He felt so pretentious.
Khotanebre wasn't normally one for excessive jewelry, but his mother insisted he flaunt the wealth of their family at such an event, and the stark-white cloak that completely draped his body was as plain was it was prestigious. Still, as much as he enjoyed the splash of color they provided, he didn't see a reason to be toting his family's entire panoply of gemstones on his person. A string of cylindrical beads - the only piece of the collection he personally owned - adorned his neck, alternating bronze and precious turquoise. Hidden partially beneath his hair, a circlet inlaid with malachite made itself visible in flashes of green between sweaty locks of carmine as the movement of his head and rare breeze displaced his bangs. One of his father's armlets wrapped around his right bicep, a band of gold ornamented with a magnificent lapis of almost violet hue and flecked with golden streaks of pyrite. His mother was especially adamant about showing that one off, but Kho had no idea how he was supposed to accomplish such a feat when his arm was almost constantly veiled by his cloak. Simple gilded loops decorated his wrists and ankles - were it not for his brother's objection and the simple fact that he was running out of room on his person, Kho was certain he'd have been more gold than man by the time his mother was finished with him.
The boy stood attentively among the other novitiates, the folds of his cloak belying the excited fidgeting underneath. A falcon sat perched upon his shoulder, a tiny white scarf wrapped around its neck to match with its master. As was common for the tutelary, Tekenkhasut prodded at the new brooch Kho had been given with one of his talons. Khotanebre wore similar adornments often enough - he was never seen without a cloak, after all - and the bird often liked to critique them on flashiness and hauteur. Needless to say, he wasn't pleased with this new development."How long until this thing gets decorated?"
Teken inquired in a low voice, despite the ceremony not having officially begun yet."Stop it,"
Kho hissed as he brushed the falcon's claw away, flashing that ever-important armband as he did so, "We don't even know what cults we're in yet. I'm sure it'll be stylized soon enough.""What're you thinking? Something feathered, I hope.""Maybe a less obnoxious animal with some nobility, like a scarab or a ram.""Oh, Khota, that's cold,"
Tekenkhasut whined as it turned its head away.
Khotanebre silenced the bird with a stern guttural noise as the mages took to the dais. The Vizier's leading of the ceremony elicited a frown from the boy. As far as he knew, His Majesty not being in attendance was highly unusual, if not unprecedented. He hoped nothing bad had happened that drew the Crimson King's attention away so urgently.
Putting his concerns aside for the time being, Kho drew in a sharp breath of anticipation as Amon unrolled the papyrus. He knew he had no reason to worry; the fact that he was even standing here was proof enough that he had been accepted. The only unknown was which cult had sponsored him, and it wasn't as though he had a particularly strong preference to any one cult over the others; he was just happy to be a sorcerer. Still, the pressure of Teken's talons against his shoulder was the only thing keeping him grounded against the unease in his stomach. The tension drained out of him as his sponsor was named, despite the man's terrifying appearance. The Cult of the Phoenix made sense, given his aptitude, and Teken would certainly be happy about it. He gave the bird a quick glance of warning before stepping forward, lest it disrupt the ceremony with cackling as he approached Magus Xavier.
When Vizier Amon approached him after, he bowed his head respectfully in the man's presence. No words he could possibly string together could appropriately express Kho's pride and elation in this honor bestowed upon him, so he simply remained silent. The silence didn't last long, as Tekenkhasut resumed his fidgeting with Kho's brooch as soon as the vizier had dismissed them."Look at that, feathers after all,"
The bird chirped smugly, as if it had personally accomplished something.
Kho ignored the creature in favor of looking around. Energy was buzzing within him now, and he had no idea what to unleash it on. His fellow novitiate under Magus Xavier disappeared into the crowd, and he wasn't quite sure he wanted to be alone with the man himself yet. Plus, Amon had encouraged him to mingle."What's the plan? Gonna go beg mommy dearest to let you take your little baubles off?""No, she'd never let me do that while we were still in public."
In fact, he was rather certain approaching his family would result in an embarrassing assault of his mother trying to 'fix' his outfit while his father offered pointers. Khotanebre perked up on his tiptoes in a quick survey of the crowd. In all the fanfare of the festivities being prepared, he couldn't locate them, though he doubted his family would have any trouble locating him
Rather than fidget in place until the inevitable, Kho delved into the midst of the celebrants after his fellow Phoenix novitiate. What was her name? An-something... Anat? Damn it, he only remembered her family name. He knew what she looked like, at least; he'd seen her at the Pesedjet before, and thankfully she had foregone the usual modesty with which she dressed. Picking one headscarf out of every woman in attendance would've been a challenge, even with the obvious white cloaks."Behave,"
he chided Teken in a soft voice as he approached Anatu from the rear. He didn't think
she was aristocracy, but he erred on the side of caution when addressing her regardless. "Novitiate Taauth?"
Kho tilted his head briefly at the similar-looking woman nearby, "Apologies, am I interrupting?"