Edmund stood at the front door in the finest fitting suit he had been able to purchase in the town, and watched as Carron slowly drove up to the front of Moulde Hall.
When he had arrived at his room, he was only mildly surprised to find Ung there to help him get ready, and he was dressed within minutes.
He was no expert, but Tayatra had assured him that his suit was very well made, and fit him perfectly. The collar was broad and tall, with a deep neck in the jacket that reached almost to his belly button. The vest was a thin leathery gray, with Plinkerton’s watch tucked neatly into the pocket. His pants were well fitted, resting lightly on his shiny black shoes, while faint beige ruffles slipped out from around his sleeves like a flower.
Ung had dressed himself in a suit that looked almost exactly the same as his standard uniform–a jet black suit with a white shirt and tie–but it was impossibly clean and bright; it almost looked polished.
Edmund checked his watch as Moulde Hall began to chime. Six-o-clock exactly. The Heads of the Families were prompt, if nothing else. He slipped his watch back into his vest and turned his attention back to the coach.
Wislydale had caught him by the arm when they had passed in the hallways. At first Edmund had thought Wislydale was going to hit him, so fierce was the glint in his eye, but instead he simply gripped Edmund’s shoulder.
“I hope you were paying attention during our little lessons, old boy,” he said.
“Very carefully,” Edmund had replied.
“Then we may have a chance, what?” Wislydale smiled grimly. It was the closest thing to a compliment he had ever given Edmund.
He could feel his heart beating fast as the carriage slowly ground to a halt. The spindly driver unfolded himself from the front and opened the carriage door, bowing almost to the ground.
Edmund had prepared himself for this moment. He had never met a member of another founding family before, so he had no real idea of what to expect. Thankfully, his training sessions with Wislydale gave him some idea of how to behave properly, and as Kolb had once said, ‘if you’re ever unsure, flattery is always a safe recourse–they will never disagree with you.’
A thin woman dressed in a mourning veil stepped from the carriage first, taking Carron’s offered hand and opening a silver fan as she walked up to Edmund.
She was old–easily as old as Matron–but her face was round and her nose small. Her mouth was smaller still and twisted into a permanent frown. She held out her hand to Edmund, as he quickly ran through the notes in his head. He had spent a lot of time in the library, studying the three families before he even dared to write the letters.
Now he would see how usefully that time had been spent.