(1310-04-28) Spring Masque
Summary: The Duchesse of Eisande, Armandine de Mereliot, is holding a ball at the Ducal Palace to welcome spring. Rams butt their heads (almost), a Vicomte shows off the beauty of the Night Court and a wolf delivers a message.
RL Date: Sat Apr 28, 2018
Related: None
armandine aurelie clementine desarae etoille henri imogen jean jehan-pascal pierre madelynne magalie marco severine timeo 

Great Hall

High and light colored are the walls of the Great Hall, woods of golden tones used in the wainscoting that reaches till mid-level, with elaborate ornaments of fish chasing each other carved into them. A great hearth governs one end of the hall, with a large shield looming above, showing the coat of arms of House Mereliot. With six tall windows on one side framed by long dark blue curtains of heavy brocade, the wall opposite has a line of a couple of shields of Eisandine Houses, placed at regular intervals, and the pair of impressive double doors, through which courtiers usually will enter. The floor is of polished cream colored marble, enhanced with white inlay work depicting the ever repeating pattern of Mereliot fish. Lighting is provided through the lamps at the walls and three large chandeliers suspended from the arched ceiling, polished glass beads glittering where they catch and magnify the light of candles.

For tonight's occasion, large trestle tables and benches have been moved to the sides, to ensure there is enough space for mingling and dancing. Refreshments have been lined up on the tables at the sides, plates with tempting morsels of finger food, bits of cheese, rolls of smoked ham wrapped about dates and dried plums, small pastries filled with goat cheese and herbs, others filled with spiced meat. Beverages are provided by attentive servants in Mereliot livery, offering a variety ranging from sparkling white wines to vintages of full red color.

Amidst a group of courtiers stands the Lady de Marsilikos, Armandine Mereliot, easily to be recognized by her ducal coronet of gold and sapphires. It is a masque though, and so there is the required guise, half mask of blue with shimmering scales sewn upon it, grey eyes flashing with warmth and that occasionally inspired look as the duchesse lets her gaze drift away from those in her company, taking in those arriving and those already there. Her dress glitters and shimmers as well, more likenesses of fish scales rustling lightly as her skirts shift from her movement. Honey blonde hair has been done up, with a few extra braids adding sophistication to the look. With the bodice shaping her frame into a pleasing view, it is the elaborate necklace that draws the eye, a golden net of chains with more sapphires caught within, resting slightly above the comely neckline.

Delicate tones ripple from where a group of musicians play on a podium to the side, for now providing unobtrusive ambient music, as Mereliot staff is making their rounds amongst the guests that are slowly beginning to filter in through the double doors.

The sound of the door opening and closing is the announcement of a new arrival, a vision of beauty in silk and gems, fully decked out for the occasion. On her arm is a man dressed in a ram's mask, though just who he might be is indeterminable for the moment. The girl makes her way forward and offers a perfectly proper curtsey to the host, though the familiar blue-gray eyes sparkle with mischief. "Your Grace," she offers, giving no hint as to just /how/ familiar the masked lady is with the person in question before standing to the side so that others might approach the host for the night and pay respects.

The large and built man on the arm of the vision of plum is in much darker colors, fitting for the Calmachian as he approaches with the lady. With a polite bow, one hand lifts to make sure the mask remains as it should, as he offers in his own deep baritone, "Your Grace." He does not make an introduction, this is a masque after all, and there will be no giving away of names until the given time.

Desarae has been looking forward to the Masque since the moment the event was announced. A novice still, she'd usually not be allowed to attend a ball like this, but being related to the Duchesse allows a girl a few liberties. Dressed in gown of grey Ephesian silk she glides into the hall in the company of her second. A mask that's covered in the same silk as the dress that fits closely to her figure, glitters and sparkles where crushed glass has been cleverly applied, winging from the edges of her eyes to her temples. Her hair is woven back in small braids from the sides of her face, twisted through with silver ribbons and tied high on the crown of her head. "And I may dance with anyone that asks me tonight, might I? You did say that I may if I remain in plain view." She lifts herself a little onto her toes to gain an extra inch or so in height as they join the throng of those that arrive before them, craning her head a little for sight of anyone she knows.

There's never an opportunity where Jean l'Envers isn't preceded /and/ followed by a veritable retinue of unlanded courtiers of Namarre and other lesser dignitaries. In fact, his entourage today consists of his personal courtesan, Aurelie Basilisque no L'Envers, and his date for the evening is the radiant and luxuriatingly beautiful Madelynne, Bryony Second of House Glycine. The blonde, fully marqued beauty is on his arm and he has a lopsided, daredevil's smile to her, leaning in to murmur something in her ear as they approach.

For the evening, he is clad in a long overcoat underneath which a purple shirt with golden embroidery and black trousers complete the ensemble with knee-high leather boots that seem far too polished to be anything but a newest and luxurious purchase by the noble. At his side is a wooden stick; a minor concession to the likely rule of there being no weapons allowed in the premises.

There's something to be said about style, and the former Ducal heir knows the game as well as anyone at least passably conversant in the importance of self-images.

What is a spring masque without a few flowers? One of the Camellia - or possibly one of the Lis d'Or - enters the hall on the arm of a slight, slightly portly gentleman whose black mask, gold-gilt, is the opposite of her white one, just as his dark colors contrast the pale pinks and white and gold that come together in her airy gown. As this is a masque it scarce matters who they are properly, only that they are proper enough company for the party and not long in joining the court circle by the Duchesse long enough to give greeting. He bows, she dips into a low, gracious curtsey that is almost a pool of petals. "Your Grace." It's liable to be a long line though, and they do not linger over long.

Séverine's eyes linger on her charge, the young Desarae Mereliot nó Rose Sauvage, and there may be a hint of protectiveness in her gaze, a faint twitch there at the corner of her mouth as she considers the novice's question. "You may dance, yes. In plain view.", she confirms with a slight sideways tilt of her head, and a smile that comes nonetheless. "And I daresay, you will attract attention." The Second in charge of the Red Roses wears a guise as well, a half-mask of black samite with a few feathers attached to it, giving her a faint impression of a raven. Her status becomes very clear through the black sleeveless gown dipping down in a risqué slope at her back, thus revealing the finished marque pof Rose Sauvage. Her slender feet are wrapped and tied in soft leather sandals of Tiberium style, that reach till half-way towards her knees, some of that visible below the lower hemline of the dress. The fabric clings to her slender waist, hips and curvature of cleavage, the dress more covering at the front, in fact, as the neckline is not as deep, thus perhaps drawing more attention to the necklace of silver and glittering dark red rubies she is wearing.

Oh, and yes. Jean's masque? Is essentially a gilded version of his own features. So easy to recognize, while abiding by the rules of the game.

Next to enter the room is a pair. Pierre wears clothing that makes him look like a walking golden statue walking next to a most beautiful and stunning woman, rich in auburn hair and a fine golden dress. It would be quite obvious for most that this is a man that is most happy with his companion for as he enters, his eyes are not upon the hall but upon her, his head slightly turned to her as he speaks to her in a low tone. He walks quite close to her, her arm to his and his hand upon hers as he guides her into the Great Hall of the Ducal Palace. Not only has he chosen to dress in the same colours of gold as his companion, but he has a mask to match hers. Where hers is a golden feather masque, his has been made in style of a golden sheet. The right sight covers only his eye whereas the left side covers most of his face. That side has been created to cause a flaking effect, "It would seem we arrived just in time after all, my dear." he notes. "I was afraid I would not make it."

