Chapter 11:

The Black Delegation

Tales of the Eternal King: The Heretic King Part II: The Springtime of Our Discontent

Demetrius was riding through the northern gates of Verdenka City in his palatine that was being carried by four armored Black Beasts.

He looked out through the curtain to see the city as it stretched out in front of him with a look of distaste on his face and he said to the black clad warrior next to him, “How can they live in a city such as this? There’s no life to be felt. Too…sterile.”

“Yes, Your excellency.” The black clad warrior said flatly, his eyes ever scanning and his head ever on a swivel.

“They need to have some crucified criminals lining the road or some other such signs of misery. There’s not even one lashing post by any of the fountains that’s blood stained to add to the aroma of life here.”

“As you say, Your Excellency.”

Demetrius looked closer at the black clad warrior and said, “You’re not even listening to me, are you?”

The warrior’s eyes locked in on him and he said, “No, Your excellency of course not.” And his eyes returned back to his constant scanning.

He chuckled and said, “At least you’re honest about it, Paznic. Unlike the others that have made this trek with me in the past.”

“I know no other way, Your Excellency. I’m not here to keep you company but to ensure your safety, Your Excellency.”

“Right.” And he looked back out the curtain.

He looked at the other three occupants in the palatine, all of them women. Two dressed in the scant clothing of concubines. The third, on the other hand, was a mousey looking woman dressed in the traditional minister’s dress of the Nordac Court.

To the third woman he said, “So, Sarria, are you sure that Dethlial has been properly notified?”

She nervously said, “I am quite certain, Your Excellency.”


He then rapped on the front of the palatine and said, “Driver, take us directly to the Grand Cathedral.”

The driver said with a shiver, “Yes, Your Excellency.”

The two “concubines” also appeared to be displeased with the destination.

He laughed and said, “You succubi need not worry. The Grand Cathedral hasn’t been consecrated for more than fifty years now. The corruption is well entrenched into the very mortar.”

Elevant Samuel watched as the delegation approached the Grand Cathedral’s Peonon Square where the Pope traditionally held open air sermons for the masses. There were a plentitude of black and silver pennons. He shook his head at the nature of the delegation being led by such beasts as Great Black Wolves each mounted by the lightly armored People of the Steppes.

Then there were six war mammoths with houdah loaded with archers from the eastern wastes, all so pale and grim faced.

Then there was a single mounted armored knight in black plate mail armor followed by a palatine suspended between four armored black beasts.

Following the delegation was a company of shield bearing Woague pikemen.

Samuel/Dethlial was shaking his head because of the shear audacity of bringing such “Unclean” forces into the Holy Five Kingdoms. Fifty years ago, this would have been considered an act of war.

The palatine came to a stop in front of him and two footmen stepped off a stand on the back and one fell to his hands and knees in front of the door while the other reached up and opened the door.

First to leave the palatine was a black clad warrior who used the footman that was on his hands and knees as a step stool to step down on. Then he stepped to the rear of the palatine and placed his hand on his sword and did a quick scan of the area.

While this was happening, to the front of the palatine, the black armored knight stepped down from his mount and took a guard position. For those who were watching the knight’s movements would have noticed that there was something…unnatural about them.

After he was satisfied the black clad warrior said, “It is safe Your Excellency.”

Then Demetrius stepped down from the palatine also using the footman as a step stool. He was followed by two scantily clad “concubines”. Then following them was a small, mousey looking woman wearing the traditional dress of a Nordac Court minister.

Demetrius smiled broadly as he approached Elevant Samuel and said, “Brother Dethlial, So good to see you!”

Samuel looked back and forth to the Holy Guards standing to his left and right and then leaned forward and said softly to Demetrius, “Not so loud. We still need to keep the façade up for a time longer.” His tone showed his displeasure.

“Oh, but not too much longer…oh very well, Elevant Samuel.” With an air of being bothered by the formality.

Samuel straightened himself and said, “The Pope and their majesties are expecting you. Please follow me.” And he motioned towards the Grand Cathedral’s front gates.

As they were walking, Samuel said softly again, “His Majesty must be worried about things if he sent one of his Death Knights with you?” while looking to the black armored knight.

Demetrius also said softly, “Yes, he has seen some bad omens in his augury. Also, three of our turncoat dragons have been killed just outside of Polk.”

Samuel nodded and said, “So I have heard.”

Across from the gates, in the Market Grounds, two “young girls” watched this entourage with obvious distaste in their eyes.

The blond-haired girl said, “Things are coming to a head, and faster than we expected.”

The dark-haired girl’s reply was thick with sarcasm, “You think? “ then her voice turned worried “Do you think that he will be capable enough to deal with the Death Knight?”

The blond-haired girl shivered and said, “I only hope. If we must intervene, demons and a death knight? Too many, I fear. Even if Father was here, too many. Ebon’s man better be up to the task.”

“One way or another, if Ebon needs us, we have to go to her aid.” The dark haired one insisted.

“I know. I just don’t know if we would survive.” She looked at her younger sister.

“Better boldly for a purpose than hiding in fear” she countered.

