Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Free Reign

1031, Winter

Ancel walked quickly down the castle corridor, his mind ticking away the exchange with Mae Talisman. There was a reason the king disliked her presence in the castle, she was much too calculating for a woman. And the nerve to imply that he was the Spymaster! Ancel balled his fists in agitation; the king would not be pleased. He came to a pause outside the king’s rooms, wary that his majesty might be keeping company of another. He knocked at the door twice, and the king’s bold voice called for him to enter. 

King Conri stood looking down at a map strewn on the table, his brow was furrowed and he was scratching at his beard. He looked when Ancel entered and nodded his greeting, Ancel moved to where he stood. The room contained bookshelves overflowing with parchments and leather bound tomes. Conri spent most of his days within, overseeing his kingdom’s papers. He was usually joined by the treasurer, but the old man had died from a winter sickness.
“Sire,” Ancel said.
Although Ancel had news to report, the king respected tradition and Ancel knew he despised those who spoke to him without an invitation. He waited as the king studied his map further, and noted that it depicted the mass of forestation to the east of Marlowe. It was the same forest where Princess Eirian had been lost to a fire. 

Eventually, the king looked up, “I’m making you my steward.”
Ancel blinked in astonishment, “Sire?”
The royal steward was most often chosen from noble blood, but not often was a first born son, heir to his own family fortune, chosen for such a job.
“Your son is of age to cater to your family needs, and I need men I can trust supervising my court.” The king said, “I’ve made my decision, and if you bark about it I’ll have you chained up with my dogs.”
“I – I am honoured, your grace” Ancel swallowed.
Conri gestured for them to sit, “You will remain at your residence however I expect to see you much more regularly at court. Your duties will be trivial, and you are to work with the new treasurer.”
Nodding his head, Ancel went to ask who the new treasurer was, but he suddenly remembered the reason he had come. “Sire, I have disappointing news.”
“Is it as important as your new position?”

Ancel nodded, “Even more so.”
“Well, what is it?”
“I’ve heard from Juan Leolin,” he told the king. “He tells me the Princess Rei is to be married to his son.”
Conri chuckled, “I am aware of that. Reina had me sign the necessary paperwork the old cat; I didn’t have the heart to tell her no.”

“Yes, well. There’s more to it,” Ancel insisted. “Lucan has arrested his brother, and has asked to present him for trial.”
The king’s face grew dark and he frowned in confusion, “What is his offence?”
Ancel swallowed hard, “Incest.” He said slowly, “He was caught attempting to undress his young sister.”
He waited for the king to react, but Conri sat there staring ahead without moving even a muscle. Ancel’s nerves grew more and more demanding, and finally, the king spoke.
“Disgraceful,” he sighed “Even my perversions never sunk so low.”

“Should I have Rei collected at once?”
Conri shook his head, “No, if she is aware of this then let her be and suffer the outcome.”
Ancel nodded his understanding, the king had many daughters and it was unlikely that all of them would make smart matches. He looked up at the sound of someone approaching, curious at who had the gall to enter the king’s private rooms without consent. The familiar face of Soren Ridere, Ancel’s younger brother, appeared in sight. Ancel stood at once, looking from the king to his brother and back again.

“Hello brother,” Soren greeted with a sly grin. “I hear we will be working together.”
“You,” Ancel growled. “You’re the new treasurer?”
Soren grinned in triumph, “You know my specialty is law, but I’ve always been good with finance.”
Ancel stood unmoving in disbelief. His brother had been trying to overtake him as head of their family for over a decade, and now it seemed he had succeeded at least in outdoing his status. The king got to his feet and made his way around the pair.

“As steward you will have to report any and all expenses to the treasurer,” he told Ancel. “Of course you will both be required to seek approval from me when the expense is large, but beyond that you will have free reign of your positions.”
Soren was grinning noticeably, “Sire, I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity.”
To Ancel’s surprise, Conri laughed. “Just remember to get me another opportunity with that long-legged brunette,” he said with a chortle.

It seemed that Soren had gained the king’s approval by sharing their love of women, as just like the king, Soren sported a harem of mistresses. Ancel sighed loudly, looking down at the stone floor below. He tuned out of their conversation, suddenly feeling inadequate.


  1. Interview went well! Fingers crossed I get the position!
    Aaaand, introducing Soren, Ancel's younger brother. He has been mentioned before I think but not by name, I giggled a bit seeing all men with the same coloured hair :P but honestly it's my favourite shade of red. Conri will have a few more appearances after this, I expect Soren will as well. So get used to him!
    Happy reading :)

  2. Glad the interview went well!

    I kind of hope Ancel's son becomes head of the family soon. These two need to get their priorities in line, both of them. It amuses me that they'll cause each other such grief working together (and I'm hoping that grief gets to Conri as well!).

    Pyrotechnic is my most commonly-used Pooklet red too. I almost picked that shade for Aspen too, but decided at the last minute to go for something different.

    1. I imagine Miklos would struggle even with the minor duties he will be responsible for now, he's very err, busy? Occupied? Haha distracted! But even besides that, he's very lazy, though I'm sure in time he will grow up a bit and take charge. Yeah Ancel is not going to cope well being so close to Soren, and I'm Conri will get over it soon enough, and start avoiding them both.
      Yeah the Peredurs have a different shade just to even things out that tiny bit xD