Banquet of Tremors, massive passage.

Jester then grabbed him by the hand, much to Eli’s surprise, and led him into the audience hall. The sights that assailed Eli’s senses were overbearing. Hanging from crystal chandeliers were faerie-like girls who sparkling and danced, wings outstretched. The walls were covered with vines and roses of the most random of colors: red, blue, purple, brown, and even pink. As for the ground it was a series of inter-crossed rugs with depictions of various battles, artistic murals, and technological advancements.

Furthermore there were tables everywhere, sprawled out in completely random patterns. Some were pushed into the corners while others were right smack in the middle of the hall. The whole place looked like a myriad of chaotic jungle, where no rules or standards were followed. The majority of the crowd were humans, but there was also a wide minority of Nymphs, faeries, and advanced cyborgs posing as other life forms.

The activities that went on lacked any purpose and ranged across the disciplines. There was a group of Nymphs playing some sort of bubble dart game (where the bubbles would float in random directions and the player had to shoot them down) in the far back right corner. Whenever the dart tosser missed a bubble it would inevitably start to telepathically laugh hysterically as the dart embedded itself in one of the other Nymphs. Eli was confused at first, how can being impaled be fun? He thought to himself. His question was immediately answered when the most recent impaled Nymph took out the dart embedded in it’s torso and the wound closed immediately. Apparently the Nymphs had amazing regenerative powers, and no damage could prove fatal to them.

At another table a group of humans… or more specifically cyborgs posing as humans, were furiously typing out formula on a holographic 3D screen. Eli attempted to read what was going on on the screen, but quickly realized that it was way beyond his abilities.

“So are you going to gawk all night?”, asked Jester sarcastically, “Or are you going to follow me to the centre?”

“B-but why?”, asked Eli completely in a trance.

“To enjoy the festival more actively!”, shouted Jester, “Meren and Kelendis sit at the middle of the hall so that they can watch all of it!”

Jester didn’t wait for a response and grabbed Eli’s face and shook it without warning.

“STOP THAT!”, shouted Eli angrily, “What on Tsarsara was that for?!”

“Reality check”, explained Jester, “The Banquet can make you lose track of time, which is kinda the point really!”, Jester added a mischievous grin, “So follow me young one to Kelendis and Meren!”

I guess he is right, thought Eli, but what is the point of this place?

Oh you will learn soon enough, came a familiar voice inside of his head, just follow Jester, he’s a little nuts but he is completely aware of it.

GET OUT OF MY HEAD! Eli telepathically replied to the speaker.

That is like telling Prospertum to stop trying to destroy Gaia’s Rise or brainwashing it’s Hive, came back the reply.

It was then that Eli realized he was speaking to the ArchNymph Ilen.

Ugh I’ll never get used to you Nymphs, thought Eli back.

And we will never understand what a mouth is, what an ineffective way to speak and eat, came Ilen’s reply.

All of this telepathic think-talking took place over the span of three seconds, three seconds too long according to Jester. He once again grabbed Eli’s head and shook it.

“What are you on Eli? Did you smoke something when I wasn’t looking earlier today?”, he asked with concern in his eyes.

“Oh… Ilen was talking to me”, Eli said absent mindedly.

Jester snorted, “We all know that Nymphs don’t talk Eli”, he winked at him and took a step back spreading out his arms in resignation.

“You can hear them Jester?”

“Well DUH! I can hear them but no one else can, well except you, Meren, and Kelendis… and I guess the Nymphs themselves. It would be best if you didn’t tell anyone else about it”.

With that Jester grabbed Eli by the arm and forced him to follow him into the fray that was the banquet. Even though there were large volumes of bodies moving chaotically back and forth, somehow Jester navigated them through the crowd with no collisions. The colors that Eli saw while walking through the crowd were multi-faceted and disorienting, it really was like he was on a drug.

Eventually he and Jester made it to the center of the chamber. Sitting proud at the circular table was Meren, and at his side the fair and yet odd Kelendis. Meren’s short grey hair clung to his scalp and placed upon his brow was a crown of birch twigs. His cloak was a deep green which covered his body completely. He wore his signature black glove on his right hand, an emerald stud just over his pointer finger. His sharp face was stoic in expression and his eyes were fixed upon a display of cyborg humans arm wrestling sitting a table over.

As for Kelendis, her white-blond hair was up in a bun with a pair of sticks lodged within the bun. Her eyes were fixated upon the ceiling where several faeries were playing keep away from a rather flustered younger boy faerie. Kelendis wore a pitch black tight dress, that accented her figure, with stars etched in. Her eyes shone a deep emerald green and her lips were parted in a lovely smile. It was her who quickly looked down and noticed Eli and Jester, she quickly nudged Meren.

Meren ignored the initial nudge and so Kelendis leaned in and gave Meren’s ear a quick nibble. That got Meren’s attention immediately and he took his eyes off of the two cyborgs. He looked quizzically at Kelendis with a raised eyebrow. Kelendis giggled and then pointed at Jester and Eli smiling a deep half crescent. Meren turned to look directly at Eli, a wilful piercing gaze that made Eli feel very small. Then without warning Meren stood up and raised one of his muscular arms. The whole assembly immediately stopped making noise and Meren spoke:

“Every year on Hallow’s eve we here in L’Mura preform a great artistic dancing ritual. Humans are not simply machines meant to be used and discarded once they lack value”, Meren made a pause and looked at Eli beaming at him benevolently, he continued, “In Prospertum Zanara and Achladus inspired hatred and fear in order to get others to create for them. But no! Not here in L’Mura, we choose the Individualistic path over the Collective-Hive path”, once again he paused and looked lovingly at Kelendis, for a moment Eli thought he saw a single tear forming in his left eye, Meren shook himself and looked back at the hall, “This night is for all of you! Welcome to the Banquet of Tremors!”


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