Elmira, the sovereign’s sister and a smaller version of our sovereign, though with different coloring, holds the position as her assistant. She appears on the balcony, wanting to see our sovereign, requesting the clarification of the rumor of moving to America that has circulated throughout the castle, and which Queen Melisandra has heard.
Alarica is bored. Avalon has been at peace for many generations, and she wishes to form an alliance with the American President. Our sovereign orders Elmira to see that a report is completed as to the preparations for departure, confirming the rumor without really speaking it out loud, and that Queen Melisandra is to oversee such preparations. It is one of the queen’s many duties, after all.
Alarica stands there for just a moment longer after her meeting with Elmira. Preparations have to be made, meaning she has to do her part as well, which entails something that she does not wish to do: speak with the advisory council. The advisory council consisted of four older women who would voice their views according to the information that was given to them. Alarica did not appreciate them, thinking them a bunch of old hags that had nothing better to do but to cause confusion among the masses. Granted, they could not say anything officially, however, that did not stop them from whispering among themselves about the goings on of the state of their beloved Avalon. The right person would hear the whispers, and soon, confusion would start among the commoners.
On the way to the council chambers, she saw that at the end of the hall stood an older version of her self. There was an air of wisdom about her, with salt and pepper tresses, and wrinkles at the edges of her eyes. She was our Sovereign’s teacher in strength, beauty, and wisdom. This was our sovereign’s mother. She had once been the queen of Avalon, but now, her place is that of unofficial advisor to our present sovereign, her daughter.
Alarica and her mother, Lady Leonessa, converse for quite a while, the topic of discussion being that the advisor is to follow her daughter to America. Lady Leonessa, too, has heard the rumors. Our sovereign is furious to hear that the council has made the announcement. "I am the sovereign, not the council. I decide what the people should know. They do not have that power!” our sovereign yells at her mother about this. Lady Leonessa calms her daughter, to further deliver her news. It seems that our lady had made the decision for her daughter. Councilor Ernestine is to follow our sovereign to America. "Ernestine? Mother, Ernestine!?” she can not believe she heard the news correctly. Councilor Ernestine, away from the council chambers, on a good day, is rude, obnoxious, and arrogant. The arrogance growing the longer she is chief advisor to the crown of Avalon. She has been the chief advisor for quite a while now, and believes herself to be the ruling crown of Avalon, not our present sovereign. Councilor Ernestine is not well liked in the castle, and Sovereign Cyan Alarica, on more than one occasion, whispers her wishes to behead the councilor. "Mother, I believe that the only reason you chose Councilor Ernestine was to free yourself from her presence,” Sovereign Cyan Alarica says to her mother with a bit of a smile on her face.
Lady Leonessa always has the last word, "Daughter, is it not your duty to care for your elders."
As her mother leaves, Alarica hangs her head, knowing that the only person that is able to defeat her in physical or verbal combat is walking away from her at that very moment. Deep breathing a few times before proceeding to find Ernestine leaves her feeling at least a little relaxed. Not wanting to kill a member of the council is a good thing, after all. As is expected, arguing can be heard throughout the castle. The servants have run away shaking their heads, as the arguments stem from the necessary preparations to arguments of torture. This has gone on for a while, until Claryvorra asks for her mother’s attention. The harsh voice heard only moments before is suddenly transformed to a voice of love and joy. Claryvorra wonders about the arguing. She tried asking the servants and her caretaker, but they would only say it is not something that a child should know.
After reassuring Claryvorra and explaining the argument that she had heard, Alarica addresses the elder, "Ernestine, you will do as I say. You have your orders. Be sure to follow them through."
Councilor Ernestine believes in the ways of old, and speaks Latin instead of English, despite orders. Only Ernestine would have the gall to say "Of course, my sovereign. I hear and obey. However, it was always the sovereign's pleasure to hear of the negative reactions that the council may have.” Our sire is not pleased to hear this.
"I am sure I have never stated a delight in hearing the negative reactions of the council. They know what I expect, as should you. I am your sovereign."
Leave it up to Ernestine to further argue the point. "But, sire, will you listen? I. . ."
"In case you have forgotten, Sovereign Cyan Camilla is dead. I am not Sovereign Cyan Camilla. I am Sovereign Cyan Alarica, with her Queen Melisandra. Do not forget that!” Our sovereign is quite angry with Ernestine.
Lady Leonessa has heard the arguing, and in true Lady Leonessa fashion, seeks a way to end the feud. She simply shoots an arrow between the two to cease the argument. Lady Leonessa has a love of the English language, and uses it whenever she can, and tells Ernestine, in English, to follow her sovereign’s order or meet her in the practice fields. Alarica knows then, just how her mother feels about the arguing. When asked to go to the practice fields, it means a challenge, a challenge that her mother is sure to win, as age has not been a factor in her physical condition. Ernestine, however, always shot her own foot with an arrow, as inept as she is, and the fact that she enjoys her sweets far too much, make her an easy target.
