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The Curse in the Unnamed Kingdom by Camilla Hillberg

The Curse in the Unnamed Kingdom by Camilla Hillberg

Author:Camilla Hillberg
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: romance, fantasy, historical romance, regency, historical fantasy, dystopian, period romance, epic drama, classic sci fi
Publisher: Camilla Hillberg


Chapter 17 – Valerius’ Reign

The next morning, Eubulus went to talk to Anton and learnt that he was riding with his son. While he was waiting, he looked out of the window and what he saw stopped him in his tracks. Valerius was approaching the castle pulling Anton’s horse with his body lying across the saddle. His praetorians followed him, looking down. Some guards were rushing towards them and soon surrounded them.

Eubulus watched them until they entered the courtyard. Then, he continued to observe them from the courtyard. The King’s body was covered with blood, and Valerius looked desolate. The pale praetorians kept their heads down. Valerius asked them to go to their rooms, and they left without bowing.

“The horse bolted, throwing my father into some dry, broken branches,” he said angrily.

The moment the guards removed the body from the horse, Valerius stabbed his sword into the horse’s chest.

Eubulus approached.

“Master, please accept my deepest condolences.”

“Thank you, Eubulus. It is a terrible loss.”

“Indeed, my master. Can I be of any assistance?”

“Not at the moment. Thank you.” He turned to Fendrel. “Clean and dress the King.”

Valerius went to the East Wing, ordered Axel to display all the furniture stored in the wing throughout the castle, and moved his own belongings to the wing. As Valerius wanted it done quickly, Axel involved dozens of slaves in the project. Valerius moved into his grandfather’s parlour when it was cleaned and tidy.

Later, Eubulus noticed that logs were transported to the castle. In the courtyard, he found Fendrel inspecting the construction of three piles of wood for burning. The centre one was much wider, lower, and was a perfect square. Eubulus had heard about this kind of pyre in Rome. The other two were only the common execution pyres with a sturdy pole in the centre.

When he saw an elaborate wicker casket on the ground, his suspicious were confirmed. However, he did not know who was to be burnt on the other two piles.

In Rome, he had heard about personal slaves being buried with their masters in the past, especially in the eastern world, where it was considered a high honour. Nonetheless, he had never heard anything about personal slaves being burnt with their Master; neither could he understand why Valerius would burn his father’s body.

Eubulus approached Fendrel with caution. Through the years he learnt that direct questions gave him more trouble than answers. So, he only asked Fendrel when the event was due to start.

“The praetorians will be brought in at sunset, but the King’s casket will be raised much later. As there is no moonlight these days, the prince expects an exceptionally beautiful ceremony. The more beautiful the ceremony is, the easier will be the transition of his beloved father’s soul into a sublime, tranquil plane.”

Eubulus nodded, smiled, and turned around to leave.

“Eubulus, tell Quint to release the slaves before the praetorians arrive.”

***

Valerius secluded himself in his grandfather’s quarters. Camilla tried to enter the wing, but no one was allowed in. On her third attempt, Valerius agreed to see her.



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