Queen of Kings, Chapter 4 : False faces and false pretences
My son and daughter had reached a milestone in their lives and that deserved great celebration. There was much merriment that night.
Old friends were greeted, the orchestra played beautifully, there was fine food and dance.
Glittery gowns, masks and costumes sparkled under the lights like the stars in the night sky.
It was a truly majestic event. There was laughter and silliness, even Grantley was uncharacteristically full of good cheer.
He was chatty and polite to the guests. I should have known. I should have been able to tell that something wasn't right, his sudden change in attitude should have been a luminous red flag.
But I didn't. I was just glad that he was happy. As I told you before all that I ever desired for you two was that you were happy. That is the dream of any parent for their child, rich or poor, and I was no different.
I thought perhaps he had finally turned a corner. Towards the end of the night I stood up to make a speech with you two sat behind me.
“As we gather in this palace to celebrate Grantley and Vivienna's ascent into adulthood” I began, “I wish my two children wisdom, health, happiness and long lives”. I didn’t make it to the third line of my speech because I found myself suddenly interrupted, my chief messenger appeared out of nowhere, climbed up onto the stage beside me and whispered that there was an emergency and I must leave now.
“Now?” I said, “right now?”.
What awful timing.
“Right now, your Majesty” he confirmed. "What's going on there Grantley? The chief messenger never comes here unless it's something very serious"
"I don't know Vivienna! Why, let me get my crystal ball out! Let's see........oh yeah, how the dickens should I know!?" I made my apologies and left, all the while promising to see you both again soon.
“Whatever is the matter?” I asked the messenger as we fled the building. “A dreadful battle seems to be brewing up North, they need you to mediate, now. You are known as an ambassador of peace my Highness. Things are getting very tense, you should probably hurry sir"
"What?" I shouted, "oh no, that's terrible! And so unexpected. You're right, I must go now!"
"Your chariot, horses and men await you" the messenger quickly said. "Tell my kids I'm sorry that I missed the end of their party! I'll be back as soon as I can!" “Wait!” my Butler yelled, “Sir, who will be in charge in your absence? You cannot leave this country with no appointed leader while you’re gone!!” “Anyone but Grantley!” I shouted back as we galloped away, “anyone but Grantley!” “What did he say?” the butler asked the messenger.
"Grantley, I believe he said Grantley" he responded, "I will go and inform him" “Sir Grantley, a word with you please”
“Did you do it? Did you send away my Father? Am I King-by-proxy?”
“Yes. He’s gone up North. He shouldn’t be back for another fortnight at the most. The plan is action but you will have to work quickly. And do not forget young sir that you owe me, I expect the pay-off you promised. What I have done could be considered high treason, I have risked so very much just now” the messenger reminded him.
“Your job isn’t finished yet. You have another message to relay and then we’ll talk rewards. Send word to the Prince Uel of Soltz, tell him to make his way here, tell him he has a bride” Grantley said. “What?! A bride...what are you planning to do? This wasn’t part of the deal. You told me you want to get your Father out of sight for a while so you can send Morris away. You’re not intending on marrying your sister off to Uel of Soltz surely? The man is horrid, unsightly, why he’s ghastly. He’s any woman’s worst nightmare. You know that a person should only marry for love, that's the rule in your family, your Father will be furious”
“Never you mind what I’m planning. It is not your place to question my plans. Now get going or I’ll find someone else to do my work, just forget that reward I had waiting for you....”
“No, wait. I’ll do it, I’ll do it” the messenger pleaded.
"That's what I like to hear" "Hush, hush! Listen up everyone! Party’s over! Off you go, I’ve had enough of rubbing shoulders with people I don’t even like! The exit is to my right, see yourselves out!” "What on earth are you doing Grantley?"
"I'm very glad you should ask that, Viv..." he replied with a coy smile.
"You can't do that!" Morris interupted, "you can't end the party before the final dance has happened" “I think you'll find I can.
As of this very minute I am the supreme leader of this country. You didn’t think my Father would leave and not put anyone in charge, did you?
