Golnar sat at the large desk in the palace study just off the throne room, staring at the door. Till had asked to meet him there. He said he would have someone with him that Golnar would want to meet. Golnar hoped this meeting wouldn’t take too long. He needed to get back to reading. He needed to figure out how to control his magic in new ways. They had unleashed fifty-eight new magic users in the city, and he needed to figure out how to train them.
Golnar had put a hold on any other gatherings until he could come up with a way to do trainings. He was learning new things every day, but it was long, hard work. If his plan took a little longer to complete, it was no matter. It would be better to do things right and take time, than rush things through and ruin everything. Golnar had time. He had plenty of time. Regventus would become the kingdom he foresaw, even if it took the rest of his life.
He wondered who Till could be brining to see him. He hoped it wasn’t some fancy person from the first ring who wanted a favor. Without Lord Kedan there, Golnar sometimes had to play host and show favor to those who were valuable to the kingdom. He hated doing it. It was the only reason he missed having Kedan at the palace. Kedan was very good at handling the people.
Golnar had thought a lot about Kedan the past few days. He needed to do something about him soon. He hoped Teryn was keeping him well subdued on their trip. Golnar knew the title of king would go a long way to make Kedan happy and distract him from doing any actual leading. He had already put into motion the plan to make Kedan king. He believed he had support from almost the full council. It was enough to get it done. Those who didn’t like it could rant all they wanted. They would fall in line eventually.
There was a knock at the door of the study. Golnar raised his hand, and the door opened. Till walked in with a man, Golnar did not know. He was tall, blonde, and handsome. He looked no more than forty. His eyes were looking around the room. He had the look of someone who thought he owned any room he walked into. Golnar stood to greet his guest.
“Good afternoon, Till,” said Golnar. “Who have you brought with you?”
“This is Philo Quick. He is the man I’ve been telling you about. The one who has been in contact with us,” replied Till.
Golnar’s eyebrows lifted, and a smile formed on his lips. “Is it now. Good, good, welcome Mr. Quick, please come in and make yourself comfortable.” Golnar pointed to the two chairs in front of the desk. Till nodded, and Philo and Till each took a seat.
“I am glad you could join us here. Are you settled somewhere?” asked Golnar.
“I am staying with Viceroy Till at the moment. I have no complaints,” said Philo looking over at Till.
“You are most welcomed to stay at the mansion as long as you like,” said Till smiling encouragingly at the man. “I think you can be most helpful to us here.”
Golnar looked at Philo. “So, you are from an old magical family? Can you use magic proficiently?”
Philo nodded. “I have been using magic my whole life. I could demonstrate something if you wish.”
“No, that won’t be necessary right now,” said Till as he looked at Golnar. “I was disappointed your plot to kill the so-called king did not work out.”
“I was as well, but sometimes things do not work out as they should. I am sure you will have more chances in the future,” said Philo.
“Perhaps.” Golnar stared at the man. What can you tell us about the king? He is strong? How is his magic ability? Who is he staying with? Who is training him
Philo crossed his legs and took his time answering. “The king is a seventeen-year old boy who has only known of his magical ability for less than a year. He grew up in Clarton under the guidance of a stable master. He is living in a young woman’s household. She is the only survivor of an old magical family, one of the oldest. I understand he is being trained by her and his protector.”
“Ah, yes, the protector. I’ve read about the line of protectors. So, the line is still intact,” said Golnar, making notes. “What is the protectors name?”
“Ansel of the line of Raya. The king is staying in Keene Manor in Abscon. I can’t get you in the village, so don’t ask. I doubt I could find it now if I tried. They have many protections set up. They have been on high alert since the attack on Clarton,” explained Philo
Golnar made several notes, writing down Ansel, Raya, and Keene. “What is the king’s name?”
“Maxwell of the line of Adalwen. He is said to be a direct descendent of the original king, King Nathin, on both sides.”
It was quiet for a moment with the scratching of Golnar’s quill being the only sound.
“Good, this is helpful information. Now, you say you are proficient at magic. Are you willing to hold trainings for us?” Golnar finished making his notes.
“I can be for the right price,” said Philo sitting up straighter.
“What do you want, Mr. Quick?” asked Golnar setting down his quill.
“I want a large home in the inner circle of the city. I want my wife moved safely here soon. I want protection for my only child, Marcus, no matter what nonsense he believes in, and I want a place on the council,” said Philo, confidently.
Golnar studied the man for a moment. “I can give you a home, move your wife, and guarantee the safety of you son. For a place on the council, I will need to see you in action during trainings first. I would like you to start with some of our citizens of the city who have had their magic unleashed. I would like to include some soldiers I have identified as well.”
“I can wait for the place on the council, but I want it guaranteed if the trainings please you,” said Philo.
“What position on the council do you think you could take? The council is full at the moment. They represent the twelve lands of our kingdom,” said Till.
“Maybe a new position could be created. I will be training your soldiers. I believe I could be a good fighter. I am very good at magical dueling. You could put me on the council in a military position,” offered Philo.
“That’s an idea. We will have to see how proficient you are,” said Golnar.
“I understand. Of course, I also have a friend in Abscon right now who can give up information on the king. I would be glad to send messages to him and see what he has to say, with assurances of this military position,” said Philo with a small smile.
