Despite their original intentions the party was unable to depart Crossport before the gala ball for a group of dignitaries from the capital. Lady De Burgh arrived just in time for the festivities, and she, along with decorum, required the majority of the party to attend. While all had received invitations, only Briggs truly came of his own volition, arriving to the party with a barrel of fine gin and an enormous grin.
The formal ball was officially to receive a delegation from the king, which included Bancroft the Roofer, the King’s step father, and the King’s older brother Eliot, a young warrior with dreams of being a knight, but without the station or connections to make it happen. Along with them came a gaggle of mid and low born nobles from the capital, sycophants looking to curry favor with the King’s familial advisors, as well as a team of beautiful white horses that had been purchased by Sir Gaius Weland for use by the party.
The party began as a traditional, boring affair with long complicated entrances and announcements presided over by the Countess. Briggs’ alcohol and Bancroft’s demeanor made for a loud combination, but what stole the show was when the lizardman Zyphon entered the party unannounced and struck the Countess. Dazed and humiliated, the Countess listened to the angry lizardman’s tirade about how she treated her staff. The whole episode resulted in the Countess being the laughingstock of the party (and likely the country) and one of the Countess’ staff being taken in by Bancroft to be apprenticed as librarian in the capitol.
During the party itself, Eliot talked with T’karska, asking about becoming a squire to Gaius Weland, however it was anounced that Gaius and most of the remaining men at arms of Westmoreland were being called upon to move north and shore up the nation’s border with the Tearolian empire. Bancroft had announced that private slave catchers were crossing the border in pursuit of their quarry, and the extra men the Countess was providing (meaning almost exclusively Baron Siegfried) would put a halt to it.
Eliot also talked a great deal with Zyphon, stating that he had never seen a lizardman before. The young man and the lizardfolk hunter talked in the stables for much of the night, until Aurelia suddenly started shouting and cursing around the corner, where she had absconded with a pretty blonde girl moments before. Gaius was bringing the rest of the party out to view their ‘horses’ and arrived just in time to hear the cries and see the gorgeous white horses shift into horrendous horse-like water monsters that the Losslake was famous for, Kelpies.
Masters of luring victims to a watery demise, the Kelpies could take many forms and overpower a person’s will to make them approach, as one did with T’karska, taking the form of a handsome Nagaji man. Baron Adelhelm ran to Aurelia’s side, and attacked the Kelpie who had ensnared her with a vehemence that his rapier did not survive. Aurelia, for her part, had quickly escaped the monstrous fae’s clutches on her own, and absolutely did not need to be saved. At all. Not even a little bit.
Zyphon, Briggs, and Lady De Burgh, aided by Alejandro in defense of his bewitched master fought the Kelpies tooth and claw, blade and axe until all of the foul creatures lay dead at their feet, the party’s guard arriving well after the last beast lay slain. The locals were not surprised by the event, many of which bear a strong superstition against horses for this very reason.
The formal event did not last much past the fighting, and the guests split up to go home or to various ‘after parties’ such as when the Baron Siegfried went to the home of Baron and Baroness Dragonridge to bemoan his lot over a bottle of fine spirits. The most raucous of the subsequent parties took place at the ‘Heaving Sternquarters’ the rowdiest of Crossport’s bars that caters to its transient sailors and river ferrymen. Led by Briggs and his barrel of gin, Bancroft, his son, and much of the noble hangers-on followed to the rowdy little bar and brothel. Zyphon followed as well, having sensed something off about Eliot when talking with him. Zyphon’s persistence revealed that Eliot was not who he claimed to be but was in fact the child King Lloyd examining his land in secret. The two talked some more, the young King fascinated by the honest wisdom offered by the strange lizardman. At the end of their time together, the King made a promise that he would support Lady Aurelia’s push for an independent kingdom, but warned that other nobles in his kingdom might resist such an effort, with force.
With the party over, the Kelpies dead, and the Honor of the Moritz family and their matriarch well and truly destroyed, the party assembled and began their journey over the wall and into Westmoreland, to make the land their own.