Diablotin 2 session 9

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[Narrator] As the first of Sixth-month approaches, and with it the Imperial ball in celebration of Emperor Marl's accession to the throne, excitement in the city, or at least among certain segments of its population, is high. [Narrator] The Scourge reports that nearly two thousand guests will be in attendance, with many nobles journeying from their distant estates to make their appearance. [Narrator] Those among you who are nobles have of course received your invitations, thick gold-edged paper with embossed lettering encouraging you to attend with an escort of your choice. [Narrator] Ysabeau, you and your quartet have been invited to audition for the ball, not for the dancing (because a group of four musicians, however talented, will not be heard in the Grand Ballroom!) but perhaps for performance in one of the side salons before the main event. [Narrator] You, Symon, Stefan and Jehan present yourselves at the appointed time before the Master of Ceremonies, Matthieu Arguelles, and his assistants. You can't help but notice that there are several other small groups of musicians either departing or waiting to be heard - the competition is evidently quite stiff.

  • Master_of_Ceremonies is a tall, rather stout gentleman in his early forties, with curly dark brown hair. He appears rather harried.

[Master_of_Ceremonies] Go ahead, whenever you're ready.

  • Master_of_Ceremonies says before you have quite finished setting up.
  • Ysabeau smiles and makes eye contact with the rest of the group to make sure they're ready... if so we will launch into a piece we selected for the audition
  • Symon hurriedly readies himself and wields his bow.

[Narrator] (you can make a performance roll) [Ysabeau] (sec) [Ysabeau] (17) [Narrator] You don't think you gave your best performance, so you're somewhat anxious.

  • Master_of_Ceremonies listens to only a few minutes of your performance before he cuts you off.

[Master_of_Ceremonies] Thank you, that will do.

  • Master_of_Ceremonies consults briefly with one of his assistants and the papers before him.

[Master_of_Ceremonies] You will be stationed in the Ruby Drawing Room. Dress accordingly, and be prepared to perform for up to an hour before the Imperial family's arrival, whereupon you will cease playing until such time as the dancing begins. Thereafter, you will play for another hour, at which point you will be relieved by another group. [Master_of_Ceremonies] You will be recompensed for your services, of course, and you are permitted to stay for the remainder of the evening, provided you comport yourselves with decorum.

  • Master_of_Ceremonies writes some things down in his notes and dismisses you with a nod and wave of his hand.
  • Symon smiles broadly at the other three.

[Ysabeau] Thank you [insert proper title here]

  • Ysabeau smiles and curtseys before packing up her things because the MoC is not likely to want his time wasted by us

[Narrator] Seth, you are at home, rather bored this afternoon, when your aunt Gwen arrives, in something of a hurry. [Gwen] Seth, I was hoping I'd find you here.

  • Seth is dressed simply and his hair is thoroughly unkempt.

[Seth] Ah ... hello, Aunt Gwen. [Gwen] You remember how you said you'd be interested in helping me out? [Seth] Uh ... yes ... [Gwen] Well, I could use an extra pair of eyes tomorrow night. [Seth] You mean ... at the ball? [Gwen] Right. [Seth] Ah ... well, what would you need me to do? [Gwen] Be there. Keep your eyes open. [Gwen] You'll have to be dressed well enough to blend in, not well enough to stand out. [Seth] Umm ... okay. Would I have some sort of official capacity? [Gwen] Even less than I do. [Gwen] Come on, I'm taking you to the tailor's. [Seth] Yes, Aunt Gwen.

  • Seth dutifully follows along.

[Narrator] Altheo, you have been preoccupied lately with the dilemma of how to find out more about the members of the Inner Council and their associates. [Narrator] At an opportune moment, Ramon presents you with an opening, should you choose to accept it...

  • Altheo is very interested.

[Ramon] Hey, Altheo - I was thinking: most of the people we're supposed to be investigating will be at the ball. [Altheo] yes? [Ramon] I could get you in, I'm sure. Maybe I can convince my cousin Ida to take you as her escort. [Altheo] (Do I know what Ida looks like?) [Altheo] That sounds like a wonderful idea.

  • Altheo says with a wolfish grin.

[Ramon] Yes, well, behave yourself.

  • Ramon says mildly.

[Altheo] What would you tell her of me? [Ramon] That you're a pimp and a scoundrel - that should pique her interest sufficiently.

  • Ramon *might* be joking.
  • Altheo laughs

[Altheo] Well then, as long as I can be the true me. I'm in. [Ramon] Very well - I'll make the arrangements. You can find something appropriate to wear, I assume? [Altheo] I'm sure I have something. But I'll need to know what Ida is wearing. It wouldn't do if I didn't compliment her well. [Ramon] I'll see what I can do about that.

[Narrator] Ilphere, your parents have been carefully considering the question of who ought to escort you to the ball. [Narrator] Of course the ideal situation would be if Menard asked you, but as that hasn't happened, they want to be careful to ensure that you are not mistakenly thought to have bestowed your affections elsewhere. [Narrator] There is some discussion of perhaps having your cousin Dominik escort you, but your father vetoes that on the grounds that it might give the wrong idea - you should be on the arm of someone who cannot *possibly* be romantically involved with you. If only you had a brother... [Narrator] Finally, in desperation, your mother turns to you for your thoughts. [Justine] Do *you* have any ideas, my dearest? [Ilphere] Well... [Ilphere] I don't know... [Ilphere] I certainly think Father is right about Dominik...! [Ilphere] I do wish Menard had asked, but I suppose that was too much to hope for...! [Ilphere] But perhaps there is someone...

  • Ilphere muses

[Justine] Oh? [Ilphere] Well, M. Orecalo...? [Ilphere] He is, well, I guess you would say a senior colleague, at the Castalia.

  • Justine listens.

[Ilphere] I practice Cozovode with him sometimes, I think I mentioned...? [Justine] Oh yes, him. [Ilphere] And I'm working on a project with him as well...! [Justine] Well, I'm sure no one could imagine he was courting you. [Justine] If he was agreeable, that might be the perfect solution. [Ilphere] Well I don't think so...! [Ilphere] I shall ask him then...! [Justine] Perhaps it would be more appropriate if your father contacted him.

  • Justine says firmly.

[Ilphere] Oh, yes...! Of course. [Ilphere] I wasn't thinking...! [Ilphere] :o [Justine] There, it's all right. Perhaps we can make something of this situation after all. A Cozovode escort will certainly turn all eyes to you! :)

[Narrator] Sanadhil, you are currently preoccupied with more important matters than these silly humans and their silly festivities. [Narrator] However...

  • Lystain knocks on your door.
  • Sanadhil is surprised, as he almost never has visitors
  • Sanadhil is dressed fairly elf-casual, as he wasn't expecting to go out

[Sanadhil] Good afternoon?

  • Lystain is a tall, gangly nobleman of about forty, with dark brown hair and grey-green eyes.

[Sanadhil] (Does he look much like Ilphère?) [Lystain] Do I have the honour of addressing M. Orecalo? [Lystain] (somewhat, yes) [Sanadhil] Indeed sir... To who do i owe the pleasure of this visit?

  • Sanadhil aks politely but quizzically

[Lystain] I am Lystain deQuessenet - Ilphere's father. [Sanadhil] Ahh, I see, A pleasure indeed. m. de Quessenet [Lystain] As you are no doubt aware, the Emperor is hosting a grand ball in a few days' time.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Lystain] My daughter would be honoured if you would escort her.

  • Lystain does his best to look stern and foreboding.

[Sanadhil] Ahh... I would be pleased to offer my comradship to your daughter if that is her wish.

  • Lystain nods.
  • Sanadhil does is best to appear suitably intimidated by fatherly protectivism

[Lystain] Very well, then. Our carriage will be waiting at (blah time).

  • Sanadhil nods. I will be ready then.

[Lystain] I trust that you will do nothing that would... cast aspersions on our family's good name.

  • Lystain says obliquely.

[Sanadhil] Your daughter is an esteemed peer, I assure you, and I wish her nothing but the best opportunities in life. [Sanadhil] I assure you I would do nothing to impede her success.

  • Lystain seems somewhat reassured by that.

[Lystain] Very well. I will convey your sentiments to my daughter. [Lystain] Good day, M. Orecalo. [Sanadhil] Good day, sir.

  • Sanadhil think about that little encounter, and then seek out Ilphere ether atthe Castalia or at the society, wherever he thinks she might be
  • Ilphere is working in the library.

[Sanadhil] (are we on first name basis at this point? really ;) [Sanadhil] Miss de Quessenet

  • Sanadhil approaches, hoping not to startle you

[Ilphere] (you would think so :p) [Ilphere] Oh...! Hello... [Sanadhil] (well depends on context I suppose ;) [Sanadhil] I had an interesting encounter with your father earlier this afternoon

  • Ilphere sits up from her book quickly and pushes her tinted glasses back on her head, looking a bit embarrassed...

[Ilphere] Oh!... Oh yes... [Ilphere] I am so sorry I didn't talk to you about it beforehand...! [Sanadhil] I admit I was somewhat surprised. I did agree of course - I admit I am a little curious about the gala. [Ilphere] My parents needed to find someone 'acceptable' to accompany me to this ball, but so that I would still look 'available' if the Emperor's brother is still interested... I hope it won't be too boring for you...!

  • Ilphere sighs wearily...

[Sanadhil] I'm sure it will be a fascinating cultural experience, if nothing else [Ilphere] Well, if it is awful we can talk about work at least...! [Sanadhil] there is always that

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Ilphere] Thank you so much...! [Sanadhil] of course... however I was hoping you might be able to inform me on a few finer points of etiquette - I wouldn't want to embarass you! [Ilphere] Oh certainly...!

  • Sanadhil will ask you about various mundane things like dancing, what colours you are wearing, etc

[Narrator] Guillame, your mother been anxiously preparing for the ball - mainly as it relates to Alesia's gown, but she has reserved some time to fret at you as well. [Janelle] Do you need any new clothes, Guillame? Do you think your suit from the holidays will still do? [Guillame] I'm sure it'll be fine, mother. I don't think anyone's like to remember - it seems an age ago, anyway.

  • Janelle nods.

