Meanwhile, here's a WIP snippet for y'all.
Just before the kitchen, stepping back into the building of the Court, was a room with a long table polished to the same sheen as Federo's carriage had been. It was surrounded by spindly chairs that did not look strong enough to hold me, let alone adult men and women. Where the kitchen's walls had been brick and tile against the danger of sparks, here they were covered with a bellied cloth of pale amber shot through with gold thread. It had painted by someone with a delicate hand. There were birds rendered in full detail smaller than the nail of my thumb in two or three strokes. Where their eyes could be seen in their pose, fragments of some green stone smaller than a sesame seed had been affixed to the cloth.
These birds swarmed in a flock of hundreds around a stand of trees which I took to be willows. Each leaf and twig on the willows had been painted as well. A stream wound among them just above the low cabinets that lined the room. Its bed hosted fish and reeds and little flowers spinning on the current.
I know now that those walls had been a lifetime's work for some artist bound to the Factor's will. All I knew then was that they looked as if I could step within them.