Shards

NOTES: Good afternoon everyone! Thanks for stopping by to read the latest chapter of The Cursed King. Thanks to you lovely people, the blog is now very nearly at 600 followers, so thanks for joining the journey and reading these chapters. The feedback is, without exception, always constructive and supportive, so thank you to everyone who is contributing their opinions and giving this your time. You are all excellent!

As with many of us in lockdown, I do not have much to report from the ‘blog’ side of my life. It has been a week of binge-watching TV shows and working from home, but I must say I have been enjoying the sunshine, which seems to be sneaking its way back in August after the recent rain and general bad weather. My partner and I also hosted our book club last night, which was, as always, a lot of fun and consisted of around 10% reviewing the book and 90% catching up, eating chilli and drinking. Today though, I am sat on my sofa about to watch the FA Cup Final, hoping Arsenal can salvage something from this season! It would be great to know which teams you guys support and what sports you follow, so let me know in the comments.

This is *checks notes* Chapter Eleven of The Curse King, and today we are back with Nadir. Nadir has been settling into life at Harthlem whilst Stillius searches for his kidnapped mother, however Nadir is not just able to wait around for news, he is being put to work by Arkgodson Jerimeh, and realises quickly that he must play the political game if he ever wants to see his mother again. This is complicated, however, when Nadir is confronted by a name that causes him panic, anger and fear.

I hope you enjoy, and I’ll see you again on August 15th for Chapter Twelve!

Shards

Nadir III

Nadir had become used to being unnoticed within Harthelm. Never in his life had he been around so many people, and yet he felt like he didn’t know a single one of them. The castle and the city were like the woods in many ways. There were wolves, birds, fish, rabbits that were all frantically rushing around trying to survive – chasing one thing, whilst trying to avoid being caught by something else. Like the woods, Nadir had carved himself a quiet place where no one would bother him, and he was free to set his traps and claim his rewards.

Jerimeh had been kind to him, although Nadir had no intention of trusting his mentor. Stillius assured him that he would be treated well and that they would search for his mother’s whereabouts, but how could he even trust Stillius? What if this whole situation had been orchestrated so that he would be a slave without even knowing it? It seemed plausible to him until he remembered that Stillius and his Order had no affiliation to either Kingdom, and could have easily handed him over to anyone with coin during their journey. His thoughts still troubled him though. What if it was too late? What if this is all in vain and I’m just putting my hopes in the wrong people?           

He thought about escaping in the night, taking the road to where he thought his mother might be. He knew the name of Lord Garrison, perhaps there were people who could take him to his lands. These were only dreams, the musings of a lonely child looking for his lost mother. He knew he had to stay, to remain safe whilst Stillius and his men searched for him. Perhaps if Jerimeh informed Stillius of how good he was, they would search farther and longer, and not give up until they brought her through the gates of Harthelm and into his arms. That was the lasting image that remained in his head as he woke up from his sleep.

Nadir thought he had been doing well. Ever since Jerimeh found out that he liked to set traps, he sent him on errands to Silver City. Never alone, always with Effei or another of his trusted companions. Nadir would pass messages to different people in different buildings and then took these messages back. Jerimeh would read them, and if he liked what they said, which was almost all the time, he would give him coin and ask the kitchen maids to bake him something sweet. In all it was easy work. Nadir had a trustworthy innocence about him and was intriguing enough to look at to direct the attentions away from the fact that the handwriting on the notes was far too polished to be that of a common man. Jerimeh had also tried teaching Nadir to write, so that he could write the notes himself, but that was a slow process. He had no desire to read or write, it was not a part of his skillset, and not one he really saw it necessary to acquire.

