TO COURT LOVE AND DANGER
BY: DANAE CONRAD
news had spread quickly through Furanose: the Enchantress was back at court.
The people had not hoped in vain; they knew that she would return. She even
brought back additional wealth to their lands--the Ring of Ranet. The newest
event though was the court session that would be held.
Enchantress would be entertaining pleas, ideas and the like from the general
populace, after several days of extensive meetings with her council. The day
had arrived and the city of Odina was packed with people of all walks of life.
Lawyers had quickly finished client's cases to present, interest groups
prepared their statements; all was in preparedness.
was amazed by all the fluster of activity that surrounded Adena's station. She
had been flattered with a warm reception from Furanose as well as an
invitation to sit in Adena's court. She selected an appropriate dress for the
occasion. It was rose pink gown that swept to the floor. The bodice was
sequenced with silver and rose and filmy sleeves floated from her
knock at her door startled her; opening it, she found a Royal Guard outside of
Enchantress requests your presence at court, Miss." He bowed slightly to
her and indicated the stairs with his sword. Eve smiled and nodded, taking the
staircase to the Courtroom. The sight struck her speechless. The floor shone
like crystal, except where a plush emerald carpet ran. The ceiling was high
and mirrored, permitting a clear view of any aspect of those in attendance.
The room was in a pentagon shape--Adena had said it was based on a famous
historical structure--and in the four side corners stood polished ebony boxes
inlaid in jewels for the Council. The most magnificent structure in the room
was at the peak of the pentagon. Slightly raised from floor level, a throne
sat regally awaiting the ruler. It was polished emerald with thin stripes of
gold piercing it in a network pattern; Eve thought that it looked rather
uncomfortable, until she saw the sateen cushions lining it. Its size
intimidated her; surely, it swallowed Adena up as well.
guard had taken his place in the Court ranks, and Eve was slightly puzzled on
what to do next. She saw the Council begin filing in--the ministers from all
areas of government and Furanosian districts. Many she recognized from
previous state affairs; seeing Toltec, she hurried--as ladylike as
possible--to his side.
am not so sure about what to do next," she whispered.
smiled at her nervousness. "Well, I do," he whispered back and
offered her his arm. "Come this way." Eve took his arm gingerly and
allowed him to lead her to one of the boxes closest to the throne. "Up
you go, Miss Eden."
this is so close to..."
are a visiting dignitary. Enjoy yourself." With that, Toltec left her to
attend to his duties. Eve settled back, feeling a new pride at being known as
a dignitary; she was a leader of people, she thought proudly.
the room grew quiet, not even a thought was heard. Eve followed everyone's
gaze to the Court doors. The retinue of guards came into the room and took
their places on either side of the throne. Toltec stood unmoving at the door,
until it swung back once more, revealing Adena. Eve realized that everyone was
standing and she quickly got to her feet.
was apparently going through the traditions for he had bowed deeply to Adena
and gave her greeting. Adena virtually sparkled in her royalty. A golden gown
highlighted her eyes and skin tone; her waist-length hair was swept off her
neck and to reveal a deeply cut back on her dress. Her tresses were pinned
neatly behind the crown of Furanose. The crown in itself was a national
treasure. The latticed base was of unicorn horn and it carried larger versions
of the gems in the Amulet which was on Adena's neck.
walked softly behind Adena as she approached her throne. Her dress hardly
moved with the motion; Adena turned to Toltec and he took his seat in the
ebony box near Eve. Adena took her throne and Eve noticed that she had slipped
her feet onto the throne as well.
Court is now in session--you may take your seats." Toltec announced to
any entertainments are made, please acknowledge Eve Eden to Furanose,
Council." Eve felt herself nudged by her neighbor to stand; she did so,
and smiled at Adena, who nodded quietly to her. After Eve had sat down, Adena
began, "Advisor Toltec, please bring forward the first statements.
the Court began. Adena listened to pleas on everything from farm aid to
environmental concerns. She tried a major dispute over land control that had
arisen between two families; Eve noticed that Adena had satisfied both
parties. Eve thought that she would be able to swim in all of the details that
Adena evaluated and acted upon.
the Court reached an end. The sun was beginning to set and Eve realized that
she hadn't eaten since early that morning. However, before Adena could adjourn
the Court, one more announcement was made.
