The Mourning Prince
the stairs, Camber followed behind Kelson as they entered the kitchen
via the living room.
"Where the hell is everybody?" Kelson asked after surveying the room.
"Probably off speculating about you," Camber answered.
Kelson turned to look at his uncle with mock surprise, "now don't you start on me too."
Camber just chuckled. "Before we go looking for them though," Camber said, "do you think we could place these someplace safe until I leave." Camber held forth the box and book.
"Sure. There is a safe place upstairs in your room in fact." The two men walked to the rear of the kitchen.
"What is that smell?" Camber asked just as they were about to exit the kitchen.
Taking a sniff of the air, Kelson replied, "Oh that is one of Harold's special blends of coffee. He likes to drink coffee at all times of the day and night."
"It has a woodchip smell to it," Camber said wrinkling his nose.
"Oh that means it is hickory. Harold loves it. I think it tastes nasty."
As he rounded the corner just outside the kitchen to go upstairs, Camber noticed that the door leading to Kelson's study was slightly ajar and that light was emanating from it."Kelson?" Camber said as they began to go up the steps, "do you think we should see what they're up to?"
"No, it is all right. I'm sure we'll find what they're up to in a little while. Besides we need to make sure those things are secure. We can't have you carrying them everywhere."
As they reached the top of the steps, they turned and enter the first room on the right. Upon entering the room, Camber could see that the wind and blowing snow had stopped and that the sunlight was beginning to wane. Kelson closed the door behind them, turned the bedroom light on and walked over to the big master bed. "Kelson?" Camber said as he watched Kelson sit on the bed and slide a compartment aside on the headboard. "Was this your room?"
Slowly Kelson turned to look at him, "Yes," he said quietly.
"I am sorry I shouldn't have asked that."
"That's all right," Kelson answered, motioning for Camber to hand him the book and box. He took the items from his uncle and placed them inside; with a wave of Kelson's hand, wards appeared around the items. Kelson then slid the door of the compartment shut and stood up.
Camber watched as Kelson scanned the room deep in thought. "Are you all right?" Camber asked after a minute of silence.
"Yeah, I'm okay. I was just thinking. I'll probably never sleep in here again."
"Why not? It might help you to come to terms with what happened."
Staring off blankly for several seconds Kelson finally said, "I suppose you're right. I'll see what happens once you all leave."
Coming downs the steps, they were almost knocked over by the Supreme of Howicce as he was coming out of the kitchen carrying a tray of cups filled with hot coffee. As the Supreme of Howicce abruptly came to a complete stop, one of the cups tipped and spilled the contents. "Your Grace and Excellency," He said with an unusual smile on his face, "I did not know you had returned."
"We just got back," Kelson replied raising an eyebrow in curiosity. "This may sound like a real dumb question, but when did you suddenly become a waiter?"
"Well.., I had a long talk with his Majesty. He told me that I had better behave myself from now on or else I would be out of a job."
"So you're serving drinks?" Kelson said trying to contain a smile.
"Yes, I thought it would mend some fences I seem to have burned during my stay here. And if you don't mind your Grace, would you excuse me while I clean this up?" he said indicating the spilled coffee.
"Surely," Kelson said with a slight smile as the Supreme of Howicce turned and made his way back into the kitchen. Kelson just looked at his uncle, who was trying to keep a straight face.
"Would you like some coffee Your Grace," Came a call from the kitchen.
"No thank you. I can't stand that type of coffee."
The Supreme of Howicce returned to where they were standing, "I am sorry Your Excellency, did you want some coffee."
"No thank you," Camber said with a smile.
"Tim, I thought I asked not to be addressed by any titles?" Kelson said.
"Oh I am sorry Your Grace," he said as he walked to the study room door, "that is the king's idea."
"I believe he plans on making you a duke," he replied as he reached the door, "I am not sure where yet. But he insists that we are to address you by your proper title. Would you mind opening the door please?"
Obliging him, Kelson opened the door whispering to his uncle as he went through, "I can't leave these people alone for one hour anymore."
Entering the study, they found the rest of the occupants of the house. Seated at the desk were Harold and Micheala, with Dean looking over their shoulders. And lying on the corner of the desk was Ming, her tail hanging off the desk twitching. As Kelson moved closer to Camber to stand behind Harold, he saw that Micheala was speaking into a portable phone.
