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Blood Of The Lion

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Stone of Destiny

25th March, 1286 Scone

King David II of Scotland

His father was dead, killed by a broken neck during a fall. A fall that had occurred when he had gotten separated from his guides during his ride to Kinghorn. A ride David had urged his father not to go on, the fact that his father had and now had died, filled him with some anger. His father had always been somewhat hot headed, and that had ultimately led to his death. He grieved for his father of course he did, but he could not help but resent him somewhat. Because of his impulsiveness, David was left to rule a kingdom that had enemies inside as well as out. His father had gone down riding, and David did have to wonder how he had been separated from his guides. It had been Edgar who had found King Alexander’s body the next morning, as he went out looking for his master. It had been Edgar who had told David that his father was dead. And it was Edgar David would look to now to help him. As for his father’s second wife, David was not sure what to do with her. He would keep her at Kinghorn for the time being and the once he had returned to Stirling she would join him there. He would keep an eye on her, and ensure that her family did not try anything.

These worries had plagued his mind during the actual coronation. But they had not been enough to dim his feelings of excitement. He grieved his father, but at the same time there was a certain jubilation he felt at being crowned king. Donnchadh Earl of Fife had placed the crown atop his head, and he had recited the vows that every king of the fine land of Scotland had said since the days of Cináed mac Ailpín. When the crown had been placed on his head and the vows had been completed, a cheer had gone around the abbey filling him with a sense of pride and a sense of purpose. There was much to do in the kingdom and he would ensure that it was done. He would not allow his kingdom to fall into disarray, not with the English soon to be sniffing around.

He had resumed residence at the castle that had once been a haunt of his brother Alexander, and as such had ordered a grand feast prepared for this very day. As it was, many lords’ great and small alike had come to witness his coronation. And it was with them he spoke now. The one who held his attention right now was James, the High Steward of the kingdom and someone his father had regarded highly. The man was an interesting person, knowledgeable about many things. And his discussion about the issues facing David was something he was keen to know. “You see Your Majesty, her highness the Queen Dowager must needs be brought to Stirling as soon as possible. Otherwise who knows what might become of her.”

David looks at the man and asks. “Do you think someone or some persons might try to use her against us?”

“Undoubtedly so, her highness is a most valuable tool to use against the throne. That she carries, his highness your late father’s child in her womb no doubts means that someone will look to use the child and her as a way to negotiate something out of you.” Stewart replies.

David looks at the man intrigued and then looks around the hall, where the various lords and men at arms are talking and music plays. “Which one of these lords do you think would be fool enough to try something like that?” he asks.

He looks at Stewart and sees him concentrating hard, assessing each man present. His voice is soft when he replies. “I believe most can be counted on to remain true. But Balliol might well try something. He is a powerful man, and having her highness in his possession would no doubt be a tool for him to try and gain more lands.”

David looks at Balliol a man he knows somewhat well from the man’s time at court. “That man would not dare. He is powerful yes, but without the backing of the Comyns he is nothing. He worshipped my father and perhaps it is time he began to look toward ensuring his lands continued to remain within his possession.”

David sees Stewart looking at him and he can hear the uncertainty in the man’s voice when he replies. “Are you certain that is wise Your Majesty? Balliol is a powerful man, and powerful men often have powerful ambitions. It would not do to underestimate him, with or without the Comyns.”

David looks at the High Steward and says. “Very well, I shall take into consideration what you have said my lord. My father’s wife shall come to Stirling once the time is right. It is only right after all, that she give birth to my brother or sister in the royal home.”

The High Steward nods and says. “I shall leave you to your thoughts my king.”

David acknowledges the man’s departure with a mere wave of the hand. He sits and watches the festivities, interested in seeing who talks to whom and how certain people act. It seems Balliol is indeed somewhat content to stay with the Comyns rather than stick out on his own. It seems the man wants the security the Comyns offer rather than the other way around. That is interesting, and something David will look into later. For now though, he turns his attention to John Comyn, who has just taken the vacated seat next to him. Comyn inclines his head and says. “Commiserations on your father’s death your Highness. And congratulations on your coronation. It was a splendid event.”

David looks at the man and notes his muscle and his bulk. He will be a fighter this one. A man David is intent on having on his side. “Thank you my lord.” He says. “My father’s death was something that might have been avoided had it not been for that damned storm. Nonetheless it is time to move on and continue with the advancements my father had planned.”

