Splurge watches the faux-queen approach, grinning with amusement the moment she starts to walk his way. A look to the ocean by his side and a brief murmur, that simply fade the moment the grape's demise is felt. A quaint nod to the woman, and a gesture towards the violet, indicating the next step as he speaks. "Even sour grapes are sweet today." And he is not laughing yet. Not quite.
After his hearty laughter, the Knight takes his place back aside his lady. Then watchers her go has he considers both contestants for a moment perhaps trying to decide still himself. He seems to take no offense to anything. Indeed he probably has had a few too many, but its the Longest Night! When the parchment and quill he jots down his thoughts, then bids the servant leave him so he can for Guinevere when she's done. One might note he sort of wobbles in place. He must be far ahead of Guinevere by now. They may both need escorts.
The donkey, having returned with the parchments and charcoal takes the Knights vote. It seems there's now an official tallier.
The Violet watches the Queen sampling grapes, her expression impossible to read behind a flower covered mask. Her words are low when they are offered, gentle and amused. "I think their sweetness is for her to determine."
All evidence of the grape gone, except for perhaps in the taste of her own lips, the Camelot queen now turns to settle her intense gaze on her violet-clad counterpart. She's yet to properly make her Majesty's acquaintance, though she's been meaning to for months. Well, what better way to introduce herself? Her steps slow and deliberate, the raven-haired woman shoots Lancelot a thoroughly spiteful look before approaching the queen, settling a gaze on her similar to one that a hunter might settle on her prey. Raising a hand, Guinevere slips her fingers back behind the queen's neck, entangling her hair roughly before kissing her, deeply and without mercy. If anything threatened to identify her this evening, it is the ruthless pleasure she takes in taking what she wants. She slips her tongue past the barrier of the violet's lips, tasting her fully before slipping her hand from her locks and parting. Nodding once without a word, the Lady returns to her escort's side, whispering her vote to the donkey-costumed man keeping tally.
Dove reaches up with one small hand and gives a tug on her own chain, pulling it free from the rabbit's admittedly loose grasp. She smiles at him and stretches to kiss his cheek, then wanders from his side, letting the chain dangle loosely from the white collar at her throat. The Valerian Dove, apparently unsoiled, begins to move through the room, sleeves billowing out behind her like ghostly wings, though she seems to be mostly keeping her attention on the contest between the splurge king and the violet. If she is here to be seen, this isn't a good time for it, but she nonetheless moves through the onlookers in a seemingly aimless drift.
If the Queen has determined the Violet's identity, the shrinking flower herself is not quite so lucky, and she finds herself studying the other woman upon her approach. Perhaps the light treatment of the King of Cakes set her into a false sense of security, because the grip on her hair brings a reaction of startled pain, the cry that escapes her lips both genuine and instinctive. Against the Queen's lips, the Violet finds her own yielding, a shudder coursing through her form.
The ocean starts forward at the cry out, but then checks herself. Her lips set into a firm line od displeasure but she doens't move forward further, intead she waits, till the violet and fake queen part. "Well" She breaths deep. She looks around the crowd and after a moment, her gaze lands on the dover. "Two will nto work, for what if there is a tie. The ocean motions to the Dove that she spots, beckoning her forward. "Come. Your to be the deciding vote, if there is indeed a tie"
Dove turns towards the Ocean Lady, looking only very briefly surprised before she curtsies to the woman. She steps out of the circle of onlookers and approaches the Violet first, slipper shod feet making no noise themselves, though the silver bells fastened about each ankle chime musically with each step. She comes to a stop before the Violet Queen, tilts her head to the side, then stretches up a bit, leaning in to bring her lips to those of the other woman's in a kiss as soft and sweet as Guinivere's was hard and demanding.
The Knight mummers something softly to his counterpart. Then glances drunkenly back towards the contest.
Somewhere in between grape and kiss, another figure has quietly entered the area, coming to stand behind the group of challengers, observing with interested silence. The Violet's reaction is not missed, and where it starts to move forwards it stops in the end, watching the splurge instead.
The splurge king himself smiles, nodding to the Ocean in place. "Let's cross that bridge when we get to it, mother sea, and finish the contest before it grows cold... or warm, as it might." A grin curves his lips on saying that, following the withdrawal of the faux-queen.
"It seems the dove has decided to fly and true it seems, to the fragrent flower" Look, the oceans back for once isn't ramrod straight like it's known to be. "Hurry up little dove, before she does indeed wilt and the purge here melts"
Guinevere watches the feather-frocked young girl kiss the queen, her attention seems to wane when she determines that no hair-pulling will be involved. Reaching over Lancelot's head for another vial of crystalline liquor, she mutters something under her breath, and nudges her escort to the right so that she might distance herself from him even more. Her gaze shifts idly to the splurge king, awaiting the too-tender kiss the dove will no doubt bestow upon him as well.
