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Delta: Confrontation

Anieka was having one of the best nights of her young life. She was beautiful, she was turning heads of men and women throughout the room, and for once she felt graceful under the eyes of real men. Tyrel had escorted her in and introduced her to several of the younger nobility, passing a gentle word to a couple of the young men suggesting dances that would suitably entertain without being too complicated for someone not raised in Rael. He left her once he was sure she would enjoy this company, promising to collect his dance once the exuberance of youth had been worn down somewhat. And all done with a smile that was for her alone.

As the night passed Ania found her dance card pleasantly full. Even Pietro had slunk out of his corner to join her and Kat in a turn around the floor during a peasant circle dance. She was taking a brief rest with a cup of light wine late in the night when Tyrel showed up again for his payment. A couple's dance. Slow, elegant, with his gentle hands to guide her so it looked as if she had done this all her life. Anieka felt a magical warmth that stayed with her as Tyrel guided her off the floor as the musicians shifted to a more spritely dance. Caught up in her own moment, she didn't question when Tyrel gently caught her chin in his hand. Her head tilted up and, as if she wasn't in her own body, she watched as he leaned down to press his lips to hers.

Anieka was not a complete stranger to kissing. She had her memories of playground boyfriends and intimate meetings with her pillow. This kiss was so far beyond anything she had ever experienced that it literally made her head spin. There was a near physical buzz that traveled from where his lips held hers up the back of her head to enfold her in a warm electric current around her brain. As if from a great distance she heard the duke ask if she was feeling alright. She never saw the feral smile as she answered by collapsing in his arms.
---

Brent was definitely not having one of his better nights. He'd already started with a headache from getting no useful sleep the night before. After getting chewed out by Ryan for being a crazy worrywart he had spent most of evening being barely polite to the few ladies who took his brooding to be mysterious aloofness and taking in a bit too much of the spiced wine. It tasted so weak compared to what he really wanted to drink just then that he didn't pay attention until the headache threatened to split his skull. His stomach wasn't exactly pleased with him either, and as the night wore on he seriously considered taking his discomfort elsewhere. If he hadn't caught Ryan pointedly looking at him a couple times to make sure he was doing his diplomatic duty Brent would have disappeared, but the prospect of a lecture in the morning made him decide to suffer now instead.

Something in the set of the dancers, the change in music as couples left the floor to make room for another, faster dance, and Brent had to swallow hard as the feeling of creeping doom he'd had all day kicked him in the gut. Snarling at a hand that tried to drag him out to dance he pushed through the swirling partiers, ignoring dirty looks and pointed comments until he reached his commander and grabbed his shoulder.

Ryan

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