Alarica sits behind her desk, preparing the necessary documents that she needs to provide the council in order for her to have her wish granted. Empty scrolls, as well as the Scrolls of Protocol, are scattered upon her desk, looking as though a tiny tornado has come upon and caused the mess. There is much to do before asking Breanne to do her share of the work.
Leonessa walks into the sleeping chamber to check on Breanne, who is lying awake on the sleeping cushion staring at the ceiling, thinking about all Alarica has told her. Alarica has confidence in me, but I don’t know if I can. I just paint pictures. It was a lot to take in. She sees Leonessa come into the room and wants to ask her a question. How do I ask a question without talking? She wouldn’t understand my pictures, and she can’t read my thoughts like Alarica can. Alarica is busy, and Mel and Em are with the princess. She closes her eyes, concentrating on the words, and gathers all her courage to ask, “Queen Mader, couldtch I athk you thometing?” Then waits for something to happen, but nothing does.
Leonessa, instead, tilts her head slightly, concentrating on what Breanne has attempted to ask. She makes a motion to wait, and will return. She comes back with a pad and pencil, giving them to Breanne. Leonessa sees the lost expression “I thought this would help you. Alarica tells me you draw pictures. If that is how you wish to communicate with me, I will not mind. It is just mother, and of course you may ask me something, actually, you can ask me anything. What is wrong?”
Breanne concentrates as she writes her question to Leonessa. Well, Alarica told me about being consors, and I just want to know how I tell her I can’t take it.
“First, tell me why you do not wish to be her consors?” Leonessa asks, believing she already knows the answer.
Breanne concentrates on what she wants to write and how to express her concerns. She considers herself stupid, someone without any intelligence. She cannot speak correctly. She can not leave the girls behind; after all, they are her children. She is uncoordinated. The list continues. In saying all that, she regards herself as unfit of such an honor to be the sovereign’s consors. When Breanne finishes writing, she folds the paper and places it on Leonessa’s lap.
Leonessa unfolds the paper and read the letter. Leonessa immediately excuses herself to talk to Alarica about this new development.
“Ernestine, do you need another lesson . . .” Alarica raises her head, and sees that it is her mother not Ernestine. It gives Alarica concern, because her mother has always a stickler for proper behavior. Rising from the desk and walking towards Leonessa, she apologizes. “I am sorry, Mother, I thought you were Ernestine. What is the matter?” She embraces her mother, not noticing the paper her mother is holding.
“I believe you need to read this. It brings to light some concerns that need to be addressed,” Leonessa replies, handing over the paper to Alarica.
Alarica unfolds the paper and starts reading. It does not take long before a look of confusion and disgust appear on her face. Leaving the study, she immediately enters the sleeping chamber, expecting to find Breanne on the sleeping cushions. She is not there, however, she was gone. Alarica searches the manor, and orders the guards to search for Breanne. The girls are gone as well.
Elmira had errands to do around town, and does not know where they are. No one has any answers.
Minime uni, where are you?
She grabs a cloak and the car keys so she can search around town herself, to find her missing family. Suddenly, the front door opens, and there stand Breanne and the girls, carrying various bags and boxes. Alarica is confused over what has happened. She is angry that Breanne did not tell her where she was going, but she is relieved that her family has returned. Alarica is not sure which feeling was stronger.
“Panis, qua have vos been? Quis est totus illius? Quare did vos non dico mihi vos erant iens alicubi ?” Breanne, where have you been? What is all of that? Why did you not tell me you were going somewhere? Alarica asks fiercely, not realizing she is not speaking English.
It scares Breanne. It is the tone. It is the expression. It is her mother, angry with her for doing something wrong. She does not understand what she is saying. She does not understand why Alarica is looking at her like that. Breanne thought she could trust Alarica. What did I do wrong? …she asks, crouching on the floor into a tight ball and covering her head, waiting for the beating.
Alarica does not understand what is happening. Surely, she understands English. Why is she not answering? Why is she taking a frightened position on the floor? She asks herself all these questions, but has no answers.
Leonessa leads the girls outside, while Elmira observes the events unfolding before her. She feels that maybe her sister needs an explanation of the events. After she explains the events, Alarica understands. She had not been speaking English, so it was impossible for Breanne to answer. The angry expression on her face scared Breanne, reminding her of her mother. Everything makes sense now.
Alarica removes the cloak she is wearing, and gives both the cloak and the car keys to Elmira to put away. Alarica will be busy making up for her mistakes. Sitting on the floor in front of Breanne, not touching her, she starts singing the song that always brings Breanne’s attention. It has worked in the past, it will work again. Alarica only needs time, and believes she has plenty of that.
Breanne realizes the beating she is waiting for is not going to happen, and relaxing, she starts hearing the song, the song that always comforts her. It was the melody that she listens to, as she does not understand the words. She lifts her head slightly, to look to the side of her, and seeing no one there. She looks to the other side, only to see the wall. She looks in front of her, and sees Alarica there, singing. Alarica is the one singing her song. Using that as motivation, she straightens into the position that Alarica has taught her, her head up, back straight, and hands clasped in front of her.
Alarica sees this as a good sign. A sign that means everything will be all right. She stands up and steps in front of Breanne, smiling, then tugs Breanne’s finger slightly, as a silent message to follow.
Both enter the study, and Alarica closes the draperies for privacy. Retrieving two goblets and placing them on the center table, she urges Breanne to sit on the cushions. While holding Breanne’s hands, she begins. “Breanne, I am very sorry for my behavior. I was concerned for your safety and well-being. My emotions guided my words, not my thoughts. My intention is not to frighten you, but to show you love, care, and respect. Do you forgive me?” Alarica asks, with tears on the brink of being shed. Breanne nods her head. Alarica has passed the first hurdle, now on to the next…the issues that were brought to her attention. “Mother showed me the letter that you wrote regarding your concerns of your appointment. The issue of intelligence is not only seen in scores in the studies, it is also seen in knowing how to use the information around you, and knowing how to use the information that you do have. You are an intelligent lady. I say that because it is reflected in the children. They are a reflection of you in beauty, intelligence, and integrity. The issue of speech is not an issue, because there are many methods of communication. I will teach you the warrior signs. Though they are not used, they are still taught to everyone. The girls will come with us. I will not leave them here for many reasons. I will not separate mother and child unless warranted. The issue of coordination is not a factor, because since mother will be your teacher, you will do well. You will not be expected to learn how to handle a weapon, but you will be expected to learn basic defense skills. The other issues that you have concerns about are not relevant in this matter. Everything will come with time and patience. I have plenty of both if guided towards someone I believe is in need of both.” She pushes a goblet in Breanne’s direction. “This is nectar. It comes from a fruit that can only be found in the frigid northern part of Avalon. This fruit grows high on the mountaintops of the northern territories. The bushes bear the fruit between late winter and early spring. The fruit is not found anywhere else on Avalon. That is why the fruit is very special, and is also one of my favorites. Please, try it, you will enjoy it, I believe.”
Alarica and Breanne pick up their goblets. Breanne looks at the color, smells the fragrance of the nectar then tastes a bit. Alarica is right. It is good. She finishes the rest in one gulp. Alarica laughs silently as she watches Breanne enjoy her drink.
“Is everything all right now? May I come in?” Leonessa asks from the other side of the drapery. Alarica stands to open the drapery, letting mother enter the study. Breanne takes this as her cue to leave. She has something special to do anyway. Turning around to smile at both Leonessa and Alarica, she leaves the study to start her special project. It will be her way of saying thank you.
“Daughter, now that things have settled down a bit I can tell you the reason why I am here. I am always delighted in seeing my daughters. I love the both of you. I came here because your mother-in-law received word that the beast that calls herself sovereign harmed her precious and fragile daughter. I assured her that I would see to it that everything is all right. I will report to her my findings upon my return,” Leonessa finishes, having used a bored tone all the way through after having gone through the same thing herself.
“Mother, please tell my dear and loving mother-in-law that her precious and fragile daughter is well. While she was not harmed in any manner, she was forced, however, to pay the consequences of being lax in her duties as Her Royal Majesty to the Sovereign Cyan Alarica of Avalon. I am sure that Melisandra provided her version of the truth, which I will not deny. What I will deny, however, is the manner in which that truth was delivered, without my presence or approval, as stated in the Scrolls of Protocol,” Alarica closes, feeling satisfied that her mother-in-law will receive the message. Of course, Alarica knows that her in-laws will not accept that answer, and will be forced to see for themselves. So be it.
Leonessa smiles with pride, knowing what her daughter has in mind. She would have done the same thing. They talk a while longer, urging Elmira to join them. After the talk, Alarica returns her attention back to the scrolls, Elmira back to her desk, and mother to see what sort of trouble the children are up to.
“Melisent, what are you doing crouched below the curtain? You announce your presence and ask for permission to enter,” Leonessa says, a bit confused why Melisent would be on the floor as she was.
Melisent is surprised to hear the voice and immediately jumps up and turns around. “Just call me Mel, and I’m here because I just wanted to be sure that mama is all right,” she replies.
“I will call you Melisent because that is your given name. Why not just ask your mother if she is well?”
