A new story? you say. Yes, a new story, and one that will be very long. I have no idea how long, because that will only come while writing it. Beginings are a hard thing for me to write, for some reason. So if the first part seems a little rough, you'll know why.
Ce'Nedra, Queen of Riva, Imperial Princess, and Jewel of the Borune Dynasty was not cranky. She was royalty and thus deserved a more eloquent description of her mood. 'Irritated at the general state of the world' was just that, eloquent, but was not nearly as accurate as 'cranky'. Belgarath, the irascible sorcerer, who happened to be her husband's ultimate grandfather, had promised the completed manuscript of his autobiography before fall but, as anyone not perpetually drunk knew that the Alorn council was already in session.
"Ce'Nedra, it is not proper to be chewing your hair." The red-haired woman sat in the room with Islena, the Cherek queen adjacent to where the Alorn kings and Queen Porenn were meeting.
"I can do what I want." Ce'Nedra managed to sound slightly offended at her fellow monarch's rebuke, but she stopped chewing her coppery tendrils. "When are they going to be finished? I can't stand just sitting here."
"Patience, child. You must learn to wait."
Ce'Nedra gave a harumph. The door to the room creaked open and a servant entered.
"Excuse me, your majesty," he said, "but a sailor wants to talk to you. He's drunk and gruff, but he says he has something for you. Oh by the way, his name's Greldik, if that does any good."
Ce'Nedra's eyes brightened instantly. "Thank you very much. Why don't you take the day off?"
The man thanked her. "Islena, "Ce'Nedra said, "if I'm not back by the time Garion's out, tell him I'll be at the harbor." Islena nodded.
. . .
"'Ey, Lady!" Greldik said in his iconic drunken speech. "The ol' man, Belgarath he said, told me to-" He belched loudly. "'Scuse me. Well he says to give this thing to you." He held out a large pile of papers to the small crimson-haired woman. "I don't see why you'd need such a big ol' thing. Do you know any good taverns hereabouts?"
Ce'Nedra grabbed the pile of parchment and smiled at the captain's succinct, but impolite, way of talking. "Greldik, you are a treasure." She handed him a small purse filled with coins. "Why don't you go buy you and your crew a few rounds of ale?"
Greldik snatched the money pouch. "Thank you very much yer majesty." He made a very deep and sarcastic bow, nearly falling over in the process."One last thing, before I ferget. Lady Polgara would like to invite you to her twins' first birthday party - 'scuse me." He had belched again. "Well, I'll be leavin' now."
. . .
"Ce'Nedra, would you please come to bed. It's almost midnight." Garion pleaded to his wife.
"In a minute, Garion." Ce'Nedra replied.
Ce'Nedra had been immersed in the old sorcerer's autobiography the whole day, and because of this, Garion had started to feel neglected. And it is here in the royal bedchambers that the new adventure will begin, but not for another week.
. . .
Garion awoke, but without the comfort of his wife's lithe form in the bed that he was so accustomed to. Unsurprisingly, he saw her reading the book. He got dressed in his royal robes smoothed out the wrinkles as best he could.
"I have a meeting with the Council again this morning, but then it will be over until next year. Then later today, Silk wants to speak with me. Then we can have the rest of the day to ourselves. How does that sound, dear?"
"Wonderful," she said absent-mindedly. "I might finish Belgarath's book by then." Ce'Nedra looked at her husband and brushed his clothing. "Your clothes are all wrinkled. Garion, what have I told about your clothing?"
"I know, I know. It makes me look like a drunken monarch." Garion gave Ce'Nedra a kiss and left the room.
Garion started down the assorted hallways when a servant stopped him.
"Excuse me, your majesty, but you're needed in the throne room."
"Why me?" Garion asked, out of habit from his previous adventures, but its meaning still rang true in the current situation.
"I don't know, but it sounded urgent."
Garion practically ran to the throne room to find the Alorn Council huddled around a body, bloody and dead by the looks of it.
"What's the meaning of this?" Garion asked, perplexed.
"Well, Garion, it appears that this man tried to assassinate Porenn. The assassin wasn't too bright, I would say. Apparently, a guard was passing the man when he pulled out the dagger. The guard killed our would-be killer before any harm was actually done. Unfortunately, he was instantly killed, so we couldn't interrogate the man." Anheg answered.
