Where's my Hordeling?

    He leaned back in his chair, rubbing his eyes.  He opened his eyes to stare at the pile of detested paperwork.  His mother and sister never said anything about this part of ruling.  They never said that there would be this unending pile of paperwork.  Every day, he imagined it grew bigger in size.  He wondered if some day there might be enough paperwork to warrant a secretary.  It still amazed him that he had been doing this for almost 15 years.  He was actually managing to make this kingdom work and thrive.

    Nairyck got up from his desk to go to the wooden cabinet.  He opened the door and reached in, touching a piece of knot work.  There was a slight click, and a hidden draw popped open.  He gently lifted out the scrolled map.  Nairyck sat back down at his desk.  For what was probably the thousandth time, since he was given this scroll, he opened it and looked at it.  No one knew he had this, not even his wife or her parents.  No one but himself and that Hordeling.  Nairyck gently probed the boundaries of his kingdom, comparing them with the ones on the map.  He could feel both boundaries, the one on the map and the one that currently surrounded his kingdom.  He closed his eyes, taking a deep calming breath.  He found the conflict between the two, disorientating, almost to the point of being nauseous.

    Once again his thoughts wandered to that Hordeling.  The one that handed him this map.  When he first got here to Dhallun, he half expected to see him here, waiting.  And then when those armies showed up, he expected the Hordeling to show up and take control of the defenses they had put together.  That Hordeling had the feel of one that could and had commanded armies.  That some where he was a Lord Marshall, with the power to make soldiers jump and do their job.  Instead, it had been Elyn and Rhoryn that had taken control of Safe Haven's defenses.

    Nairyck sighed in frustration, "Where the Hell are you, you damn Hordeling?  You gave me this job and you aren't even here to help me do it!"  He slammed his hand down on the top of his desk.  "Why aren't you here?  Why have you left me to deal with this on my own, without your guidance? Your friendship?"

    :Are you coming to dinner my king?: the soft voice of his queen asked in his mind.

    He sighed, indulging in the mental touch of the woman he loved above all others.  The Hordeling had been right about that, at least.  Aerys Kesslyn was like no one he had ever met.  She was perfect for him, as his lover, wife and queen.  :Of course my captain, I will be right there:  He let the scroll roll up.  He picked it up and placed it back in its draw, closing it.

    He walked the halls of his home, nodding to the occasional page or servant.  When he arrived at his dinning hall, Nairyck looked around his small court.  He smiled at the simple home like feeling of it all.  He smiled to see his wife, 8 months pregnant with their sons, sitting next to her sister, Veirka and her husband, Orryck.  He started to head over to them, but paused when he saw Aerys' younger sister, Lizdra sitting over by his chamberlain, Khelis Fetiris.  He was rather impressed, as Lizdra didn't normally eat up here with the castle folk.  She usually ate at home with her parents.  He chuckled, as he realized that maybe it had to do with her dining companion.  Nairyck blinked as he realized who she was sitting next too.  It was the Hordeling!  He almost ran over there, demanding what took him so long to get here.  But something wasn't right.  There was no Champion Aura or wings.  He even looked younger.   Younger and human.  Wait, human?  This didn't make any sense.  Before he could walk over and demand an explanation on what was going on, Lizdra walked the Hordeling out of the room.

    Nairyck walked over to Khelis, "I say Khelis, who was that being dragged off by Lizdra?"

    Khelis chuckled, "A traveling cavalier that Lizzie has latched on too.  He was staying at Evon's, but apparently he was ambushed by that little bitch, Talya.  Kalryc thought he would be better off staying here for the night.  His name is Griff.  Apparently, he was sent here by Phedrin, to meet up with Kalryc and Talrn to go rescue poor Cianna from Taerryn."

    "Huh, I see," Nairyck took a minute to think about the implications of what Khelis was saying.  "Is he interested in Lizdra?  Do you think she could get him to settle down here after he gets Cianna back?"

    Khelis shrugged, "I don't know.  She did tell Whren earlier that she had found the man she was going to marry, and that he didn't know it yet."

    Nairyck chuckled, "Oh my father in law must have loved that one.  Lizdra is the only one of his children that is most like him, both with magic and in temperament."

    Khelis laughed, "This is true."

    Nairyck started thinking things through and realized he might have an idea on how to make this individual return to Safe Haven, "Khelis, would you ask Gisen and Steryn to come by my study later tonight?  I wish to talk to them."

    Khelis blinked, "Is anything wrong?"

    Nairyck shook his head, smiling, "No, just working out a few details on my next plans for Safe Haven."  He clapped Khelis on the shoulder, "Trust me, this will be interesting.  I'm going to go sit by my wife and have dinner now."  Nairyck suddenly felt a lot better, now that he knew where the Hordeling was.  And why He hadn't shown up yet.  He was rather looking forward to what would happen next.

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