Golnar sat in his tower. He had not left it since his visit from the queen. Food was brought to him. He managed to shuffle around and take care of his needs, but he had no desire to do anything else. He was defeated, and he felt weak. There was nothing that could be done for him. He had lost everything. She had taken it from him.
He had thought she was dead. Philo had said she was dead. When she walked into his room that day, he thought he must have been hallucinating. She walked in with no fear, wearing a crown on her forehead. Golnar had felt the magic pulsating off of her. He had felt fear overtake him. He had felt the pull to bow at her feet and ask for her forgiveness.
Instead, he had gaped at her and given her what she asked for. He had tried to kill her. He wasn’t sure why, he knew he would not be successful. What could he do against her power? He realized he was glad he couldn’t kill her. He didn’t want her killed. He realized he was glad she wasn’t really dead. He hated that he felt that way, but he did. He was glad the queen was alive.
Golnar chuckled to himself and laid his head back. What did it matter now what he thought? He might as well be honest with himself. He wished he had begged for the queen’s forgiveness. He wished she was there now so he could confess all he had done to her kingdom. He wished she was there to take his hand and help release him from this world. Golnar felt his eyes close. He had almost drifted off when his door busted open.
Golnar sat up slightly and looked to see Philo Quick and another man come into his room.
“Golnar, what have you been doing up here?” asked Philo coming over and looking down at Golnar. His eyes went wide. “What has happened to you?”
“The queen took my magic from me. It has left me week and tired. There is nothing I can do.”
“I still don’t understand how she could steal your magic? How is that even possible?”
“I don’t know, but she did it,” said Golnar looking at Philo. “You told me she was dead.”
“She should have been,” said Philo darkly. “I don’t understand how she has survived. It shouldn’t have been possible.”
“You should have stayed and made sure the job was done,” said Golnar. “You ran away at the first spot of trouble. You should have stayed and made sure she was dead.”
Philo’s eyes narrowed. “I did everything right. There is no doubt she should be dead. If I had stayed, I would have been vastly outnumbered and I would have perished.”
“Perhaps I was a fool to give you so much responsibility and power,” said Golnar sitting up. “You have done nothing but fail me again and again.”
Philo laughed. “You think you would have been better off without me? Where would you be without me training your army and the people of the city?”
“Further behind, maybe, but perhaps in a better position to do what needs to be done. It does not matter now, it’s over. What can I do? I will probably be dead and gone before long.”
“So, you are giving up,” said Philo. “Should I just put you out of your misery now? Maybe you would like another chance? Of course, if you think I will do nothing but fail you, perhaps I should just leave you be to die alone.”
“What do you mean another chance?” asked Golnar.
“Let me introduce an old friend of mine. This is Helmer. He served on the Ring for many years.”
Golnar nodded at the man. “If you serve on the Ring why are you here?”
“I served on the Ring. I was kicked off and out of Abscon by the so called queen. I am here for vengeance.”
“How do you expect to achieve this vengeance?” asked Golnar looking up at the two men before him. “Every time we have struck out at this queen, we have achieved nothing.”
“Helmer brings new skills and resources. He is a very gifted potion maker. He has experience with blood magic. He thinks he can help us,” said Philo. He took a seat next to Golnar and motioned for Helmer to sit close by.
“What could he do that we haven’t already done?”
“The line of Adalwen has claimed the throne of Aurumist for over 1300 years,” said Philo. “Ever since Regventus was formed by King Nathin, the blood of Adalwen has been the rightful ruler, no matter who else has lived in this palace.”
Golnar nodded. “Which means Miss Keene is the rightful Queen of Regventus. There is no changing it.”
“But there is,” said Helmer. “I believe there is a way to change the line of rulers from the kingdom.”
“How so?” asked Golnar.
“Using very old blood magic. Blood magic that was used even before King Nathin. Blood magic that was used in the time of sacrifices,” answered Helmer with glee.
“Helmer believes he can do this magic. I can take the line by force. All we need is the queen to sacrifice,” said Philo excitedly.
Golnar gave a hollow laugh. “All you need is the queen indeed. Do you really think they will leave the queen unguarded for one moment after you almost killed her? Do you think her protector will ever leave her side?”
“No, but Helmer has a way to send her to us somewhere, and even her protector could not stop her from going,” replied Philo.
Golnar raised his eyebrows. “Are you going to explain? How can you do this?”
“You see,” said Helmer. He pulled a vial out of his pocket filled something dark red. “I happen to have a little of Gryphon’s blood preserved from a few years ago. I can perform a spell that will send her right to us. It will take some time, but I can make it happen.”
“And then what? What will you do with her?”
“We will perform the sacrifice and transfer the line of rulers to Philo,” said Helmer. “He will become the true ruler of Regventus.”
