Iris made her way through the crowd and studied the buffet. Where was the cake? Almost all food had been covered from a layer of petals...
"May I have a dance, Countess Callidora?" She turned over and looked right into the smiling face of Minister Thanael. The kiss he gave her a few days ago came to her mind. "Let me think about it", she answered – and gave him a vigorous slap.
The wedding guests around them turned over to stare flabbergastedly. Iris could not suppress a satisfied grin.
Thanael did not get upset, that was not his manner. He looked quite ruminative for a moment, then he bowed. "Well, thank you, mylady."
Iris laughed. "Thank you, is it? Are you loving th
And he had a weird suspicion that there was something about Iris' friend Allara, but he could not remember more than a talk and a dance. So, nothing about Allara. The rest was enough. Iris, annoying little Kalei, Iris, cautious Lady Lirelanta, Iris, beasty Carlotta, Iris. And Iris again, evermore.
Why did the world have such a cruel sense of humor? He got an idea that he was probably the worst spy that ever worked for Rothere... But then Iris came along, and he immediately felt better. "Mylady, glad to see you again. We had barely a chance to talk during the evening... is that a smell of something burnt?"
Iris laughed. "Ah, well, Allara had a little, well... a little incident with the candle sticks. She has a talent for attracting chaos, I always have to keep an eye on her."
Thanael thought of Carlotta. "I have certainly an
The question was: Why had he moved away from the sociality more and more?
The question was: Why was Lira, who had been so close to him, a stranger now?
The question was: What had happened to him, what had he done to himself that he thought of himself as a person he used to know years ago?
The answer was: Because he lived a life he was not made for.
That was the very difference to all the other Rotherans. Empress Ashling and her sister Altice, they were made for ruling, and they ruled. Viridian was made for fighting until the last drop of blood, and she was a mercenary. King Cold, Lord Derren, Marquise Jezzebelle. They all had the purpose to aim for power in some form, immediate power in combat, command over other people, power to mess up the world.
Lira was made to aim for power as well. She bec
"Of course not", Ravenna replied. "But she's not hard to assess. She's selfish. As soon as I am a danger for her goals, she'll try to get rid of me, that much is for sure. But as long as she sees me as an ally... and, thanks to my lucky stars, she has no idea about you."
Amerri smiled. That was indeed a relief. She liked to be underestimated. It gave her the chance to surprise. "What are you about to do once we are there? We'll be servants of Empress Ashling, you said, at least for some time. But Ashling was no regent back then. She did not banish you – and those who did are dead. So what?"
"So I'll find my brother and rip off his throat", Ravenna explained simply.
The palace came into their visibility, setting Amerri in astonishment. It was made of a deeply black material, but shining like glass. Obsidian maybe? But obsidian was stone, it had edges and angles. The palace was instead shaped of curved forms, s