Become a Fan
By john k zimmerman
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
Anther excerpt from the novel project. Chronologically, it comes between the two bits already posted here
Altamar is a kind of faerie godfather to the royal family.
Gart allowed himself to be at ease, although he still felt a little guilty. He’d had been sent to KingsKeep to raise an additional three troops of veteran archers for the legion but he was sitting, in the company of two dozen charming young women, in Princess Bara’s private apartments listening to the Princess and three of her friends give an impromptu concert. Just now they were playing a charming and surprisingly intricate recorder quartette based on the folk song “The Wandering Dwarf”. The players were actually quite good.
Gart’s ease at taking an hour or two several times a week to have “tea” with the Princess may have had something to do with the presence of the Riding Mistress. Enigmatic, witty, beautiful Mistress Red seemed to favor him. Here role in the Princesses household seemed to be as much older sister and body guard as riding mistress. Right now she sat beside him on thee settee, rather closer than was necessary. Her closeness made it difficult for Gart to plan his withdrawal.
Renar the Princess’ equerry quietly slipped into the room. He stood quietly until the piece was finished. HE was effusive in his applause.
“The was very good, your highness,” he said, “very good indeed/”
“That is high praise, indeed, my Lord.” The Princess bowed.
“The Crown Prince requires your immediate presence, And yours as well Mistress Red and Master Garth.” He bowed in their direction. ”A word to the wise, Your highness, immediate means now.”
They paused at the door for Gart and Red to recover their swords. Then they followed Renar down the back stairs, across the Guard’s court and into the kitchen. The kitchen was busy with early preparations for the evening meal. Bara grabbed a platter of travel buns took a couple and handed the tray around. Gart handed the tray to the outraged cook with a smile, and a wave. The man waved back.
They entered the great hall from the kitchen and followed the wall to the dais, to a nondescript door guarded by four of the palace guardsmen. The tallest threw en the door “The Prince is expecting you.”
Renar lead them in. Lythe, the Crown Prince, stood at the head of the table, with Prince Kinkar. . To Gart, the four elder princes were exact copies of the King. Younger, little touched, as yet, by responsibility and grief, they had the same piercing eyes, the same elegant physique.
The third man, if man he was, was shorter than the Princes coming only to their shoulder of the princes. He wore leather riding clothes under his leather apron. On his head he wore a leather hat. He looked like a blacksmith.
“Altamar!” squeaked Bara.
“That is my name!” The man smiled. “How are you child.”
“Who are your companions?”
“Acting Commander Gart’gataru. Of The 1st Legion. And Mistress Red.’ Altamar.”
Placing his right hand on his heart he bowed first to Red and then to Gart. “Peace be with you.”
“Tell me Gart, are you related to the Admiral?”
“He is my father. th
“Mistress, are you enjoy your sojourn among us/?”
“Yes master, very much so…’
Lythe cleared his throat. “Long and short of it: Seastone has over thrown the old Dog.” Lythe spat his words out. “Sister, we are sending you to receive his fine and to oversee the final handover. You leave in an hour.”
“Just three of us?” Asked Bara.
“Five, little Sister,” said Kinkar. “Master Altamar and I will be accompanying you.”
“Five of us won’t be much against Seastone’s little army.” Gartt said/
“The Tigress has the legion and as many more county troops on site now. Polkar is marching from the Old Port, Pendecrow is leaving within the next two hours with the Men of the City. Slogar will accompany him with the troops you two have raised as scouts.” Lythe Said, “Long and short, you will have the troops you need when you get there. But you will be traveling by alternate paths”
“Sir…” Gart began.
“You are being borrowed for this mission,” Altamar said, “You and Kinkar, and Mistress Red will form the Princess’s honor guard.
“Meet me in one hour in the Drill Hall.”
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|Reviewed by Tinka Boukes