// I hope you enjoy my book, but first, I must give credit. A lot of the characters are based off of the ones submitted to topic /305168. If you want to submit your idea, then go to that topic and fill out the form.
The rustic iron shackles irritated the mercenary’s wrist, though he did not really care. What troubled him more was the fact that he was going to see the queen and king. Normally mercenaries who were arrested rotted away in prison. None of them were sent to royalty. Maybe it had to due with the fact that his client decided to rat him out. The thought of the unexpected betrayal made the mercenary’s fist clench in anger. Once he was freed, not when, he was going to track down the man who did this to him.
Two of the guards in the little escorting party of his stepped forward to face the tall, elegant, double doors that were made of ancient wood. They placed their hands on it and gave it a big push, and like that, the door began to open. The mercenary winced as light from within the throne room blinded him momentarily. Without being given time to recover, the guards dragged him into the throne room.
When his eyesight returned to normal, he took in the scene. There were two thrones standing in front of him. One was made of gold, and the other silver. Queen Adrienne Mourad resided on the silver throne. She was Fae-kind, although she was born and raised within the realm of Haewthius. Her small frame in addition to her long brown hair and golden eyes gave her a youthful appearance, although the mercenary knew quite well that she was a force to be reckon with. King Eldrick Wyvernmore, who sat on the gold throne, on the other hand was large in height and build. His short black hair and pale blue eyes was rather intimidating, and the mercenary hardly found anyone intimidating. Like the mercenary, the king was human.
“ My Lieges, one of our agents gave us information about this mercenary,” one of the guards spoke in deep tone. “ I believe this is the one you are looking for.”
The king leaned back in his throne slightly and glanced curiously at the mercenary,” You. What is your name . . . and how old are you. You look like a boy.”
“ . . .” The mercenary bit his lip. How revenge was going to taste. “ My name is Silas Riverhelm and I am 18 years old. . .” He trailed off. Currently he was not in the mood to speak. His eyes began to wander around the throne room, but he felt a sudden and rough shove from one of the guards. It did not take Silas long before he realized that he was suppose to continue to speak. “ . . . though you probably know my ‘mercenary name’ better. . . which is Lion Fang.” Silas did not care for his little nickname. He was dubbed Lion Fang when a client caught a glimpse of his tattoo, which was of a lion with its mouth open, like it was roaring.
“ Lion Fang,” the king repeated to himself. “ You have built quite the reputation for yourself.”
The queen continued where the king had left off. “ Could it be that you are the mercenary responsible for ambushing a merchant and stealing about 13 dozen bolts of silk, managing to kidnap a horse from within the royal stable, and even being able take a nobleman’s weapon when he was asleep?” Yes, yes, and yes. Though he dare not speak. The mercenary recognized it as a trick question. While his reputation of his stealth skills spread, so did the reputation of the queen. Queen Adrienne was widely known across the realms for her ability to get people to confess crimes without even realizing it.
“ Well it seems that there have been a rather alarming amount of thefts being reported across the realms,” the queen said with a chilling smirk on her face. “ I suppose you had some involvement in this?”
“ No, your Majesty.”
“ Good.” Silas furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. That was odd. Why was it a good thing? Well, it was good because he would not be sent to trial for stealing whatever had been stolen. The way that the queen was acting gave him the goosebumps.
“ It seems that the good kingdom of Leliux has been struck,” the queen said, her smirk turning into a frown. “ An important artifact has been stolen, and you have been selected to retrieve it.”
Silas could not believe what he was hearing. The . . . king and queen wanted to hire him? This was rather comical and the mercenary had to bit his lip in order to keep himself from laughing. In all honesty, he did not want to track something down for them.
“ What is in it for me?”
The king sat up straight and said,” If you manage to track down this item, we will drop all of the charges that have been given to your name. You will also be gifted in gold and rare items such as magic books and enchanted weapons.” The mercenary took a deep breath. That was a rather hefty reward. Whatever the artifact is must have be extremely important. It was also surprising that the king and queen trusted him enough not to take the artifact and run.
“ Do not think about escaping with the artifact. Failure to return it to us, or abandoning the mission altogether will result in members of Night Locke hunting you down.” Silas mouth opened in shock. How did the queen know that he considered running away? He was a bit thankful for her speaking up. The Night Locke was an elite military group that worked for the king and queen. They were sent out to hunt down traitors and bring them back. Even though the mercenary was had skill in stealth and fighting, the Night Locke made him look like toddler trying to run against a knight running into battle.
“ I understand. I suppose that refusal is not an option,” Silas said.
The king answered,” You can refuse. However, you will be thrown back into jail to await your trial. With the list of crimes you have committed, chances are that you will serve a life sentence.” Silas huffed. Great. This was borderline blackmail! He seriously did not want to go on the stupid mission, but he disliked being stuck in prison for the rest of his life even more. There was not a lot to think about here.
“ Fine . . . I will do it,” Silas sighed. “ When do I start?”
“ You are not working alone,” the king said. He stood up from the throne, the queen followed his example, and the two of them walked down the steps from the throne towards the mercenary. They stopped about twenty feet in front of him. The king turned towards some servants standing alongside the edge of the room and motioned them forward. When the servants stopped in front of the king, King Eldrick grabbed two items; a plain envelope and a badge of some sort. The badge was made out of leather, and engraved on one side was the royal family’s sigil; an elk with two swords creating an x-pattern over it.
The king first handed Silas the envelope. “ In order to complete this task, you will no longer go by the name Silas Riverhelm, Lion Fang, or any other alias you might have. Most importantly, you are not a mercenary. From now until the end of the mission, you’re name is William Artemus Cindervale and you are a privateer on a special mission from order of the king and queen. Inside, is a paper with a name and location. That is the name of a woman who will serve as your second in command. She is a skilled warrior and has connections with people with talent. She will help you build your crew.”
“ Wait, so… I am becoming a captain . . . with a ship, and crew, and everything,” Silas questioned. “ Why?”
“ If you were to continue as Lion Fang the mercenary, then you would have had a hard time finding allies,” the king said. Silas took the envelope. Then the king placed the badge on top.
“ The badge is to help identify that you are working under our orders,” the king said.
“ Do not do anything completely illegal,” the queen warned. “ Most importantly, you cannot reveal your true identity to your crew members.” Silas nodded. That will be easier if he had time to develop into his new identity. But, with his skills, Silas would make it work.
The king motioned to the guards and the guards removed the iron cuffs from Silas’ wrists. The mercenary-no, now privateer gently rubbed the raw skin.
“ Okay," Silas began to say." Go to where the paper says, meet with lady, gather the crew and then-”
“ Come back to the castle for further instructions,” the king finished. “ Although, I do recommend changing before you go.” Silas looked down at his outfit. It was rather plain; dark brown pants, leather boots, a white shirt, and a brown vest, however; it was dirty and torn in several places.
“ Alright,” Silas said simply. He gave a very brief bow before he turned on his heels and began to walk out of the throne room.
Behind him, he heard the queen say, “ Good luck Mr. Cindervale.”
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Throne of Glass
Lord of the Rings
Not all who wander are lost~ J.R.R. Tolkein