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    ObicanDecko
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Fairyfly II - 11. King and Queen

With the Royal Ball approaching, Gilda knew everything had to be in perfect order. Come tomorrow, guests from all over the continent would start arriving - royals and other noble families from every kingdom on Escaria would send their representatives, hoping to win the hand of Princess Amelia and form an alliance with Alduin through marriage.

King of Thorodan was sending his younger son, Prince Wilton, while Omoruo II, King of Thar, sent his eldest son, prince Norbu. Kings of Amaret and Menelyn, who had no sons, were sending several high-ranking lords instead. Even the reclusive island nation of Kar Magan was said to be sending one of its princes in hopes of charming young Amelia. Aside from them, many noble families from all six kingdoms would participate as well, hoping that one of their sons would be selected by the older Princess of Alduin.

The ball would be a grand event that would last two days, including elegant dinners with dozens of courses, as well as entertainment provided by the best musicians of Thenelle. It would be the first event of such scale and importance in which Gilda would be taking part in the role of guard commander. The pressure was immense, but even if the woman was feeling it, she was showing no signs of it. With constant training and work on securing the castle on one hand, and the mission to find Norius on the other, the guards were kept busier than ever. This left them no time to put Gilda down and question her authority, and she was greatly relieved by it.

The guard commander strode through the hallway leading to the throne room with sure and confident steps, before reaching for the door and letting herself in, passing by the two guards that stood in front of it. As soon as she walked in and lay eyes on Queen Loreena, it was clear to her that something was amiss. 

The usually composed ruler was now pacing across the grand chamber, wringing her hands. As she heard the door shut, she finally stopped and turned around to see the black-haired woman standing there with a questioning look on her face.

“Ah, Gilda, it’s you… Did you want something?” the queen asked, her voice sounding uncertain and weak, as if she had trouble remembering the other woman’s name.

“Your majesty, I apologize for disturbing you. I simply wanted to let you know everything is ready for tomorrow’s ball as far as security is concerned. We will have guards posted around the castle and the courtyard, but some of them will be placed out front, ready to welcome the guests. Although, of course, I assume many guests will bring their own guards with them.”

“Of course, that’s… that’s to be expected,” the queen replied absentmindedly as she walked back to her throne and sat down with a deep sigh. As she looked into the distance, her gaze fell upon one of the many portraits on the walls, specifically one depicting King Aldor I, the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Alduin. The painting showed him standing proud and mighty, clad in his battle armor, a longsword in his hand. He looked every bit the strong and righteous warrior he was remembered as. Not only did he unite the tribes living in the south of Escaria under one kingdom, he was also known as a just and unwavering ruler that brought prosperity to Alduin.

“My queen, is something the matter?” Gilda asked carefully, taking a few steps forward.

“Perhaps I made a mistake,” Loreena replied, still gazing at the painting on the wall.

“I beg your pardon? What mistake?”

“When I decided to take over the throne.”

Gilda opened her mouth to speak, but then promptly closed it, staring at the woman in front of her. She had never seen the queen like this, let alone heard her openly question her own abilities as a ruler.

“Your majesty, why would you think such a thought? Of course you were right to take over. If I may speak openly, King Norius… he was blind with rage, consumed by it. We all know he became a sad, twisted shadow of the king he once was.”

The queen finally peeled her eyes away from the painting, turning to look at Gilda.

“Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean I was fit to be a queen either.”

“I think you’ve more than proven yourself in the past year. If you ask me, you’re a good queen to your people. Just and prudent.”

“Am I?” Loreena chuckled humorlessly, shaking her head. “I let Norius escape right from under my nose, and now I am unable to find him. A blind man has outwitted me. If I can’t secure my own castle, how will I handle the ball tomorrow? How will I rule the kingdom if I can’t even do this one thing right?”

Gilda clenched her jaw, a pang of guilt shooting through her chest. As the guard commander, security was something she was responsible for, and if someone managed to sneak into the castle and help Norius escape, that was all on her, not the queen.

“Your majesty, what happened with the king should never have occurred, and I apologize for that. But I assure you, we’ve taken all the precautions we could for the ball. We also expect sorcerer Esthor to be here tomorrow. We will all do our best to keep you, the princesses and the guests safe.”

