With: Andy, Zaza
Where: The Witch Queen's Palace, the Jewel of the Desert
When: May 16, 877 ROK - Evening
Witch Queen: "Shall we sit?"
Zaza: "...It's good to see you well."
Andy: "Please, after you, Your Highness."
Manners, snapped the voice of the diadem in Theo's mind as he at first started to take a step toward the chairs. It gave him just enough pause that he heard Uncle Andy give the most courteous "After you," and he remembered his own manners. Maybe he was more hungover than he thought. His mother had taught him so much better than to just barrel ahead. Ladies first, always.
The Witch Queen smiled almost warmly to Andy at his display of courtesy, though that warmth didn't quite meet her calculating eyes.
Theo matched Andy's gesture with a curt bow of his own and waited for the Witch Queen to approach a seat before he did the same. One of the servants moved in quiet as the dead to help the queen into her seat with an outstretched hand. Theo moved up beside Zaza to do the same, though even as he did, a little part of his heart panged in that too-familiar way. An echo of an old break.
Once the ladies were both seated, and the two lions had settled on either side of the grand chair that the Witch Queen had claimed, Theo chose the open chair to Esperanza's left, leaving the chair to her right to Andy. Servants started to flutter around them with trays of fresh fruit and golden chalices of some kind of drink. Theo waved them back with a polite declination. The last thing he needed right now was mystery drink.
"Your Eminence," he said, in his best courtly-manners voice. Calling her the Witch Queen to her face just seemed like a bad idea, even if it was a moniker she'd seemed to embrace as far as he could tell. "Thank you for accepting our request for an audience."
The Witch Queen raised a hand in a gesture bidding Theo to be silent. The lioness's tail twitched, just slightly, one way and then the other, attentive. Theo stilled.
"Let's not dance around," the Witch Queen said, looking toward Esperanza. "Why have you requested an audience?"