The Death Bed of the Wizard and the King
“You will find the boy! and protect him! You will watch over him and insure he is raised to maturity! Without him the kingdom will fall into chaos and bloodshed. If raised by the wrong people, probably worse. Not Gedrych, he is not an evil man but then he is not a particularly good one either. And certainly not under Heremond’s influence. But I have one last card to play there, unwittingly given to me. No! You must do this. Swear it to me, now!”
“I ss-swear it,” Madoc Siors stammered, somewhat in fear, somewhat to escape his master’s gaze, in no part because he understood. The rivulet of blood that came from Emyr Llwyd’s nose, the stickiness on his hands where he held his master up, particularly unsettled him.
“Good, now you are bound, by your oath and my blood! I know you, you will try to get out of it but now you are bound!”
“And now for my final act.” And he laughed. “Hear me! Hear me Kenmond Herenoth!” He shouted even though Herenoth could not hear him, at least not as a normal man hears. “You have slain me and so I give you my dying curse. Your art shall fail you whenever you look upon a ruler or heir to the throne. You lust for power but you cannot now have both! Hear me!”
And so Emyr Llwyd perished. But those who knew him might have noticed a sparkle in his eyes as they closed or a small smile upon his lips as they came to rest.
“Heal him sorcerer! It is mortal for sure but I have seen you cure worse.” Cuthmer Eagborn paced like a caged mastiff with blood in the air.
“I am trying! There is something…,” Kenmond Herenoth paused, “wrong.”
“Wrong! What do you mean wrong!” The king lies dead by MY hand, as I promised. And the renown Emyr Llwyd is dead by your ‘hand’ and the other court sorcerer turned tail and fled as you predicted. What is left to do but what I have seen you do a number of times before. Heal the Duke and we shall rule through him just as you said.”
“As I said,” Kenmond hissed, “there is something wrong.”
Cuthmer belowed back, “Wrong! what do you mean wrong? What game do you play now, now that victory is at hand! Are you trying to set me aside too after I emptied my coffers for mercenaries and your ‘experiments.’ Some of my army, MY men remain! You best be careful who you think you can cast aside. Many of the baron’s follow me and fear you.”
“Leave me be!” Herenoth shouted. “How am I supposed to work anything with a buffon like you bellowing about!”
Cuthmer stomped out with a glare in his eye. If he knew Kenmond Herenoth well and if he looked at the right moment, he might have detected a hint of fear in Kenmond’s eye. For he had not been able to work any of his art since coming into the presence of the Duke. Or should he say king although he did not expect that the duke would ever reign, for every time he reached inside for the words of power to heal him, it was if the hands of Llwyd reached out from the grave and strangled the power right out of him.