Regent & Duke
his back to one of the Gazebo's pillars and his feet up on the bench,
Kelson attempted for a third time to read some of the correspondence he
had received that morning. The gazebo was positioned in the middle of an
immense garden that gave a clear view of the back of the palace and the
rear guesthouse. Setting the papers aside, he took off his glasses and
rubbed the bridge of his nose. Today was too nice of a day to be reading
paperwork. As he set his glasses atop of the letters, he sensed someone
Topping the steps with Matt following him, Jackson entered the gazebo.
"Good morning your Grace," Jackson said, stopping a few feet from him.
"Morning? Jackson," Kelson said briefly looking at his watch, " I didn't realize it was still morning."
"You did say that you wanted to see Lieutenant Cushing today?"
"Yes I did, I forgot," he paused, "there's something else I forgot. Have the others arrived yet?"
"Yes Your Grace. Their plane came in fairly late last night. Too late to pay a visit, I'm afraid. They just arrived here a short time ago, and right now they are up in your office talking to the king."
"Who all was able to make it?" Kelson asked hopefully.
"The Duke of Claibourne, his daughter Allison, the Duke of Carthmoor, The count of Dunluce and your Uncle."
"Oh," Kelson said dejectedly.
"Your Grace?" Jackson asked in concern.
"It is nothing," he sighed, leaning his head back against the pillar." "I was hoping my friends from America would be able to make it."
"Harry and Dean?"
" I wish they would have been able to come myself , "Jackson said smiling," I haven't seen them since the king got the thrones back."
"Anyway ." Kelson started, swinging his legs down off the bench.
Before he could finish all three men turned, as one of the back doors slammed opened and a terrified Basil Fallty came running out. Giving chase after him was a furious looking Sybil Fallty with an unopened umbrella in her hand.
"I am going to make you pay for this for the rest of your life," she screamed.
As Sybil swung the umbrella she missed Basil by mere inches.
"Please my little Piranha fish I did not forget," he said backing away from her and tripping over a garden gnome.
"You did forget, didn't you!"? She yelled bringing the umbrella over her head for another blow.
"Lady Sybil, please, this is most un-lady like," the approaching Hyacinth said grabbing hold of the umbrella before Sybil could begin pummeling Basil with it.
"What is this all about?" Kelson asked glancing up at Jackson.
" Well, Your Grace," Jackson began, looking back at Kelson with a smile on his face, "it appears that Basil forgot their wedding anniversary today."
"Uh oh," Kelson said chuckling, "that is not good. Do me a favor, go save him would you."
"You don't need me?" Jackson said, glancing back at Matt.
"No, it's not a disciplinary problem or anything like that, I just need to discuss something with him."
Nodding his head, Jackson departed to save Basil.
"And ask him if he needs the night off to take her out to dinner," Kelson said calling out to Jackson before he got too far, "as a matter of fact, tell him I insist on it. I don't need them snipping at each other while we have visitors."
Smiling knowingly Jackson departed on his errand.
"Why don't you have a seat Matt," Kelson said absently leaning forward with his elbows on his thighs and his hands clasped in front of him.
"If Captain Morgan is to ask you," Kelson started as Matt took a seat next to him, "which I doubt he will, we discussed your being in charge of the sniper detail for tomorrow. Is that understood?"
"Yes Your Grace," Matt said nervously.
"So what all did you hear last night?" Kelson asked coming straight to the point.
"I uh." Matt hesitated.
"Don't worry Matt, I am not angry or anything, that is part of the reason I have some of the guards stationed in the trees, so I can be made aware of what is said and done around my daughter."
" I understand Your Grace."
"So what did you heard?" Kelson pressed, seeing that Jackson had finally reached Basil, Sybil and Hyacinth.
"That your Father has had a mistress and that you were not too happy that she is still involved with what is going on with your family."
"So can I trust you," Kelson said looking Matt straight in the eyes and exerting his powers slightly, "not to say anything to anybody?"
Matt hesitated for several seconds.
"Your Grace before I answer, I must tell you something."
"And what is that?" he asked curiously sitting up slightly.
In answer, Matt reached into the front his camouflage top and produced a metal chain with a small medal on it. Pulling it over his neck and head he handed it to Kelson.
Taking the chain from Matt he looked at what was embossed on the medal.
He froze as he read 'Sanctus Camberus'.
