Thomas and Daniel headed towards their fathers study having both been summoned from the barracks, and while the younger boy looked totally confused Thomas suspected this meeting had something to do with his fathers declining health and succession of the throne.
King Henry had kept his illness a secret for the most part, only a few of his closest advisors knew the truth, and although Thomas knew he was both old and sick even he hadn’t realised how far he’d declined.
Henry was coughing when the young princes entered the room, stifling it he looked down at the blood stained handkerchief , quickly hiding it away in the folds of his tunic.
“Arh boy’s” He smiled his arms outstretched “Take a seat” the next half hour passed filled with idle chit chat between a father and his sons. Asking about how Daniel’s knight training has going and making plan’s for the young man’s impending trip to university.
However as always the subject of succession finally arose “Have you made any decisions yet Thomas?” His father asked “I hate to push you, I know you love your wife but the throne needs an Heir and Holly simply can’t provide it”
“Yes I know that” Thomas snapped already sick of this conversation and the hundred times his father had bought it up with him.
“Im sorry” Henry sighed “But we can’t hide from this forever, decisions need to be made”
“Why is Daniel here?” Thomas demanded “I suppose you plan to threaten to hand the throne to him?”
“Calm yourself” Henry ordered “This is not about idle threats it is a very real possibility if you don’t make plan’s for your future”
“I have plans” Thomas retaliated “I plan to live happily with my wife”
“Thomas that is simply just not good enough”
“Well it’s damn well going to have to be …” Thomas fumed “I’ll hand the throne the Quillen”
“You can’t do that” Henry reasoned “People will never accept Quillen, we’ve discussed this”
“Well they will have too” Thomas reasoned.
“Can’t we at least look at other option’s?? Won’t you consider an annulment?? Marry a noblewoman someone who understands the situation between you and Holly, a marriage of convenience… keep Holly by your side as a mistress”
“What keep her on the side like some dirty little secret… parade this other woman on my arm in public and keeping the one I love in the shadows??? No I will not” Thomas roared.
“Thomas im sick of having this fight with you” Henry sighed, motioning to the doorman who waited in the wing’s “it’s time for decisions”
Both Thomas and Daniel followed their father’s gaze towards the doorway, watching as the doorman left returning a few moments later with a young dark girl.
Neither Thomas or Daniel recognised the young woman, though she seemed vaguely familiar to them both. “I would like to introduce you both to Sophie Hamdun” Henry smiled.
Both young men stared at the young woman; she didn’t say a word she just stared off into space her cold steel gray eye’s making her quite striking. Suddenly Thomas remembered where he knew the young woman from “Jaedyn’s Lady in waiting” Thomas gasped.
“A noblewoman” Henry corrected “And if things go to plan the future queen”
“You expect me to marry her!!!?” Thomas exclaimed.
“Im not a bad choice” Sophie replied her voice eerily melodic “Ill give a daughter first… but soon after will follow a son”
Thomas looked quizzically at the young woman, she didn’t seem to pay either the king or the princes a second thought seemingly fascinated by the ceiling. “You expect me to marry her?? ” Thomas asked his father again harshly.
“Not necessarily” Henry replied “though that would solve my problem’s” Settling his hands in his lap a small lump settling in his throat he hated doing what he was about to do but the throne was at stake and the situation demanded it.
“You have two choices… you can either dissolve your marriage to Holly and marry Sophie. She has been well informed of the situation and she’s prepared to act as wife and allow Holly to remain in the picture as mistress if that is what you wish. Or the alternative is for Daniel to marry her in 2 weeks, and the crown will go to the first son to provide a ‘suitable’ heir” Henry conclude.
Daniel who had been sitting quietly till now suddenly sat up and paid attention “but father” he interrupted looking at the young woman who was obviously a number of years older than him “I thought I was to marry Anya Vaux when I returned from university”
“Yes well plan’s may have to change, besides after the recent affair’s with Orrick’s daughter Im not sure I’d like to rely on any agreements made with the Vaux’s” Henry replied.
“But father what about university??? ” Daniel gasped horrified “what about my training??”
“They will continue, Sophie can travel with you”
Daniel nodded suddenly intrigued by the thought of taking the throne .he turned his attention back to the young woman his father expected him to marry. While she stared off into space her mind clearly not in the room with the rest of them.
“Well??” Henry asked turning to Thomas “which do you choose?”