"Onto Donal Haldane, Prince in exile to the Kingdom of Gwynedd, It has come to our attention that Kelson Haldane, Prince Regent for the kingdoms of Howicce and Llanedd has fallen into disfavor with his family, said heirs to the Kingdom of Gwynedd, as a result of accusations that said Prince has failed to maintain contact with his family. We know this not to be the case. We have made several attempts to contact said heirs on his behalf, all of which have been repeatedly ignored. We feel that this is totally unacceptable. To show that we bear no ill will towards said heirs for such ill treatment of our Prince-Regent, we invite them to our court at Morganvawr, in an effort to improve familial relations. At a time which is convenient to them"
"Ouch," Kelson said as he moved towards the corner of the desk where Ming had positioned herself, and began to pet her.
"Is that all you wanted to say, Sire?" Micheala continued.
She listened for several seconds, "Yes, he is here. He just returned. Do you wish to speak to him?" Michaela took the phone away from her ear and handed it to Kelson, "It is my father, he wishes to speak to you."
"Sire," Kelson began.
Leaning closer to Harold, Camber whispered, "I thought you were going to help Kelson write his own letter?"
"I had planned it that way, but once His Majesty heard the tone and contents of the letters he thought it best if he sent a response instead of Kelson."
"It is a rather terse response, don't you think?"
"Yes it is. This is the second draft though. The first one was a lot more terse than this one. Her Highness insisted on the tone of this one," Harold said, "and I have a distinct feeling this will not be the last." The two turned their attention to Kelson who was wrapping up his conversation,
"I realize that Sire, but I really can defend myself. The part of the letter I heard is definitely going to put me in bad graces with my family and will make it appear as if I am hiding behind somebody's skirt." Camber glanced down at Harold who just smiled and shook his head. Kelson was listening to his father in law again, all the while stroking a totally relaxed Ming. "I understand the necessity of you responding instead of me Sire," Kelson continued, "but could you tone it down just a little bit." Listening intently for several seconds Kelson began to nod his head. "I agree Sire, I will need to keep a low profile for a little while when I do return, but I can't return until I've seen that my grandfather is taken care of and that it is absolutely safe for Alexandra to return as well. Speaking of which, you haven't told anybody yet have you? I think it would be a good idea if we kept the knowledge of her being alive just between the ones who know about it now." Kelson listened to the response before replying. "Just myself, Micheala, Dean, Harold and my Uncle Camber. I am positive they can be trusted not to say anything." "All right Sire. Do you have anything else for me?" "Good, I will certainly contact you in a few days as to when I shall be able to return." "You want to speak to my Uncle?" "All right here is. Good bye Sire," Kelson said as he handed a dumbfounded Camber the phone. "His Majesty would like to talk to you, Uncle," Kelson said with a smile.
"You're in for it now," Harold said with a smirk.
"Your Majesty?" Camber said into the phone.
"Bishop Camber Haldane, I presume?" Came the gruff voice on the other end.
"Yes Your Majesty."
"Well, I will make this quick as I have other business to attend and I'm sure you do as well. I need you to deliver this letter that I am dictating to your family. You don't see any problem with that do you?"
"None Your Majesty, just a slight change in content perhaps." "Oh that, it is just a rough draft right now. I'm sure that the final one will be more diplomatic. Perhaps you would care to review it when it is finished?"
"Of course Your Majesty."
"Don't call me that," the gruff voice said with irritation, "I dislike it immensely when someone does that when we are talking personally."
"I do apologize," Camber said, "I am used to formality when addressing a monarch."
"That is okay. Publicly it is no problem. Privately I hate it. Anyway, the main reason I wanted to talk to you is to ask if you would be willing to give the final version of this letter to your family."
"I do not see a problem with that. They may think it is odd that you are answering and not Kelson though."
"Well they are going to have to get used it. Kelson will soon be a representative of my government, and he is due that respect."
"I understand," Camber replied.
"By the way, before I go, did you obtain the items you were sent to retrieve?"
"Yes I did."
"Good, I didn't want any questions about that. Anyway, I must continue working on this letter and I wish you a safe trip home. Would you put Harold back on the line, please? I really need to talk to him about making him a speech writer."
"Thank you. I will. Goodbye." "He wants to talk to you about making you a speech writer." Camber said, handing the phone to Harold.