For me, villains can be a lot of fun to write. That’s probably because they’re usually scheming, strategizing people with agendas that they WILL accomplish. I may do a post specifically on villains someday soon, but today I decided to share a chapter from a book I’m cowriting featuring the villain. (Yes, I’m doing two things at once: rewriting my scifi book and cowriting a fantasy book) So, without further ado, General Dobhghall:
General Dobhghall flipped a coin through his fingers. A breeze entered through a window, drawing his attention. He hadn’t opened a window. A shadow appeared through the window and came close. Asad El-Hashim drew back the dark hood from his bald head and stood before the general’s desk. “You summoned?”
Dobhghall glanced at the dark ornament hanging from the top of the open window. How the spy knew when that was up he had no idea. “Yes. It is time to implement my plan. I have a letter here, written to the king of Forstheim. It must be delivered to him and only to him. This letter cannot fall into the wrong hands.”
“General,” the shadow hissed. “I’m disappointed in your lack of trust. Have I ever failed you before?”
“Would you tell me if you did?” Dobhghall asked pointedly. “Deliver this letter with extreme haste to King Grunewald.” He handed the sealed letter to the spy and waited as he tucked the letter inside his cloak.
“Is there something else you need General?”
“I need a poison. I assume you have some with you?”
“I need something that can go into his wine without discoloring it, changing the flavor, and without immediate effects. I want him to appear to have died from heart trouble.”
“I see,” El-Hashim said. He extended his hand out of his cloak. The general flipped the coin in his hand up in the air. He barely saw a blur as the coin was snatched from high in the air and deposited in one of the spy’s inner pockets. His hand exited the folds of material with a bottle. “Insert a small stream of this into a bottle, and it will do as you have asked.” His left hand brought out an injection needle. “Make sure you penetrate the cork but don’t leave a hole.”
General Dobhghall took the items and slid them into a drawer.
“Do you have the date set?”
“Yes. One week from now is when the proper mourning time and inauguration ceremony will occur.”
“Will you need anything else before then?”
“I want you there on that day, watching. Make sure nothing interferes.”
“Your plan shall run smoothly, General. As long as your gold is good, you have no fears.”
Dobhghall handed over a few more heavy coins. These, the spy also hid. He then bowed and left the room through the window with barely a whisper of a breeze. The coins given him didn’t even jingle. Dobhghall glared at the empty open window then rose and shut it. He didn’t trust men who didn’t like to get their hands too dirty and who loved the shadows. One never knew their true motives.
He returned to his desk and placed a thick pile of papers on his desk. Each paper had a semi-detailed analysis of each soldier of the palace guard. As ranking military official, the general could order anyone he wanted to their posts. On the day of Princess Mairead’s inauguration ceremony, he wanted no interference. Loyal, seasoned soldiers were out of the question. The somewhat newer, lax men would be a good choice. They had to put up some sort of show; otherwise suspicion would immediately be thrown on him. The general began sorting the papers into two piles. Within a few hours, he had his list of desired guards. The line of Drummond would soon come to an end, and they had no idea. Dobhghall allowed himself a small idea. No prophecy could stop him. All his years of planning, patience and work were coming together. Soon he would rule not only Braehame, but Forstheim as well.
General Dobhghall stopped before the heavy double doors straightened his shoulders. The guards saluted as he opened the doors and entered the hall. King Fearghas Drummond sat in a high, solid stone chair decked with cushions, listening as a councilmember read from a thick scroll. A scribe sat off at the corner, waiting.
Fearghas looked utterly bored, Dobhghall thought. It would make this perfect. The king glanced at Dobhghall then looked back at the reading man. A moment later, he perked up and looked back at Dobhghall. “General!”
The general bowed then straightened slowly, making sure to keep the bottle of wine and two glasses visible.
“I am glad to see you General Dobhghall! Approach.” He turned to the councilmember and waved a hand. “You’re dismissed.”
“Sire, I really need-”
“It can be done later. You are dismissed.”
The man bowed. “Yes sire.” He glared at Dobhghall then strode from the room.
Dobhghall walked to stand next to the elaborate mahogany desk and set the bottle of wine on its polished surface.
“Thank you for rescuing me General. By the created order I tell you, a king is meant to lead his people in battle, and sometimes in decisions. A king should not have to listen to some duke drone on and on about his land and how he wants more. Oy!
“So, what is this?”
“I was given this as gratitude from a friend some time ago and had forgotten about it. As I sorted through my tasks, I decided I needed a reprieve and walked to my wine closet to examine its contents. Lo and behold, I saw this bottle. And I said to myself, surely such an aged treasure should not be left forever, but must be enjoyed with good company soon. So I decided I needed a break, retrieved two goblets, and have brought it here, thinking you would also do well to appreciate it.”
Fearghas laughed and stood, then placed a hand on the general’s shoulders. “I would indeed, my friend. Come. Let’s step outside and enjoy the fresh air and the sight of the kingdom.”
General Dobhghall inclined his head. He held the back door open for the king then followed him outside. Summer was beginning to draw to a close, and as the dawn came a cool breeze tickled their skin. Dobhghall uncorked the bottle and poured the glasses full. He set the bottle on the patio and handed the king one of the goblets. King Fearghas took it and breathed in deeply. He walked over to the rail and leaned against it. Dobhghall joined him with his own glass and followed the king’s gaze. Small houses sprawled out from around the palace. People and animals weaved about the maze in a seemingly chaotic fashion. Beyond the main cluster of houses a steep mountain rose into the horizon, covered with pine. The king took a sip of his wine. “Braehame is a good place.”
“It is, my liege.”
“And its people are good.” He sighed. “It really is too bad we are at odds with Forstheim. It’s only a matter of time I know.” He took a longer drought from his wine.
General Dobhghall took a sip of his own wine. It really didn’t taste different at all. “It is a part of all nations, I believe. And did you not say that you wish you could be leading in battle?”
“I do not wish for my people to suffer or have to worry, but it would feel good to get out again, to strategize, to hunt. We shall have to schedule a hunt. We have not had one of those in a long while.”
Dobhghall smiled. “That would be enjoyable sire.”
“Do you know what the whole wretchedness of this is?” Fearghas took another drink and continued without waiting for an answer. “Forstheim says all they want is the mountain behind us. Just that, and they shall be content.” He grunted. “May as well sign ourselves over to slavery, to have another kingdom flanking us on both sides, to not have whatever resources be on that mountain.”
Dobhghall set his glass on the rail. “You know that is just a cover, my lord.” He reached for his glass but knocked it over the ledge.
“Aye, I know.”
A very soft sound of glass breaking disturbed them as Dobhghall’s wine finally hit the stone several levels down. The king looked at Dobhghall in surprise. “You lost your wine. I shall have a servant fetch you another.”
Dobhghall shook his head. “No need, your majesty. Allow me to pour you another glass, then I must get back to work.”
“Yes, our duties are always calling.” He held out his empty glass and Dobhghall filled it once more. “It was good of you to stop by. I enjoyed the wine, and the company. I shall see if I can’t schedule a hunt in a few days and let you know.”
“I’ll look forward to it, your majesty.” He held the door open for the king to enter again then shut it. He then exited the courtroom and strode to his room. After he shut the door, he emptied the rest of the bottle into a potted plant near his window and disposed of the bottle. Then he sat at his desk with a smile. That was what he called a successful mission.