I have lived in the City for all of my life. I am old enough, if barely, to remember the Bitterest Winter. To remember Percy de Somerville's army outside the wall. I am old enough to remember the rumors about the Queen's betrothed, barbarian and tattooed blue. That was more than a decade ago, when I was yet a child, and such things have happened in that time as to render most memories distant.. most but not all.

I am D'Angeline enough to seek and find beauty where I look. To find it in the stark, blue whorls tattooed on the Cruarch's face, in the contrast he and the Queen make. I am D'Angeline enough to live by Elua's dictum - "Love as thou wilt" - and to follow in the footsteps of Elua and his Companions.

And I am Tsingani enough to find vindication as the nobles of Terre D'Ange find themselves willingly, and even eagerly, at Night's Doorstep. To revel in the gala happening even as I watch, in the arrival of the royal couple and the guest of honor. I am Tsingani enough to see the path, now that it has been trod - the Long Road travelled by Hyacinthe, son of Anastazsia, and Phedre no Delaunay. From the Prince of Travelers and a whore's unwanted get to the Master of the Straits and the Comtesse de Montreve. The Long Road they walked ends where it began.

I am what I am - D'Angeline and Tsingani - enough of both to stand in awe as a river of light flows down from Mont Nuit. The Court of the Night Blooming Flowers is dark tonight, its blooms floating in the torchlight to join with the rest of us. For the first time in its history, the Night Court has closed its doors, all the adepts descending to Night's Doorstep. They do it to honor the Master of the Straits, and to honor the Comtesse who they had the early training of.

In truth, they come, as we all come, to honor the purest expression of that which Elua lived by. When it comes down to it, Hyacinthe and Phedre traveled the Long Road for love, and only love. It is that we truly honor here tonight. We are D'Angeline, after all.