Log:20081028 - A Tea Party

Setting

Rose Garden - Grant Park - Michigan Street: South
White cobble stone pathways wind their way through masterfully crafted lawns adorned with a variety of blooming roses. Here and there a trellis rises up to offer shade over marble benches. Gazebos with latticed walls provide a rose entwined bower for romantic interludes. Here and there elegant statuary and delicate fountains provide restful areas for tourists and locals alike, while elm trees dominate the eastern way towards the museum campus.

A chilly wind blows from the north, driving dark clouds before it and blotting out the stars in patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere they glitter brightly in the dark sapphire sky.

Cast

Scene

Nora has arrived.

Chelli comes in from the main park.
Chelli has arrived.

The autumn night is chilly, there's no doubt about that. The sun is still setting, but the light only highlights the natural darkness about to fall. In this twilight, the sky blazes with stars, as if their distance in the expanse of space were brought to attention from below with their freezing brilliance.
A dozen fires have been set alight for this event, in large cauldrons that roar with their blaze. The smell of perfume between the burning pots is at once harsh and inviting, musky and thick. The dry flowers of autumn are woven as garlands about the dozens of tables set for this purpose, slick white chairs without cushion, elegant white tables sparse but gaining in simplicity. Over the cauldrons a dozen tea kettles are being set alight by well-dressed men and women.

Click… Clack… Click.. Clack… Dorian quietly limps down the path, the sound of his leg brace's sturrup and his cane scraping the path at opposing intervals. He looks like someone who has just gotten the cure for cabin fever, which could be true after the past month's torrential storms.. though to look in his grey eyes it would be apparent that any cabin fever has been around much much longer then that. He sips from a styrofoam cup of steaming coffee, stopping aver dozen feet or so to either study a plant or lean against something to get a moments rest. Beneath his arm is a cheap pad of paper. As he rounds the corner in the path he comes upon… Fires and Cauldrons and chairs?? He blinks once. "What the hell?" he asks, his voice gravelly.

Nicola arrives alone and not nearly as well dressed as the people tending the cauldrons. It would appear she has never been here before - or so says the way she walks slowly while staring around at the view.

A young redhead waunders in looking somewhat lost herself. Nora is dressed in a nice dress, but no where near as nice as the bulk of the crowd. She stops next to Nicola, and smiles tentatively at her, before looking out at the scene laid before her. A hand pushes her flaming locks over her ear, somewhat nervou.

Chelli is half jogging, half wandering and enjoying the beautiful night. She makes a turn toward the area after hearing something and finds herself on the path that leads to the rose garden. There is a pause as she too gapes a little at what is going on here. Curiosity drives anything else out though as she steps to the side and watches, keeping quiet.

Aislinn's curiosity getting the better of her, she walks towards the lights. Her brows lift in surprise as she steps into the garden and see's what is set about. She mouths a 'wow' before moving in further noting the people already there.

Mischa steps into the gardens, brown eyes moving around curiously to take in the decor of this autumn party. The fires reflect in her dark eyes, as she moves through the crowd. She sees Nicola and nods with a warm smile, though she doesn't drift toward the other woman just yet.

There's a lack of wind, oddly enough, as if the lawn upon which the party is starting were holding its breath and the trees between were watching, waiting. At that precise moment that Aislinn's foot touches the grass, that Chelli approaches the grounds, that Nora and Nicola join, the sweet, sudden sound of a violin starting up pierces the silence. The green exhales, the fires erupt suddenly, sending sparks into the sky and illuminating the event as if held in nature's ballroom. Another violin joins in, and waiters approach each person. Towels folded elaborately over their hand, smiles in their oddly dark eyes, their hair identically white and their suits absolutely immaculate. Each approaches a person— Chelli, Nora, Nicola, Aislinn, Dorian, Mischa— with the same greeting and roughly at the same point in the violin's odd melody: "Welcome to the Party, we have been waiting for you. We hope that you will be joining us this evening, dear friends, for we should be lessened in your absence. Won't you come with us?" The smiles never waiver.

Chelli does a little surprised blink at being approached by the waiters. She absently glances to her jogging suit and finds herself a little under dressed for this. Glancing to the 'fire show', she sets off a grin and looks back to the waiter, "You have? I musta missed the invite, what's all the excitement?"

Dorian raises a brow at the growing crowd…. then shakes his head. Instead of turning away he marches (well, limps) into the growing event. he nods as politely as he can to whomever he passes though never seems quite able to make eye contact.. he fidgets with a slight nervous energy but keeps moveing onward.. Until he finds an empty seat. Grimacing and rubbing his thigh, he turns on the sturrup and eases himself into the chair. Good leg bent at the knee and the one with the brace hidden beneath the pantleg bent only slightly. JUST as the cacophany of viola and flame erupts. His jaw drops and he looks around, seemingly surprised… especially as he gets greeted. "Uhm.. What is g.g.going on." he asks.. His deep voice has a strange stutter… not one of nervousness but seemingly of actual nerves.. neural damage or something since his face has a slight squinting tic when his voice catches.

"It appears," Nicola tells Nora "If you don't mind my saying so, you look about as lost as I feel." She pauses a moment to stare around the square before adding. "We didn't just come upon someones non-traditional wedding party, I hope." Mischa is noted as she stares through the crowd and she begins to wave before the party suddenly comes to life. Her response is a small jump and a gasp before she stares at the host approaching her skeptically. "You mean waiting specifically for us?"

Nora looks at the other guests for a moment, to see what their reaction is. She chuckles a little at Nicola's comment, smiling at her warmly. But she shrugs, oddly intrigued by the whole thing. She follows the waiter, "I didn't get an invitation. I hope you're not mistaking me for someone else."

The honey-haired dancer Mischa glances with narrowed eyes at the white-clad server who approaches her. She assesses him for a moment — but what's he going to do, strangle her with the towel over his arm? "What the hell. As long as you don't offer me any Kool-Aid or try to drink my blood, it's all right," she says a bit nervously. She smiles at Nicola's comment and nods to say she is confused as well.

Aislinn looks surprised, but a small smile touches her lips. When she is approached she arches a brow. "Expecting me? Really? Not sure how as I only just decided to come for a stroll." She hears a couple of other responces and hmms softly, but follows the waiter.

