Breakfast with the King

The time of Waking arrives, the bright and somewhat annoying Amber sun popping up in the air to intrude on Kendall's rest. Nevertheless, he wakes feeling rested and relaxed for the first time in Turns, perhaps because of his stress-relieving workout. He finds his Elder at the main table with his meal already served. Qur playfully jump about the plates of food, the tiny creatures giving the young Lord hello chirps as they move to make room for him while Rory appears at his elbow to take his order for First Meal.

Brisbane looks up, his face devoid of tension or concern. He holds a cup of bitter couf, a pen in the other hand that he soon places down. Without any hint of emotion, he says, "I hope your meditations went well."

"Yes, thank you," Kendall answers as he sits, every inch his impeccable self. He smiles at the Qur as he gently pushes one away from his plate and tells Rory what he would like, accepting a cup of couf before turning back to Brisbane. "You look well this-" he glances at the sky for a moment, but the Amber term eludes him. "-Turn. It would appear both of our meditations proved beneficial."

One of the Qur comes hopping over to greet Kendall. From the black spots near her ears, he recognizes her as one of his personal ones and he tickles her behind her ears.

"Don't fill up," Brisbane says. "We seem to have a royal invitation to breakfast with the King."

Kendall looks at the food at the table almost wistfully. "Actually, perhaps I should fill up. Who knows if what they'll serve will be edible." He snickers at that remark, and Brisbane smiles.

Kendall sips his couf. "What are your plans for today, apart from the meal with the King?"

"After First Meal, I am to tour the castle with one of the Princesses. Then more talks with the King." Brisbane pauses, turning one of the Qur on its back to stroke its belly. The animal immediately goes to sleep. "Today will be easy, we are still feeling each other out. Tomorrow is when the real business of ambassadorship will start."

Kendall nods thoughtfully, stroking his Qur absently, the little creature cooing in pleasure. "I believe I'm supposed to find the Queen's secretary somehow and arrange for a meeting, perhaps even a recurring one. Other than that, I don't think there is very much expected of me today."

"Yes, Lady Genoveve…" Brisbane says darkly, waving the servants in to take his plate away. "You did see her leave when the Queen was dancing that obscene lover's dance? She had the signs on her face of jealousy." Brisbane rubs a finger along the lip of his couf cup before picking it up to take a sip. "I am somewhat befuddled by their belief in Love, its higher purpose. A purpose even higher then one's duty to House."

Kendall doesn't reply right away, sipping his couf while Rory sets a plate before him and Siorys refills his Elder's couf. Picking up his fork, he finally answers, "I'm not sure I know what you're referring to regarding the Queen's dancing. But I believe I missed a dance or two while I was out seeing to the horses. I came back towards the middle of a lover's dance."

"Yes…" Brisbane raises a eyebrow at that, with an Elder's recognition of misdeeds with the lady folk. "I hope the horses were well."

Kendall looks up at Brisbane, catching the tone and the eyebrow. "They were very well," he answers with dignity. "Vanya appeared to be well taken care of and I saw that your animal was comfortable as well."

"Yes, I'm sure your tour of the stables was very rewarding," Brisbane says with a chuckle. "When I was your age, it was the Fire Gardens… I only wanted a companion as I checked on the Flame Carp, to make sure they where alright."

Kendall appears not to know exactly what to answer immediately, toying with his food again. "The Captain of the Guard appears to be a fascinating person," he remarks at last. "Open to improving relations between Chanicut and Amber." His expression is briefly troubled as he looks down at his plate, but he regains his composure and adds, "Her motivations are no more comprehensible than most of the people I have met here, though."

"Just be careful, Kendall," Brisbane says. "She is a warrior after all, with a warrior's heart. I doubt she would have her position if that wasn't true. And no matter what sweet words are on her lips or emotions are in her heart… they will never be free from the steel that she holds in her hand."

"Of course, sir," Kendall answers, looking back at Brisbane with a bemused expression. "However, I believe she may also be a useful source of information, and one highly enough placed not to pass up. I will do my Duty to my House." Finished picking at his food, he pushes his plate aside for the servants to remove.

