Chapter 2: Synthel - Part Twelve
The carriage swiftly carried them into the city. This time they went past the government building and deeper into the center of the city. The buildings gradually turned what appeared to be residential, and clearly showed signs of relative wealth for this culture. The homes were large, the land around them expansive and well-kept. The carriage pulled into a pathway leading up to a grand house that was two floors tall and with many wings. As the carriage came to a halt, a servant opened the carriage door and welcomed to the visitors to the Duke’s dwelling.
Jendi and Sevenser stepped down onto a well-cared-for piece of land, and they followed the servant into the large doors that were opened by another servant. They looked around the dwelling, looking very much like a house on Aurial, though without any of the teknology that they used. The doors, for instance, had large metal knockers to indicate a visitor had arrived, not the video cameras and electronic signal a visitor could push on Aurial, even with the humblest of homes. Jendi had noticed many poorer homes on the outskirts of the city, a level of poverty that had never reached Aurial except during the worst years of the Riots.
Descending from the central interior stairway was the Duke, and as he approached Jendi and Sevenser he looked as friendly as he had earlier that day. Jendi did not expect to need her laser this night. The Duke reached out with both of his hands and placed them on Jendi’s shoulders for a moment while he smiled. Thinking this might be local custom, she then did the same to him, and as he did not respond with surprise, perhaps this was a formal way of greeting on this planet. Or maybe it was the way a man greeted a woman for all she knew at this point.