Knights in Shining Armor (And Princes in Love)

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iii

This is getting ridiculous, Crown Prince Veran Dazeriatt thought to himself, careful not to display his feelings of frustration on his face while the advisors of the King were present, no matter how much their presence infuriated him every time.

“We say this out of concern, Your Majesty.” One of them, Lord Vanshire with his sharp eyes and lanky stature, spoke up. “The Crown Prince is yet to make a strong impression among the subjects. As much as it distresses us to say this, Prince Veran still appears as a naive, sheltered youth in the eyes of the people, sire. It would be troubling if some of them did not recieve his ascendence to the throne with sincerity.”

“And pray tell, how would I be able to achieve that? By plundering dirt poor territories and terrorising innocents?” Veran responded, finally breaking his silence since the council began. “I am grateful for your concern but I do hope you come up with better propositions than your past attempts. Savagery does not suit the Dazeriatt Court, Lord Vanshire.”

Oh if he wasn’t the Crown Prince, Veran was sure he’d be dead by now if the glares directed towards him were of any indication. Quite a number of the Lords present were not too fond of him since his every action went against their beliefs. Too bad for them he was the Crown Prince and the one they would be serving in the near future. He returned their disdainful stares, mentally crossing off each of them from his list of potential advisors after his Crowning. Petty as it may seem, he took joy in the fact that he could use his power to get rid of those prejudiced old men.

“That’s enough, Veran.” There was a firmness in the voice of Leon Dazeriatt, High King of Tretho, that even Veran couldn’t ignore. The advisors quieted down as well, heads bowed. “Prince Veran is Crown Prince for a reason. He’s been trained to become the next one to ascend the throne ever since he came of age. Though he lacks in many ways--“

Veran struggled to maintain a stoic face, almost flinching at the icy look King Leon cut across his way. It took everything in him to not bow his head and fix his gaze down like a kicked puppy; he did enough of that when he was a child. Instead, he focused his gaze on the sharply cut dark jewels on the crown settled on his father’s head. The same would be sitting on his own head soon enough, brittle looking with swirls of gold and silver forming a broad band before rising up like fading flames of ethereal fire ending slightly above the band in sharp points. His father never was one for excessive jewels weighing him down so there were only a few small ones scattered on the broad band around the head. It wasn’t the most extravagant looking thing but it held a delicately dark air that matched his father’s presence. Veran knew he could get a new one made once he truly comes into power but the thought of that crown sitting on his head for the entirety of his Coronation ceremony made him shiver.

“Lord Vanshire, as well the rest of you, need not concern yourselves with how Prince Veran looks in the eyes of commoners. He will be the next ruler and they will follow his commands. As will you all.”

Leon Dazeriatt might have been growing older by the day but he seemed no less powerful and intimidating than he did before time caught up to him. And just as cruel. His tall height made for an imposing figure that even old age could not get rid of, with his crown nestled firmly in a head full of hair that was once light as early morning sun but now turned to a paler shade, as if time had leached his youth through his hair.

“Prince Veran will continue to attend to matters that need his attention, rest assured. You are all dismissed.”

With a slight wave of his hand, the advisors scuffled out of the hall, leaving Veran with his father. He suddenly missed the prickly bastards but then again he would rather prefer anyone’s awful company over his own father’s. Quite the lovely family they made, truly.

“Despite what you might think of these old fools, I do expect you to maintain a certain level of decorum. Behave more like the Crown Prince you’re soon to be, Veran.”

“Yes, Fa--Your Majesty.” Veran muttered in response, hoping his resentment didn’t show too clearly on his face, lest it be against the manners of a Crown Prince.

“Before you leave, I had discussed with your dear Uncle the matter of appointing the two Knights from the sister nation as your personal guards until the ceremony is done and over with,” his father continued, “They’d be arriving tomorrow and will be accompanying you everywhere and to every event.”

“What about Cirthe?” Veran asked, already dreading where this conversation seemed to be headed.

“Knight Cirthe will be attending to other duties and continuing her training with Adras. I’m sure she’d appreciate some time off.”

“But she’s--She is the only one who’s familiar with my routines and schedules and knows how to handle what situation while also guarding me.”

He already knew it was a lost battle, given that this was his father he was arguing against. The man would be the last person willing to change his mind on whatever he’s decided upon.

But the thought of not having Cirthe by his side everyday, for weeks, months, god knows how long, sent a terrible pang through his chest that had him fumbling for any excuse that came to his mind.

“I’m sure your new guards are more than capable of attending to whatever you need and fulfilling whatever duties that child was expected of. They’re of the highest stand, Veran. They’re more than capable of replacing Knight Cirthe.” Leon drawled as he made to turn away from his son in a silent dismissal.

Replace, Veran thought to himself. That’s what Leon was hoping to do, replacing Cirthe with someone else regardless of how much more competent she was at the duties expected of his personal knights.

“Why?” He asked, the tension taut in his body.

His father was silent for a long moment, enough for Veran to think he wasn’t even considering it worth his time to answer.

“Take this as a chance to sort out....your priorities. The next King would not exactly pose the best picture being close with a commoner with no known background and family history.” His father’s tone was so casual as if he was just discussing his choice of meal and not breaking apart his own son’s life piece by important piece.


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