Courtly Matters 28Secret of the RibbonOnly the observant would notice that the Queen now wore a blue ribbon around her upper arm. Only the observant would notice that the Earl Marshal wore the same, but tied around his belt. Only the observant would notice that the Duke of Coilas and the Baroness Lydalia discretely wore the same blue ribbon somewhere on their person each day. It would take an intensely observant person to notice that one day, three weeks later they all stopped wearing the ribbons within minutes after the Queen's ribbon 'fell' off. It would take a fool to not notice the surprise attack on the castle that day- but a keenly observant person to put the two together. The knights were prepared when all others had not been. The Baroness had the Wards cleaned, and ready for any wounded. The King had directed it all, and the Duke had delivered the first message. No one would know though. The blue ribbons, after all, were a subtle sign, easily overlooked in Court.
Courtly Matters Part 27Worry in the Knight.Sir Vadien had heard the whispers in the High Council, and the strain of it had started to wear on him. Though few recognized the signs, the King knew that the Earl Marshal knew. A dull weariness filled Sir Vadien's eyes as he forced the knights and their squires even harder during their training and practices. For the first time in years, complaints were heard, if only behind his back. Things were changing in Court, and within the various Orders, but few knew why."How goes it, Sir Vadien, Earl Marshal?" the King asked after calling him into a private hearing. From his kneeling position, the Earl Marshal looked up, meeting the King's eyes for the first time in weeks.Though the Earl Marshal had yet to say a word, the King was taken aback by the sheer force of the man's expression.Sir Vadien ran his tongue over his teeth and spoke, his voice slightly hoarse and clearly exhausted.
Courtly Matters Part 26A State of AffairsKing and Duke Coilas"What do you mean, Duke?"The King's voice was sharp, and to the point- nearly as keen as his own blade. The fact that he omitted using the Duke of Coilas' name too, spoke of many unsaid things that only a fool would miss."It is just as I have said, my Liege." the Duke spoke, from his kneeling position before the throne. "I would not have disturbed you if it had been any other way."The King's face tightened, his expression closing in on itself. "Thank you for telling me of these things. " he said finally. "I will send for you if I require anythig else.""As always, I am at your service," the Duke replied formally, rising to his feet before bowing and backing out of the presence of his liege-lord and King. After a proper distance, he bowed deeply once more and left the throne room.
Courtly Matters Part 25Cost of the CrownThe night was supposed to have been one of entertainment, costumes and revelry. It was supposed to have been a night to relax and put aside the business of the crown.It was, however, anything but. Halfway through the second dance, the well-masked lady that he had been dancing with had slipped him a small scroll, before promptly vanishing into the throngs of people. He had not seen her since her stern words to read it and to keep it private.As the Duke of Coilas read the scroll, his expression darkened noticeably with each following sentence. "Why?" he growled to himself, heedless of the others who had passed through his corner of the gardens."Why does it always have to come down to this?" he muttered. "There are other ways, other places... the King will not be happy, that is most certain."
Courtly Matters 24Dancing with Peacock FeathersBaroness Lydalia and Duke of CoilasThe outdoor ballroom was a brilliant mix of colors, laughter and politics as the masked ball continued well into the night after the evening's Grand Feast. Baroness Lydalia found herself craving a moment of peace and silence, and a moment to let down the false-false smile that she kept plastered across her face as social decorum all but demanded. After the dance ended, she slipped away, her tiny, mincing steps taking on a new life as she discreetly slipped out of her beaded dance shoes and strode across the lawn, making her way to the gardens. There, much to her surprise, she found the Duke Coilas with a scroll in hand, and a serious expression on his face.Lydalia raised her peacock feather fan to mask her face, before turning the corner to a less occupied corner of the garden.
Courtly Matters Part 23Golden AppleQuite some time later, Sir Vadien, Earl Marshal sank onto his cot, stretching out tired muscle as he reached across his chest of armour to retrieve the ribbon that he had worn to honor Baroness Lydalia while on the list fields. Though simple in design, the ribbon was elegant as tiny blue stitches lined the burgundy ribbon, ending in a tiny golden apple worked into the design with gold thread.
Courtly Matters Part 22Upon Steeds FierceKing and Earl MarshalThe tournament had just ended, but much to everyone's surprise, the king held everyone back, declaring -via Herald- that he would have words with the Earl Marshal. The knight in question dismissed the fatigued combatants after a nod from the King in their direction. After removing his own helmet and wiping his brow, and then sheathing his sword, he approached the King; bowing and then kneeling as directed.He waited patiently, though he personally wished that he could have had a moment to at least remove his armour as sweat rolled down his back and front.With a wave, the King dismissed the remainder of his Court, and the Earl Marshal watched with bemusement as Baroness Lydalia lingered behind.With a knowing smile, the King waited until she, too had left before he spoke."That was an honourable thing to do, Sir Vadien," he said. "Many a knight are willing to honor a noble lady's favor, but not many are willing to take the favour of t
Courtly Matters Part 21To Honour a Token"Give reverence to your King," the stand-in Marshal said.Having spoken the same words countless times, the Earl Marshal had to force himself not to mouth them as he bowed his head, one knee bent while he faced the pavilion from which the Crown watched."Give reverence to the one that most inspires you."It was with a glad smile that the Earl Marshal stood and directed his next bow towards the pavilion where he knew the Baroness Lydalia watched. It was with slight bemusement that he watched his opponent search for the one whose favour he wore, but to no avail."Present arms!"The Earl Marshal forced his wandering thoughts to the back of his mind; clearing his mind and easily settling into the mindset that was needed for the skirmish ahead."Lay on!"
Courtly Matters Part 20Of Women's WailingKnight & KnightIt was not uncommon to hear the various members of the Orders of Knighthood complaining- not any longer. Once, they had been at the epitome of their standards- the constant display of all that they stood for. Now, now that pendulum of Court had swung towards politics instead, things had changed. There were, however, a few select individuals that clung to the old ways. They were few and far between, but they knew that they could always depend on their like-minded companions, regardless of rank or status.Baroness Lydalia was one of these, as were Sir Edward of the Nightingales, the Herald- Sir Jorheim of Yothgard, Baron Filado de Ostraol, Calena, and the Earl Marshal.