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Heart's Desire Soiree

Invitations to the 'Heart's Desire' soiree go out in honor of Lady Monique's day of birth. Within, on deeply expensive parchment, Lord Pasquale Malespero and Lady Monique Greenmarch welcome attendees to bring the Lady what they think is her heart's desire, to divulge their own heart's desire to the Minx and receive a gift in return, but the person who brings the Lady her true heart's desire will come away with a piece of precious dragonweep carved into, perhaps a bit on the nose, a heart.

Date

Jan. 14, 2022, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Pasquale Camilla Monique

Participants

Cassima Titus Cesare Lore Caspian Corban Zakhar

Organizations

Location

Arx - Ward of the Crown - The Dream - Midnight Ballroom

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


Five, a probationary assistant arrives, following Mailys.

Pasquale has been lurking just outside the space up until the event is officially about to begin. He steps inside as the clock strikes and offers a slight smile to see the gathering. "Thank you all for coming." he speaks just loudly enough to cut through the hum of conversation but quickly returns to a lower announcement volume. "Monique has reached twenty five, again, and such an event required a suitable event. As such we set you all a challenge - Produce Monique's Heart's Desire and she will try to grant yours in turn." he pauses for several moments. "Who's brave enough to go first?"

Monique drops a silk bound large gift box.

Cassima looks over to Pasquale, as she enters, along side Titus her eyes turn over Monique, "I shall.." she says stepping away from her escort to hand Moniqu an envelope. "All ladies like shiny things". she laughs

Cassima gets Strawberry Stardust Sangria - A Delicate and Warm Scent from a silk bound large gift box.

Titus did indeed escort Cassima to the party, although he might look more formal and out of place for said party. And as the Thraxan princess claims first up to Monique's challenge, he gives an appropriate clap respectfully.

Monique is well liquored at this point and the Minx of the Marches is in the highest of spirits. Perched on the edge of a low platform, her legs dangling to almost touch the ground, she welcomes Cassima with an inquisitive grin, accepting the envelope. "My thanks, Your Highness." She opens the envelope and her eyes gleam bright green in the darkness of the ballroom. "This is an extremely strong start. It definitely isn't wrong," she pronounces with amusement, leaning forward to listen to Cassima's whisper. There's one given in return before the Minx gestures to several chests spilling over with gifts on the platform next to hers. "Perhaps I can't but I hope you'll choose something to warm your heart nonetheless?"

Pasquale leans in an attempt to see what the gift was. "What is it?"

Monique flashes Pasquale the contents of the envelope like they might be illicit and then somehow makes it disappear. Where it went? Is anyone's guess.

Cassima grins to Monique and replies quietly as she gets her choice from the box, "I have clamed the sangria." she holds it up and she smiles to the pair before she moves back to her escort. "Did you bring something?" she asks Titus

"And," Monique adds, "no one need bring me anything to tell me *their* heart's desire and be given a gift this evening. It's just as much fun for me, to be honest, to give gifts."

The Softest Whisper slips into the Dream awash in gold, cerise, and palest celadon, empty-handed as far as anyone can see. It's been some time since he visited the Dream. "Good evening, Lady Monique," he greets. "Happy twenty-fifth birthday. I'm afraid I don't have a gift in hand for you. But we will speak of that later."

Pasquale watches to see if anyone else is going to step up for a bit and then approaches Monique himself. "I have a gift as well." He produces a bottle of translucent brown-gold liquor "Stormborn Whiskey produced, relatively recently, beneath a dockside bar in Nilanza." he offers the bottle. "I'm told it is the strongest whiskey you'll find anywhere." a pause. "At least without going blind."

Monique rises to greet Cesare, leaning in to offer a soft kiss to either cheek. "Softest. Just telling me I'm twenty-five is gift enough," she teases him. "It makes the truth of the matter a little easier to bear coming from those lovely lips. Welcome. Will you tell me your heart's desire?" she invites of him as her eyes widen eagerly on Pasquale's gift. "And you! You shouldn't have, since you put this entire party together for me. Not that I'm going to give this back," the Minx adds, inhaling the scent of the bottle as if she can smell the proof of the whiskey inside of it. "But blindly drunk later sounds exactly how I ought to end my twenties. Thank you, Pasquale. You're a treasure, you know."

