Fiery Festivities

As the music reaches a crescendo, the crowds part from the northern doors. Standing there is Florimel, two of the Black Watch before her, Knights sworn to protect the royal children even at the cost of their own lives. The Watch are dressed in their black and gold armor, naked blades held behind their shields, faces concealed under war-masks, eyes never still. Standing beside the Princess is Lord March of House Chantris, looking like he would rather be elsewhere, and following them up is another pair of the Watch.

For within the arms of Flora, swaddled in white trimmed with gold and purple, is the infant child Erin. The child makes those adorable baby sounds as she clutches a lock of golden hair in her tiny hand. The guests nearest show their respect to the Princesses, a few moving forward to view the infant, but their paths are blocked by the dark Knights. The Knights make it absolutely clear that none will be allowed to approach without the Princess Florimel's approval.

Queen Morgana's conversation with the Duke of Karm comes to an abrupt end at the entrance of the Black Watch. The briefest look is sent to her husband before she takes her leave of Karm. Walking to stand before Flora, she stands impassive, waiting for her daughter. She smiles as she sees Erin pulling on the princess' hair.

Behind Flora and her guards comes of wave of nannies, nurse maids, and their assistants all dressed in temple white. The guards part as they near the Queen, encircling both her and the Princesses again.

"The little darling just won't go to sleep," Flora says, stroking the child's cheek. "Like she knew that a party was going on downstairs." She looks up for a minute at her niece, now Queen. "I hope you don't mind."

Those nearest the Queen hear her sigh just a bit. "Tis fitting that the most beautiful lady should present the most beautiful Princess for her first courtly venture," Gana says, giving way to an honest smile as she looks at her daughter.

Morgana holds out her arms, taking her daughter and laying the child's head against her shoulder so others could see the babe's face. Her arms freed, Flora gives a slight curtsy in acknowledgment of the complement.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is our daughter, Erin," the Queen says simply. Like a wave of color, the nobles and their guests bow and curtsy before the Queen and the child she holds.

Gana holds her daughter before her. "Would you like to see some fireworks, sweetie?" she asks with that smile new mother's have for their babies. Her gaze seeks the King's. "Might we go on the balcony my lord and share the wonders of Amber's night sky with our guests and children?"

The King nods in agreement to his Queen's request. A single gesture, and the music ends. Those on the dance floor, confused till they see their King striding towards the balcony with the Queen. Many remember the Queen's promise of fireworks tonight, are intrigued to say the least. The nobles form up, following their King and Lord under the night sky. Soon the balconies and gardens are full of people.

The Queen hands her daughter to the King. "We don't need what little hair she has standing on end," she remarks ruefully.

Then the flaming-tressed woman stepped forth as the wind picks up, sending the leaves rustling and skirts dancing. Her palms face down, fingers outstretched… and the current comes, a soft shiver up the spin as the stars seem to darken just a touch. Her arms lift to waist height and her words begin, carrying to all ears despite the distance.

"Harken my call, masters of black scroll. Brighten for me, ladies of the sacred flame. All things that are, were and shall be, heed the Morgan," comes the magickal voice that sounded like the Queen's, though somehow powered by thousands of other voices.

There is a sudden burst of colour along the blackened horizon, racing towards the spectators. As it approaches, the night sky is completely illuminated with colours, streaking and swirling. Her arms now fully extended above her head, Morgana calls out, "Let all those that serve this place be honoured with their mark."

And thus began a nighttime display of every symbol known to stand for the house of Amber and her children, from eldest to youngest. They burst forth large and throbbing with magick as Morgana calls them up, then retreat to shimmer like small constellations, joined by the next as a new one is called.

A full hour later, the sky bursting with flickers, the Queen's bosom rising and falling with rapid breath, she stretches out her hand. "Our honoured guests…." There is a roar that shakes the doors and rattles the windows as a dragon of crimson climbed the night sky, its wings outspread as it reaches its zenith and then dives towards the crowd. As it approaches the castle wall, it breathes its magickal fire, leaving a dusting of gold on all the observers. With a final roar it charges Amber's Queen, and with her arm outstretched, she speaks again. "Come to your Mistress and know obedience," she orders and with one final shriek it was pulled into her hand.

All sound calms by the order of silence and the wind ceases her motions. The magick fades like a lover's dream, leaving but a taste on the lips. The Queen's arms drop as she turns to the assemblage. "We bid you welcome to Amber and the house of Barimen. Rest you well and good night."

With Juliette and Hannah gleefully making enough appreciative noises for all of them, completely blowing their earlier attempts at proper young lady behavior, Kiara raises her glass and salutes Morgana when the show's over from where she stands at Julian's side.

There is a pause from the onlookers, before soft applause is heard in appreciation for the Queen and tonight's entertainment. As everyone files back into the ballroom, more than one person comments about the haunting tune that floats on the night's air.

Inside, off to one corner Random and Vialle dance a Remban waltz. Off to one side of these enamored lovers sits Fiona playing a sea harp. Her skillful fingers pluck one of the more difficult ballads of the famed underwater city. More then a few heads nod in understanding, for it is a well-known fact about court of Vialle's reluctance to dance in public due to her belief she lacks the necessary grace.

As for Fiona, it is doubtful she approves of the Queen's use of magick in such a mundane pursuit. Seeing the crowds returning, Random whispers into his wife's ear. Vialle freezes for a second, then quickly takes the last few steps before curtsying to her dance partner. Fiona lets the music die, rising from the stool and handing the harp to one of the handmaidens hovering nearby. Turning her back on Random as he utters a 'thank you', she proceeds towards the doors, her two handmaidens falling in behind her like well-trained dogs.

And Erin? The little darling fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the fireworks show and was returned to her crib. The Royal Couple take to the floor as the music begins anew, the nobles joining them in the next dance.

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Father's Dance

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