Chapter 2. The Aberhaven Masquerade.   Posted by Guildmaster.Group: 0
Guildmaster
 GM, 1 post
Thu 31 Jul 2008
at 01:56
2. The Aberhaven Masquerade


It was a night of grandeur and charm, certainly characteristic of the flamboyant and extravagant Duke of Aberhaven. As a the de facto ruler of the city, the Duke was effective enough - he was an upholder of Justice, a caring man and always a ready listening ear to his subjects. Much to the content of those living within the city, the Duke was a fan of massive celebrations and his annual charity ball was an event that many, especially those belonging to the upper echelons of society, looked forward to.

The Aberhaven mansion was a large place. It had three modest levels and they were all filled with rooms of various functions. The halls were decorated with silk curtains and delicate flowers that accentuated the candle lit corridors of the house. Stone statues of different postures and poses stood in spots that required their presence, adding an air of magnificence to the area.

In the main hall where the party and banquet was held, the area was brightly lit by hanging chandeliers and candle stands that were placed in strategic spots. It's black and while marble flooring have been polished to shine and large dining tables were laid out towards the southern end of the room. A cocktail reception was prepared just outside the main hall and that room too was decorated tastefully and grandly. Banners, pennants and flags that bore the Duke's standard, a hawk poised to strike while in flight, were all dyed burgundy or yellow along with red or gold stitchings to reflect the colours of the Duke.

Butlers, maids, waiters and serving maids, all dressed smartly in the standard colours of the Duke, served refreshments and light finger foods to guests. They too had masks but they all wore similar hawk-like masks that identified them as the Duke's serving staff. Soldiers on patrol roamed the area inside out, making sure there some semblance of order was in place while gate guards verified admittance with guests who wished to enter the mansion.

In the Aberhaven courtyard was alive with activity. Even though the main charity event has not started, the party outside was already in full swing. Citizens from all over the city flocked to the Duke's premises, hoping to catch sight on some of the magical displays and acrobatic feats performed by some of the entertainers. Booths that housed games, food, drinks and other odds and ends also littered the large grassy area.

As you step into the courtyard, you are astounded by the number of people that are here. How will your informer ever find you? You know that you have come this far to unravel the mystery that is before you and your key - the hawk's feather.

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:08, Tue 09 Sept 2008.

Yorgorov Varakzy
 player, 16 posts
 Dark eyed poet
Sun 14 Sep 2008
at 22:26
Re: 2. The Aberhaven Masquerade
Look at all these painted faces parading around like peacocks, perhaps if this feather and letter busness doesn't work out then I may be able to cause a stir here, one way or another.

Yorgorov walked through the wrought iron gates on to the gravel path in to the duke's estates, marvelling as he transcended from the mudane plane of Aberhaven to a strange realm of goblins, angels, demons, animals and a myriad of other creatures dancing, drinking and socialising. His eyes drawn to the low cut gown of a young nymph that floated past him sipping champagne. He thought back to his former days of glory and infamy with the maidens of the Ivory Spires.

Yorgorov felt a tinge of regret as he thought back to his homeland, a few years ago this sort of party would have been his bread and butter. He would not have been the biggest fish in the pond, he would have been a shark, selecting and enticing his victims with a predatory cunning.

Now he was but one nameless character in the crowd, his robes allowing him to pass unassumingly through the mass of glittered bodies with relative ease. He made for a table set up by a huge chess set mounted into the floor of the garden where several guests had started playing as the pieces for two tall, masked gentlemen on raised seats. There was an air of levity about it as pieces where danced off as they were captured. One of the rooks, a large figure in an aptly avian mask, turned to Yorgorov.

Sir, this game of wits is, I think too much exertion for so simple a mind as I. It is time for me to make my departure to more thirst quenching arenas. would you take my place?

Certainly good sir, may my fortunes in this battle mirror your own. Glory to us both and drain one for me, for luck

Yorgorov stepped on to the square and surveid the game around him. It would do to kill some time while and give him a chance to observe some of the guests - both those that might have someting to do with his strange invitation here and those more pleasing to the eye.

Ahem, those more "inspiring" I should say

Yorgorov's hand went to the feather inside his robe and he fidgeted with it absent-mindedly as he wondered weather it would be enough to get him inside.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:41, Sun 14 Sept 2008.

Lucinda Blancoeur
 player, 12 posts
 Sorceress in Distress
Tue 16 Sep 2008
at 19:18
Face to Face
<img src="http://www.geocities.com/joanna_wyndham/Luciemaskmed.jpg"align="left"> “There is no escaping fate, Petie,” Lucie’s bones were rattling like so many carved, ivory joss sticks ready to be tossed as she crooned brave words to console the furious chirping of her familiar. “What good reason is there for me to hide behind frippery and disguise when all that I am is known to him?”