Nadir had not been allowed in the woods surrounding Harthelm since he arrived. It was frustrating as he’d always had the freedom to roam through the trees in Ashfirth, and he wasn’t even allowed to run through the corridors of the castle, nor through the alleys in the street. Jerimeh explained that it was too dangerous, and Nadir was inclined to believe him. It had been three months since Prince Edward was murdered by Queen Lorne, and Jerimeh told him tensions were still as high as they had been before the last time the two Kingdoms were at war. Jerimeh hoped that King Aron would reach some agreement with King Aedvard to avoid the worst, but he was pessimistic. Nadir liked how Jerimeh didn’t try and hide the truth to protect him from it. Nadir felt as if he had already seen the worst of war, and had been alone long enough to understand how to deal with the truth.

On the day of Aedvard’s arrival to Harthelm, Nadir was awakened at dawn by Effei who shook him hard by the shoulders. Jerimeh was far gentler with him, he would open the window to allow the wind and noise to creep into the chamber, have a maid place a glass of water by his bed and tap his face softly until he came around from his slumber. Jerimeh was accustomed to treating those around him with care. Effei did not have Jerimeh’s aged wisdom, and was thus far more concerned with necessity, and the quickest way to wake up Nadir was to shake him until he was snatched away from his dreams.

            “We must prepare,” Effei told him. “King Aedvard and his retinue will arrive before sundown.”

            Although Nadir had been made fully aware of King Aedvard’s arrival in Silver City, it only cemented in his mind just how long it had been since he had seen his mother. It felt like the people had been talking about the meeting of the Kings for years, even though it had only been a few months.

            “I am to assist you today, Effei?”

            “For the moment. The Arkgodson is with King Aron and the vassals preparing negotiations, nothing that you or I are duly suited for. We are to organise the God’s Hall and ensure King Aedvard and his men have a suitable place to pray. We will see to it that their religious needs are met. Jerimeh did tell me he has a specific task for you this afternoon. Regrettably I am not privy to what this is.”

            Nadir did not care what his task was, instead he focused on the word vassal. “Who are King Aron’s vassals?”

            Effei scoffed, but not unkindly. “Why everyone in the Kingdom. Any man who owns one inch of land in The Hartlands owes fealty to our King Aron, but specifically, he will be meeting with his most-trusted Earls. His brother, Asher, Lord Grosvenor, Lord Garrison, Lord Reynard, and the like. I can imagine there should be almost a dozen in this meeting.”

            Lord Garrison. Nadir felt flustered, and his heart ran cold. He would finally be in the same city, even the same castle as the man who ordered the destruction of his village. The man whose men kidnapped his mother. He felt anger, but also a sense of relief. He wished he could contact Stillius and let him know, maybe he could speak to him, maybe he had influence with such a high lord. He felt compelled to tell Jerimeh, but then realised that he may not see him until the afternoon, and by then, the negotiations would be in full swing, and who would care about a serf and his missing mother? Nadir’s relief suddenly soured and in an instant Effei clapped his hands in front of his face.

            “Enough idle chatter and daydreaming. Wash yourself and meet me in the God’s Hall. We have a busy day ahead.”

            Nadir had never seen the God’s Hall so busy. Women and children were scuttling up and down the altar, between the pews, and in and out the great oak doors. Effei stood at the chancel, trying to direct his orchestra of chaos as servants brought in crates of supplies and decorated the hall. It did not take Nadir long to realise that these people had been gathered here not so much for the purpose of creating a welcoming environment for the noblemen of The Blacklands, but to keep them out of the way. Nadir’s suspicion was confirmed when he saw Sir Trevon sat on a pew by the door with his head resting on his shoulder as he snoozed. He looked at Effei and watched him try to untangle a child who had become wrapped in ribbons, and realised he too was unlikely to be missed if he left. After Nadir’s encounter with Sir Trevon, Jerimeh had explained how he used to be a knight of The Blacklands until he was sworn to protect Prince Asher during the peace. It had become well known though, that Sir Trevon had lost his way, and his status amongst Prince Asher’s personal guard had dropped considerably, though Nadir had never imagined his star had fallen so far as to be sent to protect The God’s Hall before the King of the Blacklands arrived at Harthelm for the most important peace talks of a generation.

