“Did he or didn’t he?”
If he was an ordinary general the king would have executed him on the spot just in case. Grarron was his nephew, though, the son of his favourite older sister. A very gifted strategist and a loved commander. A man people praised to heavens in ballads as a perfect prince full of noble virtues – as brave as a lion, as wise as a fox, generous as a king and handsome as an angel. Now he was standing before the throne, his bare head as usually a bit tilted, waiting for the judgement of his uncle.
Three days ago the young prince gathered some troops and led them to punish an unruly liegeman somewhere on the eastern border. As usual the operation was deadly swift and fully successful. A thunderbolt. The liegeman was killed, his castle- burnt to the ground, his people – either dispersed or killed as well. So the official report, written by Grarron, said.If only it was the only version of events…
Even before Grarron managed to return, a spy, covered with blood, half-naked and barely alive, reached the king. It was one of the Ravens, the elite spies of the royal household. They were known of their cunning and loyalty towards the king. The spy reported a totally different account of the campaign. According to him Grarron made peace with the unruly liegeman, incorporated his people into his own troops and now was ready for a coup. Regicide, a word never pronounced in the castle, hung in the air like noxious fumes, poisoning the athmosphere, making the king anxious and angry.
“Traitor or not? To kill or not to kill?” Something was off but the king couldn’t put a finger on it..
Grarron’s sister, Lorena, stood as always behind the throne. She had begged the king to hear her brother out. She didn’t dare to contradict the report of the Raven but she did her utmost to make her uncle think twice before executing his nephew. Maybe he had an ulterior motive to spare the life of that liegeman. Maybe it was a part of some brilliant strategy to find more mutineers. The king was swayed by her reasoning. Now he wanted to hear a good explanation from his nephew.
Grarron kneeled. It was a sign. An arrow was shot from behind and pierced the king’s neck. He didn’t even managed to say one single word. Lorena closed her eyes and almost fainted.
“Open your eyes, little sister. Look at me,” ordered Grarron quietly.
Lorena did as she was told. A horrible pain pierced her body. Another arrow was shot and it went right through her heart.
“Goodnight sweet sister. I am sorry but I am taking no chances,” said Grarron calmly.
These were the last words Lorena heard.