They were passing through a gilded gate that opened on to a splendid courtyard where every manner of marvel was  displayed to distract.

“We shall come away better for having attended this party,” Lucie reasoned with the tiny little ball of white feathers, patting him gently as he burrowed into hiding beneath the luxurious silk of her hair, trusting her widget with all her heart and yet knowing him not at all. “Perhaps a brave warrior shall make known and pledge to my service.”

Fear cuts deeper than swords, Lucie would tell herself, but that did not make the fear go away. She had thought that she had known what it meant to be afraid, but she had learned better in a dungeon deep in the cavernous bowels of Caalum’s tower. The memory was enough to sicken should the wary enchantress let down her guard.

The sharp nip to her earlobe told Lucie that she was delusional while in her belly grim foreboding coiled into a tightening knot.

“The years have passed in their hundreds and thousands since my folk first held the daemon fast,” the troubled sorceress sighed, unaware or perhaps uncaring that she appeared fey as she murmured to herself. “It falls to me to make right what is wrong and undo what I have done.”

“Valerian will come to me at the appointed hour and I shall be valiant so far as my Magick allows, but until my powers are fully restored you are my best defense, little one.  You shall know him and raise the hue and cry whence near to us he slithers.”

What more there was to be discussed between sorceress and pixie was put aside as Lucie began to mingle with the gathering guests. Having witnessed the waxing and waning of two moons chained to the pillory, Lily was unsure of her reception at the Duke’s ball. She was a known enchantress and a convicted felon after all was said and done, and for a fleeting moment she wished that she were not so obviously alone amidst the glittering crowd. There were many present who would be as quick to toss a burning pitch to a pyre as they would hurl offal to a sinner held chained in the public stocks if it meant ridding the land of a witch, especially a witch with a secret as dastardly and unspeakable as Lucie’s.

Wanting to be recognized by one in particular, Lucie had not troubled to hide herself behind a painted ceramic mask. Instead she wore her hair wild and loose, a tumbling fiery auburn mane that hid her from prying glances when she wished it so. About her was the glimmer of Magick like the hint of perfume, so subtle as to be almost undetectable except to the most discerning seeker.  A delicate golden mask of sateen and lace framed Lucie’s startling blue eyes, leaving her soft mouth uncovered.  Her gown was daring; a plunging, sleeveless sheath of emerald silk with nothing underneath, belted with a cloth-of-gold sash. The colors favored her copper blonde hair and the smooth cream of her skin.

“Milord,” Lucie nodded to a portly man dressed in avian splendor as she made her way past the Chess square, offering him a quick unthinking smile that was breathtaking.

This message was last edited by the player at 23:21, Tue 16 Sept 2008.

Moerdyn
 player, 8 posts
 Less than a prince
 More than a thief
Wed 17 Sep 2008
at 19:06
Re: Face to Face
Moerdyn watched as the two masked guards strolled under him.  He sat on the wall, obscured in his own shadowy mist and unseen.  He fingered the ivy straddling the rough granite wall idly as they walked away.  Smirking to himself, he lept the distance between the outer wall and balcony of an upper room, landing softly on the stone railing and slipping down to the balcony proper.

Perhaps this is the bedroom of one of the lovely young ladies rumored to live here as guests at any given time.  He thought to himself, a sly smirk creeping up at the prospect.  It would be incredibly rude to not introduce oneself if such were the case.  A peek through the glass doors revealed only an empty room.  A slight look if disappointment spread onto his lips, only to be replaced by another smirk.  The night was young after all.

Slipping into the room, he strolled to the door and cracked it a hair to check for wanderign guards.  Seeing none, he exited into the hallway.  He knew he could have just walked in with the invitation, but this was always so much more fun.  Besides, now he could enter from the elaborate 2nd-floor staircase and be noticed.

He adjusted his mask--a vague face, like that of a coin, painted gleaming silver on one half and deep red on the other--and stepped in front of the double doors.  He could hear the buzz of conversation and the music litling along through the doorway as he opened them and stepped out, walking down the steps like he owned the place.
Brax
 player, 26 posts
 A bold highwayman
Thu 18 Sep 2008
at 22:53
Moonlight Madness
”No, no wine for me. I want something stronger. Bring me some whiskey -- make it Black Jack's, a double, and neat.” The servant clad in burgundy and gold livery bowed and moved away.

There wasn't much of a breeze down at ground level, but there seemed to be some wind up above, for racks of scudding clouds were drifting past the magnificent full moon at a goodly rate of speed. Moonlight bathed the entire courtyard in a delicate silvery-white sheen, save where the brighter light of torches or lanterns held sway. For a man such as Brax, who often found himself out-of-doors during the dark of night, observing such things as the moon, stars, clouds and winds was second nature.

