(1867-10-14) Twin Moons Masque
Twin Moons Masque
Summary: The Masque on the night of the Twin Moons, as many a guest turns out in mask and costume and a (mostly) unseen visitor walks amongst the mortals as is His own tradition.
Date: 1867-10-14
Related: None Directly
Players:
Adrienne  Aidric  Alaric  Alexandra  Alina  Amara  Antonia  Ariane  Artos  Clara  Clarke  Conrad  Corvin  Devlin  Dora  Elaida  Emilia  Esyld  Evelyn  Gabriel  James  Jonathan  Leander  Lorelei  Lucas  Philippe  Quentyn  Raimond  Symon  Thaddeus  Tiadora  Tristan  Vorian  The-Last  

Great Hall - Highwater Castle - Couviere
The great hall is a hub of activity for Highwater Castle and yet manages to stay immaculately clean. No rushes have been scattered on the floor and no dog would think of sniffing about for scraps in this chamber. The floors are polished marble illuminated by day with rich colours by a pair of leaded glass windows displaying the family arms. At night the rooms six hearths warm and illuminate the hall as do rush lights in sconces along the wall.
For banquets long tables are laid out in the hall with pristine table cloths of white linen. The benches below the salt are well made and comfortable as are the padded chairs above it. A high table stands beneath the two windows, for the duke and his favoured guests to sit.
For Masques the tables are pushed against the wall and groan under the weight of wine and food made available for the guests and the floor is left open for dancing while musicians play from screened galleries above (at least one hopes its only musicians in those galleries). Besides the tables and the dance floor in corners and between the tables padded fainting couches have been laid out to allow guests a moment off their feet and a place for would-be lovers to whisper in relative private.
1867-10-14

Costume Descriptions
Please note this is not an exhaustive list of the costumes that appeared at the masque, but a list of the full descriptions that were wore and not shared through poses. If there are any that were missed, please feel free to add them.


Darkness has fallen on Lonnaire, and so the masque has begun.

The Great Hall has all its windows along the eastern wall (the only wall with windows) open so that both the Twin Moons and the fantastic fireworks displays can be seen from within the Great Hall itself.

As always, wood-and-cloth partitions create dozens of little corners against the west and south walls, each with a cushioned bench and a soft purple Everlight tucked behind them. A raised dais with a place for the musical entertainment to perform (and the hosts to greet their guests) is along the north wall, and the east wall…

Food. Great wooden tables groan under the weight of roast venison, two whole roasted boar, dozens of roasted chickens, piles of medium to medium rare cattle steak, piles of grilled shrimp, halves of grabbers with small bowls of garlic-infused melted butter, and baked fish… Giant bowls of fresh chopped romaine lettuce, arugula, and baby butter leaves give way to smaller bowls with chopped nightapples, onions, radishes, carrots, and cucumbers. Bottles of seasoned oil and vinegar. Baskets of soft warm rolls and long loaves of crispy crusted bread. Long trays with crocks of butter, strawberry jam, honey, apple butter, apple jelly all to spread over the bread and rolls. Potatoes imported from Rovilon, some smashed and buttered and peppered; some slow-baked and still piping hot in their jackets. Also piping hot in their jackets were orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, with a bowl of cinnamon to sprinkle on them. Cheeses of all sorts. Gravy… light brown chicken gravy and deep brown cattle gravy. Baked cinnamon apples. Snapbeans cooked with butter and boar bacon. Tiny green peas cooked in butter. Butterbeans cooked with large, fatty chunks of bacon in them. Honeyed carrots. Grilled slices of yellow squash and zucchini. Stuffed mushrooms.

And the drinks… ales and beers from as far away as Rivana, the barrels set up with a trio of masked servants ready to pour. Spirits… vodka from Rovilon, whiskey, orange liqueurs from Seaguard, gin from Ostvor, Rum brought in through Pacitta from their trade in the Pirate Isles. Wines of all sorts… save wedding wine, of course. Even a few bottles of Tracano red! And of course, non-alcholic drinks for those who have that preference… sweetened lemonwater, ice cold ewers of water, limewater with sugared cherries. (And all of that goes well with some of the spirits, too…) Tea and kaffe.

And the dessert table was quite full as well: Choklat cake. Lemoncakes made with lemons imported from southern Rivana. Lemon meringue pies. Lime meringue pies. Thick slices of buttery pound cake with vanilla custard. Apple tarts. Stewed strawberries and sweetened clotted cream. Cinnamon cookies, and buttery vanilla cookies with chunks of choklat in them. Berry tarts. Cherry tarts.

The room is full of revelers, drinking, eating, talking, dancing. A courtesan in a feathery costume sits on the dais, strumming a lute and singing a beautiful song about the Moon Princess and the Moon Lord. The fireworks in the distant pop and crackle as blues and purples and pinks scatter across the moonlit sky.

—-

On the other side of the dais, a young woman in a flowing chiffon dress just opaque enough to be semi-modest in reds and oranges with a edging of yellow stands. She is wearing a mask that looks like flames on her eyes, her blonde hair shot through with red and orange color. Beside her is a man in icey blue trousers, a crisp white shirt trimmed in silver, and a ice-blue vest. His mask is semi-transparent blue and white like ice. His dark hair is spiky and tipped with white.

—-

Goblet in hand and a contemplative air about herself, a certain fiery bird of myth and legend stands in the midst of a bawdy group, though she herself is quiet. Her attention lingers outside the windows on the sparkle and crackle of colourful fireworks, a faint smile playing about her dark-hued lips as she observes. It's perhaps a childish thing, to find the display so fascinating.. but clearly she doesn't much care. The revellers surrounding her, sensing the distracted mien of their quarry, jostle and vie to draw it back, eventually earning an unhurried sweep of her gaze. With a calm sip of strongwine, however, the ebon-tressed creatures then merely chuckles at their antics, low in her throat. Fortune might favour the bold… phoenixes don't.

Turning on a bare heel, politely excusing herself, the young woman in red and gold hues drifts along the periphery of those helping themselves to the high-piled food, not indulging herself but looking over shoulders in passing with idle interest. Later, perhaps. For now, music, merriment and dancing holds far greater appeal. As does the game of guessing who lies beyond all of these spectacular facades, this evening…

—-

A lone Sinesse wanders about the masque, doubtful that she is the only one to do a take upon the legendary tale as her chosen costume amongst the many who have turned out this evening. This one wears a gown of deep green and a leather black mask with lace-like details in silver. Behind the mask, green eyes are rather wide as the young woman takes in all the food, the decorations..all the wonder that is the masque. Her hand frets at the edge of her dress a moment before she continues along the edges of the room. A certain level of nervous energy and wonder easily marking this guest as one who has never before attended one of the grand l'Saigner masques before. But would she find her Lyonal this night or would their trials yet continue? A hand lightly toys with the cat-shaped pendant about her neck, before she finds a goblet of wine to occupy it instead.

—-

With the small lanterns on his costume currently set to off, covered and the candles within them snuffed, the Swamplight makes a slow circuit around the room. He is cheerful then as he makes his way through, looking over at some of the amazing costumes - works of art. Men and women giving out to the soul beneath them and the Masks that are worn at the Masque. A hand then carefully gloved goes to raise up and over in a salute then to the holders of the Masque, before twirling over. The young woman in red then is given an intrigued glance, and a grin then. And then a twirl of the fingers of the man that is the dark lights from the swamps then as he gazes over at the Sinesse and gives a grin at that as well.

—-

Upon an outstretched hand shielded by a demure little dessert plate is a piece of that aforementioned creamed-up pound cake. The opposite hand has been lifting it periodically up toward lips and teeth, with bits disappearing appropriately over time. It's good cake. The company, however, is better.

Despite the shorter stature and obvious curvature that makes this guest female, she's turning her head to and fro with a pair of antlers atop it. Her auburn hair is braided up and around the bases, affixing them there but also a clear display of the love of detail. Some charcoal on her nose seals the deal, and this stag looks around, beside a few others though not really participating in any conversation. Each nod to make it seem like she's paying attention, though, comes with a formidable bow of that crown atop her head.

—-

A woman dressed in pale whites, as the very Moon Lady, or some semblance thereof smiles as the song playing is presented. She has already had a few bites to eat from the splendorous array set out, and much like Lady Phoenix, she, too, has a goblet in her hand. The young woman presently seems amiable to presently appreciate the effort into other costumes and whom might be within their confines. She sips at the goblet thoughtfully, moving slowly through the party and comfortable enough and confident enough to not stand in the corner. She seems to gently, subtly, move with the music being played without realizing it.

—-

Among the limitations of a masque is that, while it is quite possible to disguise one's appearance via costume, it is rather harder to make a mystery of one's size. Possible to make oneself appear a bit bigger, perhaps, with a sufficiently elaborate costume, but smaller, not so much. And so, when a large, muscular man clad in grey makes his way into the hall, there's no hiding at least that clue to his identity.

Beyond that, though? The Winter Wolf's costume is fairly well done, not elaborate, but effective. He's clad in grey fur from head to toe, with only one seam around the middle, a cloth hood over the back of his head intermingling with the brown and grey of what is presumably his own hair. His mask, too, is grey, a dull metallic grey, covering his nose in the rough shape of a snout, and lined with fur, and in the dim light one can scarcely distinguish it from the cloth of the rest of his garb.

Presently, the wolf is partaking of, well, what one might expect from a wolf. Venison. He's presently a bit separate from the crowd as he tears bits off with his teeth, but his eyes, behind the grey of the mask, flicker back and forth, wary.

—-

Joining the revelry is a man wearing scales of silver, wings folded around his shoulder and a mask bearing a fanged snout of sorts. His long blonde hair allowed to hang free for the night, he looks around for a moment until he finds some refreshment for himself, for now just a cup of wine and some cheese. A lady in a similar costume, but with golden scales catches his attention and he spends some time with her, speaking for a few moments.

—-
An individual has elected to don the furs and leather trappings of a kind not commonly seen this far west. The colors are a bit gaudy for those familiar with the Myrnid marches, but it is drawn on it, nonetheless. Having found some friends, the chieftain grins and laughs along with a joke one of them tells.

—-

One man wears a more… shiny armor, and he is not horribly pleased with it. He soon has found his way to the wine and the food and seems to be rather comfortable staying there. He does not engage with the others currently, a bit focused on the food itself.

—-

Dressed in a long red coat and a mask of bright red and white fur, a fox slips into the Masque and pausing on the steps surveys the gathering with pale green eyes. A smile, suited to the rest of the costume slowly creeps across his face. It seems he has found his hen house. He makes his way down the steps to take a closer look, pausing briefly for a bit of wine to wet his lips.

—-

There were always those one or two who touched upon, or even crossed some unspoken boundary in their choice of costumes for the masque, and this may well be one of them in some minds. Having silently joined the many revealers in the Great Hall, the banshee stands nearly six feet tall and moves with an ethereal grace. A contrast to the unkept and time worn look she bares. For it is assuredly a her with the long black wind blown and unkept hair, the feminine curves that the dress and white robe to give way to. The robe itself accented with silver and strange blue glyphs and symbols along the edges. Symbols that seem to also exist within the pale white mask that is worn, but it is the almondine shaped eyes on the mask that are truly striking, for they are pure black upon black. Some film or lense perhaps used? Even close up to the creature of legend it is hard for one to tell just what trick is at play. But it seems to make it equally difficult to tell just where and upon whom the banshee's gaze has fallen. And that gaze is wandering just as she wanders slowly along, seeming to not have fond interest in food nor drink. Least not yet.

