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 Confederate Masquerade Ball

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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Sun Feb 24, 2008 8:50 am

[All very good stuff here!]
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Sun Feb 24, 2008 9:42 am

Hew wakes up a bit bleary eyed, immediately orders coffee from his house boy Ezekiel. He contemplates the last week. The fortune the rebels required, the ship and crew lost. Getting another frigate crewed and outfitted. Well it is the Sabbath no work today. Hew contemplates going to the bishops sermon. Wise uplifting words to keep up war weary souls. He then notices the new outfit just arrived yesterday from the tailors. Yes, the ball has started. A wonderful idea.
"Ezekiel, Ezekiel, Send word to the Frigate we shall take her to Tampa. Also send word to Jock its time we attended The party at the Madams cat house." He chuckles.
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PostSubject: Gatecrashing   Sun Feb 24, 2008 1:33 pm

The road leading to the main gate of the Chateau Du Chats wound through the lightly wooded hills,The gates lanterns flickered in the distance. The young man on the horse rode as hard as he could thundering up to the gate and then almost falling off in his haste to reach the ground. The sentries presented bayonetted muskets blocking the exausted and bloody young mans approach. Drawing up to his full height he began to speak "In the name of the Highland Confederacy and Captain Seamus O'Flynn let me through that gate,or so help me god i'll shoot the both of you where you stand!" The sentries partially lowered thier muskets as the older of the two spoke. "In the name of Captain O'Flynn?,Who might you be to use that name sir?"
"I am Padriac Collins, Captin O'Flynn's first mate and i need to speak with one of the Confederacy's Captains about a matter of life and death!"
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:28 pm

The commotion behind her, back where the carriages had stopped to let off their guests, startled Chantilly enough to prick up her ears. She heard a vaguely familiar voice, but she couldn't place it...

Her curiosity piqued, she doubled back to the carriages immediately and beckoned the servant she had been following to bring his light down close to the distressed man. She recognized him immediately as Paddy, Monsieur O'Flynn's first mate. They had been introduced once recently, on the docks at Grenville during a chance friendly meeting. She recalled the moment. They had been talking about this very ball, and O'Flynn had only just barely contained his excitement over escorting Cathern Flowers, whom it was obvious he cared for. Chantilly had been happy for him, genuinely so, that at least one friend seemed to have had a stroke of luck in the romance department.

It was a stark contrast to the scene now in front of her. Paddy was injured, perhaps gravely so, bleeding from the wound in his shoulder and crying out with desperation the story of how Monsieur O'Flynn had been captured by the British. Their ship, Le Maudit, was in battle with some British ships when it was caught in a freak storm. In the end, the ship was wrecked and O'Flynn was in enemy hands.

Her blood chilled at the thought, and for the first time she tasted the heartbreak and anger that the Confederates often drank themselves half to death over. The naval battles against the Brits had been over territory and resources, nothing more, but this... O'Flynn was a friend, and his capture had suddenly made this real. Personal.

She crouched down next to Paddy. "Does anyone else know about this?" Chantilly asked him desperately. He painfully shook his head no. She then quickly turned to the servant she had been following. "Take care of this man, please, and send the mistress of the house my regards."

"Shouldn't I tell her of Monsieur O'Flynn?" the servant asked.

Ignoring the question, Chantilly lifted herself swiftly into the driver's seat of the nearest empty carriage behind her, but the bottom of her dress snagged behind her on some loose edge. The sound of the tear cut through to her heart. So much for my dreams, she thought.

"Mademoiselle, what are you doing?" the servant called after her, obviously distressed.

She grabbed the reins and got the horse moving, calling back, "Someone's got to get a happy ending around here!"

In time she made her way back to Tampa, pressing on as fast as she could manage. She had no idea where Cathern Flowers might be, and wasn't sure she'd have much success finding her, but as luck would have it she overheard a group of crewmates out on the docks talking in low voices about their captain being stood up for a ball. She rudely interrupted them, but her rudeness won her the information of Cathern's whereabouts, and she finally reached the room that Mlle Flowers was supposedly staying in.

She knocked on the entrance. A dark girl opened the door a crack and quietly peered out at Chantilly. "Is your mistress here?" Chantilly asked exhaustedly.

"Yes, mademoiselle, but she is asleep," the girl answered.

"Wake her, please. It's important. About Monsieur O'Flynn."
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:53 pm

Whiskey road his mount slowly up the entrance way letting a simple gait take him up the path. He was not one for carriages, one for fancy evenings for that matter, but he wanted to see her. He held his mask tighter than he held the reins.

'Damnit! I have fought through the tempest unafraid. I have watched her fight for the Confederacy in the same battles. Why do I hesitate so now in such simple matters?'

He didn't realize he had made it to the gates till a servant startled him back to this time and place. It was a good thing he didn't know or he might have turned back already. Whiskey dismounted and brushed the dust off his jacket. The servent was used to seeing the finely dressed attendees arriving in their carriages and their finest. This left him at a slight loss. This gentlemen was surely dressed well enough for the occasion, but came with no airs about him.

'Take good care of her' Whiskey stated handing him the reins. 'There is a flask in the sidebag, help yourself my good sir!'

Whiskey went up the path to the Chateau, still unsure. He never knew his mother, barely knew his father. Anyone he cared for had been taken or left. Even in this new found family, he had befriended a lad named Owl funny enough, but he left to become a pirate. No he was done caring. He stopped and turned back. A scent in the air made him change his mind. Honeysuckle? Maybe. Maybe I can care one more time. He turned back and entered the chateau.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Sun Feb 24, 2008 7:18 pm

Josie watched with growing interest as the carriage approached where she was standing, the mysterious stanger still at her side. The carriage rolled to a stop, its luxury evident in the high sheen of its lacquered polish, reflecting torchlight in the dim twilight.

"Madame, I must be off. Please, take this as a token of my esteem..." said the masked man next to Josie, handing her a single flower wrapped in black silk.

Josie received the flower distractedly as she saw the carriage door open amidst a fan faire of trumpets, the announcer nearby projecting his deep baritone voice over the resounding brass notes, saying, "The Monsieur Marchand and his escort the Madmoiselle Lelasque!"

Her face lit up with happiness at seeing the striking couple, her eyes meeting with Serafie's as she stepped out of the carriage, her arm slipped under Monsieur Marchand's. As soon as the announcement of their arrival finished echoing throughout the grounds, Josie gracefully walked up to the pair and curtsied politely, smiling as she did so.

"I am filled with joy to see you two this eve, and thank you for making the trip. And might I say you two look simply ravishing evening!" Josie said in greeting.

Serafie smiled in return, dipping in a small curtsey as she said, "I would not have missed it for the world Josie. I believe you know Monsieur Marchand?" she said, turning towards her escort, a small smile turning up the edges of her lips as she introduced him.

