Orb's Year 941
Camelot shook his head. "Let them think what they will! I am tired of my life being dictated by this mysterious 'them' and what they may think!"
Eryka crossed her arms and pouted. "You care for these half-class children more than Elyana... more than Felysha!"
Camelot sighed. "You know that's not true. I love all of my children! Look, I already explained. Their mother was going to send them away. She is pregnant again and claims to not have the energy to deal with their rambunctious ways."
"Oh, so I must deal with the mess you made all those years ago with that peasant-stock!"
Camelot shrugged. "You must love my children as you love your own. It is not up for discussion." Now in a foul mood, Camelot walked away to greet his sons.
But, over the years, they had learned one or two ways of getting rid of their father's wife. With a grin, Guy looked over at Hugh and let out a long, loud burp. Hugh giggled in response.
"Really!" Eryka muttered, throwing down her napkin. "Must I be exposed to this rude behavior! You would think their sad excuse for a mother would have taught them better!"
Eryka defiantly stood up, smoothed her dress out and sailed from the room with her head held high.
Guy and Hugh grinned at each other.
Later that night, upstairs...
Guy scoffed. "She'll always hate us, no matter what we do. I'd prefer to have play and have fun, rather than waste useless time trying to make her like us!"
Hugh sighed. "You're probably right," he reluctantly conceded.
Orb's Year 942
"Enough, Eryka!" Camelot growled. "They are my sons! As such, I will fight to see them raised above the station Deanna cursed them to with her stubborn nature!"
Eryka gasped. "You mean to make them your heir?" she demanded.
Camelot shrugged. "We do not yet have a son. I have toyed with the thought of approaching the King with my request."
"I won't stand for it, Camelot! I won't! What will happen if we do have a son! What then?!"
Camelot raised an eyebrow with disdain. "Dear wife, I believe that we must share the same bed in order to beget that miracle. And through your actions, I have no desire to join you there. So, I believe the likelihood of us ever having a son together is near impossible!"
Was it not enough that he paraded his half-class sons in front of her as though they were equal to her daughters. But now he told her that he intended to see one of those half-class fools as his heir. It wasn't to be born! Really! she thought with exasperation. If only she could lure him back to her bed...
Eryka considered him above the rim of her glass. Now there was an example of a virile, young man.
Camelot laughed as he hugged his sweet daughter tight. "If it's a pony you want, then it is a pony you shall get!"
"Mommy said we can go to Farrier's right now. Can we, daddy? Can we go right now?" Elyana asked in a rush, anxiously jumping from foot to foot.
Camelot looked back to his sons with a grin. "Let's talk later this evening when we're alone," he said, motioning his head to his daughter. It was clear he wouldn't be able to get a word in edge-wise as the little girl chattered on blithely about her birthday and ponies.
Guy and Hugh shared a smile and then hurried back upstairs to wait.
Guy shrugged. "Who knows. Maybe Eryka finally talked him into sending us away."
"Or making us join the Night's Guard," Hugh added unhappily.
Both boy's shoulders slumped with dismay. It felt like hours that they waited for Camelot to return to talk to them...
But Camelot had seemed to forget...
Bradshaw shrugged. "It could be better."
Camelot frowned when he noted how far ahead Bradshaw's wife had entered. "Are things still strained between you and Daphne?" he asked quietly.
"There always seems to be something," Bradshaw said quietly. "I keep hoping..." his brother trailed off.
Camelot pressed no more. He understood all too well the regrets that plagued his brother. He suffered much the same in his own marriage! Clapping his brother on the back, he added cheerfully, "Come, it is time to celebrate my sweet Felysha's Orb's Day!"
Florence bit her lip. "No, my mommy got me a dolly, though. A pretty dolly with a pink dress and blonde hair."
"Oh!" Elyana said in awe. "I've always wanted a dolly!"
"I'll let you play with mine, if you want to," Florence said shyly.
With that grin and following hug, the girls seemed destined to be friends forever...
Guy let out a loud laugh. "It's her 3rd Orb's Day!"
Eryka turned and smiled ferrally at the impertinent boy. "Quite right. We are celebrating Felysha's third Orb's Day."
Camelot smiled and raised his glass, but as soon as he was able, he quietly removed his hand from beneath Eryka's.
Orb's Year 944
Camelot shook his head. "I won't risk it," he said. "You do not handle pregnancies well. I will not risk our happy home for yet another child."
"But.. I long for another baby," Eryka said with tears in her eyes. "Would you deny me another child?"
