Chapter 4: Chapter 0
To Lancet what really mattered was protecting Artemis and making sure he was making the best decisions, even if it meant making them for him. Artemis looked at Aurora as she walked away from them and he was badly wounded in the inside, and he swore he will have Lancet apologizing to Aurora later on when everything was said and done.
Then Artemis turned to look back at Princess Thelma and his father, King Taelin of Prophis. First thing he noticed was their costumes which differed from everyone else at the palace. Perhaps it was the way people of Prophis chose to put on their wardrobes. King Taelin wore a crown on his head which was huge and made up of white and blue diamonds, a well embellished tunic with gold-work thread as a basic dress and on top of it, a sur coat which depicted Prophis sigil and another robe on top of it with black trousers and boots. Although Artemis and Taelin matched when it came to their costumes as kings, but it was their eyes which had everyone else shocked – they were darker than usual.
Princess Thelma wore a white satin long frock, white shoes and a red scarf which covered her shoulders while letting her hairs free. She had a thick of long black hairs which fell effortlessly behind her back. Thelma was a beauty – and every noble who met her last night during the coronation ceremony approved of the rumors that have been going on for a long time considering King Taelins only daughter being so beautiful and some said she took it from her mother.
Although Thelma was beautiful, and young as she was only eighteen of age, the only exception was her eyes which were darker than most usual girls Artemis has seen before. Their eyebrows and eyelashes were painted by “khol” which was a black substance most people from Prophis used to adorn themselves and make their eyes attractive. King Taelin flexed his eyes and he was feeling himself because of the khol even though he was sixty years old somehow the khol made him look young, this was one of the thing Artemis learned from the people of Prophis.
Artemis shrugged himself from staring too much at Thelmas eyes “How do you find Maldonia, my lady” he asked nervously. But he quickly rebounded from his nervousness and faced King Taelin with his head high.
“Its...” Thelma paused with a smile on her face. “Exactly what people said it will be. Parties, the greenery gardens and... the sun”
“The sun” asked Artemis, he was a bit shocked.
“Yes, Your Grace. In Prophis we dont get that much sun in a span of the year, especially since we are at the North. Its rather cold throughout the year”
King Taelin intervened “Were you going to your council chambers Your Grace” he asked Artemis.
“Im afraid so. Sir Lancet told me you requested a private audience”
“Indeed Your Grace, I have good news which I wanted to share with you, perhaps we can walk together to the council chamber”
Sir Lancet and Artemis gazed at each other – and somehow what they were talking about earlier seemed to want to come to life. Artemis thought he was brave when he hadnt yet met King Taelin but now he met him, its like his whole life felt like a flash of lightning in front of him. Taelin wasnt a man to play with and if anyone needed a confirmation of his endeavors and activities, then he must ask of what he did to get the throne of Prophis.
So, actually King Taelin didnt inherit the throne of Prophis kingdom – he stole it from the rightful heir after he killed the king and his crowned prince. During that time, he was known as General Taelin and the close confidant of the king. The news of the betrayal of king Taelin was popular and he was known not to be trusted – the houses which joined him and supported his claim to the throne were the ones who also supported the demise of the former king of Prophis – king Mithandir and his beloved son, the crowned prince.
There was a big war which almost wiped out everything and everyone in Prophis three decades ago when Taelin was a young man. The rebels faced their fate which worse than death in the hands of Taelin, the rumors were they were slaughtered like chickens and left on the streets for anyone to see. Since then, king Taelin was labelled as a traitor, murderer and a ruthless king. Prophis went on to grow and became the powerful kingdom, yet the citizens were still fearful of the king who kills for spot.
Artemis heard of the rumors that Taelin wasnt the rightful heir to Prophis kingdom, hence if he even dares to do anything to Maldonia, then he knew he will have the support of the rebels. Hence just by knowing that alone, Artemis walked inside the council chamber feeling like a winner already.
Inside the council chamber, there were four old men. Akirbus, Dagen, Balrus and Angun. These were the advisers to king Arteides for years and their service to the realm was not the one which ended after sometime because they swore to protect the throne till their last days. All four of them were approximately in their sixties, although they looked younger than that and they were fit.
Artemis walked inside and he greeted them “Good morning my lords” and they replied while bowing their heads. Artemis sat on the lead chair and then he fixed his crown, Lancet stood just a little bit far from Artemis because he wasnt supposed to sit amongst the nobles – rules and traditions. It was forbidden for a knight to sit if his king stands, and likewise forbidden to join the lords and ladies on the same table.
King Taelin sat close to his daughter of course, and when the table was full everyone remained silent for a moment. Artemiss advisers already knew why Taelin called out the meeting, everything was open and perhaps Taelins big mouth and his inability to keep quiet, and spreading the news of his intention to all the royal guests last night is what made Artemiss advisers get all the news regarding what he planned which was to offer his daughters hand in marriage. Akirbus hated Taelin and he didnt want Artemis to go along with his proposal, yet when he discussed this with Angun about the whole situation, they agreed it was better than starting a war with king Taelin.
Artemis cleared his throat and requested attention from his lords. Then he turned to King Taelin “Your Grace” he said with a smile. “I believe you have something to tell me”
“Indeed I do Your Grace. First and foremost I would like to extend my deepest apologies for the passing of your father. Believe me when I say the world was blessed to have a strong man like him, and Im sure you are going to be as wise and as strong”
“Thank you Your Grace, but may I remind you I am not my father”
“And I am not expecting you to be. You will have a legacy of your own but I believe you will be celebrated just like King Arteides”
Perhaps that was too much praises and Artemis couldnt take it anymore and he was pissed off but he didnt show it to king Taelin. For years people have always compared him to his father – even for simple things. The way he walked, talked and think was always compared to king Arteides but now that legendary tale was over. It was his time to make his own choices and be the king he wanted to be.
King Taelin didnt waste time “I here come before you, King Artemis with a wedding proposal to my daughter Princess Thelma of Prophis” he said. Thelma blushed and placed her eyes down for fear of colliding with Artemiss eyes. “My daughter will make the great queen of Maldonia. Our two powerful kingdoms will be united by blood and our enemies will crumble” he finished and hit the table when he mentioned the word “crumble”
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All this time Artemis and his lords were silent just listening to Taelin talking, Lancet stood firmly but he was praying for Artemis to accept the offer so they wouldnt have to fight with a mad men like Taelin.
Instead of giving him a straight “No” it was during at this time Artemis decided to be wise. And the only way to be so was to ask about King Mithandir who Taelin murdered and stole the throne. Even though he didnt know more about Prophis but he wasnt completely unaware of the opposite kingdom in the North. Throughout his life King Arteides made sure to raise his son in ways which made sure he knew about his kingdom but also the enemies and competitors and Prophis was the competition kingdom with Maldonia compared to other small houses.
“What about King Mithandirs brother who Ive heard is in exile recruiting an army to take back the throne of Prophis. Which I have every reason to believe that he is the rightful king” said Artemis.