Queen: Royal Messenger, your name keeps coming up. What say you?
Royal Messenger: As the Princess said, I had no idea what I was carrying, Your Highness! All I knew was that I was to deliver a package. I did so and the same package was delivered back, freshly wrapped and with a letter- all sealed. Now that I think about it, the package could have been a sword I suppose. But as the Princess has confirmed, it was returned to the realm.
Queen: Princess, did you try to steal the jewels?
Princess: No your Majesty. I am not in need of treasure.
Queen: Messenger, how did the sword get back to the castle?
Royal Messenger: Actually, I don’t know. When I returned from my travels I was exhausted. I took the horse to the stable, fully loaded, and fell asleep in the hay. When I awoke it was daybreak. The horse had been unloaded and cared for and all of the packages were gone. I delivered the letter I had kept on my person when I returned to the castle. I then went to freshen up before court. You had summoned the Duke of Lilly Glade that day and I saw his horse already in the stable. I recognized his crest on the horse’s saddle, though he seemed to have been there some time.
Queen: Stable Boy! What happened to the packages on the Messenger’s horse?
Stable Boy: I unloaded the horse Your Majesty but my priority was caring for the animal. He was exhausted and sweaty. I fed the poor beast and then brushed him down. I sat down and ate my cold dinner and went to bed.
Queen: You are known to take what is not yours Stable Boy. Had it not been for the benevolence of the King, you would have lost your head long ago. The King realized that even though your fingers were sticky your station did not change. What you steal you use for the good of the King’s horses and therefore, his Majesty stayed my hand. You owe the King your life. Speak truly! Did you try to steal the jewels from Lightning Blade’s hilt? What happened to the sword?
Stable Boy: When I awoke the next morning, I did see the sword lying on the ground. I was disgusted that the Royal Family takes such poor care of such a grand heirloom. I returned the items to the castle, including the sword. Come to think of it, the packages were unwrapped when I awoke but still packaged when I went to sleep. I did not try to steal the jewels. I took all of the items to the kitchen.
Royal Chef: His fork was bent Your Majesty!! He returned his plate and fork from the night before and I noticed how bent his fork was. At the time, he claimed no knowledge of how it got that way.
Jester: (Laughing in the corner)
How Royal Titles Do Deceive,
When determining the name of thieves.
How obvious it is to me,
But not so much to our dear Queen.
Bloody fingers on that day of court,
But summoned so he must report.
He could not steal even one jewel,
Yet it is I that is called the Fool.
King: Bravo Jester. Sing another. How about the “The Summer Rose”?
Queen: Not now, Jester. You seem to think your Queen is blind. I too saw the bloody fingers on the Duke and he will answer for his attempted crime. But this is only a footnote in a bigger story. If you are so clever, tell me who stole the sword.
Jester: My Lady, I do so humbly request,
You extend to me much forgiveness.
I spoke out of turn, this I regret,
I am but a fool, a musician and pest.
To answer your question, I do not yet know,
But we’ve others to see if they be friend of foe.
Queen: Very true, Jester. Of these you are one! You roam these halls at your own free will and have more opportunity than most. The question is- do you have motive? You are smarter than most give you credit for. Are you loyal to your King?
Jester: To the King I am Loyal, he is of great fame.
But it is truly the Queen, who rules in all but name.
How sad she must be to give up her Power,
To a son she secretly thinks is a coward.
A brat he may be, but who is to blame?
Momma and Poppa- one in the same.
The sword was safe from me, I don’t steal.
I perform for my supper, that is the deal.
But Mother and Son, bride-to-be and many others,
All strike me as those who would want such a plunder.
Dear King, I implore you; call others to speak-
Wife, son and cousin at the very least!
King: I don’t see why it matters. I am the King and I am perfectly healthy. This is my kingdom with or without a sword.
Prince: You think I’m a brat and a coward?
Princess: A better question might be who doesn’t.
Lady in Waiting: (stifling a laugh and whispering) Good one, dear Princess!
Queen: Ana-Lise, you are out of order!
Princess: Your Majesty, please place the blame on me. I made the comment. All present feel the same way about the Prince but they are all too afraid to tell you. I caused Ana-Lise to forget her place.
Queen: Ana-Lise, is this true. Is this how you feel? You have been my confidant for many years. I would hope you would tell me.
Lady In Waiting: Yes My Lady, it is. Forgive me Your Highness but since it is out in the open I feel the Prince would make a terrible King and all of your subjects live in fear of the day he takes the throne. I dared not say these things to you as I am but a servant but I would give anything for you to remain in power. Maybe have another child or take on an heir, just please don’t give power to the Prince.
Queen: Ana-Lise, you cut me to the quick. I would think by now you would know that I also considered you a friend. Tell me truly, did you steal the sword, even if it was to protect your Queen?
Lady in Waiting: No Your Majesty, but I am grateful that someone did. At least it caused those about you to be honest about your son. There will be an increase in two things in the castle if he takes power: beheadings and mirrors. When he is not plot and planning some despicable act he is admiring himself.
Prince: That statement alone is enough to require your head. I too have a long memory.
Stable Boy: Ana-Lise is the most loyal and caring subject in the land your Majesty. I pray you protect her no matter what the outcome. The Prince is nothing if not true to his word.
Apothecary: Since we are confessing and discussing the evil ways of the Prince, I would like to speak Your Majesty.
Queen: You may proceed.
Apothecary: I was afraid to tell you before because he threatened me but the Prince came to me and asked me to poison the King.
Queen: Apothecary you are on dangerous ground. The prince is still my son. Continue but make sure you give only the facts.
Apothecary: I of course refused and he said he would do it on his own. He was younger and angry with you both over something but it still worried me that he might go through with it. I decided to protect the King while still protecting my head. I created an antidote that I could give to the King in advance to protect him.
Queen: That was a noble gesture but as you say, the Prince would not have gone through with it.
Prince: Of course not Mother. In fact I don’t remember such an incident. I think she is lying.
Apothecary: There is more your Highness. In my attempt to protect the King, I made him, well, “odd” instead.
King: I’m not ODD! Happy, hungry, curious, powerful….maybe a little confused. But not odd.
Apothecary: Your Majesty the King did not suffer his current symptoms until I gave him the antidote. I have tried and tried to fix my error but nothing seems to be working. He seemed, as he said, happy and so I just kept treating him with various concoctions hoping to find the right combination to cure him. When he gets a bit out of control I give him a combination I found that calms him down. I am so sorry your Majesty!! I was truly only trying to protect him.
King: You are telling me that all of those pills, those yummy wonderful colorful round pills…wait what were we talking about?
Queen: Apothecary, we will discuss this later but for now, I think it is time for his pills. Would you, while having the king under your power steal Lightning Blade for your own purposes?
Apothecary: No your Majesty. Though I admit I have wielded some influence over the King since this tragedy occurred, I have not sought to undermine the Monarchy in any way. I have made it my life’s work to try to fix the problem I created.
Queen: Very well. We will take a moment to consider these facts. Duke, do not go far, you are next.