Scene One
Scene Two
Scene Three
Scene Four
Scene Five
Scene Six
Scene Seven

Chapter Two: Saining

Scene One: Procession
mgrasso> We left off last time with all of us being introduced formally to court.
mgrasso> The throne room/great hall is the first room of the freehold tonight. The hall is full of fae, probably 40 to 50, some of whom are familiar to those of you who have frequented the freehold in the past.
mgrasso> Others seem to be strangers.
mgrasso> There is much milling about and talking before the throne dais.
mgrasso> The thrones are currently empty, but guards, including Sir Douglass, stand right in front of the dais.
mgrasso> Banners of Houses Dougal and Fiona hang from the brightly lit ceiling.
mgrasso> As the boggan valet announces your entrance, a hush falls over the crowd. Many eyes turn to Mairead.
mgrasso> The rest seem to be gazing at Artemisia, the last vestiges of her unearthly fury still clinging to her like the threads of a silken fabric.
* Artemisia catches Douglass's eye and smiles enigmatically a she scans the rest of the room, relishing her Moment.
mgrasso> Douglass beckons to Artemisia, asking her to come forward.
* Artemisia !dice 6 6
Artemisia> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 10 2 1 9 7 9
* Kirby looks around the room and whispers, "Anyone see any kind of snack tray?"
* Solangia nudges James and quietly says, "Look at those two. Think our maiden Artemisia needs a chaperone to protect her from brutish attentions?"
Solangia> (aranth, sorry.. :) )
* Artemisia sweeps into the room and walks purposefully toward the dais, her head held high, her eyes straight ahead, listening to people whisper as she passes.
Aranth> I don't know, Don't you think that would be, um, rude?
Aranth> (he)
mgrasso> Douglass takes Artemisia's hand after she curtsies to him at the foot of the throne.
Solangia> Rude? When have you ever known me to be rude?
Kirby> What are we doing here again?
* Solangia is the picture of innocence
mgrasso> Horns blare a fanfare from some unknown location.
Kirby> I thought there were going to be snacks...
* Aranth smiles you? never!
*** Retrieving #Changeling-Tucson info...
mgrasso> Entering from the back of the chamber are Count Rogelio and Countess Sharon.
mgrasso> You all immediate feel the need to bow or curtsy, depending on sex.
* Artemisia curtsies again, more deeply this time, holding it a they enter.
mgrasso> Walking beside Sharon is a sluagh girl, resplendent in a sweeping black dress, who holds the fringes of her long, crimson dress.
* Kirby bows slightly, then pulls a small bottle from his shoulder bag and shoots a snootful of nasal spray into his nostrils.
mgrasso> Count Rogelio, wearing fine steel plate armor picked out in black and gold, beckons to the valet and the horns cease.
mgrasso> Lady Sharon sits on her throne, her sluagh kneeling beside her.
mgrasso> Rogelio's deep voice fills the hall. "Friends. We gather this evening for a joyous occasion. It is the entrance into fae life of a new member of our community of Glamour. It is a night for naming, a night for claiming the birthright of the fae. Tonight is the Saining of Artemisia."
mgrasso> Again, you all fall silent as Rogelio and Sharon look out upon you.
mgrasso> The sluagh girl's eyes scan the back of the chamber to observe the five of you (Kirby, Sol, Aranth, Travis, and Mairead).
mgrasso> "Who is this lady's sponsor, who has been her caretaker for the year, guiding her into the life of the fae?"
* Kirby fixes his attention on the sluagh and smiles slightly.
mgrasso> Douglass kneels and bows deeply, "I am, my lord."
mgrasso> "Who are you," says Rogelio, "to be her sponsor?"
* Artemisia watches this exchange intently.
mgrasso> Douglass raises his eyes and says proudly, "I am Douglass mac Liam, vassal of your lordship and of Her Grace, Duchess Rachael."
mgrasso> "Come forward, child," says Rogelio to Artemisia.
* Artemisia approaches Rogelio and stands before him.
mgrasso> "We, your sidhe brethren, will accompany you into the Room of Naming, there to act as your final guides into your new life. Are you ready?"
