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“It isn’t working, Maxwell!” Louise greeted her husband in the dining hall. She swept past the too-thin servants and the great roast turkey cooling on a garnished silver platter to join the king at the head of the table. “The bounty hunters aren’t finding him.”
Max shoved a turkey leg into his mouth and spoke around the mouthful, making her stomach churn. “You just need to be more patient,” he dismissed her concern.
She surprised both of them when she slammed her ands down on the mahogany table hard enough that the silverware rattled. “Be patient! Be lazy, you mean. Your “patience” will have our heads cut off! How long before people start asking questions?”
“Leave us,” Max ordered the remaining servants. They scuffled from the room, fleeing her ire.
When they were once more alone, she took a deep breath and continued. “He’s the first Kangraff to ever run away. Outside of general hair color, he doesn’t look a thing like us. Even his tutors thought he was odd as a boy. People are going to realize the things they’ve been pretending not to notice all these years, Max, and they’ll connect the dots. Do you and your sorcerer have a plan for when they realize the counter-curse came true in our generation? When they realize it’s our fault the Kangraff line is ended? There’s going to be a riot. They will murder us in our sleep, slit our throats in our beds!”
Max leaned his elbow on the table and rested his forehead on his palm. “Louise, I know. What more can I do, though?” His hand came up to punctuate his question.
“Dismiss your sorcerer,” she ordered. “He’s not doing us any good. Why keep a useless imposter around? There are people with real magical power around, people who know when it’s in their best interest to actually help the kings and queens sheltering them.”
“I would not be so hasty, if I were you,” a voice spoke behind her.
She started and whirled around to find the sorcerer not two feet from her. “Sorcerer! You startled me. I didn’t know–”
“Obviously you were not aware of my presence,” the fat man wryly observed. “Otherwise you would not have spoken so. Have you forgotten my power in dealing with Bill’s previous return?”
She covered her still-racing heart and stuttered, “N-no, of–of course not.”
“Maxwell,” the man turned to her husband with a short bow and preceded to ignore her.
“Have you news?” the king sat up straighter in his chair.
“Why else would I be here?”
“True. Please, tell me.”
“He is being sheltered by Clachan. They have been Poldar’s enemies of old. I fear they plan to use him to exploit your weaknesses and overthrow your reign.”
Max’s face grew red. He half-rose out of his chair. “Is that so? Then they are in for a surprise. Will they be ready when Poldar’s armies come to overthrow them instead?”
Louise held out her arms. “Now you need to be patient,” she inserted herself back into their conversation. “Don’t you remember what happens to people from Poldar when they set foot on the soil of Clachan? The place devours them.”
“That is true,” the sorcerer conceded, “but you need not fear. I have discovered a way to hold back the malevolence of the land long enough for you to have success and end the blessing that makes Clachan dangerous to you.”
Max pulled the chord for the bell to summon a servant. To the boy who appeared, he commanded, “Give orders to muster the troops for battle.” To the sorcerer and Louise, he said, “It is time for the Kangraffs to replace the Weavers as rulers of Clachan once and for all.”
If you are wondering at the references to Clachan and the Weavers, check out The Weavers’ Blessing, the prequel to The Kangraffs’s Curse and my first published book 🙂
Chapter 22 should be up on Friday, folks. Thanks for reading, and have a fantastic week.