Chapter 7

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He flashed a smile and kissed her forehead. "After you, Your Highness."

Together, they began to make their way to the opposite side of the castle. They stopped for a brief moment on the south battlements for a winter's view of the partially frozen but glistening Lake Phul. "I am beginning to understand why you venture here so often," Ellycyn said. Rhenycyn returned his sister a knowing smile and they walked on to the western side.

The castle had been built on the eastern bank of the Twisted Horn River which divided the city into eastern and western sections, the west being the larger of the two. Across the river to the west, adjacent to its bank was the Royal Commons. The Commons was a public expanse that consisted of a garden, meadow and woodland. It stretched along most of the cities' western riverbank and was bordered on the north and south by the two main roads leading west. Numerous merchant shops were located along the two main western roads with the residential area existing between them and the titled living near the Commons. The poor and the more, let us say, questionable establishments existed along the walled western fringes of the capital and the areas to the north and south of the main roads along the Twisted Horn.

The castle itself was more of a fortification than a palace. It was fashioned from the dark grey stone that was common to Khaballe. Four purple flags depicting green dragons and grey castles rippled in the winter winds, one on each of the turrets at the corners of the castle. There were several floors consisting of living quarters and meeting areas. Below ground were the obligatory dungeons.

As Rhenycyn looked out at the great city, he could not help but think that, in spite of the wizard, he would one day be king and rule here. But it was not of the adoration or the homage he was thinking, but the responsibility instead. He had spent his whole life (twenty-nine years) preparing himself for the task. He studied diligently, mastering most of the aspects considered desirous in a ruler. Where most would be content, the Prince would delve to the very fabric of a matter in order to fully understand and appreciate the intricacies of it.

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