The bells tolled twelve in the night, the ringing echoing through the warm sandstone halls, which seemed to whisper of the many people that had walked through them that night. The sound of heels hitting the marble floor at a fast pace continued as the chimes faded into the warm night. Jack, almost running, was trying to finish fitting into his evening attire. A shirt still dangling untucked and half buttoned and a dark maroon jacket under his arm, the man seem flustered. He knew rushing was a bad idea.
Jack, finally pushing his arms through the jacket, appeared at the end of the hall in front of a tall wooden door. Taking only a moment to glance at the wall to his right, holding a gold frame with blue-hazed smoke inside, which seemed could overflow anytime but didn’t. The thin lines tumbled and moved, created a silhouette of the man, reflecting the shiny black dress shoes, maroon pants rising up to the now-tucked black shirt and jacket. There was, however, no reflection of his face but this was nothing new to him.
Taking a deep breath he lifted his hand and, as if trying to grab something out of the air, he flicked and turned his hand creating a mask of a fox, formed out of the same moving smoke seen in the mirror. Putting the mask on, he pushed at the door expecting a loud creak from their size and apparent old age. Yet, he was met with the sound of rustling leaves before being hit with the music of the ball taking place in the large gallery behind the entrance.
Arms prickling with excitement, he started making his way down the marble stairs. Jack felt gazes darting at him from the party’s attendees. Although it was difficult to tell who they came from most of the time. Weirdly enough, the masks that everyone was wearing were supposed to distinguish rather than conceal the faces, with the faces forever moving ever changing. This night, as any other, Jack was looking for a particular mask among the crowd. That was of a cat- one amber eye, gleaming with the warmth of the sun, and another green, breathing the life of a forest.
Beginning to feel his heart torn by the expectation of the meeting, he brought his mind back to what his task was tonight. His usual appearance at these events were common, yet he was still to be acknowledged as one of the members. Taking in the music flowing through the gallery, he picked up his pace, moving through the crowd of people dressed in clothing of different eras, glowing and chiming with unique cultures and events of their time.
As Jack reached the middle of the grand space, people dancing around him slowed down, followed by the music quieting and everything coming to a halt. A sound of something hitting the floor along with footsteps rang through the chatter of the crowd that began shifting to make a clear path. A tall man, dressed in royal clothes, covered by a royal purple cloak was making his way closer, by each step hitting the floor with a rapier, sending sparks and leaving a blue fire burning.
The time came for his initiation giving a rise of nausea, reminding of any public speaking or presenting he had to do before. But this was a chance he could not let pass or mess up. The man with the rapier having made his way close by he stopped and Jack made a courteous bow. The rapier hit thrice, causing sparks and strings of blue fire that crawled around Jack, encircling him.
Stretching out his hands and feeling the heat emanating from the fire around, he began once again snatching at the air trying to catch something, as he did before when creating the mask. With the flick of his hands, he caught thin streams of fire between his index finger and the thumb and began twisting his fingers around the fire. Once he had all five fingers covered, the fiery lines cut off from the ones circling on the ground and snaked their away, hugging each finger.
Jack had to create a link between his life and his presence in the court. Without clearly understanding how to do it, he began putting his hands together and then putting his open palms forward as if feeling a piece of marble that was not there. The fire on his hands began floating wherever he had brushed the air, creating an image.
Working from the bottom up, the blueish haze began falling onto the ground into two opposite directions, changing appearance into wood, forming thick roots, crawling and touching the sides of the fiery circle and digging deep into the marble. With further hand movements, Jack sculpted two distinctly coloured trunks, intertwining as they moved upwards, joining into one. Finally, taking a deep breath, Jack put his hands into claws with cat like manner, and sharply pushed his nails upwards, causing colourful branches to appear at the top of the tree, dabbled with stars for fruit.
With the branches finished, the tree came alive, breathing a fresh breeze of scents and colours throughout the gallery, making everything so much more vivid. The circle of fire present throughout the whole time went off in a spectacular flash, after which the fire on Jacks hands simmered away.
Now facing the man with the rapier he made another bow, after which he observed, what he could have guessed being a pleased expression behind the mask. The man took his rapier, touching the left then the right shoulders before touching the head. With that, he took a step to the side revealing a person with two differently coloured gleaming eyes, at the sight of which he felt everything fade away.
In a quick moment, Jack found himself tumbling from his bed in Verona. The full moon shining through the windows. Getting back into grips of his surroundings and still savouring his experiences that had taken place just a second ago, he felt something by his side. A mask, with cat like features, divided in half by intertwining branches- one eye letting him see back to the magical place where he had just been. Another, the person he sought for. And the branches, acting as an invitation back. The mask disappeared into thin air.