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Dancing Downtown [Training]

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1 Dancing Downtown [Training] on 29/01/18, 05:15 pm

ZUZU MANSUR
In a rundown district of the capital, Zubaidah dragged herself along the streets, her pockets thoroughly empty. That said, they had not ever been full of any money, since she had lost it all during her unexpected fall from the skies, and only now that she realised she needed a place to stay had she checked for the presence of money. Unable to afford being particular about her tastes for a room to stay, wanting only to have respite from the dying summer sun, she decided to stay at the next place that offered a room.

    And so, she arrived at a place that seemed relatively inexpensive, its wooden exterior showing signs of disrepair as patches of varnish had been worn away, exposing the marked wood behind. Just happy that she had found a place that she could stay, Zubaidah ignored its outer looks and pushed on the door, rough wooden splinters cutting into her palm in response to her efforts. Despite this, she continued to push until the hinges squealed as though warning her of the danger, but their plea was silenced by a wall of noise toppled out from within; the sounds of merriment and the overpowering tones of an erhu. Intrigued by this late gathering in such a rundown place, Zubaidah advanced inside, taking in the conversations that swirled together, as thick as the alcohol that filled the cups of the many customers.
   
mag/mag | word/word | stam/stam



Last edited by Zuzu Mansur on 10/06/18, 03:53 pm; edited 2 times in total


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2 Re: Dancing Downtown [Training] on 07/03/18, 07:34 pm

ZUZU MANSUR
Seating herself at a table, Zubaidah placed a thumb in the air in order to signal for a server to come to her. Seeing her thumb, a young man, tray in hand, traversed the brash room in order to reach her, his black hair rippling in waves as he manoeuvred past tables of jaunty customers. A smile broke out on his face as he arrived at her table and spoke to Zubaidah,

    ‘A new customer, eh?’ Zubaidah smiled slightly as he said that, asking, ‘How’d you know?’ Tapping his nose, he answered with a jesting tone, ‘Miss, it’s my job to know all about my customers - it helps to decreases serving times and reduces my workload when I have a rough idea of what sort of drink they’re looking to drown their sorrows in or celebrate their successes with. Besides, how could I ever forget such a beauty like you?’

    Zubaidah laughed at his remark and leant her chin on a marble white hand as she replied to him, ‘Quite the overconfident one, are we? Just because you have such a luscious mane doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be an instant hit among the ladies.’ The server smirked as he replied, ‘This lion is proud of his mane- it took quite some time to get it into this style and maintain it. By the way, the name’s Huijin, your extremely charming server for today.’

    ‘And apparently a modest one at that… Well, my name is Zubaidah, and you better remember that, Lion.’ Huijin mockingly put on a wounded look, ‘We’ve already gotten to the point of using petty nicknames? Quite a fierce Tiger you are.’

    Resolving their differences with a silent glare at each other before breaking into good-natured laughter, Huijin asked her for an order, to which Zubaidah asked for whatever could satisfy her sweet tooth and her thirst. Nodding his head in acknowledgment, he once more weaved his way through the full tables and ducked behind the counter. As she struggled to make out his figure, she could see him take an amber alcohol within a thin glass container and pour it into a different receptacle before mixing it vigourously together with a liquid beryl, combining with each other in an entrancing swirl that attracted the attention of any customer whose sights been so much as caught sight of the vibrant green that evoked an soothing image of green waves clasping one another among the vast expanse of the sea. Yet, he was not finished; after dropping a stunning pearl of lime into the mixing receptacle and draping a fresh leaf of some sort onto the lip of a low-sided glass, the previous drink cascaded down into it, mesmerising Zubaidah’s thoughts as she observed Huijin’s graceful movements, delicate touch and finesse in the entire process.

    Meeting Zubaidah’s gaze, he winked at her and placed it on his server’s tray before darting yet again between similarly entranced customers whose eyes were fixed on the liquid scenery that Huijin placed in front of her. Urged on by both his and the other customer's expectant faces, Zubaidah picked up the glass carefully and raised it to her nose, the beautiful but strong floral notes lulling the mind while giving rise to gentler undertones of anise and a light woodiness. Lowering it to her mouth, she sipped at it slowly, drawing a slow trickle into her tongue. At that moment, Zubaidah’s head was filled with memories of her youth; excursions with her father out to sea, training sessions in the sparring room, strolling in the streets of the capital, all of them seemed to flood into her mind at a single drop upon her tongue as her eyes widened in surprise at the familiar taste.

