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    You stumble through the mirror--and suddenly, all is quiet and dark. In fact, it's almost like there is no colour to be seen at all, as if this monochrome scene is painted in a drab coat of gray. Here it seems like there is only black, white, and whatever shades that exist in between.

    Where is here, exactly? It seems you've landed in some surreal city, for you've ended up in an eerily silent and narrow backstreet. But as you exit the dirty alleyway and step onto the sidewalk of a main road, you realize you're rather alone in this black and white world. You look around in confusion again, wondering if it's just the blackness of the night sky and the unusual fog playing tricks on you, or if the tall street lamp over at that street corner is just broken.

    "You're a real slick sharper, aren't you?" a smooth voice coos out of nowhere. Bewildered, you turn to locate the source, and at last you spot some colour, as a pale woman with magnificent auburn hair approaches you from across the street with a sly smirk upon her pink lips. Her eyes are concealed behind dark shades and you briefly wonder why she would be wearing them at this time of night--or during the night at all.

    You struggle to come up with a decent reply, but find yourself at a loss. Is it because of her mysterious allure? Is it because you still don't know what's going on? Regardless, she motions for you to follow her, and she guides you through another alleyway before ending up at an inconspicuous door. You can just barely make out the peephole that she now whispers through, but the door abruptly swings open as she seems to have uttered the correct password.

    You enter into a large lounge, clouded both by smoke and casual banter as various people are seemingly just hanging around. The dim lighting of the low-hanging ceiling lamps makes it hard to see much, but you can spot a few small round tables and wooden chairs scattered around the room. A couple of worn out couches line the back wall, while there are a few doors on each of the side walls--those seem to lead to private offices.

    The lovely lady beside you offers a mischievous grin and says, "We could use a few fresh faces around here, and you look like just the plug to snag us the intel we need. So, welcome to our headquarters, doll."

    "Plug? Headquarters? What do you mean about intel?" you ask, a little baffled.

    She laughs heartily and flashes another dazzling smile. "I'm saying that you're one of us, now. You're our newest spy, savvy?"
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    Since you're now part of the agency, you decide to do a little investigation for yourself and make your way over to one of the doors; it is labelled "Plot Updates". Strange, but you don't question it and merely push your way through--only to find the messiest office you've ever laid eyes upon. A classy wooden desk is buried under piles of papers, an ink-splattered typewriter nestled somewhere in there, too. Typed reports, photos, and all sorts of files litter the floor, and filing cabinets border the entire room.

    On the back wall, however, there is a large bulletin board with a couple of full pages pinned to it.


    Day 1:

    Report #1
    Friday, August 10th, a suspicious character was seen entering the 10th Annual Ball under questionable pretenses. Witnesses claim that she was a lady made entirely of glass who was angry at Gaians for not getting enough sleep, thus causing the decay of the dream worlds. This glass lady shocked and horrified the King and Queen of Dreams who were hosting the ball by locking all of the guests in a state of perpetual sleep that can only be reversed if the guests fix the world of dreams within three days' time. The glass lady then vanished after the sleep spell was cast, but it is assumed that she is wandering around the dream worlds. We'll keep you posted on further developments as the ball guests attempt to heal each dream.

    Report #2
    Fantasy Dream: Guests entered the Eternal Masquerade, and were met with much enthusiasm from the inhabitants of the land. They explained the problems with the ice crystals freezing over, and the decline of their rose bush that provided a life source to that dream. Despite the hardships, the guests and hosts alike mingled and and had fun. Poor little Mayura started having a little too much fun after Queen Lunae slipped her a strange potion. This action was met with much concern from the inhabitants of the land as they realized what Lunae might have given her.

    School Dream: The staff and residents of Somnium Quies Academy are noticing that things are becoming less extraordinary at their school, and it seems to be happening faster than anticipated. Guests started to trickle in, and so, Olivia tries to finish her machine.

    High Adventure Dream: The trumpets are calling and heralds are singing that the Boy King's nameday is here! Noble men and women from across the lands are bringing their presents and favours, and Knights and Mercenaries from even further have come to compete for favour of their own.

    Even the sounds of the court's festivities can't drown out the rumours though: the Prince of Thieves is HERE, and he's not alone. Somewhere in the court the Thieves Guild is hiding, but their intentions are as of yet unknown.

    Nightmare Dream: Guests are finally making their way into the Nightmare room. There seems to be something shady already happening. Are you brave enough to find out what's going on?

    School Dream: It seems that Olivia has begun a book hunt to find a book that will help her with her machine in the School room after discovering that the library has not been kept in order. The hunt has since concluded, and with the exception of Auroki crashing into the school, things are returning to their normalizing state.

    Report #3
    School Dream: The science teacher, Olivia has just set in motion a science fair to assist with the construction and planning of her machine to return the normalizing school back to it's magical and wholely unusual self.

    High Adventure Dream: The Bard Song is changing to something more crafty, something that could even be called daring. When before no one wanted to discuss the possibility of thieves, now the Bard seems to be calling out the Prince directly. It's causing quite a stir - especially in the Prince of Thieves himself. Angered, outraged even, he's left the hall, and his guild, and disappeared to who knows where!

    Flying Dream: The Dreamboat has many guests coming aboard in many different ways, many fairies and a few drops from high places, the crew are trying their best to greet them all and make them welcome.

    Nightmare Dream: Gaians have found themselves in a Nightmare Dream realm. Inside is an Asylum that houses stray patients, and adminstrations that seem evil in their own ways. Two twin tour guides have led some of the guests through the Asylum, and so far have ended up in the old Patient Dorms where something in the air tells them, something horrible is about to happen.....

    Flying Dream: Rumour has it that aboard the ship of the scurvy dream pirates, Gaspard the Undead Doctor has found success after enlisting the help of the guests for a little quest of his.

