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The Duke's Grand Mystery Ball! [Open]

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High society had never been a stranger to balls or group congregations; it had always been a pastime of the elite who had nothing to do, regardless of wherever they were. But not even the Ul’dahn elite would expect to see something like this…


The Duke of the Isles, as he was known these days, had procured the use of a large ballroom that had long fell into disuse and had managed to entirely renovate the entire place without even a single person knowing about it. A large portion of the society had no idea it ever even existed before this date, but now it was there for them to see in true reality. Suddenly posted across the streets in various places that always managed to catch one’s eye, were flyers that advertised a ball going to take place tonight that read as such:


[align=center]A Grand Ball, Presented by the Duke of the Isles:


Experience a night of wonder and comfort few have known before! Take pleasure in a variety of foods from across Eorzea and foreign lands! Partake in dancing to a vast myriad of songs of all kinds!

Experience the taste of true entertainment!


All are welcome to come as long as wearing formalwear of a kind; anyone wishing to attend but lack proper attire can be distributed a custom-fitted outfit on-site. Attendance is limited, so arrive quickly!


Where: Shining Diamond Ballroom, off the side of the merchant district.


When: Tonight, at eight in the afternoon.


We shall also have a few mystery guests, picked entirely at random who shall be entreated to come. Only they themselves know, and are sworn to secrecy![/align]



...And even should a person not be able to read, people were always nearby the flyers who conveniently blathered about the information enough that in possible reality, one did not even need to read the poster to know all about it.


A free and open ball in Ul’dah was something the elite had not expected from the Duke and a significant portion of the city itself was in so much disbelief at it being socially equal they would not bother to arrive until it was much too late. They had good reason to; this almost seemed the work of a miracle and much too good to be true at all. However, this was a genuine event and the Duke had accomplished such an impossible feat overnight. How this phenomenon had been achieved, nobody would know as he would never give a real answer.


As for the “Grand Ball,” people had no idea how it would turn out.






The interior was simply the height of extravagance being as the entire place had been designed along to the theme of a starry night with dim lighting and the entire inside walls and roof being painted in a very dark, slightly iridescent blue. Pure white tablecloths and drapes were everywhere and even lines of small glass crystals hung from them and sparkled in the light. The building was done in two floors; the main floor being where the ballroom floor and performance stage were and an upper balcony where mostly seating was present. The ballroom floor was made of a darker wood so perfectly polished that it even shined in the low light and the performance stage was curtained in with flowing drapes in a color similar to the wall and roofing. The second floor was akin to a smaller Hastings Strip, but had tables and chairs lining the banisters so anyone sitting could watch from above. Various indoor flowers lined the walls on both floors in reasonable places and they kept the surprisingly cool air smelling fresh. On the lower floor’s seating section, aligned with the middle of the room, sat a grand, tall-backed chair made of mahogany wood and cerulean plush upholstery in such a massive size it suggested it had been made for a Roegadyn.


Here, of course, sat Rhett, the Duke of the Isles himself, with his left leg crossed over the right while he supported his head with his right arm, elbow perfectly placed upon the armrest. With his long desert blond hair, neatly trimmed facial hair, flawless complexion, mystifying lavender eyes, and the royal blue long-coat he looked almost like a young prince who had been newly crowned king. Holding up his head with his left arm, the elbow lying on the armrests, he gestured with his other hand as he discussed something with a dark suited Hyur man with an interested smile.


To the immediate left of his current chair rigidly stood a young, tanned Seeker Miqo’te woman, probably aging about twenty-three in appearance with dusky azure eyes and silky, dark khaki hair set into a loose ponytail at the nape of her neck. Alongside her stiff stance, she wore a silky, deep blue frock that cutoff at her shins to reveal a white skirt made of a similar material and as well carried in her right hand a silver platter with a single wine glass upon it. Her face was as expressionless as imaginable and her eyes simply pointed themselves down indirectly at the floor while she held the plate at a perfect horizontal angle.


The limit of the ball seemed to range about at one hundred people, excluding the Duke and servants, and every race seemed to be present in significant numbers. Every attendant seemed to be enjoying themselves with talk and sipping their drinks as they eagerly waited for the dancing, performances, and supper for the night. Some late people still remained outside the ballroom not allowed of getting past the enforcement hired to maintain the limit on the ball. Eventually, the crowds would disperse having been reassured by the guards that the Duke would hold another ball soon and they would have another chance at getting in.


