In the previous episode, Gremlaw, his wife and his daughter met with the King of Trathlain, King Lormenio, after receiving his letter of summons. Readers voted that during this meeting the King revealed the Empire’s wishes for Gremlaw to become the Trathlainian Ambassador.
“The Empire has asked that you serve as royal ambassador to the imperial court.” King Lormenio stated, spreading his hands in a shrug. Gaping at the young king in shock, Gremlaw was at a loss for words, his head turning to take in Huleta’s own shocked expression before returning to face his king,
“Majesty, I…” he faltered, “There’s no…I mean…” Gremlaw felt Huleta take his hand, amplifying the trembling sensation he already felt. Gremlaw filled his glass almost to the brim with a fiery spirit and endured the burning sensation which lit his throat and belly afire. “I can’t go to Lavash, sire, I’m forbidden to return under pain of death.” Neevis looked at her father with a puzzled expression yet held her tongue for a while.
Lormenio leaned backwards in his chair, fingers toying with the stem of his glass as he spoke,
“Emperor Laz-Tuin-Kavash has issued an imperial writ rescinding that particular order,” the king’s mouth turned up in a small smile, “I understand it was made under a stressful circumstance.” One bejeweled hand slid several sheets of fine calf-skin vellum towards the astonished family. Gremlaw noted the imperial seal and signature, read the words and felt a stab of fright. His exile from Lavash had given him the perfect excuse for never having to return; now he was free to re-visit the country in which he had been tortured, starved, beaten and almost killed.
“Gremlaw,” the king began, making him jump, “I cannot begin to understand what you went through while you were held captive in Lavash,” Neevis’ face reddened as she listened to the words no one else had ever revealed to her before, “I have, of course, read all the reports and debriefs from that time,” Lormenio continued, “Laz-Tuin-Kavash, the emperor you helped to gain power, has completely different methods and goals from those his uncle pursued.” He somehow managed to fix all three family members with his eyes, “Trade and commerce have been beneficial to both Trathlain and Lavash, and I would see this continue for the benefit of all.” His tone became almost wistful, “War benefits no one.”
Gremlaw had only half listened to the king’s speech, having a few moments to think upon his situation, his quick mind constructing numerous reasons for him not to go,
“Your majesty,” he started, “I wouldn’t have the first clue about how to be an ambassador!” His tone was almost pleading, “I’ve got the Academy to run, and my family and friends are here…” He trailed off as the king raised his large hands, fingers spread.
“This is a request, Gremlaw, nothing more, I will not command you to do this,” his eyes became imploring, “Yet I ask it of you, both as your king and as someone who knows the sacrifices you gave for this kingdom.” A stilted silence descended over the room. The King inhaled sharply and sat up, “Still, take some time, discuss it with your family and we will speak again on the morrow.” He smiled, “I have a suite of rooms prepared for your use, merely follow the squire who led you here.”
The family was taken to a set of rooms containing various ranges of furniture depending upon the use of the room; every piece had been lovingly crafted and polished to a high sheen, creating a luxury the family had never seen. Gremlaw made his way across to a window and looked down upon the vastness of the city spread below him. Huleta and Neevis found themselves at a loss, contenting themselves with standing and staring at his back until he turned and smiled gently at them,
“You might as well make yourself at home, love,” Gremlaw said to both women at the same time, “We’ll probably be here for a little while.”
“Father,” Neevis could not contain her curiosity any longer, “When did you go to Lavash?” Gremlaw exchanged a look with his wife and answered,
“Before your mother and I married and you were born.”
“What happened?” A look of fear and pain crossed her father’s face making the young woman regret asking.
Huleta took her daughter’s hand, led her to a plush, upholstered ebony couch and began to describe, in full detail, exactly what had taken place twenty years before. Some hours later, Neevis rose, tears in her eyes, and threw her arms around Gremlaw, hugging him tightly,
“I love you, father.” She said in a quiet voice. Her father embraced her in return, stroking her back and whispering,
“I love you too, Neevis.” Huleta smiled at them both as he continued, “I didn’t want to tell you to keep you safe, and so I wouldn’t have to go through it again.” Gremlaw’s voice was thick with emotion. “Now, it looks like we’ve got a choice to make,” he pulled back from his daughter, “Shall we stay or go?” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.Serealities
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