    Fantasy Dream: When the guests emerged en masse on Saturday morning, the inhabitants of the Eternal Masquerade decided it was time for action. They formed camaraderies with the guests (although one tried to kill King Sammanus). Lunae and Giselle decided to try a spell from a gardening book to heal the magical rose bushes that sustained their land. However, thanks to a missing page of the spell book, the spell backfired, releasing ice pixies into the ballroom, and throwing the guests into a frenzy.

    Report #4
    High Adventure Dream: Enraged by the Bard's song, Fisher, the Prince of Thieves, has kidnapped the Queen! No one knows where they have gone, but the Court has lost its beloved monarch. Now only the Boy King remains, surrounded by thieves as they reveal themselves within the court! What can he do -- on his birthday, no less!

    Whimsical Dream: The queen has announced the beginning of a magical golden instrument hunt that when all ten are collected, they can save the realm!

    School Dream: School Report: Olivia's Machine has been brought to the auditorium where all the students and staff are awaiting what comes next.

    High Adventure Dream: The Queen of Dayne and the Prince of Thieves have appeared in the Nightmare Dream! Not too soon either, since it seems a ball goer has been taken away to their death. Demons are starting to show up more frequently and Themis has just vanished into the shadows. What is left to stand between the guests and and certain mayhem?

    School Dream: After beeing hauled on stage in the auditorium, Olivia's machine was put to the test, only to malfunction and cause Katya, the school nurse to warp personality and change body.

    Fantasy Dream: The guests managed to dispel the pixies, but everyone was confused as to why the spell didn't work. After some discussion and a failed attempt to mend the spell book, they finally realized that the missing page must be in the School Dream. Everyone went up to the Hall of Mirrors to contact the School Dream, and somehow Granz fell through the mirror, confused and in a daze.

    Report #5
    Nightmare Dream & High Adventure Dream: The Prince of Thieves and Queen of Dayne found themselves in a world filled with horrors: demons, ghosts, spirits, bloody hand prints on the walls... it was the Nightmare dream. Told to run, they tried - joining forces, strangely enough, just to survive - but they did not move fast enough. The evil administrator caught up to them and in the blink of an eye CUT OUT THE QUEEN'S HEART.

    In order to get back to his own world, the Prince cut a deal: He would get the Queen's heart, and the Queen would stay in the Nightmare. Back to his own world he goes now, leaving poor Queen Margaret behind, and with him is the Ice demon to see what sort of trouble can be made in the High Adventure dream!

    Film Noir Spy Dream: Things had been slow for the quiet town in which the agency is housed, but catastrophe eventually struck when the world suddenly went completely film noir and was inexplicably sapped of all colour, following a devastating earthquake; everything is now only in black and white!

    Fantasy Dream: Luckily, Granz had the missing page that they needed for the spell. Once everyone had enjoyed each other's company long enough, everyone took Granz upstairs, and shoved him through the mirror back to the School Dream. Afterwards, everyone went downstairs for ice-cream.

    Film Noir Spy Dream: The instability of the dream worlds has begun taking its toll. First the colour was drained away, but now a few guests have disappeared from the world completely, and one of the agency's own, Lydia Blaise, has faded out of existence! The guests and Sheila are left in a panic trying to figure out what it all means.

    Report #6
    High Adventure Dream: Back in Adventure Dream, the Prince of Thieves has cut a deal with his resident demon from Nightmare: Give him the power of the Queen's heart over her Knights and the court, and the Prince will give the demon freedom of Dayne. Freedom to take what he wants, to hurt what he wants, and destroy anything... is this part of a larger game that the Prince is playing? Or has the Prince realized that these dark forces he's meddled with are larger than his greed; has the Prince given up hope?

    Having convinced the rest of the dream world that the Queen of Dayne has perished, having the heart for proof, it does seem so.

    School Dream: Not long after Katya had departed, Felix suggested that they go do some research in the library. Knowing it was a good idea, Olivia agreed and they brought along a group of students to help them search. However when they got there, the books were all out of order, so Olivia asked the students to help find the books she needed. With the books found, she went off to her study to look them over.

    Whimsical Dream: The first golden instrument has been found, which was a violin. Now we are in search of the second golden instrument and the Duke and Duchess are rounding up a small group of people for a surprise for the queen.


    Day 2:

    Report #7
    Flying Dream: After having the entire inventory tossed over the side of ship by both crew and guests alike the prior evening when the ship was in danger of sinking from the skies, the doctor has been aided by several more guests with blueprints that have since poofed into thin air and been replaced with new medical machinery.

    High Adventure Dream: Day two has arrived. The first morning of the reign of thieves, and already the toll can be seen on the kingdom. Anything fine and fancy has now been torn down, transformed, or simply discarded. The only thing recognizable of the Hall is the refreshment table, and even then all of the gold and silver cutlery has gone missing. The Prince of Thieves sits on the throne now, and the Queen is presumed dead -- at least, the Prince has the heart to show for it.

    Tensions are rising under this revolution and new regime; Court loyalists are doing more than grumbling, and the thieves are waiting for their moment to crush the court entirely.

    In the middle of all of this is the Prince, his demon, and one boy: the King of Dayne.

    Nightmare Room: A scream pierced the air, breaking the expectant air in the build. As though a dam breaking, the asylum filled with a crackling energy. Murmuring voices, quiet at first, started to pick up volume and reverberate through the wall. The walls started to warp and twist with the dark energy at work. As the voices grew, people would be able to hear what they were saying.

    "Split the veil. Rend the flesh.
    We rise to claim what is ours by right.
    Those who have shunned and attacked
    We come for your soul in our eternal torment."


    Demons have set upon the guests of the nightmare room! Help kill demons or find out just why this happened to make things stop and set the dream to rights.


    Report #8
    High Adventure Dream: As a surprising twist, the Thieves Guild is abandoning the Prince. The cost of this disloyalty is the demon: either he goes, or the Guild takes matters into their own hands.

    Thieves are rounding up the guests to help them fight the demon and, surprisingly, the court is on their side. Former enemies are uniting to rid their world of an evil that should have never been brought into their world. With our without the Queen, or the Prince, the people of Dayne are fighting for their world!

