Since I was born up untill now, I have witnessed only two executions, this will be my third and hopefully should be less dramatic. It was going to be done smoothly and without delay.
The first was when I was eight, it was an old woman who happened to be an intruder in the kingdom. She lived in Troizinia and practiced dark magic. She had the Duke of Troizinia under a spell and was almost using him to tear the royal family apart.
The next one happened when I was eighteen. Dino - a brave soldier of Doxa who was dismissed on the account of endangering the crown's life during an official duty in a foreign land.
He later chose to rebel against the crown by recruiting and building his own army which turned out to be a terrorist group attacking innocent people and villages, causing chaos to the kingdom.
When he was eventually caught, he was killed by severing his head from his body unlike the old woman who was burnt alive.
Though I was much younger then, these memories never left, just as another will soon be added to it.
Waking up a little earlier, I prepared myself before going out into the arena which was mostly used for large gatherings, like this.
I was dressed in the full Doxa ceremonial attire, Korina helped me, fastening the last belt across the shirt.
While at it, There were some really disturbing noises, more like confrontational sounds coming from outside the yard, I listened keenly and singled out the queen's voice, I smiled amused to myself.
I expected her.
She was granted access in after I sent words to the gurads.
"Morning Your majesty" I greeted her "Please don't raise your voice at me.. it's too early" I further warned her coldly before she said a word.
Her eyes dark and filled with anger, rage and fury as she gawked at me with her mouth slightly parted.
Breaking the contacts, she sighed and sat down. I knew she was controlling her emotions.
"What are you doing Eridian?..... I've been indulging audience with you for sometime now, but you keep ignoring me....You can't execute your uncle.. he's your blood" She spewed quickly her heart's burden.
"Its too late mother...... The court found him guilty of treason and convicted him.....Not I?"
"You brought back the initial report..... you implicated him"
"Implicate, you say when clearly he was out to end my fathers lineage" I snapped at her, rising to my feet. "What do you want here mother.. I've got no time on my hands"
"Please...., my son.... These are the men that would make you king and support you right there in the throne. Castor had no evil intentions "
What was this woman blabbing? She is sounding like one with an ulterior motive.
"What do you mean make me king?" I gave her a questioning look as she took in sharp breaths.
"You can't start your reign as king this way...not by condemning someone. The people want a compassionate man and that is who you are son.... you're a man with a good heart, a man of peace and love.... "
My mother was right. This was not me and has never been me. I'm not one who condoles violence but then, I'm not the one who convicted him. The people did and I'm only giving approval to their request.
I drew in a long breath, raking my hands through my hair, frustration already building up as I took a seat close to the queen... blinking multiple times in thoughts.
"Forgive him son" her voice soft and low.
"And you....? Your hearing is tomorrow.... what should I do to you?" I cocked my head to stare at her face, waiting for her answer. I could sense her fear as she swallowed hard.
"Forgive me" My face was immediately drained off every emotion at her words, my blood boiling hot with anger and I struggled not to clench my fists.
"After everything you did to Aris?" I spoke in a harsh rising tone through gritted teeth.
"I didn't like her for you... I still don't. I only acted in a way any loving and protective mother would act" she defended herself as she's ways done through her series of hearings.
"You went too far mother. Tarnishing someone's image negatively. What if she was your daughter?.... oh I forgot that you even did it to your own daughter... your flesh and blood" I scoffed delving a little into the memory.
"Katherine was trouble for us and she was going to be the end of our family if i didn't send her away"
"That was irrational.....she was only a child.....A child" I scolded.
"No she was wasn't..... she was evil and possessed by demons and they were too strong"
"Your highness, we are ready to leave" Ian's voice called out, interrupting us as I stood up letting out a wicked half smile
"Duty calls mother, I have to leave"
She held my hands warmly, looking so innocent. "Please son reverse the judgement, start on a clean slate.... you will become king very soon. Dont rule like your wicked father. That's why he's sick.... its mysterious" she uttered and abruptly I shot her a confused stare.
"Mysterious....." I squinted my eyes in introspection, thoughts rummaging my head.
Realizing the information she had just leaked, she stood up demurred. Placing a hand on my shoulders, she squeezed softly, "Please..... consider my request"
"Your highness" Gaius rushed in with his eyes widened, breathing and panting heavily.... murmuring inaudibly. "Your majesty " he bowed to the queen.