From her perch at the side of the room the purple beauty can't help but snort. "My dear Ram, I believe that, so far, we are the only ones attempting the entire masque thing, or perhaps we just take it all too seriously," she remarks as she finds herself quickly putting titles or names so far to every person who walks in. Her words are not disdainful though, just amused and curious as she watches the various guests filter in.

Aurélie nó l'Envers is among those who follow the pair of Jean l'Envers and the Glycine Bryony, and as if to emphasize the canon she had been trained in, before her marque was bought by the Vicomte, she wears a gown of flowing white silk - still very revealing for a former Alyssum as her shoulders and arms are left bare. The half-mask is white and looking even a bit fluffy with soft duck down, and even so, the green of her eyes has been never as alight, as she glances about her, curiously and with that hint of excitement, a rosiness there in cheeks beneath what the mask hides of her face.

Madelynne arrives on the arm of Jean l'Envers, masqued in ivory, gold, and purple. Her golden-blonde locks have been wound into a tidy updo that spills twisting ringlets back toward her shoulders. A masque of purple and gold-leaf on solid ivory adorns her face, hiding the details of her identity while betraying it to the world with her ostentatious choice in attire. Her dress, likewise, presents that full La Glycine marque as a hint of her identity to the room. The pair saunter alongside one another, moving in a leisurely gait toward the Duchesse to present themselves. Ever eager, Maddie curtsies deep, and glances up at Amandine with an impish smile. "Your Grace."

"Well, I am more than willing to remain as anonymous as you wish, my sweet plum." the ram offers in response with a small chuckle that echoes within the hollow of his masque. "However, in the meantime, may I interest you in a dance to work up our thirst and appetites?" he asks with a squeeze of the plum lady's hand to wait for her answer.

"Perhaps I was wishing to arrive late," Clémentine says to Pierre, her head dipping close to his as something further is spoken quietly to his ear. She's resplendent tonight in a dress that clearly is not of d'Angeline style, a one-shouldered sheer gold fabric that's covered in elaborate embroidery that takes much from Hellenic and Tiberian styles. The feathers that adorn her mask are dyed to match, the tips of the filaments dusted in gold so that they sparkle and shimmer with each step that's taken. "It seems that there is quite the crowd descending upon her Grace, so perhaps we ought to hang back for a bit. A drink, perhaps?" And with an incline of her head in the direction of the refreshments, she waits to be escorted that way.

"Your Grace. That you know the Second of Bryony is somewhat of an obvious matter. And you know me as well, of course, Jean Shahrizai de l'Envers, Vicomte de Tonnerre. But you may not know my, ah, Adept, Lady Aurelie de Basilisque no L'Envers. Come say hello, dear," he mentions to the Alyssum with a lopsided smile and a cant of his head, fingers flicking towards the Duchess before he bows, taking precedence for being landed, of course. Straightening, he glances about briefly, then leans in to murmur something to the Alyssum, the hint of amusement in what little can be heard as subtext to his tone. The same is offered towards the Bryony. "Now. Wine, then dancing? There are people to talk to, companies to enjoy…"

The Duchesse of Eisande takes everyone in who comes to greet her in person, a certain conspiratorial amusement glittering in those eyes of hers as they meet those of the purple lady and her ram. "I am glad to see you," she smiles, inclining her head in acknowledgement of curtsey or bow. "Please. Do me a favor, and enjoy yourselves." A silvery chuckle ripples from her as she turns, straightening slightly as she beholds her niece Desarae. "How pleased I am that your Dowayne allowed you to come." The second acting as chaperone is acknowledged with a smile and a respectful nod. "The Night Court is welcome to feast in my halls tonight," Armandine says, this remark directed towards Etoille and her noble company as well. "Especially those who delight through their sparkle and high standard." Does a dimple show in one of her cheeks? Armandine's gaze sweeps to Jean l'Envers and his impressive retinue, and were it not for the mask, they would be able to see a lifted brow. "Vicomte. How delightful." A dimpling smile is offered towards Madelynne, as Armandine meets that impish grin with one of her own. "I see you show taste in picking your company, my lord Jean. If you should happen to write to your father next time, please, do convey my greetings to him." And there, her gaze slips to the petite blonde Jean introduces, and for a moment there is a pause as she considers the young adept. "How lovely."

The Camellia and her escort - or is that the other way around? - make the rounds for a bit before procuring glasses of wine, red and white as opposites seem to be their theme for the night. Then Etoille spots Jean and his retinue and murmurs something to he fellow in the black mask, possibly an apology, because she leaves him in the company of whoever they were talking to there and glides off to circle around him like some petal blowing in the wind, until he and his escorts are free of the Duchesse's gravity before catching them all with a thousand-candle smile. "Well, well, what delightful serendipity."

The Duchess does indeed appear to be quite busy with greetings and wellwishes and all other sorts of things. So to Clementine, Pierre gives a light nod, "You do appear to be quite right." he replies, "I think, as you say, it is best we hold off for a brief moment." Whatever she whispered to him, it brings to his lips a smile before he takes her hand and lifts it up to kiss the fingers of it. He then leads her to the side a bit, seeking refreshments. For the lady upon his arm, a glass of wine! And for himself? A word spoken to a servant whom nods and moves off to find what might very well be a special requirement.

Aurélie dips into a curtsey as told, eyes lowering as the breath she draws is visible in the rise and fall of her chest. Rosiness keeps clinging to her cheeks, as if a situation as this were not a thing she is used to. "Your Grace.", she breathes, blinking slightly then, as Jean whispers something to her, and after biting her lip, she leans in to whisper right back into his ear. Following in Jean's wake as they move on, her fleeting glance brushes Madelynne, and she offers her a shy smile, before they are stopped by the sparkling Etoille.

"Perhaps I will only attract the attention of those that know whom I am," Desarae replies to Séverine, a moment of mischief showing deliciously in the curve of her lips. "I am of little interest to anyone else, I fear, beyond being just another young lady in a sea of so many." A glass of wine is accepted from a tray as a servant passes near them, and her eyes where they drift about the room in search of acquaintences, glitter as brightly as the decoration of her mask. "I think that perhaps that might be my cousin Imogen over there," she says, drawing attention to the woman with the ram. "But I could be mistaken. Perhaps we might wander that way?"

"Etoille? Oh, mon amour, c'est tu?" Jean is pleasantly surprised, and reaches with his free hand to draw the Camellia closer to him. He lifts his mask partway to press his lips to her cheek, which likely means he takes the liberty to lift her own briefly as well, and then embrace the cousin, murmuring a few words with a grin to her. "Radiant as always, my Lady. You brighten any room with your grace. Aurelie, Mademoiselle de Glycine, may I introduce you both to my cousin, Lady Etoille Fhirze?" There's a grin to his Namarrese kinswoman. "It is good to see you here. We have much to talk about," and there's a meaningful pause and a certain glint to his look that both the Alyssum and the Fhirze would recognize right away. A bit of a gamble for others, certainly.

