Thursday, December 10, 2015
Rohana - Chapter 6
“I feel like a cow!” Rohana complained to her husband as their body servants held out robes for them.
Felix laughed and gathered her into his arms. “You look beautiful!”
“But I'm only 6 months and I'm already huge!” Rohana protested petulantly.
“That simply means that the baby is healthy,” Felix assured her, kissing her on the forehead.
“I know,” Rohana grumbled. “I'm just afraid that I won't be able to fit in the palace if I get too much bigger...”
Felix couldn't help but laugh at that. “I'm almost certain that won't happen, but if it does, I'll simply build you a bigger palace.”
Rohana snorted. She knew he was trying to be sweet, and appreciated the effort, but it was unrealistic. “With what money?!”
Felix shrugged but didn't answer. They finished dressing in their robes, and then sat down at the table in their chamber in order to eat breakfast. They'd likely go take a bath in a little bit before getting dressed.
There was a knock at the door and Perdita slipped away to answer it. She actually stepped out into the hall for a few minutes, but eventually came back. A secretive smile twisted her lips.
“Your Majesty,” she addressed Felix respectfully as she gave him a deep curtsey – despite the fact that she was only wearing a tiny garment that just barely covered her womanhood and left everything else naked.
“Yes? What is it?” Felix wondered with a smile.
“The Queen's parents have come for a visit,” Perdita informed them.
Rohana gasped in surprise, suddenly very excited. “Invite them in!”
“Shall we have them join us for breakfast?” Felix suggested.
“Yes please!” Rohana agreed with a happy grin.
Perdita curtseyed again before walking away to follow her orders. Rohana fiddled with her hair nervously as she got to her feet, muttering: “It's been so long...”
A moment later, her mother was rushing to hug her. “Oh my baby!”
“Mama!” Rohana exclaimed, hugging her mother tight.
“And look at that!” Her mother blurted out, placing her hands on Rohana's belly. “You must be carrying a big strong Prince!”
Rohana didn't get a change to reply before her father pulled her into a hug. “My precious girl,” he murmured, savoring her embrace.
“Daddy...” she purred softly, her eyes closed.
Soft chuckling called her attention to the third visitor. She opened her eyes to see who it was. Happiness filled her to her core.
“Chyllen!” She cried out as she pulled free from her father's embrace and threw her arms around her ex-fiancé. He blushed over the fact that she was only wearing a robe, but returned her hug for a moment before pushing her away slightly.
“I came with your parents because I knew that people would remember me and let us into the palace without question,” he explained.
“Smart man!” Felix praised sincerely, making Rohana blush over her rudeness.
“I'm so sorry,” she blurted out as she took her husband's hand in hers. “I've forgotten to introduce you.”
He kissed her hand. “That's quite alright. I must admit I found the sight of your reunion adorable.”
Rohana took a moment to introduce her parents and remind her husband who Chyllen was. Her parents each deferred to him with the utmost respect. Meanwhile, Chyllen gave him a courteous bow.
Felix gestured around the table. “Please be seated and make yourselves comfortable. Breakfast should be served at any moment, and then we can all go to the palace bath together.”
Rohana laughed softly. “Remember, in the Valley Kingdom, people bath by themselves.”
“That's right, I'm sorry,” Felix stated with a tone of chagrin. “I meant no offense.”
“None taken,” her father murmured, smiling at how well the couple got along. He had been afraid that Rohana might be suffering despite the fact that Chyllen had assured them that King Felix was a decent man.
“Shall we skip our bath today, cancel our meeting, and spend the day with your parents?” Felix suggested.
Rohana frowned slightly as she thought this over. “Can we do that? I thought today's meeting was important.”
Felix shrugged. “Our advisers would have us believe that every little thing is dire and needs our immediate attention, but haven't you learned by now that most of it fairly routine and can wait a bit if we need to take a day off.”
“That's true...” Rohana murmured, still frowning lightly.
