Part 40

A convenient partnership.

Pepe sat with Fendor sharing a bottle of rich spiced wine. The hall felt vast and silent after the revolution, a low fire glowed in the hearth providing little warmth. Their meeting was washed in candle light. Beyond the tall windows, even in the dead of night people were still flooding into the city seeking hope and salvation.

Neither men cared, could not fake an interest in events developing outside the palace walls. One tyrant was dead but his family was vast, this act of rebellion had ultimately triggered a war that had yet to be declared between the traitors and nations still loyal to the King through bloodlines.

Pepe slid the document across the table as Fendor replenished their glasses. “She signed.” They raised their drinks in a silent toast. “Not that she had much of a choice.”

“You know the child will not grant you any claim to the throne?” Fendor carefully read through the tangled legal terminology.

“Nor do I desire any claim.” Pepe sipped his wine, little finger outstretched.

Fendor exchanged the document with deeds. “Is this really all you want? A mansion, a baby and an orchard?” He said with mild amusement. “For the entire Northern Clan Territories, land that the King lusted over for years and you’re practically giving it away for something you could easily buy with your lose change.”

“Ooh I shall require staff and guards for my property too.”

“It’s still a small price Pepe, what’s the catch?”

“And stables, I like to hunt.”

“Why Pepe?”

“I’m bored Fendor, bored with the constant demands from an overzealous King, bored with keeping the Clans in order, bored of pretending I was something I’m not, completely… Bored with the whole game, bored of a whore of a wife, bored of rent boys and whining villagers. Bored of watching greed destroy the entire nation, bored of being on the brink of war and, until yesterday, nothing was forthcoming. Bored of riches, bored of meetings, negotiating and silks… I longed for Alleia, but I also knew as soon as I planted my seed in her, her father could claim my land through bloodlines, as he had done with all his other six daughters. In a way, by fucking that guard, she protected my land from the King. No bastard could take the Clan Territories.”

Fendor nodded, unable to fault his words…

“I would sooner give away all I own, for a pittance, to retire and watch the whole world burn around me. Sooner you than me Fendor, you have a desperately horrible mess before you and it will get tremendously worse before there is any form of peace that Novana longs for. You have a long bloody war on your hands my old friend and I am giving up my lands, my men, my armies and navy to support you, in exchange I want a simple life. Is that too hard to understand?”

“I actually envy you.”

“You could join me?” Pepe smiled absently tracing his fingers down Fendor’s face, shoulder, arm…

“I thought that was all an act?”

“Not completely, but I already know you desire Novana, I just tease.” Pepe laughed, a rich sound which filled the hall. He drained his glass and collected the deeds to depart. “I wish you well in your venture.”

Fendor watched him leave and for a split second, Pepe’s offer was actually tempting…

Anne Harrison 05.03.17

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