Infamous Reign Opening

Because I’m feeling generous. Here’s the opening to Infamous Reign.

Infamous-Reign

Chapter 1

September 1483, Tower of London.

It’s surprisingly easy to gain access to a king when many of his most trusted servants and advisers also work for you.

The king’s guard all moved aside, most ensuring they didn’t make eye contact. Those who knew who I was also had a pretty good idea of why I was there, and so avoided me for that reason. Those who didn’t know me must have sensed my dark mood and decided that pissing me off further than I already seemed to be wouldn’t have enhanced their chances for a quiet life.

Thus unencumbered, I made my way through the courtyard of the royal palace toward the Grand Hall, where the king was holding court. I reached the doors and opened them, stepping through into a room that lived up to its name.

The hall was both massive and opulent, with the king’s banners showing the House of York’s white rose, alongside the usual imagery of inaccurate looking griffins and fleur-de-lis draped next to stunning stained glass windows, some of which depicted the king’s personal badge, a white boar.

Several dozen men and women, of all ages and ranks, stood before King Richard III of England; as he sat on his throne. Each subject was given the opportunity, in turn, to ask, or beg the king, for whatever favor he or she wished. Some wishes granted, some were not, it was wholly dependent on the king’s mood of the day and how much he either liked or needed the petitioner.  The king’s judgment was final, too. Sometimes you got a good king, a just king, a king who would help his people. And sometimes you got a blood-thirsty savage. Either way, so long as Merlin and Avalon were happy, we didn’t intervene in human politics. Unfortunately, on this day, Merlin was far from happy. Which led to the reason why I was here.

I resisted the temptation to make a point by removing anyone but the king from the room. He was finishing up a proclamation that permitted one of his subjects was to marry someone else, and I allowed the moment to continue. It wasn’t them I was angry with.

When the king finished, he noticed me for the first time, and all color drained from his face. If you’re the ruler of a country and I’m standing before you, it’s usually not because you’re doing a good job. The first time it happens is just after a coronation. I, or someone just like me, arrives and tells you exactly where you stand in the world and explain that you either behave, which means doing the things we ask, or you’ll receive another, less pleasant, visit.

The king before me knew exactly why I was there. Two princes, Edward and Richard, had vanished after being placed in his custody. He was either personally involved in something very bad, or he knew who was. It had been left for me to either fix it or to ensure that it was King Richard III’s final error.

King Richard signaled to one of his aides who then told everyone that court was over and would reconvene on the morrow. I stood still as the confused masses were ushered from of the hall, until only the king and I were left.

“I know why you’re here,” he said.

“That should make this go a lot quicker then,” I snapped and walked toward him. “Your majesty.” I didn’t bow or even nod in his direction. That wasn’t a judgment against the man; there wasn’t a human king or queen alive that I would have done it for. None of them were my king.

“Hellequin, you have to understand.” Fear broke through his voice.

———-

Okay, I’ll leave it there. If there’s any spelling or grammar errors, note it’s because it isn’t finished yet. Should be a few weeks. It’ll be priced $1.99 too.

In other news, I’m starting to arrange a newsletter, so if you’re interested, I’ll be holding a competition for those who sign up when it’s all working. Keep an eye out in the coming days and weeks.

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Posted on November 18, 2013, in Infamous Reign, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Sounds fun! I thought it was shaping up to be a standard historical fiction until you mentioned Merlin and Avalon … color me intrigued!!!

  2. More please….can’t wait…thank you

  3. Ahh . . . eager for the rest!

  4. THANK YOU STEVE! I “stumbled” into crimes against magic as a promo on my kindle. Now your are one of my favorite authors. I absolutely loved both books and CANNOT wait till the third installment. ( should I now say fourth?) So I was delighted when I got the email about this novella. Keep up the excellent work.

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