Regent & Duke
Queen Gwenlian's Chapel
the last button on his suit, Kelson straightened up and looked at
himself in the full-length mirror. **I look like a damn waiter** he
The black jacket had a thin strip of gold inlay running around the collar, down the front of the jacket and along the bottom seam with the high collar reaching up to his Adam's apple. On the left breast was a small gold Haldane lion holding an upraised crown denoting Kelson's heritage and title of Regent. The jacket cuffs were inlaid with gold as well, with a small silver eagle on each cuff indicating his Guard rank. In sharp contrast, the trousers were white with a black stripe on the outside of each pant leg, which was tucked into the tops of a pair of spit shined black leather boots.
"Don't say anything, Ming," Kelson said to the cat who lay on a nearby dresser flicking her tail lazily. "I look like a dufus." As he reached over to scratch behind her ear, he heard a knock on the door.
"Who is it?" he answered irritably.
"Its Captain Morgan, Your Grace. Your uncle is here to see you."
"Come in." Kelson turned to see the door opening as they entered.
"Good morning, Uncle."
"Good morning, Kelson," Camber Haldane replied with a smile.
"I thought you would be at the chapel by now?" Kelson murmured, returning to look at himself in the mirror.
"I will be leaving shortly with some of the rest of the family. I have a few moments before we leave so I thought I would come up and see you. We may not get the chance later."
"How much time do we have Jackson?" Kelson asked straightening his collar.
"About ten minutes, Your Grace," Jackson said trying to contain a smile.
"Can we have a few minutes?"
"Yes Your Grace."
"And Jackson?" Kelson said noticing the other man fighting back a smirk.
"I didn't tell you this earlier, but this will be your new dress uniform."
Jackson stood at the door with his mouth agape.
"Go," Kelson said waving his hand.
Kelson was chuckling to himself as Jackson closed the door, "I just love to do that."
"What? Torture your staff? " Camber said with a smile.
"Yes," Kelson said looking at himself again in the mirror.
"You look fine Kelson."
"Do I? I look like I should be serving drinks."
"It is a rather striking uniform. Are they really going to make it a dress uniform?"
"Yes, but it will look different," Kelson said glancing back at his uncle, "but that is not why you came up here is it?"
"No," Camber said hesitatingly looking down at his shoes.
"My dad talked to you didn't he?" Kelson said looking at his uncle.
"Yes he did. He wasn't too thrilled with the conversation that you had with him the other day."
"He told you what it was about?" Kelson asked sitting down on his bed and tucking the laces inside of his boots.
"He told me everything."
"Everything?" he paused, "Interesting. Do you understand why I am so upset?"
"I have a general idea. He betrayed your mother and that affair could have possible ramifications later on."
"Exactly. Now can we change the subject?" Kelson said standing up, "this subject will only put me in a pissy mood."
"Only if you promise to try talk reasonably to your father?"
"I'll try," he said. "Anyway, did you make much progress with Aunt Anastasia in convincing her to come?"
"Sorry, no. She still won't be in the same room with your father. I fear they will never get along. They never have."
" I figured as much," Kelson said moving to the door," I received a letter from Tim yesterday saying that he hadn't made any progress either."
"So he is no longer 'the Supreme of Howicce'?" Camber asked after Kelson motioned for him to go ahead.
"No, right now he is doing dual duty," Kelson said as they made their way to the garage area. "He is sort of an ambassador for both Howicce and Llannedd."
"Sort of a promotion?"
"Yes. He seems to be getting the hang of it."
"I thought that Harry and Dean would be here?" Camber queried as they entered the garage area.
"And I wish they were too, "Kelson answered as he maneuvered towards a red horse carriage, "but neither of them could get away."
"Yes, Harry finally retired from active service and got a new job with the U.S. government, and Dean is finally getting married."
"You sound surprised by the that, I mean Dean getting married?"
" I am, " Kelson said as they finally reached the carriage.
"Good Morning, Sire," Kelson said to the king who was standing next to the carriage.
"Morning Kelson," Stephen said grumpily.
"Something wrong, Sire?" Kelson asked trying to hide a smile.
