"The Monarch's Dilemma" - by Dennis Young
King Kalan McGregor had sat upon the throne of Kalangragg more than thirty years, yet never had he faced so difficult a decision. The Treaty of Silver River, signed and sealed by his own father, had taken away the angst of war within his country, and McGregor was well-loved for it among his people. But this new elven Queen of Gildenclave, whose own father had, as well, affixed his seal with the elder McGregor’s, continued to send missives, hinting at recompense for lands long ago paid for in Kalangragg blood and gold.
The king soon summoned three to his throne room; his trusted Sage, who had served now three generations of McGregor, his Seer Drannee, a woman known for her gift of Sight and telling of the future, and of course, his General, commander of McGregor’s legions of battle-hardened soldiers.
“Tell me of my options, Old Connor.” The king looked fondly on the weathered face of the Sage before him.
Connor bowed graciously. “Few, Majesty, as the language of the Treaty was poorly written and may be interpreted several ways. While we do not agree with this queen…”
“Eleeana,” said Drannee, when Connor paused, attempting to remember the name.
“Yes, Queen Eleeana. Majesty, truth be told, we may have little choice but return much of what was granted to your father by the elves. They can be sodevious in dealings of land and such.” “Unacceptable,” grunted General Torgensonn. He bowed to the Throne. “Majesty, your armies stand ready to defend our rightful winnings. Praise be to your father and his glorious leading of our troops in battle at that time, that the lands won now are home to many of our people. We cannot allow elves to uproot those working the land and bringing to your coffers worthy tidings and taxes.” McGregor sat back, stroking his beard. He knew Torgensonn more than just a soldier, and having wed his sister, Hargretta and made her his queen, was keenly aware Torgensonn eyed the throne himself. “There are other ways, Majesty,” said Drannee softly. McGregor leaned forward, motioning her to continue. “Two I see may be fortuitous for you. One, diplomacy, which you, yourself are most skilled in. The other…”
Old Connor coughed discretely. “Majesty, you cannot consider this… way.”
Torgensonn grinned wickedly. “War? And why not? We outnumber the elves greatly.” “Longbows,” said Drannee, “and you know the cost.” Torgensonn frowned and turned away.
McGregor stood, and the trio before him gave their attention. “We will speak with the elves and see if war may be avoided. There is land aplenty for all, and my thought is, this is but posturing by their queen. However…” He paused, looking at Torgensonn. “Prepare the First Lancers for a march. We will give a show upon the banks of the Silver River for all to see.”
Torgensonn bowed deeply, turned on his heel, and left the throne room, guards arrayed about him.
McGregor nodded Connor and Drannee to come closer. “Prepare the way, as you will both go before the elven queen in my stead. You have my full trust to do what is necessary for our land. You may bargain, but only little. If we show weakness now, it will only lead to more demands.” “And the general?” Drannee gave a knowing smile.
McGregor nodded. “I will see he is kept busy with the army. Too much there is at stake for war, my friends.”
The End! - Dennis Young, Author “The Ardwellian Chronicles”