    Film Noir Spy Dream: Lydia's mysterious disappearance has yet to be solved, but the agents have begun hearing their fellow spy communicate with them from some other dimension! Lydia tells them she's had visions of three paintbrushes, one for each of the primary colours, and that she can see them in their world! She's left a clue to help with the search.

    School Dream: After having been running amok for about a day, Katya is finally being apprehended by Felix, Olivia, and the student body in its entirety. It seems things will be wrapping up nicely as Olivia has devised a way to cure the school's nurse.

    High Adventure Dream: The battle for Dayne has begun!

    Sora, street urchin and riff-raff, has rallied the guests to fight the demon. Allegiances have been forgotten as thieves fight with knights, battling minions from hell as the demon fights for what he has won through deals. The Prince is trapped in the maze, his only companion the same Knight that swore to bring him to justice, and they to are on a dangerous mission: find the portal that brought the demon here and send him back.

    Demons, thieves, unicorns, holy warriors, and all things that a dreamer could imagine are colliding in the floating fortress of Dayne!

    High Adventure Dream: A Dragon has appeared in the High Adventure room! Demon magic transforming ordinary objects to fight the heroes - hope is almost gone, but for the sudden arrival of a very peculiar glass lady. She seems to have some effect on the world itself, could she be here to help?

    Report #9
    Fantasy Dream: The guests chatted, flirted, talked, fought, and everything in between during the morning. When Queen Lunae woke up, she took a band of guests and her court with her to find the masks needed to complete the spell to save the dream world. While the party was searching, a battle ensued at the castle over the protection of the king. Meanwhile, the guests correctly answered the questions of the guardian frogs that held that Sun Mask. Afterwards, Queen Lunae saw a pixie, and got lost in the labyrinth. While she was still missing, the guests were able to retrieve the Star Mask from a crotchety old gargoyle by freeing him from his bonds. Tensions were running high in the royal court, and it appeared that all of the inhabitants of the land were starting to turn against each other.

    High Adventure Dream: In the heart of the maze, the Prince was joined by the arrival of a strange, lovely woman: the glass lady of dreams. When asked if she could offer her aid, the Prince quickly accepted and the two set to work removing the demon's ice from the fountain. With the glass lady's magic, and the Queen's heart to fuel it, the ice was removed.

    While brave heroes fought on in the hall: dangerous damsels, throwing knives, bows and arrows, and even enchanted pistols fueled with magic and power from a completely different kind of hell. The demon was weakened enough to succumb to the portal's pull as the Prince activated it.

    Film Noir Spy Dream: After having found the three magical paintbrushes in a search that led them to a nearby bookstore, colour has returned to the world! Following a fantastic display of coloursplosion, the black and white world was no more--instead back to its full-spectrum splendour! The agents also succeeded in rescuing Lydia from her otherwordly dimension, thanks to her helpful coding! Everyone headed back to the HQ to celebrate.

    Fantasy Dream: Lunae returned from the labyrinth with her dress in tatters. She asked Mayura to borrow a dress, and Mayura insulted her, prompting the queen to send her on a meaningless quest in the School Dream. Meanwhile, everyone ventured into the dark forest to retrieve the Moon Mask. Everyone sang in unison for the wood nymph who guarded it, and she returned the mask. Back at the castle, Giselle performed the spell with the three masks and full text to the spell, and the Eternal Masquerade was restored. Unexpectedly, the Glass Lady became a whole, solid person. Everyone celebrated their successes, and vowed to return the next day to have more fun in the dream worlds.

    Report #10
    Nightmare Room: After fighting with The Administrator, one brave guest managed to get a tour guide in contact with a portal to other worlds. The guide and twin realized one needed to be on either side of the portal so make sure it couldn't be used. Going through, the dream world has been set right, with some interesting results...

    SPECIAL FULL-LENGTH REPORT for the High Adventure Dream: Sucking in the demon, the portal wasn't finished; out popped Margaret, the Queen, seeming very... unlike herself! She was still heartless, and without that vital organ, yet still alive due to the nature of dreams, she lackadaisically flounced about the High Adventure room making no sense at all! The Prince tried to return the heart, having kept his promise to keep it safe, but no one knew how to return it. While some enjoyed the show and wished to keep the Queen the way she was, others were yelling for the heart to be returned and their good Queen restored.

    Driven to tears by the madness, the Boy King made a stand: he rebuked the thieves and the guests for their immaturity and he pleaded with the fates to return his mother to him. Someone must have heard the heartfelt speech because, sure enough, something seemed to register within the Queen. She dropped her heart (oh no!) and it hit the floor, dissolving to nothing and then.. she hugged her son, returned to normal by the love that they shared for one another.

    During this heartwarming moment, the Prince tried to take his leave but was snared by the quick words of the Queen. A mini-trial was set forth, the Queen overlooking it all, but it seemed that nothing the guests did to try to help the Prince would change the Queen's mind. The Queen gave the Prince one chance to plead innocent or guilty, a chance given based on the loyalty that the guests had displayed to him, but the Prince pleaded guilty and confessed his crimes! Given no other choice, the Queen ordered him taken away...

    ... but for one hesitation, when the Prince insisted the King open one of his presents first. It was a small box, hidden by the Prince from before, and when it opened a mystical flash blinded everyone in the hall.. and then the Prince, and the thieves, were gone!

    The Queen, flabbergasted by it all, laughed and laughed, finally appreciating the cunning of the thieves, and declared that for the rest of the nameday celebrations no thieves would be reported to any guard or knight - lest she be driven insane!

    Report #11
    Flying Dream: the flying room has followed the Nightmare crew to where they were and attacked them, The First Mate Eran had some skyrage and rammed the Dreamboat into the Nightmare ship, almost splitting it in half, the crew with the help of guests captured the Nightmare crew and tied them up and made them walk the plank, with parachutes and their last words were "WE'RE BLASTING OFF AGAIN" "CURSES FOILED AGAIN!" and "AND AT LEAST WE STILL LOOK FABULOUS". The guests then returned to the Dreamboat and partied.