Jean adds, for the Duchess's sake, also, "Of course, I shall write him about how beautiful the Shining Lady of Eisande, as our Namarrese bards sing, has always been. As incandescent as the flame of any candle lit for Eisheth."

"You flatter me, your Grace. It's a pleasure to be in such fine company." Madelynne gestures from the Lady of Marsilikos to the pair at her side, and then bays her lash in a playful wink. "The Lord l'Envers isn't half bad, either." The golden-and-purple Masqued blonde turns her head to murmur something quiet to her escort, Jean l'Envers, and curls her fingers against his inner arm. She smiles wry, and then looks past him to Aurelie with that same expression.

Etoille's radiant presence draws her eye, however, more in admiration than in curiosity. At least until she realizes that the Camellia means to approach their trio. The moment of realization curls the corners of her mouth, and she shoots Jean an accusing look. When the woman arrives, she allows Jean to make the introductions, then reaches out to take the Lady Etoille's hand so that she might brush a demure kiss to the back of her fingers. "My Lady of Namarre. What a delight to meet you."

Clémentine's arm slips from Pierres as drinks are found, and remains close by him as the pair of them turn to watch the rest of the room. "Oh. A surprise for you tonight, Pierre. You keep saying that you wish to hear me sing, well tonight you shall. I have been asked, and agreed to, perform a song. I hope you will like it." And that's perhaps the first that Pierre will know of what be later to come in the evening, also the reason for Clémentine deciding to dress a little differently than she normally might.

It is the habit of a Second and especially a chaperone, to take in her surroundings, to note certain gambles being played, even if Rose Sauvage may not be known for being often present at courtly occasions. Séverine's stormy grey eyes follow the l'Envers in his sea of females, and a faintly dark smirk curves her lips. "Of course, my dear," she says towards Desarae. "We shall go where you please, as long as I'm with you and making sure you are safe as a precious novice should be." And with that said, she trails along behind young Desarae, walking with easy grace amongst the courtiers and confidence as befits a Servant of Naamah.

Marco no doubt decided to favor the term fashionably late… or perhaps simply overslept, but nonetheless the young man slips in quietly. The young nobleman doesn't make any particular stir, in fact he slips in from one of the side halls, rather than the main entryway. The youthful Mereliot has a beaked masque with slants of red and green across the intricate material. Marco pushing his way in drawing up a glass of wine as he considers the ground and the groupings drifting for the moment along the fringes with an amused smile.

Etoille needs must lean up on her toes to receive Jean's kiss though she returns it in kind before her laughter comes, a quiet silvered chime of amusement perhaps at his expense. "And thus he slays the spirit of the masquerade in one deft slash, anon." No doubt she does recognize the glint in his eyes. And recognizes it with the slightest tilt of her head, a scant degree of an angle that none the less gives her the briefest air of contemplation before it's swept away in further greeting of Madelynne, and then Aurelie. "Naamah's blessings to you both," she murmurs afterward. "And I can scarce claim such precedence. I now reside in the garden at House Lys d'Or, which surely makes me a whirl of colors and potential titles. I am most pleased to meet you all though, even if it means we must suffer the company of my cousin for it." So serene is this that one might almost miss the humor that glitters in her equally purple eyes.

Another melodious chuckle escapes Armandine's lips and she smiles, now clearly amused by Jean's remark. "An interesting analogy to make, my lord. Does this mean, you are expecting to have an heir soon? No word reached me, of you having been wed, nor caught in consortship.", the duchesse remarks lightly.

"Truly?" Pierre asks of Clementine, as a servant returns with a glass of water. He takes it with a slight not of acknowledgement before his eyes return to his companion, "I believe that I have waited for far to long as it is to experience your voice." he pauses then, eyes going to the area where the Duchess is residing. A moment's pause, "Well, I do believe that the general gathering around Her Grace has abated some. Shall we go make our introductions to the Duchess?" he wonders as his head returns to Clementine.

Imogen giggles softly and smiles, seeming quite content to take her companion up on his offer of a dance and companionship now that it seems everyone who is going to arrive has arrived. But then she spots a girl who's looks betray her only as Deserae and she smiled. "Alas my dear ram, i fear we are to have company, but when she is inevitably bored of us and I have shown her your latest present to me, I should be delighted to," she agrees with a small smile.

After receiving the kiss in turn, his lips curve in quite wry amusement at Etoille's words, as the masked eldest son of the Duc of Namarre nods his assent to her words, gaze sparkling briefly as she narrates how he shatters the illusion of anonymity. Desarae is noticed as well, and there's an incline of his head to the Valerian novice, along with another smile. One that promises darker things; must be why it's short-lived. There's a brief exchange with Madelynne that prompts a smile anew from the Duc, before he mentions, to his Camellia-adopted kinswoman, "Surely it can't be all that bad, my heart. Better my presence than the lecture of a Tiberian philosopher as they try to explain to a not-so-captive audience of d'Angelines why expressing their passions and lusts is wrong and a vice rather than virtue." How he mocks stoicism, or what passes for it. It's probably not an international incident, though. "Some things they do say are wise. Just… not that," he goes on to add with a laugh. "But yes, Madelynne no Glycine, Aurelie Basilisque no L'Envers, please, meet my cousin."

To the Duchesse he does say, primly, "Not quite, Your Grace. Not all candles are given to Eisheth for fertility. The analogy might be best applied in reference to your everlasting vitality, however. Of which you have in spades, and shall forever."

Whether Aurélie is taken aback by the attention that clearly must befall a young maiden clad all in white amidst a festivity of d'Angeline nobility remains to be seen. That there is a hint of awkwardness in the way she meets the gazes of Madelynne and Etoille, is a fact though, that even the soft laughter cannot deny. "Indeed we must suffer his company, Mademoiselle, but it pleases him so, does it not?"

Desarae begins to manoeuvre her way across the room, threading her way through the crowd in search of her cousin. Light of foot, she skirts a group, and then another, but is brought up short in her endeavours by the man in the beaked masque. There's a familiarity she finds in him, and so abandons her idea to traverse the rest of the room. She halts, and a bright smile is given before a curtsey is dipped. "I feel that we have met before, my lord?" A glance across to Séverine who's kept apace of her. "Do we know whom this might be?" Her eyes glitter as they return to the man in the beaked mask, and if she does recognise Marco beneath it, she doesn't let on. At least not yet.

"Of course, my Lady." comes the response of the ram to the Lady in Purple as he slips his hand down, tangling their fingers for a moment as he gives her a small squeeze and then when Desarae inevitably gets distracted by a pretty mask, the ram offers a small chuckle. "It seems that your company may have found someone else to distract her other than our company, my dear."

So easily to be overlooked. But then again, perhaps not. Somewhere in Armandine's vicinity lingers a woman, her dress of courtly elegance, silk the color of dark bronze leaning towards orange contrasting nicely to the dark color of hair and the black lace of the mask. Sleeveless, the arms are adorned by long black gloves instead that reach higher than the elbows. Jewelry worn includes a necklace of silver, a piece of Hellene design in its ornaments, earrings and a bracelet. Magalie has elected to remain in the background for now, and yet, the dark haired woman observes attentively the comings and goings of courtiers, the half mask not quite hiding her features, as it is just black lace. Now and then, she catches a glance of the duchesse, and a quick shake of the head is given, assuring her hostess that she is quite fine.