Looking to her friend's side, Josie took in the sight of Monsieur Marchand. He was wearing some of the finest garments she had seen outside of Paris itself, the quality of the cloth and thread unmistakble even from where she stood. He filled the costume just so, and was an impressive sight to behold, to be sure, but something of his posture reminded her somewhat of the Duke that had pursued her in Paris, Lord Alfred Briel. The memory was not a pleasant one, and she tried to put the assosciation out of her mind as she listened to his reply.

"Oui, we have met. Madam Baudelaire" he said, nodding his head slightly towards the ball's hostess, his expression completely neutral behind his exquisite gilded mask.

"Monsieur Marchand, a pleasure" replied Josie, her smile taking on a somewhat fixed expression on her face. She shook off the feeling of uneasiness and turned and lead her freinds into the Château, chatting with them as she did so. "A most wonderous mask Monsieur Marchand, it is Mercury is it not?"

"Why yes, it is indeed..." he replied, obviously pleased that someone might recognize the likeness. "...or Mercurius in Latin, but no doubt you know that, as I have heard you have some small talent with languages."

Smiling, more genuinely this time, and nodding in reply as she walked with them towards the front of the Château, Josie replied, "Some small talent, yes. Mercury, Roman God and Patron of trade and commerce, as well as being the swiftest of them all, and thus given the task of the messenger. Indeed, our word merchant comes from his name as well..."

Serafie smiled, eyes twinkling as she said, "Such fine words. I can see you two will get along quite well." As Josie looked at her she noticed for the first time how flushed and hot her friend looked.

Turning back towards Monsieur Marchand Josie continued however, saying, "It is also the base of the word mercurial, inspired by the self-same God. Meanings include fickle, erratic and volatile, much like the element bearing the same name."

"Please do not forget animated, lively and quick-witted in your list Madame, I would not wish it to be said your education was lacking..." replied Monsieur Marchand, proving his wits were every bit as sharp as his mercurial mask would imply.

"Touché, quite right" Josie replied, a genuine smile settling on her face as they walked through the halls of the Château, coming at last to the large ballroom located adjacent to the flower garden. Josie wasn't certain she would be able to trust the austere Nobleman until she got to know him better, but she could at least enjoy his company and excellent wit while she did so.

Serafie had been eyeing the flower still carried in Josie's arms, and said, "A most beautiful flower, so unusual. Whereever did you get it?"

Pulling her attention away from her thoughts of Monsieur Marchand, she turned distractedly towards her friend walking next to her and said, "Oh, some man gave them to me... Didn't catch his name, it was right as you were arriving..."

She let her eyes fall to the flower she had been carrying with her for the past several minutes in its black silk wrappings. Wrapped in fine black silks, held together by a single bow of black satin, was a long stemmed black orchid. Josie's eyes widened at the rare flower, she herself never having seen one in person before.

Serafie came to stand nearby, saying, "Mon ami, it is beautiful! What is that tucked into the ribbon?" All pairs of eyes moved to the stem of the exotic flower where the black satin ribbon held something secure in place.

Curious, Josie reached down and slipped the small object out from the ribbon, bringing it up before her eyes. Her blood ran cold as she held it in her hand, her eyes locking in place at the small innocent card held before her. It was a playing card...

The Jack of Spades.

For a brief moment, the ballroom disappreared, being replaced with the hellish jungles outside of Carlos Harbor, where she had held a similar card only a few weeks ago. Only that card had been delivered not with a delicate flower, but the butchery of one of her Captains and twenty of her best men.

It took her several moments to realize someone was saying her name, "Josie? Josie? Is anything the matter?" said Serafie, her hand on her friends arm as she shook her slightly, concern written over her face as she did so.

Josie's eyes slid up from the venomous card in her hand as her gaze traversed the room, each masked guest, so pleasant and innocent only moments before, became sinister and threatening...
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:33 am

As the carriage made its way along the road from Tampa to, among other destinations, Le Château des Chats, it passed through countryside that could only be described as picturesque. On either side, the road was flanked by the manicured lawns of the landed gentry’s estates, and the upper branches of the large, old-growth oaks that punctuated them at odd intervals swayed in the light breeze. Beyond the lawns and the trees were the agricultural fields, including vineyards and citrus groves that, during this time of year, were ripe with both color and fruit. Beyond even them stood the estate manors, some of which rivaled in majesty their counter-parts in the great fields of France. Indeed, the scene may have even been emotionally moving… that is, had it, in fact, been visible through the darkness of the night that had fallen. As it was, only the road itself was visible to the carriage’s occupants through its windows, even with the aid of the lamps that hung from its hood.

Despite this fact, and the fact that he had company, Émile deMontfort had not once looked away from the glass pane at his right, for he had once again lost himself in thought. The British, it seemed, were very much determined to make their presence known throughout the New World. Not only had they begun to take French isles as their own in the Antilles, but they also seemed to be preparing to mobilize their armies in the American Colonies to the north. In response, Les Troupes Coloniales had begun their own preparations, and La Flotte Coloniale had even taken it upon itself to conduct several reprisal attacks. Unfortunately, and, at least in Émile’s opinion, due to the impatience of his fellow officers, all of said attacks had ended in failure.

Only when the carriage finally came to a stop in front of the Château did Émile look up and toward his fellow passenger, Marie Marchand, who offered him a tentative smile.
“Please forgive me that I have not been the best of hosts thus far…,” he said as he motioned to the footman outside to leave the door for a moment. “As I am sure you have guessed, I have been a bit distracted, but from this point forward I shall endeavor to make it up to you. Either way, it is time to don our masks.” At that last statement, a smile appeared on his face as he lifted the ornament to its place.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 2:43 am

A carriage in pale blue with silver trim pulls up, with a distinctive argent & azure lozengy device on the door. Two women get out: Lisette von Klein and Dihya Rousseau. Lisette gestures the carriage off and stands in the open while Dihya hesitates, them moves onto the shadows on the porch.

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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:31 am

Campbell never held much regard for public functions. Formal, informal or otherwise, they all left him feeling quite the same...uncomfortable; though his resolve and stoic demeanor did much to hide what deep down amounted to sheer terror. Cursing beneath his breath, he fumbled clumsily with the black cotton tie about his neck which had already begun to feel more like a noose than a required item of clothing...and he’d finished tying it but a few, scant minutes ago. A knock on the cabin door distracted his thoughts momentarily as he half turned…

“Aye…wha is it”, he asked gruffly.

“Your boots, Sir…”, came a rather sheepish reply from the other side of the door, “…I’ve got your boots…Sir”.

“Then bah all that’s Holy, dunno just stand there whisperin’ tae me through the bloody door…bring em’ in!”, he bellowed, irritated now beyond any hope of consolation.

