Mykal strode down the marble floored hallway, his dress uniform boots ringing out with each step. He had always thought that the dress uniforms were a little excessive, but now that he understood more about how it was important that high ranking officers needed to look the part just as much as they needed to know the part he was not as critical of them. Besides, I look pretty impressive in this get up, he thought to himself.
He was making his way to the official throne room for a ceremony that essentially introduced him to everyone at court. He thought of it as painting a bull's eye on his back. He had heard rumors back when he was in the academy and as a fresh commission. The court was full of ruthless cutthroats, a den of villainy and corruption that the entire known galaxy knew of and more importantly; feared. They were like pirates...in nice cloths.
As he made his way down towards the large double doors ahead of him, he heard the footsteps of someone rushing up behind him. Turning, he saw that it was Ensign Jeffries and she was running to catch up with him. "Major McDaniel, the king needs to see you right away. He said that it was very important that you meet with him in his office immediately."
As she spoke, there was a tingle of a message being sent to him from the King. [Need to meet with you right away, forget the presentation for the time being. They are used to waiting for us.]
Mykal nodded at the Ensign and gestured for her to lead the way. Following the junior officer, he wondered what was so important that he they would leave the court waiting.
"He's on his way. How are we going to tell him about this?" Hans asked his wife.
Elaine frowned. "I really wish we knew what she was up to when she did this." Sighing softly she continued. "Why wouldn't she have told me about this?"
The king frowned. "I don't think it could have been avoided. No one really knows why she went into hiding, but I would be willing to bet that we know what the reason is now."
"She could have come to me. I would have helped her." Elaine said with a hint of anger in her voice.
Hans walked to her and wrapped his arms around her and hugged her. "I know this is upsetting for you love, but it may not have been her fault. It's not like we know who the father is. That may have played a huge part."
Elaine nodded into her husband's chest. "You realize now that we are never going to be able to get rid of him, right?"
The king chuckled, "Not that I want to, but why's that."
Looking up into his eyes she smiled mischievously. "Now he's got enough title to be a match for Brigit."
Hans frowned slightly at that thought. "So much for making life simpler."
Mykal stared at the door, taking a deep calming breath. The king had explained what he had to do once he was presented. He had to officially be presented to the court, at which point he would be given his title and become able to marry Brigit. He felt a bit unsure, as it seemed odd that he had to do it right away.
The guards at either side of the door widened their eyes as they watched him twitch nervously. He didn't seem to notice when his hands would flick at speeds that normal people never moved at.
Mykal smiled slightly at the guards, men he was a few years junior to, that only a couple of months ago he could have seen himself sitting around a rec-room in the barracks, having a beer and shooting the breeze with. Now he was their commander. Only the royal family held more power in these men's lives. It was a sobering thought. One that almost made him miss the signal he had been waiting for to enter. One of the guards coughed slightly, getting his attention. Shaking himself slightly, he quirked a smile at the man in thanks as he began to stride forward, the massive gilded doors, capable of withstanding a missile strike swung open on hydraulics before him.
The soft murmur of voices drifted to silence at the sound of his sharp steps upon the polished marble. A sea of faces looked him over as he made is way in a stately fashion that still made him look graceful, despite its militaristic style. From the corners of his eyes, he could see a variety of looks from the members of the court as he made his way to the dais in front of him. Anger, jealousy, curiosity, confusion, these were just a few of the emotions that played out on the faces weighing him and taking his measure as he marched down that long aisle.
All of this having been seen from the corner of his eyes, as his gaze never left the dais and the people located there. The king and queen seated in their ornate thrones side by side, their hands joined. Vivian standing regally, yet her eyes haunted, to the side of the queen. Tobias, standing one step down the dais and forward slightly, as if in a guard position, holding himself at a rigid parade rest in front of his sister. Her hair a glowing, fiery red, dressed in a gown of beautiful greens and blues, her bearing was every bit the princess. His Brigit. He knew now that he did not want to wait to lay forth his claim for suit. He loved her and he wanted her to be his wife.
