Careful Negotiations

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Unfortunately, as good as the idea appeared at the time, two and a half turns' worth of work trying to get through the crowded streets on the back of his favorite horse, a long-legged Aramas stallion he named 'Arrow', was almost enough to convince the young prince otherwise. Even with a squad of Sapphire Griffons clearing the way, the press was such that they moved only a matter of strides every few turns. 

 The squad's commander, a heavy shouldered leftenant with the blue facial woar tattoo of a Kevan, looked over his shoulder at the frustrated prince when they were stopped by yet another surge of traffic just south of the Quarter and shrugged helplessly.

"Not even the Crown Prince of Talemon can win past those bent on celebration," a voice husked into his ear just as he sighed at the leftenant's shrug. It was barely audible over the hissing roar of a thousand voices speaking at once, interspersed with the odd street musician working their trade on a street corner, or the cry of a carriage or wagon driver shouting for somebody to get out of the way.

Nearly buried but, possessing almost unnaturally keen hearing since he was a boy, the big prince was able to pick the voice out of the maelstrom and Lawrence twisted towards its source to find Lady Dulcae of the Kevan House of Korist, sitting on a graceful bay mare just a hand span from his own mount. Korist, one of the powerful Caledonian Houses supporting Lawrence's grandfather, Festus Ironstorm the Silvermane, had strong representation here, in Tal Morun. And Dulcae, a beautiful woman with dancing green eyes, the creamy brown skin of her people and a keen intelligence that challenged the best minds of Tal Morun, was their bid to further cement the alliance with a marriage to Lawrence.

Despite that pressure, the big prince found easy company in Dulcae's presence and often strolled the many walking paths snaking through the Inner City's legion parks with the young noblewomen.

"Dulcae!" Lawrence exclaimed with a happy smile, pleased to find the Caledonian, comfortable in a loose linen blouse and divided cotton skirt of Aramas design, at his shoulder. "You've brought joy to these weary eyes! But the crowds surge in a Ra'Ashal frenzy. What brings you down into the press?"

Dulcae Korist, as at ease with the powerful Kevan prince as he was with her, dimpled prettily at Lawrence's pleased tone.

"My lord, you flatter me," she replied, maneuvering her own mount close enough to reach out to lay a light hand on Lawrence's arm. "And since I know you won't believe me if I say 'chance', I'll admit to the truth," she continued, her light tone broadening the powerful prince's smile, further underscored by the look of mock seriousness she adopted.

"I saw your company of Griffons marching from the Tor's front gates with you in your midst and decided to see where you were off to." Her other hand fell gracefully to the small knife she had belted to her waist, small but functional, as befitting a Kevan lady.

"One never knows when they need protection."

Lawrence's smile became roguish.

"So you came to make sure I was protected, as if a dozen Griffons weren't sufficient?" he said and laughed with delight when Dulcae promptly nodded in the affirmative.

"We Kevans have to stick together, my prince," she replied, no longer able to hold back a broad smile from brightening the honey-brown lines of her lovely face.

Knowing her words were both a mantra many Kevans spoke in the city, so far south of their own northern homeland, and a suggestion supporting her efforts to stand at his side some day as his queen, Lawrence's smile became wry.

"That, we do," he agreed before silently adding: 'At least sticking together as fella kevans.' He took a quick glance around. 

"But I see you've come without protection of your own, my lady. Where's your chaperone, the Lady Nydia?" he asked in reference to Dulcae's aunt who had served to accompany the two young people on many occasion in adherence to tradition. "I thought you couldn't leave your quarters on the hill without her in your shadow."

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