Constance adjusted the cat brooch of her floor-length white cape as she walked into the ballroom. The party-planning committee that had set up the welcome party had grown since the school term began, and instead of four or five people, there were closer to ten or twenty running around, making sure things were correctly set up for the first long
party of the term. She recognized a few as being from her own class, although a few of them wore vanguard cuffs, intermediary sashes or the sorcerers’ ridiculous hats – clearly, the original party committee had outsourced itself to gather members.
At the center of the marble room was a marble statue of Zhni wrapped in a colorful assortment of plants and fabrics. The statue was ancient, original to the school’s time as a monastery during the Stone Era, and had been retrieved from the caves long before Constance had even attended the school. It had been customary to pull the statue from its temple deep in the caves for a more public display during the Festival of Colors; generally, it was placed in the inner courtyard, although in the past few years, Constance had managed to snatch the statue for her class’ party.
Around the circular base of the statue (which was nearly as tall as the room was high, Constance noted) were bottles of alcohol, bowls of punch and snack foods. Actual full meals would be served at the Hangman’s Point cafeteria throughout the week, although those with enough money would likely be feasting on the plethora of food vendors that showed up to the festival.
There was a significantly smaller number of vendors than there had been in previous years, but it was still the morning of the first day of the celebrations, so Constance had confidence that the numbers would flesh themselves out.
She glanced around at the room, noting the season-appropriate garland of real plants bearing real fruits wrapped around the columns supporting the second-floor balcony. Colorful gourds and other vegetables decorated the floor around the base of the columns. Constance walked over and tapped a party committee member on the shoulder.
”Are the wreaths at the bottom of the columns properly secured?” she asked before they turned around. The dwarf looked surprised when she turned and saw Constance, her eyes going wide, and she immediately held up a finger as she flipped through the pages of the clipboard in her grasp.
”Yes, Miss Dreamweaver, they’re magically-secured,” she said after a moment. Constance nodded and dismissed her.
There were no chairs or tables on the ground floor of the ballroom, which was a very smart choice on the party committee’s part. The stage for the bands that would be playing throughout the week was set up at the top of the grand staircase, with stage lighting stealthily hung from predetermined points in the ceiling. As she walked through, the lights were all on at their brightest setting to give the room plenty of light as the ballroom was being set up.
She made her way up the grand staircase, her velvet cape dragging on the stairs behind her. The fur at the edges of the cape had actual silver intertwined with it, giving it the illusion of shimmering as it moved behind her. The second floor balcony was to her liking, with enough tables and chairs to sit a few dozen people. She turned around, scanning the ballroom below her, and smiled.
”It looks excellent, everyone!” she said. ”I trust you all have a system worked out to make sure everything stays stocked throughout the week?”
The people in the room stopped what they were doing, and a few turned to look at the dwarf she had spoken with before. The dwarf pushed up her glasses, squared her shoulders and announced that they did, indeed, have the means to make sure that the party would be well catered.
”I think it’s time we open the party up, then,” Constance said. ”Someone please fix the lights, turn on the music and get the first band up here.”
The first band of the day would be Priest Lightning, which was a group of newly-graduated divines that had grown in popularity wildly over the summer. They had played at the late slot in the last party, although they were forced to just come and play during the early hours of the festival due to prior commitments.
Constance made her way back down the stairs, her fingers brushing along the banner. Along with her stark white cape, she also had a white gown on; it was fairly simple compared to many of her other dresses, but since it was the Festival of Colors, she had had advertisements placed around the school that people would be able to throw paint at her at the low, low price of just one oolm (or for free if they brought their own paint). She wasn’t particularly concerned about her hair, but she did wear it in an updo underneath a very dainty white wool hat.
She opened the inner doors to the ballroom and placed bricks in front of them to keep them open. In the foyer of Hangman’s Point, someone from the party committee was standing next to a rather large stack of pint paint cans. He gave her a thumbs up and she laughed as she unlocked the door to the tower. A few people were waiting outside and immediately flooded in when she moved out of the way.
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