Masquerade Ball II


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Also featuring:

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Scene Title Masquerade Ball II
Synopsis It's this year's annual Halloween Masquerade Ball, hosted by none other than Daniel Linderman and Angela Petrelli.
Date October 28, 2008

Linderman Building: Foyer

Beyond the front entrance, the Linderman Building foyer is likewise unremarkable but still impressive in its size. The black and white marble floor extends from the front clear to the back, and the walls have a layer of Moroccan tiles beneath crown molding to lend the area a much-needed splash of colour. Ornate brass lanterns hanging from the ceiling and mounted on the walls provide just enough illumination to see by, and no matter what the weather, the room is surprisingly cold, as if the heat were being removed from it somehow.

Cobwebs adorn every fixture, corner, nook, and cranny of the foyer and the room seems chillier than usual. Over the marble, plush red runners, the colour of fresh blood have been placed down, leading a trail to each exit accessible to partygoers.

At the far end of the room, opposite the entrance is a trio of elevator doors, but halfway there is a checkpoint consisting of some sort of detection machine hooked up to a portable computer, as well as several security, dressed as Roman soldiers in leather armour over white dressings. Golden helmets adorned by red plumes top the heads and hide the eyes of every guard. They don't immediately appear to be armed but then again, there's no telling if the swords that each one carries are just props.

With the ballroom bustling and the courtyard full of mingling, buzzing folk, one particular man in a mask finds a moment of relative solace in the foyer. Dr. Anselm Gilbert is dressed in a crisp white suit, his brocade vest and tie matching the Venetian Carnivale jester's mask he wears. He carries a champagne glass in his left hand, his right comfortably slipped into his jacket pocket. If it weren't for that mask, his position near one of the brass lanterns on the wall might look like some strange add for fall fashion aimed at sophisticated, yet slightly older men.

Josh is stuck in a suit. Again. But at least he gets a mask this time, one meant to look like a wolf. It kind of looks like a dog, but it's at least a well-made dog. Sort of. He's got a glass of wine in one hand - red - and a stoutish young woman with brown hair on his arm. She has a red dress, a red mask, and a little red cape. Three guesses what they're supposed to be. Josh the Wolf is bumped into by a woman wearing a frilly, frilly dress; some wine spills onto his crisp white shirt's front. He sighs.

Preparing for a party requires effort. Wu-Long knew this from his childhood: his parents had done dinner parties, and his wife had enjoyed playing hostess. One expert corpse disposal and a cautiously experimental fitting later, he appears at the threshold of the fiesta in the costume he'd liked best, his ceramic knife inside his boot, dark eyes bright with perfectly fitting curiosity from inside the eyeholes of his mask.

His face is boldly whiskered in black, the apples of his cheeks recontoured to a stylized macaque's visage in red and white paint, the top of his head festooned in feathers and a pointed crown. His tunic is gold, embroidered at the cuffs and buttoned up; a playwood staff, elaborately carved for all its brittle practiccal uselessness, carried in his hand. He walks in on his little fur-cuffed boots, watching the security personnel configuration without turning his head except casually.

He'd listened to the stories throughout his childhood. Sun Wu-Kong was one of the most unkillable creatures in the celestial tiers, and spontaneous to boot. He fits this costume far better than its original owner, and that's only a little bit arrogance.

The lady in the red dress pulls a stain-removing pen from her red purse and clucks at Josh, who's in a wolf mask. She starts dabbing at the red wine stain with the sort of air of someone who's done it before. Like a mother, or a woman engaged to Josh. Josh glances around at various costumes, ventures a vague smile Anselm's way.

Simon has arrived.

The Roman soldiers guarding the way are given the stink eye by a young man dressed as a leprechaun. Luckily, they won't be able to see it since those eyes lie behind a sparkling, gold mask that ends at the base of an unusually long and crooked nose. Simon, who is accompanied by a taller man wearing a tired Phantom of the Opera outfit, turns and mumbles something about always having to wait in a line, even as he steps up to have himself checked by the costumed security men. The device they run across him reveals that he's clean, if that's indeed what it's for, and he steps into the foyer as his uncle gets the same treatment.

Alexander is one of those Roman soldiers. Oh, the meta-irony. He has a very modern security wand in hand, as he conducts the obligatory sweeps. "Enjoy your evening," he says, tone dry, as he ushers the next in line towards the checkpoint.