Brax paused and watched as a contortionist stretched herself into all sorts of impossible positions, while off to the side a large bald man with a huge mustache made quite a show out of swallowing a flaming sword.

There was an amazing number of people wandering about -- and here on the grounds outside the mansion, class distinctions seemed to be relaxed for this one night of revelry, as commoners freely intermingled with those who, judging by the splendour of their costumes, were very wealthy indeed.

"Your whiskey, sir. Black Jack's -- a double and neat, as you requested," said the quiet voice at his elbow, and Brax took his drink with a nod.

There was a ragged cheer and a round of applause from the crowd watching the chess game being played out with human pieces, and Brax decided to amble over in that direction. His cat's claw chafed a little against his ankle as he moved, down inside his right boot.

"Oh! Excuuuuse me!" an obviously very tipsy faery queen clad in a shimmering gold dress slurred as she stumbled and leaned against Brax to steady herself.

"Pardon me -- 'twas entirely my fault," he replied with smile and a slight bow. "Please excuse my clumsiness."

From habit born of sad experience he slipped his hand inside his coat and checked an inside pocket as the woman unsteadily moved away. The feather was still there. And another pocket still held his faded leather coin-purse, so nothing seemed amiss.

Brax claimed a spot near the back of the crowd watching the chess game, and thoughtfully sipped his drink. He was tall enough to peer over the heads of those in front of him without effort, and he set about examining the position of the various pieces on the board. He knew the rules and some of the strategy, having learned them when he was much younger, but he had soon found that he rarely had sufficient patience to sit idle long enough to finish a game without losing interest.

From what he could see, it looked as if White had mounted an aggressive attack, which Black had turned back for the moment. From the giggles and laughter coming from most of the pieces themselves, it appeared that they had little interest in who won or lost. However, from the look of intense concentration on the faces of the two masked men who were calling out the moves -- one sitting in a high-backed chair covered in lustrous black leather, the other in equally eye-catching white -- this was a competition that neither wished to lose.

This message was last edited by the player at 22:41, Fri 19 Sept 2008.

Lily
 player, 14 posts
 Betrayed
Sat 20 Sep 2008
at 21:42
Some Enchanted Evening
<img src="http://www.geocities.com/joanna_wyndham/ColourNight/face.jpg"align="left">Lily’s fingers danced nervously across the fringe of her veil, the soft tinkling sound of the tiny bell bracelets that she wore on her wrists betraying her apprehension. She could not fail, not tonight, for this night was her once in a lifetime moment.

There was no shortage of men who would have had Lily to wife or as mistress, but not one who had ever offered a purse sufficiently heavy to tempt Boric to let her go. But tonight she held a feather that would make everything different and after tonight Lily realized that for better or worse nothing would ever be the same.

As Lily made her way across the dew-covered lawn toward the glowing tapers and torches that were the party lights she paused and glanced to heaven. The night sky was awash with moon glow. Pearlescent silver clouds scudded on an indigo sea; rich as velvet and midnight blue, which was the color of night and Lily’s costume. As jittery as she was, she allowed that the night sky was a good omen. She knew the consequences of her actions would be far-reaching. If she were caught there was no telling what penalty might befall her, but if she succeeded in passing herself for one of the chosen she might yet find herself free once more.

Lily shivered as a cool breeze lifted the silk of her veil, settling the gossamer like a caress on her bare skin. She remembered the handsome man for whose few tossed pieces of silver she was beholden, and she wondered if he would remember her. Still, it wasn’t uncommon for certain innocent, excitable girls to respond to a handsome face and rugged physique, but Lily was not that. And the handsome stranger was not the only may to whom she was indebted. That Yorgorov the Poet would recognize her, Lily had some doubt, for what he had seen naked in shadows was now concealed in the candlelight; and he had been morose and deep into drink the night that she had stolen his feather.

Wisdom or folly? Lily was on her guard and watchful as she mingled on the fringe of the crowd. Second guessing her rash act, she was attending to the etiquette and protocol of the evening when she realized that she was being looked at. A pair of violet-blue eyes was studying her in such a way that Lily felt herself weighed and measured, although she sensed uncertainty in the appraising gaze. The blue eyes traveled higher, touching on Lily’s face. The glance held for a long moment, broken when Lily heard the lady’s soft, lilting laughter. A masked beauty smiled into Lily’s eyes and then looked to the sky, tilting her head so that a shimmering mane of red-gold hair tumbled over bare shoulders.

“It is an enchanted evening, is it not?” the sorceress sighed with pleasure.

This message was last edited by the player at 19:27, Thu 25 Sept 2008.

Guildmaster
 GM, 42 posts
Sun 21 Sep 2008
at 04:26
2. The Aberhaven Masquerade


Magic, witchcraft and sorcery - some real, some merely child's play - were present, adding to the atmosphere of intrigue and enchantment. The fact that everyone, save the guards, were masked, there was a sudden dissolution of status and barriers. There was a general air of cordiality that was befitting of a charity event to help the less fortunate.

