The final nights of the Masquerade arrived, with the Grand Masquerade as the final event. The decorum was decadent in ways that only immortals who live on blood could imagine. Dark horror covered gilded runes atop beautiful flesh. Troll’s blood flowed for vampires to consume, along with that of beautiful humans, and even an angel. Aerialists dangled in tantalizing view from the rafters, wearing nothing but the curtains they clung to in order to perform.
The first dance of the night was the Black Nag, to begin a bit slower. Ziegfried, now adorned with the gorgeous, audacious Cloak of Kings, named Zax, decided to see who would pursue him. As he made his way around the dance floor, he lamented how vampires could not admire themselves in the mirror, and so he had to make do with the reaction of those he passed by, and their longing glances. Wearing a gorgeous mask with resplendent feathers akin to a peacock, Ziegfried was watching one of the vampiresse in the crowd bite her lip as he passed, and, accidentally, dipped one of his feathers in a goblet of blood before smacking another masked vampire in the face with said feather! The offended vampire took umbrage, but as the first dance was to begin, Ziegfried talked down the vampire, Drutmund, was it…and sought out a woman in a beautiful green dragon mask to dance.
Erstwhile, Oliver sought out one of the Handmaidens of Beautiful Death, only to be unable to identify which of the most beautiful figures could be Sigmara’s. He chose one at random, wearing an elegant feline mask to dance with. Rollo sought out the vampiress he believed to be Mitzi. All of them danced well.
Soon after, the Waltz of Blood began. Rollo decided to stick with his dance partner, still mistakenly believing her to be Mitzi von Carstein. Ziegfried, still pursuing the most gorgeous of vampiresses, went to one with a gorgeous arctic fox mask, edging out two other suitors, one wearing a red dragon mask, and one with a moon mask, to win her hand in dance.
Oliver, foolishly pursuing one of the Handmaidens still, decided to approach the green dragon masked vampiress, but was unable to woo her from a vampire in a dragon turtle mask. Stepping to the edge of the dance floor, he found a beautiful human female hoping to dance. He then did something altogether unorthodox, and called forth his familiar, Sigurd, and convinced his partner that she should dance with Sigurd. Despite being human, this masked dancer was a talented mage, and she called forth a spectral being of her own to join Sigurd in dance. At this point, Oliver was quite shocked, and taken, with this lady.
Each of the Darkstalkers danced well, although many sideways glances were set upon Oliver for his nontraditional technique. At the end of the dance, the human female disappeared into the crowd as Oliver sought to pursue her, but he turned with a gasp, as did much of the Masquerade itself, as someone completely unexpected entered the dance floor.
From beneath the stone itself, the banshee, Rosalind, floated up through the floor, and, without shattering the souls of those nearby, managed to whisper to Oliver that she would like to dance. Initially, many of the houses that were invited as guest thought themselves betrayed to death, as banshees are, first and foremost, dreadful killers and assassins. Imagine the shock, and stunning simplicity then, that one would simply seek to dance. Whispers raced through the crowd, as many wondered aloud if banshees even retained their personalities from before. Rosalind, in particular, had served the von Carsteins dating as far back as the first vampire wars. What a sight, and what a dance to be called upon to perform, as the final dance of the night was Vanhal’s Danse Macabre, the fastest, most difficult dance of the Sylvania’s courts.
While most every eye was upon Rosalind, as none knew how she would react if she became displeased in the dance, least of all Oliver, Ziegfried turned toward the last of the great beauties he had not yet had the pleasure of dancing with, who was adorned in a gorgeous skull mask. Once again edging out several suitors, Ziegfried won her hand in dance.
Meanwhile, Rollo was told by his dance partner that she was not, in fact, Mitzi, but rather Theudalinda von Carstein. She directed him to the vampiress that was Mitzi, who was wearing a beautiful snow owl mask.
As the dance progressed, Rollo learned that he had been duped! The vampiress was not Mitzi, but rather Melisand von Carstein. Despite having been misled, Rollo was happy to have ended up with one who had numerous vices to her, and so he took a few more of the red leaves she offered. Ziegfried danced well with the vampiress in the skull mask, and the two were a pair to witness, but, shockingly, even they were overshadowed by the dance of spirits taking place in the far reaches of the courtroom. As before, Oliver concentrated his witch sight onto Sigurd’s movements, but, with far greater effort than before, as he was now tasked with joining into a three person dance, so that he himself did not look out of place as he and Sigurd danced with Rosalind. The dance was one to behold, as it’s like had never been seen before, with Sigurd and Rosalind twirling through the air in breathtaking movements while Oliver played his part as well. At the end, all waited for Rosalind’s reaction, to which she gave a bow to her dance partner, before sinking back through the floor.
The tallest vampire in attendance, wearing a most elegant mask of a griffon, began to stride purposefully towards Oliver, but then all were interrupted by a scream of terror, and the tang of new blood gushing onto the dance floor.
The vampire in the moon mask had purposely bleed one of the blutapfel’s of Raynard von Carstein to death, and then, pacing through the blood pooling on the floor, began to rail on the wanton excess and foolishness of the von Carsteins. He said that this arrogance, this imperialism, would be the death of them all. Before he could continue to insult the von Carsteins, Ziegfried charged into him, knocking his mask aside, revealing him to be Fremont Stahlberg.
Fremont drew his warpstone etched weapons, and in two quick strikes, bloodied Ziegfried. Before things could go further, Count Mannfred von Carstein withdrew his griffon mask, and called and end to the duel. “You were warned, Fremont, that if you drew your weapons again in this Castle, that it would be on pain of death. So it shall be, but not here, not easily. Your body will be hung from the battlements of Castle Templehof when we rip control of it from your father’s feeble grasp. It matters not if he has found the entire remnants of the warpstone meteorite that destroyed Middenheim, I am the Count of Sylvania, and you Stahlberg’s need to be reminded of your place.”
With that, the Stahlbergs were banished, and the vampires prepared for civil war.