Taliana was very pleased with how it had all turned out. The staff had followed her specifications perfectly and the Grand Hall looked amazing. Wall sconces and chandelier sparkled brilliantly with candlelight. The air carried a faint scent of pumpkin, apples, and spice, her idle speculations of “wouldn’t it be nice…” turned into a reality. Everything fit the theme of “autumn,” with the festive reds and oranges mimicking the foliage along the driveway — being quite obliging by holding onto their leaves for this event, and being at the peak of their color just in time for guests to arrive.
Running her fingers over the carefully arranged masks that were laid out on a table by the door Taliana took a deep breath. She could do this. She had to remind herself of it constantly, but she knew that she could do this. Moving to the grand stairway Taliana rested for a few moments on the familiar perch of the lower steps. This one moment of familiar action went a long way to help calm her. So much rested on this day.
Every year, as long as she could remember, she had sat on these steps in her fancy dress watching as her parents prepared for the annual Masque. Some of the preparations were different from year to year — her father often saw to those changes making sure the color-scheme, theme, decorations, food and music were just perfect, and unique.
But the other details, those would remain the same. Her mother would carefully cast wards around the entries, drawing together threads of energy to form careful patterns that stretched to cover the entire ceiling.
“Tonight is a night when anything can happen,” Continue reading