A Good Sailor's Old Lament Chapter 1
Chapter 1 of the Book Two of the Doppelganger Prophecy
“Your Majesty,” the squire addressed, sweeping into a low bow as he entered the room. “Your brother, Lord Sussami, has requested that I inform you of the progress of the operation.”
“Go on.” King Telson of Mildas had been staring all morning at the forest just outside the city where beyond his project lay. He made no move to avert his eyes as the boy spoke.
The squire continued. “Lord Sussami, has estimated the project completion within the season. Though, if his Majesty should wish the procedure to hasten, Lord Sussami will require more men.”
More men? Did his brother not understand that there were no more men? Surely he knew that any man with any strength at all was already fighting at the Bonnet? The king, with his round belly, ran his fingers through his thickening, dark beard.
King Telson sighed. A season was too long. They’d been at work for far too lengthy a time as it was. If it took longer than a couple more weeks the beastly creatures would know what he was doing – if they hadn’t already suspected. Of course the things had scouts out and around the surrounding land of the capitol. It would be silly of them not to, even though Telson hated to grant them such intelligence. However, better to think too highly of them and be one step ahead, then underestimate and find himself three steps behind. Of course they knew how close they were to having the roof collapse on them. No, a season would not do. The sooner, the better.
“A woman has two hands…” The king said, half to himself. “Put the women to work. And I want any child over the age of five to be put to work as well. The men are far too valuable at the moment. I don’t want to lose them to this project.”
“But your highness – “
“Tell them their taxes shall be lifted for the year – and not a word of protest, squire. You are forgetting your place.” Telson’s gaze bore down on the young boy, whose knees began knocking gently together.
The squire left the King with his own thoughts.
Telson ran his chubby fingers along his jaw line where his once closely clipped beard lingered. Grey hairs had begun appearing in his whiskers. He knew it was due to stress, though his wife insisted it was due to him becoming more handsome. Woman talk. What did they know. Silly fools. No, the grey was from stress, though Telson felt the situation to be fairly in control. From his reports of the going-ons near the bonnet, his troops were fighting well and the Goblins were retreating, or at least becoming fewer. He was also told that they were moving further south again. Telson remembered the last time they had moved south, nearly two decades before. It was due to the plague that had swept through. The blasted beasts had used it to their advantage, and driven his men back north. Not matter. The brutes did not want the fighting to go south for a reason, no doubt, so push south they would.
He grinned to himself. With the battles to the north faring well, and his plans on his doorstep underway, by the end of the year, King Telson would be known as the greatest king who ever lived.
This is Chapter 1 of Book Two of The Doppelganger Prophecy Trilogy.
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