A Thousand Shining Stars ♥ Night of the Masquerade



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A Thousand Shining Stars Night of the Masquerade

He sat alone, amidst billowing curtains of a window left open. Outside, the rain was pouring, splattering upon the roads and leaving his castle in hovering fog. He could hear the sounds of laughter coming from the halls as the royal heirs frolicked about the massive estate. They enjoyed the Deceptian hospitality; the enormous rooms, the humble service, and every possible wish of their dreams was to be answered to. The servants, too, were giddy to see so many young ones gathered about in their curious ways. His own child, his poor young boy, burdened by his father's great mistakes, shadowed by the puppetry upon which Deceptia laid the ruins of it's great rival, Memoi.

Even now, as he strode to the window and drew the curtain aside, the King could not admire the beauty of rain washed lands. His eyes could no longer see the miracle of life, his heart could not love the gardens his wife so preciously tended to. There was something missing from his life, something missing from his world. And yet, he knew not what it was. He glanced at his hands, allowing the curtains to fall past the window again, concealing his view of the outside world. A rush of wind threw the cloth past his nose, fluttering freely. The King stood still, his palms upturned in front of him.

No matter what he did, he could not forget the blood that stained these hands...


In the castle, the servants hustled about, eagerly tending to their new masters. The heirs from the neighboring kingdoms were a sight to see; they were all sorts of young men and women, from the prettiest to the quietest, to the strong, able princes, to the kind-hearted, delicate princesses. Each was given a room, in a different wing of the castle. The Central Wing of the Castle consisted of the ballroom, the dining rooms and the various halls for celebration and visitation. The North Wing, just behind the Central, was designated to the royal chambers and the rooms of the royal family of Deceptia.

The East Wing was granted to the Princesses of Rosewood, Verdisia, and Labarin, who had arrived earlier that afternoon, before the downpour of rain had showered Deceptia with it's splendor. Although, the lands looked best in bright sunshine, with flowers blooming cheerfully by it's grassy plains, Deceptia had a cruel, almost melancholic beauty in the rain.

The West Wing was decorated for the Princes, but at the moment, the only one occupying a room was the Prince of Thierran. He, too, had arrived a short while ago.

The South Wing, alight with nearly as much as splendor as the North Wing itself and possibly even more was reserved for the King's most honored guests, the Faisen Pillars from the far-off kingdom of Faisen. Not only were these heirs of a powerful empire, they were now, by their father's proclamation, the leaders of their lands. They had just now arrived, their entourage of carriages riding up to the castle entrance. A large amount servants scurried about to help them and their cavalry. Not only had rooms for the Pillars been prepared, rooms for their companions had also been taken care of.

Below the South Wing were the Servants Quarters, a little farther than the Queen's Royal Garden. The servants of Deceptia was treated kindly and with an amount of glamour that most servants did not receive. The Deception King, with all his guilt, treated his subjects well enough to be regarded with respect.

Princess Aurora Lily F e l i c i a F a y [/BG]

[BG="#333366"]The stage had been set.

Felicia could see, barely squinting through the pouring rain that the guests who had just arrived were the most important of all. Even the King of Deceptia himself had come down to grace them with his presence. She strained to hear their words, crouched low in the plants and bushes right along the palace entrance. It was raining, so she figured they wouldn't notice her at all if she got this close. And she couldn't help it, her sense of adventure and enthusiasm had perked right up when she'd thought of seeing all the kingdom heirs. She had planned on sneaking into the Masquerade Ball, but this was the best part yet!

Faisen Pillars...? She overheard, frowning. So the rumours were true! The great empire of Faisen had sent their leaders to the Masquerade Ball! But what did Faisen have to do with the Treaty of Flowers; Felicia had a wide expanse of knowledge on the political subjects of their time. She often spent time at the libraries in the royal rooms without being caught and read volumes and volumes of royal literature. It was a surprise that she didn't catch any Faisen relations with Deceptia, however, aside from the normalcy of overseas trade.

