"Everyone, raise your goblets in honor of King Niklaus and Queen Hayley with whom we wouldn't have been able to take back our lands from the Lockwood’s," King Damon announced throughout the large dining hall, garnering every nobleman's attention and appreciation. He gestured towards his brother, Prince Stefan. "We are forever in your debt. Anything you may need.
Klaus smirked and raised his glass higher. "Anything, you say?"
Everyone in the room drunkenly laughed at the King's quip before all resumed stuffing themselves on the fresh meats and fruits.
"How much longer do you plan to stay, your Majesty?" Queen Elena mumbled from Damon's side.
Klaus smiled at the young girl whom seemed to have everyone fooled with her false sincerity and sweet demeanor. If King Damon took notice of his wife's secretive glances toward his own brother, Klaus was sure she'd be beheaded. "Tired of my brother's troublesome antics around your home already?" As the girl sputtered he waved off her comment. "I believe my lovely wife is becoming homesick, even with your gracious hosting of our large entourage." He squeezed Hayley's hand, signally her to agree, which she acknowledged with an affirming nod.
"Nonsense," Damon exclaimed. "You must stay until after the festival."
"I'm afraid the King and Queen have stayed much too long for their kingdom's liking," Klaus's brother Elijah stated in his usual charming tone that left no room to argue, yet never seemed to cause offense. "Their subjects miss them," he finished, setting his goblet of wine on the polished table.
"Well, why wouldn't they with a benevolent leader such as yourself," Stefan muttered unenthusiastically from Damon's right side.
Klaus knew that Stefan didn't trust him, but then again he shouldn't. Klaus may have helped get Damon his lands back by lending his fierce soldiers, but now he had Damon under his thumb. The opportunity to help the Salvatore's was calculated and something that Klaus hadn’t been able to pass over.
The Salvatore lands, though smaller than the Mikalson's lands, were still a territory rich in resources. Klaus's brothers would jest how he wouldn't stop until he controlled all the resources on Earth, but Klaus knew it was true. Having the most resources meant having the most power and having power was one of Klaus's ambitions. He wanted control of all the lands and the kindness he gave to the Salvatore's was another step in his planning.
"More wine, your Majesty?" a young servant girl who batted her eyelashes suggestively asked.
Klaus smirked knowingly. "I'm parched." The girl bowed her head with a smile and seductive glance before swaying away from the table. Klaus watched her go and contemplated how he would ravish the beauty later that night.
"Don't stare too long, brother," Kol admonished from his side with a mischievous smile. "Otherwise your Queen will know you take other women to bed besides her."
Klaus glanced disinterestedly at Hayley who pulled her hand from Klaus's with barely concealed bitterness. "I think she knows," Klaus said and joined in with Kol's amusement.
"I'm tired," Hayley said from his side.
"Am I stopping you from going to your chambers?" Klaus questioned, eyeing the pretty brunette who would later warm his bed.
"I was hoping you would join me," Hayley whispered. "In my chambers," she clarified.
Klaus glanced at her, confused by her proposition.
It was no secret that the King and Queen had been betrothed at a young age and that their marriage had been a transaction between their parents. Both, not sleeping in the same chambers and usually not residing in the same parts of the castle was normal. They both knew their marriage would be like this and Klaus even afforded Hayley the luxury of having a male companion of her own, something that was kept a close secret. Klaus and Hayley both knew that if anyone outside of their circle found out about Hayley's affair he would have no choice than to kill her.
"I joined you for our monthly meeting a fort night ago," he discreetly stated for her ears only.
"And I'm not pregnant yet. We should see each other more often."
Klaus sighed. "Another child? We have four and I love them all. Another would cause difficulties between them."
"We have four girls. I want to give you a male heir," she said fiercely.
"It's unnecessary. Adrianna will rule once I'm gone. I think she'd do well once she's under my tutelage. She may look like you, my Dear, but she has the devil in her eyes."
"It's very necessary. I want my son to be king one day in the country you created. I want him to be ruthless and rule his lands with an iron fist. Just like this father."
"Careful. You should conceal your blood lust, not present it for all to see. It seems my desires have been rubbing off on you." He sat back and eyed her suspiciously as she fidgeted in her seat. "Unless..."
"I want another child," she stated plainly and Klaus sighed in understanding. Klaus knew she loved her title as queen and loved the power that came with it. Having a child to take the throne after he dies, especially a male, would guarantee her title as queen mother to go untouched. In these ways, Hayley and Klaus were the same. They both were power hungry by nature.
"I'll bring a guest with me," Klaus said in finality and eyed the woman across the room again.
"Good morning, Elijah," Klaus greeted as a servant helped him pull on his winter coat for the journey home.
"Did you have a good restful night, brother?" he asked, walking fully into the room and fixing his blue tunic in the mirror.
