Mansemat peered at Justinian intently. “Justinian Sigma--you ask a weighty thing of me.”
Justinian nodded. “I know it, Your Magnificence.”
“The motto of House Cthonique is ‘In Her Service’,” he said. “When the Cthonique of Castle Terribel sits in judgment, it is proclaimed that the People’s Lord is the People’s Slave, and I hold to this rule.” He rested his hands on Justinian’s shoulders. “Do you truly wish to serve the servant?”
“I…” Justinian took a deep breath, and kneeled before the Dark Lord of the Plains. “I pledge you my sword, sir. As well, as the man who wields it, useless as he may be.”
Mansemat smiled slightly. “I will be the judge of that, Sigma.” He handed Justinian a coin. “Very well. I welcome you into my service.” He glanced over to his side. “Serjeant?”
Grizzel Greedigutt stepped forward, and placed a black cloak on Justinian’s shoulders. “Welcome to the Guard, lad.”
Justinian glanced around. “Is… this it?”
Mansemat blinked. “What do you mean?”
“Am I… in the Guard now?” asked the Milesian.
The Erl gave a nod. “Oh, yes. You are a Guardsman, sworn to my service, and the service of Castle Terribel.”
“I… just thought it’d be more… involved,” said Justinian, looking ever so slightly disappointed.
“Oh, no,” answered Mansemat, shaking his head. “This actually one of the simpler activities. I or my delegate ask you if you want to join, hand you the shilling, and the cloak, and you’re on the Guard.”
“Actually more involved then when Lord Shaddad did it,” noted Grizzel. “He liked to recruits to be drunk.” He shook his head. “Exceedingly drunk. To the point it was actually surprisin’ if they could answer the question. We tended to accept grunts as a valid response. And we usually had to stick the shilling in their pockets before we loaded them in the cart…”
Justinian stood to his feet. “Well… thank you for giving me this chance to redeem myself…”
“Everyone needs to redeem themselves, Sigma,” answered the Dark Lord quietly. “That’s why it’s best for us all help redeem each other.”
Justinian nodded and walked out of the small chamber. He was greeted by the sound of applause.
“You look good in black,” said Palamedes.
“Everyone looks good in black,” noted Sacripant.
“And Justinian looks good in anything,” said Quiet. Sacripant glanced at her. She gave him a slight grin.
Justinian managed a bow. “Well, I’m glad I meet with your approval.”
Palamedes walked towards and gave a hearty slap to the Milesian’s back. “I’m mostly just happy there’s a new new guy. I’m moving up in the world!”
“Yes, one miniscule step at a time,” said Quiet.
“Hey, don’t be too hard on him,” said Sacripant. “I hear there’s a whole bunch of new recruits coming. So soon there’ll be a whole bunch of people greener than Palamedes.”
Justinian smiled. “And so we move forward in the world, paths ending, paths beginning, and so forth.” He clapped his hands together. “Come on. I’ll buy you all drinks.”
A hearty cheer rose up from his fellow Guards. “You know one of us should be buying YOU a drink,” noted Sacripant.
“Yes, but I don’t drink, so it’d be a waste of money,” answered Justinian.
Sacripant shook his head. “You can take the Milesian out of the Holy Order…”