TITLE: The Lokana Chronicles
Tears had carved grooves through the layers of grime on the poor farmer’s face as he fought to maintain his dignity. “Please, your Highness, have mercy. I beg you.”
Vegin sympathized with the man. After all, it wasn’t his fault the rains had stopped. But that didn’t nullify his duty to pay his taxes. The prince was silent for a moment; he wanted to choose the right words. He glanced at his father out of the corner of his eye and wondered if his judgment would be allowed to stand.
But as Vegin opened his mouth to pass sentence on the man, Tol sighed loudly, letting his hand drop against the arm of his throne in irritation. “I’ve heard enough – if you can’t pay your taxes, then you’ll simply have to work off your debt. Guards, take him away.”
“But your Majesty, please! My family – without me, they’ll starve!”
“Father, you’re only supposed to observe,” Vegin hissed. “Remember?”
Tol’s mouth fell open an inch or so as he stared at his son, momentarily silenced by the boy’s brazenness. It took only a moment for his shock to be replaced with anger. “I’ll deal with you in a moment,” he said, glaring daggers at Vegin, who rose from his seat and stormed out of the room. “As for you,” he bellowed, returning his attention to the old farmer, “you should have thought of your family before you decided not to pay your taxes. If they die, you’ll have only yourself to blame.”