“Thank you, Gilda. I certainly hope everything goes smoothly. If Norius tries anything…”

“I doubt he would attempt anything with so many people around. He’d be a fool if he even dared to-”

Loud, hurried knocks on the door interrupted the women’s conversation, as if someone was banging with their entire fists against the heavy wooden surface.

Gilda rushed to open the door, surprised when she saw a guard entering, his chest heaving as if he had been running.

“What’s the matter?”

“Your majesty,” the man spoke, taking a quick bow in front of the queen, “it’s the king! We’ve captured him!”

The queen bolted up from the throne, her hands gripping the armrests as her wide eyes gazed at the soldier in front of her. She could feel her stomach churning. As desperate as she was to capture her husband, she dreaded seeing him again.

“What? You have Norius? Where is he?”

“Guards are holding him just outside.”

“Bring him in at once,” Loreena ordered, her voice finding some strength.

“I’ll go with you,” Gilda turned to the guard as she followed him out of the throne room.

~~

After spending the later part of his morning running errands around town, Quinn returned to his hideout around midday. The sun was high in the clear sky, warming up the spring air, but the north wind was cold, blowing Quinn’s long, black hair away from his face as he rode down the street. Once he finally reached the old, inconspicuous house, he dismounted from his horse and grabbed his backpack. He had brought enough food for himself and Norius for two days. At least that way he wouldn’t have to hear the king complain about being hungry - as if he hadn’t spent the last year eating scraps in that dungeon.

Frowning at the thought of the old king, Quinn walked toward the door, hoping the old bastard had come to his senses. He did not want to chance another visit to that sorceress, as she seemed highly unreliable. The fact that she even helped them the first time was nothing short of a miracle, he thought, but lightning never strikes twice. The woman seemed just as likely to kill them as to help them, and he wanted nothing to do with her again.

The guard fished his key ring out of his pocket, but as soon as he tried unlocking the door, it opened on its own, letting out a long creak.

“What the hell…” Quinn muttered as he walked into the house, looking around. His blood froze as he noticed the place was empty, the lock clearly broken.

“NO!” the man screamed, slamming his backpack against the wall and letting it fall with a thud. “Fuck!”

Pacing around the room, he could feel his heart racing, a sense of rage and panic washing over him like a tidal wave. What the hell was he supposed to do now? Either the royal guards - or Esthor himself - have somehow discovered their hideout and took the king or…

“Oh, you idiot,” Quinn grumbled as he went to inspect the door and noticed the lock was broken from the inside. Nobody took Norius from there. He broke out on his own.

~~

King Norius woke up feeling rested, but it didn’t take long for all the feelings of guilt and failure that began to plague his mind to come flooding back. As he sat on the bed in the corner and observed the shabby room he was in, he couldn’t help but feel defeated, desperate over his sad situation. Even though he was no longer a prisoner in his castle, he was still locked up, forced to hide from everyone. It was hard to even appreciate getting his sight back when that derelict house was what he had to look at.

Getting up, he moved across the room to a small, cracked mirror on the wall, all stained and smudgy. He had half a mind to clean it with his sleeve, but when he noticed the bearded, haggard man staring back at him, he just shuddered and turned away, unable to look at himself.

He put on his coat and approached the door, pulling on it. Just as he had thought, it was still locked, though it seemed flimsy enough that perhaps he could break it open.

“There has to be something here…” he muttered quietly as he turned and glanced around the room, trying to spot anything he could use as a tool. He rummaged frantically under the bed, around the fireplace and the small cabinet that stood against a wall, until his eyes fell upon a heavy iron pipe lying on the bottom shelf.

With just a few heavy slams, the lock gave out, and the old man finally let out a sigh of relief. With one final look at the hideout, he put on his hood and walked out, closing the door behind him. 

It was broad daylight, but that made no difference to him. He was done sneaking around and hiding. That was never him. He would do what he should have done a long time ago - face Loreena and their daughters and explain himself. He would beg for their forgiveness just as he had begged Rulf. He could only hope that his family would be more understanding than the Lykos had been.

