Black Rising By: Kevin Adams & Steve Bolin


Black Rising
Chapter 2 – Part 2
By: Kevin Adams & Steve Bolin

Merik marched toward the attached meeting room before he could argue. He steamed inside and absentmindedly scratched at his scarred palm. The Master Wizard arrogantly acted as though he were in control.

The King followed him into the room normally reserved for Advisory meetings, such as the one conducted earlier. Yadin felt his temper flaring. But he didn’t want to start yelling – not yet anyway.

Merik wasted no time sitting down at the head of the table. Yadin was appalled at the man’s audacity; that seat was reserved for the King only! The wizard unrolled the scroll across the table and motioned for the King to sit down. This nonsense had to stop! He refused to be treated like a messenger boy!

Yadin opened his mouth to reprimand the wizard but found himself uncontrollably shutting it again as Merik began speaking. “Look at the plans I’ve drawn up for my laboratory. As you can see, extensive modifications are needed to accommodate my twelve apprentices, or my ‘Divine Dozen’ as I like to call them. They deserve the best training I can give them.”

Yadin’s eyes nearly exploded when he saw the diagram Merik had sketched. Pointing, he said, “Divine Creator! This room you’ve added is big enough to hold a two-story house! And what’s this? You show this wall knocked out and a set of gargantuan doors put in. There isn’t enough money in the royal treasury for all this!”

Merik nodded as though he expected this reaction. “Finances are also what I wanted to discuss. My lab modifications will be costly by themselves, not to mention my other needs. I took the liberty of visiting your treasury. I was surprised at how little I saw there.”

Yadin was speechless for a moment then asked, “Where am I supposed to get the money for all this? And what other needs do you require? What I see here is too much already!”

While Yadin felt a thunderstorm of emotions brewing in his mind, Merik remained calm and composed. “The solution is simple, Forsythia. All that’s needed is to impose a small tax – say ten percent – on the city of Avendis and the surrounding districts. The prosperity everyone now enjoys won’t miss such a small amount of money.”

The King didn’t know what to say at first and then finally spoke. “You can’t seriously suggest that I raise the taxes to that level. Your modifications might be costly, but I hardly think such drastic measures are needed.”

The wizard placed his arm on the table and rested his chin on a palm. “As I said Yadin, there are other needs to consider. My apprentices need compensation during their training. Not only that, but the extra money collected will be used for the good of everyone.

“You see, the kingdom of Avendis is a prosperous one, as I’ve already mentioned. Unfortunately, not every citizen is enjoying the wealth. There are many poor families in need of financial assistance. The excess money collected will be used to help these families. I’ll see to it personally.”

Yadin screamed hysterically. “You! How will you fit the management of finances in with your apprenticeship training and physician responsibilities?”

Merik smiled at him, a smile not reflected in his eyes. There were dark secrets hidden behind those eyes; Yadin could feel it in his bones. What he wouldn’t give to know the man’s real agenda.

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