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The Assassin's Redemption Chapter 1 Part 2
King Jairon sat in his study, poring over reports. The room was one of the most lavish in the entire palace. Great silken tapestries and ancient weapons, some said to have been used by the great Korian to drive out the Rendorians and reclaim the land, adorned the walls. A stone fireplace covered half of the left wall, under which a giant fire crackled. Rich velvet rugs lay on the floor. But Jairon paid no attention to any of this. His concentration was focused on the papers in front of him. Uprisings were brewing all over the kingdom. Layne Nightlander was said to be gathering an army in the south. The King was sending more and more soldiers out each day, accompanied by the tactical minds of his Assassins.
These men are fools, he thought. No one has ever defeated the Order. They spoke of freedom, end to monarchy. Who knew what was better for the land than its king?
They had to be eradicated. Food was short, most being sent out to the army, and the people were starving. It was necessary though. He would teach the land who ruled, even if it meant razing every city to the ground.
A sharp tap on the door startled Jairon from his thoughts.
“Enter,” he grunted. Malik, the Keeper of the Palace and his personal servant, walked in, head bowed. Servants were forbidden to look the king in the eye without permission.
“My Lord Jairon, it’s time for the knighting,” he said softly. Rising from the oaken table, Jairon slipped into his best robe, the one he only used for Court, which Malik held out. He sighed softly. Jairon adjusted his clothing by the full length mirror resting in the corner. The evening would most likely be boring. He’d met the Duke of Caldrea’s son before and found him to be annoying and weak. But Caldrea was a powerful ally. In addition he had four daughters, and Jairon was looking for a new bride. His last two had proved… unsuccessful in giving him an heir. Glancing one last time at the mirror, Jairon walked out of the study, followed at a respectful distance by Malik.
The Hall of the Kings was magnificent in the fading sunlight. The light shone through beautiful stain-glass windows, casting pools of color on the marble floor. Giant stone pillars shot thirty feet into the air and supported the high-arched roof. Above, balconies pushed out of the walls for the use of special members of court, including the King, when traveling theatres came to the city. Statues of Kings long past lined the walls. Hundreds of people crowded together in the hall, dressed in the finest suits and dresses. A suffocating aroma of perfume and sweat filled the air.
Dracon glanced around. These parties are a disaster waiting to happen. We won’t be able to see a threat till it’s too late. For some reason, Dracon couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen tonight. He stood in one of the corners, studying the faces of the crowd as they danced around the floor. Two guards stood by the doors. Only two. That’s hardly enough. He’d tried to find Ramar and tell him about it, but the man was lost in the mob. He’d probably forgot to add men to the guard duty. His old master had been under a lot of stress lately, with the uprisings and everything. He was bound to slip up. But what if he slipped up bad?
Katric appeared out of the crowd, arms wrapped around a powdered face
young woman. His hands hung a little too low to be considered polite. Typical,
Dracon thought. As the lieutenants of the High Assassin, they were guest at the
party, but Ramar had asked them to watch the king.
A loud trumpet sounded through the hall, bouncing off the walls. The entire room
fell silent. King Jairon stood on the raised platform at the front, twenty feet from Dracon. His white hair, though he wasn’t a day over fifty, tumbled to his shoulders. He wore a rich robe of red and gold, his crown resting on his head. He held a jeweled sword in his hand.
“Today, we gather to honor a young man who has made a great achievement. That achievement, knighthood, has taken years of training to achieve. Many don’t make it. But this young man has proved he is smart and strong. He has a courageous heart. Come forward, young man,” Jairon said. A young, slightly pudgy, man walked forward. He was dressed in rich robes that rivaled the king’s. His dusty blond hair sat cemented to his head. He moved up the platform, kneeling before the king. Jairon raised the sword, tapping the boy on both shoulders.
“I name thee Sir Talom Caldrea, Knight of Tierena.” The boy rose and the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. Dracon remained silent. He’d been to too many of these parties to find him interesting.
Movement above caught Dracon’s eye. A man stood in shadows of one of the balconies, something small in his hands. From the angle Dracon could hardly tell what it was. It looked to be a mixture of metal and wood. A bow? A Crossbow! Following the man’s eyesight, he saw the weapon aimed at the king.
Dracon sent his mind into the calm state of battle. Rushing forward, knocking people to the floor as he ran, he made for the king. As the man released the arrow, Dracon pushed the king aside, the arrow puncturing his arm. A huge gasp sounded from the hall and a look of shock rippled across Jairon’s face, before seeing the arrow imbedded inside of Dracon. Sharp pain radiated from his shoulder. Looking up, Dracon saw the man bound for the door and Ramar running for the exit, attempting to head him off.