Peacefully, in his sleep-like. He blew a belch threw his lips. Or… was that, in his sleep, peaceful-like. Dordonas thought that sounded better. Somehow. He was stumbling, almost fall-down drunk on shitty rum. He tripped over his own foot and laughed. There was no such thing as shitty rum. Ha ha!
Really, Dordonas knew he shouldn’t be here on the grounds of Pikes Keep. But he’d snuck in the way Harv had snuck him in these last few weeks, where guards rarely patrolled.
He should be back with his niece, watching over them babes. Now they was out of the enemy’s eye, they actually slept better, he thought. Odd, or no….
But a day later, just a day after seeing him and Harv was gone. Dordonas remembered Harv as a little lad, running about screaming, with a huge grin on his face, as if he knew one day he would rule a nation, go to war….
It was that memory of Harv that he kept in mind, that little seven-year-old lad running all around the terrace, full of laughter, that tortured Dordonas now.
Finally, he stumbled his way through the shadows of the looming, moonlit hedges to the back of the castle, where Harvick’s rooms were located. Dordonas stared out at the green where just days ago, he and Harvey and had toasted, “To Family.”
And that was why he’d come all the way here.
“One last toast, mah boy, ya good lad, you. One last toast, to family,” he whispered. Dordonas leaned against the spruce hedge behind him and raised his bottle of rum for a few moments, envisioning all the memories of Harvick Goddard, from his birth to his Coronation, straight through to just nights ago. A few tears trickled down his face. Then he gulped down several more swallows of rum.
“Ahh,” he winced as it burned on its way down. He wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
Something caught his eye. To be sure, his mind was so sodden and blurred right now, if his hand caught his eye right now, it’d be a good thing, for suddenly that walk all the way back down out of the hedge rows was a long one with his legs all jelly-like.
But what was that on the terrace, there, in the moonlight?
That was men. Royal Storden Guards. With buckets. They was splashin’ water there on the terrace. Well, wasn’t that a gardener’s duty? One of them scratched at the cement with a boot and shrugged.
Finally, they left.
Dordonas looked up above the terrace. Those had been Harvick’s chambers. All the windows was dark now. He snuffled and looked around. No guards. Of course not. No King.
Dordonas stole onto the terrace to have a look. The puddles of water were… he looked up. Right below a balcony in Harvick’s chambers.
Dordonas leaned upon his knees to look about in the water. He knew if he knelt or sat, there’d be no getting up.
What the bloody fuck was that….
In the crack of the terrace there….
Dordonas threw caution to the wind and knelt down on one knee. He looked real close.
He pried it up out of the crack and, with a lurid fascination, studied it.
Bloody fuckers. Those bloody fuckers. It was Harv’s hair. His hair and his scalp.
Dordonas was suddenly as sober as he could be. He looked at the water. The white circle of the moon reflected in the puddle, but the water itself sat upon… dried blood. King’s blood.
He knew it. Harv hadn’t died in his sleep peacefully. He’d died right on this spot, and here, in Dordonas’s hand, was proof.
He needed to get back to the estate and move those boys immediately.