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By:Jordan Silver

“Come now you two there will be time enough for that later. We must do father proud.” He looked at the two young people he was now solely responsible for. His brother was of age, in fact he had already been betrothed to marry, but his sister Lillian was a girl of ten, a child.

In one day the brother had become the father, with all the responsibility that entailed. Once his brother and sister had composed themselves he sent them away and called his chief minister to him in the inner chamber.

“Your majesty.” The man bowed his head and awaited his orders.

“Gather the barons and all the men of noble houses as well as the lord chancellor. I will have my coronation now without pomp and ceremony in honor of my father’s mourning.”

He gave the order as he walked back to his old rooms to change out of the bloody, sweaty garments he’d arrived in. Already he had put his grief behind him. There was nothing to be gained by his bowing beneath the heavy burden of a broken heart.

He wished that he could put off everything, but the country had suffered a loss. They had been faced with war and uncertainty. Leaving them without a king, a leader, will only serve to weaken their resolve more.

“Nicholas, with me.” He will start carrying out his father’s orders at once. As well as implementing what he had long thought to be necessary changes. Things that he’d thought long and hard on. Things that made sense, to the man, as well, as the king.

As a king in waiting he’d had ample opportunity to sit back and watch. To see where there was weakness in his father’s kingdom, now he meant to strengthen his own arm. Strike now while the iron is hot. He will give his trust to no one. His trust had died with his king. He would never forget that his sire had been betrayed and never will he give anyone the power to do the same to him.

In the rooms he once occupied when in residence at Glendairy, he looked around at some of the youthful things he’d collected over time. He saw his life as it had been. Remnants of his childhood, a childhood that for all intents and purposes had been over long ago, but in all actuality had died on a battlefield a few short hours thence.

“Your father betrayed mine.” No sense in beating around the bush, when the sun set this night he wanted all his enemies vanquished. Unlike his father before him, he had no need of the love of men. He would not seek to be popular, but to be fair and just as befits a king.

“You are certain?” He did not turn to look at his friend, just disrobed as best he could on his own, since he didn’t want anyone privy to this particular conversation and had dismissed his valet.

“My father told me with his dying breath.” Now he turned to face the other man. This was his friend, and more, one of the few people he bore any real love for. He looked for any sign that the other man had known of his own sire’s treachery and saw none. What he saw instead was disbelief and fear.

He knew what his words would do to the other man, and though he felt for his friend he would not temper his words or his actions. The room fell silent, as both men dwelt on what this would mean, the only thing it could mean.

“I will take care of it my lord.”

“No you will not, I would never ask that of you. I tell you now because there must never be any intrigue between us. What we share as friends and brothers must never be muddied by politics. If you should ever betray me, I will kill you without a thought. Now go say your goodbyes to your father.”

“How long...”

“It’s best that you not know, and Nicholas, I am sorry.” The young king did not wonder that his friend didn’t seek to ask for mercy for his doomed sire. It was testament to how well he knew him. Julian has ever been a man of his word and strong convictions.

The two men had shared many a discourse over time about just such things. They both shared the opinion that a man’s honor was his most precious possession, above diamonds and rubies, even a king’s ransom.

Though it must be done, he found no pleasure in it, as he felt none for what else laid ahead. King for a short while and already he felt the weight of the throne that his sire had carried for so many years and his grandsire before him.

Nicholas left and Julian called his man to see to his bath and dress. He enjoyed a glass of wine as he contemplated what must come next. His mind seemed too muddled to hold much of anything for too long so he just laid his head back and drifted.

Chapter 3

There was to be a short ceremony held in the throne room for the nobility that were already in residence. Later, after a respectable time of mourning had passed, they’d be another more harmonious ceremony to celebrate the coronation of the new king.