Ma Kupar led Mattie past guards set three and three beside a great arched door banded in iron, and left her in a high-vaulted hall; tapestries covered the stone walls, thick carpets the wooden floors. Mattie was the only woman in the room. Men in native costume filled the benches--the Gremas? She had never heard them called anything other than "northern barbarians," but Ma Kupar had used the name "Gremas." Red heads and brown heads sprinkled the crowd, but most were blond. Almost every eye turned toward her was blue.
At the hall's far end, a roaring blaze filled an enormous fireplace hooded in the same verdigris copper covering the turrets. On a dais before it sat two men in ancient, ornately carved chairs. Both wore richer versions of the common clothing--woolen trousers tucked into modern riding boots, and high-necked shirts. Their long quilted vests were silk embroidered in gold. The one on Mattie's left had hair so shot through with white that the blond strands remaining looked like sunlight streaked on snow. The other's hair was as dark as her own, though heavily threaded with silver; his beard, trimmed more neatly than those of the men around him, was almost completely gray. Something about his lean, angular face resembled the King's profile on a five-silver piece.