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By:Jordan Silver

Julian wasn’t much interested in pomp and circumstance. Now that the reality of his new status was sinking in, he wanted to get on with it. It would be a long time before he felt like celebrating, but it was for the people that he would go through this show. For his people that he would show his face when all he wanted was to hide away and let the grief work its course. But alas it was not meant to be.

He had already avenged his father’s blood, but he will now draw out all that had had a hand in betraying the old king. Much like in the days of old, he planned to destroy every member of the families that had opposed his late father. Man, woman and child.

His nobles had already gathered in the hall as he walked in and made his way to the throne. He had never sat there, not even in play. His eyes went to the much smaller chair next to it, where his sire had sat him on many an occasion since he was old enough to sit upright.

It was there his sire more often than not would teach him the way of things. They had spent many an hour sat there, one asking questions while the other answered, a father teaching his son.

He sat now in his sire’s seat and faced the crowd gathered there. There was a mixed air of sorrow and joviality in the room. Those who had known and liked the king felt the loss of his passing, while others were here only for the pleasure of being allowed at the king’s table, no matter who that king was.

He sat through the words that were meant to transform him from prince to king. Accepted his duty by word and was crowned. The whole thing took less than an hour and he was glad when it was done. Now time to commit his first act as king. From this his people would see what kind of man, what kind of king he meant to be.

He raised his hand to silence the uproar of cheers and well wishes and waited until he had their full attention. His first words as king would send fear through the hearts of many but he was sure there were some here who would find them long in coming.

“Lords and ladies, members of the nobility, I thought it best to begin as I mean to go on. As you all know by now, my father was cut down in battle just a few short hours ago.” There were murmurings of regret and sadness and again he held up his hand for quiet.

“The kingdom is secure, I do not wish for you to worry on that score. We have run our foes to ground.” Here he paused and looked over the crowd, studying the faces of all who stood before him. Knowing that come sunrise some who stood here would be no more .

“But there are still some scores to be settled here at home.” He looked pointedly around the room as he said this, taking in the faces of the men that his father had whispered to him about.

“Baron Holsey, Lord Edgar Duke of Wooten, Lord Albert Earl Glyn.” As he called each man’s name, a contingent of soldiers moved forward to take them into custody. There was, as was to be expected quite a stir in the room as the guilty were gathered from among their peers.

“What is the meaning of this?” He held his hand up to halt the movement. “My good lord Wooten, what think you is going on here?” The room fell silent as the remaining guests tried to make sense of what was happening around them.

The old duke puffed his chest up like a gilded rooster, but before he could open his mouth to pontificate the young king beat him to it.

“My father wasn’t as unaware as you lot and your coconspirators believed.” The older man’s color drained as he looked around at his fellow traitors.

They had obviously believed their dealings well kept from the eyes and ears of the old king. His anger grew as he looked at them now. They had shed the blood of a good man and for what, to bring about their own end?

“Would you like to tell all gathered here of your perfidy?” He stretched out his hand over his remaining subjects who looked on in surprise and disbelief. Beyond the doors could be heard the wailing of women and children as they were pulled from their beds, as well as any other member of the three families that were in residence.

The other treasonous dogs were being rounded up in their manor houses at the moment with strict orders that there must be proof of each one’s demise. He did not plan to leave any alive to see the new dawn.

“That wailing that you hear is your women and children being rounded up to share your fate. Remember, when you sat around your tables plotting in your hearts against my father, your king, you brought this upon yourselves and them. You have no one else to blame. All that was yours will now be given to other more deserving men.”

He looked around at the stunned audience who daren’t move for fear that some past infraction be remembered. No one shifted and he was sure some held their breath in fear as he read the room. Looking for any who looked askance.