She looked around and sighed. She'd have to wait until the Masquerade Ball to figure this new mystery out, but for now, she wanted to see what these heirs looked like. She was intrigued by the idea of all these foreign princes and princesses coming to one place. She wanted to meet them all, hear about their lands and kingdoms, ask about their experiences as royalty. Her curiosity was getting the better of her. As the servants scurried with large coverings to protect the Pillars from the rain and opened the carriage doors, Felicia held her breath. Any second now, she'd catch a glimpse of the most honored guests of the Masquerade Ball. Just one glimpse and I'll head back. It's getting late and I still have to convince Jonathan to come with me to the Ball! With all this hush-bush, they won't notice two extra visitors. she grinned, thinking of her childhood friend. He always kept track of her little adventures. She wouldn't be surprised if he was here now. She looked around again. I know he'll go, but it's still fun to try and argue with him She smiled at the thought and then looked up at the sky. Raindrops trickled down her face and slipped off her chin. Her smile brightened, I love the rain, but I sure hope it lets off soon.

Ellen had arrived shortly before the rain began. Reflecting on the journey here, she pictured Deceptia as it had been before the rain began pouring down, noting that it was almost as beautiful as her native land of Verdisia. Ellen, however, was expecting this since she had heard many things of Deceptia and had actually taken some trips into the Southwestern areas of the kingdom. She then turned her attention to the window as the rain fell, coating the castle in fog and the land beyond in a graceful melancholy. After unpacking her bags in her room with the help of a few kind servants, she hurried back to the entrance just in time to catch the servants rushing out to open the carriage doors and protect the three pillars from the rain.

They're really here; I've never seen them before! Ellen excitedly thought as she contained herself just barely waiting for them to come out. Ellen patted off the dust from her jade green dress, slightly adjusting her hair with her hands, knowing that these three people were very, very, important.
A dainty heel was the first sign of a Pillar to leave the carriage. It was followed by the lavishly dressed - as always - the Pillar known as Emeline. Her long, black hair was loose, blowing about her in the wind as the rain poured down, little spots of wet darkening the pale blue of her dress. It wasn't long before the servants hurried to cover her from the downpour.

A green haired girl stood, bright eyed and excitable, beside the entrance. She appeared to be the only nobility in the area. When she didn't approach, Emeline realised she was just watching, and moved on.

She wrinkled her nose as she walked, being all but carried over the puddles to the grand door and into the castle foyer. It wasn't her first time at the Deceptia royal home, but her previous time there had been when she was younger. She could barely remember it.

"My belongings," she said. It wasn't to anyone in particular, but there were enough people buzzing around her she knew it had been heard. It was always heard.

"They are being brought in now, my lady," a servant told her. "They will be set up in your room as you, ah, wished..."

"Good, thank you," she replied as she waited for her attendants to finish faffing and for her brothers to follow her in.

Someone had better appear to welcome her soon; the rain had put her in a bit of a mood.
Summer smiled as she stared out the window at the falling rain, her bodyguard Mason sat nearby wondering where was expected to sleep. He was a large man all muscle the king of Rosewood had put him in charge of his precious daughter knowing that Mason would protect her to the last. Her maid Mia was helping unpack her bags, Summer walked over and shooed her away. "please Mia i can unpack my own bag im not an invalid." "ye..s your highness" Mia stuttered, "and how many times have i told you call me Summer."

Mason got to his feet "your highness you know that wouldn't be proper" he said with a slight smile. Summer sighed and returned to her window gazing "nothing is proper." Mason sighed "Your highness you are a princess you must learn to act like it, we are your servants and must act as such." Summer turned to him and embraced him "no you are my friends and nothing more" Mason blushed bright red but hugged her back briefly, Summer released him and smiled at them. Mason turned away trying to hide his face everyone even the king knew of his love for Summer but he was four years older than her and just a lowly servant so he kept it hidden and swore he wouldn't let her find out.

Summer sat down and thought about the ball she couldn't wait until she got to meet the princes, although she knew Mason would be close he had promised to stay out of her hair.
A prince's place is at his father's side, but how could you stand by the side of a murderer?