Aranth> (I'll be right back)
Artemisia> I am ready.
mgrasso> Rogelio stands before the assemblage. "We will now retreat, nobles all, into the Room of Naming, to finish this part of the ceremony. We invite you to prepare for the rest of the evening's Yule celebration."
mgrasso> Rogelio, Sharon, the sidhe knights, and the sluagh prepare to exit the chamber through the back doorway.
* Artemisia follows them as they leave.
mgrasso> Artemisia follows them. As soon as they leave, the preternatural quiet that smothered the chamber is lifted, and the fae here begin speaking again.
mgrasso> (Okay, guys, feel free to interact.) :)
Aranth> (back)
mgrasso> (good timing)

Scene Two: Three Coins
Kirby> What the heck?
Solangia> What's with her ladyship's pet sluagh? Is that normal?
Kirby> If they wanted a name, they should've asked me. I'm great at naming stuff...
mgrasso> Mairead's eyes are darting from corner to corner, chasing chimera as they flitter through the room.
mgrasso> Travis is off making time with a handsome young satyr. :)
Aranth> Doug!
* Aranth sounds stunned.
Kirby> This is the weirdest party I've ever been to. What kind of party doesn't have spray cheewse and crackers...
* Solangia looks at Aranth
Solangia> What? You miss him?
mgrasso> Douglass is in the Naming Room with the other sidhe.
Aranth> Her sponser?! what's that shit
Kirby> Sol, maybe you should go see if you can hear what they're talking about back there. You've got good ears...
Solangia> What? Who else is going to do it? She's a nobody. He's a nobody. It works.
Aranth> i guess
* Aranth gestures the top of his head
Aranth> I'v e had it up to here with the aristocracy shit
Solangia> Hmm... Good idea. Come with?
Kirby> Me?
Kirby> I'm still looking for some food...
Solangia> I'll feed you later, come on.
* Kirby roots around in his shoulder bag some more.
* Solangia grabs Kirby's elbow and makes her way to where the sidhe departed
* Kirby tags along with Solangia, trying to stay a couple of steps behind.
* Kirby keeps his attention focused in his bag while he follows.
mgrasso> Solangia: WP check, diff. 8
mgrasso> Kirby, you too.
Solangia> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He botches the roll.
* DiceWell 1 5
Solangia> (damn!)
Kirby> ! dice 8 8
Kirby> !dice 8 8
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 8d10 at difficulty 8. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 3 6 9 8 1 6 7 4
mgrasso> Kirby and Solangia, as they approach the closed door to the back room, have their attention drawn to an old man, sitting on the floor near the door, his eyes and face glittering from reflected light coming from three objects at his feet.
Solangia> Ooh.. shiny.
* Kirby pulls a battered, already open package from his bag and sits down next to the old man.
* Solangia goes over to check out the objects and the old man
mgrasso> The objects appear to be three medallion-sized disks that are spinning continuously. They seem, at first observation, to be made of three different metals.
* Kirby tears the cake in half and offers it to the man and Solangia both, "Ding Dong, anyone?"
mgrasso> The old man, largely bald with two wild tufts of white hair, is not immediately identifiable as any one kith.
* Solangia sits Japanese-style in front of the man
Solangia> Hi... Who are you?
mgrasso> 2d10
* DiceWell throws the bones for mgrasso (2d10) and gets 6.
mgrasso> "Not important. Regard the coins."
mgrasso> He gestures in turn. "Tin, bronze, electrum."
mgrasso> "Inherently," he says, "of very different values."
* Solangia nods
mgrasso> (Is Aranth coming over now?)
mgrasso> They are still spinning rapidly, obviously with some supernatural help.
* Kirby watches the coins and munches on his snack cake.
mgrasso> "But they are the same size. The same weight. They even spin the same. They reflect light in the same glorious manner."
Aranth> sure
Aranth> (he was previously standing with his hands in his pockets awkwardly)
* Solangia looks like she's resisting the urge to bat at the spinning coins
mgrasso> He stops the tin coin with a finger placed on top of it.
mgrasso> He hands the tin coin to Aranth.
Aranth> yeah? and?
mgrasso> It is carved with the face of a female nocker on the obverse, a gear or cog on the reverse.