Camelot refused to budge. He had seen the antipathy she had towards her children and towards the boys. It just didn't make sense. Why couldn't she understand that he did this for her health as much as he did it for the children?
The servant appraised her from head to toe in an effort to make her blush. Eryka let him look his fill. Finally, the servant shrugged, "I've been known to work a miracle or two."
"Well, I am in need of a miracle and a child..."
Ryker grinned saucily. "Well I can certainly help you with that, mi'lady," he said.
Eryka rolled her eyes. "I do not need you for that. What I need is this..." Eryka began to whisper.
At first Camelot hedged and grumbled, but Eryka was insistent. It had been far too long since they'd had a moment to themselves. Finally, grudgingly, Camelot had downed the glass that Eryka had given him.
As she chattered on about her day, Camelot found himself having to blink to stay focused. Her face swam before his eyes.
"I feel a bit... strange..." Camelot said slowly. "Hot... definitely hot..." he murmured.
Spotting Ryker still cleaning around the house, she'd approached with a grin.
"From the grin on your face, I gather your miracle was performed?" Ryker said.
"Your herbs worked magically, Ryker. I am very, very thankful!"
Ryker stepped a little closer, crowding Eryka against the wall. "If you'll forgive me for saying so, with you as my wife, I would never leave you to take such drastic measures," he said, leaning forward to whisper against her ear.
Eryka grinned as she toyed with the hair that curled around his ear. "Pity," she said. "I am trying to have a child with my husband otherwise I would love to toy with you."
Ryker stepped back and bowed before her. "I am at your humble service whenever you should need me."
Ryker grinned. "Of course, mi'lady. I deal in secrets..."
Camelot awoke with bits of memories from the prior morning. Had he really acted that way towards Eryka? She must be appalled with his lack of control! Nervously, Camelot sought out his wife in hopes of assuring her that he was most sorry. It had been some time since he'd had such strong spirits... perhaps that was why he'd so thoroughly lost control.
"I won't pretend that I was not shocked by your behavior, Camelot," Eryka said coyly. "But I will freely admit that I have missed your... attentions."
Camelot considered this and asked slowly, "And you would be okay if we did not have another child?"
Eryka glanced down, "If it is not your will to have another child, then I must humbly agree." Smiling, she fervently hoped that a child had already been sired. She added somewhat hesitantly, "But if there is already a child..."
Camelot closed his eyes. If they had another child, it would be all his fault and he would do everything in his power to protect his wife and his children!
Ryker grinned as he pulled her into his arms.
Eryka scoffed and turned on her heel. "Do it again! And polish the wood while you're at it! I want to see my face shine in the reflection!"
Hugh gulped. "What do you think she has planned?"
Guy shook his head sadly. "I don't know, but you should've heard the fuss that Elyana pitched. She stomped and raved and screamed that we were not to go."
Hugh smiled. "She's a sweet girl. I'm not sure how she managed it with that mother of hers!"
"Well I say we need to start making our own plans. I don't want to be caught off-guard with nowhere to go!"
Hugh shook his head. "Father won't let anything happen to us!"
Guy sighed. "I'm not so sure anymore. He actually dotes on the woman now!"
"You and your brother sought to take advantage of your father and rise above your place. I'm sure you were the one that suggested he make you heirs! Well, when my son is born, he'll have you thrown out of here so fast, your head will spin!"
Guy's mouth dropped open. Father was making them heir? Was it even possible. Slowly he shook his head. "I didn't know..." he whispered.
"Well it doesn't matter," Eryka snapped. "The only reason he wanted you here was for the heirship and soon that won't be an issue. He'll discard you like the trash you are!"
Eryka turned and stormed inside.
Guy had never hated anyone more at that moment.
Guy hung his head. "Do you really think Father will make us leave?'
"No," Hugh said, shaking his head. "He loves us, regardless of the heirship. He loves us!"
Guy sighed. "I wish I could be as sure as you are," he said sadly.
Hugh was tired of Eryka talking about him as if he wasn't there. It took more and more effort not to snap back at her.
"Why would you want to play with him anyway? He's stinky and smelly!" Felysha added.
Elyana nodded sadly, watching her brother storm from the room. Her mother didn't like it when Elyana spent time with her brothers, so she'd started sneaking in to see them after bedtime. They would usually tell her a bedtime story and then send her back to her room. It was getting harder and harder now that Felysha was older. All Elyana needed was for Felysha to tattle on her again...
It made her so sad.