- Hayley gave Janus a bottle of scented massage oil - she made it herself- using one of Debbie's old recipes. It is a scent he especially liked. Also, she gave him a book which is full of hand-written observations of Janus - little snippets of prose that bespeak her profound love for him. ^-^ She must have been working on that for a while.
<Janus> I think Diamond would have told Janus she was planning on coming at the concert thing, to which he would certainly have gone <Hayley> (They seem to be like diary entries, almost. :^) ) <Hayley> (snippets of diary entries, anyway.)
- Janus took some of those stories Haylet was snooping after, copied them out by hand and had them bound into one volume... Sneaky, sneaky... He must have snuck out when ppl thought he was working in his study
<Janus> :D <Hayley> (aw! :^D) <Janus> Also, he had this thing made for her hair... it's hard to describe... <Hayley> (She would have been thrilled. He has to have sexy 18th C handwriting. :^D) <Janus> it's sotr of like a hairband, but not really... <Hayley> (pretty!) <Hayley> (She kens it in her room. Out of curiosity. :^) ) <Janus> it's mostly made of this thin golden wire; it has amber pieces and red gems set into it which sort of nestle in her hair... It curls around her horns as well; it's quite fetching
- Hayley is in her room now getting dressed for dinner.
- Diamond_ will be arriving very soon!
- Janus is hovering around and mostly getting in the way.
- Elanya is on IRC
- Aidan is helping Tara set the table and stuff.
- Joins: Elanya (email@example.com)
- ChanServ sets mode: +o Elanya
- Tally is touching up the decorations, more out of a need to be busy than anything.
<Tally> (Hi Heather! sorry to hear you're not feeling well... :^( )
- Aidan is dressed in a dark green velvet 18th C suit with a green brocade waistcoat and stuff.
- Tally looks nice as well in a more modern style.
- Joins: Tara_ (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Windrider will be wearing a deep red long vest/tunic thing with gold embroidered detailing, and an off-white finespun linen shirt with very lacy cuffs
<Tara_> (In previous years if Diamond came to visit, would Janus usually have Tara sit with the family, or serve?) <Windrider> (er... janus is)
- Janus will be wearing a deep red long vest/tunic thing with gold embroidered detailing, and an off-white finespun linen shirt with very lacy cuffs.
<Janus> (she doesn't usually... usually Janus goes to see her afterward.) <Janus> (so.. waht should we do...? :o)
- Hayley comes downstairs in a simple but pretty white dress, with her new head-dress on. Her hair, which is long enough to tie back now, is, with little curlicues escaping to frame her face.
- Tara_ will be serving this then.
<Diamond_> (yes) <Tara_> (she was indeed)
- Elanya is now known as Seraph
- Elanya has left IRC
<Diamond_> (I figure she can eat with us too, though) <Tara_> (oh, ok)
- Tally is anxious to see his lovely Seraph.
- Hayley steps into the dining room shyly because that's where she heard activity.
<Tara_> Good evening, dear.
- Tara_ smiles at the satyr.
- Aidan nods a greeting.
<Tally> Hi, Hayley.
- Hayley wonders where Janus is.
<Hayley> Can I help with anything? <Tara_> No, we're pretty much done. Now it's just a waiting game.
- Tara_ heads back to the kitchen to check on the food which smells delicious. the aromas have been filling the house all day!
- Diamond_ is decked out in a white floor-sweeping gown, with long, slightly flared sleeves, embroidered in silver thread with stylized scarab beetles. A belt of spun silver hangs upon her hips, the ends weighted by multi-faceted crystals the size off peach stones, possibly diamonds. The gown is amazingly cut; it must have taken an amzing tailor to have it put together...
<Diamond_> (She isn't here yet, but I figured I'd describe in advance) <Aidan> Shall we wait in the parlour, then?
- Aidan asks his brother and Hayley.
- Tally nods and heads there.
- Hayley and Aidan follow, and they wait. :^D
<Diamond_> (The gown covers her entire back, but with thin strips absent for her wings... Where the cutouts intersect with the high collar-piece, there are thinner bits of the same kind of silver cord on her belt, wrapped around her neck... And then there is another, thin semi-circle cut out sort of around her collarbone, showing off another jewel that seems to rest in the hollow of her clavicle. Her ears seem to be dripping with silver and ice...) <Diamond_> (And her hair is very Galadriel. So lovely.)
- Hayley is simply and humbly garbed, although she is in white. Just the head-dress and amber necklace.
- Seraph will be wearing, ummm... a dark red caftan, slit up to the wais on both sides, and a very full dark yellow skirt, with tiny little gold bells sewn along the hem.
- Windrider is dressed in layers of light sand-coloured robes, with accents of white and gold. He looks like he might be wearing gold eyeliner, too. Rrowr.
