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Song of Steel
One - Chapter 30
By W.R. Logan
Copyright 2004 W.R. Logan
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“YOU BURNED HALF THE CASTLE, let King G’Leaze escape,
and killed most of the small council,” King
Gyger raged. “Now you stand before me expecting
“I delivered you the castle without a fight,”
“You burned all the castle stores,” the king
countered. “My men are all out hunting for food
when they should be preparing for the ork. And the
council, every dead man will become a martyr to the
“They’re only peasants.”
“Any man who believes in his cause is an enemy
to be feared!” the king exclaimed. “And in your stupidity,
you sent them a sound leader. Now I will
have Caitlin G’Leaze searching my lines for weakness.”
“My king, the council refused your orders,”
Darious explained. “I had to show them what happens
to those who oppose you.”
“When you steal honey from a beehive, Ronan,”
King Gyger began, “you stir up as few of the bees as
you can. The peasants will rally behind G’Leaze.”
“No, I believe his daughters will take him to the
free cities,” Darious disputed. “We can hire an assassin
and have him waiting for them.”
“Do you see this throne, Darious?” King Gyger
pointed at the fine zyder-made throne. It looked to
be carved of solid wood. All seven faces of the first
human kings were sculpted into the surface. “King
G’Leaze has sat that throne since before my grandfather
was born. Do not doubt that he will come back
to claim it.”
“Then we will find him before he reaches the
ork forces,” Darious suggested.
“I have every man I can spare out gathering
food to replace the stores you burned,” King Gyger
“I will take a few of mine,” Darious persuaded.
“They are on foot with less than a day’s start. We
should catch them before nightfall.”
“Go,” the king commanded, “before you do any
more damage. And take that Hawkeye with you.”
“Yes, Sire,” Darious confirmed with a bow, and
then scurried from the room.
King Gyger hated dealing with the Ronan. He
knew the man would betray him just as fast as his
former king. Sending him on this quest was a good
way to get rid of the miscreant. There was no doubt
in King Gyger’s mind that the Ronan would find
G’Leaze. By all accounts, Darious was a fine tracker.
But the king would gamble the meeting ended in
He looked out over the courtyard. Men still
worked clearing the dead bodies strung from one
end of the yard to the other. It took only one of
G’Leaze’s daughters to cause such havoc. Twenty
men lay either hacked to bits or roasted in their armor
by her dragon.
That imbecile wouldn’t have a chance if I gave him
my whole army, King Gyger thought as he watched
Darious ride out with twenty-five horsemen. He
wondered if the Ronan would actually hunt the escapees,
or just run off with whatever loot he plundered
in the castle. Whichever, the king was glad to
see him go.
“You have doubled the size of your kingdom in
just one day,” a voice called.
King Gyger turned his gaze to the man in the
doorway. He quickly returned to his window view.
The king didn’t like Scepter Billic. The man was too
shifty and full of ambitions.
“But at what cost?” he replied.
“A few Ronan guards.”
“That is only the beginning,” the king warned.
“The bloodshed is coming.”
“And when it ends, here you will stand,” Billic
promised. “Look around you. This is the castle
where the Seven Kings ruled the kingdoms. And
you now rule two on your way to seven. King Gyger
will be the hero who united the kingdoms and purified
Billic always tried to play on his desires for
greatness. The Scepter must have thought everyone
had the same need for power that possessed him.
“Even men with admirable intentions can become
monsters,” King Gyger said. “I don’t think the
half-breeds we kill see this purification as an act of
“Blasphemy!” cried Billic. “These half-breeds
taint our blood with their weakness and force our
gods to shun us. Blessed be the staff that delivers us
into the light.” He ran a sideways hand down the
length of his body as if warding off bad spirits.
