Aerema: Founding of A Kingdom
Author: Artesian Different

Chapter 28
The First After-Fact

“His Majesty, King Throb Psycadian, orders your presence in his rooms immediately,” the capybara informed the leopard.

Discord lu Tartarus leapt to his feet. There must be news. My time is almost at hand. “Very well. I will see his majesty in a few minutes,” he said leisurely. His emotionless pale gold eyes glittered in the moonlight.

“Yes sir.” The leopard paced his room for a few moments after the messenger left. Then he flexed his claws, masked his mind and strode out of his quarters.

His majesty was in a terrible mood. He rarely got this angry. When a Psycadian was this furious, people were likely to go to bed and not wake up the next day. Discord could feel the hate heating the air subtly. He felt uneasy. Something went wrong… what could it be?

“Septimus is dead. Bronze dé Menthe has been crowned King of Aerema and Alexandra kàn Zenith is his regent. Your son – ” Throb spat out the word like a curse. “Warned them of Septimus’s treachery.”

“He is no son of mine. I disowned him long ago,” Discord replied, his mind racing. His pale eyes shone gently, like a fish. He tolerated a few moments of Throb’s angry muttering before he spoke. “I am curious as to Ténebrous’s reaction to this.”

Throb paled, his reptilian eyes gleaming. “Oh Ankh blast it all,” he muttered.

Discord’s face was calm, as was the Tartarus way. “I agree. But Ténebrous’s reaction would be helpful for your decision, I’m sure.”

“You’re right. I will inform him immediately,” Throb strode into his magic room, shoving the heavy oaken door opened with his shoulder. It slammed to a shut after him. The gloomy enveloped him but unlike most days, it didn’t comfort him. He stomped over to his mirror drawer and pulled out the glittering, poisonous mirror. The silvery mirror shone as he dipped his hand into the mirror and established the connection with Ténebrous. The reflective surface shimmered and rippled like liquid. After a few moments, it cleared to display Ténebrous’s expectant face.

“Well?” Raven said, his eyes gleaming with excitement. With every word from Throb’s maw, his expression grew darker till when Throb finally ceased, he appeared positively murderous.

“Call Discord lu Tartarus in please.” Ténebrous’s face was unreadable, but Throb did as he said, propping the mirror up on the table before crossing the room to call Tartarus in. With a tiny twitch of a smile, Discord entered the magic room. It held the same appeal for him as it did for Throb – it smelled of dark magic, old spells and ancient knowledge.

“My dear cousin. Do remember what we discussed last year?” Ténebrous asked.

The spotted panther smiled. “Why yes Raven. I do. Now?”

“Now, if you please,” Ténebrous said politely.

Throb glanced between them, uncertainly. “What do yo – ” His words were choked off as Discord slashed his paw up to the crocodile’s neck and ripped off a scale. The panther rested his claw against the pounding blood vessel there.

“Don’t struggle my old friend, or I’ll kill you immediately,” Discord warned him coldly.

“What, but!”

Ténebrous leaned in closer. “You are an inefficient ruler, and no further use to us. The Tartarus family has longed for the throne for generations, has it not, Discord?” Discord nodded, increasing the pressure on the vital artery.

“So, we planned this almost five years ago, when I was first instated as Captain of the Guard, and went into the details just last year, in the early spring. Funny, how things may be kept a secret, if one has… what would you call it - the knack,” Ténebrous said casually.

Throb was shaking with fear, anger and disbelief. “I’ll…”

“No, you won’t. You won’t do anything. Discord?”

Discord slashed down with his claw against Throb’s neck. Blood spilled out as Throb collapsed to the ground. With the last of his strength, he lashed out at Ténebrous with his thick, meaty tail. The mirror flew through the air and shattered on Discord’s spotted head.

A laugh bubbled out of Discord’s chest as the mirror shards melted and ran down his face. “Farewell, last of the Psycadian kings.” He shook off the liquid mirror. It… stings! He coughed, and fell to the floor, his strength sapped in an instant. Agnost’s revenge, what was thi- His mind swirled away into a dark tunnel.

Two weeks later, the news reached Ténebrous. Swampmurd was in an uproar; the two heads of the ruling class had both been dispatched in the same day. The country had descended into anarchy; various robbers and clans were fighting each other. King Bronze had dispatched troops into the area to quell the fighting and bring Swampmurd under his sway.

The robbers in Cremtom were hard pressed to continue their crime, as a young dragon warrior named Darius had organized the inefficient police force into a strong team. Tenebrous growled. Even the Northern Tribes were slipping from his grasp. The allied states of the Elven Realm and Aerema were looming over him, and he was alone. He had lost his cousin and his position, all within a few moons.

He tossed another branch onto the fire with a fury. He had no hope. Ryath would be gone soon, but it made no matter. The people loved Bronze and Alexandra. He could not convince them to take him as their ruler, nor did he have the manpower to take the island by force.

Raven ze Ténebrous hissed in frustration. He had no choice but to live in obscurity in the far Northern Realms. But, as he gazed up at the stars, he vowed revenge. The clan of Ténebrous would rise again, terrible and powerful when the kingdom was at its weakest. Then, he would have his revenge fully. Aerema would not last forever.


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