While it has been made known that the ball is intended to continue until the midnight hour, it is late in the afternoon when it begins. The sun is lowering, but not yet set, and the moon is rising.
The convention centre is a perfectly modern, human place of elegant stone, metal and glass, greys and blacks and whites, all neutral, all easily repurposed for various events -- such as this one. Four rooms are spaced out along the walls of the main concourse, and upon entering the building, tonight's guests are directed by employees to the Winter Room, a white door with a simple nameplate.
What is -inside- of the room is neither simple nor human.
All changelings or mortals known to KNOW of changelings, the servers for the evening wear a distinctive silver mask to mark their position as hired help for the event, though their attire varies according to their own personal choice.
November, at present, is directing a small group of said servants in moving a set of chaise longues toward the wall near the entrance, where a simple folding screen mortals outside from getting peeps of things they shouldn't.
No matter how heavily he disguises himself, Carter Logan is obviously still Carter Logan. There's no getting away from it. There's no one else with Wyrd that crushingly powerful, settling like a lead weight in the back of the brain whenever anyone looks his way. It even bleeds through the Mask, no matter how much he works to strengthen it. But he's made the effort to hide it anyway.
Tonight, rather than his usual elegant suits, Carter is wearing what looks like a cloak of filthy bearskin over a battered green velvet jacket. His hair is no longer fiery, but black, long, lank, matted and tangled, and his face is streaked in soot and grime. His hands, too, are disgustingly caked in filth, and his fingernails have grown out to the point that they resemble claws. Even his cane, normally sleek and sophisticated, has been replaced with a gnarled length of unpolished wood.
He limps his way into the Winter Room and casts his gaze about, grinning, exposing a mouthful of yellowed and blackened teeth. November gets a nod and a slight lift of his free hand in greeting, and then Carter is stumping off into the grimy darkness, humming along with the music.
There are so very many individuals from fiction and history that personify things like tragedy and disgust, but few that can get the right mix for someone like Rocco. So after a few hours of thinking, or at least a few hours of getting distracted while thinking then falling asleep and then finding that it's time to be somewhere so throwing on the first thing that comes to mind from what he has available, Rocco Ramone Campbell has apparently decided upon his garb for the festivities. He strolls in, showing far more of his pale skin and tattoos than anyone should ever have to see, especially since despite the winter cold outside, he's wearing nothing but a sheet turned into a fancy loincloth and what appears to be a crown of thorns. He's wrapped in another sheet until he's inside, though, since the sun hasn't fully set and it's an evil glowy orb of pain and all that. Once he throws the sheet off and drops it to the floor, the full glory of his costume can be seen, complete with a large water bottle filled with something dark and red with WINE written across the bottle in sharpie. The sheet is left on the floor where it falls. "I thought about being fashionably late, but I heard there was booze." Wait, does he have red circles scribbled onto his palms and the tops of his feet? Yes. Yes he does.
While showing up fashionably late might be the usual M.O. for one of the Moon Court, that runs the risk of free booze being less likely. And so, The Winter Queen makes her entrance early on. She's not bothered to try and hide her identity. No, instead she's turned it up to 11, the fabric of her dress slinking behind her in a train of serpentine shimmer. Whispering against the floor, a hundred thousand dirty secrets in the form of hisses. The rows of chains that form her necklaces only barely cover the curve of her chest, moving slightly with every tiny step the tight skirt allows her.
November herself is as prismatic as ever. Surely there must be something about her which represents tragedy, or disgust, but she doesn't come with a convenient label saying what.
Dipping her head to Carter-the-filthy as guests begin to arrive, then Rocco-the-son-of-soup and the unashamedly Moony Queen, the faerie Ancient smiles slowly and gestures toward a box set on a table. "Draw three cards, please; explanations will follow."
Who is that girl? ... Oh there's probably tonnes of girls here, wearing all sorts of lovely and/or terrible ensembles epitomising tragedy and disgust -- and while it's not that Franklyn is unrecognisable as Franklyn, it's just that the Mortal isn't exactly projecting feminine charm. Her hair is short, for one thing - and there's no swishy dress, no gauzy train -- Frank is dressed in black. All black. The black of, say, some Danish Prince.