Of the guests, a few people might stand out to an attendee’s eyes…



In a farther corner, a young Hyuran girl likely in her early twenties with lusterless black hair sat alone at a table with wearing a somewhat risqué, low-cut, sky-blue dress on her fairly sultry body and an exhausted expression on her face. She took sips from a dark wine at random intervals as she glanced about the room.


Standing at a pillar closer to the entrance and was an older Elezen man with neatly parted, greyed hair and equally aged goatee hanging from his chin. He wore a flowing grey and white robe and a pair of silvered spectacles upon his face as he calmly read from an aged book.


At a table to themselves, Two Au Ra were having a relaxed conversation about something they both seemed to agree upon. One was a younger, diminutive, and stark white Raen lady in a downy, Eastern dress. The other was an almost ebony black Xaela man with a clumsy awkwardness about him who was currently wearing a somewhat ridiculous frilled and puffy shirt.




But so far, the Duke had managed this start-up flawlessly and most were sure he could manage to execute it completely in the same manner, but could he manage another miracle so calmly? Only time would tell...



Any person can have possibly gotten entry, it is a fully open ball only limited by the number of attendees. If you want to, you can have managed to sneak into the ball where others have failed. You can explain how you got in, or you can just hit it off with your character's actions right in the ballroom if you want!


The formal clothing distributed can be in any design you wish, be creative with it if you want!


If you decide to come as a mystery guest, you will also be obligated to wear a mask of your own choosing. You will have also received an invitation through mail that morning asking you to attend as one of ten mystery guests and a request not to tell anyone yet. It would also say to feel free to take up an entirely new persona if you wished and let out who you are at a whim. The message would also prompt you to arrive earlier for convenience.


If you want the RP hook to come as a caterer or performer, just send me a message as it may be a while before either of those parts are done in the RP and I can get you a nice hook to be active in the ballroom.


Feel free to talk to any NPCs highlighted above or NPCs of your own design; I will periodically have mine do some actions for scene enhancement and I will open up more to account for each race if need be. Just to note, Duke Rhett and the Miqo’te woman beside him are open too! Do mingle with others' characters though, the NPCs are mostly plot hooks. There's some inner detail to them, but not much currently.


If for whatever reason you need to jump out of it but you want to come back later, just "vanish into the crowd, it is part of the reason they are there.


*Sighs in relief*. That was a whole lot of writing but there’s definitely more to come! I hope the formatting is readable enough. Feel free to contact me or make suggestions about anything OOC, I don’t mind!



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“That is well, but, Mr. Fallstone, I did not enact this social event to discuss business. Please, do go and enjoy yourself; this is a leisurely event after all,” the Duke Rhett replied.


Darius Fallstone, the black suited Hyur man, was one of the Duke’s more common business partners, but he had the same bothersome habit a large majority of them had: he simply only cared about money. It was ridiculous how a person could be as selfish as to attempt sales when he presented such a wondrous event. He was also sure it was a false name, but the Duke could not judge; he did the same sometimes.


“O-Oh, I am truly in apology, Duke of the Isles. I have just been terribly concerned of late of trying to have a purchase made and you are one of my prime patrons after all… I admit it had gotten to my head slightly,” he replied, partially blathering in response.


Darius was a good man; a blatant bootlick, but at least he was respectful enough to take it back his error. He promptly found his way elsewhere to another crowd of people, to which the Duke hoped he would not continue trying to make business dealings. Duke Rhett would hate to have the mood of the party lost due selfish abuse of his hospitality. Almost unconsciously, he marked the place in his mind where the man had gone to. Never hurt to keep track.


He made a brief motion of his hand to his personal servant beside him as he gazed out upon the ballroom. Everything was going as planned for now and he would let the attendees continue to converse for a while. The night had only started after all and they seemed to be enjoying themselves in the atmosphere he had created. Of course, he could have even outdone this party and its decorations with ease for money could buy a very expansive number of things…




The Miqo’te servant immediately understood the sign, although she had barely even been watching for it. It simply asked for chilled water in her master’s wineglass, filled two-thirds of the way. Had she missed the sign, something that had not happened in years, she would have had little chance in guessing it for the Duke consistently and rapidly modified his habits from the day she had met him. Making no physical or verbal response whatsoever, she departed from his side at a very brisk and orderly pace while holding the plate in the same perfectly horizontal angle. Her face would remain deadpan, but her eyes would briefly flicker about to the festivities. Hopefully none of the guests would think she was one of the waiters and ask something to halt her current task, she did not like to spare any time…

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It was around four-thirty in the afternoon. As always, Muijh was walking about the gilded city looking for anything to do with her time before heading back to the inn for the night: finding something to eat, someone who seemed ill, or just a decent conversation to kill time. As it happened, she had stumbled across one of the seemingly hundreds of people scattered around Ul'dah to give out information about the Duke's ball. 