    SPECIAL FULL-LENGTH REPORT for the School Dream: After Katya escaped from her hastily tied rope and flew off, Olivia and Felix went with the rest of the students back to the auditorium. Thinking she had fixed the machine would work this time, Olivia started it up and hoped for the best. Luckily for her and everyone else in the room, it seemed to be working perfectly.

    Just then, Mayura arrived from the Fantasy room and approached her old teacher. After learning what was wrong with Katya, Mayura started singing a beautiful song that entranced everyone, except Katya. As soon as Katya heard it, she screamed in pain and was temporarily knocked out. Before Mayura had finished, Katya woke up and quickly made her exit from the auditorium. Having noticed that Mayura's singing had actually helped her machine do it's job, Olivia was struck with an idea.

    If they could all sing well enough, perhaps Katya would return to her old normal self.
    After Granz managed to coral Katya back to the auditorium, Olivia challenged her to a singing duel. Katya readily agreed, and Olivia asked the students to sing along. It was a difficult and eventful duel, but Olivia managed to defeat Katya at singing.

    Soon after the singing ended, the machine emitted a bright but warm light that bathed the entire auditorium. When everyone finally managed to open their eyes again, Katya had been returned to normal! It seemed like everything else was returning to it's old extraordinary self to. Overjoyed by this, Olivia declared there would be an impromptu prom in celebration.

    Felix, who had fallen asleep during Mayura's singing, woke up not long after prom had been declared. Noticing Katya had returned to normal, he promptly went over there to check to make sure she was okay. With a note of annoyance in her voice, Olivia called out to Felix, saying she was glad his brush was talking again. Not really caring about the brush at that particular moment, Felix finally found his nerve and confessed his true feelings of love for Olivia. Olivia's reaction to this news was to fall over from the sheer shock. Quickly helping her up to a chair, Felix went to get her some water, but not before he stopped and hugged a student that had helped encourage him. Returning to Olivia, he gave her the water and gently asked for her decision. Olivia confessed that she'd at least be willing to try a relationship with him. After interrupting her sentence, Felix kissed Olivia before wishing her good night and leaving for his office.

    Report #12
    SPECIAL REPORT: This just in! Voting for King and Queen of the Ball has begun! Go here to vote!

    Nightmare Dream & Film Noir Spy Dream: All seemed to have been going well for the agency as they were content to dance the rest of the ball away with jazzy tunes, but there was still some uncertainty surrounding the Glass Lady and why the dreamers hadn't yet been free of their forced sleep. Then the Glass Lady herself turned up, having evolved over the course of the dream worlds' healing--actually turning out to be quite the wonderful guest to interview. But suddenly, the malevolent Administrator from the Nightmare Dream showed up through a portal, apparently being chased by guests of her dream, with an intent to steal more souls!

    The Administrator began sucking souls from everyone--starting with the Glass Lady herself, then the agency's head, Sheila, and then the official cryptographer, Lydia! Even as guests from the fantasy dream began popping up--including Queen Lunae--everyone battled the devious Administrator and eventually shattered the glass jar containing her stolen souls! Following the triumph, the spies threw a great big jazz bash, dancing and feasting to their heart's content.

    Fantasy Dream: Everyone was surprised today when Caliban proposed to Giselle, and showed his beautiful face to her. Everyone congratulated them, and wished them well in their life together. Later, everyone went to meet Simon the dragon, and retrieve the earring that he had stolen from Queen Lunae. The guests entertained and distracted the dragon, and the earring was retrieved. When Brom, Giselle, and Caliban joined the mix, everyone took off to join the party in the Spy Dream.

    NEW! Whimsical Dream: After finding just over half the golden instruments, the Key magically appeared before the group only to be stolen by the Duke and Duchess. With Queen Rheanae knocked out by Duchess Irridessa, the rebels made their escape and destroyed the key.

    Rheanae instructed the Gaians on the power of Lucid dreaming and through a combined effort, the Gaians dream up a whole new key and save the Whimsical Dream world!
Crystalloid's avatar

Timid Explorer

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                  An important looking notice is hanging on one of the walls; you head over, deciding to check it out. It reads:

                  The Rules
                  • Obey Gaia's TOS and the ball staff of this room!

                  • Flaming, trolling, cybering, and bumping/spamming will not be tolerated. At all.

                  DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING.
                  The strategy last year was to use java pop ups that informed people they had timed out, and needed to reenter their user-name and password. The hackers would then take the information entered into the fields, log onto their account, and steal their stuff fairly quickly.

                  Any pop-ups or PMs asking for passwords are attempts to hack your account! No member of the Gaia staff or the Annual Ball staff will ever ask for your password!

                  • Do not godmod (do not control or kill anybody else's character without their permission)

                  • Please, no text/chat speak or profanity. Keep it classy, folks.

                  • Do not impersonate the ball staff (hosts/co-hosts). Plus, we're spies, so we'll know who you really are.

                  • Cheating in any of the contests (which includes plagiarism and soliciting votes) is not allowed. You are not allowed to send out mass mail to everyone on your friends list or go around advertising about you being in a competition.

                  • Please turn off large signatures and all aquariums.

                  • Please refrain from stretching the page, which means:

                  - Do not quote the first page.
                  - Do not encourage quote towers (keep the number of quotes per post to 2-3, maximum!)
                  - Do not post gigantic images or overly long lines of text. (If you have one, make sure your posting style doesn't break this rule, too!)


                  Break some of these rules, and we may just snuff you out faster than you can say "deader than a doornail." We have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to our banning pistol.

