AOH – Chapter 49

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Winter has come. Snow has fallen. The winds are cold and unforgiving. The green forest turns white.

My least favorite season.

It cuts through my skin and make me feel highly uncomfortable. The letter in my hand, I still hold tightly, deciding or is it hesitating?

The wind blows again and I shivered slightly. Cold, but not the colds that burns, or winters that never stop.

At least I have to thank God for that.

Snow has collected themselves around the vicinity of the castle when I went for my walk yesterday.

The cold is bearable and even in the comfort of this large castle and the warmth provided by the fireplace, the cold can be felt.

Imagine the troops and soldier who went to the North. How cold it would be for them? How horrendous their experience will be?

Oh, how I loathed the winters that comes

I rub my hands together to create warmth. Frosted air force my lungs. I think I’m going to catch a cold.

Since little, my body is not that good with the cold. I’m not weak, but I’m not that strong either, which is why when I went out the castle my Knights accompany me.

I’m here on my chamber waiting for the arrival of Silas, my trusted advisor who never fail to give me wise counsel and practical solutions.

But tonight, it is not about policy. This time it’s personal.

After discussing about the war with my minister in the morning, here at night I summon Silas to the castle to advise me on a matter I deemed as important.

For the past month, the young lord of the Vermont’s have sent me the military report with precise details of what happens, when it happened and what we can gain, what we gain, what we lost and expenses.

The young lord have already said in his last letters that the previous campaign in the South may prove to weaken his family economic hold in the East so now, the armies used joint support of gold from both the Crown and the Vermont’s.

With peace settled in the South, the tax collector can resume their job. It is true what Silas said.

The Vermont’s are loyal.

In one of his letter, the young lord praise me, saying that he is pleased that I was not moved by the slander the people in the Court has imposed on his family and swear he will protect this Kingdom and become my sword and shield.

Though to be honest, I’m quite worry about his military endeavors and his strengthening of military.

An army trained and maintained under one house, loyal only to him, as the sole authority of that House.

Aries, by now, have given all the matters of decision in military matters to his son, who have proved to be very capable of leading men to battle, while his father and his mother supervise the economic side.

A standing army, ready to be called upon in moment’s notice.

If this works then he does not even have to wait for his banner man to come to him.

Not to mention many unlanded sons, who are Knights, with their young blood, who have nowhere else to release their passion in fighting instead of returning to their family home, join the army of the dragons.

Though they do have to start from the lowest, it is worth it. With having a pay and their meal taken care of, they readily accept the offer and swear their loyalty to the House.

Suspicious but I decide to have faith. Sometimes I have to take that leap of faith first.

Then the attendants in fronts announce the arrival of Silas.

Quickly I response

‘Enter Silas’

‘Thank you, my liege.’

I was standing welcoming him with open arms.

‘Please sit down Silas and close the door.’

He sits down and his eyes leered to the open envelope.

‘A problem? Bad news?’ He said clearly seeing that I am troubled with something

‘How do you know?’

He smiled a knowing smile. I hate it when he does that. The fact that he can see through me with one glance, his blue eyes scanning me and then he spoke with confidence.

‘Considering you summoned me, with great urgency, to come to the castle, undetected, guarded by elite Knights, I doubt it is good news. After all good news are shared, bad news are whispered.’

I smile bitterly.

Like always. And his words are true. Good news is always shared, but bad news? They are whispers, sometimes not even spoken, fearing the God above misinterprets it a prayer.

‘Wise as always’

He chuckled, though he does looks pleased

‘I do try to be, my liege or I doubt I will be in your grace any longer’

“Well, that is true” I said

“As so”

“Here, please read this”

I handed the letter to him. The envelope was already opened and he can clearly see the wax seal. A dragon sitting in a mountain.

He looked at me, a glance that seems to say ‘the dragon?’

‘Lord Arial?’ He asked

I nodded.

His face turned serious, undoubtedly believing that this is some secret report or a secret plot or something along that line.

He read it. I already memorized the letter contents.

From: Lord Arial, Count of Acro, and Regent of Arrandy

To: King Adrian Alan, the First King of Alan, First of His Name, Protector of the Kingdom of Alan.