—-

The fish, with her scales of crimson, ebony, and gold… she keeps to the edges of the crowds. What is visible of her, just above a shimmery golden veil- big blue eyes… they are wide with a mix of awe and fear. But oh look. Food. The food looks safe. Like the man in armor, she weaves her way there. Tucked under her arm is a leather-bound drawing pad. The fish is an artist or thinks herself one.

—-
To the Cold Fanged Wolf the Swamplight goes to take up his hand over in a salute then, dipping his hands over together then to give a bow and a grin then and a whispered in passing, "Good hunting." And the Swamplight glances through the crowd then, until his eyes settle over on the moon. To her, the Lady Moon, he gives a low bow then. Fingers twirling then as he goes to very carefully start to light some of the candles held within the lamps built into the costume, flaring them up then as the mythical lure of the swamps would as he takes a moment to bow to the moon in greeting. And it is to the banshee then that as she makes her grand entrance to the room that the Swamplight gives a deep bow as well, almost a formal curtsy.

—-

And joining the multitude of wonderfully costumed masked creatures is the Peacock. Blue that goes slightly into the tones of turquoise is the color of her half mask, tiny glass stones worked in circles about the slits left for the eyes glittering where they catch the light of torches and oil lamps. Dyed feathers have been worked into the top of the mask, with a tailfeather of a peacock rising in its center. Grey eyes peek forth from behind the mask, and long tresses of dark blonde hair have been arranged in a twisted enigma of braids keeping the shoulders of this lady bare; as the sleeves of thin gauzy fabric cling to where the bodice extends to the upper arms, long skirts shimmering in a multitude of shades of blue and green. The Peacock walks over to the Moon, to exchange some murmured words with the other woman, accepting a goblet of wine from an attendant as she lifts her head and lets her gaze wander about the crowd. "This is once again so very impressive," the Peacock states.

—-

Hovering very close to another reveler, clad in feathers of muted brown and gold, is a Great Horned Owl. She blends in, naturally, to her surroundings, keeping close to the wall while not being terribly far from what appears to be her quarry for the evening. Her mask is beaked, black with the feathers for those horns protruding rather elaborately from the sides. The robe she wears is entirely covered in feathers sewn to the outside, making it hard to tell where woman ends and bird begins.

One thing this avian cannot hide, however, are her striking eyes. In keeping with the theme of her costume, from eyebrow to cheekbone is painted a vivid orange, mimicked on the mask, and with her own dark eyes behind it in constant motion, she really does look like the owl out on the hunt.

—-

The Woodsman lingers by the food table. His slender form clothed in a fine cloak that appears to be stitched of leaves and equally fine hunting leathers underneath. His eyes are masked by a strip of green silk embroidered in gold and on his head a wide brimmed hat sits crookedly, with a pheasant feather jutting from leather band around the middle. Though despite the fine garb, the Woodsman himself seems ill at ease around so many people and he eyes them while picking at a roll clutched in one hand.

—-

A bird of prey swoops into the great hall, a creature of middling stature and build covered in rich brown feathers. His mask is a sharp, angular thing, flaring out on either side with the ridges of eyes like a hawk's, then coming to a point in the center that turns slightly down in the form of a beak. While it's far from the most ostentatious of costumes at the Masque, it seems that the wearer of this one could not resist a show of grandeur, and so set into the wings are a handful of gems, all dark colors, but nevertheless picking up the half-light in the room as the wings move.

Dark eyes peering from behind the mask, the Greathawk moves with the crowd, light on his feet, glancing over toward the refreshments but not in any particular hurry to partake, it seems. He does have all night, after all, and there is ample time to choose his quarry.

—-

Another creature of the woods is the Dryad or Wood Pixie. Long tresses of chestnut color fall openly about this young woman's shoulders, a halfmask of soft leather covering the upper part of her face, where the lower half shows off pale skin with a few freckles and lips that are curved in a faint smile. Her somewhat trained physique is clad in a brown corset, darker patterns embroidered there to emulate the structure of tree bark, and skirts of green with golden accents flowing beneath; a similar pattern is worn in the long green sleeves, that leave slightly freckled skin of her shoulders bare. On her head rests a crown of leaves, completing the costume. No goblet is to be seen in her hands, as she looks this way and that, as if looking for someone in particular,

—-

There's a fleeting smile cast in the direction of the radiant Moon, vague recognition perhaps, or maybe just an appreciative pause of the Phoenix' gaze. But distractions are abundant, as yet more guests join the already impressive crowd for the Masque. Upon the Winter Wolf her eyes linger, momentarily accompanied by the merest hint of a smirk, and they pass, in turn, to the precariously-antlered stag hovering on the edge of a crowd.. out of apparent disinterest rather than anxiety. Fair enough. Having drawn to a halt without truly noticing it, the vibrantly-hued creature turns her attention upon those appearing nearby at the table. "Well. Don't you look delicious." Not the most proper of greetings, she'd grant you, as she regards the Fish. But certainly in keeping with her donned character for the evening. Fortunately, it seems the Phoenix isn't in the mood for seafood… she reaches subtly past the other woman to snag a cherry, popping it into her mouth and offering a mischievous glimpse of white teeth.

—-

The man dressed as ice and who stands near fire, is wondering whether or not he should have shaved his head. He might have done it had he any idea what plans fire had for his hair. Grumbling to himself, he reaches for some wine and begins to sip from the goblet, his eyes scanning the room to see what others may be wearing this evening.

—-

The Pirate King walks with a limp. From his left knee on down of his costume has been designed to look like a peg leg. It even goes as far as having extra fabric rolled up and tied off at the knee to finish the job. A half-mask is worn, black in color with gold and silver trim. His blonde hair is disheveled and held back by a bit of red cloth that is wrapped around his head. Gaudy rings cover each finger, each containing an oversized gemstone, and he has several gold chains hanging from his neck, each one containing different gemstones.

—-

Clad in crimson, a lone figure leans against one of the supporting pillars of the room, watching idly while a foot taps in time to the music playing nearby. That crimson hue, with only subtle variances in tone, extends from the mask that covers his eyes and nose, down to the red leather boots that he wears. Repeat attendees of the Masque who were sober enough and have good memories may recognize elements of the costume that the Host wore a few years ago, but the new bearer has put a twist of his own on it, with strips of red leather encircling forearms and calves, and criss-crossing his torso. A hood has been added as well, from which teardrop-shaped red-glass beads dangle from red strings, presenting a loose sort of veil that allows for the glimpse of his lower face, which has been heavily powdered to present a preternaturally pale appearance, complete with lips lined in blood-red, giving a slightly ghastly edge to the impish grin that those lips seem perpetually curled into. A mock (or is it?) dagger is sheathed at his waist, in a scabbard that gives a clear impression the blade was forged more for appearance than use (looking ostentatiously wicked, in other words), and a pair of goblets is strapped to his waist, one dangling from each hip…but painted to look as though dried blood cakes rims and has dripped down the bowls of the cups. Most would recognize the "disguise" as the embodiment of the dark legend called the Bloodlord.

—-

The Moon's eyes are drawn towards the Banshee, curious, impressed at the representation which, while she has never seen the legendary creatures, seems to connect with that of her imagination and stories from childhood. The pale, nearly luminescent woman returns the smile to the Phoenix, warm, and she returns to the Peacock, "The beauty of imagination is certainly present, and I am pleased to see that this night lives up to everything I have heard of it," suggestive that this might be her first attendance. She informs the Peacock, "You, certainly, are set to attract anyone who looks your way, pretty one." There is a hint of teasing, in her tone, mixed with that same appreciation she was just speaking towards. Her eyes rove to the hosts, then she murmurs to the Peacock, "Perhaps you will save a dance for me?" And, smiling further, she finishes the wine in her goblet.

—-

Near the dessert table is the Pirate Princess, in colourful skirts tied up in sections and a baggy shirt tied with sashing at her waist. Thigh high black boots are revealed by the tied up skirts. Her mask is similar to the Pirate King's, and she as well wears several pieces of gaudy jewelry, though not as many as he does. For the nonce she is on her second piece of cake, the first having been one of the pound cakes slices slathered in custard, this second being a chunk of the choklat cake. The pirate seems to have a sweet tooth.

—-

"And the same to you, Lord Swamplight," the Winter Wolf replies as he is addressed, the first soft words that have passed his lips since he entered the room. Good hunting. An appropriate turn of phrase with which to address a predator, though one of the oddities of the Masque is that the lines between predator and prey often blur… Of course, the Phoenix draws his attention for the moment, both due to the red of her feathers and for other considerations as well, but he gives her little more than a raised hand for the moment - a hand, incidentally, that is likewise covered with fur and tipped with little black claws. Another bite of his venison, and it's gone, the plate soon forgotten. Almost lazily he leans against a wall, surveying the revelers for a few long moments.

—-

The Swamplight goes to riseup then, looking over at the Banshee very impressed, and then as he is responded to over by the Winter Wolf the Swamplight gives a bow, "Thank you kindly M'Lord. May the hunting tonight.." Of wine, of food, of women.. "Be plentiful and fruitful." He offers and gives a low and sweeping bow, gazing at the Phoenix, the Moon, the Banshee. Murmuring, mostly to himself, "IF anyone is going to be lured to his doom tonight m'lad it's going to be yourself." AMused.

—-

"Ah-are you talking to me o-or the suckling pig," Mistress Fish asks the Phoenix, looking at the table in confusion. "It does all look delicious," she agrees timidly. "But, umm, please don't bite me." She blinks anxiously before grabbing a sharp slice of cheese and popping it under her veil to enjoy. She nods to the others at the buffet and offers a bob of a curtsey, setting her many veiled fins a flutter.
—-

Two men stand off to one side, conversing amiably and with clear familiarity despite the masks. One wears a furred cloak complete with bear's head, obviously made from the pelt of a great black bear, complete with matching furred gauntlets and boots, the remainder of his clothing in black. While the bear headdress doesn't cover his eyes, he does wear a mask beneath it, even if it's just a simple affair that surrounds his eyes and upper nose. The fellow with him appears to have taken a similar tack, albeit with a less taxidermied and more stylized interpretation of a red fox, though the dusky skin on his lower face may be a bit of a clue as to his identity. Well, that and the unabashedly admiring gazes he gives towards any ladies in revealing costumes that wander by. Both men have goblets of wine in their hands, though the Red Fox seems to be imbibing more frequently than the Bear.

—-

"Of course," the Peacock responds to the Moon, the lips visible below that mask curving just so. "As things are, I came without company." That smile intensifies. "And so I'd be grateful to share at least yours for a while."

—-

Fire surveys the room, knowing Ice is somewhat put out with his costume. If only he'd have let her do the mostly shirtless thing she wanted him to do… but no matter now. A robe-clad "Alhazredi" passes her and nods to her before disappearing into the crowd.

—-

A fleeting and nervous smile is given to the Swamlight by Sinesse as it grins at her within its passing. She takes several sips of her wine as she comes into orbit of one of the tables with volumes of oh so tasty looking food. Who ever knew so much food could exist in one place all at once! Her eyes shift from the food to the nearby Fish. "Your costume is so pretty and imaginative." Green eyes dart back towards the table,"It all looks so grand, I haven't the slightest on what to even try!"

—-

The pound cake was finished. Drat. Looking back over to the dessert table, and then around the room, the stag shakes her majestic head, slowly so as to not fall over. Headgear takes a bit to get used to, as it were. She catches the tail end of the Phoenix's look, making brief eye contact but nothing more, before she finally notices one especially familiar wolf. She laughs heartily, nodding her head in acknowledgment before leaving her post on the outskirts and meandering slowly toward the food again, stopping here and there. It's how a deer would graze, is it not?