Chelli raises up on her sneaker toes and looks over and around the waiters to see what other reactions are from all this, "A midnight wedding? How romantic!" The teen is just all grins and happiness to think that is what is going on. "Maybe they have some champagne too. This is so going in my diary of things I found in a park."

Each host reaches out to offer a hand. Around each offered pinky, a small silver ring. In each perfect upturned smile, white teeth and dark eyes. Those following the waiters must step over the wall of mushrooms that has sprouted seemingly at random. A wall that circles the event as far as one can see, minute and unnoticeable but definite in its borders. Each guest is told the same thing in response: "Honored guests. We've waited for you. Won't you come dance with us? Dinner is just on—" another response, at the same time, "Tea has just started boiling," and then "The fire is warm," somewhere near, "Perfect night for dancing. Won't you dance with us?" This last one to Mischa. "Come dance with us…" The violin has found musical companions, an odd and small collection of woodwind instruments practically aching for guests to join.
For those that have crossed the line, the air is crisp and sweet, sweetly rotten, as if the distance between the beauty of the stars and the smell of the air were married in concept in this area tonight. Autumn's swirling leaves obscure the source of the music, the wind dances between the flames, and patterns in the grass form as if invisible feet were already dancing.
A swerving table laid with white linen has been piled with foot between the two trees on the far side of the circle: giant piles of odd cakes and never-before-seen pastries, those things with frosted acorns and honey cakes with bittersweet pastes and creams. Foreign fruit for a foreign party, it would seem.

Dorian seems to be in a.. fugue of sorts. He doesn't seem to know if what he is experiencing is real, by the look of confusion on his face. "Dance? I c.can't dance." he finally says, dazed. "But… I g.guess some tea would be okay.. when it's ready… I don't want to b.be a bother." His grey eyes note the subtle yet not subtle at all change what with the new wall but.. he doesn't seem worried. Just curious. "Has to be magic…" he murmurs to himself as he sets his drawing pad in his lap.

Nicola looks a little nervous when she reaches out to accept the waiters hand, which doesn't happen after a few seconds of contemplation. She glances across toward Mischa, as if to see how far away the other woman is from her. She definitely appears to be both unsettled and curious as she allows herself to be led inside. "So… what are we celebrating tonight?"

"Wow," Chel breathes out and begins heading off with or behind the waiter as he offers them to come and dance. Followed with Eat, Drink, and be Merry from the food set up. Stepping across the mushrooms, she wrinkles her nose for half a minute on the sweetly rotten smell. A glance goes to the mushrooms, "You guys must be getting high on those things, but you do set a nice table," she notices the swirl in the grass as if feet are moving, but she is heading to the buffet of goodies.

Nora narrows her eyes a bit at the waiter, moving her hand towards the man, keeping her eyes on him as if waiting for something to happen. She says nothing, but takes him up on his offer to dance, letting him twirl her about in time with the music. She only removes her eyes from the man to check on the guests who waundered in with her, to make sure they are alright.

Aislinn reaches out to take the hand and stops, looking all the world suspicious. "Dance?" She looks ready to ask somethign else when suddenly her attention is dragged from the person in front of her to Dorian. She looks to the server and motions in his direction. "I will sit over there." She doesn't wait for the server to start that direction and walks that way.

Mischa's eyebrows raise as she does a little pirouette while holding the hand of her partner; she laughs a bit but then her nose wrinkles at the strange scent in the air. "Pretty things often aren't so pretty beneath the surface," she murmurs. "What gives, I wonder?" This is to the others as well, though she does in fact step further into the gardens, her catlike curiosity getting the best of her. Her dark eyes flicker with a more animal-like gold as she glances about, ever alert. She eyes her host and gives him a smile that looks a touch dangerous. Her eyes sweep the table. "Fae?" she asks, curiously, none too versed with the fae folk herself.
"Dance, yes. Food — at least for now — no," she tells the man who leads her.

The man instead leads Nora to a table, but his laugh is as polite and musical as the musician, wherever he is. "My lady, I do not dance with guests! I am but your servant." He kisses her knuckles instead, half going down to the ground, his lips cool and soft but his breath hot on her hand.
The guests are instead lead to their respective tables, placed seemingly at random: white linen affairs with odd flowers, grown from some exotic seed and pressed for this event. They are dead and wilted in their tiny crystal vases.

Nicola and Nora are seated together, perhaps because they arrived together, at a table with men debating the best way to tame a tree. Aislinn is seated at a table in the front, filled with three other illustrious women wearing white gowns without shoulders even despite the chill weather. One is complaining rather vocally that her seamstress didn't choose the correct spiderlace for her shawl. She picks at it while smiling at Aislinn. Mischa and Chel are seated together, across from a very tall male and his female companion, both of them seeming reflections of the other. They smile at once and talk at once, interrupting one another only to greet their two new guests.

"This stuff will kill a good diet, I hope you know," Chel tells one of the waiters nearby. She does admire it all though and looks around for the violin playing along with the other music people are beginning to dance too. "Something a little more lively might help too." She makes her ideas known as she is seated at a table and glances around to those here, "Hi, I"m Chelli, but most call me Chel."

Nicola offers the host a polite but rather instinctive 'Thank you' as she is settled in at her table. A napkin is draped across her lap as she listens to the two men nearby. Slowly, her brow wrinkles before she leans in and asks Nora. "Any ideas at all? Because I'm pretty much stumped."

Dorian watches the dancing that starts, amazed at how.. spontaneous.. this all is. Suddeny he starts patting down his shirt, looking for something. "Where is that d.d.damned pencil." he mutters… but before he can find it… 'His' servant appears with Tea and a plate of paistries for him. He blinks at that and then nods a silent thank you before, carefully, taking each in hand. He is careful to grab the plate with the right hand that seems to have a faint quaver while the more steady hand takes the teacup. Setting the paistries on his pad in his lap he carefully sips his beverage.. and looks astonished. "Okay.. T.this isn't right." he says semi-quietly. "How d.did they know I like my tea?"

Nora looks at Nicola with a smile, leaning over, "Is it just me or are we not supposed to be here?" She sits back in her seat, crossing her ankles, trying to be as ladylike as possible. "I think I'm probably just as stumped as you are. My name is Nora, by the way." She outstreches a slender pale hand to her. "I don't know if we should eat or not…" She smiles at one of the gentlemen sitting nearby.

