Sometimes Writing is Hard

Listen, I love writing. I even love writing about how I love writing. But sometimes it kicks me in the face. I feel the limits my own understanding and just have to push against them. And this never seems to be in the weird, out of this world stuff. Need an ogre to lay the smack down while wielding chainsaw. Sounds awesome, sign me up. Arcane magic hamster. Let’s roll.

But the almost everyday details of what it would be like to live in those worlds? That gets hard. I’m currently working on the Sequel. Specifically a chapter that deals with our heroes getting ready to crash a fancy party. I know I want them to look good and be of a style. But my knowledge consists of what I wore in theatrical productions throughout high school and college. And wikipedia.

Still, I don’t think it came out too bad. For a first draft at least. (Slight spoilers for Deadly Troubadours follow.)

The easiest fit was Aleksander. He dressed simply. Black breeches tucked into knee length black leather boots with a thick cuff. His wide-collared shirt was the rich blue color of a spring sky at midday. His long golden hair was worn loose. It was a simple outfit that was elevated by the bard’s attractiveness. To pull together the outfit, and give himself the proper respect, he wore a quilted half cape that was mostly made up of black velvet. However, stitched onto that field of velvet were square outlines of solid color. Each square was about the size of a hand and was each a different shade. The entirety of the rainbow was represented. Due to the thinness of the square outlines rather than being a blinding display of color, the cape came off as subdued and friendly to the eyes. It also accomplished the task of marking Aleksander as a bard of the highest order. That he carried with him his mandolin, which he was eager to exercise at the ball, would surely quiet any doubts as to his reason for being at the ball. In Tryst true musicians were always welcome to gatherings and Aleksander was, after all, the Master of Song.

Where Aleksander declared himself with colors, Talbert retreated into monochrome. From the waist down he was dressed the same as his bardic ally. From the waist up it was a different story. Where Aleksander gave himself over to color, Talbert maintained the discipline of a simple black doublet from which sprang full white sleeves. The doublet was accented with a simple silver chain across the waist and silver pin on its high collar. For his hair, and its thick, black, tight curls which he was letting go longer and more natural, be brushed them back with a simple silver band. The effect was that of tame neatness before the band and a small explosion of thick hair after.

Despite their differences there was a similar thread of restraint that ran through the clothing choices of Talbert and Aleksander. That restraint enhanced the over all impression their respective outfits made. While no one would confuse them with the truly elite members of Tryst, they would not look altogether out of place at the evenings ball. On the other hand, Demetrius dressed with the goal to impress. Unfortunately, none of the materials he possessed was all that impressive and all of it was made up of the fakes kind of gold. Every finger was dotted with a ring and most rings were dotted with a shiny bauble. That most of the rings were simple iron covered in metallic paint did not seem to bother the young mage, nor did the fact that the most valuable bauble was a polished piece of sand crystal. The least valuable was a broken hunk of colored glass that threatened to leave a scar before the night was finished. While the rings were certainly eye-catching in their gaudiness that was only the beginning of the outfit. Every scrap of clothing, from the purple pants to the almost matching purple shirt, was accented with golden cloth hastily sewn along the sides. Completing the outfit was a should piece that looked as if it was liberated from a junior stage troupe production of “The Knight’s Torment.” Needless to say that too had been painted gold. An observant eye could even notice how at some stage of Demetrius’s constructing outfit the shoulder armor had been tried on while not completely dry as there was  a few dots of gold visible on the left breast of his shirt.

“Maybe if you enter together they will think he is part of the entertainment,” suggested Talbert to their resident musician. Aleksander couldn’t control the look of resentment that washed over his face, but he cleared it off in an instant and gave a small shrug.

“Perhaps I can find a flag for him to hold. Or a sparkle torch. Something to draw attention away from the outfit,” Alek offered.

“I don’t see why you would waste time thinking about me when you know Kestra is going to the the real problem,” Demetrius said, obviously overhearing his two friends’ comments.

“I’m pretty sure Kestra knows how to dress for a formal event,” Talbert responded.

“Well, knowing how and agreeing to do so are likely two different matters.”

As if on cue the lady in question entered dressed very much the same as any other occasion. That entailed a pair of sturdy, yet maneuverable boots. Trousers that fit the same category and had a matching color that resembled, but was somehow not quite, brown. Above that was a simple doublet, red in color and with brass buttons. Underneath that poked out white shirt sleeves that terminated at her biceps. On her hands were gloves that, while lacking fingers, were laced down almost to her elbows, but rather that being the soft and silky things that most men expected to see on a lady’s hand at a ball, these gloves carried a weight to them and had a slightly pronounced ridge over her knuckles. In short they were the gloves of a fighter, especially those of a fighter that was going out expecting a fight. A point that was seized on almost immediately by the others.

“Kestra, if you don’t mind my asking,” said Aleksander, who continued without first finding out whether or not Kestra did indeed mind. “Are you expecting there to be much punching at the ball? As I understand it, punching is the first sign of a bad party. Or possible the last sign of a good party.”

“You mean to say that the three of you aren’t going in armed?”

The three of them looked at her a little dumbfounded.

“Kestra, its a Welcome Ball,” began Demetrius.

“There is going to be dancing and fine, elegant spirits. There is no need to be armed,” finished Talbert.

Then it was Kestra’s turn to stare dumfounded at her companions.

“Need I remind you that this ball is to be for the upper crust of Tryst. Heads of various well-connected Guilds, not to mention the many city officials that will take part.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of out point…” said Demetrius.

“Being so well attended,” continued Kestra, “It will also be will guarded by the Scarlets. Also, their Lord Commander Trin will also be in attendance. You might remember Trin as the man who said they are investigating rumor of a certain dragon being brought to Tryst by a group unscrupulous characters. As we happen to be the characters in question and I can’t shake the certainty that the dragon’s child is somewhere hidden away in the golden nightmare Demetrius is calling an outfit, I’m preparing for the possibility of violence followed by a quick escape. How about the rest of you?”

There was a moment of silence followed by the three boys jointly mumbling about needing to grab a few quick things before they were ready to leave. While they were attending to the last minute preparations, Kestra took to wondering if the red doublet brought out the red of her hair or struggled against it. She also wondering if the band of gold she wore around her left bicep would stay in place if she needed to punch a few guards in the face. She hoped so. When the last of the preparations were under way they were off.


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