Because Alazare spent so much time lurking near Nightway Bailey, a few squires and some younger knights began asking he be their sparring partner. Word quickly spread of his great skill and ability to tutor. More and more of the young men came to train with him.
I don’t mind the diversion. It kept him in the bailey where he watched over Riaura. Allowing his mind to wander from his fears for the knights.
Like where Raese may be, if he’s still alive? And what Chavias is up to now?
Or who he’s killing…
Today, Alazareth felt eyes watching as he did swordplay with Jacob, one of the more skilled of the NightGuard. The man was agile and fast but Alazar was better.
Centuries honing my craft.
Jacob’s already-impressive skills were drastically improving.
Alazar skid a glance sideways and saw a wiry man leaning against one of the columns near the castle entrance, watching them intently.
Alazar ducked another swing of the blade. Stepping sideways before parrying with a clash of metal. Allowing Jacob to recover before continuing the assault. It ended as it always did. With Alazareth winning by just a little, building the young man’s confidence.
He’ll train even harder now.
“Well done.” He slapped Jacob’s shoulder.
Sheathing his blade, Alazareth crossed the bailey to the man watching him. He recognized him instantly as one of Marod’s advisors.
Yuen. Alazareth already harbored some dislike for the man because he’d noticed how he watched Riaura’s movements.
Undoubtedly reporting everything to Queen Marod.
“You’re watching me.” He was not asking.
Yuen nodded and straightened. Dark clothes billowing around his bony frame. Clothes richer than his thin body needs.
A wealthy, withered creature.
“You’re quite good.” He nodded toward Jacob.
“I’m aware. What of it?” Alazar’s tone was cold.
What are you getting at old man?
“The Captain of the Guard has been ill for several months now. I’m looking for a man to serve the queen. A man with skill that could defend from assassins. A man with your skill should be fighting the rebels.”
To what end? He was already bored with this conversation.
“I wouldn’t defend the queen.” Alazareth said dismissively, turning to go back across the bailey. Uncaring how affronted the man might be.
But instead, Yuen seemed unsurprised. “It wouldn’t be just her you’d be defending…You’d be protecting her daughter, the princess, as well as Nightway, itself.” He made a grand gesture.
Alazar’s step paused. “But?”
What’s the catch?
“But you’d begin as a knight like any other, and work through the ranks.”
Alazar shrugged. “Who’s going to make me a knight?” His tone was doubtful.
Marod would never be that foolish.
“I’ve the ear of the queen’s primary advisor. I can suggest you for the role. To see if he will take you on.”
How is that possible?
“The queen does not knight herself?”
“She’d not hear of it.” Yuen said defensively. “She’s more important duties. Such things have been delegated to her wisest advisors.”
Alazar bit back a scoff. What royalty doesn’t promote their own?
Weak royalty. He recognized instantly. Marod.
“I’d be honored.” He said. Working hard to control his facial expression. Fighting the disgust creeping through him.
To care for Riaura.