07 - Chapter 7 - Regent & Duke
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Regent & Duke



Chapter  VII  


“I still don’t understand,” Kelson’s father was saying as they entered the garden,” why doesn’t she seem to be affected by what happened yesterday?”

As Kelson started to open his mouth to answer, the king did so instead, “ I asked the same question, and do you know what she told me?”

“What?” Malcolm asked curiously.

“She said ‘nothing would have happened to me, because my Daddy was there’,” the king said with a smile.

Kelson just smiled weakly with a glance from his father.

They looked up as they heard peels of laughter coming from the right side of the garden. Looking towards the sound, they spotted Alexandra, Alroy and Javan playing an animated game of catch with Alexandra’s dog, Cotton. Malcolm smiled at the sight, and then the smile slowly dissolved away as he stared at his granddaughter at play. “Kelson, I need to tell you something,”

**Uh oh, ** Kelson thought.

“I have been asked to encouraged you to give up your claim to the throne as well as Alexandra’s claim.”

“I wonder who’s brilliant idea that would be?” the king asked absently, catching sight of Mary MacEwan and the Bishop of Dhassa, in conference on the west side of the garden.

Kelson caught hold of the king’s arm before he could go to them, and shook his head. “Do you want me to do that?”

Malcolm turned his saddened face to look at Kelson. “No. After what happened yesterday, I think now more than ever that both of you should remain in the succession. At least until such time your brothers decide to get married and start having heirs.”

“I heartily agree,” came a booming voice from behind them.

“Good morning, Grandfather,” Kelson said turning to see his grandfather approaching with his arm around Jackson, followed by Ewan and Camber.

Malcolm also turned at their approach. “You seem awfully cheerful this morning, father.”

“Oh I am,” Donal said, giving Jackson a comradely pat on the shoulder. “I have been regaling Kelson’s Captain of the Guard here, about some of the exploits I had with his grandfather.”

“It’s been very informative,” Jackson said rolling his eyes heavenward. Kelson covered his mouth with his hand to hide his smile.

“So are going to tell them?” Donal asked Malcolm.

“Yes I am,” Malcolm, said staring across the garden.

“Well, get going, there’s no time like the present.”

“They’ll probably not like it though,” Malcolm said glancing at his father.” They have become quite attached to their niece.”

“Camber?” Donal said turning his attention to his other son, “I don’t suppose you would mind accompanying your brother, to sort of smooth things over?”

“Of course not.”

“You’re not going to go with them? “ Kelson asked his grandfather as the two moved off.

“No, it is probably best if I stay out of it,” Donal said looking at Kelson, “Alroy is not too thrilled with me for keeping the secret about being the oldest.”

“That is probably a good idea,” Stephen said speaking up, “stay out of the way when the shit hits the fan.”

“Excuse me, Sire… Your Grace,” Jackson said interrupting them.

“Yes, Jackson?” Kelson replied.

“I forgot to tell Your Grace that the news crew is here and should be ready for the interview in about twenty minutes. They are setting up right now.”

“Great,” Kelson said irritably.

“Any head-way on the investigation?” the king asked.

“I was just about to give you a report, Your Majesty.”

The king turned to Kelson. “Are you coming?”

“No, Sire. Jackson already gave me the details earlier this morning.”

“Do you mind if I listen in, Kelson,” Ewan chimed in? I might know some people who can assist in your investigation.”

“I don’t see why not. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated.”

“So I hear you are looking for a governess?” Donal asked his grandson after the three moved off to listen to Jackson’s report.

Kelson looked at him in shock. “Where did you hear that?”

“Queen Marlene told your mother, your grandmother and I last night. And the three of us may know of someone who might fit the bill.”

“And who might that be?” Kelson asked curiously.

Donal glanced towards the gazebo where Kelson’s younger brother Rhys Michael, his aide, David, and Linda were having an animated conversation.

“Linda? Do you think she would do it?” Kelson asked his grandfather hopefully.

