\ Haven:Mist and Shadow Logs/Dominance-Masquerade Ball 09-20-2015
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Dominance-Masquerade Ball 09-20-2015

In Dominance - Castle Ballroom {Dominance}

This ballroom is set just to the left of the castle entrance, which is flanked by a seemingly endless retinue of uniformed guards equipped with standards, shields, and heavy iron swords. Once inside, the decadence of the room could be overwhelming for a first time visitor. The floors are made from the finest polished wood, inlaid with golden sigils that wind throughout the dancefloor. Banquet tables are arranged around the room, along with chairs, and these are nearly filled to overflowing with masquerade attendees, each wearing a different mask, some of them meant to conceal the identity, others merely for decoration.

A harpist is accompanied by a soprano singer near the front of the room, the two contributing music to the festivities, and dozens of attendees spin around the dance floor, exchanging pleasantries and dance partners as they enjoy each other's company and the anonymity of the masque.

It is night, and about 65F(18C) degrees. There is a waxing crescent moon.


The ball is well underway, a dozen or so pairings twirling around the dance floor, and scores more taking up seats at the various tables around the room. All are adorned in masks of varying design, some favoring the macabre, and others taking a more light-hearted approach to the evening of mystery.

When he enters the ballroom, a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask walks with the bearing befitting a king. Each step is taken precisely and almost methodically. His head lifts and he takes a moment to look around the room. Some of the guests are ignored, others cause the man to stop in his inventory of the room, only to be summarily dismissed by the robed man. And then there are those that catch his attention. Those he stops to look at for a couple of seconds. Once his study of the ballroom is complete, he finally continues making his way in to mingle with the other faceless guests.

Not unlike the mask she chooses to wear this evening, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask slips in to mingle, brisk and quiet as she carefully avoids the possibility of making a nuisance of herself among the masqued guests during her perusal of the surroundings. Her sandaled feet pause, rabbit-masked head turning slowly. The study of the other guests is done with animated eyes, if not animated features, and finally she opts to find herself a seat to watch the proceedings with attentive interest.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask arrives.

A servant finds herself missing a drink from her tray, as the warm wine cup is deftly taken by a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask. With that in hand, he continues with his mingling with the other guests. A nod here, a lift of his cup there and finally those storm blue eyes of his settle on a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. He lifts his head some when he looks at her and then, bringing his cup to his lips closes the distance to where she found her sitting. "Embracing the nature of your mask, I see," he observes to her. His voice is deep, but with a velvety quality to it.

a comedically-masked female in a layered stola arrives.

The music segues from one lively tune to another, and while those dancing trade their current partners for their next one, several people leave the dance floor entirely, taking up seats at a table near a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. "I love your mask," mentions a woman in a rather simple but elegantly-made white leather mask that entirely obscures her left eye, the edge seeming to be stitched to her skin. "I told my tailor that animal masks were going to be the thing this evening, but she insisted," she laments, plucking up a glass of wine.

People-watching even the incognito seems to be enthralling, with a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask hovering on her seat's edge, perched carefully, using this place to her advantage as she extends her narrow neck for better vantage points without having to rise. The brunette seems enthralled, so much so that when a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask speaks to her, she startles and jerks to the side in her seat, whipping her head in his direction to stare at him before finding composure and shoving it back to where it belongs. A gentle clearing of her throat precedes her higher-pitched voice, wavering as she replies, "Perhaps I chose the mask to suit me, rather than the alternative." She shifts her pale-colored eyes aside at the white-masked woman nearby, her exposed lips curving into a voluptuous smile, albeit a tentative one. "I'm sure few could wear a mask like yours; it may be that we simply rest on what is most... Palatable for us."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask arrives in the ballroom and scans around, taking in the grand sight of the ballroom. His eyes then shift on the others inside, slowly looking at each person he passes as he wanders through with curiosity, wondering just who it was behind each mask. He arrives at one of the tables and sits down in a chair as a serving girl brings him a glass of wine, which he accepts before shooing her off.

The serving girl casts A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask a teasing smile as she's shooed. "I'll be back," she promises him quietly as she heads off to serve other guests, her floor-length stola simple in design but daringly low-cut in the back.

"Animal masks are usually a favorite at this things, I've found. It makes it easier for us to express our true natures... or hide behind false ones," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask observes to woman in the white leather mask. He looks again at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, "Mmm. Timid and skittish?" He brings his cup to his lips as he asks this. "Or perhaps you are like the rabbit that tried to entice Lord Zion to come down from the sky in that old children's tale," he notes. "I guess we'll find out which one you are before the night is over." He pauses and looks at the new arrivals with the same critical eye he gave those already present during his arrival. "So, do you dance, little rabbit?" He asks a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask gives the serving girl a sly smile and watches her move off. He then casts his eyes over to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask and a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask as they interact with each other, curiosity shining in his eyes as he swirls the wine around slightly. He brings the glass up and sips the wine, the bottom part of his mask ending just above his mouth.

"It hardly does me any good to reveal secrets like that to you," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask claims, her voice continuing its waver before solidifying, a silvery mezzo-soprano that tumbles over the syllables spoken, enhanced with a trickle of petulance. She rises from her seat, looking aside to the others at the table she'd been seated at before looking beyond a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, and eventually returning her gaze to him. "I do dance," she confirms, returning the slipped palla to her shoulder, "Do you?"

a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque arrives.

His lips quirk up in amusement at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's words. "Secrets are a powerful currency, this is true," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask agrees with her. "Perhaps you're not that much of a rabbit after all," he notes and drinking from his cup, puts it on the tray of a parsing serving boy. "Of course you do," he says of her dancing and extends his hand offering to take hers, matching her gaze. "And I suppose there's only one way we can find out. Will you join me then, little rabbit?"

It's a skeptical look that the crow-faced man receives from the svelte rabbit, her curl-crowned head tilted toward her left shoulder. She straightens it shortly. "I suppose I will," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask concedes, placing her hand in his larger one, continuing her curious study of those populating the ballroom even as she agrees to participate rather than remain in the wall-garden as a flower.