“All right… And mama is painting. She won’t hear me if she’s painting.”
“The proper answer would be yes ma’am. Your mother is an artist? Alarica had mentioned to me that Breanne drew pictures.”
“Yeah, she sold a bunch of her paintings a while ago. She was thrilled that her babies found a home. They’re not real babies she just calls them that because they are her pride and joy.”
“Yeah does not exist in this household. It is ‘yes or no’ with a complete answer. Do you think I would be able to see her pictures?”
“Sure, come on, I’ll show you something. Remember I told you she doesn’t always understand things. Well, she got used to not asking any questions. So she works them out in here to save for herself. It’s like her diary,” Melisent tells Leonessa as they walk into the sleeping chamber. Reaching under the bed, Melisent pulls out a sketchbook, takes a brief look inside to be sure it is the right book, and gives it to Leonessa. “She doesn’t care if you look at it, as long as you tell her. I’m gonna go and play with Em.” Melisent was one-step away from leaving the room.
“Melisent, please state that last sentence in the correct manner in which it is to be presented,” Leonessa instructs in a motherly tone.
“Yeah, but I’m just gonna go play with Em,” Melisent turns around, looking straight into Leonessa’s eyes.
“Correctly, Melisent,” Leonessa insists.
“You’re not my mother, and you can’t tell me what to do,” Melisent says in a calm voice as if in challenge.
“That is right, she is not your mother, however, it does not matter, she is the adult, and you must treat them all with respect,” Alarica states from behind Melisent having overheard the conversation from the study. There is pride in Melisent’s voice. While that is a good thing, she feels that Melisent needs to stop and realize the situation.
“Yes, ma’am, whatever you, say ma’am. May I be excused, ma’am?” Melisent replies, growing irritated with the conversation, giving a mock salute.
Breanne, having come out of the room to look in another one the boxes that she has brought with her hears a part of the conversation and does not like the way her daughter is behaving. What has Mel done now? Leave it to Mel to get in trouble. Breanne speaks quietly to Melisent before leaving her to find the necessary item.
“But, Mama..!” Melisent responds, stomping her foot.
Breanne turns right around and looks at Melisent, delivering a silent message. Melisent understands and hears the message loud and clear then stands there taking a couple of deep breaths before doing what she has been told to do.
“I am sorry for talking back to you. May I play with Emily now?” Melisent correctly enunciates, looking straight at Leonessa.
“I accept your apology. There are rules that must be followed. Eventually, both you and Emily will learn them all. It is best you learn them now, instead of later, when it will be more difficult. You are your mother’s first born; therefore, you have certain responsibilities that you must abide by. One of which is that of a roll model for Emily. She looks to you to see what she is to do or not to do. Do you understand what I have told you?” Leonessa feels it is necessary to start now with Melisent, working slowly but diligently in training her to be able to behave in the palace.
“I understand, Miss Leonessa. I am sorry. May I be excused now?”
“Just grandmother, and yes, you may be excused. Thank you for showing the picture book to me.” Leonessa smiles as she replies holding up the sketchbook.
Leonessa opens the book to see the pictures. The sketches are of a family of black panthers, with a little cat and her kittens in the bunch. The pictures explain themselves. They are pictures of what happened from the time they met until just a moment ago, page after page of pictures of this family of panthers and this cat telling a picture story. Alarica has been looking at the sketchbook as well, and they both realize that Breanne does, indeed, have a gift. The reason she is not able to understand the world around her, is that she looks at the world through the eyes of an artist. Understanding that was the key.
Leonessa discusses the necessity of showing the book to the prior consors with Alarica. During training, Breanne would spend time with her, learning things that are not taught by the scrolls. Alarica is furious with her mother for suggesting such a thing, knowing very well how the prior consors will view the sketchbook.
All else aside, there is only one thing left to do. “I am sorry, Sovereign Cyan Alarica, for questioning your judgment. Please forgive an old lady,” Leonessa pleads, bowing fully.
“You are forgiven, Lady Leonessa, and this subject will not be brought up again. Might I remind you that the Scrolls of Protocol state that the sovereign will train her consors as she sees fit?” Alarica responds in a quiet voice, wanting this conversation to end.
“Thank you for reminding me, my sovereign, and . . . thank you,” Leonessa answers, still bowed and with tears in her eyes. She cannot blame Alarica for being angry, because Leonessa knows she is wrong. Leonessa straightens and fully looks at the front cover of the book she was holding. Not able to look into her daughter’s eyes, knowing what she will see, she presents the book to Alarica, who takes it from her mother. “Just be sure to tell Breanne that we viewed her diary, and to say thank you,” she adds then turns to leave the room.
Alarica places the book by Breanne’s bedside before leaving.
Elmira hears the arguing and knows the best thing to do is to stay neutral and not say anything, even though she has her own ideas.
Claryvorra sees her grandmother walking outside in a slumped posture, not remembering her grandmother ever looking like that. She decides that maybe the best action is to include her grandmother in a game to raise her spirits, so she grabs Melisent and Emily and runs outside to meet her grandmother.
Leonessa can never deny the children anything, and thinks that the best thing will be to forget the events, even for just a little while, and play a game with her girls.
Alarica needs to calm herself before going back to the scrolls to prepare them for submittal to the council. That means spending a little time with Breanne. The question is though, where is she? She then sees her leave the room, but does not pay any attention to where she is going. Walking out of the room and looking around, she hopes that maybe she will see something that does not fit. There it is…an empty room next to the laboratory. Alarica notices the closed drapery, and smiles, knowing there is where Breanne is, and walks over to the room. “Breanne, may I come in, please? I would like to talk to you some more, if you would.”
Oh, Alarica is here, but she’s early. Breanne opens the curtain, looking straight ahead, and right into Alarica’s chest. Oops, I need to remember to look up. Breanne giggles a little then looks up. The smile disappears when she sees Alarica’s face. Uh oh, did that Ernestine do something? Not knowing what else to do, she embraces Alarica with all her might, and starts rocking back and forth, rubbing Alarica’s back.
Alarica’s troubles just melt right there and then, as she rocks back and forth with Breanne. They let go of each other after a while, with Alarica feeling better than she had before, along with renewed strength. She made the right decision all right, not that she had any doubt to begin with.
Well, now that she feels a little better… how about a little painting? Breanne grasps Alarica’s hands and sits her down on a cushion on the floor. Then picking up a pad and a paint set, she sets them in front of Alarica. Alarica looks at the paint and the paper, then at Breanne with a raised eyebrow. Breanne gazes back at Alarica, smiling. Just paint a picture and let yourself be free. Alarica shakes her head, but picks up the brush to start painting.
“Your eminence, I must speak with you,” Melisandra yells from the hall.
Alarica chooses to ignore Melisandra, at least until she is done painting. She has a picture to finish, after all. Whatever crisis has struck Melisandra can wait until later. At least, that is what she thought.
“My sovereign, what are you doing hunched over on the floor. What is this imbecile . . . this barbarian having you do?” Melisandra enters the room, surprised to see Alarica sitting on the floor, painting a picture, even. Sovereigns do not paint pictures. Do they?
Alarica continues to paint, ignoring her queen, and wondering just how much her queen does remember about protocol, after spending seven entire days in the library. Apparently she does not remember much. Alarica would like to confine Queen Melisandra to the library, to learn the scrolls in their entirety. However, if her queen has not learned anything by now, it will be her queen’s doing, not Alarica’s the lack of trying.
Melisandra continues to scream at her sovereign, waiting for a reply to her questions, and growing angrier the longer she is ignored.
Alarica stands to face her queen. There is that feeling on her lower back again, having missed it when it was not there. “Melisandra, right now you are to concentrate on the upcoming Harvest Festival and Celebration. You are to prepare a guest list as well as a menu for me to view before preparing anything. Leave now to do what you were told to do,” Alarica states then sits back down on the floor to finish her picture.
Breanne resumes painting as well. Melisandra is left in the middle of the room, ignored. “Are you not going to answer me? I am your queen, and I demand an answer!” She will tell her mother about this. No one does that to Queen Melisandra. Mother will see to it.
Alarica finishes her picture and presents it to Breanne. Breanne takes the picture and smiles. You see, you can paint. I’ll just put it up here. She places it on an easel, placing a pushpin through it in a place that the hole will be hard to see. Breanne then finds a pen and gives it to Alarica. You have to sign your name. Alarica signs her name on the bottom of her creation. Feeling better and able to think again, she is ready to do what she wanted to do when she found Breanne.
“Breanne, Melisent gave us your diary for us to see. I now understand how you think, how you process the information that is presented to you. You see the world around you through artists’ eyes. You see color and strokes, not logic and reason. That is why you are who you are. I will train you, do not worry. Mother will be there to train you so you are able to defend yourself. I have to go back to the study and finish preparing the scrolls.” Alarica embraces Breanne before leaving, heading back to the study.
I have to finish this picture. It needs to be perfect.
First, a short note to her mother-in-law, then finish her part of the scrolls. This will be the last time these documents have to be prepared, so she does not mind the labor. She left the drapery open when she entered the study, and sees Leonessa standing at the entry when she returns from playing with the girls outside, with the intention to see her daughter.
