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Seeds of Change Masquerade

As summer gives way to autumn, Houses Malespero and Darkwater welcome one and all to join them at the Arvum Botanical Gardens for a grand masquerade to celebrate a joyous accord between both houses. Leave your shoes behind and come dance barefoot with us.

Date

July 1, 2021, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Lianne Apollo

Participants

Nina Sorrel Vitalis Zoey Cristoph Delia Thea Sunaia Evelynn Arman Everett Cesare Tyche Romulius Adalyn Breccan Malrico Natasha Scylla Svana Esera Auda

Organizations

Malespero Darkwater

Location

Arx - Ward of the Compact - Arvum Botanical Gardens

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log


Someone wearing Spring Evening mask arrives, following Someone wearing a dark cherrywood mask with silver detailing.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask has joined the an ivy covered ancient bench.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: Tonight, there is a social scavenger hunt underway. Find the thirteen things on the list from a variety of different people. The more people you speak with, the more points you earn!

To participate, use: https://forms.gle/mrvjzETwwfP6VzsTA

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a dark cherrywood mask with silver detailing has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues, Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask arrive, following Someone wearing a smoky mask.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask is loitering near the entrance gates when people start to arrive, looking bright and excited despite the dark mask. "Welcome, welcome!" he says, and gestures on. "Please, enjoy a drink, a dance, and good conversation - we'll have stories around the bonfire and a scavenger hunt in short order!" He glances aside to the person in the cherry tree canopy mask, reaches for her hand, and smiles.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask arrives at the masquerade flanked by a few guards, which she sends away at the door. Seeing the rules of the ball, she IS wearing shoes, but slips them off and hands them off to one of her men as they pass by. After all, rules are rules. Dressed in a gown of blue feathers to compliment the bird mask, she walks over to help herself to some drinks.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes, Rocco, the rascally assistant, Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog arrive, following Someone wearing a precious goldfish swimming upon the ocean mask.

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask is barefoot, as was required by the invitation, and there's a bit of a bounce in her step as she saunters her way into the gardens. She is tall and her gown is a bit revealing, and she takes a deep breath and lets it out with a delighted sigh, then turns an impulsive pirouette on her way to find something to drink. Or a dance partner. Whichever happens first.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes have been dismissed.

Someone wearing a smoky mask enters, arm and arm with a fiery-masked companion, because, wherever there's smoke...

Strawberry Pupcake, the Graypeak Mountain Dog have been dismissed.

(OOC)The scene set/room mood is now set to: Tonight, there is a social scavenger hunt underway. Find the thirteen things on the list from a variety of different people. The more people you speak with, the more points you earn.

For telling stories round the fire, join 5! For dancing barefoot in the grass, join 4! And to participate, use: https://forms.gle/mrvjzETwwfP6VzsTA

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper takes off her shoes once she arrives, but seems at a bit of a loss as to what to do with them once she has them off. With one hand she carries them. With the other she acquires a glass of wine. That done, she takes a seat on a bench to sip and consider where to start.

The scavenger hunt needs no official beginning, though it will surely have an official end at some point. A painted sign lists thirteen things to do tonight and encourages guests to try them with as many different people as possible. The bonfire, too, is already going, even if there's no one yet circling it to share their stories. It does help warm the autumn evening, though.

When the man in the starry mask reaches for her hand, the woman in a gown windows and flowers eyes that extended hand with an impish wariness, as if it might hold some sort of trap. Perhaps it does, if identities are meant to be kept secret, and yet she accepts, twining fingers with him as she steps to his side. Quietly. If she's meant to be co-hostess, she's certainly doing a questionable job of it, watching guests arrive with curiosity peeking out between the boughs of her cherry tree without offering proper greetings just yet.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask enters, a summer sun to compliment the autumn moon that walks with him. They're arm in arm and currently navigating the rush of crowd that marks the beginning of nearly any social event. He leans over just a little, examining the one piece of jewelry that his companion is wearing. "Hmm." It's a quiet sound and he leaders her to the side, removing whatever footwear that they wore in order to traverse here from their carriage. "Would you like to dance first in the grass or...?" he gestures toward refreshments are being handed out. "Do we walk?"

Simplicity, in black leather with the gleam of moonstone and garnet drifts in through the entrance in a flurry of silver seasilk cloak that seems to match the settle of the moonstone at the wears brow but it also has the added advantage of hiding her hair, so that even that can not be used as an identifier. Bare feet pick their way carefully along the path and seem to make every step a dance, allowing the cloak to dance and flutter with every step. It's as if the wearer has made a game of it, though it seems one for herself rather than others, drifting on a dream. But it's a dream that she'll share as she lifts her voice in lilting song, "Let us dip and dance and sway, to frollic here the night away. Meet as strangers, leave as friends; tell us where your story ends."

Someone wearing a precious goldfish swimming upon the ocean mask makes her way into the gardens, her face completely covered. Are her shoes off? Not even a little. Not yet. Give it a minute. Looking around, she peers through her mask, going to find what to do at the moment.

Someone wearing an acorn mask arrives, barefoot per the invitation. She quietly makes her way to find a glass of wine and then slowly starts to meander around the garden.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes drifts into the beautiful gardens shortly after the commencement of the event, the autumn breeze causes the ends of her skirts to billow. She's unaccompanied save for a few stalking cats a short distance away, which may give her away if nothing else does. Her lips curve into a blissful smile at the host in the sky or sea of stars mask loitering near the entrance. "It should be an illuminating evening, then." She says with a merry voice, before continuing on her path.

Someone wearing the dramatic depiction of comedy arrives with a small similary masked entourage. They lead comedy into the gardens then depart. Comedy moves further in alone taking in the sights, his cane tapping lightly along the ground.

Everett is barefoot. That's super easy. Feels comfortable, even Nice cool green grass. The costume was a bit more tricky to pull off. Everett settled on dressing as "A Scarecrow" because, well, he had an extra one lying around, now that the harvest has come in and all. Top it off my wearing a pumpkin on your head, and you're golden! Or at least you're yellowy orange ish. Which is probably as close to golden and Everett has seen in a while.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask glides in amidst the sea of masked revelers and lush greenery, footsteps nearly silent against the pathways. It's impossible to tell precisely what their expression is behind the mask, especially considering the shadowed hues of kohl rimming their eyes, but there's the impression that it's probably a smile. The dip of a curtsy to the host and presumably hostess of the evening sends the petals of their gown's hem all aflutter, and then they're off, examining each and every masked figure with a body language that speaks of elegant intrigue.

Someone wearing Silvery Autumn Moon Mask easily links her arm with the Summer Sun's, fingers resting lightly as they move to the side to remove their footwear. His suggestion earns a thoughtful glance behind her mask toward the grass, but she does not give him answer just yet. First she plucks a copy of the list from a passing helper, holding it up for both of them to examine thoughtfully. "Oh no. I think /you/ should start with the twelfth on the list, don't you?" She lifts her hand from his arm to point, "Treat someone as if they were royalty," she reads it out, her lips twitching in amusement. "To earn this point, however, you have to maintain that for the evening." Is that on the rules? No.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask is tip-toeing about in the grass, looking to start a conversation with anyone who might have something to do with the scavenger hunt, which is... somewhat, underway, isn't it? When she sees someone in a fish mask is still wearing shoes, she walks up, and makes a note. "Oh, I think I'm supposed to say hello to you for a point," says the bird-mask woman. "I almost forgot to take mine off."

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask checked dexterity + tanning at difficulty 29, rolling 46 higher.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask laughs, brief and warm, for the unexpected refrain from the woman in the mask of black leather, moonstone and garnet. "And may the ending be a beginning," she chimes. Such a fine toast. If only she had a drink in her unoccupied hand. She angles a look toward her starry-masked companion. "Shall we begin with a dance or a drink before we slip off into the evening, mm?"