Stopping the perfect two paces before the bottom step of the dais, he fluidly dropped to one knee, his head bowed, and right hand over his heart in salute, left hand lightly resting on the hilt of his saber. "You have summoned me, my liege, so I am come." he spoke firmly, his tone strong and unwavering.
Hans looked down at the Major for a moment, not speaking. He then nodded once and spoke, "Rise Major, and take the place your station demands." pointing to where he would stand, opposite Tobias, in front of Vivian.
Rising, he took the few steps needed to get to his station and turned. His attention was grabbed seconds later by the King standing. Watching the crowd of nobles in the room he did not look back as his King began to speak.
"This is a difficult time for our Empire. We have been attacked from without, by a race of warriors bent on our destruction. Those that should be our allies have turned from us and experiment in ways that push the boundaries of humanity, attempting to make their bodies likened unto the gods.
"As if this was not enough, We have been betrayed from within. Those of Our own blood, those that we ourselves begat have sided with our enemies in an effort to overthrow Our rule. One man stood in the way of this plot. This man now stands before you, the Commander of the Royal Lance."
A murmur passed among the assembled at the conformation of what the rumors had spoken of for weeks.
Holding up a hand, the king called for silence. "Yet despite all this that we have to fear, there is also that which can be celebrated. We have been unknowingly re-united with an old ally, a family that has supported the crown since before the realm was created. Again, I speak of the same man."
Only by force of will was Mykal able to avoid looking at his king in confusion, quickly followed by a message from the queen. [All will be made clear. I apologize for the secrecy, but it had to be done this way].
"Major, step forward if you please."
Turning sharply, Mykal moved over before the King, head bowed in reverence. "Turn and face the court."
After doing so, he heard the king move up behind him and felt his heavy hand land on his shoulder. "This young man, this Officer of our Battlemech Corps, has shown loyalty to our crown that we cannot repay. However, by setting right a wrong that we did not know of at the time, and were only able to recently prove and attempt to rectify, can we begin to repay all that we owe to him." Feeling a slight tugging on his coats shoulder boards, Mykal glanced over and saw that the king was removing his rank and insignia marking him as the Commander of the Royal Lance.
His gut clenching, he took a slow steadying breath to attempt to calm his self. [Did I do something wrong? Did I overstep my bounds? What's wrong?] He sent a desperate note to the queen.
[Darling man, of course you didn't. But for us to reward you properly, we must take these steps.]
"The rank and title that we bestowed was not enough. We slighted this hero of the realm. Though it was unintentional, it still happened." Hans announced to him, but for the benefit of the assembled courtesans.
"Mykal, you have been raised in our nation, as a ward of the government. This injustice must be made right. We bestow upon you your rightful rank of the peerage. I give you Archduke Mykal McDaniel of the house of Kurtoran." Stepping forward, the king stood next to him and turned him so that they were looking eye to eye. Reaching up, the king pinned two new insignia's onto the coat's shoulder boards. The insignias looked much like the ones that had just been removed with the addition of a house seal emblazoned into them; a house seal that had not been used in almost twenty years.
In a hushed voice Hans spoke to him, a hand on each shoulder. "Son, look at me. You were given to the orphanage system as a means to protect you. There were and may still be many people out there that did and will want you dead, just for being who you are. You have had mine and my family's backs for so long, now it is time for us to have your back as well." Turning him toward the court he stepped apart from him slightly and addressed the crowd. "Know this; the house of Kurtoran is once again second only to the house of Davidov."
A thunderous cheer came forth in his honor. Despite his overwhelming feelings, as he looked out on the crowd, he did notice one thing. Not everyone smiled as they cheered.
Mykal paced back and forth, one hand gesticulating wildly as he ranted. "You knew? You knew about this and you waited to tell me like this?"
