Queen of Kings, Chapter 9
Published Oct 13, 2012

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Chapter 9: Setting the wheels in motion

Chapter 9: Setting the wheels in motion In all my years of life, I, King of more than two thirds of the known world at that time, had never possessed so much power in one hand and yet felt so desperately helpless in the other.

My son and heir was a menace and I feared there would be no way to stop him. By right he was to become King after myself, but what a perilous disaster I knew that would be.

I searched every nook and cranny of my mind night after night and found no moral or legal solution to snatch the throne from his ghastly grip.
I went to see him, I had imprisoned him in the tower and deservedly so. It would not be for long but it would give him time to think through his actions and more importantly it would give me time to think of what to do next.

I climbed to the very top of the tower with a steely determination. What did I expect?
Remorse? No. I hoped for remorse, yes, but expectation and hope are two entirely different things.

I expected the same response that I always got after he'd acted wrongly and people got hurt; and he didn’t disappoint.
“Ah, Father. I assume you’re here to bend my ear about my recent deeds.

Well, do make it quick! I have lots to do. I was intending in going for a long walk today, perhaps a bit of open water swimming, maybe some jousting.

Oh, no, wait. I just remembered, I can’t, I’m in prison

"Get up" I said, "this is no laughing matter"
"No, it certainly isn't, Father. If you're here to apologise to me for putting me in this place then I don't want to hear it"

"You have some audicity my boy!"
“You’re just like him Grantley, like two peas in a pod”

“Pardon me? I am like who exactly?”

“My Father, you’re just like him. Wicked without reason!”

“Oh, come on! Why are you all making such a big deal out of this? So I sent Morris away, so what? He was an irritating little...”
“No! No! No! Don’t you be indignant! Not now, it won't work! Do you remember when you were seven and a classmate of yours accidently stood upon your toe?”

“WHAT are you talking about?”

“He stood on your toe and you had him expelled from school! And do you remember you ordered a dozen of our best maids to be sacked because they forgot to put butter on your toast! Do you see where I’m going with this? See son, how vengeful you are! You love to dole out undeserved punishments....just because you can! Morris is one in a long line of your latest victims. You have never liked him so you thought you’d just what you always do, you got rid of him. You’re a spineless bully! Well I will not allow it! I will not allow you to make a mockery of the privileges that come with being King! Never!”
“That’s too bad. I am your heir. I will be King one day and I will rule as I please”, he moved forward menacingly and smiled a coy smile.

With every fibre of my being I fought back the urge to announce to him that no, he would never be King. He would never rule. The satisfaction it would have given me to bear him such bad news would have been wonderful, but I knew better.

I had to keep my plan of plucking him from his potential throne quiet. I could not divulge it.

I knew he would hate me for ever after if he ever knew the dishonest plan I was going to set upon him in order to get my way, but I would hate myself more if I stood back and did nothing.

The people of my Kingdom were too precious to be given over to a fool, even if that fool was my beloved flesh and blood.
"I am going now. I suggest you use your time here wisely to consider your dreadful actions and the serious consequences they have reaped"

“Time? Well I have plenty of that, thanks to you”

“You forced me into this, you left me with no option”
“Yeah well if you think this is punishing me you’d be mistaken. In fact it gives me quite the story to tell my friends. A badge of honor of sorts. How many people can say they’ve been imprisoned in the tower and lived to tell the tale? Didn’t the great Queen Elizabeth Tudor herself once reside here for a time? And look what a successful Monarch she became. That will be me too, that will be my story” he shouted behind me with a great deal of premature triumph.

I closed the door then and left him to his boasting. He was right in one regard though, there would be another great Monarch, it just wouldn’t be him.
On the other side of the world was another imprisoned young man. A dark cloud clung over his head relentlessly. "Oi, Morris lad, you just gonna stand there and mope while the rest of us do all the work? Don't think so mate"

"I'm too depressed"

"You kidding me? We're all depressed. We're all miles from home and missing our loved ones, but that aint no excuse. You aint the only person who has been exiled incase you haven't noticed"

"But I am the only one of us who was whipped away on his wedding day and shoved onto a grotty boat having committed no crime!"