“Why wouldn’t she? After all, all of you kids are long past needing a teacher, and right now she is only acting as a glorified babysitter to your younger brothers and sisters.”

“But would she take on the responsibility of being a governess to an almost four year old? There is quite a bit difference between the two.”

“It wouldn’t hurt to ask,” Donal said with a smile. “Anyway, while you decide if you are going to ask her, I need to get back inside. Apparently all of the women have cornered Cousin Nigel.”

“Oh brother. He still hasn’t given a definitive answer on whether he’ll support father’s bid for the crown?”

“Nope,” Donal replied. “That’s why they have him cornered.”

“Good luck in saving him.”

Catching Kelson’s eye, Donal glanced again at the gazebo. “Good luck to you also. You’re going to need it.”

Kelson let out a heavy sigh. **There’s no time like the present to ask Linda about being Alexandra’s governess, ** he thought to himself as he began to make his way towards the gazebo.

“Linda please sit down,” Kelson said as all three started to stand as he entered the gazebo. “Do you mind little brother, David? I would like to talk to Linda alone for a minute.”

“Sure, we need to go talk to Alice anyhow,” The tall gangly Rhys Micheal said with a smile. “Maybe she will have something for us to do since we seem to be stuck here doing nothing.”

“You know there is a reason you are ‘stuck here doing nothing’?” Kelson said with a sigh.

“Yeah, I know. It is still boring.”

“C’mon Rhysem, let’s go,” David said taking hold of the younger princes arm.

“Your Grace,” David said inclining his head toward Kelson. The small movement revealed a familiar looking medallion on a chain around David’s neck.

“Interesting,” Kelson whispered. He sat down next to Linda on the bench and watched as David pulled a still grumbling Rhys Micheal away from the gazebo.

“What is ‘interesting’, Your Grace?” Linda asked from beside him.

“ Nothing…” His words caught in his throat as he turned towards her. Around her neck, he again caught the flash of a similar medallion.

Linda glanced down at her medallion then back up at the stunned look on Kelson’s face. “I know you have been told, Your Grace,” she said with a knowing smile.

“Yes I have,” Kelson said distantly.

“Does this change what you were going to talk to me about?” Linda asked. “You seem to have a million thoughts running through your head.”

“Well no… I mean yes… I don’t know now,” Kelson said a little befuddled.

“ It would probably help if I knew what it was,” she said trying to catch his eye.

He looked at her with a still somewhat confused look on his face. “I was going to ask you if you would consider becoming Alexandra’s governess.”

She looked at him thoughtfully. “And finding what I am and whom I work with would change that question?”

“I…” he paused, “don’t know.”

“How about if I put it this way,” she said smiling. “The sole purpose of the group I am a part of, is to advise, sometimes protect and even in rare circumstances train heirs to the throne of Gwynedd.”

“She is a distant heir though,” Kelson said. As his eyes locked on Linda’s, he reached out with his mind to Truth Read her. “How do I know I can trust you and the others with her safety?”

“You have known me for years, Kelson.” Linda felt the faint brush of his mind against hers and willingly let her shields roll back so that he could read the truth of her words. “I’ve taught your brothers and sisters in school; why wouldn’t I look out for the safety of your daughter?” Kelson physically relaxed with the contact.

“Well, what do think?” He asked a little more calmly. “Would you consider being Alexandra’s governess?”

“I will have to think about it Kelson,” she said thoughtfully. “I have dealt with teenagers most of my life. Dealing with a three year old is a completely different thing.”

“She is almost four,” he said with a smile. “But she can be sort of a pain in the butt sometimes.”

“That part I am used to,” she laughed. “You kids weren’t exactly angels.”

“Hey,” he said with mock surprise. “I wasn’t that bad.”

“You weren’t exactly good either.”

“Will you at least consider it then?” he asked standing.

“Yes, I will consider it, “ she said looking up at him. “I should have an answer for you in a few days. I need to consult some of the others though to get their thoughts.”

