(1310-06-30) Dreams and Nightmares: Ophelia's Debut
Summary: The Dreams & Nightmares masquerade. Ophelia's debut at the Rose Sauvage.
RL Date: Sat Jun 30, 1310
Related: None
alexandre arielle baptiste elliot evangeline frida jean lilyana olivia ophelia severine 

Gardens - La Rose Sauvage

The gardens of La Rose Sauvage offer a different ambience and atmosphere than that of the more oppressive and richly ornate salon. Tall casement windows spill out onto a paved area which gives way to neatly arranged flowerbeds, where a predominance of roses pay homage to the canons encompassed by this salon. The paths are of a dark granite grey which have softened over the years by the enroachment of mosses and lichens, with smaller paths winding off through the beds. It's here along these secluded paths that arborial areas and private nooks might be found, and where privacy is granted to those that seek it through flowering hedges and curtained awnings.

rA fountain plays at the centre of the garden, the copper figures of two nude women, long since mellowed to a soft verdigris, spill water from shells into a pool at its base. The main pathway through the garden leads to a terracotta tiled courtyard that sits towards the farthest end, the walls here flanked by creeping ivys which cloak the walls in scarlet and orange during the autumn months. An oiled silk awning hangs over the courtyard to give shelter from both sun and rain, and oil lamps light the area when evening falls.

The gardens have been transformed for the debut masque. A number of temporary walls have been erected, changing the shape into an irregular tangle of corridors and passages that funnel toward the fountain. Carved wooden pillars and trellises support a wealth of sheer cloth, silk in a hundred shades of grey, green, and pink. More, the wood is enveloped in tangled climbing roses not native to the garden, with heavily perfumed blossoms and cruel, inch-long thorns. The petals of the flowers are mauve, but also black: close examination proves that every one has been put to the fire and singed, some nearly burnt away.

Light is provided in the form of colored glass lamps. Some are tiny fairy lights, hung high, but most are tucked away on the ground, which casts many strange shadows as people move through the dark garden. Every member of the house is masqued, no marques in evidence to hint which is Red or White or Thorn. Some carry golden trays arranged with beverages or hors d'oeuvres, circulating to ensure the guests are properly lubricated.

Of special note are two figures on either side of the main fete gathering area. One wears a hooded white robe, the other a hooded black robe. They stand like guards, like Casselines maybe, heads bowed, unmoving. It is only upon very close investigation that they are revealed to be constructs, cleverly fashioned from wood and straw and whatnot beneath those all-concealing drapes of cloth.

It is not quite midnight in the garden of sharp desires, but near enough on this balmy summer night that lamps have become necessary. Most are lit low to the ground, globes of red and amber light that glow like banked fires along the paths leading around the garden, luring guests to the greater area around the fountain. The faint scent of charred roses hangs still in the air, layered over the perfume of those flowers, sweet and bitter simultaneously. Masked, robed figures circulate with the preliminary offering of wines, Kusheline red and sparkling white, while the first minor chords of a cello and violin duet pick up from somewhere behind sheer screens.

A figure in silks of silver drifts into the gardens. Honey gold hair is captured into the fine filigree mesh of an elabotage headpiece, and her face is obscured by a mask of white feathers. Accepting a glass of sparkling white wine from one of the adepts that are doing duty tonight, she walks with chin uplifted along one of the paths. She's arrived in the company of no-one tonight, though her familiarity with the layout of the gardens would suggest that she's no stranger to Rose Sauvage.

A towering ghostly figure, if one considers that it is all in white, walks into the garden on soft white soled booted feet. Their cloak almost hits the ground but doesn't quite reach on each step keeping the long white silk cloak free from blemish. Beneath the hood of the cloak another hood is worn, a white shapeless mask that hides the facial features nearly perfectly in formlessness except for a pair of green eyes. The hood even keeps the hair hidden, hiding whomever it might be except for their size and height. As they make their way through the other masked figures and the fires there is a moment when they spot the bidding box. There is no hesitation as they walk over towards it and draw a token. Stepping to write their bid and other requisite information down a bit of sand is used to dry the ink from the quill before it is rolled up and sealed with wax. The token is pressed into the wax and when it has cooled, the bid is dropped into the box. Once done the token is slipped away for later use and the towering figure moves off to see the rest of the decorations that the Garden has been styled in.

