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Allegiance

Denzel leaned forward as if he were telling a delightful secret. “Ah, but the king survived.”

Kenan’s frowning countenance broke into a smile. “Truly?”

Tristan laughed and shoved his younger brother playfully. “Of course he had to survive, Kenan. He’s alive, isn’t he?”

Kenan took a moment to digest this, then shrugged. “But people still die in stories.”

“Only in stories about dead people. So tell us, Denzel, what happened?”

The bard smiled. “Ah, so it’s a good thing the king has a wizard for an advisor, then isn’t it?”

“Merlin knew it was a spell and warned King Arthur?” Tristan asked excitedly. Denzel shook his head. “Nay, my prince. King Arthur put the cloak on—”

Kenan gasped. “But he would die! That’s what you said, that Morgan le Fay put a spell on the cloak so that if a man put it on, he would be consumed by flames.”

Denzel nodded knowingly. “Ah, eah, that I did, didn’t I? Well, that’s because it’s true . . . but not for King Arthur. Merlin has foresight. He knew that Morgan le Fay would try to kill the king. So he gave the king a leather belt.”

Tristan scoffed. “A belt?”

“Eah, a belt with a little spell of its own: whomsoever wore the belt couldn’t be harmed by spell or blade, for as long as the belt was around his waist. So Mistress le Fay just wasted her time.”

Kenan gave an exaggerated sigh of relief. “She should waste more of her time.”

“Eah, that she should.”

Tristan was thinking hard. “Did this actually, truly happen, Denzel?”

Denzel threw up his hands in a gesture of futility. “Ah, how should I know, prince? I’m nought but a simple bard. They say it happened. And Morgan le Fay has tried to kill King Arthur before. And they say she’s a witch. But who can know for sure?”

“I can. I’ll ask King Arthur some day.”

Kenan looked skeptical. “How?”

“I’m going to be a knight someday and I’m going to swear fealty to the noblest king who ever lived. Then I’ll ask him.”



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