                  But as long as you respect others and remember to have fun, we'll all be just fine!
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Crystalloid as . . . Sheila Sharpe

About the character: Sheila Sharpe is one tricky dame, no doubt, but she can always be seen with a cheery disposition. Sneaky as she is beautiful, she is one of the agency's best when it comes to espionage--but beware, you don't get to where she is just by playing fair (and this is evident if you ever encounter her prankster's side).

About the roleplayer: I first attended the 5th Annual Ball, but then I loved it so much that when I attended the 7th one, I just had to get involved. I helped out a bit for the 8th Annual Ball as a co-host for one of the rooms (Zeus!) then I moved up to host the steampunk City of Time, as Zeal, for the 9th Annual Ball. I've been on Gaia since 2007, and I love to roleplay, usually only in the Commerce. I love the genre of fantasy and apple pie, but I also really love adventure. =)











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Mademoiselle Alvinette Cielne as . . . Lydia Blaise

About the character: Lydia Blaise is the secret-agent super star cryptographer for the agency. Lydia is a sultry, heartbreaking femme fatale who loves trenchcoats, fishnet stockings, sky-high heels, jazz music, and flirting, but she never lets her more frivolous interests get in the way of the missions the agency sends her on. Though Lydia adores being the center of attention and often uses feminine wiles in her work, she is also an expert at quietly observing and eavesdropping on conversations around her. She is deadly accurate with weapons and just as quick with words, but her loyalty to the agency, and to the good of the dream world in general, is absolute.

About the roleplayer: My name is Mademoiselle Alvinette (playing Lydia on this account because I'm playing Giselle LeVert on my main), but most people usually call me Alvy or Alv. I'm about to turn 27 at the end of August, and I recently finished the last of my work for my Master's degree in History. This is my second year as a cohost in the Annual Ball. Last year I played Diligence in the Sloth room, and this year I'm actually playing two parts. In addition to playing Lydia on this account, I'm also using my main account to play goblin Giselle LeVert (Lydia's alter ego/cover character) in the Fantasy dream. I love Alvin and the Chipmunks, cute stuff, knitting and sewing, NYPD Blue reruns, old spy novels (especially those by Helen MacInnes), and babbling! ^_^











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Warlock Prince as . . . Oliver Forrest

About the character: While most of his friends and family describe Oliver as more of an easygoing elf, those who have worked with him on missions know that he is truly smart and sly. Using his height, or lack thereof, to his advantage, he easily goes unnoticed in crowds or can slip past people with ease. He uses his strong sense of hearing to get inside information from the unwary. Unlike most elves, he can actually joke around very easily about his short stature and large ears, seeing as how they've served him so well.

About the roleplayer: After first catching wind of last year's Annual Ball, I thought it was a wonderful event that people worked very hard to put together, so I decided to try and be a part of it. I'm somewhat new to roleplaying, but I have a good background in writing, and creative fiction is my forte, so I thought this theme would be right up my alley!
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    Intent on learning more about the business of being a spy, you stumble into another one of the private offices--only to discover that you seem to be interrupting an important gathering of sorts. A small group of agents stare blankly at you from around the table for a few moments, their expressions unreadable. But then they begin breaking out into grins and are now inviting you to join their briefing meeting.

    You take your place around the table enthusiastically. They let you in on just a few of the newest schemes being planned, pushing a few pieces of paper across the table for you to look at.

    "Well?" one of them inquires, "Which mission will you choose to accept?"

Writing Contest

    A good spy always has a solid cover story, in case they find themselves stuck in a jam and need to explain themselves. So, show us what you got; how good do you think you are at spinning a tall tale of your own?

    How to enter the Writing Contest:
    Use one of the prompts below to start your story. All story settings must pertain to "film noir", as it is the theme of this room, and all work must be your own. Stories can be between 1-4 pages in length. When you've finished, PM your submission or a link to it in your Journal to "Crystalloid" and label the PM "Writing Contest Entry". Make sure to label which prompt you used!

    The deadline for this contest is: Sunday, August 12 at noon, PST.

    THE DEADLINE FOR THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO Sunday, August 12, 9 PM, PST.


    THE DEADLINE FOR THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO Monday, August 13, 4 PM, PST.

    Judging:
    We, the hosts of this room, will judge your entries based on creativity and how engaging they are, but also on effort (so, it won't hurt to make sure your grammar and spelling are accurate).

    WINNERS:

    1st Place Prize - Asphalt Jungle ----> Graceful Silhouette
    2nd Place Prize - Silver Sonata ----> Symbolon
    3rd Place Prize - 50k ---> ChibiKira13

    Prompt 1) Two silhouettes suddenly appear at opposite ends of a sidewalk. A tense silence grips the foggy air between them, and neither of them make a move, knowing full well what they've been told to do. But the uncomfortable stand-off appears to indicate their hesitation. Both of them have a gun tucked away, just for precautionary measures, but the right moment hasn't shown itself just yet. A quick glance down the empty street assures each of them that they definitely seem to be alone, but it's common knowledge that the cops like to patrol the area at this time of night. It doesn't look like this trade is going to go over well.

    [If you choose this prompt, your story must be written in third person. Questions that you must answer in your story: What happens next? What are the two trading? Why are they making this trade?]

    Prompt 2) "Where were you on the night of Mr. Miller's murder?"

    [If you choose this prompt, your story must be written in first person. Questions that you must answer in your story: Who are you? Why was Mr. Miller murdered? Who murdered Mr. Miller?]

    Prompt 3) It's an unusually bright evening, and this busy stretch of road is bustling with busy folk. The downtown area always did have a lively night scene. But both of the cops suddenly freeze in their cruiser as the police scanner butts into their conversation with, "Calling all units in the area, there is a 413 in progress down on Pine Street. Requesting all back-up, repeat, back-up needed."

    Pine Street? That's just a block or two down from here. Even as the scanner's call ends, the engine has already been fired up and the car is now zooming off down the road.

    [If you choose this prompt, your story may be written in first or third person. Questions that you must answer in your story: What's on Pine Street? What is a code 413? How should the two cops handle a code 413?]


