The two attendees waiting in the Count's antechamber were somewhat oddly matched. One resembled the infamous actor Grouchauld, except that he was a balrogue; he was blond and very elegantly clad, and was stretched out carelessly on a sofa. The other was rather wooden, with eyes that might have been deep and wise but for an over-consumption of eau d'ente; he wore a chapeau de shirrife and one white glove, and a green collar with red interlace that, had its owner not borne it of free will, had passed for a tasteless prank de Noel. Both carried letters of introduction from the abbé Glorfindoni, and were present at the Count's invitation. As neither knew the other, they conversed on inanities like the execrable quality of vin hobbitois.
"My profuse apologies for keeping you waiting, messieurs," said the Count, entering modestly accompanied by four of his nine chevaliers and a low-key thunderbolt. "I was unavoidably detained by a pack of rebel Uruc-haïs. Do me the kindness of handing me your letters from the abbé Glorfindoni."
The visitors complied, and the Count perused the imaginary cleric's missives with attention.
"Excellent!" he said. "Everything is in order. It is indeed a joyful day; not only are you, Marquis Entelletto Pseudonimo, castellan of Castel Gandolfo, finally united with your son Viscount Andurillo, but you also have an opportunity to gain enormous sums of money, for the abbé has instructed me to place at your disposition a credit of 945, 893 mushroom-lions of mithrile."