Once the herald stepped aside, a woman stepped into the room, as tall as she was dignified, her steps slow and graceful. The wizard followed suit, though his gait was much more practical, with his staff tapping on the stones of the floor as he walked. She wore a long dress the color of raspberries in the shade on a warm summer day, her hair a deeper, darker shade of the same color and swept up off her neck into a style too elaborate to be called a bun. She wore a black ribbon close to her neck, tied into a perfectly-formed bow and pinned with a broach with the emblem of a pegasus.
Cerys was about to whisper something to James, but she held her tongue and watched the woman approach the table.
The wizard walking with her had robes of varying shades of blue, but his pointed hat was deep indigo and embroidered with stars made of silver thread. He looked like the kind of old man who never smiled. Not the grumpy, life-hating kind, but the type who often thought deeply and took things very seriously. Cerys could not tell what his staff had been made from, for it had been sanded and painted ages ago, and then coated with some sort of varnish. There was some kind of stone, too milky to be diamond but not quite the right sparkle to be opal. She supposed it did not matter, in the end.
“My love,” Lexavier said as he rose from his chair. He crossed the distance between them, going around the table to embrace Lady Elyse. From the way he held her, Cerys could tell that they loved one another her dearly.
After a few moments spent greeting one another and speaking dear words in low voices, they turned to the table where Cerys and the others sat.
“So these are the young ladies and gentlemen who will be setting out on our behalf,” the baroness said. He voice was like silk and velvet, rich and smooth and soft, something that listeners longed to hear more of just as silk and velvet were too irresistible to not touch.
“An honor to meet you,” Cerys said, getting up from her chair.
Himeko stood up as well. “Good morning to you, your grace,” she said, unable to stop herself from giving a traditional bow.
“No need to be so formal,” Elyse told them. “By all means, you may remain seated.”
As Himeko and her friend said back down, they looked over to see that Bayani had been halfway to his feet, trying to urge Peter up as well. Cerys scrunched up her nose at her brother, knowing that he would understand that she was irritated with him. He did not seem to care either way.