Friday, June 20, 2014

Consul Intel, Orb's Year 945-948


Orb's Year 945

Gwendolyn and Holden had a good relationship, despite their age. 
Then Gwenivieve walked in. The siblings immediately stopped talking, cautiously watching their volatile sister.
"Oh! What are you two looking at?!" Gwenivieve fumed.

"Nothing," Gwendolyn answered quickly, praying her twin just walked past them and went to her room.  If not, she was sure Gwenivieve would pick a fight about something small and trivial!  And she was not up to that tonight...

Thankfully, luck was on their side.  Gwenivieve passed by with a snooty sniff and slammed the door to their room.

***

"I'll be back later," Gwenivieve said some time later when she finally emerged from the room. 

Dresden glanced up at the wayward daughter.  "Where are you going?" he asked. 

But Gwenivieve ignored him and hurried from the house. 
Dresden sighed heavily.  "What am I going to do with her?" he asked sadly.  For months now she had picked fights with everyone in the family.  He could tell she was unhappy - but she wouldn't tell him why!

Gwendolyn patted her father's shoulder in comfort, but the truth was that not even she knew what plagued her sister!

***

Gwenivieve looked around the Haunted Woods, searching for her mother.  The note had said to drop off the money by the crumbling wall. 
"What are you doing here?" her mother, Gwen Consul, snapped irritably when she saw her daughter.  "Did you bring the money?"

"Of course not!" Gwenivieve snapped.  "I came to get answers!"

"You foolish girl!" Gwen growled.  "We need that money!"

Gwenivieve shrugged, "Well, your threats never reached father... or should I say the cuckold Dresden!  First I want answers.  Who is my father? Where have you been? Why didn't you take me?!"
Gwen slapped her mouthy daughter. "Enough!" she yelled.  "You have meddled enough in business that doesn't concern you!"

Gwenivieve held her cheek, teetering between rage and self-pity.  "You slapped me!" she said in shock.

Gwen brought her finger to her chin and tapped thoughtfully.  "Although... perhaps you can be of use..."

"...you slapped me!" Gwenivieve repeated.

Gwen irritably raised her hand.  "And I'll do it again, girl! Now pay attention. Are you listening?"  At Gwenivieve's nod, her estranged mother continued.  "We are seeking revenge against those who conspired against your father, Prince Geoffrey L'Adventurer - rightful heir to the Kingdom of Franco! Gather any information you can.  We are going to destroy Celestia..."

***

Once home, Gwenivieve crept into her father's room.  He was sleeping soundly and snoring loud enough to cover any noise she made.  She rolled her eyes.

Quietly, she searched through the scrolls on the desk, looking for any information that her mother would find useful.  She would not fail her now... 

***

Dresden stared at the sheets on his desk.  If he didn't know better, he would think he was missing some scrolls...

...but that didn't make any sense...

Perhaps he just needed help organizing all the information he'd amassed.  And it was time for young Holden to begin showing some initiative!

"Just think of the help you will provide to King and Country!" Dresden said enthusiastically.  "We can work together!"

"Cataloging your scrolls?" Holden asked.  "Isn't that menial labor? Scribe's work?"

"Well, you must start somewhere!" Dresden said diplomatically.  "Just remember that all the information you see is top secret..."
 "You must start somewhere," Holden mimicked hours later as he sorted through the half-finished scrolls and maps his father had stacked on his desk.  This was going to take him forever...


Orb's Year 946
"Ladies!" Gwenivieve said with a fake smile, sweet-as-sugar.  "I'm so glad that we have finally taken some time to get to know each other!"

Alessandra Knowles & Eleanor Knightley glanced at each other, slightly confused.  Gwenivieve had always seemed to disdain them...
"I can already tell that we will be best of friends!" Gwenivieve added pleasantly.  "So, let's start with a round of gossip! It is always so intriguing to hear about scandalous going-ons!"

Alessandra frowned. "I don't really listen to gossip..."

Gwenivieve locked her jaw. "Well, but certainly you've heard something!" she pressed.

***

Gwenivieve hadn't much luck pushing the girls for information, so she moved to another tactic.
"Oh, Spencer, I feel so safe when you are near," she said as she stroked his cheek.  "I have been ever so worried about that Prince of Thieves!"

