Pallian was half-dozing in a sort of miserable fugue when they came to fetch him for his execution. He managed to rouse himself when he heard the the first faint groans that heralded the loosening of the bloodsteel latches of the Tomb of the Living, but held himself still until the great stone lid was raised. If he moved now...
His father was standing across the room from him, accompanied by half a dozen mage-guards and the holy half-dead Amedin, and all hope of escape suddenly fled. The Wizard-King of Teregor smiled as he met Pallian's eyes and saw the sudden change of plans there. "Still spirited, boy?" he asked. Then he said, "Good. You'll need that."
Puzzled, Pallian asked: "I need to be lively when I'm executed, your majesty?"
"Insolence, boy. You're being given another chance, but don't press me."
"I... I think I see," he said, though it was anything but clear what was going on. "My apologies, Majesty."
"And call me Father," said the Wizard-King, irritably. "You won't be executed today. You'll accompany myself and the Heir when we go to meet House Edrias."
House...? Pallian nodded, glad that he'd managed not speak that thought out loud. "As you wish it, Father."
The Wizard-King nodded. "Good. Better. Amedin will check you over, and when we reach the Citadel, and you will be permitted one new initiation with his approval. Choose it wisely." His expression turned sly. "It would have been two if you'd shown proper respect."
Pallian bowed. "I am grateful, Father." It wasn't hard to sound sincere; he was genuinely grateful for the chance to add a new initiation, even if it would have to be approved by Amedin and his father would know immediately what he had chosen. If they were going to be meeting with house Edrias -- and not, from the sound of things, on the field of battle -- then he'd need all the help he could get.
But why in the Seventeen Hells are we meeting with them now?