"Uhh, excuse me, sir?" she began, motioning to the tall Hyur handing out flyers, her tail flicking a bit. "What's this 'ball' I'm hearing about? And who exactly IS this Duke?"


"Well, miss, it's a chance to meet one of the most influential people in this fine city! It's a come one, come all event for the ages! You'll dance, drink the finest wine, and get a true taste of the finer things in life! As for the man running the show..." the Hyuran man paused, leaning in close to her and continuing at a whisper. "He simply is The Duke! There've been rumors, naturally, but for all anyone can find, he's just a man with a lot of money. And if ye ask me, that's fine enough, s'long as he keeps throwin' balls and such!" 


Muijh was, of course, taken quite aback by the flood of information. Her ears flattened and she moved back a bit, but when he began to whisper, she calmed down and processed all that he'd said. So they continued talking, only stopping after Muijh found out the doors opened at eight. She thanked him graciously and ran off to the inn to change into her best clothes and redo her makeup.



The Miqo'te walked to the door and gave a small bow to the doorman. He moved aside with the door and returned her gesture. Muijh was dressed in a short, sleek blue dress with her favorite pair of white thighboots. Her hair, though not done up in an particular way, was a bit more organized in its presentation. Once she had made it into the establishment the man at the door returned to his original position. 


Muijh looked around the area, trying to see what types of people were here. She noticed many distinguished men and women surrounded by fair-sized crowds, each trying to entertain their guests with their best stories. Those who were not crowding around someone were in their own groups and talking about anything and everything. She tried her best to join in on some, but she felt bad about walking up to interrupt ongoing conversations.

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The Miqo’te servant quickly traveled the length of the ballroom and vanished into a side room for only a few moments and reappeared from the door with the glass filled with the simple request of water. She began to tread the ballroom as fast as she had before, the tray still never wobbling in the slightest and the water inside the glass only slightly deviating from a perfectly horizontal angle due to inertia. She swiftly passed by Muijh on her path straight towards the Duke, moving fast enough to displace the air ahead and causing a very light gust follow just behind her. As soon as she reached his side, she stopped immediately and lowered the plate back down towards her waist level as she turned to look out at the crowds as well.




The Duke Rhett did not even glance at his servant as he gently grasped the wineglass in a regal manner and continued to look out at the ballroom. He was a very analytical person and it was very enjoyable for him to simply watch how the people interacted. It was very interesting to see how some of the lower class members present were trying to pass off as higher class, and even more entertaining to see how well it worked for them. It was also nice to see that people were successfully mingling as he had wanted.


His gaze continued to fall upon the Miqo’te wandering about between the crowds with the snow colored thighboots; she seemed to be having some difficulty with mingling. He could easily help with that.


“A’ih,” he briefly said with his general tranquility.




A'ih looked at him with the speed of shock, her eyes showing a little surprise even though the rest of her body remained nearly motionless. He did not usually speak to her, let alone pronounce her name, for most of the things between them could be handled with the various signals that had been established between them. She took this as her permission to respond.


“Yes, Duke?”


“Look to where I am looking.” Following his eyes, she took sight of the same Miqo’te with the silky blue dress and white thighboots. “Do bid her converse with her host for a short time.”


“By your command,” she replied simply in her quiet voice.


A’ih took off again at a swift pace as the Duke began to take a small sip from the glass. She approached Muijh and gently passed on the request formally as she entered an audible and appropriate range.


“Miss, the Duke of the Isles asks for your presence. Please, do follow me.”

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Muijh hardly had time to react as she was blown past, and before she realized it, the selfsame figure that created such an impressive current was before her once again. The shadow's words initially fell on deaf ears. Muijh moved her eyes up and down the person before her, the picture slowly forming in her mind. Within the first few glances, Muijh realized only three things: first, that this figure was, indeed, feminine in nature; second, the woman was carrying a plate, so perhaps she was a waitress of some kind; and finally, that her mouth was moving, so she must have been saying something. This last realization took the longest, as the woman's mouth barely moved. Though it was roughly two or three seconds, these observations felt as though they took eons to come to the forefront of her mind, and ever longer for her words to finally make sense.