"I had ideas. I had theories. It wasn't until just a couple of days ago that I knew for sure." Elaine said, sipping from her drink.
"Why didn't you tell me at that point?"
Hans spoke up at this point. "You have to realize that your mother disappeared so long ago, with no reason as to why she vanished. Had we known, we would have helped her, kept her safe. Whatever she was running from, she didn't want us involved in."
"Then why do it?" Mykal asked, narrowing his eyes.
"Because Brigit refuses to marry anyone else, not that I mind, and we are not going to be able to keep her status secret much longer." Elaine said, looking at her youngest daughter. "If we had announced her becoming the Heir before she is known to have a suitor, there would have been lines of nobles willing to fight to the death to marry her and an unreal amount of plotting to ensure various people would win." Looking to Mykal she continued.
"Not to mention that you are very close an equal rank to her now because of it. It will also help with having you in charge of so much military power if you are from a house that is known to have been such a strong supporter of the crown."
Mykal took a deep breath, muttering about politics. Looking up at Brigit who sat quietly watching him pace, he spoke. "So how does this work now?"
Hans shook his head. "We continue on as we were. We build our forces back and take back our planets."
Mykal closed his eyes and took a deep breath to clear the sudden tightness in his throat. His entire life he had had dreams of being the long lost son of a noble family, that his being put up for an adoption that never came was an accident, a mistake.
Turns out it wasn't just a dream.
Feeling small arms wrap around him he opened his eyes and looked down into Brigit's bright blue eyes. Nuzzling into his chest she whispered so only he could hear. "I'm sorry."
Wrapping his arms around her he kissed the top of her head, inhaling her scent. "I'm okay. Really. It's just a lot to take in. You would think I would be used to all the overwhelming. "
After a somewhat strained silence, Hans cleared his throat. "Am I going to have to worry about being a grandfather before I should be?"
Elaine shot her husband a glare. "Stop that Hans. What we do need to worry about is keeping Vivian's condition from becoming common knowledge until we can get certain things taken care of."
Mykal looked over Brigit's head at his queen. "What certain things are those?"
"We know who your mother is, but we have a distinct lack of information as to who your father is. He was not in our DNA database to be compared against."
Mykal sighed. "That means he wasn't from our nation doesn't it?" He looked over at Hans.
Hans nodded. "Finding out who your father is would be nice as I don't want it coming up and biting us in the ass at a later date." he said with a pointed look at Brigit's back.
"Wouldn't look good for the future queen to be caught slumming with some foreign nobody's bastard son would it?" Letting out a grunt as Brigit punched him in the side.
"Not funny." She whispered into his chest.
"I know, but I have to start seeing things as how the court and the politicos would see it or try and represent it. It's all about personal power to them. They don't care if they end up taking down the kingdom around their ears."
"I told you he was a quick study." Elaine said from her seat on the couch.
Brigit turned and looked toward her mother with an eyebrow raised. Elaine shook her head looking down into her glass.
"Then when mother? I think I have been exceedingly patient."
"You are the one that wanted it done the right way. And with the way things are working out, it's a good thing that you decided that."
"The right way wasn't supposed to take this long."
Hans looked between the two women that were now facing each other down as they had their strange argument. Looking over to Mykal he asked, "Do you have any idea what they are talking about?"
"I have an idea, but I'm not getting in the middle of it."
Spinning on him Brigit's eyes flashed. "Maybe you should get into the middle of it. Or now that you are titled you don't want to keep me around?"
Stepping forward Mykal wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close and whispered softly in her ear. "Do you really want to do this in front of your parents?"
Shaking her head slightly she wrapped her arms around him again.
Whispering in her ear again held her tight. "I love you Brigit. I am not going to let you get away from me and I am going to make you my wife. Even if it means I have to deal with being the King someday."
Brigit immediately stiffened and looked up at him, her eyes as wide as saucers. Looking over at her mother she smiled. "You're right, he is quick."