I’d yet to be put in front of a map, but the fact that, indeed, Solstice parents, the crown prince and princess included, were expected to look after their children gave me a different well of information about the country.
“Relief efforts to ease the effects of last year’s drought have been reported only half the ordered numbers in the southwest.”
An advisor gave Father a small stack of official documents as he and five other men sat around a glossy polished table. Theo and I were right next to Father’s left elbow, placed together in a large bassinet. Such was how I knew Solstice was roughly a fourth the size of the United States and that Father had his own council to assist Grandfather Leomer with his work. They mainly dealt with internal affairs. Mother had her own council too, but her work was light as she continued to recover from our birth.
“And the reason why?” Father asked, shifting through the stack before smoothly popping Theo’s pacifier back when it fell out and caused him to fuss.
“Lord Proteric believes the drought to be caused by a lack of faith and worship of Iteus of the people in his land and thus was withholding the supplies as punishment for their supposed perfidy.”
“Lord Proteric,” Father sighed. I could tell this man was a constant source of trouble. “The drought was caused by a lack of rain, not intense sunlight. It was far cloudier in that region than it’s been in years past. If anything, he should be blaming their lack of faith in Kadione. Even then he’d be wrong. Sometimes bad weather is simply bad weather.”
“What course of action would you order be taken, Your Highness?”
“Captain Holdfield and his men are in the area. Have them obtain the supplies and finish distributing them. Hopefully, the delay won’t affect this year’s harvest. I’ll write a decree stating Lord Proteric’s retirement. I appreciate his devotion, but as the man has reached his eighties it is far beyond time he passes control of the southwest to his daughter.”
The advisor began writing while blank paper was given to Father. The decree was quickly created and signed before being stamped with a design of a full sun. Like the wreaths my siblings and I wore at the ceremony, only select members of the throne could officiate documents with the design or wear anything similar upon their person. Not even the head priest had the same privilege. Only the chosen heirs, their spouses, and their children had the honor.
“We received the birth announcement of Lord Willis and Lady Lindara’s children. Two boys, twins. Your parents have already signed.” Another of the men, brunette with square spectacles to match his square jaw, slid a fancy certificate forward.
“Twins. How lucky,” Father chuckled, glancing at Theo and I with playful fondness, signing his name.
“Lord Willis’s family has been quite loyal to the crown for generations, and the north has not faltered in strength as the others have from time to time in over a century. Perhaps these new lords would make good fits for the princesses in the future,” the man across the table with copper hair mused.
“Now, now, Kelin,” Father grinned. “They’ve only just gained some hand-eye coordination and can’t sit unsupported. Allow me a bit more time before I must think of their marriages.”
Yeah. Come on, Kelin.
“Of course. My apologies, Your Highness.” He nodded, but matched Father’s smile.
Someone knocked at the door. Father beckoned them in, and the woman who stepped inside announced that she carried a report from Grandfather Leomer he wanted this council’s opinion on.
“It’s a matter regarding the insurrection, isn’t it?” the advisor on Father’s left asked knowingly after Father took the report and dismissed the carrier.
“Unfortunately so,” Father confirmed, brows furrowing.
I’d heard something of a rebellion but given how dark Father’s expression grew reading the details it was no surprise he didn’t care to talk of it during his resting time. Sadly, I didn’t get the chance to hear more. A stink came from Theo who belted out his discomfort.
“I need to focus on this matter right now. If the children could be taken to Felicity,” Father instructed to the guard standing watch in the corner.
I fussed too when the guard quickly retrieved a servant to take my brother and I to one of the nursemaids. I hadn’t been causing any problems. What a bummer.