"O-Oh! Sorry, ma'am. Lead on, then." Muijh felt her ears perk back up as she followed her fellow Miqo'te. Though they were of different clans, the Keeper woman felt an almost immediate kinship with the Seeker who led her. "So... What might your name be? I'm Muijh! Muijh Mewrilah." 


Muijh's ears fell back once again, her attempts at conversing seeming to have failed. It was then that she heard the woman speak once more.

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“Well, Miss Mewrilah, I am simply the Duke’s personal servant; nothing more needs to be said for me,” A’ih replied in her quiet way as she continued her quick pace. She did not look at the other Miqo’te even once as they maneuvered past crowds and the plate on her hand stood entirely still the whole time.


In a matter of seconds she reached The Duke's side again and gave an elegant and slow curtsy to Muijh, immediately bringing the platter back down to her waist level and straightening her stance when it had been finished. Her face, ears, and tail remained perfectly still while only her eyes moved to observe the crowds of guests in the distance. It was a peculiar thing how she managed to have so much self-control to act in this mechanical manner, but it had become commonplace for her and the Duke.





The Duke looked at Muijh as she approached, setting the single wineglass back on the tray. “Well, fair guest, are you enjoying yourself?” he asked with a polite smile, raising both of his hands in a questioning gesture. He had been watching the Miqo’te’s interactions with A’ih, and it gave him a few ideas…

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Muijh happily returned the curtsy, aside from raising the skirt of her dress, as it was rather snug against her upper thigh. She turned her attention to the seated man and gestured to him in the same manner before speaking. 


"My good sir, I am simply having a ball." She chuckled at her own silly joke. "You are the Duke, I presume? I've heard a lot about you, yet I can't say I really know a single thing about you, milord. So, since your lovely assistant was kind enough to bring me to you--" Muijh turned back to A'ih and bowed to her with a smile. "why don't we take this wonderful opportunity to get to know each other?"

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The Duke gave a laugh towards Muijh’s pun and waited for her finish, laughing a bit inside at the overpolite manner in which she was talking. It was to be expected, but she could easily be a businesswoman if she could keep it going. He actually already knew her last name, having read it off of his butler’s lips, but he was going to just keep that to himself.


“We could, if that is of your liking, but would you rather not converse with someone closer to your age? I am sure my fine servant, A’ih,” he stopped to gesture to his servant beside him, prompting an almost surprised look from her and then continued, “would not mind if you desired to converse with her. I am not in more preference for either one. After all, I called you up here to assist with your circulation amongst the guests.”


He could feel A’ih’s questioning gaze from his side, and he could not help smiling. He did it for the personal enjoyment, but he did need to make a little change every once in a while to keep her on the ready. As he listened to Muijh’s response, he took another draught from his wineglass and returned it to the tray.

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"You brought me over only to talk to your assistant? I can hardly see how you have gotten as far as you have, sir~" Muijh put her right hand on her hip in playful indignance. "As enjoyable as that would be, however, it appears to me that your precious A'ih doesn't share that opinion, so for the time being, speaking with you seems to be the best course of action." 


Muijh waved over to the nearest waiter and asked for a glass of the same wine her host had in his own glass. After only a short period of time the waiter returned, glass in hand. Muijh took it, thanking him graciously, and had a sip before opening her mouth to speak.


"So, my fair Duke, what is your name, exactly? You can't expect a lady to simply call you 'Duke' at all times, I'd wager."

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The Duke had to applaud her internally, she definitely had spunk. This was why he had begun to find more pleasure in the company of the younger generations in the world; they were too brave for their own good. Any other adult, especially ones older than him, tended to cower and be very apologetic like Darius usually was. He laughed heartily at her response before he returned his words.


“My, my, how impertinent you are!” he jested, laughing again. “My ways are unconventional, I will give you those points, but I am afraid your wager is misplaced, fair lady. I do actually intend to have you call me Duke at all times, ‘tis the way of the Isles.”


He stopped to take the last sip of his water and set the glass back down onto the tray, ready to counter. “But, Miss Mewrilah, what is your opinion on the wine? ‘Tis very fine, is it not?” He grinned to himself internally; these games of tricks and wordplay were what made the aristocracy life a fun place.




The young Hyuran girl had, to her liking, been mostly left alone. She was getting ready to finish last of the very dark wine until a man with a goofy mustache approached her table from the crowd. For a reason she could not doubt, he was likely going to be a pest.