Someone wearing a dark cherrywood mask with silver detailing arrives in the gardens barefoot, though the faintest hints of trepidation marking his steps suggest it's a rule that he has only complied with hesitantly. On his arm is a woman who seems to make her steps much more competently, clearly more at ease with the prospect of an evening without footwear. That, or she's simply better at faking it. Both the man in the starry mask and his cherry-blossomed companion are given a warm smile in greeting before a thick Islander accent is voiced with a dip of head. "My lord, my lady - find us when you have a moment?" Lips part to flash a white grin as he leads his companion away, not making any effort to wait for a response before finding some more private corner of the gardens.

Someone wearing a precious goldfish swimming upon the ocean mask slips out, quietly

Rocco, the rascally assistant leaves, following Someone wearing a precious goldfish swimming upon the ocean mask.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes has joined the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask doesn't mind the quietude of cherry trees; don't they mostly rustle in the breeze, anyway? Unless they've attracted a flock of birds; maybe that's why he turns, squinting through the holes in his mask. Maybe it's to see who's wearing -feathers-. "Or shall we pretend we're going to manage anything on that list?" he wonders, grinning, watching people mingle so readily. He flashes a smile for the call and response between the simple mask and the cherry tree, then says, "I think first, drinks." His smile blossoms into something softer, and he moves to pluck two glasses of wine from a circulating server's tray, with a nod of thanks.

Now that she has a drink, the Lady of the Moon mask wearer meanders towards the garden trellis for dancing in the grass. She practically prances on her toes, swirling about gracefully as she goes and taking a sip of her beverage every so often.

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues arrives barefoot (per the rules) one arm linked with her complementary smoky-masked companion. On her other side strolls a secondary escort in the guise of a honeycomb mask. A smile forms upon her lips, visible below her brightly colored facade, as she guides her companions toward the trellis. "A scavenger hunt, what a fun idea! Shall we see what sort of challenges we are being given?"

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask removes his shoes, putting them off to the side. When she produces a copy of a the scavenger hunt list, he edges into her space so that he can read it personally. "Oh, do you?" he asks, his finger trailing over it lightly. Then there's a tap of his index finger. "I feel like I do this all the time. But if you'd like for it to be really over the top for tonight..." he says to the Autumn Moon, his tone drawling in easy amusement. He steps back, and begins to direct people to walk around his companion for the evening. "Please, give the lady her space. She needs room to breathe. Your majesty, if you'll walk forward." He beckons her to follow him, the space now somewhat cleared of random people passing by them.

Everett, wearing his fresh from the fields scarecrow costume and home made pumpkin overtop his head mask waves a cheery greeting to the fellow in the honeycomb mask and the barefoot lady in the mask of bright fiery hues. A grin within the pumpkin's confines is perhaps obscured, unless one is standing close enough to smell pumpkin seeds. Still, one supposes, it's the thought that counts!

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask makes his way into the room along with the smoke and fire masked duo, giving a look around curiously. For a moment, he looks almost oerwhelmed as he swallows. "This is .. something." He drawls out in a rich tone of voice as his eyes sweep left to right from behind his mask. The tall man with a shock of red hair tied back behind him is wearing a new black and gold fitted jacket, black pants, and barefoot. "A scavenger hunt, huh? That does sound fun." He gives the fiery masked woman's arm a squeeze. "How about if do some stories to start us off?" He asks curiously. "That way I don't step on m'lady's foot during a dance."

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask eventually approaches Comedy, head tipped slightly to one side, holding a pair of wine glasses, and extends one to their fellow reveler, demonstratively lifting their own mask to take a sip of the wine, no doubt in note of certain details of Comedy's accoutrements. "Pardon me for possibly courting foolishness, but you've worn the right mask for it tonight - will you dance tonight? After wine, of course." The free hand lifts, indicating the cool, inviting carpet of grass.

"Oh I really would," the lady in the Autumn Moon Mask drawls out, the curve of her lips positively delighted that he so readily is taking up the task. But when he ACTUALLY does it? Laughter springs from her, warm and easy, to see the Summer Sun play the bodyguard and clear the space for her. "Oh, that you think one such as I should walk," she teases, but it is clear she has no expectation that he will sweep her off her feet, because she moves with him through the crowd, smiling at the many hidden faces, curiosity alive in those dark eyes behind her own mask. "Oh, I could get used to this," she admits, but then reaches out a hand to slow him. "Perhaps we'll dance, too? I know we get more points in the going our separate ways, but for once I do not care about the victory."

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leathers attention turns towards the masked figure in cherry blossom and sweeps a low bow, while lips curl in an impish smile beneath the settle of her mask. Dark ice blue eyes, lined in khol twinkle as they peer out from the mask and she rises she takes in the woman's companion in the sea of stars. Facing them both, the cloaked figure settles into pose and thus lifts her voice once more.

"Beneath the stary skies, there the cherry blossom grows and lost in the twinkle of the night, tells secrets no one knows. Is it love of which they whisper, as her secrets blossom in the night? For certainly, it must be for why else would his stars twinkle quite so bright?"

A quick wink is offered to the pair in the wake of it and then composer drifts off towards the Scarecrow.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes whips around suddenly before she can make her way to the ivy bench, attention caught by the Jester Mask. There's a brief moment where the light around her seems to change. She lowers her voice as she responds, a smile on her lips.

Someone wearing a smoky mask has joined the a large bonfire.

A lycene jester enters, with a low bow and a flourish. He speaks cheerfully and theatrically, with a raised voice, "A happy day, bought and paid for with the sorrows of tomorrow. I bid greetings and congratulations to the wedded couple. Their tomorrows will shine bright, before the night comes."

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

"A wonderful event," the woman hidden behind the Spring Evening mask tells the lord in the starry mask and his silent companion. "He took some convincing to attend without shoes, but here he is." Pale fingers dispense a fond squeeze on the powerful arm that escorts her, dark eyes turning up to view the more vibrant hues within the eyeholes of her companion's own leather-wrought facade. Still, they don't engage the greeters for too long, long-legged strides following her companion who manages to tower over her by height and breadth in spite of her own not-so-insignificant stature. Dark-haired, and swathed in red to match the man's mask, she cuts a visible figure in sharp contrast with her companion's darker coloration, conversation delivered in hushed words as she's led towards additional privacy.

Someone wearing Spring Evening mask has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask's attention trails after the man in the cherrywood mask and his companion, a hint of a grin teasing at her lips, suspicion easily read. Yes, they'll make their way over soon enough. Now, though, there's a drink in her hand and a loft of dark brows barely visible behind the twisted leather of her cherry blossom canopy. "Is this not one?" she challenges. "To the devoted staff who saw that old bed frame down all those stairs." A moment of change, indeed.

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has a mask mostly covering her ability to see, but is still carrying, squinting through it, at a checklist of things. Seeing a person in a Lycene style Jester mask, she seems to feel emboldened, and so she walks up, and blurts out:
o/~ Now I'll sing a very silly song!
It is not particularly long! o/~
Then the teal masked woman looks down at the checklist, and... "Check!" She does this if she is acknowleged or not, since it seems like it's just the sounds that count anyway. This is clearly someone who just sings in public a lot. She looks at the person in the champagne mask approaching, and claps a few times. "Ah, all the outfits are so splendid as always."

With his head tilted towards his companion, the man dressed as smoke moves that way: a slow insinuation alongside his companion. He straightens when she mentions the list of activites and nods when the bee-masked man suggests stories. "Lead on!" He gestures ahead and grins, "Stories it is. And... we should pay our respects, of course."

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes has left the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing an acorn mask spies the man wearing a pumpkin, and lets out a quiet laugh. Now _that_ is a mask. She drains her wineglass and sets it aside, giving it to one of the roaming servers, then she sets off toward the scarecrow, finding her way toward the bonfire.

Someone wearing a sturdy leather mask with oceanic gemstones suspended from neodymium links glides into the decorative setting with feet bared to the elements, though visible only when the hem of her skirt is kicked out with every processional step taken toward those gathered. She's alone, though not lonely; a smile touches painted red lips throwing the oceanic hues of her attire into sharp relief. However hard this masquerading woman tries to obfuscate her identity, the prevalent burn scar marring the skin of her neck seems intent to give her completely away. That's fine, though, really. She's hoping that someone she knows may suspend her aimless wandering at some point. For now, she smiles to everyone she passes along her way toward the blooming trellis which has understandably caught her eye.