"I hate wearing this bloody getup." The King of Howicce and Llannedd was wearing a red surcoat with white fur fringe, a white tunic, white pants and white boots. The Crown of State was seated firmly on top of his head.
"That is the price of being a monarch, Sire," Kelson said, again trying to hide a smile.
Before the king could so much as give a retort, Kelson's daughter made her appearance. Looking every bit like a Haldane princess, Alexandra made her way towards the carriage followed closely by both of her grandmothers. She was wearing a white silk dress with white lace along the bottom. Her curly raven hair reached to her shoulders. Her head would remain unadorned until she received the scaled down crown of a princess.
"Good morning, Daddy," Alexandra said as she reached him, standing on her tiptoes to give him a kiss on the cheek.
"Good morning, sweetheart," Kelson said bending down to receive the kiss.
"See what grandma Jannette got me," she said hiking up her dress slightly to reveal a brand new pair of white tennis shoes.
"They're very nice, sweetheart," Kelson said glancing up and smiling at his mother.
"I hope it is alright. We thought," she said indicating Queen Marlene, "that she might be more comfortable in those."
"Hey, why does she?" the king started to object but was quickly and painfully elbowed in the ribs by the queen.
"Be nice Stephen," the queen said glaring at him," deal with it and say good morning to your granddaughter."
"Good morning, Sire," Alexandra said once again standing on her tiptoes to give the king a kiss.
"Good morning my little angel," the king said. "You look very pretty this morning."
"Thank you, Sire," she said suddenly bashful.
"Are you ready Alexandra?" Kelson asked.
"Yes, Daddy," she answered taking the king's hand.
"Then lets get this goat rope on its way," Kelson muttered motioning his brothers, Alroy and Javan, forward from their spot slightly behind the carriage.
"Remember young Lady, I said only one uncle can ride at a time. You have to choose."
"Only one? "She asked as she released the king's hand.
"Yes, one can ride with us to the chapel, then the other one can ride back with us."
"Uncle Javan? " she asked looking up at her uncle, "you won't be mad if I ask Uncle Alroy to ride with me to the chapel? You can ride back from the chapel with me."
"Not at all Alexandra, " he answered bending down to her level," I would be honored to ride back with you."
Giving him a quick peck on the cheek she grabbed hold of Alroy's hand and began to pull him to the carriage, " See you at the chapel then. C'mon Uncle Alroy, let's go."
As the four got seated in the carriage the rest began to depart for the chapel via an alternate route. Seated next to the king, Kelson leaned over to his brother and whispered, "Are you ready for this?"
"Ready, for what?" Alroy asked as the carriage exited the garage into the sunlight.
Donald Lantzke attempted to adjust his red bow tie and keep a hold of the microphone at the same time.
"It still looks crooked, Donald." Kendall said from behind the camera.
"I need a bloody drink," Donald whispered as he gave the tie one final twist.
"Perfect," Kendall said, "but you can't have one until after we are finished."
**Great,** Donald thought, **a good stiff one would certainly help my nerves.**
"We go live in five," Kendall said counting down with his fingers.
"Good Morning Meara!" Donald boomed a little bit too loudly.
**This going to be long day,** Kendall thought.
"This is Donald Lantzke, reporting live from the capitol of Llannedd, Kilgruff. For those who do not know me, I am the editor of the Mearan Sunday Herald, and I have been asked by KMRN to give an on site report, where today we will see the official acknowledgement of Princess Alexandra Haldane, as crown Princess of Llannedd.
"As many of you know," he yelled as a cheer arose from the crowd around him at the approach of the royal carriage," this is the first time in about seventy plus years that a member of the Haldane royal family has even come close to a crown."
"And, as many of you may have heard," he continued, "the exiled Haldane royal family has come here to witness this historic event. With their arrival, rumors have been circulating that there is a possible alliance between the two royal houses. Time will only tell."
Kendall began to motion for him to wrap it up.
"This has been Donald Lantzke, reporting live from Kilgruff. Now back to Jane and Katie in the studio."
"We are clear," Kendall said from behind the camera.
"Where is a damn pub?" Donald said dropping the microphone to his side.