Dove's hand lifts to let the tips of her fingers trail gently down the Violet's cheek as she smiles into her eyes tenderly. Then there comes a sudden, musical laugh from the white Dove, and she twirls away lightly, mist-like skirts billowing out as she spins from the violet and towards the Splurge King, tilting her head to the side again as she looks up at him, lips curving up. Then, she steps forward, lifting arms to encircle his neck as she goes up on the tips of her toes to bring her lips to his in a lingering kiss, a little more fervent than the more gentle kiss the Violet got.
Black Cat slinks back into the Ballroom, apparently having recovered her earlier sensitivites. She jingles forth, graceful and sleek, purring flirtily to those she passes by.
The Violet smiles as the Dove pulls away from the kiss, too brief to have returned it with any art held therein. She glances quickly towards the Dove's dance with the Splurge King, watching. It is hard to tell if it is deliberately or subconsciously that the masked gaze is drawn back to the fierce Queen, but there it goes, eliciting something of a subtle shudder.
The splurge king cannot but augh at the approach, his arms somewhat occupied at the time. With a wink he lets go of the ocean for the time being, just long enough to steadie the approaching dove and hold her into her tiptoeing and through the kiss. Look at that, almost no confections fall upon the young woman's costume. Well, at least less than over most others. Just a sprinkle here .. and there. It does take a little while for her to be let go, but that eventually happens.
Sir Lancelot accepts the Kiss from his lady, lightly circling her with his arms. It is the Longest Night after all, such affections are warranted. Together they seem to steady themselves, and the Knight holds her smiling, though still watching the scene of the lovely Dove and the contestants.
The donkey is busy tallying votes as a few more steps forth to steal kisses from the violet and in turn the splurge king, though not in the specific order. Some were gentle, chaste, shy, others filled with passion. A few gave as good as the imaginary queen gave, to both participants. Let it never be said that the kisses did not cover the full spectrum of what one might expect from D'angelines. So it is when all is said and done, and the Donkey has conferred with the ocean, that the winner is declared. "Violet, by a landslide" Which mean the Ocean looks to the splurge kind. "Well. Purge. We declare you the loser, and therefore, you are not the sweetest, and must unmask yourself before the whole of the court"
Black Cat hears the verdict and slinks forth. "I do not believe I have had a chance to compete as of yet." she purrs to the Donkey, reaching her fist forward and then angling it down before giving a little jingle of her bells.
Dove doesn't let go of Splurge right away, even when he lets go of her. She looks up into his eyes for a long moment... then, quite deliberately, also snatches a grape from his crown before spinning away with another laugh. She doesn't eat the grape, though, but rather glides over to the donkey, pops the grape into its mouth and whispers her decision to him.
The Donkey looks at the cat, a sorrowful smile. "The voting closed my lady, you were too late. The victor is the Lady Violet, the sweetest in all the court. You can see how sweet I am though, if you like" The Donley puckers up and leans forward
Too late, indeed, and This vote was more than arranged if I may say so. Why, neither the ocean nor I got to test the truth" A grin. "It matters not, for I shall know for certain, mustn't I?" He turns towards the Violet instead, holding his scepter to the side. "A taste, sweetest violet?" he offers, a drollop of cream left upon light fingertips.
Black Cat gives a little feline hiss to the Donkey and angles her head away. "I think not." she then purrs. "Afterall, if you choose to close the votes before a kitten can have her lick..." With a swing of her hips, she then bends over a tad. "However, if the arse would like to kiss mine..." Jingle-jangle as reaches forth to twirl that tail.
Camelot's queen settles herself back into her place in the circle of revelers, not electing to reply to Lancelot's muse for now. Over the rim of the tiny glass of joie, Guinevere returns the Violet's gaze shamelessly, grey eyes bright with silent intrigue. Perhaps seeing something that might prove interesting to pursue at a later time, she eventually settles her gaze on the presumptuous splurge king, scoffing softly.
Dove drifts back to the grinning Rabbit and places the end of her chain back into his paw... er... hand, that is. He eyes the sprinkles from Splurge, grins, then turns and leads the young Valerian towards the doors again, their brief appearance at an end, it seems.
The donkey looks at the Kittens rear then shakes his head. "Not my fault that the kitten arrived late for dinner. Next time, maybe a shorter nap"
"Mmm, no thank you." The Violet answers, with wry flirtation in her voice. "I am more for spices than sweets, myself." She tilts her head at him. "But it was a very generous offer." It could be then, that the returned gaze of the foreboding Queen is what brings that gentle flush to her cheeks, that tiny rise of goosebumps across the flesh. Or it could be the chill.
