U is for Underground
The man straightened up, wide-eyed. He turned to Kenrick. “You believe this?”
“What proof have you?” the man demanded, glaring back at Godwin.
Godwin licked his lips. “Grant was careful to obscure any evidence of my parentage. Yet you can still make out my father’s crest on my arm.”
“My right forearm. On the inside. Grant tried to burn it off.”
The man came around behind Godwin and shoved him down flat. He gripped one wrist. “I see nothing.”
“The other one,” gasped Godwin. “The right.”
The man turned his other wrist and gasped, dropping Godwin’s hand.
The gathered crowd began the chatter. Noise erupted from a far corner. “Out of the way!” a familiar voice shouted. The crowd parted and dusty boots came forward. “Is it true?”
Godwin twisted to look up. “Barth.”
Barth dropped to his knees. “Godwin. You fool.” Barth pulled Godwin up to sitting and worked to release his bondings. Godwin saw his wetted cheeks. “How could anyone…?” Barth muttered.
When Godwin’s hands were free, Barth pulled him up to his feet, dusting him off. He paused, gripping Godwin’s shoulders. “You live.” Barth flung his arms around Godwin, squeezing him tightly.
Abruptly Barth released Godwin. “Your Majesty.” Barth turned to the man who continued to gape at Godwin. “This is our king. This is Godwin.” Barth spun to the gathered crowd. “This is Godwin. Our rightful and true king.”
Barth turned back to Godwin, then dropped to his knees. “Your Majesty.”
Others fell to their knees, the clicking of armor and swords striking the floor echoing off the cavern walls.
Now it was Godwin’s turn to gape. Kenrick dropped to his knees, joining the others.
“No,” said Godwin. “NO! You will not bow to me.”
“Why not,” said Barth.
“Because I am not king. At least not until Aldred is gone.”