• Closed • Masked Ball: A Secret Meeting

Tristan meets somebody important.

The capital city of the of Rynmere, here is seated the only King in Idalos.
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Tristan Venora
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Masked Ball: A Secret Meeting

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That serving girl was really one of a kind! Tristan had only asked her to dance with him because he was masquerading as the king and wanted to cause a scandal by being seen in the company of the least noble looking woman in the entire building. She had turned out to be a better dancer as well as better at flirting than most of the rich and famous people around them though. He was pretty sure that she would even be able to give his good friend Lucille from the House of Roses a run for her money. He had never had so much fun at a ball before!

Initially he hadn’t been sure if he should meet her again. He had been worried that she would realize that he wasn’t the king, but just a random noble with a gaudy mask and a wig that he’d borrowed from the theatre, but he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her. Besides, she probably already knew who he was anyway since she had been mentioned in that letter. So he looked for her again towards the end of the ball to dance with her some more as well as do a few other things that he definitely hadn’t expected he’d ever be doing at an event like that. Of course that didn’t mean that he’d abandoned his plan to cause a scandal. On the contrary, it was still on the forefront of his mind!

He bowed to her, much like he imagined that King Cassander would bow to a lady before he offered her his arm and led her to the middle of the dance floor where they would hopefully be the center of attention. He twirled her around for a few moments before he abruptly pulled her close and kissed her passionately, hoping for a few shocked looks and at least one old-fashioned, stuck-up noble lady fainting. And then he whispered in her ear, “Shall we go? I don’t think we should make them wait any longer!”

The other ball guests, he thought and smirked, would probably think that the mysterious man whose hair looked so much like the king’s was going to sleep with a woman that was far below his station and that had made rather obvious and inappropriate advances. He definitely wouldn’t mind if it came to that, but first he had to meet a very important person. That very important person was probably already growing impatient and wondering where he was and if he had really received the message.
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The serving girl had dropped a beautifully executed curtsy, taken his arm and joined him on the dance floor. She turned out to be an excellent dancer and an even better kisser. She returned his kiss with passion and enthusiasm, raising her arms to wrap them behind his neck as she pulled herself as close to him as it was possible to be. There were, indeed, gasps of surprise and as the servant let out a low groan of pure desire, she looked at him with a decidedly mischievous look in her eyes. She knew exactly what he was doing, it seemed, and she was playing along quite beautifully.

When he whispered in her ear, she gently nipped at his earlobe and whispered back, "I think we should, yes. Have we caused quite enough of a scandal for you?" With an expression something akin to an angelic imp, she pulled back and ran her hands down his chest, ostensibly straightening his shirt. "Lord Venora," she smiled and slipped her arm into his. They exited, and Tristan (plus most of the other party goers) would know that this moment, was very likely to be one of the highlights and talking points of the masked ball for some time to come.

She led him through the corridors, stopping now and then if he felt so inclined, up two flights of stairs until they were outside an average looking wooden door. The serving girl stepped forward and opened it, then stepped to one side and let him in before following him.

The woman who was sitting in the room turned from the desk where she had been writing something. She saw Tristan and she stood up, a smile on her face. She glanced at the serving girl and smiled. "Thank you so much, my dear. You are, as always, invaluable."
"That's more than alright." The girl's hand trailed over his arm and she looked up at Tristan with a smile. "It was fun. Would you like me to stay, Lord Venora? Or I can return later?" She seemed quite keen to do that.
"Indeed. The room is yours for the evening, Lord Venora, if you wish it," the existing resident of the room spoke in a calm tone. She gestured for him to take a seat and, when the serving girl in question had poured them both a drink, the woman who had been waiting for him spoke.

"Lord Venora. We are interested in hearing what you think of the current political situation and, specifically, the situation in your family. However, we are aware that walls, as they say, have ears." Gesturing around the room, she handed Tristan a piece of paper. On it was written a name.

"Your loyalty to the crown is not in question. We know, without a doubt, how loyal you are. Therefore, we would appreciate your thoughts on the loyalty of that individual. Would you help us, please?"

Emerson Sands looked at him and smiled.


..... and when it was reported back to him, the Silent Watcher frowned.
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Masked Ball: A Secret Meeting

“There are a few more things we could have done“, Tristan whispered back to the girl. “But it’s still a pretty good scandal, everything considered.” He allowed her to slip her arm into his and walked with her. He only stopped once, not because he found walking up the stairs so exhausting, but because he wanted to kiss her again before he entered the room. She wasn’t only a fantastic dancer, she also seemed to have a sense of humor!

He hesitated for a moment as he saw Emerson Sands standing there. He couldn’t help but think about the curse that supposedly befell those that looked at her and whether it ever affected women or men that had absolutely no interest in women, but then he inwardly chided himself and told himself to focus. She was unlikely to curse him when she wanted something from him, besides, he had never been cursed before, so it would be quite an enlightening experience!