            Nadir sauntered over to Sir Trevon and stood in front of him. Nadir had only ever been this close to one knight, Sir Robert Talford, who travelled with Stillius and his brothers. Robert’s armour was nothing like this though, this armour was clearly old, but still shone with timeless quality. It looked impenetrable, and so thick that it could sink a man to the bottom of the ocean in moments. Then Nadir leaned in to study the sword. There were intricate carvings on the hilt that he could not make out, there were symbols written that did not look like the ones he was learning to read, though perhaps he had just never seen them before. The steel of the sword was far younger than the armour. It glistened gently and had an edge as thin as parchment. Nadir felt an otherworldly urge to run his finger down the edge of the blade. Sir Trevon snored loudly and snorted.

Taking his time, Nadir reached out to the sword, but suddenly felt a hand clutch his wrist and he was being dragged away down the altar. “What did I tell you about idle daydreaming?” Effei scalded. “We have much work to do, and I do not have time to chastise you. Now, would you please take these banners with you on your way?” Effei instructed as he bundled the fabrics into Nadir’s arms.

            “On my way where?”

            “Oh, I completely forgot to tell you. You are to take these to the chambers of the King himself, Jerimeh will be waiting for you.”

            “The King?”

            “Yes, Sir Trevon will escort you.”

            “But Sir Trevon is-”

            “Sir Trevon is what?” A slurred voice came from behind the pile of fabrics that blocked Nadir’s view. “Come on, I want to get back to my drink.”

            It seemed to Nadir that Sir Trevon really was desperate to get back to drinking. He was trying to keep up with the gruff knight as he strode purposefully through the courtyard. It was not just the God’s Hall that was busy, it seemed that everyone who had any affiliation with the court had supplied people to help with the preparations. There were more guards than usual posted around the castle walls, and there was almost constant shouting from everyone. Nadir and Sir Trevon’s path was blocked by two men scuffling over who was to bring the stuffed pig into the King’s Hall for the feast.

            “Idiots!” Sir Trevon shouted before swinging a mailed hand at one of the men, just hard enough to knock him to the floor. The man looked slighted and indignant but did not dare retaliate. Instead he sent his angered glare towards Nadir, who promptly chased the knight along the path, looking over his shoulder to make sure the man did not try and take his anger out on him.

            “The people are excited,” Nadir noted, trying to slow Sir Trevon down through conversation. Luckily it worked, but too well, as Sir Trevon stopped in his tracks. The knight knelt on one knee and grabbed Nadir by the back of the back. Nadir could smell his stinking breath, but it was a smell that reminded him of how his home smelled after his mother had scrubbed the floors.

            “They’re not excited, idiot. They’re scared…anxious…they don’t know what to do with themselves so they’re putting their energies into thinking about anything else.” Sir Trevon rose back to his feet and continued walking.

            “Why are they so scared?”

            Sir Trevon scoffed. “You weren’t alive the last time there was a war, you wouldn’t even have been squirted into your mother by the time the final sword had been laid down. Most of these people know what happens when King Aedvard does not get his way, it was only King Eldrian, the finest king that these lands have ever known, who was capable of matching him, and even he had his share of luck. Aedvard is the most ruthless, cold-blooded killer King of a line that is full of ruthless, cold-blooded killer Kings. King Aron, I’m afraid to say is a puppy fresh from the womb, he has only known minor battles, small invasions, he knows nothing of true continental war.”

            “But if he spares the Queen, they won’t need to go to war.”

            Sir Trevon did not stop or answer him this time, he just walked faster and Nadir took to a jog to keep up. “You don’t get tired, do you?”

            “Eventually. I always get tired before the rabbits do,”

            “Ha! Lucky I am no rabbit then.”

They eventually arrived at the King’s Tower, which was guarded by two guards dressed in Royal finery who let Sir Trevon pass after a brief exchange of glances. Neither of them paid any attention to Nadir so they ascended the long spiral staircase to the top. There seemed to be twenty floors by Nadir’s count. Sir Trevon knocked on the door at the very top and it opened within seconds.