Black Cat stands straight once more and gives a little purr. "Spoken like a true arse." she replies. "But, your loss, hmm?" She then gives one more flick to her tail before slinking away from the mule and laughing in amusement. She saunters by a servant with a tray of joie and hesitates only a moment before reaching for a glass and downing it in one gulp.
Opportunity offered and lost, the splurge king takes it himself, looking over the Violet's shoulder for a moment. Whatever he sees there makes him smile, a grin as wry as the flower's one. With her head tilted it is easy for him to lean her way, pressing a whisper into the violet-clad beauty. His hand follows just like that, sliding moist from lips to neck and tracing a slow trail over unwittingly offered flesh until there is a full grip of hand from the back of her neck to the center of her throat. It is used to lead her higher as she might, lips tightening between neck and mask which is the last thing most are given to see, wrong angles, shoulder in the way, and all.
The ocean reaches for another glass fo Joie herself. It's a very very giddy ocean who watches the offer of the splurge king, nee purge king, and the Violet's refusal. The ongoing between the two of them are noted by her and the others in the rea, hoots and cheering, catcalls(pun intended) and gushes of Awwww
"Might we conclude the game," the Knight calls to the Ocean. He still holds his lady in place, the Joie taking its toll on both it would seem.
The Lady Guinevere might not be sober enough to notice the goosebumps prickling along the Violet's skin, but she is not so drunk as to not be slightly unnerved by the splurge king's advance on the woman. Leveling her gaze on him evenly, she strains to hear the exchange between the two, but is, of course, unable to. Glancing briefly in Lancelot's direction as he calls out, the raven-haired woman reaches for what will probably be her last glass of the evening.
It's a trembling Violet there in the Splurge King's grip, though hard to tell from a distance just what is taking place. The pulse of her throat is hidden behind his grip, one foot moving behind her just slightly as if to keep from staggering. Beyond that, she remains very, very still indeed, with only lips parting to whisper something helplessly back.
Black Cat probably should not have partaken in that other glass of joie. Especially not as she had already suffered from queasiness earlier in the evening. And then she probably should not have accepted a dance from a rather scantily clad Barbarian Warrior. Because as soon as her partner starts spinning her, so does the room. And everything and everyone in it. Her bells jingle. Her tail sways. But this kitten does not purr. Not even. The unbearable dizziness causes her rather to moan and close her eyes.
"hear hear, before the violet withers and the Knight and his lady can no longer stand and need to be carted off to parts unknown by servants" The ocean intones. Which is exactly what some servants who have passed thier trays off to others are volunteering to do for the Black Cat, since she seems to not be well off.
Nearby, after Lancelot leans in to whisper something in Guinevere's ear, the girl scoffs softly, shoving her now-empty crystalline glass into his hands so he might deal with disposing of it instead. "I voted for the Violet. By Kushiel!... What is it about being a man that makes everything so difficult?" she quarrels with him, liquor rendering her much louder than she thinks she is.
The splurge King takes his time right where he is, one more murmur into the violet's ear before his hand withdraws, leaving a faint imprint upon her neck, a matter of an hour, perhaps, no more to fade. The other will take longer, though, on the other side of her neck. As he takes a single step back he reaches to pull his mask off, revealing the proud visage of the Azzallese Duc. "Sweeter than death, this violet" he comments. "I must get someone to find out who she is for me."
Sir Lancelot cheers! Thrusting a fist into the air. "bravo Duc," the Knight shouts as do many others. For the moment the his companion is ignored, but not for long. Soon after the throngs of people start cheering and merriment begins again, the Knight begins ushering his lady towards and exit.
Black Cat waves off from her dancing partner and retreats to the side of the ballroom once more, near the wall. Feeling rather sickly, she reaches up and pulls off her mask, revealing that she is the Baronne D'Rosiers. Her eyes do scan the room and when the Duc pulls off his own mask, her eyes narrow. As some move forward to inquire if she is alright, she shakes her head at them. "Oh, I am perfectly fine." she assures. "Just pregnant."
Camelot's queen's exclaimation of surprise joins those of the nobles around them at the revealing of Hermes' familiar visage. A little sigh escapes her, serving to diffuse any apprehension she had had about the man's identity. Nodding once, she motions towards the handsome Duc, even as Lancelot presses her gently towards the exit. "See? No harm done, faithful knight," she murmurs to Lancelot. As they pass the shrinking Violet, Guinevere moves to discreetly press somewhat into the young woman's hand, closing her fingers over it in her palm before she is ushered out of the ballroom altogether by the Knight.