Felix chuckled. “I can see that you do not like the idea of setting aside our work – even for a day. Then how about we bathe quickly, attend our meeting with the understanding that only the most important subjects are to be discussed, and then we can reconvene here with your parents for lunch and spend the rest of the day with them; would that suit you?”
Rohana nodded lightly, a soft smile announcing that she liked this suggestion much better.
“Pongo, that means that her Majesty will wish to wear something light and quick today,” Felix stated, knowing that Rohana usually tended to just wear whatever Pongo felt was best. As he said this, breakfast arrived and was served by five extremely pretty maids – one for each of them.
“Yes, my King,” Pongo replied with a slight bow. “I shall look through the Royal Closet for something suitable.”
Thank you!” Rohana called out after Pongo as he walked away, and then repeated the phrase lightly to the maid who had served her. The maid curtseyed deeply, honored to be noticed by the Queen. The moment everyone had everything they needed, Felix's body servant shooed the maids out of the room, sounding almost jealous.
Rohana grinned at her mother. “I'm so lucky! We had a late crop of cherries come in, and I'm craving everything cherry at the moment.”
“Is that why we're eating a breakfast of cherry oatmeal, cherry custard, and... what is this?” Rohana's mother asked with a laugh.
Rohana smiled and shrugged. “I can't remember the name, but it's basically layers of a very thin bread that are buttered and stacked, and every few layers, the bread is brushed with honey and a mix of crushed and depitted cherries and nuts. I absolutely love it!”
As they chitchatted for a few moments, another knock softly resounded through the room. Perdita rushed to answer it before the visitor could knock again and disturb her Royal Master. A moment later, she returned to Felix's side.
“Your Majesty, I'm sorry to disturb you, but the Head Priestess is here,” Perdita murmured. “Should I allow her in or send her away?”
“Allow her in,” Felix stated without hesitation.
The Head Priestess entered the room wearing a flowing white dress that both covered her entirely, and also hinted at the secrets underneath. She knelt before the table, situated between the Royal Couple. Rohana smiled at her, wondering why she was visiting.
“Are you here to check up on the baby?” Rohana asked fondly.
“I can, if you'd like,” the Head Priestess assured her. “But the real reason I am here is to remind Your Majesties that there is a ritual to take place on the Eve of Gods' day. In two days time, my Queen, I will come for you and you will spend the day in seclusion with the Priestesses so that we may cleanse you body and soul.”
“Don't worry,” Felix assured her with a smile. “It's not as ominous as it may sound. I'll be in seclusion with the Priests, who will lecture me on my duties as a King and a son of the Gods. As I understand it, you'll be pampered; massaged and anointed with scented oils.”
“Exactly so,” the Head Priestess agreed with a smile.
“That sounds a bit unfair!” Rohana protested with a laugh.
“Not at all!” The Priestess reassured her. “Our King has proven that he needs lecturing on behalf of the Gods, while you have proven yourself pure of heart and a favorite of the Gods. I would not be surprised if the Gods speak to you themselves.”
Rohana sighed heavily. “They are not even my Gods! They shouldn't be speaking to me but to my husband!”
The Priestess laughed. “Don't let such things trouble you, my Queen. I'll be back for you in two days, bright and early in the morning, right after Pongo wakes you up.”
Rohana blushed and looked to the floor. Felix and the Head Priestess chuckled in unison. They exchanged amused grins.
“You're always so adorable when you blush!” Felix exclaimed, kissing her hand.
“I agree,” the Priestess stated with a grin. She got to her feet and kissed Rohana on the cheek. “But I must go for now, the Gods have much they want me to do over the next couple of days.”
“See you later,” Rohana murmured.
The moment the door closed behind the departing Priestess, Felix smiled at his wife. “So, shall we go for a small hunt this afternoon with your parents?”
Rohana looked less than happy with this suggestion. “Hunting? In my condition?!”
Felix chuckled. “I suppose not.”
“Why not show them our orchard?” Rohana suggested with a hint of pride. “It's really starting to do well.”
