Chapter 92:

Chapter 92 - Statecraft 101

The Flight of The Draykes

After that, we had a small, informal banquet. It was a way for us to relax and a way to celebrate the signing of the agreement between the Draykes and the Golden Blades.

Most of the people gathered for the banquet quickly went to bed after a few hours had passed, leaving only the Knights behind, who drank with smiles on their faces and yet tension in their bodies.

I was one of those who went to bed, thinking that the Knights needed to discuss whatever they were thinking of privately.

Which was why you can imagine my surprise when my door opened and Aaron, Teacher, and Sir Patrick came in.

Quickly getting out of bed, I greeted them before I sat as they looked at each other.

Then my brother grinned as he said, “I brought them here because should anything happen to me, the Draykes need someone to lead them.”

Recoiling, I exclaimed, “Nothing will happen to you! So, stop that!”

Holding up his hands, my brother smiled as he said, “I hope nothing happens to me, too. But I think your teacher has a quote, right?”

Softly, I said, “Prepare for the worst and act for the best.”

“Exactly,” my brother said as he looked at Teacher, who smiled approvingly.

Then my brother became serious, and he looked at me in a manner I’ve never seen before from him.

Uncomfortable, I asked, “Why are you looking at me like that?”

My brother looked earnestly at me and said, “Faust… Ever since you fought Deianira, you’ve been thrust into another world.”

“What world,” I asked, confused.

“The world of power!” My brother said with a heavy voice.

I kept silent.

“The world of power is complex. You might have been wondering why I hired the Golden Blades today, right?”

I nodded and said, “Yes. That didn’t seem like you.”

Sighing, my brother ruffled his hair and said, “That is me, Faust. It’s a part of me. Trained to perfection thanks to father and this old man here,” as he jerked his head at Sir Patrick, who scowled at him.

Puzzled, I waited for him to continue.

“For many years before you were born, I was the only heir to our House. So, they taught me everything as much as they could.. It was good that I’m somewhat intelligent,” He said, with a tinge of modesty.

Then he laughed and said, “Okay, quite intelligent. Whatever it be…. I grew up fast. I was thrust into this world of power long back and it’s like dried blood. You can’t get it off your clothes.”

Then, with a solemn and faraway look, he said, “At the time, things were still fine. However, 2 years back, things began to change. To be honest, things had been changing ever since the Battle of Pyrrhia…. We just didn’t notice it.”

“We won the Kingdom the battle, you know? But we were so weak afterwards. For a time, no one tried to rouse the sleeping Draykes. But then dissatisfaction and unrest began spreading in our lands. We tried to trace the source and found rumors and lies being spread by unknown people. Then our men began to be targeted as they went outside.”

“At that time we thought it was the King. But father knows the King, and he kept saying it couldn’t be him. Our information network was also quite weak. And so we were on the backfoot.”

Then, lifting his shirt up, my brother showed me scars that ran criss-crossing across his chest.

Quietly he said, “Fights that weren’t fights and arguments that escalated rapidly. These were what me and the old man faced as we travelled across Leon for our training.”

“Now, I told you I was quite intelligent, right? But not intelligent enough to see what was happening. For we suspected the nobles…. But we thought Draconis was safe. That’s why we didn’t try to speed up your progress and we let you do what you want. But you know what happened next as well as I do after Sir Leonidas took you in as a disciple. Now we’re here but the whole time that we’ve spent fleeing, I’ve been reading this.”

And saying so, he handed me a heavy tome.

Solemnly he said, “This has all the information that we have of the world and the powers that be.”

Looking at it, I cautiously held it up and examined it.

Gesturing toward the book, my brother said, “Keep it. I have made a copy for myself.”

Gazing at him, I slowly nodded and kept it in my finite stone.

Then my brother got up and held out his hand.

Grasping it firmly, I allowed myself to be pulled up and then my brother said with a weary look on his face, “I hired the Golden Blades because of many reasons, but the chief among them is that we have a lot of wealth with us… but not enough men to defend it. We’re in unfamiliar lands and the best course of action was to hire the Golden Blades. There’s a lot more to it but you’ll find that out for yourself when you read the book.”

Then he looked at Teacher and said, “Sir Leonidas… I would ask you to do what you said in the presence of Faust, if that is fine by you?”

Nodding, Teacher, who had been silent so far, turned to me before he smiled a sad smile and then, smoothly, he knelt on the ground with his blade half unsheathed and proffered it toward my brother.

My brother, Aaron Drayke, smoothly grabbed the hilt of the sword and pulling it out; He held it in the Knights Salute before he gravely asked, “Sir Leonidas, are you willing to pledge yourself to the House of Drayke?”

Resolutely, Teacher said, “I am willing to pledge my loyalty and my life to the House of Drayke and may Falka strike me down if my words are false.”

Touching him on the right shoulder and then the left, my brother proclaimed, “Rise, O Knight of the Draykes.”

And my teacher, the bastard prince of the Kingdom of Leon, rose and stared steadily as my brother pinned the badge of the Draykes upon his breast.

Flabbergasted, I watched everything happen with the feeling that I was in a dream.

Then the ceremony was over, and my teacher was grinning ruefully at me.

“Ho-wha-wh-” I stammered out.

Looking down at me, Teacher reached out a hand to ruffle my hair and said, “I never bent the knee for Leon. I fought in every battle, but I was a free Knight. Now, I have pledged my knee to the House of Drayke.”

“Why?” I questioned.

“Because home is here for now and this is my apology to your- nay, our House. Besides, I have two disciples who are part of the House anyway. I might as well join it fully,” Teacher said as he laughed.

Emotionally, I hugged the man tight.

Then I turned to my brother who smiled and said with a burning look in his eyes, “We’re surrounded by hungry wolves but we are Draykes and we will fly and reclaim what is ours.”

Then he stared at me in the eye and proclaimed, “One day, we will go back to Leon and take back what is ours!”

Then, clenching his fist, he held it in front of him as he looked at each of us.

His fire filling me, I leaned forward and placed my fist on his fist.

Soon, Sir Leonidas and Sir Patrick placed their fists too and then we grinned fiercely at each other and said, “The Draykes shall take flight again.”

And we will.

It’s just that nobody knew what that Flight would mean and what it would cost us.