Art Contest

As spies, we're good at what we do--the art of espionage. But, if you think you've got skills in the actual field of art, then we'd love to see what you can whip up!

How to enter the Art Contest:
You can draw one or more of our characters, or even just what you think our film noir dream setting looks like. You may only submit a piece eligible for prizes once, though you are welcome to draw and send in as much art for the room as you'd like--all art will be displayed in the thread. PM your entry to "Crystalloid" and label the PM "Art Contest Entry".

The deadline for this contest is: Monday, August 13, 3 PM, PST. Voting will take place immediately after and will go until 4 PM, PST


VOTING TIME TBA SOON

Judging:
Your entries will be judged by your peers, as they vote!

WINNERS:

1st Place Prize - Asphalt Jungle ----> Eternal Rebellion
2nd Place Prize - Silver Sonata ----> Yeata Zi
3rd Place Prize - 50k ----> PolishPanda123
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    You stroll into another room, only to find none other than the wily Lydia Blaise!

    "Greetings, fellow agents!" she says, offering a sweet smile.

    "Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to complete a few crucial code-breaking assignments. Should you successfully complete a mission, you will be granted a prize and your name will be added to our roster of top cryptographers. But be sure to follow the rules and keep your answers a secret, because there are spies everywhere..."

    Rules
    1. Lydia (Cielne) will randomly make certain posts in this room throughout the ball with the text that needs to be decoded; the first person to PM the correct answer to the latest code will win 5k!
    2. Send your answers to Cielne in a PM with the subject line "Codebreaking Assignment #[fill in the assignment number here]."
    3. Each code must be complete and correct for you to get your prize.
    4. You can try as many times as you need to get all the answers right, and you can try for all of the codes as each of them are gradually posted (not for past codes that have already been solved).
    5. Please be patient in waiting for a response, as--breaking character for a minute here--Cielne/Mademoiselle Alvinette is playing two roles and the person behind the computer is working this weekend.


    Assignment #1: Spy Scribes

    This is the first of our cryptography-training exercises. You will see an encoded message consisting of a series of numbers separated by commas. Each number represents a letter of the alphabet, and each series of numbers is a word. These codes will all pertain to authors who are famous for writing spy stories. Stay vigilant and watch out for them! Here is the basic alphabet code:

    1=A
    2=B
    3=C
    4=D
    5=E
    6=F
    7=G
    8=H
    9=I
    10=J
    11=K
    12=L
    13=M
    14=N
    15=O
    16=P
    17=Q
    18=R
    19=S
    20=T
    21=U
    22=V
    23=W
    24=X
    25=Y
    26=Z


    Example:
    3,12,1,18,11
    11,5,14,20

    ...is how you would write the name of Superman's alter ego, Clark Kent, in code.


    Assignment #2: Secret-Agent Celebrities

    According to our sources at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., there are a few celebrities that once served as secret agents. We are in need of their names for confidential purposes, so we hope you can decode the information as we acquire it. Be ready!

    The code for this assignment is the Caesar cipher, a type of code whose invention is usually attributed to Julius Caesar. The Caesar cipher is an alphabet cipher that shifts each letter a few places forward, so each letter you see on an encoded document represents a letter a few places before it. Our Caesar cipher is based on a shift of three letters to the right, meaning that for each encoded letter, the actual letter that it corresponds to is three places to the left. It sounds confusing but is easier to understand once you see the actual code. Here is the code (the letter on the left is the one you will see; the letter on the right is the one that it represents):

    D=A
    E=B
    F=C
    G=D
    H=E
    I=F
    J=G
    K=H
    L=I
    M=J
    N=K
    O=L
    P=M
    Q=N
    R=O
    S=P
    T=Q
    U=R
    V=S
    W=T
    X=U
    Y=V
    Z=W
    A=X
    B=Y
    C=Z


    So DOYLQ VHYLOOH is the coded way to write the name of the cartoon character ALVIN SEVILLE.

    *All of this information can be found in the book Spying: The Secret History of History by the International Spy Museum staff and Denis Collins


    Assignment #3: Secret Message

    Now that you've seen some basic secret codes, it's time to try your hand at cracking an even more complex code: an Ottendorf cipher. Ottendorf ciphers, also commonly known as book ciphers, are codes built around a document or set of documents such as a book or a magazine article. The sender and receiver both know what book is being used and each have their own copy from the same printing of the book, so the pages, words, and other details match up. The sender passes the receiver a note with a series of numbers on it. Each set of numbers (usually four numbers, in a row, separated by hyphens) represents one letter. For instance, if the prearranged book were, say, my copy of Little Women and Werewolves, and I wanted to send a message that said "hello," I would set it up this way:
    92-1-1-4; 152-2-3-2; 175-3-7-1; 222-1-6-3; 302-2-3-3.

    92-1-1-4 means page 92, first full paragraph, first word, fourth letter. The first word of the first paragraph is "nothing," and the forth letter of the word is "H." So for this particular Ottendorf cipher, the first letter is H. 152-2-3-2 is the second letter of the third word of the second full paragraph on page 152. The word is "very," and the second letter is "E." So we have the H and E of "hello." Basically, to create the cipher, you find the letters that you need in random parts of the book, and you describe their location by page, paragraph, word, and letter, in a set of four coordinates. It's super-simple if you know how it works and what book to use, but super complicated if you don't have the book, since there's not even a set way to communicate one letter. Within one book, there are literally hundreds of thousands of places where the exact same letter is located, so you could write the same word hundreds of completely different ways using the same book.

    In our case, though, for this mission, we'll be using this thread (click me for code thread). This is a very large thread with a lot of posts, so it's a perfect source for creating a cipher that you don't want enemy agents to decode too easily. Instead of using the "page-paragraph-word-letter" setup, for our cipher we will be using "page-POST-word-letter," meaning that the first number in each set will tell you the page to look at in the linked thread, the second number well tell you which post to look at on that page, the third number will tell you the word to look at in that post (the first word, or the second word, and so on), and the last number will tell you which letter you are looking for in that particular word.

