Just as Zalair was walking through the throne room, he spotted knights and warriors running about in a hurried manner.
“What’s going on?”
A knight ran up to him, grabbing Zalair’s forearm. “Your majesty! You have to get to the inner sanctum right away!”
Zalair raised a brow, “Wh… What’s going on?”
“We’re under attack! Now go!” the knight shoved Zalair, “Now!”
Zalair glared at the knight for a brief second before running down the halls as quickly as he could. He hurried out of the throne room, turning toward the banquet hall. He stopped just before the entrance to the hall, turning to a large stone door with several knights standing grouped around it.
Zalair ran past the guards through the doorway. He’d entered the very center of the palace, the safest area. It was sealed as a large stone circular room with one pair of large stone doors to get in and out. There was a large dome as the ceiling, and in the very center of it was a circle opening, in case of emergencies.
Inside the room were a large number of vats filled with food and fresh water. The eleven children were sitting, gathering around the assistants. Four dozen knights were on patrol around the entire room. The queens were sitting in their comfortable chairs, bickering amongst themselves about the current situation. Over talking to the guard chief was King Yoh, ordering the guard chief about on how to execute his commands.
Zalair wandered over, “What’s going on?”
“The North’s attacked us,” King Yoh answered, then turned to talk with the guard chief some more. “We have to get them lured away from the palace before they can come in any further and cause more damage.”
Zalair rolled his eyes, “No, we have to lure them out before they can damage the city more.”
“Right now my children and family are my highest priority.”
“Idiot,” Zalair stomped his foot, “The people of this country are far more important than any of our lives!”
“How dare you!” King Yoh turned to his son with an angered look. “You’d do well to remember that you aren’t king yet! You can’t command me in any manner!”
“I’m pointing out that your idea of priority is stupid.” Zalair shouted back, catching the attention of the nearby queens. “You’re sitting here like a coward when you should be out there ordering your men to try and keep all of your people safe- not just the royal family!”
King Yoh was at a loss for words.
Zalair turned on his heel and ran for the door, “I’m gonna protect those people that matter to me!”
“Zalair!” King Yoh shouted after him, “This isn’t time to be a hero! Get back here! You’re my heir!”
“I’m the responsible one of us!” Zalair shouted, dashing out the door. He turned to the guards, “Close that up and keep them safe.” Then he ran down the halls toward the barracks.
Once inside, Zalair suited himself up in armor and pulled on heavy leather boots. He shifted his feet around to get them comfortable before he pulled out a crest-shaped shield and a rapier sword. After getting nicely fit, Zalair ran out and turned toward the front of the palace to the group of knights.
“Where’re they coming from?” Zalair asked.
The knights had to do a double take on who it was, “The south street.”
“Got it.” Zalair nodded. “Send five dozen of basic cavalry that way.”
“But, sire, shouldn’t you be…”
“Shut up and do it!” Zalair shouted, running down toward the city.
The knights looked to each other. “Well… You heard him!” And one ran quickly off to deliver the message to the others.
The other knight looked to the other, “I’ve never seen Prince Zalair be so…”
Once Zalair was at the south end, he saw the fighting of almost two dozen of his knights and nearly four dozen of the North’s warriors. He took a moment to take a calm breath, then ran forward into the fight.
Zalair fought with all the skill and precision he needed. He swung his sword at the right points, hit people with the tang if they came at difficult angles, and then rammed others off his own knights with his shield. Instead of asking questions, the knights just smiled at the Prince and fought along with him. It didn’t take long before the knights were copying Zalair’s smooth fighting style, and the attacking force was laid to rest.
“Whew…” Zalair rubbed his brow, “Everyone okay?”
“Yes, sire.” Came a few replies.
Zalair nodded his head, looking toward the south exit. “Looks like they’re weaving around… Is the north end okay?”
“We have two squadrons over there now,” answered a knight.
“Okay…” Zalair nodded, thinking. “Um… Get me a horse.”
“Now. I’m gonna ride over and stop them before they can get any closer.”
“They’re coming through the gorge,” Zalair answered. He pulled himself onto the white stead after a knight rode it over. “Send one squadron to protect the south gate and one to protect the north. Then send one more outside by one mile to add another level of protection. Then disperse yourself as dozens throughout the city.”
“But King Yoh said to…”
Zalair shook his head, “I don’t care. Protect the citizens, and then leave four squadrons to protect the palace innards. Got it?”
Zalair nodded, kicking the horse to dash forward. The horse whinnied for a moment, then dashed as quickly as it could. Zalair led the horse with great grace along the outer edge of the city. Very soon the edges of the gorge to the north came in view. Zalair readied his sword as he directed the horse into the mobs of the Northern knights.
He stopped almost a mile through, “Halt!”
“It’s Prince Zalair!” called a knight.
All the knights readying to attack him stopped, shifting their weight a bit.
“I bring you an important message, knights of the North.” Zalair shouted over their muttering. “If you continue your attack on our kingdom, we will fight back.”
“You can’t hurt us!”
Zalair shook his head, “We are allied with Dragon’s Bane.”
The knights started to talk amongst themselves. Then one raised his hand, obviously a general.
“And what sort of declaration is that, Your Majesty Zalair?”
“A warning.” Zalair clarified, shouting back to the general. “We do not wish for any bloodshed, of your people or ours. So, please, kindly withdraw your troops from our land.”
The general nodded after a moment’s thought. “Very well. We’ll withdraw and expect you to send an experienced negotiator in the next week.”
Zalair nodded, “You have my word.”
The general waved to Zalair, then turned his palm up and pointed it in a swift swing back into the gorge. “Withdraw.”
Zalair led the horse back to the start of the gorge, and made sure all the soldiers and knights followed the order and went back into the gorge. He stayed to watch until they were out of sight.
With a sigh, Zalair rode the horse back into the city. “They withdrew,” he told the knights at the entrance as he came into the city.
“Very good.” The knight nodded. “We’ll call back our forces. Should we continue to patrol on higher numbers than usual?
“Yes, for the next ten hours should be good.” Zalair answered. After the knight nodded, he continued to the city up to the palace.
He got off the horse, leaving it to a knight. Once he was inside, he gave the order to the knights inside and informed them of the current situation. After a quick discussion, Zalair returned to the barracks to remove the armor and put everything where he found it.