Someone wearing an acorn mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Comedy slowly turns toward the New Moon, his head tilts graciously as he accepts the offered wine. "Dance? Oh, perhaps after a few more glasses." His head tilts in the other direction perhaps offering that frozen smile. He lifts his glass in thanks and drifts toward the arbor path.

"Hear hear," says the man in the sky or sea of stars mask, lofting his glass. "And those who carried the new one up," he says, with good humor, and drinks. "Why don't we listen to stories for a moment -" he trails off, eyes caught by the jester, smile not quite flickering but... pausing. But his eyes turn back. "Why don't we go listen to stories until the glasses are empty. And have a dance after. Mm?"

Someone wearing a sturdy leather mask with oceanic gemstones suspended from neodymium links has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing the dramatic depiction of comedy has joined the An Enchanting Arbor Path.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask hooks the tunic of a person that unwittingly gets in the way of himself and the Autumn Moon, his mouth turned down in a comical frown. "Sir nobleman, please. Swerve." The poor guest is just a little confused, apologizes and moves out of the way. The Summer Moon laughs, ducking his head briefly before his hand comes out to meet her when she comes to him. "When you get tired later, I'll carry you," he promises. They slow, and his touch finds placement at the curve of her hip. "Yes, I think that we need to dance at least once. I don't want to separate, I'm not at all concerned about how many points we get or if we win anything to tonight." He leans in to speak with her quietly, his words lost in the noise of the crowd.

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues bows her head to her honeycomb companion, conveying her easy acceptance of his suggestion. "Stories are certainly a good place to start, although I do intend to find that dance floor sooner or later. Still, we can delay the inevitable for a bit." Her voice carries suppressed laughter for the idea of trod-upon feet. "And-" Her face turns toward her smoky-masked escort. "-yes, certainly that, too. The most important bit."

Everett makes his way over to within conversational distance of the person wearing the Acorn mask and the costume with the arboreal squirrel theme. Perhaps he's heard their good humored chuckle through the pumpkin he is wearing? It does seem quite possible. And it also does seem quite unlikely that a scarecrow would scare off _sewn_ squirrels. So there's zero downside, really!

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a dark cherrywood mask with silver detailing glances from his position beneath the arbor towards the woman whose mask drips green and blue stones, an immediate smile painting his face. If it was meant to disguise, it was a poor one indeed, bright blue gaze flashing with recognition as a glass is raised in a quick salute to her, a silent invitation to join him and the two others seated beneath the arbor before attention is given back to their conversation.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask's attention strays as Comedy retreats, but they've not forgotten that. After a few more glasses indeed - however, their gaze is drawn to the jester, and over they go, in that direction, snagging another glass of wine. "Very subtle," the new moon compliments, one hand, still holding wine, indicating the mask. It's almost a simper, but not quite. One of the glasses is handed over; they're not both for the new moon.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask applauds at the show of a fashion, cheerfully reciting in a sing-song voice, "Hurray for the commoner, now noble and wed. Alas to his critics, soon to be dead."

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask murmurs, "Brave souls," of all thos bed-hauling folks between on sip and another. When the man wearing a sea of stars looks toward the jester, her attention follows curiously, settling instead on champagne silk and diamond eyes, a soft smile turned that way. "To stories," she agrees before looking back. "Then toward the roses, I think."

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather's bare feet carry the wearer towards the spill of roses, while the toasts reign and the swirl of color drifts by. From somewhere along the way she's garnered herself a drink and for the nonce seems content to savor it.

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing Silvery Autumn Moon Mask exhales a mock gasp when someone dares get too close, but the Summer Sun is on it this evening, and she is rescued from having to socialize with any beneath her. "I promise to last as long as I might tonight, to save you the effort," she replies to his own promise, and then leans in when he drops his voice to share in some whispered secret. She grins, her hand moving to the one he's placed at her hip, fingers curling around it as if she might pull him free, but whatever she says must be some reaffirming, because she releases him. "Let's dance now? I know I said I do not wish to win, but neither do I wish to end up in /last/." A dreaded thought, that.

"Someone should dance with me!" calls the woman in the Lady of the Moon mask to the party in general, standing with a hand on one hip as she surveys the party. "Be wild, be free: come dance with me! The autumn breeze is fine. The eve is fair, and here and there, the golden sun does shine. Sing out a song; you can't go wrong, with poetry on tongues. Be bright and light -- it's only right. Come on the night is young!"

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask says, "tt :takes a seat next to his two companions, then gives a smile towards the pumpkin masked man whom he knows is behind it. Once he settles, he gives a long stretch, feeling his toes warmed by the bonfire. At the sound of a toast, he nods his head happily and tilts his chin upwards. "To change!" He crows out in return."

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask says, "ooc .. Sigh."

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask says, "p OK, so, obviously doing TT doesn't work."

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers wanders in, barefoot - a primal looking thing. Bare feet stalk along the gross delicately as the skeleton deer mask she wears turn this way and that, the moonstones adorning it catching the light. She looks as if she's trying to put together clues about who she knows - while looking like the effigy of a forgotten God, something buried and dug up, given life again.

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask gathers at the bonfire with many others to listen to stories for a bit, though his attention still pulls around the gardens. Watching for wallflowers. Isn't that what the starry skies do?

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask is still the part of the Autumn Moon's bodyguard, but he's thankfully not actively urging other people to leave them alone. That sort of act is probably only amusing for a few minutes at best. Whatever whispered conversation transpires between the pair of them, it earns a deep, happy sort of laughter from him before he replies. There's a smile and a shake of his head, a glance around. But then he's drawing his hand to hers, fingers curling together. "We won't come in last, I promise you." There's something else there at the end, a word that isn't spoken. But it hangs, implied. To the grassy area they go, his larger form in front as he more politely urges people out of their way. "Excuse us, thank you. Yes. My apologizes." When they step onto the leafy green blades, he waits for her to join his frame.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes hesitates momentarily before taking the Lycene Jester's hand, nodding toward the dance floor with a quiet word. Her head turns to the sky or sea of stars mask for a moment before her attention returns to her dance partner.

l

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask gasps audibly at some twist in a tale being told at the fire, her attention upon a griffin-masked storyteller. Catching herself, she sips at her drink and continues to listen.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask approaches the Lady of the Moon at her demand, swishing a curtsy in her direction and offering a hand. "I hope that request was not in jest, poetic though it was." They incline their head toward the cushion of grass, wiggling bare toes indicatively.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask is at the fire, trying to complete the challenge to tell a story, and clearly babbling on a bit. She gets interested in the tale, stops, and finishes up with a drink.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask takes Champagne's hand and moves towards the dance floor, dropping into a formally precise bow before starting a very old, very refined Lycene dance. Ages old, a wedding dance, one performed during wedding scene of the Spider's Journey. Opera fan, apparently.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes moves quickly, with a near perfect fluidity to her movements as she begins a very traditional Lycene dance. She hardly seems to be paying attention to her footwork, as though her movements are entirely second nature.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers draws near the dancing area, big brown eyes staring balefully at everything going on around on her. A soft noise comes from behind the foreboding mask, standing decisively where she's at. Feet are firmly on the ground. Eyes now carefully clocking each dancer.

Someone wearing an acorn mask sits by the bonfire, listening to the stories while quietly conversing with the person in the pumpkin mask.

A woman arrives whose mask is dark, mirrored -- a star iron at the center. Her hair is just as dark, smoke black, worn braided into a crown, but she is no walking shadow, her gown and jewels the blush of dawn, of things warm and soft and lovely. Still, there is something about her presence that seems not at all warm, or soft, or lovely, that burns just a little too hot, and though she arrives unescorted, it is the sort of arrival that calls a sharp and unnerving silence down around her, like a last gasp for air.

