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  1. #21
    Newcomer


    Fae's Avatar

    GP
    400

    Name
    Fae Ellanor Valeaux
    Age
    24
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Salvar

    View Profile
    My eyes remained upon the stately lord as he dramatically moved to my side.

    I was trying to bury that strange feeling, trying to ignore it, but the more I looked at him specifically, the more I began to feel it; this tingling creeping up my spine, these barely-withheld sensations threatening to overwhelm me.

    Again, he spoke, in that intoxicating baritone of his. I blushed; in truth? I’d half-expected I wouldn’t show either.

    My gaze followed his as he saluted another of the guests, taking note of the man I didn’t recognise. Perhaps coming here had been a mistake. I didn’t know anyone; I wasn’t the type to make connections or rub shoulders with the well-to-do folk.

    The thoughts banished in a flurry as my host offered his hand… and a dance. My eyes widened as my breath caught in my throat.

    No, no, no, no, no, no, my mind whimpered as my cheeks burned and I fought to swallow back the trepidation, no way, I can’t go out there!

    “I’d be honoured,” My reply was soft, as I delicately reached out to accept his offer.

    The moment my skin brushed his, however, I felt a rush.

    It was not a rush of girlish, flirtatious excitement (well, not only that), but an explosion of withheld emotion; powerful and intense, but buried deep. It was brief; barely lasting longer than a moment. But it was enough for me to flinch, a gasp escaping before I could entirely quell it.

    Praying that the man before me hadn’t noticed, I stepped closer, ready to move onto the dance floor.

    “Oh, I do indeed have questions,” I chuckled softly, “I wouldn’t even know where to begin.”

  2. #22
    Innocence & Instincts

    EXP: 29,319, Level: 7
    Level completed: 29%, EXP required for next Level: 5,681
    Level completed: 29%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,681


    Black Shadow's Avatar

    GP
    2,689

    Name
    Black Shadow
    Race
    Human
    Location
    Raiaera
    Black Shadow enters the ballroom
    Black Shadow stepped off his horse and handed the reigns to a valet. He took a long look at the enormous castle before him. Guards stood at attention across the enormous walls, bows in hand, while others walked the premises. Lord Iverstead spared no expense on protecting his estate. This party brought some of the most recognizable men and women across Althanas, as well as the lowest scum anyone could imagine.

    Black Shadow walked to the gate and shuffled his way towards the massive crowd. Before entering the castle, two guards stopped the archer. "Your weapon sir." One guard said, holding his hand out. Black Shadow reluctantly handed his bow to the guards who looked his down. "Any other weapons?" they said. Black Shadow starred at the men for a moment realizing he could not sneak anything in. He reached into his coat and pulled out a dagger, handing it to the guard. "Thank you, go ahead."

    Black Shadow nodded and followed the crowds into the massive ball room. The enormous chandeliers caught his eye first. A single chain suspended each and yet they seemed weightless, lighting the room.

    Black Shadow hated crowds. Too many people makes a job harder to pull off, and too many witnesses will certainly leave a bounty on your head if you eliminate someone. The dark archer searched the room for anyone he could talk to, but no one looked familiar. He moved to the far corner of the ballroom and scanned the area, studying the guard patterns.

    One guard did not fit in. He lacked the size of the others and moved in a different pattern as the other guards. The guard scanned the room before locking eyes with Black Shadow. Black Shadow stood his ground as the guard approached him. "You there, come with me." He said, grabbing Black Shadow by the arm and pulling him towards the stairwell. Other guests stared at the two as the guard led him up to the second floor and into one of the empty estate rooms.

    Black Shadow exits the Ballroom and enters one of the guest suites.

  3. #23
    Newcomer



    GP
    0

    Name
    Elijah Belov
    Location
    Salvar
    The winter ball of Duke Iverstead attracted guests from across the known world. Salvar’s mighty Boyars, foreign dignitaries, and exotic figures of legend from across the seas. All were drawn in. The party itself displayed an obscene decadence normally seen in wall-spanning paintings. Golden trays of figs and cheese patrolled the ballroom atop shapely legs awash in sheer silk. Goblets clinked, sloshing sweet Bradbury white wine and dry, sour Fallien red.

