Chapter 2 - By Royal Decree
The morning after Draxus’ death…
After being up all night planning and researching with both Flynn and Paladin and then the discovery of the King’s body soon afterwards, Queen Lillian was exhausted as she lay across the bed she normally shared with her husband Draxus. She held his pillow close to her heart, with her nose buried deep within its comforting softness as she closed her eyes. His pillow still held his unique scent as she took it in with each drawn out breath, forcing back tears as she did so.
It wasn’t just the fact that Draxus was gone, taken from her by the sorceress Rayvinn, but that the last thing she saw him doing was fucking her! Lillian had been unfortunate enough to stand by and watch as her husband intentionally spilled his seed into another woman, right before her very eyes and the pain from such a terrible sight had caused her so much distress. No matter how hard she had tried she could think of nothing else and it was slowly eating away at her.
Little did she know, things were about to get a whole lot worse for her…
As the Queen was currently in mourning for the loss of her husband the King, it was tradition that the widowed ruler would wear black for one week after the death to represent their respect and sorrow for their fallen spouse. Following along with that long-held tradition, Lillian was now wearing a long black gown made of the finest lace and silk in the Kingdom. The dress was specially designed for her, with black sleeves reaching down to her wrists and a long black lace train which followed along behind her as she walked.
Lillian was currently seated at the large dark oak conference table with several others, some of whom she recognised. General Shasharan sat silently to his Queen’s left with Zaar beside him as the Councilmen each took their places around the table for the important meeting regarding an apparent update of the Kingdom’s leadership after the reported death of King Draxus. Unsure of what this meeting actually entailed, Lillian waited patiently for it to begin as the menacing Prince across the table smirked sadistically back at her.
She wanted to punch that smirk right off of his face!
As the Queen, Lillian sat at the head of the table with Flynn to her right there as her advisor, much to Marcus’ distaste. The Prince was surrounded by all twelve Councilmen as Head Councilman Waan cleared his throat to call everyone’s attention.
The meeting had begun.
“Thank you all for being here, especially under such unfortunate circumstances...” he began.
Lillian closed her eyes for a moment with grief, then reopened them and took a deep breath to focus herself as Waan continued on with his speech. She needed to get through this in one piece.
“My Queen, you have all of our deepest and most sincere condolences for your terrible loss. Please know that we are all here for you in your time of need.” Waan announced.
Lillian nodded her head once slowly, politely accepting his condolences as he continued.
“King Draxus was a great ruler, unlike any before him and he will be sadly missed-“
The General suddenly cut in.
“-Excuse me, Head Councillor Waan? I’m sure that you understand our Queen is quite distraught at the moment, given current events. Perhaps it would be best if you got to the reason as to why we are all here?”
Prince Marcus’ hazel eyes narrowed at this, but he remained silent as the Head Councilman seemed to process and then agree with the General’s suggestion.
“Yes, of course. I completely understand. My apologies your majesty.” he offered to her with a warm smile, “Down to business it is.”
The older man suddenly turned to his left and held out his hand as one of the younger stewards came walking over with a piece of rolled up paper in his hand. With his head bowed out of respect the steward handed the paper to the Head Councilman and quickly moved back to his position standing along the wall.
Lillian leaned in to whisper to her General, a man she trusted very well and one who would often give her much needed guidance in her times of need. General Shasharan had always been there for Lillian and was well versed in the traditions and political side of how things worked in Westoria.
“What’s going on?” she asked with a whisper.
He replied with an equally quiet whisper, “I’m not sure, your majesty.”
Unrolling the paper and holding it out as he placed a pair of round glass spectacles over his pointed nose, Head Councilman Waan began to read aloud for all to hear the contents of the document.
“It is the decree of the High Council of Westoria that with the sudden death of our great sovereign ruler King Draxus Rhys Krillian, that the next in line to ascend to the throne shall be his rightful heir…”
Lillian placed a hand over her ever-growing belly as she heard these words. But the Councilman was not finished and he went on.
“… When the heir comes of age, he or she will be crowned as the new ruler of Westoria and lead the people into a new age of peace and prosperity.”
Shasharan and Zaar both looked to each other with matching frowns as they both appeared concerned by the ‘coming of age’ part in that decree. There was a large part of it which conveniently appeared to be missing. It was the General who spoke up about it.
“Forgive me Head Councilman Waan, but the decree does not appear to mention who will rule over Westoria up until the King’s heir assumes the throne.”
Waan smiled at this.
“In fact it does General, if you will allow me to proceed?” the older Head Councilman spoke rather snidely.
Shasharan nodded his head with a gesture of his hand for him to continue and Waan proceeded to glance down at the paper once more as he continued to read aloud from it.
