A Blooming Good Time (Complete)

For the fraction of a second, Lessa's fright at Avos's magic manifesting around the hem of her skirt but, when it was obvious he wasn't trying to set her on fire she found herself swirled and moved in ways she rarely had time to enjoy when she had free time to herself. She ignored the gasps around them and was about to crane her head a little to see if she could see anything on the two oafs that might incriminate them when Avos informed her of what he had seen. 

"My dear Lessa, I suspect that those two men may be about to face consequences of their actions." 

Lessa glanced over Avos's shoulder and watched the route of the poorly disguised elf. "Avos move me there." She whispered and let go of Avos at the edge of the dance floor curtseying to him in gratitude for the dance. and quite a feat considering the dress she was wearing. Lessa cut the elf off and cleared her throat. 

"You need to not do this here." she told him "You do this here and the guard will go into the Alienage and search it do you want that for your people?" Lessa moved to stop him from going around her "Listen to me, i used to be a guard, and i am telling you, you kill them here or attack them here, the guard will send troops into the Alienage to root out anymore co-conspirators. They are the sons of nobles regardless of anything else" Lessa lowered her voice "is this what you want for your friends again?

She arched an eyebrow and prayed her words got through. The Elf looked at her and then looked at them and the guards in the room. "They killed my friends." He muttered. 

"and in the eyes of the law they have done thier time. My friend i am sorry for your loss truly" She watched Avos make his way over "Don't - don't have them add someone else to thier tally.
No sooner had Alessandra glimpsed what Avos had also seen than she worked out a plan. "Avos move me there," she instructed beneath her breath. Obligingly, Avos navigated across the dance floor with smooth whirling steps, until Lessa reached the edge of the space. She released her hold upon him and curtsied as she marked the end of their shared dance.

Not wishing to draw attention to her actions, Avos immediately moved off so that no one would wonder at why the two Grey Wardens were especially fixated on that area of the large hall. While Avos danced with another guest, he kept one eye on Lessa, who was speaking earnestly with the elf. The man looked to dodge around her but she matched his steps, blocking the way. 

With his current partner in demand from elsewhere, Avos surrendered the dance floor before making his way discreetly over to where Lessa and the elf stood, still locked in discussion. As he neared, he heard the last of Lessa's plea: "Don't - don't have them add someone else to thier tally."

The man looked torn between revenge and common sense. An expression which reminded him of home! Alas, even here in the more liberal south of Thedas, there was still no opportunity for elves to act upon the injustices which they endured. But perhaps Lessa's good morals which were rubbing off on Avos.

"The trick," he declared, eyes flashing with mischief, "is to deliver your revenge when you are no where near." He held out his hand. "Come, the poison you surely carry. Give it to us.

The young man paled, swallowing hard as he looked between the two humans. "I-I," he stammered but Avos interrupted the rest.

"Your fingertips are stained red from crushing the pod of a deathroot plant. If I were to guess," Avos hummed a little beneath his breath, considering what was available not only in Denerim but to a person of limited means, "you have crafted some form of 'Fleshrot'." He marvelled at the dedication: it was not an easy poison to craft. "I am afraid we will not be using said poison, but we will still make use of its presence."

He turned to Alessandra. "My dear, I think it is time we made practical use of that neckline. Do you think you might distract the pair while we place this very dangerous vial upon their person? They are likely to turn upon the other once it is discovered. And our new friend here," he inclined his head towards the trembling man, "has no shortage of alibis. He did not, after all, ever approach the men." He beamed, utterly enchanted with this little diversion.
"The trick,"

Whats he up to i know that look Lessa thought as Avos started his declaration to them.

"Is to deliver your revenge when you are no where near. Come, the poison you surely carry. Give it to us."

The poor young elf didn't know what to say and it showed in his stammer as he eyed between the two Wardens.  "I-I," but Avos started speaking again not letting the young man even think of an excuse. 

"Your fingertips are stained red from crushing the pod of a Deathroot plant. If I were to guess, you have crafted some form of 'Fleshrot'. I am afraid we will not be using said poison, but we will still make use of its presence."

"We will?" Both Lessa and the Elf said in unison. 

"My dear, I think it is time we made practical use of that neckline. Do you think you might distract the pair while we place this very dangerous vial upon their person? They are likely to turn upon the other once it is discovered. And our new friend here," he inclined his head towards the trembling man, "has no shortage of alibis. He did not, after all, ever approach the men." Then he beamed and when Avos beamed like that you just knew he was looking forward to this kind of trouble. 

Lessa arched an eyebrow and glanced down at her rather exposed neckline. "How very nice of you notice Avos." She replied with a wry smile and glanced over her shoulder "Oh well, here we go." 

She moved her hair over her shoulders and made her way over to where the two disgraced lords were. What she did next was an astonishing piece of flirtation even  if she did say so herself. Lessa made sure her neckline was clearly within thier eyesight, she even rested her fingers on one of her boobs to emphasise the slope and lowered her tone to a husky tone that she rarely used in any ones company. With the men thoroughly enthralled and posturing to make themselves the better prospect for the night, Lessa kept them talking. 
With a lift of her brow, Alessandra glanced down towards her cleavage. "How very nice of you notice Avos," she remarked with a slight smile, before throwing a look over her shoulder. "Oh well, here we go."