    Deep into their cups, the guests turned to gossip, keen ears of Ethereal Sway agents ever vigilant for careless words. The Boyaress of Archen had yet to take a husband, some giggled over the silver rims of their drinks. Many in attendance would hope to be suitors. Other voices, hushed and nervous, whispered of the many murderers in sharing the ballroom. The name of Stalt was uttered once, but a sharp glance from a nearby priest put the topic to rest.

    These topics and more formed the chattering hum that filled the ballroom. Lurid affairs, betrayals, and threats, often hidden within monotone conversations on trade agreements or the exchange of kind pleasantries. After a while, one subject began to repeat, spreading from clique to clique like the autumn plague of 1801. The dragon.

    The dragon of which they spoke was a mask worn by a particular guest. This should not have been unusual, as many of those attending wore masks as well. As was the style of the courts of Knife’s Edge this year. The dilemma was that no one could agree who the dragon mask belonged to. The man wore a doublet and trousers cut in the loose, straight Coronian style, but made of the gray and dark red silk blends popular in Alerar and trimmed in Salvic embroidery and fur. It wasn't an outlandish ensemble, especially amongst the diverse attendees, but it made his origins... confusing. His polished boots were well traveled.

    He entered many conversations, exchanging words on stately topics and gossip, as well as phrases the other guests found incomprehensible.

    “The red dragon said that orchards bloom in moonlight. What do you suppose it means?”

    “He told me to wander in the tangled places. And I am quite certain his mask was green.”

    “The black dragon whispered something to Lady Treslev, and the woman just up and left. Something off about him...”

    One especially brave and witty young noble tracked the blue dragon mask down and asked, “where is your hoard, dragon?”

    The stranger placed a hand on the lord’s shoulder and replied, “Now you’re thinking,” before vanishing into the flowing mass of the rich and powerful.
    Last edited by Christoph; 03-27-2021 at 11:31 PM.

  4. #24
    Adventurer

    EXP: 48,892, Level: 9
    Level completed: 49%, EXP required for next Level: 5,108
    Level completed: 49%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,108


    Tobias Stalt's Avatar

    GP
    473

    Name
    Tobias Ebericht Stalt
    Age
    30
    Race
    Human, Dehlosian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    It never ceases to astound me. Ulroke plays the dangerous game of provocation like it's the only card in his hand. Perhaps it is. He sends an unspoken regard in my direction, whether to get a rise or to acknowledge that there are eyes on him, I cannot hope to know. I doubt the man is foolish enough to think that the Hunters would simply ignore him. For the sake of propriety, I offer a stiff, slight nod in return before returning to previous business.

    The man named Shinsou.

    He speaks briefly with the Lady of the House, which affirms only what Dresden said before. Friends in high places could render the man untouchable, lest he take action that breached the law. The Sway's hands were invariably tied when it came to matters conducted between the Nobility.

    "Fucking foreigners," Patrick murmurs in exasperation. "They come in with the gall to think that they can buy the place with enough coin. Just because he's not Salvic, the bastard fancies himself good enough to speak to the Lady Farthingdale in such a familiar way."

    I spare a quick glance in his direction, and watch the choler rise. Jealousy, is it? "You seem to think that men are made of morals, Pat," I muse gently, allowing a slight smirk. "Coin is worth more than honor in some circles."

    "This isn't the Salvar I love," he spat defiantly.

    "The problem is that you love this cesspool at all." His expression is rueful as he scoofs at me. "The flesh is sinful, Brother Patrick," I remind him.

    But how could we ever forget that lesson?

    He stands rigid for a moment after those words hit him, and he closes his eyes. With his head bowed, Patrick utters a prayer beneath his breath and then exhales sharply. "You humble me with the scriptures, Brother Stalt," he tells me, suddenly reverent.

    I wonder what fresh hell they forced him to live through, such that it would illicit such a response?

