Marking of the Days
The next morning I watch as arrangements are beginning to be put in motion
for all of those I will need to speak to. It is no simple process to address so
many people in so many groups. Hanta is working with the castle attendants and
staff to see that everything runs smoothly. We have opened the channels of
communication to this castle from the galaxy at large and the messages come
flooding in. Now I know what Banrek has been contending with back at the
Ministry of Information. The information officers come and speak with me in
the afternoon, asking for advice.
“Do nothing. Just let them message. Be entertained by their curiosity but
say nothing unless it comes from inside the Empire and it pertains to comings
and goings associated with the meetings of the next few days.” I put my hand
to my head, exasperated that they cannot follow a simple order.
“Yes, sire… But it is not just the Alliance itself that is messaging.”
“Ah? What of it?”
“The Alteans have been sending independent messages. They’ve been in
queue since we shut off the communications center. And they still keep coming
“Mhh… They are not part of the Empire, officer. Did you not
understand my…” I stop, rethinking my next words, “Forward those messages
to my Comm.”
After the 30th hail comes in through my Comm from Altea, I could no
longer ignore them… But I could not bear to face them myself. I decided to let
Shilne answer in my stead, staying out of view of these people, but watching.
Morbid curiosity? Shilne dressed himself in his best uniform for the occasion
and smiled proudly as he settled in a large cushioned chair to take the call.
Shortly there is a viewpoint on the screen from the castle on Altea. I fold my
arms across my chest and dig my fingers into them.
“Forgive us for intruding, however we are concerned with what we are seeing
happen.” The Altean Minister was indeed looking concerned, the Princess
standing a bit behind him.
“We thank you for your concern, Minister. Please do not worry for us.”
Shilne has snapped into formality, doing his best to speak to them in their own
“You’ve withdrawn your troops from the borders of Altean space and we
have seen that your King’s palace has been suffering from explosions.”
“This is true.” He nodded. “Neither of these things do we wish to
commenting on.” He almost winces at his own grammatical mistakes.
“Will you at least tell us if everyone is all right? Is the Prince safe?”
The Princess was inquiring. It sent a wave of emotion prickling up my back. It
must have spilled over onto my face as Shilne regarded me strangely before
“The Prince is quite safe. Everyone is safe.”
“Oh, that’s good.” She sighs and my fingers make their ways deeper into
They bother Shilne for a while more before he decides he is tired of playing
the part of diplomat, “Excuse me, but I will not be answering your questions.
The royal family appreciates your concern, and yet invites you to keep mindful
of your own affairs and clear of ours. Thank you.” And with that he abruptly
cuts the transmission. “Ahhllll..” He slumps back in the chair, hand going
to his face.
“Ah, that will certainly ease their curiosity.” I mock.
“Perhaps not, but remember you are the one who made me do this!” He gets
up and looks at the last image captured of the callers, “The King needs a
Queen.” He said, “Perhaps we should make a trip to Altea for you once things
settle out, sire.”
I look upon that face that has haunted me for a good while and then shut off
the Comm center completely, “No. That will not happen.” I turn away from the
screen, “We will offer that world protection from the pirates, but trouble
them no more.”
“Has your fascination with the Altean Princess ended so abruptly?”
Tongue-tied, I scowl at Shilne and leave the room without responding.