Golnar stirred the kettle over a low fire in his tower. It was almost unbearably hot, but he had to keep making elixir to make sure there was enough. He looked over at the shelves on his walls to see there were five shelves stocked with small bottles of gold liquid. Some of them made with his blood, many made with Teryn’s, and even a few with Camelia Belle’s. He needed more. There were many in the kingdom who would need the elixir to wake up the magic inside of them.
Their first gathering was less than a month away. It would happen at the start of summer festivities to be held at the Belle’s mansion. Camelia knew who to invite to take the elixir. She was very good at recognizing those with magical blood. She always had been. Her talent had increased since she had taken the potion herself.
Golnar finished stirring and put his large ladle down by the fireplace. He stretched. This batch would need to brew for a week before he could bottle it and start another. He thought about finding a bigger fireplace and kettle, but the potion was so precise he didn’t want to take any chances increasing the size of batches.
He walked over to a side table and poured himself some wine he had there. He was tried. He had worked many hours the past few months, trying to put everything in place. He sat down heavily in a chair in the middle of his room and laid his head back, closing his eyes for a moment. Besides working on the elixir, he had much to think on. His spies and shadows had lots of news for him this past week. He was expecting Till to come to him soon to talk it over. As if on cue there was a knock on the door. Golnar lifted his head up and opened his eyes.
“Who is it?” he called out.
“It’s Till, Golnar. I came as soon as I could.”
Golnar raised his hand and his door opened, letting Till into the room. Till walked over to the side table and helped himself to Golnar’s wine. He then plopped down in a chair opposite of Golnar’s, gulping his wine.
“That’s a lot of stairs to climb,” gasped Till. He had sweat beaded on his forehead. “In this heat it’s almost impossible.”
“Maybe for someone as spoiled as you, but I find them quite manageable,” replied Golnar taking a sip of his wine and then putting his glass down on the low table to his left.
“Maybe it’s the magic you have released in yourself. When will it be my turn? You said I have magical blood. Why not give me some potion now so I can unleash it?”
“I have plans for you. We will need to show those at the first gathering the effectiveness of the potion. You will take your potion in front of a large group at the Belle’s mansion during the opening summer ball,” said Golnar. “That way everyone will know it is safe to drink and will work.”
Till nodded. “Of course, that is good thinking. You are being careful with every batch, aren’t you? We need to make sure we have no accidents. This all has to go smoothly.”
“You do not need to doubt me. This is my life’s work, and I have as much riding on this as you.” replied Golnar.
Till nodded his head. “Now, why did you want to see me?”
“I have heard things. My spies and shadows have brought me much news this past week.”
“What have they been saying?” asked Till. He drained his cup of wine and put it down.
“There is a young king amongst the old magical folk. They say he is of the blood of Adalwen on both sides. He is a direct descendent of King Nathin. They say there is a prophecy that this young king will retake the throne of Regventus,” said Golnar sitting up straighter.
“Ah, well, now we know for sure. It’s not surprising. We have tried to stamp out the line, but we always knew that was going to be difficult. Do we know where this “king” is located?” questioned Till.
“Not yet. He is hidden well. We have spies amongst those who have met this king, but due to some very strong wards and enchantments, they are not able to give the location of many of the old magical communities where he may be hiding. They are all on high alert and have strengthen all of their protections. It could take a while to find them. Our spies only send birds now with messages. They are afraid if they leave, they will not be able to get back into their villages because of their intent,” said Golnar.
“Hmph, well we have time and plenty to do while we wait. Unless there are things we could do to lessen their strength from within. Could we get to the king through our spies?” asked Till.
“Possibly. There are ways to spread discord and mistrust. In confusion and chaos, we might be able to get to the king,” replied Golnar, thinking. “We know the forest in The Great Surrounding has long been rumored to hold magical folk. We might intensify our search there.”
“We could. Most soldiers don’t like being out there at night, but hopefully that will change once we start releasing the true holders of magic,” said Till. He leaned back a little in his chair. “There are those protecting the king, preparing him, I take it? You say he is young. I’m guessing his parents are dead if your shadows have been doing their jobs all these years. Is he staying with relatives or someone else?”
“The kings and queens of old always had protectors from the family of Raya. If the line of Adalwen has survived, it can be assumed the line of Raya has as well. I will write my spies and find out what I can.”
“Can we trust these spies; how did you find them?” asked Till.
“My shadows helped me. There are always those who are looking out for themselves. I have promised these spies a place of power and security in our new kingdom. They will be rewarded if what they tell us is worthwhile, and they remain true. If they don’t, well, we can do away with them easily. I will tell them to contact you if you like. You can see for yourself if the spies are trustworthy.”
“So, we find out who is protecting this king, and perhaps we get to him through them. We could try to sway those protecting the king or just get rid of them,” said Till.
“It’s somewhere to start,” agreed Golnar. “Now, let’s talk about Lord Kedan.”
“He asked far too many questions at the last council meeting. I don’t know if our lady’s charms are enough to keep him docile much longer. Should we include him on more of our plans; let him know what he stands to gain if we succeed?” asked Till.
