Roleplay - A Masked Ball in Padova

AuthorMessage
Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
totallyawesomepira... on Jan 9, 2014 wrote:
OOC: Couldn't decide which one to do, so I'll do both! However, Claire will act like Emma, and her twin? You'll find out soon enough.

Claire

Clarabelle Hawkins, or Claire, stared at the Doge's Palace with her arms crossed. 3 stories up, and 2 windows to the left was her target. Claire smiled, for in that room a legend of a document was rumored to have the directions to 2 pieces of the Map. Such information would surely win the Resistance the war, or at least give them a tremendous advantage. However, rumours in Valencia were usually just that - rumours. But rumours were almost always based on truth, so even if there weren't directions, there was certain to be something useful there. All Claire needed to do was scale the Palace's wall, slink into the room, snatch the paper, and get back down again. It all seemed so easy...

But there was always the bump in the road.

And it was marching past her that very moment.

Claire scowled inwardly at the Armada Troops as they passed, oh, how she hated them! She hated them for the hundreds of children across the Spiral they had orphaned; she hated them for the countless "incidents" and "disappearances" they had caused; but most of all, she one reason she loathed the Armada a million, no, a trillion miles in all directions and back, was because they had changed her sister.

Claire remembered the day as clearly as if she were there herself. (which is not unusual as Claire has a photographic memory) It was the eve of her's and Cassandra's 12th birthday. Both girls were excited as tomorrow they would reach the required age to go on missions for the Resistance that were labeled, "dangerous." (OOC: A custom I just made up, hope ya don't mind) Cassandra had ripped her dress a few weeks ago, and went out to a tailor with her dress, and a written message for a certain Unicorn, who happened to be a member of the Resistance.

Claire didn't know exactly what happened, but from what she gathered from people present at the time she figured that Cassandra was walking on the sidewalk, tripped, and the message she was holding fell out of her hand, and stopped at the feet of an Armada Officer.

Obviously, Cassandra was arrested for traitorism, and taken in for "Excessive Questioning."

Claire had no idea what they did to her in there, but she remembered that her 12th birthday wasn't nearly as exciting without Cassandra.

But then there was The Truce.

Cassandra & Claire happened, purely by coincidence, to be walking down the same road at the same time. They stood about a foot away from the other, and their eyes were cold. Finally, Claire broke the silence.

"So, I s'pose we're enemies then."

OOC: I'll put more info on The Truce later, but I ran out of room. I'll be tracking both girls, and you can tell by which name is at the top. And Anne, my idea is that Cass is told by the Armada to attend the Ball, arrest anyone one who is suspected as a member of the Resistance, and retrieve that document as well. Hope that that helps! :)
(Sure, I can work with that... how about this, does this work?...)

Cassandra stared at the beautiful colors beneath her feet and repressed a shiver. At a time when few people had carpets, and when they did, the costly carpets adorned tables rather than being stepped upon, here was an exquisitely patterned carpet that obviously spent its time on the floor. The room was dim, lit by only one candle on the table near her, but she could see a glimpse of the luxury that easily filled the room. And the room was warm. The contrast between her present surroundings and the grim, freezing dungeons she had recently exited struck her again, and she couldn't prevent a shiver this time.

"Cold, my dear?" a smooth, rich baritone voice asked silkily. Cassandra peered into the shadows where she could just make out a bulky shadow seemingly seated somewhere in the darkness. She would have like to have drawn closer and seen who she was speaking to, but dared not disobey the simple orders she had been given and stayed where she was.

The silence stretched out, and Cassandra hastily realized she was expected to answer. "No, sir," she managed.

"Bene. I do hope you realize that you are very fortunate to still be alive. You were utterly condemned by the evidence you were carrying. To be a member of the Resistance, no matter how lowly, carries the sentence of death. However, I convinced the Armada captain that you could be useful to us. I hope you are duly grateful."

"Yes, sir." What else could she say?

"Most wise. Now, concerning your mission. You will go to the Masked Ball tonight at the ducal palace, observe the guests, and notify the appropriate contacts there if you find anyone who might be a member of the Resistance. At least one or two young human undesirables are associated with the Resistance, one in particular who was making plenty of trouble in the Aragon skies, and regarded as something of a folk hero." Cassandra could hear the curl of distain in his voice. "Because of your youth and appearance, any Resistance operatives will likely be easily fooled into believing you are an ally, as long as you act your part well."

"There is a further service we would have you perform. The Doge is a collector of books and manuscripts, and though he is supposedly a loyal son of Valencia, he has yet to allow a full examination of these. Rumor has it that there is a document of potentially national interest that he selfishly keeps to himself, believed to be located in his library study. Gain access to his study, find the document if it exists, and inform your contact at the Ball. You will be given a full description of what you are seeking."

"Do well, and you will be generously rewarded. Fail, and you will be punished. Betray us... well, I need not detail your fate should you do so," he commented with false delicacy. "Do you understand?"

Cassandra carefully hid the resentment from her voice. "Yes, sir."

Petty Officer
May 30, 2013
97
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 10, 2014 wrote:
(Sure, I can work with that... how about this, does this work?...)

Cassandra stared at the beautiful colors beneath her feet and repressed a shiver. At a time when few people had carpets, and when they did, the costly carpets adorned tables rather than being stepped upon, here was an exquisitely patterned carpet that obviously spent its time on the floor. The room was dim, lit by only one candle on the table near her, but she could see a glimpse of the luxury that easily filled the room. And the room was warm. The contrast between her present surroundings and the grim, freezing dungeons she had recently exited struck her again, and she couldn't prevent a shiver this time.

"Cold, my dear?" a smooth, rich baritone voice asked silkily. Cassandra peered into the shadows where she could just make out a bulky shadow seemingly seated somewhere in the darkness. She would have like to have drawn closer and seen who she was speaking to, but dared not disobey the simple orders she had been given and stayed where she was.

The silence stretched out, and Cassandra hastily realized she was expected to answer. "No, sir," she managed.

"Bene. I do hope you realize that you are very fortunate to still be alive. You were utterly condemned by the evidence you were carrying. To be a member of the Resistance, no matter how lowly, carries the sentence of death. However, I convinced the Armada captain that you could be useful to us. I hope you are duly grateful."

"Yes, sir." What else could she say?

"Most wise. Now, concerning your mission. You will go to the Masked Ball tonight at the ducal palace, observe the guests, and notify the appropriate contacts there if you find anyone who might be a member of the Resistance. At least one or two young human undesirables are associated with the Resistance, one in particular who was making plenty of trouble in the Aragon skies, and regarded as something of a folk hero." Cassandra could hear the curl of distain in his voice. "Because of your youth and appearance, any Resistance operatives will likely be easily fooled into believing you are an ally, as long as you act your part well."

"There is a further service we would have you perform. The Doge is a collector of books and manuscripts, and though he is supposedly a loyal son of Valencia, he has yet to allow a full examination of these. Rumor has it that there is a document of potentially national interest that he selfishly keeps to himself, believed to be located in his library study. Gain access to his study, find the document if it exists, and inform your contact at the Ball. You will be given a full description of what you are seeking."

"Do well, and you will be generously rewarded. Fail, and you will be punished. Betray us... well, I need not detail your fate should you do so," he commented with false delicacy. "Do you understand?"

Cassandra carefully hid the resentment from her voice. "Yes, sir."
{OOC: Anne, that works perfectly!!! I was going to do something just like it actually, but you beat me to it.

Anyhoo, as you can seemingly predict my actions, you'll understand that the two girls will find themselves in a situation where every path ends dreadfully. Hopefully someone who has not taken The Truce will come and fix it, but it would be so much more interesting if we use one those ideas I can see up your sleeve.

Also, I was hoping I could have Claire join Group A, or at least interact with them in some way. (Don't tell, but I think Claire might get a bit fond of Jack, if you get me)}

Claire fumbled with a strand on her shirt as she waited for a response from her best friend Leah. (OOC: Leah's a secondary character, BTW, don't plan on using her much, mainly just as someone for Claire to talk to)

Leah gave her a look. "You're kidding, right?"

"Nope."

"Well," Leah said. "Besides the fact that you could totally fail, get brutally killed by the Armada, or bust your identity, I think it's a great idea!" Leah ended with a smile.

"Thanks," Claire was fully aware of the danger, but hearing her friend say it aloud, joking or not, made the mission seem even more real.

"Can I see your outfit?" Leah urged.

"Sure."

Claire disappeared into her room and returned a minute later wearing the dress of a Valencian maid. She had a white apron draped over a gray skirt. On her top she wore an orange shirt with little ruffles at the ends, and a white scarf thing that attached to the apron. All of her strawberry blonde hair was tucked into a bonnet the same color of the apron.

Leah's mouth fell open in awe. "I LVE it!!!" She exclaimed.

Claire blushed. "You really think so?"

"Yes. Definitely. No doubt. You look unrecognizable. It's perfect."

