Chapter Seven

Stratagus rose from his sleep restless like he had so many other nights. He wasn't haunted by nightmares but memories. He tried to push them away but they pursued him as tirelessly as he pursued Adrian Parker and he hoped would disappear with the death of Adrian Parker. Stratagus sat up and swung his legs over the edge of his bed. He propped himself up resting his elbows on his knees and stared vacantly at the floor. Little did he know that this morning was the one he'd dreamt about for many nights, planned for during many waking hours. He rose from his bed his face an impassive mask. He pulled his robe over his shoulders and walked from his chambers.

            The corridor beyond the room was cold and dark the lights had long gone out but Stratagus could still make out the set of sliver doors at the end of the hall. His hand fell on the ruby door knobs, his fingers closed slowly around the jewels. He enjoyed the contrast of the blood red against his pale skin. He pushed the door open with a slow lazy swing of his arm. The door slide open easily granting him entrance to the solemn room beyond. Seated at the head of the room was the throne, an imposing chair cut from a powdery white rock that stood out against the bronze interior of the room. Stratagus lowered himself onto the throne. He gazed down the length of the room. The feel of the chair under his fingertips seemed to sooth him. As he caressed the material, it gave him some solidarity, confirming his victory. Yes. He had won. He was the king of Devil’s Helmet, he held the land under fear and Adrian Parker was no more powerful than a nightmare haunting him. He was better off with her...yet Stratagus couldn’t bring himself to believe this.  

            The door opened deliberately slow and Roshell slipped her head through the opening. Her eyes fell on Stratagus. Her slender lips lifted up in a smile that did not reach her eyes.

"I thought I heard you up." She said, pushing open the door all the way. She proceeded into the room with a graceful stride, the rocking of her hips accentuated by the swish of her thin silk night gown with each step she took.

"Having trouble sleeping?" She asked.

"Having trouble dreaming." Stratagus replied in a distracted whisper.

"Want company?" Roshell asked, waltzing to a stop by his side, her hand resting on the throne.

"No."

"Too bad." Roshell cooed running her finger along the arms of the throne as she moseyed behind it. Her hand made contact with Stratagus’ shoulder. She slowly traced her fingers up to his neck.

"Roshell I'm not in the mood for you!" Stratagus said pointedly.

Roshell made a soft disapproving noise. She strode back to the front of the throne and lowered herself down on Stratagus' lap. She wrapped her thin arms around his neck as she nestled her chin on his shoulder.

"That is too, too bad." She whispered into his ear. "Because I told General Mitchell he could see you. He seemed really excited about something. His thoughts woke me up like the most wonderful dream I just had to share."

Stratagus turned to face her. He looked her over intently.

"Are you teasing me again?" Stratagus demanded.

Roshell smiled satisfied and a little smug, running her fingers through his hair playing with each curl.

"When have I ever done that?" She giggled softly.

Stratagus lowered his eyebrows unamused. Roshell sighed exasperatedly.

"You'll like it." She said after a pause. 

"Enter!" She boomed, her voice echoed throughout the room. A servant scampered in quickly. He bowed low his hands quickly running over his uniform straightening it the best her could.

"Rise." She ordered.

The servant obeyed.

"Has General Mitchell arrived yet?" She asked.

"No your grace." The servant replied.

"Well then wait at the door and don't move until he arrives. When he does arrive bring him here directly."

The servant bowed low once more. He backed out quickly.

"Any moment now."  Roshell smiled at Stratagus. He Hardly seemed impressed by her and waited irritated.

However, she was correct, only moments later the door opened once more and the servant bowed himself in.

"Rise. Speak." Stratagus ordered.

"General Mitchell sire as her grace commanded." The servant said rising.

"Show him in." Stratagus ordered dismissively. The servant looked glad to scamper out.  

General Mitchell entered. He bowed awkwardly, his eyes fleeted around the room suspiciously. He approached the center of the room anxiously.

"You were expecting me your majesties?" He asked a note of dread to his voice as  he took off his hat.

"Roshell says you're going to make me very happy." Stratagus said.

The End

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