Silver walnut III

Chapter 2 | January 18, 2020.

There was anxiety in the high tower of the Volosadian Assembly. Officials and nobles rushed to the small hall. Everyone was waiting for Knez Yakoglav, Mila’s father. She gathered with her mother and younger brothers, who were crouching like chickens next to a distressed kneginya’s dress. Her eyes grew when her husband with four heavily armed knights suddenly came in the door. He looked at her sweetly and kissed her cheek.

“My love, I missed you,” he whispered gently, then looked at Tragomila and her two brothers. “I missed you too, especially your curious eyes.”

The knez walked with them to the head of the table at which the nobles stood. They sit slowly in their chairs.

“Tell me, what’s going on? What does our emperor want from me?” From that group rose a hunched old man with a bald head and a blue robe. It was Velimir, the Head of Volosadian administration. All that was happening in the principality, he recorded with his numerous helpers and carried out the will of the knez in accordance with the emperor’s laws.

“My Lord, in this letter which arrived today from the golden megpie, you can read everything,” the old man handed the wrap to the knez.

“Thank you Velimir,” the knez said, and quickly opened the letter. His eyes flicked across the words like wasps over fallen grapes. They frowned and squirmed.

“The Emperor invites me to a hearing,” he said in a low voice. “Sorcerer killed the high priest.” 

Everyone in the hall looked at him anxiously and frightened. Except for the Razvovesht. He watched the whole event with serious and calm eyes in which there was a kind of mysterious wisdom. His gaze shifted to kneginya Milyana, who grabbed her husband’s arm.

“Is this a joke?” Knez flinched. “Sorcerer? Does anyone know in more detail what happened in the Carevgrad?”

Velimir stood up and began speaking. “My Lord, we do not know much beyond what is stated in the letter. The High Priest Sokoslav the Fifth was killed by some kind of sorcerer who allegedly had the mark of our principality. The day before the event, he was arrested in the square for frightening the people. The Emperor suspects that we have sent him.”

One of the nobles interrupts. “Yeah, for sure! It is a fraud! It’s their plan to remove from us this little independence that we have!”

There was a tumult in the room. Everyone was talking out loud. The knez slams his fist on the table to silence them.

“Zhupan Branivoy, you come to a quick conclusion. First, let’s try to understand what happened and who was that sorcerer,” knez said.

The nobleman does not like what knez said and stands up from his chair. “They humiliate us, that is what happened! We are destroying ourselves for the sake of these usurpers, they have been oppressing us for centuries because of their ridiculous faith!”

“Calm down a little bit? Aren’t you ashamed to act like that before a knez? ” other nobleman said. “Lord is right, we need to examine in more detail what happened. Maybe it is really someone from our principality.”

Branivoy replied furiously. “It is a shame for you to talk like that about our people and support the emperor’s whims. We’ll see what Medvedinsk will say about this!”

The kneginya raised her brown eyes to the nobleman and stood up forcefully. “Branivoy, have at least respect for me and the knez! Do you know who you stand before?”

He looked at her, frightened. He never liked that look from which the jaws of the bear threatened. He sits down at the table, saying nothing. The knez noticed the tension of the two and runs his hand over his forehead.

“I understand your anger and anxiety, but first we need to find out more about this event and how we have to handle this. I don’t understand what happened,” knez said, then turned his gaze to the white-haired person in the black coat. He seemed to be the only person who could know about the case. “Volshebnik Razvovesht, what do you have to say about this?”

The volshebnik slowly got up from his chair and walked away from the table. Tragomila followed his elegant movement, waiting for what he would say. In her eyes, he was no longer a funny weirdo who acts like a kid and follows her every step of the way. He looked serious, like a father figure she could trust.

“My Lord, I would say that I am not familiar with the case. For now, I don’t know what the emperor means by the sorcerer who killed the high priest. That may be the influence of the Perunian priesthood. They call everyone sorcerer except them.”

“Well, that is true, they have hated us since the Holy wars,” one nobleman said.

“They hate us since they were born,” Branivoy added.

“But I believe that emperor is serious and that sorcerer may not be the wrong word after all,” Razvovesht said.

“Why do you think that?” knez asked.

Razvovesht took a pause and looked at the noblemen. “Officially, sorcery and magic are defined as superstitions by the scholars from the Imperial High University of Gamayun. It is believed that it is stories of various faiths from our past.”

“And unofficially?” Someone asked.

“Unofficially, there are hundreds of sorcery cults and sects in the Western countries that are not recognized by the empire or principalities and are kept secret. There are rumors that they explore something called Velesian Forgotten Lore, the books and scripts about real magic,” Razvovesht said.

There was a scuffle among the crowd. Tragomila watched as disturbed voices spread among noblemen. No one liked hearing the truth in public that the sorcery sects were still there and secretly doing their work. They tried to forget about it, so the time from the Holy Wars would not return.

One of the nobles raises a question. “Honorable, I may not be familiar enough, so that’s why I’m asking you, but I’ve also heard that Mekidos in the past had sorcery sects.”

The others in the hall looked at the Razvovesht, waiting for his explanation. “You’re right. Mekidos had those sects, they inherited the same from the Vionetian Empire from which we also picked up some crafts. Also, Zvezdopad has a cult called Warlocks of Dark Star that practices something that Perunians will call sorcery.  But I do not believe it came from the Zvezdopad, Empress Fairuza is from there. ”

The nobleman smiled contentedly. “Well, you said everything. It is quite possible that this sorcerer was sent from Mekidos. We all know how much the Orloslavian Empire fought with them. Maybe they want to disrupt the empire, to overthrow it, to provoke a civil war between us and the emperor. ”

Branivoy interrupts again. “It does not make sense. Mekidos is a great trading partner of the empire, especially of the Western countries. For centuries, Medvedinsk and Volosad traded with this kingdom and we had good relations. They wouldn’t turn against us.”

The nobleman added. “Perhaps they would, their goal is to defeat the empire. They will sacrifice a friendship with us to destroy the old enemy. “

Branivoy eagerly continued the debate. “So that they can acquire a new enemy! It doesn’t make much sense to me, they have no use for it. A civil war would interrupt trade, and that would not be good for them. The stability of the empire benefits them more. “

The knez frowned. “Uh, it’s hard to think when you debate. We will have to break this meeting, for now,” the knez said, demanding that everyone leave. “Razvovesht and Mila, you stay.”

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