Chapter 24

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The King was the most decisive as he had been in years. "So it will be. Athar, I hold you responsible for this charge. Word the summons in such a way that there is no room for interpretation. Send it telepathically, informing the witches that he is to arrive by regular means. I do not wish him to suddenly appear here without our knowledge. Demand that he be accompanied by a witch of some ranking, a Council member or preferably the High Witch herself. She has some answering to do. I am not accustomed to the treatment this witch has displayed here today and I believe they are in need of being reeducated in the politics of Khaballe." He paused to consider something, then went on. "Tell them that if they do not arrive by the Journey of Homage, I will dispatch you with your wizards and a company of knights to escort them here. Am I understood?"

"Yes, Your Majesty," his Advisor replied. "Your command will be carried out to the letter."

"Good." Then to his Ministers, "Does my decree meet with your approval?" They all, in one way or another, indicated their concurrence. "Is there anything else?"

"Should the public be informed?" Dhonlaa asked, afterwards supplying her opinion. "I believe they have a right."

Teserher was next to comment. As Minister of Finance, he was utterly ruthless when it came to any matters concerning pennhutz and was an unyielding negotiator. Though his appearance did not suggest it, being quite old and very rotund, he was the main reason that the kingdom was financially sound. At Valdhon's death, he had become the elder statesman of the Ministry. "Dhonlaa," he wheezed, "you know your father and I were close friends and I do not mean to take issue with you but I am afraid that the public disclosure of this information would have an adverse effect on the economy."

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