Swirl of Gown

Title: Swirl of Gown
Time Period: December 31, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: The New Year's Eve Ball, also commonly called the Yule Ball, is annually one of Dornie's few larger, more popular events; the attendees once again find themselves amidst a sea of mask and costume, surrounded by voices both familiar and not.

The square tonight, as it is every New Year's eve, is bedecked in lights and greenery; the lanterns are either common glass ones, or paper balls that flicker under the shelter of the buildings of the square itself. Candles light any surface they find, and the moon reflects enough cool light that it contrasts with the warm glow of Dornie. The lanterns brighten the strings of other decorations- pines left from the holidays, the evergreen and red berries of holly, and even the white pods of mistletoe surreptitiously hung in places where people cross paths. The tables being used for fare and draught have been filled yet again by the time the evening closes in on the ultimate hour, and it seems that a flock of masked people swarm it at all times, in between dances or conversation, or possibly to even escape them. The barrels of ale show no sign of slowing down, regardless; if they do something well here, it is drink.

The colors are quite dazzling, considering the everyday look of the town; while dyes are by no means for everyone, this is certainly one of a few public parties or events that many reserve garb or trades for. It pays off, in the end, and everyone always seems to enjoy themselves. Though security is present, it is minimal, and even some of those that always carry weapons have lightened the load tonight.

In an effort to pay off mysteriousness, Jorn has done similar. Though he wears his cloak still, hidden under the green and brown cape of his masquerade garb, the only thing that he otherwise carries is a sheathed dagger at his belt. The greenery of him seems to distract one from noticing that and giving him away, for the most part. And the antlers, of course. He is dressed in something reminiscent of a horned god, or the green man- the mask on his face is more a half-helm, shaped as many oak leaves, and coppery brown. Roughly the most ostentatious thing, it outshines the bone-colored antlers on it.

The rest, though chilly a night as it may be, is mainly leaves hung onto leather- ivy, and spiny evergeens, to fit the season. A high-collared, thigh-length dress coat of musky leather and bronze trim makes the lack of a tunic at least seem up to social code, buttoned near the belt of similar breeches.

Though he has been drinking the night so far, it takes a lot for him; he has tried to remain steady as she goes- but this is Dornie, and he is surrounded by equally tall and burly Scotsmen. He has just found time enough for a breather from them, sidestepping- or hobbling- out of the picture when another attempts to pass him yet another pint, gloved hands quick to find a steady brick wall along the side of the square.

The opening ceremony to the evening is of a more exotic fare. Musicians from the town and vagrant camp provide flavor from Italy and the middle east, combining an accordion (of all instruments) with a sitar, flute, and drums. A long introduction prepares the people for what promises to be something a little out of the ordinary.

It begins with fireworks.

As people begin milling around to watch the sky a blonde woman in a barely there outfit made of veils jumps up on one of the tables near a fire and performs a series of round offs to the other end. When she stops in a pose, her arms wind like snakes around her body and up into the air before her hips sway and undulate in rhythm.

It's not a dance for the children. Sensual in nature, she strays more to the sides of the males in her audience than the females, teasing them with her scented scarves and careful twists of her body. It lasts for the better half of an hour before her glistening skin is hidden back away.

When Luna Owens re-emerges, she's dressed a little more properly for the weather and occasion. Her gold colored gown is trimmed with black lace at the hems and sleeves to match the peacock mask on her face. She's smiles as a middle aged man takes her hand to kiss it but carefully removes herself from his company once he's finished giving her the praise that she deserves.

Her face only half covered by a festive red, gold and green mask, the flush that pinks Cordelia's face is noticeable when Luna gives her performance, and the young girl busies herself with rearranging an arrangement of pinecones and holly for the opening act. Once it's over, she returns to mingling. She's not normally in a dress, but today's special occasion sees her in a green velvet dress with a matching cape, hood lined with white fur. She's hardly incognito; her wispy brown hair is visible, held back in a ribbon, and her full lips and small frame are easily recognizable despite the dressy garment and mask.

One of the tall — if not burly — Scots in the audience is a man whose face is covered by a gray leather wolf mask. The rest of him is gray to match but for black boots and black gloves; a gray wool scarf is wrapped high around the neck and chin where the "muzzle" of the mask comes to a point and an end. He'd watched quietly Luna's performance from a dark nook, keeping out of range of her teases. Now, Beisdean Skye finds himself near the table of food, murmuring pleasant but vague answers to those who speak to him.

Aislinn Rowntree is not a heavy drinker, and abstains from consuming alcohol for most of the year, but where there are rules there are almost always exceptions, and Dornie's annual Yule celebration is one of them. It helps, too, that everyone is wearing masks, leaving her free to express her rosy-cheeked joy by dancing with every man who asks.

She will find her husband eventually, or Edmund will find her; those who are close to the town's physician know about her fondness for Irish mythology, the story of the Children of Lir in particular, and might be able to recognize her behind her swan's mask, complete with a crown of white feathers and long, sleek black beak. She is a flourish of sheer white muslin on the dance floor, all pale skin and golden hair with linen-coloured flowers woven through its plaits.

She and Luna are not the only birds in attendance tonight, however. On the fringe of the festivities another woman hovers in a rumpled black gown made of something like silk that clings to her hips and thighs, and dips low at the neck to show off high, firm breasts bare beneath the dress' gauzy material. She wears a mask made of leather in the shape of a raven's face, with inky feathers that shine iridescent in the firelight. The skin around her eyes she has painted the same black of the mask, either to make it seem like less of one, or to make the fierce gray-green of her irises stand out.

The stranger— if she is a stranger at all— has been watching Jorn for the last half hour.

While many men in the audience may have looked on the dance appreciatively, there was one that looked for a few moments until suddenly turning a shade of red around the ears and then avoiding looking at her at all. It wasn't too difficult to escape by moving away to the edge and putting packs of skin-eyeing men between him and the woman he recognizes. Cas Blackburn may like looking at women as much as the next guy, but there's something about looking at one you know—

Not to mention one he has a less than positive relationship with.

Dressed in mostly deep grassy greens and blacks, Cas is some kind of Robin Hood like bandit. With the exception that he wears a fedora-style hat instead of one that would match the outfit. And a black unadorned leather mask that only covers the top half of his face. Anyone who knows him would recognize his dimpled smile.

While he isn't partaking in the ale so much (one glass has seemed to be enough for him), he does offer to dance with unaccompanied women, even ones he doesn't know. Short dances which keep a proper distance, and dances that noticably avoiding the mistletoe.

