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D.T - King Abaron: Chapter 2

King Abaron: Chapter 2

Abaron and Bethany returned to the council room where all were quiet and waited for them. "Has anyone gotten any fresh ideas?" Abaron asked as he took his seat.

"No sire, I'm afraid we were more concerned with the surprising action of your seventh son and what we should do about it?" Charles, the head war adviser, asked.

"We shall take no action as where he is going no longer concerns us. He has made his decisions and must live with them. Now then let's move on, time is not on our side for if the people of Evercain hear about that wish they will flock to the tower and attempt to climb it. I'm sure most will die before ever getting half way up or give up before that, but there are notable and powerful knights and magisters there which could make it up if they had a considerable force backing them.

"So we need to find a way to get a battalion of our own men in there, naturally I would be leading them. So does anyone have any thoughts on the matter?"

The room was silent for a time until Torrith spoke up, "Any attempt we make to invade through their gates in the wall is futile as they have proven they can repel us quite well. And I heard Kantor tried invading from the forest, but that area is just as well defended. So with those two options out why not just take some ladders and climb over the wall with our men?"

"The Kantor knights tried that many years ago before you were born," Charles said. "They have sentinels atop the wall that could spot you a half a mile away and once they do countless archers can converge in minutes and shoot you down before you or your men even reached the base of the wall to try it.

"And if you try that in the middle of the night the issue of getting down still eludes you. Not only can you not see but carrying an extra ladder up there to lead you down is impossible. Trust me boy going atop the wall is the hardest way, and with only two gates that have proven un-breach-able there is no way into Evercain when going through that damned wall."

They went back to their silent thoughts for a time until Abaron spoke up, "What about sailing around the wall and invade from the north?"

"It can't be done sire," Borren, the financial adviser said. "Ever since our port was burned down by the rogue company after our defeat at the River Meza-"

"No doubt the work of king Aldon hiring mercenaries to do the dirty deeds for him." Charles interrupted.

Borren glared at Charles for an instant then went back to his explanation. "Anyways after that we had been slow to rebuild the port as it was never on high priority and our funds were never sufficient enough. We have of course a few small trade ships, but those cannot carry more than half a dozen men each including the captain."

"So we can't enter Evercain by force, we cannot sneak around them and enter from the north. Is there anything we can do then, something rational at least?" Abaron asked, his voice carrying his frustration clearly.

Everyone looked down at the table, they had no more answers or solutions. After several minutes of this Abaron slammed his fist on the table and said, "Fuck this nonsense I need to hit something right now. Meeting adjourned for the day. I will call everyone back here tomorrow at first light; we're going to find ourselves a solution even if it takes all day."

With that Abaron left and the members of the council quietly shuffled away too.

Hours went by since the summit of the next council meeting and still no one there had thought of an idea to get their forces into Evercain. As Abaron grew frustrated once again he began to yell, "What the hell do I even have a council for if they don't do anything more than just sitting around quietly? Hell, I should take several good men and sneak into Evercain myself and climb the tower on my own. In fact, that's not a bad idea."

"Sire I strongly advise against this matter," Charles said. "You're the king and if you go missing suddenly people will notice and we cannot have you risking your safety to challenge the god's test. We will find a way together to enter Evercain lands and ascend that tower with our forces; this is just another preliminary test of the gods that we must overcome."

"What if we work together with another force to get into the Evercain lands?" Torrith asked.

"What like mercenaries?" Charles scoffed. "Half those scum turn tail when the battle looks sour and take your gold with them. The other half charge you a king's ransom for their services and would turn on you if you're enemy bids them more gold; which it so happens our enemy is sitting on an abundance of gold and can do just that."

"No, you idiot, I mean another kingdom." Torrith turned his head to look at his father now and address him more directly. "What if we joined forces with Kantor. They wanted to invade Evercain as much as we did before and I doubt even after their defeat their desire for its resources has waned. With their support, we could overtake the bridge and march right into those lands."

"Aye and then what, turn and flee to the tower and leave them to conquer Evercain without our support? They would be crushed in a week without us."