The singer finishes up her most recent song, the sound of the harp dying down as a woman in a pale pink stola with a matching wig and pig-nose mask steps up onto a dias in the front of the ballroom. "Before the next song begins," she notes, her voice a strong and commanding thing, in striking contrast to her silly costume. "I'd like to take this time to remind everyone that the Senate debate is but a week from now, and that while tonight is a time of revelry and merriment, there are serious questions facing us all. War is on the horizon. Will we act?" She shakes a coin purse, the sound of gold pieces clinking together, if one is close enough to notice. "We'll be taking up donations for the armory throughout the evening, please write down your pledges and remember, every little bit counts." She steps down then, nodding for the music to begin anew.

When a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque enters, he nods to the guards that flank the entrance on his way into the ballroom. It's a banquet table he immediately sets for, watching the going ons while he strides over there, his hands behind his back. His gaze settles only briefly on A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, and there's a whispered curse under his breath before his gaze lifts towards the pig-masqued woman to watch her.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask takes his eyes off of a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask and a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask as he takes another sip of his wine and gazes back around at the crowd, listening to the music in the air the air finish with a small smile on his lips. As the woman speaks and listens to the woman, his smile fading and turning to a slight frown. As the music picks up again the smile returns to his lips and he looks over at a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque, chuckling to himself when he sees the mask. He then turns his gaze back to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask and a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask curiously.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's entrance would be understated if not for their choice of mask. While their stride through the entrance is initially confident and self-assured, a sidestep into the throng of those milling about the banquet tables ensures their blend with the rest. Indiscernible eyes peer from behind their exaggeratedly creased mask, primarily focusing on a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque's vividly concealed face.

His gaze lingers a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask as he peels her off the wall-garden. a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask slows down his approach to the dance floor as the woman in the pig-nose mask makes her announcement. "War. A symphony of death. One has to wonder how pleased our Lord Din will be with the spoils of it," he muses. When the announcement concludes, he continues leading his companion to the dance floor, joining the other masked couples already there. "Perhaps one of the wolves stalking their prey out there," he nods to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque, "will ask you to dance with them next." And with those words, he leads her into the dance. One hand holds hers high, the other slips down to her waist.

"I'd make a witty comment about a murder of crows, but my wit isn't very sharp, sir," a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque readily confesses to a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, at his comment, looking briefly to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "Still, if I had known a wolf would be so popular," he says to the similarly masked man, before his gaze drifts to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola, studying their mask.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask returns his eyes to a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque and nods his head slowly. "Yes, but the wolf is a fine animal. I should have expected a few others." An amused smile spreads across his face and turns his head to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola, studying her mask as well. "Interesting mask."

a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask Attentive eyes watch the pig-faced woman during her momentary interruption of the evening's festivities, full lips turned down at the corners in the first festerings of a frown that fade briskly when a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask speaks, drawing her attention back to him. She offers nothing in return, no theological or philosophical comment, indulging instead in a response to the wildlife present: "Perhaps. I do enjoy my fair share of danger in my evening, what better way to gain it than to court a wolf?" She chases her comment with a silvery peel of laughter, a quick one, to show she's not too terribly amused with herself.

Though a change in expression can't be discerned behind said mask, a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's delight is easily expressed with a heartfelt but primarily subdued, "Thank you. I worked very hard." Even their voice is hard to place, though it certainly leans more towards the tenor of a male than the alto of a woman. "You are truly frightful wolves. The craftsmanship... incredible." An inhale follows these words, as though they intend to speak further, but something keeps the words from being immediately voiced. In a breath, they finally continue, "Very detailed work."

"I would argue that a wolf is the exact opposite of a fine animal. Pack mentality. Mangy. To tame a wolf is to tame the savages of Aishmar. There's only one way to do that," a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque opines to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola and A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "Put them to the sword. I wear the mask as a political statement. Of course, I'm no politician," he confesses, before his gaze returns to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola, studying them for a moment longer. His gaze is then drawn by the silvery laughter of a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, but he searches the crowd dancing and can't find where it originates from. "...An interesting choice of masque, friend," he then tells a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask raises his wine glass at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask at her words. "A rabbit courting a wolf. Now that's an amusing thought." A small laugh escapes from him and he drinks from his glass and he turns to look at a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola thoughtful. "Yes, the craftsman who made my mask earned his money. I just love the way the white veins are." He turns his attention to a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque, small smile on his lips again. "Pack mentality isn't a bad thing, at times. Fighting side by side with your brethren. Dying with your brethren." He takes another sip of his wine and finishes it and then places the glass down onto his table.

A passing server nearly trips when a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque mentions the Eastern kingdom in casual conversation, her expression troubled for just a moment before she hurries on. A tray balanced in two hands, she offers a briefly whispered word to a guard near the door, before she disappears down a side stairwell, presumably toward the castle's kitchens.

Confident dance steps carry a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask around the dance floor and he leads a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask with equal demeanor. He pulls her close, during a spin, just to almost let her go at the end of it. He returns to her, conversing between the steps. "Danger is like a good wine. Drink too much and you'll wonder why you ended naked at the steps of Lady Vanna's house. Drink too little, and it is rather tame and boring," he lifts his shoulder in rhythm with the music. The dance comes to an end and he smirks at the woman, bowing before head. "You danced beautifully, little rabbit. Now go, find your wolf," he says.

"Entertainment comes in many forms, but it all has its purpose," comes a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's crisp and cordial reply to a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque's musing at their choice of mask, hands clasping from within long sleeves. "There is more to pack mentality than just savage brawl." With those words, those hands unclasp so fingers can deftly straighten the mask's rest on their face. "You will come to see this mask on display in the forum. It will not be for sale, but there are others like it for such occasions, and others like yours." This plug is incredibly shameless, accompanied by another twitch of those fingers at the palla draped across their form.