"Thank you again, my lady," he says to the older woman he just finished dancing with, smiling at her politely before he slips away off of the dance floor, removing his hat to run fingers through his shorter cropped black hair.

Mariah was another that watched the dance from a distance. It's only fair to leave the closer spots to the menfolk, after all. But she did start off the wolf whistles, because, you know, friends encourage one another in their endeavors! But after, she mingles, she dances, she laughs — she does not drink, however. She plans on keeping her head clear, even through the festivities. She is a business woman, after all. And to that end, she's another who's been dancing just about every dance out there. Which leaves her with someone frequent trips for the one drink around she knows has nothing mind altering in it. The water.

Which leaves her in the vicinity of the food often, although she doesn't eat either, possibly out of a desire to keep her dress clean. And why not, it's a long, beautiful ivory thing that hangs off her shoulders. And beading. lots of beading. See-through fairy wings sit on her back, and a mask to match sits on her face. And she is generally very shimmery. But at the moment, she's drinking and watching the dance floor while her foot taps to the music.

There's at least one in the audience frowning at Luna's performance. Constance Rowntree shakes her head as she watches, only able to stand several minutes of it before she walks away, rolling her eyes. The young woman seems to have gone all-out on her costume as 'The Lady In Red'. Her dress is high-cut, worn with a lacy petticoat. Knee-high black boots and stockings are worn, while a carefully laced corset at the top is covered with lace, mostly to cover up any potential cleavage. She wants to look good, but not that good. A hat sits atop her head with a large red feather on it, while her mask is simple black leather. She looks like some kind of lady adventurer out of a novel. She quietly steps out of the way to try and hunt down familiar faces in the crowd as she pointedly ignores Luna.

While Mairi Fairbairn isn't usually shy, the widow is hanging on the outskirts with a cup of punch. She's done her best to come up with an outfit — a pretty blue dress, covered with an apron. Her hair's tied back with a ribbon and she wears the required mask. It's an Alice in Wonderland costume, but she's not entirely sure she's done it well enough for anyone to figure it out. Although she has come with a prop to make her more authentic — Stalwart was her Dinah, complete with a pretty bow around his neck. He likely didn't take well to that, but he was tucked carefully in a basket on her arm which was occasionally set down out of the way for the few dances she's actually danced. Really, she seems more nervous than anything, sipping her punch and watching the crowd. She hums with the music, but she looks around a little nervously. "Maybe this was a stupid idea," she murmurs, perhaps to herself or maybe to her nearby familiar.

Algernon has come to the celebration as Algernon. Joyless. Also hatless, ither out of respect for the perceived formality of the occasion or for fear of losing it in an inevitable brawl. He resides comfortably on the outskirts of the mix's churning and whirling and. Grinding. As the case may be. Another, younger guard lounges nearby, ale in hand, wandering eyes on a pretty lady with wandering hands.

As for Fogg, he's dressed well as ever in dark suit and coat and tie, revolver seated heavy under the sit of his right hand and a cup of water in the left to stave off offers of anything more substantial and less appropriate. Thesideways look he casts after his partner every now and again isn't heated enough to qualify as contempt; so far nothing flagrant enough has happened to warrant martial attention. Blood alcohol averages are not yet high enough to breed conflict.

The one thing about such events is that sometimes, despite attempts to the opposite, one can immediately recognize a distinct friend or foe. It happens, obviously, though the longer people drink, the less it occurs. Jorn made a point of pinpointing his various Rosses before he drank terribly much; that is not to say he approached them, he just keeps his eyes on them throughout the evening. Jorn does not, however, expect any eyes to be keeping to him. Is it pride? Modesty? Could be either one. Who would need to or want to watch him, after all?

"Du er veldig pen, Muna." When he moves away from his brace to the wall, it is immediately across the corner of the square towards Cordelia. If the contented rumble of his words above her head were not enough, the fact the hand on the back of her shoulders uses such a pet name gives Jorn away immediately- even before she might turn around to face him.

"Do not worry yourself." If Cordelia still happens to be working at something, Jorn is bold enough in gently prying her nervous hands from it. "You should be dancing with all the teenage boys, shouldn't you?"

While trying to get away from the danceing, Cas spots a certain blue dressed apron wearing masked woman with red hair and a kitten. It makes him stop for a moment to put his hat back on and straighten check to make sure his clothes are all straight before he walks over in their direction. Almost as soon as he gets there, he takes the hat off again to attempt to bow— it doesn't quite work out, but it was an attempt.

"Good evening, Lady Alice. Ser Stalwart. You're not dancing!" It's almost as if he heard, somehow, what she was saying to her cat. He was too far away at the time, but he's offering a smile as he puts the hat back on. "Would you like to?" he's not wearing what he said he would be wearing, but the smile and voice are all his.

The gray wolf meanwhile turns his back on the peacock as she flirts with some man or another, and steps closer to the swan, bowing deep at the waist, with a flourish of his hand. "Would such a creature deign to turn a bout or two with the likes of me?" Beisdean asks, gray-blue eyes clear and bright and free of pain, unlike the last time she saw the man.

When she hears Jorn speak, she chuckles fondly, turning only when he puts his hand on the ribbon she was reworking. Her cheeks flush a little pinker, and she shakes her head. "I'll leave that to Constance… though I dare say she'd think the teenagers are a bit young for her. Bigger fish and all that, aye? I'm not really the dancing sort… just here for the spectacle of it all. It's lovely, isn't it? All the colors, the decorations. Auntie looks lovely. Constance too. Red is really her color isn't it?" The excited wash of words is emphasized by the sparkle in her dark eyes that seem to reflect every light in the square like mirrors.

A shrew crawls from a masked man's fist into his sleeve, a practiced motion that he's done so many times that it's become sleight of hand. His green eyes have been on the swan for the better part of the evening, leering. Cutting past Beisdean on the dance floor, he doesn't ask Alice before he sweeps her into a dance. One arm firmly around her waist and the other gripping her hands, taking her by the hand and waist and leading her around in twists and twirls. Jain's a passable dancer, even if he isn't one of the better ones in Dornie. "My my, how lovely you look this evening. I'm sorry, would you care to dance?" Even as he asks Mairi after the fact, Jain's eyes are on Aislinn.