"Sire, I think Prince Torrith may have a valid point," Charles said. "We don't need to help them conquer all of Evercain just help both sides get through the gate and then we will go our separate ways. They can move on to attempt to conquer as they see fit while our forces move to the tower. And once we, you, get that wish then all these rival kingdoms will become irrelevant. And we just pretend like we have a shared interest in conquering the kingdom."

Abaron remained quiet as he repeatedly tapped his fingers on the table, thinking to himself. He looked around at everyone around the table and asked, "And are my other council advisers in agreement with this, alliance plan?"

Bethany and Borren glanced at each other and nodded their heads. "Yes my king, it seems our best option," Bethany said. "I know you would like to go about forms of war with honor and high stature, but you can't fight in a battle and keep your cloak without getting a little dirty. This does seem our best and possibly only option."

Abaron wasn't fully with the idea, but he didn't see any better options either and conceded. "Alright then, I suppose I shall write out the letter and send it off to King Jeremia."

Several days passed since Abaron sent out his letter to the king of Kantor and still he had yet to get a response. The owls of Aladorn were the fastest messenger carriers and could fly day and night, so the letter would have arrived within a day of Abaron sending it. He was positive that the owl made it fine, but he was anxious for the more they made him wait for a response, the more time he lost on climbing the tower.

The kingdom's troubles were dying out too as spring began to blossom and many of the common folks that survived the winter had little to complain about. No, it seems their sights were all turned to the tower as well, they too seemed to have gotten the same dream.

When Maester Leana finally came to Abaron with the letter he was more irritated then delighted, for the response had taken a third of a moon cycle to arrive to him. He unrolled the aged paper and poured over the contents: " King Abaron Tarrock, I am honored that you have invited me and my kin over to your great halls to discuss opportunities of new, prospects between our kingdoms. I apologize in advance for the delay in response there has been some minor troubles in my kingdom, nothing to worry yourself over of course. We shall arrive at your doorstep shortly before the next full moon, please make suitable accommodations for us by then.

King Jeremia Gallaro ."

Abaron rolled the letter back up and handed it to Maester Leana as she took it she gazed curiously into his eyes questioning its contents. "That plump king is coming here so that we may discuss our future alliance proposal in a more etiquette manner," Abaron said. "I would have much preferred that I journey there, he and his kin won't arrive until the next full moon, or close to it, so we have plenty of time to clean Galleic Halls and prepare for their arrival. No doubt we're going to have an extravagant feast for his fat ass so keep the chefs on their toes I don't want them cooking the half decent crap they do every day here while king Jeremia is around, I want them cooking at their finest for that time."

"I didn't know his highness cared so much about the thoughts of such a plump and lazy king," maester Leana said, a slight mocking tone in her voice.

"I don't, any man that allows himself to get that out of shape should be buried alive with a small shovel, if they can dig their way out there is hope for them yet. Anyways king Jeremia is a simple enough man to manipulate, if there's on thing my dear mother taught me it's how to manipulate your temporary allies. God rest my father but our kingdom would have been in ruin if not for the guidance of my mother.

"All that aside King Jeremia is no fool. He knows my temper and my lack of patience at times like this and is trying to use that to his advantage. Give that letter to my wife and when she's done reading it tell her to come see me; I'm going to need her help in this prolonged endeavor if we're to succeed."

Maester Leana bowed slightly and walked away until Abaron called out to her, "And Leana," he said hesitantly in following through. "You were the last person to see him before he broke out, did he seem fine to you?"

She gave it some thought before answering, "He was hurt, but he's stronger than any of you give him credit for. I am sure he's reached the tower by now, but as for what he will find in there that's beyond me entirely." With that Leana left to deliver the letter to Bethany, and help make the preparations.

"He's obviously playing you," Bethany said after having read the letter over again for the third time.

"Yes," Abaron said. "No doubt he will spend some time in the enchanting land of Dorgal while he passes through. The trip should normally take him a couple weeks' tops, since we do have an open and well enough guarded trade road he could take. But there is something else too, something in that letter."