"I will remember every little promise," the woman in the Autumn Moon Mask responds to Summer Sun's whispers, some sort of pact formed between the pair. And while he continues to clear the path for her, these movements are less overt yet still watched and appreciated in his commitment to the role. She watches him take frame, and with an elegant dipping into a curtsy, she slides one hand to his shoulder, the other to his hand. And then they dance barefoot on the grass, balls of her feet moving against the foliage. "I've never done this before," she admits with a surprised laugh, as if there are very few things she's never done, and to find even one is a small treasure.

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask takes the hand offered to her by the curtseying Lady of the New Moon, offering a curtsey in return. Her lips curl in a pleased smile as she begins to lead the other in a circle in preparation of dancing, and she says, "No jest. It was quite the honest invitation. Dance with me! Play in the light! Let your toes grip the grass as we swirl together to the music, and let us laugh in delight."

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather's attention travels on occasion beyond the arbor where she sits, to take in the ebb and flow of the crowd; including the dances that have taken to the grass. Dark eyes and the curve of her smile both conveying no small measure of pleasure found in the event.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers looks toward the woman in the stygian black rose mirrormask, batting her eyelashes behind the deer's skull. Her husky voice rolls out of her mouth, annunciating every sound with a deep Northern accent. "Do you wish to dance, m'Lady of stygian and jet?"

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask does indeed tip their head back and laugh, fleet-footed and agile, an able companion for any sort of dance. "I'm terrible at rhyming but I'll give it a try; perhaps wine will loosen my tongue, or maybe my words, and I'll adapt, by and by." The petaled hem of the gown swirls as the pair spins, but the new moon lets the lady of the moon set the pace, considerately. Or perhaps they just haven't had enough wine, as they intimated.

Something has caught the attention of Comedy and it seems to amuse him. Or perhaps he is simply always amused. He drifts nearer to the dancers, observing the wedding dance with headed slightly canted. Both hands rest atop his cane as he leans his weight slightly forward.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask laughs when she replies to him, waiting for her to join him on the grass. "I would be terribly disappointed if you didn't remember every little promise," he returns to her. And then she's there with him and his one hand encircles hers while the other finds a place to rest against her back. "Never?" he repeats, sounding just as surprised as she is. "You know, I don't think that I have either. Do you think you can add this to your list, for bonus points?" he wonders. While they may not be the most flawless dancers out on the grass, there is something practiced about /them/. An awareness of each other's space, pausing for the other to catch up, a natural inclination to shore up the missteps of the other. Of course to be fair, the Summer Sun seems to be the weaker dancer of the two.

To be very fair, the woman in the Autumn Moon Mask is quite skilled at dancing, but she seems little concerned with technique in this moment, because they're dancing on grass and every step gives off that refreshing reminder that they're barefoot. "Yes. I grant us extra points," she decides in her most regal of voices, and since he has already treated her as royalty tonight, it seems to fit. With an ease of knowing her partner, in spite of the masks they wear, she moves with the music and carries on a more quiet conversation for his ears only. Whatever it is, her smile is never far from her lips, and her gaze never strays from his.

Someone wearing stygian black rose mirrormask tilts her head, and there's a question in that coy tilt of her head -- perhaps the knife's edge of a threat, too -- but it doesn't seem directed at the Deer Skull who has approached her. It is given across the room, and lost across the room just the same. She holds out her hand to the Deer Skull, in offer. "If you wish," she says. "There was a time when I was danced around great halls till my feet bleed." She laughs, a laugh that rolls like smoke. "It is better not to bleed at all."

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes stops dancing and grips the Lycene Jester's hand, her lips curving just a little as her gaze drifts across the garden.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask leads Champagne by the hand as their dance ends to go to the Black Rose mirrormask, coming to stand before her with a bow of courtly grace, like greeting a visiting dignitary, "No titles, though that seems less than your due. I shall abide all courtesy and rights of the host while here."

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers reaches out for the Stygian Black Rose's hand, holding it perhaps a touch awkwardly as the Jester Mask cuts in. "Then we shall not bleed at all this evening unless it is required for either of us to have fun." She releases the other woman's hand briefly, looking at the Jester Mask plainly. "Is the Jester usually the host?" She wonders aloud.

Someone wearing stygian black rose mirrormask stands straighter as Silk and Steel approaches, with an arch of her back and a lift of her chin that take her taller. "Oh?" she asks. "And what, my sweet, I wonder ... is your due? After all these long years?" She takes hold of Deer Skull's hand just after she drops it, keeps hold of her even as she leans in close enough to murmur to Silk and Steel, "Have you found another woman here to wrap in silk and shadow?"

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask happens to have a glass of wine in hand already. Or at least, whatever liquid she's drinking is in a wine glass. She takes a sip as she swirls closer to the Lady New Moon and then offers her the glass if she might like a sip. "Every season choose to sing one of a million songs. Always can you change the tune if it be right or wrong," she suggests playfully, winking at her companion with a measure of delight. "But how to know which one is best? That always is the key. Just pick the one, forget the rest. None of it's meant to be."

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask's laughter is deep again, delighted by her continued indulgence in her royal status for the evening. "That's excellent to hear, I hope you're planning on doing that for all of the other portions of this evening as well." When she begins to speak low to him, he's more conservative with his steps. And at one point, he leans in to hear her better. But his eyes remain focused on her, his smile still fixed into place. At one point, he nods his head in the direction of the crowd as if he's asking her a question.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask takes her turn telling a tale, pausing only briefly about half-way through to take a sip. She flashes a faint smile before providing the denouement. Her smile grows at its conclusion head bowed to the griffin, though her attention strays briefly, then, to consider the rest of the celebration.

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes chuckles lightly, her features relaxing though her grip on the Jester's hand remains. "I don't think I need help with that." She responds to the stygian black rose. Her amber eyes shift to the deer and she offers a polite nod in greeting.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask turns towards Deer mask and after considering her for a long moment, drops into a bow and recites before straightening, "Just until the laughter fades, my dear. Just until the laughter fades." There's a cheerful laugh that sounds almost oddly hollow behind the jester mask towards Black Rose, "You'll know when it's collected. The time comes soon, as the moon waxes. And there's silk and shadow for all, mm?"

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has finished a drink, and is rising up from the bonfire to get another, so that she can continue to be in good spirits for the rest of the party. While there is certainly a temptation for barefoot dancing, she's rapt in attention as stories are told.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask gives the impression of smiling behind the mask again, shoulders lifting, a little toss of hair - but their attention is captured a bit by the interplay of the three figures nearby, covert glances over one of those glistening shoulders at the jester, the mirrormask, and the jester. "In singing songs, there's neither right nor wrong; by feeling in the moment, we find the proper tune, and following our feet leads us along. What comes to be, for good or ill, we find out all too soon."

Someone wearing a smoky mask claps for the story of the bard who learns to end her tales, "That was a very dedicated teacher." He gestures around the bonfire, "Someone else should claim, the dog-ender's jasmine, I'll have mine from Fire." He grins, bumping her shoulder with his. He grins into his wine, addressing it seemingly, but tilts a bit, "Honeycomb, where have you travelled this year that you'd never been before?"

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers tilts her head curiously at the Lycene Jester, eyes narrowing. If there is a hint of a smile brimming under the skull it's hard to say but once her hand is reclaimed by the Stygian Black Rose Mirrormask, she squeezes it. "That sounds appropos," she admits. The Deer Skull looks over toward the diamond chipped woman, waving with her free hand. She shifts on her feet in just a way that the silver of her spine shines.

At the bonfire, the man in a sky or sea of stars mask watches and listens as the tale is told, smile tempered, wine loosely held. But he lifts it shortly after, and has a drink. "I've heard tales like that before, but never quite that one." A glance toward the smoky mask, nods. "Dedication. That's something to take from that."

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes's amber eyes glitter a little at the Jester's words, though there's a flash of shadow there too, another moment of lost control, though brief. "It seems a lot of people owe you, my lord." She muses.