“Ah, what kind of sultry beauty is this I’ve found? My, I knew the desert heat grew at some point, but to think that it was—“


“Aren’t I a little too young for you?” she interrupted saucily, glaring at him with her heavy-lidded eyes. It was true after all; he had to be at least twice her age judging by the greying head, and his grin was the fake kind you saw on the faces of greed driven businessmen.


“I-I…Perhaps I introduced myself incorrectly; Darius, at your service. Darius Fallstone, that is. I assume you have heard of me?” He continued to stand at the table and eventually began to lean on it with his right elbow. His left arm was dangerously close to the candle as he gestured about with it.




“Well, when the dances come around, could I perhaps treat you-“


“Not a chance.”


Well, perhaps you would be interested to know that I am a merchant of sorts-“


“Not really.”


“I, er, know remedies to preserve beauty?”


“Your sleeve is on fire.” It had taken a little while, but what she presumed to be velveteen lit up like a nice bit of tinder. He looked at her in surprise, as if he was taking as some sort of compliment until she pointed at the burning shirt. He immediately took what was left in her glass and poured it on his sleeve and began to pat it out hurriedly, eventually vanishing into the crowd once it was out. She felt a little sympathy for him, but it was heavily dampened by his brazen attempts to sell his snake oil.


It was a shame the wine she had gotten was not very alcoholic.



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Muijh let out another short giggle and took another sip from her glass while cursing herself internally. She felt as though she had gotten so close to solving the mystery, regardless of how misguided she was in her approach. Clearly, she thought, this won't be near as easy as I was hoping. But, hey, this'll at least be fun. 



"The wine is phenomenal, sir! Though... How did you know my last name? I don't believe I've officially introduced myself yet." The Miqo'te put her free hand to her chin and leaned in, an eyebrow raised in inquisition. After a moment, Muijh returned to her original stance, though she did not remove her questioning gaze from her host.

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A Seeker woman had been inspecting the ball under a simple guise. It wasn't really much but it helped to enjoy the fun. Adorned in Gemstones of alternating Red and Blue, dressed in a long Ceruleum Blue cocktail dress to better show her features and her once proud locks styled into a bun with some hair draping over the sides. A dark red coloration mixed with odd Ceruleum blue highlights from radiation poisoning not two years ago gave her head a more vibrant mesh of her style. Thankfully the mask she wore covered over her Magitek eye of a yellow coloration but only exposing her white eye. The mast styled like an odd falcon to hide who she was.


She wasn't the top of the class, but considering the wealth and her family heritage, she could of been a noble...And she came alone. She looked around, wondering if her father had attended or decided to manage the ships but instead the odd haired woman tried blending in with the crowd.


For the time she would watch the crowd and enjoy her time as she could. Rarely she found time to take in events like this as is.

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“It is all very simple, you see…” the Duke began with a charming grin, quickly beginning an eloquent explanation, “As you spoke to my servant here, you attempted to introduce yourself to her and you garnered a response. She, on her own accord, likely answered your question saying that she was only my servant. Knowing her habits personally, she began with a filler word and then proceeded to give your surname and assumed title by gender. A familiarity with her pronunciation allowed me to watch her mouth movements and in turn, formulate your surname.”


He waited for a moment, as if he was conflicted in thought over something, and began to speak again. “In more general terms, I read A’ih’s lips as she responded.” As he said this, he crossed his arms in playful impertinence and swapped the order of his crossed legs. He would save the fact she was drinking water until a little bit later; it would make for an effective riposte.


He made another motion to A’ih, curling his ring finger all the way in and putting the rest of them to a partial bend. It was the exact same one he used earlier, asking for water and a few extra details. She nodded her head once and headed off immediately in her swift pace.

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Muijh could recognize when she'd lost, and this was a definitive Loss in her book. She smiled gently and bowed her head. 

"Well played, milord." She said as she raised her head. She took yet another swig of her 'wine,' her cup raised a bit longer this time. Muijh's eyes scanned the room briefly and spotted another Seeker lady seeming to sulk in a corner with quite the interesting mask. Intrigued, Muijh turned her gaze back to the Duke. 


"Well, since you know your assistant so intimately, why not try the same trick on her? I'd love to see how you watch her up close~" Muijh pointed to the woman she'd noticed not moments before and smiled yet again.

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“Ah, so are you challenging me now?” the Duke replied with a smirk as he looked to the woman in question. “You want me to pull the same trick on her? Hm, that would be a difficult task as long as my servant is currently indisposed. You see, ‘tis all about chance; a setup would be much harder to accomplish…”


He continued to look in her direction. She was assuredly an intriguing sight, but he had to consider the possible outcomes if he wanted to win this little game. Thinking upon it, he put a hand to the light beard on his chin. It took him only a few seconds to come to a resolution; there was an unsure chance of winning, but the dangers of the loss were negligible anyways. “But, why not? I can leave it to luck-- I accept thy trial!” he said turning back to Muijh with a smirk.

