Read Magician Prince Online

Authors: Curtis Cornett

Tags: #curtis cornett, #epic, #magic, #fallen magician, #dragon, #fantasy, #rogue, #magician, #prince

Magician Prince (3 page)

BOOK: Magician Prince
4.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

King Kale waved off his apology. “Your words
hurt less than you might think. You have spoken with Sane many a
time since his capture. You know it was not me that he turned his
back against. It was you.”

Janus had no reply for that and stood frozen
as his father walked off. Even now his father still considered that
lowborn wizard and confessed criminal to be a friend on some level…
and to make it worse, he blamed Janus for the sorcerer’s
betrayal.

 

***

 

“Everything I have done was in preparation
for this moment!” Janus raved impotently in the seclusion of his
apartments where no one could hear him speak against his father. No
one except for Kennath and he did not matter. As long as the wizard
was under Janus’ control he would be the most loyal of servants.
The magic wielder could not even speak or eat without his prince’s
leave to do so. Of course, he gave Kennath some autonomy for such
menial tasks. It did not take long after getting his slave-magician
before the man fainted from hunger. The wizard had not asked to be
fed, because he was not given permission to speak and although
Janus was ethically opposed to giving magic users any kind of
freedom he did not like the idea of being troubled at all hours
simply to grant his slave permission to relieve himself.

The magician stood by as Janus continued to
vent. “I commissioned the collars that will save our kingdom! I was
the one with the vision to see this uprising coming years in
advance! It was at my behest that the rest of the domains were
closed down and the inhabitants secreted away to form my magician
army when Baj first fell!” Janus picked up a shiny bauble and
hurled it against the wall so that it shattered into a thousand
little pieces. “This kingdom survives thanks to me and do I get any
acknowledgment from my father? No, I get insults and
admonitions!”

A wrap on the door and the call of a guard
asking, “Is everything all right, your Highness?” came through the
door.

“Leave me in peace!” Janus commanded silence
of the guard.

“Sometimes,” Kennath began, but hesitated
thinking better of whatever he was about to say.

“You have something to add?” the prince
wondered. His anger was instantly redirected at the surprise of the
wizard’s outburst.

Kennath shook his head, “No.”

Janus pulled the control rod from his belt.
“Tell me what you were going to say.”

“Sometimes,” the magician started over, “it
can be difficult for a father to see his son as anything more than
the little boy he used to tuck into bed every night.”

“Then his desire to live in the past has
become my cross to bear,” Janus found a seat. The urge to hit
someone was strong, but he poured a glass of wine instead. He could
strike Kennath if he desired, but it would have lacked
satisfaction. The wine presented him with an opportunity to focus
his attention elsewhere and the fine wine glass would require him
to be calm or risk shattering the delicate cup. A little calmer, he
continued, “It is maddening that he sees me as the one at fault,
when I see him failing in his leadership of this war. He does not
see the threat before him for what it is and he is unwilling to
fight the kind of battle that we need to win this war. As armies
go, the wizards are agile and strong, while my father spreads our
forces thin so that they cannot possibly react to a threat in time
or with sufficient force.”

“What would you do differently?” asked the
lanky Kennath.

Janus considered ignoring the slave’s
question, but the magic user was incapable of betraying him no
matter how much Kennath might want to. “I would assemble as much of
the kingdom’s army as I could and march against their base in
Wolfsbane. Then I would destroy them utterly. Once the rebellion
was crushed, I would turn my attention to those of you with control
collars and see that every single one of you was executed until
there were no more of your kind left in the kingdom. Aurelia would
be a land at peace at last.”

Kennath’s face went white in horror. Clearly
that had not been the answer he was expecting. Occasionally, he
would try to strike up a conversation with Janus in an attempt to
ingratiate himself to the future ruler, but the prince was too wise
to fall for such a simpleminded ploy. He knew that if the wizard
were free the first thing Kennath would do would be to kill him
followed by his father.

The king may balk at his son’s attitude from
time to time, but Janus understood that the only way to battle
these rebels was with like force and the only way to combat the
sheer force held by the magicians was to be absolutely ruthless and
never waver from his resolve.

