I started two think-piece-ish/rant posts, but both of them turned out to be bad and stupid and I couldn’t get them finished. But I really wanted to post today, so have a chunk of book. Out of context, of course.
Dwyn picked her way through the workroom and the shop to the front door. She pulled it open and was met with the raised fist of a Gwartiad, ready to knock. He was heading a group of five. Not just any Gwartiad, either. Their uniforms bore the seal of the Brenin. These weren’t even Capital City Guardsmen; they were a step above, the Gwartiad y Brenin. The King’s Guard.
Without missing a beat, Dwyn smiled sweetly. “Excuse me, good morning,” she said, edging sideways and moving to walk briskly down the street toward the city gate.
“No,” said the front guard brusquely, grabbing her by the arm. “Dwynwen ferch Driscoll, you are requested and required to appear before the Brenin in the Royal Manor this morning.”
Dwynwen let her smile fall and tried to pull herself free, to no avail. She did not wriggle, it would be more embarrassment than it was worth. She couldn’t get away, and stay away, from these five guards. “I’m not Dwynwen ferch Driscoll.” Dwyn infused her voice with as much true befuddlement as she could – which, thanks to her glamour was a lot of befuddlement. She saw the guard hesitate.
“I’m sorry, Miss, but if that’s the case it will be determined at the Royal Manor. This is the address and you match the description, so, for now, you will come with us.”
With that, they began walking, Dwyn blocked into the middle of the Gwartiad y Brenin’s tight formation. She scowled as she walked. Whatever it was the Brenin needed a Halfling for, there was very little chance it was something Dwynwen was interested in. What had the Brenin ever done for her?
Dwynwen was briskly marched back through the second set of gates into the noble district and up to the third wall and its gates, the gates to the palace and its grounds. Dwyn eyed them with trepidation as they were opened for her Gwartiad escort.
The gates swung open slowly, pulled by the Gwartiad from the inside. As they did, Dwynwen resisted the unwelcome urge to crane her neck to catch a glimpse beyond them. She saw glimpses of green, paving stones of pristine white, and – slightly off in the distance – steps into the palace. The “Royal Manor.” She scoffed internally; it was most assuredly a palace.
When, finally, the gates stopped with a dull, reverberating “thud,” the Gwartiad y Brenin led her through them and she got a good look at the front of the palace.
The courtyard’s paving stones were expensive, white stone that must have been kept clean by near-constant sweeping and scrubbing. A wide walk was paved up to the palace, but it was sandwiched by rolling green lawns – Dwyn marveled at the grass, kept trimmed close to the ground – that was dotted with manicured trees and foliage. Dwynwen could also see where a garden started, symmetrical in size, distance, and plants grown, partway through the lawn on both sides of the path; that led her to believe that the garden arced around the back of the palace and was one, large garden.
Dwyn’s mind boggled as she thought of the number of people the Brenin must employ to keep up the grounds alone, not to mention the palace itself. Which she was coming upon now.
The staircase was grand, but not a very long walk to get to the doors. There were no turrets – well , there was the one, off to the right – but it was a stately house, made of fine gray-silver stone and with four levels that Dwyn could see. It also stretched out from side to side for a great ways – Dwyn thought it must be a mile from one end to the other.
As Dwyn’s mind was wont, it wandered to thoughts of how one might breach a building such as this. She thought it was slim, with such heavy guard, but if one could do it – and one might, if one was small, alone, quiet, and with the advantage of a glamour – Dwynwen thought that someone could live for years in the palace and no one would be any the wiser, if that infiltrator just used an ounce of caution.
She was escorted through the doors. Her awe had worn off somewhat by the time she saw that the inside of the palace was just as stately, expensive, and well-kempt as everything else she’d seen yet: pristine and high-quality stone, glass-paned and latching windows – some of the panes stained brilliant colors, dappling the floor in rainbows – and servants. So many servants, nobles, and other business-doers bustled about the palace. Everyone with a job to do, place to be, and so far above Dwynwen’s station that she couldn’t help but feel a sense of desperate amusement at the ridiculousness of their earnestness, dress, and above all: the ridiculousness that they were all so desperate to get her in front of the Cyngor y Twywygion and the Brenin himself.
This snippet features long descriptions of things, almost solely because I carefully researched to world build and so I feel compelled to include a lot of details. Details that, probably, only I care about. BUT, the fun part of publishing snippets of this draft here, is that now this description of the type of stone the palace is made of will live on, immortal in the annals of this blog.