Footsteps echoed through the castle hall, ending at the door of the throne room. A young man bowed his head to the guard standing squarely before it. “I am Michael Mauldon. I have been summoned by the king.” The guard nodded in acknowledgment and opened the door. Michael walked into the presence of King Rohn Catalane and bowed his head.
The king watched him approach. “Michael Mauldon, thank you for coming so quickly.”
“That is the nature of a summons, your majesty.”
“That is an answer I would expect from your father.”
Michael did not respond. The king went on. “I miss your father more each day. More than wise counsel, I miss his compassion. Among the nobles I see in society, it was he who made me feel as if we spoke man to man; not just master to servant.”
“Father enjoyed your company as well, your majesty. He often said the goings on of royalty is not what you expect once inside the castle walls. He was especially fond of relating Queen Susanna’s latest tale of mischief.”
“The queen enjoyed your father’s visits as much as I did.”
After an awkward moment of silence, Michael asked, “Is there something you wish of me, your majesty?”
“There is. I remember when you came with your father after he inspected the Wheaton Estate. When he asked you to relate your discovery, I was impressed with your knowledge at such a young age. Your father related new things you learned over the years. You have grown in wisdom and carry yourself before men of stature with the same honor and respect your father did. These are qualities found in one worthy to be named Court Adviser.”
“Your majesty, are you suggesting I become your next Court Adviser?”
Rohn nodded his head. “You are young, but you exhibit the qualities of a Court Adviser. Will you accept this position?”
“My king; you accord me with great honor. However, it is a position not to be taken lightly. I have questions I would like answers for.”
“Ask your questions.”
“I mean no disrespect. The last Court Adviser was your brother in law. Those who remember say he left after you disagreed over the use of power. What made Malcom Stone leave his family? He was like a father to me and Nathaniel was my best friend. What drove such a wedge between you?”
“You perceive much to ask this question. Malcom came to my court when he was young. His prudence and compassion were unmatched in all of Nereheim. I needed a prudent leader. My father helped me understand how to judge whether a man was trustworthy and honorable. He taught me to trust motive and belief just as much, if not more, than age and one’s station in life. That advice helped me see Malcom’s potential. We were close in age and related well together. Having a peer with such moral excellence at my disposal helped me grow as well.” Rohn paused a moment before going on.
“When the plague broke out in Burnea, Malcom did everything he could for those people. He did not believe it would come as far as Wildemere. It claimed my sister a few weeks after she gave birth to Nathaniel. I was distraught. In my grief, I begged Malcom to use his power to bring Sasha back from the dead. I told him I knew there was power that could do such a thing. He called that power forbidden and said it would be a curse to the living as well as the one brought back. He would not usurp the decision of YAHWEH by going beyond natural law to bring back someone from death. Not even for Sasha, and he loved her so much. Our arguments became fights, and he saw this as an impasse. He could no longer serve one who was not willing to listen to YAHWEH’s wisdom.
He took Nathaniel and left the day he came back from the Wheaton Estate and implored me to seal it. Malcom feared nothing—but his eyes held great fear when he returned from the estate. I followed his instruction without question. He settled in Denholm Glen, and lived a simple life as he helped those around him. I went on in my pride, never disturbing him. Over time, I came to see the folly in letting him stay away. I missed his company. From time to time, I would hear of young nobles of the Craft who held promise of diplomacy, but upon closer inspection, there was always a flaw. Perhaps the only flaw was I missed my brother in law, and always hoped he would return to court. In time, bitterness overtook me and I let Nereheim do what it pleased with the wise ones.”
“Your disagreement was over the use of the power YAHWEH gives to those of the Craft?”
“Yes.” Rohn spoke seriousness.
“Your majesty, do you still believe it is just to break natural law for the ones we love?”
“I do not know what I would do if I were placed in that position again.” Rohn sighed. “Would I try to bring back one I loved? I know the more noble choice, but not if I could choose it.”
“To choose what is right when it breaks your heart is a very hard calling. To seek justice for being robbed of a loved one is not wrong. To seek blood for that loved one is for YAHWEH alone. To go outside his natural order is not for us to choose. I would be of no use to you as Court Adviser. I would make the same decision as Malcom without question.”
“I will weigh your words and think on them. I believe your way is the better calling, not whether I can accept it.”
“I understand your majesty. It is not always for us to comprehend what YAHWEH’s will is. His ways are higher than our ways . This is why the ancients were commended for their faith—their confidence in things they did not understand .” Michael bowed once more, and left Rohn to ponder his words.
Nathaniel Stone searches for the power to protect his new wife and those of the Craft from persecution. His wish is that no one he loves will die by murderous plots the way Jason and Thena Mauldon were killed.
As he seeks power at any cost, he is approached by an old man with an enticing offer of great wisdom and unmatched power. Blinded by his obsession, he submits himself to another master to right the wrongs he witnessed in his life.
At his new master’s command, Nathaniel hatches a plan that begins in murder and leaves King Rohn half mad and suspicious of his brother-in-law.
As Nathaniel bends his will to vengeance and sorcery, an old friend must become his enemy to save the sister kingdoms and thwart his plans. What hope is left that will save the sister kingdoms from Nathaniel and his dark master?
About the Author
Lara Giesbers is a wife and mother and also works as a waitress at a local restaurant. Her roles as waitress, mother and wife help her see the value of putting the needs of others before her own, and what it means to be a servant to all. As a Christian, her goal is for people to see the Bible for what it is: a road map for daily life written by a being who wants his creation to have the greatest chance at success not only in this life, but in the one to follow.