Saturday, July 11, 2015

And the River, It Goes On--Part 18

Mansemat Cthonique and Viviane du Lac made their way up the marble stairs of the Grand Diet of the Free Cities, their boots splashing the water that had gathered on it.  "Astonishing how quickly the weather changed," said Mansemat.

"It's weather, Manny," said Viviane.  "It does that."

"Well--yes, but from downpours to sunny skies, in a few hours," said Mansemat.  "There has to be something symbolic about that."

"Because the weather cares about symbolism," said Viviane with a nod.

"Well, not the weather, specifically..." began Mansemat.

"Lord Cthonique," said Duke Rainald, stepping beside the pair.  "It is good you and your wife could make it."

"Well, it is a vital meeting," stated Mansemat.  "It'd... be a bit gauche of us to not come.  You are... providing us with rooms here, after all.  And meals."

Viviane nodded.  "We like the meals."

"They are nice," agreed Mansemat.

Rainald blinked.  "Ahh.  Yes.  Yes.  The Duchess Angelica keeps a fine table, it is true..."

"The Duchess' table is one of the few things that made Diet meetings bearable, back when I had to attend them," declared Pelleas Pescheour making his way up the stairs.  "Goodness, this weather!  I can't recall the last time I've seen the like!"  He gave a significant shake of his head.  "There must be something in that, I swear."

Viviane rolled her eyes.  "Right.  Right.  The weather tries to be symbolic.  Right."

"Well, this is a pretty gathering," came the booming voice of Belengier Nestor.  The Duke of Agrismont made his way up the stairs two at at time, Duke Brunello following him at a more leisurely pace.   "We holding the Diet out here?  Be a pleasant change of scenery."

"I don't think we could fit the entire Diet on the steps..." muttered Rainald.

Belengier snorted at that.  "It was joke, Lazaliez!  Gods, be good..."

Brunello gave a soft chuckle.  "Come, come, let's all get in now, hmm?  There are people waiting for us."  The two Dukes followed Mansemat and the others into the Diet.  Agrivain Beacurs and Gurnemanz Graharz were deep in talk when they entered and turned to look at them.

"Good to see you could make it," said Gurnemanz with a sigh, stepping beside Mansemat. 

Agrivain gave a nod and gestured for them to follow.  "Come.  They're waiting for you so they can start."

"Well, sorry to have kept them waiting," muttered Mansemat, as he and Viviane entered the main hall of Diet flanked by the Dukes, King Pelleas following shortly behind.  "Really, the rain..." he began.

He stopped when the five lords drew their swords together.

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