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The kingdom through the.., p.19
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       The Kingdom through the Swamp: The Courts Divided - Book 1, p.19

           Kell Inkston
 
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: TIED BEHIND THE BACK

  Love is led by Order into the room of rule, Liefland’s various high-advisors sitting across the large round table and Pitch sitting with Tylvania at the places of highest honor. Gallin, in the third-most authoritative chair, stares down Love with indignant focus. Love and Order take two of the empty chairs on the defendant’s side, and Love begins.

  “Ah, so what all is the matter today?” Love begins, quickly getting a strained sigh from Gallin.

  “Ye know right well, lass,” he says, brow arched like a readied bow.

  “Oh, I’m not quite sure what you mean,” Love says with a disarming, motherly smile. Pitch, looking pensive, decides to speak up.

  “Fair knightess. We thank thee with a whole heart for your actions under wise Moon’s gaze. You collected the child of the dead, and delivered it into our hands. We are convened this way for the sad reason of ... the possibility of you spiriting it out, verily. We hope you have the will and the heart to explain your position,” Pitch says with a concerned look. Love hums, thinks about the state of affairs, and then sighs. It looks like there’s no way around this one, but she can still try.

  “I see I see. I’d gladly ... erm, give you the information you want, if I do in fact know anything helpful,” Meeo says with a calm nod. Gallin, sitting right next to Pitch, grumbles as he taps the table with his finger repeatedly. Order clears her throat and begins.

  “Alright, please feel free to ask any questions you please, I’m confident as to my knight’s honesty, and I will take full responsibility of her actions,” Order says outwardly. “Now then, if no one has any initial questions, I’ll go ahead and proceed for the events of last night. Knight Love, where were you early this morning?”

  “Hmm, what part of the morning?” Love asks, quickly winning another sigh from Gallin.

  “Tell us about what happened after the fairy royalty and I last saw you,” Order clarifies.

  “Ahh ... of course! I suppose ... hmm, I ...” Love pauses a moment and realizes there’s really nothing she can do. “I took the necromancer to be interrogated. It came out that Lain and Aoline had been kidnapped, and I could only get them back if I let the necromancer go,” she says, quickly ushering a rush of concerned whispers between table-holders. So much for being secretive. Gallin huffs.

  “Aha! You let the necromancer loose, under the impression that it’d return your comrade knights, eh?” Gallin says with a direct, threatening gaze. No one at the table stops Gallin, some disagreeing with his directness, but all interested in what Love has to say.

  “Well, yes. They are here now, after all.”

  “Is that so?!”

  “Yes.”

  “Well have them brought in!” commands Gallin to the guards at the side of the room. The spook and the elf salute and dash off to have the knights brought forth.

  “Hmm, you know, I feel as though this is all a bit unnecessary. After all I went to their hideout. We could all just go there and- ... oh,” Love stops herself, realizing she has very-quickly backed herself into a corner.

  “Ye know where they are, then? So, tell us!” Gallin demands with a victorious grin.

  Love knows she can’t tell them, or she will have broken her word to Oa, and Lain and Aoline will be killed by its spell, along with anyone else around them; and if she explained the situation in full, Lain and Aoline would likely be banished or killed immediately, again activating the spell. Meeo takes a deep breath, and then faces the group.

  “Ehem, well ... well I’m afraid I forgot! Such a shame!” she says with a sheepish smile, quickly breaking a sweat.

  Everyone is quiet for a moment in disbelief.

  “Swineshit! You’ve sided with them! You want us dead!” Gallin yells as he delivers a damning finger-point in her direction. Suddenly there is a rush of voices exchanging thoughts inside the room.

  “Unheard of!”

  “I can’t believe it!”

  “T-the Knights have betrayed us!” are a few of the alarms spoken among the confused chorus. Order promptly rests her weight on the table, barely pulling the chair-member’s attention away from panic.

  “Now wait a minute, everyone. Knight Love has not sided with necromancers! This is all obviously a big misunderstanding and will be cleared up once the two knights get here,” Order says, calming the group down, with the exception of Love, who can guess how bad this is about to become. The worst part comes right after, as Order glances to Love just a moment to give her a trusting, affirming gaze.

  Only a moment passes of silence before the two knights are led in.

  “Ahh, excellent, thank ye. Now you two ... hrm, what are your names?” Gallin asks.

  “Lain Gainswold, sir,” Lain says with a wide gaze, still in shock from his chastisement a la Law.