    Tobias Stalt, I believe?

    The very man I'd taken my eyes off for but a moment has swam his way through the crowd and presented himself to me directly. Our eyes meet for a brief moment as I turn to fully face him, and I can feel now the presence that had seemed stifled at a distance. Magical, perhaps, but it carries with it experience and danger. Shinsou Vaan Osiris is not simply a hedge sorcerer to be trampled out by the All-Seeing Eye. A handful of those Hunters had the training or skill to last a full minute against someone who exerts this much pressure.

    No, I've decided.

    "I'm on duty," I tell him. Time is money, after all. "Can you make it quick?"

  5. #25
    Newcomer

    EXP: 30,152, Level: 7
    Level completed: 40%, EXP required for next Level: 4,848
    Level completed: 40%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,848


    orphans's Avatar

    GP
    4,365

    Name
    Azza "Sophia" Ambrose
    Age
    17
    Race
    Dovicarus
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Corone

    View Profile
    It wasn’t a surprise to Azza at all when anytime she tried to listen in around her while at the dessert table that all she could hear were whispers and blatantly rude comments about her. A mention about a “dirty pigeon pecking at the food” while another replied with “more of a lost mountain goat.” Add in a bit of snide, monotonous chuckling just loud enough for Azza to hear and she just about lost her appetite... or at least she would have had it been her former and younger self.

    Truth be told, she found the jeers to be amusing as she never pretended to be part of their social standing. Some of the women she noticed looked at her with a bit of envy as well; there they were refraining from eating too much or anything too sweet or heavy while Azza gorged herself without much care. When it became obvious that the “barbaric girl” wasn’t reacting to the subtle taunting, most lost their interest and began discussing other topics that were much more tantalizing.

    ‘The masked dragon of the ball’ as he was being called. As speculation and rumors began to circulate around and around again, the hearsay began to grow more wild and fanciful. If anything, it sounded as if there was more than one dragon abound.

    ‘Perhaps even a chromatic dragon?’ Azza wondered to herself.

    Hushed voices close by caught the Azza’s ear as she maneuvered herself closer in the direction it was coming from, collecting desserts on an empty serving platter she had obtained earlier. “You’ve heard or seen the dragon yet? My cousin got a look at him after hearing rumors - the lost second son of the late king.”

    “The hidden prince? Please, that was naught but a rumor to incite the masses.”

    “But it’s true! My cousin said the way he carries himself is no doubt of royal blood. I heard he was seen mingling with foreign dignitaries near the courtyard gates-” The two men talking suddenly quieted and stopped. Then, more quietly than before that Azza had to strain to hear, “I say, what does that peasant girl intend to do with all that?”

    Uh oh. There was only one person that Azza knew of in attendance that even fit that description and ‘all that’ was probably referring to her overburdened tray of tea cakes, jar puddings, various fruit tarts, cream puffs rolled in raw sugar grains, cream pies dusted with flakes of chocolate and an assortment of sliced fruit.

    Taking that as the cue to leave, Azza began to head towards the courtyard entrance with her platter of desserts. Now that she had amassed such a bounty, it would be a waste not to eat it, but even she was becoming slightly embarrassed by the amount she was consuming. The courtyard would have less prying eyes and if she just happened to catch sight of the supposed dragon it’d be a bonus. After all, hearing such scandalous tales of a man were intriguing.

    As Azza moved along the sides of the ball room, she inevitably drew more stares and chuckles. Some were of amusement while others were less kind. As she neared the courtyard gateway and steered herself around a pillar, a foot stuck out and caught the hem of her robe just as she turned to the other side.

    Azza and her mountainous serving plate of desserts careened forward and despite her scream to warn those in her way, it would be to no avail as she and all the eats toppled towards the very 'dragon' she had hoped to catch a glimpse of. Miraculously, the dragon mask itself stayed upon the man’s face and equally as misfortunate was the triple layer chocolate cream cake slice that flew and made a home for itself against the face of the person currently engaged in conversation with the 'dragon' - a sway agent.
    Last edited by orphans; 03-30-2021 at 10:46 PM.