Into the flickering shadows of the garden steps a whimsical blonde figure clad in white and silver. The young woman in her butterfly style mask and matching gown looks like a sweet dream, one that could easily flutter out of reach if allowed. She steps down the garden pathways with a swish and sparkle of her layered white skirts that have been painted with silver butterflies. She is quiet as she approches the bidding alcove, her steps light and her expression calm and determined. She takes up a token and submits her bid, sealing it with the mark of her token before moving away with quiet grace, picking up a glass of white wine and drifting idly for a moment as she sips from that glass. She admires the decorations with utter calm her ice blue eyes hard to read and her expression equally composed.

Curiousity seems to have drawn in all sorts this evening. Puppies included. A golden haired figure in a canine mask with a surprisingly real looking tail comes bounding into the garden with cheerful enthusiasum. Once in though the young puppy seems to sense the dangers presented and slows down, tilting his head from side to side as he slowly begins to explore the area. He doesn't accept a drink just yet, instead focused on simply taking in the sights and people around him.

Blonde hair is lightly bound into a ponytail at the base of a woman's neck. The figure is painted black, and wearing a mask that has been broken and carefully put back together with silver to fill in the cracks. Likewise, there are silver marks atop the matte black of the body paint. In silence, she deposits a pre-written message with the keep of tokens, folding it and sealing the message with the glass bauble. The lack of pockets means the token is transferred to her left hand and held before she slips back towards shadows and away from the light.

A tall and imposing figure, clad in the deepest darkest colors of night, lingers among the shadows. The volta mask bears the exquisite markings of roses and thorns upon a flawless canvas. The only inkling of who might be lurking behind the costume is the pair of violet-blue eyes which gaze upon the gardens with a certain intensity. Watching, waiting, judging. Yes, -judging- everyone and everything as if what they wear is pathetic.

Black is the dress pronouncing a slender shape, the fabric of a quality that instead of reflecting the light seems to swallow it. The pallor of skin with a faint spray of freckles standing out all the more in neckline and bare arms. A pair of black wings are worn on her back, and a thick honey-blonde braid descends between them. The mask covers the upper part of her face, and a glass of wine held in a slender fingered hand. Like the silvery-white woman, this black-clad one seems similarly familiar with the gardens. And it seems, she is content to observe, a flower of Rose Sauvage more likely than someone who intends to bid.

Someone has decided to take after the Punishing Angel this evening. His bearing is straight, impersonal, and almost regal. Almost, because the whip wrapped around his forearm and the mask portrays the likeness to the least merciful of all of Elua's companions. Quietly, he heads over to a desk, writing on fine parchment and producing a pearlescent glass seal with the token, places it in an envelope and stamps it closed before depositing it in the box.

So many individuals. It is about now that a couple sweeps into the garden. A man in black, wearing a draconic mask echoed in the shining golden scales painted on his arms, and a woman in white and gold. She is particularly notable for the pair of ram's horns that curl out from the side of her head, these too gilt in that bright yellow metal. They part ways soon enough. He will join the observers, but she goes to wander among the guests, heels ticking on the paving stones as they measure out the cadence of her prowling. The bronze mask she wears conceals every feature, but as she passes guests she pauses to inspect them, head tilting at an almost exaggerated angle.

The tall white cloaked individual continues to make their way through the Garden and examining all the details. Any expression is lost behind that completely featureless mask as they move through. There is occasionally a tightening of the eyes, as other costumes are noticed but that is all. Standing straight and stiff beneath that white silk cloak the figure moves through and eventually comes to a stop near to the butterfly, "An interesting choice." A male voice says conversationally soft, "For a debut for a Thorn."

It might not be the most controversial choice, but a tall man dressed as the night - black on black on black, even his dagger and the swan pin on his coat - steps in to the gardens and moves to one side, interestingly watching the crowd.

Clad much like the fabled faerie, except in muted tones in respect for the debutante, a young woman with chocolate colored curls and dark eyes maneuvers rather gracefully through the crowds, hesitating at times to admire certain costumes and masks. It was rather breathtaking and when someone passes by with drink she finds one for herself. This one has red wine. Luck of the draw. A sip is taken as she meanders but it is the one with the whip and not so merciful mask that captures her attention, if only briefly. A wide berth is given the man as she moves on, curious as to the others present.