King Gyger looked around the throne room. Its
great stonewalls made him feel almost small enough
to slip into one of the cracks on the floor. Everything
in the room, though beautiful in design, was made
large and cumbersome. When he sat on the throne,
the immense room seemed to push down on him to
let him know how insignificant any king was. His
father once told him the Seven Kings arranged the
room to do just that. “No one who rules the fate of
others should become too comfortable in their job,”
his father said. “The Seven always remembered
The Seven Kings of Overlook were the first to
rule the kingdoms and the first humans to rule any
kingdom. The castle was given to King G’Leaze’s
father by the elves when he married Tesslica, last of
the Elvin queens. His six brothers joined the new
human king. Each one cut out a kingdom and ruled
side by side with the other six kings. As time went
by, the heirs to the Seven Thrones became dissatis-
fied with sharing power, bringing an end to the
Council of Kings and the peace it maintained. King
G’Leaze was the last direct descendant of the true
kings to sit upon a throne, though his blood had
been tainted with elf.
Who am I to stand here? What right do I have to sit
in the throne made for the true descendant of the Seven
Kings? King Gyger questioned. G’Leaze has the right
of birth to this throne. He is the son to one of the Seven,
half-elf or not.
“My king,” Billic interrupted, “Your men will be
returning with the half-breeds from the town soon.
You need to get ready to deliver their sentence.”
“Why don’t you send them to death, Billic?” The
king turned to face the Scepter with anger in his
eyes. “Why must your church hide behind others
when they shed blood?”
“We are holy men, my king,” Billic explained.
“It’s for kings to decide the fate of men, not a humble
“There’s nothing humble about you, Billic.”
The king straightened his clothes and strapped
on his sword. What he was wearing would be fine
for the executions. He wouldn’t hold court here, not
under the watchful eyes of the Seven. It was hard
enough to send an innocent to death without looking
into the faces of his heroes.
“Come then,” the king chided. “There’re people
waiting to be punished for the sin of being born.”
“Sire,” Billic said as he rubbed a small crystal
shard hanging around his neck by a leather strap.
“What would your jewel say to such blasphemy
from her king?”
“My…” King Gyger’s mind began to fog.
“Your queen, my lord,” Billic reminded. “You
must keep her safe from the plague. We must destroy
My queen, my jewel, King Gyger remembered.
Blood must be purified.
With a new resolve, the king strode proudly
down the staircase and into the courtyard. He understood
what had to be done now. The memories of
the dead on the streets of Karal flooded his mind,
reminding him of the reason behind this madness.
The sickness had to be stopped.
The smell of burnt wood filled the air as he
stepped into the carnage. His men dismounted and
bent a knee to their king. He motioned them back to
their feet, only then realizing the absence of any
prisoners. A few of the men bled from various injuries,
some looked to be serious.
“Where are the half-breeds?” Billic demanded.
“Sire,” the captain said to the king while eyeing
the Scepter with contempt, “Caitlin and Brianna
G’Leaze lay in wait for us upon our return. They
freed the prisoners.”
“Cowards,” Billic accused. “You fled rather than
fight two girls?”
“There were more than just the two girls,” the
captain answered. “And we didn’t flee. We were bid
to bring terms of surrender to King Gyger.”
“You see,” Billic cheered. “They wish to give
themselves up. All is as we told you.”
“It’s not their surrender being offered,” the captain
corrected as he handed King Gyger a scroll.
“They demand ours.”
“With such a small force?” Billic laughed at the
“They have been joined by the eneth,” the
knight continued, again ignoring the Scepter. “And
Sire, the four warlords of Vale have freed the Hawkeye
and joined forces with King G’Leaze.”
The news shocked even Billic into silence. King
Gyger pondered his new situation. The news of the
eneth joining G’Leaze didn’t come as a surprise; the
old king of Overlook had a way with the outcast of
the kingdoms. The eneth would realize with a new
king on the throne, their days of staking claim to the
plains around the Valley of No Night would be at an
end. The betrayal of Vale is what really worried him.
What could G’Leaze have offered Vale to steal their
loyalty so easily?”
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