Also, in the Market Grounds, Rowen sensed something, unnatural, in the flow of magic that drew his attention towards the Grand Cathedral.

He, not knowing what he was doing at the time, walked over to the south side of the Market Grounds to look out at the delegation as they approached and disembarked its VIP passengers.

He saw the black clad Knight step down from his horse and he both saw and felt a cloud of black energy flowing around it.

As he was standing there, he realized he didn’t remember walking there and so he looked left and right to see who was around him. To his right he saw the two young girls he saw the other day. They were about fifteen feet away from him. They seemed to notice him at the same time as he was noticing them. They both curtseyed then disappeared into the gawking crowd.

Jade, in her guise as a low-level housekeeper/priestess was tasked to clean a large meeting room. She was one of a dozen working to see to every detail.

Two obviously important men, who she recognized as the Ruby King and Amber King, entered the room, to which everyone bowed to them.

The Ruby King waved the housekeepers to return to their work and he and the Amber King sat down on a pair of comfortable chairs.

With the kings were a retinue of other servants, guards, and such.

After a point, the head housekeeper ordered the other housekeepers to leave and he bowed to the two important men.

Jade took a moment when no eyes were upon her to become one with the scenery and invisible.

The Ruby King said, “Do you know why Demetrius is gracing us with his presence cousin?”

The Amber King shrugged and said, “I have no idea. However, if you and I want to continue to get our elixir, we need to be present to have him tell us himself.

“Speaking of which, cousin, why haven’t you given your fair share of…sacrifices for the cause?”

“My fair share?! I went through the expense of launching a winter campaign and ended up losing one of my best legions for the CAUSE!”

“And it was your people who lost the first sacrifice to begin with.”

“No, it was Lord Tetry who took custody and lost them with his life. I don’t feel like I should have to pay again for something I already paid for.”

From the other side of the room a deep voice said, “Do you really believed that Markus?”

Both the Ruby King and Amber King shot to their feet once they saw a rather imposing looking man wearing black furs and other leather clothing, Elevant Samuel, and Pope Eustis enter the room.

Behind them was a black clad warrior, an obvious death knight and the rest of the fur clad man’s retinue. Of which was a servant bearing a one-foot cubed black box.

The black clad warrior strode out in front of the fur clad man and looked to be doing a security sweep of the room.

After a quick scan of the room, he paused then turned to the side of the room and walked over to scrutinize a certain curtain that was decorating the wall next to a large Triume holy symbol.

Jade was behind the curtain holding as still as death itself but ready to react.

The black clad warrior paused a few moments longer then shrugged and turned and nodded to Demetrius.

The fur clad man smiled and said, “Now that we’re secure, I’ll tell you why I’m gracing you with my presence.

“It would seem that his Greatness has lost faith that his affairs here in the south can be attended to appropriately by you three.”

The Ruby King exclaimed, “Now wait a minute, you mean to blame this on us?!”

The fur clad man shrugged and sat down saying, “If that’s where the blame lies then so be it.”

Pope Eustis and the Amber King sat down slowly, but the Ruby King continue to stand saying, “I’ll have you know that I saw to every possible problem I foresaw. I cannot be blamed for some unforeseeable force showing up from nowhere!”

The fur clad man languidly shrugged again and said, “What you are to be held accountable for is your lack of imagination. You should have imagined every possibility and taking precautions. You marched your forces forward arrogantly and now you’re paying the price for that arrogance.”

The Ruby King put his hand on his sword and said, “Demetrius, I don’t have to take this. None of us do! You know that you need us for this union to come to be?!”

He motioned to the Amber King and the Pope and said, “You need all of us…”

Demetrius held up his hand and suddenly something seemed to shoot forth out of the Ruby King’s chest into his hand followed by a great deal of blood and other “biological” materials.

The Ruby King’s face looked stunned as he saw his mana crystal, the size of a golf ball sitting in Demetrius’s hand. He fell to his knees then flat on his face, quite dead with the remainder of his blood pooling around his body onto the floor.

The Ruby King’s retinue of guards reached for their swords only to be decapitated by two black blurs, one being the black clad warrior. The other being the Death Knight.

The only eyes that could track their movements fast enough were Jade’s.

Demetrius reached his other hand up and motioned for the servant bearing the black box to move closer.

He then opened the box and took out a flask of blue liquid, removed the stopper then held the Ruby King’s mana gem over the opening and magically squeezed glowing blue liquid out of it into the flask.

While he was doing this he said, “I trust that neither of you gentlemen feel the same way as Markus did?”

Both Pope Eustis and the Amber King nervously shook their heads saying, “No, Your Excellency.”

He then picked up the flask and handed it to Pope Eustis saying, “This should be enough to tide you over until we can harvest the elixir from the latest crop of sacrifices.”

Pope Eustis bowed his head, “Thank you, Your Excellency.”

He reached back into the box and took out another such flask and handed it to the Amber King, King Jarrah Magnus IV, who also nodded his head in thanks.

Demetrius then rose and said, “I will be seeing to all matters out of the Ruby Kingdom’s estates here in Verdenka City. Oh, and Pope Eustis, if you want to get some more for your subordinates then you should do your best to get the Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald Kingdoms in line.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”