The Guardians: Book One of the Restoration Series (48 page)

BOOK: The Guardians: Book One of the Restoration Series
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“Fools!”
Heather hissed. “If not for us they might be dead now, but do they thank us? No! They treat us like peasants!” She folded her arms across her chest, “I should have let the goblins have them, and good riddance!”

Kara smiled reassuringly and placed a hand on Heather's shoulder. “If you had, then the rest of us would be dead too.” It was a simple statement and totally true, but it did seemed to dull the other woman's anger, at least a little bit.

Mikela nodded over toward a rather large group of women.
A group that had Philip at its center.
“Well, they sure seem to like him.” She said raising a glass of wine to her lips.

Heather snorted, “Of course they do! He's one of their own,
part
of their little inbred group.” Mikela nearly choked on the wine and even Kara smiled.

Heather shook her head, “I feel sorry for Flare. I have a feeling that he will be spending a lot of time with these miserable people.”

Mikela, who had recovered from coughing on the wine, shot Heather a nasty
look
. Had Heather timed her words for when she was drinking the wine? “It doesn't much seem like a reward. Does it?”

Kara glanced back and forth between the two women, “Perhaps it's even worse than you know.” The two women turned their gazes squarely on her, and she shrugged under their gazes. “It's probably nothing, but have either of you heard of the Kelcer prophecy?” Heather and Mikela looked at each other before shaking their heads. “It's an old prophecy, written by a madman, but the church believes in it.” She looked toward the stage, the stage where Flare had just been 'adopted' by King Darion. “I guess the king doesn't believe in it though.”

“What's that got to do with Flare?” Mikela asked. The church wasn't one of her favorite things, but she kept that to herself. It wasn't safe to openly talk bad about the church, and it was even worse when a magician did it.

All three women glanced at Derek as he joined them, “It's probably nothing. It's just an old prophecy about how a half-elf descended from both royal lines will restore the Dragon order.” Kara said, answering Mikela's question.

“Oh, you must be talking about Kelcer.” Derek said.

“You've heard of it?” Heather asked surprised. The looks on the faces of the other two women reflected their amazement as well.

Derek snorted. “Regardless of whatever you may believe, I do read now and then.” He paused a moment, and trying to not look too embarrassed he added, “And besides, my mother is a big supporter of the church.”

Mikela ignored Derek, “Kara, you don't believe that about Flare. Do you?
 
I mean him restoring the Dragon order.”

“Of course not!”
Kara answered quickly and loudly. Then she lowered her voice, “But there are plenty who will, both in the church and outside it. That's the problem.”

Derek let out a low whistle, “There's nothing worse that a zealot who thinks he's right.”

Kara cocked an eyebrow, “By zealot, are you referring to the church?”

Derek gulped and quickly said in a stumbling voice, “Of course not. I was merely referring to those who would falsely accuse Flare of such things.” His eyes looked beyond them, “Oh, It looks like Aaron would like to speak with me.”

Mikela hid her smile in the glass of wine, while Derek hastily made his escape from Kara.

 

 

Flare stood in a small group of nobles, he had been introduced to each of them in turn, but he couldn't remember any of their names for anything. The problem was that as soon as one noble was introduced to him, two more stepped up beside the first. Their names were all running together, and he finally just quit listening. Now, he just smiled and pretended to listen. Besides, it was fairly easy to fool the nobles. All it took was to call them 'my lord' or 'my lady', and they never knew he couldn't remember their name.

Some of the nobles seemed to fall all over themselves to be introduced to him, while the rest had left the room as soon as it was safe for them to go. Regardless of which type he was speaking to, they all seemed to look down their noses at him, treating him like they would a child. The women were just as bad, and seemed to enjoy batting their eyelashes at him. Those young women would only invite more trouble, but then again Enton always
said,
that all women invited trouble one way or another. Flare stayed as long he thought he should, actually a little less, and then found an excuse to leave.

Excusing himself as soon as he thought it was appropriate; he retreated to his room to lie down, hoping to find some quiet. Shortly after he entered the room, a knock came at the door. Wearily, he climbed from the bed and opened the door partway to see who was there. It was Enton and Atock. Opening the door all the way, he let them in.

“Flare, are you okay?” Enton asked.

“I'm fine. I was just dreading the king's speech,” he said, sitting down on the bed.

Atock was not surprised, “So you knew before the ceremony?”

