At that point, several things happened more or less at once. Firstly, Sir Ferdinand swung his fist at Seymour’s face and missed because Seymour had the presence of mind to duck. Next, Henry snarled a word that Seymour had never heard in a language he did not recognize and slammed his hand on the table. All fifty-some-odd candles in the magnificent chandelier went out simultaneously, sending the room into near darkness. It seemed to Seymour that shadows began to creep down the walls like the gathering minions of Death.
Henry stood up, his form silhouetted in the dimly glowing windows. Pale blue sparks danced about his hands.
“Enough.” His voice had deepened, and it almost sounded as if two of him were talking at once. “Sit down.”
The knight and the merman obeyed without question. With a sigh, the mage flicked his wrist, and the candelabra burst into flames once more.
Henry sat down. “I would appreciate it,” he said, glaring at them, “if the both of you could just act your age. I do not wish to babysit.”
“My father will hear of this,” Ferdinand muttered.
“Aw, the little baby’s running crying to daddy!” Seymour contorted his face into an exaggerated pout. “Did you soil your big boy pants?”
“Will you shut up, Seymour?” The exasperation in the young lord’s tone was immeasurable. “Sir Ferdinand, I’ll have you know that if your father hears of this, he will hear of quite a few other things as well.” He smiled slightly. “The hand cream, for starters.”
Glowering, Sir Ferdinand leaned back in his chair. “Very well,” he said. “But remember you this, Carvil. You’re nothing more than a lowly fief lord. Someday, someone shall come down to this awful valley of yours and put you back in your place.”
Henry’s smile widened. “That may well be, but that someone shan’t be you. After all, until you come into your inheritance, you’re lowlier even than me.”
“Ooh,” said Seymour. “That’s gotta hurt.”
At that moment, the butler returned and went to stand at Henry’s side. “The kitchens have been notified, my lord.”
Henry nodded, his expression vacant. “Go find the duke and the duchess and Lady Alina, and see if they are drawing near to concluding their discussion with the priest. Encourage them to hurry it up, if feasible.”
“Yes, my lord.” He turned to go.
“Bernard—before you go, please reseat Mr. de Winter to a chair nearer to me.”
The butler raised his eyebrows in mild surprise, but he made no verbal objections. “As you wish, my lord.”