[Janelle] Do you... have you considered who you might invite to accompany you? [Guillame] I suppose Emperor Alexior would like it if I invited Ciatha... [Janelle] I'm sure many people would be pleased if you did. [Janelle] But you know it's your choice. You could always escort Alesia - that would be entirely appropriate. [Guillame] Although I'm afraid I haven't found the time to talk to her - she might be somewhat surprised to hear from me out of the blue.

  • Janelle nods.

[Guillame] I - no, I'll speak to Ciatha. It's for the best.

  • Janelle smiles, looking pleased.

[Janelle] Thank you, dear. [Janelle] I hope everything goes well.

  • Guillame nods

[Guillame] . o (I don't...)

  • Guillame knocks on Ciatha's door

[Ciatha] (I assume you would be shown in by my butler or somesuch)

  • Ciatha is sitting in the drawing room, with a little book.

[Guillame] Hello Ciatha...

  • Ciatha stands up, beaming eagerly.

[Ciatha] Guillame! What a lovely surprise! :) [Guillame] I'm glad you think so!

  • Ciatha rushes up to you and air kisses your cheeks.
  • Guillame puts up with it

[Ciatha] It's so nice to see you again... [Ciatha] It's been so lonely around here.

  • Ciatha looks up at you with big sad eyes.

[Guillame] It is nice, you're right. I hope you'll forgive me for being forward, but I've come to make amends. I've treated you most unfairly. [Ciatha] Oh? [Ciatha] You mean...?

  • Ciatha can scarcely dare to hope!

[Guillame] I mean you surely must have noticed me avoiding you! [Ciatha] Well... yes, I guess.

  • Ciatha says sadly.

[Ciatha] I half hoped it was a coincidence. [Guillame] I have no excuse of course, but as to my reasons, I'm afraid my stuffy sense of tradition was offended when... well, you know. I was weak, I suppose, and I apologise. [Ciatha] I'm just glad you're here now... [Guillame] So, by way of making amends, I hoped that maybe you would accompany me to the ball? [Ciatha] I thought... I must have done something wrong. :( [Ciatha] The ball? Really?!

  • Ciatha brightens up immensely.

[Ciatha] Oh, Guillame! Oh! Yes! Of course! [Guillame] Something wrong? We both did, I suppose, but there's no use in brooding over the past.

  • Ciatha blushes...

[Ciatha] Of course not! [Guillame] Excellent! I'll try to make arrangements with your father. [Ciatha] I'm sure he will be happy to see you again too!

  • Ciatha is practically bouncing.

[Guillame] I do hope so.

  • Guillame tries not to roll his eyes, and puts on a smile.
  • Ciatha hugs you without warning!

[Ciatha] This will be wonderful... you won't regret it, I promise! :) [Guillame] Of course I won't!

  • Guillame is also genuinely relieved, to some extent!
  • Guillame bows

[Guillame] My lady

[Narrator] Alma, you have perhaps been putting off discussing the matter of the ball with your brother, though he is obviously keen to talk to *you* about it.

  • Cesar alternately spends too much money on new clothes and mopes around looking hopeful.
  • Alma will invite Cesar to have dinner with her one evening. If he's not too busy -_-
  • Cesar will certainly make time for his beloved sister!
  • Cesar presents himself punctually at dinner.
  • Alma will talk with him about his day, etc. during the meal.
  • Cesar makes polite chit-chat.
  • Alma will ask him during dessert...

[Alma] I was wondering if you would like to accompany me to the Emperor's Ball.

  • Cesar beams.

[Cesar] I thought you'd never ask :) [Cesar] Of course, I'd be honoured.

  • Alma smiles.

[Cesar] I'm sorry to have to impose on you this way - I'm sure you'd probably rather go with someone else. [Alma] No, it's fine, César. I've no romantic interest at the moment, so it would be my pleasure. [Cesar] Thank you.

  • Cesar says sincerely.

[Alma] I did want to talk with you about some other things this evening. [Cesar] Oh? [Alma] I know that life is different for you, being a young gentleman. /I/ knew for a long time what I wanted from my life. But I understand if you need time to think about your next step. We're fortunate enough that you can have that time.

  • Cesar nods, listening to try and figure out what you're getting at.

[Alma] It's just that I don't want you to *waste* any time. I know you can do great things, once you've figured out what those things are. [Cesar] Don't worry, sister. I'm certain my time is not being wasted. [Cesar] And don't worry - once I'm introduced at court, I'll surely garner my own invitation for the next ball. [Alma] That sort of thing isn't important anyway, César...

  • Cesar braces himself for a lecture about religion.
  • Alma looks over at her brother.

[Alma] What matter is it if some one invites you to a ball? [Alma] Will it mean anything later in your life? [Cesar] It is an opportunity for advancement. If I'm not known at court, how can I find a suitable wife, or gain a title? [Cesar] It's easy for you - you don't have to marry. [Alma] You're mistaken, in a way. I /do/ have to marry. [Alma] It's my responsibility to have a family, even though I might want to do other things with my life. [Cesar] As long as one of us has a family, it will be all right. Béziers will stay in the family.

  • Alma nods.

[Cesar] If you intend to marry and have children, I'll have to find myself a suitable wife - because Béziers will never come to me. [Alma] I spend a lot of time trying to avoid a lot of the... machinations involved in nobility. I guess I hadn't considered that attending parties could be important to you and your future.

  • Cesar looks relieved.

[Cesar] I'm glad you see it that way. I mean, the army is all well and good, but it won't bring me land and title - there's nowhere left to conquer, after all ;)

  • Cesar stands and gives you a brotherly kiss on the cheek.

[Alma] I still think that you'll be happiest with something more ... concrete. You keep that in mind, and I'll watch for any opportunities for you. [Cesar] Thank you, Alma.

  • Alma hugs her brother.

[Alma] One last thing... [Cesar] Yes? [Alma] I hope you were only joking... but what you said when you first came to town. [Alma] I hope you're treating any young ladies you meet with respect and honesty... [Cesar] Oh, of course. I was only joking - my days in the army have no doubt given me a coarser sense of humour than is appropriate around ladies. [Cesar] I'll comport myself appropriately, I promise.

  • Alma smiles

[Alma] It's your life, but I know that if you treat everyone with respect, nothing can go wrong. :) [Cesar] I'll heed your advice.

[Narrator] Dominik, your family are preoccupied with preparations for the ball, and are, by and large, ignoring you. Not that there's anything wrong with that. [Narrator] The day before the big event, however, your mother requests that you come to her rooms to speak with her.

  • Dominik will do so
  • Syndona is about forty years old, still attractive despite the early grey in her long black hair, resembling what your sister Zivia might look like in twenty years or so.

[Syndona] Dominik. How are you?

  • Syndona always keeps you at arm's length, refusing to let her feelings for you show.

[Dominik] I am doing well, Mother. [Syndona] Good, good. I hope you are looking forward to the ball. It should be a most memorable event. [Syndona] When Empress Idaia came to the throne, the celebrations were so lovely... You were just a little boy then, though, you probably don't remember anything except the fireworks. [Dominik] I am going and I will try to enjoy myself. [Syndona] Have you something appropriate to wear? [Narrator] You know full well that all your siblings have been busy with tailors and dressmakers since the time the ball was announced - your parents' pocketbooks are at *their* disposal. [Dominik] I have been looking to procure something appropriate.

  • Syndona nods, apparently satisfied with that.

[Syndona] Do you have a ... guest you're bringing? [Dominik] No [Syndona] Very well. Theron is also going to be unaccompanied, so you can share a carriage.

  • Dominik frowns

[Dominik] I think it would be better if I arranged different transportation. [Syndona] You can't walk, you'll get your clothes dusty. [Syndona] Besides, you should arrive with the rest of the family, or people will talk.

  • Dominik sighs

[Dominik] People talk regardless of how I arrive.

  • Syndona sighs as well.

[Dominik] Theron and I do *not* get along [Syndona] Dominik, I... I know you have not gotten along with your brother in the past. But try to put that aside for one night, please? [Dominik] I am trying to save you some distress by not traveling with him. [Syndona] I will instruct him as well to be on his best behaviour. Not to ...goad you, the way he does.

  • Dominik closes his eyes in resignation.
  • Syndona seems pretty resigned herself.

[Dominik] I will agree with this for you... and Theron better behave.

  • Syndona nods.

[Syndona] Thank you, Dominik. [Dominik] If he doesn't, I do hope hes not wearing white.... red makes such a mess of it. [Syndona] Dominik! [Syndona] I'll trust you're only joking. [Syndona] I think he's wearing blue, in any case. [Dominik] Really the choice is up to him if its a joke or not.

  • Syndona sighs again.

[Syndona] I hope everything will go well - your sister's hopes depend on all of us making our best impressions.

  • Dominik nods

[Dominik] I will do my part [Syndona] Thank you.

  • Syndona dismisses you with her gratitude.

[Narrator] The day of the ball arrives. The Imperial Isle is swarming with carriages, many of which are open to take advantage of the lovely weather - and to allow their passengers to see and be seen, of course. [Narrator] Uniformed guards are directing the traffic, trying to keep things running smoothly. With many hundreds of guests being dropped off, the seemingly simple process of getting into the ballroom will likely take an hour or more [Narrator] Ysabeau, you and your quartet have arrived especially early, so as to set up the area where you'll be performing and make sure you're ready in time. [Narrator] The Ruby Drawing Room is, perhaps not surprisingly, decorated in rich shades of red, with plenty of gold ornamentation and glistening ebonywood. It is lit by the steady glow of magic, rather than by unreliable but inexpensive candles. [Narrator] There are servants hurrying about, but none of them get in your way as you arrange your seats.

  • Ysabeau tries to quell her anxiety. She still feels bad over having messed up the audition.
  • Jehan seems especially overawed by your surroundings.

[Ysabeau] Jehan... your jaw is hanging slack. You look a bit like a fish. [Jehan] Sorry. I've just never seen so much wealth on display before, that's all. It's almost vulgar.

  • Ysabeau teases, and pushes up on his chin with a finger.
  • Jehan smiles.

[Jehan] I'll try to concentrate on the music ;) [Ysabeau] Good idea. :) [Jehan] I'm sure everything will go fine - or else everyone will be preoccupied and won't hear a note we play ;) [Symon] Well, at least we'll get to enjoy a bit of the ball even if we don't get any attention. [Ysabeau] I rather hope they do notice *something* about us - something good.

