11 -  Chapter 11 - The Mourning Prince
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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The Mourning Prince



Chapter  XI




  The sun had finally made its appearance at midday, giving the horizon a dull hazy appearance when combined with the blowing snow and wind. Camber sat in one of the high-backed chairs he had moved in front of the window embrasure and just stared out over the city at the hazy sun. Deep within his own thoughts, he suddenly got the impression he was being watched. Switching his gaze from the skyline to that of his sleeping nephew, his eyes met a pair of baby blue eyes staring back at him. Ming had just woken up and had assumed a sentry duty position.

Soon after Kelson had fallen asleep, Ming had positioned herself in front of him, as she herself curled into a ball and went to sleep. Now fully awake, she was sitting on her haunches with her tail wrapped around her front paws. Camber noticed that she gave off the appearance that she was holding court. After several minutes of holding this pose, she glanced at her window companion, cocked her ears back as if irritated by something, and jumped off the window cushion with a thump.

Casually walking to the right of where Camber was seated, she glanced up at him briefly as she made her way behind his chair and out of sight. Turning to his left, Camber saw her disappear behind the chair. Walking nonchalantly towards Kelson's desk, she stopped in front of a small blue circular object. She briefly glanced back at Camber, un-cocked her ears and returned her attention back to the object. Suddenly with her right paw she swatted the object across the room and scampered after it. Upon reaching it, she tossed it into the air and chased after it to where it had landed. Taking the object in her teeth, she attempted to pull it apart with her right paw. She did this for several seconds before the object snapped out of her mouth and flew across the room. She scampered after it, but upon reaching it, the object suddenly shot up, and remained floating in mid air. Standing on her hind legs, she made an attempt to grab it, but it was just out of reach. Slowly it began to descend, and just as it came within her reach, she made another attempt to grab it, but it shot back up again. Camber watched in amusement as she sat back on her haunches, looked at him and cocked her ears back in irritation. With that Camber heard a chuckle coming from the window embrasure. Kelson was awake.

Camber turned to look at his nephew. Kelson slowly lowered his left hand, which had kept the object suspended in the air. He had his head propped on his right hand and had a huge grin on his face.

"Well I'm glad you finally decided to wake up," Camber said with a smile.

Kelson sat up and stretched his arms upwards. "How long have I been asleep?" Kelson asked, "and what time is it?"

"I think about eight hours, and it's just a little after five o'clock," Camber said looking at his watch.

"Oh," Kelson said absently as he placed both hands beside him, gripping the cushion and blankly stared at the floor.

"Are you alright?" Kelson slowly looked up at his uncle with look of sadness in his eyes.

"Yeah, I'll be alright," he finally answered.

Camber watched as Kelson reached down for his shoes and slowly put them on. Making his way to the desk, Kelson leaned forward to pick up his glasses and placed them on his face. Leaning across the desk, he picked up the pack of cigarettes and lit one. It was then that he noticed his uncle staring at him.

"What?" Kelson asked as he took a puff off the cigarette.

"Are you sure you are alright?" Camber asked.

"I'll be fine, it's just going take some getting used to having all these memories floating around in my head, "Kelson replied, taking another drag off his cigarette.

"You know, that is nasty habit you have there. It's bad for your health."

"Let me guess it's going to kill me right?"

"Well, yes," Camber said, a slight smile appearing on his face.

"I plan on quitting once everything has settled down a bit."

"Settled down a bit?"

"Well I mean once my daughter's safety is insured and is safely installed as one of her grandfather's heirs."

"One of his heirs? Doesn't she have the senior claim?"

"Technically, yes, but I can't subject her to that kind of responsibility in running two separate kingdoms, even when she does get older."

"And you're going to do that, how?"

Kelson just leaned on the desk with his right hand and smiled.

"I haven't the foggiest idea. I'm just kind of playing this by ear," he said with his cigarette dangling out the left side of his mouth. Before anymore could be said, Camber felt a thump on the right arm of his chair. Turning to look, he came face to face with a pair of baby blue eyes set in a furry face.

"She likes you, you know that don't you?"

"I sort of got that impression," Camber said as he scratched behind the cat's ears." So, you were saying what plans you have for your daughter's succession."

I hadn't said anything yet," Kelson said with a smile and took another puff off his cigarette.

"Shouldn't you decide soon?", Camber asked while stroking the noisily purring cat.

"Yes I should," Kelson replied with a pause.

"I've been thinking. Perhaps instead of her succeeding to both crowns, maybe it would be best if she just succeeded to one, maybe the junior one. I think that would be Llanedd."

"Don't you think your father-in-law should have some say in that regard?"

Crossing his arms, Kelson stared at his uncle for several seconds. "Yes he should," he said finally, "but I think after a time he will come around to the idea. They were planning on having separate monarchs eventually anyway."


"Yes, they were planning on having the boys..." Kelson suddenly stopped in mid sentence.

Concerned, Camber looked up at his nephew, "Are you alright?"

Staring off blankly at the floor, Kelson was quiet for several seconds.


Shaking himself out of it, Kelson looked at his uncle. "I'm sorry uncle, these memories take some getting used to." Kelson said pointing at his head.

"I understand, do you want to talk about them...as well as those other memories?"

Pausing to think for several seconds, Kelson sighed, "No, I think we can talk about them later."

"Not too much later, I hope?"

"Actually, we can talk within the next hour or so. But first I must tell everyone else about Alexandra. Then I'm going to take you somewhere."

"And where would that be?"

"That's a surprise," Kelson said as he reached around and collected his family's letters. "Are you coming?" Kelson asked as he made his way towards the door, suddenly full of energy.

As Camber rose, Ming stayed where she was, ears cocked back.

"Are you coming Ming?" Kelson called from the doorway.

With that she jumped down from the armchair and casually walked towards them. "Any day now Ming," Kelson said as he folded his arms across his chest and waited with Camber at the door. Not even looking up at them, she walked past and continued on towards the lighted kitchen. Shaking his head and chuckling softly, Kelson followed behind, with Camber bringing up the rear.



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