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|This is a new book i have been working on for the last couple of weeks or so.||
Ronin summoned the council for the fifth time. He seemed very up tight as if something was bothering him. He tried to say what was on his mind but each time he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
At one time the council members would not have given it a second thought and would had enjoy the intoxication that followed the meeting. This time however something was different the air was stale with the stench of grief. The twelve members made there way to the large banqueting hall. The seven doors that gave entrance to the hall stood before them. You see in ancient times the doors were constructed for visitors. Each door has a meaning as to why that visitor came to see the king. On this particular visit the members decided they would enter through The Door of Equals. After all Ronin probably wanted advice, and the king only asked those who he thought were equals for advice.
The banqueting table was bare not even a basin with water for the council to wash their hands and face with. This was the first clue that things were going to change. As with every other kingdom there are hospitality laws set up by the order of druids. One that all the kings recognized was the right that a person who had arrived at your home, was entitled to wash his hands and face before anything was asked of him. Of course King Ronin was always praised for his hospitality.
This sight was most unsettling to the members of the council. Bran as always was the first to complain.
“Why must we be summoned out of our homes without so much as the hospitality we deserve?” Bran’s scowls was most unsightly, it was even said that his scowl could turn a rampaging troll though we know this isn’t true, nothing can turn a troll from its path.
The other members who were not so preoccupied with this fact had noticed Ronin slumped in his chair at the other end of the room. Ronin had raised his hand to silence Bran whose incisive complaining had worsened his headache. He would have to get Mitos the chief druid to give him something later for it.
“Will you if you please shut your mouth and open your ears for once Bran…” His voice was heavy with the weight of the years. Ronin had been serving as king for over forty years which was to long considering the kings before him had only served for about twenty. No one knew his exact age but most guessed him to be about fifty or sixty. Most thought it time he name his heir but the question was which of his many sons would it be?
“I have asked you all here for the last time…” Ronin paused, letting it sink in, Bran sighed with relief.
“I have spent the last year contemplating my sanity, and have found that since I must wonder to as if I am sane. That I am not in the state of mind I should be to rule over this land. That is why I have asked you all here to tell you tomorrow I shall announce my successor.” Ronin’s words were deafening to the members gathered including a serving boy who was passing with a tray of ale.
The boy stood slack jawed; Bran snatched a cup of the ale before the boy remembered his duties and hurried off again. Ronin looked to each member in turn, stopping on the pudgy face of Bran who had some how found some ale.
The king or soon to be former king smiled a boyish smile. Despite the public show of criticism he spun at Bran he was his favorite of the council. Bran was the most untouched by politics and the youngest of the group. Alarmed, Ronin remember not having asked the members to sit and quickly motioned for them to take their seats. The thought passed his mind to ask Bran as to why he had not complained about standing. But soon thought better of it.
Padraic one of the eldest of the council sat at the other end of the table facing his king. A look of bewilderment splattered on his face.
“I do not understand… Why would you give up your seat?” Padraic’s words had been on the minds of each of them but Padraic had said them.
The small lines on Ronin’s face rushed together forming small canals as his eyebrows raised and his lips parted. He closed his lips not sure how to answer such a question. His headache was not helping his train of thought either. His mind snatched at the answer and his lips parted again.
“I am not as young as I once was and I feel it in my bones… that is why it is time for me to move on. I do not make such wise decisions as I once did.” The truth hurt Ronin, he wasn’t young he would die soon. At least he had seen his grandchildren. And lived as long as he had.
Padraic was not so convinced as the other members. He doubted this was the reason. He had know Ronin since they were young he had been his friend for a very long time. He knew his ways but he wasn’t going to outright question him.
“Who will be the son you pick as your heir?” Padraic thought he knew the answer but what you think and what you know are two entirely different things.
Ronin was not quick to answer this question and took some time finding his answer. He was not thrilled at the thought of giving up the throne but it was his time. There was not a person in his kingdom that did not think so even most of his council was beginning to think they needed a new face to lead them.
“You will have to find that out tomorrow now wont you?” The boyish smile that had long been absent from his face crept across it once again. He knew which of his sons were best suited and if he were to tell the council his pick, there would undoubtedly be yelling and that would not help his headache. Ronin stood striating his clothes.
“You are all free to leave now…” It was more of an order then a statement. He had been bossing people around his whole life, it was a habit he would not lose too soon after he had retired from the throne. Ronin made his way towards his bedchamber where his wife already lay asleep. He slipped his green robe from his body as he laid down to rest.
“Tomorrow I shall be free of my burdens…” Ronin’s wife stirred next to him mumbling something about embroidery. He fell asleep with a smile still upon his face.
The first streams of light were flooding into the diminutive tent. Or at least what could be called a tent; it was no protection from the elements with hole punched in its leather hide. A man lay sleeping inside, his arms wrapped around what seemed to be a small silver dragon. The dragon’s eyes opened slowly his keen sense of hearing picking up the soft footfalls of a man. The dragon wriggled free, of his masters’ massive arms, jumping to his chest he begun to bounce up and down trying to wake him. The man who had been having a very pleasant dream brushed the small dragon aside. Again the dragon jumped on his chest this time digging his claws into the mans skin. His eyes opened and he let out a cry of outrage, in the flash of an eye he had the dragon’s neck in his hands.
“Why must we go through this morning after morning Nasto?” The man released his hold on the dragons’ neck; standing slowly he had to crouch in the tent being very tall almost seven feet tall.