The door opened only slightly, just enough for the boots to be slipped through and then closed again. Stooping over, he picked them up, sat on the corner of his bed and pulled them on. He sat in silence for a moment, staring at the small, black mask that lay on the bed beside him and gave consideration as to any plausible excuse he might come up with which would allow him to avoid the social disaster which must surely lay ahead of him…but none came to mind. These were his comrades and if nothing else, he must attend out of respect for them; so with that bit of resolve, he picked up the flimsy mask, tucked a bottle of Scotch beneath his arm and walked out of the cabin onto the deck of “The Thistle”.

He was greeted by a warm evening breeze and the awkward glances of his crew as they stood in evenly spaced rows along the length of the main deck.

“Captains’ on deck!” bellowed the First Officer as the men snapped smartly to attention. Nodding his approval and giving brief instruction concerning shore leave, provisioning and the evening watches, Argyll mustered all the composure he possessed, walked stiffly to the starboard rail and descended the ladder into the bobbing longboat that would take him to shore.

Once on land, he made his way through the streets of Tampa and onto the road that led to his destination, the Baudelaire Estates. He’d made no arrangement for either carriage nor horse and had decided instead to walk, as he felt it would give him time to compose his thoughts and clear his head; it would also afford him the chance to admire what promised to be a truly magnificent sunset. He strode along at a goodly pace, admiring the pastel hues of the evening sky and the serenade as it were, of a chorus of crickets and various birds as they bid their farewells to the light of day and heralded the coming of night.

Turning at last onto the grand avenue that led to the manor house of Le Chateau des Chats, he paused to once more adjust the damnable noose about his neck, straighten his longcoat and gather his wits. For a moment he looked down at the rather small bouquet of wildflowers he’d picked along the way; he had no notion as to why he’d bothered to pick them at all, but somehow, in their beautiful simplicity, they had appealed to him…and besides, it seemed the correct thing to do. Satisfied that his appearance was as “proper” as he could ever hope it to be, he stepped onto the porch, took a deep breath and knocked firmly upon the door.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:46 am

Now they were going to talk about flowers. Marinus’s attention wandered and was seized by some commotion at the entrance. It was from the look of things the arrival of a new distinguished guest. Marinus watched as this new carriage pulled up at first with detached interest, that is until he saw who it was that emerged from within. None other than the Commodore Emile deMontfort, telling from the uniform, and with him a young lady in attendance who’s attire he recognized immediately.

The dress was memorable if only because she bought it during their last summer in Paris before moving halfway across the face of the globe into what as far as Marinus was concerned was the middle of nowhere. It was otherwise an unremarkable piece of haute couture. He remembered wondering at the time what possible occasion she could have in mind for it. He could honestly say that this was a surprise.

Thinking back to the other day when he asked the Commodore if he could look after his “sister” to keep her entertained during her “visit”, he had never envisioned that she would somehow convince him to take her here. Over in his head turned a line from the book of that famous English bard:

Let it work;
For 'tis the sport to have the enginer
Hoist with his own petard

Some other disturbance snapped him out of his reverie. It was Serafie, who from the looks of things was gravely disturbed something which had overcome their host. Beads of sweat began to form on his forehead under the mask. Now all attention in the room would be on them. Marinus prepared for the worst.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:51 am

Josie stilled her rapid breathing with concentrated effort, her corsette now seeming confining and tight as she fought for breath. She could sense Monsieir Marchand's expression of rolled eyes behind his neutral mask as he saw what for all intents and purposes must have been an attack of the vapors on the delicate constitution of his host. Taking several measured breathes, she was able to look at Serafie, who still held her arm in concern.

"I... it's just quite hot in here. Yes, that's it..." Madam Baudelaire managed to reply, choosing at the last minute not to reveal her true crisis. She trusted Serafie and considered her quite a close friend, but upon looking at her Josie realized the young French noblewoman truly didn't have the first clue about combat and life and death circumstances. That, and if she spoke now it would be unavoidable to not have Monsieur Marchand overhear, and Josie wasn't sure that would be in her best interests, still unable to shake the feeling of unease she got when she was near him.

"But of course Josie. Some water perhaps?" Serafie replied, motioning over one of the waiting attendants without so much as looking at them. One glided over smoothly, a tray of water and several glasses balanced atop their arm.

"Yes, yes that would do nicely..." mumbled Josie, her gaze still darting from face to face in the crowd like some hunted animal. Forcing herself to remain calm, she accepted the glass in silent thanks to the faceless attendant and took several long drinks. The cool refreshing water slid down her throat and brougth peace and calm to her limbs and mind. She sighed, feeling somewhat better as she glass back on the waiting tray that was quickly whisked away. Looking up at her friend Serafie, she reached out and squeezed her hand slightly, saying softly, "Thanks."

"Much better now, no? I have heard it said that in Versailles swooning is quite popular these days, why, I even heard that the Duchesse de Bourgogne swooned when..." spoke Serafie, reassuring her friend in a very conversational manner before being interrupted politely by her escort as he placed a hand on her shoulder slightly.

"A thousand pardons Madmoiselle, but I believe the first dance of the night is about to begin. Would you care to join me?" spoke even tone of Monsieur Marinus, his voice polite and inviting.

Serafie flushed with color, clearly happy by the prospect, but then turned back towards her friend, momentarily torn. Smiling and waving her out to the filling dance floor, Josie said, "Please, do not hesitate on my account. I think I will step outside and get some fresh air..."

Josie smiled as she watched the elegant couple glide onto the dance floor, both showing a grace and intimate knowledge of the various courtly dances of the time. She walked over to the side of the ballroom, standing in the doorway leading to the accompanying flower garden as she stopped to watch the couple dance the first few measures together. Serafie looks so happy... Josie thought, momentarily envious before she shoved the feeling aside. She smiled as she listened to the music.

The dance was a gavotte, and a lively one at that. The dance may have originally been a French folk dance, but Jean-Baptiste Lully, King Louis XIV's court composer for years, had transformed the rustic country dance into something the Nobility had fallen in love with. Josie particularly loved it because it mixed the vibrancy of life in the country with the sophistication of Society, much the same influences that had helped mold her into the woman she was.

Taking her eyes off the glittering couples, Josie stepped out into the warm night air of the flower garden, enjoying the refreshing breeze that blew over her flushed skin. Couples glided through the lantern-lit half light of the garden, several walking along the flower lined paths arm in arm, or choosing to thread their way through the hedge maze for more privacy. Feeling much better, Josie let her mind return to the problem at hand, the reappearance of the mysterious Jack of Spades. She bit her lower lip in concentration, trying to piece together what was going on, and more importantly what she should do about it.

Some of her concern must have shown on the portion of her face visible from underneath her small cat mask, for a voice soon disturbed her, saying, "Somethin be wrong with ye Miss? Mayhaps you need a good slug of Whiskey, always works for me..."

