The Empire Chronicles-Irayan of Stanyshaul By: L. Craig Woods


The Empire Chronicles
Irayan of Stanyshaul
By: L. Craig Woods

How could he have been so blind as to not see this coming, he chided himself. He had worked his entire life to reach the position he now held and the actions of one simpering fool were going to possibly destroy everything he had built up with his own sweat and other's blood. He could not for one minute, of course, allow Valyrae to get away with this humiliation. If not for that insolent fop, Theobold himself would be running the kingdom while the king was away playing at war. If the prince were only out of the way, he thought, things would run much more smoothly and the priest slowed his pace as an idea began to form in his mind.

He stopped and instead of going directly back to his rooms, Theobold turned down a narrow passage and then took a flight of stone steps down several levels within the castle. He followed still another dank passage farther on until it forked. To the right, the passage led to the food cellars, but Theobold turned left and taking a lighted torch from a wall bracket, followed the low ceilinged, twisting corridor farther beneath the castle. The passage stank of damp and rot, but he continued on, down yet another flight of stairs and along another passage, until he came at last to a dark alcove.

Within the alcove was another smell, musky and animalistic. Theobold recognized that stench and spoke into the darkness. "I have a job for ye," he stated, quietly.

Into the corridor a figure stepped from the alcove. Long and low, the robe-shrouded figure barely reached Theobold's chest. Beneath the cowl of its robe, the scaled face of a Creotin looked up at the priest. Reptilian in appearance, though in reality more humanlike than lizard, the Creotin race had been discovered and their empire conquered many years ago by Kroydon's father, the late King Lesyter. Shunned and feared by most people, a few of the Creotin had agreed to come back to Stanyshaul and work as spies for the former king, a position they were quite adept at, owing to their swiftness, small size and acute senses. When Kroydon came to power, he had disbanded the Creotin spy ring and Theobold had taken the few remaining human/reptiles under his own wing, using them for special jobs on occasion and keeping them out of sight the rest of the time. Theobold doubted if anyone outside of his order even knew that any of the creatures still lived within the city walls. Which was just as well for what he now had planned.

"Yesss, massster," the creature hissed, looking up at Theobold with yellow eyes that seemed to glow in the feeble light of the corridor.

"I have a job for ye," he repeated. "A very special job that must need be carried out with the utmost secrecy. Do ye follow me meaning?" Theobold asked, trying not to breathe too deeply the stink the creature gave off.

"Of courssse, massster," the Creotin replied. It had done enough 'special' jobs for the priest in the past few years to understand what he meant by secrecy.

"Good. It seems that Prince Valyrae will suffer an accident this night. A very fatal accident. Do ye understand?"

The Creotin bobbed his scaly head in acknowledgement. "It will be asss you wisssh, massster," he hissed, softly. The creature's long, forked tongue snaked out of its snout and flicked the air.

"Good. I will meet ye here on the morrow with yer reward. Do not fail me," Theobold insisted as the Creotin slipped back into the darkness and vanished. Satisfied that his plan was now set in motion, the priest turned and retraced his steps back to the castle proper and then to his rooms. He had much more planning to do before the morrow finally dawned.

To be continued.....

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