Great dream. (Not the one close to waking, in which I thought a parcel had arrived, but it was actually someone returning my mother's scarf and gloves, which a wayward child had hidden before we left their office. That was dull.)
This is just about how it happened while asleep, so it's not particularly polished or sense-making. It does have a canon-ish feel, though.
The Trials were a huge event, treated with all the fervent interest of a sporting tournament. Vassals of the war nobility swapped notes on the performance of their lords, while those of house nobles also had their favourites and league tables; bets were placed among friends in pubs up and down the country, and so of course there were also bookmakers setting up stall around the capital cities.
The sixteenth Suitov warlord – unranked and untried at the barely-adult age of fifteen, but considered by true connoisseurs as a possible wildcard thanks to distinguished, if atypical, breeding – was hanging around one of these stalls incognito. It amused him to hear the chatter and to see the odds posted for his friends and rivals. Seeing his designated emblem and colours posted up was still an odd sensation. Gold and black, gold and black… how melodramatic. And he hadn't collected his new uniform from the tailor yet.
He'd hung around long enough to attract the attention of the bookie, a large voksin lady of equatorial complexion.1 Opting to play it dumb, Suitov asked her "So these ones with the larger numbers pay you more if they win?"
"Yes, my dear, if they win."
He went back to attempting to memorise the wall of colour, jingling a coin or two in an attempt to allay her impatience.
"Perhaps you should stop messing about, child, an' go ahead and put a bet on yourself, hmm?" suggested the bookie.
Suitov let loose a genuine laugh. "Ah, you've caught me out. Yes, I think I will."
1 She also talked in a rather cute Caribbean accent in my head.
I think he made quite a tidy profit on this deal too.
He may have been treated as an obscure nobody among the nobility, bitchy as they are, but Suitov underestimated how distinctive a young man with strong atavistic Nordic features is going to look among the gambling classes. Especially when said young man is given to wandering around outside the safety of the walled palace gardens, yakking with beggars and ruffians.
It takes the poor evil sod a little while to adjust to being a 'celebrity'. I'm not sure he ever gets used to it.