- Seraph has a thin belt, woven with more of the same tiny little golden bells, and some are also braided into her hair, which has been recently hennaed to a deep auburn.... the bells jingle pleasantly (and not obnoxiosuly) when she moves)
- Windrider raps on the door with his staff, a la Gandalf.
- Tara_ bustles to answer it.
- Tara_ is dressed in a nice red dress with white hand-made lace cuffs and collar.
- Tara_ curtseys to the party of Important People.
<Tara_> Good evening, all! And a Happy Yule! <Seraph> Happy Yule
- Tara_ beams and moves aside, gesturing for everyone to enter.
- Seraph smiles brightly
- Seraph is nervously excited, for a varety of reasons
- Diamond_ rushes over to the door...
- Tally saunters into view and bows to the Countess.
<Janus> (ww) <Tally> (Diamond rushes?) <Tally> (lol)
- Janus rushes over to the door.
<Janus> (She doesn't rush anywhere ;D) <Tally> (I know)
- Seraph has a little bag with her, with some things in it...
- Windrider steps inside, grinning widely.
<Windrider> Helloooo, all!
- Diamond_ follows him in, escorted by Dovev, who is wearing a simple black cassock.
- Joins: Dovev (email@example.com)
- Seraph curteys of Janus
- Dovev looks around the room cautiously.
- Tally bows to the
<Tally> (countess, at this point, then) <Tally> Happy Yule.
- Diamond_ looks impassive, aloof and beautiful.
- Tally says as he straightens up and then goes to Seraph.
<Seraph> Baron Gwydaine....
- Janus steps forward to greet everyone.
- Tara_ closes the door once everyone is comfortably inside.
- Seraph smiles at him, and then glances at tally
- Tara_ smiles warmly at Seraph, eyes glowing.
- Janus will return the smile, hiding his nervousness well. :D
<Seraph> Thank you for letting me attend... <Tally> <w> You look pretty nice.
- Seraph takes a little square box out of her bag and hands it to him
<Seraph> (Janus) <Janus> I'm looking forward to getting to know you better... I've hearsd so much from your father, and Tally... Oh?
- Seraph smiles to tally from the corner of her eyes
- Hayley stays in the parlour, trying to ignore the heavy, sinking feeling in her chest.
- Diamond_ waits patiently.
<Seraph> happy Yule
- Seraph smiles at Janus
- Janus takes it.
<Janus> This really wasn't necessary...
- Janus looks pleased though.
<Janus> ... Should I open it now? <Seraph> Go ahead :D
- Tally slips his hand into one of Seraph's and squeezes it, smiling.
<Windrider> Of course!
- Seraph steps closer to her boy
- Windrider looks around some.
<Seraph> <to Tally> YOu get one too, don't worry :) <Windrider> . o O (Where's Hayley?) <Tara_> Your Excellency, Windrider
- Janus carefully opens the box...
<Tara_> Dovev... if you'd like to go to the parlour? <Aidan> You'd probably best go out there.
- Hayley nods.
- Seraph passes tally a box from her bag which is about a foot long
- Dovev inclines his head very slightly.
<Dovev> sssk... <Hayley> I'm afraid... <Dovev> <w> I wait with my missstresss...
- Aidan nods.
<Seraph> (and about Six inches wide... fairly heavy) <Aidan> Come along.
- Aidan stands up and holds his elbow out for Hayley.
- Tally grins and takes it. He shakes it, trying to figure out what it might be.
<Tally> Can I open it in the present company? <Seraph> (The box smells like spices when Janus opens the box, and inside, wrapped in thin tissue paper, is a sting of tiny silver bells on a silver string)
- Tally smiles wickedly.
- Janus lifts the silver strand out of the box.
<Seraph> YOu can.... but don't shake it *too* much.
- Janus looks as though he likes them, but isn't sure what they are for.
- Seraph looks to Janus
<Seraph> They are, um, for your hair...
- Aidan appears and bows to the Countess.
- Seraph blushes
<Janus> Oh, I see!
- Seraph hopes she was not wrong on that account
- Diamond_ smiles graciously at Aidan. He is the good one.
<Aidan> Your Excellency, welcome. <Janus> How very interesting... <Janus> Thank you, Seraph.
- Janus carefully puts them back in the box.
<Seraph> I hope you like them, Your lordship. <Janus> I certainly do...
- Windrider nudges Janus with the bottom of his staff.
- Hayley shows comes around the corner quietly and uncertainly, hiding her fear as best she can. She curtseys deeply, face pale.
- Janus realizes he's neglected his mother... :o
<Hayley> Your Excellency...
- Diamond_ 's eyes graze over Hayley but briefly as she steps forward past Windrider, towards Janus.
- Seraph steps to the side with Tally
- Hayley is relieved somewhat.
I hope you like yours too...
- Hayley fades off into a shadow at the back of the hall.
