Though he just had the two slices of bacon and the half cup of coffee left, Okama took his time.
The guardswoman was more than patient. She even ordered her own cup of coffee. And though he knew, deep down, that she was being nothing but respectful, the fact that she wasn’t angry for being made to wait only manged to enrage him. He tried not to let it show.
“You going to tell me what this is all about?” He said. “Or are you just gonna sit there and pretend like you got nothing better to do than have coffee with an old man?”
“I’ve been sent to fetch you,” she said.
“Fetch me?” He said. “Like the good dog you are, I suppose.”
She only smiled.
“Fetch me for who?” He said.
“The Triumvirate,” she said.
He nearly fell off his stool. Of course, it would have to be the Triumvirate, who else would send one of the Guard out after him. Still, it was unexpected. After all, he hadn’t been to the Palace in years. In fact, when last he’d been, he had left on such bad terms that he often wondered why the Triumvirate still allowed him in the city.
“Now what in the world would the Triumvirate want with an old storyteller?” He said.
“You know, I asked myself that very same question,” the guardswoman said. “And you know what I figured out?”
“It’s none of my business.”
Okama smiled. “I like you. What’s your name?”
“Well, okay then, Danse. Take me to your leaders.”
They were met outside the inn by more guardsmen, eleven more to be exact. That would make a full dozen, just to escort him across town. He didn’t like it.
They arrived at the Palace twenty minutes later and he was made to wait in a small antechamber.
He didn’t like waiting. He was good at it, had plenty of practice over the years, but he detested it all the same. Most especially when he was forced to wait on something he wasn’t at all looking forward to. But wait he did, his anger growing by the minute.
After nearly a half an hour, he was finally granted entrance. A courtier led him into the Great Hall and announced him to the Triumvirate, all of whom sat in their thrones atop the dais at the far end of the spacious room.
He clomped his way across the Great Hall, the sounds of his boots against the wooden floor bouncing around the high ceilings until finally he stopped just a foot from the dais. He did not bow, he would not give them that satisfaction. Instead he glared at each one in turn.
“Have you lot lost your grip on your collective faculties,” he said, addressing the Triumvirate. “Sending your storm troopers out at the crack of dawn to roust me from my bed and frog march me down here. What’s this all about?”
Okay, so he hadn’t been in bed. And really, it wasn’t that early. But still, they had to learn that he wasn’t one to be trifled with.
“Calm yourself, old friend,” said Kendrick, Chieftain of the Trolls. “Remember who it is you speak to.”
“I know exactly who I’m speaking to, Ken. Now I asked you a question. You’ve already made me cool my heels outside for the better part of an hour. If I ain’t given good reason for this assault on my civil liberties I’m going to have to say good day.”
Kendrick laughed. “I’d say that you’ve grown cranky in your old age, but you were always a cantankerous fellow. Fine.” He held up a large, furry hand as Okama made to walk away. “We need your help.”
“My help?” Now it was Okama’s turn to laugh. “Oh boy. Y’all must be in quite a pickle if you’re asking me for help.”
“You know about the One, of course,” Uto, the Elf Lord asked.
“I’d have to be dead not to,” said Okama.
“Arakis has been stolen,” said Kendrick.
“Yes, I know,” Okama said. “Everyone knows. I mean, I hope it’s not supposed to be a secret or something. The people are a mite freaked.”
“Freaked?” Asked Roberta Greentree, the Fae Queen.
“They’re scared, My Lady Fae,” said Okama.
“They should be,” said Kendrick.
“Well of course they should be,” said Okama, throwing his hands into the air. “It’s not everyday that the One comes back, and it’s even less often that the fabled sword of power is stolen out from under the One’s nose. While he was bathing, no less.”
“How did you know about that?” Asked Lady Genivene, the Queen of the humans.
Okama snorted. “Who doesn’t know?”
To be continued ...
Steeven R. Orr is the author of Holliday's Gold which you can get for free now by clicking on one of the following online retailers:
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