—-

So many lovely costumes. So many dangerous things. The Swamplight hasan amused look on his face then as he feels decidedly outclassed then when it comes to doing such. So, it's with a gentle motion forwards then as he goes to glance along and quietly moves through the crowd, a light swagger in his step

—-

The Pirate King sighs upon seeing the Pirate Princess. Limping up to her, he says nothing, instead looks at the cake on her plate and then up at her. "I did not go sailing around the seven seas and through the gates of hell so that you could eat this cake!" He reaches out and takes a small chunk of cake between to fingers and tosses it into his mouth. "Too sweet." He murmurs, swallowing it down with a small frown.

—-

The pirate princess gives the pirate king a wide grin. "Mm. I could try eating some of the more savory things next," she gestures to the tables with… non-dessert food on them. "I haven't seen a feast like this since our wedding." Oops. Not really supposed to acknowledge such things here, but it is her first masque.

—-

The huntsman, also lingering in the vicinity, warrants a thoughtful look from the Phoenix.. but the stammering Fish swiftly has her full attention again, this time along with a soft laugh and more genuine, less predatory smile. "Well, both look tempting, in quite different ways." she teases, before electing to be kind. Not everyone is at ease at these gatherings, after all. "You needn't worry, I've a measly appetite this early in the night. I simply had to at least pause and admire the gleam of those scales." The Phoenix tilts her head a little to one side, unthinkingly emulating the very creature she's attired as. "You might find you enjoy testing these waters, little Fish. And if not, I imagine you are quick enough to dart out of harm's way." In due course, the soft-spoken avian's eyes wander onto the Pirate Princess. There's little help for it, with that outfit. But the figure, while distantly familiar, isn't instantly recognisable to her. On the contrary.. the cake-thieving Pirate who accosts her she can identify with ease. Or so one might assume, from the broad grin. "I shall leave you to traverse the shallows, Mistress Fish! I myself might have to venture into more treacherous waters! That music is worth dancing to, after all." With that and a last friendly smile aside to the nervous young woman, the Phoenix drifts away, true to her word and headed for the portion of the grand floor occupied by dancers, couples and groups alike.

—-

The Fish nods enthusiastically as Sinesse comments on the food. "I suggest starting with the fresh rolls, a bit of jam, and the apple butter. So much better when it's hot. OH! Potatoes!" She gasps in happy surprise and starts piling a few onto her plate. She mm-hmms to Phoenix as the firebird glides away to enjoy the music, a touch relieved that the attention is fading off of her. "You have to try these, they're starchy and delicious with butter n' a bit of bacon and cheese…" She nods to Sinesse. Fishy knows her food and seems -quite- more comfortable talking about that. She seems to be avoiding looking at any of the 'supernatural' types. Even making a little hand gesture as if warding off evil— or starting to before she puts her hands firmly on to her plate and holding tight.

—-

The Banshee continues to wanders for a time before settling along one side, not with any particular group or person. But then she has not seemed to seek conversation, perhaps for the good of all present if the legend holds true and what might pass over her lips should they part to utter a sound.

—-

Lyonal, with his golden mask, wanders seemingly aimlessly through the grand hall. The gait is casual, almost lackadaisical, as if just driven by mere curiosity…but there seems to be an underlying purpose to it. For those eyes are on the lookout, even as the figure casually snags a glass from a wandering servant. Well…let's hope it was a servant. Otherwise the roguish lord just stole a goblet from a fellow attendee and he looks hardly remorseful for it. Not at all.

—-

The Pirate King puts a hand on the Pirate Princess' shoulder, nodding. "It is quite an affair, I'll give them that. Come, certainly there are other things you might like to try other than cake. Or maybe we can go dancing for a time, or something."

—-

One particular fellow moves through the crowd, exchanging anonymous pleasantries with those he passes. His outfit is…quite attention-grabbing, not just for the coloration, but for the fact that it is no doubt an expensive affair. His mask and the loose-fitting shirt he wears are uniformly a metallic silver, an appearance that can only be achieved on exceptionally expensive cloth. About his waist is a golden belt, set with a large blue "gemstone" (likely glass as Sapphires rarely come so large) in the polished brass buckle. Black leggings are wrapped in strips of brown leather, and tucked into boots that are capped with beads of that same blue glass on the toes, but the rest again wrapped in metallic-cloth, this time in that same brassy color. And for those that ask or those that puzzle it out, he is embodying "A Sword" this night. The brilliant smile beneath that silver mask, however, doesn't intentionally seem part of the costume, but rather a natural reaction to the splendour of the masque.

—-

"And I, without company as well," The Moon admits, though without any complaint. Her head turns as her eyes sweep over the party again, and the pale woman of light ventures, "Though it would seem there is company enough for all, and more besides, this evening." One can hear the smile and mirth in her words. "Lady Phoenix is quite gorgeous, and the Banshee is suitably fearsome and awe-inspiring, not to mention our hosts, and the quaint Pirate King." There are, afterall, so many to watch. To regard.
She offers the Peacock her hand then, "Shall we dance, then, and make merry that we might inspire others to follow?"

—-

And it's as the Swaplight sees Lyonal and Sinesse that his grin broadens very, very widely then as he twirls. And then he goes over to head towards the Banshee, and if permitted approaches her grinning. "M'Lady Banshee, might I have the pleasure to approach?"

—-

Somewhat visible with the robes of pure white, the Goblyn King, for kingly this figure certainly appears, appears detached from the throng, while yet remaining a part of the crowd. Up to this moment, there has not been much in the way of conversation from the seemingly pale male figure, just some murmuring here and there and nothing spectacular in way of topics. However, in presence and appearance alone, it is hard to miss the somewhat tall figure.

—-

Sinesse's eyes go wide as the Fish offers such enthusiastic advice on the food. Trying to follow along to all the food with all the suggestions. "Oh, fresh bread is always incredibly delightful. is it truly still warm and hot?" Reaching to take up such a roll with it being the first suggestion that had come. "There is so much, I do not know if there is time enough to enjoy and taste all of it. It all seems so grand!"

—-

The Peacock inclines her head and takes the offered hand. "What a lyrical image…", she jests dryly. "A Peacock dances with a moon, knowing that its feathers won't shine colorfully in its pale light. What is visible of her features is twisted in a light smirk. "And more of all, the irony of us two dancing, where we would prefer dances with swords to the courtly fare." Even so, the Peacock moves gracefully. Somewhat. "You'll learn to enjoy it," she remarks to the Moon with an encouraging smile."

—-

En route to the dancing, the Phoenix finds herself both accompanied and waylaid by a creature not of myth, but certainly of formidable repute… a great Ice Bear, tall and powerfully built as one would expect. Bare-chested - alas, if only Ice himself had been so bold! - and with the heavy drape of silken white furs down his back, even heavy paws, adorned with claws, to encompass his large hands. Not seeming to fear burning his fingers, he intercepts the fiery creature, a hand lightly brushing her hip to punctuate the interruption of her graceful strides, and an inward lean of his mighty head as he murmurs a few words, most likely in greeting.

It's with a throaty, not unpleasant laugh, however, that she denies him, offering some manner of teasing response as she deftly steps around his taller frame and continues on her way; only a fleeting backward glance and a smile actually conveying any sort of apology. To his credit, Ice Bear doesn't seem to mind.. he remains with his present company, watching the departing avian a moment longer before returning to his cups with a grin and shake of head.

—-

The Banshee is seemingly duly warded off by the Fishes gestures, least thus far. There is a long night yet ahead. It is entirely possible that plump little fish is to be snacked upon later. For the dark gaze seems to fall upon that Swamplight as it gestures that request, or one might least hope those are where those fully black eyes are looking. No words are spoken, but a gloved hand does make an appearance from under the billow sleeve of her robes as it rises, a motion that seems to grant the spoken request.

—-

There is, of course…one guest here that never misses one of these affairs. He was here for the first. He does not know if he will be here for the last, but does carry some hope that it may be so. He moves among the crowd, unseen despite standing head and shoulders above any here, unnoticed despite the fact that his arms seem too long for his body and his white robes trimmed in strange silver script should stand out, and he glides across the floor in a way that truly makes it appear his feet aren't touching the ground beneath said robe. The Tall Man whispers and nudges as he goes. He listens and laughs, and subtly, sometimes not entirely consciously, plants seeds deep in the minds of those who hear and yet do not entirely hear his words.

This year, however, is somewhat different…for there are two here that can see him…for they have before. And indeed he looks out over the crowd and briefly makes eye contact with the Banshee, over the shoulder of the Swamplight, and a grin plays across his face as he gives a mock-courtly bow, long arms splayed out along his sides.
—-

As the gesture from the Banshee indicates permission to approach, the Swamplight gives a low bow, "A pleasure M'Lady. Thank you for your kind assent. An honor for such a lowly vassal.." The Goblyn King is noted then, along with a quirk of the eyes behind the mask then, and a quiet grin then as he watches through the crowds and he turns to the Banshee once more.

"To meet something as lovely and dangerous as yourself. A privilege." He, if permitted, would offer his hand up to the Banshee and then glancing over to the floor with a gesture seeking permission to dance.

—-

Well, there's nothing particularly supernatural about the Greathawk who eventually wanders over in the general direction of the food. Indeed, the bird of prey seems particularly good-natured as he approaches one of the figures partaking of the refreshments, though more incidentally than anything. "Good evening, Lady Fish," he says as he glides in, and though it is true, in a general sense, that hawks eat fish, the way he regards her is hardly predatory. Instead, he reaches past her to likewise claim a potato or three. "Gathering your strength before swimming upstream, perhaps?"

—-

The feeding Fish shakes her head uneasily. "It's such bad luck to dress in those outfits. It's daring things to come after them. Dangerous," the Fish says quietly as she watches the Swamplight speak to the Banshee. "S'why I went with an animal. Yours is lovely," she says to Sinesse. A 'safe' person to talk to. "I think I'll just sample a bit of everything here. It's a beautiful display. Have you had the chokolat? I had a whole sculpture of it for my birthday party," she says with pride, eyes bright above her veil. The Greathawk gets a giggle as she shakes her head to him, golden veils against her dyed red hair shimmering. "I think I'll stay right here. I'm not swimming -anywhere- tonight," she says firmly. She's not even drinking the alcohol, preferring the tart cherry and lime waters in a silver goblet. "Nor will my head be swimming."

—-

"And I, without company as well," The Moon admits, though without any complaint. Her head turns as her eyes sweep over the party again, and the pale woman of light ventures, "Though it would seem there is company enough for all, and more besides, this evening." One can hear the smile and mirth in her words. "Lady Phoenix is quite gorgeous, and the Banshee is suitably fearsome and awe-inspiring, not to mention our hosts, and the quaint Pirate King." There are, afterall, so many to watch. To regard.
She offers the Peacock her hand then, "Shall we dance, then, and make merry that we might inspire others to follow?"

—-

Mingling with the lively crowd that twirl and jig and generally have themselves a grand old time nearer to the source of the music, the Phoenix might be momentarily lost to sight. But it won't last long. It's in her nature to reappear, after all! Finding a hand gamely grasped by a young warrior, she permits him a dance; twirling with surprising fluid grace under his arm, skirts flaring out around the silhouette of her bare legs beneath and her 'wings' trailing in the wake of the motion. It's not such a complicated set that it would require her full attention - she engages her daring partner in good-natured banter as they follow the steps along with other temporary pairings, and her laughter is audible enough to those close by. It would seem the creature born of fire and ash is in remarkably good spirits, this evening. And why not?

