The lady entered the great hall, dressed in silks foreign to the gathered crowd. Her crown sparkled of gems, carefully selected to finish her look, or perhaps it was the other way around. The bold red, deep emerald, and royal blue tones reminded all of her place in this world, and it was at the head of the table.
The knights and lords fell to their knees and silence took over where once was a frenzied din. The ladies curtsied as she passed. To each she nodded and shared a genuine smile. As she ascended to the elevated table at the front of the hall, she lifted her skirts slightly, revealing leather riding boots.
She stepped up to the table and welcomed her guests, “Please, rise! This is a festivity!” She raised her glass. “To the people of Riggs, the house of Whitney welcome you!”
With those words, the band resumed playing, the men rose, and the wine began to pour. Queen Filippa straightened her skirts before sitting. As she reached for her chalice, a page kneeled beside her.
“Your Majesty, Yarl Mikkel of Riggs wishes for an audience.”
Filippa looked out across the room and Mikkel nodded his head in her direction. She looked with annoyance back at the page with her dark eyes. “I shall see him. Tomorrow, in the morn. Ensure Lady Aramith is in attendance.” She pursed her ruby lips and waved off the page with the swift tilt of her head.
The page nodded and slipped away with little notice.
“Uncle,” Queen Filippa turn to the man to her right, “why do these roguish men whose lands have come under my protection keep groveling to take my hand?”
Her uncle scoffed.
The Queen continued, “I understand why,” stressing the word why vigorously, “but why can they not see I have all that I want, and easily can take more if I want it. I don’t need these fools falling at my feet. Goodness, I need a real man!”
A hearty laugh escaped her uncle’s mouth. “My dear, they seek the power, and, forgive me, who wouldn’t want a piece of you?”
Queen Filippa rolled her eyes and found levity in his words. Nothing like honest Uncle Abe to state the, well, obvious. She looked down her bosom and shifted a bit to ensure all was in the right place then exhaled in frustration. “I grow tired, Uncle. I shall see you tomorrow.”
Uncle Abe nodded at her as she departed the table to retire from the party.
Filippa paused outside a moment as she returned to her quarters to breathe in the night air. The river and the mountains which ran alongside castle laid awash in moonlight. She thought to herself, These are the views I want to share… The small quiet moments between the flurry of the crown’s demands; this is when I need somebody holding my hand.
She released her breath and continued to her chambers. Tomorrow brought another day of royal duty and another day of sorting out suitors. Tonight she would rest easy knowing Riggs lands and it’s people were now hers.