Someone wearing stygian black rose mirrormask offers only reflection in answer to Silk and Steel. If there is anything beneath the expressionless surface of her mask, it is hidden entirely. Then, after a pause, "There is not. You know there is not. There is never enough for all." Her voice lowers, darkens, "You hunger for it /all/." And then she sweeps Deer Skull out onto the dance floor, with a long, strong pull of her hand, with a single motion that is fluid and strong and that lifts her up and away and into some sort of classic Lycene dance.

Someone wearing Silvery Autumn Moon Mask pulls her gaze away from Summer Sun for a moment, something he whispered having her survey the many masks, and look beyond them to the corners of the gardens. "Let's wait and see," she decides upon her answer, not bothering to whisper. "The only plans for this evening should be enjoyment and celebration, however that manifests." With the final sweep through the last bars of music, she draws her hand down his shoulder to offer a pat to his chest. "Come. I'm thirsty. Is there something on this scavenger hunt list about getting a drink and sharing it?" As they move off the floor, the stygian black rose and her partner sweep by in that impressive move, and she turns to watch for a moment before her attention is back on Summer Sun. "Tell me something else you've never done at a masked ball," she probes innocently, the arching of her brow lost behind the mask.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask laughs suddenly, as something just said to him amused him and he gives champagne a fond pat on the back with his free hand, "That they do, dancer. That they do. And yet rarely are they ready to pay. Mm, you know something of that, when you come calling."

At the large bonfire, Everett waits for a lull in the speaking before he stands up straight, shoulders back, to deliver his Story. He declares: "I wear this 'mask' in honor of my late great grandfather, the fabled Pumpkin Knight of Acorn Hill! Legend has it that Grandfather Jack was the kindliest protector of people and animals. He'd carry around an old bulls eye lantern along with his battered broadsword as he walked the rounds during the cold winter months. Chasing off the wolves and coyotes. And just checking to make sure everyone was doing ok. Even the chickens. One year he forgot the bulls eye lantern in the old barn, and Betsy the cow kicked it over. Nasty hay fire and the end of that lantern. Undeterred, Ole Jack carved a backup out of a hollowed out pumpkin. Set a candle into it. Carried on caring. Ole Jack used to tell all his grandkids: 'Kids, life is like a pumpkin, you see. Starts out looking golden! Ripe and wholesome! Burgeoning with promise! But once you get into the meat of it, it can start to feel hollow. Empty. Without much meaning left. That's when you know you're getting old, and your job then is to find something bright and hopeful to keep in the center of your life. Something shining and bright to light the way for the next generation. Put it on their bedstand, once they're asleep, so they won't be afraid of monsters at night. So here's to you, Grandpa Jack! I'm wearing your nightlight! Proudly." Everett sits back down. So that's Everett's completely made up bonfire story! Well, mostly made up. Mostly.

The Deer Mask is swept onto the grass with a tiny laugh. If crytpic talk bothers her, there is no sign of this as moonstone and silver glimmer in the light and she follows the steps to the Lycene dance that the Stygian Black Rose has set the steps for. "I hope I don't owe /him/ anything," she asides to the Stygian Black Rose.

"Dance with me, sway with me," insists the Lady of the Moon to the Lady New Moon with a beautifully musical laugh like bells, bright and lovely. And her rhymes have gotten all the more musical, even as her dancing becomes more technically intricate and close to the other woman. "Run away with me! Let us live in the music, feel the song within our hearts. Celebrate the changes, and insist on bright new starts."

A smile plays around his lips, pressing the parcel there in Fire's hands, "I wouldn't have picked tulips for you," he grins charmed. "But now I will!"

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask's return laugh is bell-like in a different way - golden, clear, rising, touched all the same. "My Lady of the Moon, you need not plead; if you were to cut me, song is what I'd bleed. I could just as soon run from music as run from my own soul; if breath is what sustains me, song's what keeps me whole." The dancer spins with their partner, easily able to keep up with the intricate steps even as the rhymes become more musical, the hint of song lilting through words just as easily as breathing despite the supposed difficulty with rhyming.

Someone wearing stygian black rose mirrormask gathers Deer Mask into her arms, and then releases her into a spin, pulls her back again and cuts across the grass, in a perfect arc. They go like this, arc and spin, turn and swoop, as the conversation plays out. "You owe him nothing," she says. "No one in all of time has ever owed him anything, and yet he lays claim to /everything/." As she pulls Deer Mask back into her arms, she murmurs into her ear, "I hunger, too, my sweet." She tucks a strand of hair back behind Deer Mask's ear, behind the curve of her mask. "I take, too."

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask stands up from the fire and gives a little curtsey. "Honestly, I would listen to stories all night long! But the dance floor calls me and I will obey it." She raises her glass, and looks at the pumpkin-headed man. "First, let me toast you, though, because your moment of change upon entering this masq did strike my fancy as well."

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask is quick to grasp her hand, squeezing it briefly. "I'm certain that there is. It's definitely item fourteen for fifteen if not one of the ones before it." In truth, he definitely didn't read the list in its entirety. So the Autumn Moon could make up whatever she wanted about the list's demands! He offers a passing glance to some of the other dancers, just as she does, before he's accepting a glass of red wine off of a serving tray. The person carrying it tries to hand over a second one, but he shakes his head very seriously. Before the glass is handed off to his companion, he takes a sip of the wine and waits. When an appropriate span of time passes, he offers it to her. Her question earns a tip of his head and while the arched brow can't be seen, it can be interpreted by the way he turns to face the rest of the party. Then when he spins back to her there's all indications like he may actually be confessing something.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask leans in toward cherry mask, grinning aslant at the pumpkin's story. He tips side to side, and drains his glass. "Why not," he says. "But then I need a dance. I believe we were agreed. I didn't come here barefoot for nothing." And he smiles brightly, and slips back from the bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

The swooping and turning is instinctive, the practiced movements of someone who is well-versed in the art of dance. Or can at least improvise well enough. The Deer Mask does seem to be smiling, from the tone of her voice. "Hmm. I gave my heart to someone like that, once. He thought he could own me. That was a mistake." Clinging against the Black Rose Mirrormask, the Deer Skull raises a brow, not shying away from her touch. "And what do you hunger for, exactly?"

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask scoffs, "Avarice builds cities, and not without assistance."

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask asides, spinning past, "It tears them down, just as soon."

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask tsks quietly at her sea of stars. "It won't have been for nothing, darling. Being barefoot is its own reward." Nevermind how quickly autumn descended in all its coolness. Perhaps she'd call it /bracing/, but she doesn't bother to offer any more words on it at all. Instead, she flutters off with her starry companion, swapping out drinks on her way. They might slow a smidge as they drift past the dancers, curiosity calling, but they've a destination in mind. First, to the bench below its rose-drenched canopy.

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper looks over sharply from where she sits toward the Silk and Steel Lycene Jester, watching for a moment, then returns her attention to her bench mates.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask likewise can't help but hear some of the conversation, passing the dancing green; there's a brief study, though the little turning of his head suggests that perhaps he's deciding what sort of dancing is in favor. Then he plucks up fresh wine, flashes a grateful smile toward the servr, and moves to the other trellis, the one covered with roses. When they arrive, he looks with lofted brows at cherry blossom. "Were we invited?" he wonders, and turns to those gathered there. "I hope everyone is having a lovely time."

Someone wearing stygian black rose mirrormask runs her thumb along the line of Deer Skull's mask, just beneath a sunken eyehole, where the curve of her cheek might be. "Immolation," she answers her. "Rebirth." In that moment, standing there, together, there is a heat between them and around them that is palpable, tangible -- and then she lifts Deer Skull up into her arms and into the next turn of the dance, setting her back down upon her feet only at the end of that turn. She sweeps her back into another revolution around the grass, saying, "To rebuild this world in the embers of the old world. Of the old powers."

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask applauds another story, as she finds them quite arresting it seems, but tears herself away from this group to go toward the grasses. When she reaches the grass she sways a bit, in time with the music that's already playing and keeping the party lively.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing Silk and Steel Lycene Jester Mask bows to champagne and cheerfully says, "Old, but not tired. Not just yet. Enjoy the waxing moon, my dear. Good night to you all."