“With the event of the King’s untimely death and with such a large space in time between now and when the child will come of age and in turn assume the throne, the High Council has deliberated and decided on a way to ensure that the Kingdom remains well-looked after during that time…”
Lillian frowned, sensing that something was off and Flynn mirrored her expression. He too could sense the over-cocky attitude coming from not only the Prince, but from all of the Councilmen as well. Something was definitely not right.
“We as a collective have decided that a suitable leader would need to be chosen in order to maintain a safe and reliable rule over the Kingdom and its people until such a day comes for the heir to ascend to the throne. And of course we could think of no one more deserving and suitable for the role of King Reagent than the rightful Prince of Westoria, Marcus Lucas Krillian-“
Lillian sucked in a sharp breath as her eyes widened with terror.
“This is an outrage!” the General replied loudly. “He has no right to the throne.”
“You can’t be serious!” Zaar shouted at the same time, almost leaping out of his seat.
“Silence, please all of you.” one of the other councilmen chimed in from the seat beside Waan as everyone in the room began to hush and focus their attention once more.
Waan began to explain, “I understand you all have certain reservations about this decision, but I can assure you that the High Council has deliberated long and hard on the matter and we feel that this is the best course of action-”
Zaar interrupted this time.
“-Best course of action for whom exactly, Head Councilman?”
“Yes, as I understand it Lillian here is the Queen and therefore should get a vote in such matters of importance.” Shasharan pointed out. “May I enquire as to why she was not consulted on this?”
Waan looked to Marcus for a moment, then grinned.
“Yes we did take that into account, but with the Queen already going through the terrible shock of losing her husband, we chose not to burden her with such matters.”
Lillian narrowed her eyes, finally choosing to make her voice heard.
“I have heard enough!” she bellowed across the room startling everyone including Marcus, “Head Councilman Waan, are you saying that the High Council is overruling its Queen? Forgive me gentlemen but this all seems rather suspicious, that as the current ruler of Westoria I was not given a say in such an important decision as to who should rule until my child comes of age. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Every single one of the Councilmen turned to look at their leader Head Councilman Waan, who pursed his lips tightly together with a mixture of nerves and guilt as he decided how he should best respond to her. She was clearly not pleased with their decision.
“Your majesty, I understand that you are going through a difficult time right now and you have my deepest sympathies.” he began to apologise, causing Lillian to roll her eyes as he continued, “…But it is decreed that in the event of the King’s death, the High Council assumes leadership until the rightful heir is able to rule.”
Lillian was furious! There was no way she would allow a monster like Marcus to rule over her people even for a single second! She would die first!
“So, let me get this straight… You’re saying that Prince Marcus is to assume the role of King Reagent until my child is of the right age to rule? And what of your Queen? Are you saying that I am not fit to lead the people of Westoria on my own?” Lillian pressed with a displeased expression painting her face.
“Of course not my Queen. We are merely following along with Westorian tradition dating back centuries. Our Kingdom has always had a King to rule over its people. It symbolises great strength and stability when a Kingdom has both a King and a Queen…” Waan paused, seeming intent on continuing on, “Which brings me to my next point…”
“Which is?” Shasharan queried with raised brows.
Head Councilman Waan turned and meet Marcus’ gaze. From across the table Lillian watched as the cocky Prince gave the Head Councilman the nod to proceed and Waan turned back to face Lillian at the other side of the table.
“The High Council proposes that a union be made in order for the Kingdom to appear strengthened and united against any possible threats lurking beyond our borders.”
“A union?” the General asked.
“What kind of union?” Lillian added, her emerald eyes narrowed with suspicion.
“One by marriage, of course. Between our Queen and the future King Reagent.”
Lillian felt as her heart skipped a beat.
The room instantly exploded with a sudden eruption of angered voices and shouting as several seated around the table quickly stood upright to voice their opinion to those in attendance.
Amongst all of the angered voices, Lillian sat frozen in a state of shock with her eyes fixed on the Prince at the other side of the table. His hazel eyes met hers with a satisfied grin spread wide across his face as he contemplated all of the fun he would have with her as his Queen. And she would agree to become his Queen, he would make sure of that!
“This is an outrage, you can’t possibly expect her to marry her late husband’s brother!” Flynn demanded with disgust.
“It’s unheard of!” the General added.
“There is no way she would ever agree to something like this-“
“-I’ll do it.”
Lillian’s face was void of expression as her voice sounded, causing the entire room to silence within the fraction of a second as all eyes were on her. Those on her side of the argument appeared shocked by her sudden announcement as they stared at her with wide eyes and open mouths.
Calmly standing from her seat and staring the menacing Prince square in the eye she added her final comment confidently and without hesitation.
“Prince Marcus, I accept your proposal. I will become your Queen.”