- Seraph is the kind of person who agononizes about finding the *perfect* present
<Janus> I've been remiss, forgive me... <Hayley> (like me!)
- Janus reaches for her hand.
- Diamond_ displays her most gracious, charming, and lovely smile.
- Tally puts his gift under his arm and then waves his hand. A gift magically appears and he hands it to Seraph.
<Tally> And I hope you like yours, a little bit at least. <Seraph> oh! <Diamond_> My dear son.
- Diamond_ says with uncharacteristic warmth.
of course I will!
- Hayley watches the
- Seraph kisses Tally's hand
<Hayley> (the countess as she speaks with Janus) <Tally> Care to come to the parlour?
- Diamond_ reaches up and takes his face in her hands, kissing him lightly on each cheek, then the lips.
<Diamond_> You look very well.
- Tara_ smiles at Windrider and Dovev.
- Seraph nods
- Windrider waves at Tara.
<Janus> And you look more lovely than ever, of course...
- Seraph will go with Tally
- Janus embraces the Countess, seeming happy and perhaps relieved...
- Tally leads Seraph to the parlour and waits for her to open her present. It's a small box.
- Windrider tries to catch Hayley's eye.
- Tally settles down on a loveseat, in fact.
- Seraph will sit beside him
<Seraph> ohh... you open your first :)
- Hayley looks up at Windrider and tries a half-smile which she hopes is convincing. Her eyes are large with anxiety, though.
<Tally> All right, ladies first, isn't that what they say?
- Diamond_ returns the embrace... She smooths back Janus hair, her fingers lingering, perhaps for a slpit-second, over the black and silver ribbon.
<Seraph> something like that
- Seraph pokes him in the ribs
- Windrider smiles at her, maybe a little tentatively, maybe a little sadly.
- Tally opens the present with exaggerated care, peeling back the wrappings carefully.
- Dovev stands like a statue, not really looking at anything.
- Aidan waits for everyone to move.
<Diamond_> It is so good to see you.
- Hayley 's smile warms up a bit after Windrider smiles at her. it's hard to stay in a bad mood around him.
- Diamond_ says as she steps back.
<Seraph> (In the box is a dagger, a bout a foot long. The blade is patterned a deep red and grey steel, and the handle seems to be of brass, set with garnets. The pommel is a fox's head, and the blade itself is sort of,, funky, like one of those Klingon daggers ;) <Tara_> Well... if you'll excuse me, Your Excellency, honoured guests - I must attend to the food! I'd hate for it to burn... <Janus> Oh, of course...
- Janus says to Tara.
<Janus> Mother, I believe you know, ah, everyone.
- Tally runs his hand along the hilt, feeling the texture of it. Then he holds it up to the light and the blade glints.
- Tally turns to smile at Seraph; he likes it very much.
- Janus says as the Countess turns to survey the hall.
<Tally> It's pretty cool. Thanks!
- Tally leans over to kiss her.
<Diamond_> Quite so...
- Hayley is still standing there, trying to be inconspicuous. She is repeating "do not speak unless spoken to" over and over in her mind.
- Diamond_ smiles at everyone, but her eyes hold something hard for Hayley.
- Hayley lowers her head when the Countess' gaze falls on her.
- Seraph is happy bhe liked it
<Janus> Well... Shall we go into the parlour, then? I don't think dinner is quite ready. <Windrider> A capital notion. Let's go, before your son has a chance to completely ruin my daughter's pretty hairdo. ;D
- Aidan nods.
- Windrider smacks Dovev between the shoulders.
- Hayley lingers behind and glances at Janus, silently asking if she ought to come or go help Tara?
- Dovev glides off with Windrider.
- Aidan holds his elbow out for the countess.
<Aidan> (he's a gentleman. :^D)
- Diamond_ looks pleased, and delicately rests her hand in the crook of his arm.
<Diamond_> You played very well last ewek, Aidan. <Aidan> I'm afraid father made an understatement. You look absolutely stunning tonight, Countess. <Aidan> Thank you very much, Countess. It was an honour to play for you. <Diamond_> And your tongue is blessed with the gift of flattery... <Aidan> And an even greater honour to hear you play.
- Aidan smiles.
<Seraph> should I open mine now?
- Seraph asks Tally
- Janus moves toward Hayley as Diamond and Aidan head for the parlour.
<Tally> Sure, if you like.
- Diamond_ laughs musically.
It's up to you...
Well, I don't want to make things uncomfortable for anyone.
If you think it's all right, I'll come.
- Janus smiles at her.
<Janus> Good, then.
- Seraph takes the little box and shakes it a bit
<Windrider> TAKE YOUR HANDS OFF MY DAUGHTER!
- Windrider bellows.
- Seraph rolls her eyes
Will you sit with me? Or should we not... flaunt things?
- Windrider laughs heartily.
- Tally puts his hands up in the air and widens his eyes as if fearful.
