Beneath the Crown

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Chapter 17

Zasrus

I sat in the meeting room, at the head of the long stone table as the voices of the other fathers grew louder and louder. They all shouted and screamed at each other, one trying to out shout the other.

I turned to look out the window, not paying much attention to the men in the room with me, and saw all my children sitting on the grass with Ash and Connie. Laylar spoke of something with my son on her lap, while Ash and Connie did something with Tomlee’s and Asytar’s hair. I could see them smile, and laugh. The sun was beginning to set, leaving long shadows on the grass and turning the sky a faded orange color.

I lowered my eyes from them and looked at the floor, I would much rather be out there, with them.

“What is your opinion on this, King Zasrus?” One of the men in the room with me asked.

I let out a long sigh and looked at him, “I do not have an opinion.”

“What?” He said with a deep frown, “How can you not have an opinion on this? Do you have something more important to think about?”

Yes!

“I do not have an opinion, because I didn’t hear a word any of you said. You have sat here for the last three hours shouting at each other like children. So no, I do not have an opinion. And I won’t until you all can start behaving like grown men.”

I saw Lord Savnor and another of the men exchange a look before they turned back to me.

“You look distracted, King Zasrus,” He said as he looked out the window, “Perhaps you would rather be out there, with them, than in here, deciding on the fate of the kingdom.”

I would. I would give anything to do just that.

“I will make a decision as to the fate of my kingdom when I hear a logical reason to change the charter. So far, all I have heard is excuses and blame. So far, I see no reason the charter should change at all. It worked well enough for the last ten years, why change it now?”

“Well enough? Is that how you plan to teach your son to rule? That well enough is. . . well enough? This kingdom looks to its king to thrive. To prosper and to make the hard decisions. If you are not able to do that then-”

“Then what!” I shouted as I stood up, slamming my fist on the table.

The men all looked away except Lord Savnor. He stood up slowly, and pulled at the collar of his robe, “Then perhaps it is time you let the rightful king take the throne.”

“Raylon doesn’t want the throne. He gave it to me.”

“I was not speaking of Raylon. He abdicated years ago. That is not a decision that can be taken back or changed.”

“Then who will you have on the throne? My six-year-old son? Or perhaps you?”

He lowered his eyes from me and ran them over the other men in the room, “If you cannot and will not make the decisions that need to be made, then perhaps someone who is willing to make them should take your place.”

“Lord Savnor,” one of the other men stood and looked at him with wide eyes, “What you speak of is treason. My house will have no part in this. My king,” he turned to me, “House Gram-Naar does not support this way of thinking. We are, and always will be loyal to the Vara king. And that is you.”

I nodded my thanks to him, and turned my eyes back to Savnor, “You want a decision, Lord Savnor, here is one for you. The charter remains as it was. Your house will stay in second place, and until someone can give me a valid reason to change it, that is how I will sign it!”

I moved to leave the room, but paused next to Savnor, “And the next time you are so disrespectful to me, I will not only remove your house off the charter all together, but I will make sure there is nothing left of it at all. Do you understand me?”

He lowered his head, “Yes, King Zasrus,” He said in a flat tone.

“We will reconvene in a few minutes. I must clear my head. Have sensible arguments ready by then. If it turns into a shouting match like it did now, I will not entertain it for even a moment.” I said and left the meeting room.

My head was beginning to hurt. A low pounding starting in my temples. I called my brother through the com, “Raylon?”

“Yes, Zas?”

“The fathers have still not made a single compelling argument for the charter. How bad would it be if I send the army out and destroyed them all together?”

I heard him let out a sigh, “Very bad, brother. You knew this would be a painful process, and it would take time. But let’s not start another war just yet.”

“I have given them until tomorrow to show just cause for it to change. If they don’t, I will sign it the way it is, and be done with this.”

“You sound angrier than normal, brother. What else happened?”

I let out a long annoyed sigh, “Lord Savnor once again managed to remind me in front of everyone that I am not the true king. He said I should step down and let someone willing to do the task properly take over.”

His silence over the call made me smile. I could just picture how furious he was at that moment.

“Raylon, what if he is right? What if all this time, I am just a well enough king? What if someone else could do it better?”

“You are not a well enough king. You are a steadfast, kind and noble king that has made this kingdom thrive. And if Lord Savnor wants to speak of treason, perhaps I should remind him of what happens to people who speak against their king.”

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