A War of Two

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 10

Life in the castle was different after that. The scullery maids slept in the scullery every night.Willheardt did not have people warming his bed every night.But the chefs did have to learn a different kind of cooking.Prince Willheardt did not fancy the rich foods that Alemark ate so much of.They had to learn the desert peoples food.

When the lords first met after the failed duel Prince Willheardt had one question for them. “Am I your king?”“No,” Lord Sayer said.“And it is for the same reason that I gave your brother.We do not know which of you the Great Deity means to rule the people.” “Then how is the kingdom to be ruled?’ Willheardt asked.“By the regency council your father appointed if he should die when you or your brother was too young to rule.That includes me, Lord Sayer, Lord Caipre, Lord Yssidro, and the High Priest.This year it is Cygon.” “Where do they meet?’ the Prince asked.“In the temple,” Lord Yssidro answered.“It has many side rooms that are perfect for the occasion. Also many of the priests are scribes and can be trusted to keep a secret.”

Prince Willheardt went into the town. He took two guards with him and went to the inn that his desert brothers had occupied to their room.As he got there is was obvious that they were preparing to leave.“Please my father,” he said to Mocmar, “do not leave me now.I need you more than ever.There are no desert men on the council that now rules the kingdom.I intend to suggest you.”

“I want to bury my son.” Mocmar said. His voice was full of grief as he came and took Azziah by the arms.“I want to inform my people of his death and mourn him in the way of our good desert people. Are you king now?”

“No,” answered Prince Willheardt. “I need you to be on the regency council that will rule the kingdom until it is known wither my brother lives or is dead.Then you may return to your people.”

“Ahm-m,” Mocmar said. One of the other desert fighters could not resist.“Azziah, can you not bring Tarka back like you and The Old Teacher did with the sick.”

“No Menaih,” the prince answered. “For those were not truly dead.They were only very ill and we did not always succeed with all of them.”During this brief interval Mocmar had been thinking.He came to a decision.“I will stay until you are truly the King.Two of you will stay with me.The others will take Tarka to his brother Aboive.Tell him that it is my order he should bury his brother according to our customs.”That meant an unmarked grave in the wilderness.The body was of no great interest to them after it was dead and buried.

“But where will we stay. We cannot afford to stay here any longer.”One of the men with the prince mentioned, “There are the apartments that Lord Aleheardt used to occupy.He believed that as a member of the royal family it was his right to live there.But the prince could install anyone there.”The Prince led the way back to the palace.

He installed Mocmar in Lord Aleheardt’s apartment. “You should be Lord Mocmar,” the Prince said, “and should have a seat on the Regency Council.I will try to see to it.”

The Prince surprised everyone by sitting in on the first meeting of the regency council. “Why?” Lord Dred finally asked him.“Because,” Prince Willheardt said, “If the Great Deity wills that I become the king, then I will need to know how a kingdom is governed.Also I would like to request someone else be named to the regency council.”

“We cannot,” Cygon the High Priest said. “There are an odd number of persons on this council now.In our votes a simple majority rules.If we have an even number of people there is the possibility of an impasse and we would not be able to function.”

“It seems to me as though the Lords Spiritual are underrepresented on this council. Does it not seem so to you, Lord Cygon.”The High Priest had to agree with him there.“That assistant of yours, Varon.He seems a good man.What about adding him to the council and Lord Mocmar.”

They began to consider it. “It would be a good idea,” Lord Yssidro said, “To have a Bedouin on the council.He could advise us much more on what his people are likely to do and help avoid conflicts.”

“But you do that,” one of the lords said. “I do it because I have to,” Lord Yssidro said.“But this man would be much more of a direct conduit to what they are thinking.”So it was further discussed and adopted that Lord Mocmar and the Priest Varon should join them and become permanent members of the council at their next meeting.

They took up a question that had become paramount to them now. “What will we do if neighboring kingdoms take advantage of our weakness in not having a crowned king at this time?”

“Well the thing to do,” Old Lord Sayer said, “is to call up the Marcher Troops. They must patrol the borders again as they have done in the days of yore.Also the system of alarm fires must be reinstated on the peaks with people able to respond the moment one of these beacons is lit.And the people should be informed to look out for Prince Alemark and Lord Aleheardt who may be trying to make alliances with our enemies.Their presence must be made known to us so that we can arrange for the Duel Royal to be fought immediately.”

So the scribes were called and things were written down. The marcher lords were given their instructions.Lord Yssidro was allowed to send instructions to his own people since he was a marcher lord himself.The beacon fires were ordered to be prepared on the highest hills.Where the danger was would be known by the order in which they were seen.So the Lords settled down to wait until news came.All of them hoped it would be of the whereabouts of Lord Aleheardt and Prince Alemark first.

Until news did come life began to settle into a routine. Prince Willheardt practiced at weapons as Price Alemark never had.He practiced with the palace guards and with the desert fighters.The palace guard were surprised by the two on one practices they had, but quickly got used to the idea and copied it.Then sometimes the Prince would walk through the bazaar to make sure that all was peaceful there.He observed the sellers in their stalls, the blacksmith at his trade, the farmers coming in and out of the town, the animals being sold alive and butchered.

He also sometimes saw Cella the fortuneteller that Tarka had consulted that first day. He went over to talk to her, “Hello,” he said.“How are you today?” He offered her his hand in a friendly gesture.

“I am well,” she said, taking it and curtsying at the same time.

“How does your highness do today.”

“Well,” he said. “How is your fortune telling going.”

“We aren’t having any more surprises like at the duel,” she said. “Things seem to have gone back to the usual routine.How fares your friend Tarka?”

“He was among the dead,” Willheardt told her.

“I am sorry to hear it,” She tried to console him at least a little.

When he finished that walk he went back to the castle. He went to the chamber of Mocmar.“What do you want, my son?” Mocmar asked.Prince Willheardt took a seat near him.“Only to be Azziah for a while again,” he said with a sigh.“To not have to be your highness to anyone for a while.”“It is getting dark,” one of the Bedouins observed.Azziah clicked his fingers and the candles gave forth light.Mocmar observed, “How you do that I will never know.You have told me many times that your teacher told you to bring up the light from within yourself and divide it, But I still do not get how.”

“It takes many years of practice,” Azziah said. “I only got good at it just before The Old Teacher died.”

They spoke then about life in the desert and how the nights were. There were thousands of stars so close you could almost touch them.Strangely they too always rose in the east and set in the west, like the sun.They began to speak very quietly like they did when they were in their tents and did not want to disturb the sleeping woman and children around them.They began to wonder where Aboive was now with the animals.Had he stayed near the spring or gone to the mountains like they did in the hot summer months.Some of them spoke of other persons they thought were with him that they missed. But they had promised Azziah they would stay until he was either king or dead and they would stay.

Lord Aleheardt took Prince Alemark to one of his estates. It was one that he did not favor, so he had never spent much time there.But he did keep some servants there, mostly to collect his rents.He had to hold the Prince in the saddle part of the way.He wheezed himself part of the way, and there were times when it seemed only pure determination kept him in the saddle.He stayed off the main road as much as he could.He was afraid that his presence there would be noted and reported in the capitol.In fact some travelers did see him.But they knew nothing of what happened.But they did recognize one of the great lords and thought it odd that he should be traveling in such a fashion.

That evening, to the north, in the fastness of one of Lord Aleheardt’s minor estates, Prince Alemark finally began to truly recover from his wounds. He came to himself and asked “Where are we?”“In a house,” was all the answer Lord Aleheardt would give him before he fell asleep again.This time, for the first time in a long time, it was real sleep.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.