Ferius stood in full royal finery, apart from his place at the king's side, apart from the gathered crowd. Today he was the prince of Deceptia, and he would bear the weight of his crown, his royal robes, the servants rushing about to his every whim, though for the moment he merely wished to see the Pillars.

Today he was a prince, tonight he was a mask amongst masks.

Just like hos father he knew the comings and goings of every servant, and what he didn't know he could guess. Felicia, as always, was away from her duties, but it didn't matter others were already filling the gap. In a palace of lies and secrets a little innocence was to be cherished.

The crowd began to part, clearing the grand doors and the carriages clattered to a halt, the Faisen procession in all its glory. It was strange them being invited, father never spoke of them. The first door opened and out stepped the first pillar. Ferius was right in the doorway, he had only heard of the rulers of Ferius in whispers and wanted to meet them in person, was this after all not his kingdom and should he not welcome them personally?
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Early afternoon and everyone was ready to watch Elroy leave the kingdom. In the distance the church bells rang as the Pillar of Faisen stepped out with his guard. Their feet in unison made a feel of organized military flow throughout the crowd. Marx’s large sword accompanied him as well as he carried his mask next to him made of the finest materials around. They kept walking their destination the Kingdom of Deceptia. This man was the last Pillar to leave the kingdom and they gave pretty much the rest of the guard to him as he would make it through the forest. His closest advisor, a gentleman with dark, greasy black hair and a long face with a permanent quizzical look on it, stood by him the whole way “Aidrel, what are the chances of something really bad happening this evening?” The Heir questioned him.
“About the same chance a bird will chirp in the morning sire or the church bells ring on gathering.”
“So our fate is grim tonight. Perhaps we can gamble this in our favor.”
“Please nothing ruthless sir. If the rumors are true then we can expect a great deal of trickery from this Kingdom more-so than most we’ve encountered.” Marx could only nod at the statement. He had no idea what this masquerade was supposed to be for but he knew it was not a masquerade for entertainment.

The boots met with heavy stomped out dirt now as they made it to the edge of the forest. The men started to form a single file line as the path got narrower. “You will be joining your kin this evening sire.” Aidrel piped up while the forest grew darker.
“I know that, they will either be a hindrance or a great help.”
“So the family ties once again are loose.”
“We may live in the same Kingdom but in no way do our views come to matching. They have their interpretation of our predecessor’s words and I have my own.”
“Surely you can get over this small squabbling tonight sire.” Marx looked at him with one leering eye. “Right sorry it is not my place to decide, forgive me.”
“Your absolutely right though. You are a keen advisor, one that I have kept by for so long because of those suggestions. I will have to keep in mind our ties tonight.” They continued walking on.

They were now in view of the castle, the great structure deemed the location of this great party. Faces from all around shown up, even ones that looked to bare the fruits of evil in mind. The guard stopped as did the Pillar as they reached the main halls steps. The sun was now directly overhead. “Your sword sir will have to be left in storage.” The man guarding the front said.
“But without his sword-“
“Quiet. Of course.” Marx held his sword out before him like lifting a piece of paper. The man motioned the knights on either side of him to take it to storage. The first knight grabbed hold of the handle and the wielder let go. The sword came crashing down nearly breaking the steps. Very quickly they realized they would need at least five knights to carry this.
“My personal guard will not be taking in the festivities, they will wait out here until I depart, as well as my advisor.” Marx again eyed his right hand man so he would not object to the decision. He only nodded and took a step down to join the rest. Putting on his mask the man joined the party soon to be underway.
Christoph examined the wing, so expansive and for now, empty. He scowled a little - no company? But this thought was quickly replaced by amusement as he realized that he was essentially surrounded in beautiful princesses. Perhaps Mother and Father had not been as delusional as they had sounded. The formal clothing for court was too restrictive he thought, the muscles beneath felt as though they would rip the prissy fabric. The whole affair was entirely uncomfortable that morning, trying to get this finery on. He had discarded one of his fine silk tunics because he had afterwards had to pry his closet doors apart when they stuck. His biceps flexed and.. there went a sleeve. Disappointingly delicate, these clothes.