"Good, yes. Restful?" he shot his brother a wicked grin. "You should know since your room is across from mine. Did we keep you up?" he asked jokingly.
Elijah didn't smile at the jab. "We should be going. The weather doesn't look good and I wouldn't want the carriages to..."
"We'll be on our way soon," Klaus interrupted as the servant finished and scurried from the room. "You can have Hayley back once we reach our castle," he uttered discreetly, tugging on his thick leather gloves. When he was finished he turned to fully face his brother. "Is it jealousy that I'm detecting?" he asked, but Elijah's expression gave nothing away. "Not to worry, Elijah, the ice queen will soon be back to where she belongs. And don't fret, majority of the noise came from our other bed partner." He smirked and strutted from the room, Elijah following.
"It's good to be home," Klaus greeted as he stepped back into his courtyard, fondness for the familiar dirt under his boots and smells of leather and horses in the air. "Kol, I want to see you and Elijah to plan strategy."
Kol slung a long arm around his brother to complain. "Niklaus, we just got back. Look around, there are new play things scurrying around the castle."
Klaus turned and glared. He would see to the distractions later. "That means Rebekah must be visiting and before she makes any demands of me, we need to plan."
Kol rolled his eyes and turned to do what Klaus wanted. "And Kol, do..." He was struck silent as he caught a flash of gold out of the corner of his eye. When he looked again all he could see was a golden head bobbing through the crowd of people in the courtyard. When the crowd parted he could finally see her back as she spoke with a noblewoman. Her slender build was exquisite, her hair dangling in crisscrossed braids reaching her waist and the color of her hair was magnificent. It was a shade of gold he had never seen before and shined as bright as the sun. She was the sun, he thought. She was light.
When she turned his breath caught. She was more than lovely. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He only wished he was closer so he could see the color of her eyes that he knew would be stunning against her milky white skin.
The wine colored dress she wore looked wonderful on her, but Klaus knew that if she wore blue he would have to fight men for her. And he would. He knew in that moment he would fight an entire military regime for her. Not just because she was beautiful, but with one single look he felt lighter. His body radiated with warmth, the kind someone would get from being next to a fire after being in the cold for so long and he couldn't get enough of the feeling.
When their eyes met his heart raced and everything seemed to slow to a stop until Kol's voice broke the spell.
"Well isn't she a taste?"
"Say another word, and I'll tear out your liver," he managed to say while staring at the beauty.
She smiled timidly and he felt like a young boy again, not an experienced man, not a king.
"Nik, there you are. I heard you arrived and I'm upset that you didn't come find me right away. I am your sister after all."
He reluctantly turned to see his sister striding toward him with Elijah, the air of a queen that she wasn't.
"He was too busy ogling a fair maiden," Kol announced, to Klaus's ire.
"The boy king," she teased.
"Still bitter you're just a duchess?" Klaus jabbed back, taking one last look at the maiden before making his way into the castle and into one of the many rooms he used for private strategy sessions.
Rebekah tossed her white blonde hair to the side with a huff as she glided through the entryway. "I'll be queen as soon as that old hag dies and Philip takes the throne," she spoke brazenly.
Elijah held her upper arm in a bruising grip. "Don't speak like that, Rebekah," he said forcefully. "If someone overhears it's treason and I don't even think Niklaus would be able to save you."
She glared, but said no more as she sat close to the fire burning in the large stone fireplace.
"If you're finished for the time being, Sister, we all need to discuss our next move," Klaus asked, but didn't wait for an answer as he moved towards the map spread out on a large table.
The map showed every land that had been discovered and would probably be redrawn again once his explorers came back to the country with their findings.
Klaus took a piece of charcoal and lightly traced the Salvatore's land, meaning it would eventually be his, if only for the temporary alliance. All Klaus needed was time and he was a very patient man. Most of the map was filled with dark charcoal smudges, marking the territories he had conquered in his tenure as king. He marveled at the large area of the Fell's he had taken in a swift battle and the area of the Saltzman family that had been a bit more difficult to take, but was eventually overcome by Klaus's strong warriors.
Klaus stared at one of the largest territories on the map that hadn't been blemished with his dark lines. The Lockwood’s. He needed to find leverage against them. Something that the King and Queen most treasured. The thought of kidnapping their son Tyler crossed his mind for a split second, but he shook it away. He didn't want to win a country through anything but battle. He wanted the smug Lockwood’s, who thought themselves untouchable, to grovel at his feet in surrender. He wanted to take the crown from King Lockwood's head as it rolled toward his feet. Any other way would be dishonorable.
Maybe he could use his alliance with the Salvatore's, but their military was weak.
Klaus sat back in his chair and put his hands together, debating on what to do next as Kol sat by Rebekah, teasing her, and Elijah gazed out a window, probably thinking how soon he could be with the queen again.