Diablotin 2 session 79

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[DiablotinNarrator] The holidays are upon you once more! Although no snow yet covers the ground, the clear weather has been crisply cold and windy, and it seems sure there will be snow by the new year.

[DiablotinNarrator] The Emperor is hosting a grand ball at the Imperial Palace to celebrate his first anniversary, as well as those of his sister and brother, and to ring in the start of a new year.

[DiablotinNarrator] There is also excitement in the streets, as free bread is being distributed to all those who present themselves at the Hall of Worthies during the holiday period. Already the turnout has been high, suggesting that hunger remains widespread in certain quarters of the city.

[DiablotinNarrator] Tonight, in addition to bread, many leftovers from the ball will also be handed out to those who are willing to wait in the cold for them.

[DiablotinNarrator] The ball, of course, is crowded with those for whom hunger is but a distant worry. The atmosphere is joyous, but verging on feverish, even manic, as if this might be the last such celebration for some time, or the last ever for some of those here.

[DiablotinNarrator] You can all mingle - the expected people are here, if there's someone you particularly need to talk to, or else you can talk amongst yourselves in #gnomeland and come in here when you're called ;)

Guillame and Silvia

[DiablotinNarrator] Guillame, Silvia has asked, unexpectedly, to come to the ball. Although she's not yet 15, and thus not officially 'out' in society, you would be allowed to bring her if you wanted - basically, it's up to you and your sense of what's appropriate for an almost-14-year-old girl ;)

  • Guillame is not entirely convinced, considering his recent conversation with Aden, but will allow it on general principle
  • Silvia wears a pretty organza gown, suitable for her age, printed with a pattern of orange flowers against a deep yellow background.
  • Silvia seems unexpectedly excited to be there, considering she hasn't showed much interest in high society before.
  • Guillame will give her a little talk about how not all adults know how to act appropriately, but I expect her to be on her best behaviour.
  • Silvia agrees she will behave herself.
  • Portia also seems to be keeping a close eye on her sister-in-law, just in case...
  • Guillame is clearly delighted to accompany Portia to a ball :)
  • Portia wears a long-sleeved gown of turquoise taffeta overlaid with black lace, and a peacock feather fascinator adorning her carefully coiffed blonde ringlets.

[Portia] We really ought to present her to the Emperor, as it's her first ball.

[Guillame] Of course! That's a good idea.

[Silvia] The Emperor?

  • Silvia seems a little overawed by that suggestion.

[Silvia] Do I have to say anything to him?

[Guillame] Oh, the things I'd love to say to him...

  • Guillame shakes his head to clear it, and gives Silvia a quick lesson on how to properly address an Emperor
  • Silvia listens attentively.

[DiablotinNarrator] You and Portia can escort her to the Emperor at an appropriate time...

[Guillame] (We will watch for when the line is short :) )

  • Marl is dressed in his military dress uniform, white trimmed with gold, adorned with a wide assortment of medals he is highly unlikely to have earned.

[Marl] Ah, the Duke and Duchess of Corcyra - a pleasure to see you here :)

  • Marl says once you make it up to him, through the crowd.

[Guillame] Likewise, your Majesty - although were you not here, I'm sure there would be no ball.

  • Marl chuckles.

[Marl] Oh, I have no doubt the Empress could manage one without me, if necessary, but I'm glad to be here nevertheless.

  • Guillame nods, with a smile.

[Marl] And who is this?

  • Marl asks of you, referring to Silvia, who is sort of hiding a bit behind you.

[Guillame] May I present my sister, Duchess Silvia of Coindeliere.

  • Silvia makes a perfectly polite curtsey to him.

[Silvia] Good evening, your Majesty.

[Marl] Charmed, my dear.

  • Marl says, offering her his hand.
  • Guillame stands aside to let Silvia stand on her own feet.
  • Silvia takes it, somewhat uncertain what to do with it. Her eyes widen and she drops it after a moment.
  • Marl smiles, as if that wasn't a rude and/or peculiar thing to do, since she's young and obviously nervous.

[Marl] I hope you enjoy yourself this evening, Lady Silvia.

[Silvia] ...Thank you, I will...

  • Guillame glances behind himself as if he doesn't know there are people waiting
  • Silvia curtseys again, not sure what else to do, and comes back to your side.

[Guillame] Come along Silvia, let's let the Emperor get along with his social duties.

[Silvia] ...yes...

  • Guillame bows to Marl again.
  • Marl bids you all good evening, then, and turns to greet some of his other guests.
  • Portia looks at you, a little puzzled/concerned.

[Portia] [w] Did he do something to her?

  • Portia asks once you're out of Emperor-earshot.

[Guillame] No... It's nothing dear. Well, I suppose it's not, but this isn't the best place to talk about it. I'll just take her somewhere quiet and check, and we'll fill you in tonight... does that seem ok?

[Portia] Of course... I hope she's all right.

  • Guillame motions Silvia to follow him to somewhere quier
  • Silvia will go with you to a quieter parlour. She looks rather pale, her freckles are standing out more than usual.

[Guillame] Was it... did you see something?

[Guillame] Or was it something he thought?

  • Silvia bites her lip, uncertain.

[Silvia] No, he wasn't thinking anything that I could hear...

[Silvia] I don't think I know him well enough for that.

  • Guillame nods

[Guillame] . o O ( Is that how it works? )

[Silvia] It was... I just saw it, when I touched his hand.

[Guillame] What did you see?

[Silvia] [q] He was being eaten by a huge snake. And he was screaming.

[Silvia] It wasn't real, was it? That couldn't really happen.

  • Silvia begs for some reassurance.
  • Guillame 's face goes flat

[Guillame] Not... real as such, I don't think. Maybe it's a metaphor?

[Silvia] I didn't like it.

[Guillame] I don't like it either... but maybe it's useful to know.

[Guillame] Thank you for telling me.

  • Silvia nods.

[Silvia] Can I have some mulled wine?

[Guillame] A half glass, yes, and maybe some more later if it doesn't go to your head.

[Silvia] All right.

  • Silvia lets herself be taken off to have some treats, then.

