CHAPTER 92: SIGNED AND SEALED
He has finally arrived.
Behind him is his entourage an army of 500 troops. All wearing their armour, but no helmets. They did not expect any fight.
The chatter in the tent stopped and the Zettelian King with his bouncy belly strut outside to join the other nobles seeing this assembly.
The troops are tense especially seeing that towering Giants holding a large torch that if thrown to the Hill will incite a forest fire.
And the other companies with the entourage of the Dark Prince are no less frightening. Orcs, Kobold, Fairies, Merman all is stuff of the legends, rarely seen.
I have seen them before of course, in the war but mostly their troops not their Kings.
The other Kings have also left their food and put down their wine glass and walked outside. No doubt wanted to join this historic moment, to brag on the fireplace someday.
Silas is in front of the troops an honour that no doubt bestowed by King Azrael. Beside him is the Commander of the Watchers, Commander Brooke.
Behind them are the 8 King and one who have a tan complexion, differentiated with the other, standing out even among the crowds, handsome and a noble regal feature, with red cloths that emphasize a posture of boldness and grace befitting of a King.
His hair is black and on his head is the crown, a perfect balance between subdued and powerful, an impeccably detailed look and it is plain obvious to me that is crafted from dwarves crafters with jewelers metal and finished with a gold metal shine.
Twin bands builds the frame of the crown while lending it subtle Elven styling, while the diamond accents studded with black and red and capped with pearls which lend the appearance of the King the right measure of decadence.
It is not too overdone, yet also not to subtle, the right combination of jewels and metals make it a stellar crown for any King, of any Kingdom to wear while his jet black hair, long black hair gracefully flowed along the crown on his head.
His trouser is high quality leather with dragon design, which drew some attention of my subjects.
I know that dragon is a symbol of royalty in Anvali.
Of course the similarities with my crest are unmistakable. I did not know that when I chose the symbol, though I knew I should remember.
Behind him were the Kings.
The Orcs are creature of great strength and stamina, they can wield heavy mace and some even say that they can punch a tree even without the help of internal energy and the tree would be plucked out from their roots.
The faeries a mysterious creature that even during the war hardly participated, liking their fabled forest, the least understood and mysterious race of the dark lands even among the race that inhabits the dark lands.
Faeries have this unearthly beauty air around them and their height is mostly around 5 feet not that different from humans but that is usually their tallest height, and has a fair skin and has variety of colors.
All of the faeries that accompany the King each and every one of them have regal faces and exquisite colored features.
There is not many that I know about faerie but they are known to be as cunning as Dark Elves.
It is only fit in that their physical capabilities are not that high but they compensate that with their mastery of ancient magic’s and ancient words.
They also have a lot of mana, controlling the elements.
The merman representatives, that resembles a human face but have gills in their throats and some have fin in their backs, a sight that baffle the nobles there that is seeing them for the first time but they held any word fearing that would offend these representatives.
However the main concern of the nobles and King is this one giant who towered above them all and holding a large torch and all fearing that giant would drop it accidentally.
Then there is the dwarves King, and the Elven Council and the Kobold who have been replacing the dragons as one of the important King of Anvali.
Brooke went and approached me, dismount his horse and quickly kneel.
‘Rise’ I said and he rise
‘I have fulfilled my task, my lord’ he said and I nodded.
Silas whispers something into the ear of the Dark Prince and then he brings his horse in front of me and dismounts it and kneels and began presenting the 8 Kings.
‘I present to you the King of The Orc, Koer Vor, son of Gruk Vor of the Vor clan.’
And the Orc King dismount his horse, large horse which is so different from our horse, stockier, big like a bear but have the feature of a horse. I must inquire of this creature later.
He nodded to me and I gesture my servants to show the King his seat. The Orc King understands and takes his seat. After that Silas speak again.
‘Here is the Faeries King, King Oberon Lightspear. The Elder Council of the Elves Alynn Shir , Merman representatives Dorr Vine and Slathor son of Balthor, son of the King of Giants of the Arathor tribe’
And the giants grunts and a gust of winds are formed from his nostrils.
Thankfully the masons have crafted a huge chair for the giant a stone chair almost as big as a hut and the Giant took his seat.
‘And I present you King of Arakath, Ruler of Anvali, Protector of all the Realms of the Dark lands, King Azrael Mournstar.’
And with that I bow.
‘Your Grace’ I held out my hand and he smile and took my hand and shake it and then there is applause from the King, and nobles and even the reluctant churchmen who are seeing the spectacles.
Slowly the sound came and then gradually it turned into a thunderous applause. And he glance at Arianna and his face light up, the same way I light up when I see Helia.
He must have exercised great patience on his part not to run to her and hug her because he take his seat at the center of the table, knowing that there is still matter to be settled.
One last deed before he can embrace his beloved.
And I admire his dedication that he has for his duty as a King.
