The Mâvarin Revolutions
Fragments from a Work in Progress
by Karen Funk Blocher
© 2007 by KFB
Final Instructions, Part Five
(With Fayubi's magical help, dying King Jor of the alternative version of Mâvarin has just summoned witnesses to hear him to name a successor.)
Guardsman Medor burst in. “Your Majesty, what…what was that? Are you all right? Did you want to see me?”
“That was a request, no, I’m dying, and you’re just one of the people I want to see,” the King said. “I suspect I will have quite a few visitors shortly. They are all to be admitted except my Queen and my daughter-in-law, Do you understand?”
“But the Queen—”
“—has no authority over me except what I cede to her. Please tell her, if she turns up, that I said that if she loves me, she will not interfere with this meeting. If she does interfere, she will live to regret it. Can you do that?”
“I…yes, Your Majesty. I think so.”
“Good man. Don’t worry. It will be all right. I think. Now, go wait for my guests, please.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I rather enjoyed that,” Jor remarked when Merc had left the room. “Too bad it’s my last chance to do anything interesting.” He looked pale but contented. His hand trembled as it lay on the quilt. “I don’t suppose you know a healer who can save me.”
Fayubi shook his head. “Sorry. I know a number of healers, but the only one better than Dimider lives far away in the other world. My contacts assure me that she could do nothing for you that he hasn’t already done.”
“Ah well, I expected as much,” the King said sadly.
The first to arrive was Prince Carmi, accompanied by his personal Guard. “What is this all about, Father? I’m certain that I heard your voice in the Sun Room just now, but it seems impossible.”
“Yes it does, doesn’t it?” the King agreed. He had no intention of explaining about the invisible visitor at the foot of his bed. “I need to make an announcement, Carmi. I don’t think you are going to like it.”
“It’s something to do with my sister, isn’t it? She looked awfully guilty earlier, when I saw her sneaking out to the stables with her Guard Commander lover.” Jor did not like the look on his adopted son's face as he repeated the usual Palace gossip about Cathla and Wil Masan.
From Carmi’s point of view, a moment of silence followed. For Jor, however, the moment was filled with Fayubi’s less jaundiced assessment of the Princess’s actions. “We may be too late, Your Majesty. That was probably Princess Cathla’s attempt to escape being murdered when you die.”
Jor’s conclusion was much the same as Fayubi’s. “How long ago was this?” he asked Carmi.
“About half an hour. Maybe a little longer.”
“Might she still be in the stable?”
The Prince shrugged. “I suppose. She’s not in the Palace, that’s all I know. The Guard at the back door says he hasn’t seen her since she went in the stable.”
“It’s not all that hard to get from the stable to Prince Street without being seen from the Palace side,” the King said. I’ve done it myself.” The thought that such exploits were long since behind him made Jor a little sad.
“Well, yeah, if your horse is a good jumper, or you don’t mind climbing an eight foot wall that’s guarded on the other side,” Carmi said. “But why would she bother?”
If Carmi didn’t understand the danger to his sister, Jor realized sadly, there was no easy way to enlighten him. “So Cathla has fled the Palace,” Jor said, more to Fayubi than Carmi. “That complicates thing. Hmm. There’s an idea.”
“What are you going to do?” Fayubi asked.
“What idea is that?” Carmi asked.
“Wait and see,” the King said.