"You end up naked at the steps of Her house to amuse Her," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask replies to a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, her steps brisk and easy to match his, though she is a touch stiff during the steps. When she's released from her partner, she hesitates, remaining nearby, only to observe the others populating the room before returning to the garden within which she's a wallflower, seated at her table to observe, rather than participate.

"The wolves serve the strongest, and when the strongest falls, they fight, often to the death, to see which one is the strongest now. That's chaos, my friend. Order is better than chaos. We're men, not beasts, even if we wear masques that say otherwise," a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque tells A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, watching a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Are you the one I purchased mine from?" He then wonders to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola with an air of good-humored suspicion.

The harp lets off one sharp, sweet note as a new song begins, and from nowhere, several young women in nearly sheer red silk robes arrive in the center of the dance floor. Rose petals in their hair and swords in their hands, they begin a complex dance routine. The dance does not last overly long, but when it's over, the girls thrust their swords into the air as one, striking poses that hover between sultry and triumphant. Perhaps this dance holds some meaning to the more martially inclined, because soldiers posted around the room - and some in masks enjoying the festivities, all begin to applaud just a bit louder than others.

a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque joins in the loud applause, his eyes lifting to the women who arrive at the center of the dance floor.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask looks between a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask and a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask. "A fine dance." He turns his attention more to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask with a small smile. "I must say, I'm glad the rabbit didn't pounce at me. My dancing is a horrid sight to behold." A small laugh escapes from him and he goes back to watching around the room with curiosity in his eyes. When a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque speaks to him he looks over. "Men are no different when it comes to things like that. When a leader falls, there is a scramble to fill that void. Bribery, tricks, assassinations, all tools used to fill that void." He then turns his attention to the new arrivals and watches them interact with a small smile. He then rises to his feet and claps his hands together.

A cup of wine is retrieved from a server and brought to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's lips as she watches the display, pale eyes wide and intrigued behind the porcelain mask obscuring the rest of her features. It's with reluctance that she tears her attention from them, though the women in red have finished, to look aside to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask when he speaks to her. She smiles, albeit a fleeting one, and says nothing in return, choosing instead to eavesdrop shamelessly.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's interest in the women seems to be primarily focused on the movement of the women's garments until their choreographed dance comes to a graceful end. The applause issued from the garishly-masked figure is polite, but not particularly involved. Still watching the women, though, a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola answers a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque with a vague, "It would not have been one I could create, but perhaps my teacher... it has his attention to detail. Truly spectacular work."

a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask runs his fingers down the embroidery of his tunic as he watches a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask return to the wall. Dark amusement touches that exposed and painted side of his face. His attention goes to the wolves and a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "If she is, remind me to consider her for the next masquerade," he says to a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque as he approaches the group. Looking between him and A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, he glances back at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. "There is a rabbit waiting to be preyed upon, one of you should go and hunt," he tells the wolves and at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask's words he waves a hand. "Nonsense, my lord. Think of the dance floor as the battlefield where you must prove yourself," he offers encouragingly.

"It's shameless really, the way the army is exploiting the temple of Vanna to plug this hopeless war," gossips a woman in a blood red satin mask adorned with glittering stones. Her companions chime in, some in agreement, others offering differing opinions of the display. Whatever their thoughts however, after the dance is over, there is a marked influx of people toward the donation table, signing their names and pledges to the war effort. "There's no way the Senate is going to agree to march on Aishmar, their army is made up of cannibals that wear the skulls of their victims," a reedy man in a fox mask claims, his voice nasal. "We'll just close up their routes into Central, what harm can they do if they can't get in? Our borders are impeccable," agrees his companion, a man in a feathered mask.

"Those aren't men," a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque says, after his own applause dies, letting his hands clasp behind his back again, his head turning towards A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "Those are cowards." He dips his head politely to a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask when he arrives, then looks over towards where a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask sits, watching her briefly. The fox-masked man draws his attention, and the man looks over with pressed lips, before he looks to his companions, a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, and a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Will you excuse me? I'd like to make a donation and pledge, and then I think I'll have a drink before I go hunting for a dancing partner."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask's eyes rise to the man in the fox mask. "Never think your defenses can never be penetrated. Expect it to happen." He then begins making his way to the donation table. "I think I'll donate as well. Best to be ready in the event anything happens, and my coin might mean life or death for some poor soul."

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's eyes follow a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque's in resting on the fox-masked man, or so it seems. Behind their own mask, it'd be rather difficult to tell if they're looking there or something in their peripheral vision. "I am here to offer my humble support and to observe the artsmanship," they confess to those remaining in that small area, placid and satisfied. "It is something that must be preserved. We will not lose ourselves to thoughtless beasts."

Behind her rabbit's mask, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask watches the nearby gossips, hiding her frown with another sip of the wine in her glass, continuing her quiet eavesdropping only long enough to satisfy curiosity. Her interest in libations wanes and she abandons her cup to a serving tray, rising from her seat to begin meandering admist the collective horde. Occasionally she smiles winningly, primarily at masked faces of the male persuasion, pausing to speak with them before continuing on her way.

"Was is unavoidable and to think otherwise is foolishness," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask says, letting his gaze linger on that fox masked man for some very long moments. His lips then quirk up, half the gesture hidden by his mask as he nods approvingly at the words of A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque. "So what do you think," he says, letting his gaze linger now on a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, before he turns to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Will the rabbit find the wolf?" He looks around and there he goes again, swiping a cup of wine from passing serving girl.

"It hasn't happened in a hundred years," the fox-masked man claims in reply to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "Not so," says a woman in a violently green stola, her mask a bunch of grapes that don't flatter her features any more than her garish gown. "Aishmar attacked a border town not four days ago, I heard it from my nephew patrolling in the southern reach. He says the barbarians were clashing with the pirates down in the bay, and that they holed up on a farm for nearly an entire afternoon, raiding the town for supplies before they retreated," she recounts breathlessly before taking a long sip of wine. "What the Senate needs to do is send more patrols south, lest the Eastern Kingdom be the least of our worries, and the southern sea bandits come in on the tide to steal our virtue," she claims, not sounding as offput by this idea as she might like others to think.

