Powder blue silk fabric wrapped around her torso and fell in soft folds to her ankles. Her shoulders were bare save for the loose, pearl encrusted straps that drooped against her upper arms. Her long hair had been curled and pinned up with matching pearl and diamond clips.
Around her neck she wore a necklace that cost more than the slicer's she flew.
A soft, warm breeze ruffled the hem of her dress as she crossed the walkway, moving towards the steps of the Imperial Opera House.
A thrill of excitment coursed through her as she glanced about, searching the crush of people who were lingering about, dressed in an assortment of silks and satins, jeweled, powdered and perfumed.
Gods she loved the Opera.
She'd always been seduced by the atmosphere, the elegance, the beauty of it all. And then there was the show itself, the music, the scenery, the stories.
It was rapture, it was bliss.
And tonight's performance would be especially intriguing because she hadn't a clue who invited her. Earlier, she'd received an invitation along with the dress and jewels, her ticket and directions.
She ventured several guesses though none seem to quite fit. Raphael had taken her to the opera once long ago but the last time she'd spoken with him, he'd made it clear that he pretty much loathed her. She mentally crossed him off the list, then considered Eran. He would be the type to suprise her but she doubted he would feel comfortable among the imperial nobles.
A whirlwind of silky colors bled together as the breeze picked up again. Laughter and conversation filled the night time air as everyone waited for the doors to be opened.
She thought of her friends who might have invited her. Aldrith perhaps. No doubt he'd enjoy the finery and music as much as she would, but he wouldn't send her costly jewels or make such a mystery of things.
Strolling around, she searched the crowd, trying to find the one who invited her. Other names crossed her mind but they didn't quite fit either. Alexander perhaps? Though they were becoming such good friends, it didn't make sense for him to send her jewels either. Predator maybe. He'd spent enough on her over the past few months that a few diamonds wouldn't be out of place. However, she wasn't certain he would be the type to enjoy an opera.
She shook her head no to him, then thought of others.
Invelious, maybe. She could easily imagine that this would be his type of scene. Imperial, rich, cultured. He would be in his element here. And he was fond of mystery, intrigue, and beautiful things. Just as she decided it must be him, she frowned, remembering he was off in null sec.
Sighing to herself, she let her thoughts settle on Verone for a moment. He certainly could afford it, and would be the type to throw isk around on jewels and clothes...but would he come to Empire? If he did, it would be to prove a point.
Perhaps he wanted to apologize, really apologize for the things they had fought over.
Just as she had settled upon Verone, a hand wrapped around her arm.
She turned, expecting to see the overly tall gallentean, "Apology accep-" she gasped. "Kathetel..."
"Expecting someone else?" The Imperial Agent smirked to her.
"Any one but you," she said dryly as she attempted to jerk her arm away.
His dark eyes lit with warning as he kept his fingers wrapped firmly around her arm. "Smile and look enormously pleased to see me," he whispered as he lead her through the crowd.
Once they stepped through the opened doors, the house lights flickered several times, warning the patrons they had but ten minutes to find their seats.
He guided her to a private alcove, leaning over to whisper against her ear, "You've been assigned a new mission."
"What? No. I don't work for you!"
He squeezed her arm, "Calm down," he warned. "This is one assignment I think you'll enjoy."
She looked at him skeptically. "Go on," she whispered with reservation.
"Your Father has escaped. We assume he will eventually find his way to your brother, Keon."
Her Father, once a wealthy holder and distinguished member at the royal court had openly defied the Empress's proclamation of emancipation. He had made his fortune upon slave trade and would suffer from the decree.
He was arrested on charges of treason and heresy plus countless other minor charges. Being of noble birth saved his life though he would spend his remaining days in prison.
She paled from the news. "I don't know why you're telling me this...I left that life behind. I don't even know where Keon is...they are all but dead to me. You should know that...so I don't know what I could even do."
"Easy, really. Your task will be simple. You will seek out your brother and make amends, gain his trust, and when your Father shows up, we will handle the messy details." He winked at her, "That is, unless you'd rather do it yourself. I remember how you enjoyed Hadrien..."
Hadrien. Her youngest brother. The memory hit her suddenly. Blood everywhere, drenching her pale white hands, rolling down her wrists, splattered against her face. Standing in a pool of it, his lifeless body sliced into a hundred pieces or more.
She closed her eyes, feeling faint.
He slid an arm around her waist to steady her, "Come now, enough of that. You kill thousands every day, don't get hung up over one little death." He looked at her sharply, "Straighten up now, we've an opera to see. Blood Moon. I thought it fitting..." He suddenly smirked.