Lord Rolando, King of Taneka, wants only two things: to keep his country from collapsing into civil war, and to get revenge on the man who destroyed everything he loved.
Lord Rolando sauntered into the scribe’s office, Aleksian trailing behind him. His grey eyes scanned the small room as he subconsciously ran his hands through his light brown hair.
“My Lord!” The scribe jumped to his feet and bowed hurriedly. When he straightened, he glared at Aleksian. “This interview is only with Lord Rolando, I’m afraid.”
Aleksian glared back at the scribe, his brown eyes darkening. “And I shall be accompanying him.”
The scribe glanced at Rolando, who nodded. Clearly irritated, the scribe motioned for Rolando to sit in the richly upholstered chair waiting as he scrambled to find another chair for Aleksian. He finally pulled a wooden chair from against the wall and dropped it slightly behind Rolando’s. Aleksian pulled it forwards so the two chairs sat next to each other before folding his tall frame into it, ignoring the squeaking of the wood under his weight.
“Now, my Lord, obviously I know your name.” The scribe tittered as he scribbled onto the parchment. Rolando smiled, although it was tight and forced. He’d rather not be in this tiny, damp office, but as always protocol had demanded it, and protocol, he’d learned, could not be ignored regardless of who you were.
“I suppose we can skip over the initial questions.” The scribe smiled, as though he thought he was doing Rolando a favour. He scanned his parchments. “Ah, yes. Of course. You don’t belong to any clan, do you?”
Rolando shook his head, a flicker of irritation showing on his otherwise blank face. “That’s well known, scribe. I am ‘Rolando the Clanless’, after all.”
The scribe smiled. “Lord Rolando the Clanless. I do have to ask, you see.”
“Why?” Rolando raised his eyebrow. “Surely that question should have fallen under questions we could skip. Unless you were hoping I would entertain you with the story of how exactly someone could be clanless in Taneka.” He felt Aleksian tense next to him, ready to jump in with politeness and excuses in case he lost his temper. Rolando couldn’t blame Aleksian for his caution. He did have a habit of losing his temper. But he wasn’t going to, not over a scribe asking him why and how he had managed to grow to adulthood as a ‘clanless’.
The scribe shifted awkwardly. “I meant no offence, my Lord.” He stammered quickly. “I just wanted to make sure there was nothing crucial that needed to be noted down.”
“There is not.” The tone in Rolando’s voice was unmistakably final.
“Yes. Of course. So sorry.” The scribe shuffled through his paper again, intimidated by sitting so close to the famous King who had united Taneka’s warring clans. “Now, my Lord, of course you don’t have a wife or children now, at the palace, but did you before the war?” He shuddered at the very word. “I’m sorry if this is a sensitive topic, my Lord, but if you had children it is important the records know, in case there are lineage issues in later years.”
Rolando stood without speaking, his grey eyes brimming with unshed tears. Aleksian stood as well, leaning back slightly as Rolando strode past him towards the door.
“My Lord!” The scribe called after him, rising to his feet.
“I’m sorry, but this will have to continue another day.” Aleksian smiled tersely at the scribe, who stood in a half bow, confused. “Lord Rolando has important business to attend to.”
Without any further explanation Aleksian strode from the room, hurrying to catch up with Rolando.
Perhaps one of them will stay for the whole interview, although I doubt it!