"...I aint wasting my breath talking to you anymore, she must have been a very special girl, that's all I've got to say"

"She was. A princess. A real one"
"Say, is that fellow crazy?"

"I'm beginning to think so. He thinks he was going to marry a Princess"

"Gee whiz"
That same day I paid a visit to my advisors office.

“Arbie, my dear friend. I must talk with you and I will get straight to the point. You know I have been burdened for a long time with my problem of having an unsuitable heir. I have finally reached a solution. You will most likely try to talk me out of it, I understand that, but it’s something I must do for the sake of my country”

“Why does this make me nervous?”
“There’s no need to be nervous. Nobody is going to get hurt. I need your help in finding some people, I need to gather together everyone who was employed here and present when my children were born. Nannies, maids, all of them, but most importantly I need to speak with Polly-Sue, the midwife, I have not seen nor heard of her in some years. It’s going to take time to track them down and I cannot do it by myself”

“I’m confused. Why do you want them?”
"I am going to persuade them- with a substantial sum of money and anything else their hearts desire- to tell a few little white lies to the world”

“What do you mean?” Arbie asked quizically as he rose from his chair.
"I mean- Grantley is not going to give up the throne willingly. It will never happen, it would be easier to pry a lion’s dinner from its very jaws. Therefore I am left only with the option to take the dishonest route out of this situation” I turned towards the window and looked out over the country I loved. “I have a very simple plan" I explained, "and all it involves is one person telling a story and others backing her up.

A quite ridiculous and unlikely story, granted, but that does not matter, for all my life I have been honest and upright and people will not question me now. They have no reason to believe I should lie.

If I painted my face green and announced that I had just arrived from Mars people would believe me. I regret that I am going to take advantage of my people’s trust in me like this but I would rather tell them a few white lies than hand them over to that fool!”
In Norsdale Manor the mood was no better than anywhere else.

"Madam, would you like something to eat? Drink? Read? Is there anything I can do for you?"

"No thank you. I am fine"
"I hope you don't mind me saying, but you do not seem fine. You have sat there for days shrouded in misery" "I said I'm fine, Butler. Please now, I don't wish to appear rude but I'd like to be left alone Sir"

What trouble Grantley had caused, to all of us. This had to end.
Then one day, finally we found her.

Mrs Polly-Sue O’Clyde. The woman who would change everything.
"Do sit down, my guest, would you care for some wine?" I asked as I directed her to the veranda in the gardens.

No, she said, she didn't drink. That was fine, I didn't bring her here to serve her wine.
"Why don't you take half an hour to go for a walk around the hills, Butler Harris, take the dog with you, she could stretch her legs"

"You know I am afraid of the dog, your Majesty. She does not abide me"

"Of course. Well, go yourself then"

"I cannot walk so far today your Majesty, my athletes foot is giving me trouble again"

"Fine. Fine! Go indoors and rest it then, do something, do whatever you want, go home if you wish! Just go somewhere...Please..!"
"Oh dear, he is a little prone to gossip that fellow. You will understand soon enough why I don't want him to overhear what I'm about to ask you. Because let's face it Polly, my dear, you’re probably wondering why I have called you here after all these years, aren’t you?”

“I am indeed, your Majesty. Do tell me. Do not keep me in suspense any longer”
“I will not keep you here long. Tell me first of all though, Polly, what is your biggest desire in life? What do you want from this world? What are you missing?” “Oh, well, I don’t know really. You've rather taken me by surprise"

"There must be something, Polly" I encouraged.

"I suppose I have always fancied living by the sea" she then answered, "waking up to the sounds of the ocean every day, watching the sun set over the water every night, a nice place for my husband and I to retire where our grandchildren could visit us and we would have a couple of golden retrievers running around and everything would be merry. Maybe we would even grow our own tomatoes and have an orange tree. Why do you ask, Sir?”
"What would you say if I told you all of that can be yours- if you want it. All that and more. You name it and I will provide it for you”

“Really? ....And what do I have to do to make it mine, my King, I know you are a generous man but surely you did not call me here to offer me all these things for no reason?”