"Song's in my name, so play this game: flirt all the night with me. We'll have a dance, frolic and prance, delighted to be free," Lady of the Moon agrees with delight, shifting a bit to orbit about the Lady New Moon with a grin. She glances to the nearby conversation, then nods slightly. "Balance is rough; it takes a spark to light the dark, yet not too tough that light to snuff."

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather's bare feet tread easily across the ground, as she lets her gaze drift across those present. A slim figure, the seasilk of her cloak trailing faintly in her wake as beneath the deep hood of her cloak her lips find a smile even as indecision colors her gaze. Whilst the dances earn her attention, it's ultimately the bonfire at which she aims to join.

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather has joined the a large bonfire.

No effort is made to stop the Black Rose from touching her skin. The Deer Skull is lifted into the air and long lashes bat underneath that mask, controlling the lift a little with her muscles - a thin figure that speaks of a life of hard work, muscles speaking to that point. "Well. Fire /does/ purify." There's along pause as she makes her revolution with the Black Rose, leaning in close to the other woman. "Old powers? I never thought they'd gone out of style."

Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes releases the Jester Mask's hand, gaze fixed on him as he prepares to depart. "Good night, my lord." Her lips curve before the smile rapidly dissipates. It seems her attention shifts between Lady of the Moon and new moon, her lips settling into something neutral. And then she too heads for the exit, carrying herself with effortless poise, the cats emerging from different points in the garden to follow her out.

an indeterminate number of cats leaves, following Someone wearing a beautiful champagne silk mask with diamond chips around the eyes.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask extends a hand, fingertips barely touching Lady of the Moon's; "Are we truly free? Or are we bound in ways we know not? We imagine ourselves drifting, like clouds; but perhaps if life's a tapestry, we're its knots." They pause, bending at the middle a bit to let out a pained chuckle at the rhyming of 'not' with 'knots,' a chuckle that emerges into a full-throated belly laugh, a pure expression of joy floating up to the indigo of the night sky.

Comedy's fixed expression stares down the path following exit of The Jester and Champagne. After a moment he lets loose a boistrous laugh accompanied several claps of his hands. "Bravo! I had no idea there would be theater tonight as well."

"All flames can be extinguished," the Black Rose says to Deer Skull, as she guides her out of the lifts and the turns of their dance, into stillness. They stand there, at the center of the grass, fingers entwined. Black Roses tips her mirrormask just far enough askew from her face to reveal a single amber eye, burning bright, and the dragonweep red of her lips. Like this, she kisses Deer Skull upon the cheek, a lingering kiss, and says, "Fire destroys. It takes, and it takes."

Sitting near the bonfire, the woman wearing an acorn mask gives a round of applause as another story is told, then she rises up from her seat and unties her mask, extending it out to the man a pumpkin mask to trade. She takes the pumpkin from him and plops it down on her head, laughing. "Now this is some change," she says.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers considers Black Rose's stance once more, more her words than the stillness - but once she realizes they aren't dancing anymore, there's a faint noise of disappointment. She looks at the other woman's offered eye and dragonweep red lips. "Fire destroys, fire purifies. It depends how you look at it. It depends on the purpose. Water floods, water cleanses." She lifts up the deer skill mask to give the other woman a peek of her face; unremarkable at first glance, brown on brown, with chestnut brown hair - though there is classic beauty there. Receiving the kiss makes her blush, but she leans in and brazenly steals a kiss from the other woman's lips before putting her mask back down.

Someone wearing an acorn mask stands, and nods with full agreement to whomever is switching masks with them. A courteous arm, and an energetic whirl about the bonfire are in the offering.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask takes the offered arm and takes a twirl. "Lead the way," she says. "The squirrels will give chase."

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing an acorn mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing an acorn mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has joined the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has left the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Black Rose's grip upon Deer Skull's hands tightens, fingers twisted around fingers, whitening. That stolen kiss burns bright between them, and then cools, vanishes into ash. The Black Rose drops Deer Skull's hands, steps back, blows a kiss to her -- and then turns away, to leave the dance floor.

"Destiny's face is out of place in talks of who is free," Lady of the Moon tells the Lady New Moon with a twinkle in her eyes as they dance together. "A million million choices, a cacophony of voices, and any just might be." There's a swirl, and her dress, which is a bit sensuously cut, twists around her athletic form. "You choose the meter and the rhyme, and though you cannot reverse time, you'll find the poem almost sublime for following your strict design."

Someone wearing an acorn mask notes, "It's the sunflowers! I constantly admire them. So bright, so outgoing. All they do all day is stretch upward, toward the Light! Watching the sun with their lovely bright faces!" Pumpkin and Acorn face are whirling about in a dance of autumn colors, high energy, with a brightness and an innocent joy shining off of Acorn's motions.

Someone wearing honeycomb and silver gray mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers stands at the center of the grass looking as perplexed as someone in a mask can get, though the tilt of the heavy mask she wears while she watches the Black Rose walk away is a good indicator of this confusion.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask whirls about with Acorn, her autumnal dress a perfect match for her new pumpkin mask. "Sunflowers are beautiful, I'll admit," she says as they dance about, grass pressing up between their toes.

Lamora, Quartz, a very sneezy kitten arrive, following Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask acknowledges, "Though Destiny's long gone, echoes of it live on - in shards of souls, echoes of goals-" they turn to follow her, gaze following the deeply-cut back of their own gown, the long smooth line of a glimmeringly-highlighted spine and the sinuous way it twists - "Designs be what they may, they change from day to day; and what we wish to comprehend, we struggle to see from end-to-end. We're just too small, the walls too tall, and perhaps how that descends is how it's meant to fall." They draw the Lady of the Moon back in, raise their mask enough to place a delicate, plush-lipped kiss upon her cheek, and then teasingly withdraw again, somewhere behind one of those immense ancient trees.

Someone wearing the dramatic depiction of comedy makes his way toward the exit, a slow casual walk with his cane. He pauses by New Moon, "The dance will have to wait for another night. I feel I simply could not compete with... well the talent that was displayed tonight." He inclines his head graciously, "Goodnight."

Yet another steps into the gardens, finely painted mask already worn to hide their identity. "Goodnight," is offered to the Comedy-mask, a theatric bow sketched towards the departing figure. Then? The newcomer appears to be looking around the garden for the refreshments.

Lamora have been dismissed.

After moving aside on the grass to let others have their turn, The Deer Mask saunters out the entrance from wence she came.

Someone wearing a bleached white deer's skull mask gleaming with moonstones adorned upon the antlers has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing the dramatic depiction of comedy has left the An Enchanting Arbor Path.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask takes cherry blossom's hand, giving cherrywood a satisfied look - oh, they were made for each other! But he's stealing her away. He slips back, tugging at that hand. How can one tell that there are lofted brows of challenge behind that mask? Such is the power in the brows. "I was promised a dance. From -both- of you." That's to spring and cherrywood, but cherry blossom too; he's already got her hand though, see? To the dancing green with him.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing an acorn mask is noticing the festivities dying down in places. The bonfire's dimmer. And so, with a final twirl, a lift and a joyful laugh, Acorn concludes the brisk dance - off with Pumpkin. Still invisibly grinning, behind the mask, Acorn bows a happy bow over to pumpkin. "That was fun! I'm going to go see if I can get the cider brought in. Thanks for the adventure, and you all take care now!"

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask may have issued the invitation to her starry companion, but the promptness with which he accepts catches her off-guard, leaving her hurrying to set down her glass as she follows his tug at her hand toward the grass, her laughter bright and satisfied.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask makes a little curtsey back to Acorn and lets out a laugh. "That _was_ fun! Thanks for the dance," she says. "Enjoy!" Then she's off, winding her way around the garden once more.

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask watches the Lady New Moon run off behind a tree, and she laughs in delight, touching her cheek with her hand where the other has kissed it. She looks pleased, delighted in her own way, and she bows in the direction the other has run off in before drifting in the direction of the drinks. Perhaps after all of those little spoken songs, she needs to wet her throat.

