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Change of Power


Orleans
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"You can't hide there forever you know." His voice echoed into her chambers. "Contain yourself but later we need to talk. DO you understand me?" She didn't reply. She didn't want to give him the satisfaction. Once she heard him give up his attempt to open the doors to her chamber she let out a sigh of relief. His footsteps echoed off the marble floor which frequent so much of the castle itself. Her only comfort at this point was that she was alone and no one could hurt her.

She buried her face into her knees while her hands played with the ends of her black skirt. She had cried her eyes out earlier so now all she could do was sulk. It sounded cliché at the time, but it was true: everyone she has ever loved is dead. One of her sisters went made and strangled their younger sister a year ago. Their mother took it very hard and never really recovered mentally. It eventually lead to the mad-sister being executed after having God knows what happen to her. The mother didn't last long after that. The guards claimed she walked the halls at night, muttering the names of her lost children. It wasn't long after that they found her dead. The father was crushed. He became cruel and hateful. His true love took her life and most of his children were dead. Some believed he was poisoned, but the doctors say it was a broken heart, or a heart attack to be scientific, is what killed him.

Her father died only this morning. By now she was almost numb to the concept of death. She was still devastated by the loss of family, but she could think more clearly now when death came walking by. She understood what it meant and what repercussions it could have but now that her father was dead She wasnt sure what this meant.

Hopefully her head would be on the guillotine next so that someone could mourn for her. No one outside of the castle knew yet but it would only be a matter of time before she heard those chilling, lonely yells. Long live the King! Oh how she hated those words.

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Eventually she came out of her chambers. The guards outside both bowed respectfully. "I am so sorry for your loss, your Majesty," one of the guards said. She winced when she heard "Your Majesty" but decided not to say anything. The only reason they bowed to her was because her blood was that of her father and mother and because, it seems, she was ordained by God. But from what has happened to her family, God must have really wanted her in power.

For being the next monarch of the Kingdom, she certainly did not look the part. Her hair was down and wavy like the Atlantic Ocean. She was barefoot and wearing casual clothing including a black skirt which ended just above her knees and a blue, white, and red shirt which sported the colors if her country. She had done a poor job at removing the mascara which had ran down her cheeks. She looked like a mess. At least she wasn't being criticized for how she looked. Most everyone in the castle and soon the Kingdom would come to understand her emotional state and that she had the power to make heads roll.

"My Queen, I am very sorry for your loss. Can I get you something do drink?" She turned to the younger servant girl and thought about slapping her but she decided that she needed to contain her emotions. "I am not your Queen yet, call me Princess." The servant-girl bowed and stepped back after she apologized. All the Princess had to do was get through this Saturday and tomorrow would be the day of rest. She still had to meet with the King's Council which she was on her way to now. Hopefully they werent planning to kill her. Democracy was overrated, dictatorships were evil, and monarchies worked well once every three generations (at least that is what her father always said).

By the time she had walked across the castle to meet with the Kings Council they were well-aware that she was on her way. "Good evening your majesty, please come in and join us. We have a few things to discuss."

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The Princess sat at the head of the table. She examined her fingernails and regretted that she hadn't painted them recently. Sir Edward was the man who had tried to come into her chambers earlier. It was obvious, at least to her, that he didn't respect her nor did he like her but they both had an unspoken agreement that they needed each other, for now.

"Your majesty, we will soon tell the kingdom that your father has died, God rest his soul," Sir Edward said. "Your father was a good king. He administered so much in the kingdom and made our jobs easy. But, he did this after years of study and advising." He was trying to gently tell her that the King's Council would be come a Regency Council and run the kingdom's day-to-day operations while she just sat there and looked pretty. Truthfully she did not know too much about politics or international affairs. She was only 16 and hadn't yet had the proper schooling. However, she did know that because she was 16 she was old enough to take power from the Regency Council whenever she wanted. The complexities of internal politics were not totally beyond her understanding.