Claire sat back down in the big armchair located in the center of Leah's living room. "Right. That reminds me, I don't have a firm idea of how I'm going to actually get in the Ball." Claire smiled. "I hear you have some impressive lock-picking skills."

Leah looked worried, "Where did you hear that?" She whispered hastily.

Claire laughed. "No one you should worry about, another Resistance person."

"Was it your sister?"

Claire gave Leah a serious look. "Don't. Talk. About. My. Sister." She warned.

"Geez, Claire, what's gotten into you?" Leah rolled her eyes. Her friend could be so, territorial sometimes!

"Alright," Leah sighed. "I'll teach you how to pick locks." But before Claire could thank her, Leah added, "On one condition."

"What's that?"

Leah gave a devilish grin. "You have to use your amazing illustrious skills to draw me pictures of the dresses you see at the Ball!"

Commodore
Feb 29, 2012
892
totallyawesomepira... on Jan 10, 2014 wrote:
{OOC: Anne, that works perfectly!!! I was going to do something just like it actually, but you beat me to it.

Anyhoo, as you can seemingly predict my actions, you'll understand that the two girls will find themselves in a situation where every path ends dreadfully. Hopefully someone who has not taken The Truce will come and fix it, but it would be so much more interesting if we use one those ideas I can see up your sleeve.

Also, I was hoping I could have Claire join Group A, or at least interact with them in some way. (Don't tell, but I think Claire might get a bit fond of Jack, if you get me)}

Claire fumbled with a strand on her shirt as she waited for a response from her best friend Leah. (OOC: Leah's a secondary character, BTW, don't plan on using her much, mainly just as someone for Claire to talk to)

Leah gave her a look. "You're kidding, right?"

"Nope."

"Well," Leah said. "Besides the fact that you could totally fail, get brutally killed by the Armada, or bust your identity, I think it's a great idea!" Leah ended with a smile.

"Thanks," Claire was fully aware of the danger, but hearing her friend say it aloud, joking or not, made the mission seem even more real.

"Can I see your outfit?" Leah urged.

"Sure."

Claire disappeared into her room and returned a minute later wearing the dress of a Valencian maid. She had a white apron draped over a gray skirt. On her top she wore an orange shirt with little ruffles at the ends, and a white scarf thing that attached to the apron. All of her strawberry blonde hair was tucked into a bonnet the same color of the apron.

Leah's mouth fell open in awe. "I LVE it!!!" She exclaimed.

Claire blushed. "You really think so?"

"Yes. Definitely. No doubt. You look unrecognizable. It's perfect."

Claire sat back down in the big armchair located in the center of Leah's living room. "Right. That reminds me, I don't have a firm idea of how I'm going to actually get in the Ball." Claire smiled. "I hear you have some impressive lock-picking skills."

Leah looked worried, "Where did you hear that?" She whispered hastily.

Claire laughed. "No one you should worry about, another Resistance person."

"Was it your sister?"

Claire gave Leah a serious look. "Don't. Talk. About. My. Sister." She warned.

"Geez, Claire, what's gotten into you?" Leah rolled her eyes. Her friend could be so, territorial sometimes!

"Alright," Leah sighed. "I'll teach you how to pick locks." But before Claire could thank her, Leah added, "On one condition."

"What's that?"

Leah gave a devilish grin. "You have to use your amazing illustrious skills to draw me pictures of the dresses you see at the Ball!"
( Oh my... Heck yea! I just realized- your pirate, Claire, has a sister named Emma, and it's the same for me! Sort of... My name is Emma, and my sister's is Claire... XD)

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
CdeWinter on Jan 9, 2014 wrote:
[OOC: Even though this post comes after Chrissy's last two awesome posts, for the sake of clarity, and because I was unable to post this earlier, can this post please be considered as happening before Chrissy's post? Simply because it reveals a little bit about Scarlet's mask.]

Scarlet carefully glanced in the mirror, and saw to her horror, everybody revealed in their true forms. Everyone except for Gaziella who wasn't wearing any disguise, and herself. The mirror simply reflected Scarlet as she was, dressed for the masked ball and wearing her peregrin mask.

Bien, Muzzer's mask still works, nozing can reveal who I am untill I myself remove it. Scarlet though quickly, reasurring herself. Outwardly though, Scarlet was completely shocked,

"Chrissy? Who is zis Chrissy? Zis woman is not Chrissy, she is Lucia, and she 'as been our attendant for many years! I will not stand to 'ear anyzing else! Graziella, I zink we should move zis meeting downstairs so zat my Muzzer may be witness to zese 'orrid accusations!"

But, as Omar and Chrissy simply stared at her in obvious disbelief, Scarlet grinned and simply asked "It was werz a try no?"
One revelation after another, Graziella thought, bemused, as the secrets of Chrissy came out. The Valencian lady did not know what to think. Hoodoo? Magic? It was all so very much unlike the rational intellect prized in her social circles.

But Scarlet's lightly comical words brought Graziella straight out of her musings. Although Scarlet's words were playful, they bore an underlying seriousness. They all had an important task to perform, and anything else - even as dramatic and fantastic as the revelations to young Chrissy - had to be set aside until later. Furthermore, Scarlet bore another very good point. They had to remain 'in character', even in the supposed safety of Graziella's own house. With a frisson of alarm, Graziella wondered how safe it could be if someone had circumvented her security and entered her private rooms to steal the music book. It was time to be more careful - everywhere.

"Isabella is correct," Graziella replied with calm dignity. "We should be going downstairs. Isabella, it is time for you and your sisters to go to the ball with your mother and Lucia as well. But there is no need to bother your mother with what has transpired here. These are merely fancies that enliven the life of Lucia, tales told by musicians. You know how fanciful musicians can be," Graziella opined with a straight face, broken only by a very small wink at Chrissy and Omar.

"I am certain it is time for the musicians to be leaving to attend to their business as well. I know that you may have a gig at the ball with the fine players the Doge is known to provide. I enjoyed your offerings of music, and please do not forget your pay from my steward for entertaining my household yesterday eve." Graziella spoke to Omar, but made it seem from her words as if all of them had been there. "I shall enjoy the music tonight as well. I have heard it is supposed to be exceptionally fine."

Shepherded by Graziella, Chrissy and Scarlet thus joined the others. As they made last minute adjustments, Graziella quickly briefed Lia on what had happened, as the human professor would be staying behind at the villa, not having the status to be invited to the Doge's Masked Ball, and after her ordeal of imprisonment, not ready to go out dancing at the lesser balls either. Lia looked alarmed but thoughtful, as if she wished to think about the problem further. Setting her household in order, Graziella then left with the Vinaldis and their attendants in the Vinaldi's coach.

Gunner's Mate
May 28, 2013
282
Sam Underhill on Jan 6, 2014 wrote:
The kitchens at the Palace of the Doge were a beehive of activity; for not only was the regular staff in attendance, but hirelings galore bustled about carting food and drink out to the banquet tents. The more decoratively attired were entrusted with trays of sweets and yum'n'nade to offer amongst the crowds, the stronger ones to lug up the gallons upon gallons of drink, while others remained behind gathering, stirring, dishing, and any number of necessary (and unnecessary) tasks that needed doing.

At the center of this maelstrom stood a short, round Guinea Pig; Georges - Master Chef of the Palace and creator of the feast. His direction giving of the ensemble made an overall kind of sense, as this was his moment - any fault found would land upon his head.

One of his subordinates was a pastry chef named Rosie. She was one of the rare Deer that made their way to civilization. She kept all her cooks and servants hopping, keeping a gimlet eye out for anyone not pulling their weight. One such slacker was a Wharf Rat known only as Pace. Such was his ill luck that just as he had stuffed a chocolate covered cherry in his mouth with one hand, and nabbed a strawberry/yum tartlet with the other, he was caught red-handed by a rather short tempered Rosie. So off he was sent to the cellars to fetch another bag of sugar. This actually didn't bother him unduly as it meant he could take his time - maybe even squeeze in a short nap, for he was sure no one would miss him until after the show was over.

The cellars were an unpopular place amongst the servants. Generations of stories had the place littered with evil haunts and walking undead, not to mention still living thieves and other scum. But Pace went whistling down the stairs as if freed from any further heavy labor for the evening. He had taken a candle to light his way and found the sub-pantry door quickly enough. As he reached for the handle something gave him pause - were those voices he heard inside? Probably just some other layabouts like himself he decided. So he threw open the door expecting to join in a friendly game of cards.

The door opened. The voices stopped. Pace stopped. Then his head exploded in a rainbow shower of light before he pitched forward onto the hard floor. A large lump started growing on the back of his head.

"Wasn't someone supposed to be guarding that door?" an angry voice asked no one in particular.

"Sorry, guv'nor," apologized a seedy looking Cat, pocketing a short club. "Just lookin' 'bout fer somewhat to eat, y'know."