Christoph made his way from his own room into what he hoped was a hall to lead him to the dining area.. or the kitchen would be just as well. He was hungry, his stomach growling with discontent as he remembered how motion sick the carriage ride had made him. Because of that, he hadn't been able to eat in almost a day! As he thought intently about food it struck him - would they have wine? He should have brought some from the royal cellars as an offering, but he had been too preoccupied to remember. Or perhaps his father had thought to pack some - he would examine all the luggage they had insisted upon to see if they thought to include the delightful Thierran wine. Best of the best, too, the bottles kept in the royal cellars.

Christoph edges around a corner, feeling pinched in the clothing and unable to take a full stride. From the mirror, he knew that he looked decent, the clothes did not appear to be so restrictive as they felt. Did people here really wear this sort of thing each and every day? But how did they tend their orchards and things..? Did they ride horses here, in these clothes? Impossible.
Summer stood up "im going to explore the castle for a while" Mason immediately got to his feet intent on following her as did Mia. Summer frowned "Mia please remain here in my room until i need of you" Mia said softly "yes your highness" and returned to her seat.

Summer then turned to mason "Mason i would like you to stay here as well" she said it kindly but with authority. Mason looked at her with a frown "your highness you know i must accompany you at all times during your stay" "Mason im staying inside the castle, there are guards outside and your only right down the hall if i need you. Come on please Mason" Summer fixed him a smile and batted her bright blue eyes. "all right" he said grumpily sitting back down.

Summer smiled "good" she turned to the mirror and smoothed her soft green dress, ran a brush through her long blonde hair and admired her herself. She was beautiful and she knew it but she didn't act like it, she had many princes and even peasants compete for her hand but she hadn't found the right guy yet.

Summer walked to the door "remember stay here" she said fixing Mason a pointed look, with that she exited her room and walked down the hall rounding a corner she came face to face with a handsome prince. "hello might i inquire as to your name" She said giving him a smile and a curtsy.
Raven spent most of the day helping wherever she needed to help, hair tied back. It was beginning to get longer, past the shoulders. She'd have to start braiding it soon. By all rights, she should have been tired, her body aching, her feet swollen, her hands dry and cracked. But she wasn't. She had grown used to this and it was not the worst lot to have in life. The King of Deceptia was exceptionally kind to his servants. She mused how kind he would be if he knew one of his servants was killing people off. But she was good at what she did, very good. That's why she was here.

One of the princesses were late but Raven tidied up her room and made sure the mints were on the pillow. She straightened the sheets, made sure everything was the way it should be. It wouldn't do for a guest of the King to feel dissatisfied with her chambers.
While the rest of the Pillars would have taken their belongings and guards in a vast parade of splendor, the youngest did not. He rode upon a grey Egyptian Arabian stallion that he named Rihan. This prince was wearing a dark green cloak around his body and had it formed as a hood over his head. His slender face remained exposed to the elements, a smile remained absent for right now. However, it would not be his smile that revealed anything about him, it was his cat-like green eyes. Always attentive and ever watching.


"Well this is fitting...Rain on a day of celebration." Tybalt spoke to Rihan.

The stallion then snorted, as if it agreed.

"Come on old boy...We're almost there." He looked to his right, just a little more than a mile towards the castle was the parade of carriages from all the surrounding kingdoms. "Rihan, remind me why I do these kinds of things again..."

The horse just huffed in response. "Real helpful..."

In some sense, Tybalt was a nihilist; constantly pushing himself to prove that he was better than his other kin. Whether or not anyone actually understood his mannerisms didn't matter to him, he had his goals in mind and he would pursue them as quickly as he pleased.

