Chapter 23

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A good many casks had been emptied before the suns had finally dropped below the horizon. The Prince and his guests were located in a restricted area in the middle of the Commons and had contributed their fare share to the consumption of the much sought after liquor. Fhyndhella, Jhyrenne, Ellycyn, Setryv, Mharkhel, Vhalkhette, the Lord Mayor, GuildMasters and the members of the King's Ministry were among the consumers in the Prince's personal party for this MidSummer night. Only Nherycyn and Athar were not among them. The former had retired for the evening and it was presumed that the latter was with his wizards.

The interplay had been intriguing thus far. The Prince was playing his political game with the Ministry, Lord Mayor and GuildMasters while trying to keep his distance from Dhonlaa. Fhyndhella was on the Prince's arm, being completely obsequious. Jhyrenne subtly hovered, waiting for an opening. Dhonlaa was in the midst of her own political machinations and completely aware of the other two women whose attentions were on the Prince. Actually, it was three women. Vhalkhette was also in the Prince's group, by virtue of being the overall leader in the trevhette. As the possessors of the other two highest scores in the competition, Setryv and Mharkhel were in the company of the Princess, openly vying for her attention.

The Prince hadn't even wanted to include Fhyndhella on his guest list but he could not realistically exclude her as her father was in the Ministry. He knew Dhonlaa would also be present and figured that Fhyndhella's behavior would only incite the still grieving daughter. Which it did. Dhonlaa, though disguising it fairly well, was seething. Fhyndhella had been hanging all over Rhenycyn the entire evening, showering him with "Yes, my Prince" and "Yes, Your Highness." The Prince was unsure as to whether Fhyndhella or his consumption of liquor was causing him to be nauseous. He was reasonably certain it was Fhyndhella. His only reprieve from her constant attention was his trips to the men's quarters, which were becoming increasingly more frequent.

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