Open Court Ends

The look of shock on the Earth Skyll’s face would have been humorous had it not, in the next instant, been replaced by one of fury. Something private and extremely important had passed between the two men. But it was late and the blue shadows under the King’s eyes were blackened, and so when Ondred spoke again, it was in a different vein. “Give your word, Oren Whitehair, that you will not escape and thus spare us the humiliation of your confinement.”

“I give my word.” The Hunter balled his seared hand into a fist and placed it over his heart. “I will appear before you for further questioning if no acolyte passes the test and no babe born as Earth Skyll be found.”

“I am satisfied,” William rose, grunting with pain. “I will see that you are escorted to your chamber. It will be a large chamber, Oren, a room full of air and light.”

The Hunter inclined his head. The King resumed the final hand motions, then gave the specter three hard shakes. Open Court was over.

A page appeared and Oren followed in his wake, looming over the lad.

William, followed by Hulse and Calibran, proceeded out of the throne room. It was a slow procession for the King declined support and led the others in a shuffle which would have been pitiful, had it not been so annoyingly slow. Vue and A’Sing left whispering together. Sarris wavered, waiting for Elymas, but the Earth Skyll was not ready to depart. Sarris tried to catch his eye one final time, failed, and left. The room was now vacant, save for two men: Elymas of the Sacred Garden and Ondred, trusted counselor of the King.

Ondred spoke first. “For one deemed so spiritual, Elymas, you are certainly capable of a malevolent stare.”

“Tonight you have made an enemy of me.”

Ondred shrugged. “Your rejection of the Shautu’s predictions was unduly harsh. I wonder what you are about.”

“I have no secret agenda, no secret motive,” said Elymas. “I work only for the good of the kingdom. After all, Ondred, someone must protect her.”

“I was under the impression that the King protects the Kingdom,” replied Ondred.

Elymas flushed, but made no response. He raised his hood, his face now covered by the folds of brown.

“A room full of air and light,” called Ondred, after the retreating figure. “Tell your Sacred Servants I will check on that.”

He raised his hood, his face covered

Elymas turned toward in the direction of the banquet hall, going as fast as his limp would allow.

Ondred stood alone, a contemplative figure in the middle of the hall. It was well known he hated crowds and deemed feasts tedious, so had anyone been watching, they would have been surprised to see him follow after Elymas, puzzled to see him trace, quite deliberately, the Earth Skyll’s steps as he’d left the hall.