Berin Presents his list of armaments and price estimates to King Olyn.
Having been granted the sum of three million shillings by the Alliance of Trans-terranean Principalities to be used for the purchase of new weaponry, the Throne of the Sovereign Nation of Left Langorya had appointed stable boy Berin Mynd to identify the pieces that were most pressing to replace, and to initiate the purchase. As directed, Berin had obtained a list of preliminary prices for estimation purposes from a nearby smithy, but he was required by treaty to use the services of the Alliance to make the actual purchase. With time running out he was summoned by the Royal Court for an audience with King Olyn.
“State your business”, the heavily armed guard blocked Berin at the door that would permit audience with the King, "Surrender your weapons."
"I have been summoned by the Court to discuss terms of a major purchase with King. I am but a stable boy. I Left my pitchfork in the Royal Paddock."
The guard disappeared momentarily through the heavy, jewel encrusted door, and then returned, "The king will see you. Follow me"
Berin was led into a large room with a vacant throne. Above the throne was a large portrait of an imposing, regally attired figure of a man. The right eye of the painting appeared quite usual, while the left was large, round, with a glassy, surreal quality.
As they approached, Berin looked at the throne, and the portrait, puzzled, "Where's the King?"
The guard gestured towards the painting, and bowed, "Your Likeness, here is the boy you summoned"
Suddenly, it dawned on Berin. He would be conversing with the painting. It felt odd, but he would have to adapt. He had been summoned.
With no further explanation, the guard turned, went back through the heavy door and left Berin alone with 'His Likeness'. The door slammed shut.
"Your Likeness, here is the list of armaments that my assistant and I have compiled. The Mydlathian Smithy has provided preliminary prices totaling three and an eighth million shillings."
The Left Eye seemed to spin, trying to focus on the parchment that Berin held up; The painting seemed almost to flash a little irritation, "Of course, you have negotiated lower prices."
Berin looked up at the painting, "No, Your Likeness."
"And WHY NOT?", shot back the portrait, Left Eye spinning and seeming to glow deep red.
"Time hasn't allowed, and The Alliance requires that we submit our request to the Alliance Emptor so that they may arrange a contest between armories."
"How long will that take?"
"But a mere fortnight Your Likeness."
"Forget the Alliance! These armaments must be placed on order with the smithy tomorrow!"
As if by some unheard, unseen signal, the guard returned to the room and led Berin out.