Envy: The Flight of the King (PROMO), p.1Miller Publishing Limited
Envy: The Flight of the King
The Cardinal Sins Chronicles
Roshane O. Miller
Copyright © Roshane O. Miller 2004
Copyright © 2004 by Roshane O. Miller
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy or otherwise, without the express written permission of the author.
Miller Publishing Limited
Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
In the mythical realm of Sardonem, in the kingdom of the Lacobrigas, the union of King William Arthur Marcus Armandi of the House of Bourbon and Queen Mariana Vivica Francesca Victoria of the House of Lacovia - Bourbon has brought forth a son; the prophesied saviour of that realm. He is expected to be great, he is needed to be powerful, yet he is but a child. How then shall he do what is needed?
Prince Zechaire Oren Bourbon is envied – caught in a family intrigue spanning the larger part of the century, in which banishment and bitter heart breaks mar the lives of the nobility. At such a young age, what will he do?
The fates of the House of Bourbon and the Great Realms now rest in the hands of a babe. Will he flee, fight or fall?
“Power is not to be feared but understood, that is the only way towards greatness.”
Treason! The air is rife with it. Treason!
I am one very close to all the happenings. Who am I? Only time will tell. But for now we have more pressing matters to address.
The world as we know it will change forever; the news though joyous will cause devastation.
Is one ever truly ready when that moment arrives? But then again life seldom gives one a choice...youth, inexperience, or any of the myriad of excuses, do they really make a difference? I am afraid not. It seems life takes no prisoners and a royal family is not at all exempt from this, as you will soon come to see.
We begin at a point I find most prudent to start - the beginning.
Danger and war make the future dim. T’is an unearthly, uneasy sight to see fair brethren taken over by such sin – Envy: The Flight of the King!
The Long Awaited Gift
'Nous coeurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons...'
“Majesty, the witch is with child!”
The voice came from the inner chambers of a lavish palace made of pure marble, lined with gold. There were frenzied movements all about as preparations were being laid for the Festival of the Patron Monarchs. The attendants ran from place to place organizing and decorating, while the guards were being doubled and moved to new stations upon the grounds.
The voice belonged to none other than Lumus Fin, Lord Chancellor to the King; a short man with silvery gray hair, a centenarian in years with a youthful spirit and a constantly cheerful disposition. He was robed in green and, as always, sported a sly smirk upon his face, which could easily be mistaken for a smile.
One of his greatest pleasures came from arguing with the Queen, an act he perfected by calling her a witch. Though this was true she never liked over emphasis and believed that any one of her titles would not only suffice but be more appropriate. Her formal address being, Her Majesty, Queen Mariana Vivica Francesca Victoria, The Crown Princess of Lacovia, Duchess of DÜren, Countess of the state of Alegrè, Grand High Sorceress of the Magical Kingdom of the Bourbons.
As she entered she shrieked, “To whom are you referring, you insolent, old bat!”
The guards at the entrance of the room bowed deeply as the Queen passed; in a reverend tone they chimed, 'Majesty'.
She was elegant. A young woman as radiant as the sun but with eyes of such depth; surely she could not be appraised upon first glance. A stunning white beaded gown complimented her treacherous curves and swept the ground as she moved; with each step her silver heeled slippers made a soft click-clack upon the tile. She absolutely glowed.
“I shall be addressed as Your Majesty, sir,” said Mariana curtly as she approached.
He bowed as she passed.
They both entered King William’s private drawing room. The room had very large proportions; lined by towering windows covered by long deep red and purple curtains, filled with ornate pieces of furniture and fine art hanging upon its walls. The lighting was pristine as it ricocheted off several finely cased portraits. The marble tile covering the room bore the country’s coat of arms, a tricorn encircled by a golden orb. At the very center of the room was a huge golden throne.
A handsome and slightly wrinkled man wearing robes of deep purple occupied the throne; he had sat in deep thought, caught within the pages of a book, his hand upon his chin, his eyes surveying the pages.
The Queen and Lord Chancellor now stood before the throne, and with the King's concentration diverted, he spoke.
“Beloved, is this good news true?”
Mariana turned to him and her face lost all signs of anger.
“Yes my lord, it is true.” she replied.
