King Sondom III, from Claws of the Earth part IV

‘A pity,’ she sighed forlorn. ‘The grass always seems greener over the hill.’

‘At least here there’s peace,’ Reginald said sitting down and taking a piece of bread.

‘We’ve only heard rumours of the war at your end. Was it really terrible?’

‘Every war is terrible, milady,’ he said. ‘Luckily, we had a few good commanders.’

Three soldiers in full body armour appeared at the top of the stairs, shielding a young man in his nightgown and robe. Immediately Reginald got to his feet, as did the servant.

As he walked down the steps Reginald saw the same as he had seen in Mintor’s face and eyes; a young man far beyond his years. He stopped at the far end of the table, well out of reach of the sword on Reginald’s belt.

‘I am King Sondom,’ his clear voice said. ‘And you are….?’

Reginald bowed. ‘I am Reginald, sire, a  member of King Mintor’s house staff. He sends his regards.’

‘Yes, we had word that Mintor now sits on the throne instead of his weak father. Does that mean the war is over?’

‘Over, your highness?’ Reginald spoke, surprised. ‘It has only just begun.’ Slowly he opened the saddlebags and removed the letter from the secret compartment. ‘King Mintor wanted me to give you this letter, sire.’

He held the letter out. A guard took it from Reginald’s hand and handed it to the king with a bow.

King Sondom sat down looking at the seal carefully. ‘It is the seal of the kingdom of the Forests,’ he mumbled, somehow reluctant to break it. ‘Grebba,’ he called. ‘Can you bring us all some more tea?’

‘Your highness,’ she curtsied and left.

The seal broke with an audible crack and parchment rustled as it was unfolded.

‘Get me a candle,’ the king ordered.

He read the letter three times before he put it down and picked up his cup of tea with a deep worried frown on his face. ‘This man, this Evan Whitestiller, claims to be a god and is using magic to convince people?’

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