"I believe that a Regency Council made up of you gentlemen is what is best for my people… our people. But I need a promise to be made to me by all of you, so help you God." The men in the room looked to Sir Edward for direction. He put his hand over his heart and said, "So help me God." The others did the same. The princes grabbed her breasts and looked them all in the eye. "I fear for my life every moment I live. I know a woman, or a girl for that matter, has never ruled this kingdom, but I intend to continue the House of Orleans. I do not want to be judged because I have breasts. I want your loyalty." She let go of her body and crossed her arms. She looked down at her naked feet and closed her eyes, "I understand I have many male cousins but they are not me."

Sir Edward was set back by the princess and the passion she had for her birth right. "None of them can say they are Princess Abigail of the House Orleans, rightful ruler of Snow Haven."

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Attending her father's funeral was not a fun experience. Abigail could feel the blood dripping from her heart into her arteries with each waking moment. Her eyes were watering badly but she forced herself not to cry or show too much emotion. The ceremony was not about her, it was about her father who was a benevolent and mostly peaceful ruler of a very benevolent and mostly peaceful kingdom. The bishop administering the funeral was a close friend of the former king and spoke with a sad tone which everyone took note of. The large cathedral that was usually used for happy ceremonies like weddings or just celebrating a mass was now a place of sorrow and dread. The princess really wanted to leave. She felt out of place at her own father's funeral. She wasn't sure if that was something to feel guilty about or not but she did feel guilty. 

 

After the funeral her father's body was buried in the crypt underneath their castle where generations upon generations of their family lay. Not many people had been inside the crypts. They were dark and somber, but also very quiet and relaxing. A good place to think.

 

A member of the Guards of the Sleeve (Garde du Corps) rested the flag of the Catholic church and then the flag of Snow Haven on her father's coffin. It was put to rest inside a stone tomb and shut for all eternity. He was gone. 

 

She sat in the crypts for a few hours. The guard from the Guards of the Sleeve stood by quietly and at all full attention for the hours upon hours the princess sat by her father's grave. Once she was satisfied that her father heard her goodbye's she left and went back to upper level of the castle. Within the next few days she would be crowned as Queen and would assume some responsibilities in leadership. 

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Abigail always enjoyed the winter palace in Liechtenstein. It was rich with history and a relaxing place to be. Liechtenstein was the the original size of Snow Haven until it grew to the big kingdom it was today. According to what she had been told by Sir Edward, she was going to be crowned here at the winter palace where her ancestors had been crowned long before her, including her father. The castle was not very big but it was plenty fancy and very safe. What Sir Edward had not told Abigail until now was what other plans he had for her to partake in while she was in her ancestral homeland. 

 

"You need to be married as soon as possible, princess," Sir Edward said. He was tall which made him appear to be a natural born leader but he was two self-centered and greedy to lead anyone. When he smiled you could see his intent to stab you in the back only hiding beneath his tongue. He was not an honorable man but he was not a man to be dishonored either because he would make sure that he got his way. 

 

"I have requested a few gentlemen to come here and meet you. As the soon to be queen you have the pick of the litter." Abigail couldn't help but feel disgusted. She crossed her arms in betrayal and bit her cheek within her mouth. "You promised me you wouldn't disregard me just because I am a woman." Sir Edward's eyes grew cold. He glared down at Abigail and stepped half a foot closer to her, "You mean girl, my princess." Those moments were so tense that the air could have been cut with a knife. He continued his little speech of why he was right and the princess was wrong. 

 

"I am not judging you because of your gender. I simply believe that every queen needs a king, the same goes for every king who needs a queen. Also many people are not as understanding as I am. They will believe there needs to be a man in your life, otherwise you would be unfit to rule. It would be a shame, my princess, if one of those people were to get a hold of you. I only have your safety and best interests at heart, but I can't protect you from everything. Do you understand what I am telling you?" Abigail reluctantly nodded her head. Sir Edward brought her to the library room where her potential husbands were waiting. 

