Ok, this is my last chapter until I start getting some comments.
Henry sat there on the edge of the window reading the book that Danielle left on the window ledge. He found it funny that she would have selected a book about Kind Arthur’s tales. But then Danielle was a dreamer, he had never read the book before and found himself getting absorbed into it’s tales of knights, honor, deception and mythology.
When in between chapters he looked out at the old destroyed church, and imaged having their wedding there, coming there for private picnics away from the castle, playing with his son over by the turrets. He smiled at the thought of having children, although he wanted a son, he would love to have a daughter, a miniature Danielle to dolt after and protect. He looked over at the large sundial and was disappointed to see that half the day had passed and she still hasn’t shown up. “Where is she?” He wondered.
He couldn’t wait until they start their life together and there is still much that they need to discuss and plan before they make their news public. For one, she still has to meet her parents, and she will have to be given a title, before they are allowed to be married. He now regretted that he ran off without talking to his mother about his plans first. His father will disapprove of his marrying a servant, and he needed his mother to soften him up before he meets Danielle.
His ears perked up when he heard a ruffle far off in the distance. Someone was approaching, he smiled and looked at the entrance to “park” and his smile faded fast when he saw who it was. “What are you doing here?”
“Sire, my daughter asked me to come here today on her behalf.” said the stranger.
“Sire? How many times have I asked you to call me Henry? Your daughter; what are you talking about? You don’t have a daughter.” said a puzzled Henry.
“I’ve told you numerous times Sire, that I respect and admire you too much to ever do that.” said the Stranger.
Henry was going to argue with the man who after all was there to help deliver him, and is mother’s closest friend, ally, and spy, but he decided to let it go. “Ok, well what’s this about a daughter? And how would she know that I was here?”
“Sire, back when I was younger, I had fallen in love for the second time with a woman who I saved from a bunch of thieves. In the process, I had received this lasting scar and a bad knee for my efforts. Well, anyway this enchanting damsel, unfortunately, only thought of me as a dear “friend” and never returned my affections. Well one day she met a young merchant and because I would rather have her friendship than nothing at all, I helped her meet “or scheme” to get the man of her dreams. I was best man at their wedding, several years later she became pregnant and we were all so happy for her, unfortunately she died in childbirth, and the merchant died eight years later.”
Henry’s eyes grew wide, as he put the pieces together, “Danielle? You are Danielle’s godfather?” he asked in shock.
“Yes, Sire I am.”
Henry’s mind started racing with questions, “but how? Why didn’t you ever say anything? Why did you allow her to become a servant? You are one of the wealthiest people in the province, yet you let her live the life of a servant?! Why did you lie to me when I asked you if you’d heard of the Comtesse?”
“Sire, I beg your forgiveness. I only lied, out of a greater duty to my daughter. I did not want her to get into trouble for dressing above her station.”
“Of course Monsieur, you have done more for my family than any other, and I can in no good conscience punish you for trying to protect your loved one. But I am disappointed in you and am not sure if I’ll ever be able to have 100 percent trust in your word again. Now why didn’t you ever mention your daughter before?”
“Well, in good conscience there was no way I could raise her as my own, not with my bad reputation. I did not want people to assume her to be guilty by association. And through my spying and work for the crown, I had also made a lot of powerful enemies over the years and she would have been a target. I wanted her to have a normal, happy childhood, the childhood that I never had. So in public, I always maintained my distance from her.”
Henry looked at him, and realized that the Crown has been unfair to the man. They should have publicly acknowledged him and his good deeds for the country long ago. As soon as he and Danielle are married, he was going to restore this man’s good name. Although, realistically he wasn’t sure how to go about it, because to do so would mean putting his life in greater danger by the enemies of the crown that he’s conspired with over the years. “Yes, I see now. But you still let her live in that house as a servant, when you could have easily purchased it outright for her dowry.”
“Well, Sire, as you are probably aware now, Danielle can be, how should I say this – stubborn, and difficult at times. She refused to leave the manor, and despite repeated attempts to convince her otherwise, she stayed because she wanted to convince her stepfamily to love her as a daughter” said Danielle’s father.
“Ok, I understand. But why are you here? Where is she?” asked Henry with concern in his voice.
“Sire, she sent word that she regretfully cannot see you today, and isn’t sure if she wants to see you again.”
[ Edited by malexandria on 2002/5/25 10:26:28 ]