"Oh?" Bethany inquired, curious about what she could have missed. "Please enlighten me."

"I don't know exactly what it is but I have a strong sense there is something he is not telling me, us. I cannot be sure about it but I do feel as if there is something he knows that we don't and he is patiently waiting to spring it up on me during our meeting."

"Good news or bad?"

Abaron sighed, "Still I don't even know that much, all that I have are suspicions. And there is nothing to be done until he arrives... I need you in this Bethany. I need you to back me up when I' doing it right and stop me before I do it very wrong. The fox is entering the wolf den and is stupid enough to antagonize him there.

"If I'm not careful he will antagonize me too much and I may stupidly attempt to bite the foxes head off and murder all his kin too. We could of course take over Kantor by force but that would take too long and by then someone else would surely have reached the top of the tower by then. I know this is the first major test from the gods but I can't pass it without you."

Bethany put her hand on Abaron's cheek and said, "Oh my dear sweet king, I would never abandon you. We will do this together as we always have." She then leaned in to kiss him and he met her the rest of the way. They soon retired to their bed champers to forget their worries for a time and make love.

Gradually all of Galleic Hall was cleaned thoroughly through the weeks and the preparations for king Jeremia were made. It was done in little haste so the castle was more Garnish then it ever been before. Abaron personally never cared how decorative or elegant the castle looked, so long as it was clean enough to live in for higher born.

The whole Tarrock family had never been much for aesthetics, they were a more practical family, which is why they built their home castle in the side of the mountain. Greater for defense, and harder for any coward who would be to flee, they would rather die fighting to the last man then run away from a battle in their own home.

But because they had special guests arriving everything needed to be as good as possible to please them, or at the least give them something to be distracted with. The less things he had to complain about, the better their talks of an alliance would go; so Abaron had hoped.

When the day of the full moon finally came King Jeremia, his wife, and their three children arrived on the main trade road. It was no surprise when they came in garnished carriages each carrying one of the royals. Kantor was not a poor kingdom but not very well off either, this didn't stop King Jeremia from showing off like they were, though.

Abaron stood outside the castle since morning with Bethany and Torrith, waiting for their honored guests. It was high noon now and Abaron expected Jeremia not to show up any sooner that that but just in case he did, Abaron waited. As the gold trimmed carriage stopped in a line the men driving them rushed over to open the doors. Most of these men were short and fat but the first one was scrawny yet tall fellow who rushed over to the door to open it.

As king Jeremia stepped out of his carriage the thing began to tilt down to the side so much it threatened to fall over until he stepped out of it. Torrith muttered under his breath so light Bethany and Abaron had trouble hearing him, "God's the man is so fat his own carriage tilts from him stepping out."

Abaron stifled a laugh but Bethany let out a light snort. And indeed king Jeremia was a very fat man. He had medium height and thin blonde hair but his weight was so excessive he looked almost like a living (off color) tomato. As Jeremia's wife and children's carriages pulled up Abaron approached him pulling out his blade.

The company of knights that helped escort Jeremia and his kin kicked their horses hips to ride to their king but Jeremia held out his hand, signaling for them to stop. They reined the horses in check before they got too much momentum and Abaron continued forth; nothing standing in his way between him and the fat king.

When the two were just a couple feet apart Abaron held his blade out flat on his open hands and said, "By the honor of my blood, my name and my house I invite you into my home and offer you my protection until you leave these walls. My sword shall remain in your hands until such as the time as you are gone from here."

Jeremia raised an eyebrow and suspended for a moment before taking the blade and admiring it. "Fine craftsmanship, very fine. But it will be hard for you to protect me without your blade." Jeremia then carelessly tossed the blade back to Abaron who snatched it out of the air safely; without even a small flinch.

He sheathed his sword and Jeremia's wife and two daughters came forth to stand next to their king. His wife Cecilo was a rather heavy set woman too; nearly as fat as her husband. To

Abaron's surprise though their two daughters were thin and rather beautiful. They took after their parents with golden hair and bright colored eyes; they both appeared to be in their mid to late teen years.