Why, Frank is even wearing a cloak, hung over one shoulder - exposing a belt, that has what very much so looks like a long knife in a scabbard. Pale and shadow eyed, she holds a tarnished silver cup of who-knows-what up to her mouth, and broods in the shadow of a curtain over by one of those tall windows. Hmm. How immensely unsociable of her. Not even playing cards!
Rocco takes a long swig of his water-turned-wine from the bottle and gives November a very wary look. He does not trust her. "And just what are you supposed to be, love?" he asks as he moves toward the box and just stares at it like he expects it bite him or something. But he's not one to be frightened, especially not of /rainbows/, so he deftly sticks a hand in to draw out a trio of cards. And since he has nowhere to put them, he sticks them in his loincloth against his hipbone. At least it's not down with his junk. He doesn't even bother to look at them first.
There's another entry, not long after Frank -- or rather two, because Dross is here with Logan. The latter is on California time today, apparently. While he doesn't have the sheer Wyrdly numbers of several of the others here, he can't help but stand out, if only from the glowing light that surrounds him. Caring not one whit about the cold temperatures outside, he is dressed in an ancient Greek-style chiton, a short tunic-like garment, in white with blue and gold Greek key trim. He has on a blue cloak, caught by a sun-shaped broach at one shoulder. Upon his head is a golden crown shaped like the sun's rays, which sparkles and shines quite a bit, thanks to his own natural light. He holds a pair of golden horse's reins in one hand, and has golden sandals appropriate to the period on his feet, the lattice work climbing up his athletic calves. "Wow," he says. That's because he's gotten an eyeful of the place. There's a big grin on his face -- not very tragic.
Carter offers both Zillah and Rocco nods of acknowledgement as they enter, and limps his way over towards the table with the card dispenser just as Rocco has finished retrieving his three. He snaps up three for himself, and shoves them into an inner pocket of his bearskin cloak.
When he withdraws his hand from the cloak, though, his fingers are clutching a handful of shiny golden coins, which he holds out to Rocco, grinning his yellow-toothed grin. "Take these, O Holy of Holies," he says. His voice can't be any more disguised than the rest of him can. It still carries that hypnotic weight to it. But he does push it far down in his throat, rasping like a seven-pack-a-day smoker. "An offering from a poor sinner. Pray for me, if you would be so good. Or at least have a drink on my behalf." And he laughs, turning to face Zillah and inclining his head towards the Moon Queen.
Dross enters with Logan, walking a step or two behind him, almost like an extension of his goldflecked shadow. At first glance, it doesn't look like he's worn a costume at all, although he does seem to have made an effort to neaten his hair. The tall Darkling is dressed in a slim sweater in ribbed black wool, grey trousers, and black shoes. He also wears a simple work jacket in weathered-looking cotton duck with a fold of white lining showing inside the collar. On closer inspection, a hair-fine, almost imperceptible red line notches his right temple on the diagonal.
He looks around the hall. His gaze pauses for a moment on each of the other guests, in addition to taking in the decorations, before returning to the golden Fairest, in response to whose 'Wow' he simply nods.
The food and drink is anything but mundane. Generally, what looks the safest is probably the least safe, though none of the effects are permanent or truly harmful.
Getting drunk as a skunk after a sip of wine... quite possible.
Ending up with tears streaming uncontrollably down your cheeks for a minute or two, also possible. Some of the food and drink is simply made of goblin fruit. Others are gewgaws.
Over towards the box, Zillah slinks. She's a bit taller than normal, hinting at the height of heels under her skirt. But it does add a lovely little sway to her walk. "Rainbow," is greeted, as fingers reach to claim her own trio of cards. There's a long, slow look to Rocco before laughter spills out. It's with that mirth that she looks to Carter, lips pulled back in her fang-bearing grin. There's a wink, before she continues to look around at the others present, head tilted ever so slightly.
Widget makes it in some time after Carter, likely going along with him until she got distracted by some of the posters in the conference hall or something. She's just in a loincloth and chestwrap, as dirty as she usually is. It's not much of a costume, until the shiny golden ring clutched in her hands finally shows up. It's a precious, one she seems genuinely obsessed with at the moment. Someone asks to see it and she hisses, which only gets a laugh and a 'nice costume'. Widget just looks confused before she holds it close. Hers. HERS. Widget widget.
Of couse, the food is too, Widget going up and digging in. Whatever happens happens. It looks good!
