Chail looked down to nervously brush away any stray dust from his ceremonial breastplate as he stood in front of the massive wooden doors that opened to the throne room. He would not allow there to be a single smudge on his perfectly crafted armor today. The sudden sound of the maids grabbing hold of the round, metal handles snapped him back to full attention. He straightened himself out, waiting for the doors to open fully and for the trumpets to sound before stepping in to the large, white marble hall. A thin purple carpet with gold trim stretched from under his silver sabatons all the way to the foot of the throne where King Reli sat, a sheathed sword firmly gripped in one of his young, pale hands, a gold scepter in the other. A massive gold cross hung above him between two equally large stained glass windows. On either side of the narrow purple trail stood unorganized crowds of paladins in similar ceremonial armor to Chail's, with the exception of gold, red, and purple capes over a shoulder each. On the walls hung large purple drapes with designs of dragons and crosses carefully sewn into them in gold thread. The glare from the flashy armor and decorations, however, did not distract Chail. His eyes were locked on the king's, even if the distance between them made Reli's eyes too small to see properly.
On the queue of the horns, he slowly walked along the high-quality carpet toward the king, his loyal squire Raher following a few feet's distance behind him in his own formal attire. The massive room, even though filled with hundreds of people in heavy armor, was silent short of the sounding trumpets and Chail's heavy footsteps. All sound ceased, horns and footsteps alike, when Chail dropped to one knee in front of Reli, bowing his head in honor of his king. King Reli lingered in his throne a second longer, staring down with harsh, blue eyes at the top of Chail's head through blonde eyelashes. Reli slowly stood, his magnificent gold crown full of colorful jewels glittering with each little movement he made. The crowd watched on in hushed excitement, having been through this process once themselves. The young king raised his scepter and drew in a breath to speak, only to be interrupted just as his mouth opened by the sudden yelling of obscenities from a back corner of the hall.
Jaws dropped open and the younger, less disciplined paladins turned to see the commotion. A short, mid-aged man pushed through the crowd, only stopping his yelling to take a breath and start again. Chail remained unmoved at the foot of the king, at least until the crazy man came up and jerked him back by his shoulder. Chail felt as if he were swelling with rage, until he saw the madman's face. It was no other than his best man, Laer. He was drunk again. The king's smile quickly faded. Chail's anger turned into hurt. No one in the room had any idea what to do, since nothing like this had ever happened before. Laer spat out a few more angry words in Chail's face before finally quieting down, thanks to a look Chail was giving him that he had never been given before. It was a look of pure disgust and betrayal, a look that sobered Laer up quickly. Laer's alcohol-scented spittle dripped down Chail's lovingly polished breastplate. Raher held his breath, whole heartedly expecting Chail to reach up and snap Laer's thin neck at any moment. Finally, at the order of the king, two onlookers stepped forward to drag the drunkard out and throw him on the street, kicking and screaming.
Meanwhile, inside, Raher rushed up to the very unhappy Chail to clean Laer's mess from the armor with a soft handkerchief he drew from his pocket. Raher whispered calming words to him, the other paladins and the king watching carefully as Chail struggled to recollect himself. As if the event wasn't stressing enough, his best friend had to run in drunk and ruin the whole process. Chail vowed to never forgive him. He just wouldn't. Raher reassured him that it was an accident as he helped Chail back onto his feet. King Reli was displeased with the way events had unfolded so far, to say the least. An interrupted ceremony? It was obviously a sign from above that Chail was not yet ready to be a Holy Paladin. King Reli quickly made his decision to send Chail on one more quest before promoting him, then carefully sat back down into his throne. Chail had no option but to obey the king's orders. Raher's heart sank, because he knew how hard Chail had worked and how dearly he wanted to make it to his final rank.
Outside, Laer sat on the brick path with his back to the castle, hugging his knees. He didn't bother to look up when he heard the familiar clanging of Chail's boots against the worn path stop next to him. Raher followed right on Chail's heels, preparing himself to the best of his scrawny ability to break up any fights that might start between the two. Chail glared down at Laer for a second or two before calmly heading out to the camp they had set up just outside of the city. Raher looked back over his shoulder as they passed, heartbroken at how upset the two were with each other. Laer had never crossed the line this far in their five years of traveling together.