Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Consul Intel, 937-940


Orb's Year 937
"Father, why have you gathered all of us?  What is the matter?" Faelyn Consul asked, sensing the tension in the air.

Dresden Consul sat down wearily before his darling children... and his wife's twins with another man.
"I am certain that you will hear this from the lips of others.  But, your mother has left me.  She has run off with Prince Geoffrey L'Adventurer."

"The man with the scar," Faelyn whispered.

Dresden glanced sharply at Faelyn and wondered what she had seen, but said nothing as her eyes filled with tears.
She launched herself in his arms.  "I'm so sorry, father! I didn't know!"

Dresden hugged his daughter tightly, "It isn't your fault.  You are an innocent child.  Why should you know to look for deceit?"

"But if I had told you..." she stammered.

Dresden shook his head sadly and finished the sentence for her.  "I would have made excuses for her as I did our entire marriage."  He attempted a half-smile.  "It took her leaving me to see the truth of the matter."

Glancing over at his daughters, he grimaced.  It had taken Gwen leaving and  being cuckolded into seeing Gwen as she truly was.  Wearily, he ran his hand over his face.  At least she gave him four wonderful children. 
"Now, go.  Stand tall and know that despite it all, you are loved!"  Faelyn held out her hands and dutifully escorted her siblings to school.  She prayed the day would not prove too difficult.
Dresden watched his children go and then settled onto the hard bench and distracted himself as he knew best...

He researched...

***

Faelyn's cousin and best friend, Hayden Consul,  grimaced, "I cannot believe it! What a horrible thing to discover!"

"What am I going to do?" Faelyn cried unhappily.  "I feel like I should be sad and cry, but in reality, I'm so thankful that she's gone!"
Wearily, Faelyn sank to her knees and sat there with her cousin.  "And whatever will I do if she comes back?"

Haydin had no answers for her and stared sadly at his hands.

Orb's Year 938
Dresden threw himself into work so deeply that he was usually either at work or sleeping.  Groggily, one morning he woke up to discover his son, Holden, at his make-shift office. 
"What are you doing in here?" he asked, slightly annoyed to have his personal space invaded.  "You know better than to mess with my papers!"

"I was just trying to read, Father! I want to be just like you when I grow up!"

Dresden nodded, "That is as it should be.  You are my son, my heir."  Still, he was amazed by how much his son had grown in the last few months.  "But, for now, enjoy your youth," he encouraged.

Holden sighed and walked out, mumbling, "I just wanted to be with you..."

Dresden's heart broke in pieces yet again.  He'd been focusing on his own pain and ignoring the children... again.

Coming downstairs, he saw the Great Hall was full of rambunctious children with no supervision.  Holden called over to his cousin Ihriel to play chess and Faelyn argued with Earnest Royale.  Dresden cocked his head.  Although Faelyn was arguing passionately with the young man, there was a slight blush upon her cheeks and a gleam in her eye that he had never seen when she debated with her cousin Haydin.  Perhaps she was not as immune to Earnest as she liked to believe...
And Gwenivieve and Gwendolyn!  They were young ladies right before his eyes.  Glancing down, he ignored the twisting of his heart.  It still hurt to even look at them and feel the weight of Gwen's betrayal once again.  He'd never even suspected that she might not be faithful to him...

Hurrying out the door, he headed for work, feeling quite unprepared to handle his children at the moment.  Faelyn seemed to be doing a good enough job...

***

Faelyn laughed as Haydin once again managed to slap her hands before she could pull away.  "You have the speed of a jaguar!" she teased.

Haydin laughed as well.  "You're just slow!  I never win against anyone but you!"
Gwenivieve sauntered up behind her sister and delicately cleared her throat.  Faelyn turned around hesitantly.  Already, Gwenivieve was proving to be a vindictive, mean-spirited sister.  She wondered if she'd inherited all of their mother's selfishness.

"Yes?" she asked, straining to be polite.

Haydin sensed the undercurrent and glanced anxiously over at Gwendolyn, who appeared nervous and agitated.  It was clear the twins were up to no good.

And then she struck...
"I was just wondering if you had told dear cousin Haydin about your dream the other night," Gwenivieve said with a grin.  "Oh, Earnest," she said in a high-pitched, sing-song voice.  "You're soooooo handsome! Kiss me again!"

Faelyn covered her mouth in shock.  Had she spoken aloud in her sleep?  For the truth was that she had dreamed of Earnest a few days ago.  It had startled her when he had kissed her in the dream, but she had woken up wishing it had been real.  It didn't make any sense though because Earnest drove her crazy!  Faelyn glanced towards Haydin and discovered a slight smile on his face and she couldn't stand it anymore.  Wiping at the tears in her eyes, she hurried inside the house.

"Faelyn! I wasn't laughing at you!" Haydin called out with a sigh.  The idea of Faelyn having a romantic dream about Earnest had just been so preposterous!

Turning towards the twins, he fixed them with a stern glare.  "I hope you're happy," he said, skewering them.

Gwendolyn had the grace to look embarrassed, but Gwenivieve just studied her well-filed nails casually and shrugged a shoulder.  "I can't help what she dreams about, now can I?"

***

"But, Father, she teases me every chance she gets!  I don't know what to do about it!" Faelyn said, desperately seeking counsel from her father. 
Dresden was at a  loss.  He lived in fear that his twins true parentage would be revealed.  If he took Faelyn's side, it would appear to be favoritism of the worst kind.  Sadly he shook his head, "I'm sorry Faelyn, but you will just have to work it out with your sisters.  I'm sure it's not as bad as it seems."

