So, here I am, back with another instalment of another new WIP!!
Lerthin paced the room, gut churning and heart hammering. He was an idiot. He should have been more careful. Getting caught had not been part of the plan, but he should have been prepared. The only advantage he had was that no one here knew him. They knew his alias, but not his name and definitely not his face. He was in disguise, donned with both magic and other means, and he was fairly confident that no one could penetrate it. Still, that didn’t ensure that he wouldn’t be harmed. He could only imagine what his father would say if he got out of this without consequences.
When, not if.
It was hard to be positive in the circumstance. King Kailor was not known for mercy to enemies. Lerthin was beginning to wish he had paid attention to his father’s warnings. Haljir had not liked his plan, had insisted he not do it, that he send someone else, someone who had been trained in espionage. It had been easy enough to be angry, to accuse his father of not having enough faith in him, to insist that this was his plan, his idea and that he would see it through. In hindsight, he should have listened.
The only comfort Lerthin could draw on was that it was more than just vanity that was behind his failed attempt to gather intelligence on Kailor and his army. The plan was a risky one, had always been, but they had been desperate. Kailor’s army was stronger in numbers, and it was only a matter of time before Frewqor would also fall, one among the many nations annexed by the hordes of Jalion as it swept across the continent. Lerthin could not, under any circumstances, allow someone else to take this chance. The plan was his; it was only fair that the risk should also be.
The door to the cell opened and a man stepped inside. The door closed behind him with a clang, but even in the dim light, Lerthin recognized him. His heart sank to his boots, and his mouth was dry in contrast to his suddenly clammy palms. He clasped them behind his back, lifting his chin and straightening his spine. In disguise he might be, but he was the Prince of Frewqor and he would die as befitting one. Facing his enemy with a fearless façade.
“So, my men say you’re a spy.” Kailor’s voice was soft, smooth, rich, something that reminded Lerthin of vast endless skies and immovable mountains. “What have you to say for yourself?”
Lerthin bristled. “Nothing.” he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest, his tone clipped. “Your men refused to believe me, and I don’t see any indication that you would either. The least you can do is stop mocking me.”
“Interesting.” Kailor clasped his own hands behind his back, beginning to circle Lerthin. “My men told me they didn’t really think you were a spy, but that your demeanour was far too fearless.” A pause. “I must admit that I am intrigued. Even a spy wouldn’t be this fearless in my presence. So, who are you really?”
“My name is Lerthin.” he said. His real name posed no risk. “I belong to Frewqor and I was trying to escape to Habial before the kingdom could fall.”
“Why Habial?” Kailor’s gaze was uninterested, but Lerthin was not fooled.
“Because it’s a harbor?” He snorted. “Not like this continent is safe anymore, is it?”
“So, why would a citizen bent on escape try and extract information from my men?” Kailor was behind him, but his voice was like a whiplash. Lerthin resisted the urge to turn around, to look the man in the eye. His magic coiled under his skin, ready to strike, but he could feel the wards within the cell.
“Because I had to make sure the way was safe.” He spoke slowly, emphasising each word. “I don’t expect you to believe me-”
“I do.” Kailor’s voice was quiet, and he was again in front of Lerthin. “For all that, I can’t have a citizen of Frewqor running free among my armies. So, I shall personally accompany you to Habial, see you on a ship going to wherever it is you wish to sail.”
“But-” Lerthin began, and stopped. This could be a reprieve for his people. The armies of Jalion wouldn’t attack without Kailor. Perhaps he would even find a way to escape on the way, or kill Kailor. “All right.” He shrugged. “Whatever you say.”
“So gracious.” Kailor murmured, looking amused again. “I look forward to this, Lerthin.”
He was gone before Lerthin could speak another word, vanishing from the cell and Lerthin hadn’t even felt him use magic.