<Janus> I don't think that counts as flaunting. <Tally> Please, do anything to me, but don't throw me in a bramble patch, Brer!
- Seraph shakes her head
- Windrider sits down in an overstuffed chair, resting his staff across his lap.
<Hayley> All right...
- Hayley bows to Janus' experience and wisdom in matters of his mother.
You look so beautiful tonight...
- Janus sighs happily as he brishes her hair with his fingertips.
<Hayley> (Seraph's box makes a small thudding noise)
<Hayley> (as she shakes it)
- Seraph opens it carefully, being one of those people who doesn't like to tear wrqapping paper. And also to drive Tally mad ;)
- Hayley smiles shyly.
<Windrider> Come, let's go, or they might think we are... flaunting. <Windrider> (ww) <Janus> Come, let's go, or they might think we are... flaunting.
- Tally grins. He did the same to her!
- Hayley nods.
- Windrider watches with interest.
- Janus takes her by the hand, and heads for the parlour.
- Seraph opens the box, eventually
<Janus> (afk one sec.. bathroom) <Tally> (inside is a gold ring adorned with a beautifully cut ruby that glints like fire.)
- Tally hopes she s pleased. not an engagement ring, but pretty!)
<Janus> (back) <Seraph> oh, wow!
- Tally leans in close to her and whispers in her ear.
- Diamond_ will enter with Aidan.
<Tally> "I chose a ruby because its fire reminds me of you. And also, it is the rarest stone there is. As hard to find as someone like you." <Seraph> oh... hush you...
- Seraph blushes, trying the ring on
- Tally looks like he is concentrating as he whispers in Seraph's ear. ^-^
- Tally brushes her hair aside and kisses her on the cheek.
- Tally smiles as he watches her, eyes intense with love.
<Seraph> (brb) <Tally> (It's been nearly a year and she still hasn't told him! It's going to be so bad when she does...)
- Aidan leads Diamond over to the best chair by the fire and helps her into it.
- Aidan bows to her and takes a seat himself.
- Diamond_ pretends not to notice the PDA.
- Tally blushes and sits up straight next to Seraph. No more naughty stuff. Darn!
- Diamond_ settles comfortably into the chair.
<Aidan> (Dovev is in human form, right?)
- Dovev sort of looms behind the countess.
- Aidan turns to Diamond.
<Aidan> Have you seen His Grace, lately?
- Aidan starts the small talk. :^D
- Tally is not very good at small talk because it all comes out as nonsense which isn't much appreciated.
- Tally listens attentively instead, and sneaks his hand into Seraph's.
- Seraph squeezes her boy's hand, and mostly sits quietly
- Tally glances at Seraph frequently. He is obviously extremely proud that he is the guy lucky enough to be with her. In case WR notices. :^D
- Diamond_ nods to Aidan.
- Seraph seems happy to be here as well
<Diamond_> At the concert, of course... And I will see him this evening, most like.
- Janus will escort Hayley in at this time.
<Aidan> It's a shame he couldn't join us for Yule dinner... but I'm glad you shall be seeing him later in the evening.
- Hayley allows Janus to escort her and hopes Diamond won't kill her.
<Diamond_> He was to have spent it with Nikolai, but he made other plans.
- Diamond_ says vaguely.
- Diamond_ looks up and smiles at her son.
- Hayley tries to project the idea that she is not, in fact, attached to her son at the elbow at this moment in time.
- Dovev watches Hayley.
- Janus sits down with the satyr.
- Hayley smells nervous/fearful. She looks mostly composed, though. But people who know her well could tell that she is anxious.
<Seraph> Hmm, I've never been to a Yule celebration before... <Windrider> Such a poor little sheltered thing, she is...
- Seraph tries to play the "I'm an ignorant foreigner' card to get people to talk about trivial things
- Hayley sits quietly next to him and her eyes are drawn to the fire.
<Seraph> Well, people back home still tend to be a lot more Muslim... <Tally> Oh, yeah? <Tally> They have something around this time of year, don't they? Ramadan? <Tally> Or is that October? <Seraph> it is earlier, generally...
- Tally nods.
<Tally> I heard that they fast all day... and then celebrate all night. I'm not sure whether to believe it, though -is it true? <Seraph> well, some people do... <Windrider> We aren't exactly religious fundamentalists ;D <Seraph> Other people just do things like go visiting <Seraph> yeah :)
- Janus mostly sits quietly...
- Tally nods and smiles.
<Seraph> the day after Ramadan is officially over, though, ther's a big party and presents and things <Diamond_> Yes, I seem to recall it was very loud.
- Seraph nods
<Seraph> it depends on where you go, but, all the good ones are loud :) <Windrider> Ah yes, it was fall then, wasn't it? <Diamond_> In Cairo, yes. <Aidan> You experienced a Ramadan party once, Countess?
- Aidan asks, interested.
<Diamond_> Well, I heard one.