Jeremia introduced his wife and daughters to Abaron and his family at present. The eldest daughter was named Curina, while the youngest Lecil. Cecilo made sure to note that both their daughters still had their maidenhood's and were unbound to any suitors as of yet. At least one of them was serious about the alliance, there was hope for it yet.

With introductions done Abaron led the way to the castle, heading straight for the dining area; since no doubt Jeremia would be famished. "I noticed your son did not join on this trip," Abaron said.

"Yes I felt this was a good opportunity for him to learn a little about what it's like to rule the kingdom, since one day he will be king after I am gone." Jeremia said, a little glee in his voice. "But that day won't come for many years I hope."

"Well when we go to the dining hall let us raise a glass in toast to your continued health. I have some well-aged barrels of Metron wine, tucked away for occasions such as these. Most of us here in Aladorn prefer Ale to wine, so when we get a good wine we sit on it until it's needed."

"It sounds like you people must have a fine collection of wine then," Cecilo said appetent.

"You will have to be the judges of that at dinner," Bethany said slyly joining into the conversation and moving it away from the focus. "But first let's get all of you settled into your rooms, it was a long journey here I'm sure you would all benefit from a little rest and a good chance to stretch your legs."

When Jeremia and his kin were all settled into their rooms Abaron invited him on a tour of the castle where he tried to begin an early and private discussion on their alliance. But Jeremia shot it down early and said first thing tomorrow, after he had a good meal and rest; which translated to Abaron as, 'after I pig out on your finest food and wine, can we discuss anything of note.'

At dinner, and to no surprise for Abaron or Bethany, Jeremia and Cecilo Gallaro alone in the one night drank three caskets of wine between the two of them, and their kings guard (the twelve knights companying closest to their carriage) drank another five caskets between all of them. Their daughters, Curina and Lecil, ate very little themselves and tried their best to stay away from any meat. But Bethany made sure the girls at least got a small plate of their own bacon; it seemed a shame not to let them at least have a taste of some real food.

Jeremia and Cecilo both got very drunk at that evening dinner and needed the help of their guards to walk back to their room. Half of their guards were drunk as well and the other half were getting there. Abaron watched the whole thing with glaring eyes. As Bethany took his hand to calm him down he said quietly to her, "The man's a dammed fool. Getting this drunk is one thing in another man's kingdom and castle, but allowing half your kings guard to become almost as drunk as you. He's testing me, testing my earnest towards this alliance."

Bethany glanced over to the king and queen as they were half being carried away and asked, "Is he only pretending drunk then? He did have a lot of wine."

"No he is really drunk but he left his son absent to rule the kingdom, a smart move but on his travels here he only brought his kings guard to accompany him and our scouts found no traces of more men joining him, not from the road more from any other viable path. I kept them on lookout just in case but I don't believe he has any more men coming. King Jeremia Gallaro is up to something I just don't know what yet."

Bethany kissed Abaron on the cheek and said, "It's late, the dinner is ending; let us rest for now and worry about all this tomorrow."

Abaron waited a little while longer until princess Curina and Lecil were heading off to their bed chambers themselves, then he and Bethany retired to their own chambers to rest.

Jeremia (of course) slept in until early afternoon hours and was only concerned with breakfast as soon as he and Cecilo awoke. Abaron had anticipated this and had the chefs ready and waiting for them whenever they awoke.

Abaron found even after breakfast for a good time that Jeremia was enjoying, to a point, avoiding the subject of talks about their alliance but with a little help from Bethany and Torrith he managed to corner Jeremia into it and they sat down in the council room to discuss it.

"There can be no argument when I say that Evercain's defenses are a formidable foe," Abaron said. "The fact that both our kingdoms on separate occasions attempted a full-scale invasion into their lands and failed means a significant endeavor awaits us if we are to try that again; that is alone."

While Abaron spoke Jeremia and Cecilo were content to half listen while enjoying their wine.

