The Secrets of Kings: Episode 12

7:30 AM

The Veiled Lady

July 7, 1390, 12:21 PM

The Veiled Lady basqued in the beautiful shade provided to her in the July heat by the cherry trees. She pulled the lower portion of her veil back and forth to create a small breeze for her face and to let in the sweet aroma of the ripened berries.
The Prince was just down the row of trees, where he found one that was a bit smaller than the rest and held some lower hanging branches. Although much of his efforts were for naught, on a few occasions he was able to jump just high enough to procure a berry or two, which he promptly stuffed in his mouth. Clearly having grown tired of the literal fruitlessness of his endeavors, the prince scampered beyond the tree grove and to the outskirts of the blueberry fields.
“Stay where I can see you, love!” She yelled to him.
“Just this row.” The little prince yelled back.
Packing up the small bag of toys she brought for the Prince to play with, she got up and moved a bit closer to the edge of the cherry tree grove so that she might better see the Prince and his movements. She was unsurprised to find that the Prince had remained unmoved, and was, instead making himself quite comfortable in front of a generously adorned blueberry bush. He plucked off several at a time and stuffed them all in his mouth at once.
“Slow down, love. We will be eating lunch in a short while. I would hate to have you spoil it with too many berries.” She warned.
“Just a few more?” He begged.
“Oh. Alright.” The Veiled Lady caved. “How about five more?”
The Prince found this request reasonable and did not make any further complaint, but his subsequent action made it clear that this limit of five just meant that he would be choosing these last five berries much more judiciously. The Veiled Lady giggled a bit as she watched her charge inspect each blueberry. She imagined he was visually gauging which of them were the largest, and therefore, the best choice to fill his little tummy.
“My lady!” she heard a male voice calling urgently from behind her.
The Veiled Lady turned with a bit of a fright to see one of the King’s knights rushing towards her.
“What is it?” She inquired.
“My lady, we have been looking all over for the two of you.” He admonished.
“Well… You have found us. What is it that brings you to us in such an urgent manner?”
“My lady, I have been asked to escort you and the Prince to his chambers.”
“What is going on?” She asked. In the years she had been looking over the Prince, her daily activities had never been disrupted in such a manner. She could feel a nervous energy taking over her being.
“I am not obliged to say, my lady.”
“Not obliged to say?” She questioned. “Surely you can give some explanation. Are we in danger?”
“I have only been given orders to bring you to the Prince’s chambers. I have no other information I have been authorized to deliver.” The Knight explained.
By this time, the Prince had wandered over to his caretaker’s side. He seemed to have sensed the tension between both the Veiled Lady and the Knight.
“Is something wrong with my lunch?” The Prince asked with innocent concern.
“Lunch might be just a bit late, my love. We need to get back to the castle right away.” She explained to her charge.
As the Knight led them back through the cherry grove and towards the castle, the Veiled Lady took it upon herself to collect cherries along the way. She was unsure what was going on, but wanted to ensure that the Prince would be fed.

* * * *

After arriving back to the castle, the Veiled Lady was, thankfully able to arrange the Prince’s lunch be delivered to his quarters. She was surprised, however, when the tray was delivered by one of the Knights instead of the Kitchen staff. It seemed clear that the two of them were being sequestered, but she still had no idea why. Lunch came and went and so too did dinner and  several additional hours and still nothing. The Veiled Lady had been a bit stir crazy as a result of not knowing what was happening. The Knights, who were scurrying to and fro in the hall were keeping their whispers to one another, so she knew that there was something going on about which she was not being made aware.
She attempted, as much as she could, to keep the Prince entertained and her nerves at bay, but she could tell the Prince was picking up on them anyway.
“Are we ever going to be able to leave the room?” The Prince asked for what felt like the 100th time since they were first ordered to stay in.
“I’m afraid we cannot today. It’s nearly time for bed anyway. Perhaps all will be well tomorrow.” She speculated.
After getting Remedy dressed in his night clothes, she read the Prince one of his favorite stories and he finally fell into the bliss of sleep.
The Veiled Lady walked to the door in the Prince’s chamber that adjoined their rooms and opened it ever so slightly. She was surprised to find that there was a candle lit on her bedside table and the King, head in his hands, sitting somberly on the edge of her bed. He looked up at her when she came in, his eyes red from a combination of sadness and mead.
She quickly closed the door behind her so that no one, even the young prince, might see the identity of her visitor and walked over to him. He nuzzled the side of his face just below her bosom and wrapped his arms tight around her. As soon as her hands began to caress his head, he began to weep.
“You shouldn’t be here.” She whispered. “It’s too dangerous. If people knew…”
“Quinnella is missing.” He interrupted.
The Veiled Lady breathed in heavily, a lightness in her head. The events of the early morning began whizzing through her brain. She thought she had heard something from in the Prince’s chambers while he was bathing. Did she disregard the sound of the Princess being taken? Could she have stopped this from happening? Waves of disbelief and guilt overswept her and she lowered herself to sit next to the King for a moment before pulling him down to lay beside her. The King wrapped his arms around her and the two of them layed there in silence, less their soft sounds of weeping over the lost princess.

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