"I'm afraid it is necessary for tonight, but-- why not indulge a bit, hm?"
The baron was similarly clad in opulent attire; while the lady was dressed in a softened teal dress, Emryk announced his presence with a deep salmon ensemble; a tailcoat and trousers colored a light pink, with a golden floral trim that ran from the high-necked collar of the coat, continued down along the edge of each breast, and terminated at the bottom of the coat's fringes a few inches above the knee. The cuffs of the coat were similarly gilded; the buttons, too, were a shade of gold that neatly complimented the natural tones of his scales. To complete the look, an embossed jacquard waistcoat-- similarly a shade of salmon, and similarly adorned with a golden floral design-- and bone-white jabot went beneath his coat. Upon his right shoulder, a white cape draped along his arm and half of the back, ending just above the waistline. His boots were the very same he'd worn aboard the Sweet Rosebud-- despite managing to find a tailor who could work with his size, no cobbler dared take such a task on short notice. They were more than suitable, however, and were a neutral black. Polished, of course, before the night had begun.
"Might I say that you are the most beautiful thing I have laid eyes upon." Emryk murmured to his date for the night, reaching out with his free hand and adjusting a misplaced lock of hair behind her ear. The fingertip touched upon her chin a moment before withdrawing, his smile warm and genuine. "Of course, that may very well be true even without the getup of a noblewoman, but... especially so, tonight."
Even beneath the veil of his mask-- a simple white domino that barely fit atop his snout-- she could see the truth, there, in his creased eyes and sparkling gaze. To say he marveled at her beauty would have been an understatement; to say she was anything short of divine would have been criminal. Leading her up the last of the steps, the baron stopped before reaching the guards-- and withdrew a small object from his pocket.
"I'd like for you to wear this, tonight-- I believe it would suit you quite well, dear."
Within his hands, sparkling beneath the lantern-guided twilight, was the verdant gem he had carried for so many months. Mother. She had seen him through heartbreak, though the sale of his estate, through travel and negotiations-- through death, imprisonment, freedom. It had escaped purloin by Solomon King and Sinead Oiche; now, it would be given freely to the woman before him. A gift. To give guidance anew, at least for tonight.
It hung from a tightly-wound, softened ribbon-- a piece of craftsmanship owed to Nessa. He would need to thank her again for elevating the beauty of such a simple trinket. Emryk placed the necklace in Emer's hand, then curled her fingers over the gem.
"Please." His smile, however melancholic, still bled that undying warmth. For her. "For me?"
"Being free from worry is not a liberty most can afford, Emer." Zadari replied a bit dryly, stroking the cat in his arms with a light touch of the fingertips to silken coat. The smile returned to his face, ever-shining and ever-fake. "Though ignorance is bliss, I suppose."
And then they were each off to their respective little preoccupations. Zadari, finding that continued interaction with his old allies was becoming as tedious as plucking a hen, quickly turned his attention back to waiting tables and tending to his kitchen; he released Pumpernickel upon the ground, but not without a stern word of warning. "Drive away business by snatching their food, and so help me God, I will be roasting you over a spit by sundown." A gentle stroke down her back, at that, and he left her to do exactly what he'd told her not to. Unfortunately, his own attention became preoccupied by Caleb once more, who had snapped at him to get his attention after Zadari returned from the kitchen with a platter of food.
"I'm sorry, was somebody speaking over here?" Zadari called out melodramatically, wandering his way over to the table with narrowed eyes as if he were having trouble picking the one-eyed prick from the tarnished rug beneath his table. "Oh, of course-- where are my manners." He slipped a menu from his pouch, and placed it on the table before the man opposite Caleb-- entirely ignoring the captain, at least for a moment. Giving him a taste of his own little silent treatment."Look over your options here. Maybe you can teach your new Captain here some fucking manners while you decide what to order."
His glance to said captain post-insult was one of abstract, and sarcastic, pity. A little pout to the face-- a flutter of the eyes. "Caleb. I know you hardly understood how to conduct yourself as a cabin boy, but you can at least attempt to feign maturity here. For me. Can you? Now, look over the menu with your friend, and I'll be back in a minute."
And then he was off, shawl fluttering behind him as his boots neatly clacked along the floor. Tables were served; stomachs were filled. The now-empty bowl of soup opposite the fortune teller was replaced with a steaming, fresh serving-- an unusual occurrence for Ruby to be fed free of charge, but not unheard of. Handouts were usually reserved for high-traffic days-- or when Julian was feeling charitable. He lingered at the table a moment, giving an apprehensive stare between the two birdwomen as a hand went to his hip.
"I wouldn't trust a word out of her mouth, love." He muttered to Ruby, gaze still trained upon Emer. With her shawls, and her gormless little expression of warmth as if she were immune to the crushing weight of guilty by sheer vapid ignorance."She'll just as easily put a knife in your back as she would a compress if you come between her and her folk."
He leaned down, lips an inch away from Ruby's ear. Speaking so only she could hear.
"The worst enemies are the ones who pretend to be your friends, dear. They're killers. All of them."