Cosa Nostra Manor

The invitation had been a work of art. Opening the message's attachment had deposited a beautifully-rendered envelope into Aisling's hand. Nearly as tall as she was and folded out of parchment so realistic the texture ran in veins under her fingers, it was sealed with a Navi emblem of a skull amidst flower petals in deep purple wax. At Aisling's touch, breaking the seal would automatically whisk her away to the party's destination.

She was deposited in an ornate room. Immediately there was an impression that this was a relatively small room in a much, much larger building. The ceilings were cavernous even for a human-sized Navi, easily two stories high of gorgeous, distinctly old-fashioned wood finishing; to Aisling, the scale would be magnified several-fold. There were few furnishings, only a couple of decorative bookshelves, a large stone mantle above a hearth, and a table. Several Navis were sitting around it, all of them women, most of them wearing the absolute height of red carpet fashion. Outside the high windows, the cityscape of Netopia Net bloomed like a garden of lights.

There was a single chair empty at the very foot of the table, over which Aisling would be linked into the room. Directly across sat a swarthy young woman that seemed to have constructed a runway dress entirely of flowers. The bodice was woven of iris and nightshade, climbing organically up her neck and collarbones. Her legs, currently dangling a pair of amethyst heels over the table, were similarly wrapped in a clinging carpet of black-eyed susans, with little ruffles of golden hydrangea around her hips. The upper half of a skull masked most of her face above her lips, which were pulled into something between a grin and a smirk.

"So, what, we're all just waiting here 'til she shows? We could be getting the game started already!" A woman dressed in what looked like a cloth mirror snarked up the table, breaking the silence.

The flower-girl, presumably their host, held up an elegant finger. "It's all about the image," she tapped the air for emphasis with each word, as though she had reiterated this several times already. "Patience, Riflessa. Everything's all set up for the word go." Her eyes glinted yellow-gold through the shade of her mask, somewhere between mischief and malevolence.
Aisling admired the invitation. The paper was smooth and ornate parchment, soft to the touch and surprisingly textured. She reveled in the subtle marbling, the long veins, and surprising warmth. It was easily the most expensive paper she had ever seen, and her heart fluttered as she gazed at the fat wax seal, shiny and hard with an emblem squished in the middle.

Simply examining the envelope, Aisling felt more than happy. Liquid warmth radiated from her heart out to her toes and fingertips, making them curl and uncurl. The thought of finding a monumental, magnificent reward for Vera made her so excited! She tugged at the seal without further hesitation.

She was transported immediately. Aisling found herself in a luxurious room, sparsely furnished yet expensive looking. She saw bookshelves filled with old books, their titles dreadfully long and dull. The air felt cold and empty, giving off the impression that Aisling was in a much larger building than just this room. Some navis might feel intimidated, but not Aisling. She was ready for any challenge.

She saw an empty chair, and across from it, three navis stood, seemingly waiting for something. Aisling's heart tugged a little as she looked them over. She had always been proud of her dress, carefully stitched from natural materials, but their finery was on another level. It wasn't often she saw such lavishly dressed navis, and only then at a distance. She quietly reassured herself that their finery didn't automatically make them better than her, but still, Aisling couldn't help the waves of envy as she admired the (seemily leader) navi's boots.

"It's all about the image," she heard the flower-girl say, and an idea sparked in Aisling's mind. She had been styling a dress, pouring days and weeks into a beautiful, elaborate gown she was saving for something special. Well... Perhaps this is something special?

She opened her menu and loaded it. Her butterfly styled dress transformed pixel by pixel into a gown crafted with layers and layers of blue dendrobium orchids Aisling had paid a pretty zenny for, but she just couldn't resist the bold and daring colours. The gown was styled in a high-low fashion, cut high in the front to reveal her long legs and pretty white shoes, and long in the back, trailing just a little on the floor. Aisling had also traded for a simple blue beaded bracelet to match, but truth to be told, the gown seemed to demand heavy jewels to match.

Aisling took a slow, shallow breath, and sat in the chair. She looked up at the three women with her most serious, determined face.

"Here I am," She announced, as loud as she dared with her small voice.