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King Vincent Lux grows increasingly annoyed as he sits in the throne room. He’s being held up from his favorite appointment because of these people. He stares absently at his court officials as they continue whining about something he doesn’t care about.

The court officials can see Vincent and Queen Annette Moon-Lux aren’t the slightest bit interested in anything they’ve said so far. The combo isn’t that much of a surprise to either of them. King Vincent does somewhat delegate...sometimes, but the only thing Queen Annette does is inhale alcohol. Where ever she is, you can guarantee it’s nearby. She is currently nodding off as she sits on her throne beside King Vincent. The officials have never figured out why their monarchs became such a sight.

The pair had been the perfect examples of a King and Queen up to about 20 years ago. The circumstances around the...incidents that occurred changed their powerful King and Queen into the dangerous...unpredictable monsters they have today. Many who didn’t support the reunion now wished the others had listened to them. The fear the 2 of them emanate...keeps anyone from speaking up. Annette shifts…the officials move their eyes elsewhere.

Just behind those two sit Concubine Victoria Gain-Lux and Royal Concubine Evangelina Stockton-Lux.

Evangelina isn’t paying attention to anything around her. Annette’s incompetence...she can’t stand the woman. Her hatred for her burns deep for various reasons, but the most important being that the seat beside Vincent belongs to her! Evangelina grips her chair. The useless woman. If it wasn’t for her name and blood, she would have found a way to remove her and right what a child of all things stole from her out of nowhere 25 years ago.

Evangelina’s lightly blond hair, hazel-colored eyes, voluptuous figure, and bold temperament grants her Vincent’s a point. Since he doesn’t force Annette to do her Queen duties, Evangelina was selected for the task, which she believes is a sign.

Evangelina can’t wait for the plan she desperately needs to succeed to begin. If all goes right, this woman will be the least of her concerns. Evangelina allows her eyes to rest on the woman next to her. If something does indeed go wrong, she’ll know who to blame, but if it works out perfectly, then her plan to remove Victoria will be initiated.

Victoria can feel those evil yellowish-green eyes on her once more. For the 100th time, they are threatening her...something Victoria isn’t taking well. She’s been trying to at least appear that some of her attention is on the officials, but she hasn’t been able to allow her focus to linger on them long.

Even though Victoria is the 1st Concubine, she comes 2nd to Evangelina but is still ahead of Annette. She has long, straight black hair, piercing black eyes, with a slim figure. Her subtle, but calculating demeanor, have the nobles favoring her.

Victoria already has a plan to protect her and her kids if what she agreed to help Evangelina with backfires. She can’t be sure, but she suspects the woman made a deal with the neither one of them can refuse. The appeal of it all Victoria can see. It’s about time Goranous returns to the country it once was. Landon or Beatrice must take the throne next to ensure this. She’s sure Evangelina will make a move on her once the plan has succeeded, but she has her own ideas on how to manage that. Just to let the 2nd Concubine know she won’t be intimidated, Victoria moves her piercing gaze to her. The woman’s confidence will be her undoing.

The officials collectively sigh, wiping gathered sweat off their brows. All 4 of their leaders sit without any sort of awareness in their eyes. Some shift on their knees, knowing their efforts are in vain. They continue their complaints, stealing glances at the heirs, who...mirror their parents in every way. The 4 sit on bleachers to the right, glaring at King Vincent as usual. The wooden bleachers are 4 rows high, but they and their spouses are all gathered in the first row.

“News flash, they have really, really bad daddy issues. Not that I know anything about that. I’m not present right now in this royal shit.”…....…

Ignoring that...interruption and getting back to the throne room, it’s clear the court officials aren’t satisfied with the current monarchs or future 1’s. Their frustration with the King is the most disappointing than anything else. The Queen is a Moon, so they never expected much from her, but King Vincent was different. In his younger years, he had been more productive than his successor, but at the age of 65 years now, he doesn’t seem to care about the country. Goranous isn’t the glorified country it once was...they wished he’d open his eyes and see that. King Vincent’s jet black hair, icy ocean blue eyes, and soldier figure have remained the same even now at his age, so they also expect his power remained unchanged.

“He doesn’t look anything like a 65-year-old.”…….…

With it being his late years, King Vincent still hasn’t picked a successor. He doesn’t dote on any of these children and prefers they fight over the throne once he’s dead and gone. The entire country is well aware of this, which causes extra tension around the royal family. In unison, the officials sigh, turning their attention to King Advisor Leon Skye.

Leon acknowledges the encouraging nods his colleagues are giving him. He stands to the left of the group, eyeing the entire family, turning into a nervous, sweaty wreck himself. What they wish for him to bring up...won’t fair well for anyone, but he needs to try. Leon is 5 years older than Vincent, and they’ve known each other since childhood. He would like to think they’ve managed to become friends since Vincent is so hell-bent on ignoring him as an Advisor.

Never marrying, Leon devoted his life to Goranous and was rewarded generously for it. The respect received created a following he has come to rely on for the past 20 years. Vincent once listened and followed whatever Leon wanted, but after the nearly successful attempt on Annette’s life, Leon’s controllable King and Queen suddenly became uncontrollable monsters. There is no love between the 2, so he often finds himself curious about the event. Someone nearly killed the unkillable Moon. That information alone would be valuable in anyone’s hands, but all who were present were killed. Leon has had the most challenging time scraping what he does understand together. The one person he wished he knew for sure was dead is the one thing he can’t find any confirmation on.

