Chapter Thirty Eight

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Bone Tine was in full swing in the capital city of Harrendom with the festival only days from coming to an end. Throughout the city numerous parties and processions had been thrown by a few of the cities more opulent citizens, and also by the king himself. The reenactment of the Trippant War was only moments from beginning and the large, circular amphitheater was packed full with people both rich and poor. The king’s seat was on the northern section, high above the arena floor inside a large built up wooden frame that was twice the size of the others that lined the length of the amphitheater. Half of the empire’s lords and ladies would be in attendance, King Maras knew, and he was not looking forward to entertaining them for the better part of a week.

The room he sat in was big enough to hold fifty men, and decorated with oil paintings and rugs from across the western sea. There were tables spotted about with various foods and drinks, and servants scurried around in hopes of keeping in the king’s good graces. His chalice was filled with a golden wine and he had already drained three cups. Sitting next to King Maras was a couple of foreign treasures brought as a gift from one of the Merchant Lord’s trading vessels. They were beautiful in more ways than one, with perfectly rounded eyes, bodies that simply stood unmatched in the women of the north, and skin as soft and smooth as silk. They stood average height for women, and their skin was a creamy mocha that had made King Maras shiver when he first saw them. Tantalizing creatures, these women from across the sea were.

They sipped their wine and listened intently, laughing at his jokes, cringing at his stories of tragedy, but most of all they expressed desire. Every look, every bat of their eyes and every movement of their lips proved to draw the king in closer, to drop his guard even more.

Music burst from below in the musicians seats, displaying the beginning of the reenactment. The foreign girls shrieked in excitement, their eyes widened in anticipation. King Maras sat forward and took another long pull from his drink. “About bloody time they started,” he said through a voice still plagued by the grip of the late Lord Narris. He turned to one of the girls. “This play has been a Vintish tradition for almost three decades, ever since we defeated Panthos on Marwyn.”

They both smiled, engaging the king in question after question, bolstering his ego.  “Aye,” he said in reply to one of their questions, “I have led many battles, and fought beside my men to the end.” He smiled in smug self-appreciation. “There hasn’t been a Vintish King of old that can boast as many victories as I, not to mention conquering an entire nation and beginning the first years of a true Vintish empire.” The girls smiled and flattered, rubbed his arms and sat in apparent awe at his efficacy as a king and a warrior.

Below, the arena erupted in cheers of adulation as men rode out clad in the mail armor of knights, on stallions born and bred in the Vint stables. Chariots followed carrying warriors in plate armor with long, flowing cloaks trailing behind them. On the eastern end of the arena floor sat a gigantic built up stone stage with steps that traced the length and led up to a statue of a robed man with his arms spread engulfed by flame.

One of the girls shot a curious look at the statue, but was cut off by the king before she could ask. “It is the god of fire, Erythias. The Trypt once worshiped him before they were conquered by Panthos. They converted to the Moon Gods then, but it never quite took hold. The Trypt pays homage to Alador now, the true God of the world. He is both good and evil you see, enveloping all things, bending the world to His will.” The king winked at the girls, a mischievous look on his face. “He is the creator of all things, pleasure being my favorite.”

The girls smiled back and leaned in closer, showing off the cleavage created by their dresses, giving the king a glimpse of their supple breasts. One of them leaned in and whispered something in his ear and nodded, scarcely able to contain his lust. “In good time, ladies, I will show you my solar,” he said with a quiet laugh.

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