Brisbane just gets an amused look on his face. "One of the problems of our profession is that sometimes we weave such complex webs, that even we get caught up in them." He pauses here to allow Sonnagh to refill both their couf cups. "Just be careful who is using whom."

Kendall nods. "I will consider your words and keep them foremost in my thoughts," he answers seriously. "I may have allowed my perspective to be muddled by the… strangeness of this place. However, I shall strive to keep my purpose clear from now on."

Brisbane smiles. "Indeed. And I'm sure when I am gone and you have taken my place… you too will be having the same talk with your replacement."

Kendall chuckles quietly at that remark. "I only hope that is not for a very long time, sir. You still have much to teach me, and I am not always the most studious of pupils."

"It may be shorter then you think," Brisbane answers, sounding suddenly like a tired old man. "I had planned to announce my retirement before your father asked me to undertake this mission. I am feeling old, tired… the Great Game no longer brings me joy or any feelings, except a soul numbing weariness."

Kendall stares wordlessly at his mentor at the older man's admission, expression first startled, and then sober, as one who suddenly realizes something that had been in front of him the whole time. But then Brisbane gives his protege' a friendly grin, the moment of openness now gone. "My retirement is on hold till this little unpleasantness is solved, though, so we still have the time to finish your education."

"I hope so, sir. Perhaps we should proceed with our meal with the King, then?" Kendall suggests.

"Yes," Brisbane agrees, getting out of his chair. "I have a feeling we will never understand their time keeping measurements. As if you can keep Time in a bottle or a clenched fist."

Kendall also rises, putting his napkin down on the table as he does so. Another quick scratch at his Qur's ears, and he turns to Brisbane. "Their time segments measure somewhat as ours, though," he points out, following his Elder to the door. "It just seems as though they use different methods. Their sun does not divide up the time enough, which is why they need to use other devices."

"All good points," Brisbane says, accepting his official cloak from Siorys. "I was speaking more of how they seem to be caged by Time here." He shakes his head, as if dismissing the whole thing. "Most likely, these Amberites do not have our type of relationship with the Spirits of Time."

"Naturally," is the response. Rory helps Kendall into his heavier outer robe, and then the young Lord is ready to go. "How do you view the Turning, sir?" he inquires. "Are our prospects positive? I must confess to a fair amount of optimism, perhaps because I was finally able to meditate well."

"Never be overconfined in their situations," Brisbane says. "We are at the edge of the Abyss, without an inch either way." He doesn't actually smile, but he does get an amused look on his face. He walks over to join Kendall near the door. "But only with great risks can you have greater gains. Which will be a splendid way to announce your new calling to the members of our House."

Kendall nods. "Yes, sir," he acknowledges, somewhat dubiously. "I'll try to remember everything you have told me. It it difficult, though, because I am not able to rely on anything I know from home. Every time something comes up that seems familiar or similar, there is something else that proves the difference. I felt like I was balancing on a wire all last Turn. And I like this bridge," he says out of the blue, when the door opens to the way across the chasm separating their quarters from the rest of the castle.

Their escort falls in around them once the Chaosians reach the door at the far end of the glass walkway, leading them down stairs and into a small dining room. The sun streams in from the balconies, servants pulling out chairs for the newly arrived guests. The sideboard has already been set with covered dishes, some steaming from under the edges. Yet though there are a bountiful number of trays waiting to be served, the spread still seems a little light to the Lords' eyes, compared to their table at home.

A servant near the door says, "The King will be with you shortly."

Kendall keeps a casual eye to Brisbane for cues, but accepts a chair graciously, settling his robes precisely about himself as he makes himself as comfortable as possible. The Ambassador sits across from his attache', a serene expression on his face.

As Kendall seats himself, a rather pretty young woman dressed in servant white appears at his side, asking if he wishes juice or wine with his breakfast. Taking a moment to look at his superior, Kendall sees an older version of the same girl, probably her sister, asking the other Lord the same question. Brisbane, after a few seconds informs the servant that he will try the juice.

Kendall turns back to look up at the servant, smiling at her. "Juice, thank you. And water as well. Might I inquire what sort of juice it is?"