"Figures" The ocean shakes her head at the unveiling with a smile on her face. "An interesting Costume your grace. By far I think, the hit of the fete, after the lady violet here"
If its possible to notice someone turning white beneath their mask, than any who set their eyes upon the Violet at this moment would see just that, her already trembling form near-frozen in place. And so what bruises or marks he's left behind stand out even further against the skin. Something is placed in her hands and she clasps it, fingertips white with the clinging. By the time her knees start to weaken, it seems there is someone there to catch her, letting her slip away from the circle of eyes.
Sir Lancelot leads Camelot's queen's away now. Both staggering slightly. "No more Joie for that pair," one man whispers as the pass. in fact the Knight manages to topple at least one tray of drinks before he and his Lady pass beyond the fete.
The cat gets a look from the Duc, "Well.. congratulations, whoever you are" he murmurs. No, he doesn't know. Not at all, watch him sidestepping away and towards the Ocean instead. He sweeps the lady of the waters into his arms, smiling broadly. "All I ask for is a dance, and to lose myself into the peace of your waves" He doesn't wait for acquiescence, but rather pulls on her towards the floor."
"A hearty congratualations indeed Lady Feline. Eisheth's blessings to your forthcoming son or Daughter' and then the pearl dotted and wave crested matron is being pulled away, even as a servant moves to dote on the Feline wiht the offer of ice cold water. " I suppose I can aquiesce to a dance your Grace"
Briar has indeed taken off her mask and The Duc's words of conratulations are heard. She gives him a smile and a mock curtsy. "Why thank you kindly, Your Grace." she purrs to him. Her head then tilts towards the shrinking violet and shows some concern as the Lady is hurried off, before she turns her pale face to Ocean. "And thank you, as well, Milady." she replies before raising her chin and inclining her head to a courtier whispering something in her ear.
White and silver wings close over the Violet's frame, taking him first into the shadows and then further, lifting her into their embrace and out of the room.
The Duc sets his mask back into place, drawing the ocean into a brisk dance as the music begins. The redhaired woman is looked at now and then, eyes hard to follow from behind the mask all over again. A few words are said to his companion, in tones low enough.
It's when the Oceans dancing that the dress is truly at it's best and the creator must have planned it so. The near black bottom swirls out, like swift moving waves, the weight of the fabric helping. The collar with it's thin wires bounces about or wave givng the illusion of the shoreline being crashed into or in some cases against the back or her neck or the side. She easily keeps up with the splurge king, not missing a step at all, even when he speaks quietly.
Briar laughs at something the courtier at her side whispers to her, then pats his arm affectionately, before raising her chin to the Duc and his partner, Ocean. "Joie!" she calls merrily, batting her lashes, before reaching for another glass. Very much on purpose.
The dance continues, quick and sharp, causing the ocean's dress to swirl and fly like a small typhoon as the Duc leads her through and around the floor. The pair ends up next to Briar after a few accords, right as the song comes to an end and that next glass is brought to her lips "Ah, thanks" the Duc offers as he reaches to take it from her hand. "Joie!"
The ocean is perhaps a wee bit breathless, and as the splurge brings the dance to a close she pluck sa passing glass as well. Well stocked the paalce seems to be with Joie. A cock of her head as the splurge takes the drink from the Baronne and the Ocean passes her newly aquired one to the red haired woman to replace what she just lost. "My lady, with my honor, please. To replace your drink""
Briar arches her brow in amusement as Hermes snatches her glass of Joie right from her hand. "You are most welcome, Your Grace." she replies and once more gives him a mock curtsy. "You know how much I live to serve Milord Duc." Said so sweetly, too, with those fluttering lashes. Then Ocean offers her another glass in replacement and she positively beams at the woman. "How kind of you, Milady." she says and accepts.
Splurge looks to the Ocean in disbelief. "Now, would you foment such recklessness on a woman who just admitted to be with child?" the Duc asks, finishing his glass and setting it down to snatch the next one from Briar as well.
'I've had 9 your grace. Some does not hurt" The ocean looks to Briar though. "Though, I am sure that this is not your first or second the night, so his grace might be right enough in that matter" The Ocean doens't fetch another though, letting the Duc hold the second confiscated flute.
Briar 's amusement grows as Hermes plucks the next glass from her hand, as well. She gives a dramatic sigh, though her eyes are dancing. "I am afraid I must relinquish myself to your better judgement, Your Grace." she laments teasingly. "Afterall, I am but your lowly vassal and yours to command at whim." She then passes a grin to Ocean.
