Varos has been asked to ‘acquire’ a certain Dogwood fashionista. One Anna Karenenova. For Jericho Trent. What Jericho might want with the woman is anyone’s guess, but it’s tied to Connor Trent and the Baronets attempt to … seize control of his Guild.
Planning these things aren’t easy and timing is everything. He has to be able to get the Fashionista away quickly and without much comment. Not so easy to do considering the woman’s popularity.
The annual Art Review, hosted in one of the Conference Centres in The Complex, may provide just the opportunity that Varos is looking for.
It’s well into the evening and the conference centre is lit up like a christmas tree, lights twinkling in the dark and enticing art and fashion lovers all over to attend.
He might have liked the opportunity to attend something like this under more normal circumstances, but today he’s on a mission, or rather he’s been on an extended one, for that’s more his current mindset. His hair’s still black, the top portion and his bangs swept back and tied to stay in place. At least this is a fancy sort of affair, and so getting slightly dressed up, even in what might be considered unusual attire, might be more acceptable and expected than just out about in Dogwood. Figuring that the best way to entice Karenenova’s interest is to dress up in a way that would draw her curiosity. He knows these fashionistas, having played the part of one for years. Eager to be the top at the newest designs, even if they might ‘borrow’ ideas and plunge into unknown waters, but fashion itself is always a risk.
In his opinion, black makes him look taller. The subtle boost of his boots certainly doesn’t hurt, of course. Varos walks among the crowds in true blacks tonight, not an unusual color when black and white is the easiest to be formal in, but not the usual cut either. The suit he wears is business in simplification, fitted, straight-lined, and with side panels of black scale hide. The heavy cloak he wears is only thrown fully over one shoulder, purposely allowing more than a glimpse of the suit he wears beneath it, but not to be dismissed so much as complimenting. A pewter brooch in the shape of an avian’s talons acts as a clasp to hold the cloak closed just below his collar and off to the left. The cloak itself is layered at the top, dark feathers making up the topmost that covers his shoulders, and not the sort of fluffy ones used for boas and trim. These are smooth and pressed, natural as a raven’s wing. It gives way to another cut of cloth with edges styled to mimic the feathered, winged look, fluttering subtly with his movement and apart from the base layer of black that falls just past his knees, the end purposely ragged, a visual study of elegance with a hint of the raw wild beneath.
Varos’ mask is more like one for a masquerade, enveloping nearly half of his face and seeping over both eyes like a shadow, edged with subtly shiny black feathers. One can’t say that he hasn’t been looking for an excuse to dress up this way. Mindful of keeping an ‘eye’ out for his quarry, he sweeps along through the conference center’s halls, and it’s not difficult to play the part of an interested attendee. And if he can’t find Anna first, perhaps she might notice him.
Anna Karenenova is indeed at the event. She has a small showcase of some of her fashions. Fashion is art after all and Karenenova has some very unique designs. It’s not hard to find her, there’s a small gaggle of noblewomen gathered around the woman, all with champagne flutes in their hands. Their gowns glitter and glow in the lights of the building and somehow they form an impressive flock …
The designs aren’t Karenenova, Varos can tell that right off the bat, and he well knows the posturing that goes with trying to be one of the few graced with the newest designs.
As he draw nears, one of the women looks at him, casting a practiced and roaming eye over his form. Her companion, a willowy blonde, seeing the distraction soon turns her attention to him as well. “Well hello there, tall dark and handsome …”
From her place somewhere to his left, Karenenova’s head lifts and her eyebrows rise…
Oh, and does he know. The smile that touches his lips is further prompted when attention is turned his way, quirked to a roguish sort of effect. Karenenova’s shift of attention doesn’t go unnoticed either, but there are many eyes and perspectives in this one little area alone.
“Good evening, ladies,” Varos replies, pitching his voice a little low, the way he would when speaking through his helmet, save that there’s no fun filtering. “Please don’t mind me. I was merely curious as to what had drawn such a crowd. -and what a lovely crowd, I might add.” It never hurts to turn on the flattery.
“Is that so…” says the brunette looking Varos up and down. They clearly don’t feel he’s a D-Bee, a testimony to his costume no doubt, and the entire outfit has their attention. Which … was his intent. Just not for this quarry, but it might serve its purpose yet. She preens, as does the blonde, and smooths her dress down a little “It’s so kind of you to say so. We were admiring the latest designs of Ms Karenenova… She’s always so … daring.”
These aren’t the designs she wanted to launch, Varos can see that. Those are still on the drawing board. But these aren’t bad, though his designer eye might be fairly critical.
Anna herself tilts her glass in his direction, a silent toast “Now, your ladyships, don’t crowd our guest. Give him chance to look.” She inserts herself deftly between him and the blonde.
