“Lady Amandine, come in,” King Blackthorn stood in chivalric response to the entrance of a Lady. “You asked to see me Your Majesty?” Lady Amandine stood at attention, her military bearing shining through her bright blue civilian dress. “Don’t give me that, sit down Amandine. Stop being so damned official.” “You ARE the King Your Magesty,” Her tone was far from sarcastic, simply showing respect for the crown and her friend. “My friend ‘returned’ another book.” “And this one isn’t one of yours either? You said the first one came from your friends own library.” Amandine sat and leaned forward slightly to see the two open books that lay on the board they played Chess on nightly. “No, no. He is sending them in the most mundane ways too. Squires and messengers nothing secret or suspicious. It is all under the guise of returning these books to me, I think they are simply vessels to deliver the codes.” The King looked frustrated going over each separate string of coded message. “So, this is the first one?” Amandine picked up the first book that had been delivered and read the handwritten line written in the inside margin of page four. A3C4C4D4G3C4C3F2C2C4A3D4F1G3G2D1G2D1G2A2B2D2A2C2B2 Next to the encoded line a small ankh surrounded by an outline that resembled a shield. It was the symbol of the disbanded Knights of the Crux Ansata. The King looked across the table, “This is obviously some sort of Crux Ansata code. You don’t know how to decipher it?” “Not at all, remember how I told you I inherited the Crux Ansata after the Massacre on the Beach? I was just a squire, not privy to all the secrets and mysteries. I have never even seen this code before, the little shield and Ankh, sure I’ve seen that all over the place. I have even used the symbol myself in my handwritten notes, but I’ve never seen a code like this Your Majesty.” Amandine reached for the second book and placed it next to the first. B4G2A2A3D4E4G2D2A3C4C2B2G2A3C4G4D2C4G4A3F3B3G4B2C4D4 “They are the same length,” The King noted. “Do you think that means anything?” “No idea.” “What are you going to do?” “I wrote the first one off as an eccentricity of my friend, but two notes in two days seems a bit more insistent. I do not think this is a game. I am worried.” The Kings dark grey eyes pierced into Lady Amandine. The two of them sat for a very long time, in seats they had both grown accustomed to, yet the two of them simply poured over the codes and became more and more frustrated. The nightly game of chess had taken a different form, and the both of them were stumped. “Regardless of the message, I think you need to pay him a visit. But I do not want you to go alone.” “Please don’t send me with Dupre…” “I thought you two kissed and made up?” Lady Amandine made a sour face and stuck out her tongue in disgust. “There is the Lady!” the King laughed, finally managing to break her officiality of the evening. Lady Amandine tossed the book in her hand on the table and crossed her arms, “What did you have in mind?” “Something a bit more official.” The King walked to his desk and retrieved a small package; something wrapped in oiled leather and tied with a silk ribbon. Lady Amandine held the package close; she knew instantly what was inside. “I return to you the Sword Caliburn, and with it your Knights… the Royal Knights of the Crux Ansata. I signed your new charter this morning.” The King remained standing, a wry smile on his face. “I do not know if many will answer the call, it has been a long time.” Lady Amandine looked a bit defeated as she placed the sword at her hip. “I was gone for years, they made me King.” He laughed. “Gather your Knights. The land has need of you and yours.” “Yes, Your Majesty.” Lady Amandine practically ran out of the room, there was much work to be done.