Mischa smiles at Chelli. "Hi, Chel. I'm Danika, though most call me Mischa," she says, offering the younger girl her hand. She nods at the the beautiful couple in front of her as they introduce themselves as well. She is still a bit skeptical as the tea is poured, watching to see if anyone else eats any of the foreign looking food. "I feel like Alice in Wonderland or something…" she murmurs, glancin back at Dorian as he sips his tea. "The human is drinking some," she murmurs, her voice just barely audible to those with keener hearing.

Aislinn is seated and politely nods to the others at her table. Her eyes drift towards Dorian again, leaning his direction. "Hello, an odd occation isn't it?" As the tea is served to her, a look of longing passes her face. She picks up the cup and takes a deep breath and sighs. She smiles softly and looks back to Dorian. "It is odd that they know exactly hwat to put."

Chelli takes the hand and smiles to Mischa, "Nice to meet you," she then turns to the couple across from them, "They do look like they are from some other land. Fantasy land, maybe. But, if the big rabbit comes by yelling he is late, I think it'll be time to jog on out of here." She laughs and then glances back to Danika, "Tea is safe…ok, maybe it isn't."

Dorian frowns slightly at Aislinn, not out of any unhappiness just not being used to being addressed. "Uh. Yes. You c.could say it is.. Odd, I mean." he tells her, then looks at his tea once more. "I heard someone say 'Fae'?" he asks. "Is that what all this is? Well I g.guess I'm screwed if the t.tea /isn't/ safe. But we don't seem to be in Fairyland.. so I dount it could t.rap us here.. if what the fairyt.tales say is true." he winces once at something and readjusts his posture.

Mischa laughs. "If a big rabbit shows up, my cat would probably choose to do more than jog," she says with a wink. "Seeing how I'm not sure I'm eating anything… might be hungry." She's only kidding of course, though she does give Aislinn a glance too as it seems the teacups are filled with precisely the right concoction to appeal to the person drinking from them. "I don't particularly like tea, really. Got any wine?" she asks her server with amusement, her dark eyes sparkling a bit.

"Nikki," Nicola offers to Nora before adding a bit nervously. "And I'm not so sure about this, either. Do you think the tea is safe?" There is another glance over the two men before she stares around the square.

Aislinn takes a sip of her tea and sighs happily. "I don't believe there is anything bad." She offers Dorian a smile. "It is indeed magical in that way." She holds out a hand to Dorian. "I should quit being rude tho. I am Aislinn."

Nora shrugs, "I supposed we'll find out soon enough." As tea is placed in front of the two women, Nora lifts it to her nose sniffing it. She sets it down, sighing deeply. "It smells heavenly. But the story of Persephone and Demeter is coming to mind at the moment." She keeps her hands in her lap, trying her best not to drink the tea set before her, almost gripping her dress to keep her hands steady.

The tea is at once sweet and bitter, with the perfect amount of cream for those who like it so… As if those males and females doing wait staff were really, truly in tune with those they stated they served. Polite conversation ensues, with those at their tables talking animatedly on their subject matters. The man across from Mischa says, "Oh, we don't talk to Alice anymore. No one talks to Alice anymore, not since the poor thing—" "Not since the poor thing went insane, locked up as she was in her spellings and her gardens," the woman finishes, her smile at once joyful and mirthless. "She's such a gauche guest," they both finish together.
—"is why the lace must be woven at least a night before, you know these things never last," the woman is telling Aislinn. "When I sat at the last Queen DuBois' wedding, now, that was when our weavers knew their spidersilk." The waiter slips a napkin over her slender waist. "A delight to serve one so lovely," he says, and three waitstaff materialize to cater to her needs. The woman slips the elaborate shawl around Aislinn's shoulders, her servant enquires about a footrest, and at once with the others another waiter asks if she needs rose water.
The music has changed, rising from a steady beat to fall to an arrythmic percussion as confusing as the bitter wine and sweet tea must make one's head feel, and
"What lovely nails you have, Nora. Why do you polish a hand so to hand over what you give for free?" The man asks her, taking her hand and examining it. "Lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely, lovely…." The man murmurs.
Sparks crackle and fly as the waitstaff serve Dorian. "Why, anyone can see your face," a waiter tells Dorian, bowing with another unreadable smile. "I wouldn't want your lips to turn down at your tea, so I served your expression," he finishes, as if this makes perfect sense.
At that time, conversation comes to a lull, for a man in a crisp white suit approaches from between two flaming cauldrons. A tall figure in creamy white, his face and hair as similar to the tone as his eyes are dark and shadowed by the light. "Ladies and Gentleman, gentle ladies and Lady'd men," he says, his voice deep and expressive. All talk drifts off like smoke, and a polite silence from most tables greets him. "We welcome you here tonight. Honored to have you, we are truly emboldened and greatened by your presence. In this rose garden of thorn and sweet scent, we welcome too our greatest guest of all: Autumn, and her lord our Sire Winter, sure to come down the stairs shortly after this party has left and we are all sleeping. The stars are perfect for dancing, the moon was gracious to light our way, and the wind's gentle cousin has received our invitation and was inclined to accept. Let all of these things welcome our dancing."

"I'm not really a tea person either. Maybe some flavored water?" Chel looks around to the others that are drinking the tea and then back across to the couple, "Is this a movie?" She asks of the two now, then she turns as the Guest of Honor must have arrived or something. "Oh wait! Like dancing around the Maypole for spring?"

Nicola stares at the man with an expression of wonder and actually doesn't speak for a few seconds. "Well, it appears nobody has fallen over dead from it," she tells Nora, referring to the tea as she carefully brings a cup to her lips for a sip. Her brow wrinkles in confusion as she asks. "A solstice?"

Dorian is sort of… enthralled.. by the whole whole scene around him.. listening intently to snippets from around him… to the server who explains why his tea tastes so good and to the apparent host himself. "Sire Winter.." he murmurs.. then quickly shakes it off, looking back at Aislinn. "I have n.never encountered magic before.." he says quietly. "This is all so.. sureal. Like I am having a t.t.trip or something." he regards her hand and carefully, setting down his cup and taking it gently. all his fingers have bandades around the lower knuckles. "I am Dorian."

