Here is a peek at my current short story WIP, Passing the Mantle. Dentin, before he was Lord Dentin in Duty, was simply Simon Cordale, the middle son of the Earl of Dentin. Alexter, his older brother, is in a bad situation.
“Father is not going to willingly send men for such a purpose,” I pointed out.
“How do I change his mind?” The note of desperation in Alexter's voice spoke of pressure.
“What will happen if you can’t dissuade Father?”
“He will be breaking his oath of loyalty.”
“That is not what I meant and you know it.”
Alexter’s brows lowered as he glared at me. As though afraid of being overheard, he leaned close. “Trentham will declare Father’s refusal an act of treason, seize the title, and execute the lot of us.”
“He can’t do that.”
“Shush!” Alexter grabbed my arm. “Keep your voice down. You are acting like Nigel.”
“No.” I growled low in my throat as I pulled my arm from his grip. “Nigel would smack you. Who does Trentham think he is? Our laws forbid seizure a nobleman’s land by the crown. It is a violation of the rights given noblemen by the Rhynan Charter. Trentham swore to abide by those laws when he accepted the crown after his father.”
“Don’t preach at me, Simon. Rattigan drummed it into all three of our heads. That old man was obsessed with old law.”
“For a good reason, apparently.” I rubbed my beard. “What exactly did Trentham say?”
“I didn’t speak to him directly. He sent the Defender of the Realm in his place.”
Alexter nodded. “He wheezed through the whole speech, but his intent was clear. ‘According to the old laws, seizure of an earl’s property by the crown is allowed when there are no legitimate living heirs. Go home, young Cordale, and see to it that such an event is not necessary.’ I am to convince father to support the king or else.”
“Father doesn’t respond well to threats.”
“Which is why I haven’t told him about it.” Alexter grimaced. “I have been tempted, though, especially when he is yammering on about a nobleman’s right to work the land.” Staring off toward the keep where father was most likely just coming down to the main hall to break his nightly fast, Alexter grew suddenly dejected. “I can’t tell Father, but I can’t convince him without telling him.”
What do you think Dentin is going to advise his brother do?
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