            Jerimeh stood at the door, and Nadir was relieved to see him. “Thank you for transporting him safely, Sir Trevon”.

            “Oh you’re welcome, I used to serve Kings, now I live to spend my days protecting little shits from local pig fuckers. Will that be all?”

            “You are dismissed, Sir Trevon,” Jerimeh said bluntly. Sir Trevon started his descent down the steps and Jerimeh ushered him into the room. “He is in a good mood today.”

            Nadir was shocked at how large the space in the room was. It must have surrounded the entire tower. There were leather chairs covered in furs, multiple flagons of wine set upon stools and oak tables, and behind a large oak desk, King Aron sat across from Prince Asher as the enormous portrait of what looked like an old King loomed over them both. The other lords and ladies were separated into different groups, talking urgently, and seemed to be hurriedly negotiating with each other. He did not recognise most of these noble men and women, but they were all dressed as he expected, covered in fabrics of bright and vivid colours with jewels in their ears, silver in their fingers and gold in the medallions around their necks. Nadir even saw gemstones colours of which he had never seen before, these were encrusted into goblets, tiaras and silver hoops that wrapped around the arms of some of the knights.

            Jerimeh took the crate of flags from Nadir and placed them by the door, then he ushered Nadir into the room, but the child’s presence had not been noted by anyone. The Arkgodson took him to a spare seat and sat down. Nadir waited for instruction, eager not to offend his friend. Jerimeh gestured to the flagon of wine on the table and pushed the goblet towards Nadir. Does he want me to drink? Nadir thought.

            “No thank you,” Nadir replied, hoping that was the right thing to say.

            Jerimeh chuckled. “I am not asking you to drink, lad. I am asking you to pour.”

            Nadir felt silly, but immediately grasped the flagon by its curved glass handle and hurriedly poured the wine into the goblet.

            “Easy…slowly, slowly…and quietly,” Jerimeh whispered the last word.

            Nadir tensed his arm and lifted the flagon slightly until the liquid flowed slowly and steadily into the goblet.

            “Did you ever notice when you were in the forests catching rabbits,” Jerimeh started before lifting the goblet to his lips, “that you saw more when you walked than when you ran?”

            Nadir thought for a second. He never really noticed much in the forest. He noticed good hiding places, good places to set a trap, places where he could find water, but then he remembered his first night running away from Ashfirth. From his mother. He did not remember seeing anything. He could not recall what trees he past or what direction he went. Nothing. All he could remember was the smell of smoke that stuck to his skin for days, his mother struggling to resist the knight who restrained her, the heat on his face from the flames of Enid’s hut.

            “Yes.”

            “Well that is what I need you to do now, Nadir. I need you to linger for some time. Take in your surroundings, pour slowly and deliberately whilst paying attention to what you see and hear. Do you understand what I am asking you to do, Nadir?”

            Nadir nodded.

            “Wonderful. Now, go and catch some rabbits”.

**

            Nadir was shocked at how easily he drifted in and out of conversations. It was like he was invisible. Nobody cared he was there, and nobody cared if he was listening to them. Each goblet took him almost half a minute to pour, which gave him ample time to soak up the conversation. Sometimes he was shooed away, others allowed him to hang around a moment or two longer, but Nadir learned quickly that he could spend more time listening to the more interesting conversations if he lingered around the tables nearby. It was harder to hear, but he could still pick up the gist of what was being said.

            It wasn’t long before he came upon the largest and loudest table of the bunch. Surrounding the table were all brash, ageing men. One man caught his eye straight away, he towered over the others and had sharp, chiselled features, his hair was greying, but it was silvery and cropped short. His voice was dignified, but the sound was dense and purposeful. Everything he said pulled everyone into silence. Opposite to him in position, and Nadir noticed, in manner, was a shorter, fatter man with long, curly auburn hair and a thick, red, beard down to his sternum. He spilled the wine from his goblet, shouted and guffawed, which drew laughter from his men, but looks of derision from the other lords. The third man at the table was older than the silver-haired man and shared much of the same features. He too had grey hair cut short, but his face was wrinkled, his eyes were tired and his face was covered in rough grey stubble.