    Armed with this information, we're confident that you'll be prepared. Good luck, agents!

    Successful Agents thus far!

    Dalvar - 5k
    Symbolon - 50k
    The Iron Magus - 10k
    Light Kail - 5k
    Katie Shadows - 5k
Crystalloid's avatar

Timid Explorer

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    Thanks to those that worked hard to make this the most fantastic room possible, including Mademoiselle Alvinette and Warlock Prince as co-hosts, as well as LilChibiusa and broken_bleeding_angel for being wonderful overall hosts of the 10th Annual Ball this year!

    Thanks to the wonderful artist l - Minja - l for the amazingly stylish portraits of our characters!

    Thanks to a little tequila for the stupendous thread layout graphics! Check out her graphics shop:

    User Image - Blocked by "Display Image" Settings. Click to show.


    And thanks to all of you, our wonderful guests, for attending the Annual Ball and making it the best ball yet!
Crystalloid's avatar

Timid Explorer

Writing Contest Entries

Light Kail: entry in Journal

Snow_Leoparda: entry in Journal

Graceful Silhouette: entry in Journal

Katie Shadows: entry in Journal

ChibiKira13:
ChibiKira13
I’m nobody. Nobody important at least, but just because it's polite - I'll tell you my name. It's Viola, and I'm just your average female citizen, sitting in my apartment eating some Cheerios while I turn on the TV with a click. I’m watching the news alone as a familiar name pops up, Mr. Miller. He was murdered about two weeks ago. The story’s a shame actually - it shows how incapable the police is around here. The news anchor goes into detail about how Mr. Miller’s last days as an author ended in mystery. Then again, I'm not too surprised - if you've got the cash, you're bound to be a target by envious eyes. Mr. Miller was a rich world renowned mystery book author whose real name was unknown. Only a few pictures have been shown of him – all of them being blurry shots from behind, and I’ve read my fair share of his books. Anyways, back to the TV, a week ago, the police received an anonymous tip that somebody would die soon, and almost instantaneously after, they were bombarded with a teary eyed sister of Mr. Miller who was named as Francis. I’m sitting back and lounging on my chair as I listen in to the news anchor going on. Miller’s sister was frantic and she quickly gave the police a recent photo of Miller. They show a picture of the male behind the phenomenal mystery series. Nobody had seen Mr. Miller before, much less even known his first name. As I watch, I see the picture, rather wrinkled, of a Caucasian male with dark brown bangs that covered a lot of his face. He seemed older than imagined with the wrinkles and eye bags that drooped underneath his eyes. It was a surprise seeing his face after all that anonymity.

My cereal’s done as I walk from the couch to wash the bowl while the anchor’s face returned as she continued to report about Miller's case. Miller couldn’t be reported missing until 48 hours had gone by. His sister, Francis, was frantic as she had to wait those 48 hours before reporting him. Everything was chaotic at the station as a famous author was possibly dead. 2 days passed, nothing on Miller. The search began. It was quite eventful, Francis was constantly on call, pestering about Miller, and finally after realizing his small fortune in the bank safe was gone and replaced with a little riddle – the police found his body after somebody solved the riddle. He had been dumped under a bridge by the ocean. Forensics came in and found nothing. No drugs in the system, no signs of foul play – his body was in pristine condition. As the water gets too hot for my hands, I turn off the faucet as I return to the couch and sit down, I had time before my work started – I wanted to know what happened to my favorite author. Miller’s case seemed to have hit a dead end. Francis was in tears, she said the thief and murderer had to be found. Despite these protests, the police closed the case the week following after having no leads, and his body was to be transferred to the coroner, and now this is where it got interesting, but I turned off the TV.

The tale is actually simple to solve, and I know how the whole thing ended. I even know the killer. I’ll tell you a little secret between the two of us. Mr. Miller doesn’t have a sister. I’ve been on every fan site, and nothing has ever reported of a family, but she apparently had the right identification, though I suspect she’s a fraud who's in it for the money - too bad somebody stole it. Anyways, I just wonder how long it’ll take the police to realize his body’s missing from the coroner’s office. Y'know, the advances in the medical world these days are absolutely amazing. One drug can erase all signs of previous drugs, and it basically flushes out the system – putting it back into pristine condition - perfect from the perfect crime. There’s another drug as well - the miracle drug. It’s not exactly approved or legal either, but it’s got a quirky little description. It temporarily makes people seem dead. I walk into the room where I see Mr. Miller’s clothing hanging next to mine and smile to myself. It’s such a fun little game to play you know. Tomorrow’s news will be even more fun – missing body. I look into the mirror and begin to brush my hair as I ready myself for my new job at the restaurant across the street. I prep myself, do my hair, and to finish it off, I put on some light makeup as I stare at the girl in the mirror looking right back at me. I've always been pretty skilled with my makeup. Now that I think of it... I may have left out a few bits and pieces from this story, so you might be baffled at this point. Lemme tell you something – Mr. Miller isn’t actually dead nor was he murdered, but I’m sure you already pieced that much together by his clothes being in my apartment and the miracle drug that I just informed you of. Well, he’s definitely up and about, and I’ll tell you something else. You know how I said Francis is a fraud? Well, she is, and I know that because I’m Francis – at least, I acted her out. I apologize beforehand for fibbing, and I seemed to have left out the most important part of this story – Mr. Miller’s not a guy; he’s actually a woman named Viola Donahue who’s coming out with a new series based on an interesting little plot that you may or may not already be aware of, but that’ll be our little secret, right?

After all, according to the files, Mr. Miller's been murdered.


Symbolon:
Symbolon
Two silhouettes stand at opposite ends of a sidewalk. A tense silence grips the foggy air between them, and neither of them make a move, knowing full well what they've been told to do. But the uncomfortable stand-off appears to indicate their hesitation. Both of them have a gun tucked away, just for precautionary measures, but the right moment hasn't shown itself just yet. A quick glance down the empty street assures each of them that they definitely seem to be alone, but it's common knowledge that the COPs like to patrol the area at this time of night. It doesn't look like this trade is going to go over well.