Right at the heart of courtyard was the large human chess game that was the centre of attraction. Children sat around the edges amazed by how real representations of halberdiers, foot soldiers, knights on horses, men of the parish were engaged in a game so...simple and child-like. Yet, it was simplicity that made this game difficult. A paradox that masked it's true colours which, ironically reflected the intentions of a number of individuals at the Masquerade.

Right at the entrance was young Moerdyn who entered a territory that was strangely familiar to him. Formalities and pretension, he had seen it all and he could play along quite easily. Judging by the crowd here, perhaps there might be a few loose pockets to pick...

There Yorgorov was, holding onto a standard handed to him, that marked him as the bishop. His eyes scanned the crowd absently, he wasn't particularly sure who he was looking for. But his instincts told him he would know when he saw what he needed to see...

And unknown to him, a man standing so close to his corner of the chess board was also searching for a sign. Brax in his grand suit and mask was eying the two rivals - White and Black. Who was he rooting for?

Relived from his post by the man with the satyr horned mask, the large man with the avian mask halted upon seeing a beautiful woman who had everything uncovered save for her eyes, standing before him. And just beside her, was another woman who was equally enchanting. His was stunned... but he recovered as quickly as he could and flashed her his brilliant smile. "My lady," he began courteously. His eyes took a quick scan of her and noted, "It is a pity I cannot look upon your face whole for you have such stunning eyes."

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:08, Sun 21 Sept 2008.

Brax
 player, 29 posts
 A bold highwayman
Sun 21 Sep 2008
at 14:15
Lady's Choice
”Methinks we are doubly blessed this eve, to find ourselves in the presence of two constellations fallen to earth, sir,” came a rumbling basso profundo from beside the bird-faced one. And although Brax had addressed the gentleman out of courtesy, his eyes were first for the veiled woman, and then for the beauty with the shimmering, coppery-blonde mane, as he sketched a bow for both women.

”Doubly charmed, fair maidens,” he added, smiling at each in turn and using his eyes to tell them how beautiful he thought them, as he straightened up from his bow.

Indeed, it had been the other gentleman’s remark about the stunning eyes that had caught the highwayman’s attention, and as he turned to look, one glance was all that he needed. By the Watcher! ‘Tis her, in the flesh – my Gypsy princess from Devlin’s shop!

The big man glided through the crowd with an effortless ease that belied his size, and in the matter of but a moment he had joined the threesome. And although both women were quite stunning -- the one in an emerald-green gown and the other in veiled midnight-blue that hinted at unseen charms -- it was the darkly smoldering eyes and the exotic manner of dress of the veiled one that set his imagination afire, as a flame will consume an errant moth.

Now capturing those eyes of hers with his own intense gaze, he spoke over his shoulder to the other man, ”Good sir, as much as I regret to deprive you of the pleasure of her extended company, this shimmering star with eyes of liquid onyx and I have a prior understanding regarding this eve. And fine gentleman that you are, I am certain that you would not wish to gainsay a fair maiden’s pledge.” Although Brax’s words were the essence of politesse, an undercurrent in his tone of voice and the inflection that he gave certain words made it clear that he would brook no interference from the bird-faced man.

Brax well knew that he was shading the truth to elevate the Gypsy’s words spoken to him outside Devlin’s shop to the formality of a pledge, but he left it to her to correct him, if she so chose.

Before the other man had an opportunity to object, Brax had crooked an elbow for the raven-haired beauty.

”Wilt thou honour me, Milady?”

This message was last edited by the player at 23:54, Tue 23 Sept 2008.

Guildmaster
 GM, 43 posts
Sun 21 Sep 2008
at 16:06
Re: Lady's Choice
"Oh! Ahem..," came the man's reply. Clearly he was startled to witness the appearance of Brax quite so suddenly. From behind his full avian mask, it was hard to tell whether he was a young man still floundering in the ways of polite society because for an instant, this man did not know how to respond to Brax's request.

It was only when Brax offered an arm for Lily to take that the man regained his senses and bow awkwardly, "Why.. why yes sir. Please." For a moment, he stood rather still, lost in his own confusion. He smiled at the other woman who wore her mane in a rather tangled mess and suddenly felt very stupid. She couldn't see his smile behind his mask... which was probably why the other woman couldn't see his smile previously.

It would seem his attempt at approaching the first woman, and the second one, he set eyes on for the night was a rather dismal failure. He lacked true charm or wit, just as his brothers teased. Feeling rather embarrassed, he excused himself with a bow and made for the crowd...

This message was last edited by the GM at 16:09, Sun 21 Sept 2008.

