Royal Maneuvers of Fealty
Trust and Love
Will Lord Sarc honor his word to our Lady?
Sarc’s charisma drew the court’s attention back to him with a stare. “Lady Zera’s sword has been fouled. I request the priests take the blade and purify it.”
From beside the dais, High Priest Marout stepped forward, bowed, and accepted the mysterious weapon with a red cloth. Careful not to touch the blade directly, he withdrew from court taking the weapon to perform a ritual cleansing.
“My Lady Zera.” Sarc’s sudden change of attitude from fierce sovereign to gentle lord, whose tone reflected respect and admiration, jolted the court. His gaze caressed his fiancée as he stood. “I put my blade at your convenience to swear your allegiance.” Unexpected affection filled his voice and anticipation held the court in silence. The collective jumped, startled, as he drew his blade from its borun skin sheath. He reversed the blade and gallantly presented it to Zera, the hilt across his forearm. Their eyes met in a true decisive moment. Sarc stood unarmed before her, demonstrating his faith in her honor.
* * * *
As she took the heavy, perfectly balanced sword, her gaze met his. Zera was surprised at the trust she saw. She turned and stepped to the bottom of the dais. Not realizing she preceded Sarc even as she turned. Zera, her eyes lowered, knelt on the bottom step, and reversed the sword, hilt up. Her head bowed and in a clear, sure voice swore her fidelity.
“I, Zera Thealana Dueta Cronus, High Lady of Seti-Cronus pledge before this company, the Throne of Seti-Cronus, before god and the goddess, my duty, fidelity and obedience to High Lord Sarc Sieramous of Alphxorn, High Lord of Seti-Cronus, by his right of Contest and Victor in Battle. My Lord! I am thy vassal to command unto death, at this moment or in the future!”
Zera felt a gentle, light hand touch her head and, astounded, raised her eyes to meet his gaze.
“Rise, my most loyal and beloved subject.” Sarc’s voice caressed her, leaving her feeling touched as intimately by his inflection as by his hands in private.
She stood, their gazes remaining joined. Her solemn expression changed to amazed wonder. The ceremony telecast to his world live; Sarc confirmed his favor with her before both courts. He stood one step above her, instead of at the top of the dais, as was tradition. Sarc accepted his sword back, kissing her forehead before resheathing the weapon. Time stopped. Zera started to move aside but he took her hand and his lips touched the scar on her hand.
“Stay with me, My Queen,” he bade her and led her to the top of the dais. “These are your people. They’ll feel better if you stay at my side, as will I.”