Silkfield Mastery <Silkfield>

As a young noble, celebrating his marriage to Anae Nillu and the union of two proud houses of Fastheld, Jamot Seamel held high hopes and vast ambitions. Perhaps too vast.
With the birth of his twins, Jamot envisioned his potential to become the most powerful Seamel in the history of his house. His ambition didn't limit itself to thoughts of commercial success or political alliances. Jamot Seamel wanted nothing less than the throne of Fastheld.
No matter that his ancestors had sworn fealty to the Kahar Imperial bloodline, Jamot Seamel wanted the greatest glory possible for House Seamel.
The centerpiece of the mastery's biinwood counsel table is a stone depiction of the realm's districts in miniature.
Against the north wall, atop a foot-high black marble dais is the Gargoyle Throne.

Unarmored, his face ruddy and slicked with sweat, his dark hair all mussed and wild, Mullis Seamel shoves open the doors to the mastery. He's gripping a crumpled sheet of inked parchment in one hand. His eyes are best described as fanatical. He stomps within a few feet of Jafron, shakes the paper and bellows: "By the light, man, have you lost what little mind you *possess*?!"

Jafron Seamel, who had been standing below the raised dais admiring the unusual design of the Brooding Keep's throne, gives a start. The noble wheels around to face his enraged uncle, eyes lowering sullenly. "Uncle..." His voice is little more than a sheepish whisper, suddenly feeling very much the child before his elder. "I... I've fallen in love. Surely you cannot fault me."

"Oh, can I not?" Mullis Seamel's face remains the color of a boiled beet. "Bad enough to lose your heart to a *woman*, it's a serving girl and no better, is that the way of it?"

"It is," Jafron answers diffidently. Though he raises his pale eyes, meeting Uncle stare for stare. Regaining a bit of backbone, the Horseman ventures so far as to mockingly ask, "Would you rather I lost it to a *man*?"

Mullis Seamel fahs, wadding up the parchment and tossing it at Jafron's chest. "You are a man of the Emperor's Blades and a noble of House Seamel. Truth be told, you can ill afford to lose your heart to so much as a *sheep* under the circumstances! The Light preserve us both, we are men of House Seamel. As it is, the other houses look upon us as just one step removed from freelanders. Your duty to this family *demands* that you bond with another of noble birth, to further our status among the other families in Fastheld! Keep your trollop if you fancy the occasional roll in the hay, but dare not wed her!"

The crumpled note strikes Jafron's chest and falls to his feet, he doesn't so much as flinch. "But..." the words catch in his throat, his knuckles burning white and clenched at his sides, and he tries again, "You have known me since I was a babe, and you have doubtless seen the impact these dreary halls, and their even drearier history have had. Uncle, I have never felt as I do at her side! Surely you cannot ask that I give up that joy, the newfound warmth which courses through my veins?"

From Receiving Hall, Arkadia yells, "Jaaaaaaafron! Are you hungry, Lord Rascal?"

"Listen to the words I say, nephew: Keep. Her. For. Your. Amusement," Mullis enunciates, his voice hissing the last word before he turns, throws his hands toward the ceiling. And then his eyes widen at the sound of the voice from the hall.

Jafron Seamel combs slender fingers through his oiled hair and bites down hard on his lip. "You are my uncle, and I love you. But please understand, she is more to me than some tavern wench." The noble's face turns as red as the blood forming around his teeth at that intruding voice.

Jafron Seamel yells, "No... not right now."

From Receiving Hall, Arkadia yells, "Very well, my sweet, but the tarts are fresh!"

"Lord Rascal, is it?" Mullis snarls, turning and jabbing a beefy finger at Jafron. "Fool! Impetuous fool! You will render our family a mockery in court! You expect me to return to the Aegis bearing the shame of this utter madness? I left a bloody Mikin in charge and nearly drove my horse to death to ride forth and put an end to this folly before it begins, but by your words, I judge it may well be too late. You mean to marry her, regardless of my wishes. Is that the way of it?"

The sky darkens with thick clouds as raindrops begin to fall.

Jafron Seamel stiffens, adams apple bobbing in his throat. He turns away, eyes staring blankly at a dark tapestry against the wall. "I will need time to think this matter over. I take your... advice to heart, Uncle Mullis. But please, give me time. I'd like to speak with her first. Dishonoring my family is not my intention."

"Time to think!?" The Aegis Guardian boggles, looking absolutely baffled, hands clenching into fists at his sides. "How long have you been impaling this flop of yours?! Has your mind been fogged the entire time? Is she touched by shadow?" His eyes narrow and he frowns. "That is the way of it, I wager. She has cast an enchantment on you."

A patter of raindrops fall from the sky in a steady pattern.

Jafron Seamel flinches away from accusation after accusation, and he slumps jadedly onto the dais. "I am drunk with love. What more can I say? The Shadow has had nothing with this union, I assure you."

"Drunk with love? PAH!" Mullis spits on the floor. "Talk to your servant lover. But I warn you now, nephew: Wed her, and you will be outcast from this family. Think carefully whether she means enough for you to turn your back on your family, your lands, your *riches*. Dare not imagine she will be raised up from a commoner to sit the Gargoyle Throne at your side. No, instead, *you* will descend the social ladder. Become a freelander, perhaps. A ghost to me. Think well on it."

The flush in Jafron's face leaves him, and he is left pale as a ghost. With every effort, he manages a stolid expression as he peers icily up at the Bladesman. "Very well. You've said your piece. Now please, leave me that I may gather my thoughts."

Jafron Seamel sits atop the dais before the Gargoyle throne as Mullis rages before him.

Arkadia bustles into the Mastery with a tray in hand. Utterly unaware of Mullis' presence in the Keep, she's only brought one wine cup. The girl is lightly humming as she strides toward the big table with her burden. "I know you said that you weren'...t. Oh," she says as she begins to realize that Mullis is -here- and now might not be the best time. Centered upon the tray is a plate with three fresh-from-the-oven tarts - Kadi's specialty.

Mullis Seamel grunts, then turns to stomp away from the dais. His eyes settle on Arkadia as she enters. He grimaces, and then his attention drifts to the pastries on the tray. He harumphs: "Tarts, indeed." And out he goes.

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