So we find ourselves at another Wednesday and here I am flashing my briefs. As to this week's promt? Kudos to those who can guess :D
My heart breaks that my prince should doubt me so. It breaks double that he should doubt himself. His loss of trust in me is hardly surprising as I kept from him an important secret, especially as I knew it would hurt his confidence when he discovered it. His lack of faith in himself is not only entirely unfounded but might very well be disastrous for us all. This is a crucial time for relations between our peoples and strong leadership is vital. I have no idea what went on within the Counsel chamber but I have no doubt my prince showed strong leadership. I saw it still in the way he dismissed his sister.
And yet… I cannot say it was a façade because I do not believe for one moment that it was, but it is a side of my love that has been cruelly crushed and will take time to nourish and heal. Time we do not have.
castien’s glance shies away and he will not meet my eyes. I pull him close and embrace him tightly.
“You are a great man, and you will be a great leader. When you doubt this, I will always be at your side to remind you.”
For the longest time, castien pressed his face to my shoulder and his slender body trembles with the force of the struggle I know goes on within him. So many conflicting emotions. He wants to trust; I know he does – me and himself.
“No more lies. No more secrets,” he says, his voice muffled.
“I swear it.”
castien raises his face. I had expected to see tears but there are none. He searches my eyes, then gives a deep sigh. “I believe you.”
We sit and I try to tempt castien to eat. He steadfastly refuses. He seems deeply weary but he will not return to his chamber.
“They will come,” he says, “and I will be ready, not roused from sleep and standing before them in my night clothes.”
“Who will come?”
castien shakes his head and wilts, his hands hanging between his knees. It hurts to see him so. I lay my arm across his shoulders and pull him close. He does not resist.
It takes an hour but, as my prince predicted, they come. Their voices reach us first. I hear them approach from a distance, which says much as the castle walls are thick and the tapestries also dampen the transmission of sound.
castien rises to his feet. I do not miss his slight sway before he rights himself and straightens his back. I rise to stand at his side and lace my fingers with his. He glances at me and smiles. His complexion is very pale, and his eyes bright. I fear this day will prove too much for him. jandra’s words haunt me. Better she would listen to her own advice.
The door bursts inwards and the king strides in followed immediately by his daughter.
“What in the name of all the Gods did you think you were doing?” the king roars at castien. The prince’s fingers twitch in mine but this is the only sign of his alarm.
“What had to be done.”
“Reckless fool. You could have wrecked months of careful negotiation.”
“But I didn’t. They will posture and complain but the will fall in behind whatever plan we make. I have made it impossible for them to do otherwise.”
“Stupid child,” jandra spits at him. “How could you imagine for one moment you were fit to speak before the High Counsel? Not even I would dare do such a thing uninvited. And you disturbed a crucial meeting. How could you have embarrassed Father so? If I were he I would have you flogged for your insubordination.”
castien’s fingers tremble and I can tell that it is only rigid control that prevents his body from visibly shaking. I doubt he could speak now. His hand has turned icy and his face waxen. I have seen men look like this before and I am mindful of his delicate condition. I promise myself that if his lips turn blue I will take him from this place and these people who would so badly hurt one of their own when they know he struggles with his constitution.
jandra was not finished. She took two quick steps forward before the king put out his hand to stay her. It did not stay her words though. “Do you know what you have done? From what I overheard you not only spoke, you commanded; demanded. They were furious; outraged.”
Words fail her and silence falls, into which I resolve to pour my defence. castien must not believe he stands alone. I am a prince too. It is time I began acting like one.
Before I can open my mouth the king begins to laugh. It would appear that everyone is as shocked as I.
“They were, weren’t they?” The king spluttered, laughter quite overcoming him. “I was concerned chancellor badbury would have a fit. And lord grace.” Laughter robbed his words again and I an quite puzzled as to why he would consider the situation amusing.
“They’re a load of old goats and it was time they were shaken up.” The king sobered. “You have done me a service today. You have opened my eyes to the power of words over swords. I have…not been entirely fair to you, it seems.” The king’s entire demeanour changes and his words soften. “Well done, lad. Well done.”
“Be silent jandra. The time comes when all need think long and hard on our misconceptions. This family is no exception. Remember, it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
“You’ve gone insane. castien was a little brat and he gets praise?”
“We all get what we deserve sooner or later.”
“I….” castien whispers, his grip on my hand tightening, then he crumples to the ground in a dead faint.
Now check out the other flashers. There are some gems this week