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As the red and blue Miqo'te mingled, she could see the few people giving a glance. In her normal nature, she would wave and be open to move forward. Tonight she felt like keeping a low profile if not to warrant curiosity. She took this chance to walk across the room, not giving glances back and acting like she never see them.


Internally she felt giddy, nervous and laughing along. Externally she kept a small smile and straight posture. She truly hoped no one would recognise her hair here. So far not one person she knew attended. Oddly enough, she was right where the drinks were as she finally spoke. A voice stern, strong but kind and gentle. "Get me one of these for me, please?" she slid a piece of paper for a drink of her choice.


She waited for everything to be mix, the rim of the wide top but narrow end and base glass was lined with salt. Pouring in, the fluid was a clear blue mix like ice. Then he layered it with a quick chill to the top, making it look like a frozen lake...and topping with a cherry. "Thank you so much!" The odd Miqo'te left a tip for the work as she took her sip and looked back around. She just needed time to prepare if she had to engage.

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Prince Klari carefully read the invitation to this "Duke's" Ball. He loved the pageantry of them, but often hated the people. Wealthy children of merchants who never worked a day in their lives. Syndicate members and their cohorts guzzling down expertly crafted spirits, eating finger foods that the urchins of Pearl Lane would kill each other over, he hated those people. And yet strangely, he was now one of them. A few would recognize him from the fighting pits, even more from his dealings as head of the Bloodsands Consortium, so he hoped it would be a small affair. He scanned the invite again.


"Thal's Balls...The Shining Diamond?" he muttered to himself as he clasped his expertly tailored Gambler's longcoat. "I suppose anonymity might be impossible."


As he walked out of his Emerald Avenue penthouse and marched with little hurry to the Ballroom. He entered and before he could be greeted immediately walked to the top floor to get a lay of the event. As he gazed across the massive event he spied a sandy blond, well-dressed Hyur. 


"There's our "Duke"." he chuckled to himself. 


He looked down an to his right at a lone Hyur women. Her blue dress popping out among the dark, polished mahogany floor, its neckline plunging deeper than Witchdrop. 


"Well, this evening may have gotten interesting." he said quietly.


Klari walked down to the main floor and quickly eyed the wine selection at the bar. He was not impressed. He finally approached the lone woman and bowed. 


"A woman that knows her wine...not many Ul'dahns fancy a glass of Malbec." He said. "Prince Klari of Bloodsands Consortium. May I have a seat?" He asked with a friendly smile.

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Her tail flicking back and forth, Muijh turned her body to watch A'ih as she moved along the hall. She leaned in a little closer to the Duke and drank the last few drops from her glass. Muijh then smiled in a most devilish manner as she began to speak. 


"What say you to a bit of a wager, Duke of the Isles? Should you be unable to correctly read your servant's words, you must swear to treat me to a nice restaurant anywhere in Eorzea that I so choose."

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The Duke looked at Muijh in surprise. “Oh, so now the stakes have been raised? I shall accept this proposition as well. I shall have to think upon my part of the bet first, but do tell me first, does it only have to be a ‘nice’ restaurant?” he asked with a clever light in his eyes. He could actually do somewhere outside of Eorzea and barely dent his finances, but it would be best to not let her know that. He had a feeling he was likely to lose this bet, but it did not matter to him if he won or lost as the fun for him was in just waiting to see how chance played out for him…




A’ih quickly made her way through the crowds and retrieved the water from the storeroom again as she had done only a little while ago. It actually was not any different than the water available from the external drink selections other than the fact it was simply in a different room, but the Duke had made it a specific command to her that all of the drinks she fetched must come from the stockroom instead of the external bars. As she silently closed the door to the side room, she heard a voice speak to her.


“M’am, er Miss…” It was just one of the servants that had been hired for the event, specifically a female Raen one. She had power to command all of them, but so far they had been well-trained enough to handle their own to the point she barely had to bother with them.


“What is it?” she said gently and blankly, though gesturing to her with her free hand to follow quickly. She did not want to tarry any in fulfilling the Duke’s command.


“If it isn’t out of line, I wanted to know how it’s like working as a personal servant.”


This question stopped her tracks briefly, but she started up at her fast pace again as she gave her brief response and never let the plate in her hand wobble once.


