The provosts fell in behind us, not the pair I had expected but a full half-dozen. Their shimmering, personal shields quickly merged, forming a solid blue-tinged ovoid that covered Uncle Askya and myself in a protective cocoon. Their ordinary robes and feigned slowness did not effectively disguise the raw strength of their combined shield, which seemed to be considerable – these were no ordinary guards.
We stopped outside one of the guest chambers, which were used for a wide variety of visiting personages. Our respectful distance, however, was insufficient to mask a distinctive hiss of displeasure.
Uncle Askya did not react, and neither did I, until a brown-haired young woman burst into the antechamber. Her gaze locked onto me, Uncle stepped away, and the front pair of provosts – the sergeant and corporal – released their shields.
She raised her weapon and charged at me, much to my amazement.