Drawful the Awful is the ongoing series/novel in progress following the pursuits of the dragon, Drawful, who is awful at being a dragon, and his “kidnapee” the Princess Brooke. The full series can be found here.
Nick’s reprieve from Lando had been confined only to his time in the sparring ring. Lando had requested an audience with Nick for breakfast, which the King had tolerated as best he could thanks to Louis’ counsel in the sparring ring.
What made appreciating Lando’s intentions and efforts difficult were the lack of other substance behind the bright eyed admiration of the fellow royal. At a certain point, Nick thought, intentions had to be backed up by actual work and self-investment.
“So, your cabinet, how did you decide on twenty three members? The luck and inherent magic of prime numbers?” Lando was busy spreading jam on some toast. Nick could see a little self-satisfied grin on Lando’s round face, evidently proud that he had correctly identified the number twenty three as a prime number.
Nick, however, did not take any stock in such superstitions. Magic was a worthwhile science in its own right, and Nick had a pair of cabinet members for two application of of magicks in two ways pertinent to ruling and running of the kingdom: Custodian of Magical Artifacts and Tools and the Chief Commissioner for Civic Magicks and Enchantments.
“If there is luck to be gleaned from it, that’s certainly fine, however it’s just the number of areas that comprise the complete and comprehensive day to day activities and concerns of a kingdom.” Nick scooped some granola into a small bowl of yogurt and began to stir it up.
Nick had decided on them having breakfast in the small study adjacent to the cabinet conference room. A table had been set by the window overlooking the rose garden where the landscapers tended the bushes that had recently burst into full bloom for the season. Plebo was also at the table, and was inhaling coffee to try to keep up with the king and keep from putting his head down on the table for a nap.
“Twenty three.” Lando repeated the number softly and his eyes averted in a way Plebo could tell was him trying to puzzle out and list what they could all possibly be. Judging by how quickly Lando’s eyes glazed over, Plebo guessed (correctly) that the King had barely been able to name four, even with the help of the one King Nick had pointed out on their way to the palace earlier that morning.
The King took a spoonful of the yogurt and then motioned for one of the attendants standing by. “Peter, if you would prepare a ledger of the members of the cabinet and their roles. It would be useful for King Lando when sitting in with me on today’s cabinet meeting.”
Plebo couldn’t restrain a snort, as he know Nick had both read Lando’s dull eyed look correctly, but was also subjecting Lando to the very sort of noise Lando loathed: the noise of a democratic committee of experts. “Also, prepare seats beside me in the cabinet meeting for King Lando and the Duke, Plebo.”
Plebo looked up quickly and sputtered a little choking on his sugar coated grain flakes he was having with milk. “My liege, I,”
“You are a Duke of Kingdom Anathema and a visiting noble, as well as advisor to your King. Your place in the cabinet is nothing short of mandatory.” Nick instructed Peter to prepare a second copy of the roll for Plebo’s reference as well.
Lando, for his part looked quite a bit more excited than Plebo would have guessed, and far more excited than Plebo hoped. This business was turning into a worrisome influence on the King. What happened next was the most terrifying portent of things to come for Plebo. Lando waved a hand politely (politely!) for Peter and made a humble request: “might I also have some blank parchment and a utensil? I think it would be useful for me to be able to take notes.”
Nick nodded thoughtfully and began considering that perhaps this mentorship wouldn’t be so bad after all. Even if the dragon business backfired after all, he consoled himself, there was always training and tutelage by good example for whoever the victorious young man might be even if it wasn’t Haverly.
Nick admitted to himself that he was pulling for the young wizard, but what chance did a sheltered Wizard of the academy on an alpaca (even an alpaca sturdy as Bob) have against seasoned warriors and nobles?
Nick’s grim expression eventually ebbed to a smile when he considered the Princes and other heirs to nobility he and Brooke had met in recent months. There was a flush of excitement at how good Haverly’s odds seemed. Excitement that was at odds with the Duke’s mounting terror at how King Lando was taking all too well to Nick’s example and tutelage.