---

Rosie looked about for the bag of sugar she had sent for - oh, it must be a half hour or more ago. Where was that boy? The work had slowed down to where she decided she had time to go and grab it herself. Taking a lantern, she headed for the cellars...
Rosie stopped at the bottom of the stairs. Something wasn't quite right. Usually the torches leading to the food stores were well lit on evenings like this. But now it was dark save for the light her lantern threw. The shadows dancing along the walls reminded her of all the fanciful stories she had heard since arriving at the Palace several years ago. She, of course, pooh-poohed them as superstitious nonsense - but tonight some of her instincts kicked in. She was still a Deer, and Deer survived by being cautious. She had no desire to return upstairs to ask for help and look like a fool. That would cause her to lose face, and some authority.

Glancing at the sconces where the torches still remained, Rosie saw they had been extinguished - and recently. She stopped, cocked her head, pricked up her ears and listened. Had that been a footstep? Maybe it was Pace finally bringing the sugar. But no, it was multiple voices, and getting closer!

"Over here!" a soft voice, barely above a whisper called from the closest alcove. Rosie's memory knew that easily spoilable dairy goods were contained within. "You've no time! In here quickly!" abandoning all decorum Rosie ducked inside, covering the lantern with her apron.

And just in the nick of time, for approaching was a trio of Cats, thugs all. Rosie shivered against her rescuer and huddled deep in the shadows, trying desperately to remain out of sight.

"Naw, I doesn't see nuttin'," one of them said with a dinstinctyive Marleybone accent. "Still, we'd best make sure so's the boss doesn't get mad. At least not at us." The three turned around and headed back the way they came, strutting about as if they owned the place.

"Who are they?" Rosie wondered aloud.

"Who indeed?" a soft, feminine voice soothed. "Here, drink this." From within the shadows a small flask was passed over. Rosie's instincts kicked in again, warning her against gifts from strangers, and she sniffed at the contents. "It's just Yum," the voice informed her.

Rosie lifted the flask to her lips and drank. The immediate effect of the Yum made her feel better, but there was a bitter aftertaste. When she tried to stand, her knees failed her. Her vision began to dance and swirl. She fell back into the waiting arms of her 'rescuer'.

"Sorry, but it's better you sleep down here tonight." The young, blond human girl made sure the Deer was comfortable before peering out of the alcove. "This is no place for amateurs," she informed the now fully unconscious pastry chef. She replaced the flask in her pouch and warily headed up the stairs.

From there it was child's play to find a serving maid outfit. Within minutes she was passing out petit fours amongst the guests. It didn't take long to spot her quarry. The Lion and the Raven, actually Human boy and Unicorn, were conversing with some of the other guests. She continued inconspicuously circulating around the room, smiling to herself.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
Though it was now dusk, the marble steps into the ducal palace were awash in light. On the steps, elegantly dressed footmen stood holding staves topped with swinging globes, lit from within by alchemical means that produced steady and brilliant light in many colors - gold, silver, pink, cobalt -- all depending on the chemical reaction within. The display revealed well the finery of all the guests as they entered, removing their masks for a time as they greeted the Doge and his son in the splendidly decorated entrance hall.

Finally, it was their turn. The Doge bowed with exquisite politeness before Duchessa Alcina and Dona Graziella, but his eyes were cold.

"Duchessa," he murmured. "Such a pity your husband is not here to share this celebration with you and your children."

"Alas, he has been gone some time to attend duties at our northern estates," Alcina parried calmly.

The Doge smiled thinly. This was a fiction that was well known to him, the supposed reason for the Duke's absence, rather than a flight from 'justice', but it was a fiction that all parties were willing to support. For now.

"At least you have your lovely children with you," he replied courteously, somehow making the pleasant words a veiled threat. Now he looked fully at the youngsters (Jack and Chrissy, being servants, in the background and not to his notice).

The young pirates couldn't help but hold their breath. They had been assured by Maestra Lia that if they acted like the children of a duke they would be seen as such. But now, as the pirate girls curtseyed and the Unicorn youth from the Resistance bowed, their hearts were in their mouths. Supposedly the Vinaldi children had not yet been brought out much in society. But the Doge had seen the real children from time to time, although not for at least a year. Would he accept that any alteration in appearance could be considered the natural change of a child growing? Or would he realize that substitutions had been made?

Petty Officer
May 30, 2013
97
totallyawesomepira... on Jan 10, 2014 wrote:
{OOC: Anne, that works perfectly!!! I was going to do something just like it actually, but you beat me to it.

Anyhoo, as you can seemingly predict my actions, you'll understand that the two girls will find themselves in a situation where every path ends dreadfully. Hopefully someone who has not taken The Truce will come and fix it, but it would be so much more interesting if we use one those ideas I can see up your sleeve.

Also, I was hoping I could have Claire join Group A, or at least interact with them in some way. (Don't tell, but I think Claire might get a bit fond of Jack, if you get me)}

Claire fumbled with a strand on her shirt as she waited for a response from her best friend Leah. (OOC: Leah's a secondary character, BTW, don't plan on using her much, mainly just as someone for Claire to talk to)

Leah gave her a look. "You're kidding, right?"

"Nope."

"Well," Leah said. "Besides the fact that you could totally fail, get brutally killed by the Armada, or bust your identity, I think it's a great idea!" Leah ended with a smile.

"Thanks," Claire was fully aware of the danger, but hearing her friend say it aloud, joking or not, made the mission seem even more real.

"Can I see your outfit?" Leah urged.

"Sure."

Claire disappeared into her room and returned a minute later wearing the dress of a Valencian maid. She had a white apron draped over a gray skirt. On her top she wore an orange shirt with little ruffles at the ends, and a white scarf thing that attached to the apron. All of her strawberry blonde hair was tucked into a bonnet the same color of the apron.

Leah's mouth fell open in awe. "I LVE it!!!" She exclaimed.

Claire blushed. "You really think so?"

"Yes. Definitely. No doubt. You look unrecognizable. It's perfect."

Claire sat back down in the big armchair located in the center of Leah's living room. "Right. That reminds me, I don't have a firm idea of how I'm going to actually get in the Ball." Claire smiled. "I hear you have some impressive lock-picking skills."

Leah looked worried, "Where did you hear that?" She whispered hastily.

Claire laughed. "No one you should worry about, another Resistance person."

"Was it your sister?"

Claire gave Leah a serious look. "Don't. Talk. About. My. Sister." She warned.

"Geez, Claire, what's gotten into you?" Leah rolled her eyes. Her friend could be so, territorial sometimes!

"Alright," Leah sighed. "I'll teach you how to pick locks." But before Claire could thank her, Leah added, "On one condition."

"What's that?"

Leah gave a devilish grin. "You have to use your amazing illustrious skills to draw me pictures of the dresses you see at the Ball!"
Claire nearly skipped her way home. The etiquette lessons with Donna Marcia had went perfectly, and because of her photographic memory Claire easily memorized this "fan-talk."

Claire pulled the key from her neck off of the string it dangled on, and unlocked her house. Her aunt wasn't home, so Claire left a note on the table saying she would be gone that night for a party with Leah. (OOC: The Ball istonight, isn't it?) She hurried upstairs to her room, looked in her closet, and gasped.

The maid's dress was gone!

But, this is impossible! Claire thought. She only showed the dress to Leah, Donna Marcia, who would never steal it. So, there was only one possibility...

"Jacob!" She called out her door.

"Wha-at?" Her brother called from his room.

"You know very well, Jacob," Claire was in his room now. "Where's my dress?"

Jacob smiled. "Oh, that old thing?"

"Yes, that old thing! Where is it?"Claire said through clenched teeth.

"Oh, that was your's? Sorry, but I thought it was a costume from a decade ago,"

"And where is it?"

"Garbage disposal."

"WHAT?!" Claire screamed.

"Yep," Jacob was grinning ear to ear now.

"I needed that for, er, a party Leah's holding!" She couldn't tell her brother what she was really going to do, he had no idea the Resistance existed!And if Claire told him, he might side with the Armada and land her, where, again? Dead.

Claire dashed out the door to Donna Marcia's house and explained her situation.

"Well, you could always come with me," The Unicorn offered.

"As a servant?"

"Perhaps, yet I was thinking something more, elegant. You could be my niece."

"That would work. But I still need a costume and a mask and why do you have an invitation anyways?"

Donna Marcia smiled. "I have my ways. And no worries, we can get you a dress in no time. It might be a little big, and it might not suit your liking, but the mask is up to you."

Claire pondered the plan in her head. There was a large possibility it could work, but there was still two problems.

"Why will people believe you're my aunt? You're a Unicorn and I'm a human."

"Believe me, child, two different related races are not that uncommon."

"Alright, but, if the worst should happen, how will I be able to fight in a dress?"

Donna Marcia hesitated. The Ball was in a few hours, there was practically zero time to prepare Claire.

"You will," Donna Marcia paused. "You will... hope for the best, and try not to die.

