Eleanor would never have admitted that she didn't particularly care for dancing. Emmaline might have been able to articulate that she preferred the more ribald dances of the streets and taverns to the stilted formal dances of court but was unable to escape them. The evening wore on with successive rounds of dancing, drinking, and feasting. This last was accomplished by means of plates of food which were stacked on tables stretched between the outer pillars of the hall. These tables were colored in colorful linens whose arcane significance might have been related to the nobles who paid for the food, the tradesmen who provided it, or some other schema of which Eleanor was entirely ignorant. They were constantly piled with foods of all descriptions, steaming plates of roast meat, candied fruit, pies and pasties, cakes, poached fish, nuts, cheeses and wine and ale by the barrel. The Northerners ate and drank with sterotypical gusto, swilling down ale and scarfing down food in prodigious quantities. Fortunately the mood was good and despite the slight tone of drunkenness beginning to settle over the gathering, it had not yet produced any fights or duels.
Emmaline ate, and especially drank, conservatively, though she appeared to consume more than she actually did. Her natural impulse was to indulge but she couldn't afford the kind of mistakes that were likely to come from too much wine or an overfull belly. She was considering whether she should plead exhaustion and retire when she realized she had not seen Oderick in some time.
"He received a messenger a quarter hour ago my lady," one of the liveried servants admitted when she managed to corner one.
"Ahand he lift vithout moi?" Emmaline demanded, putting her hands on her hips and unconsciously emphasizing her impressive bust.
"Uhhh... he seemed quite agitated My Lady, I'm sure it was important," the servant stammered, clearly unwilling to get caught in the machinations of his betters. Emmaline made a sniff of dismissal and headed for Oderick's chambers. There was no reason that she should believe that Oderick's agitation had anything to do with her, but she couldn't help but assume the worst. Had he written to some friend in Brettonia and learned that the real Eleanor D'Abberville had died of a fever while visiting Marienburg last year? Had her 'father' been ransomed in some way and received word of her attempts to raise money in his name? It was never wise to panic, but knowing as much as she could might be the difference between taking a coach out of the city and winding up in a cell beneath it.
Oderick's chambers were on the far side of the palace, nearly a ten minute walk in uncomfortable shoes. When she reached the door she was surprised to find it open and slipped in quietly. The rooms consisted of a main chamber with a pair of bed rooms and a study set off to the sides. The stone walls were covered with tapestries, largely Ulricanan in nature, which softened the austere stone of the palace. Eleanor moved quietly but not furtively, looking first into the study and then into the bedroom. Oderick lay on the bear fur coverlet, staring sightlessly at the ceiling. He was still dressed in his finery, somewhat stained now by the prodigious amount of blood that had leaked from a wound in his chest. It looked to Emmaline like a sword had been thrust through his back as he stepped into the bedroom. Judging by the pallor of his flesh, he hadn't been dead more than an few minutes. Noticing something, she stepped to the bed and lifted a small tightly rolled scroll that had been partially concealed beneath the body of her former lover. The scroll was covered with indecipherable markings, perhaps some kind of code she thought. A sound behind her made her jump almost out of her skin and she realized that someone was in the main room.
"I cant believe you left the damn message," a male voice grated to another, "your lucky everyone is at the damn ball."
Emmaline felt her blood run to ice as she realized that this man, and his companion, must have been the assassins. She dropped the note back to the bed and looked around for a hiding place. There was none. Oderick was a soldier and he lived and austere life. He had no chests, little furniture and nothing to hide behind. Emmaline whispered the words of a spell and did the only thing she could. She stepped directly into the polished silver mirror which hung, full length on the wall.
"I heard something," one of the voices said, oddly distorted in Emmaline's ears. She was inside the silver of the mirror, held fast by Charmon. She couldn't see out into the room, not beyond wavy distortions on the interior surface and even sound caried strangely. She thanked Ranald that she had remembered the spell and held as still as she could to avoid overtaxing her mediocre spell craft.
"There is no one here," a second voice replied.
"I smell something too... perfume," the first voice persisted. The second man laughed coarsely.
"Just means he has been entertaining that big titted Brettonian piece, at least his last few days must have been fun," the second voice snickered. "She'd be a good convert if you know what I mean. Maybe we should find her as part of the clean up?"
"Stop joking around and get the damn scroll," the first man replied. After a moment the men retreated. Emmaline waited a good ten minutes before she tried to step free. To her horror she found that she was trapped behind the mirror, unable to escape. Cursing soundly she forced herself to be calm and cast her mind back over her spotty magical education. Eventually she remembered the words and spoke them stepping free of the mirror. The scene was more or less as she had left it, the scroll was gone and a bloody sword lay on the bed. Commending Oderick's soul to Ulric, Emmaline stepped quickly from the room and headed for her own chambers. She thought she might do a little packing this evening.