“You get used to it.” It was not really an answer, but it was what she could answer from experience.


She continued on her way, without the servant following behind until she reached Duke Rhett again. He had just finished a statement as she arrived at his side and brought the plate back down to her waist in her habitual manner. He did not look at her, but retrieved his wineglass, took a sip from it, and promptly began a new command.


“A’ih.” He was using more verbal commands? This was an unusual day for her, but then again, the Duke rarely ever held any events like this.


“Yes, Duke?”


“Can you see that guest with the avian mask and the azure accents? Bring her to me as well,” he ordered in a calm voice.


“Your wish is my command,” she replied, though she was experiencing some unfamiliar feelings at the idea of another Miqo’te being invited over to talk with him. Perhaps it was just general concern for his public appearance?


A’ih began her stride yet again, leaving the Duke with his glass as he proceeded to take another sip from it. She kept a mostly straight path towards this peculiar Miqo’te, only having to weave her path whenever someone was passing by. By the time she reached the guest, she already had turned around from the bar with the icy beverage and was looking almost in her direction. She kept her familiar and brisk pace all the way up until a few steps before the other woman where she lowered her momentum for more graceful stop.


“The Duke requests your presence. Please, if you would, do follow me,” she instructed the masked guest in her quiet manner.




The young Hyur girl almost wanted to roll her eyes into the back of her head as another man, an Elezen this time, approached her table with…more ridiculous looking facial hair. Her hearing almost blanked out from disbelief, but she was able to catch the most of his greeting. The smile combined with that initial comment did not sit well with her. She was not from the high society, the dress was the only thing that gave the impression she was, and so far she was finding them to be more presumptuous than whom she generally worked with. Maybe he would set his sleeve on fire too. It was a long shot, but maybe.


“A prince? What would you have to do with just a simple girl and a glass of wine?” she asked with a precisely placed undertone of sarcasm. Rich people were testing her patience tonight and she was hard pressed to resist the saucy responses coming to her brain.


The girl would lament having worn this risqué dress as it seemed to be pulling so many of these similar encounters now, but she would have been lamenting about the restriction of other dresses had she done otherwise. There was developed a preference in her for the…freedom, though she still did have to deal with the knowledge that certain people would be looking at her for a little longer than they should.


It also did not help it was low in the back too. She realized that mistake a little too late as well.

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Muijh thought for a moment and to her, it seemed as though hundreds of questions passed through her mind. Was she even serious about making him treat her to dinner? Who even was he? Where was this sudden confidence coming from? Though only a minute had elapsed, in Muijh's mind, she had been there for hours, staring into nothing.


Oh great, now I look like some sort of loon. Say something, dammit!! thought Muijh. She forced herself back to reality and tried to say the first thing that came to mind. Her next words were nearly blurted out of her.


"Just as long as it's somewhere romantic!" 


Muijh let out a scream within her own brain. Though there was no alcohol in her drink, Muijh was convinced that she had simply drank too much and was now suffering the consequences. It wasn't much of an explanation, but it was something. She took a deep breath and continued.


"So, then, should fate be on your side, what shall I be giving up?"

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The odd Miqo'te of red and blue suddenly felt distracted by another. "Hm? Well sure. I wouldn't mind." Her voice sweet and polite as she followed A'ih to the Duke as they called him. The blue in her hair upon a closer look was vibrant against her darkened red head of hair. her bosom a little more prominent in the chest, yet not showing too much skin and only enough for a cavity. The quality of her mask was on a fair side, though probably put together at the last minute and yet there was a detail that was seemingly hard to miss at first. An emblem of a coat of arms with a necklace of three shaped gems and a cactuar could be seen on the brooch. As if a family symbol or emblem. 


She approached, taking a light sip of her drink as she looked up at the supposed Duke. Eyeing his features and mentally getting bad vibes...but she played along for now. "I assume you are the Duke then?" she raised a brow to him. She didn't mind much of a person's look as she tried to keep herself hidden from anyone that might of known who she was. Not a fear of popularity but a fear of some heckler spreading some minor detail and making a big deal out of it-which it technically was.


"The party is very nice and open, I do say." a compliment. something simple to start off.

