Lord Dupre threw another log on the fire and stoked it a moment, a mundane task but one he didn't balk from.
Lady Amandine and King Blackthorn sat at odds with one another across a checkerd board of warfare.
"Have you seen what is going on in Skara Brae?" King Blackthorn finally spoke aloud.
"Blackwell has always been weak and easily pushed around." Dupre turned to Danica who said nothing in response, her head in the game.
"Still I had not expected something as honest and true as a workers union to turn so sinister so quickly." said the King.
"Do you want me to intercede in city affairs with the weight of the Crown?" Dupre's tone turned deathly serious.
"I do not like hammering in nails with cannon balls Dupre."
"What then your Majesty?"
"This is obviously a ploy for more power, some sort of sinister plot in the guise of something else." The King looked across at Lady Amandine who still had not made her move. "What do you think?"
"Check." Lady Amandine raised her eyes from the board and looked across the board at her King with a smile.
"I think our Lady has her mind elsewhere." Dupre smirked.
Lord Dupre and Lady Amandine had hardly become friends, although through their loyalty to the King and their country had found a mutual respect for one another, despite their previous dealings.
"On the contrary, I agree with our King." Danica sat back and waited for the next move.
"...In what regard?" Blackthorn asked.
"The weight of the crown is heavy, why slam it down on Skara Brae. This is a city matter, let the people decide what they want. If they really believe that banning swords from town will keep them safe..."
"...a foolish notion." Dupre interrupted.
"...Of course it is. But some people are prone to fear, prone to conflict rather than logic. Criminals, Evildoers, and... Politicians... prey on that fear."
"I am not a politician Amandine." the King said with a smile. "No need to curtail your words on my behalf." Blackthorn then moved a rook across the board removing him from check.
"Of course not your Majesty." Danica quickly moved again. "Check."
"I think she may have you this time M'Lord." Dupre approached the board, finally interested in the game.
"I like to let her feel she is doing well." Blackthorn moved his King.
"What are you going to do about Skara Brae?" Dupre insisted.
"Nothing?" Danica looked up surprised and Dupre's curious look mirrored both their sentiments.
"I can't go smashing down on every town every time they make a city ordinance I don't like."
"You are the King..."
"I wish to be a King, not a Tyrant."
"But what of this Union?" Dupre crossed his arms.
"This is the same group that was bothering that Healer outside Britain, yes?"
"Yes, they have all but put his building plans on hold. He has come to call several times, and I have turned him away." Dupre took a seat by the fire.
"I won't send troops to smash a Union that has done nothing so far but dabble in politics. But I would like more information, send an envoy into Skara. See what is happening there. Put my colors on them and arm them as you normally would."
"You think they would block a Royal envoy, or force them to disarm?" Lady Amandine peered at the King from under her curls of Red.
"They would be foolish to do so." Dupre turned away from the fire to get another look at the board.
"Just a fact finding mission, if they meet armed response, tell them to retreat. I just want more information." the King picked up a pawn as he spoke and placed it forward two spaces.
"You really plan on doing nothing about this silly law, disarming law abiding citizens?"
"Nothing at all, let the people decide. However..."
Danica studied the board and judged herself in superior positioning. "I finally have him!" She thought to herself and moved her queen across the board.
"However?" Dupre finally spoke after several moments.
"However, sometimes the people just need a bit of encouragement." Blackthorn picked up a bishop and placed it next to Danica's King, protected by the pawn. "Checkmate." He said with a smirk.
"No way!" Danica stood, surprised. She studied the board and finally gave in to defeat placing her king laying down on the board.
"Encouragement eh?" Danica shook her head.
King Blackthorn sat back and nodded to Lady Amandine. "Encouragement."
"Understood your Majesty." Danica and Dupre both stood and bowed to take their leave.
As the two exited the room together and closed the door, Danica whispered, "I almost had him that time."
"No you didn't, you know he enjoys playing the game and constantly staying one step ahead. He does the same to me when we play."
"One day he will make a mistake."
"Don't Count on it Amandine." Dupre smiled and knocked his elbow into hers playfully. "What are you gonna do about Skara?"
"You mean, 'Encouragement'?"
"I am going to let Wellings decide what that means. It cant come from us, if it does it will seem to come from the King."
"True, Ill send the envoy in the morning." Dupre turned to walk down a separate hall. "Goodnight Amandine... unless." Dupre laughed.
"In your dreams Dupre." Danica scoffed in feigned offense.
The two then made their way down the halls opposite one another till the morning.