Aranth> nice.
mgrasso> The bronze coin is stopped. The old man hands it to Kirby.
* Kirby wipes his hand on his pants and accepts the coin, "Thanks, dude..."
mgrasso> On the obverse is a boggan's face and the reverse features a bee in honeycomb design.
* Kirby turns the coin over in his hand and examines it.
mgrasso> Finally, the electrum coin goes to Solangia. It is uncarved.
* Solangia inspects it curiously
Solangia> Why doesn't this have anything on it?
Kirby> It does...
mgrasso> "You will not know," the old man says, "what the coin's value is, until it is melted down, weighed, and examined, no?"
Solangia> I don't know. sometimes I just look at the number written on the coin.That's always been helpful.
* Kirby stifles a laugh...
Aranth> same thing with the human body
mgrasso> The old man smiles. "Books and covers. You mustn't rush to judgement."
* Solangia shrugs
Solangia> I once thought that Andrew's journal would be very boring judging by its cover. I read it. It was. Nothing but lovesick prose and dirty fantasties that I couldn't even call vanilla, they were so flavorless.
Solangia> And the worst of it, sir, is that only *most* of them were about me.
mgrasso> "Keep the coins. Your time will come." The old man puts his cowl over his face just as the nobles burst forth from the Naming Room.
Solangia> Thanks.
* Aranth whispers to sol and kirby
Aranth> was that about the eshu thing?
mgrasso> "Gentles, all!" Rogelio booms. "The Saining is done! Let the masque commence!"
Kirby> What?
Solangia> No. I don't think so. He didn't even try to kill me.

Scene Three: Masque
mgrasso> There is applause and shouts of glee from all corners. Artemisia emerges with the other sidhe, and Artemisia sees Solangia, Aranth, and Kirby standing near the door to the Naming Room.
* Kirby slips his coin into a coinpurse and puts that in his bag.
* Aranth claps and smiles
mgrasso> The Count and Countess take their seats upon the dais once more.
* Solangia carefully puts her coin into a pocket in the folds of her voile
mgrasso> The three of you turn to face Artemisia as she comes towards you.
* Artemisia approaches, smiling enigmatically once again.
mgrasso> Mairead, too, manages to snap out of her reverie and approach Artemisia.
mgrasso> (Sorry, guys, feel free to roleplay here)
Artemisia> Thank you for being here for my naming, my friends. It means more to me than you know.
mgrasso> (I'm relinquishing a little control here for a while.)
* Solangia bobs a quick curtsy to Artemisia and flatly says, "Congratulations, Bertha."
Kirby> Well, what's the name?
Artemisia> That's the weird part... I'm not really sure.
* Solangia elbows Kirby
Solangia> You're not? How can you not know?
mgrasso> Aranth glances back to where the old man was sitting, incidentally, and he's gone.
Artemisia> I do know, but I don't... it's hard to explain.
Kirby> I think I know what might help...
Artemisia> Do you?
Kirby> Sure.
Kirby> So where's the post-naming party?
Artemisia> It's here!
Kirby> Oh, cool!
mgrasso> It's organizing right now. Drinks and food are being set out by the freehold servants. A band is setting up to the side of the lords' dais.
Solangia> I think he means the orgy later, Art.
Kirby> Sweet. Here's the food...
Artemisia> Yes, my friends, an occasion such as this warrants a party on the nobles.
* Artemisia grins.
mgrasso> Lady Sharon says, "We call this masque... to commence!" She glances to Artemisia and Douglass approaches Art from behind.
mgrasso> He says, "May I have this first dance?"
Kirby> Well what exactly is the occassion? Other than you're name, of course... I mean, I'm still not sure what this is all about.
Solangia> She doesn't know her name, Kirby.
Solangia> Art, do you know your house? Your address? Your phone number?
Aranth> must be the child like empress, where's bastian when youneed him?
* Artemisia puts her hand in Douglass's and whispers to Kirby "Later..." as she follows him to the center of the room.
Kirby> But we know her name and then they give her a new one... I mean, what's that all about?
Aranth> It's just a saining.
Kirby> Ah, hell...what do they have to eat here?
Aranth> Her new name might be the old one.