Welcoming her other guests with dancing eyes in otherwise suitably grave features, the better to respect the Tragic Outcome sure to be ahead of them all, November plucks a microphone out of nowhere in particular and thumbs it on. Her voice, issued through the illusion, is not her voice. It is a whispery, hissing thing which echoes oddly through the room, as though the shadows were solid enough to change the very shape of the space the guests reside in.
"Three cards for each guest, and three challenges to complete. Return a card each time its challenge is completed. In the end, those who win may claim the crown of tragedy -- until another wins it from them. Or steals it."
The 'crown' appears above the stage, and my, how convenient illusions are, seeing as it swirls and spins in a slow display of light and shadow. To those who choose not to be fooled, it's nowhere to be seen, though there IS a box of about the right size. The thing looks sharp, vicious really, a crown of silver thorns and blood-bright ruby berries dripping diamond tears.
Over there by the curtains, Frank stops brooding behind that tarnished silver cup long enough to glance over to the hubbub closer to where November and the gaggle of High Wyrdos are playing cards. A hand slips to the thin pocket of her waistcoat and simply... Stays there. Wide green eyes ping from Carter and Widget to Zillah and Rocco, but ... they are a rather overwhelming bunch. The staring does not last long.
There is a crown up hanging above the stage, and Frank's eyes ping over to that - staring for a moment, before -- quite suddenly, sharply -- her head turns, and she observes Logan and Dross. Mostly Logan? Her cloak sways as she leans back, and... Well if she is smiling, Frank is hiding her mouth behind the cup as she watches his next moves. Goodness knows what the hell the Mortal is drinking.
"You'll need new bedding," Rocco points out to Zillah, surprisingly not staring at her chest that's barely covered by the necklackes. Maybe he got his staring at it in earlier or something. Or maybe he's just too distracted by the water bottle of wine in his hand that he keeps sucking down. He's not a gremlin who is here for the food. He pointedly avoids it and focuses on his liquid dinner that he came prepared with. At least, for now. We'll see how it goes when that runs out. "Challenges?" he murmurs thoughtfully, eyes narrowed and focused on the crown for a moment before turning back to the Crown. "Guess this is good a time as any to meet the new crew," he mentions to her as he looks around the area, watching Logan and Carter specifically for a long moment, though Dross and Widget and Franklyn and everyone else around also gets some attention.
Logan strides confidently towards the box to get his own cards. Along the way, he takes in everyone as he goes, smiling at the people who lookhis way, like Rocco, and nodding at the ones he actually knows. Zillah even gets a slight head bow of deference. Franklyn gets a particularly big grin, and some actual words: "Hi, Franklyn. I like your costume. It becomes you." That grin is flashed November's way as well. "Swell party."
Carter, in contrast to Rocco, does take a moment to stare at Zillah. Not at her chest specifically, but very definitely at her. And then at Franklyn, as the mortal approaches. And then Widget. And... everyone, really. His dark eyes take in each of the costumes on display, slowly and thoroughly, as though committing the details to memory.
Then there's a crown on display on the stage, and the bearskin-covered Devil turns to peer upward at it, one eybrow faintly raised. "Interesting," he murmurs. One hand goes in to retrieve his own cards, and he glances at each of them again before hiding them away once more. "A game, then. Well." Another flash of yellowed teeth as he grins again. "I wish you all the best of luck."
Dross takes three cards, too, but although he returns the attention of each person to look at him, and the foul bearskin gets a second once-over, he still doesn't say anything. The cards disappear from sight quickly enough that one might wonder whether he even bothered to look at them himself. The food seems to interest him still less, but he does glance at Logan and ask, "A drink?" He looks then at Franklyn, and whoever else might happen to be part of this cluster.
"Are two crowns overkill? I want to find out." Zillah says it to the air, as much as anyone near her. When she's greeted - even silently - she returns it with an up-nod of acknowledgement, before reaching over to steal some of that water-turned-to-wine from the resident Messiah. "I'm shit at cards," she notes, passing the bottle back.
Once she has greeted all of the guests, and the game is afoot, the microphone is sent back to its resting place and November moves gracefully toward Soup Jesus, offering Rocco a hand. She flashes a swift smile toward Zillah, inquiring of the Queen, "May I borrow your date, lovely? I've yet to see him dance." Her head turns, chin lifted in polite challenge. Just how well CAN Rocco dance without ending up losing his sheet and showing all?