  • Ysabeau nods agreement with Symon.

[Jehan] Don't make me think about how this could be our big break, or I'll get even more nervous ;) [Ysabeau] Sorry! [Jehan] I'll just pretend we're playing in a tiny rehearsal chamber, as usual. [Symon] Just think about what your night might be like if one of these beautifully dressed ladies takes a liking to you :) [Ysabeau] This is just like us practicing together. Ignore them and just play your heart out, if that helps. ;)

  • Ysabeau nods

[Jehan] Gods, don't frighten me, Symon :o [Ysabeau] Great minds think alike! [Jehan] They'll only have eyes for you, I'm sure ;)

  • Ysabeau is amused that she and Jehan are on the same page.

[Ysabeau] Oh gods, yes, that blonde wave covering your eye coquettishly. [Ysabeau] Symon, you had better watch out! ;)

  • Symon tilts his head to show his good side

[Stefan] We had better tune up.

  • Ysabeau is busy setting up her harp and making sure the strings are tuned.
  • Stefan says seriously, pulling you away from your joking.
  • Symon nods and will prepare with the others.

[Ysabeau] (Does this look more like a chamber music place than a waltz place, Julia?) [Narrator] Yes, this room is set up with chairs and sofas, presumably for people to take their ease. [Stefan] Don't worry - everything will go just fine. [Ysabeau] I'm kind of more excited to play the second set, myself. I really want to see everyone dancing. [Ysabeau] It will be quite a spectacle.

  • Ysabeau plucks strings until their tone meets with her approval.

[Jehan] As long as we don't make spectacles of ourselves, we should be all right :)

[Narrator] Altheo, your escort for the evening has picked you up at a designated non-brothel location.

  • Altheo is fashionably dress.
  • Ida_ is a striking young woman, tall and generously-endowed, with dark brown hair piled in some intricate concoction involving feathers atop her head. Her dress, crimson silk and creamy lace, takes up her entire side of the carriage, yet leaves her arms and shoulders bare.

[Altheo] (Oh, I'd have asked Ramon what the etiquette is regarding weapons and such.) [Narrator] (don't bring them)

  • Altheo will smile at her appreciatively.

[Ida_] Well, how do you do?

  • Ida_ smiles fetchingly.

[Altheo] Better now that I am in your prescence.

  • Altheo will take up her hand and kiss it.
  • Ida_ allows you to do so.

[Narrator] The carriage departs, jostling you slightly over the cobblestones. [Ida_] M. Renaud, Ramon was a little vague - what exactly is it you do?

  • Altheo smiles.

[Altheo] I am the sole proprieter of lovely little place in Pearl. [Ida_] A tavern?

  • Ida_ asks teasingly.

[Altheo] Well, we do serve a wonderful selection of beverages. But it is not what we are best known for.

  • Altheo says, teasing back.

[Ida_] What *are* you known for, M. Renaud? [Altheo] Well, when I say that you are an exceptionally beautiful woman. I say that not just as a man, but also as a professional.

  • Ida_ laughs softly.

[Ida_] Am I paying you for the evening's entertainment, then? ;) [Altheo] And I am well known for making sure any woman in my company is well taken care of. [Altheo] No, not at all. [Altheo] It is my pleasure and priviledge to be here. [Ida_] Well, I'm sure we shall enjoy ourselves. [Ida_] How did you encounter my cousin, if I may ask?

  • Altheo leans in close in a conspiratorial manner. "He stoped by my establishment when he heard I carry an exceptional brand of whiskey."

[Ida_] How ... unexpected! [Altheo] Well, I wouldn't want you to get the wrong impression of him. He is a good man. [Ida_] Oh, of course he is. [Altheo] But there were a few ladies there that caught his eye. [Ida_] Really.

  • Ida_ says, somewhat dryly.

[Altheo] I hope you won't hold that against him. [Ida_] Not at all. It's his affair what he does with his free time, of course :) [Ida_] I'm just surprised. It seems so unlike Ramon. [Ida_] Perhaps you know him better than I do ;) [Altheo] Well, maybe it was just a phase he went through. [Altheo] Its how we met. But we've been friends ever since.

  • Ida_ chuckles.

[Altheo] But tell me more about yourself. [Altheo] I must admit, I'm curious. [Ida_] I don't know what there is to tell, truly :) I'm the baroness of Hesperange, for what that's worth.

  • Altheo gives her a small but charming bow.

[Ida_] My father is the count of Kielce.

  • Altheo is suitably impressed.

[Altheo] What do you do for fun? [Ida_] Oh, this and that ;) [Ida_] Maybe you'll find out later ^-^

[Narrator] Seth, you are most unaccustomed to such finery - but even less accustomed to seeing your Aunt Gwen in such finery!

  • Gwen is wearing an ornate court gown of pale blue satin trimmed with silver. Though she doesn't appear uncomfortable in it, it's still quite a change from her more usual trousers and jackets.

[Gwen] All right. We'll be mingling and trying to be inconspicuous - inasmuch as that's possible wearing half an ostrich on my head. [Gwen] You wouldn't have caught any noblewoman at Tristane's court in anything as foolish as this get-up, I can tell you that. Even when they *did* wear dresses, they didn't need complex engineering for internal structural support.

  • Seth is dressed in a dark blue suit with a double-breasted waistcoat and a plain black cravat, so as to conform with his aunt's sartorial instructions.

[Gwen] Dressmakers didn't used to be architects! Your father should watch out or they'll be stealing his business next. [Seth] Well, don't worry about me, I'm not planning a change of career. :) [Gwen] Good. [Gwen] To be honest, I don't quite know what you should be looking for tonight. [Gwen] If you see anything that strikes you as strange or out-of-the-ordinary, you contact me. If it'll take too long to contact me, use your best judgment. Intervene only if absolutely necessary. [Seth] Oh believe me aunt Gwen, intervening is the last thing I would be doing.

  • Gwen nods.

[Seth] And I'm sure I'll be able to find you, or at least follow the plumage around the ballroom. [Gwen] I don't think we're talking assassination attempts, if that's any consolation. [Seth] Ah ... I presume His Imperial Majesty has guards to deal with that. [Gwen] Security will be tight, and Marl will be guarded up the... ah, heavily guarded. [Seth] Right. [Gwen] It's more likely the girls who want to marry him will try to kill each other than him, anyhow. [Gwen] Right - take care, Seth. [Gwen] Stupid thing...

  • Gwen swishes her skirt out of the way as she leaves.

[Narrator] Alma, César is dressed to the nines in what you can only presume is an entirely new suit of top-of-the-line evening wear. [Cesar] You look lovely, sister. That shade suits your complexion.

  • Cesar says as you depart.

[Symon] Thank you, brother. You look very dapper tonight yourself.

  • Cesar smiles

[Cesar] May I ask... if it weren't for me, would you be going tonight? [Alma] I would, yes. I doubt I'd have made the expense to travel here for the ball but while I'm here in Diablotin at least, it's important that I represent Béziers. [Cesar] That's good. I would feel guilty for dragging you to something you might not enjoy. [Alma] Ah, don't worry about that. I like people, and there'll be plenty there :) [Alma] Though this dress...

  • Alma shifts uncomfortably

[Alma] I feel like I'm wearing an entire closet.

  • Cesar smiles.

[Cesar] It suits you, though. [Alma] Thank you :) [Cesar] Don't worry, if dancing is not to your taste I'm sure you can find some quiet salon to seclude yourself in :) [Alma] Well, I suppose I should be trying to find a dashing gentleman myself, during these things... [Alma] I just don't have the time to get wrapped up in that sort of thing. [Alma] Not yet, at least. [Cesar] I'm sure there will be no difficulty in finding willing partners. [Alma] But suitable? [Cesar] What do you consider suitable? [Alma] Well, I haven't set anything in stone, but you know... someone respectable, who will bring credit to Béziers, and our family. [Cesar] Oh, I see. [Cesar] Well, surely you can find someone like that :) [Alma] You never know, maybe the Gods will see fit to send me some one to fall madly in love with :) [Cesar] I hope so, for your sake :)

[Narrator] Dominik, on the afternoon of the ball, your family are loading themselves into carriages - your mother and your sister in one, along with your elderly great-uncle Eldenor, who is escorting Zivia. Jarvis has already departed in another for the home of his escort for the evening, Miss Fredericia Hartzell, which leaves the final carriage for you and your brother Theron, both of whom are unaccompanied.

  • Theron_ is looking dashingly handsome as usual, his red-gold curls artfully careless beneath his hat, his blue tailcoat cut to fit him perfectly.

[Theron_] No filly on your arm tonight, Dom?

  • Theron_ seems to be in a cheerful mood.

[Dominik] Night is still young, just leaving my options open.

  • Theron_ nods.

[Theron_] Still, If I'd known you couldn't get anyone to go with you, I would gladly have loaned you the money to pay for a companion for the evening. [Dominik] How generous... I can see that worked out well for yourself. [Theron_] Well, I don't need to pay for it ;) [Dominik] Why are you alone then? [Theron_] Oh, like you - leaving my options open. [Theron_] I don't want to disappoint all the girls I can't go with ;) [Dominik] Good plan. You going with them would have been the biggest disappointment.

  • Theron_ laughs.

[Theron_] And Mother was worried you couldn't hold your own against me. [Dominik] No... I think Mother was more worried I might break your nose.

  • Dominik smiles

[Dominik] But I promised her I would behave. [Theron_] Oh, so did I, [Theron_] So we'll have to try not to make a scandal tonight, if at all possible. [Dominik] Yes yes... I understand what is going on. No need to explain it to me. [Theron_] Very well.

  • Theron_ will ride the rest of the way in silence, then.
  • Dominik is very happy because of it

[Narrator] Guillame, you pick up Ciatha at the designated time. The one saving grace you can imagine from this evening is that at least it's not expected you'll dance with her the entire night - people are meant to switch partners often.

  • Ciatha has been chattering away excitedly, and perhaps a bit nervously.

