A Kings Tale: Heir

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Checkmate

"Father," Keira's voice was straight and even. Her greeting was more formal than one between a father and daughter should be. "You know you shouldn't be out of bed."

"I'm dying… not dead." Isaac hacked out, as he made his way over to them. Most of his weight was supported by a cane with a boar head carved into the top. "So you're… the boy…" He was hesitant as he looked over Aiden. It was more than clear that Aiden was uncomfortable. His sharp hazel eyes seemed to inspect every bit of the man before him. Every detail from how he stood to how he breathed, to how well he maintained his appearance was being analyzed.

It was unnerving, that even a man dying of disease could hold such a presence. If it wasn't for the hacking and coughing Aiden would have surmised that he was just an old man tired of ruling. His white streaked grey hair pulled back behind his ears, while his beard was combed and tied at the chin. "Sir." Aiden squared up his position, as he bowed.

"Oh get up… my body can't bend… anymore as it is." Isaac tapped Aiden's leg with his cane. Isaac turned to his daughter, his expression flat and unwavering. "Leave us…"

Keira bowed her head, while Rosslyn hid her face in her mother's shoulder. "As you wish Father."

Isaac waited for the two to leave the room before returning his attention to Aiden. "So…" He turned around as he started off. "If I remember correctly… you're the Ranger who killed… an entire village."

"Allegedly." Aiden corrected as he followed the king.

"Yes, I know." Isaac smiled at Aiden, though it wasn't normal. "But Ranger or not… the Old Laws require… require you to be accountable… for your actions."

Aiden could tell Isaac's look had its own secrets in it, something that deeply intrigued him. More so than that was the fact that Isaac all but admitted his understanding of the events surrounding Aiden's detainment. "What aren't you telling me?" It was more of a demand than a question, but Isaac wasn't going to play that game with him.

He knew he was in control of the conversation, and he intended to keep it that way. "I also know… you're just about… the only person ballsy enough… not to be polite to me." The King wheezed out. He led Aiden to a table that had a black and blue stone chees board set up on it. Taping one of the chairs, he sat in the one opposite. "Sit."

Shrugging he did as he was told and sat down across from the king. He looked over the pieces on the board, rubbing his finger along his chinstrap beard.

"Any good?"

"No, but the pieces are interesting." Aiden didn't lift his fingers from the chess board. Clearly he was going to have to play the game to win. It wasn't the game in front of him he was worried about though, it was the one he currently was in.

"How so?… It's just turquoise… and onyx."

"Well your king is a crowned boar, to which I would assume is your house symbol."

"And why… do you say that?" Isaac asked as he moved one of his stag pawns.

"Well your cane has a boar with blue crystal eyes…" Aiden moved his own gargoyle dog pawn. "…So seeing as blue and silver are the royal colors and you have a blue boar, it stands to reason that's why he's your king."

"Very observant…. So you… know the basics."

"Know them yes, actually played, never." Aiden said adamantly as he watched the king move yet another piece across the board.

"So… what else… can you tell me?" Isaac watched his counterparts marbled blue-grey eyes move from one piece to another on the board before he made his move. It was more than clear that Aiden's answer was meant for both questions he'd offered up, even if he had only verbally spoken one.

"You have a very formal relationship with your family. Something I suspect is due to your granddaughter?"

"Let's get… one thing straight…" Isaac didn't look down from Aiden as he spoke. "My daughter means… the world to me…" He coughed up and spit some blood into a jar at his feet. "I would do… anything… for her." His voice took on a slight disgruntled tone as he frowned a bit. "Anything brings along… its own… side-effects." With that he captured one of Aiden's pawns.

It was clear King Isaac was done with that subject, even if Aiden wanted to pursue it farther. "So what makes me the Black Dragon in all this?" Aiden asked in reference to his own chess king; as he moved his piece across the board.

"That's the unknown… isn't it." Isaac hacked out, raising a brow as one of his stag pawns was taken by Aiden's own pawn.

"Well, sometimes it's worth the risk."

"And sometimes… it's not." With that he captured Aiden's reared unicorn knight.

"So you're just not willing to take a risk then?"

"Hard not to… when all your options… are a risk." Clearing his throat he made his move. "Why she… has to be so… so damn stubborn is… beyond me."

"Sounds like she already knows how to play politics." One by one they made their moves. Pieces slowly moved about the board, advancing on the enemy.

"More like… she already knows how… to play hard ball." One by one the pieces got captured, and returned to the board if one was lucky. "She's a damn… extortionist."

"Sounds like quite the handful." Aiden watched the board carefully. He had to admit she sounded like quite extraordinary woman.

"Yes, well… I'd rather her… be the extortion-ist." He captured Aiden's last pawn. "Then the one… being extorted."

"Now who's the one being cryptic?" Aiden leaned back as he stroked his jaw with the back of his fingers. He was enjoying the in-site Isaac offered up.

"I want… what's best for… for her, but…" Isaac spit into his jar before dabbing his mouth with a cloth. "I will not let… the kingdom fall to the ground… Not for her,… not for anyone,… regardless of… their importance to her."

"So, where does this leave us?"

He moved his wolf castle into position. "Check."

"I see." Aiden stretched out his sentence as he groaned. He frowned lightly looking over at Isaac. "Well maybe you should put a little faith into the one person who won't extort your kingdom." With that he captured the wolf with his bishop; a minotaur.

"Why put faith in a situation where no one is trust worthy?" With a snort Isaac moved one of his pieces.

"We'll maybe you don't know your pieces as well as you think you do." It was more of a statement than anything as Aiden casually scanned the board.

"How can I not know my own pieces?"

"For starters your board is actually chrysocolla and nuumite. Secondly, perhaps your boar isn't as mighty as you think?" Aiden's questioning statement left Isaac with a puzzled look. Before he had a chance to say anything Aiden moved his own castle; a griffon, into place. "Last off, perhaps I'm not actually a dragon." With that Aiden excused himself with a bow of his head before walking off.

Isaac looked down at the board; then turned to see Aiden's retreating back. With a snort he folded the fingers of one hand over his mouth. Stroking his beard with his index finger, he looked fixatedly at the board. He hadn't a choice in his next move. Reluctantly he did the only thing he could.

With a push from his finger, his king came crashing down. "Or maybe you are."

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