“Talk about taking a risk.” Jonyl said quietly to the assembled war council, “Maikaj wants to declare war against Leathart.” as a chorus of murmurs erupted from the war council.
Maikyl’s health had been slowly failing as parts of Talija had fallen to the forces of Leathart. Benjyl had been by his side for the last two weeks and couldn’t explain how he had managed to keep as healthy as he was considering the land loss they had experienced in the past month. All Benjyl could say for certain is that it was as if there was another energy invigorating him.
The murmurs stopped suddenly as Maikyl came into the council chambers. He was walking more slowly and occasionally used a cane. Most noticeable to the assembled council was the return of his after several days of pallor.
Benjyl followed behind him at a distance fitting a leader, not on his arm as he had been previously during the preceding fortnight. The council stood and Maikyl quickly dismissed them. Sitting down as Maikyl took his seat at the head of the table, the council awaited Maikyl’s announcement regarding the war plan to save Talija from all-out civil war.
Settling into his throne, Maikyl thought to himself that being back in the Lodge was much better than living in a tent. Better sleeping arrangements and more privacy had helped his convalescence. He surveyed his privy council. He had known almost all of them since he had started his ascension to the throne.
“My dearest privy council, I call you to order. I have been thinking of how we can not only restore our Taljia to its proper place, but also to ensure our neighbors are not just neighbors but our friends.” Maikyl started in a strong confident voice.
As the privy council leaned in to hear his plan, Maikyl changed tack and lowered his voice.
“Before I tell you my plan, I must share other news. I will not accept debate on what I am about to tell you but I will take your advice…” Maikyl was interrupted by a loud murmur that arose from the assembled council. As the murmur rose and many on the council were talking to those around them, Kevyl slipped in to the council chambers and stood next to Maikyl.
Maikyl stood, immediately silencing the council. “We are to make plans for a wedding. A traditional handfasting to be celebrated with Pamnyki. My mate is of Pamnyki heritage.”
Another loud murmur went up from the privy council and it was also silenced by Maikyl, “Did I not say that I would not take debate on this subject. May I present to you, Kevyl of Pamnyki.”
The silence of the council was absolute and engulfed the room. As the silence grew, Kevyl could feel his heart pounding in his chest and his stomach and balls tightening up in fear. He scanned the room for the exits even though he knew where they were better than most of the council members. Beside him, Maikyl stood silently. Maikyl’s gaze turned to each member of the privy council, making eye contact and expressing his unmoving dedication to his decision.
After a moment, Maikyl broke the silence, “Seeing as there is no discussion, the appropriate runners and envoys will be sent as soon as possible. Jonyl, as the Keeper of our Land, please see that all of the surrounding nations are invited and that the neccesary arrangements are made. I would like to have this completed within one month.”
Another round of murmurs went up from the council which Maikyl had anticipated, “Taljia” he started then paused to let the room settle back down, “Taljia will hold a subdued wedding. Kevyl and I shall be bound together in the traditional manner of our people. I would prefer a smaller ceremony and a large feast instead of an elaborate ceremony and yet another ‘feast at the Lodge’. We are going to show the rest of the world that Taljia is doing fine and is not wanting for anything.” Maikyl ended in a loud commanding voice.
A roar of approval went up from the council. The smallest of smiles on the face of his war leader Brojyl told him that he had his approval.
“Now my council, to matters of lesser import. What do we do with Leathart?” he said with a laugh.
Maikyl had been following all the latest dispatches from their spies and forward agents. Leathart had crossed the River of Wolves and briefly held some of the land around Two Rivers Lake but most had been driven back out by the Talijali forces. Only the stretch of the border between the lake and the South Fork of the River of Wolves was still in dispute and it manifested itself as an uncontrollable tremor in Maikyl’s left forearm that was only noticable when he held sheets of paper or maps.
Brojyl stood up and addressed his liege, “Revered Elpa Maikaj of the Most Honorable Lodge of the Wolf.” he began as Kevyl tried to suppress a cringe. He knew Maikyl’s feelings about the use of titles to inflate people’s worth and while he was the Lord Sovereign of the Lodge, he also understood his own mortality and his body being a vessel for the work of the Great Wolf.
Brojyl took note of Kevyl’s cringe and ignored it for the moment, “My Sovereign, I am the war leader at your service as you request. I have heard discussions that you are wanting to declare war on Leathart. I am strongly opposed to this idea.”
Maikyl cut him off with a dismissive wave of his hand, “Brojyl, if you ever presume my intentions or actions from common gossip or hearsay, I will not only have you removed from my service.” Maikyl paused for a moment, “I’ll end not only your service but you as well. Do I make myself clear?”
Brojyl stiffened and saluted his Sovereign, “Absolutely clear, my liege.”