"Gather up as many people and meet me in the main room quickly! We've got a huge situation on our hands," I explained as I kept running down the hall, looking for my mother and the butlers.
Firranda gulped when he said "huge situation". This was no petty news, this was certainly something major. She didn't bother asking any more questions, she knew that she would find out soon enough. She saw a few servants hurrying about worriedly, and she gave the order to gather everyone in the main room. She herself head to the room, taking others with her as they passed.
Once everyone was gathered in the main room, I walked in, drench with sweat from worry. There was chaos in the room, people yelling over one another, trying to figure out why they were so urgently summoned. I began to pace at the front of the room with a look of extreme concentration on my face. The room grew quiet. I looked at everyone and then mainly focused my eyes upon Firranda. "Let me be as blunt and truthful as I can. Xavier is gathering up an army to try and overtake our kingdom."
Firranda felt her legs nearly give out, but she retained her composure. If she panicked, others would as well, as the rmain room was already chaotic enough. They had to stay strong, discord would be Xavier's main advantage in this confrontation. Still, she feared for her own life and for Howard's, they would not be shown mercy if Xavier was victorious.
"I need everyone to stay calm and to listen to what I have to say!" I yelled over the chaos. The room instantly grew quiet. Taking the leader position, I stand up on one of the nearby tables and give one of the best speeches I can. "I need you all to stand by my side throughout this whole situation. I don't want to find out that one or multiple of you went over to Xavier's side. Can I trust all of you? I know we can get through this. We will get through this. I just need everyone's cooperation and to take part in this when I need you. Are you all in?"
While others cheered and loudly proclaimed their loyalty, Firranda remained an unshakable pillar. Howard was handling everything just as a prince should: he wasn't hiding anything, but he wasn't overreacting either. He was honest and blunt, something the common people truly needed. Still, perhaps there were details he hadn't told the collective that he would tell her in secrecy. She shuddered to think that things could be worse than he said.
Relieved that I had everyone's loyalty, I hopped off of the table and gave a contented sigh. The only thing was I hadn't told them the whole truth. I couldn't tell them the whole truth because then I would've lost them all to Xavier. I had to tell Firranda though. She had a right to know. I walked over to her with my head hung low, gently taking her hand and leading her out the door.
Firranda seemed to understand perfectly when Howard took her hand and led her away from the crowd. Of course there's more, she thought bitterly, even war can't be as simple as that... SHe braced herself for what he would say, knowing she had to retain her appearance of fortitude.
I pulled her into a corner where no one would walk by us. "So, as you probably already guessed, this situation isn't as simple as that. I didn't tell them the worst part." I gave a sigh as I tried to think of the best way to phrase the bad news. "At the moment, Xavier has more than half of the kingdoms on his side. I don't understand how he was able to do that, but it's the truth. My sources have told me, and they know everything." I said as I put my face in my palm and took a deep breath, trying to keep calm.
Firranda gave a start at Howard's news, she became short of breath and pressed her clasped hands against her chest. Fear began to overcome her, Howard's castle no longer felt like a safe haven. "What...what are we going to do? Are we going to war?" It sounded like a silly question, but she had to hear it from Howard.
I looked at Firranda with a serious look upon my face. "At this point, we need to try and gather up an army that could fight against Xavier's. We'll play on the defensive side. If Xavier attempts to attack us, then I will have to declare war."
Firranda nodded solemnly, accepting finally that any hope of peace they once held was gone. She had no real comprehension of their odds in this battle, since Howard would not declare war right away, and he had said that Xavier had many allies with him. "The only thing I don't understand is how Xavier got so many people on his side. Did you have some kind of...disagreement with the other kingdoms?"
"Our kingdom has been allies with so many of the kingdoms before I was even born. That's what I don't understand. How did Xavier get so many of the kingdoms to fight for him?" I asked, becoming more and more exasperated as I paced back and forth from one wall to the other.
"Maybe it's a misunderstanding..." Firranda murmured, trying to be optimistic. She didn't understand anything of the kingdom politics, but she could tell from howard's reaction that this was strange. "Does your mother know of this? Maybe she knows why this is happening."