“I can't do this. It’s futile, Henry.” King Matheas Winters addressed his younger brother with a scornful glare. Matheas was tall and broad shouldered, and stood with an air of confidence. The King wore relatively short, dark hair. His eyes were a cool blueish green and were often said to pierce through the souls of those he gazed. Matheas also had a fair amount of stubble on his lower face, with a hint of a five o’clock shadow. The king brought a hand to his face and ran it through his hair, down to his stubble covered chin and sighed.
“They want me to produce a heir by the end of next January. It’s already April! I will not allow myself to marry without affection.” Matheas paced the room, and leant on an old chair. He spat out the words with vigour, as he believed them to be true.
Lord Henry, Matheas’ younger brother, crossed his arms and frowned. Henry was shorter than Matheas and instead of dark hair like his brother, he sported a light brown that often seemed blonde. He was also slightly broad shouldered and was very athletic which showed due to his obsession in the sport of fencing. He believed every word Matheas spoke, but knew the council that aided the royals would not allow Matheas to continue reigning without a queen. He had already ruled for over ten years and obviously needed a heir to succeed him. Matheas had become King at only fifteen, when both parents had died in a political expedition to France, and had ruled for eleven years.
The Royal family had been left without both parents, and Matheas, the oldest, had stepped forward to rule at fifteen. It had been a grueling time for Matheas since he had to care for his younger family and the kingdom. The man had been constantly under pressure to provide his skills to leading an entire Britain, and it was tough for a teenager who had only recently lost his parents.
Nethertheless, Matheas carried on. He was an excellent ruler and the citizens of Britain, mostly loved him. Though now, Matheas was struggling to accommodate to the council’s latest requirement. As a king, it was tradition to marry, produce a heir or heirs, and pass down the throne to them.
Matheas shook his head and massages his temples, the stress had accumulated over the years throughout his reign. Henry glanced worriedly at his older brother, who looked so forlorn. As the second oldest of the royal family, he knew the pains of pressures residing from the council. Even though the king held more power, the council could influence decisions and introduce requirements for a ruler.
“You know you can't stop the council, they'll be hosting ball after ball to find you a suitable Queen!” The younger brother spits, frustrated.
“You don't think I know that? It's either I rule and find a queen or become some sort of estranged King!” Matheas looks up to glare, fire in his eyes.
Matheas heaves a sigh, running his fingers through his long hair again, unrestrained by his usual tie. Henry’s features soften as he sees the true state of his older brother. Matheas had always cared for Henry and Victoria, his younger sister, since the unfortunate death of their parents.
“Look, please don't worry about this now! You have more important matters to attend to. Forget it for now, Matheas.” Henry voiced before nodding at his brother and left Matheas’ throne room.
Matheas growled in frustration and slammed a fist on his writing table. No matter what, this problem seemed to resurface. The council was relentless. But Matheas knew it would come to this, and he had to make a drastic fast decision.
Later that evening, the Winters family sat down to dine. Matheas was at the head of the table and his siblings at either side of the table. This way, Matheas would be able to converse easily with his younger siblings.
This evening, supper consisted of wild turkey, roasted root vegetables and raised rye bread. It was obvious Matheas was not in his best of moods. He seemed dejected and distant to the conversation that was commencing whilst eating.
After supper had finished, the siblings retired to the drawing room. Matheas decided to occupy his favourtlite arm chair, which was rumoured to be a hundred years old.
“Brother, the council wants to hold a ball in five weeks. Will you allow it?” Henry asks, watching Matheas’ expression to turn sour and quickly anger.
“Most certainly not.” Matheas snapped, turning back towards the fire crackling in the hearth.
Victoria Winters sighed at her brother’s bickering and left her current reading. She was the youngest of the three Winters, and was slim in build. Victoria had long, flowing brown hair that was usually up due to convenience. Victoria also had blue eyes, which today matched her cobalt gown.
“I believe a ball would be lovely to make new acquaintances. I heard the Lord of Darboshire will be there, with his recently married wife!” Exclaimed Victoria, slightly exasperated at the effort she had to go to make her older brother agree to a simple ball.
Matheas tilted his head but did not reply to his sister’s suggestions. He knew that Victoria’s intentions were good, but Matheas knew that Henry had different motives for a ball. Once Matheas had agreed to the evening of dancing at his palace, the council would invite many eligible candidates for his hand in marriage. Matheas could not allow that to happen. He had decided to stick to his morals, and would not marry without affection.
Henry abruptly stood and announced he would retire for the night. Matheas eyed his brother as he left, knowing he was annoyed with Matheas’ decision.
“I’m rather afraid that I will retire also, I am visiting the Countess of Wales to morrow.” Victoria rose, snapping her book shut and placing it on a table next to her armchair. Matheas bid her goodnight.
Matheas watched his sister leave before leaning over his chair and rubbed his temples. Matheas paced the room again before sitting down at the writing desk. The King grasped a writing feather and dipped it in the fresh ink and began to write.
An hour later, Matheas was finally finished with his letter and it was a few pages long. The King folded it and stamped it with melted wax and waited for it to dry. Once it had, the man addressed the letter and clutched it in his hands as he walked up the many stairs to the family chambers. Matheas walked to Henry’s door and knocked, waiting for an answer and stood feeling awful.
The King received no answer, Henry must have already fallen asleep. Matheas then bent down to slide the folded letter under the door of his brother’s chambers.
Matheas walked away towards his own room and clutched his side, feeling apprehension and regret for what he was about to do.