"We have orange juice, summer berry juice, and sea fruit juice," the girl answers, as Brisbane orders a small glass of each to taste first.

"Perhaps the sea fruit juice, then," Kendall responds after a heartbeat's hesitation.

The double doors open, and a Herald announces from the opening, "The King of Amber."

King Eric strolls into the room with Lord Henden behind. Handing the Steward a folder he was just reading, Eric dismisses Henden as he takes his seat at the head of the table. A servant places a full glass of wine in his hand, and Eric greets his guests. "Good morning, Lords. I hope your first night in Amber was pleasurable."

"As pleasurable as any night spent away from one's own bed," Brisbane answers with a friendly tone, looking at Kendall across the table.

Kendall nods politely, folding his hands in his lap. "Yes, the quarters that have been assigned to us have proven adequate for our needs thus far," he offers. "The view is extraordinary."

Eric nods at the compliment as the servants begin to help the diners fill their plates. "I'm glad you enjoy it. More then a few of my brothers have fallen in love with the Sea. But I'm sure the same holds true in your home too…"

"The Glass Sea in Chanicut has often kept visitors entranced for many Turnings," Kendall agrees, trying to keep track of the conversation while at the same time evaluating the parade of strange foods that he is being asked to choose from. Generally he accepts a very little bit of most things, but he passes on the scrambled egg casserole. Too scrambled, too yellow, too… weird. He knows exactly what to do with the soft-boiled egg placed in its tiny cup in front of him, though. The whole thing goes in with one bite - shell and all. Two chomps, and it's done.

Eric raises a eyebrow at that, but doesn't say anything. "In the Courts, there are many Seas," Brisbane adds. "Take for example the Pit Divers. In many ways they are like your sailors, men who risk their lives daily with a very harsh mistress on the off chance that they may find the smallest of treasures." He pauses to take a sip of juice, placing his glass down before adding. "So you see… we of the Courts do have much in common with those of Amber."

Kendall nods in agreement after the barest of hesitations, glancing at Brisbane before looking back at Eric. He finds Eric's treatment of the same sort of egg intriguing. Scoop out the insides? The shell is the best part. "I am certain more similarities will become apparent as the association between our Houses solidifies," he remarks.

Eric looks up at Kendall. "Yes… we do have our similarities, but we also have our differences too." He waves over a servant, to take the half-eaten egg away. "I would think the better question is which one will win out in the end."

Brisbane simply trades a glance of caution with his attache'.

Kendall catches the glance and pauses a moment to frame a response. "Must the interaction between our Houses be characterized in martial terms, Majesty?" he inquires carefully.

"How would you like it characterized?" Eric asks, his tone suggesting that he is somewhat interested in what the young Lord has to say.

Kendall picks up his juice and takes an experimental sip while Eric speaks. "Cooperatively, of course," he answers, looking to Brisbane for support on this one. "Our Houses have… much to offer each other."

"Yes… but the question is, who will benefit the most?" Eric says, leaning back in his chair. The servants quickly remove any plates and such from in front of him.

"King Eric," Brisbane says, "while we could argue for hours about that question… I would suggest that we reflect on the point that we both have something the other wants. Our House, House Chanicut, is a house of peace. We wish only to find an end to the conflict between our Courts."

Eric chuckles. "House of peace… yes." He takes a sip of coffee, before continuing. "Yes, then let us talk about peace, Lord Brisbane."

"Thank you, your Majesty." Brisbane answers with a cheerful tone in his voice, his hand making the subtle gesture for Kendall to leave them as he pushes his chair back to get comfortable. "Peace is something that House Chanicut seeks in all things… the peace of a bright day, or the peace of waking in the arms of one's lover. We of House Chanicut only wish a end to this conflict… so we can return to our various versions of personal peace."

Kendall dabs at his mouth with his napkin before putting it down next to his plate. "Thank you for the invitation to dine, Majesty," he says as he stands. "May your discussion prove agreeable for everyone."

Addressing both Brisbane and Eric, he adds, "If you would be good enough to excuse me…" Both give their approval, and Kendall is shown from the room to find himself alone in the hallway with his Amber escort.

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Making Meetings

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