The Mourning Prince
they rounded the corner to the kitchen they saw the other occupants of
the house. Harold was at the kitchen sink doing some dishes, Dean,
Micheala and "The Supreme of Howicce" were seated at the
"Good, you're all here," Kelson said as he moved towards the kitchen table.
"And why wouldn't we be?" Harold asked as he came around the counter top drying his hands, "are you trying to get rid of us or something?"
"Gee, I wish I could, but it's a little to cold outside to put all of you in a tent in the front yard," Kelson said sarcastically. Harold just smiled and chuckled, taking one of the vacant chairs.
"Anyway I have to tell you all something."
Handing his family's letters off to Camber, Kelson kneeled down in front of Micheala as his uncle stood behind him, with is arms crossed. Grasping her hands in his, Kelson said, "Micheala, do not take this the wrong way, but I have to ask this. Were you there when Anna and the boys were killed?"
"What kind of question is that to ask?" came her shocked reply.
"Please bear with me your highness, there is a reason I'm asking," Kelson continued. "Do you?"
"I hope you have a very good reason for that question," The Supreme of Howicce said, clearly irritated.
"I do," Kelson said impatiently, casting him a sharp glance. "Were you there?" Kelson asked again, turning back to Micheala.
"No, I wasn't, none of us were. They came back unexpectedly. We weren't expecting them for another day or so."
Kelson paused for another couple of seconds before he continued. "Did you see their bodies?" he asked bluntly.
"Kelson! What kind of question is that to ask?" Harold said reaching over to comfort the now sobbing princess.
"I'll explain in a minute," Kelson said turning briefly to stare at Harold. "Did you see their bodies?" he repeated, returning his gaze back to Micheala and grasping her hands tightly.
Slowly she turned her tear-streaked eyes towards his and sobbed. "Yes."
Tears started to appear in his own eyes as Kelson stared into hers, grasping her hands even tighter now, pouring some of his strength into her.
"Did you get a good look at Alexandra's body?" He asked softly. A puzzled look appeared on Micheala's face.
"Did she appear different to you somehow?"
The princess paused in thought for several seconds. "Now that you mention it, she did appear... different." She stared down at Kelson for several seconds. "That wasn't Alexandra was it?"
"No it wasn't," Kelson finally said.
"Then who was it?" Harold asked stunned.
"It was my aunt's granddaughter."
"The Queen of Bremagne?" Micheala asked.
"I don't understand.", the Supreme of Howicce added.
"Well apparently, when they stopped in Bremagne before continuing on to Howicce, Alexandra came down with a sudden cold. Anna thought it would be a good idea if she stayed behind in Bremagne to get over it. At the same time, my cousins thought it might be a good idea if their daughter went along to see Howicce and get to know her cousins."
"Didn't anybody suspect?" Harold asked.
"Apparently no one in Howicce did, 'till now," Kelson said. "Only my aunt and cousins knew. I didn't find out 'till after I left Howicce and stopped in Bremagne."
"I still don't understand?" Dean responded. "Did they look that much alike?"
"Actually they did, my aunt told me that they could have passed as twins."
"Why did you wait so long to tell us?" Micheala asked.
"I would guess that it is because he wanted to ensure her safety," The Supreme of Howicce answered.
"Partly yes. I wanted to make sure things had calmed down in Howicce before I said or did anything."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm glad she is alive, but what are you going to do now? You do intend to exert her claim to the throne, don't you?" The Supreme of Howicce queried. Everyone around the table turned to look at him in shock.
"How could you ask a question like that?" Micheala asked him.
"He has every right to ask that question, Micheala," Kelson replied before The Supreme of Howicce could answer.
"What?!" She said, shocked that Kelson was actually agreeing with the Supreme of Howicce.
Still holding her hands and looking into her face Kelson said, "He is looking out for your father's interests, remember. The thrones of Howicce and Llanedd must have a secure succession, correct?"
"Yes," she said slowly with a curious look crossing her face, at the same time wondering where Kelson was going with this. Looking up at the Supreme of Howicce and then looking back into Micheala's eyes, Kelson countered, "I think I have an idea how we can have Alexandra succeed and still have you succeed as well. A compromise of sorts."
"Go on," she said totally confused now.
v Glancing at her, and then back at the Supreme of Howicce, he said, "Do you both remember after Nicholas was born, your father and Anna decided to separate both kingdoms and give both of them their own king."
"I remember," the Supreme of Howicce said folding his arms across his chest, "they thought it would help both governments run more smoothly. But how can we do that? Your daughter is obviously from the senior line, she has the most senior claim to both throne's."
Looking up at him with a smile on his face, Kelson asked, hasn't running both kingdoms been a real pain in the backside for the king?"
"Well yes it has, but I still don't see how this changes anything?" the Supreme of Howicce responded.
"He is the king, right?"
"And he can choose who succeeds him, right?"
"Yes again, but parliament and the Privy Council will be in uproar of this. They will undoubtedly demand that she succeed to both thrones and that you produce her immediately."
"Oh, I'll produce her alright," Kelson paused slightly, "but only when I am positively assured of her safety."
"No strings attached?" The Supreme of Howicce asked.
"There will be a whole bunch of strings attached. For one thing parliament and the Privy Council will have no say in how I raise my daughter, I will only answer to the king. The second thing is, they and the king must ensure her safety at all costs. Once that is accomplished and I have inspected the safeguards personally, then I will bring her back to Howicce."
"Is that all?" Micheala asked.
"No," Kelson said looking into Micheala's face, "I haven't even scratched the surface yet."
She looked down at her hands in her lap, then looked back up into Kelson's face, "I assume you want me to contact him immediately?"
"That may be a good idea?"
"And if he doesn't agree?"
Kelson looked at her stone faced, "He will never see me or his granddaughter again."
"I think he will agree to your terms Kelson," the Supreme of Howicce said from behind the princess. "You realize of course that it may take some time for us to contact him, being the Howicce phone system as it is?"
"I figured as much," Kelson said standing up, "besides, my uncle and I have some other issues to take care of, so I won't be able to talk to the king personally."
"And that would be...?" Harold asked from across the table.
"I'll fill you in later."
"Gee, more secrets," Dean said sarcastically.
"I will tell you when it is time," Kelson said, "besides I need Harold's and your help in drafting a formal letter to my family. You know me, I can't write to save my life."