Rhollin Grail
 player, 31 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Mon 22 Sep 2008
at 04:16
Enter the Lion
The rising stars indicated it was just threatening to pass the chance to be fashionably late when Sir Rhollin Grail's clawed toes first tapped against the courtyard's marble path. Not three strides in and he already viewed the chess game, stilt-walkers, fire-breathers, roving minstrels, and what appeared to be a trapeze act setting up along the wall. For the first time since arriving in this new land the Leonyr knight was not the most dramatic sight here - not by a long shot.

Rhollin's "costume" left a bit to be desired in terms of imagination. Lacking time to shop for clothes for such an occasion, he had opted to simply wear his full armor, polished to shine. The choice was the most mundane possible given who he was, but here it was unique. He didn't see another soul bedecked in full plate - at least not among the civilian attendees. The one item of interest he wore was a ceremonial battle mask* he had intended to use for decoration, but that now adorned his head and held the feather.

The Knight of Fangspire opted for his usual opening to unfamiliar situations: he stepped just slightly off the main path, shifted his frame into an impressive but unobstructive pose, and surveyed all the details before him like a grand statue.

*


Picture courtesy of Lucie; thanks!

This message was last edited by the GM at 04:54, Mon 22 Sept 2008.

Yorgorov Varakzy
 player, 27 posts
 Dark eyed poet
Wed 24 Sep 2008
at 16:48
Re: Enter the Lion
The game was enjoyable enough. Chess had never been Yorgorov's game but he appreciated the obvious skill with which the players of the game were maneuvering  the pieces - Attack, counter, feint, sacrifice and dare. Although he had no particular skill in the game or tactical acumen he was reasonably sure he was to be used as an attack on the opposition's Empress in a few moves time - Yorgorov had seen the way that the elevated man controlling him kept looking at him and was sure that this was the only way in which he could be used to any significant effect.

Hopefully our opponent doesn't find his plans as obvious as I do

The banter between pieces also made for pleasant distraction while he passed the time waiting for the thread of fate that had led him here to draw him further on. He had struck up and a conversation with an attractive pawn from the opposing side, her silken voice reminding him briefly of home. She worked in a local cotton mill and told him of how she knew she was destined for big things if only the right opportunity would present itself.

Well my little petal, it appears we are in luck as I have been looking for a muse to inspire my new works and if you are not the vision of beauty I need to set my creativity afire then  don't know who is. What fine cheek bones you have, do I detect some noble blood in you? You're not a relation to the duke are you? Pity me for flirting so with a member of his esteemed house!

The petite pawn blushed and tittered at the thought, her half-mask not quite concealing her rose red cheeks. Despite being out of practice Yorgorov knew she would be as clay in his hands.

The duke? Oh no sir, not I.

Then, if I may be so bold. Would you do me the honor of modeling for a humble artist?

What sort of artist are you?

She inquired, enjoying this unexpected interest from the stranger before her. Normally her sisters would have all the attention but perhaps tonight was her night, hidden beneath her floral mask.

Well, my dear, I'm a painter.

Yorgorov was reeling her in now, his eyes hungry for the kill. She was nothing special, nothing like the beauties from far off lands he had wooed and seduced in his heyday but she had a pleasing enough form, her curves well accentuated by the gown she wore. In particular her breasts seemed to swell, almost dangerously close to coming out form her top.

I paint nudes.

Yorgorov blinked as she slapped him hard across the cheek, perhaps he was a little more out of practice than he had realized. The pawn folded her arms across her chest and in a most matronly tone of voice said

Don't take me for a fool sir, your eyes say more than your tongue and it will take more than pretty words for what you desire!

Thankfully before he had to come up with some sort of response or apology the infuriated foot soldier was captured and removed from play.

Well that didn't go quite as planned. I think perhaps my encounter with the fairest pickpocket in Aberhaven may have clouded my senses a bit. Though she will be here somewhere won't she, perhaps I will not have to use this after all.

The feather in his robes was by no means a sure bet to get him inside the duke's mansion proper and if her could retrieve his original feather he would feel much better about the whole venture. Yorgorov had spent the last two weeks trying to remember the handwriting on the stolen feather and had spent many an hour doing his best to forge a new set of initials on a feather he had acquired originally to turn into a new quill. The effect to his mind had been passable but the truth of it was in the lap of the gods now.

Indeed if we are always being watched then I must stay alert for any sign of whoever invited me here, for them and for my absent "lover".

Yorgorov settled back into the game, which was approaching the end stages now, more and more decisive moves being made and more and more pieces being taken. He kept his gaze open to the crowd though, for even in a sea of faceless masks he may spot something or someone of importance.
Rhollin Grail
 player, 36 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Thu 25 Sep 2008
at 00:58
Re: Enter the Lion
Rhollin would not be needed at the Duke's table for some time yet, which allowed him this chance of observation, and that was sorely needed. Though his meeting with the leader was highly productive, the elite topics of which they conversed did little to paint a picture of Aberhaven as it was to the common man. Perhaps he could learn that now.