—-

Oh yes, there are those who can see Him. The Banshee's gaze does rest upon the Tall Man and those black upon black eyes blink, a thing the Swamplight might chance to see, but with the turn of the masque and low lights it could simply have been a trick of the shadows. There is a incline of her head towards him (or perhaps simply to the Swamplight it would seem the same). There is silence that continues as she listens to the Swamplight and perhaps something else. Eventually she bows her head in acknowledgement. But perhaps surprisingly a voice does come, whisper soft…the words slow and quite airy sounding. "Perhaps more dangerous than you know, but surely such light does not worry about danger. A dance would be lovely if you wish the risk." There is a slight pause, an odd continuation as she looks past his shoulder while he is glancing towards that dance floor,"And perhaps should you fancy a dance yet this night yourself, I might dare to ask for one." An odd thing to say, but then it is directed to the man behind him and not Swamplight.

—-

"Lyrical, and elegant," returns the Moon to her Peacock partner. And, once her hand is taken she leads the woman in the splendor of green and decorations to the dancefloor. "It shall be a different dance for us," she agrees, warmly, "One far more pleasant, that we may enjoy without threat of loss. Unless, of course, either of us loses their senses in the other," comes the tease and suggestion of the legends of people going 'Moon Mad' at times. Briefly, she sees the Goblyn King, and dips her head towards the curious costumed one, but her attention returns to her present dance partner and companion.

—-

The Swamplight gives a low bow to the Banshee, and a smile rests upon his face behind the mask, "M'Lady, twould be a pleasure. For after all, one does dare the lights. Even if they are the lights themselves. So it would be a pleasure to be the one lured to the etherness this eve." He gives a low, sweeping bow then to the Banshee then, and goes to extinguish his own lights and lanterns within the costume a moment later then. He is after all the one that is following the dangerous trail then as he offers his arm to the Banshee to let her lead.

—-

The Winter Wolf would not be much of a wolf if he did not, at some point, pursue prey, would he? And so, in due time, he makes his way over to where a certain game animal stands, antlers and all, dropping in a respectful bow. "Lady Stag," he greets her, and the outline of bright teeth can be seen just beneath his mask. "May I, perchance, have the pleasure of your first dance of the evening?" There's a little glimmer in the Wolf's eye behind the grey metal, an unspoken assurance. First. Not /only/.

—-

Sinesse blinks at the Fish, only then seeming to give a look towards the more supernatural looking costumes. Or only then truly picking them out of all the many others. "Oh….I had not given thought to that before. Do you really think that it asks for bad luck?" She does truly seem to consider it as she takes a bite of that roll. "Oh no, I've not had the chokolat yet." Her attention bouncing away from the thought before and back to the food.

—-

The fish quietly sets her plate down and excuses herself. She doesn't feel… good. Perhaps it was the potato or the costumes. "Yes, yes I do," she says softly. She curtsies to the others and then quickly swims away when Sinesse goes for the Chokolat.

—-

That remark earns the Moon a glance from the Peacock and a faint smile, even so, they begin to move about each other, following the steps of the dance, dictated by the music that ripples through the Great Hall. "The moon sits there, high above us all. It must be lonely up there, I would think. What made you pick that costume…?", the Peacock asks then, her tone slightly curious.

—-

"A pity," the Greathawk replies, regarding the Fish with a look of mild amusement, just visible behind his mask. "Were you to choose to swim, doubtless you would go quite far." But that is as far as that particular stream of conversation goes, and he makes quick work of the potato, gulping it down in rather predatory fashion, before moving out among the dancers, alone for a moment, but with his wings fluttering in time to the music. In due time, he finds himself in the vicinity of one of the revelers, and with an outstretched claw, he welcomes a dance partner of the moment into his arms, his movements not particularly ostentatious, but reasonably graceful.

—-

The Pirate princess puts down her plate and nods. "Dancing would be lovely. Shall we?" she asks with a bright smile. The rest of the food can wait.

—-

Fire nudges Ice with a soft sigh. "You look so stiff and uncomfortable, Ice dear. Should we mingle and perhaps partake of food?" She gives him a wicked grin. "I'll even eat a full plate."

—-

Turning her majestic head at the sight of the Wolf, first, and then the sound of his voice, the Stag can't help but smirk from behind her tan fur mask. Eyebrows - her own, of course - rise as she glares daggers through the mask at the approaching predator. Is she on the defensive? No, not this creature. She has weapons with which to defend herself, and when she bows her head again in greeting, it's a twofold gesture. "I suppose I can permit that," she ultimately drawls, holding out a hand and waiting for the Wolf to take it. Predators gotta predate, after all.

—-

A fox is on the prowl. A rather talented fox, from the looks of things, with the capability of playing a lute with a great ease. And, play Master Fox does, though not overwhelming the other musicians. If anything, he plays accompaniment, without a second thought. It doesn't matter the musical styling. It seems this clever little fox can play them all.

—-

The Tall Man chuckles, to himself, or perhaps to something said to him. How novel to actually have a two way conversation at one of these! That certainly hasn't happened in a good long while. But still, he continues to glide through the crowd, pausing near the Pirate King and Princess, leaning over to place his head between theirs, arms across their shoulders though his lips are turned towards the King before he sweeps the Princess off to dance, "Do not be complacent in your victory. Sometimes a lesser evil keeps a greater one in check. Be wary of what may be unleashed when the lesser is no more. You have many more trials to face." He glances then to the Princess, a bit of a wistful twist touching his lips, "And you, my dear. Such purity is nearly out of place here, but you are blessed in His sight. I would caution you not to forget it, but you won't. Hold to it, and you will be blessed further in days to come. I know Him well enough to say that with assurance." And with that, he kisses each of them on the cheek and moves away.

—-

The twofold gesture isn't lost on the White Wolf, and he gives a respectful not as his eyes watch those horns bob up and down. He takes her hand with surprising care and sweeps out toward the dance floor, his steps surprisingly light, given his size, almost padded. Still, there's a definitive /presence/ to the predator as he leads the Stag into the crowd, and between her horns and his predatory mien, they have no trouble forcing their way into the crowd. Quiet, but with a fairly genuine smile, the Wolf takes the Stag in his arms and begins to move in time to the music. For the moment, at the very least, his eyes are fixed on hers, and the expression is… guarded, if only subtly so.

—-

And while the Peacock has most of her attention, the Moon is too fascinated in some respects with other costumes and what others are doing to forget where she is or what is all around her. As the Fox joins the musicians, she seems pleased at the upturn in beat and flavor, considering the question posed to her. She answers, then, "For it is the opposite of everything I have been, and in some respects, that which I am to become. Perhaps." There is no regret in her tone, as she turns, leading the Peacock in the dance. Curiosity, instead. "But if it is as fine a dance as this, then you are correct. I shall have nothing to fear."

—-

A slight bow of the Banshee's head is given to the Swamplight and graceful turn of a curtsey. Her own lips remain rather set in an emotionless bent even as he offers up that smile. "Darkness has great power over Light, one must tread carefully." Those words still coming slowly and soft, as if not daring to speak a breath louder least they turn into a ghastly wail. Nothing more offered in word as her hand lightly settles upon his in accepting the offer of a dance. But there is a turn of a smile that touches those lips as the Tall Man chuckles before moving onwards. And she in turn becomes lead onto that dance floor, an unearthly grace touching each of the tall creatures motions.

—-

As the music changes - as it is wont to do - the Phoenix extricates herself from the attentions of a Warrior, only to find herself face to face with an equally formidable bird of prey. Ah well, what purpose is there in having such a festive occasion at all, if not to meet new 'creatures' on an even footing? Or.. wingspan? When the Greathawk's former partner of the moment drifts onward to the next dizzying whirl, the Phoenix offers him a hand, with a mischievous arch of a brow in invitation. "Another Hawk in Lonnaire? We'd best all look to the skies, hm..?" Her grin, however, implies not even the faintest hint of concern. Concerns must be few and far between, when you'll only rise from the ashes, regardless.

—-

And the Greathawk is pleased enough to bid his previous partner goodbye with a little wave, whirling about and finding himself face to face with the dazzling red bird. "To be alert is a virtue, Lady Phoenix," he replies simply, tilting his head to one side in a distinctly avian gesture. One can almost see the gears turning behind the mask - with most of the guests, there is at least a vague sense of recognition, but with this one, none at all. But no matter. Dipping his head and spreading his arms wide, inviting her forward, he muses, "Birds of a feather. Shall we soar above the rest for a time, then?"

—-

Ice grunts at fire and nods. "Sure, we can mingle a little bit. First you should eat something. Just as you said, it's a full plate of food for you, plenty of meat and bread too. I'll be keeping my eye out." He reaches up to tap at one of his mask's eyeholes.

—-

The Pirate King seems to pause as the Tall Man speaks to him. When it's done, he blinks, looks at the Pirate Princess and reaches down to take her hand. "Yes, dancing. Come, I think I know of a dance we can do in one of those little niches. I believe my tongue is more nimble than my legs tonight." He gives her hand a gentle squeeze and then leads her away from the cake.

—-

The Swamplight nods then, "Aye. In the end, many things have power over many things. Darkness, light. Daring, danger. Lust and greed." He takes the Banshee then and moves to dance with her along the floor as permitted then as he also gives a bow in passing as the Swamplight takes the Banshee for a dance then, of a creature acknowledging the temptation of the darkness..

—-

Though it is not obvious, with the eyes upon the mask the Goblyn King wears betraying only black empty pools, there is a tilt of the head as the white figure seems to see a recognizable figure, drifting by the Pirate King and his Princess. A ghost of a smirk curls the pale lips, as the King shifts, moving through towards a table. It would seem that even mythical beings become thirsty, as a slender hand, barely perceptible amidst the sleeves of the robes he wears, curl around a cup of watered wine…lifting the vessel up to partake a drink.

—-

The dance is moved within, the Banshee eventually speaking once more as the graceful movements of the dance, the flowing turns of dress and robes adding to the impression she floats more than walks. "And what is it you think has power most over you?"

—-

The Pirate Princess's eyes go distant as the Tall Man speaks to her, but as he leaves she seems to come to herself again. "What kind of dance would that be?" she asks naively and innocently as she follows the Pirate King in the direction of one of the alcoves.

—-

Fire makes her way towards the buffet table, filling her plate with some of the boar, a bit of chicken and a half of a grabber, which she douses in garlic butter. She takes a pair of rolls and loads the rest of the plate with cooked vegetables before standing off to the side and beginning to eat, while chatting with a couple of revelers who had taken advantage of her coming down from the dais to mingle.

—-

"Why not." The Phoenix's reply is borne upon a pleasant, throaty laugh. "What's the sense in enduring the crowd afoot when you can rise above and judge from on high?" The smile that curves her carmine-stained lips is neither demure nor sardonic.. but somewhere teasingly in between. Lightly draping the fingertips of one hand atop the Greathawk's knuckles, she falls into step with him, this dance thankfully a touch slower than the last. "And how are you finding the view, thus far..?" For a moment, her eyes wander over the Great Hall at large, encompassing the myriad of creatures and beings present tonight within her enquiry. "Predators and prey, all brought together by little more than the promise of fine hunting. Though some more keenly than others, I suppose."