Alma and Felise

[DiablotinNarrator] Alma, you are unusually busy this evening, as an inordinate number of people seem interested in dancing with you for some reason.

[DiablotinNarrator] Most of them seem inclined to ask you questions about your opinions on theological matters, or church politics, or the role of House Rat, between sets.

  • Alma is wearing a fasionable aubergine dress dyed dark to nearly black, with lighter ribbons and highlights.
  • Alma will try at some point to get some True Seeing in, if she thinks she can manage to pull it off before being saddled with the same person for the entire duration -_-

[DiablotinNarrator] (all right - I'll let you know if you see anything. how long does it last again?)

[Alma] (Just 18 minutes at a pop, and I think she might do it a couple times if it seems like there's an oppotune moment like the emperor drawing people in to speak, etc.)

[Alma] (Also Alma does hjave that thing wehre she gets a WILL save on all illusions she experiences.)

[DiablotinNarrator] (ok)

  • Alma is glad to provide her perspective on all these questions, modestly, of course, but perhaps with a smidge more certainty for show... she is trying to instil faith in her after all.
  • Alma will make a point of acknowledging the Empire is changing and that this change should be met with understanding, adapted to, rather than fought off.
  • Felise spots you and hurries to your side, seizing your arm and rescuing you from a particularly dull conversation.
  • Felise is dressed in crimson, the low cut bodice of her gown embellished with delicate beading.

[Alma] Felise :) How nice to see you finally!

[Felise] I'm so glad to see you too :)

[Alma] Have you been enjoying yourself?

[Felise] Oh yes, it's been wonderful! Even Mother being here can't ruin this evening for me.

[Felise] Are you well? You look... a little tired.

[Alma] Excellent.

[Alma] Oh, I'm likely just tired of talking...

[Alma] Let's get a drink.

[Felise] Of course!

[Alma] So many people seem to want to ask my opinion about things now... it's taxing... but I suspect that might be a permanent edition to my life depending on how things go -_-

  • Alma will check herself surrepticiously in some shiny surface to see if she looks worse than she feels... assuming she feels fine? :P
  • Felise laughs.

[Felise] You'll probably have to get used to that, yes!

[Felise] Does that mean I shouldn't ask your opinion on a personal matter, then? ;)

[Alma] Of course it means no such thing... though I don't guarantee to be any more right about that than I am about the others :)

  • Alma is eager to see if Felise has perhaps met a fellow

[Felise] Well, your judgment is much sounder than mine, most likely!

[Felise] [q] M. Tourigny - Symon, you know? - has asked for my hand.

  • Felise confides.

[Alma] Ah, the son of the railway entrepreneur... and you're considering?

[Felise] I think so... I mean, he's very handsome, and charming... I'm sure he's very wealthy, too.

[Felise] M. Silveira hasn't asked, either, so.... perhaps he isn't so interested as he once seemed.

[Alma] Well, M. Tourigny is likely a good match, but there's still the matter of what you think of /him/, rather than his presentation. :)

[Felise] I like him quite well... I just always have a vague, nagging feeling that he may... prefer someone else. I don't know, it's probably foolish of me.

[Felise] But there is this girl in the quartet he plays with...

[Alma] Ysabeau ?

[Felise] Yes, that's right. She looks rather like me, I couldn't help but notice. And he speaks so highly of her... but after all, she's married...

[Alma] And you're worried he still fancies her... :/

  • Felise nods.

[Felise] But perhaps it's just my imagination. I mean, he hasn't said as much, of course!

  • Alma nods

[Alma] Well, sometimes feelings are hard to let go of, even when you've decided that it's best to do so. He may realise that there's nothing there for him, and that there's something wonderful before him.

  • Felise smiles slightly at that.

[Alma] I still think that you have time, should you want to take it... or you could simply ask him?

[Felise] I don't know, I hardly feel I can ask *him* if it's true. But perhaps ... well, women know these things, don't they? Ysabeau might have a sense if he's still enamoured of her, or whether it's just friendly affection.

  • Alma says, though admittedly not entirely sure /how/ she'd ask him.

[Alma] Perhaps, yes... she's a clever girl, I might be able to convince her to ask him about you, and that might give her some perspective for our benefit :)

[Felise] You would talk to her on my behalf? Oh, thank you :)

[Alma] You're welcome :)

[Felise] I would just feel much more secure accepting his offer if I knew he wasn't still pining for her, or trying to pretend I'm her, or anything of that sort...

  • Alma nods

[Alma] And that's not fair to either of you...

  • Felise nods.
  • Felise squeezes your hands and gives you a quick peck on the cheek.
  • Alma squeezes back and smiles.

[Felise] Thank you, Alma.

[Alma] Enjoy the rest of the evening :)

[Felise] You too! don't let people talk your ear off the entire time, make sure you get a few dances with that handsome husband of yours :)

[Alma] I'll do my best... -_-

  • Felise giggles and leaves your side, then.
  • Alma probably has her own list of people she wants to try dancing with to fill up the spots not taken by others

Sanadhil and Ilphere

  • Sanadhil will ask the imperial princess for a dance - oen of the ones where we dont trade partners a million times so we can talk more easily :3
  • Ilphere is glad to dance as much as her girth will permit...!
  • Sanadhil wears a deep green robe in heavy silk that reaches his knees, richly embroidered in shades of blue, gold, and tuquoise, and black silk trousers.
  • Sanadhil will avoid anything too energetic ;p
  • Ilphere has had a gown made to accommodate her altered proportions, in a dark, rich purple with subtle silver accents.

[Sanadhil] How are you finding the evening?

  • Sanadhil makes idle small talk outloud

[Sanadhil] : And are you prepared for later?

[Ilphere] Oh it's lovely...!

[Ilphere] : As prepared as one can be...

[Sanadhil] : did you send Phedre any questions?

[Ilphere] : Sadly not... :(

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] : I thought of a few but I'm not sure of hoe great consequencxe they are.... I'm curious about the ritual however - whether it will be something like M. Argo observed... How strongly the Serpent's presence might be felt

[Ilphere] : I am very much looking forward to it...!

[Sanadhil] : Hopefully our absences won't be noted

[Ilphere] : Well, it is a very... intense night for some.

