Chapter 2: Samuel Augustus Mount
Chapter 2: Samuel Augustus Mount.
A slap to the face is what wakes me.
“Son of a bitch” I cup my face. “What the fuck Dereck?” my guard stands beside my bed, eyes wide, and almost shaking. “You’re Highness, there has been a...Erm…predicament.” He straightens his uniform, not looking at me as he speaks.
“A predicament” unbelievable “You slapped me over a predicament?”
“Well, I tried waking you and you were…unresponsive”
We stare each other down for a good minute.
We laugh on beat, while I chuck my pillow at him.
“You’re such a douche Dereck, you know that? I bet you had great fulfilment in hitting me”
“As always… your highness” Dereck is my guard, and he will later become the kings guard. We grew up together in the palace, his father was a merchant that was killed in the Standfilled massacre and he was left homeless after his mother had taken ill, he worked in the stables of the palace and after we became friends, I gave him opportunities he wouldn’t otherwise have. I love the guy, of course in a bromance type of way, although I do take satisfaction in humiliating him, like any other good friend.
“Well?” I sit up.
“Well what?” idiot.
“The ‘predicament’” I lay down again, I bet it’s something stupid like, Lady Beset falling over and showing her granny nickers, or even better, Sir Aaron caught sticking his gross tongue down his footman’s throat. Now that would be funny.
“David Howls died last night” that’s not funny.
“What?!” I breathe “How?” then sitting up I fly from my bed, I rush to my closet. Dereck says something, but my head is buzzing. David, why did he have to die? He is, was, probably one of only a few nice people in court, and a friend. My father’s brother. My uncle. He was more a father to me than my own ever was. “HOW?” I shout, turning from my closet, buttoning my shirt.
“He tripped.” Dereck winces “he was drunk and well…he fell” Dereck doesn’t dare look at me, my face boils. I am livid. Fucking livid.
“He…’fell’?” I am stock still “HE FUCKING ‘FELL’!”
“Unbelievable” I mutter.
“Man I know you were close, I mean I’m shocked just as much as you are, but you need to control yourself.” Control myself. Of course. Appearances are everything. I can’t grieve; I can’t do anything really can I? I breathe, in and out. In and out. Breathe.
I turn and lock gazes with Dereck.
“Thank you Dereck, I appreciate you telling me. You can leave now”
“I said you may leave”
“Sam you know that wasn’t what I meant, don’t be-“
“Don’t be what Dereck? Don’t be a human being? Don’t have a response at all to this, this news?” I’m belting my trousers.
“Of course you can, but perhaps to the right people”
“And who are the right people?” I taunt “My father’s followers? How about Miss Pat in the kitchen?” I stop “how about you?” I don’t know who to trust in this place.
“You can be so over dramatic”
“Leave me to get ready, tell the maid to not bother with breakfast” I sigh “I am not hungry” he doesn’t move “Now”
Dereck drops his head, but he immediately shoots back up, hand in salute, and chest out.
“Your highness” and he leaves.
That’s when the chocking starts, the blindness of pain in my gut that washes all feeling except pure and vengeful sorrow, my lips cry in a silent scream, allowing all creatures to climb in and borrow in my throat, I suspect they do. No sound escapes my lips. No tears even fall, though my eyes bulge. I sliver to the floor and try, try to breathe. David was my mentor; my father; my friend, he wasn’t some gold digging monarch after his, or my father’s throne. He just wanted to help his country. He had his flaws, his drinking. His drinking. His women…we all knew about those whores he had, but he eventually treated them nicely and only kept them for a minimum amount of time. He did eventually give them enough money to live off in the real world without going back to selling themselves after he was done with them. that’s kinda decent, right?
David was the only one to ever come to my room after my father had beaten me, he had given me herbs to help the pain. He was the man to encourage my voice in court. He was the man that helped me perfect my stances in combat. He was. He was.
My father despised David for what he was, for he was a good man. David should have been king and everyone knew it. My father was…well. Words can’t describe him.
Once I’m dressed in black. Black will be my colour for the next few months, then purple, then blue and eventual any colour. These are the appearances of court life. All the royal family and friends of David will be wearing black for the moment, but I surely will be the only one truly morning him.
A fucking fall?! Unbelievable.
I stride through court the courters bow and curtsy at my presence, all with sympathetic faces. Liars. All of them.
In and out.
In and out.
“Samuel!” I turn. Lady Jane Grace pushes away others to reach me, nearly stumbling over herself.
“Great” I mutter. Straightening my jacket. Should I just carry on walking?
“Samuel, I just heard.” She jumps into my arms. “I’m so sorry”
“Erm…Thank you” people are staring “Lady Jane”
She forgets herself, before then pushing herself away from me. “I knew you were close, such dreadful news. I mean he fell, while drunk? I mean we all knew he liked his drink, but I didn’t know it was that bad” she’s one of those talk with your hands type of people. I am surprised she doesn’t slap herself in the face the rate she is going.
“Yes, most unfortunate”
“Unfortunate?” she taunts. “He practically raised you!” she punches my shoulder “At least show some emotion.”
