Chapter VIII

The guardsmen seemed uncomfortable, shifting their pikes continuously in an attempt to find a comfortable position. But it wasn’t their pikes that were disturbing them – it was the fact that they had just arrested the former Crown Prince. Anyone would feel slightly uneasy in such a situation.

Walking down the corridor with a guardsman on each side, Owain knew he had one chance, and one chance only. If he failed to escape, he would be tried for murder and treason. And probably executed.

What a fall! The gods make kings and pawns of us, he thought. We are but children’s playthings, caught up in a storm, and who knows where we shall land?

The gods were watching Owain out of the corner of their eyes, however – for at that moment, Quigley rounded the corner, his arms filled with books. His eyes widened at the sight of Owain – he hasn’t heard the news yet, then – and in a moment, a wordless understanding was conveyed between them.

Just as they drew level with each other, Quigley stumbled, catching hold of one of the guardsmen for balance. The books in his arms went crashing to the floor, the spines of two snapping instantly. Quigley winced.

‘Clumsy oaf!’ swore the guardsman, pushing Quigley off him.

A blow from behind knocked him senseless. His companion barely had time to register his friend’s predicament before another followed for him. When both guardsmen were stretched out on the floor, Owain turned to Quigley, who was rescuing his books.

‘Thank you,’ breathed Owain. ‘I am forever in your debt.’

‘When there is justice in this land, you will be king,’ Quigley said earnestly. ‘I know what Aaron has done. You must leave as soon as you can. Some of the Erls are still loyal to you – remember that. I will do what I can for you.’

Owain smiled quickly. ‘No man can ask for more.’

The End

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