"What is it Gaius?"
"We have a situation sir, Lord Castor almost harmed himself in course of the night and is currently being taken to the infirmary" he reported.
"Shit" I murmured massaging the back of my neck. "Where the hell is Theon, I gave him the fucking order to watch him closely?" I shouted angrily and abruptly walked out of the room.
Moments later, I was sat in the kings bedroom. These happenings were becoming overwhelming for me to bear.
After explaining everything that happened to the king, how lord Castor tried to slit his wrist veins and all of that, I saw a wave of disappointment flush through his face.
"I'm sorry father. The doctor said, in a weeks time, he will recover. So the execution day has been moved" I looked down at my fingers from where I sat avoiding the kings facial expressions.
Fully aware he could not see me, I still didn't want to look at him because i felt i had let him down and ashamed of myself.
"Eridian, a king needs to be brave, stubborn and firm sometimes, especially in his decisions, knowing that not all of his decisions and actions would be accepted by everyone. Always, you would have opposers. Now how do you handle them?" He paused for my response.
"Err.....uhm.....Divide the house" I stammered.
He chuckled. "Not everytime the house needs to be divided. In times like that, a king activates his stubborn and firm side, standing on his words...no matter what"
"I'm very sorry Father.... I will surely rectify this" I sighed heavily and he smiled.
"However, what plans have you put in place to return Aris back to the palace?"
"Honestly father, none.... I'm blank and confused" I shook my head.
"Uhmm.... I've not really discussed it with him"
"You have one of the best advisors in the whole of Doxa.... I intentionally assigned him to you because of his intelligence and wisdom. Please regard him especially in times like this..."
"Yes your majesty"
"One month is left for you to get married so make haste unless you want your mother to do it for you....." he smiled. "How is she by the way?"
"She's fine...." I sighed heavily again, recalling my obligation.
"Tomorrow is another day for a big decision"
"I know right....." I huffed. "I want to forgive her but still, a part of me wants to punish her for what she did to Aris"
"Thats the spirit son, Follow your heart.... I have never envisaged a moment, where your mother will be at war with me, fighting,... like I was her enemy"
"Yea..... me too" I nodded in agreement. "She's just angry at me and took it out on you.." I paused and thought about what i just said, linking it up to what she said earlier concerning mystery.
What if she was connected to the king's sickness? Was that what Gemma tried to reveal the other night that she couldn't? Rather she kept sobbing uncontrollably till I was exhausted and had her escorted back to her chambers.
From the look of things, it was obvious she had a lot to say but it felt like, something kept restraining her.
Nah.... the queen can't go to that length.... wait a minute... yes she can go to any length and in a jiffy, fear overshadowed me causing me to quiver when the king called my name as I had kept silent for a while.
"Are you still there?"
"Yes father" I answered stuttering and moved closer to sit by his bedside.
He searched for my hands and I offered it to him, he held them, squeezing tightly. "What is the problem?. You sound agitated"
"Its nothing I can handle father" I calmed his curiosity. "I need your help urgently" and before he could ask, I spilled. "Can I revoke the judgement on Aris using your seal"
"You've been using my seal Eridian before now -"
"Ofcourse but with your permission"
"Well..... you can but on one condition"
My heart skipped hundreds of beats in split seconds on hearing the word 'condition'. Instantly I wondered what impossibility the king wanted me to do?
I summoned up the courage and demanded for the condition. "I'm all ears Father"
With a deep soft shaky voice he spoke "Kathy..... Please bring her back. I miss her and if I would eventually die someday, let me feel her presence once more before I transit"
I closed and squeezed my eyes tightly, feeling the pains that accompanied his words. They were heavy even in my heart.
I wouldn't say Katherine was the kings favourite but they were fond of each other and she was closer to him than the queen while growing up.
So I clearly understood the heart break, pain and hurt he's had to live with all these years. These and many more spurred me to make the promise.
"I will do everything within my power to look for princess Katherine and return her not only to her land of origin..... but also to her home.....and her family"
"Then we have a good deal" he smiled. "Thank you so much son..... Now go get your wife" He encouraged excitedly as I hugged him.