  6. #26
    Newcomer

    EXP: 25,139, Level: 6
    Level completed: 74%, EXP required for next Level: 1,861
    Level completed: 74%,
    EXP required for next Level: 1,861



    GP
    1,562

    Name
    Jasmine
    Location
    Corone
    AJ leaned casually against the wall as he watched the many lords, ladies, and common folk dance and meander about the room. He and his brother were taller than most of their peers at home, though he noticed that they seemed rather average in the rest of the world. He still wasn’t quite sure what he thought about that. He was, however, sure about what he thought of their first “foray” into the outside world: balls were boring, no matter where you were in the world.

    He looked around and noticed ZJ dancing gracefully with a lovely young blonde. He grinned cheekily to himself. Of course ZJ was dancing. Between the two of them, this ball was far more ZJ’s thing than AJ’s. Siela was even more in her element. He saw her across the room. As usual, she was surrounded by adoring suitors. She would be quite busy dancing the rest of the night away.

    Sighing to himself, he moved off the wall and headed outside to the courtyard. There was just nothing much for a nearly 16-year old boy to do at a fancy ball that was fun. At least, not the kind of fun that would be permissible. He couldn’t even show off his halberd skills since no weapons had been permitted.

    ~*~*~

    As the song ended, ZJ bowed slightly to his dance partner. “Thank you for the dance, Lady Olivia. You are an exquisite dancer.”

    Lady Olivia giggled, “You as well, Highness.”

    ZJ winced a little, “Please, just Zevernus. If you’ll excuse me, I think I see my brother slipping out for some fresh air. I think I’ll join him.”

    With a nod, the older twin moved away from the dance floor to follow AJ out to the courtyard.

    AJ and ZJ move to the courtyard
    ~*~*~

    Siela flashed a smile as she curtsied in response to her dance partner’s bow. It had been a long time since she’d truly enjoyed herself at a ball. Perhaps, she thought, it is the new faces. The suitors back home know exactly who I am and my connections. These fellows see only a lovely girl. It’s refreshing.

    “Thank you, for the dance, Princess Siela,” the young lord said. “Perhaps you would care for a drink?”

    “Thank you, most kindly,” she returned. “A drink would be lovely.” She moved away from the dance floor and took a seat. The young lord caught up to her a moment later and handed her a fluted glass of wine. This was an extra treat. Normally, her parents did not permit her or her brothers alcohol, but Jasmine could not reasonably mind them about such things on this trip and had at last acquiesced on the matter so long as the teenagers minded themselves.

    “Would you like something to eat?”

    Another young lord was asking this time. She had no shortage of young men willing to fetch as she pleased. She nodded curtly, “I do believe I could do with a small snack.”

    The young lord was off in a moment. Out of the corner of her eye, Siela noted the faces of some of the other young women. Though they too had no shortage of willing young men, she could sense the animosity in their minds. They did not like a foreigner making such an impact on the Salvic social scene. Not to worry, ladies, she chuckled to herself, [i]They will forget about me in due time once I’ve returned home.

    The young lord returned with a plate of hors d'oeuvres. Siela thanked him once more and took the plate. This was going to a great evening, even with the glared daggers coming from the local ladies.

    ~*~*~

    Jasmine meandered around the ballroom, keeping mostly to herself. She engaged in small talk here and there, but only briefly. She smiled to herself as she watched Siela dance with partner after partner. As much as her daughter complained, she knew the girl greatly enjoyed these kinds of occasions. ZJ also seemed to be enjoying himself.

    Now, where has AJ gotten off to?

    As she looked around she caught sight of the teal hair exiting the ballroom for the courtyard. Ahh, as I expected. He’d have probably been better off staying home. Oh well, he’ll be fine I’m sure. There goes Zev to join him.

    All at once she realized she had been spoken to, “Oh! I’m sorry, I was a little lost in thought watching my children. This is their first ball away from home. I’m Princess Jasmine of Moriah. I didn’t catch your name?”