Mischa's eyes flicker to the man as he makes his announcement, watching him curiously. "An autumn feast — I suppose that makes sense. And we are just lucky to have stepped into it? I've never really been to any events put on by the fae, have you?" she asks Chelli. Nothing bad seems to be happening to Dorian, so she shrugs, and picks up the tea. "At least it's not pomegranate juice?" she offers down the table to Nora, then takes a sip as well. "It is rather good," she says with a shrug to her seatmate Chelli.

Nora blinks and blushes a little as the man takes her hand and examines her nails, clearly not used to much in the way of male attention. "Uhm, that's very kind of you, thank you, sir." She looks over her shoulder at Nicola, as if she may have more insight then she does as to why a gentleman is examining her nails. When the dark figure speaks, she smiles a little, seeming quite amused at the whole thing. She lifts her tea to Nicola and shrugs. "Cheers?" She takes a sip of her own tea, tasting perfectly like her mother's tea when she was little. She smirks at Mischa's comment, glad that someone got her comment about the myth.

Aislinn places her other hand over Dorian's as well, her eye's unfocus for a moment. She blinks suddenly and gives him a sad smile and slowly slips her hand out of his. Her attention is drawn to the woman. She touches the shawl over her shoulder, and she turns thoughtful. Her fingers play over the silk and she looks up at the woman again. "Thank you." She offers with feeling.

Dorian 's grey eyes seem to become less.. sharp.. as if something inside of him has relaxed even more at Aislinn's touch. His shoulders sag ever so slightly in a good way. He watches her speak to the one who speaks of silk, sipping his tea.. almost feeling as if he belongs here now.

"Fae? You mean like fairies?" Chel lowers her voice just slightly, "I thought they all had wings. And, actually, pomegranate juice is pretty good cold," she looks at the tea and shrugs. "When in Rome…" and takes a drink from it, "Hey, this isn't bad really."

As if preparing for the inevitable movement towards the dance, the waitstaff appear suddenly with tall silver goblets, distributing them with grace and ease but a sense of rush, as if they were fighting against the rising tempo of the alien violins. Already many of the guests are whispering to themselves and others, as if set to unease between what only they apparently know is coming. The speaker has disappeared; in his wake, the music that comes from seemingly nowhere is starting to rise with the whispers of leaves on the ground as their base melody— melody as scattered and sweeping, uneasy and excited.
Aforementioned silver goblets bear what appears to be a light red wine, one which tastes bitter but incredibly warm. Should one partake, it has an immediately effect, blossoming in both the stomach and the mind as a warm feeling of dizziness, giddiness, anticipation… The cool juice somehow produces perspiration on the outside of the glasses, sweating the anticipation if not the heat from the fires.

Mischa nods, and glances back at the couple across the way with a smile. "No, there are many kinds of fae… the Sidhe normally do not have the wings and look like pixies, from what I understand. Not that I'm an expert." Her eyes close at the crescendo of the music, her body moving very slightly as if she would dance in her seat. "Beautiful music. Better than the symphony that used to play for my dance company, really," she murmurs, and takes the glass proffered by the servant with a nod of thanks. "Alice ended up in Faerie, did she? That explains the strange story. Lewis Carroll must have been friends with the fae."

Nicola lets the cup touch her lips momentarily before her eyes widen a little at the sight of wine. "Now this is more my style," She tells Nicola, though she still looks apprehensive. Still, she picks up the goblet and looks into it's depths. "We're still alive, right?" She takes a sip and begins to show the signs of relaxation.

Nora takes one of the silver goblets, sniffing it as she did her tea. She looks at Nicola, seeming to trust her above anyone else here, even though they've just met. "What do you think, Nikki?" She takes a large drink as she does, her head immediately growing fuzzy. She giggles softly, covering her grin. "I think we're being drugged." Serious as the accusation may be, Nora cannot help but smile.

Chelli looks at the wine, then a slow glance goes around to the rest of those here. How often does a seventeen-year-old get wine? Not often, she picks up the goblet and takes a drink. The music sets her to almost seat dancing too and when she sets the goblet back down, a giggle emerges, "This would rock if we were on a beach."

Nicola's return laugh comes out as a sputter between her closed lips. She snorts again before telling Nora. "Yeah, I think you're right, Nora." The smile remains on her features as she adds. "If I don't get a chance to say it later, it was nice to meet you, Ma'am." With that said, she takes another sip.

Aislinn eyes focus on the gobblet in front of her. "Oh they sure know how to please." She breaths in the scent of the wine and leans to Dorian to say. "I just love anything sweet and or fruity." She takes a slow sip of the wine. She puts the goblet down and casts a glance around for the host. Giving a little shake of her head she goes back to sipping her wine. "So Dorian. Your an artist?" She asks motioning to the drawing pad with her head.

The wine being passed out smells like a bouquet of wildflowers, heather, roses, moonflowers and clover, Honey and apples. The fruit of the trees and the beauty of the earth captured in a scent. Sippin it, the sweet smell now joined by the smoke and the woody flavors of the old forest as it rolls across the tongue. Swallowing its the heat of the embers of a hearth fire that settles in the stomach. It does act on the fae like a fine wine would act on a human and like wise on humans like the wine of the ancient gods would.

Mischa laughs a little at Chelli's comments. "But it only sort of rocks in a chilly garden? I think I'm with you… the beach on a nice summer night, some nice wine in hand… that would be nice." She smiles and takes a sip of the wine, her nose wrinkling at first, at the bitter flavor, but then they widen as that warm feeling sinks to her belly and through her blood. "Ohhh," she says softly, not having had anything affect her like that in the years since she became a shifter. "I might need some more of that," she adds with a weak laugh, taking a longer drink as she sighs with appreciation.

Nora laughs outloud as well, seeming to melting back into her chair as she takes another sip. "I'm going to have to ask the host where they got this stuff. It's…oh man.." She forgets her manners for a moment, and finishes the goblet completely. She stares longingly inside, wondering what happend to it.

Dorian is finishing his tea just as the wine appears. He trades off, teacup for goblet, and carefully sniffs the offered beverage. He looks at Aislinn and makes a drawn out uumming sound as he ponders how to answer that. "Not really." he finally tells her. he takes a sip of his wine and immediately seems to enjoy it. "Daaaaaamn." he murmurs… another sip… another wow.. he licks his lips and turns to his conversation partner. "It just helps me pass the time. I don't work."

