Arkastino and Nidello
Arkastino and Nidello are Ladrei's most intimate friends and bodyguards. They are briefly in book 1 but we get to learn a lot about them in subsequent books. Here is a bit from book 8. Enjoy!
Arkastino and Nidello
|Ladrei and the symbol of Lucentia|
Ladrei emerged from his private quarters and went into the main room of the guild where he found his two intimate friends and guards sharing a bottle of licorice wine between them, discussing the various guild members with callous remarks for each of the men they believed more inadequate than themselves and with depraved commentary for each of the women they deemed worthy of what they should like to accord. Ladrei smiled at them, remarking their unique garments, inked arms, and ornamented ears and fingers with a simper and a shake of his head: they had not changed since their young years spent together in the throes of Lucentia’s lower streets. They were the same brotherly and good humoured friends he had maintained all his life, and Ladrei sighed with secretive happiness to see them both so well, marked with his symbol, wealthy beyond measure, young in face as himself, strong in form, and sitting at the bar of a guild that was built on their unwavering devotion to his advancement. They had never left him and he had rewarded their constancy accordingly. When he approached, they turned and to receive him and stood at attention. He waved them off, assuring them that there was no one in the guild at this time in the morning for whom they needed to give the appearance of formality. He was offered some of the licorice wine, and though consumption of such a beverage was hardly advisable before noon, considering the task he was about to perform one drink was certainly required. He cheered to them, honouring their omnipresence at all hours and in all situations, and gave them their orders for the day.
“Make certain she’s looked after,” he said in a low and firm tone. “She doesn’t go anywhere without one of you.”
“Of course, My Lord,” said Nidello with a bow of certainty. He perceived his friend and master’s hesitation to leave immediately and looked up at Arkastino with a scrupulous glance.
Arkastino, hulking as he was, stood close with Ladrei. “Do you want one of us to go with you, My Lord?” he asked with care.
Ladrei fleered and raised his brow in disbelief. He knew his friend meant the offer a gesture of compassion but would tease him for it besides, as it was amusing to think of one with such a menacing and gargantuan appearance to be so soft at heart.
Arkastino realized the misconception and sighed. “I meant because we usually escort you everywhere. Not because of any-“ He stopped. He understood by Ladrei’s smirk and Nidello laughter that he was only making the circumstance worse for himself. He drank his licorice wine from his small glass and looked shiftily about, hoping the awkward moment would pass, but neither Nidello nor Ladrei would allow him to escape with a mere look to accompany his proposal.
“Arkastino,” Nidello laughed, placing his hand on his friend’s massive arm, “Your sentimentality is endearing. Perhaps we should find a flower for you to hold. It would make your gentle appearance complete.”
Arkastino waved his friend off and sipped his drink in a brooding silence. “Last time I offer anything while you’re around,” he grumbled to himself.
Nidello bent and clapped his hands together in laughter. He pouted and made cooing sounds to taut his counterpart, which at first angered him and then subdued him.
Ladrei smiled at their playfulness and considered how little they had changed in character and in relation since they had met. “You can come with me if you like, but I think my lady setting traps around my room while naked would interest you more than a reunion.”
The two guards raised brows at one another.
Ladrei filled his glass one last time and drank his last before setting out. “The women in the harem are yours to parade. I have the one I want.” As he was about to depart, Nidello stepped forward and touched him gently on the arm.
“Ladrei,” he said in a concerned voice. “Are you certain?”
Ladrei grinned. “She’s planning to kill me right now, Nidello,” he said warmly. “What more could I ask for?”
The two guards exchanged knowing looks and nodded to their lord in approbation of his selection as he left the guild hall to do what should have been done many years ago.