Chapter 9: Namrup
Chapter 9: Namrup
Suhung shifted on the throne, Pakhari’s words echoing in his head. Was he truly as weak as she’d made him seem? Was she right? Did he need to be more active in seeing what was happening in the Kingdom? He did not know. Something inside him told him that Pakhari was right.
However, another part told him that she was a woman and what did any woman know of what it meant to be King? And yet, the part that told him that Pakhari was right also told him that his mother had known what it meant to lead. What it meant to struggle. And would he truly consider his mother less than just because she was a woman?
Of course not!
His mother had been the best. The woman who had built their family back after his father’s execution. She had been deserving of everything and more. And yet there was something inside him that rebelled at the thought of listening to his wife.
Why he did not know. But it was there. He glanced to his right where Pakhari was sat, she was staring straight ahead. She had not looked at him since she had told him what she thought of him. He was terrified that she did not care for him. That she would never care for him if he did not act.
Suhung took a breath and then looked at Debera, the man was stood near the foot of the throne. What was the man planning? What was his game? Suhung had thought he had known. But now he was not sure.
He nodded to Debera, and the man nodded to a guard. Soon enough, the doors to the throne room opened and a guard announced. “His Highness Prince Arjun, Prince of Namrup.”
Suhung felt a flutter of excitement as his cousin walked into the room. Arjun had been there for Suhung when his father had died. Indeed, even before that, Arjun had been there. Ensuring they had what they needed.
Prince Arjun was tall and slim, but he looked like a warrior. He was everything Suhung wanted to be. The man strode forward, accompanied by his household. He knelt at the foot of the throne.
Suhung looked at him, fighting the urge to get up off the throne and embrace him. Instead, he remained seated and waited.
Arjun spoke the words of the oath. “I, Arjun, Prince of Namrup do hereby offer my undying allegiance to His Majesty Suhung, King of the Ahom Kingdom, Dragon of Indra and Chosen of the Gods. My sword is yours from this day to my last.”
“Rise, Arjun, Prince of Namrup and know that you have our everlasting gratitude.” Suhung said.
Arjun rose and Suhung waited a moment before asking. “How was your journey here?” Namrup was a two-day journey from the capital.
“It was pleasant, Your Majesty, thank you. We did not have much trouble.” Arjun said.
“But there was trouble?” Suhung asked, glancing at Pakhari who was looking at Arjun with interest.
“Some minor nonsense from peasants who wanted to know if we were going to Charaideo.” Arjun answered.
The name sent a tremor through Suhung. Solail was in Charaideo, and if peasants were asking Arjun about him, that meant they thought he was a serious threat. He glanced at Debera, but the man’s expression was hard to read. What was he thinking?
If you want to break from the man, you must do it now.
Suhung wondered where that thought had come from. He knew what he was supposed to say now. There was supposed to be endless pleasantries and then a dismissal, but he found himself not content with that. Instead, he said. “Everyone but Arjun may leave.”
Suhung saw something flash across Debera’s face, but just as quickly it was gone. Everyone bowed and departed, some murmuring, others going in silence. Once the last of them were gone and the doors were shut, Suhung got up off the throne and walked down the steps, embracing Arjun once he'd got to the bottom.
“Uncle.” He said.
“Nephew.” Arjun replied.
Suhung stepped back and then said. “I need your help.” His mind was made up. If Pakhari said a real King would take steps to not become a puppet, then he would not become a puppet. Indeed, he would do everything he could to avoid becoming one.
And to him that meant involving the one person he could truly count on.
Arjun looked at him with interest. “How may I be of service, Sire?”
Suhung looked back to where Pakhari was sat and saw her looking at him intently. He looked back at Arjun and took a deep breath.
“I am worried that Debera Borbarua means to kill me. I need your help ensuring his removal and the safety of the Kingdom.” Suhung said.
Arjun said nothing for a moment, merely looked at him, then Suhung felt the tension leave him when Arjun said. “Of course, it will be my honour to help you, Sire. Debera Borbarua will not know what has hit him.”
“Thank you, Uncle. Truly, thank you.” Suhung said. He then cleared his throat and said. “I suppose I shall need to call everyone back in.”
Arjun laughed. “I think that would make sense, Sire.”
Suhung nodded and looked at one of the guards at the far end of the hall. “Send them back in.” He called. He walked back up the steps and took his seat on the throne.
As everyone filed back in, Pakhari leaned and whispered. “That was a smart choice. You did well.”
Suhung didn’t smile, but he did feel a little bit of warmth run through his body at her words. Perhaps things weren’t as bad as he had first thought.
As Debera entered the room, Suhung took some pleasure in seeing how discomfited he looked.
Good, now he will either be more dangerous and make a mistake. Or he will be knocked into compliance. Either way I shall not be his puppet.