I could tell something was up; Clutie and Dani were chittering like mad this morning. I mean, more than they usually chitter. And usually they know better than to enter my bedroom before Bran has brought me my first pot of coffee; speaking of which we’re running out of the Kona I got when I was in Nu Jyorck; I’m going to have to go back and replace it soonish. And eventually I’ll have to tell you all what happened while I was there. It wasn’t anything huge and spectacular, but Nu Jyorck was a very interesting place.
Anyway. I could tell something was up. And then it dawned on me. Autumn has come to the Bower and to the Realm. Mason is swift approaching. And that means… shit.
“Your Majesty, Your Majesty!” Finally, Clutie could no longer contain herself. “The first wave of Samhain gowns is here for you to try on!”
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Samhain gowns. It’s about to be masqued ball season, and the Fae are very, very serious about Samhain parties. Now, I love parties as well as the next girl, but back in my old life, Halloween was never my favourite holiday, and don’t get me started on British vs. American customs. But the fact is, the Fae seem to celebrate Halloween (Samhain) far more in the spirit of the Americans than the British. Which, OK, is fine, but a lifetime of being told that “we do not dress up and go door to door in this country, well not at Halloween, anyway,” will stick with a girl, you know?
I tried to roll over in bed, but that little bitch landed on my head. Her feet were all wet from dew, and she practically stuck a toe up my nose. Ew.
“Fine, fine, fine,” I said finally. “Where do you want to do it?”
“Ballroom!” she and Dani chorused together. They’d obviously been planning this since before the sun came up. So I got up and didn’t bother doing anything with myself, since they’d be poking and prodding at me all morning anyway. Let them worry about whether or not there are knots in my hair.
The first dress they had me try was surprisingly regal! And I have to admit, I loved the jewellery Dani picked out. The dress designer is Dark Water Designs, and the jewellery is from Devious Mind. Dani did my face with some more of those designs she gets from Madrid Solo, and Clutie pulled my hair back in to a simple design from Rezology which I actually rather liked.
“It might be too formal,” Clutie said critically.
“What? What are you talking about? I love it!” I wrapped my arms around my chest, unwilling to have them remove the dress. “It’s perfect! We don’t have to try any of the others: let’s just pick this one!”
Dani clucked. Clutie kissed her teeth. “Your Majesty,” she said. “My Lady. You know there are no less than seven separate masqued balls you’ll be expected to attend this season? You can’t wear the same dress to all of them.”
“No, you can’t send regrets to any of them,” Clutie said sternly. “Put your big girl wings on and lift your arms so we can get you out of this dress and into the next one. Put it in the ‘yes’ wardrobe,” she said to Kern. Why do they always pick him to do the heavy lifting? Then again, he does look stunning without a shirt on.
“And when you’re done with that,” I said, “send a message and cancel my brunch with the children. They won’t mind.”
“The children need Samhain outfits too,” Clutie said as she straightened the mermaid skirt on this dress. Dani nodded as she deftly attached a butterfly made of black titanium to the dress’ headband.
I just shook my head. “Let’s really not think about the prospect of getting Bronwyn to wear black this morning.” The two Sidhe footmen pulled the mirror around so I could see myself. “Oh! I love this one too! I look like a goth flapper! A Gibson Girl without the boobage!”
This dress is by Beyond Persuasion Designs, and Clutie explained (she was translating for Dani, whose only human language is Portuguese, of all things) that the raven tattoo pattern came with the dress, but that it was her idea to match them with the face paint design from Mon Cher and the jewellery from Alchemy Immortals. She was quick to point out that she’d chosen the hair design from Lelutka when I praised it. I had to laugh at that. “Right,” I said. “Yes wardrobe for this one too: next!”
Clutie giggled. “That’s the spirit!” she said as the two footmen came round to help me shimmy out of the dress. (Yes, of course they were cute. There are no ugly footmen in the Seelie Court!)
“It’s purple! I love purple!” I said, when I saw this one.
“It has purple accents, Your Majesty.” Clutie always gets more formal when she is correcting me or telling me how to do something, I’ve noticed.
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “What? Drysi’s not here to do it: somebody has to be the teenager here.”
Clutie clucked. “Do you know where Her Highness is, Your Majesty?”
Uh, oh. Two formal titles in one sentence. “I do not,” I said tightly. “Dyisi would only say she’s somewhere safe and she’ll come to me when she’s ready.”
Clutie sniffed and visibly chose not to say anything more on the matter. “Kern, put the Facepalm dress into the ‘yes’ wardrobe, and note that we’re using the MOCK makeup and the Eden Moon jewellery with it, please? Hair is…” she flipped through a set of index cards big enough that she had to use both hands. “Oh! Rezology again.”
Kern sighed the sigh of the long-suffering and complied. As the two footmen moved to remove this dress, he did manage one comment: “Why are you always sending me out of the room when the Queen’s undressed, hm?” There were giggles. They might have been from me.