Wizard of Suralio Frith Iffley enters your presence, m'lady," the herald
stated. Adena looked up quickly with the news; Eve saw Toltec tense slightly
with the name. A murmur was in the crowd--the Wizard and Enchantress on
strained terms had happened before. "Let him enter." Adena silenced
to Council with an icy glare. Eve noted that she internalized all expressions
as Iffley walked in with--Camille.
he said, bowing to her. Eve saw his face though; he was watching Adena for the
response that he expected--she also noticed that Camille didn't curtsey to
Adena as protocol stated.
have you not instructed your guest on Court?"
will not be submissive to you, Adena!" Camille had obviously planned to
embarrass Adena, however this was Adena's home court. The guards automatically
jumped to the defend position. Adena moved to them to attention with one
do not ask your submission, but I do ask your respect for my lands and its
traditions; one of which is bowing to the ruler befroe speaking in
Court." Adena's expression hadn't changed as she stared Camille down to a
curtsey. Adena immediately turned to Iffley, "What request do you have of
knew what he really wanted to ask her, but this was not the place or time. he
wanted Adena's facade of confidence to crumble in jealousy; then, he would
deal with her. "We wish to travel in Furanose."
you are a Keyholder and not a holder of lands... "
owns Alarius," Camille interupted sharply. The Council was irritated by
this second breech of protocol. Adena seemed hardly to notice.
gave Alarius away to someone." Turning to Iffley, she said with a slight
undertone of sarcasm, "You really ought to keep her up with these things.
" Then, she returned to her statement, "As a Keyholder, you know the
oath you must swear."
do, Enchantress," Iffley said, wishing deeply in his heart that he was
saying this in answer to another question that he wanted her to answer as
well. "I will not under any circumstances use the Sceptre for any purpose
in your lands on the penalty of death."
the Tiara, Wizard," she said sternly, but he saw what he thought was a
tear in her eye.
the Tiara, under the same penalties." Iffley looked at Eve, who glared
slightly at him. She had told Adena about the Key--the tow women had become
better friends than he had anticipated.
are granted a traveler's leave."
Now, it was Iffley who broke protocol. A traveler's leave would forbid him
from the castle and the object of his plans.
is my stand, Wizard. I cannot give you anything more," she said, with a
touch of ruefulness. Iffley saw the Council nodding in agreement with her
decision. He knew he was beat for now. "However, a ball will be thrown at
the end of your leave which, as a Keyholder, you are welcome to attend."
Iffley tried to read from her expression, if she was giving him another
chance. He bowed an Camille reluctantly did similarly.
they had left the palace, Adena set about closing court. "Are there any
further petitions?" She waited for any response. "Council?" No
noise issued from her people's representatives. "This Court is ended,
personal thanks to all attending." The Council stood with her and
remained standing until she left the room. Then the room filled with buzzing
of various discussions on the Court and its decisions.
saw Toltec motioning her to join him. Excitedly, she came over, "I hate
to seem ungrateful but I am famished."
wonder, that session was long overdue. Adena is probably exhausted. Come on,
we'll join her for dinner."
excused herself to change for the meal, but Toltec continued to the dining
room. Adena sat at the head of the table still in her royal trappings. Her
head was bowed in her hands, which firmly clutched the crown of Furanose.
Toltec removed his gold sash of office and hung it on his chair.
a day," he heard her say hoarsely.
you wouldn't trade it for the world."
All too true." She looked up and smiled. "Surprise ending, don't you
nodded, and said, "You said that the Tiara was up to no good. Bringing
her to Court was the last straw."
was free to do so by law."
about by you?"
put me in a corner."
dream of it--unless you gave me the power to hold you there."
stopped talking as Eve came in the room. She saw Toltec's arm hanging
protectively over the Enchantress' chair. Something was definitely amiss
between the two Keyholders, she declared. But Adena welcomed her with a smile
nonetheless and they ate a wonderful dinner together. The guard that had
escorted Eve appeared with a congratulations for Adena from the Council.
you, Lieutenant." Adena noticed Eve's piqued curiosity.
"Lieutenants, please tell your commander that we'll be using the lower
levels tonight and to post appropriate guards. "
m'lady," he said smugly, snapping to attention. Then he strode from the
good lad," Toltec began, picking up on Adena's ploy, "if I remember,
his uncle is captain in one of the units."
the lieutenant's name is Bryant Carl, I believe."
caught on and blushed. "Thank you, Adena." Eve continued to ask
questions about Furanose and its customs. "What are the lower levels,
Adena?" she asked at the end of the meal.
are about ready to see." Adena got up from the table and told Eve to come
with her. Toltec came as well, but stopped at the second floor to go to his
chambers. Adena and Eve continued to the third story. "How about a
this weather! Adena, it's freezing outside."
the magic of the lower levels." Adena went to her room and brought out a
suit for Eve. It was hot pink on black and Eve was thrilled; she went to her
room to try it on.
went to her study and stood before the place where her mirror used to hang,
now, there hung a painting by Kokoschka, an ancient Earth artist. It was
Adena's favorite and she had adapted it to magic. The painting, The Tempest,
seemed to draw her within it and soon she lay within the walls of her room.
