Duration: February 2007
Citizens of Fire Nation - me
Citizens of Ice Nation - Mysticnight
Comments: I never got a reply. D:
“My lord, what would you like me to tell the Fire Kingdom entourage?”
The voice interrupted the brooding thoughts of Himesh de Nuage, reminding the male that he needed to decide as to whether or not he was going to accept this next attempt at a meeting between the fire and ice kingdom or turn the group away like he had the others. Though, with the reports of the threats to the kingdoms growing more serious each day, Himesh was fairly certain he could no longer ignore the need for an alliance with their neighbor. They couldn’t pretend the threat wasn’t real, and facing off enemies alone…it was just too large of a risk.
Biting back a sigh, the Ice King turned slowly to face the soldier kneeling on the ground at the entrance of the balcony that Himesh had been out on for a while, staring out of his lands to the west as if to see the kingdom of the Fire elementals—not that he could: this palace had been built dead center of the Ice kingdom, as far away from every border as possible in order to keep royalty away from undue threats. Eyes colored as cold as the deepest blue of a frozen lake focused themselves onto the soldier, his face impassive as always. “Very well, Sergeant.” Himesh murmured, his tone soft and cool. Like the meaning of his name, everything about Himesh was wintery. He was pale, cold, and did his damndest to stay as emotionless as he could in public, since too much of an emotional display was frowned upon as a weakness amongst his icy people. “It looks as if we have no choice.”
The sergeant didn’t nod, though Himesh caught the faintest movement that showed the male had wanted to. Everyone had known what was going to happen if it was confirmed that their enemy kingdoms had united to invade the other bordering kingdoms: Himesh would have no valid reasons for ignoring the attempts to gain an audience with him by the Fire kingdom, and so it was time to give in to such an audience, even if it meant interacting with an old enemy, and the deadly opposite of ice. Himesh lowered long, dark eye-lashed eyes for a moment, as if steeling himself to give his order, then swept past the sergeant. “Rise and prepare for the audience, then, Sergeant. Send someone for the messengers to be brought to my study. Let’s get this over with.” He said over his shoulder as he moved past the male, and the sergeant was on his feet immediately, giving one swift bow to his exiting ruler before he turned to go do as Himesh had ordered.
Servants met the ice king at the doorway to his rooms, holding out a ceremonial robe to be put on over the fur-lined collared, so-pale-blue-it-was-almost-white silken shirt and black pants he already wore. The robe flowed down his form, cool to the skin, not that his skin wasn’t already cool in a kingdom like this, and not that he minded it. Ice elementalists could easily handle the cold without complaint, after all. The white-and-blue robe rippled as he moved, making the colors of the robe glitter as if he was covered in icicles. He ran a hand back through his hair, tucking a few dark strands of black, blue and teal back behind an ear that had hoop earrings travelling all the way up it. Other than the robe and silver earrings, the only sign of his status as a king was the simple silver circlet that rested on his head, keeping choppy hair back from his eyes, and the signet ring of a snowy owl clutching a white opal surrounded by blue topaz gems, the bird’s wings curved around the stones.
He took a breath, and swept out of the room, guards immediately falling into step behind him as he made his way to the large study he’d decided to meet the entourage in. “Bring the messenger in.” He ordered as he sat down in his ornate chair at the head of a table, long-fingers on armrests that went from rounded balls and turned into icicles that dripped down from the chair. He turned his gaze to the door to watch it open to allow the audience seekers their entrance, resisting the urge to get up and flee, carefully blanking the nervousness out from his calm and collected expression.
Three messengers entered upon permission given. The leader of the three bowed his head slightly to the royal guard who informed them so and motioned for his companions to follow. One had been too taken by the foreign beauty of the surroundings, falling deaf to their lead's command and had to be dragged in.
They were heavily dressed in winter clothing of the colors of the setting sun, reds, oranges and purples: the colors of the kingdom of Fire. It was quite hard to tell the shape of their bodies, to give hint to their true sex from their clothes at that time. What their clothing gave hint to however was that these messengers were of distinguished rank, all three of them. The fabrics were not just functional in the harsh cold but well decorated with golden thread embroidery and fanciful stitching. Their capes were decorated with such designs, a mark of Fire Kingdom artisanship. But the most tell-tale of signs that they were not ordinary people was the swirling dragon motif on the right arm of the thick coats they wore. Only the royalty could wear the dragon motif on their clothing.
They wore their cloaks down their faces, as they bowed and gave respect to the young king.
"Greetings, your Majesty. The Kingdom of Fire sends its warmest of gratitude and good will," The leader of the three messengers spoke up. It was a male with a deep voice that was not only pleasant to hear but had a dramatic quality to it. He was definitely well trained in the art of speaking, at how he punctuated his words and gave life to those moments of pauses. "We have been long awaited for you to accept our offer at negotiations. Truly, both kingdoms will reap the greatest of benefits from this. Thank you."
One of the three, the one who had to be dragged in, rose up from the floor. This fellow looked like he was holding something in his hands. He settled beside their leader, kneeling once more and extended his hands to reveal the ornate box he had.
"A gift from the Kingdom of Fire. A small token of our appreciation for this chance. May it please your Grace."
A small token it was not. Inside was a large white diamond, the size of the fist and shaped like a heart, with an ornate golden dragon that swirled around it. The emblem of the Fire Kingdom in jewel form. Proof that they were indeed the true emissaries of said monarchy.
All three maintained a sense of calm and warmth, that openness so characteristic of the people of the kingdom of fire. So far so good, thought of the leader. All he was waiting for now was for the gift to be inspected and taken.
Said calm broke.
The remaining messenger let out a loud sneeze that echoed in the study of the Ice King. Ah, so it was also male judging from that. He ran to the corner to collect himself, relieving his clogged nose and quickly sipped medicine. The lead hissed, bowing his head lower in embarrassment. Good god, diplomatic mishap already this early? The other was biting on their lower lip, trying their best not to burst into laughter.
"By the gods, I am sorry," he apologized with his voice hinting at a cold. His hood fell off. The man didn't even bother to wear it back as he resumed his place behind his two companions. He was a handsome fellow with gentle and sculptured features. He wore his long curled, untamed locks pulled back in a half ponytail by clips weaves into his hair. His eyes were large, bright and golden in color. And yes, the messenger had a reddened nose and sniffles. "I had taken in something bad on my way." Trying to make light of the situation, he chuckled a little. He didn't sound bad either.
The leader cleared his throat, as if to silence the other.
