I’m posting from my current writing WiP, Song and Shadow, a prequel to Song and Sword. It’s a rough draft and I still don’t have an actual outline for it so it’s going to be a fun ride.
Picking up from last week’s snippet.
“My son!” the king announced. “Prince Hierik, Crown Prince of the Realm!
The cheer that went up was somewhat less enthusiastic than the one for the king had been and Pashevel saw the way the prince’s head fell, noticed the harshness in the way that the king turned to him. Slowly Hierik raised his head, looking out at the crowd and they stilled, waiting for him to speak.
Seeing his hesitation Pashevel took a half step as if shifting position to get a better view, but it was enough. Hierik noticed the movement in the otherwise motionless crowd and smiled, relaxing as he locked his gaze on the bard he had met the night before.
“Welcome,” he said. “Thank you – all of you – for coming to my birthday celebration. I hope you will enjoy the food and entertainment that will be provided for you, and I am looking forward to meeting you as I begin my Travels.”
The speech, Pashevel realized, was formulaic, delivered as if it had been memorized since early childhood, and the crowd responded as if they had heard it before – six times before he would wager – and Pashevel added public speaking to the list of things that Hierik needed to learn.
Two years. He had two years to teach the Crown Prince everything he needed to know in order to rule. Two years to teach what should have been learned over a lifetime.
Two years to keep him alive.