As Avim of the empire, Amel's history and less than becoming conduct attracts the attention and censure of the guardians of propriety in the Demish world.
Luthan held out a letter to him in a shaking hand.
"What is it?" Amel asked, coming forward to take it.
"I can't speak to you!" Luthan blurted and sealed her lips tight again, tears welling up in her lovely blue eyes. Dressed in a long, ample gown for the sake of her pregnancy, and decked out in full regalia to receive the Lion Reach visitors, she was tragedy itself personified. Self-controlled. Glittering. And grieving.
Amel looked from his friend to the women surrounding her. He knew most of them, personally. Even the most levelheaded among them looked as grim as if someone had died.
"Erien?" Amel asked, his heart rate accelerating. "Did that idiot accept a challenge and get himself killed over his fool academy!" He demanded, vibrating with rising anger.
But Luthan was shaking her head vigorously. She waggled a finger at the letter Amel now held in his own hand.
"Read it!" she croaked, and turned to one of her ladies to grip her hands, turning her back to Amel.
Confused, Amel shook the letter open. It was written on heavy, linen paper encrusted with gold motifs. The crest across the top, illuminated in bright inks and intricately rendered, depicted the words: League of Women for the Betterment of Men.
Amel had heard about the league. It was one of the many regulatory bodies of the Demish world whose blessing was necessary for people to conduct their business, like the Society for the Regulation of Manufactured Substances.Some were local in origin, but most of the major ones had roots as old as Sevildom, based in Lion Reach. Amel had encountered numerous comedies, in his day, that poked fun at the League of Women for the Betterment of Men, as well as romantic dramas in which the league starred as the font of all wisdom, but his personal experience of the old, Lion House sorority was tangential.
The letter read:
We, the League of Women for the Betterment of Men, charge Pureblood Prince Amel Dem'Vrel with a profound breach of etiquette in pre-empting his planned visit to Diamond Palace on Clara's World with a furtive and potentially scandalous excursion to the Mountain Village Abbey where he was reported to kiss, touch and generally conduct himself in a disrespectful and familiar manner with not one, but the majority of the weary sisters living there. In pursuing an investigation of this unseemly happening, our attention has been brought to bear on the many and continuing irregularities surrounding this same prince's extraordinary life which, while conceded to have included tragedies of exploitation beyond his youthful powers of redress, are less excusable in light of his advancing maturity and rise to power, including, most particularly, his actions leading to one pregnancy by a Reetion and another by the liege of Red Hearth.
Under normal circumstances one, let alone two, extramarital affairs leading to the production of bastards would be sufficient to call the conduct of a Demish prince into question, resulting in the man's exclusion from the society of women until and unless terms of redress should be agreed upon by the league, in consultation with the women wronged. However, since Prince Amel has no wife or Demish mother except his adopted one, the El Princess Dela of Demora who is currently conducting herself in a manner that precludes any appeal to her moral influence, judgment in his case falls to the league, alone.
We therefore, and herein, lay an interdict on this same Pureblood Prince Amel Dem'Vrel, banning him from all decent society, and declaring interaction with him harmful to the reputation and well-being of all women and the good-standing before the league of all men.
Furthermore let it be understood, should it be argued by adherents of Okal Lumens that as a Soul of Light the Pureblood Prince Amel stands above the judgment of society, that in the opinion of the League of Women for the Betterment of Men his spiritual status magnifies the enormity of his ill conduct rather than excusing it in any way.
Let it be the duty of all decent Demish to enforce what is described here.
Amel read the letter in stunned silence before lowering his arm with a jerk, surprising Sam who had been leaning in to read it simultaneously.
"Luthan!" Amel said, trying to get her to make eye contact. "Is this - real?"