Friday, May 5, 2023

Dark Armor: Preparations for Dinner

An hour and three full plates of food later, Pallian was standing in his old rooms and looking around bemused. The chambers had evidently been sealed off when he'd been sent away to the crypt, and then recently opened and aired out. His wardrobe, at least, was still sealed; the enchantments on it had kept his old clothes free of dust and moths. That was no small relief, since he only kept a handful of outfits at the crypt, and his current clothing was the most formal of those. 

It wasn't a bad choice, he decided, looking at himself in the full-length mirror beside the wardobe. The crimson shirt with its loose sleeves and standing collar was made of good cloth, well-cut and and well-fitted; it didn't look at all worn. Color aside, the dark gray pants were much the same. While the boots and swordbelt were plainer, they weren't inappropriate -- especially if he wished to give the impression of a warrior-prince, and even if this meeting was somehow diplomatic rather than hostile that didn't seem like a bad impression to give. 

He unbuckled his swordbelt and set it aside, then sorted through his wardrobe until he found a black overrobe, ankle-length and sleeveless. That will do nicely, he decided, and pulled it on. 

His shoulders had broadened since he'd last worn it, but the royal clothier had woven a few small enchantments into the cloth; it adjusted immediately to fit his new proportions. He looked in the mirror again, smoothing it down, and nodded. The overall effect was somewhat severe; the outfit was utterly lacking in decoration. But then, this is the Obsidian Citadel of Teregor, Pallian reminded himself. It was built to give the impression of dark power, not colorful conviviality. So his father had told him when he was a child, and had asked why his room couldn't have more color in it. His mother, later and in private, had been kinder. 

He added a ring for his left hand and a small brooch that he pinned to the left side of the overrobe. They were a matched set, silver set with moonstone. The ring was enchanted to sharpen his senses, and the brooch bore no enchantments at all, a fact which had driven his sister Rebka to distraction as she spent weeks trying to figure out what it actually did. It was probably too much to hope that it would have the same effect on the royalty of Edrias, but he could try.

Satisfied, he buckled the swordbelt back on to hold the robe in place. He still didn't know what was going on, and the servants who had been tending to his room when he arrived had all been mute, living and dead alike. He couldn't ask them, and he wasn't sure if that was accidental or if the lack of explanation was one of his father's many tests: either one of the deliberate ones he used to measure his children's capabilities, or one of the impromptu ones he tossed out when he wanted a reason to be angry with someone. 

It didn't have the feel of one of the latter, but Pallian would have been a fool to rule out the possibility. 

Very well, he thought. Who might know, and be willing to tell me? His father had told him to be ready for the arrival of the House of Edrias, but that was still several hours away. Perhaps he intended for Pallian to take the time to rest and recover, but more likely he hadn't given his younger son's presence any thought at all. Whatever I do, it won't matter to him until it does. 

With that thought, Pallian turned to depart his rooms. He knew the way to the Hall of Swords -- he could almost have walked there blind -- and if the dark and forgotten gods favored him then he might find Westrov there.

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