—-

As the Swamplight dances with the Banshee, he takes a breath and considers. Quietly. "Fear. Fear and envy." He offers then. "Over myself.. The fear of the threat of others, of not being good enough. The envy of those who are more powerful or that I think are against me."

—-

Green eyes blink as Sinesse turns back to her Fish friend after taking up some of the chokolat to find that the Fish has gone and swum straight on off. She turns, bewildered and confused. Had she said something wrong? Simply standing there looking slightly lost with a piece of chokolat in hand.

—-

The Pirate King disappears into an alcove with the Pirate Princess.

—-

Ice watches Fire load up her plate with an approving nod, then puts a bunch of meat onto his own plate, grabs several rolls and tosses them onto the plate too. Reaching for a small pitcher, he coats his plate in gravy and then begins digging into some of the tasty, tasty meat. "The wolf motif is a good one." He idly comments to Fire with a mouthful of meat. "I could definitely go as something carnivorous the next time around."

—-

The Tall Man steps out from behind the pillar the Bloodlord still leans against, stepping right alongside him and leaning over to murmur, "You have seen firsthand that ruin that too much ambition brings. But a complete lack of it can bring equal ruin. You are more than a blade, and if you can finally accept that, you will be stronger for it. And more useful." He pauses, then gestures to the dance floor, "Now go and enjoy yourself. That scratch on your side doesn't hurt anymore, and your sister will be happier if you do more than watch."

And but a moment later, hands with too-long fingers come to rest on the Goblyn King's shoulders as the Tall Man looms behind her…clear across the Hall from where he was but a moment ago, with somehow no sense of movement yet no sense of suddenly disappearing or reappearing either. It's simply as though this was suddenly where he was all along, or where he was meant to be.

"Cheeky little thing." He murmurs in the Goblyn King's ear, "Were I as capricious as my younger days I might be angry. But these are far from my younger days, aren't they?" His hands release the Goblyn King and he gazes upon "him" with an amused grin, "You may not want to maintain your disguise quite so strictly though…at least if you've any hope of seizing any long-sought quarry this eve."

—-

Fortunately, dear Sinesse does not have to stand there for terribly long. Gliding rather effortlessly to her left side, Lyonal gently places a hand upon her shoulder. He has long disposed of his ill-gotten goblet of wine. Instead, his hands are free, apart from the light touch upon the shoulder. "Ah, beloved, I am fortunate indeed to have found you admist the crowd. I had feared it was yet another trial set forth before us."

—-

Ah, yes - to be the one people make way for on the dance floor is a good feeling, indeed. The Stag dances with the Wolf a bit, enough to satisfy - or so she thinks. Pleased with herself, she bows to him again when the song ends and another begins, allowing herself to be pulled into the tide of other dancers.

—-

"I was finding the view pleasant enough," the Greathawk replies as he settles easily into the dance with the other bird, happy enough to keep the pace reasonably slow. The night is young, after all, and depending on how things proceed, there may be reason for each to save their energy. "But significantly better now than it was before, I think." He listens to her words, but takes his time responding, twirling about and letting the music swell and fade before he replies. "Curious, isn't it, that the promise of hunting would attract prey as well? It makes one wonder about the nature of the two." His lips press together and curl upward for a moment. "Some more keenly than others, indeed."

—-

The Banshee listens well to what words the Swamplight comes to speak. Even if that black gaze might wander ,spying the Goblyn King. And perhaps also taking in where the Tall Man goes. But the good thing about those black upon black eyes? Swamplight can't actually tell her gaze (and perhaps attention) drifts. "Fine fears, but ones that may be let go for the evening." Ah…There is a fleeting flicker of a smile as the Banshee spies the Tall Man near the Goblyn King.

—-

"You will shine, I am sure," The Peacock replies to the Moon, her lips twisting into a smile, at the surprising lyrical quality of her words. "Even I have learned how to tread the twisted paths of court…" She looks up, her gaze sweeping over the colorful gathering of masked courtiers.

—-

The Swamplight is unaware of the talking, of the King and the Tall Man, and of the things that the Banshee smiles at. He lets the Banshee lead him, "Aye, the Masks of the Masque rule the eve. SO then, M'Lady, might I ask then what draws you? Whether it be fears? Introspection? Danger? What do you contemplate this night then." He offers as he lets her lead in the dance.

—-

Enough to satisfy for the moment, at the very least. It's clear that the Wolf enjoys his dance with the Stag, as much because of the way the crowd melts away before them as for the pleasure of her company as well. When the song ends, his paw slides down her arm and takes her hand, and with eyes flickering upward, he presses a little kiss into the back, fur brushing against her skin as he does. And then he, too, is swept into the crowd of revelers, dancing briefly with one partner and another, finding himself quite suddenly close to the edge. Close to the wall where a particular Owl stands. And his eyes meet hers for a rather long moment, and then, raising a paw, he beckons her forward.

—-

Fire starts working on the grabber first. Frightening looking creatures when alive, but when ready to eat they just look a bit strange. (Yum. Lobster.) She spreads one of the rolls with a healthy dollop of apple butter and polishes that off neatly. "I'll keep that in mind for our next one," she replies to Ice. "I am sure we can think of something carnivorous for you next time." And perhaps he will argue less with the costuming. She turns back to another Greathawk and a scantily clad Priestess, and nods to them both, losing herself in conversation with them for a short time.

—-

Sinesse starts just a touch at the touch upon her elbow. Surprise over taking that lost look. But then she is looking to see who it is that has appeared beside her. A smile forms quickly to see she has been found. "My dearest, I was not sure I would yet see you this evening. There are so many wild creatures about, I was certain it was another trial put before us. And even a test that could not be passed." She looks down at her hand and sheepishly offers,"I hear the chokolat is tasty?"

—-

Slowly, as the music changes, the Moon ends her dance with the Peacock. And she leans forwards, to kiss the other's cheek. "A fine dance, one I shall not forget ere soon. But I should not keep you all to myself this evening, when there are so many other interesting things to see, and creatures to mingle with." One can hear the mirth, and perhaps excitement in her tone. And she inclines her head warmly to her dance partner, shifting to find others in the room and leave the Peacock to do the same. It's towards the strange Goblyn King she finds her feet drifting, her eyes curious of the costume. "You are just as I envisioned you," she tells the 'man' of myth, "Though I had all but forgotten you in these recent years since my childhood left me." And, of course, stories of faeries, and the more fantastic days.

—-

"Perhaps some enjoy being pursued.. or rescued." suggests the Phoenix.. though the deliberately feigned air of innocent speculation can only lead one to assume she's already made up her mind on that matter. Of course certain creatures prefer to be the prey. But not all. And those who have caught her eye thus far are on the opposite end of the spectrum entirely. Has any man ever laid claim to the Moon? Or called a Banshee his own dear heart? Certainly none can claim to possess all the secrets of Fire, beyond kindling it to a spark and hoping it doesn't take hold and lay waste to all that surrounds… ah, but she's musing overlong. Completing an elegant turn beneath the Greathawk's arm, the Phoenix smiles up at him, enjoying the bandying of words, or her own awareness of her being something of a mystery. Both, most likely. "And what drew you, my fellow winged thing? The lure of easy prey or a worthy opponent in the hunt?"

—-

The Bloodlord cants his head curiously at nothing in particular, a bit of puzzlement briefly crossing his face behind that thin "veil" he wears, and then he pushes away from the pillar, moving closer to where the revelry is in full swing, and he rather casually reaches out and slips an arm around a dancing "Wood Nymph's" waist, not pulling her against him, but more sweeping himself along to pick up the dance beside her, deft feet moving in rhythm to the music, the goblets jangling at his sides as he follows the steps.

—-

There might have been a slight tremble beneath those too-long fingers. But only slight…the Goblyn King plays the part well. Still, the shorter figure remains facing forward, though the head tilts so that, if it was visible, an eye would cast sidelong to the speaker. A soft retort is given, with all the dignity and bearing that can be mustered. "I thought it best to beg for forgiveness, rather than ask for permission." That slight grin touches the lips once more, showing that yes, whoever is within the robes is rather precocious indeed. "I had not intended for any particular situation to arise…but I shall take your words under advisement." The words are soft…just loud enough for one set of ears only.

And then, having said those words, the Goblyn King turns and offers a nod to the Tall Man, though in such a manner in which he could be nodding to anyone. After all, despite the blank eye sockets, it is certain that the figure noticed just how transparent his counterpart seemed to be to everyone else.

—-

Whoooo, her? The Owl had done her duty all night to that point, following around a maid who, upon further inspection, looks like she may be dressed as a mouse. Irony wasn't lost on her there, however simple her origins, but she was hoping to go more unnoticed with wings that matched the stone of the walls. She saw the Wolf approach. She saw him dancing with the Stag. She'd remained quiet, vigilant, watching. And now with his paw outstretched and looked at it blankly, orange-rimmed eyes hoping for more of a distinct invitation.

—-

It does not seem the Banshee can be rushed to give up more words, even with so many questions posed to her as the dancing might continue on. With the long moments that follow, it would not be a stretch to think she designed not to answer. But in time there are more words in the slow, soft fashion. "Many things draw upon me, m'Lord, and weigh heavy upon me. But this night there is but one true draw upon me. In time I will not be able to resist it, until then I enjoy a dance and shall watch others find what the masks allow them to pursue." Never quite putting voice to what it exactly is.

—-

"Of course you didn't, in your mind." The Tall Man replies to the Goblyn King, giving a slight bow from the waist, "Enjoy yourself as I would. Fully and without reservation. The threads of fate draw close together as they do when the tapestry of an Age nears completion. What will come after I cannot yet say, but resetting the loom is always a time of great change…not all of it pleasant." The Tall Man flashes his black-eyed grin…one that is not entirely pleasant, "But that's what makes it exciting. The not knowing." And with that, he backs away into the crowd, turning to go seek the next person his whims direct him towards.

—-

There is a nod and a grin from the Swamplight as he chuckles softly with the swings, "Fair enough then M'Lady." He enjoys the twirl as the dance goes on. "And let me say it is an honor to have you and to dance with you, even if just only once. If there is danger, so the better. But regardless.." He goes to twirl with the Banshee. "An honor and a privilege. And a story that at some time, even if not this night then buton another's eve, I would enjoy t' hear."

—-

Yes, her! But the Wolf isn't uncouth enough to shout across the room. Instead, he extracts himself from the edge of the crowd with the same force of presence that he'd used to enter the dance floor in the first place, his eyes fixed on her orange-rimmed ones. And dropping in a bow when they are face to face, he tilts his head back toward the dance floor, again extending a paw so close that he's nearly touching her. His eyes are intense enough that it almost looks as though he intends to pick her up and carry her to the floor, but he stops just shy. Still, that ought to be distinct enough…

—-

"My Lord," suggests the Moon, to the Goblyn King, who seemed distracted with some other figure she could not quite ascertain who, upon the dance floor or within the King's sight, but she doesn't dwell on it, curious rather than disturbed at those odd eyes in the mask. "May I have this dance?" She extends her hand thus, towards him. "For I must admit, you've caught my curiosity." One can hear the smile in her tone.

—-

As The Tall Man passes the Wood Nymph and the Bloodlord, he hip-bumps the Nymph towards her impromptu dance-partner and chides, almost singsong, "Careful. You do tend to like the "wrong" men for all the right reasons."

—-

"It must be, to find you offering so readily." There is a light chuckle from Lyonal as he reaches over to claim the chokolat. "Though, now that I have found you, my dear, I had thought that we enjoy each other's company for a moment or three. Before the Fates find us once more and place yet another obstacle before us." With the hand holding the chokolat, he indicates the dance floor. "Would you care to dance, sweet Sinesse? Or…do we truly wish to partake of the chokolat?"

