This is a continuation of the book Felicia.
“Mama!” Dimitri whined and I looked over to see water on his shirt. I quickly changed him out of the shirt and into a new one. I then picked him up and brought him from the dining room and to the throne room. I stopped when a familiar face came into view, “Sir Tristan, how may I help you this morning?” I asked with a warm smile as the man came closer. He bowed with his right fist over his heart and then smiled towards my child.
“My queen, all preparations are set for the festival.”
“All preparations? How is that possible? It has only been two weeks since I asked you to plan this event.”
His smile broadened, “Everyone I asked to help was willing to do anything to help you accomplish such an idea, my queen.”
“So you have sent out notifications to all in our country and all royal family members?”
He nodded happily as his light blonde hair moved slightly, “Yes, all invitations have been sent for this Saturday and I have already received over two hundred responses and still have yet to receive a no.”
“That is wonderful! Thank you so much, Sir Tristan!” I said with a smile and the young man only four months my senior blushed before bowing again and then quickly leaving. I turned to Henry who started laughing.
“You did not even speak to him for a minute and yet you already had him flustered! It is truly amazing how quickly you can break down a man’s composure.” He joked as I walked to my throne and set Dimitri in my lap. He crawled up closer to me on my legs and started playing with my father’s necklace.
“Sir Tristan is easily flustered if I smile.”
“He was so flustered that he left without telling you who had replied to his invitation.”
“Well all I truly need to know is who does not plan to come.”
He nodded and then rested his head on his fist as he looked directly to me, “This festival is a magnificent idea, Felicia.”
“I knew our two year anniversary of finally ruling Parethia again was sometime soon, but commemorating it with a festival is brilliant.”
I stood and looked to Henry, “If you will excuse us, I need to talk to Vladimir.”
“Of course.” He replied and I quickly left the throne room. I walked down to Vladimir’s room and knocked on the door.
“Vladimir, can we talk?” I asked the door and it slowly opened. Vladimir stood in riding clothes and looked at me.
“What? I was just about to leave.”
I sighed, “I know, I heard you thoughts. I just wanted to give you this before you left,” I said as I handed him a letter and he took it.
“I’ll be back on Saturday for the festival.” He said with no emotion and I looked away from him as he walked away. A surge of anger seemed to fill the air around him and I knew I was the cause of the emotion but getting near him would not help as I wish it would. I sighed but looked down to Dimitri when he tugged on the v-neck of my dress to see a very concerned look on his face.
“Mama,” He asked, “Where’s he going?”
I sighed, “He’s going to see his brother.”
“He’s leaving mama?”
I squeezed him tighter to me, “I have you and Henry. I don’t need anyone else,” I replied and then looked down the hall when I heard someone walking. Two maids smiled towards me and I smiled back even though I wished they were Vladimir coming back to talk to me. I carried Dimitri down the hall, down the southwest staircase, and went through the front entrance. I stopped when I saw a group of young men waiting for me. The eight young soldiers bowed towards me and I smiled to them. I brought Dimitri over to the shooting range and set him in a chair behind the shaded area for shooting and storage. It was made of a small brick building that was only three walls with a longer ceiling than needed. “Stay here and watch.” I instructed Dimitri and he nodded towards me. I went over to the storage area and picked up the bow Henry had asked a man he knew to make for me. It was a regular bow, but its string was made of a material that seemed to make an arrow fly faster and truer than usual. I took out a quiver and put it on the ground beside me as I took my spot at the third shooting marker of ten. I pulled out an arrow, positioned it, and then looked to the hay bale target that was about 20 feet away. I let go of the arrow and it cut through the air quickly and precisely until it pierced the hay bale directly in its’ center. I looked to the eight young soldiers and made my face stern, “You have an hour to try to copy what I have just done. If you have a question, let me know, but you may start shooting now.” I said and then turned to Dimitri as he hopped out of the chair, “I told you to stay there, Dimitri. Did you not hear me?”
“Teach me, Mama!” He said with a broad smile, “I want to try!”