By the time he arrived, he had already dismounted and led his horse on foot. Formalism was something best saved for politics, while that was the goal in mind, dear Tybalt had his mind elsewhere. He heard a twig snap and the proclaimed "Prince of Cats" turned his head to see a young girl with long black hair hiding in the bushes!
"Are you sure it wasn't suspicious to come through the back entrance?" Scarlett was whispering over to the tall, elaborately dressed man that was walking next to her. There we two servants ahead of them leading them to the East Wing where Scarlett was going to be left alone with the Royalty of this world. She was nervous. Her uncle on the other hand, strode down the hall as if he belonged there.

"The Faisen Pillars are coming through the front entrance as we speak. You never upstage special guests, pigeon." he replied with confidence. The servants stopped at a door and opened it up, allowing Uncle Jareth and Scarlett to enter and inspect the room first. Jareth stepped here and there, running a finger across a table to check for dust. Glancing out the window to see how the view looked. He finally nodded his approval.

"Put these things away quickly. Make sure the emerald dress with the peacock feathers is lain out for this evening." Jareth instructed the servants. "Princess, I believe it would be a pleasant experience to get to know the other guests, don't you agree?"

Scarlett wasn't so sure she agreed. As she removed her cloak and draped it over a chair, she felt overdressed in her new clothes. How her uncle could afford all of these fine clothes, she was afraid to ask. But here she was being Princess of Labarin and now on the prowl for a rich husband. She was a servant, not an actress!

Her Uncle must have picked up her thoughts from the expression on her face as he stepped close with a warning. "You cannot step back now, pigeon. You are Princess Scarlett of Labarin. I have left some instructions in your book." He stepped back. "Try to enjoy yourself, Princess! It will be a divine celebration!"

Scalett rest her hands on her hips as Uncle Jareth excused himself. Probably to go enjoy the comforts of his own room, while she had to do all of the dirty work!
Princess Aurora Lily F e l i c i a F a y [/BG]

[BG="#333366"]Felicia was enraptured by the beauty of the female Pillar of Faisen; she could tear her eyes away from her. But just as astonishing was her older brother, The First Pillar of Faisen. His presence was so powerful that Felicia was found herself losing her balance and stumbling forward from her crouched position. She bit her lip, trying to fall backwards instead to avoid being caught. She managed to fall onto her butt and save herself from discovery, snapping a twig under her wrist as she attempted to get onto her feet again. She blinked away raindrops and looked ahead, curious to see the final Faisen Pillar, gasping when she saw that his eyes were, in fact, on her. She froze, completely surprised. How did he...the twig? Is it possible he heard the twig snap? She bit her lip and frowned. The Third Pillar of Faisen, she reminded herself, dressed in green and quite different from his siblings. He'd come on horseback in this rain, possibly content with it as well. She was interested by his behaviour and even more intrigued by his attentive skills. She leaned back and watched him for a few moments and then smiled. Now she was certain that tonight's Masquerade Ball would be tremendous fun. With the stunning Faisen female, her stoic elder brother and their mysteriously alert younger sibling, Felicia couldn't wait to meet the rest of the King's honored guests. She grinned at the thought of telling Jonathan she'd found someone who could easily spot her in hiding. She crawled backwards into the garden greenery and ran for the other end of the garden. In this rain, amidst towering trees and flowers, she knew she wouldn't be seen climbing over the side wall of the garden. The castle gates were always heavily fortified, but the intricate walls surrounding the Queen's Royal Gardens never had many guards about. She figured it was because they assumed no one would dare to the climb the towering vine covered walls. Felicia grinned as she looked up at the wall and started climbing; unlike most people, Felicia always tried to do the impossible.

Reaching the top, she flipped over and jumped to the ground on the other side. Landing safely and looking around, she smirked. Any second now, Jonathan would be at heels, complaining that she had promised not to sneak off until the masquerade. She pushed aside her rain soaked bangs and squinted into the distance. If she could hurry back maybe she wouldn't get caught after all. With that signature mischievous glint in her eyes, Felicia walked along the path that led to the grounds behind the orphanage where she spent most of her time. She hummed to herself, thinking of all the exciting possibilities at tonight's party. She started to imagine wearing the dress she'd worked on with help from some of the dressmakers in the city. It had come out so nicely that she was looking forward to wearing it. She twirled around, dancing in pretend as if she had a partner, her eyes closed, but a smile on her face.