    Before her stood an older gentleman, graying at the temples. “Quite alright, Your Highness. I am Lord Haversham, I had come to see if you would like a dance?”

    “Certainly,” Jasmine answered and took his offered arm.

  7. #27
    Administrator

    EXP: 86,614, Level: 12
    Level completed: 74%, EXP required for next Level: 3,386
    Level completed: 74%,
    EXP required for next Level: 3,386


    Lye's Avatar

    GP
    3,076

    Name
    Lichensith Ulroke
    Age
    32
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    His quarry hesitated with her delicate hand in his. It felt as though a mouse laid itself in the maws of a bear trap and the exhilaration of her pause sent a chill down his spine. Her gasp reminded him of so many chance encounters that he simply lost count. Something about this girl stood above the drabble. Even without his second sight, the feel of her touch along ignited a curiosity that became intoxicating. That yearning for understanding manifested in a firm grip around her lithe fingers and he took several long strides into a sea of swirling bodies. With a delicate understanding of balance, he pulled her against him and swept her free hand up in his. The air held for a moment as the music's rhythm filled the gap.

    "Ask away." The statement left his lips in a low, soft whisper. It conveyed equal parts invitation and threat.

    As he delivered those two words, he pulled himself into the rhythm of the music. Whether or not Lady Fae kept pace, his experience with balance mitigated any clumsiness into the push and pull of an elegant ballroom dance. His feet followed hers and the entangling of her hands in his allowed him to direct the dance. As they spun, twisted and dipped, he could not help but feel as though he manipulated a beautiful marionette with his fingertips.

    In a dip, he held his lips beside her ear. "Your father was tried and executed for magic."

    He pulled her upright, eyes locked with hers through the mask he wore. They moved into a three step.

    "Salvar is a prison for you." He stated. The bodies of other couples and nobles blissfully moved around them. He made direct eye contact with a few nearby and watched as they gave him and his partner distance.

    "Why?" he asked as the music picked up into the peak of its ballad. He spun her out in a twirl and then pulled her back in for a tight embrace.

  8. #28
    Newcomer


    Fae's Avatar

    GP
    400

    Name
    Fae Ellanor Valeaux
    Age
    24
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Salvar

    View Profile
    Ask away

    Those two words were like a spell; one that opened a dark, swirling portal. I could not see beyond, but it promised so many things... even if safety was not one of them. What to ask? There was so much I wanted to know, so many thoughts and feelings swirled in my mind as we moved onto the dancefloor. Father had taught me to dance as a girl, twirling around the heart while mother stitched from her rocking chair, watching us.

    To my relief, the memory of those steps had more or less remained, and I followed my partner as he led us through the steps. My heart raced, my cheeks flushed, as I was entirely swept away from myself. Before long, I had simply let go of my body, flowing and spinning, instinctively reacting to his movements and nudges. It was beautiful, in a way, like some deeper level of trust and balance than I was used to.

    "Who are you?" Finally my question came out.

    The simplest and most complicated question one could ask; not merely a request for a name, but to beseech the man for his very essence, his core, what made him... him.

    Whether he chose to answer it as the simple request or the complex one, or indeed at all, was up to him.

    We continued to dance, and I found it exhilirating and enthralling, an intoxicating ride... until he swept me into a dip... and whispered in my ear.

    It was as though someone had speared the moment with a shard of ice, instantly freezing everything in its tracks. My gaze sharpened and snapped directly to his, my breath snatched away in a gasp and my heart suspended between beats. For a moment I said nothing, as he pulled me up again and we moved into a three step.

    Then, came his question.

    Why?

    As we danced, I looked directly into his eye, my gaze solemn.

    "Because I'm afraid."

    Afraid of the church, afraid of the unknown, afraid to end up like father and mother, afraid to sully their memory or die away from my homeland... He was right, Salvar had made me her prisoner.

  9. #29
    Newcomer



    GP
    0

    Name
    Elijah Belov
    Location
    Salvar
    Safe behind the dragon mask, the rogue sorcerer and Salvar’s most wanted criminal, Elijah Belov, talked to one of Salvar’s most dangerous men. A kindred spirit, in that one respect.