Aranth> it migh not
* Kirby walks over to the food set up.
mgrasso> Kirby appears to be the first in line for food. :)
mgrasso> Artemisia and Douglass now stand in the center of the dance floor.
* Aranth bellies up quickly behind him, smiling
Aranth> I could eat
Solangia> Livia said mine was Bob.
Solangia> Could you? I'm shocked.
* Artemisia puts one hand on his shoulder and takes his hand with the other.
mgrasso> The band, playing medieval instruments, commences with a light air.
* Aranth kisses sol- "Hi bob"
Kirby> No, you misunderstood... she was telling you what to do.
Solangia> Kirby!
* Kirby stops to listen to the band.
* Solangia eyes the spread to see what looks good
Artemisia> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 10 2 10 2 3 8 1
* Kirby nods his head in time to the music...
Solangia> No saucers of cream. No tuna. This sucks.
mgrasso> There is roast pheasant, small pastries which seem to glow with a golden light, freshly carved ham and a punch bowl filled with a tawny, ochre punch, filled with golden citrus.
mgrasso> Artemisia, Douglass, some sidhe, and quite a few commoners begin to dance on the floor.
* Solangia gets some punch and a pastry
* Kirby snaps out of it and starts loading a plate overfull with pastries.
mgrasso> Mairead, standing near Solangia, says, "Have you ever been to one of these do's?"
* Aranth takes too of everything
Aranth> two
* Solangia shakes her head "no"
Solangia> Did I hear them call you a Fiona when we came in here? I thought you weren't one of us.
mgrasso> "Fianna. It's my tribe."
* Kirby scans the room for the sluagh.
Artemisia> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 5 successes.
* DiceWell 10 8 8 4 4 6 6
Solangia> Tribe of what? Are you one of those.. um. Nun.. Noo-... um. Things we took land from?
Aranth> tribe? you're not native american
Kirby>'ll all make sens in the morning, Sol...
Solangia> I want it to make sense *now*.
mgrasso> Mairead appears mystified. "I don't know what you mean. I am Garou. I'm a..." she sighs deeply, "werewolf."
Aranth> they also called you a garou, what's that?
Aranth> ah.
Solangia> Werewolf?
Solangia> Those exist?
* Kirby pulls his coin out of his bag and looks at it, startled.
Kirby> Hey, did something just happen with your coin, Sol?
Solangia> I don't know.
* Solangia pulls it out and examines it
* Artemisia and Douglass suddenly become the center of attention among the nobles, who gasp in unison a they perform an intricate series of steps in perfect unison.
mgrasso> Your coin still has no features upon it, Sol.
Kirby> What about you Aranth?
Solangia> No. I'm still worthless.
* Aranth looks at his
* Solangia carefully puts it away again
mgrasso> All of your coins are unchanged.
Solangia> Do you like archery, Mairead?
* Kirby puts his coin away...
Aranth> don't even say that sol!
mgrasso> "Archery? No, I've never done it."
* Solangia kisses Aranth's cheek
Solangia> Now, dearest. You know I can't help talking about my favorite sport.
Kirby> !dice 7 7
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 7. S/He botches the roll.
* DiceWell 2 6 1 4 8 6 1
Solangia> But i know how you hate it when I monopolize a conversation. Forgive me?
mgrasso> Mairead, again, looks clueless.
Aranth> no,the worthless thing :)
Solangia> Ah, yes, that.
Solangia> Well, what *am* I worth?
Kirby> Your head must be spinning Mairead. More than normal... They have that effect on people.
* Solangia takes a sip of her punch, eyes locked on Aranth
Aranth> at least 150 on a city street my dear
Solangia> Oh.
Kirby> 150?
mgrasso> Travis is watching his new satyr acquaintance dance for him.
* Aranth grabs her waist and kisses her cheek
* Kirby sets his plate down and wipes his hands on a napkin.
Solangia> Careful. You know how sudden jostling irritates my sores.
* Aranth tugs her tail a little. "oh I know"
Kirby> If you'd care to step away from this conversation, I'd be honored if you'd grant me the first dance of the evening Mairead.
mgrasso> Mairead asks, "Has anyone had any of the punch? I feel like dancing, but this music is shite. It's like bad ren faire music."
