Chapter 24

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The champion's award was a gold and silver coin, six inches in diameter and one quarter inch thick. On one side was depicted the events of the trevhettes engraved with the champion's name and score, on the other, the likeness of King Nherycyn. Upon receiving his award from the King up in the Royal booth, Mharkhel placed it in Ellycyn's lap.

The dark knight spoke, his voice heavy with emotion. "I offer this as a token of my undying loyalty, dedication of service and reaffirmation of my oath of protection. I do this not as the champion of the trevhettes, but as the champion of the Princess Ellycyn."

The Princess looked at Mharkhel with a face of stone. "Let it be known that you, Mharkhel, have failed your oath and therefore have failed me. You swore to protect me, to keep me from harm's way, to defend my honor. Yet the only one I have needed protection from is you. You yourself have done nothing save cause me grief and embarrassment. I, therefore, release you from your obligation and absolve you of your oath."

Mharkhel, stricken, fell to his knees in tears. "No, Ellycyn, no. Please, you do not understand. Please. You cannot do this to me."

"It is as I have said. It is done. Now leave me. You are dismissed."

Vhyqyrd jotted something in his notebook. Athar stroked his beard in thought. Rhenycyn, though obviously displeased with his sister's actions, held his tongue. Nherycyn did not. "It would seem my daughter has become as impetuous as my son," the King mumbled to no one in particular.


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