Marking of the Days
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
royaltythough 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
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
“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
“…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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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.