Kelson turned his head quickly with a stunned expression on his face.
"No, I am not the one who has been contacting you recently, but I know who has."
" Why are you telling me this?" Kelson asked returning the medal to Matt.
"To let you know that there are those who wish to see the throne of Gwynedd taken out of communists hands and placed back in the hands of the Haldane royal family."
Turning to the back of the palace, Kelson was quiet for several seconds.
"Is that all?"
"No," The ones I speak of, are there for you and your family. All you need do is look in the right places for the help you will need."
Looking back at Matt, Kelson smiled. "And all I need to do is look for the medal?"
"I assume you plan on telling 'the ones' about my conversation with my father?" Kelson asked exerting his powers again to truth read Matt.
"I think," Matt began lowering his shields so that Kelson could Truth read him, "it would be best if I did. Some of them might be able help with this particular matter if it becomes a problem in the future. "
"Officer thinking Lieutenant, " sensing Matt was telling the truth Kelson chuckled. "I need you to do me a favor though?" Kelson said glancing down at his shoes.
"Yes Your Grace."
"I need you to keep this matter between us. I don't think the bulk of my family would understand. Also, I would like you to tell me first before you tell them anything concerning my family."
"I uh.," Matt stammered.
"I realize you might not be able to tell me everything, but try to do your best."
" You are putting a great deal of trust in me Your Grace, based on what I have just told you."
"Yes I am, I have very few people I can really trust. And I have to start somewhere."
"Thank you Your Grace," Matt said standing.
"And on that note," Kelson said noticing Alexandra's governess approaching, "Can you have a plan drawn up for the sniper detail tomorrow?"
"Yes Your Grace. I can have the plans to Captain Morgan by the end of the day." Nodding his head to Kelson, Matt left the gazebo.
"Good morning Lady Therese," Kelson said as she made her way up to him.
"I have a special request, Your Grace," she said coming straight to the point.
"You're homesick and you're giving notice," Kelson was saying before she could get her first words out.
"How did you.?"
"I am a very observant person Therese," Kelson began," I tend to notice things when most people don't. And you have seemed sort of depressed of late."
"I am sorry," she said looking down at her feet.
"Don't be, I under stand more than you know about being homesick. Besides you have been very helpful with my daughter. She can be a trial sometimes."
"She's not that much of a trial," she said smiling.
"Who are you kidding," He said with a snicker, "with the exception of you and me, she has the rest of the house hold wrapped around her little finger."
She tried to keep from grinning as she looked at Kelson.
"I do have a special request though," he began, "can you wait a few weeks until I can find a good replacement."
"Of course, Your Grace. I hadn't planned on leaving immediately anyway. I am looking forward to Alexandra's acknowledgement ceremony tomorrow."
"Good," Kelson said, "by the way, what is my daughter up to this morning?"
"She had cornered some of your family earlier," she answered with a smile," I believe she was planning on bringing them outside shortly." As if on cue one of the rear doors to castle flew open and Alexandra exited leading her uncle Alroy by the hand. Following them was the king, his family, and a rapidly growing number of visitors.
"Daddy!" She yelled as she yanked on Alroy's arm, "c'mon Uncle Alroy."
Chuckling to himself, Kelson retrieved the discarded papers he had been reading and followed behind Therese as she descended the stairs of the Gazebo.
"You may get a reprieve from her today," he whispered to Therese as they walked towards the group," it looks like she will be entertained for most of the day."
Kelson and Alexandra's governess stopped as they met the little parade along one of the garden paths.
" Morning Daddy," Alexandra said disengaging herself from Alroy's hand and running up to her father.
"I saw you at breakfast young lady," Kelson said bending down to give her a kiss.
" I know," she said.
Turning her attention to Therese she stood on her tip toes to give her a kiss on the cheek, "Hello Lady Therese."
"Hello Your Highness," she said bending down to receive the kiss.
"Lady Therese," Kelson said," would you make sure everything is ready for tomorrow?"
"Yes Your Grace," Lady Therese responded.
"Sire," Therese nodded to the king as she departed.
"Yes Alexandra," Kelson said leaning towards her," I heard you, there is no reason to shout, okay?"
"Okay. Can Uncle Alroy and Uncle Javan ride in the carriage with us? tomorrow?"
"Don't you want Grandpa and Grandma to ride?" Kelson said crouching down next to her, "You know there is only room for four in the carriage."