* Solangia giggles
Aranth> ha!
Kirby> Well, the punch isn't much better...
Solangia> I've had punch. It tastes like boggan pee.
Solangia> A flavor I know quite intimately thanks to Kirby.
Kirby> It does not! My pee tastes *way* better than that...
mgrasso> Kirby: Charisma + Persuasion, diff. 5
Aranth> ewwww
Solangia> Does not! Your pee tastes like citrus and nicotine.
Kirby> !dice 4 5
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 4d10 at difficulty 5. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 1 6 5 6
* Solangia sets her cup of punch aside on the nearest non-floor surface
mgrasso> Mairead says, "Sure, there. I'll do just about anything to get away from talk of sores and piss."
mgrasso> Mairead extends her hand.
Solangia> Who knew werewolves were so picky?
* Kirby accepts her hand and strolls out to the dance floor.
Kirby> What say we head up to the band and start a mosh pit?
mgrasso> Mairead smiles. "I don't think that'll work, love."
Kirby> Well, it's ladies choice for this dance...
* Solangia dusts some stray crumbs off of Aranth's shirt
mgrasso> "Let's just go act like a couple of fruity wankers and dance the quadrille or whatever it's called, ey?"
Kirby> Fruity wanker? I think I can do that...
* Kirby smiles.

Scene Four: The Talk
mgrasso> Mairead and Kirby head out on the dance floor.
* Aranth looks awkwardly at his two large thin gangly feet...
Aranth> if you want to we can.
Kirby> So how do you know Ingrid again?
mgrasso> (Mellie, guess who's on screen now! eet eez forbeeden!)
mgrasso> (Kirby: let's do this in msg)
Solangia> Nah, let's not.
* Aranth sighs a deep sigh of relief
Solangia> I don't know how to dance. Not in such a waythat my clothes will still be on by the end.
Aranth> maybe you can dance for me tonight...
Solangia> I want to find that old fart.
Solangia> Maybe. But I can't stay over again. I can't bear the lectures anymore.
* Solangia wrinkles her nose a bit
Aranth> hmmm...
Solangia> Damn parents. I should just move out. Culture be damned.
Aranth> want to move in with me?
* Solangia takes a moment to scan the room in search of the old guy
* Solangia gives Aranth a startled look
Solangia> Move in with you?
mgrasso> Solangia: Per + Alertness, diff. 8
Solangia> !dice 7 8
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 7d10 at difficulty 8. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 4 3 6 5 3 8 4
Aranth> you're there all the time anyway, plus I want to get a bigger place so I can have a nicer workshop
Aranth> and I can't get enough of you.
Kirby> !dice 7 8
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 8. S/He gets 6 successes.
* DiceWell 6 9 10 10 8 9 9
Solangia> But when your lust wears off? Then what?
mgrasso> All eyes turn from Artemisia and Douglass to Kirby and Mairead. Both of them seem to have gotten the hang of this court dancing thing... very well in fact!
Kirby> (with a hint of a fruity flare...) :)
Solangia> Being over all the time is really different from actualyl living together...
mgrasso> The applause once reserved for the two sidhe now goes to the boggan and his "mortal" partner.
Aranth> do you want to talk about it later? consider it? or do you want to forget I said it?
* Artemisia grins widely at both of them a they sweep by her and Douglass.
Solangia> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 5 5
* Solangia doesn't answer Aranth, instead she seems to be watching Kirby intently
Aranth> sol?
Aranth> !dice 6 8
* DiceWell Aranth rolls 6d10 at difficulty 8. S/He botches the roll.
* DiceWell 4 7 5 3 3 1
* Solangia rubs her tummy a little, then re-adjusts the sari so that it's covered again, eyes still on Kirby
mgrasso> The dance ends, and the dance floor breaks up. Mairead, Kirby, and Artemisia return to Sol and Aranth.
* Aranth sulks
mgrasso> (okay, back together, all.) Mairead excuses herself to get some punch.
Kirby> Well that was fun.
Artemisia> No dancing tonight Sol? Aranth?
mgrasso> Douglass is at the throne consulting with Rogelio.
Kirby> Come on you two. Live a little.