    “I must say, Your Holiness has a fine grasp on the husbandry of bees,” said Belov, the dragon-masked sorcerer. The intricate scale patterns gleamed in the candlelight, colors ever-shifting like snow beneath the northern sunset.

    “Yes, well, a proper man must be balanced in his education.” Michail Prevna shifted from one foot to the other, his otherwise impeccable poise and confidence thrown off-balance by Eli’s demeanor. One did not simply chat with the Lord Auditor as if he were another petty noble. Tasked with rooting out corruption in the kingdom and within the Ethereal Sway’s own ranks, he answered to the High Priest alone.

    The man stood a head taller than the ‘dragon’ and wore robes of pale blue and silver that nearly touched the floor. His head was shaved and lined with many scars and wrinkles, reminding him of words of wisdom his first fencing instructor once shared. “Never underestimate a man who looks carved from granite.” His gaze was an icy flint, and so was his aura, revealed to Elijah’s magic sight, as bleak and cold as the Frozen Seas of Berevar. Unlike most of the other guests whose souls gently rippled and bubbled in shades of soft pastel, the Lord Auditor’s was a sharp blade.

    Upon the agent’s face, a monocle rested on one eye. Few would recognize the prevaldia rim nor spot the tiny, intricate glyphs engraved into the delicate metal. Through the lens, the man no doubt scrutinized the ‘dragon’ in much the same way. Elijah’s years of training, plus the genius of his mask’s construction, would keep him safe from even a gaze enhanced by magic. He hoped.

    “Wisely said, Lord Prevna.” Elijah inclined his head, the dragon mask shifting from green to gold as light shifted across its facets. His voice betrayed none of his unease.

    “I confess, you have me at a disadvantage.” The Sway agent straightened, clasping his hands behind his back. “Have we met? What is your name?”

    “That has become a matter of tantalizing speculation this evening, and I dare not spoil the guests’ fun just yet.” He spread his hands, as if to say ‘it can’t be helped,’ before pushing on before his new acquaintance could respond. “I know I’ve taken enough of your time, Your Holiness, but I wondered if I might ask a question on theology.”

    The Lord Auditor’s eyebrows rose. “You have my attention. Let us hear--”

    A crash, thunder. A flash of silver and a shower of pastries.

    “Gods below!” The curse, uncharacteristic of the disciplined agent, escaped Michail’s lips. Chocolate crumbs and slick icing stuck to the man’s face. Cream and pastry flakes covered his once immaculate robes. Confusion turned to rage on his face, replaced swiftly by a cold, hard line across his mouth.

    Elijah barely noticed the Lord Auditor. Behind his purple dragon mask, his eyes went wide. The girl responsible was getting up off the floor. She wore simple brown robes, like a temple acolyte from a poor village. Her hair, silver despite her youth. Were those… horns?

    Yet, her physical features were soon forgotten as her aura filled Elijah’s vision like a sunrise. Untamed power churned within her. A feeling of something primal and ancient that only he could see. Except for… the sorcerer’s gaze snapped back to the Lord Auditor. The Sway agent cleaned smudged glaze from his monocle with a silk cloth.

    “Pardon this disturbance, Lord Auditor,” said the Dragon, thinking fast. “This is my niece.” He grabbed her by the arm, eliciting a surprised squeak. “Forgive her clumsiness. I will see her reprimanded.”

    Without another word, the dragon dragged the orphan girl out of the ballroom, to the courtyard. Perhaps realizing the danger, or perhaps too shocked to resist, the girl didn’t struggle. Once in the courtyard, Elijah took her behind a grand marble statue.

    His heart was pounding. He looked hard at her, his words whispering through the dragon’s face like a distant thunder. “You stand out. You shine too bright to be here.” At last, he removed the mask to meet her gaze. “But you needn’t fear me.”

    All the while, a voice scratched at the back of his mind. He felt like he knew this girl, but that was impossible.