"If you like," Cesare says laconically. "But my heart's desire is simply to sing a song which is lovely beyond loveliness and perfect beyond perfection and which pleases Jayus so that it is remembered even when I have exhausted my years on this turn of the Wheel. So it's nothing so secret or wonderful that you couldn't have guessed it already." He shakes his head. "You know that you have many years of youth left."

"So I've been told." Pasquale says with a brief smile. He turns to the rest then. "There is another surprise. Camilla Baseborn, Suspire, has promised to dance tonight." he takes a seat on the side of the boat and gestures to Cesare. "And Cesare has offered to sing. We're in for a treat."

Lore's entrance is no mere entry into the ballroom. She is preceded into the room by a double row of large, burly men that bear a number of items amongst them. Two carry an intricate display case carefully between them. Two more tote a large chest that strains at their arms. The last pair carry bolt after bolt of fabric between them. The woman herself enters on the arm of Caspian, smiling at him as she murmurs something supposedly amusing, given her laughter afterwards. Gowned in whiskey-gold gossamer and wearing glass slippers with diamond heels, her riotous curls have been tames by means of a pair of gleaming cupridium hairpins topped by canary diamonds.

In motions clearly choreographed, the men set down the display case in front of Monique, to be flanked by the hefty chest and bolts of fabric, all laid at her feet beofre the men bow and withdraw from the ballroom. Lore draws Caspian with her as she approaches Monique with a warm smile, leaning in to press a kiss to her friend's cheek. "Happy birthday, my dear. Open them in whichever order you prefer." Leaning in, she whispers something to her friend before straightening up with a wink and withdrawing.

Lore drops A Golden gear maze display box.

A sound comes out of the darkness. thump THUMP. It seems to come from everywhere and nowhere all at once. thump THUMP. There is a shimmer off towards the top of the room, and then as light unfolds there appears a hand reaching out of the darkness from behind the top of the stygian rose staircase. As it reaches forward, there appears then a leg. Seemingly disconnected. And then a body swings in, joined by those limbs, curling beneath the base of the staircase, like a cloud or flash of smoke in a sinuous wave. And it lands upon the staircase, facing the gathered attendees. As the cloud settles it is revealed to be a gown, and as the gown settles the wearer is revealed to be Camilla, gazing out at everyone, and no one. thump THUMP.

Five, a probationary assistant leaves, following Mailys.

Pasquale has joined the a well-used longship.

Lore takes a deadly quill from a silk bound large gift box.

Caspian enters the room, grinning broadly at the display Lore put on. The tall man wore his ready smile easily, but next to the woman, he served only to remind of what mediocrity was. Despite this, his blue-black eyes darted around as he took the room in and he strode forward, unintimidated by the beauty of the woman he was with. When they approached Monique, he bowed low. "A very happy birthday Lady Monique. Your beauty is undimmed in the face of time, and i cannot wait to see what more adventures will be added to your story." he smiled broadly and fell silent to let Lore speak.

thump THUMP. Rolling backwards as if pulled by some unseen force at her waist, Camilla's upper body rises up while her lower body remains fixed. thump THUMP. She lies all the way back, reaching up to curl fingers around the railing of the staircase before unfolding her legs, a one-two kick from them sending them into flight. thump THUMP. She holds them alof for a few moments at the railing. thump THUMP. Then the legs drift down, feet firm to the floor. thump THUMP. She curls her body again, as if pouring herself into a stance, taking up a place at the top of the staircase. thump THUMP.

"You're supposed to tell me a heart's desire you haven't yet achieved over and over again," Monique teases Cesare. "All of your songs are like that, Softest! But because your songs *do* please me so, I think you ought to choose a gift that pleases you." Lore's entrance has her looking up though and eyes widening with delight. "Oh no. Oh no, Lore, you didn't," she says, laughing helplessly at the procession, returning the kiss and whispering something to Lore in return. She greets Caspian warmly as well, saying to the Champion, "And with compliments like that, people wonder at my vanity. Won't you tell me your heart's desire, sir, and choose a gift of your own? And-" and whatever else she might say is cut short by the sound in the dark.