    ‘Other than the obvious woodiness, there is a hint of lime that adds an unexpected kick to the entire drink, it truly brings out the other flavours from the aniseedy liqueur. That taste is from the addition of the sap drawn from an Apset tree, Tiger, which is found predominantly across the Parthevia plains. I thought I might serve you a cocktail that is a liquid taste of your homeland.’ Upon seeing the questioning look that Zubaidah, Huijin elaborated, ‘The purple hair that you have is a rare colour when considering the entire world, but is fairly common in certain parts of Parthevia. Along with your particular manner of speech and even your seated posture, I was able to narrow this guess to a practical certainty. With this information, I was able to develop a drink perfect for your tastes; remember, I said that it’s my job to know everything about a customer. It is quite important to be able to develop that skill in order to cater to different people.’

    Upon a bell being rung, Huijin immediately left the table once again and disappeared behind a pair of sliding doors before emerging with another tray that he presented to Zubaidah with little flourish. On it was a C Tier elegant light sponge cake, with thin layers of sponge slotted between chartreuse lime curd and vanilla laced whipped cream, and then decorated with amber sugarwork, candied citrus and sprigs of mint to top it off. Another jewel whose entire display was almost alleviated into a new level by the presence of the sparking cocktail, the two serving to improve upon each other. And sure enough, Huijin agreed with that thought exactly, ‘This dessert was baked to utilise the unique aftertastes of the Apset tree’s sap, the flavours working together in synthesis.’ Taking a generous portion of this delicate sponge onto her fork, Zubaidah experienced a perfect combination of lime and aniseed working together with the vanilla to deliver a satisfying taste. ‘The idea is that the dessert expands upon the themes that the cocktail presented to the palate by refreshing the tired customer and yet allowing for the consumer to be left satisfied and ready for the next act.’ With Zubaidah surprised by Huijin’s mention of one more ‘act’, Huijin clarified his meaning, ‘This next act involves no eating, but rather observing. You’ll see, Tiger.’

   
mag/mag | word/1238 | stam/stam


Spoiler:


Name: Luxury Cake
Tier: C
Description A moderately sized meal.
Effect: Allows the user to recover 50 magoi while resting.


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3 Re: Dancing Downtown [Training] on 17/04/18, 04:02 pm

ZUZU MANSUR
Zubaidah’s smile widened in anticipation of this coming ‘act’ and she waited patiently as she sipped on Huijin’s delicious cocktail. With only a slight further reddening of the cheeks, Zubaidah’s attention was wrenched away from her full cup by cheering erupting from the her left; turning her attention to that direction, she could see that a large space had been cleared out among the tables with a thin varnished wooden pole are erected in the centre. Intrigued, Zubaidah looked closer and saw a young woman with a delicate hand clasped around the pole, loose purple fabrics wrapped around her chest and waist and covering her mouth, a sultry smile smouldering through the material while eyes the colour of burning coal fixed themselves upon the crowd. With only a tentative flick of her wrists, the room settled down to a surprising quiet and all attention was gathered all together at this one woman whose hips started to sway in a circular motion. As the scratching tones of the erhu resumed their lilting tune, a drumbeat began to play in time with each rotation of the dancer’s hips, pushing their rhythm ever faster.

As her movements accelerated, a tan arm snaked upwards of the pole joining with the other that now hauled the dancer’s body towards the base. With a fluid turn of her foot, her entire body twisted it’s way into the pole and entangled itself around the base, turning and turning around at ever quicker speeds. Her serpentine figure wound its way around the pole with mesmerizing appeal, all thoughts fading away in place of her body that continued to turn in its tantalising motion.

Her movements flowed with a dazzling grace that took away the breath of every person in her audience. The woman closed her eyes as she felt her soul become one with the music and she unleashed her raging emotions into her dance. She needed to unleash this as badly as she needed to breath, her entire being moving in time with her soul. With each motion she made, it became more painfully obvious how much heart she put into her routine and how punishing it was for her. Music, to her, was like turning back the clock, returning to a time full of agony and loss. She embraced the music and in turn the music took control, finding herself in that different time. A time of pain.

But no one saw the tears she let roll down her pale cheeks from this. No one except for a certain purple-haired girl sitting towards the back of the room, her own wet eyes transfixed upon the dancer's lithe figure - the routine bringing back bittersweet memories into the mind of Zubaidah. In her mind’s eye, she saw her mother’s purple hair trailing behind in undulating waves as the sound of tambourines pounded their incessant rhythm, her feet padding across a white marble floor as she danced to a song of her own composition. The lyrics she had sung still rang out in Zubaidah’s ears and brought tears to her eyes as she remembered a certain verse.

