Magic and Mayhem Part V

A week later in the council, Uriel brought up a delicate matter before those present. He waited until he had a full audience to make sure none would miss the opportunity to hear his words.

“You Highness, an alarming report has come to my attention. I believe the princesses have been sneaking out of the castle at night. Of course my concern is only for their welfare and the reputation of the kingdom, but we should ask Princess Mariana what she knows of this,” he said with his head bowed. He took a quick glance of the princess from the corner of his vision, hoping to catch a glimpse of her reaction.

“Mariana is this true? Do you and your sisters leave the castle unescorted at night?” asked the king with a frown. His daughter, with a curtsey, moved towards the dais.

“Father, I know not to what Uriel is referring. We don’t leave the grounds and if we do it’s never unattended or after dark. Perhaps he is mistaken,” she replied with a straight back, but she wiped her hands discretely on the sides of her gown.

“You Highness, I wouldn’t want to accuse your daughters of telling falsehoods, but perhaps a disinterested third party would be a better judge. I propose that we ask someone from outside of the kingdom to discover the lies in this dangerous slander,” Uriel said and paused with a small smile as though an idea was forming.

“Allow others into my kingdom? I do not like the idea of others thinking they can better manage the goings-on of my own daughters,” said the king looking sharply at his eldest.

“Perhaps we can make it a contest of sorts. Suitable men will be given three days to discover the truth or lies to this tale and for a reward they can have the hand of one of your daughters. However, if they should fail they will be locked away so they cannot report this to anyone. To the other kingdoms it will merely look as though you are finding candidates for your daughters to wed,” he replied slowly. The king stood up still looking at his daughter. Something he saw in her face made him pause.

“Agreed. Let there be a royal proclamation that my eldest daughter is of marriageable age,” he said to Mariana. She bowed her head and swept out of the room, but caught the smile on Uriel face.

Magic and Mayhem Part IV

Magic and Mayhem Part I

Magic and Mayhem Part II

Magic and Mayhem Part III

The next morning, Princess Amara left with her father on a week’s progress. All in attendance thought that she looked every inch a princess with a new gown, satin slippers, and a regal bearing. If any noted that she also looked exhausted they ignored her sluggish steps. The circles under her eyes could only be seen by the king, who shared her coach.

Uriel was left to look over state affairs and one of his first acts was to hire girl from the village who could help Bronwen with onerous chores. She was also charged with letting Uriel know if there was anything amiss. Thankful to have employment and smitten with Uriel, she was only too eager to oblige. What she discovered was puzzling.

“Sir, I think the princesses leave the castle at night,” she reported. “Wherever they go it must be a wilderness for their slippers as well as their tempers are frayed the next morning. Do you suppose they go to the village through the old woods?” Uriel did not answer her questions and dismissed her curtly to attend his thoughts.

After the maid left, Uriel looked over his books on portents and prophesies. While many knew the king’s fate to lose his kingdom while still living, none but two knew the first part.

Twins will come to a kingdom, one to wed and another to rule

The male will use the king as his tool

But when a son is born to the pair with a daughter

His realm will he lose to the former, not the latter

 

The rhyme reminded him of the faithful day that he and his sister had come to the palace. His twin sister had been a blushing bride and perfect queen until she began to bear twins to the king. Uriel was able to instill fear in the king with the last couplet and convinced him to banish his sons to the nether realms. His sister remembered the rhyme and became a fierce adversary until Uriel had to banish her, too. He was lucky that magic was not one of her gifts and he assumed her children were just as powerless.

But now he began to wonder where the girls went at night and to what purpose. Mariana had always been a contrary creature, seeking out matters that were none of her concern. Perhaps the girls were trying to find their mother. It was of little consequence none but he knew where she had been sent, but perhaps it was time to get the eldest princess out of the way.