I took my seat on the west side looking at this King of the Dark Lands who in my timeline, undoubtedly would have cause the misery of humanity but now, sitting here for a peace proposition to bring my quest to an end.
Silas must have informed him of my appearance because he knows who I am.
Then finally begins our last task.
We firstly began exchanging stories as I relay to their Kings about what has transpired and what really happened to Arianna.
Arianna who is standing nearby, nodded, confirming the stories.
Thankfully nothing happen that would taint the lady honors though not for lack of trying on the Emperor part.
The lady then told the assembly how she been kidnapped and imprisoned in this lake, guarded while every day the Emperor came to the lake, trying to woo her, to no avail.
It seems the Emperor have a very twisted mind.
Luckily, and this is the part of the story that I knew, she met Zhang Liao Bao who she have entrusted to give it to his beloved which falls into my hand. I call Leander and he gives it to me.
I give the letter to Azrael and he read it and looks towards his bride and I could see tears are forming on his eyes.
He wiped it away and I continued the story. I tell them how I see that this might create misunderstanding and a might invite a political problem.
It is at this time, I order people to investigate and I explain to the assembly the pains I have taken to procure the Princess.
‘Why would you help us so?’ The Orc King asked.
‘Yes I am curios’ suddenly Azrael asked
‘At first , I have a suspicion that surely you as our neighbor, albeit a faraway neighbor would have believed that if it were to be found out, that your beloved wife is in the Human Continent, you would march here to retrieve her back.’
And at this the other kings nodded. I know the importance of Arianna.
She is not only the King bride but her lineage puts her as a very special existence in the dark lands which is why they would gladly lay their life for her and why the plea of the factions so easily sway the nobles and Kings to go to war with the humans.
‘This is my initial assessment. And haven’t I been proven right?’ And the Kings nodded again.
‘If I do not resolve the misunderstanding, showing my goodwill by rescuing the Princess wouldn’t I instead will be accused as an accomplice? And if I do not resolve that misunderstanding, instead of sitting here talking about peace and treaty wouldn’t we right now, be in the battlefield, shedding blood and cursing each other? Of course when I found out there is a plot and conspiracy that is determined to pit, to make war on peace, to bring blood and fire, when there is calm, I could not stand still and let such injustice be. I am then determined to save the Princess, unravel this perpetrator and to put salt in his wound, what would be more avenging then to make peace when the perpetrator desire war?’
And at that the Faeries King laughed.
‘I like the way you think Lord Arial’ and with that the other Kings also laugh.
‘True’ Azrael remarked.
‘What would be a better way to show to him then this? Sweet revenge indeed.’
And then Azrael tell the humans of the conspiracy while the King all listen with great attention and showing the appropriate reactions.
Of course, when I set the treaty as my end goals I did not expect the other King would be so interested in joining the assemblies which makes me in an awkward position right now.
As it stands the treaty concerns Arrandy not Aetehrland, and while the Demon King have agree to sign the treaty he only wish to sign it with me, as he trusted Silas, which means he trusted the lord of the man he trust.
And as I did not expect even Adrian to come to this signing, the fact that I’m sitting in the stone chair conversing with important people of the land beyond the sea might be a sore sight for Adrian courts.
Such display shows to the other Kings that he, vassal, is higher than the King itself.
Of course Adrian might not mind.
After all, if it’s not for my intervention in Vern, Aetherland might not have such strong allies in the Northern Chu.
A protectorate for Aetherland which will keep us safe from the Austen family if they ever decide to attack the northern border.
Then our talk shift to jokes as the servant pour the drinks to the Kings and they all share their stories of crossing the long bridge and their near death by a sandstorm near the Holy City.
Then the moment came and the treaty is brought into the tables crafted by Silas which has considered both points of contention between me and the Dark Prince.
The churchmen began examining the treaty on both sides and after I explained to them of the intention they grudgingly accept though their wariness does not recede.
But even the denizens of the dark lands do not look at the churchmen very eagerly. One could say their wariness is mutual.
The treaty describe our willingness on my side to open the wall and port for the traders of the Dark Lands while the Dark Lands will also do the same but only on ships and trader that bears the seal of the region of Arrandy.
The treaty also describes a non-aggression pact against each other, that if there is some matter of contention in the human continent, it is agreed, that I will act as an arbiter to both side, and even in extenuating circumstance joins the scuffle.
But the Dark lands have to promise safe passage to the dark lands only the land of dragons is excluded from the treaties.
After all if you’re stupid enough to go into a land of the dragons you deserve to be eaten up by a dragon.
Reservation is also included if we wanted to amend the existing treaty. The treaties are written in the common tongue and the Dark Words, the language we called of the demon kind language.
I who have studied this before in the library can understand it perfectly.
