King Emery and Queen Sovay sat across from each other at a small, intimate
table within their private
quarters. Two servants stood nearby, but not too near, ready to refill a
wine glass or clear away an
empty dish at a moment's notice. The King was busy greedily cutting into a
salmon fillet with butter
sauce and garlic leaves and little tiny red bits that had been arranged
into happy faces. The Queen though
ate her lamb pat'e with pecan nuts and dark cinnamon and yellow
stick-things shaped like little houses a
bit more demurely. She lifted her fork into her mouth, let the morsel sit
for a moment as the taste spread
through her palate, and then swallowed.
"Dear," she spoke softly to her husband.
"Yes, m'love?" the King looked up at her.
"While I in no way wish to denigrate the cook for her generous talents in the preparation of meals fit for royal dining," the Queen said, "still, I cannot help but notice that I miss the exquisite culinary delights that our last cook was capable of producing."
The King frowned. "You saying the food's no good?"
Sovay smiled and shook her head. "Oh no, just that it's not as good as it used to be. You haven't noticed?"
Emery shook his head, "Can't say as I have. But if you do that's good enough for me. Tomorrow we'll get rid of the new cook and get the old one back."
The Queen shook her head again. "I wish we could, but she recently died. Fell into a well or something."
"A well?" the King asked. "Was it a deep well?"
The Queen shrugged, "I imagine it was a deep well. But what has that got to do with it?"
"It'd be kind of silly to die in a shallow well," the King answered. And then he suddenly chuckled. "Do you remember the gardener and those damn gopher holes? Now that was a silly way to die, although quite entertaining for the rest of us." Sovay just smiled at the King until his giggles died down. "Well, anyways," Emery continued, "the cook was a gift from Lady Constance wasn't she? Why don't you see if Constance has got another one of them around somewhere."
"Smashing idea," the Queen replied happily. "And while I'm there perhaps I should look in on her son. Is he not preparing to do away with those ruffians who've infested Anfang?"
The King nodded. "Aye, and a brave lad he is for it. You know, it's so disheartening how inconsiderate and envious my fief-lords are. Buggers the whole lot of them. I have a Kingdom to rule and yet I have my hands full just dealing with the Lords of the Royal Province. We should count our lucky stars to have someone like Lady Constance around."
"Yes," the Queen agreed. "She is such a friend and a help to me. And she's got great fashion sense too. And so did Duke Zular. What a pity he had his head cut off and shoved on a pike."
"Quite," the King nodded. "He was a young pup and a bit of a poofter I think, but he had a good heart. And that's why we named him Regent-apparent. He wasn't one to stab you in the back and the Lords of the Court didn't feel intimidated by him. But now I shall have to consider someone else for the role, and it won't be easy. Duke Collins is out of the question. He's powerful enough as it is - the Lords don't want to see him stake a claim for the throne as well. Jealous bastards. You know, I should appoint Barnabas Collins just out of spite. Gods but I'd like to see the faces on those jackals in the royal court when I made that pronouncement." Emery smiled at the thought but then shook his head. "If only I could do it. But I need the court, whether I like it or not, and I cannot act without their support."
"Your days will be busy now," the Queen sighed, "more than usual anyway. Suffex is up for grabs, Trescent is in need of a new ruling House, and Sarlo still does not have a titled Duke. I imagine that I shall not be the only one kissing your butt around here. And there's still the matter of the Dragon."
"Hmm, what's that?" the King said.
"The Dragon," Sovay repeated. "You know, big and scaly. Very sharp pointy teeth."
"Ohh, the Dragon," Emery answered. "Don't worry about him, another Dragon Hunter will be sent out forthwith. I promise." Suddenly the King's eyes lit up. "Actually, you've given me an idea honey buns. Why bother about with politics when I can simply dangle Suffex about instead? I'll keep it as the prize for killing the Dragon. That'll make those ambitious bastards think twice about looking for a promotion. HAH! That Dragon may be a royal pain in the butt but I think he can do me some good after all. And if I'm lucky the damn beast'll keep on defeating my 'champions' until doomsday. It's not like he's the real threat around here. I mean honestly, with everything I'm up against right now the Dragon is the least of my worries."
Queen Sovay reached out to King Emery. "I am sorry for the burdens you must bear."
"I do not bear them alone, my dear," the King smiled and looked upon his wife. The candlelight from the table cast a soft glow upon Sovay's soft face and not for the first time King Emery was overcome by his wife's beauty. He gazed into her adoring eyes and reached out one hand to stroke her dark tresses. She smiled at him invitingly. And then he leaned across the table and whispered into her ear, "Enough of this talk, I'm much more interested in having my dessert. Now how about giving the King some honey."
4/23/2001 12:30:45 AM
The Never Ending Quest Home
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