Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Chapter by Ari McLeren

There are moments of true peace that can sneak up on people if they aren’t looking.  Gerard was experiencing such a moment as he lay in bed with Levi’s lithe form cradled around him, and he was sleeping soundly for the first time in days.  But all that was shattered when yelling and sounds of a scuffle erupted right outside the tent.

“You can’t go in there!” Gerard’s guard yelled.

Gerard and Levi shot awake, trying to locate the source of the problem.

“I was told to stop at nothing until I spoke directly with the commanding officer!” another voice responded, one not familiar to either of them.

“You will speak with him when you have been announced and he is ready to speak with you!”

Both men crawled out of bed and frantically searched for articles of clothing they could throw on before someone came barging through the entry. 

“F**k your announcements.  I’m here to do a job, and that’s to speak with the commander!” the unknown voice growled, but by now there were other voices rushing closer �" soldiers who were both curious and ready to defend one of their own at a moment’s notice.

“This is not some simple commander,” the guard spat.  “This is the tent of Prince Gerard, cousin to King Gavin and future heir to the throne of Wyndfall!  You will not get through his royal guard!”

“Prince, eh?  Well then, I’ll make sure to curtsey when I see him.”

“Men!” the guard ordered, and the sounds of drawn steel filled the night as at least a dozen men surrounded the messenger.  “Seize him!”

Gerard checked to make sure Levi was somewhat put together before drawing back the flap.  “Hold!” he cried, and all movement stopped.  He stepped out in to the middle of the men blocking his entry and leveled his gaze at the guard on duty.  “What is the meaning of this?” he ordered.

“A camp intruder, sir,” he replied as he swept a bow.  “He tried to enter your tent secretly and refused to halt his endeavors when confronted.” 

Gerard had surmised as much as he turned to face the man in question.  He had a grizzled shape that still spoke of military service, and even now, when faced with numerous sword points, he was dedicated to his task. 

“Why are you here?” Gerard demanded in a tone that brooked no argument.

“I’m here to see the commander of this Legion.  Got a message for him.”

“And why have you snuck into this camp in the middle of the night?”

“Part of the job,” he replied with a shrug.  Gerard leveled a cold stare, clearly expecting more.  The man sighed in exasperation.  “How many times am I going to have to repeat myself?  I was given direct orders to deliver the message in person and not to allow anyone or thing to slow me down �" not even a royal guard.” 

“Give me your message.”

The man looked him up and down critically, noting his rumpled clothes and disheveled hair.  “My message is only for the legion commander, so why don’t you go find him for me?” the man taunted.

Gerard’s eyes burned blue fire, and he drew himself to his full, impressive height.  “My name is Gerard Anthony Damien Garreth, Commanding Officer of the Fifth Legion, heir to Pendym Downs, Prince of the realm and second in line to the crown of this kingdom.  I do not take orders from you.”  Each word was laced with authority, and the man fell to his knees in supplication. 

“Forgive me, Your Highness, I have made a terrible mistake,” he begged, eyes cast downward.

“One you shall not make again.  Strip him of his weapons,” he commanded, and two guards stepped forward, smirking at his effective display of authority.  “Come,” he ordered when they had finished, “I will hear this message you bear.”

“Of course, Your Highness,” the man intoned, following Gerard into the tent.  Levi was still inside, seated calmly next to the table.  He looked far more put together than Gerard and gave no indication he’d heard the little power play outside. 

Gerard pulled the second chair from behind the table and placed it in the center of the tent, facing both the table and Levi.  “Sit.”  The man did so, eyes darting back and forth between the two soldiers. 

“You have markedly less bravado now than you did with my guard.  Was it all simply for show, then?” Gerard prodded, hoping for details in the man’s reaction. 

“No, sir,” he grumbled.

“Then what?”

The man couldn’t keep all of the insolent glare off of his face.  “I know better than to disrespect my betters…sir,” he ground out.

“More like you know better than to disrespect your employers.  Don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you?” Gerard taunted, but the man only scowled.  Gerard glanced at Levi, who hadn’t moved since they’d entered.  Still, Gerard could feel his impatience at the less than productive conversation.  Returning to the point, he asked, “Who sent you and why?  There are few people who could afford enough money to motivate you to take on my guard, so I imagine it must be important.”

The man’s eyes slid to Levi and back again, clearly hesitant to deliver the message in present company.  “Ah…sir…I was told the message was for you and you alone, no exceptions,” he responded warily. 

“This is Sir Levi Voydyt, Vice Commanding Officer of the Fifth Legion,” Gerard stated, and Levi’s focused green gaze never left the messenger.  “You said you wanted the Legion Commander; now you’ve got both.  He will not be going, so you must deliver your message as is.”

The man visibly swallowed as he reassessed the situation.  Both Gerard and Levi watched with interest as the messenger’s face slowly morphed from nervousness to some degree of confidence.  “And what if I’m less than inclined to do that?” 

