Tay watched the king run his fingers along the spines of the old books. Golden lines glowed in the wake of his touch, forming titles and symbols on their backs. Alethaien shivered when he recognized one of them. The Arts had been outlawed for centuries in Dorenika, but the Kings of the Alliance had always been avid students of the mysteries. He swallowed hard when Doyle pulled one of them from the shelf, leaving a dark, dusty gap that none of the other books dared enchroach upon.
“This is it,” the king said, stroking the gleaming leather as if expecting it to purr any moment. Tay had to fight the urge to shrink back in his chair when Doyle approached with his prize. “I want you to read it, prince, and take these words to heart.”
The heavy tome landed in Tay’s lap. He stared at it. It looked fairly innocent, if one discounted the glowing lines scrolling all over it just moments ago.
Doyle bent down, one hand on each of the chair’s arms, to put his face right in front of Tay’s. “No. This is not optional, young prince. You will read this, or you will be assigned a tutor to make sure you learn its content.” He leaned in closer to whisper into the younger man’s ear. “You should not be afraid of words, my friend. It’s the people who speak them that do the bad things.”