Frank seems surprised when Logan beams in her direction, giving that California Dreamin' grin and gracious greeting. After a moment, when her cup is lowered? She's not frowning, but she has this maudlin wistfulness about her smile, eyes glimmering green-gold in reflection of all that radiance. "You're too kind to me, Logan."
Frank stares up at the Classically-costumed Fairest for a moment or three longer, then lifts her cup to her mouth again - looking to Dross, her head inclining - motioning, towards his cards in silence.
Apparently snubbed by the host, Logan shakes his golden head and nods to Dross. "Yes, my friend. Something alcoholic, please." That's pretty unusual for Logan. So is not calling people by their given names. "Not at all," he says to Frank next, flashing that grin again. "I was hoping to see you. It's been too long."
Oh poor poor Rainbow. Rocco shoots a glance over to Zillah that includes a bit of a knowing smirk. He's a high-dexterity performer who is not working on his first bottle of booze for the day. Plus he has no shame when it comes to shaking his groove thang, even if doing so might leave him showing off more of himself than he already is. Hopefully he doesn't though, and not just because it would make him lose the cards he has stuck into the bit of Zillah's bedding that he's stolen for his costume. And while he might not trust November when it comes to food or drink, he seems to think her mere presence alone is safe enough to not push away because he takes the offered hand. At least his mantle behaves for once and doesn't try to struggle with her own like an angry sibling whining that her mantle's on his mantle's side of the car. "Oh not her date, love, just the one I force my presence onto for lack of somewhere else to crash for now, then steal her booze and her bedding."
"Like he said, not my date. But please. Please, do steal him away." Zillah's lips quirk. And then the Winter-Moon Queen is slinking off towards those alcoholic beverages - and to loose herself on the crowd of the party. But not without ever-so-kindly asking if she can come closer to those she does approach.
Thankfully, the music is as tragic as the theme, with a particularly dismal, melancholy waltz the present auditory accompaniment. Icy digits close about Rocco's hand when he accepts, and November offers Zillah a sweet smile as she pats the back of Rocco's wrist. "We gods must stick together." Is that a 'we' including Rocco? He certainly isn't part of the Pantheon, but hey, he has rainbows. Dark ones. Dio would love him.
While she doesn't outright drag him, the faerie Ancient does give Rocco's hand a gentle tug to get him out onto the floor to dance. Elegant and icy hedgespun gown vs. bedsheet loincloth Jesus: tragedy in the making.
Widget smiles up at Carter, grabbing at the cloth and feeling at it before he can fully escape. Ooh. Fur. And her challenges, Widget feeling confident. One of those really really simple! For her, anyway. Some is trickier, Widget looking genuinely scared at one of them and slightly confused at the other. Oh! She stands, releasing Carter (if he didn't stop moving she skittered along on the floor until she lets go). Going to the spread again, she gets a shot glass, drinks one, gets a smaller one, and smacks it over the top of the full one. Nice and sealed, probably forever. She clutches it along with her ring, chattering along out loud in Spanish to....something. Fidget. Wiggle. So exciting!
"You know you can see me whenever you want, Logan." Frank intones to Logan - almost smiling in that same secretive sort of way; watching his face for a moment ... is she concerned? She's looking over to Dross as the Darkling places his cards over her cup - her eyebrows raising.
A sharp, short peel of laugher - pained? And she looks around the room; to the slithering skirts of Zillah as the Moon Queen slips into the crowd -- to the overwhelming Wyrdness of Carter and gluttony of Widget -- to the first steps of November and Rocco's dance -- and then back, finally, to Logan.
Smile broadening, but never brightening as that melancholic music plays. Are there any Winter's in the house? Frank takes a step closer, her head tilted as she studies Logan's face - reaching out to take his hand... No. No the golden reigns.
"When I was born, my cord not cut but torn; I was not washed with water, and though I was soaked in salt I was not held in clothes. No one cared enough to do even one of these things; for there was no kindness, or pity, or faith. Compassion collapsed; I was there, cast into an open field - despised; and there you passed by, and saw me squirming in my blood, and as the earth spat up my blood, I heard his voice."