The guards within the chamber stood near the ornate chair with a protective air. Though, the servants weren’t quite so great at being disciplined. Plenty of eyes widened slightly, some lips even parted—obviously, few, if anyone, had ever seen any Fire envoys. The brightness of the colors was startling compared the cool palette of the Ice Kingdom. The brightest color they had was white, which muted everything compared to the reds and oranges of the fire messengers’ clothing.
Himesh’s eyes narrowed as he took in the group. He knew very little about the fire kingdom—old enemies were best left alone and unthought of. But something in the back of his mind jogged as he stared at the dragon insignias on the sleeves of the winter coats. He couldn’t remember exactly what it was right off the back, but he knew that these were no common messengers. The cloth the clothing was made of was too fine, the stitching and designs much too delicate and well-done. Obviously these messengers were of importance.
Startling eyes flickered slightly as the obvious leader of the group spoke. The inflections in the male’s voice were foreign to Himesh’s ears. Even among his close friends, Himesh’s tone didn’t take even a fraction of the inflection that he heard in just the few moments of the messenger speaking. In contrast, Himesh’s voice was soft, almost ghostly, but also pleasing to the ears in a different way. “I do indeed hope that our kingdoms might find a way to offer aid and strength to each other in this time of trouble.” He said smoothly, also obviously an excellent orator.
When one of the messengers rose and moved to extend the gift, one of Himesh’s guards went tense. Himesh lifted a hand, as if to remind the guard to be still, and rose from his throne as a servant moved forward to take the box. The servant’s eyes went wide at the gift, the icy expression she had been wearing breaking at the extravagance. She turned to take it to her king, who looked upon the gift, expression not changing, though he was startled indeed.
“This is a wonderful gift indeed. Thank you for such a lovely sign of faith.” He said, gesturing the servant to the side. She hesitated, then placed the gorgeous jewel on the table to Himesh’s right, rather than taking it out of the room like Himesh normally would have had done when given a gift. Something this large couldn’t be so easily dismissed.
Before Himesh could speak again, the third messenger let out his sneeze, startling the Ice King and his entourage. Himesh planted fingertips against the table to his right, as if balancing himself back out. His lips had twitched, the faint urge to smile immediately being subdued. However startled he’d been by it, Himesh did find it faintly amusing—as warm as the fire emissaries were, they were bound to be effected by the cold in some manner. If it got cold enough that even ice elementalists sometimes needed to get better bundled, then it was surprising a fire elementalist could even handle the harsh cold.
Himesh gave a short wave of his hand, dismissing the apology as he turned his gaze from the male who had sneexed back to the leader. He focused on his face, simply because he could indeed see it now that it was not swathed in fur. “Yes…it’s common for outsiders to catch a bit of something here. We’ll make sure that your rooms have fireplaces so you can warm up.” He assured all of them carefully, keeping coolly polite. A few servants quickly hurried off to make sure that the rooms had piles of blankets and that the fireplaces were set up and burning. Even those of the Ice Kingdom used fireplaces to take off the bite of the cold, so it was surprise that there were fireplaces in most rooms.
Himesh blinked as he realized the insignia’s meaning. He remembered studies of it being about some kind of upper class members or something like that. People of importance, at the very least. It was a startling revelation, that a king would send important people without even knowing an audience would be granted this time. “Please, rise and take a seat. Introduce yourselves and we can have some tea to warm you up while we wait for your rooms to heat up.” He said carefully, turning to sit down himself, robes shifting, the icicle illusion on them glinting. While he needed to know exactly who all he was dealing with so he could treat people according to their positions as was proper, there would be no talk of business today. It was considered incredibly rude to just step right into business once an audience as important as this one was granted, especially since the fire entourage had to travel to get here in the first place. Servants appeared from a back doorway, carrying trays of tea and treats to place at the table for their guests and king.
The three rose from the floor, whispering soft words of gratitude as they got back on their feet. And a sniffle, the young man at the back was still fighting the cold that ravaged his body, and clearing his nose as quietly as possible, without drawing too much attention than he already did.
The leader turned his head behind back, checking on the other and let out a sigh. What a troublesome boy. He did tell him not to partake in strange foods since the beginning. Curiosity had been his downfall.
It was only then that the remaining two decided to pull down their hoods, assured that their age old adversary would grant them safety. They had been properly acknowledged and welcomed, their gift accepted at that. Save for the sneeze, it was so far so good, as the old adage went.
The leader revealed himself to be an aging gentleman, with a growing moustache, in his forties or fifties, around that range. He possessed an eloquent, dignified air over him. Like the sick one behind him, he too sported long brown locks, only they were straight and neatly plaited, rather than left wild and quite untamed. His golden eyes belied strength, conviction and age. The man eventually removed his cloak, folding it over his arm and unwittingly bared his rich red winter coat. Golden ascots decorated his shoulders, with its decorative tassels swinging fro and so, as he paced to the offered tea and confections.
He had the medals of high military rank, hanging above his heart, indicating he was at least a general in the army back home.
"Allow me to introduce myself, your Highness. I am Maximilian Carmine d'Lindwurm. I possess the rank of High General of His Highness' royal armies. I have held this post since my brother, the former king, was on the throne. It is my pleasure to make your acquaintance.
He bowed lowly this time, before seating himself.
"The other two are the children of my brother, my nephews: Alizarin and Kermes. Come you two, make yourselves known and stop burning holes on the carpet!," snapped the older man as he motioned for the two to come closer. His golden eyes narrowed into slits, giving him a fiercer, a more feral look. "Forgive these two, these two may not look it but they are of royal blood and are quite capable. They just haven't quite outgrown their childishness."
The two complied, drawing close to their uncle's beckoning hand.
The one with a cold, as Max had introduced was the one named Alizarin, just as decorated, from the ascots to the medals. The distinction was in the fact, he had an additional medal. It was pinned on the parallel side of his military styled winter coat. Said medal was a stylistic rendition of the kingdom's emblem in precious metals and encrusted jewels. He scowled at his uncle, seating himself as he did and blew his nose once again. The painted expression of annoyance evaporated when the smell of warm tea and fresh treats filled his nostrils. And just like that, he lived up to his apparent 'childishness' and began to pick at the selection, curiosity and awe at the Ice Kingdom's cuisine apparent.
Maximilian sunk into his chair, and casted his eyes downward.
"Brother Ali," called out the other prince, "Do not be so hasty, please."
