The House of Sinhouk was abuzz. My sister(?) was to be married to a noble in the upcoming days. The merging of our families was very much desired, my father has planned it since my sisters birth, it would be his shinning achievement. Despite the chaos that surrounded me. Until Phil landed on my shoulder, and told me that there was someone here to see me. My familiar served as a too real reminder of my duty to the empire, as my father would say, “empire before life, wealth, and family.".
I tried my best to ignore Phil’s squawks, however when one of our servants came and told me an empirical representative was here to see me I could no longer pretend to be just Jeter, it was time to be Jeter Sinhouk, first son of father, and dutiful servant of the empire.
I entered the reception hall I with great trepidation. I often fantasized of leaving behind my empire, and family and studying magic in the monastery. My mother was a powerful sorcerer, before my father choose her, would often encourage my talent. As a child she would put me to bed by telling me fantastical stories of her mystical exploits. As I matured and showed more and more talent, she would serve as my personal mentor. Although my father openly encouraged this “great gift” I always saw a ting of sadness in his eye as I would demonstrate a ‘new skill’. As I saw this green skinned man, I knew why he was sad to see my powers grow.
The empire had the right to recruit welders of Aura, to help protect, and serve the best interests of Sharda. Even though they typically recruited members from monasteries it was not uncommon for them to recruit citizens who demonstrated sufficient skill in the mystical arts. With my mother being an accomplished Auraphant I probably was being watched before I could even smoke a huka.
This agent of the empire, belonged to Green House, as evident of his skin tone. I tried my best to meet him warmly, although I’m not sure I could hide my disingenuous greeting. He seemed not to notice, as he shook my arm, and quietly asked if we could have some privacy. This seemed odd to me, since it was deemed a great honor to be recruited into the empirical army, and secrecy was not needed. I hesitated for a fraction of a second as my dread changed to curiosity, perhaps I wasn’t destined to leave my family after all, before I motioned the house servants out of the room.
Bak Nath introduced himself as an agent for the Green House told me they had need of my services. He wanted me to deceive my father, by telling I had indeed been drafted, and run a secretive mission for him. Although I was relieved to hear I would not be joining the empire’s army, that brief feeling of relief grew to anger as I realized that I was not being asked to serve Sharda, I, firstborn son of dad, Lord Sinhouk, was being asked to deceive my family, and go on a ‘mission’, not for the empire, but for this lowly agent.
Being first born son of a house whose influence was about to expand tenfold, I had many duties that I had to attend to, and idea of being recruited into the empire was not desired by, but at the very least it would be an honor to me, and my house. Serving as this agents slave was something that nether appealed to me, or helped my family, and deceiving my father, outright unacceptable.
I politely explained to Bak Nath that I appreciated his honor, but with upcoming events, and obligations to my family I’d have to decline doing his errands. Fist clench, and eyes blinking were subtle clues that pointed towards his annoyance, he was not a man used to being denied a request. After a moment’s hesitation, stared daggers into my eyes and explained to me what would happen if I was unable to perform this task for him.
He explained that my sister had an illicit affair, and it would be a shame if her betrothed and the empire found out. If true, news of this affair, would end any wedding plans, cause a rift between our houses, and be a great dishonor to our family. Anger and disbelief filled my head as he continued to explain that the empire could delay and cancel the wedding, and even show disapproval over our ‘unfaithful’ family. It would be a shame to see such a fate come to what was once an honorable house, he explained.
I tried to hold my distain, showing little emotion as I coldly agreed to his ‘mission’. He required that I travel to Quoom, in six months time, as he assembled a group. After he was done explaining to me what needed to be done, as protocol demanded I invited him to an evening feast, and called for a servant to show him his room.
After leaving his company I made my way to my little sister. She was in her quarters discussing wedding plans with her handmaids. I angrily ordered them to leave and told my sister i had an urgent matter to discuss with her. I told her about my encounter with Bak Nath and demanded that she tell me if she was indeed a dishonorable slut. Tears filled her eyes as she admitted her guilt, I heard her sobbing, and clamoring hysterically, as I hastily left her quarters, fully enraged.
That night a feast held in honor of our guest, Bak Nath, I tried my best to hide my distain for both him and my unusually quite, and solemn sister. As drinks were being served Bak Nath made an announcement or rather two of them.
First he was proud to say that, Jeter, firstborn of dad was to be given the honor to serve and train with his emperors army. Although I noticed a forlorn look from my mother, this was quickly replaced by a factious look of pleasure that almost mirrored the audience as they clamored their excitement with this glorious news, and drank as a tribute to the empire. Bak Nath came over and patted me on the back, with a wide grin, and then returned to his seat. Before sitting he made his second announcement, the emperor has taken a special interest in this wedding, and has requested it be delayed for 1 year so it can receive that proper respect and attention of the empire. This announcement was greeted by stunned silence, and the room was soon filled with excitement, as a wedding given special attention from the empire was a great honor. I overhead more than one conversation that after the wedding we would rival the great houses…..
In the months that followed I stayed to myself, as much as my position would allow, preparing for the ‘mission’ that awaited me.