A sip is taken from the glass in her hand. It would seem that the feather-masked woman isn't much of a one for alcohol however, and spotting the newly arrived woman in black with wings on her back, a curious smile curves her lips. Apologies are given to one of the other guests whom has just been introduced to her, and she slips quickly away. "It's truly a spectacle, don't you think?" she says quietly to the winged woman on gaining her side. "And the bidding booth. Sheer genius. The keeper of it is quite fearsome though, don't you think?" Her words are quietly spoken, and fall away entirely as the horned female and companion enter the gardens. It's not until she's passed them by that she speaks again. "Divine, don't you think? Her debut will be on everyone's lips come the morning."

The white and silver lady butterfly continues to drift around the gardens with slow graceful steps. She sips her wine slowly, watching as the tall white clad figure approches her. She studies the figure calmly and without a touch of fear her lips quirking upwards ever so faintly. "I suppose it is. But butterflies are free spirited, they fly to whatever flowers they choose and even when caged I doubt their nature can truly be changed. Its symbolism of a sort I suppose." Her tone is soft yet steady as she regards the cloaked man with a slight tilt of her head.

As she is approached by the feather masked woman, the winged woman offers a gracious smile beneath her masked features. "It truly is, my lady." Making assumptions there, of course. "I think I much prefer the silent bidding over the shout outs, though I have to admit curiosity as to the price either way." She also falls silent as the pair pass, dark eyes taking in everything. "To be completely truthful, I think her debut was on everyone's lips even before today and will surely be for some time to come." A smile accompanies the words though and she finds herself admiring the beauty surrounding her by all of the unfamiliar figures and their costumes.

Fetching himself a glass of red wine, the mortal disguised as Kushiel sips without any particular hurry or anxiety to his bearing. Instead, he peruses the surroundings and smiles faintly to himself at the assortment of masks, but it is the woman with the judgmental bearing that he approaches first. "Hello," he greets, offering a bow of his head before moving on to study those present. Deciding to stride around, he bows quietly to the masked personage he was speaking with moments prior and starts to wander about the garden. Taking in the decoration.

The masked woman in the black dress tilts her head a little, as she gives the silvery white lady a smile. "Jacques wouldn't have had it done any other way, but as the spectacle this is," she murmurs back, pausing then as the pair of horned woman and the man at her side pass them. Lowering herself into a curtsey whilst tipping her chin down in a show of respect and dark thrill, the black dressed woman straightens then, her grey gaze following the female of the pair curiously.

Enter into the mix a lithe, lissom femme, dressed in the colors of Alyssum, a gossamer gown of palest pink cinched hard and fast around her narrow waist with a pearlescent white corset. She would blend well into the background of the fete, but for the masque she wears, a semi-realistic depiction of a woman's face cast in a shimmering pink sheen and two gossamer scarves that cross the masque in front, bundling softly to cover the eyes of the masque in a blindfold and to fill the open mouth of the maque, rendering the wearer blindfolded and gagged, at least in aspect, while the gossamer is presumably thin enough that the eyes of the woman behind them, though hidden from view, can see what lies before her. To add to the masque's illusion, she wears a third scarf loosely bound around her white gloved wrists, compelling her to hold her arms with somewhat sugestive restriction before her, while still allowing her sufficient freedom to take care of some basic practicalities. The scarves are tied behind a cascade of middling blonde hair, braided and hanging to the middle of her narrow, graceful back. She must be able to see. Either that or she knows the paths of the garden by heart. Which is the likelier option?

Watching as people filter in and settle to mingle, the black-painted woman slips along to outskirts to find a servant bearing a tray of drink. A nudge and a motion wins her a glass of some white wine, carried lightly by black painted fingers. The low light catches here and there on the seemingly random silver that breaks up the matte black as she drifts back towards the darker gaps between the lights to sip from the glass.

"Perhaps it is as you say." The white cloaked individual says to the Butterfly, "I would worry however, as butterfly's have little to protect themselves with and this is a garden of infernal delights tonight." There is a soft laugh at that, amused, one can almost imagine a smile beneath the features white silk mask. "I would worry more if you bid and win, I have a feeling this particular thorn would rather enjoy plucking a butterflies wings off and worse." The only thing bad about that mask? It stops him from being able to drink! No wine glasses for the towering white cloaked figure alas. "Still… it is an impressive showing, and gathering. I have no doubt this will be one that will be hard to top."