The Minx turns to look for it, quick eyes darting about and then spying the leg, the body, followed by the cloud and then... "Camilla," she murmurs, breath caught. "Ah, stunning." Monique watches, unable to turn away from the dance.

Cesare turns to watch the limbs that seemingly move independent of Camilla's body, the swirl of smoke and the rhythmic thumping. "I haven't sung a song like that yet," he murmurs to Monique, distracted and enthralled by the alluring strangeness of it.

Titus is listening to what people are offering and saying to Monique, and says aside to Cassima "Yes, I did bring something." He then waits his time to approach Monique, and in doing, gives a bow of his head to her. "Lady Monique, while we celebrate your young years it's not lost on the Vaevici the loss you suffered after the skillful abilities you showcased in earning the heart of Damik'uhl'daja, may his memory live on within us. Changing the world takes great commitment, to accept the high cost and that we might not live long to see the change we help enact. But he did bring change and it was through you. I thought on what might be an appropriate gift, and it is two-fold." He leans forward to speak quietly and there is a small cloth covered cylinder object given.

thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Louder than before. A spin from Camilla sends the smoky dress into a swirl, and then a suddenl spin back it follows once more. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. As she twirls this way and that, her feet in constant movement, slowly descending the staircase, the gown itself somehow takes on a life of its own, a billowy cloud of smoke following her wherever she goes. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. A quick tumble and her hands hit the staircase, legs swirling above her, keeping the gown in flight. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. And then suddenly they drop down, both legs hanging on the other side of the railing. thump THUMP. thump THUMP.

Caspian looked up, following Moniques attention to the stairs and the dancer there. like most in the room, he watched the dance unfold, the twirling of smoke and sinew, the display of skill. he smiles broadly, transfixed by the display as the woman moves down the stairs.

Cassima blinks, her eyes looks to Camilla, she stares, her eyes fix on the display and the thumping of it all. She sighs softly and she drags her attention back to Titus, she smiles as she watches him approach with his gift. She watches him those remaining and then she chuckles "there is a war horn in there."

Cassima said that last to Titus

thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Louder yet. From her legs resting at the railing, Camilla sits up, her hands lifting from the staircase. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Her arms whirl, which taken with the ending of her legs spinning seems to have the effect of dispelling the smoke that was represented by her dress. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. She rolls down the railing, picking up speed as her arms make whirlwinds and her legs kick about, picking up speed in a rapid descent towards the floor. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP.

Monique casts Cesare a look that says she doesn't agree with him but the dance of her protege saves him from the arguments of a Minx. She catches her breath in a gasp as the gown seems suspended in mid air and then drops. "Oh gods, I hope she doesn't fall..." And Titus' words reach her, even through all of that, and something in Monique cracks a little. Her eyes stray briefly to the sandstone pillars that mark out Damik's life and then back, leaning in to hear the Warmonger's whisper. She murmurs something low back, reaching out a hand to his to squeeze it and accept the cylinder.

Pasquale falls into a rapt silence as Camilla starts dancing. His eyes following her every move with such focus that he doesn't even seem to notice that more gifts have been produced.

thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Palpable and felt against everyone within. Something catches Camilla, two thirds of the way down the staircase, and she stops in mid-motion, spinning around 180 degrees. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Her legs face to the group now, ejected from the cloud that had been accompanying her as it was caught by the railing. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP.Bare and smooth in the soft lighting, they twist and then kick forward, feet slipping between posts of the railing, angled forward, as Camilla's body hangs over the other side. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Her skin has been dyed in a blood red crimson, accentuating the curves of her rear - a perfectly heart shaped derriere. Just for Monique. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP.

Cesare gasps softly at the windmillling arms and legs, shifting to the side so that there's no chance that Camilla's wild limbs will make contact with him as she passes by. Other than that, though, he is quiet - until he sees the back of the skirt. That? Makes him crow out a delighted, musical trill of laughter.