Solangia> I shouldn't.
Kirby> You look like you gots the *moves*, Aranth...
Solangia> I'd embarass you all with my greatness and this is Art's night.
Kirby> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 5 successes.
* DiceWell 8 9 10 7 7 3 2
Artemisia> But dancing is such great exercise, Sol!
* Artemisia eyes Sol's tummy.
* Solangia glances down at her hourglass figure
Solangia> They're called hips, Art.Real women have them.
Kirby> Ah well, I guess it's just going to be the two of us on the floor tonight, Art. And the way you dance? Wow! My compliments to the lady.
* Kirby bows slightly to Artemisia.
Kirby> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 1 6 2 9 10 2 7
Solangia> See this dent, here? That's a *waist*. Waaaaaaaaist.
Solangia> Not that you'd know anything about having one.
* Artemisia ignores Sol, turning to Kirby. "You're no slouch yourself! You and Mairead were fabulous out there!"
mgrasso> Mairead comes back and has a glass of punch.
* Aranth continues to sulk
Solangia> Look at her, Aranth. She can dish it but she can't take it.
mgrasso> "Ey, what's the matter, James?" Mairead says.
Kirby> Well, you know... I can' help it. I got jam in my legs...and I'm ready to spread.
Aranth> I guess.
Aranth> nothing
* Artemisia laughs at Kirby's comment.
Solangia> !dice 2 9
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 9. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 6 2
Kirby> Come on, buck up you tow. it's a party.
Solangia> He's just upset because I found out he's only using me for sex and don't mind at all.

Scene Five: Duchess Rachael
mgrasso> The fanfare again.
mgrasso> This time, it's different. Almost... martial.
Kirby> What kind of dance is this?
mgrasso> Everyone turns to the throne dais, and from behind the curtain strides a woman who looks very much like Countess Sharon.
mgrasso> She is older, though, and her dress, highlighted with golden griffons and lions, fairly sparkles in the light of the chandeliers.
Solangia> Who's this chica?
mgrasso> "Her Excellency, Duchess of the Firebird, Duchess Rachael ap Fiona!"
mgrasso> Again, the power of the nobles compel you all to bow.
* Artemisia bows very deeply.
* Kirby grabs a pastry and bows while eating.
mgrasso> All the assembled nobles and commoners bowing, Duchess Rachael steps to the front of the dais and speaks in a loud, clear voice.
* Solangia curtsies stiffly
mgrasso> "My loyal subjects. We hope that the joy of this evening will not be shattered by what we must tell you tonight."
mgrasso> "The solstice is the commencement of Winter. We stand at a much larger and more heinous Winter now."
* Artemisia 's eyes are glued on the Duchess.
mgrasso> "War is on the wing in our fellow fae's kingdoms."
mgrasso> "Queen Mab's lands lie under seige from the politically opportunistic, both commoner *and* noble."
mgrasso> "Our liege, Chief Greyhawk, has ordered all duchies of the Kingdom of the Burning Sun to close their borders."
mgrasso> "Meanwhile, our friends, the nunnehi, have begun... attacking freeholds near Flagstaff. We do not know why they have broken the carefully-negotiated truce which has served us all for the last two decades."
mgrasso> "We, however, suspect our neighbors to the east in the Duchy of the Setting Sun."
mgrasso> Murmurs go up in the crowd at this announcement. Rachael glares at her subjects and silence is resumed.
mgrasso> "We have, therefore, chosen to... bypass the order of our Chief, and leave our western border with Pacifica and our northern border with the Barony of the Golden Wheel."
mgrasso> "These borders will be left OPEN."
mgrasso> "We need allies now, allies if the war comes to our pleasant land."
mgrasso> "Lady Artemisia! Come forward."
mgrasso> Duchess Rachael stares directly at Artemisia.
* Artemisia seemingly snaps to attention and approaches the Duchess, curtseying deeply.
* Kirby reaches into his bag and slips on a pair of sunglasses.
mgrasso> "Your life has been set for you this evening, do you know that? Your Name carries with it your destiny, both past and future."
Artemisia> Yes, My Lady.
mgrasso> "Whoever you were and whoever you will be, you now know. You, Lady, are a warrior."
mgrasso> "Come forward."
mgrasso> She beckons you to approach her, to climb the dais.
