Monday, July 29, 2013

Royale Guard, Orb's Year 929-932

Orb's Year 929
Prince Benedict was working hard on tracking down any leads concerning the thieves that attacked his father's tax caravan.  The caravan had been traveling slowly due to the weather and had stopped when something spooked the horse.  Shortly after, the thieves had run from the forest with their faces covered and quickly subdued the surprised guards.

Afterwards, his guards couldn't agree on how many thieves there were or even what they looked like. 

His only clue at this point was a golden hair found near the spot the bags of gold were stored.

Which only led to more questions.  Was a royal involved? Instantly, he thought of Geoffrey.  There was much they did not know about their dear brother-in-law.

Perhaps it was time to begin investigating...
Kea knew that her husband was busy with trying to find the thieves den.  So most days it was just her and their son, Earnest. 
Although, she soon learned that they would be adding one more to the family...

***

"Princess Daphne!" Kea called out and waved her dear sister-in-law over.  "How are you doing?"

Daphne frowned at Kea and shrugged.  "I'm okay."

"How are the wedding preparations coming along?"

Again Daphne just shrugged and then walked off. 

Kea sighed as her sister-in-law walked away, straight towards her friends in the back of the room.  Ever since she'd opened her big mouth and mentioned that her soon-to-be husband might have a reputation, Daphne had been sulking.  No one had the heart to explain that he might have impregnated a serving girl. And, since it was done before Daphne reached her majority and could marry, that alone would not be grounds for breaking the pact.  The whole family had decided it was best for Daphne not to know...

But, Kea resolved to have Daphne over soon to find out what was ailing her...
 "Aunt Kea!" Prince Earl said, turning Kea's attention from her discontent sister-in-law.  

Leaning forward, Kea kissed her nephew's cheek.  "Thank you for coming!" Kea said with a twinkle in her eye. "And now that you're here, there's someone I'd like to make sure you meet.  Suzanne Hart, cousin to our own dear Geoffrey, has come to court and seems to be positively bored out of her mind.  Perhaps you'd be a dear and go chat with her for a few minutes."

"Of course, Aunt Kea.  Where is she?"

Kea glanced around the room, "Ah! There she is," Kea said, pointing at the girl with curly blonde hair.
Prince Earl almost found himself tongue-tied when Princess Suzanne turned around when he called her name.  She was the most beautiful girl that Earl had ever seen!

"Umm... hello..." Prince Earl managed to stammer out.

"Hello," the princess replied indifferently.  

"I thought you might care for some company," Prince Earl said, belatedly adding, "I'm Prince Earl, by the way, the King's son."  Earl almost kicked himself for adding the last part.  He hated the way girls began to simper and fawn after learning that he was the king's son!  

But, Princess Suzanne just frowned even more.  "I'm so sorry about your Grandpa."
Princess Kea greeted her sister-in-law, Queen Deidre with a kiss to the cheek.  "How are things Deidre?"

Queen Deidre smiled, "Much better now.  Barron is still greatly saddened by his father's passing.  How has Benedict been?"

Kea sighed.  "He's thrown himself into finding the thieves, as though it will connect him to his father."

Glancing up, Kea saw Prince Earl and the Princess Suzanne getting along swimmingly.

But...

Further back in the room, Princess Daphne seemed to be getting to close to the Prince Scot Trotier.  Worriedly, she glanced around the room to see where Bradshaw was.

Loudly, Kea announced it was time for the birthday cake!  That would get Daphne away from Scot...
Princess Celeste walked into the kitchen where Geoffrey drank alone.  "It's time for the birthday cake," she said gently, "Aren't you going to join?"

Geoffrey grumbled as he followed after Celeste into the Great Hall. 
As all the others cheered and waved their arms around like plebians, Geoffrey glared at all the Royales.  He couldn't stand any of those self-righteous do-gooders! He hoped the little twerp blew the candles out quickly so he could go home, with or without his cloying wife!
Earnest blew all his candles out as his family cheered.  Kea couldn't help but think he was the spitting image of his father!

***

Prince Scot hung back while everyone else ran over to grab cake.  Reaching out, he grabbed Princess Daphne's arm.  She looked back at him quizzically.  "I was hoping that we could talk some more," Scot said, leading her towards a darkened corner of the room.

Princess Daphne hedged, attempting to pull her arm from Scot's grasp.  "Perhaps we had best stay here. Besides, I wanted cake!" When Scot had initially made a move on her, she'd been so flattered that she hadn't dissuaded him.  In fact, she'd enjoyed flirting!

