The Secrets of Kings: Season 2, Episode 4

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Season 2: Episode 4


Gweneva: Clarity Sect Councilwoman

July 8, 1390, 4:51 AM


Sleep was all but an abandoned hope at this point. Gweneva softly closed her eyes again. Praying that , perhaps, she would get at least an hour or two of deep rest before her assistant would barge into her cabin to open the thick dusty drapes. Usually the soft rock of the ship would lull her to sleep, but tonight the motion was more of a reminder of the rocky state of Frowena.
Another ten minutes, alone in her own busy mind made Gweneva finally give up on the thought of any sleep. She opened her eyes and peeked across the room where her son, Gadrien, laid sound asleep. A sliver of the newly forming daylight peeked through a small break between the curtains, adding a sharp streak across his peaceful face and down to his little belly which rose and fell rhythmically with his breathing.
With her eyes adjusting to the limited light, she could see that the blanket that had been draped over him had become crumpled and tossed aside. She rose up and walked over to her son, brushing her hand across his soft cheek before adjusting the sheet to cover his body. She sat down on the edge of his bed and watched him as he continued to sleep. Her heart broke a little each time she had to leave him behind in the name of her duties to the sect, but this time hurt even worse, because she was unsure when she would be back and knew that her relationship with her son would be fundamentally altered as a result. She told Gadrien before the trip that she may need to leave him in the care of the King for a period of time, but she was quite vague regarding the extent of the stay. She affirmed this plan to her son the night before.
It was a strange negotiation she was having with herself: one of loyalty to family versus loyalty to kingdom. However, everytime she mapped out the debate, loyalty to the kingdom often won out, because ultimately, loyalty to the kingdom also benefited her family. She wanted to ensure her son grew up in a better world than she knew, and she was unsure how to make that happen without taking on the responsibility herself. Her guilt over leaving her son would probably never leave her, but Gadrien was often a child that acted mature beyond his years and took her devotion to her responsibilities in stride.
She watched affectionately as Gadrien’s tired eyes gradually opened, soon finding their attention fixed upon her. “Is it morning already?” He asked, obviously groggy from the lingering effects of his recent slumber.
“It is early, my love. But yes. It is morning.”
Gadrien placed his small hand on top of his mother’s. “Are you sad, mother?”
“Maybe a little. The days I have to leave you are always a little bit like that.”
“They are sad days for me too.” He admitted.
She leaned down to kiss his forehead so that we would not see the tears swelling in her eyes. As soon as her lips touched his skin, he wrapped his arms around her waist. He clung tightly to her. “We sacrifice to make the world better though.” He whispered.
“We do.” She responded.

* * * *

Only a couple of hours later, Gweneva was on the path from the seaport to the castle with Gadrien sitting at her side. She held his hand as they each watched out the small windows of the carriage that brought them on their short journey. Gadrien had rarely traveled with her and was in awe of the hustle and bustle around the small sliver of the city through which they traveled on their way to the castle.
“So, I’m going to be living here?” He asked.
“You will be living in the castle. It is a bit different there than it is out here. I am unsure that you will have many opportunities to see this part of the kingdom much once we have you settled into your quarters. It can be unsafe out here sometimes, so your caretaker may not allow you to be out here.”
“Who is going to be my caretaker? The King?”
“No, my love. You will have a veiled lady looking after you, much like when we are with our people of the sect.”
“Is she a kind veiled lady?”
“Very kind, indeed. However, I think it will be best for you to make your own assessment of her once you have gotten to know her a bit more.”
Once the pair made it to the castle’s perimeter, they stopped for a moment as the driver conferred with a guard and confirmed the pair’s appointment at the castle.
“I’m going to be living here?” Gadrien asked with surprise as he took in the enormity of his new home.
“Yes. But always remember, you are a guest here. Although I am sure that the King and your caretaker will be happy to accomodate your needs, I want you to always behave and be respectful of everyone in this castle.”
“Of course, mother.” He replied.
She glanced down upon him and he smiled at her.
The carriage soon came to a stop and both Gweneva and Gadrien were swiftly accompanied to her son’s new chamber. The room was much larger than he had ever had to himself before. A large bed stood in the center of the room and a large writing desk with a small table sat next to a set of windows that looked out over the city and out to the sea. He stood up on the tippy tops of his tiny toes, using his forearms as a bit of leverage to peek his small head over the sill to see the entirety of his view.
The pair were soon interrupted by a few young men entering the room with Gadrien’s trunk and other belongings.
“My lady.” One of the young men softly interjected.
“Yes?” Gweneva responded, turning to face him.
“I have been asked to accompany you and young Gadrien to the Prince’s chambers.”
“Oh. Of course.” She replied, as she softly started to usher Gadrien out of the room, behind the young servent.
After twisting through the corridors, the pair were met outside of the Prince’s chambers by both the Veiled Lady and the Prince, himself. Gweneva bowed down to show respect to the young prince and her son followed her lead. The young prince nodded in recognition of their formal gesture.
“Good day, Gweneva. Gadrien.” The Veiled Lady expressed. “Why don’t the two of you come in so we can get to know one another.”
Gweneva recognized an exhaustion in The Veiled Lady’s voice. She imagined the Princess’s disappearance was weighing heavily upon her. She watched as The Veiled Lady made quick introductions between Gadrien and the Prince, getting out toys for the two of them to play with and start the process of their interaction with one another. Once she finished, she motioned for Gweneva to join her at a small table across the room from the boys.
They sat in near silence for a bit. The boys were not interacting much, but rather quietly playing independently while sizing one another up. They seemed very curious of one another but were unready to move beyond that.
Gweneva finally broke the silence. “How are you old friend?”
The Veiled Lady began to weep as quietly as she could muster. Her shoulders quivered and her gloved hands visibly shook.
Gweneva wanted to rush over to her old friend, take off her veil and wipe away her tears, but knew such a move would be inappropriate and dangerous. “All will be well, my friend.” Gweneva whispered, reaching across the table to hold the hand of one of her oldest friends. “All will be well.”

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