And it just so happens to be your lucky day, Morris, you’ve been the first problem on my list for a long time” “Wait. What? You’re in charge? Pardon me?”
“You sound worried my dear sister, why so?” he laughed, “you wouldn’t be afraid that I’m going to follow through on that little promise of mine, would you?”
“...Promise? Which promise? What are you talking about?”
He looked to Morris with a chilling stare, accompanied by a calm but calculated demeanor.
“You don’t remember my promise? That day in the gardens, oh it seems many moons ago now, let me think...what was it I said? Something about Morris...something about Morris being sent away...Oh! Yes! I was going to banish Morris from this realm once I had the power to do so, and guess what, that day has come. Today I have that power. Today you will say goodbye to him forever” "I won't let you do this! No!"
“Don’t worry" he laughed. "You aren’t going to be left on your own.
I plan to marry you off to Prince Uel of Soltz as soon as I can. You’re the perfect pawn. To have ties with Soltz is a great advantage to me, they’re one of the wealthiest and most powerful nations on earth. I will appreciate them as allies for the future.
I will live in your shadow no longer.” “You can’t do this. You can’t use people like this. All your life you have treated people like property. I won’t tolerate it.”
Morris spoke up- “Don’t worry Vivi, he’s full of empty threats. He won’t do this – he can’t do this. He doesn’t have the authority to do this!”
The coy smile returned to Grantley's lips. “As of this very minute I am your acting King. I will do this – I can do this. Go and say your goodbyes, it’s going to happen. The very ship that will take you out of my sight forever is docking as we speak. Good riddance, Morris, I would say it has been nice knowing you, but that would be a lie. I hope you don’t get too sea sick....oh, and one more thing, I wouldn't even think of trying to escape if I were you- I have lined the entire Palace perimeters with scores of gaurds drafterd in especially for this occasion”
“This is madness....I am your sister. We grew up together, we learned to walk and talk together, we climbed trees and rode ponies together, we even formed in the womb together.
And now, here we are, celebrating our eighteenth birthdays together, our adolescence is behind us and our future ahead of us, but it’s all so sour.
How has it come to this? You despise me but I do not know why, I have never known why” “Really? You don’t know why? Let me tell you why, Little Miss Perfect, the darling Princess, the apple of Father’s eye! All my life I have lived in the blinding glare of your golden halo!"
“I see how people’s eyes light up when you walk into a room, your mere presence creates this...this...atmosphere, this sheer bliss, they shower you with compliments and grapple desperately to get near to you.
Why? Do they not know it is I who is their future Monarch? Not you. Not you! You are a mere Princess and that is all you will ever be! A lowly insignificant sister of the King.
Why then do they treat you like Queen of the world! Well it ends here, I have had enough of you stealing my glory. This is it; done, over, I want you out of my life!"
I will go, but just bear this in mind; You could have had the people’s admiration, their love and loyalty, you could have had all of that. You just chose not to.
It's unfortunate you feel this way, my brother, but I make no apology for being a moral and decent human being. You can send me to Soltz, you can send me to the moon or even Mars if you so please but my absence still won’t make them love you. That is something you have to earn from people” "You have exactly one minute to say your farewells to Morris. I know how you hate goodbyes.
Excuse me while I go to check on the current state of your pending marriage" “Oh!! She infuriates me! She utterly infuriates me!” Grantley hissed.
“Then you will be pleased to know that the Prince of Soltz has responded, Sir. He is on his way. He should arrive in less than two days. By the end of this weekend your sister and Morris will be out of your life" the messenger informed him. "I urge you to re-think this, however, are you certain this is the right thing to do? Absolutely certain? Once you do this it will unleash havoc that you will probably never be able to put right again.”
“I’m certain. Absolutely certain" Grantley answered. "Losing Morris will hurt Vivienna. And losing Vivienna will hurt my Father even more. I will play second fiddle to her no more – of that I’m certain. Let’s do this!”
"Don't worry Morris, I have a plan. You're not getting on that ship. I promise you that" Thanks for reading, find out what happens next in Chapter 5 (coming soon)
Queen of Kings, Ch 4.
Jul 27, 2012 by oldmember_lucianna88
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