“Give a man a crutch and you teach him to limp.”
Photo © Al Forbes
As Herron’s advisors droned on, the suit of mail kept distracting him. It was normally locked safely away, but his servants had brought it out for today’s games.
Finally, the karnas and priests left. Herrol forced himself to sip his ale before wandering closer.
He reached for it automatically. The steel links, formed early in his grandfather’s reign, remained smooth and black. Never needed oiling. Not a spot of rust.
It was enchanted, of course. Despite the church’s position on arcane magic, a jayanta did what he wished.
He’d last worn it months ago, but the memory shone as vividly as yesterday. The feeling of strength, power, confidence.
He swallowed the familiar craving.
Before inheriting it, he’d never doubted his ability to rule. His grandfather and uncle had been legends, true. But Herrol was a fierce warrior, loved by his men.
That first battle with the mail thrilled him. Such forceful blows, such deadly accuracy, such cheering afterward.
Then he took it off. Every time after, taking it off was harder. Facing his weakness was harder.
Who was fierce now, him or the mail? Who led now?
Herrol stepped back. No. He could still be strong.
Today, he fought alone.