6 March, 2018 by katelaity
‘Insulted? Surely it was your unreasoning prejudice which caused this quarrel?’ The king frowned.
‘I was the picture of reasonableness,’ the queen said with a dangerous air.
‘My lady, have we a name for this treaty? History will wish to know.’ The lady Judith wisely inserted this query into the conversation just as the monarchs were turning a bit sour. I could not have been more grateful for her presence at that moment despite reflecting on the notion that if it were not for her leading us to this benighted realm, we should have been back to our horses and away for some tea and cakes already.
There was no sign of cakes appearing from any quarter in this drafty castle.
‘Shall we call it the Treaty of Briar Thorn Castle?’ The queen suggested with a careless tone.
‘Perhaps the Accord—’ The king caught the lady Judith’s eye and a subtle shake of her head and immediately thought better of prolonging the process of negotiation on the first point of order. The day already seemed interminable to me, probably due to my rumbling stomach and powerful thirst. ‘As you wish, my dear.’
One might hope that conceding this first point, the negotiations might have gone more smoothly as they went along, with both sides giving a little in their turn. Alas, this was not the case. Each point seemed to be of utmost importance until the next point came along and the process began over again.
‘Sic semper regnis,’ Tansy whispered with amusement at one point. I suppose I must have slept through our Latin lessons more than once, but after all it’s such a slippery, complex language with far more syllables than is polite, I see no need to retain its use unless one was in the habit of repeating foreign bons mots, which I am not.
While we waited more than a few of the soldiers toppled over from standing at attention for far too long and had to be carried hence by their compatriots and presumably seen to by some sort of medical officer. My stomach began to rumble most alarmingly, and short of calling for medical attention myself, I could see little to do about it, though the queen did look up over at me with an expression of alarm and confusion after a particularly ostentatious trumpeting. I was mortified, but helpless.
‘Can you not calm that?’ Chambers asked, alarmed by the queen’s disapprobation.
‘Do you have some bit of bread and butter in your pocket?’ I asked with an acid air, for I knew he did not. The poor man patted his pockets uselessly and I felt bad about my waspishness. It was not as if I could have eaten in front of the royals anyway, but it was kind of him to look. Even bread and butter, though poor fare, made my mouth water a little so at least I felt less thirsty.
After a seemingly endless discussion with much bickering about miniscule points of order—who really cared if the clouds were over the orchard or over the brook, and could either of them actually do anything about it? Perhaps being fae as they were it was within their power. Or perhaps neither could control the clouds or the sun or the stars but they didn’t wish to let the other know that—at last the treaty was finished to more or less the satisfaction of both parties and they commenced to sign the document which the lady Judith had transcribed in a beautiful round hand with surprisingly few cross outs and rewrites.
She had quickly gained a sense for when a point would be debated ad infinitum and when it was mostly past argument. The lady was a dab hand with the quill I must say. I could have used her skill to write my assignments for penmanship in school, for I was always being beaten for my blotches and uneven letters. No matter how I tried the words would always creep their way down the page like drunken sailors on a spree.