[SK] Open to the Court This place had once been New York City. The world had once been a normal place. Women walked the streets in their heels doing errands and men in suits went about the business of the day. Children went to school and life went around and around in that constant whirlwind of absolute dullness. The time of normalcy has long since passed. Now, the world is a far darker place, the sun does not shine. Demons run the streets as they pleased and leading them was the Court. None of those still alive know exactly why the Court is in power. All they know is that to cross the Court is to cease to exist. So very very simple truthfully.
The Court worked out a mansion, formerly of Victorian make, though it now resembled more of a Gothic cathedral. It sprawled across the landscape around it, a lazing predator, beneath it a web of catacombs and dungeons known for supping upon its victims. Inside those walls, a woman made a stately advance down a hall only sparsely lit by a succession of candles. A black corset with silver laces held her posture perfectly, black hair settled around her shoulders in soft waves. She wore modified gloves, fingerless moving up to her wrists and then turning into nothing more than ribbons up to her shoulders. Her hands, nails carefully manicured, held a tea set so carefully that it did not rattle as she moved down the hall. From her hips to her ankles, a collection of ribbons moved around her body. Black ribbons with silver edges. The room she entered was a sitting room, a grand piano dominating one end, Persian rugs strewn across the floor. The wane light came through stained glass windows in a crimson shade. The walls as if nothing more than shadows. In the center of the room, a large table surrounded by chairs. Two of them different from the rest. This is the hall of the Court.
A man, pale to the point of death, sat at the table in one of the chairs, his hands before him in a stance of deep thought. He did not look up at her when she came to the edge of the table and silently shifted the tray onto the table before him. The other members of the court would be there soon. That was why she brought tea now because he would not wish her interrupting once the others appeared. It was best that his Shade be no more than a shadow by the time the others appeared. The Queen. The Magician. The Witch. The Monster. They were all so far above her. Only his patronage kept her from becoming one more sacrifice to their games. Her hands moved across the tea set, setting out a cup, its corresponding saucer, there was sugar and cream easily at hand should he desire them. With measured motions, she poured his tea into his cup. Once she put the teapot back, she picked up a folded napkin with its hidden cargo of a silver pin as long as her middle finger. She took the pin and easily inserted it into her skin, drawing heavy beads of blood to the surface which she allowed to fall into his cup with soft plinking sounds. "For the Queen also, my King?" Though she had been awake for many hours, these were nearly the only words she had spoken all day. It was not unusual for Shade to fall silent for long periods. If neither the King nor Queen spoke to her, she could go for days without speaking. Such was her devotion.
"No," he still had not looked at her. Nor would he. Shade existed to survive him; he did not have to acknowledge her existence. Such was the nature of the Kingship, he could choose what he wished to be bothered with. "Not unless she specifically requests it." The same linen napkin which had wrapped the pin was used to staunch the bleeding, Shade moving with the same slowly beautiful motions. He moved to rise from his place and she hastily moved from his immediate way, blind green eyes lowering as if she feared she would see him though she could see nothing at all. He wore the garments of a king, shades of black and crimson against his white skin.
"Will that be all, my King?" She leaned carefully into the sensation of his fingers moving across her cheek, smoothing back the edges of her hair.
"For now," he swept away from the table, leaving the tea to sit. It did not interest him at the moment. Nothing did. It was time for the Court to move against those who stood against them. But he would wait to discuss it with the court. While he certainly could simply do as he pleased, things worked much better when he had the court behind him. "Play for me, Shade. But not above the level of conversation." She moved to the piano at his direction and the first strains of music filtered through the air.