5 - Morning Glories

Lotus wakes slowly, his eyes opening and blinking several times while he's still far under the waters. It takes a few minutes of this for his mind to get the notion of waking up, and even then he almost slips back into sleep once more. He feels more tired than he was before he sank under the soft, thick covers. He feels more tired than he's ever felt in his life.

He's also hungry.

Awareness comes to him as his attentions begin to focus on his surroundings. He's too hazy to feel alarmed at their alien nature. There's a reason, isn't there? It's on the cusp of his memories. He's staying at someone's house isn't he? He's a guest somewhere. This is his suite? Right. This is his suite that was given to him by the Peacock King.

Reality slides into place: cold, fast, and unwelcome.

Lotus has no choice but to rise now, there's nothing that staying in bed will do for him. He slips on a silk robe on a hook near the dresser. He stops, looking at his figure as it's framed in the dresser's mirror. There's that moment of study, morning reflection, and then he's off to take a bath. He's still got trail dirt on him, having been too tired last night to wash it off before he passed out.

He stops in the doorway to the bathroom. This is a little...this is something to take in.

Lotus isn't used to this level of luxury. But...he could get used to it.

It's not large, but the tub is deep and the water is very warm. There are enough oils set on little shelves next to the tub that Lotus could be here for days trying the different scents and seeing how they combine. There's brushes and sponges and a pumice stone and a buffer for his nails. The soaps are scented, colored and carved into intricate shapes and designs.

Time slips by in the bathroom. It's time in which Lotus doesn't think about the mess he's made for himself, doesn't think about his estranged family, doesn't think about the King he's in service to or the animism he's been hired to train. What thinking he does is limited to exploring the bath and its features and all the little extras in it. It's a light kind of thought - narcissic contemplation. It's also much more theraepeutic than the sleep Lotus got last night.

He emerges from the tub, dries off, and readies himself for the day. He has to look a certain way for his current job. There's one of the uniform robes, first of all. There's his hair, pulled up in the flower-shaped knot he adopted in Astoniarche. And then there is the matter of makeup, which is one of the few things he brought here with him, one of the most important things he could posess.

He opens the wooden case - simple, elegant, and best of all, sturdy enough to withstand long journeys. He goes to work. The eyes are first, always first. The eyes catch a person and tell them who Lotus is and what he's there to do. Who will he be communicating with? What will he need to tell them? Lotus doesn't know all of who he will meet today, but he knows the two key players he must confront - the Peacock King and Faun.

...What does he want to say to them?

He doesn't want to be dominated by either, as much as one is now his employer. He wants to show himself as the boss of himself, possibly the boss of Faun. As much as he doesn't want to break Faun...he has a job now. A job that may possibly become a cover for what he may really be here for. He needs to play his role well. He also needs to make a show of allegiance to the King, even while establishing his independence.

What do animals communicate danger with? Reds and yellows. But red also implies food, nectar, meat. Lotus doesn't want to associate himself with that. Yellows, then? The King does use the range of yellow, umber and gold for some of his marks and motifs. They're not his signature color of peacock green, but they're still related.

Ochre to paint the shadows of his eyes, light gold to mark the highlights. A delicate rim of copper at the eyeline to catch attention and fix his gaze upon others. Warm, muddy brown to coat his lashes. A dust of warm powder along his cheekbones to sharpen them, elongate his sometimes-too-young face just a bit. Dark brown lips, to emphasize his mouth, make the animism focus on his words. And who knows, he might have to descend to baring his teeth at the creature to make his point known.

Lotus considers painting his nails, then remembers that in some rare cases, food must come before beauty. He's ravenous enough to devour his powder brush.

* * *

I immediately awake when I hear the faintest whisper of treachery in the vicinity or percieve even a hint of movement. In those cases I'm up in a flash, wits razor sharp and mind focused like a hawk's, guns cocked and ready.

Of course, when there's no unforseen intrusion to be my alarm clock, I'm slow as Hell to wake up and twice as cranky.

I'll not detail my morning, given the aforementioned factors. Instead I'll only note that my crankiness this morning is owed to having to sit through my brother giving the audience a lecture on his overeffiminate indulgences because I accidentally kept following his mind after his dreams were spent. I ready myself for the day and I make way to the palace via trickery unseen.

Brother has his Duty now. I have my own observations to make.

Once I arrive in the Palace, I check in on my brother to see just where he is, and hopefully, just where the Peacock King is. If 'Lotus' is going to be in a position to keep the King so conveniently occupied, I might as well take my full advantage of it.

* * *

Lotus stands outside of Faun's cage, looking over the animism with an expression that gives away little of his opinion on it. His attentions aren't focused on the creature at all, truth be told. While his gaze is cast ahead, his focus is on the tall figure of royalty standing at his side, and on parsing the prickly feeling of that figure looking down upon Lotus.

He can feel the King smile at him.

"Lotus. It has been quite a long time since I've been able to show my collection to someone that would truly appreciate it. I daresay you might even learn something that may be of use to you when you apply your services to my newest accquisition." His hand drops onto Lotus's shoulder, the grip polite but firm. Lotus can't help but note the King's taste in nail polish. "You've only had the chance to accquaint yourself with the lesser animals. I can show you something much more grand."

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