Kermes was stockier than his brother and look less gentle, with harsher, angular features that made him resemble his uncle more. He had cut his hair short and slicked them back. He was not as well decorated as the other two in terms of medals. The prince pursed his lips into a thin line and gave his younger brother a stern gaze, using his ash gray eyes to increase the dramatic effect he willed.
"Oh you two! I have not even taken anything yet and I am scolded already. My first impression is already ruined, dreadfully ruined," Ali cried out in mock disdain as he turned his gaze on the king, "As it has been said, I am Prince Alizarin d'Lindworm. I am most honored to meet you."
He gave Himesh, a sweet and genuine smiled before continuing, "I really like your country's dish... What was it called?" The prince paused momentarily, snapping his fingers in the air as he tried to recall its name, "Sorbet... Yes. That was it. Quite delicious. I hope we can have some of those during our stay."
Sharp eyes all around the room watched the trio emotionlessly, guards that surrounded the area tense and focused. The royal guard was highly protective of their king—they were raised from a young age to protect royalty at all costs. Most of the guards in this room were Himesh’s friends and fellow trainees when he had still been just the prince and heir, and his father still ruled. That friendship only added to an almost discomfitingly intense loyalty.
Himesh’s gaze went from the leader, pale eyes taking in his facial features in a swift glance, before switching to the second man to do the same. It was odd, sitting here staring at his kingdom’s original enemy from so long ago, listening to careful pleasantries and being polite back. Himesh certainly had never thought he’d be in this position—his father had firmly believed that fire and ice were to be separated, else they’d simply destroy each other. A lot of people believed that this alliance couldn’t happen without causing a weakness.
Well, Himesh would have to prove them wrong.
As cloaks were removed, Himesh’s gaze narrowed, just slightly. The military ranks weren’t well known by Himesh—medals weren’t given to his people to signify rank. Tattoo marks were what signified it, usually found by the eye or on the neck. There were few exceptions to the marking, royalty being one of them. There used to be a time when royalty wasn’t allowed to fight, and they were to keep themselves pure and unmarred. Now, royalty did fight, but the tradition of trying to remain unmarked stood strong. The purest of crystal ice, that was what the royal family was meant to be. Himesh thought it was incredibly annoying, but of course he wasn’t going to upset his older advisors by changing that simple tradition, especially since it’d be too prideful, wanting his own rank to be apparent.
Lips pursed into a slight line at the introductions. Himesh hadn’t expected people of importance to be messengers, let alone people of this kind of importance. The High General, a brother to the fire kingdom’s last king, and that king’s sons. He took a breath, recovering from the surprise to nod his head in acknowledgement of the bow, eyes focusing on the two younger men as they were introduced and berated.
A corporal, who stood nearby the ornate chair Himesh was seated in, shifted, just slightly, but it was still unusual that any of Himesh’s military officers moved at all when not addressed. “My lord...”
Himesh flicked a glance at the male, eyes narrowing slightly at the interruption to the train of conversation. The sergeant, who stood like an ice sculpture just a step to the left and back from Himesh’s chair, shot a dark look at the corporal, effectively shutting the male up. It was obvious the two knew something, but it wasn’t something that was to be brought up yet. Himesh, feeling distinctly out of the loop of whatever fact the military officers were keeping, turned back to Maxmilian to continue the conversation.
“Excuse them—they must have something they need to attend to. You both are free to leave and return when you’re done.” Himesh informed the two military men, giving them the excuse they needed to cover up their moment of what Himesh’s people deemed rather rude behavior. Himesh continued on, jumping back into the conversation. “I must admit that I’m quite surprised your kingdom sent royalty for this visit. It’s an honor to meet part of the royal family, nonetheless. And, of course, it’s an honor that you all trusted my kingdom enough to come without a large guard, as you have the right to have.” He said softly, eyes flicking from one to the other thoughtfully. “Oh, no apologies necessary. I’m sure this is…quite an adventure for them, as well as you. And you all must be quite tired.” Himesh murmured, dismissing the need for apologies by providing such excuses. His gaze returned to Alizarin, who looked to be similar enough in age to Himesh himself, and found the male looking curious and pleased about the treats Himesh’s servants had brought out, much to the ice king’s amusement, which glinted in the ice king’s icy eyes. To further Himesh’s amusement and vague fascination, the male gave into a moment of melodrama. “It is an honor to meet you as well, thank you.” He said immediately, manners creating the impulse.
The smile took Himesh aback a bit. He wasn’t used to such warm smiles, let alone from a stranger. “The…sorbet?” Himesh glanced at the male blankly, once again taken a tad off guard by the male. He was used to sorbet being used mainly as a palate cleanser, but he knew it was often eaten as a dessert outside the castle. “Yes, I’ll have the servants note that for dessert. I’m glad to hear you have been trying out my land’s food and you’ve found something you like.” Himesh murmured, recovered from his surprise. “You’ll have to let me know what else you’ve found that you agree with, all of you.”
“Feel free to snack and drink. If you’d like, I can have a servant bring some medicine to put into your tea that will help you with your Chill--you cold." He added, just to make sure the male knew that Himesh was talking about his illness. "I know catching a Chill can be quite the miserable experience.” He added, glancing at one of the servants, who immediately bowed and left to do the hinted bidding. "Each of you might want to use it, to help with the Chill if you have it as well as prevent it."
The elderly general caught the corporal and sergeant giving each other knowing looks at the corner of his eyes. He was sipping his tea and indulging in the pleasantries when that came to his attention. Amusement began to dance on Maximilian's features as his lips curved into a smile.
He cast a glance towards his elder nephew. Kermes' eyes lit up, his darkened eyes smiling back at his uncle's. The youngest in the group chose to ignore the exchange of looks, continuing to taste of the treats he had set aside.
Or knew an inkling of it.
'It' being yet another secret they left out in the open for discovery. One had already been revealed,through the manner of their clothing and the medals of their rank. They were men of the royal house of Fire. Indeed they were no ordinary messengers from the Kingdom of Fire.
Under a different monarch, those sent off would have been their ministers of foreign affairs and their key staff members. Their departure to enemy territory would be well announced, prepared and secured with an entire caravan of servants, family and a small platoon to ensure their lives. But alas, the current king was nothing like most monarchs of the kingdom and decided that to win his icy counterpart's promise of an alliance, he would have to show utmost sincerity and interest in the plan.
As such, the king was here seated not to far off from Himesh, sipping his tea and very much enjoying the warmth afforded by the offered drink. The current ruler of the kingdom of Fire acted neither kingly or princely at the moment, preferring a less guarded and more natural personality: his persona outside of the royal robes, crown and ceremonial masks. Against his wishes, his uncle pinned their military medals on their person before entering and that was the only semblance, the only hint of their exact royal positions made apparent at that point in time.