“There is a man coming Conall…” Nasto’s voice sounded human. Then again the silver and white dragons were known for there shape changing abilities. Nasto stared at Conall as he slipped on his leather cowl and strapped his scabbard on his hip. Conall’s black hair reached to shoulder length. His drooping mustache was in the fashion the warriors grew it to identify themselves as the warrior class. The weather had been for sometime unusually cold and it called for heavier clothes.
The dragon took his place on Conall’s right shoulder. Conall stepped from the tent in time to see the man come out of the thick woods. Conall walked foreword slowly without so much as a hint of emotion crossing his face.
“You do know there are trolls in those woods? You are brave to venture through them.” Conall was almost two times taller then the man before him, though it had been a long time since he had seen the man he recognized him immediately. The king’s herald was stocky but a good tracker, give him a pair of dogs and he could find anyone within a week.
“Yes I know…why do you think I have no dogs?” The heralds face was grim and he spoke through clenched teeth. There were only a few men who could escape a troll and it appeared the herald was one of them, although he barely escaped with his life. “The king requests your presence tonight. It is of the most important business.” Nasto flattered his wings becoming restless. This was a boring conversation between mortals. He would rather be off flying. But he was obligated to stay by his master after all Conall had raised him from the egg. By comparison Nasto was small to other dragons but his attitude made up for that. He was a young dragon not more then twenty summers old just as Conall is about that age as well.
“I suppose I must attend, very well then.” Conall dismissed the herald with a wave of his hand, and set to packing his tent. Nasto flew to a nearby branch to watch him as usual. Conall was quick to pack and soon had his tent folded and strapped on his back. He began to walk to the tree line stopping to let Nasto fly to his shoulder.
“Are we really going back? I mean after so many years…” Nasto was flying to Conall’s shoulder before he had stopped walking. Nasto was settling himself for the journey when Conall answered.
“Yes why wouldn’t we? That herald came all the way out here to find us didn’t he?” The dragon shrugged and dug his claws into the thick cowl.
“Well were ready I suppose we should reach the castle before dark if we don’t stop…” Traveling was what Conall liked to be under the sky and around the lushes green trees. But he would once again be under a roof; he should take the opportunity he was summoned after all.
Ronin was watching over the servants who were continuously bringing plates of boar, stag and any other kind of meat you desire. The food had been cooking all day even beyond the hall you could smell the alluring sent of it. Ronin had been becoming increasingly nervous afraid all of his sons might not show. Supervising kept his mind off of it and also keep him busy. The time was growing nearer for the guests to arrive. Soon Ronin would have to take his seat at the head of the table, the table was set and all left was for him to take his seat.
The festivities had been going on for only a few hours. Already Ronin was worried his son might not show. The people gathered were increasingly becoming restless, and full no doubt from the endless platters of food streaming from the kitchen. Ronin decided it time whether his chosen son was here or not to announce his retirement and tell his people of the son that would replace him. He stood slowly from his chair waiting for a servant to hush the crowd in the banqueting hall. In all his years he had become accustomed to being waited on and did not think his voice should be wasted yelling at the masses. All had quieted all but Bran who never shut up.
“Today is sad for some, but others of you who are as old as I you may be grateful. I know some of you believe you have put up with me for to long, this of course has occurred to me and I think this is so as well.” Ronin glanced to the doors almost after every word. Expecting his son any minute to walk through the door in some flashy entrance. Maybe he was not the best choice after all… All these thoughts where quickly abandoned when all eyes turned from himself to the door where outside it seemed two man were arguing.
“Danmit, Nasto you can’t come in with me…” Conall was partly exhausted and very agitated from his journey some twenty miles away.
“I should be able to come in I am as good as any of those dogs in there feeding on table scraps” Nasto was actually referring to the humans but Conall, choosing to ignore this he decided Nasto was talking about the actual dogs that the king had to clean the scraps that fell while his guests ate.
“Fine you put up a good argument... I suppose you could accompany me into the hall, but no shape changing I don’t want you meddling in my family’s affairs.” Conall sighed knowing he shouldn’t give in so easily but Nasto had that affect on people.
Conall stepped through the door of new beginnings seeing as he meant to make up for all the years gone, on a boy’s foolish adventure. This of course a story to be told another time. Ronin’s eyes as well as everyone else’s eyes in the hall except of course Bran who had somehow found the desert saved for later in the evening. He was stuffing his face full of the pastry that was once adorned a silver plate. Conall had expected to be stared at by a few people but not the whole room, including his father who seemed to be addressing this mass of people.
Conall noticed how old his father had become with only being gone for 3 summers, and suddenly begun to realize why he had asked him to come back, and on urgent business.
“Son, come stand by me I was just getting to the part of my speech that involves you…” Nasto was staring at Ronin who it seemed was addressing Conall. Conall slowly,
walked towards his father.
“As I was saying, I am not as young as I once was and I am sure you all agree, with this comes an obligation, an obligation to pass on my title. That is why my title must pass to, in my opinion my most experienced son Conall Tomorrow shall be the ceremony to show that he is worthy to lead you.”Bran who was still stuffing his face up until the moment Ronin had laid these words upon those gathered he dropped his pastry. Conall was to say the least astonished, speechless was more of the word. He was expecting this might happen soon but tomorrow… things were moving very fast even the room seemed to move. He would have to settle down no more of his once nomad life.