Comyn bows his head. “Of course Your Majesty. There is a time for mourning and there is a time for action. Perhaps now is the time for action?”

David hears the question in the man’s voice and says. “Action, aye action would be nice. But we must ensure that the lords are solidly behind the plans. There can be no action without the lords. For it is to them that we shall turn when the time comes.”

Comyn nods. “The Comyns will stand with you, Your Majesty. Have no worry of that. We shall stand with you against all foes and fight for you no matter what.”

David nods. “And I thank you for it. But we must ask, what of your brother through marriage? What of Balliol? Will he stand firm. He has many lands and many fingers in many pieces of cake. Will he know where his stand is?”

Comyn is silent, and as David looks at the man he sees deep lines of concentration spreading across his face. Eventually when the man does speak his voice is confident. “He will side with you Your Majesty. I am sure of it. There is nothing he would rather do than show himself as true and loyal. There are many who question him, but give him the chance and he will show himself to be of the utmost loyalty to you.”

David nods. “That is good, very good. Now tell me of your cousin the Buchan. Has he considered my father’s proposal?”

Comyn is silent a moment and then says. “Buchan has indeed considered his highness’ proposal and was due to speak with him about it before he left this earthly abode. If you are willing to discuss it, he will be as well.”

David smiles, a rare occurrence. “Good. The plans will have been changed somewhat from the time my father mentioned them to Buchan. But in their essence there will remain some truth. We cannot afford to allow the English to set their eyes on us. They will undoubtedly do so regardless but we must ensure they know we will not roll over.”

“That is good my king. Very good. For too long have we remained doing as England has bid us do. We are not mere pups. We are lions and they must remember that.” Comyn says.

David nods. “They will be, never fear. They will be. Donnchadh, was telling me of some things he had heard through his travels through the clans weren’t you Donnchadh?”

Donnchadh the Mormaer of Fife is a proud man, someone who many find irritable, but someone David suspects he can trust. “Aye, there were many things that were being talked about during those travels Your Majesty. There is talk that someone from one of the kingdoms in lands across the sea wish for help in beating back those English lions. It seems there is not as much support as there once was.”

“Where did you come across such tidings?” Comyn asks.

“Aonghas Mór heard it from someone who came to visit from the court of some chieftain.” Donnchadh says. “It seems as though they have grown weary of the tyrant in the south demanding they do him fealty, though he has not stepped foot there.”

“A typical problem of the southerners. They demand without asking themselves why there might be resistance. It will be their downfall. There will never be a chieftain that bends to that man. Never.” David says with certainty.

Comyn looks at him questioningly. “If you do not mind me asking Your Majesty how do you know this for certain?”

David looks at the man and merely says. “Because they are like us. Our knees do not bend so easily. Our ways are not the southerners’ ways. And the sooner the southerners realise that the better. Of course their king will not for he is too proud and stubborn to accept as such.”

Comyn nods and then falls silent as his rival, Robert de Brus walks forward. Brus is an old man now, but there is still some power in his walk. David looks at him through open eyes, and sees that there is some confidence there. “Congratulations on a splendid coronation Your Majesty.” Bruce says.

“Thank you my lord.” David says looking at the man.

“I hope you will consider visiting Annandale soon Your Majesty? I know my granddaughter Isabel will be looking forward to meeting you.” Bruce replies.

David nods. “And I her my lord. I have heard a good many things about your granddaughter and all of them have been glowing. I look forward to meeting her and talking with her. But there are things that I wish to speak with you about as well my lord.”

Comyn and Donnchadh taking note of the tone of his voice both make their excuses and leave their seats. Bruce stands there before David, looking at him a long moment before finally bowing his head and asking. “What is it you wished to speak with me about Your Majesty?”

David takes his time in answering the man, allowing himself the chance to assess the man’s attitude. It is clear Bruce does not think overly much of him, and truth be told David cannot truly blame him, after all he is but fourteen summers old, he turned fourteen the day his father’s body was found and as such has not celebrated it properly. Still he is the king and Bruce will need to recognise him as such. After the silence has stretched on for as long as he deems appropriate he speaks. “You have vast lands in the south do you not my lord?”

“I do indeed Your Majesty. Why do you ask?” Bruce asks.

David considers his response carefully before speaking. “There will come a time when we shall need to use your resources for the crown’s purposes. You will be okay with this will you not?”

“Of course Your Majesty. You will be family shortly. What is mine is yours.” Bruce replies.

“Good,” David says. “I shall remember that in the days to come.”

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