“All you have to do is stand up and give a message to the world, I tell you what to say and you recite it, publicly. It’s as simple as one, two, three. You will get your nice house by the sea and everything else, nobody will know its location and I will send you all my best housekeepers and butlers to look after you day and night, you won’t ever have to lift a finger again”
“Well, I have to admit it, that is tempting. But what is this story you want me to tell?”

I had stood up again before I realised I was even out of my chair, I was riddled once more with guilt and unable to look at the person I was speaking to for fear of what they would think of my plans. I seemed to be doing this a lot lately and I didn't like it. Dishonesty wasn't natural to me, it made me terribly uncomfortable.

“It’s just a small mistruth regarding the order of events on the day my children were born" I finally said. "What do you say? Will you do this? For King and country?"
"Tell me why, Sir?" she asked as she walked towards me, "why do you want me to lie?"

"Look at this way, Polly. Look at all this, okay, lush green mountains as far as the eye can see. It's beautiful, isn't it? My wonderful kingdom- a kingdom at peace, for now. Hear that wonderful stillness? Now say it was all yours, would you give it away to someone who had no concept of its value? Who was going to ruin it all and trample over everything you hold dear in your life?"

"Of course not" she replied.
"Do you remember when my Father reigned?" I asked her.

A look of deep sadness spread across her face as her mind cast back to that dark period in our history.

"My son is just like him" I confessed, "nobody in this nation wants another King like my Father"
"Do what I ask Madam, and we can change everything. Tell a simple little lie and propel my daughter to the Throne instead of my son. She will lead you all with fairness and a good heart, with courage and justice, she will be the greatest leader you could wish for, I promise you that. Please, make the right choice. Will you help me achieve this? Will you allow me to leave this nation in capable hands?"

"I'll do it" she whispered, so low that I had to ask her to repeat herself.

"I'll do it!" she repeated, this time much louder.

And just like that, everything finally fell into place.

I was going to alter the course of history. Like two pieces on a chess board I was going to move my son out of the picture and place my daughter exactly where I needed her to be.

...Except this wasn’t a game.
A few nights later everything was underway. The wheels were set in motion.

"Evening Butler, I'm just here to visit Vivienna. I have been visiting folk all day so I shant be long"
"Hello there my darling daughter, may your old papa have a seat?" "Papa? Of course. I'm glad to see you here. Where have you been? I have not heard from you in days, I was starting to worry"

"Oh I've been very busy, planning things. Lots of planning"
"Planning what?"

"Planning what? Tomorrow is the aniversary of my 25th year as King"

"Heavens, Papa. I forgot, I'm sorry"

"Not to worry, you've had a lot on your mind. Well, I am here to invite you to my lavish outdoor celebration party tomorrow afternoon. It'll be a day to remember! Lot’s of people will be there. Lots and lots, and lots, of people....”
"Including Grantley?"

"Yes, including Grantley. He will be released from the tower. I know that's not what you want to hear but he is my son and I love him, as I love you. For one day the pair of you will have to tolerate one another, for my sake"

"Alright, I'll be there, but only for you"

"That's my girl. Anyhow, I must go now, tomorrow is a very important day, I should get my rest"
"Okay...Papa? Are you alright? You seem a little strange"

"Am I alright? I'm as happy as could be. I couldn't be better! In fact I'm floating on cloud nine. Alright? Goodnight my dear!"

"Okay. Goodnight. I'll see you tomorrow"
To be continued .........


Thank you for reading Chapter 9. Chapter 10 is almost finished and ready to be submitted too.

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#1kikialexaOct 13, 2012

Wow! i'm wondering how the king will tell everyone Vivienna was the first child born...

#2Lady ArielleVIPOct 13, 2012

This will be a good episode (10)......can't wait to read it....loved this one....

#3annarose16Oct 14, 2012

This was amazing! I can't wait for the next chapter, I want to see what Grantley says/does when he hears the lie! \:D

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