Josie looked up and smiled as she saw her friend and fellow Confederate Whiskey Pete standing alongside her, clearly more comfortable outside under the clear stars than inside the ballroom proper. She looked over at Ballymodan and smiled, admiring his Green Man mask as she did so. Perhaps I should tell him, he seems like the sort that would know what to do... Josie considered...
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:58 pm

'I hope I did not startle you lass. I love Tampa this time of year. The breeze off the water is just the perfect tempature and the air is sweet with the smell of...' Whiskey did not finish the sentence, he just left it hanging to drift in the night winds. 'No not at all, I was just, I needed some air' she answered softly.

'It will do no good ta have our enchanting host in a state such as this!' Josie stared through her mask to see how he was reading her. As if reading her mind right now, Whiskey removed his mask. 'I have done enough hiding behind masks, be they real or not, to know they canna hide what ya really feel'

Ballymodan looked down at Josie's hand. Unaware, she had held the flower so tight, a thorn had made her finger bleed. 'Perhaps this is the source of your pain' he said bringing her finger to his lips. 'Now tell me what be troubling you lass!'
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:02 pm

Holding Annette’s arm on the way to the entrance of the Chateau, he sensed her tenseness in the grip she had on his arm.

"Is everything alright Annette?" he said with a tone of concern. "I am sure a veteran of many battles like yourself wont let a Ball make her nervous, now will it?" smiling to her.

He made every effort to ease her mind. Acting as perfectly a gentleman as he could. Making their way to the doors. The Chateau was simply breath taking, the colors, the smells, all of which he will remember for many years to come. As the couple entered, a fanfair played and they where announced. Taking a pause before entering the main hall he turned to Annette. "Simply a thing of beauty is it not?"

A page guided them to their seats, Roland turned to Annette. "May I?" as he pulled her chair out for her. Taking their seats, his conversation turned to what to expect at a formal Ball. "This ball shale be quite different than those I am accustomed to." "A major change, and quite welcome one at that, will be the lack of Admirals jockeying for attention. Each with their own agenda to put forth with the counsel." With a laugh, "And not to forget the sniveling lower ranked officers each politicking to further their career." "I think I will just sit back and enjoy this ball rather than worrying to further my rank."

The orchestra retuned their instruments and began playing a lively tune. "Ah very nice, a gavotte I believe. I have not had the pleasure since leaving France." Turning to Annette with a sly grin "Shale we dance madam?"
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:17 pm

Josie smiled at rough handsomeness of the man standing across from her. She found his natural confidence disarming, and slowly lowered her mask, revealing her deep blue eyes, sparkling in the low lamplight. Seeing the expectant look on his face, much the same look his ever present parrot wore on his shoulder, she cleared her throat and spoke her mind, speaking in a low voice so only he could hear.

"You are quite right Monsieur..." she began.

"Please, just ye call me 'Whisky' or 'Pete' will do..." he interjected kindly.

"Very well, you are mostly correct Whisky..." She hesitated only a moment before using the name, continuing when she saw his smile at the informality, "This is indeed the source of my pain... or rather almost..." As she finished she produced the Jack of Spades that had been tucked under the ribbon about the flower, holding it out for him to see.

At seeing the card, Whisky squinted his eyes to as he examined it in the low evening light, his brow furrowed in thought. After a length of time he said, "I see... Well, there aint no shame in gambling and losing, happens to all of us from time to time. So, how much you in the hole?" he asked frankly, looking up at her.

"No, no Monsieur..." she began.

"Whisky" he reminded her.

"No, no Whisky, it is nothing like that, I assure you. It is something much darker I am afraid" she said in a low voice. She fell silent as a pair deep in conversation walked by, one dressed as a peacock, the other a robin. Once they had passed, she spoke up once more, saying, "Care to walk with me through the garden?" her eyes still tracking the pair disappearing out of view.

----

Whisky's eyes follwed the disappearing couple and he took the hint in stride, picking up on her suggestion seemlessly saying, "T'would be an honor lass." They walked for a bit, leaving the crowded exterior of Chateau to walk amongst the manifold paths of the flower garden, lit by the various lanterns lining the walkways, as well as the pale moon overhead.

After a length of time, Josie spoke once more, her voice trembling somewhat as she did so saying, "I am afraid Whisky. There is a man here I believe wishes me harm."

"Say the word, and he's a dead man" he replied, his eyes glinting in the pale moonlight.

"It is not that easy Mons... Whisky. You see, he was wearing..." she began.

"...a mask. I see. And this was your gambler then?" he finished for her.

"Not exactly. You see, he likes to leave behind these cards, the Jack of Spades, on the bodies of his victims. This would be the second which I have had the displeasure to have seen..." Josie's eyes misted over as she recalled the previous occassion in detail. Soon words were tumbling out of her mouth in such rapid succession that Whisky had to place his hand on her arm to slow her down. After a good shot of whisky, supplied from his own flask to help 'fortify' her constitution, the whole involved tale of the assault on the Swamprat hide out was retold from Josie's perspective, including the gruesome murder of her late Captain Pascal and the identical playing card that had been left atop the corpse. As she told it, her emotions came washing back over her person, making her heart beat faster as she relived the events.

At the end of the tale Josie felt spent, but somehow better, as if in venting her pent up worry and fear and concern and anger she had expelled the venom of its malcontent from her veins. She stood shivering slightly in the evening air, despite the warm weather. Her skin had goosebumps, as she hugged her arms around her corsetted waist and looked over at the man who had just witnessed her composure fall completely to pieces, but to her surprise he did not seem to think less of her for it, she hoped.

"Mes excuses, Whisky. That was quite unladylike of me. I should not burden you with these details... But... thank you for listening" she said in a low voice, still distraught, but now resonating with a core of steel at its center. She slowly raised her gaze and looked into Whisky's eyes, wondering how he would react to the news.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:32 pm

Bishop Aidan McDermott handed the reins of his half arabian gelding to the chateau's slightly bewildered stable hand and moaned as he kneeded the kink which had formed in the crease of his spine.

"Och tave, what was I thinking forgoing the carriage!" the old bishop thought to himself. "Your vanity will be the death of you yet!"

Aidan snickered to himself as he considered that his real demise may well come from the tongue lashing he would receive from his portly assistant Friar Mooney, when he found that the Bishop had forgone all Church protocol and left for the ball unescorted and unguarded.

"Unguarded indeed" Aidan sighed under his breath as he began for the kitchen enterance of the Chateau. "Neither my wits nor blade are yet so dull that I would need protecting". But deep down he knew that he would have no valid argument for Mooney. A Bishop in good standing with the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo would bring no small ransom and word may have gotten out of his attendance.

Still, the ride proved uneventful if not unpainful and the Bishop paused to dawn his mask. He doubted the gaunt, weeping face it portrayed, nor the tattered robes would be enough to identify him as the recently beatified St. John Capstran just back from the Holy Land, but it would provide an opening for the telling of the story and that was the underlying purpose behind the Bishop's choosing of this costume in the first place. "Oh they are in for a genuine treat as I recount the means by which St. Capistran reformed the Franciscan Order!"