Lore likewise falls back to watch the Suspire's dance, a small smile playing about her lips as she watches the fantastical display of athletics and grace. Raptly watching the dance get faster and faster, smile growing to a grin. And the last move, the dyed backside, has her bursting out with rich laughter, shaking her head, "Oh that's -perfect-. Camilla, you are -perfect-!"

Caspian cant help but laugh when he sees her painted rear. he claps his hands once, "Well that is one way to give a gift i suppose! Well done!!" he chuckles again, continuing to watch the display of skill, grace and pure athleticism

When Camilla doesn't fall to her doom, Monique finally exhales, and she exhales on a laugh that echoes in the cavernous ballroom. Her eyes have caught sight of the heart. And thoroughly appreciated it, judging by the bright green avarice in them. "Perfect," she agrees with Lore, her voice low and throaty. "There is no other word for it. You are a gift in and of itself, my sweet protege. Remind me to make a donation to the Suspires in your name?"

thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Camilla tumbles back, legs and backside flat to the staircase, her body hanging backwards, and her face hanging side down towards the crowd. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Her eyes move directly to Monique, and there is a look in them - is it fear? is it sadness? is it despair? is it longing? Up for debate. Then comes the loudest thump of them all, sudden, sharp, crackling almost. Camilla's lower body kicks up and her arms flail. As if giant hammer had struck her, directly in the chest. thump THUMP. thump THUMP She sits up, quickly, and spins around, a look of panic in her eyes. thump THUMP. thump THUMP. Quieter somehow are the thumpps. She starts to ascend the stairs, but her movements are erratic. Stacco. She weaves up the staircase. Her hand reaches out to the railing, just barely catching it before she falls to the side. thump THUMP. She staggers her way to the top of the staircase once more, and turns around. She reaches out towards Monique, plaintively. thump - barely audible. Her eyes go wide, and she falls backwards, off the top of the staircase, the smoke of her gown cascading around her in freefall.

Reedy, a King's Own aide arrives, following Corban.

The sound of shattering glass is heard as Camilla's body disappears behind a dune. Discerning ears may also hear the slight sound of a splash of water, as well.

Cassima looks a little confused, she shakes her head, her eyes look over as Camilla falls into the water.. she frowns a little as she squeezes Titus's hand. She moves to the door "Sir Titus, could you escort me home?" she asks as she takes a step back to head out of the party.

In a trance, Monique watches Camilla's dance and so rapt is she that it's a moment before the Minx registers that her protege just plummeted backwards off the railing. Her eyes widen and she hisses a breath, shooting to her feet. "Please tell me that was planned." She looks to Pasquale for confirmation, already jumping down from her perch to head for the sand dunes, concern etched on her face.

Caspian looks around in concern as the dance becomes more erratic, her movement more... unpredictable. he tries to gauge the others reactions, body tensing slightly. When she finally falls, he looks to monique and lore. "Is she alright?!" he moves to follow monique, worry spreading over his features

Lore grows a touch somber as the dance continues, blinking as she starts making connections. Gaze flicking between Camill and Monique, and when the dance ends with Camilla falling behind the dune, Lore lets out a soft breath. She tugs at Caspian's hand to keep him in place, giving him a small shake of her head and leaning in to whisper something.

Pasquale exhales a longing sigh as Camilla vanishes out of sight and stays looking after her until the moment Monique speaks. He blinks then and looks to Monique. "I'm sure it was." he doesnt sound entirely sure about that.

Cesare, on the other hand, takes this to be all part of the performance and applauds riotously, making far more noise than it seems like would be reasonable with his hands, and giving a high-pitched whistle as well. "Bravo!" he calls.

Caspian stops, looking to lore and relaxing slightly. he breathes a small sigh and stands still next to lore.

3 Thrax Guards, 1 Thrax Elite Guards, Titus leave, following Cassima.

By the time anyone has made their way over, a triumphant Camilla has emerged from behind the dune. Wet. Very wet. Her hair and every aspect of her gown is plastered to her like a second skin. She offers a sultry smile towards Monique as her patron approaches. She ejects out a brief fountain of water from her mouth, off to the side, and then turns back to her. "Happy birthday."

