Something -- carnal.
The skin of his face and hands were opal-complex, blended through translucent layers to an even fairness. His jet black hair stirred like a fluid. It was longer than men usually wore it. So was the Golden Emperor's. His simple black clothing accented the lines of a sleek body, the tunic gathered at his waist by a thin gold belt. His eyes were the most amazing. They glistened like wet crystal; each facet crisply distinct from those adjacent, and yet the net effect was soft enough to melt the fear chilling Dela as their eyes met, briefly, through the window.
"Pureblood Amel," Ril deduced, standing by Dela's elbow, and turned away from the window with a sick expression, hurt by the same visual confirmation of Amel's high descent that Dela found so heart-warming.
In the yard, the Dem'Vrel formed around Amel. Dela did not like their behavior. A remark, muted by the intervening glass, made them laugh and jostle each other like adolescent commoners at a harvest dance. The more Amel withdraw into himself, the harder they tried to get his attention, as if they could not grasp that the enthusiasm they expressed was not appreciated.
"Why are they doing that," Dela asked, urgently.
"They are hybrids," Ril said in a lifeless voice. "Petty raiders from the empire's fringes. What can you expect."
"Then -- why is he letting them?"
Ril answered her stoically, "What can one expect. He was raised as a commoner."
Dela began to hyperventilate, but got a firm grip on herself before she fainted. She did not drop her book of verse either.
"I am sure some Silver Demish brute imagined it would be a fine joke to have a Soul of Light raised as a commoner," Ril continued. "But they humiliated only the soul of a usurping Vrellish ancestor. Amel is no more Golden than his monstrous father, Delm, was."
"Are you certain?" Dela pleaded. "What do we know about Amel, himself?"
"I know," Ril said, "that he was reclaimed by the Dem'Vrel over a year ago, and has pretended to be ill ever since," she sniffed, lifting her head proudly. "Some sort of nervous complaint, apparently. An affectation, playing on his claim to Golden blood. No doubt he fears to produce children for his mother's Dem'Vrellish vassals for the same reason as his vain and selfish father, because he fears that they would one day displace him."
Dela was so dumbstruck by her own, sheltered ignorance. "A Pureblood," she marveled, aloud, "raised as a commoner. And descended from the Family of Light. And I know so little about him! Why hasn't he been the talk of every tea since he was found!"
Ril's dry lips unpursed. "There are things our men keep to themselves for good reason."
Dela took Ril by her brittle shoulders and turned her toward her, away from the scene outside in which Amel was being pettily harassed.
"Apparently," Ril said with finality, "there are embarrassing aspects. I do not know, exactly, what they are. But I think it is something -- carnal."
The nasty word quelled Dela's hopes.