As the Empress addressed the girl, he raised an eyebrow and looked at her. Apparently, he realized, he had been correct in his assumption that they had worked together before. “You can return later, when I’m done talking to the Empress”, he told her and smiled at her. He’d leave the choice up to her. “If that’s what you want. I’m sure that you have a lot to do. There’s just one more thing I would like to know. What’s your name?”

He had realized that he had never asked her about that. It didn’t seem fair that she knew exactly who he was and he knew nearly nothing about her, especially if they were going to meet again later that evening.

<><><>

He had been wondering what exactly the Empress wanted from him. She had mentioned something about friends in House Venora in her message, but nothing more than that. He took a sip from his glass before he turned to read the paper. For a few trills he actually wondered if he should be nervous, but then he decided that he didn’t really feel like being such, although it would have been a good excuse to drink some more. Instead he merely looked thoughtful. He had been wondering about his cousin for some time.

Another man, he realized, would probably have hesitated upon being posed such questions and maybe even ask certain people for forgiveness, but Tristan rarely hesitated where doing what was necessary was concerned, although his heart did begin to beat slightly faster. This was different from writing plays, making naked sculptures of celebrities and lying on top of the king to shield him from the man that wanted to stab him.

Taking a deep breath, he spoke, “Alistair Venora is, I believe, loyal to the crown.” Having said that, he handed the piece of paper back to Emerson before he continued, “I know that his personality and the way he handles himself tend to give people cause for concern, and he opposes certain well-established practices such as slavery, but I am convinced that he ultimately has the king’s best interests at heart.”

“He didn’t support his sister when she married Veljorn Burhan and sought to become queen although he would have gained a great deal if the rebellion had been successful. His actions during the civil war speak clearly of his utter devotion to the crown. His Royal Majesty need not be worried about him becoming a threat.”

“Alistair’s main interest is and has always been Venora.”
With that he stopped and looked at Emerson, determined. He didn’t have any actual proof of Alistair’s loyalty or disloyalty yet – it was more of a gut feeling than anything else – but he’d find a way to prove it eventually.
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When Tristan told her that she could return if she wanted, the servant slid her arm around him and kissed him deeply, apparently unmindful of the Empress, who in turn appeared unperturbed. "I want," she purred. Her smile suggested that he was rather endearing for asking and then he asked her name. She glanced at the Empress, who nodded. "Lianne. My name is Lianne, Lord. I'll see you later." She dropped a deep curtsy to the Empress and then ran out of the room.

Emerson Sands listened, avidly, to Tristan's words and she smiled. "Lord Venora you are, without doubt, one of the most delightful men that I have ever met. It is reassuring to us to hear your words on your cousin." She smiled at him, her expression careful and controlled but nonetheless friendly. "There is going to be a surprise at the end of this party, Lord Venora, something which will hopefully be the cause of celebration. I would like it immortalised in a play."

The Empress looked at him and tapped her finger against her chin, apparently in thought. "Lianne has ambitions to be an actress. Maybe she could help you with this play, Lord Venora? I will commission it and fund it. Perhaps, after the ball, say at the beginning of Ashan you could visit me and give me some ideas you have come up with in the meantime?"

With a soft chuckle, though, the Empress looked rather amused at the next statement she made. "Although, I must warn you, I like to be involved and so may need to meet with you on a regular basis. Does that sound acceptable to you, Lord Venora?" She couldn't quite hide the pleasure in her expression at the situation they had in front of them.
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Masked Ball: A Secret Meeting

Tristan beamed at the Empress as she called him one of the most delightful men that she had ever met. The topic that they were discussing was of course a very serious one, but that didn’t mean that you had to look as if somebody had died. Everything was better with a smile in his opinion.

“Oh?” he made as she mentioned a surprise and raised an eyebrow. He was about to ask her what kind of surprise it would be, but then he realized that it wouldn’t be a surprise anymore if she told him, so he kept his mouth shut, nodded and tried to contain his curiosity somehow.

“I would love to write a play for you!” he informed her. He’d originally planned on making his next play a sequel to “A Royal Tragedy” because “A Royal Tragedy” had been so successful, and successful plays should always have sequel in his opinion, but something that was about actual real life events might be an even better idea, especially if Emerson Sands was involved.

Of course, he considered, it was entirely possible that “play” was a code for something else, and they would not be talking about his art (She had said something about the walls having ears), but he decided not to waste too many thoughts on that right now.

“I had no idea that Lianne wanted to be an actress”, he admitted and briefly looked at the door through which the girl had disappeared. He could still feel where she had kissed him. Lianne, he decided, was a woman after his taste, although she was of course no Ilaren or Faith.

