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Norvys sat in the lord's place behind the big table in the ministerium when she entered. The man who rose with him to greet her was clad in tunic, trousers and cape of dark green trimmed with orange. Aven recognized the colors of the royal house, recognized the royal crest embroidered in gold thread on the messenger's cape. She was mystified and abruptly nervous. Her past dealings with the Crown had not been of a kind to inspire serenity when she was faced unexpectedly with a representative of it. She was aware of having kept the palace emissary waiting, aware that she smelled of sweat and pungent herbs.

(Cue Twilight Zone theme.)

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