In order to keep last week’s installment from being too long, I may have made this week’s section a little short. Sometimes balance just isn’t in the cards. Our new player may know something about that.
Chapter 7, Part 4
In some ways Count Maton’s audience room reminded Marta of King Boranac’s. Especially in the way that, although obviously designed to hold a goodly number of people, there was almost no one there save herself, Sela, and Count Maton. Marta wasn’t terribly surprised. From her few times at King Alian’s court in Lythos Marta had learned that there was Court business and then there was the king’s business, and they were seldom the same thing.
Count Maton himself was a thin, angular man with very black hair with only a sprinkling of grey. Marta had never met him before, but she didn’t need to do so to know who he was—she could feel the debt-bond between them like a tether. An invisible, ethereal tether, but no less real for all that. While he was clearly a man of some wealth and importance, it was also equally clear that her presence terrified him, and Marta doubted that the man was afraid of very much. Marta considered fear a useful thing, so far as it went. Yet a frightened man was less likely to think clearly, and that wasn’t what she needed at all. Time would tell if Maton was the man she hoped he was.
Maton rose from his ornate chair when Marta and Sela entered.
“Your servant told me to expect you. To what do I owe this pleasure, Lady Marta? And may I ask the name of your charming companion?”
The title as such meant nothing to Marta, but the fact that someone in Maton’s position was willing to use it in regard to herself told Marta a great deal. As she thought about it, she realized she’d been hearing it more and more lately, and she wondered if that was a good thing or not.
“This is Sela, your Excellency.”
Marta knew Sela had gotten at least a passing instruction at Court in Denelos, so she wasn’t surprised that her friend managed a passable curtsy, but Sela said nothing and Marta went on.
“Thank you for receiving us, Count Maton. I know you are a busy man but—“
She didn’t get to finish. There was a commotion in the hallway outside which sounded almost like a tavern brawl only without the sound of smashing crockery, and Sela reached for the hilt of her sword before its absence apparently reminded her that she wasn’t wearing it. Count Maton, for his part, merely shook his head, looking tired.
“That will be Prince Dolan. I apologize in advance.”
Marta frowned. “Prince Dolan?”
“Borasur-Morushe. Either fifth of sixth in line for the throne. Frankly, I’ve lost count.”
((Chapter 7 – Concluded))
(c) 2014 Richard Parks