"Obviously you know why I called you here, you're a smart man king Jeremia Gallaro, I believe with our united power we could burst through Evercain's defenses within a day and conquer their lands in a month; maybe less."

Jeremia finished off his cup and got a refill before he replied, "Yes I think our kingdoms combined forces could accomplish just that," he paused a moment to drink from his wine glass before continuing. "However there lies in a couple problems with this idea, the first is relatively small, being that there is only three viable points to invade Evercain from, we must first decide on which is most optimal for both our forces.

"And the second major issue is the allocation of resources. We know that Evercain is a wealth of gold and silver and copper. But what about their silks, their crops, the hunting grounds.

And how much of the conquered lands to do we allow the people who surrender to keep; given it is after all their native homelands."

Abaron had not fully thought of much of this, it was indeed a good issue to be addressed. He chugged down his own goblet of wine before saying anything, "Well for now I think we should put the matters of the prime invasion spot on the bottom of our list. As for the equal distribution of resources I agree that we shouldn't be so greedy as to take everything from the people of Evercain, perhaps though after we discussed what should be our own we can talk to those smart enough to surrender about the terms of lands and resources they may keep as their own.

"How about we start with the matters of currency; the gold silver and copper mines I mean. I think we should split the gold mines in equal division, half for us and half for you."

Only in talks of gold did the queen of Kantor perk her ears up and join in on the conversation. "How much gold do, great warriors such as yourselves really need?" Cecilo asked petulant. "I mean not to take away from you a hard earned prize but truly what do the great warriors of Aladorn have need of so much gold? I'm sure in place of your half of all those mines you would rather take a sixth of them, but for a far better trade of hunting grounds, your lands seem to be a little bare on all the good prey or farming lands.

"You're right, many warriors of our kingdom have a small desire of gold," Bethany said. "But gold is in fact the global currency of this world and though we may not always want it, it is still a vital necessity."

Cecilo was about to continue her argument about why Kanto needed the gold more than Aladorn but Jeremia stopped her and asked in her place, "Before the thought loses my mind in all this talk of resource distributions, might I ask for a few casks of this finely aged wine to be loaded in our extra carriage? It would be such a shame if my son, and some of the other nobles of Kantor of course, didn't get a taste of such delights."

Abaron took in a deep breath of frustration and exhaled it slowly, no longer trying to hide his annoyance. He stared Jeremia down darkly for a minute or two before calling to his guard and commanding him to retrieve a few casks of the wine from the cellar and to help Jeremia's men load it up into their extra carriage. "Thank you so much Abaron my son will love this stuff no doubt. Now then do let us continue without further interruptions on these matters."

They continued the talks of resource distributions for a while more until Jeremia and Cecilo stopped them so they could eat. Abaron arranged for their meals to be brought to them in the council room so they could continue the talks while they ate. However Jeremia and Cecilo would not say a further word about any of it until after they ate. When the finally finished the talks continued for a couple hours more until, out of seemingly nowhere, Jeremia blatantly interrupted Bethany with his own question, "And what about the tower, who gets to lead their own forces in there?"

His question was the only thing that sounded absolutely serious from him since his arrival. It was so sudden and surprising that Abaron was caught off guard by it and left speechless; Bethany too.

"Come now Abaron let's get to the real point of why you suddenly called on us for an alliance after all these years," Jeremia said. "You too had a dream about the tower, and the wish promised to the first one to reach the top. The fact is that it seems all of Grimnar has had this dream as well, I'm not surprised you thought you were the only ones though. That's part of the reason I passed through Dorgal on my way here, I wanted to see if their people had the dream as well, and maybe see if any of them had something to offer my kingdom in aiding us to acquire that wish.

"I'm sad to say they offered us nothing and all but kicked us out for the mere mention of it. So I came here to see what you had to offer us, and with no disrespect to you but regardless of what you believe you're capable of; that wish is mine, and mine alone. So I ask you what do you have to offer me and my kingdom after I acquire that wish?"

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Copyright © © Jake Pendragon all rights reserved 2015

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