Although I knew that we had lost
The hope and glory of our life;
And now, benighted, tempest-tossed,
Must bear alone the weary strife.


   
mag/mag | word/2401 | stam/stam


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4 Re: Dancing Downtown [Training] on 09/05/18, 04:29 pm

ZUZU MANSUR
The lazy wind pushed against the flaked wood of the room like a child sending dandelion seeds on their way, peeled paint trailing across the sky while the early autumn sun observed the dreary town below. Eyelids fluttered open as those rays of gold glanced into Zubaidah’s room, detecting the the tell tale signs of a woman still enjoying the vestiges of a dream and not yet fully wanting to bid goodbye to that purple-haired lady who had now graced her dreams for over a week. Each night, her mother’s dance repeated its haunting rhythm and invited Zubaidah to join in and feel the flowing melody of the body together. Each night, she lost herself to the sound of the drums and woke up with a heartbeat echoing that of the percussion. But today, she had determined she would do something with this dream.

    Foregoing her usual reconnaissance and training periods after her breakfast of a thick congee paired with barley tea, she went straight out of the inn, much to Huijin’s chagrin, and headed down the weather beaten path out of town. She did not know exactly know where she wanted to go, but she knew who she wanted to find and that seemed to guide her feet down the path without anything in control. As she continued further through into the jasmine scented forests, a song carried itself on the winds that rustled the delicate leaves, leading Zubaidah’s feet ever closer to her destination.

Flower of jasmine, so fair!
Flower of jasmine, so fair!
Budding and blooming here and there,
Pure and fragrant all do declare.
Let me pick you with tender care,
Sweetness for all to share.
Jasmine fair, oh Jasmine fair.


    The song was irresistibly sweet, yet a strange sadness was laced in these words. The melody purred to the soul, piercing through and engulfing Zubaidah’s entire being from within. Unable to merely listen to this unbearably bittersweet melody, Zubaidah intruded upon the purveyor of such beauty. Hearing her footsteps, the singer turned around to face Zubaidah, a knowing smile on her lips and coal-black eyes glinting in the sunlight, to reveal the lithe form of the dancer from the inn.

‘Ah, it took you long enough to get here, I’ve been waiting way too long for you to find me. I thought it was quite obvious where I was, but perhaps I concealed myself far too well in the foliage.’ Zubaidah could only give a small confused raise of the eyebrow at this, ‘You were expecting me? How did you know I would be following you in order to ask for your help?’ At this, the dancer laughed a silken giggle, ‘To me, there is nothing more perfect than a jasmine flower. Five white petals with sunshine yellow in the middle. When I was little, I would go into the garden to see them, dew on the petals, caressed by the first light of the new dawn. Their fragrance was like some sort of calming presence me, making me happy, serene, even with only a single flower. When there are no jasmine flowers that I can find, I rely on my perfume, but nothing is as magical to me as the scent of the real flower itself. You have the feel of jasmine perfume about you - you are trying to relive some sensation from the past, but cannot fully bring about the same feeling. And I have a good guess that sensation is related to song and dance - let me see, perhaps something from your homeland that you miss, or something your family would enjoy - and so have come to me to ask for my tutelage.’

    ‘When I was much younger,’ Zubaidah replied, ‘My mother would entertain the palace with these brilliant flowing dances native to Parthevia, and I wish to revive her dances and honour her memory. Ever since that first evening when you performed that mesmerising dance, I have had this same recurring dream of my mother’s dance and I think it is a sign that I take up that mantle and dance myself.’

    ‘Pardon me if I am intruding in personal details, but did your mother have the family name of ‘bint Atta’?’ Answering with a curious expression, Zubaidah confirmed that was the maiden name she had prior to her marriage. The dancer’s face lit up with a strange excitement, ‘I will most definitely take you on as a student - fate must have drawn us together, for the ‘bint Atta’ family line is one known for its unique dance that owes itself to the slender frame of each of the female descendants - I would be honoured if a daughter of that family wanted to be taught under me! My name is Ho Lea, I’m pleased to formally meet you.’

   
mag/mag | word/2649 | stam/stam



Last edited by Zuzu Mansur on 13/08/18, 10:41 am; edited 2 times in total


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5 Re: Dancing Downtown [Training] on 10/06/18, 04:31 pm


ZUZU MANSUR
Slowly and reluctantly, Zubaidah opened her drooping eyelids, blinking once before closing them. Hearing a knock at the door, her eyelids flickered open once again, and registered the full autumn sunlight glancing over her. Suddenly aware of the time being late into the morning, Zubaidah’s eyes widened further with a fierce panic as she furiously chucked in a plain white dress, this alarm cracking her voice as she shouted out to the person who had knocked earlier,

‘Damn you, Lion! Why the hello didn’t you wake me earlier! I told you to get me up early so I could get practising with Ho Lea!’ An exasperated sigh came from behind the door, as Huijin let loose his own opinion, ‘Calm down, Tiger! I saw that you’ve been so tired for the past few weeks, so I thought maybe it would be good for you to relax for once; you were down there training from early morning past dusk! You must take practice slightly laxer.’ Clearly irritated with him, Zubaidah rushed out of the room and left without more than a simple sharp comment in Huijin’s direction. ‘I know my limits, and I’m not at them yet.’

