The Dragon King
He leaned on the railing of the balcony and looked down with satisfaction. From his vantage point he could look down onto the now mostly dark and empty hall below.
He had spent the entire day watching parades of people approach Kirraxal at his dais. Some had been summoned, others were petitioners, most had represented one faction or another in what had been the courtly class in the previous kingdom of Twynne Rivers. Tonklyn had been surprised at Kirraxal’s endurance for the tedious ritual. Maybe it had been because the dragon had enjoyed watching two-legs grovel at his feet all day. Still, even that would have gotten old after a few hours.
Down below, Ryxitt slowly crossed the hall and began speaking with Kirraxal. Xintalan rested patiently on the dais at Kirraxal’s left hand. She had been remarkably quiet in the few days since being declared queen, and almost sullen during this day’s activities. That had interested Tonklyn. Usually quite vocal about her opinions, this morning she had only spoken a few times, and then only in whispers to Ryxitt. Her face hadn’t betrayed any emotions. Something’s going on with her. I’m going to have to watch her closely. He laughed to himself. I’ve been around these wyrms too long. I’m learning how to read their faces, now.
With Exakas gone to deal with the high elves, and Telix flying with him, the palace had certainly gotten quieter.
Today’s courts and audiences had signaled the true fall of the old kingdom. Tonklyn’s eyes surveyed the various house banners that still hung from the rafters in the hall. Most of the old noble houses had come forward to proclaim their new fealty, and to plead for mercy at Kirraxal’s hand. That some, like Houses Thornwell and Gregon, had turned their loyalties rather quickly had initially surprised Tonklyn. In retrospect, however, it was easy to see that most of the nobility would ultimately swear to whoever ended up in power. They had to bow to the winner or be cast aside with the losers. Others, like Houses Kaelig and Northolt, known for their militias and their dedication to the kingdom, had been especially targeted in the initial attacks.
Northolt had been a particular concern of Tonklyn’s. Their lord had always thought of themselves as the “good guys”, prattling on and on about integrity and doing “what was right”. Their stronghold had been one of the first to fall, even though they had fought back with strength. Two dragons actually fell to them. Now, the streets whispered that they were leading the pockets of resistance in the NorthTowne of the city.
Other factions to appear before the new King had included the various tradesman’s guilds, merchant’s guilds, and such. That’s where things had gotten tedious, and Kirraxal had relied on Tonklyn to keep things moving. The guilds want to get things back to business as soon as they can. Things are coming into line, and the power feels good. It won’t be long before the resistance crumbles. The high elves will be the next to fall, and there won’t be anyone left to contest the rule of the Dragon King.
He stretched his back, breathing deep.
This is truly a great day.
Perhaps I can think of a way to keep Kirraxal here for a time. Maybe I can work with Xintalan or the noble houses, get them squabbling. That might postpone His Majesty’s departure to Graemal. Or, maybe I can help the high elves keep Exakas busy. I might have to shift my plans a little. He scratched his beard for a moment.
No, I think it will be time to move, soon. Very soon.
Mithrabella, in a long black robe and laden with papers, approached him demurely. She dipped her head and her knee briefly before speaking. “Excellency?”
Tonklyn smiled at her. She was quite pretty, even though the ministerial robes she wore were really too big for her. He would have to order some to be more tailor-made. She had been by his side during all of the day’s proceedings, taking notes and records, running for documents, and generally keeping his tasks organized. She was efficient, if a bit nervous. What is on her mind? Well, perhaps she would like some dinner…
“Excellency, another group has arrived demanding audience. I’m not quite sure how to handle them.”
Tonklyn raised his brows in interest. “They are ‘demanding’ an audience?”
“Yes, sir,” she murmured timidly, “they are being quite belliger–”
The great doors of the hall swung open and shouting echoed up into the cavernous hall. Tonklyn leaned on the balcony rail in amused surprise. At least a dozen men and women swept into the room, followed by guards scrambling to intercept them. The intruders were invested in the robes of bishops and high priests, with the tri-star symbol of the Church of Three Lights emblazoned on their left chests. One, an older woman in white robes with gold trim, layered with the medallions and ornately braided cords of symbolic authority stepped forward.