[Narrator] Ilphere and Sanadhil, you are among the last to arrive, partly by design (so that as many people as possible see Ilphere make her entrance) but partly due to Ilphere's mother's constant fussing over her gown, which you estimate must have cost a small fortune. [Narrator] Fortunately, once you disembark, Ilphere's parents precede you into the palace, so Mme. deQuessenet is forced to stop fiddling with Ilphere's skirt, or adjusting a strand of her hair just so, or reminding her not to dance with the same gentleman more than once (unless it's Menard!) [Narrator] The palace is vast, occupying nearly half of the entire island, and much of it is ancient, with tall stone columns, arched galleries, and vaulted ceilings that speak of centuries long past. [Narrator] Uniformed footmen are there to relieve guests of any excess hats, parasols, cloaks, etc. The elite of the Imperial Guard, also in dress uniform, but, you note, still (discreetly) armed, line the grand staircase where everyone is entering. [Narrator] At the top of the staircase each guest or pair of guests pauses long enough to display their invitation and be announced before descending the inner stairs and entering the ballroom itself. [Narrator] The ballroom is enormous, as you might expect from a room designed to hold a thousand couples dancing. Already it is teeming with guests in their elaborate finery. [Narrator] The high ceiling is painted in vibrant colours, depicting scenes from ancient history - the arrival of the six tribes to the river valley that would become Diablotin, the conquest of Plascencia, the discovery of the Iles Furneaux, the making of the six Great Contructs, a flight of dragons, and so forth. [Narrator] Elaborate chandeliers spangled with tiny magical lights hang from the ceiling, casting a warm glow over the scene. [Narrator] At one end of the room, the orchestra plays softly, just providing background music at the moment. [Narrator] Running the length of the ballroom and accessible through several open doors is the Marble Gallery, where statues of all the former rulers of the Empire are displayed. It is also apparently where the refreshments are being served, as you see several people return from the gallery carrying drinks or delicate hors d'oeuvres. [Narrator] Several other adjacent drawing rooms are also open, presumably for those guests who wish to sit or play cards or otherwise absent themselves from the dancing. [Narrator] "Mlle. Ilphere deQuessenet and M. Sanadhil Orecalo!" the servant announces, and you make your grand entrance.

  • Ilphere is wearing an impressive construction of a gown in a rich, forest green that seems to deepen the colour of her eyes. The neckline skims her shoulders and shows a tasteful amount of decolletage. Her hair has been artfully arranged by her mother, with 'stray' curls strategically framing her face.
  • Ilphere sweeps in with Sanadhil, her massive skirts swishing stylishly.
  • Sanadhil is wearing a Cozovode formal robe in blue, with stlized stars embroidered in silver and gold gold, with metalic accents. He has a small black hat with a single blue-black feather, and his hair, braided as is customary, sports a series of very elaborate jewelled clasps
  • Ilphere also wears an exotic looking arrangement of mainly peacock feathers perched atop her head.
  • Sanadhil is swept along inside

[Narrator] Not long after your arrival, there is a flourish of trumpets to announce the arrival of the Imperial family. [Ilphere] [w] Oh, here they come...! [Narrator] Emperor Marl is escorting his widowed mother Pamara, the Countess of Rehoveth Bay. He looks pleased with the spontaneous burst of applause and cheers that breaks out from some of the crowd. [Narrator] Following him, arm in arm, are his sister Princess Eglantine and brother Prince Menard, then his grandfather Leonien, Duke of Friaul and head of the Kizer family, escorting his late brother's widow Reanne, the Countess of Greven. [Narrator] The members of the Imperial family make their way to the elevated dais hung with purple cloth, where three velvet-covered violet sofas are arranged for them to make themselves comfortable.

  • Ilphere claps politely as well, so as not to appear desperately enthusiastic.

[Narrator] Assorted other aunts, uncles, and cousins follow. When the last of them make their entrance, the orchestra plays a fanfare to draw everyone's attention to the Emperor, who stands on the platform.

  • Sanadhil follows social cues as best he can
  • Emperor_Marl wears a dark grey suit of the highest fashion, beneath a trailing dark purple cloak trimmed with white. The Imperial circlet is at his brow, and pinned to his chest is an ornate triple-starburst brooch, glittering with gems.

[Emperor_Marl] My lords, ladies, esteemed guests. Thank you for gracing these halls with your honoured presence. I sincerely hope you enjoy yourselves this evening. [Ilphere] (so no escort for Menard?) [Narrator] (he's escorting his sister) [Ilphere] (excellent...) [Narrator] (safe, non-controversial ;) [Narrator] With that, the orchestra wastes little time in striking up the first of many waltzes, and couples begin to take their places on the dancefloor. [Ilphere] We should go and dance, if you don't mind... [Ilphere] Mother says I need to be seen...!

  • Ilphere smiles a bit apologetically.

[Sanadhil] Of course

  • Sanadhil is gracious
  • Sanadhil will guide you out to the floor then

[Narrator] Alma, you are politely confronted with the sight of Patric Arguelles, Count of Childress.

  • Patric bows.

[Patric] May I request the privilege of a dance, milady? [Alma] Good evening, Count. I would be honoured.

  • Patric escorts you gallantly to the floor and sweeps you into his arms - as much as propriety permits.

[Patric] You look beautiful this evening.

  • Alma dances well enough, as lessons but not a lot of practice allows.

[Alma] Thank you, Patric. You look quite handsome yourself.

  • Patric smiles.

[Patric] And César got to come too - he was so worried he'd be sitting home alone tonight ;) [Alma] Ah, luckily I didn't want him to miss out on the Emperor's first ball. Somethings only happen once :) [Patric] Well, but you didn't have to bring your little brother :) [Alma] He's family :) [Patric] It's most generous of you, nevertheless. [Alma] Who accompanied you this evening? [Patric] Family as well. Mine doesn't dance, either ;) [Patric] My great-aunt, the Duchess of Marignane. [Patric] Even now she's sitting comfortably in one of the drawing rooms, preparing to take some poor innocent's hard-earned money at cards ;) [Alma] I should visit with the Duchess to give her my respects. It's been many years since I've seen her.

  • Alma chuckles

[Patric] I'm sure she would enjoy seeing you again. [Patric] I would be honoured to present you to her later. [Alma] That would be lovely. [Patric] I would be honoured if you would join me for another dance later this evening, as well. Or indeed several, though I know how rude it is of me to monopolize your charming company. [Alma] (SM: 21) [Alma] I'm sure there'll be time for that.

  • Alma smiles

[Narrator] (his interest seems sincere, though perhaps somewhat... less wholesome than he might suggest.) [Alma] .oO( :o ) [Narrator] (not unwholesome in a "I want to eat your soul" kind of way - more just like "would probably like to get into your skirts" kind of way ;) [Alma] ( That's still a :o for alma :P ) [Narrator] (fair enough ;)

  • Patric caresses the underside of your wrist with gloved fingers as he gently touches his lips to your hand in farewell.
  • Alma curtsies politely before he finds his next dance.

[Narrator] Sanadhil, you don't know these dances, but there seem to be plenty of women who are happy to instruct you. [Narrator] You notice Phedre and Earric are present, though not often together. It seems to be the custom here for people to dance with other partners than solely with their spouse.

  • Sanadhil gathered that from what Ilphère said
  • Phedre is wearing an elaborate gown of an orange so dark it's almost brown, and you notice that her customary black necklace is still about her neck.
  • Earric 's clothing is clearly expensive and well-tailored, but not au courant with current men's fashions - or perhaps it's avant-garde, you're not sure. His curly hair is held back from his face with a slender silver band.
  • Sanadhil resists the urge to detect magic, for now

[Narrator] They aren't approaching you, perhaps fortunately.

  • Sanadhil will sort of people watch them specifically as he is people watching generally

[Narrator] (okay)

[Narrator] Seth, you are really at something of a loss as to what you're meant to be doing here, but you're fumbling along as best as you can. [Narrator] Looking for things out of the ordinary - all of this is out of the ordinary for you! [Narrator] However, you do notice a woman who isn't dressed remotely like the rest. She's perhaps fifty or so, and wears a simple belted robe of embroidered blue-black silk. Her long black hair is loose, not done up in some fancy knot with feathers sticking out.

  • Seth will try not to partake too heavily of the food and drink, and will resist the temptation to toy with his cravat.

[Seth] (do I recognize her at all?) [Narrator] (nope) [Seth] (is she hanging out with anyone else?) [Narrator] Just sort of staying at the edge of the ballroom, not conversing with anyone atm.

  • Seth will try to shuffle over that way unobtrusively.
  • Woman doesn't shuffle away from you :p

[Seth] So many people ... it's overwhelming, almost, isn't it? [Woman] Yes. It's very strange to be back here, I must say. [Woman] Not at all like in the Empress's day. [Woman] Tristane, I mean. I didn't know poor Idaia, may she find the Centre. [Seth] Ah, yes, of course. [Seth] You've been away for some time? [Woman] Many years, yes. [Woman] It's so strange. All of the women look like they've been hobbled, like they're being buried alive under the weight of lace and taffeta and hair. Suffocated. [Woman] Most of the women here who are my age would have worn breeches when they were young. It was fashionable then, but it also gave them a certain freedom. [Seth] I suppose so ... you disapprove, then? [Woman] I just don't understand why they let themselves be shoehorned back into corsets and petticoats. [Seth] Ahh ... I couldn't say. [Woman] No, of course not. I'm sorry, I'm going on. [Seth] No, not at all. I'm Seth Argo, by the way.

  • Woman offers you her hand.

[Woman] Theonée Deverara, and apparently I'm the Chancellor. [Theonee] Though at this rate, I'm starting to wonder why I was chosen - and why I accepted. [Seth] Ahhh ... I am honoured to make your acquaintance.

  • Theonee gives a slight smile.

[Theonee] There's very little honour involved, but I thank you :) [Seth] (I presume I recognize the name, btw?) [Narrator] (yes) [Seth] You are not much for matters of the court, then? [Theonee] I suppose I shall have to be. [Theonee] After all, it's now my job to decide which of these people deserve titles. [Theonee] And so I shall have to know them better, in order to make such judgments. [Theonee] But no, not in general. I'm a scholar. [Seth] Ah ... we share that in common.

  • Theonee smiles at that.

