Hero of Corsindor
It was the shouting and scuffling outside that convinced Malkiah to run to the tent opening. A young man with a scimitar burst into the tent with a couple of guards behind him. One of them tackled the young man. The scimitar went flying.
The alcoholic fumes coming off the young man made Malkiah step back. The young man was flailing and kicking. He screamed at the Councilor who was safely on the dais. “There are traitors here. They want to kill you.”
It must have been the drink or the young man’s insanity. Malkiah knew several family heads who wanted the Councilor deposed, but killed?
Some stuffed a rag in the man’s mouth and the guards hog-tied him. The young man looked at the Councilor pleadingly. He was a sorry looking Ahrah. His robes were stained and yellowed. No one could believe that.
“Do you think this man is telling the truth?”
Malkiah wasn’t watching the byplay between the priest and the Councilor. He was more concerned in finding more weapons on the young man. He ran his hands down the side of the young man and pulled out several knives secured on his person.
“Untie him,” said the Councilor.
Malkiah frowned. If this petitioner attacked the Councilor, then he would have failed his duty. “I don’t think that’s wise,” he told her as he complied.
Soon the young man was on his feet. He wiped his hands down his robes. Then in a quick movement he grabbed the Councilor. Malkiah grabbed one of the young man’s arms and twisted it. He fell away and there was a manic gleam in his eyes.
Then the young man yelled in Malkiah’s face. His breath was putried. “You’ll get yours.”
Malkiah turned the young man over to the guards. They didn’t normally have jails, but this man had touched the Councilor. At the very least he would lose his head.
The Councilor’s face went white then gray. She fell and the priest caught her. “She’s just tired,” the priest said.
Malkiah and the priest supported her to her rooms. The Councilor didn’t live in a tent. She had permanent quarters here. They reached her room and she sat down heavily.
It had been a long day. Malkiah left the room and stood outside. Several of the Ahrah must have heard of the altercation because they were already crowding outside the building.
One of his old friends walked up to him. “Come with us,” he said.
“No,” he said. “I’m still on duty.”
“Your loss,” said his old friend. There was something in his eyes that made Malkiah wary.
He kept the crowds from coming into the building. The Councilor needed to rest. Soon the priest came the door.
“The Councilor just needed rest. Please leave.”
Then he said to Malkiah, “You can leave now.”
Malkiah looked around and saw his mother with her cronies. She was tittering and talking. Then her eyes caught his. They narrowed. It was that one look and he knew. His mother had been part of the Councilor’s sudden illness.
He had always known that his mother considered him her tool. With him she could reach heights that she couldn’t reach as a female of the olds ways. The thoughts of betrayal and treason soured his stomach.
He nodded to the priest and then left. There were other guards on the doors. He wasn’t needed. Besides he wanted to clear his head. He strode through the crowd, not looking right or left. He refused to answer his mother, who called his name.
When he reached his tent, he changed into his riding clothes. He needed to clear his head and not think for a while. It was obvious now that he was between a rock and a hard place— between his mother and the Councilor. Not a safe place to be.
After changing he walked to at the corrals He rubbed Storm’s nose after giving him a carrot. He bridled and saddled Storm and then leaped into the saddle. They galloped down a small dirt road, and Malkiah felt exhilaration with the wind in his face. For a moment he felt free.
In the corral, a dark shadow watched him ride away.