“Mother, please come in. I have a note here for you to present to my lovely mother-in-law, if you would please. Please be prepared to hear my mother-in-law complain that the beast was cruel to her precious and fragile daughter. I had Melisandra fulfill her duties, after all.” Alarica says as she embraces her mother, leaving a peck on her cheek.
“I will be sure to present this to her,” holding up the note “and I appreciate the warning. Do I need to prepare to come back as well, or do you think everything will stay in one piece?” Leonessa asks, with laughter in her voice.
“Whatever do you mean, Mother? I will not hurt anything or anyone,” silently adding much to the end, smiling and batting her eyes. Leonessa starts laughing, with Alarica soon following. Letting her know of the current events, she goes back to work on the scrolls. She will be dreaming of these scrolls by time’s end.
Later, it is time to prepare for supper, so Alarica leaves the office to ensure Breanne is aware of the time. She announces her presence, and asks for permission to enter. Breanne does not answer.
The strokes must be even, and the color must be just right. Yes, this is it. I can feel them coming to life.
Alarica leaves after attempting to get Breanne’s attention three more times, to find her mother. Alarica explains to her mother the situation, and both walk in the direction of Breanne’s workroom.
Melisent sees both Alarica and Leonessa walking towards the direction of her mama’s workroom and thinks that maybe she should explain her mama. So she gathers Alarica, Leonessa, and Elmira, to talk to them about her mama. “I just wanted to tell you about mama. I saw you heading in the direction of the room, and thought that maybe I should explain something. You see, mama doesn’t know or hear anything when she’s painting. There is a special alarm clock that she uses to remind her of the times that she needs to take care of something. If she didn’t answer, it’s not because she’s ignoring you, it’s because she just didn’t hear you. Grandmother thinks otherwise. Anyway, that’s what’s going on. I’m going to get the girls and make sure they’re ready.”
The three adults left standing in the study look at each other, exchanging the same message: Be sure that the alarm clock is set to the correct time. An alarm is heard as they exit the study then see Breanne walk out of the room a short time later, closing the drapery behind her.
They need to rest. It’s time for supper, because my clock told me so. After giving hugs to everyone, the four women proceed toward the dining room for supper.
Everyone has had a seat assigned to them, according to her rank within the court, and according to the occasion, formal or informal. Everyone takes her assigned seat, except for Breanne, who adores the flora at every opportunity. Ernestine enters the room a short time later. Taking advantage of Breanne’s interest in the flora, Ernestine sits next to her sovereign, as her normal seat would be far away from the sovereign. Mealtime should have started by now. However, the queen is late, again. Melisandra enters the room a short time later, fawning exhaustion from the hard work she was forced to do. Everyone knew better.
Hearing Melisent’s voice, Breanne turns around to take her seat, noticing, though, that her assigned seat has been taken. That is her assigned seat. Alarica told her it was her seat. Breanne does not like confrontations, and avoids them whenever she can. So, she sits in an empty seat, far away from the sovereign.
Alarica, however, notices the change in seating. Under normal circumstances, with everyone seated, the sovereign is supposed to ring the bell, and the food is served. However, these are not normal circumstances, and having acquired her mother’s strict adherence to the rules, the bell is left untouched.
“Mama Rica, how come you don’t ring the bell?” Emily is hungry and wants her food now.
“That is because the rules are not being followed.”
“Who broke them?”
“Councilor Ernestine broke the rules by sitting in someone else’s assigned seat.” Alarica knows of Ernestine’s greed for food, and is aware of Ernestine’s whimper when the dinner bell is not rung.
Emily grows impatient, as her tummy is growling louder and louder. If the mean lady is not moving by herself then she will help the mean lady move. Three things happen at that point. Alarica grabs Emily, Breanne runs to get Emily, and Melisandra leaves the room.
Leonessa has had enough. She stands and walks towards Ernestine, to whisper something in her ear that causes Ernestine to immediately leave her seat. Breanne can take her proper seat now. Leonessa settles Emily down in her seat, while Claryvorra and Melisent leave to get Melisandra. Now that everyone is properly seated and at the table, the bell can be rung.
Instead of preparing to bed down for the night, they stay at the table, to address the issue of proper seating arrangements. “We will stay here and address the events prior to supper. I will call upon all those involved and have them speak their point of view.”
“Queen Melisandra, it is your duty to see to it that everyone is present and properly seated. You did not follow protocol, why is that?”
“Sire, I thought that your bar. . . I mean . . . consors would speak for herself and resolve the matter on her own.” Melisandra wants Breanne and the girls to leave, having seen the affection that is displayed between them.
“When it was not resolved, why did you not say anything?” Alarica will not give Melisandra the satisfaction of closing the doors on Breanne.
“I had something else to take care of.” Why is she asking these questions? Get rid of her so we can enjoy our nights again, with delicious love.
“The only thing that needs to be taken care of is the preparations for the Harvest Celebration. That can be continued AFTER the meal. I expect a full report on my desk in two days.” Alarica is irritated that her queen will not show responsibility.
“Yes, my sovereign. May I be excused?” Melisandra has a long report to tell her mother.
“No, you may not be excused.”
“Councilor Ernestine, why did you feel the need to change the seating arrangements without prior approval, as stated in the Scrolls of Protocol? Your actions caused everyone to wait for the food to be served. The baby took action because she was hungry enough to cause harm to another adult. After excusal, you will diagram, in detail, the seating arrangements for both formal and informal occasions.” Alarica has many sharp implements on the table. Maybe she can take one and . . . but then Breanne would not be able to enjoy the flora.
“Your eminence, my dear sovereign, I have missed you so. We used to be such good friends, you and I, and I miss that camaraderie. I want to be close to you. You know I have been working on your speech and writing the necessary information that you will need for the upcoming meeting. I am sure you do not expect me to do such a menial task right away, and instead allow me to assign it to your consors.” Ernestine will not miss any opportunity she can to work her way to the top. She is determined to be documented as the council member that was the sovereign’s mind.
Mentally rolling her eyes and gulping her food back down “You will do as ordered,” Alarica says, looking straight into Ernestine’s eyes.
“Breanne, I realize your nature, and I realize you are not fully aware of your role in the court. It is your duty to see to it that the rules are followed. Any wrongdoing done by anyone in my court is to be reported back to me immediately. If it is something that you can take care of yourself, you will be expected to take care of the situation on your own. Sometimes, confrontation is necessary, Breanne. It is something that cannot be avoided at all times. Lady Leonessa will assist you if you need assistance.” Alarica is hoping that Breanne will think about what happened. Though she also knows the same thing will not happen again.
“Everyone has their orders, dismissed.” Alarica closes her eyes and lays her head back. It is not long before she feels her muscles being manipulated by skillful hands. When the massaging stops, Alarica feels like wet leather that has lain there waiting. Reluctantly, she rises from her position to go back to the study and finish the scrolls, but first, a bath to cleanse away the day.
It is late when Alarica realizes the time. It is midnight and she needs sleep. Taking a quick glance towards Breanne’s workroom, she realizes the drapery is still closed and the lights are on. It is too late for Breanne to be working. Remembering what Melisent said, she hopes that the alarm clock was set for her to go to bed as well, and the young woman just forgot to turn off the lights. She walks towards the room expecting to find Breanne asleep. Instead, there is Breanne, painting. It is midnight, and Breanne is still painting. Alarica makes every noise she can think of with the items that in the room. Breanne does not react. She flicks the lights on and off, and still nothing happens. She searches for the clock to set the alarm, hoping that will get Breanne’s attention. The clock cannot be found. Breanne’s eyes are fixated on the canvas, and her hands move of their own accord. Breanne’s mind is centered on the painting so much so, that nothing else exists. Nothing else exists, other than the picture. Alarica cannot understand.
Alarica has one last hope, and that is to sing the song that always brings Breanne’s attention. “Minime uni, audio mihi.” Little one, listen to me. Alarica sing the song in its entirety, and nothing happens, Breanne is still painting. Alarica leaves the room, to return with a cushion, pillow, a blanket, and the robe that Breanne enjoys wearing. After placing the robe around Breanne’s shoulders, Alarica settles herself down for the night, thinking that in the morning, she will have a discussion about this with Breanne.
It was early morning when an alarm is heard. Alarica reluctantly rises from her bed, to see that Breanne is waking up as well, smiling. Good morning, did you sleep well? Breanne embraces Alarica, with a good morning kiss to follow. Alarica is growing addicted to these hugs, and finds herself wanting them more so than she remembered before meeting Breanne. I have something for you. I’ll show you later.
Both leave to perform their respective duties then, at midmorning, Breanne gathers Alarica, Leonessa, and Elmira to her workroom, to show them the picture she has been working on. She stands in front the easel. I don’t have anything, really, so I painted a picture for you to say thank you. I hope you like it. After Alarica translates Breanne’s thoughts, Breanne steps around the easel to turn it around. Breanne had not cover it because the paint was still wet, but the picture is done, and she thinks they will like see what she has been working on.
