10- Sarina Whiteclaw
Artemis was so well organized and observant that after the first couple of days she had everything running like clockwork. I barely had to lift a hand before she had it filled with what I needed. It may have be a little early to promote her but it would have happened eventually, I'm sure of it.
We were currently in my town car returning from a tour of a children's hospital that had just opened a new wing. We had spent the last few hours walking the hospital campus so that I could meet with wealthy officials in the hopes of raising money for the hospital. Poor Artemis' limp was atrocious at the end of it, but even with the endless hours of standing and waking she never made a peep of complaint.
I looked over to study her on the other side of the back seat. She was gazing out the window watching the various road features passed by. She looked tired although she would never admit it.
I enjoyed her presence. There was always something so calming about her. It was nice being the one comforted rather than doing the comforting for once.
There was still so much I wanted to know about her. Her file was pretty scarce and I had every intention of interrogating my brother about her, but he conveniently was sent away before I could. He is in for a verbal ass chewing when he comes back. I knew the girl wasn’t his lover but I still wasn’t sure why he brought her here.
“Artemis,” I called toward her. “Tell me about your home pack. Was it big?” Artemis turned to face me with her eyes wide and unsure.
“Not small but not big. I think last time I updated the registry we had just under 200 members.”
“You were in charge of the registry?” The poor girl looked at her fidgeting hands before she answered.
“Not in charge. More like just helped. I helped with most of the records and things. I liked keeping it organized making sure everything was noted and in it’s place. Alpha Langston tried his best but got overwhelmed with it easily and his son Dalton was more of a warrior and less of a clerk.” I smiled as she opened up to me.
“You must of been really close with them to have them trust you with such a responsibility.” Having seen the Royal pack records myself I knew how complicated they could be. It took skill to have them done right.
“They are more like family at this point.” I was relieved to hear that. Her files said she was an orphan. That could be hard on anyone but I was happy her pack stepped in for her parents.
“You must miss them very much.”
“I do with Alpha Langston. I have only been able to send him a few letters but Dalton came to the capitol with me so I get to see him every so often. I saw him even more when I worked in the laundry facilities.”
“He’s here in the capitol? That’s good to hear. What is he doing here?”
“Oh he’s here training with the Royal Guard.
“Well I am glad you have one more familiar face here with you.”
We spent the rest of the car ride back to the palace in quiet silence. There was more I wanted to ask her but I didn’t want to push her too soon. I was an expert player of the patient game.
Once we were back within the palace apartments I let the weight of the day’s events finally take it’s toll on me.
“Artemis are there any other appointments today.” I don’t think I could muster myself to stand on ceremony any more.
“No ma’am. I made sure to keep your evening clear since I knew today would be long.” Bless that child.
“In that case I am going to take a rest. Please don’t let anyone disturb me.” Artemis nodded her head. I only was able to take a few steps towards my den before there was a knock at the door. The person on the other side felt like a ball of yarn the was wound a bit too tight. I gave a large sigh. Of all the people...
Artemis rushed to open the door and greeted the intruder. Her body tensed as soon as she saw who it was.
“I’m sorry your majesty. The queen is resting.” My son’s feelings immediately turned to disappointment. Curses. I couldn’t let the poor boy suffer.
“It’s all right Artemis,” I called to interrupt her. “He can come in.” Artemis looked towards me her eyes unsure. She obviously knew I was tired and wanted to let me rest, even if it meant turning away a king. “It’s alright,” I assured her. “He won’t be long.”
At my insistence she opened the door and stood to the side allowing Oberon to enter. As he walked past I couldn’t help but notice him try to stare at Artemis through his side eye. Oh dear, we can do so much better than that! I didn’t give him an opportunity to speak to her before I pulled his attention to me.
“Oberon. Another surprise visit? How lovely. I thought you were to be in meetings all day.” I could feel his emotions churn inside him.
“We are on a break at the moment. I heard you were returning so I thought would stop by to see you.” Sure. We’ll let him think I believe that.
“Well then come sit with me then. My legs are killing me” I gestured back toward the sitting area. He slowly walked towards the couches still side eyeing the poor girl.
“Artemis could you tell the kitchen to get me a glass of warm milk.” Artemis smiled at me as her relief hit me. She was still nervous around Oberon.
“Yes ma’am,” she answered bowing
before leaving the room. My son’s disappointment filled the space she left.
I was enjoying this a bit too much.
“Come dear,” I called to him. “Tell me what trivial matters were on the agenda today.”
I spent the next 10 minutes or so listening to him drone on about whatever policy was on the table today. I felt bad for Oberon. This was the less glamorous side of being royal.
We were deep in discussion about a trade a agreement when I felt a conflict brewing in the hallway. Based on the emotions I was feeling I knew one person was most likely Artemis and the other was someone I didn’t care to see.
Crescent Ingrival. A spoiled brat if ever there was one. I could feel her anger as a weight pressing down on Artemis, trying to force her will on her.
Without saying a thing I rushed to the door ready to save the poor girl. Oberon was confused at my sudden departure from my conversation. Before I reach my goal the door opened and in walked Artemis holding a tray.
“I’m sorry, you will have to just come back another time,” she called out of the hallway as she limped through the door. I could feel Crescent’s anger boiling over but before the dreadful woman could respond Artemis shut the door on her essentially blocking her out.
I stood in shock looking at her. The sweet girl just shut the door in Crescent Ingrival’s face. It wasn’t until the girl had walked in a few steps that she saw Oberon and me there still gawking at her. She looked between the two of us confused.
“Is everything ok ma’am,” she spoke gently. I looked at the door unsure if it would fly open with Crescent’s rage, but it remained closed leaving the room oblivious to the disaster kept outside.
Artemis still looked at me expectantly.
“Is everything all right with you my dear?” I asked in return. I couldn’t imagine what verbal torment that wicked girl put her through. Artemis silently looked at the door and thought for a moment before replying.
“Nothing that needs attention now,” she replied. I couldn’t help the soft smile that grew on my face. This girl was gentle and soft, but she was not a pushover. She could do well here. The commotion outside made us all forget why Artemis was sent out to begin with. She still held a tray awkwardly holding a mug and some pills.
“Is that for me?” I asked redirecting the attention to the tray. Artemis looked questionably to the tray before remembering she was even holding it.
“Oh yes! Sorry ma’am. Warm milk like you requested and I brought some ibuprofen as well.” Thoughtful as always she was. She sat the tray down on the long tea service table for my convenience.
“Anything else ma’am?” She asked.
“No, I’ll be fine for now. Go ahead and take a rest yourself. I’ve kept you on your feet too much today. You deserve a break.” Artemis gave me one last head bow with a “thank you ma’am,” before leaving the room to return to her quarters.
Once she left I went to the tray she left and popped the pills in my mouth before washing them down with the mug of warm milk. I then turned back to Oberon whom I almost forgot was still in the room. He was staring at the door Artemis left out of. His emotions were a combination of affection and sadness.
“Mother?” he said in a questioning tone. “The scars on her face and the limp, do you know what happened?” I folded my arms and stepped closer to him.
“I do not. I’m still getting to know her.” Oberon’s brow furled in concentration. “I do know that she was very close with her pack Alpha.” Oberon growled at that statement. “In a father like way.” I quickly added. “The way she talked about him it sounded like he and the pack treated her very well. “ Oberon nodded at my statement which seemed to eas some of the tension he felt.
“That’s good.“ We stood quiet for a minute before he snapped out of whatever melancholy mood he was in. “Well I must return to the counsel room. I will see you again soon mother.” He walked up to me place a kiss on my cheek before walking out my door, finally giving me the peace I craved.