Orwell's Point, Governor's Estate
Dozens and dozens of lavishly decorated and ornate carriages drawn by land dragons decked out in finery took turns to enter the main gates into the estate grounds of the mansion that once belonged to the Imperial Governor in Orwell's Point.
Marines in full battle order stood guard and checked each and every carriage and the attendees to the Grand Ball. Almost everyone prominent and influential was invited to the Ball and it was the first ever event hosted by the new lords since the fall of the city.
With the arrival of the Imperial delegates and rumors of some secret deal to be conducted between the barbarian lords and the Imperials, sparked much interest and debate among the citizens and the invitation cards were sought after greatly.
As the guests gathered and mingled in the Ballroom, the Imperial carriages rode up and four Marines in dress uniforms and white gloves acting as door openers, stepped forward and opened the carriage doors before saluting.
Tidus dressed in a dark blue doublet under his silver gold half plate trimmed with silver fur, strolled off the carriage with barely a glance at the Marines and headed straight into the mansion.
Following him out of the carriage, Judis followed behind in a similar outfit. He nodded to the two Knights following him and the trio followed after Tidus's heels.
"Welcome! Welcome!" Joseph stood at the foyer of the entrance and greeted the young master and his escorts. "Tonight we enjoy ourselves! No talk of business or wars! Drink, eat and be merry!"
"Thank you, Lord Joseph!" Tidus smirked to himself as he smiled with all fake courtesy to the low blood. "We will enjoy ourselves!"
"Come in, come in!" Joseph gave a half bow and led Tidus into the Ballroom with Judis and his two men following them. "Drink?"
The Ballroom was crowded with hundreds of people dressed to impress in the local fashion. Soldiers in their dress uniforms contrasted greatly with the locals' bright and gaudy colored clothing.
Music provided by a live band that occupied an area to the side of the Ballroom while rows of tables sat on the other side ladened with plates and bowls of food and drinks. Round tables filled with tableware and cutlery took up almost two thirds of the Ballroom, leaving an open area while a sea of people could be seen mingling and dancing.
"Lord Tidus, you and your men will be sitting together with me at this table," Joseph guided the Imperials to the front most table where the decor was more elaborate compared to the other tables.
"Refreshments are on the side," Joseph smiled. "Dinner will be served shortly."
"Now, let me introduce you to some of my people and the local leaders," Joseph gestured towards a group of people.
"Magister Thorn, my long time friend, and mentor," Joseph started his introductions. "And this is Doctor Sharon, a great and renown healer."
Judis frowned slightly as he noticed the strangeness of the petite woman's ears. She was pretty with an uncommon shoulder length hair and a pair of crystal artifact that covered her eyes, which made her more attractive.
He stared at her short rounded ears adorned with a pair of dangling earrings and wondered what made her clipped her ears.
Tidus, on the other hand, appeared taken back at her appearance but he took her hand and kissed it, muttering polite greetings and the two of them started some conversation.
Joseph continued his introductions with the rest of the people and Judis soon blocked them out as he saw who has walked in from the entrance of Ballroom.
Mills tugged the uncomfortably tight and starched collar of his dress uniform as he waited for the prisoner to come out. The door opened and he paused in his actions, stunned at the sight before him.
Titanna frowned and checked her self, patting her body hugging dress self conseniously. "What is it?"
Her two maids smiled at Titanna, "There is nothing wrong with this dress!"
"Then why is he staring at like me he saw a ghost?" Titanna narrowed her eyes at the open mouthed Mills.
"O-" Mills snapped his mouth shut. "Nothing, its... just you look stunningly beautiful!"
Titanna rolled her eyes at his compliment. "Coming from you, I don't know why, but I don't feel complimented."
Mills grinned and struck his elbow out for her to take. Titanna looked at his elbow and raised a questioning eyebrow.
"Oh, you hold my elbow this way," Mills grinned and put her hands and placed on his elbow. "I will escort you into the Ball. It's kinda our custom..."
"Hmmm... what a strange custom this is," Titanna commented but she kept her hand on his elbow, allowing him to led her to the Ball with her two maids following behind.
The two Marine guards grinned and winked at Mills before they pushed open the double doors as they entered the Ballroom, everyone's attention was turned to them.
Titanna straightened her pose and gave a shy smile as suddenly everyone's glance was on her. She wore a sky blue off shoulder evening gown that had her shoulders bared. The leather anti magic collar was replaced with a silver collar which acted as an accessory and further enhanced her look.
Her long gold hair cascaded down over her shoulders in wavy locks tickled Mills as she turned her head. Mills's face turned red when he noticed the number of stares at his way. "Erm, this way, Princess..."
He led her towards the assigned table and the crowded parted ways for them as they approached.
"Lady Titanna!" Suddenly a man in half plate armor appeared before them and knelt down before taking her hand in his. "It is good to see you are safe!"
"Lord Judis!" Titanna gave a forced smile before she quickly took her hand back from his. "It is good to see you too."
"Have they mistreated you?" The Knight asked. "We spoke between that magical artifact but..."
"No, they did not mistreat me," Titanna replied. "I see my younger brother is here too."