Maddie's head cants to one side, and her ringlets follow in suit, tumbling and stretching toward her left shoulder. "I will consider them quite lucky to have you, Madamoiselle, and from a glance I cannot imagine a better fit for you. Though you'll have to forgive my envy! Most days, I find myself to be the fortunate one." Her eyes shift sidelong, drawn by Jean's conversation with Armandine. She says nothing and maintains that simple smile, enigmatic and curious, while not-so-subtly listening in.

Aurelie stirs her from that attentive silence by drawing her eye and eliciting a soft, polite laugh. "It does, though perhaps not in the manner he most desires." Behind her Masque, those blue eyes shimmer with amusement. When she trains them again on Jean, she regards him with thought. "However, I have been wrong before."

The purple lady grins and nods as she watches Deserae be intercepted by the masked man, but she does not begrudge her, the girl surely must be here more to advertise than to make conversation with cousins. She can show off her new ring to the girl later. With her hand intertwined with her companion the ram she finally parts from the wall, heading into the center of the room reserved for dancing. "Shall we get to that dance you promised me my dear ram?" she inquires.

Clémentine's eyes follow Pierre's to where Armandine stands amidst a waning line of those that would meet her. "I think you are right." Her glass she sets down on a table, and she takes a moment to sweep her hands over her dress, settling the sheer folds so that they drape her elegantly before turning her face towards Pierre. The kiss that she gives to his cheek is one of indulgent affection, and she picks a thread from the shoulder of his jacket before slipping her arm back through his. "If I croak like a frog tonight, try not to laugh overly much. My throat has been a little dry these last few days."

<FS3> Timeo rolls Dance: Failure. (1 4 3 1 3 1 5)

Marco glances up and over to Deserae surveying her for long moments with his intent eyes and he inclines, "Have we now? Well I didn't realize I was so memorable." He grins, "But there are worse people to be recognized by I suspect." HE smiles warmly to Severine as well. "A pleasure to see you both." He glances to Deserae, "Is this your first Masquerade?" He asks curiously

"As I have promised to our Graces, I will be at your side faithful, my Lady." The Ram offers a bow of his head to the Lady of Purple, before moving out onto the floor with her. Of course, it has been quite a while since he has had to use the skill properly. As they start to move across the floor, his booted foot accidentally catches the slipper of his companion, a small step on her foot, that might hurt just a bit.

Séverine pauses when Desarae appears to change her mind, and heads for Marco instead. Keeping a few steps distance, she considers the young man with the beaked mask, tilting her head a little to the side. Catching Desarae's question, she ponders for a moment. "I cannot say I remember a bird visiting our salon, but perhaps this is a wolf in a bird's guise?"

<FS3> Imogen rolls Dancing: Good Success. (3 2 4 5 8 4 3 1 7)

Pierre shakes his head slowly to Clementine, "No, you can not fail my dear. You are a professional, one that has a craft she is more then proud of. You could have any number of illness afflicting your voice but come the day you stand there, on the stage, to sing? Well, on that day your pure ability will cut through any obstacle and you will sing as pure and as perfectly as you were always meant to." he assures her. When she puts her arm back to his, the Delaunay lord puts his glass of water aside before he starts to guide his companion to the spot where the Duchess has chosen to reside.

Upon reaching her, he stops. He disentangles Clementines arm from his, but he does take her hand in his before he executes a bow, "Your Grace Eisande. Allow me to offer my most heartfelt thanks for this invitation. And, in turn, giving me the opportunity to be able to for the first time hear the voice of my companion in song."

"That I could not say, my lord. To do so might give a hint to my age, and thusly my identity." Not that there could be that much mystery to the dark-haired girl's identity; young, dressed in a gown of thorny roses and in the company of a woman with her marque so clearly displayed on her back. "This is true, my lady," she says to Séverine, "… the only birds that I have seen there have been perched in the trees in the garden. I do not think that this bird could perch." Laughter catches the tail-end of her words.

The lady in purple on the other hand is a much finer dancer than her companion, and she's able to make up for his stumbling with her natural grace, she doesn't blame him or anything, but from this close she does smile playfully at him, the expression visible since she only wears a half mask. "Out of practice are we my lord?" she inquires good naturedly.

Most of Etoille's expression is lost behind her mask, both the painted one she wears and the natural one, which registers only the suggestion of a smile to curve her mouth, yielding some amusement of some kind at Jean's statement. Perhaps she's humoring him. Less so his companions, perhaps. It is Auralie that she takes a special interest in, violet gaze shifting to rest wholly on the Alyssum for several heartbeats while conversation and music whirl around them. Attention, yes, and no small measure of it, for the Camellia may not be particularly commanding but she has a full measure of the presence her house and bloodline both command. And a smile, which quirks toward ever so slightly crooked finally. "Yes, I rather wager that is in your better interests." Cryptic? Maybe. Maddie lightens the mood in particular. "Fortune favors your house, beyond doubt. Especially with you as its Second. We shall have to talk about some things in a much quieter setting."

Marco grins wider and he inclines his head to Severine, "A wolf in a bird's guise that hardly seems comfortable and I do enjoy my comforts." His eyes twinkle though in amusement, "I assure you I'm perfectly perchable. It's far more fun to draw the birds down from their trees they just require a bit… of enticement like most things you know." He says lifting his head and that distinctive beak up with a grin as he takes a sip looking back and forth between Severine and Des.

"I fear I am, my Lady. But I believe that we will have plenty of time to practice." comes the small cough, and possible blush beneath the ram's mask as the lady in purple corrects his steps easily. "Is your foot alright?" he asks in worry as he continues to move around the floor with her, attempting to knock the rust out of his knees.

Clémentine's curtsey is beautifully execute, her gown flowing like liquid gold about her figure as she dips and rises once more. "Your Grace. It is a delight indeed to be invited, moreso to sing. I can only hope that my Companion's faith in me will not be misplaced. Then again, he has never heard me sing so he will not particularly know if my voice tonight is either good, or… not so good." She amends what she might have been about to say, and her eyes slide to the right where Pierre stands beside her.

Imogen laughs softly and smiles with a shake of her head at his words. "Nothing i have not suffered in my years of practice dear ram, and of all those who have stepped on my toes, you are by far the most welcome," she murmured tenderly as they continued their dance, her head resting happily on his shoulder.

"Then it is on me to thank you for your compliment," Armandine replies to Jean, dipping her head in a pointed nod. A glance then towards Magalie, and her expression dims a little, gaze sweeping back in time then to come to rest upon Pierre Delaunay. And the lovely Clémentine nó Trevalion at his side. "My lord. Pierre Delaunay, if I'm not mistaken? I'm pleased you could find the time to come. I hear your business is flourishing?", the duchesse asks of him. "As for Mademoiselle Clémentine… I look forward to her performing for us, as she agreed to do. When would be the right time for this entertainment? Perhaps right now? Ah Companions. I am the Lady of Marsilikos! It is on me to decide the order of entertainment to occur on my spring masque." She gestures towards the herald, who reacts with a loud thumping of his stave onto the polished floor of the great hall. Into the silence, that hopefully will follow, Armandine announces: "Please. My guests of tonight's mischief. Be quiet for a moment, as I ask my guest, the beautiful and talented Clémentine nó Trevalion to delight us with a performance to start off the evening."

