"Pardon my intrusion, Sir Priest, but I want to ask about your behavior during my last performance." Jasmine stands in the doorway, having interrupted Rowan's studies, which seem to consist of writing nonsense in his book.
"You are not pardoned, heathen."
"I don't know what I've done to offend you so." Unused to taking such a harsh reception, Jasmine continues. "You were in attendance to my dance last night, correct? I recall you shouting loudly at me. You wanted me off the stage..."
"Your dances are an affront to all that is Holy! The Creator Himself would not approve of them, if I am to be so bold as to presume." Rowan tucks his quill into his book and shuts it.
"What is so bad about my dancing? I've tried swinging my hips less, and I even put on a special number without the sword after you complained..."
"The Creator would demand that you swing your hips *more*, young lady."
"Wait...more? I thought you were offended by how edgy I was being..."
"Your edge must increase, young lady, for it is the Creator's will!" Rowan raises his "scepter" for emphasis.
"S-should I bring back the sword?" She steps back a pace or two. His lack of response seems to indicate that he has finished speaking to her for now; she quietly excuses herself.
It has been a long week for Jasmine. Dance after dance, so it would seem, with little time left to rest between shows. Then there is the issue of fighting. To Jasmine, they are one and the same; her dances are merely elaborate training sessions, while her style is fancy enough that people enjoy watching her perform. Only during battle, there is often someone in the way.
She removes her tiara and unties her hair, allowing it to fall over her face. Next, she slips the bronze bangles from her wrists and lays them on the table. It feels liberating to her. Without the burden on her arms and head, Jasmine feels lighter than air, as if she could fly away. She rests her eyes for a moment while sitting on her stool.
A sound interrupts her moment of relaxation. She turns towards the cart’s door and pulls the hair away from her eyes, and there she finds the “priest” from the other day. She doesn’t think to scream for help. “You again.”
The priest, Rowan, crosses his arms. “I’ve been watching your performances, young lady, and I am not pleased.”
“This is my dressing cart. Am I not entitled to some time away from the adoring masses?”
“Adoring as they are, young lady, you seem to be degrading yourself for their benefit.” He retrieves a small book from the insides of his robes. “I’ve taken some notes that you might wish to examine for your future performances, both on stage and off.”
Jasmine is not sure what to make of this man, who is equal parts critic and stalker. “Why do you do this? Do you not get enough satisfaction at home?” “In particular,” Rowan continues, ignoring the question, “I’d like you to look over the suggestions regarding wardrobe.”
She takes the book and flips through it. Despite being in Rowan’s scrawling handwriting, the book seems to include a table of contents and clear chapter divisions. She finds the chapter on Wardrobe Suggestions and is astounded by how much detail is written. It almost feels as if every thread of her clothing has a sentence dedicated to it.
“Where do you find the time to do this?”
“I attend every one of your performances,” he adds grumpily. “You’ve been losing your edge.”
Jasmine, already less than flattered, reads the section from the beginning. Outfit exposes too much midriff, a sentence begins. “Is that what this is about? You think my costume exposes too much?”
“That is what I wrote.”
“And you’re the one that attends every single dance. I question your motives, sir.”
“In time, you’ll see I’m right.” Rowan sees himself out, closing the cart door behind him and ensuring that it is latched.
Level 3 (unfinished for now)
A quick pivot on the ball of the right foot, followed by the thrust of the left, with the sword arm extended in the opposite direction to maintain balance. A twist to the other way, as the sword is hefted straight up. A spinning kick. She extends her arms to her sides. As she transitions to her next move, an elbow brushes up against something. In a split second, Jasmine is pointing her tulwar at the thing she touched. It’s Rowan, who is completely unfazed by the sword at his throat. Jasmine is almost more surprised by the identity of the person than the fact that she was just caught unawares during a dance.
“Why are you here?” Jasmine does not lower her sword.
“You do not appear to have taken my advice to heart.”
“And why in the King’s name should I? You’ve yet to prove that you’re anything more than an old pervert.”
“Yet…you still carry my book.” Nothing seems to escape his gaze.
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been in your cart. Anyone else would have hidden the book in a drawer and forgotten about it. You, however, have it in your hip pouch.”
“You know too many things that I haven’t told you.”
“And I shall explain them, if only you would remove the tulwar from my throat.”
“….You know the name of my weapon?” She carefully places it into its scabbard.