[Seth] I am a member of the Rhenean Antiquarian Society ... well, a junior member. [Theonee] I see. Very interesting... what is it you study? [Seth] I have some modest competence in the study of the city's architecture [Theonee] Architecture... fascinating. What do you make of this hall? [Seth] (what do I make of it?) [Narrator] (um... make an architecture roll?) [Seth] (16?) [Narrator] (You can tell that various repairs and alterations have been made to the hall, but the original structure probably dates to about 1200 years ago. [Seth] It's hard to judge with so many people in it and with so much finery, but it is clearly a palimpsest of several different periods. [Seth] But altogether the effect is not unpleasing.

  • Theonee chuckles.

[Theonee] I'm glad you think so. [Theonee] My fifteeth birthday was celebrated here... [Seth] Of course. [Seth] You must have many memories of the place. [Theonee] I wound up hiding in the gallery ;) [Seth] I suppose this life doesn't suit everyone. Not me, for instance. [Theonee] I think it better suits those who don't enjoy it too much. [Seth] I suppose so. :) [Theonee] It's been pleasant talking with you, Seth Argo. [Theonee] But I ought to be on my way. [Seth] And you also. [Seth] Thank you for the conversation.

  • Theonee nods and departs - from the entire ball, you believe.

[Narrator] Dominik, it's easy to spot Master Halden of Gouge sidling over to where you stand. [Halden] Dom.

  • Halden says, with his customary curt nod of greeting.
  • Halden has a woman you presume is his wife on his arm, though he doesn't introduce her.

[Ysana] Where *are* my husband's manners? You must be Dominik Rademacher, are you not? [Dominik] Yes I am [Ysana] Ysana of Gouge.

  • Ysana offers her hand politely.
  • Ysana is about average height, but appears petite beside her towering husband. Her black curls have a few strands of grey, but her brown eyes are youthful and bright.

[Dominik] A pleasure to meet you [Ysana] And you.

  • Dominik takes the hand and does the polite kiss.

[Narrator] A fair-haired young man in his late twenties or so presents himself to Ysana, and says "Mother, would you care to dance?" [Ysana] Of course, Kalman dear.

  • Ysana gives her husband a pat on the arm before departing.

[Ysana] Do try, love.

  • Ysana murmurs to him.

[Halden] Hmph.

  • Dominik watches the pair leave

[Halden] I'm getting a drink. Want one? [Dominik] sure

  • Dominik will walk with Halden
  • Halden leads the way to the Marble Gallery and procures drinks for the both of you. He then strolls idly down the long hall, glancing at a statue now and then but mostly just walking.

[Narrator] The drink is refreshingly cool, and definitely alcoholic. [Narrator] The most recent statue in the gallery is that of Empress Luxinie Kizer, who reigned for less than a year slightly over a century ago. The statues of the most recent six rulers are displayed elsewhere, presumably.

  • Halden stops at the end of the Gallery.

[Halden] She looks like she knew how to have a good time.

  • Halden says of the statue, which does indeed capture something of a crooked smile and a glint in the eye, despite the hard, impartial stone.

[Dominik] Our new emperor's family. From what I hear, in that aspect he is not different. [Halden] Well, she ended up knifed in a tavern. Let's hope... Oh, void, I don't know what to hope. [Halden] This is all bullshit. Turning living and breathing men and women into ... into this. Nothing but statues.

  • Halden has evidently had a few of those drinks already.

[Dominik] Its just history. [Dominik] All that stone can't change today. [Halden] History is people. All of these were real people once. [Halden] Things were different once. Not perfect, not by any means, but better. [Dominik] I've heard that many times before. Everything was better in the past.

  • Dominik drinks

[Dominik] But were not living in the past. [Dominik] I don't wnat to live in the past. [Halden] No... [Halden] Forgive me. I'm not thinking clearly. [Halden] I just hate these things. [Halden] You must understand. What it's like. [Dominik] You are either in or out... except people like us... were neither, which is worse.

  • Halden nods.

[Dominik] I'll make a name for myself... you'll see [Dominik] They'll all see [Halden] You're a good man, Dominik. [Halden] I hope you do.

  • Halden wanders off.
  • Dominik lets him go.

  • Guillame has been trying, fairly successfully, to enjoy the night with Ciatha so far.
  • Ciatha is wearing a lovely confection of a gown in silvery blue. Her hair is swept up and piled in a carefully sculpted arrangement of waves, and her neck and earlobes are conspicuously but tastefully adorned with glittering jewels.
  • Ciatha has been chattering happily and with decreasing nervousness throughout the evening so far. :)
  • Guillame is wearing his suit from the summer, a smart, light jacket and trousers, with an orange handkerchief in the pocket.

[Guillame] It's been quite a while since I had a chance to go out and enjoy myself with someone my own age - the city's been so serious recently. [Ciatha] Oh yes, I know! [Ciatha] What happened at the coronation was so frightening.

  • Ciatha furrows her brow prettily.

[Guillame] It was, at that! Everyone at the society has been very excited about it, though. [Ciatha] The society? [Guillame] The antiquarians. Actually, I'm afraid I've just made a commitment to spend more time studying! [Ciatha] I'd love to hear about what you do there sometime... [Ciatha] I... well, maybe we rushed things a little before, but I really want to get to know more about you... :)

  • Ciatha likes to touch you on the arm or hand every now and then as you talk.
  • Ciatha smiles up at you with her big blue eyes.

[Guillame] Well, it's quite simple, and dull at times, but in short I'm looking into our history. Chiefly, our house's way of life in the undercity, if you can believe that! [Ciatha] The undercity! I can hardly imagine!

  • Ciatha listens raptly.

[Guillame] Well, nor I! I wasn't raised with any stories of it, and I've learned so little as yet. [Ciatha] I've just heard, well, basically faerie stories. [Ciatha] Would you tell me sometime? [Guillame] Once I have something to tell, of course! [Ciatha] I can't wait!

  • Ciatha smiles winningly.

[Guillame] So, how has your family been lately? What news? [Ciatha] Oh, everyone is fine... My cousin Mathilde is expecting her first child! [Guillame] Well, that's wonderful! That *is* wonderful? [Ciatha] Oh yes. She's newly married. [Ciatha] They're very excited! [Ciatha] Do you like children...? [Guillame] I think so... I get on well with Alesia, of course... [Ciatha] I've always known I wanted to have a family, ever since I was a girl...

  • Ciatha sighs dreamily.

[Guillame] Since you were a girl? I suppose you've planned their names, ages and genders! [Ciatha] Well...

  • Ciatha blushes

[Ciatha] I would love to have two little boys... [Ciatha] Rémi and Théo. [Ciatha] ^-^

  • Guillame laughs delightedly

[Guillame] Rémi? That's wonderful. [Ciatha] You like it?

  • Ciatha grins widely.

[Guillame] I do, as a matter of fact. [Ciatha] Are you having a nice time tonight? [Guillame] Better even that I'd hoped, yes. [Ciatha] I'm so glad.

  • Ciatha smiles sincerely, and squeezes your hand.

[Ciatha] (and that's it for now :)

[Narrator] Ilphere, you have been observing carefully the partners Menard dances with this evening, though of course you're trying to remain unobtrusive in doing so. [Narrator] He has danced with your main rivals, skinny little Alwen Falgout and Marelda Trueblood, who bulges uncomfortably from her too-revealing gown, as well as with more harmless partners like his mother, sister, and cousins. [Narrator] Finally, to your relief, he approaches you. [Ilphere] . o O ( Whew...! )

  • Menard is wonderfully dressed.
  • Ilphere curtseys gracefully as you approach.

[Menard] How are you doing this evening Ilphere? [Ilphere] I am quite well, thank you... This is a lovely fête! [Ilphere] And yourself...?

  • Ilphere smiles demurely.

[Menard] I'm doing very well. [Menard] Thank you. [Menard] I was wondering if you might like to dance?

  • Menard offers you his arm.

[Ilphere] I would be delighted...!

  • Ilphere takes it graciously.
  • Menard leads you out onto the dance floor for a nice walts.
  • Menard places his hands in gentlemanly places.
  • Ilphere moves beautifully, taught well by her mother and Grand-Mère.
  • Menard also dances well. And really seems to enjoy it.

[Menard] So what have you been up to lately? [Ilphere] Oh, well...! I have been working, mostly, at the Castalia...! [Menard] (SM?) [Ilphere] (uh ok) [Ilphere] (I'm not lying) [Ilphere] (:D) [Menard] (:D) [Menard] and enjoying your studies. [Ilphere] (i am just worried about making you think I'm weird) [Ilphere] Oh yes, always...! [Menard] Good. [Ilphere] I am working on a project with M. Orecalo at the moment. [Menard] Ah, was he the gentleman you arrived with?

  • Ilphere nods.
  • Menard says, glancing about quickly to see if he can see him.

[Menard] A most unusual fellow. [Ilphere] Yes, that's him...! [Ilphere] He's from Cozovode.

  • Menard nods.

[Ilphere] What have you been up to...?

  • Menard leads you well in the dance, but as the dance continute, his hands may drift a bit to less appropriate positions, but only when you are amongst other dancers so its no very noticeable.

[Menard] Preparing for this party.

  • Menard laughs at that.

[Menard] And helping my Brother get settled in on the Throne. [Menard] Mostly meeting people. Lots and lots of people. [Ilphere] Oh I see...! How has that been...? [Ilphere] I imagine it must be wearying after a while... [Menard] well...to be honest, I'm very glad the party is finally here.

  • Ilphere smiles sympathetically.

[Menard] absolutely.

  • Menard says sincerely.

[Ilphere] I don't know how I would handle it, all this thrust upon you all at once...! [Ilphere] Forgive me if this is presumptuous... but do you ever find it frustrating, having your own interests pushed aside for all these new responsibilities...? [Menard] well, I certainly would never admit to it publicly. [Menard] but yes. Mother says thats just me getting used to my new position. But is hard. [Menard] What about you? Do you think you could adapt well if you suddenly found yourself living in the Palace?

  • Menard asks, a cheerful teasing in his voice.

[Ilphere] Well... I am sure I would manage, somehow...!

  • Ilphere laughs lightly.

[Menard] Are you sure? I mean, all of a sudden you have an awful lot of people you simply have to meet. And everyone is telling you what you should be doing while at the same time asking you for advice.

  • Menard is holding you quite close in the dance.
  • Ilphere does not seem to mind.

[Ilphere] Well, I've been brought up to ve very conscious of responsibility to one's family...

  • Ilphere says thoughtfully.