Having left the hideout, the king realized he had quite a way to go until he reached the castle. Apparently, he was in the old, northern quarters of the capital, filled with dilapidated houses and narrow streets and alleys. He walked as fast as he could, going southwest, trying to keep his mind occupied by observing the buildings he was passing by. Still, no matter how much he tried, he could do nothing to stop the growing sense of anxiety within him. How was he going to face his family, his soldiers and loyal subjects? Were they even loyal to him anymore, or had they written him off completely? The thought hurt him to his very core. If Loreena and their daughters refused to forgive him, he would be truly alone. He would have no one. Having the title of a king seemed ridiculous to him in such circumstances. Ridiculous and utterly sad.

Norius had barely stepped into one of the broader streets that led into the newer parts of the city when he heard rapidly approaching footsteps. Before he could even turn around, he felt two pairs of strong hands grab him by the arms, quickly subduing him.

One of the men pulled on his hood, removing it from Norius’ head.

“It’s him!” the other shouted, strengthening his grip on the king.

“What’s going on?” Norius asked, struggling but unable to break free from the men’s grasp.

“The queen’s been looking for you. We’re taking you to the castle.”

“I was headed there myself, there’s no need for this!”

“Yeah, we’re not taking that chance. Just stay quiet and don’t cause us any trouble or it won’t end well for you.”

His shoulders slumped, Norius let the men push him down the street. He was too tired to argue or attempt to run, but even if he could, what was the point? He was already going to the castle anyway, but he had hoped to do it with at least some of his dignity preserved. Sadly, that was no longer possible. He was being escorted through town by guards as if he was a criminal. His own men treated him like a threat, an enemy.

With his head hung low, he simply made his way forward, walking quietly towards the castle. There was nothing he could say at that moment, but perhaps over time, he could show everyone through his actions that he was a changed man.

Once they had finally reached the royal grounds, the king felt his face burning, the pit in his stomach growing. He dared to look up, and it was as he had feared - all eyes were on him. The path to the castle entrance seemed longer than ever, as the gazes of all the guards and servants he passed by seemed to burn into his skin. It seemed that everyone looked at him with either pity or fear, and he didn’t know which was worse.

It didn’t take long before two more guards appeared and led Norius into the throne room. Once the heavy door opened, the only sound was the echo of footsteps as the guards, followed by Gilda, led their disgraced king into the large chamber to present him to the queen. 

Sitting on the throne, Loreena observed the scene in silence, gripping her royal scepter with her right hand. She had never used it, but now she found it gave her some sort of comfort, as if holding it imbued her with strength and determination. Her eyes widened as she noticed Norius no longer had a blindfold covering his eyes. Unflinching, she stared at the man’s drooping figure until he finally dared to look up, his sad eyes, riddled with guilt, meeting hers.

“So, you’ve managed to get around the spell,” Loreena stated curtly. “And what did you think was going to happen next?”

Norius gave her a pleading look, but the queen’s cold gaze told him she would be as unwilling to forgive as he had feared.

“Loreena… Please, if you would just listen to me. I’ve changed, I want to set things right.”

The queen scoffed at his words, her face morphing into a scowl.

“Yet here you are, looking me in the eyes and lying to me. Do you think I don’t know how you managed to get that blindfold removed? It had nothing to do with you changing, and everything to do with magic.”

“That is true, I cannot lie to you. I never could. It was a sorceress named Lyra who helped me, I am not denying it. I know not what she did to me, but I am grateful because she’s helped me see the light. For the first time in a long while, I can now see clearly, like a dark veil has been lifted off my eyes and mind. I realize how much hurt I’ve caused you all. I regret it, and I want to make it right. Starting with you and our daughters.”

Loreena stiffened at the mention of their children. “Leave them out of this! I do not want them to know what their father has become. They don’t need to concern themselves about that, especially not now.”

“I… I am ashamed of what I did. If I could go back, I would change everything, but I cannot. You are free to judge me however you see fit. If you think I should go back to the dungeon, I will accept it as fair punishment for how I behaved. I just hope you’ll let me see them again. It’s been so long… I just… I need to see their faces once again.”

“Father!” a young, high-pitched voice suddenly broke the tension. All eyes turned toward the source of the noise, as the two princesses practically rushed into the room.

“Amelia, Ariana! Please, behave.”

The queen’s scolding caused the girls to stop in their tracks. Standing to the side, their eyes were still glued to their father, who looked much different than the last time they saw him. Thinner and with longer hair and beard, he was hardly the same man, but his deep brown eyes were unmistakable.

