Page 19Mature

            Then it was Elain’s turn. Rather than kneel like Armand, she grabbed the hem of her robe and curtsied. “Lady Elain of House Velarois, Court Mage of House Monteferre, Scribe of the Royal Library, requesting to be recognized by her ladyship Princess Eveline of House Monteferre.”

            Like the first time, Eveline nodded with the smile only old friends could share. “You are recognized. Come and sit.” Elain finished her curtsy and walked to the last open chair directly to Eveline’s left.

            The smile barely dulled into a look of expectation as every eye in the room turned to look at Sam. For a moment he stood there, petrified in nervousness. The expectation then turned to confusion as she wondered why Sam was just standing there dumbfounded. Armand and Elain exchanged a worried look as Sam could not find the strength to move his legs. Elain subtly gestured with her head for him to step forward. Finally, Sam stepped meekly forward. He clumsily kneeled in the same manner Armand had.

            Sam desperately tried to think of some titles that would sound official. After a few moments of thought, he shyly said, “Samuel of House Foster, Scribe of the New Orleans Public Library, Knight of the Old Republic, Paladin of the Brotherhood of Steel requesting to be recognized by her ladyship Princess Eveline of House Monteferre.”

            Elain had to keep from hanging her mouth open in shock. She was not sure which was more surprising: how well Sam had answered the customary announcement of the royal court or how many titles he actually possessed. She didn’t expect him to be a knight, let alone a scribe also.

            Now Eveline gave another inviting smile. “You are recognized. My apologies, Sir Samuel, but there are no more chairs available at the table. Would you mind standing a moment while we fetch you one?”

             “Not at all, your ladyship,” Sam responded.  He was still blisteringly nervous, but the fact that he had passed the first challenge of this court gave him a small boost in confidence. Eveline waved for a servant who promptly bowed and marched off to claim a new seat.

            As soon as he had left, Eveline solidly tapped the mahogany table with a gavel. “To order. Who has anything worth deliberating on?”

             “I do,” Armand stated plainly. Eveline nodded as he rose from his chair to address the council. “We have had reports of the old threat of the once crippled Shifters to the east gaining a newfound momentum.”

             “What momentum would that be?” a man to Armand’s left asked. As Sam looked at him for the first time, h noticed something about the man that nearly pushed him out of his chair. The man, a grizzled warrior by the look of it in Romanesque armor, had feathered wings like an eagle’s protruding from his back. Sam was fascinated, presuming that this man belonged to one of the other races of Deyras. His thought process was broken briefly as the servant returned with a wooden chair and set it behind him. Focusing back on the deliberation, Sam sat down.

             “They have gotten much bolder in recent months. They’ve gone beyond robbing the occasional caravan. Now they’re threatening farmsteads and terrorizing outlying settlements,” Armand responded.

The End

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