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The Festival of the Star marks the inauguration of the gadda rules, and the first bardria. For centuries, on July 12 each year, gadda travel from all over to the town of Sclossin to partake in a festival. During the day there are stalls and games and at night, a concert. Those gadda who cannot attend are sent a present to mark the occasion. It is the most important day on the gadda calendar.

July 11, 8pm.

It was time.

The meal had been superb. Many bottles of wine had been consumed. The atmosphere around the large table was convivial, with laughter and raised voices and the occasional thump on the wood to punctuate a story.

Councillor Robert Yarrow gestured to his butler, who left the room. The councillor stood and waited for the noise to die down and for all attention to come to him.

With every head that turned, Yarrow’s back got straighter, his shoulders more relaxed, his chin higher.

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