Rocco and November do, indeed, dance. And Rocco is a surprisingly good dancer. Even if his version of dancing is a little too punk-influenced for his own good. The loincloth manages to stay put, at least. Thank God (daddy?) for small favors. But eventually he needs to rehydrate, or at least his version of it, so he begs off once the song is done and goes to reclaim his misplaced bottle of wine and go outside for a cigarette. You really don't want to be around when he digs the pack of cigarettes and the lighter out because there's not many places he can keep something like that in /that/ outfit. And hey, if he's outside and gets distracted by a girl wanting to know what's under his loincloth or he happens across a dealer or something, it's probably not surprising when he just outright disappears from the festivities for the rest of the evening.
Logan awaits his drink. Meanwhile, Franklyn approaches. "It's good you know the Bible," he tells her, voice bright as the light around him. Though when she reaches for those reins, he puts a hand over hers, grasping it. It will probably be hard to move from his grip. Then he says -- rather randomly -- "I think Davey agrees. Don't you, Davey?" He looks to his right, like someone is there. It isn't.
Dross watches Carter surrender his cards and limp over to Widget at the buffet table. But he doesn't linger long before collecting a drink, as well as a few things from various other tables, and returning to Logan and Franklyn. The pair stand not far from where Carter and Widget have ended up. He passes a clear glass of something translucent and golden, with just a hint of bitter fragrance, into Logan's hand. His own hand lingers on the other man's shoulder for a second or two before twisting a cluster of small heliotrope flowers through the rays of his sun-shaped broach.
"Good, for who?" Frank chimes - a much darker sound, contrasting the light of Logan's voice. She may get her fingers around the leather of the rein, but she is not faced with the immobility of her hand in the Fairest's grip. For a moment, Frank is still - absolutely still - then her eyes flirt up, and she stares at his face. Smiling. "It was when I was born in blood. Do you believe in resurrection, Logan? Or do you fall, and sink into the darkened waves like... Bruegel's Icarus: barely make a splash."
Listen to this perfectly normal faerie party banter. With her drink-in-hand, she makes barely a move: cards resting on the top still steady while Frank inclines her head towards 'Davey'. "He knows what I'm talking about." Wait. Was she suggesting Dross? She doesn't look at him - or Widget, or Carter, or anybody dancing. Sheesh; Frank's got tunnel vision.
November, after her dance with Rocco, has subsequently spent her time circulating through her guests to surreptitiously assist with challenges, when possible. She is a helpful hostess. While she glances at Carter and Widget, the pair seem adequately settled and nothing is A) on fire, B) exploding, or C) obviously broken in the gremlin's vicinity, so she moves on, drifting to a halt near Logan, Dross and Franklyn after retrieving a small tray of finger-food pastries. The contents seem black, but the juice, where it has bubbled up onto the flaky pastry crust, is a deep blood red. "Finger pie?"
The door opens, and in comes Damion. The big dragon is wearing...a blue and white track suit, with a ? on his left breast and on the back of it. There's a trible looking tattoo on one side of his face. He glances around the room curiously, then starts further into the gathering, nodding and smiling to those he recognizes.
Logan takes the glass from Dross with his usual smile. "Gee, thanks. This looks terrific!" He toasts the Darkling and adds, "To your health." Then he takes a very small sip. Then he looks to Franklyn and readjusts the grip of his reins. "Davey doesn't actually know what he's talking about, but he'll have some finger pie." That's in the direction of November when she approachse. "Won't you, Davey?"
Logan's smile elicits something like a smile from Dross in return, which is to say: his blue eyes brighten. "Zum Wohl," he tells the Fairest. He watches Franklyn indicate 'Davey,' head tilted a little to one side. "Is there such a thing as birth without blood?" he asks. Calm, neutral voice. He hands her a flower, too, before turning to look at November and the finger pies. He raises an eyebrow, but doesn't comment on the pies or whether he agrees that Davey will be the first to eat one.
"Yes!" Widget pipes up from her position of what sounds to be under the table. "Robots! No blood. Unless something slips. Yes." There. Moral quandry solved. Coaxed out by the smell of yet more food, Widget pads over to the group. "Rico says hi." Yes. Pie! Nomf. Didn't even bother to see what's in it.She's got her shot-glass sealed-thingie in a deathgrip in her ring-bearing hand. That thing has to be real gold.
