Chapter 4: Late night meetings...
As Amaruq sat in the antechamber of her personal quarters, a fire roared in the corner, heating the cold stones and she glanced at the hardwood door that separated her from her sleeping sisters, no doubt they would want to go meet Adam had they known he was here, or that she had even planned on courting him. Truth be told they still thought she was going to get Taros for them, in fact, it was all but decided and Uki had done nothing but talk about the boy.
The thought brought a smile to her lips, not a day before she would have called Taros a man, but after…
He was undoubtedly a boy, she smiled to herself as she contemplated her conversation with the man who had just been escorted to his hopefully temporary quarters her first in command stepped up to her side, she had eaten alone with Adam. Had even gone so far as to have Qallunaat food prepared for him, she was after all well aware that most people thought her people’s practice of eating raw meats to be barbaric and disgusting, and she wanted to make a good first impression. Now however, she was once again surrounded by her retainers but now her advisors. She looked over at the tall guard, or rather the woman she had thought of tall before she had met Adam, the man towered over her and everyone she had ever met, including the extraordinarily tall Alasie. “What do you think of my future husband?” she asked, looking at Alasie from where she sat.
The guard thought for a moment before answering honestly, “I know not Milady, he is not like any male I have ever seen, his skin color, it is so light, uncanny, and that hair and beard, its like fire itself was spun into his hair, his coloration is different, completely, and his ears appear to have been clipped.”
“I don’t think they were clipped,” Ahanah said stepping up to Amaruq’s other side. “I looked closely, there is no scarring and it looks like the flesh was like that originally, in fact he glanced at all of our ears, I get the feeling he had never seen ears like ours, it might be that that is how his people are.” She said, lowering her hood and showing a pretty face, with crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes and streaks of grey in the midnight black of her hair. “My question for Milady is if you figured out why he wishes to leave his world?” she looked at Amaruq expectantly.
“I did,” Amaruq answered.
“And you still wish to marry him?” she asked, and as her lady nodded her head she felt her curiosity rising. “What reason is it if I might be so bold to ask?” she asked, half expecting the young elf next to her not to answer, her queen simply sat there, tapping her chin for a long moment in silence as she got her thoughts in order.
“From my understanding he was a master of coin in the kingdom of Dakota, and he was responsible for southern region,” Amaruq said, “And someone above him, perhaps a duke or the like got greedy and he was blamed for it, his title was stripped, and when he went home he found his wife had betrayed him.” She said.
“Betrayed?” Ahanah asked one eyebrow raised in query. ‘Betrayed, how?”
“As you know his world has no curse like ours, so there are as many males as females, marriage in his culture is between one man and one woman, only he came home to find his wife laying with other men,” she spat in disgust at the guile of the woman, there were millions of women in this world that would kill for a man, and would take care of him to the best of their abilities, the thought of lusting after another husband after you already had one was just unforgivable in her eyes, “Ahanah imagine you came home to find your husband laying with women who were not your sisters.” Ahanah growled deep in her throat, before checking herself when she realized it was a hypothetical question. “Apparently in his culture a man a woman married can break the marriage if they are not good for one another, this is called a divorce apparently, and a third party decides how the items the two of them once owned together are divided between the two, this also went poorly for Adam, he lost everything, including his house, it was all given to the unfaithful wife.”
“This entire story sounds like a political assassination,” Alasie said softly.
“Indeed, it would seem my future husband made someone mad and they worked very hard to destroy his life.”
“Politics,” Alasie spat the word out like it tasted bad in her mouth.
“Indeed, politics.” Amaruq answered back.
“Speaking of, Lady Marus is here with her sisters and her brother,” Ahanah said.
“Already?” Amaruq asked, “did we find the spies?” she had purposefully walked Adam through areas full of servants in an attempt to weed out the spies the political parties had no doubt placed in her staff. It might be cruel to use the man she hoped to wed as bate, but it was the most effective way to achieve the goal of routing them out, so it was the method she had employed.
“No Milady, I apologize for my failure,” Alasie said bowing her head.
“No need to apologize Alasie, we will get them,” she smiled, she was looking forward to this.
“What will you tell the other candidate’s sisters?” Ahanah asked, Amaruq saw the twinkle in her old eyes and smiled back at her, the malicious smile twisting her face in a demonic way.
“Why don’t you come and watch?” she asked softly as she lead the two out of the room and towards the main manse on the property.
Taros Marus was the only son of the Marus clan, he was a small thing, like most of the men he looked like he had never worked a day in his life, which was true. Men were so rare that they were simply kept inside and never worked, never did anything. His small figure which had at one point seemed appealing was no longer such after she had seen Adam. His sisters sat with him across from Amaruq and they looked upset, very very upset.
“I am glad you came here!” Amaruq said with her best fake warm smile, she looked at the eldest of the Marus clan sisters, Avina, she had been friends when they were younger. This of course was before Amaruq had eavesdropped on a conversation between the young Marus clan girl and her mother. Amaruq still felt the pain when she thought about it even to this day, it was a hard lesson to learn that the person you thought was your friend actually hated you and was only with you because her mother ordered it. “Unfortunately you missed Lord Adam, he has retired for the night, and will be returning to his land in the morning to spread the good news.”
“Lord Adam?” one sister asked, “Good news?” another asked at the same time.
“Indeed, I am going to marry Lord Adam, he is the lord of coin for the kingdom of Dakota, he is in control of the entire southern kingdom’s coin.” She smiled as all of her visitors pulled in a breath. She reveled in there shock, sure she was stretching the truth, but no one needed to know this. “He came to us via travel mage,” she went on pretending she didn’t see there horror and rage, they had no doubt know about Adam long before they showed up, they had spies in place of this she was sure, and she was loving using this against them. “He needed to go tell his people, of course as the lord of coin he needs to make sure his position is satisfactorily filled so he can live here as the royal consort.”
She almost felt sad for Taros, when he hung his head in defeat. But then she saw Adam standing there, defiant even after all he had been through he stood tall and proud, and well just plain tall. That was a man she wanted, not someone like this Taros who was about to cry because he had been passed over.
“Congratulations Milady,” Avina ground out between clenched teeth, “I have not heard of this Kingdom of Dakota; where is it if I might ask Mi’lady?”
“It is a kingdom form a very far away location, one that we have not had much contact with before...” or none at all.
“I see, I will make sure to investigate this Dakota; I would hate to insult the new consort by being ignorant of some custom of his...” as she said this she rose to her feet, dragging Taros with her, the other sisters of her clan also stood.
“Are you leaving so soon?” Amaruq asked in feigned sadness.
“Indeed, we have things to do, we were just stopping by to see you,” Avina practically snapped. “Farewell, my queen.” She spat and turned practically dragging her retinue out of the meeting hall.
“Well, I don’t think she was well pleased,” Ahanah said with a laugh after the group had left.
“I am inclined to agree,” Amaruq said, sinking back into her plush velvet throne with a sigh of contentment. “One down two to go.” She said, the wicked smile back in place on her face.