Her Grace Arrives in Court
In an effort to remain, as always, a most humble member of Her Majesty’s Court, Her Grace, Camille, forgoing the usual pomp and circumstance of a Duchess’s first arrival at her Castle, arranged instead to quietly enter the village surrounding the castle, warmly greeting all who would make themselves known to her.
Damithacaus, having made the recently deemed Dukedom of Rickrina his home some years earlier, and coming to know of Her Majesty's decision to appoint Her Grace it's sovereign, had been eagerly anticipating their first encounter. Much to his surprise, a messenger arrived the following day with a request from her for a private audience at the Castle. Immediately sending his reply, he answered, “Of course”, adding she could expect his presence that very afternoon.
Upon his arrival, he was ushered into a large receiving room, the walls littered with the portraits of the many stern faced former occupants of the Castle and shown to a very ornate chair opposite it’s twin, placed next to a beautifully carved white table upon which sat a silver tray holding a tea pot, two cups and a plate of freshly baked blueberry scones with two small empty plates. A handsomely dressed attendant stood next to a pale blue door ornately trimmed in white, that promptly opened and the beautifully dressed Duchess strode in, smiling broadly and offering her hand.
Damithacaus stood and watched her as she closed the gap between them and immediately understood the Queen’s deep and lasting friendship with this woman whose grace and radiance seemed to brighten the room simply with her presence. Her smile was not only totally disarming; it was inviting, even infectious as he felt his own smile being almost forced upon him. Of this she was seemingly unaware, as if this reaction were normal. It occurred to him that she must have the same effect on most everyone who met her.
After allowing him to take her hand and bow slightly, she invited him to sit, joining him in the chair opposite and simply nodded in the direction of the attendant who had followed her and began to pour out the tea, pausing a moment silently waiting for him to indicate how he took it and after getting none, simply poured both cups, placed a scone on each of the plates and withdrew to his previous position at the door.
Neither of them moved to touch the tea; Her Grace simply began the conversation by thanking him for his quick response to her invitation and for his presence. She then said, “Her Majesty speaks of you with such great fondness that suggests a very close relationship. She insisted I make your acquaintance immediately upon my arrival. I do suspect she regards you as the most important person in Rickrina.”
“I’m flattered that Her Majesty may regard me as a person worthy of such praise, he answered. I did assist in resolving certain issues of great import to her and making a few introductions to some of her subjects. I was surprised and quite grateful for her thanks in bestowing upon me, untitled as I am, a small farm here in Rickrina that I dearly love.”
She smiled at him and giving him a knowing look said, “Please, you’re being much too modest Damithacaus. The Queen spoke of you not only as being a man of “Letters” but also a Sorcerer, with great skills in the Arts of Magic. She even suggested you were a descendant of a certain Wizard who once served a King known as Arthur. You must have accomplished great things while in her service. You must tell me about them some day.”
He was silent for some time; seeming to be visiting the past, and then said only, “Some tales, Your Grace, are better left untold.”
She nodded and responded, “As you wish sir.” Then in what seemed to him to be a more formal tone said, “The Queen suggested that I offer you a position as „Scribe“ to the court of Rickrina and to provide me with your invaluable skills and council at such times as I require it. This is not a command, of course, simply a request from me at the suggestion of Her Highness.”
His response was not altogether unexpected as he replied, “This is not a responsibility to be entered into lightly, Your Grace. If I agree, it would require me to leave my farm on occasion, possibly for long periods of time and, as delving into the practice of Sorcery may involve great peril, the consequences of which can never be totally foreseen, I must ask that you allow me some time to consider such an arrangement.”
Her Grace looked into Damithacaus’ eyes and said, “Of course sir”, placed a hand on his for a moment then rose and left him sitting in the chair next to the table holding the untouched tea and scones.
The following morning, a messenger arrived at the Castle with an envelope addressed to “Her Grace, The Duchess of Rickrina”. Upon opening it she unfolded a small piece of paper with a single word,