Felyx listened quietly to the king’s speech as he chanted the traditional words spoken over generations. He was seated uncomfortably in the throne room, after hastily stealing a seat in the hopes of seeing Rei. He had caught sight of her almost immediately, recognising her golden hair loosely falling down her back. Of course he knew she would be present as her husband received his knighthood. Felyx cringed a little as he sat there, memories of the days he had spent researching the fellowship of knights. How the monarch had created knighthood to further pamper the local nobles, and since then it had become a custom for nobles to expect this achievement from their sons. In his naivety he had wanted to become a knight, back when he believed the symbolism of heroic men in armour.
“I, King of Marlowe, descendant of the royal line of Casimir, hereby pronounce you” the king’s voice poured out and flooded the throne room. “Sir Lucan Leolin.”
He rested his golden hilted sword against Lucan’s shoulders, and then rose the blade high above his head to continue the speech. Felyx winced at each word, and almost found relief in the whispering from the seat in front of his. Miklos Ridere sat beside his father, the aging Ancel.
“When are you going to receive your knighthood, boy?” Ancel hissed to his son.
Miklos made a grunting sound, “Why bother? Even Soren said he only went for it to obey tradition.”
Felyx clenched his jaw, he despised how easily the high born people mocked what they saw as below them. He could see Rei listening intently to her father’s words, though he doubted she cared all that much, she was simply there to represent her new family and support her husband. He had yet to meet Lucan, but his mother had only kind words to say about the Leolins. One thing she had mentioned was their much more ‘reserved’ outlook, implying that they did not carry the same perspectives as the other noble families. Felyx could have guess that himself, considering their willingness to an actual marriage between Rei and Lucan.
“Rise, Sir Lucan” the king bellowed finally, marking the end of the ceremony.
On his feet in moments, Felyx watched as Juan Leolin went to congratulate his son and thank the king. He was surprised to see Rei on her feet also, headed straight for him.
“Felyx!” She said with a squeal, “You’re so tall!”
He smiled and reached out for a hug, “I hear that happens over time.”
She tugged at his clothing playfully, “Enough of that, smart mouth.” She grinned, “I’ve missed you so much, you won’t believe how things have changed.”
“Tell me then,” he looked her up and down. “You don’t look much different.”
Actually, she did look different. She was smiling broadly and there was a light in her eyes that he hadn’t seen before, her happiness was a huge relief to him.
“If you’re implying I don’t look pregnant, you need more experience with pregnant women.”
Felyx gulped, the memory of the afternoons he’d spent with Jessamyn drawing guilt from his stomach.
Then he realised what she meant, “You?”
She nodded ecstatically, “Not far along so the midwife says I have to be careful – she advised me to wait before coming to court.”
There was sadness in her for the briefest second, and Felyx knew her thoughts were with the queen. “Have you heard from Nyssa?” He asked to change the subject.
“Geraint said he sent for her,” she nodded again. “So she should be here in the next few days.”
“I’m happy for you, Rei” he said earnestly.
She stared at him, wearing a delicate smile. He imagined she was at war with herself, guilty for her new found happiness despite losing her sister and her mother’s illness.
“Oh, and Milena – Lucan’s mother” she told him. “She had a baby boy.”
That meant there would be little to no pressure on Rei to conceive a son, although it would be expected in time.
Felyx looked past her to see Lucan’s eyes on them, “Shouldn’t you be congratulating your husband?” He asked carefully, “He’s giving me a look.”
“A look?” Rei laughed, “What sort of look? Don’t look worried, smile!”
He grinned at her, his chest swelling at the surrounding glow she wore. All their lives they had dreaded the future, unknowing of where the king would send her or how she would live. But Reina had saved her from that, and given her a reason to smile. He was glad for that, above all things.