So it only took an educated eye to point out that the royal prince with a cold was no ordinary prince to begin with.
Maximilian laughed heartily, as he set his cup back on the saucer, "Nonsense, your Highness. This is just a small gesture of our sincerity. The current king insists on direct involvement on our possible alliance. It is his most ardent wish for it to come to pass."
The faux prince nodded in his seat, very much in agreement with what his eloquent uncle said. Well said, it was indeed a better choice to bring the man along than the ministers. The general was a much better negotiator and gifted with words than the entire ministry combined through alchemy. Picking at the cherry on one of the petit fours on his platter, the brunet absentmindedly twisted the fruit in his mouth, until Kermes slapped him.
"Yes, sorbet... That would absolutely wonderful," responded Alizarin, his eyes twinkling in absolute delight as he nodded in agreement with the other king, "Actually I had some of it before coming here and I believe I had too much..."
Kermes quipped, "You are sometimes too greedy for your own good, brother. We had warned you it would not be so wise to gobble down so much servings... In different flavors at that."
If only their brother would make user of their god given intellect sometimes, of course he would have a stomachache and even a chill considering: one, he tried out too many of that icy sweet treat all at once and second, he was for crying out loud, a citizen of the kingdom of fire.
One simply did not ignore ones bodily limits in the name of curiosity and not pay direly for it.
Sighing, Alizarin folded his arms, tucking his hands in and huffed, "It was only my wish to try. It is indeed as the stories go. But indeed, the chills that follow after... Not pleasing at all."
The smile that slipped onto Maximilian’s face, on top of the glance that the general exchanged with the prince, Kermes, was not missed by Himesh. Though, the ice king didn’t show any indication of having caught their response at his military officer’s expense—instead, the wintry male glanced away, not looking at them or his officers. They would come to formally apologize for their lapse in protocol and then explain what exactly caused the unusual reactions. Himesh wasn’t going to worry about it right now—he couldn’t afford to without being rude, anyway.
Still, the two guards had obviously recognized something about the emissaries that hadn’t been said. That would be the only thing that would cause any real reaction from the usually stone-cold and statue-still royal guard, especially those with higher ranks. Himesh being out of that loop might him a bit nervous. Still, if there was any threat, the guards would find a way to remove Himesh from the trio’s presence, immediately, so Himesh figured his concerns about their realization could wait.
The laugh both startled the dark-haired male as well as served to return Himesh’s thoughts back to the group and what was being said. Such a lapse in concentration was beyond rude, but it wasn’t like the trio could tell that the icy male’s thoughts had been elsewhere. “Well, such a show of sincerity is duly noted and very appreciated, as much of a surprise as it is.” Himesh murmured, giving a slightly tip of his head. Really, it was rude for highly ranked people to come unannounced, but that was by ice kingdom standards, not by the fire kingdom’s. Himesh knew this and couldn’t help but respect the fire king’s show of good faith by sending his siblings and uncle as messengers this time.
Though, it did make Himesh think of the other messengers that he’d turned away, refusing to even see them, and wonder how many of them had been of high importance, if any were.
“Oh, yes, some of our colder treats can definitely sneak up on a person, particularly people such as yourselves.” Himesh murmured, struggling with his surprise and amusement that Kermes had actually hit Alizarin and the two were arguing—albeit in a friendly manner, but it still was odd. “We’ll have to try a balance of foods that agree with you, as well as allow you try some of our other dishes with a bit more moderation so your illness does not worsen.” He assured the others. He knew the cooks could figure out a good balancing act that would hopefully keep the trio happy with their meals.
“Ah, here’s the herbs that should help with your Chill.” He said as the servant whisked back in, carrying small vials. Three, one for each royal messenger. “Just a drop or two of this will do wonders for abating your Chill, as well as prevent it from getting worse.” He said, nodding to the servant to bring the vials to the guests. “If you have any concerns as to poison or anything, feel free to ask a servant to test for you.” He added point-blankly, knowing that would be the first concern of any ice messenger when given some odd vial of herbs, especially from an old enemy. True, admitting the fear of poison was incredibly ill-mannered, but it was indeed a common concern when in foreign, not exactly friendly territory.
"But hopefully a pleasant surprise it has been on your part, we hope."
The two royals turned to their youngest in attendance, expressing surprise of their own kind, when Alizarin chose to speak as well. It wasn't like their king to speak up, as it had been initially agreed upon that their uncle would do all the negotiations. Somehow it slipped from their thoughts that the young ruler was just as honey tongued and convincing if he willed it.
The long haired brunet smiled as he spoke, not letting the sniffle get in the way of his remark, "On behalf of the kingdom and it's supporters, our intentions for a pact of beneficial measure between your realm and ours has never wavered since. If anything, our desire for which burns greater."
He laced his words with such intensity and conviction, the worries of growing possibilities of war and conflict at the borders. The king of fire had a serious expression on his face, so foreign from his frequent smiles and laughter, even back at the court of Fire.
"As the saying goes: in unity, we shall find our strength; in division, we find ourselves weak. We believe that our combined forces would be more than sufficient to battle off our problems. After all, at this point in time, our concerns now converge... Practically one and the same."
Alizarin gestured for the servant to refill his cup. The talking made him thirsty and cold, willing for more. Really, the tea was good and to his liking. After which, the king gave his thanks then added a pinch of honey before drinking again. He was aware that his uncle was seemingly flabbergasted at his adlib, since they agreed that he would do the talking. But the monarch had too many things he wanted said that Maximilian had not covered. Besides, he hadn't slipped his cover or done anything else embarrassing whilst the cold was on him yet.
So far so good.
On the mention of better suited food and drink amongst other matters with regards their accommodations, the elder prince nodded and was agreeable with the thought. "That would be a splendid idea, your Highness. It is most kind of you to make such adjustments on our behalf. We will not forget such gestures."
Kermes was just like his brother, albeit much more subdued and likely to follow protocol. He had the discipline and willpower that his younger brother lacked sometimes. The prince was familiar with that tingle of desire and the knock of curiosity all too well, mostly because they reflected his own!
The gift of herbs would also not be a gesture lost on the fire emissaries, quick to express their gratitude and warmth upon receipt.