Thanks for the help, Claire thought sarcastically. She was putting her life into complete and utter danger, of course she would try not to die, because if the worst should happen, what alternative was there?

Claire shuddered, for that alternative was almost as worse as dying.

She would have to join her sister.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
totallyawesomepira... on Jan 13, 2014 wrote:
Claire nearly skipped her way home. The etiquette lessons with Donna Marcia had went perfectly, and because of her photographic memory Claire easily memorized this "fan-talk."

Claire pulled the key from her neck off of the string it dangled on, and unlocked her house. Her aunt wasn't home, so Claire left a note on the table saying she would be gone that night for a party with Leah. (OOC: The Ball istonight, isn't it?) She hurried upstairs to her room, looked in her closet, and gasped.

The maid's dress was gone!

But, this is impossible! Claire thought. She only showed the dress to Leah, Donna Marcia, who would never steal it. So, there was only one possibility...

"Jacob!" She called out her door.

"Wha-at?" Her brother called from his room.

"You know very well, Jacob," Claire was in his room now. "Where's my dress?"

Jacob smiled. "Oh, that old thing?"

"Yes, that old thing! Where is it?"Claire said through clenched teeth.

"Oh, that was your's? Sorry, but I thought it was a costume from a decade ago,"

"And where is it?"

"Garbage disposal."

"WHAT?!" Claire screamed.

"Yep," Jacob was grinning ear to ear now.

"I needed that for, er, a party Leah's holding!" She couldn't tell her brother what she was really going to do, he had no idea the Resistance existed!And if Claire told him, he might side with the Armada and land her, where, again? Dead.

Claire dashed out the door to Donna Marcia's house and explained her situation.

"Well, you could always come with me," The Unicorn offered.

"As a servant?"

"Perhaps, yet I was thinking something more, elegant. You could be my niece."

"That would work. But I still need a costume and a mask and why do you have an invitation anyways?"

Donna Marcia smiled. "I have my ways. And no worries, we can get you a dress in no time. It might be a little big, and it might not suit your liking, but the mask is up to you."

Claire pondered the plan in her head. There was a large possibility it could work, but there was still two problems.

"Why will people believe you're my aunt? You're a Unicorn and I'm a human."

"Believe me, child, two different related races are not that uncommon."

"Alright, but, if the worst should happen, how will I be able to fight in a dress?"

Donna Marcia hesitated. The Ball was in a few hours, there was practically zero time to prepare Claire.

"You will," Donna Marcia paused. "You will... hope for the best, and try not to die.

Thanks for the help, Claire thought sarcastically. She was putting her life into complete and utter danger, of course she would try not to die, because if the worst should happen, what alternative was there?

Claire shuddered, for that alternative was almost as worse as dying.

She would have to join her sister.
OOC: Yes, the Ball is beginning. Dona Marcia, since she has an invitation, is then part of a prominent family -- you get to pick. Let's see... Marcia could be a first cousin of the hero Duca Giovanni Bembo. He and his wife will be at the Ball, and while a sudden of Marcia might be surprising, it is the niece of a cousin, after all, and might have been forgotten. Bembo is not a complicated person; he would not suspect his cousin to be making a false claim. Or Marcia could be a member of the powerful Cornaro family: one of the younger daughters of the Duke and Duchess is Dona Elena Cornaro, member of the ruling Council and professor of Mathematics & Philosophy at the University of Padova. Elena would trust Marcia and support her fiction, and the rest of the Cornaro family present at the Ball would likely follow her lead. Those are your best choices; a third would be the Ariosto family, highly respected for their literary talents, but the Doge's secretary is a younger son of the Ariostos. Since he is usually by the Doge's side, evading discovery would be very tricky indeed. (So, how much trouble do you want to get into?)

Claire's gown would probably be one of Marcia's, quickly cut down and altered in the space of a couple hours by talented Valencian seamstresses. (It could be done; interpreters at Colonial Williamsburg have demonstrated how swiftly seamstresses in the 18th C. could get a job done)

And yes, Bembo, Elena Cornaro, and even the idea of the Ariostos are all a nod to historic people!

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 12, 2014 wrote:
Though it was now dusk, the marble steps into the ducal palace were awash in light. On the steps, elegantly dressed footmen stood holding staves topped with swinging globes, lit from within by alchemical means that produced steady and brilliant light in many colors - gold, silver, pink, cobalt -- all depending on the chemical reaction within. The display revealed well the finery of all the guests as they entered, removing their masks for a time as they greeted the Doge and his son in the splendidly decorated entrance hall.

Finally, it was their turn. The Doge bowed with exquisite politeness before Duchessa Alcina and Dona Graziella, but his eyes were cold.

"Duchessa," he murmured. "Such a pity your husband is not here to share this celebration with you and your children."

"Alas, he has been gone some time to attend duties at our northern estates," Alcina parried calmly.

The Doge smiled thinly. This was a fiction that was well known to him, the supposed reason for the Duke's absence, rather than a flight from 'justice', but it was a fiction that all parties were willing to support. For now.

"At least you have your lovely children with you," he replied courteously, somehow making the pleasant words a veiled threat. Now he looked fully at the youngsters (Jack and Chrissy, being servants, in the background and not to his notice).

The young pirates couldn't help but hold their breath. They had been assured by Maestra Lia that if they acted like the children of a duke they would be seen as such. But now, as the pirate girls curtseyed and the Unicorn youth from the Resistance bowed, their hearts were in their mouths. Supposedly the Vinaldi children had not yet been brought out much in society. But the Doge had seen the real children from time to time, although not for at least a year. Would he accept that any alteration in appearance could be considered the natural change of a child growing? Or would he realize that substitutions had been made?
The Doge coolly examined the youngsters making their polite obeisance before him. He had not held power for years in the frequently volatile ways of Valencian politics by being stupid or unobservant. Indeed, though one part of his mind dismissed Jack, Chrissy, and Marta (Alcina Vinaldi's real lady's maid) as servants, another part of his mind registered their appearance and took note.

But Maestra Lia was quite correct. The graceful motions, the courteous lowering of their eyes, the proper inclining of their heads mimicked years of aristocratic training well enough that they indeed seemed to be what they were pretending. And that the girls were human greatly helped the charade. That the skin tone might be darker (Anne) or considerably lighter (Elizabeth) than the olive-toned skin of the real Vinaldi girls was unremarkable to the Unicorn Nicolo Foscari. After all, Unicorns themselves underwent similar variation in regards to the season of the year. The hair color was also no distinction: Unicorns, proud of their own silky manes, dyed it to their fancy as they pleased.

The child at risk was the Unicorn youth portraying the natural son of the Vinaldi's. He had been chosen for certain physical similarities to the Vinaldi boy, as well as his competence. However, for one heart-skipping moment the Doge frowned as he looked upon him. After a moment, however, the Doge evidently decided that his hazy memory of the youth must be at fault, or merely not taking into consideration of the change of a child growing up.

"I am pleased to see that your mother brought you all here to this grand occasion. Since this is the first such occasion for several of you," Nicolo smiled at the 'younger' ones, though the smile did not reach his eyes, "I would have you mark the occasion as among my most honored guests. Therefore, it would please me if you all sat with me during the entertainment before the Ball." He turned to his secretary, standing beside him. "Benvolio, escort the Vinaldi family to their seats, and return to me afterwards."

The younger Unicorn bowed respectfully to the Doge, and then bowed to the Duchessa and her children. "Princess," Benvolio Ariosto addressed Alcina with the same respect, "if you would follow me?" After a swift greeting, much warmer, from the Doge's son, Orlando, they followed the Doge's secretary into a grand palace room. They had passed the first test... they hoped.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
As they followed the Doge's secretary, Alcina kept up a light, softly spoken commentary on the people they were meeting, nothing that could be heard by others, even their guide, but no whispers that might have attracted attention. "Benvolio Ariosto is from a particularly literary family - both his parents and several of his siblings are known for their poetry or prose works. So far this younger son has not shown the talents of his family, but he has made quite a success ingratiating himself into the Doge's good graces," the duchess observed with sharp humor. "As for the tall young Unicorn with the slightly rumpled hairstyle, carrying the squid mask, who stood beside the Doge, I am certain you recognize him as Orlando, the Doge's son. By all accounts he is a harmless youth, caring only for his studies at the University. One wonders what his father thinks of him."

"Oh, and there is my dear friend, the Duchessa Chiara Bembo and her husband Giovanni." Alcina's face relaxed into a genuinely warm smile as she indicated a handsome Unicorn couple, the male wearing a number of medals upon his elegant coat, and the female gorgeously gowned and quite obviously pregnant. "Chiara is quiet, but she has depth and humor. Giovanni, of course, is a great hero of the Polarian Wars - he lied about his age in order to enlist." Alcina shook her head but still bore a fond smile. "He is just as good-natured, reckless, and courageous as he was then. We don't see eye to eye in politics, but we are still friends." Then Alcina's smile faded momentarily and her eyes grew shadowed. She might have to flee tonight and leave home and friends behind. She wouldn't be there to greet Chiara's baby when it was born; wouldn't be there to serve as godmother as they had all cheerfully planned.