Certainly something out of a nightmare - even if it is a d'Angeline nightmare - a tall figure in long, flowing black robes makes its way into the gardens. Moving slowly, hands clasped together before him and only just visible beneath the large openings of his sleeves, the figure wears a dark blood red mask over his face. Features contorted into some sort of demonic creature, ugly and frightening and grotesque. The robe is mostly black but with some embroidery down near the floor, the clothing dragging along and decorated with reds and oranges to suggest burning flames. He looks about and begins to mingle, keeping to the fringes and mostly out of the way. This event is not for him.

The white creature with the golden horns finishes her first circle before taking up a glass of wine, rich and dark as old blood. She doesn't drink but uses it like a prop, maybe a surface to scry with, to divine weakness in the crowd. It's easily picked out. Those with cause to hide in the shadows might be particularly vulnerable to her. So it is that she stalks toward the woman in the black paint finally, like some strange, pale predator, stopping only when she's quite certain she has the scarred thing's attention. "You. Come out here."

The silver-swathed female links an arm through the wingedone's in black, a discrete kiss placed upon her friend's cheek. "I too will be interested, though it will forever be a secret as to what it is that will sway Ophelia's opinion towards whom she will settle upon." Light catches on the slender chain that encircles her wrist as she lifts her hand to take another sip from her glass, and her head tilts a little to the left, towards one of the rose arbours that hang heavy with roses; both red and white. "I think I'll sit a while and simply watch everyone fall over themselves in a bid to gain her attention."

The tall, robed figure donning a volto of thorns and roses pushes off from the shadows and slithers among the masses. The figure comes up behind a few of the gathered to make sure they have cast their bids. Violet-blue eyes narrow down at their costumes and while they do not speak one might assume they hear a faint scoffing from behind the mask.

The Butterfly lets out a soft laugh in return, a sweet humor filled sound. She smiles softly for the white masked man beneath her mask. "Perhaps this particular butterfly enjoys risks. And if my wings get plucked I will simply evolve from there rather than be defeated…I would enjoy the challenge this Thorn presents I think. She seems both beautiful and intense…she will do well I agree." She nods slowly in further agreement. "It is most certainly impressive yes…I look forward to seeing how the night progresses."

The puppy continues to wander around looking curious as he strolls through the gardens. That long tail trails behind him as he walks and while he may get a few odd looks he looks to be the cheerful excitable sort a faint smile on his lips as even the rather intimidating atmosphere is unable to take away his excitement.

The wine glass pauses against the black-painted woman's lips, and there's a classic glance to either side of her before the glass is drained and set aside for a servant to find later. Without shadows, there's nothing to cover her. Called out of them, there is a heartbeat of hesitation before she moves forward, clasping her hands behind her back to stand before the horned figure in white.

"The addition of a dark secret was a curious one." The white cloaked figure tells the butterfly, "It makes me wonder what people were brave enough to put down, even with the cloak of anonymity. After all… what is truly taboo for us?" He asks curiously, glancing down towards the butterfly again. "There is only so many things that cannot be had if one desired them through the various salons." He hmms, "It would be interesting to see what you would morph into if your wings were plucked. There is a certain beauty in destruction."

There is even less mistaking the debutante's identity when she speaks, though that velvet voice of hers doesn't carry far through the garden at all. Maybe she is being a little bit louder, clearer than customary circumstances might dictate, but evidently the painted target is too tempting to resist. "I wanted to set someone on fire tonight. Tie them to one of the pillars. Apply a torch. Do you think I should?" Her question is asked with Alyssum-grade innocence, as if she were asking if she ought to have a second helping of some sweet.

The Blinded Maiden lifts her bound hands before her, fingers arced tentatively as she treads the dark paths of the garden, feeling out the way in front of her and moving the delicately pointed toes of her shoes along the path as though truly rendered blind by the gossamer tied across her eyes. In a dark corner nook she discovers a dark and fiery demon, toward whom she lifts her hapless hands, resting them together, if he should let her, timidly upon his chest, then looking to explore up to his face. All silently, of course, the gossamer gag between the lips sculpted in pearlescent pink denying conversation, or at least pretending to.