Grandfather! Garion said with his mind, trying to contact the vagrant sorcerer.
Is that you, Garion? Belgarath said after a pause. No need to shout.
Somebody tried to kill Porenn.
I'm on my way.
"He looks Nyissan." Fulrach observed.
"Smells like one too. All those narcotics make me sick." Porenn commented.
"Something isn't right." Fulrach added. "He looks like the average Nyissan. Average height, skin coloring, et cetera. Almost too average. Also, why would a Nyissan want to kill Porenn? Something smells very fishy, and I'm not talking about the dead man's body."
A familiar Drasnian's voice rang out behind the monarchs. "Well said, your Majesty."
Garion, like the others in his company, looked at the speaker. "Silk!" he exclaimed.
"At you service." Silk gave a florid but sarcastic bow. "Remember the time a few years back when the assassin tried to kill Ce'Nedra, then killed herself."
"Unfortunately." Garion replied.
"She was dead, but I told you how dead bodies can still speak, in a sense."
"I remember. The clothes and stitching are unique to countries and regions. But how will that help us? We know he's Nyissan."
"Not necessarily. I remember selling the fabric for those clothes three days ago to some Murgo traders in Sendaria. It's a unique pattern, one that only I myself sell. There is very little chance that this man is an ordinary Nyissan."
"I never knew Kheldar could be so useful." Fulrach said.
"He's always been a thorn in my side." Porenn added.
"Auntie! What a thing to say about your nephew!" Silk exclaimed in mock surprise.
"If I might suggest something, Garion."
"Go ahead, Anheg."
"I would suggest sealing off the island, all things considered."
"You're absolutely right."
. . .
It had been an hour and a half since Garion had contacted Belgarath and the sandy-haired king was impatient, even though he knew that it would be near impossible for his grandfather to arrive until several more hours. Adding to his impatience was no news yet on anything concerning the assassin.
The Alorn Council was, as a whole, pondering the situation. Silk had left to reconnoiter the harbor, with the assistance of the assorted servants, guards, et al who were available to help. Fulrach had closed his eyes, either to think or to sleep, while Porenn was drafting a letter to the head of Drasnian Intelligence, Javelin. Anheg was deep in concentration and Garion was pacing nervously around the room, when the doors opened suddenly.
"Belgarath!" Anheg said. All the monarchs were very surprised to see the irascible sorcerer.
"What's going on here? I got little in the way of details from Garion."
Anheg quickly filled Belgarath in on all the details, which were few. As each sentence was spoken Belgarath's face grew noticeably more and more morose. He was not a happy person.
"I agree with Fulrach. This isn't an ordinary Nyissan . . . Hmm . . . What's this?" Belgarath pulled from the dead man's clothing a slip of paper written in unintelligible writing. "My, my. Our old boy reads Old Angarak."
"Well can you read it Belgarath?" Fulrach asked.
"Is a merchant's soul hollow? Of course I can. Let's see here . . . 'Proceed with bathing' . . . That can't be right. Oh, no, that's 'plan' not 'bathing'. 'Proceed with plan.' That sounds very incriminating, doesn't it. Reminds me of something . . . But I digress."
"Why would a Nyissan read Old Angarak, Grandfather?"
"Now I don't know - Oh Hullo! He's not a Nyissan. Let me show you." Belgarath muttered something. The Nyissan's features slowly blurred and coalesced into that of a Murgo's.
Fulrach shook his head. "This is too much for a sensible Sendar. Assassination and Sorcery."
"How did you do that, Belgarath?" Anheg asked curiously.
"It was something Chamdar did to trick both me and Drasnian Intelligence. I'd be fool enough to let that happen again. But the question now is who did this. Last time I checked, Garion had burned Asharak the Murgo to cinders in the Wood of the Dryads."
Suddenly the doors of the throne room burst open. "Belgarath, you've got trouble."
Pretty good? Yes? No? Just forget about it. I hope you like the part with Ce'Nedra, since that will be about it. Polgara won't be in it much either. I just can't write those two very well. After all, they have children to look after, and babies aren't very easy to take care of while on a quest. Belgarath and Silk are going to be integral characters though, but I shouldn't spoil it, should I
Expect the next chapter soon.
This is Kael Istari signing off.