- Diamond_ smiles.
- Hayley listens quietly but won't say anything unless spoken to. She glances up at Janus every now and then just to make sure he's still there. ^-^
<Diamond_> That was before you were born, dear...
- Diamond_ says to Janus.
<Tally> When were you there?
- Tally is interested too. :^)
- Tally likes travelling.
<Janus> Oh? <Diamond_> Oh... so long ago. <Tally> ... <Tally> Before the Sundering? <Windrider> Seventy, it must have been. <Windrider> Nineteen-seventy.
- Tally grins.
<Tally> Oh, that must have been hard on you?
- Diamond_ looks over at Tally.
<Diamond_> I enjoy travelling...
- Tally nods.
<Diamond_> I had heard of a very large freehold... a city in the desert, magically concealed. <Seraph> oooohhh...
- Seraph says, knowingly
<Diamond_> Windrider was our guide.
- Tally glances at Seraph, grinning like a little boy, and leans forward a bit, eager to hear the adventure story. :^D
- Seraph nods
- Hayley 's ears are perked as well; she is listening.
<Windrider> The Oasis was hidden by the power of an ancient artifact; the veil of Isis... <Windrider> If you didn't know exactly where and how to look, you'd wander for weeks, until the desert consumed you... <Windrider> Hence, a strapping young eshu guide!
- Hayley 's ears twitch back and forth between WR and Diamond as they tell their parts of the story. :^D
- Dovev rolls his eyes.
- Seraph grins
- Tally grins at Dovev.
- Diamond_ looks over at Windrider.
<Tally> Were you along for the trip too? <Diamond_> We never did make it there, though... <Dovev> <w> I do not leave my misstressss. <Tally> Ah, so you were around already! <Dovev> <w> Long are my days, young one...
- Tally smiles and turns back to Windrider, who told them lots of stories as they were growing up, I'm sure!
- Tally feels a bit nostalgic and squeezes Seraph's hand, then glances towards her and smiles warmly.
<Janus> Why not? <Diamond_> Hm? <Janus> Why didn't you go?
- Seraph is istenin to her father and the countess
<Aidan> Tally, hush up. If you keep interrupti-
- Aidan takes his own advice as Janus speaks.
<Windrider> Because *somebody* had other plans!
- Windrider pokes at Janus with his staff.
- Hayley 's eyes widen and she looks up at Janus.
<Janus> Oh, I see... <Seraph> heh.. <Hayley> Was he born in Egy-
- Janus says a little sheepishly.
<Diamond_> Heavens no.
- Hayley clamps her mouth shut and looks worried about having spoken.
<Diamond_> A near thing, however... <Dovev> Sssk.
- Hayley is relieved that no one means to bite her head off and relaxes slightly.
<Diamond_> I had some ... difficulty. <Windrider> It all worked out in the end, though, obviously... <Hayley> (The smells of food are getting stronger and stronger!) <Windrider> You know, we really ought to get down there again, this summer maybe?
- Tara_ can be heard ferrying platters and serving dishes to the dining room.
<Diamond_> Hmm, perhaps... <Tally> ! <Tally> May I come?!
- Diamond_ says thoughtfully.
- Aidan shakes his head and rolls his eyes at his twin.
<Windrider> I don't see why not... might have to shave you though; it's terribly hot for all that fur.
- Seraph grins
<Windrider> Or maybe you'd rather go with Seraph... <Windrider> ;D <Seraph> I'll volunteer >:D <Tally> Fur? What has Seraph been telling you?! :^o <Diamond_> Janus, *you* simply must come.
- Diamond_ gets up and glides over to sit beside Janus on the sofa (the other side, obviously. not in H's lap ;D)
- Tally glances at Seraph, injured. He isn't really hairy except when in fox form! :^D
- Seraph grins impishly
<Tally> (well, he has soft downy fur, I guess, since he's a pooka... but he isn't a hairy gorilla guy) <Diamond_> Windrider tells me they've rebuilt all the spires and towers, even taller and lovelier than they were of old.
- Seraph nods to the countess
<Janus> It sounds very interesting... Is it still a hidden city?
- Hayley leans back against the couch and tries not to look unhappy. She is pretty sure she isn't invited. :^(
<Windrider> Yes... although the Veil was damaged before it could be recovered, it still serves well enough.
- Hayley imagines how nice it would be to go travelling with Janus.
<Seraph> (I'm sorry guys, I need to go lie down again...
- Hayley glances up at WR and gives him a shy/sad half-smile.
<Seraph> (Seraph can just be quiet, though) <Hayley> (OK Heather... I hope you get better really fast! :^( ) <Seraph> (thanks, me too ;)
- Quits: Seraph (firstname.lastname@example.org) (Quit: "All that's left is dust, and an echo..." - Medea)
<Windrider> Hopefully, it will ensure that no more harm comes to the Oasis...
