Regent & Duke
severe summer storm's darkness had permeated even the inside of the pub
as Lawrence entered and closed the door behind him. Situated along Laas'
main road leading to the docks, the pub was relatively small and even at
midday, was usually dimly lit. Just left of the entrance was the bar
area, two small tables were situated in the center, and four booths
projected out along the right wall. As Lawrence's eyes adjusted to the
candlelight, he unzipped his raincoat and shook of the excess water at
the door. His eyes having adjusted, he made his way to the rear booth
where his three companions sat. He nodded and smiled a greeting at the
female bartender, who was wiping down the bar area, as he passed by. As
he approached the booth, Lawrence focused his gray almost blue eyes on
the three sitting figures, their faces barely illuminated by the
candlelight. "Lady and gentlemen," he said as he took a seat
next to the younger of two men.
"Lawrence," the woman said smiling in formal greeting. The younger just nodded his head, while the man with white hair grinned and greeted him more informally. "Larry,"
Outwardly he gave no reaction to being called that, but on the inside he hated it. What a moron, he thought, I can stand him for a little while longer. It’s no matter, his time will come eventually, hopefully sooner than later.
"Freddy," he said calmly getting to the heart of the reason for his arrival at this small pub, "would you care to tell us why you called all of us here."
"Well", Freddy's brow furrowed in concentration, "to get some answers from you concerning… "
"Excuse me, sir," the bartender said interrupting Freddy in mid-sentence.
"Yes," Lawrence queried looking up at the woman.
" I didn't mean to interrupt."
"That is okay," Lawrence glanced at Freddy then back to her.
"Welcome to the Rampart Lion, would you like something to drink?"
"What is the house special?"
"I haven't had one of those in awhile. I'll take one; " he looked up at her with big smile on his face.
"Okay," She jotted it down on her pad and glanced around at the others.
"Would anyone else like refill?"
“I would," Freddy chimed in, almost before she completed her sentence, "another Martini, straight up."
Nodding she made another note on her pad. "Anyone else?" The younger man and the woman shook their heads.
"My name is Carolyn if you need anything else," she said looking down at Lawrence.
"Thank you Carolyn, "Lawrence replied with another big smile. They all waited for her to return to the bar area before they resumed their conversation.
"You know Larry," Freddy began," one would think you are some sort of playboy or something the way you just smiled at her. Considering who you…"
"Stop right there, Freddy, don't even say it," Lawrence said forcefully his voice not even breaking a whisper.
"I wasn't going to," Freddy said meekly. Lawrence motioned for Freddy to be silent as Carolyn returned with their drinks.
"Here is your drink, sir," Carolyn said as she placed Lawrence's drink in front of him and Freddy 's in front of him. "Will there be anything else?" she asked looking around the table.
Lawrence answered for the group as the others just shook their heads. "No thank you," "You all can just pay me as you leave."
After she had departed Lawrence motioned for Freddy to continue. "As I was saying, I would like to find out when and where we make our next move?" Pausing he took a sip from his drink. "Right to the point as always, Freddy." He stared at Freddy for several seconds then smiled. "We don't. At least not for now."
Lawrence placed his elbows on the table and leaned forward. "Because Freddy, your man botched the 'attempt'. And we dare not move now because of it, at least not for a year."
"Gee thanks, Freddy," the young man said sarcastically.
"Yeah thanks Freddy, " the woman said elbowing Freddy in the ribs.
"Ow! Quit that Mary. It wasn't my fault the little rug rat got sick."
"Now you two play nice. Besides these things do happen." "I should have known better than to let you handle it, Freddy. But that is in the past. Our plans will move on…, just a little slower than initially thought."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, "Freddy said sullenly taking a sip from his drink. "I am confused though…" he started.
"Is that anything new," the young man put in.
"William," Lawrence said put restraining hand on his arm," let him continue."
“As I was saying," he said pointedly looking at William, "why did we even need an 'attempt'."
"God, Freddy, you really are a moron," William said shaking his head with disgust. "William please. " Lawrence glared. William just continued shaking his head in disgust. "Freddy, had the 'attempt' been successful, we would have eliminated some pretenders to the throne." Lawrence said leaning forward so only that the three of them could hear.
"Why not simply go against the family in general?"
Shaking his head in disbelief Lawrence answered him, "Because, if we were to actually move against them, we would expose ourselves. At this point, we cannot afford that, we aren't ready too now are we?"
"No we’re not, "Freddy said quietly taking a sip from his drink.
"And another 'attempt' at this point would be too public .We need some other way to discredit the current claimants to the throne." Lawrence smiled and placed his hand on William's shoulder," isn't that right William? "
"Yes it is", he said with a grin.
"You have something don't you? " Freddy said excitedly. Both men stayed silent and stared at Freddy. "You aren't going to tell me are you? "He said dejectedly.
“Not right now, you have sort of big mouth Freddy. Anyhow, the plans aren't exactly worked out."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence."
"What about Kelson? "Mary asked brushing at a stray strand of curly red hair that had fallen in front of her eyes. Lawrence took a sip from his drink before answering her.
"For the time being we need to leave him alone. He has become to public of figure to mess with."
"No just for now."
"Well, since you have sort of answered my question, "Freddy put in, " I need to be going. I don't want to be missed too much at the castle."
"Before we all go our separate ways, Freddy. How is the Duke of Carthmoor doing?" Lawrence asked.
Freddy finally smiled, "he is doing what he is told. The off shore oil lease he is suppose to sign with Llanedd will be bogged down in parliament for months."
"You finally did something right Freddy. " William put in.
"And on that note," Lawrence said, "I am forced to agree with Freddy. We should all be going our separate ways."
"But before we do," Mary interjected, "we still haven't figured out how we’re going to deal with the communists?"
Thinking for a second, Lawrence took the last bit of his drink. "I don't know, with great hope, once we do make our move, the family will have solved that problem for us. Anything else? "Lawrence asked the group. They all shook their heads. "Well in that case, we should all be on our way. And, William my boy," Lawrence said zipping up his raincoat, " perhaps in a year or two, you will be king of Gwynedd." He patted the young man on the back, then made his way up the road following Freddy to the castle.
William stood there for a second watching the other man recede into the distance, then he turned and made his way to the wharf.
Stepping from a darkened alley next to the pub, Mary pulled her hood more tightly over her hair. "That is what you think Lawrence," she whispered, as she herself made her way toward the castle.
Carolyn watched the four go their separate ways unobserved from the pub window. Letting the curtain fall back into place, she brushed aside the long braid of hair that was positioned so that it covered the front her neck. In doing so, she exposed a chain around her neck with a small medallion dangling at the end.