"Nine" the Duc says, trying hard -not- to realize the obvious. I mean, in this day and age nine is not such a strange number, is it? "And still so beautiful, It must be the purity of the D'Angeline blood" he remarks, flirting still with the ocean as he draws her to himself. "But you jest, of course," He smiles "See...My lowly vassal here loves you almost as much as I do."
"Nine glasses of Joie your grace" The ocean carries on ever so sweetly. "All those from Azzale love the ocean. How can one not. For she is so vast. Her color varies, from the brights turqoiuse off the coasts of the Caerdicci coastline to the darkest black at the heart of a storm. Her anger is to be reckoned with, but when she is calm, the sight is sweet" A pearl strand is slipped from around her neck and held out for briar. "A gift, from the sea, for your daughter"
Briar goes stock still when he brings purity into it. However, she gives the Duc a vicious little smile. "Would that we all could be so pure in blood, hmm, Your Grace?" she asks, before turning to Ocean and fixing her with a tight smile of thanks at the offer of the pearl. She accepts gracefully. "My thanks, Milady." she says. "She will look beautiful in them." Her smile warms somehwhat, after that. "But His Grace is wrong, though." she adds. "No doubt I love the sea as much, if not moreso than he."
"Pure Trevalion" the Duc says, lifting his new glass in a toast. "Twice over." The words are heavy, if the voice is not, and he seals them with a complete draining of his glass. "This looks like another challenge, Lady Wept" a grin as he uses the caerdicce name at that. "Who loves you the most?. We shall both have to swim in your depths and sweem as far off the coast as our arms will take us tonight" Such taunt.
"Everyone loves the sea, in thier own ways, blood or no" The ocean intones, but glances through the eyeholes of her mask, the dark dark eyes studying the inebrieted duc. "You are far to curious your grace, about the oceans depths"
Briar snatches another glass as the Duc lifts his for toast, quickly raising it, before he can steal this one away, too. "Ah yes." she murmurs. "To Trevalion blood." Then, quick as you can, she gulps down the liquid. "His Grace is fond of plunging into any sort of depths, Milady." she then says, perhaps a bit tipsy by now. "The wetter the better."
"I've been there" he retorts. "Now and again. It is a touch that one cannot find anywhere else, if you ask me. To sink further and further until one's lungs are burning and seem like they will explode out of one's chest, and that first kiss of air that makes it all well and sound again. Salty, air, covered with foam."
"Where the water is almost black and you hang for a moment, deciding whether to go further, or wether to propel back up" The ocean nods. "Crisp air, so sweet, the sound you make to pull it all in as much as possible" She salutes her own glass, tossing back the crystal clear liquid that pours thickly down the throat and burns all the way to the stomach. "This ocean though, the tides must follow the moons call. And she calls me away from the palace shores and out into the city. If anyone wishes to see how well they can swim on my outgoing waves, they had best speak now"
Briar 's lips quirk at the Duc's words and her head tilts to the side. "You forget the taste of it, though, Your Grace." she murmurs. "Not just salt, but air, upon your lips and tonue. The very essence of life. And the scent...tis so much more. In ancient Tiberium, they have a legend of a mythical nectar, called Aether. The purest scent. The sea, I beleive, is the closest we mortals will have to such." Then her head tilts to the Ocean and she just smiles. "Flow freely, Milady." she says to her.
Splurge smiles to the Ocean's invitation and stands up. "I think I shall follow. There is something upon the hills calling my name now, I'd rather it did so with me present"
"Good morning, lady feline" The oceans offers. "Companions watch over you, and your babe" She offers her arm to the Splurge.
Briar grins cheekily and turns to the Duc, standing on her tiptoes for a moment before leaning into him. A finger darts out to flick off a some coconut before she brings it to his lips. Then her lips are moving there, but it is her tongue that darts out for a taste, the top licking slowly around before she withdraws. "Have a good evening." she murmurs to them both.
The splurge King chuckles openly, taking his time to take a good taste of the offered fingers while his arm hoiks around the Ocean's one, smiling broadly to himself, "I suppose we could go in my carriage, since you already know who I am." The mask is set back upon his face, covering him as Briar whispers something into his ear. He chuckles openly at that and stretches, blowing a kiss in her direction, "Thank you for being so... understanding"
"I think your grace, that I knew who you were before the mask even came off. Good eve Baronne" And the OCean lets herself be carried away for now
Briar blows a kiss in response to the Duc and bats her eyes. "Of course, Your Grace." she murmurs. "Afterall...we know just how proficient at such you are." And with that, she turns, slinking away.a