Quillen headed into the Hamdun wing of the castle, he’d been informed that Gabriel and Brianna had arrived and he wanted to have a few words with them about their intention’s towards the estate.
“Lord Hamdun, Lady Hamdun” he smiled on entering.
“Quillen” Brianna smiled, bouncing Shea her youngest daughter in her arms while the baby did little but cry. He could barely blame her even since she’d been born she’d been past from pillar to post while Lady Hamdun, raced around with her dead husbands brother. Shea barely knew her mother and Quillen found himself inexplicably angry about it.
“I need to speak with you both?” Quillen smiled nervously, trying to remind himself that he was in charge. Lord Hamdun intimidated him but then again the truth was most people did.
“What?!” Gabriel snapped.
“Well… I mean… I sort of need to talk to Brianna… but I know you’ve been helping her since… well since Peter”
“Get to the point boy!” Gabriel interrupted.
“I just need to know what you intend to do with Peter’s estate” he replied hurriedly finding his voice “You haven’t been around much”
“Hadrien’s running it” Brianna reasoned.
“No he isn’t” he replied, “He’s only 11 and I feel…. His time would be better served back at school”
“You mean you won’t let him or he can’t” Gabriel glowered.
“I mean he can’t” Quillen replied. “He’s too young it’s simply beyond him”
“You’re running a kingdom!” Gabriel scoffed. “How old are you?”
“I’m … 13” he murmured “but that’s not the point, I have help… my father’s steward, my mother and my Father when he’s able. Hadrian doesn’t listen to the steward”
“Oh dear” Brianna sighed, “We have been neglecting it”
“Very well” Gabriel nodded, “I’ll move Peter’s family’s down to Aealmead. I can’t manage them better from there”
“No” Quillen interrupted.
“No?!” Gabriel sneered.
“I just mean, they are Darkfire residents…. They belong to this kingdom, Economically we need them”
“Economically isn’t that rather a large word for a boy” Gabriel laughed, “I’ll do as I please”
“No you won’t” Quillen replied unable to hide the way his voice stuttered. “Those people aren’t leaving Darkfire… we … my father and your brother worked hard to get the kingdom where it is and I won’t let you destroy it”
“Pray tell me boy how do you propose to stop me?”
“I… think you would be surprised at the resources we control” Quillen dared.
“Fine I’ll leave them, I’ll simply control the estate by use of a steward from Grimstead” Gabriel snapped.
“I’m sorry” he replied getting increasingly more anxious the more frustrated Gabriel seemed to become. “ We… I mean, I don’t feel you can properly take care of two estates in two kingdoms and have the best interests of both Kings in mind… I would like to see Brianna remain here and help her son”
“A woman” Gabriel scoffed, “Oh for heaven’s sake… “
“I could stay” Brianna nodded looking oddly hopeful to the young boy. It was then he noticed the bruising under her left eye and it occurred to him that perhaps her absence had not been so much her choice.
“You aren’t staying anywhere” Gabriel growled, putting the noblewoman soundly in her place “I’m not discussing this with you” he sneered “If the King… the real one not a snivelling brat wearing daddy’s crown wants to talk to me then…..” he paused “Oh… on second thoughts … your nothing more than the bastard of a whore”
“Enough!” Quillen growled back. “I am the Crowned Prince… don’t you forget it I will now let you talk about my mother that way”
“Fine!” Gabriel hissed. “Still I won’t discuss this with you… if the King wants to discuss it let him come and discuss it.
“My father has left me in charge” Quillen replied, desperately trying to prevent his own legs from buckling beneath him.
“Look boy I’m going to be straight with you… If Hadrian’s not fit to take care of the estate and you won’t let me do it.. and having a woman run it is clearly absurd what other choice do you have?”
“I…. I could…. “ he stammered wracking his brain for a solution. “I could give it another lord” he reasoned.
“Like …. Duncan Silverhand” Quillen reasoned.
“Duncan… is he still around?” Gabriel queried, seeming genuinely surprised at the thought. Almost as though, he imagined the young Prince to have crawled off under a rock somewhere.
“Yes Lord Hamdun he is”
“Well if you grant Duncan land you know you’ll be making an enemy of Daniel right?”
“Daniel already made an enemy of me when he kicked me out of school” Quillen replied the rising anger giving him confidence.
“Fine … take the land back” Gabriel sneered heading over to the mantle where a Jewellery box of Brianna’s sat. Opening it he took a handful of jewels. “But I’m taking anything of my brothers with me before I leave”
“Please Gabriel” Brianna begged “Don’t do this Peter wanted Hadrian to have this estate. He worked hard for it”
“Shut up snivelling woman” Gabriel hissed, “Get your things together, I’ll get Daniel to give Hadrian Graymont”