As the ancient clock struck the hour in the grand ballroom, a hush fell over the guests gathered. Each and every eye was turned upward to look at the strange newcomer standing at the top of the large staircase at the entrance of the room. With calm, measured steps, the figure moved forward. The garments he wore were of the most intricate and detailed costume. Crimson red expertly woven on fields of black. The hair from beneath his large brimmed hat was ivory and flowed long behind him as he walked. To compliment his mysterious appearance, a mask of purest ebony kept his countenance hidden from the multitude. He continued forward as the crowd instinctively parted, the events of the Masquerade ball momentarily suspended since his unannounced arrival.
This figure did not make his way blindly, however. He made his way straight to the far side of the room where large glass windows showed a spectacular view of the courtyard below. There stood a radiant maiden wearing a scarlet dress that accentuated her figure and made the pale skin of her beautiful features seem all the more delicate. As he drew near, some of the nearby guards stiffened and moved forward to intercept any hostile actions. This did not phase the masked man as he continued forward, only casting a passing glance at them. Instantly, the Royal Guards dropped their weapons and stared at the man with a mixture of disbelief and horror before prostrating themselves on the floor at his feet. He lithely stepped over them and continued till he stood directly before the girl. Even as she stood trembling, he towered over her small frame. In an unexpected motion, the masked stranger removed his hat and offered a grand bow. Behind the mask, his eyes never looked away from the girl's as they seemed to convey what he wished to say. His mouth remained closed, lips set into a smile as he raised up his arm, offering his outstretched palm to the maiden. Her hesitation was noticeable, almost as much as her fear. This caused the smile on the man's face to grow as his eyes beckoned again, this time with more perceptible results. Her hand shakily rose up to rest in his as he returned to a standing position. The stranger's fingers closed over the soft hand caging it within. Further bringing his hand upward, he bent his head over the girl's hand and pressed his lips lightly on the flesh. What would in any other case cause a fair maiden to swoon at the act as her face turned red, only caused the already fair skinned woman to become even more pale. His sharp eyes watched this change before he moved backward, lightly pulling her with him. Even through this greeting the eyes never moved away from hers, keeping her locked tight within their spell.
They moved silently through the still onlooking crowd, making their way to the center of the room's marble floor. Once there he paused to shift his position, placing his free hand on the small of her back and stepping closer. The ever watchful eyes were unrelenting as the maiden's other hand with much resistance rested on the masked man's shoulder. Even though the room was still silent save for the whispering of confusion, the stranger began to lead the woman in an elegant dance, growing steadily in intricacy and graceful moves. They spun and twirled as his will continued to prevail over hers, until the onlooking orchestra had no choice but to accompany them with a haunting melody. As the music began, the onlooking guests were jolted out of their stunned reverie and followed suit until the ballroom was alive once more with the whirling patrons. Before long, none seemed to notice as the masked man stole out to the courtyard with the maiden in red.
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