With a self satisifed smile, Bishop McDermott handed his invitation to the door guard and proceeded to help himself to a pastry and goblet of wine from a nearby tray. The guards eyes widened a he read the name on the invitation and begged the Bishop's leave to find a head servant who could ensure his Holiness was properly attended to. "You will do no such thing!" Aidan snapped. "I will not be preened over all evening by some payed wipe nose!" Aidan caught himself and with some effort leveled his voice. At times he simply loathed all the formality that came with his title. "Forgive my temperament but I am not in need of assistance and I pray these dubloons will be enough for you to endulge me in my anonymity?"

The guard, perhaps fearing the eternal reprocussions of denying a man of such divine standing, consented with little persuasion and Aidan made his way to the rear entrance to the ballroom and blended into the back row of guests as he tipped back his mask just enough to fit the pastry underneath.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:34 pm

Malcolm rubbed his shoulder wincing. He had been practicing his fencing with his sparring partner, his firstmate. Normally he could sweep the floor with Tom, but today his mind was off, as was his balance as the reaction.

Tonight was the ball and all day he searched for a reason to go. He was a shy man, very quiet, though his normal clothing suggested him a fine man, wealthy and sociable, his mind suggested otherwise. He could find nought else to do but spar with the firstmate, as through their time together, they had formed a close bond of friendship.

"Are you ok Captain" he said, lowering his blade

Malcolm had been looking down , though now he looked up to Tom.

"Mmm? Oh, yes, I am. Say, what would you do? Would you yourself go to the ball or not? I don't quite enjoy such large crowds. I haven't got a dance partner, why should I go?"

Tom shook his head. Here went Malcolm, continuing to babble on about the ball. He knew Malcolm wanted to go to show his support to the Confederacy, but yet he did not want to go, for lack of willpower.
Often Tom would be the only one that Malcolm would bring his deepest thoughts to. Tom abruptly interrupted Malcolm's babbling and he was silent.

"Cap'n, if I may be so bold, you have been asking me all day, but I cannot answer that, you must answer that yourself. I wasn't invied, but you were. -Also- if you don't, you'll hate yerself and say I should've said something, so go. Get out o here, i'll take care o the rest."

Malcolm put his hand to his chin for a moment and sighed murmering to himself and abruptly dropped his sword into an empty urn and closed the door to his cabin as he entered.

Malcolm then proceded to change into not his finest, but very fine cloths. He then proceded to pick out of an old droor in his cabin, long forgotten, and bring out an old, worn, black mask. He blew on it and looked at it quietly. He sighed.

"Guess it'll have to do."

He then proceded to don his boots and walked outside the cabin. As soon as he stepped on board, all his crew burst out laughing. Malcolm shouted and finally order was restored.

"Enough, enough. You may all do as you wish, though assign two guards for the ship, we don't want it ta be taken naow do we!? Tom'll keep ye in shape.....I hope." he said, turning on his heel and walking off the ship and mounting his horse.

He rode up the streets slowly, watching as little crowds of people snickered at him, though finally he reached the ball. He dismounted and walked to the door, guarded by two men in uniforms. He displayed his invitation and walked into the room quietly, hoping not to draw any attention very quickly, but to mingle a bit and find some of the Confederacy that he accually knew well...
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:59 pm

With the mask of red and black plumage completed, Celena ran excitedly to her mothers boudoir where Aimee sat at her dressing table carefully applying her rouge.

"Mama it is finished, do you like it?" squeaked the girl as she handed the mask to her mother for inspection.

"It is very beautiful my darling, you are indeed quite the artiste" and she kissed her daughter gently on the forehead.

Celena pleaded "Mama, please may I go? I have my new dress and pearl necklace you gave me for my birthday, I promise I will be good"

"I have already given you my answer, now I want you to dress for bed, before I leave I will kiss you good night"

Celena began to pout but did as her mother asked.

Celeste returned with a black laquered box that had a peacock painted in gold on the lid. The maid opened the lid and the contents of the box began to shine with a most dazzling array of color.

"I think I should wear pearls tonight, rubies are my favorite, but I am already wearing enough red and I am not in the mood for emeralds."

Aimee chose two strands of pearls of different lengths with matching pearl drop earrings.

The Captain admired herself in the mirror and was pleased with what she saw. She then slipped on her long black gloves and her black silk cloak that was trimmed with ermine (a treasure she had liberated from an undiservering English noble).

When Aimee entered her daughters room she found the little girl already in bed with the coverlet pulled up to her chin.

"You look beautiful mama" Celena whispered.

Aimee smiled and sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked her daughters curly black hair then gently kissed her daughter whispering "Good night". She closed the little girls door and walked downstairs to wait for the coach in the parlor.

"I think I will go to bed early tonight" sighed Celeste who looked pale and very tired. "I believe I may be catching that fever you had mon ami".

"You look ill, you should rest, I will make you some tea" Aimee hurried to the kitchen to ask cook to make a cup of tea for her friend.

Meanwhile a little shadow crept down the stairs, across the foyer, and out the front door. In the distance the sound of hoof steps could be heard getting louder until they stopped in front of the house. The footman rang the bell of the residence while the little shadow slipped inside of the dark coach unseen.

"Here you are Celeste, go to bed and rest. Celena is most likely asleep by now so there is nothing for you to worry about" spoke Aimee as she handed the cup of hot tea (with leaves liberated from another undiserving Englishman) to her friend.

"I don't need to worry about Celena, she is a good girl, its YOU I have to worry about" scowled Celeste and Aimee just laughed. "Promise you will stay out of trouble, and I mean it, I am not just saying that"

"I promise, no don't give me that look, I will stay out of trouble, I give you my word" As she said this, Aimee walked out the front door and into the carriage. She leaned out the window and waved to her friend as the coach began its journey to Le Chateau des Chats.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:20 am

[Out Of Character: The Ball is going much better than I had anticipated, and many people are just arriving. I had originally thought to end posts after a week, but that clearly isn't a good idea any more. I would like to extend it another few weeks, Real-Life Side-Real Time, to allow the storyline to progress. Several people are just showing up, and it would be unfair to stick to the original schedule. In addition don't worry too much about the timeline in the Ball - consider it movie magic timeline. Events happen one after another in order of the posts, yes, but it is entirely possible to mount a daring raid and make it back in time for the final dance. I mean, haven't we all seen that movie a dozen times? *grin*]


----

The Ball was begining to truly begin, the second number of the night bringing fresh couples flocking to the dance floor. Madam Baudelaire had been quite contreversal in her arrangement of the dance suite, and had chosen to lead with a gavotte and then follow it up with the more traditional allemande that would normally have started off the night. This radical departure from tradition already had several individuals speaking in hushed tones about their hostess' obvious subversive tendancies. To most of the actual Confederate's present they simply rolled their eyes at this bit of courtly trivia, instead choosing to listen to the actual music being played.

