Hours later, after Malaykah had been successfully sedated, Alëxios was finally persuaded to attend the deliberations regarding the siege. Over in the garrison cabin, Mayor Cläuveous sat seething with his staff and the Phëläniciän royal officials in the defunct war room. What once used to be an old black oak cabin located in the central portion of the compound had been painted a light teal with marble wall and floored room for dining. It was apparent the Mayor no longer wished to be associated with sieges, wars, or aid.
Alëxios strolled inside the room with a clenched jaw and fist. It was not apparent to anyone whether he was still worried over Malaykah or was furious with the Mayor. The hushed silence from anticipation kept the Mayor’s staff in dreaded suspense. Then, finally, the highly revered king stood at the head of several marble podiums for several minutes before taking his seat.
“Well, Cläuveous, it appears you did not allow your eccentric madness temper you enough to destroy our sacred stalls. The ancestors must be relieved,” he grimaced.
Cläuveous scoffed, “I only decided not to part with them because they give the room a bit of character.”
Alëxios stiffened his entire body as if to prepare for combat.
“Have you no remorse for turning away from tradition?” he asked in a sharp tone.
Cläuveous shifted in his seat with an uncomfortable smirk.
“Sire, whatever do you mean? I think the room looks delightful,” he replied.
In a blink, Alëxios stood and swooped over to him and said, “I did not come here to sweeten the seriousness of this matter.” The words shot off his tongue like darts.
With a whimsical chuckle, Cläuveous replied, “My Lord, I do not speak in folly. I believe you to refer to this room we occupy. You might have switched to the subject of the siege without my awareness.”
Alëxios pressed his lips together and unsheathed his sword.
“Your distasteful decision to destroy this sacred congregation room that our ancestor created to deliberate over war strategies and cowardly lack of assistance during the collapse of my kingdom are both acts of treason and blasphemy. I have watched you for decades; your role as a vain deceitful jester is nearly played out. It cannot be possible you have forgotten the township of Bäussëll is a province under Phëläniciän jurisdiction. Yet I, your king, stand before you bloodied and battered from a battle you chose not to draw nary sword or arrow in,” he growled.
The Mayor shrunk in stature from terror. He had only experienced a handful of encounters with the king of Phëläniciä. Each occasion was met with a clash of opposing views on leadership and other politics. The king’s fierce stare penetrated clear through his skull. Cläuveous choked after a gulp and slid out of his stall onto the floor. After mere moments of a coughing fit and flailed arms, he realized no one from his staff dared to intervene. The defeated Mayor cleared his throat and straightened his tunic to regain composure.
“Your Highness, I beg for mercy. In truth, I did send scouts to report as soon as we heard disturbances from the northern territory. It gave me great cause for concern to learn the matter of flying Tengu running amuck. There was a second report to describe swarms of the airborne Tengu exploding in the sky,” Cläuveous quivered back to his stall.
Alëxios shrugged and paced about the room.
“The Tengu clan have decided to wage war against us once more in another feeble attempt to gain dominance over the realm.” He slammed his fist on a podium. “Their sheer audacity to meddle with dark arts ultimately led to their undoing. Though they were granted wings, they also unexpectedly became time bombs. General Torahgän’s daft insight led to the slaughter of many, including his own men.”
The Mayor sprung to his feet in agreement.
“I imagine he did not count the cost to retake flight. There certainly was an advantage in the beginning. My scout reported on the massive destruction of the palace, conservatory, and temple,” he replied.
A pale-faced Alëxios returned to his stall and placed both hands over his face in disgust.
“Not to mention, our evacuation bridge was blown to bits. As a result, my queen and subjects nearly plummeted to their deaths instead of traveling a safe passage to Bäussëll,” he said.
“Indeed; many congratulations are in order, Sire. We are all grateful that your new bride and Phëläniciän subjects survived intact. However, one of my scouts was not as fortunate from the bridge collapse,” the Mayor snidely interjected.
A reverent pause echoed through the room. The tension in the air remained steady.
~Ch. 14, Somewhere Beyond the Stars and Sea~