Immortalis - By R. A. Salvatore


"You let her go!" Marcalo De'Unnero screamed, every muscle in the strong man's body standing taut. He was past fifty, but appeared much younger, with the suppleness of youth still showing about his hardened muscles and with his black hair still thick upon his head. The excommunicated Abellican monk had been a fighter for all of his life and carried the scars of a hundred battles. But they were only superficial scars, visual reminders, for within the skin of Marcalo De'Unnero resided a body in perfect health.

For that was one aspect of the magic of the enchanted gemstone - a tiger's paw - that, through the power of the demon dactyl, had merged with the essence of the man.

At his side, Sadye put her hand on his arm, trying to calm him, for his outburst had raised more than a few eyebrows around the throne room of the new king, Aydrian Wyndon, who called himself Aydrian Boudabras. Many of the dukes of Honce-the-Bear were in attendance this morning, including Kalas, who led the elite Allheart Brigade, and Bretherford, who commanded the great fleet of warships. And none of them were used to any man, particularly not one of the Abellican Church, speaking to the king of Honce-the-Bear in such a manner.

Seated comfortably on the throne across from De'Unnero, Aydrian seemed hardly bothered, though. He wore a wry grin, which made him look even younger than his nineteen years, especially given his unkempt locks of curly blond hair and his large blue eyes. That too-innocent look had been stamped upon Aydrian's face since the events of a few days previous, when he had wrestled the tormented spirit of Constance Pemblebury from the nether realm and had used the distraction to murder King Danube Brock Ursal.

"You fear Jilseponie?" the young king replied, his voice steady and calm.

De'Unnero paused and tilted his head, scrutinizing Aydrian, who seemed to understand the puzzlement and smiled all the wider. Until very recently, Aydrian had been De'Unnero's pawn, and willingly so. As the son of Jilseponie, who had been Danube's queen, Aydrian held some tenuous claim to the throne. Using him, De'Unnero and Abbot Olin had pushed their agenda to the highest levels of the kingdom, to the throne itself. Now the pair intended to use that secular victory to bring them to prominence in the Church they believed had abandoned them. In their eyes, Aydrian had been no more than a means to a personal end. More recently, though, since the joust when Aydrian had defeated all challengers, including the great Duke Kalas, things had begun to shift in the relationship between De'Unnero and Aydrian. Slowly but surely, Aydrian had begun to assert more and more control.

De'Unnero saw that, and now, for the first time since he had met the young son of Elbryan and Jilseponie in the wild lands to the west, he was beginning to fear it. At first, after the young man's ascension to the throne, De'Unnero had watched him and had marveled, thinking him a most beautiful and cunning creature. But now, given the realization that Aydrian had truly allowed Jilseponie to walk out of Ursal, De'Unnero was growing ever more angry.

"Do you not understand the danger that Queen Jilseponie poses to us? To you?" the Abellican monk explained.

"Perhaps we should discuss this in private with Aydrian," Sadye said quietly to the monk, and she pulled him tighter. But De'Unnero didn't even look at her, so fixed was his glare upon Aydrian.

"My mother is nothing," Aydrian declared, and he looked all around, widening his response to include all in attendance so that he could answer every question raised by his surprising decision to allow Jilseponie simply to ride out of Ursal. "I saw her heart on that day," he explained. "When she learned the truth of me, that the son she had abandoned to die was alive and well, it was the end for her. Jilseponie Wyndon is no threat. She is an empty shell. I could have been merciful and simply killed her that day. But after her abandonment of me, after she left me for dead, I chose not to be so merciful."

As he said this, he paused and looked about, and so did De'Unnero, to see a couple of the noblemen nodding and smiling - even proud Duke Kalas, who had once been King Danube's best friend. Indeed, Jilseponie had made more than a few enemies in the court during her tenure in Castle Ursal, and that enmity had Copyright 2016 - 2024