The King of Deceptia watched his servants scuttle about the Faisen Pillars and nodded. It seemed that things were going well. He could retire to his bedroom once more. He glanced at his son before turning and walking through the large entrance, his footsteps heavy and ominous. He would know call upon his wife and ask her to prepare herself for tonight's Masquerade. He was, after seeing the sons and daughter of his greatest enemy, and yet, his strongest puppetmaster, feeling quite unwell. He retired to his chambers after speaking to the Queen. The solemn woman, quite in her thirties now, rose from her sewing and dressed for the party. She glanced in a mirror as she did so, listening to the sounds of movement echoing through their castle. She was old, now, but still, happy. Her knowledge of the truth was sparse. She knew not much about her husband's inner turmoils, except that he was distraught upon the outcome of the war. She could not, like her son, bring herself to understand his pain over his own actions, and had mourned for the Memoians as well. The Memoian Queen, she knew, rivaled them all in beauty and charm.

The Queen of Deceptia turned to her husband with a smile, "I shall go to the ballroom and make sure the preparations are in order. Do come if you feel well, dear. Our guests will relish your presence at such an event." She strode down the hall, her large skirts and glittering jewels gathering up an air of dignity that no one in the castle could defy. When she had arrived at the enormous ballroom, she studied the decorations. She watched the servants as they placed the servings of food on the tables and cleared up the dance floor. When one stumbled with a large piece of furniture, she called upon others to help him, glancing waywardly at the entrance. There was only about an hour, she reminded herself, her eyes downcast, an hour before everything would begin.

The celebrations, the parties, the intrigue. Everything was about to begin very soon.


The rain had begun to let up as the Faisens were carefully led to their wing of the castle. The head servants quickly explained that if anything was needed at all, they must only ring the bells placed by their bed-sides. As each sibling was led to their specific rooms, their luggage was also brought in and placed as they wished. The servants hurried to finish, with the hour ticking away, there was only a short amount of time before their highnesses would be beckoned to enter the ballroom.

Even for people who would not get to attend the Masquerade, their daily routines changed as well to allow the constant stream of gossip to flow through the merchants and peasantry with the pace of a coursing river. All the people of Deceptia were excited about so many from Royal standing coming into the kingdom. Many store owners hoped in vain that for some reason a visiting Prince or Princess would enter their establishment. It was the greatest honor they could hope for their business reputation. Surely everyone would want to shop at a place where Royalty had deemed the products worth buying. Others had prepared gifts that would be free of charge in the hopes of just being remembered by the famous guests after they had returned home.

Somewhere in Deceptia, one of these Merchants had taken on an apprentice as was the custom to teach someone a trade. The man in question had no son and the Apprentice had no father he could speak of. . . or remember. For this reason the arrangement had worked out quite well for both as it benefited each of them. The man's knowledge would not die with him, passing his business on, and the young boy would learn the means to get himself out of the orphanage. Not that he hated it there. . . but the lad wanted to be someone useful when he grew up and earn it properly.

But just a few minutes ago, word had reached his ears that the Faisen Pillars had arrived.

For a few moments he pondered while continuing the work required of him today. Suddenly a realization struck him and caused a worried expression to take a hold of his youthful face. Quickly he tried to finish the task before him while taking care not to injure his hands. Any scars or wounds on them would not only hurt. . . but tonight they needed to look as though they had never seen an honest day's work. Deep down a feeling was in his stomach that a certain friend of his would go through with a crazy fantasy she had been talking about for weeks now.

"FINISHED! I have to go now!"

"Hey! Where are you of to in such a hurry lad?!"

A man in his fifties with graying brown hair tried to halt a streak of blue from escaping so easily with his words. But they were no match for what appeared to be quite graceful footwork that weaved elegantly around the various objects scattered on the floor in this back room. The door had been left wide open as he dashed out of the room with the lightning speed associated with young men who stayed in shape.