Monique checks composure at hard. Botch! Monique fails completely.

Clink. Clank. Clink. Sir Corban didn't mean to come to a party in his armor. But then again, he didn't mean to come to a party at all. "The King's open forum was cancelled," he remarks to no one in particular as he takes stock of the ballroom.

Nodding to Caspian, she offers a soft smile, then looks back in time to see Camilla emerge unharmed. Putting two fingers to her lips, she lets out a two-tone wolf-whistle for the woman, then chuckles and shakes her head. The sound of Corban's armor has her turning, blinking in surprise. "For mundane or nefarious reasons?"

Monique stops dead in the face of a soaking wet and sultry smiling Camilla. She takes a breath and one hand reaches out to grab her protege by the neck, as if she's going to throttle her. There is no chill on the Minx's features. None. She jerks Camilla forward by the neck - the *neck* - in a rough move, hauling the woman against her. There's a kiss that dissipates all that tension, hard and long. And then the Minx is releasing the Suspire and stepping back. Her lips curve. "Happy birthday indeed. Come, you terrifying beauty, and help me open my gifts."

A grin remains resplendent on the thoroughly soaked Suspire. "The rest of them, you mean." Camilla sidles up next to Monique, but careful not to drip on her unless she wishes it. A wink is sent to Pasquale.

Caspian smiled, clapping and giving a cheer for the performer. "Well done well done!" he laughed, "That is a gift that will be remembered for a LONG time!" he looked to lore as she spoke to Corban, "Well, i cant imagine nefarious means would have ended quietly, and by now half the city would be abuzz if something had happened. Word does travel"

Pyx arrives, delivering a message to Cesare before departing.

Pasquale gives Camilla a wistful smile. "I don't know how you did it Camilla. You had everyone on the edges of their seats and still managed to surpass expecations. It's no wonder you are as addictive as you are." he looks to Monique, smiles again, and then to the rest of the room. "Are you still planning to sing Cesare?"

"Oh. No. No. Normal . . . monarch rescheduling things," says Corban, brushing off the question about just //why// the King's forum was rescheduled. "But I thought that with the party still going, I would stick my head in and see what is going on." Scuff foot. Scuff foot.

Pasquale is overheard praising Camilla.

"Planning to sing?" Cesare asks, blinking, as a little red squirrel with a message tied around its neck darts in and makes its way straight for him. "I wasn't, but I suppose I can. Hello, Sir Corban. Oh, Gio sends his apologies. He's still recovering from - well, he was wounded, recently."

Pyx arrives, delivering a message to Cesare before departing.

Monique doesn't seem to mind getting a little damp. She wraps an arm around the Suspire at her side and brings Camilla back to where the presents from Lore are still awaiting opening, the burly men carrying them still not seeming to strain at all under their burdens. Monique spies Corban's arrival and flashes the King's Own a smile. "A gift in and of itself. Sir Corban, released from duty for the night and come to celebrate. Welcome, darling. Will you be telling me your heart's desire in exchange for a present this evening?" she invites of the knight.

"Not always. Depending on the nefarious means, we sometimes won't hear about it until days later. Depends on the actual means," Lore shakes her head and offers a rueful smile towards Caspian. Corban's assurances that it's totally normal rescheduling things has her quirking a faint smile before motioning him over, "Then come and join the party, Sir Corban. You just missed the most amazing performance, but I believe Mo is about to dig into her gifts..."

Pasquale tells Cesare "Ah I misunderstood. I certainly wont insist."

"I might," Monique interjects with a wicked gleam in her eyes, casting that look Cesare's way.

Caspian gives Lore a knowing grin and nods, "fair point, fair point indeed." he looked to Corban and bowed, "A pleasure to meet you Sir Corban. Caspian Wild, at your service. And yes.. it was an amazing performance. But the night is still young!" he smiled broadly

Seemingly content to move along with Monique, Camilla offers a smile towards Lore as she speaks up her performance. "Sadly, one that cannot be duplicated." She waves a hand over herself, a wry chuckle slipping forth. She follows Monique's lead.