Leonessa is in the background, with Elmira and Alarica in front of her, and Claryvorra in the foreground. It is done in such a manner that they look real. The eyes seem to follow whoever is looking at the portrait. Everyone in the room is speechless because of the beauty and artistry that the picture represents. No one knows what to say. Breanne thinks they hate it and hangs her head, turning the picture around. Alarica notices this and stops Breanne. Looking into Alarica’s eyes, she sees love, not hatred, which causes Breanne to smile.
“Breanne, I . . . I am speechless. My daughters will tell you that does not happen often. The picture is beautiful. When the paint is dry, the picture will hang in the gallery. I have not seen anything that was created this beautifully before.”
All Leonessa can do is stare at the painting.
“Breanne, this picture is truly beyond words. Ars est porro, tamen vita est brevis. It means, art is long, but life is short. This will truly make us immortal. Thank you, minime uni. I would like to address the issue of you taking care of yourself, and that involves sleeping.” Alarica notices one of Breanne’s eyes closing as she is speaking, and decides that the better thing to do is to lead Breanne to the sleeping chamber for a long awaited rest.
Alarica finished preparing the scrolls while Breanne sleeps through the day. Alarica reluctantly rises from the chair and goes to the sleeping chamber to be sure that Breanne is sleeping well. Breanne wakes up as Alarica enters the room. After a bath and a change of clothes, it is now the time to begin teaching Breanne how to be a consors.
Alarica patiently leads Breanne through the long and tedious process of preparing the scrolls. Now that the necessary information is provided, it will be sealed and delivered, by hand, to the council by Lady Leonessa. Lady Leonessa will be leaving today to go back to Avalon, and there are a lot of things to do once she returns home.
Leonessa has finished preparing for her departure, and everyone gathers in the main room, not to say farewell, but to say we will meet each other again. Assuring Breanne that once things are settled, she will return to begin her lessons. Also, to remind Breanne that she is loved and cared for. Leonessa leaves for home, back to Avalon.
“Mama Rica, this for you,” Emily holds up a paper to give to Alarica.
“Thank you, Emily. What is this?” Alarica starts laughing when she looks at the paper, and the laughter brings the interest of Elmira
“What is it that has the sovereign in such good humor?” Elmira is given the paper that Alarica has been looking at. “Let’s see, once upon a time, a little kitty came upon a fat panther that was sleeping. Then oops, sorry, I did not see the water. Bye-bye.” Elmira joins in the laughter as well.
Alarica pins the paper on the bulletin board as a visual reminder to those who pass by what happens when the sovereign’s orders are not followed.
Ernestine is heard in the backroom screaming. She wants to tell the sovereign what happened, and that this new consors of the sovereign’s should be punished immediately. As she comes upon the office and sees the picture, she realizes it will do no good to complain, but that did not mean the sovereign would not hear of the complaint.
“Your eminence, my sovereign, I demand a challenge of revenge! Look at me. I am wet!” Ernestine is screaming.
“Councilor Ernestine, it is your right to challenge for revenge, however, I would like to remind you that although another means could be found, it was the most effective. You had work to do, and I have yet to see the seating arrangement that you were ordered to prepare. Breanne is doing what she was ordered to do.”
Ernestine stands there in front of Alarica’s desk, saying nothing. The water turns to steam as Ernestine’s temper grew. “My dear sovereign, I demand that you discuss this with her at once. I demand to be treated with respect.”
Alarica asks Elmira to find Breanne and to bring her to the study.
Breanne is brought into the study and stands in front of the desk. She glances up to the bulletin board that is above the sovereign’s head, and starts giggling.
Alarica wants to get this matter dealt with promptly, her floor is getting wet. “Breanne, did you pour water over Ernestine’s head.” Alarica is trying very hard to stop herself from laughing. Breanne nods her head yes.
“The reason that you poured water over Ernestine’s head . . .” Alarica says, pushing a piece of paper and a pen in Breanne’s direction. Breanne quickly draws the events that occurred prior to the water. Alarica looks at the paper and now understands.
“Councilor Ernestine, Consors Breanne used the water as a last resort to awaken you. You did not respond to the other attempts that were made to awaken you. While you do have a right to challenge for revenge, I will not give approbation of such an action, as I do not believe it is warranted, dismissed.” Alarica puts a cloth in Ernestine’s hand and points to the puddle that Ernestine created. Ernestine will still be able to offer the challenge to Breanne, but if Breanne is injured or killed during the challenge, Ernestine will be punished. So Ernestine is forced to walk away without satisfaction.
Alarica takes down the picture from the bulletin board and puts it together with the picture Breanne has just created. She seals them and leaves them to give to Elmira for filing later. Breanne is still standing in front of the desk. “Breanne, I am proud of you. I do not believe in speaking of the forgotten. However, I want to tell you that you are very much the consors that I have dreamed of for so long. I thought Odette was the one, and I believe that if you were Odette, she would wait for me to tell her what she should do. You are truly my consors. You have grown stronger, and your injuries have healed completely. I cannot force you to stay, though I suggest that you do stay. Right now, because your appointment has not been publicly announced, you still have the choice of living outside of the manor. I worry that your mother will repeat the beating and cause further injuries that you may not be able to recover from. I would like for you to write an invitation to your mother, inviting her for dinner next week. I want to meet the woman that feels it is necessary to injure her child. Someone that was born truly gifted. EGO sentio ut nos es uni mei minime uni.” I feel that we are one, my little one. Alarica embraces Breanne, envisioning love passing from one to another.
As they let each other go, Breanne asks. What does that mean? Breanne can comprehend what Alarica says if she works it out herself, but the last sentence puzzles her.
Alarica shakes her head, but Breanne is still standing there, waiting for the explanation. “It was me thinking out loud, that maybe I have found my soul mate.”
Breanne smiles when Alarica says that. She does have to leave, there are things that need to be done, Halloween to prepare for; the kids need their costumes, she needs her costume. Her mother never accepted her writing, so there is only one other to do. Breanne’s posture stiffens, and she squeezes Alarica’s hands.
Alarica is concerned with this behavior and does not know what to think. She knows, though, it has to be something important, so she waits.
Now what do I do? She’s going to hear me talk, and then she, for sure, is going to hate me . . . but she trusts me, and I am her consors. Breanne asks, tears brimming her eyes. Alarica, could you help me? Mother will not read what I write, so I have to ask her. Please? It broke Alarica’s heart.
“Of course I will help you. In any way I can.”
Breanne lowers her head, closes her eyes, and hears in her head what she needs to say. Taking a deep breath with her eyes still closed, she begins. “My . . . friend . . . Alarica . . .wwwoul . . . like . . .ta . . .ta . . .to . . .invi. . .invi . . .in . . .vite . . . you . . .ta . . .ta. . . to . . .sssupper.” Breanne still has her eyes closed and her breath held as her face grows red. It is the best she can do.
Alarica is afraid Breanne will pass out from not breathing, so she wets her index finger and makes a line on the lower eyelid of each eye to get Breanne’s attention. Alarica is proud that Breanne tries so hard to speak properly. “Breanne, Breanne, open your eyes and breathe. Breanne, it is Alarica, please open your eyes and breathe for me. I am afraid you might pass out.” Breanne opens her eyes and exhales all the air that she was holding. “That was very nice. I think, though, that we need to practice. Watch my mouth and see what I do. Together, we can do anything. Remember to always look the person in the eyes. I know you have to try very hard, and you have to concentrate. Look into the person’s eyes when speaking to them. Ready, let us begin.”
Alarica and Breanne work for quite a while before Breanne starts crying. She just cannot do it. She cannot speak the way other people can. Breanne gives up hope, feeling as if she failed. I knew I couldn’t do it, why did I even bother. I’m just too stupid!!
Alarica is certain Breanne will be able to do this, all they need is time. She sees as the look of determination changes to a look of failure, aided by the crying, the slumped shoulders, the bowed head, and the arms crossed in front of Breanne’s chest.
Breanne does not say anything the rest of the day. She goes into her workroom, closes the draperies, and turns on the lights. She will not grant anyone entrance.
Emily sees Leonessa. “Gamma you back, Gamma!” she shouts, running as fast as she can toward Leonessa.
“Yes, Gamma is back. I am here, Emily. I have missed you,” Leonessa responds as she embraces Emily.
Emily smiles and giggles within Leonessa’s arms then they both walk outside, and Emily announces grandmother’s return. Leonessa tells the girls her purpose, and to be aware that the in-laws are here. She leaves Claryvorra to explain to Melisent and Emily what to expect from them.
Leonessa sees the workroom. The curtain is closed and the lights are on. Elmira told her Breanne had not left the room since yesterday, and would not leave the room for any reason, or grant anyone entrance. After what Claryvorra had told her the night before, she was a bit concerned. It was out of that concern that she entered without permission.
“Breanne, child, it is mother. I have returned. We can start our lessons now.” There is no reaction from Breanne, she only paints. Leonessa hears her daughter’s return and leaves Breanne.
This is what I’m good at, painting. I know I can’t talk. I shouldn’t have tried. Now I embarrassed Alarica. She’ll hate me and throw me out. I know she will.
