A Shaman’s Gift – Part 4


See the end of today’s flash for other author’s who’ve posted this week:

As he sat thinking back to what he could remember of the vision quest, Kevyl returned with a flagon of Winter Spice tea and a plate of the best food the galley could muster on short notice.

Kevyl set everything down and Maikyj looked up and smiled at him. Kevyl reached back and untied a large stoneware mug from his apron string. He sat it on the desk and poured the tea into it.

“Maikyl, is there anything else you require at this time?”

“No, Kevyl. I simply wish…” Maikyl stopped suddenly, “there is Kevyl. Draw me a hot lilac and honeysuckle bath. I wish to meditate.”

“Yes Maikyl,” Kevyl said with a mischievous smile on his face, “I will return when your bath is ready.” Kevyl knew that after Maikyl had meditated in the bath, he would want to scrub clean and rinse himself. Maikyl had a strong sense of personal cleanliness that most others in Taljia lacked. He looked over his sovereign and couldn’t control the thoughts in his head.

Maikyl was lean and wiry like a wolf. Standing just shy of two meters tall, he towered over most of his court. Long flowing brown hair framed a boyish yet stern face with piercing brown eyes seemed to look through you. Broad shoulders tapered to a narrow waist and strong legs rounded out Maikyl’s appearance. Many suitors from across the domain had tried to woo him, but to no avail. Most had assumed that as sovereign and Revered Elpa, he was married to the Great Wolf in a spiritual sense. True, Maikyl was intimately intertwined with the Great Wolf as the Revered Elpa, he was also still a man who longed for love and companionship.

Kevyl was pulled out of his daydream by Maikyl, who had looked up to find him still standing there, “Kevyl, is there something bothering you?” Maikyl said his he looked down at Kevyl’s breeches.

Kevyl looked down and, to his abject horror, the nature of his daydream was obvious.

“Your highness, I was only thinking of you and…” Kevyl trailed off into a terrified silence, waiting for Maikyl’s wrath.

Maikyl found himself taken aback. Most of his suitors had been brazen in their desire to bed him. Only a handful had actually approached him as a man and not as a prize. He looked at Kevyl and found himself wondering what the citizens of Taljia would say to him marrying a commoner. Kevyl was the opposite of Maikyl. Short, stocky, pale-skinned with strawberry blond hair and sapphire blue eyes, he looked like most of the people of Taljia. Kevyl always had a smile on his face and he could lighten the mood of anyone in the castle and he had come to count on Kevyl’s sharp mind and wit to help him with the day to day affairs of the domain.

While only a few seconds had passed, both men found themselves feeling profoundly embarrassed about the silence.

“Kevyl, we are all men and we’ve all experienced this.” Maikyl continued speaking, trying to bring the conversation back to matters of the domain, “Do we have any birch branches for the bath? I’d like to spend some time in the steam room as well.”

Kevyl thought about this, “Maik…yl, I will need a good day to get the steam room ready for you. We have not been keeping the fires fully stoked and ready for you as you have been gone for a week.  The walls are cold as are the rocks in the bathing pool. If we had known you would be returning, we would have had the Keep ready for you.”

Maikyj grimaced slightly, “I understand Kevyl. I will be spending quite a bit of time in the bath, so it should not be a problem. I will be expected you to be by my side today. I am still trying to understand what was shown to me while was given by the Great Wolf while I was Visioning.”

Kevyl was just able to stop the smile that was trying to spread across his face, “But of course Maikyl, of course. Shall I have a scribe ready as well?”

“An excellent idea Kevyl, as always. I am blessed that I have such an astute man as my assistant.” Maikyl paused for a moment as Kevyl turned around “Make sure the scribe is from the Cloistered.”

“Yes, my Sovereign.” Kevyl smiled with a wry grin. “The Cloistered are sworn to keep the secrets of the Sovereign and the Keep. One wrong word and the unwitting Cloistered is no more.”

As Kevyl disappeared into one of the service entries that lined the Keep, Maikyl let his mind wander. In the sanctity of the Keep, he could be himself without worrying about what his subjects would think. He thought about the power that he held and also the close circle of advisors around him, he know that he would likely be able to take any partner he wanted. The question would be who…”

Maikyl found his thoughts drawn again to Kevyl. He could hear activity off on the other side of the residence and knew that the staff was frantically trying to get everything in place for him in as little time as possible. Kevyl slipped back into the room and waited to be acknowledged.

“Yes Kevyl?”

“My Sovereign, the castle staff,” Kevyl paused not wanting to deliver the message, “the staff regrets that the steam room will take most of the afternoon to get heated properly and won’t be ready until near sunset.”

Maikyl sat up in his chair and leaned forward causing Kevyl to subconsciously step backwards, “Kevyl, please tell the staff that if it takes until morning that is fine. It is for my relaxation only. I would rather that proper preparations be made rather than something rushed in an attempt to please me.”

Kevyl bowed his head, “Is there any other message you would like to send to the staff?”

“There is Kevyl. Ask one of the healers if they could come up after my bath and bring a basket of hot stones up with them. My recent travels have left me feeling as though I have been in a battle.”

“Yes, Maikyl, right away.”

Kevyl disappeared back into the service tunnels. Maikyl picked up his parchment and re-read his recollection of his travels and tried to understand the symbolism of it. There were too many things that seemed obvious, but yet they weren’t speaking to him. He took a long drink of the tea and as he set the mug down, he heard a loud crashing sound that reverberated throughout the Keep.

As Maikyl rushed over to the door closest to the sound, Kevyl burst into the room.

“My Sovereign! Maikyj! Follow me!” Kevyl shouted as he motioned Maikyl towards one of the Keep’s service tunnels.

Normally, Maikyl would have been perturbed at someone yelling at him, but the frantic look on Kevyl’s face told him it was best for him to follow and do it immediately.

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