showin’ instead of tellin’,” Vallant said as he rose from the desk to get his tea. “If that doesn’t work, we just may have to try tyin’. We’ll talk to the others about it.”
“Good idea,” Tamrissa said before going back to her list. Vallant got his tea, then went back to his own list. They could get started with some of the things needing to be done, but a number of the items on his list would have to wait until they were officially Seated. If they were Seated…
Lorand was in the midst of investigating his discovery when the servant appeared in the doorway of the sitting room he’d found. The servant knew Lorand was aware of him, but no words came until Lorand looked up from the book he held.
“Please excuse the intrusion, Excellence, but a message has come from the Excellence Vallant,” the servant said with a nervous bow. “He asks that if you aren’t immersed in something vitally important, would you please join him in the outer meeting room. I’ve been instructed to tell you that the – the – other Blendings have arrived.”
“Don’t worry, you and everyone else will soon get used to talking about Blendings in the plural rather than in the singular,” Lorand told the man with amusement, closing the book he held. “In fact, you might even soon belong to a Blending of your own. Would you like that?”
“I … find the situation impossible to imagine, Excellence,” the servant replied, his eyes wide with the nervousness causing his hands to tremble. “Would – would something like that be – required of me?”
“Of course not,” Lorand assured the man, rising to walk to him and clap him gently on the shoulder. “No one will be forced into a Blending any more than they’ll be forced not to join one. Things really will be changing for the better.”
The man continued to look privately skeptical, so Lorand dropped the subject and sent the servant to alert Jovvi’s link groups where they’d been settled in her wing. Lorand saw to gathering his own link groups, took one final look at Jovvi where she slept in the main bedchamber of his wing, and then led the way to the meeting Vallant had called. Lorand had used the help of his link groups to put Jovvi to sleep, and it was a measure of her exhaustion that he’d been able to do it – even with help. They’d all grown much too strong to be able to touch one another, but Jovvi had been pushing herself much too hard.
The meeting room was already full of people by the time Lorand and his groups arrived, but it wasn’t hard for Lorand to make his way through the throng to reach Vallant and Rion.
“Jovvi is asleep, I take it,” Rion said when Lorand reached them. “If she weren’t, she would surely have come with you.”
“Yes, she’s asleep, and she’ll stay that way until tomorrow morning,” Lorand answered with a nod. “I made her eat something first, so skipping tonight’s meal won’t hurt her. Where are Naran and Tamrissa?”
“Vallant tells me that Tamrissa is deep into plans for tomorrow night’s party,” Rion answered with a smile. “Naran, on the other hand, has discovered that my wing has a bathing room , so it isn’t necessary to go out to a bath house . She’s currently taking a great deal of pleasure in soaking in warm water.”
“And because the ladies’ clothin’ has been retrieved and fetched here, she’ll have somethin’ clean to wear when she comes out,” Vallant put in with a small laugh. “It’s lucky that Tamrissa hasn’t found out about the bathin’ room yet. Between that and her party list, we’d likely never see her.”
“It seems that everyone has now arrived,” Rion observed, and Lorand turned to see Jovvi’s link groups coming in. “Would you like to begin this meeting, Vallant?”
“Yes, because we have a lot to do,” Vallant responded, his tone pitched loud enough for everyone to hear. The small conversations quieted as everyone took seats, and Vallant nodded.