“Good Morning Maegan” Gabriel smiled, standing from the couch to greet her as she walked into the kings study. While her uncle sat at his desk with a stern and adequately unimpressed look on his face.
“No” she snapped glaring, not even the beautiful spring morning could brighten her mood. “I know what you’re here for and I won’t do it”
Her summon was not unexpected, Gabriel had been at the castle for two days the only thing that surprised her was the fact that it hadn’t come sooner than this.
“You haven’t even heard my proposal” Gabriel reasoned, looking slightly taken back having clearly not expected her to be so aggressive.
“You won’t make me will you Uncle?” she begged, heading to his desk. She knew her rights she was not some child at the mercy of her uncles decisions. She was a widow a woman in her own right with control over her own future and life. Still he was a King and held enough influence that he could insist she married the snake.
“No-one will make you do anything” he uncle soothed. “Take a seat, hear what the Earl has to say and then you can say no again”
She sighed, she would indeed say ‘No again’ but she found it comforting that at least her uncle seemed to be on her side.
Wheeling around to face the couch where Gabriel sat, she glared at him. Having no wish to sit next to him, she instead pulled up one of the kings desk chairs and plonked herself down heavily.
Fancy him… thinking she would marry him. Fancy after all he had done, thinking that any woman would willingly want to marry him, save someone too stupid to know better.
“Well?” she growled.
“Are you always so rude?” Gabriel asked, “You’ve clearly been living with the Vaux’s too long”
“Only to those who deserve it”
“Maegan!” her Uncle warned, “Be polite”
Huffing she folded her arm’s, “So what was your proposal?”
“Well clearly you already know my intention to marry you”
“Your intention to try” she retorted.
“My intention to ask” he corrected, “Maegan it would not be such a bad thing for you, I might not be who you envisioned marrying or your first choice.. but”
“Or any choice” she interrupted, watching as Gabriel shot Daniel a warning glance that was clearly designed to tell the King to bring her into order.
“Maegan please” the Daniel urged “Just listen”
Taking pleasure in the fact that Gabriel had started to look frazzled, she smiled “Continue”
“I realise I may not be your first choice. However I’m rich and powerful … being my wife would make you important and influential”
“I don’t care about those things” she lied. True it was not the most important thing, but she hated the feeling of fading away. Each passing week she became less and less important. It was almost as if she had died with Christopher. Soon enough she be scarcely noted at all… Any importance she’d ever had fading away along with the memory of her husband.
“Then consider it a political marriage” he pressed, “The Vaux’s are hurting they can’t hold off my attacks much longer. I’ve already destroyed three grain houses and rumour has it they are already in debt”
“Apparently your sources are somewhat out of touch, they aren’t in debt. Yes you have hurt them but they are managing”
“But for how long?” he asked “if you married me, I would consider a peace with them”
“I doubt Orrick would consider peace with you” she returned.
“I think you would be surprised at what Orrick will consider”
“You don’t know him at all. So don’t pretend to know what he will do”
“I know his a tired old man, struggling to run two estates… unable to muster any sort of counter against me. He’s treading water trying to keep his house in order and if I chose too I could wipe him out in an instant”
“Then why don’t you?” she growled.
“Because I wanted to prolong his suffering, I wanted other nobles to know what happens when they cross the Hamduns. However Christopher is now dead and I am ready for the killing blow…. Maegan I want you to consider carefully my proposal. Speak with Orrick if you must, but this is not a bad deal for you”
“Orrick would never agree… he would rather lose everything than see me married to you”
“Perhaps he would” Gabriel agreed, “But what would you rather? Do you really want to see Christopher’s legacy fall? When you could stop it so easily”
“I haven’t given you permission to call war on the Vauxs” Daniel interrupted.
“Nor do I need it” Gabriel reasoned, “The kingdom is not at war and therefore internal conflicts are sanctioned”
Daniel went quiet for a moment, he looked unsure she looked at him pleadingly but eventually he spoken “Very well” he agreed “but know that I do not support it”
“I don’t need your support” he smiled “The Vaux’s can barely put up enough of an army to protect their grain stores, it will be over quickly with very little loss of life on my side” he smiled “Unless of course unless Maegan chooses to stop it”
“Gabriel!” The King growled, “I let you speak with her. I did not say you could blackmail her”
“It’s not blackmail” the Earl reasoned “It’s fact. Christopher is dead I have no reason to keep the Vaux’s hobbling along, unless I am given reason to stop I will destroy them and take their lands as my own”
“Still you shouldn’t guilt the girl, what happened with Christopher and Jaedyn was not her fault”
“Indeed it wasn’t… which is why I would be prepared to provide well for her” Gabriel reasoned. “I will agree to a fair contract. Hell you can even have Orrick draw it up if you like”
“He wouldn’t have anything to do with it” she spat.
“Good job you’re a grown woman and able to make your own decision’s then” he smiled.