“Stop it!” I whisper “people are staring”
“Oh who cares?!” I am not dealing with this. I chuck her hand off mine, and turn away. “Well you do obviously!” she shouts. “Samuel!” I walk away. “Samuel?” I can’t. Not while everyone stares.
I used to be in love with Lady Jane. I remember the first time I sore her at court, dressed in yellow, bare footed and smelling of the gardens, she did have shoes, but she wanted to feel the grass beneath her feet. She was laughed out of court for weeks until I took her under my wing. She knew how to act, but she didn’t care, she had money, wealth, why did she need status? I had confessed my love to her, and she rejected me. She didn’t feel the same way. We haven’t really been the same since. It hurts. It hurts.
I escape to the gardens but even there, Tristan Manning calls my name with bashful eyes, and a sway in her hips. Not now. Please not now. “Sammy” she calls “Sammy over here” she waves, but I try to act like I don’t notice her.
Once out of sight, I run.
The grounds here are un-even and overgrown. Natural. There’s no interference to this small piece of land; no grotesque humanised ideology imbedded in the green. Green, so much better than the painted red view that is all I ever see. I climb over fallen tree branches and slip behind hidden bushes.
A giant tree stands alone, unmarked and defiant. Its age-full trunk curves around itself, looking almost like a twisted sponge, as its hard surface is covered in green moss. I sigh to myself and edge my way to an upturn root that is far too large to which a root should be. I pull out my sketch pad and charcoal; drawing again the lights as they dance on the surface of the brush; how the flowers are in half bloom, and already beautiful. I don’t draw with colour. I work with the darkness and the light, I try to create something that’s obscene, but yet breathe taking - not that it takes anyone’s breath away. This is my secret. Of course I know many secrets, but this is a pure secret, which has gone on untarnished for a while. Sometimes I think my father suspects, or maybe one of the courters perhaps, but nothing has been said, so I have to go along with the belief that all is good.
It could have been hours, because it sure feels like it. I must leave, but it will take all my will to do so. Why couldn’t I just stay here forever? My decision halts. Rustling in the bushes to my left is what stops me. I grab for my royal blade (all members of the royal family have them, for protection and identification. Royal blades are far more powerful than the average blade) my brow starts too sweet. I don’t make a sound, it has been known for animals to still roam these parts, but if it is someone…they can’t know I am here. I don’t make my presence known to either possibilities.
It’s like a face off, waiting for the first move and it is my opponent who strikes.
More like tumbles.
A girl in a snow white dress falls through the opening in the brush.
She’s not one of court, her clothes are not as refined, nor is she a member of the palace staff either, I would have recognised her if she was; especially her. Her beauty is obvious, even with her dishevelment. Her blond hair curls around her in crazy neatness, it seems all too pretty to be messy, but I don’t know any other way to call it. Her dress is slightly torn at the hem, probably because it has been worn down. Her deep blue eyes widen when she recognises me.
“Oh my, your highness, I-I didn’t think, I-“
I raise my hand. “It is okay” I inch my head in a silent question.
“Anabelle” she breathes. “Anabelle Fitzgerald your highness” she’s shaking, not sure of herself she clumsily curtsies. It is the worse, ever, truly a murder of a curtsy.
I laugh. Really laugh.
Her head drops. She’s still bent low in her curtsy. She doesn’t know what to do, but she sure looks like she is going to cry.
“You can rise” I say between laughs “but please”, “don’t do that again.”
“You didn’t need to laugh” she rises and sticks her chin out. Her lips quiver.
“Well it was hard not too, that truly was the worst curtsy I have ever seen”
“Sorry to disappoint you” She’s angry. Curious.
“Who are you?”
“And why should I tell you?”
“Because I am the prince”
“But you’re not the king though are you” she has balls. Large ones.
“I will ask again” A warning embedded in my voice “Who are you?”
“I have already told you” she crosses her arms
“True but that is not who you are”
“There is a lot of power to a name.” why is she arguing this? “A name should be enough” she looks to my pad and charcoal. I rush to grab it and pull it behind myself. She smirks. The bitch is smirking.
“Interesting” she murmurs.
“What is?” though my stare tells her what I want to hear.
“Nothing” she taunts. “You’re Highness”
We still for a moment, I don’t really know how to respond to her, but I am also…curious.
“How did you find this place?” I say “Are you lost?”
“No” she raises her chin “I am not lost, I found this place the other day and wished to find it again, but I see it is now…” she looks at me as if she was about to say tarnished.
With sarcasm laced in my voice I say “Sorry to spoil it for you then”
“And so you should be.”
“Huh.” What do I say to that? People don’t talk to me like this. They are not supposed too, it’s almost treasonous. “Well this has been…fun, but I truly must be going, if you don’t mind” I honestly don’t care if she minds. I am leaving.
“Of course not your highness” I nod.
After a few paces towards the growth to which she fell from, she calls to me “By the way.” I turn “That drawing you made of the tree: it is very beautiful.” Was that a threat? Or is she just being polite realising how rude she has been. I don’t even bother to acknowledge her, I just carry on on walking.
I had to get out of there. Not only is she irritating, but I didn't want my erection showing.