The Lord of Lies: Strange Threads: Book 2

The Lord of Lies: Strange Threads: Book 2 by Sam Bowring Read Free Book Online

Book: The Lord of Lies: Strange Threads: Book 2 by Sam Bowring Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sam Bowring
crowd could not see his nervous expression just then, ‘… and yet Despirrow stole into our very midst to finish him off. It is he who killed the king and he who is also responsible for the strange occurrence in which we lost the night.’
    Anger grew, consternation. Fear.
    ‘Despirrow is an enemy to every good man and woman of Aorn. He will be punished for his crimes!’
    Righteousness, fury. For Rostigan and Yalenna, it was a welcome reaction. Braston’s voice had reached so many, and if they now desired revenge, perhaps they would stay true to the cause.
    Would they accept the next thing Yalenna had to say?
    ‘We have been granted a small mercy, at least,’ she continued. ‘Althala had a king before Braston. A good king, a valiant king – a king by right of birth!’
    Murmurs.
    ‘He has beenof great help during these troubled times, and Braston valued his friendship and counsel.’
    Rostigan was impressed. He had never seen Yalenna like this, booming as she told lies with conviction, despite her rage at the truth.
    ‘And so it is with bittersweet gratitude that I present to you – King Loppolo!’
    Loppolo stepped forwards, raising a solemn hand in greeting. There were cheers for him – maybe not overawing ones, but they did seem genuine, and warm. And why not? He
had
been a good king, was well respected for stopping the Unwoven spilling from the Pass years ago on the Ilduin. Even though it had really been Rostigan to set his feet in that direction.
    Loppolo bowed before Yalenna, and went down on his knee. Certainly he knew how to play his part, and at least wasn’t leaping about wringing his hands with pleasure. That was assuming he felt such a thing – Rostigan had the impression that Loppolo was growing to realise what he had gotten himself into.
    Yalenna raised the crown high for all to see, then placed it on Loppolo’s head. He rose and turned back to the crowd who cheered again, more loudly this time.
    ‘My people,’ said Loppolo, ‘it is unfortunate indeed that I return to you through such terrible circumstances. Yet I also feel gladdened by being able to serve you once again. I speak not only to my native Althalans, but also to those who have travelled to join us, and take up the most desperate of causes – to stand against the evils that threaten us all. I swear to do all I can to rid the world of the Unwoven for good, and the enemies we find in Despirrow and Forger …’
    Rostigan andYalenna had counselled him against mentioning either Salarkis or Karrak. Neither, they reasoned, seemed to be causing any harm. Maybe, Rostigan had even suggested, Karrak had simply never reappeared? At any rate, there was no need to conjure up more enemies, when the ones the people faced were already terrifying enough.
    ‘… and
then
, only then, will our world be restored to rights. And to that end …’
    Loppolo turned to Rostigan, whose stomach turned.
    I would like to introduce you to the new commander of the army …
    That was what Yalenna had wanted. She had asked Rostigan to take the army under his wing, an unfortunate turn of phrase for the once-Lord of Crows. It was touching, he supposed, that she had grown to trust him enough to offer him such control, despite an army being the very thing with which he had once caused so much destruction. He, however, had convinced her it was a bad idea. Not only because he did not personally desire the responsibility but, in a practical sense, it would trap him when he and Yalenna needed to operate freely. She had seen the wisdom of that, and thus, what Loppolo actually said next was:
    ‘… I would hear from one who has fought alongside both Braston and myself, and who will fight with you all in the coming days. The hero who killed Stealer, a champion among champions – I give you, Rostigan Skullrender!’
    Rostigan steppedforward. Loppolo did not really understand the importance of him speaking, because he did not know Rostigan’s power to make words sink into

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