We're in New Orleans! We have a few days ‘till Mardi Gras. Llew and Shari are visiting Shari's aunt, and I'm here as part of their entourage. We all took the train down. As Prince Llew's squire, I made the travel arrangements and made sure everyone had tickets. Llew, possibly being a bit nervous, had decided to bring lots of clothing. I had most of it sent in the baggage compartment and arranged for the truck that brought it to the train and for one to pick it up after we arrived. Llew's "essentials" went as carry-on luggage. I suppose one reason Llew needs an entourage is to carry all of his carry-on luggage!
"Everyone" consists of Llew, Sir Kellin, Sir Ulrich, Niamh, Hermione, Sir Crowe, Shaaza, Ceilidh and Kieran.
We arrived at Shari's Aunt's mansion and were received by Shari's aunt in the Great Hall. There was this neat picture of the legendary Llew about to slay a one-eyed giant. The servants showed us to our rooms, and I got a boggan to promise to make sure that the rest of Llew's clothing would be brought to his room when the truck arrived. When the rest of Llew's luggage arrived, Kieran volunteered to help me unpack. With his help it didn't take long at all.
I went out on the town with Sir Ulrich and Sir Crowe, as Shaaza was long gone by the time I finished with Llew's luggage. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about unpacking or about Shaaza not waiting. Doing something for Llew is its own reward, and I would have a hard time waiting if I was Shaaza.
We stopped at a bar and I met this attractive young woman named Sara. I didn't manage to pick her up, but she did seem interested. She said she was in New Orleans on business, and her friends wouldn't like it if she didn't show up to meet them. As I had spotted the same tattoo that Derrick's sister sports, I wasn't going to push. Making a group of werewolves angry isn't a smart idea. Sara did take my card though, and I added the phone number and address of where we were staying.
I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Calandra and her friends showed up. It must be nice to be a traveling musician and be able to go anywhere you want. It turns out that Lady Miria's cousin had come with them too. Sir Ulrich figured out who he was - trust Sir Ulrich to remember someone destroyed a couch. Joe-taro seems like an ok fellow anyway.
After Lady Aeryn managed to drag Calandra and company off, things started to go downhill. To make a long story short, we spotted a vampire picking a young lady up, and figuring he was going to off her, ended up following them when they left the bar. The place we ended up at had such a bad reputation that the taxi driver wouldn't even drop us off near it. We tried all sorts of things to get in - none of which worked. There was some sort of ward keeping us out. The only good thing out of it was that Sara stopped by with her friends - whom I think are all werewolves too. They couldn't get in either. They took off when the police showed up - Sir Kellin had called them on our behalf. The cop checked on the lady, who turned out to be ok. What a waste of an evening!
The next day was better. Shaaza and I went out to find something for the costume ball Lady Shari's aunt was hosting that evening. Shaaza spotted some woman who had on some body paint as part of her outfit. Guess what we went and bought?
We went back to our room at the mansion, ditched our street clothes and started experimenting with the body paint. Shaaza's basic idea for our paint jobs was inspired by Pictish & Keltic warriors & druids. Shaaza started out by drawing spirals on my chest, and then I tried to repeat the same design on her. Me drawing on her chest was apparently a real turn on for her too, as we became severely sidetracked while discovering that wet body paint is a lubricant when sandwiched between two satyrs. Afterwards, our paint was so smeared that we took a shower and started over.
After the second shower, Shaaza declared she was just going to wear body paint and jewelry to the costume ball. Shaaza had a lot of bracelets and other baubles that fit the Keltic theme.. I was feeling a bit wild, so I decided to go with just body paint and jewelry too. I couldn't come up with any suitable jewelry, so I just went with the body paint. We avoided major distractions this time by sticking to only painting our own self, with the necessary exception our backs.
We arrived at the costume ball just late enough that there were a good number of people already there. Lady Sharanya had a silk dress transparent enough that I was certain she had on nothing underneath, yet with enough layers and folds that an old fuddy-duddy wouldn't be utterly scandalized. Well at least not with Shaaza and I around!
Sir Kellin, wearing a doublet and fop shirt, stuck to Llew like his shadow. I felt sorry for Llew, but it was for his safety. Llew is the most wonderful person in the world, but he tends to take too many chances. I figured Llew would be safe with Sir Kellin watching him.
Sara showed up in a little tiny halter top, bikini briefs and a blond wig - Priss from the original Bubblegum Crisis. She was escorted by a masked ninja man and her friend Nerissa as a Greek goddess.
Sir Ulrich was there in a British explorer's outfit with a butterfly net, and Sir Crowe had his standard feathered cloak. They were a bit worried that Princess Niamh hadn't yet shown up for the party. I didn't think much of it, but they actually took my suggestion to leave the party and check Niamh's room seriously.
