(2) Christmas: Masquerade Ball



John‏ @DukeBraganza2h Welcome everyone, to our Masquerade Ball. Please, help yourself to food from the platters on the tables at the side of the room. Our new chef has worked wonders and if it tastes half as good as it looks, it will be amazing. Alternatively, there is a superb selection of wines from Portugal and Catalonia, and various other drinks for you to choose from at the bar in the corner. I’m sure there will be something here for everyone. And can I just say, you are all wearing the most fantastic costumes and masks? A wolf … a jester … cats … a butterfly … even a pirate. Well done everyone. Now, please, enjoy your night. Let the festivities begin. *I cue the band to start playing and drift towards Aurore.* May I have the honour of this dance?


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Captain Amalure‏ @BlackBasque20162h// Placing myself intrusively to the side of Aurore and John, with so many foreign strangers in the ballroom disaster will not occur on my watch! Men from the Kings Watch are placed at regular intervals around the grand ballroom concealed in costumes of the court jesters it appears to be working very well, as they open doors and entertain the guests. //

Aurore Braganza👑‏ @auroretrav20142h *Johns hand takes mine slipping my arm through his to guide me through the throng of guests to the dance floor envoys jostling for an audience, nobles who wish to impress their loyalty push themselves forward, it is suffocating. Gliding past with gracious smiles once on the dance floor John takes me in his arms, we swirl effortlessly across the marble floor barely touching it with our feet floating in time to the orchestra. * John, my love I whisper breathlessly I never thought we would be this happy again, hold me close and never let me go.

John‏ @DukeBraganza2h *I spin around the dance floor, feeling as though I am walking on air, as Aurore pirouettes so gracefully around, before I wrap my arms around her and we twirl around as one until I am sure I will get dizzy. I kiss her cheek tenderly.* Oh, look, Abilio and Adriana have arrived. *With fresh impetus, we make our way over to greet them.*
Abilio‏ @_Abilio_Pereira2h*Pauses as we enter the hall, looking around at the food lining the edges of the great room. John’s new chef really has been busy. Wonders if it would be possible to taste every single dish. Perhaps not, and I am here to escort Adriana. Feels a little self-conscious as several sets of eyes swivel to look at us. At least behind this mask, I feel a little less awkward.* Would you care to try some of the food? Or a drink perhaps?
Duchess of Cadaval‏ @andrianatwinsis2h<< After attending so many functions over the years, how strange it is that now my head swirls with light headed nervous anticipation, with my hand resting on Abilio’s arm he escorts me as promised into the ballroom. The grand ballroom spectacularly adorned with crystal chandeliers candles burning brightly, my feet walk as if on air and at his side I feel the excitement of a young girl again. All around us guest dressed exquisitely wearing exotic masks, the air filled with the aroma of floral perfumes mingling with the hedonistic scent from the many vases of flowers. Only one gallant act can make this a night of perfection. >>
Tiago‏ @_TiagoDelgado2*Takes a deep swig of my wine and strides confidently over to Catina. Bows slightly.* Would you care to dance? *Please let
Catina‏ @catina2016{My hands tremble nervously and I close my eyes taking a deep breath. Tiny butterflies brush their wings against my skin when Tiago asked me to dance. Tiago takes my hand, and leads me to the dance floor, pulling me so close against him I can’t utter a word, a faint blush colours my cheeks with so many people watching us. // Tiago wait until we are alone, what if Uncle Miguel would see us!
Tiago‏ @_TiagoDelgado2h.Grins at her and leans closer, my lips brushing her cheek.* And how is he supposed to know it’s me? He has no idea what my mask is tonight. I made sure he didn’t know. As far as he is concerned, you’re merely dancing with some stranger, possibly an important foreign envoy.
Miguel Pedrosa‏ @miguelpedrosa911 .*Shakes my head as Tiago dances with Catina, a little too closely. Apparently, I’m not supposed to be able to recognise him behind his mask. I really must teach him some more about the art of disguise. I don’t need to see his face to know it’s him, his build and hair give him away. Watches as the guests start to dance and drink … an interesting combination, but they all seem happy enough, and I have to admit, the food is excellent. A rather strange combination of French and Swedish perhaps, but it works. I must thank Abilio’s father for the recommendation. Starts towards him, but the serving boy intercepts me to let me know our special guests have arrived. Nods and resists the urge to roll my eyes. There’ll be plenty of time for eye rolling later, and probably plenty of reasons too. Heads to the entrance to greet them, personally.
Abilio‏ @_Abilio_Pereira1h.*Nods to Miguel as he passes by, and turns my attention fully to Adriana.” Have I told you how stunning you look tonight? *Grimaces as I hear just how cheesy that sounds when said out loud.

Jean‏ @Capt_Bart1h*Escorts my guests into the ball. Correction. Escorts John’s guests, formerly my passengers, into the ball. So glad Miguel thought to provide us all with costumes and masks, although I’ll have to have a word with young Billy. He may be wearing a fox mask, but that doesn’t mean he has to pretend to actually be one. Then again, it sort of suits him. Spies the food and the serving wenches and makes a beeline. A pirates life is hungry work. Surveys the bountiful offerings … and the food as well.* Aimee, my dear lady, how have you been? Scared all the dust away by glaring at it? Hi sis. Hi there Catina, how’s that young buck, Tiago? Hold that thought. *Walks backwards a few steps* Sis?? What the hell are you doing here? Did someone die?