—-

There's a little, almost predatory grin on the Greathawk's face as the Phoenix loses herself in musing, an amused look, though his amusement doesn't distract him from the dancing at all. He twirls her easily enough as she completes the turn, then takes a half-step closer, pressing just a bit into her form as she presses into his secrets. "Must I choose between the two?" The grin grows a little wider, a little toothier. "When the prey are easy, there is little joy in the taking. One can seek more challenging prey, perhaps, or one can compete with another hunter. Either adds to the appeal. And when both the prey and the other predators present a challenge, well." His voice drops to an almost conspiratorial whisper. "That is when one finds the most delicious of all."

—-

A soft chuckle escapes from the Goblyn King as, with his conversational partner now on the move once more, the white-robed figure turns to the Moon. "Ah, yes, forgive me, Mistress Moon. I would be most honoured to offer that dance. You flatter me with your words, even if you had almost forgotten me. To admit as such is truly bold. And I, like fortune, favor the bold." With that, a hand is extended, to claim Lady Moon's hand. "Shall we, then?"

—-

The Owl is thankful she wouldn't be forcibly removed from her perch. A quick glance is given in the direction of the Mouse before her full attention is back on the Wolf, and, taking his hand, she follows him onto the dance floor.

—-

Those black upon black eyes do near bore into Swamplight at some thing that comes to be said. "You had a dance, no more. Do not be so precocious to believe that mean you have me as well." Some turn of that danger rising, that legendary anger of a Banshee perhaps? The twirl is made, the skirts of her dress and robe shifting in those motions. But as she is drawn back and the song begins to reach it's end. "My story is not yours to hear, I fear. Just as I fear this dance draws to a close as does our time together this eve."

—-

Swamplight dips his head to the Banshee, "Then I thank you for the dance then and for reminding me of my place, M'Lady. And that, I fear,is another of my own faults then." He grins a little not quite wolfishly as the White Wolf has managed to perfect. "And one that I seem to realize less and less. So I thank you for letting me have a corner of your story for just this evening, and just for one dance." He lets her lead for the final moments of the dance the pair have.

—-

From the corner of her eye, amused as she is by her current partner, the Phoenix notes the passing of a Wolf so towering it's nigh impossible to overlook him, in more ways than one. An idle gaze traces from the predator to his intended quarry, as the stalking path becomes less stalking and more.. purposeful striding. The Owl? That's an interesting choice of-… oh. There's a flicker of understanding. And her expression clears, even from the subtle uncertainty, to the same good humor as before. Good hunting, indeed, Winter Wolf. Why change your choice of dining when you've found something so obviously to your taste? Just watch out for the claws, as you likely deserve them embedded in your overeager snout.

—-

The gentle closing in of the Greathawk rouses her from the reverie, and she offers him a winning smile; white teeth a stark contrast against those berry-hued lips. Was she listening to him? ..yes, apparently. "There speaks the voice of experience.." she teases, unperturbed by his proximity and continuing the dance as gracefully as before. "..not that I consider knowing one's favoured territory to be a mark against them, of course. But what does a Hawk consider a Phoenix? Surely a thing of legend cannot be branded as one or the other, predator or prey.. because they haven't the time for such earthly matters…" The 'dancefloor' is becoming crowded - she occasionally glances beyond the Greathawk's shoulder to ensure they don't collide with any fellow revellers. Presumably.

—-

"I have actually not tried it," admits Sinesse. A fine blush coloring her cheeks with that. "There was this..Fish..who suggested it. But then she vanished in a thrice before I could give it a try." She does seem to have lost interest in the chokolat as he speaks. "I would rather like that, and perhaps try the chokolat after, should the Fates not seen fit to give us another obstacle before us. I would pray that they might give us this one night to enjoy now that we have found each other, before we must again face the challenges they have for us."

—-

With the Owl on his arm, the Wolf's movements are rather… different than they were with the Stag. He presses into the crowd with at least as much ferocity, if not more, carving out a space for the two predators to move in time to the music. His arms wrap around her in a manner that's not particularly subtle, and they dance close together, his fur against her feathers, his eyes fixed on hers. If he feels the Phoenix's eyes on his form, and he almost assuredly does, given the circumstances, he pays them little mind. The music moves into a somewhat faster pace, and even so he appears impatient, his movements still graceful, but with a great degree of urgency as they dance.

—-

The Moon's hand is claimed, and she dips her head, "We shall," she agrees, amusement touching her features. The King's androgyny seeming to hold no hesitation for Lady Moon, she allows this time the King to lead rather than herself, to the dance floor. "Do be gentle," she warns, voice teasing, mirthful. "This is my first Masquerade. Though I must admit a measure of enthrallment. Our hosts have outdone themselves. As have many of the guests."

—-

The Tall Man picks up a random morsel, tasting it curiously, and sighing, "Ah, to once again dance in the Gardens of Endless Spring. Its' simplest fruit a sumptuous feast compared to the meager fare of the now. But the blood of Za'ker'ethel watered the orchards and what was sweet turned bitter. In hindsight, perhaps I shouldn't have cut his throat." He says to no one in particular.

—-

Oh, that smile. It's enough to draw the Greathawk in a little closer, if only for a moment, and his reply is whispered an almost impolite distance from her ear. "If one knows the favored territory, one can easily find what one seeks, no?" Grinning, he steps back, twirling her about as the music swells, then stepping in close again. "Now, that is to be seen, Lady Phoenix. Not a predator or prey, but a creature of fire, of passion and power. One to be cherished, and respected, but no hunter can resist the allure of the chase…" And, yes, his eyes also wander over the other bird's shoulder, the unspoken agreement that, though it may be an enjoyable dance, it remains one among many, the night of the Masque.

—-

The Banshee dips a flawless curtsey to the Swamplight as the dance comes to an end. "There is no plan this night but the one we might make in the time we have." That dark gaze lingers upon him a moment before she designs to add,"You have seen but a shadow of a truth this night. Far from a corner to the story that defines me, m'Lord." A turn of her hand drifts to take in the whole of the masque,"For others, this is true as well. Others, perhaps you see the whole truth." Leaving him with that to puzzle over as the Banshee does drift away with the dance having concluded.

—-

A mystery. A twist of a box then and a riddle. And Swamplight has the sense that, if just for a moment, he has been a part of a Story then. A grin is upon the face of Swamplight then and he gives a final bow to the Banshee. And a candle then is passed over to her then if she would take it as she departed, and Swamplight would if she took it grin, "To light your way back then to the next page of your book and the next song of your ballad M'Lady. An honor."

—-
The Tall Man leans over from his new position just beside her, and whispers in "Fire's" ear, "You need not be your father. Nor your Grandmother. But you can be greater than both, and neither, all at once. Find your own path, and your own balance, and do not entirely fear to spend your family's most precious coin. You know who you can trust, save for one you cannot and one you could. But sadly that's a lesson you'll have to learn the hard way." He leans over and kisses at the crook of her neck, "And I still remember your Sinesse." And then he's "gone" yet again.

—-

The Owl does not like to rush. There's anxiety there in her movements, a stiffness despite the protective hold of the Wolf, that addles her enough to not look anywhere but at her feet for a few moments. Owls aren't terribly social creatures, besides, so it makes sense that she's shy. With so many costumes, it's hard to see where one ends and another begins when she does look up. But how could she miss the Phoenix? There's something distant there before a blink, and then the Owl is focusing her attention on the Wolf. She doesn't say anything yet, but she's present in all ways.

—-

There is no grin upon the Banshee's face in turn. Even if the mask she wears bears many emotions designed into it, those lips carry a lack of emotion in that moment. "I thank you for the offer, but I must decline. The shadows are my realm and I walk amongst them, the light would only disrupt the path I walk." A mear incline of her head and she is truly gone.

—-

The slight amused grin upon Lyonal's visible features widens to a smile. "Quite eloquently spoken, my dear." Already, the chokolat is being passed along, though this time it is certainly to a servant. He thinks. Oh well…cannot be helped. "Then quickly, to the dance!" With his hands now quite free, Lyonal reaches down to take both of Sinesse's hands, gently leading her to the dancefloor beyond. "May we dance together and hide in plain sight."

—-

As Lyonal leads Sinesse out, so too does the Goblyn King lead the Lady Moon to the floor. A laugh escapes from the King's throat. "I assure you, my Lady. I shall be most gentle." The voice certainly doesn't sound all that masculine and might be recognizable to those that may overhear. The disguise is slipping…as per the suggestion of he who inspired it. "This is not my first….though I have not been to many, myself. But, I have heard the stories. And yes, it is a most magical experience." With that, the royal figure places a hand upon the Moon's side. Seems that his royal highness is not afraid to lead in the least.

—-

The Swamplight gives a final bow then to the Banshee, and shuffles away then over. Not grasping any emotion, or perhaps the lack of it then, but he watches her as she fades away then, and the Swamplight has to wonder then.. How far did he push his luck then. With an introspective glance, he moves towards the food table lost in thought

—-

Following the next turn, the Phoenix's eyes alight upon a crimson-festooned Bloodlord and his nymph, amusement in her shaded gaze as they twirl by on the periphery. Dancing? How very… un-Bloodlord-like of him. But it seems to please her to see it, all the same.

The warmth of breath across her ear snaps her attention back, inevitably, to the more pressing matter of the predator she's currently entertained by. "True.." she murmurs, softening her own tone in keeping with his and the occasional proximity they share as the dance continues on, neverending. "..though the most enviable of hunters could find the finest chase with ease even in the rarely-trod depths of a forest.. or crowd.." She executes the spins, under his lead, with aplomb and returns to him undaunted, not missing a beat, in dancing or in word. Brazenly mirroring his own gesture of a moment ago, the Phoenix leans subtly inward to offer a further few playful words. "..who knew a mighty Hawk had such a silver tongue? But be careful, lest you singe your fine plumage, won't you..?" As the music ebbs and drifts into another melody, the mythical creature draws both she and her partner to a halt, drawing back enough to meet his gaze with another of those half-smirks. "I suppose we shall see if the thrill of the chase brings you to cross my path again this evening."

—-

The Bloodlord seems to have moved away from the Wood Nymph for now, even after she practically stumbled into his arms. As the Banshee and Swamplight part, he passes the latter, reaching up to place a halting hand on his shoulder, and while there's a smile behind the veil, the words that are spoken from behind it are not mirthful when he murmurs harshly:

"You seem to be enjoying yourself, but fair warning: If you set one of the guests on fire with one of those damn candles, accidentally or otherwise, I can assure you you will wish for death by burning." And with that, The Bloodlord gives Swamplight a "cheerful" clap on the shoulder and moves away into the crowd.

—-

The Swamplight gives out a laugh quietly then as his shoulder was hit then, and his fingers go up to snuff out the candles over his form and he dips his head in a bow, "Understood My Lord. The only thing which would be burnt tonight is myself." He'd had the costume built extra thick to help ensure such a thing, even as he goes to close off the remainder of the lights then as his shoulder was rather sore from the swat. "And they shall stay off for the remainder of the Eve, My Lord." Shoulder sore, and the warning well took.

—-

In general, in /general/, the Wolf is not the sort to rush into things either. And on a certain level, tonight is no exception. There's anxiety in his movements, too, a bit of trepidation, a bit of uncertainty in the way he holds her. But in predatory fashion, he presses through, holding her tight, moving a beat ahead of the music. And then he leans in, quite notably, until his false snout is nearly brushing against her ear, and his lips move, forming words that only she will hear.