Alarica is told of their arrival, and though she is happy for her mother’s arrival, she is not in the mood for the in-laws. She is worried that if Breanne continues to isolate herself, it will kill her. She has a responsibility to care for her family, and Breanne is a part of her family. The problem was, though, how to care for someone that imprisons themselves in their own mind.
Melisandra arrives not long after Alarica has returned, and knows she will suffer the consequences for her disappearance, but thinks that maybe she can have a little fun tonight. Breanne is unresponsive and in self-isolation, and the children are bedding themselves with her. So that left the sovereign all alone, to give her the opportunity to have some delicious love, and wake up with the feeling that can only come from good lovemaking. She has just the right implements to do that with, too.
Leonessa sees her daughter enter the study. “Alarica, Claryvorra has told me about Breanne and what has happened. Breanne isolates herself now, she is unresponsive, and in self-isolation. The children bed down in that room to offer comfort, but I am not certain Breanne is aware of this. Is there anything, something that I can do? There must be something to bring Breanne out of the self imposed trance.” Leonessa is worried about Breanne. Though Breanne is not her daughter by blood, she is her daughter by heart, and this situation is worrying her.
“I do not know, mother. I have tried everything I can to bring about the Breanne that I know and love. She tried so hard to speak a simple sentence correctly, and I was sure, that with a little work and practice, we could accomplish that simple task. It is not to be. I do not know what to do. I feel helpless. I feel as if I am a lost child looking up to Melisent to find out what it is I am to do. Her thoughts are only of colors and lines, nothing more,” Alarica finishes, looking out the window in the study. The meeting at the Senate did not go well, the in-laws are here, and Breanne is in a self-imposed isolation. Things are not going well.
Leonessa has an idea that might work. It is the only thing that nobody seems to have tried. She leaves the study and walks into Breanne’s workroom, thinking that the most likely place for it to be was on Breanne’s person. Leonessa sees a pocket, reaches inside, and there it is. Setting the alarm to go off immediately, it creates the desired reaction, startling Breanne out of the trance.
Breanne blinks continuously while looking at Leonessa. Who are you? Do I know you? Breanne tilts her head slightly, confused as to what has happened. What happened? Leonessa holds out her hand, but Breanne does not take it, only looks at it. Leonessa knows Breanne is confused, and takes her hand instead. Breanne does not move however, she just stands there. Leonessa calls for Alarica and explains to her what has happened.
Alarica does the only thing that she knows will work to bring Breanne’s focus back to her. She starts to sing. Alarica can tell that Breanne is coming to her senses.
Breanne gives Alarica a confused look, thinking… Alarica, are we home?
Now, Alarica is confused, not understanding Breanne’s question. She takes Breanne’s hand and walks two steps before Breanne collapses.
Breanne wakes up a short time later in the laboratory. She does not see anybody around, so she rises from the table to go back to the workroom. My painting needs to be completed. It is not done.
Leonessa returns to the laboratory with a tea for Breanne, who is gone. Leonessa knows where she went.
On the way to the workroom, Melisent stops Leonessa to talk to her. “Grandmother, where are you going?
“I am going to see Breanne, to make sure she is well. She left without me seeing her first, and I am a little concerned. Alarica had placed Breanne in the laboratory to rest, but her mother-in-law demanded our sovereign’s attention. She asked me to see to Breanne’s needs.”
“You didn’t do anything, did you? You didn’t try to take her away from her painting, right?” Melisent is growing concerned, not sure of the cause of her mama’s collapse.
“We were concerned for Breanne’s well being. She has not eaten or slept for at least a day. I needed to do something to bring about your mother’s attention. I did not know that would happen.” Leonessa is now regretting her actions. It was her actions she felt had caused Breanne’s collapse, though neither Alarica nor Leonessa knew why.
“Grandmother, you have to understand that when mama paints, she doesn’t know or hear or see anything, only the painting. So when you try to take her away from her painting, she panics, sort of. She doesn’t know how to do anything else. She doesn’t have anybody to talk to. When she paints, she forgets everything. Some people smoke, overeat, drink, or shop, or whatever. My mama paints. When she’s ready she will come out, I promise. Look, I don’t like it when she does this either, she’s my mama. There’s grown-up diapers at the house that I use. I get her to change into those, hand feed her, and leave her to her painting. If you do anything else, I don’t know if she can take it. Please be my grandmother? Please? Please be my grandmother and understand.” Melisent is desperate for Leonessa to understand. She loves her mama and wants her mama to have a family.
Leonessa embraces Melisent, with tears streaming down her cheeks. The guilt and the explanation compound themselves on her already fragile ego. She does not feel like a mother right now, only a failure. Looking into Melisent’s eyes, she says with a shaky voice, “Then, that is what I will do. I will take care of her. She is a member of this family, and it is my duty and honor to take care of her. I will send Elmira to the pharmacy to get these grown-up diapers that you mentioned. I am trying to understand, Melisent. I am trying. And I will always be your grandmother.” Leonessa embraces Melisent once more then lets her go with a peck on the cheek.
“There is one more thing that I should mention. I overheard the conversation that mama had with Miss Alarica, and I wrote the invitation. My grandmother doesn’t know my writing, so she will accept it. I asked Miss Elmira when would be the best time, and she said it will be next Thursday at six o’clock. So that’s what I wrote on the invitation. I also asked Miss Elmira to take care of it for me, because if she found out it was from us then she wouldn’t accept it. So I asked Miss Elmira and she said she would. I haven’t heard anything yet,” Melisent informs Leonessa in one breath while looking into her grandmother’s eyes.
Leonessa cannot help but laugh. “That is fine, Melisent. I will be here, then, to meet your grandmother for reasons of my own. Thank you, Melisent.”
Leonessa tells Elmira what is needed and for what reason, and is on her way to the kitchen when she hears a scream. Recognizing the scream, Leonessa only shakes her head and proceeds to the kitchen to fix a platter for Breanne. A platter in one hand and a tea in another, she walks into the workroom, to see Breanne painting again.
“Domino Leonessa, EGO requiro ut vos operor quispiam erga vestra filia.”
“It seems as though my daughter’s mother-in-law is demanding I do something about my daughter. However, which one, I do not know. She will have to be a little more specific. Speak English, and stop yelling. Open up, Breanne, this is a farmer’s bread rich in texture. The cheese is from the eastern territory of Avalon, and the meat is a cured meat, similar to the American ham.”
Food, that smells good. I could use that color here. Breanne accepts the food and finishes her tea.
Elmira returns with the requested item and hands it over to her mother. Alarica’s mother-in-law, stands just inside the doorway, watching and waiting for a response.
“Puteus, es vos iens efficio quispiam..?” The mother-in-law is angry now, as Lady Leonessa is taking care of this woman instead of attending to her needs.
“What do you say, Breanne, should I do something?”
There, that’s it, the picture is almost done.
Leonessa stands there, thinking about the best solution. “Excuse me, please, it seems as though my attention is needed.” Leonessa bows to Breanne, walking backwards three steps before turning around.
“I am Lady Leonessa, former queen of Avalon. You will speak English in this house. You are now in America. My daughters know what they can and cannot do. If you wish for me to speak to someone, you will have to be more specific,” Leonessa states in a calm tone, though her thoughts were anything but.
“My precious and fragile daughter is being ignored, and I demand that you do something about it. She is being brutalized, and I will not stand for it.” Is it possible for someone’s ego to grow beyond the confines of a shelter?
“Queen Melisandra has not been brutalized, though she has had to answer for being lax in her duties. Sovereign Cyan Alarica would not hurt anyone in her court. If there is nothing else, there is something that I must attend to.” Leonessa feels satisfied at that moment.
Alarica enters the workroom to attend Breanne. “Hello, Breanne, mother tells me you have eaten already. This is an herbal bath, and it will help to keep your skin fresh and supple. After that we will see about the diapers.” Alarica does what needs to be done, taking her time as she soaps, lathers, and rinses Breanne of the fragrant soap.
What’s that smell? …Breanne thinks.
Alarica’s mind is filled with thoughts of what her mother has told her, as well as the events that occurred after the in-laws’ arrival. “Breanne, I need you. Things are not going well. My queen has mentioned the events that have occurred up to this point, from her point of view. Her version of the truth is far from the truth. I need a way for everyone to see what has happened so far.” Alarica finishes bathing Breanne and reaches for the diapers. She has never seen anything like them before, but is aware of their purpose. Encouraging Breanne to pull up the diapers, the deed is done.
Oh, what . . . oh, she needs my help, but how . . . how do I help her? My journal . . . that would help, I hope. Breanne places her hand on Alarica’s arm to get her attention. She does not say anything, only shows a book to Alarica.
Alarica opens the book and smiles, having found the answer to her current dilemma. She does not feel it is necessary to justify her actions, however, will do so for her daughter’s sake. Alarica stands behind Breanne to embrace her and whisper words of love then leaves the room.
Alarica calls everybody’s attention to the front room. She has a story to tell. Using the pictures in the book, Alarica tells everybody of the events that have occurred up to that point. Melisandra is nervous now that her mother is aware of the events as they truly occurred. Alarica feels satisfaction, finally ending the argument. It was a senseless argument, but it was something that needed to be dealt with. The in-laws find the events and the book to be a horrendous display.
