Devlin had ordered the ship to remain where it was and told Robin to stay with it until he was called for. He could not guarantee they would have bed and board and wanted to spare the thirteen year old the grief of the search.
              Devlin had not been to the capital in three years, not since he had traveled with the Captain and his men for the Captain to sit the War Council with the king. Being the Captain was like that, it was why his father desired it for him so much. Only fourteen people sat with the King when he spoke war tactics. Twelve Captains, the General and the Admiral. Not even squires could attend and it was said they poured their own drinks, water not wine. A big thing for a pampered Lord. To be that close to the King, to have a say on pivotal points of the realm would be a great show of trust and honour, and he would do it representing the entire province of Ascocen, with the hopes of one day becoming the General.

                Yes, three years since he had gone to the capital, he had walked the streets, a boy of fifteen, playing at being a man, drinking at taverns. He’d even tried his first girl in one of the few whorehouses deep in the darkest parts of Louennon known as Gin Pit. That had not gone well, and when he got out his member, she had giggled and said “poor you”.
                He’d gone to relieve his tension by punching arrogant drunks in the face, hoping to assert some masculinity in another way. A strange evening for him. Fifteen and a fool.
                Now he could appreciate the true grandeur of the capital, a wonderful place in its own right and filled with structures far older than Louena. Buildings from the time of Magoria, before his ancestors had travelled to Old Land and before even then. Here Devlin felt a part of history, amongst it in all the ways a man could be. He truly was a man now, he could feel it sas he walked the streets in his armour, taller than most and radiant in his shimmering, pleated steel.
                He had entered Louena a boy back then and with his Captain, the King and the Prince, he had left a boy to fight in a man’s war.
                It was odd to think that two of those had never returned to the capital alive. Now the boy Prince was a man King. There he felt a bond with His Majesty. They had grown up together, witnessed horrific things together.
                Devlin wondered how the King had felt when his father died. He had been present at the battle, though he was still fighting whilst the King’s funeral and the Prince’s coronation took place. The realm may have ceased working to honour him, as was custom, but the Barbarans would not share in that, so he had to fight to keep them away.
                It had taken three men to hold the Prince back, Devlin remembered, and a while host to drag him to the Capital for the funeral, but he returned much more level headed. Months later, Devlin’s Captain died.
                He had never gotten close enough to the King after that to offer his condolences, he would have to remember to give them during this visit, he considered.
                How has the year treated His Majesty? Devlin wondered. Is he a ghost of himself, a wreck like I feel sometimes? Is he boisterous and angry as I feel at other times?
                King Leon had no family, he had no wife, so no children, his father had died at war and his mother had died birthing him into this world and that was all. Such a lonely King.
                If Devlin knew the King at all, he guessed he was still as lively as ever.

The End

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