"I imagine it'd be quite difficult to steal your virtue," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask offers to the Woman in Grapes, passing by her with a tall man in a featureless red mask that merely plays to the contours of his face. She punctuates this with a pleasant smile, as if to tack down a possibility that it was a kind compliment and not something else, disappearing into the midst of dancers to join the red-masked man for the next song.

The woman in the grape mask gapes rather fish-like as a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask offers her commentary, the tips of her ears turning a bit red, and she offers a wary smile in return to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask before hurrying off to tell her tales on the other side of the ballroom.

The nod of approval from a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask sends a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque off, and he follows after A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, falling silent, though his head turns to look briefly at the grape-masked woman. He forgets her quickly, though, signing the Pledge when his turn comes, making the appropriate promises and such. He then heads over towards A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola again, plucking up a glass from a passing tray to sip at.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask places a small pouch of coin on the donation table and turns back to join the group, arms folded behind his back as he walks. "Just because something hasn't happened in a hundred years doesn't mean it won't." He watches a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask walk off and smiles at a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask. "I think she found her wolf."

"No woman's virtue will be secured by more patrols in the south," a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola pipes up more curiously than anything, ever the kindred spirit for a lighthearted argument dealing with grave affairs, even though the grape woman has already turned tail. "It'll be secured by faith that our superior intelligence and defense will hold." The broad, stocky fingers of the grotesquely-masked figure splay for a moment in a shrug before they're once more concealed by long sleeves. "The temperament of the people is paramount."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask considers all he hears with a thoughtful look in his eyes. "I do hope that if war does break out, the footmen that fight on the front lines don't think they're better, and get overconfident." He lets out a small sigh and frowns. "Though I suspect it will happen. You should never underestimate your opponent, barbarian or not." He seems to direct his final words more to the fox-masked man.

The dance is simple, done elegantly, and when a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask and the man in the featureless red mask part, a new song is starting. The curl-crowned rabbit begins to weave her way through the crowd once again, pausing to collect another cup of wine from a serving tray, heading for food - and the group, as it were.

"Hear, hear," says the man in the feathered mask, turning toward a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Well said," he claims. "If we're steadfast, then we've nothing to fear on any front. No, what the Senate needs to do is convene about the current rates of taxation," he grouses. "War on the horizon, and barley at a premium. Who is going to water the troops if we do march? Ale doesn't grow on a tree," he says, wine and indignation reddening his cheeks behind his mask, rendering him oddly chicken-like in appearance. "Well, technically it grows on a plant," titters a nearby woman in a jeweled bird mask, much to his consternation.

"That she did," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask agrees with A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, his gaze lingering on a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. "I'm not convinced that's a mere rabbit, mind you," he offers, turning back to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "The gods will see us through this time, they always do," he observes in response to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "But people will die. That is to be expected. People will suffer and people will be angry, also to be expected." He drinks from his cup.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask gives a small nod of his head at a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, smiling a bit. "Wolf in a rabbit mask, maybe." A chuckle escapes from his throat and he turns more serious. "Both sides will suffer loss, will feel anger and rage. There is no victor in war, in my opinion."

A dip of a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's head follows the feather-masked gentleman's idle praise. "And neither does the satisfaction of the people's way of life once war has started. We will not be satisfied with the noise of defeat, but we will also not be satisfied with great thirst and hunger during a war that should surely take some time to find its completion." To A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, with a bellowing laugh, "You are no soldier, then! No victor in war."

"Or perhaps I'm very much the rabbit who tried to tempt Lord Zion from the sky." The mellifluous mezzo-soprano comes from behind a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask as a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask ceases approaching there, remaining still just a moment, only to skirt the side of him and join the fray of socializing, which she does poorly, as she falls into a silence and listens instead.

"War, like death, is part of a greater cycle," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask argues with a dark-haired man wearing a red wolf masque. "A man is at war with the world, he struggles from the moment he is born. He goes through live as according to his station and then dies, to be welcomed by Lord Din as all living creatures do," he says. "Anger, loss, rage. They are as important to us as happiness, joy, peace," he quirks his lips up, running his fingers along the embroidery of of tunic. He looks over at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask as she joins them and steps to the side some to make room for her in their little group. "Ah, the great temptress. Some say it was Lady Vanna herself who became this rabbit, wanting the attentions of Lord Zion for herself." He studies a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask openly. "Are you a tempting little rabbit then?"

a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask actually argued with A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. All the wolves blend together.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask turns his gaze to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Do you think the mother that lost her child feels victory? Or do you think she feels loss, wanting her child back?" He gives a small shake of his head. "Sure, some will cry for revenge, demand the head of the one who slew her child. But, do you think its a victory in the end? They're both dead." He gazes around at the crowd. "I don't call that a victory. But I know loss is unavoidable, and I'll lay down my life, or take one if needed. But it won't feel like a victory to me."

A cadre of guards enter the ballroom in two columns, staring straight ahead as if in preparation for something serious. The music slows, then comes to a stop as the musicians looks on, their expressions troubled.

Quietly, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask remains beside a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, allowing A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask his speech unadulterated while she sips her wine and observes. It's only after he's fallen silent that she supplies, off-topic for the passionate political commentary and meant for a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask instead, "I pale in comparison to Lady Vanna, crow, but if you find me a tempting rabbit, I'll endeavor to become one." Her own commentary slows, stalls and ends there, head turning toward the guards.

"In this, you think of yourself and not the greater good of the Central Dominance. The mother who lost her child has given so that we may continue to prosper. She can birth more." a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola seems fully intent to continue in this placid spiel, but quiet at the approach of the soldiers. Though their expression is entirely concealed by the mask, unease is clear in the squaring of their stately shoulders.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask hears the music die down and turns to look over at the guards as they enter, frowning. "I do hope this is for something unexpected and exciting for all." He turns briefly to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola curiously before he turns his attention back to the guards.

a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask is about to respond to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, when the guards make their entrance. He looks curious, pensive but there is that perpetual dark amusement that dances on his lips. He brings his cup up and takes a sip from the red wine in it. "I don't think it'll be another donation request," he muses quietly at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask.