After scanning the room unsuccessfully for a certain hauntingly lovely someone, Rhollin finally settled on the chess game. Soon he became absorbed in the dueling tactics. No, I have played a thousand games of chess. This not what I am to learn now. He focused instead on the individual pieces and their very human interactions.

A resounding SLAP caught his attention. The fleeing girl he noticed quickly, but more interesting was the fellow behind the flight. He seemed unphased by the result of his actions, and that gave him a certain boldness that Rhollin thought might prove handy. When the fellow was scanning the crowd the knight gave him a purposeful nod and waited for his part in the game to end.
Lily
 player, 16 posts
 Betrayed
Thu 25 Sep 2008
at 21:00
Some Enchanted Evening
<img src="http://www.geocities.com/joanna_wyndham/ColourNight/face.jpg"align="left">Lily had had scant chance to reply to the flame haired lady whose enchanting gaze had captured hers. There had been a fascinating air of the familiar about the exotic beauty, and Lily was certain that she had stared into those startling sapphire orbs before this night. But before she could recollect, they had been engaged by first one and then another gentleman vying for their attention.

He was an audacious piece, her benefactor from the tailor’s shop. She recognized him in the heartbeat when their eyes locked, and in the next instant her pulse raced and Lily knew that her fate would somehow be entwined with his. Brash, dashing, wily, he was as fixed upon stealing her away as a daring highwayman set upon capturing his prize.

“Milords and milady,” she murmured softly, the rich voice evocative from behind the shimmer of veil, her hidden smile shining bright in her dark eyes as she greeted them. Lily’s grace was inborn and refined from desperation. Now that opportunity courted, she would not be found wanting. “Milord speaks true. I did indeed promise him this moment.” Lily curtsied prettily, the silver bells of her bracelets and anklets tinkling beguilingly. “I pray you make merry this evening and allow me the pleasure of your company when later we are gathered within Lord Aberhaven’s castle.”

As smoothly as he had offered his escort, so did Lily slip her hand into the crook of her bold suitor’s elbow and gently press her acquiescence,  her inviting glance leading him away, for Lily admired his single mindedness and daring which was not unlike her spirit. She too was not above stealing to have what she intended this evening.
Lucinda Blancoeur
 player, 18 posts
 Sorceress in Distress
Fri 26 Sep 2008
at 02:52
Soft as a Whisper
<img src="http://www.geocities.com/joanna_wyndham/Luciemaskmed.jpg"align="left"> “Vite!” the widget echoed his mistress' command and then fast as a streak of white lightening the sorceress’ familiar flew after the disappointed gentleman who was losing himself in the crowd, while Lucie dealt politely with the veiled beauty and the arrogant rogue who had so quickly laid claim to her.

“Should Fortune favor us this night then your attendance at dinner shall be my privilege, dear lady.” Lucie raised a flute of champagne that appeared seemingly from out of thin air and she toasted the maid who curtsied so prettily before her.

“Until then Mystery and Intrigue prevail,”
said the enchantress in low tones that made conspirators of them all. “Be warned and on your guards against silver tongued rogues who would lay claim to your charms too quickly,” Lucie murmured, gazing from the one to the other. “That which is given in haste is oft repented over long.”

How well I know. . .
she thought as a frisson of dread shivered up her spine.

Lucie’s lilting laughter softened the sting of truth as she made her own graceful curtsy to the pair.  The sorceress smiled and then turned to glance into the crowd when she heard a tiny voice chirp softly into a particular ear, “Stay, milord. Milady comes to you.”

This message was last edited by the player at 13:39, Fri 26 Sept 2008.

Emeric
 player, 16 posts
Fri 26 Sep 2008
at 12:59
Walks softly, carries big stick...
Emeric had managed to lose himself in his preperations for the masquerade, and arrived late.  For most people the old man using a cane to walk through the crowd walked as slow as any his kind, and hidden behind the mask old eyes seemed to move slowly across the people, never stopping on anyone.

Behind the mask, Emeric let his eyes scan the room, knowing there is little chance of spotting any of Cap's men or women.  He waddled forward, letting those that spotted him open up a way, and for those that didn't, a tap with cane usually got there attention.  Some tried to ignore him, but like a good grumpy old man, he persisted.  Winning out in time, he left the hustle behind as he moved towards the entrance guarding entry to the inner party.

