“So, this Kewn fellow is back now, after fourteen centuries?” Brandon asked.
“Yes, my Lord.”
“Now why doesn’t that surprise me?” Brandon muttered. Now, the likely answer to his question was that everything since bedtime last night had been so incredibly surprising that Brandon’s shock capacity had overloaded and left him feeling rather wilted and unsurprisable. “Well anyway, he doesn’t seem so bad to me. I mean, I’m sure it’s not nice to go about killing dragons, but it sounds like he was pretty desperate and only trying to help out. But you say now that he’s got the dragons drunk and is waging war on us? You need an army to wage a war, how’d he get one in only six years?”
“By dark cunning and deception he took over the neighboring kingdom of Nastar to the East and increased and intensified their already existing army,. And wherever he captures he forces everyone possible to join the army.”
“But what has he got against us, all these centuries later?”
“He seems to want his throne back, your majesty. And perhaps even more than that--rumor is that he is panning to wage war on the whole world!”
“Hmm, that doesn’t sound good,” images from high school textbooks of world wars flashed through Brandon’s head. “And you are sure it’s this same guy, this Kewn, who was supposed to have turned himself into…what do you call it…”
“Black aurichalcum. Yes.”
“And have any of you seen him, or talked to him that you are so sure of this?”
“No,” Commander Senny looked appalled at the thought. “But he has declared himself by that name and by all accounts his appearance is that of the ancient house of Guire.”
“Has it occurred to you, commander, that this might all be some sort of mistake or miscommunication?” Brandon didn’t give Senny a chance to respond, but continued, speaking partly to himself, partly to the commander. “Yes, yes, they say that most conflicts rise out of simple miscommunication. You don’t happen to have a telephone, or um, I mean, some kind of long distance communication system I could use?”
“Uh, no, well, I mean,” Commander Senny was generally a very well composed, unshakeable type of character--you had to be in his line of work. But the ignorant, uniformed, naive things that this young king was saying were really shaking him up. “I supposed you could write a letter, but it would take a long time to get there.”
“Dragons can fly, right? Do you think Clover would give me a ride there?”
“A ride? Your majesty, this idea of yours is completely ridiculous!”
“What? Is it ridiculous that I think we should try negotiation before jumping headlong into war where lots of people will die? Ridiculous that I should at least try to foster some healthy communication?” Brandon was getting angry. This commander of his was apparently rather backwards thinking.
“Well, no sir, but we are already at—”
“Well, then, send for Clover!”
“At least let us discuss this first, your majesty.”
But Brandon was the type of person, who, once his mind was made up, would not turn back. He was already halfway across the room when Roary interjected.
“No need to go yourself, Brandon. Not when you could just have Clover carry a letter to Him.”
Brandon stopped and turned back.
“Not that I agree with your plan, of course," the dog went on, "complete ridiculousness, as Senny says. But you might as well not endanger yourself needlessly. He may just be a fat idiot,” Roary continued talking to Senny as Brandon found himself a roll of parchment and a feather pen, “but we did want him back here, and he is our king. Maybe there is some wisdom in all his ‘communication’ mumble jumble.”
So Brandon composed his message, and after a few unsuccessful tries with the feather pen, had Senny write it out for him.
Clover arrived, a nervous wreck, a few hours later at the palace of the enemy. She had a big white bed-sheet tied to her tail as a flag and the scroll attached to a rope that looped over one of her fore-claws. She circled three times around the large palace with all of it’s pointed towers, yelling down, “I come in peace! I come in peace! I have a message for your king!”
A squadron of soldiers came to meet her when she landed on the drawbridge in front of the castle walls. She lossened the scroll so that it fell to the ground, and announced, “A message from King Tassian III, Supreme Lord and Monarch of the Kingdom of Igladia!” She then quickly lifted off again and flew away as fast as she could. How come she had to do all the dangerous jobs?
Kewn Guire broke the royal seal and unrolled the scroll. A thin smile spread across his lips as he read. When he had finished, he re-read it, then rolled it back up and set it down on a side table. He leaned back in his throne, his fingers linked behind his head, then pulled down on his lucky baseball cap so that it tipped up in the front.
“Welcome back, King Tassian.”
Kewn read over his list of 101 Guidelines for Being a Successful Evil World Dictator before composing his reply.