Chapter 31

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A hush fell over the Assembly Hall when Rhenycyn and Uriel were led in. The Prince walked in with his head high, his eyes defiant. Uriel seemed to portray an old beggar, unsure of himself and using his staff for support. They were seated next to one another on a stone bench at the end of the table. Uriel gazed around the room, astonished at the large crowd that was gathered. Even greater would his surprise have been had he known that a mob had converged outside the castle walls, asking for his head. The rumors that had run rampant regarding the conditions in the north had been confirmed in the minds of the commoners when Uriel arrived at the capital. For them, the solution was always the easiest one—remove the root of the problem and the rest will naturally fall into place.

Uriel strained to find his solitary benefactor among those filling the crowded hall. When he finally located her, Arhyvhynne looked away, pain clearly reflected in her sapphire eyes. Then his attention was inexplicably drawn to a forbidding figure in black robes. The silver inverted pentagram hanging from Athar's neck glowed with a life of its own and the wizard seemed to cast a monstrous shadow which engulfed everything about him. As when he first met the wizard, Uriel involuntarily shuddered.

While being led to the hall, Rhenycyn had wondered who had seized the kingdom's power and ascended the throne as Regent. It disturbed him greatly that his father was barely cold before someone exhibited disdain for the heritage of his family and usurped the throne. Upon his entrance to the hall, the Prince looked to the chair which had been occupied by his father just the night before. There was sheer hatred reflected in Rhenycyn's hazel eyes as he fought down the fury which raged inside him.

After learning of the King's death, the representatives of Khaballe had reconvened within the hour. Their first order of business was to hear reports from Vhyqyrd and Setryv. When it became apparent that the Prince was involved and was nowhere to be found, Ellycyn was summoned. The Princess was not, as one might imagine, in any state to be questioned. She was accompanied by two healers and still suffering from the effects of shock. When it was revealed that the murderer was most likely her brother, she became completely irrational. She threatened and accused those around her and had to be physically removed from the hall.

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