Running as fast as she could down the overgrown path into the jasmine grove that lay deep in the verdant forest, Zubaidah almost collapsed to the ground once she had reached her training grounds. A full-bodied laugh caressed her exhausted ears, as Ho Lea steadied her body against her own, ‘Oh dear, it will not be easier to train when you’re so tired! How about we have a small rest before starting up for the day; if you continue to push your leg any further, it may cause more pain for you.’

Sighing lightly, Zubaidah shook her head and looked at Ho Lea with a steely gaze, ‘I accepted your offer because I wanted to carry my mother’s legacy, and honour her dancing. How could I even begin to do so if I do not utilise your excellent teaching as much as possible? I can’t afford to stop my training now, especially when I’m so close to finalising my style!’ With this, Zubaidah slowly rose to her feet and made her way to the smooth wooden pole erected in the centre of the grove, and began her daily routine once more. Smiling, Ho Lea quietly remarked to herself, ‘With this girl’s talents, she’s already surpassed the ‘bint Atta’ style…’

mag/mag | word/3053 | stam/stam


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6 Re: Dancing Downtown [Training] on 12/08/18, 04:54 pm

ZUZU MANSUR
Drops of sweat adorned the tan skin which intertwined with the polished wood at the centre of a jasmine grove. Lilac cloth rippled above the emerald-stained earth which subsided into a pale chestnut. All this colour danced beneath a still black sky.

    The brown of autumn leaves paved the streets which bathed in the light of the tired sun, the same which shown upon the room of a purple-haired girl. The chipped shutters had been drawn closed, however, and left this girl to sleep soundly in the darkened place - not once had she stirred from such a deep slumber. So deep it was that she had not noticed the two figures creeping towards the window. It was too late for her to act when the shutters had been flung wide open and let the white light stream upon the white sheets she was rolling upon. With an irritated yawn, she tentatively fluttered her eyelids to register a lion-haired bartender and a delicately-poised dancer standing over her, concerned looks upon their faces.

    ‘Zubaidah,’ Ho Lea placed a hand upon the girl’s chin, ‘My dear, how hard you have worked for your dream. Such dedication should be commended.’ Huijin interrupted her with a more forceful tone. ‘This is not something we should commend! You’ve been secretly practicing in the jasmine grove in your own at night, haven’t you! That’s why you’ve always been so exhausted in the daytime, and been complaining about pains in your legs…’

    A weak laugh spilled from Zubaidah’s mouth, as she retorted, ‘What do you mean about me being exhausted, I am completely fine!’ Attempting to illustrate her point, she tried to push herself onto her elbows - and yet in that she struggled. Confused at her lack of strength, she tried once more, only to meet failure again.

    ‘Tiger,’ Huijin forced her body back into bed, a kind gaze meeting Zubaidah’s defiance, ‘That’s enough, don’t waste anymore energy. You need rest, and I mean proper rest.’ With a wave, he departed from the room, promising to bring whatever help she wished. Thanking him for his considerate words, Zubaidah turned to the gentle-armed Ho Lea who had decided to impart something more to her beloved student.

‘My dear pupil, we will resume your practice once you have recovered your strength. But do not worry about the progress you are making. I must confess I knew of your midnight sessions prior to Huijin’s discovery last night… Your form was impeccable, but it was not that of your mother’s style, nor of mine - you had devised your own unique style with knowledge of my techniques and memories of your mother’s moves. You may not even need me anymore, but I would be honoured if you were to continue under my tutelage.’ Zubaidah smiled with a genuinely bright beam, embracing her mentor while confirming her desire to continue, to which Ho Lea reciprocated her beloved student. ‘I thank you, dear Zubaidah, I am so grateful… I have one more request, or even a question. What will you call this style you have managed to create?’

    ‘The Sukhainah style.’


   
60/60 | 3518/3500 |165/165


Asherah Form - 1000/1000
Bahli Form - 1000/1000
Warrior D Rank to C Rank - 500/500


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