The throne room was much as it had been before: the Obsidian Throne a looming presence but its only occupant pacing angrily at the foot of its platform. Ravaj was there as well, of course, along with Counselor Barias and master Paledes, a smattering of other courtiers, and a half-dozen scribes. Voices filled the air: talking, gossiping, arguing.
"Wizard-King Teres," called the High Magister as they spilled into the room. Her voice carried, and the crowd fell silent by degrees.
She intimidates them, Pallian thought, in some ways more than my father does. She hadn't shown signs of anything like his father's temper, but she was a queen in her own right... and a powerful one from a rival kingdom. Nobody here wished to offend her, especially not if it might attract the wizard-king's wrath. And she commanded the Shadow of Edrias, just as the wizard-king commanded the Black Knight.
His Majesty stopped and turned, waiting as the royalty of Edrias approached him. Pallian didn't stop with them; instead, he continued on to his father's side, then circled behind him to position himself opposite Ravaj.
"It seems we have little time left to negotiate," said Kareth Teres. "We must locate this emissary and destroy it. My advisors and I had time to make some small changes to your proposed treaty; please read and tell us if you find them acceptable."
The High Magister came forward and her body-servant followed; Pallian stepped forward behind his father, mirroring the leonine man.
There was a long silence as the High Magister read, broken by occasional mutters among the gathered nobles. At last she motioned her daughters forward, and showed the treaty to them. Pallian stood and watched as she pointed out particular sections and listened to their murmured reactions.
Finally she turned back to the wizard-king, and Pallian felt himself tense. "Remove the section regarding the river-port tariffs," she said, "and in the face of such destruction as had been reported I will place my sigil next to yours to affirm it."
"That section..." he began, but behind him master Paledes stepped forward.
"Surely we can resolve that later, Majesty."
Pallian found that he had shifted to watch Paledes as well as the royalty of Edrias; he didn't think there was even the smallest chance that Paledes might put a cursed knife in his father's back, but Westrov's training had been thorough.
The wizard-king's shoulders tightened and his teeth clenched, but for once he mastered himself. "Very well," he said. "In the face of such destruction... it will be done."
The scribes came forward then, tracing the treaty until they located the offending section and crossed it out. Then two of them dragged a writing-desk forward, and they stood as witnesses while the High Magister and then the Wizard-King placed their sigils at the bottom of the treaty.
Signed and witnessed, Pallian thought. He wondered what the first-princess of Edrias was like.