“Yes, he told me shortly before. I was dreading the announcement, though. I know that most of the nobility would rather see me gone.
Especially now.”
Flare lay back on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

A brief moment of silence followed, just long enough for Atock and Enton to share worried glances. Finally, Enton spoke up, “So what now,
Flare
?”

“I'm not sure. King Darion spoke to me after the award ceremony, and he wants me to come see him tomorrow morning.” He put his hands over his head, “I'm not sure what to expect, but I think things just got a whole lot worse for me.”

 

 

The man hurried through the streets of Telur. He wore a long cloak with the hood pulled up to hide his face. He had made this same trip many times before, but this was the first time he ever rushed, completely ignoring the people on the streets. Not that many people were out. Most people were still celebrating the heroes from Mul-Dune. The inns and pubs were packed to overflowing. Several times, the man realized he was almost running, and forced himself to slow down.

He finally reached his destination, and entered the side door. He quickly climbed the stairs, and entered the small room at the top. He pulled up surprised. Five chairs were in the room, and they were already filled, four more cloaked figures stood along the wall.
Never before had there been more than five people at this meeting.

“Come in. Close the door.” A voice said. He couldn't tell who had spoken, but he did as he had been bidden.

He closed the door and moved to the center of the room.

It was as if his arrival was a signal, and voices burst out.

“How could we have been so wrong?”

“He's now the heir to both thrones.
Telur's and Solistine.”

“He must be the one that Kelcer spoke of.”

The figure, in the middle chair, raised his hand for silence. It took several moments, but finally the voices quieted down.

“Panicking will not help.” The cloaked figure lowered his hand again. His voice was deep and familiar. “We all agreed that he could not be the one. So, how could we be so wrong?”

The man, who had been the last to enter the room, answered, “I do not think we were. I still believe that Flaranthlas is a forerunner of the one.”

“How can that be?” The deep voice asked. “He's now the heir to two thrones, just as Kelcer prophesied.”

The man nodded, “Yes, he is. But, he was born under the sign of the tree, not the prince. Kelcer was quite specific that the one would be born under the sign of the prince. It's one of the few things that he left no room for interpretation.”

“Could we be wrong about when he was born?” The deep voice asked.

“No,” an older woman's voice asked. “Our spies in Solistine have confirmed his birth. There is no way that we can be wrong.”

“So what do we do?” The deep voice asked.

The man in the middle of the room answered, “The only thing we can do is wait and see. I am sure that another will follow. Flaranthlas can not be the one.”

After a moment, the man in the middle chair nodded.
“As you say.
I hope you're right.”

 

 

Zalustus groggily opened his eyes. Actually, he realized, he could only see out of his left eye. His right eye was bandaged, as was most of his face. He turned his head, looking around the small room. Only then, did he realize that he was not alone. Two other men sat in chairs watching him. He recognized both of them. Anton, his father's councilor, was to his right. Zalustus' father King Zarum sat to his left.

“Nice of you to join us.”
Zarum said, although there wasn't a trace of happiness about him.

“Father?”
Zalustus croaked. His throat was awfully dry.

Zarum leaned closer to Zalustus' bed, “I am disappointed in you, boy.” The words sent a chill down Zalustus' spine. “I sent you to conquer Mul-Dune, but you failed miserably. And almost got
yourself
killed in the process.”

“I'm sorry, father. I'm not sure how we lost the fort. It simply doesn't make sense.”

“Flaranthlas might could be called
the conquer
of Mul-Dune. That is a title that I sent you to claim.”

Zalustus lowered his eyes, “I'm sorry, father. I will do better. I promise.”

“Better? I don't know how to fix this. Kelcer said the one that restored the Dragon order would be
the conquer
of Mul-Dune. Now, he's
the conquer
of Mul-Dune. He's the heir to both thrones. We are way behind.”

“Perhaps,” Anton said. It was the first thing that he had said since Zalustus had awakened. “But there are many pieces to Kelcer and Flaranthlas could fulfill every one of them. But as long as Zalustus can kill him before the restoration of the Dragon order, then we win.”

Zarum sighed, “I have doubts.”

Anton leaned forward in his chair, “I don't. It seems obvious to me that because both Flaranthlas and Zalustus were critically injured, that the gods intervened to save them. They can not both fail. There is still time for Zalustus to win.”

Zarum nodded, “So what now?”

Anton smiled, “Isn't it obvious? Flaranthlas must go for Ossendar next. He must claim the sword of Osturlius.”

BOOK: The Guardians: Book One of the Restoration Series
12.55Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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