We start off with Findorus and his sister returning from performing a service to Jalaana, a dress-maker in Astrazalia:
With Drusilla taken care of, she, in turn, was helping Varigate’s “sister” Slider modify one of Echo’s dresses so that she could wear it to a ball. Glasya and Feldon, for their part, were questioning Drusilla and others, trying to figure out what they should wear. Glasya could create whatever dress she wanted to wear, whereas Feldon, thanks to Findorus’ gift of magical clothing, could cause his to become whatever he needed them to be.
With dresses created for all, everyone attended the Ball at the Palace. Korrang went with the Lady Uldyardih, and Echo ended up going with the Lady Fillincel. The Ball was all abustle with political maneuverings, and vying for attention or information.
For his part, Echo was content to be shown around and introduced as the new Lord in town by Lady Fillincel. Rykin gained a bit of a reputation as a person who is close to the new Fey Lords and Knights, and seems like he might be amenable to sharing secrets (without actually being), so he ended up being fairly popular with the middling and lesser lords. People seemed very concerned at the arrival of a second Lord of the Court of Coral, and were digging to try and find out why Korrang was in town.
Right before people were supposed to move to the Ballroom, a new arrival was announced to a suddenly quiet room. A gorgeous woman in a black lace dress came into the room and was announced as “The Hag Athema, Witch of the Crypt Woods, Satyrbane, The Black Bridge.” She glided into the room and the gathered lords and ladies resumed quiet conversation, mostly about this new arrival. The Hag made her way towards Findorus, and whispered her thanks for his recent actions in his ear, thanking him for freeing the major portion of her power from being consumed by that ill-cast curse. Findorus started trying to convince her that she had a new life of freedom ahead of her, though she wasn’t so sure that others would be able to see her in a new light. At about this time, Varigate began…probing her using his truename, trying to blur the lines between who she was and who she could be. In his search, he found that she had a thick shell around her heart. He pushed with his Truename, and with as subtle an exertion as he could without alerting the rest of the room, he caused a crack to appear in that shell, allowing a peek of her heart, opening her to new possibilities for love and connection.
Moving into the ball, Korrang, Findorus and Varigate ended up dancing with The Hag, and a couple of other lords also followed suit. At one point, The Lady Fillincel and Echo came out to perform a number he created specifically for the two of them. This number was so moving and filled with such emotion, that the entire room was struck dumb. Many of the lords and ladies were seen with tears of joy running down their cheeks. After they were done, the hall was filled with silence, and then resounded in applause. The rest of the musical acts that were scheduled that evening declined to follow such a performance, worrying that they would sully the memory of such beauty. Many of the lords and ladies even decided that they needed to retire to think about the evening’s activities. At this point the Ball ended organically, with everyone breaking up in small groups to return home.