For #LineByLineTime: Birthday
The Warlord glanced up as his aide tapped his door. “Come.”
The seemingly always nervous young man opened the door just enough to peer around it. Since the Warlord did not look upset, he relaxed enough to show his entire face. “Beg your pardon, milord, but his lordship, I mean, Lord Whitley has asked to speak to you.”
“Send him in, then. I’ll let you know if I need you to take notes.”
His aide took a deep breath and threw the door open wide. He cleared his throat and announced loudly, “Lord Whitley!”
The Warlord kept his face very still and neutral. His expression nearly broke as Lord Whitley bustled in, rolling his eyes as he passed the young aide.
“Fine, boy, fine, we know each other, no need for introductions! Off with you now, he’ll call if he needs you.” Lord Whitley waved his hands at the young man, shooing him away.
The aide blinked at the pudgy lord, then at the Warlord. The Warlord managed to nod, and the lad hurried out, closing the door carefully. The two men managed to contain their laughter until the door closed all the way.
When he could finally speak again, the Warlord leaned back in his chair. “Now, Whitley, I assume this is about the coronation ceremony?”
Whitley sighed and sank into a chair on the other side of the desk. “The coronation, the Princess’ birthday, the graduation of the officers…”
“What, all three?”
“Oh yes. All thanks to Princess Alexandria. It seems she doesn’t want separate celebrations. No, no, she wants to combine them all!”
“How on earth did she decide on that?”
“That’s what I wanted to know! When I asked, she told me three separate celebrations were ridiculous when all the nobility would be present for the graduation, and everybody including the common folk would be celebrating her coronation, and since it would be her birthday all on the same day, why have separate occasions?” The colorfully dressed lord leaned forward over the desk. “She said it would save money!” he whispered loudly.
The Warlord laughed and slapped the desk with an open palm. “I can just hear her father saying that! Alex was always keeping a close eye on the royal treasury. He couldn’t do anything about his wedding to the Queen, but when Alexandria was born, remember how he insisted everything be more sedate?”
Whitley nodded, a fond look on his face. “I remember him saying he refused to leave his soldiers wanting for supplies, when they were there to protect his daughter. A very quiet celebration it was here in the palace.”
The Warlord chuckled. “And how loud it was outside it! But Alex just shrugged and said as long as the money wasn’t coming out of the royal treasury, the subjects could do as they wished. He never allowed his men to go without.”
His companion laughed until he wheezed and slapped his silk-covered leg. “Remember how outraged that one diplomat was to be offered common beef roast and wine instead of some fancy dish and champagne? Alex told him to be grateful he wasn’t getting soldiers’ rations. And when the diplomat appealed to Queen Beatrice, she laughed at him and said she enjoyed marriage to a wise steward instead of a spendthrift.”
“Heh. That silenced him, since he was here to ask for a loan for his kingdom after his king emptied his royal purse on expensive foolishness. But Alexandria is following her father’s example even more closely, eh?”
“Aye. She ordered that the graduation of the cadets be held in the morning, followed immediately by her coronation. Then she would go out to the common folk and join the celebrations they chose to have.” The man drooped. “I was so looking forward to arranging some grand parties and festivals, feasts and music, and fancy dress…”
The Warlord nodded slowly. “Don’t tell me, let me guess. She said there’s a war going on, and the money was better spent on it.”
Lord Whitley wrinkled his nose. “Ah, you know her so well!”
“I knew her father even better,” the Warlord said wryly, and sighed. “She’s so much like him, it twists my heart sometimes, even though the older she gets, the more she looks like her mother.”
“Queen Alexandria,” Lord Whitley muttered, and looked over the desk. “I hear rumors of a possible interesting young man?” His eyebrows bounced up and down. “Perhaps I can create a grand wedding?”
The other man sighed. “A royal wedding? Who knows? I’m not sure the young man even knows of her interest.”
Whitley drummed his fingers on his knee. “And what of Betsy?” he asked softly. “What is her opinion?”
“She fully approves, and is determined to see it done. She told me I would accept it, and no arguments!”
“That sounds like Betsy, alright. Alexandria might hesitate on a decision, but Betsy will charge forward like a siege weapon.” The two men shared an expression of longsuffering.