- Hayley tucks a lock of hair that is tickling her behind an ear.
- Tara_ appears at the door and curtseys.
<Tara_> Your Excellency, Your Lordship... dinner is served. <Windrider> Oh good.. I'm wasting away, as you can see...
- Windrider gets up.
- Aidan stands up and straightens his suit.
- Tally stands up and offers a hand up to Seraph, smiling.
- Hayley glances at Janus. Does he want to escort Diamond to the dining room?
- Janus will stand up as well.
<Janus> Mother, Hayley? <Hayley> (Seraph takes Tally's hand, smiling, and he helps her up.)
- Janus extends a hand to each of them.
- Hayley takes the proffered hand and hopes for the best.
- Diamond_ will take the proferred arm, smiling at Janus, not really looking at Hayley.
<Janus> (and we all go eat...) <Tara_> (yup. It is delicious as always!) <Tara_> (a huge roast turkey and all the fixings!) <Diamond_> (afterward there is some more stuff in the parlour...) <Tara_> (Ok)
- Tara_ serves tea and coffee in the parlour.
<Diamond_> (Janus has some pretty (minorly) magical earrings for Diamond, which,when put on, creep up her earlobes like frost... so pretty ;D)
- Tally invites whoever wishes to join him in a game of cards. Hayley chooses to join him so Janus can talk to Diamond.
<Tally> (He won't set up the card table until after the gift exchange, though) <Tally> (Everyone politely watches Diamond open her gift. :^) ) <Tara_> Ohh, lovely!
- Tara_ beams.
<Tara_> (does she give anything to Janus?) <Diamond_> (and she has some stuff for Janus...a heavy black velvet cloak with a silver lining, and silver embroidered details, as well as an ancient-looking, leather-bound book of what appear to be poems (?). They're in some long-forgotten tongue.) <Tara_> (pretty!)
- Diamond_ happily watches her son open the presents, looking genuinely delighted.
- Hayley smiles happily as she watches Janus open and admire his gifts.
- Diamond_ looks up and addresses Hayley directly for the first time this evening.
<Diamond_> And I have something for you, as well.
- Janus looks up from his book, surprised.
- Hayley 's eyes shine with pleasure for Janus' sake but turns to Diamond with a look of surprise.
- Diamond_ stands up.
<Hayley> Your Excellency...? <Diamond_> Come with me, child. Outside.
- Diamond_ looks around the room.
<Diamond_> Just the two of us. <Diamond_> It's a surprise. <Janus> ...
- Hayley stands up and curtseys and glances at Janus... but what can she do, really?
- Janus smiles encouragingly at her.
<Hayley> Yes, Your Excellency...
- Janus cannot posibly suspect his mother of planning something sneaky and mean.
<Hayley> (Does Dovev come?) <Diamond_> Take my arm, child.
- Hayley is worried but does as she is told.
<Diamond_> (he'll follow, but not til after a couple of minutes)
- Diamond_ takes Hayley outside, into the darkened garden.
- Hayley glances up at Diamond and Diamond may or may not be pleased to note the definite bit of fear in Hayley's golden eyes.
<Diamond_> (may. ;D) <Diamond_> There is quite a chill in the air, is there not?
- Hayley walks surprisingly slowly and with great care for a girl her age.
<Hayley> (Diamond can probably tell she is in pain.)
- Diamond_ says in an odd tone.
Yes, Your Excellency...
<Diamond_> Into the maze.
- Diamond_ commands.
- Hayley does as she is told. :^(
- Diamond_ and Hayley will walk in silence to the centre of the hedge maze, where there are some benches and crumbling statuary...
<Diamond_> Now, let go of me.
- Diamond_ disentangles herself from the satyr.
<Hayley> (Can I pick anything up off of her? Can I tell she means to do me harm?)
- Diamond_ steps back and regards her with icy eyes.
- Hayley does so quickly.
<Diamond_> (her stance is less than friendly ;D)
<Diamond_> Are you frightened?
Shouldn't I be?
<Diamond_> (You feel cold fingers brush the back of your neck, where the necklace clasps.)
<Diamond_> If I wished it...
<Diamond_> There would be little you could do to prevent me from ending your troublesome existence.
- Hayley raises her eyes to meet Diamond's. There is still fear in them but also they shine with a strength.
- Hayley nods but says nothing.
<Diamond_> (You hear a soft hissing behind you) <Diamond_> I do not deny that my heart has greatly desired this... <Hayley> . o O (Dovev...) <Diamond_> And that bauble will not protect you from everything, my dear.
- xeria is on IRC
- Diamond_ clenches her hand into a small white fist.
- Hayley 's heart is pounding hard within her chest and her knees feel like they will give out but she continues to stand.
- Hayley just watches Diamond, implacable.
<Diamond_> Some sacrifices must be made, in the name of love...
