Chapter 30: Chapter 3
The ten powerful houses which makes up Maldonia are House Horriss from which Artemiss mother came from and this house is the main supplier of soldiers as they make a quarter of the Maldonian army. Artemiss uncle lord Aethelind was a powerful man and the richest one in Maldonia, the position as the lord of house Horriss would have befallen Artemiss mother but she was a girl hence she couldnt.
That was a statement Lord Aethelind didnt stop reminding everyone of how he was born second, yet he was still able to become his fathers heir. No one challenged his position, not Artemiss mother and neither his nobles.
Along the way Lord Akirbus taught Lord Balon of Maldonia houses and their rich tapestry history. Dating back to the when each house was an independent kingdom until they all decided to join their kingdoms and become one. When Lord Balon asked what happened, silence fell on them and it seemed no one was ready to speak about it.
“Lets just say its tale for another day” said Artemis ending their conversation of houses and their heirs.
“How many houses are there in Maldonia” Lord Angun decided to tease lord Balon.
“Can you name them”
Artemis thought that was absurd “He just learnt them today lord Angun, give the man a space to breath”
“Then perhaps hes not fit to be the hand of the king if he cant even name our powerful houses.
“And you are” Artemis asked. There was a bad blood between lord Angun and the hand. Artemis noticed it ever since the first day he appointed lord Balon as his hand.
Lord Angun felt he disrespected his king, hence he slowly lowered his head “Apologies Your Grace”
“Dont apologize my lord, I simply asked you a question. Are you fit to be my hand
“With all due to respect, yes sir”
“A sixty-year-old man who served my father for thirty years... a man who cant even raise a sword to protect me”
Lord Akirbus had something to say “Perhaps we dont speak about who is fit to be who and just... travel in peace” he said and cleared the air “Anyone wants cakes” he found a stash of tiny lemon cakes.
Artemis took the stash “They are mine, my future wife made them for me” and then he placed the stash back where he hid it. From there to the first stop, House Harriss as per tradition, none of them said a word along the way. Lord Balon felt like an outsider, he didnt belong in that conversation or group and he was reminded of it every time. While at the same time lord Angun was hanging on to what Lord Balrus told him of Princess Sansa and her letter to Lazica kingdom.
The grand entrance of the king in house Horriss was nothing like youve ever seen before. The grand castle which was owned by lord Aethelind had over fifty servants, some criticized him for living like a king while he wasnt one. However, he always reminds them his late sister was the queen of Maldonia.
There were drums which welcomed Artemis at the very gates of House Horris, and whores and servants – it was no secret lord Aethelind lived in his own world full of luxury. Artemis was on top of his stallion looking down on his people who came out to cheer for him and of course – stare at his golden carriage. His hand Lord Balon was on his own horse beside him, they were showered with flowers as they passed through.
“What a welcoming event my king” Lord Balon was amused by everything he was seeing.
“Well, my uncle never fails in making a grand gesture to his king”
“Is he really your uncle
“I dont lie my lord”
Lord Balon wanted to keep talking, but Artemis seemed so taken by the show of half-naked women dancing to his satisfaction. At first hes heard of his uncles parties, and his whores but he never believed them.
Artemis and Aurora visited house Horriss when they were very young and maybe during that time it was he knew nothing about whore and naked woman but now a fully grown man and he knew he was about to have a good time.
All twenty carriages and fifty horses entered inside the gates of Lord Aethelinds castle and then the gates were closed. News travelled all over the county about the kings arrival.
Lord Aetheind welcomed his nephew at the front gates, he was accompanied with his wife lady Burchad and his two sons Deagol and Hawk who were fifteen and thirteen respectively, and his three daughter – the first one was Maurin who was the same age as Artemis, with two young twins Eather and Helen both in their fourth year. The moment Artemis locked eyes with Maurin, he knew instantly that she was being prepared for him.
Maurin was shy, and its normal for girls to be shy when they meet a man who either they love, or they have been promised to. Maurin even whispered to her mother “Hes so cute” but Lady Burchad pinched her and warned her to be silent.
Lady Burchad was a fat woman with red hair, pale skin and big eyes. She was known as the woman who walked butt naked and thats because her dress cracked up when she was at the market, all that because she was fat. Maybe thats the reason lord Aethelind spent most of his time inside pleasures house with his whores instead of attending to his own wife.
Apart from being fat, she was also ugly and unpleasant to look at. Lord Aethelind was a handsome man even in his early fifties he still looked good – although too sad for his daughters who chose their mothers side and end up being ugly and unpleasant no matter how much they showered and adorned themselves with silk and gold.
“Nephew!” Lord Aethelind shouted, Artemis raced to him and these two hugged like a couple of friends who havent been in contact for a long time. “Look at you. You look like a king”
Artemis laughed and kissed his uncles forehand “And you uncle... you know how to welcome a guest into your home” and they continued to laugh.
Lord Balon, Akirbus and Angun were behind Artemis along with the small army they travelled with, they were all looking at Artemis interacting with his uncle.
“You are not a guest here nephew, all this is yours. My sister is looking down on you with a smile” said Lord Aethelind.
The talk about his late mother made Artemis a little bit sad, and this was a huge accomplishment for him and he knew his mother would be so happy for him. After saying his salutations to his uncle, Lord Aethelind as per customs and tradition took a step back and curtsied before Artemis. “Your Grace, I humbly welcome you to my home” he said.
“Thank you, uncle” replied Artemis with a smile. Then he proceeded to greet Lady Burchad “Good morrow Aunty” he then kissed Lady Burchads cheeks.
“Good morrow Your Grace”
Then it was time for the boys, Deagol and Hawk who wore matching armors with the red cloak as a sigil of Maldonia. They curtsied before Artemis uniformly and Artemis was amused “You boys are ready to serve the realm, Im delighted to see that” and every one in audience of the king laughed.
After the twins were greeted and then it was time for lady Maurin, who was Artemiss cousin to be greeted. Maurin wore a silk white long dress, a piece of scarf over her head and she let her hairs fall down effortlessly.
She was so shy she couldnt look Artemis in the eyes. “Your Grace...” she said shyly.
“Cousin, how are you”
“Im... fine. Thank you, Your Grace”
The source of this content is nov/el/b/in[./]net'
Lord Aethelind seemed so amused seeing Artemis interacting with his daughter, and thats because he had a plan on his mind to wed the two, and he felt as if his plan had come true right there, but that was all a fluke.
“Enough now you two...” He made a fuss and they all laughed. Artemis was confused as to why would his uncle say something like that, and in a flirty tone but maybe what his sister warned him was coming true.
“Lets get you inside my king. I want you refreshed and ready for tonights feast I threw in your name”
“Thank you uncle”
The servants who Artemis travelled with were shown the quarters to where they will sleep for the night, and it was one quarter per four servants. One of the servants who came along to the journey was Selma, the slave.
Lord Balrus was the one who orchestrated the whole journey, he was the one who planned everything from who will accompany the king, to who will not and to his own choice, he chose Selma as the kings personal slave to when he needs bath and relaxation along the way. Selma was the only slave who classified to be in the kings entourage.