“I want to know, immediately, who created this display, this book of scribbles.”
“The person that created the book of pictures is Consors Breanne. She is a valued member of this court, and will be treated with respect.”
“I do not see why you would choose a vagrant over someone of refined blood.”
“I chose Breanne because she is truly my consors.” Alarica feels that is explanation enough, at the same refusing to acknowledge her sister-in-law as a possible candidate as her consors.
“My youngest would be a fine consors. She is well-educated, refined quality, and a very beautiful woman. I know everyone would agree with me.”
Alarica leaves the family, to encourage Breanne to follow her. She answered her needs before, maybe it will work again. Alarica returns, with Breanne following a little while later. “This is my Consors Breanne.”
The mother-in-law inspects Breanne from head to toe, and Breanne starts to feel nervous. However, with a wink and smile from Leonessa, she knows everything would be all right.
“You call this your consors, this vagrant your consors? I will see to it she is removed.”
Melisent is getting angrier the more she listens to this woman, and does everything she knows how in order to stay calm. Count to ten, and think good thoughts, are becoming a mantra. She does not realize she is not the only one that is angry.
“You have no right to have MY consors removed. I am Sovereign Cyan Alarica, and I will not be denied. I warn you, that if any harm comes to Consors Breanne, I will see to it that your family will be shunned.” Alarica is very angry and finds it even harder to control herself. The last words are spoken with a growl in her voice.
A loud gulp and the ticking of the clock are the only things that are heard around the room.
“You cannot mean that! You would not dare do such a thing! My daughter is your queen, and therefore your duty to take care of us!” The mother-in-law is shocked that such a thing would happen. She does not believe the sovereign would do such a thing.
“Madam, may I remind you that I am the sovereign.” There is that feeling on her lower back again. She missed that. “I will see to all disciplinary measures. It is my duty.” They stare at each other for a long while, both challenging each other in a silent duel that neither will back down from.
Melisent has heard enough “You will be nice to my mama.”
“Who are you to speak to me that way, you insolent child?”
“My name is Melisent, and I am the oldest daughter of my mama.”
“No wonder you do not have any manners. I guess that is to be expected from a vagrant’s child . . .” Melisent launches herself at this point toward the woman that continued to insult her mama.
Breanne reaches out and grabs Melisent before she has a chance to do anything. A quiet conversation later, Melisent offers an apology, though it is not reciprocated. Melisent and Emily go to the sleeping chamber, to be away from everyone.
Breanne slightly tugs Alarica’s finger, to get her attention. Alarica shows Breanne the warrior sign for forgiveness. The mother-in-law pretends not to know what Breanne is saying. However, Leonessa is not going to let her daughter be beaten by someone who has no morals, values, or empathy. She knows it was a mistake to let Camilla talk her into this union. Leonessa leans over and speaks quietly to the mother-in-law. Now she had Breanne’s full attention. Breanne offers forgiveness again, and this time, it is accepted, though not willingly.
Claryvorra tugs on Breanne’s fingers and tries to lead her to the sleeping chamber, knowing what is to come, believing that witnesses are not a good thing.
“I, Sovereign Cyan Alarica of Avalon, do declare, by the power of the throne, Breanne to be my consors.” Alarica is getting tired of this argument, and voices the declaration in her mother tongue rather than English.
The mother-in-law has no choice but to accept her decision. Defeated, she rises from her place in the room to go to her quarters and remain there until the last meal is called.
Everyone else rises and goes to their respective stations within the manor. Alarica stands there, watching everyone leave the room. Breanne does not leave; she does what only she knows how to do. She embraces Alarica with all the love she can and rocks back and forth. She does not understand what is happening, but she sees the eyes of the one that has become her friend. That is all she needs to understand. The rest will come later.
Leonessa now knows why her daughter has come to love the little artist. The unconditional love and support that Breanne offers and gives to Alarica is something that had been missing in her court. Leonessa joins them, and the three embrace.
After they let go of each other, Breanne tugs on Leonessa’s and Alarica’s fingers. She has a painting to show them now that she is done. I hope they like it. The colors are just right, and I think I captured everyone’s personality perfectly. That’s what a picture does. It records the personality of someone, not just their looks. Well, here goes everything. Breanne turns the easel around to show them the picture she had been painting. The canvas is large, the size of one of the picture windows overlooking a garden. The background is of a glade in the spring. A tree spans the entire portrait, and on each of its branches are four black panthers lazily lying down with their tails hanging below. At the very top, there is a black panther with mottled gray fur. In the next branch, a panther with sky blue eyes, watching for anything. Just below, there is a smaller version, with brown eyes and a swishing tail, and on the last branch, a cub, watching a squirrel climb the tree. Each resembling the personality of Alarica, Leonessa, Elmira, and Claryvorra, it appears as though the panthers are real, that one could touch them. Leonessa and Alarica are stunned as they view the painting. It is them.
“Panis, quo painting est profecto magnificus…” Breanne, this painting is truly magnificent.
Leonessa supposes that Alarica does not realize she is not speaking English “Speak English, daughter, so she may understand what you are saying.”
Alarica stand there for a little bit before shaking her head. “This painting will be hung in the study for all to see. I have only one request, and that is for you to paint a representation of my queen.”
Breanne steps back and turns around to retrieve another canvas. I hope this works. I don’t know what they would look like in their royal gown, so I guessed. I hope I guessed right. Carefully putting away the first painting, she replaces it with another, a true portrait of the sovereign, her queen, and the princess, the sovereign and her queen sitting on their throne, and the princess sitting on the dais in-between the sovereign and her queen. It was a true representation of the royal family.
Alarica can only smile as she views this picture. She had not realized just how busy her consors has been. “It appears you have been busy painting, minime uni. Both are splendid pictures. This painting will be hung in the public arena, behind the dais, so everyone may see the royal line and what they represent.”
“These pictures are magnificent. You truly are a gift, Breanne. I have never before seen anything like this before.” Leonessa chokes on the last words she is speaking. Anyone could see the depth and beauty of the portraits that displayed the family. Leonessa feels proud at that moment.
These pictures mean thank you. “You . . . are . . . my . . . friend.” Breanne wants to be sure that she can say the last part of her speech correctly. Alarica can only smile at that moment, a true smile that reaches her ears and causes her eyes to sparkle with delight. She feels proud.
“It will be time for the last meal soon. We must prepare ourselves. Come, minime uni, let us bathe before the meal. You will feel better after you bathe.” Alarica reaches out her hands, waiting for Breanne to take them. And take them she did, walking side by side to the bathing chamber.
Breanne is a little reluctant to take off her clothes, knowing that she has diapers underneath. Alarica assists Breanne, and just as she puts the dress into the basket, Breanne’s face turns red, and she covers the diaper with her hands, squeezing her legs together as tightly as she can. No, my sovereign, please, I will do it myself.
Alarica gently but firmly removes Breanne’s hands from their position, and rips off the diaper. She returns moments later with a new pair of undergarments and a new nightdress. “Breanne, everything is fine. These are for you when you are done bathing.”
Leonessa follows, with the girls close behind.
Breanne stays in a corner of the bathing pool playing with the water. Knowing this, Leonessa stays behind Breanne, to be with her daughter. Alarica and the girls splash and play at one end of the pool while Leonessa and Breanne bathe and play with the water at the other end. Watching the water ripple always fascinates Breanne, and takes every opportunity she can to satisfy that fascination.
The in-laws follow close behind Melisandra as they enter the bathing chamber. Alarica nod her head in acknowledgment. Leonessa greets them as they enter the bathing pool.
Emily watches as Melisandra bows to Lady Leonessa, walks back three steps then turns around. “Mama Rica, how come she did that? She bow then walk backwards, how come?”
“The reason that Queen Melisandra did that is to show respect. It would not be respectful to immediately turn your back on someone. To do so is both an insult and a show of how one perceives the other,” Alarica explains everything for more than just Emily’s benefit, but also her in-laws, who are both within hearing range. Emily resumes her splashing as Claryvorra sighs and Melisent resumes her bathing.
“Scrub me!” The mother-in-law sees Breanne in the corner doing what she always does. Only Alarica and Leonessa understand Breanne’s love of the water. “I said scrub me! You are the servant!” Breanne does not respond, because she simply does not hear her.
Drip, drip, drip . . . watch the water go.
Alarica needs to see what Breanne will do, therefore only observes.
The mother-in-law grabs Breanne’s hand and places a sponge in it.
Breanne only looks at the sponge before placing it alongside the bathing pool. What’s that for? I’ll put that here.
This only further infuriates the mother-in-law, who lunges her fist toward Breanne. Years of abuse have taught Breanne how to duck and cover, so she ducks beneath the water and reappears close to Alarica, who by now is laughing. Leonessa leads the mother-in-law, who by now has a broken hand, to the laboratory. Alarica whispers words of approval to Breanne, who smiles as a result.
Alarica, my sovereign, do I sit in the same place? Breanne does not want to embarrass Alarica by not being aware of the rules. All have exited the bath and are getting ready to sit at the table. It did feel good to be clean again.