From between the column of soldiers, a tall, stately figure emerges, standing nearly a head taller than the average guard. His clothing is finely made, all blacks and browns, trimmed in fur about the collar. Though his features are fine, his coloring is darker than one of the Central Dominance. "It's Ambassador Vhan," comes a whisper. "What's he doing here?" Another voice chimes in, equally quietly, "What nerve, coming here at a time like this. It's a slap in the face, is what it is." Someone asks, their voice at a much more normal, and so seemingly loud, volume. "Ambassador who?" An exasperated eyeroll is aimed their way. "Ambassador Vhan, the ambassador from the Eastern Kingdom. A week before we decide whether or not to march on their border!"

After an initial muted intake of breath, a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola lets it loose in a mildly intrigued, "I did not expect the clothing to be so finely made... if not plain. The colors are dark and dreary, especially for such an occasion." A tutting sound follows. "Unacceptable."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask brings a hand up from behind him and rubs at his chin, frowning as he listens to the crowd. "I think someone wanted to join in on the festivities." He watches the Ambassador carefully from where he stands, speaking softly so his voice doesn't carry across the room.

"And another wolf joins the ball," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask observes quietly over his cup as he watches the ambassador enter the ballroom. He looks between a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola and A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and finally at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. "That is one wolf you do not want to tempt, little rabbit," he says to her with a tinge of amusement in his voice. "Unless you're eager to meet Lord Din."

a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask looks from Ambassador Vhan to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola, then back again, only to look aside to a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask's attire. Once more she fixes her eyes on the Easterner, a small frown appearing on her full lips. "Hush," she suggests aside to the red-clad crow, falling back into silence.

The Ambassador steps away from the rows of guards, and as one they dissipate back into the crowd, most looking none too pleased about their duty. His long tunic sweeping the floor, he makes his unhurried way toward a banquet table, taking a seat by himself. It isn't long before the music starts up again, and the Ambassador's table slowly begins to fill, as is wont to happen when the powerful enter a room. Noble heads of merchant houses, emboldened perhaps by the feigned anonymity of their masks, take seats nearby, striking up negotiation talks and trade routes with the Ambassador, who regards them all with a serpent's smile, his words for their ears only, though his eyes cast about, settling toward a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola just as she tuts in his direction.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola doesn't avoid the gaze of the ambassador, either because they're similarly emboldened by anonymity or because they can't properly read the expression of the man from so far away through the eye-holes of the comedy mask. "This evening is more interesting than I thought it would be. How do you think this will turn out?"

"Hopefully with your head still on your shoulders," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask answers, shifting to the other side of a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask as the ambassador decides to look in a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's direction, her bid at avoiding becoming part of the spectacle. All the same, the rabbit seems unable to resist looking at the foreigner, leaning forward just enough to be able to see him around the crow.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque arrives.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask casts an amused smile in the direction of the Ambassador and speaks softly to the group. "This might be interesting after all." He walks over to the Ambassador's table and gives him a courteous bow. "Greetings, Ambassador Vhan. If only you arrived a bit sooner. You missed a fascinating display, I'm sad to say."

"With a bunch of nobles lying drunk at steps to Lady Vanna's temple," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask muses at a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Power attracts power," he observes as his eyes go from the newly arrived ambassador to the little group that he's part of. He emits a chuckle as a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask uses him as a shield. "And the rabbit shows wisdom, not something you see a lot in the wild," he observes looking after A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "While the wolf shows courage," he adds curious, waiting to see the results of such as he continues to drink.

Entering the room quietly, a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque hangs toward the entrance before moving further into the room with poise. Hearing a conversation already in place his curiosity in piqued, making his way toward the gathering of people with a young man's step and and old man's caution.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola is spared the Ambassador's heretofore unwavering gaze when A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask approaches the table. The tall, bronze-skinned foreigner inclines his head briefly at the bow, his slender hand sweeping to the side, extending A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask the offer of a seat at the table. "And what display might that have been?" he asks, his voice the muted crash of Zion's thunder, deep and sonorous.

a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit maska robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask receives a big-eyed, if somewhat unamused, look from the rabbit beside him before she's one more caught up in watching Ambassador Vhan from her standing place, palla slipping back to the crook of her elbow during her tilt. She seems not to notice, and instead shows an interest in her wine to hide the expression on her lips.

a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask receives a big-eyed, if somewhat unamused, look from the rabbit beside him before a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's one more caught up in watching Ambassador Vhan from her standing place, palla slipping back to the crook of her elbow during her tilt. She seems not to notice, and instead shows an interest in her wine to hide the expression on her lips.

"Very astute," a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola commends absently, hailing a server to claim a drink without giving it so much as a second glance before sipping from its contents. Their gaze remains riveted on the ambassador and a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask. "Hmm. I am not tactful enough to deal with his ilk," they state, quite decided. "I am an artisan... however skilled, my words would only displease."

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque remains silent, motionless; not unlike the likeness upon his face as he watches the exchanges at the table ahead and the area that surrounds. When he does move he takes care to move with grace, each motion calculated and precise.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask gestures out to the dance floor as he sits in the offered seat. "There was a fascinating display of swordsmanship from some very lovely ladies." He casts his eyes back at the group he was with, curiosity shining in his eyes before he looks back to the Ambassador. "Captivated everyone in the room."

Setting the wine cup aside on the tray of the nearest passing server, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask collects something to nibble on instead, her curl-crowned head shaking once as if to cast off pensive thoughts clinging to her brain.