[Ilphere] : Anyway, I have a convenient excuse...!

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] :that is true!

[Sanadhil] : I was thinknig about speaking to Mr. Olivier...

[Sanadhil] : perhaps he might be interested to hear answers given by the serpent about him

[Sanadhil] : but I'm not certian I'm willing to risk exposing him to the cult diretcly

[Ilphere] : Indeed...

[Sanadhil] : Unless there is some way to do so without risking that exposure?

[Ilphere] : If you mean try to ask the questions without divulging who you are really asking about... I am dubious, I suppose...

[Sanadhil] : perhaps he'll assent and it will be all the easier

[Sanadhil] : I don't think we can concel it forever in any case

[Ilphere] : Do you think he would...?

  • Ilphere looks unconvinced...

[Sanadhil] : There is one way to find out.... if I have the opportunity I'll try tonight. if not - another time.

  • Ilphere nods...

[Sanadhil] :Hmmm

[Sanadhil] I suppose

[Sanadhil] :if he is not agreeable, we could ask whether The one who will die and be reborn is the child of Butler Belden and Thonee Devarara...?

[Sanadhil] :Though I'm not sure Phedre know about that either

[Ilphere] : Nor am I...

[Ilphere] : It is becoming difficult to keep track of who is party to what...!

[Sanadhil] :I was just thinking the same thing....

Seth and Cornelia

[DiablotinNarrator] Seth, you are perhaps even more out of place than usual at this event...

  • Seth will try to stay close to the walls in case he needs to make an escape from an awkward social situation ...

[DiablotinNarrator] Menard invited you, of course, but he's quite occupied, and probably Ilphere wouldn't welcome you trying to spend much time with him anyhow.

  • Seth knows better, and stays away from Menard then.

[DiablotinNarrator] You are slightly surprised (and maybe a touch relieved?) to see that Nash is there, however - at least there's someone who probably feels about as out of place as you.

  • Seth tries to catch her eye.
  • Cornelia sees you and gives you a nod.
  • Seth heads over towards her without hopefully drawing too much attention.

[Seth] Good evening, Mlle Nash. What a pleasant surprise to see you here.

  • Cornelia wears a sedate brown gown embroidered with blue at the neckline.

[Cornelia] You as well... I confess I wouldn't have expected you to be here, M. Argo.

[Seth] Ah ... well, I am now the Imperial Golem commander, and I was invited, I imagine, on that basis.

[Cornelia] The what? I assume they made up that title just for you?

[Seth] Yes ... it is, I believe, a way for me to be conscripted involuntarily.

[Cornelia] Do you also get a uniform? Perhaps a hat?

[Seth] I believe that yes, I do. I will have to investigate the regimental honors to which I am entitled.

[Cornelia] Does the golem also get a hat?

[Cornelia] It would be difficult to award it medals - where would you pin them?

  • Cornelia is being sarcastic, you sense :p

[Seth] I will have to get the Imperial Milliner to investigate, I'm sure.

[Cornelia] Heh.

[Cornelia] So, how many golems are you commanding?

[Seth] Two, although only one at a time.

[Cornelia] Well, they wouldn't want to overtax you, I'm sure. A one-to-one soldier to commander ratio is quite favourable.

[Seth] No doubt.

[Seth] And so tell me what has brought you here this evening?

[Seth] Just out for a stroll and saw there was an Imperial ball on?

  • Cornelia considers her answer.

[Cornelia] I did receive an invitation, in fact.

[Cornelia] As to why I came... I suppose out of a misguided sense of obligation to an Empire that no longer desires my assistance.

[Cornelia] It seemed to me that, if an attack was going to be made, tonight's events would present a highly tempting target.

[Seth] I believe you mistake the Empire for its leader. I believe the Empire needs you more than ever.

  • Cornelia sighs.

[Cornelia] It's good to know someone thinks so.

[Seth] [q] My feeling is, with the events of late, that the most serious risks are being not only ignored, but consciously directed to be ignored, by someone or some group.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Cornelia] Do you have any thoughts on who that could be? I am no longer so close to the centre of action, of course, as the Imperial Golem Commander.

[Seth] I have theories, nothing more. And I suspect they would be ill spoken here, in public.

[Cornelia] Very well...

[Cornelia] If you see anything suspicious, will you report it to me?

[Seth] Of course.

[Seth] Nash, I do have something to tell you.

[Cornelia] Yes?

[Seth] The new golem ... Schesutte ... she speaks to me. Or ... something is within her, that speaks to me, as the soul of the city. Not as a vision or a dream, but as a real conversation.

[Cornelia] ...

[Cornelia] It would be tempting to think you mad, and probably most others you would tell would presume that to be the case.

[Cornelia] I believe you, though.

[Seth] I am confident that you do. Of anyone in this city, I believe that you would.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Cornelia] What does this... entity tell you?

[Seth] That it will resist any attempt to be used in war. That is why I will be leading Karik into battle, not Schesutte, if the need arises.

[Cornelia] Hmm.

[Cornelia] Specifically this war? or any acts of violence?

[Seth] My impression is acts of violence in particular.

[Cornelia] Interesting...

[Seth] Do you have any thoughts on the matter?

[Cornelia] A golem that refuses to fight? Or an entity possessing a machine of destruction that does not wish to be used for destructive purposes...

[Cornelia] I have never heard of a construct becoming sentient in such a manner. It seems more likely that someone or something else is using it to communicate.

[Seth] I agree, although in that case, why would it wait until Schesutte is reconstructed to start speaking to me telepathically? It could have done so at any time.

[Cornelia] Could it?

[Seth] I don't know, of course, but I have had these powers for a year, which clearly come from the city.

[Cornelia] Perhaps you've developed those skills well enough that you can hear this voice now.

  • Cornelia speculates.

[Seth] It's possible, certainly.

[Cornelia] Has it said anything else useful?

[Seth] Useful in what way?

[Cornelia] I don't know.

[Cornelia] Informative? Interesting?

[Seth] Simply that I have a special bond, that it rejects the use of violence and will not comply with such orders, and that it is the city's soul.

  • Cornelia nods.

[Seth] Oh ... and that it will soon be waking, after a long slumber.