Despite the foreboding air, one figure steps towards the the other, and the tense atmosphere eases slightly, allowing the second figure to break out of statue-like state he'd been held in. As they near each other, it becomes clear that one is male, the other female. Yet closer they come, until-

"Anders," in a slightly throaty female voice.

"Well. Morris," replies the man.

"Lookin' good, as usual. Not too late to come back with me, sweetheart. You know it's just circumstance that left us apart."

Morris snorted.

"That and you being a class-A b***h. Anyhow, you think I'd just let myself get taken with you guys, hand over our biggest bargaining chip? I've got integrity, unlike some people I know. Hell, maybe you should come back with me, with your track record."

"Heh. Not enough plannin' for that to happen yet, sweetheart. One defector isn't enough to merge the two largest rival syndicates, just labels her as the next target."

"Well, let's get this over with then."

They step closer, nearly intimate, when a floodlight suddenly reveals them in colors so stark they appear to remain black silhouettes- though their black trench coats might be helping that.

"REMAIN CALM, DO NOT FLEE. TAKE OUT YOUR PAPERS, THEN RAISE THEM IN THE AIR."

The metallic voice booms from the bot through the crisp night air, echoing slightly off the buildings across the street. Each person reaches slowly for their pocket, Morris muttering a curse. The man pulls out his wallet, and the woman pulls out her purse. As Anders produces his papers from his wallet, the operator of the COP- Computer Operated Patrol device, nicknamed ironically after the lawkeeping agents of centuries past in comparison with the much more severe form of law enforcement of their time- steps out with his hand on his gun, still holstered with the buckle in place, and takes Anders's papers to begin studying them for the marks that are unique to proper papers. Once examined, he reaches into his back pocket for a sensor- and finds a gun in between his eyes. Morris had pulled her gun from her bag, and she jerked her head to the side.

"Run, Anders. You, on your knees."

Anders takes off, and the man drops to his knees. Contrary to the practices of COPs and other members of today's law enforcement, deadly force is typically passed over when possible in independent syndicates in order to keep the human gene pool as diverse as possible. They're an endangered species, after all.

The butt of her gun cracks over the back of the man's head, and his body slumps to the ground. In an instant, Morris is after Anders. In high heels, of course.

Thirty seconds later, she's caught up with him. As he pants, she carries on a one-sided conversation.

"You always were useless at runnin'. Not that a woman keepin' up with a man in heels is something you should be doubtin', but at least don't make it this easy. Also, we could jus' stop now and make the exch-"

A siren on their right wails to life, and they turn in tandem away from the noise.

"Well, mebbe not. Can't you go any faster? The next neutral zone isn't too far away, but they'll catch us easy at this face. Move your a**, would you?"

Anders's only response is a grunt, and an honestly surprising burst of speed.

The pair flee through the slowly waking night, and are nearly to the neutral zone, when Morris stumbles and falls- hard. A gash opens up in her lag, and her hand grabs at Anders's leg, stopping him.

"Quick, the trade. I'll get meself outta here, I got backup on the way, but we gotta make the trade. Ya know it'll be hell for both of us if we fail."

Anders hesitates a moment, then droppes to his knees next to her, cradles her face in his hands, leans down, and kisses her, tongue and all. As they pull apart, Morris smiles ruefully.

"Just like old times, huh?"

Anders just shakes his head and takes off running. A few moments later, there's a loud CRACK, and he falls to the side. A COP appears from where it had been lying in wait in an alley, and the operator emerges as Morris walks with a slight limp towards Anders. As she stands above him, he struggles to breathe, to talk, through a punctured lung.

"Lissy...h-help. Please."

Her face contorts into a mask of rage, and her mocking voice rings out.

"'Lissy' now, is it? Not 'class-A b***h'? [********]"

The operator of the COP steps into place beside her, and Anders's eyes widen in recognition of the operator that had surprised them at the meeting point. The operator bends down, siphoning blood from Anders's open wounds as Morris continues.

"See, sweetheart, we got our hands on one of them bots that causes us so much trouble. Now, no notice went out because the government doesn't want people knowing it's even possible to steal one of them babies. No, I've been planning to nab you for ages, sweetie. We'd have a lookout radio in whether or not it was you comin' around. If not, we got one of our own get the cure. Until you finally showed up. Then we sent me, and set up our COP to make us run, turned on a couple sirens, and set up for gettin' you shot here. Real COPs do it all the time, an' just leave the bodies fer cleanup to grab in the morning. Sweetheart, did you know 'bout me running the whole damn outfit? Prob'ly not, I got my boy Mackie pretendin' he's the hotshot to anyone who ain't in on things. Anyway, I was waitin' for you to show up, get your fertility back, what with our viruses blocking baby makin'. You wanna know why, sweetheart? It wasn't jus' 'cause I wanted one last kiss, no. I wanted your blood, so instead of gettin' a dose at a time from your people, I'd have the stuff to make my whole damn syndicate fertile. Funny cure, passin' through fluids or whatever, but only the blood lets the cured become a cure. But hey, I got the blood now."

The operator stands and carries the box of vials he'd filled with Anders's blood back to the COP.

"I bet you're wonderin' why it's you. And I'll tell ya, sweetheart."

She bends to his ear and whispers, "Nobody dumps me. Ever."

Morris straightens and walks back to the COP, climbing in next to the operator.

"Boss?"

"What?"

"If you're not actually gonna knock a guy out, there's no reason to hit so damn hard."

"Ahhh, tell it to the choir. Let's go take over a syndicate, sweetheart."

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Art Contest Entries

Yeata Zi
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PolishPanda123
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Eternal Rebellion
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SHOWCASE ONLY (NOT IN CONTEST):


Derpy Art by Sachie Whitby
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Misty L Lake
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