Chapter 24: CLASH OF ROYALS
“You trapped them in!” Thomas shouted, beside himself with anger. Being the ruler fueled his aggression, because closing the doors was not his decision. He wasn’t even consulted about it. Rather, his sister, who decided not to wear the ring, who decided that she did not want the responsibility, decided for Springborough that they would close up the walls. Which, at the time, Thomas was only miffed that he wasn’t asked for his thoughts, but now, he was absolutely sure that it was the wrong decision.
The logic was that closing the doors kept all other enemies out, and therefore, Springborough could deal with anything they currently had going on. It made sense, except for the fact that Springborough never had to deal with anything like they were currently faced with, and so therefore, trapping the people with the skeletons was only driving the entire Kingdom insane. From inside the Great Hall, the royal children heard their people scream and shout. They heard cries of pain, yells of refusal, and a variety of sounds from homemade weaponry fighting against exposed bones. It didn’t take long for Kyrstin and Thomas to appear unsettled.
It took even less time for Prince Thomas, Second of His Name of the House Lishens, Ruler of Springborough, to lose his temper.
“You were not making any decisions,” Princess Kyrstin retorted against her brother. She felt guilt, but it was quickly extinguished when her brother decided to go off the deep end at her. Her guilt went to defense, and her defense was an offense of lashing out. “Perhaps if you acted like a ruler, you could rule!”
“I am ruler! Whether we like it or not, or should you want the ring?”
“Your majesties,” Corson said, interjecting, hoping to bring the fight to a close. Ever since King Daniel and Queen Jenniffer had gone away, Corson had felt the time had gone smoothly. Yesterday was the first day he felt somewhat like a watcher of children when they both decided to run off into the woods. Today, it seemed like the immaturity had remained. Patrick the Giant, the one whose temper everyone worried about, was the only one who seemed to have kept a sane head. That was what Corson was thinking anyway, when he turned to look down the Great Hall and saw the bear tied up against a column. Oh yeah… Patrick had brought home a pet. A pure “I found this, can we keep it?” child moment.
“I can’t just stay in here, can I?” Thomas thought out loud to himself. His eyes scanned the dozen or so guards still in the Great Hall, and he scrutinized every one of them.
“You can’t go out there,” Kyrstin stated.
“And why not? I’m trained, aren’t I, Corson?”
“By the best,” Corson said, head held high. Compliments came rarely in the practical Kingdom of Springborough, and so he made sure to compliment himself whenever possible.
“Should something befall you, what would happen to the Kingdom? You can’t just go out and fight. You must not think just of yourself, but of everyone.”
“Is that what you did? Running off into the forest yesterday?”
“That was yesterday!” Kyrstin shouted, her emotions getting the best of her. She was having trouble containing it all inside.
“And this is today, and there won’t be a tomorrow for any of us if we don’t act fast. You want to think of the Kingdom? There will be two Lishens out there. You stay in here. Stay safe, and there will always be someone to rule. In the mean time, our brother Patrick is out there. Our people are out there, and I mean to be out there as well. Corson? Let’s go.”
“You should wear your armor, sir,” Corson suggested as Thomas made way for the door in just his regular afternoon clothes, a jacket over a shirt, pants that were tucked into his boots, a sword sheathed to his waist. Nothing one would wear into a battle, that’s for sure.
“You should have trained me to sword fight in armor, then. As it stands, I can only see it as a hindrance.”
Prince Thomas was right. Anytime he had ever wielded a sword, he had done so without the heavy, restrictive motion of a full suit of armor. In the earlier years of his life, his father had been having armor fashioned for him, but as he kept growing, the practice was stopped. It was only a year away, his father had promised to return to making Thomas-sized armor, thinking that around thirteen years of age, his growth spurt would come and go, and the blacksmiths could get a handle on just how large the suit of armor should be.
They would waste precious time trying to find something to fit Thomas now.
“Don’t worry, Corson, I have my training to protect me.”
“Gods save the Kingdom, you weren’t listening half the time!” Corson smiled, hiding the fact from the Princess that he was actually serious that he didn’t have too much faith Thomas could handle what they were about to face outside. He knew he was going to have to watch the young Prince as they went against the skeletons.
Thomas, not waiting any longer, began to walk toward the tall doors of the caste, toward the violence and anarchy occurring outside in the brilliant sunlight. He grasped his sword handle, and unsheathed the blade, ready to enforce his will. Ready for the first time in his life to kill something. He had, until this point, been completely against violence. It wasn’t until he heard the screams of his people that he understood what was necessary. He wondered if his father would be proud of him if he saw him, the young Prince, the sharp blade, the confidence, the leadership as the rest of the knights followed him out.
“Stop!” Kyrstin shouted from her pulpit on the throne.
Thomas did, obligingly. He turned to face his sister who stood there, equally as confident. He wondered when they had aged so much that they actually appeared to know what they were doing. He felt like a knight, she looked like a queen. This was absolute madness, and he hoped they had a day, when they acted like kids again, to laugh about this moment.
Kyrstin descended down the steps and headed toward her brother. The knights parted, letting her through, and they stood at attention, which, when royals were present, “attention” meant you were present physically, but mentally- the royals talked about whatever they wished and the knights were not supposed to pay it any mind. So, when Princess Kyrstin approached Prince Thomas, and there was no time for them to leave the room, everyone ignored how the girl reached her hand, and put her palm to his cheek.
She smiled at him.
“Stay close to our brother Patrick. Keep your sword up and your wits about you. And once every bone lies on the ground, turn around, and come back to the castle. We must prepare for the fact that JJ might not be successful at quelling the Fortis rebellion.”
“I will, sister,” Thomas responded. “Start the planning without me, and I’ll be back just as soon as I can.”
It was as close to an apology from either of them yelling at each other as they were going to get.
The doors opened, and the afternoon sun came in, sending long shadows of all the knights and royals down the Great Hall floor. Thomas gave one last smile to his sister, making sure her last image of him was one of happiness and confidence, and he grasped his sword, and headed out into the ruckus with his knights and Corson.
As the doors shut behind him, Kyrstin turned into her castle and to her thoughts. She would need to study everything she knew of Fortis, a village she had never been to herself. She had only been from the Kingdom to her grandmother’s cottage, and back again. She wondered if her grandmother was watching her at that moment, if her grandmother was proud or anxious.
Kyrstin guessed anxious, for she herself was.
With that, she called for Stella and Jasper, and all her other servants, in hopes that together they could come up with some sort of plan to protect Springborough.