A soft sly looking smile is given to the white cloaked figure from the butterfly. "Indeed. It makes things more interesting as well I think. It provides a challenge for us of sorts, at least for certain people. Discovering what they are and then admitting our deepest desires even with anonymity might challenge some people." She tilts her head as he mention beauty in destruction and her calm gaze peers at his figure intently. "Spoken in a fashion similar to that of a Thorn, you have me intrigued. Though I cannot disagree, tearing something down only allows it to be built back up again into something better. Unless it breaks permanently that is…" She smirks in a faintly playful manner sipping slowly from her wineglass.

While the conversations go on around her, the faerie meanders through the room until she finds a place to be as unobtrusive as possible. With her muted colors of clothing, she is not trying to attract attention to herself so much as just be part of the event by observing it. Red wine in hand, she takes a sip and finds a place to seat herself near the fountain, amusement playing over her features as she recalls another fountain and the recent rumors concerning them. Her fingers dip into the water and she allows the water to run through them, delighting in the cooler water.

"I admit that Thorns are not my usual purview, but this one has intrigued me with the promise of possibilities." There is a soft chuckle from the white cloaked individual at that, the hooded figure turning slightly to look over at the horned figure and the black painted one. "Challenge is something to be sought, safety leads to boredom." He looks back towards the butterfly, "We can't have that, now can we." There is another moment before those green eyes settle on the butterfly again. "You are perceptive, and correct, of course. Destroying something is easy, breaking it is easy, the skill falls in the creation of something new from the remains. The discovery of what lies beneath the surface."

The reply from the painted shadow to the golden horned woman is slow in coming, care taken with every syllable. "It is your night." The thick Skaldic accent unmistakable to any that have heard it. "Be bright." Stumbling slightly over the last word before falling silent again, blue eyes watching the woman intently, trying to read what lies beneath the bronze mask and the gown. She subtly shifts her weight from foot to foot before glancing down, then back towards that impassive mask - finding it disconcerting.

The whip coiled around his forearm is tugged free from its wrap, and then 'Kushiel' lets it drag very casually across the floor, without actual intent of hurting anyone. He stop by the sneering, dismissive masked woman, offering the handle to her. "Nice one, isn't it? Proper for temple scourging, I'm told. Couldn't pass up the opportunity to purchase it for precisely this occasion." He looks over at the masked figure with the golden horns, canting his head to the side. Any reaction he might have to the voice, or words, are obscured by the mask. "And how are you tonight?" This, to his chosen conversational partner.

"I enjoy the company of Thorns a great deal myself. I like the challenge they present…they push and test my limits and I admit I find it a guilty pleasure to experience such a thing." The butterfly replies to the white cloaked figure easily and she smiles softly once more nodding slowly. "I cannot stand boredom, I need to be challenged and to have purpose. If that eventually leads to me being torn down and being rebuilt then I will consider myself blessed." She looks towards the horned figure in gold and white and smiles faintly before looking back to the cloaked figure in white.

"Maybe I should set you on fire. Send you screaming into the roses." If the white, horned woman is at all pleased by the Skaldi having revealed herself there is no particular showing. Instead she circles around the scarred, black figure, the briefest pantomime of abstract nightmares. She beckons then to one of the servant figures, who lays aside their tray and approaches her with a glass orb. It is opalescent, every color reflected in the sphere like light on spilled oil. Light maybe cast by the tiny tongue of flame that burns at its top. A lamp, surely. She cups her fingers around its bottom, obviously winding up to toss it. Possibly at her called out target.

"Indeed." The white cloaked figure says to the butterfly and then after another look he adds, "Perhaps in the future, those limits might be pushed outside of the Thorns, should you find a willing and able partner to do so." The hooded figure bows his head politely, offering, "Enjoy your evening, Butterfly, it appears as if the festivities are beginning in earnest." With that the towering white masked and cloaked figure moves away to examine more of the Gardens, finding a place to watch the play between light and darkness, and fire… of course.