Franklyn compresses her lips - neither a frown or smile as Logan answers her. Contemplative? Unsatisfied? Pained? The emotive whirlwind's attention is torn - just - as November glides on up with a platter full of---
She shakes her head at November's gracious offer.
"I've all the finger's I need, thank you -- have you everything?" Frank's smile is appropriately maudlin as Logan takes his reigns she takes back her hand -- placing it behind her back, under her cloak, while her posture is adjusted into something Princely. The cards remain balanced on the silver glass in her hand. A glance around - to Damion as the Dragon looms - to Widget or where she thinks Widget should be, before startled into realising she is much, much closer - to Dross. The flower is not looked at -- but Frank reaches out, grips the step and pulls it close while watching the Darkling's face.
November shifts her grip on the platter to balance it on one hand and forearm, free hand plucking up a pie, beginning to extend toward 'Davey', then retracting, the pie offered to Logan instead. "I do believe he might like it better, were it to come from his dear friend."
Toward Dross, the colourful creature affirms, "There are many forms of bloodless birth," before turning to look toward the sound of the door being closed behind Damion. Widget's appearance and subsequent pie-nomfing prompt the rainbow to hand Goll--ahem, Widgum the entire platter, with the instruction to, "See who else would like them, please, before eating them all."
The Ancient herself is approaching Damion like a good hostess to welcome him to the party. "Face tattoos. Tragic indeed. Will you join us?"
Because her player totally didn't space it and didn't forget to answer Franklyn: November ALSO tells Franklyn that, "What I have is sufficient, thank you."
Logan grins at Widget -- she's just grinnable. He watches briefly as Franklyn takes Dross' flower, though his expression is hard to read. Hard to see through the light and the smile, always. Then he shakes his head at November. "No, thank you. Davey doesn't trust me, for some reason." He looks to the blank spot to his right. "Why don't you trust me, Davey?"
"Ah," says Dross. "Is that your tragedy, November?" There's no particular expression on his face, or in his voice. He looks at the door, then at Logan. "Excuse me, please," he says, in low, even, polite tones. Then he turns and walks out of the room.
"...The decor is beautifully done." Really Frank? That's the response to November? Yes -- and yet, she seems so... Melancholy? Yes. Super sad about it. Maybe it's the music -- also her entire existence. The glass of booze covered by cards remains still in her hand, as she glances at Dross leave, turns and gives Damion and Widget a wary look -- especially Widget -- and then... Gets drawn back into orbit around Logan.
Her expression remains morose, yet... Tender? Worried? Curious. After he speaks about Davey, Frank looks curious about Logan -- and oblivious to the little drips of blood coming out from her palm, where she's gripped the thorny stem of the rose Dross handed her before.
Widget takes the tray, wandering around and bothering everyone trying to get them to eat those pies. She's a nimble thing, managing to keep the platter upright with one hand. The other needs to hold that glass, you see. Milling about, she chatters in Spanish to someone called Rico, in between pestering everyone in sight.
Damion winks over at November as she looks at him, then takes a meat pie from Widget when she draws near him. "Hi hon. Who're you dressed as?" Then he goes back to wathing those around him. It seems... very lively. Which isn't a bad thing to be sure.
The music shifts to a slightly more lively melody than before. Point in fact, it is a polka. Granted, a polka played in such a way that it sounds as though the instruments are weeping as they dance, but still. It's lively. Melancholy, but lively.
November doesn't answer Dross, seeing as the man departs so swiftly after his question is asked. She does, however, pluck a lace-edged silk handkerchief patterned with lovely snowflakes from nowhere in particular, offering it to Franklyn. "It would be a shame to stain your attire," she suggests, oh so helpful, before adding, "Are you the one who rendered him a ghost?" toward Logan. "I dare say I'd feel a mite untrustful of my own murderer."
Frank's curiosity begins to fade; turning into something more ... confused, as the polka music picks up and the faeries go about their business and the Winter Room glimmers and, quite suddenly, there is a handkerchief. Why is there a handkerchief?
When Frank realises she's bleeding, she does a double-take between November and Logan; fingers reaching out to accept the lace-and-silk. "That's a shame -- I would feel like my murderer would be someone I could trust, because at least we would know, surely, were we stand with one another. No more... Ah, doubt.'
"Excuse me." With this, Frank bobs her head to November and Logan, then glides away -- off to fix her hand, probably. If she can ever get the will to let go of the rose stem.