either side of the throne, now stood examples of his Tent Guard.
These men were specially chosen at birth for this service, huge men with
shoulders of great girth, trained for years in all forms of combat and
other arts. They stood with arms crossed and eyes closed. In
their training, they developed a heightened sense of hearing that almost
allowed them to fight with their eyes closed. This is probably
good, thought Consus, because in this tent the strange lights and deep
flickering shadows might hinder more than guide a fight.
others were in the room with them. This was not a good sign for
stepped up to his usual spot and presented himself. The back side
of the throne faced him. It was made of the same glossy, black,
dehydrated look that characterized the twisted columns. The throne
did not turn around.
waited. He always had to wait. He had to remind himself why
he put up with this. First, it was the law of the land, fieldy to
one’s liege lord. Second, and by far the most important, he was
a powerful lord. He possessed power to punish and reward richly.
It was hope for the later that motivated Consus to suffer through the
terror of his position. He was usually not disappointed.
he heard the distinct voice of his master in a low crackling noise that
fell dead in this tent of thick, sound absorbing cloth. As the
voice warmed up, it grew louder but still more of a hiss than a voice,
like the bones of an old man waking up after a long slumber.
“What have you brought me?”
fear, Consus held out the cloth wrapped small chest with trembling
hands. “Only what you have asked me for, Gray Wolf.”
the throne did not turn around. “And what of its owner?” the
Consus stood there shaking hoping upon hope that the tone of his voice
would not betray his true cowardly actions. He believed his master
could tell truth from a lie by just hearing one word, and since Consus
was not telling the whole truth, he hoped his master could not tell in
just one word.