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Indiscretion(2)

By:Jordan Silver



“Your grandfather, assoil his soul, fought and won this land for our people. We have held it in good stead for over fifty years. Now it will fall to you to carry on what we’ve started. To make proud the great name of Aguilon.”

Even as he knew the words to be true, young Julian fought against them; the kingdom came at too high a price. “I will not have it. You must live father. I do not want the bloody kingdom if it means you are no more.” His words held such conviction it gave the older man his last smile.

His boy was much like him he knew, and so did not worry that their monarchy shall survive for many years to come. His only wish was that he had left things a little more settled for the boy. He hadn’t had enough time.

“Yes my son, if you do not, our people shall be slaughtered and the rest cast out. They will die without a home and our great dynasty will perish. Do not let it end on this battlefield.” He left off clasping the boy’s nape and grabbed his hand with his exerting all the force he could muster so the boy would heed him.

“You must forge on; they think you weak and beaten, as your king has been fallen this day. They will not expect you to carry on. The men are tired and hungry, they will fight all the more, all the harder to fill their bellies.”

The old king labored for his next breath, his grip on his heir’s hand easing as he fought to get all that he needed out before he took his last breath.

He had so hoped to pass his son a kingdom at peace, but the buggering Whitleys had been a thorn in the sides of the monarchy for the past ten years now.

An upstart family of reputable bloodlines, they saw themselves as better suited to rule than the barbaric Aguilons who were a warring people. Who had fought their way across sea and land for generations, before seizing the sovereign rule of the greatest nation on earth.

The Whitleys had curried favor with most of the royal houses of Europe, that gaggle of blue-blooded nabobs, who looked down their noses at anything that hadn’t been born of them. The Aguilons may not have been born to royal blood, but they were kings nonetheless, down to their very souls. And they had proved it, hadn’t they, time and again.

“When you have gained your throne you must destroy Wessex.” He coughed and the blood spewed onto his doublet.

“Wessex? But he’s my godfather, your closest friend and ally.” Julian was flummoxed.

“His ambition makes him your greatest enemy. He would see his son in your place as a puppet king to the ruling Whitleys in the Northern lands and the French.”

“Remember, he has no loyalty to you my boy. Whatever friendship and caring he had were towards me. You must think like a king now my boy, not as man or friend.”

King Henri said this because, just as the fathers, the sons had been ever close since the nursery. Nicholas and Julian were just about inseparable since they were in swaddling, and now at the age of twenty-one, the two shared much together.

Julian took in all that his father told him that day, his heart growing cold as he realized the burden that was now his to carry. He held onto his sire’s hand for as long as it took, not wishing that the man who had given him so much should die alone.

“All will be as you have said father. Go in peace.” His hand tightened on his sire’s as the other man’s hold weakened. In his mind he saw so much. So many days spent in the saddle as his sire taught him to ride before he fair knew how to walk.

He heard the older man’s voice, his laughter as he told him some tale. The king had stayed by his side when he fell ill as a child, relegating the duties of a king to be a father to the son he loved so well.

He swallowed back the tears and begged for strength, the strength to exact vengeance as well as to carry on his family’s legacy, the strength to do his sire and his people proud.

As his father slipped away from him he once again heard the clashing of steel that had somehow been dimmed while he shared his last words with the man he favored above all else.

It was not their custom to desert the battlefield if their king was felled, not as long as the heir was in their midst. They would fight to the death to protect him he knew, and so he must put aside his grief and lead his men.

Seeing what had transpired, the young as yet uncrowned king’s friends and confidants had rushed to his side in the battle. He turned then to seek out the man who had brought about this destruction. The one who sought to steal a crown, and a kingdom, the thorn in his family’s side.

“Julian...” He did not turn at the sound of his friend’s voice, his interest only for the man who sat his horse atop the distant hill looking down at the carnage.

His blood was hot in his veins and again he took no thought for himself as he made his way to his steed and gained its back in a single leap. Voices rose behind him as his sire’s loyal soldiers gave orders to protect the new king.

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