Chapter 7

In the Eastern Kingdom…

"I say we strike right now, silent and swift!" Damian shouts at the war council meeting, held on the Northeastern border. They had already ransacked the town and slaughtered the townsfolk. Now they are using the biggest house in the town, which is still not big enough in Damian's eyes, and made it into a council room. It smelled of mold and death, but it would have to do. "King Edgar will be expecting that of you," one of the knights at the council says. "What do you mean by that?" Damian asks, inquiring. He is actually amused to see just how this man wishes to justify his questioning of his King's intelligence. "Well I -" the knight stammers, knowing that he is doomed no matter what he says, "I simply mean to say that, well, you are still quite young, and how shall I say this, you are a rash and quick thinker. King Edgar knows this. He and your father were close friends. You and Prince Benjamin played together as children. I mean to say that you are not the type to wait. So, if you wish to surprise him, bide your time, make him sweat, waiting, anticipating an attack at any moment. Then, when he thinks that you have decided against war, you strike, silent and swift." The knight made sure to add in the last part for King Damian's sake, so as to appease him. Damian considers this for a moment. Deciding, with some reluctance, that the knight has a point, therefore there is no reason to kill him. "Fine," he says in a low voice. "The meeting is over then. Now go!"

After the council members disperse, Damian goes outside to get some fresh air. To his dismay the air outside is worse than it is inside. He yells for his guards and says, "We are going to ride out, away from this dank city. Mount up and be ready when I leave or you will be left behind." "What of the other members of your host my liege?" one brave guardsman ventures to ask. "We are coming back you dolt!" Damian shouts, "So mount up or be left!" without waiting for them he mounts his stead and leaves them all behind.

Damian travels northeast, to a nearby forest. The open, clean air helps Damian to clear his head. He slows his pace and simply breaths in the cool air. By the time his guards reach him he is so engrossed in though he hardly notices them. He is trying to devise a full proof plan to take over the realm. He knows he is outmatched if it comes to a battle between King Edgar and himself, but he is not one to fight fairly. He knows that Edgar loves his son, Benjamin very much. So much, in fact, that if Benjamin were to die in some tragic accident, Edgar would lose all his senses in grief, there for he would act more rash and might even falter in battle. Now if only the other Kingdoms would fall that easily, Damian thinks to himself. It would take much more devious planning to come up with a scheme to over through them all, but Damian is quite determined. He rides for some time, not knowing or caring where his is going.

Damian comes across a nest of blue jays, crying out to their mother for food. Upon closer inspection he finds that one of the birds isn't a blue jay at all, just a scavenger bird of the same blue. It begs for food along with the other birds and, thinking that it is one of her own, the mother feeds it. When the others are about to be fed, this strange intruder bird pecks at the others until they submit and move aside, then it steals their food. Watching this scene unfold, Damian hatches an idea that, if done correctly, could mean the fall of all three Kingdoms.

He shouts to one of the guards and orders, "Find me an assassin! And a good one! One that can disguise himself as anyone!" Even a prince. Yes this plan was most devious indeed. Damian's plan was so simple it just might work. He planned to send an assassin to kill the prince of the Southern Kingdoms. Then disguise himself as the prince and make a surprise visit to the Western Kingdom, where Damian knows Benjamin is staying. He would then have to play the part of prince, if only for a short while, until he could find out whom King Isaac's favorite daughter was. Once he found her, the assassin would kill her and Prince Benjamin, sending all three Kings into a depression. In the time it will take the assassin to kill Benjamin and the girl, Damian will have taken down the South while their king is sick with grief. Then, after the girl is dead, King Isaac will be mourning his loss and therefore will be vulnerable. By this time King Edgar will have figured out Damian's plan, so a battle with him will be inevitable but, having just lost his son, Edgar would become reckless and therefore easy to defeat.

Damian sees his plan unfolding perfectly in his head and laughs aloud as his genius. He calls to another guard and says, "We are moving south! Tell half the host to stay here and proceed as planned!" "What shall I tell the other half, Your Highness?" "Tell them nothing," Damian says after a moment's pause. He does not wish to trust anyone with this information, for fear of spies and traitors, so he simply keeps his plans to himself, only to be revealed as the plan goes into action.

A few days and many gold coins later, Damian finds his assassin. After garbing him to look a prince, he sends the assassin on his way to the Southern Kingdoms.

On the fourteenth of that month in the Southern Kingdoms, a prince is sleeping soundly in his bed when someone climbs through his bedroom window. The prince awakens to find what looks like his twin standing above him, knife in hand. Before the prince has time to so much as scream, he is stabbed multiple times in the abdomen. The killer slowly lowers the prince's now limp body to the floor. Being now satisfied with his work he changes the princes clothes, making him look like the assassin. Now certain that the guise will work, he calls out to the guard who is just outside the door. "Help! Someone just tried to kill me! Please help me!" a burly man who looks as though he was half asleep stumbles in. upon seeing the dead body on the floor, he snaps awake. "Prince Nicolas! What on earth happened!" Hmmm, Nicolas, eh? Good to know, the assassin thinks to himself. After a moment's consideration "Nicolas" bursts into hysterics, "How could you let this man slip past you! He could very well have killed me!" The guard, not knowing what else to do, stammers and says, "I'm sorry, m'lord. I have no idea how this happened, but I assure you, it will never happen again!" "Damn right it won't! Now get this body out of my chambers!"