The garden is opulent, and despite the slight wintry tinge to the air quite comfortable. The centrepiece of the garden is a small squarelike arbour with chairs and benches elegantly arrayed about it, and upon one of these sits the third most powerful person in The Armavine Empire, Chancellor Asceppius Diotys. He is currently feeding a swan as they approach, and apart from the various gardeners and servants discretely going about their business in the garden and a pleasant pavilion located nearby, quite alone. His old eyes regard them as they approach and in a melodious voice invites them to sit. All do after bowing (it is good to be mannerly to one such as he), and he politely inquires after their wellbeing, journey and as to whether they need anything.
The formal niceties out of the way, he asks after the scroll and the response from their patron Varrax Pyrofer; Bucephala Clangula hands the scroll across, and the elderly eunuch opens it and reads for a while. He smiles at its conclusion and passes it to a servant who bears it to the nearby pavilion, and makes some more smalltalk with the party. During this, the laughter of a man followed shortly by a woman is heard from the pavilion, and at this, the Master of the Immaculatii asks the party to show the proper respects as they are about to be in the presence of HIS masters. True enough, 2 members of the Fist of Armanixes walk out of the pavilion and wait, to be followed by a man in simple clothing of superlative materials and a young woman in more opulent garb. All servants and staff in the garden immediately prostrate themselves and even the elderly chancellor bows as deeply as his old bones allow. The pair approach (with heavily armed bodyguards watching inscrutably) and the party genuflect and show their respect to the 2 most powerful people in the Inner Sea region, let alone the empire. Emperor Khelsine the Second of the Armavine Empire bids everyone to be as they were in a strong parade ground voice before seating himself next to his daughter, Imparioi Katarivix Armavii. Her beauty and poise is much like the Turlavaynian Courtesan Maia of Turlavayne, but there is something majestic and impressive in her demeanour. Her father by contrast seems much like a career soldier, including the battered and disreputable looking leather bracer on his left forearm.
He greets the party and on behalf of the Empire thanks them for their service, but goes on to advise them that in a years time they have work to do for their Draconic patron, work that shares goals with the Empire. They will be responsible for safeguarding the legitimate heir to the Menetian Throne, as in a years time an army of Empire trained Menetian ex-pats led by the Heir, his sister and the Menetian mercenary captain Marle Turgada will sail to The Autocracy of Menetia with a view to staging a military coup/liberation; before this, the Empire has paved the way by “offering” a legion of the Empire to be based in Northern Menetia to act as a protector against future barbarian assaults (it would seem the Brosengyn threat has been relayed to the Autocracy, with predictable panic and alarm. Unsurprisingly, the Autocracy has accepted (perhaps difficult to refuse for many reasons), and the 17th has been made ready to depart within 6 months. A further stroke of good news is that the party’s old friend Varediis Eloi once again seems to have Imperial favour, for he is to be the Imperial Legate in overall charge of the 17th, no doubt picked for his experience and knowledge of the Brosengyns and their various allies.
The Emperor also advises the party that they have a form of Diplomatic Immunity within the Empire and its holdings due to their being DragonTouched, though he does ask with a wry smile for them not to abuse it too much. As he stands to leave, he advises the party that keeping young Burrenos dol UrKhaigen and his sister Ceressa ami UrKhaigen safe and alive is of paramount importance to the endeavour to free Menetia, as without them it ceases to be an army of liberation and becomes a foreign act of regime change. With that (and a lot more abasing and varied genuflection amongst the gathered staff), the Emperor departs with his daughter to deal with more matters of rulership and Empire. Once he has gone, the party are again in conversation with the Chancellor, who indicates that the business of the day is concluded and they are safe to depart, likely by one of the secret exits from the Palace into the capital. He bids them to walk in the light of their gods (in the case of Cassio of Padiha, Bucephala and Taturii Asamakiiro ), their spirits (in the case of the 2 Altai Czerlai and szletko ) and whomever watches out for Sorcerors (in the case of Abbas Jalil ), and they are escorted from the peace of the garden into the subdued murmur and hubbub of the Palace.
Their contact, Palidus Marcorius awaits them and escorts them to an appropriate exit, one that shall take them by a clever tunnel under the walls to a safehouse in the Peyarca district (where the various Embassies of foreign nations are situated). He advises them all that he is their liason with the Palace now, and should they need to contact, or be contacted, he shall be the voice and face they deal with. At that, he wishes them well and they leave, heading out of the Vaunted Palace and into a year of freedom, planning and great posibilities…