Finding herself a little crowded, Luna feigns a smile to most of the men who made up her audience. Her blue eyes dart toward the edge of the buffet and after a polite excuse or two, she makes her way to Mariah's side. "Thank you for the support, I don't think it did much good though. Did you see anyone of any interest watching? I only noticed those who were turning away…" The tight but polite smile she gives her friend loosens a little as a full glass of wine is placed into her hand.

Aislinn takes Beisdean's hand and responds with a demure bow of her fair-haired head and a, "Yes, please." Her magic gives her an unfair advantage when it comes to identifying the men and women in their costumes, but she's lubricated herself with enough ale and mulled wine that it doesn't matter. She's also a superstitious woman, and it's bad, bad luck to tell someone who you are, or to be the one being told, and although she doesn't have complete control over her gift, she's making a valiant effort not to cheat.

Maybe she knows who Beisdean is, or maybe she doesn't.

She does however, know that she wants to keep dancing, and to do that she needs a partner.

"As green is yours," says a voice from behind Cordelia and Jorn, the accent difficult to place. It belongs to the woman in black.

When not just one, but two of her regulars both start chatting up the same woman, Mariah lifts an eyebrow, but before any sort of action or even a fully realized emotion forms itself, Luna is suddenly at her elbow.

"Oh, plenty, Luna. More than were turning away, by far." It takes a second for her to turn away and actually smile in her friend's direction. "Is your favorite vagrant here? I was going to watch for them, but I don't think I've actually met any of them yet."

"Oh!" Mairi looks surprised, then moves to set the basket out of the way, Stalwart and all. "I'm a little out of my element," she admits to Cas before sizing him up. "Wow, your costume looks really good. You worked hard on it! I hope mine doesn't look bad." It's Jain who ironically answers that question as he swoops in and snags her for a dance so quickly she doesn't even have time to shoot an apologetic look back to Cas. Mairi's cheeks flush as she's dragged into the dance. She's not a terrible dancer, and is well enough to at least keep up with her partner. "Thanks for the dance," she offers as she's twirled. "I didn't know you would be here."

"Are you too old to dance on my boots? Perhaps…" For a passing moment, Jorn has trouble telling if someone has given Cordelia a pint as well. Though maybe, it is just the atmosphere. He smiles under the helm-mask, and for a moment it does seem as if the mantle of green about his shoulders sprouts from under the tines of the antlers, as his shoulders lift in a heavy tilt. Despite the mask, she can still easily see his blue eyes, and they seem stark and merry in the shadow of the copper brow. "If she is too busy with older men, that leaves more of the younger ones-

"-doesn't it?" His words trail just slightly as his murmuring comes secondary to the woman paying the girl a compliment. Jorn smiles politely now, less merry and more neutral, attempting to silently place not only the woman's figure, but her accent as well. It strikes him as one he ought to know- but don't they all?

"Charming," Beisdean says, bowing again before taking the hand of the swan maiden and drawing her into the merry throng of dancers. He isn't a bad dancer — his tall form surprisingly graceful where one might think his long legs would tangle with one another — even if his sense of rhythm and movement is more innate rather than taught. He catches sight of green eyes watching his dance partner, and his own blue eyes narrow, and he spins Aislinn away to another area of the outdoor dance floor, where more couples will block Jain's view.

"Yes!" Cordie says with wide eyes, cheeks flushing more at the thought of dancing with her feet on Jorn's boots, before she turns to look at the dark garbed woman. She bites her lip and drops her eyes. "Thank you… my mother chose it. I'm not good with colors and such." It's an awkward acceptance of a compliment from a girl not too used to getting them in public. "Are you enjoying yourself?" she asks politely, turning the conversation to the stranger.

And Cas is left standing there with his hat off and his mouth open while he watches the two dance off. "Hn," he makes a soft sound and bunches his mouth toward one side, the smile wiped off his face for the moment before he pushes his hat back on and wanders away, forgetting to watch and make sure the kitten.

Brown eyes avoid looking at the dance floor as he wanders around seek out body shapes he might recognize and voices he knows more than the faces he can't see. One voice belongs to someone he definitely doesn't want to dance with, but draws his eyes and he sneaks around a few people to get closer. Course the bear-man is wearing a lot more now than when they met — post bearness at least — but he makes his smile return, almost in a kind of impressed hero-worshippy kind of way. And the smile grows again when he recognizes another voice in the group. He doesn't interupt, but he tilts his head to the side and watches them.

"I don't think I would recognize him with clothing on," Luna grins at Mariah as she glances out to the dance floor. "And how come you aren't dancing? I thought you were going to spend every moment tonight chatting up new fellows to take to bed." Her eyes sweep over the square, standing on her tiptoes to catch a glimpse of everyone she can. "Oh look! There's Mister Fogg, looking as serious as ever. I think he's working rather than playing."

Biting her lower lip, she leans into Mariah and places a hand to the side of her mouth to avoid being spied upon. "Speaking of playing… Have you seen him around the Dovetail? I'm quite interested in putting my mark on him, he's not the usual sort of militia member. Quite a gentleman."

"You didn't? Well, this is a party for all of Dornie after all. I might've come just to see you," Jain replies with a small smirk on his face. Finally he looks down at Mairi rather than keeping his eyes on Aislinn. Sweeping the widow around a few turns on the dance floor, he spins her back toward Cas and passes her off. "I believe this… boy… was going to ask you a question." Robin Hood gets a flash of white teeth before the masked man spins on his heel and makes his way back to the dance floor.


The command in his ear causes him to grunt and stop in his tracks. Grinding his teeth, he veers toward the table where Mariah and Luna stand. "Perhaps the queen of the fae would like a dance?" Hat coming off, he's much more gentlemanly when asking his favorite passtime. He ignores the peacock completely.

English is not the stranger's first language; there's something in the way her mouth forms vowels that reminds Jorn of the town where he was born, but that is all. She speaks well. "Oh yes," she says, "but I couldn't help noticing," the point of her chin lifts to indicate the tables on the other side of the square, "that you have an admirer."

The admirer she refers to has a mop of light blond hair and sits under an awning with his arms folded on the edge of the table and his face resting in the crook of an elbow, but when Colm catches the woman pointing Cordelia and Jorn in his direction, his cheeks turn beet red and he rises abruptly from the table, disappearing into the crowd.

He didn't mean to be caught staring.

Aislinn, meanwhile, is oblivious to Jain's presence, which is just as well. The same could be said of Algernon, except she glimpses him as Beisdean spins her out. "Do you know that man?" she asks her dance partner. "The one not wearing a mask?"

