Bent over his papers, the young prince sat in the courtyard and ignored the bustle that surrounded him. The curtilage was made up of a great square of green with a white marble fountain at the center. The glistening water gave off a comfortable coolness that was very much welcome in the heat of the summer months. The air was arid and the sun scorching. A hostile climate for most, except for the people who lived in it.
Amduscias counted to the latter group but still he needed to keep himself thoroughly covered when he stepped outside. Whenever a breeze swept through the airy corridors it was like relief to him. His form was wrapped in rich fabrics and stiff textils, adorned with the insignia of his family. Even his head he kept hidden under layers of cloth. Like this there was barely anything to see of him but the eerie brightness of his eyes.
On any other day he wouldn’t have bothered leaving the chambers during high noon but this was not any other day. The whole palace was brimming with people. Servants rushed back and forth, carrying tapestries, painted vases and other luxury goods. Even the kitchens, which usually were all but deserted during these hours, were stuffed with cooks and assistants; all of them working at full force to create new dishes, desserts and playful arrangements for the entirety of more than three hundred guests. Even here you could hear the unwilling shrieking of the animals they were planning to slaughter and cook.
Amduscias glanced over at the two peacocks that stalked through the grass not far from him. “You guys better watch out,” He told them but his advice went unheeded. He was rather glad to be out here, really. All chambers available were assigned to one royal visitor or other. He disliked meeting new people. He disliked their stares and questions, the greedy look in one face and the alienation in another. And for all of this, the upcoming event should have filled him with dread.
But how could it have? The day after tomorrow wasn’t just some random entertainment his father hosted for prestige’s sake. It was the crown prince’s eighteenth birthday. You counted as a man at sixteen but at eighteen you were ready to take on the duties that came with manhood. Marriage, war and taxes, to name a few.
Amduscias was not the crown prince. Amduscias was not even part of the line of succession. He was well aware of that but considering the responsibilities he escaped due to it he couldn’t feel bad about it for long. Amduscias was not the child of king and queen despite his princely title which was a sign of his parents’ love more so than his status. He had been taken in as an infant, an orphan they had found on the steps to the washhouses. So he was not going to be king. But his brother was. It was Asmodeus’ party and therefore Amduscias was looking forward to it. Also because those events always offered the opportunity for a lot of unsupervised drinking and misconduct he usually wouldn’t get away with as a figure at court.
He finished another set of music notes, all of them lovingly drawn on the parchment, and set the ink down. His shoulder was already aching from the stiff position. He’d prefer stretching out in the baths right now, or in a lounge. When he reached over to pick up the next paper, his gaze fell on the shape that was sauntering towards him. He was smiling now, even if only his eyes could have shown it.
“Did you finish your dress appointment with Mother early or are you on the run?” He called out to Asmodeus.
Woman in Renaissance Dress. Camillo Melnik (Austrian, b.1862).
Imported fabrics and rich textiles demonstrated wealth, but not always nobility. More than one complaint was raised against Venetian courtesans for dressing like ladies, and visitors remarked that they could not tell the courtesans from respectable women. This was because both categories of women wore similar low-cut dresses and high shoes (pianelle).