This was going to well for their tastes. It was almost ideal as far as they were concerned. Alizarin could hardly contain his excitement and glee at how things were progressing. He felt smug, wishing he could show this off back home and rub it in the faces of those who were in opposition of his idea. They had told him not to continue sending gifts and messengers to woe the kingdom of Ice, and that never in his tenure as ruler would any reach the company of Himesh.
Hah. Say what, again?
The king did not notice that he had been smiling, practically from ear to ear and all too obvious with his mood at that time. There, that was the man that the high general and prince were familiar with, the carefree and youthful king of fire, Raoul Alizarin. Taken by the cheerful mirth of their ruler, the two also smiled, infected by it
"As our arrival had been quite a surprise, we do not ask much and are more than happy with hospitable accommodations, your Highness. Then perhaps we can start on business tomorrow or the day after? We have traveled far and are tired," spoke Maximilian, taking charge once again, "And yes, indeed. Coming to your kingdom is definitely nothing short of an adventure for these two. The other has already began his own idea of adventure ...with a cold."
"I would like to have some time to be able to look around as well, besides getting down to business, uncle," added Alizarin, "And my colds will not hold me back."
He was practically scowling at his uncle who made it clear that he was not backing down from teasing his nephew in open air.
Himesh turned his gaze to the youngest male, eyes thoughtful in his cool expression. He hadn’t know what to think of the silly prince, really. Obviously there was a reason he was there, elsewise he wouldn’t have been allowed to come and risk negotiations, right? Though, judging from the surprise on the other two’s faces, they hadn’t expected the male to be speaking up. “Pleasant in it speaks well of just how much your kingdom does want this, yes.” Himesh murmured—quite the diplomatic reply in turn.
The icy male leaned back in the ornate chair, though his posture was still quite straight, back never touching the tall back of the chair. His eyes remained their thoughtful glint, taking in the male’s words and the serious sincerity of it. It was definitely hard to dismiss the Fire Kingdom’s determination. Or, at least the determination of the leaders of the kingdom. While the concerns of war threatening the borders were very real indeed, it had been too easy to dismiss alliances as some silly little thing that wouldn’t work.
Well, it wasn’t so easy now that the odd trio were here, seated in Himesh’s study, bringing gifts and sincere words. It was almost terrifying.
“Very well said. Our kingdoms are both in the rare position of facing the same threat and thus having the same uncomfortable position of having to find a way to stop the threat. Alone…who knows how both lands would fair, other than the risk of standing alone is quite a great thing for either of us. ” Himesh murmured softly, smooth and calm, making no hints that the ice kingdom did indeed need the alliance just as badly as the fire kingdom probably did. The outside threat was just too large, too much of a risk to take alone, but Himesh wasn’t going to put the idea of the ice kingdom needing the alliance so badly on the table just yet.
“It is a simple thing, to adjust our foods. I’m sure the chefs will enjoy the chance to try out some not-so-common dishes.” Himesh replied to the thanks. Truth be told, he knew the kitchen servants were going to have a field day, getting creative with meals that would probably do wonders to keep the fire emissaries heated up instead of chilling them to the bone. It’d be interesting to see what they’d come up with.
The spreading of smiles was a confusing thing to Himesh, who watched each fire elementalist thoughtfully. Such cheerfulness was unheard of in a meeting like this. It was uncomfortable by instinct, yet intriguing. It definitely kept the mood light in a meeting like this, when it ordinarily would have been stiff and awkward otherwise.
“Oh, surprise or not, you will have rooms fitting for royalty, I can assure you. If you find yourself in want of anything, be sure to make requests of the servants and they will handle it for you. Of course you will have time for rest and bathing, as well as to adjust to being here and no longer on the road. We’ll worry about discussions once you’re settled.” Himesh said politely. As much as he was sure they wanted to get business begun, protocol demanded the trio have time to rest. Himesh would probably be fidgeting himself—god knows he hated to wait to get important things done, but had to. They’d once had a group from a northern duchy come down to discuss their issues with trade with another country, and Himesh had had to wait for a week before everything was settled and in order for business to begin. It’d driven absolutely mad as he waited.
Himesh was a bit surprised that the young prince would want to explore and look around the ice capital, but nodded his consent to the desire. “But of course. I’ll arrange tours around the castle grounds.” He said smoothly, not making any promises about the male being able to see beyond that. The concept of letting a fire kingdom prince wander the capital was an uncomfortable one, simply because Himesh wasn’t sure how well his people would react. The last thing he needed was one of the emissaries to get offended or even attacked.
“For now, servants will direct you to your rooms so you can stow your belongings and rest before dinner.” Himesh said, gesturing as three servants moved forward. “Feel free to wander the castle if you wish—I’d hate for you to feel trapped in your rooms. After all, this is a visit to benefit both our kingdoms, and I’d like you to be as comfortable here as you can be.” He murmured, rising from his seat.
The fire king had played the scenarios in his mind's eye many times. While he found that there was a chance for each kingdom would be able to stand alone a damage, it was not to Alizarin's liking to find that casualties of war would weigh heavy on either side. It was also one less worry for himself and his ministers of war if they had one less enemy and a friend in the realm of Ice. He was also fairly certain that the king also thought the same.
An ally in need, is a friend indeed, as the saying goes.
Himesh did admit that they were in the unique situation of facing the same threats and problems. It was as the young ruler has predicted. So far, he found himself fond of his ice kingdom counterpart: he was polite and agreeable.
Wait and hope, the golden eyed king thought to himself as he laid his gaze on Himesh before shifting it back to the cup of warm tea in his hands. Surely things would go pleasant and smooth as possible.
Maximilian smiled at his host, thanking him as he did, "Ah, it is as the tales go. The current king of Ice is indeed a good man. May the gods bless your soul and that of the people."
Upon receipt of a positive response regarding his request for tours and tours, the king was quick to abandon his morose expression and shared his brother's curious and excited sentiment. They resembled a pair of pups who had been presented a juicy bone wagged in their presence. Once again, they forgot their royal rank and became children yet again.
A tour... Of the palace. Well, it wasn't much of a place to roam but it was a start. There was no knowing how long the negotiations would last and as such, it was best to be acquainted with their surroundings.
"Kermes has a special interest in the kingdom of Ice, most especially, your Highness. My nephew is a geographer and historian. Thus he was insistent to come along, in the hopes of finding a hint or two of what he could write of for his next book."
He was the one who had to be dragged in earlier. Ah, no wonder the fascinated gaze in the hallway. The elder prince nodded, somewhat bashful at his uncle's extended introduction. The man continued on that he had read on the history and technology of the Ice Kingdom, finding it fascinating.
