The King's Chambers were a whirl of activity with servants unpacking the King's bags, and preparing him for the day's festivities. Amaranthe was glad to see him out of his bed, but she could not miss how tired her father looked.
He was standing before his wardrobe leaning heavily on the back of a nearby chair. One of the servants was helping him into a dark blue velvet robe, and it was obvious that he could barely lift his arms into the sleeves.
Ryland smiled when he saw his daughter and shooed the servants attending him away. As he sat down carefully in the chair he'd been using as a support he motioned for Amaranthe to join him.
"How are you father? You look tired from your trip. Do you need to rest?" Amaranthe blurted out in concern as she reached her father.
The King reached out and took one of Amaranthe's hands and patted it consolingly, "I'm a little tired, but don't worry, I'll be fine. I don't want to ruin your day by having you worry about me. You've enough other things to occupy you today."
Amaranthe did not find that particularily comforting. She would worry about him regardless, and she could not think of a single thing that took precedence over her concern for her father. However she knew that her father would feel better if he did not know how much she did worry, "I'll try not to worry about you, ok?" Amaranthe conceded.
"That's all I can ask for," Ryland said with a smile at his daughter. Then his expression turned serious, "There is something I need to talk to you about." Amaranthe nodded for him to continue, "I've heard that King Therron has chosen to attend your coronation with his two eldest sons."
"Indeed," Amaranthe confirmed, "I saw them at breakfast this morning."
"Amaranthe, I want you to be careful around them. Therron would like nothing better then to see his son on the thron of Ipille after I'm gone," Amaranthe shook her head and opened her mouth to tell her father not to worry about it, but Ryland continued before she could, "Even your betrothal to Garvin hasn't deterred him. There had the nerve to approach me at Caraone and suggest that a marriage between you and Savern would be far more beneficial to Ipille. I believe he was trying to threaten me." Amaranthe's eyes flew open in surprise, "Of course I told him in no uncertain terms that my daughter would never marry anyone from Kostran, least of all one of his sons."
Amaranthe frowned thoughtfully, "But he can't think you'd change your mind, so why did he bother to come here?"
"He knows that I'll never consent to a marriage between you and any son of his, but he doesn't know the same of you. I think he plans to make you want to marry Savern. He thinks you'd run off with Savern and marry him without my consent."
"What?" Amaranthe nearly shouted in outrage, "I know as well as you what would happen to Ipille if Therron got one of his sons on the throne. I'm not so stupid as to give him that kind of power, no matter how much I liked Savern. How could he even imagine I'd do such a thing?"
"Well," her father began slowly, "you are known to be a bit impetuous at times. He must see you as Iplle's weakness, although I'm sure he'll find he is greatly mistaken."
"He sure will," Amaranthe agreed vehemently, "I know I've been a bit rebellious at times, but I would never betray Ipille, especially not to Kostran.
Ryland smiled proudly at his daughter, "I know you wouldn't, but take care around Therron and his sons all the same. Therron would probably go to any lengths to get a marriage alliance to Ipille, especially since he just lost the alliance he'd hoped to make through Tristan's marriage."
"Roguerre pulled out of the betrothal?" It was common knowledge that Prince Tristan of Kostran and Princess Dekatrine of Roguerre had been betrothed for years and that their marriage was set to be held this coming summer, shortly after Dekatrine's sixteenth birthday.
Ryland nodded, "Therron called the meeting in Caraone to push his idea of ridding Vaneyn of the Races to the other Kingdoms. If he had his way we'd be at war with them tomorrow," Ryland sighed with disapproval, "A few of the kingdoms agree with Therron, but Roguerre is not one of them. When Therron tried to force him to back him, King Ardun withdrew from the betrothal contract. Therron was furious of course but there's not much he can do. It's not like he can declare war on Roguerre, not when he's trying to rally support for his war against the Races. However if Therron does start his war then I have little doubt that he'll meet Ardun on the battlefield."
"Would Roguerre really go to war for the Races against Kostran?" Amaranthe asked in surprise.
"Of course they would. As would we."
"But Ipille is a neutral country," Amaranthe protested.
Her father shook his head, "Neutral on some issues, but not on this," he paused for a moment then opened his mouth to say something more, but then quickly clamped it shut again. Finally he said, "Garvin will not be able to stand by and watch while Therron drives his mother's people out of Vaneyn. And while Therron is driving the Races out of Vaneyen, do you think he'll leave anyone not full human alone?"
"Is that the only reason I'm marrying Garvin? To make sure Ipille has a good reason to get in the war opposite Therron?" she accused her father, even though she could not believe he would let his personal dislike of Therron affect Ipille so much. She was right, but her father was not about to tell her why.
"Of course not. Ipille has it's own very good reasons to directly oppose the eradication of the Races in Vaneyn. Garvin is merely to insure that after me there is still a King who supports the Races as strongly as I do."
Amaranthe was about to ask what the reason was that Ipille had to oppose Therron when she realized she could not think of a reason not to oppose him. Historically being a neutral kingdom seemed a weak excuse for not helping all the Races where were as much a part of Vaneyn as she or anyone else was.
Sensing what his daughter was thinking, Ryland changed the subject back to the matter at hand, "I trust you to do the right thing Amaranthe, but don't underestimate either King Therron, or his sons."
Amaranthe laughed, "Therron may be a threat, but his sons are harmless. Savern doesn't want to marry me anymore then I want to marry him. He just pretends to keep his father off his back."
"Did he tell you that?"
"Of course, and before you say that he was lying, I know he was telling the truth."
The King looked at her with concern. He was not too sure of his daughter being able to judge the young prince's intentions, but he had not seen Savern's actions himself so he held off judgement, "Just promise me you'll be careful around all of them."
"I am," Amaranthe assured.