As a word is said, in this time, in this place things happen. Perhaps it is the wine, perhaps it is a party so close to the thinning of the veil only three days away…but there is the briefest of hint of the salty air of the ocean, the sound of a wave crashing just over a hill.

"This stuff has gotta be 200 proof, where do you think they got it?" Chel asks, grinning to Mischa now, her eyes all lit up. Then another giggle emerges, "Keebler Elf Wine?" The thought hitting her and she just practically howls in laughter, "Mr. Keebler you bad bad elf!" Drink!

Nicola holds back another giggle as she nods. "I'm with you, there. Guess it's a good thing I've never dated a fae…" The words trail off as she breathes in. After swaying in place a moment, she asks Nora. "Tell me I'm not going nuts."

Nora inhales deeply, closing her eyes as she hears the sea and smells the salty air. "Oh god, it feels like home…" She shakes her head quickly and looks back at Nicola, "I think we both are, Nikki…" She cannot wipe the smile from her face, even if wants to.

Mischa has a little more presence of mind as she's only had a couple of sips but she puts a hand on Chelli's. "Shhh, Chelli," she whispers, glancing across at their otherwordly tablemates. "Please, don't make comments like that, that might piss off the fae. They are very powerful, more than we are, and immortal, usually… they don't like being compared to humans' silly renderings of them, from what I understand," she murmurs, her voice very serious. Too serious. She takes a long drink of the goblet to shake off that solemnity. She takes a deep breath of the salty air. "God, it smells like… California," she says wistfully, and her eyes well up with tears.

The music is picking up, now seemingly in time with the gentle throbbing of one's head, the beating of one's heart. Between the haze of the wine, something makes sense in a manner truly ineffable: the shiver of dead leaves on a tree, the pattern of swirling leaves on the ground, the whisper of wind in the grass… each is on the verge of revealing some secret, if only one were to listen closely enough. And as one's head tilts to the side, for either the wine or the whisper, the music suddenly starts.
It picks up immediately, a crescendo of a sweet symphony of perhaps three or four people, a melody that is to music what the words of a tree are to human tongue, promising much but demanding work for it. The patterns of everything in nature seem accessible if only one were to follow them, to flow with them, and it is to that demand that guests begin to rise, taking hands and settling on shoulders as they lead to the earthen dance floor.

Aislinn nods a little listening to Dorian. "Nothing bad with it as a hobby." She leans over to Dorian and says softly. "Sip the wine slowly, it is very strong. Don't want to pass out at such a wonderful event." She takes another sip of her wine savoring, her eyes drift shut as she does. When her eyes open again she looks sad again. "It tastes…." She looks like she's looking for the right word. "like… well, it's good." She finally settles on that with a nod.

"I grew up in Santa Cruz," Nikki offers up to Nora. "And that smell… I thought I'd never smell it again." As she is beckoned to rise, she glances over toward her fellow guest. "Shall we?"

Chelli hiccups, "Heck, I'm sorry," she smiles and looks over to her tablemates, "Sorry! No offense meant!" She gets the scent of the ocean now too, "Lake Michigan," grinning a little wider, "Cold to swim in though. I prefer the pool." She weaves a little back and forth and rises up taking the goblet with her and another drink as she gets out with the others and does slow twirls with her goblet.

Leaves swirl around, rising up the colors of autumn dances in the air. Slowly they merge together to form a figure. And that figure swirls towards the party goers, picking a slender willowy young woman whose skin is pale green, of summer. Bending over her hand, he turns his face and head made from oak leaves dried by the summer sun, fallen to the earth. This last dance for him…and a first dance for her.

Dorian raises a brow at Aislinn's advice, then nods. "Okay.. I guess." he says with a faint smile and a shrug. "It is good shit.. I meant st.st.stuff." he reiterates. "But you are right. I should g.go slow with it. I have an addictive personality, the doctors told me. I don't want to c.c.completey fall off the wagon." he reluctantly sets the goblet on the empty chair to his other side. "And like i said.. the drawing k.k.keeps me busy. They say idle hands are the devils t.tools. And since it is hard to find a job with my.. background.. I try to make d.do."

Mischa chuckles at Chelli's exuberant apology and gives a shrug to the beautiful fae. She gets up, eager to follow the whispers, the promises held by the wind and the grass and the trees, to follow her tablemates to dance as well. The wind swirls through her hair and her skirt as she sighs softly. "I almost wish I had my pointe shoes," she murmurs, taking another long sip of her drink. "It's so beautiful… I feel happy for the first time in … months."

Immediately, other dancers step to the side in a pattern as choreographed as the rising of the sun and as hushed as crickets in discovered grass. They leave immediate room for the two in the middle, dozens of upturned eyes and sharp features alien in their expression as they observe the two now in the middle. The tension mounts like water rising over one's head, as palpable on one's skin as the condensation on the glass of one's goblet. An elegant gentleman of exquisite features, about to proposition Mischa, stops dead in his tracks as his eyes fall upon the two in the middle of the floor.

Nora stands as well, smiling happily, "Of course. This is the best night of my life." Sadly enough, it probably is. She moves to the dance floor. She sheds her shoes, finding them too confining for right now. The former ballerina begins to twirl gracefully around the floor by herself. She seems blissfully happy, as if she has been aching to dance for years. She stops dead though, as two in the middle take everyone's attention, including Nora's. She looks for Nicola, and moves to her, not saying anything for now.

Nicola barely makes it out of her seat before the two in the center captivate guests and dancers alike. She, too, is taken with them and sways on her feet while watching them for a moment. "Amazing," She whispers, perhaps to Nora or perhaps to herself.

The slender maid places one hand on her partners shoulder, causing a dusting of the crackle of Autumn to fly off. Her other had resting even more lightly on his arm, as he leads her in a dance as old as time, the wind and the tree, the spring that the fall, the sun and the moon always chasing the other. Meeting for a loving kiss, a time of memories made…Slowly the music builds and the two dancers swirl round and round.

Chelli sloshes a little wine, but it ends up on her jacket and not someone else. The goblet tips again and she chortles a bit, "Pointy shoes?" Oh wait! She suddenly flops on the grass and works at removing her shoes and socks. Her feet then slide through the cool grass and she moves them around like they are dancing. "This is fun, so much fun, much more fun than being in the stuffy apartment." Her own head swirls 'round and 'round as the two middle dancers do. "So pretty…"

Aislinn starts to say something to Dorian and the movement on the dance floor. She sighs softly watching the display, the look on her face dreamy and far away. "It's like watching Summer and Autumn dance the dance of life and the seasons." She murmurs half to Dorian.