"I have to go!"


Jonathan rushed down the alleyways and shortcuts he knew while heading for the castle at breath-taking speed. His heart was pounding not from the exertion so much as hoping he wouldn't be too late. That Felicia. . . she probably couldn't resist trying to sneak a peek at the arriving royalty. She had promised him to wait on spying until tonight but that was far too wishful thinking to think she could restrain herself. Even for him. If she got spotted who knew what would happen to her for trespassing on Castle Grounds during such an important time for the Kingdom!

I can't let anything happen to her, I just can't-

After a few minutes he actually caught sight of his childhood friend which caused part of him to sigh in relief on the inside. She had managed to not get herself arrested or some other possible punishment. Panting a bit, he walked toward her while wearing a disappointed expression. Not much subtlety went into how he stepped into her path a few feet ahead of Felicia as she twirled with her eyes. It couldn't be fought. . . a soft warm smile spread on his lips just moments before she bumped into him.

In case she started to fall an arm came out to catch her.

"Milady, thou art quite a distance from the Orphanage and none too far from the castle. Care to explain?"

Jonathan's voice didn't sound terribly mad, leaning more toward the disappointed side. Once again his face had taken a stern look onto it. But it didn't last terribly long before becoming a smile which said 'Caught ya' in such a charmingly boyish way. That promise from earlier had been on the condition that if she went through with it he MIGHT be able to bear her sneaking around alone. Now she'd gone and proven he couldn't trust the girl's own curiousity for that long. He didn't know she was planning to actually attend the Masquerade in person yet.
Christoph tilted his head to the side, the girl nearly stumbled in to him and asked him for his name. She seemed little more than a child, he thought absently, watching her. She was so frail looking, like perhaps she might break in a strong wind. Then again, from what he knew, many women in the rest of the realms were much like that. Some that he had seen in his trip here were glamorously beautiful, and he could not resist staring, but there were many who looked twiggy, thin, and in need of a good feeding. She seemed more to lean toward the benefit of a full meal.

"My name? I am the Crown Prince Christoph Andredi Thier of Thierran, son of King Tybalt Andredi Thier". He watched her, mildly interested but far more so in finding his way to the place where the food was kept. His stomach gave a malcontented growl and he scowled. It seemed customary, too, here, to keep one's guest very hungry. Was that why they were all so unflatteringly small?

"But where are my manners, you must be a lady of some import in order to inquire my name, might I ask what your name is while I take my stroll through the hall?" He nearly laughed. Stroll, more like look for any available source of food. However, most females droned and he wished he could take back his offer. "Unless you are terribly busy, in which case I could not keep you". He continued his pinched, uncomfortable walk that he knew looked normal, irritatingly so to him since he was in so much discomfort.
After making everything neat, Raven took the moment to investigate things outside. The Three Pillars were scheduled to make an appearance and everyone was excited. There were whispers everywhere, hushed, of course. The front entrance was filled with people, nervous and skittish. They were practically climbing on top of each other to be the first to see but she knew they would scatter the moment they stepped through these doors.

Raven elbowed her way through the front entrance and found the Deceptian Prince there already. Ah, of course. Someone needed to greet them and who better than the heir to the throne himself. Neither the King or the Queen were in sight, though. The King might have taken ill again but the Queen would no doubt show up at the Masquerade. She had to.

Bolder than most servants, Raven slipped behind and to the side of the Crown Prince.
He felt Raven's presence next to him but didn't react, he knew the servant by sound. The slightly finer than most clothing he wore. His one trusted friend in the palace.

"Raven, I thought you'd be preparing rooms or is it already time to retire to change for the ball?" he allowed himself a small laugh at the though of their plan. "You're still going right? As me? To be honest having one night of no one seeing me and knowing who I am sounds like a gift from heaven."

