Monday, January 7, 2013

Scout's Honor - Chapter 97

< Chapter 96                                                                                               Chapter 98 >

Princess Callan is finally on the last leg of her long, dangerous journey home.  But will home prove more dangerous than everywhere else she's been?

            The sun lay close to the horizon when Morda came into view.  It sprawled across the horizon, far larger than any city I'd seen since my crash landing.  Callan pointed to a vast, magnificent palace atop a low hill, directing Nist to land there.
            People in the streets below, sensing something important was happening, headed toward the palace.  When the Pauline docked at the palace, a throng watched through the surrounding fence.
            An honor guard formed below the dock, its officer ascending to meet us.
            Bowing, the officer said, "Your Highness, the country rejoices at your safe return!"
            "Thank you, Lieutenant Hunter," Callan said.  "Or is it Captain Hunter?"
            Hunter grimaced, "Acting Captain, Highness.  I still have hope Their Majesties and Captain Ganner yet live."
            "As do I," Callan said.
            Hunter's gaze swept across the rest of us, "And Captain Vonsteader?"
            "Rob gave his life protecting me," Callan said.  "This is David Rice, my new captain of the guard."
            Hunter frowned, "I don't recall that name among your guardsmen, Your Highness."
            "David saved Rob and me when trogs set upon us in the desert," Callan said.
            Hunter's frown deepened.
            "Rob personally took his oath," Callan said.  "David has saved my life half a dozen times since."
            The frown did not change.
            "And with his dying breath, Rob gave his sword to David," Callan continued.
            The frown vanished and a hand shot out to grip mine, "Welcome to the Royal Guard, Captain Rice!"
            A young herald ran up the steps, announcing, "His Royal Highness, Prince Rupor of Tarteg!"
            Features hidden in the fading light, a tall man climbed the dock steps.
            I was finally going to meet my rival for Callan's hand!

Is Rupor a villain like his younger brother or is he yet another pawn in a complex game of conquest?  Find out more in Chapter 98, coming Wednesday!