Her brow furrowed in concentration.
"I have an idea," he said leaning towards her, "why don't we have one uncle ride with you, me and grandpa or grandma on the way to the chapel? And the others can ride on the way back?"
It took her several seconds to think it through, then she smiled, "Okay."
"Alexandra would you like to meet one of your Daddy's teachers?" Kelson's mom interjected," Your Grandpa Stephen would like to talk to your Daddy."
Jannette took one of Alexandra's hands while Queen Marlene took the Other. Kelson's Grandmother Mary brought up the rear as they made their way to the guesthouse.
"You handled that fairly well Kelson," his grandfather Donal observed.
"It takes practice." Kelson turned to group with a smile.
"Kelson," said the king, "if we could, some more visitors have arrived for the ceremony. It has been several years since I have seen some of them."
"Your Grace," Kelson said moving forward to shake the Duke of Claibourne's hand.
"Kelson," Ewan MacEwan took the outstretched hand, "you've grown quite a bit since I last saw you."
"It's been almost fifteen years I believe," Kelson said smiling.
"I think it has. You do remember my daughter Alison, don't you?" Ewan replied.
"Yes I do," Kelson said shaking her hand. Kelson remembered her all right, bright red hair always cut short, green eyes, and also the fact that they rarely got along.
"Kelson," she said shaking his hand smiling reservedly.
Kelson moved on to Nigel Haldane, current Duke of Carthmoor.
"Your Grace," Kelson said shaking his hand.
"Hi Kelson," Nigel smiled meekly, wishing he were somewhere else. If it weren't for shoulder length hair, Nigel could almost pass for Kelson's twin brother.
"Your Excellency," Kelson said moving on to his uncle who was at the back of the group.
"It has been a couple of months, Kelson," Camber Haldane, the Bishop of Corwyn said, "you look well."
Kelson nodded greetings to his brother Javan, Lawrence, and Mary before moving on to the member of the group he did not know.
" William Graybow, of Dunluce Your Grace," the man said extending his hand.
"Nice to meet you," Kelson said shaking his hand, noticing that if it weren't for his brown eyes he could pass for a Haldane.
"Now that the introductions are over," the king said, "they have some questions for you."
"Okay," Kelson sighed loudly, he had hoped to avoid the discussions.
"Before they start," Stephen interjected," I have a couple things myself, first, have you seen Alice today?"
"Yes she left early this morning, " Kelson answered," she was taking Rhys, Jehana and Sidana sightseeing."
"Oh good I was beginning to think they were being left out."
"Next Sire?" Kelson prodded, encouraging the king to continue.
"Oh yes, Robert and Richard send their regards. they are off making sure all is ready for the ceremony tomorrow."
"I know your leaving something out Sire," Kelson said exasperatedly looking at his feet.
"I almost forgot," Stephen said snapping his fingers," you have an interview with a reporter from the Mearan Sunday Herald the day after tomorrow."
"Why me Sire?"
"Well you do a lot better with reporters than I do," the king said smiling.
"Gee thanks Sire, " Kelson said sarcastically.
"I don't know about the rest of you," Stephen said to the group, "but I am tired of standing here. Why don't we walk as you ask Kelson those questions you asked me earlier."
"Great," Kelson mumbled as the group began to make its way down one of the garden paths.
Nonchalantly, Alroy slipped to the back of the group, to walk with Lawrence and Mary, as the group moved along.
" I have a question Kelson," Alroy heard Alison ask as the three walked more slowly than the rest of the group, "Why is it that you.?"
"My little brother may be our best hope of getting the crown back," Alroy whispered to Lawrence once they were just out of earshot.
"It would appear to be that way," Lawrence whispered back, "which could prove very dangerous later on."
"I know," Alroy said distantly.
"I want promises from both of you," Alroy looked first at Lawrence then Mary, "I want you to promise that absolutely no harm comes to Kelson or my niece."
"For the time being, correct?" Mary asked.
"Correct," Alroy answered, "the rest of my family however is fair game."
"Understood," she said.
"And tell that idiot Freddy to watch himself," he said looking at Lawrence.
"Yes, Your Highness."
" And in the future," Alroy said moving closer to the group," I wish you would not have little secret meetings behind my back."
A look of shock came over both Lawrence and Mary as they simultaneously mouthed, **How did he find out about that?**