Woosh. Mairi's cheeks don't have time to stay any color but red from the dancing, the words, and the cold. Jain's cleverly delivered words have her pressing her lips into a fine line as she's dropped off back by Cas, and she lets out a breath she didn't know she was holding. She takes a moment to regain her composure, looking back to Robin Hood. "That was unexpected," she lets out another heavy breath. "Um, I believe we were going to dance? I could use the distraction."

Constance is too in her element to let anything distract her from her enjoyment. She idly sways to the music, picking her way along the sides and nodding to people as she searches out her friends and family. It's not hard for her to pick out the cluster including her cousin and her bear-like protector, mostly because they're the only people she could possibly guess to fit both their descriptions. She's about to head their way when she's spotted a young gentleman clearly in search of a dance partner, and she merrily makes her way in his direction to catch his gaze.

Mariah laughs, a tittering, gossipy sound at Luna's first comment. "I have been dancing, I just took a break for a minute is all. Plenty of songs left." When the other girl leans in to whisper, Mariah looks in Mister Fogg's direction, but then back at Luna with a touch of surprise. "I can't say I've seen him 'round their, no. But by all means, but your mark down," she says, whispering in return.

When Jain comes over their way, she straightens up and smiles slyly in his direction. "I always like a good dance. You don't mind, Luna," she says, half to one, half to the other before she steps forward, setting her glass down as she moves. But it does seem like Jain gets her undivided attention once he's asked her.

"No thank you," says Algernon, for the sixth time, at least, when a friend of his friend's friend glides over to — be deflected with curt dismissal before she can say anything. He tips his glass to the dirty look she gives him on her way to continuing on to greener, more inebriate pastures.


"What— ?" Cas asks in surprise, glancing away from the human bear and his medical assistant. It distracts him from catching the fellow stableboy staring, at least. "Oh— I— I thought you were… Sure, we can dance." There's more stuttering to his voice than before, perhaps because of the sudden interuption.

"Do you think Stalwart can guard the basket?" he asks, gesturing toward where he left the kitten and the basket when he wandered away. Even before she can fully answer, he takes her hands and starts to move her onto the dance floor, albet awkwardly, nearly threatening her toes more than once with his boots.

Beisdean's eyes follow Aislinn's gaze to where Algernon stands, and he shakes his head, then nods. If that's not confusing.

"Not really, no, though I've seen him about the inn. A Mister Fogg, I believe his name is. But I'm new to town; I've not met all the citizenry of Dornie by a long shot." 'New' might be a stretch of terms, but then being more specific about his status in town defeats the purpose of the masque.

"He seems able enough. A militia man, I think. More polite than others I've met," he adds. It's hard to be sure of his expression, given the mask that hides most of his face, but blue eyes seem to crinkle in the corners with a smile.

"Why do you ask?"

Cordelia turns to see where the woman in black points, and she too blushes when she sees Colm watching her, but she has the grace not to laugh or react visibly — the mask makes it easy to hide her surprise, though it doesn't hide the soft smile of affection for her almost-cousin. She turns to look at the woman. "He's just surprised not to see me in trousers. I could probably wear his clothes, we're about the same shape," she says amiably enough. Her eyes catch sight of Cas just as he is turned back to Mairi, and she waves to him with a smile.

To Jorn, she says, "You know him, don't you? He said something about you the other day when I ran into him, about you having adventures." To the strange woman, she smiles. "I'd introduce myself but my auntie would make me stay out of her shop for seven years of bad luck or something, she takes such omens very seriously. Next time I see you, I will be sure to remedy my lack of manners tonight, ma'am."

Once Mariah's been stolen away, Luna gives a rather awkward smile to a man just on her other side and sidles away. Her eyes drift to the ground at her feet before she pulls a small packet from a pocket at her waist and dumps a powdered substance into her own glass. It's stirred with a finger before she gulps all of the contents down and then holds the empty up for a refill. She repeats the process once more before slowing enough to enjoy the glass in her hand.

"I'll take you back to your room, tonight." Jain offers absently as he pulls Mariah in closer to his chest. The Dovetail's been absent of his presence for long enough, it seems. "Have you been getting the food deliveries? You seem thin still." There's enough concern in his voice that the conversation seems to be genuinely caring in nature.

Even in northern Scotland, one does not usually encounter a person that speaks as the woman does; there are those few boats that come to port like in decades past, though many of those that ride on them are never apt to stay long. It is for this particular reason that Jorn watches the woman even more closely now, allowing only his eyes to follow the gesture, and take in Colm watching his ward like a lovestruck pup. Jorn tries to quell a smile, and it mostly works out- the corners betray him.

"Maybe Ser Colm desires a dance?" As for the Hatter- Jorn squints across the square to where she waved. "I think so. The stablehand?" He begins, thoughtful and quiet. "Adventures? Not as much…" The horned man is quick to go back to watching the young woman in black, blue eyes hardly astray in the first place.

"Stalwart will be fine," Mairi says, moving to the dance floor with Cas. Threatened toes or not, the widow Alice appears to be more than happy to get out of the way. "It's good to see you. I don't look too awkward, do I? I was having second thoughts about being here. I feel entirely out of my element. Everyone looks so pretty, too… kind of hard not to just stare at people, isn't it?"

Returning from her quick dance with some young gentleman that Constance has quickly and mysteriously abandoned, the young woman takes another moment to skim for the familiar. Some are easier to pick out than others, especially using her powers of deduction. Cordelia and Jorn must be Cordelia and Jorn simply because of the pairing of the larger man with the young woman. She heads in their direction with a spring in her step.

"I'll forgive you if you allow me to borrow your guardian for a dance," the stranger tells Cordelia, the corners of her mouth curling up around a smile that comes close to reaching her eyes but doesn't quite. To Jorn: "Cernunnos, isn't it? The Lord of the Hunt?"

Of Algernon, Aislinn says, "He seems lonely, but not the kind of lonely that wants company." A lull in the music has her drawing away from Beisdean as their dance concludes. She gives his hands a squeeze. "Thank you, friend wolf. Will you excuse me?"

"Oh, will you," Mariah asks with a wry, crooked smile. Her arm drapes over his shoulder, and she gives a nod to his question. "I have been. And they're wonderful, thank you." The comment about her being thin, though, gets a tilt of her head. "I try to trail a line between too thin and not thin enough. I am well taken care of," she says, and the way she smiles at him, she seems to be including him in that umbrella. Of things that take care of her.

