Location: The Grand Ballroom
Prince Radjar Kath, Commander of the Dark Forest Armies and hero of the Fell War, was talking with his old friend, Captain Fraun Jerlock.
"Things aren't like they used to be, are they?" said Radjar. "I feel like an old man, sometimes, when I look at all the new faces in Hemlock Stronghold. Half the people weren't there a year ago."
"I know what you mean," said Fraun gravely. "The war really shook things up. It's odd. After the Fell War, we thought that our bands of heroes would be the leaders and veterans for years, but now the deeds of the Fell War have fallen into complete obscurity what with the BloodVaine War."
"Or even the Wolfpack Civil War," said Radjar gloomily. "Especially with the young people. They have no attention span. Their heroes are men such as Master Lhorn, over there."
Radjar nodded over at Lhorn and Aaylah, and Fraun frowned.
"A problem?" asked Radjar.
"Aaylah," said Fraun. "I don't know what's gotten into that girl. She seems to fall for the most dangerous types. That Swift... He was all right, I suppose, but getting her pregnant, and then killing her baby... And I don't even know where the man is these days."
"She seems to have taken up with this Lhorn quite quickly," he noted. "How well does she know him?"
"Not as well as I'd like," replied Fraun, in his protective brother mode. "I just hope she waits a while before getting intimate..."
"Until she's married, say!" laughed Radjar loudly.
Formendacil wrote:"Here you go," he said, handing Sir Dractor the bottle and tray. Sir Dractor set the tray down, and opened the bottle- a 1986 Guardendia Innis, and poured three goblets of wine. He handed one to Bjarn and one to Thomas.
"Cheers!" he said, and took a deep swing of his wine. Bjarn took a somewhat smaller one, and Thomas took a mere sip.
"An excellent wine," said Bjarn, savouring the taste. "Probably as expensive as all megablox, though. Have you had much wine, Thomas?"
"Not really," admitted Thomas, "in Hemmerington, it's mostly ale and beer. I'll admit that I prefer either."
"Me too!" said Bjarn, "but I've an educated enough palate to appreciate this fine vintage."
"I don't know," said Sir Dractor, queasily. "Something about it doesn't seem to agree with me."
Sir Dractor's head was starting to ache, and his hands were a little achy as well. Looking at the room, it seemed to swim slightly.
"Sir Dractor," said Thomas, "you're starting to look a little green."
"Must have drank it too fast," said Sir Dractor, but his stomach had started to pitch, and he was rocking back and forth, unable to stand.
"Aethelred, my friend," said Bjarn, "you look atrocious!"
Then, in the pit of Sir Dractor's stomach, it began. The contents of his very fine dinner began to toss and turn, and it was only a matter of time before the big knight lost it.
"Gonna puke..." Sir Dractor started for the doors, Thomas and Bjarn in tow, but his walk was unsteady, and the movement only made it worse. He had barely gone ten yards when his muscles contracted, and up came the vomit. His balance off, he lurched forward, spewing a whole dinner of puke all over Radjar Kath.
Sir Dractor collapsed on the ground, clutching his stomach. Around him, people were backing away, and Thomas and Bjarn were looking a little ill at ease as they rushed up. Meanwhile, Radjar's hair and doublet were completely covered in the acidic puke, a large puddle of which had also collected on the floor around where he was standing.
"Ugh!" cried Radjar. "Dractor! What in Chodan's name??"
Aaylah Jerlock and Lhorn Bloodseeker chose that moment to catch sight of Fraun and Radjar and ran up, not seeing the puddle of puke. Running into it at a goodly speed, Aaylah wiped out on it, knocking Lhorn in the knees, and sending him to the floor as well.
"Gross!" Aaylah was saying, but the crowd couldn't hear her over the voice of Bjarn, who had felt for Sir Dractor's temperature, and discovered that he was both feverish and shaking.
"A healer!" he shouted in his loudest voice. "We need a healer!"
Charles Augustine broke off his conversation with Vanderdious and rushed over, soon joined by two healers of the Emperor's staff.
"This is not good..." one of the Classic healers was saying. "Get him to the infirmary!" he ordered Thomas, Bjarn, Hans, and Vander, who were all standing nearby. "You," he told Adrian, "go ahead and get them all onduty. This is a bad case."
"I'll go," said Hans, "I know the way, you don't."
"I'll go with you," said Cate, to Hans pleasure.
"Is he going to make it?" asked Thomas.
"I have no idea," said the healer, honestly. "I've never seen such a case!"
"What is it?" asked Bjarn. The healers looked at each other in bewilderment.
"No idea," said another.
From his seat, Vækadær could just see a commotion arising, and his sharp hearing had just caught the sound of a rather violent vomiting.
Excellent. His plan was working. Soon, Lord Marshal Elbadar would be very sick- and vulnerable- or very dead. He smiled as the healers and several volunteers made their way quickly out of the Ballroom, clearing a way for the stretcher.
Then Elbadar walked past the table, chatting amiably with a Crusader admiral, about passage to the Fell Isle.
Vækadær frowned. If that was not Elbadar on the stretcher, then it meant that someone else had used the goblet, and taken ill. This was not what was supposed to happen.