On the death of the old king of Alerash, the people mourned, and his son remembered.
“Keep the people safe . . . take care of your brother.” The final words of his dying father weighed heavily on King Crispin. It had been five years since his father had abdicated because of poor health, and Crispin had inherited the throne. Five years since he had appointed his brother Duke of Marlony, one of his northern cities. Five more years without magic.
His father had implemented the ban, so he claimed, in order to protect non magicals from those who might abuse their power. Crispin always felt there was something more behind it, but for his father’s sake, he accepted it, and, for the time being, he would enforce it. He had also expected his brother to do likewise. But he had never intended for this to happen. He held up the letter from Lord Cullen and read it again.
“The sorcerer is dead. We could not reach him in time. The people, in their fury and fear, found him first.”
With a sigh, Crispin sat back in his chair and glared at the ceiling of his solar. “If it were only the man. Did they have to kill his wife too? And what of his daughters?” He scanned the letter down to where his brother mentioned Staris and Skylar.
“They must be made wards of the crown, and to prevent any more suffering, I will gladly undertake their guardianship and allow them to remain here in familiar surroundings. Unless, of course, you wish for Staris to return and continue in your service.”
“Skylar is almost of age,” Crispin said, after a moment of thought. “But she will most certainly need a guardian. Staris of course will want to stay close to her younger sister. I will simply transfer her from my service to Cullen’s. Yes, I think that will be best. Though I will be sorry to lose her. I doubt I shall ever find so skilled a tracker.” He sighed again, then called out. The door opened and a page stepped inside. “Call for a scribe and a messenger at once. I must send a letter to Lord Cullen in Marlony.” The boy bowed and hurried away.
Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the king was pleased with how quickly and easily a solution had presented itself.
In Marlony, Lord Cullen also congratulated himself on his quick thinking. He had plans for Staris and Skylar, and soon they would be under his control. When Staris heard the news that she would no longer be needed in the king’s service, she ignored the feelings of betrayal, knowing it was the only way to take care of her sister.
And in a blacksmith shop, unaware of any of these proceedings, a young man named Garrick quietly plied his trade.