Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Countdown to Clan and Crown: Peaceful Warrior

                Clajak had no idea what he was looking at. “It is beautiful here. It reminds me of that painting by Elivi. Do you know the one I mean, Egilka?”
                “Was that the one you couldn’t convince Councilman Hesh to sell you?”
                “That’s it. This scenery is a bit nicer, however, just as the high commander promised.”
                Bevau glanced at him to see Clajak was looking at him and not the landscape. The Nobek affected a disdainful look. “Free with the compliments, aren’t you my prince?”
                “Only the ones deserved.” The teasing note disappeared and the Dramok eyed him speculatively. “My father Yuder says you’re a Nobek and an Imdiko.”
                “That is true.” Bevau waited, curious to find out what they thought of that.
                On his opposite side, Egilka let his own curiosity speak. “That must be an interesting dichotomy to balance.”
                Bevau nodded. “Which I’ve only achieved the ability to do in recent years. When they first meet me, my fellow Nobeks think the dual characteristics must make me weak. They assume I am reluctant to fight. Or to kill, if need be.”
                Clajak’s next statement showed more thoughtfulness than Bevau had been inclined to credit him with. “One does not attain the rank of High Commander by being merciful.”
                Bevau gave him a sidelong glance. “No. One attains the rank of High Commander by tracking and destroying the Empire’s enemies, by demanding absolute obedience and loyalty from his men, and by avoiding battles that do more harm than good ... which is most of them.”
                Egilka blinked at him. “You don’t like to fight?”
                “I love to fight. I love bloodshed if the cause is just and good. However, for the most part war births disease, famine, and sorrow.” He had the confidence in his beliefs to say with supreme assurance, “The real measure of a warrior is knowing which battles will yield greater peace in the end rather than foment more fighting. That is the correct path ... the only path for a strong Empire.”
                Clajak’s honey-smooth voice was soft. “I haven’t met many Nobeks who think that way.”
                Egilka offered a knowing look. “You’ve never met a Nobek who is half Imdiko.” He smiled at Bevau. “I like the way you think, High Commander. Searching for a peaceful answer before letting killing commence ... that is the way it should be. I’m impressed that you don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Surely many Nobeks have challenged you to prove yourself one of them by asserting the opposite philosophy.”
                Bevau scoffed, “Any fool can declare war and send men in to die. It takes a real man, a true protector of the people, to sit down with those who stand counter to his beliefs and find common ground to build a lasting peace with.”
                He was delighted when a perfectly serious Clajak said, “I agree. I hope to find a Nobek clanmate who thinks as you do.”
                “I hope you do too. I’d hate to bow to an idiot just because he’s my emperor.”
                Egilka snickered. Clajak gave him a warning glare. “Not one word out of you.”
                The Imdiko angled his body as if to hide behind Bevau. “I never said anything about a future emperor possibly being an idiot. It is interesting that you jumped to that conclusion, however.”
                “I know you. And I know that look. You were thinking about saying it.”
                “Fortunately, I always think before I speak. Unlike some men I know.”
                “Some men you know will turn your ass nice and toasty if you keep going with this conversation.”
                Bevau chuckled at the exchange. From what he could see, the two men were a good pair. It was nice to know the future leaders of Kalquor weren’t as thoughtless or as uptight as so many supposed them to be.

Releasing Friday

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