Reign of Madness (Revised Edition)

Read Reign of Madness (Revised Edition) for Free Online

Book: Read Reign of Madness (Revised Edition) for Free Online
Authors: Kel Kade
Tags: Fantasy, Ficion
was
spilled, but with determination, Coroleus’s forces prevailed. In the end,
provinces were left in disarray, and the people were desperate for a symbol of
hope and strength. The lords heeded their people’s wishes and named Coroleus
their king. Thus, the Kingdom of Ashai was born. It was born by the blood and
leadership of common men – common men who had earned the power and
respect of their people.”
    The attention of the entire room of passengers was riveted
on Rezkin’s tale. Malcius finally broke the silence. “I say, Rezkin, you have
the talent of a bard.” The young noble was both surprised and impressed.
    Tieran shifted uncomfortably as he stated, “I had heard the
story of King Coroleus, of course, but never so much about the old provinces.
Certainly, I had not heard of any such… common origins. Your assertions
can be verified?”
    Rezkin waved away Tieran’s wariness with a flick of his
hand. “Of course, dozens of surviving texts exist from the time in the
libraries for anyone who wishes to read them, and hundreds of military,
philosophical, and historical ramblings have been composed since. The facts are
not in doubt.”
    “You are saying the nobility should hold themselves to a
higher standard?” Tieran asked uncertainly.
    Rezkin knew he could never convince them that the nobles
were not somehow innately superior to the commoners. As it was, he was
walking a thin line, so he had to state things in a way they would respect. If
he could not get them to believe the truth, he could at least get them to behave as proper nobles. Rezkin’s voice was deep and powerful. “The nobles are the higher standard. It is the purpose for which nobles were created,” he said
pompously. It was the tone the others would expect from one of his status.
    He sniffed condescendingly. “The Lady DeWindier and Lord
Methers are prime examples that the blood does not make the noble,” he
asserted. It was the latest court gossip that Lady DeWindier and Lord Methers
were involved in a long-term torrid affair. Lord DeWindier finally caught the
other noble in his wife’s skirts and nearly tore the man’s head free from his body.
Now, the paternity of Lord DeWindier’s offspring was in question among the
whispers of the flibbertigibbets.
    Rezkin’s eyes locked on Shiela, “It is the manner in which
he or she comports him- or herself that matters. Anyone else is simply
not worthy of my time.” This last he said with such passive disdain that the
others could not help but be shamed. Rezkin’s pronouncement was scathing and
judgmental, just as the nobles would expect. He punctuated his remark by
returning to his seat beside Frisha and his other friends, commoners and noble
officers, alike.
    Rezkin had observed the nobles at their homes and with their
friends prior to the trip. He determined that Malcius was the kind of young man
who was desperately seeking the approval of his father. In lieu of the
unobtainable, he was likely to latch on to the strongest example of superiority
he could find. If Rezkin had not been on the trip, Malcius would have selected
Tieran as his model for emulation simply because of his hierarchical status.
    Tieran, however, was not a strong leader of men, and he knew
it. His arrogance and high-handedness with his cronies was nothing but bluster
to cover for his natural insecurities. Palis had more independence than either
of them, since he had little need to prove himself due to the fact that he was
not the House heir. He still looked up to his older brother, though, and would
follow his lead in most things.
    Brandt, however, was a different story. He did not care to
impress his father – quite the opposite, actually. It was like he was
rebelling against the world. Rezkin considered that perhaps the young man
resented being forced into the role as House heir. He did not seem to have a
care for politics or court gossip beyond that which immediately affected him.
    All of the heirs felt they had

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