Spencer chuckled nervously. "No need for that!  Can you believe that the Prince of Thieves is actually a girl?!"
Gwenivieve gritted her teeth.  As though a woman could not be considered dangerous! Stupid men!  Knowing she needed to play along, she wrapped her arms around Spencer and rested her cheek against his chest.  "Oh, I'm so lucky that you know so much! Please... tell me more! It makes me feel so safe!!"

Sheldon's chest puffed with pride as he wracked his brain for any information that would keep Gwenivieve in his arms. 

***

"Oh, Callum! You're so handsome and strong!" Gwenivieve said, watching as Callum preened beneath her compliments.  "Perhaps we could sneak away to the Haunted Woods..." she suggested.  "But, no!" she hurriedly added.  "I've heard there are thieves and ghosts in the area!"

Callum scoffed.  "My da said the thieves only steal from the Royales.  Nothing we would need to fear!" he bragged. 

Hmmm... so the thieves have something against the Royales... perhaps that could be useful...
Gwenivieve pressed a chaste kiss to Callum's lips.  "Perhaps once you can prove that it's safe, I can visit the woods with you," she promised.

Callum reached around and pulled her closer, mumbling against her lips.  "Why do we need to go to the woods when we can just visit the back of the Taveryn's Kitchen?"

Gwenivieve smiled against his lips.  "Oh, I just couldn't!" she said, pushing away.  "But perhaps if you can bring me information about the thieves..." she trailed off.

 
***

"BJ! I'm so glad that you could see me before you sailed!" Gwenivieve called out as she hurried forward to greet her old friend, kissing his cheek.  "And my how you've grown!"

BJ smiled wickedly.  "Impressed, eh?" he asked with a wink.

"I'm so jealous of you! Traveling off on a great adventure!" she prodded.  "You'll probably run into pirates and thieves! What will you do if you have to fight for your life?!"

BJ cocked an eyebrow. "Well, I'll just have to skewer them with my sword!"

Gwenivieve gasped and placed her hand on her throat. "You'd kill a man?"

"Of course I would if it meant me staying alive!" he boasted.

"How positively manly!" she returned as she fluttered her eyelashes.

BJ glanced appreciatively back at Gwenivieve.  "And perhaps when I come back, you'll be a little more grown & ripe for the picking!" he teased.

Getting down to the purpose of her visit, she fluttered her eyelashes.  "I can only hope you won't be away too long.  You simply must write to me about any villains or pirates that you meet! That way I can swoon at the thought of your manliness!"  Gwenivieve almost cringed, thinking she was laying it on too thick, but BJ's poor ego was eating it all up!

 
***


Gwenivieve snuck back up to her father's room.  She wasn't getting much useful information from her paltry attempts.  She was sure there would be something more useful in her father's notes...

And her father had made it easier by having Holden index and catalogue the scrolls! She reached for one and read the first few lines, growing more and more excited.

Dresden snored loudly and rolled to his side, so Gwenivieve snuck back from the room.

In her own room, safe and alone, Gwenivieve pulled out the scroll.  This was going to be perfect!

***

"What did you find?" Gwen asked the moment she saw her daughter.

"What? No friendly greeting? No questions of my safety or well-being?" Gwenivieve asked sorely. 
"I don't have time for your frivolity!" Gwen snapped. "Our boat sails tomorrow to return to the Sim Bin.  What news do you have?"

Gwenivieve sighed.  "There's a rumor of thieves in the woods that have a grudge against the Royales.  There's the possibility of allaying ourselves with Prince Scott Trottier.  He apparently bears a grudge against the late King Alexander for giving his daughter, Princess Daphne, to a nobleman instead of him." She shrugged.  "And there's a rumor that Prince Earl had an affair with a pixie..."

"A pixie?!" Gwen snapped.  "That's ridiculous. I told you to find secrets that would bring down a Kingdom and this is the drivel you give me?"

Gwenivieve crossed her arms.  "I've been trying!" she growled.  "I don't know what else to do!"

"We'll return in a year's time," Gwen said snidely.  "Have something more useful for us then!"
Gwenivieve watched her mother disappear into the woods, longing to call out, take me with you!