With the drama of the Ambassador's entrance simmered down to a dull roar, the music starts up again in earnest. The revelers of the Central Dominance, fueled by wine and anonymity and the hysterical fear of war on the horizon, take up their twirling once more. Conversations strike up once more, some with talk of war, but more with talk of the Ambassador. "I heard he's only half-barbarian. His father is one of the prince's, but our king had it hushed up, he did," comes a rumor from one nearby table. Ambassador Vahn, for his part, doesn't seem to pay the whispers any heed, instead telling A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, "I should have liked to see that. Women in the Dominance do not seem particularly inclined to the martial arts. It is a shame, I recall many long evenings training with the women of Aishmar before battle."

"What did he say?" a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola asks after a moment, the din of the vast space only serving to hamper a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's eavesdropping. "Something about training and women." Rather than be immediately disapproving of the idea, the decidedly androgynous individual seems almost amused. "Ah, well. This drink is very nice." Another sip is taken to cement the point.

A shift of two mostly-bare shoulders occurs as a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask answers a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola in silence, breaking away from the masked figure and the crow she stands beside to hunt for a partner to dance with. She finds one behind a feathered falcon's mask, the two joining the twirling with graceful steps and muted enthusiasm.

The arrival of and approach of a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque garners an inclination of a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask's head. He catches a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's look and offers an amused look in turn. "You never know. Maybe he ladies with displeasing words. There's really only one way to find out," he says to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. He looks back at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask and listens to the man's words to the ambassador. "One sovereign says that our wolf friend will offend the good ambassador somehow," he makes a bet with those around him, looking for takers.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque steps quietly to stand closer to the table, a courteous distance as he slides a goblet from a passing tray and holds it primly in one hand, the other resting easily behind his back. "Good evening." he offers in a rasp. The voice might have sounded beautiful once, hints of a once rich tone gone gravelly through injury or age it isn't certain. The nicety is directed at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask who had already passed along and so his gaze travels to those left at the table, returning the nod slowly from a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask "I'll take the bet. Let us see how well the wolf howls." His words a jest, his tone anything but.

"I'll take that bet as well, he seems to be getting on alright." The bet is taken by the man in the fox mask, his companion from earlier nowhere to be found. "In fact, I'll raise you two copper fences to your silver sovereign," he adds to a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask, reaching for a fresh glass of wine. "What a frightfully good mask, what manner of creature is that?" he asks a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque. "A bobcat of some sort, perhaps?"

"You're certainly light on your feet," the falcon-masked man compliments a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask as they circle on the dance floor.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola's head jerks disapprovingly to the side, that ridiculously grotesque mask regarding a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque before the figure's chin ticks back towards the wolf and the ambassador. "Is the Ambassador a friend of yours?" Their tone is a jest, but their words anything but. "I don't indulge in gambling, but I think I'll see the end of this wager."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask raises in eye brow, his mask hiding the action. "That must be quite the sight." A small smile crosses his lips. "Can't say I've fought with a woman before." He looks across at the dance floor, smile still on his lips. "I do hope they have some more good entertainment planed." He returns his attention to the Ambassador. "Maybe they'll do something special for tonight's surprise guest."

"Was I a surprise, then?" muses the Ambassador, his words contemplative even as his eyes hold some form of mirth in their dark, coffee-colored depths. "No, I suppose one wouldn't expect me at such a gathering, but I suppose I must confess curiosity. Tell me," he says, affixing his serpent's gaze on A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask intently. "Did you donate to the war effort? Will your silver pay for the slaughter of my kinsmen?"

"I'm a rabbit of many talents," a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask assures her falcon-faced dance partner, taking turns where the dance requires it and following the steps with brisk efficiency; it's well-done, but smacks of a woman taught without real love for the activity, performed by rote in a laissez-faire fog.

A look of amusement crosses the half of a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask's face that is visible at a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque's remark about wolves. "For his sake, he better howl very well," he muses and then glancing at the man with the fox mask, he inclines his head in a nod. He sips from his cup. "I don't think the Ambassador has many friends in here," he observes to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. "Just those that pretend they want to be his friend." At the ambassador's question to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask he slowly nods. "Howl strong, good wolf," he says quietly.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque glances briefly at the fox mask, a dry chuckle escaping from beneath the half masque he wore. "A large cat, yes. One as black as the night it hunts in. A creature the Ambassador might be more familiar with than one from Vale or the central territories." he returns his attention to the conversation at hand, a lazy smirk as A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask is quickly asked a hot seat question.

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves arrives.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask gives a small nod of his head, his smile fading. "I won't lie. Yes, I donated. I donated in the hopes my coin might save a life, not take one." He looks around at the crowd. "Most people here might have donated for different reasons. But me," He gives a small shake of his head. "I only hope my silver might save a life." He looks over at the group of people he was with. "I was talking to them a bit about it. I'm really hoping something can happen to avoid war. War is costly, for both sides." He turns his gaze back to the Ambassador. "And I don't mean in coin."

"Oh, I suspect you must be. You've caught the eye of many men this evening, I was beginning to wonder if I needn't pledge gold to your dance card rather than the war effort." The falcon-masked man turns a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, faster than the steps might otherwise require, but come the end of the turn he holds her tightly for a moment, not long enough to cause a breach in decorum, but long enough to look into her eyes past the mask she wears. "I wonder," he muses, but he doesn't finish the thought, instead leading her around the dance floor once more.

"The wolf prowls around the trap perhaps .. " a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque murmurs. He nods his head though, as if in agreement with the answer.

a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola likely isn't the only one a part of that small group staring intently at the two, though the evident outcome of the wager made only moments prior seems to sharpen the gaze of the strangely-masked figure all the more. "To save a life? To invest in the war effort is nothing like this." A very quiet scoff is sounded. "Very naive, but if the ambassador does not seek to be offended publicly, he will keep quiet. I've noticed this. The forum is not so contained."

The nice words from the falcon-masked man seem to please the rabbit he dances with, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's lips turning up at the corners in a smile kept closed. Her comfort drops, but only a moment, as the song comes its end and she's held there, returning en force as she's swept into another round, humming softly along to the music played by the harpist as she entertains her chosen partner for the moment.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque shakes his head slowly, "Not so. A war's lifeblood is silver and gold. Often it is wealth the makes or breaks a war, not the men who die on the field." He remarks quietly to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola.

