Fealty to the King
The epic novel by Milo Swanton now for sale.
Historical Fantasy
This is an extra scene not included in the book because it didn't fit, but available here on the website like a cut scene from a movie is released on DVD.
Spoiler Alert. The scene handles an unresolved plot thread, taking place two years after the end of Fealty to the King in Recorded Year 870. It involves the Hamuntht, told from Hamunth's point-of-view, and takes place on the Chizdekyim Inlet.
For the Best
Lord Hamunth steadied his stance on a rolling deck, watching the gap in the cliffs at the mouth of the Chizdek River disappear into the haze along the coast. He looked over the choppy surface of the Chizdekyim Inlet, peering out a cabin window from the back of a Kendulyim vessel.
“How long will this voyage take?” Enoch asked in the Chizdekyim language.
Hamunth turned away from the window to face his bodyguard. Enoch was pale, even for his fair complexion.
“I didn’t ask the Kendulyimt,” said Hamunth. “I never have traveled to Agratuna by sea, but the journey must be quicker than going by land.”
“The Kendulyimt usually don’t venture as far as the Snarshyim Inlet,” said Adam. The other bodyguard wore pink and black robes, and leaned against a thick wooden bulkhead to keep his balance. “We’re lucky this vessel stopped at Chizdek.”
“I’d say unlucky,” said Enoch, nauseated.
Hamunth motioned for him to take his spot by the window in case he needed to spew his breakfast. “What do you say, Adah?” he asked his daughter. “The sooner we reach Agratuna, the better?”
Adah stood near the door across the room. As did all Hamunth’s children, the young woman spoke the Chizdekyim language. “The betrothal’s been too long, Father.”
Hamunth considered her the most comely of his daughters. She had brown eyes, dark hair with long curls, and a curvy body; useful for attracting Lord Feldram’s son to become her husband. “Chrenlon must think so.”
Adah clasped her hands to her bosom over the ruffles of her slippery amber gown. “The king and queen are coming to our wedding.” Her radiant smile augmented the aura of late morning sunshine that was brightening the cabin.
“Fidrek’s letter says so.” Of course, King Brutez would attend, Hamunth wasn’t surprised. Lady Feldram is his sister.
Hamunth smiled, thinking of Lord Feldram’s sister. This trip for Adah’s wedding was his third annual visit to Agratuna to see his wife. He envisioned Yeemzal in his favorite arousing position.
Adah interrupted his enticing thought. “Father, do you think we’ll meet the woman Fidrek wants to marry?”
“We might already know her, especially if she’s from the royal court.”
“I hope so. She’ll come to Agratuna with Fidrek if she’s at court.”
She better come with her parents if Fidrek wants to arrange a betrothal. Hamunth considered his son’s letter that lacked details to be maddening. He wondered again who might become his wedlock daughter. Not Steebnaf’s daughter. She married King Brutez’s stonemaster, Jonerch, so Fidrek stopped longing for her, and perhaps gave heed to one of Lord Swenik’s daughters or nieces. Kevyar had plenty of maidens needing husbands.
A loud rap on the door startled Adah. The Chizdekyim bodyguards, Adam and Enoch, snapped to attention. The Kendulyim mate with whom Hamunth negotiated passage entered without waiting to be called. He was a hairy fellow, with belly growth sprouting below the reach of his shortened tunic.
He spoke in the Yarsishyim language, which Hamunth understood. “My captain requests to see you, Lord Hamunth.”
Hamunth swept an arm indicating the breadth of the cabin, a gesture of welcome, and thought curiously, This is the captain’s own room, isn’t it?
The captain stepped inside with a swirl of garments, wearing many multi-colored layers for such a warm day. He wore a serpent-skin cap, which he removed from his shaved head in greeting. His thick, bony brow reminded Hamunth of his oldest son, Buerosh, who he had sold into slavery.
The Kendulyim watched Adam and Enoch while walking behind Adah, and before Hamunth or his bodyguards could react, the captain held his dagger on the young woman’s throat. “Don’t move, Father!”
Buerosh! Hamunth recognized his son’s voice, speaking the Snarshyim language.
“Tell Adam and Enoch to leave, and then we’ll talk.”
Hamunth waved for his bodyguards to go with the mate, and they shut the door after them. He faced his son. “Now remove your blade from your sister’s throat.”
