Note- the main character Corin goes by the name Hamid during his time in Calorin.
Hamíd stood on guard at the doorway to Lord Rishdah’s study as the lord received the messenger.
“The Sultaan is pleased to announce that his armies have successfully invaded Aredor,” the man said.
Hamíd felt as if an invisible knife plunged into his stomach and twisted. He stood paralyzed in shock as the man continued.
“Our men caught the northerners completely off guard, and their pathetic warbands were swiftly overcome. The Sultaan’s general has taken care of the king and his family and now sits in the royal palace.”
“This is somewhat surprising news. I did not know the Sultaan was planning such a campaign,” Lord Rishdah said.
“He kept it secret from all but a few. Why do you think he made peace with Argus? He needed the soldiers to help expand his domains.”
Lord Rishdah’s features pulled into a frown. “What happens if a rebellion stirs in Aredor? Or worse, in our own country? The southern lords are always restless.”
“The Sultaan is assured that there is no resistance left in the north. And if he needs more men, the alliance with the king of Argus will give the Sultaan mercenaries to use as he wills. If I did not know you better, Rishdah, I would say that you do not support our illustrious ruler.” The messenger studied Lord Rishdah with sudden interest.
“Well then, it is good that you know me.” Lord Rishdah poured two cups of wine and handed one to the messenger. “May our great Sultaan be blessed with health, prosperity, and victory in battle.”
“Always. In Zayd’s blessed name!” the man replied. Draining his goblet, he bowed to Lord Rishdah and left the room.
Lord Rishdah cursed as he saw Hamíd standing still in shock at the door.
“Hamíd, I knew nothing of this news. You should not have heard it like that,” he said.
Hot anger flashed through Hamíd. “How would you mean to tell me that your bloody Sultaan invaded my homeland? Or did you mean to tell me at all?”
“Yes, I would have. But understand that I can do nothing about this,” Lord Rishdah returned.
“What does this mean for me then? Do you turn me in or kill me? Or perhaps you will just enslave me again as you just did my people?” Panic was rising in his chest to clash with the anger and the heated words tumbled out.
Lord Rishdah rose and stepped around the desk. Hamíd hated himself as he almost took a step away.
“None of those.” Lord Rishdah’s words were sharp. “I took you because I saw the courage and honor you have. Do not do anything that will make me change that view. I make it very clear that even though I serve the Sultaan, I do not agree with everything he does. You swore an oath to me and as such are still bound to me. I trust you, and I ask you to do the same.”
“Yes, sir,” Hamíd gritted out.
“You are dismissed for now. I will speak to Azrahil.”
Hamíd snapped a salute and left the room, pushing past the shocked Nicar who had been patrolling the hallway before making his way outside.