Work in Progress
The Masquerade Ball was to be like none other. It’s sole purpose was to show to the other Fife’s that Peridus had money and status and political standing like any other. It was to show all who were watching that Peridus was ready… ready to reform.
In the coming days before the gathering, the Elders of the Fife arranged a meeting – low key, gentle, in the Elysium to ensure safety for all. They were all present. It was anything but casual in this room as the air was heavy with tension and anticipation for what was about to be said. The light, a meek hum from one corner, allowed the kindred to sit in near-dark, where faces could be hidden from the torturous beam, where secret smiles, lingering stares and hateful glare could be cast without note, without attention. The discussion went long into the night, back and forth, from kindred to kindred. The hour before dawn, the decision was made. There would be an Elder Council, the lawful quintet, a voice from each clan. From there, the other kindred in Peridus would elect their new Prince.
The invitations were sent out: one of every Kindred in Peridus, and each invitation gave the opportunity for a plus one. It was to be a social affair, with the extra space at the court expected to be given to a ghoul belonging to the kindred whom had been sent the invitation. Each invitation came with a mask, so that the clans could be identified, but identities would remain secret. An extravagant affair this would be, with all members of this Fife’s kindred society being expected to attend. Consequences would be given to those who were absent without good reason… and there were no good reasons to be absent.
The night of the ball approached rapidly, and the preparations were being made behind the scenes. A large country estate was procured for the forth-coming event, out in the middle of rural nowhere. It was preceded by a long gravel driveway, which doubled as a walkway, with large planted areas to the left and right. It was immaculately well kept, not a weed insight. The gravel was a bleached, bone white, and crunchy. The smells that came from the gardens evoked feelings of calm and comfort, with lavender and violets and tulips. Hues of crimson, magenta, maroon, peach swayed silently in the gentle breaths of breeze. It was idyllic at worst. The tranquility of the place was perfect for such an event as this.
Beyond the gates, which were well guarded with burly men in black suits and dark glasses, was a wonder to behold. In the centre of a mosaic courtyard was a stone fountain, bubbling with crystal tears. Large tents were set up, and entertainers wandered in circles, putting the final touches to their acts. Stalls of food, and drink, stood before the stone steps that ascended to the great mansion. Further in the grounds, a coniferous maze loomed ominously, begging for some party guests to wander in, to spend some time away from prying eyes. And finally, the exuberant party games, a draw to anyone. With brilliant prizes and shiny baubles as further enticement for all to play, for all to try their hand at winning.
The scene was, at last, set.
Our familiar kindred of the Fife, Arthur ‘George’ Bexley, Charles Christopher Courtney, Sybil Courtney, and Patrick Cattedown, readied themselves for the evening. Suited and booted, the men dusted off their finery: blazer jackets, crisp white shirts, pressed trousers, polished shiny shoes, appropriate ties and other adornments. Sybil, treated to another new outfit and accessories, took great pleasure in making herself perfect: she put rollers in her hair, finding the right jewellery accessories, using her finest make-up… her final primping took the most time, until she was finally ready.
Anna Marcella Barnham was Arthur’s plus one: he owed her a formal event after the last shambles that they attended together. Not one to waste a good outfit, Anna used the same black dress, red shoes, and jewellery as before, though fixed her hair and make-up into a different style, as to not appear too samey (and of course, in case she had the misfortune to run into Mistress Charlotte).
Patrick on foot, walking from his less-than-appropriate accommodation to the house owned by Layla Goddard – where he made his appearance more acceptable, trimming his facial hair, combing the hair on his head, and putting on a clean suit. He almost looked a totally different man to the one that turned up in The Fallen Prince one week past.
Finally ready, they made their own ways to the address mentioned on the ornate black and gold invitation that was received.