Not much happened the next day in Rodas. Cirroc’s tours were like most of them were, quiet and uneventful. Except for the time he discovered a db in the street, nothing was happening.The next day things were very different in the bazaar.All or the Lords and Ladies expecting to attend the dinner for the Princess came first to the bazaar to buy goods for new clothes.They wanted to show off in their finest for the lady who would soon be their queen.They were also having boots and slippers repaired, carriages repaired, having horses shod, and some were looking at new horses to pull those carriages.
This was a time to spare no expense. A favorable impression on the new queen could pay off later. Not to mention it could favorable impress the King if they put on a show for his bride.In the citadel, they were making preparations too.A guest suite had to be prepared for the Princess and her chaperone and her maid.They would all expect to accompany the Princess and indeed, no King would consider marrying a woman who did not travel with them.She would also have guards with her.Room would have to be made for them in the guards quarters.Fortunately, Avock and Grail did not take up much room. She would also have some lesser servants with her.The major domo among them would expect to have a room similar to Jere’s.The rest could sleep in the scullery with Cirroc’s household servants and slaves.And room would have to be made in the stables for all the new horses coming in. Provender would have to be provided for them too. Cirroc’s groom was busy purchasing more hay and grain from the farmers in the bazaar.
It was about two days later that Cirroc received another dispatch from his brother, the King. I am reliably informed, it said, that my intended bride has left the Cressili capitol. It should take her two days to get to the Pass of Niall, then another day through it, and then two days to Rodas. So she should be there about 5 days from the date on this letter.Please be sure she is cared for as befits her status. Remember she is to be your new Queen.The date on the dispatch was yesterday’s, Cirroc noted.
He sent for the captain of the town guard. “I want your men to keep a watch on the Pass of Niall.”It could be easily seen from the town wall. “You are looking for a royal carriage coming here from Cressil.It will come with an entourage.It will be carrying my brother’s intended bride.”“Is she a Cressili princess?” the captain asked.“No,” said Cirroc, “She is the youngest daughter of Cracticus. But she is coming here after visiting Cressil where her sister Absallah is queen.”“Well if she looks like her father, my sympathies to your brother,” the captain said. “Watch your comments,” Prince Cirroc warned him.The man came to attention, saluted, and turned and left. He had his orders.
He toured the town again, as usual. Business at the bazaar was still doing well.Urchins were scampering around now.Cirroc had no doubt that some of them were pickpockets. They were trying to get what they could while they could. Pickings were good now, though none of them was daring enough to try the Prince with his two dusky body guards close to hand.Some of them remembered that Avock had grown up as a street urchin in Dobchor. He knew every trick they might try to pull and measures to prevent their success. His purse and Grail’s were well secured and they always had an eye on the Prince’s. Some lords and ladies lost a bit, but the children were too fast for most people to follow. They would have a few coins, and pass them to another and then be out of sight in a second. They also had bolt holes that they
could get into but the larger adults usually could not.
That night again, Prince Cirroc took one of the kitchen wenches to his bed. If it was one of the slaves that worked in the kitchen, the rule was this.If she conceived and bore a child to the prince, the child was her’s. It was a slave like it’s mother and could be bought and sold just like it’s mother could.If it was a servant who conceived of the Prince, she was immediately let go and sent back to her parents. Usually she had the wages she had earned up to that point in her pocket and another year’s wages as well. It would be enough to give her a small dowry. Then she could be relied on to be married in a few months. Her husband would hail the birth of the baby as his own. He would not likely ask any questions about who the true father of the child was. Even if the baby began to resemble his true father, likely it would be the source of joking and teasing. The old men who knew said that she would leave with his money in her pocket and his baby in her belly.