My troops have gained victory in Berth and we executed Lord Wiltshred. We are planning to move to Dented Shield to take the castle under your name. However I need your permission my King of one important charge. If I met your brother should I let him live? Or will you exile him? Or will you let me wroth the vengeance of those who perished in the Bloody Feast. I await your answer in Berth while my men recuperate and prepares our attack to the last bastion of the North.


Your loyal subject

Lord Arial Vermont.

‘So what do you think?’

He put down the letter and sigh a relieved sigh.

‘What do you want, my liege?’

I rolled my eyes at him.

‘Why do you always answer my question with another question?’

Silas chuckled a little.

‘Maybe because I want to hear your opinion?’ He said

‘Give me my option Silas.’

He sighed

‘Fine, then I will give you my unreserved opinion.’

‘That is what I expect of you’

“Though I must warn you, truth are not easy, always hard to swallow, sometimes very painful, and most of the time it is never comforting’ he warned

Like always he is dramatic in his behaviour or his speech. Which might be the reason people are attracted to him, either in my court or the common folk.

Then Silas take a breath before laying my options.

‘For the first option, which you let your brother lives. I will tell you what it might lead to. If you let your brother lives, it would be unwise to say the least.’


He held up his hand

‘Wait until I’m finished, my liege’


He continued

‘If you decided to spare him, out of a misguided sense of brotherhood or familial ties, please do remember, that this man you called your brother, was and still, desires your death, your blood on his hammer, and trust me, if it is him, making this choice, he would not hesitate to choose, to smash your head with his hammer, bathe in your blood, seat on your throne and wear your crown’

‘Still, he is my brother’ I said, though what he said to me make me fearful.

‘Such naivety, my liege will spell doom for you.’

‘You said to trust the good in people’

‘Yes, I did. My liege, contrary to the popular belief, trust does not also means you have to be stupid. In your brother’s mind, there is no you, my liege.’

‘Maybe he does think of me’

Silas nodded

‘If he is thinking, even a shred of familial love, or affection towards his younger brother, he will not crafted such a horrible plan in the Bloody feast. It is only through your luck and perseverance that you escaped from the onslaught. Kill that man, my liege’

‘What man?’

‘The man that still believes that your family can be saved. It’s not broken my liege, your family. It has melted away, lost in the darkness of the Oblivion, the very moment your brother hardened his heart to kill you and all those lords’

I sighed. I know what Silas is saying. I know his words rang with truths.

But I still….hope.

Hope that my brother could remember. That we are a family. We used to be brothers. That father in High Heaven will weep seeing his sons fighting against each other to the death.

Yet Silas words speaks reason. I could not deny his arguments for it is true. But still to kill, that of my own blood?

To give the order myself? I may not be branded Kinslayer, but I might as well have.

‘How about we exile him?’ I asked Silas hoping that he would tell me it’s possible.

Than I can prevent giving the order to kill my own brother.

‘HAHAHA’ Silas laugh.

A hearty laugh, he even slapped his hand to his thigh, finding my suggestion to be terribly funny, it seems, and he looked at me suddenly with such intense eyes

‘Do you wish to kill yourself my liege? Why not drink poisoned wine or jumped from the tallest tower in this castle?’ he said

And his word shocked me

‘Kill myself?’

‘Certainly. It is plain obvious to me, that you wish to end your life or perhaps the world has no pleasure to give you anymore?’ He asked his smile crooked as ever

‘The world still has pleasures for me to discover. And I never meant to kill myself, and I refused adamantly, to your suggestion, of drinking poisoned wine, or jumping from the castle tower.I meant to exile him, to a faraway land, where he will be of no danger to anyone else’

Silas shakes his head

‘To exile him, means to kill yourself.’

‘How so?’

‘Imagine my liege. Many of the lords under you right now, followed your banner, fight for you, and risk their life for you some because of honour, others because of vengeance. Their friends, families die in the Feast, and they want to settle that blood debt. Imagine how they will response when they find out the killer of their family, and their friends, is safe and well in a distant lands far from their reaches. What do you think they would feel? Would they still fight for you? Risk their life for you? Raise their banner for you? Even though they spoke the words, know this, words are winds. Then….they will direct their hatred towards you and they will come by the thousand to unseat you from the throne.’

‘Are you sure?’

He nodded

“Nothing is certain, my liege. Only probability’

Then he spoke again

‘Not to mention there is the matter of the throne. As long as your brother is alive, he can claim as one of the claimant of the throne. Will you suffer that? What if Dostov decided that they can do more for Alderam or suddenly the Emperor of Vern find you to be the most unprofitable partner to expand his influence to the rest of the Continent?  Will they not, then throw their support to your brother? What will you do then?’

