You step through the door and enter a glittering, magical world of light and color. It’s hard to take everything in – familiar music you can’t quite place fills the expansive ballroom. Your heart beats faster. How did you ever manage to score an invitation to such an exclusive gathering? You nervously glance across the room, taking in the beautiful, enigmatic strangers with their obscured faces and elegant costumes. Each guest seems even stranger and more mysterious than the last. You feel like you’re in a dream world, an alternate dimension where magic is real and a part of you and everyone else in the room. But then again, how could you feel any other way? After all, you’ve just walked into the event of the season, the year, maybe even the event of a lifetime…the POMEmag Masquerade Ball.
You walk down the (naturally) enormous, glittering staircase and directly into the spectacle below. You take note of each guest as you mill about the room.
Another guest leans to you and whispers, “Can you believe that they are here?” with baited breath. When you shrug, the stranger sighs. “Honestly…” the stranger chides you, “It would be easier for you to just read this than for me to explain.” The stranger slips you a piece of paper.
It appears that the stranger handed you… notes for an upcoming gossip column? You read the paper before handing it back and moving on.
And then, entering the grand foyer, one whose grace and delicacy could not be mistaken even behind the towering folds of her masque—the Lady Grey of the Hale Faefolk.
Quite a get for the hostess! Of course the fae are known to find their way in to such revelries with frequency, but one might expect that the presence of one of such high office would require a tithe to grace us with her presence. See how she nearly glides across the floor without ever touching it! (Leacosta of Kent swears she saw the Lady casually floating nearly half a foot off the floor while speaking to the Earl of Highcrest)
I suppose thanks must be given to her obliging ambassador and consort, the Count of Califi and His Double. Or is it the other way around? Everyone knows they are fond of switching places. One might begin to think that they are not noble and his guard at all, but two persons living the life of one man. Just the type of unusual specimen of charm to coax out the Greater Fae into our midst, and a must-have for any grand affair on his own merits.
from the accounts of Grecia Delaquoire, society writer for the Evening Star
Starstruck, you back away so as not to betray your own nerves and bump into a particularly well-masked party guest.
You ask her about the costume. She tells you that she likes to be prepared.
By Jenny Mott
There seems to be no end to the elegance of the evening. A young woman gazes at you from the far left of the room.
You see a cluster of handsomely-dressed guests talking about the woman looking in your direction. You overhear one of them speaking in hushed tones: “Every Rose has thorns.”
by Lin Zagorski
You start to get thirsty so you decide to set out in search of refreshments. A mysterious stranger at the punch bowl stares at you inquisitively.
This masquerade guest is dressed in a costume resembling a giant penguin. Or is this really a giant penguin dressed in a masquerade costume?
by Nam Nguyen
By this time, another guest has caught your eye.
Your eyes meet from across the room. His presence is imposing, like stepping into a field at midnight and the weight of the stars crushes your chest and you can’t breathe. He is the light in which every spirit of the forest finds comfort. His is the voice that speaks of a time long before man’s lament. He goes by many names, most fall silent on the human tongue, but you can call him ????????????.
You find yourself standing near the gossiping group of handsome strangers. You feel a little grateful to have found such well-informed sources at such a strange gathering. They start discussing a stately woman of note.
This is what you hear:
When her predecessor died unexpectedly, Judge Paz became the youngest-elected judge in all of Argentina and serves as Appointed Interim Supreme Court Justice of the Buenos Aires Province.
Little is known about the lady from Mar de Plata. Details about her life only go back three years. Her business is unknown and her presence does not bode well. She had two public assassination attempts on her life in the last year.
It is not the assassins that should trouble you but the fact she dispatched the assassins with her own hands.
by Edgar Vega
This time, a stranger bumps into you. You hear her muttering under her breath as she passes.
The gist of what you hear: Rarely the center of attention, Viola immediately regretted her decision to don a flashier costume this year. Her rationale had been that the ostentatious costume would force her out of her shell, allowing her the opportunity to maybe for once participate in a social setting. Naturally, Viola chose instead to hide behind her sequined mask, avoiding the chitchat going on around her.
Making her way through the crowd, she found herself knocked back on more than one occasion as other party-goers bristled her plumage.
Viola attempted to find refuge by the punchbowl in an unsuccessful attempt to blend in with the wall. “Perhaps an ostrich would have been more appropriate,” she sighed to herself.
The night wears on, and after a great deal of dancing and chit-chatting, you find yourself more and more at ease. You start wishing that the night would never end.
A hush falls across the room as a woman begins to speak.
“That’s Madame Moon, the mistress of cycles and seer of stars,” one of your handsome new friends tells you.
“I am delighted to have attend the POMEmag Masquerade and dance the night away! Thank you for attending. Pleasant dreams, and many safe returns,” she says. The woman smiles and waves, and everything else fades away.
You wake up in your bed on Halloween morning. You wonder if the previous evening was just a dream…
…but of course it wasn’t. What kind of cliche would that be, right? Your mask hangs from your bedpost, your costume drapes over a chair in your bedroom, and everything is normal and right. You know that you will never forget the night before. You only wish you had taken more selfies.
(Special thanks to the enchanting artists who dreamed up all of our beautiful party guests. Happy Halloween from POMEmag!)