"Perhaps the life it saves may be worth it," comes the Ambassador's reply. His expression gives away little, though his wandering attention might signify some disappointment in the answer given. "War makes a nation strong, or kills it. Donate to the effort, and tell your friends to do the same. It might very well be the handful of silver sovereigns and copper fencings that save your life, lone wolf." His smile is predatory and terrible, even in apparent mirth that doesn't quite reach his eyes. He turns to a nearby merchant, spilling three gold Centrals from his own pouch. "Sign your name to them," he tells the toad-masked merchant. "May they bring you the..." he eyes A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "The saved lives you seek."

For the moment enjoying the dance from the sidelines, a swan-masked figure with feminine curves occasional steals looks around the room from under the faux fan of lashes gifted by her mask. She's yet to interject an opinion and with a press of her lips together, she doesn't seem apt to offer one without being prompted, either, though she's obviously listening to the conversations in a polite manner, attempting to blend.

"Ha! Friend, it must not be so." a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola seems as surprised as any other like them listening in, fingers pressing at the hard cheek of the mask they wear. That high tenor is lowered to continue, "For he gives wealth and in return claims pride, believing he will not need those for himself." Another sip of drink is afforded, not that the comedic-masked figure truly seems thirsty. "An impressive donation."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask nods his head, watching the Ambassador. "War does do that, but I personally tend to think about the lives. The mothers that weep for their children. The innocent lives lost to raiding parties when they are just trying to live their life." He gives a small smile at the Ambassador. "Maybe this is why I'm not a leader of anything."

"Have I scandalized you into silence?" queries the falcon-masked dancer, even as he sweeps across the floor with a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, his expression amused as she hums along with the music. "Not silence then, but simply no pretty words for me, like for your friends I absconded you away from. Shall I return you to their company?" he asks, not pausing in their steps, nor letting her go.

A look toward Ambassador Vhan and then her talkative group precedes a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's answer to the falcon-masked man, her rabbit face tilting up so that she can see him better, with smile still in place. "I hardly think I had pretty words for them," she promises, mellifluous voice kept soft, so as not to move too far beyond reach of their dance, "They talk politics and war, and you are a welcome distraction from things I have no head for."

"I'm not sure prowl is the right world," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask observes to a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque, "I smell death. A crow knows these things," he goes on to say with a little bit of a dramatic tinge to this voice. "I'm not sure the Aishmar care much about the public opinion," he says to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola. He listens to the ambassador and drinks from his wine. "He is confident," he notes of the donation.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque smiles grimly, speaking just loud enough to be heard. "An impressive donation ... but that's the very point, yes? He might need every sovereign of that, but still he would display it as nothing. A shrewd play, to nettle at the thoughts of the enemy."

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque nods with a frown, toward a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask "You might be right ... perhaps he will rally the pack. He hasn't cowed his ground yet."

"Leadership is never but a few beheadings away from any man," claims the Ambassador in reply to A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask as he rises regally from his seat at the table. "Mothers weep for their children, and Vanna blesses them with more. Is that not why your priestesses of love dance with blades, come the threat of war? I am not so well versed in the pantheon of the Central Dominance," he claims, his apology seeming feigned considering his observation mere moments ago. "But I thought it was so." He inclines his head toward A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask, and with a casually imperious gesture, his guards emerge from the woodwork, forming a column formation at his left and right as he exits the ballroom with a glass of wine in one hand.

"I believe an exchange of coin will be in order," a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola tells the small group, eyes darting between them as they take a shuffling step away. "The hour is late. Do visit the forum. My wares will thrill you."

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves's eyes following the Ambassador as he makes his move and then they chase a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola as well, before she returns her focus to the dance floor, to the movement of partners.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque glances at a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask once more, "Not offended perhaps, but an excuse to make an example I think. An even bet I would say." He shrugs, but produces a singular sovereign from a small pouch tucked behind his belt. "But if you insist the sovereign will be worth the missed headache."

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask watches the Ambassador leave, a frown spreading across his face. "More children does not mend the wound in ones heart one feels for the loss of a child." He stands up and moves back to the group and sighs at them. "Thanks for leaving me hanging like that." His frown turns into a sly smile.

"He should be thankful that Lord Din kept the ambassador's temper in check," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask muses at a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque. "But he does survive the night, good for him," he goes on to say, glancing over at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask. "The living usually claim victory," he notes to the fox-masked man. "Unless they crave Din's embrace. Which admittedly, some men do." He chuckles once at a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque. "I'll call it even," and to a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola he adds, "And I'll give your wares a look, perhaps."

"I look forward to your patronage." a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola lowers their head in a shallow but gallant gesture before turning to depart, the drink that was previously cradled in a stocky hand spared a server passing with a half-empty platter.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque nods, a small smirk crossing his face as if expecting the result. The Sovereign is tucked away as quickly as it is produced, turning his attention to the rest of the group. "The living usually do, yes ..." He turns to look at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask raising the goblet slightly that he's yet to touch. "Honor to you, wolf. Your vision is personal, while the Ambassador must view the map as a whole. There is nothing to compare."

"Very well, then," says the falcon-masked man. "I shall keep you at my side, and provide ample distraction. But first." He sweeps her off the dance floor, perhaps unexpectedly, heading for the dais at the front of the room with a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask in tow. He raises a hand, and the music comes to a stop, eyes turning toward the front with the vague curiosity of the slightly intoxicated.

It's true, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask is swept toward the dais long before she seems to realize what's happened, the dark-haired, rabbit-faced woman blinking her pale eyes rapidly. She utters a short, uncertain-sounding vocalization before lapsing into silence, managing to find her smile as she hovers near her falcon-masked companion, her own curiosity welling up in her eyes.

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves wets her lips, most of the motion lost behind her mask, and then she approaches to receive a glass of wine. Lifting it, she takes a modest sip of the drink and starts to mingle around the room, occasionally pausing at tables to spare compliments to those more dignified members.

