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Old 08-25-2003, 04:57 PM   #169
Tears of Simbelmynë
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: The Beast's Castle
Posts: 705
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The night before the Masque

Dryea had remained in solitary confinement within the walls of her chambers for the remainder of the evening and the morning before the masque. She let her fabulous amber hair fall limp without attention and she didn't change from her limp silk nightdress and evening robe. Moping around the house, throwing things every now and then, the servants stayed well out of her way.

She thought incessantly about what her mother had said concerning her duty to Umbar and the interruption Rhir was causing. Despite what her sister and mother probably thought, she was shamed. Dryea had indeed neglected thought of the glory owed to her people in lieu of her passion for Rhir. It was child's play and she knew it. Picking up the vase nearest her she hurled it at Elendil's head as he loomed above her from his place over the powder room: a sissy place for a king of men.

"That will be quite enough my Lady," scolded Yetri, bustling past her to pick up the shards. "It's not the cleaning up that vexes me, it's the thought of hurting your fiar self. I for one would like to see that sorry excuse of a government buried in the salty dirt of this country with the likes of you on the throne!" Dryea smiled as the old maid scooped up the pieces and shuffled down the hallway mumbling to herself about the disreputability of the Gondorians and they're silly traditions.

Even though the old maid had put her in fairly lighter spirits, she was still upset about the problem of Rhir. She gasped suddenly at thinking of Rhir as a "problem". But as she thought at length she realized he was. He had caused a disturbance in the peace of their family. He had side-tracked her from her goal of conquer! And worst of all he had seduced her! Dryea Morthaniawen!! This time one of the windows shattered as the candelabra was flung through it's ebony pane.

Furious, she picked up the front of her robe so that she might run to her own office; the one behind the tapestry that no one knew of. Punching in the block that would open the door she rushed in, pulling down books in a mad frenzy. Finally she found the one she wanted. Chortling wickedly she placed it on the podium beside her worktable. "Hmm…" she muttered to herself. "Interesting ingredients." An evil smile spread across her face as she ground a fine powder in her mortar before mixing it with a liquid that was soon conformed to a thick substance. Dryea rechecked the directions then dropped the charcoal colored block into the large pot that was boiling over the fire.

After a few minutes she ladled a small portion out of the cauldron and into a phial. Into this she dropped a second powder that hardened the compound within. She had to smash the vial to get it out. Then, placing it carefully in her mortar so that it didn't touch her skin she began to grind until the powder seemed to be no more than miniscule pieces of dust. For protection she slipped a glove on her left hand before taking a pinch of the poison and placing it into the compartment on her ruby ring. She shut it with a smirk and tossed the rest into the fire which exploded with a snap.

"'Dissolved instantly in wine'," she read, washing her hands thoroughly in the washbasin. "'Once it is consumed, the victim will experience the normal syndromes of wine. However, as the usual hangover progresses, the poison will work away at the victim's stomach until it not longer produces the digestive fluids' whatever those are," said Dryea, baffled at the words the anatomist had written, "'the body needs to break down the components of food. Not eight hours after consumption,'" she smiled cruelly as she read the last, satisfying words, "'the victim will die.'"

The Masque

The dress she had chosen for the ball was the deepest rose-wine shade she could find. The sleeves were of a gossamer gold fabric that hugged her arms making it appear as though her skin were itself gilded. Garnet stones were sewn into lengths of ribbon that were woven around her arms and neck. Waves of lustrous golden cloth cascaded down the skirt and a low cut neckline gave the finishing touch to the most exotic and originally designed costume in Arda.

The final accessory was the mask. A masterpiece if she'd ever seen one. Adorned with jewels from southern mines, it cost just as much as the dress. A fine gold powder gilded the cheeks and brow. It was cut away just above the nose to reveal Dryea's own illustrious lips painted in a berry-wine color. Rich rose petals, also from southern beauties, garlanded the top of the mask, adding to its exotic flavor.

When the eldest daughter of Ruiel Morthaniawen stood before her full-length mirror this evening, she didn't beam because she was unquestionably attractive, she smiled because of the ring that lingered on her middle finger that would solve all the problems between her mother and herself. If there had ever been a time when she could have been called wholly immoral, it was now.

"Ready ma'am?" asked Rhe tentatively, head looking down at the hem of her mistress's dress. Dryea didn't answer right away. Instead she took one long look in her mirror, summoning the strength she'd need to go through with her wicked exploit. This would be the breaking of her and she knew it. Once this went through, her heart would be so callous that Ar-Pharazon himself would have been proud to call her wife.

"I'm ready Rheaite," she said indifferently. "Since I must be."

The procession into the hall was classic. Every eye turned to see the bold lady who challenged the attention deservéd to Finduilas, and every eye was pleased—except of course for Denethor's. Even Dryea admitted uncaringly that the Steward-to-be could not be drawn away from his sunny princess. The rose had mentally scoffed at Finduilas's brightly colored costume, dismissing it as being a whimsical frivolity fit for the nursery's children. When asked, though, she would state that it was an ingenious costume and that many an ensemble was put to shame. Bof!

“Remember what mother said,” Dryea whispered quietly to Alethea before she went off to entertain the circle of single noblemen, “remember your job, don’t you dare let that pathetic friend of yours get in the way.”

“And you remember too!” Adrama hissed back, “I think Rhir might be here tonight, maybe I’ll ask him for a dance!” Dryea smiled inwardly at the mention of his name, but stalked away all the same, glaring at her sister before being swept away into her first dance.

Since masks hid the face of every guest here tonight, even the shyest lad was bold enough to dance with either of the gorgeous duo: Dryea or Siriel. At masques, these two women could relate. After the first twenty or so minutes both were exhausted and men clung to them like prayers to a priest. Though Lady Morthaniawen hadn't yet spotted Siriel, she was sure the young lady was enjoying the same sort of company.

"Dryea!" a familiar voice called, midway through a quaint step with what appeared to be a sword? (Some costumes were really quite ridiculous). The Lady excused herself from her partner and turned to see Rhir. This time her heart didn't jump and a sick evil feeling blanketed her like tar as she felt the ring on her finger.

"Why Rhircyn Isindil as I live and breath what brings you down to the level of madness such as this?" The nobleman was at her side in seconds bending down to steal a kiss. Dryea let him but her mind didn't race with desire.

"Won't you dance with me?" he asked with a bow. Offering him her hand, the couple joined in with the other dancers and Dryea didn't care if her mother saw for after this evening, Ruiel would certainly look at her eldest daughter under a different light.
"They call this war a cloud over the land. But they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say, 'Sh*t, it's raining!'" -- Ruby, Cold Mountain
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