Mischa watches the two in the center, her dark eyes black as night as they sparkle with tears from the beauty of it all. She slips out of her high heels — who can truly dance in such things? "Ballet shoes," she says with a smile toward Chelli. "I used to dance before I was infected." She does another pirouette in demonstration — graceful and perfect, but hardly as beautiful as the two dancers in the middle. She sighs. "I feel absolutely mundane, though, next to such beauty." She nods to the fae, so exquisite in every motion, nature personified.

Dorian watches the dancers and suddenly looks away, pain in his eyes. As if the dancing were too much. "I.. need to go." he says as he grabs his cane and pushes upwards to his feet. he wavers slightly before he finds his steadyness and slowly makes his way out, limping more pronounced now.

The colors of the green maiden is lost among the whirling of leaves, till all you can see is the leaves themselves…the music a wild song, that the wind itself seems to echo. The sweet maiden is hidden from sight, as the dance moves around the circle, closer to each of the on lookers. From the swirling pair leaves begin to flutter in the air, landing as soft as a feather at their feet, in their hair, Till the last, the maiden stands alone, only now her gown and skin are brown…and in her hand is an oak leaf. Pressing a kiss to it, it crumbles in her hands…
At that moment, the other dancers enter as if bidden to do so. There is a clearly dileanated circle around the two in the middle. The couples turn in time to alien steps, the women lifting their fingers in elegant poses while the males take slow steps to bring the female attention back to themselves. Close touching is immediately followed by a female's turn of hip or back, with a male response, an endless cycle that follows the alien music.
Warm breath upon Mischa's back, and the man says, "My lady, lovely lady, won't you dance with me?" He extends a hand, and between the beats of music and the changing light it would appear here and there that his features change, that his elegant white suit changes into an elegant white thong with red embroidery between satyr legs, hoofed and all. "Nothing about you could ever be mundane. Is the honor of moving with you to be mine?" Thinly masked hunger turns sharp eyes even sharper.
"Nora, Nora, Nora… Lovely, lovely, lovely," The man from Nora's table is telling her. "Let me dance with you, won't you dance with me, if I want to dance with you?"

Chelli has to be drugged, this is amazing. She watches Mischa dance too and then the others, but the couple in the center capture her attention more until only the woman is standing. Tears form in her eyes then and she feels them roll down her cheeks, "How sweet is that?" Sniffles. Blink. Whoa. "That guy has hooves."

Nicola looks toward Dorian as he leaves before turning to say something to Nora. Her words die away, though, when the man beckons to her fellow guess. "That would be a tough offer for me to refuse," she says quietly to the woman before turning back to stare toward the maiden.

A man with thick, black braids, wearing nothing but black trousers, is closing in on Chelli. It is hard to see where his dark dreadlocks end and the pants begin, but his skin is alabaster white and his eyes seem to glow. The bells tied into his hair give soft chiming sounds as he extends a ridiculously soft hand. "Won't you dance with me?" He says, merriment in his perfect features. "Pretty young thing, what are you doing here? Allow me the honor of guiding you tonight."

Nora blushes demurely, silently taking the man's hand, her free one coming to rest on the man's shoulder letting him lead her onto the dancefloor. Nora keeps up with him, even though her head may be spinning.

Mischa turns with surprise at the breath against her back, her eyes widening at the sight of the man in the white suit which seems to shift before her very eyes. She takes the hand, sinking into a low, elaborate curtsy such as one would see in an Elizabethan dance. "I… am honored, thank you," she murmurs, as she stands once more. "I do not know this dance, but I will do my best."

Chelli looks up through squinty eyes at the man. Black and White, but quite handsome, or maybe beautiful is the word. "Wow, Hunks Anonymous, " she leaves her goblet on the ground with her shoes and takes his hand. "You must work out, nice abs." Coming up to stand, she half wavers again, "Head rush!" Then giggles too brightly. "Why am I here? I was just out enjoying the night, snuck out actually."

Ghislain extends his hand to Mischa, his smile as sharp as his features. "Then allow me, my lady," he says, bending down on one knee… hoof… "… to teach you. It is impossible to not know the steps, just remember what you knew in childhood and you will see…" Rising to his feet, he closes his hand around hers and gently moves to guide her to the floor, a protective buffer that clears space for the woman. A place on the floor is easily had, and Ghislain lowers his left hand to Mischa's right side, and slides his right hand from her own hand to her back, where his fingertips trace light circles. "Never give me what I want," he says, looking down into her eyes, "Never give me what I want…" Either instruction or a statement of desire, he begins to move with Mischa, stepping with effortless practice so that he is pulling her towards him.

Aislinn's blink away moisture from her eyes as the dance ends, when she turns to say something to Dorian she realizes he's gotten up. "Dorian?" She casts a look around looking for him.

Nicola continues to stare at the maiden for a few moments longer before looking around for Nora. She gazes after the woman on the dance floor while regaining her seat - and her wine glass. "Incredible."

Dorian is standing at the 'wall', sorta stuck.. not sure whether to just step 'out' or stay where he is. He leans heavily on his cane and does /not/ look back. Eyes clenched shut. "Gottagetoutgottagetout.." he murmurs as a mantra…

The gentleman who bends for the Chelli has a decided rougish smile as he lifts her to her feet. "Oh but a head rush, and not a heart rush? How…." His head leans in to whisper in her ear as he lifts her off her feet in a swirl around the circle. To let his partner feel like she is flying…riding the breeze itself.
The man dancing with Nora has skin colored by light and dark and seemingly nothing else, as if its texture absorbed everything but contained nothing. "Move with me, move with me, move me, with me," He says, his voice a soft hush as he pulls her closer, to whisper in her ear while he spins them both in a circle with the other guests. He smells of cinnamon and fresh water, a fresh morning and just as disconcerting as he spins her in a circle before figure-eighting them both back into the bizarre pattern the other guests follow.

