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Title: In the Name of the King
Disclaimer: All the characters, except for my self-created supporting characters, belong to the usual suspects...WB, UPN, Jason Katims, and Melinda Metz.
Everyone but me.
If I had an ownership interest in this property, season two would NOT have happened the way it did.
Pairings/Couples/Category: Max and Liz are the focal point here, but every major canon couple is here in some capacity. And guess what? No evil Tess.
Rating: Mature, for some language.
Summary: Crown Prince Maximilian of the House of Evans is the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Alemannia...a kingdom that is ripe for revolution. Lady Elizabeth of the House of Parker is the second daughter of a minor noble in Alemannia, who lives far from the intrigue of the royal court. Their meeting will change the course of history.
A/N:This fic was originally written and posted by me for a different fandom. I have decided to remake it as a Roswell fic, which will take some work on my part, but not too much. I'm really curious to see how this will end up changing the story.
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Manfred was riding a horse hard and leading another one behind him. As the senior servant assigned to Crown Prince Maximilian of the House of Evans, Manfred was unaccustomed to playing the role of messenger unless his charge had seriously irritated his parents, King Phillip and Queen Diana. That was not the case today, not that he knew anyway, but if the scuttlebutt among the servants was right, Prince Max might wish he was being punished after today’s audience.
As Manfred drew near the waryard, he could hear the clang of sword on sword or the thunk made when a metal sword glanced off a wooden shield, and there in the middle of it all, under the watchful eye of the kingdom’s most honored knight, Sir Emmerich Bauer, was the prince himself. He was just short of his nineteenth birthday, just short of six feet in height, with long brown hair that was currently held back in a warrior’s triple braid, and amber-flecked brown eyes that made women swoon.
Max’s face glistened with sweat as he worked out under the watchful eye of the royal arms master. Everyone thought crusty old Sir Emmerich was a tough, uncompromising bastard, but no one believed that more fervently than Max. He was the crown prince of the kingdom, and yet Bauer worked him harder than anyone else. Over and over they went, day after day, working on technique until Max had every move down pat…and then working some more. Once his two hours of martial training were over, he hung up his practice weapons, and then turned to his servant as he began to remove his practice armor.
“What am I late for this time, Manfred?” Max asked disinterestedly, as he took off his leather gauntlets and put them away. “Language lessons? Economics classes? Dancing instruction?”
Off all the things a prince needed to know, Max considered dancing to be the most useless. To his way of thinking, dancing was just another chance for his parents to put their prize calf on display, not to mention a chance for every newly marriageable daughter of the most powerful nobles in the land to step all over his feet and giggle at him.
Just then, the cloud cover broke and Max felt the sun blazing down on him, making his already overheated body even hotter. He quickly stripped off his chainmail shirt and padded leather undershirt to keep from heating up even more. Once the armor was stored away, Max rinsed the sweat from his body, accepted the crisp, clean shirt Manfred held out for him and pulled it on.
“No, your highness. No instruction today,” Manfred said, just before he headed to the many equipment racks to make sure everything his master had put away was stored correctly. Max followed the man and deposited his half helm and camail on a post to keep them out of the dirt.
Max’s eyes narrowed and he came to a full stop so he could take a good look at his servant. The man was a veteran of twenty years service and yet he was nervous, almost to the point of shaking like a leaf. “If I’m not late for another tutoring session, then why are you here? You never get sent just to deliver simple messages; that’s a job for lesser servants.”
“I am here to convey a royal summons, your highness.”
“In the middle of the afternoon? Most unusual.” Needing to know where to go, Max asked, “From which one, my mother or my father?”
“Both, your highness.”
Oh crap! They must have found out about the necklace. Kyle was supposed to keep that a secret until he got home. Damn him! Pretending he hadn’t a care in the world, Max smiled, mounted his horse, and asked where he was to go.
“The throne room, your highness.” That bit of news stopped Max in his tracks. Shit! Shit! Double shit! This isn’t about an emerald and pearl necklace, not in the throne room it’s not.
“When?” Max breathed.
Without a timepiece anywhere nearby, Manfred still knew the answer. “Five minutes ago, your Highness.”
Max spurred his horse and raced toward the distant palace, first over dusty, crushed gravel paths, and then over cypress-lined, cobblestone-paved lanes. Normally a lover of the varied sights the miles of open parkland that surrounded the summer palace could bring, he only had eyes for the road as he raced at a breakneck pace in a bid to keep his parents, the king and queen, from waiting any longer than they already had.
