We're in Jules, and have been for three days now!
Oh. My. Goodness.
Frozen fire! this is a beautiful and exciting city!
I have a picture to show you, but I can't seem to format it correctly. I'll have to paint pictures for you with words instead. It'll be impossible to convey the beauty and elegance and exoticness, though.
The colors of my city of Furier are gold and red, but Jules is a blue city. It's blue with lots of marble, yet it retains the exotic feel.
Let me go back to the beginning of our arrival. I'm warning you, this may be a long post, but I simply must capture this experience.
When we reached the edges of the city at around sunset, it didn't seem like the people were even close to going to bed. All throughout the wide, dirt streets, people were dancing with bright-colored streamers. I thought there must be a celebration going on, but when we drew nearer, someone cried out,
"Hail! The Lord of Fire!"
The dancing and music was for us! What a way to be welcomed. It was fantastic. Paper lanterns and streamers hung from everywhere and thousands of flute notes floated through the air.
The Fire Lord responded politely with a brief thank-you speech with a few compliments thrown in, and we were on our way again. The Fire Lord had us kachinas walk in the front of his little procession. I think he was actually proud of us. He knew we were every bit as good as the Julese street dancers.
My first impression (other than the welcoming festival) was how straight everyone's posture was. I know that's an odd thing to notice, but everyone in Jules, even the children, seemed to carry themselves with an air of grace and poise and total confidence.
The people also all looked exactly as I had been told: long, silky-straight black hair and black, almond shaped eyes. Their skin was also very pale, especially in contrast to we fire fairies' tan-and-rose complexion. Everyone was quite beautiful, even the commoners, but perhaps it's just that they were different from any people I had ever seen. The humans in Furier all have brown or blonde hair with brown (sometimes blue) eyes and white, though tanned, skin. Nothing as extreme as black hair with skin like moonlight.
It took us several more shadowmarks to reach the Julese Palace. When we saw it, my eyes grew large and my mouth fell open. It was just as great as the Palace of Furier, but instead of all gold, this palace was made of marble with a bright blue roof and gold curling designs decorating the columns and huge windows. It was the most intricate thing I have ever seen. The Palace of Furier is fairly simple with large, bold architechture. The Julese Palace was just so much more detailed, and in the gathering dusk, it looked cold and almost haunting.
When we neared the Palace, several men blew a high, clear note on a strange instrument and the great, white, arched doors of the Palace swung open. Out rode a dozen great, white horses and six white elephants, all painted with Julese designs. I was shocked to see animals coming out of a palace, but when I looked through the doors, I could see grass inside. There was a huge courtyard inside, big enough to put a small settlement.
In the middle of the group of white elephants and horses, on the biggest elephant of all, sitting in an extravagant litter, rode the Emperor Nero and Empress Nala of Jules. They were dressed in classic Julese attire: he wore a light, sheer blue shirt and baggy, white pants with pointed shoes. On his head sat an impressive silver crown with blue and green jewels sitting in it. His arms were spread wide in a welcoming gesture to us, and he smiled as though he'd been waiting his whole life to meet us. His jet black hair matched his eyes, which were outlined in black to make them stand out even more. His tattoos were visible through his shirt, and I could see that he had plenty of them.
The Empress wore a small blue top with silver tassels and thread designs. Her sleeves matched the billowy, sheer blue style of her husband's shirt. Her skirt was also blue, and dripped with all sorts of jewels. On her head was the delicate silver crown of Jules with a sapphire drop resting gracefully on her forehead. Multiple gold and silver bangles adorned her arms, and she had four anklets on each foot.
They both sat cross-legged.
I didn't notice her at first, but after a moment, I spotted another figure on a smaller elephant riding behind the Emperor and Empress. It was the young Princess Sadira.
"Welcome, Lord of Fire!" Emperor Nero called. "We are honored with your visit."
He and the Fire Lord exchanged customary formalitites and pleasantries, and then we were ceremoniously led into the courtyard, which was almost more impressive than the outside of the Palace. The gardens were bursting with colorful flowers and the fountains were breathtaking. I could almost feel the Fire Lord planning to add some splendor to his own Palace.
Several times, I leaned over to say something to Flare or Firefly, but then remembered; we had been strictly forbidden to speak in the presence of the Emperor and Empress. For all their hearty welcoming and smiles, the Julese were said to be a harsh people.
"Please, we know you are very tired from your journey," the Emperor said as soon as we were all in the throne room and he was sitting on his throne. "It would be unhospitable of us to try and entertain you further tonight. I will have somone escourt you to the guest wing immediately."
This was odd to me, for whenever a guest comes to Furier, everyone stays up at least half the night performing and eating and drinking and singing. I suppose we Furierites are just an eager sort of culture.
By this time, I was really very sleepy and not taking in much more. The long walk to the guest wing of the Palace is a bit blurry. I do remember everything being white marble with blue veins, and there being a lot of details and lots of silver. The Palace was truly huge as well. It sprawled over a great area, unlike the Palace of Furier, which is really rather small as palaces go.
The room we kachinas were led to was large with two big beds. It wasn't a fancy room by any reckoning, but it was better than what we had at home. The blankets were light and airy, and the pillows were oddly rounded. There were so many great, arched windows around the room that it felt almost like sleeping outside.
Firefly, Flare and I claimed one of the big beds, and Sparkle, Comet and Flicker slept in the other. Comet and Flicker were soon asleep, but the other four of us stayed awake for some time, marveling at all the grandeur around us. It had been an interesting day for sure, but we knew the next few days would be even more full of surprises.
We were right. Some completely unexpected things have happened the last three days, some good, some bad. Right now, though, I'm exhausted and I don't think I can write any more tonight. I'll try to write tomorrow, though, and tell you everything.