Faelyn sighed angrily.  No, it was worse, she thought bitterly.  She was beginning to hate her sisters!

Orb's Year 939
Faelyn had never minded that many of the household chores fell to her shoulders, even when her mother had lived here.  She ran the household smoothly and efficiently.  Before her mother had left, Father had always been quick to praise her when he noticed her efforts.  But, recently, he'd stopped praising her and begun offering blanket praise, as though the twins had taken some part in the chores that needed doing. 
"This was a wonderful dinner, girls," Dresden said with a smile.

Faelyn scowled at her plate as Gwenivieve gushed.  She had worked Father firmly around her finger.  Somehow she made setting the table sound like a monumental accomplishment! 
And yet, she alone gathered up the dirty dishes for cleaning and set aside their leftovers for another meal as they joked and laughed.  It just wasn't fair.

***

After she saw Faelyn set the dishes aside, Gwenivieve grabbed her sister and gave her a ruffling. 
Faelyn pulled back with a scowl.  "What was that for?" she demanded, attempting to set her hair to rights.

Gwenivieve shrugged innocently, "I was just playing around!"

Faelyn glared at her younger sister.  "Well, stop it," she said shrewishly.  Blessed Orb, she thought, how could they be related?

***

Haydin eyed Gwendolyn as she considered her move.  He couldn't help but notice how different his cousin was when she was not with Gwenivieve.  Gwenivieve seemed to bring out the worst in her twin. 
Noticing Haydin's eye on her, Gwendolyn paused, "What? Why are you looking at me like that?" she asked.

Haydin considered his reply, "Don't you get tired of being cruel?" he asked.

Gwendolyn flushed, "I'm not cruel," she insisted, rather guiltily.  It was true.  She might be the one saying or doing the cruel things, but she never stepped in to defend Faelyn against Gwenivieve.  Not that she would be able to stop her twin...  If she didn't follow along with Gwenivieve then there was every chance that her twin would turn on her!

Distracted, Gwendolyn made her move without thinking out a strategy.

As Haydin made his move without pause and captured Gwendolyn's Rook, he suggested, "The right path is not always the easiest path..."

Gwendolyn glanced down at the chess board with tears in her eyes and considered her next move...

Orb's Year 940
"And so then the Prince gathered up a rock and threw it at the giant with all his might..." Gwendolyn read, filling her voice with the drama from the pages.

Holden loved it when she read to him because she wasn't embarrassed to use different voices.
"What are you doing?" Gwenivieve groused when she caught her twin reading to their little brother.

Gwendolyn glanced up, tampering down the urge to apologize.  "Nothing, I'm just reading to Holden.  Would you like to join us?"

Gwenivieve rolled her eyes, "No! Holden, go to bed," she ordered.

Holden jumped up, "No! I don't have to go to bed yet!"

Gwenivieve grabbed his ear and pinched.  "I said it's time to go to bed!" she ordered.

Holden rubbed his ear and glared, but hurried off to his bedroom.
The right path is not always the easiest path, Gwendolyn reminded herself.  "That was mean, Gwenivieve!" Gwendolyn said, "There was no need to hurt him!"

"Oh, he wasn't hurt!" Gwenivieve argued.  "Besides, we needed him away so that he can't tell Father on us!"

"What do you mean?" Gwendolyn asked, confused.

Gwenivieve grinned.  "I've invited a few friends over!  Tonight, we're going to party!"

***

Gwenivieve fluffed her hair in the mirror and stared in appreciation at her reflection.  She'd made the rounds at the party, talking to all the boys and she was sure she'd made an impression.

She had been so embarrassed that Gwendolyn had only hung back talking to their boring cousin Haydin.  Cousin Gaius was so much more fun!  She'd tried a few times to get Gwendolyn to come over, but she'd just shaken her head.

Narrowing her eyes, she wondered how she'd handle Gwendolyn.  They were twins!  They were supposed to stick together!

***

Faelyn was surprised to see Father home so early.  She'd been even more surprised when he called her over.

But that wasn't the biggest surprise of the night...

***

Faelyn risked a glance at Earnest Royale and nervously smiled.  "I just cannot believe what our fathers have arranged," she said.
Earnest crossed his arms, "Well, it is arranged.  You're to be my wife, it seems, ready to harangue me to death!"
Faelyn, already feeling emotional from the turn of events started to cry softly into her hands.  "This is a mistake!" she wailed.  "We'll make each other miserable for all eternity!"
Earnest sighed and put his arm around her.  "I'm sure it won't be as bad as all that."

Faelyn cried even harder when he draped his arm around her shoulder.  "But you hate me!"

Earnest awkwardly patted her shoulder.  "I wouldn't say hate," he amended.  "You do try my patience at times, though.  Perhaps you could learn to be less critical?" he asked hopefully.

"I wouldn't have to be so critical if you wouldn't say such asinine things!" she countered, leaving her sadness behind as she began to get angry.  "It is not my fault that you say such outlandish things!"

"Well if that's not the most asinine thing that I've ever heard!"  Earnest countered, wondering not for the first time how their conversations turned so sour.  She could be so pretty... and then she opened her mouth!

Faelyn stomped her foot.  "This will not work," she said passionately, stomping her foot and huffing with impatience.
"Oh, Blessed Orb," Earnest mumbled before leaning forward to kiss Faelyn.

"Oh!" Faelyn stammered when he'd pulled away, blushing slightly.

Grinning, Earnest realized he might have discovered the only way to still her tongue!  And what a pleasant way to win an argument it was!

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