She drew on a cinnamon brown suit highlighted in golds for the evening's
in front of the safe within her chambers, she stowed the crown for future use.
She looked at the book that she had left unfinished and wondered if she should
do do now. Deciding against it, she joined Eve in the hall in front of the
women wore warm terry robes of black for their trip to the lower levels. Eve
followed Adena to the first floor, then they took a back passage, underneath
the stairs, down another flight. The whole place was misty and warm; Eve
enjoyed the moist warmth on her face. She felt the moisture condensing on her
cold skin as she tried to keep stride with Adena. At the end of the corridor,
Adena opened the door that was there. Adena and Eve entered a large room that
smelt of warmth and something that Eve couldn't identify.
what is that aroma? I really like it."
called Foxfire--an ancient Earth Scent."
of the few things that she spoils herself with," said a masculine voice
behind them. Toltec appeared out of the mists, already soaking wet from the
quickly tied her hair back and walked to the deck. Her ship's company had been
allowed to join the festivities and Eve was elated to see them as well as
Bryant Carl's silhouette standing guard at the door. She smiled and he nodded
back. She dove into the pool and left Adena and Toltec standing on the
quickly turned towards the door. "Good night, make sure she doesn't get
hurt. I'll see you later..."
had taken firm hold on her arm. "Not so fast. You've had a long day and
if you leave here, I know you'll go right back to work. You have got to rest
sometime, Enchantress." His grey eyes were daring her to say no.
you say that you were a lawyer once?" she humored him with her tone.
let her go and she walked towards a part of the level that seemed to have
denser mist than the rest. He waited a few minutes and then followed. By the
time he stepped into the room, Adena's robe already hung by the door and she
was resting next to the swirling sauna.
meant to relax, not sleep, Adena," he said laughing, as he slipped into
the warm waters. Her eyes flickered open momentarily, then closed, as she
shrugged her shoulders. "Are you going to come in?" She didn't even
look at him this time, but shook her head in negation. Her hair which now
flowed freely over her back was becoming damp in the moisture laden air.
She was getting sleepy now; he knew that it was time. Grabbing her ankles, he
flipped her easily into the pool; she had shrieked in surprise, bringing the
Lieutenant to the room.
are you alright?!"
had come up coughing and spluttering, trying to catch her breath. She was
trying to get out of the water, but Toltec had her arm tightly held out of the
way of the guard's sight. "She slipped into the pool, Lieutenant. She
will be all right. Man your station."
Adena hissed, when she caught her breath.
breathing alright on your own?" She nodded, still coughing slightly.
"Adena, for crying out loud, give me some excuse not to kiss
never listened to anything I said before."
enough for me," he said and Adena, who had thought him joking, found
herself in his arms with his lips on hers.
Eve was calling from the next room. "Adena! Come here a minute!
however wasn't too available for reality. She had totally lost her herself in
someone else's grey eyes. She shook her head as if to clear it. "I'd
better go see what she needs."
put a bookmark in this chapter until you get back."
pulled herself out of the water to go to Eve. Toltec leaned back against the
pool's wall. He had let himself to what he had left years ago to avoid. He had
kissed her once in the past; stealing into her room at midnight, he had kissed
her once and then had left to let her run the country. he hadn't forgotten her
or the impact that she had on him.
saw Adena's arm sneak around the door to get her robe. "Adena! Wait a
minute!" He jumped out of the water, but she had already started to run
up the steps to the main staircase. Her wet feet slicked on the concrete steps
and she fell to her knees. Toltec caught up to her then. "Just where do
you think you are going?"
I do." He kissed her gently, but Eve came to Adena's rescue (?).
you all right, Adena?" "No, I think that it has been a long day. I'm
going to go to bed. See you in the morning, we'll go riding."
" Eve trotted back to the pool and Adena trotted to the door.
night, Toltec. Thank you for an interesting evening," she said
still haven't finished the book, Adena." She let herself out of the door
as he stood on the steps watching.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|