"I'm surprised you haven't been asked— maybe people were afraid of Stalwart or something. Some guys are repelled by cute," Cas says, glancing over his shoulder and catching sight of the girl in the mask who'd just waved at him, and the tall man next to her, but he doesn't do more than smile before he tries to focus on where his feet are. Before he actually does step on her.

What skill he has in dancing seems to be limited, or maybe made less by awkwardness. He does pull her along, though, and smiles. "But you look fine, really." His eyes catch sight of a certain man and a fairy princess and he presses his lips together for a moment. And just avoids stepping on her feet again. And looks back into the red haired widow's face again, or what he can see of it. "Who was that you were dancing with?"

Cordelia dips a curtsy to the stranger. "Please do, or he'll make me dance on his boots," she says, reaching to give Jorn a gentle push toward the dance floor, grinning at the prospect of watching him dance.

"I'm not sure that's the kind of lonely anyone can fix. I know the other sort, but that's an easier problem to solve," says Beisdean, his eyes drifting toward Algernon, then back to the small woman as she steps away. "Thank you, Mademoiselle Cygne," he says, dipping his head and lifting her hand to press a polite kiss onto its back.

He moves away, but makes it only a few steps before his path interrupts Constance's, and he bows. "A dance, milady?"

If Algernon is aware that he is being (and has been) discussed, he offers no outward indication. A sip of his water, a tolerant rush of air through his sinuses when his partner slithers (giggling) into the fray. Designated driver of Dornie.

Voluntarily so. If somewhat decreasingly — his jaw has a tendency to tighten up when he looks into the mix of dancers for too long and there's some restlessness to the way he shifts his weight and looks over his shoulder. Glancing around for a place to set his glass. Possibly with intent to exchange it for something else.

Mairi smiles sheepishly at Cas. "I think people just know I'm nervous without looking and just leave me be. Maybe I just haven't had enough to drink yet," she says, but his mention of her prior partner has her glancing over her shoulder to find him. "He's a…" She starts, then decides to change what she was saying. "He helped me on my farm, did some work for me so I wouldn't have to do any of the repairs before the weather gets bad." Her cheeks stay pretty flushed, in spite of herself.

Constance's lips quickly curve into a very pretty smile as she offers a curtsey in response to Beisdean's offer to dance. "Why, I'd be charmed," she says, moving to take his hand.

"I make few distinctions… Freyr wielded his own, once." Jorn seems bashful to the idea of having another initiate a dance, though such is nothing new. He feels the push, barely, through the layer of both a cape of greenery, and one of fur underneath of it. He puts on an act, as if her nudge was enough to put him forward a step. "Come now. At least my boots are clean…" He turns his face fully to the woman in black, shifting from jovial guardian to a gentlehart in the span of a breath.

"Borrowed." Jorn offers to take her hand, his own darkly gloved and deceivingly placid.

There's a small smile from Jain as he looks down at Mariah in answer to her challenge. Lowering his head just enough to press his cheek against hers, he murmurs next to her ear. "You won't see anyone else tonight, I'll be in as soon as my watch is done." There's no offer of payment but the jingle in his pocket sounds promising enough to sharp ears. He raises his head again, his eyes once again following the swan.


The sharp word has him giving a slightly devious smile to his dance partner before he begins steering her after his 'prey'. "My darling fae," he says, tone rich and jovial. "I am in need of a service, right now, would you do anything I asked for the right price?"

Between the flushing woman he's dancing with and the view of the two dancers, Cas no longer lucks out on not stepping on her feet, quickly stepping away when he does and looking back at her face. "Sorry. Apparently I've gotten worse the longer the night goes on. I must be getting tired." Or distracted.

"I don't drink much, but if you want more I can take you to get a drink— Especially if I hurt you. I know my boots aren't exactly light…" And hers aren't the first feet he's stepped on tonight either.

Mariah tilts her head just enough to make it a little less low he has to dip, and although he can feel the way her cheek forms around a smile, her eyes track over the dancers to find Cas there with Mairi. It makes her smile falter a moment, something closer to regret flashing on her face. Even if it is brief.

When Jain pulls back again, she's got her smile back and she laughs lightly at the question, "Anything within my trade. But I must warn, the right price can be quite high for some things." It must mean she's alright with their arrangement for later, as well.

"Don't worry," Aislinn says as she approaches Algernon, a tall glass of frothing ale held in both her hands, "I won't ask you to dance, only to trade— if that suits you." There's an unspoken apology in her voice, unsure whether or not he would rather be left alone, but also unable to miss the glances directed over his shoulder and the changing distribution of weight between his feet. She holds up the ale in offering.

The woman in black allows Jorn to lead her out onto the dance floor, her steps light, brisk and airy, befitting of a creature of the sky. "Freyr, then," she agrees. "Have you a Gerd?"

The question is asked out of Cordelia's earshot, and within moments of Jorn turning his back to his ward, a young man with a scruff of blond hair for a beard emerges from the crowd to place a hand on the teen's shoulder. He isn't someone that she's seen before, but he speaks with the quiet authority of one of her uncle's soldiers. "Miss Ross?" he asks, but does not wait for her to confirm her identity. "Your father wishes to see you back at the manor. He says it's urgent."

"Lovely," Beisdean replies to Constance, lifting her hand high and bending to it; the mask of course is all that touches rather than lips to flesh. He holds her lightly, hand going around her waist and the other curling around her fingers, but there is a careful gingerness that is respectful — either he is a gentleman and polite to all strangers, or he's aware of her youth, status, or both.

"You look rather festive, a cardinal among doves and crows," he says quietly. "Or little red riding hood to my bad wolf. Luckily I don't bite."

Cordelia turns at the hand on her shoulder, and alarm springs into her eyes and her posture. "Is he all right? Is it my grandfather?" Her instincts jump to illness and the most elderly of her family, and she throws a look over her shoulder to scan for Aislinn. "Should I bring help?" Still, she's already moving with him, leaving Jorn to his dancing.

"I won't," assures Algernon, automatically and without delay. Worry, he means, addressing the crowd at large rather than the figure who's come bearing ale.

His posture has more truth to tell on the subject of relief — it settles subtly in between his shoulders in the beat before he concedes to the offer in his periphery with a nod and reaches to change her glass out with his own. Eyes up. Poker face. No one will notice or care that the color of his glass has changed substantially.

His quieter, "Thank you," is genuinely appreciative in aside, nearly muffled out entirely into the first sip he takes.

