Acte 1: The Stage Setting
I had taken a long train into the city intending to spend a few days relaxing from my previous month of hectic “professional” affairs.
Rewarding myself, I located my lodging in a fancy upscale hotel situated across the street from a cavernous Ballroom, checking in for a fortnight.
My social calendar was unusually light, with only one high society event planned.
A posh wedding that I was planning to attend at the end of month Sabbath, at a “chapel” located in one of the cities sprawling suburbs.
I had given the area a look over a fortnight ago as I was passing by the area.
I had taken the word Chapel of St. Lilith to heart as meaning a small parish church.
It took me some time to find, for it was not a chapel in my mind, but a bloody cathedral!
But that is another story, one that I plan on having a great time telling in the future!
Refer to Case Study Number 86…The Eds.
So, with a bit of free time, I spent the first day in the city perusing the cultural calendar of the local papers while brunching at a local pub. As I had my second pint, I ended up circling one or two new events of interest that would be taking place later that month.
I then took care of my remaining personal business, locating a reputable bank and renting out one of their lockboxes.
I generally try to acquire a new bank strongbox to stash whatever valuables I may have upon me whenever I am in a new City.
Marking the information down in my journal.
With that being taken care of, I began allowing myself some time off from my endeavors.
I went back to my room and took a short Kip, before sampling the local nightlife, arising late the next day and started to explore the city properly, in the daytime!
I planned on spending the remaining portion of my week taking in moving picture shows, visiting stores and hanging out at the local museums and antique shoppes.
It felt incredible not worrying about work, although I will admit that my mind scoped out a few prospects as I was out and about, walking amongst the great masses.
It was mid-week during my stay, while making my way back to the hotel suite, that I decided on a whim to pop into the Ballroom across the street to see what it was all about.
I walked into the massive lobby full of activity and wandered about.
First looking into the cavernous main ballroom, I then explored the meeting rooms and various smaller party rooms.
The place was rather richly decorated in velvets, gilded fixtures, and shimmery chandeliers hanging down from the scrolled and scalloped ceilings.
The whole place had a roaring twenties, gilded age flavour about it!
I could well imagine the luxurious formal affairs that had been held there, and as I wondered about, my vivid imagination did so!
As I was leaving, I discovered a wall containing posters for all the upcoming events.
One poster caught my eye. It advertised the occurrence of a Halloween Ball to take place that very weekend, Tickets still available.
The Ball seemed to be the very type of party I was partial to, combining all of my favorite types of affairs, a large gathering frequented by the rich, and everyone attending would be in costume.
Somehow, I had missed it in the papers, how very unlike me, I scolded myself!
I eagerly went to the ticket booth.
I quite happily purchasing a pair of tickets (fewer questions asked, from the smiling girl ‘manning’ the booth. A pretty freckled redhead that had that common, but nice look, that reminds one of a favorite niece!
I then headed over to the pub to drink away the rest of my day as I mulled over how to approach this unexpected adventure!
I went out the very next morning scouting various shops in search of my costume.
I finally settled on a highwayman’s attire.
It seemed appropriate, and the ribbon style “ masque” over my eyes set off the vacation beard that had been growing quite nicely since my last outing.
On my way out to pay for the costume, I spied a half-off bin.
On top of the pile was a phantom of the opera mask.
On impulse, I added it to my bundle and went to the checkout.
I then went to the pub( by now I was a regular) with my plain brown paper wrapped parcels and drank down a pint as I had a think.
Although I didn’t have the feeling that this concern would lead to anything, I mean, who wears good jewellery with a costume?
But a little bored by the inactivity, I was none the less growing excited about the venture.
I still decided to play it cautiously by setting up my usual safeguards, just in case.
I left the pub and walked down a few blocks away from the Ballroom and my hotel suite.
Soon I found a small chain style motel that would be perfect for my needs!
I went back to my room, feeling a bit excited now that a new game was afoot!
Acte 2: The Ballroom Blitz