Title: Masks
Series: Fire Emblem 9 (precanon)
Character/Pairing: Sephiran
A/N: Spoilers hinted at. T'was done for challenge 15 at FE drabble at lj, but it went over. Done for Myaru as a feel-better-from-sickness gifty.

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Begnion was a decadent thing, like too-sweet chocolate that left a vile aftertaste on the tongue.
Ladies died under the weight of their flowered silks, woman fainted from the heat. A mere wrong pronunciation in a poetry reading could put one in poor standing about the court and ruin their name entirely. Sephiran dodged and delved deeper into this underworld of lies and facade. Appearances were everything, and his ethereal beauty gave him an edge in a vain world. He was handsome, witty and given to a serenity that was deeply admired by the court. He could quote even the most obscure of poetry from heart and was given to a wisdom beyond his years. Some had heard him singing on aside and found that too to be a beauty beyond compare, though he refused to preform in public, which was a momentary despair, but ladies were too fickle in their whims to be sad for the loss the any long period of time.

Courts had long memories for scandals, but whims and fads came easily. If high laced bodices were in this summer, before winter was in, they would be horribly out of fashion. Sephiran spoke with pursed lips, he danced their dances, spoke their lies and kissed the hands of bejeweled countesses and duchesses when offered. Once, he was called to help in a minor skit to be done by the royalty, a bit of playacting to ease the boredom of the elite.

Sephiran was complimented on the rich timbre of his voice as he enunciated the lines of his character, Cornelius, the man who fell for the Heron girl. It was a predictably tragic thing done by a Duke who was a far too blinded by his own concepts of beauty to see the flaws. They ran off together only to die in each other's arms. The lady Tremonet with her blond curls and wispy figure was an obvious choice for Falelia, the beautiful heron girl. Though she looked the part, the poor girl could not act. She stilted out lines until it was substituted for Heron chatter simply to save face. But Sephiran carried the performance with such a grace that put tears to the audience's eyes. His last monologue as Faleia died in his arms was filled with such passion. His lip quivered and his voice shook as he said the last lines before plunging the knife into his own breast. And man and beast hereafter shall never be joined, for the goddess hath forbidden such a union and would strike us down, and I wish it was to be the gods wrath upon me for no life is a life without my Falelia. My beating heart hath stopped upon the ground and lay beneath me, dying and dead to the world. And soon shall go I..

When he rose, it was to cheers and a shower of roses. This strange noble had proved his lot, even if he did come from some unfashionable place which no one had heard of, but everyone pretended they had simply to save face. From royals to scullery maids, everyone who had caught sight of the play was enchanted by the passion of this man of all trades, his skill for elocution and acting made Duke Tanas an automatic patron of Sephiran's own arts. Sephiran was more than a simply fashion, he was a bauble to be passed about the nobility, a sign of rank to have him bless their gatherings with his presence.

And with that, he grew. From outsider to into the inner core, Sephiran took many different roles. Entertainer, speaker, politician, and eventually guardian to an Apostle. He smiled and wiled his way through the ranks. It would take a true actor to survive what Begnion had become, and wasn't Sephiran the best of actors? His mask didn't fall with the closing of the curtain. He smiled and it was still firmly in place, a lie, the best and worst of lies formed to Tellius. A breath, a plan, another lie cloaked within a lie.

But there were truths within those falsities. When one acts one must carefully arrange the truth, like flower arranging. Such as hiding a rotting stem, or concealing the barbs of a rose so the pricking will be that much more painful. When the audience said that his first play was well acted, they had no idea that he had uttered those words, or some similar after the passing of a human woman who took his voice along with his heart to the cold grave with her.