TITLE: Wizards' Duel
Majester Fancu woke with a start and almost fell out of the chair he had been sitting in. His neck was horribly stiff and one of his legs had fallen asleep. Well, what did you expect, he asked himself, falling asleep like that in the king's bedroom? Then he caught his breath. What if the king had died while he had dozed off? No, he could hear the king's ragged breathing.
"Please, your majesty," whispered a strange, rough voice that sent shivers down Fancu's back. Someone else was in the bedroom. But who would be here in the middle of the night? Not anyone who was supposed to be there.
Fancu peeked through the bed curtains and had to bite his lip to keep from gasping. Lord Cepthar knelt by the king's bed, his face dimly visible in the torchlight. A second glance over at the torches confirmed Fancu's suspicions that the royal physicians had dozed off in their chairs. He wondered for a moment if he ought to wake them, but he was too curious about what Lord Cepthar, member of the Council of Twelve, was doing here. The torchlight made Cepthar's clean-shaven face look even younger, although he was about thirty. Fancu always figured he wore no beard to show off how early he had made the council, the youngest member in a century.
But Fancu wasn't impressed, because at nineteen, he was the youngest majester ever.
"I had to see you again, before it was too late."