The Seneschal walked through the large, well appointed hallways of the Imperial Palace in Dhekar. He didn’t rush, but he was in something of a hurry. He had been summoned by his Imperial Majesty and for once, the Seneschal had no idea why. He was fairly sure it had something to do with the letter the Emperor had received from Allyson D’Inday, Chancellor of Reth’Methil. But as to what that letter contained, the Seneschal could only guess. And none of those guesses were likely to improve the Emperor’s mood.
Outside the throne room door, the Seneschal paused and took a deep breath. He briefly reflected on the recent past, when he wouldn’t hesitate to respond to a request from His Majesty. But those days were over. Now, each new visit brought with it trepidation over what the Emperor would ask of him.
He was nearly at his wits end. He had been doing his best to mitigate the Emperor’s more capricious decrees, but he was quickly losing the ability to sidestep Imperial edicts without crossing into outright defiance. If the Emperor were to decide that he had gone too far, or had been too lax in communicating his royal desires, then all hope was lost.
He took a deep breath and pulled open the heavy door. He crossed the marble floor, and the large image of a griffin rampant laid within it. He stopped before the throne and bowed deeply to the Emperor.
“You summoned me, your Majesty? How may I be of service?”
The Emperor nodded and held out a sealed decree.
“Take this to the Imperial Courier and see to it that it reaches Dekiyem with the utmost speed. I want to ensure that it reaches the Imperial guards there by nightfall.”
The Seneschal bowed again and took the edict. “Of course your Majesty. May I ask the content of the decree?”
“You may. It is an order lifting the house arrest of Kelsey D’Ember and cancelling the warrant for her betrothed, Kilthanis D’Endray.”
Try though he might, the Seneschal could not hide a smile at the Emperor’s words. His mirth did not escape the notice of the Emperor.
“Yes, old friend. I have not been myself these last few months. And unfortunately, the Empire has suffered because of it. Today, I begin making amends for that. But we will speak more later. For now, please see to it that the letter is dispatched with all haste.
“Yes, your Majesty.” Bowing for a final time, the Seneschal turned sharply on his heel and strode out of the throne room.
It took all his effort not to sprint down the hallways on his way to the Imperial rookery.