Finding a bench, the old man settled down, obviously breathing heavily as if the walk had drained him of much energy.  Watching those that entered, and those that moved past, Emeric cleared his mind.  The mask hid much of his face, which even when uncovered most people would have trouble remembering, and Emeric lightly tapped the cane to his own beat.  Catching some of the fine clothing entering the mansion, Emeric began to wonder whether the jewelry on show on necks, wrists and on the clothes was real or fake.  Never really interested in the jewels, more in the money they could provide, Emeric wondered how many of those present would be after such wealth.  A slight smile crossed his face as he watched a very large man walk around as in a bear costume.  So at least some of the Crew were here.  Bear by name, Bear by nature, Emeric thought to himself, as he watched his old colleague chase after some young adults dressed as hunters of the forest.  Glad that he would not be noticed, Emeric hoped this was as close as they got tonight.

For a long while Emeric simply sat and waited, for that was what he was good at.
Moerdyn
 player, 12 posts
 Less than a prince
 More than a thief
Fri 26 Sep 2008
at 15:36
Re: Walks softly, carries big stick...
Moerdyn lifted a glass from the servant as he walked by.  He sipped at the wine and was pleased at it's taste.  He had never been much for wine, but this was sweet and honeyed and he found himself enjoying it.  His eyes scanned the room, laying on the various ladies whose figures caught his eyes--what else could in the room of masks?  A scandalously cut dress here, a bosom prominently squeezed as to bulge from a hemline there.  The place was a collage of delights for the man with such tastes.

Then he saw something dart across the room, settling on some man's shoulder.  The man was incosequential.  It was the creature his eyes fixed on.  It certainly fit the description, but the man was definitely not the person it should be accompanying--if it were, then he would feel truly sorry fot the poor girl.

Another movement caught his eye, moving towards the man and the creature--a lady.  He grinned under his mask.  She definitely fit the description, and then some.  And she was easily among those who made the room a work of feminine art.

"Seems my luck is indeed holding up."  he said to himself, finishing the wine and setting the glass on a passing tray.

As he slipped in with the crowd, trailing the woman--they had said her name was Lucinda--he imagined that his assignment with this one would be a treat, indeed.
Brax
 player, 38 posts
 A bold highwayman
Fri 26 Sep 2008
at 22:12
I Counsel Caution
The muscles in Brax’s arm suddenly tensed as something quite small and very damned fast seemingly flew out of the hair of the maiden clothed in the emerald green gown. He tried to follow it with his eyes, but it darted about so quickly that it was soon lost in the gloom.

For her part, the coppery-blonde beauty merrily chatted on as if nothing untoward had occurred, even as Brax’s demeanor went from jesting and jovial to one of alert watchfulness. He wasn’t at all certain what he had just seen, but it had instantly put him on his guard.

”Milady,” he said after a moment, sotto voce, ”indeed, mystery and intrigue abound. However, in all seriousness, I would counsel you to use due care with . . . whatever it was that I just witnessed, lest the faint of heart become alarmed or you otherwise attract unwished-for attention to yourself.”

He bowed in response to the blonde’s earlier curtsey, then added, ”I trust that you would not wish to find yourself escorted from the premises, with the evening’s festivities barely under way.”

OOC: I am assuming that Lucie’s familiar has been whispering in her ear, and that Brax would not have heard it speak. If he had, he would probably have reacted differently. ;-)

This message was last edited by the player at 22:25, Fri 26 Sept 2008.

Yorgorov Varakzy
 player, 29 posts
 Dark eyed poet
Sat 27 Sep 2008
at 17:58
Re: I Counsel Caution
A flassh of steel whipped past his face and Yorgorov was shakeen from his musings by a thunderous voice.

Surrender!

Excuse me?

Yorgorov stammered, roused from his thoughts abruptly by the theatrical proclamation.

Surreneder! Yield! Give up!

Yorgorov realised that he had in fact just been captured by an enemy piece and it was that piece, the Emperor it appeared, was playing to the crowd and had a flamboyantly mock sword raised to Yorgorov's chest. Raising his hands and bowing his head he left the board.

A game of kings indeed.

Looking back at the carrying on of the opposing Emperor Yorgorov walked into a wall. A metal wall. Backing of Yorgorov realised that he had in fact walked in to a bestial suit of armour which was looking down at him, apparantly surprised to have been walked in to, seeing as it towred over everyone else in the vicinity of the chess board.
Rhollin Grail
 player, 40 posts
 A savage heart
 a gentle heart
Sun 28 Sep 2008
at 02:06
Re: I Counsel Caution
Ah good, he's noticed my subtle invitation, Rhollin thought, seconds before Yorgorov walked right into him. Perhaps I must reassess if this man is clever and bold or merely drunk. Either way, he should have much to say.

Rhollin, who was trained from a young age to be very aware of his body, shifted a step over and assumed a less statuesque stance.