“Alight,” I said and then sighed, “I will have to find my old bow for you to use so go sit back down for a moment.” I said and he happily crawled back into the chair. He was definitely my son. Before even turning a year and a half he was almost fully walking and talking. My father used to tell me when I was young that I had learned how to talk, walk, and ride a horse before I was two so I assume Dimitri will be the same way. I rustled through the equipment on the shelves that lined the back of the shooting building and quickly came upon my old bow. It now seemed so small, but it was the perfect size for Dimitri. I brought it to the 9th marker since the eight soldiers took up the first eight and Dimitri quickly waddled over to my side. I kneeled on the dirt and pulled him so that he stood in front of me with his back against my chest. I took his hands in mine and placed them on the bow where they belonged. I helped him get an arrow and put it in the bow. I helped him pull back the string, “Alright, now close your left eye and line up the tip of the arrow with where you want to shoot,” I instructed and he lifted the bow higher up so that he could look directly where the arrow would go, “And release.” I whispered into his ear and he quickly let go of the back of the arrow. The arrow soared through the air and pierced the hay bale almost directly in the middle. He whipped his head around to me and let out a squeal.
“I did it mama!” He yelled as he hugged me. I hugged him back as he laughed.
“Yes you did, baby. I’m very proud of you.” I said and he seemed to glow with my praise. Suddenly I heard laughing and looked up to see Henry watching us.
“Well done, Felicia.”
“Uncle!” He squealed, “Did you see me?”
“Yes. That was very impressive, Dimitri.” Henry said with a laugh and I saw my father in him for just a moment. I let go of Dimitri and he quickly turned to me with concern.
“What is it mama? You’re sad?”
I shook my head and smiled, “No. I was just thinking of how much your uncle looks like your grandfather when he laughs.”
“He does?” Dimitri asked and I nodded. I wished he could know what my father and his father looked like. I wanted him to have a father to take him hunting, but that could never happen. I killed his father with my naïve nature. I ignored the thoughts and looked to a soldier as he ran over to Henry. He quickly bowed with his right fist over his chest towards Henry and then did the same towards me.
“I’m sorry to bother you, my queen, but I was told to inform you that Princess Rebecca, Prince Eliot, and King Samuel shall be arriving sometime tonight.” The light blonde haired, deep blue eyed soldier of about 30 years said towards me. I stood and brushed the dirt off of my dress with a smile towards the soldier.
“Yes, thank you very much,” I replied kindly and the man quickly left us. Henry looked to me curiously, “I wrote a letter to Rebecca a few days ago asking if she could come early for the festival so that I could talk to her and I assume her father and brother just decided to come along.”
“What do you need to talk to Rebecca about?”
I smiled towards Henry, “It’s a secret!” I mocked and he smiled back to me, “I’m only 21! I can still have some fun, can’t I?”
“A queen acting like a child, who would have guessed such a thing?” He asked with a joking smile towards me. For the rest of the day Dimitri insisted that he wanted to keep shooting so Henry and I watched and helped him understand the art of archery. By the time the sun started to fall behind the slopes of the mountains I made Dimitri come inside to eat. The three of us went to the dining room and started to eat, but were interrupted by a knock at the door.
An older woman soldier quickly came into the room and bowed to the three of us, “I am sorry to bother you, my queen, but the royal family of Radia has just arrived.”
I stood from the head of the table and Dimitri looked to me, “I will get them settled and then bring them back to eat,” I told Dimitri and Henry before following the soldier out of the room. She brought me to the stables on the east side of the castle and I saw Rebecca walk out of the building first, “Rebecca!” I called and she looked up to me with a warm smile. I quickly went over and embraced her. She squeezed me to her, but quickly let go when the soldier beside me flinched. Rebecca looked to the girl with concern.
“Does our greeting bother you, soldier?” Rebecca asked with confusion and the soldier blushed.
“No! Not at all Princess Rebecca! It’s just…” The soldier looked to her feet, “Queen Felicia was injured a few weeks ago and I am just afraid such a tight embrace may bring my queen pain.”
