Anders woke to find Meck sitting in a chair by his side. He took a moment to examine his wizard. Even in sleep Meck looked tired. The young wizard hadn’t left Anders side since his injury and had been bringing Anders food and drink taking the work away from the healers to lighten their load.
If a seer had told Anders he would become fond of his personal wizard he would never have believed them. In the short period he had known him Meck had turned Anders life around. Meck gave warm and caring out like hand made candy making everyone around him eager for more.
“He is quite devoted.” The prince’s voice pulled Anders out of his inner reflection.
“I was just thinking the same thing.” Maybe not the exact thing, but close enough.
His grace entered the tent, careful not to wake Meck. When the prince came up to Anders other side he set his gaze on Meck and didn’t look away as he spoke. “He’s a tiny thing for all the fuss people make about him.”
Anders smiled. He couldn’t argue. First it was unwise to argue with his future king. The other it was true. “He isn’t the largest of men,” he agreed.
“Perhaps the gods made him cuddle size for you.” The prince’s amused expression allowed Anders to grin. He never wanted to appear to be laughing at a royal when they were being serious. It was a good way to be an ex-general by way of death.
Anders nodded. “I believe you are right.”
The prince sighed. “I came to warn you.”
“About what?” Anders hadn’t sensed any danger coming which made the prince’s news further unwelcome.
“My father will be visiting.” The prince’s fatalistic tone had all the angst of a teenager expecting his parent to embarrass him.
“Is he that concerned for our war effort?” The king rarely left his castle these days and since they’d wont he last battle Meck wasn’t sure why he would show up now.
“No he’s collecting again.”
Anders cast a quick look at his wizard. Rumors across the kingdom said that King Tierness the third collected the best and brightest and kept them tucked behind his castle walls. Since few were allowed inside most of those rumors died and unsubstantiated death.
“So it’s true.”
“Yes, and your pretty wizard would be just the kind of person he’d like. Anything that leads to my father’s further comfort would be snatched up before you can say ‘where did my wizard go?”
“Thank you for the warning, your grace, I will try to keep Meck out of sight.”
“That might not be enough. Word has reached him that you have a comfort wizard who can cast a spell strong enough to repel anything from your armor. He already sent me notice he wants Meck.”
Anders froze. He hadn’t even had his wizard a fortnight and already he was the focus of the greedy monarch. “I will have to let the king see him and remind him that as a fighting soldier I have more of a right to comfort than a sitting king.” Anders fierce words had the prince smiling.
“Promise me one thing, my good general,” the prince all but purred.
“What?” Anders made no promises without knowing in advance what he was agreeing too. He might not be a royal, but he wasn’t an idiot either.
“Let me be there when you tell my father that.” The glee in the prince’s eyes had Anders laughing.
“I will do my best, my prince.”
The prince took his leave with a jaunty step while Anders began to plot.