C.S. Pacat · 26 pages
Rating: (2.4K votes)
“It’s lucky King Damianos is at Delpha,’ said Charls, uncertainly. ‘There’s no need to worry that the Prince is away so close to the Ascension.’ ‘Yes, this would be a terrible idea otherwise,’ said Lamen.”
“With a clear moment of insight, Charls saw that Lamen was not a cloth merchant’s assistant. He was the prince’s private companion, and had no real skills whatsoever.”
“Here in Aegina, they say Damianos takes the Prince every night, but that it’s not seemly for a king to renounce his slaves and limit his appetites, denying himself all but one person.’ ‘I think it’s romantic,’ said Guilliame. ‘Oh?’ said Alexon. ‘I heard Damianos disguised himself as a slave to uncover the secret of his brother’s treachery, and the Prince of Vere fell in love with him not knowing who he was.’ ‘I heard that they allied themselves in secret months before,’ said Alexon. ‘And that the Prince hid Damianos from Kastor, pretending he was a slave, while they courted privately.’ ‘What do you think, Charls?’ said Guilliame to the Prince. ‘I think they had help,’ said the Prince, ‘along the way, from those who were loyal.’ Charls”
“Not everyone could have the blissful equanimity of Lamen, who seemed to pay the Prince no deference of rank, a piece of very good acting. Charls”
“Dear Charls. Whatever will you do with your own Kemptian silk? It will spoil on the road.’ ‘We aren’t carrying any Kemptian silk,’ said the Prince. It took a moment for those words to be understood, and then Makon’s expression changed. ‘Oh, did you think we were? I’m afraid you undercut yourself for no reason.’ A look of fury had appeared on Makon’s face. The Prince said, ‘A little healthy competition.’ Dinner”
“Do you think they’re doing it?’ said Alexon. Charls coughed on his wine. ‘I beg your pardon?’ ‘The King and Prince Laurent. Do you think they’re doing it?’ ‘Well, it’s not for me to say.’ Charls avoided looked at the Prince. ‘I think they are,’ volunteered Guilliame. ‘Charls met the Prince of Vere once. He said he was so beautiful that if he were a pet he’d spark a bidding war the likes of which no one had ever seen.’ ‘I meant, in an honourable way,’ Charls said, quickly. ‘And everyone in Akielos speaks of the virility of Damianos,’ continued Guilliame. ‘I don’t think it should follow that—’ Charls began. ‘My cousin told me,’ said Alexon, proudly, ‘he met a man who had once been a famous gladiator from Isthima. He lasted only minutes in the arena with Damianos. But afterwards Damianos had him in his chambers for six hours.’ ‘You see? How could a man like that resist a beauty like the Prince?’ Guilliame sat back triumphantly. ‘Seven hours,’ said Lamen, frowning slightly. ‘Here”
“To the alliance,’ agreed Alexon, the words echoing back from those seated around the fire. To the alliance. Charls saw Lamen lift his cup and incline it towards the Prince, who echoed his gesture, the two of them smiling a little. Lamen,”
“Lamen though of modest origins was a thoughtful young man who spoke Veretian very well, even if his knowledge of cloth was lacking. ‘I”
“Guilliame said in a low voice, ‘It was poison. It was in the feed. Lamen noticed a dead field mouse near the grain stores. If not for that warning, we’d have lost all the horses. Not just this one.’ The Prince stayed with the horse while Lamen touched him on the shoulder, then arranged for a horsemaster to put the horse down. The Prince only rose when the horse was dead. The”
“If we just knew which end to start with,’ Lamen said. It was suddenly obvious that Lamen had no idea what to do. With a clear moment of insight, Charls saw that Lamen was not a cloth merchant’s assistant. He was the prince’s private companion, and had no real skills whatsoever. ‘Guilliame,”
“Guilliame. ‘No, I was born in the capital.’ He said no more than that. Charls supposed that he and Guilliame were two of the few who knew the truth of Lamen’s origins—that under that long Veretian sleeve there was a golden cuff, and that Lamen had once been a palace slave. He did not know how Lamen had come by his freedom, though he could see how Lamen had caught the Prince’s eye. Lamen was a young man in peak physical condition, good natured and loyal. Any unmarried nobleman would notice him. ‘And how is it you now fight for Veretians?’ said Alexon. Charls found himself curious to hear his answer, but Lamen said only, ‘I came to know one of them.’ The”
“You mean Heiron,’ said Lamen. ‘Yes, that’s right,’ said Charls. ‘I can’t meet Heiron,’ said Lamen. ‘It’s understandable to be nervous around great men like the Kyros, Lamen. But the Prince wouldn’t have you as an assistant if he didn’t believe in your abilities.’ Lamen passed his hand over his face and had a look of distraught amusement. ‘Charls—’ ‘Don’t worry, Lamen. Here it is not as it is with smaller houses. The Kyros is a great but remote figure. Most likely our dealings will be with the Keeper.’ Lamen”
“Heiron, Kyros of Aegina entered, a slow stately walk in a chiton that swept the floor, and fell in folds, like heavy Veretian curtains. ‘My son tells a different story.’ ‘Your son?’ said Charls. ‘Alexon,’ said Heiron, holding out his hand. ‘Come here.’ As Charls stood amazed, Alexon drew himself up to his full height, pushing back the blue cloak. ‘It’s true. I am Alexon, son of Heiron,’ said Alexon. ‘I am not a humble sheep farmer as I claimed.’ ‘But your insights about wool,’ said Charls. ‘I often travel anonymously through the province,’ said Alexon. ‘People show their true natures freely when they don’t know who I am.’ He”
“We’ll make another kind of empire”
“I don't want to start the rest of my life having regrets.”
“...both wealth and concord decline as possessions become pursued and honored. And virtue perishes with them as well.”
“The problem with a wish list was what it told you about the person who wrote it. If it's honest, it's a rock-bottom, barebones, clear shot all the way to someone's soul.
Hats can do the same thing.”
“Fall colors are funny. They’re so bright and intense and beautiful. It’s like nature is trying to fill you up with color, to saturate you so you can stockpile it before winter turns everything muted and dreary.”
“And although Margarita lived in a world that predated Technicolor, she always dreamed of the boy in rich pastels.”
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