Séverine's lips twist into a smile, that will make a glimpse of teeth show for a moment. "Are you seeking birds to hunt down then, my lord?", she asks, her grey eyes narrowing a little as they focus on Marco de Mereliot. "This bird here, as you may now," and here she steps forth, placing her slender fingered hands upon Desarae's shoulders, "is yet to flee the shelter of its nest."

Marco grins at Severine's question and he shrugs his shoulders, "For now I'm simply surveying the events." He inclines his head and he offers to Severine, "Well as delightful as nests are it's always pleasant to look forward to a bird's first flight." He says his eyes twinkling, "Isn't that part of the fun?" He suggests to Severine and then he inclines his head to Deserae, "It seems there's to be a performance time to find a good spot." He says to pick his way through the crowd and finding a quiet nook he can slip to.

The purple lady was intending to respond to her partner when the announcement went out, and so instead they slowly come to a stop and taking his hand once more she moved to join the crowd who were preparing to watch the performance.

Pierre inclines his head to the Duchess, "You are too kind, Your Grace. My business is doing no better then anyone else. We are simply a small time operator that like so many others try to keep our heads above water." he then turns to Clementine, "It would seem that I no longer will have to wait. I will leave you here then for the moment to let you prepare." he takes her hand, offering it a light kiss to then let it go. To this, he will then find himself moving away just a bit, giving her a chance to get ready.

At the tapping of the herald's stave, the ram slows his dance with the lady in purple, and as her hand finds his, he accepts in return to follow her to the edge of the crowd, the pair of them standing as close as properness allows as he waits to here Clementine's song.

Aurélie's eyes blink at Madelynne's counter, and for a moment, there is a moment of hesitation, two different routes to decide on, before she lowers her gaze, and lifts her hand to adjust the white feathery mask in a dainty gesture. "I can know nothing about true intentions, Mademoiselle," she murmurs. But there is that blush that stains her cheeks. It may still linger there, in the moment, she feels another pair of violet eyes lingering on her, assessing her. There is respect and also a bit of awe, with which Aurélie meets that gaze. Camellia being such a high ideal, but not the canon she has been trained in herself.

Clémentine's laughter flows around those that stand closest to her. "Well there is no time like the present. It would be my honour to be the first to sing." There's a small lift of the redhead's chin, and her hand reaches for Pierre's, her fingers knitting briefly with his before she turns, allowing that link between them to linger just a moment longer before her steps carry her from him and onto the small dais where the musicians are grouped. There's no doubt that they've already been instructed on what the Songbird of Marsilikos intends to delight the assembled nobility with this evening, and they look to her and wait for her cue. The first few bars of the song are softly sung, ensuring that her audience quiets enough to listen for her words. She sings a sweet pastoral song that befits a ball being held to welcome the spring. It's the tale of a shepherd and his love, and her voice flirts with the writer's original composition, lifting the notes, turning them around and stringing them together outrageously.

<FS3> Clementine rolls Singing+4: Good Success. (2 2 1 8 6 6 1 5 4 5 6 3 8 7 4 1 1 1)

"There is always that first assumption of my intents and my purposes," Jean murmurs to Madalynne, kissing her cheek afterwards, sharing something that does not go beyond her ears after that. "But it is always good to be surprising, and to surprise, in turn." His smile brightens, especially to Etoille's words. With a nod of his head, he glances over to Aurelie amusedly.

"Suffering in my presence is not so bad, my darling Aurelie. You know this. There are worse things to experience." He doesn't go beyond that statement of fact, before his attention is back to his cousin, then to the Glycine second. "I think you two will become quite the partners in the Court of Night-Blooming Flowers, in this city, mademoiselle, my Lady. It is good that you get acquainted." He smiles, pleased, at this turn of events.

With a nod to the Duchesse, then, he mentions, "There is no need to thank me for earnest words, Your Grace. Honesty is its own reward."

Just as she had drank in Jean's exchange with Amandine, so does Madelynne watch Aurelie and Etoille, even if the latter seems intent on watching all the same. A little curl twists one corner of her mouth with some vaguely-sardonic mirth, and then she too joins the Camellia in taking stock of the young l'Envers seized in the gaze of another. "Perhaps not, little lovely." The older blond looks down at Aurelie and her expression softens, stricken by something. Gingerly, she reaches out to fix a stray lock of Aurelie's hair, before smiling to herself.

To Etoille, she merely nods her head. "It would be a pleasure. I'm always in search of new endeavors. You know where to find me, I'm sure. There are a good many things we can discuss, business among them. Are you fond of tea?"

Maddie leans in to whisper something into Jean's ear as the Lady of Marsilikos gathers their attention, and directs it onto Clementine. She grows quiet and still thereafter, watching as much as listening.

As the last notes die away, Clémentine's gaze falls on Pierre, colour rising in her cheeks when her eyes meet with his. It's not her best performance by any means, but it still went well. Perhaps it's simply his presence that threw her a little.

As silence settles in anticipation of the performance, Magalie elects to step aside, to get a better view of Clémentine. Hazel eyes darken a touch, and there is that cane her hand rests upon. The Hellene woman listens in silence, and with a certain delight. As if the music alone were a much more relieving diversion than the fluttering courtiers of Marsilikos.

Etoille offers another little inclination of her head to Madelynne. "Tea would be a delight. I find that I know almost no one in Marsilikos, yet, and I hope to rectify that shortcoming soon. We'll schedule something soon?" It's almost a question. Very nearly. And then that attention of hers wanes here, waxes toward the performance as it is readied, and the Camellia falls entirely silent so that she too might listen as Clementine begins her song. As audiences go she is a rapt member, still and serene. If she has any sense of some mark not reached in the music, she gives absolutely no hint. Even waits, in fact, until the last notes die before leaning slightly up on her toes to better look in the direction of her original companion.

Appearing in the entryway to the first bucolic strains of Clementine's song, there stands on the threshold a slender, masculine figure, dressed to the nines in whites and ivories and masqued from the nose upward in a fanciful depiction of a ram with a long, flat muzzle and curling horns. He watches the sea of backs of those all turned to watch the woman's performance, then the woman herself. Only after the whole of it is completed does he move once more, lifting his hands to about the level of his shoulders to render confident applause.

Whether she sings good, or she sings bad, there is no questioning the attention she garners from Pierre as she takes the centre of attention with her voice and her presence. He remains standing still with, perhaps, just a light sway of his body to the rhythm of her singing before she finishes with the song, returning the Grand Hall to its normal buzz of activity. He lifts his own hands to this, offering a heartfelt applause to her performance while his eyes meet hers. Wether asked or not, he then begins to move towards her. Its like he can not; she is a magnet for him after all!

With Marco having slipped off, and with Clémentine's song done, Desarae's hand come together in a show of appreciation. There's a tap to her shoulder as she turns back to Séverine, and it's enough to distract her from what was about to be say to her second. The interrupter wears a mask of irridescent peacock blue, and having sought permission to take a turn of the floor with the young novice, he whirls her away and into the thick of some dancers. Her laughter might be heard for a second or two, high and bright and filled with enjoyment. It's quickly swallowed up however, lost amongst the noise of the ball.

