Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Tale of Two Kings - Part #2

She took a calming breath to gather her focus.  There were few things in this world that bothered her, and these two men were high among them.  Annabelle Lenore look upon each with a disapproving manner.  Her personal guards had skillfully pinned them both to the ground.  She had first taken notice of them back in the King’s ballroom, and they her.  Foolishly, they thought to follow a princess into a place they should not have ventured.  Annabelle's visit had allowed her this private wing in the palace as her residence.  Uninvited visitors could expect to be detained at the very least.  The more persistent could expect to have their rather fair looking faces, pressed unflatteringly against the obsidian stone floor.

“And what do we have here?” she asked, letting her annoyance flow through her voice.  The feeling did not lessen when the darker haired one managed to raise his head.  His lips were curled into a smile that he must have thought special.  It only made her want to put her sharp heel to the side of his head.

“You don’t speak,” she said, raising a hand in a gesture of silence.  Annabelle turned instead to his auburn haired companion.  “You will speak.”  

This one was smiling now.  Her eyes narrowed and her lips pursed tightly as she glance back at the first one.  The damn fools must have practiced long on that clever smile.  It may have worked on the chambermaids, but it held no sway with her.  Sure they were both fair enough to look at.  However, they had the grace, charm, and subtlety of a stumbling child.  Both had made that impression very well when they practically fell over each other, when simply crossing ballroom. 

“I’m waiting for a response,” she nodded toward her guard.  He gave the auburn haired man’s arm a little twist.  Annabelle was pleased when the clever smile faded.  The man had bit down hard on what she thought was going to be a very colorful curse.

“My lady,” he grunted, as her guard gave his arm another small twist. “My lady…  I believe there has been a misunderstanding.  We simply caught sight of your beauty from afar.  Out of pure admiration, we wished only for a closer view of your radiance.”

“My beauty?” Annabelle asked sounding unimpressed.  “Such a compliment, and yet, I believe this one boasts with a silver tongue he does not possess.”  She nodded for her guards to torque each man’s arm again.  Surprising to her was that neither cried out.  The soldiers her father trained were very good at inflicting pain.

“Tell me,” she said after a moment’s consideration.  “Was it only my beauty you sought?  Am I but a pretty flower for you to gaze upon?  I would assume that you seek more than beauty.  For in time, the simple beauty of any flower shall wilt, and wither.  Maybe I possess other attributes that might interest you?”

“I… uh, well certainly,” the auburn hair man stumbled.  The silver tongue was failing.   Now he only had that clever smile to fall back on.  It did not seem so clever to her this time.

Annabelle sighed.

“If truly, it is only beauty that you seek,” she said bitterly, “might I suggest you try the royal gardens.  There you will find plenty of beautiful flowers gaze upon, and pluck.”

Annabelle turned.  Then hesitating, she looked back down at the two men.

“Then again, I wouldn’t suggest that either,” she cautioned.  “The king takes much pride in those gardens.  It might be a shame if one or both of you lost a hand.”

Each man flashed a smile at her, but not the clever one this time.  It said they knew something that she did not.

“Don’t worry,” the one with the auburn hair said.  “I doubt that he will take my hand.”

“I wouldn’t be so certain, Roderic Arcanius,” Annabelle said his name without flinching.  She enjoyed the surprise that painted their faces.

“You know who I am?” Roderic asked. 

Annabelle made a small nod and the guards released the two men.

“How can one be invited to a party and not know the name of their host,” she stated.  “You are the Prince of Days… heir to the Throne of Light, future King of the Twelve Kingdoms, Protector of the Gateway, and Guardian of the Covenant.” Annabelle recited the titles with as much exaggerated pomp as she could manage, and did not crack a smile.  Roderic's dumfounded look was satisfying to her, and she turned to the other and sniffed lightly.

“You would be Zareth Wren, the Prince of Nights, Heir to the Twilight Throne, and the future position of Lord General to the King of Days.” 

            The idiot had the nerve to bow and her frown did not seem to discourage him.

            “My lady,” Roderic said.  “It seems that you have us at a disadvantage.”

            “Like most men, you are born that way,” Annabelle said.  For a second she chewed on the sour taste at the tip of her tongue, but continued.  “It is a sad state of affairs when the King’s son does not know his own guests.  Especially one who’s hair he once set on fire while the governess wasn’t watching.”

            She saw something dawn in Roderic’s eyes.


            Annabelle tilted her head slightly with a frown for Roderic.

            “So you do remember me,” she stated.  “Should I be pleased that some memory of me still exists in your muddled thoughts?”

            “It has been a long time,” Roderic said.  He seemed to fumble with his words.  The silver had completely left his tongue.

            “Not long enough,” she shot back, and turned a sharp eye toward Zareth who held what seemed to be a perpetual smirk.

            “And what of you?” she asked.

            “Oh…” he began and the smirk twisted back to that annoyingly clever smile.  “I remember you quite well Anne.”

            “I expected as much,” she sneered.  “You were always the smarter and more inventive of my tormentors.  Always ready with the cruelest of tricks.”

            “Anne,” Roderic hastily said.  “We were all children back then, and children do stupid things.  I admit that we probably did more stupid thing than most, but that’s in the past.  Time changes people.  Let us show you that we have changed.  Perhaps we can start again.”

            Her teeth ground together with every word Roderic spoke.  There was sincerity in his voice, but then he tried that stupid smile on her again.

            “Change…?” Annabelle wetted her lips.  “Roderic, you speak as if the reputation of you both hadn’t preceded you into this meeting.  Your stories and acts of depravity are well known.  Even if they weren’t, you should know quite well that my feelings for the two of you have been well earned.”

            Roderic started to open his mouth, but she cut him off.

            “This conversation is over.”  

Annabelle nodded to her guards.  There had been two but now they had become eight.  They stepped forward behind the two men.

“See them out,” she paused and her eyes narrowed at the two.  “Be certain that they haven’t broken anything when they trip and fall down the stairs.”  Annabelle then smiled at them both.  “Have a pleasant evening Roderic, and you, Zareth.  I hope you both find your pretty flowers to gaze upon.”

Annabelle turned and walked away, ignoring protests and the sounds of fighting at her back.  She thought only of tomorrow night, when she would be away from this place.  Hopefully another ten years could pass before she had to see either of those men again.

Thank you for your visit. 

I hope you enjoyed this segment.

Come back next week for part 3.

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