"...Alizarin, well, he... On the king's orders, he was selected to come along. The king thought him to be a suitable companion for me at the table when we would begin our talks."
Maximilian faltered and he knew it. While it was not like him to crack while speaking, as in to be at a lost for words when he needed it, the high general found it quite difficult when his nephew of a king was looking at him, focused golden eyes seemingly saying 'Well, what can you say about me then!' Inwardly he hissed, the boy had his father's gaze! That iron look that either taunted or cheered you on. Bloody father and son, even to that quality. They were one and the same.
But at the same time, he felt funny. To say that the king ordered the king to have him here... It felt odd. Then again, his nephew wasn't even supposed to be here. But then, who was to be the boss of a king but the king himself? Quickly dispensing their original third companion, a minister of foreign affairs with plenty of experience and knowledge of negotiations and the ice Kingdom, the unlikely trio set off to their adversary with nothing but faith, determination and hope.
After receiving the cue to be able to retire to their rooms, the three messengers gave their thanks to their gracious host before taking their leave. They collected their fine cloaks of red dye fabric and golden thread embroidery and gave a polite bow, in turn while bidding Himesh farewell.
Alizarin said his farewell last, when he felt the familiar tingle of a sneeze coming. He held it back and sounded like he was squeaking as he bowed, saying goodbye.
“Oh, I don’t know what tales are out there that speak of me, but I am pleased this first meeting has gone so nicely. A blessing to you as well.” Himesh murmured with a faint nod. The fire emissaries definitely knew their way with words. Complimentary without being too forward in the compliments—quite perfect for the ice kingdom’s ruler, really.
Feeling his lips twitch slightly in the urge to smile when he saw that puppy dog-like excitement and curiosity in the royals, Himesh glanced away to control the reaction. Honestly, it had never occurred to him that the messengers would be curious about the kingdom and whatnot. He supposed he’d want to look around the fire capital given the chance as well, now that he considered it. It was just such an odd, foreign concept, Himesh had never realized that there might be genuine curiosity.
The dark-haired male turned his gaze to Kermes as he was spoken of, gaze thoughtful. “Very interesting. Educated minds are always welcome to be curious about the ice kingdom.” He said smoothly. “My cousin has similar interests. Perhaps I’ll see if he can be dragged from the library to meet with you and you two can chat during your free time here.” Himesh offered. Really, there’d be no “dragging” of Himesh’s cousin. Like most of Himesh’s people, his cousin adored the king and was always more than eager to do things, especially when that involved being able to do something with his interests as a historian.
The stumbled explanation of Alizarin’s reason for being there was not missed. Himesh arched an eyebrow just slightly, glancing from Maximilian to Alizarin. “An interesting reason. Well, you’re all welcome nonetheless. When the talks begin, I’ll have a few advisors here with me to aid in the discussions as well.” He replied.
Himesh inclined his head at each farewell, once again caught off guard by Alizarin when the male spoke his farewell. When they were all safely gone, Himesh bit back a sigh, glancing down at the diamond glinting in its ornate box on the table beside him. “Take this to my room, please.” He murmured, long fingers gesturing at the box. A servant swept forward to gingerly take the gift, bowing away from Himesh before turning to disappear. "I'm going for a walk in my gardens.” He informed his guards, turning to walk away, needing time and space from being a statue.
A breath of collective relief washed over the group once they left the study of the ice king. They looked at one another, breaking out into smiles and soft laughter. It was over for now. However, there was still dinner in which the three of them had to attend. They would dine with the rest of the kingdom's nobility and present themselves, yet another step in winning their support and opinion towards the joint forces of fire and ice.
Until then, they were free to slip out of diplomatic protocol and resume their much more laid back nature.
They resumed speaking to one another in native tongue. Their tones were much livelier, less formal as they spoke a little louder and hurriedly than they had inside the room.
"Unbelievable! I was told that they were statuesque and cold, with eyes that looked right through you..." went on Kermes as he raised his hands to his head in astonishment, "But I didn't think they were right to the T. I was like, oh by the gods, stop starring at me like that. You're going to burn holes in my clothes."
A squeak of a laugh quickly responded his brother's confession, "Bet ya if it wasn't so cold, you would have long peed in your pants brother. Brother, kindly... Kindly please. You're not exactly that young anymore."
The scholarly prince shot back his younger brother an angry glare.
Alizarin laughed louder, pointing at his brother, "You caught on fast. Waaaa... That look! You from around here, eeehhhhh?"
Overhearing them talk, watching them interact as they were lead to their rooms would never give any the impression that they were anything more than rambunctious fledglings from the kingdom of fire, accompanied by a seemingly quiet and much more mature male emissary.
The two had walked on ahead, fairly excited to finally relish the privacy of their rooms and a chance to talk of their stay at the study amongst themselves. Perhaps too much since they were already spilling their stories right then and there at the hallway.
Maximilian sported a grin from ear to ear as he approached his nephews, swinging his arms over their shoulder and drew them close. The elder prince nearly fell over, having not foreseen his uncle, and struggled to keep his feet firm on the ground. The fire king had to grab Kermes by the belt to prevent a face plant.
"Brother please," spoke Alizarin, smile apparent as he steadied himself. Their uncle was all praises and pride for the two ragamuffins for managing their first diplomatic mission. "I know you have the hots for exotic places but no need to kiss the floor just because."
Unable to contain himself anymore, Kermes latched himself on his brother and grabbed his face, stretching his face sideways as far as he could, "SCREW YOOOOOOU."
Alizarin wailed, wincing in pain as he rubbed his sore cheeks afterwards. "What the hell, Kermes..."
The high general intervened, slapping them both at the back of their heads and reminded them that thy were not at home and could not frolic like puppies as they normally would. It effectively brought them both to a silence, pouting as they made their way to their rooms.
"And oh," spoke their uncle, edging near Kermes, speaking in a hushed voice, nearly a whisper, "Don't think I didn't notice that you were looking at the king a lot, save your kisses not for the floor.... If you know what I mean."
The fire king grinned. So he wasn't the only one who noticed.
Kermes flushed red.
Ah yes, it would be definitely the longest two hours till supper. Without a doubt.
The servants that were taking the fire entourage to their rooms walked stiffly and like a statue ahead of the group. They didn’t understand the native language of the fire country at all, so the discussion was beyond them. Very few people really cared to learn other languages unless they had to. Himesh knew the languages of all the bordering kingdoms, a fact that few people actually knew he’d devoted time to learn.
