Faisal sits at the reception table, surveying the scene as the servants complete their final preparations. The warrior had extensive experience organizing military operations, but none in planning a state dinner for a visiting dignitary. Scarlet had all but disappeared since dragging her father aside after the elves’ arrival, leaving the new Duke-Regent to make the decisions himself. If not for their excellent seneschal, Belvedere, the holy warrior would have been completely lost.
The duke stands as Scarlet’s new brother-in-law is announced and brought to his spot near the head of the table. The half-elf smiles broadly to Faisal and gives a deep bow.
“Good evening, Lord Dorian”, says the warrior, returning the bow. “I hope that you and your wife have been welcome in our home.”
“Yes, Duke-Regent. Your staff have been most accommodating, and Abigail has been… enjoying herself. But I must apologize on her behalf as she is feeling unwell, and will not be able to attend dinner this evening.”
Faisal raises an eyebrow. “I hope it is nothing serious.” He gestures to one of the servants. “I shall have one of the priests see to her at once.”
Dorian smiles even wider. “That won’t be necessary, your grace. Abigail has merely had too much… excitement and is resting. I’m sure she will be feeling better tomorrow.”
As the young man sits, Belvedere enters the room and strides quickly over to the table. Leaning over, he whispers into Faisal’s ear.
“The duchess sends her regrets, your grace. She is feeling unwell and is unable to attend this evening’s dinner. She asks that you please ensure that her family is given all the courtesy they deserve.”
Faisal stands quickly. “The Dawnsister is ill as well?! I will see her immediately!”
The seneschal places a hand gently on the warrior’s forearm, preventing him from rushing off. “Her grace anticipated your concern and asked that I give you this.” He hands Faisal a note sealed with wax.
Ripping the small document over, the duke scans its contents.
Faisal, I apologize for my absence, but I do not require your assistance. You will not be able to alleviate my illness without your sword and a major diplomatic incident. Please see to our guests. Dawnsister Scarlet.
The warrior nods to Belvedere and turns back to the room to announce the Dawnsister’s absence. Before he can speak, the arrival of Lord Sadrion is announced, and the elven man approaches to bow deeply.
“Duke-Regent. My wife sends her regrets. She is tired from the long journey and is feeling unwell. She will not be able to attend this evening’s dinner.”
Faisal sighs deeply and shakes his head. “Gentleman, it seems that the ladies have all been overcome at the same time. May I propose that we adjourn to a less extravagant venue and enjoy an informal gathering?” As the other men nod in assent, Faisal waves to the senschal. “We shall leave the formal dinner for another evening.”
Sadrion bows again. “Regretfully, Valainistima and I will be leaving in the morning. My wife wishes to continue on and visit her dear friend Ildrim, whom she has not seen in nearly ten years. I do hope you will not take offense at the brief stay. Dorian and Abigail will undoubtedly wish to remain longer.”
Faisal bow as well. “It is most unfortunate that you are not able to stay longer. I am certain that Dawnsister Scarlet will be saddened by this news.”
The elf’s expression darkens. “The duchess is already aware of our departure and has had the opportunity to express her feelings on the matter.”
Faisal raises an eyebrow at the statement, but does not reply. Turning to the younger man, “Lord Dorian and Lady Abigail are welcome to stay indefinitely. Perhaps you would enjoy spending time with General Carson and our officers. An exchange of ideas to take back to your own command?”
The half-elf bows in appreciation. “I am sure Abigail would love to spend more time with her sister, and I look forward to meeting the General. As to exchanging ideas, I am but a junior officer, and any new approaches are unlikely to be adopted by my elven superiors. Still, I welcome the chance to improve my own repertoire and skills.”
Faisal nods in understanding and ushers the men to toward the door. “Belvedere, please have food and drink brought to my chambers, and ask General Carson to join us if he is able. Come gentlemen, the evening awaits.”