The past few months had been... interesting. The creases were beginning to iron themselves out, though. The market had settled into the truce uneasily at first, but after a little diplomacy and quite a lot of yelling at people, Mae had gotten somewhere with getting the various factions to mingle. So tonight she'd thrown a party. Magicians, pipers, necromancers, stall owners and dancers were all gathered around in a loose half-circle, a bonfire in the centre, casting flickering shadows onto the banks of the river surrounding the little peninsula.
Mae had strategically placed her friends around the groups, making sure they kept everything jovial. Alan sat over with the musicians, guitar drooped lazily in his lap as he laughed at something a piper muttered to him. He seemed so much less tense these days. Genuine smiles were much more common. The laugh spread into a grin when he looked over to the fire, at a certain silhouette. Sin had played up the shadows of the fire, the dancers all dressed in loose, flowing black, so they moved eerily in the firelight, the only colour the occasional flash of fever blossom. Nick sat with the necromancers, apparently being lectured earnestly. He was about the only person who didn't find them unnerving, and seemed surprisingly willing to put up with their rambling ways. For a group that were mostly hermits before coming to the market, they loved to talk. Mae herself sat on the opposite side of the group to Nick, having deliberately placed herself among the magicians, and when they caught a glimpse of each other through a gap between two dancers, he held up a skull and chattered it's teeth at her, rolling his eyes.
Jamie and Seb were creeping towards her through the crowd, Jamie half in costume, looking a little peculiar with his jeans poking out underneath medieval clothing.
“I think we're ready to go.” he said, passing Mae a lantern. Alan and Nick had already noticed Jamie's attempted stealth. Sin had too, undoubtedly, but she wasn't about to stop dancing and gawk. Mae flashed the signal from the lantern anyway. Alan nodded and quietly slipped out of the semi-circle, heading back towards the wagons. Sin slipped away from the dance and through the crowd. There was no way for her to do that without drawing a few eyes, but that only gave opportunity for the witches to sneak in.
Macbeth had seemed like a good choice for the market, and they'd added their own magical touches. Alan had approved of the idea from the off, but the man had a Shakespeare addiction. Sin had muttered something about 'more boring school books', but came around when offered Lady Macbeth. Her and Alan made good actors; it came naturally to them. She actually had no idea what they were talking about a lot of the time. Most of their conversations seemed to be in code. And who the hell was Clive? Mae had only ever known how to be as much herself as she could. Nick... her attempts to get him to act hadn't gone well. But he'd been very insistent on choreographing the sword fights.
Jamie had been most disappointed. Apparently his days of Nick throwing blades at him weren't over yet.
“When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning or in rain?”
The flickering shadows partially concealed the witches, enhancing their costumes. They looked deformed and almost intangible, cackling and gesturing wildly. An eerie tune was softly being picked up by the pipers, sending shivers down Mae's spine. Most of the audience actually jumped when the magicians brought down the first lightning bolt. Mae knew that was coming, but jumped a second later when a hand fell upon her arm. She turned, and recognised Nick's dark figure. She beckoned, and he crouched down, settling himself around her like a blanket, an arm draped over her shoulder almost as if it came naturally. He was getting very good at that.
She turned and smiled up at him, and got a crooked smirk back. She'd expected him to sulk tonight. He'd started out saying that putting on a play was pointless, the effects a waste of magic. She'd explained to him the importance of making the market behave as a community again, and he'd understood that, but his reaction mostly seemed to be amusement.
“You seem pleased.” she commented, eyes going back to watch the scene. The dancers were moving in the background now, casting more shadows and adding to the atmosphere. A drum beat was being picked up, and the atmosphere amongst the market folks grew tense as the plot to kill Duncan was hatched.
Nick stretched his legs out, regarding the actors with a lazy expression. “Well, I got to throw things at Jamie, and I like the fire.” He still did that sometimes, tried to play the 'I am a scary demon of destruction' card. She shushed him, and did the 'I am going to ignore you until I get my way' face. “Fine. I like that it makes my humans happy too.” he said.
“You are such a charmer.”
“I get up early every morning and practice.”
“Oh, it shows.”
She leaned back onto the grass, seeing the moon hidden by clouds and Nick sat there waiting, a thoughtful look on his face. She pulled him down until his face blocked the sky and she could kiss him. “So, I have a theory. I think if I leave the market alone like this for half an hour it will dissolve into chaos. I think they'll flounder without my amazing leadership.”
That thoughtful look came into full bloom on Nick's face as he caught on, and he smiled slowly. “Well, I think it's your leaderly duty to put that theory to the test. Call it a drill.”
She kept her face as straight as she could, trying to look like a serious, dutiful leader. “Yes, those demons are sneaky. Who knows what ways of delaying me they might come up with.”
They left as Jamie began a particularly melodramatic line about the death of the king, a short and spiky-haired Macbeth pretending to grieve for the king.
“Who could refrain,
That had a heart to love, and in that heart
Courage to make's love known?”
Mae couldn't argue with that, so she dragged Nick off to her wagon and bolted the door.