  “Aoline Rayworth, sir!” Aoline says right after, quickly forcing the possibility of her being booted from the knights to the back of her mind; she’s the kind of person that feels the actions of the present can quickly rewrite the past, as taught by her Ragnivanian parents. She’ll do her best to look like she’s worth keeping.

  “Aye, so tell me: Were you two really kidnapped by necromancers?” Gallin asks. Lain looks over to Aoline, and she quickly blurts out her answer.

  “Of course we were, sir!” she says with military straightness. Gallin chuckles.

  “Are ye certain? Do you have any proof?” he asks with a straight forward gaze. Aoline clenches her teeth in thought. She’s never actually seen a necromancer before; Love just told her that’s what happened. She looks about, weighs the gazes laying on her, and clears her throat.

  “Well, actually we d-”

  “We don’t have any proof,” Lain says, slowly believing the untruth that Love had set this all up. Gallin grins amidst the fervent exchange of whispers between table members, as Love shrugs.

  “This true, Aoline?” Gallin asks.

  There is a pause.

  “Yes, sir. A matter of fact we didn’t see a single necromancer. We both just woke up being carried by Knight Love,” Aoline admits.

  At this very moment, a sharp chill called humiliation runs down Order’s spine.

  “Aye, ahn there ye have it, everyone. Necromancer disappears, we know who did it, she tried to make an excuse. I don’t see a reason we should have this go on any longer,” Gallin explains amidst the room strangled with thoughts of betrayal. “Is that not true, Pitch, milord?” Gallin adds, giving the king of the fairy folk a leading glance. Both are well aware that if Pitch openly denies the most-obvious possibility in favor of the knights, he will quickly lose face among the majority of his subjects, who like the idea of the majority of humans being cheating, lying, deceptive bags of inferior trash. Order quickly speaks up.

  “That’s wrong! Love went into Everlock to retrieve the necromancer! Why would she let it go after she went through all of that?” she says with a direct gaze to Gallin. The Dwarf scoffs, as if it were the opinion of a child.

  “To deceive us, of course! How else could we trust a necromancer to enter our home? It must have been a spy to collect information! What say you, milord?” Gallin says, again trying to get a response from the Fairy King.

  Pitch shifts his eyes around the room, noting Order especially; her eyes are shining an enthused gold; she knows this is bad, but she doesn’t look like she’s about to give up. Regardless of what he thinks, unless he wants to start a real war between the fairy folk and the humans, his hands are tied for now. He looks over to Tylvania, who shrugs lightly.

  “I ... My heart is weary with all of these dark words directed to our very own knights ...-”

  “But they’re not our knights, milord! They just pulled a necromancer from right under our noses! You know well there has not been a single account of Oa willingly giving back a stolen creature! Her story is riddled with holes! We should do to them what we do to all traitors of the crown of light!” Gallin says, quickly loosing a quiet sigh from Pitch.

  Solemnly, the King
of Leaves searches the eyes of the people around him for an answer, but locks again onto Order’s eyes. Very gently, she nods, giving her approval.

  “You speak ... truth, good Gallin. You are for true the most bellicose of my high fairies, and for that, you show us all the ... the grim deceit that has slighted our noble souls. Let the body of the Knight Love, be arrested, so her soul and motives may be better known. At that ... I will deliver my address to the fair folk on the early morrow, after the tea of the first realm-ones. Begone with her, bleed her of her knowledge, and trouble me no more with such bitter conduct. I rest,” says Pitch, Gallin quickly supporting his decision with a nod. Tylvania quickly follows Pitch to console him amidst the new uproar of chatter between the fairies in the room.

  The two guards quickly present themselves in front of Love.

  “Us with come. Dungeon to bring,” the Spook, by the name of Spinamus, says as he makes four authoritative squats. Love looks over to Order, who only returns her gaze with a blank gaze.

  Love turns to the guards, smiles and goes along with them amidst the gazes of the fairy folk all around her. The guards make certain to relinquish both Everlock and Worldloss from her, and bind her hands with magic cuffs, designed to cut off the mana-flow to one’s hands.

  Love is led deep into Liefholn, into a cell made of the living bark of the structure itself- thought to be impenetrable by all but the greatest of creatures and blades. She is placed under the watch of Yeinwyll, a lesser ent said to be Liefland’s greatest, fiercest warrior, only lesser than the king and queen. For the next several hours Order is left talking to the various members of the table, grilling Aoline and Lain again and again for any information, and attempting to get into the dungeon to speak to Love.

 
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