Chapter 7 (Mates)
Bill climbed the steps leading from the dungeon as he headed to the execution yard. Damn it! He knew that they were famous for being stubborn but he didn’t think that they were going to be this stubborn! Steeling himself up Bill came up and out into the light. Ahead he could hear the three males cursing and struggling to get free.
“As I advised Roth, I do not have the time to pander to pleading traitors. I am trying to rebuild the vast and powerful kingdom my family helped to make. I have no time for the likes of you! This is the only chance you will have. Help the realm or die! I am not my father so I will offer you this.” Bill waited a few minutes then whirled “Bah!” Turning to a hooded figure he said, “Make it slow so they suffer!”
As he walked away he heard all three of the men yell. “If you are truly the king elect then you can understand why we refuse!”
Bill walked back getting in all three of their faces. “I understand a disservice was done to all three of you. As I said I haven’t the time to wait for you three to make up your minds! Right here, right now, yes or no? If I walk away again you die, the dishonor will reach all of your families as I strip them of everything! Now then, your answer?”
“Release us and we will swear fidelity to you!” The oldest of them said.
“I am not a young, stupid kit. Bah! Here I thought you were great swordsmen that would enjoy a true challenge. Goodbye worthless ones your families will be homeless soon!” Bill said as he turned to go.
“Wait!” The same older man said. “If you are truly doing as you say you are. Tell us what our true names are. I know that King Tomco only told his younger son. If you can honor us with them,” here the others nodded to him. “Then there will be no further trouble with us.”
Bill nodded as he racked his brain to remember the names his father had told him when he was so young. Suddenly a thin smile crossed his lips as he leaned to each of the swordsmen whispering to each. As he moved from each the male would nod to the others and Roth. Finished Bill moved to stand in front of them.
“Sire.” All three of them said as they tried to kneel in front of him. Roth also knelt next to them as each of them stated. “I am a citizen of the realm I pledge my life and my sword to the honor of the realm! To protect the king and the kingdom!”
Taking a deep breath Bill nodded, though he was still pissed off with all the delays, at least he had them now. Narrowing his eyes as he looked at all three of them he just hoped that they didn’t bolt at this next part. Pulling his father’s sword that he’d strapped on before he made for the prison, he stepped to all four of the swordsmen kneeling.
“I desire all four of you in a far more reaching capacity than you think.” Bill said as he moved before the first of them. Touching the sword to each shoulder Bill stated. “Arise Sir Gregor, First Knight of the realm.” Moving to the second he repeated the same motion. “Arise Sir Gwayne, First Knight of the realm.”
Both of the first two males were in shock almost unable to move, as of yet unable to speak.
Bill moved to the third whose mouth was hanging open as were the first two. Tapping the third male on the shoulders Bill stated, “Arise Sir Thomas First Knight of the realm.” Even as Thomas was nodding in shock Bill finally stopped in front of Roth. Tapping his shoulders Bill told him, “Arise Sir Roth, First Knight of the Realm, and General to the kingdom’s army.”
Roth had been waiting for this as he was the only other one besides Bill that knew that it was going to happen. Roth bowed to Bill as he said, “As First knight of the Realm I will protect the king, the kingdom, and the realm with my life. I will uphold all laws giving aid whenever possible. My liege, I swear my fidelity unto you.”
One by one each of the swordsmen followed Roth’s example. Bill nodded as they all stood. “As Knights of the realm we must have all of you dressed as is your station.” Sighing Bill shook his head. “At present there isn’t much for you but soon there will be. I am hoping that all of you are able to train many to protect the kingdom.”
“Yes sire, we will start as soon as possible.” Roth replied. “Though sire, with the knight’s by your side shouldn’t you go through with the coronation?”
Bill could only sigh, everyone was so eager to make him a moving target! “I will take that into consideration. At present things are safer now at least in the palace, or they will be after a few days.” When Roth and the others looked a little confused Bill explained. “It was found that the palace was a haven for a multitude of listening devices.”
“Ah! That was why I saw all those techs going in a while ago.” Roth said.
“Yes,” Turning to the other three Bill stated. “As you can see I have my father’s temper, not as bad but I do have it. I will not tolerate betrayal as quite a few have found out. For now you four will be my guard, at least ‘til you can provide better. Though I think my mates might have something to say about that.”
All four of the males nodded in agreement their eyes wide a moment when both Twitty and Glenna appeared carrying swords. “Mate?” Glenna asked. “Who are the ancient swordsmen?” When all four bristled Bill held up a hand.
