At long last it was time for the wedding of Prince D'Hir and Princess Ksennia. They hadn't met before hand and only presented a painted portrait to one another in addition to an endless stream of gifts. I was in the unique position of being trusted confidant to both and got to smooth out their jittery nerves with, of all things, the truth that they were lovely young people and would be very happy together. Ksennia was eager to leave the constant strife between the King and Queen but was still wary of my close friendship with D'Hir. It seemed no matter how hard we tried to break the cycle of rivalry we were doomed. None the less, it was time for me to kick back after months of agonizing details and negotiations and get roaring drunk after the ceremony, which was quite lovely indeed.
I was Roarke's companion for the event; however, Zbinka still enjoyed her assumed role as Queen. There was certainly a lot Ksennia and I could learn from her. I was especially enthralled with the way she handled the overly amorous advances of Eburgistraten, even though I lost good money in a bet with Misha as to his success. Either Burgi was slipping or he had met his match. The more I watched the two of them together over the next week, the more I believed the second hypothesis to be true.
Although father and Queen Naeri were noticeably absent, because of the recent rift caused by the formation of a military training camp in Gelassi which made people uneasy, King Neopar and Queen Dophe chose to attend. I had forgotten how creepy they made me feel until Ompar asked me to remove my shoes before he danced with me. Of all the guests it was Tironik that was most ill at ease. I attempted to cheer him, but once he saw Misha leave with Neopar, there was little use in that.
I arrived at my quarters late the next morning to find Misha asleep on my couch. Tired or not, as a trained fighter he was a light sleeper and he heard my footsteps.
"Good morning, Misha. Where is he?"
"The bed hog's in there." He quipped. "You know I can't sleep on crumbs."
"I was rather hoping that he'd be gone by the time I got in."
"So was I."
I sat beside him. "You know I'm fond of Niko, but maybe it's time you just end it."
"I have ended it."
"Yes, but it never stays ended, does it?"
"He always says he's ready to change. I want to believe him, Fen. It's so hard to be involved with someone who loathes who he is. How can that not spill over onto me? Onto us?"
"He may be a lot of things, but self-loathing is not one of them."
"Tell me you're not going back to be his lap dog."
"No. Don't be ridiculous," Neopar bellowed as he entered from the bedroom, scarcely clothed. "Hello, darlings."
"I'm not even going back," Neopar confessed in a hushed voice.
"Has he been drinking already?" I asked.
"My physician advised me to give up drinking. I'm not going back. I plan on joining allegiance with King Roarke and bringing my landowners with me."
"Leaving Dophe with other two-thirds?" I wondered aloud.
"If I could sway more, I would. Her interference with the court of Cznorh is unforgivable and I intend to prove my worthiness to both father and son."
"Quite a noble position, Ompar," I said. "The Queen has no idea?"
"Absolutely none," Neopar replied.
"The prince and princess are vacationing seaside in Belaurri. I pray you are correct," I said.
"If only there were something we could do to ensure the stability of my lands... You are aware that Dophe controls the Royal Army. Perhaps if Gelassi were to lend some assistance," Neopar began. "All of those wonderful trained fighters chomping at the bit. Seems like a perfect match to me."