[Cornelia] Ah.. well, that is interesting.

[Cornelia] I'll give this matter further thought, assuming we all survive tonight.

  • Seth laughs.

[Seth] I will stay close to the walls, in the hopes of survival, then.

[Cornelia] Good plan.

[Cornelia] Stay safe, M. Argo.

[Seth] You also.

Dominik and Laurine

  • Fredericia is on your arm tonight, Dom, as one would expect, but she is more than a little preoccupied with security concerns and all the people who seem to want to talk to her about the war.
  • Dominik is not exactly pleased to simply be an ornament to these conversations but puts up with it understanding the situation.
  • Laurine is also there, with her husband.
  • Laurine smiles at you from across the room, then gives a little nod of her head and casually strolls out to the balcony.
  • Dominik finds an easy excuse to slip away from Fredericia.

[Dominik] I need some cool air

[Fredericia] Oh, fine.

  • Fredericia says, not really paying too much attention.
  • Dominik will move out to the balcony
  • Laurine is there, her breath fogging the cool evening air.
  • Laurine 's beautiful silk and velvet forest green gown is edged in sable, and a necklace of pearls adorns her throat
  • Dominik is dressed in a formal military uniform, gloves with sword sheathed and knotted at his hip

[Laurine] The uniform suits you.

[Dominik] I'm more comfortable in hard armor, but it will do.

  • Laurine smiles.

[Dominik] You look quite impressive yourself.

[Laurine] Well, thank you. My husband does insist that I be properly dressed for occasions like this.

[Laurine] And he bought me this lovely necklace.

[Dominik] His wealth and generosity is quite grand.

[Laurine] Indeed, yes. I have nothing to complain about on that front.

[Dominik] And how is Eloise?

[Laurine] She's well.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] I'm glad to here that.

[Laurine] And it turns out I am expecting another.

[Dominik] Are you happy about this news?

  • Laurine looks up at you.

[Laurine] Very happy, of course. If all goes well, it will arrive the end of next summer.

  • Dominik smiles

[Laurine] Perhaps a boy this time - that would please my husband greatly.

[Dominik] Eloise will need someone to guard her back, even if he is a year younger.

[Laurine] I certainly hope she will be able to guard his back as well.

[Laurine] Or hers, if it's another girl.

[Dominik] If they take after their parents, I doubt that will be an issue.

  • Laurine smiles.

[Laurine] No, certainly not.

[Dominik] You've been told what is coming up?

[Laurine] Not the details... but yes.

  • Laurine bites her nail for a moment, then realizes she's doing it and stops.

[Laurine] There will be losses, won't there.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] Some things are unavoidable. A few for the many, I suppose.

[Laurine] Is it worth the risk?

[Dominik] Yes

[Dominik] I believe so at least.

[Laurine] I trust your judgment in these matters.

[Laurine] Is it too cold out here for you? I feel warm all the time these days, so I hardly notice.

[Dominik] I don't want losses... even if they are advantageous in the long run, but

  • Dominik will put his hand on her shoulder, just briefly before letting his hand drop

[Dominik] I should head back in.

[Laurine] Certainly.

[Laurine] I think I'll remain here a little longer. It's so hot in the ballroom.

  • Dominik lets the conflicted desires show on his face to Laurine, before stealing himself to go back in.
  • Fredericia seems not to have noticed you were gone, being engrossed in conversation.
  • Dominik tries to tell if the room is unusually warm.

[DiablotinNarrator] Somewhat warm, but not inordinately so.

  • Dominik will excuse himself from Frederica again and seek out Sister Alma (if he can find her)

Dominik and Alma

  • Dominik will track down the Sister
  • Alma has likely resisted the urge to hide herself away, and would be approachable.

[Alma] Ah, good evening M. Rademacher. I hope you are enjoying yourself.

[Dominik] Ah Sister, I was never created for the likes of these events, but I am trying my best this time.

  • Alma smiles genuinely, this being the only time you'd see her in such an outfit.

[Alma] Sometimes things are asked of us for the sake of propriety... but they're usually not too much to bear :)

[Alma] The food is quite good, after all.

[Dominik] Would you be willing to let me pull you away from your companions for a brief dance?

[Alma] Of course. I'm sure they would not begrudge us a dance :)

  • Dominik bows politely to the gathering and escorts Alma on to the dance floor.
  • Alma will excuse herself and follow Dominik.
  • Alma asks quietly. "Is something the matter?"

[Dominik] You've been quite a busy woman.

[Dominik] I wished to discuse certain preparations I've been taking.

  • Alma nods.

[Alma] With regard to what events in particular?

[Dominik] My postion and status has given me access to a few items that I felt may be useful, in certain extreme circumstance.

[Alma] Ah, taking stock of what lies in the treasury should ... Kavreshar, be an issue?

[Dominik] I'm looking for suggestions of what else may be of use.

[Dominik] I've procured a ring that grants protection from fire, one of the weapons of choice of Kavreshar.

[Dominik] The blade on my hip is a holy weapon, which are supposed to be especially effective against demons and devils.

[Alma] Well, recently Kavreshar attempted to compel Ysabeau to bring the newborn twins to him... so it's likely that protection from mind-affecting spells and powers if of benefit.

[Dominik] I know the thought of things coming to a sword fight seems very unlikely but I would rather be prepared.

[Alma] As well I suspect anything which functions primarily by illusion may be less useful, as he could see us despite our invisbilty.

  • Alma will list some other things based on her knowledge of demons, evil, etc.

Ysabeau and Altheo

[DiablotinNarrator] Ysabeau, you are pleased with the performance of your composition - they did a marvellous job with it, and everyone seems to have enjoyed it.

  • Ysabeau made sure she danced it with Martan and could tell him it was really about them.

[DiablotinNarrator] He was delighted, and maybe a bit embarrassed, to hear it :)

  • Ysabeau loves him so much. :3

[DiablotinNarrator] After the dance, he excuses himself briefly, leaving you to your own devices.

  • Ysabeau will sit down for a while, she does tire easily this far along.

[DiablotinNarrator] One of the servants approaches you, offering you refreshments from a tray of little snacks.

