The light was not as warm and comforting as it was in Gladys’s end of the corridor. Yet it was not the harsh light of the elevator either. The light that shone into the great room was natural light and seemed weightless and thin, creating an odd sense of spring at any time of year. Light flooded in golden beams through the gigantic high set windows that covered the upper half of the pentagonal space. Small grains in the light brown sand stone seemed to shine back at this light as if they wanted to leap from their chambers and dance through the floodlit air with the small visible dust particles that floated around without worry. There was no describable smell, the occasional waft of a soft sweet flower entered the nose but was whipped away before the brain could make sense of what it was.
Before Morgan and I, on the north facing wall, was a small set of stairs, fourteen of them I remembered vaguely from my childhood, each represented one of the fourteen council members. To the left of the stairs several grand seats were spread across the gentle curve of the wall that made it easier for the members to see the nerve wracked people below, the same was spread to the right. In the very centre, with its own step after the diverging row of member seats, in the direct north, sat what looked like a grand throne, decorated with solid golden Ivy, swirling all the way to the tip where it wove into a delicate crown. As I recall it was crafted to be identical to the one worn by the occupier of the chair, the queen.
“Remember to curtsy when Helena walks in. It’s going to go just fine, I promise Morgan.”
She squeezed my hand while with other gripped her pendant tightly, I hoped it was giving her as much courage as she was currently giving me. I had never been around for those who I loved, I had almost lost Morgan because of it, now is my time.
“I know it will be dad.” I could still feel her determination as we stepped apart ready for the entrance of the council. I felt it each time she reached for her pendant, I couldn’t help wondering if everyone else who had a part in the pendant could feel it to?
Slowly a massive wooden door situated behind the throne opened up, it looked far too heavy to be opened by the slight figure that stepped through it. I bowed while Morgan slightly uncomfortably curtsied. Each member sat down in unison, the dull thuds and whoosh of their traditional robes against the seats settled down and a very soft voice said “You may rise.” The voice was in no way quiet, it had a very commanding and strong tone; somehow it still managed to remain soft and comforting.
The young queen was admittedly not much older than Morgan herself, she was smiling at Morgan as she took her seat in the throne.
A small and very old man I had once known as Uncle Fabren stood and faced the queen. “Introducing Mike and Morgan of Ollerond, my lady.”
“Thank you. You may begin you appeal.” The man sat and she casually rested her chin in one delicate hand and watched eagerly as Morgan and I stepped forward.
“Afternoon my lady.” I cleared my slightly squeaky throat and continued. “I am afraid we are here on grave business and we have no time for delay, what I am about to ask of you could affect the whole of your kingdom, please don’t think me rude for avoiding ceremony but time is of the essence and lives may be in the balance, my queen, war is upon us.”
She shut her eyes for a second as the council members muttered and exchanged critical glances between themselves.
“Please Mike, call me Helena, we will have none of this ‘my queen’ business. ” Before I had a chance to react with shock my father stuck his foot in.
“My lady! This is quite unceremonious! I must protest! What proof do we have of the proposed immediacy of the matter? What proof do we have that this is not an absurd goose chase? In fact I believe that is simply all it is, we need to look further into this ourselves, talk it through with the enemy before going straight out into war! If it is as important as the boy says it is should we not spend time debating?”
“Cecil! Let him talk.” She gave him a look that seemed to whip away his spine, he quickly fell back into his seat but kept a very sharp glare over Morgan. I could see it unnerved her so I took her hand once more.
“He was my examiner.” She whispered under her breath.
I knew he would have done anything he could have to try and bring her mark down during testing and it made me fume.
“Continue.” Helena’s voice was sweet enough nobody could remain in a state of anger, it didn’t mean I would forgive him but it reminded me that fighting with my father right now could be a very bad move.
“Thanks for the input dad.” I sighed.
“My... Helena, our enemy has been building its strength for a very long time, if we do not act soon we may never be able to stop them. The Van Helsings have...”
Several council members laughed and muttered “The Van Helsings are a noble and good family, they have rid the human world of evil for centuries.” I waiting for their sniggers to settle before I continued.
“You have let them blind you, long ago the Van Helsings became power mad, an army is building as we speak and a dear friend, possibly our key to winning this war, has gone off to fight them. If a young boy has more courage than the commanders of war then what are we coming to?”
I looked at Helena for inspiration to continue my rally, but she was not looking at me, her eyes looked almost glazed over as she smiled directly at Morgan.