As the silver and white woman with the feathered mask leads them on towards the Ros Gazebo, the pale-skinned female in the black dress with black wings follows, and a fine smile curves her lips. "What will sway her?", she echoes with faint amusement. "Of course the one vision that promises the most diverting to her… or the individual issuing the vision. So much is revealed in such a personal confession." Her fingers move over those abyssmally black skirts as one Rose Sauvage regards the other, in sitting down right beside her. "Let us watch and indulge in the vanities displayed for a moment. And the dark needs yearning to be fulfilled, hiding beneath their masks."

The butterfly smiles to the figure and inclines her head. "Perhaps, if so I would welcome such. Enjoy your evening as well. I wish you the best of luck in gaining what you desire." She then drifts away finishing off her wine with a final sip and placing the glass aside. She finds a place in the shadows to linger watching those around her with a calm composed expression.

The tall robed figure glances to the Kushiel with the whip around his forearm. Violet-blue eyes look down to his arm then back to his own eyes. She accepts the handle and gives him a nod of her head.

Approaching the fountain, the tower of white inclines his head to the winged faerie perched there watching the festivities. "Are you enjoying the decor and demonstration so far?" Is asked in a polite but definitely masculine voice. Not quite settling on the edge of the fountain so as to not risk ash marking the white more than even existing in the Garden right now does, the figure turns to watch and see how the threat of being set alight plays out.

It's a challenge in itself to let the golden demon slink behind her without turning to face her. There's no clothing to hide behind and it's easy to read the tension in the painted shadow - tension that only becomes more obvious when the wicked woman has armed herself with a oil lamp. Even her stoic stubbornness wavers, realizing the paint she's covered in is grease and fine ground charcoal. She starts to take a step back, then plants her bare foot more firmly on the ground, taking a breath to try and steady herself. "No, Mistress." A lesson remembered, and practiced in solitude.

The fountain is as safe a place as any when the fire comes out. Even if only the threat of it. So rapt is the faerie's attention towards the debutante that she almost misses the arrival of the white cloaked figure. With her hand still dipped within the waters, she offers a smile to the new arrival, lips curving below the mask. "Good evening to you," the smile turns slightly lopsided as the dark eyes within the mask flicker back over to Ophelia. "A possibly dangerous evening, though I admit a certain breathless excitement." Not wishing to interrupt his watching of the festivities, she does not speak overly much. Though on the other side of the coin she does not wish to appear rude as well. "Do you believe the fire will be cast?"

The quiet woman in the feathered mask takes up one side of the arbour's bench, whilst the woman with wings takes up the other. It leaves a convenient space between them. Perhaps that's why the demon-masked individual deigns to enter the arbor and place himself between the pair of them. A thorn between two roses. How apt. How decidedly wrong. Anyone closely observing the trio would note the faint blush that rises on the the silver-clad one's cheeks as she leans close to press a chaste kiss to the cheek of the demon. How bold.

"Oh, so you can learn. How clever." Perhaps the debutante is pleased after all. She glides in a circle around her chosen victim, just once, though the orbit narrows as she completes it until she is so close that she could gore the woman in black if she tried. Or add another scar to her face. Maybe take an eye out with one of those ram's horns. The orb is held up until that tongue of fire comes just between them… and then she turns away. There's no particular warning. And she does throw the lamp at what, at a passing glance, might easily be presumed to be another guest, maybe one chosen largely at random. Glass shatters on stone, oil splashes, and fabric ignites as one of the two cloak-draped bundles of kindling goes up in flames.

Which seems to be a sign because the figure guarding the alcove shifts over, stepping in front of the entrance. Those who were serving drinks before appear again with a fresh bevy of snacks. And Ophelia? She stands, head cocked, watching the figure burn with great interest.

Jean watches the little pyrotechnical spectacle with great interest, even going so far as clapping as the figure goes up in flames. "I love a good bonfire," he comments to no-one in particular as he sips from his wine again, laughing harder the more the flames roar. "Amazing."

Alexandre says, "I doubt it." The white cloaked figure says softly to the Faerie so as to not distract to much from the display, "The fear of it is enough to set the Skaldi's heart pounding in her chest." And yes, the fire is thrown another way. White gloved hands come out and clap politely, as much as silk gloved hands can clap. It's a muffled sound probably lost in the other sounds of the gathered nameless individuals for the debut who are gasping at the fire and the like. As the snacks come out there is a faint bemused laugh and a slight shake of the white robed figures head."