* Artemisia steps up onto the dais before Rachael.
mgrasso> She grabs the nearby Rogelio's burnished steel sword and commands you to kneel.
* Artemisia kneels before her, unruffled.
mgrasso> "I dub thee, Dame Artemisia, knight in service to the Duchy of the Firebird and the County of Old Pueblo."
mgrasso> She taps Artemisia lightly on each shoulder.
mgrasso> "Rise, Dame Artemisia. Rise and fulfill your destiny."
* Artemisia remains with her head bowed for a moment, then looks up into the Duchess's eyes.
* Artemisia gets up and faces the assembled crowd.
Kirby> !dice 7 9
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 9. S/He gets 3 successes.
* DiceWell 2 2 5 10 2 9 10
mgrasso> There are cheers and applause from all assembled.

Scene Six: The Talk, Part Two
mgrasso> Mairead says to Aranth, Kirby, and Solangia. "This is how I saw her. She is a knight. It is how the spirits brought me to her."
Kirby> As a knight?
Aranth> I never got that vibe from her.
Solangia> Huh. I saw her in a thong and pasties. Obviously, our powers of divination aren't quite compatible.
mgrasso> "In my vision quest, I chased her across the warlands as an armored knight on a steed."
Kirby> were a knight or she was?
Solangia> *Chased*?
mgrasso> Rachael retreats into the back room with her sister. Count Rogelio remains out to preside over further celebrations.
mgrasso> "*She* was the knight. I was a wolf. I was commanded to find her and act as her protector for a great event."
Solangia> What great event?
mgrasso> Meanwhile, on the dais, Douglass bequeaths his sword to Lady Artemisia.
Kirby> So you'll be around for a while, then?
mgrasso> "This," says Mairead.
Solangia> I ... see.
* Artemisia bows deeply to Douglass in gratitude and respect.
mgrasso> Mairead says, "I feel like my work might be done. For some reason, my presence here was required. But maybe you're right, Chet. Maybe it hasn't happened yet."
mgrasso> She seems confused.
mgrasso> Artemisia returns to you all.
Solangia> I know the feeling. "Is this my beginning, or is this the end?"
Kirby> I think you may want to stick around. At least for another day or so...
Solangia> Ah, precious moments.
mgrasso> "I've nowhere else to go."
Artemisia> I din't know you were a disco fan, Sol.
Kirby> Congratulations Artemisia.
* Solangia looks aghast at Art
Artemisia> Thank you, Kirby.
* Artemisia smiles.
Solangia> Disco? That's not disco. That's soul!
Solangia> Or is it R&B?
Aranth> now, when they say borders, at least some of them, are closed, does that mean we can't get out either?
Solangia> Kirby? You made me listen to it. You tell me.
* Solangia sings off key, "Are weeee in looooove? Or just friends? ooooh..."
Artemisia> I would assume "closed" means both ways, Aranth,.
Kirby> So you're a dame now, eh?
Artemisia> I guess I am.
* Artemisia smiles again.
Solangia> A dame.. So you're a man in drag with pink hair?
Aranth> that doesn't work for me...
Solangia> It doesn't?
Artemisia> What doesn't?
* Solangia looks closely at Aranth
Aranth> I can't do the restricted thing
Solangia> I think you could.
Solangia> You've done it for the last few months. Unless there's something you need to tell me...?
* Solangia raises her eyebrows
* Aranth shakes his head
Kirby> Can I talk to you for a minute, Art?
Artemisia> Yes, let's go get some punch.
mgrasso> Kirby, Art: #artkirby
mgrasso> Sol, Aranth, stay here.
* Artemisia takes Kirby's arm and walks away, almost pulling him.
* Solangia kind of fusses over Aranth's clothes
Aranth> what? not good enough?
Solangia> I told you how handsome you look tonight, right?
Aranth> no, but thanks.
Solangia> Hmm? I'm trying to make you look sloppier so that nocker chick will back off.
Solangia> Or didn't you notice her checking you out all night?
Aranth> who?
* Solangia gestures to the left
Solangia> She was over there last I saw her.
