Story for the Day: Livanon Fashion
While their stay in Livanon was tolerated for a more substantial period, Alasdair and the commander were invited to attend the royal court. As there was little to do in the royal quarter of Livanon capital other than gawp at the odd fashions, endure the unforgivable snobbery, walk about the nobles’ market and eat more cake than was good for them, they accepted the invitation if only to witness the further disparity between their two kingdoms.
Rautu, though not invited to join them, would remain in the guests quarters to hunt for further spiders that should chose to invade his territory, but while he agreed to guard the comfort of the rooms, he made no promises on the side of keeping them in the same condition as they left as how they might be when they would return. The hunting of a spider was the giant’s prime object and he would not be taken from his duties to visit a court he had little interest in seeing. The spider must be vanquished, and when it should decide to emerge from its hiding place, the Den Asaan would be waiting with his blade in his hand.
The commander and Alasdair ventured to the Livanon court and when they entered, they were astonished to find a celebration taking place: there was a jester and musicians regaling the attendees, a magician entertaining the royal family, a table of sweet meats and mulled wine to the side. There was a great deal of general mirth in the hall, no seats to take for the session, but the commander soon acknowledged that this was a traditional royal court and not the presiding hall of Frewyn.
Alasdair was shocked by the images he perceived: carousing and inebriation before the royal family, opulence in character and in form, servants teeming about the hall and hastening from one raised hand to the other only to be scolded for arriving at their destinations with nothing for their masters to drink. It was a picture Alasdair could not like, and he was resigned to believe that the nobles of Livanon, regardless of the family in which they might be, did little else other than enjoy their high ranks by diminishing those who waited on them and wait for their king to arrive so that they may make their polite bows and continue with their complacent jollity. Glasses were held languidly from the tips of jeweled fingers, salutations were given in mechanical fashion, and everything about this court was what Alasdair most abhorred. Even while his brother had lived, the Frewyn courts were more useful than the one being shown him: here was unnecessary sumptuousness assailing him with each step into the hall he took, and soon he must hinder his advance if he was to keep his sanity. In this moment, Alasdair praised the Frewyn nobility, for however disagreeable they might have been, they would never venture to hold such unchecked raillery before their king.
Among all of the visual offenses in Alasdair’s view, one article was particularly distressing to him. As the view ahead was not pleasing, Alasdair had chosen to look down to save his eyes from all the pains that the sight of the Livanon nobles could afford. This, however, only heightened his agony, for when he saw what was adorning the feet of some of the men in the room, he gasped in horror and clung to his friend for consolation.
“By the Gods,” Alasdair sword in a fevered hush, his eyes wide in dread. “What are those?”
He pointed toward a rather offensive pair of shoes that few of the men in the room seemed to be wearing without scruple or difficulty. The heels were thick and high, the shape long and square, and the tip lengthy and curled upward, so much so that the end of the shoe reached the wearer’s shins.
Alasdair attempted to look away from the horrific objects, but look away he could not. They were inexcusable as fashion and therefore must be disparaged.
“You do realize, Alasdair, that by mocking them and then smiling as them as if nothing at all has been said, you are no longer their superior in character.”
“I don’t care,” Alasdair panicked. “This mockery is entirely deserved. How can they possibly wear that?” He gaped at them and did nothing to hide his disgust while following the affronting items across the room. “Look at them. They cannot even walk without forcing their heels forward.”
“I believe now you understand my mate’s sentiments on fashion among the nobles in Frewyn.”
“The purpose of fashion is to look sharp while being practical,” Alasdair argued. “There is no reason for those.”
“There is no practical reason for embroidery and yet you demand it on every one of your jerkins,” she smirked.
Alasdair pursed his lips and his fists shook for the audacious comparison being made. “The purpose for embroidery is to beautify an already sensible garment. That,” he shouted, stabbing his finger at a passing pair of shoes, “is making a practical garment impractical.”
“Perhaps they are hung at the door upon entering a house?” the commander shrugged. “Other than that, I have little concept about any of these royal contrivances. Fashion is never practical, Alasdair. I believe you and Ladrei are the only two creatures in the world able to blend the two notions with any sense of accomplishment. You cannot look to me for advise on this subject. I have either armour or tunics, and I have tunics enough to know that any one of them that fits is the one will I wear.”
Alasdair had heard the commander but he was unable to given an intelligible reply to her contention. The horror of the curl-toed shoes was all his distraction, and even though Aldan had in this time entered the hall, Alasdair was to struck to incline his head or pay the new king of Livanon his due proprieties.