I sighed, hard and deep

‘Then from the beginning, I have only one choice’ I said finally realizing the point Silas is making

Silas nodded

‘Yes, my liege. And I think you know it the moment you read the letter.’

It is hard to admit but Silas is right.

The moment I read the letters I already know what my orders should be but I hesitated, because he is my brother, my only family, that of my own blood, my older brother.

Silas looked at my face and he too must have realized what I’ve been feeling.

He nodded in understanding. This game is cruel, like it meant to be. Who would even want to be King, if this is the life I have to expect?

Or am I not strong enough for this heavy crown or the dangerous throne?

Then Silas speak.

‘You were….afraid. He is your family, your last living relative, blood brothers. You want assurance, confirmation. You continue to doubt your decision, my liege and that is unbecoming of a great King.’

I show him a tired smile

‘In the fairy tale, the old tales, and poems, the Kings live like Gods, serve by a hundred maids, feast and song fill their court, people love him, the nobles obey him, the ultimate authority and power, from the earth to the sky above. Yet, I sit on the throne every day, yet I felt such dread and fear every time I sit on the throne and when I wear the golden crown and administer my court. Will this be my last day? I asked myself. Are there people plotting against me today? I asked myself again. Will the nobles hear my orders? Fear takes a hold of me, when I sit in that throne and wear the golden crown. Why is my life not happy like the fairy tale of old?’

‘My liege, that is why it is called a fairy tale, old tales, and poems.’

 I looked at him, waiting for his words, comforting words, consoling words.

‘Heed my words, my liege. There is never a King who underestimates the power of the throne and ended up well. You should fear the throne. Your words affect lives. It is like a sword is hanged on the ceiling, with a thin thread that can fall anytime, and you, my liege is under it’

I looked at him.

A wise advisor and apparently he never even spare me from the truth, not a consoling word, or comforting words. He laid the truth for me and it strikes my heart with uneasiness.

‘Sometimes I wish you lie to me Silas. Your words fear me.’

‘Lies, my liege?’ and he chuckled again.

‘Do you rather trade the truth for beautiful lies?’

‘Maybe. Is it so bad?’

‘To be strong, truth is the only path. Truth or lies? Which is heavier? Which one took the most strength to carry around? Which one,my liege?’

‘The truth, obviously’

‘And there lies your answer’

‘Isn’t there any other way? Phrase your truth in a more beautiful way, in a way that would not make me uneasy.’ Adrian said almost pleading

Silas shakes his head

‘You wish to become a strong King. I wished there was an easier way but there isn’t my liege. Pain drives us, teaches us, motivates us and sometimes saves us. For without pain, there can be no great pleasure. Without great sadness, there can be no great happiness. Without sorrowful misery there can be no true beauty.  And pain mostly and usually came from the truth, like it always is. Lies are fundamentally different. Lies are beautiful. We cannot, but not be tempted. We love them for it tells us what we want to hear, a song in our ear, their siren calls captivated us mind and soul, if we believed in it. The nature of lies as it has always been, is to please, to soothe, to comfort. Truth, on the other hand, are painful, and have no regard to anyone comfort. It can shatter worlds or build a new one. Great and extraordinary courage is needed to hear the truth while lies require nothing big or small.’

He said, clearly passionate.

‘How heavy will the truth I have to bear then, Silas? I’m the King. So does my burden heavy? Or light? A burden of a large rock or a burden of a mountain?’ I said, depress.

He was right, like he always is.

Truths are hard, hard to hear, hard to listen.

‘Heavier or not, the truth is yours now, as the King and protector, truth will guide you path, though thorny, it will, someday, if you believe and persevere, one day, the truth you will hear, will be good news, untainted by lies.

‘Then, my orders?’ I said my eyes glancing to the letter with the dragon seal.

‘Let the dragons wroth their flames and sunk its claws to your brother. Let the lords have their vengeance. Let them end this war so you may rule. Victory is but a step away my liege. Give your order, send the letters, and let a new world be borne.’

‘So it shall be’ I said

And I sit down at the table while Silas looked at me as I called the servants to bring me paper and began writing in the letter.

And I end my letter with “ Let a new world be borne”

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