"My heart's desire?" asks Sir Corban, curious at the question. "For all to be governed by a sense of charity and justice towards all people." And he says it so earnestly, too. "For with the right dispostions, we can have peace and prosperty across Aion." Gag. Then he does say, "Gifts? That should be fine. And Champion Wild! Good to meet you. I have heard of your talents as a fighter for honor."

"Why duplicate it when you could do something even more flashy and fun next time!" Lore calls back to Camilla with a chuckle, "If you need a towel, I'm fairly certain one could be procured. Wet is one thing, wet AND cold sounds horrifying." Looking back to Caspian, she chuckles and gives a nod, "Quite." Corban's proclamation of his heart's desire has her literally biting at her lips to keep from something undoubtedly cheeky, then she's giving Caspian's arm a squeeze and drifting off to join Monique and Camilla.

Cesare gives a soft sigh. "Perhaps another evening." He waves the missive indicatively. "I could never follow up Suspire Camilla's act, anyway. It would be a mere shadow. Trust me, it will be better if you give me time to work on a composition, anyway. You may consider that my gift, if you like."

Pyx arrives, delivering a message to Cesare before departing.

Pasquale gives a nod after Cesare says he wont be singing. "We still have drinking and dancing to finish." he makes his way up to his feet and offers a hand to Monique. "Shall I claim the first one?"

Monique rolls her eyes at Corban. She rolls them so hard. But fondly, too. "It may not be my choice but I daresay there are many who would find it a good one," she tells the knight with a laugh. "Willyou choose a gift from the chest of gifts?" The Minx waves to another platform, one that has gifts spilling from it. "Or shall I choose one for you?" She steps to the intricate display case brought by Lore. "But how do I open it..." she asks, brows popping quizzically, turning to Camilla, and then to Lore herself. "Is it a puzzle?" Her eyes brighten and turn to Pasquale. "You shall but help me figure this gift out first?"

"I have never done the same dance twice since I left my training," replies Camilla with a grin towards Lore. "I appreciate your concern, but while I could be mistaken, I believe that I do not have to be turned out into the cold at the end of the night?" She glances over at Monique, an eyebrow arched as if in question.

Monique checks intellect and riddles at normal. Monique marginally fails.

Camilla checks intellect and riddles at normal. Camilla fails.

Corban gets Shifting Sands Fire Whiskey, in memory of Prince Damik'uhl'daja from an ashwood display boasting bottles of Fire Whiskey in honor of Prince Damik ii Please take one.

Pasquale seems happy to abandon the idea of a dance in favor of coming over and watching first Monique and then Camilla tackle the chest. He moves a little as they work, paying attention to every detail, and seeming a little bit more amused with every failure. "I could help you open it but then what will I get?"

With the others occupied at the chest-opening, Cesare slips out quietly.

Dolente, a mourning dove, Dolce, a collared dove, Appassionata, a trumpeter swan leave, following Cesare.

Corban gets Coiling golden dragon upon duskstone pin from a silk bound large gift box.

Caspian watches the people work with the puzzle of the chest, a smile spreading as they attempted to open it. He suddenly felt not so bad at his own hours spent attempting what many would have thought simple puzzle. he folded his hands behind his back and watched, "I have faith in you! you can figure it out!"

"Oh, I am terrible at riddles," says Corban after picking out a pin from the gift box and moving off to watch the others work on the riddle of a gift. "Never have a head for them, I suppose." He shrugs his shoulders, the armor moving as he watches.

Monique laughs softly to Pasquale's quip. "You never did tell me what your heart's desire was. Maybe I'll grant that if you help us open this," she tells him, stepping aside and gesturing. "Don't make a Minx wait on her birthday!" Her eyes watch Corban's gift selection and there's a chuckle. "I had a feeling it might be that."

"Maybe." Pasquale murmurs. "What a Lycene promise." It doesn't stop him from crouching in front of the chest and starting to fiddle with the various gears, tabs and things though.

