Today would be a difficult day. His first real day as King and he was already dealing with a matter of grave importance. His sister had been found dead that morning, found lying into the gutter like a rag doll having ‘apparently’ flung herself from the roof.
He’d Identified the body himself to save Gabriel the ordeal and only one thing was certain in the young kings mind. She’d had some help getting to the roof.
Rumours where flying about the castle, was it Gabriel in a rage after the news of her infidelity, was it Christopher trying to keep her mouth shut. Daniel had his suspicions of course but none he chose to voice publicly just yet, though Sophie had pretty much confirmed them when she’s warned him that morning about the price of acting on them.
Now stood before him he had two men, having dragged Christopher out of bed at the crack of dawn and back to the castle. “I’m going to get straight to the point” Daniel began “Christopher are you Finian’s father?”
Christopher shook his head, “No your highness”
“God damn liar” Gabriel growled.
“Gabriel quiet” Daniel snapped, not appreciating being interrupted. “Then why did your sister announce it as fact so publicly yesterday??”
“She’s a distraught teenage girl” Christopher replied. “She’s had her whole future taken away from her, I suspect she wanted to get back at the Hamdun’s but wasn’t really thinking of the ramification’s”
“Indeed” Daniel replied, he knew Christopher was lying but had not desire to weedle the truth out of him, while to some degree his hands where tied when it came to Gabriel he had need to give the angry lord fuel for his fire. “My next question, Do you know where Fininan is?”
“Finian? No your highness, why don’t you ask his mother?”
“Jaedyn is dead” he replied, the words stinging, he never been close to Jaedyn she’d been much older than he in university and married before he was barely more than a toddler, but the fact that she’d been killed so brutally was almost more than he could bare. For all she may or may not have done she was still a woman and did not deserve to meet death in that way.
A hint of distress flashed across Christopher’s eye’s, but he also noted how the young lord did not seem surprised. “How did she die?” Christopher asked.
“She jumped” Gabriel growled.
“She was found on at the bottom of the castle wall” Daniel clarified, unwilling to use the word, when he doubted she ‘jumped’ anything, or was in any fit state to do so by the time she even arrived on the roof.
“I know you have the boy” Gabriel growled his anger no longer allowing him to wait and Daniel noted who since this whole thing began Finian had never actually been called by his name, he’d been boy.. it.. even ‘the child’ which left him with no doubt in his mind what Gabriel would do if he found him.
“Do you?” Christopher dared. “Well to coin a phrase from your brother. Why don’t you ‘prove’ it”
Daniel tried to hide the smile Christopher had in no uncertain terms let all three of them know he did indeed have Finian safe.
“Well” Daniel replied “It seem’s no-one knows where the boy is and until someone can indeed prove his whereabouts I suppose we should all except that my sister took that knowledge with her to her grave.”
“You know he has him” Gabriel growled accusingly.
“I know, no such thing” Daniel retorted “Christopher you may go”
Not needing a second telling, Christopher bowed and hurried from the chamber’s.
Gabriel turned “You forget who put you on the throne” he hissed.
“And you forgot who is King here” Daniel countered.
“I have a right to the boy, and you know it”
“You have a right to a great many things” Daniel returned “I dare say there are many men who would commend you for the way you helped your wife to the roof”
“You can’t prove it”
“No I can’t” Daniel replied calmly “Nor would I have any right to interfere with what a man does with his wife, especially one who wronged her husband the way Jaedyn did you”
Gabriel snorted, smugly.
“However you would be wise to remember that she was my sister, I am willing to overlook the facts because one, she did wrong you, wrong you in a way no wife ever should and two, you are an able vassal who has done well with his lands. I already have three estates under my own control and can ill afford to take on Aelmead as well. It is in the kingdoms best interest to allow you to remain. However do not mistake my lenience for cowardice or stupidity because I am neither. Nor should you consider your help in gaining control of the throne, a continuing boon. This makes us equal.. now get out of my sight before I change my mind and have you dragged to the gallows”
“Yes your highness” Gabriel nodded, looking somewhat humbled.
“Oh.. and one last thing” Daniel added “Do not continue looking for my nephew.. consider him dead if you wish for all we know that is the truth of it. If you are concerned with saving face by all means tell people he died with his mother, but I repeat do NOT look for him”