Galenos surveyed the battlefield: sixteen council members, eleven men and five women, armored with fine embroidered tokars so thickly pleated that they could barely move without fear of unpinning something. Each of them had been elected to represent a different guild and political faction, each of them had their own agenda. Each of them had been in their office for over a decade, meaning that they had all overseen Kyratia since before Galenos, a young upstart mercenary captain back then, had first earned the defense contract from the late duke. They sat around a single circular table, spread with their midday meal, but as they leaned back and stared at Galenos none of them touched the food.
He launched his opening volley by bringing forward the girl with a stiff bow. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Kyratian Council,” he said, pitching his voice at a deep rumble to convey authority, “may I introduce Korinna Votsis, the daughter of the late Duke Basileos.”