            “Talford, how is your youngest, Robert? I hear he is under Hardwick’s command in the city guard?” The fat, red-haired lord said.

            Nadir’s ears immediately perked. He remembered the name Talford. Sir Robert was tall, and so was this man. He thought that he must have been either his father or his grandfather, but Nadir could not be sure. He snuck in beside the younger grey-haired man and began pouring the wine.

            “What Robert does with his days is no concern of mine. I am far more concerned with your sons and their raiding of the border, Garrison.” Lord Talford responded.

            The name was a spear through Nadir’s heart. He started to shake and spilled the wine slightly before retrieving it and turning to a different table. The men were too concerned with the tension to notice a few drops of wine. Nadir waited a moment before he looked up and saw a lady gesture for him to go to her table. It was close enough to Garrison’s table and he could still listen. He tried to regain his composure and poured slowly.

            “They are grown men, some of them are knights, am I to be held accountable if they want to raze a few shit-stained homesteads?” Garrison retorted, trying to keep his tone light.

            “You do not have border towns in your Earldom, Garrison, so I am sure you cannot understand how this affects those of us that do. These people fight back, and you’re not the first ones they’ll come for. And all for what? A few slaves who hate your guts and a couple of young girls to warm your bed? Villages in Bankwater and Ayden. That’s two Earldoms you’ve angered. We’re trying to prevent a damn war, not cause one, and I know that those moronic children of yours would not have acted without your instruction, or at the very least, your approval.”

            Garrison slammed his goblet on the table so violently that a flagon of wine smashed onto the floor. Both men got to their feet in an instant. The commotion stunned the chamber into silence, but before Garrison could retort, the younger grey-haired man grasped the Earl’s wrist. Nadir looked across to King Aron and Prince Asher who looked on sternly.

            “Lord Garrison,” the man said calmly, “please be seated”. The Earl, still seething with anger, looked up at him for a moment, trying to catch some weakness in his eyes that he never found. Lord Garrison took his seat slowly and reluctantly. “Lord Talford, if I may ask the same of you”. Although it was presented respectfully, it was clear that this was a command and not a request. The older man was far more dignified in taking his seat. The younger lord turned in his chair. “My apologies Lords and Ladies, my Prince and my King. We are tense and wrought with anticipation today, you will not hear from us again until our King requests.” He turned back to the men, and the chamber soon returned to their own conversations.

            Nadir was still shaking as he picked up the large shards of glass in his hands, trying not to cut himself. He did not know if he was meant to be cleaning, but it gave him more time to listen to the conversation. All he wanted to do was to take one of the shards in his hands and stick it in the fat Lord Garrison, and he felt the tears well up behind his eyes. He has my mother, he knows where she is, he thought. But he felt powerless, he could not tell them he was a refugee from The Blacklands, his screams and cries would not be acknowledged, it would be easier to simply kill him and toss him to the wolves. He had to wait. He had to wait for Stillius or Jerimeh, he had to listen and exchange whatever information he gained.

            “Please accept my apologies Lord Grosvenor,” Lord Talford said.

            “You have not had an easy few months, my lord. You are forgiven.”

            “Lord Garrison, do you have anything to say?” Lord Grosvenor asked.

            “I sat down out of respect for you, my Lord, and for my outburst I am sorry. Though I will say to Lord Talford that this is why King Aedvard feels he can ride into the heart of our Kingdom whilst we are on the brink of war, because he does not fear us. He does not fear this Kingdom and …” Lord Garrison lowered his voice to a whisper, “… he does not fear our king.”

