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THE QUEEN WITH A SHADOW CROWN – 3

January 19, 2019

Drykar found himself floating out of this world, especially the court, most often caught in a fantasy world of his own. He frowned when he realized this. It was quite uncommon for him to begin dreaming this way when he had work to do. Even when he could afford it, he didn’t drift in fantasies much; at least not much after Cedra had left him. Sometimes he would imagine her returning to him, clad in her simple brown gown, blue stars floating in the black ocean of her eyes. She would come to him, a slender silhouette of a dark tree bark in the late evening until she inched close enough to throw her arms around his neck and take him by surprise. And even if he had heard her footsteps shuffling softly behind, he would stand still, facing away from her as if he hadn’t felt his heart beating faster at the knowledge of her approaching. He almost always let her surprise him. But later on, he would tug at her loosely braided hair and whisper to her that she had surprised him, coming down silent and unknown as the midnight braided into her dark hair. She would laugh and nuzzle against his neck; and then she would tickle him and run away. He would chase her, seeking through the dense pillars of dark birches and large oaks. Suddenly she would jump up from behind and cover his eyes… always taking him by surprise.

Drykar shook his head. I am in a court, and my proposed bride Eira is sitting in front of me. But that only made him feel more bitter. He had taken a million cuts from sharp steel and sharper blades, but nothing had hurt much more than her memory, gutting him inside and bleeding him somewhere he couldn’t see. Cedra is gone and so are those days. It wouldn’t do to dwell on them; beautiful, lost days, he told himself. But princess Miraea has arrived. Haven’t I waited for her for an year? Feared the prophetess’ words would never come true? And yet she is right here in my state even right now. The idea made his heart flutter hotly. But would she be Cedra?

Princess Eira was staring at him, a curious triumph speckled in her eyes.

“… I am quite certain we could arrange for a suitable excuse, sire. My own man in your court would do well to honor our blood bonds better, don’t you think? I know minister Mirham has served long and faithful, but just that has left him tried and drab. You must needs replace him with someone younger, and my niece would be just the person,” her father was droning on across from her. Drykar blinked. Does he mean to sack old minister Mirham? How did they get to this from all that fight over whether or not we should assault King Berhan’s state? Drykar cursed himself for mentally absenting himself.

I am sure we can sort that out later on,” his own father was saying. “Right now maybe, we should think on the arrangements for the engagements.”

“Oh come on brother, what debating does that need now? We were under the impression that the bridegroom’s side would take on all the arrangements as is wont,”

As is wont? thought Drykar. This niggardly man! But the prince had long ago given up the notion to participate in this creten’s court. If things went right, this engagement would never happen. There was no point then for him to contribute to this court and make it noisier and longer. Yet, it would always help to know what was going on. A prince could never let his ears sleep. He may never know when he would chance upon what.

After about half a tedious hour, the court dissolved. All that he had gained from attending it was that her bride’s father was a miserly man with his greedy eyes set on his father’s gold and great at making cold blackmails. However else would a girl brought up by that man be? He wondered.

Synnefro was waiting for him in his room. He had permit to go the places he liked in this palace. The lad and the prince had grown together, both motherless, making up for each other’s lost love. True they were friends, yet they were closer than brothers of blood.

“ So, tonight, brother?” smirked Synnefro after the prince had seated himself on his bed. “After an year’s wait?”

Drykar nodded, a smile playing on his lips despite himself. “I am anxious as I’ve never been. Synnefro, I happened to hear a little bit of a conversation in the courtyard this morning. Someone saying that Miraea was a mother with a little boy in her father’s land,”

Synnefro laughed. “You’ve been shut in the palace all day long with this work and that practise. Come out onto the streets, brother. You’ll hear this and that about her. In fact, she is mostly all you would hear about. Save about a really foul cake the baker had served Lady Willira this morn. There’s been a little talk about the ‘quality of confectionaries nowadays’ as well. But the rest is the princess.”

The prince smiled. “You’ve done a good job, Synnefro.”

Synnefro shrugged. “I would hate to disappoint your majesty.”

The prince laughed. “And since when did I become the ‘majesty’?”

“Ever since you won that battle in thimbledocks when you were nine. But only in words. In my heart you are still quite a vexing harrow to me.”

The two sat laughing for a while. Outside, the sun rose higher, coating the glass window panes in a clear lacquer with winking gold.

“I would sooner have Miraea come earlier to meet me, but what she did was right. If she is winning the people, that’s what I want. I’ve waited a year, I can a day more. Come Synn, we’ll swordsplay in the ground in the meanwhile.” The prince darted out of his room with his friend at his heels.

***

To be continued…

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© 2019 Sahana Narendran

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2 Comments

  • Reply THE QUEEN WITH A SHADOW CROWN - 5 February 4, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    […] Read part 3 here – http://inktrailsandmindscapes.com/the-queen-with-a-shadow-crown-3/ […]

  • Reply THE QUEEN WITH A SHADOW CROWN - 2 January 19, 2019 at 5:47 am

    […] Don’t miss out on part 3 – http://inktrailsandmindscapes.com/the-queen-with-a-shadow-crown-3/ […]

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