Someone wearing a pumpkin mask has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing an acorn mask has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing an acorn mask has joined the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a smoky mask has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a smoky mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask pulls cherry blossom in a swirl of circle skirts and all its contingent floral embroidery. "So silly of me to insist on wine first when all I've wanted to do since we got here is dance with you," he says, and leads her through an initial turn, the steps of the dance to come not even a seedling of an idea yet.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script chooses a glass of red wine from among the offerings, lifting it to her lips for a long, savouring sip. It takes a moment, really, for her to notice that someone else has arrived at the table, honestly. She looks to the Lady of the Moon mask, dipping her head in a nod. "What a lovely party, no? It's a shame I got here so late."

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask promptly agrees, as she sips her drink, "It is! Although I might note, you have on silken slippers, and that is strictly forbidden. We are frolicking barefoot here, and that is the way it ought to be!" She laughs brightly. "Feel the grass with your toes! It's a good night to be a little chaotic!"

Wherever New Moon has gone, they're relatively obscured by foliage and greenery, even with the skirts of their gown spread around them. And it's thus a mystery whatever it is they're doing; perhaps catching their breath after a rousing round of dance, perhaps composing their thoughts. Perhaps neither of these.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script can't help but laugh, deep and throaty. It's an honest laugh, full of amusement. She's crouching easily, glass still in hand, to start unlacing the slippers with her free fingers. She doesn't seem to have any trouble with the task, no problem with balance. "I wouldn't want to break the rules-- not for long, anyway, and not when they suit us all so well."

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask's laughter subsides, but not her delight, a wide smile lingering long beneath the boughs of her mask as she twirls. She has ideas for where the dance should head next, drawing in terribly close as her twirl comes to its close. Free hand alighting upon her starry partner's shoulder, she croons quietly, "Such patience you've found." Closer still, she leans in to murmur something more.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper looks to the dance area as well now, since her conversation partners have departed that way. Her eyes scan the perimeter, looking for anyone standing by that might be similarly seeking a partner.

Although warmed by both the bonfire and the riveting conversation to be had there, the fiery-masked figure eventually turns her sights upon the prospect of dancing. She reaches out to lace her fingers through her smoky companion's, bare feet navigating their way through the grassy expanse with graceful care. Her head turns toward the other dancers, a smile playing upon her lips for the short time that she watches. Before long her attention diverts back t her darker-masked partner. "Promises made and kept," she notes to him as she steps closer to sweep into the first steps of the dance.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask mutters, "... poor ... ... ... ... so close. Not that ... made an ... to ... every ... I'm fairly certain ... missed an old adversary. Ancestor."

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask moves on the prowl, looking for a dance partner, as that would be the right thing she thinks to finish off her night. She looks over at the one in the volto mask, who has a play scripted on it, and then looks like a curious bird who is trying and perhaps failing to read the play with the other person's dips of the head. "Oh, hello, once you're barefoot would you like to dance?"

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask promptly downs her drink as if it is something to be done with so that she can more easily get back to dancing. She holds out a hand to the one in the volto mask with a smile. "Now that you are shoeless, come and dance with me," she says, and then holds out her other hand to the teal griffin mask wearer. "Come, come! Both of you! And perhaps the New Moon will rejoin us. Let us spin as many as possible into a dance!"

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask hears their appellation for the night, perhaps, and appears from behind a tree as if by some sort of magic. (Surely not). They're entirely unmarred save for a few streaks here and there tracing through the delicate iridescent glimmer laid upon bare skin. Sweat, perhaps, or some other salt-water. "Did someone call for me?" they ask, nonetheless, sweeping hair back over their shoulder and padding softly back into that carpet of trodden green grass.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask looks at the Lady of the Moon. "Beautiful! You're most gracious. All three of us." She looks down at the Moon's hand, and then up, as the mask does inhibit her ability to see to some degree in as much as it covers her face. "Let's hope we can all keep time!"

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leather has left the a large bonfire.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script rises, tucking her slippers away under the refreshments table. She then takes the Lady's hand, a grin curving ruby read lips. "I was hoping someone would ask, and now two have! Such fortune." She nods to New Moon, finally downing her wine so she can offer out a hand.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script drops a pair of decorated silken slippers.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask pulls cherry blossom in close as she seems inclined, turning in a series of steps that don't require the slippery pivot of shoes on a wooden floor, fleet feet on the move. He tips his head to kiss her cheek; realizes there's a branch in the way, and tries the other side. /Success/. "Do you think so?" he wonders thoughtfully, though he's too invested in movement to really think about it, and when he does, there's a brief hiccup in the rhythm of feet, voice dropping.

Someone wearing a simple full-face mask in black leathercasts one more look over the gilded beauty of the evening and quietly goes to slip out.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper spots the dance circle forming, picks up her skirt with one hand so that her bare feet can move quickly over the grass without tripping, and inserts herself between the first two people she reaches. She is light on her feet, effortlessly keeping up with the tempo, though she does let out a girlish giggle if one of her neighboring dancers happens to bump into her by accident.

Someone wearing a smoky mask takes Fire's hand and her lead, grinning as they begin a turn around where folk are dancing, grass cool underfoot. He murmurs quietly to Fire as the move in time with the music and step with each other.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask takes a pair of decorated silken slippers.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask stumbles briefly in her dance with her starry masked partner, a little hitch in his rhythm leading to a bit of shuffling on her part, skirts all a-rustle as their quiet conversation continues, bright in tone but heavy in substance.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask mutters, "His ... of ... meant just for me. How hollow his voice. We've ... this ... before. I keep my ... He ... to respect that. So far."

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask twirls about the dancefloor, snagging a glass of wine from a passing tray, downing it, and finding another, laughing all the while. The laughter has a different edge than before, though; true to the words they'd offered the Lady of the Moon, not as free. Something tangled there. Still, their steps are agile and able, their hands find their partners' with grace, and they show no signs of tiring as they spin about the carpet of grass, even as it's flattened underfoot. They dip and turn, forming patterns legible only to those looking down from the night sky with the other dancers.

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues is pleased to sweep her partner into a dance, taking the lead with confidence -- perhaps a bit too much. Bare feet maneuver easily upon the grass, offering less traction than boot soles against a dance floor. Some murmured remark uttered by her smoky companion distracts, so that the entirety of her focus settles briefly upon him rather than upon the task of noting their surroundings. That brief moment of intensity threatens to send the pair spinning rather inelegantly in an attempt to avoid a collision with nearby dancers.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script has joined the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing Lady of the Moon mask draws the two whose hands she's grabbed with her towards the dance floor and towards the New Moon. She motions to the Regal Lion, as well, laughing brightly as she encourages the others to dance in a constant partner-trading pattern.

Someone wearing a feathered teal griffin mask takes Lady of the Moon's hand as well, and then the dancing circle begins. It seems like a very graceful way for many people to take advantage of the rule to change partners while dancing. She spins around with the Moon first, then follows her direction, swaps to holding hands with the Lion as she joins, and then spins back into the circle, giggling all the way. The wine has clearly struck her as well.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask doesn't stumble again. "Just for you," he murmurs, like it's a suspicion. He lifts one of her hands between them; but rather than leading her through a turn, he's spinning under her their hands. He's got something quieter to say on that topic, once he's facing her again, but then he pulls away, crosses hands... lifts them both, a summons to turn, trapped, back to him, in his cage of arms. "Who shall we each dance with, hmm? I think we should dance with everyone, between the two of us. That's proper." And one more murmur.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask mutters, "Good he's ... ... ... Now that he's gone."

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script steps into the dance with abandon, graceful and accomplished. One thing is for sure: she's a good dancer. Skilled, with the movements seeming to come naturally even as partners are swapped whenever another's steps bring them near.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask's eyes go wide between the branches hiding her face when her partner dips into a turn, the words which greet her as he steps in again answered with almost certainly unrelated laughter. She's not quite as graceful as he is and must work to keep up as they step, cross and turn, though there seems comfort and gladness when, at last, her back settles to his chest. "Someone who might be a bit more gentle with me?" she teases, though her eyes are upon the other dancers, seeking an opportunity to step in.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask's laughter fades as the complexity of the dance intensifies, not for true concentration but for lack of breath for said laughter to continue. The footsteps are still steady, even as glasses of wine pass in and out of the circle of partners. Not just steady - easy, effortless. If the effortlessness is affectation, nobody would know.

