Orb's Year 929
He wanted to create something amazing! Something more than just a suit of armor...
Princess Deidre smiled as she watched her son's fingers fly on the piano keys, "And he never grumbles when it is time to practice! We are so very proud of him!"
Princess Cassidy jumped up and smiled at her old friend. "I was wondering when you would arrive! Shall we go for our walk, your highness?"
Alexander winked at Cassidy and held up a finger. "In a moment. First I have something I need to discuss with my son concerning the taxes that were stolen."
Cassidy shook her head as she left the room to give the men privacy. That was nasty business! Thieves making off with the people's hard-earned taxes! They needed to be caught and be made an example!
King Alexander opened and closed his mouth a few times, but he discovered that words wouldn't come out. He made a frantic motion at his son, frustrated at his inability to communicate and the dimming of the lights.
Oh bloody Orb! he thought, This must be what it felt like to feel the Orb's energy draining.
"Father?" Barron asked as he reached out to catch the King. "Father?"
King Alexander smiled. He would be with his Aurora soon enough.
King Alexander Royale, Orb's Year 881-929
Distantly, he heard his young son crying and wished fervently that he could join him.
Clearing his throat, he called out to the room, "To Celestia!"
Barron glanced up, "Who said I snuck away?" he asked.
"Mother. She said that you needed some time to get things straight in your head," Earl said as he moved a piece.
Barron sighed. "I just needed some time to myself," he said sadly. He'd hoped it wouldn't be so obvious when he'd left the Great Hall after shaking the hundredth hand this afternoon. He'd needed silence to think... and mourn. He and his son continued to play in silence.
"I wasn't hiding!" Barron protested.
"His head doesn't look too straight to me," Prince Earl whispered conspiratorially to his mother, hopping up from his chair. "I think he needs longer."
Deidre reached over and grabbed her husband's hand. "Come to bed. It will be better in the morning."
"Not yet, there's one more thing I have to do," Barron said. "I'll be up in awhile."
Deidre patted his cheek. "Don't be too long. I'll wait for you."
Orb's Year 930
"Change, auntie. Change!" Ennis replied happily as he hurried with his meal. He couldn't wait to get started.
Ennis beamed proudly, "It's a mechanical castle guard. There's a intricate system of cogs and gears inside that allow it to function. It will be able to do practically anything a human can do!"
"How does it work?" Barron asked, growing excited over the possibilities.
Ennis handed the King a key. "Put this in the hole in the back of the armor and twist. It will send the gears moving and bring it to life."
Barron turned the key over in his hand. "I will keep this key safe." Pausing, he added, "You have done well, blacksmith. I would like to put any plans you used in a safe to keep this invention a secret while we test our new friend."
Ennis bowed slightly, "As you wish, sire."
"It works!" Barron cheered, slapping Ennis on the back. "It really works!"
Ennis beamed proudly at his creation.
"Follow it!" King Barron shouted as he began running after the mechanical man. "We have to make sure it doesn't hurt anyone!"
Orb's Year 931
Queen Deidre had been delighted to find that CG could even dance a lively jig.
"I don't care what you say, it's just plain wrong," Emily would mumble whenever someone mentioned CG. Ennis couldn't understand why she was so adamant about not liking the mechanical man. But, whenever he tried to probe, Emily would get huffy and say that in her day, there weren't any mechanical men wandering around pretending to be human!
Deidre smiled and happily clapped her hands. "That sounds wonderful! I haven't seen my friends for quite some time! It will be wonderful to show them all CG!"
Barron patted the key attached to a chain he always around his neck. "Let's not make too big of a deal about CG. I haven't decided whether to allow Ennis to attempt to duplicate another mechanical man."
Deidre smiled at her worried husband. "I don't think we'll need to worry about it. Why don't you go to bed. I'll be up soon."
Barron made a note to keep his eye on Geoffrey. He had never liked him because of the way he treated his sister, Celeste. In fact, the only reason he tolerated the vitriol man was because he was his brother by marriage. But he didn't trust him in the least.
Princess Catherine Consul tittered as she related the time Cirdon had woken in the middle of the night and bolted from the room stark naked when he thought he'd heard one of their newborns, Gaius, cry out. He'd run straight into his half-brother Blaze, who had also awoken sleepily from the child's wails. It had been hard to determine which brother had been more embarrassed!
With such ribald conversation, the conversation soon turned towards marital intimacy.
"I don't get it!" she whined. "Why is that funny?"
The ladies giggled even more.
A hush fell over the room and Princess Catherine hissed, "Kea! That's uncalled for!"
Realizing what she said, Kea's face immediately flamed as bright as her dress and she looked stricken.
Daphne glanced around again. "What do you mean? What reputation?"
Queen Deidre patted her sister-in-law's hand. "There, there. Kea meant nothing by it, did you Kea?" she asked harshly.
"Of course not!" Kea said quickly. "Pray forgive me!"
Quickly, the ladies changed the subject to the Abbey and their work in Celestia. But, Daphne sat fuming beside her sisters, irritated that she was being treated like a child. They wouldn't tell her what they meant by virile and they wouldn't tell her about her husband's reputation! It was maddening!
"Earl! Your music lessons!" his mother called from the other room.
Earl sighed. He hated learning to play the violin! He wished his mother would let him just play the piano!
Earl sighed, "Why do I have to play the stupid violin anyways?"
Deidre leaned over to tickle her son's side. "Here comes the tickle attack!"
She pulled back in surprise when Earl swatted her hands away.
And now her daughter's birthday had come, too!
Where was the time going? she wondered sadly.
King Barron laughed as he pulled his wife into his arms, swaying to music that wasn't there. "We have years and years left to enjoy our children! Let's not act as though we have one foot in the grave quite yet!"
Deidre rested her head on her husband's shoulder and sighed.