When: Tuesday, March 11th, 872 RoK
Sanya wasn't the only one with a bad feeling.
"Shhh, my strong boy," Altansarnai murmured as she rocked her fussy son in her arms. "We're nearly done." Not that she had even the slightest clue if that were true or not. They'd been sitting for hours now, waiting for the Royal General and Scholar to appear and make their grand announcement - which was very unlikely to be her, Altansarnai Ganzorig Burut, crowned Queen of Eventyr. No, not when the pair couldn't even have been bothered to visit and confirm that her son was even Philip's. Everything she'd gone through and it was all for nothing.
And Sarnai was running out of patience.
With a sigh, she turned her attention to the seats around her, her eyes lingering on Francesca's retreating back. One less set of eyes to dodge. It took only a second for her to survey the rest of the nobles, obviously just as irritated by the wait as the crowd of commoners. Sanya was heading in Malia's direction instead of her own, which was smart, and there was the Green Duke and Elliot - and she felt a pang of guilt before turning away and rising to her feet, her impatience finally getting the best of her.
"I'm fine, Rebecca," Sarnai answered, absently tucking the blankets more firmly around the baby. "Just need to move a bit with him."
"Of course, Your Highness," her handmaiden answered, promptly rising to her feet as well and giving the Consort a knowing sort of look. She didn't offer to take the baby; the Consort wouldn't hand him over unless they were in the secure confines of her own apartments, but she did offered a steadying, and supportive, hand on the young mother's elbow as they made their way down toward the barrier that separated the noble crowd from the common.
There was a stroll to their gait, though also a distinct bounce in Sarnai's step - just a mother comforting her cranky newborn - and when her eyes lifted from the sweet little face staring up at her, the Consort found she'd drawn the attention of the commoners standing nearest to her.
"Oh, 'e's a handsome one, m'lady," cooed an elderly woman with a sprig of evergreen tucked into her frizzy grey curls.
Sarnai would have rather they simply ignore her right now, but she also knew that she may need those commoners if things went sideways, so she smiled kindly and thanked her, tipping her arms just a bit so the woman could more clearly see Erden's face.
"Oh and 'e 'as that Paxton red 'air!"
Sarnai's smile was still firmly in place, politely enjoying the attention of the nearby commoners as she continued walking, her eyes drifting around again. What was going on? The nearest guards were keeping a watchful eye on the Consort and her princely son, but none of the nobles seemed to be paying her much more attention than usual and when a man in the crowd shouted Oi! What's the 'old up? We been 'ere hours now! even the guards glanced away from her . . .
Tags - sorta
Where was she? Killick had taken to quietly pacing, dark eyes searching every random passerby in the hopes that it might be - well, honestly, half the time he was looking for Sanya, thinking she might be come to tell him that the whole thing was off and she was sorry for sticking him here waiting all this time. But it had been hours since the girl was supposed to meet him here, and really, he didn't have time for this.
He could be studying, or reading, or doing any number of things more useful than standing in place.
Another few minutes ticked by of nothing and no one showing up matching the description, though, and Killick's own patience was wearing thin. Sure, the girl was supposed to have a kid with her, and he more than sympathized with trying to get small children to go anywhere willingly and quietly on a day where there was nothing wrong, not a drop of tension in the air - so he understood. This was probably harder.
But how long was he supposed to wait?
His teeth pulled his bottom lip in between them absent of thought, his brows furrowed - and finally, he dropped his hands to his sides and started walking. Maybe something happened to her. Maybe something happened at the announcement? Talk about tensions, after all, Killick knew not every choice they were likely to come forward with would be taken well by the people. Some, very badly indeed.
He flung a hand up into his hair as his feet carried him into an about-face, fingers scrunching into the thin locs atop his head. Why was he even doing this? If it took too long to get her somewhere safe, he'd be assumed to have abandoned his studies, likely dropped from his courses... The College he'd worked so hard to get into. And how would he explain his way back in? Well, you see, there was this girl-
A strangled noise frustrated its way out of his throat, and one of those indecisive feet swung out to kick a rock out of his path. The brief catharsis felt good - the squawking Oi! Watch whacher doin'ere, boy! Less so.
Breathing an apology past grit teeth, he pulled another sharp turn back round again as his hands buried themselves deep into his pockets. He told Sanya he'd do this. And maybe he didn't have much pull at the College, but worst came to worst, she was a Lady, bound to be Duchess of the South. She probably did...right?
The talisman turned over in the hand in his pocket, a habit that had formed almost subconsciously since Chaz had given it to him. His father would tell him there would be greater reward in helping the Consort - and, probably, selling the Consort to the highest bidder - than there would ever be in pursuing a thankless career in making people well again. And maybe that was true...
But if that was all, he would have stayed put and waited like he was ought, and not letting his feet guide him now toward the Merchant's Quarter, as he was. In truth, like called to like, and that was really all there was to it in the end.
He squared his shoulders, and kept on.
A servant girl wearing the uniform of a royal servant - a long dress in gray that was trimmed in rich purple - made her way toward the group of guards that had peeled away from the noble seating area. She was clearly on business to feed the men-at-arms who had been on duty longer than expected with the delays, a tray of fragrant meat pies that she carried balanced on a shoulder so she could pass them out easily as she walked past. But the steaming food was only half the reason she drew Sarnai's guards' attention - the other was the distracting smile that the men called saucy and the ladies tarty. The men looked no further than those and her other assets, as she handed out food, and quickly moved on her way. They promptly gobbled up the food, knowing there was no time for a leisurely meal while they still needed to be watchful.
But Rebecca, Sarnai's lady-in-waiting, watched the girl go curiously. Having worked in the castle since she came of age, Rebecca knew something was wrong immediately. There was a curious caution in her voice as she spoke up, as if she knew she could not hold her tongue but knew she also had no reason to be believed:
"Milady… I have never seen that serving girl before."
But the mystery girl was already gone. In fact, it seemed she had disappeared into the crowd of commoners who, a moment ago, had been shouting at the Consort and her baby.
Before they could make heads or tails of that, though, one of Sarnai's guards let out a pained growl. The final bite of the meat pie he had been eating fell to the ground when he doubled over - and soon, one by one, the others followed.