We both sign it and write our names, I styled myself Lord Arial Vermont, Prince and Duke of Arrandy and I also include the time and date and the venue of the treaties is sign, at night 35 Seedmonth 1017 signed at Dagur Hill and with that we exchanged the treaties, one written in their language, one in common tongue while they hold the treaty that I signed.
This treaty is a treaty of mutual benefit.
The threats from the East no longer poses any immediate threat and while the people present does not understand what I achieve , which is averting a great catastrophe from befalling humanity.
I see a new path that is not trodden by anyone before. A peace talk and a treaty that guaranteed that peace.
With this my quest is completed. Now, my only quest that is left is acquiring a dragon heart, expel the poisons and then I can live peacefully in my castle with my family and wife.
I got up from my seat.
Azrael followed. We shook hands and I called for a feast.
AT THE CASTLE
The other Kings humans and the 8 races are all chatting in the Grand Hall forging alliance, whispering plots.
But most of all, they’re enjoying the feast and chatting in the grand hall. It is a sight I’ve never seen before and it filled me with warm feelings
Peace between the Dark Lands and the Human Continent
Everyone understands what the treaty means. An opportunity for an economic development will certainly be in place.
And with Arrandy spearheading the agreements, some lords, traders and merchants alike, nobles and King have tried to ingratiate themselves to me.
I will surely see many profits that will be put in the Treasury. With the passage charge and charging for the seal, and of course the goods that will flow here, Arrandy is once again poised for an economic battle with the Principality of Freya.
Our family is one of the wealthiest in the kingdom, there is no denying that but the wealthiest kingdom is the Principality with their slave trade.
So with this treaty we might have a chance to take that title from Principality of Freya.
I moved to the open courtyard after finished talking with the nobles, watching the moon. The stars shine brightly tonight.
‘Dear’ I look and see Helia.
‘What you’re looking at?’ I look upwards and smile.
‘The stars. It shines bright tonight.’
She looked upward as we both look at the stars.
“ The tales of great heroes that fight dragons and demons, stories of evil monster and cruel men and cunning woman, of great heroes fighting great wars, the stories of their noble life and tragic death stretched across the stars, a thousand, and a thousand more, and a thousand more, glimmers of their battles, of hope and love and their struggles.”
She said, and I smile. She still remembers. It was in our first quest when we all were lying under the stars. I remember I cooked them mashed potatoes with eggs.
Then she looked at me and asked, the same way I asked a long time ago, on the night, where stars lined the sky with their beautiful glimmer.
“How much stories, how many battles were fought, won or lost there in the sky above?”
I reply with her words. The words she said a long time ago.
“A thousand and a thousand more and a thousand more”
We looked at each other and smile a wistful smile. She comes closer and lean on my shoulder and I took her hand and hold it as we look at the stars. Tonight is a beautiful night.
‘Look at that!’ Helia exclaimed suddenly
I look at the direction she is pointing. In the second floor, near the balcony, I could see Azrael and Arianna is exchanging kisses.
‘Finally they are reunited’ and I couldn’t help but feel warmed seeing the couple, both perfect in their own way, perfect for each other.
‘Peace’ I muttered. Helia just nodded
I slowly stroke Helia head and I think this is the right time to say it to her. If not now when? So I said to her.
‘Next week I will follow the royal couple expedition to the dark lands’ and this shocked her.
‘Why?’ she asked. And I lied.
‘I have some matter to attend in the dark land.’
‘And what matter is this?’
‘Matter of no importance.’ Helia look at me with suspicion
‘Husband does not have secret with their wife.’ She said
‘Yes, a husband does not. A lord however, is obligated to keep some secrets.’
‘You, then admit it is a secret.’ She said. I caught myself.
‘No, if. Not to say I would keep such secret from you.’
‘There is nothing to tell, dear.’
‘You always call me dear when you are flustered.’ She said.
She couldn’t understand.
But I try to ease her worries and said it is not anything of importance, that merely I am coming there to look at the dark land and to research something with Mikael.
Sulking as she is, she tried to accuse me of leaving her here. I assure her that is not my intention that I will return before the end of the year.
It took me some time before she is persuaded. And that take great persuasion on my part exercising every charm I can put on for her sake.
Actually, I have asked permission during the feast from Azrael to go to the Land of the Dragons and I asked his help to make sure I’m not detected.
He did inquire the reason but my reply was that, I am curious. He accepts the explanation but I doubt he believed it that much.
After all, nobody is stupid enough to come to the land of the dragons just to research them. Even Mikael with all his curiosity of the flying creature did not dare venture that realm.
Tomorrow I also have to inform this to the council and I have to appoint a Regent. Helia is talented in diplomacy so I will appoint her.
That night I returned to bed with the feeling that everything is going to be fine. Helia is sound asleep. I look t her and smile content smile. Today a lot has happened. Before I went to bed I once again look at the stars.
“How much stories, how many battles were fought, won or lost there in the sky above?”
I asked myself. And then I reply
“A thousand, and a thousand more and a thousand more”