The setting suns, Ratha with its eerie dark glow, and Wonnue set next to each other behind the tall thick trees of the Thunder wood. The pale yellow sliver of Thattur, the ogre’s moon, hung low almost obscured by the golden glow of Wonnue’s setting. Laynue, the elfish moon, shone a mystical blue, high in the clear evening sky like half a pearl. Gakkor, the dwarfish moon, came up in the east full and red like a newly minted coin.
The stars came out as the setting suns light melted out of the sky. A constellation, Kajot, that formed a long line curving form like a dragon, marked the end of winter. The stars forming Shursairrow, the Griffin, glittered high in the sky heralding in spring. On the horizon a fiery group of stars formed Lammat, the phoenix, waiting for the full season of spring and the bursting of flowers to life.
The spires of Penthail’s mighty castle stood high against the evening ski towering over the homes, shops, farms, and docks that lined the Tembant river. Lights, lanterns or torches carried by the people, lined the streets and moved up the hill, in towards the castle. Everyone wore their very best dress or coat and walked with a glowing smile as they crossed the long drawbridge then under the well-lit stone arch between pleasant guards in polished armor and with wreaths of flowers around their spears.
Servants bowed and lead the horses with the carriages off to the vast stables and more servants lined the stairs leading up to the grand ballroom. The throngs parted to go up the winding stairs and through the high oak doors banded with think brass bands into the impossibly vast ballroom. Tables covered with white cloths, china plates, real silver ware, crystal goblets and pitchers with new wine, and breadbaskets filled to overflowing. A servant greeted each guest by name before leaving to bring the main dish to the table. Musicians on dance floors spaced evenly among the tables filled the room with music from harps, flutes, and drums. A set of brass scales two stories high set on a raised dais. A round table set in front of the scales with ten settings, two servants, and seven armored guards around it smiling pleasantly but holding their spears firmly.
A short pudgy man with black hair streaked with silver and deep brown eyes wearing a purple robe with sparkling gold stars stepped up onto the dais and looked around tapping a crystal goblet with a small silver knife. The ringing from the glass, faint, as it seemed, gradually got everyone’s attention in the ballroom. He looked around as he waited for the last of the guests to give him their attention smiling and putting his index finger to his lips as he happened upon any that were still talking.
“Ladies and gentlemen of Penthail if I may have your attention we have several special guests with us tonight I would like to introduce.” His voice was exuberant as it carried to everyone in the room. “Rexxalt the high ambassador of Tuth and his niece the lady Fendalyn.”
As he was introduced Rexxalt stepped from a door behind the scales and around them. He was a tall gentleman with blonde hair pulled back by a thong. His tough face looked uncomfortable smiling as his eyes met the speaker with a mixture of fear and anger hidden behind thick brows. He wore a white navy uniform with a black coat trimmed in gold braid and carried a wide brimmed hat with a fluffy white feather waving out of the back.
Fendalyn followed her uncle and seemed hidden by him. Her bright blue eyes looked around the hall in happy amazement. She had long blonde hair pulled back by a thick blue ribbon that matched her eyes. She wore a long flowing dress that also matched her eyes and fit smoothly over her youthful figure. She held onto her uncle with a delicate hand nearly covered to the shoulder by a tight fitting glove and held out the skirt of her long dress with her other hand.
“Lorron” Rexxalt nodded to the pudgy man as he moved around the table.
“Lord Rexxalt you are looking very well and your niece looks more like her mother every year. How are the Countess and The Count?” Lorron asked smiling and ignoring the larger Man’s piercing looks.
“They are well.” Rexxalt answered stiffly with a good measure of relief.
“Please Fendalyn, you and your uncle sit here…” Lorron said as he reached for the chair for Fendalyn.
Rexxalt stepped to the chair Lorron had reached for Fendalyn and grasped the high back firmly. Lorron stepped back and bowed to hide a grin from Rexxalt’s re-found stern look. Fendalyn looked from one man to the other with wonder mixed with fresh excitement at having her cause so much apparent trouble. She sat down with a graceful swing of her dress and an adoring look up into her uncle’s eyes.
Lorron waited for the ambassador to take his own set before unbending from the bow with his smile sparkling. Lorron’s voice again filled the vast hall. “Ladies and gentlemen from the court of Baggrim, Sir Brysh and the lady Winya.”
From behind the scales a cherry red dress nearly bounded out wrapped around the very ample curves of the lady Winya. Her full red lips smiled motherly and her bright green eyes beamed out from under layer after layer of curly brown hair. Her thick arms each carried diamond bracelets as wide as her heavy hands with skin milky white skin.
As Winya smiled into the gathered crowd Sir Brysh followed in her wake. He wore all Black on his nearly formless thin body. His face both sharp and bored. Brysh stepped to the proper seats without so much as a look at the beaming Lorron or Winya, who seemed to want to wave at more people she knew. He pulled out the chair for Winya and gently guided her into her seat well before she seemed to be done looking into the crowd.
Lorron waited for Lord Brysh to take his seat between Winya and Fendalyn before continuing. “Ladies and Gentlemen From Eannail May I present prince Shyf and princess Teenue.”
No one emerged from behind the scale for a heart beat or two then Teenue, a tiny lady, stepped lightly out holding her light blue dress with delicate dark hands. Her shiny black hair was piled on top of her head to give her a little more height with a thin teara of gold and sapphires holding it together. Her black eyes twinkled as she flashed Lorron a bright smile. She put a hand to a large sapphire pendant on a thin gold chain matching a bracelet around her wrist as the crowd applauded.
Shyf strode out next tall and handsome. His curly black hair was cut short and his dark eyes looked confidently from a dark face. He wore a blue silk shirt tailored to his broad sholders and lean waist. His white pants tucked into shinny black boots and belted with a broad shinny leather belt around his waist billowed as he walked. He gave Lorron a measuring glance as Lorron pulled out a chair. Shyf helped Teenue into the chair, allowing her to take his hand and to step on his leg an he knelt. She nodded her approval as she noticed that the chair was high enough for her to reach the table comfortably. Shyf pulled out his chair easily and sank comfortably into it and seemed about the same level as Teenue when he pulled it up to the table.
Lorron took a more dignified tone and stood up straight as his round form would allow. “Ladies and gentlemen, from Robeetoe, the Baron Sawur and the baroness Shovera.” Lorron bowed as he finished and all assembled bowed or curtsied as was proper.
The Baron came out with the Baroness on his arm. Her slender form moved gracefully in a pail green dress, high cut with billowing skirts and shoulders. Her curly red hair shimmered in the light.