The New King
Castle - Book Three
by J. H. Wear
A hero must be willing to die. Domum is in turmoil when the ruthless Lord Darius vies to become King, overpowering and killing anyone who oppose him. To Liz's dismay Jon accepts the role to lead the undermanned Horstruff defences. Liz becomes worried Jon doesn't want to return to Earth and plans to give him ultimatum if he wants her, if he can even survive the conflict.
Meanwhile Gilbert's reluctant marriage proposal to Donna takes a surprising turn. As the final battle looms he suddenly finds fate has placed him in the midst of the battle where he has a chance to be a hero.
Men are hopeless about planning events,
unless it’s war.
Sir Jon McKinney, Dragon Slayer, leaned over the heavy oak table. His thick arms supported him as he peered at a large map filled with small lines and comments. The map was unrolled, held into place by a sword on one end and two rocks on the other.
He muttered a curse under his breath and slowly stood up straight.
“Sir Jon, how’s ya doin’?”
Jon turned to the doorway of the library where Gilbert entered, sporting a toothy grin and gripping a tankard of ale. The library on the second floor of Lord Perry’s castle was nowhere near the size of the main library, although it still held hundreds of books and rolls of paper along the shelves that reached to the ceiling.
“Ah, just a little frustrated in trying to figure out all the possible routes an army can travel on. We not only have to defend the kingdom but also have to attack and engage the enemy. It’s hard to figure out where the enemy might be traveling. This map is so detailed that it’s difficult to figure all these markings.”
Gilbert wandered over and peered at the map. “Lots of little lines be there, Sir Jon.”
“I helps you, Sir Jon.”
“Yeah? What advice do you have, Gilbert?”
“Army don’ts like to travel over hills, hard on horses. So that cuts some routes out.”
“Good point, but I did take that into account.”
“Army also has to travel near water. They don’ts like to carry a lot of water. So looks for places near rivers.”
“That makes sense. Gilbert, thanks for your help.” Jon smiled, knowing Gilbert wanted to feel that he was contributing. “Now what brings you here? I thought Lord Perry had you doing some work in town.”
“I is, Sir Jon, I is. Learns some more rumours and went to tell Lord Perry right aways. How come you here? Thought you had a room at Lord Troy’s castle.”
“I did too. But Liz was under the impression I would have too many distractions there.”
Gilbert grinned. “She means the ladies there.”
“I suppose so, but it seemed to me to be unnecessary.” He thought of the women living at Lord Troy’s castle and their habit of walking around topless, or sometimes nude. “I guess I see her point though.” He put his hand on the small man’s shoulder. “It’s time to have some lunch. Come with me Gilbert. You too, Reesler.” Jon spoke to the gnant waiting in the corner.
Reesler quickly shuffled over. The gnant was made available to Jon by Lord Perry to retrieve items from the shelves in the library. The creature could easily climb to higher areas. Gnants were vaguely human in form but their facial features of elfin ears, sharp teeth and forked tongue made them look demonic in appearance. A hooked nose and a hairy face, coupled with claws on their hands and feet completed their odd appearance.
Jon, unlike most people, was friendly towards gnants and even befriended a few. Still, he was aware most gnants disliked humans and would like to see all people leave Domum.
They reached a second floor dining room and a servant quickly inquired what they desired to eat.
Jon gave his order for a sandwich and a pint of ale. He pointed at the gnant. “Bring Reesler something too.”
The servant, a heavy middle-aged man with thinning chestnut coloured hair, didn’t change his stoic expression and quickly complied. The last time he balked at serving a gnant, Jon admonished him and the clearly worried servant begged for forgiveness.
“So Gilbert, what is going on with you and Donna?” Jon gave him a wink.
Gilbert gave a sheepish smile. “Well, Donna and I are getting alongs pretty good. Her family likes ol’ Gilbert now after I tooks her to the ball at Lord Troy’s a couple of moons ago.”
“Going to marry her?” Jon recalled the wedding of Lord Troy and Patricia in the castle located at the edge of Horstruff. Gilbert as a citizen of Vegrandis, the district located within the city of Horstruff, was not normally invited to gala events of royalty. However Gilbert had befriended Lord Troy and began to be included in some of functions at the castle.
“Oh, I don’ts know Sir Jon. Gilbert has his eye on a few women.” Gilbert held back telling Jon that Donna had turned down his first proposal because of the lack of approval from her father. That problem had disappeared when Gilbert received an invitation to the wedding of Lord Sussex and Lady Patricia. As a result, Donna’s parents saw him in a new light, although Gilbert now wasn’t in a hurry about asking her a second time.
“I’m sure you do, but how many of them have an eye for you? I think you’re lucky to have Donna interested you. Someone may sweep her off her feet if you don’t act soon.”
Gilbert squinted at him. “Donna have someone else after her? What do you knows?”
Jon spread his hands. “I don’t know for sure Gilbert, but a pretty girl like her? It just stands to reason.”
Gilbert nodded his head slowly. “You may be rights there, Sir Jon.”
“Just think about it, Gilbert. She may not wait for you forever.”