“Tell me a story, grandmother.”
The childish words caught Trella by surprise, and she rose from the window bench to find Escander standing a few steps behind her. The words and intonation might be those of a little boy, but the youth facing her had already entered his young manhood. “And who let you into my rooms unannounced?” She frowned at him as she shook her head, annoyed only at herself for not hearing his approach.
“You did, grandmother, else your guards would have stopped me. So you must still want to see your favorite grandson.”
“I’ll speak to the guards later,” she said. “No doubt they’ve been sleeping at their post again.”
Nevertheless, she held out her arms and let him embrace her, her forehead resting easily on his shoulder for a brief moment. His body felt warm and reassuring, strong and full of life against her. Trella remembered how often she’d held the boy as a child. He needed her touch then, more even than her own children. Tell me a story, grandmother. He pleaded and cajoled with her often while growing up, using the same words, and always with a plaintive voice she’d found difficult to refuse.
The guards outside her quarters had a very short list of those allowed entry to Trella’s chambers unannounced. King Sargon, her eldest son, as well as her two other children, Zakita and Melkorak. A few trusted servants who had served her through the years, and her closest companion, En-hedu, who also directed the large number of spies Trella employed not only in Akkad but throughout the land. Everyone else, including her other grandchildren, had to seek an audience or wait for approval to enter Trella’s wing of the palace. The hard-eyed bodyguards from the Hawk Clan remained ever alert; even now, Lady Trella had many enemies.”
So begins Battle for Empire, the fifth and final story of the Eskkar Saga.
Trella approaches her sixtieth season, having ruled Akkad with Eskkar, and their son, Sargon for almost forty five years. Nearly all of those who fought to build and defend the city of Akkad many years ago have died. Sargon has fallen ill, and his rule over the Empire is growing weaker. Now her grandson, Escander, must struggle to claim and hold the growing empire. A new threat has arisen, and he will need all the help he can gather from his few allies willing to seat him on the throne of Akkad.
But Escander has one advantage - the wisdom of Trella, who can guide her grandson onto the proper path that will give him the best chance to survive the coming storm. In Escander, Trella sees a rebirth of a young Eskkar, with many of the same strengths. She will do whatever she can to assist him in establishing his authority and save the young Akkadian Empire from collapse and ruin.