[Menard] We share that in common then. [Ilphere] Yes, so it would seem...! [Menard] Perhaps when things quite down a bit we might take a walk together? If you don't think I'm being too forward. [Ilphere] I would like that very much...

  • Ilphere smiles again.

[Menard] Wonderful. [Ilphere] I will look forward to it...!

  • Menard will hold you close then until the dance is over. Kissing your hand as you part ways afterwards.

[Menard] [w]Well, I must do my duty now, until later then.

  • Ilphere curtseys again as you leave.

[Ilphere] [w] Until then... ! [Ilphere] . o O ( :D )

  • Sanadhil scans the room after a polite bow to his latest dance partner, and sees Ilphère is presently engaged with thePrince Imperial, so he remains off the hook
  • Fleurisse sweeps up to Sanadhil. She is stunning tonight, dressed in a gown of gold-coloured satin; her pale golden hair is swept up dramatically from her face. She glows like the sun... even her skin sparkles in the magical glow of the light.

[Fleurisse] Master Orecalo - I hope I am not being too forward by asking you for a dance?

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] I would think the occasion calls for it, mlle Menomonie. [Fleurisse] Excellent. [Sanadhil] I warn you, however, that I'm new to these particular steps [Fleurisse] That's all right. Just follow my lead. [Sanadhil] Very well

  • Fleurisse smiles, and arranges your limbs and her limbs gently in a proper dance configuration.
  • Sanadhil is fairly graceful and confident, at least
  • Sanadhil has gotten down some of the basics just form being in such demand, presumably ;)
  • Fleurisse looks up into your eyes and leads you through the correct steps for this piece of music.

[Fleurisse] Are you enjoying your evening so far? [Sanadhil] It's quite the impressive display. [Sanadhil] It's fascinating and, yes, enjoyable. [Sanadhil] And you? [Fleurisse] It has been tolerable, and is taking a decided upward turn now.

  • Fleurisse smiles.

[Fleurisse] I came with my cousin, who is a decent fellow, I suppose... but he is not interested in any sort of scholarly pursuits. [Sanadhil] Ahh, i suppose you are more accustomed to these sorts of events, as well. [Fleurisse] Indeed. I've had to attend balls from quite a young age, really. Before my majority, even.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Was it your choice to study diplomacy at the Castalia? [Fleurisse] Very much so. I wouldn't be there if it had been forced upon me. [Fleurisse] I've dreamed since I was a little girl of becoming a diplomat for the Empire, travelling to new and wonderful places, and learning about the cultures of others.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Fleurisse] Oh, I know it won't all be pretty, but I have this deep-seated need to travel, and experience. [Fleurisse] Staying here in Diablotin my entire life would be like a death sentence. [Sanadhil] I can sympathize [Fleurisse] Really? [Sanadhil] travelling expands the mind in ways that people who haven't done it can never understand. [Sanadhil] Where are your family's lands? [Fleurisse] Well, I spent some of my time on Iles-Furneaux as a child - that's my great-uncle's duchy. [Fleurisse] But my own father is from a younger branch of the family and neither my parents nor I hold titles yet. [Sanadhil] ahh, I see

  • Sanadhil says with slight apology

[Sanadhil] I passed through the eastern Empire to reach here, of course... [Sanadhil] However I made the poor decision to take one of the new river steamers [Fleurisse] Ah, it's nothing to be apologetic about. Sometimes I almost think it's better this way. When you hold a title and lands you kind of have to look after them! I suspect it would be difficult to get away and travel.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Fleurisse] So I am quite happy being the tenth in line to become a duchess. [Fleurisse] My prospects for a county or barony are marginally better.

  • Fleurisse smiles.

[Fleurisse] So what was so terrible about your river steamer trip?

  • Fleurisse asks brightly.

[Sanadhil] I don't think I am a fan of new technology. [Sanadhil] It's obnoxious... loud, uncomfortable.... the smoke..

  • Sanadhil shrugs

[Sanadhil] It's certainly faster, but I think that takes something away as well [Fleurisse] Well it would make it harder to appreciate the riverbanks you glide by... but I think it is a marvel of engineering, too. [Fleurisse] Next time you'll have to get a berth on a horse-drawn barge. ;)

  • Sanadhil smiles wryly

[Sanadhil] Perhaps [Fleurisse] Then you can have experienced the best of both worlds. [Fleurisse] Do you miss Cosovode very much? [Sanadhil] Yes. [Sanadhil] but I'm learning to appreciate Diablotin.

  • Fleurisse nods.

[Fleurisse] You must miss your family and friends.

  • Sanadhil tilts his head to the side, considering how to answer.

[Sanadhil] I have a complicated life. The people I left behind though, will be there when I return. [Sanadhil] I was raised by Monks - they're fairly sedentary [Fleurisse] Oh, really? Do they live in seclusion? I've heard of some religious groups that do. [Sanadhil] Seclusion yes - not complete isolation. [Fleurisse] What was that like? For that matter, what sort of religious beliefs do your people hold?

  • Fleurisse seems fascinated.
  • Sanadhil glances over Fleurisse's shoulder at the other dancers

[Sanadhil] Perhaps another time, Mlle Menomonie. [Fleurisse] ...

  • Fleurisse looks to see what caught your attention.
  • Sanadhil was just taking in the venue in general, nothig specific...

[Sanadhil] a different venue

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Fleurisse] Very well.

  • Fleurisse looks slightly disappointed but is good-natured about it.

[Fleurisse] This waltz is coming to an end, anyway.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] Thank you for the honour of this dance

  • Fleurisse steps away from you and curtseys once.

[Fleurisse] The honour was mine.

  • Sanadhil bows politley and charmingly
  • Sanadhil will slip off to find some refreshment - so many girls, so many dances!

[Narrator] Ysabeau, you and your quartet have been performing, as specified, in the Ruby Drawing Room. Once the music from the orchestra starts, it gets a bit more challenging to keep together and in tune, not to mention trying to make yourselves heard without being too obtrusive. [Narrator] The room is set up to allow dancers to take a rest, or for more senior guests who aren't involved in the dancing to sit and converse instead. People come and go, but quite a few stay listening to you for a time, which is flattering! [Narrator] Verity passes through once with her husband, and though she doesn't speak to you, she smiles to let you know she's proud of you.

  • Ysabeau has been pleased with her performance here so far. She concentrates mostly on her music but between pieces she is curious to see who is watching, etc.
  • Ysabeau flashes a quick and brilliant smile at Verity. It's because of Verity that we're here at all! :)

[Narrator] Finally, when you're beginning to tire, you are relieved by another group of young musicians, who eagerly take up the space you've vacated. [Ysabeau] Good luck!

  • Ysabeau whispers to the new group.

[Narrator] They thank you.

  • Ysabeau packs up her harp quietly and goes with her group to wherever they can safely store their instruments for the rest of the evening.

[Narrator] Symon, Jehan and Stefan go to get some refreshments. [Ysabeau] Well, that went decently well, I think... [Narrator] (after instruments are safely away, etc.) [Jehan] I thought so!

  • Ysabeau says as she tries to keep up with their long strides.

[Symon] I like to think a few of the people who sat to watch us weren't just bored :) [Ysabeau] I don't think they were. :D [Jehan] Oh no, some of them were definitely paying attention :)

  • Ysabeau says confidently.

[Ysabeau] Still we ought to keep our fingers crossed...

  • Jehan nods.

[Narrator] As you approach the Marble Gallery, you notice almost like a wave of people bowing and curtseying, and you realize suddenly it's because the Emperor is passing by, perhaps on his way for some refreshment as well. [Ysabeau] There are *so many* groups here tonight... the guests have many musicians to choose from. I am optimistic that we'll -

  • Ysabeau follows suit and curtseys as he passes by and hopes he doesn't recognize her, not really having any reason to believe he would, anyway.
  • Jehan and the others bow as he passes.
  • Emperor_Marl glances at you as he passes, frowns slightly, then does what almost amounts to a double take.

[Emperor_Marl] Excuse me, Miss...? [Emperor_Marl] Please, rise.

  • Ysabeau looks up, trying not to panic.

[Ysabeau] Miss Chanuier, Your Majesty.

  • Emperor_Marl smiles slightly, as if trying to set you at ease.

[Emperor_Marl] Miss Chanuier. Have we had the pleasure of meeting before? [Ysabeau] I doubt it, Your Majesty. I'm just a musician and your humble servant; I doubt you and I travel much in the same circles. [Narrator] You can vividly remember a night some two or three years ago, a darkened room, and a dark-haired man in Castalia robes who left you bruised and battered. [Ysabeau] (I know)

  • Emperor_Marl nods, but looks uncertain.

[Emperor_Marl] Well. Thank you for your service, Miss Chanuier. It was delightful.

  • Emperor_Marl passes you by, then.
  • Ysabeau curtseys, trying not to let him see her lips thin.
  • Ysabeau looks shaken when she turns back to the other members of her quartet.

[Ysabeau] Well... we were going for some refreshments? [Jehan] Is everything all right? [Jehan] Yes, of course. [Symon] It may help us that the Emperor stopped to talk with you... it could cement their impression of us. [Ysabeau] Possibly.

  • Ysabeau smiles bravely.

[Ysabeau] You're right. Let's go get some wine; gods, I could use a drink.

  • Ysabeau links arms with Symon and Jehan and leads them to the beverages.

[Symon] I'm parched. [Ysabeau] Me too! I am so glad we did only instrumental pieces. [Ysabeau] I'd be dead if I had had to sing for an hour. [Symon] I was just thinking that :P

  • Ysabeau pours some red wine for herself and offers to pour for the rest of the group...
  • Symon accepts.
  • Ysabeau raises her glass.

[Ysabeau] To The Vallon Consort! [Symon] Cheers! [Ysabeau] Cheers!

  • Ysabeau grins; she seems mostly recovered from her interlude with the emperor, though she is maybe a tiny bit paler than usual. Must just be the residual effects of shock at having been singled out by him... D:

[Ysabeau] Well, lads! Our work is done for now! Let's go have a good time, shall we?