"That's alright, I'll get one in a little while, I think," Mairi says, though her eyes study Jain and Mariah as they dance. She quickly looks back to Cas. "I think we got lucky with the weather, although it would have been nicer if the evening was just a touch warmer." She's sticking to the weather. It's always a safe topic for Mairi.

Constance seems flattered, though it doesn't all go to her head. She's in costume, and this is where the young woman thrives. It's a stage, for all intents and purposes. "Red riding hood had a huntsman to kill the wolf should he try and bite," she says, flashing him a smile. "So it is a good thing you don't."

Jorn's steps, compared to hers, seem rooted towards the cobble and ground, though still graceful enough. A swordsman's gait. He does not find it hard to keep his eyes level to hers, or the part of her face not covered. If Jorn wanted to stare at her bosom, he would not be taking the offer to dance with her. Such things are best at a distance. He looks back to Cordelia only once, just a moment before the young man goes to her, out of his sight.

"No." Jorn does not sound regretful- not entirely. His other palm finds the smooth upper cinch of her waist, avoiding anything that may be misconstrued as- well- unwanted. Jorn's voice is a hushed thing, deep from his chest. "Does this raven hail from the land of Celts, or rather… Asgardr?"

"Just don't have too many— I think half the town is already drunk," Cas says as he looks around at the people, avoiding looking toward a certain set of dancers when he does, trying his best to situate himself again without stepping on her toes.

His hands shift, moving into her waist as he tries to fall into a simple waltz, or what could pass as a poor-man's version at least. "Yeah, it is a bit chilly, but all these people around are keeping it from getting too cold. At least most people are wearing more than the bellydancer from a bit ago too." There's a pause and he suddenly adds quickly, "Not that I looked for long."

"I couldn't say," the young man tells Cordelia, moving the hand at her shoulder to the small of her back and coaxing her on. "Sometimes it's— hard to tell. This way, my lady."

And they're gone.

Aislinn takes Algernon's glass of water, and with no place to put it, she cradles it in her hands for the time being instead. "I can have someone bring you something to eat when it's time to trade places," she says. "And you're very welcome. Donagh would want to see that you're looked after. Do you prefer fish or fowl?"

The woman in black curls her arm around Jorn's middle, pressing herself close enough that he can feel what might be a charm attached a necklace trapped between their bodies. This is a feat — she is smaller than him, smaller than even Aislinn, and when she looks up at him it is from beneath her lashes. "You can call me Munin.

"Or Hugin. I don't mind which."

"Do you see the swan over there? I'll give you a special gift if you spill a glass of red wine on her dress. Offer to help her clean it and bring her to the well," he smiles at Mariah, his best version of something more innocent. "Don't worry, I'll be nice." It's as much assurance as he can give her, even with the shrew screaming obscenities in his brain.

Raising the prostitute's hand to his lips, he touches them gently before bowing to her and spinning on his heel. "You've five minutes, I promise it'll be well worth it."

Mariah glances over to the swan, a quizzical look about her face, but when she turns back to Jain, she lifts an eyebrow, expression a bit annoyed. "I think you need a serving girl for that. Or a scullery maid."

She's not being shy about her annoyance, either. Maybe she knows who it is or maybe she just has ethical qualms against staining a perfectly good dress like that. Whatever it is, she makes sure her words are heard as he turns to walk away and she herself turns the in other direction in turn.

"Then I shall be cautious and keep my teeth to myself," Beisdean says with a laugh, spinning her out and back in, his eyes amused behind his mask. He is quiet for a moment, letting the music's rise and fall carry him, and her with him, around the square. He's a good leader, sure and confident if lacking fine technique.

When the music comes to a diminuendo, he bows deeply, raising her hand once more to his lips. "Thank you for the measure, Miss Riding Hood. I've someone I must speak to."

He rises from his bow to head to the refreshments table for a drink — then can be seen holding a hand out to Luna.

…Fish. "Fowl." Algernon sips again, swishing ale bitter across his teeth against an invisible, inaudible puff of indignation.


It cheers him up enough to summon half a smile, better humor laid back in a look sideways to finally size up who or what this vaguely-familiar swan thing is that is seeing to his care. "Have we met?"

Mairi laughs. "I won't have too many, I have to get all the way back to the farm after this," she points out. She falls easily into the dance, focusing on Cas and her feet to make certain that they're both dancing to the best of their ability. That means no glances over towards Jain and Mariah. She raises an eyebrow, though it's not really visible beneath the mask. "That was Miss Owens, wasn't it? I hope she didn't catch a cold from dancing in that. It seemed… an odd thing to do in this cold. But I suppose I know little about culture."

Constance is a marvelous dancer, easily falling into step with Beisdean for their dance. When it's over, she offers him another curtsey and a generous smile. "Do enjoy your evening, wolf." She says, before the blonde is already scanning for a new partner.

Jorn and closeness with strangers do not often mix, and when the closeness comes with heavy lashes and familiar words, he cannot help but feel torn between two poles. He leads her in a dance, though it is not a terribly swift thing- the young woman feels equally avian under his hands, a trailing idea of frailty in his head. But as any Norseman knows, Ravens are not truly delicate, nor truly demure.

"I would rather not worry that I've stolen one of the all-father's eyes from its intended course." Jorn stays polite, and his posture and gesture largely remain disinterested in her nearness- the charm is another matter, and curiosity has not quite stolen him yet.

"I think it was still odd— " Cas says in a whispered voice, oddly trying to hide his teeth while he talks for some reason. "But it certainly gained people's attention. Men for one reason, women for another…" He doesn't even seem to realize he's trying to talk with his lips over his teeth for a change.

It passes after a moment. "I don't know what culture that's from, but the gypsy camp— or at least I think they're gypsies— they certainly brought a lot of music. And you don't see all… this very often. So I'm glad you came out."

Looking off in the direction she last saw Mariah but not seeing her now, Luna gives the gentleman a small smile before slipping her hand into his. Her footwork falters a little as she makes her way behind him into the square, her eyes drifting down to just below the small of his back.

Jain gives Mariah an annoyed look before he turns a grabs a glass all his own. "Very well, I'll do it myself and give your gift to someone else." Maybe the woman in the swan dress. Meandering through the square, he makes his way toward Aislinn and Algernon. "Kind sir, it seems you have stolen my dance partner away." The flourish of words comes about the same time as Jain's just as graceful bow. The wine glass tips, not all over the dress, but enough of a mess is made at the ground near her feet to cause a bit of worry. "Oh madame, please, allow me." Taking Aislinn by the hand, he leads her out onto the dance floor. "May I have this dance?"

