Imperial Ambassador Nigel von Thornbird adjusted his cravat, staring intently into the hand mirror that his valet held before him. Dressed from head to toe in black, as was expected from any servant of the Emperor, his peach colored cravat was the only expression of individuality allowed to a servitor of His Imperial Majesty. With his index finger, he gave the mou on his chin a final adjustment. Monsignor von Thornbird brusquely pushed the mirror away.
“Go!” He barked at his poor, beleaguered valet. “Polish my shoes, or do something useful to justify the enormous salary you collect!”
Let us not judge the Monsignor too harshly. He was consumed with anxiety over his first interview with Queen Pirouette. Being the third ambassador within a single year to fill the post, the stories he’d heard about Her Majesty ranged from a living saint to a screaming banshee. The one thing all of the reports agreed upon was that the young sovereign was beautiful, stunningly so. So intense was her pulchritude.