Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 43 – The alliance of Xagontetia and Drakenholdt
A puff of grey smoke rose elegantly from an ornate golden pipe, “haa~ this is good stuff,” spoke an elderly figure as he gazed out to the vast openness of the mountainous region before him. Though he could technically be described as ‘elderly’ due to his blanched hair, the impressive structure of his physique dissuaded such thoughts. A large scar ran down through his left eye, though it was not as though his vision was diminished because of it.
This man was a ‘King’. The aureate crown he wore was not a paltry head accessory like all other lords; instead it existed as set of deeply prestigious and functional armour. He wore it with grace and pride. To wear it was the proof of his convictions to lead his countrymen from the front. ‘Aurendra Sinclair’, the ‘Golden Dragon King’ stood as an unwavering central pillar to the country of Golden Dragons.
North-west from the realm of Xagontetia, there existed a small dominion known as ‘Drakenholdt’: the country of the Golden Dragons. A miniscule country that held only one city and a handful of small villages spread along the harsh mountain ranges of this continent. Though scant in its populace, Drakenholdt was still a powerful country. What they lacked in quantity, their soldiers more than made up for in strength. Each soldier belonging to a race known as ‘Ascended Dragons’, was extremely powerful. So much so that a full company of knights would have barely be enough to take one down.
The king, ‘Aurendra’, sat upon his throne, smoking a pipe as he gazed out to his domain. Besides him was a special guest from the neighbouring country of Xagontetia. “Then, Lord Sinclair? Should you sign your seal over this document, the terms of our negotiations will be ratified.” The ‘First Prince of Xagontetia’: ‘Leon Mil Avis Chrom’, a well-dressed young man barely past his mid-twenties. Compared to the Dragon King, he had been just an infant. Yet, even standing before such a grand figure, his clear blue eyes remained unclouded and unhesitant. He had experience in diplomatic affairs, even going so far as to being nicknamed the ‘peacemaker’ in his own country.
His short blonde hair swayed by the mountainous winds to reveal a refreshing smirk. The prince presented the official looking document before the Dragon King. A document to seal an alliance between their two countries to offer all available military and humanitarian aid during wartime. Of course, with Xagontetia currently at war with the Baliazoural Empire, this kind of negotiation favoured their side more heavily.
Aurendra breathed out another puff of smoke as he slowly reached out for the document. At the last minute however, he pulled back. The Dragon King rose from his throne and moved over to the veranda that overlooked the dominion under his protection. “Prince Leon, did you know that about a week ago my son was killed? In Xagontetian territory no less.”
A bomb was tossed over to the young prince. The air grew thick with tension and silence.
“I did not know. You have my condolences,” insincere words of sympathy. Of course, this was the ‘correct’ answer to being told such a heavy bit of information. More than that however, it was obvious to Aurendra that the prince did indeed know of this fact. All his accomplishments as the ‘peacemaker’ could not be achieved without a solid information network; he must’ve known. Not that it mattered; there was no point in confronting him about this issue.
“Well, I say ‘son’ but he was more of an adopted hostage from the ‘Crimson Dragon’ clan.”
“Yes,” Aurendra nodded without turning his gaze away from the veranda’s view. He let out another puff of grey smoke as he lowered the pipe from his mouth. “The violent history of our people is no secret. As I’m sure you would be well aware of, the ‘Golden Dragon’ clan and the ‘Crimson Dragon’ clan do not get along. Conflict between our two clans would, and have, lead to catastrophic destruction across this continent.”
“I am well educated on the strained relationships of the Dragons,” nodded the prince. “Then that is to say, to minimize the potential for such ruinous conflicts, both clans have sent ‘hostages’ to the other. A paradoxical form of ‘trust’ and ‘threat’.”
“Correct. Which is now a problem because that Red Dragon brat was supposed to be my responsibility. If the Crimson Dragon clan finds out about this, and I’m sure they already have, what do you think would happen to the hostage I sent over? Specifically, my ‘true’ son?”
Without mincing words, the prince replied, “the most likely answer would be retaliation. Your son would be executed on the spot and the truce between the two clans would burn to ashes.” At his daring response, the Dragon King could not hold back a small, wry laughter. He then closed his eyes and tightly clenched his fists until the golden pipe had snapped in two. Just thinking about the fate of his son that was sent over struck chills down his spine. Like his heart would jump out of his chest.
Before the conversation could continue, a small knock on the door to the throne room echoed through. “My liege, I bring ill news.” A female voice, sturdy and confident yet filled with regret.
“Enter.” Commanded the Dragon King. The messenger that entered was a heavily armoured knight. The silver plates that once reflected with clarity now scratched and scathed, though not breached. Tanned skin, short brown hair and piercing golden eyes. Upon her forehead were two thick, mighty horns. Her metallic greaves clanged across the floor. The small cloak-like cape fluttered bearing the crest of the Golden Dragon. She approached holding a small cloth parcel that was stained with a deep crimson.
She knelt before the Golden Dragon King in knightly fashion. “My liege, I have brought you your son.” She presented to the king the bloodstained cloth, still with her face cast down.
Aurendra turned to retrieve the parcel. When he unravelled the cloth, he was met with an unpleasant reality. A large ivory horn stained in blood. A familiar piece. Of course, how could the king forget his own son? He let out a sigh and turned to the prince who had watched the scene with no visible change in outwards expression. “The situation has now degraded to this, First Prince. I fear that a war with the Crimson Dragon clan would be inevitable at this point. Are you still so adamant you wish to sign that alliance with us? Knowing that one day your soldiers will be fighting not against enemy knights, but the nigh unstable force of the Crimson Dragons?” Aurendra then wiped his thumb across the blood on his son’s violently removed horn. “If you oblige, I shall seal the treaty with the blood of my own son.”
The prince paused momentarily. Eventually he returned a sympathetic smile, “that is a matter of course. Should the Golden Dragon clan require the aid of my country then I will send everything at my disposal. That is, after all, what this alliance is all about.”