From his seat in the carriage Kelson could see the reporter wrapping up his speech. Glancing up at the roof of a two-story building behind the reporter, Kelson caught a brief glimpse of Matt in position.
Looking back towards his daughter, he watched her stand up on one of the seats. Her Uncle Alroy supported her by the waist so she would not fall as she began to wave excitedly to the crowd.
"How big do you think the crowds are, Kelson? " the king asked yelling to be heard over the cheers.
"A million plus, Sire" Jackson yelled leaning into the carriage from his standing position on the running boards.
They continued on another mile through the throngs of cheering people before they finally reached Queen Gwenlian's chapel. The chapel, being fairly new, was situated next to the remains of the Crystalline Cathedral of Saint Gruffud. Following the bombings during the Second World War, Saint Gruffud's sat patiently waiting to be restored to its former glory.
"This is beautiful, Kelson," Alroy commented as they pulled up to the steps of the chapel.
"It sure is, "Kelson replied.
Departing the carriage, they were immediately greeted by both royal families who were awaiting their arrival.
"Are you ready?" Kelson asked his daughter as they waited at the rear of the chapel for everyone to take their seats.
"Yes, Daddy," she replied looking up at her father with absolute trust.
The two did not have to wait long, for soon the music began to play announcing their entrance. With Alexandra gripping his hand tightly, Kelson and his daughter glided slowly down the aisle. As they reached the bottom steps leading to altar they both bowed, first to the Sacred Presence, then secondly to the king. Standing to the king's right was the vicar of Queen Gwenlian's chapel, one Geraldine Granger. And even though the Archbishop of Howicce and Llannedd and the visiting bishop of Corwyn were only present as witnesses, they were still dressed in full regalia.
"Sire, are you ready to begin? " Geraldine asked.
"Yes," he replied smiling at his daughter.
The vicar motioned the two assistants forward, one carrying the Bible, and the other carrying a small crown on a red pillow.
As Alexandra knelt on the bottom step, the king retrieved the small crown from the pillow, and raised it slightly over her head.
"I, Stephen Aidan Alister Macgregor," the king began, "do with great pride, officially acknowledge Princess Alexandra Janette Mary Haldane as my heir to the kingdom of Llannedd. And to signify her as my heir, I place this crown on her head."
As she bowed her head slightly the king placed the small crown over her raven locks. Adjusting it so it would stay in place, Alexandra looked up into her grandfather's face and beamed.
Seeing that it was now his part of the ceremony, Kelson knelt beside his daughter.
Taking the Bible from her assistant, the vicar motioned for Kelson to place his right hand on it.
"Do you," she began, "Kelson Rhys Anthony Haldane, swear on this Holy Bible, that you as regent, will uphold and enforce the laws of Llannedd in Princess Alexandra's name, in the event our beloved king is unable to do so."
"I do so swear," he replied solemnly.
After a brief celebratory mass, Kelson exited the chapel to the cheers of the massive crowds holding his daughter's hand. Holding Alexandra's other hand, Javan stopped dead in his tracks upon his first sight of the crowds.
"Oh my God," he whispered nervously, "that is a lot of people."
"It sure is," Kelson said smiling as his daughter disengaged her hand from his and began waving at the crowd.
As the party approached the carriage, Kelson motioned for Alexandra and the Queen to enter first. The queen would be riding along for the return to the palace. Once they were seated, Javan climbed on board followed by Kelson.
The carriage came to a stop at the point where the reporter had been and still was, so that Alexandra could wave some more at the crowd. As Kelson watched his brother relax a little, he suddenly felt a slight brush against his shields.
Glancing at Jackson to see if he had noticed it as well, Kelson saw a small puff of smoke, and heard an almost silent poof.
"Everybody, down!" He screamed pulling his daughter to him, and in doing so he caught site of the bullets true destination, the rooftops above, and Matt's perch.
Just before the second bullet could make its way into Javan, Jackson vaulted over Kelson into the carriage carrying the stunned prince into the queen's side. As they sped towards the safety of the palace, Kelson raised his head slightly and looked in the direction from where the shots had come. Time seemed to stand still as he met the gaze of a man he had not seen since...