  • Ysabeau waves him away, thanking him kindly.

[DiablotinNarrator] He looks oddly familiar...

  • Altheo gives you a wink.
  • Ysabeau smiles, a bit hesitantly. This seems strange.
  • Altheo doesn't speak to you, but makes his way off, still carrying the tray, offering hors d'oeuvres to guests who mostly ignore him.
  • Ysabeau tries to watch the dancers, mind whirling.
  • Ysabeau is still pretty on edge from the Kavreshar/baby incident though, and is keenly aware of the advice Quirille gave her.
  • Ysabeau isn't going to follow Altheo without telling someone she trusts first.

[DiablotinNarrator] OK, who would that be?

[Ysabeau] (Martan, preferably. If not him, then Dominik or Alma. Failing any of them, Murienne.)

[DiablotinNarrator] Martan is off somewhere - you can locate Dom and/or Alma though. Maybe both together, if they're still talking ;)

[Alma] (We are, in theory)

  • Ysabeau will approach them, then...

[Ysabeau] Excuse me, Sister, Dominik...

  • Alma turns in the midst of listing some demonic powers...

[Ysabeau] I think I just saw Altheo, but he was disguised as one of the serving staff.

  • Dominik is a little startled by Ysabeau's sudden appearance

[Alma] Ah, Ysabeau, lovely to see you :)

[Alma] What? Altheo Renaud?

[Dominik] Well, well...

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] What could that mean?

[Alma] Are you sure it was him?

[Ysabeau] After what happened on my way to your house though, and keeping in mind some advice Quirille gave me, I'm wary about following him on my own... or at least, about not letting anyone know what I'm doing.

[Ysabeau] No, I am not sure. It seemed strange to me.

[Alma] ... sensible... do you think it could be a trap?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] Well, I... or we could come with you...

  • Dominik nods in agreement
  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Alma] I have components in here somewhere...

[Ysabeau] That would be great. I looked for Martan, but he's off somewhere, perhaps on business matters.

  • Dominik smiles at that comment
  • Alma ducks behind Ysabeau so that she can get her components out from some buried pocket

[DiablotinNarrator] All right, what's your plan?

[Alma] For that matter, we've met...

  • Alma attempts to scry Altheo Renaud

[DiablotinNarrator] (save DC?)

[Dominik] (how long does that take?)

[Alma] (DC 25)

[Alma] (Greater SCrying takes 1 standard)

  • Altheo is wandering around in the ballroom, apparently dressed as one of the servants, Alma.

[Alma] It's him...

[Alma] The scrying is true...

[Alma] He's just wandering the ballroom.

  • Alma looks to Ysabeau to see what she thinks.

[Ysabeau] Hmm

[Ysabeau] Well, that's interesting.

[Alma] If you draw him aside to talk, and Dominik is nearby, I can continue to watch him

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] It would be good to have you both at my back.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] It's probably fine, but just in case it isn't.

  • Alma nods

[Dominik] Take the lead, I'll be following and watching

  • Ysabeau smiles for him.

[Ysabeau] Thank you, Dom.

  • Alma will cast True Seeing on Ysabeau

[Alma] (18 minutes)

  • Ysabeau heads towards Altheo.
  • Ysabeau will keep her eyes open for strangeness while the True Seeing is in effect.
  • Altheo is just heading towards doors that you think must lead to the kitchens, as servants seem to mostly come and go from there.
  • Dominik will circle and follow descretely

[Ysabeau] Excuse me?!

  • Altheo turns.

[Ysabeau] What should I call you, please, sir?

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Alma listens and watches via Scrying.

[Altheo] Timothy, my lady.

  • Ysabeau is trying to not blow Altheo's cover.

[Ysabeau] Well, Timothy, those canapes look too delicious after all.

  • Ysabeau will come close enough so she can take one.
  • Altheo proffers the tray to you, which is actually pretty picked-over.

[Ysabeau] [q] What are you doing here? How have you been?

[Altheo] [q] I'm fine, hard at work as usual.

  • Ysabeau makes a show of indecision over which canape to take.

[Altheo] [q] Got your message.

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Ysabeau] I'll try that one.

[Altheo] They are exquisite, madame.

  • Ysabeau picks it up and pops it into her mouth.

[Ysabeau] Mmmmm...

[Altheo] [q] On the job, though. Don't want to get you in trouble, either.

[Ysabeau] [q] Everyone has been so worried about you. Especially Mijanou. And all hell's about to break loose.

  • Altheo nods.

[Altheo] [q] I doubt I can do much about that, but I can help one person, at least.

[Ysabeau] [q] You should drop by... I usually don't invite people because it's not my house. But Maze Olivier's residence in the Grand.

[Ysabeau] [q] Please, it'd be good to catch up with you.

[Altheo] [q] Thanks, don't know if I'll be welcome after tonight. But I appreciate the thought.

[Alma] .oO( What is he doing? )

[Ysabeau] (SM... any hint of what that means? )

[Alma] (I will also SM through Scrying if I can.)

[Alma] (54)

  • Alma will also detect poison and sweep the room
  • Ysabeau regards him gravely...
  • Altheo seems to be planning something that he thinks will make Maze, or someone else at his house, angry, but he seems unrepentant about whatever it is. And there's no poison on his tray, Alma.

[Ysabeau] [q] What is going on, Altheo? You're not here to do something to my husband, I hope?

[Altheo] [q] Nothing at all. Just making sure justice is served.

  • Altheo gives you another wink.

[Altheo] [q] Tell Mijanou I said hi.

[Ysabeau] [q] Vescan's here?

  • Altheo shrugs, lifting his tray once more.
  • Alma totally does not stop scryin'

[Ysabeau] [q] Altheo, don't do anything stupid!

[Altheo] [q] Probably too late for that, since I'm here.

  • Altheo smiles and departs through the servants' door.
  • Ysabeau sighs.
  • Ysabeau turns back and tries not to think about it.
  • Ysabeau finds Dominik and asks him for a dance.
  • Alma will resume her socializing, if abit distracted from trying to spy on Altheo
  • Dominik will agree

Ysabeau and Dominik

  • Ysabeau dances with Dominik...
  • Ysabeau is dressed in a gorgeous ice blue gown, with sparkles of crystal nestled among the lace and in her hair, which is artfully coiffed, as usual. For warmth she has a white fox stole wrapped around her shoulders.

