Lords of Freedom is an exciting new novel including adventure, realistic action, surprising insights, and a touch of romance. Enjoy a new chapter every week. Prior chapters can be found here.
Lords of Freedom—Chapter 28—Articles of Government
Back at home that night Loris bustled around the kitchen, preparing the evening meal while Sergio checked the house and yard for things neglected in their absence. Xan accompanied him while Hon worked with her mother. Since Xan had no place in Merker, they’d insisted he stay with them, along with Sheba of course.
“I think Xan rather fancies you, dear,” Loris said, giving the simmering stew a good stir.
“Mother!” Hon exclaimed.
“The feeling is mutual, no?”
“He’s a wonderful boy—perfect for you. I couldn’t have found anyone better for you myself. It’s about time too. After all, you have blossomed beyond your years in both your mind and body.”
Hon blushed and looked away. “You’re right, of course. I’ve had a crush on him since the first day he stormed through the house with Cheston.”
Loris paused in her work. “Is that so? That’s so sweet—you should tell him that, one of these days.”
Before Hon could respond, thinking she’d never tell him that, the door opened, admitting her father and Xan. They were smiling and chatting amiably, and Sergio crossed the room at once to kiss Loris’ neck.
“The stew smells wonderful; we’re famished,” he said.
“Good,” Loris said, turning to face him. “We’ll have it all on the table by the time you both wash up.”
Sergio drew her into his arms. “It’s good to be home.”
Loris murmured something tender, snuggling in close for a moment.
Hon glanced at Xan, who was also watching quietly, and both of them blushed.
“Go ahead and wash up,” Hon told him, looking away. “They’re always like this.”
Xan nodded, pausing as he passed by to say, “Later, after supper, perhaps we could take a walk?”
“Sure,” she agreed. “I’d like that.”
Over dinner, Sergio and Xan discussed the changes they intended for the governing body of Merker. There had to be laws to protect the citizens without infringing on basic liberties. Those in power had to be vetted, to ensure they possessed that mindset; further, there had to be a way to depose any who sought tyranny in high office, as Duke Grudo had. It was a complicated process with a delicate balance, but Xan had an answer to every question Sergio posed.
“Where did you gain such wisdom lad?” he asked at last, leaning back in his chair.
“From very wise and enlightened beings, in a place far away from here,” Xan replied with a wistful smile.
“Those who sent you back to us, on this mission of yours?” Loris asked.
“Yes. I’m sorry I can’t say more right now. If I could, I’d tell you all of it, but one day surely, I’ll be able.”
Sergio had a handful of men in mind he felt would serve well as his counselors and planned to meet with each of them the following day. As well, Sergio asked Xan what he thought about Roghaar being appointed general of the Merker army.
“Roghaar is perfect,” Hon exclaimed, looking to Xan.
“I agree,” he said with a nod. “I’d like to accompany you tomorrow when you meet with your future counselors. I trust your judgment, but just in case.”
Sergio chuckled. “I thought that was a given—wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“What about Charley though?” Hon said. “Is there some station he could fill, other than prison guard? He really helped us out, you know, did everything he could to keep me and the others safe.”
“Of course there is,” Loris said, raising a brow at her husband. “I adore Charley; in fact, he’ll be joining us here for dinner tomorrow.”
Xan smiled with a shrug. He trusted Charley, so whatever Sergio decided was what would be. He was the governor, after all.
“Rest assured, Charley will be well rewarded for his integrity and courage. I’m impressed with him as well. Maybe he’d serve well as first lieutenant to Roghaar.
Dinner wrapped up soon after that, and Xan caught Hon’s eye.
“We’re going out for a little walk,” she said.
Loris and Sergio shared a look and motioned them off with knowing smiles.
It was dusk, with a brilliant sunset in the sky above. Xan took Hon’s hand, and they headed away from the house along a narrow winding path. Sheba joined them straightaway, and moments after that, Dawn trotted into view.
Xan sighed softly. “You don’t mind a full escort, do you?”
Hon shook her head, watching Dawn canter out ahead with Sheba loping alongside her. “They’re amazing—both of them.”
Silence fell between them, as nocturnal creatures began to stir and the sun slipped further into the sky. It was an easy silence though, each lost in thought as they walked.
“I’d like to ask you something now,” Xan said at last.
She looked up at him.
“When I depart with Sheba a few days from now, I’d like you to come with me. I’ve enjoyed getting reacquainted this past while and…” He let his voice trail off.
“And?” she prompted, as her heart began to race.
“Well, I find that I don’t want to be apart from you.”
She stopped and stepped in front of him, taking hold of his other hand. “I’ve been beside myself, wondering what I’d do once you were gone…again.”
“That’s why I offered you combat training—not that you’ll be on the front lines or anything, just so you’re confident in defending yourself and helping where needed.”
She nodded understanding. “Yes; I’ll go with you. I’d have asked to go along, had it come to that.”
“You would have?” He looked genuinely surprised.
When she nodded, he bent to kiss her, drawing her into his embrace.
“It won’t be easy,” he said drawing back. “We’re going to Sagal, to get to know Artorius, and hopefully win him to our cause. From there it’s on to Cavalon, to defeat the king and free the realm.”
“Staying behind, without you would be much harder,” she said.
He drew her close again. “Having you by my side will be wonderful.”
Once Sergio was officially appointed governor of Merker, it was determined that the vast majority, including all remaining guards and soldiers, sustained him as such. Sergio proceeded to appoint men to serve as his counselors, and together they revised the laws governing Merker, repealing the more onerous and restrictive ones. Sergio then appointed Roghaar as his first general with the entire council’s full support. Charley was appointed to be second in command.
Based on Xan’s advice, nine articles of government were presented and adopted:
- The governor is the head leader and nominates councilors to help govern.
- New nominations are to be approved by the council.
- The governor and council agree on and administer laws that preserve order and freedom.
- All leaders and citizens are required to obey the law and protect freedom.
- Leaders, including the governor, who violate the law and fail to protect freedom shall be deposed by a council vote.
- If the governor dies or is deposed, the most senior council member will rule in his stead.
- The governor and council will be in charge of the military, which will always stand ready to defend freedom.
- Guards will protect the governor and his family at all times.
- The god-given rights to speak freely and bear arms are not to be violated.
All of these things were agreed on and set in place within a few days. Xan knew that this form of government was not perfect but was based on the teachings of Solomon and could be adapted to work in either a kingdom or a republic.
Xan advised Sergio, his council, and Roghaar to urgently prepare for more battles to defend their freedom. Cavalon was still ruled by a wicked king, one who would not stand for rebellion of any sort.
© Copyright 2017-2023 Gene Van Shaar
Gene Van Shaar is a master teacher whose lessons and stories have generated both laughter and tears. He has written many articles and books, some of which can be found here.