  • Ysabeau says after sipping her wine after the toast

[Symon] Oh, I see more work... we have to mingle. [Symon] And impress. [Ysabeau] Public relations, Symon. Public relations. [Symon] It's still more like work than play :) [Symon] It CAN be fun though. [Ysabeau] Indeed it can. Now, shut up and ask me to dance. ;) [Symon] I suppose we ought to return to the Ruby room before too long to see if anyone wants our autographs or anything like that :)

  • Symon offers Ysabeau his arm.

[Symon] Shall we?

  • Ysabeau laughs, and takes his arm, and they go onto the dance floor.
  • Symon does his best to dance well amidst this sea of glamour :V
  • Ysabeau is wearing a midnight blue gown that shows a tasteful amount of decolletage. Her hair is piled up on top of her head with a few curls artfully tumbling down. The blackness of her hair is spangled with a few sprigs of baby's breath flowers.
  • Ysabeau isn't as stunningly dressed as the nobility, of course, but she has a fresh beauty about her nonetheless.
  • Symon is dressed in a nice black suit, it looks like it might have cost him a pretty penny.
  • Ysabeau dances reasonably well.

[Ysabeau] Do you think we'll get any gigs from this, Symon? [Symon] I'm sure we'll get something, Ysa. If only the unimaginative host who just wants to say they've invited some one who performed at the Grand Ball... :) [Ysabeau] I hope so, Symon. I really hope so. [Symon] Other than that, I guess we'll have to hope that our fans back there like to host parties :)

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Narrator] Guillame, having done your duty as Ciatha's escort, you are free to circulate about the room. You spot M. Aden Olivier there...

  • Aden_ is dressed simply but handsomely, his clothing obviously well-tailored but not overly fancy.
  • Aden_ has on his arm a young woman you don't immediately recognize, pretty and slender, perhaps a year or two older than him. Her hair is a rich auburn, and her gown's dark blue colour does not perhaps suit her as well as it could, but nevertheless heads turn when she passes.
  • Guillame approaches them

[Aden_] Oh, Guillame :)

  • Aden_ seems genuinely pleased to see you.

[Guillame] Hello Aden! And I'm pleased to me Mme...? [Aden_] Allow me to introduce Mlle. Thea Vermillion, who graciously agreed to accompany me to this circus ;) [Thea] Charmed. Aden has told me about you :) [Aden_] I hope you're enjoying yourself? [Guillame] Really? I wonder what there is to say?

  • Thea just smiles enigmatically at that.

[Guillame] I am, actually - more so than I expected. I haven't been out socially for... oh, I don't know how long. At least, not when it *felt* social.

  • Aden_ nods.

[Guillame] How are the two of you enjoying the evening? [Aden_] Very well, thank you. [Thea] I'm just going to find some refreshments - would you care for anything, Aden? [Aden_] No, thank you.

  • Thea departs, then.

[Aden_] She's not fond of aristo decadence, but then, I suppose this will give her material for future speeches ;) [Guillame] I'm not normally - I seem to be just distracted enough to avoid feeling uncomfortable, tonight.

  • Aden_ smiles at that.

[Aden_] Distraction, yes, I know what you mean. [Guillame] I started my own body of work at the Anitquarian society - I find it rather exciting. [Aden_] Oh? You'll have to tell me all about it...

  • Guillame chuckles to himself at that.

[Guillame] I'd be happy to, once I have something new to tell!

  • Aden_ grins.

[Aden_] A scholar's work is never done, or so I hear. [Guillame] That's what it looks like, having watched the profs at the society. Still, if I can contribute something useful- [Aden_] I'm sure you can.

  • Aden_ says sincerely.

[Aden_] Would you like to.. I mean, we could walk for a while. Talk about your work, if you like. [Guillame] That sounds good- won't Mlle. Vermillion miss you? [Aden_] Oh, right. I should let her know where to find me, in the event she wishes to depart.

  • Aden_ will swing by the refreshments, then, and tell Thea where you'll be.

  • Dominik will approach Ysabeau
  • Ysabeau is just finishing a dance with a young blond man who you may recognize as one of her fellow musicians, if you caught us playing
  • Symon is a member of the Society as well.

[Dominik] Good evening Ysabeau, a pleasant surprise to catch up to you. [Ysabeau] (Right!)

  • Ysabeau turns, surprised by the familiar voice.
  • Ysabeau curtseys.

[Ysabeau] Good evening Dominik. I suppose I should have expected you'd be here!

  • Ysabeau smiles.
  • Dominik smiles

[Ysabeau] Symon, do you know Dominik?

  • Ysabeau remembers her manners and introduces the two.

[Symon] I don't believe we've met yet. Rademacher is it? [Dominik] Yes it is. [Dominik] Any you are Symon? [Symon] My name is Symon Tourigny. [Symon] A fellow member of the Society. [Ysabeau] Your family is involved with the railways, also - isn't that right?

  • Ysabeau asks Symon.

[Symon] Yes, indeed. [Ysabeau] Some day I hope to be able to go on a train ride. I think it would be amazing!

  • Symon wonders if Dominik is cutting in?
  • Dominik is

[Ysabeau] Have you ever, either of you? [Dominik] Steam engins are not as romantic as you seem to think [Symon] I'm sure I could help you with that, sometime, Ysabeau :) [Dominik] although they are an interesting contraption. [Symon] A very profitable contraption.

  • Symon nods to you both

[Symon] I'll see you later Ysa. [Ysabeau] Oh, all right, Symon. Have fun! :) [Dominik] Care to dance? [Ysabeau] I'll have to take you up on the train ride once I can afford it!

  • Ysabeau turns back to Dominik

[Ysabeau] I would love to, thank you for asking. [Ysabeau] Did you see us play?

  • Ysabeau asks hopefully.

[Dominik] I managed to catch a few moments of it earlier [Ysabeau] What did you think? [Dominik] I was entertained, although the venue is not the best for musical appreciation. [Ysabeau] Just entertained?

  • Ysabeau pulls you onto the dance floor.
  • Dominik follows

[Dominik] You were worth stopping to admire while you played.

  • Ysabeau raises an eyebrow and smiles.

[Dominik] Why so surprised? [Ysabeau] How many girls do you flirt with so shamelessly, Dom?

  • Dominik is a limited practiced dancer, but has natural grace and power in his movements

[Dominik] Only you.

  • Ysabeau grins.

[Ysabeau] (SM) [Ysabeau] (Bleah a 14 to see if you're lying or telling the truth) [Dominik] You are my escape from the games and wordplays I am so accustom to. [Dominik] (he is being honest) [Ysabeau] Is that so? [Dominik] (at least with the shameless part) [Ysabeau] What is flirting if not more games and wordplay? [Dominik] There are many degrees to the dancing of words, with you I would avoid them when I can.

  • Dominik will start to hold Ysabeau closer... paying close attention to her reaction.
  • Ysabeau is perhaps a little alarmed/surprised but allows it. She seems, perhaps, to be a little more on guard now, though.

[Dominik] you stiffen... what is wrong. [Ysabeau] Dominik... It's complicated.

  • Ysabeau seems a little uncertain.

[Dominik] Forget complication and enjoy the moment. [Dominik] My life is full of complications so is yours, but here now we don't have to worry about them. [Ysabeau] That's not exactly true. [Dominik] No it isnt [Ysabeau] If you're looking for what I think you are, it is... [Dominik] its a choice Ysabeau. I'm letting you know what I would chose. When this dance is over I am going to walk away and you can make your choice. [Dominik] we can talk about complications for the rest of the night and not get through them all. [Ysabeau] Dominik... I understand what you are saying. Let us enjoy this dance, and then perhaps we can talk. [Ysabeau] Because a choice is not worth making if it is not an informed decision.

  • Dominik is quiet for the rest of the dance
  • Dominik does try his best to make it a good one though
  • Ysabeau relaxes a little, trying to enjoy the dance.
  • Ysabeau smiles up at you, and it is a genuine smile, even if her eyes reflect a certain concern.
  • Dominik will lead Ysabeau to one of the side rooms when the dance is done (if she will come with him)
  • Ysabeau will.

[Dominik] I have a few minutes before the role my family has me playing will pull me away.

  • Ysabeau settles in a settée that doesn't have room for more than one.

[Ysabeau] All right.

  • Dominik finds a seat opposite her

[Ysabeau] First off, I like you very much, and I do really hope I can get to know you better. [Dominik] Im glad to hear that, but now come the complications

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Ysabeau] The first one, and judging by the way things are at the moment, it isn't really very much of a complication at all for you. It certainly isn't for me. But I'm House Owl and you're House Wolf. [Ysabeau] For my end of things I could care less.

  • Dominik leans in

[Ysabeau] But I don't know your family, and they might care, I don't know. [Dominik] [w] I am only half wolf, so that materls little to me [Dominik] [w] I care even less of what my family thinks

  • Ysabeau raises her eyebrows a little but is not bothered at all by your admission.

[Ysabeau] I guess that maybe helps explain a little about why you are so angry, and I think possibly sad, too.

  • Ysabeau says gently.

[Ysabeau] Secondly, you're noble and I'm not. [Dominik] stop

  • Dominik stands
  • Ysabeau looks up at you.

[Ysabeau] I know you're touchy about that and I am sorry. [Dominik] I don't want you to feel sorry for me [Ysabeau] I don't feel sorry for you. I feel sad that these things have made your life more difficult, is all. [Ysabeau] Because they shouldn't matter, but they do, in this society of ours. [Dominik] dont feel sad for me either. [Dominik] You talk of things that I have lived every day of my life [Ysabeau] Dominik, I care about you. That is why I feel these things. [Dominik] they are who I am [Ysabeau] You can't care for someone without feeling some sort of empathy for them. That is all I am trying to express.

  • Dominik takes a deep breath

[Dominik] There's more than that though.

  • Ysabeau nods.

[Dominik] more than just who I am and my family name. [Ysabeau] (There is more from her end, are you saying there is more from your end?) [Dominik] (more from her end) [Ysabeau] The next part is about me and who I am. [Dominik] and that is? [Ysabeau] I was a whore, Dominik. From the time I was twelve until a year ago. I worked in the Shambles. Later I moved to the Rutting Boar in Pearl City. I met someone there, who became a regular client. I love her, Dominik, but there is definitely something growing in me for you, too. [Ysabeau] I became a whore to save my sister and I from dying. I stuck with it to give my sister a chance at a normal life.