Nonetheless, the servants would report back that the group was insanely rowdy and strange. At least in terms of the ice kingdom—only children played and bullied each other to such an extent, and even then, they were subdued and quiet and public anyway. As soon as the servants got their guests to their rooms, they left to go chat amongst themselves—even in the ice kingdom, servants gossiped horrendously.
The ice king himself went to do exactly what he had said he was going to do: go stroll the gardens. It was the best way to get a breather and relax without getting harassed by his advisers and whatnot. He moved slowly through the delicate gardens. While there was plenty of green plants and trees standing against the cold climate, splashes of color throughout the gardens lit up the place with shocking colors when compared to the wintry landscapes.
Robes trailed after him as Himesh walked along, letting out a soft, relieved breath. He had no idea how he was going to survive this period of negotiations. They needed the alliance, but obtaining it was going to be much harder than he wanted to admit. He found himself vaguely wondering if the foreign trio even knew just how serious and sincere they’d have to prove to be in order to get Himesh’s advisors to even consider trusting any kind of alliance.
It wasn’t long before dinner was near ready to be servant and Himesh had to leave to make sure he was straightened up prior to dinner. With all his nobles attending, Himesh had to be a bit more flashy than he was at the moment—though he still refused to deck himself out in jewels. He didn’t need the flashy accessories in order for it to be known who he was, really. The way he carried himself and the way people were drawn right to their king would remind anyone just who he was. Still, protocol was protocol and he could not get away with dressing down in public. The ceremonial robe was removed, to keep from getting sullied at dinner. Clothing was replaced with loose, flowing clothing in whites, grays and blues made out of a shimmering material that glimmered with the male’s movement. The simple circlet was replaced with another circlet, silver bent into an open circle with the two ends hammered and carved into owl feathers with small blue and white jewels placed along the metal. It was more delicate, but still not very flashy. His hair, brushed and swept back, was still left to fall loose with just a slightly wave, bangs swept back and secured in the back underneath the circlet. He still wore his earrings and signet ring, but didn’t add anything else.
With that, he headed for the dining hall at the same time that the trio was supposedly being escorted to the hall. The moment he entered the hall, the quiet chatter of the nobles already seated silenced, gazes turning to their king as everyone rose immediately. Normally, he wouldn’t make any speeches or any such things, and would just allow dinner to begin. Tonight, however, he was planning to personally greet his kingdom’s guests.
The male waited for a moment, seeing the doors open that signaled the fire emissaries were being escorted in. “As I’m sure you all know, we have visitors from our neighbors, the Fire Kingdom.” He began, before adding in the names and titles of the three guests for his own people’s benefits, so that the ice nobles knew the messengers weren’t merely common negotiators. “We share the hope that our kingdoms can move through negotiations easily and peacefully in order to protect both our lands. I’d like you all to welcome them to dinner with us as you would any other distinguished guests.” Himesh spoke, tone still soft and gentle, just raised a little to carry across the hall. “Please, join me at my table.” He murmured, gesturing to the seats left available for the three to Himesh’s right. Also at Himesh’s table were a variety of higher nobles and lesser royalty.
As soon as the trio was seated, the servants moved in with platters for the first course as well as jugs of various beverages to be offered. One noble, closest to the trio of foreigners, took it upon himself to politely explain what each drink was, pointing out a honeyed, heated beverage with a slightly herbal spice that might suit the trio more than any of the other drinks offered.
Once again, the high general took charge of the group, proceeding first with his two nephews trailing behind him. They were no longer wearing uniform winter coats for winter battle but wore distinct dresses, much more reflective of their taste and person. Expectedly, Maximilian was covered in the bright and fiery shades of red and orange. He chose a long coat with a high collar with a phoenix motif on the back, its embroidered wings spreading across his shoulder blades and extending themselves to his sleeves. The elderly general wore a long decorative scarf that hanged from his neck. It was a brilliant shade of yellow gradient that melted into deep black. All of this served to emphasize his height and well built frame, befitting of a man of war like himself.
He gave his thanks to the gracious welcome, "It is a great pleasure to be with e everyone of you, most especially your Highness."
The fire king chose to dress differently, feeling that he wanted to blend in more with the prevailing hues of blues, both dark and light and white. Alizarin decided that he liked the colors and perhaps during his stay, he would like to experiment and adapt their colors into his wardrobe. Perhaps...
The nearest he could go without going out of context of his origins was purple. A long sleeved jacket of embroidered purple fabric lined with soft silver taffeta was selected for that evening. Thick fur outlined the collar and lapels of the jacket, making it snug and warm to wear. A decorate scarf of dark black hanged from his neck, in the similar fashion of his uncle's. To finish off the look, he paired it with a matching pair of well fitting pants in a similar shade of purple and wore a pair of riding boots.
To mask his cold and illness, the brunet put a bit of rouge on his checks and outline his eyes in dark lines and gray eye shadow. Yes, Alizarin was vain. He could be if he needed to be. His two companions had berated him for looking like a mess when they left the study, so very well then.
His uncle took the nearest seat to Himesh, followed by Kermes and himself farthest from the ice king. While it looked funny they were arranged seemingly in age, it was also the brunet's intention so he could actually talk to the others at the table and get to know them. Leave the half diplomatics to the elders, so to speak. Plus he had a better view of the table from where he sat.
Kermes trailed behind the two, somewhat taken ajar by the amount of cold stares and the icy ambience. He was not as garish or breathtaking as his companions, choosing to don simpler, more functional garbs. The scholar wore a sleeveless half robe with an embroidered outline with a mandarin collared swallow tail coat. A jeweled belt with the motifs of the sun and stars adorned his waist and kept his pants up in check. Like their uncle, he was in reds and oranges, with soft twinkling diamonds here and there. Flashy. He was, but not as well decorated. And his hair..
Goddamn it all.
Alizarin ruffled his perfectly slicked back hair. It was an organized mess with bangs falling his angular features. His brother deemed him boring and said it would make him much more interesting. After all, he was going to be talking lots from now on, had to stand out right?
Once all were seated, he took his glass and then proposed a toast. The three had thought it might be a good idea, and according to plan, it would Kermes who would do so.
"To safety and further prosperity for our kingdoms."
Eyes, mostly light shades of blue or green, stared at the fire emissaries with a blank politeness. While hostility wasn’t open, Himesh was sure that the carefully smoothed out expressions were more than enough to cause discomfort to anyone unused to such calm statuesque expressions. Even for some ice elementalists outside the palace, people were a bit disconcerted the nobles’ insane ability to keep icy calm facial expressions.
