"I am going to try." Clovis replied remembering his father's words. There was so much left to do just to get back onto the tree. The argument… now Meeting in the morning was likely to be a long one and the queens would have something to say about him being placed back on the tree. They had celebrated so much when he asked to be removed. He knew they wouldn't take him being added again quietly.
"No. You will be. Do not try. If you try your daughter will be tortured for the rest of her life and your mother will die alone. You will do." Mordrin replied sternly, his words almost too blunt to tolerate. "when do you light your lantern or burn the tree… whatever you people do?" he replied scratching his chin.
"You mean become part of the Phoenix tree again?" he asked and Mordrin nodded. "tomorrow morning will be the announcement and ceremony." he replied and Mordrin chuckled.
"whenever it is time to change emperors in my kingdom, eldest by empress takes it. If someone disputes it, they fight it out or the soldiers vote." Mordrin replied shaking his head. All this frilly nonsense to take the throne. What did any of it prove? How many good rulers were shoved aside for not knowing the proper way to light a lantern while a man who doesn't know how to be humane sat on a gilded seat. Oblivious to the suffering surrounding them.
"Some days I think I would prefer that. Instead we do all these rituals… not that I'm worried about them. I know each by heart and have since I was Raina's age. The problem is that I don't have a wife candidate or a familiar at my side." he replies sighing both of which were troublesome. Mordrin's face grew somber.
"I never liked that rule. It's one both our kingdoms demand. A wife before a crown." Mordrin replied with a heavy sigh. His attention drawn by a maid whom he flipped his glass over for. She refilled his cup quickly. Clovis nodded his agreement.
"sometimes the right woman takes time to find." Clovis replied and Mordrin laughed.
"and sometimes… she's standing 2 feet behind you and you just haven't given her that second glance." Mordrin added nodding at the girls who were done giggling and focused on their meals. Raina seemed more serious than she had in a long while. Her face clearly displaying the complex workings of her mind.
"Father?" Raina asked, getting his attention. When Clovis looked over he waited for her to speak. "What do you think of a Zither?" she asked seemingly casual. At least as casual as a 5 year old could manage. She was at that peak in age where their minds wished to be more grown up than their tender age allowed. Clovis stopped for a moment.
It was a classic moment of a father whose child asked a question he didn't know the answer too. With everything else going on, did he think about Zithers? Luckily his sister was quick to bail him out.
"You know Mother use to play a Zither when we were little. When ever we were tired she would play swans on a silver lake. Put us right to sleep." Vella offered with a fond smile. Clovis grinned as well having forgotten those moments from so long ago in the haze lately. "It is a beautiful instrument."
"Yes it is. I think they are rather beautiful to listen to and a well crafted one can be a site to behold." Clovis decided to answer his daughter simply, though curious as to why the child would ask.
"If Grandmother played it then a princess could learn it?" Raina asked finding a strand of hope to bolster her nerves. Clovis looked up, sharing a glance with the other two adults at the table. All three seemed to be very interested in the child's question.
"Yes, a Zither is a form of music fit for a Princess." Vella replied and Clovis nodded in agreement.
"Did you see someone play it, recently? I don't remember the past entertainment group having one in their number." Clovis asked, trying hard to recall but coming up blank. Zithers were often played by lady's but few stuck with it into adulthood and even less kept their Zither after they wed. Very few men played it here. None of the maids he could think of ever mentioned one.
"Ummm.." Raina blushed brightly as she sheepishly hesitated to answer. She pulled her little hands under the table, as if afraid they would give her away. Mordrin grinned.
Part 3, thoughts on The Prince of Shadows?
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