Craetor stood on a balcony overlooking the desert kingdom. It was truly a beautiful sight for any child of Faerein. Many saw the sands as something harsh and cruel. It was true, the sands brought strife and challenge, but it also brought strength. It was like a father, really. If every Mounseiken on this planet were to study the sands, then could they find peace? Could they avoid the murders and wars?
No. Now was not the time for fanciful idealism. Craetor turned and headed toward the rear of the castle. The funeral for the king, like all the previous ones, would be held in the Sandgrave. It was a beautiful place, with cacti of various shapes and sizes giving color to the outermost parts with their ever-blooming flowers. Saeron would be pleased.
Along the way, Craetor thought about his position and the future. According to the reports, there had been several attacks on the same day as the assassination of the king. Though it was tragic to hear of all the kidnappings and casualties, it made the confident truly consider the option that Rhazin was not to blame for his assault. Craetor and Monstroth had both argued that a Specialist of the Mind Mystic had been responsible. Since Specialists were only born with one Mystic, they were always extremely talented in it. It was sort of like compensation from the Unscarred Creator, perhaps.
But any power could be used for evil or good. Saeron had proven that with his various deeds and shady deals. Craetor had still loved his brother, but maybe his death would bring forth a more fruitful future.
Well, after the war that was coming ended. Craetor would have to forfeit his place on the front lines, sadly. And his son couldn't with his new position... This war still had to happen, though. Craetor needed the other kingdoms to fear them so they would think twice before attacking!
Craetor turned his head to see General Saikren Zalazor walking up beside him. As always, the man's long hair that proved his Immortal status was tied in a Mar fashion. Craetor only knew that because he had visited Mar before. Odd place, but nice people.
"General," Craetor said, his stride not slowing despite making his companion walk faster to compensate his short legs, "I am not King until after tomorrow's ceremony." Craetor eyed the man. Odd. No sign of sorrow, pain, or... anything. "I would have thought you were on leave to be with your son. How is the boy's recovery?"
Saikren's mask of control did not falter as he spoke. "I worked on Zane personally, so his wound is fixed." There was a hint of worry that crossed the General's face. So, he couldn't lose his control sometimes. "The main issue is not with the wound, though."
"What do you mean?"
"The boy lost control of his Alchaeic Mystic during the fight with Arch's kidnappers," Saikren explained, rolling a copper orb in his palm. It was a nervous habit, from what Craetor could tell. Why else would he roll money on his palm? "His body has alterations in places that place his life in danger. Master Haerk is working on fixing the issue, but even he is saying there might be difficulties."
From all the signs, it was clear that the General was worried. One of his sons was still in critical condition and the other, his youngest child, was taken by an unknown group. Craetor knew that if anyone took his daughter or son, they would end up dead from the ones they had taken. But, if someone had taken Monstroth or Kaela when they were kids... Well, Craetor wouldn't be sane until he found them.
"Go be with your son, Saikren," Craetor said softly, "No one will blame you."
"Zane would," the General said with a scowl, "The boy has a temper to him that hides his selflessness. If he knew I skipped the King's funeral to stay with him, he wouldn't let me hear the end of it." A hint of a smile broke through the emotionless mask of the General. Good, Craetor had a right-hand man who actually felt emotions.
The two men proceeded to the Sandgrave. A few men, including some of the confident. Johannes, the financial confident, came. He wore his usual grimace, but Craetor could see the grief hid behind those dark eyes. Was it because of a lost provider or a lost friend. The difference could help Craetor in the coming months.
Roshet passed along, always walking at a pace that seemed to be on the edge of running. The confident of information was followed by Julaes, a beefy man who was second in command to General Saikren. Craetor even saw Frael, the cook, and Filip, a soldier of some renown. He knew the Sandgrave allowed for a lot of viewers, but just how many had the castle staff let in?
Craetor arrived at the Sandgrave, expecting to find the place crowded and disorganized. Only one of his expectations were realized. Though the sandpit was surrounded by a large mass of people that made the Faerein army seem present instead of simply guests. Craetor was more surprised by how they filed in neatly and there was no pushing or shoving. Was this the result of the assassination attempt leaving them unsure of just who to be angry at? Craetor guessed that most of these people - especially the soldiers - thought they could have done something.
Monstroth, of course, hadn't attended. Neither had the Sovereign of Mineral. They were likely talking somewhere. Craetor didn't blame them. Monstroth Frae was no more. He was just Monstroth now. He had lost his right to attend this funeral the moment the Sovereign had talked to him. Well, Craetor had always know that his son had a strong talent for Mineral.
The people finished filing in and Craetor took his place to the right of the coffin suspended over the whirlpool of sand that sat in the center of the Sandgrave. He was the next King, true, but he was also the deceased's brother, so his place at the head of the coffin was taken by Vivola, the only female on the confident, who resided over war. Usually, she would be in charge of managing the kingdom during wartime or providing information on the army. Why was she put in charge of the funeral, then? Wouldn't Gaerts or Kiet be a better choice?
Unless there was a reason behind this?