Caution and patience he’s exercised over the years and has finally decided on a plan. Leon is ready for the kingdom he loves to finally be restored. Staying out of the line of fire of Vincent and Annette has granted many privileges...he himself has used, but it’s for the greater good. Others have abused this blindspot which has aided Goranous’s decline over the years. Leon will correct this soon. He’s his own self-made powerhouse, but those concubines have put a damper on his plans. Their constant schemes have given their offspring a considerable amount of power. Each was married for political reasons that Leon never supported. He prevented all he could but declining their marriages was out of his control.

His eyes move to the heirs, landing on 1st Prince Oliver Lux and Princess Sarah Abraham-Lux. Oliver is 25 years old, with 3 children. His blond hair, blue eyes, slim figure, and calm demeanor make him a good candidate for the future King...until you include his wife. The religious pull over the country tied to the Abraham name makes the pair dangerous. The Church of the Land, or TCOTL, is a powerful group skilled in magical spells, but casting is their strength. Leon does not trust them but has used them before. They are a tricky bunch and have never involved themselves with the politics of the country. Their reasoning for wanting the throne can’t be good. After moves are made, he’ll have to deal with them.

1st Princess Beatrice Lux-Williams and Johnathan Williams are next to catch Leon’s eye. Beatrice is more gentle-natured than her siblings. Her black hair, piercing blue eyes, and curvy figure are overshadowed by her gentle smile that can dissolve any conflict. She is 24 years old with 2 children, and she is hard to read to Leon. If he could merely figure out how she thinks, he would have loved for her to inherit the throne. As Victoria, she has a certain grace of royalty that can not be replicated. He could trust that she’ll do right for the country but isn’t sure how sympathetic she’d be to the people. Going from the current monarch to a passive one is not ideal for Leon. Her connection to the Williams family disqualifies her anyway. That family is powerful fighter magic wielders trained for hand-to-hand combat. Most of the military possess men and women from their tutelage, and if it came down to a war, Leon isn’t sure who orders the army would follow. He is certain something is going on there but can’t pin down what.

Next, Leon’s eyes fall on 2nd Prince Landon Lux and Princess Jocelyn Garcia-Lux. Jocelyn is 1 of the princesses of a neighboring country, Croza. That alone stirs unrest among the court and noble families. The desert country isn’t much of a threat military-wise, but their people are...charming. Jocelyn isn’t shy about showing off just how convincing she can be. Leon isn’t sure if she has an effect on Landon or if the man generally loves his wife. Landon has pure black hair and eyes, with his father’s soldier figure giving him an intimidating appearance, and his stoic nature adds to this aura. He is 23 years old with 1 child and another on the way. This pair wouldn’t be the worst Leon can think of, but Landon is too stubborn to be advised, and Jocelyn seems not to care about the country in general. They could simply turn out like Vincent and Annette. There is something about Jocelyn that Leon doesn’t believe can be trusted. He’s kept an eye on her but is puzzled as to why she never seems to leave the castle grounds.

An exaggerated yawn draws his eyes to the 2nd Princess Olivia Lux-Dormer and Frederick Dormer. The 2 of them look like models sitting next to each other. Olivia, at the age of 22, matches her full brother’s blond hair, blue eyes, and thin frame. Olivia and Fredrick aren’t shy about flashy things, and to the public, both have a carefree demeanor. However, behind closed doors, 1 has a temper equal to the fire she wields. Only a single child is between them, but the wealth of the Dormer family many don’t like. Leon can only imagine how the finances of the kingdom would suffer. Olivia...let’s just say she isn’t his favorite among the heirs. She opens her mouth without thinking too often for his liking. Leon knows just how out of control she’ll be, and that’s a risk he isn’t willing to take.

All in all, Victoria and Evangelina managed to get impressive spouses for their children. The heir’s counterparts seem to want control of the throne, which is why Leon is nervously staring at Vincent. There is another heir that can take the throne. The Royal Princess, daughter of Vincent and Annette. It’s a topic the whole country knows about but can never openly discuss.

For years it was believed that the child was dead until Vincent made a comment in the middle of court 1 day. On this specific day, Vincent wouldn’t stop smiling, but the way he kept looking at Annette...was about to start yet another battle between the 2. When Annette questioned him, he blurted out how lovely his blue eyes matched her red hair on a cute little girl.

Everyone expected the room to explode, but Annette seemed to understand and returned her attention to the cup in hand. The connection dawned on the rest of the court, but the moment someone spoke up…Vincent killed them.

This topic is a land mine for the royal family. All anyone knows is that the child is a girl, and Vincent pours nothing but affection into her. The daughter has never been seen by anyone but Vincent and her unseen royal attendant. Since Vincent is overly protective of her, rumors have spread, varying from her being disfigured, stupid, or sickly. It goes without saying anyone who’s caught spreading those rumors, Vincent makes sure they don’t live the remainder of the day.

Submitted: November 21, 2021

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