A Silent Game of Spies

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He was so tired. If he never saw another printed word, it wouldn’t be soon enough. His brain was mush. They were all dining in his chambers tonight, mainly so that they could eat all they wanted and consume large quantities of wine and, quite possibly, pass out. The kitchens were accustomed to such behavior from him and Kendrick, though not four princes all in the same room, so they had brought up an enormous selection of food and were probably hoping not to be rung for.

“Hey!” Ronan stood at the window. “Hey, come look at this!” He pulled the curtain back farther across Keldrick’s window. He started laughing. “Two drunks down there, socking it out. Ooo – ouch!”

The four of them stood at the window watching the men near the end of the side courtyard, whaling on each other. They were really pounding on each other. Perfect entertainment for the evening! Keldrick mouthed down into another bite of his turkey leg.

A third lord in the courtyard stood about wincing and covering his hands at every blow. A stand-in, obviously.

The four of them laughed as the two men beat each other blow by blow. One of them picked the other up and dumped him on the ground. By this time, Dougall was taking bets.

Neither man had given up.

“They’re doing pretty good, maybe they’re not drunk,” commented Kendrick.

“Maybe it’s over a woman,” Ronan suggested.

“Hey – hey!” Dougall pushed the curtain farther back even more. “Hey – oh – you know who that is? That’s your father! That’s King Rhutgard down there! Wow, what a punch that one was!”

“What!” Kendrick immediately ran to the end of the curtains.

“Who? It is not!” Keldrick pressed himself against the glass.

Ronan and Dougall burst into uncontrolled laughter.

“Ow, that was a good one!” laughed Ronan.

“Oh, that one’s going to hurt, who’s that he’s with?” Dougall asked.

“Oy – that’s King Reaghann! And that’s King Rickstan with them,” Ronan noted. “Wow – your father’s still got it.” He laughed again.

“Not for long once Mother finds him,” Kendrick snickered. “Wow – that one is going to hurt - I don’t who’s winning.”

“And he tells us not to fight. What’s he call that, down there? The Eastern Shield, King of Romeny, out there, with the Hound, pounding on each other?” Keldrick snorted.

“Just wait ’til Mother sees him, all bloody and bruised up. She’ll throw him in the dungeon,” Kendrick scoffed. “Damn, good cross, Father! Way to give it back!”

“No, Mother won’t throw him in a cell,” mused Keldrick as he continued to watch the fight, “she’ll just have a portrait commissioned. ‘King Rhutgard Angus Firthing, After Getting His Royal Ass Handed to Him’ and she’ll hang it in the Great Hall.”

“It’s a pretty even match, actually,” Ronan said, and Dougall agreed.

“Well, it can’t go on forever. I mean, where is Stanyard?” Keldrick wondered.

“Oh, look, look, look – what is he saying!” Kendrick pointed.

“Rickstan’s breaking up the fight. Damn. Best entertainment I’ve seen in years. Look at him,” Ronan laughed.

Dougall sat back and laughed as well. “The Eastern Shield just got dunked in a fountain!”

“And the Hound! Wonder who started it,” Ronan wondered. “Look – Rickstan’s dragging them inside like children.”

“I will never forget that – the Eastern Shield and the Hound pounding on each other in the garden,” Dougall proclaimed.

“Nor will I,” Kendrick laughed.

“Nor I – who knew the old man had such a good right hook?” wondered Keldrick.

“That was a fierce fight – I wonder what brought it along?” Dougall asked.

“I want to see what the others do when they walk in like that…. Too bad we can’t be the wall’s eyes for that!” Ronan chortled.

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