Jean's words directed towards her makes the masked blonde in white keep her gaze lowered for that tiny moment longer. Instead of a reply, her lips curve upwards, as green eyes lift to meet his gaze, a brief flicker of an impish expression as she simply nods her head. And there, within the circle of charming company, a Camellia and a Bryony flavored Glycine Second by her side, she follows the performance, and as so many others, joins in the applause.

Jean applauds the song as performed, with a bright smile across his lips. But it is brief, as his applause and praise are reserved, rare commodities both. Instead, there's a look to both Etoille and Madelynne, then to Aurelie, whom he beckons to his side, after his quick exchange of murmurs with the Bryony Second. There's a pause here, as he addresses his cousin, "Do make sure to visit me at my villa in the city, will you? I've missed you terribly much. So many years apart, and now we're in the same place. It truly pleases me to know it."

There's another smile to Aurelie after that impish expression of hers, his eyes narrowing just a touch. "I am in fine company tonight. Surrounded by some of the finest blossoms of the Night Garden of this city. Though there are others, currently being engaged by prospective dance partners, that I've yet the pleasure of introducing to all of you. Soon, though."

As Clementine's words touch the ram's heart, his hand leaves the Lady in Purple, instead, his arm gently encircles her waist to pull him against her. The caress is affectionate and caring - a far cry from the politics of their future, he's enjoying this moment with her as he turns his head to the side to whisper quietly to her as the song finishes and he smiles in his words. "Should we find some refreshment, my Lady?"

As swiftly as that bird slips away, its guardian joins in the swirling on the dancefloor, Séverine following Desarae and the Peacock who dared to abduct her for a dance. The Second keeps a keen eye on the novice, making sure she stays where Séverine can watch over her. And in this, she will be as persistent as required.

Clementine glows as she takes Pierre's hands in her's. "And now, you can no longer complain," she smiles to him, her blush deepening as the applause for her song halts the room. Good or bad, the people of Marsilikos have found a place in their hearts for the Songbird. "Come, my duty is done for the evening, and so the rest of it might be ours alone." There's a warmth in the tone of her voice that promises much for the rest of their night. "I wonder, do you dance?" The invitation is there, though whether Pierre accepts it or not will be left entirely in his hands.

Madelynne puts her hands together in polite, but eager applause for Clementine's captivating performance. Her chin lifts to adopt a critical pose, but her smile banishes any idea that she found flaw in the performance. Her head tilts in to catch Jean's whisper, and then turns so she might arrest his gaze with her own. Maintaining that same smile, and that same critical tilt of her chin, she continues to clap. When her hands fall away, one presses to the curve of her far hip, and the other comes to settle on Jean's shoulder. She whispers something into his ear and lets her palm glide down the man's back.

She looks beyond him, to Aurelie, and then brings her unconvinced expression back to the Lord l'Envers. Turning, however, she nods her assent to Etoille. "We must, and sooner rather than later. If I don't have a letter of your availability when I return to La Glycine House, then I'll have to march my way over to Lys d'Or to get them from you in person." A soft smile accompanies her humored tone, though much of the movement of her face remains hidden by the masque.

Whatever it is the ram whispers to the lady in purple, she smiles tenderly and gently pulls at his mask so that she can lean in and kiss him. Maybe not /entirely/ appropriate for a party. But it's chaste and tender before she replaces him mask and pulls back.

"Bravo!" The Duchesse of Eisande seems to be well pleased, as becomes a scion of Eisheth, a patron of the arts. The glance she gives Clémentine is impressed indeed, regardless if there may have been a lack in technique, it was certainly made up for by the emotional range. Even if the singer seems engaged in conversation with Pierre, the Lady of Marsilikos will not hesitate to approach her after the first storm of applause has ebbed away. "Our Songbird of Marsilikos! Thank you so much for this.", she tells Clémentine, taking her hand as she gives her one of those more intense looks. "Now, go and enjoy yourself."

Desarae is having a truly marvellous time. Held close to her partner, she follows the intricacies of the steps he leads her in well, her form light and lithe in his arms. They pass and pass again Séverine where she watches like a hawk from the sidelines, the dark silks of Desarae's skirts swirling like smoke about her form. Whilst it's not her very first ball, it is only one of a handful she's been able to attend, and excitement shows plainly in what might be seen of her face. Lips are curved in the most magical of smiles, and when her partner dips his head to murmur something in her ear, she laughs again, taking a turn beneath his arm before slipping in close again.

<FS3> Aurelie rolls Composure: Good Success. (7 5 2 1 6 6 7)

Clementine dips a deep curtsey to Armandine. "Thank you, Your Grace. I hope you enjoyed the tale that was held in the song. A new play opens at l'Opera Marsilikos tomorrow, and I hope that we might see you there. If not tomorrow, then one night?" And with permission given to enjoy the rest of the evening, she takes Pierre's hand when it's offered, and allows him to lead her away.

A nod is given from Pierre to this, "My dear, you are truly correct in that I do dance. My only regret is that I could not dance with you during your song." he replies to her. He takes her hand, if she lets him, "But as you have asked, I state it. Do I have this dance?" he asks her, offering her a slight bow as he does with his hand remaining to hers.

As applause sweeps through the gathering Etoille joins it, slim hands coming together with polite enthusiasm that is not precisely discordant with her smile, though the latter is radiant whereas the clapping is demure. Her companion for the evening does appear to still be engaged, and thus it isn't long before she turns back to the trio she's been talking with. "Do send a messenger around, dearest cousin, and I shall put myself at your temporary disposal." Which does sound rather formal, especially compared to the variation on that she gives the Glycine. "Offer no temptation, else I shall ensure you end up in my House, and then you will have to drink -my- tea." Ooooh, it's threatening. Really. But it is Aurelie that wins that genuine flash of smile. "I do trust that my cousin is honoring whatever terms may've been established in the acquisition of your marque, but beyond that, if you ever find yourself in need of something that he is unable to provide…"

The kiss brings a brief smile that is noticed beneath the mask before Imogen settles it back in place on the Ram. With the song finished and his applause done, he moves to lead from the floor to where the refreshments await them.

Al these whispers and innuendos, they do not seem to trouble the light blonde adept in white. For a moment, her eyes widen slightly, noting Madelynne's sceptical look, but then her expression is that same mask of slightly awkward shy excitement. When pulled to his side by Jean, she accommodates, shifting into that perfect frame that will have Madelynne at one side, and her at his other. Etoille's words make the corners of Aurélie's lips twitch, before she draws another breath. "Thank you," she manages, with that shy flicker of a smile. "But yes. He is." Her head tilts his way, her gaze follows belatedly but no less pointed.

There's a placid look to Madelynne, one that is fixed upon the blonde's eyes as he drinks in the sight of those azure irises of hers. His smile blooms slowly this time, though he leans in when her hand is drawn down his back. Covertly, he turns his head away from the gathering to murmur a reply, lingering for a moment before looking between Etoille and Aurelie, and then finally, the latter earns his attention by way of a caress, down her cheek and the side of her neck, pulling her towards him afterwards and kissing her cheek. There's a murmur to the younger blonde, one that follows that press of his lips to what part of her face isn't obscured, and then Jean studies the three of them.

