Andemyon’s remarkable beauty had already excited too much attention. Silent and solemn, blond and cherubic, he stood out among the other heralds—gangling, chubby, pre-adolescent lumps that boys of that age generally were. The heralds scorned him, the court ladies fussed over the pretty child and made a pet of him. People liked to see him at the forefront of processions, bearing Dafythe’s standard. The more avuncular and auntish members of the Council rumpled his curls and spoke to him when they met him on errands about the palace. Pleasant jests were made on how he would break maidens’ hearts in a few years. For a shy child, such attention was agonizing; Dafythe did not wonder why the boy hid away in the libraries and sought to go unnoticed whenever he could. And there were certain men…
Dafythe had seen the glances of some of his courtiers, ones he knew to be inclined toward Greekish tastes for youthful beauty. Most, he knew, were men of honor; they might gaze upon the lovely child, but they wouldn’t dream of declared admiration. Dafythe, known for his broadminded policies in many matters, could be quite severe when concerned with his courtiers’ personal conduct. The Duke was wont to overlook amorous intrigues among the nobility so long as they were seemly and discreet, but he would not allow open scandals. He was especially fierce in his protection of those in his service. No pages were buggered, no chambermaids accosted, no guards enticed into private chambers for noble sport. Dafythe meant his subjects to know that their sons and daughters could serve at the Palace without suffering corruption.
There were rumors of Rafenshighte’s behavior in town, though no specific charges had been laid against him. Dafythe doubted that even if the gossip were true, Rafenshighte was fool enough to attempt the seduction of a boy less than sixteen under the Duke’s eyes. Andemyon was, after all, Dafythe’s young kinsman, wearing his livery and under his personal protection.
Andemyon was also guarded by another power. A silver talisman a little larger than a shilling hung about his throat, resting against the back of the uppermost lion on his tabard. Lord Redmantyl’s mark was engraved upon it, declaring that this child was under the protection of a most powerful and vengeful wizard.
Continue reading “Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 18”