"Pardon, sir. You seem to have an air of comfort in this place, where I am an outsider. I'd be honored for a moment to speak."
The knight wondered if he was being too formal. This event was more courtly networking than merry party to him, but perhaps that wasn't the case for all. I should soften my approach and mayhap gain some enjoyment in doing so. "We could do so over drinks. I'm quite interested in the specialty brews of this place."
Lucinda Blancoeur
 player, 20 posts
 Sorceress in Distress
Sun 28 Sep 2008
at 05:27
On My Guard
<img src="http://www.geocities.com/joanna_wyndham/Luciemaskmed.jpg"align="left"> “If I were notorious would that make you unhappy, milord?” Lucie heard herself asking him. Making intimate the question, she came up on her toes and whispered her query softly into his ear. She sniffed the air about him for a hint of glimmer and wondered if her identity were known to him.

Among the mighty and powerful there were many mindful of her crime, Lucie knew. Her time spent in the stocks had been token punishment for hubris and reckless foolhardy, but full atonement for her secret sin was yet to come.  Now she wondered if this stranger’s precaution was a threat or concern.

“Are you friend or foe?” Lucie's glance was true but her apprehension was as much thought as it was question. And her fate was suspended in the balance.

For all Lucie’s seeming gaiety and lightheartedness, discordant fear thrummed wild inside her, so much so that the enchantress was on guard amidst the crowd for allies and enemies alike. So it had been foretold that on this night she would clash with Valerian and their contest would be enjoined. Subtly or overtly. So it would be.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:17, Sun 28 Sept 2008.

Guildmaster
 GM, 54 posts
Sun 28 Sep 2008
at 10:47
The Aberhaven Masquerade
Lucie's pixie flew right into the avian masked man's tangled mass of hair and whispered, "Stay, milord. Milady comes to you." Unaware of where the little command came from, the man swiveled on the spot, trying to catch sight of the person whom the voice belonged to. And when little Petie flew out of his hair and stopped short of smacking right into his nose, the man cried out in fright. "Oh by the heavens! A pixie. Some magical contraption set out to frighten me to death!" The man thought worriedly.

He looked around desperately, searching for a helping hand to quell this foul magic but no one came to his rescue. A second passed, a few seconds. A minute. Nothing happened. No further magic was cast to spell the end of him, the man calmed, reasoning to himself, "Perhaps it wasn't a real pixie, after all this was a masquerade ball, everyone had special toys as props."

Regardless (or rather ignorant) of what he had done to the man, little Petie was persistent, beckoning the young man with a finger to return to his mistress.

Ending the rather awkward encounter with a "pixie" with a nervous chuckle, the man sucked in a breath and braced himself, perhaps this was his lucky night after all. He'd show his brothers, "Why.. most certainly. I'll wait for your lady."

----

Tyr stepped into the Aberhaven courtyard and felt uncomfortable immediately. He wasn't used to such fanfare and rowdiness - unless of course he was with Sir Rhollin and had to be there. But on this night, his lord gave him leave - Tyr was free to do whatever he wanted and Tyr was clueless as to what to do! He was told it was a masquerade ball, so he prepared a costume - a rather sad excuse of a costume. Adjusting his red sun mask which helped hide his feline features, Tyr approached the Chess game, fiddling with his hawk feather under his cloak. When did Sir Grail say he could enter the Duke's house? Hmm, he didn't specify.

Looking around, Tyr's sharp eyes spotted his lord conversing with a slightly rotund man in a half mask.

Hmm, he really didn't know what to do... perhaps he would tail Lord Grail secretly, who knows, Tyr had sworn to protect Rhollin Grail with his life and tonight, in such a strange land and strange party, Rhollin Grail's life might be in danger.

---

A petite young girl, probably barely pass eighteen summers judging by her pert breasts, silky smooth skin, bright eyes and nubile body was on stage performing a series of acrobatics feats. Her partner, a gangly middle aged fellow, hoisted, threw and supported her according to the music's tempo while the young acrobat twisted and flipped in the air, rousing the crowd with her performance.

In their final act, her partner beamed widely and presented to the crowd a gleaming long sword. Taking a deep breath, the man hoisted the girl to his shoulders and in an instant, he tossed her high into the air, expelling a great "Hah!". The music stopped as the girl did a triple somersault while her partner raised the sword horizontally in perfect timing.

The crowd gasped in horror and just when it looked as though the girl was going to be sliced into half by the weapon, she righted herself in midair, landed feet first and balanced perfectly on the edge of the blade. The crowd went wild.

Standing atop the edge of the blade, beaming brightly, the girl scanned the crowd until she laid eyes on a particular individual seated on a bench. She looked around again and spotted a few others of interest just in time before her partner helped her to the ground. Ever the performer, the girl waved and giggled, basking in the glory of the attention showered on her after such an amazing performance.

Soon enough she thought to herself.

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:12, Sun 28 Sept 2008.