Minis took a deep breath and stepped out onto the glass bridge across to the Crystal Throne. On the other side, Kyriala matched him coming the other direction. His heart was pounding not because this was the official opening of the latest Assembly, but because he and Ky were going to make it official.
Now would not be the time to slip and fall to my death off the glass bridge, dragged down by the weight of ceremony.
He wore the Imperial white and gold satins under the Robe, as usual. He was used to that. The elaborate ‘Sun Rising and Blessing the Moon’ collar rising behind his head was the problem. It gave him a golden halo and the ancient old head-dress was meant to have his hair woven into it, between strands of gold strung with topazes and given fire with brilliant cut diamonds. Tenii had brought the two Imperial mane artists and all their sketches for the elaborate braids that would be woven through the head-dress and then the perfectly smooth falls of hair down his chest.
“No,” he’d said to their crestfallen faces. “I realize that you want to bring back all that glory and pomp but I don’t have time to sit still for three days while you do all that. Neither does my Imperatrix. Same for her. Neither of us want to overbalance and get dragged to the floor by our head-dresses!”
Kyriala wore the most ancient of designs, from the Ilesrian Era, with her outer-most robe a waterfall of blue and silver sapphires and diamonds. As she stood on glass bridge, her hems fell below on either side, like suspended rain glittering. Her head-dress was silver, diamonds and sapphires, with hematite accents and edges.
Her defiant red Dyer streak was woven in like a strand of lightning. She smiled at him across the Crystal Throne and he had to smile back, even as they made their careful way toward each other.The Assembly of Arko was silent, the Speaker ready to strike the first spark of the session candle. It’s amazing. No one has even coughed.
His gold and gem encrusted comb stretched out toward her stiff silver fan and just as they met at the Crystal Throne, he stepped up to stand before it, she blew him a kiss invisible from below. She turned in front of him so that she stood before him and he steadied her with his hands on her shoulders, gold seals winking against her silver rainstorm of a dress.
The Speaker struck the spark and lit the session candle. There was a slight disturbance at the door as a page slipped in, bearing the first of likely a dozen messages, one of the Sunborn Elite guards on his heels.
As one, everyone raised their hands to their heads and the noon prayer rose up, surely pleasing to the Ten. It’s amazing. Everyone says they cannot sing well, but put them together and make it a prayer then it becomes something astonishing, every time. Ten bless us.
Just because of their unorthodox entrance, and Intharas’s Special Edition, everyone had to know what was coming, but they still held their breaths. Minis couldn’t help smiling. Not properly solemn at all.
“The Imperator by vote and the Imperatrix beg the Assembly's indulgence and have requested a short amount of time at the beginning of the current session for an announcement.” The Speaker paused for a moment. “Any objections?”
Someone’s sleeve dog yipped and suddenly everyone was laughing.
As the ripple of laughter faded he turned toward them. “Imperator, Imperatrix. Please proceed.”
Kyriala snapped her fan open, to cover her patting his hand. She didn’t have Socks in her sleeve, though she swore there was room for a pair of house donkeys in her sleeves, and at least one cart in her train.
“Assemblypeople of Arko. The Imperatrix and I are very happy to announce that the Ten have blessed us and she is with child.”