment they felt somewhat alleviated.
They made their way over to the tables where the food and drink were stored. After perusing the display for a moment they settled on a cup of fine elven wine.
Suddenly, a voice spoke to them. Far too close for comfort.
Turning around with a raised eyebrow, Vaarsuvius found themself face-to-face with a tall human. His skin was tanned and his eyes were hazel. He flashed a winning smile at the elf and held out a hand. Vaarsuvius took it and politely shook it with their free hand. "Greetings." They spoke, unimpressed with his overly charismatic display.
"Name's Adminster Randolph." He leaned down and kissed their hand, which Vaarsuvius pulled back in distaste. "Pleasure to meet you…?"
"Vaarsuvius." They wiped their hand on their robe unbeknownst to their company.
"Would you care to dance? I'll tell you all about our little city and maybe you can come over later."
Vaarsuvius narrowed their eyes. "No, I think not. I have business to attend to. Good day." They began to briskly walk away.
A hand grabbed theirs, pulling the wizard back.
"Wait." His voice was aggressive, but he seemed to realize his mistake and cleared his throat. "Please. I, uh…"
Vaarsuvius tugged their hand free and glared at him. "I do not accept your advances. Kindly leave me to my own devices."
The man squared up his shoulders angrily, and Vaarsuvius did the same to match him, not backing down.
"Hey, there you are! C'mon, let's go." A male voice came up and, before Vaarsuvius knew what was happening they were being ushered away from Adminster and into the crowd. Looking over at their usher, they had to keep from dropping their jaw.
It was a humanlike Belkar Bitterleaf. He was dressed in a green sweater vest over a white long-sleeved shirt. He wasn't looking at them, instead looking over his shoulder to check for the man the two had just left.
"Bitterleaf!" Vaarsuvius hissed, jerking themself away. "What Neanderthalic idea has taken root in your primitive excuse for a brain?"
"You were starting to make a scene. People were staring. We're trying to not get caught, remember?" He growled back, turning back to look at them.
They were dressed elegantly, in a pure white robe that flowed as they walked. But the most catching thing about the elf was their purple hair, which they had let down from their ponytail and let cascade down past their shoulders. It was a rather different perspective than what he was used to.
Snapping himself from his thoughts, he remembered he was trying to argue with Vaarsuvius. Ignoring the fact that he hadn't heard a word they had just said, he pushed the elf further along, much to their silent protests and painful elbowing.
"Bitterleaf I must insist you leave me now." The elf hissed, jerking their arm free from their companion's grasp.
"Sure, fine, just don't make a scene." He grumbled, glaring down at them. Funny, to be looking down at someone. He wasn't used to it, but he liked it. It made him feel more powerful.
"I think you'll find we are in the midst of one as we speak." Vaarsuvius shot back.
Belkar looked around and found this to be true; people were watching. He waved a hand for them to go back to what they were doing, smiling widely at them. "Don't mind us. Just a lover's quarrel."
Vaarsuvius made a strangled noise of outrage. With this, people began going back to their own doings. Relieved, Belkar looked back to Vaarsuvius only to find himself confronted with blazing purple eyes.
"What." They hissed through clenched teeth. "Illusion. Are. You. Under?"
Belkar grinned. He loved seeing Vaarsuvius mad, the fire in their eyes was incomparable. "Look, we need to get through one night without attracting attention. All the ladies will be all over me unless they think I have a date."
"Surely." They growled, furious.
"And you need Mr. Grabby over there to leave you alone." He jerked his head in the direction of the man who had approached Vaarsuvius.
The wizard looked over in concern that the man had been pursuing them. "I am perfectly capable of fending off suitors by myself."
"So what's the problem?" He insisted.
"The problem." They pinched the bridge of their nose. "Is that we are not nor even in the realm of possibility of being a romantic pair."
"Fake it." He hissed under his breath, seeing a person or two look over at them.
Vaarsuvius growled something unclear under their breath and grabbed his hand roughly. Belkar's breath hitched involuntarily and he allowed himself to be led further into the crowd. He willed himself to calm his beating heart, as the two have had previous interactions more intimate than a simple holding of the hand. But the feel of their hand on his was still precious, and he was almost too late to stop himself from tripping over the elf when they stopped.
"Listen to me you diminutive insect." They snarled, glaring up at him. "I am perfectly able to fend off any unwanted attention."
"Not without making a big deal of it, and probably not without blasting him. Also," he added "I'm Medium sized now."
Vaarsuvius' nosed crinkled up in a way Belkar adored, not that he'd ever admit it. The wizard opened their mouth to say something else but the enlarged halfling had had enough. He suddenly jerked back and used their held hands to spin the wizard.
Surprised at the sudden action, Vaarsuvius lowered their ears. Staring at Belkar in surprise, their mouth slightly agape, Vaarsuvius blinked. Belkar smirked and placed his free hand on the center of the elf's back.
The music was aggressive and sensual, a stereotypical tango. One violinist had gotten overly enthusiastic and was leading the song, leaning into his instrument with closed eyes and raised eyebrows.
Vaarsuvius was clearly about to send Belkar straight to the Nine Hells, so he sauntered to the side, turning the elf along with him in tune with the music. Vaarsuvius seemed to realize what he was doing and ducked out and backwards. With his grip on their hand Belkar spun the elf again, smirking devilishly. The wizard was clearly growing more and more irritated with him, and put a hand on his chest to push him away.
Belkar allowed himself to be pushed away, but incorporated it into the dance and continued on. He laughed quietly to himself, enjoying himself. Vaarsuvius stared at him in utter confusion as Belkar held out a hand, offering to dance.
What was with him? The halfling was never this nonsensical… But it was hard to ignore the genuine smile he wore –something that was rarely if ever without an evil connotation. This one was… happy. The most innocent he could possibly be. Hesitantly, and with a glance to see if the 'Randolph' man was still watching, they took his hand gently.