—-

If Lady Moon knew the voice that belonged to the Goblyn King, she does not give any indication otherwise. But she follows the lead of the dance, and by her guise and mannerism enjoying herself regardless. "I've heard the stories too," she agrees to her partner. "Of both you, and those of the Masque. Our minds and duties may change, but ever it is our nature to seek stories, is it not?" The counter to her companion is one of curiousity. What can be seen of her smile is shared between Sinesse and Lyonal as they take the floor, embracing their roles and personas before she looks back to the Goblyn King. "Though I am uncertain if I have ever, indeed, had a magical experience," she admits, half serious, half teasing.

—-

The vanishing chokolat is barely even noticed by Sinesse as her attention does seem to be taken by Lyonal in full. "You flatter me, my dearest," the color in her cheeks lingering on. "It is you who have a better way with words than I." Easily being lead to the dance floor, not tarying a moment least she risk the intervention of the Fates! "I have long thought of this moment, ever since I received your letter." The admission made as that dance is taken up.

—-

"Mmm. I assure you that I will be appropriately cautious, Lady Phoenix." For his part, the Greathawk doesn't seem terribly afraid of being singed. His body shudders a bit, quite involuntarily, as she leans in closer, and he returns the gesture with a somewhat pointed squeeze where his hand rests on her shoulder. But as the dance winds down, and yes, her eyes have certainly wandered, he takes a step back, dipping in a short bow. "I would certainly not be displeased if it did, Lady Phoenix," he replies, and there's a toothy grin at that. "Allow me to wish you a delightful evening." And then he's back into the throng of revelers.

—-

The Bloodlord passes "The Alhazredi" who is arm-in-arm with a voluptuous, veiled woman. He exchanges a brief nod with both of them before continuing on his way, moving up alongside the now-solitary Phoenix, unabashedly slipping an arm about her waist, "Hm, perhaps the Bloodlord, if he ever really existed, should've considered bathing in fire rather than blood to achieve his immortality." He grins towards the brightly-clad woman, "Shall we dance?"

—-

Meanwhile, the Stag has made her way back to the refreshment table again, and she's poring over it while snatching up a little of this and a little of that. In no time, it looks like she's snatching up a little of something else, too, conspicuous antlers bobbing in a nod as she separates from a group of revelers, looking back to the food only and not the crowd, for a brief moment. Grabbing one more treat, she grins, heading out the door behind a few that left just before her.

—-

The Phoenix doesn't pretend indifference.. there's a knowing sparkle in blue eyes beneath the ebon lace disguising them, in response to that momentary squeeze and other subtle indications that she will, at the very least, be memorable. "..nor would I." she offers, in return, inclining her head gently in acceptance of that smart bow. Well, perhaps the memory won't linger all that long, given the variety of predators and prey alike.. not to mention the wine. Oh, yes. Wine. Watching the Greathawk vanish into the crowd, the fiery bird turns unhurriedly on a heel, of a mind to find herself a fresh goblet… only to find herself ensnared by an arm securely about her waist.

The startled expression gives way without hesitation to another of those velvety laughs, the knuckles of one hand dragging an idle, almost lazy caress across the Bloodlord's cheek. "Perhaps so. If he was of a mind to endure it for the sake of his desired outcome.." A fractional nod of acceptance follows, in regard to another dance. The wine isn't going anywhere.

—-

Without missing a beat, the King of the Goblyns replies with a playful droll. "All the pity, to be deprived of magic." The robed figure is, by all appearances, a rather capable dancer, though he does appear to be more gliding than dancing. It must be that ethereal grace that his kind seem to possess, for the Banshee seemed to float, as well. Or, more likely, it is the outfit that lends itself to the impression of gliding. As the pair dance, the King comments, almost flippantly. "Everyone should have the opportunity to experience magic, if only once, to know how it feels."

—-

Having found her way once more among the revelers not quite upon the dance floor, the Banshee floats to a place not far off from one of the tables. Dark eyes drifting over the many dancing or partaking of the food. Spying the Goblyn King caught up within a dance, she does give a bemused smile. An odd thing to come for her. But there is a rare turn of 'silence' being enjoyed unexpectedly this night. A slight incline of her head to a few who pass, a mear acknowledgement. For some, an unpleasant one.

—-

At the table, the Swamplight goes to make sure that his candles are all off, and then goes to take off his gloves for a moment then so that he can take them out of the costume to store them and make sure that they're done. Then he goes to put his gloves back on, taking some of the food from the table and the wine, looking out and watching the rest of the area, taking a few moments to catch his breath and muse.

—-

The Tall Man appears before the Banshee, canting his head down at her and smirking as he speaks:

"I have considered your offer of a dance, and while I am amused by your boldness…I must decline. In ages long past I danced with she whom you have drawn your inspiration from this eve, and you've picked up just enough of my kind that I may get too forward should I risk it. And that would be an exceptionally poor idea, even for me. Besides…I think there's someone else you would rather be dancing with." He glances about and chuckles, "I do so wish he'd have come. His "brother" too. That would have been memorable indeed."

—-

Orange Owl eyes widen at the Wolf's whisper. Of course, no one else could hear it, but that didn't matter. She looked around anyway, head spinning almost like her costume's inspiration. The Mouse wouldn't be eaten, surely, all on her own. And she wasn't on her own, anyway, surrounded by a group of friends. The name of this game was anonymity, right? She nodded, then, the Owl. A wing find's the Wolf's paw and squeezes.

—-

A tilt of the head is given to the admission offered by Sinesse, as Lyonal listens intently. "Since we are confessing, I must also admit that I was concerned. Considering the reception I usually receive from your esteemed family, I would have thought surely that they had discovered my missive and denied you the opportunity to attend." Lyonal continues as the two start to dance, his motions certainly seeming effortless, yet always gently guiding. "I did not win any admirers with my actions before. Which is why I left my written discourse as vague as I would dare. I knew you would understand, but I did not wish for your siblings to, if I could help it." Then, a light laugh. "They wouldn't want to, anyways."

—-

"Then," invites the Moon to her counterpart as she steps lightly enough to continue the dance without error - though, surely there are those more graceful on the floor, "Shall you show me Magic this wonderous evening, Great King? I would be ever in your debt." The crux of the conversation indeed has her in very high spirits, despite if she indeed would get to see magic this evening, or not.

—-

The Bloodlord moves to where the dancing and revelry continues, sweeping the Phoenix along with him. He easily falls into the rhythm and takes the lead in a lively dance. "Well, I've been told I have plenty of endurance. From people whose opinions I trust on the matter." He teases, "And I can be fairly tenacious when I have a goal in sight."

—-

And that's all the Wolf needed. There's a great deal of purpose in his stride as he wraps an arm around the Owl's shoulders and pushes through the crowd of revelers. They were close to the edge to begin with, those two predators, and they make a beeline for the nearest private alcove as soon as they're free. It's not long at all before his grey form, and her feathered one, disappear.

—-

The Banshee's head inclines just slightly to the Tall Man as He appears before her. His words doe bring a bemused smile in time. "I am glad that I have amused you. But it seemed a thing to offer considering this night, and it is one for boldness, is it not?" Her words perhaps not coming quite as slowly as they were earlier in the evening as she speaks with him. "Ah, that would be a valid risk. But you are correct, I would rather dance with him this night. And perhaps will yet have the chance." Her eyes drifting to the room and back to the Tall Man,"I did ask him to come. His 'brother'?" That does draw a turn of curiosity.

—-

Sinesse shakes her head at the confession that comes from Lyonal,"I did not share it with them. Or leave it where it might be found. I dared not risk to be held back from this chance. To risk another obstacle placed before us." Guided through the dance, her motions graceful in all the ways one might expect of a noble lady. "It is true, they do not approve. And would not approve to know a way had been found for a shared moment. You are right, they would not wish to understand. Even if there will only be tonight, I am glad it has been found."

—-

As the Swamp-Light muses, he goes to then finish up his small goblet of wine then and the quick array of snacks he had taken, and goes up to rise then as he sweeps about the floor, a half smile on his face. He is otherwise quietly speaking to himself, if perhaps a bit from the one, "The masks do speak quite a bit.." In introspective as he watches.

—-

Disguising a soft sound within a gentle clearing of her throat instead, the Phoenix admirably also manages to mostly suppress a grin, resulting in a wickedly amused twist across her lips. "Well, I should expect so, given your choice of attire this evening, m'Lord.." Her gaze drifts appreciatively over her partner's.. costume. And then returns to his, her expression relaxing as she falls into the rhythm of the dance, allowing him to lead her through the steps and turns with a certain sense of familiarity in their motions. No, these two are certainly not strangers. And what a sight to behold, a creature of, as someone not so long ago put it, fire and passion, held quite willingly by one of Blood and horror.

"And what goal have you tonight, if I may ask? Immortality?" The Phoenix is teasing, which is no real departure from her manner throughout the evening thus far.. but there's a certain sense of danger about this exchange, not just merely weighing a prospective 'fellow hunter'. Brought in close by the press of the crowd, she quirks a brow up at the Bloodlord. "..that would require some tenacity, indeed."

—-

Her plate finished (even if it took her a fair amount of time to do it… it was a full plate and she prefers smaller portions), Fire turns to Ice as their conversation companions move on to dancing or alcoves or the like. She slides her arm into his and smiles brightly up at Ice. "A dance or two before the night wanes?" she asks gently.

—-

"Oh yes. Quite the family reunion. Truly Ages of catching up to do. Don't worry over it, Child of Iron, neither of them will be any the worse for wear over it. If more than a bit surprised." The Tall Man comments to the Banshee, "Perhaps not entirely a coincidence, given the tenor things are taking of late. The Old World is on the verge of fading purely into myth. It is only natural that its' remnants would seek each other out, knowingly or otherwise." He shrugs, "But that fading may yet take a dozen or a hundred lifetimes, by your reckoning."

—-

For a moment, the pair upon the floor of King and Moon pause, as the pale figure tilts his head, seemingly in thought, though it is hard to tell with the mask in place. Then, the smile widens, as the Goblyn King laughs, a warm laugh full of good-natured amusement. "Ah, perhaps, Mistress Moon. Perhaps Magic will find you. After all, the night is still young. There is still plenty of time for the spellweavers to cast their glamour upon you. Mayhaps you will find one that is as clever as yourself." And…one senses that if the Goblyn King could wink, he would at that instance.

—-

The Bloodlord laughs, shaking his head slightly, causing some of those glass beads dangling from his hood to clatter together. "Immortality? Not this evening. This is an evening for moments and diversions, free of care." He continues to move in time, not missing a step even as he carries on the conversation, only a touch more breathless than he might normally be. "Tenacity will be for the light of day. And a hunt worthy of so legendary and graceful a creature as yourself deserves to be more than a moment or a diversion."

—-

Brows rise just slightly behind that white mask the Banshee wears. "I would think there surprise at finding he would not have quite the hunt he thought to pursue this night. But I think he could use more surprises." Some amusement at that, even if there is more curiosity then worry on the matter. Interest in what else the Tall Man comments. "What is myth and what is real do not always seem in agreement. Yet, I reckon that to is as different as the passing of time to each. Though I reckon I shall see little of it in the end."

