Marking of the days

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Marking of the Days

A good long talking to

Shilne has never been one to leave well enough alone and takes this incident as an opportunity to showcase his skills in this arena. He follows me to my new chambers to pester me further, unbuttoning his formal topcoat and throwing his braids onto the desk beside my father’s tin home.

“Get out.” I growl at him, hunting for a bottle of wine to drink from, or anything for that matter.

“No!” He laughs. “Look at you!” He throws up his hands, “You are a mess over this girl. And you refuse to talk about it.”

“I am going to cause you some grave harm in the next few moments if you do not shut your mouth and leave me be!!” I set my teeth, growling at him and pounding my fist on the table, anger boiling up.

But he ignores my yelling, “Vark… Beating on me will not take away this thing.” He pulls up a chair, turns it about and plants himself upon it backward, resting his arms on the back of it, “If you love the woman you should do something about being with her.”

“Shilne…” I begin to warn.

“Yai yai, stop your posturing.” He interrupts, “Talk to me man to man. And do not lie to me that you do not feel for her. I know that you do. She has a power over you that brings expression to your face that no one could imagine you wearing. I saw one of those mere moments ago when the Princess asked if you were safe. She asked if you were safe.”

“What of it??”

“You are on her mind… You are a King in need of a Queen. She is royalty—though human in the making… And you are obviously moved by her in ways that even you don’t know… I remember when you first laid eyes on that girl. By Gods she worked a powerful spell on you. She made you shut your mouth. An enormous feat! You loved her from that very moment I would wager… Granted you didn’t show it very well at all.” He frowned, “But things are different now… And when things settle out here I strongly recommend you put on your kindest face and go tell her how you feel.”

And at the end of that sentence I have had enough of him and I yell, rushing at him and tackling him and the chair he sits on, sliding across the marble floor into the fireplace. There we struggle until Hanta arrives, having heard my cry down the hall. She rushes in and grabs me by the hair, pulling.


“Get off of him!!” She shrieks.

I let him go to turn my attention to getting her off me instead, grabbing her by the wrists, “NEVER do that again!” I growl into her face. She is startled only for a moment.

“You are acting like children, the both of you!” She shakes loose and then I feel the sting of her palm against my cheek, “Act like the King that you are!”

Being chastised so by Hanta is enough to quell the rage that had taken me. I sink down heavily into a chair by the fire, still feeling my skin burning. Hanta is busy helping Shilne to his feet.

“Are you alright?”

“I am fine. We were just having a good scuffle.” He smiles for her.

“Just like brothers.” She sighs, “It used to be that he was like a father to you. And now you’ve turned into brothers.” Patting Shilne’s cheek, “You shouldn’t provoke him so, Shilne. He is under a great deal of stress right now.”

“I was trying to help.” He casts his eyes upon me where I am slumped in my chair.

“Please leave me be.” I urge out of myself, suddenly so tired.

“Come find us when you are ready.” Hanta takes Shilne away with her.

The silence is worse than the noise, left here alone with my thoughts and staring into the fire until my eyes water and ache. I finally sleep there for a while. When I wake I go looking for the two. They are in Hanta’s rooms, playing a game and talking about my behavior. I wait outside the door for a few moments.

“…You have to leave him alone about that.” She was saying, “Maybe one day it will happen for him. Perhaps it will not.”

“Eh, you know me. I am a fan of true love.” He laughed.

“Yes, everyone knows about you, farmer Shilne.” She laughed back, “Any luck with finding yourself a nice farm girl to give you hundreds of children?”

“Not yet. But I am dedicated to working on it. It is too bad that you are taken.”

“No it is not. I love my husband… And I think you are ugly.”

“Me?? I am gorgeous. You simply have no taste.”

“No, I have taste. You are ugly. I have never been much for you blue-haired boys as it is. I love my husband’s white hair. Now he is handsome!”

“Ahhll.” He makes a face at her as I finally let my presence be known. “Ah, well, should I run?” He asks.


“Feeling any better?” Hanta gets up from the game and brings me a glass of water, “Drink up. You look dried out.” She presses my hands around the glass.

“Thank you.” And I take a long drink then yawn.

“Now there is that big mouth we are used to.” She pats my arm, “Sorry about yanking out your hair.”

“No troubles. It was well deserved.” Stretch, “Tomorrow I meet with the 102nd in the throne room. I am looking forward to this... As I understand it from your listings, I will then be meeting with the Ministry of Information to let them know what they may begin to say… I can not wait to see their faces when I tell them I will be destroying this castle.” And I smile, thinking of how nice it will be to see this place a pile of rubble. “How will the men feel about being my enforcing agents, Shilne? They will become the highest force in the Empire.”

“I believe they will be pleased and take to it with great passion, as they do with all of their tasks. You need not worry about that. I will be sure that the troops are the one thing you will never have to be concerned about.”

“I am pleased to know this is true.” I regard Shilne for a good while. Hanta is right. He has become more like a brother than a child to me now. My trust in him has been deep and warranted. He has never gone against me regardless of the stupidity I have wrought across the days of my life. He has tried on occasion to make me recognize when something I was trying to accomplish was not a good thing. And on rare occasion I have listened to him. “Shilne…”

“Yes, highness?” He is formal as I am talking about affairs of the Empire.

“I thank you for your concern and for what you tried to do earlier… But do not bring that up again. Understood?”

“Understood but not with perfect agreement. I will do as you ask but I will not like it.”

“Good enough.” I nod. “And now we will discuss the remainder of the addresses. I will be talking a great deal over the next two days.”

“It is a good thing that you like to hear your own voice.” She jokes with me briefly and then falls to her task of advisory and attendance.

Hanta has been working well with the royal attendant and protocol staff to ensure that all arrangements are made for the groups that must be spoken to over the next few days. It is her job, and she does it well, to arrange things and take the burden of detail away from such events. Her extended work is to be sure that I do not look or act like too much of a fool. She would be the first to say that this portion of her job has been difficult, as I am wont to speak my mind regardless of the consequences. She will advise me if my words are poorly laid out in written text or speeches, and even tell me what it is that I should wear to address certain groups. Her expertise in these matters has made her renowned across the empire. I have been fortunate to have her service over my life. It still makes her laugh that she earned her Mastery as a result of having me as an ongoing project during her years of education. And I have appreciated her more than I have bothered to tell her directly, especially her confidence and lack of fear of confronting me even when I am enraged. Her Mastery was well deserved.

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