For the A to Z Challenge, I'm having twenty-six flash fiction pieces from my Foxwick Kingdom and its surrounding neighbors. Soon A to Z Flashes of Foxwick will be available in e-book format. You can add this to your Goodreads list here.
Harthro’s heart pounded in his chest as he bowed before King Javen. Why would the king summon him? He tucked a purple strand of hair behind his ear while the moisture in his mouth fled as if chased by witches.
“So you are a dragon seer?” King Javen motioned for him to rise from the marbled floor.
“Aye, my king.” Harthro stood and kept his head lowered out of respect. His gaze flickered to the white-haired king. Although he’d glimpsed Foxwick’s ruler during the Mage Games and other official affairs, he hadn’t had the honor of meeting him in the castle before today. King Javen was older than Harthro had assumed.
“I am in need of your services.” The king leaned forward, resting his forearms upon the throne.
“I am here to serve you. What do you wish of me?” His breath shuddered in his chest. He wanted to help the kingdom, but he didn’t know what a reclusive woodsman could do for someone as great as Foxwick’s king.
“Toward the south lies Wintermill and Snow Mountains. Ugly rumors float from that frigid land. Their queen is up to no good. We need a spy to gain her trust and relay information between our two kingdoms.” He reclined and pressed his fingers against his lips. “She plans to use dragons.”
Tingles flowed along Harthro’s scalp. Why had the king chosen him? “I am just a woodsman and have no training in the shadowy spy arts.”
“I understand, but you do speak with dragons, do you not?”
“Aye, my liege.”
“Queen Eirwyn seeks a dragon seer, but you must hide who you are and find another like you. Wintermill’s queen will grow to trust you, and you’ll be able to free the arctic dragons from her spell.” He paused, and his steady-eyed gaze focuses on Harthro. “Will you lend aid to your kingdom?”
How could he refuse a king? But he wanted to. Harthro’s heart longed for his solidarity and quiet cabin in Greymist Forest. He’d have to hide his tell-tale hair, seek out another dragon seer—if there were any besides himself—and become a trusted member in the Ice Queen’s palace. How could he do this task?
“We need you, Harthro. You have the chance to stop a war between our two kingdoms, and when you return from your tasks, you will be awarded for your sacrifice.” The king motioned to a guard and a satchel of coins clinked before him. “Just a start for your service.”
Sacrifice. Service. Spying.
Those three words swirled in his head. Then, there was the monetary payment. It meant little to him, but he could help others with it. It’d pay for his travels. Perhaps even grant him an audience with Wintermill’s queen. He could do more with his great talent than to live as a hermit.
He couldn’t refuse his king, despite his heavy heart. His life would change with his next two words.