The allemande began in earnest, its distnictive Germanic influence quite audible in the strong notes resonating throughout the hall. Soon the couples were whirling throughout the dance floor, the ladies dance cards begining to fill for the night as the milling Society slowly made their way to the ballroom, flitering in from outside and deeper in the building. The evening began to take a more rowdy, festive air as the wine and spirits did its work, picking up where the dancing and whirling left off. The occassional shrill cry of joy was easily heard over the music and coversation, each competing for dominence.

----

Unseen in the corner behind his weeping mask was a discrete man weaing tattered robes. No one would have seen him, or indeed did, unless they too were trying to be in a place where none would notice them. It came as a surprise to both the masked Bishop, as well as the diminuative form of the two small girls at his feet, when they bumped into each other. The Bishop couldn't help but smile at the two small culprits caught red handed, still in their evening pajamas, sneaking down to the pastry table the beatified St. John Capstran sat beside observing the proceedings.

The trio locked eyes for a moment, the two girls, one aged seven or eight by Aidan's estimation, the other only about three, looked terrofied, croissant held in their hands, cookie in the other. The moment seemed to stretch into an eternity, the girls looking up at the weeping mask, faces drained of color. Then in an instant it was broken, and they bolted, but not before the Bishop placed his foot on the hem of the eldest girl's nightdress. The girl tried to pull away, but was only able to slip under the nearby table, her gown stretched to its point under the Bishop's foot.

Foot still in place, he leaned over and lifted up the tablecloth hanging over the side of the hors devours table, revealing the pair of startled youngsters, their faces more defiant now than scared. He smiled as he slowly pulled away his mask, saying kindly, "You dropped your hard earned sweets in your haste to get away. We musn't have that..."

The girls looked down at the ground next to the Bishop. Sure enough, there lay their illicitly obtained goods. He could see their eyes staring at them longingly. Releasing his foot slowly while looking at them, he said, "Well, don't just sit there. Get them."

Hesitant at first, the pair approached, snatching the sweets from the floor with lightning speed. Just as they did so the Bishop moved his foot back into place on the girls dress, saying, "Now, now, hand them to me please."

The eldest thrust out her jaw like she might object, but her younger sister wimpered and offered up her pastry. After that the edlest followed suite. The two stood there in abject depression, waiting for their punishment to be handed out. They were quite surprised when the older gentleman seated before them carefully selected two replacement delectibles, taking care to get the choicest morsels, before turning and handing them to their outstretched hands. Smiling, he lifted his foot for good and said, "We mustn't have you eating off of the floor like common animals now, can we?"

Already shoving their mouths full of sweets, they spoke around mouthfuls of food, "N-no *munch* M-monsieur *munch*".

Making tsk tsk sounds, the Bishop observed their behavior and smiled. "Let me guess, you must be Madam Baudelaire's wards, no?" The pair nodded their heads in unison, wiping crumbs from their hands and mouth as they did so. "Well, something tells me its ever so slightly beyond your bedtime. Run along now."

They hesitated for a moment, then curtsied clumsily before snatching another pair of treats off the table and sprinting off through the crowd towards the stairs heading upstairs once more. Aidan smiled as he watched them go...
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 12:12 pm

Any formality that Whiskey had in coming here was all gone at this point. Without asking, he removed his jacket and placed around her shoulders. She gave a half smile and another shiver. He reached over and held her. It bothered neither one of them that there was silence. If Josie had any doubts about him thinking less of her, these fears were cast aside.

Whiskey admired the strength she showed. His father had taught him to be strong and independent, but he also taught him there is strength in asking for help when needed. If anything, he thought more of her now.

If even possible, the new moon reflected off her eyes making them shine a brighter blue. He almost forgot where he was when he finally spoke.’ Madam,’ ‘Josie’ she interrupted smiling. It was only fair at this moment as there was no formalities. ‘Josie, I must admit I be having unease about this situation that I dunna like lass.’ He realized he was still holding onto her and took a small step back as if to get serious.

‘We have no idea who this mysterious stranger tis, and that puts us at a wee disadvantage. Without knowing more, I fear that yer in danger and we must be getting you out of here.’ Josie started to say something about the ball, but realized that they were not being missed right now. The festivities were in full swing and no one had come looking. With the masquerade, it would be easy not to be missed.

‘The Emerald Vengeance is berthed in Tampa. It will take me no time to have the Raa ready to sail. I suggest we ride to me distillery and I’ll have the crew make ready.’ Any hesitations that Ballymodan had about being here were washed away in the situation.

He continued on. ‘ A man like this dunna work alone. I fear there are spies as a minimum on your property now. We shouldn’t be taking a carriage, can ya ride?’ Before Josie could retort, he realized the foolishness of the question. He smiled, ‘Sorry M’la..Josie. Anyone who can command like you can obviously ride.’ She smiled back and said ‘This way.’


Last edited by Whiskey Pete on Tue Feb 26, 2008 3:53 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:08 pm

Josie took confidence from Whisky's words, walking with him as she felt warmth return to her person from his generously offered coat. She could hear the distant sounds of the alamande floating out from the open doors of the ballroom, drifting lazily acorss the garden and surrounding grounds. Whisky, by her side, kept his eyes moving from person to person along the path, searching for any sign of danger.

Heaving a sigh, Josie spoke at length, her voice confident, resolved to face the danger presented to her, saying, "Whisky... I... I can not leave. This is my home. If I am not safe here, I will not be safe anywhere on the Caribbean I fear."

Turning to face her, Whisky looked at her in consternation, clearly worried for her person. "Ye cannot stay here lass..." he began.

She held up her hand, stilling his words gently as she said in a soft voice, "Please... I have been running all of my life. I fled from Paris to my Family Estates in Champagne, only to flee here to the New World, here to my Family's Chateau. I... I can not leave" she finished simply.

Looking up into his eyes, full of challenge, she continued, "I would not have it be said that a Baudelaire fled from her own estates upon the receipt of a single flower. Oh, the rumors and things that would be said..."

Whisky cursed under his breath as he said, "I dunna care for rumors one bit, an neither ought you Josie, when life is at stake..."

Suddenly Josie stopped in her tracks, her mind alighting upon the one thing that could hurt her more than any other... the girls. Whisky had stopped, looking at her with concern as her frame went rigid.

Josie blurted out, "Emily... Elizibeth!" as she spritned forward, using both hands to hike up her long black gown so that she might run at speed along the path, Whisky's coat falling off her shoulders in her haste to return to the Chateau.

Called to action, Whisky sprinted after her, hands moving to his side to pat the reassuring weight of his few remaining weaopns he had brought with him, formal ball or no. Perhaps tonight I will get to dance after all he thought And this time I know the steps... He easily caught up to Josie as she entered a servants entrence at the side of Chateau, making for the stairs heading towards the upstairs rooms with all haste, bumping a few startled guests out of the way as she did so...
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:09 pm

Aidan watched with a smile as the two girls made thier way up the stairs but just as he was about to turn his attention back to the ball he noticed a masked figure near the base of the staircase. The "guest" watched the girls accend before glancing about to see if anyone may be paying attention. He then nudged another larger set masked figure beside him and both waited but a few moment before casually proceeded up after the girls.

