Bianca St. Claire is holding a ball to celebrate her elevation to the rank of Margravine of the Vampire Court, reception to begin at midnight. It's held at Bianca's mansion and is a masquerade ball. Guests were supposed to come dressed as something they weren't.
The entry led to a deck elevated ten feet off of the restes of a vast outdoor courtyard. Glowing globes rested on wire stands lending a torch-lit mystique. There was a dais on the opposite side with a throne-like chair. When entering, a servant asks for the invitation and then announces the guests.
Outside Harry Dresden's apartment, Kyle Hamilton, a Red Court vampire, was sent as an ordained herald of the Court to officially invite Harry Dresden as the local representative of the White Council. He brought his sister, Kelly Hamilton, who is not covered under the Unseelie Accords and who made blood-drinking overtures to Harry. Susan Rodriguez is present and she gets ideas of what it could mean to her career.
Harry brought Michael Carpenter to the ball with him and hopes to find whoever is behind the Nightmare. Outside they met Thomas Raith, a White Court Vampire, and Justine. Thomas calmed Bianca and the Reds who were all set to attack over Harry's cheesy vampire costume. Kyle and Kelly Hamilton handed Harry and Michael goblets. Kelly's hand burned when she touched Michael. Harry evoked the laws of hospitality. They backed off. Harry drained his goblet. Thomas warned that the wine is poisoned, a bit too late. The wine had vampire venom. All the guest have fallen into a stupor.
Harry talked to a dragon named of Ferrovax. Mr. Ferro crushed Harry with his power. It comes out that Michael killed another dragon, Siriothrax. Susan showed up having used a fake invitation to get in, so she's not protected under the laws of hospitality. The Leanansidhe tried to get Harry to give in to her demands. Some gag spell comes over Harry supposedly for breaking his bargain with Lea three times. Susan bargained one year of her memory to free Harry from the spell. Lea offered to give Michael the Sword, Amoracchius, for his eldest daughter.
Under Lea's spell, Susan forgot everything about Harry or Michael. Harry finally convinced Susan to leave. On the stairs out, Harry used his Sight. He Sees Mavra, a Black Court vampire, through her powerful veil. Mavra states only two can leave because one invitation was faked. Marvra started a black spell that Harry recognized as the one behind the Nightmare. Michael and Susan's crosses blaze with white light. The lights in the room go out. The hour of socialization is up. The doors close with a boom. Harry, Michael and Susan were locked inside.
Court started and gift time began. Harry figured out that the whole thing was a set up to trap him there. Bianca made a speech about how with the strength of the Lords of Outer Night, and her kind will overcome their foes. Two hooded figures (identified later as Cowl and Kumori in Dead Beat) handed Ferrovax, a cask containing something that gleams. Justine asked for Harry's aid in escaping. Thomas was given a condo in Hawaii and one airline ticket if he left tonight. Harry climbed the dais. Bianca mentions Paula who she blames Harry for killing. Harry is given a gravestone: "He Died Doing the Right Thing". The Leanansidhe was given a small black case. Lea then gave Amoracchius to Bianca in exchange and in turn Bianca gave it to Mavra. Lydia (Harry's client) was brought up to the dais and it's clear that Mavra intended to unmake the sword by killing an innocent.
Harry, Michael and Thomas charge up to save Lydia with Susan and Justine behind them. They get Lydia but Bianca gets Justine. Then, Thomas betrayed them in a failed attempt to get her back by pushing Susan at a group vampires who descended upon her. Bianca ordered Thomas killed. Harry became so enraged that he throws fire everywhere, burning vampires, walls and people. Michael got Harry and Lydia out through a tunnel of air in the smoke. Lea is there and helped them escape.
Harry returned later to save Susan and ran straight into a trap where he is overtaken by a horde of vampires. He's locked in a room with Justine who's a little crazed. Harry had poison in him so the vampires didn't kill him. Rachel's ghost appears wanting to be freed of Bianca. Leonid Kravos inhabits Justine and speaks to Harry. Susan was found hiding behind some machines infected with the vampire toxin and hungry—and she still doesn't remember Harry.
. . . (missing part)
The Red King had sent Paolo Ortega as his observer and representative to Bianca's Ball. As a witness, he planned to carry the word of Harry's treacherous attack and his breaking of the laws of hospitality back to the Red King and that will mean War.
In the seriesEdit
- Main article: Dead Beat
"The vampire Court extends a formal invitation to Harry Dresden, Wizard as the local representative of the White Council of Wizards, to attend the reception celebrating the elevation of Bianca St. Claire to the rank of Margravine of the Vampire Court, three nights hence, reception to begin at midnight. The safety of all invited guests is assured, by word of the assembled court, of course."
"The bearer, wizard Harry Dresden, and an escort of his choosing, are hereby courteously invited to a reception..."
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