My friends, this has been a delightful journey for me, but the time has come for me to wrap up The Amulet Saga. This will be the last story I post in this series.
Fear not, the story isn’t over! I’m still working on the conclusion. My plan is to make the entire series available in an anthology with expanded scenes, new stories, and of course, the climax and conclusion. Stay tuned for more information about that!
In the meantime, enjoy the last available episode in The Amulet Saga!
What Came Before:
And now, without further ado, I give you:
Jarok slammed the door to his chambers and threw the first thing he could lay his hands on. It was a clay goblet. It shattered against the far wall, the pieces raining down in shards and dust on the floor.
How could he have been so stupid? How much had he told her when he held her in his arms, so drugged by her presence he couldn’t think straight? She got so upset the night he invited her for dinner. He should’ve known then she wasn’t who he thought she was. Should’ve known better than to meet her again. But he met her anyway. He talked for hours, giving away secrets of the sorcerers, details about the palace and the guards, sharing the most intimate knowledge with her, only to discover she was one of the rebels. Fairly high-ranking among them, too, judging by the way they followed her lead in the skirmish.
How had he managed to let so much slip without her revealing any of herself to him? Had she been a spy the whole time? He had a hard time believing that. The magic between them was too powerful. Unless that was the whole point. Had she bewitched him? What power did she have over him that blinded him to her true purpose in meeting him night after night?
A harsh knock interrupted his thoughts.
The door opened and a young pageboy poked his head in. “The king wishes to see you immediately.”
Jarok stalked to the throne room, working to compose himself along the way. The king couldn’t possibly know about the girl, could he? Jarok hoped he’d never find out, but at least he had to make sure he could put his own story together, first. Perhaps he’d claim he was spying on the rebels, not the other way around…
He bowed upon entering the throne room. “You wanted to see me, your Majesty?”
Ada stood in the corner, eyeing him, a knowing look in her eyes. He shuddered. He hated not knowing what and how much the old crone saw in those visions of hers.
“The reports say this morning’s campaign was a success,” the king said.
“In a manner of speaking. We lost several sorcerers, but we routed the rebels. Our spy did her work well. The rebels had no idea it was a trap.”
“And the supply train?”
“The troops went to escort it in. The rebels are wounded and disoriented. We don’t expect any trouble from them. The supplies should arrive on schedule.”
The king rubbed his hands together. “Excellent. Why do you not seem more pleased?”
Jarok forced a smile. “I am, Majsety.”
“The spy will have to be killed, of course,” the king went on. “The rebels will know who betrayed them.”
Ada stepped forward. “If I may, your Majesty.”
The king nodded.
“It will serve us better to give the girl her reward. Although she may be useless now, there are others who will be encouraged to do the same if they see the benefit she has received for her loyalty.”
The king rubbed his chin. “Very well. Summon her.”
Jarok regarded Ada. She was wise. Her plan would be useful. They would need good spies, especially since Alise, or whatever her real name was, now had thorough details of the kings forces, thanks to him.
A servant scurried out and returned a few moments later with the serving girl, Maralen.
She bowed before the throne.
“Rise,” the king said. He handed her a scroll and a bag of gold. “You have done well. Our campaign was successful, thanks to the information you fed the rebels. Here is the gold you were promised and your father’s pardon. As soon as you can get word to him, he is free to return home.”
Maralen curtsied deeply, tears filling her eyes. “Thank you, Majesty, thank you!”
Her fawning was cut off by the door to the throne room slamming open.
A soldier burst in, panting, his face red. He carried a large crate and a letter rolled into a scroll. “This was just delivered. I was told to give it to you personally, your Majesty, and urgently.
The king nodded to Jarok.
Jarok opened the scroll and read aloud. “Declaration of War against William the Usurper.”
That was all.
“Open the crate,” the king ordered.
Jarok pried the lid off. He stumbled backward, gagging at the sight.
Inside was a severed head.
Lifeless eyes stared up at him.
The serving girl, Maralen, peeked over his shoulder. She began to scream, her high-pitched wails echoing off the stone walls. “My father! They killed my father. They’re punishing me for betraying them.”
Another scroll was rolled up and tucked into the crate by the head. Jarok pulled it out and gingerly unrolled it. Blood dripped from the parchment onto his hands that quivered as he read. “Such is the fate of any found guilty of treason against the rightful monarch, the legitimate ruler, the true Heir of Evintide.”
Silence as thick as the congealed blood that covered Jarok’s hands permeated the room.
Ada’s eyes rolled back in her head and she collapsed to the floor, her body writhing in violent spasms. Her voice rose, high and ethereal, filling the room, “The Heir is the destruction of us all. Beware the Heir!”