Knights in the woodwork

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Warnings/notes: Kai-stern/Tetheus (established), Lord Lykouleon/Queen Raselane, ooc, shortie, slightly silly.

Disclaimer: I don't own Dragon Knights. Emshandar ('Shandi') is actually the name of a character starring in Dave Duncan's 'A Handful of Men'.

(!) Spoils information revealed in vol. 2.

written at 19th february 2005, by Misura, for the livejournalcommunity 30kisses (theme: cradle)

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It certainly wasn't rare for ambassadors who paid a visit to the city of Draqueen and, subsequently, the Palace, to present the Dragon Lord with a gift. Nor was it unusual for that gift to take the shape of something special, something that the ambassador's home-country was famous for.

After all, what better way to look good than to present the best? Thus, ambassadors from lands with extensive shores and beaches offered objects decorated with rare shells and mother-of-pearl, those from more mountainous areas offered jewelry set with the gems their mines produced and those from countries that were practically covered with woods and forests, like today's visitor ...

"I am quite sure I have never seen anything as finely made as this," Lykouleon declared, with a smile that was only slightly strained.

Ambassador Emshandar bowed, his face clearly stating that he was aware that he had somehow made an enormous faux pas, but was unable to figure out what it had been. Kai-stern might have felt sorry for him, if the hurt in Queen Raselane's eyes had not been so obvious to anyone who knew her.

"Our finest workmen labored for a full six months on this cradle, my lord, to produce an absolute masterpiece, worthy of the Dragon Lord and his Queen. And, I hope, their heir." Emshandar bowed again.

"Yes, their efforts definitely show," Lykouleon murmured, studying the wooden cradle that had been carried in and uncovered by one of Emshandar's servants. "We thank you very much for this gift, Ambassador Emshandar."

Emshandar appeared to want to say something, but apparently thought better of it and left the audience-room after one last bow. Kai-stern wondered if he owed the man a visit later on the day, to make sure he wouldn't inadvertently rip up any old wounds again. After all, according to both his and Tetheus' sources, Emshandar was mostly harmless; a bit of a bumbling idiot and not always quick to pick up subtleties, but in principle a good man. Not a person who would deliberately remind Lord Lykouleon of the damage Nadil had done to his Queen before he could save her.

"Some people are truly dreadfully impolite," Rune remarked with a frown, as Lykouleon stepped forwards for a closer inspection of his gift.

"Don't judge the man too harshly. This really -is- a lovely piece of furniture, you know. I have little doubt it has no equal in all of Dragoon." Lykouleon reached out to musingly touch the smooth wood.

"Be that as it may, what should we do with it?" Rune snapped. Kai-stern was slightly surprised to see the Dragon Knight so foul-tempered, though perhaps the circumstances warranted it.

"We'll store it in the treasure-room, of course." Lykuoleon bent to press a soft kiss on Raselane's forehead, before taking her hand to guide her out of the room. "Where an object of such beauty belongs, when it can't be put to the use it was meant for."

"Heirs aren't as all-important as some people would want to believe," Kai-stern observed, speaking half to Queen Raselane and half to nobody in particular. "As long as two people are happy together, why should the absence of any children disrupt their good fortune?"

"Well-spoken, Kai-stern." Lykouleon beamed at him, appearing to have regained his usual cheer. "Though I suppose you would know more about such things than most of the others in this castle. After all, it's highly unlikely you and Tetheus will bear each other any children, while I do know you're quite happy in each other's company."

Rune made a soft noise that might have been a squeak.

Tetheus' face adopted a look that was a little more expressionless than usual.

Kai-stern wondered where he had slipped up, how he had given himself away, and how long it was going to take to convince Tetheus that never seeing each other in private again wasn't the best course of action after their secret had come out already.

And then the Queen smiled, and somehow, Kai-stern didn't know why he should worry about anything, because surely, things would turn out all right in the end.

OWARI