By Bruce Durham
Read by Shawn Robertson
Anezka stamped the floor and crossed her arms in displeasure. “This won’t do. This just won’t do.” Servants paused in their work, eyes focused on the elderly slave glaring from beneath thick, gray eyebrows. She flicked a wrist. “Move the chairs near the window, but stay out of the sunlight. The King and his guest must be refreshed by the breeze, not suffer undue discomfort. And the table, shade it, the fruit must remain cool. King Prusias likes his fruit cool. Better yet, you there, take that gauze and hang it across the window. Now, those braziers; move those two near the columns. There, and there. And a carpet, we must have a carpet between the chairs. Quick now.” She clapped her arthritic hands, the skin of her thin arms quivering with the sharp motion.
Chair legs scraped the stone floor. A curtain was draped over the window, its sheer weave softening the late-morning sunlight. A small stone table was placed between the chairs and the braziers repositioned. Two slaves appeared from a side entrance, manhandling a brightly woven rug.
Anezka watched; nodding judiciously as the room was arranged to her liking. She turned when one half of the large cedar double-doors swung open. A young male slave entered and rushed up.
“Mother, the King arrives with his guest.”