- Diamond_ says nothing for a time. You can hear Dovev softly hissing in the darkness behind you.
What is your will, then? What will you do to me?
- Hayley asks after a long pause.
<Diamond_> I release you.
- Diamond_ says, her features taut.
<Diamond_> I release you from your oath, and from my curse. <Hayley> (Hmmm... I'm not sure whether that works or whether the Dreaming would still enforce the punishment?) <Diamond_> (I think it would... wasn't it your eventual plan to go and seek her forgiveness so that it wouldn't consider you oathbroken anymore?) <Hayley> (Yes, after my year of punishment was up so no one could say it was because I couldn't bear the pain) <Janus> (it's been a year.) <Janus> (or more... since she broke the oath) <Hayley> (Well, the punishment only began on Beltaine, but I suppose... :^) )
- Hayley sinks to her knees as the wounds on her back close up, then. Streaks of blood blossom on the white fabric of the back of her dress as scabs crack open to close the lips of ravaged flesh...
- Hayley doesn't even squeak, but she does fall to her hands, sides heaving.
- Hayley makes an effort to rise back into a kneeling position.
<Hayley> (The scent of blood fills Dovev's nostrils. mmm) <Diamond_> Understand that I do this not for love of thee.
- Diamond_ says coldly.
- Hayley takes a deep breath and nods.
<Diamond_> The next time you falter, the next time you fail... And I'm certain you will,
- Diamond_ says bitterly.
<Diamond_> It is I who will comfort him. And *I* will be all the comfort he requires, this time. <Diamond_> Do you take my meaning? <Diamond_> (You think about the way she touched the enchanted ribbon as she was hugging Janus...)
- Hayley raises her eyes to Diamond's.
<Hayley> If I falter, you will be welcome to him. <Diamond_> Spare me your tepid attempts at contrition!!
- Diamond_ hisses. Her hair is buffeted by a cold blast of wind.
- Hayley didn't say it contritely.
- Hayley said it as if her faltering again is extremely unlikely.
<Diamond_> The sound of your voice is poison in mine ear... <Diamond_> I know of your curse. <Diamond_> I know how you are drawn away to some nameless other. <Diamond_> I will not have my son thus shamed! <Diamond_> Know that this...
- Diamond_ waves her hand through the air.
<Diamond_> This continues only because I allow it. And I allow it only because of Janus. <Hayley> His Lordship will be most grateful for your kindness and mercy. <Diamond_> The next time I am suffered to see tears in his eyes because of your fickle nature, it will be the end. Of this, and of thee. <Diamond_> And then Janus will forget. <Diamond_> He will cry, but then he will forget. He will move on. Perhaps he will marry the Lady Melisande. <Diamond_> Or Isabel. <Hayley> ...
- Hayley doubts he'd marry his cousin... he needs someone intelligent. ^-^
<Diamond_> I mean for him to be a prince. <Diamond_> ...
- Hayley 's eyebrow raises almost imperceptibly.
<Diamond_> Your dress is a ruin. We can't have that. I will surely be blamed for some cruelty.
- Diamond_ says briskly.
<Hayley> They will be wondering what is keeping us.
- Diamond_ plucks a twig off a hedge and brushes Hayley's back with it. The blood lifts out of the fabric and falls to the ground.
- Dovev emerges from the darkness.
- Dovev stands quietly behind Hayley.
<Diamond_> To the manor then. Give me your arm. <Hayley> You do me a favour, Your Excellency. If I should falter - I would not *want* him to remember.
- Hayley takes Diamond's arm as ordered.
<Diamond_> He will not forget you. Only this foolish affection.
- Diamond_ says coldly.
<Diamond_> (and so we return to the house) <Hayley> (Is my necklace back or did Dovev keep it?) <Hayley> (I guess it never left.) <Hayley> (But I'll be getting Janus to examine it closely since she (it was her cold fingers?) touched it) <Janus> (Dovev touched it) <Hayley> (OK, well anyway. someone touched it)
- Hayley heads back into the house and back to the parlour with the Countess.
- Janus looks up questioningly as they enter.
- Diamond_ flashes another winning smile as though nothing had happened.
- Dovev trails along behind.
<Windrider> Did you enjoy your walk, ladies?
- Windrider asks congenially.
- Hayley smiles at the room but it doesn't reach her eyes.
<Hayley> It was lovely.
- Hayley walks Diamond over to wherever Diamond wants to sit and helps her into her seat then re-seats herself.
- Diamond_ settles herself delicately.
- Janus goes over and sits down beside Hayley.
- Hayley 's dress is cold as he sits next to her and she shivers once. But she warms up quickly enough in the room.
- Janus looks at her expectantly.
<Hayley> Her Excellency's gift was most unexpected and generous... but it is of a more spiritual nature than material. <Diamond_> Don't pester her, dear. I'm sure she'll tell you all about it later.