Pulling her long hair over one shoulder, Lessa approached the two men who had neither the wit nor self-awareness to realise that an attractive young woman did not introduce herself to the likes of them without an underhand reason. Thankfully it worked in their favour! She engaged the pair in some idle chitchat while Avos dismissed the elven man, emphasising with a flick of his wrist that for this to work then the man had to be far away.

With Lessa performing magnificently, Avos moved through the crowd with practised ease, smiling and nodding at various guests without stopping. Once he was near to the two men, he let loose the vial of poison, knowing the thick glass would not shatter if he dropped it just so. It did, however, let loose an unmistakeable tinkling sound as it hit against the stone. 

"What is this?" Avos performed his own performance, mouth agape as he swept down to pick up the vial. Then, with a flourish, he held it aloft so that no one could mistake what they saw. "A vial of..." He gasped, eyes widening. "Poison!" He thrust an accusatory finger towards the two men. "One of you! Poison, to the Queen's Summerday ball! This is outrageous!"

The two men stared at him, completely thrown off kilter.

"That's not ours," one sneered. "It's yours."

"Mine?" Avos snatched in a disbelieving breath. "Next you'll be claiming it's hers!" He gestured to Lessa. "As if she could hide any such thing in that dress." Deftly, he shifted attention back onto the men, neither confirming nor denying the men's claims. It did not matter what they suggested: they were already judged in the court of popular opinion. They had the reputation of being unscrupulous while Avos had no such stain upon his personal reputation. The reputation the Grey Wardens was somewhat more tarnished but there was nothing to be gained by the Wardens attacking Queen Anora who, for the moment, remained a reluctant ally.

As intended, the Queen's Guard were swiftly closing in on the quartet, but their focus was entirely on the now protesting and squabbling men.
There was a reason that no warden in thier right mind played Diamond Back against Warden Howard. She had the best poker face in the vigil and more often than not she would walk away with a nice pot. Now she kept her face deadpan and just at the right moment widened her eyes. 

"Mine?" oh he's good "Next you'll be claiming it's hers!" Lessa glanced down at her dress, well he wasn't wrong "As if she could hide any such thing in that dress."

She turned as the captain of the guard pushed through and stood looking at the phial and then the two men. "Anything to add Warden Howard?" The Royal Guard Commander asked. 

"What can i add Captain? I have no idea what all this is about

"But that is not mine!" the shorter man Deniers spluttered "I had no idea he planned to murder the Queen." 

"What! I did no such thing." Belmarsh turned to argue with his now former friend, not that it would do much good, with Avos's fantastic theatrics and the fact she was wearing a dress that left nothing to the imagination. the guard was having none of it. She watched as they were marched away. the poison taken from Avos as evidence. She suspected by morning they would be tried and convicted and probably swinging by mid afternoon. 

"Nicely done." Lessa whispered as she linked her hand through Avos's arm "Won't be the show our elven friend wanted but, it should be enough.

it wouldn't change anything, not really. Anora would always be guided by the Landsmeet and discrimination against the Elves would continue but at least for now at least there would be no raiding the Alienage. She didn't want to rate the fate of thier families either. Their sons had "conspired to murder the Queen" such a treasonous act would have a domino effect. Normally Lessa would feel sorry for them, but the events that had brought this sorry affair all about were worse and she had seen it all, she had no sympathy for such people.  

Lessa nodded at the Elven man who then slipped out the door and smiled to herself "I think i am going to head for the Pearl, see how good this dress really works. think i have had enough of Royal Hospitality. You?" She looked at Avos. 
Heedless to the men's loud protestations of innocence, the Queen's Guard soon had the pair marched out of sight. Presumably straight into the cells within the depths of Fort Dragon to await their just-if-somewhat-belated punishment for their crimes. That this particular crime was not in fact theirs did not influence Avon's sense of satisfaction whatsoever. They were guilty of a crime deserving of death. He gave no further thought to it at all.

Nicely done," Lessa murmured in his ear, slipping her hand through his arm. "Won't be the show our elven friend wanted but, it should be enough.

"I will make contact with the families of the men," Avos replied. "I am certain I can wrangle some loyalty towards the Wardens in exchange for mitigating the fallout of this discovery." He smiled at Lessa, charming and elated all at once. "Isn't politicking just such fun, my dear?"

He doubted that Lessa shared his enjoyment but from the small smile on her lips, Avos was reassured that she was pleased with the outcome of behalf of the elven man. "I think i am going to head for the Pearl, see how good this dress really works. think i have had enough of Royal Hospitality. You?"

Avos patted her hand before releasing his light hold on her. "I will stay for now. It would look strange for us both to depart, plus I have a number of nobles I wish to speak with." He bowed to her. "Thank you once again for your company, and enjoy the remainder of your evening." With a wink, he was gone.