Alcina gave herself a mental shake. It might not happen. But if it did, she had to focus on survival, her first responsibility to her children - and these youngsters too who played those roles.

Gunner's Mate
Oct 11, 2012
283
After the Dona and the Vinaldis left, Omar bade his friends good luck and ran off to the ball. To his relief, Aloetti was waiting for him by the street corner. He inquired as to what kept him so long.
"Well, there was a slight problem about a music book and I needed to reassure Graziella that it would soon come up."
Aloetti eyed him, and found him to be telling the truth. They quickly weaved their way throughout the alleys and crowds and Omar was impressed with how well his companion navigated through the twisted streets of Padova, which he later explained as being because he was very intuitive about navigating through tough situations. They made it to the kitchens with time to spare, but there was an ever so slight presence of something he recognized only too well. A shiver slithered down his back and he became a bit wary for the time being. The other musicians were warming up and though his eye were sharp, he let his mind go as he prepared for a beautiful night. While preparing his flutes, he wondered about how fared his associates.

At the entrance of the Palace, Alexandros and Maria Fonte were greeted by the Doge.
"Signore Fonte." he greeted, a mixture of surprise and gladness "It is an honor that the son of such a revered Condottier could come. Tell me, how is your father?"
"Well, though the memory of his missing niece has not left his mind" he replied with gentile solemnity that was drastically different from the snickering and tricksy rouge the others met not too long ago.
"He sends his complements to you and your bright son and wishes you both a long and joyous life."
The Doge smiled towards the son of Lord Fonte and warmly greeted his companion, Maria. As Orlando greeted him, Alexandros thanked him for the invitation and was led to the main hall.
Maria was vexed, though her fan hid her shock.
"Your actually a Fonte?!" she whispered
"On my late mother's side, I'm directly related to Lord Cesare Fonte." he answered, a hint of the dark memories of her.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 13, 2014 wrote:
The Doge coolly examined the youngsters making their polite obeisance before him. He had not held power for years in the frequently volatile ways of Valencian politics by being stupid or unobservant. Indeed, though one part of his mind dismissed Jack, Chrissy, and Marta (Alcina Vinaldi's real lady's maid) as servants, another part of his mind registered their appearance and took note.

But Maestra Lia was quite correct. The graceful motions, the courteous lowering of their eyes, the proper inclining of their heads mimicked years of aristocratic training well enough that they indeed seemed to be what they were pretending. And that the girls were human greatly helped the charade. That the skin tone might be darker (Anne) or considerably lighter (Elizabeth) than the olive-toned skin of the real Vinaldi girls was unremarkable to the Unicorn Nicolo Foscari. After all, Unicorns themselves underwent similar variation in regards to the season of the year. The hair color was also no distinction: Unicorns, proud of their own silky manes, dyed it to their fancy as they pleased.

The child at risk was the Unicorn youth portraying the natural son of the Vinaldi's. He had been chosen for certain physical similarities to the Vinaldi boy, as well as his competence. However, for one heart-skipping moment the Doge frowned as he looked upon him. After a moment, however, the Doge evidently decided that his hazy memory of the youth must be at fault, or merely not taking into consideration of the change of a child growing up.

"I am pleased to see that your mother brought you all here to this grand occasion. Since this is the first such occasion for several of you," Nicolo smiled at the 'younger' ones, though the smile did not reach his eyes, "I would have you mark the occasion as among my most honored guests. Therefore, it would please me if you all sat with me during the entertainment before the Ball." He turned to his secretary, standing beside him. "Benvolio, escort the Vinaldi family to their seats, and return to me afterwards."

The younger Unicorn bowed respectfully to the Doge, and then bowed to the Duchessa and her children. "Princess," Benvolio Ariosto addressed Alcina with the same respect, "if you would follow me?" After a swift greeting, much warmer, from the Doge's son, Orlando, they followed the Doge's secretary into a grand palace room. They had passed the first test... they hoped.
The Doge turned his attention to Dona Graziella. "It was a courageous act, to be seen with the Vinaldi family after the duke's traitorous behavior," he commented silkily.

Graziella waved her fan airily, in a nonchalant gesture. "We have been friends long, Your Serenity. And how could I blame the duchess and her children for some supposed crime of the duke?" Her voice lost its false playfulness and became candidly serious. "Surely you know that politics has never been Alcina's concern. She has gained her reputation as a patron of the arts, and for her religious piety. Whatever her husband might be accused of, surely a man of justice must realize that she and her children are blameless, Most Serene Prince."

The Doge smiled blandly. "Of course. And concerning your own powers, may I continue to rely on your supporting vote in the Senate next week?"

Graziella made a stiff curtsey. "As we agreed, Your Serenity." And as she was dismissed with a nod, Graziella wondered with concern if her words of support for Alcina Vinaldi had made any difference at all. With his last words, she had the unhappy feeling that he was reinforcing the bond of agreement -- because she would be unwilling to do so based on events that might happen this evening."

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
At last Quentin and Valona found themselves greeted with cool formality by the Doge of Padova. They had scarcely turned aside and had time to put on their masks, when they were greeted with enthusiastic warmth by Orlando Foscari.

"Quentin! Mio amico! I knew it must be you, with Valona by your side, she whose radiant beauty can not be disguised by any mask." He bowed smilingly to Valona, kissing her hand with elegant courtesy. The younger Unicorn straightened again, and spoke happily to Quentin, waving around his squid mask as he spoke in the excitement of his words.

"I've met so many charming girls, but there is one in particular - the eldest Vinaldi girl, Isabella. I hope to secure at least one dance with her. See, that girl, over there, the tall one, being led into the grand ballroom. I haven't seen her for years! She has grown up well, don't you think? And I love how she has dyed her hair. What a lovely red color. It almost looks natural!"

Gunner's Mate
Oct 11, 2012
283
Chrissy Th'Blesser on Jan 9, 2014 wrote:
Omar gave a soft chuckle, "Indeed she most likely can. There is a legend among our people of a Hoodoo princess that disappeared when her ruling family was killed by a Hoodoo using abomination called Bishop. We have been searching for her for decades." He looked at Chrissy, "When I looked into that mirror I also saw that you bear that royal mark that only royal born Hoodoo can see. Indeed I would be surprised at what she cannot do for you Dona. I wouldn't try too much too soon though. Almost everything you knew has been blocked for quite a long time. I would tread with caution." "Understood" Chrissy replied. She looked again at Dona Graziella and her friends. "I think I will leave it to my slightly more educated 'knowing' as time is of the essence.
Oh and one more thing. If you one of my characters speaks about Hoodoo Lore, I would suggest that Maria would be the best one to say it. Omar is from Krokotopia and Maria is deep in hoodoo mysticism than Omar. Not that you would know that or that I hold anything against you, it's just that it might make a wee bit more sense on my point o view.
My apologies if this sounds of mean spirit.

Pirate Overlord
Mar 10, 2009
6038
The Undead Obeah on Jan 17, 2014 wrote:
Oh and one more thing. If you one of my characters speaks about Hoodoo Lore, I would suggest that Maria would be the best one to say it. Omar is from Krokotopia and Maria is deep in hoodoo mysticism than Omar. Not that you would know that or that I hold anything against you, it's just that it might make a wee bit more sense on my point o view.
My apologies if this sounds of mean spirit.
I didn't hear one iota of mean spirit, not to fear. Point taken, thank you for the clarification. Guess I just put too much meaning in the definition of 'Undead Obeah' and blended it into the character. My apologies and I will, if needed, adjust accordingly.

Commodore
Sep 20, 2009
811
As Scarlet walked through the grand hall with her "family", she tried to focus on her surroundings and on the other guests, but her usually clear and easily focussed mind was crammed with competing thoughts.

Overall, she was actually quite impressed with the grandeur of the Doge's palace. It was decorated enough to show his wealth and influence, without overdoing the effect. The piratical portion of Scarlet's mind couldn't help but assess the wealth of the Doge and his guests, and pick out the items that would be easiest to liberate.

Scarlet was also listening intently to Alcina, trying to remember everything she was saying about the guests. When Giovanni was mentioned as a hero of the Polarian Wars, Scarlet's stomach jumped. If there was one veteran of the Polarian Wars here, surely there were more. What would happen if just one of them recognized Scarlet's mask as once belonging to Scarlet's real mother, still known in Polaris as The Peregrine? Her crew member, Gaspard de Vole did frequently comment on how much Scarlet resembles her mother.