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“...I shall let you know, should the dice of life be on my side. But, a romantic dinner...?” the Duke trailed off in his tranquil voice, now that he was focused entirely upon A'ih. By this time she had begun walking back with the mysterious guest following her tracks. As the two Miqo'te continued to approach him without saying a word, he was quite sure of himself losing the game. He looked back to Miss Mewrilah and made a light shrugging gesture with his free hand. He could easily read the amount of anxiety in her face caused by the response she had made, and he began to think it might be more enjoyable to actually take her up on the offer anyhow. He would spare her the romance though; he knew it was only an effect likely due to the giddiness or the possible placebo effect of the “wine”.


A'ih gave her curtsy to the red and blue haired woman she had brought over with her habitual emotionless manner and proceeded to stand beside the Duke in her straight pose and the platter at her waist. He turned his head back to the second guest and gave his charming smile to her as she trod her way across the mahogany floor up to him.


“Indeed, I am he who is called the Duke of the Isles. It is a pleasure to know that my ball is to your liking.”




A’ih was inconspicuously looking at the woman’s mask from the corner of her eyes, attempting to determine the origin of the heraldry upon it, but eventually she stopped as she had no idea where it was from. She had never seen it before, but it was possible that the Duke might have some understanding of it and she looked to his face. It was at that exact his eyes briefly flashed with the cleverness that always showed when he had figured out a quick move.


“I do ask you to excuse me, fine guest, this may seem a bit peculiar, but do side with me on this…A’ih.”


“Yes, Duke?”


“If you would, ask this fine guest her name and repeat it to me.”


“Your wish is my command,” she managed to say, holding back the questioning in her voice. She had been absent for the wager, and her mind was now occupied with trying to comprehend the reason why this was even necessary. “Miss, if it would not bother you, the Duke requests your name.”


She did not see it, but there was a playful smirk on the Duke’s face as he looked at Muijh.

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"I, er, well... Y'see the thing is uh..." Muijh began uncharacteristically fumbling over her words. She could not contemplate why, after all it was likely this would be her last encounter with the Duke. She stopped trying to speak after another round of 'ums' and 'ers' and instead looked to the pair of Seekers heading to her and her host. She, too, noticed that they said nary a word and gave a slight grin to the Duke. 


That grin changed to a look of mild shock as the suggestion to state the new woman's name crossed Muijh's ears. She cursed him for being so clever, and the Twelve above for letting it happen. She knew it was all in good fun, but she still wasn't keen on the idea of losing.

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As she approached, the Miqo'te wasn't too keen on being too upfront. "I'm just glad i can attend to something like this. It's hard when you work as a Paladin." she mentioned before hearing the whisper of the supposed helper. She replied back quietly "Makeo." only giving her last name. She didn't feel too comfortable with her main name. Then again saying the Makeo name now was obscure and for a select few who remember her mother or family line of Goldsmiths.


"It's just fun attending events like this once in a while. My mother use to go to open balls all the time." she carefully laid out her idea of the afternoon as she looked at the duke. Even going as far as to tilt her body in an angle to show off the slight curves and figure she had obtained in her life. Flaunting her body in a mild sense. "But surely an event like this must cost a lot?"

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The Duke looked to his servant as she repeated the name for attention to detail, though it being needless as he had already heard the name himself. “Well, Miss Makeo, I thank chance that you were able to attend my little event and I would hope the night turns out enjoyable for you. After all, I spent a quite fortune on it,” he replied with a charming grin. It had, but this was nothing in comparison to what money he had available. Briefly he turned his head back to Muijh as he took another sip.


“Well, Miss Mewrilah, shall we count that as fair play? Or, better yet,” he interrupted himself, “Miss Makeo. The rules of a friendly wager we were having were that I could read your name by watching my servant here pronounce it. Do you think the manner in which I did it just now is considered fair by your judgement?” He did not want to tease Muijh too much, but she seemed to be able to recover quickly enough from shock for a little more.


He had to admit, it was a probably a bad habit to enjoy making people nervous, but it was one of the few fun things about the aristocracy life.




A’ih had been keeping to herself during this discourse as she was obligated to, and efficiently took the time to try and figure out that name and crest. She was sure that she recognized part of it from somewhere, and even closed her eyes as she peacefully searched her mind for wherever it was she thought she had either heard that name or glanced at a similar crest. She continued to rack her brain for the answer, but to her discomfort, she could find nothing.


Was her mind only playing tricks on her? She almost felt frustrated her memory would fail her like this; it was generally quite extensive and reliable.


She opened her eyes as she had tried to push the thought from her mind and to the crowd. By chance, she had happened to glance over at Miss Makeo as she flourished herself in what A’ih believed to be a considerable manner. The strange emotion was back and it revived her previous emotions of discomfort and frustration, confusing her even more.


What was it?

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