“Lords and ladies,” the Lord Steward bellowed in the tapestry covered reception room. “Presenting Randil-” the court herald bent his ear low to catch a hushed word from the men behind him. He straightened, thumped his curved white staff against the marble staircase twice and continued on.
“Presenting, Captain Randil Thorntree…”
A sleek, mustachioed man stepped out from the dark entryway. He smoothed his hair, winked and smiled at the maids who stole glances and giggled among the fruit plates. The Lord Steward bent to receive another whisper from behind and continued.
“Adam Goedurn of the YaWannaKissimmee Bard’s Guild…”
A trio of discordant notes announced the next man’s arrival. He leaped in front of Randil and set his small guitar to a fast paced melody. The sound of it brought all eyes and ears to attention. His guitar twanged and thrummed to a beat that only he followed. Adam’s eyes closed and he lost himself for a moment falling to his knees with the rhythm. Randil coughed and spoke behind his hand, “Over Doing It”. The guitar stopped with one last echoing note and Adam popped back to his feet. There was a splatter of applause from the serving maids.
“If you are quite finished,” the Lord Steward said to Adam who waved at the crowd and stepped to the side. The Steward looked back with one raised eyebrow, straightened and announced. “And, the brothers Karamowiwicz; Haruin and Taruin.” Two men slid past the Steward in unison, eyes veiled beneath identical dark hooded cloaks.
Haruin smoothed the points of his mustache, eyeballed the Lord Steward and the sturdy herald backed several steps towards the door. Taruin stretched his neck with noticeable cracking, bent his hands out in front of him and the sound of his popping finger joints echoed in the royal court.
“Ahem,” Randil gave the brothers a pointed look. He turned to address the majestic assembly, fluttered his hands in the air and gave a low bow that was echoed by the other men. “Lords and Ladies of Duke Leto’s Court, we are here…”
Randil gestured to the men behind him and found that only the assassin brothers still stood at the top of the marble steps. The sound of a delighted squeal brought his attention over to the fruit table where Adam lay draped across a cheery maiden, strumming on his guitar while she fed him grapes.
“We are here,” Randil smiled thickly, strode down the steps, retrieved Adam by the arm and hauled him to the center of the court. “To tell the tale of our adventure in the Mines of Torun!” He addressed the crowd but stared at Adam…