Solangia> She was *so* obvious. I thought you saw her?
mgrasso> Mairead sips her drink and looks over in the direction Solangia's pointing.
Aranth> no, I didn't notice anybody.
Solangia> Oh. Well, she certainly noticed you.
* Solangia looks a bit disgruntled over that fact
* Aranth makes trys not to scan the crowd no matter how much sol gestures or talks
Solangia> Well, it's not like you'd care if you *did* notice, right?
Solangia> !dice 2 8
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 8. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 5 4
Aranth> well, it's nice to know I'm wanted, but I'm taken.
* Aranth looks in sols eyes "right?"
Solangia> Taken doesn't mean anything, though! Look at those ridiculous machos in my culture. Married, yet still chasing anything that moves.
Solangia> Not ... not that I consider you macho.
Solangia> I-in that way. Not that you're not manly. I mean, ask Mairead. I'm sure she'd agree.
* Solangia is starting to look an odd cross between frustrated and nervous
Aranth> what?
mgrasso> "Yeah, what?"
Aranth> you look like an odd cross between frustrated and nervous.
* Solangia rolls her eyes
Solangia> You look like a guy in pants. So?
Solangia> !dice 2 9
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 9. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 6 4
Aranth> nothing. you okay?
* Solangia smiles
Solangia> What a thing to ask.
Solangia> !dice 2 10
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 2d10 at difficulty 10. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 5 10
* Solangia even giggles a bit
Solangia> I was just thinking about what I was going to tell Papi -- and when.
Aranth> about?
Solangia> Did you take back your offer so soon, then?
Aranth> really? you mean really really?
* Solangia nods
Solangia> Really!
Solangia> I mean it. I'm ready. I really want to be with you.
* Aranth lifts her by the waist and spins her round once, then kisses her
* Solangia giggles delightedly and covers Aranth's face with kisses
mgrasso> Kirby and Artemisia return just in time to see this.
mgrasso> All right, to accelerate to the end here...
mgrasso> If everyone's back...
Artemisia> yes
mgrasso> All right.

Scene Seven: Fior-Righ
mgrasso> After quite a while, the party winds down. You are among the last to leave. Being in Artemisia's orbit assures you a great deal of attention all night long. Mairead, in particular, answers many fae questions about her kind.
mgrasso> You're all about to head out and leave, for a post-party at Chet's.
mgrasso> Douglass accompanies Artemisia on one side, and Mairead on the other.
mgrasso> You all depart, leaving through the gates of the freehold.
mgrasso> As you exit to the mortal world, you realize... you're not re-entering the mortal world. Per + Kenning, all, diff. 6
Artemisia> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell Artemisia rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 1 success.
* DiceWell 2 7 1 9 2 3
Solangia> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell Solangia rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He botches the roll.
Kirby> !dice 7 6
* DiceWell 4 2 3 1 1 7
* DiceWell Kirby rolls 7d10 at difficulty 6. S/He gets 2 successes.
* DiceWell 9 9 5 9 1 9 1
Aranth> !dice 6 6
* DiceWell Aranth rolls 6d10 at difficulty 6. S/He fails the roll!
* DiceWell 4 2 3 5 1 9
Kirby> shee-ite...
Kirby> What happened here?
Solangia> What?
mgrasso> You stand on a blasted landscape. Rolling grey hills sit under a sunless black sky. The occasional long-dead tree breaks up the landscape.
Aranth> what?
* Kirby looks back at the gate.
mgrasso> The gate is gone.
Aranth> "shee-ite"
* Artemisia 's hand goes unconsciously to the sword Douglass gave her earlier.
mgrasso> Douglass, fading through the gate, says, "Brave knight. Loyal companions. You have entered Dame Artemisia's.... Fior-Righ."
Aranth> what? her what?
Artemisia> My what?
mgrasso> He fades away into the gate, leaving Artemisia, Aranth, Solangia, Kirby, and Mairead on this unearthly landscape.
Solangia> What? Who said we're loyal?
mgrasso> *snort*
mgrasso> Cliffhanger!
Artemisia> Oh, you're MEAN!
Aranth> is this a trial? a right of passage? a cliffhanger?