(Read the First Part here….)
Duke Aphrall watched the Lady Helena stand from the Council table and walk out of the room, leaving the Prince’s Council meeting behind. Though her face was the epitome of calm composure, he wondered if she was seething in frustration the same as he. Since she had arrived in their kingdom Prince Very had given her only a day to rest from her travels before he pressed on her the importance of the trade route being reopened between his kingdom of Renly and hers of Moulat.
This news must have come at a surprise to her, for Aphrall had not briefed her on his strategy before she had been called before the Prince. Though if she was, she didn’t miss a beat in her response. Lady Helena and her entourage caused quite the buzz around the palace. Their outfits were vibrant, full of lacework and gauze – items that were hard to come by here, and dress cuts that were considered indecent by this kingdom’s standards. Helena wore her differences like a badge of honor and, Aphrall thought, as a way to stress to the Prince all the things he was not able to have.
The air in the room was suddenly stifling, and the other Council members were at a slight unease as they waited for what would happen next.
“Father,” Duke Aphrall began after the doors had closed behind Lady Helena. “If I may speak freely?”
“It has been a week and you have yet to convince her of trade. Was that not our agreement?” The Prince cut in with words of his own. “I have allowed you to that Moulatian here with the members of her company, have given them suitable rooms right here in the palace, freedom to go along the grounds as they wish, and my generosity is flung in my face with her unwillingness to do one thing in return.”
Aphrall’s chair groaned against the floor as he stood quickly. “First of all, that Moulatian has a name. She is the Lady Helena of Moulat, cousin of the Queen, and heir to the Kingdom. You should —“
“Watch your tone.” The Princes’ sharp words cut off that of his sons and time froze for a few moments. He drummed his fingers on the table, a plan coming to mind. “Lady Helena shall be our guest until such time an agreement is made. That is all.”
Duke Aphrall grit his teeth but said nothing more to his father the Prince. Instead, he left to find his Lady.
Lady Helena was abiding her time in the western gardens of the palace. She liked it there for in it were old ruins – added as decoration surely – but they reminded her of home. Her people believed in the old arts and traditions, and they had a way of talking to the plants and trees. Some called them mystics. This was how the Duke found her, sitting amongst the flowers. Her ladies moved aside as they saw the Duke near.
She looked up as she saw him approach. “I was warned what would happen if I came here, yet I believed otherwise and trusted your words.”
“Helena, listen to me,” Duke Aphrall extended his hand. “Come. Please. Sit with me. I assure you my intentions are as true as before.”
Helena took his hand and rose from the ground, and followed him to the bench nearby. “Darling. Listen. Listen to me.” He began. “All you have to do is sign the papers to re-establish trade.”
“And what if I don’t?” A letter had already been dispatched to her Queen days ago speaking on the situation and asking her opinion. “What if she does not agree?
Duke Aphrall pulled her into his lap and kissed her hand. “Then I do not believe he will let you go.” Sensing her tension he continued. “But don’t worry. I will take care of everything.”
. . . . To be continued. . . .
Top – toksik – Remnant Uniform Top @ Ota-Con Event
Pants –toksik – Remnant Pants @ Ota-Con Event
Ryanna (that’s me)
Outfit: !gO! Telimena – Sunrise
Hat: !dM deviousMind “Elizabeth” **ROSE**
Decor: @ Fantasy Faire
Simply Shelby – Medieval Stone Corner Bench
Simply Shelby – Wildflower mix
Pose is FOXCITY – Close