Pasquale checks intellect and riddles at normal. Pasquale is successful.

Lore chuckles softly and leans over Mo to see how the women are progressing on the case, then straightens as Pasquale approaches, grinning. "Zak will be pleased that you're enjoying the puzzle, Mo."

Pasquale is certainly enjoying it.

"I should have known it was the Director's work," Monique observes with an unrepentant grin to Pasquale. "And there are many over the years who've told me I should have been born Lycene so there's no surprise there." And then Pasquale manages the riddle of it and the Minx sucks in a breath of sharp delight at the contents. Greedy, avaricious hands reach within.

Monique gets Malissite dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Monique gets Honey Onyx dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Corban shrugs his shoulders when he is apparently predictable, but allows himself a small smile nonetheless. "In my thirtieth year, why waste time on trying to be unpredictable?" he asks with a small smile on his lips as he watches those working on the gift.

Monique gets epiphanite dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Monique gets Dawnstone dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Monique gets Duskstone dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Monique gets Calderan Bloodstone dagger from A Golden gear maze display box.

Monique wields Feathers of a Karambit.

Pasquale steps back once its unlocked so that Monique can be the one to investigate the contents. He leans to look though and gives a low whistle. "Now thats a gift."

Easing her way back towards Caspian, Lore chuckles as they work out the mystery of the display case and find the gifts within. She slips her arm around Caspian's and smiles up at him, "I couldn't help myself. The idea came to me and just wouldn't leave. Thankfully, Zakhar was willing to indulge my fits of mad inspiration."

Camilla whistles appreciatively at the gifts from her post next to Monique.

Caspian whistles in admiration as Monique withdraws the items. The knowing look of a man well versed in using weapons was clear as his eyes traced each blade. he chuckled softly, wetting his lips. "That is a fine gift! such beautiful blades!!" he looked to lore as she came back ,"Well.. the reward is certainly worth the effort! and to think you were worried about my paltry blade compared to these!"

The Director is not at all late, nor looking completely disheveled as he wanders into the ballroom still tucking his tunic and slipping vest over shoulders.

Monique pulls one dagger, and then another, and then another. And she's not relinquishing any of them. It becomes a balancing act of more and more beautiful daggers and the Minx's smile is growing by the moment. Blissful. That's how she looks. And only to embrace each blade of the karambit does she put down the others. Carefully. She brandishes it in Pasquale's direction and murmurs something to him, dark and sinister. And then she executes several moves with the dangerous blades, looking delighted and like she might kill someone. "Ah!" is her laugh, hugging them. "All right. *All right*. How can I choose? Two gifts of unparalleled perfection. I meant only to give out one dragonweep tonight but..." The Minx bites her lower lip. "How can I?" The blades are sheathed, not going far from her. And then two gems of dragonweep dance over her knuckles, glinting expensively.

Pasquale leans to murmur something into Monique's ear. He nods at Monique's response and actually smiles when the karambit is waved in his direction. "You'll just have to think up a tie-breaker."

One dragonweep goes flying in Lore's direction, the Minx trusting her to catch it. The other, Monique presses into Camilla's palm, curling her fingers over it with a kiss to them.

Lore beams a warm smile as Monique ends those blades that came about in a sudden burst of inspiration and an insane race to yammer at... well, the disheveled man walking in the door! Turning, Lore goes up to he toes to Kiss Zak's cheek and smiles at him, "She loves them. Thank you." The glint of flying gemstone has her turning to swipe the dragonweep out of the air, kissing it for luck before tucking it away... somewhere. "Love you, Mo, happy birthday!" Then she's turning to Caspian and motioning him over, "Zak, this is my ex-husband Caspian Wild. Cas, this is Zakhar. He's the best kind of family. Chosen family."

Thoroughly impressed by the blades, Camilla flushes a bit as Monique seems to indicate that she tied them. "I am honored," she says, the coloring continuing to rise in her cheeks. Although, as Lore noted, she may just be cold and wet.