“Yes, Breanne, you will sit in the same place. I suggest to you, though, that you sit immediately upon entering the room. I know you enjoy the flora, but the guests will not understand.”
“‘Kay, thire . . . are you mad at me for doing whatch I did?”
“So the imbecile does speak after all. What is that they say, oh yes, a timidus canis crusta magis violenter quam is morsus? But that is only true if they are able to speak.” The mother-in-law needs to show everyone that the sovereign has made a bad choice of consors, by displaying her as an uneducated coward.
Breanne does not understand what is going on, does not understand what the woman has said. She looks at Alarica confused.
“What she said was ‘a timid dog barks more violently than it bites.’” Alarica, finishing her explanation, looks her mother-in-law in the eyes. “Madam, I did not realize the educational system on Avalon needs to be improved. Perhaps I need to do some research as to the educational system. Although, I should not expect anything more than the intelligence for which my queen displays on a daily basis, but I should be happy that my queen is able to at least read.” Alarica is not going to allow her mother-in-law to accomplish what she has planned. Not if she has anything to say about it.
“You apologize immediately to my mother. You are an animal. Mother does not think your choice of consors would be suitable for us.” Melisandra hears the conversation and feels the need to intervene, not realizing she is making the situation worse.
“Queen Melisandra, do you remember anything at all that you read from the Scrolls of Protocol?” Alarica is angry, and Melisandra is able to determine that by the tone of her voice.
“Yes, my dear sovereign, I do remember. It is just that mother is only protecting what she feels is necessary.”
“Who has a right to appoint a consors? Who is the one that has the power to dissolve that appointment? What is the queen’s role in the appointment of a consors?”
Melisandra has forgotten all that she read in the scrolls, having only concentrated on the duties of the queen and not bothering with the rest of the scrolls. It would just take too long, and she missed her shopping.
Alarica stands there, waiting for the answer, as a piece of paper is slipped into her hand. Here you go. The answers are you, you, and none. She smiles as she looks at the paper. “It seems as though someone knows the answer. Let us see if you do,” she says, rolling the paper to be put away later.
“I . . . do not . . . remember . . . my sovereign. It has been so long since I have read them.” Melisandra is nervous now that her mother is witnessing the reality.
“That short of a memory..? Well then, you will be spending more time in the archives, relearning everything. I will test you at the end of seven days, and I expect an answer before bedding down. I also ordered you to see to the preparations of the Harvest Festival and Celebration. I am assuming you have them completed, since you spent time doing something else other than your duties. Go get the reports and bring them to me immediately.”
“Yes, my sovereign. I will do as ordered.” Melisandra fully bows hoping her mother has a short memory.
Emily is heard crying in the background, and Breanne leaves to see what has happened.
“You do not expect my daughter to remember everything in those dusty old scrolls, do you? Surely, you would allow her some margin of forgetfulness.”
“Yes, I have expectations of my court, with no margin of error. You are dismissed.” Alarica immediately leaves to see what has happened, worrying about the baby.
Breanne runs out of the kitchen with a bag full of ice wrapped in a towel and gently places the ice pack on Emily’s head. Both are seated on the floor, holding each other in comfort as they rock back and forth. Leonessa has returned from her session outside with the girls, and both she and Alarica run towards them, seeing them on the floor.
“Breanne, child…what happened to the baby, is she all right? May I take her to the laboratory to see to her injuries?” Leonessa holds out her arms, waiting for Emily. Emily willingly crawls into her gamma’s arms, feeling safe and loved.
“Breanne, what happened? Do you know what happened? I must know so I may see that the person responsible for hurting a member of my family is disciplined properly.” Alarica holds Breanne as she cries in her arms. After Breanne stops crying, she explains that she did not ask Emily what happened. She only wanted to help take the pain away. Alarica understands and leaves for the laboratory.
“Hi, Emily, did you tell grandmother where it hurts?”
Emily nod her head yes as fresh tears roll down her cheeks. Alarica feels the need to swallow hard to suppress the tears in her eyes. The baby was hurt in her court. She was not the one to strike the blow, but it happened in her court.
“Mother, did she tell you what happened?”
“No, she has not. I think she is a bit shaken up right now. There is a significant bump on the top of her head. Her left cheek is bruised, and a binding ring on her right wrist indicates she was roughly pulled and tightly squeezed. She holds that wrist close to her. I do not believe the wrist was injured. However, there is still pain.” Leonessa does not like it that someone beat her granddaughter. When I find out who did this, they will receive the same treatment by my hand, whatever the consequences.
Alarica silently agrees. “Emily honey, what happened? Will you tell me who did this?” Alarica reaches for a pad and a pencil. “Emily, I want you to draw a picture of the person that did this to you.” Emily nods her head and starts to draw, giving the picture to Alarica when she is done. Noticing that Leonessa is nearly done with Emily, she waits, holding Emily’s hand. Emily stays close to Leonessa, instead of leaving to explore, which worried both adult women. This is not at all like Emily. Alarica shows the picture to Leonessa, who growls in response. Leonessa will see to the children while Alarica seeks the one responsible.
“Dear sister-in-law, what have you been doing lately? There is a nice mall in the city that the queen frequents. There is also a movie theater not far from here. They are playing Harry Potter right now. Princess Claryvorra enjoys those stories. She likes the idea of flying on a broomstick, I believe. There is also a boxing ring a half-turn east of the manor. Have you been there?”
“I have been busy seeing to my mother’s needs and spending time with my sister. I would not have time for such things. I am a busy lady of the court.” She is nervous that maybe they know what happened.
“A busy lady of the court, very interesting description of yourself, I must say. Where did you learn that a lady of the court busies herself by beating up other members of the court, especially those that cannot defend themselves?” Alarica wants to make her sweat a bit before doing onto others what had been done to a member of her family.
“I do not know what you are talking about? That imbecile told you a story. I told mother I would be a better consors than she ever could.” Is it getting hot in here?
“You do not know what I am talking about. Yet, you blame someone else for lying about something which you have no knowledge of, am I right?” This is fun.
“I only said that the imbecile told you that I beat up that brat when it didn’t really happen.”
“Elmira, did you hear everything?” I am really enjoying this.
“I heard every word, my sovereign. I have just received a note from Emily, that shows who beat her.” Elmira hands over the paper to Alarica, who takes a look at it, smiling. It would not be convincing if the note had come from a family member. Therefore, a member of the guard wrote the note.
Alarica calls for a guard to place both her sister-in-law and mother-in-law under house arrest. Neither would be able allowed any liberties for a very long while. Melisandra is upset to hear the news, and protests against the sovereign and her decision. Due to the seriousness of the crimes, they have to pay the consequences. The only thing the queen can do is bow her head down in shame.
Alarica calls for Breanne from her study. Two things need to be accomplished. The first is to see that Breanne understand all of the events that had happened. Once that is done then the second task may be accomplished. And that task is for Breanne to decide how the prisoners should be disciplined due to the nature of the crimes. Alarica takes as much time as needed for Breanne to understand everything. She then sends Breanne away, with orders to write, in detail, how Breanne would like the prisoners to be disciplined. Then she is to bring back the document, and follow through with the judgment. While discussing the events, she finds out that Lady Leonessa has been tutoring Breanne.
“Lady Leonessa, I must speak with you regarding the training of Breanne.” Alarica finds Leonessa in Breanne’s workroom, and leads her to the study.
“Yes, your eminence, I am here as requested, why the formality?” Leonessa is confused and doe not know if she has done something wrong.
Alarica closes the draperies behind her, indicating privacy. This might be a while. “As you know, it is the responsibility of the sovereign to see to the training of her consors. I have been informed that Lady Leonessa has been doing much more than physical training. She has also been training her sovereign’s consors the responsibilities to be taken at such a position. While I am proud and flattered that she has taken this responsibility, I must know why this is happening?”
“My sovereign, I not only have two daughters, I have three. I am proud of each of them. I realize the responsibilities and roles each is to take. However, I fear that Breanne will not understand the Scrolls of Protocol. I fear that she will give up because of lack of understanding and the fear of asking for assistance. I know the scrolls and the words written within. It is my duty to not only love, but also understand each of my children. Breanne is the most complex of all. There is one thing I do know, though, that is the waters of the bathing pool center her and relax her. I use that time to teach Breanne the scrolls. I do not reiterate the scrolls word for word, instead, I retell the scrolls in such a manner that Breanne will understand. That is what I have been doing.”
Alarica stands up from behind the desk she has been sitting behind, to turn around and stare out the window, thinking. Turning around to face her mother, she says, “Mother, I thank you for your patience. This will make her training easier. I believe that between the both of us, if we work together, she will truly be the most valuable treasure in my kingdom. I took the time to explain the events that have just occurred, and the responsibility that she is to play. I wait for her to complete the necessary documents to describe the disciplinary action that I am to take with the prisoners. I will give the documents to Ernestine to review and give back to me for final signature. I fear, though, that I will be recorded as the sovereign without family values. I pray the people will understand.” Alarica and Leonessa embrace each other, wishing for everything to be over with.
Breanne returns to the study, after describing, in detail, what she would like to do, to make sure this does not happen again. Beating rarely solves a problem; therefore, a more effective approach is needed. It would be humiliating for them, and at the same time educational, but Breanne thinks it will at least give them the chance to think about what they had done.