“These three along with Roth are First Knights of the Realm. I suggest you address them as such.” Bill told a now smirking Glenna and Twitty.
“As your mates and Queen elects we feel that they should be tested.” Twitty hissed as she drew her sword.
Bill rolled his eyes when Twitty attacked with blazing speed being easily repelled. Shifting she moved faster as she went in again, this time she had to parry a myriad of swings that Gregor was taking.
Separating Twitty nodded as she put away her sword. “You are well trained in the old ways of sword play. It was an honor to see your skill.” Gregor said.
Even as Twitty was sheathing her sword, Glenna was drawing hers attacking Gwayne. Smiling he parried every thrust, drive and swing she threw at him. Smiling herself Glenna suddenly increased her speed. Finally a specton later they separated.
Gwayne bowed to her, “Such skill in one as young as you is admirable! Your teacher taught you well.”
Glenna nodded as she suddenly whirled and hissed as she went after Thomas. “‘bout time,” He said with a smile. Deflecting everything Glenna threw at him. Finally satisfied she and Twitty nodded.
“They are more than satisfactory mate.” Both of them told Bill.
A huge smile on his face, Bill nodded as all four of the males fell in behind Bill and his mates.
“I know that all of you have families now. I wish for all of them to be moved here. I feel that after it is made known that you four are first knights, the danger to them will increase.” Bill told all of them.
“I was thinking along the same lines sir. Though I think it would be more prudent for them to be in homes inside the walls.” Roth relayed a moment later.
Bill and the entourage with him stopped as Bill pondered this. “I think I see your point Roth. Better protection without others thinking they are privileged. It would also make getting to them far easier than if they were in the palace. I like this idea.” Turning to the other three Bill asked. “What say you three? Would your families care to live within the walls?”
Gregor turned to look at the other two, and then went into deep conversation with them. Finally six spectons later Gregor turned back to Bill. “Sir, I know that my mate would love the chance to live by the castle though I still have to break this to her. Gwayne also thinks that his mate would love the chance to live here.” Stopping Gregor turned toward Thomas and motioned him forward.
Nodding toward Gregor, Thomas stepped forward. “Sire I am unsure as my mate and I are raising some of our grandchildren. My oldest son and his mate were killed in an accident. I know that this would be a great learning experience for them. I am just worried that the danger might be detrimental to them.”
Bill was nodding at everything Thomas was saying. It was a valid point but he needed all four of them if this was going to work. “Perhaps if I spoke to all of your mates?” Bill suggested.
All four of Bill’s knights showed shock then very wide smiles spread across their faces. Roth was actually laughing! “I think I would love to see this!”
Looking at Roth with a stern look Bill told him, “I really don’t see what the hell is so funny Roth!”
“Sir, you don’t realize that all four of us have strong mates. I’d dare say that they are as strong as yours.” Roth said after he’d stopped chuckling.
Bill’s eyes went wide as he threw up his arms in defeat. What in the hell did he have to do for things to go his way just once! Just who else was he going to have to execute to get back on track! Sighing a moment Bill looked at both his mates who had huge grins on their faces. “Perhaps I should take my mates; they might be able to convince them.”
Roth face suddenly showed shock as he slowly nodded. “They just might, though I think you will need a damn good case. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Maybe if you go about it that way they might. Again, I am unsure they are very set in their ways now.”
Both of Bill’s mates had shocked looks on their faces. “You want us to convince them?” Glenna started. “Maybe if you let me go in fully armed then perhaps.”
“I know all four of these females, I also suggest going in fully armed.” Twitty told Bill.
Bill’s eyes went wide, just who in the hell were these females? Did he have to send an armed unit of soldiers when his mates went to talk to them? Bill looked at all four males a moment looking to see if they had collars or slave bands. The way his mates and the males described their mates these females were extremely dominate.
Roth and the others looked at Bill a moment seeing his reassessing of them. With a smile Roth spoke up to explain. “Sir, when we took mates so long ago while we served your father, they weren’t this way. With the increasing dangers that we and later they started to face we were able to convince your father to train them. Rather we trained them, as far as we dared. Back then had it been known that females were close to our skills, and many would have tried to kill them.”
Bill was nodding, he’d known that his father had many radical ideas but this was a first for him. Then, it could have gotten his father killed, now? It wasn’t really all that much to see highly trained females. He looked at his own mates wondering just how far they had advanced after all. If they thought they had to go in fully armed what did this say about the swordsmen’s mates?