“Then I’ll have my guard string you up on charges of treason for attempting to sneak in and harm a prince of the realm.  I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to comply after that little show you put on out there.” 

Gerard’s voice was cold and serious, and the messenger heard it.  Still, he cleared his throat and gambled, “Well then, I guess you don’t want my message after all.  It’ll be hard to tell you if I’m strung up, as it were.”

“I wouldn’t be stringing you up if you were simply doing your job and delivering the message.”

 Finally, Levi broke his silence and said, “Your compensation will be exactly what your message is worth, not a cent more.  You bear a note of authenticity; hand it over.” 

The man grunted and fished around in his coat pockets until he produced a crumpled, folded page.  Levi stood and took it from his hand, and though it may have looked worse for wear, it still bore the distinct seal of the royal court.  Levi raised a glance to Gerard, who nodded, and then picked up a knife from the table, slipping it under the seal to part wax from paper.  He unfolded the document and scanned the brief contents, eyebrows knotting in confusing before the end. 

Gerard’s eyebrows also drew together in concern.  “What is it?” Rather than speaking, Levi walked over and showed Gerard the letter.  Gerard skimmed the brief note before his eyes froze on the last line.  Valar perildys.  The sun wavers. 

Gerard remembered a stormy day he and his brother Garret had spent with their father Prince Garreth in the vast library of their family home.  They should have been having lessons with their tutor, but their father had come and relieved the tutor for the day, instead choosing to offer lessons himself.  Gerard didn’t remember much else from that day, but he distinctly remembered the moment his father sat down before them and solemnly declared he was going to tell them something they would never be able to tell anyone else until they had their own children.  Of course he and his brother, boys of only ten years, were tantalized at the prospect of knowing something so secret.  “The crown has many enemies,” their father said, “enemies who wish to hurt or completely destroy our family.  We have stood against this tide for hundreds of years, and will do so for hundreds more, but that does not mean there were no moments of despair, moments where we were unsure of tomorrow.  Those are the moments that are the most dangerous because we cannot simply ask for help.  The people of this kingdom look to us for guidance and strength, both in prosperity and peril.  We cannot show them our weakness lest we lose their faith.  Similarly, we cannot voice our troubles for fear of our true enemies catching word and striking when we are most vulnerable.  So my question to you is this: How do we call for help?  How do we let other members of our family know that we are in trouble and need assistance?  How do we warn them of impending trouble if we cannot simply say it or sent a messenger?” 

The boys thought about this for a minute, each trying to come up with an answer his father would appreciate.  Finally, Garret spoke.  “Can we not simply go to our family ourselves and speak to them in person?” 

Garreth gave a small smile.  “In a perfect world, yes, but this world is far from perfect.  What if you can’t leave wherever you are, or you do not trust those around you to speak freely?” 

Garret frowned and thought about it again.  “Then what about messengers?  We trust them with important stuff all the time.”

“Ah, but I have already said you cannot simply send a messenger.  There is always a chance the messenger could be captured and the information could fall into the wrong hands.  That is the last thing you want when the message is so dire.”  Garreth turned to his second son, who was still quiet.  “What do you think, Gerard?  What would you do if you were in such a situation?  How would you call for help?”

“I would do what the military generals do �" I’d send a coded message no one else would understand.”  He ducked his eyes when he saw his father’s face split into a wide, approving grin. 

“Exactly.  You ask for help without ever actually saying the words.  In that way, only those who understand your code will ever know what you are really saying.”

“Is there really a secret code, Father?” Garret asked excitedly.

“There is, and it is time both of you began to learn it.  Though I hope fervently against it, there may come a day when you will need either to know it or use it yourselves.” 

And so that day they began memorizing phrases in the old, forgotten language of Wyndfall.  No phrase translated to anything of importance in the modern tongue, but each one held a second, far more significant meaning to the royal family, and it was the princes’ duty to know each one, just in case.  One of the phrases really stood out to Gerard that day.  Valar perildys.  The sun wavers.  His father was particularly solemn when he explained that one.

“It is one of the direst messages you can send or receive, and I hope you shall never see it in your lifetime.” 

He paused for a moment, and Garret asked quickly, “But what does it mean, Father?” 

Gerard watched carefully as his father’s eyes darkened.  “It means the king faces death.”


© 2012 Ari McLeren


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Added on December 18, 2012
Last Updated on December 18, 2012
Tags: fiction, gay, marriage, responsibility, romance, royalty, slash


Author

Ari McLeren
Ari McLeren

San Diego



About
I am a 25 year old Southern California girl. I do math and science for fun, I like practicing my Spanish and I can quote Shakespeare, Austen and Rowling. Basically I'm a walking contradiction, and I.. more..

Writing
Prologue Prologue

A Chapter by Ari McLeren


Chapter One Chapter One

A Chapter by Ari McLeren


Chapter Two Chapter Two

A Chapter by Ari McLeren