He took note of the Pillars, two of them in sight now, just waiting for the third. "Father not around?" he asked taking a quick look behind him then sighed. He hardly remembered the man he had seen in his father before the end of the war. But was it man that had changed or simply his view of him?
Summer fell into step beside him "i am princess Summer Ramirez of the kingdom of Rosewood, daughter of Alyssa and James Ramirez." She looked at him " i don't suppose you know where the kitchens are? im starved!" She grinned knowing she wasn't acting as she should and not caring.

Mason was a while back following Summer and this unknown prince, there was no way he was leaving her alone in a strange castle a strange kingdom and with the three
Faisen Pillars running around. He backed up a bit hoping they didn't see him, in the shadows , tall and muscular he looked quite menacing and threatening.
She sighed inwardly. Her skills of disguise were second to none here or she might have cause to be worried. She was certain no Faisen assassin had ever tackled such an issue before but it could not be helped. She and the Prince were about the same height and build and she'd watched him long enough to adopt his mannerisms in a heartbeat. It was amusing to think she could easily frame him for murder. But that would plunge the kingdom into chaos as Ferius was the only heir.

Raven studied him. She heard the whispers, knew what was going on, all without having to ask a question that would raise eyebrows or be taken note of so naturally she knew what the King and Queen were up to. Servants made better eyes than magic, so long as you could discern truth from gossip, fact from speculation.

"Your will is mine, Your Highness," she said softly with a deep bow. Was she getting soft, agreeing to such a thing? The chances of it going wrong were many, she knew that. And yet, even the Prince needed to get out of his gilded cage. But he did not own her allegiance; the King and the brats who held his father's strings did. So why ... "I believe your father is feeling ill and it will just be you and the Queen playing host. So long as you do not forget to return before the dawn of the next day, things will be well. Else you might find yourself engaged to one of the princesses here." It was both tease and promise. Perhaps if the Prince were bedded down with one of the wenches here, he would cease to worry of this "friendship" of theirs.
At least she seemed cheerful, not as though she had something stuck very far up her... Christoph shrugged and withheld a sigh. Only until he could find someone else to be this waif's caretaker, he thought absently. "I am also very hungry, and I wish I knew where the kitchens were..." he continued down the hallway, following twists and turns, choosing lefts or rights, and eventually he came to a door where there seemed to be talking.

Opening the door in excitement, Christoph blushed brilliantly. Not the kitchens, as he had hoped, but a servant's entrance into the ballroom where food was being laid out and preparations made. His mouth watered at the sight of the dishes but the blush was caused by the turning of the Queen's head to face in his direction.

She was gaining in age, no longer the winsome woman she had been just ten years ago when he had been a boy, seeing her for the first time. Still, she retained an air to her, a quiet sense of austerity that held beauty in her proud features. He felt very much a boy again as she stared at him, surprised. "S-sorry to interrupt, I knew not where the door would lead, my queen" still a startled boy. Then, he remembered he was supposed to be a man, and he straightened his back, as best he could, he still wasn't feeling very adult in her presence, and he bowed low to her.

"I trust these years have found you well?"
Ellen had curtsied to the Faisen pillars as they had entered. Her simple show of obedience had been ignored, so she had decided to go back to her room. She had called on the servants to re-adjust the lacing on the back of her jade green dress before having another comb her curly hair. Ellen thanked the servants graciously and then sent them back on their way where they would most likely be needed for the preparations in the ball room. What to do, what to do? Ellen wondered to herself as she stared out of the window, noting that the rain was beginning to slowly dissappear. I guess it couldn't hurt to take a look around the place, Ellen concluded as she walked out of her room, taking a minute to note the place.

The wing was rather large, at least larger than the wings back in her parents' castle in Verdisia. Much less light came through, but that was because the castle did not have nearly as many sky lights as the one that Ellen called home. Her green eyes observed the hectic servants who were rushing off towards what was presumably the ball room. She followed them until she came upon Christoph and the Queen of Deceptia. Ellen was rather sure it was the Queen because she carried an air of grace over the others rushing around in the room, an air of beauty and authority that would be fitting of a queen. Not wanting to be rude, Ellen curtsied to the Queen, meekly waiting for her turn to speak.