“Do not fret,” Janus said genuinely
downhearted, “my father’s views are not as far-reaching as my own.
Father will likely doom the kingdom to its attackers before I ever
have a chance at the crown… either that or he will be killed.”

“You don’t mean…” the words died unspoken
before they could pass the magician’s lips.

Janus puzzled at his slave’s words or lack
thereof for a moment before he understood Kennath’s meaning and
laughed at the idea. “You thought I meant to threaten my father?
No, fool, I meant he would be killed by your kind when they
inevitably storm the castle. Only a wizard would think of killing
his own father.”

A haphazard knock came from the chamber
door.

“Now what is it?” Janus asked loud enough for
whoever was disturbing him to hear his aggravation at the constant
interruptions.

From behind the door a young boy’s voice
quivered, “Begging His Highness’ pardon, but the dinner party
honoring Warlord Velaren Saberhawk will be held within the hour.
Would His Highness like help in getting ready?”

“What a bother,” Janus muttered. Then loud
enough for the squire in the hall to hear he added, “Yes, come
in.”

The squire was a boy of thirteen who often
helped the prince arrange his dining attire and get dressed. This
was one of those unimportant people whose names his father would
know, but the prince had met with the lad dozens of times and not
once did he ever seem disappointed that Janus did not know who he
was.

To Kennath, Janus ordered, “See yourself out
and go someplace where you won’t be a bother to anyone.” It was
understood that everything that the prince said in private was not
for the magician to repeat, so he did not need to remind the magic
user of that fact. Likewise, the slave did not need to respond with
an affirmative to his master’s command before he left the room. The
collar would see that its wearer did as he was told.

Janus sat on the side of the bed and extended
his booted foot. The squire readily untied the laces and removed
the boot before setting it aside and starting on the next one.

How depraved the wizard must be to think that
Janus would consider killing his own father. Still as he thought
about it Janus had to admit there was a strange logic to the idea.
The king’s actions would certainly lead to Aurelia’s demise and
Janus had it within his power to prevent that from happening if he
was only given the chance to act. Killing his father was out of the
question, but maybe there was another option. The king did not need
to be dead; he just needed to be out of the way for a while so that
Janus could lead the army to victory. Perhaps Kennath would know of
a spell to make his father sick for a time without doing any
permanent damage.

“Squire, when you are finished here, track
down my wizard and bring him back here immediately.”

“Yes, my lord,” the squire promised, helping
Janus remove his tabard emblazoned with the royal family’s coat of
arms- a crow flying against an orange sun.

Chapter 3

 

 

 

The smell of salt was thick in the air as the
Vagrant’s Folly
docked in the port of Mollifas. It spent
three months at sea on its journey south from the dwarven kingdom
of Ghant and the ship’s crew was happy to finally reach port. There
were women, fresh food, and fine drinks for the men to partake in;
a well-earned reward for a successful voyage, but Captain Hohite
Farsea had others matters to attend to before he could enjoy such
pleasures. He had to make arrangements for his cargo of precious
dwarven steel to be off loaded and delivered to his clients
throughout the city. He also had to see his passengers safely off
the ship. Most of Hohite’s coin came from the sale of dwarven
metals in Aurelia and a return trip to Ghant carrying spices and
gems that were only found in the southern nation, but it cost him
little to transport a handful of passengers since he would be
making the trip anyway and they paid a king’s ransom to get across
the sea.

His guests filed off the boat each thanking
Hohite for the safe passage and offering other pleasantries until
only three dwarves and their aged human servant remained. They were
members of the Axebeard family and one of their own recently came
into vast sums of money in Aurelia.

“Get the bags, boy,” commanded their
matriarch, Gesela Axebeard. Her beard hung down to her knees, its
length was as much a status symbol as her fine attire, indicating
that she was a woman unaccustomed to working. She wore a fine
silken dress and overcoat cinched at the waist that was fashionable
among the richest of dwarven women and carried herself with the air
of one who was entirely confident in the knowledge that she was
better than those around her.