Breanne finds Alarica in her study, peering out the window. She rubs that nagging spot on Alarica’s back, just as she has many times before. Alarica enjoys that feeling, especially now, as evidenced by the smile on her face. There is work to be done however, so reluctantly, she turns around to receive the documents. She does not look at them though, just passes them to Elmira to give to Ernestine for review and signature. Two official signatures are needed: one of a high-ranking official, and one from a lower position within the structure, as well as the author’s. Even though Alarica did not read the document, she is interested in knowing what disciplinary action her minime uni has taken in this matter.
“Sovereign, I demand entrance, this document is atrocious. The disciplinary action described in this document for the current prisoners will not be viewed as being fair, your eminence.” Ernestine is surprised to see the document and those involved. She does not have a high opinion of the sovereign’s choice for consors, therefore, Ernestine feels that no type of action should be taken against them. They are her majesty’s family, after all.
“Permission granted, please describe to me why the disciplinary action that Consors Breanne describes in that document would not be viewed as being fair.” Alarica is always ready for an argument.
“The prisoners are her majesty’s family, your eminence. Surely, you do not expect them to be disciplined for an indiscretion. I am sure they had good reason for doing what they did.”
“I will hear their reasons when they are presented before the court, Councilor Ernestine. If that is all, place your signature in the appropriate place. Alert the guards to prepare the prisoners for presentation. You are dismissed.”
“Yes, your eminence.” Ernestine’s ability to speak through clenched teeth is amazing, as is her remarkable capacity to keep her head. She then leaves to do as she was told.
Alarica finally takes the time to read the document, to find out what her consors has in mind. Interesting selection of disciplinary actions however, they resembled Breanne very much so.
Alarica calls everyone to the front room. Her Royal Majesty Melisandra, Sovereign Cyan Alarica, Princess Claryvorra, Consors Breanne, and Lady Leonessa take their respective positions on the floor. The audience consists of Councilor Ernestine, Melisent, Emily, and Elmira. The guards are called to present the prisoners to the floor.
The prisoners are unshackled and ordered to take a bow of humiliation before everyone then were to stay in that position until told to do otherwise. Alarica takes pleasure in seeing them on the floor. Sometimes, it is good to be the sovereign.
“This session was called to address the mistreatment of my consors, Breanne, and her toddler Emily. The charges against them are mistreatment of members of the aristocracy and perfidy. It was my decision, as Sovereign Cyan Alarica of Avalon, to order Consors Breanne to decide on the disciplinary measures to be taken. She has documented these measures and requests that Her Royal Majesty Melisandra read the document.”
Melisandra reluctantly opens the document. “On this, the 16th day of October in the year 1996, it has been recorded that Sovereign Cyan Alarica of Avalon appointed consors Breanne records that she, Consors Breanne, had not been shown any respect by the family of Her Royal Majesty Melisandra. Queen Melisandra’s mother used the phrase ‘a timid dog barks more violently than it bites’ to describe me as I was speaking with the sovereign. I am not a dog, therefore, how am I able to bark? Another word included was imbecile, which the dictionary defines as a stupid or silly person; a dolt. I may be silly at times, but I am not stupid nor am I a dolt. She further describes me as a vagrant, which the dictionary defines as one who lives on the streets and constitutes a public nuisance. I do not live on the streets nor do I believe I constitute a public nuisance. She describes my eldest daughter as an insolent child. The dictionary defines insolent as presumptuous and insulting in manner or speech; arrogant. My daughter is young and is still learning proper etiquette. However, I do not believe my eldest daughter, Melisent, to be an arrogant child. I have recorded the events since my arrival in a journal for my own use and understanding. My sovereign had requested assistance in the matter of her mother-in-law, not believing the events as were told to her by her daughter-in-law, Sovereign Cyan Alarica, because Queen Melisandra had relayed to her mother a different set of events. Upon description of the journal, it was noted that it was described as a book of scribbles. I am sorry you feel that way. Nevertheless, I do not scribble, neither do my daughters.
On a separate occasion during the discussion that Sovereign Cyan Alarica and Queen Melisandra were discussing responsibilities, my youngest daughter, Emily, was found with a bump on her head, a bruise on her cheek and a ring on her left wrist. It was found out later that Queen Melisandra’s sister had beaten Emily as a consequence of being curious about a document that was found in the possession of said person. It should be noted that Emily is three years old, and curiosity is second nature to her.
I do not excuse Emily for what she did. I would, however, expect that someone who is much older than Emily be able to think of a different solution than beating my daughter.
It is my decision, as Consors Breanne to Sovereign Cyan Alarica, that the following disciplinary actions be taken.
1) Parenting and anger management classes to be taken by both. Proof of completion must be presented to the court upon completion.
2) Volunteer at a nursing home and/or children’s home for a period of three months. Proof of volunteering for either or both must be presented to the court.
3) The guilty party must apologize with sincerity to all those involved in this matter. Those that must apologize include, but are not limited to, the mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Queen Melisandra. Those that are involved include, but are not limited to, Sovereign Cyan Alarica, Consors Breanne, Melisent, Emily, and Lady Leonessa.
4) Consors Breanne will write a letter of apology to her sovereign at a later date.
With United Powers and By Common Consent, "
Sovereign Cyan Alarica"
“Prisoners, rise and be heard before this court. What is your view, mother-in-law?”
“My view, sire, as I heard the events, is true. I will adhere to the decision of my sovereign.”
“What say you, sister-in-law? What is your view?”
“My view, sire, as I heard the events, is true. I will adhere to the decision of my sovereign.”
“You both have agreed that you are guilty of the charges as presented before you. Make note that the entire document was written by my consors. I would not have been so lenient in the disciplinary measures if I had prepared the documents. The measures will be carried out immediately after the last meal and upon sunrise on the morrow respectively. You are both confined to quarters. The only time you will not be confined is for meal times only. You will be kept under close guard until completion.” Alarica signals to the guards to escort them to the dining chamber. Pride filled her heart as the document, which proved Breanne to be worthy of the appointment, was read.
The meal was eaten in silence. Everyone at the table kept their head down, except Emily. I wonder what is for dessert.
“There is a matter that needs to be dealt with immediately. All those involved, present yourselves and do as you have been ordered.”
The mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and Queen Melisandra rise from the table. Queen Melisandra bows first. “I, Her Royal Majesty Queen Melisandra, say to Sovereign Cyan Alarica, Consors Breanne, Melisent, Emily, and Lady Leonessa, I apologize for my lack of judgment, responsibility, and mistreatment for which I am responsible for. I request that you all forgive me in these matters, as I promise to do better by my court.” Melisandra fully bows and remains in that position.
“What say you, mother-in-law?”
“I apologize for any harm that I have caused this court.” She is willing to apologize, but promising something is another matter entirely.
“Apology not accepted by Sovereign Alarica. What say you, Lady Leonessa?”
“Apology not accepted by Lady Leonessa. What say you, Melisent?”
“I won’t accept the apology. What about you, Emily?”
“She not say sorry… ‘Bout you, Mama...?”
“I, Lady Leonessa, speak for Consors Breanne, and she has said to me that she will not accept the apology.”
“What say you, sister-in-law?”
The sister-in-law does not want the same thing to happen to her, so following in her sister’s footsteps, “I, sister-in-law to Sovereign Cyan Alarica, ask that the court accept my apology for any wrong doings that I have caused. I promise to accept the lessons that this court and the disciplinary measures will teach me to do better in the future.”
“Does the court accept Queen Melisandra’s apology? Indicate by raise of hand.” Everyone raises her hand. “Therefore, Queen Melisandra, you are excused to remember and fulfill your promise. You will be expected to fulfill your promise to this court. You do not; you will be denounced from the throne. Do you understand as this has been explained to you?”
“I thank the court for accepting my apology. I fully understand my obligation as has been explained to me.”
“Rise, you are dismissed.” Alarica’s eyes follow the queen’s departure.
“Does the court accept my sister-in-law’s apology? Indicate by raise of hand.” Everyone raises her hand. “Therefore, sister-in-law, you are excused to remember and fulfill your promise. You will be expected to fulfill your promise. You will report directly to me to assign proper placement for you in the matters of anger management classes, parenting classes, nursing home, and children’s home. I, your sovereign, will discipline you if you should fail to fulfill your obligations. Rise, you are dismissed.” Alarica’s eyes follow her sister-in-law’s departure, only to fall back to her mother-in-law, who is crouching in an attempt to not be seen.
“Does the court accept my mother-in-law’s apology? Indicate by raise of hand.” Nobody raises her hand. “Therefore, mother-in-law, the court does not accept your apology. You will have only one other chance to apologize properly. You do not properly apology, you will be shunned from society. You will no longer be recognized or remembered. Your property and wealth will be taken and distributed, your name will be erased from the archives, and your children will be remembered as the vagrants you described the children of this court. You will present your apology on the morrow, before deciding placement of your disciplinary measures. Keep in mind, if we had not progressed to this point in our society, you would have been thrown in prison. Rise, you are dismissed.”
Return to the Academy