The black clothed angel of death turns her gaze pointedly towards the spectacle, as if she were oblivious to the demon that joins her and the feather-masked silver light of the moon. She may fool those futher away, but those close to her might note the faint shiver that runs down her spine, a slight flaring of nostrils in acknowledgement to his presence. Nevermind, that seeing the straw puppets burst aflame makes her gasp with astonishment. "And there. She did it. Had 'someone' burnt, at least. How clever… and intriguing a spectacle."

From her place in the shadows the Butterfly claps lightly, her blue eyes gleaming with interest as the puppets go up in flames. Her lips are curved into an amused smile at the display she just witness and she allows her gaze to roam once again now.

The sudden flash of fire has the blue eyes of the golden puppy widening in shock. He bites his lower lip, his previous excitement now traded for a much more timid but still intrigued look. Quietly he wanders around some more looking for a place to sit now it seems.

That second circling with the globe of fire and light in Ophelia's hand is utterly unnerving, chewing at the steady resolve of the Skald to be unflinching. Pulse thudding in her ears, her hands knot up behind her back where they're clasped - the paint concealing the whitening of knuckles. Shoulder tighten until she's all but quivering with the barely restrained energy and doubt being roused by the predator with golden horns. lips part as she works on forcing her breathing, at least to steady, and just when she's got a hand on the doubt and the fear that has been well sown and watered, the lamp is lifted and hurled. It might be towards the cloaked effigy, but the Skald reacts on instinct, breaking that purposeful posture and ducking her masked face as her arms come up, crossing in front of her as if to ward away the splash of hot oil that… doesn't come. Cursing herself for being so easily played by the Thorn, she shakes her head, relaxing that guarded posture with an effort and shaking her arms out, heart pounding - and if it weren't for the paint, she'd be dark with her own shame. Instead, there's a nervous vent of laughter, uneasy and embarrassed.

The fear was almost palpable, or at least to the Faerie's imagination it was, coming from the Skaldi. The flame was right there, so near it could ignite, so dangerous. Inhaling, she finds herself holding her breath and then flinching as soon as the sphere is thrown in a different location, igniting something else instead. Her breath releases all in a rush and a hand goes to her chest where her heart is beating a rapid pace that shows in the pulsing at the base of her neck. It does not come to here to think to give applause, the fear had been all too real, and the brush with death for the Skaldi had been genuine, at least in her own eyes. "That.." she breathes in and out again, her words a mere whisper for the other person at the fountain to hear. "It was incredible."

And that, it seems, will be that; it is as dramatic a thing as can probably be managed under the circumstances. The trembling Skaldi will be abandoned there too, center stage, the primary area of the debut stage now lit by fire that rages right up what must be a carefully constructed path, sending showers of fragrant sparks into the night sky. More roses burn. The stagecraft might give the horned debutante some cover, because she makes her way toward one of the sheer fabric walls and is gone in a few moments as well. And, shortly thereafter, her dragon-masqued companion vanishes from the set. Evidently the bidding has ended.

Left alone in the middle of everything next to the effigy, Frida turns to watch the flames, shivering visibly before slinking back towards the shadows to hunt down another of the servants. A glass for each hand is claimed - uncaring for the contents of the delicate glasses. Embarrassed and shaken, she seeks solitude away from the eyes of others to try and collect herself. The broken and repaired mask is lifted, revealing that even her face has been painted, and her lips leave charcoal smears on the rim as she drinks the first glass with haste.

"Very nicely done." The white cloaked man says to the Faerie in agreement, still clapping until the two figures retreat out of public view. "A perfect choice of target apparently as well." He falls silent for a few moments and then asks the Faerie, "Are you in the bidding yourself?" He asks conversationally. "The silent bid adds a different element of pressure, rather than the challenge of outbidding it really all comes down to intent. Without the regular bidding process to know if one has been outbid, it falls to a singular moment."

Giving the Skaldi the freedom she seems to desire, the Faerie settles her attention on the man in white, turning a smile towards him as she collects herself from the very vivid display. "I have not bid. I honestly think her price would be more than I could afford. Even the element of the question is fairly expensive in the most non-monetary of ways." A smile is flashed towards him. "Have you offered a bid?"