The blond dancer moves gracefully enough as Ghislain leads her. Her lips part with questions as he begins that repeated mantra. Which question to ask first? It's so hard to think as they twirl in the dance, the wine warming her cheeks and her body. She literally purrs at the feeling of his hands tracing her back and she tilts her head curiously. "What… is it you want… that I am not to give you?" she asks, a smile pulling a dimple from just one cheek as she gazes up at him.
"You," Ghislain says simply, a smile on his lips. As he pulls her closer, he spins her so that it is her back that meets him. "Let me find what I want, but… Do not give me what I want," Ghislain says, as if this should explain everything. He never stops moving in the strange circular motion, at times pressed in with others and at times with space enough to find her neck, his hands creeping ever higher with every twist and spin to find her busom before he spins her again so that she may, indeed, never seem give him what he wants. His lips brush her ear. "Understand?"

Chel gets spun around and around, even putting her arms out like she is 'flying' and letting the handsome man spin her in circles. Her head tilts back and she laughs and laughs at the feeling. "Is this like ballet dancers?" She is asking toward Mischa as she turns her head this way and that to find her, but the place is swirling and she doubts she'll get an answer.

A slender hand settles on Dorian's shoulder, "Gotttogetout?" A voice questions..and there is a figure in white right beside him, face so pale it seems like ice itself. "Sounds like a rap song."

Nora follows him with expert precision, definately versed in the art of dance. Her skirt lifts and twirls as Nora does, keeping herself close to her partner, inhaling his scent as if he has a cologne that she herself would have made if she could. Her eyes close for a moment, losing herself in the dance, as her eyes scan the crowd for Nicola, making sure she is okay.

Nicola seems to be OK, though she occasionally snorts back a giggle - probably not the most attractive of gestures. She remains at her table for the moment, watching the dancers with a slightly glazed-over look of wonder. As Nora looks her way, she offers another chortle and a 'thumbs up'.

The press of the crowd follows the flow of the music, in both stately rhythms and dizzying circles, a press of exotic and foreign clothing seemingly spun from moonlight and spiders webs. There are people in bark and grass, a woman wearing nothing but petals and stems, a pair of men in ornate finery that shows rips and tears at the seams. The smell is not of humans pressed together, but with the Fine Folk the smell of nature, crisp and clean and musky where earth is strong, is what prevails. Voices rise and fall but the words seem to be nonsense, every bit as arcane as one would suspect but joyous and in some places, ecstatic. A shrieking laugh here pierces, and a gentle murmur over there does nothing to alleviate the sense of rushing, of flow…

"Understood," Mischa whispers, her dark lashes fluttering as her lids close; her back arches and suddenly the dance is more intoxicating than the strange, warming wine. Her eyes slide to Chelli who is being twirled by her beautiful dance partner. "Mmm, better?" she says with a laugh that is husky and throaty as she moves her chin to her shoulder to gaze back at her own partner through the corner of her dark eyes. She begins to teasingly pull away, spinning away from him as if to play this hard to get game he seems to ask for — but she turns to wait for him to dance toward her again.

A brush of warm air flows across the back of Nicola's neck. "Will you dance with me?" A rich voice asks, the breath of it along the fine hairs of her nape.

Ghislain smiles widely. "Yes…" he says, moving in counterpart. Like the other males dancing, like the exotic man gentle on Nora, Ghislain begins a sort of chase, following Mischa's lead with one of his own, meeting her where he can and gently pulling control with one step while she regains it with another. He takes her arm and clasps her hand into his, kissing the back of her bicep while he has to shift against her rhythm to leave her other leg free. The endless circular motion repeats.
"Sir, you seem flustered," the man says to Dorian. "Perhaps you would like me to show you back to the path you were on? I would advise against leaving without direction, lest you wander down the wrong path…" The man bows his head and offers his hand to Dorian, as lily-white as his face.

Nicola probably should be startled by someone so close, but the wine seems to have calmed away any nervousness she started with. Looking away from Nora, she turns in her seat toward the one offering her a dance. With a giddy smile, she responds. "With a voice like that, how could I refuse, Sir?"

Chelli's partner lifts her up and spins her so she is held in his arms, an elegant lift and dip, so the stars sparkling above, and the moon shining down shadow his face as his head slips along her shoulder, a fall of long hair brushing over her body before she is lifted and spun again, this time her feet are allowed to touch ground, so she can feel the earth soft beneath them.

Dorian 's hand clenches the handle of his cane so tightly that the knuckles become white. "Please." he whispers… he seems a little overcome by everything.. whether it be the dancing or the slight amount of drink or something else entirely. "I just n.n.need to get out of here. I need to get out of this c.c.cage."

For a moment, for right now, the music is at a perfect even flow, as if all sweet things in the world, like sugar on the tongue, will never melt. As if all even flow and perfect rhythm will lead to this delighted tranquility, perfect and pleasurable.
The man nods at once, and Dorian is presented only with his coat and cane. "This way, sir," he says, leading Dorian to the edge of the circle. "We bid you farewell, and safe going."

Mischa laughs merrily. "No," she teases, her voice dropping in tone and volume so it's a low purr. She spins away again, and while their dance is still within the rhythm of this strange circle dance, it becomes similar to the cat-and-mouse chase of the tango at the same time. Mischa's hair falls in her eyes as she moves backwards, with the grace of the ballerina and the cat combined. "God, you're lovely," she whispers as she waits for Ghislain to follow, her eyes dilating so that the brown looks more black than not.

Aislinn slides to her feet and casts about for Dorian. She spots him and the man and relaxes a bit. She smiles sadly watching Dorian go, before sliding back into her seat. She picks up her wine agains and takes small sips while watching the dancers.

Dorian nods and, silently, allows himself to be led away.

Ghislain laughs aloud, a deep sound from his chest Mischa can feel as he moves to pull her close. "Who is the suitor here, and who the suited? One doesn't flatter a man, otherwise we might try and dance with ourselves," Ghislain says, positioning his hand so that no matter which way she moves, Mischa is going to feel the brush of his fingers.

Behind Nicola is a broad man, his hair the deep blue of the ocean, his eyes the white of the waves. When she accepts his offer he holds out his hand, to assist her to her feet. "Thank you," his voice is the rumble of waves. But his hand is warm and as soon as she is on her feet he begins the guide her to the other dancers. Always guiding her with a gentle touch, an brush of the fingers, a press of the shoulder, a touch of his hip against hers.

Nicola seems taken aback by the man's eyes, enough so to be speachless as she is led by him to the dance floor. "Everything here seems determined to remind me of home," She finally tells him once the dance has begun.

