Aden of Aden
I had a crowd around me as I told the tale of my father gaining the hands of my mothers. While my father had done the deeds in a far distant land from Thiminy, he came back with ample proof. There was more than just his knighthood and two wives, but the stuff that my mother brought back with her. There were boxes of things with the belongings for her previous boys being the most memorable. I knew that I had played with some, but most had now been discarded as children did not know how to treat things kindly. Mother did not cry when one broke, but would simply state that the piece had done its job of giving a young life moments of pleasure. When I mentioned this fact during the tale of my father and mothers, Chancellor Doborry interrupted me to make a comment.
“Your picture of the early days of your mother is not good.”
I replied, “No. My memories of her are most cheerful, but even I could tell there was something behind my mother. Father loves her dearly, as do all, but they call her Princess understanding there is something to her that places her in a separate category. Queen Straekin told me that my mother was able to provide me with something that she did not have, as my queen was not born a noble.”
“There is definitely something substantial behind you, Dear Aden. Please, continue.”
I did, and was able to finish the story. It was often told in my family with us children hearing others mention elements of the tale letting us know that it was more than a family history. Father gained his knighthood from those events, and his status among the people of Thiminy required them to know that he was deserving of his honor. My mothers shared a husband, and they wanted to proclaim their place as being something special. The fact Father had two wives because my mother was not considered to have enough value never reduced her status, as I grew up knowing that all could see something precious in her. I spoke of us children loving our father and our mothers as I brought the story to an end.
Chancellor Doborry did not speak to me as those stating their appreciation faded, but to the royal ladies present. “Queen Tiolotha and Princess Turponia, can you place any fault in this lady?”
The royal mother replied, “I have given Aden of Aden as much graciousness as I can feeling she is fully deserving.”
“Can you place any fault in us of Koshix?”
“I have to agree with my son on a number of his points. It is his graciousness that puts you in your situation, Chancellor, and I cannot fault you for taking advantage of it.”
I had to ask, “What fault could be yours, Chancellor Doborry?”
“Why seeking your hand, Aden of Aden. King Lechost took great risks to bring us to this point, and one of those risks was in bringing you to us. To have Prince Yelnoth now step in to seek your hand could be seen as improper.”
“Lechost is quite a figure with a history that will put him in good standing, but I cannot say that it placed him in my heart.”
Queen Tiolotha said, “But it seems that you found a place in both of their hearts. My son however feels his need to establish his authority, and accepts that will need to come before any matter of his heart. He however truly feels that you need to be a part of his land, so will not fault Yelnoth if he manages to capture your heart.”
Princess Turponia added, “And I suspect the two will come to terms with things among themselves. It might seem to you, Aden of Aden, that they have decided upon your fate without your counsel.”
I politely replied, “There is still the need to assure things with my own father.”
“I hope that you do not need to speak those words too loudly.”
“Dumourl is with them. While I do not know him that well, I do not doubt that he knows my royal family very well. He should suffice as a mediator for me.”
Chancellor Doborry asked, “Well, Aden of Aden, what do you plan on doing today?”
Not really knowing what my options were, I replied, “I guess go about and find what there is to do. With the men off and everyone here worried about the future, I am sure there are tasks to be done.”
“As nobles we are not above the people. We have jobs just like the rest. While we deserve our rest just like the others, when times are stressed it is best to be seen working than having fun.”
The queen mother said, “Aden of Aden, I feel that one of our jobs is to give hope to the people.”
“That is not a passive action. I would not have done any good staying in your castle this morning. I needed to get out. Part of ruling is assuring the people are at peace, and that is a job those in authority often do not take seriously.”
“And who taught you that?”
“My father, although he always said that he received the words from Queen Straekin. When I was in her castle, I heard those words from her as well, and they were also said by her daughters. Princess Endaullae added examples of people she knew, as she was back in Thiminy because the people of her husband’s land supported others gaining power than those who had held it.”
Chancellor Doborry said, “I expected you to say that your mother taught you that.”
“My mother instructed me in how to comport myself. Queen Straekin acknowledged that my mother provided me with something she did not have.”
“Your Majesty, Queen Tiolotha, I need your graciousness in allowing me to return home.”
The queen mother asked, “And why is that?”
