The Lodge Guard spotted the brilliant verdant standard of the Pamnyki advancing up the road from the Everwater River, followed quickly by the blare of horns and drums that announced the approach of the Pamnyki delegation. The servants and butlers went from their normal routine to a flurry of frenzied activity with meals and hospitality that had to be readied for the delegation and their staff. The Lodge steward Brandyl gave a final inspection of the state suites that would be assigned to the incoming Pamnyki and announced their readiness before heading to the galley to check in with kitchen steward.
After speaking with the kitchen steward and getting his report that all was in readiness for the arrival and the wedding, Brandyl stepped out into the courtyard and felt the wind on his face. There was a touch of coolness in the breeze that carried the smell of rain in spite of their being no clouds in the sky.
The Lodge was built in the shape of a cross with equal sized arms and a central circular market. The Lodge Crier would stand in the middle of the market to read any sovereign announcements. Today, the open courtyard and market were abuzz with activity as everyone prepared to make the Lodge look its best. Another long horn blast followed by the sound of the Pamnyki’s traditional rallying cry announced that the delegation had arrived. Brandyl turned back and saw green and silver banner of the Pamnyki dip in respect to the Lodge Guard.
Brandyl threw up a small prayer to the Great Wolf: They are here. May You be with us and there be no incidents to disgrace us or you, oh Great Wolf.
He quickly continued over to the High Residence to follow up on their preparations. As he made his way through the East Spire lost in his thoughts of the preparations, he found himself walking into Kevyl’s quarters.
“GET OUT!” Kevyl screamed as the quickly pulled his finest breeches up to cover his nakedness.
Brandyl quickly turned away and apologized to him.
“Brandyl, what in the name of the Great Wolf were you thinking just barging in here? Even the regular Lodge servants have been walking through here like it was a common space.” Kevyl said clearly angry at the lack of respect being given to him.
Brandyl turned back to face him and found Kevyl standing there naked except for his socks. “Kevyl, I humbly apologize. I was lost in my mind going over the preparations and was thinking I needed to check in with you so that I knew how the High Residence’s preparations are coming along.”
Kevyl sucked in a breath and held it. It was all he could do to keep from exploding at Brandyl. Since Maikyl’s announcement of their impending handfasting, all of his duties had been given to Trevyl. As he let out a long slow sigh, Kevyl realized that Brandyl was probably as stressed as he was and that helped to calm him.
“Brandyl, you know that Trevyl has been in charge of the High Residence since Maikyl’s announcement.” Kevyl said with a hint of frustration.
“Indeed Kevyl. I do apologize. Is there anything you need before you and Maikaj receive the Pamnyki?”
Kevyl let out a chuckle, which turned into a long gale of laughter. “Actually, I just want to get this done with. I don’t want to get dressed and deal with all the protocol of receiving the delegations, the last minute planning for the handfasting…” Kevyl stopped laughing and turned serious, “Brandyl, you should leave so that Maikaj and I can finishing getting ready. The guards are here to escort me to the Great Hall and I’m not even dressed.”
Brandyl turned to look out the door, saw the two guards dressed in their ceremonial Lodge uniforms and quickly took his leave. The two guards stepped into the room.
“Kevyl, you must quickly dress. The delegation will be in the Great Hall shortly.”
Kevyl muttered under his breath, I know what I need to do but if people don’t stop interrupting me.
He quickly dressed and meticulously groomed in front of the reflecting stone. Satisfied that he looked the best he could look, he slipped on the deer skin boots that he commissioned just for today’s celebrations.
He took one last look in the reflecting stone taking note of how the silver and green interplayed against his pale skin and red hair. His stocky but muscular physique stood out amongst the Talijali but the Pamnyki would find him to be normal.
He motioned to the two guards and they stepped out into the hallway, meeting Maikyl and his four guards. Maikyl hesitated for a moment and mis-stepped as Kevyl walked out of his quarters. Maikyl had never seen Kevyl looking so attractive as he did in his Pamnyki finery.
They walked to the Great Hall with Kevyl keeping two paces behind Maikyl. As they approached the Great Hall, they were stopped briefly by Brandyl who let them know that all was in readiness.
The doors to the Great Hall were opened and Kevyl stepped out into the warm light. He led the Talijali entourage into the hall and ascended the dais. He took his seat and waited patiently as the rest of the Talijali guests came in and settled in to the Great Hall. The wait seemed to go on for a long time but finally, Kevyl heard the blast of horns from the back of the Hall and looked up to see the doors being drawn open. He stood along with the rest of the Hall as Maikaj strode in, dressed in full regalia.
Maikaj ascended the dais and paused in front of this throne. He turned to Kevyl and kissed his hand as the crowd gave its approval. He sat down and the hall sat down after he was settled.
“My sovereign, we have guests this glorious day…” barked the Lodge Crier.
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