Rebecca smiled towards the woman, “I am sorry, I did not know,” She said and then gave me a sharp look, “Why didn’t you tell me you are injured!”
I smiled towards her, “It was almost a month ago, Rebecca, and it is healing quickly. It is almost fully closed so I did not take it as a hazard or worry.”
“You are so reckless sometimes, Felicia!” She said with anger but then sighed, “So other than the injury, how are you?”
“You’re lying,” She said with a frown, “You look too skinny and seem paler than usual. Are you ill?”
I shook my head, “Not at all.”
“Then tell me why you look so sick. I want an explanation.”
I sighed, “Vladimir’s only been here a few days this month and I’m slowly becoming very ill. That’s all, but it is my burden to bear. I was born to do this.”
She sighed, “Is he coming to the festival?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “He left earlier today.”
“If he doesn’t show up I will personally go and bring him here! I don’t care if he wants to make himself sick, but he is making you so ill you look like a skeleton!”
“It’s alright, Rebecca,” I said with a sigh, but then looked to the king as he came to me. I embraced him and he did the same to me, “Was your trip long?”
“No, not at all,” He said with a smile, “How is my grandson? He is not with you?”
I shook my head, “He’s finally letting me go places without him.”
“The last time I was here Dimitri would not leave your hip, let alone be a few yards away from you.”
“He is with Henry now discussing archery.”
“Archery? He had shown interest in archery?”
I smiled towards the king, “His father was one of the best archers ever to live and his mother is skilled in all formats of fighting, he was destined to be interested in archer. He actually shows very strong natural potential. Today he finally was allowed to shoot an arrow and it almost hit the marker dead-center.”
“That’s remarkable! Well I shall have to see these skills before we leave after the festival.”
“I’m sure he will be happy to show you.” I said, but then turned around when a soldier sprinted towards us. He stopped in front of me and bowed to me as he tried to catch his breath.
“My queen, a letter from Prince Glen.” He said through gasps for air and I quickly took the letter from the man. I read it to myself and then let out a sigh before handing it back to the man.
“Please bring this to my brother.” I instructed and the man quickly left to do so.
“What did Glen say?” Eliot asked as he came over to us.
“Apparently there was a small group of men planning an assassination attempt against me and Glen apprehended them. They admitted to be connected to the man that attacked me at the beginning of the month and injured me. And if the others of this group were as skilled as the man I fought they would have probably been successful in their attempts.”
“Then shouldn’t you be interrogating them?”
I looked to Eliot and then nodded, “I would if they were still here to interrogate.”
“What do you mean?” Rebecca asked me.
“Lucas was there when Glen found the men and he killed them.”
“Why would he do that? They could have given you a warning of other attacks!” Eliot argued and I sighed.
“Most likely he did not think it through. Before the battle to regain Parethia I traveled with Lucas for a few years and he would have done the same thing then so he was probably still imagining these men were going after the woman who had stolen his heart, then denied him, and now is his best friend and queen.”
“Are you going to tell Vladimir that there was an assassination attempt against you? Maybe he would come back and you could become healthier.” Rebecca suggested and I wrapped my arms around my waist.
“I doubt he would come back for that. He will only come back if I am dying or if his sickness gets so bad that he cannot handle it,” I whispered and then looked away from Rebecca, “Besides, I don’t want to worry him. We have enough to deal with right now and an assassination attempt is not something he needs.”
“Where did he go anyways?” The king asked.
“To visit his brother in order to tell him that he may not be stepping down from their throne.”
“What do you mean not stepping down? He’s going to marry you soon and he will have to be the king here!”
“Mama!” Dimitri hollered and I quickly turned around to grab him as he ran to me. I picked him up and spun around once before I kissed his cheek.
“What is it, baby?” I asked with a smile and he looked to the three people watching us.
“Grandpa!” He gushed and I quickly handed him to the king. King Samuel hugged the child and I forced myself to look away for I could feel my heart and forced composure slowly crumble. They all shared his eyes of light green that made me want to weep and see Dimitri in my dreams once more. Sadly he had not entered my conscience since the abduction of our son, “Grandpa, did you hear what daddy did for me?” Dimitri asked and my heart skipped a beat.
