The office of the Chamberlain was a hive of activity, with the underservants holding their notebooks or swaths of flowers and bolts of fabric. Even as a pair left with a glass statue carefully wrapped on a litter another group came in with a stack of bound volumes for review.
Tenii Sal Faren, the Chamberlain of the Marble Palace after Skorsas, signed before nodding the book away. “We are going to have to be very creative with this people. Put that down and listen.”
He rose to his full, imposing Aitzas height as the room settled, people setting their burdens down or slipping in from where they had been dispatched. As the officers of the service crews of the Marble Palace quieted he paced back and forth at the front of the room.
“We have a challenge before us,” he said. “Nothing that the Marble Palace cannot take in stride, but it will stretch us to our limits. Each of you to your limits.”
“You may have heard in the rumours that the Radiant Mirror of the Light has requested a Jitzmitthra wedding.” He paused for the wave of discrete whispering to subside. “I may now confirm that this is correct.”
“The unofficial, non-existent birthday of the Spark of the Sun’s Ray Elect will be the non-event of the past century and you all may be sure we will make it a memorable non-extant celebration, whereupon the exalted will be free to marry.”
He nodded at the front row of the watchers. “You have a question, Kishanas?”
“Yes, ser. I heard that the affianced Luminous Reflector of Selestial Joy was proposing a Diem Gustatorial Wedding?”
“Yes. I have been speaking with the bema and the bemas and we are conspiring to create the most spectacular of wedding clothing that may, with impunity, be spattered, bedewed, sprinkled and splashed with all sorts of food without damage. The formal, official wedding clothes, shall be ceremonially worn on Muunas First as the Fenjitzas and Fenjitza re-bless their stepping through the wedding arch but the true wedding clothes are certain to require a herculean effort to clean.”
“Does this mean we’re going to do a ‘Washing of the Streets’ Ascension?” The voice from the back was almost plaintive and Tenii wheeled to cast an icy blue stare in that direction.
“The Marble Palace will not fail in this! We have carried on through every disaster, through Imperial whim and dream and desire. We have carried on through war and famine and crisis and sack! If I hear one… one person voice any doubt that the Marble Palace staff is capable of Selestial miracles, I shall insist on reviewing that person’s fitness for their post!”
“This will require miracles! The actual Ascension will be on Diem Wards Back and the officiants… in the middle of the Ten Angel’s Fountain... will be the Marble Palace kennel master and the animals of the Mable Palace, probably including the new pestiferous flying monster that insists on shenning at every opportunity!” Someone in the back groaned, but the sound cut off under the Chamberlain’s piercing stare.
“This is going to be the wildest non-existant set of festivals we’ve ever had to do,” someone said solemnly and then someone snorted, two more smothered outright laughter, and then with a sound like steam escaping under the lid of a boiling pot, one of the head chefs began laughing and that set everyone off.
Everyone but Tenii. For the longest of moments he stood, holding a stern expression on his face but in the face of his staff’s laughter, couldn’t hold it and his lips curled.
“Indeed. Something that should have been simple… rags for riches, back to front and upside down, is going to need the most careful of planning to make it all appear absolutely effortless.”