By the time the gleaming white marble edifice of the long and low palace came into Max’s view, Manfred was quite far behind him since his horse was smaller and slower and because he was a weaker rider than Max was…and because he had no wish to accidentally end up being called into the throne room. There were some things even the servants didn’t want to know.
The prince reined in his horse at a side portico and handed over the reins to a liveried servant as he raced into the palace, through the conservatory, and into the adjoining music library, where he pressed his ring to a notch on the wall. The ring, in turn, opened a hidden door into the palace’s network of narrow, dimly-lit secret passages.
Once hidden from view, Max ran at full speed and was in the residential wing of the palace in near-record time. Apparently, word of his need had already arrived, since a bevy of servants were ready and waiting. When he stepped into his suite of rooms, he was whisked into his bedroom and undressed before being made to stand in a large tub of water to be scrubbed clean by a pair of servants with horsehair brushes and soap.
At the same time, his hair was undone and thoroughly brushed out before the royal hairdresser rebraided the entire style, starting with the braid on top of Max’s head right at the back which dropped straight down his head to the nape of his neck. There it was joined by a braid from both sides, each of which started right behind the ear and conformed to the curve of the skull on the way to the meeting point at the nape, at which point the three smaller braids were woven together into one thick braid that went down Max’s back to a point below his shoulder blades.
When the hairdresser was done, Max stepped out of the portable copper tub and waited as more servants dried him off, before yet another set of servants set about dressing him. He managed, only just, to pull on his own underwear, but he stepped into white silk hose that ran up to his knees, and close-fitting black breeches which ran down just over the tops of the hose before being tied tight behind the knee.
Meanwhile, a clean undershirt was pulled on him followed by a crisply starched white shirt which Max buttoned up himself as he stamped his feet into glossy black knee-high leather riding boots that had never come close to an actual horse, but did have the saving grace of covering his hose and the bottom edge of his breeches.
Lastly, the servants pulled on a brilliant white military uniform coat that had golden shoulder boards bearing white enameled pins of rank, and a short, stiff collar with more golden cloth and smaller versions of the rank pins from his shoulder boards. The coat was double-breasted, and the two rows of golden buttons stood out against the white of the coat. The last thing on was a golden sword belt which circled his waist and had two descending straps for holding a sword in place at his side. As no one wore a sword in the royal presence, those two straps were removed, and he was sent on his way.
Max contented himself with walking to the distant throne room to give himself time to collect his thoughts before this official audience. He had to be careful now. Inside the throne room, those two people were the King and Queen of Alemannia first, and his parents second.
What really had him worried was that they hadn’t discussed anything with him beforehand. That usually meant either he was in deep trouble and was being punished publicly, or else they had made up their minds about something and were sure he wasn’t going to like it. Telling him about it when court was in session rather limited his opportunity to argue until well after their course of action had been announced and made official.
The sound of his boots as they struck the black-veined white marble floors would have been enough to tell Max that the spacious halls were nearly empty as he made his way across the palace. Figures, either everyone is in the throne room to see what happens, or else Mother and Father have ordered the palace emptied so no one will learn what happens. Minutes later he stood in front of the giant gold-sheathed doors and waited to be introduced.
The seneschal gestured, and a liveried doorman pulled the door open. The seneschal then stepped through and said in a booming voice, “Your Majesties, announcing the Crown Prince of Alemannia and Duke of Borussia, Maximilian of the House of Evans.”
Max looked down at the golden house ring that proclaimed him a member of the royal family, and the green and gold ring that tied him to his position as the Duke of Borussia, before taking a deep breath and striding into the vast throne room, which was completely empty except for the two people sitting on the dais. The king’s throne was larger than the queen’s because of his size, and it was a couple of inches in front of the queen’s because this was a kingdom, not a queendom.
Max knew such distinctions meant little to his parents, as his mother had been his father’s closest confidant and advisor since the earliest moments of their marriage. He wasn’t sure if they were in love or not, but that had nothing to do with royal marriages anyway, a point that had been hammered into his head for years.
When Max got close to the dais and saw that even his younger sister Isabel wasn’t present, he began to be intrigued. This had essentially become a private meeting, one that could have easily taken place in the royal apartments, but having it here made it an official meeting and, as he’d noted earlier, it kept him from arguing. Reaching the proper place, Max knelt on one knee and kept his face on that of the king, waiting for the signal to rise.
