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Chapter 52A


November 30, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

The man standing to greet them – or challenge them; she wasn’t sure yet – was armed, carrying at least a sword, a long-knife, and a spear. Enrie took in his outfit – the tailored vest, the bright magenta, purple, and leaf-green layers, the comfortable stance and the way his court-styled tunics, vest, and pants still left him plenty of room in the shoulders and the hips to kick or to swing a weapon – and she bowed deeply, only slightly less than she would for a Governor.  A real Governor.

His features were what some people still called “pure Calenyena:” the short nose, the dark brown skin, the black hair; his braids were relatively simple compared to his outfit, just four main braids and two small accents, from what she could see.  But that meant nothing; Enrie kept her voice as respectful as she could.

“I am Student Enerenarie of the Edaledalende  Academy, and these are House Monitor libkazaari and Stable-Master Korten and my teammates and friends: Students Tairiekie and Saydrie, Gianci, Riensin, Kekdela, and Tesdes.  We’re here to see The Emperor’s Voice and Eyes Elalekorra on,” she faltered and collected herself as quickly as she could. “That is,” why hadn’t she practiced this? “we’ve found some very interesting information that I believe – that we believe – it’s vital for the crown to know as soon as possible.”

He didn’t look at her as if he thought she was a babbling fool, at least.  He bowed shallowly to all of them in groups, slightly more deeply to Libkazaari and Korten, and considered her words.  “It must be serious indeed, to come with two such revered Instructors and all of your team.”

Korten saved her.  “There is considerable danger threatened to the students, and, indeed, we were challenged and attacked several times along the road.”

“And,” Enrie offered, “all of us were instrumental in one way or another in finding this information.  We all have something invested in this meeting.”

“Indeed.”  He raised his eyebrows at them.  “Wait here for a moment, please.”

It was the longest moment Enrie had ever waited for anything. She stood at rest, hands clasped in front of her, and hoped she hadn’t made a total fool of herself.  Then she hoped she wasn’t under-dressed: her layered tunics and skirts were not as complicated as those of the unnamed man who’d greeted them, but they were suitably formal for a student.  She’d been very proud of the stripes of purple, teal, & bright red in the bottom-most of the two skirts, her House colors, and the way the trim on the short vest echoed those stripes, the way the gold top skirt set it all off, the gold laces in her black boots, and the pristine white of her stockings under it all –  a current trend in royal circles.  But now she wondered if calling on her House colors was juvenile, or if wearing her vest with the low-cut V was no longer in fashion; the man’s leaf-green vest had been closed all the way up his throat with the tiniest buttons she had ever seen, only to flop back out in an exaggerated collar.

She hoped she wasn’t going to get sent away as a wayward child on a silly errand; she hoped her cousin wasn’t going to demand what she’d collected and then refuse to talk to her.  She hoped she wasn’t a wayward child on a silly errand. Libkazaari, Wiltemika, and Lirnilalie and Ilonilarrona might have taken her seriously, but that was no reason at all for the Eye and Voice of the Emperor to even look at her.


  1. AVR says:

    Ow. My mind’s eye is telling me there’s something in the Bitrani approach to fashion after all.

    • Dan Gudy says:

      I’ve been thinking that for some time. The obsession with sartorial complexity and detail in Calenyen society strikes me as indicative of a completely broken social model, among other things.

      • Rix Scaedu says:

        The other thing with clothes is that we are looking at a group of teenagers here. Appearance and fitting in and stuff are likely to be important to them.

        I like to think that two senior members of the administration can look beyond that to the content.

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