Chapter 14

"Navarn would do nothing to harm us! We have been allies since ... since the beginning of time, the birth of our existence!" King Lander protested. "They have done everything in their power to aide us in the worst of situations, as they do so today."

"I feel there is something unusual going on in Alezander's head right now. Some wicked plan formulating ... and you're granddaughter has a part in it, even if she herself is unaware of the Alezanders' true intentions." Lord Nather paced as he spoke, walking tracks back and forth at the foot of his King.

"What! This is the most ridiculous thing I've heard from you - your wildest conspiracy!"  

Nather paused for a moment, looking King Lander directly in the face as to make him listen, "Why would Navarn lend us so much money? It is as if we have the key to their Treasury. Why would Alezander do such a thing?"

"Just as any lendor works, Nather. We will pay him back the money and then some, eventually. He is full aware that both nations need to be healthy for our economies, nearly inseperable, to fully thrive. In order for Navarn to have the most economic potential, Alezander must not only mantain loyalty to us, but assist us," Lander said, pausing only to cough. "Do you not know this?"

The advisor dodged his question, only continuing, "You are under the assumtion that he is assuming that his funds will help us dig ourselves out of our financial mess, making him a small profit in interest..."

"Because that is how the system works!" King Lander threw his arms up in helpless frustration. "What do you find so suspicious about it!"

"What if he believes that we will never get out of this economic mess?"

The King scoffed, "Then why would he lend us the money in the first place! I don't have time for this, Nather; you're tiring me."

"Listen!" Nather raised a stern hand. It all began to seem so obvious to him - why did he not see this earlier? "If we continue our current path deeper and deeper into economic turbulence, deeper and deeper into Navarn's pockets ... Navarn will own us. They will look for compensation, and, when there is nothing to pay them back with, we will pay them in land! They will not only have the key to our - empty - treasury, but to this nation! Alezander is not stupid. We are a horrible investment, if it is money that he wants. But he is not looking for monetary gain, at least in the short term. What is he hunting? Power. And it won't be long before he has almost complete and indisputable power over us.

"And Cassandra, your granddaughter. There is some instinct in me that says she is a critical piece in Alezander's plan. There was never any explanation of why he jumped on an arranged marriage between his infant-prince and Aedryn's baby-princess. No one sought an explanation, because honestly, I don't think anyone cared. Everyone thought the behavior a little odd, but I know I didn't question it." The advisor began pacing feverishly again. "And she really is your only blood descendant, exluding Elitha, of course. It seems to me this plan has been nearly twenty years in the making!"

King Lander sat, quiet, thoughtfully considering Nather's words. Finally, he shook his head. "Nather, I thought I was the man losing my santiy. It now seems obvious to me that you are losing your mind."

"Your Highness, with all due respect, you have to see -!" the advisor cried out, filled with a wild, passionate fury. He was starting to believe he was right, that he had seen something no one else had, and King Lander was a crazed old man, completely and fatally blind.

"Enough Nather. I need rest now. You are excused."  King Lander was deaf, laying his head back on his chair and slowly closing his heavied eyes.

Steaming, Lord Nather tightened and unrolled his fists again and again. He bit down on his flaming tongue, turning sharply and leaving the foolish king to his nap.

The End

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