Golnar drummed his fingers on the desk. “I suppose your friend will want things as well.”
“Naturally. I am sure he will want protection for himself and his family and some sort of power. I can ask and find out for you,” said Philo.
“Very well. Let’s start with the trainings, shall we? Can you begin in two days? I can bring in twenty of our citizens and some of our soldiers,” related Golnar.
“I don’t see a problem if I am able to have my wife moved here within the next week. I have been apart from her for too long,” said Philo looking down at his nails as if he was bored.
Golnar shrugged. “It will be done. You will come to the throne room in two days. I will lead you to the ballroom where we will have lessons. You will start with teaching basic control, simple curses, and spells, and then move on to more advanced magic. Is that understood?”
“Yes, that will be fine,” said Philo nodding.
“You will come to my chambers after the training and work with me one on one. You will help Viceroy Till in his home whenever he likes,” ordered Golnar nodding towards Till.
Philo nodded in return.
“You will also write you friend and find out what you can about what’s going on with the king. If you are given useful information, I will guarantee your friend a place here in the capital with all the money and power he can stand,” said Golnar standing up. “Will that all work?”.
Philo stood up and took Golnar’s hand. “Yes, that all sounds very satisfactory.”
Golnar pulled Philo close to the desk. “If you betray us in any way you will be immediately terminated. Your wife will die, your son will die, and none of it will be swift or painless. Are we clear?”
Philo smiled slightly and nodded.
“Good. Now, I think we will be great friends. I will see you in two days’ time. Go wait in the throne room for Till. I want to speak with him.”
Philo walked out of the room and shut the door behind him.
“You trust him completely?” asked Golnar sitting back down
Till shrugged. “He risked a lot coming here. He did try to kill the king as far as we know. We need him and his skills. I think we have to trust him to some extent.”
“True, we do need him. Watch him closely. If he shows the slightest sign of betrayal, let me know.”
“If he betrays us in any way, I think he knows what will happen to him. Fear should keep him in line. He will stay with me for a while. It will take time to get him and his family a house anyway. I will have my servants watch him. We have much to gain from the alliance,” said Till.
“I’m not sure that man is afraid of anything he has seen here. Keep him close to you as long as you can. We have a lot to lose at this point. Go, take him home. See how well you can get to know him, Till. If he says anything interesting, let me know. I want to know everything I can about this man.”
Till nodded and rose from his seat.
“I will. I think this is a good thing, Golnar.”
“I hope so,” said Golnar walking Till out the door.
Golnar stood in his room with Philo Quick at his side.
Philo shook his head at Golnar. “No, you have to really think you can do it, believe you can. That’s the trick with magic. It works with your reactions. If you have doubt it will not work. Haven’t you notice when your angry or agitated your magic reacts differently?”
Golnar thought back to when he first received his magic. The power and elation he felt. He killed Bernot so easily. He hadn’t had power like that since then. He thought it had been the effect of the potion, but maybe it was the confidence and emotion he had that day.
“I have. You’re right,” said Golnar.
“Now try again. Knock down those books by raising your hand. Think about what you want to do. Think about why you want to do it; why you really want to do it.”
Golnar thought of the kingdom finally being the way he envisioned it. He thought about his mother dying of hunger. He thought of all the people who tried to push him down when he was younger. Golnar pushed his hand out and the pile of books set up on the table exploded in a flurry of pages.
“Well done,” said Philo. “I think we should leave it for there today. I can come back next week after the next training if you like.”
Golnar nodded. “Will you have a drink we me before you go?”
“Yes, of course,” replied Philo.
Golnar motioned for Philo to have a seat in one of his large chairs. He poured two glasses of wine and handed one to Philo as he sat next to him on the sofa.
“I think training went very well today. I think in a few weeks, the people we have gathered will be proficient magical users,” said Golnar taking a sip of his wine.
“They will know the basics a least. That might be enough for some of them. If you think any of them will need more advanced magic, we will have to have more individualized lessons. Perhaps with the soldiers? I could start next week meeting with two or three. It would be helpful to have some able fighters on hand.”
“That is good thinking, Philo. I have no objections,” said Golnar. “Though I hope we don’t have to fight too soon. I would rather build up our armies first.”
“I understand, but if an opportunity did arise, it would be good to be ready,” said Philo drinking his wine and looking at Golnar.
“What type of opportunity are you thinking of?” asked Golnar putting down his glass.
“You may not know this, but the king was actually in Clarton during the invasion of Aurumist soldiers. He had to be fetched away by his protector and that woman he lives with. What if we could catch the king outside the safety of Abscon? We could ambush him with proficient soldiers and be done with him.”
“He won’t go anywhere without his protector, will he?” asked Golnar. “I imagine he is a proficient fighter. Won’t there be guards as well?”
“It only takes one curse to end a seventeen-year old boy. It might be worth a shot if the opportunity comes up. I don’t think we should rule it out. We should keep our ears and eyes open,” said Philo draining his wine glass.
Golnar raised his hand, and a jug of wine flew into it. He refilled Philo’s glass.
“I think a military position on the council may do very well for you,” said Golnar toasting Philo. “Very well, indeed.”