Lady Leonessa has had enough, and makes sure Councilor Ernestine understands. "Ernestine, you understand English. We studied English alongside each other as children, as well as having many arguments, in English, when Sovereign Cyan Camilla was alive. Has old age deteriorated your mind? I will not repeat myself. If you do not answer me, I will assume you wish to meet with me at the practice fields. Which is it?"
"Such harsh tones, my Lady Leonessa, a lady should be kind and caring while in court. Yes, I hear my Lady Leonessa’s words, though I was only pointing out the concerns of the council to our kind and lovely sovereign. I just feel that our sovereign needs more time before being appointed."
"Ernestine, I will only say this once. Sovereign Cyan Alarica is not only my daughter, she is the one that I have trained myself, and am proud to call my sovereign. Do not force me to choose. You will lose. Remember also, Ernestine, I am of a higher status than you.” Lady Leonessa reaches between them to pull the arrow from the wall. There is an audible gulp from Ernestine, and a proud smile from Alarica.
Ernestine leaves immediately to see to her orders, after throwing a tantrum in her chambers. Upon hearing the crashing, screaming, and crying, all residents of the palace shake their heads in disgust at this behavior. Everyone within the palace feels that Ernestine should be removed from office. Removing her from office would be easier said than done, however, for there is a long and detailed process to remove someone from the council. Therefore, she has been urged to retire her seat. She will never retire her seat though, and spreads rumors that their sovereign should retire from the throne instead.
Alarica has left to see to the packing of her healing remedies, as she is a skilled healer, having learned as much as she could from her mother. Mother Camilla was a skilled healer herself, and did not seek any outside assistance. That is, until she fell ill herself. The illness was beyond her capabilities. Though they had not been as close as she and mother Leonessa, they’d had an amicable relationship. She packs what she feels she absolutely need, and can always contact her mother if she thinks she needs something else. Mother Leonessa is a skilled healer herself, though, both mothers feeling it best to share the duties of raising their future sovereign.
The sun is setting as the day is done. Cleaning up after a day at work is common practice on Avalon. The lanterns are lit, table set for the last meal, and preparations for a night’s rest are completed. This night is to be different, however. After supper, Alarica has called a meeting in the antechamber, a less formal room than the throne chamber, with cushions strewn about on the floor in a circle for everyone to seat herself.
Sovereign Cyan Alarica states her wishes to proceed with the move to America. Her plans are to form an alliance with the American President, to let the world know of Avalon’s existence. As soon as everything and everyone is prepared, they are to use the portal. The portal is a magical door that allows the people to move from Avalon to the outside world, because there would be no other way to leave Avalon and reach their destination in a short span of time.
Our fair Queen Melisandra is nearly faint with the news, not believing what she has heard. "They are barbarians," she says. “Why would I need to socialize with such barbarians?"
The sovereign’s statement is quite clear in her reply to her queen, "As we view them as barbarians, they would view us as barbarians as well.” She and the queen are to rendezvous in the bathing chambers later, to discuss the matter further.
Of course, Councilor Ernestine feels her duties to be elsewhere "My dear, beloved sovereign, surely you do not mean to send me there, do you? I can be of great assistance to you here, my dear, beloved sovereign. I cherish the idea of working with you," Ernestine says, while rising and bowing as low as she can, hoping to change the sovereign’s mind.
Mentally rolling her eyes and feeling nauseas, "Ernestine, you will do as I say. Remember what I had told you. Dismissed…” Alarica has grown bored of the arguments and wishes she had a weapon in her hand now and…well, it was an idea.
After the meeting, the events of the day show themselves as exhaustion on our sovereign’s face. She asks Elmira to put the report on her desk, as she will read it in the morning. Elmira is to also see that the necessary preparations are being made for her daughter’s education. They spend a little while longer together, enjoying each other’s company. After a reassurance of everything being well, Alarica leaves to see to other matters, most importantly, her appointed rendezvous, and proceeds to the bathing chamber, to join her queen. Sounds of lovemaking soon follow, and as they reach ecstasy, the reverberations are heard through the night. Moans, groans, and declarations echo through the palace.
Alarica wakes up the next morning on top of her queen, finding herself sticky with sweat and sweet love juices that flowed through the night. Though the bath is cold and still scented with calming lavender from the night before, she proceeds into the large pool that is the bath, whose size would fit a commoner’s house, with plenty of room for exit and entry. She only needs to wash the remnants of last night’s session from her body, and finishes quickly. Leaving the queen asleep on the floor of the bathing chamber, she proceeds to finish readying herself for the day. There is much to do.
Alarica sends for her queen as soon as her daughter’s caretaker arrives, telling the servants to ready the queen quickly. Though tardiness from the queen is not unheard of, one of the duties of being queen is that of a model of behavior that is to be followed by everyone. Repeatedly, they have had this discussion. Always, an excuse is given for the reason for her tardiness. They would have this discussion, again, tonight.
