Galahad had walked right up to one of the guards of the main gate and insulted his mother. The guard at first did nothing for Galahad seemed to be little of a threat. Also that particular guard had been an orphan and never knew his mother nor why he should take offense at her choice of footwear. After a few more accusations and suggestions as to the promiscuous nature of the guard’s mother, the guard tired of the discussion and smacked Galahad in the shin with the butt of his spear. The cry Lilly had heard followed shortly thereafter.
“Go on home, ya drunk,” the guard said.
A shout concerning the “missing monster” followed. Galahad used the opportunity to grab the spear from the guard. A short skirmish ensued where Galahad was beaten and beaten badly by the four gate guards.
A search was made throughout the grounds but no sign of Lilly was found.
Lilly had only floated down stream for a few minutes before a group of men led by Sir Doyle grabbed the boat and brought it to shore.
“Sir Doyle, I’m so glad to see you,” Lilly said as he helped her step out of the boat.
“You won’t be in a minute,” he said as his arm guided her to a man waiting on horseback: Lord Trapsfield.
When Galahad was brought before his uncle it was for his disorderly conduct with the guards. The unconscious jailer could not identify his attacker and the other jailer could not be found.
“I should have expected this from a Trite,” Count Riverton said.
Galahad, still purple and blue from his beating, said, “Exactly, four against one and wounded and they still couldn’t take me.”
Count Riverton sighed. He turned to his steward, “Confine the boy to his quarters until he’s learned his place.”
Lord Trapsfield dismounted, but before he could speak, Lilly raised her regal voice, “Sir Doyle, you swore loyalty to me. Why have you brought this miscreant before me.”
“Call him what you will, he’s your last best hope of saving your kingdom,” Sir Doyle said.
Lord Trapsfield ignored the princess’ earlier slight and smiled like a man holding all the cards. “I know we have not always seen eye-to-eye on the running of the kingdom—”
“My kingdom,” Lilly interjected. “You are my regent.”
“And you are not yet queen, Soliloquy.”
“And you won’t be if Riverton has his way,” Sir Doyle said.
“What does Riverton have against me?” She asked.
“‘She’s not an heir, she’s a monster,’” Lord Trapsfield said, then added, “His words, not mine.”
“I think your…errr…” Sir Doyle began, “Well…your face is just an excuse to seize power.”
The princess said nothing.
Sir Doyle wanted to say something more but could not figure out what. Lord Trapsfield was happy to let everyone else stew in their misery.
Finally the princess spoke. “Well, Lord Trapsfield, Sir Doyle says your my only hope. What do you propose we do?”
Lord Trapsfield smiled. “It’s simple. We’re going to crown you queen.”
“And why would you allow that?”
“Because having a queen indebted to you is always a nice thing to have.”
“Why would a queen be indebted to a regent who faithfully performed his duty?”
“Because the regent has a lot of options, and since outright rule is out of the question for now, it matters little which side he makes into the winning side.”
“I see,” she said. “Let me make one thing perfectly clear. Indebtedness is not servitude nor is it a commitment to thy cause or to thy arms. But make no mistake, serve me well and you will have no greater champion, no greater supporter than this queen and her house. Should you turn on me as a mercenary or threaten such an act again to better your position know that you will find no more dogged hunter nor more callous executioner than I and my house. And when my jaws finally close on your neck you will regret the day you tried to take advantage of your queen.”
Even Lord Trapsfield was silenced by this speech, but he recovered quickly, smiled, gave a little bow, and said, “My lady.”
Shortly thereafter the three of them along with the twenty knights Lord Trapsfield had brought as a body guard repaired to their camp. Lord Trapsfield called off preparations for a siege of Count Riverton’s castle and ordered riders to be sent out to the men and nobles he had begun gathering to tell them to meet him at the capital city in three days time for a coronation.
After Lord Trapsfield had left them to attend to his preparations, Lilly asked Sir Doyle, “What happened while I was in prison?”
“Well as you probably guessed it was count Riverton’s men who ambushed us on the road, but not without help. Guile tipped them off. Though initially I would have been glad of that, Count Riverton was not the man I had thought he was. They took you straight away to the Castle, but they lingered with Galahad and I. Roddie had been out hunting during the ambush and they hoped to catch him before returning. He eventually ambushed them and killed two of their number on his own. Galahad saw an opportunity and kicked the horse I was on so that it bolted. The ranks had formed up before Roddie could get to him though and Galahad couldn’t be rescued. That bit actually turned out for the better because when they realized they had Riverton’s nephew they tried to set him free until Galahad told them he’d not allow himself to be free until he’s paid for his sins and he made them all aware they’d have to take him to his uncle.
“At the time Roddie and I still thought Lord Trapsfield had been our attacker for the men carried no symbol or coat of arms. It was not until we followed the band to Riverton’s castle that we discovered the truth.
“At some point after arriving Galahad made contact with us. He’d discovered his Uncle’s intentions to rule the kingdom and that you were held in the dungeon. Julius in the mean time and in an act I would have skinned him for a few weeks ago told Lord Trapsfield what was going on. Think what you want of him, Trapsfield immediately rode out with twenty Knights to find you and set you free. As he rode he made plans for a siege and called all of the nobles to war. He only expected about half to show and some would be on Riverton’s side, but he hopes that your coronation will knock some sense into them. In fact it’s the only plan to save both of you. Count Riverton has begun to talk loudly against Trapsfield claiming Trapsfield has been helping himself to the royal coffers and exiling the princess to the tower.”
“But that’s true!”
“Yes, truth is the most persuasive argument. His means aren’t wrong it’s what he plans to do once he has power that’s the most reprehensible.”
“Let’s just say you won’t live to see it.”
“My father always considered him loyal.”
“In his mind he still is.”
She did not respond but looked off into the distance at the rising sun. Sir Doyle put his hand on her shoulder as a father would comfort a daughter.
“Get some sleep,” he said. “We shall not be ready for a few hours and we must ride hard if we are to make your coronation.”
She turned to him with fire in her eyes. “I’ve had enough of sleep,” she said. “Assemble the war council and take me to Lord Trapsfield. I have much to discuss with him.”
To Be Continued…