“I understand,” he said knowingly. “Well I need to get going. I have a news crew from Meara here to interview me.”

As he departed the gazebo, Linda whispered, “I know.”

Kelson, tripped over several lighting cables, nearly falling into Matt as he entered his office. “What in the hell!” he exclaimed.

“Sorry, Your Grace,” Matt said helping Kelson up. “I should have been outside to warn you.”

“I thought I told Jackson to give you the day off?”

“Actually he did, but I wanted to keep busy so I came in, “ Matt replied sheepishly.

“I take it someone decided to have the interview here,” Kelson said regaining his composure.

“The king did,” Matt said apologetically.

“Oh really,” he started. “I am going to have to…” Kelson stopped mid- sentence when he noticed that there were others in the room.

“Ah, Your Grace,” Sybil said spying him.

“Sybil.” Kelson greeted the two women with a cautious glance at the woman following behind.

“This is Julianne Toomey-Kautz. She is the Executive Producer of Good Morning Meara.”

“It is my pleasure Your Grace,” Julianne said taking his extended hand.

“So what do you have planned for me this morning?” Kelson asked.

“Well Your Grace, it will basically be a straight forward interview. Our time is limited but the queen has even agreed to give a quick tour of the grounds.”

“Really? Well I guess we had better get started then,” Kelson said with a grin.

“Is there any particular spot you would like to do the interview, Your Grace?” Julianne asked as they made their way around lights and over cables.

“How about this open area behind my desk?” Kelson asked indicating the spot.

“That is perfect, Your Grace.” She motioned for the cameraman, a female assistant, and the interviewer, who appeared to be feeling slightly under the weather, to come over behind the desk.

Positioning two chairs facing each other, Julianne began introductions.” Your Grace, I would like to introduce our camera man Kendall Boyd, my production assistant Carol Shilts, and lastly, a slightly hung over Donald Lantzke.”

“I am more than slightly hung over,” Donald grumbled, sitting down fidgeting as Carol began to apply some makeup.

“Donald you should wait for his Grace to have a seat first,” Julianne chided.

“That’s alright,” Kelson said taking the seat opposite Donald. “I’ve done that a few times over the years. Enough times to know what it feels like. Did anyone get you something for the headache?”

“Yes Your Grace,” Sybil answered, “I sent Basil out a couple of minutes ago to get some water and aspirin.”

“I should have stayed on the wagon,” Donald moaned as Carol finished with him. “But after what happened yesterday, I needed a drink.”

“Speaking of that,” Kelson said as Carol began to apply makeup to his face. “I was hoping we could steer away from that topic for the time being. It is still under investigation and I don’t want anyone tipped off on what we have yet. I can’t thank you all enough for providing the tape. It was very helpful.”

“Your welcome, Your Grace,” Julianne said from behind Carol. “But we were hoping there would be something to report by now?”

Turning his head to answer her, and also to let Carol put some makeup on the opposite side of his face, Kelson caught site of the now familiar medallion around Carol’s neck as well as Julianne’s.

“You will be the first ones to get the information when we release it,” Kelson answered, trying to maintain composure.

“Thank you, Your Grace,” Julianne said smiling. “It would be greatly appreciated.”

“All done, Your Grace,” Carol said looking Kelson straight in the eye and winking.

“Here is the bloody water and aspirin,” Basil muttered coming into the room and almost throwing the items at Donald.

As Kelson grabbed the glass to keep it from spilling, and before he could compose himself, even with the help of Basil’s slight diversion, he caught sight of a chain peeking up over the top of Donald’s collar. Kelson had no doubt in his mind that on the end of the chain hung a medallion like the others.

“Basil!” Sybil almost screamed as she took a hold of his arm forcefully and began to lead him towards the door.

“Oww! That hurts,” Basil, yelped, “I don’t see why I have to be a bloody errand boy.” The two continued to argue vehemently as they left the room.

“You have quite an interesting staff, Your Grace,” Julianne said with a smile. “Are you ready to begin?”