“I want to get Viscountess Hachesta.” The man pointed at me as he said, “I know that Aden of Aden will not set her heart on Yelnoth without first meeting her.”
“I will send some soldiers with you. While I do not doubt the security the men of Koshix can provide, I want to show my own support for one of my own vassals.”
I stayed silent as the chancellor excused himself. While I understood that things were being done that would affect me, I had been taught that one could not force people to give up on their own schemes. You could set up barriers and work against them, but people would have their own opinions about how things should be done. I had been taught it was best to either share in the glory of success or be prepared to supply advice or instruction when failure became evident. The queen mother seemed to understand my thoughts as she asked a question after the exit of the chancellor.
“Aden of Aden, what are your thoughts of the seriousness of the intentions from Koshix on behalf of Yelnoth?”
With me already considering things, it was easy to reply, “I have to approve, since I believe Yelnoth set things into motion. Let me however say that your own graciousness speaks in favor of Lechost.”
“Ah, well, there I am at a disadvantage. He was gone from my life for so long that I really cannot know him. I however have heard rumors of you, so feel that I know you better. While I know certain commands came from my son, I have to say that I agree that keeping such a legendary figure will only benefit my land.”
“Aden of Aden, I do not believe that you have yet to prove the rumors true, but I am finding myself believing you are capable.”
I had to rush off. Tears came to my eyes wondering just what Sauton had done. I had just left my home. I had not done anything. I was still young, barely coming into my time as a woman. My serious training had only just begun. Feeling the weight of being someone of worth who people looked to for support and guidance, I broke to rush off hoping to find a place where I could only be myself.
What had me stop was the realization that I was being given the reason I had gone to Thiminy. With either Lechost or Yelnoth I could become the mother of princesses. Queen Debbish had mentioned gaining my objective would be extremely easy, but I had taken the words lightly at the time understanding the qualities of the noble ladies I knew. Realizing that I could gain a place with them did not comfort me, because I felt the responsibility my place above the people would force upon me. Understanding why the daughters of the rulers of Serussdal or Fedrukin, much less other lands, did not go to Thiminy for their training, I worked to control my emotions with the realization that I had to focus on the challenge before me.
I had paused at the door to a garden. My room would have been the wrong option, because that was the destination of a child. This was not my home, so I did not feel at peace anywhere in the building. The garden I felt would be open, and I did not want others seeing me cry. I stared at the door wondering if I should go out now or spend time composing myself before possibly being seen by some guard. I however turned from the door in finding some comfort in hearing a female voice.
“Aden of Aden, would you like some wine?”
I turned to Ludene and replied, “No. I have work to do. You need to assure my room is clean. Once I am finished, I will be in need of a bath.”
Father stayed active. The only reason I knew him as a part of my life was due to Thiminy not being so large that he could not come home. The only problem in going to the royal castle was that my king and queen usually traveled doing those things that made them legends and wealthy enough to fill a vast cavern with gold. The examples I had stated nobility was a job, a responsibility, an office only for those willing to take on the effort. Determined to prove myself, I moved through the castle then left to head to the stables. I chose the better young horses, found a large space, then became active training the steeds in certain motions necessary for various activities either with other animals or in battle.
Gaining an audience did not bother me. I grew up around others. I kept my focus on the animals determined to have those watching get into trouble for shirking their duties. The number of animals I had called out did not bother me, but I finished my time riding each to establish which ones needed further training.
Having been in the stables, I recognized certain lads as being those with the usual duties of caring for the horses. Seeing them take each steed after my final assessment I felt was proper. Releasing the last one to the care of a lad, I saw Ludene come up with a glass of water.
“The queen mother told me to tell you that you were still Aden of Aden. Water is being heated for your bath.”
With a serious expression, I replied, “I will live up to my name. I will then confront Sauton and make him responsible for what I have become.” Seeing Princess Turponia nearby listening, I stepped up to her to say, “He told me that I had blessed myself, but I feel that I am gaining proof that whatever happened was more than what I was capable of.”
She stared at me for a moment, then said, “At least you are not living a lie. You are Aden of Aden. I was not my mother.”
“You managed it. I will manage it. Our successes should give us things to talk about.”
“Come. You need to freshen up. While you do so, let’s talk.”
And an additional piece of information about her situation comes to Aden of Aden.