The Performer

She breathed deeply after her song was over, sweat running down her brow in rivulets. The applause were awkwardly staggered throughout the ballroom as she finished. Probably some of them were hesitant to commend a human performer from the lower districts, but it seemed others couldn’t resist. Come on, she thought with a smirk. Admit it.

Regardless, she crouched down to retrieve a handkerchief from her handbag, and dabbed at the sweat on her brow before it could tarnish her makeup too much. She stood again and gave a quick thank you into the mic before walking off stage, putting a hefty amount of concentration into walking down the stairs in her heels.

It wasn’t like her performances along the Strip, where, if she had just walked down into the crowd like this, people would have been crowding her, asking her for autographs, thanking her for making their lives better for the length of a few tracks. Here, at this formal event where chandelier’s sparkled and the points of elven ears hovered like knife points, no one said a thing to her. She wondered why they’d even asked her to come.

She grabbed a flute of champagne off the nearest tray as a waiter strode by, trying to avert his eyes from her, though she saw his gaze flicker to her now and again. She paid him a smile she had been told could kill.

Whatever the reason, she’d had to come. She knew it was naïve, and would never say as such to anyone, never so overtly. But a large amount of her music was devoted to an idea of change, and so this event for the King’s court and corporate big wigs seemed like an opportunity. Maybe it could be a start. If her music touched at least one of these people, maybe it could slowly shift the cycle of hatred that had grown between the races and peoples of the districts.

She stood off to the side, delicately sipping, letting the bubbles run along her tongue.

After a while, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

When she turned she saw an elven woman with striking red hair, wearing a resplendent dress of shimmering white, lined with what looked almost like gold scale male.

“Hello,” she said. “I just wanted to say: I’m a massive fan of your work, and thought that tonight was no exception. Well done.”

The performer turned to face the woman head on. She had a strange aura about her, one that she found slightly intimidating. Which was strange, for her.

“My pleasure,” said the performer. “It’s not every day that one gets to perform for such a crowd.”

“Mm,” said the red-haired woman. She turned and looked out over the elves seated at the various tables, conversing in their formal wear. Her smile lilted just a little, and the performer could then see why she was struck by this woman so. Perhaps it was her acting experience that let her have this window in, but she could tell. This woman was hiding something, and it lay placed just below the surface.

The woman turned back to the performer, “might we be able to talk in private?”


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