The King’s Man by Rowena Cory Daniells
ALL HIS LIFE, Garzik had followed Byren and Orrade around, trying to keep up with them, but his legs were never long enough. The five years’ age difference meant they were seasoned warriors at nineteen, while he was still an untried boy. Not that his brother and the younger of the royal twins were cruel. They tolerated him with the absent-minded kindness of older brothers.
He hated being tolerated.
Tonight was his chance to prove himself and win a place in Byren’s honour guard. Tonight Dovecote Estate had fallen to treacherous invaders, who’d murdered Garzik’s father. This meant Orrie was the new Lord Dovecote – what a strange thought.
Garzik gave himself a mental shake. Right now his sister, Elina, and Byren’s twin, Lence, were being held captive upstairs. Byren and Orrie were going to free Elina and the kingsheir, while Garzik lit the warning beacon.
They trusted him to alert Rolencia to the invasion. And he would do it.
Or die trying.
Garzik followed four of Byren’s honour guard out of the cellars, trying to pretend he wasn’t scared witless. Seven of them, dressed in servants’ tabards to blend in, made their way up the steps through the kitchen and storerooms to the door of the stable yard.
No one asked what they were doing.
Thanks to the cook, the Merofynians were all drunk or getting that way. As for the invaders’ servants, they’d been lured into a cold-cellar and the door bolted behind them.
If Garzik didn’t light the beacon on the warning tower, King Rolen wouldn’t know Rolencia had been invaded. Byren’s father was busy planning for a wedding, not an invasion.
Garzik glanced to Winterfell. With his broken nose, the honour guard no longer looked like himself. He looked battered, but determined.
Conviction hardened Garzik’s resolve. If he was honest, he was glad he wasn’t leading the party to light the beacon.
Winterfell paused in the doorway to the rear courtyard. At almost seventeen, he had two years’ experience on Garzik. Oldest of the honour guard, he had emerged as their leader. Three more honour guard stood between Winterfell and Garzik, so he couldn’t see out the back door.
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