It took hardly any effort at all for Shaaza and I to get Sara and her friends to come out in the garden for some fun. Sara was so ready for action that she was already on top of me before Shaaza and Nerissa had even finished unwrapping the ninja - who turned out to be Joe! By the time Sara and I were done, Shaaza was wrapped around Joe's waist and Nerissa looked even more like a goddess with out her Greek trappings. And who can resist a goddess? Certainly not a satyr.
Either Joe and Sara really have the hots for each other or Shaaza and I really revved them up, ‘cause they were already wrapped up in each other in the time it took Shaaza to get over to Nerissa and I.
I had just disengaged from Nerissa when I heard Sir Crowe calling from the garden path. Figuring I'd probably be told that Niamh really was missing, I stepped out into the open. As Sir Crowe talked to me, Nerissa maneuvered so she could see who it was taking to me. I think Sir Crowe could see Nerissa from head to chest, but I'm sure he couldn't see the rest of Nerissa - or what Shaaza was doing down there!
Niamh's friend Hermione knew where Niamh had gone to shop for her costume, so we decided to start there. Sir Ulrich had changed back to street clothes, but I stuck with my costume I hopes I'd be able to make it back before the party was over. Sir Crowe came, as did Hermione.
The cab ride to the costume shop was rather cozy with three of the four of us in the back seat. Hermione was molded to me like a second layer of body paint, but we were too worried for things to go anywhere.
The costume shop was closed. We spotted someone looking out a nearby apartment window, and ended up ringing the bell to see if they'd noticed anything. No such luck.
Hermione's soothsay indicated Niamh was in the apartment building. We broke into an apartment - thankfully no one was there. We figured the occupant, evidently a vampire, wasn't likely to call the police. After a lot of floundering around, we finally pieced together that the guy upstairs was a vampire too, and probably had Niamh.
Hermione squeezed through the heating ducts - sluagh are incredibly flexible - and spotted Niamh in a bedroom in the apartment. I called Sara, who brought Joe and Nerissa too. They couldn't get in at all - some sort of magic. I was able to brush the silver dust aside and break the ward, so Joe could open the door.
Of course, by the time we all in, the vampire had locked himself in the bedroom. Joe couldn't unlock this door, so I put a hoof through it. Sir Crowe got his hand burned when he was reaching through the hole and unlocking the door. Sir Ulrich was through the door like a shot and had killed the vampire before anyone else had even gotten in the room.
Niamh was unconscious, but okay. Mission accomplished. Sadly, the costume party was long over before we ever made it back.
A formal dinner was set for the next evening so Shari's relatives could meet Llew. It promised to be one of those formal, stuffy affairs that some sidhe love. I'm afraid Llew isn't one of them though - but as the affair was really about him, there was no way out for him.
Shaaza and I got an invitation from Sara, Joe and Nerissa to come help celebrate the near-arrival of Mardi Gras that evening. Stuffy dinner vs an orgy. The choice was obvious, but I felt I would be letting Llew down if Shaaza and I didn't show up for the dinner.
We were able to work out a compromise - after I promised to by Shaaza the new dress she wanted. Shaaza and I would go to the dinner, but leave early to meet Sara, Joe and Nerissa.
Shaaza looked mouth watering in the dress I'd gotten her. It was like the one Shari had worn to the costume ball, but with only a couple layers of silk. From a distance, Shaaza's athletic outline could be distinguished through the dress. What I could see from the seat next to her was so tempting I didn't want to restrain myself. But if I hadn't, it would have likely humiliated Llew in the eyes of Shari's relatives. Sometimes it sucks to love someone.
When Shaaza and I went to leave, Llew wanted to go too. I wanted him to go too, but both of us knew alienating Shari's family would cause Llew's more misery than the dinner.
We had fun. Shaaza and I found Sara, Joe and Nerissa sitting outside at the café where they had been having dinner. Shaaza and I arrive just in time to order dessert. I have no idea what I ordered. My thoughts were elsewhere, as Sara and Nerissa, with short skirts and minimal tops, were almost as provocative as Shaaza.
Our group left the restaurant and walked through the streets crowded with carnival-goers, many in exotic or revealing outfits. By this point, I was ready to burst, and the rest of the group wasn't much better. The throngs made going incredibly slow, and for a while we were all mashed up against each other. I think Sara and Joe managed to have a quickie while we squashed. Well, I could see them involved in a passionate French kiss and I know was trying to maneuver so I could reach one of the ladies.
We finally did escape the crowds and arrive at our destination. My attention was not on our surroundings, so all I remember was a nice cushy carpet and some sort of patio or porch.
Other than the obvious, I think I managed observe a few things over the course of the evening. Joe and Sara definitely have a thing for each other, but I think Sara was more careful to minimize risk of pregnancy with Joe than she was with me. Nerissa likes girls at least as much as she likes guys. A wolf is really amazing the first time, but the thrill wears off after a few times.
Shaaza and I left in the wee hours of the morning. Shaaza had this nice glow about her, and I felt really mellow. That was soon to change...