Half sister!” Buerosh bared his teeth. “Come, Father, and I’ll replace her neck with yours, but first you must disarm.”
Hamunth removed daggers from a boot, his hip, and a tunic pocket.
“The others,” said Buerosh.
Hamunth unstrapped another dagger from his upper arm, unslung one hanging behind his back, and extracted the last from inside his trousers. He stepped over the pile of blades he left on the plank flooring, and stood by Adah to accept Buerosh’s dagger under his chin.
“Father, I never understood why you named Adah after Larzil’s Chizdekyim mother.”
Nor did Adah’s mother, which ended that relationship, Hamunth remembered. He flinched as Buerosh scraped his larynx with the blade.
“Join our half brother and sisters on the foredeck,” Buerosh told Adah. “They’re being treated to some Yarsishyim sweets.”
Hamunth regarded his daughter’s fear-filled eyes. “Do as he says, Adah. Don’t worry about me.”
“You disappoint me, Father,” said Buerosh after she left. “Why don’t you beg for your life?”
“You didn’t beg for yours.”
“For what reason did you spare me? Was it to have no more blood accusing you from the ground?” Buerosh lowered the blade from Hamunth’s throat. “You cursed me by telling me that, Father. I became tormented by dreams of my brother’s blood.”
Hamunth stepped from his son’s grasp. “You don’t want my blood accusing you.”
“That isn’t why I’m sparing you.” Buerosh opened his arms, dagger held in one hand. “As you see, selling me into slavery turned for the best.”
“How did you become the captain of a Kendulyim vessel?”
Buerosh pointed to a barrel stashed in a corner of the cabin. “Let’s tap your brew, Father, and I’ll tell you.”
Sitting with filled mugs at a small table built into the wall, the father and son talked.
“The Kendulyimt took me through their homeland and across a sea,” said Buerosh. “I quickly learned their language, being similar to the Chizdekyim language, but my knowledge of the Snarshyim language determined my fate.”
Hamunth drank some brew, thankful his unsliced throat could receive the liquid.
“The slave market is far south where winter doesn’t reach, something I liked about the place. A Richeeyim captain sailed along the southern coast each year, stopping at Ranjin and Habergenefinanch, now called Nanch, and reaching as far as the mouth of the Pultanik River.”
Hamunth wondered, Was it the same vessel on which Jorgis traveled with Hoj?
“Father, he bought me because he needed someone to translate the Snarshyim language.”
“You traveled to Snarshyim lands, and you couldn’t escape?”
“I didn’t want to, having discovered how much I enjoyed life on the sea, and the captain treated me well.”
Hamunth frowned. “You dealt with the Druogoint and the Warnekt, and they never told me about you.”
“I didn’t tell them I was your son.”
“Did you tell your captain?”
“I only told him about the blood dreams that tormented me, and he showed me a scroll that some Snarshyim fellow wearing pink and black robes gave him.”
“That must have been Hoj, the son of Tribemaster Warnek and Lady Gernthol of the Druogoint.”
“What’s the meaning of the pink and black robes? I see Adam wearing them.”
“They call themselves the Hojyimt. They gather knowledge, and talk about a one true God.”
“The Richeeyim captain told me his scroll contained God’s words. He read a story about a man who was cursed for killing his brother.”
“I know that story.” said Hamunth. “Hoj told me about Cain and Abel, and he gave me God’s pure blood so your uncle’s blood would stop accusing me.”
“Did your birthmarksign heal, Father?”
Hamunth opened his tunic to show his son. “Never better.”
“Mine, too, after I received the pure blood. I learned the way of the living God, which is how I’m able to forgive you. Do you forgive me, Father?”
“I do as long as you no longer try to kill me or any more of my children.”
“I renounce any claim as your heir.”
“Fidrek will be the next Lord of Pietong.”
“I prefer my captain’s life. My crewmen are freed slaves, as I am, and we built this vessel.”
A commotion outside on deck caught the attention of both men. Buerosh went to the door, and the portal burst open. Adam entered, followed by Enoch.
Hamunth saw flashing steel. “Adam, no!”
Too late, the point of a sword came out Buerosh’s back, splattering crimson over his clothing. The young man stumbled and collapsed against a wall.
“No matter, Father.” Blood oozed from his mouth. “I anticipate a better life, one without blemish. This is for the best.”