"I'm afraid that little stick is no match for red wine," Anselm says as he approaches the Wolf and his Red-Caped counterpart. He smiles back at Josh, though the expression is hidden by the permanent smile of his mask, and lifts his champagne flute along with a nod. "But I wouldn't worry about it. I doubt anyone will judge the cleanliness of a wolf when he is accompanied willingly by such beauty." Anselm then nods to Red, and the bells on his mask sound a soft jingle.

Sierra hands her ticket in at the door, a smile to Alexander as she shows the small slip. "Thank you very much" she says her mask held aloft within her right hand. Her eyes peer through the mask and she slowly weaves her way inside, looking at the outfits and activities for the moment the woman in purple stands just off side of the doorway.

The Monkey King takes another protracted moment to study the soldiers, before rotating his eyes back through the foyer. With all of its staggering marble proportions, he recognizes a building that was designed to make a man feel small. No small feat of decoration, then, turning it into a place that is festive and almost welcome, or as much so as a party of such exclusivity could be.

Wu-Long's brightly-booted feet step across the stone, the polearm — well, prop, really — tapping out an idle rhythm as he walks. He takes a glass of wine from a passing waiter, sparing only the briefest glance at their costume, then the peacock nearby, the wine-towel and the man with the ironically blue smile. Mid-turn, he sees Sierra, recognizes her carriage more than the features and frame had only seen in the night, by the light of high-beams. Pauses, brow furrowing beneath his macaque mask.

Josh smiles a little at Anselm; the lady in red who's dabbing at the wine stain on his shirt gives the man an impish smile. "Mmmhmn. Just one more way I saved your ass, huh, wolfie?" Josh stammers something. The woman adds to Anselm, "Very smooth. Oh, honey. Look at that man with the staff." Josh politely turns his attention to Wu-Long. "Huh. Nice costume!"

The blue eyes are keen, under the brow of the plumed helmet. "Man, I don't know how the actual Roman soldiers wore these damn things," Al grouses to one of his fellow centurions, in a decidedly un-Roman Georgia drawl. He tugs his off and tucks it under his arm, wiping his brow with his free hand.

Anselm glances in the Monkey King's direction, and the glint in his eyes remains there. "Everyone certainly looks the part tonight," he comments idly before taking a sip from his flute.

Sierra looks over as Josh draws attention to Wu-lung, she smiles softly her eyes dance from behind her mask, she moves slowly to the man with the staff and she sighs softly "You look good" she compliments, reaching over to grab a flute of Champaign as a waiter passes. "Would you save me a dance?" she asks him confidently. A sip of the glass is taken as her eyes dance across the crowd before returning to the feathered man.

The Monkey swings his polearm back across one of his shoulders, tips his wineglass back into his mouth. Drinks it all in one swallow. Though that might be ever so slightly given the hour and the company, he could as easily write it off as playing his character.

At least, he polishes it off with an entirely courteous salute of the glass at Anselm, whom he catches looking a moment before he turns his head back to Sierra. Trust Manhattan's elite to have a Chinese Opera Mask built authentically in every way /except/ that you can plug booze into it. "Coming from you, I can't tell if you're making fun of me," he replies to Sierra, lightly. Jacquard skirts and starbursts; what's a poor monkey beside that? "I will."

Josh bumps against a guy dressed as a giraffe (don't ask) and gets a canape on him for his troubles. "Uh," he tells the woman in the dress beside him. She sighs. "Dress you up, can't take you anywhere. Come on, let's fix this." They drift off toward the restrooms.

Josh has left.

As Angela weaves through the sea of partygoers, she holds not a glass of wine but a modern cell phone to her ear. Like most people in the middle of a conversation that only they can hear, her voice is perhaps a little louder than it ought to be, though this might have something to do with the fact there's so much ambient noise in the background she's afraid she won't be heard. "No, of course you can't make it," she says, her tone sharp, curt, "I didn't expect that you would— Nathan. Nathan. No one is going to hold it against you. What about Heidi? The kids?" Behind her mask, Angela's dark eyes settle on the small gathering that is Anselm, Sierra and the Monkey King. "I'll call you back."

Al blends back into the mass of security, covering that bright hair with the brazen helm. His expression remains friendly enough, but his gaze is still sweeping the gathering for any sign of something untoward - that habitual cop's watchfulness.