—-

As the music fades from one song to the next, there comes a pensive expression upon Lyonal's visible features. "Even if there will only be tonight…" The words are repeated, as Lyonal ponders over the next course of action. There almost seems to be a bit of debate going on within the man, though it is quickly resolved as he leans down to murmur within Sinesse's ear. "Then, if we only have tonight, let us make the most of it, shall we?" And then, even softer words are exchanged with the beauty before him, words only for Sinesse to hear. A head tilts towards the direction of those private alcoves…the only visible exchange between the two. This time, Lyonal is not leading…but truly waiting for his counterpart to decide.

—-

The Moon, too, laughs. "Perhaps I shall, then, find such magic." And, as the song ends, she curtsies deeply to her partner, "A grand time I had with you, Oh Goblyn King. May my Light ever bathe you, and perhaps we shall meet again, some night without our splendor. And perhaps by then I may have found such magic." She seems quite high-spirited with the encounter, but with two dances, she feels the need to rest, "But I fear you have taken such excitement out of me, and I am in need of refreshment. May you find that which you are looking for this evening as well, m'Lord." And with that, the Moon drifts away from the Goblyn King towards the wine.

—-

And so the Swamplight watches. Content then as he observes then. Aware that he sees some things, he does not see other things. And speaking quietly, "Methinks tonight is but another page of a book, a page that some of us do not get to read very much." And he is seemingly content then.

—-

Red and gold. Black swirls underneath. The MaidenFish has returned… perhaps she has overcome her worry. Perhaps the lure of bright lights and sweet music have called her back. But soon she's gliding her way back to that glorious dessert buffet. She fills a plate with various nibbles and settles on a couch- keeping it all hers by setting her plate to the side and her sketch pad on her lap. Soon she is sketching figures- the Wolf in Grey, the lady Moon, the dancing Sinesse and Lyonal.

—-
"How true." The Phoenix's amused and unhesitating reply suggests that, likely as not, she's not really taking the compliment too seriously. She does, it would seem, know better. Still.. mythical creatures do enjoy the admiration of mortals.. why not immortals, too? If she notices the faintly breathless tone in the Bloodlord's words, she doesn't draw attention to it; she simply keeps pace with him, eventually drawing closer to his form and remaining there, save for when she's flung out in a spin or other flourish. Nothing too reckless. "..for now, however, I am pleased to provide you this momentary diversion, m'Lord, from whatever else it is you might find to occupy yourself." A pointed flick of her glance wanders downward, then rises again. "..seeking out blood sacrifices, one assumes." Grinning slightly up at him, the Phoenix leans inward to breathe a few further words across the Bloodlord's cheek and ear, for him alone.

—-

The moments shared within those dances are truly treasured by Sinesse. That more than even one song has passed may be lost upon her, caring only that she was in her love's arms. Green eyes do turn to him in question as he repeats her words. "Is there…" The question upon her lips silenced as he leans in to murmur to her. Her head turning to look at him with those murmured words. It is now her turn for that internal debate to rise up within her. A debate that is shifted and turned with the words that come to be whispered into her ear. Whatever will might have been had to resist is weakened by those soft words. Her eyes looking to the alcoves his head tilts towards, before back to him. Sinesse gives another look to them before she nods her head to him, a turn of pink already rising within her cheeks.

—-

"Oh, I believe you shall find your magic, Lady Moon." A bow is given in return, though there was a moment of hesitation, as if almost wanting to curtsey before correcting himself. "I shall keep a vigil for you, my dear. May your hunt be successful." And, with that, the Goblyn King departs from the floor…his footfalls taking him close to a certain MaidenFish, all respendent in red and gold. Though…it is the sketching that catches the figure's eye. Pausing, he leans down gently, slowly, as a voice that may be familiar to the Fish speaks softly to her. "Tis not a flower, my Lady. But, I approve. You look truly stunning." Then, the King straightens up, and walks onward.

—-

Fire and Ice stroll by, on their way to the dance floor as they pass the Fish. Fire stops them both and peers at the Fish's sketchbook. "How lovely!" she exclaims. "Drawing the creatures of the masque, then? What a novel idea, truly. So much artistic talent at the masque, it would be nice to capture them on paper, yes?"

—-
Lyonal's hands, both of them, reach over and take Sinesse's hand (the left one) into them, cupping it as one would a delicate blossom. As she nods her consent, though nervous as she is, he gathers himself to his full height. And then, perhaps shockingly for some, he escorts Sinesse tenderly towards one of those alcoves….away from prying eyes. A bit of sanctuary from the world, if only for a little while.

—-

The Bloodlord laughs at whatever it is the Phoenix murmurs to him, and nods in agreement to it, continuing through to the conclusion of this particular song. He actually pulls his hood back, and pulls the Phoenix in for a lusty kiss, grinning when he pulls away, "Find me when the moments and distractions for this evening are done. I suspect you'll know where, but don't rush unless you wish. I can be patient." And with that, he offers the Phoenix a bow, and pulls the hood back up, before moving back into the throng of revelers.

—-

Blue eyes widen as the Goblyn King speaks to her, but the Fish relaxes when a flower is mentioned. That seems to be the magical word to break her out of any concern. She giggles a little under her golden veils and lifts it demurely aside to enjoy a bite of buttered squash. She goes back to the art, flipping to a new page and drawing the view of the glorious buffet. As the Fire and Ice approach, Fishy looks up with a smile. She shows the pastel colored images she's captured so far. "It's only fitting to capture the beauty of the night. May I do one of you both," Fish asks of the host and hostess.

—-

"Of course," Fire replies with a cheerful smile. Ice grunts an affirmative, and grunts again when Fire elbows him discreetly. "It would be our pleasure."

—-

The Phoenix doesn't shy from the fierce kiss, merely yields to it with quite evident answering hunger. When the Bloodlord breaks it off, she smirks up at him in a conspiratorial fashion, nudging his jaw with a bump of her nose in an oddly affectionate gesture, given their appearances otherwise. A slow nod of understanding is offered, as she watches him pull that hood back up, amusement yet lingering in the curve of her lips, and when he departs she watches him for a moment longer. No, she doesn't care that she is, for a moment's distraction, perfectly still in the midst of all this activity and celebration. Eventually, of course, the presence of music and laughter filters back into her senses. What had she been doing..? Oh, yes. Wine.

Pivoting on the bare ball of one foot, the Phoenix strikes out toward the casks, a wayward glance aside catching the lingering gaze of the Ice Bear from earlier and gracing him with a smile of recognition. That is, apparently, invitation enough to the looming creature, who politely makes his excuses to his present company and saunters 'unhurriedly' in the same direction.

—-

Sinesse bites her lower lip as Lyonal escorts her off the dance floor and off into one of the alcoves. Not daring to glance back. Nervous but seeking the moment away from all, even if only for a little while. A blessing from the Fate this night.

—-

"Oh, you never know. You are already walking proof that virtually anything is a possibility." The Tall Man replies to the Banshee. "And I suspect that whatever you survive to see…it will be enough." He leans forward, his manner growing serious, and his long-fingered hands actually reach up and cup the sides of the Banshee's head. "Do not fear what is to come. Commit to your choices without reservation, and you will not be lost. But fear…it will consume you if you let it. THEY will consume you if you let them. Do not let them." His hands fall away, and he straightens with an enigmatic smile, "And enjoy the rest of this night with a whole heart. You deserve it, regardless of what you might think."

And then the Tall Man moves back into the crowd once more.

—-

Some are moving. The man dressed as the Swamplight is aware of some. Not of others. All he is aware of that it is the tail end of a lovely night then, and of pleasant company as his fingers gently tap along with some of the music being played as he sits and relaxes. Aware or not of some moving through the crowd.

—-

With a quick nod, the MaidenFish starts to sketch out the pair; costume and poise all captured with a steady and expert hand. The pastels add the hint of reds and silver blues. She looks up at the pair a few times before quickly making a delightful true to life rendering. She pauses only to take a sip of the lemon sweetwater before adding a few final touches. When complete, it's a lovely drawing of the pair in muted colors.

—-

As the Fish finishes her drawing, Fire and Ice relax slightly, allowing themselves to shift from their poses. Fire leans forward, eager to see the artwork.

"How lovely!" she says merrily. "A drawing fish, now who would have thought of that? Its quite well done though… and I do like the colors." She shakes her fire-dyed hair out for a moment as she laughs, pleased. "Ice is not much of one for the arts, though I am. Even he would think it's lovely work though… wouldn't you?"

Ice chuckles and takes a look himself. "Very talented," he agrees.

—-

"It seems a daunting thing at times to know that," the Banshee admits. But then it was odd to be talking to the Tall Man, a being unseen by so many others. And there were so many others about. He does truly have her attention as He leans and the sides of her head are cupped. A slight breath is drawn after His words. Some reassurance found in in them. Added strength with Their 'silence'."I will not let Them." An affirmation, a promise of it's own. A little smile coming,"I shall do my best to enjoy it. As I do think there is a dance I must yet claim." The dark eyes watching as the Tall Man moves back into the crowd, before she to turns and moves off through the crowd. But it is not long before she is no longer found amongst the revelers. Perhaps to the relief of some.

—-

"Shall I have it left for you," Fish asks, her head tilting. The young woman under the veils pops a stuffed mushroom in her mouth under her sheltering fabrics. "A gift for the beautiful evening- a memory you can always look upon." She adds softly, "And a thank you."

—-

The Tall Man lounges in a well…lounge (chaise, that is) that is positioned near the refreshments when the Phoenix draws near, and pipes up: "So often the most satisfying things in life are those that require challenge to attain, and yet there is no unfounded appeal in simple pleasures either. You're going to have to choose. And whatever that choice is, you won't be able to make both of them happy." He actually pours Esyld her fresh cup of wine, guiding it back up to her lips to let her take a deep draught, "But you might be able to make yourself happy, if you can come to peace with the decision you make."

And with that, the Tall Man is gone yet again….

Only to appear behind the Fish, glancing over her shoulder at the work, "Very talented indeed. He leans down, whispering in her ear, "Your parent's sins are not your own. Your only curse is still letting them define too much of you. Let them go, and you will find your wings will carry you to places you dare not even dream of." He straightens and shrugs, "Or don't. It is not the fate of all to be a fully finished work. But so few ever see that the ability to complete the picture so often rests in their own hands." And then, he is gone once more, and this time, will be seen no further this night.

—-

With a goblet of wine - at last! - once more in hand, and an Ice Bear currently amusing her with conversation, the Phoenix seems content to have a little quiet, after all those dances without refreshment. Sipping at her drink, she chuckles at something her new companion says, shaking her head at him in a feigned reproach until she can swallow and lend a grin to the woeful impression. Allowing her gaze to roam about the crowd, she perhaps takes note of who is already notable by their absence… and who is not. When she discussed the differences between the reasonings of predators and prey earlier with an enigmatic Hawk, she left out perhaps the most important thing that brought them all together - temptation. The Masque is a masterpiece in its simplicity.

Turning her attention to the buffet after a little longer perusing the masked personas, the Phoenix bites gently on her lower lip as she eyes the selection on offer; surely it would be a shame not to indulge. Baked apples! Wait.. how did she actually procure this wine..? Shifting her gaze dubiously downward, the fireborn creature, maybe lost in thought once again, is very still all of a sudden.. save for the lengthy draught she takes from the cup, almost unbidden, with the hint of a perplexed frown darkening her brow.

—-

Fish looks up in alarm as the Tall Man suddenly whispers in her ear. And then… He is gone. She freezes in place as if trying to figure out what to do next… and she decides on revisiting her art and the buffet- the two familiar comforting things in the strangeness that is the Masque. Her sketch pad will be full of color and fanciful costumes…

<THE END!>

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