"Sister," A young man in half armor appeared and gave a crude greeting. "Still alive?"
"Always..." Titanna smiled coldly.
Mills looked at the trio and felt like he was watching some soap opera plot in play here. He cleared his throat and asked, "Princess, do you want anything to drink?"
Titanna glared at her brother for another second longer before she turned to Mills and bobbed her head. "Yes please, do you there is that mixed juice punch drink they always serve at the can-teen?"
"Hahahaha, sure, I get you a cup," Mills smiled and gave a curt nod to the Knight and her brother before he headed off towards the drinks station.
"Why are you so close with that... barbarian?" Judis asked curiously and reached out to touch Titanna's face.
Titanna stepped back away from his touch while Tidus snorted. "Of course she is close with them, she opens her legs for an-! ACK!!!"
Judis gripped the back of Tidus's neck tightly and leaned in close to his ear and hissed. "One more disrespectful word from you about Lady Titanna and I will break your neck like a wyvern!"
"Stop!" Titanna reached out and grabbed Judis's arm. "People are watching!"
Judis released his grip on Tidus's neck and gave a warning glare at him. "Stop your nonsense here! We have serious business to do!"
"Lady TItanna, we will get you back home safely," Judis smiled at Titanna as nothing has happened. "Don't worry."
Tidus snorted and walked off in a huff while rubbing his neck. He passed by Mills with drinks in his hands and nearly knocked the drinks off. "What's his problem?" Mills cursed as he watched the young man head towards the bar.
"Here," Mills handed Titanna her drink. "Everything alright?"
"Yes..." Titanna gave a small smile. "Can I have a private word with my people?"
"Oh, sure!" Mills nodded and off to the side. "Call me if you need anything, I will be around that area."
"Thank you," Titanna replied and gestured Judis over. "What business are you talking about?"
Judis reached out and fingered the anti magic collar over Titanna's neck and whispered. "We will break you out later when there is an opportunity. Just be ready!"
"It's too dangerous!" Titanna whispered back. "Too big a risk! And this collar can't be removed by normal means!"
"Don't worry, I will find a way. Your father has promised you to me." Judis smiled and gestured. "And I have brought them along."
Titanna followed Judis's gesture and saw two Knights standing at one side by themselves and she drew in her breath sharply. "You plan to kill... everyone?"
"Your Father's orders and no one touches my property without my permission," Judis's eyes lingered on Titanna's cleavage a little longer before he looked up and smiled. "Glory to the Rothschilds!"
"Glory to the Rothschilds..." Titanna whispered softly back and she sat down on the nearest chair. She turned and looked around and found Mills happily chatting animatedly away with another soldier and a lady together near the food table.
She felt her heart beating very fast and hard and a flood of confusing emotions threatened to break out. She couldn't put her emotions to words and could only stare sadly at Mills in the distance.
"Glory to the Rothschilds..."
Orwell's Point, Governor's Estate, Security Control
As the dinner went into full swing as the guests sampled exotic 'barbarian' dishes and drinks. Many of the attendees' impression of the so called barbarians changed for the better as they talked about business plans and exchanged ideas.
Each monitor inside the Security Control room shows a different location of the Estate's vast grounds. Suddenly one of the Marines put one of the videos onto the main screen and enlarged it, "Sarge! Movement on the western fence!"
"Well, well, well..." The Duty NCO stood over the screen and looked at the approaching ghostly figures enhanced by the harsh colorful red yellow and white of the thermal filters. "One, two, three..."
"Ten contacts," The NCO hit the comms and reported. "Sirs, we got movement on the western fence, sector W3, ten contacts. Over."
"This is Lord Actual," The Battalion CO voice replied. "Roger, see if you can tag and bag them alive without any alarm given off, out!"
"Well, the Boss wants our friends alive," the NCO sighed. "Let's get it to him as a present then!"
"Castle Serria, Falcon Three," the NCO called out. "What's your sitrep, over?"
"Falcon Three, Castle Serria, we got eyes on the intruders, please advice over."
"Castle Serria, Lord Actual wants tangos alive and quiet, what say you? Over."
"Falcon Three, affirmative, order for ten sleeping beauties coming right up, out!"
Under the cover of the night, the ten Knights silently crept across the open manicured lawns of the Estate towards the brightly lit Mansion where sounds of music and laughter could be heard when the wind carried them over.
They had cast Agility Up, Soften, and Cloak spells on themselves, making them merge almost as one with the shadows, allowing them to scale the tall fence of the estate without any noise.
With barely a sound, they advanced up the lawn, keeping an eye out for any signs of the guards patrolling the grounds and failed to notice the manicured bushes that served as a low wall appear to be moving so ever slightly.
With Agility up, they leaped over the low squarish trimmed bushes only to find themselves landing among several figures who grabbed them and they felt a sudden shock of lightning coursing through their bodies before their nervous system overloaded and they fainted.
"All bagged?" A voice asked.
"Yes, Corporal!" Another voice replied. "These stunners are pretty good!"
"Alright, enough with the chit chat," The first voice replied. "Cuff them and put the anti magic collars on them!"
"Falcon Three Two, to All, tangos secured, over!"