The “boy” she referred to was the old human
encumbered with baggage to the point of almost being unable to
follow after his masters and nearly tripped over the lip of his too
long and faded traveling cloak. The captain was surprised at the
old servant’s strength. He must have been a mighty warrior or
seadog in his youth to be able to lift so many heavy bags at his
advanced age.

The old man stumbled as he descended the
plank and nearly lost one of the bags over the railing, but managed
to regain his balance and save the luggage slung over his shoulder.
“Coming, mistress,” the old fellow called after the matriarch.

“Do not tarry, boy,” she cautioned him,
“Honestly, I don’t know why my son thought you would make a half
decent servant. You are supposed to be waiting on us, not the other
way around.”

“My apologies, mistress,” the old man said
downcast.

“He came highly recommended, mother,”
answered Eiro, one of the two younger males dwarves and the one who
happened to hire the old human. “If I recall, you were entirely
charmed with the idea of having a human pet. You were plenty
pleased when those old crones you breakfasted with were falling
over themselves with jealousy, because you had a human and they did
not.”

“Old Baryn is useful for fetching high up
things,” added the youngest dwarf, Dinero, with a mischievous grin
and wink at the old human. Baryn did not acknowledge the dwarf’s
joke, but that did not stop Dinero from doing his best to suppress
a smile at his own wit.

“When your whiskers grow in, then you can
make jokes,” complained Gesela, but there was no bite to her words
and she continued down the docks leaving her entourage no choice
except to follow behind her.

They took in the sights of the docks for a
time, but were soon greeted by another dwarf dressed in finery more
in fashion in Aurelia and a retinue of soldiers at his back. He
stood with his hands behind his back and his chest puffed out doing
his best to look as stately as possible.

To the finely dressed dwarf’s right stood a
herald and upon seeing the family of dwarves headed their way began
to bellow. “The esteemed Sir Gilkame Axebeard, regent and hero of
the kingdom, welcomes the venerable Lady Gesela and her sons, Eiro
and Dinero to the great city of Mollifas.”

Gesela showed her approval with a courtly bow
to the herald and a warm hug to Gilkame. “It is good to see you
once more, my nephew. Your parents would have been proud.”

“Thank you, Aunt Gesela. It is good to see
you as well,” Gilkame told her with his eyes filled with emotion.
“Come. You will be staying at the palace with me. The king has seen
fit to give me a workshop and lodgings within the castle due to the
delicate nature of the work I am doing on the kingdom’s
behalf.”

The city was a wondrous place for its sheer
size. The streets were crowded with humans going here and there.
Merchants lined the streets hawking their wares ranging from pies
to clothing to art pieces. However, while the vendors were
aggressively trying to sell to most passersby, they gave a wide
berth to the dwarf and his entourage flanked by bodyguards. The
dwarves were fascinated by everything that they saw. It was a city
far different from their realm where the caste system was more
heavily adhered. In the human kingdom they had their aristocracy,
but a man could rise in rank here through the acquisition of vast
amounts of wealth. To the dwarves no matter how much money one had
a miner would always be a miner and a warrior would always be a
warrior though the wealthier ones could afford the finest in homes
and armors. They were enamored with the city and stopped to gawk at
the sites every few blocks much to the old man’s relief as he
hurried behind them with their luggage in tow.

They could see the castle from the docks, but
that was a pale imitation of the majesty that they experienced as
the Axebeard family stood outside of the castle’s main gate. It
grew high into the sky so much so that the tallest spires looked as
if they were almost touching the clouds.

“We will be staying in that one,” Gilkame
told them with pride as he pointed to the rear spire on the right,
“It has a fantastic view of the sea on one side and the city on the
other. It used to belong to the court wizard until he tried to
hatch a plot to kill the esteemed Prince Janus last year.”

BOOK: Magician Prince
4.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Cherokee Storm by Janelle Taylor
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Hulk by Peter David
The Enforcer by Worrell, Nikki
Freak of Nature by Crane, Julia
The Keeper's Curse by Diana Harrison
Jacob's Folly by Rebecca Miller
The Block by Treasure Hernandez