The Heroes continued their errands in Crieux, including attending a masked ball held at Duc Douard Allias de Criuex’s estate. All of the provincial nobles and gentry attended, as well as many other notables, including Frantz de Montaigne (royal family, Swordsman’s Guild Grandmaster and legendary duelist), Admiral Alazais Varoix Praisse de Rachetisse, Sebastien Valroux de Martise (considered one of the top 3 duelists in Montaigne), and Aristide Baveux (Grandmaster of the Knights of the Rose and Cross).
Luc attended the ball in an exquisite peacock costume that was in danger of overshadowing the Duc. It’s almost as if he has connections to Mode du Lac, Montaigne’s fashion authority. He attended with a new bodyguard, his valet Ciro, and a servant. Luc danced with Savina and circulated among the gentry.
Mirielle danced with Aristide, much to the envy of the ladies in attendance. Aristide is one of the most beloved courtiers in Montaigne. Mirielle was dressed in a simpler costume that she nonetheless made shine with her knowledge of Montaigne fashion.
Mairi sought out her rival for the Duc’s patronage, an archaeologist named Dr. Marius Hannah. She discovered he is a little shy but confident in his abilities. He admitted the Duc would be financing an expedition soon that he would be leading. Mairi also chatted with the ranking Royal Musketeer in the city, Lieutenant Cedric Vincent, who has a crush on her. Mairi was dressed in a navy blue feline costume with sapphire jewelry.
Natalia attended with Savina de Lucani – who used the fake name Renata Mariani – in tow. Natalia approached Sebastien Valroux de Martise and showed her sharp Vodacce wit, gaining his interest. She also glanced around for Savina and spotted her dancing with Luc.
Balthasar managed to approach the most inaccessible courtier at the ball, the Duc’s niece Evangeline Allais de Crieux. He showed surprising grace in a dance and was invited to chat with the Duc, who was with Frantz. The Duc, after hearing of Balthasar’s maritime exploits, had him introduced to Admiral Alazais.
Alejandro saved the best for the last. He periodically spotted an individual staring
at him from across the room, and disturbingly the individual was wearing the mask of El Vago. Twice the individual stared and then disappeared. Not to be deterred, Alejandro spotted Lady Sophie Rous de Toy’e, the fiance of Arbert Garcon, the Comte de Gallencourt. Not only did Alejandro take her to the dance floor, he decided to point out various muscles in her hand as he gently caressed her. To be fair, she was quite forward with him after seeing her fiance dancing with Semelina.
The enraged Comte challenged Alejandro to a duel, and Jean-Pierre de Laverne, a journeyman swordsman, took the commission to present the challenge and fight on the Comte’s behalf. The Comte wanted the fight to be to the death but some wise words in the right ears by the Heroes made the Duc realize such an ordeal would spoil the festivities. Instead, the duel was to the first wound. Alejandro eventually won, using his twin rapiers to press a final assault after taking multiple minor wounds from his Valroux adversary. (insert Alejandro theme song by Lady Gaga here)
The Heroes earned 4 XP for their great roleplaying and ability to make connections in the court. They also earned 2 Reputation, with Balthasar netting an extra 1 Rep for working his way into the Duc’s company and Alejandro earning an extra 6 for defeating a Valroux journeyman in front of the biggest court in northern Montaigne. No pressure! He only fought in front of a Montaigne royal, two of Montaigne’s top duelists, a grandmaster of the Swordsman Guild, the Grandmaster of the Knights of the Rose and Cross, and a room full of Royal Musketeers.