Someone wearing a sturdy leather mask with oceanic gemstones suspended from neodymium links has left the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing an acorn mask checked dexterity + tanning at difficulty -1, rolling 34 higher.

Someone wearing a smoky mask might have anticipated that drawing of attention to him, and he's gone a little loose in anticipation of collision. When there is none, he firms his frame, smile flickering briefly. He narrows his eyes, skimming close to his dance partner... he's got more to say.

The Summer Sun and the Autumn Moon have been conversing quietly in the gardens, but something changes - Summer Sun steps back, sweeping Autumn Moon right off her feet, and she's laughing in delight. "Extra points," she declares for this 'royal' treatment.

Swirling in delight as she practically bounces between dance partners, the Lady of the Moon laughs her musical laugh. She's also quite a good dancer, her form athletic and built to move. She is careful about collisions, no matter how intoxicated she may potentially be, and her body language suggests she is happy to flirt with everyone.

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask voice lifts, bright and happy tenor. "The good lady cherry blossom needs a dance partner who'll be /gentler/ with her than I," he proclaims. "Who shall it be, then? Fire? A lion? Those seem gentle." He bends to kiss her cheek one time, and turns loose, making theatric clawed hands as he steps back from her. His eyes scan the grass for who might be dancing alone - and who he might pick out of the crowd - though whether it's for her or him, who could say?

Someone wearing an acorn mask wheels in a steamingly delicious and generously spiced and sweetened cast iron warmer with Hot Mulled Cider in it. For those wishing to ward off the evening's chill, now that the fire's died down a bit. Stacking a handful of mugs nearby, should any care to partake, Acorn face gets back out of the way so as to not block access to cider!

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues allows a breathless peal of laughter to escape as she turns to peek over her shoulder. "I cannot promise to prevent any near-calamities, but I will try my best to treat her well," she promises in answer to the sky or sea of stars. Lips poised near her smoky partner's ear, she murmurs a quiet remark before sweeping them closer to the starry mask and his cherry blossom partner in the event that they wish to switch.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask has fully picked up the Autumn Moon, unable to contain his smile when she laughs so delightedly at their antics. She's right there in his arms, so he leans in and kisses her on the lips mid-laughter. Then he is moving out of the garden, still carrying her. He glances to where their shoes were deposited earlier. "It's not a long walk." And then he /totally/ leaves them there on the ground. Free shoes for other people! Or... something for someone else to clean up later.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask doesn't stumble, but breaks away from the group, of dancers, dipping low into a curtsey, and starts to drift back toward the entrance of the gardens, pausing for another glass of wine, one hand running through the mane of curls cascading down their back, mask skewed aside for all the breath of seconds it takes to down the drink, and then righted again.

"A Lion can certainly be gentle!" insists the great cat.

Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask has left the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing Silvery Autumn Moon Mask has left the an ivy covered ancient bench.

Someone wearing Silvery Autumn Moon Mask leaves, following Someone wearing Golden Summer Sun Mask.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask lifts her chin in answer to the challenge when left to fires and felines. It's difficult to watch the sea of stars sidelong, but she does seem to make an attempt. Briefly. When the Lion assures potential gentleness, woman in windowpanes and cherry blossoms holds out her hand in offering and declares the great cat, "My hero."

Someone wearing a smoky mask winces at the shifting of partners, "You go on, love." Creatures and celestial bodies, seasons, plenty to choose from for his Fiery dance partner, "Careful you don't singe anyone," a tip forward sees a kiss to her cheek, and smoke slipping away from the dance floor, a server summoned and conferred with briefly, led to a place to sit-- wine procured and enjoy the evening, face tipped up to the night sky.

And so - watching cherry blossom dance off with a lion, and fire's smoky companion be led off to sit - the man in a sky or sea of stars mask turns toward the person in the fiery mask, and offers a low and sweeping bow. "Your /majesty/," he intones with great gravitas. "If you would do me the exCEPTtional honor of a dance?"

At the edge of the garden, the New Moon accidentally drops the wine glass; the expressionless mask stares at it for several very long seconds, and then they go to their knees, picking it up piece by piece with utter care, murmured apologies for the flock of servers who suddenly appear around them, hands skimming over the pathway to ensure nothing's left behind. It is a less-than-dignified end to an attempt at a dignified exit.

Someone wearing A silken filigree new moon mask has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper bows at the waist, despite being in a gown as well, before taking her new partner in the cherry blossom mask by the hand. In their bare feet she stands a couple of inches taller than their hostess, and so does not look too unusual taking up the gentleman's role in a partner dance. Just as promised she holds her gently as the two move about the dance floor in a swirl of silk.

Someone wearing a volto mask painted with delicate script twirls and spins, a wide smile curving bright lips. As the numbers start to dwindle, she steps breathlessly away from the dance 'patch' to fetch herself another glass of rich, dark wine. The dances remaining have a bit more formality to them than the carefree partner-trading, and who doesn't love a good break for wine?

Someone wearing a mask of bright fiery hues smiles at her departing partner, shaking her head. "What fun is the evening without a bit of danger?" she calls teasingly before turning to intercept starry mask. Her lips twitch before she presses them into a thin line, suppressing an amused smile in an attempt to appear suitably serious. "Oh, but the honor is all mine, /Your/ Majesty," she answers, sweeping into a graceful curtsy with the barest whisper of silk moving against her skin. Straightening up, she steps closer, reaching for her new partner with a murmured remark.

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask's smile couldn't get any brighter as she's so confidently greeted and swept up by the lion. They're a swirl of complementary colors, warm golden tones brushing against muted greys and greens and pinks, an unintentional play upon the bright bonfire in the nighttime garden. "You are kind, my friend, and graceful," the cherry blossomed hostess murmurs. "Might I ask of your aspirations as the season turns, what hopes you hold in your heart?"

Someone wearing a smoky mask has left the garden trellis with red roses.

Someone wearing a smoky mask has joined the garden bench with steel arbor canopy and rose trellis.

Someone wearing a smoky mask laughs to hear Fire addressed so, and again at her reply, "How wonderful, their magesties have granted us the boon of witnessing their dance." He leans to someone close, maybe the cherrywood mask, or the Spring Evening, "I can truly say I've never seen such a thing!"

Someone wearing a regal lion mask of gold and copper considers this as she gracefully dips her partner and rights her again. "I think my greatest hope is that those a care about whether all the storms we see on the horizon, and come back stronger than before," she says. "And you?"

Someone wearing a sky or sea of stars mask slows his steps, turning in more formal - regal, perhaps - fashion. He hears her murmur, the fondness in it, and lifts his chin. And sings, to their steps:

"Oh! the fire's burning
And change is here to stay
Starry skies will witness
the ending of a day
But autumn yields to winter
and winter onto spring;
The wood has drunk so deeply
It won't ruin anything.

The wood has drunk so deeply -
it won't ruin anything."

And then he slows his feet, and leans in to kiss her cheek. Murmurs, "Thank you."

Someone wearing a cherry blossom canopy mask murmurs warmly, "A worthy aspiration," as if such desires might ring true for her as well. What she answers, however, is, "I am learning to /reach/, to want more than what I can plausibly see upon the horizon. I--" Is... is that a song? Hearing the sea of stars singing, she pauses in her answer to listen as she and the lion step upon the well-trod grass. She huffs a quiet sigh at the spontaneous song's conclusion, amusement and affection both coloring that breath. And maybe the words which follow as well. "I mean to grow a garden that will last. I hope to lay some long work to rest at last."

And the dancing and discussions continued late into the night, until the once-bright blaze of the bonefire had died down to but embers and everyone went home with very cold toes.



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