His Imperial Majesty, King William Bourbon, Master of Magic, Head Warlock of the Bourbon Council, Grand High Sorcerer of Magical Arts and Grand Supreme Sovereign of Sardonem, rose to his feet and clapped his hands twice. He had summoned a palace sprite. These creatures known as the lumos-nocmens, or fire sprites were servants to the royals. It came to a hover before the King who gave his command.
Soon after a man of sturdy built with blond hair, dressed in beautifully decorated robes – the Robes of the Royal Bourbonian Order, appeared. It bore a huge star upon the upper left side, it had two shades of purple and red which blended magnificently, and was decorated with several ribbons; symbols of the wearer’s office. Upon his head was a simple golden band with a diamond set at its centre. As he entered, he keenly moved back his golden locks to show the ornament, as it had been covered in his haste. He gave a deep bow to both monarchs. The King had summoned his eldest son, Cruelo.
“Father, you requested my presence?” said he, in a reverend tone while still upon his knee. He did not make eye contact with either monarch, his gray eyes fixed straight ahead.
“Cruelo, my beloved child,” said the King, as he held his shoulders, lifting him from his position and kissing him on the forehead. “You will soon have another brother.”
The King surveyed the Prince’s face to gauge his response, but it was the Queen who broke the silence.
“A brother? How does His Majesty know that I will have a boy?” she inquired.
“There are prophecies my love, written about this particular event. They have been passed down in my family for generations ....” the King explained.
Those gathered noted the peculiarity of this exchange. How was the Queen unaware of such a prophecy?
“My love, there are many things about my family line that I am forbidden, by tradition, to reveal. I am the guardian of many treasures and relics which ensure the survival of this realm,' he paused for a moment and looked deep into the eyes of his wife, who had been surprised at the revelation. 'This is my burden. My greatest power is that not all my secrets have yet been revealed, and my greatest heart ache is that not all can be shared,” he added.
King William then began to address his son once more, “Cruelo, let it henceforth be known that in the 89th year of the King's rule, the heir to the throne will be born.”
Cruelo, who had focused his gaze upon Mariana, now spun back towards his father at these words. They all move
“What is it my Lord?” asked Lumus.
There came no reply.
“William!” shouted Mariana as she held his hand.
He fell to his throne and spoke no more. They spent the evening trying to understand what had transpired. It was not to be clear for a very long time and as he was King no one could press him on the matter.
That evening there was to be a meeting of all the head officials of the councils of Sardonem. All members were already present at the palace as they had come for the festivities. Each received a sealed scroll with explicit instructions before leaving their rooms – they had been summoned.
Mariana chaired the meeting. It was held in the large spread of the Moon Hall, in the undergrounds of the East Garden; all thirty- five officials sat around a rectangular, black stained oak table. Mariana sat at the head, with Cruelo at her side, while the King looked on from his throne in the corner. At the other end of the hall, hung upon the wall, was a huge portrait of the Patron Monarchs; Williams’ parents, the first rulers of the united realm of Sardonem.
“Good evening to all,” Mariana said loudly.
They were all standing beside their chairs; they all bowed in recognition of Their Majesties and the High Prince and in one resounding voice gave this reply,
“Good evening and long live the monarchy.”
Mariana, who was sitting when they all entered, got to her feet and with the wave of a hand closed the large oval shaped opening above them that had let in the light of Sardonem's three moons. From the walls came huge floating basins in which beautiful blue flames erupted, lending their light to the room. This was to be a private meeting.
“This meeting is of great importance,” she began. “The heir to the throne of Sardonem will soon be born. This you must communicate to all the other members of all the councils in Bourbonia, and the other continents. As you know, once the heir is appointed the present King has a decision to make, either to go immediately into hibernation or rule until he deems the heir ready…” she saw a hand rising into the air but before the person could ask permission she said, “…but that matter will be discussed later this evening…”
Another hand shot into the air, disregarding the Queen’s response to the last. It was a young delegate, a representative of Luxenforth in the Reginaldi Isles; the leading country in potions and elixirs.
“Yes,” answered the Queen.
He stood and bowed, holding tightly to his cape, “Your Majesty, forgive my ignorance, experience brings knowledge, and I seem to have fallen short. Will His Majesty be going into early hibernation?” he asked.
