With the large shawl-like necklace that spread from under his torc to the ends of his shoulders, reaching well past his collarbone and shoulder blades, the tassels of fur dangling down past his chest, he had returned to being the village’s doctor.
Clean and dressed, he carefully worked the tangles from his children’s hair. Eventually, one guard took pity on the mess and offered Eoin a fine ivory comb and a small wrapped jar of soft wax. The comb and jar were generously engraved. The comb had some of the thinnest tines that spoke of wealth. Eoin treated it gingerly, wary of breaking such an implement. With work he was able to tame his sons’ locks before turning to his own.
Eoin handed the comb and jar back to the guard when he was finally finished. His hair hung to his hips, straight and gleaming wet. Eoin bowed slightly, ever aware that he had no way of knowing how to thank the man without touching him. The guard, who had to be a few years younger than Eoin bowed back, smiling, saying some words to him in a kind voice. He looked between the guards that stood at their doorway, wondering what was to be done with them next. One guard turned to the other, again asking something in their odd language before exiting down the hall.
It felt like hours passed as Eoin, Tau, and the boys waited in the room. The guard returned eventually. They were ushered from the room and down a hallway to be met up with a clean Amina and Masud. They were led through steps and another winding corridor before finding themselves being led through grander and grander rooms. Some contained refined looking men while others stood empty. Eoin could feel eyes on him in some of the empty room, only to notice shapes behind lattice work along one wall or in an upper window blinking in and out of sight.
With a clack, a pair of massive doors were dragged open at the far end of one opulently decorated red and blue room to reveal a sandstone and gold grand hall. It was filled with lavishly dressed men on both sides of soaring columns that held up stone rafters. Massive lattice worked windows looked out on the cliff of the mountain, providing a view of not just the city, but the land outside of the gates.
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