The crowds gathered on the streets leading up from the outer walls and all the way through the market, on up to the palace of Dilmunia which stood at the northern side of the city, away from the stench of the markets and the effluence of the mighty that flowed through the city, yet sometimes overran its banks, leaving behind a thick, foul-smelling sludge.
Luckily for the hapless Minister of the Palace, such an event had occurred not one fortnight before, but the determined citizens had washed, swept, polished and cleaned the buildings and streets, so that now all of Dilmunia gleamed like a pearl in the soft daylight which was now lightly sprinkled with a soft drizzle, obfuscating the harsh sunlight. The recent rains had cooled the land, making it the perfect temperature for those officials burdened with the robes of state (the designers of which have never been concerned for the comfort of those forced to wear them, only the visual magnificence of the fur, silk and gems).
The bells were ringing out over the land, the people bedecked in their finest garments were cheering and tossing petals of roses and other flowers into the air, giving the atmosphere a pleasant scent. Black tulips were placed along the streets alongside Angelicas glowing pinecones. A more perfect semblance of night and day could not be found in all the land, representing the old faiths of Al-Qaum.
Within the palace courtyard stood the highest in the land, vassals of the Duke Usifan, who had just that morning pledged his loyalty and fidelity to King Dragor of Nirath in a ceremony unmatched for pomp and grandeur, ending years of strife and turmoil and heralding a new era of peace and prosperity.
At the top of the steps leading to the grand entrance stood a little group, awaiting their turn to be presented to their overlord.
“Well, and what do you think of our new king?” Knight Commander Balisarius, of Fort Owls Watch and brother to the duke asked his fellow citizens and sometime plotters. They turned as a shadow fell over them to see that the sky had turned grey and the rain had begun to fall a little harder. They shuddered with the knowledge that, had the skies been this dark during the pledging ceremony, the Dilmunians would have been forced to consider it a bad omen. But the oath of allegiance had been sworn while the sun shone, and so all was well.
“I find him to be intelligent, modest, unaffected,” Kuwari replied, smiling. “I am extremely pleased with him. You?”
“He is an adolescent puppy,” said the olde widow, shrewdest of them all, shrugging. “He will give us no trouble.” Her tone softened. “Your advice was right brother. We did well in placing our loyalty. The people adore him. I have not seen them so happy in a long time. The entire city of Dilmunia has turned out to celebrate. There will be feasting and parties that last for days. They are calling the king’s coming a miracle. It is being said that those afflicted with wasting sickness feel life restored to their limbs. Most importantly, there will be no more talk of war. No reasons to do so now. We can begin to rebuild our trade agreements and our fortunes.”