“Your father?” The king asked as he looked from me and the child he held in his arms, “You mean Dimitri the first?”
Dimitri nodded, “Yea! Daddy helped mommy save me!”
“Save you? From what?”
“A mean man, grandpa! But he gave mommy a booboo! I saw it! It’s all bruised and swollen!”
“What is he talking about, Felicia?” The king asked with sternness in his tone.
“Let’s go inside,” I suggested with a heavy heart, “You must be hungry.” I added and the king agreed. Rebecca took my hand in hers and we walked inside. I stopped at the door when I saw Henry watching us and assumed he had brought Dimitri here. The six of us went up to the dining room and ate while Dimitri talked to his extended family that watched me as I moved food around my plate, “Soldier,” I insisted as a man in a uniform went by the doors to the dining room. He quickly came in and bowed at my side, “Please send this letter to Prince Glen and this one to General Lucas.”
“Of course my queen!” The man said and then quickly left with the letters I had just written.
“What are you writing to Glen and Lucas about mommy? Are they coming on Saturday?”
I nodded, “I was just writing them about something special I am planning for the festival, honey. Don’t worry about it.” The three Radian royalties looked to me with concern as I quickly looked out the window. Rain started to fall as I felt my stomach screaming in pain. I quickly leaned back in the chair but looked to Henry as his hand was set on my arm.
“You look ill, Felicia. Do you need the doctor?” He asked with concern and I shook my head.
“There is nothing he can do for me.”
“He could give you something to lessen the pain. Please, Felicia. Let him help you.” Henry said and I closed my eyes. I did not have enough energy to argue him. I heard him stop a maid as she walked past him, “Please go fetch the doctor for my sister.” He asked and the woman quickly ran off. I knew she was afraid but I could not comfort her. I was in too much pain to even stand and I could not hide my pain any longer. I was too ill to protect others. The doctor quickly came into the room and I opened my eyes to watch him as he came to my side. He quickly took my temperature as I feared he would.
“My queen, you need to lie down. Your fever is too high.” The man whispered to me and I sighed.
“Lying down is not an option, Doctor.”
“My prince, please make her reconsider. Her temperature is so high she could faint.”
“Felicia, please go lie down.” Henry insisted and I closed my eyes. I put my hand over my eyes with my thumb and middle finger squeezing the sides of my face as I tried to get my head to stop spinning. I then looked to Dimitri as he grabbed my hand.
“Mama?” He asked with concern and I sighed but forced a smile in his direction.
“It’s alright, baby.”
“But you’re sick.”
I nodded, “But I will be fine. The fever will pass soon.”
“Henry send for someone to go fetch Vladimir,” Rebecca insisted, “He is the one making her ill.”
I looked to Rebecca, “He knows I am ill, Rebecca. He just refuses to show concern for it. If he cared he would have come back by now.”
“So force him to come here!” She argued, “He probably does not understand how much pain you are in!”
I looked away from Rebecca, “He is in bed with another woman right now. I could die and he would not care.” I whispered and she quickly stood with anger.
“I’m going to kill him!” She hissed but froze when Henry grabbed her arm.
“But he’s cheating on Felicia and making her sick! He should not be allowed to do this!” She yelled, but froze when I slowly stood.
“If you will excuse me,” I whispered and then slowly left the room. I quickly made my way to my room and threw up twice before Henry had enough time to find me. When he came into my bathroom I was crying while lying on the floor. He quickly picked me up and brought me to my bed. I lay down and he sat on the edge of my bed, “I hate this.”
“I do also.” He whispered, but looked up as Rebecca, Eliot, and the king came in with Dimitri in the king’s arms. I quickly sat up on my bed and wiped tears from my face. Dimitri squirmed in the king’s arms until King Samuel finally let him down. Dimitri quickly ran over to my bed and crawled onto it. He came to me and hugged my neck as he pulled his thin build against mine.