The End of the Grieving (Part 2)Mature

"Understood, my lord," Sylvester replied, still obviously trying to pull his emotions together. Void users and their emotional instability is what gave the Scarred Sanction it's aggressiveness. Why had the Unscarred Creator made such a drawback for such a great power? 

Craetor shook his head. He didn't even have the Mystic and he was hating it's shortcomings. He didn't have time for this. He should be preparing for the next day. He would have to go over reports on just what changes or actions the confident had made. According to Galvure's Mandate, the confident were supposed to be something the King could fall back on. Sadly, they were turning out to be an opposing force, much like the two ruling groups in Mar. 

"I must go and take care of some business, Sylvester," Craetor told the smaller man, "I will call upon you in a week or so to begin training in Storm. I ask that you reveal nothing about the reason behind this. I, of course, do not expect you to lie. Simply tell anyone who asks that I have neglecting my training all these years and need the stress relief." Sands, he really wasn't lying about that last reason. 

Saeron, why did you have to die? Craetor didn't mean his actual death, he meant the change he had undergone. After a year of being king, that noble man that Craetor could rely on for anything had turned into a hateful tyrant who found answers in violence. His good intentions had never wavered, but that was all that stayed the same. 

'Guess there is a blessing in that,' Craetor thought to himself as he walked from the training grounds. 'His change made this assassination much easier to deal with.' Truthfully, it had. He only thought it had at the beginning, since he was only shocked about the possibility of Monstroth being a perpetrator, but now he knew for certain. 

Craetor did not feel anything over his brother's death.

He should feel bad for that. He knew he should. Instead, all he could do was worry about the confident's actions during this month of grieving and his son's safety as an apprentice. Well, that was normal for a king and a father. But... had Craetor failed as a brother? 

It was an hour before Craetor reached his quarters. Being a Frae, his room was in the central tower that stretched through the very center of the castle and of the Capitol City, even. Had he not been used to living here, Craetor might have refused the room. After all, he hated heights. 

"My lord."

Craetor nodded to the Earth Guard that he passed. Dressed in heavy stone armor, they were the finest Mineral Users and warriors that existed in Faerein. Maybe even the world. Captain Rae - the female leader of the Earth Guard - could even compete with Monstroth. Since he was, in fact, the next Sovereign of Mineral, that was something that could not be taken lightly. 

The stairs to the Frae tower opened before him. Unlike Monstroth in his heavy steel armor, Craetor preferred a lighter wear. His son had often wondered why. It was something most thought to represent Craetor's presence as a political leader, but that was not true. It was because of these stairs.

The Earth Guards followed behind. 

"My lord, we have checked every inch of the tower and made sure that no one has entered with Void Mystics."

Craetor nodded. The Earth Guard weren't just powerful, they were smart. Void users, Craetor had learned, can only use their Voidgates safely when moving to a place they already knew. If they tried to move themselves to a place they had never seen... Well, they could end up meshed into a wall. 

A shiver ran down Craetor's spine. The image of a dead man sticking halfway through his wall was something he did not wish to see. Instead, he wanted to see the confident grinding their teeth as Craetor outmaneuvered them.

Then an idea formed.

"What are your names?" Craetor asked the two Earth Guard that followed him.

"Our names, my lord?" one of them answered. In their stone armor, which covered quite literally every part of their body, Craetor couldn't tell a difference between the two of them. 

"Yes, I would like to know who it is that puts their life on the line for the sake of this kingdom." Craetor gave the two of them a smile in turn. He could not be gentle like Monstroth was to the children he spoiled so often, but he could be pleasant. 

The Earth Guard to his right seemed to hesitate, looking to his comrade before answering. "My name is Corin Heron Stonerei," he said, trying to hide his nervousness. 

"Stonerei is the name given to all the Earth Guard when they enter, correct?" Craetor asked Corin. The man gave a quick nod. "How did you receive the name Heron?" That name was only given to people who had performed courageous acts. The heron was a bird that one of the Scarred Father's Firstborn had used as his symbol. Due to his constant acts of heroism, that symbol became one for heroes in general.

Corin seemed at a loss for words. "M-my lord, surely it is impolite to tell the story of such a lowly guard like-"

Craetor cut him off with a growl. "I am not the late king, Corin," he snapped, "Each and every man has an equal value. I'll lead the people and you'll protect them. How are either of use more or less important." The Guard nodded, obviously not sure how to take the words Craetor said, thought his face was still hidden. "Now, your story?"

"It was... three years ago? No, maybe four. I was assigned to watch a member of the confident. There were some kids playing in an abandoned house on the street we had been passing." Corin shook his head, as if annoyed at something. "I knew I should have let the regular guards help when the building started to collapse, but I just moved. That confident member was nice enough to pardon me for abandoning my duties, at least."

"So, you saved some kids from a collapsing building?" 

"Yes, sir, though..."

"Good man!" Craetor smiled. "My son would have loved to hear that story, you know. You should tell it to him when he returns for a visit." If he returned. Craetor turned to the other guard, who had remained silent. "And your name?"

"Roger Stonerei, my lord," the man said. His voice seemed to be the sound a rock would make if it talked. Cold and hard, like a veteran. But what kind of name was Roger? It sounded like a name given to one of the Lizard loving men in the Western Peninsula. Odd.

"It's good to know your name, Roger," Craetor said, shoving his thoughts aside. "I hope you will not see me as you did the last king." He refused to say that man was his brother. His brother had died years ago, that man was just a shadow. 

The End

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