Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
          Hall of Seasons  










Chapter 3

A Visit with the King

Kelric sat up and yawned, rubbing his eyes. The sunlight no longer made a bright stripe across his bed through the gap in the bed curtains, and the nursery was very quiet. He eased his way out of the bed and tiptoed over to his stool beneath the bedroom window. The shadows on the grass in the garden below looked as they did late in the afternoon and the Green Tower was bathed in golden light. Kelric felt cross with himself - he'd slept through almost the entire afternoon.

Nurse was sitting by an open west-facing window in the Nursery, working on the new dress she was making herself for Michaelmas. She smiled at him in her friendliest way when he poked his head out the door, herself again.

"Quite a nap for a boy who wasn't sleepy," she teased as he joined her, and stroked his sleep-rumpled fair hair. "I was wondering if you'd sleep all the way until supper, little imp."

Kelric looked around the empty and now tidy room. His knights had been lined up on their shelf again, with Briony's large family of dolls sitting on the shelf above them. There was no sign of his sister.

"Your Lady Mother sent for your sister to come make her curtsey to Her Majesty and the Princess Husniyya more than an hour ago," Nurse explained. "Lady Moira hasn't brought her back, so she must still be there."

"An' Mummy didn't send for *me* too?" Kelric was crushed.

"Well you _were_ fast asleep, poppet," Nurse comforted, once again caressing his hair.

Kelric sniffed, unimpressed. Mummy was still angry with him about the honey, then, or she would surely have wanted him to come to her chambers, too.

"Sometimes girls and ladies like to keep apart from gentlemen, even very small ones," Nurse said. "Cook sent up a shortbread cake for your afternoon treat. After you've finished it, then we can go for a walk in the garden, and maybe you'll see His Majesty."

Kelric brightened a little and ate the special shortbread biscuit that accompanied his customary afternoon cup of milk with pleasure. But even the treat didn't make up for Mummy's sending for Briony and not for him. He pulled on his boots again, and suffered Nurse to wash his face and hands and comb his hair although he was impatient to go outside. If he got to see the King, then he wouldn't feel so bad about not seeing Mummy.

It was a warm, bright late afternoon with a pleasant, sea-scented breeze wafting over the garden. Kelric felt better while Nurse walked with him down one of the garden paths that led to a summerhouse that looked down over the city of Coroth and Coroth Bay far below. Wistaria vines had been trained over the wooden trellis overhead, turning the late afternoon sunlight into a pleasant green-gold speckly pattern on the flagstone path. Three men stood in the summerhouse, looking out to sea and they turned at the sound of his and Nurse's footsteps on the path. Kelric saw at once that the tallest and darkest of them was indeed his royal godfather, King Kelson.

The king smiled and bent down low as soon as he saw Kelric, then clapped his hands before extending his arms - the familiar signal that he might be approached at a run. Kelric pelted toward him was swooped up and held high over the King's head at the full length of his arms. Then he was pulled down for a quick hard hug.

"Kelric Alain Morgan, where have you *been* all day?" the King asked. "I didn't see you this morning when we arrived."

Kelric threw his arms around the King's neck and hugged him tightly, feeling happier than he had since before breakfast.

"Thank you Nurse, you may go." The King nodded pleasantly to Nurse in acknowledgement of her curtsey. "We'll send for you if Lord Kelric needs you." Nurse bobbed obediently and turned back down the flagstone path.

"Has your Daddy been keeping you in a locked box somewhere today?

"We-ell," Kelric drawled. "I-I."

"What was it this time?" King Kelson asked laughing. "You didn't push your sister into the fountain again, did you?"

"No, but Mummy was just as cross."

"Why don't you come sit in my lap and tell me what happened then?"

He sat down on the window seat of the summerhouse with Kelric perched in his lap. Kelric told his godfather the whole story. One had to obey the King, after all.

"I didn't _mean_ to make a mess, I was just interested," Kelric concluded.

The King burst out laughing as did Lord Dhugal and Bishop Duncan. Kelric was ashamed of himself; He had forgotten to say hello to the other two and they were nearly as nice as the King. He was too happy to feel ashamed for long, though; he'd made everyone laugh. If a King and a Duke and a Bishop thought it was funny, then maybe his playing with the honey hadn't been so very bad.


"What is it?"

"Can you order Mummy to forgive me? She was awfully cross with me, and I haven't seen her all day."

"I could do that," the King said slowly. "But Kel, forgiveness doesn't quite work that way."

"Oh." Kelric hung his head in disappointment.

"Forgiveness is like love, Kelric," Bishop Duncan said kindly. "It has to come from the heart or it doesn't mean anything."

"I'll bet I know what would work much better than my ordering your mummy to forgive you," King Kelson said. "If you give her a hug the next time you see her, and tell her you're sorry you made a mess this morning, I think she 'll want to be friends again. She loves you very much no matter how messy or dirty you get, I promise you."



"I dunno-oo," Kelric drawled. "She was terrifical angry this morning."

"Being clean and tidy is more important to ladies than it is to us," the King consoled. "And it's especially important to a lady when she's your mother. "Your Mummy is a very important lady, and she's the mistress of a very great castle. That's a lot of work even on an ordinary day. And when I come for a visit, it makes a lot of work on top of that. No matter where I go, I always seem to bring a lot of people with me, don't I?"

Kelric nodded.

"And so does the Orsal, and this time, we both brought our wives along, which has kept your Mummy very busy all day. She was probably hoping to find you all clean and ready to go downstairs when we came, and instead, she found you playing with the honey and getting it all over yourself and your best new tunic."

"But you thought it was funny, Sire. Why didn't Mummy?"

"I wasn't the one who had to clean you up afterwards, was I?" King Kelson said chuckling. "There's nothing stickier in the world than a sticky three year-old. I didn't have to make your new tunic, either and I'll bet Mummy worked very hard to have it ready for today."

"Don't worry too much about it, Kelric," Lord Dhugal comforted. "Your Mummy will forgive you, I'm sure. You should hear about some of the things your godfather used to do when he was a boy."

"Don't go corrupting an innocent child, Dhugal," the King rebuked, still laughing. "And don't look so superior. You know very well that you were my accomplice more than half the time--"

"If not all the time," Bishop Duncan added, eyeing Lord Dhugal sidelong with a knowing grin.

"And Rhemuth Castle is somehow still standing after all the pranks the two of you pulled together," Daddy's voice came from the entrance to the summer house. He made the King an easy half-bow as he came up the two shallow steps to join them. "What do you say we all go up to my study before supper? We've nearly an hour. Duke Matyas has just sent me a very interesting scroll from Beldour - he says it's a Healer's text from an old Torenthi schola, but it's all written in Greek, and the copy hand is not easy to understand in places. Duncan, your Greek is infinitely better than mine."



~ Previous ~                                 ~ Next ~ 

 ~ Story Index ~  

  Sunday Chats, Filks, The Carthmoor Clarion, The Mearan Sunday Herald,  Essays on the Deryni Stories of the XI Kingdoms Deryni Archives - The Zine, Deryni Links Administravia, Author's Biographies, Author Index, Character Index, Story by Era Index, Codex Index, Site Policies  

Hall of Seasons