Golnar shrugged. “I guess you might want my congratulations, Philo. Do this if you want. It will not affect me in any way.”
“But it can, Golnar. We will have an abundance of queen’s blood when we do this. If you come with us, Helmer can restore your magic after the transfer.”
Golnar felt his eyes widen at this. “So, you will be the king of the kingdom after all of this. Where will that leave me?”
“You will serve me as you did Kedan. You will be my advisor. I know you hold much influence on the council of Ancients. You and I want the same things. I will see your plan through and much quicker once I am the true King of Regventus,” replied Philo.
“And you,” said Golnar looking at Helmer. “What do you want for your trouble?”
“I want a place in the city of Aurumist. I want a seat on the council.”
“I suppose we could create a new position for you as we did for Philo.”
Helmer and Philo looked at each other. “There will be no need for a new position, Golnar,” said Philo smiling. “I already have one in mind for Helmer. The council will be mine to fill once I am the king.”
“And what position would you like for your friend?” asked Golnar.
“The head of the council, the Viceroy of Aurumist,” replied Philo happily.
“And what of Till?”
Philo shrugged. “I will get rid of him. I will send him out of the city. I will have him killed if it is necessary. What good has he done lately? He can’t handle the city. He has shown how inept he is. Helmer will be a strong leader for Aurumist. He will ensure the rest of the magical users in all rings are released. He will have no qualms dealing with the non-gifted. Isn’t that correct, Helmer?”
“No, I do not have a weak stomach. I can do what needs to be done to ensure the proper future for Regventus.”
Golnar looked at both men. He did not have a good feeling about this at all, but if there was a chance to regain his magic, he had to take it. Golnar sighed, ignoring the pit of worry and dread that sat in his stomach.
“Very well, Philo, you and your friend do what you need to prepare. Let me know when and where we will carry about this plan to transfer the line. I will be ready.”
Later that night, Golnar sat down on his sofa in room. He wasn’t sure how to feel. The idea that he could have his magic back was intoxicating, but something about changing the line of the rulers of Regventus worried him. He felt like it was something that shouldn’t be attempted. Golnar laid his head back on his sofa. He swore he could hear whispering coming from the walls of the palace. If he concentrated enough, he could hear it call out for Gryphon. He could hear it ask for its queen.
Golnar knew the dreams would come, but he didn’t care. He welcomed it. He wanted to be in the presence of his queen. He needed to talk to her. Golnar closed his eyes and sleep overcame him quickly.
She was sitting on the edge of a high tower of the palace, letting her legs hang off the edge. She was wearing a simple blue dress that matched the color of her eyes. Her hair was blowing wildly in the wind atop the tower. Golnar walked as far as he dared towards her, and she turned and smiled at him.
“Come sit with me, Golnar,” Gryphon said in a friendly tone.
“No thank you, my queen. I am rather afraid of heights.”
“I will not let you fall. You can trust me,” said Gryphon holding her hand out to Golnar.
Golnar did trust her. He carefully walked to her and took her hand. She helped him sit carefully beside her. He looked over at her as she smiled and looked out over Aurumist. She was breathtakingly beautiful. She was the most wonderful thing Golnar had ever seen.
“I think you wanted to talk to me, Golnar.”
“I did, my queen. I am very troubled,” replied Golnar looking out over Aurumist.
“Well, I am here. I would like to hear what you have to say.”
“I do not want to go on with Philo’s plan. It doesn’t seem right,” said Golnar looking at his queen.
“Then why did you say you would? If it feels wrong, you know you should resist.”
“But he says he can give me my magic back. I would do anything to gain back the power I lost.”
“Don’t say anything. There has to be a limit to everything. Everyone has their boundaries. I feel like you are crossing yours. If you do anything to get what you think you want, will you be able to live with it?” asked Gryphon kindly.
“I’m not sure,” replied Golnar. “I had such grand plans. I knew I was correct in the way things should go, but now I have lost my certainty.”
Gryphon looked out over Aurumist. “You have caused so much pain amongst my people, Golnar. You have caused so much pain to me personally. What have you gained from all this pain?”
Golnar hung his head down. He knew the answer, but he didn’t want to say it.
“What have you gained, Golnar?” asked Gryphon sternly.
“Nothing,” whispered Golnar. “I have gained nothing, my queen.”
“And what will you really gain if you go along with Philo?” asked Gryphon. “Be honest with me.”
“I will gain nothing, nothing really worth anything,” whispered Golnar.
“I think you know your answer then. I think you know what you have to do,” said Gryphon.
She took Golnar’s hand and held it. Golnar gripped it tight and felt tears come to his eyes. She was his queen. She was so good. He felt unworthy to even touch her. He had hurt her so many times, yet he could still feel the love for him she held. He did know what he needed to do, but he wasn’t sure he could do it. He held Gryphon’s hand and cried as everything around him went dark.