27: UnderestimatedMature

Gordon, the man who was still awaiting his general’s return after having been in his place for over two nights, was summoned to the king.  He put on a brave face as he made the long journey to the far end of the throne room.  He stopped a few paces away from the foot of the throne and waited for Gillireth to speak.

For a moment, the king only stared at the man before him, judging him, measuring the worth of this man by his own standards.  

“Gordon.  Surely you must know why you are here.  Your general has not returned with the girl.  Now I ask you, why might that be?  Surely one young girl cannot stand up to one of my generals.”

“Perhaps he is still tracking her, your majesty.  The girl had fallen in a ravine, but my superior wanted me to tell you that he would bring her back whether she be alive or dead.”

“Yet, he has not.  That means his promise is now your promise.  And I consider this promise broken.  I will be sending out those who are more reliable than you to fetch her for me.  Now, go on, make a case for your life, you rat.”

“It was the trolls’ fault, sire!” Gordon blurted out.

“The trolls!  THE TROLLS!”  Gillireth paused in his speech to indulge himself with a long peel of cynical, thunderous laughter.  “Yes,” he caught his breath.  “The trolls.  I employ these creatures for their brawn, not their intelligence.  The general knew this.  And you knew this.  Yet here we are,” the king gestured and looked around the room.  Before he could continue, one of the men whose job it was to tend to the dungeon swung the great castle doors wide open.  

“The prisoners have escaped!  The woman and the wolf!”

WHAT?” The very muscles of Gillireth’s neck coursed with tension as he yelled.  The only thing that remained stationary was his scar.  Through his hyperventilation, he gazed at the wincing man stationed by his feet.

“Do you know the one race that has not slighted me?  It is the dwarves.  Do you know why I like them, Gordon?  They made the chains to hold the Dechi.  Did I not instruct you to place the creature in chains?” he spat.

“N-no, sire,” Gordon said in a small voice.  "You did not."

“You there,” the king addressed the man by the door.  “Bring me that sword upon the wall.”

“Please, sire!” Gordon yelled.  “I have a wife at home.  Children!”  The ordinarily stoic man began to weep between short bursts of breath.  The sword was delivered.  “Surely you would not--”

His sentence was cut off along with his head, though the latter required multiple chops from the dull blade.

“That beast is the one thing I would most enjoy seeing dead in this world,” Gillireth told the corpse.  “He has shamed me beyond measure.  No man deserves to live who has come in the way of my restitution.”

His attention shifted to the shaken guard standing by his side.  “I want a bounty of five million raeds on any greywolf brought to me alive matching his description.  Make certain the message is spread.  That sorceress has likely teleported them both back to the ruins of her precious homeland.  I want posters in every city!  Go!”  He yelled to the man as the guard jumped and began to run out of the castle.  “And one more thing!”  Gillireth added.  “Bring me the giant.”

The guard halted and turned around.  “The giant, sire?  The one we locked up in a cave so that we’d never have to fight the likes of him again?”

“Are you questioning your king, soldier?”

“No, your majesty!  Just verifying.  I will see to it that he is brought to you.”

“Good.  Do make it quick.  He has a job to do, and I a deal to make.”

The End

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