Tonklyn recognized her immediately. She was one of the bishops who had met with him in the dark cathedral a year ago. Together, they had all planned the attack of the drakes. Three chapels would burn and the blame would be thrown on the Wizard’s Guild. The attack would also weaken the church’s leadership, leaving this bishop and her cadre in a much stronger position in their councils. In reality, it had left the church in almost complete disorder. Of course, that had been my plan all along! The two most powerful supports of King Hastonne dropped with one stone.
Her Excellency the Bishop spoke, “I demand audience with the usurper!”
Oh, I don’t want to miss this! Tonklyn’s smile broadened out into a wide grin, and he dashed to his left toward the stairs that would bring him off the balcony. “Follow!” he called out to Mithrabella. His feet quickly shuffled under his robes as he scurried down the steps. He rounded one landing first, then whisked down the last flight. He could hear voices, along with Kirraxal’s grumbling. He picked up his ministerial staff from where he had leaned it at the bottom of the stairs and hurried to his place at the side of the dais.
As he moved, he heard the bishop demanding, “We are the Church of Three Lights! We represent The Creator before the people of this land! We have served this land for centuries. Now, our priests have been killed and our churches ravished yet again. We demand reparations! We demand respect!”
Two men in dark robes moved forward a few paces near Tonklyn. He recognized them as priests of the Dragon’s Flame Cultists that had been cluttering up the throne room ever since the battle. Mithrabella settled into her place by Tonklyn’s side and adjusted her skirt.
Kirraxal looked down at Tonklyn with a slight smirk of amusement before addressing the Bishop. “You demand? As a representative of the Creator?” the dragon asked, “Who is this Creator?”
“Well, well,” she stammered, “Who is the Creator? The Creator made this world!”
Kirraxal huffed a smoldering breath at the entourage, who stood, uncertain, in a cluster in the middle of the hall. Kirraxal glanced down at Tonklyn and asked with mockery in his tone, “Didn’t we read the legends that say that the six dragons made the world?”
“It’s true, Your Majesty, the legends say so,” Tonklyn confirmed.
“Not so!” the Bishop interjected, her voice trembling. “The Creator made this world!”
“I believe,” Kirraxal continued, “That it was the great god Yumirin that formed the six dragons and commanded them to form the world. The first gods of this world were dragons. You would do well to join the priests here in worshipping them.” Kirraxal gestured to the many robed acolytes surrounding the hall.
A muffled gasp shook through the Bishop and her entourage. “How dare you!” She shouted.
Tonklyns brows raised. Oh, now she’s done it.
“How dare I?” Kirraxal growled, “How dare I do what?”
The bishop carried on, unabashed, “How dare you blaspheme the holy name of The Creator with your foul beastly mouth!” Oh, no, she didn’t just say that, did she? The bishop stood with her staff, defiant. Tonklyn saw her jaw tremble. “If you profane the Creator’s sacred name, He will consign you to the flames of the eternal hell!”
Tonklyn heard a telltale rumbling begin in the great dragon king’s belly. Kirraxal raised his head high. His eyes narrowed and focused on the cleric, who took a step back.
“Eternal flames? Well, then,” Kirraxal hissed, his mouth smoking, “you first.”
Author’s Note: To Be the Dragon King
Being the King is full of attention, glory, praise, and power. A lot of wealth, too.
It’s also a lot of tedious duties, even for a dragon king. At this moment, Kirraxal has essentially achieved his goal. He is the new Dragon King, the successor to Maxxin III. The only dominions left standing are the giants, the dwarves, and the high elves. The giants are too small of a people (pardon the irony) to worry about, the dwarves (particularly the eastern nation) are too isolated to matter, and the high elves will be either conquered by Exakas freeing their dragons or so disrupted that they will be ineffectual to stop him.
He is the new Dragon King!
Nice work, if you can get it…