January 30 – 1027 YD
Delus Palace, Miggest
A quiet knock came to Vilsonius’ chamber door. Setting aside the worn scrolls at his desk, he walked heavily to the door.
__‘Have I not woken you?’ Lady Galluel saw his desk-lamp was lit. ‘It is very late.’
__‘Yes,’ he agreed.
‘Sleep eludes me. The heat won’t fade—and Màtac’s daughter—what kind of man spawns such a monster? If she is to succeed him, there is no trusting an ally of that nature.’
__Vilsonius stepped aside. ‘Please, unburden yourself of your troubles.’
__Galluel entered his chambers and broke the curtain of privacy. She settled into the window box and availed herself of her shawl. With her middle finger, she traced the outline of her knee against her deep purple nightdress. ‘I have been perfectly content to keep my own counsel in the sixteen years I have been Custodia.’ She raised an eyebrow in discomfort. ‘Yet I find myself less able to do so having a trusted advisor so close at hand.’
__Vilsonius bowed. ‘I am confident I will never replace your inner guide, my Lady.’
__‘Yes, not a replacement. A supplement.’ She stood, coming close enough to curl his collar with forefinger and thumb. She assessed his expression. __‘Perhaps I am being too familiar?’
__‘My Lady, I would never presume to know your desires, much less initiate such familiarity myself. I am your servant.’
__Galluel moved closer still, breathing in the scent of his neck. ‘And if the master bid the servant to change places from time to time—what then?’
__Vilsonius carefully swept Galluel’s hair back from her shoulders. ‘The servant would be obliged to obey.’