The Raven And The Wolf

The wooden floor, a sea of dresses and masks. Of shoes and flying limbs waving in beat with the music. The lights were candle-lit, and Estella knew what she was doing, standing atop the stairs, searching through the crowd below.

He’d not come to her that evening, not that she expected him to, not that he meant anything to her, but she still felt as though he, at the very least, owed her an escort to the ball.

But he hadn’t. He’d let her come to the dance alone, and now, here she was, standing at the top of a staircase, trying to look through the masks of the dancer before her and find her who would become her partner for the night.

She certainly wasn’t looking for those cold blue eyes that she so often felt crush her. No. She had no reason to look for him, he wasn’t her lover, he wasn’t her anything. He was an annoyance, a plague that never relented, and always swept in at the most inconvenient time.

The music stopped and began anew, this time a quickly paced waltz, with a melody that made her heart sing. She went down the stairs, careful not to trip on the length of her new dress, an onyx black gown had been left for her this morning, likely by a servant, and found herself a partner.

His mask was that of a sparrow, not necessarily matching that of her Raven mask, but not clashing either. He wore a navy blue suit, and had blazing brown eyes.

He had been waiting for her at the base of the staircase, but had not extended a hand when she met him. Instead he smiled, a mischievous sort of grin.

“You’re date has left you unattended for the night, yes?”

His voice was not smug, but rather intuitive, like he was asking about a rival without the decency to be direct.

“Yes, well, I believe it is in poor taste to insult a woman you’ve only just met. Although, given that I do not have a dance at the moment, I suppose I must overlook this one misstep.”

“Well thank the Gods for that. Please excuse my… poor behavior,” he said as he want to bring her hand to his lips. “I’m Dion.”

She made to answer, but a rushed voice beat her to it.

“And I’m Everest. Very pleased to make your acquaintance kind sir, but it seems like you’re trying to steal my dance.”

Dion looked towards Estella, likely hoping to receive an explanation, but he did not find what he was looking for. No, instead he found her staring, wide-eyed from under her black feathered mask, at the new man in front of them.

The new arrival, Everest as he’d introduced himself, wore a white suit and wolf mask that looked as though it was carved from a block of ice. A cold wind blew and Dion, finally getting the hind, turned to leave.

Estella payed him no mind, however, as she was all too concentrated on the wolf in front of her. A wolf and a raven, facing off on the ballroom floor, one filled with a mix of anger and embarrassment, whilst the other was fuming with something that was much more like jealousy than he would’ve liked.

“What do you want?” She meant to say it with a punch of anger behind it, but, to her dismay, all that came out as a whisper.

Estella looked up at him, and, even behind the mask, she could feel him staring back just as hard.

“Dance with me,” he spoke after a moment, and extended his hand.

The masked-raven took it and he swept her away. The wolf and the raven danced across the ballroom, and, as the music changed from fast to slow, the raven pulled him close.

“You never answered my question earlier,” she said, looking up at the wolf. “What do you want? Everest, why did you ask me to dance?”

He looked at her then, his gaze holding more meaning now than it had before, but his words betrayed his eyes as they deflect her question. “Darling, I don’t ever recall asking.”

“No,” she looked away as she spoke, “I guess you never did.”

He pulled her close then, so close they could see their breath merge in the cold, and feel their chests press together.

“Raven girl,” his lips brushed her ear as he whispered.

“I want you.”

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