While the masked figures could have been anyone and there was probably no need for alarm, Aidan's roll as councellor had developed within him a certain sensitivity to the manorisms of others. And beyond that he truely felt it wise to be open to the leading of the Spirit in all matters and this case was no exception.

A sickly feeling suddenly arose within him and the old Bishop accepted it's prompting without hesitation. He made his way through the crowd to the base of the stairs. By this time neither the childeren nor the masked figures were any longer in sight and the top of the curving staircase was cast in flickering shadow.

The old Bishop reached to loosen his sword only to realize it was not part of his attire. "Hrm, well, I'm sure there is nothing to the matter in any case" Aidan thought to himself "But just a quick look to be safe".

Aidan casually accended the staircase but as he reached the top, the larger of the masked figures stepped forward out of the shadows about ten paces down the hall.

"I think you have got yourself turned around friend." The man said in a rough voice. "The festivities are all downstairs."

Pulling off his mask Aidan started forward with a slight hobble. "Forgive this old man but the excitement of the ball seems to have been a bit much for me and I am just looking for a quiet spot to lay down for a while... to clear my head you understand.. and I assumed..."

Aidan was only a few paces away from the man now when the second figure stepped out of the shadow. He held the younger girl with one hand over her mouth while another had a knife agianst her throat. It was then that Aidan noticed another unmoving bundle laying still on the floor behind them, almost fully lost in shadow.

"You picked a poor time for a nap grandfather" said the man with the knife. "Now if you value the lives of these girls you will not make so much as a sound and move slowly this way".

The old Bishop kept his wits and dropped his mask at the head of the stairs in feigned shock before making his way quietly forward with a silent prayer to St. Brendan on his lips.

The first man had now pulled a long knife of his own and gave Aidan as wide a berth as the hall would allow as he motioned him past. If circumstances were different, Aidan would have chanced seizing the knife but could not put the girl at risk. So gave the girl a reassuring smile and reluctantly he made his way past the man.

The unmoving bundle proved to be the younger girl who the scoundrel with the long knife easily hoisted under his free arm and the group made thier way at the prompting of the more slender of the two villians towards the girls room.

"St. Brendan give me the opportunity and strength to act" Aidan thought as they all entered the room.


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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:35 pm

OOC: Because the set of events that I initiated above may cause either a disturbance or end to the ball, I should mention that they could be happening as a seperate timeline later in the evening so that the others enjoying the ball, and the casual RPing, don't have to be interrupted and can continue thier conversations and their own stories. Cause things are just getting warmed up at this party, I'd hate to cause an end to the festivities too soon but a good opportunity from Madam B's previous post presented itself. So I'll leave it up to the good Madam if she wants this bit of drama to continue in a seperate thread.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:03 pm

Neither worried about niceties at this point. Whiskey was about to yell 'get out of the way' but realized it was a moot point as he watched Madam Baudelaire push through. He did his best to keep up with this woman possessed with a purpose. Although it seemed forever, they were quickly at their destination.

Whiskey wanted to be the first through the door, but there was no holding her back. 'JOSIE!' but she did not hear. Without thought, Whiskey drew his twin swords from their sheath and burst in the hallway after her. He saw her standing there outside the girls' room, almost frozen. He knew it was not from fear, but rage.

He knew immediately it had to be the stranger.


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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:49 pm

[Out of Character: No problem at all good Bishop! Since the vents are happening "upstairs" they needn't upset the delicate social sensibilities of the Ball as long as they are resolved without too much fuss. I like the idea of intrigue happening just below the surface of an otherwise pleasant ball, like some spy thriller or murder mystery. As it so happens, Whisky and I are just about to make an entrence, so without further adieu...]

----

Josie pounded up the stairs, her blood pounding in her ears as she feared for the worse. She kept trying to tell herself she was panicing over nothing, but her instincts told her otherwise. Behind her she could make out the heavy footsteps of Whisky, that had caught up with her easily. In her hurry to make the stairs, she bumped into several guests, realizing only belatedly that she had bowled over the Exchequer from Grenville, and knocked into the backside of a well dressed female Captain. Lisette looked up in frustration from her conversation, her words dying on her lips as she saw the perplexing sight of her hostess dashing up the stairs, gown hiked up to her knees as Whisky Pete followed closely behind. She blinked rapidly, attempting to check the accuracy of her vision as they disappeared up the steps.

"What do you think that was all about?" Dihya asked curiously, refilling her friends spilled drink for her.

"I have no idea... But I could have sworn it looked like Whisky was chasing Madam..." she let her voice trail off, then started to chuckle.

----

Taking the steps of the servants stairs two at a time, Josie appeared at the end of the long upstairs hallway, opposite the end that the good Bishop had entered which was used by the normal guests and members of the household. What she saw chilled her heart, causing it to skip a beat.

The door to the girls room slowly closing, a discarded mask lying in the hallway outside ominously. As Whisky came to stand beside her she brought a single finger up to her lips, motioning him to be as quiet as possible. He nodded to her once, his eyes glinting with avarice as he fingered the blade in his hand. Josie had no idea where he might have acquired the weapon, but was happy that he had. Josie reached down and slipped off her dance slippers, padding down the hallway unheard over the sound of the music and merriment floating up from below. Whisky surpised her by moving exceptionally quietly for a man in boots, following close behind.

Josie knelt and picked up the mask lying in front of the girls bedroom door, examining it briefly as she did so. Strange, I don't recall the man who gave me the black orchid wearing this mask... she thought. Her thoughts were interrupted as she heard the muffled sounds of voices coming from inside the girls room. Motioning Whisky into place beside the door, Josie carefully placed her ear to the door and held hear breath, listening...

"I didn't mean to make any trouble, I was just...." came rich, powerful voice of an older man.

I swear that voice sounds familiar Josie thought.

However, before she could place the voice one she did recognize spoke up, saying, "A pity for you that you did then, old man." The masked man! Josie realized, her heart going cold as her worse fears were realized as she continued to listen to his next words, "Ten, make it fast. We must away before long. Kill the little one first, I want grandpa here to watch..."

Without thinking, Josie burst into the room, screaming, "Noooo!"

Time seemed to slow to a crawl as she pushed herself into the darkened room, lit only by the one half open window. The slender masked man whom had given her the black orchid, his face covered by a mask depicting a black joker, was in the process of putting a gag into an older man's mouth, yet was distracted by her headlong rush into the room, his head turning in her direction as he did so. Across the room from him was the struggling form of Elizibeth, being held down to the bed by a large brute of a man, a wicked dagger held over his head gleaming in the dim light.