“Only because you have performed a miracle on it!” Felix exclaimed in praise.
“It's not a miracle if one knows what they are doing,” Rohana demurred with a shake of her head, and then turned to smile at her mother and father. “What do you say, would you like to see our orchard?”
“That sounds lovely,” her mother agreed with a smile. She was happy to see that Rohana had a fairly solid relationship with her husband. She had always assumed that being a Queen must be a sort of lonely job, but Rohana seemed to be handling it well.
Rohana pushed her half empty plate away with a sigh of disappointment. “I know I'll just end up ravenous again in an hour, but I simply cannot eat any more!”
“Then it must be time for our bath,” Felix stated with a smile. He turned his attention to their guests. “Would you like to remain in our Royal Chambers waiting for us to finish up with our meeting, or would you like to be assigned chambers of you own so that you may relax and do as you like until we are ready?”
“Chambers of our own would be nice,” Rohana's father murmured with a smile.
“As you wish,” Felix stated, gesturing to his body servant, who rushed off to relay the order.
Pongo reentered the room and bowed to the Royal couple. He was holding two dresses. “Which would you prefer, my Queen?”
Rohana frowned and wrinkled her nose in thought. “I'm not sure...”
“The red one doesn't look good with your hair while the blue one matches your eyes,” Felix voiced his opinion.
“I agree,” Pongo murmured softly, looking to the floor.
“Really? I had no idea that the red one looked bad on me,” Rohana stated in dismay. “I always liked it...”
“That's because you seem to have no regard for fashion,” Felix said, teasing her. “No matter, we can have it sent back to the seamstress and remade. If she added some blue flowers to it, I am sure it would look lovely on you.”
Rohana laughed and shook her head. “I'll take your word for it! Pongo, it seems we are ready for our bath.”
Pongo set the dresses over the back of a tall chair to be dealt with later. “Of course, my Queen,” he stated with a bow.
Rohana's mother watched as Felix's body servant returned and gave him a small curtsey. Then she looked over to Pongo once more. A light blush colored her cheeks.
“Rohana,” she chided. “I'm surprised at you! Surely you should have insisted that your servants wear something far more decent!”
Rohana blushed and looked to the floor. “I tried...” Which was true, she did, however, the servants themselves had refused to change their uniform.
Felix smiled and came to her rescue. He took her mother's hand in his and looked into her eyes so that she could see that he was being serious. “Our servants wear their uniforms with pride. If they did not like them, they would be free to wear something else.”
“It's not a matter of pride,” Rohana's mother insisted gently. “It's a matter of decency.”
“In Uridian, the body is considered sacred, a divine manifestation of our Gods,” Felix explained. “There is no shame in any part of the body. I myself could walk this palace completely naked and not a person would question this. The same holds true for any citizen.”
Rohana's mother seemed both flustered and confused by this concept. “But surely you can agree that the sight of a woman's breasts are meant only for her husband!”
Felix turned to his body servant and smiled at her. “Perdita? What do you have to say? Would you like to wear something else?”
“Certainly not!” She gasped in horror and then belatedly curtseyed and added: “Your Majesty.” She looked Rohana's mother in the eyes. “I am wearing exactly what I want, and my King is right, I wear my uniform with pride! This purple color proclaims that I am a body servant to the King himself! Why would I wish to cover my uniform?”
“Exactly so,” Rohana's body servant stated in agreement.
“I'm sorry mother,” Rohana murmured, hugging her mother and then kissing her on her cheek. “I have tried to be the best citizen of the Valley Kingdom that I could be, but I vowed to honor the Gods of Uridian too. I cannot in good conscious insist that the people here conform to my beliefs when it is I who have promised to conform to theirs.”
Her mother smiled faintly and kissed her on the cheek. “Which is, I suppose, the reason you make such a good Queen.”
Rohana let out a small sob of relief and held her mother tight.
“Ooph!” Her mother exclaimed a moment later. “Your child sure can kick!”
