Who: Sanya Nimr
With: James Castille, Malia Campbell, other royal party guests
Where: Castle courtyard, King's City
When: February 28th, evening
The Duke tilted his head as she made excuses for her parents. A snort escape the man.
"Send your parents our best wishes, if you would," Malia said, daring to presume including James' wishes in there. "Their situations must be severe," to risk their standing in court by sending their young daughter to such a monumental event! Didn't the Southern Dutchy already pay less in tax than the others?
"How does it suit you?" Malia asked, gesturing at the necklace around Sanya's throat. It was a loaded question if ever there was one: How ready are you to usurp your parents? "I think it couldn't be lovelier."
At Duke Castile's snort, an instinct slithered along Sanya's spine, and her eyes--for a moment--focused sharply upon him. The intolerable disrespect did not suit his station, and a deep part of her instincts called for her to respond in kind.
May your every word catch in your throat like a thorn until you have worshipped at the feet of a thousand thousand women who are your betters, it whispered.
But, she knew this instinct well enough to press her traitorous tongue to the roof of her mouth--also an excellent way to ensure that one did not clench one's jaws while they offered a societally polite smile. Now was not the time or place to let out her sorcerous powers. (No, the reception after the birth of the child, that was far more traditional, wasn't it?)
Malia's words gave her the opportunity to shift her attention away from the bastard brother of the king to the rootless, disingenuous woman.
"Two generations after King Belmont built this castle, the Duchess Nimr of the time commissioned this. She was, among other things, a falconer," Sanya said smoothly. Malia had not asked for a story, but her question merited one. What little intelligence her family had of this duchess indicated that she was new blood, unfamiliar to the nobility. She may not have understood that the Nimrs had ruled the South for hundreds of years before the War of the Undead, before Paxton had taken the throne. Her ancestors had appointed the ancestors of each of the dukes. Hers was not the royal blood, but it was the oldest.
"When any man looked upon her with anything less than the proper respect for her station or dismissed her words, she had merely to wave her hand, and one of her falcons would dive down as if from nowhere and pluck out their eyes." She touched the falcon gently as she gave Duke Castile a look that was perhaps a little more pointed than it should have been to maintain civility. "This was her… reminder to those in her presence to be mindful of their actions. It was a favorite of my grandmother's." Another polite smile, carefully formed from a lifetime of practice and preparation. "I enjoy the story of it as much as the design. True craftsmanship, to endure over five centuries and still gleam the way it does."
She glanced down from Malia's face to the necklace around her throat--a modern-looking piece that paralleled designs that were popular in jeweler's shops lately. She looked back to the new Duchess's eyes, and the question that followed was maybe one drip too sweet in tone to be truly sincere. "Did you buy your necklace just for this festival? It's lovely, too."