OC: A filler chapter I'm afraid, should get better with next chapter.

The King sighed at the memories "Every night we stopped off for a rest, we had to appear before our host and his retinue, when we near the capital it was alright but once we got closer to Varnal... Teer, could you skip that part?"

Teer nodded in agreement as he mentally altered the spell. "Very well your Majesty, we will head straight to our arrival."

The image moved forward two months to find the three men riding onwards as the sun began to set, or rather two men riding onwards. Morglin had shaved off his moustache and was allowing his hair to grow down to his shoulders. Wearing a red tunic gilded with gold and black trousers, he cradled in his arms a sleeping Teer the wizard, wearing a red robe with silver images, his head resting against his liege's chest, face paler than usual, deep bags under his eyes. Leading the fat pony was Haart, also wearing the formal red, failing to supress an amused smile as he whispered to Morglin, the two men trying to avoid waking Teer. "My lord, pass Teer over and I'll wake him up, we are not far from Varnal, he can get rest there."

Morglin considered it but shook his head "He has barely had a rest all week, riding in the days then having to combine debate and magic shows without getting in trouble all evening. If we wake him now, he can probably ride with us but he has been struggling to keep his temper, I do not want him alienating people due to tiredness." Haart's expression suggested he wasn't buying it so Morglin changed subject. "I have been meaning to thank you Haart for helping me through this time, your diplomatic responses seemed to salve bruised ego's when I lost my temper and kept us from giving my cousin an excuse to arrest us. When I am on my throne, you shall by the greatest of my vassals though I do not know what I shall do with Teer."

Haart bowed from horseback "To serve you is its own reward my liege. From what Teer has said before in the banquets simply allowing him back into the Tower to study would please him, if he should prove a worthy vassal. I must admit that it will be a relief not to have to watch my every word; Kilburn will not tell anyone what he overhears so as long as we do not say anything too treasonous directly in front of him. He won't help you but he won't hinder you either and with the resources of Varnal, it is a good base to build upon. Ah, here we are."

In front of them stood Varnal, a once proud castle that had seen many a border campaign in its time, was still well maintained but its glory days had long passed. Its position held the paths in and out of the country and the land under its control was fertile, the only flaw with it was that anyone who occupied the hills of Varnal would control the heights and be able to bombard the castle. Nowadays though, the Ironfist lands were strong enough to scare off any external threat but Lord Kilburn was not a man to neglect his duties, he had maintained enough of a standing army to hold out till the Barons arrived. He had a thick proud moustache and hair reaching down to his shoulders, a light blue shirt and trousers, an unbuttoned red coat on top. He was worried and it showed, he doubted the Prince would remain loyal to the new King and if a revolt happened, Kilburn would take the blame. Yet how could he refuse both King and Prince when they requested Prince Morglin stay in Varnal?

Behind him were the knights of the Prince, beside Kilburn were two strangers to the Prince. One was Tyro, who had fled over the border and become Kilburn's trusted captain, a fierce warrior in battle and quiet out of it. His black hair was rather thin on top as was his wiry moustache but the beard was thick and bushy, he wore two earrings on his right ear and a little piece of jewellery on his forehead. War paint had made four thick black lines, two from side of forehead to bridge of nose, two from under ear to just under the eyes. His teeth were yellow and two of them looked like tusks but what tended to creep visitors out were the greeny-yellow eyes, it was very disconcerting seeing those eyes stare at you if you were not used to it.

The other person with him was his young ward Isolade, she was rather overexcited about the new guest; she had vigorously questioned the knights about their lord so she knew what he liked. Her red riding clothes did not suit her complexion, it made her face look rather red but they were the colours of the Prince. Her brown hair was cut rather short; her green eyes alight as she got her first glance of the handsome Prince, as surprised as anybody to see the Prince protectively cradling someone in his arms.

Kilburn rode forward and bowed as Morglin tentatively began poking the wizard into a dazed wakefulness. "Prince Ironfist, you do me great honour coming to my humble home, I may not have much but all I have is yours. May I present to your Highness Tyro, my loyal officer and my ward Isolade." It was a ritual greeting and the Prince returned the bow, carefully eyeing up Tyro while giving Isolade his most charming smile. "Blessings on your noble house, for taking in someone as unworthy as myself. I believe you already know my old friend Lord Haart and this sleepy little fellow is my new court wizard, Teer Estela." Teer carefully got off and wandered to his pony, giving his host a small bow as Haart gave a warning cough before the wizard carefully checked his bags. Kilburn seemed to take it all in his stride "It is late and you have had a long journey my Prince, why not allow Isolade to take the three of you to your rooms and we will have the servants bring up a meal. Perhaps tomorrow evening you would deign to join us for a meal to celebrate your arrival?" The final part of the ritual was completed with the Prince's reply, taking the hint that it was getting rather late for a formal meal. "My arrival is not worth celebrating but tomorrow I will gladly partake of your hospitality. I would gladly join you tonight but my wizard needs his rest, he is more grateful for your consideration. Lead on Lord Kilburn to the stables and I shall follow."

The party soon split into three, Kilburn and Tyro leading the way while Morglin caught up with his friends, Haart and Teer took the rear with Isolade going to join them. Teer had finally mounted his pony, rolling his eyes as he whined to Haart "Some things never change wherever you go, we have to greet other wizards like that which can make trying to borrow a book rather a chore." The rich knight elected to ignore the wizard and smiled at the approaching female, recalling many fond memories "Isolade, look how you have grown! I remember when you were only up to my knee, it is good to see you. Now, how are you doing?" Isolade looked a little more reassured at Haart's friendly greeting "I am well Lord Haart, I have been keeping up my studies under uncle Kilburn and been looking forward to your visit. I'm afraid though I have had difficulty trying to work out what your wizard friend would need, none of the knights seemed to know what would be required." Haart left the question for the wizard to deal with. "A bedroom for sleeping in and a separate room for my studies is all I require. If I can get a large table, a bookshelf and a chair in the study room then I can easily work around that."

Isolade pondered for a few moments "There is one room that might be of use, I'll show it to you before the servants take you to your room." With that, they arrived at the castle where grooms took their horses and servants their bags, Teer though hung onto the bag meant for his study room. Morglin came across to join the three of them "Since the rest of my knights already know their way around, I was hoping you would show the three of us around the castle Isolade?"

The scene moved onwards, speeding over the tour, briefly lingering on a large and dusty room were Teer left his bags, eventually ending with Isolade saying goodbye. The three of them had been put into rooms next to each other, Morglin naturally getting the biggest room. They waited till Isolade was out of reach before talking again.

"Seems a nice girl, I just hope they remain as friendly for the rest of our stay." Teer remarked, he and Haart both looking at their Prince. Morglin, perhaps sensing their thoughts of a political marriage, changed subject"So what do we do now? I cannot be seen to do anything more then throw myself into a life of pleasure, so I need the two of you to act for me and keep informed. Any plans Haart?" The blond knight nodded "I have my estates; it is only natural if I go to tend to them every now and again, meeting friends along the way. I will keep my ear on the ground for any news we can exploit and any lord we can sway to our side. I assume Teer has something?" The wizard gave a little shrug "Nothing so impressive, tonight I'll be settling into my study and begin making contact with my fellow mages, with a bit of luck I can manipulate any infighting and see if we can get a leader more favourable to your cause my liege."

Morglin smiled, it was a start and he could be patient, he doubted Ragnar could keep everybody happy. "Make sure you go to bed wizard, I don't want you sleeping through the banquet tomorrow. Goodnight to you both."