From what he’d come to figure of Karenenova, her designs, while unique and truly interesting, were purely for fashion purposes, whereas Varos and the Twins liked to make sure that their buyers looked good and still were able to move in their outfits. “Daring,” Varos echoes, as though tasting the word, tilting his head just so in a thoughtful sort of way.
Having no glass, he does however offer a respectful bow of his head towards the fashionista in return, his smile perhaps more fitting for a feline than a raven. His mask features eyeshapes, and while neither open nor transparent, are covered with a finish that resembles fine mesh and shifts in a faint rainbow of colors in certain angles of light in a way not unlike an oilslick.
“And…you must be Miss Karenenova, I presume?” he asks, head tilting towards the woman who’s made the move as though to remind people that this little corner of the exhibition area is her domain.
As a waiter circulates, Karenenova snags a champagne flute from the tray and offers with a flourish to the masked man. “That, I am.” she chortles, giving Varos even more of an eye than the other women. He’s right of course, she’s staking out her domain – fashionista’s can be … a feline bunch. She gestures to the small catwalk, where models are displaying the latest gowns she’s created. It’s an … interesting … display. Creative, might be the kindest thing Varos can say. “Would you like a closer look?”
“And you are …”
Varos accepts the glass with a warmer smile and a quiet thanks, taking a sip. Catching a better look at the models along the catwalk, he thinks he’ll be needing the champagne. “A pleasure and an honor to meet you. I would love a closer look at your work,” he replies, allowing her to lead him in that direction if she wanted.
“You can call me Rayven.” He makes it a point to emphasize the extra letter, because that’s what all flashy fashiony artsy people like to do. “I…don’t expect to be heard of, but I hope one day that will change, one day.”
“Of course… Rayven.” The fashionista smiles, leading Varos a little closer. It’s still busy here, with people milling around but he can see a hallway with a sign that indicates an exit. In fact, he knows from his survey of the building that exit leads out into a quiet alley. Past that, is another display area and beyond that the main entrance. To left and above is a gallery area with people milling around.
“I must say, that’s the most amazing cloak you are wearing.”
It’s quite fortuitous that the exit and Karenenova’s exhibition space are so conveniently placed, but then it’s not a convenience overlooked. Varos had certainly studied the layout of the building with Natsuki’s help. Overall, the plan is a simple one. Execution-wise, well… That’s the fun part, now isn’t it?
“Why, thank you,” ‘Rayven’ replies as they move towards the catwalk. He can get a good enough glimpse around the place with all the people gathered, and even with the added sentiments towards the models parading their outfits, he can’t quite fathom why the draw. “One of my designs,” he continues, smiling almost shyly. “I do independent work, but a lot of the time I’m not sure about how it would be received…”
The designs are interesting, with hints to the ones she’s showed Varos previously. He’s probably right to wonder ‘why the draw’.
“Is it now …” Karenenova’s attention fixes on the D-Bee, eyes assessing the cloak once more “I suppose I can understand that but I’ve found, for myself, that it’s better to the bold than not. That’s how I ended up here…” she gestures.
“I would be interested in seeing more of your work…” He might well wonder at that, and possible should be concerned about it if he weren’t here for an entirely different reason.
Maybe there is more interest in different and- bleh, he hates the word- exotic styles after all. Still, he doesn’t quite trust the motives of the woman, but then that opinion hasn’t much changed since he’d first met her. Varos turns his head towards Karenenova although he can well see where her attention is, and he supposes he can at least approve of her critical eye for detail. “Maybe I should take that as personal advice?” he poses, chuckling a little. “That’s part of why I came here, to see how things worked with…all this.”
At her comment he inwardly smirks. Oh, I’m sure you would, he thinks. Outwardly he sighs, letting his shoulders sag just a touch. “I had thought about getting space, or at least trying to, but I guess this year it wasn’t to be. I hadn’t realized the costs and such…” he laments, just a little. “But… Well, I did bring a few along. My designs, that is. I thought if I couldn’t set them up formally, at least maybe I could get some opinions?”
“It is rather expensive, isn’t it?” Karenenova smiles. Varos might be put in mind of one of those aquatic reptiles that are sometimes bought in on the Vesper fishing boats from time to time. “And if you don’t have the right patronage, or sponsorship, even harder. I’ve been blessed in that regard.” There’s a degree of smugness in that statement, but that’s not unusual – the fashion industry is rather cut throat.
“I’d be more than happy to give you my opinion… but where are they?”
Compared to the over-indulging, almost bubbly woman he’s had to humor in his shop, this Karenenova is much more the sort Varos expects. She’s the superior in this situation, and he’s but a lowly designer trying to figure out his way in this cut-throat world. Why, he could almost feel sorry for himself Taking it and making it yours, is it? He nods solemnly as Rayven at her words. “I’ve started to realize that,” he says. “You’re quite fortunate to have had your talent recognized, Miss Karenenova.” Oh, the things he says for jobs like these. Jericho owes him.