The thankful thing about Venetian masks (or at least Anselm's) is that while they completely cover one's face, small slits and holes at the nose and between the fabricated lips allow for certain party pleasures. How else would Carnivale be such a riotous affair? Anselm can't imbibe much at a time, but who chugs a glass of champagne? Honestly?

He nods a farewell to Josh and his female companion before letting his eyes move to the Monkey King and the woman with him. From there, it is only a moment before he notes the fixed stare of Angela Petrelli, though masked. He nods once more, though slightly deeper. She is, in more ways than one tonight, royalty, and he is but a jester. The bells on Anselm's mask jingle as he inclines his head and then rights it.

Wu-Long can appreciate a woman with articulate eyebrows, particularly in a situation like this, when masks serve to obfuscate more than they do to express. Either that, or he's terribly cynical and likes a woman well-maintained. "Don't call me names," he replies, the diesel register of his voice mocking at plaintive. He isn't very good at that, but he tries. It might take her a moment to locate the irony in his reply: he was making fun of himself.

He's been hanging around with a cantankerous Englishman too much, properly. Irony is the staple of their diet. The Monkey relieves himself of his glass /and/ his polearm when the next waiter skims by, and offers the woman his arm in lieu of a verbal reply.

Paul has arrived.

Paul Heart, rites activist and lawyer, King of Denmark, and recently lion tamer according to the news, comes into the foyer, he shows his invitation and cuts a nice figure in his royal military uniform.

Angela snaps the cell phone shut and pockets it somewhere in the folds of her dress as she approaches Anselm and company. Her smile is tight, cordial, but it's still a smile. "Such inventive costumes," she murmurs, just loud enough for her voice to be heard above the violin music playing in the background, "you really ought to consider entering out contest later in the evening. The grand prize is nothing to sneeze at, or so I've heard."

A chuckle rumbles out of Anselm at such kind words. "I wouldn't want to take the spot of royalty," he notes, nodding once to Angela as Anne Boleyn and then to Wu-Long. "I've just a mask, whereas you two have far outdone yourselves."

Sierra 's reaction to his little jokes goes unseen behind the mask. Her fingers take the Monkey kings arm and she turns slightly to head for the Ballroom, after all the dancing would be logically inside. She moves turning with him away from the entry way just as her brother makes an entrance. For now the younger of the Hearts remains unaware of the lawyer’s presence, she leans closer to murmur to the Monkey as they walk along the foyer.

Paul does not notice his sister either, she is not expected here, and his eyes instead fall on their host, he steps up to offer Miss Boleyn a bow.

The Monkey sends the Jester and his Queen a civil nod each, before his eyes drop a glance at Sierra's masked face, thinning with dark facsimile of laughter. He doesn't whisper; he doesn't need to, not just then. "Understandable. I haven't stepped on your feet yet." She'll have to forgive his inability to take compliments: it's terribly Confucian of him. And, apparently, has little bearing on his actual ability to navigate across the dancefloor. A firm hand goes to the small of her back, supporting the taut spinal arc of her already impeccable posture; he tucks his fingers around her opposite palm in the same way. There isn't a lot of art to the way he moves, not here, but he manages better than well. His voice is low: "You came alone?"

Angela chuckles at Paul, but does not offer him a curtsey in return. No, she's much too regal — much too old — for that. Instead, she acknowledges him with a slight bob of her head. "Which one do you suppose he is?" she asks Anselm, tossing him a sly, catlike look over one narrow shoulder. "Hamlet, or Claudius?" Wu-Long and Sierra's departure goes without remark for now, though attentive eyes might notice that she continues to keep tabs on the pair in her peripheral vision.

Anselm tilts his head in the exaggerated gesture of his character, lifting a hand to rub at his mask's rounded chin. "Hamlet never became king, your Majesty," he gently points out. "So we can only assume he's Claudius, unless he is King Hamlet, rather than the Prince, come back from the grave to haunt more than his son?"

The King of Denmark frowns slightly, and looks down at his must more modern uniform, and the Jewish star of David on his chest. "I do apologize then, I was going for King Christian the Tenth."

Sierra shakes her head as the two head out to dance upon the floor. The young woman in purple holds herself with a regal poise, one hand round the Monkeys waist while the other poised upwards to waltz. The music guides her every refined step, one of practiced social graces "Indeed, I have not been in town long enough to secure a date" she says softly. She avoids the more crowded ballroom for the moment and even takes a try at leading the dance if the monkey allows her to be so bold.