“Tell me about it!” Rohana exclaimed as her mother stepped back to place a hand on her belly. Her father also put a hand on her belly and grinned at her as he chuckled.
“Feels about the same as you did,” he informed her, kissing her on the cheek. “Always determined, even then.”
“Daddy...” Rohana murmured happily.
There was yet another knock on the door. Perdita rushed to answer it. She smiled and stepped aside so that the King and Queen could see who it was. She also announced them.
“It's Lords and Ladies Bertram and Darkinian.”
The two couples stood outside the door in their robes. Lady Darkinian waved cheerfully. She was a softly plump woman with beautifully mocha skin and amazing light brown curly hair that seemed to flow everywhere.
“Are you ready for the morning bath, my Queen?” She asked in excitement. Her hands rested on her belly, which was only a few weeks to a month less pregnant than Rohana was. Lady Bertram was likely a few weeks farther along, which made the three of them pregnancy friends.
Rohana laughed. “Why do I get the feeling that you have something you're just dying to tell me?”
Lady Darkinian bounced lightly, and clapped her hands softly. “My sister sent word that she's with child too and is coming to stay in the palace for the winter!”
“That's wonderful news!” Rohana exclaimed, rushing to hug her friend.
“Except that it means that the palace will be overrun with babies come the end of winter!” Lord Darkinian joked.
Felix laughed as he gestured for everyone to exit the Royal chamber. “That's not so bad. Just wait until our boys are all old enough to be chasing each other around the halls!”
“May we all be carrying daughters!” Ladies Bertram and Darkinian exclaimed together, sticking their tongues out cheekily at their husbands.
Rohana linked arms with the two Ladies, and then gestured to her parents. She introduced them, and then added: “And you might remember Chyllen. He was one of the guards who accompanied me originally.”
Lady Darkinian smirked at Chyllen flirtily. “Of course I remember you! I was quite disappointed that you left the palace before I got a chance to hire you as my body servant!”
Her body servant gasped in dismay from where a group of them waited in the hall. “My lady wishes to replace me?” He asked, sounding hurt.
“Oh never!” She assured him. “This was before I hired you.”
Chyllen chuckled and bowed to her slightly. “I am not entirely sure what a body servant does, but I could not bring myself to wear such a small uniform.”
Lady Bertram winked at Chyllen. “A body servant is the most important servant of them all! If you ever change your mind and decide you need a job, I am certain that there are any number of ladies in the palace who would love to hire you!”
Lady Darkinian whispered loudly in Rohana's ear. “Are all the men of the Kingdom Valley so handsome?”
“Perhaps,” Rohana replied with a shrug. “But I always thought that Chyllen was better looking than most.”
Lord Bertram shook his head and chuckled. “Do you hear these hens clucking?”
“Oh don't worry, you're gorgeous too!” Lady Darkinian assured him.
“Yes you are!” Lady Bertram agreed, grinning at her husband.
Felix interrupted before anyone could say anything else and delay them further. “My Head of Staff here will show you to a suitable room.” He turned to look at the woman he referred to. “For the Queen's parents and good friend.”
The woman nodded that she would of course treat them with the utmost respect. She then gestured for them to follow her. They took just one step before Felix spoke again.
“And please feel free to stay as long as you like. I know that my beloved wife would feel happier for your presence,” he informed them, kissing Rohana's hand once again. This meant that he had taken it from Lady Darkinian's grasp, and she took it back almost jealously.
“Flirt later!” Lady Darkinian chided as she linked arms with Rohana once more. “We women have many important things to discuss as we bathe!”
“And if we linger here too long, our bath might grow cold!” Lady Bertram added dramatically despite knowing that such a thing was impossible so long as the bath was working correctly.
Felix chuckled and gestured for her to lead the way. Rohana waved to her parents and Chyllen over her shoulder, calling out: “See you later!” She was relieved to see the Head of Staff step forward to assign her parents to a spacious suite.