Chapter 16

Page 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ 5 ¦ 6 ¦ 7 ¦ 8 ¦ 9 ¦ 10 ¦ 11 ¦ 12 ¦ 13 ¦ 14

When everyone was served, Rhenycyn called for silence and all eyes focused on the Prince as a hush came over the room. "Friends and associates, we have gathered here this evening to honor a man who has devoted his many years to the just running of government in Khaballe. Although words passed between us before, I feel great admiration and respect for Valdhon. Though my father's reign has been without incident for the most part, there were difficult times when Valdhon's counsel and shrewd thought led us through adversity. He has kept the interest of this kingdom at the forefront of his endeavors and has worked to keep Bhel'Ehzz and Khaballe at the level of greatness they are today."

Cheers and shouts of praise arose from the guests, mostly for Valdhon, but acclaim could also be heard for the King and Prince. Valdhon could sense he was being positioned as a worthy tool of the King and Prince, as a necessary good and did not especially care for it. He wore a sour face and resigned himself, for the time, to being the object of the Prince's laudatory comments. Rhenycyn on the other hand was pleased with himself. He was marshalling a great deal of support by admitting the differences between Valdhon and himself, by making the effort at putting those differences aside and proclaiming the worth of the man who was making a crusade against him.

The Prince raised his hand and once again the room fell silent. "I would like all of you to join me in toasting the eightieth birthday of Valdhon." Rhenycyn raised his glass high in the air and faced the old man. "May you live long enough to counsel me through my reign."

As glasses were raised and shouts of "Hear, hear" resounded throughout the hall, the big steward slipped out of the house, seen only by Mharkhel. The knight, who suddenly recognized the steward, cried "No!" and moved quickly through the crowd, roughly pushing people out of his way. But the steward was long gone by the time Mharkhel could make his way to the exit. In the commotion, no one noticed Valdhon beginning to choke violently. Within seconds, the old man had dropped his glass and fell to his knees and then to the floor. People screamed and Dhonlaa hysterically called for a healer.

Previous Page    Next Page