"Me neither," the King Monkey replies affably. The circle of his arms moves with Sierra easily, ceding her leadership, but he's under no illusions that she's rapidly collecting the attentions of a dozen civilians who are eager to relieve her of her less able companion as soon as this number is over. Courtly graces were not Sun Wu-Kong's strength, and nor are they Wu-Long's. "Me, I was being spontaneous. My wife used to complain sometimes. Perhaps as wives are wont to."

"My apologies," purrs Angela, though she doesn't sound particularly apologetic. "The details escaped our notice — the lighting in here is no better than it is outside in the courtyard. Mister Heart, isn't it? I like to think I'd recognize your voice anywhere."

Anselm takes the opportunity to bow out, giving silent, parting nods to Angela and Paul before he slips away from them and back into the bustle of the foyer.

Anselm has left.

Zoe has arrived.

Paul says, "It is not a problem," The King bows to Anne Boleyn once more, then takes a step to the side for the red head arriving behind him, but instead of continuing in he pauses, eyes falling on her and her dress for several moments, before he retrieves his jaw.

Zoe steps into the foyer, and indeed, those who know the Linderman Archive's curator would be shocked to see her looking so elegant, if they even recognized her at all. And any new faces are simply…new faces. As she passes through the foyer she picks up a champagne glass from a passing waiter and when her eyes pass over Anne Boleyn, they quickly revert to focus on her squarely. Zoe almost chokes on her bubbly, and goes over to say hello. Apparently Lady Boleyn's identity is not a mystery to her, and the Muse of Astronomy makes her way over to the ill-fated future Queen. "Good evening, ma'am." she offers, along with the air kisses that are universal to Eurotrash and the Manhattan riche alike.

Thank God for the one child policy, Wu-Long thinks, but she can see it when he smiles at her underneath his mask, his real face momentarily matching the mirth and good nature of the ceramic one he has fastened to the front of his head. He releases her, of course, and notes the veiled disappointment on the faces of more than a few who note that Sierra is beating a more general retreat. "Take care of yourself," he requests, offering her a squeeze of her shoulder in lieu of a kiss to the brow. Thus abandoned, he moves to seek somewhat more consistent companionship. The champagne here is great, and there are some kids giggling at his mask. He ought to go make friends.

Sierra has left.

Wu-Long has left.

Taking his eyes off of Zoe, His majesty does an about face, and marches toward the ballroom. He doesn't quite frog step but he does keep his blinders on and his eyes on the prize thus having a near miss with his own sister.

Paul has left.

Zoe is not Angela's goddaughter — she's Linderman's. Then again, Linderman has been a friend of the Petrelli family for years. What kind of a woman would the matriarch be if she didn't accept his ward as one of their own? "You look beautiful this evening," she whispers into Zoe's ear, momentarily brushing the tips of her fingers along one fiery red lock of the younger woman's hair. "Such potential, wasted in down in the bowels of Daniel's archives. I don't know how you do this to yourself, my dear." Her attention shifts back to Paul, if only for the brief amount of time it takes her to give his back a parting smile.

"You look magnificent, Mrs. Petrelli." Zoe replies. Her amusement at the widow's choice of costume is held in careful check, and she is musing on the likelihood of Angela and her uncle choosing their costumes knowingly and deliberately. "I'll make sure to say hello to Nathan when I see him." Her encounters with the Petrelli boys have been limited to when she was in America while growing up, but she knows enough not to ask about Angela's second son. "I don't think it's a waste, I'm happy there. But I'll try to be out and about more. Uncle Daniel's sent me off to circulate though, so will you excuse me? I should see to the guests in the ballroom."

"If you see him," Angela gently corrects Zoe. "He, Heidi and the boys are running late — a flat tire. But I suppose that's just as well. It will be past their bedtime before the hour's out." She's wise not to bring up Peter. Mrs. Petrelli's youngest son is a delicate matter — one she prefers not to discuss. "Take care of yourself, and don't let Daniel catch you flirting with any good-looking young men! It might kill him."

Zoe lets out a laugh. "You think so? I think he keeps hoping I'll give him a new generation to dote on." But Zoe's not exactly a dating maverick. "I'll see you inside, Mrs. Petrelli." she says brightly, and moves on into the ballroom.

This scene occurs concurrently with Masquerade Ball I and Masquerade Ball III.

October 28th: Masquerade Ball I
October 28th: Masquerade Ball III
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