"Your puzzle box kept everyone else out" Pasquale tells Zakhar. "and made me look good. Excellent as always." he goes to give first Camilla and then Monique a peck on the cheek. "But I believe the rest of the night is about getting blind drunk so I will make my leave."

Monique turns to Pasquale and laughs. "You're just trying to escape dancing with me," she teases of the lord. "If you leave now, I'll simply hold it in trust for another day, Pas!" She squeezes Camilla's hand and then lets it go, turning to greet Zakhar. "Director. It's a stunning creation and it managed to keep *me* out."

Zakhar stares at Lore as she charges towards him, his hand slipping to... pat at his back, then a small grimmace as he looks to where another item might be, however too slow as Lore has already crossed the distance. Slipping his hands away from his belt, and holding them behind him instead there's a small bow to allow Lore to reach his cheek with ease. Then nodding with a thin lipped quirk towards the man being introduced as her ex-husband, still eyeing Caspian, there's a soft work shared with Lore. Then looking over to Pasquale, "My best customer. There will be a new fantasic puzzle available soon. Still finishing off the final pieces."

Flashing a grin towards Pasquale, Lore calls out, "I want a dance, too! And you still need to meet Caspian!" Then she's turning back to Zak to lean in against him briefly, offering a soft response before she straightens, smiling warmly between the pair of them. Tilting bakc just a touch, she smiles to Monique, "And you still have more things waiting!"

Caspian watched the gem spin in the air a moment before being secreted away by Lore. The duelist couldnt help but whistle at the casual display of wealth. At her motioning to him, he walks over to Lore. He bowed to the man, smiling broadly. "Zakhar, it is a pleasure to meet you! Anyone choosen by Lore as family..." he looked to lore with a smile before looking to Zakhar again "Well lets say there is no greater honor in my book."

Pasquale gives a little laugh when Monique accuses him of avoiding dancing. "I offered before." he points out. "And now you've missed the once in a year opportunity to get me on a dance floor and will have to wait." The look he gives Zakhar turns intrigued. "Send me one when its done Zakhar?" Pasquale asks. "I have no doubt it will be excellent." he pauses a moment and seems about to add something when Camilla speaks softly back to him. "November." he tells her.

Pasquale pauses as Lore calls out, looks back and then gives Caspian an incline of his head. "I've heard a lot about you Caspian"

"More?" Monique blinks to Lore, a laugh startled from her ruby lips. "You truly do know my heart's desire, my dear friend." Her gaze finds Pasquale, a promise or a threat in them, open to interpretation. "The next time we meet, we dance."

Zakhar nods to something Lore has said softly to him, a nod back to Monique, "Good thing you have the key then, as I only have one other way into any of my puzzles. And they ain't pretty anymore after." he pauses to look Caspian up and down, adding back to Monique, "That thing, what today is. Your birthday. May it be good, filled with less headaches." He then nods to Caspian. "Well met Caspian." Pasquale is given a quirk of his eyebrow, "Lord Pasquale, you're sending the silver over first for the puzzle? It's to be a wardrobe with full miniature of the city."

As everyone starts to talk about partnering up for dances, Camilla looks to find a seat. And wine. Or whiskey. Or something warming. She smiles broadly, however, as she watches the fun that Monique is having.

Reedy, a King's Own aide leaves, following Corban.

Caspian looked to Pasquale, taking a moment to find the man in the room. He smiled broadly and bowed, "Oh have you my lord? Well i can assure you its all true... unless of course it bad. in that case.. well it might still be true but i can assure you there was a reason" He laughed jovially before looking to Zakahr, "A full miniature of the city? That is amazing!"

"I warned you I had an unfair advantage, Mo! Just you wait til you start opening things!" Lore chuckles and looks back to Caspian with a smile. "He is. Very worthy." There's a small laugh for Zak's birthday wishes for Monique, and she's shaking her head.

"Will we?" Pasquale asks Monique with an amused half smile. "We'll see." His eyes move back to Zakhar. "If I must." he gives a little shrug. "I don't really care what it will cost." Caspian's answer earns amusement from him. "A mixture of both i'd say which suggests you are at least interesting." Lore gets a quick sideways look and that same amused half smile.



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