Several things seemed to happen at once. The good Bishop took advantage of his opponents distraction to knee him in the groin, knocking the gag out of his hands as he did so. The rogue doubled over, but not before straight arming the Bishop back into a nearby chest of drawers, sending the Holy Man and the wardrobe tumbling over with a crash. Nearly simultaneously the brute turned, staring dumbly at the doorway as Whisky stepped lightly into the room, flicking a dagger forward with a snap of his wrist. The well balanced blade tumbled end over end, embedding itself up to the handle in brute's forearm, causing him to cry out and drop his blade.

Josie screamed and threw herself at the slender rogue before her, all thoughts of civilized confrontation gone from her as she descended directly to primal instinct, fight or flight and the defense of one's children, adopted or no. The man was still reeling from the bash to his lower section Aidan had given him, and was subsequently not ready for the headlong charge Josie gave him, as ridiculous as it would have look to see a slight woman in a formal ball gown launch herself at you. One look at her face would have cured you of any illusions you may have entertained about its humorous nature however. Her face was set to kill.

The two went crashing into each other, tumbling over in a crash of furniture as they landed on a nearby chair and splintered it to pieces beneath their combined weight. Josie ripped his mask from his face, her long nails biting deep into his flesh as they left five bloody streaks across his face, causing blood to flow into his eyes. Despite her fury, he was by far the stronger opponent, and had managed to produce a small blade from somewhere, slashing up at her as they rolled to a stop against the wall opposite the room. Josie gasped as she felt a slight pain in her chest, as well as cool air on her exposed skin. She looked down to see her corsette fall away, her bodice ripped open with a small line of blood beading on her belly. If it hadn't been for the metal ribbing of the corsette... she realized, looking up at the blade in the rogue's hands.

----

Across the room the brute had recovered somewhat, grinning widely as he turned and looked at Whisky, revealing rows of rotten black teeth, not being slowed by the wound one bit. Whisky cursed and ran at the man, swinging his right fist in a vicious arc as he did so. The blow landed squarely on the brute's jaw, sending his head cracking to the side in a spray of blood and spittle.

Whisky rubbed his hand as the massive man slowly turned his head back towards him, grinning maniacly with a now toothless grin. Reaching out with both meaty hands, the brute grabbed Whisky by the neck, trying to choke him. Whisky managed to get his hands up and wrapped around the massive man's forearms, trying to pry his clammy fingers off of him, but to no avail. The brute was simply too strong. He soon felt his strength failing, a red haze coming before his eyes and a rushing sound filling his ears.

----

Josie tried to dodge backwards, but stumbled over her now ripped gown that hung about her in shambles. The rogue reached out with snake like quickness and grabbed hold of her dress, ripping it as he pulled her towards him, knife posied to strike. She will never forget that manic look in his eyes, his face, so elusive up until this moment, now burnt forever more into her memory. She saw death come rushing for her, and steeled herself to meet its cold embrace.

Just then she saw a flicker of movement, and from no where a parrot, of all things, flew into her opponents face, squaking and beatings its wings about his head. Arthur had bought her precious seconds as she scrambled backwards, holding her dress to her front with one arm as they other searched behind her as she pushed herself backwards with both of her feet, sliding backwards across the floor.

Snarling, the rogue slashed at the bird, causing it to lose several feathers and fly out of range, no longer hampering him. Snarling, he looked over at Josie as she scrambled away from him, his eyes glinting as he leered at her, saying, "On second thought, perhaps we will be staying a while Ten. Looks like I have a little kitty cat to teach a lesson or two about life..."

A loud voice called out, "That is no way to speak to a lady you vile heathen!" The rogue looked up in surprise at the form of the Bishop in the corner of the room, who had extracted himself from the shattered wardrobe and held something in his arms.

An instant later there was a loud CRACK as the girls mahogony jewlery box smacked into his forehead, thrown by the expert arm of the good Bishop. The Rogue stumbled backwards, clutching at his face in pain as he staggered visibly.

----

Gasping for air, Whisky slid his hands away from the large brutes wrist, coming into contact with something hard and cold lodged there. The knife! he realized. Wrapping his hand around it with the last of his strength, he yanked it free in a bloody fountain and then hauled his arm back, launching it forward with every ounce of energy left to him. The blade entered the side of the brute's head, piercing his cranium just behind the eyes and travelling sideways into his head, lodging itself fast in the bone. He still wore the idiot expression of manic glee even as his large form slumped wordlessly to the side, careening into the floor as Whisky choked and forced air back into his lungs, hands rubbing his bruised neck.

----

Josie stood, facing the staggered rogue, Aidan at to her left, Whisky to her right, as she said, "Your time is done here Monsieur. I am afraid I can not allow one such as you to live..." Her voice was cold, drained of emotion, the voice of a killer made at last.

The man must have heard that tone before, and if he had any doubts, they were erased as he looked into her eyes, and those of her two companions. For a moment they locked eyes, his jet black to her azure blue. In a low tone he said, "You may have won this dance, Madam, but the suite is not over yet..."

A moment before Josie realized what he was going to do, the dextrous rogue turned and leapt through the half open window, tumbling off the roof in a shower of tiles and disappearing into the warm night air. Whisky went to follow him, but found himself sorely out of breath from his near choking. Aidan made it to the window and then steadied himself against it, looking down to the black jokers mask crushed under his foot. Josie simply turned and rushed to the two small girls, wrapping them in her arms and letting herself weep for joy, if for nothing else.

----

In the darkness outside of Tampa a lone horse sprinted through the night, carrying its wounded passenger in a headless crash through the underbrush and woods, pursued by a half dozen riders that would search the entire night trying to find his trail, but to no avail...


Last edited by Madam Baudelaire on Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:30 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   Tue Feb 26, 2008 5:27 pm

Aimee sat silently in the pitch blackness of the coach. She began to think she should have stayed home, she was very late, and not even fashionably so. She opened her purse made of red silk with an embroidered fleur de lis which matched her gown perfectly, and searched for her invitation.

"Damn, I forgot the invitation!" hissed Aimee in frustration.

"It's alright mama, I have it here" whispered a small voice.

"Celena! You little imp, you are supposed to be in bed" Aimee reached intot he darkness and pulled her daughter into her lap. Celena began to cry and shake, she never liked to displease her mother.

"Im sorry mama but I wanted to go so very much, I wore my new dress, see mama, and I did my hair myself, please do not be mad at me"

Aimee sat quietly, unsure what to do or what to say, she could never be really mad at her beloved daughter. "Besides" she thought to herself, "Its my fault for indulging her every whim"

"Well we are almost at the party, we will stay for a short time, one dance maybe, and then go home, I am very disappointed in you and tomorrow we shall decide your punishment..."

"Thank you mama" for the little girl knew her mother would never punish her.

Aimee looked outside and spied the blaze of lights and the sound of music and laughter. They had arrived.
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PostSubject: Re: Confederate Masquerade Ball   

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