Chapter 29

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The awards ceremony then took place and it was with chagrin that Vhyqyrd accepted the Unhorsed Opponents award for Bhel'Ehzz. The Field of Battle award was humbly accepted by Xumhek, the City Father of Vhyt Dhaxz. The crowds dispersed and the participants of the King's Contest were given the remainder of the day to rest and refresh themselves before their efforts were honored with a banquet at the castle.

The banquet was similar to the previous evening, although there were a greater number of guests, including city officials and Athar's wizards. The city officials rubbed shoulders with some of the representatives and Ministers, attempting to gain some visibility or recognition that might lead to what they deemed more prestigious positions. The wizards, as usual, were left to themselves. They, for the most part, lacked social skills and were not well understood or particularly trusted by the common people. The politicians viewed them as a necessary evil. It was, therefore, a bit unusual that several of the wizards were speaking with Delfyn and Fhyndhella and that two of them, Azarel and Uxzel, sat next to the Minister's daughter during dinner. Throughout the meal, the frail wizard engaged Fhyndhella in conversation, allowing the other to lace her food with a mild drug and cast a minor spell on her without notice.

After the banquet the representatives loosened their garments and relaxed for a few moments before retiring to the Assembly Hall to begin the deliberations of the Conclave. Fhyndhella rose from her seat next to the wizards and made her way over to Rhenycyn and sat next to him. She whispered something to him which the Prince tried to ignore. When she persisted, Rhenycyn excused himself and the two of them went off a little way to talk. They had a brief discussion after which Rhenycyn gave her a questioning look. Fhyndhella nodded, bringing a smile to the Prince's lips. He gave her a peck on the cheek and the two of them returned to the table arm in arm. King Nherycyn signaled for the members of the Conclave to convene after waiting for his son to return and those who were required left for the Assembly Hall.

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