Still, Maximilian’s response to Himesh’s introduction of the trio was perfect. Diplomatic, with that slight complimentary edge directed towards the king the people were so loyal and protective of. It couldn’t have been better.
Like Himesh’s, icy gazes were lingering on the outfits, taking in the shocking splash of colors and adjusting for a moment. The brightest hues in room were gorgeous greens and bright blues. Even then, they did nothing to stand up to the bright colors of the various pieces and detail work of the trio from the fire kingdom. For all that the colors were shocking, the outfits different from the styles of the ice kingdom with a few similarities. Scarves were a common accessory, and fancily styled and cut coats, though ice styled coats were lighter, sometimes with a thinner fur trim. Most jackets hat sharp, angular cuts, or were flowy and almost ethereal like Himesh’s outfit.
Once all the ornate plates and jugs were filled with food and drinks, the servants melted away from the table into the shadows. The only visible guards were back behind Himesh, at the entrance the male had used to enter the hall from the wing of the castle his rooms were in. Whatever other guards were the elite ones that were always somewhere nearby Himesh, hidden in the shadows. Otherwise, the gathering was much more casual, not meant to be tense, for all that any dinner like this was bound to be quiet. Chatting and gossip and the like, of course, but in quieter tones, rather than loud rambunctious ones.
The toast took Himesh a tad off guard, though he supposed it shouldn’t have. Nobles froze, hands automatically going for glasses out of politeness as well as out of surprised agreement to the toast, but no one fully lifted their cup quite yet. Eyes went to Himesh, who had immediately reached for his own glass to lift it in response to Kermes’s words.
“Now, that is something worth toasting.” Himesh said agreeably—the first real sign of true personality behind the icy façade. “To the safety and prosperity of our kingdoms.” He echoed, hoisting his cup up just a tad higher to indicate his agreement to toast. Silver and glass goblets rose all along the table as murmured agreement to the toast.
As expected, the toast has been taken in graciously. The purple clad king smiled, raising his goblet to the well wishes as declared. Originally, their uncle had suggested that Alizarin raise the toast, to make an impression on the court, but he went against it preferring to play the prince while it lasted. Soon enough, they would have to reveal the truth of the silly prince with a cold was anything but a tag along but was the very heart of the operation, quietly observing and bidding his time, speaking only when necessary. Or worse case scenario, their possible allies would have found out even before they said so. It was actually quite enjoyable for the young monarch, felt like the older days when his life was much more relaxed and carefree.
In his stead, he pushed his older brother to it who consequently turned a deep shade of scarlet.
Kermes was also quite a public speaker himself, being a scholarly professor back home. He was naturally gifted in commanding others to listen, a task not all found easy. But... Not at a time like this. Definitely. It felt surreal, very dream like for the elder prince to be here at the Kingdom of Ice, surrounded by the court and even in audience of the king. This was the stuff of his research: things he could only dream of living and being part of, and it was all happening. He was becoming part of history, seeing that at long last, the long desired negotiations would take place and he would be there.
What a strangely overwhelming feeling indeed.
Seeing his brother had accomplished his task well, the brunet nodded at him. "Well done, brother," Alizarin said, leaning towards him, now in the common tongue of the continent. Kermes muttered a quiet acknowledgement, bashfully. The man was practically pink in the ears!
Once that was settled, the king returned his attention back on the food and drink that were being served. His uncle and brother would take care of the polite chitchat with the king and those around them. This was why he was king anyway, he had loyal subjects at his disposal who would do the dirty work. Simply follow over the already good impression made from the study was all to it. Couldn't be too hard considering he had Maximilian Carmine with him. The man was a living legend, renowned for his ability to form alliances and commanded respect from his former and then foes. A dinner was surely just child's play for his uncle.
It was one of his objectives while at the Kingdom of Ice to enjoy the culture and it's people. Speaking of people...
He turned his head from side to side. His golden eyes, flickering with interest and curiosity as he browsed the hall for its occupants. The nobility of the Kingdom of Ice were indeed a beautiful kin, as the tales went. Judging from their handsome fellow of a king and those who had surrounded him in the study, Alizarin could tell that there would be plenty in attendance who were easy on the eyes. There was, as he thought, plenty at that.Their pale and smooth looking skin and crystalline eyes captured the brunet's attention and left him breathless. They all looked very beautiful to him.
Doing his best not to look conspicuously 'bird watching', he couldn't help himself. He was still a young man, a bachelor at that. It had been awhile since he had been left to his own devices in seeking companionship. The court had a way of imposing consorts upon him since his crowning, Alizarin was not amused by how persistent and careless they were, not even addressing his concerns when they did so.
The young monarch sighed inwardly, a careless smile on his face as he listened to the noble's suggestion. Smiling warmly, the brunet thanked him and took a sip of the drink, finding it to his liking.
"Uncle, brother... You must try this. It's wonderful," he said speaking for the first time since they were seated.
Yeap. He would enjoy being the young prince while he could. Something nagged at the back of his mind that it wouldn't last for long.
Himesh’s crystal gaze never remained for too terribly long on one single person as it swept the room. The only time his unsettling eyes focused on one person was when he spoke to with someone—then, and only then, did his whole focus stay still for long, giving full attention instead of the aloof half-attention many nobles gave.
Still, all the while, he kept an eye on his royal visitors out of the corner of his eyes at least. He had to admit Kermes’s reactions to the ice palace and its people, as well as to addressing the icy nobility, was intriguing in some quaint manner. It wasn’t uncommon for the fair-skinned ice elementalists to blush, but it looked rather odd because expressions would be even more carefully blanked out than ever in order to try to counteract the flushed cheeks. Pink cheeks and dead expressions did not look nearly as nice as pink cheeks and lively expressions like those the fire kingdom emissaries wore.
Polite chitchat around the table begun. Everyone was being careful, not quite sure what to say or do around the royal messengers seated in a position of respect by their king. By the tense set to the frames of some of the older nobility, it was obvious that some of the nobles in attendance were more than a tad displeased with the presence of fire elementalists at their table. Almost every beverage had a light liquor base that should be more than enough to tame some tempers, however. The alcohol served for public dining like this was fine, but diluted quite a bit by the rest of the beverage mixture, just to be sure no one got drunk and disgraced themselves and their companions by doing so, let alone insult their king by being intoxicated in his company.
Though, perhaps it’d help loosen up some tensions and issues within the ice kingdom if all the nobles just got drunk—or so Himesh thought. Not that he’d ever share that particular thought with anyone. Ever.
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