King Phillip signaled wordlessly for him to rise. Max did so effortlessly and waited. Patience had never been his strong suit, so Phillip had cultivated it over the years, making his son wait when his inclination had been to go now, to know now. When Max waited for a couple of minutes with no show of impatience, Phillip nodded to himself and spoke.
“You have, no doubt, noticed the extraordinary precautions we have taken to assure our privacy this afternoon. Not only have we emptied the throne room, but the queen has warped the minds of the nearby guards to ensure they don’t hear us.”
Max shivered slightly, as he’d never gotten completely comfortable with his mother’s ability to bend minds. She had also raised a glowing green shield across every entrance to the throne room. Max’s eyes shifted to those of his mother for the first time, as he tilted his head, raised his eyebrows, and his mouth dropped open. All she did by way of acknowledging his unspoken question, how serious is this? was to nod her head almost imperceptibly, before he returned his gaze to his father.
“I’ll be direct with you, Max,” Phillip said. “These precautions have been taken because we have reason to believe a military coup attempt is imminent.”
Max was filled with outrage. “Who would dare?!”
“Sources within the General Staff indicate that General Khivar is the likely mastermind.”
Max thought back over his years of training. He knew Khivar was the commander of the King’s Legion, the elite forces of the Alemannian army. If he could command their loyalty, he might be able to pull it off. The soldiers wouldn’t even have to know they were part of a revolt. They could just be told the king’s life was in danger and then be assigned to take or hold a particular area, with only a few key officers actually in on the plan. By the time the rank and file realized what had happened, Khivar would already be installed as the next king.
“How do you plan on countering him?” Max asked.
“Carefully. We need to isolate him from any possible support among the nobles, especially the Council of Dukes. If they were to ratify his coronation, the game would be up, barring another army coup of course. And while you’re on the Council of Dukes, you’re not old enough to vote there yet. In any case, he’d kill you long before the dukes would ever get a chance to vote.
“So…we need to keep you safe so that even if he somehow gets us, he’ll know he still has a claimant from the House of Evans to deal with before he can have himself crowned.”
“Quite frankly, my prince, my son,” Diana said, speaking up for the first time, “it’s time for you to vanish.”
Knowing there had to be more to it than that, Max just raised an eyebrow and waited.
“We’ll start rumors of sending you in many different directions, and even send out a company of the household chivalry to escort you to your ducal palace in Borussia…”
“Except you won’t be in the midst of that escort,” Phillip continued, “you’ll already be long gone.”
Max was beginning to get a bad feeling about this, as if it was a half-assed plan that would end up making him suffer.
“And why is that, Sire?” Max asked formally.
The king and queen glanced at each other. Max being formal with them like that meant he was suspicious and had his guard up. That, in turn, meant being direct was their best course of action.
“Because you’re leaving the palace tomorrow morning, and you won’t be allowed to come back until we send for you,” Phillip said. “You’ll leave the palace from an out-of-the-way sideyard, appearing to be just another squire trailing along behind his knight.”
“That knight,” Diana said, “will be charged with protecting your life, even at the cost of his own. Along with that, he will be responsible for completing your weapons training.” And, hopefully, he’ll help you grow into the man this kingdom needs while he’s at it.
“What about my training with my powers?” Max asked. He was looking directly at his mother for this question, as she had been, until now anyway, his instructor in the mystical arts.
“Your training is complete, Max, and has been for some time.” For the first time in this meeting, he saw an expression from his mother that actually looked like the woman he loved and respected. It was pride, pride in her son, and pride in a job well done. “You learned quickly, and most importantly have learned the value of caution. Most young Antarians think they can do anything once they’ve learned to control their powers.”
“Well…it is an insanely difficult process to learn,” Max allowed, “and mastering it is even harder, so you’d have to see where they are coming from.”
“True, but in this one area, you have shown maturity and restraint. In other areas, you have been…less successful.”
Max nodded his head in rueful agreement, privately wondering which of many events she might be referring to this time. “Who is the knight I’ll be squiring for?” Max had known from the moment his father had mentioned him being a squire that this was considered to be an essential part of his disguise, and was probably the reason his parents were having this discussion in court.
The king looked at his son with some trepidation, and when Max saw Phillip nervously lick his lips, he suddenly realized who he had been assigned to. This was the real reason the meeting was here: they weren’t worried about him accepting the role of a squire, as onerous as that may be, they were worried about him arguing about being assigned to…
“Sir Michael Guerin,” the king said quickly.
The queen leaned in then to add, completely unnecessarily, “Better known as the Black Knight.”
Completely forgetting he was in court, Max swore. “Ho-ly shit!”