Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Page 1856

((Triple Wednesday -- Page 1 of 3))
Hector was still feeling locked into his poker face, so he didn’t smile, but the corners of his mouth did edge up ever so slightly.

Wow, it was good to see them. Safe and well, seemingly.

The Queen was looking more queenly than ever, he thought strangely. It was probably because of her dress. He’d never seen her wear anything so elaborate and flowing. It covered the entire booth she was seated at, draping over the side and sprawling across the floor like a sparkling blue carpet.

And her crown. She wasn’t wearing it at the moment, but it was sitting right there on the table in front of her. A circle of silver, lined with gold and topped with sapphires in the shapes of stars. He’d seen it a few times in a history book or on television, but laying eyes on it in person was providing a decidedly different feeling.

He was perhaps the most keenly aware of Lynn’s presence, however.

Her uniform was a little more elaborate than he recalled, too. The Atreyan Seal and the crest of House Belgrant were both woven into her collar. He remembered that she’d often taken to wearing her white cloak while on duty, but the one she was wearing now bore long silver stripes and boasted miniature Atreyan flags at each shoulder. It also had a deeply black interior, perhaps to conceal pockets or to be reversible.

She still had her eye patch and sword as well, of course. And her bone half-gauntlet was concealed beneath a glove, but Hector had no doubt that it was there, too.

And damn.

He was torn, wanting to both stare at her and to avoid eye contact.

“There you are,” said the Queen upon seeing him. “I am glad you were able to arrive before the Gala was officially underway. I doubt we will have much opportunity to speak privately tonight--certainly not before midnight.” She gestured to the other side of the table. “Please, come and have a seat, Lord Goffe.”

Hector made his way over. Lynn was watching him like a one-eyed hawk. He thought she might say something, but she didn’t, and he sat down.

Oh shit, he was probably supposed to say something here, wasn’t he? “Ah, uh--thank you, Your Highness...”

Helen smiled warmly at him. “It is very good to see you again,” she said. “In truth, we had been growing quite worried about you.”

“Oh, ah... yeah. Er. Sorry about that...” He glanced between her and Lynn. Mehlsanz was there as well, he noticed, floating up from behind the Queen’s enormous gown.

“I understand you had quite the eventful trip,” said Helen.

“That’s... one way of putting it, yeah.”

“I wish I could hear all of the details, but from what Amelia told me, it would be quite a long story, and we have other matters to discuss.”

Not to worry,’ said Garovel. ‘I’ll tell Mehlsanz all about it later, and then she can relay it to you.

Yes, I think I’d rather hear it from you than Voreese,’ said Mehlsanz.

Heh. I’ll let her know you said that.

Oh, god, please don’t.

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