“…and it was my idea to send the troops for extra training with the kobolds…”
Deirdre sighs to herself as Captain Carson continues his monologue of accomplishments. The officer had cornered her nearly twenty minutes ago and there had been no polite way to excuse herself.
I don’t understand why the General tolerates this obsequious little man. And I’ll be damned if I’m spending any more of this celebration in his company.
Searching for someone more interesting to speak with, the young woman notices the band returning from their break. Although clearly inebriated, the gaudily dressed gnomes take an exaggerated amount of time arranging themselves to play.
They’re getting ready for the Solstice Dance. It must be nearly midnight!
Glancing around the room, Deirdre quickly spots Faisal leaning against a pillar near the entrance. The young woman frowns in annoyance when she notices that the General is deep in conversation with Scarlet.
“…wouldn’t have any good wine this winter if I hadn’t been…”
Carson stops as Deirdre rises suddenly and walks away, speaking back over her shoulder.
“So sorry to interrupt your fascinating story, Captain, but I must speak with the General immediately. Would you care to accompany me? There may be something that you could assist us with.”
The small man scrambles to extricate himself from his chair and nearly stumbles over his flamboyant robes as he tries to keep up with the young woman’s determined strides. He remains several steps behind Deirdre as she reaches the General and High Priestess.
“Yes, Faisal”, Scarlet is saying as she shakes her head in bemusement. “But if there are no homes in Abu-Al-Bazit, then who will come to worship at…”
The red-haired woman’s words trail off as the leader of the band calls out to the crowd.
“CHOOSE YOUR PARTNERS FOR THE SOLSTICE DANCE!”
A cheer rises from the revelers as Deirdre grabs Faisal’s hand.
“Mualim, would you please do me the honour of sharing this dance?”
Faisal looks surprised for a moment, glancing toward Scarlet, who appears somewhat taken aback by the sudden intrusion.
“I had thought to dance with the Dawnsister, in honour of her central role in celebrating The Sarenrae’s return from Her Winter Home.”
Deirdre smiles and takes the young warrior’s hand. “The Dawnsister well knows that the traditions of Brevoy and the River Kingdoms hold that on the Solstice one cannot refuse a dance request from one of lower rank. And as I understand Qadiran custom, you cannot refuse such a request from a lady.”
The General returns the young woman’s smile and shrugs helplessly toward the High Priestess. “I am afraid that I am unable to fault the talib’s knowledge on either front.”
As Carson stumbles up, Deirdre calls over Faisal’s shoulder, “Captain! I have left the Dawnsister without a dance partner. Perhaps you would be so kind as to remedy my error?”
The gnomes strike up a gentle waltz and the ostentatiously dressed little man bows to the High Priestess and extends a sweaty hand in anticipation.