“They keep me entertained, “ Kelson answered wryly, “and yes I am ready.”

“Donald?” Kendall asked from behind the camera. “Are you ready?”

“I’m as ready as I will ever be,” he answered.

“Okay… ready, in three, two, one,” Kendall said counting down with his fingers.

“Good Morning Meara!” Donald boomed.

“Thank you Your Grace for agreeing to sit down with us,” Donald said some fifteen minutes later.

“You’re welcome, Donald,” Kelson answered with a smile.

“And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, almost concludes our brief visit to Llannedd. I say almost, because in a short while we are going to be treated to a tour of the palace grounds here in Kilgruff by none other than the Queen of Howicce and Llannedd, Marlene.”

“And we are clear,” Kendall said.

“Oh bloody hell,” Donald said collapsing into a chair. “I really need to quit for good this time.”

“Is Her Majesty ready for the tour?” Kelson asked the recently returned Sybil.

“Yes, Your Grace,” Sybil answered as Kelson unhooked his microphone from his shirt and stood up.

“With your permission Your Grace,” Julianne began. “I would like to have Carol ask you a few questions about your family’s background? A sort of beginning voice-over of the interview.”

“That is fine with me, “ Kelson replied. “And since we don’t want to keep Her Majesty waiting, you can send someone back in a little while to clear this stuff out.” He gestured toward the lights and cables.

“Thank you, Your Grace,” Julianne said. “That is most kind… Well Donald, are you ready?”

“Not really,” he replied rising slowly.

After Matt and Sybil had escorted the others out, Kelson and Carol adjourned to the balcony outside his office.

“This is a sneaky way of getting in to see me,” Kelson stated once he was sure they were alone.

“It was important that we meet,” Carolyn said as her face began to mist over. “And my name is Carolyn… not Carol.”

“Oh that’s cute,” Kelson said as her face changed appearance.

“It was necessary,” she said. “My true appearance is known to your father’s advisors.”

“This must be very important for you to actually risk coming to see me?”

“Yes, we have a slight problem. There is a distinct possibility that there may be another contender to your father’s throne.”

“He has a bastard doesn’t he?”

“Yes, Your Grace, that is what we think. We don’t have definite proof yet.”

“Please call me Kelson, at least for now.”

“Thank you, Kelson. And I must apologize for springing a lot of the members on you all at once. I saw your reaction when you caught sight of the medallions.”

“That did knock me for loop,” he admitted leaning against the balcony railing. “I wish you could warn me before one of you show’s up.”

“I am sorry for that, we don’t generally reveal ourselves to others.”

“I suppose I could try not to let my reaction show so much. Speaking of which, why reveal yourselves to me anyway?”

Carolyn just smiled. “I have a counter question Kelson, would you, if you were in my position, reveal yourself to your family?”

Shaking his head he answered. “No. Knowing them, they would run to ‘you-know-who’ for advice. Then I think you would be in a whole lot trouble.”

“Exactly my point Kelson, I don’t know if you have noticed or not, but I don’t think they have your best interest at heart.”

“No really,” he said sarcastically, “So I don’t suppose you have any information on who it was that made the attempt yesterday?”

“Actually, we may…” she began.

**Stop, ** he said into her mind, **Sybil returning, shift back quickly. **

“Your Grace, I didn’t mean to disturb you, but this message just arrived.” Sybil handed him a small piece of paper.

“Thank you Sybil, that will be all.”

“Sorry about that,” he said as he opened the folded piece of paper and began to read.

“Not a problem, Kelson. I am glad you warned me though.”

“Geez, I can’t even get a moments peace.”

“Kelson? Is something the matter?”

“Nothing really, I just have a meeting with Helen, our Speaker of Parliament tomorrow.”

Carolyn made no reply as he looked up from the paper in his hands. The smirk on her face spoke volumes.

“Let me guess, she will be wearing a medallion won’t she?”

“Yes she will.”


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