Though a comedically-masked figure in a feminine layered stola seems to have all intention of departing, they linger among the fringes of the crowd near the exit once the music has stopped, their sight-lines of the dais mostly blocked both by their full-coverage mask and stout carriage.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque turns as the music ends, watching with the rest of the onlookers with curiosity as a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask is swept up toward the dais.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask turns his attention to a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque. "Yes, but I find it sad that those in power move those below them around like nothing more than pawns." He gives a small shrug of his shoulders. "I suppose that will never change, though. They'll always seek to expand their boarders. Or they'll just get offended by what someone said and suddenly war is upon us, who do the blood shed while they move us around." He sighs and shakes his head, more at himself than anything.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque speak glances at A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask with a considering look, but remains silent as he looks to see what's occurring by the dais.

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves likewise ceases her mingling to turn focus to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask as she's guided to the dais, sipping her wine with relaxed countenance and stance to her plush frame.

The woman in the pink stola and matching wig, complete with pig-nose mask, walks over toward the dais, handing over a piece of furled parchment to the falcon-masked man. She steps aside then, her smile faintly pleased. For his part, the man unfurls the parchment, holding it up to read what is written on it, then he leans in to murmur something or another to a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask, waiting expectantly afterward.

"And the little rabbit finds herself a bird of prey, not a wolf," a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask says the words amused as his gaze rests on a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask. "Alas duty calls in my case, so I must take my leave," he goes on to say. "You shouldn't leave here without partaking in a dance," he tells a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque, nodding toward a swan-masked figure with feminine curves. "We are pawns as they are in turn pawns in this tapestry woven by the gods. And that said, gods be with you and Lord Din's gaze finds you ready." He inclines his head and walks to exit the ballroom, although his departure comes to a stop ant the unfurling of the parchment, the action garnering his attention.

private rabbit The falcon-masked man leans in to ask you to announce that Prince Fasian's Masquerade Ball has gathered pledges totaling 67 gold Centrals and 8 silver Sovereigns, which exceeds the night's goal of 50 Centrals to fully outfit the 7th regimen with new armor.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque considers the words carefully, dropping his head briefly in acknowledgement of the suggestion. "Perhaps I shall ... " he murmurs quietly his gaze scanning toward a swan-masked figure with feminine curves for a moment. Another gracious incline of the neck, Though his attention is quickly returned to the coming announcement or event at hand.

Both men are noted as a swan-masked figure with feminine curves never really did stop her occasional idle wander of glances and she sends a demure smile of greeting, barely visible due to her beak, as well as a tip of her platinum-crowned head. However, the events at the dais seem of more distraction and she soon returns back to watch, looking away from a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask and a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque.

a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask leans to listen better, stepping forward once the falcon-masked man completes his murmuring. Putting on a big voice, merely a louder version of her rather fragile mezzo-soprano, the rabbit-faced woman announces, "We're very pleased to say that Prince Fasian's masquerade ball has gathered sixty-seven gold Centrals and eight silver Sovereigns -- soundly exceeding the evening's goal of fifty Centrals to outfit Central Dominance's seventh regimen with new armor." A pretty smile on her lips, she begins a brisk applause, moving back to stand beside the bird-faced man she'd been dancing with.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask smiles to himself and places both hands behind his back. "New armor?" He gives a small nod of his head, seeming to approve. "That should help save someone."

a regal young man wearing a feathered falcon mask with a curved beak pushes the mask he wears up over his brow, revealing his features which those of this land would recognize as the visage of Prince Fasian, one of but many of the king's sons. He joins in the applause at a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask's announcement, adding, "Thank you all for attending, I hope you've all had as wonderful an evening as I. Whether war comes or not, your donations will be put to good use, and I strongly urge you all to attend the Senate debate next week, your voices should be heard along with the clinking of the coins in your purses," he says with a wry, but honest smile. "Good night, all."

claps politely, a quiet gesture as the crowd rattles applause. At the reveal, a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque places a fist to his chest across his heart, and bows his head deeply by reflex only raising his gaze once the prince has given his good nights.

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves likewise sends a smooth clap, one palm against her goblet though the gesture is implied. She starts to drift away after studying the Prince's revealed features for a moment. In passing, her goblet is delivered to a man with a tray and she starts to drift towards the door.

A thin smile touches a robe-adorned man in a striking crow's half-mask's lips at the announcement. "Lord be praised," he says to nobody in particular, before he turns around to make his way out of the ballroom.

There's a bit of posture-straightening as the prince removes his mask, a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask slowing and ceasing her applause as it dims elsewhere in the crowds. In a movement done by rote, she draws her slipped palla back over her shoulder, feeling the edge briefly, before bidding polite farewells to the once-masked royal, absconding from the dais, but patiently waiting for others to go before she herself does.

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque steps gracefully toward a swan-masked figure with feminine curves as she approaches the door. "Lady ... I'm afraid I cannot ask you to dance. I ask your forgiveness." he inclines his head briefly as he too makes to leave.

A man in a long toga with a blue sash and wearing an onyx wolf mask watches as the ballroom slowly starts to thin out. "I think I shall take my leave as well." He bows slightly to those who remain still. "I can't say I expected to play a small diplomat today. Not very fond of it." He turns and slowly follows the crowd out of the ballroom.

"My forgiveness is not necessary yet given freely as your grace in the matter deserves. Good evening," a swan-masked figure with feminine curves says in a soft soprano, again the corners of her lips appearing as she smiles to a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque. "Perhaps another time."

a broad-shouldered but lithe man wearing a black and crimson panther masque smiles thinly, "May the Gods make it so, Lady. Good evening." He strides swiftly from the room, leaving as gracefully as he arrived.

a swan-masked figure with feminine curves finally departs, with as little fuss as she made with her arrival.

A moment passes of watching the evening's guests depart before a svelte young miss boasting a delicate porcelain rabbit mask decides to do so herself, a quick glance given aside to the man on the dais as she moves toward the glass doors that lead out into the garden, turning to step backward through them so she can continue her people-watching before she's disappeared entirely.