Head lifting a bit, he allows for a smile to brighten his countenance, ever hopeful. “Would you? I- Oh, I left them in the car I came in. A friend offered to drive me, you see, but they opted to wait outside in case someone asked them to move the vehicle.”
He turns slightly as though to determine the position of where they’d parked from the way main entryway. “-actually this is quite fortuitous. We should just be right out this way if we take this exit. Oh, what am I saying, you’re probably very busy here with your booth. Maybe I could bring them in, but I might have to go through the front again…” Which means passing a number of other exhibitors and who knows who’s interested eye Rayven might catch, if he hasn’t already?
The effusive Karenenova is there, but in this domain, she’s the Queen. She isn’t seeking a boon from Varos, she’s bestowing one. “Oh, I really am, Rayven, I really am…” she sips her wine and looks around. Yes, others have noticed the well dressed young man and she’s sure to keep herself between them and him.
“I would love too…” there’s the slight hint of the bubbly woman who he met previously. “And yes… I am busy, I have people …” she looks around again and makes a decision. “Oh why not. You only live once, let’s go…” With that she slips down the corridor “People won’t notice I’m missing if we’re quick…”
It’s so easy to feed people like this, and Varos has certainly had practice, hobnobbing with the upper class. There’s really not too much difference between those from Vesper and those from Dogwood when it comes to dealing with those in high places. He turns back towards Karenenova looking pleasantly surprised.
“Well, they did say you were daring,” he chuckles, heading along after her with a whisk of his cloak. “Oh please, allow me!” He moves ahead of her to get the door for her, following along after as she starts down the alleyway. “Right down to the street, and we should be the first parked on the left.”
The vehicle’s nothing fancy, but Varos had figured if it looked downright dumpy then the woman would be more suspicious. At the very least the exterior is polished and undented, an off-black color. It’s more of a delivery vehicle than a car in classification, probably, more along the lines of what might have been better called a van. Being no expert of such things, Varos had left the matter of transportation entirely to someone more suited. He steps around to the back, unlocking the doors and swinging them open. Then he pulls out what looks like another cloak, long, voluminous and drapey, a dark plum brown in color. “Here’s one I recently finished,” he says as she comes over to see, at which point he makes to shake it out and instead throws it over her so he can tackle her into the van.
“They did, did they?” Anna responds, letting Varos lead her from hall, down the corridor and out into the chill Dogwood air. She shivers, wrapping her arms around herself to try and ward off the cold as it starts to seep into her bones. The corner of her lips turn up a slight sneer as she takes in the quality of the car. It’s not bad, but well, she is rather a snob but that’s arrested as he pulls the cloak free.
“Oh let se— mggghhhhh”
The good news is that Varos has taken her by surprise so he’s able to move her towards the van. The bad news is, Anna is quite strong and despite the dress and the heels, she’s quite strong and she puts up a good fight. It’s not going to be easy getting her inside and his driver is going to be able to help him. He might need … to do something to move her.
He’s a bit impressed, although this does make things a bit more difficult, unnecessarily so, he’d say, except that he supposes anyone would object rather violently to being caught up and thrown into the back of a car. Varos tugs at the cloak covering, trying to keep her from moving her arms too much. He concentrates on a psyshield that wraps around her like a tight cylinder.
“-I think she disapproves very strongly of your car,” he calls up front as he tries to get Karenenova under wraps before ‘reassuring’ the fashionista. “Now, now- do calm down Miss. This is one appointment you can’t quite reschedule.”
“Mmmphhh ngggh yargle…” Anna struggles but they abate a lot as the psy-shield wraps around her. He still has to struggle to get her inside, but he manages.
The driver hits the pedal as the door slides shut and the car is soon on its way. It will head out of Dogwood, taking a slightly circuitous route, and head to the Guild House Trent Factory.
All Varos needs to do is keep their guest ‘settled’ till they secure her, there.
“There, there, Miss Karenenova. Just relax,” Varos says conversationally as he slips off his mask and cloak, throwing them over the protesting lump. He tugs at the hair tie to let his bangs fall back into place with a shake of his head, then pulls out his black visor to slip over his face. “Ah, much better.” Making himself as comfortable as possible, he brings his feet up, propping them over the cloak-enveloped figure as he leans back.
It’s going to be a bit of a ride, but as long as there’s nothing else he needs to worry about, it’ll be somewhat easier to focus on keeping the woman from going anywhere until they get to the Factory for this special delivery.
As per Jericho's ...request? Varos attends a Fashion and Art Review in Dogwood to...procure a certain fashionista.
January 25, 2411