Sunday, July 28, 2013

Royale, Orb's Year 929-932


Orb's Year 929
Ennis was so frustrated with his responsibilities at the Royale castle!  Day in and day out, he was required to do the blacksmith's chores.  It was hot, exhausting work with little reward.  He actually looked forward to the days when a toilet clogged or a bathing tub sprung a leak!  It broke up the monotony!

He wanted to create something amazing! Something more than just a suit of armor...
"You've improved so much, Prince Earl!" Princess Cassidy of the Consul castle called out from her seat next to Prince Barron.  Smiling fondly at Barron, she patted his hand.  "You've done so well with your little prince!  So kind and studious!"

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!"
"Of course we are! He's our little prince!" King Alexander's voice boomed as he entered the room with a hearty laugh.

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! 
"What was it, father?" Prince Barron asked.  "Has there been any news?"

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
"Grandpa?" Little Prince Earl called weakly while his father called for help.

***

News of the King's passing spread throughout the land quickly.  Within days, the royals and nobles filled the Great Hall to watch their new king be crowned.
Arthur Knightley, the eldest in the king's council had the honor of crowning Barron king of Celestia as Deidre and Prince Earl looked on.
King Barron stood to address the crowd before him and found that he didn't have the words to convey his deep sadness for his father's loss or his great hope that he could continue the legacy that his father had left behind.

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!"
A chorus of "Long Live the King!" filled the room and King Barron sat with his wife by his side.  With a heavy heart, and feeling like a fraud, he sat and tried to smile as each of his subjects came by to pledge their allegiance.

***

"Why'd you sneak off in here, father?" Little Prince Earl asked as he hopped up next to his father.  His father was moving the pieces around the board absently.

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.
Deidre walked in and smiled fondly at her husband.  "The last of them has gone home.  You can come out from hiding," she said with a kiss to his cheek.

"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."
Alone in the dark with nobody to see, Barron finally gave in to the tears that had threatened to overwhelm him all day.

***

Ennis rubbed his aching neck and sighed.  The new king's coronation had been amazing to watch.  Change rumbled in the air.

***

Prince Earl had watched his mother walk up to bed and his father head outside.  "Guess it's just you and me, Reign," he said to the old dog.  "It's going to be real different getting used to father being the king!"

Orb's Year 930
"You're looking mighty chipper this morning," Emily Baker said to her nephew over their breakfast.  "What's put you in such a mood."

"Change, auntie.  Change!" Ennis replied happily as he hurried with his meal.  He couldn't wait to get started.
Ennis had spent the last few months planning his creation, agonizing over all the mechanics.  He'd drawn up plans, blessing the Orb that his mother had insisted on his education. 
It was laborious work, molding the metal the way he wanted.  But by this time, Ennis felt like a master craftsman.
Finally! His dreams seemed to be within his grasp.  First thing in the morning he would send for King Barron!
"What is it?" King Barron asked looking at the folded up suit of armor.

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."
Feeling excitement and wonder, Barron placed the key and twisted as Ennis had instructed.  He jumped back as the suit of armor jerkily arose.

"It works!" Barron cheered, slapping Ennis on the back.  "It really works!"

Ennis beamed proudly at his creation.
Both King and Ennis started with surprise when the suit of armor dropped to one knee and bowed his head before Barron.  Jerkily, it stood and walked towards the castle.

"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
CG, as Castle Guard became affectionately known as, won over the entire castle easily.  The sound of gears and wheels churning and heavy footfalls would let you know that CG was near to clean, cook, or interact.

Queen Deidre had been delighted to find that CG could even dance a lively jig. 
The only one in the household that remained unmoved was Emily.

"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!

***
Barron smiled at his wife and son. "You know what this castle needs? A good party to liven up the spirits!"

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."

***
 "Are you sure you're feeling up to a big party right now," King Barron asked his wife.  He knew how easily Deidre got tired.

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."
What Deidre hadn't told her husband was that her contractions had already begun.  She instructed Emily to fetch the King right before his child was born.
A sweet little girl they named Princess Felicity Royale.
 CG was remarkably tender as it tucked the newborn in.

***

Barron played a card game with the men and enjoyed the lively banter from everyone at the table but his brother-in-law, Geoffrey.  Geoffrey kept glancing over at CG with thinly veiled jealously.  When Barron had told Geoffrey that he would not permit any other mechanical men in Celestia yet, he had narrowed his eyes.

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.

***

In the music room, the ladies gathered and enjoyed giggling over their husband's antics.

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.
After Princess Kea told a particularly dirty joke involving a genie and the virility of a poor man, Daphne glanced around at the giggling ladies and frowned with confusion.

"I don't get it!" she whined.  "Why is that funny?"

The ladies giggled even more.
"You'll soon understand if your husband's reputation is true enough!" Princess Kea cheerfully blurted.

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!

Orb's Year 932
"Beat you again!" Little Prince Earl cheered as he beat CG for the fifth time in a row.  Of course, he supposed it wasn't hard to beat a chunk of metal!  Still, it made him feel incredibly smart and talented!

"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!
"Come on, dear! You'd better start soon or you'll get tickled!"

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. 
"Mom! I'm not a kid anymore!" he said, exasperated as Deidre listened patiently.
"If you want me to practice the violin, just say so."

***

Her son was right, Deidre thought sadly.  Her son wasn't the Little Prince, anymore.  He was close to being a grown man!

And now her daughter's birthday had come, too!

Where was the time going? she wondered sadly.
Prince Earl cradled his sister in his arms and led the birthday cheer. 
Worried that a diaper might be foul, he hurriedly handed Felicity over to his Mother.  "I'll be in the library if anybody needs me," Prince Earl said.
The library, his favorite room in the castle!
"Happy birthday, sweet Princess Felicity!"

***

"Our babies are growing up," Queen Deidre told her husband sadly.  "Soon they'll be moving out and getting married!"

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.

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