Terrouge E-zine Archives
RoF: Chapter 2
Several Seasons Later
The Journals of Her Majesty, Queen Katarina the Fourth
As you must know, I am the second wife of my beloved husband, King Akral. I have begun this journal that my descendants may have some idea of who I was and what things were really like. The dry, dull history tomes I read as a child had no life. They had names, and dates, and judgements made by one who did not even know those he wrote about. How silly you must think me, to believe that my poor journal would be preferred above those, and I am sure you are right! But if you are reading this, my journal has served its purpose.
But I digress. I know I was- indeed, am- young to marry one so old as Akral. Indeed, his daughter is has but few seasons less than I! He and the much lamented late Queen Juliana married young, however, so the gap is not so great as it first seems. I am lucky as well to have so good a friendship with my stepdaughter, Ellidya.
Ellidya is grown into a fine young squirrel already, so I have not much raising left to do. She is a credit to our family. I have not tried to mother her. She would hate that, and likely resent me for it. Instead, she and I have become close companions, and I try to be her mentor and guide her through her struggles in court, where a word or gesture can mean many things, depending on the place and time. Although I was born and raised in my home province of Mernflor, I have had experience with the deadly game of court, mainly due to our proximity to Canto Attia. The Attian Emporer, Rilander used our city as a negotiation point to relay treaties, trade agreements, and border disputes to the capitol of Southsward, so I learned not to show what I really felt towards vermin. At court, the real vermin are not always the ones with fangs and claws.
Speaking of vermin, Elly (as Ellidya likes to be called) and I had the most hilarious discussion over tea the other day! One of the many things we have in common is our shared dislike of Count Veral. He is the most self-absorbed squirrel I have ever had the misfortune to cross paths with. He is so concerned with his looks, dress, and status. Ever cold and proper, and polite, yet you cannot help but feel he is laughing at you even as you turn your tail to leave. I quite honestly abhor him. Elly agrees, and I am ashamed to say we acted like common-born toddlers who had never learned the rudiments of manners, we picked him so apart! Had my old Master of Deportment been present, I fear my childhood teacher would have been in shock. It was fun though, and I cannot honestly say I feel he did not deserve it.
My suspicion of this slippery eel of a courtier grew as I found a note on the floor by his chair after a banquet later that evening. It reads: 'My dear friend, I am so glad to know I can count upon you. My detest of that flouncing, high-and-mighty, arrogant Princess grows daily. I cannot think why she would be allowed to be spoilt so, but I can only conclude it is due to the lack of wits among those who raised her. I am glad it will soon cease to be a problem....'
No name was signed to this paper, yet I believe I recognize his hand. I fear for my Princess's safety, but there is no way to prove ill intent, or even that Veral wrote it. Certain scribes excel at forgeries. I do not know what to do- going forward with it won't convict anyone, and it may not be malicious in nature. The writer may simply be leaving Court for a stay at a friend's villa. It is not an infrequent occurrence. Yet if I believed that, then why does my heart beat so?
I spoke of this to Ellidya, and she agrees with me that going forward would serve little purpose. She would have appeared unafraid to anyone but myself, for she is of a noble constitution, but I noted the slight deepening of her brows, and the sharp intake of breath when I told her, and I know she is worried. We agreed that the best course of action is to set our spies watching Veral, and to put investigators to work. Since she is our heir, and I am now Queen, we have the Crown's private forces at our disposal. What a change from the lowly status I enjoyed as a lady of Mernflor! I fear I must end my recordings for this night, as the candles burn low and threaten to set my book alight should I continue. I could, of course, order more, but I have not the heart to wake my maidservant at this hour, and I am weary myself. I hope I will have better news the next time I write.