- Janus is very curious.
- Hayley smiles up at Janus and leans back against the couch without wincing as she usually does.
<Janus> . o O (A spell?)
- Hayley 's smile didn't really reach her eyes and she hopes he will attribute that to some lingering wariness towards Diamond.
<Tara_> More tea, anyone? <Tara_> You must be cold after your walk, Your Excellency.
- Tara_ smiles at the Countess, oblivious.
<Diamond_> That would be lovely.
- Tara_ obliges and gives refills to all.
- Janus continues to mull over possibilities in his head.
<Tara_> (They spend the rest of the evening exchanging pleasantries and small talk, and playing cards...)
- Janus looks at Hayley out of the corner of his eye while sipping from his cup... ;D
<Diamond_> (hooray for small tlk!) <Tara_> (Aidan is the Gwydaine's Smalltalk Man.)
- Hayley claims fatigue around 11:00 pm and asks if she might be excused.
- Janus looks surprised but will let her off the hook...
- Diamond_ and her crew will proabbly leave shortly afterward...
- Hayley says good night to everyone and goes up to her room. She was up early that morning. :^)
- Janus is so pleased. As far as he knows, everything has gone smashingly, much better than the fiasco when Rachel showed up!
- Tally wonders how he can arrange for Seraph to stay the night... ;^D
- Tally decides he'd better leave it up to her because... well, it might bother people.
<Tally> . o O (Windrider! Father!... Dear old granny.) <Tally> . o O (I doubt any of them wish to think of what she and I mighty get up to... )
- Tally lets her know subtly that he'd be pleased to have her stay... but we'll say she has to go, for whatever reason. so they say good-bye to one another.
- Tara_ starts cleaning up.
- Aidan bids the Countess and their other guests good-night and a Happy Yule once more, and sees them off.
<Janus> Well, that was surprisingly pleasant.
- Janus congratulates himself.
<Janus> :D <Aidan> Yes...
- Aidan smiles at his father.
<Janus> How do you suppose that happened? <Aidan> A Yuletide miracle?
- Aidan suggests dryly.
- Tally helps Tara clean up.
- Tara_ bids Janus and the boys good night and heads to her room.
<Janus> I do wonder what it was...
- Janus glances towards the stairwell.
- Aidan yawns, covering his mouth daintily. ^-^
<Aidan> I'm not sure, but I'd best be off to bed myself. <Aidan> Good night, Father. Happy Yule.
- Aidan hugs Janus good-night.
- Aidan drags himself off upstairs.
<Janus> (Where's Tally?)
- Tally meanders about the hall, making sure all the food's been put away so it won't attract vermin.
- Tally looks well-pleased with the world.
<Tally> Isn't she wonderful?
- Tally asks his father absently/dreamily. ;^D
<Janus> She seems very nice, yes...
- Tally smiles happily.
<Tally> Did you have a good evening?
- Janus nods.
<Janus> I was quite nervous at first... <Tally> Oh? <Tally> Whyever would that be?
- Tally smiles.
<Janus> I wasn't certain if Mother would be quite so tactful.
- Tally shrugs.
<Tally> She hasn't lived so long due to constantly flying off her handle.
- Tally scratches his chin. Is that right? ;^D
- Tally thinks of the times she has flown off her handle. scary.
<Janus> Well, after Rachel... <Tally> Well... to be fair, your mother knew about Hayley, didn't she? <Tally> I don't think Rach did. It was a bit of a surprise for her.
- Janus nods.
<Tally> Too bad Rach couldn't make it, eh? <Janus> Yes, a pity...
- Janus says sadly.
<Janus> She is moving on, and away. <Tally> She'll be here in a few days, anyway... right?
- Tally tries to cheer Janus up.
<Janus> Yes, but then we shall all have to go to Aberystwyth for the New Year, and it will be so *busy*. <Tally> I guess she kind of didn't want to leave her new minions alone on Christmas... she doesn't want them to think she hates them. <Tally> Minions...
- Tally chuckles.
<Tally> My wee sister with minions.
- Tally looks quite amused for whatever reason.
<Tally> Well, now that it's only the menfolk left, would you care to join me for some cigars and brandy? <Janus> I don't believe we have any... <Tally> Sure we do.
- Tally looks down the hall towards a room that might once have been used for the purpose by a former occupant. It sometimes still smells like cigar smoke.
<Tally> (^-^) <Tally> (House with memories.) <Janus> I think I shall have to decline, in any case.
- Janus says with a smile.
- Janus can't abide the smell.
- Tally shakes his head.
<Tally> Tsk tsk. It's the long hair, isn't it?
- Tally teases.
<Tally> Well, suit yourself. <Janus> Good night, Tally. <Tally> Have a good night, Father. Don't let the bedbugs bite.
- Tally gives Janus a silly little salute with his hand and heads down the hall, ostensibly for some brandy.