That sweet lull between tempo, between bar and between lines on whatever sheet of music the musicians happen to be playing, hits the escalation point. The response is immediate, as if the music flowing through one's head had suddenly jerked the reins and was flowing higher and faster, more chaotic and dissonant. It commands that you DANCE, without thought or care, reaching down through one's heart, through the stomach and out the toes, to the very ground beneath, as if giving salute and respect at once to the force of the earth that drives mushrooms through solid brick… The force that makes trees split steel and rock turn to lava.
Nora smiles to herself as someone finds Nicola. She looks back to her partner, but not into his eyes. She seems at a loss for anything clever or witty to say. One may call it shy, another demure, but there is no doubt that Nora is enjoying the attention being lavished on her at the moment. Finally, she ventures to look into his eyes, her own shining with amusement. Her dance grows in tempo as the music picks up.

Chelli can't help but laugh, be dizzy, and blithley uncaring at the moment. The wine and the dance is as intoxicating as anything she's ever encountered. "I so hope the hangover isn't bad tommorrow, this is too much fun!" She takes the long black hair and flings it up, letting it fly out from her partners head. When her feet touch the ground and all that resonates through her, she is sure that the world is going to split apart. But she can't stop, she has to keep up, breathless and giddy.

"Home?" that low voice whispers to Nicola, as the dance turns to the primal chaos of earth and sky and sea. Though she is held briefly away from him away….it seems like that voice is still whispering along her cheek, down her neck. "Where is home, but here?"

Mischa laughs and gives herself over to this dance with this man - fae - satyr - whatever Ghislain is. She stares up into his eyes and lets him lead; her own dancer's soul responds to the beautiful music and the power that flows through the garden, so she does not merely follow the lead but adds her own grace and beauty to the motions he leads her through, with an arch of her back or a flick of a limb. "Suit yourself," she quips, punning on his word choice, with another smirk as she brushes her hands over his chest and lightly touches his glorious hair.

Nicola is not a very skilled dancer, though between the wine and the atmosphere make her seem not to care. "Well, where I was raised…" She begins to say before wrinkling her nose, as if even that seems silly. After a moment, she stammers. "What is the celebration?"

As his hair is lifted Chelli's partner laughs with her, his voice underscoring hers lifting it higher. The beat of the earth flows up through her feet, wrapping around her torso as his arms wrap around her again. And into the maelstrom of sensation they dance. The heat of his body like the lick of a warm flame along her skin, never burning, but dangerously hot.

Aislinn closes her eyes as she listens to the music, her body sways slightly to to beat. A finger runs around the rim of her goblet idly. A small smile on her lips as she listens, she rests her elbow on the table and rests her cheek against her hand.

"Life" Nicola's partner whispers in her ear, along her neck, as she is lead down the proverbial path. "Life is the celebration." Then she is again spun high in the air, again set to flight in his arms.

Ghislain laughs again, the sound rising above and then quickly drowned in the escalating music. The circle is truly a race now, with dancers moving ever more quickly in a dizzying pace only the Shining Folk would consider normal. In this circle, beneath the stars and the light of the fire, the world spins faster and faster, as if a thousand years were on a roller coaster heading to crash into a million trillion pieces, and the symphony pushes the dancers towards it. For his part, Ghislain leaps and moves with Mischa, until it is evident that what he wants is simply to dance with her at this point: he has stopped chasing and started moving alongside, his body against hers a curious conbination of milk-smooth skin and the hair on his legs a silky-smooth texture, all of him dangerous warm against all of her where they touch. He says something into her ear in passing, words that are hot to the skin but meaningless to the mind.

The gentleman dancing with Nora doesn't seem interested in words, not at this time… he seems interested solely in her, as if to the complete deficit of the stars and the music and the people. There's rhythm to be found that is provided, but it is to her and with her that he moves, his eyes never once leaving her.
Chelli perspires from all the dancing, swirling and especially the heat of the body. She is in love with it all. In love with life and all that goes with it at the moment. "This is the best night ever!" She hugs the dancer swirling her around and laughs again. Nothing matters but the here and now, even if she gets yelled at later.

Nicola can't help being giggly again and it seems she tries to be witty. "Life… well, I'm always happy to be alive." The giggles cut off into a gasp as she is spun away. She seems happy right now to be lost in whatever has gotten into her this evening. As she gains her feet again, she asks. "And what do I call you?"

Due to a combination of her years of ballet training and her preternatural strength, Mischa is able to keep up with that dizzying speed, matching her partner leap for leap, though her poor feet will likely ache tomorrow for the lack of shoes. She laughs and lifts her face to the stars above, her hair tumbling down her back as she shakes her blond hair out of her face and murmurs something probably even more nonsensical back into Ghislain's ears — after all, she's drunk on fae wine, not he. All of the sadness that shadowed her face when she stepped into the beautiful garden has faded, and she is full of bliss for this moment — for nature, for Autumn, for this dance, for this night.

Nora tries her best to keep up, doing alright. She does begin to stumble a bit as her mortal body begins to scream with exhaustion, but her heart and head tell her that she will never again experience a night like this again, and more likely will never have the attention of a man like this again either. "May I have your name?" Her voice sweetly urges, as if she feels any moment that she may be thrust from this paradise. "I'm Nora."

As the music reaches a breaking point, the rhythm of the symphony exlodes; the fires of the cauldrons ignite one last time, sending sparks into the sky in one last hurrah; the instruments do not stop, those summer fiddles and pipes break or crack, for they are done for this year. There is one last glorious, ecstatic moment of summer: dancers with sweat on their skin and tears in their eyes from happiness; musicians crazy with the season; sun and earth and sky light and warm. But now the sky has faded, the cauldrons toppled, the musicians and the sky and earth, the dancers and their partners, all left in the encroaching darkness.
The two in the middle, man and woman, now part, and at that precise moment he pulls away from her, the last lilting melody stops. The dancers, those Folk attuned to these customs, stop completely; Ghislain, with his arms protective around Mischa and the woman pressed to his chest; Nicola and her partner, Chelli and hers, Nora and hers, all of the men in similar positions, as if afraid of what this might mean. No one moves, dares to even breath, but the breaking of the music has shattered the light. As the last fading embers from the cauldroms smoulder and go out, the Lord parts company with the Lady, and he leaves the circle as the last of the dying light casts its shadow over the crowd.

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