Breaking Point, by Misha

As a soldier, the news should not have affected me as it did. I went to find him, hoping that I would have the fortitude not to wring the life from his fat little neck...

"You spineless, shameless excuse for a king!" I said.

I pushed him into the wall and attempted to wring the life from Neopar's neck. It was amazing how quickly the guests quieted down. I'll admit I was more preoccupied with his quickening pulse as he tensed his neck muscles than to the party I had just disrupted.

"You call yourself a king? Belaurii is in civil war and you hide here eating and drinking while we fight your fight!"

"Misha!" Zbinka exclaimed in hushed horror. "Let him go."

I reluctantly complied and he continued to stare at me with that disconcerting grin on his sweaty face. He reached for a drink. Two servants abruptly took away my weapons.

"What were you thinking?" Zbinka scolded.

"Rad'en' and the prince have been captured," I said.

"I know, Misha. We need more troops and right now you're hampering the only means at my disposal to rectify that problem."

"Perhaps his countrymen would remain loyal if he did not necessary to flee--"

"Misha, Rad'en' is a soldier. You have to trust that he can take care of himself and D'Hir. I think you should leave now." Zbinka insisted.

"Misha, I'm sure we could both benefit from discussing this." Neopar said.

I turned and exited the grand home I had occupied many times before yet it never felt so completely foreign. Once outside there was a familiar face waiting to return my weapons. Zyta had been lady-in-waiting to Zbinka since her return to Eltesnia.

"Do not trust him, Misha," Zyta said quietly as her eyes darted around us.

"What is it, Zyta?"

"He had my father killed because he held out on the creation of the stone. There's no way he would give up the secret of the imponderables. Not for his life or that of anyone else."

"Does your lady know?"

"No. I don't know who else I can trust, Misha."

"Do you know anything of his work?"

"Only a little."

"Then I suspect you are no longer safe here."

I took Zyta with me to the court of Cznorh and explained to Roarke and Lev that if there was something secret and elusive enough to kill for, it was worth our discovering first. Roarke was remarkably well composed. It was times such as these that I found myself admiring him.

Nalev poured me another drink to steady my nerves then pulled me aside.

"I believe Rad'en' will be fine," Lev said quietly.

"You've seen it?"


"You're not just telling me this?"


"But you would. If you thought it would help."

Lev smiled. "Of course. But there's more, Misha. Taisia's gone to Kanabulan."

"To do what?" I asked loudly feeling the affects of too much drink and rage.

Lev attempted to hand me a folded letter, but I pushed it away. "Tell me," I demanded.

Believing that Hezason had already allied himself with Dophe, Taisai wrote that she would never forgive herself if she did not do everything in her power to see to the safe return of Rad'en' and D'Hir.

"I already sent word to Fen." Nalev explained.

"I'm going."

"You made an attempt on one king's life tonight and are lucky to live to tell about it. Eat and get some rest."

"I appreciate your concern." I placed my hands on his arms and realized how steady he was while I found myself trembling.

"If you must go, go tomorrow." Nalev suggested.

Before long Fen would be in Kanabulan and I began to suspect that instead of adding another irrational and highly volatile person to the mix, I could make better use of my time by returning to Gelassi and strengthening our troops.

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