Black Rising By: Kevin Adams & Steve Bolin


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

“I’m a man of many talents, Lord Forsythia. It’s my suggestion – so it’s only fair and just that I oversee its distribution.” Merik pulled another sheet of parchment from his coat pocket. “If you’ll simply sign this decree I’ve prepared, the new taxes will go into effect as of tomorrow morning. I’ll have the messengers running and posting flyers throughout the kingdom tonight.”

For such a simple document as Merik claimed, this sheet had numerous lines of small print. The marked line at the bottom was the only thing legible. He wanted to read it, but something held him back. King Yadin sat in his chair looking down at the parchment lying on the table before him. No, that wasn’t right; Merik sat in his chair – as though he were King.

Yadin’s head was spinning. His scarred palm itched furiously. Wasn’t there something he wanted to tell Merik, perhaps some question he wanted to ask? What was it? It was on the tip of his tongue… Dakmar! Yes, that was it.

“What about Lancer? Have you acquired any new information on the Black Wizard controlling the man? Surely, you’ve made some progress?”

Merik shook his head. “I’m afraid not. It’s possible that the dark link has been broken.”

The thought of his father’s assassin living and working in his own castle was an outrage. “If that’s the case, he should be executed for his crime. Justice demands it!” “Yadin, exactly how do you plan to execute Dakmar when you’ve already shown the entire kingdom a dead body that you claimed was his?”

The King’s jaw dropped. Merik’s comment sounded dangerously close to blackmail. The wizard had him in a corner and he knew it.

“What do you suggest we do with him then?”

“Leave him with me,” Merik said as he stood up from the table. “I can change his name, reform him and convert him into an agent for good. You need not worry about my other apprentices; they’ll remain silent. Now sign the tax authorization. I have other business to attend to.”

Anger swelled up inside Yadin. How dare Merik order him around! But his anger was overwhelmed by other emotions. He feared Merik might reveal the lie of Dakmar’s death to Avendis – the citizens would never trust him again. And what about the poverty-stricken people of which the mage spoke? If poor citizens in his kingdom were starving, then he should take action.

His thoughts were interrupted by Merik’s calm yet stern command. His voice seemed to lower a full octave in tone. “Just sign the decree. I haven’t got all day.”

Yadin jumped as though he’d been pinched on the rump. He saw his hand reach for the pen, dip it in the ink vial and sign the document before him. His body was not his own. His hand seemed to act of its own accord.

He didn’t want to sign this. He needed time to think things over. At the very least, he should consult the Advisory Panel before making a decision such as this. Before he could give it further thought, he watched his hand passing the decree to Merik who stood tapping his foot, waiting impatiently. He couldn’t remember signing the document.

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