Everything amused Sir Glandol now a days. He viewed everything with a sort of sadistic delight. When his messenger had come to tell him that the night guards spotted a man riding down the old trade path, he had to admit, it had made him smile.
Now, he knew of course, he had no right in laughing at such a thing. After all, Sir Glandol was the one who needed the help. But the elves were still cowards he thought, drawing the curtains closed before King Novalcaz rode close enough to see him watching from his chamber. It was like an elf to scope out the severity of a problem before agreeing to it.
“You need our trade fool. If a race full of magicians and tricksters cannot take down a band of Kra’ergs they wouldn’t still be around. Holding onto their pride those elves are. Disgusting.” He complained to himself, content in bashing the elves within the safety of his castle walls. Not that he wouldn’t say those things to an elf of course, now was just not the time.
Sir Glandol donned his maroon cloak, slipping his feet into the boots. The soles were worn, and his toes pinched a bit near the top but they had served him well for near on fifteen years. Lucky boots, he thought to himself.
Drawing his mangled curls into a sleek hold down his back he stepped out into the cold stone hallway, closing the door behind him. Two guards were stationed outside his door. “We’ve got an elf to meet.” He said, grinning. “Let us greet him in a way that will leave him with no choice but to sign our treaty. Once the elves take care of those bloody Kra’ergs they’ll realize what a good deal it was for Mortal made goods.” Starting down the staircase to the bottom floor, Sir Glandol’s guards trotted down behind him.
Opening the castle doors, Sir Glandol blinked thrice rapidly, waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dim torch-lit night. It took a moment of glancing down the trade path until a figure appeared, drawing steadily nearer.
King Novalcaz was yet to notice the three distant forms awaiting his arrival at the end of the trail. He continued his way down the path, urging Torch to go faster, faster, faster… until he saw the smiling King of the Mortals through the dark.
“Whoa boy! Stop, stop! Prohibere!” He ordered in the Binding Language, finally drawing the horses attention and causing it to stop. Slowly dismounting from Torch, Novalcaz cringed, working out his sore muscles. He felt the blisters lining his thighs from the long ride. He could heal them with magic of course, but that would only aggravate Sir Glandol. Novalcaz looked up at him and his guards, folding his arms impatiently.
Sir Glandol glared back at the elven king, tapping his foot absently on the cobblestone path. “Is there a reason you’re in my district….king?” He added caustically, concealing a smug smile. His emulate guards follow suit, smirking.
King Novalcaz raised an eyebrow, pulling the hood from his cloak down and allowing his metallic hair to flow down his back. “You Mortals aren’t known for being honest, you know. I thought I’d come assess the situation myself.”
Sir Glandol nodded, not hiding his disdain for the King. “Too afraid to face a problem without seeing what you’re up against first?” He smirked.
Novalcaz grit his jaw, but held his tongue, abstaining the urge to fire back a response. Glandol seemed to notice, his deportment softening slightly.
“You’re not your usual self,” Glandol noted. “I do hope you haven’t come all this way for my pity.” He added brusquely, determined not to totally soften to the elven king.
Novalcaz’s eyes narrowed. “This isn’t funny,” he said slowly. “The Gravtsky, I know you so praise them, but they are stirring up trouble amongst the elves. They believe it’s their turn for the throne.”
A wry smile appeared on Sir Glandol’s lips. “You know Novalcaz, I’ve always believed there is a difference between having a friend and an ally. I know it’s an odd hour of the night, but do come in and enjoy yourself.” Sir Glandol invited, leading Novalcaz inside. Turning to one of the two guards accompanying him he ordered him to bring the two of them the finest bottle of wine in the cellar.
Four minutes later the two kings were seated across from one another in the dining hall, a bottle of fine red wine between them. “Do tell me, what’s with the sudden hospitality?” King Novalcaz said, almost grinning at the absurdity of the situation. Of course, he wouldn’t refuse a taste of the Mortal mens’ wine. It was something unlike the elven brew he was accustomed to consuming. Richer somehow in flavor, and the effect stronger.
Sir Glandol smiled. “Why, I told you did I not? A difference between an ally and a friend. The Gravtsky were mighty good allies, but certainly not our friend. They were disloyal to you, and it was clear without a doubt they would flip on us quite as easily. You are trustworthy people, and rather fine warriors. We aren’t allies, for we fight for rather different causes, but there’s no reason to restrict trade and be so hostile. Yes, I see no reason not to be friends.”
King Novalcaz took a sip of the wine, eyes widening as he choked on it, setting the goblet down. “Friends?” He asked, fighting the urge to grin. “I have to say, I wasn’t expecting that. However, I think it’s good to move on and forget the Sangiunum War. It would be beneficial for both of us, and I’m sure the Dwarves would be pleased that the tension has ended, or is at least…sleeping at the moment. You see, friendship is like hate in the way of sharing it. You cannot pass on your hate or love of something to someone else, even someone of your own bloodline. We may be making piece but the next Kings could very well discredit us both for our stupidity and throw this truce to the wolves.” The King pointed out thoughtfully. “Although, you’re a rather young King, and with myself being immortal I don’t think that’s a direct concern.”
Sir Glandol smiled. “Good. I’ve been thinking about these Gravstky. Perhaps as much as you have. To be incredibly honestly, I’m not sure what to do with them. They’re gaining confidence almost as swiftly as their gaining strength. Now I’ll admit I’m the culprit here, but more against my will than anything. The men here, they don’t want to cut our ties with the Gravtsky. They don’t trust the rest of you, call you a different sort of lot. I’ve only been able to convince the magicians that this is all for the better, and they seem to understand it seeing as though they’re a bit more like you.” Glandol paused, running a thumb along his shaven jaw. “I just don’t see what we ought to do. What can we do?”
Suddenly, King Novalcaz sprang from the chair. “The Dwarven Master! They’re a reasonable people, those dwarves. If we can convince them to stop the trade route going to the South of the Elven district, the supplies would run out quickly, especially those they could use to wage war against either of us. You figure, the River that these clans are named after boarders the West of the Elven district, a direct barrier before they could reach the Mortal district. They would have to go through the Northern Gate which is behind my castle. There’s no way they could make it through without being caught. So, that covers everywhere but the East gate. It would be innocent enough to station guards outside our Library, claiming we were worried for the precious documents. That would trap them in the city. To keep from rousing suspicion we would still provide for them. But all we trade with them is food. The dwarves provide all the material they could use against us. All we need is the dwarf’s consent and we could end this ‘war’ before it begins!”
Sir Glandol grinned, walking around the table slowly to meet Novalcaz on the other side, shaking his hand in his right hand, patting him on the back with the left. “The Elves are said to be smart, but I never would have thought they were brilliant. You ought to get going before someone realizes you’re missing. The sun will be up in almost an hour. Ride fast and ride safe, my men don’t trust you and I don’t doubt they’d like to knock you down a level…or knock you right off that steed of yours.” Glandol chuckled.
King Novalcaz nodded and bowed respectfully before again donning his cape and stepping back out into the chilly autumn air.
Author's Note- As always, let me know what you think! :)