Goed Erns son was in a hurry. He rode like he had the devil himself on his heels, and in a way he had. He had wanted out of the service ever since the king had betrayed his vows and turned against the fair folk. To meet the fey in the borders had been a stroke of luck, and he was going to seize this window of opportunity with both arms. Luckily he could see through the glamor, as they could see through his. Mother had thought him the sign language they used, and one of them had agreed to help him to escape. He knew it was only the matter of time till his supervisors remembered his parentage and started asking questions. The rumours about it had already started, he knew, as it had happened more than once that the men in the other regiment had stopped talking whenever he walked by.
It was all because of the king. King Bryan was more than enraged because he could not get his hands to his son and he had decided to blame the elves for it. His loyal subjects followed his orders, even though everyone knew that the true culprit was the king himself. He had broken his engagement vows ten years ago, and the scorned queen of Coryn had undressed her wedding finery publicly, thus proclaiming that the king was unfit to cloth her or her unborn child. The king had lost his rights to marry because of that: no church or priest had agreed to wed the king and his mistress, but they had announced that because of the words the queen of Coryn had spoken, their daughter had a legal status as the heiress of Fermont.
That did not go well with the king. He insisted, that prince Finn was the sole heir of the kingdom of Fermont, and that he was illegally kept in the kingdom of Coryn. No one outside Fermont believed him, as all of the churches had declared that prince Finn was indeed the crown prince of Coryn. He was powerless, and determined that the only reason for the churches to go against his wishes was the influence of queen Alyshas fey relatives. The king of Fermont had decided that all of his problems would disappear if he could get rid of all the elves.
Goed knew that some of the fey had already lost their lives in the hands of the kings guardsmen. The pure-blooded elves had left the kingdom, and those with elfin blood were trying to hide themselves. The guards he was working with had not killed anyone, but he knew it was only a matter of time. And if they knew he had elfin blood, then his life would be forfeit in the hands of the men and women he had considered to be his sisters and brothers. Goed shivered and ushered his horse to run faster. He remembered the talk in their camp a couple of nights before.
They had all been around the camp fire, eating their late supper. The stars were bright and he had been deep in his thoughts, enjoying the unspoiled night air. Senya, one of the three women in their patrol, had suddenly broken the silence.
”Captain, what should we do if we are ordered to kill people for no other reason than having fey-blood in their families? We were ordered to find Colbyn the Fair and destroy his wares, but what if we are ordered to attack people who don even know they have fey-blood? ”
”I have been thinking about it Senya, a lot, for the order to get rid of anyone who has fey blood was given just before we left. We are oath bound to fulfil the kings wishes, our oath also says that we need to uphold the law. He did not order us to kill, so I fathom we can act like sensible people, and order those people to leave the county. And that means giving them a day or two to get their house in order, for that has always been the law of the land both for those who are exiled and those who are sentenced to death. And if he does give an order to kill, well, they still have their two days to clear their business. According to law, they must promise to come to the guardhouse after two days have passed. I imagine we will only a few there. ”
”That is good to hear my captain. I had forgotten the law of the household. But what are we going to do if one of the guards has fey blood? ”
”I hope, I truly hope, that we never need to face that situation. And I believe we will not. They are honourable, and know that the honourable thing to do now is to leave the force so that we don need to kill one of our own. I fear that the king will soon order us to do things none of us considered possible when we joined the force. ”
”What do you mean captain? ”
”The word in the street is, that the king has grown unsatisfied with the elder councilmen from the Mheren Isles, and will soon order every one with Mheren blood to withdraw from their seats of power. ”
”But thats exactly what happened to the fey too! Nine years ago, the king ordered them to leave their seats. Seven years ago, he ripped them of their privileges. Then he proclaimed that they are not citizens of Fremont, and last year we were told they have no rights what so ever! And now… ”
”And now even their lives are forfeit if the king deemed it fit. We have hard times ahead of us, boys and girls, and if you are even remotely related to any of the minorities, it would be wise to tell your families to leave – maybe even leave the force. The king has become unpredictable, and the guard can but follow his orders. We don have anyone else. ”
Later in the night, when Goed and the captain were in the watch together they talked silently, not to wake anyone else.
”Goed, you need to take care of yourself. You must leave. ”
”But I vowed to king Feryn to take care of his son. ”
”You can keep that vow anymore. Even knowing what you promised to his father, he still would have you killed. I cannot leave and my blood is so thin they might never notice, but yours shines and beacons. I have warned Elid and Brich too – they might be save a little longer, but not long if the king has turned genocidal. When you get an opportunity, use it. The orders to purge the lines were already given when we left, but we of the guard left ours unopened, as if we did not know. Every unit with known or suspected minorities in them were sent to patrol duty, so that we could warn our own and send them away. Be fast, and be safe. ”
The next evening Elid and Brich were on guard duty together and vanished. But no one said a word. It was like if they had seized to exist. And now he too was on the run. He hoped his could be a home run instead of this. But he kept running, even if his heart was cold inside.
Three hours later he finally found the retinue near the border. They had made a small campfire, and were on guard even though they had already crossed the border. He hesitated. He did not know what to say, how to act. These were entertainers, for the love of Lady, and he was the reason they felt the need to arm themselves. He had been among those spoiling their wares, after all. Ashamed he decided to try his luck on the Conryns side. His uniform might get him killed, but better dead than causing more trouble to the Firework Master. He turned to leave, and was met with a spear aiming at him. Soon enough he was escorted to the camp.