"Oh," says Aislinn, oblivious to the exchange between man and his familiar, for hers is back at Eilean Donan and curled at the foot of her younger son's bed, "no, I'm not allowed to say, but I do worry for you, Mr. Fogg. There are some very unkind creatures who like to live in the dark, and those who've been paying attention to when you come and go have told me that you've volunteered for the night patrol."

Whatever she might have been about to say next is interrupted by Jain and mulled wine splashing across the brickwork beneath her slippers. She accepts his hand without thinking, appreciative for the help, and toes around the mess. Her blue eyes slant between him and Algernon, and after a brief pause, not wanting to disappoint, she tucks her chin into a nod. Yes, she'll dance with him. "I'll see to your plate," she promises Algernon with a smile. "Fowl, not fish."

"And what do you know of my course?" asks Jorn's dance partner. "Perhaps this is where I've been sent."

"If that's how it must be," Mariah says, but she doesn't stop along her way. It seems she needs a bit of air, or at least space, because she heads for the edge of the party, and a bit beyond, slipping into a passage between buildings.

Mairi's gaze moves around the square for a moment. "It certainly is rare, yes. I have just forgotten how to be in these kind of situations. It has been a very, very long time, and I haven't really done much of this since Ian died." She pauses. "But I am glad I came. I love seeing the costumes and the company is very nice."

"I hope it wasn't too boring, with you not dancing til just a bit ago," Cas says, finally seeing a clear spot behind her so that he can pull her into a spin. It isn't a wide spin, but he laughs while he tries it and again when he pulls her back to him.

"I keep saying you need to get off the farm more often, and I mean it. No one should be cooped up in a place with only cows, horses and a kitten for company." Suddenly he looks around, trying to remember where the basket and kitten were.

"T'would be a cruel joke that fate plays on me." Jorn mutters, just loud enough; it sounds sad, almost. The corners of his mouth amidst the scruff of dark beard crease tightly. "Slik sender du meg en ravn, i skikkelse av en kvinne." His eyes meet hers for a time, tiredly content, and all too blue. Even then, as he speaks, he is not sure if she'll understand him. Wishful thinking.

"May I be so bold, to ask what you wear on your neck?" He still tries to avoid looking her chest, if he can help it- if she catches the one short glance, it is purely curiosity on his visible expression. It could be worse. He could have made one of those awful 'or are you happy to see me?' jibes.

Creatures dwell in the dark? And they are sometimes unkind? Algernon's brow furrows with polite interest over a swallow of ale, as if he was previously unaware that this might be a possibility. He's kind enough to keep deliberate sarcasm from splintering in the yellowish light of his eyes at least, lantern glare muffled when he has to turn head and shoulders to squint at Jain.

And he does squint, slow to raise his glass for another slip even after he's nodded halfassed acknowledgement for — Jain's theft. And Aislinn's promise.

He's still puzzling over the incongruity of it when he is told that: Comeuppance is inbound. After a beat's hesitation, a glance behind him is a glance in the wrong direction.

Beisdean and Luna are stepping apart from one another, and he gives a bow this time but no lift of hand to his mask for the feigned kiss. "Thank you for the dance. For Auld Lang Syne," he murmurs before turning swiftly away to stride off and away from the dance floor, grabbing another pint from the table on the way.

In the outskirts, in the shadows, he can push the mask up and off his warm face, letting him drink half the glass in just a few swallows.

From between other dancers, Luna weaves out toward the edge of the square, stepping through the puddle of mulled wine. Blinded by tears, she's incapable of properly wiping her eyes until the mask comes off at the edge of the square, just as she runs straight into Algernon's frothing ale.

Amber drink darkens golden fabric and a choked squeak emits from the blonde's throat before she looks up at the man holding it. She raises a hand, ready to slap him for the slight…. but thinks better of it as instead her hand cups her nose and mouth to muffle a sob. A pitiable expression is directed at him instead. "M-mister Fogg, I've had too much to drink. Can you take me to my room?"

"You're looking lovely tonight," Jain murmurs as he spins the blonde around in a circle. "I'd recognize you anywhere."

It's really all the warning she receives before he spins her away from him only to pull her back against him hard. "I was told not to pursue you tonight, I expect I'll be punished for it come morning. I'll say I couldn't help myself, you're too much life in such a small package." He winces slightly as his shoulder twitches upward in a violent jerk. Gritting his teeth, he gives his dance partner a grimace rather than a smile.

"Oh, no!" Mairi protests. "It's not boring at all. I think I just find it far more enjoyable to approach someone without a mask. I like being able to see who someone is, not who they are pretending to be. Makes me nervous." There's a soft laugh, though, at the suggestion of her alone with the animals. "There are chickens, too, and Mister Skye." She shoots a glance back towards the basket, where Stalwart has fallen asleep. "I have someone to help me with some of the work for the time being. So it won't be just me and the animals. I will say it'll make work a touch less lonely."

"Oh, I can get that— good thing I'm still me, mostly," Cas says with his boyish smile, spinning her around again now that he's starting to get brave— er. When she's back in front of him again his head is tilted to the side. "Mister Skye? Is that the guy you were dancing with a bit ago? You said he helped you out at the farm…" And didn't give him a name.

Algernon is left to look forward again in baffled search of the pair he was just eyeing when contact is made at a bump and slosh. Caught off guard, he doesn't have much more time than it takes to reach for his belt — but his assailant is slight. And female.

The hand raises, the man flinches.

Pavlovian: Algernon has been slapped before. Unfairly, without a doubt.

He is so polite.

Anyway, as damp with ale as she is independently of her decision not to clout him about the head, it takes him a moment to register the state of her, after which he remembers first to close his mouth. Without comment. Instead, the hand he'd pushed to his belt is set on her shoulder, exasperation ghosting unsteadily in to feel the void of his having been caught off guard. Aislinn is put out of his mind — left to her fate.

"Come on."

There are subtle clues that Aislinn's mood has suddenly plummeted through the floor if anyone is looking for them. Unfortunately, the square is packed with people who are shoulder-to-shoulder and brushing elbows, and the crush of bodies makes it to difficult to follow any one couple. Her rigid back and the tension in her neck are likely to go unnoticed, along with the fabric of Jain's shirt bunched between her fingers in an iron grip where her hand is supposed to be resting loose and relaxed at his shoulder.

