Noble, 54

When the knock sounded at the door, Geoffrey didn’t answer right away. He was too busy kissing Javier, whose arms were around him. Geoffrey had his hand in Javier’s pants, undoing his loincloth and playing with him to get him hard.

There was another knock, and Geoffrey ignored that too, as Javier climbed into his lap to kiss him harder. Geoffrey slid his other hand down the back of Javier’s pants, gripping one of his ass cheeks.

At the third knock, Janus looked up from his book. “Are you going to let him in?”

Noble, 53

“Not to be a jerk, but when the hell can we go home?” Janus asked, idly tossing a pillow up and down as he lay on the bed.

“Soon, I’m sure,” Geoffrey said, though he wasn’t at all sure.

“Cool. I just think that if Dahlia and Giacomo were going to hang out in Three Hills all this time and make us wait with them, we could have gone on a trip to somewhere else in Dolovai. I know I said I was cool not to go on a trip but that was when I thought we were going home to do important shit.”

“We’ll go on a trip, then,” Geoffrey promised.

“What, no, I don’t want to because it’s too fucking cold, remember?” Janus turned his head, looking at Geoffrey. The pillow fell on his face and he pulled it aside. “We’ll go on a trip in the summer. Like normal rich people.”

Noble, 50

When Gabrielle and Franz ven Sancte walked out of the First Church of the Blessed after the wedding had concluded, Geoffrey slumped in his seat. It had gone just fine. Nobody had died. And that shouldn’t be Geoffrey’s criteria for a wedding going well, but formal events with lots of nobility at them always seemed to involved people dying these days.

But everyone had been on their best behaviour. Which to be fair had been easy when most of their jobs had been to sit there and watch. There was a party after that they’d all be heading to soon, and that was probably where everyone would get poisoned.

Noble, 48

“Do you think the wedding will be bilingual?” asked Janus, head on Geoffrey’s shoulder.

“Probably not?” Geoffrey shrugged the other shoulder. “Maybe. But it’ll probably just be in Daolo.”

“Yeah.” Janus sighed. “Sorry, Dalton.”

“It’s okay.”

“You don’t know Daolo?” Geoffrey asked. “We could teach you some before we get there. It’ll be another week and a half. If you want.”

“I mean…” Dalton shrugged. “Sure, I guess. I’ve been to weddings before, so I can probably figure it out. In the eyes of God I hold you to these vows, in the name of God I bless your union, by the grace of God I declare you married. World peace, amen.”

Noble, 40

“The knots aren’t that hard to tie,” Janus said, showing Geoffrey slowly as he tied them. “But it’s important you do them right.”

Geoffrey nodded, focusing carefully on what Janus was doing. “They’re different from other knots?”

“Yeah, because look.” Janus finished the knot and then tapped Dalton’s shoulder, and Dalton tugged, the rope coming undone.

“Oh,” said Geoffrey. “That’s cool.”

“Right?” Dalton asked, grinning. “I’m not going to be able to talk, so this way you don’t have to worry that I’m getting hurt and you don’t have to break the game to check in, unless you want to. If I don’t like it, I’ll let myself out right away, promise.”

Noble, 37

Geoffrey was in the bath, not really washing but just kind of playing with the bubbles on the surface. The door opened without anyone knocking, but it wasn’t Janus or Javier who came in.

“You’re supposed to be ready to go,” said Diego.

Geoffrey looked over at him. “What?”

“The king is here to see you.”

Geoffrey looked at the surface of the water, trying to see through the tint of the soap through to his body. “Okay.”

“Are you going to get up?” Diego asked, sounding impatient.

Noble, 35

The sun was still up, but Geoffrey was considering going to bed. He wasn’t tired—any more tired than usual, anyway—and he wouldn’t go to sleep if he went to bed, but he could wrap himself up in a blanket and pretend it would protect him.

He could do that without going to bed, he supposed, but then it would make more work for Diego and the other servants who’d eventually have to make the bed again, and it would be annoying for Janus and Javier and Dalton, who wouldn’t have a blanket on the bed. Actually, it would annoy them all anyway if he did that and hogged all the blankets, wouldn’t it? Why hadn’t Geoffrey thought of that, of course it would. They’d all say it was okay and maybe it would be, but it would still be annoying for them not to have any blankets because Geoffrey wanted to be a baby.

He sighed, tapping his fork against the table. He’d managed to eat a good amount of his supper, and now he was just sitting here, waiting for the day to end so he could wake up tomorrow.

Tomorrow, the first day of his new job.

Noble, 34

The door opened without a knock, admitting Diego with a tray of food. “I have your supper, Lord Geoffrey.”

Geoffrey shook his head, watching the fire, wondering what it would feel like to put his hand in there. “I don’t want it.”

Diego shrugged and put it down on the table.

Geoffrey looked at him, trying to glare. “Didn’t you hear me? I said I don’t want it.”

It didn’t matter what he wanted, though. Diego didn’t work for him anymore. He worked for Giacomo, just like everyone else in this house. The servants all had the DiGorre crest on their shirts, sewn over House DiSheere’s colours.