Orb's Year 947
Dresden followed behind his girls on the quiet walk home.  They had just returned from his brother Cirdan's home.  The girls were still reeling from the shock of being told they were not his true-born children. 

And his nephew Finn had chosen his bride...

Gwenivieve fluffed her hair.  "As if he would have chosen you! Beauty always wins!" she announced giddily.

"Congratulations. I hope you're very happy with him," Gwendolyn said earnestly. 

***

Gwenivieve scoffed and turned on her heel, heading into the bathing room to admire her reflection.  As though happiness had anything to do with marriage

Gwenivieve was actually eager to report to her mother that she would soon be married to the Chief of Intel's son.  She would be privy to all the secrets in the kingdom!  There was no way her mother could find fault with her now!

***

Gwendolyn was surprised to receive the missive so late in the night requesting an audience... especially from him... 

She wondered what he wanted.
"Finn?" she asked, heading outside.

Finn sighed heavily.  "Gwendolyn! Thank goodness you came!" he said, pacing across the lawn.  "I need you to tell me everything about Gwenivieve! What she likes, what she wants - I want to make sure I can be a good husband to her!"

Gwendolyn's heart sank a little.  She wondered if any man would ever care enough to find out her likes and wants...

***

"Who is that from?" Gwenivieve asked, reaching for the scroll Gwendolyn was clutching. 
"It... it's nothing!" Gwendolyn said, clutching the missive to her chest.  "Nothing!"

Gwenivieve reached back for the note, tugging on it with both hands.  "It's not nothing if you won't show me!" she snapped as she pulled.

"Gwenivieve, no!" Gwendolyn gasped as her twin sister pulled the note from Finn from her.   As Gwenivieve read over the note, she began to blush furiously.

"My word! Are you carrying on an affair with my future husband?!" Gwenivieve laughed.  "As if Finn would have you over me!  Look how mousey and timid you are!"

Gwendolyn held her hand out for the letter.  "Just give it back, Gwenivieve," she whispered.  "It's not like that!"  She'd begun writing to Finn to tell him the things that her sister liked, but somewhere along the way, they'd become friends.  And she'd fallen in love with him...

Gwenivieve laughed again. "You're so pathetic, Gwendolyn! You're in love with Finn!"

Gwendolyn shook her head.  "No! I promise, it's not like that!  Just give me back my letter!"

Gwenivieve smiled cruelly and ripped the letter to shreds, letting them float to the ground.  "Stop writing love letters to my betrothed, dear sister," she said snidely before flouncing from the room.

Gwenivieve dropped to the ground in tears, gathering the pieces of the letter... and her heart...


***

"Mother?" Gwenivieve called out as she entered the Haunted Woods.
It seemed quiet.  Much too quiet.  "Mother?"

There was no answer.

Just then, she heard a snap of a twig.  Gwenivieve stopped.  "Who's there?" she demanded, looking around.  "Show yourself!"  She fingered the knife she had hidden in the folds on her dress. 

"Hello, sister."

Orb's Year 948
Gwendolyn went into the room to wake her sister, only to find her rumpled bed unmade... and empty.
Atop her pillow was a letter.  She reached for it, feeling a sense of foreboding.
She read through it, once... twice... not really seeing the words...
"Father!" she called out, dropping the letter to the ground and racing out of the room.
"What is it?" Dresden called out groggily.  "What's wrong? What is it?"  He stumbled from bed.
Gwendolyn wrung her hands worriedly.  "Gwenivieve's gone... and she's done something awful!"

 ***

"Thank you for coming," Dresden greeted his brother and family. 

Cirdon nodded gravely. 
 ***

 Finn stared at his bride wringing her hands nervously in front of him.
Then he glanced at his family, gathered around for the nuptials.
Hesitantly, he said the words that bound his and Gwendolyn's lives forever and slipped the ring on her finger.

And it was done.  They were married.
"I promise to be a good husband to you. I will protect you and honor you, I swear it," Finn said seriously.

Gwendolyn nodded, too overcome with emotion to say anything at all.

 ***

 Dresden laid two plate of toast on the table.  He looked up when Holden walked in.
"Looks like it's just you and me, son."

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