"I am always eternally in awe of how the Night Court gathers such beautiful women, each with their charms and peculiarities. And the potential is infinite, like the stars in the sky, to half-draw an analogy from a friend."

The ram on the threshold watches the songstress move from the spotlight, then, spotting another ram in the crowd, his lips, left exposed below the angular outcropping of the mask, twist to a cat-like smile. Mid-stride he makes theft of a goblet of wine, and mid-second-step he finishes it and sets it with another passing attendant, and in such wise makes his way across the space that, by the time he arrives, he's two cups in with a third in paw as he presents himself wih a bow to the ram and his ewe, then rises with a shit-eating grin. Will there be headbutting to ensue? The ram lets the moment percolate for just a second longer before, "May I?" the ivory ram speaks— asking permission to cut in. Boldness is easy behind a masque and a half-liter of wine.

The lady in purple looks between the two rams presented to her, but she can't speak for her partner, and it's /his/ choice of whether to give up his spot to this new ram, and deep down she can't help but be mildly amused at the situation.

The Ivory Ram cocks an expentant visage to the lady in purple, then, seeing her yield to the Ram she came with, he offers out his hand— to the Ram, should he care for it.

Nothing like the pair of rams meeting on the floor. One that is in white, with youth and alcohol clearly on his side, the other is older and rises up to his full height at the question as he takes the goblet of wine. "I thank you for the refreshment, but we were just on our way to find a place to sit and converse before considering a second dance. Perhaps there is another.." there's a glance towards the woman in thorns and the one in white, to helpfully guide the ram, "That will surely find your invitation more intriguing?" And yes, there's an acceptance of his hand, and a slight butt of heads between the two - if he's going to wear the ram's mask, he has to accept all that comes with it.

It's an awkward thing to traipse between what one has been brought up to and however recent developments may have shaped a character. Aurélie's head turns, green eyes seeking the violet of Jean's after receiving a whisper, and despite that rosiness still clinging to her cheeks, she smiles, that smile deepening even a little as she counters, in not quite a whisper, "You don't say."

Ram joins hand with Ram, and when the latter (can you tell the difference?) comes in to butt heads, the Ivory Ram angles his chin to meet the muzzle of the other's masque with his masque's muzzle, seeking to meet lip to lip rather than horn to horn whilst they press hands. All in fun, of course, and under the frisky licentiousness of which one can avail oneself when masqued.

"You have this dance, Pierre," Clémentine replies to the man at her side. A brush of one hand is given to settle ringlets of red back behind her shoulders, and her arm slips through his as she settles companionably into his side. The rams are subject to an amused smile, and if there's the smallest slowing of her step as they pass them by, it's because the head-butting has more than caught her attention. "I do hope that my song of a shepherd, his flock and his love did not inspire such antics!"

The purple ewe in this situation is amused despite her better judgment. Watching as her lover tangles with a very drunk Ewe. She isn't the least bit slighted, only being sure to back away to away enough to avoid injury or spill from the two rams literally butting heads before her.

The white ram is rebuked in the intended kiss before the Camlachian laughs. "I believe there is a bird that might share it's plummage with you." the darker ram offers up to the smaller one before squeezing the Lady in Purple, having released the other Ram to his frolicking.

Well. The Ivory Ram tried, that's for sure. When he falls short of his intended merriment — a tip of his head to the songstress as she passes, his homage to her pastoral elegy having half-failed to materialize, but he's glad she appreciates the nod to her genre of choice — when he falls short, indeed, he swallows it well enough along with the rest of his goblet, drops into a low bow, and frisks elsewhere.

A glance to the side is given by Pierre as the two Rams are doing their thing. A smile forms on his lips, his eyes then turning to Clementine, "No, I do not think so. If it had, they would have been fighting over you and if they had, I would have had to step in between them show them they would be fighting for a lost cause." he says to this. He leads her to the dance floor, turning then to face her, "And so this this dance is ours." he takes her hand to which he then takes the first steps with her.

The purple ewe smiles good naturedly to both her rams, but leaves with the one she arrived with in good humor as her arm once more loops with his own on the way to the refreshment table. "Did you have fun my love?" she remarks playfully

Arriving fashionably late is the black and silver clad form of Henri. The Fhirze lord is dressed in an elegant black velvet doublet with silver wing shaped clasps paired with matching black pants and boots. The half mask he wears is equally dark though trimmed around the outer edges and around the eyes in silver. He wanders in grey eyes sweeping over the room curiously as he looks around for a familiar face.

Clémentine and Pierre make a striking couple, not least because they have both dressed in gold tonight. They make a slow circuit of the floor, and whilst there are many that will recognize Clémentine now that she's sung, her partner might yet be a mystery. "They are wondering whom you could possibly be," she smiles, the flat of her hand splaying across his shoulder. "They are more used to seeing me with the Duc de Trevalion, and it would be clear to anyone from both your height and your build, that you are not he." Her lips find his as they make a turn in the corner of the room, and as they pass the doors that lead from the Grand Hall, something is spoken quietly in his ear.

Madelynne looks across the hall in search of the next planned entertainment for the evening. Her eyes fall on Clementine, taking her well-deserved respite after her performance, and then move onward until they settle on the pair of rams. A sliver of a smile creases her lips, and she laughs softly to herself. "I think that's my cue to get a drink," she says to Auriele and Jean at her side. "Would you like anything, my Lord?" She lays a soft kiss on Jean's cheek, and then turns her head to whisper something against his ear.

Turning, the Glycine settles her attention on Aurelie at his opposite side. "And yourself, little lovely? I don't believe for the moment all the slanderous gossip Lord l'Envers has been telling me. You can hold your liquor just fine, I trust." Glancing sidelong to Jean, she grins, before turning back to face Aurelie. "But if you distrust your self control, I can bring you some tea."

"Wine would be wonderful," Jean promises Madelynne with a smile, leaning into that kiss when she returns. "Bring her some wine as well. Although, if you were to ask her, the virtue is in the brandy." There's a wink over to Aurelie, after Madelynne's whisper against his ear. With a grin back to the Bryony, then, he murmurs something to all three of his lovely company, a gaze given to the exit. "You may, of course, invite your pairing for the night," he tells Etoille, with a lopsided smile.

Familiar faces Henri possibly may find. There is this former Camellia, Etoille Fhirze nó Lis d'Or, currently engaged in conversation with Jean l'Envers and his entourage. Or… the duchesse herself? The Lady of Marsilikos stands there, amidst a circle of courtiers. The Hellene ambassador, Magalie Iskareios not far. There is an air of amusement and laughter in the air, belated reaction perhaps to the almost confrontation that just happened and then was solved in a manner that could have been suggested by Naamah herself?

"I have enjoyed the evening with you, as always, my Lady in Purple." the darker ram offers as he moves to take her hand again, but not before whispering an inquiry to the lady at his side.

Imogen smiles warmly and nods as she takes the ram by the hand and makes her way over to the Duchess, curtseying gracefully with her partner and waiting for the woman to acknowledge her.

Moving through the room with Clementine, Pierre appears to be fully absorbed in the dance and in her company. It is only when they reach that corner, her lips touching his, that the man comes to a stop with her. The whisper has him put a smile upon his lips before he nods once to her, "Your wish is my command, my lady." He takes her arm and links it to his once more before he starts to walk her towards the door.

