“Half hour ‘till the carriage arrives, Marigold,” shouted the aid.
Marigold nodded and the aid stepped back behind the curtain. Marigold’s gaze returned to the large mirror on the wall. Another man stood up and wrote a few more measurements on a piece of paper and walked back to the table wear a pair of pants rested.
“Don’t rush, Basit,” said Marigold, “That speech doesn’t happen without me unless one of those fat bastards in the council wants to make it.”
“No need to rush. Measure twice, wear as much as you need. I do perfection,” said the other man.
Tulio Basit finished up the seam of the pants and held them in front of him. Smiling to himself, Basit tossed the pants over to Marigold.
“Put your pants on, Mordecai, you’re supposed to have some class,” said Basit.
“Are you sure about this shade of blue?” said Marigold, “It isn’t too garish? It’s not even the same blue as the flag.”
“Har, har,” said Basit, “Like the newest political figurehead would wear patriotic blue. Everybody there will be wearing some sort of Antiford Yellow, sky blue, or a mix. However, if it wasn’t such an occasional I wouldn’t put you in a blue at all.”
Marigold had gotten into the pants and was looking into the mirror and smiling. He walked over and grabbed the matching jacket and put it on, completing the suit. He fumbled with the tails and smiled smugly into the mirror.
Marigold turned as Basit walked up holding a box. Opening it, Basit showed a line of broaches in the shaped of the Marigold flower. There were several colors and types. Brass, gold, silver, steel, iron, pewter, sandstone, glass, and stained glass. Marigold surveyed them, a smile on his face.
“Look at you! You’ve outdone yourself, Basit. These are fantastic!” Marigold met Basit’s eyes, “I don’t remember paying you for these, though. I believe the word was ‘restore’.”
Basit rolled his eyes and grabbed a different box from behind him. Opening it, he had another broach that was Marigold shaped as well.
“And one ‘restoration’ lacking any finesse,” said Basit.
“But holds memories, far beyond my own,” said Marigold, looking over the restored one with wonder, “It was my mother’s, you know. But I’ll take those ones too. They are amazing.”
“I believe the term is art,” said Basit.
“What do I owe you,” said Marigold nodding to the box.
Basit smiled with one side of his mouth, “Absolutely nothing. Consider if a gift.”
“A gift, or a bribe?”
“Don’t go slandering it just yet.”
Marigold put his hand in his tailcoat pocket and his face change. Lifting out his hand, he had a palm full of confetti. He gave Basit a look.
“Trust me, When the time comes, you’ll know.”
“Basit, I wanted a confetti pocket, not confetti inside the pocket. I’m having my own ‘confetti’.”
Marigold buttoned the coat, and put the broach on his jacket. Accepting a matching top hat and a beautifully fashioned cane. He also accepted the box of broaches from Basit.
“Alright. Worth every Simo, Basit. This will surely make a few heads turn.”
“Maybe you’ll make all the ladies blush behind their fans,” said Basit, “Oh, who am I kidding. Tell them you’re wearing a Basit and their laces will come untied for you!”
“Surely you’ll be around for the festivities?”
“No, I don’t think so. I have business to attend to,” said Basit, “Besides, I figure I already know most of it. Great things and all that, eh Mordecai?”
“Careful with that kind of talk, Basit. Secrets sink empires,” said Marigold, “It’s a new Antiford. The era of secret societies, whispering clubs, and dangerous villains is over. It’s time we take the wild out of the Wild West. Let’s bring the civility of Paorr to this desolate country, and claim our rightful place as a nation of the world. A… world power, to make a phrase.”
Marigold put some Ciams down on the table and tipped his hat. He walked through the curtain and off to the world. Basit sat down and stared at his measurements for his next visitor, a Mr. Ryan Holme.
“A new Antiford,” murmured Basit, “No more secrets. Mordecai, Antiford is built on a foundation of secrets.”