Chapter 7

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"Elly, if you both persist in this manner you will die only friends. Everybody knows you both feel differently. One of you should do something."

Ellycyn turned on her brother, tears welling in her eyes. "He is bound by his damn vows and damn honor and damn everything else he stands for! And I cannot do a damn thing about it!"

The Princess returned her glassy eyes to the capital, trying to regain her composure. Rhenycyn, not knowing what to do or say, simply stood there watching his sister. Silent minutes passed. Finally, Ellycyn turned to him. When she spoke, her voice was void of emotion. "Father requires us. I suggest we see what this is about." She walked past Rhenycyn without waiting, leaving only her tracks and an occasional tear in the snow for him to follow.


Rhenycyn walked into the cozy study adjacent to the great library and immediately sought out his father. He was seated across the room, next to an end table, upon which were scattered numerous books. Nherycyn was clothed in a light blue tunic and matching leggings over which he wore a royal blue robe embroidered with gold thread. The King sat pensively, nursing an ale. Nherycyn had always been physically fit and took pride in his appearance. But now, whether due to his age or the loss of loved ones, but most likely as a result of both, the King had grown soft and looked much older than his seventy-one years. His tall, lean frame was now bent and flabby. Dark age spots littered his light complexion. The King's white mane fell to just above the shoulders, but his pate was bald. The blue eyes which had been sparkling and animate had grown pale and become recessed. As he became aware of his son's presence, Nherycyn raised his head and muttered an obscenity concerning punctuality and being cheated out of his late afternoon nap.

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