With a faint nod to the fire-frightened Skaldi, the man in the Kushiel mask offers a salute with his goblet, along with the ringing of a chuckle she might recognize. But that's it, pretty much, before he reaches out to tap the marqued Mandrake on the shoulder. "Don't you like it when people use fire? Fire is the most primal of elements, in my opinion. Always attracts the eye, sets the heart to beat faster." There is a greeting to the debutante as well, now, one which involves a bow; overly elaborate, but flawless in execution.

"That is the nature of the silent bid though," The white cloaked man says to the winged Faerie, "It is silent, so will people bid low, or will they bid all out in hopes to win it?" He asks and then looks in the direction the pair went with the bids briefly at the question, "Yes. I was one of the first to put my bid in I believe." He tells the woman at the fountain with him. "The price of admission even to bid though… I imagine that it will be interesting reading. Even anonymous." He looks back towards the Faerie and rolls those massive shoulders in a shrug beneath the white cloak, even as the burning figures and bushes start to cast ash this way and that along with the smoke. "So the debut may very well go for less than one might expect. Then again, there are those who will break their bank for such an opportunity."

The butterfly stands quietly in the shadows. The light from the lamps reflecting off the silver painted designs on her gown and off the matching silver clips in her hair. She stands calmly her gaze locked curiously on where the winning bid is being determined. Those ice blue eyes reveal nothing, regal and composed as she observes.

"Perhaps," the Faerie agrees with a good natured smile. "Hopefully yours will be the winning bid and a night with the thorn will leave you forever changed." Her eyes lower briefly as he rolls his shoulders and though there is a gleam of appreciation in her eyes she does nothing to further advance upon the man. "Even anonymous," agreeing once more. "I admit I am rather curious as to what one would write to such a query." The wine in her hand is finished off, that rich red drink slightly staining her lips the same color. The vessel is passed off to another passing servant but she opts to forgo a second glass. "Either way, it has been a pleasure being in your company, however brief, I appreciate the conversation."

The first glass is discarded, set down with care for a servant to come along and pick up later. Only somewhat settled by the game played, and lost, Frida takes a sip from the second glass and turns towards the sound of the familiar chuckling. A hand is lifted as she starts over that way at a leisurely pace - trying to hide the shakiness left in the wake of the massive adrenaline dump that Ophelia gave her.

Some time will pass. It must take some time to read everything in the box, and what discussion must pass over what was submitted. But there is music, food, wine. And the burning effigies. What more could one ask for at such an affair? Eventually though the man in the dragon's mask will reemerge. With this appearance the music dies, though he waits for silence before saying only, "Tonight is claimed by the mark of the stag wrought sinister. Naamah help you, particularly if you lost your token. As for the rest of you, please, enjoy the remainder of the… festivities."

As the winner is announced, the white cloaked individual takes out their own token and tosses it into the pyre of the burning victim. "It appears as if I have business to attend to." There is a polite nod towards the Faerie and then the tall man moves away from the fountain and starts towards the exit.

The butterfly smiles faintly her gaze going from the debutante to slowly circle the room, landing on the white cloaked figure briefly before she turns and moves to leave with a soft flutter of her skirts.

"Hello, my exotic friend, I hope you're enjoying the event. It is wonderful," the man in the Kushiel mask states, giving the Skald his wineglass. "Here, have a drink," he offers, listening to the announcement of the winner and apparently having no reaction whatsoever to it. "I didn't know you're afraid of fire," the masked individual mentions to the Skald. "But then again, life is full of interesting surprises." With a nod to the man in the dragon mask, he mentions: "Wonderful party, by the by. Rose Sauvage raises the bar."

With the party over, the Faerie also starts for the exit.

Frida clears the glass she has in hand, trading the empty for the one offered - normally one to avoid anything with alcohol, tonight seems to be breaking the mold for the paint clad Skald. "Not fear fire. Fear woman." she says with a grin, teeth startlingly white, surrounded by black. The token is announced and she looks to the glass bauble in her hand, seeing the bird and smirking at it. "Mandrake way. All tease, no please." she frumps, not really having expected to go far with her bid.

The woman in the black dress with black wings has observed the declaration of the winner from her spot in the rose gazebo. Leaning forward from where she is seated she maybe notes a certain detail. It makes her excuse herself from her current company as she rises and leaves her current location, to wander back to the salon, murmuring some words to someone in passing.

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