“It might come to that. It’s important that he becomes king. We will have to make sure and give him more duties and power with the title. Nothing large, but enough to make him feel like he is making the decisions himself. He likes to feel power. I think the title alone will go to his head,” replied Golnar.
He held out his hand and the decanter of wine flew into it. He poured a little more into his glass and held it out, offering some to Till. Till shook his head.
“Lady Teryn will also be queen. We could start including her in council meetings when she has her new title. She can help keep Kedan occupied. We need to make sure she knows his safety depends on it. She might like the title and power, but she also has feelings for our lord,” said Till.
“Very observant of you; she is very fond of Kedan. His mother is another important ally. She will do anything to keep her son safe. She is a powerful magic user that has been released. I will make sure she spends more time with her son. Maybe get her to understand what is coming and what must be done,” said Golnar.
“Yes, that all sounds good. Well, I must be going. I have to get back to the viceroy’s manor for dinner soon. Message me if you hear anything, and I will do the same. Everything is going just as we like, Golnar. We don’t need anything getting in the way of our plans. By this time next year, we could have the city completely under the true way of the Ancients. We could already be spreading the way throughout the kingdom.” Till got up from his chair and started walking to the door.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It is better to do this right than quickly,” said Golnar as he got up and saw Till to the door.
Till nodded and put his hand on the door handle just as someone knocked. He looked at Golnar, and Golnar nodded. Till opened the door to find Lady Teryn on the other side.
“My lady,” greeted Till bowing. “What a pleasure to see you. I assume you need to see Golnar so I will be going.” He stepped aside and let Teryn enter the room.
“I’m sorry to interrupt anything. I just have a question for Golnar, but I can come back,” said Teryn.
“No, no, I was leaving. Good day, Golnar. Keep me posted. I will let you know if I receive any important messages,” said Till as he walked out the door, shutting it behind him.
“Good day, my lady. Would you like to have a seat?” Golnar noticed Teryn looked a little pale and unpolished. She had been making sure she looked completely perfect and put together every time she left her rooms since she had married Kedan. It seems she wanted to show everyone she was the Lady of Regventus.
Teryn nodded and sat in the same chair Till had vacated. Golnar sat across from her.
“Are you feeling alright, Lady Teryn?” asked Golnar. “If something is wrong, I can probably help you. I have many elixirs for different illnesses.”
“No, I’m fine. In fact, I think something wonderful has happened, but I want to be sure, and I thought maybe you would be able to help me,” said Teryn. Her cheeks blossomed red on her pale face.
“Well, what is it then? I am at your service,” replied Golnar.
“I believe I might be with child. I haven’t bled in two months and, these past few days, I can’t keep much food down. I want to be sure before I tell Kedan, of course. I thought maybe you might have the skill to tell me?” asked Teryn, her eyes on the floor.
“Ah,” said Golnar. “Yes, well, stand up, my lady,” directed Golnar. Teryn stood up and swayed a little.
“I’m sorry. I’ve felt a little faint recently. My aunt who raised me did tell me some things about what carrying a child is like, but she never said I would feel this awful,” said Teryn.
Golnar walked over to her. He could sense her powerful magical blood pulsating within her. He got very close to her and listened. He could hear something new, and feel something new within her. A different magic than her own. A powerful magic from someone else.
“May I place my hands on your abdomen, my lady? I mean no disrespect. I just want to check something,” said Golnar.
Teryn nodded and Golnar gently placed his hand over her stomach. Yes, there was something there or someone there. Golnar took his hand off of Teryn and looked at her.
“I do believe you are with child, and I believe this child will have powerful magical blood. I have read that this may make you feel quite ill at first, but you will get used to it as the babe grows within you. You need to take very good care of yourself. If Kedan is made king, there is a chance the title may be handed down kin to kin. This child could be the next King of Regventus.”
Teryn smiled and put her hands on her stomach. “Oh, how wonderful. I don’t mind a little sickness if the result is Kedan’s child. I will have to clear my schedule for a while. I hope Kedan won’t mind.”
“I doubt it. In fact,” said Golnar forming an idea in his head, “It would be good if he would stay with you for a while and take some rest as well. You never had a proper wedding trip. You should both go away for the summer. The summer festivities can go on without you. You should go to the River Valley. I believe there is a royal house there owned by the palace. It is on the river. You could spend a few months there together, quietly. Then come back this fall when you are past the sickness.”
“Do you think Kedan would leave? He takes his duties very seriously,” said Teryn sitting back down.
Golnar went over to one of his shelves and grabbed a vile full of clear liquid.
“I think if it is necessary for your health and the health of his child, he will go. He would do anything for you, Lady Teryn, if you ask,” stated Golnar, handing her the vile. “Drink this, and it will help a little with the sickness. You will still be tired and faint, but you will be able to eat and drink.”
“You are sure it is safe for the babe?’ asked Teryn taking the vile.
“Oh yes, quite sure. I want nothing to happen to this little one. I think your child will be very special, Teryn,” said Golnar. “Now rest a moment and go to Kedan and tell him the good news. I will confer with him tomorrow and reinforce that you need to get a way for a while. You will be resting by the river in no time.”