“You wanted to see me, my lord?”
Valasar stood from the throne, dragonglass armour shimmering with the prismatic light that filled the palace. Before him, there knelt a tall, brass Scalar, old and grizzled, still clad in a Dragonknight’s uniform.
“Sir Kliric. Yes.” Valasar bid him stand, and continued. “Remind me, your boy — what Legion did he serve in?”
Xarkul narrowed his eyes imperceptibly, wary. “The Sixth. Standard-bearer.”
Scalelord Valasar gave a sly smile. “A noble position. But he doesn’t serve with them any longer, no?”
“No, my lord, he does not. He’s…on leave to the mainland.”
“Interesting. What was his name again?”
Sir Kliric paused. “Zorgar. Zorgar Kliric.”
The Scalelord smiled, producing a letter and handing it to the Dragonknight. “Any relation?”
Sir Kliric bent over the missive, reading it.
“Brother, We would like to end this rivalry, however what guarantee would we have that you would not harm us or our allies on our arrival? — Narinn, Zorgar & Sora”
Xarkul widened his eyes. “I…I’m afraid I’ve no idea, my lord. Does the Scalemother yet live?”
“Oh, I’m sure that’s a lie. Peddled by those charlatans claiming to be my kin. Talk of the city, I’m sure?”
Sir Kliric gulped. “Not at all, my lord. Karan Taul’s people bear no love for these…charlatans, as you say. We remain loyal to our Scalelord.”
Valasar smiled. “Of course. I just found it an odd coincidence, is all. No relation to your boy at all?”
“No, my lord. A coincidence indeed. Many of our people walk the mainland, these days.” Sir Kliric smiled. “It’s a common name. We Klirics remain loyal to the throne, my lord, have no fear.”
Valasar bowed his head and made a wide gesture with his gauntleted hands. “Of course, I did not seek to imply otherwise. I understand you and…Nashann? were held in high esteem by my father.”
Xarkul assented. “He was a good friend to us, yes. We owe much of what we have to the generosity of him and Clan Markex.” He held eye contact with the Scalelord, each sizing the other up. “We will not forget that.”
Valasar nodded. “I know he trusted your judgment. What would you suggest I do,” he said, holding the letter up, then turning to gaze up at the great glass ceiling, “in this situation I find myself in?”
Sir Kliric was silent, then spoke. “I would ignore them, my lord. Baseless lies from charlatans. They are of no concern.”
Valasar turned to face the knight again. “Hmm. Interesting. Yet, if I had them in the palm of my hand, ready to be crushed with a word, would you advise the same, Sir Kliric?” Valasar scratched his lip with a thumb. “If I only had to give the word and end these two deceivers, this “Narinn” and “Zorgar”, what would be your suggestion?”
Valasar narrowed his eyes at the Dragonknight, head tilted forward, waiting for his response.