 

Her cheeks flushed red when she entered the room with Sir Edward. Some of the men were two times or three times her age, the oldest appearing to be in his late forties. Others were from the House of Glass or the House of Stone that she had never met before but perhaps what was most terrifying was that many were from the House of Orleans, her House. To the far right was Thomas Orleans, to his left was Julien Orleans (her first cousin from Geneva), and to his left was Alexandre Orleans who was another of her cousins and was from Gersau. A few of the men she did not know but she felt she did not want to get to know any of them. 

 

"My Nobles, Sirs, and gentlemen, the Princess of Snow Haven and rightful heir to the thrown, Princess Abigail of House Orleans." They all bowed, some more than others, but said together, "My princess." She started to feel lightheaded but probably could not have collapsed even if she wanted to with all of the eligible bachelors waiting for an opportunity to save her from a fall. The way this was going to work, according to Sir Edward, was that Abigail would meet each man one by one and eliminate those who she did not pursue any further interest in. This felt eerily similar to a poorly-made American reality show but she couldn't bother at the time to make the connection. She thought about eliminating them all but knew that Sir Edward would not be happy if that was the case. 

 

First she met with Julien of House Orleans. They were alone in the library room for five minutes before he built up the courage to say anything. "My Princess I-" she stared him in the eye and started her own dialogue. "My Cousin, what brings you here to the castle of our honorable ancestors?" He must have been either forced to come or bribed because he too was uncomfortable, especially after she said that. "Sir Edward said that you were looking for-" she stopped him again, "I told Sir Edward no such thing, my Cousin. But you are going to tell him something, are you listening, Cousin?" 

 

The young man shyly eyed the princess who was dominating the conversation and nodded. "You're going to tell him that we had a pleasant conversation and you believe that I liked you, even though your mother is my aunt and you are my Cousin. Do you understand?" He nodded his head again and left. One down, but the others would not be that easy. He was maybe one year older than her which is why it was so easy to intimidate him, but most of the others had never met her before and would not be afraid of a young broad with a kingdom in her pocket. 

 

She interviewed a few more men, including the one is his late forties. He had no idea what romance was and kept asking her if she was a virgin to try to seduce her. He found out it wasn't working when she asked him to leave and call in the next bachelor. Her other cousin, "Sir" Alexandre of House Orleans. He was of the House Orleans, but his mother was of House Glass (Sir Edward's House). His father had died when he was young, and there was a rumor his mother had a part in it but to talk of such things was a "dishonorable" act. It was clear his allegiance was not strictly with House Orleans which is what worried Abigail. 

 

"My princess," said Sir Alexandre. He was twenty years old which made their age difference only four years. At first she assumed there would actually be hope here had they not been related. He was wearing some type of military uniform, probably related to his knighthood, and presented Abigail with a rose. "It is an honor to be in your presence." Instead of sitting in one of the other seats in the library room, he sat next to her on the love seat and placed his hand on her leg. A cold shiver went up her spine. His hand was cold like a demon's.

 

"Sir Alexandre, I'm sure that you know it is treason to touch the queen without our permission?" He moved his hand farther up her leg from her knee to the middle of her leg. She was happy she decided to wear a longer dress that day so his hand touched no more than fabric. She slapped him and stood up before things could get anymore inappropriate but he pushed her out of frustration against one of the bookshelves and forced his hand over her mouth. "Why are you being so rude you little-" she sunk her teeth into his hand and broke his skin good. He wailed out in pain and punched her in the jaw out of reaction. Abigail grabbed onto the bookshelf to stop herself from falling and managed to get back onto her feet. "Guards! Guards help!" she shouted. 

 

Two Guards of the Sleeve forced open the door that Sir Alexandre had apparently locked from the inside. The guards were at first confused and scared of Abigail who had blood running down her lip to her chin, she looked like a vampire. But they grabbed a better understanding of what was happening when they saw Sir Alexandre holding his hand. "Arrest Sir Alexandre, he assaulted me!" she cried like a helpless little girl. She wasn't a helpless little girl, but acting like one usually bought her sympathy. Sir Alexandre faced the guards and backed up. 

