The Miserable Prince and the Would be Wizard

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Chapter 17

Arric had been exhausted not only from being up all night but from the tension and the stress. Immediately after they’d eaten breakfast Mordi had shooed him off to get some sleep. Blaise was also tired but his idea of snuggling up with Arric was thwarted by Mordi who showed him the guest room next door. Arric was out on his feet and fell on to the bed. He kicked his shoes off and was asleep within seconds. Mordi tucked his arm into Blaise’s and steered him out of the door

“Plenty of time to get better acquainted.” He said with a twinkle. “Arric needs a deep and prolonged sleep. He worked sixteen or more hours a day learning everything he needed to know to rescue you. Hugo and I were impressed by the sheer amount he was able to accomplish. He managed spells far beyond those a wizard at his level of development should have to handle and that places a huge mental as well as a physical strain on a person. Don’t worry if he sleeps the clock round.” He opened the door of the adjoining room “You make your self comfortable and when you wake up come and find me. We need to catch up on lots of things and I want to know all the romantic details!”

Blaise gave a rueful chuckle “There aren’t many details what with one thing and another but he’s a splendid person. I really love him.”

Mordi nodded “Hugo and I like him a lot. He struck us as a good sort right from the start. Now can you put yourself to bed or do you want Mordy Wordy to tuck you in?” He asked laughingly

“I’d love you to tuck me in and tell me everything’s going to be all right but I guess I can manage to put myself to bed.” Blaise responded with a laugh that ended in a huge yawn.

Blaise woke in time for lunch but when he checked on Arric he was still in a deep sleep. He spent the rest of the day with Mordi and Sir Hugo. Mordi was just as sympathetic a listener as he had been to the little Blaise’s troubles. Sir Hugo was inclined to think running an Inn was not the sort of thing he should be contemplating. He urged Blaise to consider his duty to the people of Alcheron.

Blaise sighed “I do but for the moment there’s nothing I can do. In any event the thing that will benefit the people of Alcheron will be getting rid of Karmella and Asgreen. That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to be King. They might be better off not having a King.”

“But they’ve always had a King!”

“That doesn’t mean they have to go on having a King. My father and great grandfather were good rulers but before that there were several who weren’t much better than Karmella when it came to running the country as though it was their personal piggy bank.”

Sir Hugo was not convinced but Mordi felt Blaise had a point “It is true. The people are at the mercy of the individual whims and personality of the ruler. When they’re good the country thrives but it’s very uncertain. Perhaps some form of rule whereby the King or Queen can’t turn the country upside down would be good.”

Sir Hugo nodded “In any event Arric’s got to spend time learning how to be a wizard and getting rid of Asgreen won’t be easy.”

Arric was woken by Blaise bringing him breakfast. He yawned and stretched and pushed himself into a sitting position. He shook his head over the fact he was still in his clothes and hadn’t even got under the covers.

“Have I really slept the clock round?”

“You have. Mordi said you would. Something to do with the fact they worked you into the ground so you could rescue me.” Blaise said with a twinkle.

“They didn’t really. I pushed myself as hard as I could. Nice dressing gown by the way. Is this the new look?”

Blaise gurgled with laughter “It’s one of Mordi’s. Anyway you look splendid in a robe so I thought I’d join in.” He put the tray on Arric’s lap and sat cross legged on the end of the bed.

“I didn’t realise you knew them.”

“Oh yes. When Mama died Papa did his best to look after me but he was often busy with the Kingdom so Mordi filled in. He’d tell me bedtime stories and play with me. He made me laugh so much. Looking back I can see that he was endlessly kind and never minded making time for me though he must have been just as busy as Sir Hugo and Papa. I cried myself to sleep for weeks after they exiled him and Sir Hugo. It just got worse and worse. Papa became very ill and I hardly saw him and I had no-one to protect me from Letitia’s torments. Jed filled the gap a little bit and I spent hours riding my pony round the park with him. After Papa died I spent every moment I could riding.”

“It must have been awful.”

“It was lonely but when I was younger so long as I kept out of the way it wasn’t too bad. It got worse again once I turned eighteen and had the toadies foisted on me.”

“You’re out of it now and safe though I suppose we can’t foist ourselves on Sir Hugo and Mordi for ever.”

“They seemed to assume we’d stay while you were learning to be a wizard. Sir Hugo thought I should go back to ruling once we’d got rid of Karmella and Asgreen though he agreed that wasn’t going to be any time soon. Mordi agreed with me that getting rid of them didn’t mean we had to replace them with me but Sir Hugo’s a bit old fashioned, sort of once a kingdom always a kingdom.” Blaise laughed “Any way today Mordi is organising us a surprise treat and we’re all going on a picnic. So hurry up and finish your breakfast.”

“I could do with a bath and a shave.”

“So could I.” Blaise said with a wicked grin.

Sir Hugo glanced at the clock and harrumphed.

“What’s taking so long to deliver breakfast? It must be nearly an hour and I particularly wanted to talk to Blaise. Well both of them really.”

Mordi came and sat opposite Sir Hugo. He rested his chin on his hand and smiled “Hueey I do believe you’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in love.”

“No I haven’t” Sir Hugo protested indignantly “I get a warm, gooey feeling every time I look at you.”

Mordi’s smile widened “Exactly! A warm, gooey feeling. Time was when you looked at me you got a raging inferno of desire. We’ve been together so long it’s all settled down into comfy and cosy. Those boys are young and they’ve had a frustrating winter of being apart. You leave them to appear in their own good time.”

Sir Hugo reached over the table and took Mordi’s hand. He gave a rueful smile “You’re right of course but I still love you as much as I ever did. It’s just I’m old and tubby and the fires are more like embers these days. They need a good bit of stirring to get a blaze going.”

Mordi chuckled “I’m not complaining. We’re very happy pottering along in our own way. Passion inevitably dwindles and what takes it’s place is a deep, abiding, comfortable sort of love which also gives me the same warm, gooey feeling. And what was it you wanted to talk about that was so important it couldn’t wait?”

“This business of running an Inn. It’s an unsuitable occupation for a prince and a very talented wizard.”

“Hugo! I absolutely forbid you to mention the matter to either of them. Today or any time in the foreseeable future.”

“But Mordi it’s a complete waste of both their talents. Even allowing for Blaise’s strange ideas about electing a King he’s the best person for the job and Arric is going to be very powerful indeed judging by the way he’s progressed. They can’t just run some little tavern in a village. Surely you see that?”

“I do but nagging them about their duties and their potential is not the way to go about it. Blaise has had a miserable time of it at the hands of Asgreen and Karmella and Arric never had anything better happen to him than getting employment at the Drum and Monkey. At the moment their dreams all revolve round being together somewhere safe and for now that is a little country tavern. Just let them dream. In any event they’re going to be staying here with us while Arric learns about being a wizard. At the point where we’ve thought of a way of prising Asgreen’s fingers off Alcheron we can raise the subject again. Right now I’m more worried about Smitty. From everything Arric told us I’m just keeping my fingers crossed the wretched rodent doesn’t over reach himself."

“Mordi you are not just the kindest most handsome man I’ve ever met you are the cleverest as well. Without you I’d blunder about and make a terrible mess of things. How can I ever thank you for all you do for me?”

Mordi grinned “I’ll take a kiss for now and may be later we can stir the embers about a bit.”

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