Laris crumpled up the parchment bearing the official seal of the Chancellor of the Senate and hurled it into the fire. “She thinks she can command me?!” He nearly spat the words, turning away from the fire and beginning to pace. Yokir sat in the royal apartments, calmly regarding his master, the new Emperor.
“I’ve held the crown for barely a week and already the Senate thinks it can order me around? How DARE she summon me to speak to those simpering fools?”
Kilthanis waited in the dark, shivering with fear and cold. His face was swollen from their fists, and his wrists chafed under the ropes they'd constrained him with. How had he gotten into this ridiculous situation?
Laris paced back and forth in the Imperial apartments so recently vacated by his cousin. He was dressed in his finest clothes, the Imperial Tailor having outdone herself. His doublet was of the finest blue silk, with silver embroidery, dark hose hung loosely around his legs. He had taken off the Coronation Robe so he could move about more freely. The garment was a gaudy affair, covered in griffin feathers and falling to the floor. It was designed so that the wearer looked as if he had a pair of wings and it was terribly heavy.
ONS Botamil, Okot Deep
Yokir, seneschal to his Imperial Highness Laris Rychart, Prince of Osh’riyo, stood on the foredeck of the Botamil, pride of the Osh’riyoan fleet, named for the God of the Seas. The ship was making good time on its way to the Imperial Capital in Dhekar. She was currently five leagues from shore and even from this distance Yokir could easily see the high cliffs that made the city impossible to assault from the seas. His Lord’s ancestors had chosen the city’s location well.
Yokir sat in a café in the middle of Dhekar, about a half-mile from the Imperial palace. He had made contact with some of Laris’s factors in the city, establishing a legitimate reason to be there. At the third such stop, he had spoken a certain phrase and passed over a piece of paper and a large supply of silver. An hour later, he had arrived at this open air café and ordered some hot tea, and waited.
Another hour passed and a man had arrived and sat down at a table next to his. They sat with their backs to each other, not making any eye contact. Yokir set down his tea.
Yokir stepped off the boat in the city of Kimzin’s Lament. He had set sail shortly after seeing Kilthanis off on a ship for Thax Tarkas. Yokir hadn’t left Osh’riyo in quite a long time, his duties as seneschal for Laris keeping him home. He was often called upon to run the principality in Laris’s absence, such as when he was abroad on business of state. But for the current assignment, Laris had no one he could trust. Yokir carried no papers which could be intercepted, and he was not so well known that he would be recognized.
Kilthanis followed Yokir through the servants passages that riddled the walls of the palace of Osh’riyo. He was being taken to Laris’s private study, after explaining that it wouldn’t do to have Kilthanis seen in the halls of the palace. Of course, Yokir explained, Laris had nothing but sympathy for Kilthanis’s situation.
“Feathers and fur!” Yokir paused outside the door of Laris Rychart’s private study. The seneschal of Osh’ryio had been about to knock on his master’s door, but the loud oath that just burst through the solid wood planking gave him pause. Still, he was not paid for his timidity. He reached out and knocked.
“Enter!” The call was a roar. Yokir eased the door open and assumed his most inoffensive tone.
“Is there some problem, your Highness?”
Yokir walked through the halls of the palace of Laris Rychart, Prince of Osh’riyo. He did not run, but he was moving rather faster than he was accustomed to, given his advanced age. Still, though he might pay for it in the morning, he knew his master would want to receive the news contained in the missive tucked inside his tunic as soon as possible.