 

"I am a knight!" he shouted. The guards didn't care. They handcuffed him and turned to Abigail, "What would you like us to do with this traitor, my princess?" She wiped the blood off her chin and pointed down with that same hand. "Bring him to the dungeon down below. I will decide his punishment later." He screamed and kicked like a little boy who didn't get his way. Nobility and royalty had a tendency to do this but Sir Alexandre had a double dose of that particular ailment. 

 

One of Abigail's handmaiden's ran inside after the guards left and tended to her. She asked if she was alright or if she needed something to drink or if she wanted to take a nap. The only thing Abigail could think of is what else Sir Edward had in mind for Abigail and if he had planned this little event. If the audacious knight would have gotten his way with her she would have had two choices. Wed him and bare his child or claim she was raped and arrest him. Unfortunately, past incidents with the nobility proved that the women were not as virtuous as the old stores made them and sometimes slept around. Many danes and female royalty had claimed the horrendous crime had been forced on them by one of their enemies when really their child belonged to their secret lover. The important parts of the government, and her own House, would believe her but the rest of the kingdom and the other Houses might not. It would have been an interesting way to force her to give up the throne. Either let a rapist claim it or abdicate and watch a civil war unfold. What an evil plot. 

 

 

It didn't take a long time for Sir Edward to discover one of his top choices for the next king of Snow Haven had been thrown in a wet and cold dungeon fifty feet below him. Princess Abigail ran down as soon as she discovered Sir Edward knew. Her greatest fear was that he would free him. Had she not arrived when she did, that would have been reality. Sir Edward was glaring at Sir Alexandre. His face was bruised. The Guards of the Sleeve had a special allegiance to the princess that not even Sir Edward could manipulate. The Protectors (the normal army of Snow Haven) might be different though. It was to her distaste that a protector was guarding the cellar which Sir Alexandre was being held in. He was fumbling for the keys while Sir Edward watched carefully. The princess intervened. 

 

"What do you think you are doing?" Sir Edward wasn't surprised to hear her voice. He didn't even look her in the eye. "Freeing an innocent man. He was just excited to see you. A word of advice, my princess. Learn to take a compliment." 

 

"He grabbed my leg! He pushed me against the wall and covered my mouth! That is no compliment but a forceful threat!" Abigail turned to the guard who was stuck between the two most powerful people for hundreds of miles. "You will not release that man." The protector gulped and looked to Sir Edward, "I am the chief Regent of Snow Haven. You will release this man, it is best for the kingdom." The protector was terrified. "My princess, Sir Edward please-". 

 

"DROP THE KEYS" shouted the princess. The protector did so. Sir Edward grabbed them and pushed one into the dungeon door. "Arrest Sir Edward," she growled. Sir Edward faced the protector. "I am sorry my Princess, he is the chief Regent." Sir Edward unlocked the dungeon door and Sir Alexandre crawled out before getting to his feet. "Sir Alexandre, promise you will not touch the princess again without her permission." 

 

"I never-" Sir Edward looked at him with glass eyes. "I will not touch you again without your permission, my princess. I so swear it." Alexandre wasn't broken, that was the scary part. But before he left with Sir Edward she stepped in front of him. "Protector, give me your sword." Sir Edward turned around, "Don't do anything you might regret, my princess." The protector handed Abigail his sword very carefully. "Get one one knee, Sir Alexandre." He didn't know what was going on. Was she about to knight him again? 

 

Sir Alexandre took one knee and looked up at the princess. She placed the sword on the ribbon which represented his accomplishment of being knighted. "We will not forgive traitors and will always remember their names. We will punish evil, demand justice, and will always serve with honor. We are Queen," she stated formidably. "We will not be forced to do anything by anyone." She and God thrust the sword against Sir Alexandre's ribbon, ripping it off his uniform. No longer was he Sir Alexandre. "We strip you of your knighthood. Return home with no honor, Alexandre." Abigail dropped the sword and left the chamber. Alexandre could be heard weeping as he left the castle with nothing more but citizen's clothes. 

Edited by Orleans
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