And, almost not realized, tucked away in a girlier section of Scarlet's mind was another persistant thought. Scarlet kept remembering how the Doge's son kept glancing at her during their introductions. Apparently, Isabella was making a bit of an impression on some of the young gentleman present at the ball. And, probably not quite the same impression she was making on a young lion mask wearing human that Scarlet only just realized she had been intently staring at.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
CdeWinter on Jan 17, 2014 wrote:
As Scarlet walked through the grand hall with her "family", she tried to focus on her surroundings and on the other guests, but her usually clear and easily focussed mind was crammed with competing thoughts.

Overall, she was actually quite impressed with the grandeur of the Doge's palace. It was decorated enough to show his wealth and influence, without overdoing the effect. The piratical portion of Scarlet's mind couldn't help but assess the wealth of the Doge and his guests, and pick out the items that would be easiest to liberate.

Scarlet was also listening intently to Alcina, trying to remember everything she was saying about the guests. When Giovanni was mentioned as a hero of the Polarian Wars, Scarlet's stomach jumped. If there was one veteran of the Polarian Wars here, surely there were more. What would happen if just one of them recognized Scarlet's mask as once belonging to Scarlet's real mother, still known in Polaris as The Peregrine? Her crew member, Gaspard de Vole did frequently comment on how much Scarlet resembles her mother.

And, almost not realized, tucked away in a girlier section of Scarlet's mind was another persistant thought. Scarlet kept remembering how the Doge's son kept glancing at her during their introductions. Apparently, Isabella was making a bit of an impression on some of the young gentleman present at the ball. And, probably not quite the same impression she was making on a young lion mask wearing human that Scarlet only just realized she had been intently staring at.
The great hall was fast becoming crowded with people, yet the chance movement of one of the many guests suddenly caught Duca Giovanni Bembo's eye. His attention was arrested by a tall human girl with red hair and a peregrine falcon mask. The mask, the way she moved, something of the face that was visible to him... he suddenly remembered what made her familiar -- La Peregrine. Giovanni took a sharp breath, recalling the events of years ago, during the Polarian War. He was a rising lieutenant at the time, of an age where he really should have been a midshipman, but advancing fast due to his education, native talents, and sheer daring. La Peregrine's ship had overtaken and boarded his own and somehow he had found himself in hand-to-hand combat with her. He had been proud of his skill with a sword, but almost instantly he had found himself badly outclassed. For the first time he had the realization that he could die in the war. Yet he gamely fought on.

She pressed him hard for a few passes, then gave him a space. "Se rendre! Surrender," she ordered him. Young Giovanni knew that would be wise, but he could not give the enemy an opening and possibly lose his commander's ship. He could not! He had no breath for words, but mutely shook his head, all the while knowing that he had just sacrificed his life.

His adversary's eyes narrowed, and his fate hung in the balance as she paused. "I do not murder children," she muttered, and with a lightning quick movement of her blade deftly disarmed Giovanni, sending his sword spinning away to hit the deck with ringing sound. "You, however, would undoubtedly make a fine hostage," she continued, her sword advanced to check any movement of escape. "Such a young aristocrat surely would have worried parents, oui, mon enfant?"

Giovanni did not have a chance to answer her, for before he could take a breath, the shout of one of her men alerted her to the fact that another Valencian ship had pulled aside, and soon The Peregrine's own company would be outnumbered. She quickly assessed the situation and ordered her own people to retreat to their own ship. They of course grabbed everything they could as they methodically pulled back -- The Peregrine herself took Giovanni's sword.

"Is something wrong, my love?" Giovanni sharply brought himself back to the present at his wife's concerned expression.

"No, my darling Chiara," Giovanni automatically responded. As his wits caught up with his eyes, he realized he was being foolish. The human who reminded him so strongly of La Peregrine was still a child, not the daring enemy privateer of his memory. Furthermore, as a familiar Unicorn woman bent her head in conversation towards the red-haired child, he realized she must be one of the Vinaldi girls.

Giovanni Bembo chuckled. "I just had a strange fancy about Tomasso and Alcina's oldest child, that is all. I haven't seen them recently, and they are so much more grown up." He sighed, looking affectionately at the youngsters.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
Duchessa Chiara followed the gaze of her husband towards the Vinaldi family, smiling as well. Giovanni was right, a few years away at school, and they look so very different, she thought fondly as she looked at them. But as her gaze slid over them, she suddenly froze. The youngest child, little Violetta -- that was not her, Chiara realized with a gasp as she gazed at Anne.

Chiara had taken tea with Alcina not two months past, and had enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Violetta, who had shown her the new doll she had received for her birthday ('her last doll', she had informed Chiara solemnly) and discussed the books she enjoyed. Now Chiara looked at the group more sharply and realized that none of the children were Tomasso and Alcina's own.

"Chiara, are you well?" Now she was the one whose thoughts were interrupted by her love's concerned voice.

Chiara thought quickly. Alcina Vinaldi must know and be a full member of this deception. But was it willingly or forced upon her? Observing Alcina's easy motions towards the children, smoothing the light-colored hair of her supposed second-youngest, Mariella, Chiara concluded that Alcina had real affection for these imposters. Something must be gravely wrong for Alcina to perpetrate this fraud. Chiara decided to trust her friend.

"The baby shifted," she lied, putting a hand to her protruding abdomen.

Giovanni looked concerned. "Are you well enough? Should we go home?"

That might be a good idea if something dangerous was going on, Chiara considered. Such an excuse could keep her beloved (but reckless) Giovanni out of trouble. But to go too soon would offend their host, which was also dangerous.

"I think I am well enough - for now, at least. And besides, I do want to see the opera performance before the dancing. I have heard that it should be very fine indeed."

Gunner's Mate
May 28, 2013
282
CdeWinter on Jan 17, 2014 wrote:
As Scarlet walked through the grand hall with her "family", she tried to focus on her surroundings and on the other guests, but her usually clear and easily focussed mind was crammed with competing thoughts.

Overall, she was actually quite impressed with the grandeur of the Doge's palace. It was decorated enough to show his wealth and influence, without overdoing the effect. The piratical portion of Scarlet's mind couldn't help but assess the wealth of the Doge and his guests, and pick out the items that would be easiest to liberate.

Scarlet was also listening intently to Alcina, trying to remember everything she was saying about the guests. When Giovanni was mentioned as a hero of the Polarian Wars, Scarlet's stomach jumped. If there was one veteran of the Polarian Wars here, surely there were more. What would happen if just one of them recognized Scarlet's mask as once belonging to Scarlet's real mother, still known in Polaris as The Peregrine? Her crew member, Gaspard de Vole did frequently comment on how much Scarlet resembles her mother.

And, almost not realized, tucked away in a girlier section of Scarlet's mind was another persistant thought. Scarlet kept remembering how the Doge's son kept glancing at her during their introductions. Apparently, Isabella was making a bit of an impression on some of the young gentleman present at the ball. And, probably not quite the same impression she was making on a young lion mask wearing human that Scarlet only just realized she had been intently staring at.
"There we were in Mooshu, surrounded by Ninja Pigs..."
"Did you see what she was wearing..."
"So much pirate activity recently..."
"So he lowered his horn and..."
"With someone half his age..."
"Brought up on charges, if you ask me..."
"Mauve is just not her color..."
"So I said to her, 'Have you ever?", and she said 'No, I haven't'..."
"The boy's a bit of a twit, can you believe he has a Human professor..."
"They aren't even real diamonds anyway..."
"Blasted Marleyboneans broke their half of the treaty first..."
"Doesn't look well at all, I wouldn't be surprised if..."
"I hope the Armada puts things to right soon, we're losing money hand over hoof as it is..."
"Oh look, His Pomposity is coming over to grace us with with presence..."

Sam's ears were assaulted on every side by the constant babble. He took a petit four from the proferred tray and was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted. Perhaps he should give his regards to the pastry chef. The serving girl had moved on and Magdelena was dragging him into another bout of 'polite' conversation.

"So young Throckmorton, enjoying yourself?" His inquisitor was a finely dressed grey Unicorn wearing the badge of office of - Sam quickly searched his memory - Chancellor?

"Indeed yes, Your Grace. I must truly admit to never seeing anything like this before." He debated adding a 'Cor," but wisely decided against it.

"Look, the Vinaldi family has arrived." Most everyone in the hall turned to gather a brief view of the newcomers before resuming their own gossiping. Sam spotted a collection of Unicorns and Humans bowing to the Doge and his son. "No doubt the Duke did not join them." Contempt riddled the Chancellor's tone.

"Your Grace," Magdelena had spotted the situation and came forward quickly to rescue Sam from making any dangerous errors, "Why is it I do not seen your lovely wife this evening? Does that mean you are free to share a dance with me later?" She batted her eyes and delivered a devastating Pout at him. Sam was pleased it had not been turned on him.

"Maestra Vendelino, I do hope the funding for the Library has not suffered under your current... protectors?" The Padovans had a certain knack for turning ordinary sentences into threats.

"I am sure you have the authority to prevent that from happening, Your Grace," Magdelena acknowledged, allowing him the small victory. After the smiling Chancellor had departed, "Incompetent windbag," she muttered, so softly Sam thought he must have imagined it.