[Ysabeau] (A dress like the one on the left here: c1855monitor43.jpg but with a waistline like this maternity dress: http://www.arizonacostumeinstitute.com/ACI/Maternity.html but in this colour: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT6OO0VGHxkHuEiJAnfPoEcLYMdLZ78doXsZlRLjn5ZeQSlcz1- )

[Ysabeau] (since I took the time to type all that up and google the images... :P)

[Dominik] (looking)

[Dominik] so that was... unexpected.

[Dominik] Did he disclose why he was here?

[Ysabeau] I think he's going after Vescan.

[Ysabeau] Which, quite frankly, doesn't bother me in the slightest. Vescan admitted to murdering Dessa, and they let him go!

[Ysabeau] But then...

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Ysabeau] I think they let him go to be bait, possibly.

[Ysabeau] So, how have you been?

[Dominik] rather conspicuous place to be taking such action.

  • Dominik frowns

[Dominik] busy, complicated, and busy

  • Ysabeau smiles a half-smile.

[Ysabeau] So business as usual, eh?

[Dominik] and yourself... about ready to be a mother, I say.

[Ysabeau] Yes... The middle of First Month, though I have it on pretty good authority that he or she might not show her face until the beginning of Second Month.

[Dominik] I know you really want this. I am happy for you.

  • Ysabeau smiles a little sadly.

[Ysabeau] Thank you. I've been praying that it will all go well.

[Dominik] The world is very complicated right now. I hope it simples up soon, and in a good way.

[Ysabeau] I keep hoping so, too.

[Ysabeau] This isn't such a bad place for taking such action, really. There are so many people. What are they going to do? Question us all?

[Ysabeau] Sometimes the best hiding spot is in the middle of a crowd.

[Dominik] Its chaotic and lots of people not involved to get in the way.

[Dominik] and potentially lots of unexpected influences... how many skilled casters are in this room that could get involved.

[Ysabeau] Well, that's why he'd do it subtly, I suppose. Not like you with your sword swinging.

  • Ysabeau smiles slightly.

[Ysabeau] Poison, or getting him alone in a dark place somewhere and sliding a dagger through his ribs.

[Ysabeau] I don't know if Fredericia was one of the people who helped decide to let Vescan go free, but it's something you might consider.

  • Ysabeau curtseys as the song ends.

[Ysabeau] Alma will want a report.

[Ysabeau] What should we tell her?

[Dominik] Fredericia does what she feels is good for the empire.

[Ysabeau] I know. Perhaps letting him go is that, in some twisted way I can't quite see, though.

[Dominik] She's the Warlord, if she doesn't know already, and Martan doesn't know, well then, I'm not going to betray a friend over it.

[Dominik] I'm just a sword wielding meathead

[Ysabeau] You're more than that, Dom.

  • Ysabeau sighs.

[Ysabeau] I don't want to rat Altheo out either, but what if that's the wrong decision?

[Dominik] I've made my choice and I'll live with the consequences.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] Thanks for the dance, Dom.

[Dominik] Yes... I missed my chance last year, if I do recall.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] If you ever need a break from Martan, just let me know.

  • Dominik winks and slips away
  • Ysabeau laughs.

Ysabeau and Alma

  • Ysabeau will find Alma...
  • Alma will extricate herself from whatever conversation she's in when she sees Ysabeau approach

[Ysabeau] Hi...

[Ysabeau] He's on a mission.

[Alma] I saw...

[Alma] I worried for a moment he'd poisoned the treats on his tray but...

[Alma] I'm still watching, when I get a chance.

  • Ysabeau smiles slighty.

[Alma] Did Dominik have anything to add?

  • Ysabeau shakes her head no.
  • Alma nods.

[Alma] Well, if I learn anything from observing him, I'll let you know, of course.

[Ysabeau] Alma, am I a horrible person if I... kind of want him to succeed?

[Alma] To succeed at what, dear?

[Alma] Do we even know what his goal is?

  • Ysabeau shakes her head no.

[Ysabeau] Not really, I guess.

[Alma] What is it that you hope? He's here to get vengeance on Vescan?

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Alma] Perhaps what you should ask yourself is whether you want justice, or vengeance.

[Ysabeau] Are they all that different, really?

[Alma] Oh, I certainly think so.

[Ysabeau] I just want some closure for Dessa.

[Alma] Justice... that's when we seek balance. A wrong has been committed and we seek to have amends made. Vengeance? That's personal. We're angry, or hurt, and we want teh other person to feel anger or hurt, or even die, in response.

[Alma] Dessa has closure.

[Alma] This world doesn't trouble her.

[Ysabeau] For me, then, and Murienne.

  • Alma nods

[Alma] Well, hopefully we will be able to have justice for Dessa, which will bring closure for you both.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] I'm going to go find my husband...

[Alma] In the meantime... I don't think it makes us bad people when we are tempted by vengeance... just imperfect.

[Alma] I do have a favour to ask of you before you go...

[Ysabeau] Oh?

  • Ysabeau pauses.

[Alma] You know Felise Lozada? Well she's been spending time with Simon Tourigny from your quartet...

[Ysabeau] Oh?

  • Ysabeau grins.
  • Alma nods

[Alma] It seems he's asked for her hand, even.

[Ysabeau] That's great. He's a wonderful person!

[Ysabeau] She deserves someone as sweet as him, after what she's been through.

[Alma] He does seem quite nice, and she's considering it seriously... but she has one reservation...

[Ysabeau] Oh?

[Alma] Well, she wonders if perhaps he once had a spot in his heart for you... and she's worried that he might still harbour it.

[Ysabeau] Oh, he did, I think, yes.

[Alma] I thought perhaps if you two speak in the next little while you might ask about her? And perhaps see if you can tell if his heart is true?

  • Ysabeau looks thoughtful.

[Ysabeau] I can... try?

[Ysabeau] I don't know when I'll see him, though. The... you know. I've been kept pretty busy.