I gave the dress a final twirl and waited for them to bring on the next one.
“It’s not really a ‘room’, Kern,” Clutie muttered while she went through designer cards to decide which dress would be next.
No sooner had they put the next dress on me than a small murder of crows appeared. “Well, I guess this means Nemaine approves of this one,” I said.
“Would you cretins get off me? And don’t be taking any more of my hair back to Nemaine: she’s got plenty already,” I grumbled.
Clutie ignored the crows and asked Kern to make a note that the Moeko dress included jewellery by Glint and another facepaint design by Madrid Solo, lipstick by MOCK. I asked about the body paint, and she explained it was a design that actually came with the dress, from the dress designer. “Tableau Vivant for the hair,” she whispered to Kern.
“When did I start handling the notecards?” Kern asked.
“You complained about not seeing the Queen naked,” Clutie responded. “So I’m handing off the wardrobe job to….” she flung her hand out in a seemingly random direction. “him!” A surprised steward’s assistant came running from the ballroom’s edge. “Yes, madam; of course, madam,” he said. Clutie rolled her eyes at him, but I don’t think he noticed: Clutie’s eyes are very small, of course, and he only had eyes for me. Of course.
I liked the dress a lot better once the crows had been shooed away at last. “Hey, you can see my shoes!”
“GizzA,” Clutie informed. “You’ve been wearing them all morning.”
“I know, I know!” I said. “But now I can see them!”
Clutie sighed. “Next dress, please?”
“Next dress, please.”
“Now this,” I said, “really makes me feel like a Gothic Samhain Princess. And Dani, what have you done with my hair?”
Dani chittered excitedly to Clutie. “Analog Dog, she says,” Clutie informed. “Best curls ever, she says.” Clutie turned to Kern. “Necklace is from Cae, armlets are from Earthstones, dress is from Deceitful Innocence.” Kern grumbled that she was talking too fast, and she grumbled back. “Makeup is Madrid Solo and MOCK again.OK, strike a Gothic Princess pose for us, Your Majesty, and then we’ll move on to the last dress for this morning.”
“Only one more dress?” I moaned. “Oh, the humanity!”
Everybody laughed. Some of the footmen applauded, luckily not the ones who were holding up the mirrors.
“Right, Your Majesty. Keep your eyes closed for this next one: I want you to get the whole effect immediately!” Clutie had a wicked gleam in her eyes.
“Am I going to hate it that much?” I asked.
Clutie smirked. “I have absolutely no idea,” she said, wide-eyed.
So I closed my eyes, because after all, these are my trusted advisors, right? Clutie would never steer me wrong. I felt — ooh, definitely raw silk. I heard the swishing of fabric, the engaging of buttons and clips. Someone slid my shoes off and added stockings—felt like fishnet! I love fishnet. On my feet, definitely boots (I love boots). And… was that a hat they were putting on my head? Oh, help.
“Open your eyes, Your Majesty,” Clutie said.
I couldn’t stop myself: I squealed! I screamed with delight. “It’s so, so, so, Purple!”
Clutie fell backwards in the air, she was laughing so hard. She managed to get out, “It’s So- So- So- Souled Out, actually!”
We were all laughing by this time. “The hat too?”
“Yes, the hat too.” Clutie grinned widely. “I knew I was right to save this one for last. Kern– did you get that? Dress is by Souled Out. Makeup is Madrid Solo. Hair is Olive. Boots are Lassitude and Ennui, and the necklace is Maxi Gossamer.”
Kern scribbled furiously— at least he could almost manage the notecards.
I turned sideways. “You have no idea how much I love this outfit,” I said to no one in particular.
Several different versions of, “Oh, yes, we do, Your Majesty!” came from various voices.
“I’m not taking it off,” I declared.
“Yes, you are, Your Majesty,” Clutie replied. “Because it is not Samhain yet, and this is for a Samhain party.” Demifae logic. Gotta love it.
“But I don’t want to take it off!” I protested.
“Would you like me to ask the guards for help?”
I smirked. “I can’t decide whether to say ‘yes, because then I’d have sexy Sidhe men holding me down,’ or ‘no, because the jacket might get torn in the process….’”
In the end, I let them take it off me and went back to my chambers with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
Style card for items not mentioned specifically in the text:
Eyebrows: Dead Apples
Hands (and feet, even when not visible): SLink
All these clothes, and the Glint jewellery, are available at Endless Love of the Night: A Gothic Wedding Event, hosted by Hidden Sanctuary Events. Many of them are exclusives; for example, only 20 copies of the Beyond Persuasion gown Gwyneth is wearing in the second set of photos will be sold.
Endless Love of the Night: A Gothic Wedding Event is OPEN NOW!
Spiffy photos taken with the indispensible aid of my LumiPro. I never leave home without it!
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