A Taste of the Lethe

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The Hateful Wars: Chapter Forty-Eight

Thomas Kelly

“I beg you to accompany me on one last embassy to Enstad. The Fey Queen is to be honored for her victories. The Grand Court intends to invest her with the Mantle of the Blue Moon, raising her to the title ‘Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind.’”

Bagbag snorted. “What did she do? Mope about on her faerie-flower throne while you did all the work. They should name you their queen.”

“Will you accompany me?” Kristryd ignored the old wizard’s bluster.

“We have come to a changing of the guard,” Bagbag mused philosophically. “One feels it. The wars are at an end. Kristryd is made queen over the mountains, her sons over Gilmorack and Dengar. Urgush is no more. Hroth is no more. Gilvgola and Furduch have fallen. In Tringlee, the Duke Gallowagn passes the Shining Crown of Lothromenoron to his son and takes his leave. In Keoland, Senestal II ascends to the Throne of the Lion. All things change, but not in Enstad. In Enstad, they heap more honors upon do-nothing Yolande.”

“‘Yes’ or ‘no,’ old dwarf,” Kristryd pressed. “Will you walk with me to Enstad this summer?”

“I am ever at your service, your majesty,” Bagbag said with a bow. “But why should the Queen of the Lortmil Mountains walk? You should be carried upon the wind or teleported by means of dweomer.”

“I prefer to forget my sorrows with a long walk, and I desire your company,” the queen said. “Just the two of us. We’ll leave Bamadar to look after affairs.”

The Way to Enstad

Bagbag agreed. He leaned heavily upon his sorcerous staff each limping step of the way. His old bones had refused to properly knit back together, even under the healing power of the Sacred Heart. But the trueheaded loremaster felt glad enough to enjoy the journey through the mountains with her once again. They went by way of the Celene Pass to Anyanes, just the two of them together, with no escorting guard or afterlings. In reward for all their labors to purge the mountains, they walked without fear of ambush. As they travelled, they reminisced over all that had befallen them and all they had endured during twelve years of war.

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