Food Fit for a King
The feast is something truly spectacular to behold, with sweet meats and great loaves of bread stacked high in piles that would touch the ceiling of a less resplendent hall. Serving upon serving of fresh fruits and elegant pitchers of fine elvish wine pass you by as servants carry them to and fro, making sure that all of the guests in attendance are taken care of to their hosts expectations.
Standing proudly at the head of the table is a tall, weasel faced man with a long, flowing blue cloak, and a heavy chain of gold that rests across his broad chest. His sable brown hair comes down to rest on his shoulders and is shot through with lines of grey to show his age on a face that seems now both young and mirthful.
“Ah! Honored guests! Victor said you would be arriving soon! I bet him two hundred crowns he was full of himself, but it seems his lovely escorts have yet again proven to be indispensable to his theatrical antics, eh my lord?”
Duke Cromwell smiles faintly, the sort of polite smile one gives when one is bored of another frivolities, yet is beholden to endure them… at least, for the time being.
“Come! Sit! My lovely daughter, too long have you been gone from your loving father’s arms, come here!”
The woman beside him in a long, green dress and tightly coiffed hair gives a look to the man at her right that could cut through ice. From the amount of gold she is bedecked with however, and her fair and youthful appearance, it is easy to tell that her arrangement with her husband is far from one of affection.
Even as the Lady Moulot glowers at her husband, the baron stands quickly and strides over to embrace Serafina. With open arms he wraps her up in his embrace, smelling strongly of Taldan brandy and the thick, musky aroma of halfling pipe weed.
“Too long it has been! I couldn’t resist the urge to accompany Duke Cromwell when he stated he felt it prudent to check up on you and your long stay in the country… oh, where were you again?”
Whatever her response, he doesn’t seem to hear and beams merrily.
“Well, isn’t that nice. Come now! I’ve prepared a feast in honor of you and your friends. I’ve heard from Duke Cromwell that you had quite an adventure! Imagine you, adventuring! Phahahaha.”
Duke Cromwell is looking less and less bemused by the drunken antics of Lord Moulot, though in the fashion of a true gentleman, he abides it silently.
“Indeed, you father was quite… insistent, on joining me. Who am I though to refuse such a request from one of the oldest and most respected houses in Ustalav.”
The slight note of sarcasm that accompanies Victor’s words is barely noticeable to those who aren’t drunk, let alone Baron Moulot. The Baron merely chuckles merrily in response, completely missing the inflection.
“A true gentleman you are, I say! Knows how to indulge an old man in his whims. Now come along! Let’s eat!”
There are numerous other nobles present, some of whom to our own local ladies know of, but many more they don’t. The aristocracy, while a small percentage of the population, is plenty large enough for an individual to loose track of its individual members.
Some of the gentry present are clearly not even from Ustalav, and you can only speculate how in heaven’s name they all arrived for this event. Two tall, dark-skinned men with completely bald heads converse in Osirian, while a massive dwarf with a bright red beard discusses the state of the Ustalavian emerald industry with a dour look, ashen man. Several elves with fair skin and long, golden hair are also in attendance, speaking on the state of the wilds on the borders of lake Encarthen.
As the meal begins wrapping up, Lord Moulot stands and taps his knife against his goblet, signalling that he’d like to speak.
“A toast! To the heroes of Harrowstone!”
A refined cheer and soft clapping echoes throughout the chamber, but he raises his hand to continue speaking.
“I believe his lordship, Duke Cromwell, wished to say a few words before we conclude the night…”
As Baron Moulot sits, Duke Cromwell rises, and even as he does a hush and shadow seems to fall across the hall, as though the weight of his words was serious enough to drain the light right out of the room.
“Honored adventurers. As a token of our great appreciation for the service you have done for Ustalav, and the citizens of Ravengro, I have commissioned a gift for each and every one of you, as a way that the people of our nation can remember your heroism…”