“Dad, how did Faolan ever seem good?” Raelyn asked one night as they were eating dinner.
“How does he, you mean,” Ahearn said. “Most of Cathonys somehow sides with him.”
“I can’t speak for all of Cathonys,” Nigel said. “Especially now that our kingdom is in shambles because of what Faolan has done.”
“Lately people have been saying that the hardships we’re facing are because of the old laws and very soon Faolan’s laws will start paying off and Cathonys will be prosperous again,” Fagan said.
“More peas, mama,” Keelin said, holding up his plate. Enid spooned a helping of vegetables onto the dish and set it down in front of Keelin.
“Don’t want mine,” Grady said.
“You need to eat a few bites,” Enid said, and Grady scowled.
“In person, Faolan is a very charming man,” Nigel said. “He’s friendly when he wants to be and is artful with his words. At first, his ideas were ones that really did help Cathonys. Our exports increased almost two-fold the first year he was here, and it was his idea to have trusted men in each city handle small disputes so that the King could focus on things that really were important instead of petty arguments.” Nigel paused to dip his bread into a bowl of stew and take a few bites. “But now it’s clear that his delegating judicial responsibility has only helped him because he’s replaced the King’s trusted men with his henchmen that steal from widows and orphans instead of defending them when they’re wronged.”
“That’s horrible,” Ahearn said.
“Faolan is a master of deceit. Even I struggled for some time, wondering if my initial impressions of him and Bardan’s prophecies were correct.”
“How did you know Faolan was bad?” Raelyn asked.
“Only because of how familiar I was with Ad’s Law because of my father’s teaching. Faolan often spoke the truth, but he would twist it in small ways so that it seemed good unless you knew what the truth really was.”
“Was the King able to tell the difference?”
“Sometimes,” Nigel said, “but most often he wasn’t, and so listened to Faolan rather than me. I warned him, and I told Faolan to check his motives and make sure he wanted the good of the King and the kingdom, not power for himself.”
“If only they’d listened to you!” Fagan said.
“I wish they had,” Nigel said, eating more of his stew.
“Something is happening, though,” Enid said. “These last few weeks have been so different than the last seventeen years. More frightening, yes, but moving at last, with Bardan’s latest prophecies and the friend that has warned us. Ad hasn’t left us alone.”
Grady thumped his fork down on the table. “Peas gone!” he announced.
Not a super important excerpt, but one that made me smile today because of Grady. Creating little people in stories is one of my favorite things.