Sam took a moment and reassessed the crowd at the hall. It was filling up quite quickly now, and people were beginning to wonder about the forthcoming entertainment. He spotted a young lady... staring at him? It must be the lion costume. Wait a minute, wasn't she one of the Vinaldi children? Magdelena was busy chatting up a pair of Guinea Pigs, so Sam collected two glasses of punch and approached the Vinaldi girl.

"Thirsty?" he wittily opened.

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1189
Sam Underhill on Jan 18, 2014 wrote:
"There we were in Mooshu, surrounded by Ninja Pigs..."
"Did you see what she was wearing..."
"So much pirate activity recently..."
"So he lowered his horn and..."
"With someone half his age..."
"Brought up on charges, if you ask me..."
"Mauve is just not her color..."
"So I said to her, 'Have you ever?", and she said 'No, I haven't'..."
"The boy's a bit of a twit, can you believe he has a Human professor..."
"They aren't even real diamonds anyway..."
"Blasted Marleyboneans broke their half of the treaty first..."
"Doesn't look well at all, I wouldn't be surprised if..."
"I hope the Armada puts things to right soon, we're losing money hand over hoof as it is..."
"Oh look, His Pomposity is coming over to grace us with with presence..."

Sam's ears were assaulted on every side by the constant babble. He took a petit four from the proferred tray and was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted. Perhaps he should give his regards to the pastry chef. The serving girl had moved on and Magdelena was dragging him into another bout of 'polite' conversation.

"So young Throckmorton, enjoying yourself?" His inquisitor was a finely dressed grey Unicorn wearing the badge of office of - Sam quickly searched his memory - Chancellor?

"Indeed yes, Your Grace. I must truly admit to never seeing anything like this before." He debated adding a 'Cor," but wisely decided against it.

"Look, the Vinaldi family has arrived." Most everyone in the hall turned to gather a brief view of the newcomers before resuming their own gossiping. Sam spotted a collection of Unicorns and Humans bowing to the Doge and his son. "No doubt the Duke did not join them." Contempt riddled the Chancellor's tone.

"Your Grace," Magdelena had spotted the situation and came forward quickly to rescue Sam from making any dangerous errors, "Why is it I do not seen your lovely wife this evening? Does that mean you are free to share a dance with me later?" She batted her eyes and delivered a devastating Pout at him. Sam was pleased it had not been turned on him.

"Maestra Vendelino, I do hope the funding for the Library has not suffered under your current... protectors?" The Padovans had a certain knack for turning ordinary sentences into threats.

"I am sure you have the authority to prevent that from happening, Your Grace," Magdelena acknowledged, allowing him the small victory. After the smiling Chancellor had departed, "Incompetent windbag," she muttered, so softly Sam thought he must have imagined it.

Sam took a moment and reassessed the crowd at the hall. It was filling up quite quickly now, and people were beginning to wonder about the forthcoming entertainment. He spotted a young lady... staring at him? It must be the lion costume. Wait a minute, wasn't she one of the Vinaldi children? Magdelena was busy chatting up a pair of Guinea Pigs, so Sam collected two glasses of punch and approached the Vinaldi girl.

"Thirsty?" he wittily opened.
Anne stiffened in shock as she heard a familiar voice nearby, one she had not expected. Sam?! What was he doing here! She had prepared herself for the possibility that she could be suspected as an imposter, but she had not expected someone here who could recognize her as herself!

Sam was a good friend, one with whom she had spent happy times in conversation or sparring in play, in those times they stepped through the flexible nature of their universes. She usually won any sword-play matches between them, while he usually won when they played backgammon together (a mystifying thing, as backgammon was supposed to be a game of chance between two knowledgeable players). But there was an artless streak to Sam. Anne mentally cringed as she imagined, horrified, at the notion that he might exclaim her name in surprise, alerting the entire ballroom.

Anne pressed herself closer to Alcina, her 'mother', and wished herself invisible, or at least smaller than she really was. Sending an incoherent prayer skyward, her mind muttered frantically 'Don't look at me, don't look at me, don't look at me,' as if somehow Sam could somehow be influenced by her silent thoughts.

Commodore
Sep 20, 2009
811
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 18, 2014 wrote:
Duchessa Chiara followed the gaze of her husband towards the Vinaldi family, smiling as well. Giovanni was right, a few years away at school, and they look so very different, she thought fondly as she looked at them. But as her gaze slid over them, she suddenly froze. The youngest child, little Violetta -- that was not her, Chiara realized with a gasp as she gazed at Anne.

Chiara had taken tea with Alcina not two months past, and had enjoyed a pleasant conversation with Violetta, who had shown her the new doll she had received for her birthday ('her last doll', she had informed Chiara solemnly) and discussed the books she enjoyed. Now Chiara looked at the group more sharply and realized that none of the children were Tomasso and Alcina's own.

"Chiara, are you well?" Now she was the one whose thoughts were interrupted by her love's concerned voice.

Chiara thought quickly. Alcina Vinaldi must know and be a full member of this deception. But was it willingly or forced upon her? Observing Alcina's easy motions towards the children, smoothing the light-colored hair of her supposed second-youngest, Mariella, Chiara concluded that Alcina had real affection for these imposters. Something must be gravely wrong for Alcina to perpetrate this fraud. Chiara decided to trust her friend.

"The baby shifted," she lied, putting a hand to her protruding abdomen.

Giovanni looked concerned. "Are you well enough? Should we go home?"

That might be a good idea if something dangerous was going on, Chiara considered. Such an excuse could keep her beloved (but reckless) Giovanni out of trouble. But to go too soon would offend their host, which was also dangerous.

"I think I am well enough - for now, at least. And besides, I do want to see the opera performance before the dancing. I have heard that it should be very fine indeed."
OOC: I love this post Anne. It seems somepeople already have their doubts about the Vinaldi girls, I'm wondering what will happen when they actually start interacting with the other guests. And lovely little story about Scarlet's mother, I think it would suit her personality quite nicely. (at least the little bit I've thought up)

Captain
Mar 09, 2011
709
Sam Underhill on Jan 18, 2014 wrote:
"There we were in Mooshu, surrounded by Ninja Pigs..."
"Did you see what she was wearing..."
"So much pirate activity recently..."
"So he lowered his horn and..."
"With someone half his age..."
"Brought up on charges, if you ask me..."
"Mauve is just not her color..."
"So I said to her, 'Have you ever?", and she said 'No, I haven't'..."
"The boy's a bit of a twit, can you believe he has a Human professor..."
"They aren't even real diamonds anyway..."
"Blasted Marleyboneans broke their half of the treaty first..."
"Doesn't look well at all, I wouldn't be surprised if..."
"I hope the Armada puts things to right soon, we're losing money hand over hoof as it is..."
"Oh look, His Pomposity is coming over to grace us with with presence..."

Sam's ears were assaulted on every side by the constant babble. He took a petit four from the proferred tray and was pleasantly surprised how good it tasted. Perhaps he should give his regards to the pastry chef. The serving girl had moved on and Magdelena was dragging him into another bout of 'polite' conversation.

"So young Throckmorton, enjoying yourself?" His inquisitor was a finely dressed grey Unicorn wearing the badge of office of - Sam quickly searched his memory - Chancellor?

"Indeed yes, Your Grace. I must truly admit to never seeing anything like this before." He debated adding a 'Cor," but wisely decided against it.

"Look, the Vinaldi family has arrived." Most everyone in the hall turned to gather a brief view of the newcomers before resuming their own gossiping. Sam spotted a collection of Unicorns and Humans bowing to the Doge and his son. "No doubt the Duke did not join them." Contempt riddled the Chancellor's tone.

"Your Grace," Magdelena had spotted the situation and came forward quickly to rescue Sam from making any dangerous errors, "Why is it I do not seen your lovely wife this evening? Does that mean you are free to share a dance with me later?" She batted her eyes and delivered a devastating Pout at him. Sam was pleased it had not been turned on him.

"Maestra Vendelino, I do hope the funding for the Library has not suffered under your current... protectors?" The Padovans had a certain knack for turning ordinary sentences into threats.

"I am sure you have the authority to prevent that from happening, Your Grace," Magdelena acknowledged, allowing him the small victory. After the smiling Chancellor had departed, "Incompetent windbag," she muttered, so softly Sam thought he must have imagined it.

Sam took a moment and reassessed the crowd at the hall. It was filling up quite quickly now, and people were beginning to wonder about the forthcoming entertainment. He spotted a young lady... staring at him? It must be the lion costume. Wait a minute, wasn't she one of the Vinaldi children? Magdelena was busy chatting up a pair of Guinea Pigs, so Sam collected two glasses of punch and approached the Vinaldi girl.

