Devlin wondered at what was happening, this was most irregular for Eglan. “Father, I—“
            “What I tell you now—” He cut in, and stared Devlin down. He moved to one window, looked out and then closed the shutter, “—it stays between us and us alone,” his tone brooked no reply. He moved to the second window and did the same. “Devlin, would that I could, I would have you married to some Lady befitting you and thus expand our reach to another Province within the Kingdom, alas a more opportune possibility has arisen that is not so easy, but the rewards are greater. I have secured a sponsor with the Lord of the Golden Sword and from my own coffers, have paid the entrance fee so that you may enter the tournament. You may not know this Devlin, but this is no mere tourney. The King is hosting the Century Tournament, commemorating the four hundredth year since King Louen’s exodus from the Old Land. As such, the prize for the winner is whatever he would wish for should it be within the Kings power to grant it. Well Lord Drayvon’s eldest is dead and he was one of the twelve Captains of the Royal Army, so it is my wish that you will ask to be made a Captain in his place.” Devlin frowned at that.
            “Father I am honoured that you think so highly of me but—“
            “—this is not a request, you will do it. Captains serve under the King himself, they command a whole province’s army, they attend the King’s war councils and upon retiring, they are granted land and titles. It is more than mere honour, but an honourable way to gain power and respect, son.”
            “If it is all the same father, I may be a good fighter but I am no leader. Better that I serve the Drayvons than take their son’s place.” He squirmed at the mere thought of all that responsibility.
            “Devlin, I need you to do this, for the honour of our House that you so rightly said you bear upon your shoulders. This is our chance to cast off our sullied name and solidify a just and true legacy. Are you not my son? Am I not your father? Does our name mean so little to you—?“
            “—but father, do you really think this is a good idea?” Dalaena spoke up then, she did not want to continue however, but the inquisitive look from her father pushed her onwards. “Damyen Drayvon is your liege Lord, you think he will have nothing to say about this slight?”
            “Damyen and I fought in the Rouenite wars twenty years ago, I squired for him, I fought with him, from his own mouth he awarded me Dawnrose.” Devlin could see the memories running through his father’s mind. He knew that look well, when memories of battle clashed in your mind and the faces of the dead stopped you sleeping. “He was a great man.”
            “Was father, you knew the soldier, the Lord is quite different I assure you.” She moved closer to him and touched his shoulder. “Twenty years is a long time, as such he is truly a rose in full bloom now, though whilst the flower begins to wilt, the thorns have grown ever longer, ever sharper. He plans to ask the King to have his third son take his first son’s place. I have heard this from his own mouth.”
            “Granted, Astor is a good warrior,” he shrugged off Dalaena’s hand, “but he has not the skill that Devlin has. Nay,” he turned now towards Devlin, “you will ask to be made a Captain. One day, when you retire from service, you will marry a Lady befitting your heightened rank and bear many children so that the name Dray will be as strong as any of the Lords that have laughed at us all these years.”
            Dalaena spoke once again. “All I ask is that you move with caution father. Do not risk offending Lord Damyen.” Eglan looked irritated at her words but said little more. She however looked deeply uncomfortable. “I should have said something sooner, I apologise. Damyen wants to take Edaran for his ward.” Eglan frowned deeply. Suddenly understanding fell on him and there was a brief moment of fear.

The End

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