[Alma] Yes, I understand that completely... but if the opportunity arises, I thought you might be perfectly positioned to inquire

[Alma] I tried a similar discussion with the Chief Sorceror and it was not particularly elegant -_-

[Ysabeau] About Symon?

  • Ysabeau looks puzzled.

[Alma] No, no, about Felise...

  • Alma laughs slightly

[Ysabeau] Oh, was he interested in her too?

[Alma] He had been spending some time with her, and considering Felise's family situation... well it seemed sensible to find out what /sort/ of partner he was looking for.

[Alma] A spouse for propriety's sake? A partner for life?

[Ysabeau] Ah.

[Alma] Well, I'm not asking you to pry quite so deeply but... if you get any impression at all -_-

[Ysabeau] I'll see what I can do, Sister.

[Alma] It's not that he would be a bad choice for her anyhow... don't think I'm suggesting he's lacking... it's just... she has time...

  • Alma rambles a little.

[Alma] And if we can find someone perfect, why not try? :)

  • Ysabeau smiles.

[Alma] Well, I'll let you get back to Martan :)

[Ysabeau] If I can find him.

[Ysabeau] :P

[Alma] If you truly can't, I might be able to help :)

[Ysabeau] I think I'll be okay. We had an agreement before coming. ^-^

[Ysabeau] Thanks, though.

Sanadhil, Ilphere, the Cult

[DiablotinNarrator] San and Ilphere, you each had a brief word with Phedre earlier, and she asked if you would join her at the appointed time, in a certain place, for the secret wink-wink.

  • Sanadhil willdiscretely slip away to do so

[Sanadhil] (was Earric at the ball? Or is he 'sick' again? :3)

  • Ilphere will slip off as well... hopefully no one will think too much of a heavily pregnant lady needing a rest! ;)

[DiablotinNarrator] (he is not present... so you would have to ask her if he's 'sick', or what)

[Sanadhil] ('k)

[DiablotinNarrator] You make your way individually and as discreetly as possible to the Arch chamber.

  • Sanadhil will cast false vision when we're arrived, just to m ake it look like no one is/was here
  • Phedre opens the chamber to admit you.
  • Phedre wears a russet gown with ruffles in shades of bronze and dark gold, with long sleeves and cream lace at her throat and wrists.

[Sanadhil] good evening..

[Phedre] Welcome.

  • Sanadhil lokos around to see who all else is here
  • Sanadhil wears a deep green robe in heavy silk that reaches his knees, richly embroidered in shades of blue, gold, and tuquoise, and black silk trousers.

[DiablotinNarrator] Also present are a few of the inner circle, though not all. Yanina is not there, presumably her absence would be too noticeable. Neither is Butler present. And of course Bessa... well :/

  • Ilphere looks around the chamber.. is anything set up for the ritual?

[DiablotinNarrator] The only one you haven't seen there before is Phedre's daughter, Viviane.

[DiablotinNarrator] The chamber is empty.

[Sanadhil] (She's not initiated as far as I know, is she?)

[DiablotinNarrator] (not so far as you know, no)

  • Sanadhil looks at her curiously, but smiles

[Phedre] Thank you for coming.

[Ilphere] We could not do otherwise...!

[Sanadhil] Indeed!

[DiablotinNarrator] Loric will cast a Sanctum spell, as you had suggested, for further protection from anyone who might be observing.

[Phedre] Tonight I will be in communion with the Serpent... I have a number of questions we hope to have answered.

  • Sanadhil nods, listening
  • Phedre glances around the circle to see if everyone is ready for her to proceed.
  • Ilphere listens raptly...

[Sanadhil] Will it require any action on our parts?

[Phedre] Only your support... I may be quite drained afterwards.

  • Sanadhil nods again

[Sanadhil] Of course.

[Ilphere] Of course...

  • Phedre lights the incense and begins to chant her spell, then. It will take a short while to cast...
  • Sanadhil watches her and the others in the room by turns

[DiablotinNarrator] The scent of the incense and the sound of the chanting fill your senses, here in this place of sacrifice. You feel a presence growing in the chamber, something more than human... Ilphere, your baby is practically writhing, as much as it can in its confined space.

  • Phedre 's chanting stops after ten minutes or so, leaving the air ringing as she begins to speak.
  • Ilphere pets her stomach as if to soothe the baby...
  • Sanadhil looks at her (Ilphere) with a hint of concern

[Sanadhil] :Is everythig alright?

[Ilphere] : The baby is... excited, I guess...! :o

[Sanadhil] :ahh...

[Phedre] Is the Serpent now fully restored to its former strength? No.

[Phedre] Did the restoration of the stars to the Shadow Plane aid the Serpent? Yes.

[Phedre] Do any human lives need to be permanently lost in order to return the Serpent to power? Yes.

[Sanadhil] :|

[Phedre] Does the Serpent still serve The Center? Yes.

[Ilphere] :D

[Phedre] After the Serpent's return, will there still be a role for the seven gods of the wheel? Yes.

[Phedre] Does the Serpent seek revenge on the people of the Averyrone Empire? No.

[Phedre] Does the Serpent still count Kavreshar as one of its servants? Unknown.

[Phedre] Is Theonée Deverara The One who will die and live again? One of them.

  • Phedre hesitates for a split second, but presses on.

[Sanadhil] ...

[Phedre] Does "die and live again" refer to a literal death and rebirth? Yes.

[Ilphere] :o

[Phedre] Was Bessa DuChamp under Kavreshar's influence? No.

  • Sanadhil has done his spell research and is pretty sure that is not supposed ot happen.
  • Phedre slumps slightly when the spell is concluded.
  • Viviane puts an arm about her mother to help her.
  • Sanadhil will step forward to help her of no one else des, though he is really not the best suited for it

[Ilphere] One of them...

  • Ilphere repeats.

[Ilphere] How many are there...? :o

[DiablotinNarrator] Ilphere, as the power drains from the room, you feel a strange sensation, a tightening in your belly.

[Ilphere] oh...

[Sanadhil] ...

  • Ilphere 's hand goes to her stomach again.

[Sanadhil] Are you alright?

[Ilphere] I feel something strange...