  • Dominik sits

[Ysabeau] Right now, my lover pays our tuition, and our rent. I make a little money from playing music but our career hasn't taken off yet. [Dominik] that I didn't expect. [Ysabeau] I can't afford to pay my own rent and tuition until my career takes off, if it ever does. [Ysabeau] I am dependent, Dominik, on my lover. She wouldn't care to share me with someone else.

  • Ysabeau looks down at her hands.

[Dominik] That doesn't change the way I feel about you. [Dominik] But I wont ask you to ruin what life you have managed to get for yourself over me.

  • Dominik will take Ysabeau's hand.
  • Ysabeau looks up at you, tears coming now.

[Dominik] You played wonderfully tonight and I enjoyed the dance we had. [Ysabeau] Thank you.

  • Dominik pulls out his hankerchef (which is clean) and offers it to her to dab her eyes.

[Ysabeau] Thank you for accepting me in spite of all that. You can't know... you can't know what a tremendous gift that is. [Dominik] we've had different shit for lives, but thats what they are. [Dominik] We're both making of them what we can

  • Ysabeau nods.
  • Dominik kisses Ysabeau's hand and stands to leave

[Ysabeau] Dominik? [Dominik] Yes? [Ysabeau] I hope we can still spend some time together. [Dominik] of course. [Dominik] I hope that someday you might be able to make a different choice.

  • Dominik will head back to the main ballroom

[Narrator] Altheo, your escort was happy to dance with you once, and the promise of more still hangs in the air, but for now Ida has now moved on to greener (and presumably wealthier) pastures.

  • Altheo is fine with that.

[Narrator] You occupy yourself by pinpointing the members of the Inner Council who are present. It appears as though all of them except the Patriarch and the Lord Treasurer are here. [Narrator] You notice that a young woman is standing next to you. She is quite pretty, with deep green eyes and a few black curls escaping artfully from her upswept hair to frame her face. She looks to be around twenty or so, and wears a handsome but comparatively modest gown of cream-coloured tulle.

  • Altheo is happily using his detect evil on the room.

[Young_woman] Excuse me. I know this is very forward of me, but, would you care to dance?

  • Altheo will flash her a smile.

[Altheo] I would be delighted. There is nothing wrong with a forward Lady.

  • Young_woman blushes at that.
  • Altheo offers her his arm.
  • Young_woman will take it.

[Young_woman] It's very warm here, don't you find? [Altheo] (is it?) [Narrator] (well, somewhat, yes. Lots of people + layers of clothing) [Altheo] Yes. With this many people here, it could be deep winter outside and we'd still be warm.

  • Young_woman nods.

[Young_woman] I saw you talking earlier with Ser Ramon Lozada - are you a friend of his? [Altheo] I am escorting his cousin this eveneing. My name is Altheo Renaud. And you? [Young_woman] I'm his sister, Felise. I... I need to get a message to him, please. [Altheo] You can trust me.

  • Altheo uses Sense Evil on her.
  • Felise nods.

[Narrator] You don't sense any evil from her. [Felise] Tell him that there is great danger - they are growing more powerful day by day - they are seeking the one who will die and live again...

  • Felise suddenly grimaces as if with pain, and cries out, doubling over.
  • Altheo will catch her and try and escort her off the dance floor.
  • Felise clings to your arm and hobbles along, moaning softly.
  • Altheo will say comforting things to her, mostly for show. Like "Don't worry, you just had a bit to much to drink"
  • Another_young_woman hurries over to where you stand. She is younger, perhaps sixteen or seventeen, with wavy brown hair, in a modest gown involving lots of pale pink ruffles.

[Another_young_woman] Felise, are you all right? It's another of your bad spells, isn't it? [Another_young_woman] I'm sorry, sir. My sister is in poor health, and these pains often overtake her. I'll see to it that she is tended to properly.

  • Altheo uses sense evil on her.

[Another_young_woman] Thank you for your help. [Altheo] Ah, I see. [Altheo] Let me help carry her. [Altheo] She fell ill in my company, honor demands I see to her until she is alright. [Another_young_woman] Oh, she can walk - she's already doing better, aren't you, Felise? [Felise] Yes... better. Thank you, kind sir. [Altheo] By the way, I'm Altheo...me says to the other woman.

  • Felise 's face is pale, but she seems better.

[Altheo] And who might you be? [Narrator] You don't detect any evil on the other girl either.

  • Altheo is still holding Felise up.
  • Altheo will let her stand on her own if she is ok.

[Another_young_woman] Viviane Lozada. [Felise] I think we'd better be going... [Felise] Thank you again for your help.

  • Felise doesn't look back at you as she walks away with her sister.
  • Altheo lets her go.
  • Altheo will then take a moment and really scan the room for Evil.

[Narrator] There are like two thousand people here. Of course some of them are evil ;) [Altheo] Anyone important...or really powerfully evil? [Altheo] () [Altheo] (I'll then go try and quietly find Ramon, but I don't want to be seen doing it.) [Narrator] Nobody that you know is important reads as evil, and the most powerful evils are probably only moderate strength. [Altheo] (ok) [Narrator] Okay, you can talk to Ramon next session, or in a solo in between if you want to set up a time. [Altheo] (ok, sounds good.) [Narrator] But this is where I'll call it for tonight. More ball action next time on ...Diablotin!


  • Alma steps off the dancefloor from hobnobbing with some noble or other and walks towards the refreshments.
  • Sanadhil looks up from pouring a glass of wine and smiles

[Sanadhil] Good evening, Countess. [Sanadhil] Wold you care for a drink? [Alma] Good evening, M. Orecalo! I would indeed. [Alma] I would perhaps be surprised to see you if the ball weren't so very big! [Sanadhil] Mlle de Quessenet's father extended her onvitation to me... I'm sure you have more experience with these proceedures

  • Sanadhil passes you the freshly poured wine and procures a glass for himself as well
  • Alma looks rather confused, actually.
  • Alma takes a sip before continuing.

[Alma] I am only surprised that it was Mlle de Quessenet's *father* who invited you. [Alma] I suppose it might be most proper for him to do the inviting. [Sanadhil] I was somewhat confused myself - although i understand that in her situation it is necessary to maintain a high level of formality

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] I believe they maily saw me as an impressively inobtrusive escort. [Sanadhil] last i saw the lady in question, however, she was dancing with the Prince Imperial.

  • Sanadhil says, as though that explais everything

[Alma] Oh... oh! [Sanadhil] Indeed, best of luck to her. [Alma] Indeed! [Alma] I trust you're keeping yourself entertained, despite being used so cruelly? :) [Sanadhil] so far yes - I've never seen such a pagent of wealth. [Sanadhil] and yourself? [Alma] It's a little noisy perhaps, but I am making sure I enjoy myself.

  • Sanadhil nods

[Alma] I don't suggest you over-indulge, but you're not likely to find such a free-flowing font of fine wine for some time :)

  • Sanadhil glances down at his cup
  • Alma may just have a bit rosier cheeks than usual, but she was just dancing after all.

[Sanadhil] I promise not to drink more than I can dance off. [Alma] :) [Sanadhil] (what is Alma wearing?) [Alma] (She's looking a bit out of place in an expensive and thoroughly fashionable dress.) [Sanadhil] (out of place as in uncomfortable?) [Alma] (That as well :P) [Alma] ("out of place" meaning the dress is out of place on her, I guess) [Sanadhil] (right)

  • Alma is, of course, wearing her silver holy symbol prominently on her bosom.

[Sanadhil] I must say it is strange to see you in something other than your robes - I almost ddn't recognize you. [Sanadhil] But your dress is quite lovely. [Alma] I must say I *feel* strange in this... but there is a time and place for everything, even ... such giant dresses. [Alma] I envy the simplicity of your warddrobe, M. Orecalo.

  • Sanadhil smiles

[Sanadhil] Cozovodë live too long to believe in uncomfortable clothing. [Alma] I'm sure out there is another long-lived race who feel that just means there's more time to be comfortable later :) [Sanadhil] that's possible, I suppose

  • Alma is, perhaps tellingly, less 'fancied up' compared to some of hte other ladies. While he dress is beautiful, and her hair done up attractively, the "little touches" many of the other more fashionable ladies have added, just aren't there.

[Sanadhil] They're fools. [Alma] Perhaps.

  • Sanadhil smiles
  • Sanadhil 's robe is fairly plaily cut but the weaving and embriodery are all exceedingly complex, I should note :x)

[Alma] Though if you look around at so many beautiful dresses, *you* don't have to feel uncomfortable.

  • Alma muses half to herself.

[Sanadhil] I suppose not. [Alma] A sculptor's model is often asked to sit still for long periods of time... I hear it's quite uncomfortable, yet the result ... a work of art. [Sanadhil] indeed. I'm sure the city dressmakers have been getting very little sleep these past few weeks [Alma] I wouldn't be surprised if some were teleported in!

  • Alma rolls her eyes a little.
  • Alma sips her wine slowly

[Sanadhil] I'm sure careers were made tonight [Alma] I suppose. [Alma] I'm hoping for less encumbering fashions... perhaps you could try to introduce some Cozovode style... [Alma] Though I imagine it will follow the Emperor's pleasure. [Sanadhil] Maybe

  • Sanadhil nods

[Sanadhil] he's not married, is he? [Sanadhil] I'd heard there were some ladies vying for his attention... that was my assumption, in any case [Alma] That's generally the case with anyone seen as available, let alone the *Emperor* [Alma] Luckily, that is something left to House Wolf :) [Sanadhil] Indeed [Alma] .oO( To a certain extent... )

  • Sanadhil cocks his head as the orchestra winds down their current song
  • Alma sets her wine glass down.

[Sanadhil] wuld you care to dance, if you are feeling sufficiently refeshed? [Alma] I would love to, M. Orecalo. [Sanadhil] Ahh, i'm honoured :)

  • Sanadhil extends his arm to lead you on to the floor
  • Alma follows like a good countess.
  • Sanadhil 's grasp of the steps is fairly basic still, but he's got natural grace and poise to help him carry it off
  • Alma dances the steps well, but without much style.
  • Alma chats pleasantly until the dance is over or someone cuts in.
  • Sanadhil is too suave to let other boys steal his countess!

[Alma] (lol)

  • Alma is puzzled occasionally by dramatic twirls?

[Sanadhil] (possibly ;)