            Lord G rosvenor turned on him sharply. “You dare say such a thing in the King’s own tower,” Grosvenor yelled in a whisper. 

            “I sent my boys to set ablaze those villages because nothing else was being done. It was a stalemate; the Earldoms were stepping on eggshells. Now, we have a plan to move forward, now we are pulling together and taking this war by the scruff of the neck. It was inevitable as soon as Queen Lorne put that blade to her boy’s throat. We needed to draw first blood.”

            Nadir wrapped the shards up in a handkerchief and slowly walked away. He drifted in and out of bodies and staggered towards the door. All of a sudden, Jerimeh stepped in front of him and hoisted him up and onto a table. Nadir could not hear anything, his mind felt distant and his eyes drooped. He looked down and saw that his hands were crimson, his blood was dripping to the floor and Jerimeh was desperately picking out shards from Nadir’s hands.

            “What have you done to yourself lad?” Jerimeh’s voice bounced around his head, but the sound landed nowhere. Nadir remained silent. He stared over the tables, but soon his eyes became blurry with tears. He did not sob. They were as silent as his lips, but they filled his eyes. He went to wipe them away from his face, but Jerimeh had a grip on his wrists. “Don’t move, some of these shards have cut deep. Did you not feel them, lad?” Once Jerimeh was satisfied he had plucked the last shards of glass from his palms, he grabbed two flags from the crate by the door and wrapped them around Nadir’s hands, so tight that Nadir winced with pain. Suddenly, he realised just how much damage he had done. There was a trail of blood from the table to the door and Nadir and Jerimeh were covered in patches of it. Nadir felt dizzy, but Jerimeh seemed satisfied that the flags had done the trick. “You will see my healer right away, I will take you myself.”

            As Jerimeh walked Nadir to the door, a figure appeared in the doorway. Nadir had seen the King before, but he had never been this close to him. He was a tall man with a great shiny brown beard and a thick head of long, curly hair. He loomed over Nadir and made Jerimeh look all the frailer. King Aron’s eyes were drawn to the flags around Nadir’s hands and the blood that had stained his floor.

            “My king, I can-” Jerimeh began.

            “There is nothing to explain, your worship. I have seen this boy, but I have not yet been introduced.”

            “Of course, your grace. This is Nadir, he has been helping Effei and I in the God’s Hall.”

            “How are you keeping, Nadir?” Aron asked.

            Nadir’s head was a mess. He was still dizzy, he had only just realised how painful his wounds were, and his brain still fizzed with anger and sadness. “Well, your grace, thank you.” He finally answered.

            “Nadir was cleaning up Garrison’s flagon, and caught himself on the glass, your grace. I will have this all cleaned for you. I do apologise most sincerely.”

            King Aron raised his hand in protest of the apology. “It is fine. What kind of king would I be if I shirked at the sight of a little blood? Jerimeh, get this boy to a healer quickly, and when you return, I would like a moment with you before we begin proceedings.”

            “Of course, your grace.”

            “Very good. It was a pleasure to meet you, Nadir. Continue keeping well.” King Aron slinked back into the crowd and continued talking with the Lords and Ladies.

            “Are you in trouble, Jerimeh?” Nadir said as they walked through the door of the chamber.

            “Perhaps,” Jerimeh answered. “But no more than he. No more than any of us.”

**

            The healer was much younger than Nadir had expected. He looked ten years younger than even Effei and had bright blonde hair the colour of a candle flame. The healer joked with Nadir and almost made him forget about Lord Garrison. His name was Arthur Poundchurch, and Nadir was instantly comforted by his manner. Jerimeh returned immediately to King Aron’s chamber upon setting Nadir down on the table. Arthur had immediately given him some tea, which he had to carefully tilt into Nadir’s mouth. Then, Arthur unwrapped Nadir’s hands and did not seem at all concerned by his cuts. He tutted for a moment and then dipped Nadir’s right hand into a blue liquid filled with powder that stung only slightly. By the time the healer had properly wrapped Nadir’s hands in bandages that still allowed him the movement of his fingers, Jerimeh had returned from the chamber again. He smiled at Arthur and gestured for him to give them a moment alone.