Queen Melisandra finally enters slowly, a satisfied smile upon her face, knowing that, since everyone has left, her sovereign will be receptive to tender caresses. The queen excuses her tardiness by stating that she did not want the wonderful sensations from last night’s lovemaking to end. The queen’s plans fall through, as Alarica turns around to clear the goblets that were left behind, leaving the queen’s arms empty.
Alarica needs the necessary distraction of clearing away the goblets, and when feels she is ready, addresses her queen’s behavior, as well as the report of the progress of moving to America. This is not the sort of meeting the queen was wishing for, and instead of leaving satisfied, the queen leaves very angry, very frustrated, and very disappointed.
A servant comes to clear the goblets, and instead, finds them placed on a tray on the center table. Alarica sees the servant leave as she picks up the final report. She finds everything to her satisfaction, finally, everything coming together as they should. She inhales and exhales deeply, relaxing as she experiences the cool breeze blowing in through the window, and smelling the flora mingling in the breeze.
It has been a long day, and our sovereign seeks for something to release the frustrations of the day, so she readies herself for the practice fields to fight an invisible foe. Lady Leonessa is searching for something to release her frustrations of the day as well, and sees her daughter in the practice fields, immediately knowing how to release those frustrations. As the sovereign comes down for a strike, it is suddenly blocked. There is only one person who knows how to block that move.
"Does mother want to play with me?” Alarica asks with laughter in her voice.
"Yes, daughter, mother wants to play. Shall we?” Leonessa replies as she gets into position.
They spend time sparring in the practice fields, and if anyone is seeing them spar, it would remind them of the days of old, as Lady Leonessa taught her young daughter how to handle a weapon. Lady Leonessa lands on the ground, flat on her back, marking the end of the session. She starts laughing. "Now I know I am getting old. My own daughter bested me in a sparring match, a match that I used to win time and again."
Alarica is still stunned, but relieved to see her mother laughing. "Mother, you are not old. You simply let me win."
"Alarica, let us face facts, shall we? I am getting old. I wear the colors as well as show the signs of an aging woman. Help me up, will you?"
"Mother, you may look old, but you are far from being old," Alarica says as she helps her mother off the ground.
Alarica has to be certain that her advisor ss making the necessary preparations. The thought of finding Councilor Ernestine, or for that matter, anything to do with Councilor Ernestine, always causes her to feel physically ill, most often with a nauseous stomach, as well as a headache. Finding and swallowing the necessary herbal remedy to cure the headache and stomachache she is feeling gives her renewed strength to deal with the counselor. She expects to find Ernestine in the archives studying American History. Instead, Alarica finds Ernestine napping in her chambers. Alarica pours water into a goblet and pours it over Ernestine’s face. Ernestine wakes up from her nap, furious that someone would do such a thing, and threatens to call a guard to shackle them. She went back to sleep, only to find herself suddenly awakened by the whispers of her sovereign telling her, "If you do not start preparing yourself now, you will find yourself in America all alone for an entire year before anyone else arrives.” Not willing to risk the punishment for challenging the statement, Ernestine immediately wakes up and heads straight to the archives to read about American History. Alarica would not have believed it if she had not seen it for herself, that Councilor Ernestine was, indeed, capable of moving so quickly. Will wonders never cease?
Now came her favorite part of the day—spending time with her daughter. Upon seeing the sovereign approach, Claryvorra’s caretaker gives her a briefing of the day’s activities thus far. Taking her daughter’s hand, they walk toward the sovereign’s laboratory to teach her daughter about healing remedies. They enjoy their time together, though Alarica dreads the day that her daughter will turn sixteen years old. As was done to the sovereigns of the past, the next in the royal line are sent to Sage’s Mountain to continue their education at that age. Family members give their heart and soul to the child, while the sages give them wisdom. The consolation is that the princess still has a long time to go before she is sent away.
Alarica will teach her daughter healing secrets, the caretaker will teach her history, philosophy, mathematics, language, and literature, Lady Leonessa will teach her the warrior arts, and Queen Melisandra will teach her social responsibilities and etiquette. This encompasses the princess’s daily activities, and she excels at all of them.
After her session with her daughter, she leaves the palace to stroll the grounds. Left to her own thoughts, Odette’s betrayal comes to mind. Alarica believed that she had found her heart, her soul in Odette, who resembled the woman in her dreams. The sovereign found her companion, but it was not to be. Odette had been using the portal without consent, exploring the outside world. During her explorations, she fell in love. Odette was going to leave a note to her sovereign, gather her meager belongings, and live happily with her newfound love. However, a passing guard saw the companion pass through the portal and had immediately reported it to the sovereign. The sovereign waited beside the portal to shackle Odette immediately upon arrival. All of Odette’s memories were scanned, and all had been revealed. She was guilty of betrayal, and the sentence was complete erasure of memory, to be executed immediately, and banished forever. During the time of war, treason was punishable by death. Complete erasure of memory and banishment was the alternative. The sovereign had not found a replacement, nor did she ever see a replacement for her companion. The betrayal hurt her deeply, and she did not wish to be hurt like that again.
It had taken Alarica one year to prepare for departure. So the time has come for change, and an adventure she will never forget.
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