"Thirsty?" he wittily opened.
Mariella, upon seeing the lion mask-wearing gentleman waltz over and offer some punch to her eldest sister, grinned from ear to ear. "Have fun, Isabella!" As she currently had her arm linked to her sister, Mariella rested her hand on Isabella's and gave her the biggest smile before turning on her heel and linking arms with her younger sister. "Oh, Violetta! What a wonderful night!" She lowered her voice, smiling with a slightly impish twinkle in her eyes. "It appears Isabella has been noticed by a few gentlemen here. And the gentlemen aren't the only ones -- It seems as if our friends Duchessa Chiara and her husband have noticed all of us as well. The Duchessa seems positively astounded by your beautiful dress, dear sister! Oh, what a fantastic night this has turned out to be, and it's only just started!" Mariella giggled and raised her gaze. The palace looked so wonderful and golden, warm and inviting, so incredibly wonderful. It was absolutely magnificent just to be here, and the pleasure of this was very clearly written on Mariella's face. "Oh, dear Violetta, how amazing it is to be here." She murmured as a couple walked by. "It's amazing how much attention our family has already gotten in this short amount of time, don't you think?" Lizzy gave Anne a pointed nudge that was perfectly disguised as Mariella leaning into her sister while walking. "It's such an honor to be invited to this marvelous place! I can't wait to dance in these fine halls!"

Lizzy's mind was overwhelmed with all sorts of thoughts, the effects made worse by that fact that all around her people were gossiping just as much as she was, if not more, as impossible as it seemed to the swashbuckler. Though she remained completely aware of all of her surroundings and never once did she let her character slip, she allowed herself her own thoughts. Her first private thought, a thought that she had made as Elizabeth and not Mariella, was of what her 'mother' had described of Orlando, the Doge's son. She didn't fancy him, though she admired the fact that he so strongly cared for his education. She probably would have been the same way, if she hadn't been dragged into the mess with the armada... if her parents hadn't died... Lizzy wondered which University she might have been accepted to, if she had taken the educational path that she had wanted to. Definitely a Valencian one, she decided. She gazed to Orlando, which on the outside was Mariella momentarily vexed by the squid mask. Someday, thought the swashbuckler, when this is all over, I'd like to really meet you. No armada, no need for weapons, no pirating, no favors, no war, no disguises. Just who we really are. I'd really like to meet you, to be able to focus on my education like you. Someday.

Mariella evidently concluded that Orlando's squid mask looked just plain funny, and turned to gaze at other guests' masks.

Petty Officer
May 30, 2013
97
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 13, 2014 wrote:
OOC: Yes, the Ball is beginning. Dona Marcia, since she has an invitation, is then part of a prominent family -- you get to pick. Let's see... Marcia could be a first cousin of the hero Duca Giovanni Bembo. He and his wife will be at the Ball, and while a sudden of Marcia might be surprising, it is the niece of a cousin, after all, and might have been forgotten. Bembo is not a complicated person; he would not suspect his cousin to be making a false claim. Or Marcia could be a member of the powerful Cornaro family: one of the younger daughters of the Duke and Duchess is Dona Elena Cornaro, member of the ruling Council and professor of Mathematics & Philosophy at the University of Padova. Elena would trust Marcia and support her fiction, and the rest of the Cornaro family present at the Ball would likely follow her lead. Those are your best choices; a third would be the Ariosto family, highly respected for their literary talents, but the Doge's secretary is a younger son of the Ariostos. Since he is usually by the Doge's side, evading discovery would be very tricky indeed. (So, how much trouble do you want to get into?)

Claire's gown would probably be one of Marcia's, quickly cut down and altered in the space of a couple hours by talented Valencian seamstresses. (It could be done; interpreters at Colonial Williamsburg have demonstrated how swiftly seamstresses in the 18th C. could get a job done)

And yes, Bembo, Elena Cornaro, and even the idea of the Ariostos are all a nod to historic people!
Dona Marcia's ship, The Powerful, hit a dip in the windlane and Claire clutched her stomach, resisting the urge to vomit. 3 things were going on in her mind right now. 1. They were late for the Ball. 2. Claire had learned the hard way that she was vulnerable to seasickness. And 3. This dress was itching.

When the windlane steadied again, Claire sighed and rolled over on her bed. Squeezing her eyes shut, she recalled the past few hours, and everything in them.

"I was reluctant to consider this possibility," Dona Marcia had said to her. "You see, well, I am a member of the Ariosto family-"

Claire quickly caught on. "And so is the Dodge's secretary." She finished for her.

"Exactly. My cousin - the secretary, that is - is very observant, and can spot a lie from Aquila. You must keep your head down in his presence."

"But won't that cause suspicion?"

"No, you are so young, that it is more polite to avert your gaze from authority."

This seemed more of an excuse to Claire than anything else.

Claire had then glanced at the clock on the far side of the Dona's sitting room. The Ball was in 2 hours, and if they left now they'd be 30 minutes late, which might offend the Doge and foil their mission.

The words were on her lips when the Dona continued. "Now, for your dress. I am afraid the smallest one I have is quite too large for your small structure. However, my seamstresses can work wonders with this kind of thing." Dona Marcia smiled and summoned for a band of young maids to enter the room. She told them to fetch the small gown and trim it so Claire could wear it to the Ball.

Claire bit her lip. "What about my mask?"

"That is completely up to you, my dear."

Claire had quickly skimmed through all the animals to her knowledge. She wanted to be something that resembled her, and the first creature that came to mind was an owl. No, she had thought. An owl is a bird of prey, I am not lethal whatsoever.

Claire was still pondering when a single thought came into her mind.

Mother.

Claire took a sharp intake of breath. She had not thought about her Swashbuckler mother for so long! But now everything came back. Her flowing strawberry blonde hair that she had passed on to her twin daughters. Her deadly skills with both cutlass and rapier, that she had only partially passed on. But the memory that was most clear in Claire's mind, was her mother's driving determination to find El Dorado before the Armada did. When her mother died, Claire and Cassandra both vowed to help find the golden city, and avenge their mother.

That is, to avenge their late mother.

Claire thought of the Swashbuckler's unofficial mascot and declared, "Dona, I would like to be a racoon."

The Dona was only slightly taken aback at this, yet she agreed it would look great on her and nodded to the maids to get started.

The ship dipped again and brought Claire back to reality. She looked out the window and found Padova, where fate was a roller coaster.

Gunner's Mate
Oct 11, 2012
283
Chrissy Th'Blesser on Jan 17, 2014 wrote:
I didn't hear one iota of mean spirit, not to fear. Point taken, thank you for the clarification. Guess I just put too much meaning in the definition of 'Undead Obeah' and blended it into the character. My apologies and I will, if needed, adjust accordingly.
Thank thee. I have been debating whether to change my pen name from the Undead Obeah to say The Court Of Miracles, but Omar is my most developed character, my power player, and my primary voice in the Spiral (even more than my Sorcerer in Wizard). Understandable and forgiven threefold.

And now, back to our story!

Gunner's Mate
May 28, 2013
282
Anne Radcliffe on Jan 19, 2014 wrote:
Anne stiffened in shock as she heard a familiar voice nearby, one she had not expected. Sam?! What was he doing here! She had prepared herself for the possibility that she could be suspected as an imposter, but she had not expected someone here who could recognize her as herself!

Sam was a good friend, one with whom she had spent happy times in conversation or sparring in play, in those times they stepped through the flexible nature of their universes. She usually won any sword-play matches between them, while he usually won when they played backgammon together (a mystifying thing, as backgammon was supposed to be a game of chance between two knowledgeable players). But there was an artless streak to Sam. Anne mentally cringed as she imagined, horrified, at the notion that he might exclaim her name in surprise, alerting the entire ballroom.

Anne pressed herself closer to Alcina, her 'mother', and wished herself invisible, or at least smaller than she really was. Sending an incoherent prayer skyward, her mind muttered frantically 'Don't look at me, don't look at me, don't look at me,' as if somehow Sam could somehow be influenced by her silent thoughts.
"HI!! ANNE!!" Sam cheerfully called out across the crowded room. Everyone turned to look at her. She had somehow changed back into her pirate garb and drawn her sword. She backed away from the masses but behind her were two Armada Dragoons. One reached out and pulled the sword forcibly from her hand while the other clasped both hands on her arms, rendering her helpless. The Doge above shook his head sadly as she was force marched out to the waiting execution ground beside the buffet tables in the garden. Her crew, all dressed in black, stood somberly by, heads bowed.

"GUILTY!" cried Deacon. "Guilty," spoke Bishop. "Guilty," said Rooke.

Anne was swiftly tied to a flagpole while six Armada Musketeers paraded in. They stood in formation, then raised their guns as Orlando, the Doge's son, raised his sword. Sam waved a hesitant 'Hi' from the crowd. Kane then stepped forward and called out. "Ready! Aim! FIR..."

The whole thing had taken but a blink of an eye in Anne's imagination. Her mind reeled as she burrowed further against her 'mother."

'Sam, Sam, please don't see me.'