            “I’m sorry, your worship,” Nadir said solemnly, his head now clear.

            “What on earth are you apologising for, Nadir?”

            “I didn’t do what you asked me to do, I didn’t hear anything that I could tell you that you don’t already know.”

            “Don’t worry about that, we will have more opportunities. I am worried about you, since Lord Garrison smashed that flagon, you’ve been somewhere else entirely.” The name made Nadir wince. He felt his brow furrow and the blood inside his veins boil. Jerimeh noticed immediately. “Did he say something to you?”

            Nadir sighed. “Not to me. He…he was the one who sent those men to burn my village down. His sons were the ones who did it. He has my mother somewhere, I know it, but there is nothing I can do about it.”

            Jerimeh shook his head. “Lord Garrison is a belligerent and callous man, lad, I will not lie to you. It will be hard to find out for sure if he has your mother. King Aron trusts him, and will not allow me to investigate what, to him, would be a small matter.”

            Nadir scoffed. “King Aron shouldn’t trust him. Lord Garrison told Lord Grosvenor that no one fears King Aron and that’s why King Aedvard is coming here.”

            Jerimeh could not hide his shock. “Lord Garrison said this? I do not believe it. What else did he say?”

            Nadir saw the concern in Jerimeh’s eyes. He looked down at his bandaged hands and his rage burned even stronger. “He said the King was scared. He told Lord Grosvenor that he didn’t think King Aron was fit to be the king, and that he should be replaced,” Nadir lied.

            “Who on earth did he say should replace him? This is important, Nadir. You must tell me the truth!” Jerimeh pleaded.

            Nadir thought for a moment, but he was still a bit dizzy and could not remember the names of anyone in the chamber. He just remembered the King’s twin sat opposite him. His name was familiar, he thought. It sounded like his village.

            “Ash…I forgot…something Ash…” Nadir mumbled.

            “Prince Asher?”

            “Yes! That was it. Lord Garrison thinks Prince Asher should be King instead, because he isn’t scared of King Aedvard.” Nadir lied again, satisfied in his condemnation of Lord Garrison.

            “I do not believe it. This is a scandal. This is treason. What else did you hear?”

            “Nothing,” Nadir told him. “After that they talked about razing Ashfirth and that’s all I could think about. Then I just remember you wrapping up my hands. “Did I do something wrong?”

            “Not at all, lad. You have done exactly what I have asked.”

            “Are you going to tell King Aron?”

            “Not yet. The last thing our King needs is to deal with the treachery of one of his most important Earls. No…I will investigate this further. Perhaps Lord Garrison is privy to more than we know. Perhaps I need to pay a visit to the Merchant’s District. Perhaps, Nadir…you can help me.”

            The bells of the God’s Hall started to ring. A stampede of footsteps echoed throughout the halls beyond the Healer’s chamber. Jerimeh pulled open the door and stopped a passer-by.

            “What is it?” Jerimeh asked.

            “It is King Aedvard, your worship. He has arrived in Silver City,” the man said before rushing off.

            Jerimeh looked towards Nadir. “Come with me, lad. We have work to do.”

Published by beyondthecryptsandcastles

I am an aspiring author from York, UK, and this blog is a place for me to post the chapters of my book; The Cursed King (working title). The Cursed King is a medieval fantasy novel set in the fictional continents of The New World and The Old World and details the lives of characters, rich and poor, old and young, in their quest to navigate their war-torn homelands. I post a chapter every two weeks and absolutely crave feedback (both positive and negative) from readers and writers alike. If you are reading this, then it is YOUR opinion I want, and will also reciprocate with other aspiring writers no matter their genre or content. I hope you all enjoy these chapters and please feel free to send me a message or comment on a post. I look forward to speaking with all of you. Thanks for stopping by!

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