“I think she’d be good at it though. I’ll definitely ask her for help”, he decided as he turned back to the Empress. “And I have no problem with regular meetings. On the contrary, I think it’s a good idea for us to talk on a regular basis. It’s an important topic after all.”
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Emerson Sands smiled in delight. "Thank you, Lord Venora. I am truly touched. I am sure that His Majesty will be delighted too. I wish it to be a gift to him, this play." Her expression was mischievous and Tristan might notice that he'd been looking at her quite a bit but hadn't, as far as he knew, fallen in love with her. Must be a legend, rather than the truth, then! The Empress simply nodded her head. "Lianne does indeed have great ambition and greater talent, Lord Venora. I'm sure that you'll find her help truly invaluable." Was 'a play' code for something else? Well, he didn't ask and she wasn't telling him.

"So, between now and the beginning of Ashan, you and Lianne work together and I'll look forward to you coming to see me then." She smiled at him, obviously pleased with his words and his decisions. Then, her expression turned serious again as she said something which she felt needed saying. "His Royal Majesty and I are very grateful for such loyal friends, Lord Venora. We truly are. If we can ever show our gratitude, please, don't hesitate to ask."

Standing then, Emerson Sands looked around the room and her lips lifted in a soft smile. "I trust that you and Lianne will have a long and happy collaboration," which appeared to be the best word for it. "I will bid you good evening, Lord Venora and I look forward to seeing you soon."

With that, she bade him farewell and opened the door to step out of the room, although she stepped aside before exiting as Lianne came back in. Evidently, the serving girl had been waiting outside. Emerson glanced back as Lianne walked over and slipped her arms around Tristan, kissing him passionately.

"Have a good evening, both of you." Emerson Sands said and Lianne grinned up at him as her hand strayed to the top button of his shirt and her eyes looked at him questioningly.

"Sounds like a good idea to me. What about you, Lord Venora?" Her eyes glinted mischief as she waited to see his reaction.
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Masked Ball: A Secret Meeting

“I’m only doing what is right, Empress”, Tristan replied in a somewhat unusual moment of humility as she let him know that the king and she were very grateful for such loyal friends. He thought that, while Cassander wasn’t perfect, he was a good person and had the potential of becoming a great king one trial. Besides, he honestly liked him.

“I will remember your words”, he continued and inclined his head. Rewards and such were nice of course – actually they were more than just nice, they were absolutely awesome - but in the end he wasn’t doing any of this because there might be something to gained from it. He did this because Cassander was somebody that he cared about.

“I don’t doubt it”, he remarked as she spoke about a long and happy collaboration between Lianne and him. He intended to have a very long and happy collaboration with her, in more than one way. It was time to go though, so he bade the Empress farewell and wished her a happy evening as well before he walked to the door.

There was a lot that he had to think about. Alistair was … whatever Alistair was, he didn’t have time to finish that thought because Lianne came in just as he wanted to walk out, put her arms around him and kissed him. He looked at her in surprise for a moment, and then he put his arms around her as well, pulled her close and returned the kiss.

“I think”, he said and smiled at her. “We’ll have a very good evening.”
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Thread Complete! Rewards Incoming!!
Story: 5/5
Structure: 5/5
Collaboration: 5/5

Knowledge
Dancing: The art of twirling
Dancing: Keeping in time with your partner
Emerson Sands: Handed you a note.
Emerson Sands: Thinks the walls have ears
Emerson Sands: Has concerns over Alistair's loyalty?
Emerson Sands: Wants you to write a play for her
Etiquette: Royal bow
Etiquette: Causing a scandal
Intelligence: Can words be code for other things?
Investigation: Identifying when someone is part of a bigger plot.
Investigation: Can cause a thrill of excitement.
Lianne: Met her at the Masked Ball
Lianne: A good dancer
Lianne: A better kisser
Lianne: Working with or for the Empress
Lianne: Would like to be an actress
Lianne: Will be having a collaboration with you.
Seduction: The sudden kiss
Seduction: Secret whispers
Seduction: Ask her name, girls like that.

Loot: +1 NPC. Lianne will be acting as Tristan's bodyguard and assistant / actress (she doesn't do cleaning, or cooking etc). She will be a personal NPC for a few seasons (probably) - during that time please pay the 10gn per season for her expenses. I will update your Prophets' Notes - would you please find a picture for her that suits your image of her, and pm it to me. Thanks!
Fame: +5
Devotion: None
These points may not be used for magic.

Comment I love Tristan's reactions here - he's so determined to do the right thing with a glass of wine in his hand and a smile on his face. Please feel free to include Lianne / use her as an NPC in general threads etc, but be aware that she will be asking for regular reports and there will be skills she has which you are unaware of. I hope that this thread was fun for you - thank you for taking part so well!

As always, please pm me with any questions!
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