Mearan Sunday Herald
Special Mid-Week Edition!!!!

THE Halloween Ball Opens Social Season

Byline: Linda Loverly - Social Editor               November 1, 2000

      Our good editor has agreed that a social event like the Halloween Ball deserves a Special Edition at midweek (I only had to shout a bit to convince him; he had quite a headache after the evening.) I hope you all enjoy the report as much as the attendees did the ball itself!

As ever,
Linda Loverly,
Society Editor

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     Well, Michaelmas Courts and tax collections and the harvest are over, and the lords and ladies of Gwynedd are departing their own castles to flock to Rhemuth for the upcoming Season. Simply Everyone who wants to be Anyone in the court this year found some way to wrangle an invitation to the Halloween Ball held, most appropriately, at the ruins of St. Neot's.

     The atmosphere of gloom and destruction was somewhat moderated by the tasteful decorations so ably managed by Lord Hamilton, who has so long and so well managed the household of His Grace Alaric Morgan, Duke of Corwyn. 

   While St. Neot's is a far remove from the elegance of Castle Coroth, it was the logical choice for a Halloween Ball of such proportions. The blackened bits of wall left standing were fitted with brackets for torches, lending sufficient light for the activities of the evening. 

     The cloister yard was chosen for the main activities, since no one wished to echo the desecration of the chapel itself. For the occasion, a fine wood floor, constructed by the artisans who refitted St. Torin's was installed in the old cloister yard and provided a perfect surface for dancing. One large tree which somehow took root after the fires and has grown strong and tall in the past two hundred years was strung with dozens of jack-o'-lanterns carved from large turnips to lend additional light to the dancing and dining areas. 

     Music for the occasion was supplied by many local musicians, with special performances by Gwydion ap Plennydd, troubadour extroidinaire; falling into the spirit of the evening, the singer garbed himself as the great Lord Lewelyn.

     Additional entertainment was provided by the impromptu vocal efforts of a number of the young men who sampled heavily the libations provided by Sean Lord Derry-but that is enough said about that!

     The dance floor glittered with celebrities at the Halloween masquerade, a wonderful idea of our gracious hosts that allowed the presence, at least in spirit, of virtually the entire roster of the Codex Derynianus. 

     The titular host and hostess of the evening were His Grace Alaric, Duke of Corwyn, and his lovely wife, the Duchess Richenda. Perhaps her own red-gold hair inspired their assumption for the evening of the personae of the great Deryni adept Orin and his companion Jodatha of Carnedd. 

    Also on hand, of course, were King Kelson and his lovely wife Queen Araxie, who chose to honor the House of Haldane by attending costumed as King Rhys Michael and his beloved Queen Michaela Drummond Haldane. Duke Nigel of Carthmoor and the Duchess Meraude also elected to honor their Haldane ancestors,
presenting themselves as King Bearand Haldane and Queen Aisline. 

     Regrettably, Prince Rory and his wife were unable to attend due to her delicate condition at this time, but their younger son Prince Payne was present, arrayed as Prince Javan Haldane before his ascension to the throne; his limp was quite painfully touching.

    Other luminaries who graced the scene were of course Duke Dhugal MacArdry McLain, attired as Lord Rhys Thuryn; this reporter speculates that Lady Agnes de Barra must have learnt of Lord Dhugal's costume, for she presented herself as Lady Evaine MacRorie, but she was not able to attract Lord Dhugal, who chose to spend the evening with Lord Derry and his merry band of drinkers. Lord Derry attended in the guise of James Drummond, nephew of Earl Camber of Culdi and father of Queen Michaela. Lord Brendan Coris of Marley came as a young Lord Cathan Drummond; he portrayed himself as being imprisoned by the Regents by wearing chains which he rattled convincingly.


    Queen Mother Jehana appeared briefly as Lady Derverguille of the famous ballad; her escort, Lord Barrett de Laney, was dressed as a Michaeline priest. Lord Azim also wore the Michaeline blue and was announced as Lord Jebediah of Alcara, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Michael-and he certainly looked the part! 

     Bishop Duncan McLain also came in Michaeline garb, as Alister Cullen, and Father John Nivard made a credible Father Joram MacRorie. The Bishop of Dhassa made his appearance as Archbishop Jaffray, while Archbishop Cardiel chose to come as Guaire of Arliss, one of the founders of the Dolban community of the Servants of Saint Camber.

     The ball was THE place to be seen and to make oneself known to the senior members of the court, so there were many there who have not made frequent appearances at court heretofore. A lady in sumptuous black velvet would identify herself only as Lady Melissa Howell, though she prefers to use the Bremagni spelling, Houle. She introduced many of the unknown guests to me.

     A lady dressed as Countess Aislinn MacRorie McLain and her companion, a convincing King Donal Blaine Haldane, were identified as the Diacontessa of URL (?) And Dr. St. Mark; a blond lady attired in the robes of the Servants of St. Camber and wearing a St. Camber medal of unusual beauty was called the Mistress of Complications. Also in this group was a dashing Jesse MacGregor, looking very capable of using the sword at his side; I heard him mention Aidan and Gilllian, apparently his children, to his wife, Lady Fae. 

     Claiming to have flown to the gathering, a lady in Eastern garb reminiscent of Princess Sofiana's usual costume kept disappearing and seemed to be keeping a close eye on Duke Alaric. Another gentleman in the group, closely attended by his precious cat, kept examining the tables of food with a rather critical eye, as if he was used to being the one in charge of supplying the food. There were twin ladies in the group attired in stunningly beautiful costumes, though I did not get their names. Also in
this group was a lady with two canine companions in appropriate highland costumes. Also part of this group was a dour young man of Highland descent, who portrayed the teenaged Cathan MacRorie to perfection. He was glum about being forced into a costume at all and preferred to sit in the corner and

     Gracious as ever, the Lady of Holybroke spent much time with this group. She was escorted by a distinguished knight in unusual armor and a white surcoat bearing a large red cross; he identified himself as a Templar, whatever that is. They danced beautifully but spent much of the evening in company of a Brother Theo, who was kept from the dance floor by his companion Sister Mary, who reminded him of the knee he had injured whenever he looked longingly at the dancing. Unable to dance, he regaled his listeners with tales of his travels in the Eastern kingdoms. A lady named Rebecca, clothed in what she claimed was the dress of a princess of Aigyptos, asked Brother Theo a great many questions regarding the genealogy of the various personages in his stories.

     This reporter was not the least surprised to see her esteemed editor in the crowd, but his appearance as Archbishop Anscom was somewhat puzzling until he hurled his goat's milk away and demanded a beer instead. He did this repeatedly and joined Lord Derry and the singers on those occasions when he was not drinking and dancing.

     Altogether, it was a stunning evening. Food weighed down the tables and never seemed depleted despite much eating by everyone present. The Fianna wine flowed freely, as did other spirits. Perhaps that is the reason so many people reported seeing mysterious, pale-haired figure in gray robes who
kept vanishing whenever he was approached too closely. 

     Many people, including this reporter, also had an eerie experience in the ruined chapel itself, where the ghostly echoes of chanted Latin seemed to whisper from the blackened walls. That haunting end to the evening made it certain to be remembered as a most spectacular opening to the social season. One wonders if the King's birthday celebration is two weeks' time can possibly come up to the standard set by this year's Halloween Ball!