    The 'dragon' leaves the Ballroom and enters the Courtyard, bringing Azza. Bunny approved.

  10. #30
    Newcomer


    Lord Iverstead's Avatar

    GP
    0

    Name
    Lord Iverstread
    Age
    38
    Race
    Salvic
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar
    The low, constant thrum of the party continued. Musicians changed song and the tables of food and drink replenished just as fast as it diminished. The staff of Iverstead estate moved quickly and with purpose. They hardly muttered a word to their guests aside from a "thank you" or "pardon me". The other lords of the area kept distance from one another except for two, Lord Rorick and Lord Peterberg. During the speech, they kept to the back of the gathered crowd, and bent each other's ears under the weight of Iverstead's announcement. Lady Farthingdale paid much attention to Tobias Stalt and the hunters which kept him company. Lord Quartermire and his circle of esteemed hugged close to the refreshments where he partook as much food as one would expect for his portly stature. Lady Synta and her current suitor for the night danced beautifully amidst the crowd, handing off to other male dancers in spurts to bat her lashes and feel their touch. All the while Lady Vermillion stared daggers at Lady Synta for her behavior with nobles and commoners alike.

    In the midst of the festivities, the sound of a plate shattering on the hardwood gave slight pause. Attentions gathered to the disturbance to see a rather intoxicated commoner lose grip of his plate. In the fraction of a second of silence, one of the massive windows suddenly burst open. An unnatural gust of wind swept inward, extinguishing the candles atop one of the crystal chandeliers. Then, another window, and another. One by one, they burst open with gusts of wind which blew out candles, caught fabric of billowing dresses, tussled pristine hairstyles, and whipped masks from the faces of some of the staff. Screams belted out in the chaos, the music halted, one fiddler knocked from the stage to the floor below with a thud of skull against wood. The glow of light above became a wash of darkness.

    In the gale, a chandelier loosened from its bolts in the beams above. It groaned a warning to those below before its fasteners failed under the sheer weight of metal and crystal.



    CRASH!

    Glass skittered across the ballroom floor. High pitched skrieks of terror rang out with the name of some poor soul crushed beneath. Then, as sudden as it came, the wind slammed through toward the courtyard and silence fell over the shaken crowd.

    Voices slowly ebbed through the wake of chaos and bewilderment. Was everyone okay? Do you need help up?

    "LORD IVERSTEAD!" screamed a small woman in the attire of the help. Attentions pulled toward the sight of the Lord face down against the hardwood. A pool of thick ichor stemmed from his body and threatened the feet of nearby onlookers.

    From outside, guards rushed inward from the commotion. Seeing the Lord of the manor, they charged forward and peeled the weeping woman from his body. A guard knelt down, held a hand to Iverstead's mouth. He paused, then laid a hand upon his neck. He turned a somber look to the head of the guard.

    "Captain..." the words alluded to the next. "He's dead."

    A grimace formed on the captain's face. He knelt beside his subordinate to examine the body. "Three, four, five..." he muttered.

    "Seven times. He's been stabbed seven times." The other guards became rigid.

    "Alright!" the guard captain roared. "I want all exits secured! No one leaves this place! There is a murderer here, and I'll be damned if they escape!"

    Guards scattered. Doors filled with the frames of men in full armor. Once open windows were swiftly shut and the dark, cold, damp ballroom became a crime scene of the estate.


    Looking out over the faces of disheveled and confused guests, it became quickly evident that the other Lords and Ladies were no where to be seen. Foul air hung in the growing thrum of rumor and speculation.

    Someone here killed Lord Iverstead and perhaps his body would not be the last.

    The event has begun. No players may leave the thread and those late to arrive must account for their whereabouts prior to the lockdown. Until the killer or killers are found, no one is to leave. Guards and hunters will be suspicious of those present. Players are able to move about the manor and the courtyard, but cannot leave the estate. Use the current information in the Iverstead posts to help investigate or avoid certain situations. Leave active investigations open ended to allow for Iverstead posts to fill in clues.

    Happy hunting~

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