As he looked at his daughters, the king stood up straighter, fixing his posture. A warm smile fought to break out as his eyes filled up with tears. It had been a little over a year since he had last seen the girls, and they looked so much more grown up now. Especially Amelia, who would be choosing her potential husband this time tomorrow.

“My girls, you look beautiful,” he choked up as he observed them, trying to take in every feature on their young faces. “I’ve missed you so much.”

Forgetting all about their mother’s words, the girls rushed forward again, enveloping their father in a big hug.

“We missed you too!”

“Are you not ill anymore?”

Norius hesitated as he hugged his daughters, their faces buried in the crook of his neck. “I… I am feeling better now,” he answered, realizing it must have been a lie Loreena told them to justify his absence.

“Does that mean you’ll be at the ball tomorrow?”

“Please, you have to be there!”

The king glanced over at Loreena, who observed the scene with caution.

“I’m sorry, girls, but I’m afraid that’s quite impossible. Your father is still too weak and has to take good care of himself,” the queen replied, glaring at Norius. He had certainly perfected his sad face, but she did not believe it for a second.

“Please, we’ll take good care of him!” Ariana pleaded, still holding her father by the hand.

“We will!” Amelia added, nodding vigorously. “He just has to sit there, at least for a while, until he gets tired. Can you do that, father?”

“I suppose I could, but…”

“Please, father. I cannot choose a suitor unless you’re there. I need both of you by my side,” the older princess pleaded, her wet eyes darting between her two parents. At that moment, she resembled more a little girl begging for another piece of fruit pie rather than a princess about to look for a husband.

“Very well, your father will be at the ball,” Loreena finally conceded, the look on her daughters’ faces breaking her strong will. “But only for a while. We cannot risk him falling ill again.”

With squeals of delight, the two girls gave Norius another round of hugs, talking over each other as they made plans for the following day.

“Thank you,” Norius said after the girls had left, looking up at Loreena. “This means the entire world to me.”

“I did it for them,” the queen replied. “Make no mistake, I do not trust you, and I’ll have guards watching you the entire time. If you as much as attempt to do anything malicious, you will be apprehended.”

“Of course.”

“Take him away now and lock him up… for now, at least,” Loreena ordered the guards. “To the highest tower, we don’t want him tunneling away again. Speaking of which, who was it that helped you escape?”

“It was one of the guards. Quinn,” Norius replied.

Loreena’s eyes immediately found Gilda’s, and the two women nodded at each other.

“Very well. We shall have to check to see if that is true. Gilda, I’ll leave that to you.”

“Of course, your majesty. As soon as he arrives, I shall bring him to you.”

I apologize for the long wait, I hope it was worth it! More to come soon. 🙂

Copyright © 2022 ObicanDecko; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you all for reading, I hope you enjoyed it! Please feel free to leave comments or any kind of feedback, I always appreciate it. ^_^

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Interesting chapter.

Norius back at the castle. Attending the Royal Ball should be very interesting, at least his daughters are happy to see him.

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What a change. The King is back in the castle and will go to the dance to help his daugher find a husband. The Queen does not trust him

The Queen was told about the role of Quinn and the sorceress. Will  see she that her guards investigate? Quinn will not give up so easily.

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13 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Interesting chapter.

Norius back at the castle. Attending the Royal Ball should be very interesting, at least his daughters are happy to see him.

The Ball should be interesting indeed! But we have some other things to take care of before that. ;)

Thank you as always for reading and commenting!

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12 hours ago, scrubber6620 said:

What a change. The King is back in the castle and will go to the dance to help his daugher find a husband. The Queen does not trust him

The Queen was told about the role of Quinn and the sorceress. Will  see she that her guards investigate? Quinn will not give up so easily.

Tables have definitely turned. And of course Norius didn't hesitate to throw Quinn under the bus. We'll see what he does next... 

Thanks so much for reading! 

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11 hours ago, Wesley8890 said:

I love how his plan backfired

It really did! XD But we're still far from the end... 

Thank you for reading and stay tuned! 

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4 hours ago, Hellsheild said:

ohh this is getting deliciously twisted. What will Quinn do?season 5 episode 3 GIF

I'm glad you're enjoying the twists and turns of the story. We're not stopping here!

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4 hours ago, ObicanDecko said:

I'm glad you're enjoying the twists and turns of the story. We're not stopping here!

Roller Coaster Fun GIF by Vevo

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