Fernando took a final look over of himself in the mirror at his attire and makes a final minor adjustment. He had chosen a longer jacket, black, reaching down to his knees, accompanied with larger boots. A simple sash of red fabric crossed his chest, at his right hip, fastened by belt, was his rapier and dagger. His assistants had initially suggested a doublet, but he despised how puffy they could be. This was much more comfortable.
He turned to look at himself from the side. He gives an approving look, as Alfonso open the door behind him.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, I think so.”
Fernando turns to face his uncle, raising his arms up, as if presenting himself. Alfonso takes a quick look over his nephew, before nodding and stepping back out. He knew Fernando wouldn’t sit well in anything else, so this was a reasonable compromise.
The pair makes their way down towards the entrance where the horses are waiting, along with the personal guard. The two climb up onto their horses, before they gently urge them on towards the Crown Palace.
As they advanced, they passed through the space cleared for them by the City Guard, citizens lining the street, watching as the nobles of the land and foreigners alike made their way to the Crown Palace. Fernando held up his hand and waved to the crowds, smiling. He watched as members of the escort who came with him filtered through the crowds, talking and making merry.
Excellent, this should go smoothly. Perhaps this evening wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Sancho and Fernando stood on the steps of the Crown Palace. What peace and joy had been present in the air had evaporated on his arrival, as the two stood, a tension taking the space. Alfonso, Fernando’s own escort stood further back, the red banners only slightly moving. The Royal Staff stood quiet as well, holding their breath. If it was going to go wrong, this was a prime time for it to happen.
Sancho looked down the steps to Fernando. He noted the lack of luxury materials, the simplicity of his attire. Before him, in his mind, stood a man with no refinement, no measure of noble bearing.
These people have no place here, certainly not this boy and his rampant ways. No Marianna either. How disappointing.
“Welcome to the Crown Palace. I see you are short a member, tell me, what… has befallen your sister?”
Before Fernando can respond, Alfonso cuts in.
“My niece sends her apologies, but she has taken unwell and has remained back. She wishes she could be here to celebrate.”
“Indeed. Do… send her my best wishes for a healthy recovery.”
Everything about this man made Fernando’s skin crawl. He patiently held his tongue though; he knew he would have his opportunity.
“It is a pleasure to be here, I am glad we could honour the King on his birthday.”
“As am I. Please, do enjoy the festivities.”
As Fernando goes to move past, Sancho places a hand on his arm, stopping him.
“But no weapons are permitted. Please hand them over.”
Fernando stopped, looking Sancho square in the eye. Doing his best to hold his cool, but his free arm instinctively moving to his dagger.
“Why? No one else was asked to?”
The fact that Fernando had even questioned him annoyed Sancho. This Duque was HIS vassal, to do as HE commanded. His tone shifted, to one of hostility.
“Are you defying my instructions?”
Fernando’s face broke into a snarl. Sancho was trying to push his buttons, giving orders. Fernando knew it, but he wasn’t going to take it. His hand was now firmly on his dagger.
The air paused for a moment, seemingly dragging on as the two refused to give ground.
“I could have you removed for your insolence, boy.”
A voice cut through the crowds, one of clear authority and instruction.
“MY PRINCE, MY LORD.”
A new figure, older than Fernando, but a bit younger than the Prince stepped forward. He strode with purpose across to them. Emblazoned with the Pegasus of Casa De Ferra, he didn’t break his stride when he was addressed.
The Duque walks up, before leaning in and whispering into the ear of the Prince.
“My Prince, is it not improper to make a scene here? Better to let him pass for them to save face. By your grace, of course.”
“…Yes, of course, that would be proper.” Sancho turns to address Fernando. “I shall allow you to keep your weapons. Please, go on in.” He gestures further in.
Sancho lets go of Fernando’s arm, before Alfonso hurries forward and ushers his nephew along. Alfonso and Ionaton exchange glances, a history of diplomacy and understanding passing between the two friends.
Alfonso breathed a sigh of relief. Thank the gods Ionatan had intervened. This night would have been a lot messier if he hadn’t.