The Regent (Reign: Part 6)
Part Six: The Regent
I was no fool. None could accuse me of being one. I was lauded for my wisdom, sought out for it, positioned because of it. A weighty life, yes, but a rewarding one. Helping people…solving problems…bettering our kingdom…
These were the things I lived for, and the things I would die for.
And when something came in between me and my calling, I would know. I would not be fooled by appearances or rumors or even logic. I would do whatever it took to ensure that Magni was not put in jeopardy, that my best friend’s kingdom would be well taken care of.
That he would be avenged.
“What manner of devilry is this?” exclaimed Governor Kasek, his flabby arms flailing as he sputtered into Galen’s old study. “I demand answers, Your Grace. Answers!”
I eyed the man warily as I carefully tucked a stack of papers into the desk drawer before me. “Perhaps you should provide me with a sensible question first, my lord.”
“Where has the queen gone? and Brehnan too? Have you killed them already?” He jammed trembling fingers into his thinning hair, pacing back and forth over my new rug. Likely his heavy boots were wearing it out already.
“Keep your voice down, Kasek. Of course not. Brehnan took Her Highness out for picnic in the forest early this morning, to take her mind off of things,” I consoled, knowing well that Kasek would believe the lie, much as the household staff did.
Some people simply lacked proper human intelligence. No doubt the deficiency was due to so much mixed breeding back in the old days.
“I don’t believe you for a moment, I say. What with all your scheming yesterday evening, they’ve probably run off or you’ve already hacked off their heads. Don’t think me a fool, Regent. I’ve been around many a year, you know.”
Oh, I know.
I rose from the desk, rounded it and set a placating hand on the governor’s shoulder. “Lord Kasek, you wound me. I think you no fool, I assure you. Truly you are a wise man to have such a position in the kingdom. You know I count you one of my closest allies and I want you to know that even know my huntsmen are tracking Brehnan and Queen Ambrosia. The foolish prince doesn’t even realize how he is playing into my hands.”
I chuckled wryly, allowing a spark of devilry—so Kasek called it—to light in my eyes. “They will be slain as if torn apart by beasts. So ‘tis up to you to play along, you see, and help keep the kingdom calm in this time. We can’t let them know of our plans, else panic shall ensue.”
If I could have captured Kasek’s expression on canvas, I would have, for the shift from red-faced and outraged to composed and conniving that occurred had left such visible marks on his face. Now he was all simpering and smiling, truly pleased with himself for figuring it out and being let into my inner circle. ‘Twas almost as amusing as the incredulity painted on his features yesterday.
I led the man away, bid him good day, listen to him applaud my intelligence and thank me for doing what was right for Magni.
I appreciated the sentiments, but truly? I wished I were doing this all in the shadows, as I had been with Galen. Quiet, fading into the background, untainted by the emotions at play. But had I been as prominent then as I was now, perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps we would not be in this situation at all.
I returned to Galen’s desk, this time ensuring the door was locked and Sapphira knew not to let anyone in.
Then I began writing.
It was a beautiful speech. Convicting. Inspiring. Powerful.
More than that, it was honest.
And what Magni needed was honesty. Pure, unadulterated truth.
The truth was that Ambrosia was unfit to serve as queen. Not because of her age or gender or any such nonsense. Not even because of the Gryphon in her blood.
Because of her father.
The truth was that Brehnan had broken Guardian oath and betrayed his family, the crown, and his country.
For his treason and indiscretion, he deserved death.
Ambrosia, however, did not. She was not guilty of her father’s actions nor part of his treason…but she could not possess the crown. She could not live here at the high castle. She…I…just looking at her was painful. Seeing what I saw...and not seeing what I wanted to.
She needed to be removed; whether that were permanently or temporarily, I would let the people decide.
Hence the speech.
Hence the pretense.
Hence the lies.
Brehnan and Ambrosia were not out for a picnic. They had disappeared yesterday evening, sneaking out of the castle walls...presumably after Brehn had overheard my discussion with Kasek, Rubin, and Arawn.
My huntsmen were not out searching for Brehnan and Ambrosia. My most trustworthy military scouts were, carefully tracking them so that they could return them safely, in one piece, to the high castle.
They were not going to be slain or left for dead in the wilderness. They would be given a fair trial and an unbiased jury would be given precedence over their sentence.
Once they knew the truth, they could make a decision with open eyes. And Galen would be avenged.
Missed Part 5? Read it here!