A blasting fanfare marked the start of the festivities as the lords and ladies took their seats in the elegant chairs set up in the balcony. Each chair was the same, made of white Birchwood and with orange velvet cushions, according to Valentina’s wishes. No one was to have a seat higher than the other.
In front of the chairs was a long slim table, and it had a white and orange patterned table cloth running down it, trimmed with gold lace. Golden tassles lined the edges of the cloth. Everyone took their seats, looking closely for their name cards - white paper slips with their names written in gold ink. Lia na-Vael was seated directly right of Valentina, and Deniro sat to the right of Lyrien. The newcomers all sat on the Queen’s left. As soon as they were all seated, servants came bearing fruits and punches of various types. The punches were topped off with ice, a common commodity in Roklavia and an excellent addition to any summer drink.
Vadim came shortly after, and without saying a word, posted himself behind Valentina like a shadow. He wasn’t dressed fancily, but he had changed his outfit from the normal tattered naval coat. His new coat was made of a tough cotton material, dyed dark grey, almost black. It also was armoured along the shoulders, and he wore light chain mail which wasn’t visible beneath his shirt. He didn’t wear his usual tri cornered cap, because of the summer warmth. Anyone who had known Vadim 10 years ago would have seen a different man entirely this day. Once he was a humorous rogue, carousing through every bar in Allura, doing as he pleased. The man that guarded the Roklavian queen was somber, wiser, and cautious. His hair had become streaked prematurely with gray since his near death experience, and stress lines marked his face, making him look worn and old. But he was always alert, his eyes darting back and forth, scanning for potential threats. It’s not everyday that a bodyguard gets a second shot at his job.
The teams from every nation proceeded to march into the arena, each troupe following their respective banner-bearers. As each group marched in, they saluted toward the balcony and marched off to the side.