  • Ilphere furrows her brow.

[Sanadhil] do you wish to return to your rooms?

[Phedre] Are you well, Princess?

  • Phedre asks, having regained her composure somewhat.

[Ilphere] I'm sure it's alright, just a twinge or something...

[Ilphere] Perhaps I should rest a bit before returning to the ball, though.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] that seems wise

[Phedre] I'm afraid that may have raised as many questions as it answered.

[Sanadhil] That is the way of divinations, it seems...

[Ilphere] I feel it was productive, nonetheless...

[Phedre] 'one of them'... so there is more than one such person we should be seeking?

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] apparently so

[Sanadhil] I wish it were a little clearer

[Sanadhil] one of.. two? Three? Seven?

[Ilphere] :/

  • Phedre nods.

[Sanadhil] But still it is better to know to keep looking, and to have one confirmed

[Phedre] I'll consider what other means we could use to try and clarify that.

  • Sanadhil says nothing about the loss of human life thing :|

[Ilphere] Indeed...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Let us know if we can be of assistance.

[Phedre] Thank you, I will.

[Sanadhil] I'll try other avenues of investigation, perhaps

[Phedre] We ought to be getting back - in stages, again, so that our return isn't so obvious.

  • Ilphere nods.

[Sanadhil] I'll aid Ilphere, that should seem natural enough.

[Ilphere] Thank you...!

[Sanadhil] I can fetch Menard for you as well, if you like.

  • Sanadhil says, offering her his arm

[Ilphere] Oh, well... I don't know if it's necessary to bother him...

  • Sanadhil nods

[Ilphere] You can just tell him I am resting, perhaps...

[Sanadhil] yes.

[Phedre] How bad are those 'twinges'?

  • Sanadhil looks over at Viviane

[Ilphere] It was just the one...

[Ilphere] It just felt like... tightening.

[DiablotinNarrator] As you are saying that, another one passes over you.

[Ilphere] Oh... there it is again...

[Phedre] Hm... If you don't mind my saying, perhaps you had not ought to be alone. Just in case. It may be nothing, but...

[Ilphere] Hm... wel, perhaps you should fetch Menard after all, then...

[Sanadhil] If you ought not to be alone, I can send for him magically ocne we're somewhere you can rest

  • Ilphere nods.
  • Sanadhil glances at Viviane, then back to Phedre.

[Sanadhil] Would you send my regards to you husband, as he isn't here tonight?

[Phedre] Oh, certainly. He was so disappointed, but I thought it best... it's a bit risky at the moment.

  • Sanadhil nods.

[Sanadhil] Of course.

[Phedre] I know he'd be delighted to see you whenever you can drop by.

[Sanadhil] I shall endeavour to do so.

[Sanadhil] Good night then.

  • Phedre bids you good evening.
  • Phedre leaves last, with her daughter by her side.
  • Sanadhil nods to the others and will take Ilphere away as discretely as he can, up to somewhere she can rest while he Sends for Menard

Ilphere's baby

  • Menard will arrive as soon as possible. By that time, Ilphere, the tightening has turned into a more painful sensation, and they don't seem to be letting up...

[Ilphere] This is surprisingly uncomfortable...! :|

[Menard] Is it the baby? :o

[Ilphere] (I forget how far along I am, but isn't it kind of early?)

[DiablotinNarrator] (like a month early)

[Ilphere] I... I think it might be...

[Ilphere] But it seems so soon...!

[Menard] Wasn't it not supposed to be until next month? @_@

  • Ilphere nods.

[Sanadhil] ...

[Menard] We should send for healers. Maybe they can help...

[Ilphere] Yes... yes please...

[Sanadhil] I can take care of that for you if you tell me where to go

  • Menard looks around a bit anxiously.
  • Sanadhil offser, seeing a chance for escape @_@
  • Menard can give you instructions on how to find the necessary folks among the palace staff.
  • Sanadhil given them a polite bow and go to take care of that then @_@

[DiablotinNarrator] Ilphere, the healers arrive and will take over, which is good because Menard was really not much help, other than looking anxious and holding your hand.

[Ilphere] So... what is happening?

[DiablotinNarrator] The healers indicate that you are to rest and relax, and see if that stops the contractions, but if they don't stop, then the baby is on its way.

[Ilphere] Is it all right?

[Midwife] It will be a little small if it comes now, but there's no reason it shouldn't be healthy...

  • Midwife pats your hand reassuringly.

[DiablotinNarrator] You attempt to relax, which is more or less impossible...!

[Ilphere] :|

[DiablotinNarrator] By the early hours of the morning, it's clear the pains aren't stopping... the midwives get you ready for delivery, and Menard sits in a corner and wibbles.

[DiablotinNarrator] And eventually, after what seems like basically FOREVER, they are placing your baby in your arms... a little girl. Very little. But breathing and crying and beautiful, at least.

[Ilphere] Oh...my...

[Ilphere] She is so tiny... ;_;

  • Menard comes over to look.

[Menard] I knew they were little, but that's really little, isn't it?

  • Ilphere nods...

[Menard] She looks like a fighter, though. She'll be fine, right?

  • Ilphere looks at the midwives...
  • Midwife gives you a smile.

[Ilphere] Of course she will be...

[Midwife] You did very well, my dear, and she's a tough little thing... she's breathing, and that's what matters most right now. In a week or two, she'll plump up and you'll hardly remember how tiny she was.

[Menard] I thought I'd miss it... I'm glad I didn't.

  • Menard gives you a kiss.

[Ilphere] Me too...

[Menard] You were so brave!

[Ilphere] Well... I didn't have much choice in the matter...!

  • Menard seems impressed.
  • Ilphere smiles through the exhaustion.

[Menard] Princess Cordovera Kizer :)

[Ilphere] Cordovera... :)

  • Cordovera has dark hair and a loud voice for such a tiny body.

[DiablotinNarrator] The ball does not explode, nor is there any obvious attack... However, news reports indicate on the following day that a prisoner, one Garlan Hyde, imprisoned for unspecified offenses against the state, was broken out of the palace dungeons, a feat that, though occasionally attempted, is rarely ever successful.

[DiablotinNarrator] The End, for now...