King Riplakish ran his hand over the polished gold ornamenting the back the marble throne. The tails of two dragons intertwined at the center, and their bodies stretched out to form the arms of the chair, with their angry mouths opening for a mighty roar. The throne's legs were those of dragons as well, with sharp claws scratching into the floor beneath them. The seat was far enough off the ground that the King required a stool to reach it.
Riplakish nodded in satisfaction. "Very fine work," he said as the artist of the chair rubbed it a final time with a soft cloth. "It is a throne worthy of my office." He waved his hand at the thin, stooped man who twisted the cloth nervously in his hands. "Return him to the prison until I have further need of him."
"But, you promised me that if I built you this throne, more beautiful than that of the ancient kings, that you would grant me my freedom!" The man's voice was as thin and raspy as his frame.
Riplakish tapped his finger against his lips as he considered the man's plea. "No, Andibmer, I cannot risk losing your skills. The east tower is nearly complete and will require a master's touch." The king paused. "However, I will move you to the Inner Prison and I will see that you receive of the first-foods. Take him away."
Andibmer fought against the two men who pulled him out of the room. "One day," he shouted at Riplakish, "you will die for the wickedness you've brought upon this people."
"Wickedness?" Riplakish adjusted his feathered headdress and tossed his silken cloak over one shoulder. "I have restored this people to greatness, brought back the beauty and glory of this land that was lost when the poisonous serpents invaded the land and drove us southward. Without me, Moron would be a mere shadow, a pathetic reflection of what it once was, not the glorious kingdom it is today."
"Your father restored the land; he built up a broken and suffering people and reminded them of the many blessings the Lord had shown our father Jared and his brother. He brought our people back to God, and in so doing, restored our glory."
Riplakish struck Andibmer across the face with the back of his hand. His polished silver ring tore the skin on the prisoner's cheek. "Enough! Return him to the prison at once."
To be continued...