Antras informed me that I had an express chair waiting as he adjusted the asymmetrical cape, that Skorsas had decreed as my ‘style’, over my shoulder. “The express chairbearers will have you over to the Diamond in good time, Minis, and rather than skating and arriving hungry, sweaty and disheveled you shall be perfectly turned out and will have had time to place yourself outside these pork buns prepared by the chef for just this kind of rush.”
I turned to Terunas, who held a tray with a fancy version of a road sereniteer’s food wrap and kaf flask. “The Exalted represents the household, this one believes, and would not wish to have the service seen as sloppy or less than perfect,” he said.
“Thank you.” Thus politely chastised by my own servants, I rode over to the Diamond with a pair of steamed buns sitting well in my middle, gloves unsullied by the red sauce inside. Antras was certain that the staff at Diamond on the Earthsphere would be sufficiently capable and that I would be adequately cared for at Kyriala’s soiree. When had I acquired an entire household of nurse-maids?
Joras and Ilesias where on skates to keep up, all in dark red. No more onyxine and no more unemotional faces. The only real link to what Mahid used to be was their precision and the silver buckle and kits on their belts.
This was the first time I'd been out of the Marble Palace since the election and the party afterward. Kyriala had announced that her symposium would be a talk by dekinas Itasas, from his parish in the Aitzas quarter and a debate on the latest controversy about the Fenjitza. I did not want to miss this gathering. Bilabas bowed me in, precisely and formally, but his one eye twitched in a wink, even as he walked me to the garden to formally announced me.
I brushed my gloves once more over myself to brush off any hidden crumbs, one hand checking my comb on its chain at my belt as I was announced. “Minis Kurkas Joras Amitzas Aan, Spark of the Sun’s Ray, Elect.” Thank goodness it was Kyriala at the bottom of the stairs and I reached to touch my comb to her fan. It was as though I had been holding my breath for far too long.
I smiled into her eyes and it was as though I could breathe again. “Hello, Serina Liren. Thank you for your invitation, I would not have missed it for the world.”
“Welcome to our home once more, Spark.” She hid her smile behind her fan and I turned to greet her mother. It was late enough that the master of the house was probably in bed already.
The garden was somehow more intimate a space than the ballroom, and the clumps of people here and there, speaking quietly. Skala and Riala and other young women I only knew from their families and from my parties rather than personally. A group of young men stood fairly close to where Kyriala and her mother were receiving, including Ser Monnen I noticed.
“Could Serina’s Atzana and Laisa not make it this evening?” I inquired of Sera Liren.
“Serina Si Rusa and her parents are up at the Marble Palace this evening as far as this one knows, along with the Imperator’s family.”
“Of course.” I had forgotten, it was another family dinner party. I’d have to tease Kall that he should send an offer of marriage soon, they were together so often.
“And Serina Mil Kallen is unfortunately not feeling well this evening.”
“Oh dear, nothing serious I hope?”
“No no… nothing to be terribly concerned over.” Ky’s mother waved it off with a snap of her fan. “The Exalted is just in good time.” I accepted a glass of wine from a server. “Dekinas Itasas was just about to begin.”
She saw me to a seat near the front of the rows of chairs set up under the wisteria walk and to my tremendous non-surprise, found that Kyriala had her seat immediately to my right. That was wonderful. Of course I had Benthasas Monnen immediately to my left so that was less enthralling.
This was one Dekinas I liked to listen to. His lectures were always entertaining. He stepped up to the front of the dais set up before us, smoothed his robes, smiled sweetly. “Good evening, Sers, Seras, Serins and Serinas. Tonight I shall be talking about Mikas and Risae's relationship, as evidenced in the Book.”