Babette daRosa‏ @Babettedarosa21h.// Gasps for air the shear shock lifts flubbing jubblies into a precarious position.//

Dear lord,  brother?

//He’s the last man I expected to see here.//


Jean‏ @Capt_Bart1hI might ask in God’s name what are you doing here, bit upmarket for you! the previous cook died, but it’s not my fault. And how did you know it was me? *Rolls eyes and glances down.* Hard to disguise that pair. Put them away, before Albain trips over his tongue. And it’s never your fault. So, what happened to the cook? Did he eat one of your pies?

Babette daRosa‏ @Babettedarosa21h.//Sliding nimble fingers down voluptuous curves smoothing out my dishevelled skirt, to rest upon my hips. With a less than inconspicuous shimmy my delightfully delicious jubblies slip back into place, saving my brother from any undue embarrassment. //

I’ll have you know there’s nothing wrong with my pies, packed with real meat! Poor blighter had a heart attack, well I mean he was only getting a worm out of my hair, I fainted at the sight and fell on top of him. Can I help it if my skirt flew up and I straddled him, he seemed to enjoy it until the bugger had a heart attack and died? But weren’t my fault!!!


Jean‏ @Capt_Bart1h.Again? How many times is that now? You really need to get yourself a proper hairbrush. *Reaches past her to sample the food. Pauses with it halfway to my mouth.* Tell me you didn’t cook any of this?


Albain Porcher‏ @albainold*Mon dieu ……….I can see me turning to drink. So Bart has a sister……. Looks like trouble that one………. mark my words muttering under my breath! Lord helps us when Lucia gets wind of this. Grabs a bottle in each hand and slopes off to the corner of the room…….before the dragon lady catches me! *


Pau Claris‏ @DonPauClaris1h.//I look around with a smile.// This reminds me so much of another masked ball, although this one should prove to be significantly more restful, don’t you think, Mano?



*Grins broadly.* Definitely. Looks like I won’t need to be pouring the wine tonight. *Looks around the room and spies my daughter … in the arms of some young buck. A little too close to him for my liking. Frowns.* Catina!


Catina‏ @catina20161h.“Papa”! Oh, Papa {Throwing both arms about his neck filled with emotion tears rolling down sun-kissed cheeks.} Papa why? How did you get here! Oh , Papa its so good to see you, Oh I have missed you so much. Tiago, Tiago! come over here look, Papa is here with Don Pau!


Tiago‏ @_TiagoDelgado58m.*Stares at Mano in horror. Oh My God. Her father is here! It was bad enough trying to court Catina with her uncle watching my every move, but now her father as well!!*


*Heads up the stairs to John and Aurore.* Bart has arrived safely, with Don Pau and Mano. Don Pau would love to see Alexander shortly after he’s finished greeting people and sampling the food. Mainly sampling the food.


John‏ @DukeBraganza54.*I nod and smile.* I thought Bart had arrived when that monkey ran up the curtaining. I do hope he’s house trained. The monkey I mean, not Bart … although, thinking about it … ~

 *Raises sculptured brow over hazel eyes sparkling with fun and the thought of Bart even attempting to run up the ccurtains  *
Miguel Pedrosa‏ @miguelpedrosa9152m.*Grins broadly.* The Raven’s Tavern, now to be known as the Warped Sails. I think both Mano and Don Pau will be very happy there, especially since Jacob is keen to provide them with rum, for a very reasonable price. And Don Pau says it will be an excellent base for him to expand his wine business.
.Well Meu Amor our first grand function has been  tremendously successful. *Leans in closer  whispering brushing succulent lips close to johns ear.* I do hope Adriana proposes to hold their wedding at her newly acquired castle, away from the rather pompous envoys, my love they are quite tedious, but I suppose that is something we need to endure with polite smiles.
John‏ @DukeBraganza.*I kiss her tenderly.* Indeed we will, for in the new year, we have a christening and a coronation to endure. And whatever trouble Bart brings our way if I’m any judge. I wonder if we can persuade Mano that he needs a barmaid? Maybe … if we neglect to tell him she’s Bart’s sister … wait a minute. Wedding? Abilio hasn’t even proposed yet. How do you know there’s going to be a wedding?
Captain Amalure‏ @BlackBasque201647m.// Glances over to where a crowd has gathered, fingers of a gloved hand clench the hilt of the sword hanging in its scabbard ready at the slightest sign of trouble to be unsheathed! A broad grin spreads across my face creasing the corners of my eyes. io has finally plucked up the courage to propose to Adriana, shaking my head thinking about damn time. Tapping Aurore on the arm winking with a cock of the head, I stride away to check on my men. //
Abilio‏ @_Abilio_Pereira43m.*Drops to one knee, in the very centre of the dance floor, ignoring everyone around us. I only have eyes for Adriana. This may be the biggest mistake I ever make, but at least I won’t go through the rest of my life wondering about what might have been.*  Adriana, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?





Duchess of Cadaval‏ @andrianatwinsis42m.<< Breathlessly I gasp, Abilio taking me completely by surprise sweeping down onto one knee in a formal bow, taking my hands in his. The room swirls around us blurred at the edges unaware a crowd has gathered around us. >> Abilio, my answer has been and always will be yes. <>





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