But, it was beginning to become clear to Daphne that perhaps she should never had started something she didn't know how to control.

Scot tugged a little harder on her arm.  She had just been about to cry out that he was hurting her...
...when her intended, Bradshaw Knightley, streaked across the room and shouldered Scot aside.  Scot's eyes had widened in surprise and he'd let go of Daphne's arm.

"Oh Blessed Orb!" Daphne mumbled worriedly.  Bradshaw was going to hurt Scot!
"Stop it!" Daphne called out to Bradshaw!  "You're hurting him!"

Bradshaw put the boy in a headlock and squeezed.  Leaning down, he said sternly, "Talk to her again and you'll regret it."

Scot sputtered, "I'll tell my Father! You'll regret this!"
Bradshaw scoffed and pushed Scot down.  "Tell your Father.  But, be sure to tell him about your flirtations with a contracted woman. Perhaps he'll review your lessons on honor."
"Come on, Daphne, we're going home." Bradshaw walked from the room as Daphne fell in behind him.  Guiltily, she glanced back at Scot.  When she saw how hard he glared at them, she hurried to be closer to Bradshaw.

***
After most of the guests had left, Princess Catherine sat with her sister-in-laws.  "Someone simply must talk to the girl!" she said. "She seems so sad and lost."

"Perhaps we should tell her," Princess Celeste said softly.  "Wouldn't it be better to know going into a marriage that you cannot hope for love?"

Princess Catherine reached out and gripped her sister's hand.  Worriedly, she asked, "Is Geoffrey...?"

But, Celeste simply waved her hand and nervously laughed, "I wasn't talking about me, I was simply wondering for Daphne's sake..."

The sisters all frowned, undecided on how best to protect Daphne... and Celeste...

Orb's Year 930
 A new brought many changes to the household!
 Kea was delighted to deliver a little girl, Francine!
As Kea busied herself with caring for their new little girl, Prince Benedict spent most of his spare time with his son, Earnest.
There were so many things he wanted to teach his son.
Like a love of games and strategy.
Or the love of fitness!
"It's important to work out our minds and our bodies," Benedict counseled before they went for a jog.  It was never to early to begin training.
But most of all, he wanted Earnest to remember how much his father loved him.

Orb's Year 931
Princess Kea cleared her throat delicately and asked, "Do you have any questions?"

Daphne glanced at her uncomfortably.  "No, I don't think so."

Kea sighed, "Do you have any questions about anything else?"
Daphne took a deep breath, "It's just not fair! Bradshaw is allowed to flirt with other woman, but I'm not allowed to flirt with another man?"

Kea reared back, "Who said Bradshaw was flirting with another woman?"

Daphne glared, "Oh please! It's obvious! You joked about his virility! And their serving girl is pregnant and everyone is upset about it.  Obviously something is going on!  Am I just supposed to ignore it and pretend I don't know?"

Kea frowned.  "Well, to our knowledge, he has not continued the flirtations with the serving girl.  Arthur Knightley has assured us that she would be leaving their service soon and that Bradshaw is fully committed to his marriage to you!"

Daphne wiped a tear from her eye.  "He's been so very mad at me.  I don't think he likes me very much."
Kea wrapped her arms around her sister-in-law.  "There, there. Of course he likes you! How could anyone not like you?!  Perhaps it's time that you asked Bradshaw your questions..." 

Orb's Year 932
"You mean to tell me that there's been no evidence leading us to the thieves den?" King Barron asked his brother impatiently.
"Not a trace!" Benedict replied with frustration.  "I've scoured the maps.  We've searched the forests, especially the ones around dear Geoffrey's castle."

Barron sighed, "Well keep trying.  They hit us once and they'll try again.  We've got to be ready for them..."
Benedict scoured the maps...
...Reviewed hundreds of dead-end tips...

And in the end, he still had nothing useful.
Sighing, he went to find Kea.  He needed some comfort and reassurance.  "What if I fail my brother.. and my father?" he voiced his biggest fear.

Kea held her husband's hands.  "You'd never fail them.  Failing them would mean not caring and not trying.  As long as you are giving it your very best, you're not failing them!"

"Da-da!" Francine called from the corner.
Smiling, Benedict scooped his daughter into his arms and snuggled with her.  His wife was right, as usual.   As long as his children tried their hardest, he would never be angry or upset with them.

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