Mariana looked to the King for his response but instead Cruelo took the floor.
“Pardon my ignorance, but you are?”
“I am Duke Luxenroth of Luxenforth, Your Highness,” the man replied with another bow.
“Ah, I am Prince Cruelo Armandi Bourbon, first born to the King and the representative of the Crown in all affairs of state. I see you are very young and I believe it is your first time at Council; I will not be harsh.” said Cruelo with a smile.
He continued, “Protocol dictates that a Prince’s speech not be interrupted, it seems that the Reginaldi Isles is lacking in competent representatives. That nation was well known for its diplomacy,' the Prince had cut and cut deep, but he had little concern for the personal feelings of those gathered here.
“The matter of hibernation will be addressed later this evening as was previously stated by Her Majesty. I take it you were listening,” Cruelo glared at the young noble and continued, “In future I would ask that you remember this,” with that Cruelo took his seat; but he was not yet finished.
“And your mistress, please do give her our regards, and possible condolences. I see no reason for her absence, save some horrific tragedy. Please communicate to the Archduchess and her father, the Grand Duke, that their absence was noted,” and with that he rested.
The room went silent.
The Duke was about to sit, when from the corner came a low voice,
“Please do not sit just yet,” it was the King.
He moved closer to the table, stopping beside Cruelo. He stepped into the light provided by one of the huge basins, his grace and majesty apparent. He wore the Robes and Crown of the Sovereign Order, the latter encrusted with exquisitely cut blue diamonds.
“Pardon Prince Cruelo’s impatience but he is so accustomed to the order of houses of parliament, he deals so often with officious politicians. The matter of my hibernation can be discussed now if the Queen will allow it…” he glanced over to Mariana. She blushed at this notion of allowing the King to speak; she shook her head and took her seat.
“It is the norm that at the end of the King and Queen’s tenure, which is only ended at their will, that they go into a state of hibernation. This is so, young Duke, as the sovereigns are immortal. Once ascending to the throne we are granted the gift of immortality, and to allow the ascent of new individuals we hibernate. The monarchs who currently sleep are my parents. They had ruled since the union of this realm up until my time. They sleep in the Crystal Palace where their powers and bodies are sealed. This child will soon be born and I will step aside.”
The Duke bowed deeply at the King's warmth.
“But on to even greater matters - the real reason you have all been summoned. It is my belief that dark times lay ahead.” He was now addressing them all.
The air behind him grew dim, a dark mist wafted into the room, the sound of horses galloping brought the table to a rumble, specters - three black horsemen appeared – a woman, a man and a creature! An echo of loud screeches rang throughout the room and then – darkness. The basins' light went out and the torches at the entrance dimmed. A mysterious spirit howled in the night and the large metal seal upon the roof began to rumble as if something were trying to get in.
“Something evil, something that should have never been allowed to happen, something wicked this way comes. I am King but I will not be able to contend with it, our hope, our only hope lies within this child. I must leave. The evil will not show its face until the child has grown. I shall make sure of this and if needed…I will return”.
With the flick of the wrist he brought the room back to a calm. The rumbling slowly subsided and the light returned.
The King's time was done and he went back to the corner, disappearing once again, leaving only his silhouette.
The Duke, who had begun to shake, now sat.
Cruelo and Mariana glanced at each other quickly, it had come to them as quite a shock; this last part had never been revealed.
A spiral of light appeared before the portrait of the Elder Monarchs, it was Lumus. He had entered the sealed room with a message for the King.
“Your Majesty, your presence is needed in the upper levels,” he said in a loud voice.
“I already know,” replied the King calmly. "Tell the guards to let our guest in, escort him to my personal meeting chamber and return to monitoring the festivities; everything must seem to be going well.”
“I must go tend to an arising matter, I bid thee all farewell.”
Lumus did as he was commanded and left to give the guards their orders. King William, in a burst of blue flames, vanished.
A deep silence fell over the room after the King's departure. Cruelo soon did away with that. He got to his feet and began to explain the new plans, which he had concocted. As he spoke he earnestly tried to hide his own surprise. So much had changed in these short months.
“Since the King will soon leave us things are to change. Any major law, which is to be passed in your courts, must get the approval of Her Majesty or
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