Milun de Chambre yawned. “So, is this whole ridiculous matter resolved yet?” he asked the Cupbearer of the Left.
“I believe it will be over swiftly, sir,” answered Guy Montaigne.
Milun threw himself back on the cushions of his divan with a pout. “This is absurd. It’s a wedding we’ve known was coming for months--no, years now. And it is taking us this long to get done with it?”
“The Prince’s decision to bring Stylites is quite unexpected,” said Guy.
“Well, why did he bring them?” muttered Milun.
Guy sniffed the flower he kept at his lapel. It was in fact odorless, but the image was quite bewitching he found. “He claims they are for security. The Dark Lords, you know, are quite the threat these days. Attacked Joyeuse itself. Or so they say.”
Melun gave an uncertain nod. “Well, then if that’s the case, why are we making an issue of it?”
“Precedent and custom, sir,” said Guy tiredly. One often wound up explaining things to Melun. “No one likes having the Knights of the Tower in their land. Even in the Concordat, they operate with severe restrictions.”
“Amfortas likes them around,” pointed out Melun. “At least he seems to.”
“Most likely, he needs them around, and wishes there to be no ill feelings between them and himself,” answered Guy. “I doubt he actually enjoys keeping them in his service.”
“Then why…” Melun shook his head. “Never mind. Nothing in this whole affair makes sense. You’d think he could have warned us about them, instead of dropping this…” He fidgeted. “I was hoping to enjoy a horse race, damn it.”
Guy bowed. “We must all make sacrifices
The Cupbearer had often turned over the fact that while the Chamberlain of the Right was a man too clever by half, who regularly tangled himself up in his own plots, his Left Court counterpart was a man who left thinking to his subordinates. And yet despite this seeming advantage, Caswallan was unable to secure his Court’s supremacy. Somehow, Melun always managed to muddle on, leaving the Chamberlain of the Right tearing his hair out in frustration at having been beaten again.
There was a lesson in that, though Guy never could figure out what it was.