"Thank you," answers Etoille, "but my lord has some business he plans to mix in under the pleasure of the masque tonight, so we might be here a while." Her smile blooms again, along with a little tip of her head in Madelynne's direction. "I'll have that note along in the morning. I do look forward to the tea. And you," she adds to the little blonde that makes up the third of that company. "It was a true pleasure to make your acquaintance. Naamah's grace." Which may well be her version of farewell, because she's off then, a swish of palest pink and flash of gold in the bolder-colored court of chaos.

Led towards the Duchess, the Ram next to the purple Ewe makes his own bow as well as he glances aside to the woman to wait to make their introductions before they depart for the evening.

It is almost endearing, the way Aurélie inhales a deep breath, when Madelynne confronts her with a challenge of sorts. "Slanderous gossip?", she echoes, and her green eyes shift towards the l'Envers, in silent question and perhaps also rebuke. "No tea.", she declares, with a sudden flicker of stubborn… confidence? Gaze sweeping right back to Madelynne, as this former Alyssum elects to tilt her head and hold the Bryony Second's stare for a very long moment. So intense that gaze is, that she almost misses Jean's subtle suggestion. His whispered words should be enough to distract her, and so her gaze turns towards him, neither nod nor shake of the head indicating her own inclination. Etoille slips away from them, and Aurélie murmurs back a "My pleasure," perhaps still in awe at the perfection that is Etoille no Lis d'Or. After that, her attention shifts to Madelynne, curious of what her decision might be.

Within the swirl of dancing and merriment, it is hard to track when each individual actually arrived, they may have been here all the while. There is a man, wearing a half mask in the likening of a wolf, his attire all black, save for a bit of red and green added in ornamental adornments of collar and sleeves. After whirling a rather busty maiden about for awhile, said wolf leaves her to the next dancer, and continues on to snatch a goblet of wine from a tray of a passing servant.

Ivory Ram's made the rounds of the room once by now and is returning to top himself off on the proferred vintage, reaching out and taking a goblet from the opposite side of the same tray as the wolf, making brief eyehole-contact the meanwhile, unless the wolf looks elsewhere. Then a grin. You can almost see some sort of wolf in sheep's clothing comment brewing in that mirthful, wine-eyed stare.

"Tomorrow morning," Madelynne affirms with a nod of her head to Etoille. She presents one last smile, as a parting gesture, and extends that gesture toward her escort for the evening. "And if it's not there I'll turn up on Lys d'Or's doorstep with teacup ready to be filled."

The blonde looks over Auriele, studying her as much as Jean, as if she might weigh into whatever decision she contemplates. In the end she nods her head once to the pair, but heads off toward the refreshment tables. She fills three glasses just enough for a single drink, one with white wine and two with red. Carrying two in one hand and one in the other, she returns to her companions, presenting the white to the little Adept and one of the reds to the Lord l'Envers. "But first, a drink." Once Jean has taken his glass, or at least relieved her of its burden, she turns to raise the glass in a gesture to Amandine. "To our delightful hostess for providing such a fete for us." Her face turns toward Jean and Auriele, and she presents her glass in a modest toast among the trio. "And to prosperity."

It is about time. The Lady of Marsilikos has recognized that niece of hers. The other who preferred to head into a dancing marathon with a certain ram - the first one. When Imogen finally heads her way, the ram in tow, Armandine turns their way, a goblet of white win in her hand, her smile encouraging, even if the look in her eyes may be a little stern.

Imogen smiles softly as she rises from her curtsey and tugs along her ram companion with a smile. "Your Grace, my companion would like to be introduced to you properly, as he told me he'd yet lacked the opportunity. So may i present Viscount Timeo d'Aiglemort," she offers warmly, perhaps it's the wine, or recent events, but her aunts stare does not intimidate her like it might usually do.

The wolf holds the gaze of the other ram, and there is something dark flickering in the depths of surprisingly light blue eyes. "Don't say it," the man says, "I'm not a sheep in wolf's clothing." As if he had guessed Ivory Ram's train of thought, but not quite correctly. A grin there, in a face that sports a faint scar, a thin line a touch paler than the skin. And the man turns away, goblet in hand, intent to vanish in the crowd,

The Camelian holds a similar intent gaze - one of command and composure, that he does not break beneath the stare of the Duchess. When Imogen makes his introduction, Timeo removes his masque for the moment to make a proper introduction. "I believe you have heard from the Duc of Camlach, my uncle. And I hope that you found his change of the terms agreeable, Your Grace?" he asks her politely as he stands at Imogen's side.

After distributing Aurelie's glass to her, he goes on to follow the Glycine second in her toasts: "To our hostess. And to prosperity," Jean echoes the two toasts, lifting his wineglass and drinking deeply from it, meeting Madelynne's gaze in the meantime as he lowers the vessel and offers his arm a new to both, as soon as their wine glasses have been drank.

For the time being he is silent and placid, though, nodding his goodbyes to Etoille and to the others that he knows while he prepares to depart, two beauties in tow.

The Ivory Ram's smile comes to full blossom when the wolf makes his guess. "I think the idiom runs, 'a wolf in sheep's clothing,' not the other way around. I thought it might lend itself to some quip about whether you wanted to get into my trousers, but now you've put me on the defense, verbally, and have caused the premature abortion of a witticism," he accuses, if teasingly and without malice. That said, if the wolf wishes to disappear, the ram is not going to be the one to stop him.

Armandine's hands join before her, fingers curling about the stem of the fine goblet of wine, as she waits for Imogen to finish her speech. "I am pleased to make your acquaintance," she intones towards Timeo, her voice all pleasant and composed. Her gaze had not aimed to intimidate, but to test, rather, and seeing the d'Aiglemort holding it with such stubborn pride manages to bring a smile to her face. "Ahh… you Camaelines. I adored the letter your uncle wrote to me. So… firm and matter-of-factly. His Grace is a man who prefers…" She bites her lip, searching for the right words, "clarity. And so he stressed, in his letter. Reading it was quite diverting." Her eyes shift to Timeo and she smiles. "Yes. I find the terms agreeable. You may court my niece, Timeo d'Aiglemort."

"I don't want to get into your pants," the wolf quipped back before he slipped away from the ram. Keen eyes may spot him weaving his way through to the woman in the orange-colored dress, with the dark hair and foreign jewelry. The few whispered words towards her, before he slips away again.

Imogen looks like she could /hug/ the duchess honestly when she formally gives her consent to the courtship, and if poor timeo was a weaker man his hand would likely be crushed. "I do apologise for all the confusion about it, one moment consort, the next he's courting me, but thank you, I believe we will be quite happy," she intones happily with a smile bright enough to rival the sun, Dahlia training be damned, she's happy and very smitten right now, and she's going to let it show!

"He is a man that is straight to his points, yes." comes the response from Timeo, though he has the good sense to at least look a little chagrined at his uncle's bluntness as he lets out a breath, with a smile offered in slight apology. "And that our courtship bears fruit that is favorable for both Eisande and Camlach."

Aurélie accepts the glass of wine, Madelynne intended for her, and raises it, joining into the toast. "To our hostess.", the adept echoes with a smile, pausing before she adds the second part, "to prosperity." And downs all of that glass in one daring swig. Maybe swaying lightly, as Jean leads her out of the hall.

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