Her face has gone as white as her mask.

"It's only a dance," she says, maybe to Jain, maybe to Traa-dy-Liooar. "Tonight that means nothing."

"What else does one wear on one's neck?" the woman in black asks Jorn, her eyes on his face, and if she catches his glance downward she does not reprimand him for it with anything except the breath of laughter that leaves her with her next exhale. "A trinket."

The widow's smile broadens as Cas seems to be getting the hang of the dance. "I'm glad you're still you as well," Mairi agrees, but she blinks at the question. "What? Oh, no. No, that's Jain. I can't say I know if Mister Skye is here at all. Some people are a little more recognizable than others and I can't say I know Mister Skye well enough to recognize him in all of this."

It means something to someone. A pinch of grey rises from the fabric of Jain's collar and races over his shoulder to Aislinn's fingers and then up her arm. He hasn't noticed so he isn't concerned. Not until he sees the red spot at the edge of Aislinn's collar bone, then both of his hands let her go in an attempt to reach down her dress. "Give her back," he commands the small woman he had been so nice to.

The touch of grey skitters across rocks that it's camouflaged against. Leading him on a merry chase. Her revenge was a poisonous bite, likely not enough to do anything but make her hangover worse and set infection into her bite marks. Traa-dy-Liooar has had her revenge, she'll have more when she gets Jain home.

For a moment, Cas' smile has turned into a frown that thins his lips and makes his head tilt to the side under the brimmed hat and the half face mask. It doesn't last too much longer, when he shakes his head. "I should probably let you get back to Stalwart and your drink. I saw Ser Wartooth. You should see if he'll dance with you. I'm sure he will. I mean he slayed a dragon for you."

Small break, long enough to cool down and reset her expression. But when Mariah steps out again she still doesn't quite rejoin things. Instead, she lingers there on the edges, her mask held between fingers instead of on her face where it should be. Her feet take her over to the drinks and she asks for a glass of something. Something hard.

Moods must be lightened, one way or another.

"Oh, yes," Mairi says, having forgotten about her familiar for the time being. And the fact that Cas promised not to take up her entire evening. Her cheeks are flushed once again, but she looks in the direction of where Jorn was—and the fact that he's already on the dance floor. "He seems to be occupied," she murmurs. "But you are right. I should see if he'll give me a dance. Thank you for keeping me company."

The mask drops back over Beisdean's face as he steps out from the shadow he'd found, and he moves closer to Mariah. "Are you all right?" he says quietly, though he makes no attempt to mask his voice. "I'd offer to buy you a drink but they seem to be free, and I don't have anything of value to trade anyway." The self-deprecating comment sounds like it's accompanied by a smile, though it's hard to tell.

Maybe Jorn deserved that. Asking such a simple question of a woman nearly never results in a direct answer. "I thought as much." Under the mask, his brows cant up and the cast of his eyes rolls partway, aided in his merriness by a smile. "Trinkets have their place." Be it interrupting the curve of a body, or bringing comfort to those who wear them, for whatever reason.

Afterward, he does not try to immediately press the conversation; he has nothing to ask of her, save a silent wondering on if she may be staying in Dornie long. But that is hardly a topic to bring up, at this juncture. For the passing moment, they dance, black and green and brown, blue eyes heeding of those the color of sage.

"Sorry I stepped on your feet earlier— I should have danced with you earlier, before I got tired," Cas says with a sheepish smile as he leads her toward the kitten in a basket. "Hopefully next time we can dance without the feet stomping part. I don't know when the next dance you guys have will be, but hopefully you do more than this one a year." Cause from his smile he's mostly enjoyed it.

More than some, as he lets her go gestures to the sleeping kitten. "Even asleep he's managed to guard your basket quite well. If Ser Wartooth is busy, you can always take him for a dance. I'm sure cats like dancing too," he adds with a smile, gesturing toward the basket as he starts to move away.

That voice brings Mariah around with a smile, drink in hand and all. "Absolutely fantastic. It's just sort of crowded in there, isn't it? I'm used to more private parties myself," she says, that expression turning sly. "Didn't mean to be caught with my mask off. I fear I must have committed some terrible faux pas." Whether she knows who it is or not doesn't seem to matter too much to her.

The bite of a shrew is not much worse than the bite of a mouse, at least initially, and Aislinn has been bitten by a great deal of small, injured woodland creatures that her sons have brought home for her to nurse back to health. She'd anticipated the nip from the moment she felt the familiar winding its scampering way up her arm, but that doesn't make it hurt any less; she's unable to contain the sound made by her sharp intake of breath, a thin, high-pitched squeak of pain that only Jain is close enough to hear. The amount of time his hands spend down the front of her gown is blessedly short, and he's off in pursuit of Traa-dy-Liooar before she's able to decide what she should do about it.

Her hands go to her breasts, a smear of blood on one wrist where her skin grazes the wound, and then covers her neck with both her palms as she swiftly exits the square in the opposite direction.

The woman in black decides that it's time she took her leave as well the next time that the musicians pause to consult their sheet music between dances. She draws away from Jorn, but not before shifting her weight forward and onto the toes of her leather shoes, elevating her height to something closer to the ex-mercenary's level. "I'll see you again," she promises into his ear, breath warm against the side of his face but not so sweet. It smells like a scavenger bird's should smell. Carrion. Rot. "Farvel, Freyr."

Politeness dips his chin for him, and Jorn is, at a base level, afraid of being molested, and at the same time disappointed with regards to that warm lack of sweetness. It is something far more bitter than he expected of a woman. Not of a Raven. The tall man hesitates in his warmth towards her now, casting his eyes impassively over her face and mask once again. Jorn finds himself abruptly memorizing everything he has learned and seen that is to do with her. It is not much.

Words of that nature, he does not forget- lovely woman or not.

"Farvel, frue."

"I understand. I'm not used to so many people at once myself, nor do I do so well in crowds most nights, but the stars seem to be smiling … at least for some hours yet," Beisdean says, clinking his glass to hers.

"Bliadhna mhath ur, Mariah." His voice is less merry and a little tired and strained, despite the well wishes. "May it be happier than the last." That part is clearly for himself, though aimed at her.

Mairi looks towards the basket. "I am sure Stalwart will give me the honor of a dance. Hopefully you and I can have another sometime in the next year… if not, there are always new years festivities next year, of course." She lets him retreat, moving to the basket to check on her familiar for the time being.